Duh-2000: The past winners...
The monthly contest for the stupidest thing said about the Year 2000 problem*
disaster.jpg (24797 bytes)
From Contest #19

Our man John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion: "Hopefully those people [malicious hackers] will recognize we're going to have enough things going on that [New Year's] weekend that this will not be a particularly good weekend to demonstrate the need for more information security. ... If you want to, in fact, make those points, my hope is (you'll) make them the following weekend."
So, watch out for stupid hacker tricks on January 7th and 8th.  And by the way, contrary to popular e-mails, neither "ElfBowl" nor "Frogapult" contain a Y2k virus.  Quoted on Yahoo News/Reuters U.S. to Computer Hackers: Give U.S. a Y2K Break December 14, 1999.  Submitted first by Dan Morrill.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #19

From Contest #18

A Mr. Weisfeld, in charge of Y2K readiness in Microsoft Israel: "Our system is already Y2K compliant ... but you can improve your Y2K compliance by using the special CD, which carries out some minor fixes." 
Hmm, so there's "compliant" and then there's "improved compliance?"  Quoted on The Register MS and Symantec spar over 'hoax' Windows Y2K email October 25, 1999.  Submitted first by Erick Van Selst.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #18

From Contest #17Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Montana, commenting on the fact that (in his opinion) the power company managers are all football fans, and "they're damn sure not going to let those football games go off" television on Jan. 1.
Finally, an intelligent comment from a politician.  Not.  Quoted on the Kalispell Montana Daily Interlake Burns says not to worry about Y2K power failures September 17, 1999.  Submitted by Greg Chandler.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #17

From Contest #16

Chuck Payne, manager of Ray's Hardware and Sporting Guns in Dallas, on his plan to have a gun at home and special security staff at his store when the new year arrives: "I'm not expecting anything," he said, "but I'm not going to be standing around with my pants down saying, 'Go ahead and shoot me in the butt.' "
Now *that* would be a good New Year's Eve party to avoid.  Quoted on The Dallas Morning News Texans aren't gun-shy: Fears about Y2K, controls boost sales August 18, 1999.  Submitted by Linda Fitzpatrick.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #16

From Contest #15

Senator Phil Gramm, R-TX, from the question-and-answer session after the second leg of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's semiannual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony before the Senate Banking Committee: "Well it seems to me we ought to be encouraged that in the year 1000 they had to add a new digit, and you had no evidence of economic disruption. And then the millennium before, we had dates going down, and then they started going up, and yet no evidence of disruption or chaos in the economy, so if they could do it then, surely we could deal with it now, it seems to me."
It seems to us that he was probably kidding, but we would have loved to have seen the look on Sen. Bennett's face regardless.  Quoted on Reuters GREENSPAN Q&A: PART X: Tax cuts, Y2K July 28, 1999.  Submitted first by by Dave Pennington.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #15

From Contest #14

Kansas City Missouri Councilwoman Teresa Loar, co-chairwoman of the Mid-America Regional Council's Y2K Elected Officials Task Force: "I don't think we are going to have any major disasters in Kansas City. ... There may be some glitches at the ATMs and traffic lights, but other than that, I don't see any problems. ... Utilities, public safety, banking and water department leaders -- everybody assures me that their systems will be up and running. ... I seldom plan an hour ahead anyway. Y2K won't be any different for us."
Hmm...never planning more than an hour ahead, yet assuming that everyone working on the Y2k problem does.  We also wonder if she got a snippy letter from the American Bankers Association too for mentioning ATM's?  Quoted on the Kansas City Star in the What, me worry? section of their weekly Y2k news report, June 2, 1999.  Submitted first by Dave Morrison.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #14

From Contest #13

Russia's Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Valentin B. Ivanov: "the general engineer [at the nuclear station nearest to Moscow] promises that he'll have a New Year's party, and he's invited me."
Perhaps he misunderstood when the general engineer told him it would be "a blast."  Quoted on the New York Times (requires paid registration) Reactors Largely Free of Computers June 23, 1999.  Submitted by Linda Fitzpatrick.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #13

