"Let's keep in touch."

As always in my life, for the most part I kept quiet, nose down, did my work at the job for the past almost-9 years. By my choice, nobody there ever saw anything about me except my skin and clothes and hair.


It's a rule: Always, I keep my distance.

As our days counted down toward the layoffs, I ignored the chirps of Let's keep in touch, Here's my Facebook page, Here's my phone number, and all that routine rot. Except for a few of them.

One was a co-worker whose wisequacks had kept me from decking a few senior executives. Toward the end, she asked if she could list me as a reference when she started job-hunting, and I said something like, Sure, but don't you know any responsible adults? 

One was an ex-co-worker who'd long ago transferred to a different department, but we'd continued e-chatting about work, life, almost the whole shebang, though of course (unlike here) I always held back anything too revealing.

One was my former boss — not my last boss there (she was awful), but the boss before her. I replied to him when he said "keep in touch," because (a) he was a decent dude, and (b) he's made of boss-stuff, so he'll be a boss until he's dead, and maybe he'll call and hire me some day.

A dozen people gave me the "stay in touch" shtick, but those three sounded sincere, so a few days after the job ended, I did what we'd said, and "stayed in touch." Sent each of them an email — just a few lines, upbeat and funny. It's been almost two weeks. No reply.

Can't tell you how disappointed I'm not, because it's what I expected. Your job is not your family, and your co-workers are not your friends. That's why I don't show myself, at work or out in the world.

Once in a while, though, you gotta gamble on people. No regrets about taking a chance on three out of twelve, because when you stop taking chances you're dead already.

♦ ♦ ♦

2 SWAT team members involved in Jaleel Stallings case were part of Locke raid 

Two officers on a SWAT team that was caught on body camera video firing at citizens without warning from an unmarked cargo van just days after the police killing of George Floyd were involved in the raid that led to the police killing of Amir Locke Wednesday morning.

Those cops should've been fired a year ago. They should be fired now. They should be fired after the next atrocity. They weren't, they aren't, and they won't be, which is why you can count on the next atrocity.

♦ ♦ ♦

This article tells how Seattle gentrified and modernized itself by getting rid of SRO hotels — "Flophouses. Flea bags. Skid Road." The only surprise is that anyone was surprised at what happened. Exactly what you'd expect would happen: With no place to check in, the poor became homeless, by the thousands.  

The city went from having one homeless street person in the 1970s — a woman who used to live in the portal to the Public Safety Building — to a few dozen by 1980, to 400 in the mid-’80s to 1,200 in 1990 (these are estimates of people rough-sleeping outside, and doesn’t include those staying in overnight shelters). Today Seattle is up to nearly 4,000 [people living] outside — and that count was from before the pandemic.

Single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs, or what I called 'em — rez hotels — were once quite common in big cities. They're how I survived the 1990s. For a cheap price, anyone could rent a small room with a locking door, a sink, heat and electricity, and a bathroom and shower down the hall. No applications, no credit check, no damage deposit, no luxuries, and no questions asked. If you had the money, you could rent a room.

Of course, SROs attracted the dregs of humanity, the mentally damaged, beggars and bums and worse, and sure, with low rents and low profit margins, many SRO hotels devolved into squalor. A rez hotel isn't classy, but for some folks and in some situations, 'classy' is not required.

There's always a lot of hand-wringing about homelessness, but the answer is easy: Rebuild SRO housing — a last-gasp place to go, a safe haven between abject poverty and the streets.

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Declassified documents shows the CIA is using a 1981 executive order to engage in domestic surveillance.

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The lasting legacy of redlining 

It’s been over 80 years since the lines were drawn in Fairfax and over 50 years since the use of redlining was legally banned, but the impact of redlining is still felt in cities like Cleveland, where redlined neighborhoods are some of the most starkly segregated in the country.

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MLB goes to universal designated hitter 

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"Pussy", "pupal" and "agora" among words removed from Wordle after move to New York Times 

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Who was the real St. Valentine? 

