Traditions And Prognostications – The McLuxies

I love traditions.

As some of you know, among our family’s traditions, my very favorite is

The McLuxies

Way back in 1992, our pal, Ellie, came up with the idea of a prognostication competition in which we would predict the outcome of a series of events during the year and whoever had the highest number of correct predictions at the end of the year would be declared the winner.

the first McLuxies

The very first McLuxies. The notation in the corner says “at Lux’s 1/1/92”.

As you can see on this very low-tech scoresheet, that first year we predicted only 4 categories: Super Bowl, World Series, Presidential election (ironically, the other “Clinton” was running that year) and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Every year since 1992, Ellie and her husband, Archie, Peter and I, and our two children have made predictions and kept score. Along the way, our children have gotten married and their spouses joined in on the competition.

Like all good traditions, this one needed a name. Ellie, creating a mash-up of our surnames, coined the moniker “McLuxies”.

We even have hats.

McLuxies Hat

For many years the winner got nothing more that a feeling of moral and intellectually superiority.

Now we have a trophy.

McLuxies Champion

Please note the plaque on the front bearing our motto:

“Peritia, Fortuna, et Conjectura Temere”

Loosely translated: “Expertise, Luck, and Random Guesses”.

As we’ve gone along, our list of predictions has grown. We have permanently added:

  • NCAA Football Champions
  • NCAA Women’s and Men’s Basketball Champions
  • Master’s Golf Tournament Winner
  • Stanley Cup Champion
  • NBA Champion
  • Wimbledon Winner – Women’s and Men’s
  • Best TV Drama
  • Best TV Comedy
  • World Series Winner
  • People’s Sexiest Man Alive
  • Time Person of the Year

Heavy on sports and pop culture; light on anything really meaningful.

Over the years, however, the McLuxies have been a way to chronicle important, historic or iconic events.

In addition to the list of permanent categories, we have made random guesses about things like:

  • Gender of the Royal baby (more than once)
  • The O.J. Simpson verdict
  • The Clinton impeachment
  • Will Microsoft be in one piece? (I guess that was something about a monopoly???)
  • Major League Baseball teams to be eliminated
  • Combined weight of our twin grandsons, Chip and Dale at their final doctor’s appointment of the year
  • Dow Jones year ending number
  • What college will Malia Obama choose?
  • Number of Supreme Court vacancies at the end of the year
  • Post-election party in control of the House of Representatives
  • Married or not at the end of the year: Tom/Katie, Brad/Angelina, Britney/Kevin, Ben/Jen
  • “Number of countries that will have indicated their intent to withdraw the Euro as their official currency by year-end” (Nerd alert… Although you probably thought that the nerd ship sailed with the “number of Supreme Court vacancies” or “post-election party in control” questions.)

In Olympic, election and World Cup soccer years those are added to the list.

In 2012 we predicted whether the Mayan calendar was right or wrong.

“Will the world come to an end this year?” Spoiler alert: the correct prediction was “no”.

2016 McLuxies

Thanks to Annie our tradition has gone high-tech with our McLuxies google doc.

The 2016 McLuxies have some interesting aspects to them.

For years and years and years, we have had what we call “The Cubs Clause”.

The Cubs Clause states that if a person picks the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series and they actually do, that person automatically wins the McLuxies championship for the year. Game, set, match.

The Cubs Clause was created so that sentimental schmucks like me wouldn’t feel so bad about throwing away a point predicting a Cubs victory year after year after year.

Well, you might know that this year the curse has ended – the goat is gone – the Cubs are in the World Series.

We still have a long way to go but if by some wild chance, the Cubs pull this off and actually WIN the World Series, The Cubs Clause will kick in.

And, the six of us who predicted a Cubs victory will share the McLuxies trophy.

Go Cubs Go

Given that all predictions are locked in place during the first week of January, it’s quite remarkable that Jerry foresaw the Trump vs Clinton presidential matchup.

The Time Person of the Year is generally close to impossible to predict. But, this year six of us have guessed that, if she is elected as the first woman President in U.S. History, Hillary Clinton should find herself on the cover of Time Magazine.

Keeping in mind that Time Person of the Year is someone who has had the biggest impact on society – good or bad (past recipients include Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin(twice), Ayatollah Khomeini and Vladimir Putin), other strong contenders would be Donald Trump (son-in-law Jerry’s prediction) or Julian Assange/WikiLeaks.

