Checking your predictions for 2015

Merry New Year’s Eve!  It has long been the custom at this blog to make predictions for the coming year (we’ll do that tomorrow, on New Year’s Day) and then to check them on the last day of that year.  The one who makes the best prediction–that is, the most precise and unexpected prognostication–will be heaped with accolades.  This year we will also heap the winner with World Table ratings.

We have a clear winner, someone who made a prediction out of the blue that few would have believed at the time of its makings, but that came true.

We also had some pretty good runners up.  And only one dramatic loser, which, however, is amazing for reasons of its own.  I will discuss them and make the presentation after the jump. [Read more…]

The comments are working now

Among the things that didn’t work yesterday and this morning is the comment system.  But World Table has fixed the problem and is taking measures to prevent it from happening again.  So, sorry.

This last week of the year

The last week of the year is a time to look back upon the previous year and forward to the year ahead.  We’ll be doing some of that here, culminating in New Year’s Eve, for our looks back, followed by New Year’s Day when we will make our predictions for 2016.

On December 31, we will look at the predictions we made on this blog on New Year’s Day 2015 to see who was the most prescient.  I can say that a cursory look at last year’s comments includes a remarkable and highly specific prediction that actually came true.  Now we can reward our winners with something a little more tangible.  I will announce the winner, and if he reports in to claim his prize and tell us how he did it, I am asking EVERYONE to give him the highest World Table rating!

On New Year’s Day, we will make our predictions for the coming year.  2016 is an election year, after all, so it is bound to be consequential and ripe for prognostication.  So be thinking about what you think will happen.  And with that huge incentive of World Table points, you will want to make a lot of predictions.  (IF World Table is still around next year, of course, which is a matter of prediction.)

Have a merry Christmas and a happy Christmas

Two years ago, I did a post on the difference between “merry Christmas” and “happy Christmas.” (It has mainly to do, I argued, with the difference between American English, which tends to retain older constructions, such as “merry,” and British English, which favors “happy,” supposedly due to Victorian-era qualms against carousing at Christmas, which “merry” suggested.)

Anyway, if you google this topic, my post will be the first one listed.  For the last few days, thousands of people from around the world who have been wondering abut this odd English usage have done that search and have come to my post.  My readership statistics have skyrocketed.

Most of those readers have found the information they were looking for and won’t be back.  For those of you who are coming back, welcome.

But I especially want to address you long-term readers.  I feel like I know a lot of you.  I appreciate your hanging around here, sticking with us through platform changes and commenting software experiments.  I want to wish all of you both a merry Christmas and a happy Christmas.  And all blessings in the incarnation of our Lord.

Here is what I’ll do.  For every season’s greeting posted in the comments, I will give you a Christmas present:  A top “like this” rating on World Table.  (I have a score in the 90s, so my rating will carry a lot of weight.)


Live commentary on the Republican debate

Let me make this prediction before the debate begins:  The candidates will be asked some version of the question that kicked off the first debate:  Will you support the Republican presidential nominee?  Back then the question was designed to see if Donald Trump would support the others.  Now it will be designed to see if the others would support Donald Trump.

But it could have other ramification also.  Both Trump and Ben Carson have said they would consider running as Independents if they don’t get the nomination.  If those two, upon being asked my predicted question, refuse to commit to the eventual nominee, the GOP establishment could use that as a pretext to keep them from participating in party events, possibly even the convention.  The other candidates, if they are canny, will just say that they have already made that commitment in the first debate, whatever they think of Trump as the nominee.  But they are hoping that the question gets asked and that Trump and Carson will say “no.”

Intrigue.  Strategy.  Wheels within wheels.  This kind of thing is why politics makes such a good spectator sport.  Whatever the ramifications for our poor country.

But let’s attend to the debate.  Please comment!  Don’t make me do all the work!

More on the top 25 most influential spiritual classics

The editor of Christian History, Jennifer Woodruff Tait, wrote me about our post on that magazine’s list of the top 25 most influential spiritual classics.  She wanted to reply to some of your comments, but got tangled up in World Table (!!!), so I said I’d pass along what she said:

Thanks for featuring the issue!!

I’d love to respond to some of your commenters but I have no idea how to make the World Table comment system work. If it was still Disqus I would just go in and respond as the magazine.

Can you tell folks: We did not ask people to rank a list. We just wrote and asked them to list their top 5. The list that is there arose organically out of those responses.  The “others we love” from the top 100 were chosen by me specifically to address gender and racial imbalances [because honestly, everything that was mentioned was pretty awesome] and I still wish I had thought more about the need to include Orthodox writers.
[Read more…]