Sunday, January 03, 2010

We're sorry to hear you are dead

Richard received a letter from social security. It was addressed to his mother and it read, "Dear Mrs. Dukeslaw". We are sorry to hear that Mrs. Dukeslaw is deceased. Please accept our condolences". In other words, Dear Mrs. Dukeslaw - we are sorry to hear you are dead! We got a bit of a laugh over this and we know Pat would have thought it was hilarious.

Yesterday was a work day at the rancho..scraping yet again - windows and the screed around the house. The temperature was in the 80's and it was wonderful to be outdoors. Tired today and I will likely not attempt as much. Splendid weather again - clear and sunny.

The wrap-ups for the decade were interesting to read. Remembering back to Y2K was particularly strange - how did we fall for all of that? We know people who took all their money out of banks for fear that the entire banking record keeping system would evaporate in one fell swoop! All the billions of dollars and energy that were spent to fight an imaginary problem - much like parts of the global warming forecasting and the never-ending predictions of religious fanatics about the end of the world. We don't seem to be able to relax and enjoy ourselves and are compelled or condemned by something in our makeup that insists we worry about impending doom. And as always, the thing we focus on and worry most about, passes right by us and something else, totally unanticipated, sneaks in and gets the economic collapse.

Maybe this doomsday dread is genetic in origin and plays a part in survival? Worry, while debilitating, keeps you on your toes. Ever alert, one is in protective mode and less likely to get surprised by disaster. Surviving smallish disasters makes you stronger and able to survive the larger ones when they come along. Thinking about dread as a Darwinian force makes it seem less dreadful.

Science fiction writers frequently predict that our downfall will be rooted in genetic manipulation...that breeding microbes for military purposes will get out of control: fall into the hands of evil genius or "get loose" via innocent scientific error, wiping us out...all but for the few resistant or adaptable or those who by lucky accident are protected from contamination. "The Road", by Cormac McCarthy paints a horrible picture of what the world would be like. They've made a movie out of the book that is reputedly colossally depressing. I would like to see it regardless because the story telling in the book was so good.

I'm finding I worry less as I get older. The realization sinks in at some point that there is little one can do about most of the disasters even if they could be forecasted...we have to grin and bear them, ride them out. The unthinkable happens, you suffer and then it's over. Life goes on.

Funny after I wrote the above, I read one of my favorite bloggers on the Blue Heron Blog and he posted the following about a prediction by Harold Camping.

Now, I am not going to necessarily buy into any of this mumbo jumbo but as a prudent person you still might want to get your library books returned before May 21, 2011. That is the day that Camping says the third planet will meet its ultimate demise. He has been doing some serious biblical number crunching for going on 80 years and his recipe for earth's swan song runs thusly:

"Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he says. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years."
Multiply 1,978 by 365.2422 days - the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.
Note that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.
Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.
(Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
"Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story," Camping said. "It's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved.
"I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that," Camping said.

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