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Every year at this time, deadlines sneak up on me. One minute I’m out celebrating Chanukah and Christmas and Kwanzaa and New Year’s and Guy Fawkes Day and whatever else mandates the ingestion of mass quantities of comestibles, and the next I’m sitting at my word processor, gobbling up Tums and sweating bullets over my deadline. Not this year. This year I ate the usual amount of cookies, candies, tamales and latkes, fell asleep in front of C-SPAN, and awoke to find my column completely written. And what’s even more amazing, it has redeeming social value. It appears to be some kind of automatic-writing list of predictions for the first year of the Third Millennium. I’ve already contacted my broker, Fernando Strunk, “The Nostradamus of Nasdaq,” and told him to maneuver my portfolio so as to take advantage of these predictions. You’ll probably want to do the same. Jan. 10: Fox Television debuts its “provocative new reality-based show,” Temptation Island, in which four “unmarried but deeply committed couples” are marooned at Club Med with “30 singles, looking for love . . . to test the waters of temptation.” Overnight ratings indicate that every American television set and 50-60,000 microwave ovens were tuned to the show. Hot tub sales quadruple in 24 hours. Jan. 11: President Bill Clinton ends speculation about his new profession, announcing that he has taken a volunteer position as “Chief Referee” on Temptation Island. “I’d hoped to stay and help Hillary,” he explains, “but once you’ve been president, you belong to the people.” Jimmy Carter, busy putting shingles on a Habitat for Humanity home, falls off the roof and breaks his hip when informed of Clinton’s statement. Jan. 21: California’s electricity crisis drones on. Assemblyman Fred Keeley, D-Boulder Creek — whose insistence that “consumers did not clamor for deregulation at any time . . . [and] ought to be insulated from the tragedies of the electricity marketplace” has made him one of the state’s most popular politicians — is rumored to be a sure thing for appointment by California Gov. Gray Davis as the new president of the state Public Utilities Commission. (Outgoing President Loretta Lynch, who resigned in a huff after Davis confused her with country music legend Loretta Lynn and told her he thought “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was her best record, ironically takes a job with Mike Curb, producing rap music.) Unfortunately, no one in the governor’s office is able to locate Boulder Creek, and the PUC seat goes unfilled. Feb. 9: The California Supreme Court caves in to Professor Stephen Barnett and his brave little band of compulsive readers: It announces that it will change the Rules of Court to require that all decisions of the California Courts of Appeal be published. In the Sri Lanka Shopper’s News. In Sanskrit. Feb. 27: George W. Bush’s first presidential initiative, “Execute Unemployment Now,” boggles to a halt when it becomes known that his plan is to hire half the unemployed to kill off the other half. March 10: Sullivan & Cromwell, tiring of the associate wars, announces that this year they will not give first-year associates any salary at all: Instead, they will simply buy Vermont and allow the first-years to split it up as they see fit. March 16: Justices William McGuiness, Carol Corrigan, Joanne Parrilli, and Herbert “Wes” Walker submit resignations, announcing they are leaving the First District, Division Three, to become “permanent first-year associates” at Sullivan & Cromwell. As Parrilli explains, “We resisted the money for a long time, but New England in the fall . . .” March 23: During a fund-raiser hosted by Kendall-Jackson Winery, Gov. Davis somewhat blearily thanks “the greatest winemakers since Jesus,” for “making available this lovely winery here in beautiful Napanoma-Solano, and also about a trillion gallons of their fantastic goddam wine.” He announces the appointment of the Backstreet Boys to fill the four seats left vacant in the First District, Division Three, and promises to support legislation to make Kendall-Jackson’s Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay the official state wine of the California Department of Education, and qualify it for the federal school lunch program. He is in the process of conveying an “official apology from the governor’s office – tha’sh me — for that crazy Fifth District ‘deshishion’ at 76 Cal.App.4th 970 . . .” when he is tackled by Burt Pines and dragged out of earshot of cheering reporters and television cameramen. March 24: At a hastily called press conference, gubernatorial press secretary Michael Bustamante insists that the governor did not really appoint the Backstreet Boys, but merely expressed his “confidence that their philosophy of law and government was congruent with his, and that their songs indicate a firm grounding in the nuances of legislative interpretation.” He explains that the governor suffered what his doctors have diagnosed as a “transitory ischemic episode,” which caused him to express himself with less clarity than usual. When asked if this meant that the governor had — to use the expression of the Australian aborigines — “gone walkabout,” Bustamante says he’d rather not answer that question until someone can remember who the lieutenant governor is. March 31: President Bush announces that the next day will be a national holiday. When asked what will be celebrated, he responds, “Well, duh!” April 3: President Bush throws out the first pitch of the baseball season and then announces the nationalization of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Jeff Bagwell. “These three guys are gonna make over $700 million — not counting endorsements — in the next 10 years, and they live in a state which has no income tax. My advisors tell me by nationalizing them, we can pay ‘em what teachers make and pocket a cool half-billion.” Rodriguez, Ramirez and Bagwell immediately ask Laurence Tribe to represent them. When he explains his reluctance to leave Harvard, they buy it for him. April 4: The Professional Golf Association