Thursday, July 31, 2008


The tabloids are at it again, whapping their porcine tails wildly into the mud so as to splash up a thick brown splatter of lies and mistruths. This time the target of the Old Gray Ho is - no surprise - the Antikythera Mechanism. For those unfamiliar with this remarkable apparatus, it is an ancient Greek contraption discovered in a shipwreck in 1899 by some Mediterranean pearl divers, who used it as a doorstop until a visiting archaeologist stubbed his toe on it during a dirty weekend with one of the divers' wives the following year.

Though it has stymied researchers for more than a century, most agree that the Mechanism is a calculating device, an analog precursor to the modern computer. Supposedly constructed by the great Greek astronomer Archimedes (inventor of the Pythagorean Theorem), it is believed to have been used as a calendar to predict solar eclipses as well as regular outbreaks of Olympic Syndrome, a little-known form of star-influenced mass hysteria originating in classical times, in which entire nations drain their physical strength in displays of athletic bravado and jingoism at four-year intervals.

All of which, of course, is barely two-fifths of the story. We had the rare privilege of handling the mechanism during a surgical midnight research raid on the Mechanism's Cardiff laboratory some few years ago (for which we sported a cute mask and a smart black turtleneck), and are thus, as usual, way ahead of the game. Here are some findings about the device that the researchers DON'T want you to know:
  • Its calculating properties were used to create many of the world's most useful inventions, such as the hourglass, the sextant, and the mule.
  • It contains primitive clockwork porn, expressed metaphorically as the meshing of gears.
  • Despite its avowed status as a proto-computer, it employed not the well-known binary system, but a more primitive "singulary" system.
  • It could be used for purposes of identity theft, for instance, by clocking someone on the head with it and stealing their clothes. (Needless to say, this is how the phrase "clocking someone on the head" was inspired.)
  • Its original power source was a live cobra.
  • Earlier versions of the Antikythera Mechanism were so large that they filled up an entire room!
  • A small slot dispensed strips of papyrus containing the latest stock-forum quotes.
  • It was capable of communicating with other Antikythera Mechanisms across long distances; unfortunately, no other Antikythera Mechanisms were manufactured.
  • Archimedes was civilization's first Dungeon Master.
  • It had the capability of solving world hunger and curing all disease, but no, man had to go and fuck it up as usual.
  • It has Solitaire.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Last week, notorious Manhattan tabloid The New York Times published a profile of the once- possible state of Absaroka, an unholy amalgam of Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota that attempted to secede from the Union in the late 1930s in protest over wheelchair-bound president Professor Franklin X. Roosevelt’s abuse of his mutant psychic powers in pre-WWII espionage. Though it represents a colorful chapter of our national history, Absaroka is far from the only state to have made a failed bid for the majors. Here are some of our personal favorites:

PAINE – In 1887, the territorial assembly of the nascent state of Washington batted around a bunch of different names. Though “Washington” won by a nose (setting into motion a fierce rivalry with the District of Columbia, which claimed to own the copyright), the second-runner up was a tribute to influential colonial-era pamphleteer Thomas Paine. It’s true that the radical nature of Paine’s politics fell out of favor post-Revolution, but even more than that, people simply didn’t want to live out the rest of their lives under the auspices of an execrable pun. (A similar state befell Montana, which was originally to be named after Lewis and Clark’s cook Emmet DeNile.)

NEW IOWA – A territory comprising much of what is now eastern Nebraska and northern Kansas was once loosely confederated under the name “New Iowa,” until its founders found the concept too depressing and moved back to Missouri.

SAN FRANCISCONIA – Before there was California, there was San Francisco, a city-state based on the democratic ideals of ancient Athens, populated by gentleman-fortyniners whose love of gold was surpassed only by a lust for classical learning and a fine appreciation for the arts. Of course, their adoption of Greek practices extended to the interpersonal – not too many lady-fortyniners, after all – and the U.S. government cracked down and annexed the area as a state in order to remove this perceived blemish on the continent. Fat lot of good it did.

TEXAS – After its short-lived secession as a sovereign nation, North Mexico was, for a brief period in the 19th Century, a member of the United States of America, under the name “Texas.” It reverted back to the Mexicans when President Zacherley Taylor was debriefed by then-governor Matthew Houston about what a pain in the ass it would eventually become.

NERDOLINA – In 1998, a bunch of computer geeks formed an online “state” and tried to lobby Congress for its recognition. It still exists somewhere, but it’s only had five visitors in the past three years (a 500% increase over the previous three).

Fret not, friends – there are many more where this came from, but since secret knowledge is the 180-proof spirits of the mind, we must hold revelations in abeyance for future tippling.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


It was with great interest that we stumbled upon yesterday’s posting on the Observer of Design web-oriented logging unit: a take-down by one Randy Nakamura of the so-called “steampunkery” movement. As with many commentators on the article, we believe that M. Nakamura seems to have missed the point entirely. We don’t, however, share their reasons for this belief.

