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  1. ALAN GREENSPAN finished reading Ayn Rand's complete works seven years earlier. He advanced more quickly into Rand's inner circle, began his career as an economist in the mid-1960s, and became chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in 1971. Thanks to his earlier leadership, there was no oil crisis or recession in the 70s. As a result, widespread vilification of Arab culture by working class Americans never came to pass, and the professional wrestling scapegoat known as The Iron Sheik was never created. This allowed wrestler Bob Backlund to retain the WWF championship belt in 1983.

  2. COLLEGE FRESHMEN vowing to read the longest book they could find in the library turned not to "Atlas Shrugged" but to the unabridged "Notre-Dame de Paris." One of these students went on to a position of power at Walt Disney Pictures, where he nipped in the bud an ill-conceived plan for an animated version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," thus leaving collaborators Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz free to work on other projects. Schwartz signed on for a "Pippin" revival in Liverpool. Bernie Taupin, who had been competing with Schwartz for the job, was so distraught over not getting it that he began drinking again, and was in no condition to adapt the lyrics for "Candle in the Wind" when Princess Diana passed away. Elton John's own attempt at reworking the lyrics failed to take the world by storm ("Oh Princess Diana / we won't see you mañana") and the international land mine treaty was never ratified. While crossing the Iran-Iraq boarder, The Iron Sheik stepped on a mine and was mortally wounded. On his deathbed, he admitted that he cheated in the 1983 championship match and insisted that the title be returned to Bob Backlund.

  3. RAND’S MORE CONCISE and artistically potent edition of "The Fountainhead" made for a much better screenplay when it was adapted in 1949. Galvanized by the script, Gary Cooper turned in the greatest performance of his career, inspiring many young film-goers to move to Hollywood and become actors themselves, including the young Iron Sheik, who settled into a comfortable if undistinguished television career instead of becoming a pro wrestler. Bob Backlund easily defeated Greg Valentine in 1983.

  4. THE BOOK “ANTHEM,” being only 235 pages, was never written, and so the Canadian power trio Rush never recorded their "Anthem"-inspired album "2112." Due to the artistic hole gnawing at him, drummer/lyricist Neil Peart felt stunted, dropped out of the band, became an alcoholic, and killed the Iron Sheik in a drunken brawl on the eve of the 1983 championship match, and Bob Backlund retained the belt.

  5. INFORMED BY SEVERAL PUBLISHERS that "We the Living" was about 400 pages too short, Ayn tried to pad her first manuscript with a new preface discussing the European impact of the Bolshevik revolution. During her research at the Gregorian University in Rome, she met a handsome young student named Albino Luciani. Though she was a married woman and he was ordained a priest, they were able to keep their torrid affair a secret until Albino was elected Pope in 1978, taking the name John Paul I. Almost immediately, an embittered Nathaniel Branden released his memoir "My Year with Ayn Rand." The ensuing scandal forced John Paul I to choose between his office and the woman he loved, and he abdicated after only 33 days as pontiff. His successor Kozrow Vaziri took the name "Pope the Iron Sheik," but died on his first day. Kozrow's legacy was honored by his successor Karol Wojtyla who became "Pope the Iron Sheik II", as prophesized in the third and fifth secrets of Fatima. Last year, Bob Backlund ran for U.S. Senator from Connecticut.

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