Monthly Archive for August, 2008





GREENPOINT, Brooklyn, Aug.28…Winston Churchill famously called Russia “a riddle wrapped in an enigma inside a mystery.”

In the aftermath of Russia’s brutal foray into Georgia, analysts were wondering what was going on behind the stone walls of the Kremlin and especially in the mind of its leader, Vladimir Putin.

Now Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, head of the Greeznyzidh Think Tank, feels he has unwrapped the enigma and solved the riddle.

“Putin doesn’t want to be Tsar or Commissar,” he says. “He wants to be Tony Soprano…”

In an interview at Golubchik’s Lounge, Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk said he didn’t truly understand Putin until he came to America.

“In Brooklyn, on the streets of the Bensonhurst, quarter, I saw scores of muscular young men in sleeveless undershirts they call “wife-beaters,” wearing heavy gold ID bracelets and big rings, which is Putin’s preferred outfit. I heard stories about Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, another short man with big muscles who controlled the neighborhood. This is Putin’s fantasy role, I thought. The Mafia strong man.

“Putin models his behavior on American gangster culture,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “He uses blackmail and intimidation. He works behind front men, corrupts public officials, and assassinates those who defy him.

“If you look at things in Mafia context you can predict every move he will make”

Yopsvoyomatsky offered the Georgian invasion an an example.

“This is about wiping out a rival boss and at the same time crushing a front man who wouldn’t play ball,” he said. “A two-horse parley, Tony Soprano would say.”

Putin’s Mob had made a deal with British Petroleum to exploit Russian oil and gas resources. ” BP was big corrupt company,” Yopsovoymatsky said. ” Involved in bribery and blackmail scandals . It had ignored safety standards, which led to bursting of Alaska pipeline and an explosion in Texas that killed fifteen. So BP made a deal behind Putin’s back with Georgia to construct pipeline that would run from Baku through Tiblisi, the Georgian capital, to Ceyhan in Turkey, completely bypassing Russian pipelines and providing independent supply of natural gas to Western Europe.”

BP’s Georgian country manager, Hugh G. McDowell said at the time that the “oil and gas fields of the Caspian (were) among the most sizable and productive in the world.” The pipeline traveled 1,768 km and transported one million barrels of oil a day. When it was opened in July 2006, BP said it was the largest new non-Opec source of oil supply in 15 years.

With a grimace Yopsvoyomatsky threw down a shot of Popov, the vodka in the plastic bottle, coughed and wiped his streaming eyes.

“Tony Soprano would never let someone make big money in his backyard,” he said. “So Putin wasn’t going to let his front man make a deal with enemy mob in Georgia to cut him out,” he said. “He also wanted to teach BP a lesson, not to, how you say, mess with the Boss of all Bosses.”

The Russian invasion effectively shut down the Georgian pipelines. The Russian Navy took over the port of Poti, preventing oil tankers from docking. It bombed the main east-west bridge that connected various oil depots to Tiblisi. It crippled BP’s jet fuel business at Tiblisi airport. It intimidated the neighboring countries, serving notice of what would happen if they made deals with the West.

Was it a success?

Maybe, but…Yopsvoyomatsky shook his finger with a sly look. “This is not the way Tony Soprano would do business,” he said.

“Tony would have brought in top hit men to show strength. Instead, the world watched rusty Russian tanks break down. It got a good look at antiquated military in action…Russians were so desperate they stole American Humvees to drive their generals around…”

“Tony would have consulted his soldiers first to see if his family businesses would be affected,” he said. “Putin didn’t do this. And now the Russian stock market has lost much value; the ruble has sunk; investors are withdrawing from deals; Russians were gobbling up American steel companies, but now US Congress wants to put a hold on acquisitions.

