In recent weeks, the situation in the chaotic, volatile region of the world has turned increasingly tense.
The mood of his fractured nation has become more volatile with each passing day. Images on TV show streets filled with shouting, angry protestors, crying out for an end to the insanity. Meanwhile the intransigent tyrant refuses to listen to the advice of his inner circle. Recently he has gone on TV making bizarre, seemingly incoherent pronouncements about how the people love him and everything is fine – causing experts around the world to speculate whether he has lost touch with reality and become completely delusional.
But enough about Glenn Beck. I’m here to talk about Charlie Sheen. Sheen, star of the #1 sitcom on television, Two and a Half Men, is the richest actor on television, receiving a weekly paycheck of $2 million per episode. Apparently these meager wages are not enough for a man of his epic stature. This past week, Sheen went on one talk show after another, insisting he deserves $3 million an episode and denying that he has any problems with drugs or alcohol – sharing the results of his most recent drug test on live national TV on Piers Morgan Tonight.
Continue reading “VFTB Exclusive: Breaking News! Sheen and Gaddafi agree to a job swap” »
[For a look back at my 2010 predictions for the year 2011, click here. You will be amazed at the accuracy of some of my prognostications.]
Every January, since this humor blog launched back in 1975, I take time out to gaze into my crystal ball (that’s my wife playing around with it at left – I hate it when she does that; she almost broke it in 2007) and make my forecast for the year ahead. Often people are stunned by the incredible [lack of] accuracy of my forecasts.
Hopefully very few of you will go rummaging around in the archives for my predictions from last year. In retrospect, I have to admit I erred in a few of my prognostications.
Here are some of my PREDICTIONS FROM LAST YEAR that did not turn out quite as I had predicted (Note to self: Make a note to upgrade to Crystal Ball Version 3.0 before next year):
You heard it here first: The ‘bromance’ film The Hangover will nudge out Jack Ass 3D for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and Mike Tyson will win Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of, well, Mike Tyson. Avatar will be a total commercial flop at the box office and be completely shut out come Oscar time.
Goldman Sachs, having earned record-breaking profits only two years after the financial meltdown it helped cause, will make amends to the nation and singlehandedly solve the nation’s debt crisis by offering to pay down the entire US federal debt – and still have enough left over to pay each of its executives their annual $1 million year-end bonus. (Well, I got the $1 million bonuses part right at least.)
President Obama will surprise his critics by selecting Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report (right) to be the USA’s next ambassador to the United Nations. Colbert’s first U.N. resolution, a condemnation of North Korean ruler King Jong Il’s hairstyle (on human rights grounds), is unanimously adopted by the U.N. General Assembly.
In a period of unprecedented political bipartisanship, the leaders of both major political parties will sign a “peace accord” to end all their partisan bickering and name calling once and for all and will come together to sign the wildly popular healthcare reform bill.
After three years of trying to make sense of the phenomenon, the American public will finally figure out what the heck is the point of Twitter.
Sarah Palin, having had her 15 minutes of fame, will fade into obscurity and never be heard from again.
Okay, I admit it. 2010 was not one of my better years for prognosticating. Let’s face it, I probably won’t do any better for 2011. So this year, for a change, I thought I would gaze further into the future – 30 years out – to the year 2041. Why so far out, you ask? Because, according to my doctor, the odds are 7 to 2 that I won’t be around by then. So I really won’t care how far off the mark I was. Let’s get started.
The World: The war in Afghanistan, now in its 40th year, will show signs of winding down, due in part to the fact that there are only 167 people still living in Afghanistan.
Hopes for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace accord will rise when the Israeli Prime Minister extends an olive branch, offering to let Palestinians claim full control over Jerusalem as their undivided Capitol. Hopes will fade once more when it becomes clear he was referring to Jerusalem, Ohio.
Politics: The United States of America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the People’s Republic of China since 2026, will elect its first non-human as president, when the Sony QRIO-400, Sony USA’s fourth generation robot with artificial intelligence exceeding that of any human being, will win the election. Sony QRIO-400 will narrowly defeat the 55-year-old former rock legend, Senator Gaga, from the state of Key West (the 53rd state), in the closest presidential election since New York Governor Alex Rodriguez narrowly edged out New Jersey Congresswoman Snooki in the 2028 election.
