My favorite bum

Before breakfast, I was glancing at the headlines from the Times newsbox in front of the diner, when the local homeless guy came out of the laundromat next door. He doesn't do laundry, so presumably he'd gone there for a little warmth. Winter has been teasing Seattle for a few weeks.



& links

Nov. 20, 2022

Oh, 'the' local homeless guy? The city has tens of thousands, but the neighborhood by the diner lacks the financial base to support two panhandlers. It's only the diner, the laundry, a few bodegas, and some subsidized housing nearby. And the newsbox, where I'd been standing, in front of the diner.

And one homeless guy. He's a skinny black man, wrinkled and wispy, who doesn't talk much. Doesn't even panhandle much. He just walks around, and sleeps on the sidewalk.

I eat at the diner two or three times a week, and I've seen him so often there, he's become my favorite bum. I like him because in all the many times I've seen him, he's never been a bother. Almost nobody I actually know can make that claim.

So he came out of the laundry, and slowly hobbled past me. He didn't ask, but I carry a five loose in my pocket in case I see him, and seeing him, it was his. He said thanks, which is more than he usually says to me. 

A middle-aged white couple came out of the diner, and the bum didn't say anything to them, but as they walked past, the man said, "Get a job", and the woman laughed.

Idiots have been telling bums to get a job for as long as there've been bums and idiots. I said it, when I was young and dumb and mean.

You could almost understand someone high on 'freeloader' and 'bootstrap' bullshit from Republicans saying "Get a job" to some young stoner who at least he looks like he could work for a living.

But my favorite homeless guy is old, graying, frightfully skinny, and walks with a limp, slightly dragging one foot. You could knock him down with a nudge. What's the point of saying "Get a job" to someone who so obviously can't? It's like telling a man in a wheelchair to get up and walk.

The bum didn't say anything. Pretty sure he's heard "Get a job" once or twice before. For him it's a fart in a shit-storm.

The stupid couple got into their pick-up truck and roared away, because of course they're pick-up truck people.

Hmm. I've seen that couple at the diner before, and now I've seen their pick-up truck. Real nice truck, too. It would be a shame if anything happened to it, the next time I'm at the diner for breakfast.

You don't see many newsboxes any more. I still read newspapers on paper at the library, but it's been years since I bought one from a box. When they cost 25¢ or 50¢, I plunked coins into the slot, but a paper costs $2 now, and the boxes still only take quarters. Even among us old people who might think about buying a newspaper, who walks around with eight quarters in their pocket?

Fat guys should never go out on a limb, but here's my prediction:

Twitter will be flickering and intermittently dark within weeks, and not many, and maybe sooner. Coding so complex needs to be tended by people who understand it, and Twitter doesn't have many of those people left. 

It's not going to totally vanish, of course. Eventually Elon Musk will sell Twitter at a huge loss, and someone more competent will try to revive it, but Twitter will never again be what it's been the past several years. 

Mr Musk is making the world a better place.

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

Probe of Baltimore Archdiocese finds more than 600 clergy sexual abuse victims 

This church-sanctioned and -sponsored perversion has been going on for so long — two thousand years and counting — there's no more plausible deniability. Anyone who attends a Catholic church is complicit.

Climate confusion and complicity at the New York Times 

FAIR takes the Times to task for that horrible op-ed where they let some numbnuts conservative 'solve' climate change.

Eli Lilly feigns conscience after fake tweet damages stock price 

Whoops: Cable giant Cable One accidentally sends rival email saying their top priority is killing community-funded broadband 

Site of the Compton's Cafeteria Riot in the Tenderloin is now a historic landmark 

There is already a plaque at the site commemorating the riot, which was placed there in 2006. In 2017, the neighborhood was named the Transgender Cultural District, and the year before, the 100 block of Taylor Street was renamed Compton's Cafeteria Way. But that was not the name that The Transgender District had originally proposed for the street.

"They wanted it to be Compton's Cafeteria Riot [Way]," Transgender district executive director Aria Sa'id told the Bay Area Reporter in 2020. "But the city did not want to have the word 'riot' in a street sign."

Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito leaked 2014 anti-contraception ruling to evangelicals

While crypto bro scammed clients, reporters scammed readers

Is the world ready for mass migration due to climate change?

And it never stops, never stops...

Walton Hills officer let drunk driver go minutes before crash that killed man and mother-of-5 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops...

Republicans are about to take their revenge on Joe Biden 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops...

Links I liked

Rosenhan experiment 

Fish fossils show first cooking may have been 600,000 years earlier than thought 

• "Something unheard of, surpassing all belief, unless one should see it oneself"


Impossible color 

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




♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

• "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears

• "Star Trek suite" by Jerry Goldsmith

The End

John Aniston 

Jim Bohannon 

Carol Leigh 

It's the first obituary I've linked for someone I'd met. Carol came to some of the Black Sheets literary functions, and we weren't pals or anything, she wouldn't have remembered me, but I knew her by face and didn't hate her. If I know you and don't hate you, you're a top quality person. Adios, a lifetime later.


