News & Links:
Wednesday, December 13, 2023



#394  [archive]
DEC. 13, 2023

Corporate America is testing the limits of its pricing power
    The article soft-pedals it, but we've all sorta known what's been happening all across every corner of the economy: The bastards are raising prices as high as they can, strangling all of us by the wallet.

Google promised unlimited cloud storage; then canceled plan; then told journalist his life’s work would be deleted without enough time to transfer the data
    I worry about having all my writing here on a Google-controlled platform, but the thought of migrating everything I've ever written to some other site, probably under the control of some other corporation, is about as appealing as licking a stranger's underarms. 

Venture capitalists offer to buy and dismantle Macy's
    I worked in the office at Macy's for a few years and have next-to-no fond feeling for the place, but this kind of bald-faced vultures-at-suppertime purchase ought to be illegal. 

Biden White House 'open' to new border expulsion law, mandatory detention and increased deportations in talks with Republicans
    Joe Biden is an ass-hat. He's not Donald Trump, and that's still by far the best thing to be said about him. And he's about as far to the 'left' as America's billionaires will allow. 

Judge closes Flint water case against former Michigan governor
    How to get away with lead poisoning thousands of people: Be a rich Republican.

CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens hand out medical records to cops without warrants 

Coastal Mexican town destroyed by climate change 

US Rep Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) wins special award for sex with underage girl 

Rudy Giuliani: Electing Obama has 'taken us back 40 or 50 years on race relations'  

A deeper dive than anyone needs into House Speaker Mike Johnson's stupidity and stubbornness 

Republicans seek to defund Pentagon working group against extremism in the military 

Ohio woman faces ‘abuse of a corpse’ charge for miscarriage in another post-Roe nightmare 

Scientist files to run for Congress against Texass Republican 

How low can TV go? 

Visit to Paris, China 

What Dr Chevalier Jackson found inside people 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a masterclass in slowly building paranoia 

Which would win in a fight — Borg Cube or Death Star? 

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.  

Rikers opened a unit for suspected arsonists. It had no fire suppression system. 

Watchdog finds police training firm taught cops offensive and ‘likely illegal’ tactics 

NYPD still shelling out millions in lawsuit settlements every year, still protecting its worst officers from accountability

Off-duty cop leaves gun in high school restroom 

Man freed after 11 years in prison sues St. Louis and detectives who worked his case 

Court shuts down police union’s assertion that NYPD officers should be allowed to choke people to death 

♫♬  MUSIC  ♫ 

American Tune — Paul Simon 

Don't Be Shy — Cat Stevens 

The Man in Black — Johnny Cash 

Self-Effacing — Sparks 

Whitey on the Moon — Gil-Scott Heron 


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. American Tune (from your music list) is a classic ode to American failure. In the Wikipedia article on the song, Simon is quoted as saying he wrote it shortly after Nixon was elected. He didn't. It was written shortly after Nixon was RE-elected in 1972, and the crimes of Watergate (which now seem almost quaint by comparison) were being unearthed. The song doesn't condemn the crimes: it mourns the system that enabled them. It's just a brilliant fucking song.


    1. This is likely better asked in an email, but maybe someone else is curious or maybe this is a famous photo and I'm the only one who doesn't know it . . . where did you get the photo of the "to trains", and what's the story?


    2. it's a beautiful song. They sang it as a duet when I saw Simon & Garfunkel at an intimate show seating 75,000. It's better as a duet, especially *that* duet.

    3. I try to include credits on any artwork I borrow, if the artist can be quickly identified, but this time I didn't try hard enough. I don't know whether there's a story per se, but I've added credit to the image. Mea culpa.

    4. Good eye, cowboy. This photographer is the real deal, with photographs in many museums. I could try to summarize, but hell, here's the first paragraph of his Wikipedia page. The guy had a life:

      "Jack Delano (born Jacob Ovcharov (Яков Овчаров); August 1, 1914 – August 12, 1997) was a Ukrainian immigrant who became an accomplished photographer for the Works Progress Administration, United Fund, and most notably, the Farm Security Administration (FSA). He wore many hats as he also was a composer known for his use of Puerto Rican folk material, started a television production company, and was a cartoonist, poet, moviemaker, professor, and architectural designer."