For those in the don’t-know, steampunkism is a movement in which people with a fair amount of disposable income and jobs that don’t require excessive overtime create a kind of fantasy world that clings to the skirts of the past, a world that hearkens back to the heady early days of H.G. Vernian discovery, when the strangeness of the world was still new. They are Victoriana obsessives who limn a once-possible post-Tesla present that slipped through the fingers of our ancestors. They are dreamers. They are nerds.

Why, M. Nakamura asks, would anyone in their right mind be interested in turning the clock back to the grimmest days of the Industrious Revolution, during which entire families were forced to live inside toxin-spewing factory smokestacks (utilizing a unique bunking system) and class prejudice made it nearly impossible for anyone lacking a peerage to find decent toilet facilities? What romance can be wrung from a time in which provincialism was stuffed into East India crates and marketed to the world as imperialism?

First of all, the world was newer then, and a much larger place – literally, a few hundred extra miles around the equator. But this doesn’t fully explain the steampunkers’ forward-thinking nostalgia. In fact, all begloved fingers point to the stocky profile that loomed above the entire ill-conceived era, who lent her name to all forms of oppression, unchecked environmental degradation, and all-around haughtiness, the Doyenne of Devilry herself: Queen Victoria.

A little-reported phenomenon is that the majority of steampunkists worship HRH as a goddess – a sort of puffy, potato-like, impeccably mannered incarnation of H. Ryder Haggard’s tropical “She.” And like all goddesses, she refuses to remain dead. The fact is, the original claque of steampunkophytes congregated soon before her death and devised a plan. Knowing they would be unable to prevent her death and, with it, the flow of temporal progress, they plotted an eventual return to the world of their times, a world that would be heralded by the resurrection of Victoria herself. This hideous junta was led by William Jennings Darwin, the inventor of DNA. By injecting this new genetic chemical into the dying Queen’s bloodstream, he was able to extract a few parcels of her life-essence, which would be stored in formaldehyde until the technology was available to build a new Queen from these paltry remains.

As the recent wave of quaint, 19th-centuryesque gadgets and paraphernalia attest, those close to the project feel that the future (in the form of the past) is almost upon us. They want their newly revived Queen to see a world that she would recognize, abetted by progress that would make her proud. Whether their mission will prove, in the end, to be a genuine success, or yet another aborted eschaton, remains to be seen. In the meantime, we can admire the aesthetics of their brass-lined baubles and leathery laptops, but let us not fool ourselves: steampunkophiles are not harmless hobbyists, but the exponents of a dangerous cult, and should be approached with appropriate caution.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Imagine the toe-curling, hand-waving, shrill-squeaking glee we experienced upon discovering that one of our favoritest web-based logs, entitled Strange Maps, had posted a “Cannibal Map of the World” in yesterday’s edition. But then imagine our head-dropping, sigh-inducing, shoulder-sloughing disappointment upon discovering that, as always in manners cannibalistic, this 1893 delineation of anthropophagical strongholds throughout the known world was studded with amateur errors.

First, a disclaimer: we do not condone cannibalism as a lifestyle choice. We don’t think people should engage in cannibalistic behavior for any reason (with the possible exception of Uruguayan soccer teams who have crash-landed in the Andes), because it is wrong and weird and gross and probably doesn’t taste nearly as good as you might expect. But that being said, is it possible not to be curious about all of the horrible, grim, bloody details?

A side note: our favorite bit of cannibal hypocrisy is the fact that, after battles, many cannibal tribes would eat their enemies in order to absorb their strength. But what kind of strength can they possibly have had? They lost. By eating the conquered cannibals actually absorbed their weakness, which is why the enterprise was doomed from the start. If the losers were to eat the winners, on the other hand, we’d see much more cannibalism in the modern world.

That being said, onward to the map! We notice at least three cannibalistic groups missing from its roster:

  1. The Yipps of the Kamchatkan Peninsula. Members of this rugged Northeast Asian tribe hunted and slayed each other in the wild for centuries, until discovering that most of the people they killed were actually bears. Realizing their mistake, they surrendered their cannibal status and became bear-hunters instead.
  2. 19th-century Londoners. After Sir Sweeney Todd was elected to the House of Commons in 1878, it was revealed in the popular press that the pie empire upon which his fortune was based was built upon the bones of the dead. Shrugging with Dickensian callousness, Londoners returned to their suppers.
  3. The Antarctic proto-human slaves of the Old Ones. Faced with the option of eating either Cthulhu cuisine or each other, they opted for the latter. Apparently they were all very gentlemanly about it.

And we’d like to defend one group that has obviously received a bad rap: the Aztecs. Sure, they sacrificed humans, and yes, fine, it was bad and they shouldn’t have done it. But when, oh when, will modern science finally come clean and admit the presence in pre-Colombian Mexico of the alien life forms known as Tzitzimimeh? It was this small group of extraterrestrial assholes who did the actual people-eating, and the Mexican government has their freeze-dried DNA to prove it – the only reason it’s remained hidden is because they don’t want to piss off Quetzalcoatl.

