Wednesday, February 28, 2007


So the U.S. economy was inches away from landing ass-first in the fecal, rat-infested depths of a Greater Depression yesterday. Some blame China, and its nefarious secret leader, Dr. Jonathan "Fu" Manchu (the Westernized grandson of the fictional pulp villain). But the fact of the matter is that economies, like the human beings subservient to them, are capable of catching bugs and viruses, and Tuesday's drop in the market was merely the financial equivalent of a nasty head cold.

Most people assume that disease far predated currency as a scourge of mankind. The truth, hard as it is to believe, is that money actually introduced sickness into the world. The fossil record shows that in the Paleosticene Era, humans first began picking fruit and trading it for other fruit or, more often, sex. Engorged on sweet treats, the homunculi located in the sperm grew corrupt and ornery, thereby initiating the world’s first STD. Other diseases followed. The Christian story of the Garden of Eden is simply an allegory for this primal monetary transaction.

Of course, if economies are able to spread illness to humans, the same is true of the reverse. Tuesday’s crash was not the result of a vast, interconnected web of socioeconomic factors; rather, it can be traced to one man, a 33-year old stockbroker in Shanghai named Chang Eng, who accidentally sneezed on the economy while walking to the rest room. The economy (which, as shares of citrus sales this quarter reveal, has not been taking its Vitamin C) thereby developed a fever, and an excess of mucous in the form widespread journalistic analysis. It was only one of those 24-hour things, though, so it’s feeling much better now, even though it’s still blowing its nose quite a bit.

The Stock Market Crash of the 1930s can similarly be attributed to biological causes. The freewheeling spirit of the Jazz Age encouraged massive amounts of binge drinking, and, due to excessive optimism levels in the bloodstreams of most flappers and dandies, the effects were deferred to the cash in their pockets, which soaked up the alcoholic residue sweated out of its hosts during novelty dance crazes. As such, what we consider the Great Depression was actually the Goddamn Hangover.

It’s best to consider events like yesterday’s as economic cold sores, painfully flaring up at annoying and embarrassing times to ooze information about our unhealthy past. Yes, this is gross, but so is licking a dollar bill.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


As promised, today we will examine the hidden meanings behind some of Sunday’s Oscar fashions. It is not our intention to frighten you with our findings, merely to make you aware that, when matters of global significance are at stake, no detail is accidental.

Let’s start with Penelope Cruz (who is NOT Mexican, as Ellen Degeneres mistakenly implied, but Ecuadorian). You can immediately discern that her flesh-colored Versace gown resembles nothing more nor less than a feather duster (turn your monitor upside-down for the full effect). This optical illusion represents a subtle piece of stereotype-enforcing, implying as it does that Latin American women are suited for few jobs other than that of housekeeper and Oscar-nominated actress. It’s common knowledge that the House of Versace doubles as a white slavery ring (which is the reason behind founder Giovanni Versace’s FBI assassination in 1997). This explains why illegal immigrant Cruz, a Versace minion presented as a symbol of dashed hopes, was so desperate to win the award (see yesterday’s post).

Nicole Kidman’s Oscar gown (by Balenciaga) does not telegraph its intentions quite as readily. Those familiar with Ms. Kidman’s personal life are aware that she is incapable of feeling love for another human being. As such, she commissioned a dress with a prehensile bow that she could manipulate, Dr. Octopus-style, to forcibly snare a suitable mate. (Regrettably, the dress was not put into action because no one in attendance could live up to her alabaster standards.) The accompanying purse (constructed from baby phalanges) underlines her desire to establish a family, even if she must kill to do so. It contains a crystal vial holding ex-hubbie Tom Cruise’s only strand of pubic hair, as a talisman to ward him off were he to try and approach her on the carpet.

It was the belief of the aboriginal Hmstngmfti peoples of Mauritius that the soul is a black butterfly that perches on your bosom when you die. It is unclear whether Anne Hathaway's Valentino gown is a tribute to this ancient race, a sign that she is dead herself, or simply dumb-ass.

