2020 Vision

Nostradamus, that famous clairvoyant from the 16th Century, would have been 517 years old this year had he not died in 1566. Many people laud his powers of prediction and believe he still has relevance today. For example, I discovered that if you take Nostradamus’s birth year of 1503, and divide this by my age (never you mind) you get 25, which is the number of unpaid parking tickets I found in my car this morning. Amazing!

Devotees of Nostradamus will cite that he forecast the French revolution and the rise of Adolph Hitler. Sceptics point out that the statements of Nostradamus were vague and have been fitted to these events after they occurred, something called retroactive clairvoyance. Personally, I think that predicting civil unrest in France and the rise of a nationalistic nutcase isn’t that difficult, and is something that I could easily have done.

In a bold step I’m prepared to prove my skills of clairvoyance by stating my predictions for 2020:

  • Donald Trump will not be impeached in 2020. Instead he’ll cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi whereby the impeachment process is halted in return for his exile to another country.
  • Vladimir Putin, flushed with the success of his Crimean conquest, invades Greenland on a Sunday in April while Denmark is distracted with ‘Dancing Cow Day’ (it exists – look it up). Vladimir had been alerted to Greenland’s mineral wealth and strategic importance by Donald’s interest in buying it in 2019. As a sign of his gratitude Vladamir gifts an isolated rocky outcrop in the far north of Greenland for a Trump Tower. Donald, Melania, Don Junior and a certain New York hairdresser now reside there.
  • In the UK a review of the first referendum finds that a computer glitch underreported the remain vote. The vote was much closer than first thought, a tie in fact, with 16,788,671 votes both to remain and to leave. After much debate in parliament it is agreed that instead of another referendum the result will be decided by the toss of a coin. This will be carried out at Buckingham Palace by the Queen using a specially minted gold coin with a pound on one side and it’s euro equivalent on the other.
  • The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s political life gets more and more difficult as fires rage across parts of the country while other parts drown underwater, adding to his woes is a growing body of evidence that the Barrier Reef is dying. His only respite was looking like a family holiday in the Marshall Islands. Unfortunately on his flight to the islands the resort is flooded due to a combination of spring tides and sea-level rise. The Morrison’s flight is diverted to nearby Manus Island where Scott spent the night in a refugee detention centre.
  • In the 2020 Oscars the early favourite ‘The Irishman’ is defeated on the night by ‘Jo Jo Rabbit’. This New Zealand movie gave the beleaguered Scott Morrison some relief as he was able to claim it as an Australian icon, along with Phar Lap, Pavlova, Russell Crowe, Crowded House and Lorde.
  • In New Zealand the 2019 investigations into electoral fraud by the two centre-right parties are completed, with shady dealings being proven. The centre-left win the 2020 election by a landslide.

There you have it, Cecily’s 2020 vision. Next year, when the future is the present I’ll look at these thoughts again. Whether I’ve been prophetic or not I’ll at least prove Nostradamus correct in one of his assertions, namely, ‘The present time, together with the past, shall be judged by a great jovialist.’ (Nostradamus). Until then have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cartoons

You can’t take it with you

‘You can’t take it with you when you go’. This gem was part of a treasure trove of sage advice passed down to us from an older and wiser generation. If only it had been accompanied with, ‘Practice what you preach’. Because as baby boomers and generation X sort through the family home, now the parents have moved on, they are finding the previous generation did not walk the talk. Left in our hands is the fate of everything from their art and furniture through to their memorabilia and dry-cleaning receipts dating back to 1973.

It’s been said our parents’ behaviour is the product of growing up in the great depression; they are unable to throw anything away, even if its had it. I’m not convinced. The depression theory would explain some additional work clothes, sensible shoes and emergency food rations. However, it doesn’t cut the mustard (five opened and expired jars of it) in explaining why anyone needs 102 pairs of pantihose or 45 hotel shower caps. I don’t believe the great depression was withstood by staying in hotels and stealing shower caps.

There are a range of reasons why we collect stuff. One is financial – some collections can be worth millions. However, most are not worth anything at all. The items in these collections have a sentimental value, they help to keep the past alive. Historically collections of photographs have done this well. This won’t work in the future if all you photograph are your pets and your food.

Hoarding on the other hand is pathological.  Paradoxically it is linked to perfectionism and the fear of making the wrong decision; hence the inability to know what to acquire, keep or discard. Predictably Freud believed it was due to unresolved issues around toilet training, and who better to explain a pile of crap than Freud.

Baby boomers and generation X had better beware though, because an inability on their part to discern what to keep or what to discard will see what’s left over from their parent’s home assimilated into their own. Then you can look forward to your home becoming a monument to the indecision of two generations.

What may ultimately come to our rescue is the fact our houses have grown bigger by over 50% since the 1970s. Consequently, you need not make too many tough decisions, just take the stuff and leave it for your kids to sort out. After all another useful gem from the past is, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’

It’s About Time!

It’s About Time!
Here is the latest Cecily musing, and it’s about time – seriously, it is about time. You know that non-spatial continuum in which events occur in irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future? That definition from ‘The Free On-line Dictionary’ is really useful when you’re apologising for being late. Just insert this instead of “time” in your explanation. It might go something like this, “Sorry, the present segment of my non-spatial continuum in which events occur in irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future is over-crowded with events that when dealt to will see an enhancement in performance in future segments of the aforementioned non-spatial continuum”. That should do the trick.The problem with this, and other definitions, of time is that it makes time appear so orderly, yet our experience of time is anything but orderly; instead it is chaotic. We run to catch the bus, hurry home for dinner, arrive breathlessly at a date and worry about the ticking of our biological clock. Although we are loath to admit it we like it like this. Imagine a life as ordered as time; perfectly planned with predictable leap days and leap seconds to account for any irregularities. If my life were this ordered the leap I would plan would be off a tall building.Humans have dreamed of time travel for ages. In the future time travel may become the perfect way to spend your vacation. Thinking of the Iberian Peninsula? Instead of the Costa del Sol, how about taking that well earned break in the Spanish Inquisition? Alternatively if art is your thing, then skip the Louvre and take in the caves at Lascaux 17,000 years ago instead!Like all travel, travelling in time has its restrictions. Firstly your about-to-expire air points will probably only get you to the middle of last week. Another thing is you won’t be able to undo the past. Upgrading the location of your first sexual experience to a suite in a Parisian hotel from the back of a Mark 2 Zephyr is just not possible. I’m sorry, but what’s in your past is in your past. If you really want to travel back in time just stay at home and watch one of the endless sitcom re-runs on TV.Travelling into the future on the other hand is something we are already doing; at the rate of one second per second. Any faster and we risk discovering our future. This might eliminate our uncertainty as to which job to take, or man to date; but along with uncertainty we would also eliminate hope. If I were to find out how my story ends I’d probably just put the book down now.

I’m hoping that my good old friend Ecclesiastes got it right when he said, “There is a right time for everything: A time to be born; A time to die…”. Hopefully in between there is enough non-spatial continuum to enjoy work, play, family and friends; with some time left over to smile at the thought of Mark 2 Zephyrs past and future Parisian hotels.