The River

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Holiday Message From The World’s Oldest Curmudgeon ™

World’s Oldest here. A lot’s happened since last fall, as I’m sure you know. But you might not know why or how, so I’m gonna level.

That damn naïve interviewer went and published our conversation, the one where I basically said I was tired of this shit. What shit? Read the interview. Do I have to explain everything?

I mean, there’s a lot of it about, right? SOMEBODY is pissing you off right now, right? Somebody connected to the Bush Administration, perhaps? The boy wonder himself?

Makes you wanna rail, don’t it? Or maybe read some ranting fool. Well, sorry, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m not going to tell you there is no war on terrorism. Or that John Kerry is the worst kind of sellout. Because I’m not mad as hell anymore. And I AM taking it. Oh, yes. I’m taking it, cause they’re giving it.

Giving what? MONEY. M. O. N. E. Y. Yes sir, it’s hard to be curmudgeonly when you’re freaking rolling in it. And I am, dontcha know. Because, well, you know why, cause a them freakin people out there. Millions of ‘em.

See, that damn interview, which became an obscure blog post, started something. It was a galldarned Internet hit. "Fatigue" it was called. People basically said, “shit, he’s right.” Even bigshots like Atrios, Tom Tomorrow and Daily Kos blogged it. Atrios said he was tired too. He hung it up. His last post said, “The Sh*t." That was the title, hotlinked to "Fatigue." Then, "Chat away.” He hasn't been back, but the comments are now in the six digits.

That set off a firestorm in the blogospherical. I was loved and hated. Praised and slandered. No. 1 on blogdex.

What happened then was just one of those crazy confluences of events. A young marketing guy, lost in the bowels of a large corporation, bored and confused (God love ‘im), had been following the rise of the blogs. Naturally, he saw my infamous post. He found my number in the phone book. Yeah, I’m actually in there: Curmudgeon, T. W. O. Apparently, he was the only one who thought to look.

So he calls me up. He’s all excited. Says he has an idea. Says not much has jumped from blogland to the traditional media outlets. There have been some earnest but clueless attempts. Absolutely zero marketing acumen, he said. What we need is a brand, and you’re it.

I says, “wha?? Hold on there, padner.” He says, “haha. God, that’s perfect. If you weren’t real, I'd have to invent you.”

I says, “hey, I resemble that remark.” He laughs, but I cut him short: “I ain’t stupid, kid. I am the worlds oldest Curmudgeon.” He says, “I know, I know. And you’re tired of this shit. It’s a perfect tagline.”

I just about hung up then, but he said, “hear me out.” Then he started praising me, says I was brilliant, back before the net discovered me. He says I got in a rut, and that’s what “Fatigue” was really all about. Motherfucker was right, so I kept listening. He says it’s okay to be predictable sometimes. In fact, it’s what people want. He says he’s going to package my ass, sell the package. But of course, he made it sound better than that.

Fucker’s gonna go places.

I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, surely you’ve seen the commercials, the billboards, the text messages. You know the story by now. Probably wished you didn’t. Shit, I don’t know.

I hope there was something decent in my hit CD, “World’s Oldest Curmudgeon Hates Your Guts,” or my best-selling book, “The Curmudgeon Transcripts: Wit, Wisdom and Insults for a Troubled World.” I hope you can forgive the plush doll, the rumored movie deal (it’s true).

No, I don’t know why I’m telling you. You probably chalked me up as one more of life’s disappointments.

But see, I missed ya. That’s why I’m back here. And I owe you an explanation, don’t I?

Must be the freakin season, messin with my curmudgeonly nature.

No. The truth is, I’m not a curmudgeon anymore. I have every freakin reason to be, and so do you. But fuck it. Stay awake, sure, but don’t let the fuckers twist ya up. That’s all they care about, anyway, and you got better things to do. I’m sure about that.

Here’s to 2005. Don’t let it piss you off. But if you do, fer christ’s sake, get a book deal. It worked for me. Hehe.

Ah…I’m giddy now. Did ya ever think you’d hear mudge say that?

(shh. Don’t tell anyone.)

So, you know, merry holiday, happy new year and all that.

See ya in ’05. ‘mudged off, yeah, sure, maybe, on occasion. But smarter. I mean, shit, success just kinda pisses me off anyway. But ya know what, it aint' about that. It's about what I can do with the money. What WE can do with the money.

And besides, I wanna see what you crafty motherfuckers do. What you're gonna say, and what your ideas are. I still have hope. I do. Even the world’s oldest curmudgeon can be saved.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The insurgency strikes back

Having rushed into battle, reaching and overwhelming the blogspot server in record time, Harry now finds himself vulnerable to my next salvo, a link I've been saving for just such an occassion. When faced with a superior force, rebels bide their time...and so...thwooop!

The Meatrix

Info Akbar!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Half listening to a conference call today, I happened across

a UK web magazine and an excellent find not even Harry has discovered. ;-)

Very worthwhile, imho.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Chris Floyd: Global Eye

This type of clientage machine has now overspread American society like kudzu, choking off the natural growth of civic life and blocking out the light of truth. There are too many powerful people making too much money off a system of corporate rapine and military aggression to allow any reality or humanity into the equation. To keep the patronage flowing -- from the White House table right down to the convenience store cleaner dependent on his boss making money from the workers at a local weapons plant -- millions must pay ritual obeisance to the dolt at the apex.

