Friday, January 30, 2015

2010: The Year We Made More Wildly Speculative Predictions

What you are about to read was originally set to run in December 2009. I never finished the piece, and it rattled around in the bottom of my draft pile for five years. The Lightning Round is my now-discontinued weekly news satire, where I pulled my favorite eyebrow-raising stories of the past seven days and paired them with observations, jibes and mildly snide asides. After about a year, I discontinued the feature, feeling other people were doing it better and more timely. I offered a few special editions, including a year-end predictions list. Here's a look back at 2010 as I thought it might be. You can glean who was making headlines at the time, but amazingly, some of these predictions still hold freshness five years later.

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The folks in your Lightning Round office, left with little to do on their continuing pencils-and-keyboards-down furlough begged and pleaded for a year-end scrap. Fortunately, CEO Eugene Thornhump IV, one of the few bigshots who didn't lose money to Bernard Madoff this year, was in a giving mood. So he allowed them to go back to work for this list of things that might happen when the calendar rolls over, provided somebody hasn't sold it to raise money for the Arizona State Treasury.

* The Transportation Security Administration, in a fit of overreaction, suddenly orders people to place both their shoes and their underwear into the x-ray machine. By summer, the TSA adopts a new trusted-flier rule where those wearing bikini briefs can bypass the security check. Al-Qaida sympathizers develop a bomb that can be mounted in the belly button.

* Arizona lawmakers, shocked to discover their beloved state is turning into California, develop new plan to close the $1 billion plus budget gap: auctioning off the state's mountains, saguaros, the Grand Canyon and Sheriff Joe Arpaio on eBay.

* Tucson City Leaders, unable to close their own budget gap, sell the Old Pueblo to the Chinese. Mayor Bob Walkup hails the deal as a landmark trade agreement.

* The NFL promises new initiatives to prevent concussions and changes its name to the National Flag-Football League.

* In spite of a stimulus plan, bank bailouts, automaker bailouts, shovel-ready projects, a jobs summit and a beer summit, America's economy improves from "absolutely stinky" to "heavily noxious." The Obama Administration launches a new economic plan consisting of secretly extorting loan guarantees from North Korea by producing a picture of Kim Jung Il with Sarah Palin.

* Still unable to close the budget deficit, Arizona revenue officials are ordered to fan out across the state and try "shaking people upside down, very, very hard."

* Brett Favre retires again only to un-retire again and change his sport to pro frisbee.

* Tiger Woods returns to golf after telling fans he's been "tamed" by a certain surgical procedure usually reserved for pets.

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