The story for 50 years now

When I was a kid, school was required five days a week, and I hated it.

When I got old enough, I dropped out, but after that came work five days a week, which has been the story for 50 years now.

Why haven't more people noticed the rancid injustice in being allowed only two days a week to live their lives?

Well, cut my chains. I've retired, on a small pension from nine years at an insurance company in the 2010s (the job I held longest in my life), plus Social Security that needs to come through soon, please. 


#431  [archive]
JUNE 17, 2024

The money won't be a lot, so no trips to Bali, but my tastes have always been simple. The key to happiness is dreaming realistically. I'm going to leave my recliner sometimes, do some things and have some fun, mostly here in the Seattle area.

There are 50 things on my list already, including a movie on Saturday — at a theater. Haven't been to a movie theater in years! 

And do you know what's the first liberation of retirement? No bedtime. Even on the weekends, working people need to keep an eye on the clock, to keep their sleep cycles on schedule for being back on the job Monday morning. Banish such thoughts for me, though — now I sleep with I'm sleepy, and wake when I'm wakey, with no obligations at all.

Man, this is already the life.

Looking at discount prices and freebie days at the city's museums, I came across this important rule: "No lighter-than-air (helium) balloons of any kind are allowed at the Seattle Art Museum or Seattle Asian Art Museum."

OK, but don't you want to know what went horribly wrong at the museum one day, to make them forever ban balloons?

♦ ♦ ♦ 

And now the news...

♦ ♦ ♦ 

This is Onion-level ridiculous, but it's real: A Republican candidate for Congress used AI to fake an endorsement from Martin Luther King


At the height of COVID, the US military ran a disinformation campaign, trying to make Filipinos distrust the newly-introduced COVID vaccine — because it came from China.

"We weren't looking at this from a public health perspective," said a senior military officer involved in the program. "We were looking at how we could drag China through the mud."

So the Pentagon lied and people died — an ordinary day, in other words.

'Qualified immunity' is a genuine piece of judicial activism, a doctrine created from thin air by the Supreme Court, granting almost limitless immunity for almost anything police officers do. It's why lawsuits over most of the worst atrocities by American police get tossed from court. So it's news when a court notices that a cop's done something so outrageous that a lawsuit will be allowed.

Google is testing a new way to make YouTube even suckier than they've already made it, and that's saying something.

I've never been to an Alamo Drafthouse theater, because there've been none in the cities where I've lived, but the chain's reputation is stellar. They show good movies, don't force the audience to endure on-screen ads, eject customers who talk or text during the show, and top the popcorn with real butter. Everything most theaters do wrong, Alamo does right.

Except that they've sold themselves to Sony. Which would've been illegal even a few years ago. Sony says nothing will change, but of course, things will change, and soon or in a few years, Alamo Drafthouse will start sucking.


Employers love surveillance of workers, and high-tech makes it easy 

News of Chomsky's poor health prompts outpouring of gratitude  

What Lefty O'Doul's career could have been 

Visit to Casa Bonita [video]


At 17
by Janis Ian

I Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore
by Woody Guthrie

Look for the Union Label
by Joe Glazer

Run from What's Comfortable
by Pat the Bunny

Who Woulda Thunk It
by Greg Brown


Bruce Bastian

John Everett Benson
tomb carver 

Rick Bevel
forgotten man 

Johnny Boone
Cornbread Mafia 

Buzz Cason
songwriter, "Everlasting Love" 

Paul Pressler
Christian child rapist 

T, a/k/a Vega
complicated but good 

forgotten man

Ben Vautier
artist who loved his wife



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, Bleepity-Bleep, 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. "Google is testing a new way to make YouTube even suckier"

    At this point, I simply download any YouTube video I'm interested in, to watch at my leisure - and ad-free.

    "Everything most theaters do wrong, Alamo does right."



    And it's common atmosphere in many "art" or "indie" theaters all over the country:


    1. It's happened so many times, I should've seen it coming. Whatever celebrity or company I think is worthy of respect is revealed really not to be. So there's no waiting; Alamo sucks already.

