Clandestine sandwiches

More snow fell Thursday and yesterday, still not very much but enough that a transformer blew and the lights went off for every house in my neighborhood. In the black of night, the red-yellow-green traffic light several blocks away was all I could see.

I won't bore you or me with too many particulars, but it does make you ponder how much your life depends on Benjamin Franklin's key and kite.



& links

Dec. 3, 2022

It was cold in my room with no heat, and no curtains on the windows. The bathroom has no window and I haven't yet unpacked my flashlights, so I peed with the door open. Toast for breakfast became impossible. Oh, the humanities.

Worst of all, the internet was unavailable, so I couldn't write, really, only scribble notes to myself on paper. Actually writing something based on those notes requires electricity and software and a keyboard, all of which demand 120v AC. 

The neighborhood was only dark for six hours or so, because City Light is Seattle's municipally-owned power agency, and City Light rocks. That's the pertinent point to remember — ConEd or Pacific Power & Light wouldn't have had the crews on call to respond to a few blocks or darkened residential streets at 1AM on the weekend, and have it repaired before dawn. The difference is, City Light is all about supplying power, not turning a profit.

A few more meaningless stories are in my head and notepad, but right now my own transformer feels exploded, and I lack the energy or desire to say much more.

Before fading away, here's a moment with my always-talkative flatmate Dean. Most people don't mind talking, but I am not 'most people', and neither is Dean, in the opposite way.

He always wants to talk, and his room is directly off the kitchen, so when I'm making a snack or a meal, I try to be quiet like I'm not there. Count on it, if there's a noise revealing my presence, Dean will come out of his room and start talking at me.

All I wanted was three ham sandwiches. In stocking feet, I tread gently on the linoleum, getting the loaf, the meat, the mayo, mustard, and peanut butter. It's not a complex recipe and it came together quickly, quietly.

When I'd finished spreading the peanut butter, I wiped the knife and slipped it back into the drawer. It clanked against the other silver, a little too loudly, and with that noise my odds of escape were at least halved. I rushed to put away the PB and mayo and— 

With a creak, Dean's door opened, and he stepped into the kitchen. "Douglas! So good to see you this fine morning!"

And so began two minutes of Dean talking, me nodding and saying "uh-huh" and backing toward my bedroom door, until finally it closed behind me while Dean was still talking.

Here's the news you need,
whether you know it or not

Closed labs, cancelled classes: inside the largest strike to hit US higher education 

Maryland opened up jobs to people without four-year degrees 

Excellent. What's the point in requiring a college degree for many or most jobs, except to ensure that people who've never had the means for college never have a chance at a decent job?

The IRS routinely lets right-wing churches break tax law & endorse political candidates 

San Francisco'S 4 Star Theater set to reopen

Major fires an increasing risk as the air gets thirstier, research shows 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, because climate change isn't 'coming', it's underway. It'll kill billions, and we're not doing squat about it.

Eight aggressive cops raid wrong home in no-knock warrant, terrorizing Black family holding a baby 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, because all cops are bastards, or they know who the bastard cops are and do nothing about it, which is the same thing.

Kari Lake encourages her voters to get arrested in order to help her become Arizona's governor 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, because Republicans are the enemy of common sense, common decency, simple truth, and democracy.

Links I liked

NYC Mayor Eric Adams's new homeless policy is messed up 

Why America's railroads refuse to give their workers paid leave 

At the above link, a brief but thorough explanation of the economics of modern-day robber-baronism.

Who is putting these mysterious medallions around Berkeley? 

Is American politics really just people making statements in reaction to other statements but no one actually does anything for the people? 

