Stafford: Here are my predictions for the New Year


With my column scheduled to appear today, a day on which our minds turn to predictions for a New Year, I figured it was time to do a little poking around about doomsday cult legend, astrologist and numerologist Nostradamus.

Roughly translated, Nostradamus means Dude of Notre Dame, and is the Latinized name by which Michel de Nostradame, the French forecaster of doom is known.

It’s a name change his Jewish family wisely adopted during the height of the Inquisition, when being Jewish tended to put one out of step with the Catholic authorities of the time.

Rack one up for practicality.

If family history hadn’t been enough to give Nostradamus a gloomy outlook at the time, personal history made it a lock: He was a physician who finished his training just in time for the bubonic plague to go viral.

I should correct myself here.

As best I know, a bacterial infection, which the plague was, can’t actually go viral, because it’s not a virus. It spread not by means of a virus but with the help of fleas that passed the infection on to humans. They were called rat fleas, which I assume is probably the name of a seminal metal band.

I must confess the election put me in a Nostradamus kind of mood. But I’m not as deeply mired in it as I was, say, a month ago. A couple of visions of my own – visions of the sort Nostradamus is said to have had – have brought me out of it.

They are the first of my predictions for the coming year.

The other night, I had a vision of a new Supreme Court. In it, the justices had donned not the old white wigs used by the British judiciary but wigs that look like the hair worn by our president elect. That put a smile on my face.

Another thing that kind of perked me up was my own vision about a fake news event I expect to make the world a better place.

It involved Russian hackers who hacked into the Ohio Bureau of Tourism site, renamed Put-in-Bay Putin Bay and announced that Ohio’s festival calendar would be augmented by the late summer staging of Vladimir Days.

Events included an antiques show featuring KGB collectibles; crafts made by inmates of the gulag; an insult contest and dunking booth called Razz Putin; fishing contests called crappie diem and carpe diem; an art show of oil paintings painted with actual oil; and a horseback parade of bare-chested men, hosted by the Gay and Straight Alliance of the Lake Erie Region and sponsored by the Russian male night club act, the Chippendaleskis.

Although entirely bogus, the pre-festival hype will cause floating food trucks to crowd Put-In-Ban and the event to come off in the fake order the hackers imagine.

My other predictions for the year:

  • In a move its executives will say is designed to align its brand with the kind of course discourse often practiced there, Facebook will announce a name change to In-Your-Facebook and change the name of the method by which people connect to “defriending.” Each In-Your-Facebook day will prime the vitriol pump with a meditation and inspirational thought called “Tweet from the White House.”
  • Making a comeback from her election defeat, Hillary Clinton will create a financial empire by franchising a chain of secure long time storage facilities called Locker Up. Each commercial will end with Hillary saying, “I love this job because, every month I get to send you my Bill.”
  • Continuing to expand the gun rights of Buckeye State citizens, the Ohio legislature will approve use of conceal-carry permits for preschoolers, a move supporters say will help to lessen the number child-on-child biting problems that have historically plagued daycare facilities.
  • Seeking to reach a non-violent resolution to protests at the stalled Dakota Pipeline, Energy Secretary Rick Perry will reach out to Washington D.C.’s professional football team and tap Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to negotiate a settlement.
  • University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh will appear in a series of commercials for a DNA genealogy service in which a character dressed like Woody Hayes and sounding like Darth Vader says to him: “You are my son, Jim. You are my son.”

Now we arrive at the one prediction I hope will come: That you and yours have a happy new year.

I’ll be trying my best.



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