Friday, June 30, 2006

Interview with a Vampire

As many of you old-schoolers know, I've been wary of giving interviews since that fiasco with Barbara Walters. These bloodsucking journalists just waste your time and make you feel like an asshole.

But that said, I did relent yesterday and sat down for a few minutes with Alex Beam of the Boston Globe; I decided a little advance pub for Loot the Church couldn't hurt. Plus, at some point as World Hegemon I'll be giving press briefings, and I figured it would be a good idea to start exercising the ol' bullshit-and-stonewall muscle.

The full transcript of the interview will run in today's Weekend section, but here are some highlights:

* * *

Q. Phutatorius, you describe yourself as an Internet Personality, but I've never heard of you. What gives?

A. Well, it sounds to me like you need to bite the bullet and finally buy yourself a computer. For beginners, I recommend one of those cheap-ass Dells. And of course you'll need an ISP. America Online is like a set of training wheels for the World Wide Web; I'm sure you get their CDs in the mail. Give AOL a try, and join us in the 21st century.

Q. What do you think qualifies you to take on this challenge?

A. Well, I've taken a few correspondence courses in event planning —

Q. No — not the fundraiser, Phutatorius. The ruling the planet bit.

A. Just the planet, Alex? Why limit myself? But seriously: I had a Moment last September, and a kind of clarity of purpose descended on me. It was like a visitation. Since that time I've turned my body into a kind of temple. I've gone to a remote mountain redoubt and learned the arcane wisdom of the Elite Incan Dance Fighters, and at home in the mornings I do a lot of strength and agility training. I keep in touch with my EIDF mentor over the Internet. You really should get yourself connected, Alex. There's so much potential in it.

Q. Some people say you're too impetuous a character — that you make enemies easily. Is that the sort of personality that the world population really wants as its leader?

A. Well, first off — I don't know how true your assessment is. The Cardinal and I had some knock-down, drag-out negotiations going on over this church rental — he's a screamer, by the way, and at one point he threw a ball-point pen at me — but when it was all over, we went out for a few beers, he and I, and it was all good.

Q. I thought you said your body was a temple.

A. Yeah. And?

Q. But you're out drinking beer —

A. I don't get your point. But while we're on this subject, I'd like to let you know that our temporary liquor license went through, and we'll have Harpoon and Miller Genuine Draft on tap at the fundraiser on Saturday. We're still talking with the people at Heineken.

Q. On the subject of the fundraiser —

A. Just a minute, Alex — I want to finish my answer to your question about my purported personality flaws. Suppose your lying ass is right, and I do make enemies easily. What of it? That might be a problem if I'm leading a country, and I'm dealing constantly with other heads of state. That's the kind of situation that leads to a war. But if I'm running the world, what meaningful person am I going to butt heads with? The President of Mars?

Q. You have interesting logic.

A. You like me now. Wait until I hire my full-time Logic Minister.

Q. Now to the fundraiser. Some say —

A. What's with all this "some say" crap, Alex? Name names or knock it off.

Q. All right, fine. Everybody says —

A. Better.

Q. Everybody says that it's exploitative and obnoxious for you to take a sacred space, a religious space, and use it to appeal to people's basest instincts so you can make money. What do you say to that?

A. You've just described every priest, every minister, pastor, rabbi, imam, swami, prelate, and pope. The only difference is that with me, the people know their money is going to a good cause — the Phutatorius & Co. World Domination Fund.

* * *

Well, what do my Brothers and Sisters think? How did I hold up against Mr. Beam's obviously hostile lines of questioning? I think I did terrific — maybe a little edgy with that last bit, but whatever. That's the kind of snarky attitude that will bring the kids to church on Saturday, and you've got to appeal to every demographic.

Anyway, back to work. We're baking up a storm here at the apartment. PePe's got a bitchin' Tollhouse cookies recipe, and the off-duty Stenos are rolling the dough for pecan and rhubarb pies. We'll sell the cookies for $1.25 apiece tomorrow. Ten bucks for the pies. Hand over fist, I tell you. Hand over fist.

Well, I hope to see you all tomorrow at the church. I am stoked!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

En Español

PePe's working up Spanish-language fliers — rough word-for-word translations of what I posted in English below — to distribute in Latino neighborhoods.

No reason why Anglos should have all the fun, right?

