Dog Bites

Earthquake!

Millennial Disaster!
Of course, there's still a significant number of people who think the stroke of midnight Dec. 31, 1999, will knock us back into the Bronze Age, presumably purging the system of yuppies in the process. And heaven knows Silicon Valley firms are taking the possibility very seriously, at least in their legal departments: Every other day, it seems, at least one of the potential presidential candidates is junketing through the San Jose area, collecting checks and promising all kinds of additional legislative protection for hardware and software makers whose products fail at the turn of the millennium. Which is as it should be -- the stockholders, by God, are never going to stand for a system in which corporations are held fiscally liable for mayhem caused by their defective products.

So perhaps we should blame San Francisco's proximity to feckless Silicon Valley for the fact that, of the 21 largest cities in the country, we are the second least prepared for Y2K. (We're neck and neck with Columbus, though, and Baltimore is in worse shape.)

In fact, according to a report issued by the General Accounting Office, none of San Francisco's major systems -- water, wastewater, emergency services, hospitals, telecommunications, transportation, public buildings, and city government services -- is yet Y2K compliant, though the city swears they will be by the end of November. But Dog Bites isn't the least bit worried: Stuck in a lengthy checkout line at Target (hey, it's all about glamour), we discovered Cosmopolitan magazine's guide to surviving the turn of the millennium.

Details

GOLDEN HANDSHAKE
READER POLL

Pick the Chron/Ex
columnist you think
will be the first
to receive the
Golden Handshake:

He or she will get
canned on:

My e-mail address is:



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Now, one of the nicest things about the journal of record for the proudly dim and promiscuous is its refusal to assume its readership knows anything -- anything. So let's just say its advice is pretty, uh, basic. For instance, those who've been trapped in a tanning bed for the past year or so, unable to glean much news of the outside world, will be interested to learn that "pesky computers" are the cause of the Y2K problem. And that they might consider having a few supplies on hand. "If there's the slightest snafu in food deliveries to your city, you'll need more than the gourmet mustard and baby carrots your kitchen contains now," the magazine advises. What should the Cosmo Girl have in the pantry? "You don't have to be all Outward Bound about this -- Jujyfruits and Beaujolais are nonperishables too," suggests Cosmopolitan.

Besides these essentials, the binge-eating near-alcoholic will, of course, also require beauty products. "Consider making like a squirrel for a few months and hoarding your favorite hair conditioner, protein-shake mix, eye gel, etc.," the magazine adds. "And how about the girlie need to gab? If phone service is disrupted, you won't be able to chat the days away. Dust off that Laura Ingalls Wilder book set to remind yourself that people did somehow deal pre-electronic equipment."

But since it would, let's face it, pretty much suck having to learn to read at an eighth-grade level just for the turn of the millennium, the journal of record for the proudly dim and promiscuous also suggests its readership make other plans: "In the event that you're without heat, make sure you have a sleeping bag for two and a cute keep-you-warm buddy on hand."

Golden Handshake Reader Poll -- Preliminary Results!
Well, the voting continues at the Dog Bites Golden Handshake Reader Poll, where we let you, the long-suffering newspaper readers of the city, bet on which of the Chronicle and Examiner columnists will be handed a generous severance package when the two papers merge. Not only that, you can select the actual date on which you think the scribe in question will file his or her final column.

As of this writing, Ken Garcia is enjoying a comfortable lead, with nearly twice as many votes as runner-up Lord Martine. (Many voters thought Ken would get the ax Oct. 1. Nope! He's still there.) Trailing these, uh, leaders, are Stephanie Salter, Joan Ryan, Jon Carroll, and (surprise!) Ray Ratto, all tied for third place. Send ballots to dogbites@sfweekly.com, or vote -- as many times as you like! -- online at www.sfweekly.com.

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail dogbites@sfweekly.com.

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