“Tony would have requested permission from the other families before making such a big move in their neighborhood,”Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Dictators and Dons do not like to be taken by surprise. But Putin didn’t inform Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Tajikstan, not to mention China, which is its counterpart in the Shanghai Co-Operation Organization, Central Asian version of New York’s Five Mafia Families. These countries also have rebellious provinces with secessionist movements. They don’t want trouble. They did not give Russia a public vote of confidence at their annual meeting. China even expressed ‘concern about the latest developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,’ which is equal to slap in the face to Putin. Behind closed doors you can imagine how angry they really are.”

Yopsvoyomatsky thinks Putin has made a mistake. “He has no support from his so-called allies, his vassals are losing money and his enemies have forgotten their differences to unite against him.

“This is classic Mafia scenario,” he said. “The faithful Medvedev, the heir apparent, is watching in the wings as the Boss stumbles. He is having secret meetings, building alliances, biding his time.

Yopsvoyomatsky raised his glass. “Putin maybe has one more Mafia lesson to learn:

Dons don’t die in bed.”


GREENPOINT, Brooklyn, Aug. 24…Wanna make a fast dollar?

“Find a hacker and go to Harvard.”

That’s what Efraim Durg, CEO of Durgometrics, a hedge fund that specializes in high risk investments, is advising his clients these days.

Durg has just returned from the Federal Reserve Bank’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the mood was dismal. Central bankers from all over the world were puzzled and distressed by the slow but steady erosion in the global economy.

“We are in the midst of the greatest financial crisis since World War 2,” said Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel. Yutaka Yamaguchi, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan warned that the world was in a period of “exceptional uncertainty.”

But Durg is optimistic. “The economy is like a seesaw,” he says. “if somebody is down that means somebody else is up.”

Durg says he has found two classes of investors that are doing exceptionally well–US Senators and university endowment funds.

“Our research shows that the net worth of all US Senators has risen almost 20% since 2004,” he says. “And this same period recorded substantial gains for endowment funds.”

Durg quoted a report in the Washington Spectator, which said that Senators who played the market earned an “abnormal rate of return” According to the report: “Senators consistently anticipated movements in stock prices; they often purchased stocks before prices took off like a rocket and revealed an uncanny ability to sell just when a stock was about to flatten out.”

Senators and their spouses outperformed the market by by around ten per cent annually, the report said.

“Nobody gets results like this in the financial world,” said Professor Tom Ferguson of UMass-Boston, “Any manager of a mutual fund who beats the market by two per cent is considered a genius.”

“Just shows you how clever these politicians are,” says Durg with a knowing wink.

University endowments have done almost as well in this down market. The top fifty funds have risen over a 100% in value. The managers of these funds may have done well in former jobs, but they became financial wizards when they went to work in the Academe.

“Must be the food in the campus cafeteria,” says Durg with an ironic tap of his nose.

But Durg says the “numbers really explode” when you pair a Senator with his/her alma mater.

“Take Senator Kennedy (Edward Kennedy, D. Mass.) for example,” he says. “During the periods 2004 to the end of fiscal year 2006 his maximum net worth rose 300% from $51 million to $162 million. As Kennedy contributed less than 1% of his income to charity he was able to spend most of it on his lifestyle, his homes and especially his beloved yacht where he recuperated after cancer surgery.”

At the same time Kennedy (Harvard ’56) was getting rich his alma mater’s Endowment Fund was getting richer, growing at a rate of 23% per annum to $35 billion at the end of fiscal 2007. And this year with the finest minds in finance going bankrupt or to jail the Harvard Fund is up 9%.

This means that it has $1,456, 940 to spend on every student, not counting tuition and grants. But the fund plows most of its profits back into investments.

“University Endowments are run by managers, not educators,” says Durg. “They just want to use their money to make more money.”

What’s behind this incredible success? Do lobbyists and anxious constituents feed inside information to Senators? Do wealthy alumni tip off their endowment fund managers?

Durg refuses to speculate. “If you catch a guy playing with loaded dice, you don’t turn him in, you get a piece of his action.”

Unlike Warren Buffet, Senators and endowment funds don’t share their wisdom.

“You’ll have to get shady to get rich,” Durg says.

