Guess the Fate of the Earth and the Human Race! Win a Free Book!

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In the comment section of yesterday’s “Have BP Execs Committed Manslaughter?,” a spirited little side-debate started about the ultimate fate of the earth.

“How sad to think that we seem to be witnessing the rapid approach of the death of this beautiful planet,” said “Appalachiana.”

“Earth can and will take the worst we can offer it,” said “venice1.”

“You’re a moron who wouldn’t know an oil spill from a glass of lemonade,” I imagined Appalachiana saying (she didn’t).

“Love your screen name,” venice1 also did not respond. “Was RockyMountainsiananana already taken?

“Mutant alligators will attack!” I hope no one ever says.

But the point is: people are genuinely worried about the state of our planet right now.

And I think we all know what concern for the demise of life as we know it means.

That’s right: Contest time!

In the comments section below, please submit your answer to the following question:

How do you think the ultimate fate of planet Earth and mankind will play out? Do you think the human race will survive? Do you think earth will? Do you think either or both will, but in forms we wouldn’t recognize today? Do you think human will survive, but only after moving to another planet? Do you think mutant alligators will attack?

Make your answer to (in short) “How Will It All End?” as long or brief as you like, with as much detail and/or explanation as you see fit.

The winning entry will receive a signed and inscribed copy of my book, Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang. I know it’s stupid to pick a “winner” when it’s all just opinions. But I don’t care. I feel like giving away a book. So I’ll probably just pick an entry at random. We’ll see. But somebody’s gettin’ a book. In fact, I’ll probably pick two winners. Cuz I roll just like that.

The contest will be closed at midnight, or sometime after lunch, or whatever. But pretty soon.

Thank you. Good luck. And I really am looking forward to reading your answers.

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  • I say we exterminate ourselves through insane stupidity and sensual voraciousness, and that in so doing we very nearly rob the planet of its ability to sustain life, but that after a very, very long time, the earth naturally returns itself to a state of fecundity reasonably similar to what we have now.

    God, I hope I win. I really need a break.

  • randix

    After somewhat of an interlude, where things get a LOT worse, I think the earth will be restored to what the Bible describes as the Garden of Eden. And then we'll do a good job of taking care of it. So do I get the book?

  • I have to say that right now you are a contender. The guy who commented above you seems to me like a genius, but I'd say right now you have the edge over him. But he's so handsome!

  • kim cohn

    Second law of thermodynamics – To dust we shall return.

  • Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention: Anyone who makes us do research is automatically disqualified. What's the second law of thermodynamics?

  • Alvin

    We will live on a spaceship with robots catering to our needs while other robots work on cleaning up earth and look for new signs of vegetation.

    (I watch too much Disney.)

  • How will it all end? I think civilization will finally begin to decline in the year 2023, when the new reality game show "Who wants to be kicked in the crotch by a monkey?" becomes the #1 show EVER. Books will be re-published in txt speak so that teens will be able to read them. (God wuz like "let there b lyt!" lol! and their wuz light.)

    Humans will be able to have prehensile tails surgically grafted onto them. This will actually be kind of cool.

    The Earth will continue to warm but no one will notice (See "Who wants to be kicked in the crotch by a monkey").

    By the year 2050 Humans will be almost extinct. The Earth is almost uninhabitable. Dogs will have learned how to talk and do simple math. Cats are our new overlords. The monkey from that game show will become a rich world traveler.

    2075: No more humans left, except for Eric. The Earth is always hot, but it's a dry heat so suck on that climate change scientists!

    2100: Dogs build spaceships, cats pilot them. Tragedy strikes during deep-space flight as the dogs open the windows to hang their heads out.

    2200: The Earth is warn and balmy. Eric is doing ok.

  • mm

    I don't want put time lines on anything but most likely:

    Climate change and general consumption due to societal behavior coupled with overpopulation will likely decrease resources and the human population will begin to decline drastically. In a frenzy, the world will try desperately to use all the technology and resources at their disposal to reverse this, but will fail. This will lead to world war between all of the super powers, and Muslim and Christain nations will view this as "the end times" and be just crazy enough to start aiding the process but declaring all out war on each other. This will kill around 90-95% of any remaining humans. About 40-50% of the worlds species will survive and adapt to the new war and environment ruined planet, an ice age will come along and after that period , those species still surviving(i believe some will, maybe 10-20% of what was alive before the ice age) will go through various genetic adaptations that will allow them to flourish after the ice age. Humans will likely not survive in high enough quantities to make it through that span of time. Some other form, will become the dominant species once again. The earth will more or less survive(in it's ability to produce the most life in this solar system) for another 3.5 billion years give or take (when the sun stars dying) unless a) an asteroid destroys the earth or the moon, b) we get swallowed into a black hole or c) Divine Intervention.

    As Einstein said: "I can't tell you about the third world war, but the fourth one will be fought with sticks and stones"

  • I grew up during the Israel-became-a-state-Jesus-is-returning-soon (within one generation 25 or 40 years.) Yikes! 1999 has come and gone (1949 Plus 50). The prophecy mongers said our rivers and seas would turn to poison, which I thought was crazy. However, the BP oil spill made me realize that maybe their rants aren’t quite as crazy as I thought. When people screamed we’re overpopulating the earth, I thought, they need to drive the barren miles of unpopulated wilderness from Amarillo, TX to San Diego, CA—just not in the summer. I’m just glad the demise of the earth and Armageddon is in God’s hands, not man’s. In the meantime, I’ll do my bit to recycle and care about people.

  • Argybargy

    First time poster, John, long-time reader. You're about my favorite blogger.

    –Blatant suck up fan

  • "About"?

    Oh, so close.

  • (I'm kidding, of course. Thank you.)

  • Ben

    Fresh water scarcity will bring conflict that will make oil scarcity look like child's play. Most of us will die, but some will live and start anew. And zombies, lots of zombies.

  • Argybargy

    You're welcome.

    And darn, you caught the "about."

  • Dennis Dawson

    Thanks to the remarkable human capacity for rationalization, there is an excellent chance that mankind will continue to exist for eons to come.

    If we destroy the oceans, we will decimate the population and the wealthy will use their iWater to purify enough to subsist.

    If we destroy the atmosphere, we will decimate the population and the wealthy will don iSurvive suits.

    If the ozone layer is eliminated, we will either consider red, blistered skin and cancers fashionable, or we will start living in iCaves deep beneath the earth.

