Not a pretty view

Cranky Old Man #79

Major good news, for a few:
Navient lawsuit settled; $1.7 billion in student loan debt cancelled 

The loan servicing giant Navient [formerly Sallie Mae] has agreed to cancel $1.7 billion in student loan debts owed by roughly 66,000 borrowers, as part of a settlement announced Thursday with 39 state attorneys general.

I can't quickly find the details I'm curious about, but my assumption is that your debt will be wiped away only if you have a very specific loan situation, and live in one of the 39 states that sued Navient. Another 350,000 people will receive "restitution payments of about $260 each."

Still, kicking the bastards in the ankle is a good thing.

Navient, of course, admits no wrongdoing, but in any legal settlement with any corporation, "admits no wrongdoing" means they're Al Capone.

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"The United States is the only major economy in the world where the economy as a whole is stronger now than before the pandemic," says Marcia Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Even if that's 'true', it's bullshit, probably based on one of the leading lying indicators, like the stock market, or the steady supply of caviar on yachts.

I can see the US economy from my house, and it's not a pretty view. 

Also gotta ask — why is the Secretary of HUD bragging about the economy? She's not the Secretary of Commerce. "HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all." 

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Maine's Governor, Janet Mills, is a Democrat who just vetoed legislation that would've allowed farm workers to unionize. 

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"Forever prisoner" Abu Zubaydah, held without charges and without trial for  almost twenty years — so far — at America's ghastly extralegal Guantanamo prison, has been paid €100,000 by Lithuania.

It's compensation he can't spend except maybe on lawyers, ordered by the European Court of Human Rights, and why? Because Lithuania cooperated with the CIA's torture of Zubaydah in 2002.

Kafka much?

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Over the past 20 years, the US has averaged 46 bomb and missile attacks on foreign countries, daily.

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The Amish are not living entirely without modern conveniences. It's complicated. 

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Legislation in California would empower the state to bargain as if it's the union rep for non-unionized fast-food workers. 

Pinch me, I'm dreaming. This is a great idea, and in California — where Democrats have huge majorities in both houses and the Governor is nominally blue — it might be more than a Puff the Magic Dragon hallucination. 

In Sacramento, a union-backed Democratic proposal called the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, or FAST Recovery Act, would establish a state-appointed council to enact industry-wide minimum standards for wages, working hours and work conditions. If passed by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the proposal would also hold corporate franchisors responsible for compliance, not just the local franchise owners.

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Animals laugh: UCLA study finds laughter in 65 species, from rats to cows 

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Richard Nixon,
and the War on Drugs

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Four inmates at a northwest Arkansas jail sued the facility and its doctor Thursday after they said were unknowingly prescribed ivermectin to treat COVID-19 despite health officials’ warnings that the anti-parasitic drug shouldn’t be used for that purpose.

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Good news from an unlikely source! The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority regularly tracks COVID by testing the sewage at a major treatment facility. Latest results are showing a sharp decline for indicators of COVID-19 infection.

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COVID: Quebec to impose health tax on unvaccinated Canadians 

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Why didn’t the FBI see the Capitol siege coming? 

Grid reviewed every public statement FBI officials made about the bureau’s intelligence leading up to the siege to understand how the FBI explained its posture on Jan. 6. We read hundreds of pages of FBI briefings and press statements, FBI officials’ testimony before Congress and public comments in news reports.

We found that the FBI has given at least five different explanations for why it failed to heed these warnings and take steps to foil the Capitol attack or help other agencies prepare a sufficient response. Some of them support arguments the FBI should get more money and legal authorities. But given what we now know, none of them holds up.

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Pentagon launches new UFO office 

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Many parents see schools as free daycare for the kiddies, and admittedly, some schools aren't much more than that.

Teachers and students are generally people, though, so close the schools already, and keep them closed until it's safe to re-open them.

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Sister Vish-Knew gets an alley in San Francisco 

Sister Vish-Knew was a co-founder of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and I love this info tidbit:

He bought the first five nun's habits that would become the signature of the Sisters from a convent in Iowa City — lying and telling the nuns that they needed the habits for a production of The Sound of Music, when they were really for a drag show.