He suggests trying to corrupt an employee of the endowment or the senator’s staff–”maybe drugs or sexual blackmail, incriminating e mails or photos–” and getting information on the daily trades.”

Or planting a mole inside the endowment–”an MBA with a streak of larceny–” and have him spy from the inside.

You can always find a cleaning lady or maintenance person to bring you the all the trash from the trading floor.

But the best way is to find a hacker–”some nosepicker in Slovenia or Mindanao–”to plant a keystroke in their computers that sends all their transactions right back to Mama.”

Just be careful not to get caught.

“Insider trading is nothing,” Durg says. “Senators can get away with murder, too.”



Igor Yopsvoyomatsky

Answers readers’ questions.

Dear Igor,

My plumber Fritz went berserk when he saw the Obama posters on my lawn. He says Obama is the front man for a secret organization known as “the Intelligentsia”, who plan to infiltrate our minds and turn us all into robots. Is this paranoia or fact?


Fort Prion, Miss.

Dear Scared,

This is fact. But not robots. The Obama branch of the “Intelligentsia”, or “nudge nazis” as we call them, want to turn you into docile sheep who will get plumper and happier under their benevolent herding.

But first, a little background. There was a moment in prehistory when a burly Neanderthal felt an irresistible urge to bang somebody–anybody– on the head with his thorny club. An undersized cave man, fearing for his ovoid pate, piped up:

“Hit the hairy fat guy by the fire and I will sing a song in praise of your bloodlust.”

And the Intelligentsia was born.

It flourished in authoritarian societies –tribes, monarchies, empires, dictatorships, capitalist oligarchies, anyplace where a greedy, brutal bully needed an explainer. Aristotle, tutor to Alexander the Great, was an early member. As was Machiavelli, who glorified the murderous intrigues of the Borgias;Thomas Hobbes, extoller of sovereign power; the propagandists of the American, French and Russian Revolutions, who wrote eloquent rationales for slavery, mass executions and forced starvation; the “philosophers” who bent logic and morality to the whims of the Ruler– Heidegger for Hitler, Sartre for Mao. It now consists of intellectuals trained in the soft sciences–sociology,economics, psychology, history, political philosophy, soothsaying. Its function is to validate and expand the power of bourgeois democracy.

Members of Obama’s intelligentsia have used sycophancy and elitist-skewed research to advance in the Academe. They now believe that their success qualifies them to tell the rest of the benighted world how to live.

The best-selling policy document of the Obama intelligentsia is Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. The authors, professors at the Obama Think Tank, the University of Chicago, believe that the world is populated by “Homer Simpsons” who “have trouble with long division, forget their spouse’s birthday and have a hangover on New Year’s day.” These people suffer from “inertia”, the “status quo bias” and the “yeah, whatever heuristic.” They are not capable of managing their lives. Given freedom of choice they inevitably make the wrong decisions, which lead to poverty, ignorance and unhappiness. In Thaler/Sunstein’s words they need “choice architects” to “nudge” them down the right path.

The authors describe themselves as “libertarian paternalists.” Their method is simply to make free choices more difficult to make.. They suggest automatically enrolling workers in pension plans and medical insurance, on the theory that they will be too lazy to opt out. They might suggest automatic deductions from bank accounts for civil violations like traffic tickets, failure to recycle, etc., gently forcing people into good citizenship. Or increasing the payroll tax on the theory that the dummies won’t know how to file returns and get refunds.

They never question their core beliefs: that people might be wary of pension plans after Enron; that they might not want to spend hard-earned money on health insurance when they are constantly denied coverage and reimbursement.

They nominate “policy makers and business leaders” to be their “choice architects.” It never occurs to them that we might not want to be guided by the people who brought who us Iraq, or seek to solve the Social Security problem by increasing the eligibility age; or have so confused the financial system that even the rich are going broke. They never think that we might not trust the business leaders who sell us overpriced adulterated products that we don’t need, hire us for slave wages and then fire us to bolster their bottom lines.

