Sunday, May 22, 2011

A lesson in blind obedience.

First of all, mazel tov to all Howdygram readers who, like Sam and me, somehow managed to survive the end of the world yesterday. In case you haven’t been following this news story, wacko California pastor Harold Camping, age 89, predicted the second coming of Christ on May 21 at 6 p.m. This was supposed to follow massive natural disasters predicted to begin in New Zealand — with zombies popping out of their graves as a bonus. All “true believers” would be taken up to heaven; everybody else gets to hang around down here until the rest of the universe blows up on October 21. I am not joking about this.

Camping’s nonprofit ministry launched a multimillion-dollar P.R. campaign that included 5,000 end-of-the-world billboards in every corner of the globe, subway transit ads, Internet banner ads and a full-page newspaper ad in USA Today, and he successfully convinced many of his faithful to empty their bank accounts and quit their jobs. A retired New York city bus driver reportedly spent his entire life savings — $140,000 — on 1,000 bus shelter and subway car ads announcing Camping’s May 21 apocalypse, and others have sold their homes, antique collections and given away their possessions. Apparently none of them bothered to note that Camping’s last apocalypse prediction was in 1994. He is now 0 for 2.

Why didn’t I think of this first? The Howdygram would like to recognize two clever entrepreneurs who found a way to capitalize on Camping’s scare campaign. Bart Centre of New Hampshire launched a venture called “Eternal Earth-Bound Pets.” For $135 a confirmed atheist will rescue one pet per address within 24 hours of the rapture. Another service called “You’ve Been Left Behind” charges $14.95 to send letters and emails to your non-believing friends and relatives who get stuck on Earth.

In other news tonight, Sam and I are watching a line of severe thunderstorms roll in from Forth Worth. It’s quite a show out there, and I think we need popcorn. Smooches to everybody. Pass the salt.

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