The News: Saturday, June 24, 2023

A bill came in the mail after my wife died, demanding hundreds of dollars for her ambulance ride to the hospital. This week, five billionaires became shrimp food — what do you suppose their families will be billed, for the attempted but failed rescue? My guess is, nothing.

It's awful but also amusing when something that's objectively not very important becomes the breathless top story day after day, like the wreck of the Titan, on its quarter-million-dollar-per-ticket ride to see the wreck of the Titanic. It's news of nearly no importance to anyone except the families and employees of the dead, which by my definition makes it the opposite of news.

Here's some real news instead...

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Oregon county sues big oil over 2021 heatwave that killed dozens of people

Supreme Court OK with Navajos having no water 

Journalist: "We caved to pressure from the incontrovertible truth and our journalistic consciences." 

Spain to follow France's lead: plans to ban short-haul domestic flights 

Chinese authorities demand global censorship of protest anthem "Glory to Hong Kong"

Window-hanging bear that "went viral" is euthanized

Yeah, I'm still enjoying the Reddit shit-show:
Why Reddit's blind community went dark for the first time in its history 

The blind lead the way out of Reddit 

Reddit is about to get a little less accessible 

r/PoliticalHumor makes all members moderators 

r/France is now dedicated to discussions related to dead French singer France Gall 

r/DebateReligion is now requiring all posts to be in Latin 

This conversation about the Reddit meltdown is interesting, once you get past the opening theme song so godawful I almost turned back.

The four best Reddit alternatives 

Because some people say I focus too much on bad news:
American neo-nazi leader found dead after trying to shut down drag queen story hour 

42,000-year-old penis pendant discovered in Mongolia

Rare combination of tornadoes and softball-sized hail leads to deaths in Texas 

"Mosquito days" — bringing malaria, West Nile, Zika and more — are getting more common nearly nationwide 

Coral reefs, one of the most important ecosystems in the world, are in a global decline due to climate change 

“What do you say to somebody like that? I mean, ya know, you're stupid?" 

Thousands of dead fish have washed up on a Thai beach. Experts say climate change may be to blame. 

Texas governor signs bill rescinding water breaks as deadly heat grips state

Republican pundit muses whether Jews secretly destroyed OceanGate sub to keep people from finding out Jews sunk the Titanic 

Republican legislator longs for return of Confederate symbol to Mississippi state flag 

Donald Trump releases idiotic video justifying why he must "punch down" and put people "in their place"

Elon Musk says 'cisgender' and 'cis' are now considered 'slurs' on Twitter 

Billionaire-funded group driving effort to erode democracy in key US states 

House Republicans offer resolutions to expunge former Trump's 2019 and 2021 impeachments 

"Shady and corrupt": Watchdog group sounds the alarm over Amy Coney Barrett real estate deal 

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



My browser history
without the porn

Superintendent Boom Boom tells kid to get a haircut
by Bruce Anderson

The terror that is The Michelin Man 

The man who tried to redeem the world with logic 

When the FBI tried to decipher The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" 

♫♬  It don't mean a thing  ♫
if it don't have that swing

Basic Human Needs — Wavy Gravy with Ace of Cups 

Blowin' in the Wind — Bob Dylan 

Born This Way — Lady GaGa 

Sittin' in the Rain — John Mayall & the BluesBreakers 

What the World Needs Now — Dionne Warwick 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Jalna Hanmer 

Sheldon Harnick 

Ben Helfgott


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, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, One Finger Medical, Two Finger Magical, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Nebulously Burnished, RanPrieur.com, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo, 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. Just read an article (a year-old article: I'm behind in my reading) quoting a NASA study about the "Where Are They?" question.

    Physicist Enrico Fermi was said to have asked this question at lunch in 1950 among others who had worked on the Manhattan Project and had moved on to working on the identification of other advanced societies across the impossible distances of the cosmos. Carl Sagan asked the question slightly differently in the Cosmos series. If intelligent life is rare, but evolves sometimes, where the hell are all the broadcasts and other ephemera associated with all the intelligent civilizations that must be populating the universe?

    There are still astrophysicists doing work on this "Where are they?" question today. One of the obvious answers is that intelligent life has yet to evolve on Earth, so we can't make reasonable inferences about other planetary systems. But, having produced Carl Sagan, Edward Hopper, Leonard Cohen, Grace Hopper, and, I suppose, even Hedda Hopper, we have at least an idea what intelligence looks like as long as we exclude Hedda.

    So where are they? And where are we?


    1. Alone, probably.

      Or the intelligent species out there have no interest in us, so they leave no markers.

      It is a mystery that won't be solved in our lifetimes, or ever, probably. I certainly don't see humans lasting long enough to do much exploring.

    2. I don't see humans lasting long enough at the technology levels required to do interplanetary, much less interstellar exploration, but I wouldn't count homo sapiens sapiens down for the count. H. Sapiens Sapiens has been around for three hundred thousand years and H. Sapiens for 4-8
      million. We've found ways to survive. It turns out the more we surround ourselves with technology -- hunting and gathering, agricultural, industrial, information, bio, and beyond, the worse we behave. In smallish groups we do OK, but we don't scale well. Maybe that's the case across the cosmos, maybe not. Intelligence itself (defined as the ability to broadcast radio and other electromagnetic signals) might be a deterrent to peace among and between species. As you say, it's a question you and I won't see answered. All we can do is eat doughnuts and hope for the best. Not a bad job as jobs go.


    3. I'm curious about the future of humanity, post-me. Humans will still be here, surviving same as cockroaches. We're hardy.

      All our luxuries of life, though, pretty much require some serious serenity and reliable, predictable weather, and train tracks and freeway overpasses and utility wires that stay where we put 'em. That particular future looks precarious and temporary, so I reckon humans will learn to survive again without things like WalMart, the CBS Evening News, cheap pants imported from China, the internet — stuff like that.

      It would make a great movie, but no need to lower the lights cuz it'll be real.

  2. You'd have to be an astrophysics geek to find this link interesting, but I do and I'm sure as hell not an astrophysicist. Just a few old men trying to recall a lunchtime conversation a lifetime ago that has become rather famous. This is a 15-20 minute read if you read the whole thing carefully, but you can probably plow through it in less time than that. Here's the link:


    Just some old microfilm about an even older conversation among some men who have achieved slightly iconic status among physicists. I'm sorry I forget how to make that link hot. I'm also sorry I can't operate my phone or this damn computer with any hope of getting where I want to go.


    1. This is the link beyond the abstract, hot and everything.

      The first few pages they microfiched are stamped "Do not microfiche," which amused me.

      It's an article I'd heard of but never read before, and only skimmed today, but might try really reading at bedtime.

      My short, smartass answer to the question is that everybody has better places to be. Any species smart enough to travel between the stars — what would be the appeal of stopping at this dump?

    2. Right, so when you get there, you need to click "View Technical Report" and that will take you to four or five recollections and recollections of recollections of the famous 1950 conversation. So where are they?


    3. Wait, I'm confused. Is the question "Where are the aliens?" or is it "Where are the 4 or 5 recollections?"

      I will find out tonight, perhaps...

    4. Where are the aliens? They should be able to get across the Milky Way in about two million years. They've had much longer than that, so where are they? This is a serious question in astrophysics. At least one of our assumptions is faulty.


    5. I'll stick with my answer. There's almost certainly intelligent life out there, but why would they give a hoot about us?

      Tell me there's an anthill three blocks from my house, I won't be interested enough to go look at it. We're the ants.


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