Rounding out our analysis is Jennifer Hudson (in Oscar de la Renta). Isn’t she just a peach? The metallic mini-cape was a poor choice, but probably inevitable when your personal stylist is Blacula. Luckily, she ditched it for the ceremony itself, when she charmed us all by bringing home a well-deserved statue. (We love you, Jennifer!) And pockets – who would have thought? It’s inspired us to have pockets installed in all of our pants – a trend that we believe will be taking off in 07.

Monday, February 26, 2007


It’s a little-known piece of Oscar trivia that the physical awards themselves can be used to pass through international borders in lieu of valid passports – the United Nations recognizes an Academy Award as a carte blanche surpassing all national sovereignty, catapulting winners of this honor into a cosmopolitan netherworld of unfettered access. However, as a check to the nigh-unlimited power the wielders of these golden statues would possess, Oscars are not allowed on airplanes. The result is that it’s unlikely for a terrorist go through the trouble of developing sufficient acting, writing, directing, producing or (more feasibly) technical chops to work his or her way up the Hollywood ranks in hopes of gaining a coveted nomination. It was briefly feared this year that Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro might secretly be an al-Qaeda operative (he has a beard), but any panic was laid to rest by the Academy’s unwillingness to nominate this shadowy, ethnic figure for an award. However, the overall preponderance of Mexicans in this year's nominations testifies to the willingness of our friends to the South to do whatever it takes to cross the U.S. border unmolested.

All of this is by way of prelude to the Apocryphist’s analysis of last night’s Academy Awards ceremony. It’s no secret that the results of this ostensibly entertainment-oriented contest have grave sociopolitical implications, and it is our goal today to uncover a bit of this secret knowledge for your delectation.

First of all, a clear message was being sent by the fact that the winners of the two leading performance awards – Dame Helen Mirren and Forrest Whitaker– portrayed world leaders going through a period of crisis. Not only that, but in their polar opposition – female vs. male, white vs. black, good vs. evil, skinny vs. fat, hairy vs. bald, etc. – further crucial details were being communicated to those with the savvy to detect them.

The technical explanation could keep us occupied for a full month of posts, but the pith of the matter is that the Academy believes the Antichrist will be elected U.S President in 2008. However, the interpretation leaves unresolved whether this will turn out to be Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. They represent the dual forces at play in the presentation of last night’s major acting Awards – except one of them needs to gain some weight between now and next November. Whichever of the two breaks the scales during the next eighteen months could very well usher us into the End Times.

On a lighter note, wasn’t Jennifer Hudson fabulous? Imagine having to sing that show-stopping tune after losing the Award! Luckily the predictions were correct, and she was able to turn in a triumphant performance that simply blew away the crowd.

Finally, a word about Pilobolus, the dance company whose shadow-puppet antics delighted the restless crowd. The idea was for the shapes they created to be projected through the scrim onto Jack Nicholson’s bald pate, which would then reflect them through a skylight in the Kodak Theatre’s roof and project them onto the moon as a worldwide celebration of cinema magic (this is why Nicholson was always bathed in a blinding corona of light whenever he was on camera). Unfortunately, host Ellen Degeneres sabotaged the affair, believing that it would detract from the planned announcement of her Presidential candidacy. However, our inside correspondent tell us that Degeneres was scared straight when, in an unanticipated move, Pilobolus attacked and engulfed her behind the scrim, and threatened to snap her neck with their athletic thighs if she went through with her plan. Though the Nicholson-spotlight display was still unable to proceed, neither were Degeneres’ Presidential aspirations, leaving Hillary Clinton the sole lesbian candidate for the Democratic nomination.

TOMORROW: A semiological analysis of this year’s Oscar fashions.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Amidst yesterday's dudgeon, we completely forgot about Washington's Birthday. Happy 314th, George!


We are not impressed with the recent decision by New York City to authorize the release of branded condoms free of charge to the populace.

In the first place, we believe that citizens need to EARN their right to birth control; if someone is wastrel enough that they either cannot or will not purchase their own contraceptives, being forced to raise a child is fit punishment. Besides which, certain cretins, upon hearing the phrase “city condoms,” will conjure a very different picture than that intended. But even beyond these quibbles, studies provide strong evidence that condoms just don’t work.

It’s not that we object to condoms in general – they have many exciting uses, but these have little to do with semen wrangling. Pregnancy and disease cannot be prevented with a condom, just as an oncoming asteroid cannot be deflected by covering the earth with gift wrap.

