News & Links: Monday, July 24, 2023

#347  [archive]


For stabbing a black man to death while shouting the n-word, a white man is charged with disturbing the peace (2023)

Anti-abortion leader who told voters to "stand in defense of our citizens who can't yet defend themselves" is arrested on child sex abuse charges 

DoJ sues Texas governor over refusal to remove razor-wire-wrapped buoys from Rio Grande 

Long COVID impact on brain function equivalent to ageing 10 years 

Fully AI-generated influencers are getting thousands of reactions per thirst trap 

As Texas swelters, crops and cattle are increasingly at risk 

Projects to shift media further rightward get kid-glove treatment from centrist press journal 

Leonard Leo, "free speech" guy, had man arrested for calling him a fascist, per lawsuit 

Republican Governor doubles down on claim that some Black people benefited from slavery
    I used to think 'fascist' was too harsh a word for most Republicans, but of course, that was years and years ago.

Republican Congressman links his House.gov newsletter to Holocaust-denying site 

Inside the Republican effort to force millions of farm animals back into cages 

All cops continue being bastards


"Judgment Day", from EC Comics, 1956 

In Barbie, Oppenheimer smash success, audiences send message to Hollywood: Give us something new
    Barbie and Oppenheimer are enormous big-money movies you'd have to pay me big money to watch, but if there's anything worthwhile to be derived from them, it's this, from the article:
    "Everyone came out this weekend for two ORIGINAL, smart, quality movies," wrote Clare Binns, managing director of indie distributor Picturehouse, on Twitter. "It's what audiences want. Reboots, superheroes and films with bloated budgets that often cover a lack of ideas — time to take stock. No algorithms this weekend." 

Bruce Lee had to audition to play Kato in The Green Hornet 

When a botched imperial-to-metric conversion left a commercial jet with insufficient fuel, pilots had to improvise
    "In all probability, their inevitable confrontation with the Earth would not be an improvement on their current situation."

Long-simmering allegations of Biden criminality, never-supported by evidence, are alleged again
    As debunkings go, this is a fine debunking, but we long ago reached the point of Enough Already.
    After how many hundreds of these crazed claims, never proven but proof is always "coming soon," let's understand that when a Republican says something startling, it's bullshit.

    This is not really news, only an observation about journalism:
    In my Friday 7/21 news page, I linked to this article, dated Wednesday 7/19, from a local news blog, reporting that a judge had invalidated the city's ongoing homeless "sweeps." The same news has now reached our only local newspaper, The Seattle Times, on Monday, 7/24.
    Big-time journalism has been decimated by the internet, sure, but it's remarkable that the blog, Publicola, scooped the newspaper by five days, on news publicly released from a courthouse.
    Even weirder, the Times is fairly decent on homeless issues, for a mainstream paper — they have reporters on this beat. Or maybe just one reporter, and he/she was on vacation?
    Anyway, it's important to support local news coverage, so I'm signing up to give Publicola a piddling ten bucks monthly. Even unemployed, I can afford that.

♫♬  AUDIO  ♫

Edward Scissorhands — Danny Elfman 

God Only Knows — The Beach Boys 

It Isn't Nice — Malvina Reynolds 

The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution — Frank Zappa 

Symphony #9 — Antonín Dvořák 







👁  VIDEO  👁

Getting High: The History of LSD (from a very mainstream, commercial TV perspective, oh my) 

Hot dogs 

Lightning over Lake Johnson 


Existential Comics 

Jason Hickel 


Jeff Tiedrich 



Raymond Froggatt 

Evelyn Boyd Granville 

Juliette Mayniel

Martha Saxton 

Evelyn Witkin


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 the AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, CaptCreate's Log, Cogent Coquette, Kottke,org, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, One Finger Medical, Two Finger Magical, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Nebulously Burnished, RanPrieur.com, Switching to Glide, 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. I wouldn't call "Barbie" or "Oppenheimer" "original" movies. The former is hucksterism for a decades-old toy line (despite claims of subversion or empowerment, that's all it is: an advertisement that audience members are dumb enough to pay for) and the latter is a biopic, which we'd had a greasy buttload of the last 20 years. Enough already.

    Chris Nolan is a competent, old-fashioned filmmaker, but his fans are insufferable, especially when they mention him in the same breath as Kubrick, et al. The dude made three fucking Batman films for fuck's sake, a remake of a good foreign flick, and several unnecessarily convoluted "thrillers" with little to say about the world we live in. He's also a rich kid with industry connections (here we go again...) so his POV doesn't interest me so much.

