News & Links:
Saturday, December 9, 2023



#392  [archive]
DEC. 9, 2023

Biden administration offers $3 billion in funding for the Brightline West rail project,
    I frickin' love trains, but this is absurd. If we the people are putting up a quarter of the cost for a train taking gamblers and other idiots to Vegas and back, we the people should own a quarter of the business.

Dems introduce legislation to guarantee right to vote for people with felonies on record
    The right to vote should never be taken away, no matter what crimes a person's convicted of. You're damned right, mass murderers should have the right to vote on death row.
    But this bill has less than zero chance of passage. And even if Democrats won control of both houses, it would still have no chance of passing, because 88% of Democrats are just watered-down Republicans. So I dunno... seems a waste of time even proposing universal suffrage.

New report illuminates why OpenAI board said Altman “was not consistently candid”
    A board member wrote a paper urging the company to focus on safety in AI development, over profit. CEO Altman disagreed strongly and wanted to fire her. Ponder that, while remembering that AI is the basic plotline of about ⅓ of all apocalyptic science fiction.
    Then came a few days of drama — Sam Altman was fired, then rehired after the brouhaha, apparently with an understanding that profits are more important than safety at OpenAI.
    Seems like a thunderously bad idea, but they didn't ask me. I do hope future archaeologists find this page in the e-rubble, so's I can posthumously say "Told you so." 

Hundreds of tons of dead fish wash up in Japan; experts puzzled 

The first results from the world’s biggest basic income experiment 

"We are taking names of people who did not support Israel": Dark money mobilizes to oust New York progressives  

The Golden Gate Bridge is finally getting a safety net 

Jailed for their own safety, 14 Mississippians died awaiting mental health treatment  

Texas Historical Commission removes books on slavery from plantation gift shops 

Yes, they’re pro-Confederacy, but they’re just the nicest old racist ladies 

US retailers admit they lied about shoplifting, again 

US Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) calls for DOJ investigation of Washington Post writer over 'Trump wants dictatorship' column 

Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Texas) threatens to prosecute over court-ordered emergency abortion of unviable, life-threatening fetus

Fake Trump electors in Nevada are indicted, including state Republican Chair 

Fake Trump electors settle civil lawsuit in Wisconsin 

Meet Fox’s “Democrat voter”: An anti-vaxxer who says "Democrats are an automatic no-no for me” 

Candidate for Santos' old seat is convicted on Jan. 6 charges after testifying he had 'no idea' Congress met in the Capitol 

Indigenous community haunted by US, Canadian military presence in Japan 

How bonkers is John Lurie? 

Why self-checkout is and has always been the worst 

Some people call Steve Miller the Space Cowboy 

Amusing, Interesting, Outrageous, or Profound
    AIOP is my Lemmy page, for anything that's (in my opinion) amusing, interesting, outrageous, or profound. It's mostly a rough draft of this page, but you're invited to stop by.

The Police Problem
    All about about ordinary evil cops.

♫♬  MUSIC  ♫ 

Bad Reputation — Joan Jett 

Dial Tone — Floyd Cramer 

Maggie's Farm — Solomon Burke 

Sad Joy — Manfred Mann 

The Way You Look Tonight — MouseRat 


Refaat Alareer
human rights activist 

William Anastasi
subway doodler 

Terry Baucom
banjo player 

Vic Davalillo
baseballer, Los Angeles Dodgers 

Sandra Elkin
feminist, radio host, Woman 

🖕 Harald Falckenberg
art hoarder 

Andrea Fay Friedman
actress, Life Goes On 

Ellen Holly
actress, librarian 

David Krieger
peace activist 

David McKnight
actor, The Five Heartbeats 

Frances Maldonado Junk
purveyor of hamburgers 

Ryan O'Neal
actor, What’s Up, Doc? 