    If we destroy all flora and fauna, we will subsist on cockroaches prepared with the iCuisinart into a tasty nutritional paste.

    If our arms and legs become atrophied and useless, they'll regress, and we'll have our iLimbs to do our work.

    When we turn back to amoebae, our technologies will have evolved to the point where we will be incidental, and they will have their own phobias, prejudices, and ultimately, a new religion that will enable them to continue to battle on, long after mankind has evolved to the point where we no longer matter.

    I believe this is what everyone's talking about when they discuss the "rapture." A nice term, and one that continues to give solace to true believers. It worked for James Watt.


  • Alison

    So do we get the book if we guess right?

  • Okay, here's a more thought out response.

    To put this in perspective, here's a quote from 'Men In Black':

    "People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow. "

    Humans are pretty weird critters. Seriously.

    Humans are incredibly confused and stupid. They simply do not know what they want. They absolutely have no clue and are blissfully comfortable in that ignorance. They measure success and comfort in an array of monetary systems that have no basis in reality and insane housing that has complete disregard of how it impacts the environment around them. Comfort is measured in possessions and property that reflect their ignorance of the silliness of ownership.

    Humans are callous. They give very little regard for how their actions affect the world around them. Not until it jumps up and bites them in the tush and even then they blame everything but themselves for their shortsightedness and blatant ignorance.

    Humans are greedy. They wanting things that make no sense and will do anything to get it, including wanton destruction of anything that get's in their way, including other humans.

    Humans are ignorant. Many simply have no idea how the world works. Many don’t even know how the food they buy is processed or grown or how it got on their plate. They have no idea how their own bodies even work nor do they care as long as they look good in the latest ridiculous fashion craze. Only time they take notice is when the prices increase or they get fat and then they have surgery to remove the excess fat instead of living healthier. Surgery is much easier and less taxing on their mental processes that cannot fathom the finer points of the difference between exercise and


    Humans are afraid. They are afraid of everything. Nature, themselves, and especially supposed unseen spiritual entities that they believe make them stupid, uncaring, greedy, mean and ignorant. They don’t trust themselves or others, and certainly do not trust the world around them. Nature is an enemy, that is why they call it 'the wilderness'. Humans that do not reflect their view of the world are also the enemy. Humans will fight each other over these fears; kill one another in hopes of winning.

    Winning what?

    That's just it; they don’t know what they want, what they will get or how to get there.

    I suspect humans will go extinct by their own hands in more than one way. Probably a combination of Easter Island, nuclear war, genocide via poison or viruses whether natural, genetically mutated for weapons or out of sheer stupidity, more likely a combination of both; and also by directly screwing up the environment leading to starvation and destruct of huge chunks of the Earth. Any one and any combination of all the above will lead to human's inevitable extinction.

    Yeah, I do not put much faith in humans.

    As for the Earth, well, She just would like to finally wake up and grow up before She has to smack them down to save Herself.

    Silly human race.

    And if humanity ever truly woke up and pulled their collective head out of their hind ends, we may actually survive and live in harmony with all Life and the Earth.

    But I'm not holding my breath.

    Oh, it could happen. Humans can be both incredibly brilliant and frighteningly insane. I just doubt we will ever realize our true potential until it is too late to make Harmony and Peace happen. Humanity's track record is pretty grim and does not give me much hope.

    That is what I think.

  • No matter what happens in the short-term, say the next three-to-four billion years, current research suggests that in about five billion years, our sun will, like millions of other such systems, mutate into a red giant causing the earth's oceans to boil and extinguishing any possibility of life on this planet.

  • BTW, if your concerns are more immediate than that, may I recommend the Church of the Sub-Genius which offers eternal salvation or TRIPLE your money back?

  • Decided to go for the ridiculous….because I can.

    One day a comet is discovered by scientists. It is quickly dubbed the "Oh Crap" comet because it's trajectory will put it in direct line with Hilo Hawaii. The comet is called the "Oh Crap" comet because scientists don't discover it's existence until three days before impact thanks to budget cuts brought about by a UN decree that consider all off work research and exploration unnecessary for the peace of the plant. the scientists all immediately book flights for Nepal, deciding to reveal their discovery while in flight. Sadly they are detained at the Hong Kong airport, their laptops confiscated, and no one believes their story about impending doom.

    The comet of course destroys the island state and the ensuing title wave wipes out coastal regions on five continents. Communications, financial and military systems are decimated. Survivors struggle in the ensuing global winter lacking basic resources such fresh food and water. There are pockets of brightness, as it is remembered that foodstuffs such as Twinkies have an extremely long shelf life. People begin traveling to warehouses, and factories that contain large quantities of these processed foodstuffs. Soon fighting begins as the Great Twinkie War begins. It lasts 8 years, when the last Twinkie is finally consumed.

    Meanwhile, deep beneath the ocean another after effect of the comet's impact is beginning to manifest itself. Some of the contents of the comet remain and come into contact with the sea life that survived the impact. These comet particles begin to alter much of the sea life, especially the predatory ones. Soon many species become sentient. Sharks grow to enormous size and enslave other species. Using things left behind by humans that litter the ocean floor, the sharks begin ordering constructions of things that will allow for surface forays. A few sharks in particular, who have tasted human discover that there are still plenty on the surface, although in far fewer numbers then before. They propose the exploration for a new easily harvested food source. The ruling sharks agree.

    Within 15 years of the comet's impact the Shark army is ready, they begin their greatest achievement, one that will allow fish to rule the world for generations.

  • Linda Chimienti

    Three-to-four billion? Plenty of time to read John's book.

  • DR

    Oh, John. We won't die. TV and YouTube will keep us alive forever, particularly with the introduction of Reality shows and blogging. We're all creating our virtual legacy. It's all that matters.

  • Did'ya ever see the film "When The Wind Blows"? It's a cartoon film about this sweet little British couple who could be anybody's grandparents who are just living their lives and a nuclear war happens and they keep living their lives and the just don't get it until they start suffering radiation poisoning and they still don't really get it and then, well, let's just say that no cartoon should ever be this depressing. (the soundtrack is killer, too, but in a better sense of the word)

    I think we're like that sweet British couple. We're all just yuck-yuck-yo-ing through our lives, doing what we've always done with no real mind for the big picture. Very few of us seem to have any real stewardship toward this home of ours. Do we assume that one day science will find a solution to the problems we've created and perpetuate? I think we all have a gigantic sense of entitlement which transcends personal responsibility. I honestly think we're killing our earth and it aint gonna be pretty for our grandchildren.

