Nod and say nothing.

At Fred Meyer for overpriced bread and Buddig, I almost literally bumped into my talkative flatmate Dean. He's hard to miss — always overdressed, with a silk shirt, usually a tie and a 1950s-style gentleman's hat.

August 14, 2022

Of course, he wanted to talk. He always wants to talk, so he said hello amidst the mayonnaise and mustard, and started talkity-talk-talking.

Ah, jeez.

I was in no mood for a surprise one-way conversation from Dean, and certainly not at the grocery store. I smiled and nodded but said nothing, just kept walking, same as I usually do when he wants to talkity-talk-talk at me in the kitchen at home.

Onward to the cash register, where again as always I asked for a loyalty card application. I'll never fill one out, but asking for a card gets the prices discounted to merely high instead of ridiculously high.

Then I drove home, and felt something unfamiliar as I turned my key, walked into the house.

You know that nagging feeling, when something is wrong but you're not sure what? This was the opposite of that. Something was right, but what? For a moment I didn't understand, until I walked into the kitchen, set down my groceries, and — there was no apprehension, no need to rush.

Dean wasn't home. And I knew it. Which means, just this once, there was no chance he'd emerge from his room to tell stories about his long and illustrious career as a chef in four-star restaurants

It was such a splendid moment that I had to pause, and simply stand in front of the sink for a few minutes, looking out the kitchen window and feeling fine.

You know, two other men live in this house, and neither of them ever bother me with stupid conversation about stupid things. I even kinda like one of them, Robert. We usually nod and say nothing, but sometimes we talk about the weather, the Mariners — and then we say toodles, and he never keeps talking to stop me from walking away.

Just now, Robert and I had the perfect flatmates' conversation. I'd pooped and flushed and even washed my hands, and then I emerged from the bathroom and found him sitting in the kitchen chair, where you wait for your tun in the bathroom.

"Sorry to keep you waiting," said I.

"Not a problem," said he, and then I turned and walked into my room, with nary another word between us.

That's what life in a shared house is supposed to be like. It's not supposed to always be talkity-talk-talk, like it is with Dean.

With neither air conditioning nor screens on the windows, this house has always had flies circling in every room, all spring and summer, maybe in winter too. Last week, the landlord actually spent some money on the house — first instance in recorded history, says Robert — and installed cheap but workable screens on the kitchen window.

Now the flies can't get in via those windows, but they can still get in via the bedroom, living room, and laundry room windows, and via the doors, which are often propped open for a breeze. All the incoming flies are still drawn to the kitchen by its smells and grease and garbage, but now they can't get out, so they circle in the air and die on the floor pr on the stove top.

There are 37 fly corpses are on the kitchen floor at the moment. Been there for days, because none of us care enough to sweep them away. There are also several in the bathroom and hallway. 

My room always has at least half a dozen flies flying around, and my plan was to put up with it because who cares. But one of them flew into my mouth this morning as I was yawning, so I've mail-ordered the same brand of screens for both my windows, too.

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

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Historians privately warn Biden that America's democracy is teetering 

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Nursing homes sue residents’ friends, family to collect unpaid debt 

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Walgreens played 'substantial' role in San Francisco opioid crisis, judge finds 

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Vos fires Gableman, ending scandal-plagued 2020 election investigation in Wisconsin 

After spending more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars to investigate election conspiracy theories over the last 14 months, threatening to jail the mayors of Madison and Green Bay for refusing to comply with his order that they give secret testimony, and being held in contempt by Wisconsin courts for failing to produce public records related to the investigation, Gableman had, according to one of the judges who sanctioned him, found no evidence of fraud.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Howard Carter stole Tutankhamun’s treasure, new evidence suggests 

Of course he stole it. Did anyone think he owned that stuff? How is this even news? 

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Miniature micro-cars can serve a niche in cities. 

