Year 2000 weirdness has already begun
Looking for some real fireworks for the start of the new century? Something with a lot of bang for your buck?
Ebay.com might have your answer – a Russian diesel-powered submarine which once carried four nuclear cruise missiles was on sale on sale there this week for $1 million, or best offer.
No, I’m not joking.
In all seriousness, the 35-year-old Juliett-class sub, decommissioned in 1994 and converted into a tourist attraction for display in St. Petersburg, Fla., isn’t going to launch any missiles anytime soon.
Its battery compartment has been replaced by a restaurant/meeting area and the sub made its way to America over a period of several months, pushed by a Ukrainian tugboat. And no nuclear missiles (or batteries) are included.
But that’s just one of many examples of weirdness as the century comes to a close.
Across the country, regular folks have stocked up on food and water supplies; hardcore survivalists are preparing to batten down the hatches and fire up the generators.
And of course, the Y2 Krazies are out in force. Unfortunately, some people aren’t content with just predicting the apocalypse and then waiting for it. They want to hurry it up a bit, or help it along if it’s lagging.
Police in major cities are edgy, to say the least.
According to national news reports, at least one person has been arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle explosives into the country, and the recent theft of 1,000 pounds of blasting supplies from a remote Arizona mining facility has authorities somewhat concerned.
Seattle officials announced the cancellation of the city’s New Years Eve celebration at the Seattle Center Monday, citing fears of terrorist threats.
In New York City, authorities imposed Draconian measures around Times Square – welding all manholes shut, locking all mailboxes, forbidding parking in a wide radius and removing trash cans. Let’s hope they do a head count of maintenance workers before they weld the last manhole shut.
Also, where’s all the trash from the Times Square celebration going to go, since all the cans are gone? Mayor Giuliani, a well-known clean freak, is going to have a conniption fit when he gets a look the morning after.
In the Truckee-Tahoe area, police officials have a much more upbeat outlook. Patrols are increased, but the focus is on nabbing drunk and reckless drivers, more than on preventing international terrorism.
With less snow than usual for this time of year, and travel worries centering around Y2K, it looks like New Year’s might be relatively low-key here, according to many people in the area.
That’s fine by me.
However, if we could tap that Russian sub for display in Donner Lake or Tahoe, we could have a hot New Year’s for the real millennium, in 2001.
John A. Bayless is news editor of the Sierra Sun
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