Old Asian ladies

A few stories have been told about zombies and smelly folk riding the buses, but don't get the wrong idea. On most of my many bus rides, everyone else is deep into their cell phones, or looking out the window, or enjoying a bumpy nap. Nothing much happens.

Sept. 22, 2022

Nothing much happened today, and I'm going to tell you all about it. 

The #60 bus passes through a park & ride station, both northbound and south, and leaving the park & ride it comes to the same corner, Myers @ Olson. Then the northbound #60 goes downhill straight ahead, and the southbound #60 turns left and climbs the hill.

I was riding a northbound #60, but when we came out of the park & ride, the driver steered the bus into the left lane. He'd have to turn left, which is south, which is wrong.

"Hey, no, we're going to Capitol Hill!" I shouted, cranky, maybe too cranky. I was headed for hamburgers, and already hungry. 

"Ah, shit," the driver said. Then he was quiet for a moment, figuring out what to do. If he turned left, there'd be no side streets big enough for the bus until the top of the hill, and with traffic it might take five minutes before he could get the bus back to on the right route. "Fuck it," he said, "Everybody hang on."

He waited for traffic to clear on the right, which invited the car behind us to honk and honk, but screw that guy. We slowly went to the right, and very, very slowly each of the three axles climbed up and fell over a mini-curb that separates the left-turn lane from the rest of the roadway. Bumpity, bumpity, bumpity for twenty seconds, and then we were headed in the direction we were supposed to be headed.

"Sorry for the bumps, people," the driver explained as we rolled along. "It's my fourth trip on this route today, and I zoned out, thought we were going up the hill and south, instead of down the hill and north."

All three passengers nodded or chuckled and seemed to understand. Just get me to my hamburgers before the long line of the lunch rush, please.

At the bus stop atop the Beacon Hill subway station, almost always some old Asian ladies get on, with grocery bags or baskets. There's a grocery store at that corner, and I guess they sell bok choy. This morning, seven old Asian ladies got on there, all chattering in Chinese on top of each other.

Four of them talked constantly, two occasionally, and one of them stared out the window and said hardly anything. A silent salute for that last lady, of course. We're from different worlds, speak different languages, but I sure know that feeling, just wanting to look out the window, not talk.

I grew up here in Seattle, lived some years in San Francisco, and in both places there's a large Asian population, so I've seen this phenomenon — old Asian ladies go shopping together — all my life. The mystery is, you never see any younger Asian ladies among them, so how do the gangs of old Asian ladies shopping together replenish their ranks?

All seven of the old Asian ladies got off at the same stop, 9th @ Jefferson, with their bags and baskets of groceries, mostly vegetables. I don't know what's for dinner, but my guess is — Chinese food.

The whole purpose of my journey was lunch at Dick's on Broadway, and as I'd hoped, the bus got me there before the lunch crowd arrived.

With no line, I walked up to one of the windows and ordered, and then noticed that the guy ordering at the next window was wearing a tie-dye jacket, like mine. Once or twice a month someone says to me, "Nice jacket, man," so that's what I said to him, "Nice jacket, man."

He said thanks, and we traded thumbs up. Hippies forever, dude.

As for my two Deluxe and two fries, it's Dick's, man. The burgers were messy, the fries greasy and soggy, and every bite was exquisite. Wish I could afford to eat Dick's more often.

Nothing whets my appetite more than eating, so I wanted dessert, and walked into a bakery, took a sniff around. It smelled heavenly, but they wanted $2.75 each, for donuts. That's the most expensive donut in the history of me.

Eight months ago, living in Madison, donuts were 79¢, and if you bought twelve, the 13th was free. Sometimes I've had 13 donuts for dessert, but not today.

Everything is more expensive in Seattle, and with "supply chain issues" and corporate grandslamming, everything is always more expensive than yesterday. All prices shock me, but I usually don't mention it here, because it sucks but it's boring. 

Today it must be said, though, and like an ass I said it out loud as I left the bakery without buying anything: "There has never been, will never be, a donut worth two dollars and seventy-five cents."

Waiting without donuts at the bus stop in front of the Broadway train station, I was told something I already knew. "Sound Transit does not tolerate harassment. Please report any harassment to security or transit employees.:

It's a recorded announcement, read by a computerized voice over the public address every five minutes. Also, it says "Please report anything suspicious to transit employees," every five minutes, a few minutes after the line about harassment.

