An optional trip

Went shopping at Fred Meyer (grocery store), first time I'd been there via the bus, and I couldn't believe that there's no walkway from the bus stop and sidewalk to the store. I had to cut through some low bushes and walk between the pumps at the store's gas station, to go shopping.

Cranky Old Fart

Oct. 28, 2022

I'm able-bodied so it's no big deal, but my wife was in a wheelchair, and stuff like this seriously angers me. The ADA exists, damn it.

Soon as I got home, after putting away the groceries, I sent Fred Meyer an angry email. "Dear Fred," it started, and went on for eleven indignant paragraphs.

They answered in less than an hour, while I was writing a rant about this. The store manager explained that the walkway is on the other side of the driveway, which deflated me like a balloon. Pttttth.

Next time I went to the store, sure enough, there was the walkway. It's a little inconvenient to the bus stop, not even visible when you step off the bus, and it's a few hundred footsteps out of the way, so I'll continue cutting through the bushes and gas station, but — the walkway exists, and I'm an idiot.

On another trip to Fred Meyer, I was out of the store and waiting at the stop five minutes before the bus was due, but it never came. My shitty bus only runs twice hourly, so I stood there waiting for 35 damned minutes. The ice cream got soft. Oh, the outrage.

Not really. A late bus is part of riding the bus, and you get used to it. Stick it in the freezer and ice cream gets frozen fine again, but the long wait gave me too much time I didn't want to spend with another man waiting for the bus.

I assume he was homeless — he looked kinda messy, had a beer in his hand. He also had an old-school boombox playing rock'n'roll, but louder, more metallic than what I'd usually listen to. It wasn't awful, though. It was better than talking.

After a few minutes of Judas Priest or whatever, I went to check the bus schedule, conveniently posted on the post of the bus stop sign. 

"When's it coming?" the bum asked me.

"Five minutes ago."

"I've been here twenty minutes already," he said, and I smiled and shook my head.

Done my duty, I thought. It's smart and kind to acknowledge the homeless, so I'd said howdy to him when I got to the bus stop, and now I'd answered his question, so let's shut up and enjoy the music.

After some Megadeath or Motörhead or whatever, he rolled a cigarette, what we old-timers used to call a 'doobie'. It smelled pleasant and matched the music. I didn't say anything because who cares, but he strolled over and offered me a toke.

I shook my head no.

"You don't imbibe?" he asked, shocked, probably because I was wearing my tie-dye jacket, which makes me look like a hippie. 

I do imbibe, but not often, and not with strangers at a bus stop, so I said, "I'm out of work, might have to pee in a bottle sometime soon for a job."

At that he laughed, and began talking like the wind blows. He said he works as a security guard, and gave a thorough overview of beating the urinalysis. It's about carrying clean pee from a friend in a back-pocket baggie, so it's nice and warm when it's needed, he said, but the way he said it was much, much longer, and surprisingly, kind of entertaining.

Our bus wasn't merely late, it was never coming. It would be twenty minutes, maybe longer, before the next bus. Would me and that gainfully employed pot-smoking clean-pee guard be chatting all that time? He seemed nice enough, but I hate being sociable. And when the bus comes, is he gonna sit beside me and keep talking on my ride home?

Serendipity doo-dah, though — just as I was thinking those thoughts, he said, "Fuck it, man." 

I raised my eyes, wondering what.

"I've waited too long for this bus, and it's an optional trip. I'll try again tomorrow."

I shook my head, didn't say anything.

He said, "Thanks for hanging with me, man," and walked off toward the Jack-in-the-Box.

And that was my social interaction for today.

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

Netherlands has deployed NATO's first killer robot ground vehicles 

Georgia man sues Dinesh D'Souza and pals for falsely portraying footage of him using drop box as crime in bullshit 2000 Mules 

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

Climate change isn't 'coming', it's underway. It'll kill billions, and we're not doing squat about it.

All cops are bastards, or they know who the bastard cops are and do nothing about it, which is the same thing.

Republicans are the enemy of common sense, common decency, simple truth, and democracy.

Other links I liked 

Halloween was once so dangerous that some cities considered banning it 

Little girl having a tea party with a lobster and a hawk in 1938 

The Pope does not approve of porn. 

Weird Al 

Inventions from the past 

Vladimir Demikhov

♦ ♦ ♦

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

• "Don't Do Pharmaceuticals" by Luther Wrong and the Rights

• "Pure Imagination" by Willie Wonka

♦ ♦ ♦

The End

Charley Trippi 

Roger Welsch 


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. Jerry Lee Lewis died last night. He was an early and fundamental building block of Rock 'n' Roll, and he lived a life that should have spawned 20 obituaries by now. The Killer was 87, although he was 154 in rock years. He was playin' the piano in his sleep with his seventh wife, Judith when the last curtain went down.

