My good deed for September

At this week's breakfast with my sister and mom, there were only two moments of annoyance. That's fewer than usual. The rest of the meal, we talked about different things, like I imagine a normal family would. It was nearly the best of these family breakfasts yet.

Sept. 17, 2022

The recurring topic was last week's memorial service for Uncle Kyle, who wasn't really my uncle, but was a family friend forever.

Mom's been pissed off at me because I didn't go to the memorial service, so she started this morning by telling me again that I should've been there. I batted that down: "I don't do things I don't want to do, Mom, not unless it's legally required."

After that, she and my sister talked about the memorial service, and I'm OK with that. Talking about Uncle Kyle is fine; he was a great old guy. It's only attending his memorial service that I've refused. 

In our conversation, I learned that Kyle had been married to his wife for 70 years, and that's a few years longer than I've been alive. And I never knew that they'd eloped in high school. On their way to a class picnic, the day before graduation, they stopped at a Justice of the Peace, then showed up and said, Hey, we're Mr and Mrs now.

I wondered aloud, is that a sweet, romantic story? Or is it just sad? My sister and mom both said it was sweet. I vote for sweet, too, but in ranked choice voting my second pick would be sad. You miss out on something important, seems to me, if in your whole life you've never lived as a single adult for even a day. 

Half an hour of remembering Uncle Kyle over breakfast is the memorial service I'd want, and we had it at breakfast, but at the end Mom had to say like she'd said at the beginning, "I'm so disappointed that you didn't come to the memorial." During a pause while I was choosing my reply carefully, she added, "And that's all I have to say about it."

"That's not all you'll say about it," I said. "I'll bet ten bucks you'll say it again, how disappointed you are in me. So all I'm going to say about it is that it's rude, very rude, and you know it's rude for you to keep saying it."

She smiled her big innocent smile and said, "OK, I won't say it again."

"Ten bucks says you will," I said again. "You've told me at least twenty times — I hope you'll be at the memorial, please come to the memorial, and I'm so sad that you didn't come to the memorial. You called me twice on the phone after the memorial, just to say it again. And at least twice you've already said you won't say it again, but you keep saying it again. Ten bucks, that's my bet."

I said it in a normal tone of voice, but there couldn't be any mistaking that I was furious. But then Katrina, ever the sweetheart and usually, I suspect, slightly stoned for these breakfasts, interrupted and started showing us pictures of her granddaughter. That kid, by the way, is objectively the cutest kid on the planet.

We didn't officially shake on it, but next time Mom tells me how disappointed she is that I didn't go to Uncle Kyle's memorial, I will demand and collect ten dollars from her.

After Mom's eleventh coffee refill, the three of us loitered in front of the restaurant, then said goodbye, and then, walking toward the bus stop, I heard the chirp-chirp sound of the new improved crosswalk at the intersection. I was thinking that the chirp-chirp was too loud, they ought to crank the volume down, and I glanced up at the intersection just as an SUV smacked into the hood of a smaller car that was waiting to turn. Debris landed all over the street, and the SUV swerved into the parking lot at the gas station.

Everybody enjoys someone else's accident, right? So I watched as the occupants of both cars got out, and checked themselves, their passengers, their vehicles. Nobody seemed to be injured, and I figured the drivers would exchange insurance info like civilized people, which is boring so my free entertainment was over.

But then the driver of the SUV started shouting at the other driver, "What are you doing in the middle of the intersection against the light?"

The other driver shouted back, "I had the green light, motherfucker, and you are going to pay for all this!" They started arguing, so the entertainment wasn't over and I lingered a little longer. And you might be thinking this was a testosterone battle, but both drivers were women.

Examining my mental snapshot of the accident, I knew who had the green light, because I'd seen it all happen. Never before have I actually witnessed an accident, meaning, I didn't turn my head when I heard the crash; I was already watching, before during and after the collision.