    Jesus said the Reign of God is now. To me, this means we're supposed to be acting as if heaven is here and now. We don't do that and by not doing that, I think we're creating the, you know, the other place.

    So, I imagine the rock we call earth will continue but will eventually be able to sustain nothing but cockroaches (although I'm such a bad housekeeper and my kids have had to develop such strong immune systems that they might have a fighting chance…). This is so not a fun subject. Can the next contest be about wacky animals or something?

  • Lari

    I'm going with Revelations theory. The Rapture will occur. Then the earth has seven years. During that time, God will do his best to turn people to Him, however that will mostly fail. A man will rise up and rule the world. At the end of the seven years, God returns once more and destory the human race as we know it.

  • I think that "life finds a way" is one of the principles God built into the universe, as solid as the weight of an electron or the hotness of Kate Beckinsale.

    The earth will be fine and life will find a way on this planet almost regardless of what we can do to it.

    Human life, in the billions at any given time, is less certain and I'd expect that either through war, disease or other disasters our population may decrease some over the next few decades. If not through calamity, our population may slowly decline through prosperity — just see the birth rates of advanced/rich nations vs. poor nations.

    I do believe we'll survive long enough to populate other planets, or at least have good-sized colonies in space and underwater.

    And women will still be crazy. The end.

  • Ace

    Sounds reasonable to me. This planet has undergone 5 major mass extinctions since the beginning of the Phanerozoic and life has recovered after each one, albeit in rather different forms than whatever preceded the extinction, what's a 6th? The Earth will keep on spinning long after we're just fossils.

    Now of course if you actually have some kind of vested interest in the continued existance of the human species, I'd be a panicking a bit right now.

    A lot of the anti-environmental movement from the right though is based around the belief that it doesn't matter, though. There are A LOT of people in the United States who truly believe Christ's second coming *will occur within their lifetime* – not in decades, not centuries, not some other large time period. Of course the Bible says no one knows the hour but God, but who ever let a little scripture get in the way? So if you don't believe we have a future on this Earth, why care about it?

  • Ace
  • Bill

    It will be Revelations, but not in the supernatural sense so popular among probably most Chrisitans, and certainly not in the literal imagery. It will be God caused in the sense that God is the physical, ecological and cosmic powers of physics and nature that will react to our self destructive use of the planet. With the possible exception of some cosmic cataclysm beyond human control such as an asteroid collision or enormous solar flair a la the movie KNOWING, we will do it to ourselves… we are beginning to see. There will be no angels with trumpets. We will poison the seas ourselves, drastically reducing sea life on which much of humanity depends for survival. We will pollute and deplete the water tables. We will cause the greenhouse effect that will melt the polar caps and mountain glaciers, causing the seas to rise and the glacier fed rivers to decrease and possibly cease their flow, in turn causing the land to dry and food production to dramatically decrease, as is already happening, for example, in Peru. The release of the weight of the ice at the polar caps and increase and redistribution of water weight may even cause shifts in the tectonic plates causing earthquakes. All these events will cause massive population crises and and shifts resulting in social upheaval, starvation, disease and wars. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. A large majority of humanity will die. We are passing thru the end of the conflict age of Pisces. Into Revelations.

    But the race will survive and a new more peaceful age will develop. The Age of Aquarius? No one can begin to imagine what that might look like when even the continents will have different shapes and humanity may have a higher spiritual connection to natural forces, or what we call God.

  • Diana

    How do I think the ultimate fate of planet Earth and mankind will play out? I haven't the faintest idea! Do I think the human race will survive? Only by the grace of God–no thanks to us. Do I think earth will? Maybe–again, no thanks to us. Do I think either or both will, but in forms we wouldn’t recognize today? Possibly. Do I think humans will survive, but only after moving to another planet? It seems a little late for that option given that we've not been overly concerned with our space program of late. Do I think mutant alligators will attack? Oh, most certainly! That's the one thing I think we can count on! 😀

  • Ace

    you forgot that men will still be crazy too buster.

  • john

    What a bunch of horribly pathetic gloom and doomers. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Take time to look at all the good things that have happened in your lives, and extrapolate a trend!

    True, virtually 100% of the species that have ever lived on this planet have gone extinct, and we are no exception. Eventually humans as we know them will be gone. However, long before that, humanity will look quite different than it does now. Life as we know it is radically different each generation, and the pace of change is exponential in nature.

    Here’s what the trend is telling us:

    * The rate of violence on the planet as a measure of man killing man has declined by a factor of about 250 in the last two centuries.

    * The percent of world population that can read has almost doubled in my life time.

    * The percent of world population that have access to multiple sources of news has skyrocketed in my life time.

    * Human knowledge is more than doubling each year – in other words, what we learn in this year will be more than we have learned in all of previous human history.

    We are really good at surviving. The Haber process allow us to feed two billion more people than we could 60 years ago. An estimated 1.5 billion lives have been saved through smallpox vaccine. I could list a dozen billion+ life saving advances since 1950.

    Despite the tiny yet loud fraction that says otherwise, we will thrive.

    We are completely unlimited in possibilities. We will develop nano technology – technology that is much more energy efficient than the technologies we use today. This solves the energy, food, and possessions problems. Probably within 40 years. I expect we will have full control over our genetics within 30 years, have computers that are as capable as human brains in 15, and that computer-biology integration technologies will be fully “normal” in the next 20. We are two generations away from solving every problem that has plagued mankind since we became mankind, and you just can't see it.

    The only thing that could keep us from having an amazingly bright future is some crackpot, and the rational rest of us are watching for them.

  • Ace

    My cat concurs with this statement and wishes me to say so.

  • Did you all see this in The Onion?

  • DR

    I love me some misogyny.

  • I'm a writer. We live to be slighted.

  • Diana

    Yeah, the anti-environmental movement does include a lot of people who think that we don't have a future on the planet anyway, so why care about it. My answer is because it's our job. We are to be stewards of the Earth, not users and abusers. Of course, this doesn't mean I'm as "faithful" in fulfilling my job as I feel I ought to be.

  • Gracias, and John has me pegged correctly. Besides, how would it be misogynistic to claim that women are both hot and crazy, as long as I like it that way?

