Yawny's Digest
"All I see turns to brown" - R.Plant

Toxic Drain of Callous Greed Challenges March of Progress

Kids think adults are clueless and out of touch because they’re not extremely online in the same places they are—namely, TikTok, Discord, Reddit, and the dumbest corners of YouTube. In those domains, being clued-in or in touch means being deeply familiar with certain memes, slang, and flash-in-the-pan internet celebrities like John Cena, Momo, or the Skibidi Toilet.

Meanwhile adults think kids are clueless and out of touch because they don’t follow “the news,” i.e. disaster porn, identity hate porn, and state propaganda press releases. The signal-to-noise ratio is just so low right now. It's hard to know what to believe. Therefore one of my favorite mental games is wondering which aspects of current life will be regarded with horror or disbelief by future generations. I divide these future horrors into two buckets:

  1. the cringe bucket
  2. the harm bucket.

Cringe is just embarrassing style, while harm is the stuff that makes people say, “I can’t fucking believe they used to do X regularly.” Into the future cringe bucket go things like ridiculously long fake eyelashes, which somehow looked kind of cool on mod chicks in 1963 Swinging London or Berlin, but now just look like a mistake, like wearing your pants backwards. I’d like to see Hollywood, auto-tuning, “cultural appropriation,” and energy drinks all fall into the future cringe bucket.

The harm bucket is of more consequence. Some past examples include beating your children and bloodletting. Or, you know, human sacrifice, Freudian psychology, etc.

What current practices will cause humans in 2123 to look back and shake their heads in total amazement? I’m voting for the non-stop barrage of environmental toxins eaten, inhaled, and absorbed through the skin. “Can you believe they actually used to eat plastic?” “They were literally swimming in radiation, all day long!” All that, oh and yeah also animal experimentation.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

There’s Something About Harry

I read and enjoyed the Harry Potter books and movies when my kids were little. But I recently tried to rewatch the films and wow. I mean, setting aside the reactionary overall narrative (it’s up to a white English boarding school boy to save the world from evil, sure), the story just has so many internal problems.

Think about it: three prepubescent misfits— a teacher’s pet, a dimwit, and a shut-in orphan (a) go to wizard boarding school (b) instantly become best friends (c) immediately start breaking rules, every single night, even after getting repeatedly and severely reprimanded. Sorry, but the motivation to disobey authority from this timid trio is just not there. Plus two of them don’t know their school shit at all and really ought to be studying. In my opinion, at least one of them should have been expelled, to serve as an example to the other students.

Another point. If wizards are so great at protecting stuff, why don’t they put all the valuable things inside a massive steel vault guarded by, say, Krav Maga-trained Marine chads? And surround the whole thing with barbed wire and laser traps? Instead, they decide to “protect” some magic talisman upon which the future of all humanity depends with, like, *one dog*, or a weak spell easily broken by a 12-year-old. These same wise wizards then entrust Hagrid with many important tasks, when he appears to be little more than a bungling idiot riddled with scabies and regrets.

I’m also curious as to why dragons are still a thing. It’s such a random creature: a giant flying lizard that breathes fire. Who chose that lifeform to be mandatory in fantasy tales? Iguanas are slow and dumb, and putting wings on them is just kind of stupid. I’d be more afraid of, say, a giant teleporting hyena.

Over on the production side, I’d like to know whether the kid playing Ron Weasley is perhaps the worst child actor of the century. This little fella seems to have graduated from the Lucille Ball School of Ginger Method Acting: whenever anything happens —good or bad—leave your mouth hanging agape in an exaggerated fashion. A monster appears? Make that face. Hermione knows the answer? Make that face. 10 points to Gryffindor? Make that face.

Not to mention the fact that the movie sets look like borrowed props from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, laid over a Castlevania screenshot by some kid using Blender on his dad’s PC. I mean the Hogwarts Express is just a reskinned Thomas the Tank Engine, amirite?

