Sidewalk closed

A woman was walking toward me, middle-aged or older, graying hair, and a grumpy face. She reminded me of my study hall 'teacher' in high school, who wore a scowl perpetually. This was a woman not to be trifled with, and I didn't want detention again, so I smiled at her, though we were at a transit center so I was wearing a mask. Maybe she'd see the smile in my eyes.

Cranky Old Fart

Oct. 25, 2022

She smiled back at me as she walked past, and became (seriously) one of the most beautiful older women I've ever seen. And I swear, she lost thirty pounds.

No, I'm not saying women should always be smiling. It's creepy when they do, actually. I'm just saying that smiling makes almost anyone look better.

Not me, though. Like Mom so thoughtfully tells me all the time, my teeth are all chipped, crooked, stained, or missing, and I need thousands of dollars in dental work. I look better frowning.

Waiting at the Transit Center for my bus, and the schedule on the wall promised a long wait. It seemed safe, so I sat myself on a bench, unzipped my go-anywhere bag, and pulled out a book to read.

Too soon, an interruption. "Whatcha reading?"

I glanced at the man who'd spoken. He was middle-aged, unshaved and disheveled. Homeless, probably. "A book," I said.

"Yeah, I can see that," he said. "What's the book?"

I flashed him the cover, and he read it and said it: "Ten Days in a Mad-House. Ha! Try 44 years."

"I hear you, bro," I said, and went back to the book, but only for a page or two. Ranting was coming loud and furious from behind me, so walking a few steps away seemed wiser. Book in the bag, zipped up, I relocated to a wall and leaned, looked.

It wasn't the same bum I'd shown my book to. This was someone older, uglier, angrier, and with fewer teeth. "What happened on December 7 was nothing!" was his headline, and the gist of his rant was that there'd be hell to pay.

Whether he talking about Pearl Harbor or a fist fight on some 12/7 wasn't clear, and I wasn't interested anyway.

The saner homeless guy, the one I'd shown my book to, came over and leaned on the wall a few feet from me. We didn't say anything more, but we were both glad we had each other, I think.

My credit union is at a busy corner where a busy street crosses another busy street. Directly in front of the credit union, the sidewalk has been torn up for months — dirt, rocks, and a few pipes protruding from the ground, with "Sidewalk closed" signs at each end of the rubble.

And it's unchanged since at least July, when I opened my account at the credit union. They're not even working on it.

On sunny days I walk carefully over the rubble. On wet days I walk around the building instead of directly to the front door.

I don't know what's up or why that block doesn't deserve a sidewalk, but this I know: The city and county would never leave even the tiniest street completely torn up and unusable, closed, for months.

Pedestrians, bikes, and wheelchairs are an afterthought to the urban planners, or whoever allows this. Or we're something not thought of at all. It's only cars that matter, and that's ridiculous. Cars are awful things that spew toxins and run people over.  

People ought to be able to walk on sidewalks.

I tried to find a place to complain about this online, but this is the only place. The city and county websites are both confusing, and anyway, get real, it wouldn't accomplish anything. The sidewalks they ripped up months ago will be rebuilt months from now, and until then, tough.

One last complaint for today, I promise, and then the news.

This site is built on Blogger, software from Google. It's always hinky, but now it's not letting me post comments. Seems to be a Firefox thing, as it still works in Chrome, but there are other issues, always. It hasn't let me log in for months, and for even longer, random comments have disappeared.

Google lets this software be so buggy, and fixes come so slow, it's obvious that they don't give a damn about their Blogger product. It's only a matter of time until they shut it down entirely.

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

— — —


Nazis loudly support Kanye's antisemitism. Adidas remains silent about the sponsorship funding it. 

Swedish archaeologists find 17th-century warship

Since Colorado implemented pay transparency law, wages up 11.5%

San Francisco to honor the woman who saved the city's cable cars from extinction 75 years ago

Ordered Dominos and this came with it. 

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

•  Old movie stars dance to uptown funk 

It took a lot of work to make this so perfect.

