"Free to a good home!"

When I worked for the insurance company in Wisconsin, I earned a small pension — nowhere near enough to live on, but it's supposed to pay me a few hundred dollars a month for the rest of my life. Nobody says no to a few hundred dollars, certainly not me.

August 31, 2022

The pension is handled by a giant conglomerate called Principal, and they've tried so hard to make receiving these payments impossible, I began to suspect it was simply a scam.

There was no way to file the forms online, they told me when I called in January. Instead they said they'd mail me the required paperwork, which I'd have to sign and return via snail mail. They never mailed the forms, though.

In April, after moving to Seattle, I called Principal again, and again they told me there was no way to file the forms online. Instead they said they'd mail me the required paperwork, which I'd have to sign and return via snail mail. They never mailed the forms, though.

I called again in July, and again they told me there was no way to file the forms online — and the man at their 'support line' said there was no record that I'd ever called before. He said they'd mail me the required paperwork, which I'd have to sign and return via snail mail. They never mailed the forms, though.

I called Principal yet again yesterday, ready to be pissy about all this, but never got the chance. Instead, through a cosmic twist of fate, I was connected to Principal's only employee who knows anything at all. He said there was no record that I'd ever called before, but he gave me a web address to sign up for my pension online, which took about ten minutes.

Eight months, four calls, and ten minutes, for a few hundred dollars a month.

Coincidentally, Principal also handled my wife's life insurance, and similarly made it extremely difficult to get that payment. Suffice to say, I ain't impressed with Principal.

The house across the street from mine is being remodeled, and I guess they had a few bedroom/ceiling light fixtures they didn't need. Three of them were laid on a clean sheet of plywood beside the sidewalk. The fixtures were in prefect condition, wiring included, and a sign announced, "Free to a good home!"

My home isn't good, but momentarily I thought about taking them as a gift for our landlord. He's the cheapest man in the world, and would undoubtedly keep them and eventually use them. I don't like the bastard, though, so I left the light fixtures where they were.

When I came out the next morning, two of the fixtures had been shattered. When I came home that night, the third was shattered, too.

It's only another installment of the neverending question, Why are people such assholes? 

I mostly buy black underwear, so the skid marks aren't as visible and obvious, but on my older, lighter undies, every pair has a brown line down the middle. It's embedded so deeply, it's still there even fresh from doing the laundry.

Seattle isn't nearly as hot, nearly as often as Wisconsin was, but in Wisconsin my apartment had air conditioning. No a/c here, so my room in the summertime has become a nudist colony for one. And that means, there are skid marks on the recliner, too.


Riding the bus around town, I've gained a new level of respect for what the bus drivers have to put up with — jackass passengers, jackass car drivers, and heavy traffic. Metro drivers, I salute you.

Also, I spotted a disability-bus, like the kind I briefly drove, parked and picking up passengers, with only its lower hazard lights on. Hey, bub, there are two sets of hazard lights, upper and lower, controlled by two separate switches, but drivers are never supposed to have one set flashing and not the other.

Tsk Tsk, I wag my finger at thee. 

Thoughts about my recently-ended bus-driving gig keep trickling into and out of my brain, and virtually all my complaints are about one trainer, Vivian. I have one curiosity about the company itself, though.

The first week of training was all classroom stuff, working from training videos and a thick textbook. We weren't allowed to write in the textbook, because (same as high school) the books would be used by future students. After one week of class, we'd never see the textbook again.

That means the students have nothing to study with, after the first week. OK by me, as I was never much of a studier, but Mitch asked several times for a copy of the textbook. He even volunteered to buy a copy, because he wanted to study it at home.

Mitch had trouble with lots of things while driving, especially railroad crossings, and it might've been very helpful for him to re-read the pertinent pages, but the answer was always no.

What's a logical reason to say no, you can't have a textbook to study, to keep, or to borrow, or even to buy? Why would they not want rookie drivers to be able to look through the textbook, even after their one week of class?

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

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Micky Dolenz sues FBI to get full file on the Monkees 

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In memory of Rosebud, defender of People's Park 

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This is why I love the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Their coverage is very local, and I've only been to Anderson Valley once, have no connections there. And yet I care because the paper's coverage is so damned lively, and it's not mainstream-style impartial. It's fair coverage, but the reporters are allowed/encouraged to become impatient with lies and obfuscation from official sources:

Why are the people in charge so very unwilling to talk about the county budget? 

Apparently [Supervisor Ted] Williams and his current colleagues actually believe that their CEO is unable to produce a simple monthly budget vs. actual report for each department. Various pathetic excuses have been tossed out: they don’t have access, they don’t have software, they need state help, they don’t have timely info, they don’t know who should do it… And therefore they don’t know if they can give employees a raise or absorb other unplanned expenses. 

Come on!

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Head transplants 

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Kanamara Matsuri 

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


copscopscopscopscopscopscops copscopscopscopscops


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Mystery links




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The End

Mikhail Gorbachev
Tim Page
Leon Vitali

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 mostly buy black underwear, so the skid marks aren't as visible and obvious

    Fuck, we can't let the womenfolk in on our secret. Shut up, man! I'm the laundry boy, so she won't see them at that time, but I DO run around the house in undies - she'd see the skid marks if I wore white.

    1. My next big journalistic scoop will be Pert shampoo.

  2. Possible correction: If your landlord pays his lawyers he's the SECOND cheapest man in the world. Just trying to be helpful.


    1. Ha ha, nobody outcheaps The Donald.

      There's probably a clause in the lease that says tenants pay for any lawyers anyway.

  3. Love you and love this blog, but I am glad you won't be driving a bus. A blog about driving buses is not the most fascinating stuff you have written.

    I'll leave this unsigned, but you might know who it is.

    1. Hard disagree. I know he's my friend, and I have a bias. But Doug's fucking magical talent is making the boring-ass, mundane crap, intersting and entertaining.

    2. Have we no imagination? Doug wasn't going to write about driving busses. He was going to write about the eccentric (crazy) people who RIDE the bus. Doug occasionally writes about things, but he usually writes about people. And thanks, Cap, for not calling Doug's writing talent a superpower. If I see that in print (I'm not talking about this blog) one more time I'm likely to commit an obscene act in public.


    3. How would I know which Anonymous you might be, Anonymous? I have no grounds for suspicion, or for knowing anything, which could be my motto.

      I'd prefer that everyone love every paragraph I've ever written, but that'll never happen, so all of it's written only to please an audience of one. You're not the one.

    4. >If I see that in print (I'm not talking about this blog) one more time I'm likely to commit an obscene act in public.

      Well, John, you should do that anyway.

    5. Sorry Cap, the "again" got truncated in edit. Erratum.



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