But being afraid of Quetzalcoatl is just as absurd as accusing Catholics of cannibalism simply because the doctrine of transubstantiation states that the Holy Communion actually turns into the body and blood of Jesus Christ upon ingestion. And this is because Quetzalcoatl, like Jesus, is a fictional character – in this case, one invented by Tzitzimimeh in order to keep the Aztecs in line. Wake up, Mexico! They can’t eat you anymore!

Still, nice try, anonymous 19th-century mapmaker. You did as well as your provincial, paranoid, imperialistic culture would allow. Better luck next time.

Monday, July 21, 2008


The very phrase “social networking,” fills us with dread so deep that one cannot see its bottom, and is thus forced to imagine the sort of fanged, eyeless creatures that scrabble about far down in the unprobed abyss. However, just as we struggled for years over the decision to share our riches with the world by producing a web-based log, we have spent long, candle-lit hours debating with ourselves over the decision to join the Facebook, a tool noted for its “social networking” abilities. Our message won the day over our comfort – truth requires exposure, and so we have deemed it necessary to poke another breathing-hole from within the solace of our bushel to let our light shine better on the world outside.

And it’s been a smashing success! We have 86 friends! That’s more people than we’ve spoken to in person for over a decade! And the best part is, we don’t need to speak to them! We’ve also started a group, entitled “Friends and/or Enemies of The Apocryphist,” and this group has garnered 24 committed, enthusiastic readers of this web-based log! Why only about a quarter of our 86 "friends" want to be considered members of our "group" is difficult to understand – we would think the ratio would be removed, since “friend” is such a loaded word/concept, whereas most people hold little stock in the word/concept “group” – we’re all part of the “group” of vertebrates, for instance, but you don’t see anyone lending a komodo dragon twenty dollars simply because of shared membership.

Anywhy, it is our firm belief that the Book of Face and its related applications are destined to revolutionize the dissemination of important crap from here to eternity. This because of the true kernel of genius lying at its core: though it may be “networking,” there is absolutely nothing "social" about it! We can now all be friends without having to lend each other twenty dollars, ever. This is the true evolution of the species!

Friday, July 18, 2008


This morning, as Neqa’el bounded across our windowsill during the pre-dawn interlude when we allow our shades and panes to be lifted to the air prior to the glaring solar intrusion of the morn, we were delighted to hear her make a series of rumbling, predatory throat trills as she stared sharply at the potential prey bounding from branch to branch on the other side of the screen. It was a rodent – not the ubiquitous ratus urbanus, but a stranger creature altogether: the common squirrel. What made Neqa’el’s show of bravado all the more adorable was the fact that, millennia ago, the ancestors of these bushy-tailed scavengers could have brutally savaged any creature alive today.

The previous Ice Age is known to many mammalogists as the Age of Mammals, or, more formally, the Age of Massive Versions of the Mammals We Have Today. Everybody knows about mammoths, woolly rhinoceri, flying sloths, and whaleruses (eight times larger than today’s walruses), but one of the best-kept secrets of the bones of the past is the sciurus sacremerdus, or the “Holy Shit Squirrel,” as it is known to those in the field. A mature specimen, with tail, was longer than many of today’s most indulgent yachts (see photo), and all the other beasts quaked in fear of its gnashing Nosferatu-like front teeth. The main channels of science have hidden skeletons of this species from most of the world’s museums to avoid being sued for abject terror.

For you see, the sciurus sacremerdus was not an acornivore, like today’s smaller, sleeker models. It was alpha beast of its ecosystem (which was roughly the entire temperate world), the top of the food chain, the carnivorous king of beasts that would gnaw the head off any animal that it managed to scoop up into its pointy little clutches. These behemoths would often bury huge piles of dead animals for the winter, giving rise to the modern myth of “elephant graveyards.” The earth would shake as they bounded from gigantic prehistoric tree to gigantic prehistoric tree in search of live flesh.

Their uncontested dominance of the natural world was not to last, however. As mankind began developing the necessary intelligence to realize that these juggernauts couldn’t chase them if they hid inside tiny caves, the squirrel generations began rapidly to shrink in order to fit inside these caverns and terrorize those dwelling within. However, in one of those cosmic ironies that occur so often they might as well not be called be called ironies since everyone expects them by now, the formerly subservient feline populations began growing long teeth at this time, and these growing cat species soon wreaked havoc on the shrinking rodent species, until their sizes were reversed to their current states. Modern squirrels, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and bunnies all emerged from this weakened stock.

So consider all of those Mutt and Jerry cartoons with the cat chasing the mouse as evolutionary revenge for several thousand years’ worth of rodential domination. But be warned – evolution is cyclical, and the rodents might well rise again – in which case building the better mousetrap won’t only be a novel pastime, but the key to the survival of mankind.