From Contest #12

Larry King, writing for USA Today: "I asked Ross Perot, who knows his way around computers, if he is concerned about Y2K. He said simply, "There are two sure cures. One, tell all the computers it's 1972. 1972 exactly apes 2000. Every day of every month is the same and will follow suit for 28 years, so that gives you that much time to correct the problem." Solution No. 2: Shut off all the computers, go manual for a while and reprogram. "We can live manual," the former presidential candidate said. He did not get rich being stupid, folks."
And since "72" is always greater than "99" all those date comparison routines you were worried about will be fine too.  Also a side note to Larry: nor did he get rich giving away free advice.  Quoted on USA Today Perot's Y2K cure: A '72 flashback May 16, 1999.  Submitted first by Christine Greenwald.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #12

From Contest #11

Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman, and multi-billionaire: "Some countries will have more problems than others with the arrival of the year 2000, but for most of us it will only be a minor inconvenience."
When all is said and done, we suspect that many small countries will have fewer problems than Bill's highly automated house.  We wonder who is doing the Y2k remediation on that job (or is Bill so unconcerned that he has no one working on it)?   Quoted on ZDNet Gates: Y2K not so bad April 12, 1999.  Submitted by Tammy Carter.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #11

From Contest #10

"...[L]ocal bankers who have worked on the problem extensively are rendered nearly speechless when asked what they would do if their ATM systems went down for an entire week. Their systems have been tested so thoroughly that they can't imagine it happening, they say. "That would mean something very critical has gone wrong," said a spokesman for LaSalle National Bank in Chicago."
Sometimes the only appropriate response to a statement is: "duh!" Quoted on The Chicago Tribune Banks try to exterminate fears that Y2K bug threatens deposits February 21, 1999.  Submitted by Kirsten Oschwald.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #10

From Contest #9

Alexander Krupnov, chairman of Russia's Central Telecommunications Commission, which is coordinating the country's work on the millennium bug: "These agencies have already done half their jobs, they've counted out how much" money they'll need, he told a news conference. "Now they're seeking their own sources of financing."
And you all thought testing was half of remediation.  Actually, it's a pretty simple methodology when you think about it: figure out how much money you need, test, then declare you are compliant.  Then hide January 1, 2000.   Quoted on CNN Interactive from Reuters Russia admits it needs $3 billion to fight millennium bug January 1999.  Submitted by Linda Fitzpatrick.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #9

From Contest #8

Vice President and all-round technology guy Al Gore: "How could this be a problem in a country where we have Intel and Microsoft?"
Asked and answered.  No URL on this one, but quoted in the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair, page 141.   Submitted by Heather Westerfield.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #8

From Contest #7

Commentary by Charley Reese: "If my computer ever tells me, "Sorry, old chap, but I can't write 2,000," I'll just say, "Don't sweat it, old chip. Just leave the space blank, and I'll write in the date." ...  To save all an e-mail, I already know that I'm computer-illiterate, and I don't care and do not wish to be educated on this topic. If you want to chew your nails about Y2K, be my guest."
So, let's see if we have this right.  Something has to be TEOTWAWKI before we attempt to fix it before it breaks? Or take reasonable precautions in case other people don't fix important things? Quoted on The Orlando Sentinel Forecast: Y2K will not be the end of civilization as we know it December 15, 1998.  Submitted first by Stephen Mahan.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #7

From Contest #6

Columnist Paul Kedrosky: "Let's say that there's a 10 percent chance of something going wrong in a company come January 3, 2000 (January 1st is a Saturday -- we'll all sleep through any apocalypse). And imagine that probability is the same at other companies with which the company does business. ... The probability of two companies having a problem is the square of 0.1, or 1%. And the probability of enough companies simultaneously having a problem to return us to the Stone Ages is 0.1 to a very large power -- effectively zero. But you wouldn't know that from the "experts." Who knows what math they're doing? Likely none at all."
Hmmm...wonder what the chances were of just one transformer coil failing in New England on November 9, 1965?  As pointed out by another reader: if the chances of an individual tree breaking in an ice storm is only 10%, then a very bad storm would have close to a zero chance of causing any widespread damage (according to Kedrosky's logic). Quoted on the National Post Online The Year 2000 problem is as silly and annoying as Monica Lewinsky November 17, 1998.   Submitted by David Brevner.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #6

