I can't quite get there.

leftovers & links

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023

— — —

On Sunday I went to my brother's house for our monthly movie together, and we happened to catch a few minutes of a TV newscast.

And holy crap it was awful. The anchors were mugging for the camera, all the reports were "live!" but too brief to carry much real information, everyone's hair was perfect, the news they were talking about wasn't news, and then of course, several minutes of commercials.

It's been years since I watched TV news regularly, and it sucked then. What it does now makes the word 'suck' seem inadequate.

I'm re-typing the old Pathetic Life entries day-by-day, and on Saturday I typed the Monday entry, and thought I'd saved it. On Monday I went to finalize it, maybe add an illustration and hit 'publish', but it wasn't there. I had to re-re-type it.

It already wasn't very good. Re-typing something not very good that I'd already re-typed is double un-good. I used to be kinda slightly proud of Pathetic Life, but the more of it I re-type, the more flaws I see. Some of the entries seem OK or even worth reading, in my opinion, but a lot of it's lame, and for me all of it's a rerun.

I'll stick with it — only a few months remain — but I'm looking forward to the end of it. Probably you are, too.

My pal Leon is a football fan and he knows I'm not, so I thought he was kidding with me when he said the Pro Bowl had switched to flag football this year. He was not kidding.

"I don't see us going back in any way," [the BFL Commissioner] said of the event, which concluded Sunday in Las Vegas. "I think this is the future for us."

Hell, yeah — make it the NFL's future. Switch the whole damned league to flag football. It's less savage, less violent and warlike, less likely to cause concussions, and I can't imagine it would lead to as much heavy drinking and wife-beating as the tackle game does every Sunday.


It must be part of getting old, but I don't understand the why of it: Some days I can reach around and wipe my ass just fine, nice and tight, a clean sweep leaving everything tidy after a poop. Other days I can't quite get there.

Cal Worthington was probably the most successful of the 'wacky' car dealers, famous for his "I'll eat a bug" commercials on TV. I worked at one of his dozens of dealerships, met the guy, had lunch with him once, and he was a lot more boring in person than on the tube.

He's been dead for ten years, and now his brand name is about to be sold and die, too. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we all fall down...

For no good reason I can think of, it's apparently illegal to ride a bicycle across the Bay Bridge.

I say people, not cars, build bridges and freeways, and a two-ton ticket shouldn't be necessary for access. Bikers, skateboarders, and just plain people should be welcome on any public infrastructure.

Got a job interview tomorrow. Root for me. I usually stink at interviews.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

World leaders debate whether it's okay to kill people with terminator-style robots 

Human Rights Campaign delivers alarming brief on the state of anti-LGBTQ legislation 

"Open source" seeds loosen big ag's grip on farmers 

JPMorgan Chase is accused of inside info participating in Epstein's sex-trafficking venture 

'Forever chemicals' have made their way to farms, says researcher 

Roald Dahl rewrites: edited language in books criticized as "absurd censorship" 

Am I the only person not outraged by this? Dahl was born more than a century ago. Things have changed. Some of the publisher's changes are a tad inartful, but there's none of them draw blood. It's not a big deal, and it seems like a good idea, to make some very slight alterations when the books are reprinted. 

State cops in Georgia 'investigate' local cops after "public outcry" over brutality caught on video a year ago 

What happened to 70 cops involved in notorious killings 

A metal detectorist is suing the FBI, claiming he alerted them to 7 tons of Civil War-era gold and they took it away in a secret overnight dig 

Big-money right-wing group is spreading misinformation to stop solar projects in rural America'

Taylor Greene wants 'national divorce' of red and blue states 

Election-denying demon-hunter will chair Michigan Republican Party

Mystery links
There's no knowing where you're going






Clicks ahoy

Treating PTSD with psychedelics 

Media treats Ohio derailment like an act of god 

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Canon In D Major — Johann Pachelbel 

Fame — David Bowie 

Nights in White Satin — The Moody Blues 

Something in the Air — Thunderclap Newman 

What is Truth? — Johnny Cash 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Richard Belzer  

Barbara Bosson 

Simone Edwards 

Chuck Jackson 

Jansen Panettiere 


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 ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, CaptCreate's Log, LiarTownUSA, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, RanPrieur.com, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.
Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Captain Hampockets, John the Basket, Dave S, Name Withheld, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.


  1. >Hell, yeah — make it the NFL's future. Switch the whole damned league to flag football. It's less savage, less violent and warlike, less likely to cause concussions

    Did I relate to you the story of how, just this year, I became completely done with the game of football? Probably, but I'm gonna tell you again, because I'm old, and don't remember.

