The River

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Funny stuff

Lohmann told me about this Internets test on your sense of humor. It's not bad as these things go. Here's my result. See link at the end of this info to get your own humor profile.

(PS, I adored The Office, BBC original version)


your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

The 3-Variable Funny Test!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Forgive me, for I have sinned

First of all, thanks to Frank for pointing out how much my blog sucks. But we knew that already. I am a sinner. I have sinned often and I have sinned hard. But now, thanks to Pinyo’s The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging, perhaps I can find a way out of this pit.

Ok, time for a painful accounting.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging

Posted by Pinyo on GreatNexus Webmaster Blog

1. Using Free Blog Hosting Services


I have nothing against free blog hosting services like Blogger, Live Journal, or TypePad. If you are doing it just for fun, or just want to give blogging a try, these services are highly recommended. For those of us that take blogging a little more seriously, I think it is essential to run a good blog software with your own domain name and professional hosting.

(Hmmm, I’m doing it for fun and I take it very seriously. Perhaps this is the root of my problem?)

2. Ignoring the Basic Principles of Good Web Site Design and Usability

(Bzzt. Form over content. THAT, my friend, is a sin.)

It really doesn’t matter if you do everything right, if the first thing a user sees is a badly designed site in neon colors cluttered with flashing graphics and laced with background music they will leave.

(My site design is pretty clean. Some would say boring and cookie cutter to the point of offensiveness – Jeneane – but it is clean, you have to give me that. I think I have avoided sin on this one. 50-50. Half saint, half sinner. I can live with that.)

3. Being the Jack Of All Trades

(But that’s who I AM!)

Blogging is very much like magazine publishing. Have you seen a sport magazine featuring Thanksgiving recipes or comparing the top ten baby strollers? I don’t think so. People read blog because they are interested in a particular subject. If your blog does not focus on a subject, a person, or a thing — then you risk hurting your blog popularity.

(Have you seen a progressive magazine that covers politics, pop culture, personal reflection, if not anguish, parenting foibles, voices of the dispossessed, and the general funkiness of the Web? Probably not, but wouldn’t it be cool if you did? I think my readers, Baldassare, Frank and Ray, can answer that question.)

(I don’t subscribe to a belief system that says being who you are is a sin. So this is a N/A on the sinometer. Still batting a safe and sane 50-50.)

4. Not Posting Regularly

(Blogger forgive me!)

My rule of thumb is to publish at least one post per day — more if possible. Without a regular publishing schedule, it is very hard to establish loyal readers. Beside, I found that the more I post, the more traffic I get.

(I’ve found the more I post, the more typos I get, and apparently, that’s not just me. But seriously, as soon as somebody pays me to do it, then I’ll start treating blogging as another day at the office. Until then, I will just privately castigate myself for committing the – yes, admitted – sin of posting irregularly.)

(I’m slipping, the devil has me by the heel. Then again, baseball players do quite well batting 300. Whether or not they are living cleanly, I can’t say, however.)

5. Publishing Badly Written Posts

(If Baldassare, Ray and Frank are discerning gentlemen, then I get a passing grade on this one. If they are merely rubberneckers too fascinated to look away, well…)

I am not saying that you have to be top-notch and write like William Shakespeare or JK Rowlings. I am not saying that you have to be a top-notch writer, or internationally renowned like William Shakespeare or JK Rowlings [but it helps]. In order to attract readers and build credibility, your writing has to be decent…below is a quick checklist:

Your writing clearly and effectively convey thoughts and ideas
Your writing has minimal grammatical and spelling errors
Your writing has good structure and flow
Also, if you are stating facts and statistics in your post, make sure the information is well researched.

(Sounds like good advice for an annual report.)

(Assuming the best about Baldassare, Frank and Ray, back to 500 and glory bound!)

6. Spamming and Stealing

(why, I never!)

To be successful at blogging, you need more than a good site and great writing. [This job is getting to be more a drag with each passing commandment.] Unless you are already exceptionally well known, success in the Blogosphere is all about networking and community. [Been there done that.] Do not try something that would hurt your reputation and relationship with the blogging community [been there, done that].

(20 years of schooling and they put you on the blogshift.)

(Failing to see how this whole sin thing is working for me.)

7. Failing to Establish a Personality

(Hey, sometimes it takes a while, gimme another few years.)