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One-word newscast:

James Bidgood
Jeremy Giambi
Ian McDonald

♦ ♦ ♦

 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


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♫♬  Sing along with Doug
Cranky Old Man 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 All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.

Extra special thanks
Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...


  1. Ah, man, as crappy as it was, I definitely romanticize the old Crown Hotel at 16th and Valencia. 90 bucks a week back in 1996. I was only attacked once while living there, by the lunatic who lived across from you, Doug.


    >MLB goes to universal designated hitter

    Not an important news item, but thank god. The idea of different rules in different leagues was nuts. Either DH or no DH, just pick one. And another one that made me mad (I don't think it is in effect anymore) was giving home-field advantage in the World Series to the league that won the All-Star game. IT'S AN EXHIBITION!!! It's voted on my fans, i.e., morons like you and me. It needs to have zero real-world consequences on games that matter.

    1. • I don't know where we would've been without affordable rez hotels. A lot of our neighbors in that building — and I dunno, maybe you and me? — would've been in a much worse place.

      The lost kids of today don't have the rez hotel option, and they don't even know it was taken away from them.

      • Baseball was the last sport I paid attention to, and I don't any more but there are lots of fond memories. I wrote an article for another site long ago about the dismantling of everything that made baseball fun, and it's gotten worse since then.

      The DH rule sucks balls, but you're probably right — either do it or don't do it, but don't frickin' half-do it.

      Agreed about the All-Star/World Series travesty, too. The whole point of it is that it's a game just for fun, a game that doesn't matter — but they had to tinker with that, like they've tinkered with (ruined) so many other aspects.

    2. They're ALL exhibition games, and have been since the 4th outfielder and 5th infielder got to stop working in the Sears appliance department during the offseason. That wasn't just in my lifetime: I was a young adult when the last major league 25th man punched his Sears timecard for the last time. Of course the owners were, in Cher's words, gypsies, tramps and thieves, and of course Major Leaguers are entitled to organize and go on strike. What sank the ship wasn't labor vs management: it was when labor crawled into bed with management and screwed the fans.

      When a single worker household with an average income can't afford to go to a couple of major league games a year, bring the family, and have a hot dog or two, baseball is in its death spiral.

      So let's at least have some fun and allow one league have a DH and make pitchers take batting practice in the other. It's all professional wrestling, so why not have a little adventure?


    3. People complain about how much ballplayers are paid. I don't care about that, but yeah, when ordinary working stiffs can't afford to see a game, that's a problem and the game loses its luster. Or you'd think it's a problem, but I've known people who could never afford to attend but are still crazy about the game(s) so what the hell.

      I can't afford the tickets and dogs and beer, but that's not what keeps me away. I just don't care any more. I was initially interested in baseball when Seattle briefly had a major league team, the Pilots, in 1969 (only). Some of that team's players still had off-season jobs, and I hazily remember that one player rode the #7 Rainier bus to get to and from Sicks Stadium. Not sure whether he did it every day, or maybe it was car trouble with his 10-year-old Plymouth. Times have changed dince then.

      My interest waned in the Bud Selig era, with the steroids and strikes and all. Tonight I can't name one active player.

      And yeah, screw the designated hitter rule.

    4. Sure, there are fans who watch the games on television or, if they really want to see the game, listen on the radio. These people are being intermediated from the smell of the grass and the cursing during batting practice and hot dogs and the other accoutrements of the game. It's about time to disintermediate them and make the experience something for more than the rich and the very upper middle class.

      So lower the pitcher's mound again, stop slathering stickum on the ball, reduce ticket prices by 70%, and let's play some baseball.

    5. In the end, though, like you said, they're all exhibition games. I love that.

      Sport is a pleasant distraction, and big-league sport squeezes billions of dollars from that distraction, breaking some bodies and ruining some lives along the way. Twenty or so years post facto, I am a better man for not knowing or caring which team wins.

  2. News with a personal touch. I have never been down and out but it makes sense to have a last-chance before people land in the gutter.

    Amazing that rubber-bullet police were never fired. ACAB.

