The old year is closing out the books and the new year is about to jump on our faces like the otherworldly creature in the original 1979 Ridley Scott movie “Alien.” This being the case, readers often expect the year in review or predictions for the coming year — maybe both. Well, let’s see what we’ve got. 

If we stick to the good news or at least news that isn’t tainted with our impending doom, you may remember 

that we had an important election here in the USA that happened without a hitch except in those states where election irregularities are mandatory. And better still, the lost boys were successfully rescued from that nasty cave in Thailand. There was no better news than Kim Jong Un’s believable announcement that North Korea will denuclearize, which overshadowed the news that Vladimir Putin got re-elected as the Russian president for the third, maybe fourth time. Who’s counting? 

A good part of Puerto Rico went without electricity for 

11 months but it was mostly restored before year’s end for the handful of residents who couldn’t leave. The world would have done more to help except that there was a huge disturbance in the force due to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in England.

But at the top of all the events that come to my mind as accomplishments for the year 2018 is that we, collectively as the human civilization, managed to place a 2008 model, cherry red Tesla Roadster Sport in orbit around the sun. 

Technically “we” did not do it. Elon Musk needed a payload for the first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket produced by his company SpaceX. Rather than risk something like a $100 million satellite, the car would act as a suitable and relatively cheap stand-in. At first I thought it might have been a prank pulled by his tech crew when Mr. Musk was away in la-la land, joint in hand. You can imagine him going to his executive parking space and wondering, “Where is my car? I know I drove it to work; at least I think I remember driving it to work.…” 

The real story is that the engineers were going to send concrete or steel blocks as the dummy payload but Musk deemed it too boring and when the idea came up to use a car, Musk quickly offered up his own, demonstrating that he has the imagination and chutzpa to bring an artistic, human touch to his mega-projects. Aside from the technical merits, it stands in my opinion as the greatest kinetic-art feat of the year if not of our time. As author Kyle Chayka from The Verge wrote: “Let its eternal presence in space and the viral documentation of its trip be a monument to our time: excessive, self-obsessed, and delusional as it is. It seems perfect.”

As difficult as it is to remember what happened this year, it’s just impossible to predict what’s to come in the next, but we’ll give it a shot. 

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, at 2300 hours GMT but that’s only if the trains are running on time and everyone in Britain is on board. Fat chance. It doesn’t take much of a fortune teller to predict that it’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

2019 has been designated as International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. Predictably, we are really going to have a fun year with that in this column.

The 2019 Cricket World Cup is scheduled to be held in England and Wales, May through July. I predict that it will be a huge event riveting the world’s attention except in America where we still don’t understand cricket and we are too busy texting to figure it out.

Finally I predict that the movie “Alien” will officially be 40 years old next year. Thankfully, the film is set in the year 2122 so we won’t have to worry about creatures jumping onto our faces just yet. (However, the film “Blade Runner” is set taking place in November 2019.) I have only seen “Alien” once, when it was released, but to this day I still vividly recall two scenes: the creature jumping onto John Hurt’s face and Sigourney Weaver walking around the spaceship in her underwear. This is significant. And, I might point out, it is also great art.

Happy New Year.