    Literally nobody who ever met Lewis thought he'd make it half this long. If you read, read his bio by Nick Tosches, "Hellfire". It is generally considered the best rock biography ever published. It beats the shit out of any science fiction book because it feels a little like science fiction. But it all happened: The Killer's 13-year-old cousin/wife, the triumphant/cancelled tour of Europe, running away to Bible School, shooting up Graceland, converting to country/western, becoming a Mean Old Man . . . and much, much more.

    It's all true: he was closer to a hurricane than a piano player and he was a hell of a piano player. You could do yourself a favor and read the Tosches book or stall around until the movie comes out. Oh, wait . . .



    1. Oh, man. I haven't started the daily surf yet, so this is the first I'd heard of it. The man could play. And I don't even know anything about Bible school, duns at Graceland, or a country/western era -- really? That's heard to audialize.

      I do vaguely remember being shocked like you're supposed to be about JLL marrying his 13-year-old cousin, but when I saw the movie Great Balls of Fire and she was Winona Ryder, well, all was and still is forgiven.

      Dude made music real good.

    2. There'll be a whole lot of shaking going on in Heaven.

    3. Hey, I'm glad you're here and love your comments, especially when you say nice things about the writing, but no. A piano player has died but there's no heaven to shake.

  2. I have no idea whether this will create a link to the Million Dollar Quartet or just gibberish. The Googs will have their way . . .



  3. Google doesn't make links easy, but it's an unlinked link worth following. Here's the music, which I'll be listening to for the next hour or so. They're so obviously having fun!

    Thanks, John.

    1. Doug, the coolest thing about the Million Dollar Quartet is that it really just happen -- that is, it wasn't a planned publicity gimmick. A couple of the guys showed up to plan recording sessions, a third wandered it, and Sam Phillips called the fourth ( I think it was Carl Perkins) because he had the idea of a Million Dollar Quartet. The meeting at Sun was happenstance and that's what made it so cool. A year or two later the four singer/musicians were gone. The occasion was organic and coincidental.

      We love the things we love for what they are.e


    2. Could something like that happen today -- a spontaneous jam session with a bunch of top-talent, simply because they love what they do, *not* because they've been paid a negotiated price to make music together?

      Probably not. There's no place like Sun Records where they might meet, there's nobody with half the talent of anyone in that room, and their agents and lawyers wouldn't allow it anyway.

    3. I think it happens from time to time and simply isn't captured on video or audio. In music centers like LA, Austin, New York's Hudson Valley, Nashville, London, to name a few, really good musicians have "home studios" that are just about as good as he best studios 60 years ago. In the 80s, which certainly isn't now, the Traveling Wilburys just happened: coincidence, happenstance, etc. My man David Bromberg is always inviting folks over (including Dylan) to just jam. Sometimes it gets recorded, but rarely gets published for the reasons you note. "Stars" who are also killer players, see also (Bromberg, Leo Kottke, Brian May, etc.) love to jam, but hate the hassle of trying to leap the legal hurdles to publish. There are also the studio players who are generally more talented on their instruments than the "stars" who play after hours in these music centers. You can hear them if you know the passwords.

      So you're largely right, but there are exceptions that rarely get press notice.


    4. Brief clarification:

      > A year or two later the four singer/musicians were gone.

      They were gone from Sun Records, not dead. Euphemisms make actual communication tricky.


    5. And for the love of all that is holy, read the Tosches Jerry Lee bio, "Hellfire". Tosches played the typewriter not unlike Jerry Lee played the piano.


    6. Well, I don't think anything is holy so "for all that is holy" isn't enough, sorry. Mr Lewis played a fine piano, but I didn't love him enough to dedicate days to reading about him.

      How is Mr Bromberg your man? Do you know the gent, or are you merely an admirer?

      The biggest impediment to a brilliant jam session these days is the lack of brilliance. Every time I hear present-day pop music I am un-impressed. It's been a decade, maybe longer, since anyone *new* in pop music caught my ear, which is why I don't listen, which is possibly why it's been so long since anything new in pop music has caught my ear, but also it's because it mostly sucks.

      Rock died a slow, lingering death all through my adulthood, but lately it's been cremated.

    7. I appreciate your candor as always. But there's a little switch on your radio that allows you to change from AM to FM. That's job 1. And the Web carries a number of far-away college stations.

