Various & Sundry, 7/28/23

John Scalzi

I woke up at 10am today, and no matter what time I went to sleep, waking up at 10 means my brain is loopy for the rest of the day. Fair warning! That said:

Oh Look, More Trump Indictments: Not the ones about January 6, which could be coming real soon now, but new ones about Mar-a-Lago and Trump actively and personally trying to obstruct the removal of documents there. Presumption of innocence is a thing, but I’m not a lawyer or a judge or a member of the jury, so I can say it’s pretty clear our former president is guilty AF regarding these specific indictments, and that these indictments eliminate a lot of legal wiggle room Trump might have thought he had with the other indictments relating to Mar-a-Lago. Which, well: Good.

The new indictments did lead to the following conversation between me and Krissy:

Me: There were more Trump indictments today.

Krissy: Is this about Georgia?

Me: No, it’s about Florida.

Krissy: What about DC?

Me: There are no DC indictments yet. The indictments that are in are the Florida and New York ones. The ones yet to arrive are Georgia and DC.

Krissy: That’s so confusing.

Me: That’s Trump!

Mitch McConnell Has a Senior Moment: Which is to say it looks like he had something of a mini-stroke while at a podium. He’s apparently better now, and also he’s 81, and this is a reminder that age catches up with us all. Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, 90-year-old Dianne Feinstein had to be reminded how to vote by a fellow Democratic senator, which is not… great. Gerontocracy is not the best, y’all!

I’m not inclined to put an upper age limit on political participation, and our two likely presidential candidates will be 78 and 81 come the next election day in any event, and whatever else they may be, neither seems mentally incapable; criminal, in the case of Trump, sure, but that’s not the same thing. With that said, when it becomes clear someone is not actually capable of doing the job, it’s time for them to go. Feinstein should be out the door already; I wouldn’t mind if McConnell walked out with her.

X Marks No Spot: I noticed in my phone app updates that my Twitter app was going to be switched over to the “X” app, and the thought of Musk’s Mark on my phone made me feel grimy and unhappy, so before the update could happen, I went ahead and deleted the app off the phone entirely. If and when I need to access the former Twitter, I can do it from my phone’s browser, which will show the X branding, but it’s less intrusive and annoying that way.

A couple of takeaways from that moment of visceral unhappiness about the “X” app branding: First, I’m clearly still working through my unhappiness about the expungement of the Twitter iconography. Second, discussions about it on social media have indicated to me that I’m not the only one to be all “Oh, hell, no” about the presence of the “X” app on their phone, which is not a fantastic sign for Elon Musk on the success of his new branding attempt.

Also, if you’re wondering how I’m doing with my “Use the former Twitter only for news and updates” plan: So far so good. Short of when I’m on vacation, I’ve used the site less than any other week probably in the last decade, and the less I use it, I suspect the less I will want to use it. I notice my follower numbers dropping a bit, but I don’t know if that’s because I said “I’m mostly not here,” or if people are using the “X” rebranding as an excuse to leave. I had large drops when Musk was announced as buyer, and when he formally took over, so this (somewhat less dramatic) drop may be an echo of that. I can’t be upset either way because, remember, I’m using the place less, so that’s fine.

I Have a Malleable Face: Finally, this series of photos I took of myself yesterday, mostly for my own amusement but which accentuates that I have both a rubbery face and no worries at all about capturing myself in less than flattering moments. Enjoy.

— JS

40 Comments on “Various & Sundry, 7/28/23”

  1. Re: face
    Ya know…you could make a good case for being the SF version of Jim Varney.

  2. Regarding McConnell’s vapor lock –

    Robert Reich had a good article about it yesterday, that I’m inclined to agree with

    Basically, I’m treating the freeze as a non issue but an excellent tool to absolutely destroy bad-faith arguments about Biden’s mental acuity.

  3. The selfies remind me of an early episode of Modern Family – WTF?

    (It means “Why the face?”, right?)

  4. If X marks no spot, then simply add a second instance of the app, and presto!!

    Dos Equis!!

  5. I have never been so happy as I am now with my overall social media stance–everything happens on the computer, in a browser. No phones. That was a carryover from teaching days, when I a.) needed to restrict social media access for professional reasons, b.) couldn’t use my phone at work anyway, and c.) just running Facebook ran down my phone battery horrifically.

