Predicting the future is a growth industry. From Madame So-and-So’s palm reading parlor to bloated Washington think tanks to Nostradamus, telling us today what will happen tomorrow is a way to make money even in a down economy.

If I’m still writing about bad gift situations by Independence Day, somebody pull the plug. Meanwhile here are more “worst gifts ever” contenders, sent by readers. I give no names in the interest of domestic tranquility.

The Boeing 717 aircraft began service in 1999 flying AirTran routes from Atlanta to Washington D.C. Now it is widely used, a good plane, but its designers left off a key piece of it.  

I’ll bet that in this pre-Halloween season, those “haunted houses” that pop up every October, full of scary things, are not as popular as they once were.

This is going to be the most exciting, thrilling and fulfilling newspaper column in American history. Canadian history too. And maybe Belize.

Here’s a quiz about you.  An interviewer sprang it on me during a recent interview about our new crime thriller novel, “Deadly News.”

No kidding. Turtle lovers, the conservationists, not graffiti-crazed kids with cans of spray paint, say there is a connection between the future of human life on earth and the future of sea turtles.

I’ve enjoyed learning about people’s first cars in recent Farmer File columns. For example, I had no idea how many people have deep and detailed memories of just about everything connected with the cars in their lives.

Being around a zillion books in one relatively small space is a heady, heartening experience.

I am writing this from my cliché place, a quiet corner where my mind rejects all thoughts that include any words coined, minted, made up, imaginated (I made that one up too,) or otherwise foisted on the English-speaking world since at least the year 2000. Or last Thursday.

On Monday, Aug. 5, any number of TV sports analysts, pundits and punks said it was a day that would live in baseball history. Sob. It may be true.

One of the ways a new book gets known to the public is for book reviewers and others to bestow their blessings or their curses or, even worse, their ennui. By reviewers, I don’t mean just official book reviewers/critics for media outlets, print and electronics.

Ask people to talk about their first cars and answers mayvaryfrom,“Gee,I’ mnot sure. I think maybe it was a Chevy, a ‘60-something,” to “A red and white Ford Fairlane 500 with stick shift, 375 horsepower, cam framis with chrome wheels, a lighted glove box housing a Pez dis- penser and a Zippo.”

I love baseball. Any sort of baseball, even the legendary excesses of the Babe, the self-defeating steroidal sub-culture, the feckless follies of the St. Louis Browns and the pathetic quality of some umpires these days.

Last Sunday CNN turned 33 years old. That sparked memories of some of the fun and funny things that happened in the early weeks and months of my time at the network some snotty, major network people called “Chicken Noodle News.”

A reporter friend told me long ago that the definition of an “expert” on current events is a person who reads a front page story, then always turns to page 8-A and reads the rest of the story.

A four-minute musical video with almost two million visitors on YouTube is famous across all political lines, with the far left and the far right watching it, talking about it and, in some cases, insulting each other over it.

As I began to write a column about collecting antique radios, I realized I had left my eye glasses, um, elsewhere, not in the home office where I sat, blurringly looking at my computer.

The first thing I learned when I decided to write a novel was that there is more stuff written about writing than there is about the Kardashians.  And much of it has about as much value.

In this space last week I made some people laugh and some cringe with tales of impolite, impertinent, impossible houseguests at a friend’s beachfront home in Florida.

One of America’s quainteries that has survived societal turbulence, social media and even the Maury Povich show’s TV assault on our senses is the newspaper column Miss Manners.

While trying to shed a few pounds these days, I also am trying to shed some of my crotchety ways when it comes to social media.

One of the byproducts of living in an area with people of all ages, which is roughly ages 7 through heaven, is the pesky predilection to make well-meaning but risky social conversation.

A trend in news stories, on radio, TV and in print, is to include some puzzling details that have absolutely nothing to do with the importance or impact of the report.

As you must know by now, Neal Boortz has left the building, literally, and if his schedule hasn’t changed, he and his wife Donna by now are on the road again, in semi-retirement, tooling around the nation in a mansion on wheels.