Saturday, October 17, 2020

Users


                                 Larry and Sergey and Eric — Oh My!
                                 Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

About 


Glossary 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"When I showed up, I thought this was the stupidest rule ever, because there's no book about evil except maybe, you know, the Bible or something." -Eric Schmidt, former chairman/CEO of the Goog  now a (technically) married international playboy  commenting on the Goog's now-defunct rule, Don't be evil  


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

Recently, noticing a marked increase in advertising when I'm watching YouTube I decided to complain — not that I expected this would accomplish anything beyond making me feel better for a half a minute or so. 

[Are you aware that for 12 bucks a month YouTube will supply you with unlimited, ad-free content?]

Well, yeah, but...

[Are you aware of the fact that the H. sapiens that provide YouTubes content get a cut of the advertising revenue and/or a cut from the subscription fee?]

Well, yeah, but...

[And I know for a fact you're aware that a lot of content providers post content out of love for said content, or are just trying to promote their own creative efforts and don't expect to make any money from YouTube.]

I will not only stipulate to all of the above I will admit that I could write an entire column devoted to everything I love about YouTube. 

After all, it's not only possible to watch cute kitty videos, it's also possible to pull up talks by and interviews of scientists and public intellectuals in every field, as well as the music of musical giants in every genre, living and dead.

[Geez... So what's your problem, Sparky?]   

The Goog's contempt for "users." 

"There are only two industries that call their customers 'users': illegal drugs and software." -Edward Tufte


Now, just for fun, imagine some old geezer watching/listening to Coffee With Scott Adams which is usually about an hour-long with a new episode available every day.

Our hero is in the midst of a series of physical therapist prescribed exercises to relieve his spinal stenosis, as well as some other exercises, while listening to Mr. Adam's observations on life in these United States (HT: Reader's Digest) at a playback speed of 1.25 or even 1.5 as Mr. Adam's tends to ramble. 

Imagine our hero's reaction when he's lying on his back and for whatever algorithmically determined reason, the adverts are coming more frequently and are longer than usual and he doesn't want to keep getting up to click through them. 

[Imagine that our cowardly "hero" keeps postponing back surgery because of all the people he knows that back surgery did nothing for, or even made worse, and who's too cheap to pay for ad-free YouTube.]    

Imagine our hero, who worked full-time mostly at physically demanding jobs for 45 years or so and is scraping by on an embarrassingly humble fixed income decides that for the very first time he's going to complain to YouTube. 

YouTube, if you're unaware, is owned by (insert ominous music here) — the Goog. 

It can't be done. 


[Wait-wait-wait. I know for a fact you went looking and there are all sorts of ways to complain about...]

Only the sorts of things the Goog permits you to complain about. Try it my dear gentlereaders. You'll be shunted into categories of the Goog's choosing and none of these categories will enable you to complain about too much advertising. 

[You know... Given your, um, advancing age, and the fact that you have little patience for what amounts to having to take a class to accomplish...]

What should be simple to accomplish...

[Perhaps, um, it's you, and...]

I repeat, what  should  be  simple  to  accomplish. 

Particularly in light of the fact that I'm old enough to know there's no such thing as a free lunch, that I'm the product, and that the Goog gets a little richer and more powerful every day by peering over my shoulder and selling my, nay everyone's data, to the highest bidder.

[Nay?] 

Yea. 

[Are you done? Do you feel better yet?]  

I do feel a little better, yes, but not having hit my word limit yet I'm not quite done. 


On an unrelated note...

America, the Harris/Biden campaign is refusing to answer an existentially important question. If elected, and if they can persuade our corrupt and dysfunctional Congress to go along, are they prepared to destroy the Republic?

[Destroy the Republic? All they're saying is that it's not fair, due to historical serendipitousness, that we might soon have a Supreme Court top-heavy with sticks in the mud that insist on interpreting the constitution literally instead of creatively so...] 

