Gazing at the Crystal Ball Gazers Gazing at Their Crystal Balls

This is not Blair Robertson …

It’s that obnoxious season when we are forced to look back at the fading year through a seemingly endless series of lists, and look forward to the looming new year in a seemingly endless series of predictions of things to come. While most hack prognosticators stick to the predictably safe (“Big Data will be even bigger in 2013!”), there are those who eschew the low-hanging fruit of the future and go for truly astonishing auguries.

I am, of course, referring to psychics.

Now, I do not believe in psychic ability. I have never foreseen anything that could not be deduced through rational thought, such as, If I have another cocktail, I shall pay for it in the morning.

My wife, on the other hand, has an uncanny ability to see things in the future once they have conveniently entered the past. All too often some thing from the future will pass through the present and into the past, and she will say, “I knew that was going to happen.” To which I reply, “Yeah, sure.” To which she replies, “I did, I really did, I’m not kidding!”

To which I suggest the very next time she gets an inkling from the psychic beyond she should write it on a piece of paper, stick it in a bottle, seal the bottle and place it in a safe deposit box. To which she sulks.

But we are mere mortals. There are those of loftier stature who actually make a profit from prophecy. People like Blair Robertson, who brazenly offers a set of annual predictions prior to the start of each new year. He actually claims to have predicted the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the wreck of the Costa Concordia. I’m sure you would agree, such assertions do indeed require balls of crystal — or brass.

His method sounds pretty forthright, however, and benefits from the advantage of simplicity:

“I call it ‘time projected empathy,’ where I imagine myself reading the headlines in the future,” says Robertson, “I remember the future.”

Let’s see how well he actually “remembered” 2012 in 2011 before we consider what future memories he says await us in the coming 12 months.

His first 2012 prediction was that the Republicans would win the presidential election. Ahem.

He predicted there would be a bombing on a cruise ship in 2012, which he is trying to take credit for in the wreck of the Costa Concordia. Let’s be clear — a bombing is an act of deliberate terrorism; wrecking a half-billion-dollar cruise ship to impress your mistress is an act of incredible stupidity and hubris — not the same thing.

Robertson predicted volcanic activity in Italy, which was correct, but that’s like predicting rain in Seattle.

He predicted the death of a much-loved comedienne. Thanks, Phyllis Diller, for fulfilling that one.

Robertson’s other predictable future memories included an assassination attempt on an African leader, Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie would stay together, Jennifer Aniston would marry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would have a child. He also predicted wildfires in California due to arson, that Greece and Portugal would default and the euro would drop below US$1.25. He also predicted an Eastern U.S. politician would be involved in a sex scandal (congrats on being correct more than once, Blair), a ferry would capsize in the Philippines, there would be an oil spill in the North Atlantic, a dam would burst somewhere and cause much damage, and Middle East tensions would escalate in the fall.

He was pretty much on target with most of those, but so would anyone who follows the news closely.

But he did miss some others: Robertson said there would be large-scale riots in Miami and London in the spring, a member of royalty would die in a car crash within six months and a tsunami in the spring would threaten the island kingdom of Tonga.

He thankfully was wrong on Spandex making a comeback late in 2012.

For 2013 Blair Robertson offers these predictions, among others:

  • A boxer will die in the ring or shortly thereafter, and a boxing legend will die within the year.
  • 2013 will see the passing of a number of former world heads of state as well as their spouses.
  • Worldwide, I predict we will see more mysterious mass bird deaths and tens of thousands of fish washing up on shore throughout the year. Conspiracy theories will abound.
  • I predict a breast cancer breakthrough.
  • I predict there will be an unusual amount of people reporting that their diabetes has disappeared. I don’t know if this is a “breakthrough,” but it will puzzle the medical profession.

Then there are the more specific predictions for which he’s willing to go a little farther out on a limb:

  • Watch for news of a propane tank explosion on the east coast of the US that destroys a “complex.”
  • I predict another very large earthquake for Japan and subsequent tsunami within 60 days. I pray I am wrong.
  • I predict fewer tornadoes for the USA, but those that do hit will be much more devastating in their power. A possible large one for western Ontario in late April.
  • I predict generally bad weather for the southeast and a hurricane that makes landfall in Florida this fall.
  • I predict unusual levels of volcanic activity around the Pacific Rim, particularly mid 2013.
  • Watch for news of mine disaster in China within 3 months. Many deaths.

In fashion:

  • Fashion tragedy: I predict the return of mesh shirts for men.

And my favorite:

  • I predict that the world will not end in 2013. I stake my professional reputation on that. If wrong, I will stop issuing predictions.

I have my own prognostications about Blair Robertson’s 2013 psychic product:

Robertson will be kind of sort of rightish a fair proportion of the time, semi-wrongish a lot of the time, he’ll totally blow it on several guesses and will miss some even bigger events that he just didn’t see coming or going, in his case.

And you can take that and seal it in a bottle.

Happy new year!

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