      Of course Little Richard and the afore mentioned Warren Zevon and Bob Dylan -- geniuses all -- would puke if they were alive to hear the crap that mainstream pop is trying to sell now. But Bach rocks and being dead for decades hasn't dulled the soaring inspiration of the Brandenburg Concertos. Or Abby Road by that English group, or Demon in Disguise by David Bromberg, who I don't know but do admire. Why does something have to be new to be beautiful?

      Just avoid using the words "hit" and "pop", and there's a world of pleasure waiting to get you high without a trip to the pot shop.

      As usual, Zevon said it better than I could imagine. Just listen, and enjoy every sandwich.


    8. New seems to be the opposite of music. Punching the scan button while driving is all I know about new, because that's what's on the radio. If it's good I can stop scanning, but driving from Wisconsin to Washington it felt like I was always scanning

      Now that I'm car-free, never again. Except for the junk music played by idiots on the buses...

    9. All we hear is radio ga ga

    10. So don't become some background noise
      A backdrop for the girls and boys
      Who just don't know, or just don't care
      And just complain when you're not there

    11. Fuck it. Here are six minutes from a crappy doc about Live Aid featuring Queen. If anybody cares, and I can't imagine who would care about a 1985 Queen performance, the entire 20 minute set is available on YouTube for free. It's known as the best set in the history of rock.

      Yeah, maybe not. I saw Hendrix in Seattle in 1968. As a small part of the show, they played the first side of Are You Experienced note for note just to show there were no studio tricks. I was about 100 feet away, above the stage. I knew the album note for note, and they killed it. They hit every fucking note. That's a set.

      Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, Queen.


      Who knows how these fucking links work?



    12. Yes, that Queen set is classic, classic front man magic. I saw an interview with Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, and, while their music may not be your cup of tea, the way he describes sort of... harnessing or capturing each and every audience member, is fantastic.

    13. Huh, on googling, apparently Bruce Dickinson is a fucking asshole.

    14. As long as I'm flinging music clips, here's Leonard Cohen singing "It Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" from his second album, Songs From a Room. Less than four minutes of your time. I know Dylan's catalog fairly well, and I don't think he ever wrote a song this sad -- or this good.

      The two of them used to get together something like once a year for coffee and talk. They admired each other's talent and blatant lack of commerciality. They talked of many things -- I have little, but I would give much of it to have been present at just one of those appointments -- but always they talked about how long it took them to write a song. Dylan's answer was always 20 minutes for the short ones (Blowin' In the Wind, Oxford Town, etc) and an hour for the long ones (Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Memphis Blues Again, etc). Cohen's songs had always taken years (Hallelujah took ten years [it had 80 verses]), but he always lied and reported creation time in months. They both laughed about it: about each other and about themselves.

      Regarding this particular song, the lyrics were about a woman Cohen knew who committed suicide in her late 20s. Years later, maybe decades later, the woman's nephew, who was about to be born when she killed herself, wrote to Cohen and invited Cohen to publish the letter, which he did. It's a lovely, sad story, and Cohen captured it like an instant camera with a zoom lens.



    15. I almost always prefer a studio recording over a live performance. The sound is never as good, what with echos off stadium walls, and I especially abhor the idiots screaming during the music. This, though, the "Radio Ga Ga" performance you suggested, is pretty damn good.

      Queen and Freddy are also the stars of the only live recording I can think of that's as good as the original, "Bohemian Rhapsody," but on some fairly long YouTube explorations I'm unable to find the recording I saw a few years ago, only crowd-screaming versions.

      I agree with Darryl Hall. Hadn't known that Queen performed in South Africa during apartheid. What assholes. But also, as with the Captain's comment on Bruce Dickinson, everybody's an asshole now and then. I am, you are, Bruce Dickinson is. I can forgive almost anything short of Michael Jackson level buggery of children.

      But shit. Queen performed in South Africa during apartheid? That's disgusting. I would love to see at least an apology.

      Links are easy, but require a smidgen of coding:

    16. Yeah, it's supposed to be that way. But there's always something lost. When I hear a "perfect" song by a group with an upscale label, I know that they're not playing their instruments and singing at the same time, and that there's a reasonable chance that they're not playing their instruments at all. Dylan was a terrific guitarist: the studio guitarists who worked with him were blown away by his technique and music theory knowledge. But he was also trying to remember thirteen verses of a fifteen minute song and trying to hear whether the bass player was playing what he wanted. And while Dylan was famous in his day for recording "all at once" he punched in both vocals and strumming on all of his first eight albums. I stopped listening after that, but I'm sure he and his merry men didn't stop fixing clams when I stopped listening.

      So there might be such a thing as too good. That's odd coming from a Steely Dan fan. Life is complicated. And, unlike a Dylan song, short.