announces it has reincorporated in the Cayman Islands. For three weeks every island in the Caribbean and Micronesia is crawling with athletes and athletic groups who seem suddenly more concerned about SEC than SPF. June 6: Tiger Woods fails to appear for the United States Open. A spokesperson for President Bush denies that Woods has been failing to return White House phone calls, explaining, “I’m sure if the president was trying to reach Mr. Woods, it was only for a few short-game pointers; neither Mr. Woods nor any other professional golfer has anything to fear from this administration.” June 9: Al Gore is appointed president of the PGA. In a news conference on Grand Cayman Island, he reads a list of the 125 PGA members who have renounced their American citizenship and become Cayman Islanders. Right beside him is Tiger Woods, introduced as the new owner of the Cayman Islands, who insists, “George W. Bush wouldn’t know a short-game pointer from a German pointer. He wanted to nationalize my butt, and if I hadn’t slipped out of the country before the FBI arrived at my door, I’d be an ex officio member of the President’s Council on Golf right now.” June 11: President Bush issues a statement lamenting the loss of “125 good Republicans” to the Grand Cayman Islands (especially regrettable since most of them lived in Florida and will now be unavailable for the 2004 election). He announces the first Convocation of American Football — mandatory for all National Football League players — to be held at Manzanar, Calif., on Sept. 7, two days before the first day of NFL training camp. June 23: It is reported by Sports Illustrated that Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus cannot be located. When last seen, they were playing golf with Erwin Chemerinsky in Bimini. July 17: Michael Eisner meets for two hours with Gov. Davis, amid rumors that he will be appointed California Energy Czar. Eisner’s post-meeting statement — “These people are just a bunch of whiners. If they can pay $45 a day for Disneyland and $125 for hockey tickets, they can pay a few extra bucks for electricity. All they gotta do is cash out a coupla stock options, for crying out loud” — is not well-received. The post remains open. July 31: New Republic of the Cayman Islands President for Lives-in-Being-Plus-Twenty-Years (Never let it be said that this guy Tribe doesn’t earn his fee.) Woods announces the appointment of Justice Malcolm Lucas as Ambassador to the Poor (defined in the new Cayman Islands Constitution as “non-athletes”). President for LiBPTY Woods lauds Lucas as a man who “truly understands the problems of Cayman Islanders,” citing the $88.5 million arbitration award in the California out-of-state automobile registration fee case as the determining factor in Lucas’ selection. “We weren’t completely sure about him until Vice-President for LiBPTY Nicklaus showed us the $8,870 per hour fee he awarded in that case; that sold us.” Aug. 25: Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, who has been openly lobbying for the presidency of the Public Utilities Commission so he can implement his “Secret Plan to End the Crisis,” withdraws his name from consideration after learning that the Owens Valley has no surplus of electricity, and that even though electricity can be conducted through water, it cannot be brought to Los Angeles in canals. Sept. 23: Having encountered great difficulty finding qualified people willing to work in the San Francisco, Calif., public defender’s office without electricity (Public defenders throughout the state complain about having their electricity cut off while prosecutors have enough for space heaters and George Foreman grills in their offices. In Orange County, public defenders also find their water disconnected, the locks changed on their doors, and poisonous snakes loose in their offices. There is some question about whether this has anything to do with a power crisis), Jeff Brown announces that the two positions open since election of Matt Gonzalez and Gerardo Sandoval to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will be open to application by members of the San Francisco district attorney’s office. Oct. 13: Public Defender Brown regretfully announces cancellation of his program to fill his two staff openings with disgruntled prosecutors, explaining that there were just too many applicants. “We’d be interviewing for months,” he laments. He also takes issue with press reports which referred to it as an amnesty program. Nov. 1: Al and Tipper Gore accept positions in the San Francisco public defender’s office. Nov. 2: Al and Tipper Gore resign from the San Francisco public defender’s office, after being informed there will be no elections for the Board of Supervisors until 2002. Nov. 8: The two deputy public defender openings are filled when Supervisors Gonzalez and Sandoval announce that 10 months on the Board of Supes was more than enough for them, and they are returning to the public defender’s office. Brown announces their rehiring and concedes that maybe it is an amnesty program, after all. Dec. 29: Gov. Davis makes his only judicial appointment of the year, Burt Pines, to the traditionally understaffed Fourth District, Division Three. (The Backstreet Boys couldn’t hack the pay cut.) Asked what prompted him, at this late date, to finally make an appointment, Davis explains, “Burt bailed.” Dec. 30: Seemingly reveling in his new-found role as governor/appointments secretary, Davis appoints Kathleen O’Leary, Dennis Cornell, Laurence Kay, Candace Cooper, Eileen Moore and Robert Mallano to the California Court of Appeal. When told that he already appointed them months ago, he laments, “See, Jerry Brown was right: All the good ones are taken.” Dec. 31: Electricity is cut off to the governor’s office. Rumors that Al Gore has returned from the Caymans to serve as Energy Czar are therefore unconfirmable. William W. Bedsworth is an associate justice at the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana, Calif. He can be reached at William.Bedsworthjud.ca.gov.

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