It all goes down Tuesday night in Cleveland.
It all goes down Tuesday night in Cleveland. Win McNamee / Getty Images

What's in store for us? Each week we rub our crystal balls and try to figure it out. This week: predictions on when we'll see a new Avatar movie, which office Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson will run for, and a reliably so-so Biden.


Biden will deliver an underwhelming debate performance. With their constant (and hypocritical) attacks on Biden's mental fitness, Trump's comms goons ensured Biden only needs to complete a sentence and kiss a baby to clear the bar they set for his debate performance tonight. Nevertheless, I doubt ol' Joe will deliver. I'm (sincerely!) old enough to remember watching Biden disappoint scores of Onion readers when he failed to lay the smackdown on Paul Ryan during the Vice Presidential debates in 2012. (Though some found Biden's constant interjections of "Malarkey!" evidence of his dominance, a contemporaneous CNN poll showed the two essentially tied after the debates, with Ryan up four points.) Trump only sucks on TV when circumstances force him to read from a prompter. Against a somewhat combative anchor and a dismissive opponent, the debates will allow Trump to play the victim, which will set him up to lash out against the press and to embody his "silenced" supporters onstage—two things he does well to the detriment of our democracy. Luckily, the vast majority of political science studies on this issue conclude that these debates only move the needle a little for a week but ultimately have no impact on the election. R.S.

Cal Anderson will become a world-famous park. If it has not already achieved that status. But in the future, people around the world will say Cal Anderson with the familiarity they say Zuccotti Park in Manhattan or the People's Park in Berkeley. Named after "Washington's first openly gay state legislator," and designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the park, which has received national recognition (in 2009 Forbes called it one of the "12 best city parks in U.S"), began absorbing what can only be described as urban mythic power when the Capitol Hill Station opened in March, 2016. This mythical development reached its maturity with the CHOP/CHAZ moment in June 2020. We can say that Volunteer Park still finds much of its meaning in being a park. Not so with Cal Anderson. Its function has been replaced by a myth that codes a structure with a feeling that many attempted to impose on Westlake Plaza but failed. That downtown spot with its horrible public art pretty much lost any mythic meaning it had when Macy's Star of Bethlehem, once the serious target for Black Lives Matter protests, went like many brick-and-mortar businesses into the dark from which nothing returns. C.M.

An anarchist will run for mayor and win. C.M.

Both orca calves will die before 2020 is over. That's very dark but I feel like the universe can't let us have good things. I'm sorry! But that's where my head is at. Let me think of a more serious one. N.G.

We'll live through another pandemic before we see the next Avatar. If you can believe it, the first installment in James Cameron's pentalogy came out over a decade ago in 2009. Obama was in the first year of his first term. Grindr was only several months old. The swine flu was the hottest pandemic in the game. After moving the goal post several times, Cameron is bunkered down in New Zealand concurrently working on all four follow-ups to the 2009 blockbuster, two of which he claims are mostly made. Considering Cameron's fickle nature, I predict we'll fully get over this pandemic and find ourselves in the middle of another pandemic before we see any Na'vi tail fucking or whatever the first Avatar was about. J.K.

Trump will wear tax dodges as a badge of honor. On the left, there’s plenty of justifiable outrage about Trump’s $750 tax bill, and I think the Biden ads highlighting how many people pay more than Trump will probably find a sympathetic ear with the base. But among his supporters, his ability to cheat the tax code is going to come off as aspirational—like, “wow, he’s brilliant! I wish I could dodge taxes as well as Trump.” He’ll pick up on that and start boasting about how he was able to avoid paying for years, and his supporters will eat it up because everyone hates taxes. He may even turn it into a cudgel against Biden: “Look at how much this chump got suckered into paying in taxes—and you want HIM to run the country?” M.B.