    Makes it easy to disconnect because if I’m not sitting at the computer, I’m not on social media.

  6. [Deleted because cue-card whataboutism re: Biden is bullshit and we’re not doing that here today — JS]

  7. Glad to see you’re posting more here. As someone who grew up in rural NE Ohio, I do appreciate your insights. I quit twitter as soon as Elon acquired it. I used to respect him as a proud owner of a Tesla 3 but the last several years he’s gotten too cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

  8. I quit Twitter before Elon’s takeover. I found that it was bad for my mental health to be on that site. And that was using an app that restricted what I saw to people I was actually following (and anything they re-tweeted). Nothing that has happened under Elon’s ownership has caused me to regret that decision.

    On the subject of Elon’s ambition to make X an “everything app”, I’ve got to wonder just how much dope he’s smoking these days. I mean in less than a year he’s managed to crater the one thing Twitter was actually good at. Now he wants to add 8 or 10 new functions and take over the world? I would bet a substantial portion of my life’s savings that that will never happen.

  9. I still have my Twitter account and thus technically counting as John Scalzi’s follower, but I am rarely logging and not interacting (retweeting or liking tweets), and I guess there are many people like me – do you see a drop in the views and reactions of your tweets?

  10. The photos reminded of Megan Amram, a writer for The Good Place, whose Twitter avatar is a truly horrible photo of herself. She said she figured people would post terrible pictures of her online—she’s an outspoken woman on the Internet, after all—so she’d put the worst one up and get it out of the way.

  11. I haven’t had the Twitter app on my phone in years. I may end up leaving soon, depending on who’s still around and posting cat and dog pics/videos. 😆

    Should we setup a board like they do in the campaign offices on election night to track the different states and number of indictments Trump gets? I feel like Krissy, it’s getting hard to keep track of which one is official and which ones are still waiting in the wings. 😏

  12. I tried to watch the falcon heavy launch live on youtube (it was scrubbed at the last minute) and somehow got what was supposed to be Elon giving a starship update – OK I am interested in the starship – instead it was a talk which I found to be incoherent about how crypto was the future and how it was going to be integrated into X and how if I scanned the QR code I could enter for a free bitcoin giveaway but I could buy some.

    I think the whole twitter purchase was a hot mess, but usually I have found Elon talking about making cars or launching rockets to be interesting – this was the first time I have ever seen him where I couldn’t even follow what he was saying. I only gave it a few minutes.

  13. The fact that you continue to post ANYTHING on X/Twitter means you continue to endorse the insanity that is Elon Musk.

    Basic economics: The decision to remain invested is the same as the decision to invest.

    You can’t have it both ways. If it’s a cesspit and you willingly go swimming in it… guess what sticks to you?

    The world didn’t start with the big bang and then twitter and it won’t end if you sign off.

  14. I was finally starting to utilize Twitter to Its fullest (and grow my followers) when Musk came in and ruined everything.

    As it is still one place to check for content to ease my ADHD, I’m not deleting my account.

    But if anyone has any good blogs or community forums I should check out, please share if possible.

  15. Jon Stewart said testifying before a Senate committee was like visiting an assisted living facility. There should be an age limit on our representatives(I’m 73 so save your ageist accusations). When I was a boy (the 50’s and 60’s) the Senator from Arizona had been elected in 1912 and then there was Strom Thurmond.

  16. Thank you à lot for that warning about the changing icon of the app formally known by its much nicer name Twitter.

    I’ve just deactivated automatic updates for said app.

    Let’s see how long Musk will allow me to use an outdated version of his app.

  17. Damn, man, when you scrunch up like in that second pic, you got more chins than a Chinese phone book! Unless of course China is like us and no longer have phone books. And RIP 411 directory assistance. Why offer assistance for something that no longer exists?

  18. My mother-in-law used to have “spells” like Mitch had. They are scary.

    I would be fine with an age limit on elected officials and federal judges, perhaps 75, certainly 80. I’m 73 so I’m not biased against old people!

    I still have the old Twitter on my phone, but I just moved it off my home page so I won’t have to see it very often when it changes.

  19. The whole X thing reminds me of the New Coke advertising fiasco. Both self inflicted errors, that anyone outside the clique would have seen as poor judgment.