      The guy running that cinefamilyaccountability.org is obsessed, ain't he? The best journalism usually is. But he's all about just that one outfit in L.A. I'm not sure such shenanigans are common in "art" or "indie" theaters everywhere. Hopefully not in the tiny venues that appeal to me here in Seattle, which all seem to be run by pierced and purple-haired volunteers.

      Or maybe it's a rule. It's happened so many times, I should've seen it coming...

      As for YouTube, me too. Usually I'll download whatever I want to watch, as the ads are so very intrusive, insulting, and many. As I tried but failed to explain to my family at breakfast last weekend, it's not unethical to 'steal' from giant corporations.

  2. Re: a helium balloon ban: High ceilings?

    I have family-of-friends in the Philippines, and they were unenthusiastic about the Sinovac vaccine. It was widely believed to be very inferior (though in fairness I also recall friends with "preferences" of one vax or another here too). These are people in their 80s, they definitely needed it (and did take it, at least the first time).

    Apropos of nothing, I recently picked up the first major biography of Michael Cimino, director of Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate and later a few movies nobody saw. It has so far lived up to some really high praise I read. Cimino was a chronic liar, often to make himself sound like a tough guy. He stole credit for every script he "wrote" from his co-authors, he bullied people and invented almost every bit of his biography, from his birthdate to claiming living family members were dead and apparently claiming someone who was lying about being a family member actually was one. But some of those lies were to cover up what seem like profound struggles with gender identity and what sounds like body dysmorphia that lead to disastrous surgeries that may or may not have had to do with said struggles with his gender. It's a strange book in that it confirms Cimino was a fraud yet reveals that he was a a very complex, interesting, perhaps in some ways understandable one.

    1. Always knew Michael Cimino was over the edge. You can see it in his movies. But I wouldn't have guessed he was over the edges you describe.

      Probably it's heresy, but I'm not yet a big fan. I saw The Deer Hunter only once, in first release, and I remember being unsure whether it was profound or pretentious. Heaven's Gate I saw at a festival screening, years after it had flopped, and it was Cimino's cut, supposed to rescue the movie from it's bad reputation and reviews, but I yawned, maybe snored.

      Then again, I saw both movies in my 20s, when I was almost literally a third of the man I am today. I've queued up some of Cimino's movies for my watchlist.

      Also apropos of nothing, IMDB's top result for Michael Cimino is some GenX singer and part-time actor, which annoys me almost as much as the new Steve McQueen.

      High ceilings, probably. I was hoping for something more scandalous, but I always do.

      Always found people's COVID vaccine preferences laughable. "Oh, you got Moderna? I'm a Pfizer guy." It's not like any of us had a choice, is it? I got the jab that was offered, and didn't do any comparison shopping.

    2. Prepared for Claude to yell at us here but I felt the same way re: Cimino. "Heavens Gate" has that '70s feel that I strongly identify with "wow, so Kris Kristofferson for 4 hours, huh." This big story seems very small and unimportant, fussy and driven by coke-addled visions of grandiosity that don't really hold up. I watched it around the same time as Warren Beatty's "Reds," which was contemporaneous as a film and the action takes place about 30 or 40 years after "Heavens Gate" and seems really vital and alive today. There are big set pieces in Reds but you always find yourself looking for the characters in them.

      Almost the only interview Cimino did in English for the last 20 years of his life was a profile for Vanity Fair in 2010, where he sounds more or less like a closeted man insisting that he's drowning in pussy. In retrospect it reads like an inquisition but I find it hard to blame the author as almost everything Cimino says in it is a lie:


    3. I love Cimino. I love his flicks (at least up to Year of the Dragon) and I love that he lies about everything, creating his life from whole cloth, or recreating it as needed. He did start as an ad-man, after all.