There are a lot of blogs out there, therefore you need to establish a personality. You cannot succeed as another John Doe Blogger, because readers can read the other million John Doe’s Blogs. These are some of the easy things that you can do immediately to establish a personality.

(Break the first six rules I’ve just posted. Fold, spindle and mutilate them. Put them back together the way YOU think they can best guide you.)

(Day of reckoning: three sins, two righteous acts, one don’t know, and one N/A. Jesus, that makes me look almost human or something. So, I guess I’m back where I started, with the same damn dilemma. Embrace my humanity and fall to the lower ranks with Baldassare, Frank and Ray for company, or follow the rules and elevate The River to a strong brand, a marketable product, ads, wealth, success…)

(Or perhaps there is a third way…Baldassare, Frank, Ray, stay tuned.)

Monday, November 28, 2005

From the Bureau of Public Secrets

on to page 2

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mountain of my misgiving's the old idea of man creating his gods and, shortly thereafter, proceeding to kill them. That's why they wanted Willard to stay once he'd done Kurtz. The whole journey upriver has been a descent into life itself. Life without the constructs of the civilized society we need if we're to survive. Civilization is the military boat and the river is life. Shit, at some point Willard tells one of his guys, "Never get out of the boat. Absolutely God damn right. Unless you were going all the way. Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole fuckin' program." How's that, eh? Nails my analogy to the mast as it were. It goes back to the insanity of all those left to survive when thrown beyond the pale of civilized norms and values. The guys at the bridge and the guys in the boat blowing away the sampan family. The freaks in Kurtz's camp... they were all behaving like teenagers on drugs. Golding's Lord of the Flies. They'd lost it. Their heads were cooked."

"So what's the answer?"

"Stay on the boat or accept Kurtz's fate."

"Which was death."

"Yeah, but only because he asked for it."

"Are you asking for it?"

"That's a 'dumb analyst' question Steve and you know it. Of course not. But it doesn't change my reality. You look at my story of my frigate. I served the South African apartheid state by serving on that thing. I felt the mundane and the ordinary in the messes and the communications room and on the bridge. But I loved being at sea. Not in the sea, because that's where we come from and go back to, but on the sea, sailing it, savoring it, feeling it, learning it, appreciating it. Not 'understanding it'. We can't. '...while each wave or swell is different, the sea has no face. It is impassive, indifferent, emotionless."

"You said that."

"You read my blog?"

"Heh.... So it was a good thing then, serving in the navy?"

"Only in the sense that I survived it. It's an analogy. You know what happened to that ship? Six years after I served on her, she and everything she represented, the state, apartheid, total onslaught, idiocy, capitalism versus communism, white versus black, and reason versus unreason, went to the bottom of the ocean. As I said, she took sixteen sailors with her. We had her in dry dock once and that was quite an experience. My old man told me how, when he first saw the Sphinx during the Western Desert Campaign, it was up to its neck in sand. Well, they dug it out and there it was, the crowning glory of a civilization several thousand years old. I looked at that frigate in the dry dock, long, sleek, battle-gray and mean, and I thought, 'Yeah, that's two thousand years of Western civilization.' Think about it, it's not a clueless observation."

-- Mike Golby


Full steam ahead?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm wearing this on my chest right now, on a white t-shirt under a maroon cotton jersey sweater. At work. I feel like Super Fractal Man. I've accomplished more this morning than the first three days of the week combined.

I might have to get a series of these t-shirts, one for every day of the week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Prick up your ears

Mudge, who likes to say he is a niche unto himself, digs the Guardian article called Silent Protest, pointed to by his good friend Mike Golby.

The article says the best rock-n-roll is coming out of China, by somebody named Cui Jian (while Golby says the best writing is coming out of France by somebody named Madame Levy).

"Cui's lyrics are often bitter, filled with repressed angst but nevertheless humorous. His songs are often of a critical nature with a political overtone." That's according to a no-name U.S. citizen in San Diego, California, who is "almosthappy."

Now Mudge is dreaming of a possible Stupidity of Hubris/Cui Jian world tour.

Keep on rockin in the free world

Friday, November 11, 2005

Master bluesmen practicing their craft

Mudge wishes he had written all of the songs on this album:

Click for the lyrics!

