And then it's over.

For two and a half weeks, I've been working at Seattle Sprocket, lifting boxes and sorting tens of thousands of papers into the right thousands of files.

It's tiresome, leaves me achy, and the past few nights, all I've been able to do is come home, eat dinner, and fall asleep.


#430  [archive]
JUNE 14, 2024

The good news is, my work for the Sprocketeers is almost done. Today might be my last day, or they might want me back to tidy up and rearrange the file room on Monday.

And then it's over. When this assignment ends, my working life ends. I'm retired.

As yet no word from Social Security. Their website says, "A representative started reviewing your application on May 21, 2024. For most people, this review takes 2 to 4 weeks." It's been three weeks and three days. I'm ready.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall  is one of those "election fraud" wingnuts, always babbling about stolen elections and illegal voters and such BS. He's blissfully unconcerned, though, that the chair of the state's Republican Party flashes fake, homemade ID every time he votes.

After disastrous public response, Windows says it's "reworking" its new spying software, Recall™, which keeps a record of everything you do on your PC.

Instead of taking constant screenshots by default, it'll take constant screenshots only for users dumb enough to opt-in, and instead of storing everything in a plain text, easily hackable database, it'll have some level of encryption, probably making everything you do on your computer accessible only to Microsoft, cops, and better hackers. 

For me, the issue isn't even in the tech; it's in the company. Microsoft produces functional but frustrating software, and has a long track record of tactics that prove it's not trustworthy. The only people who'd opt-in to this software from this company are people who don't know much about this company.

The Biden administration is making rule changes that would exclude medical debt from your credit report.

That's cool, but making the bastards go hush-hush about medical debt doesn't remove the medical debt; only universal health care could do that. And we'll never, never see universal health care until Republicans are voted out of power, and Democrats decide to give a damn — two very unlikely events.

And yhe next time a Republican is president, Biden's rule change will be reversed immediately. 

Despite repeated vandalism, Spokane neighbors raised the funds to repaint a Pride street mural.

Chiquita has been fined $38-million for funding terrorism, and getting people killed. For bananas. 

$38-million is spare change for a corporation the size of Chiquita, which has been in the death business for as long as they've been in the fruit business. So this isn't justice, it's a joke. Why aren't the executives being charged with murder?

Texas sure sounds like a shitty place to be pregnant. Or for that matter, a shitty place to be.

Republicans are doing all they can to make The Handmaid's Tale come true, and in Idaho the book is banned in schools. Good to see someone's protesting. 

In a Florida school district, officials have banned a kids' book, Ban This Book, because it talks about banned books.

The Baltimore Sun, long a pretty good newspaper, has gone completely to shit.

In western Tokyo, developers built an 11-story condominium, but locals complained that the building partially blocked their views of Mount Fuji in the distance. When the complaints continued, the developers apologized, and announced that they would demolish the brand-new building

It wasn't a government agency ordering the demolition. It was the company itself, deciding that they'd offended local sensibilities, and doing what they thought they should to make it right.

They sure do things differently in Japan.

A fake news site, full of AI nonsense, was featured prominently by Microsoft's (awful) msn.com, and linked by The Washington Post, Politico, The Guardian, and Google News.

Have a short story, free cuz it's old enough to be public domain. Then hit the button, and have another. 


Every Trump indictment, explained: what to know about the four cases 

Former OpenAI director warns there are bad things AI can do besides kill you 

A cartoonist, prosecuted for sedition 

Daycares in Finland grew forests, and it changed kids' immune systems 

What makes gambling wrong but insurance right? 


    Come Sail Away
by Styx

    God Thinks
by Voltaire

    Little Boxes
by Malvina Reynolds

    Ride Captain Ride
by Blues Image

    When Tomorrow Comes
by The Eurythmics

Jim Croce was only 30 years old when he died in a plane crash in 1973. He'd had a few hits, but never had time to sell out or get on my nerves like most pop stars eventually do, so he's still a favorite.

Brand new from whoever owns his name these days, and full of phone references that'll make no sense to anyone under 30, here's an animated video for one of his better songs, "Operator."


Clarence Cameron

Jeannette Charles
not the queen of England 

Lynn Conway
very large-scale integrated circuits 

Alan Curry
fellow worker 

Christophe Deloire
Reporters Without Borders 

Mark James
songwriter, "Hooked on a Feeling" 

Albert Knight Jr
forgotten man 

James Lawson Jr

Tony Lo Bianco
actor, The Honeymoon Killers 

Amarr Murphy-Paine
high school kid 

Edward Ryan
closeted gay man 

Edward C Stone
Voyager missions 

Chet Walker
basketballer, Philadelphia 76ers 

Jerry West
basketballer, Los Angeles Lakers


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, A Sudden Violent Jerk, Mr Souza's Happy Place, 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. Dr Ed Stone died this week. I don't have a long list of heroes, but Ed Stone was right toward the top. He was, among many other things, Project Scientist for the Voyager missions. It doesn't sound like a particularly high level position, but at NASA and JPL (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory) there are Project Scientists for sub-projects (Propulsion, Project Planning, Atmospheric Sciences, Telemetry, Radiation Monitoring, and 40 other sub-projects. All these Project Scientists reported to Ed. He accepted the position in 1972 and retired from it in 2022. Along the way, Ed (he was proud of his doctorate, but preferred to do his science on a first name peer basis). He was 86 when he retired from the position, but insisted on continuing to attend weekly meetings at the Voyager Operation Center without pay to cheer on his replacement, and help her get her feet on the ground.