So that if Krafty Kamala/Uncle Joe is in charge and the Dems get control of the Senate they can appoint as many like-minded Supremes with lifetime appointments as needed to create a mini House of Lords to save us from ourselves. 

[Well, there's nothing in that moldy old constitution that says they can't so...]

So the hell with that pesky checks and balances thing, the end justifies the means, right? What's the worst that could happen?

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Free bonus content! Quotations from Chairman Eric. Sample: "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Share this column or give me a thumb (up or in my eye) below. If my work pleases you you can buy me some cheap coffee with your debit/credit card.    

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Cranky don't tweet.       


Saturday, October 10, 2020

A Quotable Quote

                                   Schottenstein portrait of H.L. Mencken  

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

About 


Glossary 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine." -H.L. Mencken


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

This week's quote (above) is embedded in the header of my charming web page. 

I wish I had a pithy quote handy that elegantly expressed why a web page on a screen at least the size of a laptops is so much more conducive to mindful reading than the ubiquitous smartphone but...

[You're digressing right out of the gate. I suggest you stay in your lane while there are still a few gentlepersons left in the world who read more than a title or headline, and possibly a paragraph or two, before moving on.]

You're right, Dana. We've probably already lost half of our potential audience.

The reason I like the quote above so much is twofold. 

First, the reminder that one is always here and that it is always now

[Huh?]

While language and logic would seem to indicate that life is a series of discrete nows following one right after the other: now it's now, and now it's now, and now... That's not the nature of reality. There's no way to divvy up now.  

[Wait-wait-wait. You're talking to me, now. If you talk to me tomorrow you'll be talking to me, later. There's now, and there's later.]  

But when I talk to you tomorrow it will be, now. It's always now. 

[Balderdash! Tomorrow is... later!]

We spoke yesterday, right?

[Yeaaahhh, but...]

Well is it later yet or is it now again? Or, is it always, now? Feels like now to me; it always feels like it's now to me, and, I suspect, everyone else. 

[But when I think about the past or plan for the future...] 

It's always now. And when you do something in the future it'll feel as much like now as now now does. 

[Are you having an acid flashback again or...]

Nope. I'm just...

[Wait-wait-wait. I'm standing, here. If I take a step to my left I'll be standing, there, right? You thought I forgot about...]

Go ahead, take a step to your left, good. Now, Dana, where are you?

[HereI'm right... I hate you.]  


I'm sorry, there's a method to my madness beyond just messing with your head, two of 'em actually. I personally love words and working with words, but words are symbols, handy tools that point at reality, but they're not reality. 

Also, most H. sapiens, by nature, spend a great deal of time reliving the past and/or worrying about/planning for the future in the midst of the here and now. While these are both useful functions it's always here and it's always now.  

While a wise man/woman/person must learn from the past and often postpone gratification for the sake of actually having a future that's worth living, if you spend too much time living in the past/future you'll die without ever having actually lived.

An awful lot of H. Sapiens are suddenly (and often brutally) deleted every day while making other plans. Keeping this in mind helps to keep things in perspective. Keeping this in mind takes some of the sting out of the inevitable instances when life bites you on the bum and helps to keep them in perspective.  


No, I didn't forget that I said twofold, the other fold being "Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine." This reminds us that in addition to trying to remember that it's always here/now and acting accordingly we must always keep our B.S. detectors charged. 

[Nuh-Uh! It means that there's no such thing as hard facts, that everything's a matter of interpretation and subject to change.]  

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

[What the hell is that?]

Sorry, I like to keep the alarm on my B.S. detector turned all the way up. It's a geezer/geezerette/geezem thing, the result of the natural hearing loss that occurs with aging exacerbated by too many unnaturally loud rock concerts. 

[What's a geezem?] 

An old person that prefers not to self-identify as a traditional male or female. Anyways, to paraphrase Jordan Peterson from a video I can't find: obviously, any-thing can be interpreted any-way

BIG BUT. So what?

