. . . Tuesday December 14, 2004

Predictions 2004: How Things Turned Out

All right, it’s that time of year again when I am forced to look back and see how my predictions for 2004 compared with what actually happened. There were a few misses and few direct hits. Here are the predictions I made at the beginning of 2004 and an update on what happened…

Howard Dean is winning so far in part because he’s

angry. Not just at the Republicans, but at leading

Dems who have let their party down and made Karl

Rove look like he was running his political

offense against air. The Dean surge has been

nothing less than remarkable. That said: He will

not win the Democratic nomination.

Would’ve been pretty interesting if he had, though, huh?

Joe Lieberman will be among the first Dems to drop

out of the race. In a further blow, he will be

informed in rather stark terms that he actually

isn’t funny at all. Sharpton (to the chagrin of

fellow Dems) will be the last to drop out and

support the winner.

Bingo. Even Al Gore refused to get on the

Joe-mentum express. Lieberman failed to get

significant numbers in any of the first 10 primaries

and was one of the first guys out on Feb 4. Sharpton

hung on until the bitter end (and got some cash to

pipe down and support Kerry). I think Kucinich

outlasted him though…

Any Americans with reasonable means who have not

started using TiVo by the end of 2004 will be put

on a list of undesirables. (And there will be

nothing they can do to either pause or rewind

that trend).

If you own a TiVo, you’ve likely seen the list.

But let’s keep it under wraps for awhile…

Jack Black’s career will wither away until he

becomes as artistically valuable as a piece of stray

trash. (Note: I don’t really believe or want

that, but I hear that JB regularly Googles himself

and cannot resist reading the negative stuff.)

Anyone know Jack? Did it work? Man

is he a jackass.

Aaron Brown will be forced to choose to either

accept a major demotion at CNN or to leave


Brown didn’t seem to be the ringleader of

convention coverage. But this one was just a bit

early. CNN fired the boss instread (second new

leader in 14 months). And Anderson Cooper is being

paraded around as the next big thing. None of CNN’s

shows are in the top ten among cable news shows

right now

MSNBC: Total Overhaul.

Not total. But the network that once

hired Phil Donahue is now featuring a whole lot

of Joe Scarborough and other Fox-light characters.

They added Deborah Norville early in the year. So

lets call it a partial overhaul, none of which

helped much in terms of ratings. Hardball continues

to buoy the struggling network.

Both Dennis Miller and John McEnroe will

see their CNBC shows cancelled by year’s

end. Both dudes are heavily entertaining, but

they are not about asking others what they think.

McEnroe just got canceled. Miller’s doesn’t

have great numbers, but losing his mind helped

to keep him competitive.

Apple will pick up marketshare in the consumer

sector and do something major in the TV space.

Missed this on the TV thing, but dead-on in

terms of the consumer pick-up. Moving iTunes

to Windows and iPod sales have shown Windows

users the light. More than 13% of those who bought

an iPod have either already purchased a

Mac or they plan to in the next 12 months.

Apple’s stock has more than tripled this year.

Ken Lay in Handcuffs.

Martha Walks.

What can I say? We live in a cruel and terrible world.

Kobe Plea Bargains (He admits some

guilt. Shaq does time.)

Kobe gets off. Shaq takes off.

Coming soon: Shrink TV

Not quite yet. But it’s coming.

Lost jobs and international outsourcing

will be a major issue of the presidential campaign.

Bingo. Just not big enough.

Jessica Simpson will have the last laugh.

Variety shows. Top selling albums. Coattails

for her less talented sister. Ad campaigns. Jugs.

Someone will realize that Mark Geragos loses

his cases.

I think everyone has realized it by this week…

Reality television and the web will somehow merge

(somewhere between blogging, webcams, and


This didn’t quite happen. I expected the webcam

thing to be bigger. But do I get partial credit for

the launch of RealityTVDates.com?

Britney will get married again (or rehab or both).

What can a say? I know my midriff baring pop stars.

Charlize Theron, Oscar


Jai will be slapped around and ultimately removed

from the show by his fellow castmembers on

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy setting off

a national state of euphoria not seen since the

Netscape IPO. I mean Jai probably tips the scale

at about 72 pounds and still doesn’t come close to

pulling his weight. Even the folks at Bravo can’t

seem to pad this guy’s resume. Here is their own

description of his nearly none-role: “On Queer

Eye, Jai uses all aspects of his professional

training and skills as a performer plus his social

charisma to coach straight subjects on everything

from mixing ‘n mingling in a social setting, to

conversation skills, and to being at ease on the

dance floor.”

Jai survived. Queer Eye burned out. Coincidence?

It will turn out that the amazing pictures

supposedly coming from the Mars Exploration Rover

Spirit are actually being broadcast from a webcam

that some guy hopped up on Ecstasy accidentally

left at Burning Man.

I haven’t seen any proof otherwise and my wife, who

went to burning man, said she saw what looked like

Rover tracks.

The Republican Convention in New York will bring

with it massive protests.

Only pretty small ones.

Related: Tom DeLay. At Scores. A thick roll of

twenties. Still, nothing.

Any witnesses?