In the 18th Century, it was posited by Dutch reproductivologist Nicolas Suepersoeker that human sperm consisted of homunculi, tiny human beings that ran through the uterus with little pickaxes to break through the shell of the female egg to feast upon the yolky goodness within. The last surviving homunculus grew up to be the fetus. This hypothesis has proven to be not as far from the truth as modern medicine would have you believe. Human sperm are far more sharp and angular than current depictions imply, and they can break through a flimsy substance such as rubber with admirable ease. They also have minds of their own (albeit incredibly small ones), and well-suited to adapt to whatever rigors full-sized humans may put in their way.

How then, you ask, have condoms developed such a stalwart reputation as hygienic protectors? The answer is simple: television. The rise of condoms has coincided with the implementation of large, radioactive boxes in the homes of millions, entertaining hurdy-gurdies that, unbeknownst to most, are the cause of mass sterility. As men sit and enjoy their favorite programs, the waves coming from the screen are slowly murdering their homunculi, usually by stabbing or strangling. The condom is merely taking credit for the good work of the, ahem, boob tube.

This also goes a long way towards explaining the population boom and spread of disease prevalent in many third-world countries. Lacking TV, the sperm are bound to play havoc. Yes, a flat-screen, wall-mounted HD screen in every mud hut is an expensive foreign policy proposition, but every mass sterilization has to start somewhere. At the very least we should give all those poor Africans something truly useful, like vasectomies, or 60-hour work weeks and long, unstimulating marriages.

Of course, there is enough television in New York City to render an entire nation impotent. Handing out free condoms is at the very least redundant. For citizens too poor or busy to afford their own sets, Mayor Bloomberg should make it mandatory to spend one hour a week standing in the middle of Times Square – the concentrated rays of all those giant screens will make those little homunculi wish they were never born, and ensure that they’ll never be the cause of birth in others.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


You know how some people believe that “the more we learn, the less we know”?

This is totally incorrect.

Seriously, flip it around: “The less we learn, the more we know.” That doesn’t make sense either, which merely exposes this syllogism for what it is: Sophistry.

Sophistry is a disease of the brain that can be linked to excessively high levels of oxyglutamine, the chemical that causes Sophistry. Discovered in 1962 by someone whose name we won’t bother telling you because you’ll forget it soon anyway, oxyglutamine is a neurotransmitter that is identical in composition to partially hydrogenated corn syrup. In fact, in undeveloped countries oxyglutamine is often drained from the skulls of dead prisoners as an inexpensive substitute for this wonder sweetener.

Unfortunately, this poses an ethical question: if it tastes so good, then how can it be good for you? The answer will shock you like a licked battery: it can’t.

Soon after the discovery of oxyglutamine, when the chemical's neurological function was still unclear, studies showed that very little of it actually exists in the human brain: about as much as would fit in a raindrop-sized thimble. Protests arose from the usual assortment of cranks, crackpots, and the government: America’s oxyglutamine levels had to be brought up to snuff if we were to compete with the wily Japanese, and the even wilier Nipponese. Despite the fact that nobody knew why we needed more of this chemical than anyone else, a wide variety of procedures were initiated, and abandoned, and then initiated again before being abandoned twice more.

Baby food manufacturers attempted to address the crisis by including jacked up levels of oxyglutamine in their strained yam gravy. Public schools initiated mandatory spinal injections, and oxyglutamine tests became de rigeur for executive corporate positions. Also, they made it taste better.

But it soon became clear that the brain rebels against being told what to do – like a disobedient teen in a trampy outfit, it would rather make its own mistakes. Excessive levels of oxyglutamine causes synapses to “clear the way,” as it were, rearranging themselves all in a line to avoid contamination by the interloping compound. With the synapses all queued up, the brain can only make the most general of sequential connections - and the result, in the end, has been an epidemic of Sophistry.

Sophistry can most accurately be described as a condition in which things that sound true are assumed to be true; or, alternately, that things that are assumed to be true sound true. Though the condition dates back to caveman times, it is only today, when we are surrounded on all sides by teetering towers of verbiage in all spheres of our lives, that the condition has became more than a horsefly-level inconvenience.

