Happy New Year!

One of the ways I celebrate the new year, with varying degrees of success, is to make predictions. In 2014 I was more rightish than wrongish, but last year, 2015, I was pretty much mostly wrong. 2016-new-year-ss-1920

So here goes my predictions for 2016.

  1. Donald Trump will not win the Republican nomination for President.
  2. The San Francisco Giants will win the World Series, because this is their on year.
  3. North Korea will attack South Korea, thus ending the decades long cease-fire. This will happen before President Obama leaves office.
  4. Saudi Arabia will form an uneasy alliance with Israel and the two nations will attack Iran.
  5. Bashar al-Assad will still be the leader of Syria on December 31, 2016.
  6. One major Protestant denomination in the United States will dissolve.
  7. The new Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond, will be terrible, absolutely terrible.
  8. A biological agent (like algae or bacteria) that dissolves plastic will be devised for large scale commercial use, thus solving a major environmental problem.
  9. Auto-makers will produce a wide range of electric cars, and they will be commercial flops.
  10. Wal-Mart will continue its decline, and by the end of the year will announce major closures and layoffs.

Okay, those are some of mine. What do you predict for 2016?



image from appadvice.com



2015 crystal ball

Here it goes, some predictions for the coming year.  Everyone else is doing it, so why doesn’t old Greenbean give it a shot?  Disclaimer:  I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet.  I have no crystal ball.  Clairvoyance is not a gift I possess or desire to possess.2015 crystal ball  These are only guesses based on my understanding of things.  For comparison, click here to see how I did with my 2014 predictions.

1. There will be major social and political upheaval in China.  The Communist Party may fall.

2. By the end of the year, Elizabeth Warren will displace Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner for the Democratic nominee for President, and will be the eventual nominee.

3. U2 will release an album and not give any of the music away for free.

4. Apple stock will plummet this year as people realize that the most innovative company on the planet is suddenly just another gadget maker.

5. The price of oil will begin to climb in the spring and will again be around $100 a barrel by December. Consequently, gas prices will also rise back to somewhere around $4.00 a gallon.

6. The NFC Championship game will be The Seattle Seahawks versus the Dallas Cowboys.

7. The San Francisco Giants will not win the World Series in 2015, because it is their year off.

8. ISIS will carry out a major 9-11ish style attack in Europe. Probably somewhere along the Mediterranean.  I so hope I’m wrong on this one.

9. Comprehensive immigration reform will finally be passed in the U.S. Congress.

10. The Supreme Court of the United States will hear and decide the status of same-sex marriages, ending the odd state-by-state situation.

11. CNN will, for all intent and purposes, collapse, and Wolf Blitzer will be donated to the Smithsonian.

12.  Russia will invade and annex the whole of Ukraine while the United States and Europe protest, but do nothing.

13.  Sadly, and I so very much hope this doesn’t happen, I predict Miley Cyrus will die of a drug overdose or some other dangerous behavior.  Sad.  Very sad.  She needs help–so many of them do.

I would love to know what you are predicting for 2015–be it good or ill.

crystal ball image from nativemobile.com


Where do you get the names for your characters?

Hunter Pence--A name and look made for a novel action hero.
Hunter Pence–Action Hero

That is one of the most common questions I get from people who are kind enough to read my books and stories.  The best answer is from anywhere there is a list of names.  Graduation lists are great resources, people in photographs in the newspaper, church bulletins, anywhere really.  The eye is the portal of creativity.  It is often good to take first names and match them with other last names.

But inspiration can come from anywhere.  As I watched game five of the World Series last night, it occurred to me that the entire starting lineup of the San Francisco Giants have excellent novel names.  In my mind I built a plot for each one of them.

CF Gregor Blanco–An assassin who specializes in international jobs.  He has a handlebar moustache.

2B Joe Panik–1960s era private investigator.  That he plays in San Francisco just screams Bogie

C Buster Posey–Banker from the 1920s-30s.  He wears suspenders and a bow tie.  A close personal friend of Daddy Warbucks.

3B Pablo Sandoval–A desperate artist who lives in Miami.  He probably has a sordid past,  maybe a couple of children he left behind in New York.

RF Hunter Pence–My favorite!  He a loner who makes an incredible discovery about the origins of the cosmos while backpacking through Mongolia.  (Note–If you want to know what my mental image of Wyoming Wallace, Hunter Pence is pretty close)

1B Brandon Belt–A bartender who has lots of luck with the ladies, until he finds the one girl who is the gin to his tonic.  Soul patch, tall, lanky. 

LF Travis Ishikawa–This name just screams scientist.  Ishikawa develops a time machine that . . .

SS Brandon Crawford–Brandon Crawford is a Hollywood superstar, but beneath the perfect smile and hair he hides a dark secret.

SP Madison Bumgarner–President Madison Bumgarner must overcome international terrorists and domestic political division to unify the nation before its too late. 

Yeah, these are some great names.  Sadly, Kansas City just doesn’t have quite the pizzazz that the Giant names do.

image of Hunter Pence from www.kshb.com


Pop the popcorn and make the red Kool-Aid
Pop the popcorn and make the red Kool-Aid

The World Series starts tonight.  That’s right, a sporting event that is actually slow enough to watch without needing nausea medicine afterward.  This year pits the Kansas City Royals from the American League against the San Francisco Giants from the National League.  We dodged having a completely regional World Series when San Fran put the hated St. Louis Cardinals out of their misery.

San Francisco will win in six, maybe seven games, because they have more experience and better all-around pitching.  However, if Kansas City won I would be very happy.  It has been a long time since George Brett . . .

Now for a little ebola.  I was traveling this weekend, and so didn’t really discover until Monday morning that apparently President Obama appointed an “Ebola Tzar” (or is it Ebola Czar, Ebola Tsar–come on Russia, get your act together) to help us figure out how not to become feverish vomiting zombies (FVZ’s).  I almost laughed my head off, though, when I learned that the new ebola comrade was not a doctor, disease specialist, scientists, or even hygienist but was instead a . . . drum roll please . . . lawyer.  His name is Ron Klain and as best I can tell, his only qualifications are that he was a campaign adviser for Joe Biden.  That sound you hear is the sound of politicians scratching another back.

Only a lawyer (Obama) could look at a zombie inflicting extinction event like ebola (I may be exaggerating just a bit here, but FOXNEWS has my parents absolutely petrified of ebola) . . wait, where was I . . oh, only a lawyer could look at the ebola problem and decide that what we needed to save the day was another lawyer.

Have you seen the photos of Renee Zellwegger?  It is quite sad.  Apparently she showed up, for the first time in a long time, at an event over the weekend.  Well, she has, she has metamorphed.  That is the best word for it.  It is yet one more example of plastic surgery, a sick culture, and the objectification of women ruining another beautiful person.  She doesn’t look bad or ugly or broken.  She just doesn’t look like Renee Zellweger.  Sad.  Very sad.  For an opposite view, click here to read an interesting piece that says we shouldn’t comment at all because those poor Hollywood stars are in a lose/lose situation.

Where did you go, Renee?
Where did you go, Renee?

For me, her appearance is almost a metaphor for why so many people are miserable.  Literally, in attempting to make other people be pleased with her, she has lost her own identity.  Until we become comfortable with who we are, growing older, and our limitations joy will always be something on the horizon–one more surgery, one more purchase, one more prescription, one more . . . away.

images from cbssports.com and yahoo.com