    After all, I'm both ugly and predictable. That's why my marriage is so awesome — we complement each other perfectly.

  • Diana

    Maybe. I can almost buy into this scenario.

  • Diana

    Cool! An optimist!

  • I figured. But, you know: just in case. But, yeah, you guys are both … appreciated by moi.

  • Really? "Both hot and crazy, as long as I like it that way." ??

    Well, that's it.

    DR: Have at him. Please.


  • Diana

    That was fun. Thank you Mary Linda!

  • DR

    It's obvious that redlefty is this guy, positioning himself to infiltrate the ranks within your becoming-a-bit-more-aware-of-ourselves-as-christians-which-makes-us-way-cooler-than-anyone-else club. Of which I'm a member, by the way:

    Give him 10 more minutes of air time and I'm going to have to go purchase a head covering. Which is a shame, because I really love my new hair cut.

  • DR

    Oh wow, I just linked a christian blog to Somewhere in the world, there are lots of heads getting all 'splodey.

  • All caused by a silly contest over a $15 book.

  • DR

    "Keep the ladies down that you want to stick around." That's what my dad always said. No he didn't, I just made that up. Just to feel like I belong.

  • Ace

    In a lot of cases it's just rationalizing, or even just being lazy and using such an excuse as a cop-out. If you don't believe your kids will be around to have to deal with the fallout of your actions, why care? People can convince themselves of just about anything, frankly. Heck, some people just don't even care if their grandchildren will be living off of Soylent Green.

  • Ace

    "Besides, how would it be misogynistic to claim that women are both hot and crazy, as long as I like it that way?"

    Still sexist, sorry. Qualifying a stereotype by saying you "like it" doesn't make it less a stereotype. Flawed logic.

    Here, go spend some time at if you like.

  • Godzilla, Mothra and King Kong start eating people in Tokyo, make their way around the planet, then explode into microscopic pieces, taking the earth right along with them. The end.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    "Have you already discovered the beginning that you are now asking about the end? For where the beginning is, there the end will be too. Blessed is he who will stand at the beginning. And he will know the end, and he will not taste death."

    "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."

    Time starts and stops *now*.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    The end is the beginning; the beginning is the end.

    "So it is written: 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit."

  • Dang I really need some kind of sarcasm font. I'm sure I have some sexism issues just as I have all kinds of different prejudices, some acknowledged through introspection and some I'd rather not look at yet.

    But I love my wife and daughter with everything I have, while still recognizing that they're made differently than me.

    Or if I missed the mark and your comment was tit-for-tat sarcasm in response to my own, then you have won this one, and I tip my hat to you.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Is it just me, or does it seem that hardly anyone addressing the end end? Mostly we're talking about something that leaves something remaining—in which case, there's really just one answer to John's questions basically: The human race will survive, until, some time, it is no more. (though can there be a "time" without humanity to construct it?)

    By the way, John (non-Shore) and Brian S. are right: we'll be fine for quite a while to come. And the Earth (changed though she will be, for about the millionth time now) will be okay too.

  • “Do you think the human race will survive?”


    ” Do you think earth will?”


    ” Do you think either or both will, but in forms we wouldn’t recognize today?”

    Maybe. Maybe not.

    ” Do you think human will survive, but only after moving to another planet?”

    Probably not.

    ” Do you think mutant alligators will attack?”

    Thought they already were…??

  • Argybargy

    After one or two more cyclical retreats of civilization, and largely pushed my environmental pressures, humanity will eventually begin to colonize other planets. I think Earth will ultimately survive, but not in great shape. Just livable for a lucky/unlucky few. Of course the new space and planetary environments will exert biological (and perhaps evolutionary) changes in humanity, so biological diversity will pick up again.

    Unlike almost any science fiction writers or even optimistic science pundits, this won’t happen any time soon. I’m thinking a thousand years or more. We’ve only had powered flight for a hundred years or so! There are tremendous technical hurdles to overcome first.

    More fundamental to all of this, though, is that our notion of “civilization” has to evolve in order to achieve this. We are too petty, bellicose, fearful, jealous, selfish, and cruel to progress far enough to achieve all this. It’s only been three or four centuries (or less) since we’ve been burning people at the stake for witchcraft.

    So shall it be written, so shall it be done.


  • You put much more thought into your response than I did. I hope I’m still in contention for the book though.

  • christine

    I am still with "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" on this one. The dolphins will fly away, the mice will take over and the world will be destroyed because it is in the way of a new road through space. I am keeping some pet mice and being nice to them in the hope that when they are in power they have pity on a poor sod like me. In fact, maybe Jesus will return in Mouse form and then the bible and the Guide will both be right…..hmmmmmmmm

  • Argybargy

    I think yours showed more thought. Should have read yours first! 😀 Anyway, I think yours is far less far-fetched than mine, although I hope my dog doesn’t read your post. He already has delusions of grandeur.

    More importantly, as it relates to what might ACTUALLY happen, I hope we’re both wrong, and we turn this world back into an near-Eden.


  • DR

    Haters gonna hate (but yeah – keep working on it).

  • Elizabeth

    I wanna play! But I'm exhausted — I don't know how you blog all the time, John. I have blisters on my thumbs. Any way you could push back the deadline?

  • crystal

    No, you’re absolutely wrong. Cats are our overlords right now.

  • Gina Powers

    BWAAHAH, Sylvie!! I’m not in charge here, but that was da bomb! Oh…and….MUTANT ALLIGATORS WILL ATTACK!!

  • There are time when having a totally bizarre creative mindset has it’s benefits. Glad you enjoyed it Gina. And of course the mutant gators will take offense of the fact that the sharks are infringing upon their happy hunting grounds. History doesn’t record the Chum wars for nothing.

  • Alison

    Not with a bang but a whimper.

  • Robert Meek

    We exterminate ourselves, and much of the life on this planet.

    Only then, will the earth have a chance to recover, and eventually purge itself from what we have done to it.

    You ask redundant questions. If I answer the ultimate fate of … mankind question I have answered whether the human race will survive … or not.

    I do not think we are smart enough nor can come together enough to move any of us successfully to another planet, and furthermore, even if we could, to engage in the level of technology that it would require for us to do so would put the new “home” of ours exactly in the same wretched position of being treated to a toxic stew created by us.