•  Kinda surprising that David Bowie did his own Ziggy Stardust makeup

•  A brief history of Halloween 

♦ ♦ ♦

Mystery links
"Like life itself, there's no knowing where you're going"


♦ ♦ ♦

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind 

"The Avengers" by Laurie Johnson
"The First Day" by Eszter Balint
"Sad Joy" by Manfred Mann
"Trouble You Don't See" by Eszter Balint
"What Would You Say?" by Hurricane Smith" 

♦ ♦ ♦

The End

Benjamin Civiletti
James McDivitt
Jim Redmond


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. Jim McDivitt is remembered, if at all, for Apollo 9, the first flight of the lunar lander, but I remember him best as the commander of Gemini 4, the mission that sent the first human floating into space outside a capsule. His copilot, Ed White became the first human to drift in the blackness of space protected only by a hand-sewn spacesuit.

    McDivitt left NASA shortly after Apollo 9. The quiet word was that he was a bit of a maverick and wouldn't be assigned to any more flights. He lived the rest of his long life corporately, but for a few brief, shining moments he and two or three other astronauts tried to tell NASA and the world that spaceflight was fun and that an occasional woohoo was entirely appropriate.

    Thanks for the memorial.


    1. If there's any part of living where an occasional woohoo is inappropriate, that's where I want to woohoo.

    2. If anybody is interested in the early days of the American space program. a book was published last year that's probably out in paper now: "Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy, and the New Battleground of the Cold War". I know most of your buds distain non-fiction as fake-art, but I've always thunk it was real art. This is a particularly readable, fun book that tracks the trajectories of John Glenn and John Kennedy during the darkest and brightest days of the cold war. It is all about Mercury, so no McDivitt or any Gemini or Apollo, but I found myself wishing that it were three times longer. (That's the subjunctive mood there. I only use it in emergencies).

      bon appetit,


    3. I'll never read the book, but let me prey on your expertise to ask an impertinent question: Were they pricks?

      At least in the movies, early-era astronauts seem to always be the daredeveil superjocks, a/k/a pricks, so I'd probably hate them and they'd hate me. But damn I thought they were real life superheroes when I was a kid, and it's gotta be one of very few jobs where you'd actually want daredeveil superjocks.

    4. OK, well I recommend the book because life is way more complicated than asshole or nice guy (for some reason I don't like the word "prick". I know what it means, but it's not part of my vocabulary.)

      In any case, it's a complicated story and a compelling one. I think you're missing out on pleasure by not reading the book, but I'll try to answer your question.

      John Glenn, about whom I've read in other books as well, could be very opinionated, and was especially protective of his wife who, as you likely know, had speech problems. So some of the people who worked at NASA might have thought John Glenn was an asshole. I'd say he was the most genuine of the astronauts, a bright guy, and, in summary, a gentleman. He didn't have much time for people who didn't work hard, and he was pissed off at most of the other astronauts because they were basically all cheating on their wives.

      All seven original astronauts are gone, and most of the next class are gone as well. Before they left I think they'd agree that John Glenn was a gentleman and an occasional pain in the ass to the flyboys who liked to drive their corvettes fast and pick up women.

      The rest were an odd combination of pilot self-confidence and horny flyboys who learned quickly and flew with courage.

      That's the best I can do, and I hope it's not enough, causing you to put the book on reserve at the library and read it when it's available. But I tried.


    5. I appreciate your effort at explaining things, John. You're like my own personal Cliff Notes.

      30-year-old me would've kicked my nuts for saying this, but life is short and reading entire books takes time I rarely have, and when I have the time, I'd rather spend it surfing the web for news or porn. The internet has made the whole world dumber, and in this regard I am of the world.

      But now I'm pretty sure John Glenn was the astronaut who wasn't a pr*ck.

  2. I moved from Blogger to Wordpress about fifteen years ago and never looked back.


    1. I'm not worried about ranking, I just hate having to learn a different interface. Tell me it isn't buggy and that'll put my mind at ease, but I'm still probably not making the switch until Google forces me to.

  3. Hey man, just got some kicks reading most of the interview you did a few years ago with that CrimeWave zine guy, found googling you, okay, take care...PM

  4. That was a fun interview. It took about two weeks of emails. Glad it kicked you.


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