Arnold. One term (and that will be a stretch).

We shall see. Not looking good. I may be making

predictions about his White House run soon…

Dan Marino was recently named VP of Football

Operations for his alma mater Miami Dolphins.

During a press conference, he was asked if it was

really just a figurehead position. The team’s owner

then stepped in and answered the question for him.

Bottom line: Dolphins will be below .500 next season.

Marino was out about a week later. The Dolphins

are currently 2-11.

The anti-carb, pro-Atkins feeding frenzy will

continue unabated for most of the year (unless you

consider me on the couch, knee deep in a mountain

of pasta to be an abatement). It’s already out of

control with low-carb beer, bunless burgers and

the frying of bacon establishing itself as the new

official American pastime. The pizza joint across

the street from my office actually has a menu item

called the L.C. Pizza. It’s the same as all the

other pizzas except for the fact that it has no

crispy dough and is instead served on a piece of

paper. In the coming year, bread, pasta and other

carb makers will organize and begin a massive

television ad campaign. Meanwhile, Americans will

go beyond the broad teachings of the Atkins diet

and focus specifically on something called the

glycemic load.

The anti-carb thing went nuts. Luckily it’s

also burning out. Glycemic load, not so big.

Can any bread product beat the Atkins trend?

Yes; tortillas.

Tortillas are inching up on white bread as

America’s most consumed bread product.

Niacin finally gets it’s due.

Not yet. It lowers cholesterol. Ask your doctor.

Dr. Phil, scandal

I’d say selling millions of diet books while being

sort of fat qualifies as a scandal.

After his recent display (going from bashing Bush

with insights that confirmed the worst fears about

the President – on topics ranging from war to

taxes – to saying he’d likely vote for him again

in the next election), one could be forgiven for

referring to Paul O’Neill as Shallow Throat. At

this point, I’m not even sure the guy can still

get backstage passes to U2 concerts. That said,

this will be the year we learn the identity of

Deep Throat. (Exactly which Debbie did Dallas

will remain a mystery).

Still no Deep Throat. (Which, interestingly,

was the title of my college memoirs.)

Ashcroft will go after smut with everything he’s

got (suggestive phrasing entirely intentional).

Smut will win.

Ashcroft and the FCC are going after everything

from smut to hugs on Will and Grace. The winner isn’t

as clear as I had hoped.

Lionel Richie will finally have to answer questions

about how his daughter became once, twice, three

times a bimbo.

Worse. New album.

Every politician, religious leader or media

talking head with something to hide will attempt

(successfully) to make gay marriage (not Iraq, not

the deficit) the wedge issue of the year.

Direct hit.

Pete Rose will not be reinstated. But he will

receive the Hair Club for Orangutan Award for the

worst mop in the history of organized sport.

Seeing his recent interviews made me nostalgic for

the days when Guillermo Vilas (he of sporting

history’s finest hair) roamed the courts of Roland

Garros. Vilas put it simply in a Sports

Illustrated interview: “I wash. I no dry. I no

comb. You like, no?” On the plus side, the Rose

controversy will motivate medical researchers to

complete a much-needed study that examines the

relationship between repeated head-first slides

and being a friggin’ dope.

No reinstatement. But the steroid scandal will make

Rose smell like a rose.

Sofia Coppola will win the Oscar for best

director. And the Frodo backers will be pissed,

big time.

She gets best original screenplay. All is

well in Middle Earth.

The Friends spinoff Joey will be

cancelled after fewer than 10 episodes and two

cameos by former friends.

It’s getting hurt in the ratings. Expect it

to be a one year show.

The Google IPO will be more frenzied than

predicted. By the end of the first day of trading,

Google will be worth more than $20 billion on

paper. And in the long run, we’ll be sorry for the

exuberance. But for the love of god, let’s

do it anyway.

First day marketcap: $27 billion. Current

marketcap: $48 billion.

Patriots. Super Bowl champs. Brady, MVP.


Saddam’s sentencing: Late October, Early November?

I got his sentencing confused with his hernia operation.

Businesses focused on the consumer side of the web

(B2C), including many whose business models had

been left for dead, will come roaring back.

Check with your local VC. The consumer web is back.

So is consumer created content. Dating sites are going

through the roof. Launch parties anyone?

Paul O’Neill will not be the last Bush insider to

spill beans on Iraq and tax cuts between now and

November. But the media will find it difficult to

run with the explosive story. Why? They were,

through their lack of investigation, part of the blur.

I’d say Richard Clarke qualifies.

One of the internet dating services will go public.

Damn. Not yet. But very, very soon.

No sign of the WMDs.

Sad, but true.

Colin Powell steps down (or up, depending on how

you look at it).

He did. But I thought it would be earlier.

There will be at least one celebrity/adult video

(a la the Paris Hilton show) released this year and

immediately available on the net. And it will have

been planned for marketing and publicity.

And it will work.

I keep searching.

JLo and PDiddy, together again.

If only it were so…

There will be a huge court case involving

the producers of a reality TV program.

Not yet.

Scarborough, O’Reilly: Engaged!

(an uncivil union?)

Sort of a joke. But the truth was even kinkier.

Concentration is important!