"You've got a fifty-fifty shot on anything -- it either does happen, or it doesn't." -- Ralph, who sells shoes, 1971.

In 1974 a man named Warren Smith compiled and edited a paperback book called "Predictions for 1975." Spread out in 215 pages are the predictions of 36 psychics, some of which happened, most of which didn't. Some of the highlights include:

Homes near lakes and bodies of water won't be safe because of flooding.

Two men will go over Niagara Falls in a boat and will plunge to their deaths.

Mark Spitz will star in a film that will skyrocket him to movie fame.

Locusts. All over.

You win some, you lose some, The point is that psychic predictions have been around for a while, probably even before 1975, maybe even before 975, and this time of the year -- a new year, a new decade -- they are around again. Everyone can make predictions. Everyone can be right most of the time just by making safe predictions, "mortal locks," as they are known in psychbiz.

"There will be an earthquake in Latin America" is a mortal lock.

So is: Woddy Allen will be in the news.

And: A major fire will destory homes in California.

And: The price of new automobiles will rise.

And: A European government will be rocked by scandal.

No one should be surprised if all these predictions come true by Friday.

But every year millions of people buy year-end issues of The Star and The National Enquirer just to see what the psychics are predicting for the future. This year, on four pages of The Star, Jeane Dixon makes her predictions for the '80s, and some of her favorite words are "could," "may" and "probably." Something dramatic "could happen to Joan Kennedy's marriage. Jackie Onassis "probably will not remarry in 1980. Ethel Kennedy "may" marry in 1983. (A Kennedy prediction is a moral lock no matter who does the predicting.) More specifically, Dixon says that both Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell will resign, that an attempt on Jimmy Carter's life will be made in 1980 and that Prince Charles will be disappointed if he thinks he will soon be king. As she looks ahead in the decade, Dixon predicts wars in Asia and Africa, peace in Northern Ireland and the end of OPEC. In the main, Dixon's predictions -- though she has a fifty-fifty shot on anything, no matter how bizarre -- are controlled, even temperate when compared with the predictions in The National Enquirer.

The National Enquirer plays hardball.

The National Enquirer goes for the gusto:

Bob Hope will become U.S. ambassador to China.

Lawrence Welk will become U.S. ambassador to Poland.

Princess Grace and Prince Rainier will go splitsville.

Paul Lynde will enter a seminary.

Michael Landon will become a rabbi.

An ape-boy will be discovered in Kentucky.

John Wayne's ghost will materialize at the Alamo.

Barbara Walters will be fired at ABC.

Burt Renolds will marry Sally Field and they will adopt twin sisters who are Cambodian refugees.

Cheryl Ladd will cause a horrendous chain-reaction car accident while filming a hitchhiking scene for "Charlie's Angels."

Capt. Kangaroo will be attacked and slightly injured by a wolverine that had been brought on the show.

Now this is very heavy material. This is not -- An airplane crash will claim many lives. This kind of stuff presents a clear challenge to the rest of us psychics to come up with our very best predictions.

Yes, "us" psychics.

I've had the gift for quite some time now. Let me give you an example: Okay. I'm going into my trance now. I feel a vibration. I get a vision. Somewhere in your wallet is a piece of green paper with a number on it. No, wait, not one number -- many numbers.

You're amazed, aren't you?

So was I, at first, But either you've got it, or you don't. I've got it.

And I'm willing to share it. I'm willing to give all of you the benefit of it. You can read these predictions and never again have to say to your self, Damn, I wish I'd known of that a long time ago. Then I wouldn't be in this mess I'm in.

These things WILL HAPPEN in the '80s.

And if they don't, hey, what the hell are you going to do about it?

MARRIAGES: Cher will marry someone in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989. The one she marries in 1989 will be the same one she married in 1983, but he will have changed his recording label.Prince Charles will marry a commoner and make her a princess. She will run off with Kermit The Frog after one long and blissfull kiss. Amy Carter will mary Gary Coleman. John Travolta will marry himself.

Divorces: Everyone will get divorced.

BABIES: People will stop having babies because babies are such a hassle. Instead, women will give birth to teenagers, marking it easier to share a pair of designer jeans.

SOCIAL TRENDS: Anger. Everyone will be angry. Wayne Dyer will write "How To Hate You Best Friend," and it will be a best seller for 150 weeks. Ann Landers will advise readers to "go out and slap someone in the mouth." Sidewalk Santa will be pistol-whipped in broad daylight. Werner Erhard will be boiled in oil. People will wear buttons that say, "I Wish You Were Dead."

RELIGION: A young woman from Milwaukee named Laverne Corio will claim that God appeared to her in the form of a spinach quiche and told her, "It's okay to drink white wine with sirloin steak." Theologians from all over the world will flock to the Pfister Hotel to verify the miracle. After months of study the claim will be disallowed. Speaking for all the religious leaders, Father Guido Sarducci will say, "The woman is a fraud. Everyone knows God is a vegetarian." But the controversy will rage on until God himself makes a rare television appearance on "The Tonight Show" and tells Johnny Carson, "I'm afraid Miss Corio is mistaken. Seriously, Johnny, what would I be doing in Milwaukee?"

