Steve Paul

Steve Paul: Dangers ahead along with some easily predictable sublime moments

ICYMI: 2016 will bring a presidential election. Here, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton campaigns in New Hampshire. Will she be our next president?
ICYMI: 2016 will bring a presidential election. Here, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton campaigns in New Hampshire. Will she be our next president? The Associated Press

As the year turned, most people in the Kansas City area could count themselves fortunate. They eluded the raging waters that have caused death and destruction on the eastern side of Missouri.

The weather and nature’s hydraulic forces affirm that so much of life is unpredictable. Seize the day. Cherish the moment. Hug the one you’re with.

We face the trials of life and death daily. And doesn’t it seem harder with each day’s passing?

Which brings me to the task of the moment, which is the columnist’s folly of peering ahead. I’m relatively new to the task, but my wild predictions in this wholly unpredictable climate seem to make as much sense — or nonsense — as anyone else’s.

To wit:

▪ The world will remain a dangerous place.

The Obama administration will continue to struggle with explaining how it’s getting a grip on the calamities in the Middle East and going after the scourge of Daesh, or the Islamic State, or ISIS or ISIL, however you want to name it.

And the GOP presidential candidates will continue to batter Obama while presenting their own battle-against-ISIS plans, most of which sound exactly like what the U.S. is currently doing.

Predictions: More progress will be made in pushing the extremists out of territories they’d taken in Iraq, as we’ve seen in recent days in Ramadi. More madness will erupt as Daesh and its spawn strike in unexpected spots around the globe.

▪ I hear there’s a presidential campaign going on and an election scheduled for November. Hmm. I’m feeling it this way: In the end, it’s Hillary Clinton versus Marco Rubio. Clinton wins.

▪ A certain Dutch woman will capture the imagination of thousands of visitors to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in the first half of 2016. She’s the subject of Vermeer’s luminous portrait, “A Lady Writing,” which will take center stage among other Dutch masterworks of the 17th century, beginning Feb. 24. Prediction: old world art show of the year.

▪ Oh those Royals. Where were you on Parade Day? And where will the Royals be when the 2016 season ends?

Predictions: With or without Alex Gordon, the Royals make the post-season once again, though not the World Series. But Gordon does, indeed, return. And the number of people who claim to have been among the 800,000 loyal blue souls for the biggest civic get-together of our lifetimes will at least double in the coming year.

▪ As much as the winning Kansas City Chiefs have impressed, they also will enter the post-season playoffs with too many vulnerabilities, especially when matched against some surging powers. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not holding out for a Super Bowl berth.

▪ A few years ago, on a walk through the Winston Churchill War Rooms and Museum in London, I learned about an astounding episode of danger and derring-do. Churchill was a war correspondent — a working journalist, that is — during the Boer War in South Africa, and in November 1899, at the age of 25, he was captured and imprisoned by the Boers. But he escaped!

Quite a story. And not long after encountering it, I learned that my friend Candice Millard was writing a book about that very period of Churchill’s life.

This is an easy prediction: Millard’s book on Churchill — “Hero Of The Empire,” scheduled to come out in September — will be every bit as absorbing and exciting to read as her two previous works of narrative non-fiction. You’ll remember those books — “River of Doubt,” about a perilous journey taken by Theodore Roosevelt, and “Destiny of the Republic,” about a medical debacle and the assassination of President James Garfield. Count on it.

Steve Paul: paul@kcstar.com, @sbpaul

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