Monday, April 30, 2007


Much has been written about the recent pet food recall, in which Chinese manufacturers added melamine (a lethal combination of cyanide, human fingernails, slag, and Wild Irish Rose) to dog and cat feed destined for American markets. We’re incredibly fortunate that our beloved kitty Neqa’el did not run afoul of this deadly chow, but the question remains: how did such a thing come to pass, and on such a wide scale?

It’s no secret that China has evolved into a kind of quasi-capitalistic Wild Wild East over the past few years. Under the secret leadership of Dr. Jonathan “Fu” Manchu, a half-British Ivy League graduate who is the occult force behind much of the nation’s perverse liberalization, China has embraced increasingly strange initiatives in its attempts to cut costs and inundate the world with its products.

Chinese culture has long celebrated quantity above all else. By maintaining the world’s oldest civilization, it has a greater number of years under its belt than anything the West can offer. Likewise, with the highest population in the world, there is no doubt that this nation puts great confidence in numbers. But far more sinister than either of these facts is Manchu’s covert plan to ensure that every piece of merchandise bought, sold, or consumed on the planet earth is a product of China.

It is not economic power that Manchu seeks in pursuing this insanely ambitious goal; rather, it is merely the pride of having the most impressive figures. If China can put more pet food on the market than any other nation in the world, it will be pleased; but only when China’s pet-food column has all the digits, and the rest of the world’s columns total zero, will Manchu be truly happy.

Of course, being a finite nation, China has only a finite number of resources, and so is forced to be creative. The age-old pet food mines of Szechuan can only yield so much kibble per year. The sad result of this inevitability is that Chinese pet food manufacturers are including more foreign additives, such as melamine, into the mix in order to pad the results. This is good news for Chinese accountants, but bad news for pets.

Luckily, signs are surfacing that Manchu is temporarily pulling back on his plans in a signal of appeasement towards dog and cat lovers the world over. In addition to slowing its pet food output, and hiring inspectors to insure that only the pure, uncut product of the mines will be distributed across international borders, two giant skyscrapers – one shaped like a cat, one like a dog – can be expected to appear in the Beijing skyline within a matter of weeks. It remains to be seen whether this is a sign of rapprochement, or merely another manipulative gesture designed to put us off the scent, as it were.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Our correspondents may be asking questions concerning our recent whereabouts.

Answer #1: None of your freaking beeswax.

Answer #2: Refer to this past post.

Answer #3: Aliens.

Though the veritable inundation of support we have received over the past two weeks is nearly embarrassing in its profusiveness, we must assure you that we are well – in fact, we are quite possibly even more filled with fiendish desire and burning arcana than previously. Though any sharing that we do must remain carefully modulated, rest assured that it will continue in due time.

Many of you may have heard that historian David Halberstam, famous for authoring the secret protocol of the 1950s, passed away recently. We hasten to tell you with that this had nothing – NOTHING – NOTHING – to do with us. True, we exposed his youthful secrets to the world in our peninaugural post, but we can offer no evidence that these revelations set off any kind of grotesque chain of circumstances that led from the CIA through Cuba, the Eisenhower Mafia, the DAR, Hasbro Inc., the Dramatists Guild, the Village Green Preservation Society, Eschaton Resorts, the New Mickey Mouse Club, General Electric, the House Sub-Committee on Soon-To-Be Deceased Historians, the CIA again, and on to Mr. Halberstam’s unfortunate accident. His anarchic brand of speculative absurdity will be missed.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Yesterday newspapers and websites around the globe reported the sad news of the passing of one of the finest investigative journalists of the Twentieth Century, Kurt Vonnegut. Though he never won the Pulitzer Prize, his insightful reporting about the curious byways of the postmodern world shaped the minds and thoughts of a generation, and then some.