These announcements are so loud, they're annoying even outside the stations. Does repeating the message every five minutes make a perceptible impact on the rate of harassment or subway bombings or whatever "suspicious" is supposed to imply? Doubtful.

Betcha lunch at Dick's that anyone who encounters harassment or wants to report something "suspicious" on the subway has a hard time even finding an employee.

And I'll wager a dozen douts that if an employee can be found, their response will be the same "Huh?" runaround that you'd get for trying to complain about anything at a public park, at a ball game, or in any other crowded public space.

This morning's driver, intentionally bringing the bus over the lane dividers, gave us almost the ultimate curbing of the bus, but it wasn't the only curbing. Golly, no. There was another, more normal curbing on my way to Dick's, and on the ride back, three.

There's a 20% chance of curbing the bus at any 45-degree turn, especially where there's only one lane. At the very sharp turn from Swift Avenue to Albro Place, it's a surprise when the bus doesn't go up and over the curb.

Vivian would have a nervous breakdown, but it's not a big deal, the drivers don't seem embarrassed, nobody files an incident report, and a road-supervisor isn't hailed from Dispatch.

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

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She said yes! PIX11 reporter gets surprise proposal on LIVE TV 

If I was in charge, news would be serious business, and this reporter would be fired, along with everyone behind the scenes who had a hand in allowing the proposal on the air. 

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Dilbert, Bizarro, Mutts axed from comics syndication 

I liked those comics, back when I read newspapers on paper, but newspapers on paper are very 20th century. The times, they are a-changing. Kinda surprising that such cuts haven't come already.

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An "unprecedented flood" of book bans engulfs U.S. school districts, PEN report says 

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The little-known story of the women who stood up to General Motors and demanded equal pay 

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"Whip Inflation Now"
When we tried cheerleading against inflation 

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How nomads shaped centuries of civilization 

I have heard similar stories from Bedouins and Berbers in North Africa and the Middle East, where I have spent much of my adult life; from Tuareg and Wodaabe beyond the mud houses and libraries of Timbuktu; from swift young Maasai, flashes of orange across the red East African bush; from nomads on the edge of the Thar Desert in India, on boats in the Andaman Sea, in the uplands of Kyrgyzstan and elsewhere in Asia. With all of them, conversation tends to settle on the same issue—of continuity, of pride in belonging, of being in harmony with their surroundings and respecting what nature offers. Also, of the difficulties of living a nomadic life when governments want you to settle.

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Chess champ walks from match against alleged anal-beads cheating player 

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What New York AG Leticia James seeks from Trump civil suit 

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DC Court says Congress doesn't need to release full CIA torture report 

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Major League Baseball made a pitch, but Seattle seafood spot Ray’s stays hooked on its web address 

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When atomic tests were a tourist attraction in Las Vegas, 1950s 

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Gropecunt Lane 

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Butt Hole Road 

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




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The End
Rommy Hunt Revson
Earl Silbert
Alain Tanner

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. As someone who has defended NPR content and presentation on this site, I should say that the above article on international online chess chess cheating and Magnus Carlsen's recent walkout of a tournament game after the first move was badly written. The piece didn't explain how online chess cheating works, nor how it is detected. It would have taken less than two minutes to explain how chess cheating works, and, while two minutes is a long time on the radio, it's NPR for fucks sakes. Sell some more tote bags if necessary, but don't broadcast/publish a story on chess cheating without explaining what chess cheating is.

    I follow international chess competition a little, and my sense is that GM Magnus Carlsen has been a high-integrity four time World Champion and that GM Maurice Ashley is a well-respected high level chess commentator and interviewer. There are some very eccentric people in the world of chess, and and GM Carlsen and GM Ashley are among the most normal.


    1. My assumption is that online cheating involves using a computer to pick or advise your moves. How anyone would detect that, though, I can't guess.

      Have you played in tournaments, or RU just a fan? I played chess competitively, badly and briefly, some decades ago, but don't follow the game at all any more. All the names in this scandal were new to me, but naturally, they had me at anal beads.

    2. Starting in around 2000, Deep Blue and other chess programs started beating human players. Between 2000 and 2015, there was a dramatic increase in computer speeds (usually measured in millions of instructions per second [MIPS]). This enabled chess engines (as chess software is now called) to use brute force to play the best game possible.