I've also been making calls this morning trying to track down someone who knows Mandarin. Sometime in the next couple days I have to go down to the DMV (license renewal); I figured I could do a quick leafleting circuit round Chinatown while I'm there.

I had this guy Li Duk on the phone a few minutes ago, was testing him: I'd throw out a sentence in English. He'd translate it back to me. It seemed to go well, but for all I know he was just making random sounds.

Maybe I'll just cut Chinatown altogether and stick with PePe as my lone interpretador. Though it's obvious he plans to skim a little off the top with the Latin customers (even I know "cuarenta" doesn't mean "thirty-five"), PePe's the devil I know —

and a hell of a Piper, too.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"Loot the Church" Set for July 1!

Took some time to hammer out the details, but we finally have a date, and that's July 1. I'm wary of getting too close to the Independence Day holiday, but so it goes. The Archdiocese wouldn't let me have a Sunday, and they played hardball on that point. I told them my rent check would more than cover what they would take from their Sunday collection plates — but churches are churches. They wanted my rent and the Sunday offertories.

Sons of bitches.

I'm still sanguine about the fundraiser's prospects, notwithstanding that there's some kind of event downtown at the Aquarium on the same day, and the Rotary Club Carnival will run through the weekend in Quincy.

PePe and I are printing up circulars as we speak; by tomorrow there won't be a telephone pole in Middlesex or Suffolk County that doesn't announce it:






Put on your best Visigoth costume and


>>> $35 buy-in gets you 20 minutes to rip, hack, tear, pry, and strip your way to newfound wealth and satisfaction. Children under 5 get in free.

>>> Are you mad as hell at the Catholic Church? Can't shake off that nasty Spanish Inquisition? Take 20 minutes to fight back. We're offering a 10% discount for gays, lesbians, Northern Irish!

GUARANTEED: $60,000 in cash* is hidden somewhere in this church! All you have to do is FIND IT!

WHEN: July 1, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Church of St. John the Revelator, Boylston Street, Boston.

>>> Balloons for the kiddies! Funnel cakes, lemon shakes, Italian sausages!


All proceeds to THE PHUTATORIUS & CO. WORLD DOMINATION FUND, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

*Figure may include cash-equivalent coupons of corporate sponsors.

Friday, June 02, 2006

To/From Burping Squid, re Church & State

Well well well — would you believe I got an email just this morning from the long-lost, not-missed Burping Squid?

It seems Burping Squid is an ardent believer in the separation of church and state, and he/she is troubled by my choice of fundraising venues. He/she has written, and I quote:

You suck, Phutatorius. I was just coming round to supporting your candidacy for Sovereign Ruler of Earth, but now I find you suddenly in bed with the Catholic Church.

The single most crucial component of a sane and rational government is that it sequester itself from the influence of fanaticism and superstition. That's a first principle, you jackass. And here you are, barely on the way up, selling your soul to the Vatican for a couple of hundred grand. Phutatorius, you suck.


To which I reply:

Dear "BS":

It's been a while, you punk-ass bitch. I was just coming round to missing your particular brand of verbal abuse when I got your message of June 2. Now I find myself longing for more cross-eyed silence from Squidville. I appreciate that it's become the idiom of our relationship to trade barbs with one another, and while I hope that I give as good as I get, I've never taken any of your flatulent criticism to heart. That is, until now.

I get your point, Brother/Sister, about church and state. And I'm strongly committed to it. Strongly. Committed. In fact, it's part of why I got into this business. I truly believe that I can be that Sane and Rational Governor you were describing, precisely because I am the LEAST SPIRITUAL PERSON EVER TO WALK ON THIS EARTH. That's a big part of my platform.

But here's the thing: you don't make the jump from Internet Personality to Sane, Rational Governor of the Planet without compromising, TEMPORARILY, on certain principles in the process. For example, I don't believe in regicide. I'm dead-set against it. I think it's destabilizing, and it sets a bad precedent, as people may make the logical leap of concluding that what's good for the King goes double for the World Hegemon. But notwithstanding my position on regicide, it's highly probable that I'm going to have to kill off a king or two — possibly even all of them — during my period of ascendancy.

