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Reno gaining ground 

"Nevada's capital city [Carson City] of some 50,000 is normally a sleepy town when lawmakers are not in session, a jumping-off point 30 miles south of Reno for travelers headed to Lake Tahoe or back to California across the Sierra Mountains. It has less of the glitz — and grime — associated with Las Vegas or Reno, the latter of which is 25 miles to the north."

Michael Klossner writes:

"In your Aug. 31 column on Pyrrhic victory, you call Pyrrhus a Greek general. According to Wikipedia, he was a military commander and was considered a good one, but he was also king of Epirus."

Random House says that Epirus is, 1) "an ancient district in northwestern Greece and Southern Albania," and 2) "a modern region in northwestern Greece." Pyrrhus might have been offended to be called a Greek, but it's not the worst mistake I've made. It's not even the worst in the Aug. 31 column. I see now that I mentioned Stuart Jay Silverman, who initiated the discussion, but on second reference, I inexplicably called him "Mr. Sherman." For that, I can't claim even a Pyrrhic victory.

Who's looming whom?:

"The prosecutor said he agreed to the plea arrangement to avoid the expense of further litigation and the likelihood that the prosecution would fail to prove its case by relying on old evidence and witnesses who have died or changed their minds since the original trials. 'You had one word for me, and that's looming,' he said of the case."

I suppose that to a defendant, a prosecuting attorney is always looming, as in "rising before the vision with an appearance of great or portentous size: Suddenly a police officer loomed over him." But I don't think that's what the speaker had in mind. I'm not sure what he did have in mind. There's a noun looming that's "a mirage in which objects below the horizon seem to be raised above their true positions," but that wouldn't apply here. Perplexity looms.

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