She was a nice lady.

My mother-in-law, my late wife's mother, has died. Her health faded quickly, and in the course of a year or so, she went from her vibrant, wiseacre self to shuffling off a mortal hospice. I'm sorta wrecked about it, and my father-in-law is, of course, far more wrecked than me.

It's useless and it's piffle, but I offered him the the closest thing I have to wisdom, a lesson that took a long time for me to learn. Stephanie's parents were lucky ("blessed" is the religious word) to have had so many years with each other, and 'the end takes nothing away from those years.

Most people never have that. They live alone, or worse, they fake it with someone they can barely stand until the divorce.

Steph's parents beat the odds, same as me & their daughter. Even now, more than five years after Stephanie's death, any time I'm smiling it's because of her.

Monday morning, I was getting ready for work, and felt a poop is approaching. I tried squeezing something out, and got something but not much, not all of it.


#428  [archive]
JUNE 6, 2024

My body is a wonderland, but it's changed with old age, so this situation brings peril. These days, when it's time for a poop, I get about two minutes warning and need to promptly seat myself on some nearby porcelain.

No worries if the time comes while I'm at Seattle Sprocket, 88 steps and I'm in the men's room. But if the time comes while I'm waiting for a bus or riding on a bus, or during the 15-minute walk from the bus stop to work, well, things could get more unpleasant than merely a day at work.

So many things could go wrong...

But now I'm home from work, pleased to report that pooping was not an issue. 

Peeing was, though. I'm a dribbler, and sometimes if I'm not paying attention the dribbles drip onto my pants instead of into the sewage. It's happened before, so I try to be careful, but after a few minutes of filing in the file room, I smelled myself. 

Nobody else comes into the file room, so maybe it wouldn't have been a problem, but I walked to the men's room, and lathered a handful of soap into the inside of my pants. Better to smell of restroom soap than to smell of pee.

The same lack-of-poop struck again, all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and now Thursday morning. Seems all my seams have been sewn shut until the weekend, same as during my first week at Haugen & Dahl

It's not my body any more. I just live in it.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the first day I didn't hurt a lot from lifting boxes and bending over, filing papers all day. It still hurt, just not a lot, and I didn't end up walking like an old man, from the bus stop to home.

All day every day, filing thousands of pieces of paper into a thousand folders, I have happy daydreams of retirement. If all goes well, that's a month, maybe a month and a half from now.

While half the people pretended it wasn't happening, and the other half was shouting that we should do something about the coming climate change, the climate has changed. There's still plenty more changes to come, and the changes will never stop, and none of it will be good.  

Here's a fairly good summary of the Republican response to 34 guilty verdicts against Donald Trump.  What's noteworthy about the article, the first link, is that it's not labelled as an editorial; it's simply news analysis, but it's accurate about the basic bullshittery of everything Republicans are saying.

News, not editorial. This is the kind of news coverage media should've been offering years and years ago.

Oh what a turd Joe Biden is, flushing away immigrants' lives to score political points, hoping to get a second term on the same single issue that won him his first term — not being Donald Trump.

And fuck yeah, I'm voting for the bastard and hope you are too. Joe Biden sucks, but he's still not Donald Trump. 

He didn't confess it, of course, for that might indicate some small smidgen of integrity, but it comes out after the fact that Arizona State Rep Alex Kolodin (R-Of Course) used AI to write his proposed legislation reigning in AI.

Other than that, all I know about the legislation is that it's Republican-backed, and that's enough to make me suspicious.


What one man learned living alone in the wilderness for 40 years 

50th anniversary of 10¢ beer night 

Google's AI Overview search results copied my original work 

The whitewashing of Black music: Five singles made popular by white artists 

Welcome to Bilderberg, 2024 


    Ballad of the Landlord
by Langston Hughes and Margaret Walker

    I Am a Rock
by Simon & Garfunkel

    Last Day of Our Acquaintance
by Sinéad O'Connor

    Sittin' in the Rain
by John Mayall & the BluesBreakers

    Watermelon In Easter Hay
by Frank Zappa

⚰️  DEAD PEOPLE  ⚰️ 

Janis Paige
actress, Silk Stockings

William Russell
actor, Doctor Who


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, 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. Great article at that blog. It's the Windows "Recall" feature that freaks me most, the thing that remembers three months of your computer usage. Like the article says, nobody asked for it, though I might even *want* it if I totally trusted the technology. It's Microsoft, though — the opposite of trust. If it's inescapable I might have to go Linux, which looks like such a hassle.

    What the article nails best is, there's no longer any interest in making something *good*, something people would want to use. They just want to make it AI-ier or other catchphrase-ier. Here's Google, *intentionally* making their namesake product *worse* and bragging about it as if it's a feature.

    When it says web traffic is down to the big sites, to me that's good news, but that's the 'catastrophe' that's halping to drive everyone to AI. In reality, I gotta suspect that any drop is due to the tedium of what's on most of those sites, and for Google, the cliff-like drop in its quality. Which they know, but see as secondary to advertising.

    When anyone says 'metaverse' they're talking bull.

