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PREDICTIONS FOR 1990

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Coming next year: smart toilets, miniature vegetables and end-of-the-world hype.

That's the prediction of Kim Long of Denver, a trend-watcher whose forecasts for 1990 are included in next year's The Old Farmer's Almanac."Starting with the media, and including wackos, weirdos, prophets and doomsayers, we'll start talking in 1990 about the end of the world" Long says. "We can expect forecasts of Armageddon, lots of doom-and-gloom talk."

But brighter days are ahead, he predicts.

"The 1990s are more promising than any decade we've seen before. Certainly, they'll beat out the 1980s for the rate of advance," Long says. "I think it's fair to be optimistic unless you're a technophobe and have a thing about smart toilets."

Smart toilets? Originally designed for invalids, they come from Japan and take your weight, analyze your urine and measure your temperature, blood pressure and pulse.

"I don't think you'll see it at Neiman Marcus yet, but what I suspect is, there will be a bunch of gadget freaks who will put it on their wish lists," Long says.

Other predictions for the 1990s:

- We'll be going back to the earth - in our back yards at least - to grow trendy vegetables: European salad greens, miniature vegetables and exotic lettuces.

- Look for "light perfume." Scents will be less overpowering next year, says Long: "Subtlety is supposed to be the new thing."

- Men's hair will get longer, women's shorter. And there will be new products aimed at women worried about losing their hair. Women will be told, Long says, to "eat these foods, try this diet, smear this on your scalp."

- The value of the dollar will be higher, so more Americans will fly overseas - particularly to Spain, a cheap and trendy country.

- First-class stamps will cost 30 cents. Magazine prices will go up. Rebates - already being ignored by bored consumers - will be harder to find.

- The prices of VCRs, compact-disc players and laser-disc players will bottom out in 1990.

- Education will continue to be a hot topic.