The other night I had the good fortune to enjoy a lecture about the alleged forthcoming end of the world from Dr. Kenneth Feder, my favorite skeptical archaeologist.
Dr. Kenny has graciously let me to interview him for Damned Connecticut (he always kindly tells me that he thinks it’s one of the better interview he’s ever done) and has also allowed me to bring my son to one of his archaeological digs at The Lighthouse site in Barkhamsted. I’ve also seen him give presentations on the fantasy that’s the lost continent of Atlantis, the shenanigans around the Cardiff Giant and the ludicrous speculation of pyramid-building aliens. I’ve also seen him as the voice of reason on History Channel-type programs, debunking various Erich von Daniken-inspired myths about an ancient world where intergalactic Peace Corps allegedly regularly dropped in on Earth to help various non-white European cultures to build monuments then zip away never to be seen again.
Speaking of sheer folly, his latest lecture was about the Maya calendar and all the ridiculous “Doomsday Dec. 21, 2012″ chatter. As any rational person might expect, Dr. Kenny (a respected professor, researcher and scientist) has bothered to go to the source material to gather all the actual facts rather than just regurgitate all the inane theories and New Age psychobabble. (Like other scientists have done.) Not surprisingly, he was able to easily cut through the crap.
In a nutshell: Like our calendars, the Maya calendar is essentially reaching the end of its long cycles (like our millennia) on December 21, 2012, and will simply start a new cycle on December 22—you know, not unlike how our calendar “turned over” on December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000. Yes, it’s a notable event (to the Maya), but as he pointed out, nowhere in the collected writings of the Maya did they indicate that this would be anything other than another holiday, maybe to be marked with a few special ceremonies welcoming the new long cycle. They never ever said anything about it being “The End of Times”—that feldercarb and fiction has been the work of various 20th-century crackpots.
Actually, the Maya have predicted the end of the world—I don’t remember the exact date Dr. Kenny provided, but it was somewhere in the order of a few trillion trillion years from now. Pretty sure none of us have to worry about it.
Anyway, all the talk of Maya timekeeping got me thinking about our calendar, which made me think of
My Five Favorite Months
(Didn’t see that coming, did you? Should’ve checked your Mayan calendar.)
1. October – Every year at this time, I’m reminded of why I love Connecticut so much. I truly believe that during this month, it’s the absolute best place on the planet. The weather is mostly clear and crisp, the foliage is spectacular and there’s about a jillion things to do, from hiking and apple picking to football (J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!) and Halloween, my second favoritest holiday.
And yes, October is my busiest month, mainly because Damned Connecticut is usually hopping all month long and I get requests related to that. (In fact, I’m scheduled to be a guest on Jaki’s Buzz! Details to come.) Plus, I try to stay on top of our monster list of Halloween events, which takes up a bit of time. So many great things going on all month long.
2. November – Lots of the cool things and ideal weather from October carry on into November … well, at least the first part, anyway. And then it’s time for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
I’ve written numerous times about how much I love everything about Thanksgiving, so I won’t (turkey) trot it all out here again. Suffice to say: food, football, food, family, food and fun! Oh, and food.
3. May – Despite containing the day of the year I hate the most, I always welcome May, mostly because it means that all the snow, cold and winter is really, truly behind us. Flowers are blooming, windows can be opened and the world truly feels alive again.
May also usually kicks off the official start to summer and all its glory, which is fine by me.
4. July – The height of summer, and despite the heat and humidity, I love it (especially knowing how much my buddy Steve hates it). Going to the beach, enjoying ice cream, swimming—all good stuff. Nothing better than sitting out on the porch in the early evening, enjoy the sounds of the neighborhood and life all around.
Oh, and there’s Independence Day, which is probably my third favorite holiday, if we’re counting (and it appears that I am). As we know, I love fire … works. Fireworks. Yeah. Things that KA-BOOM!!!! YEAH!
5. August – I might put June here, but it’s usually so jam-packed with events, it’s hard for me to enjoy. In a five-day stretch (from June 17th to the 22nd), I have: my son’s birthday, my wife’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary, my in-laws anniversary and Father’s Day. Plus, all sorts of sundry graduations, weddings and other events. Too much, as my grandmother would say.
August, however, is great because it’s the one month on the calendar with no holidays or obligations (outside of a birthday or two). The weather is usually still warm but not as humid as July, and the NFL preseason is just starting which is always welcome after seven or eight months of no football.
Of course, there are certain days throughout the year that I appreciate, and the good news is that after this December 21, I will still be able to enjoy them.