100 Years of Blogging Dangerously

Gather ‘round me youngsters, and I’ll tell you a wee tale from old timey-time. You might even call it a legend, ‘cause it’s the story 'bout how your great-great-grandpappy became the blogger known ‘round these parts at that Mighty Toy Cannon.

Before I git started, one of you tykes might just top up my glass there. Don’t be stingy now. Fill it up to the top and plop another one of those olives in there. Oh yes indeedy! That’s what I call tasty. Okay, simmer down now and pay attention.

It was the long, hot summer of 2008 as I remember it. I wasn’t doin’ nothing what amounted to anything. I was just a lost soul sitting outside of the social network peering in through the window like a hungry dog lookin’ at a pork chop. Everybody those days was startin’ to blog and facebook and twitter and twatter, and all kinds of crazy things they was doing. I could hardly keep up with it all. It was just one big mess of intercommunicating that would raise hackles on the head of a hoarhound in heat. You see, we was all learnin’ to get along without having to look each other in the face.

One day that fellow you know as Uncle Jeffy sent me what we used to call an e-mail message. The “e” stood for “electrozimbonic,” and it was the way we used to talk to each other. That was the time right before holographic iBrain implants made communicating as simple as sayin’ “Howdy do?” to your neighbor. Nowadays y’all are used to communicatin’ using jes’ your brain waves. Back then we had to flap our lips or use our fingers to make words.

Well, I remember that July day when Uncle Jeffy (we called him Culture Jock) sent a message to a mess of us that read, “Hey. I need some help making this here Culture Shock blog more interesting and entertaining.” There was another word he used--it’ll come to me in jes’ a second-- provocatitious? I’m not sure if that’s right, but it’ll have to do for now.

Ol’ Culture Jock asked, “Would you be willin’ to lend a hand?” He said it would be like an old-timey barn-raising. The way he told it, we’d all pitch in and drink lemonade and eat biscuits when we was done. Everybody else … I forget their names now … jumped in right away, but I was naturally skeptical. You might have even called me dubious.

Well, I said to Culture Jock right off, “What the heck would I have to say ‘bout anything?”

Right back at me, he said, “Go on! You say interesting things all the time! Everybody says so, they do.”

Then I said to him, “What if I want to stay 'nonymous ‘cause I don’t want nobody finding me out and learning my secrets?” I didn’t really have secrets, but we had this thing called “privacy” that we used to let our heads worry ‘bout back then.

Just like that, he answered, “Heck. You could just make up some crazy old name and nobody would ever know the difference.”

So I threw one last thing at him: “What if I get in one of my moods for weeks at a time and jes’ stop writin' anything?”

You see, that was a time when this old fellow you're listenin' to had important work to do. There was grants that had to be written and arts that needed to be administrated. That was before the Council of Overlords passed the Oxygen Tax on Breathing, givin’ us a dedicated funding source for all the artistic and cultural stuff you now enjoy for free. Nowadays, if you’re born a Creative, you get all kinds of special mollycoddling, and you live the life of Goldman Sachs, looking down on regular people from atop your highrise units over at the South Waterfront Protective Compound. Back then, we was underappreciated and never got squat from nobody.

These days, things are good as pudding for artists, that’s for sure. I still regret that we couldn’t stop the robots from replacing human actors though. That was the one battle in the Great Culture War we lost. I gotta admit, after that happened, theater got more … what’s the word? … consistent. But we still have the ballet!

Anyways … where’d that martini shaker git to? Pass it over here quick, ‘cause I’m starting to feel parched with all this story-tellin’. Ahh, now that’s what I call a pleasing refreshment!

As I was saying, it took a bit of jawing, but Culture Jock finally convinced me to give it a go. “Don’t worry about writing posts on any kind of reg’lar schedule,” he said, “Nobody ever keeps up with blogging! Shoot, most bloggers give up once they realize nobody out there gives a hoot what they got to say.”

I guess that must have convinced me 'cause the next thing you know, I done posted something! My very first blog post. Jes’ like that, I was on the Internet Highway plying my trade as a gol’darned blogger by the handle of Mighty Toy Cannon.

By the end of that very first year of blogging, I had published 168 posts on Culture Shock, not to mention another 42 on a darn site of my very own, Mighty Toy Cannon (which I named after myself on account of it was all mine). I was as hot as a meth house on fire with a basement filled with kerosene! I could scarcely believe how much time I was wasting writin’ up some of that crazy stuff most every night. Lookin’ for the pictures to go with every post was half the fun! Lord knows, I was pleased to use that word “published” all the time, ‘cause it sounded so awfully important and all.

Those were good times back then. We was all posting things left and right and willy-nilly. Sometimes we got all serious and grim about topics, especially when some politician was actin’ bat-shit crazy. Some called us high-and-mighty and smug, on account of us tellin’ folks how things ought to be. You woulda thought we were in charge of the world! And you know what? We shoulda been, dammit!

Other times, we was jes’ a bunch of cut-ups, jokin’ around, trying to make people laugh and forget their troubles. We was bustin' people up like they was chifferobes! Lord knows, them was troubled times back then. People wanted a good laugh and we gave them what they needed!

I know, I know. Truth be told, we didn’t have a clue in heaven what our Followers wanted or liked. Most times they just read things and kept real quiet, like hidin' in the woods from a grizzly bear when your hands is full of fish heads dipped in honey. When that happens, you try not to jerk fast so as not to be noticed any more than you already are. But we knew they were there.

