Happy New Year! Unreal prognostications for the year 2002

We’re a few days into the very futuristic-sounding year 2002, and so far it’s been a big disappointment – what with no flying cars, meals in pill form or robots to do our housework.
Be that as it may, the Index will now engage in that age-old tradition of making a whole lot of predictions for the new year, thereby greatly increasing our chances of getting at least one right, at which point we will claim psychic status.
It should be noted, however, that any success is purely coincidental.
Here goes:
On the economic and money front, the recession will hit the average working stiff especially hard – mostly in the form of layoffs – in keeping with a cornerstone of the business world, namely that the obscenely rich heads of businesses, who have more money than they could ever possibly spend in several lifetimes, must not ever take a pay cut of any sort.
The U.S. Postal Service will announce they are increasing the price of a first-class stamp by two cents, from 34 cents to 36 cents, meaning you’ll have to dig out that extra penny rather than just using a quarter and a dime to buy a stamp.
And speaking of coins, the federal government will conduct a study to figure out why dollar coins that look like quarters haven’t caught on with the public. The study will be funded by all the Susan B. Anthony and Sacajewa dollar coins the government has stored up over the years.
Technology will continue to advance rapidly over the course of the year, so much so that it will become impossible to buy a computer, get it home, out of the box and set up before it becomes obsolete.
Car accessories like Global Positioning System display maps and high-tech stereo systems will continue to evolve, although it will still be a while before we have cool talking cars like KITT from that 80s television series “Knight Rider.”
Cell phones will continue to shrink in size, and by the end of the year the average cell phone will be the size of a Tic Tac.
Scientific breakthroughs will improve the quality of life in the coming year, especially in the area of food, where scientists will genetically engineer a banana that not only doesn’t turn brown five seconds after you buy it, but also tells you the correct time and temperature.
Marine biologists will – for the first time ever – witness a battle between a sperm whale and a giant squid. Scientists will be edged out the picture, however, when promoter Don King somehow acquires the rights to the rematch, which will be shown on pay-per-view.
Certain scientists will continue to dispense unrealistic advice, like sleep experts who often say that in order to maintain a steady sleep schedule you should get up at about the same time every day, even if you don’t have to. But, come on, who gets up at 5 a.m. on the weekend if they don’t have to?
And speaking of sleep-inducing, in the world of politics, former Vice President Al Gore, fearing his facial hair will link him to the Taliban and thereby ruin a possible presidential bid in 2004, will shave off his beard. Nobody will care.
President Bush’s approval ratings will remain fairly high throughout the year, mostly for two reasons: 1) his policy of laying the smackdown on terrorists and 2) his policy against embarrassing presidential scandals.
Fitness fanatic President Bush will unintentionally lead Congress through a workout of sorts during his State of the Union speech at the end of January, when members of Congress stand and applaud the president 273 times during his address.
Celebrities, as always, will capture the public’s attention, including, for example, Michael Jackson, who will suffer a spectacularly bad year. First, he will be forced to abdicate his largely ceremonial title of “King of Pop.” Secondly, he will become so white that it will actually hurt to look directly at him, thereby making watching him perform almost impossible.
A rapper will be ostracized from the hip-hop community when he fails to use the phrase “Ya know what I’m sayin’ ” between every other sentence during an interview on “Entertainment Tonight.”
Attempting to cover all bases and improve her show’s ratings, Ellen DeGeneres will declare that she is bisexual.
Cap’n Crunch will finally be promoted to the rank of admiral.
In the world of sports, the NCAA will continue its policy against establishing a playoff system in Division I college football, because deciding a national champion by actually having teams play against each other like in every other major college sport makes way too much sense.
The Los Angeles Lakers will win the NBA championship for the third year in a row, thereby making everyone sick of them, just like everyone has been sick of the New York Yankees winning all those World Series’ over the last several years (but not last year!).
Major League Baseball owners, who can be seen tooling around in stretch limousines and lighting expensive cigars with hundred dollar bills, will, for some reason, be unable to convince the public they are losing money.
Demonstrating that all the hype has finally gone too far, the pre-game show for next year’s Super Bowl will begin about five minutes after the completion of this year’s Super Bowl.
In keeping with the rampant commercialism that is part of professional sports these days, the new Seattle Seahawks football stadium will be named the Microsoft Windows Stadium.