My first choice would be, of course, that the Cubs emerge victorious and Time Person(s) of the Year are Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon.

But what do I know? It’s all just a bunch of conjectura temere, right?


“Who I Am” is a writing project hosted by Dana from Kiss My List and Bev from Linkouture.

Each month we are given a prompt regarding some aspect of our life. The goal is, at the end of the year, to have twelve chapters in the book titled Who I Am.

This month, Chapter 10, the theme is Traditions.

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Family Tradition – The McLuxies

I love traditions.

Now that our children are grown and have children of their own, I love that our family traditions have created great memories and continue to keep us connected.

At this time of year our minds are focused on The McLuxies.

This tradition was started in 1992 with our dear pals Ellie and Archie. You can read more about it here and here.

Peter and I, our children and their spouses and Archie and Ellie all make predictions about world events taking place throughout the year. We keep a running score and the person with the most correct predictions at the end of the year is awarded with this fabulous trophy.

McLuxies Champion

Actually, for the first 21 years of the McLuxies, we did not have a trophy. The satisfaction of winning was the prize.

However, since the trophy came into play, my son-in-law, Jerry, has won every single year. Yes, he has accomplished an unprecedented 3-peat.

It’s time for that trophy to find a new home.

Please let me share with you my picks for the 2016 McLuxies:

NCAA Football champion – Clemson. (I came so close on this one…)

Super Bowl – Patriots defeat Panthers. The beautiful Tom Brady for the win.

Best Picture – Spotlight. I have seen a grand total of zero of the nominees but this film has gotten a lot of buzz and my pal, Katie Clooney, said it was very good.

NCAA Men’s Basketball – Oklahoma defeats Michigan State.

NCAA Women’s Basketball – Notre Dame defeats South Carolina. Go Lady Irish!

Masters Golf – Jason Day.

NBA Championship – Golden State defeats Cleveland. Sorry, LeBron.

Stanley Cup Winner – Stars defeat Capitals. But I’d be happy with a lost point and a Blackhawks victory.

Wimbledon Men – Djokovic

Wimbledon Women – Serena Williams. I would not bet against that gal!

Country with the most gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics – USA! USA!

Which college will Malia Obama attend in the fall? – Stanford. Thinking outside of the Ivy League box.

Best TV Drama – Empire. Never seen the show…

Best TV Comedy – Silicon Valley. Ditto.

World Series – Cubs defeat Red Sox. This is going to be the year, I just know it. Plus, The McLuxies have a “Cubs Clause”: if ever the Cubs actually DO win the World Series, anyone who predicted that win becomes automatic McLuxies champion of the year.

2016 Presidential Election – Hillary defeats Marco Rubio. I will skip any political commentary except to say just please, please, please no Trump.

People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive – Idris Elba.

Time Magazine Person of the Year – Hillary Clinton. This is one of the toughest categories to predict and we rarely get it right (although Archie did predict Angela Merkel in 2015 so hats off to Archie!). This year, 6 of the 8 of us picked Hillary. The other two selected Elon Musk and Donald Trump.

And finally, the tie-breaker….

Total gold medals won by the USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics – 44. My favorite number.

There you have it. What do you think? I’m going to take the trophy this year, right?

My predictions surely reflect the spirit of the McLuxies; the sentiment penned by my son Walt and spelled out in Latin on the base of the trophy.

McLuxies plaque

“Peritia, Fortuna Et Conjectura Temere”

Expertise, luck and random guesses.

In my case, mostly random guesses.

Want to play along? Send me your random guesses well thought out predictions and we will see how you do!

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Update On The McLuxies

mcluxies hat

Every year since 1992 our family, along with our dear friends Ellie and Archie, have engaged in a little friendly competition involving predictions about a variety of happenings throughout the year.

We predict everything from the results of the Super Bowl to the choice for People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

The predictions, called The McLuxies, are recorded and locked in during early January then we all follow along throughout the year keeping score and doing a little smack talking.

You can read more about the McLuxies here.

Now that we are more than 3/4 of the way through the year, I thought I’d give you an update on the scores so far.

