negotiating away the apocalyse: rain check

Can you negotiate anything? Even the end of the world? Well, it might take a bit of hubris, and the grand finale, the curtain closer with encore is knocking on our door, the grim reaper of grim reapers, on May 21st. Should I propose to her beforehand? Time is of the essence and increments of concession may not be ideal at this juncture. Can this fastidiously predicted “inevitability” be dissuaded? Can something be negotiated? I know humankind’s hand is a weak one but….

---His home is slated for demolition. “I’m not trying to stoke racial fires ... It’s a symbol of mistreatment,” Townsend told the Star on Saturday. “It’s not a hate crime. If anything it’s a hate crime against me. I’ve been a victim.” Campbellford resident Troy Varty said it was “bad enough” when one man dressed in a white cloak and draped in the Confederate flag led another in blackface through a party at the Legion with a noose last Halloween. The duo won first place in the costume contest.--- Read More:

From your lips to god’s ear. God is said to negotiate with selfless believers; at least if you can mask the self interest sufficiently.Abraham and Moses were really the first really good hard bargainers. pre-Zig Ziglar. So, there is some precedent here. In the case of Sodom, Abe knocked down god from fifty all the way to a palatable  ten souls, which in term of negotiating showed some adroitness on his part. It took some chutzpah to out negotiate the almighty. Not his fault the town got rocked for lack of ten innocents. Moses was a bigger score,a bit of a stronger closer, but forty years in the desert;hey brother, was it worth it?  So, from Abraham and Moses, there has been sacred tips passed down:

Playing dumb.Ah, my favorite negotiation technique. If you’re negotiating with me, I always know more than I’m letting on. I play stupid. Cohen writes, “In negotiation, dumb is often better than smart, inarticulate frequently better than articulate, and many times weakness can be strength.” When you play dumb, you force the other side to give you more information. That’s not to say you should be dumb. On the contrary. Remember: Information is one of the keys to successful negotiation. But sometimes it’s better to pretend you know less than you really do. Cohen says — and I believe this is crucial — you should “learn to ask questions, even when you think you might know the answers.” Read More:

---A 91-year-old California woman selling do-it-yourself asphyxiation kits for $60 apiece says business is booming since a depressed but otherwise healthy young man used her product to kill himself in Oregon. Notoriety surrounding Sharlotte Hydorn's home-based mail order operation near San Diego and the December suicide of one of her customers, Nicholas Klonoski, 29, has also sparked a move in Oregon to outlaw sales of such devices.--- Read More:

The devil is in the details. Tom Scocca:Even before these countdown days, “Open Forum” was always noticeably open, allowing callers a moment to tell Camping he’s a heretic, a crank, a fool—or to try dragging him toward an even more unhinged and impenetrable engagement with the biblical text than his own. Last night, someone phoned up and asked him if he was on crack cocaine. He fielded the question as if it were any other factual matter. He had never taken any mind-altering drugs at all, he said. Then he reared back his head in his standard wince-smile and thanked the caller and said “shall-we-take-our-next-caller-please.”

Someone else had a thornier question: what about the time zones? The whole concept of Judgment Day would seem to be based on a flat-earth cosmology, where a single day has a single boundary. The Camping position on the timing is not totally clear—by one account, the Rapture, like the New Year, is supposed to make a circuit of the globe, time zone by time zone. A new batch of the saved will ascend as each set of clocks strikes 6 p.m. On TV this afternoon, though, Camping (now at a podium, before a red curtain) was fudging a little: “maybe” we can even know the hour, he said. Read More:

Actually, in his crude way, Campings view of this form of “messianic” violence is not dissimilar to some of the views of the Frankfurt School, especially Benjamin. Even  Heidegger protested into  transforming “techne” into modern technology with its disasters.  Horkheimer and Adorno asserted that technology has not taken control of nature but even of man. Enlightenment’s ruinous tendency has even led to the destruction of speculative thought, and to its incorporation within the teleological orientation. For Benjamin, it was a nihilism rooted in the destruction of experience.Perhaps the individual could be “saved” by passing through the bursts of “now time”. Benjamin  presented some of these themes in Critique of Violence and in The Work of Art in the Age of Technological Reproduction. He concluded the latter essay in by procaliming “Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian Gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order”. Camping’s sense of aesthetics seem less developed, but nontheless.

Horkheimer’s critique – “the administered world.”  describes a totalitarian reality, a reality encompassing the pleasure industry and technological progress in general. This is the basis for the whole historical reality of the advanced technological society, in which everything has become “consumption” and life with all its layers and dimensions is nothing but a ‘fetish of consumption”. Benjamin did not hesitate to designate “the totality” of “modernity” using a distinct name: “hell.” Hell returns, again and again, in each innovation, and surely this totality reflects the “eternity of hell upon earth”, thus in part justifying mass destruction.