Dave Alvin and James McMurty remind Mudge that two guitars and drums make powerful music, especially when combined with uncommon songcraft and outstanding lyrics.

Nothing childish about it

Harmonica is good too/ Junior Wells - early '70s

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ring Them Bells

By Bob Dylan

Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams,
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
Cross the valleys and streams,
For they're deep and they're wide
And the world's on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride.

Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow,
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know.
Oh it's rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow.

Ring them bells Sweet Martha,
For the poor man's son,
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one.
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep.

Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf,
Ring them bells for all of us who are left,
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through.
Ring them bells, for the time that flies,
For the child that cries
When innocence dies.

Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room,
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom.
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they're breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong.

For Frank, and what he said yesterday.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Can't stop the music

What’s up World’s Oldest Curmudgeon?

I’m not angry anymore. I’m not curmudgeony either.

You!? Not angry? You’re going to lose your brand identity!

Yes! I want and need to desperately. I’ve become this two-dimensional media creation, yah know, with my Atrios-endorsed Internet hit and my subsequent book and movie deals. It happens to anyone and anything that enters media discourse.

Anything? Even basic things like food and water and government and stuff?

Conservative Republican Bush, Liberal Democrat Dean, Saint Mother Teresa, Idaho Potatoes, Dasani.

What about art?

Avant Garde, Modernist, Post-Modern, Romantic, Nihilist, Found, Primitive.

OhhKaaaayyyy. But you’re not angry about any of that?

Sometimes you have to just let it go. Tremendous freedom in that.

Isn’t “freedom” just another 2D label?

I like you, kid. Interviewers have to be dumb, dumb, dumb, and you’ve got it down.

My heart’s in the right place, though. My subjects sense that intuitively.

You ain’t stupid, kid. I sense that about you.

But I am tired of this shit.

What shit?

Nothing. Catch phrase that’s already fallen off the radar.

Right! Good! I almost forgot. Heehee.

Mudge, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you chortle.

Freedom’s all about chortling, kid.

So you’re on a freedom kick?

Well, yeah. “The World’s Oldest Curmudgeon” was anything but. I finally realized that.

So what, or who, are you now?

Same as ever.

Well then, what are you up to these days?

Heh, heh. I’ve been waiting for you to ask. And this is about the right time, after you’ve established a little rapport and set the scene so to speak. Pop and rock musicians do that with their albums, they wait until the third cut to hit you with really good material.

Hmm. Yeah, I guess so. Where’d that come from?

I’m cutting an album.

Oh jeez. You’re kidding. I thought you’ve had it with the media circus.

Kid, kid, kid. There is a way out. It’s called rock-n-roll.

C’mon, mudge. It’s dead, like everything else.

I’m gonna start calling you “World’s Youngest” you ain’t careful.

I didn’t even know you had a band.

Yep. Like James McMurtry, we tour so we can make albums and we make albums so we can tour. So it’s kinda underground, do it yourself. You either get it and come out or you don’t.

So what do you sound like?

20 cats in a bag, over which I sing like a cow with its leg caught in the fence. But on a good night, people have seen the Psychedelic Furs, Stan Ridgeway, PJ Harvey, The 13th Floor Elevators, and Warren Zevon.


We do Carmelita. Oh yeah, and James McMurty, ‘cause we play We Can’t Make it Here Anymore. As a friend of mine said, “somebody finally said something.” But go see him if you get the chance. He’s doing what we do, only better.

Where do you play?

Bars, man! Where else? This is rock and roll! Oh, and the occasional cavernous industrial space with colorfully painted walls and art hanging everywhere.

So what’s the name of the band?


Yeah. We mean it, man. We got this logo on stickers, we slap it everywhere. You know when you’re at a Stupidity of Hubris show. And when you’ve left one, you know you’ve seen somethin. At least I hope so. I hope the stars shine a little more fiercely, the air tastes a bit sweeter, and the next day you call in sick and have a picnic with some loved ones, or prowl a bookstore or somethin.

Have you thought about offering those stickers for sale, as a bumper sticker?

Yes! And we have different versions, some of which are a spoof on the “Power of Pride” bumper stickers, which is what inspired our name. Check ‘em out:

Cool, those last couple should make the wingnuts blind with rage.

I just want 'em to go home and look up "hubris."

You know, Mudge. Others have had this idea.

