It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I’m OK with That)

Note: Yes, I “borrowed” the title of this blog from the R.E.M. song and changed the words slightly to avoid any potential copyright infringement. So there.
As I scanned the news yesterday, I came across an interesting article. The CDC recently published a warning about the impending Zombie Apocalypse and what we can do to prepare for it. What worries me is not the fact that they published this, but they weren’t kidding. This makes me wonder what they know that the rest of us don’t. I’ve seen The Omega Man and I Am Legend (both based on the same book) as well as The Stand, Night of the Living Dead, Zombieland, etc., and they all say the same thing: Some government scientist working on some über Top Secret project is going to screw up and kill us all. Now, the CDC publishes this article and expects us not to worry. Really? WHAT AREN’T YOU TELLING US??? Look, if Dr. Schmuckatelli accidentally spilled a vial of his experimental virus, went home, bit his wife and kids, they now crave human flesh, and it’s spreading, just let us know. We’re going to find out eventually when Aunt Edna rises from the dead and tries to eat Little Susie. Instead of trying to hide behind some kitschy little tongue-in-cheek Public Service Announcement, just come out and say, “Hey, we screwed up. Sorry. Make sure you shoot Aunt Edna in the head before she snacks on Little Susie.” I think that’s something we need to know before we start researching funeral costs.
If that’s not enough, there are billboards all over San Diego telling us that the Rapture is scheduled for this Saturday, May 21st, and we all need to “get right with God” by then. According to Harold Camping, this Saturday marks the 7,000-year mark since the Great Flood, which, according to Camping’s interpretation of The Bible, is when the Second Coming will occur. Camping isn’t waffling on this, either. He claims that the Rapture will occur on Saturday “beyond the shadow of a doubt.” Most mainstream Christians are scoffing at this and have dismissed it as hokum. Others are using it as an excuse to hold “End of the World” parties. While his claims do sound pretty far-fetched and most Christians agree that no one knows exactly when the Second Coming will happen (“If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.” Revelation 3:3), what if he isn’t wrong? Let’s review some recent events: uprisings throughout Africa and the Middle East, the earthquake in Japan followed by the tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown, the Mississippi River flooding, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child… OK, maybe I got a little carried away, but you see my point. Things are getting really bad really fast. Is it all just a massive coincidence? Maybe. But what if it isn’t? Could this really be the End of Days? I guess we’ll find out on Sunday, May 22nd. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not running out to hand out fliers or anything like that. I’m pretty confident that we’ll all be here on Sunday. However, just on the off chance that Camping may be right, I’ve decided to clean up my act a little. I know I’m not perfect, but I also know I could do a lot better. For example, instead of cursing at the person who cuts me off on the freeway, maybe I’ll say a little prayer for them. Besides, if all that comes out of this is that we all start behaving better, maybe it’s worth it.
So, it looks like this may be it for us. If the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t do us in, the Rapture probably will. Either way, I think my family and I will be OK. If not, there really isn’t too much we can do about it except pray for the best. Personally, if I know I’m screwed either way, once I’ve finished praying, there’s a bottle of Bacardi in my freezer that may just have to be consumed very quickly. I even have the Coke to go with it. I don’t plan to join in with the looting or rioting; I’ll just wait for my time to come. I know that sounds pretty defeatist, but there’s only so much I can control. So if this really is the end, I want you all to know how much I’ve really appreciated knowing you. I really hope I see you in heaven. If it isn’t, maybe we can get together for lunch on Sunday. Personally, I think I’m going to keep my weekend plans “tentative” for now.

So, what are your plans this weekend?

Boycott BP?

Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico due to an oil rig disaster.  Millions of barrels of oil are spewing into the gulf because of a pump that apparently cannot be sealed.  For the last month and a half, BP has tried numerous methods to contain this leak, all of which have been unsuccessful.  The leak is taking its toll on local wildlife.  Local fishermen are unable to do their jobs and make a living.  Oil is washing up on shores throughout the Gulf Coast.

What is everyone’s solution to this problem? 

BOYCOTT BP!!! 

Seriously?  It is going to cost BP billions of dollars to clean this up.  BP’s executives have already stepped up and claimed responsibility for this disaster as well as its clean-up.  They all know what a daunting task they have ahead of them.  However, they do not have an endless supply of money.  Their stock is plummeting.  People are boycotting.  When BP runs out of money, who is going to pay for the clean-up?

We are.

If BP can’t fix this on their own, the government is going to have to take over.  Then it’s our tax dollars at work as the government’s finest pick up wherever BP leaves off.  Do you really want that?  I don’t think we want to foot the bill for this.  I know Gulf Coast residents don’t.