A humble Indiana farmboy, he was an undistinguished Pontiac dealer until he was taken prisoner as an American soldier in Germany during World War II, at which time he was forced to aid Werner Heisenberg in his time-travel experiments for the Third Reich. Though ultimately aborted as “too freaky and evil even for Nazis,” the experiments left an indelible mark on young Vonnegut, who returned to America determined to write about the world’s weirder ills.

Following in the footsteps of Sinclair Lewis’s The Jungle, Vonnegut blazed forth on the literary scene with his unblinking expose on the meatpacking industry, Slaughterhouse-Five. But important work both preceded and followed this achievement, including his coverage of the invention of ice-nine, his interviews with literature Nobelist Kilgore Trout, and a biography of WWII-era double agent Howard W. Campbell, Jr.

Though many refer to his books as “novels,” this is merely a matter of style – it’s difficult to deny the bedrock of cold, hard fact upon which they were built. Even when his subjects were as outrĂ© as Tralfamadorian race, the fringe religion of Bokononism, or the mythical islands of the Galapagos, he applied the same wry wit and humanist viewpoint that made him a star of the counterculture and a bane of the mainstream media. Though his output slowed in later years, his fiercely independent viewpoint remained strong, even as he began to focus his talents on such fiction offerings as his final book, 2005’s Man Without a Country.

Few voices today dare to tell the truth in terms as brisk and bold as those employed by Vonnegut. Without him, reality will be much harder to come by.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


If there’s one thing we have in abundance here at The Apocryphist, it’s hunches. Our nose twitches at the scent of the possible; we are highly susceptible to cool draughts emanating from the as-yet-unknown. And lately we’ve been smacked upside the head by a cold draught indeed: the extended chill in the air outside, suspiciously prominent in its mid-April freakishness.

Many people go around and indiscriminately accuse the government of being responsible for every trivial ill. But not us: we only accuse for the big stuff. And nothing is bigger than the weather.

We’ve written previously about the perceptual causes of global warming, but this particular weather pattern we’re experiencing in the United States right now – unseasonably frigid, barely any sun, lacerating rains – is of a different class altogether. However, it is similar to global warming in that it has everything to do with politics.

No one, from the top to bottom of our nation’s vast beaureaucracy, denies that the war in Iraq is not going well. The question is, what is to be done about it? Congress has one idea; the executive branch has another; and this dichotomy is being played out in every corner of our 52.5 states.

The National Weather Service – the agency responsible for the nation’s weather, duh – is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is in turn subsidiary to the U.S. Department of Commerce – an agency answerable to the White House. All the pieces are now in place. President Bush – at the advice of Karl Rove – has ordered his lackeys to lengthen winter, causing citizens to spend so much time bitching about the cold that they don’t have time to concern themselves with politics. After the full manufacture this artificial crisis, he will command the National Weather Service to embark upon a late spring, for which the people will be so grateful that thoughts of war will be even further from their minds.

This is far from the first time that such a policy has been adopted. FDR initiated particularly cold winters during the Great Depression to encourage unemployed workers to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and enlist in New Deal programs. More recently, Richard Nixon issued a gorgeous summer in the midst of the Watergate controversy, but a fat lot of good it did him.

Our hunch is that our hunch about this is correct. Just when things feel at their worst – this morning, say – the skies will begin to clear and we’ll all be grateful for the sun and warmth. Too bad the weather report is forecasting more of the same for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


We wish we could pretend to be immune to cute things. Fawning over baby animals does nothing to buttress our image as a bare-knuckle truth-teller of the obscure and unpalatable, but there are powers in this cosmos, loathe as we are to admit it, that cannot be contested.

Some of you might have heard by now of the tiny polar bear named Knut, who was rejected by his mother at the Berlin Zoo and, against the protests of animal rights activists, not allowed to die but instead raised by a lowly zookeeper under the fawning eyes of the masses. Exciting and heart-pummelling as this story is, however, it is not the first time a baby polar bear has attracted international attention and controversy.