It never occurs to them that the “policy makers and business leaders” might need some nudging themselves in the form of impeachment for incompetence, higher corporate taxes for offshore operations and increased unemployment contributions for profit-motivated layoffs.

But tell your plumber Fritz not to worry. Obama may love his “nudgers,” but we’ll see who he calls when his toilet overflows.

AutoBARography: A Noir Rewrite


Everybody loves beautiful gringo girls!
As promised, here is my correspondence with ROLLING THUNDER co-scripter Heywood Gould.

From me:


If my email is an intrusion please forgive me. I am a film programmer at the Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Austin TX. I will be presenting Rolling Thunder next week and I was curious about the collaboration on the script with Paul Schrader.

Specifically, who wrote the first draft, did you collaborate actively or were you brought in to rewrite an existing script. Or none of the above? Did director John Flynn write any of the script?

The reason I thought to ask you was that Quentin Tarantino mentioned a few years ago when he visited us that his favorite parts of the script were your contributions. Which really got me wondering about specific scenes in the context of your and Mr Schraders’ work.

This is all old news and possibly small potatoes to you but I will write up the film and hopefully in some small way the information you provide can help film historians in the future.

Thanks for your time,

Lars Nilsen

From Heywood Gould:


Let me answer your questions and then give some background. Paul Schrader wrote the first draft and I was brought in to rewrite. I never spoke to him about it and haven’t met him to this day. John Flynn didn’t do any writing, but like a good director he and producer Larry Gordon shaped the script. In the great tradition (now lost) they let the writer do his job and then made adjustments.

I was working as a bartender in Soho, living in a residential hotel and generally having a blast. Bill Devane had read a draft of a script I wrote called Fort Apache the Bronx, plus my novel One Dead Debutante. I don’t know what was happening behind the scenes, but I know they were already in prep when they decided they needed a rewrite and he suggested me. So they flew me to LA and I met Larry Gordon, the producer and the director, John Flynn. I read the script that night and as I remember it was a relentless bloodbath, which I guessed they didn’t want. At the meeting the next day I said they could keep the structure of the story, but needed more scenes to explain Raines, more emotion in his family life, more realistic bad guys, and they definitely needed a plausible, sympathetic woman (who doesn’t?) I did a little writing out of sequence because they wanted scenes for the auditions. I wrote the scene in the bar where Raines meets Linda Haines first and then the scene in the garage where he relives the torture for Cliff. (The line “you learn to love the rope” became the motto for the shoot when the temperatures went over 110.) Then I did the homecoming scene with Raines and his wife in which she tells him she’s found another man and stuff where he reconnects with his son.

I pretty much wrote the picture (or thought I had) in LA and went home. The next week they called and flew me down to San Antonio to do a production rewrite based on the locations they had chosen. I stayed for about a month and ended up writing new scenes for Raines and Linda and rewriting the fight scenes and the big brothel shootout at the end. The only scene they wanted intact was the one with John’s family where they talk about the Japanese cars, although I remember I wrote the last exchange between John and his dad. I wanted to show some unspoken love and communication between the two men because I objected to what I considered to be the original’s heavyhanded snobbery about working people.

A picture changes a lot when the reality of cast, location and schedule sinks in. John wanted scenes punched up and new scenes written. I wrote the target practice scene between Raines and Linda after he looked at dailies and decided the relationship was playing well and he wanted more.

That’s the best way to make a picture, keeping it alive and open to the very end.

I keep saying I remember because I was drinking mescal and eating cabrito every night and there’s a lot I don’t remember.

This was the first feature I ever worked on and it was a great experience.

The crew was old Hollywood mostly second or third generation, whose families had come up in the Golden Age. They were calm and professional in the face of the grinding pressure to finish long days on a short budget on location. I didn’t realize how unusual that was until I witnessed the hysterical anarchy in which most other pictures were made.

