New Year’s Eve

I was across the street at a party. Neighbors. Karaoke. Three beers. Unseasonably mild weather, some of the guys smoking cigars on the porch. Kids upstairs watching some damnable cartoon movie on video. My wife sang about 23 songs — “Once Bitten Twice Shy,” “Space Oddity,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “All My Exes Live in Texas,” etc. She is the queen of karaoke. I just sang Merle’s “Swingin’ Doors,” and a duet on “Fightin’ Side of Me.” Our two year old was walking into furniture she was so tired, and had defecated in her diaper. Time to bring her home. I got her cleaned up, pajamaed, she said her prayers in repeat-after-me fashion (she can say “trespasses”), and she was instantly out like a light.

Being some kind of junkie blog addict, I had to turn on the machine. Some people are wearing tuxedos and drinking champagne right now. I’m standing in my kitchen in my socks, doing this. Hey, it’s a big world. There’s room for all of us.

It’s about 11:31 here, and this year of grace 2003 is dribbling its final grains of sand into the big hourglass. A good time to wish all of you a healthy, happy, safe and prosperous 2004. Predictions for ’04 and “Best Ofs” for ’03, time permitting in the next few days. For now, one forecast: ’04 will be good year. Lots for the Boyz to kvetch about. Count on it. See y’all next year.

I Don’t Like Making Predictions

Last May I made a bet with the lovely Diane that the U.S. would attack Iraq before the end of 2002. While it looks like I will soon be right about the invasion, I was wrong about the timing, and timing was the issue. I blew it due to my usual excessive overconfidence.

Meanwhile Lex has been trying to talk me into publishing my predictions for 2003. He himself has already done so in a masterful post, and I predict that many of his predictions will prove accurate. He has a good track record, especially WRT politics. (He is typically less overconfident than I am, though our respective overconfidence levels may be converging as we age.) I have a lousy track record, especially on issues that affect me emotionally. And I find that by making a prediction on any topic I tend to increase my feeling of having a stake in a particular outcome, which makes my judgment even worse. The honest best that I can usually do, prediction wise, is along the lines of: “There is a greater than even chance that X will occur if Y occurs.” But nobody wants to read predictions that sound like that. So with these caveats in mind, I am willing to make a couple of straightforwardly vague prognostications:

– There will be surprises in the war against radical Islam. Most of these surprises will be bad.

– Unexpected stuff will happen around the world. As always.

– The U.S. monetary system will show an increasing bias towards inflation during the next year or two.

That’s about the best that I can do. If anyone wants to make some money, I am available to take the other side of bets.