catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 7, Num 1 :: 2008.01.11 — 2008.01.25


Top ten New Year’s predictions

It all started because of the psychics in Weekly World News
My wife Amy and I would see the tabloids around New Year’s with their
ridiculous predictions and claims of predictions from the past year
that had come true.  It bothered us that such lame guesswork was
being chalked up to new agey ESP.  It seemed to us that, with a
good dose of intelligence, we could do better.  We’re not sure
quite when we started, but it was at least ten years ago that we began
the following traditions:

Around the start of the new year, regardless of where we are and
whom we are with, I read the predictions from the year before and
figure out the percentage of accuracy.  We used to compare our
percentage to the psychics’ predictions from the year before. 
After years of surpassing the psychics by at least ten percent, we no
longer compare.  But we still keep track of the predictions. 

Then, I ask all those present to come up with some predictions for the
new year.  Other than making sure everyone gets a chance, the rule
is: anything goes.  It has developed into a way to reflect on the
past, to set goals for the future, and to think about the world we live
in.  And it is funny sometimes.  So here is a selection of
this year’s and last year’s predictions (a selection because there are
over a hundred of them).  These were written by nieces, nephews,
brothers-in-law, mothers-in-law, family friends, and my wife and

Top ten predictions from last year that came true:

  1. Osama bin Laden will continue to evade capture.

  2. Sean
    Connery will have significant health issues. (I usually google the
    predictions a day or two before the new year.  This one was a
    nailbiter.  Connery stayed healthy all year long until December 30
    when he had kidney surgery.).

  3. President Bush will announce a new strategy in Iraq in the new year and then basically change nothing. 

  4. Hannah
    (my niece) will attempt to learn two new instruments. (Her father made
    this prediction/challenge.  She did—bassoon and sax—and learned
    the latter well enough to join jazz band a week after she picked it up).
  5. We’ll have enough tomatoes to make salsa this year. (We did.)
  6. Our friends Jo and Tat’s new baby will arrive in February.  (Paul did—from Korea.  He’s amazing.)
  7. A
    southern senator will make a tragic slip-of-the-tongue and be forced to
    resign.  (This was my prediction, and maybe it is a bit of a
    stretch, but Trent Lott resigned, and one explanation given was his
    statement some years before lauding Strom Thurmond’s good work, so we
    put it down in the true column.)
  8. One of my twin nephews predicted that his little league would make it to the playoffs.  They did.
  9. There will be an earthquake in the northern Pacific.  (My brother-in-law, visiting from New Zealand, made this prediction).
  10. There will be a significant new UFO incident (You mean you didn’t hear about the UFO sighting in Poland?  Google it.)

Top ten predictions from last year that didn’t come true (but maybe should have):

  1. Mullets will make a big comeback. (My brother-in-law from
    Japan made this prediction.  Attendance at Mulletfest was down in
  2. Another White House official will shoot someone.
  3. A new game will come out combining Twister and Scrabble. 
  4. Snorting
    cinnamon will become a new fad. (Actually, I did find an article about
    kids snorting lemonade powder, which is almost as bizarre).
  5. Turkey’s bid to join the European Union will be successful. 
  6. Mixed plaids will be a new fashion craze.
  7. Purple (the color) will be banned in Ecuador. 
  8. Hugh Hefner and Donald Trump will be injured in a combined bungee jumping incident. 
  9. Barry Manilow will produce a Christian contemporary hip-hop album which will go platinum. 
  10. Mick Jagger will fall off the stage during a concert and later will be forced to perform with a walker. 

Top ten predictions for this year that might come true:

  1. Afghanistan will erupt into major crisis again. 

  2. We will not know the winner of the presidential elections until after the new year. 
  3. Vitamin-enriched popcorn will hit the market.
  4. There will be a major meteor strike in Siberia.
  5. South Holland (the village where we live) will get approval for a commuter rail station and a target date for completion. 
  6. Legwarmers will make a fashion comeback. 
  7. The Cubs will win the World Series. 
  8. New Kevin Huizenga graphic novel to win major award (Check out Ganges when you get a chance).
  9. Energy-saving LED Christmas lights will be new fad next year.
  10. My sister-in-law predicts that she will finally get Carlos Zambrano’s autograph. 

And finally, the top ten predictions for next year that we wish would come true, but we know probably won’t:

  1. A new Star Wars movie will come out, featuring a return to the flavor of the first movie. 

  2. A law will be passed to allow people age ten and over to vote.
  3. A tax credit will pass that will benefit producers of locally grown food.
  4. Foreclosures
    will run rampant in areas where people have moved due to white
    flight.  They will realize that they do not need such big homes,
    and that they miss being part of a real community. 
  5. Major food contamination event will cripple McDonalds Corporation and cause a resurgence in locally owned restaurants.
  6. National
    health care program will pass the house and senate and be signed by
    President Bush (perhaps after an encounter with a real working-class
    family) guaranteeing free government-provided health care for all.
  7. Our troops will come home as we turn to other solutions for Iraq.
  8. Major bill passes to fund rails-to-Trails program designed to make commuting to work by bicycle easier and safer.
  9. No
    Child Left Behind will be repealed, replaced by new program that
    emphasizes local control of schools, fine arts, and a focus on learning
    to think rather than learning to take tests.
  10. Winner of the
    presidential elections will be one of the following: Jon Stewart, Oprah
    Winfrey, Steve Martin, Maya Angelou, Annie Lamott, or your favorite

We know our predictions won’t reshape the world.  And sometimes
the contrast between what we hope will happen and what we really expect
to happen can be depressing—but we find this to be a good activity to
ground ourselves and help us plan and prepare for the year to come.



So what are your predictions for 2008—realistic, wildly hopeful, or ridiculous? 


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