Things to Come

This will be an eventful century, if our science fiction writers are right. Here’s what to expect:

  • 2008: Jason Voorhees is captured. (Jason X)
  • 2012: Aliens begin to colonize Earth. (The X-Files)
  • 2015: Time travelers Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive from the year 1985. (Back to the Future Part II)
  • 2019: Former blade runner Rick Deckard agrees to do one more job. Ben Richards is forced to compete on The Running Man.
  • 2022: New York City has become overpopulated, with 40 million starving citizens. (Soylent Green)
  • 2035: Mankind lives in gigantic underground cities. (Things to Come)
  • 2050: Newspeak eclipses oldspeak. (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
  • 2052: New York City launches a giant ball of unwanted garbage into space. Experts warn the ball might return to Earth someday, but their concerns are dismissed as “depressing.” (Futurama)
  • 2053: World War III. (Star Trek)
  • 2062: The Flintstones arrive via a malfunctioning time machine constructed by Elroy Jetson. (The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones)
  • 2063: First contact with Vulcans.
  • 2084: Dancing is outlawed. Flash, Strobe, Laser and Pyro escape Earth to live on Moon Base Alpha to dance in freedom. (Dancemania)

Oh, and in the late 21st century Superman leaves Earth. Better hurry and get that autograph.


“Questions,” an elegy for a departed dog, by William Hurrell Mallock, published in The Dog’s Book of Verse, 1916:

Where are you now, little wandering
Life, that so faithfully dwelt with us,
Played with us, fed with us, felt with us,
Years we grew fonder and fonder in?

You who but yesterday sprang to us,
Are we forever bereft of you?
And is this all that is left of you —
One little grave, and a pang to us?


Sean Connery wore a toupee in all the James Bond movies. He started losing his hair at 21.

Self-Contradicting Words

Words whose meanings contradict one another:

  • BILL (“monetary note” and “statement of debt”)
  • BUCKLE (“to secure” and “to collapse”)
  • CLEAVE (“to separate” and “to bring together”)
  • DOWNHILL (“progressively easier” and “progressively worse”)
  • DUST (“to add dust” and “to remove dust”)
  • FAST (“quick-moving” and “immobile”)
  • GARNISH (“to add to” and “to take from”)
  • MODEL (“archetype” and “copy”)
  • OVERSIGHT (“attention” and “inattention”)
  • PEER (“noble” and “person of equal rank”)
  • PUZZLE (“to pose a problem” and “to try to solve a problem”)
  • SANCTION (“to permit” and “to restrict”)

And TABLE means both “to present for consideration” and “to remove from consideration.”

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Celebrities’ favorite Crayola crayon colors:

  • Britney Spears: robin’s egg blue
  • Tiger Woods: wild strawberry
  • Mario Andretti: pig pink
  • George W. Bush: blue bell
  • Fred Rogers: lemon yellow

More Mathematical Coincidences

32 + 42 = 52


33 + 43 + 53 = 63

Expense Account

The German Bundestag has 614 members, but its official Web site lists 615. That’s because Jakob Maria Mierscheid doesn’t exist — he was invented in the 1920s by Weimar Social Democrats to avoid paying restaurant bills.

Like George P. Burdell, another nonexistent bon vivant, Mierscheid has quite a resume. He served as deputy chairman of the Committee for Small and Medium Sized Businesses in 1981 and 1982, and in 1983 he published a demonstration of the correlation between federal election results and West German industrial production.

Presumably he also goes out to lunch a lot.


Fed on radioactive turnips, Rose Newman of Bourton-on-the-Water, England,
grew to the astonishing height of 50 feet.

Just kidding. Bourton-on-the-Water contains a 1:10 scale model of itself.

And, yes, the scale model contains a scale model.


“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” — Ken Olsen, president, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Take Your Pick

Frivolous political parties around the world and their campaign promises:

  • Denmark’s Union of Conscientiously Work-Shy Elements promised tailwinds on all cycle paths.
  • Hungary’s Two-Tailed Dog Party promised eternal life, world peace, one work day per week, two sunsets a day, smaller gravitation, and low taxes.
  • Sweden’s Donald Duck Party promised wider sidewalks and “free alcohol to the people.”
  • England’s Death, Dungeons and Taxes Party promised the reintroduction of hanging, the annexation of France, and the reduction of the school leaving age to 9.
  • America’s Guns and Dope Party would replace one-third of Congress with ostriches.

And Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus all have Beer Lovers’ Parties.

“Politicians are the same all over,” said Nikita Khrushchev. “They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”