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. Maybe Alito leaked. He and his wife both strongly deny it, and Mr Schenck is, at best, an unreliable witness. He would love to see the illegal activities of Mr Justice Thomas and his sprightly wife justified. Obviously, I'm not an Alito fan, but this charge smells a little like dead conservative fish. I'm just sayin'.


    1. The email seals it for me, but I am not an impartial observer, of course. In the absence of any evidence I'd believe Alito is lying, because he's Alito.

  2. We need more Jim Bohannons and fewer of everybody else on the radio, and now he's gone. If you never heard his program, you missed America talking.


    1. I did listen to Jimbo, and liked him and his show, but it was many years ago. I drifted away as he remained stubbornly middle of the road, while the road swerved so hard to the right, but for years and years I was listening. I think I still remember his theme song.

  3. Man, I don't know shit about shit.

    But it sure seems like Musk is tanking Twitter. I DON'T think he's playing 4D chess, or being super smart. But I think it's 50-50 whether he's doing it on purpose, for some reason, or if he's just a narcissistic lunatic like Trump. I'm honestly unsure which.

    Saw on Reddit the other day, a quote that said "Elon Musk could slam his dick in a door and 1/3 of the internet would immediately dedicate itself to explaining how it was a brilliant strategic move."

    1. I gotta work on being more cynical. There was a time when I though Musk was smart, and that's embarrassing.

      The part where he slams his dick in a door sounds good.

    2. You just like slamming your dick in doors.

    3. A good robust dick-slam in a door is better than sex

    4. Every large American (and probably global) corporation could use a good shaking up. People need to be reminded that they get paid good money for a reason, and some of them have forgotten the reason. I've been on both ends of shakeups (almost always the wrong end) and, if done properly, which is almost impossible, it can reinvigorate an enterprise. Having said that, Musk is doing almost everything wrong. I won't go into the dozen fuckups he's built into his corporate rejigger, but he's really fucking up badly. His only salvation will be if he missed the few hundred engineers and techs who actually make the software work, which is possible. They will give him the time to rebuild from the inside, but I doubt he has the faintest idea of how to do that. My best guess is that Twitter will still be relevant in a year, but betting on business is like investing in business: risky.


    5. Every place I've worked could've used a shake-up done right. There's always room for improvement.

      Usually what needs the shake-up is management, but what happens is management shakes up everything but themselves. Some (most?) places, the management is so bad it's an argument for anarchy that there's still a product being sold and a profit being turned.

      Twitter's deconstruction under Musk is great fun, though. I can't remember a more amusing day-after-day collection of boneheaded headlines. Chancey Gardener's in charge.

      Claude, the only thing better than sex is Doctor Who.

  4. I'm not particularly fond of war stories, but this is one so skip it if they bore you too. I was at Weyerhaeuser during a corporate shakeup in 1982. The 400 or so people in IT knew we were gonna get clobbered. When you're expensive and half-assed in politics you get elected, but in business eventually they murder you.

    It happened over a weekend. I had a friend inside the IT guillotine squad, who found me by phone Saturday afternoon on a public golf course. A cart pulled up to the third green and picked me up and took me back to the clubhouse. My friend was on the line to let me know I had survived (she was a class act; I assume she still is) but I ended up working for a guy who, in any universe imaginable was the picture of a guy who should get riffed. He ran his own business from his desk and I didn't see him do any work whatsoever in the year I stayed with him.

    Weyco was a big company then, and I was able to just start working for somebody else. We cranked up a project that managed to make somebody happy, so my actual manager couldn't do much about it. I left in '85 and had to learn how to work hard all over again. I was out of shape.


    1. Pretty good war story. I'd be fond of it, too.

      I've been through several layoffs, but this last time 'round was the first time I was a victim. And I am *so* glad to be gone from that place.

      Now I gotta find a new job to screw me over, pretty soon.

      When you were Weyerhaeusering, did you work in that cool-looking office building to the east of the freeway? That building made me think better of Weyerhaeuser, which I guess is why they sold it and moved out?

    2. I spent two years in that building and five years in the old headquarters in downtown Tacoma where they stashed half of IT. I wasn't there when they built it, but I knew a bunch of people who were. Weyerhaeuser wanted a "skyscraper in the trees", but they didn't want it to be taller than the trees, so they asked the architect to lay a skyscraper on its side. It was as pleasant inside as it looked from the freeway.

      Everybody was in a cubicle. I don't remember which floor I was on, but the fifth (top) floor was the executive suite. I didn't get invited up very often, but damned if George Weyerhaeuser and all the top brass didn't have cubicles up there: very nice cubicles, but nonetheless: no floor to ceiling walls. Near as I could tell, George was a pretty good executive. Of course, the company is mostly gone now.


    3. From an outside perspective, that sideways skyscraper in the trees was Weyerhaeuser.

      Far as I know, it now sits empty, dusty, abandoned, sort of an elaborate tombstone for what was once, at least by appearance, a pretty good company.


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