After listening to all of the pronouncements over the past year or so about what is going to happen when 2000 rolls around, I get to make my own predictions and parade them in front of you, our worthy readers.
First, I dont believe that the 2000 bug will prove to be much more than an annoying flea for most of us. We will experience some problems, no doubt, but forecasts that it will signal the end of civilization as we know it are way, way out of proportion.
I suspect, for instance, that electricity will continue to flow through my residential lines, even though Im a Duquesne Light customer. Besides, my lights go out so often that I probably wouldnt pay much attention anyway.
With all of that said, Id like to predict the appearance of some new characters on the scene and some curious developments that will make the next century at least as interesting as the last. Some of the personalities you can expect to see in the news beginning in January are:
Alan Frankenspan The new fed chairman raises the hair on your back as well as interest rates. A new language, Frankenspanish, will emerge to confuse the public and preserve the illusion that only a small circle of econogeeks know whats really going on with the economy.
Bill Gateskeeper A software company founder establishes the WorldwideEditor, a nefarious software package that comes in only one nonreproducible copy, which he sells to the highest bidder. With this wicked invention, a single world leader can control the flow of information over the World Wide Web. Boris Yeltsin bids all of Siberia and wins the package, only to lose it when his 73rd prime minister, Ran D Rasputin, a Russian hip hopper, leaves it aboard an Aeroflot airliner on his way to Washington to visit with president-elect Chelsea Clinton.
Tom MurphyMart The Pittsburgh mayor opens a store on the property once owned by the Heinz Co., but seized by his office through the right of eminent domain. The store sells everything but ketchup and wool sweaters.
Jerry Boorer A bombastic right-wing activist dyes his hair, loses 75 pounds and begins a new career as an Austin Powers impersonator. Hollywoods loss is our gain.
Other things to anticipate in 2000:
Cranberry Township declares itself a state and secedes from Pennsylvania. Strip center construction is declared its major industry, gridlock its national pastime, the minivan its national vehicle.
Following the example of Branson, Mo., Aliquippa, once crippled by the demise of the steel industry, finds new life as Polka Town. Locals will be tickled by the way out-of-towners pronounce pierogi and kielbasa. The Frankie Yankovic Theatre becomes to polka music what the Grand Ole Opry is to country music, an icon shamelessly exploited for commercial purposes.
Building of PNC Park is suspended when hockey fans with arena envy block the construction gates.
A construction crew descends upon the Alcoa Building, mistaking it for the new Steelers stadium. Several luxury boxes are installed before Alcoa executives realize the mistake.
To eliminate the upheaval anticipated by the closing of the Fort Pitt Bridge, South Hills communities are relocated to the North Side.
A group of antitechnology extremists form the Aaron Burr Center, an organization dedicated to undermining the development of technology-based industries and thwarting the efforts of the Ben Franklin Technology Centers newest incarnation, InnovationWorks.
Naming rights to the City of Pittsburgh are offered to the highest bidder. Several local corporate entities vie for the honor, but the winner is boxing promoter Don King, who proceeds to rename our fair city Dons Kingdom.
Its going to be an interesting year.
Ray Marano (email@example.com), who spends his free time stocking up on canned foods when hes not reading Chicken Little, is associate editor of SBN.