From Contest #5

Rob Morse (again), technology columnist: "Y2K is practically a cult already. "Repent, the end is near" has been replaced by "Reboot, 2000 is near." .. Why is it I'm not scared? Is it because I have an iMac that's Y2K compliant? Yes, downloading dominatrixes, an obedient little computer is called "compliant." "
An interesting attitude given that the only two things that an iMac can plug into are the two biggest things that may fail. Quoted on the San Francisco Examiner Gonna party like it's 1899 October 22, 1998.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #5

From Contest #4

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and otherwise pretty bright guy, speaking in Vienna on Intel's Y2k preparedness : "We don't know which of our production machines are going to work."
Ok, everyone say it with me: "assessment." Perhaps there should be a new "Moore's Law" regarding business systems planning. Quoted on Reuters Intel's Moore Relaxed About Millennium, September 1, 1998.  Submitted by Michael Taylor.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #4

From Contest #3

Tom Clancy, author and would-be NFL team owner, when asked if he was concerned about the Y2k problem: "Actually, I think somebody just made that up, and if the Y2K problem, you know, the Year 2000 computer problem is real, nobody's proven it to me yet. ... Yeah, the worse thing happens is we shut down all the computers. You know, we can still live without computers. I can remember living in a world that had no computers at all."
We remember "Red Storm Rising" too, but that doesn't mean we want to go read it again. Who would have guessed that the father of the techno-novel is a Luddite at heart.   Quoted on CNN.com Tom Clancy brings back his master of secret ops.  Submitted by Adam Solomon.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #3

From Contest #2

Archbishop John Foley, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications, commenting on plans to make the millennial year into an extended 2,000th birthday party for Jesus and concerns that the year would bring possible computer failures: "In all probability, the year 1996 should have been the year 2000. It is possibly providential that the four-year mistake was made by Dionysius Exiguus. Because if it hadn't been ... we would really be in a bind. At least we have had four more years to get this straightened out."
At the risk of sounding irreverant, we're glad he didn't err on the other side, or it would already be too late! Quoted in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette Online Vatican plans year of celebrations for millennium July 19, 1998.  Submitted by Mark Maginity.

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #2

From Contest #1

And the winners of Contest #1 are:
Pat Buchanan and Bill Press, Co-hosts of CNN's Crossfire: "Let me tell you something. I have been doing the show two and a half years, every day we have started on time. When you got a deadline, it seems to me, you get there." and "I'm a total skeptic on this, I think this whole thing is a total fraud. You can't tell me they're not going to fix it."
Ok, we won't. Attributed to Pat Buchanan on the CNN Transcript, but we've heard from several people who saw the show and informed us that the statement was actually made by Bill Press.  We decided to give the award to both of them so they can fight over it, too.  Heard on CNN's Crossfire Interview with Peter deJager, aired July 14, 1998 - Year 2000: Will the World's Computers Crash?  The free link to the CNN Transcript has expired, but Lexis-Nexis apparently has the transcript (if you are a subscriber).

Click here to see the other Nominees from Contest #1


This web site and all material contained herein is Copyright 1998, 1999 The Ken Orr Institute. All Rights Reserved. The opinions expressed here are necessarily the opinions of the staff and management of The Ken Orr Institute.  Any resemblance to any actual persons living or dead is purely intentional.  No animals were harmed in the creation of this website, except for a small and reasonably insignificant squirrel that annoyed us at just the wrong instant.  Elvis has left the building.  Keep in mind that links to current news items change at the drop of a hat, so don't be surprised if the quote turns up 404 (internet-speak for "we're sorry, but that number has been disconnected or is no longer in service").