    I've had serious issues with the NFL, because of the handling of CTE, and the terrible treatment of Colin Kaepernick. And I haven't had a cable or network-ready TV in years, just my PS4 for watching internet stuff. But I'd follow the stats, watch the highlights.

    Then this year, in an early game, Miami's QB, a young, dynamic, talented player named Tua Tagovailoa, got absolutely destroyed. Two bad concussions in one game, IIRC, and they were talking about how he may miss the season, or may never play again, or may never be the same.

    He recovered, but still.

    This is the result of THE GAME BEING PLAYED AS INTENDED. The hits were "clean." No penalties. And this kid was in danger of serious life-changing effects. Still is, frankly, with CTE.

    In Basketball or Baseball, injuries happen, and they can be terrible. But they are mistakes. They are not the result of the game being played as intended. Hockey, I don't watch, because I have trouble with the puck, but also, I hate the fighting. They get away with shit on the ice that would be a felony on the streets.

    So yeah, no more football. No college, no pro. Fuck 'em.

    1. If the NFL switches to flag football, they're history. Their declining viewership will evaporate, much like the Oscars and other big-money distractions that condescend to the common man. Secondary, even *more* violent leagues will form.

    2. That's beautiful, Captain. Salute!

      The violence is a big part of what I hate about football. Even as a kid, I made a cursory attempt to play baseball, basketball, and hockey, but never football. Pain was never my idea of fun.

      I also hate the hugeness and corporateness of it all. There's just nothing to like.

    3. Zero chance the league would switch to flag football. They only switched the Pro Bowl because of fear of injuries in a meaningless event. They'd rather save the injuries for real games.

      The NFL is our bread and circuses. It ain't going anywhere until the society crumbles. So — ten or twenty years.

    4. I'd like to see more violence in baseball, honestly. And I don't mean this:


    5. An unlucky bird indeed. Can't tell from the clip, but I think Johnson was with the Mariners when he threw that pitch.

  2. > only a few months remain
    I'm actually devastated. I hope you keep posting all this other stuff though. I'm reading Pathetic Life for I'd guess 2-3 years now and I'm always looking forward to the next entry.

    1. Ah, thanks. I wasn't fishing for that, but I do appreciate it. Probably I'm too close to it to judge it.

      It's like moviemakers. Never understood how they can spend a year making a blockbuster and not be thoroughly sick of everything about it even before it opens.

    2. It's like moviemakers. Never understood how they can spend a year making a blockbuster and not be thoroughly sick of everything about it even before it opens.


      Money is the answer, piles and piles and bras and underwear stuffed with the stuff

    3. I wouldn't know anything about that, but I'd like to.

    4. Came here to say the same thing. I'll miss Pathetic Life. When you read all the posts in order, it's like reading a novel where the timeline keeps flip-flopping, and you get to see how the main character's life progresses in two different timelines. And yeah, I know I'm late to the party here. Still trying to catch up! Trying like hell though.

    5. Always appreciate it when someone says something kind instead of fuck off and die, so thank you, sir.

      Retyping it so many years later, it's not as good as I'd hoped it would be, and unlike a novel it doesn't have a satisfying conclusion. Mighty glad a few people still enjoy it, though.

  3. I assume you weren't aware that the Peanuts comic is quoting the Smiths song, Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me. Here's the video but the song doesn't start until 1:54 or so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEbi-zXR-sw
    It's an OK one, but nowhere near as great as their very best, which includes There Is a Light That Never Goes Out, which should put a lump in your throat if you can imagine singing it to the love of your life...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INgXzChwipY
    And for something more upbeat.. These Things Take Time...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oVs3riZd30 -- Arden

    1. I know little of the Smiths, and mix them up in my head with the Cure and the Clash — all a little bit after my time. Yeah, I know I'm a cretin.

      Do you think Charles Shultz was listening to the Smiths? He was born in 1922 so I'm leaning toward thinking two creative minds got the same idea.

      Listening now, I'm liking the second and third Smiths songs. The first one's somewhat durgy.

    2. I was thinking someone else captioned the Schultz drawing who is a Smiths fans. The Clash are harder and began as a punk band before expanding their palette. Their double album London Calling is a succinct document that many say is the last major rock 'n' roll album ever released. I don't quite lean into the hyperbole but I get it. The Cure changed a lot over the 40+ year career, mostly in the beginning, starting off as a guitar-pop group and then toying with synthesizers and creating nearly ambient music before going full goth on the beautiful but emotionally draining Pornography, Since then, they've vacillated between their upbeat poppy commercial side and their cultish goth-doom side. -- Arden

    3. That makes sense — it's too dark and bleak for Schultz. Someone improved on Peanuts.

      Morrisey has a sad but lovely voice. Always seems to be love songs, but did he ever sing any political stuff?

