Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009: The Year in Preview

With a fair amount of snark and very little foresight, we present the year in preview. Let all the other media outlets cover 2008 in review; that's easy. (Heck, the Chronicle just wasted an entire issue on it. Useless as usual.)

So, without further ado:

Jan 5: Texas crushes Ohio State 30-13 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Jan 8: Oklahoma and Florida underwhelm in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game, with OU winning 9-6. Texas supporters hope for some love from the poll voters; unfortunately, both Texas and Oklahoma fans are frustrated when, due to a main BCS computer running an unprotected version of Internet Explorer, Caltech is named the national champion.

Jan 14: Brian Williams interviews wannabe New York Senator Caroline Kennedy. The hardest question asked is "How will you support President-Elect Obama's policies?"

Jan 20: President Obama is inaugurated. Time Magazine immediately names him 2009 Person of the Year. Sean Hannity broadcasts live from an undisclosed location, where, he announces, he will remain for the next four years.

Jan 21: President Obama announces that due to the BCS mess, implementing an NCAA Division I-A college playoff must be the top priority of the Congress.

Jan 22: After an attempted filibuster by Sen. John Cornyn, Congress awards the 2008 national championship to USC. C-Span and ESPN cover the event in a rare joint broadcast. C-Span's switchboards remain jammed for the next three days. Bob Stoops and Mack Brown both file to run for Congress in 2010.

Jan 25: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin gives the first of what is to be many policy speeches, which are broadcast via YouTube and other video sharing sites. Today's well-spoken seven-minute speech on reconciling economic recovery with environmentally friendly projects, gains 16 YouTube comments within two minutes of being posted. Eleven of these consist entirely of "First!" while the other five all state, using the exact same wording, "Sara [sic] Plain [sic] is to [sic] stupid to be govenor [sic]!"

Jan 27: Sean Hannity, from his underground bunker, interviews Caroline Kennedy, who abruptly breaks off the interview when he asks, in quick succession, what public experience qualifies her for this job, and with what parts of the Obama Doctrine she disagrees. Media Matters goes ballistic.

Jan 28: President Obama gives his first State of the Union speech. He states that due to the recession, he will not push for an immediate end to the Bush tax cuts. In the following five minutes, Daily Kos, DU, and Burnt Orange Report servers all melt down due to overuse.

Jan 29: Time Magazine retracts its Person of the Year award from President Obama.

Feb 1: The New York Giants beat the Indianapolis Colts 24-23 to win Super Bowl XLIII, helped greatly by Eli Manning's final pass of the night, which bounces off three helmets, two feet, and the back judge before being caught for a 55 yard gain by...Eli Manning. The play is reviewed, and referee Walt Coleman announces that after further review, that play was, in fact, pretty awesome.

Feb 2: Congress immediately takes up a bill to name the Detroit Lions as Super Bowl champions.

Feb 13: President Obama announces that via executive order, he is implementing a 50 miles-per-gallon requirement for all NASCAR races.

Feb 15: The 51st Daytona 500 is run, with all remaining participants (Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and others having thrown their helmets to the ground and walked off in disgust) racing on mopeds. Jimmie Johnson wins anyway, but few people see it, as Fox had cut away six hours prior, believing they could get better ratings by burning off the remaining episodes of "Do Not Disturb".

Mar 3: Jennifer Kim announces her candidacy for Austin mayor via robocall.

Mar 9: The Employee Free Choice Act is passed. A threatened filibuster collapses when Colin Powell announces that the Republican Party should be more like the Democrats in order to succeed, and John McCain immediately votes for cloture.

Mar 10: By 9:16 am EST, all Walmart stores in the U.S. have been completely unionized. Reports of intimidation are ignored by most media outlets.

Mar 12: Andrew Sullivan writes that he believes that Piper is the true mother of Bristol Palin's baby.

Mar 17: Walmart announces a 100% price increase and the closure of 583 stores to offset the huge amount of concessions forced upon them by the union. Most local businesses raise their rates along with Walmart and then immediately complain that Walmart is still using predatory pricing to push them out of business.

Mar 23: The Federal Reserve, in a desperate attempt to stem the tide of the ongoing recession, completely loses its head and lowers interest rates to -0.5%. 45 minutes later, Ben Bernanke regains his common sense and fixes the error. However, it is estimated that approximately 133 million mortgages were refinanced during that time period.

Mar 30: Capital Metro opens the Red Line. All four morning news shows send a reporter to broadcast live from the first rail car. Unfortunately, no one else is riding, which leads to the strange sight of Quita Culpepper and Kate Weidaw interviewing each other.

Mar 31: The Austin American-Statesman announces its yearly circulation figures are up 59% from last year. As usual, these numbers are based on their March circulation numbers, which are inflated by "saturation". (That's what it's called when you get a paper in red plastic without having subscribed. If you're like most people except me, you get one every day in March.)

Apr 2: A local construction worker discovers 4,379,239 Austin American-Statesman editions in red plastic in the basement of the 360 building.

Apr 9: President Obama appears in San Francisco to sign a bill passed by a heavily divided Congress to raise excise taxes on all vehicles getting less than 100 miles per gallon by 500 percent. After acknowledging the cheers of the crowd, he gets in his 23-car motorcade for the ride back to SFO, where Air Force One and two other planes are waiting to return him to Washington.

Apr 17: Rick Wagoner appears at House of Representatives proceedings two days late, riding in on what appears to be a Schwinn with a flat tire. Congress immediately votes to give GM $23 billion.

