Forecast for ‘08: gloom, with periods of ungloom


How right were my 2007 predictions? Let’s just say they included oil at $100 a barrel, the sub-prime meltdown and racist outbursts from Don Imus, Bill O'Reilly and Tom Hanks. Trust me, today is going to be a bad day for Hanks.

For 2008, I see a lot of gloom. But I also see ungloom. And a vague sort of blobby thing that could either be the end of the world or a smallish volcano/earthquake/flood-type thing in some poor country. Visions can be hard to read. Especially when you’re drinking a lot, due to the gloomy stuff.

So here is my set of predictions for 2008. Clip it, laminate it, drop it in your time capsule and let it be some future generation’s problem:


Housing market: Home prices drop an astounding 15%. Far more disheartening to Americans who bought homes in the last three years, stainless steel kitchen appliances go out of style.

Presidential election: Barack Obama wins the general election but does not carry the Northeast, due to New Englanders’ increasingly implausible excuse, “It’s not that we’re racist; it’s just that the South would never elect a black person.”

Writers strike: The Directors Guild accepts a crappy deal from the studios, and a week later, the Writers Guild agrees to the same terms, calling it a “major victory for the proletariat.” Studios are then flooded with 150 comedy scripts about an out-of-work dad who drives his wife and kids crazy. Michael Keaton once again commands $20 million.

White House: In late December, no longer intimidated by the power of the vice presidency, Dick Cheney’s friend shoots him right back in the face.

Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page: Rosa Brooks, after a long coffee with Jonah Goldberg, decides that she is not only for the invasion of Iraq but also the invasion of Jonah’s heart.

New York Times Op-Ed page: Thomas Friedman adopts a strident voice of urgency on topics ranging from carbon emissions, Middle East democracy and globalization to carbon emissions, Middle East democracy and globalization.

Music: A major rap star retires, and, two months later, unretires with a new hit album. Also, the big summer hit is Amy Winehouse’s “Seriously, Dude, I’m Not Going Back to Rehab.”

Food: Every new restaurant in America serves only small plates. Patrons remain blissfully unaware that four small $12 plates equal a $48 entree.

Sports: The Patriots win the Super Bowl again, and the Red Sox win the World Series again; the city of Boston is set two more steps back from realizing its utter irrelevance.

Environment: Al Gore agrees to head a beefed-up version of the Environmental Protection Agency. His first act: Condemning Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s front lawn.

Russia: In the final months of Vladimir Putin’s term, Garry Kasparov is imprisoned and becomes the undefeated prison checkers champion.

Diplomacy: In December, President-elect Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walk away from their first meeting with one significant agreement: No more neckties!

Online: In the space of three weeks in the late fall, Facebook loses almost all its traffic to some other social network site that seems exactly the same to anyone older than 15.