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Having friends over at the end of the world

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If the New Age alarmists are right, then Friday is our last day on Earth. The specific time is kind of fuzzy, but according to some, in the next 36 hours or so, a meteor may come whizzing out of the sky, the sun could explode or an ancient South American god in the form of a giant winged snake may appear to wipe out all but the faithful, which is, under the circumstances, almost all of us.

The National Weather Service, of course, is just calling for rain and snow, but in the event the worrywarts in the tinfoil hats are right, The Gazz wondered how people might spend their last hours on the planet.

So we made some inquiries (OK, we mostly just asked some people on Facebook) about what they'd do, and the results were surprising.

As it turns out, not a lot of people would go see a movie if all of existence was about to end. It's just not an obvious choice, even though "The Hobbit" seems like a fun return to the magical world of Middle Earth and that last "Twilight" movie is still showing in some theaters.

In fact, of the half dozen or so local filmmakers and movie-related people we contacted, we only heard back from Sam Holdren, who said, "If the world was ending, watching movies is the last thing I'd do."

However, he did reluctantly add that if he were trapped in a room without windows or doors with only a television, a Blu-ray player and his choice of movies, he'd watch "Playtime," a 1967 French comedy from Jacque Tati.

He said the film is "a reminder that despite technology and structured environments, it's the chaos and lack of structure that helps us feel more comfortable and brings us closer together.

"It's a nice legacy to consider before we're splattered through the cosmos."

So maybe it's better to just have everybody over, bust the lease and throw a party.

For that, you're going to need supplies.

Now, some Doomsday prepper websites have a long list of recommended "supplies" that include things like bottled water, spare batteries and Meals Ready to Eat, but that operates on the premise that survival is possible.

Realistically speaking, if vengeful ancient gods are returning to reclaim the earth, bottled water is not only pointless; it's boring. At the very least, you should pick up a couple two-liters of Hawaiian Punch and order a few pies from the pizza place of your choice.

Live a little, and remember to tip the delivery guy generously. He's probably a musician.

Jeremy Still, chef at Edgewood Country Club, said if it turned out the world ended tomorrow, he'd feast on a few of his all-time favorite foods.

He said, "My portions would be small and with numerous courses with accompanying wines."

In this order, he said he'd have: Oysters Rockefeller (probably two dozen) with sauvignon blanc; veal sweatbreads with capers, mushrooms, madeira and demi glace paired with Hess Pinot Noir; Heart of Boston Bibb salad with Vermont walnuts and aged white cheddar; Dover sole fillet napped with Champagne; chives and cream with a Ferrara Corono Chardonnay; Colorado lamb chops with Dijon panko crust, sauce marchand de vin and Chateau Beychevelle; lightly wilted spinach, splash of rice vinegar, golden pineapple spear with creamy Danish bleu cheese served with Fonseca Port."

And for desert, he said, "My chocolate pate accompanied by Perrier Jouet."

That sounds wonderful, but also a lot of work. For those less inclined to do David Copperfield level magic in the kitchen, maybe stick to comfort foods that require virtually no effort or time to prepare.

Cocktail wieners soaked in barbecue sauce, potato chips and Hostess Twinkies are about the right speed, or you can let guests raid the fridge and eat what they want. If someone wants to eat mayonnaise straight from the jar, be a gracious host, get him a spoon and then cautiously but quickly step away.

Plan party games to help everyone keep their minds off impending oblivion, but keep it simple: limbo contests, trivia and board games.

Charleston Gazette business reporter Megan Workman suggested, "How about the Game of Life? Wouldn't that be ironic?"

And what party is complete without music? While there's time, put together a playlist.

Electric 102's Nick Scott thought that REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It" or "Cold" were solid choices, and local rocker Lee Harrah added, "The End" by The Doors and Queen's "The Show Must Go on," as well as "Hallowed Be Thy Name" by Iron Maiden.

Harrah said, "It's the band's closeout for shows. Why not let be the closeout for the human race?"

Drummer, songwriter and former percussionist for Tim McGraw, David Dunkley thought a more retrospective approach was in order. He suggested "Yesterday" by The Beatles.

"Mountain Stage's" top stagehand and local lights guy Joey Ansel went with a lighter approach. He offered up Jimmy Buffet's "Why Don't We Get Drunk," a song that kind of cuts to the chase.

St. Albans native and bassist for country star Blake Shelton, Rob Byus came up with  "1999" by Prince, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band, "Statesboro Blues" by the Allman Brothers Band, "Rock and Roll All Night" by Kiss and "Back in Black" by AC/DC.

He added, "Then put Zeppelin on shuffle 'til the lights go out!"

Singer/songwriter Jeff Ellis sent an entire play list. It was well-rounded and very thought-out, but it was kind of long. Email us, and we'll send it to you.

Anyway, before the end comes, whether that's by a previously unknown rogue planet plummeting into the Earth or giant evil space aliens crawling forth from the depths of the ocean to reclaim the lands that once belonged to them, take comfort in the fact that you won't have to clean up afterwards.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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