Hundreds, maybe thousands of ants

August 1, 2022

The smoke alarm sounded while I was in the shower. It was still sounding thirty seconds later, and I don't want to be steamed to death naked in the bathtub, so I quickly rinsed the soap out of my ears and arm pits, dried off, and emerged into a smoky kitchen, where Dean was taking a blackened frozen pizza from the oven.

"Sorry," he said. "I forgot to set the timer, and I got lost in the book I'm reading." He then started telling me about the book he's reading, but I interrupted, asked him not to burn the house down please, and went into my room to get lost in the book I'm reading.

My flatmate Dean is a professional chef, he says, with forty years experience in four-star kitchens, who can't cook a damned frozen pizza without charring it and setting off the smoke detector.

Riding the #C bus, our driver was a middle-aged black woman with lovely cornrows, and she wouldn't shut up. She gave us a play-by-play of driving the bus.

When a man at the next bus stop waved to make sure she saw him, she said, "Yup, I see you," as she pulled the bus to the curb.

Southbound on California Avenue, she said, "We're about to turn right on Fauntleroy Way," but nobody had asked. She's one of those people who think out loud, so I faded into myself and wasn't really listening.

Vaguely I was aware that she was talking about the bus windows. You can open a vent at the top of any window, but she was announcing that you shouldn't, "because it's a hot day (95°) and the bus's air conditioning is on, and you know, air conditioning works a whole lot better with the windows closed, or else you're letting all the hot air from outside inside…"

She continued saying something every block or so, and it was amusing, but I wasn't taking notes because I had important stuff to watch out the window — a pretty woman on the sidewalk, a cop harassing a homeless kid, a dog pooping directly in front of a big blue mailbox — and then I heard the driver say, "…And I like your tie-dyed jacket."

Oh, she's talking to me? There aren't many tie-dyed jackets being worn in July. "Uh, thank you," I said.

"And is the a/c doing OK?" she asked, looking directly at me in the rear-view mirror. "You comfortable back there?"

"Well, the sun's hitting me on this side of the bus, but I'm wearing my hoodie, all zipped up, and still perfectly comfortable, so yeah, the a/c is working just fine."

"That's good to know, thanks," she said, and I decided I liked her. She talks too much, but at least she's nice about it, and says things that make sense.

Then she was quiet for a block, until someone she knew stepped onto the bus and sat toward the front, and they started talking about the green beans she'd given the driver. They're old pals, I reckon. The driver said how she'd cooked the beans in oil and served them with onions and almonds, and dang, that sounded good.

When I stepped off the bus a mile later they were still talking, but about grandchildren, not about beans.

Had another of those super-slow bus drivers yesterday, fearful of the gas pedal. We were perhaps reaching peak speeds of 12 miles per hour on Delridge Way, where the speed limit is 30.

It was like the story of the little train that could — "I think I can, I think I can…" except we weren't going uphill, we were going downhill… very… slowly.

I knew the house had ants.

You see 'em in the bathroom, in ones and twos, scouting but never finding much of interest.

You see 'em in the kitchen, crawling on the counter if someone's spilled something, and not cleaned it well enough.

And they're in my room, I knew, because I'd often see an ant or two or three crawling across junk mail or an old newspaper on the floor, but the carpet is dark so the ants are mostly invisible.

With the recent heatwave in my part of the country, I've been consuming more ice cream, allowing myself two pints daily, plus popsicles galore. It should've been no surprise, but it was, when lots and lots of ants were climbing up and into the trash, toward all those empty (but not empty enough, I guess) wrappers and containers.

After reading lots of good reviews on Amazon, I went to McLendon Hardware and bought two six-packs of Terro Liquid Ant Baits. Three hours later, a few ants were sashaying toward the bait. Eight hours later, it's like Christ feeding borax to the multitudes. So many ants! By the time I'm home from work, I'm hoping this room will have hundreds, maybe thousands of ant corpses instead of hundreds, maybe thousands of ants.

Yeah, work. My new job starts today, but hold your condolences. I once quit a job on my first day, just because the boss was a moron, so it's not a career yet. I'll keep you posted, since you're the closest thing I have to friends.

