Woog's World / Crystal ball was never clearer in 2011
This year was one of my best ever.
For instance, I called the mega-controversy over downtown development. I didn't exactly single out 35 Church St. as the flashpoint for months of discussion, nor did I note another maelstrom over the six-floor movie theater. But I did say, "Get ready to rumble over zoning issues. There are a number of competing visions of Main Street and environs out there, and all of them can't work together. This could be the year the town puts its brakes on new buildings -- or green-lights big-time demolition and renovation."
For good measure, I added: "Zoning will turn into a political hot potato in the November elections. Don't be surprised if the Republicans start sounding like Democrats, and vice versa. And keep your eye on Save Westport Now. This long-dormant party may start flexing its political muscle in the months ahead."
I nailed the weather, too. A few days before Christmas, I said: "If you haven't gotten out your scarves and shovels yet, don't push your luck. The weather outside may be delightful, but soon it may turn frightful. While we're saying ho ho ho, I look ahead to snow snow snow."
Sure enough, within a few days we were enjoying a winter wonderland. The second and third storms followed soon thereafter. By the fourth through eighth, we were in a murderous mood -- and worried about everything from collapsing ceilings to spring floods.
Again, you should have listened to me last December. I said, "I have two words for January and February: roof rakes. You may not have heard of them now, but believe me. In two months, you will."
I also predicted two other important meteorological events. "Sometime in the next year, watch out for a hurricane," I said. "We haven't had one in a while. I'm thinking late August. And when it comes -- well, goodnight Irene."
Then, I added: "I've also got a bad feeling about our electrical grid. There are just too many trees around. In the coming year, we may see some storm-related power outages. And if CL&P doesn't get its act together, it could get hammered not once, but twice. You never know when a freak October storm will cause trees filled with leaves to come crashing down."
Not to pat myself on the back too much -- well, why not? -- but I also look like a genius on the agricultural front. "The Wakeman Town Farm is a fantastic resource," I said last December. "Everyone loves Mike Aitkenhead and his family, and they're doing amazing things as stewards up on Cross Highway. But they can't get complacent. This is a crazy town, and you never know when someone will come in and give them the boot."
However, I continued, "if that happens, wiser heads will prevail. WTF is too good a place to put a question mark at the end of those initials."
It didn't take a genius to predict that real estate would continue to suffer -- "the condo unit next to mine will finally sell in December after two years on the market," I said -- but I am feeling pretty good that my national predictions panned out too. Well, I would feel good if those prognostications hadn't been so bad.
"Gridlock in Washington will reach unprecedented levels," I said. "The government will avert a couple of shutdowns, thanks to some last-second, high-wire maneuvering. But a year from now -- in December 2011 -- we'll still be looking at Congress, shaking our heads. I don't know what they'll be arguing over, but chances are it will be a new low in legislative finger-pointing."
Furthermore, I said, "It looks right now like Mitt Romney is the inevitable Republican nominee for president, but don't bet the bank. Newt Gingrich may have had three wives, been reprimanded by the House and ordered to pay a $300,000 fine for ethical wrongdoing while serving as speaker -- but values-oriented voters could love him!"
I did make one major error, though. I said, "Look for Kim Kardashian to be married, in an extravaganza that consumes the entire country -- but only for three months." I missed that one by 18 days. My bad.
So once again, congratulations to me for my 2011 predictions. Unfortunately, I forgot to write them down, but that's okay. They were there in my head. Honest they were. I remember them, just as clear as if it was yesterday.
You can trust me. Hey, I'm a writer. Not a politician.