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Once upon a time, and only once, I bought Collectivo coffee. Collectivo is Spanish for Collective, so my instant guess was that even if Collectivo is shitty coffee, at least it's not made by corporate bastards. 

My mistake. It's ordinary coffee, made by ordinary corporate bastards. They call the company Collectivo, while crapping on their employees. I want my $3 back.

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Is Steph Curry’s memoir worth $10 million? 

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So many people have been charged with trespassing or disorderly conduct for the 1/6/2020 insurrection, it's a pleasant surprise to see charges of genuine sedition

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The Supreme Court has decided, on a predictably thin, fictional pretext, that OSHA can't compel businesses to require that employees get a vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask on the job

I read the dissent, and this jumped out at me:

OSHA estimates — and there is no ground for disputing — that the Standard will save over 6,500 lives and prevent over 250,000 hospitalizations in six months’ time.

So Friday's ruling will kill about 13,000 people and make another half-million miserable, every year until COVID is over, and COVID will never be over. 

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"Moron" proposes legislation to make Fauci's already public financial records even more public 

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Cranky Ord man is sued by town for writing too many cranky letters... and he wins 

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One-word newscast:
rat bastard

Jean-Jacques Beineix
Ron Goulart 

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 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


 Sing along with Doug:
"I Will Always Remember You Young"
by Chris Haa

Tip 'o the hat:
All Hat No Cattle • Linden Arden
BoingBoingCaptain Hampockets
Follow Me Here • John the Basket
LiarTownUSAMessy Nessy Chick
National ZeroRan Prieur
Vintage EverydayVoenix Rising

Extra special thanks:
Becky Jo • Name Withheld • Dave S.
and always, Stephanie


Cranky Old Man 

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  1. Yes, I think about things other than music. Why do you ask?

    This is a modest nomination for song of the week. To my knowledge, it is unavailable in any other form; specifically, I don't think there's a full acoustic version of this song anywhere but in the art film Masked and Anonymous (2003). Please don't go see the movie, and when you do could you explain it to me, because I don't know what the fuck Dylan was trying to say. I rarely do.

    This song, I'll Remember You, was featured in the movie, but was released almost 20 years earlier. The song begs to be sung without electricity, so Dylan most always performed it with electric instruments. But here it's acoustic.

    This is a music video. All the video is from the movie. Someday we'll talk about the difference between a music video and a performance video, but I'm obliged to inform you which it is.

    I've always liked this song, and I like so little Dylan after 1975 that you could put all the songs I like in a hat and still have room to piss in it if that's your idea of a good time.

    It's never been mine.

    But here's Dylan, demonstrating that at 60 he could still sing.


  2. Hope you're joking, John, because I am smiling. The song is Dylan so I'll assume it's good, but toward the end he sounds like an egg beater being dragged on the floor. When I sound like that I drink a glass of water. Dylan records a song for a movie, probably gets paid a million bucks.

    My apologies if you're serious, though.

  3. My brother, allow me to answer your question with another question. . .

    Who is the better singer in this video and what the fuck?



    1. OK, you asked a question, and the answer is that I was serious. To suggest that there's something wrong with our disagreeing about any form of art is concerning. You have my immense respect as a writer and a person, and I can't think offhand of anybody I'd rather disagree with. Hell, if we agreed on everything they wouldn't need both of us.

      I don't disagree with your description of Dylan's voice. I used to watch the Lennon Sisters on Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights, and they were never hoarse. Even as a child, though, they made me slightly nauseous. (My grandmother would babysit us on Saturdays and I made a bargain, swapping Lawrence Welk for my favorite program, Have Gun, Will Travel. It was a compromise deal).

      The question of whether the definition of a good vocal should include both the ability to stay in the vicinity of the melody with clarity and/or to convey a feeling to accentuate the lyrics remains open. At least to me.

      And I rarely learn anything from somebody I always agree with.

      with affection,


    2. When two people agree about everything, what's the point of having a conversation?

      Re Brown & Pavarotti, can I just say holy shit? I've never seen that performance before, and also, holy shit. Point taken, and in answer to your question, neither singer is 'better'. They did different things, but did their things splendidly. Also, holy shit.