The budget was a million-three so there was no room for error. The line producer, Norman Herman, could look at the lens and know what the frame would be. The UPM, Tony Wade, went across the Mexican border, and rented real brothels (and some of their employees) for the big shootout. The First AD, Pepe, had been Henry Hathaway’s first and got the crew to hustle in the blazing heat without ever raising his voice. He brought his little dog on the set and it never barked during takes.

John was completely prepared. He had an encyclopedia of shots in his head. “This is a Kurosowa 150…” Or “A Huston low angle…” He may be one of the most underrated directors ever and you should definitely give him a retrospective. At least show “The Outfit,” which is a terrific picture.

We became close friends and I was shaken by his sudden death.

The crew worked hard, partied harder, and were ready to go the next morning. We were staying at the Holiday Inn and making good use of the bar. After the first week I noticed we had a discreet contingent of Texas Rangers hanging around to protect us from obstreperous locals. They studiously ignored the strong herbal odors coming from the prop truck.

An amiable old man in faded jeans and scuffed boots started hanging around, cadging drinks. One night he approached shyly and asked if we would come to his house for a barbecue. We didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He told us to start looking for his name when we got twenty miles out of town. We found his name, but it took us ten more miles to get to his house. Turned out he was one of the biggest ranchers in the area. He barbecued a whole steer and the fixins for us that day. His daughter thanked us for being so “hospitable” to him. And I caught a look a shrewd amusement in his eyes as we wandered around in awe.

In the bar of the Holiday Inn one night one of the local stunt men said he had been Roy Rogers riding double. The Hollywood stunt guys took this as unpardonable blasphemy and demanded a retraction. Before I knew it I was in the middle of a brawl. The next day the stunt guys came over to me and said: “Hey, you New York writers can really handle yourselves.” To this day that’s the best compliment I’ve ever gotten in this business.

I could go on and on.

Hope I answered your question.




Igor Yopsvoyomatsky,
answers readers’ questions

Dear Igor,

My son recently dropped out of Harvard, broke up with his girlfriend and moved back home with me. He sits in his room all day with the lights off listening to whale sounds and only emerging for meals. He says he is embracing entropy to save humanity. I say he is a lazy sponger, who wants to go on living off me until I die. He says I’m being paranoid. Who is right?


Anomia, Pa.

Dear Perplexed,

You are both right.

But remember that Einstein’s mother also called him a “lazy sponger,” and he didn’t get her a seat for his Nobel Prize.

The “entropy” your son refers to is the theory that the more energy you expend the less efficient work you do and the more chaos and disorder you create.

It was defined by Buckminster Fuller as: “A tendency toward disorder as more energy is spent, causing the physical Universe’s macrocosmic proclivities to become locally more disynchronous, assymetric and diffuse.”

His mother called him a “lazy sponger,” too.

A simple illustration of the entropy theory is global warming. Globalization has led to a much greater energy expenditure in the generation of electricity, consumption of fossil fuels and mass production of frivolous items to satisfy the billions of new consumers in the developing world. This has led to a chaotic rise in global temperature, which is destroying ecosystems and hastening the ultimate destruction of the planet.

Corporate entropy, which your son avoided by destroying his career prospects, occurs when more energy is expended in the form of meetings, memos and meaningless retreats, which create infighting, absenteeism, sexual harassment and embezzlement of petty cash, and lead to the inevitable dissolution of the company and indictment of its executive officers.

Social entropy is caused by the proliferation of networking sites like, eHarmony and the ever popular J-date. The energy expended in screening, chatting with and vetting a potential partner causes disorder in the mate-selection system, which leads to more weekends spent with You Tube and Chunky Monkey and the eventual slide into negative population growth.

The “anti-entropy” theory, popular among manual laborers and Communications majors, states that the less energy expended the more peaceful and orderly the universe becomes.

The anti-entropists believe in doing nothing, thus conserving the planet’s supply of energy in its potential form.

A positive illustration of anti-entropy is found in a study done by the New York Department of Traffic. It found that the price of gas had caused people to drive less, which lead to a 6.3% decrease in congestion at bridges and tunnels and quicker commute times. This eliminated the need to levy an 8 dollar “congestion” tax on all drivers entering the city, thus conserving money (financial energy).

