FLINT - At this time of year, it's common for columnists to write "Year in Review" articles. They do this because it's easier and safer to navel-gaze at what was than to foretell what will be.
Fortunately for you, your friendly neighborhood columnist is perfectly willing to suffer the slings and arrows that come the way of anyone who dares to boldly predict the future rather than re-chew the cud of the past. I figure I can take it. If there's one thing decades of marriage have taught me, it's how to handle slings and arrows.
So, for an amazing 23rd year in a row, I gaze into the swirling mists of my crystal ball and intone those famous words, "I see London, I see France, I see ... 2013."
The nation drives off the fiscal cliff of economic irresponsibility into the bottomless abyss of uncertainty and suffers a severe concussion of financial instability. Shortly thereafter, to everyone's relief, Congress bans the use of metaphors.
As promised, President Obama proposes landmark gun control measures that place strict limits on assault gun ownership and ammunition magazines. Congress unanimously passes the package minus the assault gun and magazine parts, but with the addition of a three-day waiting period to buy toy cap guns, which they describe as "gateway guns." Lawmakers then take an emergency winter break to go count up their NRA contributions. No one is the least bit surprised.
During Super Bowl XLVII, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is fined a record $1 million by the NFL for again kicking a quarterback in the nether regions. Stunned officials attribute the size of the fine to the fact that the Lions weren't even playing in the game at the time: "We've never seen anything like it. He just rushed out of the stands, onto the field and, pow, right in the cookies. The guy really IS a jerk."
Following the game, the NFL names Peyton Manning as league MVP and Tim Tebow as league LUP - least used player.
Once again, for an incredible 23rd year in a row, March is cancelled due to a profound lack of interest on the part of everyone who doesn't have a March birthday.
The cable network TLC proves the critics wrong who said reality TV couldn't get any worse than "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo" by releasing "Belly Button Wars," a reality series about a roadside stand competition between two Alabama families who sell drink coasters crocheted out of belly button lint. The ratings, of course, are incredible.
Sen. John Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State. Says President Obama: "John will do a fine job. If he can't talk nations into behaving, he'll bore them into it. Either way, we win. Go America."
The National Hockey League settles its longstanding strike in time to have a one-game season followed by a one-game playoff followed by a one-game Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately for the league, the new format is a major hit with fans and becomes permanent. One fan says: "As it turns out, the biggest problem with hockey was too much hockey."
At the Oscars, "Les Miserables" wins the first-ever award for "Film On Every Critic's 'Best of Year' List That Was Seen By Fewer Than 100 Actual Human Beings." The James Bond film "Skyfall" wins the Oscar for "Stunts a Middle Age Star Would Never Be Able to Perform in Real Life Without Breaking Every Bone in his Body."
With control of the House, Senate and governorship, power-mad state Republicans finally do what everyone figured they'd eventually do anyway - outlaw the Democratic Party. Democratic officials file a protest, but Republicans say, "We'd take you seriously if you were an actual, legal party, but you're not, so we can't. Sorry."
And finally, newspaper readers across Michigan vow to never again read silly, pointless predictions columns after the author of this one breaks it off halfway through the year claiming he is out of space today and will finish up next week.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.