With that said, let us tarry no more! On to some truly nerve-wracking scrying!
1. Liz 2, being the last surviving monarch/dictator of the 20th century, will check out this year. Charlie will abdicate, thus clearing the way for Willie 5 to have a seat at the head of the House of Lords. This series of events will happen just in time for the British people to decide that a Royal Family is just too damn expensive and turn Buckingham Palace into the Blue Blood Bed & Breakfast featuring Beefeater's London Dry Gin. The hotel will immediately win a prestigious international award for Best Alliteration for a Tourist Trap Name.
2. As part of the Neo-Populist Wave, country after country will legalize marijuana, led by Russia whose Peerless Leader will gain the new nickname Vlad the Inhaler. As a result, the tourist industry will crater, wars will be averted and terrorism will become an historical footnote, as billions of people elect to stay home and chill on the couch watching reruns of Duck Dynasty while listening to Pink Floyd, rather than put forth the effort. The US Food and Drug Administration will issue new guidelines for use of the word "Sinsemilla," with the top requirement being that the buds be "without seeds."
3. Chinese backpackers and Mandarin teachers will become the new social phenomenon, as the emergent Sino Middle Class adopts the Bohemian lifestyle. Youth hostels across Europe and the US will be overrun with Chinese teenagers out to "discover themselves" before settling down into a life of over-achievement in science and manufacturing, burdened by mortgages and credit card debt. "Bùxíng" will begin appearing on cafe signs and flop houses around the world, as business owners try to become back-packer friendly and entice the big-spending teens to drop a few renmimbi in their establishments.
4. Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the US, only to find that the Obama's booby-trapped the White House when he gets a cream pie in the face when entering the Oval Office for the first time. In a drunken rage, the Clintons will crash the Inaugural Ball and take over the stage, and while Bill wails out an off-key rendition of I Did It My Way on the tenor saxophone, Hillary will stumble through her recitation of the "I coulda been a contender" speech from On The Waterfront. Simultaneous earthquakes will be registered in Tahiti and Death Valley as Marlon Brando's ashes roll over in their respective graves.
5. California will secede from the US, but no one notices. Its economy will immediately collapse as the burden of new regulations and taxes causes Hollywood to move to Reno, and the former State realizes that it had no other income or source of energy, since it had long-since regulated other industries into oblivion. President Jerry Brown will move the seat of government to Portland, Oregon, as his country returns to a natural state and he realizes that brown bears are a bit difficult to tax and regulate without guns.
6. It will be revealed that China's entire space program has been hoaxed by Tian Zhuangzhuang, also known as China's Stanley Kubrick, in a studio in suburban Beijing. The hoax was discovered when crew members were heard coughing and wheezing off-camera due to the oppressive air pollution in the city. Subsequently, researchers discover the use of clear rubber Bungee cords to achieve the weightless effects in videos released by the government. In a related story, the clear rubber Bungee cords become one of the hottest selling must-have items of the year and the profits are used to fund China's space program.
7. Donald Trump will be hailed as the New Obama, ushering in an era of equality for White People across the country. Mass demonstrations demanding equal rights for the emerging white minority will become the norm in cities across the nation. Joel Osteen will become the de facto spiritual leader of the movement after delivering a wildly popular speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., which will come to be called the "I Have A Cream" speech. Skin whitening products, long popular in Asia, will suddenly become the rage and pack shelves in Walgreen's. Social Justice Whities (SJWs) will burst onto social media platforms declaring that, in the name of tolerance, trigger words like "whipped cream" and "sour cream" will no longer be tolerated. Entire universities will be converted to "safe spaces" as competing groups all demand their own areas to be themselves without prejudice.
8. Tobacco will come back into vogue as scientists declare "smoking leafy vegetables as healthy as eating them." A chain of tobacco shops called Starpuffs will appear by the dozens in malls and strip centers around the world. The phrase, "Double puff extra gold with single wrap natural," will become the new hip lingo of the post-Millennial generation. Hand-rolleds using seaweed wrappers will become the rage in Japan, while black-wrapped cognac dips will sweep Russia and Poland. Among the Wall Street crowd, the double-crown gold leaf will reign supreme.
9. The economy will be the top news story of the year, dominating every conversation everywhere. The big story will be the demise of the US dollar in favor of the Russian rouble and Chinese renmimbi. This will only last a short time, however, as a new crypto-currency called BeggarBux sweeps the globe. BeggarBux will be based on a basket of celebrity names, so that every time "Kim Kardashian," "Jay Z," or "Hillary Duff" are mentioned, a million BeggarBux are added to the global economy. This leads media outlets to throw in gratuitous mentions of useless celebrities simply as a means to expand the economy. Entire articles will appear on the front page of the New York Times that are composed of nothing other than celebrity names, prompting some commentators to say, "Not much has changed." By July, a special bonus million BeggarBux will be added for every mention of Ivanka Trump.
10. In the cyber-universe, China's WeChat will put the entire Silicon Valley royalty out of business. It will use the Xinhua news service as the sole source of "real" news and the app will provide all the services currently offered by over 100 stand-alone apps cluttering up peoples' SmartPhones. Around Christmas time next year, Jeff Bezos and Barack Obama will be discovered on Skid Row lamenting, "If we only hadn't banned alt media, we'd still have jobs today." In a desperate attempt to remain relevant, Mark Zuckerberg will upload his entire existence into a WeChat drone, which will be promptly shot out of the sky by an annoyed farmer in Nebraska, who will be quoted in Xinhua as saying, "Danged drones is allus spookin' mah cattles." The drone's last words will be noted as, "I just wanted to friend him." In related news, Elon Musk will land a drone on Mars and immediately claim Utopia Planitia his private domain and his army of robots will start re-carving the Face on Mars into his own image and likeness.
And there you have it folks! The headlines before they're headlines! The news before it's news! The trends before they're hashtags!
Don't forget to tune in all next year as we watch these predilections become reality. Be sure to send a link to Life on the Far Side to all the folks you think need a swift kick in the pants, and get right over now and follow us @RadioFarSide on Twitter and at RadioFarSide on YouTube before it all gets folded into WeChat. Oh yeah, and there's also Life on the Far Side on Farcebook, too! You won't want to miss a single second of the fun and frolic to come!
Here's wishing you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year! From all of us Deep in the Jungles of Borneo!