What follows are predictions for what 2010 might bring to our city, state and nation. Some are serious, some are not so serious and some are outright scary.
We recommend you hold on to this issue of the Weekly until January 2011, just to determine whether J’Mel Davidson, Matt Hooper, Kenn McCracken and Madison Underwood are full-on visionaries or just full of it. This time next year, you will either marvel at our gifts or mock us for our lack of insight.
PREDICTIO AD ABSURDAM
– Patrick Cooper will be Birmingham's new mayor in January. However, his ambitious agenda will be heavily tempered by the city's ballooning deficit.
– Larry Langford's prison sentence: 10 to 15 years.
– Alabama's next governor will be Bradley Byrne. Artur makes it close, but the GOP's strong showing in the national mid-term elections will sweep Byrne into office.
– Health care reform passes, Rahm Emanuel steps down as President Obama's Chief of Staff.
– The Alabama Crimson Tide will win the BCS National Championship in January, but will not finish 2010 with a third-straight unblemished regular season.
– The Auburn Tigers will not win more than seven games in Gene Chizik's second season.
– The NFL, NBA and MLB champs in 2010: New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Yankees, respectively.
– Two words that we won't hear nearly as often in 2010 as we did in 2009: Swine flu.
– After a couple of quiet years, a major hurricane will landfall in the U.S. in 2010.
– The Birmingham News will some how find a way to trim a little more width off their impossibly narrow broadsheet.
– And some how, some way, we're going to be bringing you the same more and more and more that we always do each year. Black & White will keep bringing you less and less and less.
– Matt Hooper
YOU NEVER KNOW… AND NEITHER DO I
What does the future hold for Birmingham... nay, the WORLD… in the year 2010?
– Angry women will admit that when they say, "If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you!" they really don't know what they're angry about.
– Kyle will long for the days of Larry Langford once the new mayor develops quite the tangy man-crush on him (Editor’s note: On Kyle, that is. Not on Larry Langford.)
– With all the hops being successfully freed, the Free the Hops organization will lobby for mandatory low-rider jeans under the Free dat Ass organization. I will back them completely, but will still prefer tequila to beer.
– The Birmingham International Airport, having torn down and demolished most of the area where I spent my childhood, does not expand its borders. Instead, the people involved yell "Psych!" and try to leave town with bags of money. Their plane immediately crashes, proving that poetic justice truly exists.
– Winter Storm 2010: There will be bread (and milk).
– Reading will finally replace college football as the most popular local pastime. Bookstores and newsstands will find their way to Southside and the downtown area. Finally, there will be time enough at last– crash– Oh no, my glasses! They're broken...it’s not fair! It’s not fair!!
– Finally, someone will open a movie theatre downtown. The beautiful, three-story film palace will show nothing but – WHAT!? Old Bear Bryant films!? OK, Birmingham, I can take a hint. I'll go. But you're gonna miss me. Damn you, you'll miss me...
– J'Mel finds fame leading an all-girl-backed Smiths/Morrissey cover band. Finally, an escape! (Seriously, if you're a girl and can rock email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
– J’Mel Davidson
YOU CAN SEE IT COMING
– Alabama will win the BCS National Championship. Saban's search for a lovable animal nickname will be accelerated.
– The national unemployment rate will be revealed during the summer to have dropped to 1.4%. Sadly, that number will have been calculated by the same people that ran Wall Street in 2008, and the decimal point will turn out to be a Godiva chocolate stain.
– Brett Favre will retire again. And then announce his new contract with yet another team. And then probably retire again. Or maybe open for Elton John or Kiss on a farewell tour.
– The new season of 24 will be no less believable than 90% of reality television.
– Dick Cheney will, somehow, be even scarier.
– Tiger Woods will enjoy a revitalization of his golf career, as well as an inspiring reconciliation with his wife and family. It's not that I'm optimistic like this, but 2010 is the Chinese year of Tiger. 1.3 billion people can't be wrong, can they?
– Man vs. Food will be retitled Man Becomes Food. Cancellation is not far behind.
– Health care reform will pass, just in time for a government-created super-flu virus to eradicate the world's population. Surviving Republicans will shout to the remaining survivors that Captain Trips is the real cost of health care reform.
– Birmingham will change its name to Seattle, or simply float away.
– Sarah Palin. Damn it, Sarah Palin. Why?
– President Obama will win the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Or Physics. Or maybe Chemistry?
– Glenn Beck's writing staff will be revealed to be the Muppet "Yip Yip" Martians. Absolutely no one will be surprised.
– The United States will advance to the finals of the World Cup, but lose the final game in an exciting shoot-out. Americans will still insist that theirs is the better game of football.