    4. I'm not an expert on him. I know that he's lost his audience over some racist rightwing crap he spewed at some point. Meat Is Murder is his call to Vegetarianism but the song doesn't do anything for me. I don't really listen to lyrics that closely, TBH. I like them if they're good but I just assume they're dumb. For me, it's the way a song sounds and how a phrase here and there hits me. Can't describe it any other way. Part of this is probably because I don't hear so well. But I've always been like this, so who knows? -- Arden

    5. https://youtu.be/988cVl_q_YU

      Distorted reality's now a necessity
      To be free.
      So disappointing,
      First I put it all down to luck
      God knows why my
      Country don't give a fuck

    6. https://youtu.be/WMzF9YBxzqM

      And oh it's gettin' so cold around here
      There's too many cars round here
      And though I want to open up my heart
      There's too many parties

      Everyone I know reminds me
      Of someone down in Texas
      And every strip mall on the highway
      Reminds me of my home

    7. https://youtu.be/_QaQuKz0_Zw

      Friends are warmer than gold when you're old
      And keeping them is harder than you might suppose
      Lately, I tend to make strangers wherever I go
      Some of them were once people I was happy to know

    8. https://youtu.be/XakQ0l25hn0

      And let the sun set on the ocean
      I will watch it from the shore
      Let the sun rise over the redwoods
      I'll rise with it till I rise no more

      Talk to me of Mendocino
      closing my eyes, I hear the sea
      Must I wait, must I follow?
      Won't you say "Come with me?"

    9. https://youtu.be/5_P_FsFADYc

    10. https://youtu.be/f4it9vK6G7o

      Maybe tomorrow, honey
      Someplace down the line
      I'll wake up older
      So much older, mama
      I'll wake up older
      And I'll just stop all my tryin'

    11. https://youtu.be/Ox2g83kGE-U

    12. https://youtu.be/MX4NKNJytUM

    13. https://youtu.be/awHWColYQ90

      They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
      Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock,
      These days, my life, I feel it has no purpose,
      But late at night the feelings swim to the surface.
      'Cause on the suburbs the city lights shine,
      They're calling at me, 'come and find your kind.'

      Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
      That we can never get away from the sprawl,
      Living in the sprawl,
      Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
      And there's no end in sight,
      I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

      We rode our bikes to the nearest park,
      Sat under the swings, we kissed in the dark,
      We shield our eyes from the police lights,
      We run away, but we don't know why,
      And like a mirror these city lights shine,
      They're screaming at us, 'we don't need your kind'

      Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
      That we can never get away from the sprawl,
      Living in the sprawl,
      Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
      And there's no end in sight,
      I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

      They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
      Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.
      Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
      Can we ever get away from the sprawl?
      Living in the sprawl,
      Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
      And there's no end in sight,
      I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

    14. Arden, I also don't hear so well, so I turn up the volume.

      Morrisey is a racist vegetarian? Well, I'll never forgive child rapist Michael Jackson or sexist bully J K Rowling, but also if we eliminate everyone who's said something offensive, we'd eliminate everyone, certainly including me.

      So please don't supply the quotes in question. I would seriously rather be ignorant, and still able to like the music.

      What I want in pop music is a catchy tune, sung on key, with thoughtful lyrics. Having heard 50,000 love songs, it's hard for a new one to impress me, but I have freaky politics so if the lyrics touches on that, it's a big plus.

      And Claude, this is the perfect way, for me at least, to get nudged toward new music. You're mentioning a song, which gives it two points, and giving me a glimpse of the lyrics, which might give it two more points, so it could be ahead in the tally even before hitting 'play'.

      "All My Happiness Is Gone" is my new favorite of the day. Also liked the Ronstadt — she's so underrated — and Jackson Frank. All of it's good, though. I'd keep my radio tuned to your station.

    15. "My Dad" is so damned wholesome, and I love it...

    16. "All My Happiness Is Gone" is by David Berman, whose other band was The Silver Jews, and who wrote that poem I sent you earlier, “A Letter from Isaac Asimov to His Wife Janet, Written on His Deathbed.”

      Just a remarkable lyricist, and a complex fellow. Grew up extremely privileged, but publicly estranged himself from his father, a notorious lobbyist for right wing causes. Apparently he spent the last many years of his life attempting to write a book about his father.