    My favorite Nolan movie is "Dunkirk" - which is exquisitely made and nearly a silent film with its dearth of dialogue - and this one seems similarly based on a compelling historical situation. Oppenheimer is truly one of the strangest and most interesting figures of the 20th Century, and I assume the film is based on American Prometheus, which was an excellent biography.

  2. They're not sequels or remakes and that's all I can say in favor of BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER.

    BARBIE just saddens me. It seems to have been cleverly put together by all accounts, and Greta Gerwig gets to be rich if she wasn't already, but I fast-forward through commercials. I won't intentionally sit down to watch one.

    Chris Nolan is iffy at best. "The dude made three fucking Batman films for fuck's sake"? Well, I like Batman, but Nolan made three *bad* Batman films.

    And MEMENTO — overcomplicated but worth the trouble, as I recall.

    And INCEPTION — an interesting idea simply drowned in money and ooh-and-aah special effects and the insufferable Leonardo DiCaprio.

    And INTERSTELLAR, which I liked but remember almost nothing about it.

    DUNKIRK is a war movie, so I haven't and probably won't see it.

    And TENET — I'm hard of hearing already, and Nolan intentionally made it hard to hear? Fuck him just for that.

    And OPPENHEIMER? Probably not, unless a rush of rave reviews convinces me it has something worthwhile going on.

  3. "Dunkirk" is entirely about a retreat. It's fascinating and moving and very unconventional. All the thrills of a typical war film - imagery, sound, etc. - but to a different purpose, I think. Probably politically myopic in its focus on such a "small" unheroic event, but really effective as a way of saying and showing that this is "something that happened."

    Have you seen Nolan's "The Prestige"? You didn't mention it above. It's great! I love magic and magicians, and that's its subject, but also con artists - which magicians essentially are. It's almost a David Mamet film in that regard (Ricky Jay even appears.)

    1. Never saw THE PRESTIGE. It came out amidst a swell of swooning coverage of Nolan's genius, causing me to lose all interest. Mentioning David Mamet is not really a selling point, unless it's very early Mamet. :) But why not add it to the long, long watchlist? I'll 'rent' a copy.

    2. Oh, now I remember — Christian Bale, too.

    3. I don't know what the movie is about having not seen it, but the Battle of Dunkirk is not about a retreat in any European Allied country. Churchill called it a "miracle of deliverance". It is about the boats, large and small, of an island nation charging across the straight TOWARD the action to retrieve the armies of Great Britain and France (and a few others) for that day when the United States would stop fucking around with Lend-Lease and get it on with Hitler.

      It is a rare historical case of the British Navy joining tens of thousands of pleasure and fishing boats to save their army to fight another day. That day came four years later at Juno, Sword and Gold beaches when cries of "Dunkirk" filled the air. War is rarely noble: it's a fucking bloody mess. But the Battle of Dunkirk had an element of nobility to it that is remembered in Europe much more clearly than it is remembered here.


    4. Maybe they taught it in school when I was a kid in the '60s and '70s, but it sure never sunk into my head, all the details you just shared.

      I am glad people stood up to the Nazis, hope I would've, and mos def I am glad the good guys won that war. Wouldn't want to watch a movie about it, though.

    5. That's exactly what the film is about, as you described, including the "deliverance" and nobility." I don't know the specific, pedantic, military definition of "retreat", but yes, the soldiers were withdrawing from the advancing Krauts, and the English civilians were advancing in their boats to pick them up.

      The flick is assembled as three pieces - land, air, sea - which take place over varied time periods, which then coalesce in success at the end.


  4. I remember dozing off during a Nolan film (can't remember which one) and being aware of what was going on on screen even with my eyes closed. The musical cues behind everything makes it seem hamfisted and weird. The music isn't bad! It's often really good! But it's not a form of set dressing, or emotional cues, or anything that we assume music in a scene is there for. You frequently lose the subtlety of dialog because it's so fucking loud and its so fucking THERE all the time.

    Someone finally agreed and decided to do "12 Angry Men" if Nolan had directed it (or was at least in charge of sound editing):


    (It's a 10 second joke extended to a minute but that's still less annoying than what it's parodying.)

    1. Amusing vid. Says something that even not seeing most of Nolan's work, I've heard enough about not being able to hear to immediately get the joke.

      And it's tricky getting subtitles on the films I 'rent'...


🚨🚨 If you have problems posting a comment, please click here for help. 🚨🚨