We would like to hear from any of our readers who have been murdered recently. We are aware that being a murder victim is a serious condition that hampers one’s ability to participate in mainstream society, but we encourage those who have suffered from this ailment to sweep aside their shame and confusion and tell the world how they really feel. Life as a corpse is difficult under any circumstance, but when that corpse has been slain through the evil intentions of another – especially in a particularly gruesome or imaginative way, in which case we encourage you to share every last detail – it only magnifies the pain. Murder may be the silent killer, but let’s use this opportunity to give it a voice.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Let us briefly draw your attention to this amusing trifle, courtesy of fontmeisters Hoefler & Frere-Jones at, in which Jonathan Hoefler reveals to the world the use of the term “grawlix” to denote the lineup of symbols used as expletives by our leading cartoon characters. Though we are indebted to Herr Hoefler for bringing this concept wider attention, we take issue with his description of the term’s origin.

Though credited to Morton Walker, the creator of mop-top comic-strip soldier Beatle Bailey, the word is actually an eponym. Its true originator is a late 18th-century Philadelphia typesetter by the name of Hogarth Grawlick. As the legend goes, the poor boy was illiterate, hired by Fenworth Boggert, the editor of the short-lived Philadelphia Requirer as a favor to Grawlick’s father, one of the city’s richest, stupidest citizens. Faced each morning with the task of having to arrange the press’s movable type to reflect the stories given to him by Boggert, young Grawlick could do nothing more than arrange the slugs in random patterns, often eschewing letters altogether for the prettier, more exotic typographic fringes. Each morning, upon examining the tyro’s handiwork, Boggert would (sources assure us) quite literally foam at the mouth as he expelled into the world a remarkable pageant of indecent invective aimed squarely at “Grawlick’s bullshittery.” And thus the immortal phrase was born, and later shortened by excessive use to its current abbreviated form.

Herr Hoefler’s article also cites an editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary named Jesse Sheidlower, who has produced a book populated solely with variations on a well-known cursing-word that begins with an “F” and rhymes with “fluck.” Let Sheidlower hereby be challenged: we are in possession of many, many words that are not currently ensconced within the OED, a number of which have yet to see the light of day, and we would kindly like to offer our services in sharing them, for a small (if sizable) fee. We might as well start with “fluck.” Please contact us directly for definition and etymology.


That The Apocryphist is a fan of musical theater should be a surprise to no one who understands the unexpected ways the levers and pulleys of this world are manipulated. The Broadway musical is an occult thermometer of Western civilization’s internal temperature, stuck right up the keister of show business. As such, it is with nearly shrieking gleefulness that we regard today’s announcement of a major Broadway revival of West Side Story, performed in the original Spanish.

In this election year, no musical could possibly present itself as a better illustration of the riven state of our electorate. An updating of Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s Romeo y Julietta (which also served as the inspiration for a popular line of smokeables), it follows the doomed love of Antonio, a dark-skinned barrio resident, for Mary, a fair-haired bastion of a conservative family with the reputation for being a “maverick.” Their urban affair, which unfolds across the boulevards of western Los Angeles, involves the shooting of more dark-skinned people, and much debate about when and how to stop said shooting. The show’s finale climaxes in an epic escape in which Mary, an escaped prisoner of the enemy gang, is airlifted off the stage by a live helicopter effect while the noble Antonio remains below, fighting off both gangs simultaneously. This ambiguous ending may not sway people’s votes, but it is certainly a sign of the times, much as it was during the musical’s premiere during the Vietnam Era of the early 1970’s.

The creators’ decision to stage the show in its native language is a bold one, especially since so many of the show’s classic tunes (including “Proud Mary,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “(They’re Coming to) America”) have been radio hits in English. But it’s long been rumored that Spanish-speaking people (albeit very few from Spain) will be voting in the upcoming election, and it’s probably good to keep them entertained by the mainstream theater establishment, lest they grow restless and waste their votes on a third-party candidate. Hats off to you, Broadway (top hats!) for once again having your fabulous, gaunt, near-dessicated finger on the pulse of America!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We would find it utterly endearing if our friends and colleagues were to begin employing the nickname “Pocky” in reference to us. Possible echoes of the scarred tissue reminders of a past plague diagnosis aside, it reminds us of a certain delightful Japanese coated-biscuit snack, which is available in a variety of flavors, including: chocolate, strawberry, almond, kiwi, honey, grape, melon, salmon, green tea, sweet potato, ash, pineapple, pumpkin, disinfectant, pizza, and goulash.


There’s an old saw that, if you stood all the people in the world shoulder to shoulder and back to belly, they would take up a space no bigger than the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park, making the waits for rides only slightly longer than they are currently. This thought experiment has never been executed, primarily because of the temptations it poses for marauding aliens bent on the conquest of earth. But in light of the recent Obesity Epidemic scourging the developed world, we need to ask ourselves: is Six Flags big enough? Or do we now need Disney to bail us out?

