MARTY RUSSELL: It’s the end of the world… or maybe not

By Marty Russell

One thing is certain: Friday will be the shortest day of the year whether the world comes to an end or not. That’s because the winter solstice takes place at exactly 5:12 a.m., the point on the calendar when the sun has reached its southernmost point in the sky and slowly begins trending back northward.
That means that, for us, there will only be about 10 hours of daylight Friday with the sun rising about 7 a.m. and setting about 5 p.m. Republicans will lie down with Democrats about 2 p.m. and previously unseen planets crash into the Earth around 4:30 or so, if they don’t get caught in traffic.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, many people, most of them with way too much time on their hands, have been predicting the end of the world will occur this Friday based on the fact that an ancient Mayan calendar abruptly ends on that date. It’s a logical conclusion, no pun intended. The Mayans must have known something we don’t, either that or they ran out of stones on which to carve more calendars or they discovered the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar and decided to go with that instead.
But many people, some of whom actually aren’t on medication or academic probation, would point to the end of the Mayan calendar as proof the world will end Friday. That is if they were allowed to carry sticks to point with.
They say the Mayans were extremely skilled astronomers and mathematicians capable of calculating the odds that, thousands of years into the future, there would still be people gullible enough to buy into their little practical joke. They must be having a good laugh now, wherever they are. Their civilization abruptly disappeared thousands of years ago, shortly after the invention of the whoopee cushion.
But let’s just say that the Mayans were right and the world does come to end around lunchtime on Friday whether it’s because of a collision with Planet X, a cosmic zap from the center of the galaxy or gravity just giving up and going home leaving us all to float into space. Would it really be that bad?
No more fiscal cliff to worry about. That would solve that problem. Not another Christmas spent with relatives who stay too long and hog the remote control. No more amalgamations of Christmas stories such as “Grandma Got Run Over By The Griswolds While Shopping For a Red Ryder BB Gun.” No more Justin Beiber.
Unfortunately, and I hate to break this to some of you, I suspect all of those things will still be around come Saturday. Certainly the world could indeed come to an end Friday. But it could also come to an end next Tuesday or even tomorrow. Point is, we all have to go to bed each night expecting the world, and, yes, Justin Beiber, to still be there in the morning. And deal with it.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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