TRAVERSE CITY – A high-energy night at the pub, highlighted by good conversation about the death of Osama bin Laden, an excellent selection of beers, and monkeys on the loose – all covered extensively by the paparazzi, who got wind of our topic. Also, the world is ending in 2036.
The evening began with a send off for Rebecca, who left early to catch a flight to Madrid. A week after recovering from her big thirtieth birthday party, she was ready to leave the country. So she bid us all sayonara, lugging her suitcase from the Warehouse district all the way to S. Airport Road.
After recently being blacklisted by the Record-Eagle, we were pleasantly surprised to find they still like us, and we welcomed in Jan-Michael Stump, photographer extraordinaire, who captured the highlight of the evening as first-time guest Sharon Moller explained to her husband Pete and the rest of us her own response to the news of bin Laden’s death. She echoed sentiments carried by many of us, that she was relieved in a way, but a bit troubled by the gratuitous celebrations carried out in the immediate aftermath.
Steve noted that he *would* celebrate if his death meant we could finally wrap up our ‘war on terror’, and realize that having a war against terror is a bit of a ridiculous concept. There was agreement around the table that that would indeed be a good thing.
Others fear that the killing of bin Laden would create more reprisals and backlash than it would actually accomplish any sort of diminishing of terrorism. Does fighting violence with violence really work? The Dalai Lama noted his own sadness at the event, though he said he understood why it happened. He wondered whether killing one man would bring more peace, or just new opportunities for more to step in and fill the void.
It was also asked whether or not this would turn bin Laden into some sort of martyr. Would he now become even more of a hero in death than he was in life for those who followed him?
The second major topic of the night was this: If the human race is wiped out, what will be the reason?
Keith D. felt it would be some sort of pandemic – a medical/disease scenario like a virus of some sort that would wipe us all out. Some felt it would be self-inflicted, such as a nuclear reality, or a longer-term environmental disaster making the planet unsustainable for human life. Brian with an ‘i’ was back and he felt it would be something like a comet or asteroid that would cause a dinosaur-like extinction, and that in fact there may be one already on its way. This caused us all to get another round. I couldn’t find anything on the one Brian mentioned – Xerxes, but did find a story on one named Apophis after the Egyptian god of death and destruction (how comforting!).
Here’s what I found:
“There is a large asteroid, made entirely of iron, currently speeding toward earth. Discovered in 2004, it’s called “Apophis,” after the Greek-Egyptian god of death and destruction. And the asteroid named after a god of death will be the largest and closest thing to come near Earth than any other object in recorded history. It will come so close, in fact, that it will actually be closer to the ground than orbiting communications satellites. It will be seeable with the naked eye as a point of intense light burning across the sky.
When will it pass near Earth? April 13, 2029. A Friday.
But that’s not even the scariest part.
Scientists are nearly certain that the asteroid won’t hit when it swings by in 2029. But there’s a possibility that, if Earth’s gravity affects the asteroid’s path enough, it will swing back around the Sun and strike the Earth on April 13, 2036.
So, if Apophis does hit Earth in 2036, where, exactly, will it hit?”
Good question – you’ll have to link to the article to read the rest, though it did note that an impact could ‘start a massive fire that would burn millions of acres, spilling tons of ash and debris into the air and plunging the Northern Hemisphere into darkness’. Also comforting.
The final topic of the night was a doozy – ‘Can God make a breakfast so big he can’t eat it?’ No one jumped on it, so we left the pub with visions of extra large omelets, king-size pancakes, and, to quote Obi Wan, feeling “a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.”
And yes, the monkeys…