Morbidly, comically, spherically fat people are nothing new to society – ancient, crudely sculpted earth-goddess idols illustrate the lack of gym facilities in the pre-civilized world, and those damn Romans with their vomitoria proved that even bulimia couldn’t stop decadent, fiddling emperors such as Nemo and Dracligula from expanding their bodies to the same bloated extreme as their untenable empires. But with all the current head-wagging and finger-shaking about the Obesity Epidemic, we’ve seen a level of awareness and judgment that surpasses all previous historical benchmarks.

First, a clarification: yes, obesity is communicable, but it’s not nearly as easy to catch as most pundits would have you believe. The obesity virus is only transferable via human saliva, especially saliva involved in the eating process. For this reason, you should be very careful about sharing a Snickers bar or French kissing with an obese person, or, heaven forfend, both at the same time. If you keep your tongue in your mouth and your fingers off other people’s food, you’ll most likely be safe.

Secondly, an elucidation: obese people and overweight people are two entirely separate categories. Overweight people are those who, for glandular, genetic, or nutritional reasons, happen to have a lot of body mass. The true medical description of an obese person, however, is “a person who is afflicted with the obesity virus.” But according to epidemiologist Dr. Alfred Yankovic (who recovered from the affliction himself), there are some less tautological ways of determining whether a person is obese:
  • They are wider than they are tall
  • They are the same height lying down as they are standing up
  • Their hands cannot touch each other without mechanical aid
  • Their earlobes touch their shoulder padding
  • Their feet are only visible from the knees down
  • They need a map to find their own ass
  • They have their own zip codes
  • When they sit around the house, they really sit around the house
Thirdly, an explication: obesity can be cured. This is not a chronic illness, and the means to defeat it are similar to those required to simply lose weight. This is because the obesity virus lodges itself in the pores; by preventing the escape of toxins through the skin, the virus causes a massive buildup. The main way to expel the virus is therefore to sweat profusely, dislodging as many of the virus’s clones as possible. But we’re not talking about the regular, workaday sweat of walking up stairs or lifting one’s hand to point the remote at the TV – when the sweat is merely a trickle, the virus can easily dodge its flow. No, sufferers from obesity must make their sweat pour from their corpuses in cascading torrents of salty release, positive geysers of perspiration, capable of knocking a hat from the head of an unsuspecting bystander. Only then will the virus be expelled and destroyed.

If a proper sweat regimen can be followed, we’ll find the world’s obesity epidemic will fade to a distant, unpleasant memory (much like the Boer War). Only then will mankind be able to take its proper place, en masse, at Six Flags. Once there, however, we highly recommend the population of earth lay off the communal corndogs, lest the whole cycle begin anew…

Monday, July 14, 2008


This rare, hand-tinted early daguerreotype of French revolutionaries blowing up the original Eiffel Tower can only mean one thing: Bastille Day is here again.

Americans – along with the British, other Europeans, denizens of former Communist Bloc nations, citizens of the Third World, Canadians, and the majority of the French – nurse many misconceptions about the 18th-century Gallic struggle for liberté, égalité, and fraternité (roughly translated: “libraries, eagles, and fraternities,” otherwise known as the Holy Trinity of Universal Literacy, Nature Conservation, and Limitless Booze, the age-old earmarks of Liberal Education). As always, we are prepared to jump into the breach with some straight talk.

King Louis XIV, the self-styled “King of the Sun,” fancied that the French royal line were the descendents of solar aliens, the same race that ostensibly constructed the Pyramids, Stonehenge, and China. He decided that he needed an earthly construction to define his glory and compete with his supposed ancestors’ finest achievements, and so he called upon the royal engineer Alec Eiffel (who previously designed the haunted underground grottoes of Versailles) to create the world’s tallest structure – a 324-meter high wooden throne that would allow the entire world to view Louis in all his glory.

In order to fund this edifice, the peasants were forced to preemptively sign over the income of their next twelve generations of progeny to the French court. This worked for a while, but by the time the third sou-less generation came of age, during the reign of Louis XVII, the deal no longer held its former appeal. When Benjamin Franklin visited the nation in 1787, his fiery, demagogic speaking style and bloody rhetoric whipped the peasantry into a frenzy, and the French decided to join their American cousins in revolution.

For the Tennis Court Oath (which was actually sworn on a badminton green, which the proletariat found too faggy to identify as such), selected members of the French underclass dressed as Indians in order to disrupt the decadent games of the aristocracy and have their sporting equipment thrown into the Seine. As birdies, lacrosse sticks, and frilly knee-pads floated through the city, the anger they spawned pointed in one direction: the Tower.

In the decades following its erection, the Tower had been nicknamed “Bastille” (a French diminutive of “Bastarde”) by Parisians. This symbol of monarchy gone phallically awry represented all of the grievances of the People, and so, on July 14, 1789, they stormed it, rigged it up with a bunch of firecrackers, and watched it burn to the ground.

