Every year in February, a hog emerges from his hole to see if he can visualize a shadow. Or at least that’s what the men in top hats compel us to believe.
And this time of year, as Christmas feelings of warmth wane down and turn into cold winds of a new year, I review the predictions I made one year back and delve deep into the coal mine crystal ball to come up with a new set.
A trying year deserves people to try a bit harder.
First, a link to last year’s predictions page: http://coalspeaker.com/2016/12/28/my-predictions-for-2017/   The page was created the final week of December. No cheating took place. It is what I said then, listed here, with commentary on accuracy in red.
  1. Donald Trump is going to have a much more difficult time than expected. At least initially.  He will be besieged by protests and also by people within his own party. By the middle of the year, he will realize that by going directly to people above party leaders can motivate the electorate to accept some if his policies. I expect rallies by the end of the year to be a normal course of White House business.
    I think this turned to be extremely accurate.  It was a year if chaos! Russian intrigue! Monumental failures of public perception and legislation… followed by rallies held by Trump and a sense of ‘normalcy.’  The tax cut bill just passed… This prediction was the best I made in ages.
  2. The stock market will hit 20,000 and stay within that range. By August we will be speculating when the market will hit 25,000.
    Again, this prediction is beyond accurate. NO ONE, and I mean no one, really believed this could happen. And just this month, CNN was writing articles about what DOW 25,000 really means,
  3. Vladimir Putin will either visit the United States or Donald Trump will visit Russia. Either way a more united front will emerge.
    Accurate again. Trump gave information to Putin, Putin and Trump both showed love for each other at public venues. Putin did not visit the United States. But his entire team did on more than one occasion.
  4. The weather in 2017 will be hot. As hot as 2016.. there may be slick spots of winter that emerge from time to time sporadically throughout the world, but the majority of the months to come will feature hotter than normal temperatures.
  5. The British Royal family will have to decide how to move forward after a tragic scenario.. there may be a new queen before 2018.
    The situation was not tragic. There was Royal news. A marriage is coming in 2018. And another baby. But no death.
  6. Stephen Colbert may be facing cancellation in 2017. There is going to be a dramatic realignment of late night TV. People are tired of an obsessive amount of politics during the daytime hours. The nighttime should be sacred for comedy. People may turn on political version of such by rebelling against the Colbert program on CBS.
    I was completely, totally, and morbidly wrong on this ... I thought people would get sick of politics. Instead Colbert ended up being one of the TOP figures on TV in 2017..
  7. BREXIT. Trump. I think France and Germany will have upheaval in 2017. The world is shaking like a post-earthquake atmosphere from the changes in 2016. Transitions something are sloppy. And we have somehow transitioned into something very different than we were in 16..
    Yes there was. But not earthquake nightmare status. Just your normal run of the crisis. I will say I got this one wrong.
  8. Major hacking will reveal something in 2017. Either from Wikileaks, or a source not yet to be named. Secrets will become revealed in 2017 to make us question what type of reality we live in.
    Nothing more than usual. Half-right.
  9. Though everyone seems to predict it, Donald Trump will be aggressive in NOT declaring war or bombing other nations. (This is a prediction, but also a prayer)
    A prayer came through in 2017. Maybe not 18. Yes, there were comments of ‘fire and fury’ but bombs, besides the typical daily drone strikes, did not occur. 
  10. Virtual reality! All the rage in 2016! …..but just wait. I predict the opposite for 2017.
    I think I am half-correct here. The rage became more normal. It’s now a part of our daily existence.

And with that! We move on..
We move on to the new list. The great top ten predictions for 2018.
I don’t write what I hope or don’t hope what happens. It’s just what I think will happen.
  1.  Donald Trump will not be impeached. He will not resign. He will not be placed into jail.  But he may be facing a crisis of epic proportions as the Russian investigation closes in on allies and friends. By the end the year we will be discussing who Trump will pardon.
  2. The mid-term elections will be strange. The voter turnout will not be as high as some predict. Instead, in many states, Democrats will sweep. But in the reddest of states, Republicans will hold their base. The base, as small as it is becoming, will vote.  The Senate will go Democrat but the House will stay red.
  3. CHINA is going to become the world superpower in 2018. Not ‘almost become.’ But become. They will thrive economically and be a major factor in the actions taken in North Korea.
  4. The United States will continue to close in on Kim Jong UN. Action will not occur until Kim goes too far. The action taken will initially be defensive. However, a bombing campaign may take place in pinpointed locations in North Korea, with the goal to cause chaos for his ruling leaders, but not death.
  5. Unfortunately a continuation of mass shootings and terror attacks will not only be less shocking but as normal as car accidents and heroin overdoses. We are living in an age of terror..
  6. The Olympics in South Korea will be fine. Security will be tight. But there will also be a global lack of interest in the games.
  7. There will be a revelation about life in space that could change and alter the course of humanity and earthly religions.
  8. 2018 will be colder! It will be a marked change from the previous two decades. But 2018 will not end up being the hottest year in history. Maybe just the tenth or twelfth.
  9. There may be a new King of England by year’s end.
  10. The DOW will surge to 29,000. It will not hit 30,000. But then will fall. In the mean time, various new forms of bit currency will change the landscape of money as we know it.