During the right of Queen Elizabeth I, rivalry was fierce between England and Spain. The Spanish started the whole thing by giving the royal court the world’s largest wheel of manchego cheese – a wheel that was intentionally laced with bubonic plague. Considered a harmless joke by the Spaniards – who it turns out were genetically immune to the disease except in that it turned their tongues black like gag ice cubes – the English were not at all pleased. (They disposed of the offending wheel by in turn giving it to the Irish.)

As a retaliation, Sir Francis Drake, recently returned from his world-spanning tour, came up with a clever plan. While searching for the Northwest Passage, his crew picked up a female polar bear as a gift for the Queen, a gift that, unbeknownst to them at the time, was pregnant. The mother died soon after being installed as one of Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting, but not before giving birth to a tiny cub affectionately named Beowulf by the Queen. It was Drake’s idea to train this adorable creature to be a deadly assassin.

Months passed, and Beowulf was offered to the Spaniards as a conciliatory gift to mend relations after the manchego incident. The bear was trained to use a knife, the plan being to kill Spain’s King Philip II in the deep of the night. The plot was foiled, however, when Beowulf – to whom all Spaniards looked the same – accidentally killed playwright Lope de Vega (creator of the famous windmill-tilter Don Juan) at a court masque. This event prompted the ill-fated Spanish Armada, about which William Shakespeare wrote so skillfully in The Spanish Play (aka Hamlet). Beowulf, meanwhile, was turned into a rug, and can still be viewed at Madrid’s Prada museum.

We hope that tiny Knut’s fate will prove less controversial than that of his foreBEAR. (Yes, we wrote that.) Unless he is an agent of German Neo-Nazis hoping to restore the Third Reich, in which case, look out world!

Monday, April 9, 2007


We’ve stated previously our belief that Jesus Christ was created by Christian priests as a myth to justify their religious hegemony. The ensuing chicken/egg-style question of priority is therefore highly germane for a holiday that has appropriated similar imagery in its stated purpose of selling chocolate to the world. Yes, we’re talking about Easter: Halloween of the Spring.

Personally, we prefer Good Friday: any holiday that celebrates the execution of a nettlesome fantasy is fine by us. But the underpinnings of Easter are more troubling than even we would like to admit. By killing off a fabrication only to resurrect it, the Christians created a scenario in which they expected us to believe about anything, including but not limited to an eternal afterlife based on occult justice; the appearance of holy figures on billboards and foodstuffs; and the self-imposed celibacy of priests.

We walked the streets yesterday, and saw firsthand how unmoved modern humans were by thoughts of resurrection. It was a normal Sunday, all told – despite the occasional inflatable rabbit bouncing in the wind atop a front stoop, there was no wide-eyed rejoicing, no “hosanna”-hurling, no wearing of outlandish bonnets. To our knowledge, no Jews were persecuted. Instead, folks were shopping, eating a strange hybrid of breakfast and lunch, and following other such earthly pursuits. (We didn’t see much else, because we don’t like to be outside for that long.)

Shouldn’t we just let Easter go once and for all? The candy oligarchy will raise holy hell, sure, but aren’t there more interesting things to commemorate? On April 8, 1766, the first fire escape was patented (a wicker basket at the end of a pulley). On April 8, 1946, the League of Nations assembled for the last time. On April 8, 1972, the official nickname of Firth, Michigan was changed from “Outpost of the Mundane” to “America’s Arthritis Capital.” Wouldn’t any of these events make for a more wholesome, invigorating feast than what we saw yesterday? We could keep the basket motif, and instead of bunnies, we could have chocolate diplomats, and gnarled marzipan hands – kids won’t know the difference once they’ve put them in their mouths.

Of course, the Catholic Church has a trick up its sleeve. By changing the date of Easter each year, it spawns a system of stealth attacks on less well-fortified holidays. As soon as a new celebration begins to arise, the Easter behemoth waits until it lands on a Sunday, and BAM! – the poor thing is in tatters. Turn the other cheek indeed.