    1. The calculation I use is, maybe 10%, maybe 20% maybe half the cops are bastards, but the other 90% or 80% or half don't report the bastards, so the math says, all cops are bastards.

  3. Doug, your distance from the rest of the world makes me want to buy you a cup of coffee. Both of us would hate that, though. I have had similar urges since I was about 12, usually forced myself to be sociable anyway. I see what I'd be if I gave up when you talk about it.

    1. PS. Work friends are almost never real friends, but also friends are almost never real friends. You haven't had many, I haven't had many either.

    2. I've had a few friends, and still do, but they're a long ways away. Never been particularly doublecrossed by a friend if that's your gist, but many times they've just faded away. Of course, I've faded away too.


    PIP PIP.

  5. Double pips. Guess I've done good. Thanks.

  6. There was a war
    55,000 dead Americans
    Uncounted others
    A million lives irreparably changed

    Jefferson Airplane was one of the sounds of resistance



  7. I am somehow unfamiliar with this song. Either it wasn't a big hit or maybe they just didn't play it on KJR Seattle Channel 95. Quite fine. I'm not sure who Fred is, in the lyrics, but them's kickass lyrics.

    We are all outlaws in the eyes of America
    In order to survive we steal cheat lie forge fred hide and deal
    We are obscene lawless hideous dangerous dirty violent and young
    But we should be together
    Come on all you people standing around
    Our life's too fine to let it die
    We can be together (more)

    The opening credits mention Quicksilver. Were both bands performing together?

    Watching them get set up to perform, and finally when they start with the heavy drumming, later the sizzling electric guitars, and just this style of singing and playing would've been almost alien to older people… like my parents. I can barely imagine what old timers must've thought when they heard this kind of music. I know what my dad thought — he hated it. My mom wouldn't even talk about it, she just changed the station to Jesus music. They grew up on Tony Martin and Bing Crosby and the Pired Pipers. My dad had Andrews Sisters records. The were pre-rock'n'roll people. Which is hard for me to even imagine.

    Growing up with Big Crosby as cool.

    Can I ask where you were for the Vietnam war, John? It's absolutely OK to decline to state.

    I was too young but not by much. Used to watch the lottery draws and pray the war ended before I got any older. Prayed even though I already knew it was bullshit, but fuck all, I didn't want to go to Canada… but I would've, and it probably wouldn't have worked out well.

    1. These are the lyrics I remember. I got them off Genius Lyrics.

      The single, with Volunteers on the A-side and We Can Be Together on the B-side was released in 1969. Both songs were included on the LP Volunteers released two months later.

      These were also the lyrics Jefferson Airplane sang on the Dick Cavett Show in 1969. Cavett also had Crosby, Stills and Nash on their way back from Woodstock as well as Joni Mitchell debuting her song "Woodstock". Cavett was unafraid and bright. He later dedicated an entire hour to interviewing John and Yoko and testified at John's deportation trial. John stayed.

      The original We Can Be Together follow. . .

    2. We Can Be Together

      Words and music by Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane
      Performed by Jefferson Airplane

      We can be together
      Ah, you and me
      We should be together

      We are all outlaws in the eyes of America
      In order to survive
      We steal, cheat, lie, forge, fuck, hide, and deal
      We are obscene, lawless, hideous, dangerous, dirty, violent, and young

      We should be together
      Come on all you people standin' around
      Our life's too fine to let it die
      We should be together

      All your private property is
      Target for your enemy
      And your enemy is we

      We are forces of chaos and anarchy
      Everything they say we are, we are
      And we are very
      Proud of ourselves

      Up against the wall
      Up against the wall, motherfuckers!
      Tear down the wall
      Tear down the wall

      Come on now together
      Get it on together
      Everybody together
      We should be together
      We should be together my friends
      We can be together
      We will be

      We must begin here and now
      A new continent of earth and fire
      Tear down the wall
      Tear down, getting higher and higher
      Tear down the wall
      Tear down the wall
      Tear down the wall
      Won't you try?