    Woops, I almost forgot Clippy

  20. I disagree about “neither [likely candidate] seems mentally incapable”. Trump seems mentally incapable – but then, I thought that about him in 2016, too, and he still managed to win the Electoral College (though not the popular vote).

  21. @Icarus – It’ll cost you some money, but joining CHADD ( gets you access to an online forum, a weekly newsletter, and a monthly magazine, all potential sources of strategies for managing ADHD. (I joined because our son has severe ADHD and we need all the help we can get!)

  22. @Icarus

    I am not on Mastodon, but have enjoyed some peoples’ posts through the web interface [the same way I viewed Twitter until Musk locked non-users out]. I do not know where your preferred type of ADHD content would most likely be (or whether there’s enough of it on Mastodon!), but this post might get you some accounts to take a look at, either in the Twitter/Mastodon name links or in the replies more generally:

    (spouse got Mastodon account last week and reported it was not a terrifically painful process; results may vary.)

    I would also bet that there are Discord servers for ADHD (like a cross between a forum and a chat room? except you can also do video and it was originally for games?) but I do not know where they are (and they, sometimes being very chat-room-y, are a different kind of time sink than only-informative-content feeds are).

    Also I have heard that there are Tiktok accounts devoted to ADHD experiences or life hacks, but I fundamentally don’t know how Tiktok accounts/following/curation/etc. works.

  23. The more I hear about Elon Musk, the more I suspect him of having an exotic form of multiple-personality disorder: half the time he thinks he’s Pinky, the other half he thinks he’s the Brain.

    Scarily, I further suspect that he may be right in both cases….

  24. Update on Twitter (unfortunately quite literally):

    Turning off the automatic updates didn’t help. The app updated nevertheless.

    Changing a friendly bird into something that looks like some razor blade with which you could cut into your fingers at any moment. 😒

  25. You photo-shop a red original series uniform on that lower right photo and that’s the Red Shirts face. Also, you manage to be both teddy bear cute and nightmare horror. So … good on you? :)

  26. Woke up, had breakfast, checked phone for any important notifications I might have slept through, noticed a new icon on my screen, realized what it was, dragged it to the “uninstall” section of the screen.

    Because heck no.

  27. When I googled to find out when Diane Feinstein’s term ends (next year, it turns out) I got as far as “When does Diane” and the rrest of my question popped up on the list of possible searches. She’s said she won’t run again; I wish she’d go ahead and resign. She isn’t doing herself or the nation any favors by hanging on.

    That said, I’m opposed to forma age limits. Some people are in excellent cognitive health into their 90s; some are bozos at 35. We the voters need to get up on our hind legs, consider our options, and vote already.

  28. It ain’t X, it’s MATHEMATICAL DOUBLE-STRUCK CAPITAL X or 𝕏. Who else is too cheap to commission a logo and instead uses a Unicode character?

  29. Well, Twitter finally killed off my little photo-posting script the other day; it had a nice stay of execution for a while, but now my last reason to stay has gone with it. So I bid farewell to all eight people who interacted with my posts yesterday, and I’ll see you all on Mastodon. (I am keeping my Twitter account, if for no other reason than nobody else can grab the name, but you won’t see much activity on it now)

  30. The really dumb thing about turning X into an everything app is that all the examples the Muskrat is thinking about and citing are Chinese…and that’s an entirely different environment to operate in (as in, the Chinese government gets to dictate a hell of a lot more…)

  31. I’ve been saying for a while the most satisfactory response to the Trump presidency is to keep him tied up in legal action for the rest of his natural life. One indictment and trial at a time, so his lawyers can concentrate on each one and make sure they’re doing the best possible job for him – we want justice done, after all. But when one of them ends, the next one starts, and he gets to spend the rest of his life in courtrooms and paying lawyers by the hour. In advance, if his lawyers have any sense (he has a history of being a slow, reluctant payer).

    With regards to age restrictions on Congress / Senators – here in Australia we seem to have a younger batch involved in our politics (around 40 – 60 seems to be the main clump), without any formal age restrictions either. But then, we have a few advantages that the USA doesn’t have, such as a smaller population, a lower bar to entry (you don’t need multiple millions to get involved in the election process here) and also we have compulsory voter turnout which means our voting population is far less skewed toward the group of people who have time available to voluntarily queue up to vote on a Tuesday. Every little helps. Start courting the youth vote if you want to see younger Congresspersons and Senators.

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