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May I be briefly and predictably grumpy?

There's a big city in Ukraine that used to be spelled Kiev in English, but now is spelled Kyev. There's a big city in China that used to be spelled Peking in English, but now is spelled Beijing. There are several big cities in India that used to be spelled Bangalore, Bombay, and Calcutta in English, but now are spelled Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata, respectively.

#118

Thursday,
March 17, 2022


Certainly, I understand that these new spellings reflect a more accurate pronunciation or improved cultural sensitivity, but also, I don't give a damn. Just, knock it off. Things everyone knows how to spell should continue being spelled that way, at least until I'm dead.

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And now, news and amusements, from my internet history for yesterday…  

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People who love war hate cities 

Jarrett Walker's blog interests me because he's a transit consultant and I'm a transit geek — buses, subways, el trains, etc. In this entry, though, he's not talking about bus maps and service times. He's explaining what makes cities delightful, and he's spot on.

Cities are places where people who are different from each other learn not to fear each other. They find that they can share a public space with people who don’t look like them, talk like them, or act the way they would act, and that it’s almost always fine. People who profit from fear hate that.

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Once again, America is in denial about signs of a fresh COVID wave 

WHO says global rise in COVID cases is 'tip of the iceberg' 

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Chinese plot to smear US Congress hopeful unveiled 

Unsealed files have revealed a plot by five people working on behalf of Chinese secret police to stalk and harass a US military veteran running for Congress, and to spy on an artist.

It is the first time, they say, a federal election campaign has been undermined in this way in America.

I'm unsure why, but this coverage refuses to name the Congressional candidate who was allegedly stalked and harassed by Chinese agents.

From my own research it's apparently Xiong Yan, a Chinese immigrant and former Tiananmen Square protester now running for Congress in New York's Suffolk County (not Brooklyn, as the article claims).

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Republicans keep turning to the same Texas judges to block Biden's policies 

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IRS audits households with less than $25,000 in income at a rate five times higher than anyone else. 

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Breaking the color bar — how one man helped desegregate Britain's pubs (and fought for an anti-racist future) 

Avtar Singh Jouhl ended up battling prejudice in pubs, factories, and at the highest political levels. But despite his great deeds—taking Malcolm X to a segregated pub is only one brushstroke on the giant canvas of his life—he didn’t even have a Wikipedia page until I created one.

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The people suing your landlord are now suing their landlord 

The Legal Aid Society, an organization famous for suing other people’s bad landlords, is now suing its own. As amNY reported, when Legal Aid first returned to its six floors of Brooklyn offices in the summer of 2020, staffers found a nightmare mold infestation that had taken over their headquarters. Over the past two years, the nonprofit has been battling with its landlord, the real-estate firm Leser Group, to fix the problem, which one Department of Health inspector called the worst he had ever seen. (A terrifying description, given that New York is disgusting.)

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The men writing anti-abortion laws are woefully ignorant of women and biology 

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Comptroller: Cuomo 'understated' nursing home deaths by at least 4,000 

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Billowing black smoke seen for miles as massive Walmart distribution center burns in Indiana 

I am deeply saddened that the article includes no photos.

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Amazon warehouse workers stage coordinated strikes demanding $3 raises 

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UN international court of justice orders Russia to halt invasion of Ukraine 

Well, that'll mean about as much as me sending a telegram.

"A line has been drawn":
Olga Smirnova quits Bolshoi Ballet over Ukraine war
 

Koch Industries continues doing business in Russia 

Russian journalist interrogated for 14 hours after anti-war protest 

A Missouri radio station still broadcasts Kremlin programming, even as Russia invades Ukraine 

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Hillary Clinton and Eric Adams bond over bubble baths 

Eric Adams, the new Mayor of New York City, has not yet shown anything to challenge my impression that he's a milquetoast middle-of-the-road business-as-usual politician. That he's good buddies with Hillary Clinton, another milquetoast middle-of-the-road business-as-usual Democrat, surprises me not at all. 

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Are free buses a tool for social justice? Boston wants to find out. 

As an experiment, Boston is removing all fares from selected transit lines. And as a former (and likely future) poor person, believe me, transit fares are an impediment for many would-be transit riders, and removing fares will be a lure for many people who currently drive instead.

