Reasons the Apocalypse is not near

For reasons that are obvious to all, I have have been studying the imminent arrival of the apocalypse. Whether you are a Christian millenarian, or you thought the Mayans were on to something with 2012, or you are a Buddhist awaiting Maitreya, most indications are that we are going to hell in a handbasket.

This is a metaphor I have never entirely understood, incidentally, because I have always pictured handbaskets as something one takes on a picnic or leisurely stroll. But we must respect our elders.

Riding the dreaded F train regularly is enough for anybody to think that The End Is Near, so I have tried to be careful to look for signs elsewhere to avoid bias. And, lo, there was no shortage. Wars and rumors of wars abound.

My new hat
But just when I was convinced that I should take to the hills, small signs began to appear that Gave Me Hope.

Here is my list. What’s yours?

  • I saw a young man (wearing jeans but had no TSD) reading an Alexander Kent novel. I spoke with him and, yes, he revered O’Brian. This young man will go far.
  • Reports are that several new gins are coming to market. As Stan the Man would quip, ’nuff said.
  • A confluence of flappers and zombies occurred this weekend at Governor’s Island, in the New York Harbor. This is true. I was there and saw it. And as I gazed, I consumed several St. Germaine cocktails and heard the best ever rendition of Red, Red Robin, a song I thought previously was for kids. Nelson Riddle was right: it’s all in the arrangement.
  • A juicy thunderstorm shot through Manhattan last night, and another is on its way.
  • Roger Scruton fights back! (from A&LD, ‘natch) “Only comparative judgments are acceptable [at university courses on music], and the comparison has to be between one piece of pop music and another. This is in fact an interesting exercise. You can learn a lot from comparing Peter Gabriel and the Kooks which you probably will not learn from comparing Bach and Vivaldi—a lot about the varied forms of self-indulgence in music, and the many ways of failing to make voice-led harmonies or melodies that are capable of prolongation. But you are not allowed to judge.”
  • My Montecristi Fedora from Panama Hats Direct will soon be here, direct from Ecuador. It will go beautifully with my new cream linen suit.
  • Bank robber falls and dies leaping from train platform in chase “He didn’t come close.”


  1. Somewhere tonight in Gotham City an under-utilized defense attorney weeps forlornly at the cruel twist of fate in that last item that took a veritable potential “career-maker” client off the market. How will the attorney’s children ever afford college now? Indeed, for him the Apocalypse has already occurred. And what of the criminal gene pool? How will it be re-supplied?

    Too, too sad.

  2. “Cream linen suit”? What kind of strange computer code is that? Are you using that term to waken the three dozen or so sleeper statisticians you’ve scattered around the planet the last decade or so? What’s going on? Are you taking over? Tell me.

  3. Bruce foutch

    Mr. Briggs,

    You may want to add:
    “Voters Now Trust Republicans More than Democrats on Economic Issues”

    “According to Long Range [weather forecasting] Expert Joe Bastardi, areas from the northern Plains into the Northeast will have a “year without a summer.” ” *

    * I guess this means I should cancel my vacation plans to that tropical oasis by the sea, Churchill, Manitoba – even though climate expert Al Gore promised that this was the year Hudson Bay would become the new Mediterranean!

  4. I recommend Rosie Flores’ version of RR Robin on “Sing Along With Putumayo”

    There are some hot songs on that CD, including Banana Phone w/ Rhonda Vincent.

    When you acquire grandchildren you may discover that kid music is some of the best there is.

  5. The reason you don’t understand the metaphor is that you are misquoting it! The expression is correctly given as “going to hell in a handcart”, a handcart being what we would call a wheelbarrow these days.

    There’s a picture of the devil wheeling someone off to hell here. You can just see the handles of the handcart.

  6. Briggs


    I won’t get the damn thing until I get back from Cornell, which is on the 26th. After that, I’ll post a pic.

  7. Briggs


    That deserves an embedding. “It is sometimes difficult to shrug these things off.”

  8. Al

    Briggs, are you bored or something? I mean really, and no stats.

  9. candy

    I hate light colored suits, grey, beige or cream. A cream-colored suit makes you look like a Mississippi river boat gambler. Please bring a blonde bimbo to divert attention away from your tacky suit.

  10. Briggs


    OK, you’re on. I’ll let you know when I get the suit and you can let me know where to pick you up.


    Nope. The average response time for some math journals can run to years. Yes, years. I once waited 2.5 years for a paper. Says a lot, doesn’t it?

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