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Drop it! Drop that Organ! Good Dog

People complain about pet medical bills. I agree somewhat, but on the other hand, for about $500 you can have your pet’s reproduc-tive organs completely removed. When you think about it, that’s actually a pretty good deal. Considering what goes into the job. I’ve done like $500 plumbing or basic carpentry jobs on my own, but I don’t know that I could do a hysterectomy even if I googled it. I mean they even include anesthesia and the plastic cone in the final price. We took that stupid cone off after like three hours. Our puppy really hated it. Instead we just made up a little body stocking for her out of an old t-shirt. It was actually pretty cute, and my only regret was that the shirt didn’t have a Misfits logo on it.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Sensible Guidelines

Leviticus 21:17-20

None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Nerds Can Be Existentially Sad Too

You know how Toy Story gets you to feel bad for all the forgotten and neglected toys? And how that’s sort of a metaphor for the bittersweet process of aging—how we must all inevitably pass through into adulthood, sadly saying goodbye to lost, sweet, innocent youth? Well, here’s the buried lede: I sometimes feel sad about old computer data too. I know, eww, right?

And yet I’m holding on to a box of software CDs from 20 years ago. Who even has a CD reader? Nobody! I have like 6 old PATA hard drives. Throw that shit out!

But I can’t do it. I think it would feel weirdly murder-ish, like torching an anthill or some-thing. What is wrong with me? I suppose in this case, the metaphor = "the bittersweet process of aging through one’s middle years". But still, bro, sometimes shit just needs to get tossed.

One of the capstone projects for my fifth graders is building an object-oriented role-playing game in Python. They design a world with enemies, items, locations, and a player that travels through that world. I tell them: “ok, when you run your program, your character is sort of born, and it lives in your computer’s memory for as long as the program’s running.” Recently, a student asked me “what happens if you close the window while the game’s still running?” And I said, “well we didn’t write any code to save the game’s progress. So your world is basically annhiliated. Some fragments of it might remain in memory, but eventually those will all get purged. If there’s time we may write some code to save your final score to a file when you die. That’s sort of the equiv-alent of a tombstone, or a death certificate.

“This raises some interesting philosophical questions, like: did your character truly exist? And if so, in what sense? It may not have been a carbon-based life form walking around on planet earth. However, something with a name and possessions did exist, interacting with other things in its world. And you might remember it and maybe even have a mental picture of your character. But now it’s gone forever.” Then they got kind of quiet. Meanwhile I’m thinking, “you think that’s bad, just wait until you try salvia.”

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

NOTE:

The Tombs of Atuan is literally Morbid Angel album in novel form

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Why, You Dirty Rat Bastards

I’d had it up to here with rodents eating all of my kale plants, so I bought a handful of snap traps from Jeff Bezos. I’d forgotten how utterly barbaric those things are! So after baiting a few and going to bed that night feeling like Thee Executioner, I guess I was secretly relieved when the little fuckers didn’t fall for The Oldest Trick in the Book®. Not one little wretched snapped neck.

But at the end of the day, it’s still you vs. an army of nasty, greedy little beasts. What are your “humane” options? Glue traps? Poison? Adopting a cat who will terrorize them for hours before eating them alive? That’s like saying sanctions are more humane than targeted drone strikes. Imagine thinking that torturing innocent civilians—slowly draining them of hope, happiness, and life-saving medicines—is more “humane” than one-shotting the people who actually get paid to fight.

I know, I know, you guys probably all love sanctions. I get it. I’m sorry. I’m just kind of at a loss here. My latest ploy is spreading dried red chili pepper all over the vegetable beds. I figure that’s more like tasing the mice than actually sending them to a rodenty grave.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Heterodox Cucks Unite

Litmus test thinking continues to run amok. If you like something, you’re accused of not just liking, but actively promoting, every other thing that’s even remotely connected to that thing.

