by JIM HARRIS
Without further ado, my predictions for 2011:

•The year’s most exciting new products will include solar paneled hats and trapezoidal pizza.

•Psychic scientists will discover that Al Gore’s womanizing is burning a hole in the planet’s karma.

•Pot will be legalized in all 50 states, and the … uh … I forgot what I was going to say.

•The justice department will unveil a new civil rights crime — “harassing a robot.” This will include threatening any of those recorded voices you get on business’ answering machines. For example: “No one is presently in the office. Please say your Social Security number in Pig Latin, then press the pound sign.”

“What? What the hell’s a pound sign? Let me talk to a real person, you stinking little so and so…” That would be a crime.

•In military matters: The newest aircraft carrier in the fleet will be the USS Gandhi. Also, after the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, the new policy will become “Ask, tell, tell again, then ask three more times.”

•Touting “a bold new peace plan,” the Army Corps of Engineers will announce plans to move Palestine to Northern Ireland and vice-versa. It will take a year or two before they start to hate their new neighbors; then the Corps will switch them back.

•The city will announce that it will be dropping trash off at peoples’ houses rather than picking it up.

•Police who are too overweight to run will now be allowed to taze people for minor offenses.

•The Parks and Wreck (sic) commission will announce that, in addition to mountain bikers and horseback riders, now all visitors to Fairmount Park will have to buy permits. The more fun they have, the more they will have to pay.

•Construction work on the Lincoln Drive interchange will be halted when human bones are found. Dental records will reveal that they are the remains of motorists stuck in traffic jams from previous roadwork

in the area. This will push back the projected completion date of the present project by four years.

•In a related development, the city will announce that owing to the aforementioned roadwork, a full schedule of Schuylkill regattas and the weekly closing of Martin Luther King drive for bicycle enthusiasts, residents of Northwest Philadelphia will not be

permitted into Center City on weekends.

•Unable to find a suitable tenant for the old Borders store, the entire building will be donated to the Nature Conservancy, who will sink it in the Caribbean Sea to provide a home for coral. No coral will move in, however.

•“Arnie,” the Local’s perky editorial page cartoon character, will suddenly disappear and be replaced by “Kronk,” a chain smoking, wisecracking one-legged pigeon.

•Yet another new, highly useful website will debut – “Fish or Flush.” You enter the name of something you accidentally dropped into the toilet (false teeth, iPhone, glasses, etc.), and it automatically tells you whether you should retrieve and reuse the item or flush it.

•By year’s end, Chestnut Hill will have over 100 internet “portals,” offering local information and services. These various websites will be run by giant corporations, government entities and enterprising

teenagers. They’ll have names like the Chestnut Hill Hitch, Hatch, Splotch, Buzz, Whiz, Bleep, Drone, Pulse and Throb. For those without internet access, there will also be “physical” portals, including a large wooden gate at Northwestern Avenue, manned by costumed Disney characters handing out information sheets.

•Eventually, there will be more Chestnut Hill portals than people. Every man woman, child and golden retriever will have his or her own portal. When that happens, residents, uncomfortable with living in an internet fishbowl, will all move away, leaving only squirrels to inhabit the houses. Parks & Wreck will then take over Chestnut Hill, kill all the squirrels, stating there are “far too many,” then sell permits to look at the pretty houses.

•And my final prediction: some of these predictions (including this one) might not come true. My lawyer insists that I am hereby not responsible for any financial losses, health problems, ridicule or scorn that you may suffer as a result of believing these prognostications. In other words, tough noogies.