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Cassandra Speaks: Happy New Year 

In 2007, I'm opening a business aimed at saving people. It's called Christian Alarm Systems. People can purchase the $29.95 Rapture Warning bell, the $37.99 Apocalypse Alert, and best of all, The Second Coming Chime for $66.66. We will also carry the usual -- smoke, fire, radon -- but our emphasis will be the Spirit. In 2007, people will need to be on the alert for their spiritual safety because we have become too complacent to hear the signs.

All around us nature is taking action. Sea lions have been biting people, whales have been smacking down boats, sharks are back at it and tigers are snapping in zoos. Are the animals in collusion? Can 2007 be the year, finally, when animals, fed up with being extinct, will take their ghosts to town and put the Chevy to the levee? It's possible that the final alarm's gone out in the kingdom of the beasts: attack man before it's too late. Only it's already too late.

Big geological and meteorological life is also on the move: the storms, tsunamis, and earthquakes of the past two years are the advance volley of a planet fed up with Bush not signing the global warming treaties. The Arctic shelf is about to buckle and the rising seas will flood the coasts. New York will be the new Venice. New Orleans will be the Movie Venice already. It might be too late for people to do anything except watch and wonder and vote Nature to be Man of the Year on the cover of TIME.

Of course, all this will sound hollow to those who've heard people yell "burrito" in a crowded fire too many times. But that's how the wolf makes himself cozy in Peter's house: every time he doesn't show up, there is a little more of him in front of the fireplace. Those chestnuts popping are our ancestors crying "wolf." In the course of my long life in the alarmist days of the 20th century, I'd often heard the news of my imminent demise and the perishing of peoples, and I was shown irrefutable proof that this was so. Until now I've taken these proofs with a grain of salt as fears in the guise of billy clubs, but lately I've been known to waver. I'm wavering as I write. The nogs of Christmas are still with me.

The latest signs are too Nostradamus to ignore. The petroleum under the ground is set to conflagrate a la Meyrinck, and the ancient kingdoms of North Africa look ready for typesetting. The prophecies are no longer in draft mode. The second and maybe the third white buffalo was born in the Midwest.

On the second of January, start making jerky. Fill the milk jugs with water, oil and wine. Stuff the iPods with songs to jog your memory. Strap a portable generator to your belt. Carry inflatables. Ditch the media. By the 5th you'll be glad you did. I'm not paranoid, I just woke up.

Andrei Codrescu's latest book is New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writing From the City (Algonquin Books).

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