So what has the government done so far?  Has it even tried to help.  Not that I’ve seen.  President Obama has a team of analysts telling him “whose ass to kick.”  Well, Mr. President, while “dem’s fightin’ woids,” that doesn’t solve the problem, does it?  The president had the families of those who died on that rig as guests at the White House.  While there, he asked them if their family members mentioned safety concerns on the rig.  Really?  The president has also called the president and CEO of BP to the White House for explanations.  If it were me, my response would be, “With all due respect, Mr. President, I’m busy.” 

Now is not the time to point fingers and place blame.  There will be plenty of time for that when the oil is cleaned up.  For now, efforts should be focused on getting it cleaned up, not who to hang for it.  I promise that their necks will still be there.  In the meantime, we should let them focus on their jobs.

As for me, I am going to find a BP station to get gas.  Hess is owned by BP, right?  Hell, I might even buy some BP stock.  Because I’d rather do that than have my tax dollars going toward cleaning up their mess.  Someone call Kevin Costner!

Memorial Day

What does Memorial Day mean to you? Around here, it’s the start of tourist season. Traffic gets heavier, beaches get busier, and you have to pay to park just about everywhere. Where I grew up, it meant hopping in the car and driving to a small town in the Coal Region of Pennsylvania called Summit Hill to visit our cousins for the town’s Memorial Day parade. My childhood is filled with memories of red, white and blue on everyone, poppies from the VFW, and a very big parade for a small town. Our cousin would then fire up his state-of-the-art GrillMaster 6000, which no one but he could come within 10 yards of, and we would enjoy burgers, hot dogs and chicken.

But what does Memorial Day really mean? What’s it about? Is it really just the “unofficial start of summer”? Is it just the day when my mom decides it’s finally warm enough to take the flannel sheets off the bed, much to my step-father’s joy? No, it means more than that. I think we’ve lost sight of the meaning behind Memorial Day.

So, what is it? We’re obviously supposed to remember something. Is it our car keys? Did we leave the iron on? Are we supposed to pay our bills? No, it goes far deeper than that. On Memorial Day, we need to remember those who fought and died to protect the basic freedoms we enjoy. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be allowed to be in this place today, worshiping as we see fit. They sacrificed their lives so that ours would be free.

I’m sure that everyone here either served or knows someone serving in the Armed Forces. People willing to give their lives for something they feel is bigger than themselves. Some of us were lucky enough to come home to our families and loved ones. Some weren’t. Today is the day we honor those who stayed behind and gave the ultimate sacrifice for God and their country. Today is a day to say thank you and promise never to forget what they did for us.

This weekend, as we enjoy our picnics, our fellowship and good weather, I’d ask that we simply take a moment to remember those who made it possible for us to do so without fear of punishment and say a silent “thank you.” And maybe we could also spare a moment for those keeping the watch now who can’t be with their friends and family. They still have a job to do.

Tell Me…

What do you want me to say?
Tap me, and I hum.
Pluck me; I’ll sing.
Strum and hear me sing.

I’ll say everything
You’re afraid to say.
I’ll speak for you
When words fail.

Listen to me.
You’ll hear what I can’t tell you.
Hear me when I speak.
What I say is important.

Love and hate are the same to me.
Meaningless.
My expression transcends emotion
Into pure consciousness.

Listen to me.

The Downfall of Western Civilization

I understand that many people are cynical about Valentine’s Day. Frankly, I am as well. Why do I need a specific day to be peer-pressured into buying flowers/candy/jewelry for my significant other? To me, any day that ends in “y” is a perfect day to tell someone you love them. Even if you’re single.

A local Providence radio station, 94 HJY, took this cynicism to a whole new level with this year’s Valentine’s Day contest. Their morning personalities, Paul and Al, gave away a free divorce. Since I’m on their mailing list, I was notified about this via e-mail. At first, I thought it was spam. No one could be this cold, not even lawyers who advertise divorce on billboards. However, I cautiously followed their hyperlinks and found it to be legit. In partnership with a local law firm, they were offerring a free divorce. The only light I could see in this dark tunnel was one of their clauses: No one with children under 18. Well, at least they weren’t total bastards.

My wife and I were outraged. The divorce rate in this country is bad enough at 53%; it doesn’t need any encouragement. However, “contests” like these only serve as part of the problem, not the solution. I’m fully aware that marriage doesn’t always work. Sometimes, it is best for both parties to go their separate ways. When we’re manipulated, even encouraged, to end a committed relationship bound by God and law, that’s taking it a little too far.

Fortunately, other radio stations have a better idea. While Valentine’s Day has become mostly about women, 101.5 KGB has created the men’s version of Valentine’s Day: Steak-n-Knobber Day. Every year on March 15th, we men are entitled to just that, a steak-n-knobber. Thanks to their morning personalities, Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw, marriages all over Southern California are being saved. Paul and Al could definitely take a lesson.

I realize New England has a totally different mentality than SoCal. Still, no matter what the mentality, a marriage is a sacred vow that should be honored, no matter what. This is just one more reason why I prefer to be in San Diego.