      The Silver Jews record "The Natural Bridge" is my favorite, primarily for the lyrics. The songs are all low-key, almost dirges, but nice mood setting for the amazing words:


      "O Dallas, you shine with an evil light
      How'd you turn a billion steers
      Into buildings made of mirrors?"

      "What if life is just some hard equation
      On a chalkboard in a science class for ghosts?"

      "I passed an abandoned drive-in
      With ivy growing over the screen
      It was like I caught Hollywood sleeping
      Sleep without the dreams"

      "Robot walks into a bar
      Orders a drink, lays down a bill
      Bartender says, 'Hey, we don't serve robots'
      And the robot says, 'Oh, but someday you will'"

      "Boy wants a car from his dad
      Dad says, 'First, you got to cut that hair'
      Boy says, 'Hey, Dad, Jesus had long hair'
      And Dad says, 'That's right, son, Jesus walked everywhere'"

      "All houses dream in blueprints
      Our houses dream so hard
      Outside, you can see my shoeprints
      I've been dreaming in your yard"

    17. Ronstadt - yes, still underrated, I sincerely place her alongside the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, etc. as one of the finest popular singers ever. Her choice of material is so varied and reveals a tremendous intelligence.

    18. That's a whole album's worth of music, which I'll set up and listen to at bedtime probably. For now I gotta get back to the rest of the movie, The Silent Partner.

      I saw Ronstadt, very strangely, at the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto, where she was attending a silent film because, if memory serves, she'd written a new score for it. I hope that night happened while I was writing Pathetic Life, so maybe I wrote about it, because right now that's all I remember.

    19. I'll probably never understand categories of music. What the hell is popular music? Where does it intersect with the blues and rock? Aretha spent the first five years of her adulthood trying to make "popular" recordings for Columbia, then found herself in soul and took off, but she never really found a category, and she rarely sang better than when she was singing tin pan alley song (e.g., natural woman).

      I swear that if I every had 20 consecutive minutes to write something, I might be able to make sense. More later . . .


      And who the hell is doing all this rating?

    20. Just got another five minutes, and I read Rolling Stone's 50 greatest albums by (sort of) women, which means that there was at least one woman at the mic.

      fuck, interrupyted again. fuck.

    21. Where are you at that people keep interrupting you? I hate that, too.

      Doesn't matter what I'm doing or even whether I'm doing anything, but a knock on the door puts me in an instant bad mood what doesn't fade unless the knocker is a pretty woman giving me money. When the phone rings, I immediately wonder why the hell the ringer isn't off. Frickin' HATE interruptions.

      Any music that's good music I hope I'll like, but generally speaking, I know what I don't like. Opera requires a lot of patience I don't usually have, the twang of modern country puts me off, lounge singing tends toward self-parody, rap wears me out fast, and Disney pop always feels like it's wrapped in cellophane. As with most things, there are exceptional exceptions, except for the Disney pop, of course.

      Some singers sound like themselves so much it becomes a liability unless they're Willie Nelson. And certainly there's never been an Aretha song I didn't like. Bobby Darin, though, wrote a protest song called "Simple Song of Freedom," but someone else has to sing it to me, cuz when Darin sings it it's just another Bobby Darin song.

  4. >Am I the only person not outraged by this? Dahl was born more than a century ago. Things have changed. Some of the publisher's changes are a tad inartful, but there's none of them draw blood. It's not a big deal, and it seems like a good idea, to make some very slight alterations when the books are reprinted.

    Othello is a brother with an attitude and Juliet allows herself to get manipulated by her family. Hundreds of other examples. We should rewrite that shit so it conforms with our decade.

    Of course, good art says something of its time and is, by nature, frequently provocative, frequently uncomfortable.

    You know I'm not saying Dahl is Shakespeare. I'm just asking who should decide which "outdated" art should be "updated".


    1. Well, under capitalism, the publisher. And Puffin isn't reworking plot points, only a few words.

      Can't think of any examples at the moment, but I remember reading some old books and being jarred and slapped in the face by the racism or sexism. Tweaking a word here and there seems like a good idea to me. The words they inserted are kinda bland, is my complaint.

  5. RE: the Pachelbel:


    My favorite Brian Eno record, sorry if rating it is bad


  6. I wasn't expecting that from Brian Eno. Very nice. Bookmarked it (and I mean this as a compliment to Mr Eno) into my folder called BEDTIME, for things that might sooth me to sleep — old time radio works wonders, along with white noise, brown noise, purple noise, sleep baseball, Carl Sagan's original (and brilliant) COSMOS, and THE PRISONER.

    1. Also, Pachelbel is a *perfect* rhyme for Taco Bell.


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