To avoid Sophistry, simply don’t believe any cause/effect or if/then or and/or statement. When reading a sentence, analyze every word for possible “Trojan horse”-style deceptions. Shun your friends and neighbors. And above all, avoid oxyglutamine. If you see oxyglutamine walking down the street, cross to the other side, or shoot it right between the eyes. If you don’t have a gun, break a bottle over its head. If you don’t have a bottle then you’re screwed. Sorry.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Many people know that “Wite-Out” (aka “Verblot,” “Shit-Scrub,” “Reversible Jizz,” etc.) was invented by the father of ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz. Fewer, however, understand the circuitous, often dark, frequently amusing and eventually rather predictable history of Post-It brand stickie notes.

The story, like most stories, began in 1517. Divinity student Martin Luthor (cited by the Simon and Shuster, Catholic creators of the comic-book Superman as the inspiration for their hero’s arch-nemesis Lex) was a young overachiever in the city of Wittgenstein, Germany. Having somehow been accepted into 95 separate graduate programs at the local University, he found himself needing to produce a separate thesis for each one. Citing the futility of exerting all that strenuous academic labor merely to have it perused and discarded by the handful of tenured individuals on his thesis panel, Luthor decided to post his work on the door of the local church so as to have it read by all – hence the famous “95 Thesises.”

Luthor experimented with a number of different mediums for attaching his document to the door, including honeypap, boiled hogshead, and tongue-of-marrow-bark-resin-of-swamp-bog- of-syrup-bog-swamp. These various methods proving unsatisfactory, Luthor eventually decided simply to affix the heretical paper using Satanic magic, along with a nail for good measure. Nonetheless, for these early efforts Luthor is generally considered the Father of Self-Adhesive Stationery.

When Luthor was burned at the stake in 1578, his notebooks and correspondence inevitably fell into the hands of the Illaminati, a secret society that made a practice of going to as many estate sales as possible during the Reformation. Its leader, one Gracchus Bluto, discovered an alternate use for one of Luthor’s compounds, and soon wrote the Illaminati Manifesto, detailing how monarchies could be toppled by stealing all of their important documents and covering them entirely in a thin layer of shellac, thereby rendering them incapable of revision. Though Bluto was executed soon after ruining the original Magna Carta by covering it with improperly brewed paste, his process and organization gave its name to the modern process of “illamination” (literally, “being made sick by contact with a llama”).

It wasn’t until the late 19th Century that Luthor and Bluto’s research once again reared its gummy head. After having his legs chopped off in the Franco-Prussian war, retarded French aristocrat Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec decided that he might as well design posters for local cabarets and dance halls, because seriously, what else was he cut out for? He needed some kind of method with which to hang the posters on walls, since otherwise they would fall to the ground and get covered in mud and feces (pavement not having yet been invented). Being legless, Toulouse-Lautrec had commissioned local scientist Marie Curie to develop a legless horse so he could ride in relative comfort. The horses kept dying, however, and Marie Curie, in possession of a rare copy of the Illaminati Manifesto, used the recipes contained within to create a new adhesive out of dead horse, which she christened “glue” after the past participle of the French “gluer” – “to kill horses for a crippled aristocrat.”

From here, it was only a short leap to the modern Post-It. Leave it to that bastion of modern ingenuity, Adolf Hitler, to bring this journey to its “final solution.” After inventing the reclining armchair, the electric guitar, and genocidal anti-Semitism, Hitler was looking for a new challenge. Hoisting Marie Curie out of her deathbed during the lead-up to World War II, Hitler demanded from her information on how to create a radium-controlled toaster oven (which could eventually be dropped from airplanes onto the British). Curie, a French patriot to the last, misled Hitler with a false equation that was actually an altered version of her formula for glue. In that it was only a recipe for a very small amount of glue, Hitler didn’t know what to do with the results, and so tried to wipe it from his finger onto a small sheet of blotting paper nearby. When he subsequently went out onto his balcony to salute the teeming masses before his famous Nuremberg Rally, the crowd was delighted to see a flapping piece of paper affixed to his extended right hand, believing it to be a butterfly. A local craftsman by the name of Herbert 3mhoff, however, was able to see this “miracle paper” for the cash cow that it was. Fleeing to America, he founded an eponymous office supply empire, which to this day operates out of the same Yorktown tenement in which it began – and thus, the Post-It note was born.

