There are some things in this world — and this universe — not meant to be comprehended by mere mortals who are not former premiers.
Astronomers, like politicians, like to issue pronouncements that boggle the minds of common laymen. They’ve already come up with two this month (the astronomers, I mean; politicians come up with that many every day — more if they’re talking about Afghanistan).
Apparently, there are three times as many stars in the universe
than astronomers had previously thought. Instead of there being a mere 100 sextillion stars, it is now estimated there are 300 sextillion. As one news report described it, that’s a three followed by 23 zeroes, or, put another way, 300 trillion times one billion.
One scientist helpfully noted that, by a strange celestial coincidence, the number of stars in the universe is roughly equal to the total number of cells making up the bodies of the six billion or so humans on Earth.
Not only are stars incomprehensively plentiful, the buggers keep replicating.
It seems, according to one theory, the proverbial Big Bang that began the universe will happen again and again. Each time the universe stops expanding and collapses in upon itself, a big bang reoccurs. Apparently there will be more than one universe. Perhaps there already has been. Perhaps there have been numerous universes over the past 300 sextillion years, and will be an infinite number of universes over the next 300 sextillion years and more.
Thank goodness the astro-nomers didn’t bring God into it. For if there has been, or will be, more than one universe, surely there is a God for each one. On the other hand, if the same God creates and rules over each new universe, then his Son must be the laziest and most pampered Daddy’s boy in history — he works only once every 10 billion years.
If astronomers and existentialists are moved to ponder the mind
of God, Newfoundlanders (and Labradorians) are left to wonder at the mind of former premier Danny Williams.
It seems incongruous that a man smart enough to be a Rhodes Scholar would also be stunned enough to send a Christmas card to selected former subjects depicting his grinning visage with a backdrop of the sombre words, “Lest we forget.”
The image is crass, shocking, ignorant, egotistical and insulting. Maybe it is what comes from a leader having an approval rating of a sextillion per cent.
Equally unexplained is the timing of Williams’ departure.
The standard interpretation is that he resigned because he’d attained his primary goal — a deal to develop the Lower Churchill.
And yet, his highly touted deal is for the development of Muskrat Falls, which comprises only a minority of the potential power from the Lower Churchill.
The signing ceremony and Williams’ subsequent speech of resignation were gripping drama, but if you listen carefully, there are no sounds of pickaxes striking Labrador rock. It’s all just on paper. Regular readers of the political news will know how reliable that is. First power is projected for 2016 — place your bets, and ask for good odds.
Williams’ glorious exit — simultaneously celebrated and lamented — was premature. He’s like a hockey coach who signs a batch of players and then boasts about his championship roster, before they have even scored a goal, let alone raised a trophy.
Make no mistake — Williams was an excellent and at times brilliant coach, despite his nasty habit of lashing out at fans who dared to heckle him.
His legacy — the Lower Churchill project — is not assured. A simple “No” from Prime Minister Stephen Harper could scuttle it.
I just don’t get it. To truly understand the rationale for Williams’ premature resignation, maybe you have to dwell in his universe.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.