Friday, April 6, 2007


We have been hesitant to write at too great a length about one of the tinier denizens of our home, as we are deeply wary of falling into the practice of personal feline reportage known colloquially as “catblogging” – particularly on Fridays. However, our little Neqa’el has been so adorable recently that we simply couldn’t allow her behavior to pass without comment.

As many of you no doubt recall, Neqa’el has been veritably mummified as a result of injuries sustained during the ill-fated Sexy Robot Experiment of March 2007. Now that her bones are beginning to knit (extremely quickly, might we add!), she is walking around the apartment some, and we no longer have to bring her tiny bedpans filled with litter.

Yesterday evening, however, she topped even the sight of her little Michelin-Man body hobbling comically in chase of a loose-floating feather from one of our collection of African blow darts. Hers is a feisty spirit, as you can imagine, and even an injury that would have long since killed most normal cats doesn’t prevent her from following her charming little whims.

Well, due to a set of circumstances that I won’t go too deeply into, it transpired that a white dove broke loose in our apartment and started flying around the room. (Neqa’el normally wouldn’t stand for our keeping birds, but this was an isolated incident involving a particular project and it was made very clear to her that it would not be a regular occurrence.) Needless to say she tried to chase the thing, which in itself was nearly enough to hideously maim one with cuteness.

But the end of the story is its most precious part. The bird alit on the sofa at one point, and Neqa’el, on dainty paws and incredibly slow-moving, was able to sneak up near it without its notice. Her bandages were coming a bit unraveled from all the horseplay, such that after a brief tussle a stray end of the wrapping became tightly wrapped around the poor bird’s neck. The bird attempted to fly, but Neqa’el’s weight was such that it only lifted her about an inch off the ground, its wings working furiously, before its neck snapped, causing them both to fall to the ground. Oh, the look on Neqa’el’s face was most priceless!

We regret that we’re unable to provide photos of this adorable occurrence, as displaying Nequa’el’s distinguishing characteristics to the world will make our own identity that much more identifiable, and our cabal would skin us alive and then force us to eat our own skin while we bled there, skinless. This pains us, because we have the most adorable photos of Neqa’el as a kitten peering out from within a grinning human skull, and no one will be able to look at them.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Shampoo. We would look like crusty fools without it. But did you know that this astringent ooze is the very substance upon which civilization was erected? Of course you didn’t; keep reading.

In prehistoric times, men would strain leaves, dust and feces from his hair by rubbing their heads violently against large boulders and cliffs. Though the friction was generally enough to dislodge foreign objects, it also removed much of the hair and scalp. In the days before sharp tools, baldness was a luxury afforded only by those who had the time to scrape their domes long enough to purge all distracting roughage, and thus tribal hierarchy was created.

It was in Mesopotamia, circa 3000 BC, that an unnamed toiler put together the first alchemical aggregate of herbs, roots, and soothing river mud that would later bear the name Shampoo (from the Sumerian “sha’am empo,” literally “sexy-maker”). Once the clean, bouncy condition of his hair brought him the attention of local landowners’ wives, a turn of events that nearly resulted in a delightfully ironic public decapitation, the case came to the attention of the shaman class, who were looking for an easier way to get laid than all the hooting and the prognosticating and whatnot. The secret of shampoo became a priestly prerogative for generations, before leaking out into the general public.

As more and more common people used this wonder elixir to freshen their tresses, the differences between social classes lessened, and prosperity reigned such that the development of a mercantile society became possible. Spurred by the desire to look better than other men of the same social class (and to please their nagging wives), early merchants and craftsmen devoted more time to making their coiffures and those of their families appear less matted with dung. Upon these foundations the ancient Babylonian, Greek and Roman Empires were created.

After the downfall of Rome at the hands of the (literally) unwashed barbarians to the north, the secret of shampoo disappeared from the West for nearly a thousand years. It wasn’t until Renaissance scholars rediscovered lore kept in practice by the cleanly Arabs (who also had those big beards to contend with) that proper follicular hygiene was reserved anew, and European civilization got back on track.

