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Foretelling the Future 

A view of things to come in the new year.

At the end of each year, I gaze into my crystal ball and predict the surprising behaviors we can expect from newsmakers over the coming months. I admit, my track record is miserable; but undeterred by a consistent inability to read the swirling patterns in my globe, I look forward to 2004 with the confidence that this year's predictions will come to pass.

Following a spiritual awakening in the wee hours of the night, George W. Bush resigns, renounces his former life and moves to Paris, where he becomes a street mime.

In an effort to increase political participation and voter registration among 18- to 24-year-olds, Janet Napolitano spikes her hair, dyes it purple and gets a gold stud in her tongue.

Mayor Bob Walkup convinces the City Council he should undertake a nationwide tour promoting Tucson as a great place to live and work. In order to facilitate this request, the city purchases a blimp for Walkup so he can fly over the country tossing Chamber of Commerce literature over the sides.

In an effort to connect with his roots, Tom Volgy moves to Hungary where, in a landslide election, he becomes mayor of Budapest.

In a television ad that sends shock waves throughout Tucson, Jim Click denounces the internal combustion engine as a polluting plague, closes all his dealerships and opens a chain of bicycle shops called Bitchin' Bikes.

Steve Farley moves to New England where he joins the man who rides forever beneath the streets of Boston and becomes the second man who will never return.

Cele Peterson decides to broaden her market and begins carrying a line of hip-hop clothing available in sizes 2 to 22.

Resigning from her position as doyen of Tucson television news, Patty Weiss takes to the road to promote her chain of mobile macarena studios.

Don Diamond decides to retire, sell all his holdings, then use the proceeds to fund the world's largest wildlife rehabilitation program with an emphasis on homeless pygmy owls.

In its first action designed to create a climate of cultural diversity in the newsroom, the management of the Arizona Daily Star instructs the editorial board to conduct its daily meetings in Turkish.

Steve Leal rents Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall to Canyon Ranch as its westside annex.

John Kromko takes over the day-to-day operations of the Tucson branch of Patty Weiss' mobile macarena studio, while she tours the country selling franchises.

Following a night of wild sex with columnist Dan Savage, John Ashcroft takes up residence in San Francisco where he opens a leather shop and joins the campaign for gay marriage.

After eating a fortune cookie, Michael Jackson wakes up the next morning to discover all his plastic surgery has been reversed, and he is now a cute, 12-year-old black male who actually likes himself.

In a startling revelation, Oprah admits her drastic variation in weight over many years was really hiding the fact of several pregnancies. Her three children are living in an undisclosed location, and while Oprah refuses to name the father, Dr. Phil has abruptly abandoned his popular talk show saying he "wants to spend more time with his family."

Dick Cheney assumes the presidency vacated by now-mime George W. Bush and replaces the entire cabinet with Halliburton's board of directors.

Missing for six months, Martha Stewart is discovered living in a roach-infested tenement in the Bronx where she is giving free weekly classes to her neighbors on the art of creating table centerpieces from empty Velveeta cartons.

Jesse Ventura moves to California where he starts a recall campaign against Arnold Schwarzenegger under the slogan "Vote for Experience."

Michael Jordan comes out of retirement still again in order to form a synchronized swimming trio with Dennis Rodman and Larry Bird.

In still another shocking admission about his secret life, Rush Limbaugh reveals he is the illegitimate son of Strom Thurmond and Janis Joplin. Though Joplin has long been believed dead of a drug overdose, Limbaugh admits to frequent visits with his mother, who is now living in Boise.

Donald Rumsfeld is discovered sneaking into Saddam Hussein's cell under cover of darkness and carrying a camera with a self timer and tripod. When questioned about his covert activity, the Secretary of Defense 'fesses up to his desire to have one last picture taken with the humiliated Hussein. "I've got that dandy snapshot of the two of us when we were friends, so it just seems right that I should have one now that we're foes. This photo will provide me with a sense of closure to the whole, nasty episode."

And so it goes. Welcome to 2004.

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