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Comments & Curiosities: Where's my bang?

May 28, 2011|By Peter Buffa

Did you hear anything? I didn't.

See anything? Me neither.

As you know, the world was supposed to end at 6 p.m. May 21. And as far as I can tell, it did not.

Oakland radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted — guaranteed, actually — that May 21 was the end of the line, welcome to Armageddon, all passengers must deplane, don't worry about your carry-ons, you won't be needing them.

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Just to be safe, I had everything ready: pillow, Doppkit, skivvies, "Law & Order" reruns, a couple of apples, a little Parmigiano-Reggiano. And what happens?

Nothing. Niente, nada, zip, zilch, bupkis, that's what.

I jumped in the car at 6:20 p.m., which seemed safe enough, and headed down Newport Boulevard to Coast Highway, then cruised in both directions to see if maybe some stuff had blown up or been swallowed by the Earth, but it just wasn't on KNX yet. What I saw was a bright orange sun on the horizon, a glorious evening with nothing but blue water, white clouds and happy people.

It was depressing. I don't know about you, but when someone promises me fire and brimstone, I would like to see something, anything, a little thunder, lightning, a landslide maybe.

It didn't happen, of course, and it never does. But that will make no effect whatsoever on the next out-of-control, hair-on-fire media circus when the lonely guy with 32 followers sits down with a bible and a calculator and somehow determines that the world will end on Sept. 4, 20-whatever.

By the way, this isn't the first time Camping has demonstrated his skills in prophecy and math. He first predicted that judgment day, complete with fire and brimstone — even though no one knows what brimstone means — would dawn on May 21, 1988, then again on Sept. 7, 1994.

Camping's non-prophecies have been pretty traditional; mega-earthquakes will ruin everyone's day, then believers — including of course his followers — will be raised up to heaven and everyone without a boarding pass will wander the devastated Earth until it all goes ka-boom, or bang, or something, but it's really bad.

In this latest, nonsensical prediction, those who are left behind — and let me point out that I am not going anywhere with Camping, even heaven — the final bada-boom will occur Oct. 21.

How did he arrive at that date? The same way he arrived at May 21, I assume.

Camping returned to his home May 22 and made his way through the army of reporters waiting for him, saying only, "It has been a really tough weekend."

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