    17. I don't care enough about music to notice, but I've definitely (and often) noticed overwritten writing, words and pages too polished, usually in literary words of art I can't finish reading. So what you say is probably true.

      Give me a middle ground between absolute perfection and don't give a shit. Minor musical mistakes, no problem. Attending a concert, maybe the brain can filter out the crowd noise and hear the music, but I'd never knowing buy a record that includes an audience screaming over the vocal and musical tracks.

  4. This is a reply to the comment of the Captain above. Is there some google software that recognizes his rank and omits the option to reply directly to him? The googs will have their way.

    I've seen a better doc about the 1985 Queen performance, and it turns out that there were several fairly articulate people backstage and in concert management that recognized pretty quickly that there was something unusual going on here. Eighty thousand people jammed into Wembley Stadium watching 40 unpaid groups of entertainers yawn their way through whatever they conceived to be their greatest hits, and Queen manages to finagle the volume 10% higher than anyone else and -- oh, yeah -- they rehearsed. They knew exactly who was there and who was watching around the world and how to draw them in. Having Freddie up front helps a lot and having Brian May behind him going for it with every lick and not missing one elevates the performance to historical proportions. Their material was pretty good, but they outplayed it.


    1. ibid.

      I googled Bruce Dickinson, a name with which I was unfamiliar, and it turns out he's a whopping asshole. I don't know where to start, and I don't care enough to start at all.

      Maybe in his youth he could draw the audience in -- I trust your assessment on that, Cap. But in his dotage he couldn't draw ants -- or aunts -- with sugar.


    2. That concert was on free TV worldwide, wasn't it? And only Queen was smart enough to not yawn through a stale performance with a billion people watching…

      When I was young and naïve, I though Google was fairly high-tech amazing, but then I launched this blog on their software. So far as I can figgur, the only way to reply directly under someone else's comment is to reply before anyone else says anything. Which is just dumb.

    3. Guys, I put my pants on just like the rest of you, one leg at a time, except once my pants are on, I make gold records.

    4. Bruce, I'm an old man, and I still put my pants on like a fireman: both legs at a time. Yeah, it requires a running start, but when you make it the rest of the day is made in the shade. When you don't -- well, thank the Democrats for Medicare.

      Oh, and I can't sing either.


    5. >Guys, I put my pants on just like the rest of you, one leg at a time, except once my pants are on, I make gold records.

      Not anymore, you don't.

    6. LOL, I know this guy is taking the piss, but I looked, and the last USA gold record for Iron maiden was in 1990

    7. I though everyone would recognize Bruce Dickinson's line from the cowbell sketch.

    8. I'm not a metalhead, so I barely know one metal band from another, but I thought the Cowbell Sketch was about Blue Oyster Cult (insert umlauts where desired), an American band, not Iron Maiden (IUWD), an English band. If Bruce is mentioned by name in the sketch, I've forgotten (it's been a while).

      In either case, Mr D has become a social, religious and cultural critic. A vapid one by all accounts, but a critic nonetheless. I always thought the social bargain was that playing (or singing) long term in an Umlaut Band disqualified you from spouting any kind of commentary when you reached elder status. I might have that bargain wrong, but I notice that the three best singer/songwriters of my generation, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, all failed to go on tour (like Bruce has) dispensing social commentary as if they know the secret to living and dying. All three kept touring into old age, but commented on philosophical matters only in their lyrics. Bruce wrote almost none of Iron Maiden's songs, but he STILL has a hard time passing as an intellectual observer, pants or no pants.


    9. Bruce Dickinson is the name of the hot-shot record producer in the "more cowbell" sketch, played by Chris Walken. If I remember the story right (always dicey) Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden said he was offended, and the answer back was that it was just a coincidence. They'd made up the name Bruce Dickinson from thin air, because by 2000 when they did it, nobody on SNL had ever heard of him.

      I assume the real Bruce Dickinson has become a loony right-wing loudmouth (repeating myself twice)?

      I think Dylan and Simon have made occasional political statements and endorsements. Or maybe I'm full of crap.

    10. I imagine there are loudmouth butt-heads on the left, but no names come to mind.

      Dylan endorsed Obama because he wanted "change," which struck me as funny then and still does.

  5. >They'd made up the name Bruce Dickinson from thin air, because by 2000 when they did it, nobody on SNL had ever heard of him.

    I find this hard to believe, but not impossible.

    >I assume the real Bruce Dickinson has become a loony right-wing loudmouth (repeating myself twice)?

    Maybe, but actually he just seems like an asshole, of unknown politics. Though I admit, it's been a few days, and I don't remember if politics were mentioned. He yells at pot smokers in his crowds. At a damn metal show.

    1. Well, he can't yell at me cuz I wouldn't go to the show.


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