What Does the Future Hold? Our Fearless Predictions for the Coming Year.
What Does the Future Hold? Our Fearless Predictions for the Coming Year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We'll never see the future. It hurtles toward us, then disappears when it arrives, and we are left with the overwhelming presence of the present. The year 2009 is days away. What does it hold in store?

Fewer cars.


Increased urbanization.

A more religious China.

A more secular Middle East.

And you can expect any professional knowledge to be obsolete as soon as you acquire it. School forrr-ehhh-verrr.

Okay, don't panic. Those are our glib generalizations of forecasts made by the Bethesda-based World Future Society, which has published its roundup of 2008's most intriguing thoughts about 2009 (and beyond) in its magazine, the Futurist.

Will any of these things come to be in 2009 or beyond?


Maybe not.

We won't know until the future arrives. And by then it will be gone.

Who predicted, at the end of 2007, that the Sunday Source would be gone by the end of 2008? That the New England Patriots would lose the Super Bowl after a perfect season? That Barack Obama would be elected president after a grueling campaign? That we'd be gifted Sarah Palin and Tina Fey, and Tina Fey as Sarah Palin? That we'd be tottering toward a galactic depression?

Maybe no one.

Maybe many.

As much as we plan for the future, it can still surprise us. So, to soothe that uncertainty, check out our predictions, aspirations and fears for 2009 on Page 4. Don't say we didn't warn you.

-- Sunday Source staff

Jan. 6

To save themselves future embarrassment, Illinois voters approve a proposition that abolishes the office of governor.

Jan. 20

During Barack Obama's inaugural address, his soaring oratory causes a woman to faint into the person behind her, leading to the other 4 million people on the Mall going down like dominos.

Jan. 25

Extended bar hours for Inauguration Day prove such a boon for businesses and boozers that the D.C. Council passes legislation that makes the hours permanent. Legal gambling and the return of smoking in bars is also considered.

Feb. 12

Charles Darwin celebrates his 200th birthday and issues a statement revealing that he has been living on the Galapagos Islands since he faked his death. He signs the statement, "The Fittest."

Feb. 14

Nationals pitchers and catchers report to spring training to learn how to pitch and catch.

Feb. 17

TV broadcasts switch from analog to digital. One million senior citizens take to the streets to protest the sudden replacement of "Wheel of Fortune" with static.

March 2

Apple releases the iCan't, a palm-size digital excuse manager.

March 11

Bailout fever reaches the soft-serve ice cream industry. Congress creates a $43,000 bridge loan to keep the nation's vendors in business until summer arrives.

March 22

Americans who have pledged to spend the day logged out of Facebook instead spend the entire day on Facebook tracking the number of people joining the movement.

April 3

Sen. Caroline Kennedy (D-N.Y.) is named to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. Kennedy is also awarded custody of Chelsea Clinton.

April 12

John McCain goes on a one-man mission to track down Osama bin Laden. Within 36 hours, he finds him at the gates of hell and drags him back to face justice.

April 25

Flustered by the mounting crises at home and abroad, "No Drama" Obama becomes "No Comma" Obama as his trademark eloquence is overtaken by nervous run-on sentences.

May 24

To cut down on fuel costs and emissions, the Indianapolis 500 is changed to the Indianapolis 150.

May 27

Paula Abdul spends the middle third of the "American Idol" finale in a coma.

June 1

Conan O'Brien takes over "The Tonight Show" from Jay Leno, who expands his duties at NBC to include anchoring the evening news broadcast and replacing David Gregory as host of "Meet the Press." Conan continues to pull out what's left of his hair.

June 8

After dipping below 5,000, the Dow Jones industrial average is discontinued because it is depressing.

June 21

The Large Hadron Collider, the massive atom smasher near Geneva, is reactivated and swallows Switzerland before blowing a fuse.

July 9

National Zoo panda Tai Shan turns 4 years old, and his fans stage a silent black-and-white solidarity demonstration to protest his scheduled return to China. The protest fizzles when China agrees to forgive $900 zillion of American debt in exchange for the cuddly guy.

July 17

The Teddy Roosevelt mascot celebrates his first victory in the presidents' race at Nationals Park. The victory is later stripped after he tests positive for steroids.

July 30

On the hottest day of the year, the air conditioning breaks in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, prompting stench-averse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to draft emergency legislation to douse every tourist in the area with Lysol.

Aug. 3

Oprah loses 20 pounds but quickly finds them.

Aug. 11

Ben's Chili Bowl formally requests that it be left off any more "best of D.C." lists.

Aug. 20

Sarah Palin formally announces that she will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012. To illustrate what she plans to do to the Democrats, she shoots a donkey from a helicopter.

Aug. 21

Dennis Kucinich announces his candidacy for president of the galaxy. To illustrate his plans, he shoots at helicopters from a spaceship.

Sept. 7

All 588 escalators in the Metro system are in working condition for most of the day.

Oct. 2

The International Olympic Committee selects Chicago as the host city of the 2016 Olympics.

Oct. 3

Chicago is stripped of its hosting status after the FBI discovers that city officials bribed the IOC.

Oct. 30

Somalian pirates hijack the boat on the "Jaws" ride at Universal Studios but are quickly disoriented by the mechanical shark and subdued by a quick-thinking ride operator with a fake harpoon.

Nov. 9

Russia celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by rebuilding it.

Nov. 18

George W. Bush cuts the ribbon at his newly constructed presidential library in Dallas, walks in and mutters, "What are all those things on the shelves?" An outraged librarian quietly throws her shoes at him.

Nov. 19

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie adopt a Canadian orphan and name her Maple.

Dec. 31

With the world unsure of how to verbally abbreviate 2010 (just "ten"? "Oh-ten"? "Tenner"?), the NCAA swoops in and buys the naming

rights, deeming the next 365 days

"The Big Ten."

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