If you like......you’re this
RFK Jr.’s critique of regulatory capturean anti-vax nutbag
A “no twerking in Kindergarten” ruletransphobe
Federalism/states’ rightsa white supremacist
Jill Stein/Bernie Sandershot for Putin

In fact, if you’re against sending billions of dollars in military aid to to a deeply corrupt country with no chance of military success and little strategic value, you’re also hot for Putin. Currently I’m leaning towards Cornel West for President, because most Americans would confuse him with Don King; and having a fire-breathing preacher who resembles a shady boxing promoter is the most quintessentially American President type I can think of. Besides Donald Trump. I’m not sure if sup-porting Dr. West makes me racist, antiracist, communist or accelerationist. Who cares, LFG

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Internet Rabbit Holes

Wow: prior to orchestrating a ritualized mass suicide in Guyana, cult leader Jim Jones was appointed chairman of the San Francisco Housing commission by mayor George Moscone! He used to hook up Moscone and Willie Brown with underage girls and coke!
I GUESS S.F. REALLY IS A SHITHOLE

Funny thing: universal healthcare has been proposed by at least five US presidents— including Richard Nixon!
IMAGINE BEING WELL TO THE RIGHT OF NIXON

Get this: Carl Bernstein, co-author of All the President’s Men, was ex-CIA!
AND YOU KNOW THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “EX-CIA,” RIGHT

Bro: Allan Greenspan was Barbara Streisand’s boyfriend WTF!
AIPAC GET IN HERE ON DEFENSE

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

YOLO

When you’re semi-retired and/or recovering from surgery, every day truly is a gift. And you can use that gift to work on drum rudiments, or to study Mandarin Chinese. You could sit outside and appreciate the wonders of nature. You could smell the air, stretch your limbs, face the sun. Or…you could sit inside playing a stupid fucking video game called Elden Ring involving mages and wolves and flying alien worms and skeletons.

For all its medieval touches (dungeons, castle keeps, halberd-wielding knights, etc.) Elden Ring is more like an alternate version of modernity: it goes on forever; it’s full of things trying to get you; it makes no sense. It’s also like real life in that even the most horrific tableaus can be visually quite stunning. But after spending countless hours, days, even weeks, to “beat the game,” in the end you’re left with little else besides a big empty bag where all the cocaine used to be.

Although the gaming community exists apart from, and sort of in parallel to, reality itself, it does provide some inventive and useful language and concepts for everyday living. I bet if I said to a middle school boy, “school principals got nerfed in the Covid update,” or “you can cheese the boss by R1-spamming the word racist,” he might agree and maybe even share some of his Fritos with me.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

BUDGET LIVING

WITH: KAISER THE MISER

PROCTER & GAMBLE CAN INDEED SUCK IT
Doesn’t “Procter & Gamble” sound like a BDSM niche? Like “L.A. actually has a pretty active underground Procter & Gamble scene.” Welp, the real Procter & Gamble is actually a meta-mega-corporation that owns like 99% of the cleaning and bathroom products in the world. Of course, they’re overcharging the fuck out of you for everything, so fuck them and here’s how. You can actually make pretty much anything out of baking soda and vinegar. Drain cleaner, toothpaste, stain remover, weed killer, you name it. Go ahead, Google that shit, there’s a million web sites telling you how to do it.

Sometimes home recipes call for lemon too, but I wouldn’t recommend that as lemons are expensive. If you absolutely MUST have a fresh scent, boil some verbena or rose geranium leaves or whatever and add that in I guess. We’ve had the same rose geranium for literally 25 years, still pumping out product, 100% free. Colonial vibes!

DISRUPTIVE BUSINESS MODEL #69-420i
Here’s a little merch scam: buy anything from chewy.com, then call them up to return it. They’ll let you keep the item and will refund your money 100%, no questions asked. Pretty nice of them, ngl.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

! Aguas! Pinche Frito Bandito, Ahora Vengo Cabrón

I’ve been wanting to move to Mexico for a while. On the plus side, not a whole lot of postmodern lunacy. On the negative side, no vegetables unless onions and cilantro count. Another thing to consider is that ranchera music is everywhere, which sounds like dogs dying. Or at least dogs wounded. I wonder if American music sounds like dogs dying to Mexicans. I bet Sonic Youth probably does.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Good News, Bad News

With Special Guest: Leprosy

Good newsBad News
Leprosy is not highly contagiousStill racks up several thousand deaths annually
Most humans have natural immunity to leprosySymptoms include skin lesions, numbness, lumpy nodules, clawed hands and feet
Leprosy cannot jump from animals to humansExcept from armadillos

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Yawny’s Neighborhood

I’ve gotten to know some of the other dog owners down at Crane Cove Park. But mostly they ignore me, especially the fortysomething moms. Then one day I got a new pair of Adidas and took my dog down there and all of a sudden they were all like “oh, tee hee, your dog is so cute” etc. Really? That’s all it takes, new shoes?

