Without spaghetti sauce, please.

For all of my adulthood until my wife died, movie theaters were a big part of my world. It was rare to go even a week without seeing a movie in a theater. Now it's been almost four years. Wow.

May 31, 2022

I still love movies, but I've come to hate movie theaters. The prices are ridiculous, the crowds often obnoxious, and every movie is preceded by up to dozens of ads and sometimes more.

I still miss going to the movies, but I'd miss it more if I went to the movies.

At most theaters, certainly all the chain theaters, they've sucked all the magic out of it. Stephanie & I had already cut back from perhaps 75 movies every year to half a dozen, and after she died, I completely lost interest. COVID hasn't added to the allure.

Another trend I've noticed is that the chains prefer having their giant multiplexes farther and farther from the cities. In Madison, the 12-plex that was bus-accessible was shuttered, after the same chain built a new and 'improved' place with more plexes, and selling overpriced stinky burgers and pizzas delivered to your seat.

We missed a few minutes of Baby Driver while someone in front of us had his pizza delivered. They'd gotten it wrong — it was supposed to have anchovies but they'd forgotten — so they interrupted the movie again fifteen minutes later, and of course, the pizza stunk up the rest of the show. We never went back to the "movie tavern" they laughably call The Palace.

Also, the new multiplex was several miles further out in the 'burbs. I think that's intentional. Part of the strategy. The real estate is cheaper, and the distance keeps the 'undesirables' from attending.

Here in Seattle, I've been tootling around the city for two months, mostly in poor and middle-class neighborhoods, and in all my travels I've seen only one movie theater — the Admiral, a hundred-year-old movie palace that got split into two screens long ago, and still struggles along.

Where do people go, to see new movies in a modern movie megaplex? Heck if I know. Way, way, way out in the suburbs, apparently. Which means, if you live in the city — if you're poor, black, Mexican, or me — you're really not invited.

My flatmate Dean has decided he likes me, I guess. Yesterday he offered me some leftover spaghetti sauce he'd made, though I'd have to provide my own pasta. I said thanks but no thanks, explaining that I don't eat pasta, which is mostly true and got me off the sauce-hook.

Truth is, I don't want to eat Dean's sauce, or anything he cooks, because I've seen how Dean handles food. There's hamburger in his sauce, but for two days before he prepped it, the ground beef sat on a plate, uncooked and uncovered, in our refrigerator. Unlike Dean, I can't claim decades of experience in shiny high-class kitchens, but also unlike Dean, I know enough to know that raw meats need to be covered.

That's why I'm skeptical of his many, many tales of being a chef. More likely, Dean worked on the line, chopping carrots or scrambling eggs. Maybe he washed dishes and dreamed of wearing the puffy white cap, but there's no way a genuine chef wouldn't know such basics of safe food-handling.

On a side street of shuttered storefronts and shady businesses and people sleeping on sidewalks or under a ripped awning, my favorite graffiti of the week:

"Dissent is not a smell."

Of course, some Republican vandal had scratched out the word 'not'. They don't want to hear what anyone says unless they're saying right-wing bullshit.

At the grocery store, there are still magazines at the cash register. Stupid magazines only, though — People and Entertainment Weekly, never The New Yorker or Scientific American.

On the cover of one of the dumb magazines a week or so ago, a small gaggle of humans smiled over a headline that said something like, "America's most beloved family says goodbye after six seasons." None of the smiling faces looked even somewhat familiar, but apparently some TV show I've never seen is ending, and it's so "beloved" and widely-known, the magazine's cover didn't even name the show.

I doubt I've missed much.

What's inside a utility box I don't know, but they're big and ugly and located every few blocks in every American city. Where I'm living, there's apparently a county-wide program to address and solve the boxes' ugliness — every utility box gets a mini-mural. You never know what'll be on the next one, but no utility box is left unpainted.

It's a small thing, but small things can add greatly to an area's quality of life.

There are several shops on Seattle's south side selling Vietnamese sandwiches, and an Asian grocery nearby that sells what they call an Asian sandwich. I didn't know what's in an Asian sandwich, and still don't. Not Asians, I hope.

Hungry and curious one day, I bought a pre-packaged Asian sandwich, and it was quite good but overpriced, so I'm unlikely to ever buy another.

$5.95, for a delicious, mildly spicy sandwich with some crunchy vegetables I didn't recognize spread over a meat I also didn't recognize. I enjoyed every bite, but for six damned dollars it was a thin and lightweight sandwich.

And now, the news you need, whether or not you know you need it… 

 ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Man killed by alligator while searching for Frisbee in Tampa Bay park 

♦ ♦ ♦  

No institutions lie more consistently, with less pushback, than police departments. Perhaps after the latest high-profile police narrative falls apart, our media can reexamine its default stenography.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...

♦ ♦ ♦

The End
Bob Neuwirth
Robert Vlasic 


Cranky Old Fart 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, Meme City, 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, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...


  1. >Now it's been almost four years. Wow.

    I'm gonna bet that the last movie in a theater you saw was The Meg, the shark movie, with me. Not when I lived there, but when I visited. That would have been in 2018 some time.

    I've gone through thick and thin times with movies. Even here in Gettysburg, where they pretty much have only shown Hollywood shit since I moved here 8 years ago, there was a time I'd go see one movie a week, if there were anything new, sci-fi, or just acclaimed / looked good. But the last movie I saw? I truly cannot remember.

    NOTE : I just spent ten minutes looking at new releases month by month, and I think it was Doctor Sleep. I remember nothing about it.

    1. Doctor Sleep? What a terrible title for a movie. Never heard of it. Was it any good?

      Yeah, that was my last movie at a theater. I saw a movie at the library a couple years ago, but at the library there are no ads and the popcorn was free, so it's a whole different experience.

    2. Like I said, I don't remember anything about Doctor Sleep. I probably fell asleep.

  2. Hi, like coming here daily to read your latest, still think your bus story (the one about the crazy guy who couldn't get a ride) is ava-worthy, and the above one about movie theaters probably also, but the bus one--yes! I'm back in the black--getting my stories in the ava again...

    1. If I could only subscribe to one publication on paper (which will probably be soon) it would be the Anderson Valley Advertiser. See you there.

  3. Hello,

    I was on your page and I noticed that the link for "Captain Hampockets" wouldn’t load for me when I clicked on it. I'm not entirely sure what the best fix would be for that link, but I though you may want to know about it.

    I also wanted to ask if you would be interested in including my basketball trivia quiz on your website?


    It’s a fun and free 50 question quiz that consists of historical NBA questions. With the NBA finals underway, I thought that your website visitors may be interested in seeing how much they know about NBA history.

    I created “All The Trivia” about six months ago and have been working on putting together trivia questions on a wide range of topics. A link from your page would really help me get my site off the ground and running.

    Also, given that my site is quite new, if you have any NBA question ideas or topics you think I should create on my site, I would love to hear your feedback!

    Let me know what you think. Thanks!

    1. A clever bot could find broken links and send such emails, so I am 50/50 uncertain whether your comment is spam. Either way, I appreciate the heads up and have corrected the link, so *THANKS*.

      I started the quiz at https://allthetrivia.com/nba-trivia/ but knew I was doing poorly so I gave up. Don't know much of anything about the NBA after the 1980s.


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