Shun them.



& links

Dec. 9, 2022

An inordinate portion of my life is spent at the Burien Transit Center. That's where the #99 bus ends, the only route the runs by my house, so I'm often riding the #99 to the transit center, to stand there on a concrete island and wait for another bus going somewhere else. 

On this particular yesterday, I'd ridden to Mrs Rigby's diner for two early-morning burgers with peanut butter. Also fries and a shake. Omelets are a fine breakfast, but my belly wanted burgers.

Then I'd ridden back to the transit center to do the stand and wait. Lots of waiting. The #99 only runs twice an hour.

So I was standing there, watching the nine bums, and about a hundred pigeons. The trash cans are emptied maybe twice weekly, but filled within hours, so there's always trash on the ground, lots of it's edible, and where there's edible trash there are pigeons. To amuse myself, I walked through the pigeon multitudes, watching them walk or fly away. I'm Moses, parting the pigeons.

The F bus pulled in — end of the line for them too, and a dozen people stepped off.  Seven of them were teenagers, probably on their way to school, but traveling as a clique, and two of them left me flabbergasted.

Five boys, two girls, all about 15 or so, and talking to each other about whatever dumb stuff teenagers talk about. Being a dirty old man, yeah, I noticed the girls. One was a little chubby, and she was the cuter one, but they were both cute.

The not-so-chubby one was holding hands with one of the boys, and she lifted herself on tippy-toes to kiss him. They walked a few steps to check the posted schedule, and she kissed him again, longer, tongueier. The guy she was kissing so insistently, though, was fat. Not chubby. Fat.

This was something I'd never seen before — a pretty girl with a medium (M) size bod was smooching a boy who was at least 4XL. This does not happen. It's disallowed by the laws of physics or whatever, and there are no exceptions. Don't be bullshitting me, saying that the old rules and barriers have melted away. These are eternal rules, and especially at that age, such rules cannot be broken. Absolutely never saw it when I was in school, and I've absolutely never seen it in life, until yesterday at the Burien Transit Center.

A day later I am still amazed.

Fifteen people boarded the #99 northbound. I was one of them. I sat alone, near the front. The driver closed the door, but didn't pull away. We couldn't leave, because there was nowhere to go; three buses were ahead of our bus, waiting for the light to turn green, so they could leave the transit center. 

While we waited, another would-be passenger knocked at the glass door, but he didn't knock with knuckles. He knocked with the beer can in his hand, open, can against glass. The door didn't open, so he took a couple of gulps from the can, then knocked again, with the can. The driver ignored him.

Drivers aren't supposed to ignore people who want to ride the bus, but a scruffy-looking 50-year-old man with a beer at 8:45 in the morning? Yeah, please do ignore him. The light turned green, the buses in front of us rolled away, and my beloved #99 bus followed the other buses into the intersection, and turned left onto 148th Street.

A mile or so north, our bus rolled past a portapotty-sized wooden shed I've noticed a lotta times, because it has "ONLY RECYCLED NEWSPAPERS" stenciled on the side. The shed looks 25 years old. The stenciled lettering is faded. Nobody reads newspapers any more, so what's inside?
At my corner I rang the bell, stepped off the bus, walked half a block home, and nestled myself into the recliner. Full of good burgers, I watched an old movie and took a long nap.

Some day, some day soon, I am gonna have to get a job, but these are the good old days, until then.

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

D.C. votes to eliminate Metrobus fares in movement toward free transit 

Good news. Public transit should be free, and better funded and run more frequently than now.

San Jose becomes largest city in U.S. to abolish minimum parking

FTC sues to block Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard 

Citing staff safety and dignity, restaurant refuses to serve Christian hate group 

This is the way to start repairing America. 

Younger evangelicals in the U.S. are more concerned than their elders about climate change 

And this is not.

Maybe it's news, even good news, that the next generation of 'Evangelicals' is a smidgen less insane than their parents. There's no solution down that path, though. There's not enough time left for America and the world to wait patiently while 'Evangelicals' maybe come to their senses, one generation at a time.

For what they've done to America — by which I mean Trump and DeSantis and the entire Republican agenda so enthusiastically supported by 'Evangelicals' — they need to be utterly ostracized from political discourse. Their opinions and the very word 'Evangelicals' should be mocked, not taken seriously, and decent, intelligent people should have nothing to do with them.

Unless (maybe) they're family. That's my excuse.

Exxon, Chevron to spend billions more on oil projects next year 

And it never stops, never stops, 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. 

• Utah Department of Public Safety apologizes for whitewashed investigation into serial child-rapist trooper who got away with everything 

And it never stops, 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.

Republican Florida state lawmaker who wrote "Don't Say Gay" bill indicted on wire fraud charges in COVID relief loan scam 

And it 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

As the USDA invests in "climate-smart" agriculture, it's hard to follow the money 

• Says here, the National Board of Review is run by nincompoops

Cannibalism in poultry 

Guided rat 

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




♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Comfortably Numb — Luther Wright and the Wrongs 

Go to the Mirror — The Who 

The Man in Me - Bob Dylan 

Route 66 — Nelson Riddle 

Watching the Wheels — John Lennon 

The End

Hans Magnus Enzensberger 

Tom Phillips 

Eleanor Jackson Piel 

Marcus Sedgwick


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. I don't doubt that Top Gun was exactly wat it says on the tin - a rootin' tootin' action film. People say it's good. But I have to wonder how much the Army / Navy / Air Force / whatever paid the National Board of Review for this award...

