Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

. . . .

2010

Robert Downes - March 3rd, 2008
Have you heard about the Mayan Prophecy? New Age types have been talking about it for months on the Internet and radio talk shows such as “Coast-to-Coast,” which explores paranormal topics.
Apparently, before their civilization collapsed in Central America 1,000 years ago, the Mayans predicted that the world would end in the year 2012.
This is the date which coincides with the “end” of the Mayan calendar -- and the end of the world as we know it.
So queue up that old R.E.M. song, because you’ve got four years left to party like it’s 1999. Then -- kaboom... if you believe in what a Mayan prophet had to say 1,300 years ago, that is.
Some New Agers speculate that the Mayans were wise to the magnetic field shift of the Earth in which the positive and negative poles of our planet “flip” on the average of every 200,000 years
The Earth, you see, is believed to have a core of solid iron, located some 4,000 miles beneath your feet. According to National Geographic, this core is surrounded by molten iron and nickel which whips around, generating a magnetic field that protects our planet from charged particles shooting from the sun.
In other words, you’re living on a giant magnet and its polarity could flip at any moment, possibly scrambling your brain or something, such as it is...
Geological evidence shows that the last time the Earth’s magnetic field flipped was 780,000 years ago. So, we’re long overdue.
Other possible end-of-the-world culprits include global warming, solar flares, a supervolcano under Yellowstone Park, and Jesus returning in a really bad mood.
Unfortunately, there are reasons to believe that those long-gone Mayans could be right. In the New York Times last year, Al Gore noted that we’re currently pumping 70 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day by burning coal and oil.
He also pointed out that Venus and the Earth contain about the same amount of CO2; the difference is that the CO2 on Venus is in the atmosphere and our CO2 is mostly in the ground. So why are we feverishly trying to turn our planet into Venus?
Did you know the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees?
But the thing is, people have been predicting the end of the world for eons, and we’re still here. If there‘s anything you can predict about prophets, it‘s that they tend to be dead wrong.
Writer Benjamin Anastas noted in the New York Times Magazine that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have predicted the end of the world for 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994. The Russians believed that Napolean was the Antichrist and that the world would end in the early 1800s. The Shakers said the world would end in 1792; and there was a so-called “Great Disappointment” among Baptists when the world failed to end on Oct. 22, 1844.
As has been noted elsewhere, the world is always ending for someone. For the Mayans, it ended around 900 A.D. when their civilization fell apart due to depleted soil and the social consequences of their bloodthirsty religion. The world ended for the Confederate South in 1865. It ended for the Jews of Europe in the early 1940s and for Native Americans in the period between 1492 and the 1870s.
But when the world ends, the survivors pick themselves up and move on.
So, stock up on pizza and beer. Lay in a supply of funny DVDs and run your credit cards up to the max. Give up dieting and exercise -- you won’t need ‘em where you’re going. The world is ending in 2012 -- the Mayans said so, so it must be true.

CORRECTION
Apologies to sculptor Edward Chesney, who is the creator of the Fireman‘s Monument in Roscommon, and not Marshall Fredericks as stated in this column last week. Chesney sculpted the 12-foot bronze for its installation in 1980, just off I-75 in Roscommon.
 
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