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!

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No News Is Bad News

I like to keep abreast of current affairs. I find important issues such as elections, changing macroeconomic conditions and the name of Kate and Will’s latest to be extremely compelling.
In addition to keeping a watchful eye on these weighty issues I am also drawn to the weird happenings in the world. For instance this week I learnt of a 0.5km fun run in the Texan town of Boerne. That decimal point is not a typo, we’re talking 500m. I could do that – it’s a fraction of the distance I run every day looking for my keys, phone and wallet. The run starts at one bar and ends at another. One hundred and fifty metres into the run there’s a doughnut stand, which is beside a smoking area. It would be fair to say the emphasis is more on fun than run.
You could say the organisers of the Boerne fun run are “taking the piss”, but not as much as IKEA, as this next piece of news will reveal. IKEA recently placed a magazine advert for baby bassinets that doubled as a pregnancy test. Anyone who thought they might be pregnant was encouraged to pee on the ad that was splashed across the magazine’s pages. If they were pregnant the positive test revealed a previously hidden special discount price. If there are couples out there reading this and trying to get pregnant – not at the same time obviously – please note this only works for women.
Some people may discount weird items news as being improbable or inconsequential. Whereas I, having lived with myself these past few decades, find them entirely believable. Furthermore, I find they have value in allowing me to view the weird events in my own life less severely. For example, I read of a job interview that went awry when the applicant fainted and only regained consciousness in an ambulance. Which made me feel better about the time I went to the toilet while nervously waiting for a job interview. When I tried to leave the stall I found I was locked in. With my phone in my car, and my cries for help going unnoticed I resolved to commando crawl under the door. However I was concerned my clothes would get dirty so I stripped to my underwear then squeezed through the gap. While lying horizontal and scantily clad on the toilet floor someone came in; I was relieved – in every sense – when they didn’t hang around. However I did get the opportunity to explain myself fully to them when I saw them on the interview panel. You see it works, you’re already feeling better about your own worst interview.
It is incorrect that News is an acronym for either Notable Events, Weather and Sport, or for North, East, West and South. Rather the clue is in the name; news is to do with new information. Other explanations are fake (news).
Fake news, unlike real news, is intended to deceive. It is not news. Nor is it new – the term was used as early as 1894 in a cartoon by Frederick Opper. We owe a lot to President Donald Trump for the work he has done in the area of fake news. We are especially indebted to his broadening of the term to include accurate news that he doesn’t like.
Real news has power, and the people who vilify the fourth estate, or worse still harm those within it, realize this. News has the power to increase the engagement of ordinary people in society. Initially through increasing their ability to hold a conversation. Secondly, it facilitates the shaping the people’s opinions and beliefs. Then ultimately, news allows people to go out and shape their world. Clearly dangerous stuff.
So I’m going out to buy a quality newspaper with accurate reporting, reasoned editorials and a few job vacancies with interviews by Skype – not in an office block with a dodgy toilet door.
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