Thursday, December 20, 2012


December 20, 2012, the day before the Summer Solstice:

I press buttons on the little hand-held doo-hickey and a familiar face appears on my TV screen. It is a smart screen apparently, though I don’t know what on earth that means, and get the distinct feeling many of the broadcasters out there in ether-land have no idea what a smart screen is supposed to do either.

A face comes into sharp focus on the screen, looking as serious and concerned as the face of anyone reading a teleprompter can. Perhaps the replacement of idiot sheets with teleprompters marked the beginning of the smart revolution?

The face’s mouth moves slightly out of sync with the sound of words filling my living room.

“My fellow Australians, if you are  not  watching this broadcast now, it is because the world has ended.”

There is a 30 second delay as I process this information, wondering if I ought to breathe a sigh of relief or simply shake my head.

I realise I will live to work another day, and shake my head.


At some point back in the 70s, a particular Christian group were promising Armageddon was just months away. Construction work and fundraising nonetheless continued apace on their new Kingdom Hall. Were any other new halls under construction in other parts of the world?

Only 144,000 [one gross thousand] were promised salvation after the world ended, theoretically all males and virgins. If no other branches were building halls on the cusp of doom and destruction, did this mean the gross thousand saved would all be Australian?

The News of The World would undoubtedly say nothing about that – it seems, for example, they only report the arrival of aliens when USians are taken up into space ships for examination. Everyone else in the world could be walking around with radioactive probes up their anus, but News of the World would not think it news. Why would a little thing like Armageddon be interesting if it happened 'somewhere else'?

No doubt St John was under the influence of something psychotropic when he wrote down the book of Revelations, but drugs were probably not illegal then. Are the four horsemen really Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe?


Nostradamus’ French ramblings gave birth to a whole publishing industry.
The works of a raving nutter are always popular in a world where people feel disaffected and impotent, and many people have certainly felt that way for a long time. [Unless, in relative terms, 500 years is just the blink of an eye.]

Le chat de ma tante est sur la plume
La table est dans la cuisine
La mere fait du tricot
Le fils fait la guerre

The cat of my aunt is on the pen
The table is in the kitchen
The mother knits
The son goes to war

The meaning of this quatrain, one of those translated from Latin to French before being translated to English, is quite clear:

While a farmer in Colac stops to ask if it’s lunch time yet, his cat Tom is in the kitchen ripping a pair of hand-knitted socks to shreds. When the farmer’s wife sees what has happened it will be the end of the world as the cat knows it.

No, this is not a picture of Patrick and Moira hoping the praties won't rot. This is a classic picture of two French peasants praying the Angelus. The prayer begins "Thank God we get to stop for ten minutes... this is backbreaking work."

What has this picture to do with the end of the world? Indirectly, I suppose it suggests that a life cut short can still seem to have gone on forever, depending on one's occupation. Also this is intended to distract readers from the question I might have answered but cannot - Did old Nossie predict the end of the world?


But what of the Mayan calendar?

Here’s part of the explanation available on the web.
The Long Count is really a mixed base-20/base-18 representation of a number, representing the number of days since the start

Those of us who are pre-decimal will be familiar with mixed base-20/ base-12 representation of monetary amounts. So far, makes sense.

Those who trigged around at school will understand how we can mark the passage of time with a round dial, given the relationships between degrees and minutes, miles and seconds. But seriously. 

That there are other countries further east than Australia but still this side of the International Date Line gives me some comfort. New Zealand, for example, is to warnings of the sun's failure to rise in the morning what canaries once were to coal miners. 
I'm not sure what to make of the fact Hawaii is so far west of us. If the world does end, they will certainly know what's hit them.

Anyway, what's in a date? That which we call today, by any other name would be something else. The current year is 5773 for Hebrews, and for Mahommedans the year is 1434. 
Einstein knew that time is relative. [Personally, I don’t grasp that theory much more clearly than any other, but it gives me comfort.]

Never has something been so frequently predicted or so eagerly anticipated as the end of the world. Y2K, we discovered, was nothing more than a lubricant tackily packaged, full of promise, and hastily recalled by the manufacturer.