There are only a limited amount of useful interpretations that will prove to be true (or not true) enough based on practical results in the real world. 

Mencken's obvious hyperbole is about keeping an open mind. It's not an endorsement of the currently popular childish nihilism that's used to justify things like mob justice and claiming science is a social construct. 

This would be a great closing sentence if I had thought of one...

Poppa loves you,

Share this column or give me a thumb (up or in my eye) below. If my work pleases you you can buy me some cheap coffee with your debit/credit card.    

Feel free to comment/like/follow/cancel/troll me on Cranky's Facebook page.

Cranky don't tweet 

 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Did You Watch That... Debate?

                                                           Image by skeeze from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

About 


Glossary 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason."                                                                                                      -Mark Twain


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

Did you watch that... debate?

Oh, before I forget, when I'm king, my very first decree will outlaw the use of stereos on motorcycles. While I've no immediate plans to set a decibel limit on how loud motorcycle engines are permitted to be my privy council and I will take it under consideration.

[Wait-wait-wait. Decree? I thought you were running a write-in campaign to become a king like the sort they have, well, had, in the United Kingdom. What's going on here? There's nothing being reported by the media...] 

You've heard it here first, folks. I'm now calling for a gentle coup dˊetat. I'm hoping that a couple-three rogue colonels, maybe even a general, step up and place me on the throne. 

I mean, did you watch that... debate?

Make that a throne, of sorts, a comfy office chair will do. I only want to be king for a couple of years and then retire with a modest pension and Medicare with a good supplement. 

With a little luck, the two geezers on offer from the stale and corrupted machines that claim to be the Republican and Democratic parties will move to the Villages and run for the presidency of the homeowners association and we can have a fresh campaign with fresher candidates. 

[What's this nonsense about a "gentle" coup dˊtat? Have you abandoned your campaign slogan and your write-in campaign?]  

Did you watch that... debate?

Well, I still think that Make(ing) American Polite Again may help to stop the decline of Western Civilization but desperate times call for desperate measures. Fun fact, that proverb is based on something Hippocrates wrote about treating extreme diseases with extreme methods. 

[        ] 

The plague? Shutting down the economy? Hell, shutting down everything, or at least trying to? The debate? See what I did there?

[Uh-huh, very clever. A "gentle" coup dˊtat?]

Yeah, only kill one or two people who are too stupid or evil to live anyway to scare everyone else into line. I'm thinking... well, nevermind.


The Donald's not going to suddenly start acting like a grown-up if reelected and the members of the "resistance" aren't going to start acting like grown-ups if Uncle Joe — who became a professional politician a half-century ago and is running for president for the third time — is in charge. 

Refusing to accept that there's such a thing as human nature, maintaining that biology is a social construct, and judging everything and everyone from the present and the past against an imaginary utopia in the future is madness.

Boomers from both sides running a tab they expect their kids and grandkids to pay is madness.  

And speaking of soft coups, the Russian collusion gambit looks like an attempted soft coup by the FBI since the Steele dossier was compiled with the help of a Russian spy. The FBI knew it and launched the investigation that launched a thousand news stories and congressional hearings (and trashed a couple of lives) anyway.    

Not that most of the media have had much to say about that. Nothing to see here folks, let's move on. Say, Didja hear about Gwyneth Paltrow posing nude?

Did you watch that... debate? 


[Listen, you can't just...]

I know, I know, but man, what if I could? What if I could make a deal with my fellow Citizens of the Republic?

What if could run the country for two years, by decree, and at the end of two years all of my decrees would be subject to an up or down vote? 

Second decree: The current presidential election is postponed till 2022.  

Third decree: Congressional term limits. Two, four-year terms for the House and two six-year terms in the Senate. 

Fourth decree: In 2022 all current congressional terms are null and void. We elect a new House and Senate, from scratch

Fifth decree: Amending the constitution can be done by a two-thirds majority of both houses and the president's signature and a national referendum that passes with 75% of the votes cast. 