A similar study in Los Angeles showed that a simple decrease in automotive energy led to fewer accidents, fewer incidents of road rage, decreased air pollution, fewer asthmatic attacks, fewer admissions to emergency rooms, more use of public transportation, greater social contact and fewer hate crimes.

A suspension of July 4th. fireworks shows conserved energy, reduced police overtime, led to 57% reduction in brawls, shootings and psychotic episodes.

The anti-entropic state of Utah put all its agencies on a four day work week. This caused a $3 million annual energy savings in state buildings, a $300,000 savings in gasoline consumed by state vehicles and CO2 reductions of 3000 metric tons. The free Friday also gave polygamist public servants more time to spend with their extended families.

Your son has pioneered a form of “human entropy.” By allowing his personal matter and energy to degrade he has achieved a state of inertia. He may look like he is doing nothing, but if everyone in the world followed his example we would extend the life of the earth indefinitely.

Of course your son may be referring to “Entropy,” which is the title of the 18th. episode of the 6th season of the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” in which case I would tell him to get off his ass and get a job or you’ll padlock the fridge and he’ll have to pay for his own Pop Tarts.


Editor of
Igor Yopsvoyomatsky,
answers readers’ questions

Dear Igor,

I’m supporting Obama, but my husband says I’m unrealistic: Wall Street will never let him win. Is this paranoia or fact?


Chimera, Pa.

Dear Hopeful,

This is paranoia. The fact is that Obama is the fair-haired boy of the super-rich. They are audaciously plotting to change the regime and install him as their standard bearer.

Why, you might ask?

Because the Bush administration has abjectly failed to protect their wealth and privilege.

Newton’s Third Law states: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

The theory of Reaganomics was that the wealth accumulated in the cisterns of the very rich would “trickle down” into the tin cups of working classes. Now this has been reversed: the poverty of working classes is “trickling up” to infect the very rich.

Corporate profits are decreasing. “This will be the first year since 2001 that domestic profits are down,” says Robert Barbera, chief economist for ITG (Investment Technology Group.

Wall Street shed 7600 high paying jobs in the first quarter of 2008. More “pain” is forecast as banks retrench, hedge funds shut down and private equity reneges on deals because of inability to raise capital.

Populist anger has forced regulators to suspend, price-fixing, “naked” short sales and insider trading schemes, which had made billions of dollars for “barely legal” investors and were immediately sheltered in off shore tax havens.

Corporate executives are being publicly humiliated by dismissals, law suits and indictments

The rich just aren’t having as much fun as they used to and they blame Bush.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association announced that yacht sales in 2007 suffered their largest decline in more than a decade.

Luxury jeweler Tiffany reported a 19% drop in profits for the last quarter of ’07.

Minks and sables are being offered at 40% discount by desperate retailers.

High end real estate values are plunging. “Upscale foreclosures are a growing trend,” says Florida real estate consultant Jack McCabe . In bubble markets like Las Vegas, Miami and Orange County California, mansions are being abandoned…”This is just the tip of the iceberg,” McCabe says.

Domestic discord is suddenly roiling the lives of the rich.

A survey reported in the Economist predicted an “upsurge” in divorces among “high-earners” in the major financial centers. Wives are hurrying to dissolve marriages to lock in big settlements before their husbands’ fortunes are wiped out. Both parties will want to sell community property–houses, cars, boats–before they lose value.

Out of a job, facing indictment, their houses gone, their wives frolicking with the pool man, these angry plutocrats know who to blame—George W. Bush.

All of the Bush schemes have backfired.

The price of oil has increased 1000% since his 2001 inauguration and oil companies have consistently declared higher profits every quarter of his presidency. But the trillions spent in Iraq and the fallout from the credit crisis have devalued the US dollar, diluting their profits. In addition the price of gasoline has risen so high that the American consumer, known as “John Q. Sucker” in certain quarters, has stopped driving and is demanding alternate sources of energy. Big oil is stuck with a sudden surplus that nobody wants. Speculators are pricing oil at $70 a barrel oil by 2011.