End of the world? My arse!


  1. I laughed when i first heard about Y2K and all the grim things that are going to happen because of it like your computers will fail, your toaster won't toast, your car will stop working etc, etc, etc the spin doctors, doomsday merchants and negative media types really had a ball with it which i thought was a load of rubbish anyway. I reckon the world is going to end when the sun and the moon are no more or some psycho clown starts a nuclear or biological world war and yep we're all still here of which i had no doubt about.

    1. My car stopped working last week. Not a good time to try and get Mr Mechanic to squeeze in an alternator job. The lid of the kettle won't open anymore making it hard to check there are no nasties in the water. Yes we are still here, and now I even have the means to go and buy a new kettle. There is a god.

  2. How very Pauline Hansonesque.

    I trigged around a lot at school, but learnt very little about trig.

    The year is 2555 in Thailand.

    However, the day is not over yet and I shan't feel safe until I wake on Saturday morning.

    1. I had no idea the year is 2555 in Thailand though of course it makes sense there would be many different calendars in the world.

      Not your greatest fantasy I suppose, but I shall think of you at midnight. Well, sometime near then.

  3. oh Fruitcake re "checking the water for nasties" - I always fill the washing machine with tank water, even though I have TownWater, and today there were tadpoles in it. I had to sieve them out, and then I felt really bad about them dying in the garden.

    I tried to think of something I would do, could do, if the world was really ending; like eat a lot of chocolate, or get drunk or run up my credit card, and then I realised i do all that anyhow. X X

    1. Just when I thought I had forgotten all those times as a child I put taddies in a dish of water and promptly forgot them. Forgetting is so much easier than forgiving.
      Of course, aren't you glad you are not drinking the tank water?

      As for the rest of it, I am as guilty as anyone of living like there is no tomorrow - a self-fulfilling prophecy too, at the rate I am going.

  4. Well it.s not midnight over here in the west yet FC, but I feel secure in the knowledge that if you guys have survived the day..all will be well...BONANZA hahaha !!!

    1. dum didulum didulum didulum da da DA... there you go; If you can get that out of your head it won't be the end of the world :)

  5. With the benefit of hindsight I can now enjoy a cruel laugh at those who can 'predict' the end of the world (EOTW) so convincingly, then come up with a convincing reason why it didn't happen. Possibly unsurprising given that the 'mixed base 20/base 18' thingy isn't taught any more! Even more comical (to me) are those who have the 'insight' to 'interpret' the arcane workings of John the Revelator's mind into something meaningful.

    But the end of the world passed me by - I was stuck on a beach down south and forgot the whole thing was on ...

    1. Comical schmomical! A nun warned me once it's best not to read the Bible without guidance as I might misinterpret it. A bit choice given words once spoken in Aramaic, were written in Greek generations later, then translated and translated and only then interpreted.
      Having held a position for 2,000 years there's nothing but a face omelette to be had if a papish pellow was finally honest enough to say "don't be so bloody literal!"

      Where did that come from? I know there is a button somewhere...

      Ha Ha Red, I do live near that beach where they did make that movie about the EOTW but decided to stay at home sweating over a hot ironing board... wondering who the mug was that invented ironing and whether I would have a chance to chat with them in the afterlife... I can think of a few words I'd like to say to them!

      Anal-ysing the word "hind-sight" I can't but agree with you.

  6. You are all too clever for me to make an additional funny/interesting comment. I didn't think twice about the end of the world day. It is all so much crap and boring even though you brought up some interesting facts about it. I must admit I am curious in how the world will end. I would love to be able to watch the development and downfall of the world from my grave.

    1. Diane, you have made an interesting comment. Beyond dismissing the notion that on 'the last day' good Christians will 'rise up' it never occurred me to wonder about the last day, or watching it pan out.

      I would love to see how you would dress birthday bear for the occasion. Well, it would be a sort of 'un-birthday' wouldn't it?

  7. I hope you had a good Christmas FC, catch you soon.

    1. Yes Grace, it was a good Christmas - I hope yours was too, and look forward to having you drop in again :)