Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011



We here at the DUNER BLOG wish to extend a big "Thank You" to everyone (especially you, MOM!!) who suggested we blog about the priest/prankster HAROLD CAMPING and his failed DOOMSDAY PROPHESY.  So here we go.  For those of you lucky enough NOT to hear about these shenanigans, here's a brief recap:  It had been predicted by an Oakland-based preacher that May 21st, 2011 would be JUDGMENT DAY.  For the last five months, everyone in the San Francisco Bay Area has seen his multiple billboards on our freeways, dramatically counting down the days to the end of the world. Then we watched in horror as the rest of the nation slowly began paying attention to our local lunatic.  Alas, Saturday finally came! What happened? Oakland was struck by an earthquake! (3.5 on the Richter Scale!)   It knocked an item or two off the grocery store shelves, but nothing compared with the doom and gloom Camping had predicted.

In response your inquiries, we conducted copious amounts of research on Camping and discovered he is little more than another slimy con-artist.  Since the hoax, it seems our omniscient man-of-the-hour is keeping a rather low profile.  The once-prominent signs outside his World Radio Headquarters on International Boulevard in Oakland were abruptly removed.  His 'spokes-people' are not returning messages from inquiring bloggers.  Meanwhile, the lawsuits are piling up.  So...rather than bore our readers with another re-telling of this rather sad tale...we shall instead focus on the next upcoming imminent disaster: THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR!  (Hope this is okay, Mom!)

There's actually a fancy name for the study of the End of the World.  It's called ESCHATOLOGY and it has been terrorizing the under-educated since the dawn of man.  Anyhow, now the Eschatologists want you to learn about Mayan Theology. (Which is a much more plausible vehicle for the fatalistic message than the silly 'fire and brimstone' of Mr. Camping.) This time, our holy book is the POPOL VUH, the most respected written account of Mayan mythology.  According to this text, there have been three previous realms on earth prior to the one we currently live in.  These worlds were filled with fearsome lightning gods and cool cosmic crocodile goddesses, but no humans.  Mayans don't believe people appearred on earth until August 11th, 3114 BC (they are very precise), the exact date when our current world began.

While we here at the DUNER BLOG aren't too worried about apocalyptic crocodiles, we are concerned about the amazing accuracy of the ancient Mayan scientists, who accomplished amazing calculations without elaborate machinery.  For example, we have to add a  "leap day" to every fourth February so our old Julian calendars will be accurate.  There are no silly things like Leap Years in Mayan calendars.  While the ancient Roman mathematicians were trying to compute using a non-decimal system (XIV + LVIII = LXXII), Mayan mathematicians were doing advanced calculus...They are the only ancient civilization to employ the concept of a zero.   So maybe...just maybe...these ancient Mayans are on to something? Here's the math: Each year is called a tun.  Each century (actually 394 years) is called a Baktun.  There are 13 Baktuns in a world.  The end date of the 4th world ( in Mayan script) will correspond to Wednesday, December 21st, 2012.  Ka-blooey!

The main problem with the Mayan Doomsday Theory is that the Mayans themselves don't believe it.  Scholars don't agree that the end of the calendar necessarily corresponds to the end of life on earth.   In fact, some people in the Guatemalan Highlands are planning on partying next December, not dying in some horrible, cataclysmic fire.  Sandra Noble, the director of a Mesoamerican research organization, clarifies: "For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle." She goes on to warn us that horrible movies starring JOHN CUSAK are: "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in."  Speaking of cashing in, guess how much Mr. Camping made?  $73 million dollars.  Wow!

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