And that’s a wrap!
We’ll check next year as the year changes to 2019 to see just how well, or unwell, I did.

What also mattered: The Forgotten Stories of 2017

With all of the drama over sensational headlines and big stars being brought down, we seemingly forgot that Puerto Rico lost 90% of its power from a hurricane, that St Marteen was leveled from a storm, that Houston Texas faced epic flooding of proportions never before seen in the city, and that 600 people were shot at a concert in Las Vegas. 

All of the news that mattered in a 24/7 environment forgets the news that also matters.

It’s the fact of our new lives…

LOST IN 2017

You summarize a year often by recalling people who were lost. People of fame, fortune, misdeeds, or crimes, Cut down by the constant path of the Angel of Death. By the ultimate judge and jury of life.

2016 was an amazingly horrible year for deaths. 2017 began almost immediately the same and stayed that way for the duration of 365 days.

We are seemingly going through a change of age. Those figures we came to either distain or admire for a generation are gone. In January, wrestling legend and potential murderer Jimmy Snuka began it all. In December we ended with the most famous criminal mastermind of our time, Charles Manson.

All in a year.

All in twelve months.

Those we lost in 2017.

x x x x x x

Not much love lost with this loss. Charles Manson dead in 17.

Fats Domino, famous for his boogie-woogie piano music during the birth of modern rock, dead.. He was one of the biggest stars of the early rock ’n’ roll era. He died on Tuesday at his home in Harvey, La., across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. He was 89.

Robert Guillaume, the urbane actor who received two Emmy Awards for portraying the acidic butler Benson on a pair of ABC sitcoms, died Tuesday. He was 89. Guillaume, a baritone who also starred on the stage and voiced the wise mandrill Rafiki in The Lion King (1994) and its related sequels, video games and TV series, died at his home in Los Angeles, his wife, Donna Brown Guillaume, told the Associated Press. He had been battling prostate cancer.

One of the biggest losses in music happened in 2017.

Tom Petty dead.

A relic of a sexist era gone.. Hugh Hefner dead at 91..

Hugh Hefner – the silk-robed Casanova whose Playboy men’s magazine popularized the term “centerfold,” glamorized an urbane bachelor lifestyle and helped spur the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s – has died, his company said late Wednesday. He was 91. Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 with $600 of his own money and built the magazine into a multimillion-dollar entertainment empire that at its 1970s peak included TV shows, a jazz festival and a string of Playboy Clubs whose cocktail waitresses wore bunny ears and cottontails.

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, quite possibly the best manager and the best color commentator in American pro wrestling history, has died. The news was broken by Jim Ross. Heenan was 73. Somewhere in the sky the Brain and Gorilla Monsoon are calling a match.

Tobe Hooper, director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has died aged 74, the Los Angeles County Coroner has confirmed. The cause of death is not yet known. Hooper was born in Austin, Texas in 1943. For much of the 1960s he worked as a university professor and a documentary cameraman. He made his directing debut with Eggshells, a low-budget hippie movie released in 1969.

Jay Thomas, who is best remembered for his roles as talk show host Jerry Gold on”Murphy Brown” and hockey player Eddie Lebec on “Cheers” has died at age 69.

His agent Don Buchwald told the New York Daily News that he had cancer.

Jerry Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died on Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91.

DICK GREGORY, famed civil rights leader and American humorist, dead at 84..

Dick Gregory came into my consciousness in 1968 (I was 11) because he made headlines for going on a hunger strike. This was after he was already famous as humorist and comic. This was shocking. He protested the lack of rights for Native Americans in Washington state. It would become the first of many hunger strikes Gregory would use as a method of protest from his early days right up until age 80…

John Decamp, famous for his book and investigation of the Franklin Credit Union and abuse scandals, has succumbed to his earthly fate.

Chester Bennington, Linkin Park’s frontman, dead at the age of 41.. He hanged himself at his residence ..

In May of this year, Bennington penned an open letter to his friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, who also committed suicide.. Cornell died at the age of 52.

MARTIN LANDAU DEAD AT 89.. He had just celebrated his birthday.

