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Commentary: Grading Guztradamus

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 30, 2010 - I write this column on Dec. 28, 2010. One year ago to the day, I sat at this same keyboard and pounded out my fearless forecasts for what was then the coming year. In doing so, I followed the lead of the late Hunter S. Thompson by parlaying "blind luck with aggressive ignorance."

It's now time to man up and see how my psychic alter-ego, Doctor Guztradamus -- or, "Doc G" -- fared at divining the unfathomable.

On the economy, Dr. G predicted that optimistic talk of a speedy recovery would fizzle as the jobless rate remained unacceptably high. Regrettably, that forecast -- made while Washington pundits were touting encouraging "sprouts of economic growth" -- proved to be deadly accurate. Chalk one up for the good doctor.

Politically, Dr. G foresaw a Republican landslide in the off-year elections, predicting that the GOP would regain control of the House and pick up "maybe 5" seats in the Senate. In the event, the Reps swept to victory in the House and garnered 6 additional seats in the upper chamber. Doc's on a roll.

He also predicted that Cap & Trade legislation would be DOA in the Senate where a coalition of Blue-Dog Democrats and stalwart Republicans would stonewall its enactment. In a related prognostication, the doctor also assured concerned environmentalists that the North Pole would not melt.

Presently, Cap & Trade is deader than disco and the 2010 minimum ice expanse of the northern polar cap was about 14,000 square miles greater than it was in 2008. This guy is scary good!

Unfortunately, some of the doctor's visions graded out at less than 20 -- 20. He named, for instance, either "Up in the Air" as Best Picture or George Clooney as Best Actor, or both. Though the film and actor were each nominated for their respective awards, neither took home an Oscar.

The Colts' Super Bowl championship also failed to materialize. The squad from Indy made it to the big game but ultimately fell victim to New Orleans voodoo.

Guztradamus correctly predicted that the Winter Olympiad would take place, but saw the Russians winning the gold in ice dancing, an American figure skater crying on camera and a Norwegian named "Sven" doing something memorable on the ski slopes.

Turns out the Ruskies took the bronze in ice dancing. Though I once again tragically missed the figure skating competition, I can find no reports of Doc G's weeping American skater. On the other hand, the Men's Super G was won by a Norwegian named "Svindal." Close, but no cigar.

The doctor rebounded a bit in the field of celebrity meltdowns. He forecast that some combination of Lindsay, Britney, Paris, Charlie and Tiger would enter various forms of rehab or similarly tarnish their reputations during 2010.

In the event, Lindsay's probation was revoked by the court. Charlie captured headlines by staging an event in a New York hotel suite that involved a broken chandelier, an irate porn star and a trip to the hospital for the mercurial actor, while Tiger entered rehab to cure him of his urges to make love to beautiful women. Paris was busted for cocaine in Vegas, and a drug problem at the World Cup was passed off to a friend.

Only Britney remained under the radar.

Doc predicted that Sarah Palin would shoot a member of an endangered species and claim self-defense. Here, a tongue-in-cheek observation took on shades of genuine prophesy.

Viewers of Sarah's reality TV show were recently treated to the spectacle of "Ice-Bwana" Palin shouldering a high-powered rifle to take several shots at a stationary caribou before managing to hit the hapless beast. She later justified the slaughter by explaining, "Hunting is something most Alaskans do to fill their freezer with meat for the winter."

As far as I know, caribou aren't on the endangered list and ex-governor pleaded necessity rather than self-defense, but this one is close enough to win the cigar.

Guztradmatus' forecast that Hugh Hefner would settle down with a set of 18-year-old quadruplets was likewise eerily prescient. Though the demise of his celebrated fling with triplets has apparently prompted Hef to revert to monogamy, the 84-year-old ex-swinger has just announced his engagement to a 24-year old centerfold. Best wishes to the kids as they set out on life's journey. (Aside to the bride: If you're planning a large family, try to get started soon.)

In other news from the world of romance, the Doc was also right-on when he predicted that Jennifer Aniston would once again fail to contact this office during the year in question. (Aside to Jen: I may be older than Brad but I'm younger than Hefner...)

As for predictions for 2011, Doc G has decided to quit while he's while he's ahead.

Happy New Year.

M.W.Guzy is a retired St. Louis cop who currently works for the city Sheriff's Department. His column appears weekly in the Beacon.