Mark Zuckerberg, Prime Minister of the breakaway Republic of Facebookistan, will announce a truce in his longstanding cyber war with the nation of Googleonia over the two nations’ longtime territorial dispute over the region formerly known as northern California.
The Economy: Thanks to new discoveries of massive oil and natural gas deposits in the Arizona region known as Texaco Cliffs (formerly known as Grand Canyon National Park), it will be another record-breaking year for oil companies. Those consumers who still drive gasoline-powered antique automobiles will benefit too, as the price of gasoline plummets to under $220 a gallon.
The employment situation will improve for the third year in a row, for robots and droids. For humans, unemployment remains flat at around 87%, thanks in part due to the fact that the only jobs currently available to humans are coffee drive-through barista, circus lion tamer and NFL cheer leader. No, wait. My bad. Just lion tamer and cheer leader. Sorry, people. The robots will have taken all the barista jobs too.
Science & Technology: 2041 will see the final demise of the Internet after decades of being plagued by viruses and slow performance. The last known Internet user – an 87-year old Inuit fisherman from Baffin Island, Canada – will pull the plug and throw his computer modem out onto the Arctic pack ice. (Correction: The Arctic pack ice will actually have disappeared permanently several years earlier, in 2026.)
The successor to the Internet, the Skin-Implanted Connectivity Chip (or SICC) will have been successfully implanted in more than 72% of humans, giving them instant 24/7 3D virtual connectivity anywhere in the world – except for a six- block section of downtown Manhattan, where reception is still rather spotty.
Transportation: New improvements in aviatic autoliners (otherwise known as flying cars) will take another step forward, now that the auto port re-fueling stations are finally open for business on the Moon (three years behind schedule). In a related story, Starbucks will announce plans to build 7,500 coffee bistros on the Moon by the year 2045.
Speaking of cars, China, the leader in auto manufacturing, will announce that the next generation of H2O-powered vehicles will get better fuel economy than previous water-fueled models. Leading the way, the new Hummer Hydrate, at an impressive 450 miles per gallon, which is easily re-fueled by means of Hummer’s patented custom-fitted garden hose (hose sold separately for $11,999). In a related story, BP will announce plans to purchase glacier-covered Greenland from Denmark, ensuring enough fuel to keep American motorists driving for at least 5 more years.
Travel & Leisure: Thanks to the long-awaited mass commercialization of time travel in 2037, time travel virtual vacations to exotic destinations will have become routine by now. Complications will emerge when 32,000 South Florida retirees travel back to the year 2000, change their butterfly ballot vote to Gore. Nice try, but Bush still wins the election the second time around.
Celebrity News: Lindsay Lohan will celebrate her 55th birthday this year by completing her latest rehab stint, proclaiming she has finally overcome her addiction to Diet Snapple Ice Tea. In her press conference leaving the Whitney Houston Clinic, Lohan hints that her next addiction will involve some type of breakfast cereal. My crystal ball’s hazy but it looks like it could be Captain Crunch.
The nation will mourn the shocking death of former President Mark Wahlberg in a fishing accident off the Pacific coast of Utah. President Wahlberg will probably best be remembered for his annual State of the Union addresses, in which he always delivered his speech without wearing a shirt.
Health & Fitness: After a 15-year longitudinal study, scientists will conclude that a rigorous program of daily weight training, yoga, and aerobic activity poses serious health hazards to middle-aged people over the age of 110.
The Surgeon General will reveal what has long been suspected: A diet of low-fat, high fiber foods, low in sodium and sugar, poses dangerous health risks and recommends a diet rich in red meat, processed starch, and ice cream products. In a related story, the tobacco industry will cheer the results of new research from the American Medical & Tobacco Association that proves once and for all that a daily regimen of nicotine and carcinogens can add several years to your life.
Well, those are my predictions for 2041. Be sure to put a note in your 2041 virtual calendar to check back to this blog and see how well I did. In the remote chance in 2041, my body has become a hologram or has been stashed away in some deep freeze storage pod while scientists work on a way to bring people back to life, no worries. Just rent yourself a time machine, go back in time to January 2011, track me down, and let me know how I did. Many thanks.
That’s the view of the future – as seen from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2010 – 2011
[To view Part I of the Year in Review – January – June, click here.]
