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Millennium/schmillennium – you be the judge

by Linda Hiller, Staff Writer

Is this New Year the millennium or was that it last year? Do we have to hoard food and shut down our computers again this year?

A millennium, as defined by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is “a 1,000th anniversary or its celebration, or a period of great happiness or human perfection.”

For many, the New Year that such a fuss was made of a year ago wasn’t technically the “real” millennium, but for others, it’s a moot question. We asked some of those in attendance at Friday’s Washoe Tribal Bridge dedication what they thought.

“I thought it was last year, since it was the start of the new century,” said Bob Hunter, superintendent of the Western Nevada Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“If you count the four to five years that were lost when they changed calendars from the Julian to the Gregorian, I guess it really doesn’t matter about the millennium since they’re both wrong,” said Lewis Fry, road engineer for the Western Nevada Agency of the BIA. “Technically, we did what we did last year because of the computers – we’re all driven by computers now.”

“If all the computers fail after the first of the year, we’ll know the millennium was supposed to be this year, I guess,” said United States Forest Service Supervisor Bob Vaught.

n The truth. The third millennium actually starts Jan. 1, 2001, according to time and date.com, “a guide to time and calendars.” There was no year 0, and the year before 1 A.D. is defined as the year 1 B.C., so year 0 was skipped and not officially counted. That makes the year 1-2, the first counted year (if you count on your fingers, it makes sense). For this reason, 2001 is technically the second 1,000 years to be celebrated, or the millennium.

“I think it was the computer millennium last year,” said Douglas County Commissioner Bernie Curtis. “The funny thing was, I think Carson City was the only place that actually had a computer glitch. We had that metal balloon that went up and shorted out the power in town around midnight. I was there. I think people thought ‘this is it.'”

“When is the millennium?” asked Commissioner Kelly Kite. “I don’t care.”

“I’m going to the ocean,” said Wanda Batchelor, Washoe Tribe vice chairperson. “Last year I went dancing.”

Happy New Millennium.