Happy 2016!

Happy New Year!  This is the day we look forward and contemplate the year ahead, making resolutions about the changes we’d like to make and planning for the future.

Along with the custom of making New Year’s resolutions is the custom of saying that they are futile, what with the bondage of the will and everything.  But we don’t have to invest them with big moral significance, nor turn them into grandiose self-improvement exercises with little chance of lasting.  Changes happen over the course of the year, and we might as well direct a few of them. [Read more…]

Make your predictions for 2016

Yesterday we looked at our predictions for 2015.  Today we give our predictions for 2016.  What do you think will happen in the year ahead?

To win our annual blog contest for best prediction, make your prediction as specific as possible.  For example, our recent winner, Joe, didn’t just say that we’d have an oversupply of oil or that the price of oil would come down.  He said that the price of oil would drop to $35 per barrel.  Also, the predictions that stand out the most are those that seemed at the time to be unlikely, and yet, they come to pass.  When Joe made his prediction exactly a year ago, oil was going for $60.

This can be a salutary exercise in any event, whether you win or even enter our contest.  This is an election year, which promises extra drama.  (Who will be the nominees?  Can the Republican party prevent Donald Trump from being its standard bearer?  Can any of these candidates beat Hillary Clinton?  If so, who?)  I’ll make a few predictions of my own after the jump. [Read more…]

My New Year’s Eve ritual

Every New Year’s Eve, I look back on the events of the past year.  I do so by reading Dave Barry’s Year in Review.  The month by month retrospective has the virtue of being very funny, which makes the survey of the year’s madness much easier to take.

Start it and follow the link after the jump. [Read more…]

Reinventing New Year’s Eve with college football playoffs

I’ve got to say, I’m excited that the Sooners of the University of Oklahoma, one of my alma maters, is in the college football playoffs tonight.  I had given up on them after they lost to Texas, but here they are, playing the undefeated Clemson for a shot at the national championship.  For everything you want to know about the playoffs and much more than you  want to know, go here.  (Give your picks in the comments.)

The bigger story, though, is ESPN’s attempt to take over the way Americans celebrate New Year’s Eve.  Instead of going to parties, staying up until midnight, and watching the ball drop at Times Square, watch college football! [Read more…]

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.)

 


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