Fearless Predictions for 2012

Here's a recap of my nine fearless predictions for 2011, as posted in December 2010:

1. An athlete is going to die in the middle of a televised sporting event. And it won’t be football.

An ominous first correct prediction, as an Olympic luger died in April.

2. Bearish on: Canada, China, France, Japan. Bullish on: Indonesia, Poland, Singapore, Turkey.

Canada -8% China -17% France -17% Japan -14% Indonesia +2% Poland -14% Singapore -13% Turkey -17%. Again, what do I know.

3. It all comes to a head in North Korea.

And by “a head,” I guess I meant, “Kim Jong-Il will start turning the keys to the empire to his Eric Clapton-loving youngest son.”

4. Jeb Bush and David Petraeus get serious 2012 buzz. Looking ahead: Rubio-Christie in 2016.

Alas, there wasn’t enough buzz to go around, what with there being so much interesting to write about the travails of Bachmann, Cain, Perry, and Gingrich.

5. LeBron James will not be wearing a Miami Heat uniform by the end of the year.

Well, had the lockout gone a few more weeks, this would have been spot on.

6. New price point for genetic testing: $99.

I nailed this one. In fact, 23andme.com will go even lower, as they have a $15 off coupon for the holidays.

7. Plastic surgery “jumps the shark,” and we coin a new phrase for it to account for its utter banality in Hollywood.

Sadly, plastic surgery has become so banal that it doesn’t even warrant a new phrase.

8. Fox unceremoniously drops “The Simpsons,” which ends up on another, cable station and is transformed into an edgier, not-for-kids, not-as-funny shell of its former self.

I seem to recall there was a money dispute and that it got resolved. I still think this is going to happen.

9. Toyota suffers another operational setback: exploding Prius batteries. Combined with their sagging potency as showy markers of green cred, we see a glut of Priuses on the used car market.

Toyota’s biggest blow this year, of course, was the earthquake/tsunami/meltdown, which largely explains its fall to #3 behind GM and Volkswagen in global auto sales for the first half of 2011.

10. Whichever company buys Netflix is now the king of personal entertainment for the year.

No buy-out but plenty of buzz, although almost all of it was negative, on account of ill-advised tinkerings with pricing and structure.

Hey, that wasn’t a bad run of predictions. I’m going to semi-retire on top. Here are four crazy thoughts about 2012.

1. Lady Gaga really goes off the reservation, to the point that the Michael Jackson parallels will seem eerie: a brilliant and transcendent performer marred by plastic surgery to the point of non-recognition, inexcusably inappropriate behavior with children, and eventually an early death due in part to the physically demanding nature of the lifestyle.

2. We start to see the seeds of a breakup of China into several separate nations, a la USSR in the 20th century, as the Communist Party proves unable to hold together an increasingly dynamic, vocal, and restive populace. (And here we were worried that China's economy would overtake ours in a couple of decades!)

3. Younger people are unemployed and need money at unprecedented levels. Older people are sick and need health care at unprecedented levels. A solution that starts to become more acceptable, to the point of major legislation being passed: paying for organ donation.

4. Obama limps to victory in November as the R’s continually implode throughout the year. Cynicism is at an all-time high. No one is happy and no one wins, least of all political commentators and late-night comedians who now have no more fodder for their shows.

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