The years that followed were full of blood, both metaphorically and physically. Robespierre’s Reign of Terribleness began when Revolutionary leaders held a contest to devise the most fucked-up way of killing people – and thus the guillotine was born. The killing only ended when Louis XVII’s bastard son, Napoleon Bonaparte, reminded the people that there was no more Tower or racquet sports, and therefore the monarchy was dead. He then named himself Emperor.

It wasn’t until the reign of Napoleon’s grandson, Napoleon III, that everyone remembered how cool the Tower was, and plans were instantly drafted to rebuild it in iron, so the rabble couldn’t burn it down. Instead, they could pretend to burn it down every year, in a ritual similar to the Wicker Man ceremonies of ancient pagans and horror geeks. And so to this day the French enjoy having an excuse to make a lot of noise and set off fireworks in emulation of the July 4th holiday of their older post-Revolutionary siblings, the Americans. They’re like children that way.

Friday, July 11, 2008


It is with dismay that we note the premiere of Hollywoodland’s adaptation of H.G. Verne’s natural history text Journey to the Center of the Earth in 80 Days. Ever since the dawn of cinema, in such films as The Island of Dr. Caligari, the Show-Me Business has displayed a poor track record when it comes to adapting non-fiction books to the screen. These so called Dream Manufacturers would do much better to stick with such escapist, popping-corn fantasy fare as The Greatest Story Ever Told, Fahrenheit 911, or Munich.

That being said, one of the things that makes the Center of Earth such an unpromising setting for a feature film is that it is, in a word, boringasallhell. This is partly because most people expect the Center of the Earth to actually BE Hell, and this expectation is dead set on disappointment. Not only is Hell itself, yes, boring, it isn’t even located at the Center of the Earth: the historical basis for the Christian vision of the sinners’ afterlife is actually the Saturnian moon Enceladus, which originally orbited around the earth until it was pushed out by our current moon during a celestial 372 A.D. power grab.

The actual Center of the Earth, as we doubt many people need to be told, consists of little more than white-hot, slug-like creatures known collectively as magma. Retaining much of the heat of the explosion that downgraded the Sun to its current, dwarfish size – in the process expelling the mineral nuggets that would later accrue into the planets – magma don’t really have much to offer the world above. They tend to stick to their own kind, and, when they’re not huddling close to their fellows for extra, redundant warmth (they’re addicted to the stuff), they have a reputation as cruel practical jokers. They find nothing funnier than to cut a trick a hole in the floor (aka the Earth’s Crust) and watch their unsuspecting friends cascade down it and harden in the cold air outside – a phenomena known to English-speaking humans (among others) as the Volcano.

So if you’re going to use your hard-earned guilders to see any film this weekend, make it the biopic Hellboy II, starring one of our most distinguished actors, Sir Ron Coleman. More entertaining, and more historically accurate to boot.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


We’ve been asked on more than one occasion (like, at least two), “Apocryphist, have you ever actually SEEN a demon?” This is a ludicrous question. It’s like asking if you’ve ever seen a proton or a quark. And protons and quarks are, after all, merely physics propaganda, cooked up by scientists to justify the hefty research fees they receive from unsuspecting taxpayers. The true building blocks of matter were discovered by the alchemists of the 16th century in the midst of their quixotic attempts to create gold. Try sniffing that out in the snot-stained index of your average high-school history textbook!

Where were we? Oh yes, demons. So asking if someone has ever SEEN a demon is ludicrous, because demons were not created to appeal to the sense of sight – if you could see them, they’d be way too easy to kill, and that’s bad evolution. It would be like, oh great, there’s a demon in the closet again, call the exterminator. It would be like, we love going camping, except for all these damn demons. It would be like, here’s my pet demon, Otis – he’s housebroken.

If you plan on being a terrifying entity, the first rule is that you should keep out of sight. What’s the use of setting your sights on freezing the blood in the hearts of men when men can catch you picking your noses during an unguarded moment? Sight is the least frightening of human senses. Scary sounds are certainly acceptable – in fact, they’re inevitable. If it weren’t for scary touch, we’d have no incubi or succubi or tarantulas. Scary smells have been appropriated by many of our current society’s chemical treatment plants. And as for scary taste – well, very few people have experienced a truly horrifying flavor and lived to tell the tale, and if they have, their tongues tend to be corroded beyond the ability to speak. Pursue all of these options if your intent is fear, but for Ba’al’s sake, don’t show yourself!

Not that there’s anything supernatural about demons. They’re flesh and blood creatures, distant relatives to the poltergeist, which is itself a rare species of bird, originally native to central Europe, that fly so fast as to render themselves invisible to the naked eye. Obviously if you fly around that fast in someone’s house you’re going to knock crap off the walls and be all-around nuisance. After frightening humans from their nests, these poltergeists settle in and adapt the newly abandoned spaces into their own habitats, giving rise to myths and legends of ghosts and haunted edifices.