Bonus Fact: a malfunctioning Post-It was the cause of the tragic Challenger space shuttle explosion in 1986.

Friday, February 16, 2007


These days, President Dwight D. “Honest Ike” Eisenhower is generally considered little more than a relic from the Eisenhower era. Aside from his having coined the phrase “military-industrial complex” (which we are tired of having archly pointed out to us at parties and cabal meetings), little exists in the public sphere to distinguish our nation’s 34th Commander-in-Chief from a moderately intelligent potato, or sack of potatoes.

A trip to the President Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, in Abilene, Kansas, however, reveals some shockingly unexpected data on the man who, as you may or may not have known, coined the phrase “military-industrial complex.”

Most visitors to the Library are lured by the big-ticket items: Eisenhower’s prize-winning collection of vintage goiter photographs, his autographed first-edition copy of P.D. Eastman’s paean to canine locomotion, Go, Dog, Go!, and the Ark of the Covenant.
But the true treasures of the Library are to be found much deeper within, in a secret chamber that can only be broached with stalwart academic credentials, or crudely forged facsimiles thereof.

In this hidden sanctum, next to Eisenhower’s mummified corpse (and no, we weren’t supposed to take pictures, so ssh!), is an item that threatens to topple popular views of this former snooker champion’s Presidency, and, indeed, the entire decade in which it unfolded.

Popular historian David Halberstam’s chronicle of the postwar years was released to the public in 1993. Eisenhower’s dog-eared copy, however, proves that this book was not a saga of hindsight, but, in fact, a work of speculative fiction penned in 1947. Thoroughly digested by the President-to-Be, who became fascinated – nay, obsessed – with the strange revelations found within, it became not a retrospective analysis of, but, in fact, the very template by which the following ten years were forged. The concept behind the hydrogen bomb was mere fantasy before Halberstam (a mere boy of 13 when he wrote the book) anticipated its design in his book. Enamored, Eisenhower made one of his first priorities as President the assignment of chief designers Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam to make manifest what had already been written about them. The same pattern resulted in the creation of Elvis, hula hoops, and the Korean War (which technically began before Eisenhower was sworn in, but we know enough about Washington politics not to be surprised by this).

Word of this so-called “paradox” began to leak sometime during the 1970s, when Eisenhower’s former Vice President, Richard Nixon, was looking for a way to evade the scrutiny being leveled against him as a result of the Whitewater Scandal. Halberstam, a notoriously slow writer (he’d been working on The Fifties since 1939), decided to make a few revisions, and would have kept at it for much longer if the Republican Party, enraged by the election of Communist Party candidate Hilary Clinton to the Presidencey in 1992, hadn’t just jerked the thing out of his hands and brought it to press.

We had some excellent photos of some of Eisenhower’s notes and suggestions in the margins of the original manuscript (re: television – “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if we kept making the screens bigger? And invented subliminal advertising?”), but alas, it turns out there was a video camera installed in the mummy’s empty eye sockets, and we were kicked out, had our camera destroyed before our eyes, and were told never to darken the door of a Presidential Library for as long as we lived. This is why we now wear a fake moustache whenever we go to a Presidential Library.


Welcome to The Apocryphist. Starting Monday, we will be presenting our readers with only the finest in hazy, poorly understood, and generally unconfirmed reports from all fields of human endeavor (except for sports; we neither enjoy nor comprehend sports).


If it’s questionable:
print it.

If it’s in poor taste:
print it.

If it further befuddles an already incomprehensible world:
print it.

If it encourages the reader to believe that there is more than meets the eye – even (ESPECIALLY) if the truth is likely that there’s less:
print it.

If it casts unfair aspersions on those individuals past and present who had the good or bad fortune to be framed long enough in fame’s aggrandizing lens that we can recognize their names:
print it.

If, in doing all of these things, it bestows upon our minds the sense of innocent mystery that we experienced as children, when there was a troll under every rock and a dragon behind every cloud; if it allows a bit more wiggle room in the confining closet of reason; if it, even for the briefest moment, throws the space-time continuum a mere nanometer out of whack:
for G-d's sake, PRINT IT.