Landau was the crafty master of disguise for the TV version of “Mission: Impossible,” then capped a long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s “Ed Wood.”

George A. Romero, who launched the zombie film genre with his 1968 “Night of the Living Dead,” died on Sunday, Variety has confirmed. He was 77.

The director died in his sleep following a battle with lung cancer

Nelsan Ellis, best known for playing Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s True Blood, has died due to complications from heart failure. He was 39.

Joan Lee, the wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, died Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 95.

Animal House actor Stephen Furst passes away at age 62 from complications of diabetes ..

Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl has died, aged 87. Having led Germany for 16 years, he is remembered for reuniting the country..

Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman. He was 88. West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said. West died peacefully surrounded by his family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Manuel Noriega dead at 83

Zbigniew Brzezinski dead at 89


Aaron Hernandez commits suicide in prison cell »

Don Rickles… dead at 90. And with him also does the fine art of insult comedy

David Rockefeller dead at 101..

Chuck Berry dead at 90..

Alan Colmes dead at 66..

Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion but who later became an outspoken opponent of the procedure, died Saturday. She was 69.

Ivan Koloff, knowing among wrestling fans as “The Russian Bear,” has died. He was 74.

Wrestling legend George ‘The Animal’ Steele has died at the age of 79.

The WWE Hall of Fame star passed away after suffering from kidney failure.

His wife told TMZ he had been in and out of hospice care since April.


May he rest in retail peace..

TV icon Mary Tyler Moore died on Wednesday after being hospitalized in Connecticut, her rep confirmed . She was 80.

Miguel Ferrer, ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Actor, Dies at 61

In December 2016, wrestling legend Jimmy ‘Super Fly’ Snuka was put into hospice and given 6 months to live. In January, he succumbed to his fate.. He was ruled unfit to stand trial in the death of his girlfriend from the 1980s. Snuka was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter over the death of his girlfriend Nancy Argentino in 1983. He was declared mentally incompetent at a hearing in June 2016 and was due to attend a hearing to re-evaluate his condition. Nancy, 23, was taken to hospital gasping for air and oozing yellow liquid from her mouth on May 10, 1983, having spent the night in a hotel room with Snuka. That is the sad legacy of the wrestling giant– he was famous in his prime.. He couldn’t stand trial to do his time. And he is gone rot a greater judge and jury beyond the earthly realm in 2017.

STRANGEST face of the year: 2017 in review

When the Stranger Things cast went on stage to accept the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, actor David Harbour delivered an impassioned acceptance speech on behalf of the cast. 

His speech — and the faces that Winona Ryder made during it — was the most viral moment of the evening.


Lady Gaga at the Superbowl was far better than the game. 

Far better than the ADS. And one of the greatest live performances that ever aired.


This may be the best video of the entire year.. a serious interview on the BBC interrupted by a family and frantic mom herding the children off of live TV. We need to laugh more. This video helps.

Spiciest of 2017

SNL has been praised for its newfound burst of anti-Trump humor. 

But Alec Baldwin playing the president has gotten a bit old.

What never gets old however is Melissa McCartney employing a high degree of comedy as she played Sean Spicer, Spicey, on SNL. 

Of course his stint with Trump lasted only months. We have only memories of the Saturday Night LIVE version that almost, in a sense, made America like Spicey.

2017 year in review: Worst uniform of the year

Customers wondering if they got their idea from the FIRST ORDER from STAR WARS..

The biggest story of 2017 that no one wanted to talk about

In the wake of Michael’s death, his mother, Sherri Kent from Calgary, has taken to Facebook, where she posted photos of her son in the hospital in an effort to show the side effects of opioid use and how it ended her son’s life


Heroin and meth use across small towns in America have destroyed main street, families, lives, and the future.
Businesses are closed. Whether it’s because of NAFTA or just economics in general, there are few places for people to work. Few places to play. Malls and stores are gone. Chain restaurants exist but nothing of family value.

And with this vapid and rapid existence of healthy lifestyle, another thing took its place: Drug use.
Not just recreational> Life altering, life ending.

Heroin and other opioids are silently whispered about. People who condemned the druggies only a few years ago are now burying their once healthy children because they couldn’t just ‘kick the habit.’
We are in a crisis of epidemic proportions. But we’d rather not mention it. It makes us feel uncomfortable as a society.

Instead we’ll keep burying the young. That’s easier than actually finding a solution, apparently.


The GREAT American eclipse on August 21, 2017. It made history as it darkened the United States slowly that hot August day. Those who experience totality were amazed and dazzled.. like being placed in a distant world of high strangeness. Those who experienced only a certain percentage were just as impressed, as hot sidewalks became cool, and an odd aura of dimness prevailed across the land.
The next big moment comes in 2024. And after that it’s just about done for a while.
But this year?
This year was historic and amazing.