Marisa Pavan
actress, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit 

Edward Poindexter
framed for murder 

Earl W. Roberts
founder, Canadian Trackside Guide 

John Warnock
co-founder, Adobe 

Richard Wilson

Benjamin Zephaniah
poet, teacher, actor


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, Chuff, Dirty Blonde Mind, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Lemmy.world, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Self-love Is My Superpower, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo emeritus, Jeff Meyer, 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. reddit does fine work, but it was Cecil Adams who did the primary research and decoded the tangled history of the pompatus of love -- 40 years ago. Enter Maurice . . .


    1. Ah, Cecil. I should've known. The Reddit post seemed all authoritative and all, and was probably cribbed directly from Cecil. It was news to me, either way, but credit where credit's due.

  2. I understand that your music section is mostly about bad covers, but since some of the originals are a little obscure and, at least for today's entries, 100 times better, it might have been useful to include both the originals and the bad covers, as much as I love Solomon Burke. Fred Astaire sang "The Way You Look Tonight" almost perfectly in Swing Time (90 years ago). It can be covered, but can't be made better. And Bob Dylan wrote and created the perfect version of "Maggie's Farm" almost 60 years ago. There could be people in the world who are unaware of the originators is all I'm saying. Especially when they're so much better than the covers.


    1. Addendum: Since I had a phonograph before I had a TV, I was unaware that Fred Astaire also danced. He was a hell of a singer.


    2. The originals a re all great, and yeah, maybe better than the covers. It's just that I've heard the originals so many times every note's expected.

      Can't disagree, though. MouseRat's "The Way You Look Tonight" is sort of intentionally bad, and Astaire would've been incapable of that.

  3. . . . and I just read my last three entries and I want to make clear that I appreciate your bringing all this information to the people. You do a terrific job with these info columns and I read every word of them. If I sound critical, that's because you have wonderful, provocative entries that frequently touch on universal truths. Thanks for that.


    1. I thought today's news selections were kind of bland, but the Republicans will do something extra dipshitty tomorrow to make up for it.

      We really are in the end times, I believe. Even ten years ago, what's the fuckers are doing now would've been unthinkable.

  4. Ryan O'Neal


    1. You'll hate me and I'll deserve your hatred, but I've never seen Barry Lyndon. Costume dramas where the ladies wear corsets and the gents wear tights and everyone's rich or royalty, man, I've tried but I just can't.

    2. Oh my god, dude, it's Kubrick's 2nd best film, and in the top 25 ever made. Seriously, it's so great. Funny as shit, tragic, subversive, formally inventive, on and on.

      The main character is one of Kubrick's most complex and unusual, subject to the same hubristic indulgences and whims of fate as his other protagonists, but he's also kind of a dullard, like Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut. Perfect casting by Kubrick.



    3. O'Neal's Barry isn't born rich - that's the crux of the flick, and the threat of discovery and expulsion hovers over the entire story. He spends decades scheming his way into money and status, and is undone by his own ambition and stupidity, and the limits of class in a regimented society. It's maybe Kubrick's most cynical film in that regard - you're fucked if you don't have a name or money.

    4. I do simply abhor most costume dramas, but you had me at 'cynical', and I shall give it a watch.

    5. I look at the genre like science fiction - some folks use sf as escapism, some watch costume dramas for the same reason.

      But we know there's a difference between PK Dick (almost zero spaceships, all psychology) and your run of the mill sci-fi channel junk. And there's a difference between garden variety BBC period pieces and something by Kubrick or Terence Davies (House of Mirth, as cynical and tragic as Barry Lyndon, a devastating look at a woman's place in a man's world, where money is the most important thing).

      And Barry Lyndon has some of that alien quality that science fiction has - Kubrick was smart enough to emphasize that (he made it right after Clockwork Orange, and the violence is just as common in both films, just more "polite" in Barry Lyndon.)

    6. You ought to write movie reviews. You're better at it than me, and you take the movies more seriously too. I now have Barry Lyndon on my watchlist, and you've got me looking forward to it.


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