Guesses Over Guinness

The regulars love to subvert the contest. It's yet another twist to the city's toughest pub trivia night.

The media in San Francisco will supply some surprises, too. After a long and interesting history, the San Francisco Examiner will fold, and the Hearst Corp. will pay the remaining publishing subsidy mandated by the Justice Department to Computer User and Rental Guide. Around that time, the celebrated columnist Warren Hincklewill finally reveal whether it's the basset hound or the eye patch that's supposed to be his "trademark." In the online world, Salon.comwill team up with a revived Webvan.com to supply delicious articles by Camille Paglia and others via home delivery, for only $10 per order. And sometime in mid-November, the San Francisco Bay Guardian will be embalmed and placed on permanent exhibit in a place of honor in Moscow.

As always, the city government will astonish many of its own citizens. During a lengthy and heated meeting one night, a member of the Board of Supervisors will suggest that the best way to clean up the chronic mess in U.N. Plaza is to call in U.N. peace-keeping forces. (The motion will be tabled for future study.) When NASAastronomers spot a huge asteroid approaching Earth in June, the board, meeting in emergency session, will pass a unanimous resolution against it -- noting, in particular, the negative environmental impact and how it would destroy affordable housing. Elsewhere, former psychic Miss Cleo will be hired over at Muni to predict bus and streetcar arrival times, and she'll develop Muni's new slogan: "I see trouble ahead." Meanwhile, Muni will unveil its newest acquisition, a fleet of 60 antique "vintage" buses that it purchased from ... itself.

At the same time, San Francisco will continue to delight, shock, and amuse us. In July, without any warning, the San Andreas fault will win its first Webby Award. Later that same month, Whole Foods in San Francisco will begin offering wholly organic, pesticide-free, 100 percent vegetarian, sun-ripened, extra-virgin medical marijuana for $56,000 a pound, in its produce department. Over at the pure-science wing of UCSF, genetic and biotech researchers will prove, beyond any doubt, that Caroline Kennedy and Princess Caroline of Monaco are actually the same person. And during its October session, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a landmark 5-to-4 decision, will declare San Francisco unconstitutional, adding, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Have a happy new year. You have been warned. -- Len Albin

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