It’s the End of the World…

It’s been a while since I devoted a rant to the impending Demise of Civilization.

Today’s Sign of the Apocalypse:

I still read the newspaper–yes, the actual paper one–every day. Since I’ve said that, you’re no doubt expecting me to bemoan the decline in newspaper readership as a sign of Impending Doom. Nope. I mean, yes, it is, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Today, a friend of mine appeared in the paper. With a picture. Identified by name. And I realized that if I said that to anyone, their first reaction would be closer to “I’m sorry to hear it. What did he do?” (or maybe “Is he OK?”) than to “Hey, cool! What did he do?”*

When the heck did that happen? It’s definitely a “Damn kids! Get off my lawn!” moment to realize that I can remember when the default assumption was that newsworthy events were good news. Wait, let me qualify that statement because I’m not old enough to have a memorythat rosy. My memories include a time when a non-celebrity making the paper was more likely to be good news than bad. Celebrity news has, so far as I can remember, always been bad.

I’m willing to admit to the possibility that I’m a victim of selective memory, and that one would never have wanted to appear in the newspaper except in a “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” sense. But I know my perception of appearing in the newspaper has changed, and the memory I’ve got is the one I have to work with. So if 100% of the available data indicates things have changed, it must be correct, right?

No wonder I’m the only person reading the printed paper these days.

Moving on.

I was going to highlight the news that Nick Markakis is leaving Baltimore for Atlanta and Michael Saunders has been traded from Seattle to Toronto as a further sign of the impending collapse of civilization, but the more I think about it, the less I’m sure about that.

Both players had been with the same team for their entire professional life. I had written a rant about how players never stay with their original teams for their entire career any more. “Where are the Edgar Martinezes and Cal Ripkins?” I asked. But you know, Edgar and Cal were exceptions. Players staying with a single team has always been unusual. It became less common after the introduction of free agency, sure, but even before then, team owners swapped players like kids swapped baseball cards.

So, not a sign of the Decline of Civilization. And, as Jackie pointed out in her farewell blog post to Nick, baseball players may actually move around less than the typical American, who changes jobs every four and a half years.

Maybe that’s the real sign of the impending collapse. I need to think about that one for a bit.

But if that’s not a sign that Civilization is lurching towards its inevitable end, what is?

Non-ironic citation of R.E.M. as the greatest band ever? I’m very tempted to say yes on that–we all know it’s Brave Combo–but I’ll give Jackie a pass on that, seeing as how she’s currently bereaved.

Mayonnaise on hamburgers? Probably. We’ve established that mayo is the devil’s condiment. Putting it on a burger does nothing to redeem the condiment and much to corrupt the meat.

There is, however, a single fact that proves civilization is not on the decline, but has actually collapsed completely. That fact? People think is funny. (I’m deliberately not making that a link. If you want to take a look, put in the minimal effort of copy/pasting the URL.)

Enough said. See you in the survival bunker.

* For the record, it was good news. Part of the centennial celebration of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

8 thoughts on “It’s the End of the World…

  1. It’s only because you’re a baseball fan that you still read that dishrag. Their sports coverage has always been so good that it was noted by Tom Lehrer.


    • “I only read it for the articles.”

      Srsly, though, if it wasn’t for that fishwrap (I wouldn’t use it to wipe dishes; the ink comes off too easily, which would be rather counterproductive), I doubt I would ever have heard enough about the Bolt Botch to have gotten interested.


  2. WordPress messed up the headline on your post. I’m certain it was meant to say:

    “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And, I Feel Fine)”

    Plus, not that I don’t appreciate Brave Combo … I’ve even seen them live (and I actually have an accordion and can almost/sorta/kinda play it) … but two members of R.E.M. now sit in with “The Baseball Project” and that just seals the deal for me.


    • No glitch. I intended to reference the song, but I don’t feel all that fine about the end of civilization as we know it…

      On the other hand, you’ve moved several steps further up in my esteem by (a) knowing who Brave Combo are and (b) owning an accordion in working condition.


      • Know Brave Combo. Seen Brave Combo.

        And, my accordion isn’t actually an accordion, but a Chemnitz concertina, which most people have never heard of, but it is accordion-ish and essential to Polish polka. (It’s about the size of an accordion, not like those wimpy English concertinas.) It was my grandfathers. He had a polka band with his brothers in North Dakota in the ’20s/’30s. He was very good. I am very not.


        • Bonus points for knowing the difference between an accordion and a concertina. Doubled for keeping a family heirloom in operation, however good or otherwise you may be at it.


  3. Yup, grew up in a polka family — I know the difference between the accordion and all its brands and variations and nuances and the concertina and all that come from that line of squeeze-machines. (This trivial knowledge makes me delightful at dinner parties!)

    But, the one thing that probably makes my grandpa’s aging bellows sigh in resignation … I do like a good midwest Polish polka … but, I LOVE conjunto music and Flacco Jimenez and Eva Ybarra, etc.

    But, not as much as I love R.E.M. 🙂


    • “A polka family” conjures an amusing image, but I suppose you weren’t always dancing.

      It’s not that far from midwest polka to conjunto. I doubt you’re the only person who ever took the trip–and I doubt the concertina would be that disappointed. Or did you mean your Grandpa’s bellows more personally?


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