– Patrick Cooper will be elected mayor. All my friends will be sadly disappointed when he turns out to be just another Birmingham politician.
– Brad and Angelina will adopt Nadya Suleman, saving millions in adoptions fees in the future.
– In related events, next year's predictions with be even more cynical and bitter.
– Kenn McCracken
THE ALMOST CERTAIN FUTURE
January: A judge throws out the Mayor-Council Act on the grounds that “it doesn’t make any God-damned sense,” leaving Birmingham without a system of government and, unfortunately for the mayoral candidates, a mayor. A compromise is proposed in which the two candidates slated to be in the run-off, Patrick Cooper and William Bell, face-off in a rap battle for the title of Interim-Acting-Emperor-Mayor-Council President. Cooper fails to appear and releases a statement, saying that the rap battle was hastily planned and that he had previously agreed to watch the Birmingham mayoral run-off returns with some supporters that night. Bell does appear, but is shamed off-stage when the rambunctious crowd—which has for months been subjected to not-so-subtle claims that a certain mayoral candidate is not “black enough,” whatever that means—realizes he’s dressed as Eminem’s character from 8 Mile. Birmingham is, for a time, left with no government of any type and therefore no ability to spend money from the city’s coffers or further tax its citizens. This potentially saves the city from the certain financial ruin.
Also, the Alabama Crimson Tide football team wins the national championship.
February: During Larry Langford’s sentencing hearing, Judge Scott Coogler sentences Birmingham to be ruled by Langford for 805 years or until the city is foreclosed upon by its creditors. He reasons that it will be punishment enough for Langford to have to serve as mayor when the city has no money and cannot get any credit, and that Birmingham deserves it for “electing as Mayor—without even so much as a run-off—a man who does not even live in the city limits and has a clear and well-known history of financial malfeasance. Seriously, guys.”
March: The commissioners from the Alabama Environmental Management Commission go retro in their search for a new director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Faced with few options, the commissioners gather in a circle, point their rings to the sky, and summon Captain Pollution, a villain from late in the Captain Planet TV series, to serve as the new director.
April: The Jefferson County Commission begins crafting a plan to manufacture a devastating financial crisis that will distract voters and media from the devastating $3.2 billion sewer debt crisis the commission has been dutifully ignoring for the past year.
May: Tensions run high in the race for the Democratic nomination for Alabama governor. In response to pressure from Joe Reed to step it up on the campaign trail, candidate Ron Sparks releases a seven-point plan to make himself “somewhat less dull” if elected. He sees an increase in support primarily based on point number 3, “I will ‘let loose’ when it comes to my mustache grooming habits and grow a handlebar mustache that would embarrass a circus strong man.”
June: Despite an increase in mustache-based support and the votes of sentient fuel pumps across the state (hat tip to King Cockfight for that bit), Ron Sparks loses the Democratic nomination to Artur Davis. Bradley Byrne wins the Republican nomination over Tim James, whose campaign strategy was to give speeches at every Tea Party in Alabama. This strategy failed when Byrne’s campaign discovered that Tea Party attendees are liable to believe anything suggested to them in a very vague way with no supporting evidence, and passed out flyers at several Tea Parties that said “Tim James, SHOW US YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE,” and “Where in the U.S. CONSTITUTION are the words ‘Tim James can run for Governor of Alabama in 2010’?”
July: In Alabama, it is fucking hot outside. And yet no one says “Yeah, of course global warming is a lie” in a childish, mocking tone, even though when the first cold spell rolls around in the fall people will surely say, “Where’s your global warming now, huh?”
August: God takes pity on mankind and grants the most astonishing act of mercy in history when he slays Nickelback.
September: After realizing that neither of the two gubernatorial candidates is friendly with the Alabama Education Association, Joe Reed and Paul Hubbert push a bill through the state legislature that requires students be taught that the governor is a “huge douche.” Gov. Riley’s veto is easily overridden.
October: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin declares that she’s running for President in 2012, and releases this statement: “In times like these, with the jobs of the soccer moms and the troops as it’s been reported in the liberal media, and Todd hunting in the wild Alaskan forest with snow and all of the children, who are so important to me, as a mom. And sometimes, you know, America, she’s so great and strong and we just need a common-sense conservative leader who knows how it is with the freedoms we hold dear to our hearts, you betcha, just like all the other great Americans out there working so hard every day to put the food on the table, and that’s why I’m running for President.”
November: Alabama elects a black man as governor, and somewhere, deep down inside, Joe Reed feels a little bit of shame.
December: Unable to find funding for the dome, Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford begins constructing it himself, by hand, using bricks made out of delinquency notices, applications for the Olympics, lawsuits filed against Birmingham and breached contracts.
– Madison Underwood
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