The Kudzu Kronicle

Because not all Southerners are the same

Tag: kim jong un

The world is ending … again

In case you haven’t heard, so-called Christian numerologist David Meade says that September 23, 2017 (OMG, that’s this Saturday!) marks the beginning of the end of the world. Again.

Meade claims that a constellation will appear over the skies of Jerusalem on Saturday marking the beginning of the end as the planet Nibiru — which you’ve never heard of because it doesn’t exist — hurtles toward Earth, a rendezvous that will bring all kinds of end-times disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and new Rascal Flatts albums.

You might not have heard about it because the world has ended so much in the last few decades that it’s hardly even news anymore. (Although, the Washington Post did see fit to report on it here.) I thought when end-times nut Harold Camping died after a couple of failed predictions that maybe folks would take a break from predicting the end times. Myself, I don’t want the surprise ruined, so I wish they’d keep their Biblical mathematics to themselves.

I do have a couple of questions about Saturday’s beginning-of-the-end:

(1) This won’t interfere with the Mississippi State at Georgia game on Saturday, will it? This is a huge SEC showdown, and I’ll bet anyone a million dollars that the Bulldogs will win.

(2) What time should I start making margaritas? I’m not going through the apocalypse sober.

The only sure thing about predicting the end of the world is that someday someone will be correct. It happened with the predictions of Brangelina’s breakup, and it’ll happen with this, too. I’m not going to worry, though, until Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un release a joint Tweet predicting the end of the world. When that happens, I’m running for the tequila.

No Margaritaville in North Korea

I wasn’t exactly a world traveler when I joined The Fuller Center for Housing in June of 2011 — unless you count that one night in Windsor, Canada, when I nearly missed the last bus of the night back into Detroit. The bus went through a tunnel under the Detroit River, which I found a wee bit disturbing.

But one of my first tasks with The Fuller Center was to get myself a passport. The Fuller Center works all around the world — in faraway places like Nepal, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, India and a few African countries and a few relatively closer stops such as Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Peru. I didn’t get my passport to go to any of those countries at first. No, I needed to get a passport quickly because my first stop would be North Korea.

It’s hard to believe now, but The Fuller Center had developed an initiative to build 50 homes for families on a farm collective known as Osan-Ri, about 25 kilometers outside of Pyongyang. The plan was to send volunteer teams from the United States to work alongside the North Koreans to develop friendships and trust as much as simple, decent housing. It sprung from a dream Jubilee Partners’ Don Mosley pitched to Millard Fuller, the then-leader of The Fuller Center who saw nothing as impossible.

In the beginning, it seemed to be working. Even after Millard’s untimely passing in 2009, new President David Snell (still my boss today) carried on with the dream as best he could — making four trips to North Korea and bringing back a slew of images from the rogue nation. He was even there for the groundbreaking in 2009 alongside North Korean leaders and families in a festive, friendly atmosphere.

(Click here for my fascinating Q&A with David about his experiences in North Korea, complete with photos from his trips.)

As The Fuller Center’s new director of communications, I was tapped to visit the communist nation and document the progress of this unique project. I wanted to do something different that would capture attention for the work or possibly even go viral on them interwebs. I decided that I would take my colorful acoustic guitar and film myself playing and singing Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” in North Korea. I’m pretty sure that’s never been done. Continue reading

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