Clark County residents ready to ring in the doom

Local folks have one response if Mayans are right, world to end: 'Let's party!'

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 
photoA Mayan statue stands in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Today marks the supposed end of the Mayan calendar — and, some believe, the end of the world.

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Ways to ring in the apocalypse

Dec. 21:

Noon to midnight, Last Call A-Hop-alypse party at Northwest Liquid Gold, 11202 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd. Call 360-326-4281.

Dec. 21-22:

Friday night End of the World party and Saturday Zombie Apocalypse Brunch at Shanahan's Pub & Grill, 209 W. McLoughlin Blvd. Call 360-735-1440.

So it's Friday, and the world is supposed to end tonight.

Sounds like a great excuse to celebrate — as if you need another one during the holidays.

Far-out theories abound on the Internet as to how we will be destroyed. Most are focused on tonight, which marks the supposed end of the Mayan calendar, although some projections stretch to Dec. 23.

Either way, our predicted doom has left a lot of questions in the minds of Clark County residents.

"What time zone is the end of the world?" asked Sean Robinson, president of Vancouver's Commodore Computer Club, as he contemplated his evening plans.

After some painstakingly detailed research (OK, OK, we Googled it), it looks like the Mayans lived in Central Time.

So if the world ends at Mayan midnight, that means the Pacific Northwest should go sometime around 10 p.m., right?

That should work just fine for beer drinkers around Orchards who are looking for a way to spend their last night on earth.

Northwest Liquid Gold, a brewpub that sells growler fills and bottled beers at 11202 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd., is planning to stay open for a late-night shindig, with a selection of apocalypse-themed beers on its 20 taps for its "Last Call A-Hop-alypse party," said co-owner Travis Carter.

"We're going to stay open until midnight, but the apocalypse actually could happen any time through Saturday night," Carter said. "We could go to bed, wake up, and there the apocalypse will be."

For those in the downtown area, Shanahan's Pub & Grill at 209 W. McLoughlin Blvd. has its own End of the World party planned for the evening, followed by a Saturday morning Zombie Apocalypse Brunch. It is always best to fuel up right before taking on the throngs of post-apocalypse zombies, after all, said Dave Cookson, owner.

"I've been planning this for a year -- because at least the end of the world, this time around, will be on a Friday, so we can have live bands," Cookson said.

His evening band lineup includes Sex Hawk, How to Build a Fire and Ruff Hausen, he said.

Robinson's club is also planning its own, slightly nerdier party. Its members picked a selection of about 20 songs that are just perfect for ringing in the doom, he said.

"We're going to have a game night, where we eat food, play games and listen to things like 'It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)' by REM," Robinson said. "We've also done a few goofy things like calling (Office Max) and asking if they have the Mayan calendar, and if it will go on sale on Dec. 22 because it's no good anymore."

While it is dominant, we can't blame all the apocalyptic fear on the Mayans.

There are plenty of other theories on how our doom may come about, according to the all-knowing Internet.

For instance, we may be hit by a rogue invisible planet called Nibiru, which has thus far remained elusive to astronomers.

A black hole could appear after some unsuspecting Harry Potter-type wizard accidentally conjures it with "accio."

Solar flares could cause a global blackout, because the solar cycle peaks between 2012 and 2014, and it nearly destroyed us last time it happened, way back in 2000.

Heck, the Earth could suddenly reverse its spinning direction when the magnetic poles shift.

Wait. No it couldn't.

Of course, the end of the Mayan long count calendar continues to be an apocalypse fan favorite. Because as we well know, every Dec. 31, our world is destroyed when the Hot Firefighter calendar pages run out.

Still have doubts? Even Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard admitted (OK, maybe a bit sarcastically) that her government knows the end is near.

"It turns out the Mayan calendar was true," she said in a Dec. 6 video.

"Whether the final blow comes from flesh-eating zombies, demonic hell beasts or from the total triumph of (Korean pop music), if you know one thing about me it is this: I will always fight for you until the very end," she said, adding "and at least this means I won't have to do Q&A again."

If we do somehow manage to survive, the Milwaukie Lumber Yard, at 3113 N.E. Fourth Plain Road in Vancouver, has chucked caution to the wind and put up a sign that reads "Mayan Apocalypse Dec. 21. Free wood Dec. 22."

And yes, they mean it.

"It's a play on words, but yes, we do," said Rusty Rice, sales manager. "We've been telling everybody they have to come in on the 22nd to find out what exactly we're giving away though."

So do these folks from Clark County really think the world is going to end tonight? Not so much, they all said.

"I think it's going to be like Y2K," Robinson said. "A bunch of folks will go out, buy duct tape, bottled water, Chef Boyardee and any remaining Twinkies they can find, and then nothing will happen."

Carter agrees, although it really doesn't matter -- as long as people have a fun time tonight, he said.