  8. Sounds like somebody was trying to tone down the fucks with a Fred. I owned this album, and these lyrics are correct.

    It's late. Vietnam tomorrow.


    1. Fred instead of fuck — that's dumbass censorship, even by censorship standards. If the word is fuck people should say fuck. In polite company I'll settle for f*ck, but Fred is ridiculous.

      Wait, are you saying Dick Cavett had Jefferson Airplane *and* Crosby, Stills and Nash *and* Joni Mitchell all on the same episode? That would seem to be too much.

      Of all the white men's talk shows on TV in my childhood, Mr Cavett's is the only show I remember watching. I was a dopey kid, but he had a knack. Even if his guest was someone I'd never heard of or someone born to be boring, he could make it interesting.

      I've heard some slight stories from people who were in Vietnam, and longer stories from people who'd been desperate not to go there, and of course I saw The Walter Cronkite Show every night, so to me even in peacetime, even all these years later, Vietnam is shorthand for Hell. Thus your promise of "Vietnam tomorrow" reads ominous. Pretty sure you'll write something better than hell, of course.

    2. Just nodding off. As I recall, CSN and Jeff Airplane were on their way back from Woodstock and Joni Mitchell happened to be in New York. They were on the same show. Pieces of the show are on YouTube. Like this one. Just search and you'll find more. Dick had no idea what kind of tie to wear. It was the only bad decision he made that day.

      (Looks like most of the video is AFTER his producer told Cavett to lose the silly tie).


    3. Loved the Cavett. Psychedelic set, too. Everybody just chilling on the floor. Cavett always seemed so relaxed, not interesting like other hosts, but interested, also unlike most of the other hosts...

      Sleep well, sweet Prince John.

    4. . . . a day and a half later, once again awake. Cavett, as I earlier alluded to, had most of the counterculture leadership on his show at one time or another. On the post-Woodstock show (clip attached) he had all six members of Jefferson Airplane, who performed several songs with their original lyrics including motherfucker on national TV, Joni Mitchell who had just written "Woodstock" the day before and premiered it on this show, and David Crosby and Stephen Stills of CSN/CSNY (CSN performed a set at Woodstock, then added Neil Young for a couple of tunes, so they were in transition). I don't know where Nash and Young were, but they probably got evacuated on a different chopper.

      You will notice at the very beginning of this clip that Cavett loses the "tie" his producer had insisted he wear. It lasted for about a minute. Cavett wasn't hip to fashion, but at least he knew he wasn't, and he seemed to know when he looked ridiculous.

      Some points about this show, which is contained on four or five clips on YouTube.

      1) It was clearly thrown together at the last minute. The talent coordinator didn't know who was actually going to show up until an hour or so before airtime, and even then she was scrambling (e.g., can anybody find Nash and Young? How about Hendrix, who had been on the Cavett show before?

      2) Because the show was thrown together, there was scant time for sound checks, which are always done prior to concerts and TV shows by big-time acts. So when Joni sang, the Cavett sound guys had to adjust the piano mics and vocal mic dynamically, and the Airplane folks used a mic configuration they had never used before. Given all that, it sounded terrific.

      3) It was obvious that Cavett's monologue and introductions were not written and put on cards. The lineup was changing too fast. He had to wing it, and he did OK, considering he was of a different generation than the performers.

      OK, Vietnam, a little more Cavett and some John Lennon later.



    5. The war in Vietnam got bloody in 1966 and went to hell in 1968 with the Tet Offensive. If you want to read about the War, you should start with Wikipedia and move onto the PBS series, which is still the definitive history as far as I can tell. Night after night, every night on the 6:00 News, Walter Cronkite would report how many American servicemen had been killed that day and how many injured, how many ARVN (South Vietnamese Army men) had been killed and injured, how many North Vietnam Army personnel had been killed and injured, how many Viet Cong had been killed and injured, and how many in various splinter groups had been killed and injured. After a while it started looking and sounding like a nightly game show of the doomed as more and more military personnel died for foggier and foggier reasons in ever-increasing numbers, and everyone was wondering when HIS number would come up. Civilian casualties frequently went unreported, but everyone knew they were getting higher.

