News & Links:
Wednesday, December 6, 2023



#391  [archive]
DEC. 6, 2023

Panama Canal drought sends ships sailing continents out of the way
    Pause and ponder how vital the Panama Canal is to worldwide shipping and the economy in general. No matter how vital you think it is, it's probably more vital than that — and these jams and interruptions will only continue and get worse.

Hackers break into cancer center's computer network, patients warned to watch accounts
    People with cancer now have something else to worry about — yet another data hack.
    It occurs to me that in a sane society, with universal health care, doctors and treatment centers wouldn't have your financial information to steal.

DNA dealer 23andMe gets hacked; 6.9m users exposed
    Nah, the hackers didn't get your DNA, so they won't be constructing an AI artificial you. All they got was everything else about you.
    Of all the bad news always swirling around, being a cash guy, this is the one recurring headline I'm immune to. There are disadvantages to life without credit, sure — I can't buy a house, as if I could ever afford one, and can't rent a car, as if I'd ever need to. But the never-ending news of companies being hacked, millions of customers scrambling to get new credit cards and et cetera, will never include me.
    I wonder sometimes whether average Americans are even aware of the surveillance and privacy beaches that are always happening.

Annual reminder: 23andMe is a dangerous Christmas gift that could have unforeseen impacts on your entire family, your children, etc.


Earth on verge of five catastrophic climate tipping points, scientists warn
    These are only "the top five," of course. The actual list goes on and on... 

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he's blurring Jan. 6 footage so rioters don't get charged
    When I was a lad, this would've been called obstruction of justice. 

How Sandra Day O’Connor single-handedly busted our union
    She was a nice enough old dame, not clearly opposed to democracy like most of the current Supremes, but never forget that Sandra Day O’Connor was a Republican. 

Texas high school sends Black student back to in-school suspension over his locs hairstyle
    Excerpt: Greg Poole, who has been district superintendent since 2006, has said the policy is legal and teaches students to conform as a sacrifice benefiting everyone.
    Me again: Jesus H Christ.

Most readers want publishers to label AI-generated articles — but trust outlets less when they do  

CNN drops new euphemism for "Israeli soldier" 

Documents show the DEA has problems constraining itself to losing the war on drugs

Appeals court says federal agents can't cut through Texas' anti-migrant razor wire 

FBI chief says warrantless spying on Americans is essential 

State of Iowa sued by pretty much everyone after codifying hatred with LGBTQ-targeting book ban  

Gov DeSantis (R-Florida) promises $1M for lawsuit against College Football Playoff, over Florida State snub 

Rep Jordan (R-Ohio) demands docs on Trump prosecution from Georgia District Attorney 

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction says state might sue after Freedom From Religion Foundation got school to stop daily Christian prayers over public address system 

Using giant mirrors to light up dark valleys 

A visit to Hart Island, NYC’s long-forbidden isle of mass graves 

There isn't even an accurate count of how many workers Chiquita killed — between 1,000 and 2,000 

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.

The Police Problem
    I also contribute to this Lemmy page about ordinary evil cops. Drop in and say hello.

♫♬  MUSIC  ♫ 

Blister in the Sun — Violent Femmes 

Dialogue — Chicago 

I Am What I Am — John Barrowman 

Mad Shirt Grinder — Quicksilver 

Waiting on a Friend — The Rolling Stones 


Sophie Anderson
porn star 

Roni Dean Burren
slaves were not 'workers' 

Juanita Castro
First Sister, defected from Cuba 

J. David Colfax
environmentalist, early homeschooling advocate 

Sam Gross
cartoonist, National Lampoon 

Stanley Kamel
actor, Monk

Lorrell D. Kilpatrick
disability rights activist 

Denny Laine
rock'n'roller, The Moody Blues and Wings 

Norman Lear
TV producer, All in the Family 

Cobi Narita
Universal Jazz Coalition 

Aritsune Toyota
sci-fi writer, Space Battleship Yamato 

Edwin Yoder
newspaper columnist, Washington Star


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. Can Dianne Keaton sing? Well, I think she did in Annie Hall, and a terrific performance it was. Of course everybody in the new world has seen this scene. I thought we might have someone from the old world with us today.