Good! Remember, kid, freedom. Defending ownership sucks, take it from me. So...are they any good?

Well, there's

from slapnose. And..

From Irregular Goods

Not bad. But I still like my stickers, designed by my special friend, Baldassare Costiglione.

You guys are weird.

Yes indeed, youngster. As Bob Dylan said, may you staaaay-ay-ay, forever weird. Might have to add that one to the set list, give it the Psych Furs treatment. Play it loud.

Coming soon to a dive near you

Friday, November 04, 2005

Me: Just a burnout dude trying to make his way in a world that makes no sense.

Friend: Yep

IMs from the workplace


A promotion

Me: I got the job.
Co-worker: Congratulations! You deserve it.
Me: I never feel deserving, but I am grateful.
Co-worker: You kill me.
Me: What can I say? I was raised Catholic


A raise

Me: I got a raise!
Friend: Cool!
Me: They said 15 percent. I said, “I can’t cry about that.”


Cross-organizational support

Co-worker: Thanks!
Me: np
Co-worker: I appreciate you doing that for me.
Me: We’re too busy and too siloed, but we can’t let that stop us, can we?



Me: Troublemaker!
Co-worker: I know. I’ll shut up now.
Me: I hope you never do.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hooray for

Next we have the tremendous hype about the coming apocalyptic bird flu. It's making headlines all over the world, pushing away other, more embarassing headlines. And it's spiking my "Conspiro-Meter"™ too.

For one thing, it's obviously fear inducing, which is always a good way to get people thinking and talking about something else. And they're really pulling out all the stops, too, making it sound like some kind of impending biological terrorist attack from Ma Nature herself. (It also serves to accustom people to the idea that they and their loved ones might succumb to the random and heartless vicissitudes of a modern plague originating from birds instead of rats or some underground lab... So if you want to live you'll need to trust Dear Leader to tell you what to do.)

It also has the wonderful side effect of shooting up the stock prices of the Big Pharma companies charged with creating enormous stockpiles of these unproven vaccines. One can't help but wonder what kind of investments BushCo and cronies have in these companies. Ever heard of "peak oil"? Somehow, coincidentally, oil companies are currently registering "peak profits". Remember the run on duct tape a few years ago? How about all those billions that went to Katrina? or Iraq? Where'd that money go? These guys are brilliant at manipulating the media for PR campaigns that induce flash panics, all of which pours money from taxpayers into their own coffers. It's guerilla marketing in hyperdrive, a more finessed and potent version of what Hollywood does to program the public to attend some movie's opening weekend.

-- Inspector Lohmann

In a related development:
US oil giant Exxon Mobil has posted a quarterly profit of $9.9 billion, the largest in US corporate history

File it under Highway

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Holy $#%@, it's Harry *Reid*

Well, now we know why former "scratchings" author Harry left us. It was time to make a move in his professional life.

I thought he would have chosen a more discreet nom de plume, but he always was a gutsy one.

This would also account for the prodigious creativity and output. I mean, I need a creative outlet from my mainstream career too, but I'm sure it doesn't compare to the pressure Harry must have felt. Whew.

Well, until now, that is. Give 'em hell, Harry.

(this also adds a whole new dimension of pathos to the "fecklessness" posts, in particular. I'm sorry, Harry, but your rehabilitation looks to be underway. I know I'm inspired.)

A moment of concentration before Harry lets fly with another brilliant post, March 10, 2005; only his closest advisors, such as the woman to his left, knew what his "internet research" entailed.

(whine) Why didn't anybody tell me this template isn't what the cool kids are using?(/whine)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

This is a public service announcement -- with guitar!
You have the right to free speech...

I've been remiss. I haven't told my loyal readers that they can tune into the blues every morning, Monday through Friday, from 6-10 a.m. EST simply by clicking this logo:

Radio Free Georgia

and then further clicking on the "Listen Live" logo on the lefthand side of the WRFG page.

I just made my bi-annual pledge to the fine folks who provide this non-commercial, progressive community voice for the Atlanta area.

You might find it interesting. It's an eclectic mix bound to appeal to lovers of the folk voice -- and music -- often found on blogs and other obscure but vibrant corners of society.

Atlanta community radio volunteer airshifters receive the 2005 W. C. Handy Keeping the Blues Alive Award