POLLUTIN: There will be so much pollution that your brains will fall out.

SPORT: The trend toward violent sports will continue. CBS's "The American Sportsman" will feature hunting poodles with exploding harpoons. NBC will present "The Big Event -- Newfoundland Seal Slaughter." ABC will premiere its brandnew series, "Murder of the Week," live from various cities throughout the country with Richard Speck doing the color commetary.

EMERGING NATIONS: Atlantis will emerge from the ocean. The people in Atlantis will be shown five episodes of "The Gong Show," and Atlantis will submerge, never to be heard of again.

MEDICINE: An international medical task force will issue a report that everything we ingest is a carcinogen. Medical students will immediately change their fields of specialization to plastic surgery, and by the middle of the decade a nose job will cost $6.50 including parts and labor. Margaret Trudeau will get three and send out 1,500 others as Christmas gifts to her close personal friends.

PLAGUE: A killer strain of dandruff will obliterate the entire population of Liberia before any newsmen can get there to report the event. Months later a bottle will wash up on the coast of Australia. Inside the bottle will be a note saying, "Help. Send Selsun Blue."

CRIME: Kidnaping will become so commonplace that a ransom note form letter will be available in all stationary stores. The most notorious kidnapers will be a band of Aggie cowboys nicknamed The Gang That Couldn't Think Straight. Later in the decade they will kidnap every goat in Wyoming and threaten to shave one a day until their demands are met.

AUTOMOBILES: Chrysler Corporation, having lost its billion dollar government loan guarantee on a 40-to-1 shot in the sixth race at Laurel, will finally announce its revolutionary new car of the '80s -- "The Force." It will be a non-cylinder, two-wheel, two-passenger-car that does not run on gasoline and it will sell for $6,500. Lee Iacocca will tell a national audience, "It's going to be my car. I won't just drive it, I'll ride it." Within two weeks even Joe Garagiola will realize it's a bicycle. Within six weeks Iacocca will be driving a truck for Holly Farms chicken.

GOLD: The price of gold will exceed $2,000 an ounce. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas will announce doctoral degrees in alchemy. Fearing for his safety, Barry Goldwater will change his name to Jay Silverheels.

COMEDY: Nothing will be funny.

ENERGY: People will waste so much energy talking about alternative ways of finding and producing energy that they will not have enough energy to explore alternative ways of finding and producing energy. Rather than conserve their remaining energy, everyone will move to Florida.

ECONOMY: Good news and bad news. First the bad news. There will be a crippling depression known as The Big D. The Big D will begin when John Denver, on his annual holiday special "John Denver Sings The Best of Bo Diddley," announces he is giving up the Rocky Mountain to become board chairman of Mobile Oil. The good news: The Big D will end when Geraldo Rivera, on "ABC Nightly News," announces, "I'm bummed out. The Big D is taking up far too much of my space. From now on, everything's cool."


BROADWAY: The big hit wll be "A Porous Line," a true story about sponges auditioning for a Bounty Towels commerical. Music by Jacques Cousteau. Lyrics by Flipper.

TELEVISION: The big hit will be "Sappy Days," a true story about trees growing up near a paper mill in Oregon.

MOVIES: The big hit will be "The Dinah Syndrome," a true story about what happens when Dinah Shore takes her talk show to an atomic bomb testing site.

MUSIC: The new music will come from Ecuador and will be called "schmegeggae." No one in America will understand a single word and every song will sound like the theme from "All My Children." Late in the decade the Beatles will reunite and release a schmegeggae record called "She Hates You." No one will be able to remember why the Beatles were ever so important.

ART: A new style in painting called "Slop" will gain prominence. It will be multimedia form combining the vivid colors of gauguin and the leftover bones of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Only Andy Warhol will understand it.

DANCE: All the members of the Bolshoi Ballet will defect to the West and pose for the cover of People magazine. They will show their vast knowledge of American history by claiming that Calvin Klein is the father of our country and the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is a Big Mac.

LITERATURE: Irving Wallace will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in return for promising not to write a single world in the '80s.

LANGUAGE: Beverly Hills will become the word capital of the nation and by the middle of the decade English will be reduced to only one word "real." By the end of the decade there will be no English at all as Californians rebel against having to expend so much energy saying "real," and in the '90s children will be born without tongues.

FASHION: Men will no longer wear shirts. Pants will come in various lengths, and those men who have to wear a tie to work can buy pants that go from neck to ankle and use their belts and ties. Women will go back to wearing bras. It is all they will wear.

Food: Fat will be fashionable. People will eat very fatty foods. Orson Welles will be the sex symbol, and he will come out with his own line of designer jeans called "Beached Whale." All meals will begin and end with dessert. Everything that isn't deep-fried will be coated with whipped cream. Some things will be deep-fried and coated with whipped cream. Dannon will not survive.

DRINK: Milkshakes. Chocolate with fried meat. Vanilla with fried fish. Strawberry with fried chicken. Perrier will not survive.

TRAGEDY: Jeane Dixon will be eaten by killer bees.