Welcome back. What took you so long? We continue now with Part II of The Year in Review for 2010 (July – December), as seen from the Bleachers. Now where were we? Oh yes……
July: The world (and by “world” I mean every single country on the planet besides the USA) is riveted to the exciting FIFA World Cup of Soccer in South Africa. A new craze is born as people from Tokyo to Paris to Sydney are getting hooked on the endearing monotone droning sound of the buzzing vuvuzela horn (as first reported here in VFTB).
Soon these colorful one-note plastic horns are popping up everywhere – at baseball games, political rallies, shareholders’ meetings, birthday parties, weddings, and, most recently, at my friends’ Bernie and Gwen Weinberger’s baby boy’s circumcision ceremony. Perhaps I should have asked permission first. My bad.
Also in the news, American television raises the bar for highbrow entertainment even higher with the explosive popularity of the hip reality series Jersey Shore. Colorful characters like Snooki and “The Situation” become well-tanned, breast-implanted role models for our kids. Every week is a new life lesson, like this one from episode 17, when cast member Snooki reminds us: “I’m not trashy. Unless I drink too much” or when Pauley cautions impressionable young viewers: “One minute you got three girls in the Jacuzzi, the next minute somebody’s in jail.” Sure beats the pointless tripe they try to fob off on us from the BBC or the National Geographic Channel, if you ask this reporter.
Continue reading “2010 – The Year in Review – As seen from the Bleachers – Part II: July – December” »
As a professional journalist, it is my job to stay informed about important news stories and trends, so you don’t have to. This week, as I have done every year since this blog’s inception in 1975, I take stock in the people and events that shaped our world over the past 365 days.
[Editor’s note: For those of you following the Jewish calendar, look for my special Rosh Hashanah “You won’t believe what the Goyim world did to our people this past year” Edition, to be published at sundown on September 28, 2011, the start of the Jewish New Year. – TEJ]
Consider this my Holiday gift to you – a week late, sorry. Blame it on the Post Office. Here is the annual View from the Bleachers’ Year in Review – 2010 Edition, or as I like to call it VFTBYIR-2010E, for short.
Oh, just one thing: Pay no attention to the subtle and repeated placement of gratuitous links to previous VFTB articles scattered throughout this week’s post. My tech person told me search engines like that sort of stuff. Hope you don’t mind. Let’s get started, shall we?
January: Avatar smashes box office records as the biggest grossing movie of all time (not to be confused with Cannibal Holocaust, which gets VFTB’s vote for grossest movie of all time). Thanks to Avatar’s amazing 3D effects and unprecedented profits, Hollywood begins unleashing a tidal wave of 3D films for 2010, including Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3, Rocky XXXVII and Oscar-buzz, early odds-on favorite for Best Picture, Jack Ass 3D (right).
Continue reading “2010 – The Year in Review – As seen from the Bleachers – Part I: January – June” »
Whoever opined that “television is a vast wasteland” never watched an episode of Pimp My Ride or the equally thought-provoking Lingerie Football. If you ask me, the quality of television has never been better.
The proud tradition of erudite TV programming is nothing new. The birth of excellence in television can be traced back to September 14, 1965, when the much critically heralded classic sitcom My Mother the Car first aired. Fans and critics marveled over the course of 4 months at the antics of a middle-aged man (Jerry Van Dyke) whose deceased mother comes back to life in the form of an antique car. Some jaded media scholars believe television reached its nadir with the introduction in 1991 of the pioneering Jerry Springer Show, where dysfunctional families with 4th grade educations discover on live TV that Shatiqua’s recently paroled boyfriend has been sleeping with her sister, Jazmine and their mother. But if you ask me, that was the start of TV’s true golden age.
Over the decades, Americans’ television tastes have become increasingly demanding. How else to explain such highbrow entertainment as Jersey Shore, My big Fat Obnoxious Greek Fiancé, Teen Mom, The Real Housewives of Orange County, or my own personal favorite, Dog the Bounty Hunter. The Brits can have their BBC series Masterpiece Theatre. I’ll take our American-made COPS any day. Did you see the last week’s season premier episode where this 46-year old crack-addicted, welfare fraud mother tries to offer sexual favors from her 19-year old daughter to an undercover cop in return for crack? You can learn so much about the frail human condition from COPS. We are all just one sex-with-my-teenage-daughter-in-return-for-a-hit-of-crack-cocaine away from a long, lonely stay in the Graybar Hotel. Just one tiny mistake away.
Continue reading “A Preview of TV’s Mid-season Reality TV Replacement Shows” »