    Do you think for one moment even if we could muster such resources and collaborate enough to do so, to put any of us on another planet, that we would then, once there, relinquish all of our cherished technology that got us there, for a life of “roughing it” on a foreign planet? Of course not. We’re way too egotistical for that.

  • Maybe I need to write a second chapter to my little saga and tell about how the half century long gator/shark war resulted in the discovery of humanity's nuclear stockpile, and their not really knowing what these things were decided to play push the button, resulting in remaining military defense systems to trigger. the ensuing cataclysm split the earth in two.

    The cockroaches who had also discovered sentience along the way had long since migrated to Mars, where they thrive to this day.

  • We will continue to damage our trucks by carelessly running over mutant alligators while they lie sunning themselves in our streets and then the End will come. Fire!

  • Amelia

    I think we’ll eventually go the way of Venus/Mars. Eventually, the atmosphere will go and life will no longer be sustainable. The more people there are, the faster natural resources will be used up and the sooner the Earth will die.

    Just the way it goes…

  • DR, meet Redlefty. For at least two years now (and probably three?) he has been one of the most consistently thoughtful, progressive, sensitive, honest, and intelligent commenters on this blog. He was just being funny, promise.

    Red, meet DR. I don’t know if you’ve been aware of her lately here on my blog, but she’s definitely upped the brainy quotient around here.

  • DR

    I was being ironical, John Shore. There’s not an earnest bone in this body.

  • DR

    p.s. Redlefty had me at the Kate Beckinsale comment – and i don’t even like the ladies!

  • Diana

    “Jesus said the Reign of God is now. To me, this means we’re supposed to be acting as if heaven is here and now. We don’t do that and by not doing that, I think we’re creating the, you know, the other place.” Yeah, I agree with this. We can only hope that enough people will open their eyes and change their ways so that God will choose to intervene on our behalf.

  • Diana

    Cool! Go for it!

  • denver

    While mining for minerals that are not ours in Afghanistan, Blackwater employees will find Osama bin Laden hiding in the mineshaft. They will bring him to the US to be a contestant in Political Celebrity Death Match. Given his need for dialysis, the rules say that he has to fight an equally sickly American political celebrity, so they choose Dick Cheney. Cheney accidentally misfires his gun and shoots Kim Jung Ill in the face. North Korea sets off a bunch of nukes that fall into the ocean instead of reaching the US. Achmadinejiad takes that as his cue and shoots off a bunch of rockets with unfinished nukes in them just because he wants to. The US, seeing this as an opportunity to not have to play fair anymore and be able to shoot off its own nukes without coming off like a bad guy, shoots off a bunch of nukes all over the place. Radioactive zombies will then be the only survivors near the blast radiuses, and pissed off at the United States, they will all attack our borders ala Zombieland, coming in around both sides of the fence on the Arizona border. And then Chuck Norris will have to save us all. Oh, and dolphins with frikkin' lasers on their foreheads will clean up the oil spill in the gulf.

    Yes, I am that disturbed. 😉

  • Whoa.

  • Diana

    Yes, you are quite disturbed. This does not mean however that you are wrong.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Oh, and Dennis; Dennis Dawkins is right too. How could I overlook Dennis?

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Where do people come up with these sorts of things? If only I had such imagination!! Good job, Ms. Denver Disturbedalot! 🙂

  • Appalachiana

    You made a long laundry list of technological successes, yes, but what about the horrors that we have created. What about the full spectrum?

    – Why, look! There's water in this glass

    – Oh no! It's already half gone and what's left is muddy and full of little squiggly things.

    I don't think I need to make a list of negative trends or how we have sometimes used knowledge to do some very bad things. I know that you are intelligent and know about these things.

    A realist may see and appreciate the good in things but never allows the bad to camoflage itself either. A realist is always a bit of a pessimist.

    If you call yourself a realist, that's o.k. by me. I just think what you described leaned more toward disavowing the bad. I don't mean this as an insult.

  • Appalachiana

    Quite plausible. Outlandishly funny.

  • denver

    *bows* Thank you. I try to use my powers for good instead of evil. 😉

  • denver

    I totally picture you saying that like Bill and Ted… LOL

  • denver

    I secretly asked Miss Cleo for an answer. *nod*

  • Dont forget your towel.

  • christine

    YAY a fellow guide lover. Glad someone got it

  • Appalachiana

    Quite plausible. Very funny. Thanks for the laugh. Those Zombies won't be noticed down south of the border on those long chicken bus rides. They'll fit right in playing marimbas, slurping down black beans, and tossing cold tortillas to skinny dogs.

  • Appalachiana

    Thumbs up.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    You will find the ends where there is something and nothing, and the two become one–the One that stands, who was and is and is to come–as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

  • Okay, I’m going to take another somewhat more serious crack at this. I’m seriously disappointed this doesn’t appear that it will happen within my lifetime, but I remain convinced that relatively soon a significant portion of us will leave this planet and its resource and climatological problems behind and move to space… first low earth orbit, then the moon, then Mars then who knows from there. I do like to think, although I’m not dogmatic about it, that we will seed other places and continue to exist as the result of evolution for many aeons in this galaxy and perhaps beyond.

  • Appalachiana

    Three to four billion years to read John's book? Naaaaaaaa. I bet it'll be a quick read that'll make ya wanna talk back to him in your head.

  • Don Whitt

    Several million years ago, creatures from a distant galaxy flew low over the newly formed, steamy, burgeoning earth and opened their spaceship's garbage hatch. Out spilled alien leftovers, sewage and shredded remnants of bureaucracy. Their alien garbage cascaded into the warm, moist oceans. And lo, the debris did swirl in the newly formed seas with phosphites and nitrites, pulp and poop and it all mingled with the rest of those sorts of thingys. Soon a semblance of life began to form in the waters of earth. It wasn't long before protozoa, mitochondria and chloroplasts hot-tubbed it around the world and life began to expand across our planet.

    Fast forward a million years and earth is populated by billions of creatures. all spawned due to a procedural error on behave of an alien race. And lo, that race returned one day – nest Tuesday, actually – to discover the results of the galactic mistake they had made millions of years ago. And so they applied their "flush" correctional procedure, resulting in 100 years of constant rain on the earth, wiping out all life on the planet but the simplest protozoa, mitochondria and chloroplast type thingys which continued to swirl about and enjoy their simple lifestyles, though they missed the hot-tubbing.

