Here in the Old Pueblo - also known as 50 Shades of Beige - the last tamale has finally slid down the old gullet and all that remains of Christmas are the 347 needles (fake or real) that you'll be vacuuming out of the carpet until our first 100-degree day.

Which means it's time, once again, to haul out your humble scribe's somewhat-annual New Year's predictions. Here goes:

January: The first of Tucson's 281 "Fun Runs" for the year kicks off along the banks of the Santa Cruz River. More than 600 participants - including 42 dogs and one snake - run and/or slither in the hopes of obliterating (pick one) obesity, premature baldness or road rash.

February: The star of this year's gem and mineral show turns out to be - of all things - caliche, which scientists recently found to contain minute amounts of oil and natural gas. Wildcat fracking operations immediately spring up in backyards all around Tucson as its citizenry comes to the realization that dirt is no longer, well, cheap.

March: Tucson celebrates St. Patrick's Day with the grand opening of its 198th Sonoran hot dog cart. In honor of the holiday, the menu for the entire month features corned beef dogs topped with slivered cabbage, along with beans, jalapeños and a side order of Tums.

April: Tucson's annual mariachi conference blows into town, along with, coincidentally, the annual American Hearing Loss Association convention. Asked to comment on the effect of 127 horns blaring right next door to the hearing convention, its spokesman replies: "What!!??"

May: Thousands of student debtors graduate from the University of Arizona and immediately move into their parents' basements - except, of course, for Tucson graduates, whose parents' homes lack a basement. What awaits them, instead, is a Tuff Shed, complete with air conditioning, indoor plumbing and flat-screen TV.

June: Ignoring protestations that it's a dry heat, snowbirds head for cooler climes, creating a massive traffic jam just east of Willcox. Meanwhile, reporters from KOLD, Channel 13, already burdened with having to say, "Live, local, late-breaking" after every newscast, go on strike after being forced to add, "Up to the minute. See it now!"

July: Tucson's Fourth of July fireworks celebration on "A" Mountain is cut short after someone realizes that the 47 simulated flaming saguaros on the sides of the mountain are really 47 flaming saguaros.

August: Tucson children return to school only to discover that, due to budget cuts, their neighborhood school has become (pick one) a yoga class; a barbershop; an education center for adults who, due to curriculum cuts, got bored with school and dropped out at an early age.

September: The big talk around town is not the resumption of football at Arizona Stadium but the fact that Wilbur and Wilma are "in counseling" as they say. "No comment," reports a tight-lipped spokesman for the couple. But rumors have it that it all started when Wilbur got an updated head last year, sparking interest among, um, the cougar set.

October: Halloween pranksters remove and switch the statues of Father Kino and Pancho Villa. It takes three weeks before anyone notices.

November: Vegetarian protesters storm a City Council meeting demanding that plastic flamingos replace the traditional turkey dinner at all charity events. The council appoints a fact-finding commission to "study the matter."

December: Three "Stuff the Bus" vehicles explode after becoming overfilled with toys. First responders collect numerous Barbie heads, along with what one firefighter describes as "Teddy bear innards." Tucsonans respond with a "Barbie and Teddy Fun Run." Somehow, Christmas survives.

Bonnie Henry's column runs every other Sunday. Contact her at