If you ask me, all public transit in cities should always be free. Transportation should be seen as a public good and a government service, same as parks and public health, courts and fire departments, etc.

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CitiBank's response to abortion bans: We'll pay for workers to travel 

Which is a fine thing for an employer to do, hip hip hooray, but a pregnant woman shouldn't have to file paperwork with her employer's HR Department in order to get an abortion.

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50 years ago, James Brown took an unlikely stage: Rikers Island 

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Architects, it would seem, have a distinct advantage when designing dollhouses. 

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William Burroughs and orgone energy 

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Cardiff Giant, the greatest hoax in American history 

The giant was the creation of a New York tobacconist named George Hull. Hull, an atheist, decided to create the giant after an argument at a Methodist revival meeting about Genesis 6:4, which states that there were giants who once lived on Earth. Hull wanted to prove how easily he could fool people with a fake giant.

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The US tried permanent Daylight Saving Time in the '70s. People hated it. 

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Idaho hospital locks down amid Ammon Bundy call for protest 

Ammon Bundy has inexplicably gotten away with being a unwiped asshole for years now. The evidence suggests he'll continue being an unwiped asshole for as long as getting away with it is allowed. Quick solution: Treat him like anyone else who does the same things.

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The Monty Python full supporting programme 

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...
climate
cops
cops
cops
cops
cops
cops
Republicans
Republicans
Republicans

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


    
         

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♫♬  Sing along with Doug  ♫
"Spill the Wine" — Eric Burdon 
 
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The End
Just this once…
 
3/17/2022 
 
Cranky Old Man is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
 
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
 
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...

14 comments:

  1. I know you're busy packing and cleaning, but you and Iz have to take a break from time to time, maybe put on the cans and listen to a little American music. Feel free to use this writing and these songs any way you want, or not use them at all. They are at your service.

    I fell in love with Romeo Void when I was 30, way less rebellious than in younger years; also, my interest in music was narrowing, focused more on Black music than on white, on vernacular music rather than assembled or manufactured, on freeform more than highly structured.

    Romeo Void lived for five years, then was killed by their label. They were a happy accident, four art students and a genius bartender/barista who all imagined wonderful, crazy music much more than they imagined success.

    Debra Iyall came from my (our) state, a Cowlitz American Indian from the reservation in eastern Washington. She found her way south and enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute, and began creating Native American-based art objects. She also found three fellow art students who played rock in the punk style that was coming on strong. Deb didn't look like a rock diva, and certainly not a punk diva. She describes herself as fat, although I would call her plump and pretty. There was a guy who played the sax like a madman who was a bartender/barista at the joint across from the Art College, and he joined after a one night trial.

    The band got a San Francisco label called 415 to record their music and managed to get a distribution deal with Columbia Records.

    Their name is a story in itself which I'll tell you someday. Romeo Void's success happened to parallel that of MTV, and by the time MTV was rolling in 1981, RV had a couple of vids for them, including a lovely black and white extended version of Never Say Never, with Deb singing on top of the band's guitars and right under Benjamin Bossi's magical rhythm sax. They put out three albums in four years, then, because Deb was overweight and Columbia believed she wouldn't appeal to male music buyers, Columbia dropped them right in the middle of a European tour. They had tickets back to the bay area, so they came "home". Their studio time had been pulled but the band wanted to leave a reminder that they had once been a creative force, so they pooled their money, rented a house, begged and borrowed recording equipment, and each occupied a room in the house for sound separation and began to record. They only had a few days, so they worked fast, which wasn't particularly hard, since they had almost no mixing equipment. What you hear mostly on the radio and on records is music that has been post-mixed to within an inch of its life, each instrument, each component of the song at exactly the right volume and quality, and each placed carefully in the sound picture (center, right front, left rear, etc.). RV could do almost none of that post work, so they had to settle for getting it exactly right the first time out. They didn't, but they came close.

    The result of their final album together, Warm In Your Coat, was a punk album of the highest quality, reprising much of their early work, and including some of their recent writing. It ended with Never Say Never ("he's sleeping on papers but he'd be warm in your coat . . ."), and a new song, "One Thousand Shadows", which is, perhaps, the best song they wrote in five years. It isn't well mixed, but the music, with Benjamin Bossi playing his incredible rhythm sax and Debra belting out the lyrics ...