BIG BUT...

Sixth decree: The electoral college will remain unchanged. The constitution will be amended to say that the Supreme Court will consist of nine judges with 20-year term limits. To change either of these two provisions requires using the traditional amendment process. We're a democratic republic, not a democracy. 

BECAUSE...

Three individuals spring immediately to mind for some reason: Crazy (bring me my ice cream) Nancy, Chuck (which camera should I look into?) Boomer, and Alexandria (follow me on Twitter!) Ocasio Cortez — America's favorite former bartender/waitress with a degree in economics and international relations from our world-class education system.  

Seventh decree: The constitution is amended to enshrine real, not virtual, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington style Filibustering that can only be ended by a supermajority vote. All Filibusters will be broadcast live.

[I don't even know what that...]

Four words: world-class education system. 

[Like, whatever. You're over the word limit.] 

I'm just getting warmed up, let's talk about a national blue law. America's closed on Sundays and... Alright, alright, I'll stop.

But did you watch that... debate?

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

P.S. All my best to the Donald and all of my fellow geezers/geezerettes/geezems suffering from Boomer-B-Gone. Take care, be well, and here's hoping you can afford to live in the Villages (if you actually want to).  

Share this column or give me a thumb (up or in my eye) below. If my work pleases you you can buy me some cheap coffee with your debit/credit card.    

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Cranky don't tweet.







Saturday, September 26, 2020

Famous for Being Famous

Contain your excitement! Two Random Randomnesses Columns in a Row!

                                        Image by Luis Díaz from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

About 


Glossary 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"I am a deeply superficial person." -Andy Warhol


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders), 

The famous for being famous artist(?) from my hometown, Pittsburgh (with an h), Andy Warhol, famously said that "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."  

Welcome to the future.

While every one will not be world-famous for 15 minutes it's not for lack of trying by many ones.  

Be ye the star of a "reality" television show, an influencer on social media commanding a rabid army of "followers", or this gentleperson...


Fame, perhaps even fortune, beckons.

The internet has made it possible for any given one to be a legend in his/her/their own mind regardless of how famous he/she/they actually is/are(?). 

[Your endless lame joke lampooning pronoun obsession is getting old.]

As are we all, Dana, at least hopefully. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to insert my favorite tidbit of plague humor. Remember...

[Please, don't! I take it back! I...]

Remember folks, eat well, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise vigorously, take vitamin D — and die anyway.


The Notorious RBG, as you likely are aware, has died. While I wasn't a fan, perhaps now I'll look more closely. I've always meant to since I was, and still am — he gave great interview — a fan of Antonin Scalia and he and she were famously good friends.

At the risk of being accused of speaking ill of the dead, however, if we amended the Constitution so that the Supremes were limited to terms of 20 years she would have retired long before the serious health problems she's suffered from for the last several years manifested. 

I've no idea if said problems negatively impacted her performance, but, at the time the Founding Pasty Patriarchs decided the Supremes should serve for life the average H. sapien only lived to the age of 38. 

Full disclosure: If you lived to be 60 there was a good chance you'd hang on till you were 75 — but Justice Ginsburg was 87.

[Gave great interview? That sounds a bit tacky don't you...]

Well, he did, and there's a lot of 'em available on the web that I can't recommend enough to my gentlereaders. Incidentally, when asked how he, a rock-ribbed, commonsensical conservative would amend the constitution he said that it should be easier to amend the constitution.

If it were, perhaps the Wokies and Neojacobins would stop trying to turn the SCOTUS into a second legislature and instead reform the actual legislature. 


When I'm elected king my historical claim to fame will be twofold. First, obviously, for my campaign slogan, Make America Polite Again.

