by The Cranky Media Guy
Is there a Federal Office of Prediction-Making? If so, I
say everybody there ought to be kicked out on their publicly-funded
asses. Why? I'll tell you why, Brother! 'Cause
they aren't exactly Nostradamus, that's why! (actually,
considering that Nostradamus was a big phony who couldn't predict
his way out of a paper bag, the FOP-M pretty much IS Nostradamus.
Assuming that it exists, that is.)
It occurred to me recently that a lot of the predictions that
"experts" have made have been wildly off-mark.
Anybody remember last year's drought? Large portions of the
country went eleventy-seven days in a row without any precipitation
and the human hand puppets who do the weather on the TV news said
that it was going to take several years to get back on schedule,
weather-wise. It was like, "If you've got an ear of corn
handy, take a Polaroid, 'cause that's the closest you're gonna get
to Niblets for a while." Heard anything about
"drought" lately? The rivers around here, which were
supposed to be as dry as the Gobi this year, seem to be flowing just
fine. What happened?
Here's another one. Remember the big government shutdown of
a few years back? I sure do, as my job at the time depended to
large degree on tourist flow through the White House, which there
was none of because of the shutdown. Anyway, the thing dragged
on for a few weeks (during which it was a joy to ride the
Washington, D.C. Metro because of the absence of long-faced,
miserable-looking desk jockeys silently cursing the day they took
that damn civil service test). Ah, but I digress.
After the first week or so of Federal flaccidity,
"experts" surfaced to warn us that it was going to take
years--do you hear me, years!--for the government to catch
up. You'd have to apply to the passport office immediately
after giving birth if you thought your newborn might want to visit
Europe the summer after his high school graduation. Your
first Social Security check would arrive the week after Willard
Scott saluted you for reaching 100. Waiting for a tax refund
check? By the time it arrived, you'd be putting it on a down
payment on a personal jet pack instead of a Chevy.
Um, noticed any particular slowness in government services
lately? Slower than usual, I mean. Maybe we should all
have taken a hint from the fact that the office dwellers laid off were
called "nonessential". Hey, were the people at the
Federal Office of Prediction-Making laid off, too? Assuming it
exists, that is. Maybe they were considered essential.
This week, President Clinton announced that a huge scientific
breakthrough had been achieved. The human genome had been
mapped for the first time in history. Now wait just a darn
minute! Do I not remember a little while back when it was said
that it would probably take another 10 to 20 years to accomplish
that task? Anybody have access to Lexis/Nexis? Fire that
bad boy up and see if you can't find the prediction(s) I'm thinking
of. What happened? Did someone find the Secret DNA
Decoder Ring? Maybe it was behind that Xerox machine at Los
Alamos along with the two hard drives. I get the feeling if
they shuffled around the office furniture there a little bit, they'd
find Jimmy Hoffa.
Anyway, the point is, we have some pretty lousy prediction people
working for us. Hey, didn't the Psychic Friends Network go out
of business? Why don't we hire those people? On second
thought, if they didn't realize the company was in trouble, how good
can they be? The way things are going, there's going to be a
horrible prediction crisis that I predict will last--oh I dunno,
twenty years sound about right?