The Bush Fed under Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan had a clever plan: lend money to “ninjas” (no income, no job all stars.) Then, when they defaulted in the booming real estate market, the banks would repossess a property worth more than its mortgage. But the market plunged, leading to foreclosures on worthless property, causing big losses to banks.

Hell hath no fury like a banker who can’t pay his greens fees or get his boat in the water for the club regatta.

Obama has sent discreet signals that he feels Corporate America’s pain. He has voted for tort reform and to protect telecoms against lawsuits by private citizens. He even floated a plan to give tax incentives to companies that kept jobs in the US.

The formerly fat cats have reciprocated with discreet contributions and clever sabotage . Their most brilliant move has been to invite Vice-president Cheney to address the GOP convention. The site of thousands of protesters being clubbed, maced and run down by mounted policemen will be broadcast instantaneously around the world and will doom McCain’s already faltering candidacy.

So don’t worry, Hopeful. Obama will win. He will help the merchant princes regain their regal status. And if you stay in your place and hold out your hand, you might catch a few crumbs as well.



Igor Yopsvoyomatsky

answers reader’s questions.

Dear Igor,
Dr. Zeesebrot, my bariatric surgeon, tells me that the oil companies created the obesity epidemic in this country. Is this paranoia or fact?
Gordito Colon,
Ilium, N. Dak.

Dear Gordito,

This is fact.

A study released last week by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) showed that 25.6% of the US population was obese, while up to 37% were grossly overweight.

This means that almost two out of three Americans cannot fit behind the wheel of an economy car and must continue to drive gas guzzling SUV’s.

The US has the lowest average fuel economy and the highest rate of obesity among the developed nations.

People are getting fatter and oil prices are going up.

This is not an accident.

In the wake of the Yom Kippur-Ramadan war of 1973, the Arab states declared an oil embargo to punish the United States for supplying arms and spare airplane parts to the Israelis. For months there were long lines at the pumps. Soon gasoline was not only expensive, it was unavailable. The price of oil shrank to $10 a barrel. The embargo had backfired.

The anti-Arab backlash spread to Congress. Weathervane politicians cried out for “energy independence.” Congress enacted CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) mandating minimum mileage standards for all automobiles sold in the US. Lobbyists managed to exempt pick ups and SUV’s, but the writing was on the wall: Detroit would have to build smaller, more economical cars. Oil companies would sell less gasoline.

Fat cat propagandists sprang into action. The Heartland Institute (funded by Exxon) and the Bradley Foundation (funded by Coors Beer) declared that smaller cars were more likely to be damaged in collisions, causing insurance premiums to increase. Both conclusions were contradicted by Government actuaries.

In a panic the Elders of Petroleum called a secret meeting. How could they stifle this sudden urge for conservation? They sat in stymied silence until a room service waiter piped up timidly:

“If the cars are getting smaller, why not make the people bigger?”

That was it!

“Brilliant!” they cried.

The waiter was immediately defenestrated to assure his silence.

A secret protocol was issued, creating an operation code-named “Strasbourg” for the geese that are force fed to produce foie gras.

“In order to expand the market for petroleum and its derivatives we will expand the waistlines of the American consumer,” the mission statement declared.

The best brains in the American universities were given research grants to come up with ideas.

The microwave oven, neglected since its invention in 1945, was put on a fast track for consumer use. Up until this point food preparation had involved calorie-burning effort. But the microwave allowed people to cook more food quicker and with less effort. According to British scientist, Dr. Jane Wardle: “the obesity epidemic began with the invention of the home microwave oven.”

Fast food franchises proliferated. Ranchers and farmers were paid huge subsidies to keep food prices down so the burgers and fries could be sold cheaply.

Children’s meals were insidiously larded to generate fat cells in the growing tots that would genetically lock in obesity even if they tried to diet in later life.