More importantly, my unflagging commitment to amending the constitution to include congressional term limits. I'm open to negotiation and compromise for establishing how long a given senator or congressman/woman/person may remain in office before having to vacate the swamp and rejoin the real world. 

A willingness to compromise to achieve lasting solutions so that life in America is about more interesting things than all politics/all litigation all the time is the mark of a civilized gentleperson.

As long as it's possible to be a professional congressperson from a carefully gerrymandered district or a senator in the pocket of this, that, or the other special interest group(s), for decades, we're fucked.

To fully appreciate how I wish the result of this formerly shocking and powerful word-bomb would be, you have to be old enough to appreciate what the blast radius would've been had it been uttered by Sister Mary McGillicuddy in the 1950s. 

[Gasp! You hypocrite! Always going on about how the f-bomb has been turned into a f-firecracker...]       

Guilty as charged, but yes, it has. I object to the dumbing down of profanity to the point that cussin' ain't cussin' anymore, the verbal equivalent of defining deviancy down.

I object to taking away the power of certain words so as to neuter them because everything doesn't and shouldn't go because...

[Why you gotta' be so judgy all the time?]

Because when it does, calling a painting of Campbell's Soup cans art leads to calling a photograph of a plastic crucifix dipped in urine art.    


A Tragedy of Errors. I offer no links, you're on your own. Facts won't change the minds of ideologues or the efforts of professional propagandists anyway. 

On 3/13/20 Breonna Taylor was accidentally killed when her boyfriend engaged in a firefight with police who had entered her apartment. He fired first, wounding one of the cops and they returned fire. He was wounded, she, tragically, was killed. 

One of the cops is in trouble because some of his shots went wild and endangered the occupants of the apartment next door.

The police had a warrant, originally a "no-knock" warrant that had been amended to knock and announce which they maintain they did. A witness backs them up. 

The reason the police were there is that a former boyfriend of Ms. Taylor's, a known drug dealer, had been observed picking up packages he'd had delivered to her apartment. 

Two special prosecutors appointed by Kentucky's African-American Attorney General, and a grand jury, only charged the cop that accidentally shot into the apartment next door. 

If Brionna Taylor and her boyfriend had been white most Americans would've never heard about what happened. Just the facts, ma'am.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Share this column or give me a thumb (up or in my eye) below. If my work pleases you you can buy me some cheap coffee with your debit/credit card.    

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Cranky don't tweet.
  




















   






Saturday, September 19, 2020

Uyghur Lives Matter

A Random Randomnesses Column 

                          Source unknown (Weibo?) - meme banned by the emperor

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

About 


Glossary 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"A man can’t be blamed for not knowing, but for not asking." -Uyghur proverb


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and gentlereaders),

Uyghur lives matter. So do the lives of Hong Kongers, Tibetans, members of traditional religions, and members of spiritual movements like Falun Gong. 

...And so do the lives of the Taiwanese, nervously keeping an eye on the Chinese mainland in case one of the current Red Emperor's war games turns out to be the real thing. 

And yet...

No shortage of celebrities and hooge, globe-spanning corporate entities — Lebron James, Nike, and the NBA spring immediately to mind for some reason — who have/are donating billions in cash and pledging fealty to Black Live Matter don't have much to say about what appears to be a systematic Uighur genocide. 

Or any of the other depredations of Emperor Poo.

“Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labor, Uighurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen...”

The quote is from a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute titled Uyghurs for Sale. 


Speaking of Black Lives Matter, I refer to the national organization and its local chapters, why is the purple press not covering how the donations and the moral support of Wokies and newly minted corporate allies are being used to improve the lives of African-Americans?

The media only seems interested in reporting on (mostly peaceful) protests and the antics of Antifa. I know, I know, "if it bleeds, it leads" (if it burns, it earns? if it's shattered it matters?). 

Journalists have to eat and pay rent too, but depicting how the money is being spent and how the moral support is being utilized should serve to generate more money and moral support, right?