  • Don Whitt

    I meant "fast forward several million years". I don't want to be mistaken for a creationist with really bad math skills…

  • Don Whitt

    And "behalf" not "behave". I need a proof reader…I can tell I've lost the contest already. Damn. High hopes dashed.

  • denver

    LOL too funny… both the story and the creationist with really bad math skills. 😀

  • denver

    I thought he was going to return in the form of "buddy Jesus" ?

  • Don Whitt

    Thanks, Denver. I cannot proof-read. I swear. I can look at an error and think, "yep, that's right", because I read it back to myself the exact same way I said it in my head to myself when i wrote it. Duh. "nest Tuesday". I'm an idiot.

  • Diana

    Nope. Not an idiot. Just a member of the human race. Welcome to the club, buddy!

  • Joe

    I’ll just buy the book. John does all the work, then I consider his input.

    Everyone dies. The saved live forever. Earth and the universe recovers. I think GOD likes beautiful scenary based on what I’ve seen.

  • Diana

    I think you should write this as a novel/series of novels. I’m not saying it will get published, but do it anyway. If nothing else, you can participate in the National Novel Writing Month (!

  • You know that isn’t a bad idea at all. Ive heard of nanowrimo, I should give it a try.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Very well put, Julia! I’m a bit more optimistic (in a way, I agree with Redlefty that “life finds a way” is a law of the universe), but still—unless we’re gonna wait out the end of the world to see who’s right—I think my vote’s on you for the free book. (yes, I know, it’s *your* blog, John, not a democracy—I’m just sayin’.)

  • John

    I am absolutely not an optimist. I’m a realist.

  • Appalachiana

    Ya gotta wonder about the second part of that name, Homo sapiens. I mean really now, put yourself in the shoes of an extraterrestrial (if they wear shoes). “Sapient” wouldn’t likely be the first word you’d pick to describe us. We don’t necessarily set out to do the stupid and harmful things we do, but our history (which is not even a slightly noticeable blip on the time line of Earth) is rife with some really crazy stuff that doesn’t make me exactly proud of being a human all the time. Sometimes I’d rather be a mushroom or a bird mite or anything else. I’m not alone in this shame. Kurt Vonnegut came up with a whole list of things he’d rather be.

    Is the magnificent biodiversity of this glorious planet doomed? Well, it is so troublesome watching and knowing that the demand for the Earth’s resources continue to rise as our numbers grow and grow and grow. I cannot help but worry. Worry as I do, however, I do not know when it will end. But even if the future can be proven to hold nothing but darkness and doom, how would we improve that situation by giving up? O.k., I think I heard someone think, “how would it help if we did try?” Well, wouldn’t we at least feel better for trying? We might as well do something besides hastening the demise? This planet is the only home we have. In fact, when the richest of the rich shut the door to the spaceship to head light years out, I’ll say good riddance and snuggle down into a valley of the Earth, for I do not see any hope for life outside of this sphere.

    Oh, and by the way, please let Venice know that Rockymountainsiana is a good friend of mine. In fact, I think she has her eye on you, John.

  • Are you censoring the posts John? My computer isn’t showing the one you referred to.

    Another question: how many entries are we allowed to make?

  • Appalachiana

    You seem like a nice person, john (not as in “Shore”), but I’m afraid I wouldn’t call your outlook realistic exactly. Kurt Vonnegut – now there was a realist who could make make people like me laugh so hard at themselves and gloomy truths that the old urinary sphincter just gave way. I miss old Kurt and these discussions just keep bringing his words to mind.

    “So it goes.”

  • I think the real question is not how the world will end, but who will feature in the montage sequence…

  • John

    Good luck to you. Sorry you don’t have my level of understanding of current advances in technology.

    Kurtxweil is an optimist. I’m 6 steps back from him. Venter is an optimist, and says his synthetic bacteria that produces fuel from carbon dioxide will be available in 3 years.

    I’m confident that I am a realist.

  • Diana

    Good question! I doubt any of us!

  • For a REALLY good metaphor for our current society read ( which relates human civilisation to our ability to harness energy. For most of human history (about 93,000 years) we’ve been restricted to the annual energy embodied in the environment around us.

    With the advent of the agrarian revolution humanity learnt to harness more energy, but this became exponentially more so after the industrial revolution as we’ve learnt to tap into the stored energy of dead animals. Unfortunately, we are tapping into every more difficult forms of stored energy – and its gonna take another 300 million to be replenished.

    This ‘extra energy’ is what has enabled our population explosion. So clearly, as the accessible energy is used up, the massive human population is likely to result in zombies.

    Its the only solution.

  • Appalachiana

    If I were John, I’d give you a book autographed with a personal message for making me laugh.

    I imagined dogs’ tongues and ears floating around in the spacecraft without the benefit of gravity.

    Ya know what? Dogs are o.k. I bet a dog would never in a million years try to get oil out of the Earth, deep beneath the ocean.

    I wouldn’t put it past a dog to try to eat a tar ball though. They’ll try anything once. When I tell my young son…

    “Eat your rutabaga,”

    He says…

    “Mom, I’m not a dog. I don’t get snacks in the cat’s litter box, and I don’t eat rutabaga.”

  • No, I’m not censoring. I’ve been out all day, actually. Just seeing these now. How fun this all is!

    You get ONE entry each. Okay, two. But that’s IT! And I know YOU, Mr. “Rabid Wombie,” know why:

  • typoqueen

    Wake up, John! Award the prize. This was fun!

  • Appalachiana

    Sorry you are not a chipmunk or a firemouth cichlid or birdwing pearlymussel (these latter two would get you out of the terrestrial and into the bubbly aquatic realm). Your stuck with being human just like Diana says. When we dance or go hiking, however, it's not so bad.

  • Hey, my proofreading skills fell flat in my rendition as well. Hate it when I discover something AFTER I post.

  • Sulphurdunn

    We don't have forty years. Maybe not even twenty. Ecosystems have carrying capacities. We've about reached the limits of ours on a global scale. Before the nanotechnology you envision comes on line, the global population will have reached nine-billion. Did you know that the leading cause of death among children under the age of five is diarrhea? Diarrhea is caused from drinking dirty water. Most of the worlds people are not beneficiaries of the medical and technological breakthroughs of which you speak, and they will not be. Our country has become the merciless ruler of a rapacious resource empire with little concern for surplus populations as anything other than cheap labor. The world that launched a global campaign to eradicate smallpox no longer exists.