      I don't know how many times I have to tell my Republican enemies, but this country was built by immigrants.


    5. Just doing an image search on "Jack Delano" brings up a lot of images I want to look at more closely. Dude could snap.

    6. He sure could. You introduced me to an artist I'd never heard of who captured America in photos through the Great Depression and all the way to the end of the century. Thanks.


    7. Well, actually, you introduced him to me. I'd never heard of him, until you asked for credit where credit's due.

  2. Voyager I has hung up and is on its own. In reality, like us it always has been. But the journey to bring Bach and Chuck Berry to whoever is passing by in interstellar space continues.


    1. Coincidentally, I was re-watching the original Cosmos as I read your reply, just as Carl Sagan was talking about Voyager I.

      It's been an amazing accomplishment, and who knows, NASA might again find a way to kickstart communications. I'm pulling for that plucky space bucket.

    2. Sagan's Cosmos series and the golden record (curated by Sagan, et al) might not be the two best examples of science colliding with art, but I'd be hard pressed to name a better example. We know more about the universe now, but Cosmos is about the questions, and they remain the same.


    3. The Golden Record will be the pick hit of the month on some interstellar schooner and be beamed across the cosmos, back home to those the voyagers miss. Soon, every guitarist on the planet will be jamming Johnny B. Goode.


    4. I didn't know Sagan helped curate the record. Fascinating gent. Cosmos is jammed with facts but feels like poetry. I'm using it to get to sleep, watching nightly until his smooth voice makes me drift downstream.

    5. Sagan was mostly past lecturing and onto research, by the end of his career (which ended much too early), but with that voice and speaking style of his your body would want to just drift off and your brain would be telling you to stay awake and take some notes. Not a bad problem to have.


    6. I seem to be about finished learning stuff. That's the easiest part of my brain to click off. Kinda hard to click it on some mornings.

      Man, I sat so riveted when Cosmos was first aired, and learned plenty, but now it's just Carl speaking poetry at me as a bedtime story.

      "Poetry, physics, the same thing."

    7. Yeah, astrophysicists suspect the universe rhymes -- they're still trying to suss out the meter. We're in a losing race of doing so before the last light goes out. In some ways this is The Last Question. (see also: Asimov, Isaac)


    8. The Universe geeks strapped a pressure cuff on the star clusters, but all they heard was

      "Together, Wendy, we can live with the sadness
      I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
      Oh, someday, girl, I don't know when
      We're gonna get to that place
      Where we really wanna go and we'll walk in the sun
      But 'til then, tramps like us
      Baby, we were born to run"

      That might not be enough, but it'll do until the real thing comes along.


    9. https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~gamvrosi/thelastq.html


    10. This is probably stupid, just a thought that hit me as i was listening to Born to Run and reading the lyrics, and I'd never much noticed 'Wendy' in there before. Is the song written from an adult Peter Pan's perspective? It sorta works.

    11. I read plenty of Asimov long ago, and remember but don't "The Last Question." I shall re-read it as my bedtime story tonight, doubtless an enjoyable assignment. Thanks!

    12. I must have read Nine Tomorrows, a book of short scifi stories, when I was ten or so. I think it was the first scifi I read. I never forgot The Last Question. I haven't reread it in 20 years or more, but the fundamental idea is pretty straightforward. Hope you enjoyed it.


    13. Re: Wendy . . . Personally I think he was looking for a two syllable woman's name that sounded slightly exotic. I guess I'm just a romantic at heart. How many times have I seen the boss live? Never-Never, but Born to Run is a nice tune.


    14. Listened instead of read," but fell asleep too soon.

      Meanwhile I'm sticking with the Wendy theory. :)


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