"It's all just for fun," Carter said. "It's a good night to take a poke at the end of the world fears."

And if the world doesn't end this time, don't be sad. In 2036, there's a 1 in 5,500 chance that the quarter-mile-wide asteroid Apophis could strike and destroy the world, according to the Internet.

So keep that duct tape ready.

Predictions, predictions

A not-so-serious look at some past apocalypse predictions that just didn’t pan out.

634 BC: Rome’s destruction predicted for the city’s 120th anniversary, because 12 eagles supposedly appeared to Romulus, the city’s founder, each representing 10 years that Rome would exist. Rome’s still there, despite numerous attacks from the Gauls, Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Arabs, Normans and the makers of the film “2012.”

200-ish AD: Montanist sect, an early Christian movement, predicts Jesus will return and the world will end. The world is still here. The sect isn’t.

375-400 AD: Saint Martin of Tours predicts the end times, saying, “There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power.” Antichrist fails to show up.

799-806 AD: Saint Gregory of Tours calculates that the world will end around this time. What is it with the folks from Tours, anyway?

992-995 AD: Christians thought that when Good Friday coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation it would bring forth the Antichrist, and thus the end times, within three years. Antichrist fails to show up, again. Perhaps he was waiting for the invention of cellphone calendar apps.

1000 AD: Pope Sylvester II, several others, predict the world will end on Jan. 1. The fear of round numbers (or Y1K) proves unfounded.

1346-1351 AD: Many in Europe assume the Black Plague outbreak is a sign of the end times. Nice try, Black Plague, nice try.

1524 AD: Astrologers predict a flood starting in London on Feb. 1 will destroy the world, based on calculations made the previous June. They must have forgotten to carry the 1.

1624 AD: Astrologers, failing their prediction in 1524, decide that the real flood will take place on Feb. 1 of this year. This time, forgot to carry the 2.

1666 AD: The number 666 causes widespread fears of world’s end. Nothing happens, for what feels like the 666th time.

1719 AD: Mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, who discovered the mathematical constant “e,” predicts a comet will destroy the world on April 5. End of the world doesn’t pan out, but at least he comes close to inventing the first April Fool’s Day prank.

1805 AD: Christopher Love, Presbyterian minister, predicted global destruction by earthquake, followed by an age of everlasting peace when God will be known by all. Many wars follow.

1890 AD: Wovoka, founder of the Native American Ghost Dance movement, predicted in 1889 that the millennium would occur in 1890. Despite his best efforts, Anglos remain in the new world.

1908, 1914, 1916, 1918, 1925 AD: Bible Student Movement predicts the end of the world, Apocalyptic battles, oblivion. If at first you don’t succeed …

1954 AD: UFO cult leader Dorothy Martin predicts the world will end with terrible flooding on Dec. 21. Turns out she was reading the Mayan calendar backwards.

1962 AD: Psychic Jeane Dixon predicts a planetary alignment that will end the world on Feb. 4. Magic 8 Ball says: “Concentrate and ask again.”

1982 AD: British science writer and astrophysicist John Gribbin and co-author Stephen Plagemann in their book “The Jupiter Effect” say gravitational forces of lined-up planets will destroy the world on March 10. Gravitational forces fail to comply.

1982 AD: In late 1976, preacher Pat Robertson predicted the world would end in October or November of this year. He forgot all about the mathematical constant “e.”

1996 AD: California psychic Sheldon Nidle predicts the world will end on Dec. 17, with the arrival of 16 million spaceships and a host of angels. Angels, obviously fearing “newfangled” UFO technology, decide to walk instead and missed the party.

1999 AD: Predictions attributed to Nostradamus spread fears that the world will end, possibly in July. No dice, although it did inspire Prince to inform us that we should all “Party like it’s 1999.”

2000 AD: Second coming of Jesus, birth of the Antichrist, a shift in the Earth’s axis, computer collapse all predicted for Jan. 1. Along with dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria.

2007 AD: Preacher Pat Robertson, in his 1990 book “The New Millennium,” suggests Earth’s destruction on April 29. The new millennium thanks him politely and continues on.

2011 AD: Preacher Ronald Weinland, of the Church of God, who first predicted world nuclear explosions in July of 2008, changes his date to Sept. 28, 2011. When that didn’t pan out, he changed his prediction once again to May 27, 2012. Now it’s May 19, 2013. Good thing he’s staying occupied while he awaits sentencing for tax evasion.

2012 AD: Galactic alignment, Mayan long count calendar, geomagnetic reversal, solar flares, giant supernova, rogue planets all predicted to destroy the world sometime between Dec. 20-23. Let’s not forget giant killer robots, zombies and space lasers.

Sue Vorenberg: 360-735-4457; www.twitter.com/col_suevo;sue.vorenberg@columbian.com.