Thursday, January 15, 2009

“Crystal Ball Predictions”

c. 2009 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

The arrival of a New Year always comes with much hope for tomorrow and reflection over what has gone before. We celebrate and remember in the same instant. For humanity, yesterday and tomorrow find union in this annual tradition.

Yet one other habit also prevails during this turn of the calendar page – a making of predictions.

Visionaries are many in the early days of a year. Rarely are they scrutinized with hindsight to check for accuracy. But their soothsaying can bring much entertainment if little in the way of actual enlightenment.

The checkout-lane tabloids are fond of such artful guesswork. Their slant on tomorrow often provides the sort of wild imagination typically associated with Hollywood scriptwriting. While not literal or dependable, they help sell issues to eager consumers.

Other publications take a more disciplined approach to looking beyond the horizon of today. Many formulas exist to identify and catalog probabilities. But still, their observations are founded on chance. One guess is as good as another.

For your inspection, here are tidbits of regional prognostication from The Icehouse.
Read them and believe… or not!

ONE: Geauga County Sheriff’s Department Deputy ‘Midge’ will endorse her own line of dog food, to be produced locally and sold at stores across the region. ‘Midge Munch’ will eventually outpace Purina as the best selling brand in Ohio.

TWO: Wal-Mart in Middlefield will be redesigned to gain greater appeal for Amish customers, and those who are environmentally conscious. The Arkansas-based retailer will introduce its first non-electric format store, with skylight ceilings, and chalkboard registers. Chinese products will be discontinued in favor of domestic equivalents made with organic materials. Employees will wear uniforms made of all-natural fibers. New hours of operation will be sunrise to sunset, with Sunday closings. Buggy parking will be plentiful.

THREE: A book about Cal & Stephanie Williams, generous owners of Zeppe’s Pizzeria in Chardon, will be published by Geauga Press. Called “Giving and Growing – Doing Business in the 21st Century,” the story will claim a spot in Oprah Winfrey’s recommended reading list by year’s end. Autographed copies will be sold as part of a family meal package with ribs, a large deluxe pizza, and breadsticks.

FOUR: The new ‘Sheetz’ location in Chardon will feature a special row of pumps dedicated to locally-sourced alternative fuels, including reclaimed restaurant oils, pureed corn cobs, and horse dung. CNN will televise the station’s Grand Opening as part of its ‘Green Scene’ series.

FIVE: After a series of minor scandals relating to his cabinet and former political allies, Barack Obama will reach across the political divide to name Chardon City Councilperson Mary Bramstedt as his new Secretary of Student Athletics. Local G.O.P. officials will be stunned, but appreciative. As a result of the pick, tennis teams from America will dominate competition around the world.

SIX: The Ohio Power Siting Board will bow to public pressure and modify its decision to allow a 138 kilovolt transmission power line in eastern Geauga County. The new plan, dubbed ‘Project Toaster Trail’ will bury the huge cable underground, along Route 528. Waste heat from the line will keep the roadway clear throughout winter months, delighting drivers fatigued with lake effect snow and ice storms.

SEVEN: LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers will end his basketball career prematurely, to become Director of Public Relations for the New York Yankees. Team owner George Steinbrenner will hail this acquisition as proof that his franchise is the greatest in American sports history. Meanwhile, Cavs team shops will offer a full refund on any ‘King James’ merchandise purchased during the season.

EIGHT: A UFO sighting will occur in Thompson, during the summer. The event will be reported across America, Europe, and the Orient. Investigators will conclude that the visiting aliens are looking for Olden Moore, who encountered earlier travelers from their distant planet in 1957. An in-depth series of articles about this happening will be written by Ezekiel Byler-Gregg, of The Burton Daily Bugle. They will be reprinted in Flying Saucer Review of Great Britain.

NINE: Inductees at the new McDonald’s ‘Hall of Fame’ in Chardon will be honored by members of the City Council during a public meeting. Following the official ceremony, restaurant managers will roll out a new local menu that includes items like the ‘Geauga McMuffin’ with real maple syrup, and a hometown breakfast featuring Amish ham with farm-style, iron-griddle pancakes. Hall of Fame members will be the first to try these meal items, along with other county dignitaries.

TEN: Vandals who destroyed decorative scarecrows placed on the Chardon square will find themselves outmatched when trying to disrupt a local presentation of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ While performing his role as ‘The Scarecrow,’ high-school wrestler and actor Josh Dzelka will forcefully apprehend the bunch. The gang of miscreant boys will immediately be taken into custody by police officers from the city.

ELEVEN: J.D.’s Post House in Parkman will be selected as one of Ohio’s top ten roadside eateries by the editors of Knife, Fork & Gas Pedal Magazine. The resulting swell in customer traffic will attract a producer from The Food Network and publicity appearances by Kevin ‘Floorboards’ Dupree, a noted NASCAR veteran from Troy.

TWELVE: Newbury entrepreneur Jonas Shackelford will shock the local community by opening a new radio station at a former car parts warehouse on Route 87. WNB 510 AM will offer a wide range of listening alternatives, exploding the typical paradigm of ‘formatted’ broadcasting. The station will offer a live feed from the Geauga County Maple Festival’s ‘Battle of the Bands’ that is simulcast on Cleveland FM giant WMMS. Later, retired schoolteacher and goat expert Hazel Pfennig will be the first county resident to host a ‘talk’ program at the station.

A clandestine group of ‘extreme artists’ will finally paint the water tower in Burton like a stack of pancakes dripping with maple syrup. This stunt will draw national attention to the village, and create a furious debate within the community. Finally, critics will point out that the hasty act yielded a breakfast dish with no pat of butter on top. Using state funds, the tower will be returned to its original look for 2010.

FOURTEEN: New Cleveland Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini will visit Geauga County to help promote the coming NFL season with local fans. This goodwill tour will directly connect the former Jets coach with weary supporters who have endured years of disappointment from the franchise. Before leaving, Mangini will pause for a brew at the Chardon Beverage & Bar with veteran quarterback Bernie Kosar, shocking patrons who are unprepared for the pair of notable football celebrities. Nineteen-cent drafts of beer will be sold during the joint appearance.

FIFTEEN: Auburn poet Isabel Leanne DiCenza will be arrested after her one-woman performance of ‘Life, Love, and Regrets Swirled in a KitchenAid Blender’ causes a riot at the Geauga Theater. Playwright Eve Ensler will hail the show as a dramatic achievement worthy of international renown. Late in the year, DiCenza will be interviewed by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

The New Year may not strictly follow the path proscribed by these visions. Yet it promises to be an interesting period in our history, nevertheless.

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