Sunday, May 06, 2007

Criswell Predicts!

We visited our friends near Coal City, Illinois, on Saturday,and down that way a subdivision was hosting dozens of garage sales at the same time. So naturally we went, and the prize catch was a black ovoid grill for $5. Not new, of course, but in much better shape than the one we’ve been using since we moved here in 2003. A leg fell off of it a few days ago, fortunately when it was cold. Its bottom is partly rusted out, too.

Today Lilly and I gave the new grill a trial by fire (literally) and the entire family enjoyed the grilled meat results of that trial. So the old one will go out on Tuesday morning with the rest of the trash. I predict that the new one will last until at least 2010, longer if I store it in the garage in the winter.

Speaking of predictions, for one dime I also picked up a copy The People’s Almanac Presents the Book of Predictions, published in 1981, in fairly good shape for a paperback of a quarter-century vintage and then some. You don’t know how much this makes me smile. For a number of reasons.

For one thing, once upon a time, there was no Internet, no Google, no Wikipedia. Hard to remember, but it’s so. We had reference books in those days, varying from dry to juicy, and few had more juice than the Wallechinsky, Wallace & Wallace series that began with The Book of Lists in the mid-70s and included a run of enormously fat volumes called People’s Almanacs. Invariably interesting reading, though after a while you’d notice that its editorial policy was pretty much “shovel it in, we don’t have time to check facts too closely.” Just one example: in the PA, the legend of Pope Joan was presented as fact, covered up by a duplicitous church (ah, the spirit of Watergate).

I never had a copy of The Book of Predictions. This is gold. Hundreds of achingly old predictions from experts, futurists and psychics, and if my thumbing through it today is any indication, 95 percent nonsense, and mostly not the kind of nonsense you need hindsight to see. Such as this gem from Timothy Leary: [By 1992], “in North America, science will have produced a utopian civilization of aesthetic tolerance, intelligence and sophistication.” It’s hard to know just how seriously the late Dr. Leary took his prognostication, but that smells like “what outrageous thing can I write today?”


At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to remember that Dr. Leary was on drugs most of the time. ANK


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