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

I Heart Several Deadly Sins

I’m envious of old folks who have those hear-ing devices with a volume control. Any time they want to, they can just tune everything out with a single twist of the knob. It reminds me of teaching during Covid. Everyone said, “Oh, teaching over Zoom was awful,” but it was ac-tually great because you could mute the entire class with a click. So what if some of the kids were playing video games instead of listening? That’s a “you” problem, not a “me” problem. Meanwhile, the students who really wanted to learn were stoked, because for once all the smart alecks and shit-stirrers were silenced. Man, I had this one 10-year-old kid named Asher building full-stack web apps using React, Node.js, NoSQL. Eventually I had to tell his parents, yeah I don’t think I can teach your little guy anymore. Do you know how embarrassing it is to have a kid who sleeps in baseball pajamas be way smarter than you?

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Emily St. John Mandel Novels, Ranked

  1. Sea of Tranquility
  2. Station Eleven
  3. The Glass Hotel
FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Pillbilly Elegy

You know how your parents come to visit, or you’re at their house and you happen to go in their bathroom and you’re like “holy shit, there’s a mountain of pills up in here”?

Well, I’m here to tell you that this reality may one day become totally super real for you too. I’m generally a “cupboard is bare” kind of guy, yet even I am looking at a core pack of relafen, ibuprofen, eye drops, ear drops, allergy pills, fiber pills, vitamins, and kratom. The only reason I don’t have oxycodone too is because millions of irresponsible, impulse control-deficient Americans went hog wild with opiate meds 20 years ago. Why is this still relevant when fentanyl is so much stronger and cheaper? But no , I have double hernia surgery and STILL have to sit through a condescending lecture from my surgeon on the dangers of addiction.As it turns out, I didn’t even need the narcotics for my post-surgery recovery. Ibuprofen and Tylenol were actually pretty effective. So now I have this extra bottle of Oxycodone pills. !!!!!!!!!!!!! LFG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Go ahead, search Google Images

for “witch riding a broomstick”

Did you ever notice that a picture of a witch riding a broomstick looks like she has a massive boner? Check it out. See how she grips it with her hands? If you squint, sometimes the whisk sticking out the back even looks like a cartoon fart blast. I swear to God, I’m not just projecting here. I mean, you see it, right?

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Am I Hot Or Not?

White wives all across America are wondering if their man is perving on Aubrey Plaza. What the wives have to realize is that they’re the ones crushing on Aubrey Plaza, not the guys. Aubrey may be a comic genius, but she gives off way too strong of an I-would-cut-your-penis-off-with-scissors vibe for most dudes. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. In which case you probably shouldn’t be married at all. Unless your spouse is as messed up as you.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Top Chemical Products 2023

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Most Old People Have Little Need For Therapists

Now that I’m semi-retired with barely a care in the world, I never have wild or funny dreams anymore. There’s just not that much drama to process; consequently, there’s a real dearth of roles out there in dreamland for random NPCs from the past. Or bizarre, fantastical mutants. Or hilarious ensemble character actors.Of course, the overall lack of imagination could also just be wear and tear on the ol’ subconscious. That tracks with a deteriorating GI system, major joint failures, etc. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would probably give my bodily infrastructure about a C-.Regardless, to illustrate: recently I had a dream where I was a reporter investigating evil shadow spirits in Mongolia. Sounds pretty cool, right? Until you discover that earlier that same night, I’d seen an episode of Alone that was *set in Mongolia*. And that at the time I was reading A Wizard of Earthsea, which features *evil shadow spirits*. How fucking literal can you get? That’s like zero degrees of separation from symbol to meaning.Then in the dream, I went into a cafe where they served me weird soup with gelatinous flaps in it. It dawned on me, first, that this was bat wing soup, and secondly, that that’s how the capital city got the name Ulan Bator. Because people eat bats, get it? I really thought that in the dream. Not only is this untrue, it’s not particularly clever. Although now that I think about it, the whole concept might make for a pretty good Netflix series.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Whoever Said UFC Fighters Were Dumb?