    1. Credible, certainly. Sounds like her voice, so I'll guess it wasn't dubbed. Great old movie, and she was great in it.

  2. According to the hysterical record, mr jesus H did not conform as a sacrifice benefiting everyone. I might be remembering this wrong, but I recall him rearranging the furniture at the entrance to the temple. I bet he got his ass booted off the bus that day.

    from John's letter to Douggles and the gang

  3. So why did Mr Simon dump his curly-haired sidekick? He kept writing great songs, but never again sounded as good as he did with Art.

    Watched Waits (With John Lurie) in Down by Law last night. Great movie. Shoot me, but when I'm in the wrong mood Waits' steel wool rubs me the wrong way. Not today, though.

    That's one of the songs where Dylan decided no tune was necessary, and who am I to second guess a Nobel laureate?

  4. There's only one question here, so here's my answer . . . nobody has to agree with me: Paul Simon was done with Folk Rock and was ready to move on to singer/songwriter, generally by necessity a solo effort (with lots of players backing him on the records). He went on to be the best American songwriter of the second half of the 20th century. "The Late Great Johnny Ace" is a masterpiece, for example. More examples abound. And Graceland is as close to a perfect album (and perfect song) as a man can get. Again, he got lots of help playing the songs. If you're going to perform music live you frequently need other players behind you.

    He just wasn't going to get there with Art, although the two performed and toured from time to time. I saw them together in the very early aughts. They fought way less than the Everlys.

    So long, Frank Lloyd Wright
    All of the nights we'd harmonize 'til dawn
    I never laughed so long
    So long, so long


    1. Not arguing really, just saying, PS is a terrific songwriter but only a good singer. Just for the sound of his voice, I wouldn't put him in any Top 50 except maybe the top 50 singers named Simon.

      He sounded better with Art.

  5. With respect I disagree. Here's a fine example of two great singers . . .


    Singing is likely an older form of auditory expression than speech. It comes in lots of flavors and colors.


    1. Still a musical moment extraordinaire, but what Pavarotti is singing I don't know. Like Shakespeare, I don't speak the language, but it sounds swell.

    2. Shakespeare is writing in English, a language at which you excel. OK, it's Early Modern English, but it wasn't in something inscrutable like Canadian.


    3. Surely we jest, but my Shakespeare complaint is also for reals. The Bard needs a rewrite on nearly every line of every play, unless we're content with Shakespeare being only for the highfalutin hoity-toity.

    4. Who is going to rewrite Shakespeare so you can enjoy it more? Or Sam Clemens with his 19th century wit -- even his pen name is colloquial. We should change the author name on the books to Twelve Feet. We live in a pretty shabby world, and judging all of human art and literature by this moment seems a little ethnocentric. Even highfalutin is a 19th century word meaning to play high on the flute. I'm a broke college drop-out who no one has ever described as hoity-toity who enjoys a little Hamlet or Henry V once in a while -- occasionally while tooling around with my buddies in my 25 year-old Honda which I believe means "run out of oil" in Japanese. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.


    5. Any competent writer could rewrite him fine. Rewriting is easier than writing, and we can all agree that ol' Will gave us a good starting point.

      Spike Lee's Midsummer Night's Dream.
      Aaron Sorkin's Hamlet.
      Michael Bey's Henry V.

    6. Dude, I wouldn't even know where to start so I'll just say that calling Spike Lee our generation's Shakespeare is an assertion not for Stratford, but for The Comedy Club. Mr Lee's body of work is fine, but it ain't Shakespeare.


    7. But that's the beauty of Shakespeare, man. The plot is already laid out, the characters very well developed, all it needs is a quick rewrite and it's good to go!

  6. The current course only serves to further boost the egos of a few thousand sociopaths in their competition to see who can destroy the planet for personal gain the fastest. Fuck that shit, My family and I are looking forward to the agonizing collapse and rebuilding because, at the very least, it offers HOPE for a better future.

    1. That's taking the long way toward optimism. Love it.


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