At the end of a year as ornery and out of control as 1990, we all must feel like romance novelist Barbara Cartland, born at the start of this century, who recently summed up life this way: "So many of my contemporaries are either dead or gaga."
Gaga is a good description for 1990, as it was reflected in quotes uttered in its course. Consider:"We're going to have the biggest year in 1990 in history." - Clayton Yeutter, secretary of agriculture, who at least was more accurate than Iben Browning, the earthquack.
"No matter what may happen in the world, we shall unswervingly follow the socialist road." - Prime Minister Li Peng of China. What a relief.
"Let Daniel Ortega and Fidel take note, like the dinosaur, the day of the dictator is over." - George Bush on Manuel Noriega's fall.
"Inner security and true, real fulfillment comes by faith. It doesn't come by wielding power in a town where power is king." - Surprisingly personal words from Secretary of State Jim Baker.
"If you want to see your plays performed the way you wrote them, become president." - Czech President Vaclav Havel.
"Life is like a B-grade movie. You don't want to leave in the middle of it, but you don't want to see it again." - Ted Turner.
"Being president does have its advantages . . . I have a TV set there in the White House with five screens, one big one in the middle, four small ones around it, all of them on at once. Now I don't have to miss the nightly news while I watch `Wheel of Fortune.' " - George Bush.
"The peace dividend is peace." - Dan Quayle, who may have spoken too soon.
"i Don't know how we can afford peace." - Sen. David Pryor, Arkansas Democrat.
"As much as I hate my ex-wife, I wouldn't let her get on a bus driven by one of these replacements." - A striking Greyhound driver.
"Africa's last colony is from this hour liberated." - Namibian President Sam Nujoma.
"I do not like broccoli and I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it and I'm president of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli." - George Bush, flashing his strong leadership style.
"A, I'm a-lectable; B, I'm bice president; C, Cocomo thinks I am swell . . . " - "The Alphabet Song," rewritten by the Gridiron Club in honor of Quayle.
"Why sell cigarettes? Why not just sell phlegm and cut out the middle man?" - A comedian on a radio ad.
"If we can put a man on the moon, why shouldn't it be Jerry Falwell?" - Charlotte Observer columnist Doug Robarchek.
"I'm clearly not a legal genius." - JFK Jr., who, nonetheless, finally passed his bar exams.
"I'm not going to vote for anything that causes us to lose politically." - House Republican whip Newt Gringrich, defining his public morality.
"Goodness, like evil, is a mystery that escapes ready explanation." - Peter Steinfels, New York Times religion writer.
"Every president has been a little worse than the one before him. It's hard to see how that could be after Nixon, but it's so." - Novelist Joseph Heller.
"The government is unpopular, but I'm popular." - Mikhail Gorbachev.
"The Cold War is now behind us. Let us not wrangle over who won it." - Gorbachev.
"There are many evil regimes in the world today, but none more deserves to be overthrown than the one in Beijing." - Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., proving he sometimes makes sense.
"The 1990s sure aren't anything like the 1980s." - Donald Trump.
"I'm very content where I am and there's not another job that I'd like to have." - Quayle.
"In the heartland of America, some folks just can't understand what Congress is up to." - Sen. Bob Doyle, R-Kans. (And not only there.)
"Wealthy WASPs have less fun in their entire lifetimes than members of other ethnic groups have at a single wedding reception." - Columnist Dave Barry.
"None of my work cures cancer." -Whoopi Goldberg.
"I don't have any plans to celebrate. I'm probably one of the most boring people around." - Nolan Ryan, after winning his 300th baseball game.
"Why is life so tough? Perhaps it was cooked too long." - University of North Carolina-Charlotte Philosophy Department.
"Kuwait has a stealth army - nobody's ever seen it." - An unnamed Saudi Arabian official.
"We acted for one reason and one reason only: O-I-L. If Mali were to invade Burkina Faso, we would send a letter of deep regret by regular mail." - former Sen. Thomas Eagleton.
"God is on our side and Satan is on the side of the United States." - Saddam Hussein.
"Long Live the End of Communism." - A banner seen in Moscow.
"Junk is the stuff we throw away. Stuff is the junk we save." - Frank Tyger of the Trenton (N.J.) Times.
"I don't want to sound sanctimonious about this, but I was elected to govern." - A sanctimonious Bush.
"The philosophy I was elected on runs out of gas in terms of votes in the United States Congress." - An unsanctimonious Bush.
"The possibility of Elvis Presley's being alive is greater now than it was a year ago, two years ago." - Author Gail Brewer-Giorgio.
"You know the direction and you should correct it." - The Prophet Mohammed speaking to Saddam Hussein (he said) in a dream about missles aimed at Saudi Arabia.
"How is my friend Charles Keating?" - Mother Teresa, as quoted by Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz.
"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children." - Quayle, who else?
"Some day, surely, we will see the principle underlying existence as so simple, so beautiful, so obvious, that we will all say to each other, `Oh, how could we have been so blind for so long!' " - John Wheeler, Princeton physicist.
"It ain't over till Milli Vanilli sings." A sign at an NFL game.
"If we don't change directions soon, we'll end up where we're going." - Professor Irwin Corey. He's right. So let that be a 1990 lesson to us all.