Bush has refined this system by adding blood guilt to the mix; his supporters must believe in his righteousness and wisdom, or else they would have to admit their own complicity in mass murder based on deliberate deception.


Did I tell you Lockheed Martin called me for an interview? I turned 'em down. I have some principles.

And you thought this was fiction:

Wealth Bondage hires a speech writer

(a riff on the good cop, bad cop dynamic of Wealth Bondage players Smokey Joe and Captain Blowtorch.)

Smokey Joe: Has he been softened up?

Captain Blowtorch: Yeah, had him under flourescent lights 40 hours a week, sittin in bumper-to-bumper another eight. Gray cube. Standard, really, but usually effective.

SJ: Ok...(affecting the royal page voice) bring in the prisoner. (In comes Bruce, moving stiffly in the unaccustomed three-piece suit, but trying to be nonchalant.)

Ah, Bruce, is it? Hello, welcome to WB Industries. Smoky Joe.

Bruce: Hi. (shakes Joe's extended hand). Nice to meet you. Hey, this is a nice place. Was that Italian marble in the lobby? How do you get these chairs to roll with such plush carpet?

SJ: Heh, heh. We manage. So, Bruce, I guess you know that you were head-hunted. Cigar?

Bruce: Uh..sure.

(Smoky Joe hands Bruce an expensive cigar, whips out gold-plated zippo with embossed "WB" logo, fires his up, hands lighter to Bruce. Bruce lights his cigar, starts to hand lighter back to Joe, who waves it away.)

SJ: Keep it.

Bruce: (after coughing uncontrollably for several minutes). uh, yeah, head-hunted. You need a speech writer.

SJ: Ahem...yeah, our company is spreading rapidly across the globe, but there are a lot of fires that need to be put out, in a variety of creative ways. Legally, I've got it covered...

Bruce: Really? I keep hearing rumors of ethics violations. I think even the Wall Street Journal has mentioned it. With so much heat right now, I was surprised you were hiring.

SJ: (cell phone rings) Sorry....yeah? yeah, I know. Okay. Yeah...Bruce, I have an emergency. I'll be back, but I want you to meet our head of HR, Captain Blowtorch.

(SJ takes leave, shooting Bruce a wink and a thumbs up. In comes Blowtorch)

Capt. (slips behind desk): So...ahem...(looking critically at papers) you think you're WB material?

Bruce: Uh...Joe hasn't really gotten into the particulars...but I guess that's what we're here to find out.

Capt.: You think so? What do you think you're going to find out? Who sent you here?

Bruce: You called me.

Capt.: Who called you?

Bruce: Somebody named Phil something.

Capt.: I don't know any Phil. What do you really want?

Bruce: Just opportunity.

Capt.: To do what? To further your liberal agenda?

Bruce: What?

Capt.: Are you or have you ever been a liberal?

Bruce: I'm a speech writer! what is this all about?

Capt.: You're the speech writer. You tell me.

Bruce: I'm just looking for a better job.

Capt.: Do you think a better job would be undermining our corporate goals?

Bruce: What!? Why would I do that?

Capt.: If you're in a situation where you see someone breaking the law, tell me how you would handle it.

Bruce: If it was minor, I'd let it slide. If it was major, I'd complain to my cube neighbor.

Capt.: Would you publicize your objections?

Bruce: (shit, do they know about my blog?) No, just, you know, bitch a little at lunch and stuff.

Capt.: So you wouldn't join in the fun?

Bruce: What fun?

Capt.: Do you listen to Rush Limbaugh?

Bruce: uh..yeah, I have before.

Capt.: And....?

Bruce: And?

Capt.: He's the only member of the liberal media who tells it like it is. Him and Fox.

Bruce: Uh huh.(jesus, they better pay really well).

Capt.: Why do you hate corporate America?

Bruce: Huh?

Capt.: Just tell me.

Bruce: I don't.

Capt.: (cracking knuckles) It's best if you just admit it.

Bruce: Because of assholes like you! (knocking over potted plant, kicking chair over, flinging papers at Blowtorch, who sits impassively) There's no limit to what you'll do. It's horrifying! What gives you the right? Why won't you leave me in peace?

Capt.: (shuffling papers) Calm down, Bruce. I think I know all I need to know now. (he leaves Bruce standing amidst the wreckage. Bruce finally uprights his chair and sits. After a few minutes, Joe returns.)

SJ: Hey Bruce. Sorry about that. That Capt. Blowtorch...huh? Don't worry, our compensation packages blow away your current employer's.

Bruce: (staring at now unlit cigar remarkably still in his hand as if he were about to enjoy a leisurely puff. For the first time notices gold and red label, the texture of the tobacco leaves) You're going to hire me, huh?

SJ: Yep. Listen, It's going to be fine. I'll show you the ropes. You'll meet Limbaugh. He's hilarious. You're really going to like it here. With my connections and your wordsmithing, we can do anything.

Bruce: (looks up): That's what I'm afraid of.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Why Do We Blog?

Can't dance and it ain't Christmas.

Frank Paynter has the scoop.