      The United States needed more and more young men to throw into this bloody mess. The draft was not producing enough soldiers to fight and die because if you were enrolled full time in college and passing all your courses you got a Student Deferment, which kept you alive for four years as long as you were getting good enough grades.

      Then, on December 1, 1969, the Great Draft Lottery was held. Based on the date of your birth, young men who successfully passed the pre-induction physical could be yanked out of school and sent to boot camp and then to Vietnam based only on the date of their birthday. Every male got a number, 1-366, and that number dictated how soon in any given year you would be inducted into the Army (or choose to enlist in another service branch in an attempt to live longer).

      I had been in the streets as a protester, opposing United States military involvement in Vietnam, and as an organizer (with a red or white armband) trying to make sure the demonstrations stayed non-violent.

      On December 1, 1969, my birthday became number 302 on the draft priority list, which meant that I would most likely never be drafted. But there was no celebrating that night. My roommate got number 34, and many of my friends got low numbers that would see them leave for boot camp within six months or so, then likely be sent to Vietnam.

      I was fortunate to lose only one close friend to Vietnam. We had been close since we were 10, and I helped carry his casket to a hole in the ground before he made it to 23.

      I have no idea whether any of this made sense to a reader in 2022. I don't have the heart to go back and proof it.


    6. • As much as I like both bands and Ms Mitchell, it's Cavett who intrigues me most here. Probably because the music is familiar, but I've never given that skinny white dude much thought. He was very good at what he did, and I don't think Carson or Letterman could've faded far enough into the background to allow that hour of dang near magic.

      Is there anything as clever as Dick Cavett on TV today? The answer is no, obviously. Same as there's no Jefferson Whatevers, CSNY, or Joni Mitchell…

      • Sorry to have brought up something painful, man, but thanks for being a good sport about it and not just telling me to go to Hades.

      I lost three people in Vietnam, I guess, but they weren't my people, none of them were close to me. Two older brothers of friends or quasi-friends, and a very young man from my church I remember only as not too bright. Guess I remember him that way because he volunteered on his 18th birthday.

      In my memory the armbands were black, and kids wore them to protest the war and/or get kicked out of school. They were much more effective at the latter goal than the former. I don't remember red or white armbands.

      The lottery is a vivid memory. Was it broadcast live on TV, or is that an enhanced memory? I absolutely looked for my birthday, and my brothers' birthdays, and understood what it meant but not quite the insanity of it all. That's only hitting me today, sixty-some years later — drawing ping-pong balls from a wheel, not to see who wins a million bucks in a fun lottery, but to see who's likely to die in Shirley Jackson lottery of death.

      And all during the year, the calling of birthdays. The phrase "your number is up" probably precedes Vietnam, but that's where it got etched into my head. Jeez, I'm glad I was too young for Nixon to kill me., but always it was luck of the draw. You could be #75 and maybe, maybe make it through the year without being inducted, and then next year you might be #300… or you might be #3.

      Glad some people understood the ludicrousness of it all, and went into the streets saying no. Folks like you, John — thank you for your service. The protesters defended America, more than the soldiers.

    7. The groups with whom I worked respected the choices of the people who chose to serve in the military and those who chose to not avoid service. People on all sides of that lousy war had more honest positions than anyone associated with the attacks on American democracy from the Right over the last ten years. Trump still has foot problems, although, oddly, his only golf handicap seems to be his golf handicap, with is as accurate as his other accounting practices.


    8. Honesty from the other side? That happened back then, didn't it. The pro-war crowd believed their domino theory, but they weren't claiming that the Vietkong had space lasers.

  9. I don't think you have any idea what your SRO idea would cost.

    1. Lots, I'll bet, but that's irrelevant. Let's do the right thing regardless.

    2. I just want to understand seriously how such a project could be funded. Private charity? Department of the Interior? Serious questiuon!

    3. Just asking questions!!


    4. Serious answer, it's not on me to find the funding. Things cost money, and saving people's lives is worth spending the money.


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