Tag Archives: curmudgeon

Curmudgeon’s Pub


I don’t get out much.  Why should I since all is do is complain about what I encounter?  I got to thinking that, lazy soul that I am, why don’t I get the complaints to come to me?

So I decided to start a pub.  What could be more patriotic in the US of A than a good, old-fashioned European pub?


But a pub needs a pub sign and I need your help.  Boy, do I need your help.

I wrote a previous post about clever London Pub Signs.  Plagiarism never stopped me in the past but I think that – with your help – I can produce a set as good or better than those.  Here’s one seen on a pub sign in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Here are my pitiful efforts:








Yeah, they suck.  Can you do better?  I certainly think so.  Please help an old curmudgeon.

What would you put on the Curmudge’s Pub sign?

I Wouldn’t Change a Thing…

When I look back at my varied and checkered life and career, I find that, despite all my complaints, I wouldn’t change a thing.



Except for that time as a youngster when my dad was enlarging a hole with his power drill and I decided to stick my finger in the other side of the hole.

And except for that time that I went with friends into a construction site, fell and knocked out my front teeth.

And the time I rode my bicycle too fast, slipped and broke my foot.

And the time that I missed out on asking out that good-looking girl in high school because I knew she wouldn’t go out with me only to find out later that she liked me.

And not buying Berkshire-Hathaway stock when it was $50 a share, or Apple when it was $4.

Or not taking that acceptance at an Ivy League college because..  I don’t what idiocy kept me from that one.

Or deciding to change jobs because the offer was too good to be true and, as it turned out, WAS too good to be true.

When we think that one little change would make such a significant difference, we assume that it would be for the better. That shattered finger that kept you from being a concert pianist may, in fact, have kept you from being a miserable concert pianist and prevented you from having the success you did achieve (assuming that you did achieve a modicum of success.  If not, it kept you from greater failure.)  As George Bailey found out in It’s a Wonderful Life, even one little change has big consequences.

Dean Acheson took the title of his book Present at the Creation from a quote of Alphonso the Wise, a 13th century king of Spain, who said “Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.” I doubt that the Almighty would ask a curmudgeon for useful hints on the better ordering of the universe but it would not be bad to ask for a rewind button.

Just a simple button to make no into yes.  Or take a right turn instead of a left.

But who knows what that one little change means.  No, no, I’ll leave things just as they are…

Except for that time as a youngster when my dad was enlarging a hole with his power drill and I decided to stick my finger in the other side of the hole.

And that time that I went with friends into a construction site, fell and knocked out my front teeth.

And the time I rode my bicycle too fast, slipped and broke my foot….


Chex Mix Turds

March 2014

General Mills, Inc.
P.O. Box 9452
Minneapolis, MN 55440

Dear General:

I know that your company is a venerable one, in existence for the last 500 years or so, and has fed me and countless other millions of people such staples of life as Wheaties, Cheerios, Total and Yoplait.  You trained us to know that Wheaties was the Breakfast of Champions™; added every flavor and color to Cheerios except rhubarb and puce and made us feel unhealthy if we didn’t jog a mile or two before eating Total or Yoplait.

So what, pray God, is this substance that I found in a recently purchased bag of Chex mix (Traditional) to which I have become addicted?


What does this look like to you?

Yes, you are correct.  Turds, but saltier.  An alternate theory might be meteor turds from a distant galaxy (still quite salty).  Both theories do not explain how these substances got into my package of Chex mix (Traditional).

I have no idea why your quality control person was missing-in-action on the day that this batch of Chex mix (Traditional) was produced but, suffice it to say, while this bag may have “60% less fat than regular potato chips” (your words), it has “100% more turd-like lumps than potato chips” (my words).  Presumably, your quality control process has not confused potato chips with buffalo chips.

Here I am, mindlessly sitting in front of the cable TV watching an episode of some inane series like Duck Dynasty or Jersey Shore, happily munching away, when I am overcome with revulsion from chomping down on one of these brown beauties.  I might as well have been eating a salt lick.  The bag from which I was consuming this inedible stuff should have said Chex licks instead of Chex mix.  The fact that these lumps were the color of excrement did not add to my gustatory experience.

