The best thing to be said about 2004, as with a tooth extraction or taking the SATs, is that once it's over, we'll never have to worry about it again. So let's bid farewell to a nasty election campaign, an unfunny television season, a somnambulant stock market and a painful war in Iraq. And let's welcome the arrival of a new year -- with new joys, worries and a whole new batch of headlines.
Trying to imagine what the world will be like in 2005 is too taxing for a year-end pundit. I got so flummoxed by the events of 2004 that I'm wary of dispensing opinions about the year ahead (at least for a few more days). But I can offer a second annual list of news stories we assuredly won't be reading in the coming year, compiled with the help of my college chum and Oregon law professor Garrett Epps, whose book "Second Founding," about the remaking of the Constitution after the Civil War, will assuredly be one of the happy publishing events of 2005.
If you encounter any of the following news events in real life, you should immediately board that Swift boat, bid a last farewell to Dan Rather, and head for somewhere in America so remote that folks don't know whether they're Red or Blue. But in the meantime, here's to a glorious 2005 and may all your headlines be Page One, Column Six, above the fold:
Red Sox Return 2004 Baseball Title; 'Without Curse, Life Has No Meaning,' Complain Hub Fans.
NBA Officials Decry Trend Toward Use of Tanks, Artillery on Court; Some Fear Game 'Losing Civility.'
Euro Made Convertible Into Cheese; French Say Brie, Camembert Will Be 'Store of Value' if Kept at Proper Temperature.
'Supremes' Nominated to High Court; Diana Ross Says She Favors 'Strict Construction,' Opposes 'Litmus Test.'
Putin Changes Name to 'Input'; Bush Lauds 'Soulful' Anagram, Mulls Changing Name to 'Hubs' in Support.
Troubled Washington Nats Franchise Moves to Crawford, Tex.; Selig Calls First Two Weeks' Attendance at RFK 'Disappointing.'
PBS Inks NASCAR Pact; Pat Robertson to Replace Bill Moyers as Public Broadcasting Revamps Image.
Treasury Officials Admit They Wired Social Security Trust Fund to Nigeria; $2 Trillion Missing After E-Mail Solicitation for 'Good Faith' Deposit.
CIA to Merge With Salvation Army; Goss Argues Santa Suits Will Be Useful Cover.
Bible Translation Shocker; Scholars Say New Scrolls Suggest God Created 'Adam and Steve.'
Clinton Weighs Race for Iraq Premier; Former President Says He Could 'Unite Shiites, Sunnis, Forgotten Middle Class.'