Businesses will stay cashless. Our wallets crept in this direction pre-pandemic, but dollars were still good for many things: tipping bartenders, tipping drag queens, buying weed. Lately, only the last option is really available. COVID will cause cash to go the way of checks. I'm not saying this is a good thing—routing transactions through a smartphone isn't necessarily equitable or secure—but it's where things are going. The pandemic is an accelerator. C.B.

Heated patios will be hot this winter. We’ve grown accustomed to outdoor dining over the summer, but what happens when the weather gets cold? We’ll bundle up and keep hanging out on patios and on streets-turned-patios. While introverts may be relieved for a return of our annual excuse for avoiding human contact, others will flock to heated outdoor hangouts. Expect to see more firepits and those tall mushroom-shaped propane heaters, and along with that will come a surge in warm comfort food. By the time December rolls around, the city will be lousy with hot cocoa pop-ups, warm pie counters, soup and ramen joints, and mulled wine gardens. M.B.

Prepare for a rash of restaurant closures as the season changes. A lot of restaurant owners are making the same gallows' calculus that the owner of Canon is making: "I either collapse now, or I shelter and maybe we can have jobs again in the years to come." Facing a fall time coronavirus wave, a dwindling restaurant season, and limited serving options, many restaurants will choose to close down for Seattle's dark months. Maybe those restaurants will find the light in spring, or perhaps they won't. Some of our most prized restaurants will close for good. C.B.

The Rock will run for something. A particularly bubbly Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson made headlines on Sunday when he endorsed the Biden/Harris ticket as "a registered Independent with a centrist ideology." Johnson said he'd never publicly endorsed in any race before and decided to "go big" for his first one. On top of that, in the successful HBO series Ballers, Johnson's character can be seen reclining in a beach chair and casually reading Sen. Elizabeth Warren's book. And remember when he floated a 2020 presidential bid? (Me either, but it happened.) To quote Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel: "Folks.................he's running." For what? I can't say. This man lives in Powder Springs, Georgia, so I'm guessing he runs as an extremely moderate Democrat in the 2022 governor's race, assuming Stacey Abrams is busy in the Biden administration. R.S.

We'll suffer coronavirus-related mental health crises that outlast the pandemic. There's no doubt that COVID will have long-term effects on our physical and psychological health, even if many of us don't end up getting the virus. Profound isolation, changing societal norms, and fear of an uncertain future easily seed the ground for depression, anxiety, grief, and suicidal thoughts. In a recent interview, Dr. Joshua A. Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said he had "no doubt" that people will suffer from coronavirus "PTSD," especially healthcare workers. I predict that once we've got COVID-19 under control, we'll have to tackle the immense impact of the pandemic on our collective mental health. Best to sign up for therapy now, if you can. J.K.

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Seattle City Council will fight for more SPD changes in Mayor Jenny Durkan's budget. The way we're dealing with the Seattle Police Department (Defund? Restructure? Reimagine?) is peak Seattle Process. Durkan wants to take the time to do an intense analysis of SPD's 911 calls and overtime policies. She hasn't released a timeline yet for that analysis, but a final report wouldn't be due until June. The council spent the summer doing this kind of research and laying the groundwork for more significant changes. I don't expect the majority of council members to accept this cautious response to the calls to defund the police. Whatever happens, we can expect Councilmembers Alex Pedersen and Debora Juarez to vote alongside the mayor. N.G.

We must build a giant disco ball in space. This month marks fifty years since the sun has appeared in the sky. As you'll recall, the Unified Pacific Command took control of Earth's moon in 2063, using their powerful relativity engine to bend gravity and propel the moon between our planet and the sun. This allowed them to cast a permanent fifty-year eclipse over their enemies and provide reliable solar power for their allies. A solution must be found, which is why I propose the construction of a new moon, a colossal space-faring mirror that will bounce light from the sun onto the lands below that have been ravaged for decades with eternal shadow. This new moon, an enormous hollow sphere coated in flat reflective panels, will be a beacon of hope and resilience. It should also have the ability to play any Donna Summer song ever recorded. M.B.

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