Originally created 09/15/99

Predictions often are incorrect



Don't think the way you are today is the way you'll always be.

-- Vince Dooley

One of the first things you learn about making predictions in the news media is that people respond favorably.

The second thing you learn is that proclaiming such forecasts is easy because nobody ever goes back to check your accuracy.

That's why I love to clip old news articles that attempt a look into the future. I used to enjoy making fun of psychic Jeane Dixon's annual tabloid effort.

Twelve months would pass and I'd dig out my yellowed copy and find the late Ms. Dixon was usually off the mark.

Over the weekend, I found an old copy of U.S. News magazine which included several predictions through the end of this decade.

Among them: The economy would stall. Mortgage rates would drop. And North Korea would become President Clinton's "Cuban Missile Crisis."

On the other hand, the magazine predicted: Conflict would spread in the Balkans. The 1996 GOP presidential bid would fail. And soccer's popularity would grow in the United States.

In all, not bad.

MAILBAG: Peter Cakanic of North Augusta responds to a recent column with his vote for the best labor saving device -- tomorrow.

Stu drops us two vacation postcards. One is from Michigan, where he was looking for a Detroit Tigers baseball game before historic Tiger Stadium is closed for demolition. "A shame," he writes. "Well, we still have Fenway."

He also sends a postcard from South Bend, Ind., last coaching stop for Lou Holtz, now of South Carolina. "Wonder if he can turn it around?" he writes.

TODAY'S RIDDLE: Comes from Janice McNair of Augusta.

With thieves I consort. With the vilest, in short, I'm quite at my ease in depravity. Yet all divines use me, and savants can't lose me, for I am the center of gravity. Who or what am I? (Answer Friday.)

TODAY'S JOKE: Comes from Beverly in Martinez.

It seems a traveler drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big, strong horse named Buddy.

He hitched him up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!"

Buddy didn't move.

Then the farmer hollered, `Pull, Buster, pull!"

Buddy didn't respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!"

Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!"

And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative but curious. "Why," he asked the farmer, "did you call the horse by the wrong name three times?"

"Old Buddy is blind," the farmer chuckled, "and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 107, or bkirby@augustachronicle.com.