    I've been following the Voyager Project for 48 years. At one time or another there have been over 5,000 people on the project and I've never heard or read of one of them saying a negative word about Ed. Right in the middle of his stint as Voyager Project Scientist, he served as Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for ten years (1991-2001). JPL runs many of NASA's projects and he had a more than full time job as director, but continued to show up at Voyager HQ for meetings and consultation.

    I have a hundred more items of praise and gratitude for Ed, but whenever someone tried to thank him for his insightful, people-oriented career he'd say, "Thanks very much -- now lets get to the science," so I'll stop here.

    Did I read about Ed's death in the New York Times or Scientific American? Nope, I read it right here on this site. Thanks, Doug, for noting historic and important news.


    1. That dude lived a life. I knew you'd be saddened, and so am I, but you've articulated it swellishly.

      I loved this bit from the obit: Stone's family suggests those wishing to celebrate his life might "explore an unfamiliar realm of science, enjoy an opera, hike with family and friends, share a stovetop pan of fresh popcorn, or adventure along a new route home."

      Tells me he raised the right family, too.

  2. That Oklahoma panhandle graphic is crazy, I never knew that. Part of "teaching for a test" is that teachers rarely have the opportunity to show young people that even abolitionists could talk themselves into slavery if it meant they'd make slightly less money without it. Illinois, for instance, had an army of holy abolitionists... but carved out exceptions for slaves working in the salt springs (horrible work, and responsible for a huge part of state revenue, you know. Nobody would willingly do that work without making it less profitable, so they simply used people who didn't have a choice.)

    Later they abolished slavery altogether, but 5 years later introduced a law that made settlement by black people illegal. If you were caught, you could be arrested and fined. Guess what happened if you couldn't pay the fine? That's right: you'd be sold.

    To speak about the "founder's principles" is almost comical when you drill down. There were a few individuals who seemed like genuinely thoughtful and principled men (they were all men, but let's put that aside here) but the vast majority just wanted to get rich or stay rich and were willing to trample on the bodies of millions of human beings in the most cruel way to do so.

    1. And they still do.

      Jeez, I didn't know that about Illinois 'abolitionists'. Even in that primitive era, seems like making black settlements illegal ought to have been illegal. Could they take it to court? Did they?

      Makes you wonder how people can be so self-deluded and shitty, but I wonder that whenever I'm awake.

      Slavery is still legal in America, only for prisoners, but laws are made to be broken and changed. Give Republicans another ten of fifteen years, and they'll be rolling back the 13th.

    2. Yup, collectively known as the "black laws":


      There it is in their own hand: an act "to prevent the immigration of free Negroes into the State."

      Some communities nullified the black laws by refusing to execute them, so the legislature added that to the criminal code too. People did sue, and often won, but these laws carried a definite public mandate being approved repeatedly by voters. They were genuinely popular.

      I didn't get John Brown & Co. until I realized that you were essentially living in Nazi Germany and hiding Jews if you were an abolitionist activist in America in the 1850s. I'd probably call down an angry Jehovah to throw a thunderbolt and destroy the whole fucking thing too. They were the only sane ones.

    3. Just reading the article at that link, I'm immediately re-amazed that America doesn't have more race riots. Of course, the history is, blacks standing up against laws oppressing them are a living invitation to a lynching, so there's always that. Just, the unending *meanness* of it all is so tiresome. Imagine how tiring it must be for black folks.

      The dumbest thing John Brown did was his belief in God. The fool actually believed God was on his side, but billions have that delusion. At least he tried using his delusion to make the world better instead of worse. The anti-Trump, sorta.

      Hey, your last crack reminds me — at Seattle Sprocket I was working with payroll files, and they had an ex-employee whose last name was Speakthunder, which has *got* to be the best damned surname in the history of surnames.

  3. "And then it's over. When this assignment ends, my working life ends. I'm retired."

    I don't think I've ever been so excited for anyone else's retirement! It's been a thirty year journey from shaving stranger's assholes for five bones an hour, to reclining at home while milking the government teat! Mission accomplished, buddy.

    1. Thanks, man. I'm now mentally retired. It'll be official when I get a check from Social Security.


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