Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1999


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Here's the choice. Come Dec. 31, 1999, you can sit around harrumphing that it's amateur night. That those out celebrating the millennium are no doubt the very same people who can't even spell it. (Two Ls, two Ns.) You can work yourself into a froth about how the calendar change promises only to render every check in your checkbook obsolete and produce a baby boomlet of Millies and Millards. As you down a glass of warm buttermilk before bed, you can note ! with satisfaction that the year is off to a bad start: ABC says Two Thousand, CNN says Twenty Hundred. Then you can fall asleep counting millennial sheep.

Or you can acknowledge that this is the New Year's Eve to beat all New Year's Eves. That millenniums roll around only once every 1,000 years. That this is only the second chance in recorded history for a blowout of this kind, which makes Kahoutek an annoyingly frequent caller by comparison. That you want to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime, never-to-be-repeated, no-chance- to-do-it-again event. In a word, you can party.

As choices go, this should not be a hard one. Already, party lovers from New York City to Paris to Tokyo are booking rooms, making reservations and hatching plans for the mega-night. Those who don't start planning now may find themselves, on the night of nights, all dressed up with no place to go. And that would be quite a downer -- sort of like watching all the nines on your car odometer roll over into zeros and having no one to share it with.

So what if it's still more than seven years away? Grand ideas don't take shape overnight. Just ask the 6,000 members of the Millennium Society. Founded by American college students, this group of youngsters first began dreaming and scheming about New Millennium's Eve back in 1979. The society, which boasts a worldwide membership, already has an agreement to charter the Queen Elizabeth 2 (assuming she's seaworthy) to transport 1,750 people from New York City to Alexandria, Egypt. By ground, the celebrators will continue on to the environs of Cairo to toast the millennium at the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Strangle any thoughts of crashing this one: invitations to the Great Pyramid blowout were mailed ages ago. The list includes anyone the society has ever honored as one of its 10 Most Inspiring People of the Year. (You remember: Bob Geldof '85. Boris Becker '86. Paul McCartney '90. Whitney Houston '91.) Interestingly, the people quickest to respond have all been well over 35, among them First People George and Barbara and Ronald and Nancy. Comedian George Burns, America's seniormost party animal, RSVP'ed with the request "Can I bring a date?"

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