Carson Column: Revenge of the Y2K bug

The Year 2000 bug almost got me three months after New Year's Day.

My wife Jenn purchased and filled two gas cans on Dec. 31 in preparation for whatever disaster might come along.

She strapped them into the back of my pickup and I've only occasionally paid them any heed.

Until Friday.

I was talking with photographer Rick Gunn, who had just came back into the office from the Physics Fair. We were talking about things being blown up.

I assumed he was referring to the fair. He was instead talking about my pickup.

Gasoline was dripping off the back bumper and I panicked. I called my mechanic, Don Dixon, and told him I was rushing over with the truck.

I got over to Don's and was showing him where the fuel was leaking when I looked into the back of the truck and saw the gas cans had tipped over.

"That was easy to fix," Don said.

The Comstock made it on Jeopardy Monday night.

The category - American writers. The question - What writer worked for the Territorial Enterprise between 1862 and 1864.

As a Nevada newspaperman, I knew the answer by heart. It was Mark Twain. I happen to be reading "Roughing It" and it all seemed to come together for one brief moment.

I got a letter in the mail the other day from the U.S. Census Bureau telling me to get ready. There was also an enclosure inside that defied immediate explanation.

It was a business reply envelope addressed to the Census 2000. At first I thought it was the envelope I was supposed to use to send back my forms, but it turns out that it was so people who don't read English can send off for forms in another language.

The mystery was aided by the fact that my Spanish is limited to place names, like Nevada and Sierra. I understood the "por favor," but the rest of the line was beyond me.

But if the Spanish was hard, the Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese and Tagalog was beyond me.

The mystery was solved by a quick check with the folks at the Census.

The last time I was counted in the Census, I lived in Carson City. Now I live in Dayton. The seven years I spent in Douglas County I went uncounted. That strikes me as ironic.

Census forms will be mailed out between Monday and Wednesday, they say.

Naomi Bernard called me to thank me for running an article, but there were a few problems. When she told me she moved to the valley, I assumed she meant Carson Valley. She meant Washoe Valley. I also misspelled the name of her fellow Mills Park committee member Wayne Yates. Sorry about that.

I got a visit from Marjorie Johnson Springmeyer a couple of weeks ago. She is of old Tahoe stock, having been raised at the lake.

Her family is responsible for several major donations of property to South Lake Tahoe.

She was looking for Paul Laxalt, saying he was once her attorney.

"I knew all the boys back then," she said

She said the creation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency had a major effect on her family's fortunes at Tahoe.

"They wiped me out," she said.

She recommends the book "Lawyers and Thieves" by Roy Grutman and Bill Thomas, which talks about the fall of the nation's fourth-largest law firm.

Laxalt joined the firm shortly before its troubles came to light.

The retired senator talks about that time in his book "Nevada's Paul Laxalt - A Memoir." The Appeal printed excerpts from that book in our last four Sunday editions.

In his book, Laxalt says he joined Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey. The list of partners was only a small sampling of the 700 attorneys employed by the firm.

The firm went into bankruptcy shortly after Laxalt went to work there.

I gave her the number of his office out of the phone book.

Carson area middle schoolers should get ready to boogie on St. Patrick's Day at the first dance club sponsored by a statewide youth-driven group called "Stand Tall, Don't Fall."

Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada's Lori Crowder is an adult adviser to the group, which battles underage drinking.

She said they applied and won a $8,000 grant to run an event of some sort. The children picked a club night.

"We are going to have a DJ and lights," she said. "We want to show the kids they can have a good time and party without drinking."

Tickets for the dance club are $5 and must be purchased in advance at either the Boys & Girls Club or Carson Middle School. Call the club at 882-8820 for information. The Boys & Girls Club is at 673 S. Stewart St.

Kurt Hildebrand is the Nevada Appeal's assistant managing editor. To include an item in this column or anywhere else, call him at 881-1215 or e-mail him at


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