The Crash of '99: Get ready to kiss the economy goodbye. We base this dire forecast on today's horoscope column, which advises everyone born under the sign of Taurus to: "Try hand at juggling. Start with two oranges or apples--you will find you have innate talent for this art. Before you know it, you could be booked for vaudeville tour. Scorpio involved."
Needless to say, having one-twelfth of the world's population suddenly quit their jobs to take up juggling will have a devastating effect on global financial markets.
On the bright side, at least the Tauruses aren't becoming mimes.
TV Listing of the Week: From Richard Polito of the Marin Independent Journal: " 'Love Me Tender' (1956). Elvis' first film finds him in the Civil War South, where he grows increasingly upset upon learning that Percodan and doughnuts have yet to be invented."
Weird Polls Department: To paraphrase the Declaration of Independence, we hold this truth to be self-evident: Americans don't know squat about history.
According to a survey by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, only 47% of U.S. citizens realize the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" comes from the nation's founding document, versus 79% who know that the slogan "Just do it" is from a Nike ad.
Similarly, 55% are aware that Obi-Wan Kenobi said "May the Force be with you" in "Star Wars," but a mere 9% know that George Washington was a Revolutionary War general.
In a related story, an Off-Kilter poll found that only 2% of Americans are aware that if President Ulysses S. Grant were alive today, he would abandon his career in politics and become a juggler. He's a Taurus.
Random Facts Bureau: Our latest roundup of useless news and information:
* A Scottish man has insured himself for $1.67 million against being killed or maimed by the Loch Ness Monster.
* The last year in which neither a Dole nor a Bush appeared on the Republican presidential ticket was 1972.
* The founder of Joe Boxer Corp. predicts that men in the next millennium will wear "global-positioning underwear" made of LCD fabric that can pinpoint their location anywhere in the world.
* The Etch-A-Sketch, Richard Simmons and Julius Caesar were all born on this day in history.
'Toon Tunes: A Cincinnati-based guitar maker has created a line of Bugs Bunny guitars that sell for $12,000 each. He plans similar lines for Yosemite Sam and Sylvester the cat.
Best Supermarket Tabloid Story: "How To Tell if Your Weird Neighbor Is a Space Alien!" (Weekly World News)
The telltale signs include:
* Trite speech: If everything your neighbor says is a cliche--such as "How's it going, buddy?"--it might be because of an alien brain implant that only lets them speak from a limited standard script.
* Disrespectful kids: If your neighbors' kids are unusually rude and mock your authority, it could be they were told by their folks that they don't have to obey human adults, who will soon become slaves in the new world order.
* Inhospitality: If it's been months since your neighbors invited you to their home, they're probably hiding alien electronic gear.
Unpaid Informants: Tom Gilbert, Wireless Flash News Service, Harper's, the Oregonian. Off-Kilter's e-mail address is email@example.com. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.