      Re Dylan, I've been too hard on the guy. He had* a style, often kind of ridiculous on first listen, but he did what he did splendidly, and most of the time his harsh, often off-key style makes the song better. Like "Memphis Blues Again" — a couple of days ago I searched for a cover that sang the lyrics instead of talking them, and couldn't find one. Probably because it was written to be talked, or sung in a talking way. Wasn't written to be sung, and I'm guessing good singers understand that. And anyway, even in the version I prefer, you can hear the influence of Dylan's singing, as much as Dylan's lyrics.

      Dylan was one of those artists so praised so widely it can't help but be an exaggeration, but the dude could write poetry, and the dude could write music, and yeah, the dude could sing.

      Wish I could find it, and help would be appreciated, but there's a song Dylan recorded and probably wrote where he sings every line sooo exaggeratedly Dylanesque — meandering off-key, and talking with a weird choice of word accentuated, only even more so than usual — that the first time I heard the song I thought it was someone doing a parody of Dylan. It was Dylan, though, or Dylan doing a parody of Dylan. That song would be pertinent and I'd love to link it for this conversation, but it's been years and I don't remember what song it was.

      I have a Lennon Sisters story! Like you, I watched them on The Lawrence Welk Show. Couldn't tell you whether they made me nauseous, because the whole show made me nauseous, but Lawrence Welk and Wagon Train were the only shows my grandma watched, and when she was watching nobody changed the channel.

      On a mid-1970s vacation to California, at Magic Mountain or possibly Knott's Berry Farm, the Lennon Sisters were performing twice daily. It was free with admission to the park, and we were there already, so my friends and I sat in a back row and watched… and it was not at all like seeing them on Welk. They sang covers of rock songs, and they were credible. I wasn't bored or aghast. I tapped my toes and bobbed my head. And for the grand finale of the show, they sang a mildly rock'n' roll arrangement of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," stripping as the song progressed, t the end they were dancing in bras and panties. The fuckin' Lennon Sisters, in bras and panties. It got my attention, and taught me that even the most boring people might have something more to 'em.

      * Yeah, I know Dylan is still alive, but realistically any talk of his work should be in the past tense.

    3. > there's a song Dylan recorded and probably wrote where he sings every line sooo exaggeratedly Dylanesque

      Is it If Dogs Run Free?

    4. That song is Dylan intentionally doing a beat nightclub reading. It's on my playlist, so that's not the song I was thinking of...

    5. All Along the Watchtower, but specifically this version

    6. That's quite bad. Keep 'em coming, but no, that's not the tune I'm almost remembering.

    7. If were dfoing bad Bob Dylan songs I can't remember the name of it, but the song that honestly angered me was a very long ballad romanticizing a gangster 1970s and trying to make him a folk hero or something. I remember likingthe song until my father explained who it was about.

    8. If you're talking about "George Jackson", he was certainly not a good subject for a song. He likely killed more than one prison guard. If you're talking about Rubin Carter, it's not so clear. The lyrics of The Hurricane take plenty of license, but the Patterson police screwed up the investigation badly (they walked through blood on the floor and didn't bother to take fingerprints) and two eyewitnesses said Carter wasn't one of the two gunmen. He was a badass, but not a gangster. We'll never know for sure, but he was most likely convicted by an all-white jury in a racially charged city of Driving While Black.


    9. I believe the song you're thinking of is JOEY, the nine-minute song about gangster Joey Gallo. It tributes where it should criticize. Dylan, like many outsiders, sometimes looked beyond people's major faults and glamorized what probably should've been left alone.

    10. My God. About how many white singer/songwriters could you refer to the inappropriate gangster song and get confused among THREE songs, two off the same album?

      In any case, it seems clear that Linden nailed it. Thanks, Linden.


    11. There are no perfect people, so we make do, looking to the few who are partially great.

    12. If we've broadened the search and now we just want bad Dylan, not horible Dylan, how about Catfish?


      Also not 2 b missed:


    13. Catfish was more boring than bad, I think, and I honestly liked your second link. Thanks!

    14. There are probably some non-Dylan fans, and maybe some Dylan fans who aren't aware that Bobby is a fairly serious baseball fan. For years he spent summers on "The Farm", an enterprise he and his brother David own not far from the Twin Cities. On many evenings when the Twins were in town, a small caravan of vehicles would leave the farm around 6:00 and head for Target Field (formerly to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and before that to Metropolitan Stadium) for an evening of baseball.

