Dear reader,

Another year has rolled by, and what another dismal year it’s been – not just on account of the second year of The Confounding Variable online, but with the company’s stock prices never recovering from the negative of 2016, a Pulitzer Prize as elusive as ever despite a few days of the most profound online journalism the world has ever seen, and nary an SPJ Award to crown the efforts of our all-star lineup of (still lightly) seasoned journalists.

But first, after that, a big thank you to all our regular readers: Paul, Matt, Geoff, and Kim Jong-un, and Richard—we would still exist without you, but it wouldn’t be the same… Or maybe it would… I’m not sure.

Some of the office highlights this year include the untimely death of Sam’s humble desk plant, a giant sequoia she had brought back from California, cut off in its prime by Steve’s reenactment of the Pandora Hometree destruction scene from Avatar (You may remember last year’s fateful fire drill in our former office space when the inspiration came to Steve to test the limits of the system with 85-odd kg of napalm he’d won in a drinking contest with a Croatian mercenary). Steve, excited to see the full capability of a full-sized replica of the Dragon Assault Ship from the film, launched a full-blown attack on the office with rocket propelled tear gas followed closely behind with a volley of sparrow missiles. Fortunately no one was in the office at the time but unfortunately the local counsel will not allow us to relocate in the city. We are now situated in an abandoned fallout shelter in the Mid-West, while Steve has been ordered to work from home this year.

Not counting the time taken to relocate our office this year there were approximately 300 afternoons when no one had anything of importance to write and we closed up early. We’re not expecting 2018 to be much different and I can probably cut and past this report into next year’s as I’ve done for this year. Another year in the journalistic undergrowth, languishing under the cruel indifference of a potential readership who would rather take out the trash. We love them, but let’s face it: why would they back us in 2018, unless it was for a compulsory school project on evaluating the reliability of web sources?

But we press on. When Churchill was arrested by those famous words, “If I were your wife, I’d put aresenic in your tea,” he calmly retorted, “Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it.” So we too keep a stiff upper lip in the face of damnably depressing and fruitless prospects for the new year, being unable to look back to better days in other careers, but only forward into the murky gloom of obscurity. Tally ho!

Irredeemably yours,

Matt Confudere