The horror entertainment of the year

I don't have to recreate the list others have already done.. the top movies of this year undoubtedly contain the films IT and GET OUT. While GERALD'S GAME is also considered a great flick, I didn't much care for it..

Concerning IT, the movie's magic works because of how similar it is to STRANGER THINGS.. Pennywise is the horrid clown in a town full of uncompassionate and scared people. Children going missing, bullies reigning their terror on adults and kids alike.. It would seem that Derry is the worst place to live..

But...could it be worse than the small hamlet in GET OUT? Where a weekend getaway exposes hatred and is a truly amazing portrayal of modern racism? 

Or the town from STRANGER THINGS. Where not much happens. Except for an underworld creature of the upside down snatching children, and BARB..? 

All of these places seemingly are the worst places for people to inhabit.. But viewers can be delighted by watching in the comfort of their own beds or couches, or cozy modern movie theaters..

The top five of the year, movies/Netflix combo, in order of goodness:

4: IT

Yes, you saw that last number correct.

Jumanji.   Future president the Rock had some lackluster acting.. the cast ensemble, however, proved amazing. The late 2017 movie was a homage to the past, nostalgia, but yet recreated Jumanji in a new light.. it was potentially one of the better movies I have ever seen. I mean that. 



The first lady had just as weird a set of months as her husband, the dear leader.

Whether it was denying that she had a stand-in body double or awkwardly standing watching Christmas dancers with a pale sad face, it was a whirlwind in 2017 for the First Lady.


There were so many! Like this image from Halloween, where President Trump welcomed various children into the Oval Office. He noted that the Asian girl near him was present, and told he was going to China for a trip.. And then he began to tell the children not to be like their parents, their parents being members of the ‘fake media.’ He took his passive aggressive anger out on the adults in the room snapping photos by telling their kids that they should not be proud of the parental professions of their guardians..

Another bizarre moment occurred soon after Trump was sworn into office. In May, when CBS’ John Dickerson interviewed him and asked about controversial topics, Trump immediately stopped the interview and walked back to his desk Resolute. He sad down. And picked up what appeared to be a blank paper.. the silence was overwhelming and awkward.

Another fun time came during the Great American eclipse on August 21 (more on that later) .. thought warnings persisted for weeks prior, the President seemed to defy logic and safety as he looked directly at the sun without protective glasses for several seconds.

And while we can go on forever, we’ll sum up the final moment only with the video of what appears to be Donald Trump’s teeth dislodging as he told the world that Jerusalem was now the capital of Israel.



It was without a doubt the story that fed people a certain sense of tabloid, scandal.. revelation. This was the year of the great Celebrity Apocalypse! 

The great unveiling! All of the sex scandals from politicians to media figures.. and even Harry Knowles from AINT IT COOL NEWS. Nothing this year seemed to surprise. 

Whether it was Matt Lauer purchasing sex toys or having a button under his desk to lock women in his office, or a Kentucky legislator Dan Johnson shooting himself in the head after being stunned by information he was under scrutiny of media due to sexual molestation. This was the year where #MeToo hashtags led to women (And men) revealing secrets became the TIME persons of the year.. Where conspiracy theories about Hollywood’s culture of child molestation became factual. Corey Feldman suddenly redeemed by revelations of truth from Tinseltown. And George Bush Senior became known as David Cop-a-feel. His own nickname stuck after various women spoke of his rear grabbing habits.

Al Franken was brought town. Roy Moore was shown the door…
So any names. So many stories. So many victims.
The eyes of the world are now watching.
And though Bill Cosby’s trial did not end with successful prosecution, what mattered this year is the public eye’s verdicts. And by 2017’s end, as soon as a tidbit of information was dropped, our culture decried and asked for termination without redemption.
In an age where all scandals are true, the subject of activity is guilty until innocent..



The lights that adorned this page have  been taken down. Christmas, a white one this year with a fluffy inch or so on the grassy surfaces, is ending..

The annual buildup and energy to the biggest holiday of the year is finished.

365 more days to go until the next budget busting seasonal fanfare.

The whirlwind amount of unwrapping makes the hours worth of work seem futile.

But this year, my son still believes. His honest and true 6-year-old heart is beautiful. The joy he brings his family is incredible. The youth and vigor in which he faces like is inspiring.

I hope you have inspiration as these 535,600 minutes of 2017 come to an end..
And in '18?
I hope we all experience a season of love.

And believe.....
Hope springs eternal.



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