Let’s Party Like it’s 1999! The taxi pulls up at a white house with dark blue-grey trim. “This looks like the right address lady, 504 East Second Street.” I glance at his city of Phoenix taxi license but there are too many vowels in his name. So with a simple “Thanks!” and a generous tip I leave the cab.

I’m a little hesitant as I approach the blue door. I wasn’t really invited to the party, but a friend of a friend told me it was going to be a really big bash and that everyone was welcome. Nobody answers when I ring the bell, but the door must not have been latched securely and swings open. I step in and look around for quite a while before anyone notices me. Suddenly a man approaches and says “Welcome!” His smile is a little mechanical, but seems genuine. Good enough—I’m in this party!

I wander from room to room, and wonder why some of the rooms are so empty. Maybe the party isn’t in full swing yet? There are a few people here and there and I eavesdrop a little. “A Rocket Scientist, a Volcanologist and a Hippie walk into a bar . . .” I drift away from that conversation. I’m guessing it doesn’t turn out well for the Hippie.

A man with melancholy eyes walks by carrying a tray of glasses. Ooh, Champagne! I accept a glass of bubbly, but begin to wonder just who is hosting this party. A friendly guy approaches me and says “Hi.” He seems nice, but seems to be trying to figure out if he knows me from someplace. We chat for a time about the party. He tells me that some really great people left, but says that people come and go from this party all the time.

Walking down a hallway I hear laughter and a loud buzzing sound. I reach the kitchen to find people gathered around scooping in ice cream, peanut butter and other ingredients into a blender. They appear to be duplicating some sort of Dairy Queen™ treat. They even offer me some, saying “Drink up before it’s gone!” Smiling, I shake my head and hold up my champagne flute. “Your loss” says one of them as he gulps down some of the treat and lets out a rude burp. One of the other guys must be getting hungry. I hear him ask if anyone else wants some eggs. Perhaps he’s planning to make an omelet.

I stroll further down the hallway and come to what appears to be some kind of high-tech entertainment room where some partygoers are intent on playing video games and arguing about the best Sci-Fi books and movies. Across the hallway is another room where some Ivy-league types are discussing something called ‘The Pragmatic Critique of Analytical Philosophy .’ Well, that is definitely over my head, and I have some difficulty understanding a couple of the British guys' accents, so I amble on.

This place is a lot bigger than it appeared from the outside; the main hallway seems to go on forever and even has hallways leading off of it. Some of those have staircases that appear to lead up to other levels. This place is like an M.C. Escher drawing. I think I could be lost. I pass by more and more rooms where people are talking about every topic under the sun. I have to shake my head in disbelief at some of the topics they’re discussing; some seem willing to expose the most personal and risqué details of their lives. Some of the stories I overhear make me want to cry, some make me laugh, and others make me do both at the same time. This place is Cool!

I wander further and find myself at a door leading outside. I go through it and find a huge crowd standing around on the deck, all chatting excitedly. Wow! So this is where most of the people are partying. The din is pretty loud and some people seem to shout to try and be heard.  I think that one guy may have Tourettes.

It is barely twilight, but someone has turned on the outdoor lights. I am startled by a sudden ‘popping’ sound  as a moth flames out in the bug zapper nearby.  A waiter passes through the crowd carrying a dessert tray that is almost empty. Another woman and I grab the last two cream puffs and lean against the deck railing to enjoy them while sipping our champagne. It would be nice to sit down, but for some reason there are some people who seem intent on rearranging the chairs on the deck.

A sudden argument erupts on the other end of the deck and some people storm off. Part of the crowd seems oblivious to the fight, while others are expressing concern.  Some people seem so concerned that they think about leaving the party. A couple people soothe the crowd. “Nothing to see here, let’s just all calm down.

All of a sudden more people come pouring out on the deck carrying wine, beer and pizza—some of it is even vegetarian. The crowd hollers "Welcome!" but when one of the newcomers starts to recite a poem they push him off of the deck. He shouts "Hey, I paid for that beer! If you want to drink any of it you're going to have to listen to my poem." Some people mutter, but seem to think free beer is perhaps worth listening to a poem or two. Oh yeah, this party’s going to go on for a long time!

Happy 2012!

(Maybe the archaeologists just didn’t find the other page of the Mayan Calendar?)

Welcome to my last node of 2011. It has occurred to me that somewhere in the world it is already 2012, and that i live in one of the last places to flip to the new year. I remember reading recently how Samoa has as of this year jumped across the International Date Line so it can be the first to greet the new year instead of being the last to bid adieu to the old. Understandable. It's one thing to wait until the party is in full swing to show up to the party, another thing to show up at the very tail end, after all the fashionable guests have filtered out and the DJ has begun to pack his gear.

I confess, I have low hopes for 2012 being a 'good' year, consumed as I expect it to be with a vitriolic political campaign, resulting in an effective repeat of 2004, with the unpopular incumbent reelected in the face of our late-recovering economy, and an inadequate challenge. Those who know me know my preference is with Ron Paul, but I am quite confident that the GOP establishment is putting the fix in for the most establishment-controllable candidate, Romney. Which, I think, will tear apart the evangelical base, and cause actual damage to Christianity itself, as some will struggle with the notion that their god has willed a Mormon to be its champion. I have been thinking for a while that the biggest threat to Christianity is not from the growing courage of Atheism, but from Mormonism at last emerging as the fourth Abrahamic faith. But Romney will likely be crowned with the nomination on the basis of getting 23-25% of the vote while pulling just ahead of the remaining six-way split.

But I am intrigued by the Libertarian candidacy of Gary Johnson. I think it sad that Ron Paul remains committed to pursuing change through a party so dominated by neocon warmongers and theocratic bedroom-peepers and police state cheerleaders. But we will see how the Libertarian dynamic shapes up. And then there is, naturally, the independent candidacy of Donald Trump to look forward to. Trump signaled long ago that he'd jump in if the GOP nominee was inadequate, and at much the same time exemplified Romney as an inadequate candidate. But Trump is a showman, and his run will be for show, with no real substance or expectation of success.

Enough of politics. One blazing bright spot on the horizon is that 2012 will be a banner year for Pandeism. Knowledge of the theory is spreading, through the oft-referenced pages of the ever-growing Pandeism Index here, through the YouTube PanDeism Channel and the Twitter and Tumblr feeds, and various Pandeist blogs and such. We are gaining new members and new resources every day, and have the 'special' advantage unavailable to more prudish religions of having beautiful women willing to make the case for conversion by demonstrating the beneficial correlation of Pandeism and sexual pleasure. So in sum, I expect the year in politics to be dismal and clownish. But the year in Pandeism ought to be the best yet. Blessings!!

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