I'm still going to try for two posts daily on this website, but posting will be in the wee hours of the morning, instead of midday. If work leaves me too tuckered some days, there might be only a Pathetic Life post — they're easy, since I did all the work of writing them in the 1990s. Sadly for me but maybe not for you, there will be fewer movie reviews, since I'll no longer be able to watch movies all morning and afternoon and any time a movie mood strikes.

These last few months have been grand — exploring Seattle via its buses and libraries and bums and coffee shops, eating too many diner breakfasts, but other than that just leaning into my recliner.

Those good times are over now. I'll be at the bus barn at 8:00 this morning, and since I can't afford to retire, I'll probably be there at 8:00 tomorrow, and every morning.

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

♦ ♦ ♦  

Christian university sues Washington, saying probe into anti-LGBTQ+ policies violates religious freedom 

It's Seattle Pacific University, run by the Free Methodist Church, trying to defend their 'right' to discriminate in hiring.

Of course, I'm not a Christian so I'm not a Free Methodist, but that's the church I was raised in, and I've always held the FM church in relatively high regard. It saddens me to see the church that was on the right side of the Civil War — that's where the 'free' part of the name comes from — now being so insistently on the wrong side of ordinary human rights.

This is Southern Baptist level stuff. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Tom Robbins' graduation speech 

"Growing up is a trap.

"As for responsibility, I am forced to ask, responsibility to what? To our fellow man? Two weeks ago, the newspapers reported that a federal court had ruled that when a person’s brain stops functioning, that person is legally dead, even though his or her heart may continue to beat. That means that 80% of the population of the Earth is legally dead. Must we be responsible to corpses?

"No, you have no responsibility except to be yourself to the fullest limit of yourself. And to find out who you are."

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Tiny turtle pooped "pure plastic" for six days after rescue from Sydney beach 

♦ ♦ ♦   

Alabama prisons say reporter’s skirt too short to witness execution 

♦ ♦ ♦   

The steal that didn't get stopped
a/k/a The life and times of Roger Stone

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Crook takes over as Police Chief

Ukiah Police Captain Cedric Crook was appointed Wednesday afternoon as acting chief of the city's police department, according to Shannon Riley, the deputy city manager.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

List of inventors killed by their own invention 

♦ ♦ ♦   

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

♦ ♦ ♦

The End
Aaron Latham
Burt Metcalfe
Phyo Zeya Thaw
Kyaw Min Yu

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 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. I know you're too dang lazy, but here's my FRESH green bean recipe :

    Pre-heat oven to 425

    Fresh green beans - cut off the stem part, and break the beans (if desired) into 2-inch pieces.

    I use 300 grams, which is a lot of beans. Toss them in a tablespoon or so of ollive oil, with salt and pepper to taste. I use a sealed tupperware and kinda shake them violently, to make sure they are covered.

    Dump 'em in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet / roasting pan / whatever.

    Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on them now, not earlier - if you toss them with the seeds, you will lose the seeds, they won't stick well.

    When oven ready, cook for 35 minutes or so if it's an empty oven. I do 38 minutes, because I like them a little burnt, but only a little. If I am cooking them with a couple of chicken thighs, I give the beans 47 or so minutes.

    1. Sounds absolutely lovely, man.

      I have bought fresh beans at the bodega, but I just eat them raw. There's no such thing as too dang lazy.

  2. Terro ant baits are good. I use "Maggie's Farm" baits, some hippie shit. It works, though. Leave the bait amonst the ants, come back to a tray filled with ants, come back again and they are gone and the liquid inside is gone as well. Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant etc to the Pink Panther tune.

    1. Now that Dylan has sold his catalog you don’t have to send him a kickback. He’s 82 but he says he’s 54.


  3. Yup, I can relate: started putting out years old ant poison the last couple days and then today bought a hippie-dippie version of friendly killer goo, so we'll see...(PM)

    1. If it's borax, I'll bet it works. My place is close to ant-free now.


🚨🚨 BY THE WAY... 🚨🚨
The site's software sometimes swallows comments. If it eats yours, send an email and I'll get it posted.