Are we there yet?
While everyone else tells you that 2005 was the year of disasters and chaos, I was too busy trying to figure out the cultural significance of Million Dollar Homepage and the E!'s Michael Jackson trial re-enactments.
Okay, it wasn't a great year, but at least you didn't hear anyone use the phrase "year of the blog" anymore. So just thank your lucky stars the whole friggin world didn't blow up, and prepare yourself for next year when it undoubtedly will.
And with that shot of optimism, I present my idiosyncratic mix of Predictions for 2006 in Media, Technology, and Pop Culture.
1) Netflix will be bought by TiVo, which will be bought by Yahoo. Since I obviously should be drawn and quartered for last year's prediction that Apple would buy TiVo, I might as well double-down on my bet.
2) Absolutely no one will buy Knight Ridder. C'mon, would you?
3) NBC's new Thursday comedy line up will be a big enough success that tv execs will once again try to invoke the phrase "destination tv," while the rest of us have no idea what network or time the shows are even on because our TiVo neglects to tell us.
4) A new Pew study will reveal something about internet use that will be drastically over-cited by people who are reading this blog post.
5) David Chappelle will do something that makes everyone ask "why the hell did he do that?" It will be "brilliant," but "enigmatic and frustrating."
6) Showtime will pick up Arrested Development. And then Showtime will announce a deal with iTunes in which the show becomes the first of its kind to have more viewers watching via portable player than on tv.
7) "Hello Katie, welcome to CBS."
8) After a guest appearance on Veronica Mars, Amanda Congdon will sign a deal to host a new show on UPN. That's Viacom-owned UPN, peeps. You know, CBS. So get ready for the Katie and Amanda show in '07.
9) Book publishers will drop their silly little fiat and announce a triumphant partnership with Google Print.
10) Nonetheless, Google's stock price will slip 20% by the end of the year.
11) Someone in Seattle or San Francisco will get beaten to death at a dinner party after saying the words "Web 2.0" for the five-trillionth time before the first course.
12) 2005: the year of search. 2006: the year of mobile. No, for real this time! The big change will be that carriers open up the deck to external providers. Why? Because Google releases the killer mobile apps that everyone needs. Seriously!
13) Current TV will start to show up in Nielsen. The numbers will be good, not great.
14) The break-up of Viacom will have unforeseen repercussions. Okay, that's vague, but I predict no less than three essays from Marketwatch.com about the failure of the split.
15) Steve Jobs will announce a DVR. That one's a no-brainer, but the big deal here is that iTunes video downloads will skyrocket. No wait, that's a no-brainer too. Fine, I predict...
16) iTunes will give in to record labels and adjust pricing such that songs will range from $.50 to $2. Oh hell, another no-brainer.
17) Sirius will double subscribers but it still won't be enough to pay Howard Stern's salary.
18) David Letterman will announce his retirement. Or at least I hope so, because right now it's like watching your favorite band from the '80s do a reunion show.
19) Microsoft's new operating system, Vista, will launch in mid-summer, and will get surprisingly good reviews.
20) Despite the L.A. Times' dismal failure, several media organizations will release successful wikis -- this time, in areas that actually make sense.
21) Martha Stewart will quietly become a nobody. Donald Trump, however, will still somehow manage to remain famous.
22) Mary-Kate and Ashley will return. Where the hell did they go, anyway? Some upcoming indie film director will cast them in a "quirky New York film" with Parker Posey playing their mom. Gen-Xers suddenly realize they're the next Baby Boomers.
23) One person will finally figure out a cool use for Google Base, sparking over-use of the word "mashup" by Slashdot nerds.
25) Despite some inspired ideas, Craig Newmark's new journalism project won't be a gigantic success, but it will inspire others sites that quickly take off.
26) News Corp's purchase of MySpace will yield a decent record label that has a surprise hit.
27) FBC -- Fox Business Channel -- will launch. Pundits describe it as "more fun" than CNBC.
28) Ten major cities will release city-wide WiFi.
29) Fergie from Black-Eyed Peas will announce a solo album. It will be Entertainment Weekly's worst album of the year for 2006.
30) The New York Times Sunday Styles section will write a trend piece about the trend of trend pieces. It will then implode.
31) Chuck Klosterman will announce he's writing new columns for Vanity Fair, Wired, and Modern Midwestern Living.
32) Fimoculous.com makes a triumphant return as an "almost decent" blog.
33) Anderson Cooper will claim he's the father of Katie Holmes' baby. A wicked paternity suit -- in which everyone refuses to take DNA tests -- ensues.
Note: I have zero insider knowledge on any of these predictions. And except for the last one, I actually believe them all, if only metaphorically in some cases.