Life in the great beyond 

Another year gone -- and good riddance, sez I! Yup, 2004 wasn't all that great, personally, politically or professionally ... but next year's gonna be different. I intend to, at last, move up to big money, get really fit, win the Pulitzer Prize, and hook up with Nicole Kidman. As for you lesser mortals, well, here are a few predictions.

Big Surprise #1: Colorado Springs voters will not, contrary to the recommendation of the Charter Review Committee, agree to add protection for gay and lesbian employees to the city's nondiscrimination policy. And that, of course, is a direct consequence of Big Surprise #2: The Colorado Springs City Council will not follow the recommendation of the said Charter Review Committee, and will refuse to put the issue on the April ballot.

Big Surprise #3: The Broncos won't go to the Super Bowl. For all y'all nonbelievaz out there, remember that I boldly predicted, before the season even began, that the Donks would go 9-7 and fail to make the playoffs. Also Sprach Zarathustra.

And while we're on professional sports -- the Nuggets will be intermittently entertaining, thanks to Carmelo Anthony and Earl Boykins, but ultimately go nowhere. The Avalanche, having already gone nowhere, will stay there. The Rockies, having proven beyond rational doubt that you can't field a successful big-league team at altitude, will move to Havana in 2009. And at Coors Field, tumbleweeds will roll across the diamond, owls roosting in the skyboxes.

Forget Richard Florida and the whole notion of a prosperity-driving creative class fulla gays and lesbians and artists and writers and quirky techsters building mega-companies in cool old brick buildings. That's so not Colorado Springs. As a friend sourly predicted (name withheld to protect a Liberal Who Dares Speak Unpopular Truths), we'll do just fine here in River City, thanks to the twin pillars of an ever-expanding defense/military presence and an ever-loonier religious nonprofit sector.

So here's your future:

Good: You'll have a job.

Bad: Your co-workers will believe in Bush, not Darwin.

But there'll be some good news, as well. After a 50-year drought, our own CC Tiger hockey team will win the national championship, beating Minnesota 1-0 in triple overtime, and become the biggest feel-good national sports story since 1980's Miracle on Ice.

The drought will end not with a bang, but with massive mountain snowfalls in March and April, giving us all license to waste water heedlessly until the next crisis.

In the November school board elections, the two term-limited moderates on the D-11 Board will be replaced by ... a couple of fire-breathing anti-public school radicals like Eric Christen? Nope ... by a couple of sensible, well-qualified, moderates.

In fact, Christen will resign, after being publicly humiliated by failing to pass the sixth-grade math CSAPs. He'll enroll at Adams Elementary and quickly progress to grade level, thanks to skillful, dedicated and caring teachers.

The Gazette, having figured out that newspapers ought to give their readers what they want, will re-hire Amanda Mountain and Rich Tosches. Rich will write mean things about Dr. Dobson and The Broadmoor; Amanda will fill her society column with pictures of the young, hip and beautiful. You and I will not be in the society column.

The New Life Church, having fallen on hard times, will be sold to Sam and Kathy Guadagnoli, who will convert it into the biggest nightclub between Chicago and Los Angeles. The church's parishioners, although somewhat puzzled by Friday and Saturday night services featuring pulsating lights, deafening hip-hop, scantily clad dancers and 18 martini bars, will remain loyal to their new pastor: DJ Teddy.

"In time, the mountains may crumble," as the song goes, but not our own Pikes Peak. It'll be there, and we'll drive up/bike up/run up/ hike up, and be delighted, not for the first time, that we live in the mountain's shadow.

But up in Denver, egos will crumble, as our dazed Republican legislative delegation figures out that, for the first time in two generations, they're powerless and irrelevant. In a Red State? In the Age of Bush? How can this be? So they'll lick their wounds, make nice, pretend to be humble, and not so secretly plot to kick major Democrat ass in 2006.

And Gov. Bill Owens, as smooth, subtle and ambitious as ever, will jump in bed with the Dem majorities and share the credit for solving the state's fiscal crisis. Plays well with others -- that's our Bill! Wasn't there a Texas governor who rode his reputation for getting on with Democrats all the way to Washington?

Happy New Year -- and Nicole says hi.

-- johnhazlehurst@earthlink.net

Editor's note: For a review of Hazlehurst's past accuracy in predictions, check out the Year in Review quotes that begin on page 15.


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