2014 McLuxies

2014 McLuxies Scoresheet

It’s a little hard to read the graphic so I’ll break it down for you:

Son-in-law Jerry, the 2013 defending champion, is in the lead with 12 points.

Next are Peter and our son, Walt with 10 points each.

Archie has 9 points.

There is a three-way tie at 8 points each for daughter Annie, daughter-in-law Lily and Ellie.

That leaves me in last place with a whopping 7 points.

Ouch.

Out of 26 possible points so far in 2014, I’ve managed to correctly predict only that:

  • Florida State wins the College Football National Championship
  • The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks play in the Super Bowl (although I picked the wrong winner and only got 2 points)
  • Notre Dame plays in NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship game (Go Irish! – but they lost 🙁 )
  • Someone named Kvitova wins the Wimbledom Women’s Singles Championship (My finest moment in this year’s competition and my luckiest guess.)
  • Argentina plays in the World Cup Finals
  • Breaking Bad wins the Emmy for Best Drama (Who didn’t see that coming? Ooops, I guess Peter and Lily who instead predicted Homeland and House of Cards, respectively.)

 

Now we are coming down to the final three categories: the World Series, People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

The tie breaker – number of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the mid-term elections (yes, we are nerds) – will be know after November 4th. Although it is unlikely to matter because I’m not sure that anyone can catch up to Jerry.

You see, between us, only two people still have a team in the running for the World Series so no one is picking up enough points there to challenge Jerry.

And the final two categories, Sexiest Man Alive and Person of the Year, are nearly impossible to predict, especially when you consider that we make our guesses in the very beginning of the year with no idea of what events might happen to shape those selections.

For instance, if I was picking Time Person of the Year today, I’d choose Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever and, as the title of her book says, “The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot By The Taliban”.

 

Instead I predicted that “Gay Rights Activists” would get the nod from Time Magazine as the most important and influential person/people of the year. Not a bad prediction but still, my money is on Malala.

My very favorite remaining pick – and one that I feel pretty good about – is Jimmy Fallon as Sexiest Man Alive.

 

Right?

He’s adorable, hilarious, universally popular and a new daddy. I think he is a shoe-in.

I’ll take my point now, thank you.

And I’ll still be in last place.

Over the years I’ve become quite accustomed to, let’s say, not being in the lead in the McLuxies competition.

Still, I love this time of year as we enter the home stretch and the last few categories are waiting to reveal themselves.

So now I’m inviting you to play along with us for the rest of the year.

Who do YOU think will compete in the World Series (and who will win), who will be chosen as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and who will be named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year?

Leave your predictions in the comments and I will award a “major prize” to the person with the most points at the end of the year.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go start doing my research for the 2015 McLuxies.

Next year is going to be my year, I just know it! And the Cubs will surely win the World Series.

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Making Predictions And Scoring Points

It’s that time again, the beginning of January, and you know what that means.

No, not New Year’s resolutions. Predictions – in the form of

The McLuxies

Every year since 1992, our family, along with our dear pals Ellie and Archie, have undertaken a friendly little competition in the form of predictions for the upcoming year.

For years we just called them “The Predictions” until Archie and Ellie came up with the brilliant name “McLuxies” incorporating parts of both families’ names.

We even have hats.

mcluxies hat

The Official Hat Of The McLuxies

Here’s how The McLuxies work.

We put together a list of topics like NBA Finals, Wimbeldon Champs, Academy Award for Best Picture and so on. Each of us makes our predictions and at the end of the year we see who got the most correct.

The categories are mostly sports, pop culture and politics (because we are all nerds).

In the case of something like The World Series or The Super Bowl, we each predict the two teams we think will be playing and who will win.  A whopping three points if you guess correctly!

In 1992 we started with a mere six categories. Hardly even a challenge. This year we will be making predictions in 18 different categories.

The very first McLuxies. The notation in the corner says "at Lux's 1/1/92".

The very first McLuxies. The notation in the corner says “at Lux’s 1/1/92”.
Many thanks to Ellie for her excellent archiving skills.

Since the first category to come up is the College Football National Champions, the deadline for submitting our guesses is Sunday night, the day before the BCS Championship Game.

Throughout the years we have changed and added categories, always making sure to hit the high points of a particular year. This year we will predict the winner of the World Cup in soccer and the country who wins the most gold medals in Socchi.

