You can predict the future!

Well, it's been quite a Michigan millennium, as some lesser advertising hack for some chamber of commerce may yet scribble. We exterminated the original inhabitants, stripped the Upper Peninsula of timber and ore, and elected John Engler. Not once, but three times! And now for the best part. No matter what you've been told, it's not over yet! We've actually got another year to run in this century, even if the Y2K bug fries every circuit north of Tierra del Fuego!

That's because, as the fortunate few who can pass a math proficiency test know, the new era doesn't really begin until January 2001, pop culture to the contrary.

Regardless, we're looking down the business end of a new year ... which means, time for the third annual Politics and Prejudices news quiz. Devoted readers of this column may remember that the first time, I got only 6.5 right out of 15 on my own test.

That led me to be much wiser last year, and make full use of my formidable mental talents and higher education. Consequently, I am pleased to tell you that with but hours left in the year, it looks like I got ... 6 right out of 12.

Yes, if you saved last year's yellowing bit of embalmed tree, you will notice that I brilliantly predicted Clinton would stave off a vote in the Senate. I was the first to tell you that the Dow Jones average now would be hovering around 9,000, Scotty Bowman would be long gone, and that Ronald Reagan would be dead.

Don't say it.

But I did, he said desperately, predict George W. Bush would be the GOP front-runner now, and that there would be two functioning casinos today.

Well, let's try again. This time, I'll give you a powerful incentive. Anyone who does better than I, and can prove it, gets an authentic, never-used, flowing script "I love my Free Press!!!" bumper sticker, or a plastic "talking book" zoo key.

Good luck. The best way to verify your entry, incidentally, is to mail it in a sealed envelope to yourself, or to Charley Manos at the Detroit News.

Millennium Future Toxic Shock Quiz:

1) Michigan Democratic Party leader Mark Brewer probably helped make the state once again irrelevant in presidential nominee selection by abandoning an open primary Feb. 22 in a favor of a "caucus" March 11. Following the election, Brewer will A) resign on principle B) try to cling to his job C) be forced out by Steve Yokich D) be acclaimed a tactical genius. My guess: B

2) Michigan's Republican primary, meanwhile, will be won by A) George Dubya "Shrub" Bush B) John McCain C) Someone else. My guess: B

3) Who will win the presidential election? A) Bush B) McCain C) Vice-President "Elephant" Al Gore D) Bill Bradley E) Someone else. My guess: D.

4) Which party will win the House of Representatives? A) Democrats B) Republicans C) Greenback Fat Cats. My guess: always C, but probably A as well.

5) Turning to art, Tom Thewes' C-Pop gallery proved that no matter how bad your work, you too can turn a bowling-trophy store into an art gallery if Daddy gives you a million bucks. This year, C-Pop will A) close when Papa pulls the plug B) sell at least two paintings by someone other than Niagara C) fire "spinmeister" Rick Manore D) become a huge commercial and artistic success. My guess: Why D, of course. ;)

6) The reform board now running Detroit Public Schools is due to replace temporary CEO David Adamany with someone for the long haul. By next December, their choice will be A) judged to be doing brilliantly B) judged a failure C) not been on the job long enough to tell D) turned them down, leaving Adamany chained to his chair. My guess: C.

7) U.S. Rep. Debbie Stabenow, a Lansing Democrat, is challenging U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham, a very fat Republican. The winner will be A) Stabenow B) Abraham C) someone else. My guess: A

8) The next Wayne County Prosecutor will be A) Virgil Smith B) Mike Duggan C) Some other Democrat D) A Republican or Martian. My guess: A.

9) Disruptions caused by the Y2K problem will be A) far worse than experts predict B) barely noticeable, at least at first C) about as predicted D) lead to a terrible catastrophe New Year's Day. My guess: B.

10) Will these worthy souls be alive or dead on Dec. 26, 2000? A) Boris Yeltsin B) Jack Kevorkian C) Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts D) Strom Thurmond. My guesses: A) alive B) alive C) dead D) how can they tell?

11) Attendance at Comerica Park will be A) An all-time Detroit baseball high B) 2.5 million C) less than the 2 million who came to Tiger Stadium last year. D) between 2 and 2.5 million. My guess: C

12) The guy they dug up in Wyoming last summer will A) be fingered by DNA testing as the Oakland County child killer B) not be proven to be him. My guess: B

There you have it. Your chance to prove you know more than the deity or the World Almanac, most useful book since the creation of movable type. The Metro Times, incidentally, is printed on a 17th century Japanese wood block press with each letter individually drawn by monks, so I can confidently promise to be back with more tender commentary on man's folly in the nonmillennium. Toodles.

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