    Regarding carrying capacities: Human induced impacts are responsible for the greatest mass extinction since the Cretaceous Period. Global warming is no joke. Worst case scenario computer modeling does not rule out the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect. At that point it would definitely be game over.

    The simple fact is that modern civilization is unsustainable with its current economic and political systems. Don't you find it a bit odd that after a century we are still dependent on fossil fuel technology. That is unlikely to change, advances in computer and nanotechnology notwithstanding. We have reached the stage in our decline where we retard the development of technology for the sake of existing commercial technologies. Why else do we have BP doing deep water drilling, GE still making nuclear reactors and Microsoft making computer operating systems?

    Your comments about war deaths are only true if you calculate casualties per population. If you look at aggregate deaths, the 20th Century, with a conservative estimation of one-hundred eighty million was a horror without precedent.

    All I really want is for my children and my children's children to grow up and live in a better world than the one I have now. I honestly hope that your are right and that I am wrong. But I doubt it. Have a nice day.

  • Sulphurdunn

    BTW, I was replying to john on June 18 at 12.39a.m.

  • Hey!

  • alison

    I don't understand all those big words.

  • patty

    John, while considering this subject I am troubled by this vision. I see Christ (ref: second coming) rising out of the Gulf of Mexico, his white robes and flowing locks of hair coated with black sludge. I am sad.

  • John

    What horrors?

    Nukes? Bio/chemical weapons? Those are the biggest things I can think of. Having a weapon is not a horror. USING a weapon is a horror. I’d submit that 50 years without using a nuclear weapon against humans is a good thing.

    How about a nuclear reactor failure? A hydroelectric dam collapse? A train load of hazardous chemicals going off the track? Hundreds or thousands of people could get killed in these extremely rare, modern disasters. Still, that’s nothing compared to a great flood or earthquake.

    I completely agree that we have used our knowledge and technology to do bad things, but the lives lost through technology are very small compared to the lives saved. Consider WW2, Korea, and Vietnam had about 75 million casualties. Even if you double this figure to account for all wars since that time, it’s still only 10% of the number of lives saved due to the smallpox vaccine or 3/4 the number of lives saved by penicillin.

    By definition, a realist is not a pessimist, so I take exception to your point. I am neither a pessimist or an optimist. I make my decisions and predictions based on facts and data.

    If you are interested in being taken seriously, you do need to provide some evidence. I do think you need to make a list of negative trends so you can see their impact is small compared to the positive ones.

  • Gina Powers

    Sulphurdunn, am afraid I'm so with you on this one. My husband believes there's still good in the world–but he gets PAID to maintain that philosophy. These days, I'm wondering if we're not irreparably (sp?) just S.O.L. Bummer for a Saturday…..:P.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    For a more analytical explanation of this, see my 6th point here, along with my follow-up comment to it:

  • I'm glad of that!

  • He can't be a Creationist because it's going to be Fire next time.

  • Just sortta like it was the first time! No problen, I think!

  • Zoomer

    As a representative of the Mutant Alligator Defense League I take serious exception to many of the comments here.

  • Elizabeth

    I'm not sure how mankind and the planet will play out … but I think the penultimate moment looks a little like this:

    In this fateful hour I place all Heaven with its power

    The sun with its brightness

    And the snow with its whiteness

    And the fire with all the strength it hath

    And the lightning with its rapid wrath

    And the winds with their swiftness

    And the sea with its deepness

    And the rocks with their steepness

    And the earth with its starkness

    All these I place

    Between myself and the powers of darkness.

  • Diana

    Tee, hee, hee!

  • Diana

    Okay, what are you quoting? It sounds really familiar.

  • Diana

    Actually, I think you lose the contest if your spelling/proofreading skills are too perfect. Of course, I could be wrong. BTW: Love your theory!

  • Ace

    Sarcasm, yes. I can't help myself.

  • Diana

    That is seriously cool. I thought I recognized it from "A Swiftly Tilting Planet." And thanks for the further details regarding from whence she got it. Again, seriously cool!

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks for letting me go on. I just love that quote about "All will be redeemed." I grew up in a tiny town in the Midwest, so no cultural sensitivity kept a teacher from loaning it to me.

  • Matt Wolfe

    A small percentage step up their vibration and reincarnate to a Utopian paradise planet or realm. They grow wings and float around with zithers and harps.

    The rest are here on earth happily polluting and making wars.

    Jesus returns and say's to the 144 thousand…."Come on, folks, let's get the hell outta here….before it blowsssss!!!" (dramatic horror sting from "There Might be Blood" with Daniel Day-Lewis)

    Krishna returns and says (along with his chariot companion, Moses) "OY VEY!"

    The earth (which is living) goes "What the hell?" When it realizes that the human/bacteria are poking holes in Terra Firma/Gaia. The earth is a bit slow in that huge time scale.

    Then the earth turns the temp up 3 degrees and all the humans disappear. The remaining animals and plants go "whew…."

    The purged human population reincarnates on a planet OK with trailer parks, ghettos, landfills, and oil spills. (for now that is…..until THAT planet wakes up and says "what the hell?")

    (Ripping off Tolle a bit here…..but it's funny.)


  • amelia

    @Joe, you've got the right idea. @Matthew T. I am NOT a "tropical critter!" anything above 77 and I start to melt. 🙂

  • But I wrote about mutant alligators in a somewhat positive light..They held their own against the mutant sharks for 50 years!

  • Matthew Tweedell

    1) You mean June *19*, right?

    2) You are absolutely right that our whole current economic paradigm was doomed to eventual failure from day one and the global warming beginning now, even if we stopped using carbon fuels entirely, will likely continue for hundreds of years. But then, it will reach a new balance, albeit at a higher global average temperature and with accompanying environmental changes such as receding coastline, but it will still be a temperature survivable for humans (we *are* tropical critters, don’t forget. The fact that we can also survive arctic conditions speaks more to our cunning than the design of our bodies). And our economic system will by then have long since evolved, hopefully without a complete economic collapse (although, actually, our species can survive without any trade networks at all if necessary). People will put off having children and have fewer of them when the conditions are not favorable for it (as happened in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and as has been happening in developed nations for decades). The population of the earth was supposed to be 8 billion already, books were projecting when I was a kid, as I recall, but its only about 6.7~6.8 billion now.