Today, nearly everybody uses shampoo, from the lowly ditchcrafter to the highly billionairist. Nonetheless, our society has finally evolved to the point where shampoo is no longer strictly necessary to cement the bonds between us and our fellow human players. Additionally, dozens of other products (conditioner; pomade; mousse; hair spray; styling paste; gel; grease; oil; shortening; Vaseline; spit; spermicidal jelly; llama mucous) have arrived on the market to encourage alternate cosmetic approaches. Baldness has even re-emerged as a harmless fashion statement. Early humans would no longer recognize us as being of the same species, but once they did, they would all be agreement about one thing: they’d LOVE what we’ve done with our hair.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


The papers tell us that the Supreme Court decided yesterday to make a landmark decision involving the Environmental Protection Agency’s need to regulate greenhouse gases. We’re all like, sure, whatever. It’s not like it’s going to do a damn spot of good.

There are conflicting theories as to the causes of global warming. Some believe it involves the trapping of manmade carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, absorbing heat without releasing it. Those fundamentalist Christians who are willing to acknowledge the phenomenon aver that it is caused by the fires of Hell, leaking out of the earth’s crust in a calculated bid on the part of Satan to take the underworld mainstream. Still others think it’s a dragon.

Compelling though these theories are (and leaving quite aside the distasteful “farting cow” hypothesis), they are all distractions from the main issue at hand. You see, it is simply not true that the atmosphere is heating up. On the contrary – the earth itself is cooling down.

Pretty much everyone (except those fundamentalist Christians again) believes that the universe was created in a fiery blast of matter a handful of billennia ago. Fair enough. Consequently, it should be stressed that this fiery blast of matter was HOT – stars needed to be made out of it after all, as well as tropical beaches, Thermador convection ovens, and lust.

So imagine a hot little earth spinning through a cold universe. What’s it going to do? Cool off, of course. Sure it has a molten core that still holds the original warmth of the Big Bang, but there are all sorts of little cracks and wrinkles and zits across the earth’s surface that slowly release this primal torridity into the cosmos. As the ground beneath our feet chills even as we walk upon it, the air around us feels warmer. And it’s not just a matter of human perception – the conflicting pull of the earth and its atmosphere makes all of our equipment go all farblonjet, resulting in the popular illusion of global warming.

So why didn’t this effect make itself clear in previous generations? Easy: there was greater moisture surrounding the earth previously. Every time a rocket or satellite is launched, it takes a little bit of the atmosphere’s moisture along with it, drying the world ever so slightly. In other words, one could say that, in the past, it wasn’t so much the heat as (wait for it) the humidity.

Mainstream scientists will not look kindly upon these conclusions, and that only stands to reason; this is not a very lucrative theory, after all. We apologize if this posting puts Al Gore out of a job, but truth will out.

Monday, April 2, 2007


If we were not above apology, we would offer regrets for our recent absence from the blogosphere. Suffice it to say, we are deeply embroiled in a project that will be taking up more and more of our time over the coming months. It would not behoove us to share with you the goal of this project, but since you, faithful Reader, have been such a faithful reader, we will bestow upon you a series of hints that will enable your imaginations to catch fire. This new project involves:

  • A jarful of mosquitos
  • The home telephone numbers of all members of the United States House of Representatives
  • A carefully drawn map of the Paris sewer system
  • Three syringes of pure oxyglutamine
  • 23 signed headshots of Jennifer Hudson
  • A dozen Lascar strongmen, primed for adventure
  • Two rocks
  • A Rembrandt painting entitled “The Conspiratorial Blessing of Isaac Firkkens,” which is believed to be a fake but is actually a Rembrandt painting entitled “Christ Oversees the Swineherds”
  • Three Charles Darwin beard hairs
  • An incriminating Betamax cassette of Jimmy Carter cavorting with Roy Cohn
  • A cyborg giraffe
  • Deep love for our craft

Anybody who can guess the object of our scheme will get a free signed first edition copy of our book. When we write it.