The SUV had the green light, so I did my good deed for September. Walked over to the SUV, and offered my phone number to the driver if she needed a witness. Seems likely that the car had pulled into the intersection, waiting to turn, and the light changed and she stayed there. And then, boom.

Humans are so weird. Does the other driver really believe she had the green light? Was she shrewdly lying? Most likely, it's both — a lie when she told it, but by the time the wreckage is towed away, she'll believe it.

Fifteen minutes later, at home while I was typing about the wreck, the Sheriff's Department called to ask what I'd witnessed. Usually I don't talk to cops, but I didn't say that, simply said what I'd said above. It was cordial, took only a few minutes, and who's a good citizen? Me!

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

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Boeing documentary shows a company and system primed for disaster 

This one's personal, and it pisses me off. My pop worked for Boeing, my grandmother worked for Boeing, half my family has worked for Boeing over the years, and it was always a shitty company in some ways, but they built airplanes that flew safely. 

Now they cut corners here and there, disregard what the engineers say, management keeps moving headquarters farther and farther from the factories, and Boeing builds booby traps with wings.

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Atlanta hospital closing in the midst of poverty and politics 

Wellstar Health System, which operates 10 hospitals and dozens of other health care facilities across Georgia, announced earlier this month that it will close Atlanta Medical Center on Nov. 1, leaving the city with 460 fewer hospital beds, and only one hospital that can handle the most serious medical emergencies. Since 2018, Georgia has lost at least six hospitals, mostly in rural areas. The state of about 10 million people now has just four medical facilities capable of handling the worst trauma.

Multiply Georgia x 50 + the District of Columbia, because this is happening everywhere in America. Letting health care be turned into profit, letting all these hospitals close is bloody stupid. It's taunting fate.

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Pilots at Alaska-owned Horizon Air win huge pay hikes in new contract 

It's remarkable what a company can suddenly afford to pay, when a good union or tough competition forces it.

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Texas sends another busload of migrants to Kamala Harris’s home 

This is Florida Gov Ron DeSantis's latest publicity stunt, doubtless making him look marvelous to his base, the people who love cruelty. These immigrants were in state custody, couldn't walk away, and DeSantis flies them to various states, where they're released.

To me, this seems suspiciously like kidnapping. 

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Criticism intensifies after big oil admits "gaslighting" public over green aims 

Oh, no — criticism of Shell and Exxon. Wow, that's gotta sting.

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How clever mechanics keep 50-year-old BART trains running: Windows 98, eBay, and scraps 

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signs abortion ban into law 

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The story of the praying high school football coach keeps getting more surreal 

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Breaches of voting machine data raise worries for midterms 

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Border agents are grabbing data from Americans' phones without warrants 

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says his office was informed this summer that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is building a massive database with content seized from Americans’ cellphones at the border. Without warrants, the agency permits thousands of employees to search the database "for any reason," the Oregon senator said.

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Since the 1990s, large numbers of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular."

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Yeshiva University suspends all undergrad campus groups rather than recognize LGBTQ organization as court ordered 

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Dutch town sues Twitter to prevent spread of conspiracy theories claiming it was home to pedophile satanist cult 

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Patagonia founder to give apparel company to trust, direct profits toward climate crisis fight 

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Sacred rats 

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




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The End

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
Diane Noomin
Susan Solomon


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. How can a 90 year old woman, your Mom, drink so much coffee? I'm a third her age and after two cups I'd be in the hospital.

    1. Another mystery is that even with all that coffee, today was the first time she's excused herself to go to the diner's restroom.

  2. Well, I'm worst than you: I didn't go to my mother's memorial service last week, just couldn't be bothered to travel across country to Vermont, but I did Zoom in and it was very nice...Paul M

    1. Sorry about your mom, man. Hug.

      Part of what I hate about funerals and all is the sharing of tears and grief. Screw that. I wouldn't even attend via Zoom, unless my camera was clicked off and covered with tape.


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