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Wednesday, January 1, 2014


The following list has more to do with announced happenings this year, but, now and then, I might proffer a prognostication (some of this comes from The Economist:  The World in 2014):

JANUARY:  The Chinese New Year is January 31, goes on for 15 days, and features the Horse.  Those born this year will be cheerful, clever and stubborn.  Some celebrity Horses are Davy Crockett, Teddy Roosevelt, Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Jackie Chan, Oprah, Kobe and John Travolta.

FEBRUARY:  Three days later on February 2 is SuperBowl #48.  Only 1% of tickets are provided to the general public, but apparently you can still get tickets for $2337.50. You had 1 chance in 30 of winning the lottery for the 1000 tickets at $500 each. The First was memorable, for after a period of acrimony, the American Football League and National Football League in 1967 finally put their grudges aside, with the Green Pay Packers (NFL--Vince Lombardi on right) beating the Kansas City Chiefs (AFL--Hank Stram on left), 35-10.  This could happen again this year.  It could also snow, being held in New Jersey.  However, the favorites for SB 48 are the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.  I pick the San Francisco 49ers to win it all.

Four days later on February 6 begins the Sochi Winter Olympics, which goes on till the 23rd.  Russia edged out South Korea (which won the first ballot) in 2007 to gain this event.  The initial budget projection was $12 billion, but costs ballooned to $51 billion.  Considering that the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010 cost $8.2 billion, you can only wonder what happened.  Embezzlement and kickbacks to Putin are two mentioned reasons.  From gay rights to terrorism (40,000 law enforcement officials will be present) to the fact that this will be the warmest winter olympics on record, the signs are cloudy, but not snowy enough.  In the USA, NBC will televise, 539 (or maybe 1539, depending on what you count) hours on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC and USA.  Anyway, this all begins at 8PM ET on Thursday, February 6.  Canada and Russia are favored to win the ice hockey gold, but watch out for Finland.  Another miracle on ice for the USA?

MARCH:  This is a big year for Brazil, and Rio in particular, my choice as happiest and most beautiful city in the world.  Carnival this year begins on February 28 and dances through the 5th of March:

NASA declared Comet Ison was vaporized by our Sun on 28November2013, at the age of 4.5 billion years.  In October of 2007, Comet Holmes became a million times brighter, and suddenly viewable to the naked eye, even larger (in length) than our Sun.  Some say this was the largest light explosion in our solar system, ever.  On March 27 Holmes will be at perihelion (closest to the Sun).  Will it survive?  Yes, for this comet will be more than two AUs (distance of Earth from the Sun) away, 300 times further than Comet Ison.  There are more comets reaching perihelion this year than I can count.

APRIL:  I predict there will be two lunar and two solar eclipses in 2014:
2014 Apr 15: Total Lunar Eclipse
2014 Apr 29: Annular Solar Eclipse
2014 Oct 08: Total Lunar Eclipse
2014 Oct 23: Partial Solar Eclipse
Obviously, times have changed and you're not a bunch of savages out there, but Hawaii will see both total lunar eclipses, and miss the two solar eclipses.  If you are under those moving oval shadows, you will be in the path of the solar eclipses.

The Boston Marathon will be held on Patriot's Day, April 21.  There could be as many as 40,000 participants.  You need a qualifying time based on your age:
  • 34 and under:  3 hrs 05 min for men and  3 hrs 35 min for women
  • 50-54:  3 hrs 30 min for men and 4 hrs for women
  • 75-79:  4 hrs 40 mn for men and 5 hrs 10 min for women
I can cross this off my list for 2014.

MAY:  Well, there is Cinco de Mayo on the 5th and Mother's Day on the eleventh. But nothing much else happening around the world.

JUNE:  Who said President Barack Obama was not going to Sochi this year.  He will be at the G8 gathering here on June 5.  This is their 40th summit.

Brazil then hosts the World Cup beginning on June 12, with the final match in Rio at 4 PM on July 13.  Brazil is favored, followed by Argentina, Germany and Spain.  The odds of the USA prevailing range from one chance in 125 to one chance in 200, or, forget it.  

Remember that tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 2722 feet, 642 feet higher than #2, the Tokyo Sky Tree?  Well, in June of this year, even though construction has not even started, China has announced that Sky City One will be finished at 2749 feet in Changsha, Hunan.  There will be 202 stories, a hotel for a thousand guests, a hospital, 5 schools, offices and apartments for 17,400 people.  There will be 17 helipads, 8 basketball courts and 104 high speed elevators.  All lights will be LED and the windows will have 4 layers.  Sky City One will be designed to withstand a 9.0 Richter Scale earthquake.  Changsha is 400 miles from the ocean, so I don't think typhoons will get close to threaten wind damage.  All this for a cost of $1.46 billion.  Can they make the June date?  If they begin on January 13, as planned, yes.  This is not all, for five of the ten highest skyscrapers are in construction in China

June 4 is the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square.  But where in China will the date be commemorated?  Try Hong Kong.

JULY:  July 29 is National Lasagna Day.

AUGUST:  Can you believe it was 1964 when you sang:
which is something to say when you have nothing to say.  Yes Mary Poppins is celebrating her 50th anniversary.  Surely you've seen "Saving Mr. Banks?"  I haven't yet, but probably will.

SEPTEMBER:  Scotland will vote for independence on September 18.  The betting odds are 4:1 against independence.

OCTOBER:  October 1 is World Vegetarian Day.

NOVEMBER:  It was 9November1989 when the Berlin Wall fell, the beginning of the end of the Cold War, which officially occurred in 1991.  So this is the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall.

DECEMBER:  All American combat troops will leave Afghanistan.  However, up to 20,000 military "representatives" will remain to train, etc. The long term?  Who knows.

At the end of the year, or maybe sometime in 2015, China's carbon emissions will be double that of the USA.  The suggested solution (not by me) is fracking.

Not much of a year, so let me make one sweeping but vague prediction:  the stock market will crash this year...or next.  What is a crash? A 5000 point Dow Jones Industrial Average drop would qualify.  What caused the fall in 2008 to the brink of a depression in early 2009?  Lehman Brothers?  Banks?  Nope.  In July of 2008 oil reached an all time high of $147/barrel, which catalyzed the decline.  Both energy crises, in 1973 and 1979, caused similar problems.  Each petroleum predicament was different.  The next one could be anything from Israel bombing Iran to the Fall of the House Saud to something totally unexpected, the more likely prospect.  Watch the price of oil and be ready to enter the market a few months after the next major leap (but make sure to invest at or near the bottom of the Dow):

Tropical Cyclone Bejisa is at 120 MPH and will strengthen a bit.  However, latest projections show the eye moving slightly westward to now mostly affect the western coast of Reunion:


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