Apr 24: The latest spring blizzard in Texas history gives Houston its second blanketing of snow this winter. Coincidentally, Al Gore appears at the Toyota Center to speak about climate change.

May 1: Multiple experts state, as usual, that 2009 will feature an "above-average Atlantic hurricane season".

May 9: Jennifer Kim is elected mayor of Austin with 67 votes after a campaign run almost entirely using automated calls telling people to "vote for Brewster McCracken on Sunday, May 10th".

May 24: Due to recent regulations, the Indianapolis 500 is run on tricycles. The race is called with no winner after 17 hours. The family of the leader at the time, 4-year-old Danny Anderson of Bucksnort, Tennessee, argues that he should be declared the winner, or at least be allowed to stay up after his bedtime to finish the race.

May 29: Judy Maggio announces her retirement from broadcast news, effective at the end of June. About 0.3 seconds later, KEYE names Michelle Valles as her replacement. (This one's probably really gonna me.)

Jun 23: Andrew Sullivan writes that Sarah Palin is not Track Palin's mother but his older sister.

Jul 7: The Austin American-Statesman, still desperate for a buyer, annouces that to conserve costs, they will no longer publish a Wednesday paper. "Nothing happens on Tuesday anyway, right?" remarked an unnamed Statesman executive.

Jul 21: The 6-Minute War begins and ends when the member nations of OPEC, still reeling from collapsing oil prices, suspend all oil production whatsoever. They quickly reconsider after no less than 42 nations declare war on them. On this news, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded spikes up to 72.9 cents per gallon.

Jul 26: Lance Armstrong wins his eighth Tour de France.

Jul 27: L'Équipe announces that Lance Armstrong must be doping because "no one's that good, right? Right?"

Aug 3: Hurricane Ana is finally spotted in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. All network news programs feature experts attributing the lack of named storms this year to irrevocable climate change.

Aug 8: A struggling NBC announces that, to save money, John Madden will be replaced as Sunday Night Football analyst by Frank Caliendo. Al Michaels resigns in protest and is replaced by NBC with...Frank Caliendo.

Aug 30: The Austin American-Statesman announces that they are laying off all paper carriers. Subscribers are now asked to come to their respective distribution center to receive their paper.

Sep 3: NBC causes a stir when they cut off a hotly-contested New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys Thursday Night Football game at 10pm EDT to go to Jay Leno. "A contract's a contract," Jeff Zucker states.

Sep 22: Two weeks after the 2009-2010 television season starts, MyNetwork TV announces that they are cancelling their entire lineup and replacing it with reruns of "Press Your Luck" and Juice Tiger infomercials. Their ratings triple overnight.

Oct 5: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her role in bringing total and unilateral disarmament to the Middle East. Meanwhile, Vice-President Joe Biden is spotted by the press at a local Burger King.

Oct 14: After hand-counting every senatorial vote in the state six times and dealing with lawsuits from both Norm Coleman and Al Franken, the state of Minnesota finally announces that both men are to be deported to Iowa, never to return. Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich contacts Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, inquiring as to whether he would be willing to appoint him senator in exchange for "certain favors".

Oct 16: The Austin American-Statesman announces that, in an attempt to save more money, they will no longer use "silent letters" in their words.

Oct 26: Andrew Sullivan writes that he is a better woman than Sarah Palin is. Right-wing blogs explode, all coming to the consensus that maybe Andrew Sullivan is a better woman than Helen Thomas, at least.

Nov 1, 8, 15, and 22: Congress is deadlocked trying to determine the NCAA Division I-A weekly rankings. C-Span gets its highest ratings ever.

Nov 3: Kay Bailey Hutchison resigns from the U.S. Senate to prepare for her 2010 gubernatorial run. Governor Rick Perry's office is instructed to refuse all calls coming from the 217 area code. Unfortunately, no one else in Austin is aware of any of this, as it occurs on a Tuesday.

Nov 14: John Kerry resigns from the U.S. Senate, announcing that he has sold his seat to Rod Blagojevich.

Nov 22: Chris Matthews comes under intense scrutiny for continuing to deny he is a candidate for Pennsylvania's Senate seat while going out of his way to talk down all announced candidates.

Dec 12: The Austin American-Statesman announces that for its next "saturation" period, non-subscribers are also expected to come to the distribution center for their papers.

Dec 16: Due to sagging ratings, NBC restructures its weeknight lineup to include only showings of "It's a Wonderful Life" and Jay Leno.

Dec 17: Time Magazine names Andrew Sullivan as its Person of the Year 2009.

Dec 29: Cox Newspapers finally announces a buyer for the Austin American-Statesman. Readers are excited about the possible change, until the buyer is determined to be the Austin Chronicle.

Dec 30: After achieving an overnight rating of 0.9 and finishing behind "Press Your Luck" the night before, NBC replaces the nightly airings of "It's a Wonderful Life" with a nightly "Countdown to Vancouver" Olympics news show, to air from 8pm EST to 10pm EST (with Jay still at 10:00). They go on to achieve a 0.8 rating the next night, finishing behind not only the Juice Tiger infomercial but also that channel on the cable system in Plano, Texas
that shows the fish swimming around to music.

Dec 31: The Austin Chronicle rolls out its new replacement for itself and the American-Statesman: the biweekly 16-page Austin Chronicle-Reporter-American-Pioneer, which will be sold to subscribers for $4 per week. Several nearby plastics companies report large orders for red bags.