Whew. If you're reading this, chances are good that we've all survived the predicted Mayan apocalypse
And to paraphrase R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, we feel fine.
Journalists are an impatient bunch, and we didn't want to wait until today to find out whether the predictions -- brought on by the long-form Mayan calendar that ends Dec. 21 -- were going to come true. And hey -- we have a colleague, former Times staffer Megan J. Miller, who works in Timaru, New Zealand, who could fill us in from the front lines of the apocalypse.
We were live with Miller at 5:40 a.m. Thursday local time, which translates to 11:40 p.m. Thursday in Timaru, on the east coast of New Zealand's southern island. And yes, we were concerned when she disappeared from our Internet chat just before midnight her time -- but as it turned out, that had more to do with her laptop taking a quick break than the end of the world.
So what happened?
"I have not seen any odd lights or heard any odd sounds going on outside," Miller said with a shrug as midnight passed.
New Zealand was safe, and we all woke up this morning. So that means we're good, right?
Not so fast.
There are some who identify Pittsburgh as the place the Mayans referred to as "The Tree of Life," a place where four rivers -- you will recall that the dormant fountain at the Point is fed by an underground aquifer, or what is known as our fourth river -- converge at a place of serious spiritual significance.
Does this mean we're protected from any lingering effects of doomsday? Will a new age of spirituality begin right here in western Pennsylvania? Will the Steelers get an ethereal lift and beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the stadium where the rivers converge?
Or will doomsday manifest itself more harshly here? Perhaps in the form of a Steelers loss on Sunday?
Stay tuned, boys and girls -- this could still get ugly.
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