      I thought that bio about him was terrible, written with a terrible agenda ("Look everyone, I'm outing this guy I never met as a trans, even though he publicly states he isn't!") and I still think most criticism of his films is entirely unthoughtful at best, or, at worst, focused on the numbers: all time big-budget disaster, killed the 70s film, irresponsible behavior, and so on. The worst thing that ever happened to film criticism is this piddling forefronting of box office take. Herzog would refer to this an the "accountant's truth" - but he was speaking metaphorically - these idiot critics are now literally doing the studio's work for them, for free! Fucking bean counters swarming the earth.

      Who cares if an artist is irresponsible or pretentious? The man (?) had a vision - many visions, all as grand and troubling and compromised as the country itself, his great theme and concern in every one of his films. And from interviews it's plain he was very well read and intelligent, so charges of pretension don't hold water.

    4. Kris Kristofferson for four hours... Ever see Amerika, or as I always called it, "Amerika with a k"? Way way way too long miniseries about a Russkie takeover of America. Sheer schlock, is my recollection, but it riled up the Republicans.

      The article at Vanity Fair is interesting, thanks. The mag's guy seems unsure what to make of Cimino, and I like that. There's no rule, or oughtn't be, that artists (or people) need to be understood. It's OK to be beyond comprehension.

      Kinda makes me think of the researchers and unauthorized biographers who've figured out (or think they've figured out) who B Traven 'really' was, when all through his life what mattered to Traven was only that *nobody* know who he was.

      Not every mystery needs to be solved.

      But I do share the voyeuristic urge to know what was up with Cimino, even as I also know it's none of my business. If he hoodwinked the world with a thousand lies, I'm curious about the lies because hello I'm only human, but mostly my feeling is congratulations on a life lived in hoodwinkery.

      That's my gut response to the man. As for his movies, it's been so long since I've seen them that I don't trust my recollection. You guys have gotten me amped to see the Ciminos on my list, which includes Desperate Hours. A remake of that Bogart classic but with Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins? Gotta be either good or awful, and I'm there either way.

      Lots of horrendous dogpoop does boffo box office, and lots of terrific movies bomb. Bombing is an indication of quality about as often as being #1 for a weekend.

    5. Dunno Claude, I find his films dreary and almost every subject he tackled was done better by someone else. I don't really pay attention to box office, most of the films that I like barely ever appeared in theaters in the US, much less were they responsible for creating trends. Yet at least two (and more recently three) of his films were highly acclaimed, which made me curious about the artist who made them. There's often a "there" there — Hal Ashby, for instance, had a similar arc and Cimino CLEARLY had an affinity for him, considering his film dedication to Ashby.

      Jim Morrison claiming his father was dead was creating his own mythology out of whole cloth, which is interesting on a psychological level, but George Morrison being an admiral and commander of an air craft carrier task group is more interesting. It can even help understand why the artist felt compelled to create his own mythology to begin with. In Morrison's case it might be dismissal or shame, which makes him more interesting. In Cimino's case it was often bragging, about his intelligence and manliness (being the youngest student in his college class, graduating early from grad school, serving in Vietnam, bangin' chicks day and night). Again the contrast against the truth can be illuminating: what was it that made a then 70 year old man make up such trite accomplishments and seemingly take such pride in them?

      I think I'm curious because I've known people like this, and despite finding them tiresome and exasperating I've often wondered if the mountain of lies and poses and such doesn't have some other purpose. Often it seems like they're a defense mechanism, protecting themselves from something that would be shattering to their sense of self. I don't think this demonizes them. I think it probably makes me more empathic to someone who is otherwise just an asshole.

    6. Most people, even me, are tiresome and exasperating to me, in one way or another. In person, Cimino certainly would've been, but at a distance his antics amuse me instead.

      What intrigues me, at least this morning, is — maybe he was only pretending to be an asshole. He lied so much, maybe he was lying when he dedicated a film to Hal Ashby. Maybe he hated Ashby. When a guy tells so many lies, there's no knowing anything for sure.


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