Likewise here. I assure you: the Catholic Church will be powerless and pleading before me, by the time all this is over. We'll be screening
The Da Vinci Code in the Sistine Chapel, and the crowd will be allowed to throw food (because I heard the movie sucked). But in the meantime, the Church needs money, and I need a gimmicky fundraising venue. So it's a great fit: peanut butter, meet chocolate.

And furthermore, it is a bit of a stretch to characterize this transaction as the formation of an alliance between myself and the Archdiocese. Quite the contrary, in fact — this is a contract negotiated at arm's length. And let me tell you, the Cardinal isn't exactly pleased with my intentions for using the facility. I have the guy over a barrel, though, and he'll take what I give him.

So how's about it, BS? Why don't you come on down to the fundraiser (date still TBD, people), and I'll give you one free shot at any piece of religious iconography in the church. You can take a hack at the altar, kick out a stained-glass window, whatever you want. I'll make sure Security knows you're coming, so you don't get hassled. Good?

I'm engaging you on this issue because you're a future constituent, and for once you've actually come to me with a decent bit of substantive criticism. You piss-ant.



Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Loot the Church" Fundraiser!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Brothers and Sisters — where you see a far-reaching clergy sex abuse scandal, I see opportunity. It just takes a brilliant, World Domination-worthy mind to tap into it.

So here's what I'm up to, Bees 'n' Esses:

As you may know, the Boston Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church is — how to put it? — hard up for money these days, what with the dozens of million-dollar lawsuits naming the Church as a defendant to sex abuse claims, and the offertory plates around town filling up with indignant congregationers' pocket fluff. Cardinal O'Malley, himself a vow-of-poverty kind of guy, needs to gin up some money straightaway, or a number of his Indoctrination Centers (my umbrella term for churches and schools) will be turning into Jiffy Lubes.

Enter the Catholic Church's latest Savior, Francis X. Phutatorius. All right, all right — maybe "Savior" isn't quite the word to use here — but you have to admit, the "Francis X." I just appended to my legal name is a nice touch. It really helped build trust with Father Sean during the negotiations process —

Cut the self-celebratory crap, Phutatorius, and tell us what you're up to.

Fair enough.

Just this morning I wrote the Archdiocese a check for $20,000 — in exchange for a single day's rental of one of its bigger and cathedral-y churches in Boston. This figure bargained down from Father Sean's initial quotation of a full $40K — it's really a testament to my dealmaking acumen, I tell you, B/S —

But for what, Phutatorius? You rented out the church for what?

I'm kind of digging this Socratic Method we're falling into, B/S. Question, then Answer. It's kind of catchy. And rhythmic.

Well, I'll tell you. I've rented out the church for a fundraiser — a fundraiser like you've never before experienced. No fancy-pants $500-a-plate dinner-and-speech planner am I. I've crafted a fundraiser that will appeal to the Everyday Joe.

Here's the concept: you hide big bags of cash all over the building, and you challenge the public to come in and find them. You sell tickets (say, forty, fifty bucks a pop), you admit 200, 300 people at a time, and you give each group of looters ten minutes to turn the place upside-down and find the money. It's an anything-goes, rules-are-there-are-no-rules kind of environment inside the church — there will, of course, be waivers to sign, and I'll hire a security detail to keep people somewhat in line — you're basically buying yourself a chance to loot a sacred place for good-sized chunks of money. And who hasn't always wanted to do that?

This will be the can't-miss event of the season, B/S. Date TBD, as we have certain details to hammer out in the coming days.

Right now I've got PePe working the numbers: i.e., how much to charge, how much money to make available at any given time, that sort of thing. You want to maximize your returns, which means calibrating your ticket-price-to-prize-money ratio just right. And of course you have to factor in incidentals, like the outlays for security and the ads I'm gonna run in the Herald and Globe. But PePe's a whiz with the adding machine — he's already spit out fifty yards' worth of paper tape running his calculations.

For my part, I'm setting myself to the task of mapping all the fun little nooks and crannies in the church where I'll be hiding the money. I'm also getting in touch with some local institutions — Dunkin' Donuts, Gillette, D'Angelos — about sponsorships. I'll scatter voucher and coupons around the joint, too. Every paid entrant will take home at least something with him.

I'm so excited about this project, I can't even think straight. There's no way I don't at least double the money in the World Domination Fund by the time this thing is over. But first, organization and planning. More to come, Bruthas & Sistas, as I deem necessary and appropriate to divulge. Watch for it!