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Swarms of mini robots could dig the tunnels of the future 

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Life on the Internet is a 1996 TV documentary from PBS, all about the marvels of the internet. By now the show is a quaint antique, but enjoyable, and only slightly marred by the annoying narration of NPR's Scott Simon.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Climate activists fill golf holes with cement after water ban exemption 

Oh, yeah, baby. Excellent.

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In rare move, school librarian fights back in court against conservative activists 

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'Taste of his own medicine': Plane flies "Ha Ha Ha" banner over Trump's Mar-a-Lago home 

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List of people who have been considered deities 

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List of sexually active popes

♦ ♦ ♦ 

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

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The End
Raymond Briggs
Paul Coker
Anne Heche
Dee Hock
David McCullough
Roger Mosley
Leon Rosenberg

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. That's the Burmese tropical rainforest, isn't it?

    1. I always needed GPS, even before it was invented, to know where I was and where I was going.

    2. David McCollough died and I can’t spell his name nor copy/paste it, but part of America died with him. I guess I’ve read a half dozen of his books and every one was a pleasure.

      He was a national treasure.


    3. As a man of less education and class than you, my McCullough experience is nearly nil. I wrote a book report on The Great Bridge in high school, but it was all cheating. I don't think I even checked the book out of the library, just skimmed it and CliffsNotesed it.

      It *was* a rave review, though.

      Also, I watched John Adams on DVD, and The Johnstown Flood has been on my library list for a long time.

    4. He has a reputation that is way more highbrow than his writing style because he doesn’t get his facts wrong. Throughout a long writing career he has managed to identify the people and events that have helped build the American dream while acknowledging the nightmare. He made history as much fun as Justified. I read his books for pleasure — not because they were good for me.


    5. Not getting the facts wrong -- that's more than I expect from journalists, let alone historians.

      Biographies usually don't do it for me, and I recently saw a movie on the Johnstown flood, so I think I'll check out The Great Bridge...

    6. If you want to start with video Ken Burns’ “The Brooklyn Bridge” uses David’s book as an outline and interviews him on-camera.


    7. I assume I have more education because I have a genuine Washington State Certificate of Completion of two years of vocational training. Technically I don’t actually HAVE it, having lost it in a poker game some years ago, back in the days when I was not unwilling to take a drink.


    8. Man, I came home in a crappy mood after a rough day at work, and you immediately made me laugh. :)

    9. Oh, my. I didn't know that Ken Burns and David McCullough had worked together.

      I've never found the appeal of Ken Burns, but it must be around here somewhere. Probably it's on me more than him, but Mr Burns' reputation, and to a lesser extent, his work, just makes me squint.

  2. Apropos of nothing, I just finished reading "The Kitchen Readings" by Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis. It's a book full of stories about Dr. Hunter S. Thompson by two guys who knew him for much of his and their adult lives.

    I happen to be a sort of a fan of Dr. Thompson's writing. Some of it is terrific and much of it is crap, but most of it is interesting. I am forever linked with the Good Doctor: he killed himself on my 55th birthday. I was, more or less as usual, working in my office on that Sunday in 2005 when the flash came over the WWW.

    Not that many people have George McGovern and John Kerry speak at their memorial service; for that matter, not that many people have a four million dollar memorial service.

    But I was more connected with the Doc in life than in death. He got my attention when I was a young man and managed to keep it for most of our lives. As I said, he wrote some crap (see also, The Curse of Lono) but he was a stalwart supporter of freedom and equality in America, and I strongly suspect that many of us are better off for his having walked and staggered the Earth.

    Yeah, it's me trying to turn you on to another book. Gonzo journalism is dead or dying, but Doc in some ways lives on.



    1. All beautiful, man, but I especially like "walked and staggered."

      I've read a collection of Dr Thompson's columns and Fear and Loathing, of course, and I've seen some of his seminal Nash Bridges, but (perhaps like Thompson himself?) most of the specifics elude me. Thompson is akin to Herb Caen in my rankings -- a simply brilliant writer, but what I remember is the vibe more than anything specific.


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