That wacky old dude, ha-ha.

Cranky Old Man #95


Squeezing a pimple yesterday, I glanced up, saw my face in the bathroom mirror, and paused.

I've worn that face all my life, and it's gotten worn. Craggy, saggy, and sour.

Looking at me in the mirror the way I'd look at a stranger if he didn't know I was looking, what I saw was a fat man who's trying to lose weight, but not trying very hard.

The bathroom behind me was sloppy but basically OK, except for the toilet. Sometimes I say I never scrub it, and people think I'm joking. That wacky old dude, ha-ha. I'm not joking.

Why clean something, scrub and scrub at it with chemicals, when you're just going to sit down and shit on it again?

I live alone in this apartment, which looks kinda like the toilet. Vacuumed the living room when a guest visited, circa 2019, but never since. Generally nothing gets cleaned unless it smells bad.

Once daily I go out for a short walk... unless it's cold, or raining, or snowing, or I'm lazy or don't feel like it. Other than that, I rarely go anywhere.

My recliner no longer reclines, but it's been mashed to exactly the shape of my butt, very snug and soft. Why would I leave?

The blinds are down, because I'm usually naked. When I do get dressed, all my clothes are rumpled and stained.

If I ever go job-hunting, I might need new slacks and a shirt. Hope not. Just thinking about it feels like a betrayal. If I do buy new duds, the effect will be very temporary. Give it a month, and any new clothes will be rumpled and stained, too. 

I'm rumpled and stained.

My only friends are on-line — and good morning, by the way!

Haven't even accidentally touched a human yet this year. 

Romance seems ridiculous, and would take too much effort.

Alone is nice. 

I'm not trying to change any of the above. Rumpled and stained, saggy and sour. That's me, and I like me. 

Things could be worse. Things will be worse toward the end, but today I'm enjoying my lazy life alone. If you have any advice, ideas to make myself or my life better, kindly stick 'em up your butt.

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She was told she could vote again after felony convictions. Now she's in prison for trying. 

I'm not keeping a spreadsheet or anything, but I've read coverage of 8-10 white people who illegally voted in 2020. One of them got three days in jail, and the others all got probation.

Pamela Moses didn't illegally vote, only tried to register to vote, but she's black so she's sentenced to six years in prison.

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Calculations at NASA, 1961 

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CNN hires Jonah Goldberg 

CNN makes itself even CNNier. No news in that, except that Goldberg is one of the world's absolute hacks. He has no earned credentials whatsoever — everything about his career came from his famous father, his well-connected mother, and Monica Lewinski.  

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JBS agrees to pay beef wholesalers $52.5 million in latest price-fixing settlement

How ordinary: A giant corporation breaks the law, makes huge profits, probably drives some little people bankrupt, gets caught, pays a fine, and admits no wrongdoing.

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Spotify CEO says man he gave $100 million does not represent values of his company 

The hypocrisy speaks for itself, but when the CEO of Spotify says "we are not the publisher of Joe Rogan Experience," that's only a trickery of the law. In plain English, they pay Rogan big bucks for the right to publish his show, so of course they're Rogan's publisher.

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Bad news, late:
Landmark's Embarcadero Cinema to close after 26 years in S.F. 

When a movie theater goes dark, especially a place where I've seen great movies, I mourn. Me and the Mrs were often at the Embarcadero... which closed last weekend.

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This is what kids in Virginny were taught about slavery, just 50 years ago. 

The tasks of each [house slave] were light. … They learned much about the finer things of life. The house servants took a great deal of pride in their comfortable positions. …The field hands … were given a rest period at noon, usually from one to three hours. Those who were too old or too sick to work in the fields were not forced to do so. … The ‘task system’ … gave them free hours after they finished their daily tasks. … The planter often kept a close eye upon [the overseer] to see that the slaves were not overworked or badly treated.

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CDC website offers blank vaccine cards for download, despite fraud worries 

It’s a head-scratching choice for the CDC. In early 2021, the agency said it had repeatedly warned state governments against doing the same thing — for fear it would aid fraudsters looking to replicate the flimsy paper credential.

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Austria is done foolin' around with COVID deniers and refusers.

The new law... could see unvaccinated people face a maximum fine of 3,600 euros ($4,000) up to four times a year if they are not on a vaccine register by their assigned vaccination date.

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Supreme Court allows Alabama voting maps that advocates say disenfranchise Black voters 

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The long list of legal cases against Donald Trump 

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After 70 Years, UC Berkeley Museum returns massacre remains to Wiyot tribe 

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Me and Mini Scaredy 

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One-word newscast:

Syl Johnson 

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 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 to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...