There was a “dopey me moment” in the scientific community when it was discovered that it took more energy to move greater weight.

A senior researcher, who preferred to be nameless for fear of retribution from diabetics, cardiac patients and sex-starved flabbies developed a “fat/fuel” metric in which he could neutralize every gain in fuel economy with a corresponding gain in consumer weight.

“Simply stated it means that a hundred and fifty pound man will burn one gallon of fuel for every thirty miles traveled, while a three hundred pound man will burn not two but three gallons,” said the researcher. And then gloated: “Even in a Prius…”

Airlines have found that the combined weight of their passengers is now so great they have to stop in Cincinnati to refuel.

Studies show a statistical correlation between the profits of the oil companies (Exxon alone made 51 billion this quarter) and the rise in the rate of diabetes.

“Let ‘em increase gas mileage,” the anonymous researcher told me. “We’ll just throw another slab of cheese on the Happy Meal.:.”


Igor Yopsvoyomatsky
answers readers questions.

Dear Igor,

Ahmed, my IT consultant, tells me that Jewish settlers are sending herds of wild pigs into Muslim East Jerusalem to terrorize the population and drive them from their homes. Is this Paranoia or Fact?
Arthur Treifler
Jambonia, Ohio

Dear Mr. Treifler,

This is fact.

But first a little background. The pig is an unclean animal to both Hebrews and Muslims, and has thus been a potent psychological weapon in their millennial struggle for control of Jerusalem. As far back as 586 BC it was a tradition for every conqueror of Jerusalem to let pigs rut among the sacred scrolls and artifacts of Solomon’s Temple. In 170 BC when the Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes put down the revolt of the Maccabees, he slaughtered a wild boar on the altar of the temple and demanded that the Hebrew soldiers eat it. They refused to do so without duck sauce and he had their hands, feet and tongues chopped off; then he scalped them and burnt them alive. In 70 AD, Roman soldiers besieging the fort of Masada during The Second Jewish Revolt roasted pigs on the backs of their catapults in history’s first recorded tailgate party. Driven mad by the smell of forbidden barbecue the starving Zealots committed mass suicide.

Muslims, too, have been victimized by what is known by scholars as The Porcine Paradox. The Koran states that Shaidi (jihadi martyrs) will ascend to paradise as soon as they have completed their task. But no Muslim who has any contact with a pig will be allowed through the gates of heaven.

As the ultimate insult, Russian troops wrapped the bodies of the Chechen rebels slain in the 2004 Beslan hostage crisis in pig skins.

In 1911, American General John “Black Jack” Pershing was fighting a force of juramentados or Moro Muslim rebels in the Phillippines. Informed of their pig taboo, he buried their dead in mass graves next to the carcasses of slaughtered pigs. Then, he beheaded the Moro leaders and wrapped the severed heads in pig skins, which he displayed on pikes outside his headquarters. Fearing for their souls many of the juramentados withdrew from the battle. But they were speedily replaced by a force known as amucks who didn’t care what happened to them as long as they killed some Yanquis.

Pig references abound in contemporary Muslim journalism. In an instructional DVD that has just gone platinum in the Arab world Jews are referred to a “sons of pigs and monkeys.”

Jews are also forbidden to have any contact with pigs. But an obscure cult known as the Chazerim has received a Kabbalistic dispensation from Madonna and Posh Spice, and has begun sneaking pigs into East Jerusalem.

They arrive early in the morning with the pigs hidden in minivans. With their long black coats, sidelocks and high fur hats they blend in easily with the Arab population. At nightfall they open their tailgates and the pigs running squealing down the narrow, winding streets, desecrating everything they touch. The residents must perform complicated rituals to cleanse themselves and their possessions.

Because of the prohibition against contact with pigs the East Jerusalemites have been unable to retaliate in kind against the equally porcinophobic Jews. Instead, they have sent crazed bulldozer drivers and female suicide bombers into West Jerusalem to terrorize the population and drive them from their homes.