We always figured our brilliant writing had them readers cowed. That’s right, I said it, they was cowed by our extraordinary show of intellect. Every darn one of them readers wanted to comment, you know they did. But did they? No! They was scared to say nothin’ on account of we set the bar so goddamned high! I know it’s a grievous sin to be prideful, and I expect I’m gonna burn in hellfire and all, but it’s gotta be said before everyone forgets what it was like back then!

No, I’m not cryin’ sonny boy; I just got a piece of dust up in my eyeball. Which one is you anyway? Little Baby Cannon the Third? That’s sweet. Now why don’t you just get me a little more ice while you’re up and about. Might as well pass that bottle over too. That’s a good boy.

Now where was I? Oh, sure there was some posts I’d just as soon forget. Some of them still sneak up and haunt me now and again, makin’ me wonder what the heck I was thinking. But, other posts still make me kind of prideful to this very day, I have to admit in all modesty.

Pretty soon, me and my Culture Shock pals were startin’ to draw a little attention to ourselves. People were even admittin’ in public that they were Followers. Every now and then, other respectable folks would notice and comment about the crazy things we wrote.

You want to know who? Well, for example, people like those brainy guys at Art Scatter. They said a thing or two now and then.
You don’t know who I’m talking about? Well they were those fellows what won the Pulitzer Prize for Excellence in Cultural Blogging ‘round about 2022, the year Culture Shock was disqualified due to the Incident.
Yeah, that’s right-- they're the folks whose heads are on display down at the old Memorial Coliseum Museum and Fun Time Center. Why that Barry Johnson fellow was the last journalist left at the Oregonian when it was finally sold to the owner of the Pyongyang Gazette. Barry once wrote that one of my book reviews was the “best book review of the year” back in '09. Now I’ll grant you he wrote that after the year was but a week or two old, but it sure was a nice thing to say and he didn't have to go doing that.

Now quit all that wiggling or you’re gonna knock over my beverage and there’ll be hell to pay! I’ll be done soon enough and you can go back to gathering up sticks and twigs.

Pretty soon, more people knew me as Mighty Toy Cannon than by the name my folks bestowed on me at my birth. They was callin’ me things like “MTC” and “Toy Cannon.” Sometimes they’d mash it all up together as “mightytoycannon” and sometimes I'd called myself “MTCannon.” I’d be walking down the street and people would shout, “Yo! It’s the Cannon!” and give me the thumbs-up (when people still had thumbs), and they’d say, “I liked that post you posted!” I’d tip my hat and go on my way, holding my chin up a little bit prouder.

Well I tell you, that first year of blogging was something else. Some credit my series of "Election Countdown" music video posts in October of that year for having put Barack Obama over the top in that final election. Others say we were doling out hope at a time when hope and a million shares of General Motors wasn't enough to buy you a shot of Stumptown coffee.
I still have a hard time believing how quickly that first anniversary came around. You know what’s ironic? The traditional gift for a first anniversary used to be paper! You kids don’t even know what paper is, do you? That goes to show you something.

Shoot, at times that year seems to have flown by just about as fast as it took for Major League Soccer to fail in Portland! Other times, I remember it going as slow as being stuck in a hovercar on the 48-lane Nike River Crossing and Cyclocross Bridge to Vancouver before the Great Reckoning severed our relationship with our northerly neighbors.

You want to know what happened after that first year of blogging at Culture Shock?
Well, we’ll just have to save that for another time. I’m startin’ to think this glass isn’t going to fill itself. Skedaddle you little muskrats! Give this old man some time to think his thoughts by hisself.


Sharon said...

A whole year already! Congratulations. Your posts have certainly enriched my life. Tonight I'll be dreaming about fish heads dipped in honey. Keep 'em coming, MTC!

TDA said...

Congrats Mr. Cannon. It's been quite a year. I admire your longevity and also your brevity and hope to RSS you to infinity.

Unknown said...

You're lookin' right perky in that photo, MTC!

I eagerly await your recollectin' of the unfortunate Incident of '22.

Miss Laura said...

Only a year? I don't believe it. Because you're such a wise old cuss. Whenever my current first husband chuckles with the glow of the screen in his face, I just say, "MTC again?" Here's to a right fine many more -- wisedoms (sic), chuckles and blog years.

MightyToyCannon said...

Aw, shucks. While I appreciate being admired for longevity and brevity, my goal for this next year is perspicacity.

Bob, without spoiling the future: “The Incident” refers to Culture Shock’s successful foiling of Mayor for Life Randy “Great Leader” Leonard’s plan to relocate Portlandia from the Portland Building to the ninth hole of the International Mini-Golf League (IMGL) Championship Putt Putt Course that had just built in the Lents Neighborhood at a cost of 125 billion Baracks. Our strident opposition earned us a year of virtual house arrest starting in spring of 2022, and disqualified us from international journalism awards for the next five years. Fortunately, the MacArthur Genius people continued to give us our annual grant during that dark period.

Unknown said...

Culture Shock.
Future Shock.
Future History.
MacArthur Grant.

I think you're on to something here ...

Unknown said...

have another shot o' whiskey, there, MTC...

Stephen said...

Why...when I was your age, I walked 6 miles to my computer, so that I could post in my new fangeled BLOG, & I was glad to have a BLOG... not like you kids today with your tattoos & your Facebook pages!