Samuel Colman. The Edge of Doom. ---Asked at a press conference on Monday for his view of the events, Stockhausen answered that the attacks were "the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos." According to a tape transcript from public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk, he went on: "Minds achieving something in an act that we couldn't even dream of in music, people rehearsing like mad for 10 years, preparing fanatically for a concert, and then dying, just imagine what happened there. You have people who are that focused on a performance and then 5,000 people are dispatched to the afterlife, in a single moment. I couldn't do that. By comparison, we composers are nothing. Artists, too, sometimes try to go beyond the limits of what is feasible and conceivable, so that we wake up, so that we open ourselves to another world." Asked by a journalist whether he equated art and crime, Stockhausen replied: "It's a crime because those involved didn't consent. They didn't come to the 'concert.' That's obvious. And no one announced that they risked losing their lives. What happened in spiritual terms, the leap out of security, out of what is usually taken for granted, out of life, that sometimes happens to a small extent in art, too, otherwise art is nothing." Read More: image:

Asking “what if?”
Cohen says it can be extremely effective to ask the question “what if?”. What if I haul the lawnmower home myself instead of you delivering it? How will that affect the price? What if I buy two cases of this wine instead of one? What if I pay cash instead of using a credit card?…Detachment
Care — but not too much. In every negot

on, the side that needs or wants the outcome least has an advantage. Cohen writes: “When you feel you have to have something, you always pay top dollar. You put yourself in a position where the other party can manipulate you with ease.” Read More:

---In a nutshell: The worthy dead will first rise up to heaven, followed shortly thereafter by about 200 million faithful followers saved by God. Those left behind will endure several months of ghastly torment. And what remains of our fair Earth will swiftly careen toward its ultimate destruction -- which will occur in October.--- Read More: image:


Another fish head in the dustbin
Another loser in the queue for the soup kitchen
Another reason for a visit
We think you’d better come down
Another nigger on the woodpile
Another honky on the dole
Another trip from off the 15th floor
The greatest story ever told
Was so wrong so wrong
‘Cos you promised milk and honey
With an everlasting life
And we listened with our ears closed
And a blindness in our eyes
But we heard them as they nailed you
And we saw you crucified
The second coming of the Holy Ghost…. ( The Second Coming of the Last Supper )


—In the early ’90s, Camping published a book titled “1994?,” which claimed judgment day would arrive in September of that year. When confronted with such a staggering anticlimax — the world, after all, kept on spinning — Camping chose not to be discouraged, but to learn from his mistakes. (He hadn’t considered the Book of Jeremiah, he says.) A civil engineer by trade, Camping went back to the drawing board and continued to crunch the numbers, before arriving at the adamant determination that Rapture would come on May 21, 2011.— Read More: image:

We need a pocketful of miracles
Two thousand years and he ain’t shown yet
We kept his seat warm and the table set
The second sitting for the Last Supper
Another Guru in the money
Another mantra in the mail
An easy way from rags to riches
God’s little acre’s up for sale
The time is right for ressurection
We think you’d better come down
The church don’t ring with hallelujahs
You haven’t been for so long
So long so long
Two thousand years and he ain’t shown yet
We kept his seat warm and the table set
The second sitting for the Last Supper


2008: It sounds like a spot of gallows humour, but the numbers are no joke: the US environmental protection agency (EPA) has lowered the value of a human life by nearly $1m under George Bush’s administration….

---Camping’s followers are so convinced of the accuracy of these predictions that they have given up their jobs, families and possessions to join the nationwide tour, known as the caravan ministry. Their buses, placards and clothing brandish the "Awesome News.” One 75-year-old Utah man left his wife of 53 years and his 10 children and their families to spread the message. But is the math right? History says no. The end of the world has been predicted many times before. Nearly two decades ago, Camping himself warned that the world would end on Sept. 6, 1994. When that didn’t happen, he said he had misread the figures -- and now, with his revised calculations, his flock is in a frenzy of anticipation.--- Read More: image:

…The EPA’s estimate of the “value of a statistical life” was $6.9m as of this May – down from $7.8m five years ago – according to an Associated Press study released today….Some environmentalists accuse the Bush administration of changing the value to avoid tougher rules, a charge the EPA denies. “It appears that they’re cooking the books in regards to the value of life,” S William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said. … Read More:

…In theory, a year of human life is priceless. In reality, it’s worth $50,000. That’s the international standard most private and government-run health insurance plans worldwide use to determine whether to cover a new medical procedure. More simply, insurance companies calculate that to make a treatment worth its cost, it must guarantee one year of “quality life” for $50,000 or less. New research, however, would argue that that figure is far too low. Stanford economists have demonstrated that the average value of a year of quality human life is actually closer to about $129,000.
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