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.)

Yeats saw it coming

The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post both have pieces on W. B. Yeats’ great poem The Second Coming.

One of the defining poems of the 20th century, Yeats wrote it back in 1919, but it seems to predict the rise of Nazi Germany, the growth of Communism, and now postmodernism, the rise of radical Islam, current political trends in Europe, and–for columnist E. J. Dionne–Donald Trump!

The poem, famous for its lines “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”and “The center cannot hold,” is built both on Yeats’ theories of history and his take on the Christian notion that Christ will be followed by Antichrist.  After the jump, read an excellent unpacking of the poem by David Lehmann, and then see what Dionne does in applying it to today’s political situation. [Read more…]

ABC’s predictions for June, 2015

We often make predictions here at the Cranach blog, but we also do what often does not happen elsewhere:  we check them.  So it’s fitting to consider the predictions of some ABC programming seven years ago, projecting what June, 2015 would be like.  Gas was supposed to be over $9 a gallon.  Milk cost $13.  And New York City would be underwater.  Among other things.

See one of the videos and read an account of the predictions after the jump. [Read more…]

The winners of the Cranach basketball pool. . .

. . .are NOBODY.   No one in our contest predicted that the University of Connecticut would win the NCAA championship.  (UConn also just won the NCAA women’s championship!)  No one predicted the Final Four.  That’s too bad because I worked out a special deal with Warren Buffett that the winner of our little pool would win one BILLION dollars.  I will give honorable mention credit, which unfortunately receives no monetary reward, to those who predicted ONE of the Final Four:  Saddler, Edward Kettner, and Sam P. said that Florida would be in it, and Pete said that Wisconsin would be.   Since Florida was ranked #1 in the final postseason poll while Wisconsin wasn’t even in the top 10 (#15 in the USA Today poll; #12 in the AP), I declare the best guesser to be Pete!  (Oh, and a belated April Fool’s about that billion dollar bit.)

Will Pope Francis be the last pope?

In checking out the predictions for last year, I came across a post I wrote with this lede:

More doomsday predictions, this time from the Roman Catholic side! According to writings attributed to St. Malachy in 1139, pope #112 will be the last one, and then Jesus will return. That would be the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who is #111.

And now we have #112, the Person of the Year who has made Catholicism cool again, Pope Francis.  But will he be the last of the line?  After the jump, the story I quoted back in February, 2013. [Read more…]

Your predictions for 2014

Happy New Year’s!  It’s time to look ahead on the year to come and to make our annual predictions about what we expect to happen in the new year.  We will then review those predictions on December 31, as we did yesterday, heaping honors upon the best prognosticators.  So predict away!  After the jump, some reflections on predictions. [Read more…]