      Brute force simply means that a chess engine will play every possible iteration of a game out until the end before deciding which move to make next. It's more complicated than that, but in general A CHESS ENGINE DOESN'T CARE WHO THE OPPONENT IS. A human will play to an opponent's known weaknesses; a chess engine will play a series of the best moves statistically most likely to win the game. Because of this difference in strategies, a chess engine will leave "fingerprints" of occasionally aberrational moves and groups of moves that a human would be statistically unlikely to make. Again, I'm oversimplifying but the point is that it is theoretically possible to spot a human who is using a chess engine to play against another human. This can only happen online for obviously logistical reasons.

      In this case, the American challenger was caught using a chess engine while playing in an online tournament. But he wasn't caught using a chess engine to play in THIS online tournament, because it takes a while to analyze moves, and you can't do it in one move anyway. GM Carlsen was simply dealing out frontier justice because this guy had cheated before. The question is whether that's GM Carlsen's job.

      I'm sure this is all explained more clearly elsewhen on the Web somewhere, but that's the best I can do. I think GM Carlsen should have either played a whole game or refused to play. Quitting after the first move is a little chickenshit and Magnus has more class than that. He will likely come to regret doing that.

      Nope, I was never good enough to play in tournaments. I taught some of the neighborhood kids how to play, and a few of them got pretty good, but I never did.

      A cousin of mine (a generation older than me) was Pierce County chess champion a couple of years in the 1950s. I never played against him. When I was manager of a group of 20 computer engineers at a northwest investment management company, one of my guys had finished 7th in the British Columbia Chess Championship about 20 years before he came to work for us. I played him at a special offsite event with my whole team watching and he mopped the board with me. I resigned on move 22 or 23.


    3. And I never figured out where the anal beads fit in, so to speak.


    4. That's the best explanation of it all that I've seen.

      > GM Carlsen was simply dealing out frontier justice because this guy had cheated before.

      To the point, this guy is at least *suspected* of cheating against Carlsen before, and recently.

      I'd hold a grudge too.

      You might be right that walking out after one move was chickenshit, but chickenshit can be fun, and I like this particular chickenshit strategy because it got more attention than simply refusing to play would've gotten. Sometimes being obnoxious is the way to go, and even when it's not... it's a habit.

      As I understand it from some earlier coverage that was written obliquely for a family newspaper, cheater Hans Niemann is alleged to have had vibrating anal beads up his butt, which quivered via remote control as someone else fed him chess advice from a computer.

    5. Well, everybody has his own idea of a good time.


    6. Magnus Carlsen has now spoken his mind, and quite well, in my first reading.

      I'm unsure what he means at the end, when he says he's limited in what he can say without the cheater's permission. Maybe there's some rule against badmouthing other players?

      Chess be wacky.

    7. Thanks for the link. That sounds like the Magnus I've been following for the last 15 years. I have no idea why he can't or won't say more, but clearly he was told something in confidence, and Magnus would respect a confidence. Some of the World Chess Champions (a title not universally recognized until 2006 but informally used since the mid-19th century) have included some, um, eccentric men (yup, all men). Magnus and the two previous World Champions have been sane, sober, serious people with a sense of humor. They have represented chess well during a time of political and technological upheaval. The next champ will be Chinese or Russian (OK, Russianish). So we'll see . . .


    8. My main interest is in knowing the details of the cheating, and whether vibrating anal beads were involved.

      I'm so quaint and old, I didn't know vibrating was an option in anal beads.

    9. Well I'm quainter and older and I was unaware of the existence of anal beads, vibrating or not. Obviously I chose the wrong women for date night.


  2. You have two stories about naming things: One about the Tampa Bay Rays, which is trying to get Ray's Boathouse's Website name to use for their team site, and a lane in England that wants its name changed because it embarrasses them.

    I suggest that the problems be combined. Let Ray's Boathouse keep their Web name, and rename the Tampa Bay team after two Republican leaders from the Citrus State, so you'd have a website available for the Tampa Bay Gropecunts to honor Florida Representative Matt Gaetz and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is a cunt - at least in the British usage. Everybody wins.


    1. That was a complicated joke, but it worked for me, and I laughed out loud for about ten seconds.

      I've been somewhat sleep deprived lately, though, and that might be a factor. :)

    2. I understand that anal beads will send you right off to slumberland, but I might have misread the instructions.


    3. Are they rosary beads, I wonder?


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