Flatmates' Thanksgiving

All I wanted was some damned toast for breakfast. I stepped into an empty kitchen this morning, and it felt safe. My flatmate Dean usually turns the rock'n'roll on as soon as he's awake, but no music was coming from his room, so I put four slices of wheat into the toaster.



& links

Nov. 25, 2022

While the bread browned, Robert came out of his room and we traded a few sentences about our respective Thanksgivings yesterday. At the sound of people talking, of course, Dean poked his head out of his room.

Almost immediately, Dean asked what we were each doing at around 6:00 tonight, because he wants to cook a dinner for us. "It's what I do," he said, which is something he often says.

My toast was cold before I'd escaped the kitchen, and saying no was politically not an option, so I'm stuck at my second consecutive Thanksgiving dinner tonight at 6:00. You have to be a little sociable with flatmates, I think, and this will pay my dues for several weeks.

The obligation awaits me in an hour, and I do seriously hate obligations. Most people, I think, would enjoy a free dinner, but a day alone is a good day for me. I hate being sociable, and I'm looking forward to this flatmates' Thanksgiving being over.

Now, the news you need,
whether you know it or not

Days after deadly shooting at LGBTQ club, Twitter bans group that protects LGBTQ 

Google is ordered to remove pirate site domains from US search results 

Airlines push for lone pilot flights to cut costs despite safety fears 

U.S. bird flu outbreak worst on record with 50 million dead birds 

Abandoned Greek airport to be transformed into a 600-acre coastal park 

Court orders US Navy to pay $154,400 in software piracy damages 

Over 20,000 died in western Europe’s summer heatwaves, figures show 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops...

As police arrest more seniors, those with dementia face deadly consequences 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops...

The massacre at Club Q didn’t happen in a vacuum. There has been a dangerous escalation in hateful anti-LGBT rhetoric. 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops... 

Links I liked

The Supreme Court case that protected flag burning 

Decline of key changes in popular music 

Brussels sprouts have been genetically engineered to taste better 

The story Octavia Butler lived 

Polar Bear Jail 

Love dart 

Mystery links
"Like life itself, there's no
knowing where you're going"




♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

• "All Who Pass" by Shaolin Afronauts 

• "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" by Danny Elfman

The End 

George Lois 

Kevin O'Neill 

Ned Rorem


Cranky Old Fart 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 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, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...


  1. Duggles, frequently you find a piece of data that explains the world around us frighteningly clearly. I stopped ignoring your links a long time ago; I take every one. But today's "Decline of key changes in popular music" link explains, in retrospect, why it's useless to listen to pop music radio. The obvious important metric is on the right side of the graph, but don't ignore the left side. The Beatles changed music of the early sixties in many ways, but there were two significant ones (besides having a left handed bass player and a left handed drummer playing right-handed drums): three part harmony and key changes within songs. You can see a sharp rise when the Beatles started publishing albums and a sharp drop when they stopped. There's a smaller rise with the confluence of punk and metal (frequently called grunge) and a fall when it went away. Then the music dies and redlines.

    The first set of rise/fall don't all or even mostly represent Beatles tunes -- the lads influenced Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan and most everybody else who was writing music.

    So thanks for the key metric.


    1. As a guy cheerfully, even thankfully ignorant of music and disdainful of present-day pop music, it's further evidence that there's less imagination and intelligence and fewer surprises in popular music now than there used to be. The chart expresses mathematically what I'd already intuitively felt.

      Guess it's reinforcement of my prejudices, but this particular prejudice is borne of truth and experience.

      Do you ever listen to what "the kids today"? When I try, I have to listen quite a lot before anything sounds like something I'd want to listen to again.

      And it is good to know someone's clicking the links, thanks. They're the trail of breadcrumbs from everything my eyes have snacked on today and yesterday. Can't imagine many people would give a hoot, but sometimes I click my own links a few days later, when I've lost something I should've bookmarked.

    2. I understand being contemptuous of the pop music being manufactured and played today; the graph tells a small part of that story and the rest is about the 21st century music business, which is a sad tale indeed.

      But, my brother, I'm concerned about "thankful ignorance" of any art form. The latest theories of cultural and physical anthropologists about pre-human history suggest that music might have served as a proto-language (before we could physically and mentally articulate speech): a way to communicate with each other when no other way was feasible. If this theory is close to reasonably accurate, music is layered into our brains, so if we hear pleasing music our brains are stimulated at a deep level. We are intellectually and culturally inseparable from the resonant music we hear; non-resonant music (see also 21st century tunes) bounces off our layered brain like bullets off Superman. Of course, as we have species memory taste, so also do we have acquired taste. We're complex beings with a complex brain. So there is considerable variability in our individual response to music. But when the late Kingsmen or the mostly late Wailers (from Tacoma, Washington) play "Louie, Louie", we, most of us, dance; people confined to wheelchairs move their feet, and even people with little obvious sense of time move SOMETHING.

      The belief that music plays a critical role in both communication and stimulation of advanced societies runs so deep that NASA and other space agencies have sent recorded Earth music into deep space as an artifact they hope other advanced lifeforms find at an unfathomably distant date. It is hoped that they will know us by our music long after we have destroyed ourselves. Hot cuts include Bach, Mozart, and Chuck Berry.

      I'm not telling you what to pay attention to; rather I'm letting you know what I pay attention to, and why. There is magic in good music that transcends our brief lives.


    3. Respect the music I do. Listen to it, I sometimes do. Dig deep into the history, the context, the artists, I simply never do.

      I'm interested in what I'm interested in, and my interest in music, even the music I know and love, isn't much more than an interest in hearing it. Knowing who played bass on which recording, or most of the composers' or performers' backstories, is beyond my interest unless it's made into an interesting biopic.

      Hmmm. Actually, I can't think of anything in that genre that I've seen, not even Walk the Line or 8 Mile. Oh wait — Amadeus, definitely. The Sound of Music, if that counts.

      I feel about music like I feel about trips to the art museum. Rembrandt rocks, but I never give him any thought when I'm *not* in the gallery.

      There's too much art and knowledge for anyone to hold more than a fraction of a fraction in their mind. The music that's hit my ears and heart, I listen to over and over, but that hasn't included any of Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift's oeuvre. Tell me if I'm missing something special from that generation.

    4. Both the performers you mentioned in the last graph are 21st century people (Swift turned 11 and Bieber turned 6 at the turn of the millennium) and I said the 21st century music business is trash. Leonard Cohen, on the other hand, turned 66, and had 16 years to live. In the middle of those 16 years, he embarked on four world tours in four years and every house was sold out and filled with joy and some of the best music that has ever been performed: the kind of music that gives our lives contextual meaning and amplifies our joys and sorrows, so the last 20 years, as barren as it has been, has, nonetheless contained a richness of human expression amidst the dogshit.

      We included our return address on the records and other recordings we sent into the cosmos, so when the ship pulls into the inner planets of Sol, looking for the progeny of Mozart and Bach and Chuck Berry to thank them for the cool tracks, and find only waterworld, they will only be able to speak into the abyss. We can enjoy them before the rains come.


    5. I like that mental imagery... The aliens come looking for the good music they've heard from this celestial nightclub, but by the time they're here, looking for parking, there won't be much of anything left.

      Went through my minimal music collection yesterday, and I do need more Cohen.


The site's software sometimes swallows comments. For less frustration, send an email and I'll post it as a comment.