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    1. Dog barks his head off
      Somewhere in the distance
      Do you think you know me
      Sleeping children don't hear a thing
      There is nothing now to slow me
      Sirens scream as they should
      On down the highway
      Into our dreams

      One thousand shadows wait to cover me
      One thousand miles away
      One thousand times I think of why
      I had to go away
      One thousand times I think of why
      I had to go away

      Chipped fingernail polish
      Who will answer when you call me?
      Come on closer and explain
      Why the sun is always setting
      On our lives in the trailer camp
      I can't go anywhere
      On down the highway
      Into our dreams
      On down the highway
      Into our dreams

      One thousand shadows wait to cover me
      One thousand miles away
      One thousand times I think of why
      I had to go away

      I had to go away


      The band went their separate ways. Deb went to the California desert high country and became an artist and art teacher who occasionally, mostly when she's broke, is willing to sing a song or two. She continues to refuse to lose weight.

      I somehow got ahold of her email address fifteen years ago, and sent her a brief email telling her what her music had meant to me and what I was certain it meant to young girls, especially those who aren't thin and traditionally beautiful, but who have talent and soul. She replied with a very nice note thanking me for my email and telling me that she was never going to give up on singing, even though her life was now mostly built around art. It is entirely obvious that she never got swept up in the "fame" thing and that she's the same American Indian girl who left my home state all those years ago. A class act, maybe even a little shy, but never forgetting who she is and where she came from.

      Here are the last two songs of Romeo Void's last handmade unmixed album, "Warm In Your Coat". I'd crank them both up when I listened, but it's especially important for the second, because that song has never been professionally mixed.

      OK, one change. I'm going to send you a live, unmixed version of Never Say Never. It's not perfect like the album version, but it matches the second song better and also you can actually see the band play.

      Romeo Void 1984 late night TV performance


      One Thousand Shadows

      Delete
    2. If it's too slow for you, I have access to some K-Pop. BTS is a little too posh; how about Gangnam Style by Psy? Or The Partridge Family? Wait, I don't think they're Korean.

      ITS A BLUES MY BROTHER. IT'S SPOSED TO BE SLOW. IT WORKS ON YOUR OWN BLUES AND PUTS THEM IN PERSPECTIVE SOS YOU CAN FEEL BAD, THEN FEEL BETTER.

      You understand that I'm just funnin' you. The unnamed singer from Port Arthur is, of course, Janis Joplin, who wrote Mercedes Benz half drunk with Geraldine Page and Rip Torn (who I dearly loved) and performed it that night in upstate New York. It was the last song she recorded. She died three days later. That's also blues.

      John

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  2. Hey, on first listen I like this...

    > They put out three albums in four years, then, because Deb was overweight and Columbia believed she wouldn't appeal to male music buyers, Columbia dropped them right in the middle of a European tour.

    Idiots. I'm male and insist on judging music by how it sounds, not how it looks, which is largely why I pay no attention to current pop music. That said, holy crap, Debra Iyall is hot.

    More later. I am loving this music, but I desperately need an omelet, and gotta get to the diner before the breakfast rush...

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    1. I am now the happy listener to several more songs from Warm in Your Coat, and declare it to be a fine album by a fine band I'm glad to finally have heard of. I expect to listen to more of them over the looming near future.

      You have a knack for knowing what I'll like, it seems.

      Maybe it's a backwards sexism on my part, but my impression is that every 'successful' female pop singer over recent decades, and very nearly every 'successful' male singer too, has been conventionally gorgeous or dreamy. Not many plain Janes or dumpy Dougs.

      Which makes me suspect success in the music business is not so much about the music, a judgment that's echoed by my ears.

      Delete
  3. Captain HampocketsMarch 17, 2022 at 5:42 AM

    To push back a little on your city name rant - I know you, and if someone decided they wanted to be called "Francine" instead of "Franklin," you'd honor that request.


    >Things everyone knows how to spell should continue being spelled that way

    "Everyone," believe it or not, does include people other than yourself.

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    >"Cities are places where people who are different from each other learn not to fear each other."

    This is why I love San Francisco so much, and hold it in my heart still. It is where, and WHY, I became the person I am, specifically because of the sheer volume of *differentness*.