    I read the article to the end, but couldn't do the video. I'm hating YouTube and preferring *reading* more and more. That vid's not even a bad example, but it takes so much time to watch a video and gain a fraction of what's in good writing (like the article), and all through it you're in the hands of (almost always) bad moviemaking. It's again not really that video I'm complaining about, but YouTube in general. Maybe I'll bore a few readers by writing an article about it. Or better yet, l'll make a video.

    I still think you have a pretty good article on AI in you, or maybe a book.

  2. No worries at all! I think the main gist of the video is outlining a bubble that most people weren't aware was one at all: "big data." For about 15 years (!) it was thought that greater processing power to analyze greater amounts of data being constantly collected would result in greater efficiency and, of course, profit. There's an amusing collage of wonky CEOs all the way to Barack Obama repeating this. This goes with what the article was saying about the gigantic data center boom from 2010 forward, cooking the planet so corporations can analyze same-store sales of dustpans among 18-25s from 1975 to 2005. It was a false gold rush; turning every human interaction into data to be analyzed and picked apart may have lead to marginal increases but never justified the overall expense.

    Now what do you do with this (admittedly versatile) infrastructure you've built out to rate customer satisfaction with used Buicks between the ages of 25 and 35 among residents of Midwestern exurbs east of the Mississippi? Hello crypto... and now hello AI.

    Honestly just a few months ago there was no market for a book expressing skepticism about this. Thankfully there has been a dramatic shift as people actually use AI for legitimate work and find out it is not anything like the computer in Star Trek. You could use it to generate all the images in this blog post, and the initial enthusiasm among the chattering classes was largely based on things like this. But they weren't paying for the images they used before, weren't going to pay for it now, and the quality of pictures is kinda gross and dead-feeling.

  3. I have never quite understood *how* there are billions of dollars to be made from following people around on the internet. I've searched for the best price on ramen, so advertisers flash me an ad for ramen, and maybe I'll even buy it, of the price is right and I haven't pre-blocked the ad. But even multiplying that by billions of people online, exactly as you say, I don't see how the sales can justify the expense.

    Hooray for the public's waning enthusiasm for AI. Long may it wane. On Lemmy (social media) perhaps a year ago, I posted an article poopooing the AI hype, and I've never been more down-voted by the masses, even when I've said things I'd thought were far more outrageous.

    I'll confess to using AI to generate images for this blog, back when the technology was new. Kept thinking the images looked ... wrong, though I couldn't put any of my six fingers on why, and after thinking it through I've sworn off the AI.

    1. I don't have any issues with AI used as a tool for self-contained projects. Daman Packard's recent stuff is obviously entirely AI and he's twisted enough that it suits him and it's expressing something unique.

      I'd also kill to see a true restoration of Magnificent Ambersons using AI to fill in the the lost footage (the script and cutting notes exist). There's already a project doing so, but it's using computers to (oddly) imitate hand-drawn animation:


      I bet within a couple years the tech will be able to fill in those gaps with accurate looking cast and even imitate the 35mm ambience and grain.

      The problem of course is letting AI loose in the real world. We already know job apps are screened (very poorly) by AI, and no doubt college apps as well. Soon enough all "doctor" visits will be preceded by AI questionnaires, likely denying you service or providing the wrong guidance.

      Most modern art in all media is already so fucking godawful and disconnected from everyday reality that AI produced art can only be an improvement, cynical as that sounds. AI porn is what I'm most excited for - the possibilities boggle the mind and stir the loins!

    2. My most pessimistic friend goes optimistic? I'm for anything that stirs the loins, but AI porn means faked fuck scenes, a nightmare for the real people unexpectedly portrayed.

      I bought Packard's collection from his website, but haven't seen anything that struck me as AI. Particular titles?

      Don't wince at the comparison, but they've also used animation to reconstruct missing bits of ancient Doctor Who. It's ... weird, yeah. I've never seen Magnificent Ambersons (it's on my list, of course), but I'm not sure I'd want to see scenes restored by cartoonery. Advanced CGI could be fabulous, but is CGI AI?

      It's the real world stuff, yeah, that's going to do the real damage. Pre-screening for doctor visits sounds awful, but only until the AI replaces the doctor's visit entirely, and then the doctor.

    3. What's maybe scary is, I saw Damon's wonderful riff on Lynch's Dune a few weeks ago, but I didn't know it was AI. I thought he'd simply borrowed effects from other movies, as he's always done. If it's AI, well fuck, it's the best AI I've seen.

      But I still don't understand the difference between "old fashioned" CGI effects and "new-fangled" AI effects.

    4. I'm no expert, but I think AI utilizes "prompts" either written or otherwise - suggestions, really - that draw on whatever cache of info the program has. So there's an element of chance or unpredictability when creating these things, which may be one reason so much of it looks like it's "morphing" as you watch it.

      But I dunno for sure. It all looks like a big mushroom trip to me.

    5. Exactly, and it's a big mushroom trip that's putting people out of work, doing their jobs much worse than people did.

  4. "though I couldn't put any of my six fingers on why"

    BOOM! Ya still got it!


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