Monumental photocopier 

Danish protest pig 

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




♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Crimson and Clover — Tommy James & The Shondells

Gone Daddy Gone — Violent Femmes

Lucifer — Alan Parsons Project

Reflections of My Life — Marmalade

Year of the Cat — Al Stewart

The End

Cissy Marshall 

Ed Rudy 


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. Thanks for the John Prine lyric. As you will know, Roger Ebert accidentally became a music critic when he went to review a movie in 1970, found it to be odious, walked out, went looking for a beer, and walked into the Fifth Peg, a nondescript bar in Chicago where a mailman named John Prine was playing guitar and singing songs he wrote himself. So Ebert wrote a review of Prine instead of the movie. A brief paragraph from the review . . .

    "He appears on stage with such modesty he almost seems to be backing into the spotlight. He sings rather quietly, and his guitar work is good, but he doesn’t show off. He starts slow. But after a song or two, even the drunks in the room begin to listen to his lyrics. And then he has you."

    When I see the lyrics you included, I can hear Prine's rather inspired picking -- he was a fine guitar player even then, although fifty years of performing put his equally inspired lyrics in the foreground. But genius shines through.

    Two years later, after Kris Kristofferson heard him and got him a contract with his label, Prine opened in a modest New York club, and halfway through his act heard somebody behind him accompanying him on harmonica. Since his label hadn't hired a harmonica player, Prine kept picking but stole a look over his shoulder and saw that the reclusive Bob Dylan had joined his backup ensemble.

    It's hard to complain about a fifty year career, writing brilliant songs, picking fine guitar, and singing with that smoky, beery voice, but Covid took him too soon.

    Thanks again for remembering him, and for remembering the lonely old folks.


    1. Hello in there, hello, John.

      I'm a fan because of you, and you're a fan because of Ebert, so what the Prine story always says to me is what a bitch fate is.

      If Ebert had seen an even slightly better movie that night, neither of us ever would've heard of John Prine, and we never would've heard a John Prine song, and there would've been a picture of, I dunno, Tina Turner where that Prine lyric sits, above.

      He would've been just as brilliant, but he would've been a mailman, and nobody's be talking about him two years after he died.

      Fate rolled right for him. How many others are out there, almost as talented, just as talented, or even more talented, who never got tapped on the shoulder by fate?

    2. It's a complicated story, but Prine often played with fellow Chicagoan Steve Goodman who gained some renown after he wrote "City of New Orleans". Kris came to Chicago to see Goodman, and Goodman (who was, as it turns out, a good man) insisted that Kris had to see Prine while he was in town. They went to the small joint where Prine was playing and Prine was packing up after a long night. Kris asked him to do an entire set after the place closed. Both Prine and Goodman signed with Kris' label within a few months. I'm guessing that Prine was a special guy who was going to make it one way or another, but publicity always helps.

      It also helped that Prine wrote all of his own songs. I never heard him cover anybody. Lots of people can play the guitar and sing. Prine claims he couldn't sing, but somebody who sings only his own material is attractive to a label. It's much cheaper and easier to publish him.

      That said, Dylan sang exactly two Dylan pieces on his first album. Then Columbia found out he could write songs.


    3. > Kris asked him to do an entire set after the place closed.

      And what if Mr Prine had said, "Bite me, man. I've been up here singing all night, my throat's getting itchy. I wanna get home and drink beer and watch Merv Griffin..."

    4. Kris was flying out the next day. I assume that Prine figured that if Kris was willing to stay all night to listen to him, he was willing to stay up all night playing for him. It worked out pretty well for Prine.


    5. It's always fate, though. The bar manager could've kicked everyone out. Prine could've not been there that night. Kristopherson could've had inflamed bunions. ...

  2. Alan Parsons Project has always been one of my faves. "The Fall of the House of Usher" from his first album, "Lucifer" from I, Robot, "Sirius" from Eye in the Sky, the entire Pyramid and The Turn of a Friendly Card LPs, are his standouts IMHO.

    1. APP seems to be critically forgotten these days, but I like or love just about everything I've ever heard from him or them. All the ones you listed, plus "Time".


🚨🚨 Click here if you have problems posting a comment. 🚨🚨