    3) “Why else do we have BP doing deep water drilling, GE still making nuclear reactors and Microsoft making computer operating systems?”

    Silly question. Because the people at Microsoft are experts at making computer operating systems, and we like the convenience of backwards compatibility. Because the people at GE are experts at generating electricity, and nuclear reactors are still about the best way to do that where there is insufficient wind and nowhere to put a hydro-electric dam. Because BP was getting us our fix on the cheap, and happens to have some of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to deep water drilling, about which however there simply *isn’t* as much knowledge in the world as there probably should be.

    4) “Your comments about war deaths are only true if you calculate casualties per population. If you look at aggregate deaths…”

    I don’t understand what you mean here: casualties per population vs. aggregate deaths? What distinction exactly are you trying to imply? In any case, as you know, there were simply more people to be killed in the 20th century than in prior centuries, but generally speaking wars have been getting less deadly (taking into account the scale of a given war) ever since the advent of antiseptic. And wars are also getting considerably smaller in scale, as the whole idea of war is generally frowned upon the world-over nowadays (a couple of world wars and the threat of nuclear annihilation will do that to you). Furthermore, John is still right that advancements in technology have saved considerably more lives than the weapons they enable have destroyed.

  • It was a reference to your comment above, and particularly the line ""But he's so handsome," without being too explicit.

  • Jill

    Yay me! I have a well, and I sleep with a generator mechanic who is also my husband. You are reading the words of the Future Richest-Woman-in-the-World. Remember this day.

  • Sulphurdunn

    O.k. Don't take me seriously, but I don't see that you've provided what I'd call evidence. You made a list. It's not supported by referenced literature. It hasn't been peer-reviewed by experts. I certainly wouldn't expect this level of detail in a blog. Also, remember what John (as in “Shore”) said, "Anyone who makes us do research is automatically disqualified." The goal here is to simply give your perspective and share your opinion. That's all I'm trying to do. Somehow, I think your gonna disagree with me on this.

    BTW, I never said a realist is a pessimist ya know.

    You're right, knowing that babies, toothless little old ladies, and entire cities of people had their skin burned off with the radiation from a nuke or a biochemical weapon is pretty bad juju. Yea, wars are not nice, but at least you have reassured when you say wars are so much nicer than they use to be -not nearly as many corpses as their could be. There’s not much point in mentioning the other atrocities of war (you know, orphaned children, rape, homelessness, refugees, mental illness, etc.) because those things were canceled out when we used our advanced technology to construct nice artificial limbs for the loose-a-leg-to-the-land-mine bunch.

    I really liked that thing you said…you know….it’s not weapons that kill, it’s people using weapons that kill people. I swear that made the ghost of Charlton Heston walk across my computer screen.

    Another not nice thing in our history is when Europeans swarmed into the Americas and proceeded to annihilate indigenous peoples who hampered the advancement of the "New World." All that smallpox vaccine sure would have come in handy for the original inhabitants of the Americas, huh? Kinda funny how the underdogs of society never benefit from vaccines, clean drinking water and stuff as much as the wealthier of us.

    Hey, and what about that BP spill, man. That's kinda a high price per gallon don't ya think? Ah, but what is the destruction of just one marine ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico when you've already brought about the greatest mass extinction of species in the entire history of the planet? And we've built zoos for animals, and there're still a bunch plants and animals left, right? Also at least oil doesn't hack off the tops of mountains the way eastern coal mining does, right john (not as in “Shore”). Anyway, like you say, we've surely done something good somewhere that will cancel out that little inconvenient BP goof. It's just an accident. Coulda been the entire Atlantic. It wasn't a war or anything horrible like that.

    And about wars not being so bad in the last couple of hundred years, at first I was a bit concerned that's not that long of a period on the human existence time line. But then I thought, oh yeah, john (not as in “Shore”) did point out that we've only killed several million. There are a lot more people where those came from, huh?

    Then there's slavery. While humans have enslaved one another since the beginning, some slaves were treated pretty good and most of us don't really ever have to see the ugly face of slavery because it's underground now. I can think of a lot of bad things we have done, but I don't want to go on making the list you want me to. It’s too depressing, and anyhow, all the bad things don't matter because they are canceled out by the fact that more people are reading now and we're smarter, as evidenced by test scores on the SAT.

    Thank heavens you have helped me to look more realistically at the world.

    You know I was wondering…'s now possible to undergo sex reassignment. Do you suppose they could help me convert to a different species? How about a river redhorse? That'd be nice. I could spend my days slurping food off the bottoms of streams and and fanning my eggs in the nest so silt doesn't smother them. It might beat being human and having this big brain and these opposable thumbs. Sometimes I just loose my stomach for being human. Hey, maybe that means I’d make a good mother bird.

  • Appalachiana

    Woops. That Sulphurdunn post was really mine. My roommate had added a post and left the screen open and I thought my info was in the reply block. Sorry.

  • Elizabeth

    I wanted to add the attribution, but I’m trying to break my habit of verbosity. Like most things in my life, it’s a little complicated.

    I first read it on the front page of Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” when I was 9 or 10. It’s the third book in her Time Quartet, written for young adults. Her books describe a world where religion, science, mathematics and magic are intertwined. They had a huge impact on me. I memorized passages from them; I had a jump rope game where I chanted her definitions of the dimensions up to the tesseract. She died recently and I was struck by the strange little memorials that dribbled out on train station walls and syndicated comic strips.

    From Wikipedia: “L’Engle was Episcopalian and believed in universal salvation, writing that ‘All will be redeemed in God’s fullness of time, all, not just the small portion of the population who have been given the grace to know and accept Christ. All the strayed and stolen sheep. All the little lost ones.'” She was the librarian and, later, the artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Because her beliefs were inclusive, she was shunned by traditional Christian outlets. Because she was religious, she was overlooked by secular critics and considered unfit for public schools.

    She wrote poetry herself, so I always assumed the poem was original. When I looked for it during a difficult period a few years ago, I found that it is a slightly altered version of St. Patrick’s Rune. It is related to the Lorica of Patrick, also known as The Deer’s Cry, which is supposed to have turned St. Patrick and his followers into deer when in danger. It is a prayer of protection.

  • Diana

    Aw man, I hate when that happens!

  • Diana

    I like this one too!

  • Thanks!

    And yes, my dog would also eat a tar ball, at least once. I’m sure of it.

  • I was talking about me, myself; I posted the first answer.