  1. >Sometimes I say I never scrub it, and people think I'm joking. That wacky old dude, ha-ha. I'm not joking.

    I can vouch for that. If my sweetie didn't clean ours, I'd be like you, with a never-clean toilet. Problem with YOUR toilet is that your shits are like baby shit - tarry goo, not solid turds, or at least that's what I THINK. because your toilet is coated with a thick layer of sticky foulness.

    Also - did you vacuum for me? I'm honored.


    >Landmark's Embarcadero Cinema to close after 26 years in S.F.

    That's a bummer. It wasn't a great theater or anything, but they were one of the places, numerous in SF at the time, where you could see unconventional stuff as well as popular big-name movies. My only SPECIFIC memories are : 1. trying to find it for the first time, in one of the four identical Embarcadero buildings, and 2. Seeing Requiem For A Dream there with my ex-wife, and us both feeling brutalized and hollow afterward, sitting in the sun trying to come back to reality.

    It will be missed.

    1. I'd rather be judged on my character than on the texture of my bowels, but both are equally crappy.

      Many Embarcadero memories here, too. It was only a concrete multiplex, not a glorious movie palace, but I liked the place.

  2. The Embarcadero Theater is closed?!? So many memories of flicks there! I remember seeing "Trick" with a friend one evening and a small quake rumbled through. No one even skipped a beat and the movie went on...

    Mark Alexander | voenixrising.com

  3. Good on Austria! It'll never EVER happen here, and for that reason I think we are witnessing the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization in real time. I'm glad I'm old. I wouldn't want to be a young person facing what's coming...

    Mark Alexander | voenixrising.com

  4. I've always LOVED "Tryouts for the Human Race" and, in fact, pretty much everything Sparks released. Good times.

    Mark Alexander | voenixrising.com

    1. • Landmark has closed a lot of theaters recently. I think the pandemic is squeezing them bad, and I'm one of the customers who've been staying away. Still seems an unnecessary risk.

      • Yeah, I am low on patience for the refusers. Taxes, fines, arrests, whatever it takes. They're a buncha fuckers happy to see you and me dead so long as they don't have to wear a piece of paper that might make their noses itch.

      • I only discovered Sparks a year or so ago, and love 'em. They're art-house rock'n'roll, in a good way.

    2. From SFTheaters blog...

      This is at least the 11th Landmark theater to be vacated in just over two years. Among these are New York’s 57 West, Washington, D.C.’s West End, Houston’s River Oaks, Minneapolis’ Uptown Edina, St. Louis’ Tivoli, Detroit’s Main Art, San Diego’s Ken, and well as the Clay also in San Francisco and the California in nearby Berkeley. In 2018, prior to current owner Charles Cohen’s acquisition of the chain, Landmark closed the Sunshine in Manhattan as well.

    3. With unpaid rent as the recurring theme. Interesting. Like they've decided to just stop paying rent during the pandemic, and if the landlord objects they close the cinema. After all it's not their house, it's only people's jobs...

  5. I don't think I've posted this lovely, important John Prine song out here. And it's about time. I was so very lucky to come to Prine naive and without a guide; I got to discover many of his subtle lyrics and tunes as they unfolded. This one is called The Great Compromise. For a long time I didn't know what the hell he was singing about. Then I did.



    1. Truth, man, I had to listen to that song three times before I understood what was going on. A feature, not a bug. Points for the subtle allegory that kept slipping past me...

    2. Mr Prine said at the time, "I can never quite find America. What if my country were a girl who I really loved who was always cheating on me?" And he sat down and wrote "The Great Compromise". Of course, The Great Compromise in American history is the decision by the founders to create a bicameral legislative branch so the South would have more clout in governmental decisions than their population would have provided them under a proportional legislative system. Throughout history, this has made the legislative branch more conservative and -- sorry -- more racist than the other branches of government.

      Yeah, that's a lot to pack into a song about a breakup and non-fight at a drive-in, but that's what Mr Prine managed to do, repeatedly, over a long career.

      I was with him throughout the years, even when his career sagged in the middle, kind of like he did. He never stopped caring, he never stopped giving it 100%, and he never stopped being grateful for the miracle of his success. He also never, ever stopped being a gentleman. There was never a compromise about that.


    3. Does "I was with him throughout the years" mean you were a fan? Almost sounds like you toured together, and man, that would be pretty dang cool.

      Great song, great allegory. I needed to Google the lyrics to get the message, but of course I'm thick and I like the headscratching.

