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It’s the end of the world — have a tamale

I’m worried.

The world is going to end.

Granted, this is not a new, or even a startling, idea.

It’s going to end, say the I’ve-got-a-Ph.D.-and-you-don’t, pocket-protector-wearing scientists — in a big and unambiguous way, when the sun becomes a red giant in several hundred million years and incinerates this ailing orb and its viral rulers.

But, what do scientists know, eh?

Of course, the world will end — “worlds” have always ended. Collective worlds — as with civilizations and species and, (hold on to your hats, kids, we’re coming to the Big Hill) individual worlds as well.

“Not with a bang but a whimper.”

But, some folks a lot better versed in end-of-the-world stuff than smarty-pants scientists say there’s a humongous train steaming down the karmic track, and it isn’t going to stop before it hits our bus. Any day now.

And, baby, we are all on that bus.

The latest, No. 1-with-a-bullet prediction comes from a group of obviously levelheaded folks who are sold on the idea the Mayan calendar predicts an end to the world on Dec. 21, 2012.

Mark it on the (less than profound) calendar that is pinned by a magnet to your soon-to-be-vaporized refrigerator. If the Mayans said it, it’s gotta be true. After all, look how well they’ve done the last 700 years or so.

If you have a yen to go to Kuala Lumpur, buy the ticket now. If you’ve always wanted a Lamborghini, place your order. Get as many credit cards as possible and max those mommas out. It ain’t gonna matter after Dec. 21, 2012.

Or so say the paranoid ancient-calendar aficionados who get most of their information off the Internet and from Hollywood movies.

This, dear reader, would ordinarily be good enough for me. I am nothing if not a with-it, hip to a fault, treading ever so delicately on the razor-sharp edge of evolved human consciousness kind of guy..

Problem is, a lot of folks have chanted the End Times mantra, all of them offering up different dates. So, I am worried … and confused.

Seems this cut-to-black concept is not unique to the Maya.

Remember Y2K? The world was due to end when our own calendar turned the page to a new millennium. Techno-mayhem, the breakdown of civil society, anarchy, doom, etc.

I was ready to purchase a Mylex suit, body armor, 50-gallon drums full of dried beans, grains and water; and I was busy every night looking up sources for automatic weapons and ammo. Of course, with my case of ADD, my finishing power is less than impressive, so I never got around to procuring any of this. Nor was I able to complete construction of a bunker at my house.

As I removed partially-filled sandbags from the driveway on January 2, I got to thinking: What went wrong? Why did the world not end?

Then it hit me: aren’t we supposed to be in the Age of Aquarius? Wasn’t there a song about that? With all the swell things that take place in the Aquarian Age, how can the world end until the age is over?

Plus, when the astrology buffs told me that Aquarius is ruled by Uranus (careful how you pronounce this) the notion that the world would have ended with the new millennium didn’t add up.

But, confusion still ruled the day; the Age of Aquarius may have begun in 1447, or 1844, or 1948 … then again, it might crank up in 2060 or 3597. Who knows?

The aquarian stuff proved to be mumbo jumbo. Think about it: The problem with 2060 or 3597 is that no one will be around to witness the advent of the age. Nostradamus made it abundantly clear we won’t last to 2060, and the microbes and cockroaches left to inhabit the earth could care less about astrology.

My confusion deepened; I couldn’t go with Nostradamus, either. Predictions of his kind are a dime a dozen, and none of them hit the mark.

For example, there were all those TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) prophecies in 2006. The seismic havoc centered in Redondo Beach didn’t occur, nor did the unbelievably massive tsunami that was to be caused by a comet striking the Atlantic Ocean.

I bought a life raft for that one. I purchased property near Cortez, thinking I would own a beachfront paradise if I survived the disaster. Boy, was I fooled.

Comet Kahoutek didn’t have the effect many thought it would, and I incurred a severe neck strain looking up at the dark skies night after night.