Speaking of protests, now would seem to be an excellent time for the sort of stories mentioned above since apparently the No Justice No Peace Club, Portland Oregon chapter, is taking a breather. 

Poor air quality, caused by wildfires, has put a damper on the activities of card-carrying members of the IUPPPP&PVTTOT and their fellow brothers/sisters/H. sapiens.

Interestingly, the current fires already are the subject of a Wikipedia entry, 2020 Oregon Wildfires. Some quotes of interest from the article:

"Through the end of July 2020, 90% of Oregon's wildfires had been caused by humans versus a yearly average of 70%, possibly because of increased outdoor recreation due to the COVID-19 pandemic."  

"Senator Jeff Merkley, (D-OR) decried Donald Trump's comments blaming forest management for the fires as a 'devastating lie.' Speaking on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Merkley blamed climate change for the fires."


Speaking of protests again, check out this video:


A handful of apparently confused but determined protestors blocked a bus full of reporters from leaving Disney Word thinking it was the Los Angeles Lakers team bus — which was already gone. 

This contingent of Wokies was hoping that Lebron James and other Lakers who participated in a brief work(?) stoppage to support BLM would join them on the front lines, but they missed the bus.

This article from Yahoo! Sports explains the situation quickly and (relatively) cleanly (I'm so old I can remember reading articles not containing a single tweet). Unfortunately, even if they had stopped the right bus the players wouldn't be able to join them because that would bust the NBA bubble they're living in.


From the news that you can use but probably never heard of because our vaunted fourth estate mostly ignored it desk:  Phones used by the members of the Muller investigation into the Donald and his minions alleged collusion with the Pooteen "repeatedly and accidentally wiped phones assigned to them."

According to a mind-numbingly detailed report by Judicial Watch when the Special Counsel's Office (Fedrl Gummit lawyers) reviewed the phones for records-preservation purposes, it found 27 different phones were "reported wiped clean of all data prior to the review having taken place."

Clearly, Congress needs to investigate why it's so easy to accidentally erase all the data from a given cell phone. Is this true of all cell phones or just cell phones sold to The Fedrl Gummit?   


Thanks Cali! I'm amazed that the serfs of the People's Republic of California don't throw impromptu torch-free pitchfork parties whenever the state catches on fire and their Gaia worshiping, forest management forbidding green overlords blame the fire on climate change.

Californians have been breathing carbon saturated air for the last month or so but lately, when the sun comes up in Flyoverland, it looks like a giant full moon because left coast smoke serves as an optical filter.

Thanks, guys/girls/others! 

Poppa loves you,

P.S. Check out this page that the CDC updates weekly. Of 182,095 plague deaths (so far), 143,790 victims were 65 or older and 38,305 were under 65. 

Since 56,525 were 85 or older, and 363 were school-aged (5 - 24) out of a population of 327,167,434, why are the schools partially to completely shut down and why does the purple press keep telling us it's the end of the world?


Share this column or give me a thumb (up or in my eye) below. If my work pleases you you can buy me some cheap coffee with your debit/credit card.    

Feel free to comment/like/follow/cancel/troll me on Cranky's Facebook page.

Cranky don't tweet.      
 

    



         

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Phobophobia

                                             Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

About 


Glossary 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"I may have made a tactical error not going to a physician for 20 years. It was one of those phobias that didn't pay off." -Warren Zevon


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

The original title of this column was Phobiaphobia, not Phobophobia. I was reflecting on the currently fashionable practice (which has lost its charm) of appending the word phobia to other words to create a verbal weapon for use in the culture wars.

For example, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia — that sort of thing.

Since I find this a somewhat repellent practice, I thought I was suffering from a phobia-phobia. That is to say, the fear that the Wokies will never run out of words they can combine with phobia so as to keep expanding their arsenal of weaponized words.  