      I don't know whether that makes Catfish make more sense, but it puts it in context.

      It always helps me to keep saying to myself, regarding Dylan, "He's just a kid from a small town in the midwest."


    15. > There are no perfect people, so we make do


      . . . from my favorite movie


    16. There are bad guys, lots, and maybe a few good guys, but yeah, mostly there's just guys.

  4. Great Lennon Sisters story. I was pretty young when I watched Lawrence Welk with my grandmother, but had they performed that routine I would have had to strongly consider a sprint to puberty.

    I have no idea why people shell out their hard-earned money to see Dylan these days. I guess it's possible they just don't work very hard. But he sells out nearly everywhere. I'll let you perform your own interpretation of that last sentence.

    I have no idea why Elvis and the Beatles and Dylan made us forget Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin. It's pretty clear to me that Rhapsody in Blue is the best song of the 20th century and that Georgia on My Mind, Stardust, Puttin' on the Ritz and Anything Goes are all reasonable contenders. Paul Simon is the closest thing we have, and he's retired.

    (Yeah, I'm a fan of early Dylan, but his music is very much of a time and place. If I'm going to beam a sample of what humanity can create to a star cluster many light years away, I'm not sending Like a Rolling Stone. Those poor suckers deserve something universal. It's gotta be Rhapsody in Blue or Take Five.


  5. Replies
    1. I'd go with Stardust or Puttin' on the Ritz, or possibly Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball. Rhapsody in Blue is rhapsodic, but it brings Manhattan to mind — such an icky movie, so beautifully made.

      Is Georgia on My Mind about a woman, or about the state?

    2. 1) There is a misconception that intelligent beings on other worlds will have come to the conclusion that we're dolts based on old episodes of My Mother the Car. Television broadcast facilities are not of sufficient power or banding/aiming focus to reach the inner edge of the Kuiper belt, much less Proxima Centauri. They haven't seen Manhattan.

      2) Good art gives us good answers. Great art celebrates the questions. Hoagy Carmichael had a sister named Georgia, but only wrote the music, not the lyrics. The Ray Charles version is the official State Song of Georgia. Go figure.


    3. It's been ten years since I've seen it, but what I hate about Manhattan is that it's very, very good... in service of a storyline designed to make us sympathize with a monstrous man.

      Also moot, but I liked My Mother the Car when I was a kid, so I watched a few episodes when streaming made that easy, and I don't care what everyone says — that show was damned stupid.

      Next question: Which hoagy came first, Carmichael or the sandwich?

    4. Of course I just named the silliest concept for a television show that I could think of, but consider the possibility that the Space Force of Proxima Centauri, on their way to Sol's peaceful planetary system to cry Havoc and release the space dogs of war sees a documentary about personalized self-driving vehicles in which the driving voice is not synthesized, but is the actual eternal soul of the mother of the owner. Would they risk a full-scale attack against a society that could perform a soul transplant and an EV-integration?

      Ann Sothern saves civilization then civilization fries the planet in a suicidal heatwave. At least we'd get our Carmichaels heated for free on the way out.

    5. Jerry Van Dyke was actually protecting the planet!

      I didn't know Ann Southern was the voice. Not really her best work.

  6. >Next question: Which hoagy came first, Carmichael or the sandwich?

    From Wikipedia : "Hoagland Howard Carmichael (November 22, 1899 – December 27, 1981)" - So "Hoagy" was a nickname related to his given name, not the sandwich or anything else.

    And, from Brittanica :

    "Hoagie, submarine sandwich containing Italian meats, cheeses, and other fillings and condiments. The name likely comes from the Philadelphia area where, during World War I, Italian immigrants who worked at the Hog Island shipyard began making sandwiches; they were originally called “hoggies” before the name hoagie took hold."

    So they seem to be unrelated.

    1. I learned more from you, just now, than from two whole semesters of Mrs Goblowski's algebra class.


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