SEATTLE TIMES - "Mayday 2000? This warning may be all wet" - 'It turns out that in the survival business, Y2K was just a practice run.' : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Meanwhile, the data errors are silently accumulating...


Friday, January 7, 2000.

Erik Lacitis / Times Staff Columnist

Mayday 2000? This warning may be all wet

MCKENNA, Pierce County - I must admit, until this week I hadn't realized what an important date we have in May 5, 2000. What I wanted to do was a piece on a business selling survival gear, now that Y2K turned out to be Y2DUD.

Dick Mankamyer laughed. As a couple of signs on his store's door warn, "What if Y2K was the least of your concerns? Planet alignment May 5, 2000. Are you ready?" What he was talking about was icebergs right here in Elliott Bay. That's right, big icebergs - because we'd catapulted into a big ice age. I'll bet Mayor Schell won't have properly prepared the cops for that, either.

It turns out that in the survival business, Y2K was just a practice run. There is always another potential cataclysmic disaster around the corner, which maybe is why no customers have called Mankamyer about returning all those survival goods taking up space in the basement.

Of course, maybe they also took a liking to a year's supply of meals-in-a-pouch. I tried the meatloaf ($6.50), and it wasn't too bad, despite its slimy texture and sidewalkish-brown color.

Mankamyer runs what he claims is America's oldest continually operating (25-plus years) survival center. It is, naturally enough, called The Survival Center.

If, in preparing for that Y2K debacle, you were willing to spend $3,454 (that includes freight) for a one-year deluxe supply of freeze-dried, air-dried and nitrogen-packed meals for two people, Mankamyer would have shipped quite a lot of cardboard boxes to your doorstep. Actually, Mankamyer also sells plenty of cheaper survival stuff, such as the $11.95 water-purifying droplets or the $14.50 thermal blanket, good for emergencies or if you happen to stay in a Parisian hotel.

Although most of his business is mail-order, you can drive the 65 miles south from Seattle, across the Nisqually River and down a dead-end road to a small store that Mankamyer keeps open on his acreage.

He likes being in the isolated countryside. As Mankamyer said, in a place like Seattle, "there is too many of you guys." No offense taken. Us guys in Seattle, we think disaster is when you're running short of Diet Coke.

In any case, I'm sure that you people who don't listen to late-night radio talk are on pins and needles about what 5-5-2000 is all about.

At the Survival Center I bought a $16 book called "5/5/2000, Ice: The Ultimate Disaster," by Richard Noone, who has attained cult status in survival circles. On about that date, Noone says, the sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be aligned with the Earth and its moon. He believes that on that day, ice buildup at the South Pole will upset the Earth's axis, and trillions of tons of ice and water will sweep over the continents.

For another viewpoint of 5/5/2000, I called Martin Pomerantz, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at the University of Delaware and a world-renowned pioneer on South Pole research.

"Am I supposed to be worried? I'm not," he said about this impending calamity. "There is no physical mechanism that'd make it happen." The professor pointed out that there have been previous such alignments, and the poles all stayed put.

OK, so the professor isn't worried. He's also the same professor who told his wife on Dec. 31, as she worried about stocking up on drinking supplies for Y2K, "Fill a mug with water."

We've been warned, Mankamyer says. "Well, there is a potential. Read and make up your own mind," he said.

If 5/5/2000 also turns out to be a dud, there still is plenty more to worry about. Earthquakes. Magnetic storms coming off the sun. Snow blizzards. That "Nova" television special about scientists studying whether a chunk of the Antarctic ice sheet could break off and cause massive flooding of coastlines.

All right, all right, stop.

I looked around the store. Ah, yes, there it was. A combination flashlight-AM/FM radio that ran on batteries, a solar panel, an AC/DC converter or by hand-cranking a charger. It even had a siren that went whoo-whoo. Only $39.95.

I'm ready and prepared. At least for next season's Husky football games.

Erik Lacitis' phone number is 206-464-2237.

[ENDS] Copyright ) 2000 The Seattle Times

-- John Whitley (, January 08, 2000



Should you reconsider your payment options in Spam, we have a wonderful program for our most promising minions.

-- Rendonite (, January 08, 2000.

Nope, I'm sticking to Spam, though cans of corned beef are also acceptable.

See, doomers became doomers by examining al sides of the issue. So, unlike most Pollies, we're not afraid to read, analyse, and utilize material containing opposing viewpoints. Doomers, on the whole, have made intelligent, informed choices, so we're interested in everything that is being said about Y2K, in the media's treatment of the results of it, and in the slowly- accumulating warning signs. If our collective and individual judgement has been wrong, we'd be the first to happily admit it. And if we're right, we're here to help you make up for lost preparation time. But the conclusive evidence is not yet in on Y2K, so we're scanning the reports - all the reports - and marking time patiently. We just don't like being hassled while we do that. And, in the meantime, we let you read over our shoulder...:)

-- John Whitley (, January 08, 2000.

Well you just killed the options program. Keep it up and the spam will be next!

PS. Don't even think about the corned beef now.

-- Rendonite (, January 08, 2000.

My loss, your gain...:)

-- John Whitley (, January 08, 2000.

I became a polly by examing all sides of the Y2K issue. I'm a polly afgter examining all sides of this issue too.

-- Tarzan the ape Man (, January 08, 2000.

I just wonder whether any real research has been done on the May 5 Planetary Alignment. Have scientists conducted a computer simulation or any other experiments? Would be interesting to hear of the result, if so.

-- Eddie Forgey (, January 08, 2000.


C'mon, people - I think a high percentage of us on this forum are NOT kids. Surely some of us can remember, if we doomers were following this type of news twenty+ years ago (are we worthy of the name "doomers" or not?), that the same planetary alignment occurred in the late (very late, don't hold me to the year) 70's. It was hyped then beyond all belief in certain conservative religious circles, and I have a boxful of old books and tapes (those little old audio things we had back then) to prove it.

The alignment came and went. The preachers went on to their next cause. I think it was UPC codes or something equally radical. Nothing happened. Let's not fall for this one.

-- greeneyes (new@last.sight), January 08, 2000.

I believe "(The)Jupiter Effect" was the name of one of the books about such an alignment.


-- beej (, January 08, 2000.

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