The Watchtower prediction for annihilation in 1994 didn’t pan out, though I eagerly accepted the gift of the magazine and read every word. I highlighted key passages.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s assurances that terrestrial mayhem (volcanoes, floods, earthquakes, nuclear wars) would occur between 1984 and 1999, leading to the destruction of many, if not most, major urban centers, were off the mark. I bought plans for a bomb shelter and, believe me, they aren’t cheap to build.

I must have slept through the Harmonic Convergence in 1987, since I didn’t see the Serpent God of Peace when he slithered through my neighborhood. I checked for a trail in the yard. He didn’t leave one. And, obviously, he didn’t bring the world to an end.

None of my neighbors were missing, so I am certain the Rapture didn’t take place during Rosh Hashanah 1988 as the normally accurate Edgar C. Whisenant predicted. Nice touch, though — Rosh Hashanah.

I was convinced that renowned Russian scientist Vladimir Sobolyovhas of the Rerikh Academy was correct when he coordinated prophecies by Russian saints, and realized the earth was going to tilt on its axis between 1997 and 1999, submerging much of the northern hemisphere and destroying most of mankind with all manner of disaster. I booked tickets to Siberia, the only spot Sobolyovhas said was certain to be spared the devastation. Lake Baikal is beautiful in the fall, you know. But … no tilt.

There’s been one after another of these watch out!-it’s-going-to-happen-tomorrow scenarios.

And now, we’ve got global warming; nothing but sluglike sea creatures will inhabit the deluged ruins of seaboard cities by the time our great-grandchildren are ready to collect unemployment.

Pestilence will take care of the great-grandkids. That, or the polar bears that migrate to Arizona.

Suffice it say, I have been at Defcon 5 so many times, with no results, that I am in desperate need of something concrete to cling to, end-of-the-world wise.

So, I’m putting my money on the pseudo-Mayans, many of whom, oddly enough, also adhere to the notion of the power of positive thinking and are convinced they can heal leprosy and AIDS with a good attitude and a macrobiotic diet.

Why you would bother to stay healthy with a cataclysm right around the corner? The way I see it: If the world is coming to an end in 2012, we need to eat. And not that macrobiotic crap. So, I am setting out to determine what kind of semi-Mayan food treats I can prepare between now and the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012. I want those wacky-looking Mayan gods to take a shine to me when the page on the calendar flips (or crumbles, since it is carved on a hunk of stone).

The mainstays of the Mayan diet: corn, chiles, squash and beans. Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, honey, iguana eggs, a variety of insects, armadillo, turkey and dogs.

Love ‘em all..

What comes to mind is a version of the tamale.

Let’s see: dog tamales?

There’s a plump little Corgi down the block, but I’ll probably encounter fewer problems procuring a turkey. Dogs make a lot of racket when they realize you want to eat them.

So, turkey tamale it is, Maya style.

I will buy several couple packs of corn husks at the market, simmer them for a while and keep them submerged in warm water until I need them. I will use the large ones for tamales, the smaller ones to line my steamer and, cut into strips, for ties.

In a nod to the Maya, I will make the dough the standard way — Maseca masa, lard, salt and baking powder mixed in a processor with a touch of chicken broth. I might add a small amount of pumpkin puree as well as some pan-roasted corn kernels.

For the filling: shredded turkey, left over from Thanksgiving dinner (we’ve got three more Thanksgivings before the Big Day). I will cook minced onion, garlic and chopped chiles, until the onion is soft. I’ll add red chile powder, diced fire-roasted tomato and a bit of their juice, a splash of chicken broth and a teaspoon or so of mole poblano paste, then cook the mix until it begins to thicken. In will go the turkey and I will continue to cook until the liquid is reduced to a jammy consistency.

I’ll spread the dough in the husks, add a swath of turkey mix and some grated asadero cheese to each, fold the tamales (with one end open), tie the tamales and place them upright in my lined steamer. I’ll steam these beauties for an hour and a half. Served with guacamole, salsa fresca, sour cream, greens, chopped tomato and black beans — and maybe some armadillo filets and iguana eggs (over easy, please) — and the meal should be enough to make Kukulkna crack a smile when the lights go out.

It’s a shame Rosh Hashanah doesn’t fall on Dec. 21, 2012.