“People truly don’t give a fuck...they just post about stuff for attention.”

—Sean Strickland, #5 Welterweight

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Yawny’s Digest Performs Final Reach Across Generation Gap

There’s nothing quite like nerd trash talk. Bullies and jocks tend to be pretty crude with their insults: “You suck,” “shut up,” etc. But nerds, being generally weaker and less violent, must necessarily be more surreptitious and crafty. Their insults are oblique, and they tend to say them quickly, in the flattest monotones possible, to stymie bully detection. A lot of times their victims don’t even know they’re being roasted. I’ve been practicing some of these techniques myself. Like this time with the sixth grade advanced Blender class:

Boy 1: How do you do a loop cut again?
Boy 2: Um, get good?
Boy 3: Skill issue?
Boy 4: You should go to skills.com and sign up for the free trial.
All: (laughter)
Boy 1: No seriously, do you know how to do a loop cut?
Boy 2: Ur mom.
Me: Ur mom needs to get time travel skills so she can go back in time and not have you
All: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Gin Castes

CASTEFORMAT
Upper classMartini
Middle ClassNegroni
Working ClassGin & Tonic
HomelessGin

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

So Here’s To You

I totally forgot that Cloris Leachman was the married temptress in The Last Picture Show. It’s kind of genius casting, because Cloris Leachman sits on that knife edge between maybe-sort of-attractive and maybe-sort of-frightening. Which made Timothy Bot-toms’s ambivalence all the more poignant. Whereas Anne Bancroft in The Graduate was pretty elite, so basically a no-brainer for Dustin Hoffman. How come they never make movies about unhappy married women bang-ing awkward young men anymore? Was that all just disinformation too?

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

What Was That?

Lawrence of Arabia

I recently saw Lawrence of Arabia, by some accounts one of the ten best films ever made. So: you’re telling me that three-plus hours of white savior cosplay represents the epitome of filmmaking. Yeah, that makes sense! For you see, in this tale, the noble-but-heathen Arabs apparently need some kind of renegade David Bowie figure to help them get their shit together and not only repel the Turks, but also figure out their entire ethnic identity. Okay—I’ll allow that the cinematography was somewhat striking. But that’s mainly for two reasons. One, because it was shot in Panav-ision, which any middle schooler’s iPhone could emulate now, but at the time was pretty fresh. And two, half of the movie looks like a midcentury modern abstract impressionist masterpiece because of the fact that there is NOTHING IN THE DAMNED DESERT Look, if I want to watch a boring movie, I’ll go watch Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Because that film is actually *about* monotony, the sterility and totalitarian blandness of modern life, etc. Whereas Lawrence was supposed to be a stirring epic, but it just went on and on in a tedious attempt to be grandiose and ended up generating ennui and contempt and this shitty review instead. I guess if there’s a lesson to be learned here, it would concern the proper application of eyeliner and bronzer on men.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Siriously?

My wife called me out for changing the Siri accent on my iPhone to Indian (male). What, you can only choose the accent of the ethnic group you sound most like? That seems kind of racist. What if I just like the melodious tones of the Indian (male) accent? Oh, I know what you’re thinking: your ironic hipster faux-edgelord snickering is so out of date. Well, guess what? There’s punching-down snickering, and then there is loving, world-embracing snickering.

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Family Feud Semifinals

Name Something That is Racist

Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )

Fast-Talking Rock Singer Timeline


Issue: 16-2 (orig. pub. date: )