Since I'm a (more or less) conscientious columnist I went a-googlin' to discover if some other witty wordsmith had already coined phobiaphobia. It turns out that while it is used here and there, phobophobia is a commonly used term by psychologists and no shortage of other people 

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and according to psychology, there is a fear of phobias. Since I really am a (more or less) conscientious columnist I'm going to abandon phobiaphobia lest I be accused of deliberately sowing confusion in a very confusing/confused era. 

[Fatphobia? Who's afraid of fat people?

Speaking as a man who doesn't go to Dunkin Doughnuts for the coffee, certainly not I. Do you consider yourself calorically challenged, Dana?

[I'm a clever literary device, I'm whatever your gentlereaders need/want me to be.]


Methinks it's time to repair to my enormous private library and consult my collection of dictionaries. It's distressingly dusty despite diligent dusting by a designated dogsbody but the fireplace, huge grandfather clock, and small herd of overstuffed chairs make it one of the most comfortable rooms in Cas de Chaos. 

[Library? What library? Are you talking about your Merriam-Webster Google App?]

Did you know cryophobia is the fear of ice or cold? I need to talk to someone, clearly, I should be taking heavy drugs.  

According to Merriam-Webster, a phobia is "an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation"   

Since my distaste/disgust for the phobification of certain words is explicable and logical, and there's no fear involved, it would seem I don't have either a phobiaphobia or suffer from phobophobia. 

Phew. The heavy drugs I anticipate will be necessary to control my cryophobia is a cross enough to bear. 

The bad news is that according to Merriam-Webster (I've always wondered what  his/her/their first name is?) phobification is so common it's considered to be something called a noun combining form and defined as:  

1: exaggerated fear of _______ 

2: intolerance or aversion for _______

I added the blank spaces for clarity's sake. In other words, adding the noun phobia to the noun of your choice is so common that Mr./Ms./? _______ Merriam-Webster has been forced to tweak the definition of phobia. 

[You know, if you were half as witty as you think you are a lot more of your regular readers would be willing to buy you a coffee.] 


Phobification turns something nebulous and undefined into a verbal cudgel wielded by Wokies to bludgeon their (actual or perceived) enemies, and often, each other.

[Huh?] 

Well, "an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation" jibes with how Harvard Medical School defines a phobia -- "A phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity or situation."  

The clear and well-written article linked to above explains that a real phobia is an often serious medical condition that should be diagnosed and treated by a professional. 

Compare that article to this one from Psychology Today that notes that a "lack of inclusion of same-sex couples and particularly ethnically diverse couples in the entertainment industry, marketing materials, and advertisements" subtly demonstrates how homophobic our society is. 

Apparently we don't share cable providers and she's accessing the Chinese version of the internet. 

Also, she uses the story of the baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple (and who was persecuted/prosecuted for better than six years) as a blatant example of homophobia. What's the fear of gentlepersons with religious convictions called? Or the fear of spending your money at some other bakery?


In the spirit of if ya can't beat 'em join 'em I thought I had invented a new phobia based noun combing form, caucaphobia: the exaggerated fear of or intolerance or aversion for white H. sapiens.

However, I went a-googlin' and discovered it's already in use so I'm trying to come up with a phobia that would also simultaneously include straight, old, and cisgender males. Stay tuned.   

[But caucaphobia sounds like...]

Once I do I plan to apply to the Intersectional Inquisition for approval as a member of a certified victim group. I bet there's some money in that, or at least some heavy drugs. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Fall Is Falling

A Mr. Cranky's Neighborhood Episode

                                                Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay            

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

About 


Glossary 


Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"Fall is my favorite season in Los Angles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees." -David Letterman  


Dear Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders), 

This morning, as I was perambulating about my neighborhood, fall fell.

Well, not so much fell as subtly slid in and sat down like a locally well-known sinner slinks into church after a soul-searing Saturday night, late yet again, and sits close to the door he/she/they just gently closed in order to effect a quick exit.

[Alliterate much? What on Earth are you on about now?] 