Demons move incredibly quickly too, but they’re not really birds anymore – they’re, you know, demons. Their other main divergence from poltergeists is that they don’t endeavor to remain rooted to a single breeding ground; they’re just nigh-invisible peripatetic pains in the ass. Our great early naturalists, such as Hieronymus Bosch and Dante Alighieri, provide some of the most compelling depictions of these misunderstood creatures, and we urge you to pore over their works for an eyeful of real science.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Again, we’re not the sort to advocate the stewardship of rare natural or cultural treasures by earthly bureaucracies – if something ancient and precious is going to get blown up, knocked down, or winnowed away to nothing by the fierce and remorseless desert winds, there’s often a damn good reason for it. Likewise, those landmarks and artifacts that are truly important to mankind’s progress upon earth are more than capable of taking a few lumps for the team. (We’re lookin’ at you, Sphinx.)

That being said, the World Heritage Centrrer (a division of UNICEF) has just released its new annual list of “Inscribed Properties” earmarked to be the subject of increased vigilance and protection over the coming years (though exactly how chiseling one’s organization’s name across the face of a “property” is tantamount to “protecting” it is beyond us). It serves as an interesting matrix of what mainstream humanity considers significant and amusing, a litmus of how little the League of Nations understands the true workings of the world it claims to represent.

This year’s list reads as a rogue’s gallery of history’s also-rans: Vanuatu, Mauritius, San Marino, Kenya, Slovakia – sure, each of these locations houses important populations of relict Lemurian descendants, but can we please let it go? Lemuria was a failed continent, and it failed for a reason. The very powerlessness of the League of Nations stems from its secret history as an epicenter of the Lemurian diaspora – and look where it’s gotten them. They’re starting to get as tiresome as the so-called Atlanteans, who are actually just a bunch of ancient Welsh fishermen who got lost and needed some kind of story to explain why they were missing for a thousand years. Put it to bed, people – we’re bored.

However, even more notable than the list’s inclusions are its omissions. Where are the Antarctic Mountains of Madness? Amityville, NY’s Portal to Hell? The Bedrock City of the Dakotas? Surely these sites are worthy of the care and attention of a few dozen drunken, incestuous Lemurians?

The most intriguing entry on the new list, however, is Sturtsey, the volcanic island currently growing off the coast of Iceland. It is clearly a bald attempt to breed a new lost continent that will be the subject of myth and rumor for many generations after it has finally disappeared from the face of the earth, and for this boldness of vision we salute its architects. Sure, we can think of about thirty million more opportune locations for the advance of a mysterious civilization (the North Atlantic? Right near a populated island? Come on, guys!), but the very unlikelihood of its position might prove to be an unmistakable asset. The very fact that the Lemurians are recognizing it in this way is evidence that they are quaking in their stupid little boots. Rugged Sturseyans of the future, let us be among the first to preemptively invite you to your eventual mastery of the human race. We’re proud to say we'll have known you when.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


It is time for us to lob some words of sympathy at an institution that is dear to our wee, shriveled, walnut-resembling heart. No, we speak not of our Cabal, which, though integral to the concealed workings of the hidden world you are unable to recognize as lying behind your own, exists well beyond the ken of this weblog. Instead, we refer to the International Cryptozoology Museum.

Unlike the so-called “mainstream” scientific institutes that do little more than plash messily in slopping-over vats of semi-liquefied lies, the International Cryptozoology Museum is devoted to the only fauna worth considering: that which we do not readily see. Derived from the Latin prefix “crypto-,” or, “devoted to the art of breaking the secret codes of reality,” the Greek word “zoo,” meaning “zoo,” and the Olde English suffix “-ology,” which roughly translates to “fierce devotion bordering on the eccentric,” “cryptozoology” is a hybrid word, much like the hybrid beasts it studies along with garden variety Bigfeet, Abominable Snowpersons, and Loch Ness Monstroids.

Our first experience with cryptozoology occurred when we were quite young, and strange creatures would wander to our bedside as we attempted in vain to sleep. Childhood is not the province of innocence, but rather of truth – the things that we saw then may remain hidden to most conscious eyes, but their invisibility makes them no less real. It is a perverse comfort to know that roaming the earth somewhere are stink owls, headless dogs, and killer whales that walk like men, and it is cryptozoology that translates this occult knowledge into the truth few people can dare to face without a few stiff drinks ahead of time.