About nine years ago we added “Time Person Of The Year” to our list so that that the suspense carries through until late December.

Let me tell you, Time Person Of The Year and People’s Sexiest Man Alive are two tough categories to predict.  Annie picked Matt Damon for several years in a row, sticking with him until he finally got the nod as Sexiest Man Alive. She knew that Matt’s crowning was just a matter of time and she was not going to miss the boat.

One year Peter picked Oprah as Sexiest Man Alive (hilarious!) and Archie picked himself.

Ironically, that was the year the The Time Person Of The Year was “You” so Archie just named himself in the wrong category and sadly missed out on earning the point.

Over the years we have included predictions about:

  • The OJ Simpson trial
  • Whether or not President Clinton would be removed from office
  • If Microsoft would be split up or left alone as a giant monopoly (Annie’s prediction was “yes *especially with Bush as prez” )
  • The teams to be eliminated from Major League Baseball because they were apparently threatening to do that in 2002
  • Number of Supreme Court vacancies on 12/31/05
  • City announced as site of upcoming Olympics
  • Of the following who would be married on 12/31/06: Ben and Jen, Brad and Angelina, Brittany and Kevin, Tom and Katie
  • The party in control of the House of Representatives after the election
  • Number of electoral votes of the winner of the Presidential election
  • Number of countries that would bail from the European Union by 12/31/12
  • Number of viewers watching the Royal Wedding on TV – to the nearest hundred million
  • And, of course, the gender of the Royal Baby

The wackiest category I think we’ve had was in 2012 as an homage to the Mayans and Doomsday Preppers:

“Will the world end in 2012?”

We each got a point for that one, all correctly predicting that the world would, in fact, not end.

Because there is often a tie, we added a tie-breaker to the mix. This is always something involving a number (for example the combined weight of Walt and Lily’s twin babies at their last doctor’s appointment of the year).

Price Is Right rules apply. The person closest without going over wins the tie-breaker.

We have to be very, very specific about wording after a heated incident one year in which Peter and Walt had differing interpretations of what constituted a “cancellation due to a strike” causing one to be the winner and one to be in second place.

Not pretty.

There are also strict(ish) rules for when one can start taking part in the fun. Our daughter-in-law, Lily, had to wait until after she had married into the family to be eligible. We loosened the rules six years later when Jerry married Annie. He was able to participate once we got to the year in which they were to be married. Technicalities…

Jerry went on to win in his second year of participation. He was clearly taking notes and doing his homework from the sidelines. And/or got lucky.

Before we know it the twin babies will be taking part.

Annie was only six years old when the tradition started. For the first couple of years she would fill in her predictions last, cherry picking from everyone else’s lists to come up with her own.

The year she turned eight we were all gathered around on New Year’s Day filling out the sheet when Ellie noticed that Annie had filled her column in before most of the rest of us. She was no longer taking “suggestions”.

When Ellie asked Annie about this turn of events, Annie replied, “I’m eight years old. I know how the world works.”

That’s my girl!

So what is the McLuxies Grand Prize you ask?

What fabulous trophy goes to the person who, with almost psychic-like precision, can predict the outcome of so many of the year’s events?

The prize is:

Nothing – nada – zilch.

Simply the opportunity to have bragging rights over the rest of the group is prize enough.

Really.

Until we get a corporate sponsorship, then we are looking forward to a big, big cash prize.

The 2014 McLuxies Now we are very high-tech distributing the form on Google Docs.

The 2014 McLuxies
Now we are very high-tech. Annie prepares and distributes the form on Google Docs.

In 1992 when we started “The Predictions”, we all lived in Chicago.

What were the chances that Ellie and I, who met in high school in Florida, would both someday be living in Chicago? It was a fun and fabulous time. My kids had the opportunity to form warm relationships and create lasting memories with Ellie and Archie for many wonderful years until job changes sent us in different directions.

Although none of us quite remember how we came up with the idea, The McLuxies has been a fun and fabulous way to stay connected during the years as we track everyone’s progress.

We may not get to spend as much time with Ellie and Archie as we did during those magical years in Chicago, but we know we will all touch base at least 18 times this year as each of the McLuxies categories is decided.

And that is pretty darn awesome even if I don’t earn a single point.

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