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What do the ancient calendars really tell us?

MAYAN LONG-COUNT CALENDAR

This ancient astronomical calendar implies world oblivion next Friday because its latest cycle ends on Dec. 21, 2012. However, doubts about its authenticity were raised when a scientist studying its hieroglyphics leaned too close with a cell phone and discovered the symbols were simply a QR code advertisement for a mobile car wash.

INCAN REVERSE-MORTGAGE ACTUARIAL CALENDAR

This calendar actually runs backwards in 30-year installments. The Incan calendar ends a little later than the Mayan: Dec. 31, 2012. Since it’s a countdown calendar that expires on New Year’s Eve, you can party like it’s 0000. You won’t die when it ends, but your savings will run out and you’ll no longer own your home.

AZTECAN CHEESECAKE FOR CHARITY CALENDAR

A primitive but highly accurate calendar featuring risqué pictures of nubile virgins, each representing the month of the year they were sacrificed in a volcano. Raunchier versions of this calendar were unearthed in the ruins of chariot-repair shops, and there is also a rumored variant for women that features Aztecan firemen. This calendar was debunked, as it predicted the world would end when the supply of 19-year old virgins ran out. That happened in June 1982 and we’re all still here.

FLINTSTONES YABBA-DABBA-DO CALENDAR

This calendar chronicled the lives of an ancient, yet curiously advanced, society from a place called “Bedrock.” Here, inhabitants had developed crude, foot-powered cars and vacuum cleaners employing baby mammoths. This civilization was short-lived, but the Flintstone Calendar correctly predicted its demise on April 1, 1966. Only fragments of the calendar still exist, though marketing rights to vitamins and breakfast cereal survive right up to the present day.

GLEN A. MEEK