As much as possible, and what I'm on about is that although (hopefully) brightly colored leaves and frosty morns are still a ways off... 

["Frosty morns?" Gimme a break!]

I'm waxing poetic, Dana, you unrefined philistine.

[Whatever.]

Well said. Anyways, although the window air conditioners that randomly sprout from the walls of Casa de Chaos like acne vulgaris on a callowyute are still gently humming...  

[For the love of...]

Leaves, hither and thither, have begun to turn and fall.

[Crab apples on the ground have started to rot. Fruit flies gather 'round 'cause they like 'em a lot.] 


I heard a handful of hovering, honking geese approaching and my heart was hardened by hoar frost. 

[Oh please! It was 71 degrees!] 

Well, yeah, but nevertheless I did have a mild panic attack. You know how much I hate winter. I was rooting through my little grey cells and trying to remember if I had any valerian tea at home when they flew over. A half dozen geese in a half V formation (\), headed northwest.

Phew. It's just the boys/girls/um, gang? getting the band back together and working out the logistics for their annual Dixie tour. I've still got time to stock up on hot chocolate, check the blanket inventory, verify if there's enough rock salt in the mudroom, investigate the disappearance of the snow shovel, verify that no one drank the emergency brandy, install plastic sheathing on certain troublesome windows, etceterows. 

[You realize, of course, that the word Dixie might cause you to run afoul of the Intersectional Inquisition?]

Oh well, too late now. 


The Stickies have returned to school in meatspace and cyberspace. "Poppa the printers out of ink again." School busses look like they're transporting surgeons that don't get along.

Wait... you Stickies have returned to school? Now that I'm officially pushing 70 I sometimes get confused. Technically speaking I'm writing to the Stickies, well, mostly I'm writing to their future selves, but...

[We've talked about this. Mostly you're writing to/for your gentlereaders so for the sake of simplicity you... Get a grip and take your pills. Next thing you know you'll be known around the hood for screaming, "Get off my lawn!" at feral cats when you go out to get the mail.] 

Let's hope not, I'm...

[While we're on the subject, some of the neighbors have noticed you spend most of your waking hours in comfortable robes.]

Only because people would think I was weird if I wore one of my togas or kimonos. My slippers have sturdy soles in case I need to go outside and I wear clothes when I go walking or have to go (shudder) shopping. 

[So far at least.] 


Speaking of the neighbors, my favorite Morman (my 80-year-old next-door neighbor, not the sixties sitcom) just bought himself a trike to celebrate his recent retirement. Not one of those three-wheeled bikes with a basket on the back, I'm talking three-wheeled motorcycle.    

He's given up driving truck once or twice a week to maintain his driving chops and I guess the thrill of being the owner/operator of two enormous riding lawn mowers is gone so he got himself a Can-Am Spyder. 

Rock on Harlan. 


I've heard that birdwatching has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts because of the Wuhan flu lockdown. I've had a growing fascination with the last of the dinosaurs for a while now but so far it's one of those many things I keep threatening to do more about than I'm actually likely to do. 

In the course of the morning segment of my (theoretically) twice daily walks I often find myself walking down a certain street that's saturated with starlings. I swear the flock gets a little larger with each passing week.

Shades of Alfred Hitchcock.

I went a-googlin' and discovered that the distant ancestors of modern birds had teeth and that Ohio's starlings are infamous for their rapacious and aggressive behavior. 

What if some of 'em have mutated and now have teeth from eating genetically modified food? If you come across a headline like Ohio Man Killed by a Murmuration of Murderous Starlings it might not be clickbait. Gotta go, I'm working on a movie script.

Poppa loves you,

Have an OK day

Share this column or give me a thumb (up or in my eye) below. If my work pleases you you can buy me some cheap coffee with your debit/credit card.    

Feel free to comment/like/follow/cancel/troll me on Cranky's Facebook page.

Cranky don't tweet.