The last time I kicked off a new year with a column of predictions was in 2001. In it, I foretold that Dirk Kempthorne would be appointed to something-or-other in Washington, D.C., and that Jim Risch would be Idaho's governor until the next election. No kidding, look it up. Unfortunately, I also predicted Risch would have to beat Helen Chenoweth and Butch Otter in a match of "rock/paper/scissors" to get the job. And I was off by five years.
But still, that's not bad. I would never claim I'm great at predicting how things are going to turn out, but I do feel safe in saying I'm as good as anyone else. In 2001, for instance, Condaleeza Rice didn't see 9/11 coming any better than I did... and she had the FBI, CIA, NSA and God knows who else in her crystal ball.
I called that '01 column "Nostril Bill Predicts." It was a reference to a very famous 16th Century soothsayer whose name (I believed at the time) was "Nostrildamus." Don't ask me why. Probably something I picked up from Alfred E. Neuman when I was a kid. I have since learned the proper pronunciation is "Nost-ra-damus," not "ril." But once I start something, I hate to change directions. I'm uncomfortably like George Bush in that regard. So I will continue to call any and all prediction columns I write in the future "Nostril Bill Predicts." And I predict I will write many, many more, seeing as how they take little, if any, research.
Here are Nostril Bill's predictions for the coming year:
• It will be revealed early in January that Mary Cheney, lesbian daughter of Dick Cheney, was impregnated with sperm donated by Al Franken. To work off the tension induced by this revelation, the vice president flies to Texas and shoots someone else in the face. Only this time, he means to.
• To show support for all working mothers, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will breast feed at her podium in the House of Representatives. The fact that she will use a plastic "Wee Widdle Wanda" baby, and does not actually expose either of her breasts, in no way diminishes the power of the statement.
• Stephen King will write another book.
• In February, research from France will lead to a safe and painless treatment that can completely eliminate homosexual tendencies from gay and lesbian individuals. The Religious Right is ecstatic. We will see representatives of conservative Christian organizations on CNN and other cable news networks announcing this development proves that God has retaken control not only of the pharmaceutical industry, but of France, too. James Dobson personally goes to his buddy in the White House and asks for a massive program to treat the nation's water supplies with this substance, Kweerzallgon T, just as fluoride has been added to the reservoirs since the '50s. Bush will give him what he wants, having decided that whatever legacy he ends up with isn't going to come with the blessings of the Log Cabin Republicans, anyway.
But by May, as tank trucks are poised to pump thousands and thousands of gallons of Kweerzallgon T into every significant aquifer in America, it will be revealed that the miracle cure is made entirely from embryonic stem cells. The Religious Right, all 60 million of them, enter a state of catatonic stupor. When Mitt Romney, John McCain and other Republican presidential hopefuls speak before gatherings of Evangelicals, they all report the sensation they might as well have been talking to "a room full o' turnips," as Senator Sam Brownback so indelicately puts it.
• On one single day in June, Richard Leakey, the famous paleontologist, will announce the discovery of the definitive and incontrovertible "missing link" between lower primates and humans, Russia will reinstate Communism as official state policy and re-invade Hungary, and intelligent life from Andromeda will establish contact with Earth by breaking into C-Span with their greetings and arrival schedule.
Unfortunately it all happens on the very same day Tom Cruise and what's-her-name announce they are splitting up, so the only Earthlings to pay attention are a few bloggers. And, of course, the people of Hungary.
• Late in the summer, Senator James Imhoff (R-Oklahoma) will be driving to Phoenix to deliver a speech on how global warming is nothing but a media-driven hoax, when he gets stuck in a traffic jam on I-17 and suffocates in his car from the heat.
• As the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, George W. Bush will grow increasingly distant and distracted. His father, the 41st president, will be seen knocking on the back door of the White House, sobbing loudly and pleading that he be let it--but to no avail. White House service personnel will later tell People magazine that throughout this episode, the current president was crawling around on his hands and knees so his daddy wouldn't see him through the windows.
• Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq, with approval from the Bush Administration and tactical support from Haliburton, moves the Green Zone to a large villa in Italy... lock, stock and treasury. When the move is complete, press secretary Tony Snow announces during a White House briefing that, "Freely-elected Iraqi officials are now able to journey outside the Green Zone with no threat to their safety. Yet there are still those who say we aren't making progress toward whatever we went there for in the first place."
• At a chance meeting in New Hampshire, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton will break out into a nose-to-nose screaming match. On short notice, Bill will fly home from Africa and negotiate a truce. The deal involves one of them being the presidential candidate, and the other being the vice president. Another meeting is scheduled for early in 2008 to hash out which one is which.
• Sony will release a new, improved version of PlayStation the day after Thanksgiving. An enormous riot will erupt outside of a Best Buy store in Baltimore among people waiting in line. In the ensuing chaos, a BMW is set afire and George Bush will use it as an excuse to invade Iran.
• And finally, by precisely this moment, one full year from now, you will have long forgotten what I predicted for '07, and with a few minor adjustments, I will run this column again.