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August 2, 2003.

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One of the benefits of running a web site is that, as a self-defined journalist, you occasionally get access to the world's only time machine.

No, really. It's in the basement of the Laboratory of Applied Unusual Gravitational Hypertensors, at a university which I am sworn by law not to reveal. Not many people know about it, and even fewer have been able to use the thing, but let me tell you, a home-made press pass and a promise to write a glowing review of their research can really do wonders.

I was chatting politics with the good folks at LAUGH last time I was there. The subject, of course, turned to California's upcoming recall election for Gov. Gray Davis. With the candidacy deadline fast approaching, and an agonizing three months to go before the political circus was over, speculation about the outcome of the recall naturally flew fast and furious. With over 250 political hopefuls so far taking out papers for a candidacy, how many names would be on the ballot? Would Davis keep his job? If not, who would capture the spot?

One thing led to another -- and six beers and a $20 bet later, the guys had fired up the time machine. In order to settle the bet, I volunteered to travel four months into the future and pick up a local newspaper from back when the recall results were announced. It was frankly kind of a shock to see what happened when all the cards hit the table ... but I get ahead of myself.

The bet never got settled; none of us had predicted anything even wildly close to the actual outcome. The guys, in fact, made me swear up and down not to take the newspaper out of the lab (something about "casualty issues," I think; damn, Tom's handwriting is hard to read). But ... well, you know how it goes. We were all drunk. I woke up at home the next morning and the damn newspaper was still in my coat pocket.

I wasn't sure what to do with it, but then I figured it would make a nifty website feature. So I digitized the front page.

I hope you all enjoy the sneak peek into this coming October -- and that it gives you a little bit of advance warning on our state's political future.

Read the recall results
[PDF document, 77 kB; Acrobat Reader required]

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