Of course, the Powers That Are don’t look kindly upon this kind of truth-gleaning, and so have conspired through its super-secret assassination task force – the IRS – to shut its doors. The Museum’s proprietress, the lovely Lauren Coleman, is struggling to keep its mighty iron doors – festooned with minotaur skulls – from closing around the bright flames of glory within. We normally don’t take up Causes, but this one is an exception. Please consider donating a guilder or two in order to keep the Museum afloat. Tell them the Apocryphist sent you. Or on second though, no, don’t.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Some people have utterly sick senses of humor. Look at this story from the distastefully named website "Boing[sic]-Boing[sic]":
Police in South Wales, UK, were dispatched to respond to a 999 emergency call to investigate a "bright stationary object" in the sky above a concerned citizen's home. The BBC News posted a recording and transcript of the conversation between the control room, the caller, and the police:
Control: "Alpha Zulu 20, this object in the sky, did anyone have a look at it?"

Officer: "Yes, it's the moon. Over."
When we have lost sight of the fact that the moon might actually be the largest, most advanced alien spaceship in the history of large, advanced alien spaceships, then we have lost our way as a species, and we deserve whatever eyeball-frying, liver-whipping, blood-congealing radio waves its crew decides to send down upon our sad, narrow-visioned race.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


As the 232nd anniversary of our nation’s declaration of independence creeps towards us at a speed more befitting a drunken slug than a rocket-powered locomotive of patriotism (yes, we are having a long week), this is a suitable time to ruminate upon the qualities that make this country such an unlikely success in affairs both domestic and international. As such, here is our list of the Top Ten Super-Secret Things That Make America Endure Despite Its Ruling Powers’ Efforts to the Contrary.

10. The Underground Railroad
Many consider it a historical novelty, but the system used for delivering runaway slaves to more desirable locales than those from which they ran still endures, though for entirely different purposes. Purposes that you are too weak to understand.

9. Bigfoot
As our closest living simian ancestor, the Sasquatch offers a bounty of insights about mankind’s role on the earth – and we’ve got ‘em! Sure, there are a few tooling around in Canada, but for taxonomical purposes these are not considered true Sasquatches, but have rather been relegated to the category of Lesser Sasquatch - shyer, more complacent, and nicer than their U.S. counterparts. Wilier, more aggressive American Sasquatches can be seen across our nation, as local aldermen, Dunkin Donuts clerks, and masseurs. If you can track one down, study it closely – it just might be your uncle.

8. Facebook
Why didn’t someone tell us sooner about this clever social networking tool? Over the past few months we’ve spent countless hours trolling its depths, digging up as much dirt as we possibly can about our multifarious enemies and gleaning new and novel ways to destroy them. ("Favorite Film: Strictly Ballroom." Hmm…) We haven’t signed up for a profile ourselves, of course (even this weblog is severely compromising our inaccessibility), but as believers in the unexpected yet retrospectively inevitable phenomena known to superstitious folks as “miracles,” there’s always a chance that might change…

7. The Lack of Nationalized Universal Health Care
Many view this as one of America’s drawbacks, but in a free market economy it’s a simple fact that you can’t lug around your dead weight like so much feverish, crippled, bleeding, concussed, diabetic, pustule-ridden, feeble, frail, decrepit, incontinent, armless, immune-deficient, consumptive, sneezing, wheezing, pallid, nauseous, quadriplegic, morbidly obese, stroke-wracked, artery-clogged, tumoriffic dead weight. We don’t cart our corpses around with us everywhere we go, so why should we do the same with our sick and injured? If they can’t take care of themselves, they’re part of the problem.

6. Neqa’el
The cutest little itty-bitty kitty cat in the world. Yes, she is. Yes, she is.

5. The National Weather Service
As many of you no doubt remember from a past post, the National Weather Service is responsible for regulating the weather worldwide – or, to state it more accurately, regulating people’s perception of the weather. As a largely psychological phenomenon, weather is infinitely manipulatable by a trickster’s array of cons and sleights – moves at which the U.S. government has proven only too adept.

4. Attractive, Up-and-Coming Starlets
One thing that America will always be able to give to the world – and exhibit a skill for importing – is the peculiar combination female pulchritude, talent, youth and pluck that characterizes our most precious natural resource: starlets. Though some go on to squander their nearly unlimited potential (did you really need to take that demeaning secretary role in Sex and the City, Jennifer?), even the laziest amongst them will grow up to helm an obscure charity or run for local office. But more importantly, while in their prime they are the fuel of the world’s Dream Engine, and little would get accomplished without them.

3. Libertium
A rare mineral, found only in the soil of certain parts of North America, that ensures political freedom. Sub-microscopic dust particles of Libertium act chemically upon the brain when inhaled in certain quantities. Interestingly, the biochemistry of the Caucasian race results in deeper, more rapid breathing than is normally found in other ethnicities, which explains much of our early history.

2. The Stupidity and Pettiness of the Rest of the World
We’re not saying that everyone else in the world is naturally inferior to us, we’re just saying that, given all of the other advantages listed here, we’re able to crawl ever so slightly further out of the rancid heap of humanity into the glaring, stink-inducing sunlight above.

1. The Apocryphist
If not for us, you wouldn’t even be aware of all of this.

Happy Interpendence Day, everyone! Don’t let the fireworks hypnotize you – that’s how the local municipalities steal your money.