I happened to leave the country for a couple weeks, and while I was away Americans went gaga over … the tapir.
This is why I shouldn't leave you people unsupervised.
The market is obsessed with guessing when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering off its monthly purchases of bonds. That led to lots of jesting about the tapir, an animal that looks like some prehistoric cross between a pig and an anteater. Business Insider had a story on "11 Tapirs Who Are Worried About The Taper," a great excuse to post funny pictures of the beast. The caption for one particularly humorous photo read: "This tapir is worried that if economic weakness appears again, forcing the Fed to reverse its decision and increase the pace of its bond purchases, it could hurt the central bank's credibility." HILARIOUS.
But is the tapir really the right animal to represent the taper? No. By the looks of it, the tapir never eases up on much of anything.
Here are some better suggestions.
MOTHRA. The classic Japanese horror villain will ease out of its transformational cocoon and wreak havoc on the stock market. "The Fed will start to Mothra probably in September."
THE RATTLESNAKE. This animal eases out of its old skin and takes a venomous bite. "I think Bernanke is debating the best moment to start rattlesnaking."
THE CARPINCHO. Also known as the Capybara, this is the largest rodent in the world. @CJMendes suggested the animal as a better symbol of tapering than the tapir, tweeting, "A huge, friendly rat. Friendly, but still a rat."
THE SARLACC. This is that big living gaping hole thingy in Star Wars' "Return of the Jedi" that threatens to eat all of our heroes, including a scantily clad Princess Leia. The idea of swapping out the tapir for the sarlacc came from @j2lovesfriday, who says the creature makes a good symbol for tapering because it "slowly digests its prey (like our economy) while still alive over a long time." Hence, "Janet Yellen was overheard wondering, 'Once the Sarlacc starts, who knows how it will end?'"
THE SLOTH. "The market has waited for months for Fed Governors to make their first slothful move." (Hat tip to @DarylT.)
THE CICADAS. "Burrowing into the ground to be forgotten until 17 years later?" asks @jmp_nyc. Ah, good one. Does anyone remember a time before easing? "The markets are humming as the Fed emerged from a meeting to announce the cicadas have started."
THE ALIEN. This is my favorite. Remember the creature that burst out of John Hurt's chest in one of the scariest scenes in movie history from "Alien?" "Fed officials plan to start Alienating immediately." Or as @LanceRancid tweeted, "Who knows what 'good' is going to come out of a balance sheet that's 25 percent of GDP!"
In other news ...
PRANCERCISE GURU PRANCING TO THE BANK
God bless her. Joanna Rohrback's Prancercise craze shows no signs of tapering, and I hope she's making a killing. She's just been hired to prance to John Mayer's new music video, something she clearly does better than reading cue cards.
HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN ONE SECOND
The Chinese have perhaps created the best stalker-deterrent ever .. .leggings that make a woman look like she's got more hair than Ed Asner's back.
AMERICANS LOSE IN VIBRATOR WAR
Looking for a two-armed vibrator (and who isn't)? Well, you'd better head north of the border. The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that American distributors have violated Canadian patents for the "We-Vibe family of vibrators" described by patent owner Standard Innovation as "a global sensation." Wait, the company that makes a two-armed vibrator is named Standard Innovation? Obviously some new standards were established while I was away.
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: