Saturday, May 21, 2011

...and I feel fine.

On this dawning of the so-called Judgement Day, I've been wasting time finding some of my favorite End of the World writings and songs. I was posting them on Facebook, but I've become too verbose to fit my snarky remarks into the space Mark Zuckerberg gives me, so I've moved over to my long-neglected blog. Consider this my K-Tel Greatest Hits of the Armageddon package.

REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" is really the obligatory song of the day. Fortunately, it's a great song. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with the lyrics in Michael Stipe's vocals, but there are a million lyric sites on the web to help you follow along.

And while everyone's talking about fire and brimstone for the end of the world today, the great prophet Robert Frost reminds us that there is another possibility.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great

Which leads us to perhaps the greatest doomsday novelist of all-time, Kurt Vonnegut, whose 1964 novel Cat's Cradle ended with a sufficient amount of ice--more specifically, Ice-9--to destroy human life on this island Earth. Vonnegut's story includes enough amoral scientists and religious extremists for any prophecy of the end times, and it's far more entertaining and well-written than any Left Behind novel.

Speaking of signs of the apocalypse, according to Wikipedia, Leonardo DiCaprio's production company has optioned Cat's Cradle and is currently working on a script for a film version of the book.

Sting's post-apocalyptic opus "Bring On the Night/When the World is Running Down" clocks in at about 10 minutes, so if you believe this is our last day, you probably want to spend your time doing something more productive. If not, it's a great performance, so relax and enjoy it.

Finally, there's Prince's "1999." Here in 2011, it seems outdated, which I suppose is one of the dangers of forecasting the destruction of the world: When you're wrong, everyone is still around to know about it. Ask Harold Camping, the radio host responsible for today's silliness. His first prediction of the rapture was for 1994. Of course, that didn't stop him from making a new prediction, all based on biblical references and math. (My understanding is that his first prediction was incorrect because he forgot to carry a 2 from one column to the next as he calculated the date.)

What this means for Prince is that if he follows Camping's example, he is only five years from another blockbuster hit. Personally, I can't wait to hear the funky groove he lays down for "2016."

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