You advertise on the bag “Earn cash for your school!”  How?  By getting kids to accumulate Chex mix turds and turning them in for high Phosphorus content returnables at the local dump?  By leaving them on the living room carpet and getting unsuspecting parents to pay extra cash to the kids while they re-potty train the innocent house dog or cat?  By saving them up and using them in place of road salt on snowy winter days?  By selling them at rock and gem shows as “meteor shit?”

General, I have been a faithful patron of your company for the last couple hundred years and I am not about to give up now but I am having serious doubts.  Finding these lumps in my Chex mix (Traditional) package makes me think that you should hire Tom Hanks and have him reconstitute his Forrest Gump role advertising Chex mix (Traditional) with the slogan:

“Life’s like a package of Chex mix; You never know what crap you’re gonna get.”

Please, let an old man enjoy his snacks without the trepidation of consuming indigestible brown blobs.  Total is supposed to have “100 percent of the daily value of 12 essential vitamins and minerals.”  Manure is not one of those.  Cheerios cereal provides “1 gram of soluble fiber per serving.”  Road roses are not considered soluble fiber.  Wake up and fire that quality control guy and hire a new one who will keep salty meteor shit lumps out of my Chex mix (Traditional).

Thank you.



New But Not Improved


The Curmudgeon-at-Large site is currently under construction.

C-a-L will return shortly.  (Translation = C-a-L will return when he feels like it).

Proceed at your own risk.

Not suitable for children.   (Actually, not suitable for adults either).

This site has NOT been approved by the AA, AAA, AMA, ASPCA, CDC, DMV, EPA, FTC, IOC, NBA, NFL, Nuclear Facilities Safety Regulatory Commission, Order of the Maltese Cross, PETA, PTA, Union of Concerned Scientists, Zach’s Investment Research or anyone else for that matter.

How to Curmudgeon

A number of people have asked me “How, exactly, do you become a curmudgeon?”  Actually, no one asked me that but I’m sure a few have thought about it and a few more have even hinted at it.  I’m here to set the record straight.

A curmudgeon is defined as a crusty, ill-tempered old man.  While generally male, a curmudgeon graces both sexes (think Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Dorothy Parker and Paula Poundstone).  I am one and, with counseling, you can be one too.  (If not, then you’ll just need counseling.)

What, you may ask, is the value of being a curmudgeon?

  1.  You never have to smile in public;
  2. No one will expect you to smile in public;
  3. You can redefine “pursuit of happiness;”
  4. You expect nothing and are never disappointed.

So how, exactly do you become a curmudgeon?  While there is no set formula, there are clues.

For example, did you look like this a child?


Do you look like this as an adult?


When a clerk in a store or a greeter at a convention says to you “Have a nice day,” how do you respond?

  1. “Why, thank you very much.”
  2. “You’re so welcome and I hope you have one, too.”
  3. “I’m sorry, I have other plans.”

When an important looking person approaches you and says “Do you know who I am?” you respond by saying:

  1. “I am so sorry that I did not recognize you.”
  2. “Excuse my ignorance.”
  3. “You don’t know who you are?  Have you lost your memory?”

You regard children and small animals as:

  1. A sign of God’s love;
  2. Precious items to be protected and cherished;
  3. Unnecessary.

Which activity should be added as an Olympic sport?

  1. Skateboarding;
  2. Golf;
  3. Poisoning pigeons.

What do you do if you pee when you jump up and down?

  1. Resolve to exercise harder and ignore the issue;
  2. Go immediately to the doctor to find the source of the problem;
  3. Stop jumping up and down.

What slogan would you choose to put on a tee shirt?

  1. Enjoy life;
  2. I ♥ my dog;
  3. member National Sarcasm Society; like we need your help.

If you look like the people in the pictures and answered every question with “C,” then you may be on the road to being a curmudgeon.  If not, then you may be on the yellow brick road.

Oh, and have a nice day!  As you already know, I have other plans.