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    1. Life in a city changes people, and generally makes them better people, I think. City dwellers tend to not be Republicans because they know better, and that's why Republicans hate the cities.

      Francine instead of Franklin (or Kareem instead of Lew) — I'll respect the request, of course. Never heard the request from Peking/Beijing, though, and I'm skeptical that anyone there cares, or even knows, how Americans spell or pronounce the place.

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    2. Captain HampocketsMarch 17, 2022 at 6:53 AM

      >City dwellers tend to not be Republicans because they know better, and that's why Republicans hate the cities.

      Coincidentally, there's a current reddit thread on /r/findareddit - "Is there a subreddit for people who hate cities?" My wise-ass answer is "/r/conservative." Currently sitting at -9 points. But I'm fucking right.

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    3. Fucking right. In the city, anyone with an open mind/heart learns that "we're all in this together." The right-wing disbelieves that cliché, and quite the opposite, trying to rip us apart seems to be their only strategy.

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  4. These newscasts are fine but I miss the stories. Hurry up and move and get settled so the stories can resume!

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  5. Your singalong today with Eric Burdon. . .

    In 1974 I was working at my first IT job. I'd had to get up pretty early to get to IT school on time, so I was used to "business hours" but my friend Tracy (real name) wasn't. He liked to smoke a little weed and stay up all hours working on one project or another. He lived about 6 blocks from where I was living in Tacoma, WA, and he asked me if I could stop on the way to work and hurl him out of bed so he didn't lose his job, which wasn't really a job worth keeping, but was a job.

    His late night projects included using a wide black marker to entirely fill the space on the exterior of his white refrigerator with the names of every rock band he could think of. (the place was a rental, including the fridge). Not alphabetical, just random, like Tracy. So I'd stop every morning, turn down a breakfast hit, and try to think of a band that wasn't already on the refer while he crawled toward the edge of the bed.

    His favorite singer was Eric Burdon. I don't remember offhand which band Eric was with in 1974. It doesn't matter, and it didn't matter to Tracy. He and I and a half dozen of my friends attended the Satsop Rock Festival with 70,000 of our other close friends because Eric was playing the Festival. Tracy went crazy.

    The next year Eric was appearing in Tacoma (I forget where) and Tracy went to see him. He somehow got backstage for a minute to tell Eric that he was great. Eric said, "OK mate, whenever I'm in Tacoma I drive down to the Beach Tavern at Titlow Beach. I'll be there after the show if you want to join me. Tracy didn't exactly say no.

    So Tracy got some quality time with his hero. Turns out that soon after, the City Fathers (and I assume Mothers as well) built the beautiful all-wood Tacoma Dome that still graces the city and is quite visible from I-5 as you pass through. For concerts, it seats somewhere around 17,000, about right for Eric.

    After the structure opened in the early 80s, Eric played there about 15 years in a row. After than, he was slightly less popular, so the local American Indians opened a casino with a very large theater (maybe 4,000 seats) and Eric comes each year. Eric is 80 and he's still coming every year. After the two had a burger together in 1974, Tracy and Eric have met at the Beach Tavern for a burger every year. For the last 20 years it has been before the gig rather than after because Eric needs his sleep, but they never miss. No, I've never been invited to join them, and I don't mind. Eric is Tracy's guy.

    Tracy reports that Eric is a gentleman and never turns down an autograph request, but prefers to just munch on his burger and talk with Tracy.

    By the way, Tracy quit his dead-end job, somehow started his own building contracting company, and has built dozens of houses around Tacoma. I think he's done very well financially, although I think I owe him a call from about 20 years ago. I run behind.

    And somewhere -- in a low-end rental or a landfill or at the bottom of Puget Sound -- there is a once-white refrigerator with the names of just about every band that was popular in 1974. The largest name, right in the middle of the front of the fridge is ERIC BURDON.

    John

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    1. As always, great story, man. Odd and unexpected to read about someone famous not being a dick or full of himself.

      Burdon is the voice of several songs I like a lot, "Sky Pilot" and "San Francisco Nights" and others, but being as music and me aren't well intertwined, "War, What Is It Good For?" was on that list, too. It was just this morning (from reading around, inspired by your note) that I learned he had nothing to do with that song.

      Back to packing. I gotta get out of this place, if it's the last thing I ever do.

      Delete

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