Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

We’ve Been Here Before

May 20th, 2011 · 8 Comments

I’m scheduled to begin a long journey to the southwest Oregon coast tomorrow, and thus have spent a good deal of the morning getting ready for the trip. While making sure that my digital recorder had enough battery juice to serve me well, I had an unexpected twinge of worry: What if the nutters handing out leaflets at the Times Square subway station are right, and tomorrow really is Doomsday? Will U.S. Airways credit me for the ticket, or will I simply be out the $422?

My moment of panic didn’t last, however, as my mind quickly turned to past Doomsday predictions that have proven wholly incorrect. My favorite of recent vintage was April 23, 1990, which the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT) said would mark the beginning of a global nuclear holocaust; CUT’s members would weather the annihilation in a Montana fallout shelter, then presumably emerge to enjoy some sort of post-apocalyptic Paradise free of sin, gun-control laws, and processed foods.

CUT and its leader, the deliciously named Elizabeth Clare Prophet, have largely faded from our collective memory. But fortunately for the history books, they did leave behind an important artifact of their lunacy: The Sounds of American Doomsday Cults, an album that collects Prophet’s sermons against all that allegedly ailed American society. Audio samples here, along with this brief description of how Prophet rolled when at the pulpit:

This record features live recordings of Clare Prophet ‘speaking’ out against the evils of rock music. She sounds perfectly normal as she introduces her ‘psalms’ or ‘songs’ or ‘speeches’ or whatever they are. But when she gets going, it’s amazing. And so goddamn insane sounding. Her rapid fire high pitched testifying sounds a bit like an impossible mix of an auctioneer, a yodeller, the guy who sings the directions at a square dance, Neil Hamburger huffing helium and variations of baseball’s ‘hey batter batter’ chant only faster. It’s like that sound you make when you sort of hum/breathe out and move your finger up and down between your lips making a sort of ‘bebubebubebubebubebubebubebubebu’ sound. It’s one of the most amazing things we’ve ever heard!

When 4/23/90 passed without incident, the CUT took up a new cause of slightly less importance: preserving its tax-exempt status by any means necessary. I assume the May 21st-ers will shift over to something similarly benign once they wake up in their own beds on Sunday morning.


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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Jordan

    Just be sure to pack some warm clothes. Even when it’s over 100º in Portland in the summer, it’ll barely crack the mid-60s on the coast.

    And here’s hoping for another non-event!

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Jordan: Yeah, the forecast looks bleak–temperatures slated to top out in the high 50s. This should vastly complicate my efforts to avoid checking luggage.

    If the Rapture does occur, is the rental car mine to keep? So very confusing.

  • Captured Shadow

    Enjoy the coast and hope you get to stop by the Rouge Brewery, although that is more mid-coast than southern. Bring Goretex and Fleece for the wind and rain

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    I actually have to travel through Bend for an interview, so planning on stopping by the Deschutes Brewery for a bomber or two of something delicious. Nothing gets you through the loneliness of staying solo at a Motel 6 like good beer.

  • Captain Button

    Will U.S. Airways credit me for the ticket, or will I simply be out the $422?

    Have you already paid the credit card bill/Has the check already cleared?

    What are the odds that US Airways, and you and your bank/credit card company will all be up and running on Monday?

    Of course, since 1/9 of US Airways planes will lose both their pilot and co-pilot, money may be the least of your worries if your flight doesn’t get in before 6:00 pm Pacific time.

  • Captured Shadow

    Bend is my old stomping ground. You can get some pretty darned good sea food at High Tides across the street from the brew pub (good considering how far they are from the ocean). If you hold out on the seafood until you get to the ocean, the Pine Tavern is a good choice for somewhat pricey food. Typhoon for Thai style cooking. Stay at the McMenimins St Francis school if you can afford better than Motel 6
    If Deschutes brewery is crowded Bend Brewery is a good option. Avoid the strip along Hwy 97 and head for Downtown or the Old Mill district.
    email if you are looking for something specific to loot after the rapture.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Capt. Button: Drat, know I should’ve taken that earlier flight. Though I guess I’d prefer plummeting to a quick death, however grisly, to wandering aimlessly about the post-apocalyptic wasteland for God-knows-how-long.

    @Captured Shadow: Thanks! Bend Brewery will def. be checked out (and possibly looted of all hops-containing products).

  • Jordan

    This way if the apocalypse goes down, you’re all set for an epic trip across the continent to be reunited with your family.