  6. Yeah, it does sound like that. That's me in the background playing harmonica like a deranged Larry Adler.

    I edited my comment, so I wrote what I intended to, but perhaps not clearly. I can only think of two songwriter/performers about whom I would say that. Both had pretty severe and extended career dips, roughly in middle age, then went out with a bang: John Prine and Leonard Cohen. I've written here about Leonard (who I think of as Leonard), who lost every penny he had saved from what he called "a modest career", then, in his 70s toured the world to acclaim and, not to get carried away, glory.

    John's dip was less severe, but after being identified as "the next Dylan", published several albums that lacked the genius of the first. Also, turned off by the music business, he started his own label and never really had the money to promote himself. Albums should sell themselves, but generally they don't. Without promotion money nobody could tell John what to record or when or where to tour, but it also reduced the interviews and hoopla that come with an album release.

    John understood this, and just worked harder at touring his albums. Sadly, he toured too long and ran into Covid.

    I felt like I made a fifty-year journey with both of them. While my wheezy harmonica playing isn't even good enough to merit a discount to a Prine concert, I felt a brotherhood with both musicians that endures.


    1. Yeah, usually when a performer fades away from popular consciousness, the fade is forever. A very few get second chances, Prine and Cohen, and Janis Ian comes to mind. Not many more.

      You know who I wish had a resurgence? Donovan. Always liked Donovan.

      "Albums should sell themselves, but generally they don't." Same with all the arts. I wonder about the great musicians and painters and poets and actors and anthropologists and everything else, the ones who didn't have the right promotion, the right agent or connections, and never got even that first brush with fame.

      There was a woman I knew and remember well, who said she only 'dabbled' at painting in the basement, but her dabblings were as good or better than anything in the museums. Success is a synonym for luck.

      I'll bet your harmonica playing is awesome, dude. I always wanted to learn it, but I'm lazy and it's work and I never did, and then I lost the harmonica eons ago. I do have an old pitch pipe I bought at a garage sale. It plays only four notes, but I've learned how to make it warble a bit. It's my art.

    2. Re: Donovan Leitch, I thought I was the only guy who bought "A Gift From a Flower to a Garden" in 1968. A double album, it was expensive, but historically ort of interesting. Obliquely modeled on William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, one album was putatively for adults; the other was "for the little ones", but, of course, it didn't really work that way. My favorite Donovon song, "Epistle to Darroll" is on the "innocence" record, and I was 18 and horny, but I suppose I retained a little innocence. I found out that I wasn't the only buyer when Donovan was presented with a Gold Record for this set.

      And my harmonica playing sucks. After taking care of my Dad's harmonicas for a decade after he died, I decided to sell them one at a time on Ebay. There were 70 or 80 that I sold, and another 30 or so that I kept, mostly because they weren't worth selling. On the high end, I got something like $50 - $100 apiece, and I needed to eat, but it was a fairly profound experience. . .

      I met harmonica players from all over the world on Ebay, and everyone I sold to heard Dad's story. I made sure they promised to pass the love and joy along. I sold a few in south Asia, more throughout Europe (Honer is a pretty popular name there), one in Africa, a couple in Australia, and most of them in North America. Dad took care of his harps, and many of the models I sold were no longer being made by Honer, so an auction site was one of the few ways to obtain them.

      I sold a small chromatic to a female beat cop in a city in Utah (forget which one). I corresponded with her for quite a while. She carried the harmonica on her rounds, and had more than once broken up a potential fight by playing some blues.

      As I said, everyone I sold to got the story of Dad, who badly injured his leg as a boy and was ineligible to serve in WWII, so formed a dance combo with a Mormon bass player and a drunk piano player. When Dad got engaged to Mom, they bought a set of very used traps and Mom became a drummer. That's how they spent many of their weekend nights during the war and after.

      Dad had manufactured a plastic electric pickup for his harmonicas, and with a beat up old amp, he made the harp sound a lot like a violin. Dad played lead, the drunk piano player (the most talented piano player I ever heard) tinkled around the tune and added three or four dimensions to the sound, the bass player took care of the bottom end, and Mom kept time, mostly with brushes.

      So yeah, Dad was the harmonica player in the family. Had I asked him, he would have taught me to play properly, but I didn't, so I settled for playing badly, but always in Dad's memory.


    3. As always, you tell a grand story, sir. I will think of your poppa when I hear a well-played harmonica. I can almost but not quite imagine the band you describe. The sad thing about live music, it's gone to the clouds and memories as soon as it's played.

      Today I learned that 'harp' can mean harmonica and 'traps' can mean drums.

      "Epistle to Derroll" is lovely, grazi. I have a favorite Donovan song, but I think of it as belonging to my wife and I, so you'll forgive me, I hope, if I keep it that way.

      I never have the patience to sell stuff online. Maybe I could do it if there was serious money at stake, like your dad's harmonicas. I own nothing of value like that...


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