10 Trends To Look Out For in '05

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1. Controlled substance

American readers will be pleased with the new chapter-by-chapter PDA-style book brought out by forward-thinking publishers. It's a smart, timely tech breakthrough. Since youth think of entertainment as communication, and vice versa, and as youth become adults, there'll be a change in consumption of so-called traditional media. As if you hadn't heard, it now becomes all about control. People share downloads of "cuts" (of books no less) just like they collect MP3s. Newspapers began the trend by doling out a-chapter-a-day insert for subscribers-with unexpected laudatory response.

2. Keeping it up

The collecting trend is homes. Lots of folk will look to take advantage of the latest and maybe last real estate boomlet, to locate a home, hold it, flip it like a Polaroid picture and walk away with heady cash. Days of stamps, coins and trains are over now.

3. We're not that stupid

Finality is a joke in music circles and we will get hip to the squares as America stands up to bogus last-chance-to-see-me concerts by such oldsters as Tina, Cher, the Eagles and, err, Jay-Z. At least Phil Collins was joking with his ironically-punctuated The Finale Tour? (Although we think he was serious about the music, which is, arguably, more worrying.) This year fans will withhold the love for Fleetwood Mac's umpteenth farewell. Can you say, "Enough talk Luciano. Just sing!"?

4. Tripping @ home

Forget vacationing, think agoraphobia. When we say vacate we're talking about our brains, since 2005 will mark a serious dive in public entertainment and a rise in private. Folks will buy more advanced home-theater goods as they tumble in price; multifaceted, quick-beaming satellite will win the war with cable. Then set-top boxes download everything-Disney's MovieBeam is exemplary. As broadband reaches most homes we'll all be staying on our Tempur-Pedics.

5. Cheese steak anyone?

WC Fields may have been wrong: In '05 Philadelphia will undergo a "look-at-me" renaissance to prove its value to tourists and residents. Plus a huge push to the gay population as the hot spot for Brotherly Love! And the entire town will also be wired for free high-speed Internet access from light posts (other cities please take note). Add into the mix spanking-new TV ads and an online blitz to remind us how much Americana can be found in a single bell. It's Philly-time.

6. Catch-a-Net

Any and all Internet sponsorships will be gi-normous in 2005, as more like Mitsubishi cut money from TV in favor of creative alternatives. What we'll see are opt-in banner ads that ad surfers crave. As marketers get sophisticated (read: smart) and offer things customers look forward to, suddenly it'll be a willing two-way street. Take me, for instance. I travel every week. I'm happy to share information and money with an airline that offers me an insta-rate. Anyone who can give customers hard free goods will attract eyeballs (and not the ones that roll!).

7. Quickies

Expect speed-dating to take over as more get an uncanny ability to recognize a life-mate in 15 minutes or less. Anything that supports our collective ADD shows no signs of slowing down.

8. The kids are all right

Thumb-typing will be taught in schools for the first time! This will be a victory for those who worried a kid who grows up without knowing how to excel at "pager messaging" will lose out on jobs and sex.

9. Flicking good

Next summer will belong to Will Ferrell as he co-stars with a way-relaxed Nicole Kidman in a rollicking good "Bewitched." This sleeper is a movie about making a movie about a TV show. It's all very Charlie Kaufman. We can only hope Ferrell turns in enough of a performance that producers won't need two Darrens. ... The unexpected bomb of the year will be the Peter-Sellers-out: Steve Martin's "wild and crazy" "Pink Panther." There's only room for one Austin Powers, baby.

10. Live and diet

Be prepared to eat tons of soy. Yes, soy has got isoflavones, plant estrogens that could help stave off breast cancer, high cholesterol and heart disease. A doctor told Newsweek, "If it turns out that soy doesn't reduce breast cancer ... it's still a good source of protein low in saturated fat and cholesterol. To me, it's a complete no-brainer." Brainless protein sounds like a good time to me.

by Richard Laermer author of "TrendSpotting" and co-host of The Learning Channel's "Taking Care of Business.

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