    1. Exactly.

      As often happens, I lacked the patience to go into detail on something so obvious, but movies like Top Gun are commercials for military recruitment.

    2. People (mostly men) who see this shit and join the (in this case) Navy, thinking they're going to end up under a fighter canopy likely deserve what they get. OK, they're being manipulated, but it's nothing that doesn't happen daily in military recruiting offices. Everybody's gonna be the pilot and nobody's gonna be any of the hundreds of people who maintain each aircraft or thousands of people who feed and coddle the pilots or the top guns who clean the latrines - (or the recruiters who have to lie every day of their lives).


    3. Yup, it's all part of the bullshit flood. That's what the military does, what recruitment is. The movies drive up enlistment, else the military wouldn't be a sponsor, which makes Tom Cruise and Top Gun minor co-sponsors of all the bullshit US wars and related deaths since 1986.

      Man, my ankle is killing me. It makers me cranky, sorry.

    4. Wrap it

    5. . . . and ice it.

    6. Claude Reigns Without BordersDecember 9, 2022 at 9:23 PM

      Four doses of Ibuprofen per day

    7. John (I said doctor, Mr. M.D., Can you tell me, What's ailin' me?) thebasket., Can you tell me, What's ailin' me?)December 9, 2022 at 11:44 PM

      Elevate it.

    8. Can't speak to whatever's ailing John, but for me it's just the gout, along with world conditions in general.

  2. "Maybe it's news, even good news, that the next generation of 'Evangelicals' is a smidgen less insane than their parents. There's no solution down that path, though. There's not enough time left for America and the world to wait patiently while 'Evangelicals' maybe come to their senses, one generation at a time."

    Haha, my favorite kind of Christians: "Hip" Christians who dig tattoos and veganism and skinny jeans and "care" about things. Fucking fools. Give me some old school Jesuits, at least they were classically educated and could hold a conversation.

    Have you seen Paul Shrader's First Reformed? I'm really sick of how derivative his films are - he swipes Bresson, Tarkovsky, Dreyer, Ozu, many others for this film - but it's an interesting (though typically confused) take on the whole faith/extremism business.

    1. Paul Shrader — now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time. I can;t even remember whether I liked Taxi Driver, so I guess it's been a while. The only reaction I remember feeling was, "So that's Taxi Driver, eh?"

      First Reformed has Ethan Hawke *and* Cedric The Entertainer, says my man Google, so how could I not want to see it?

    2. A couple percent less crazy is still crazy. They are our friends and neighbors until the revolution. . . .


      As usual, Leonard Cohen, this time translated from his second language with an additional Cohen touch.

      Original French lyrics, Anna Marly / Hy Zaret
      Translation and additional English lyrics by Leonard Cohen

      When they poured across the border
      I was cautioned to surrender
      This I could not do
      I took my gun and vanished

      I have changed my name so often
      I have lost my wife and children
      But I've many friends
      And some of them are with me

      An old woman gave us shelter
      Kept us hidden in the garret
      Then the soldiers came
      She died without a whisper

      There were three of us this morning
      I'm the only one this evening
      But I must go on
      The frontiers are my prison

      Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing
      Through the graves the wind is blowing
      Freedom soon will come
      Then we'll come from the shadows

      Les Allemands étaient chez moi
      Ils me dirent, "résigne toi"
      Mais je n'ai pas peur
      J'ai repris mon âme

      J'ai changé cent fois de nom
      J'ai perdu femme et enfants
      Mais j'ai tant d'amis
      J'ai la France entière

      Un vieil homme dans un grenier
      Pour la nuit nous a caché
      Les Allemands l'ont pris
      Il est mort sans surprise

      Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing
      Through the graves the wind is blowing
      Freedom soon will come
      Then we'll come from the shadows

      ASCAP/BMI English translation by Leonard Cohen
      Transcribed from "Cohen Live" by johnthebasket

    3. Paul Schrader has written some amazing films for Scorsese (Last Temptation Of Jesus H. Christ, Taxi Driver) and others (Mosquito Coast, Rolling Thunder) and wrote/directed two masterpieces hisself: Blue Collar and American Gigolo. AG is one of the premier films of the 1980s, predicting a style and content that is still imitated today. Of course he also made a lot of preposterous bullshit like Hardcore, which is a deeply serious and deeply silly film.

    4. Dude wrote poetry in frickin' French too?

      Learning another language well enough to read it, order dinner in that language — lots effort. Learning it well enough to write in some furrin' language, and write well at least in translation, nah, that's beyond human ability. Cohen must've been a space alien. Glad he wasn't the kind who eats us.

    5. Last Temptation Of Jesus H. Christ
      Taxi Driver
      Mosquito Coast
      Rolling Thunder
      Blue Collar
      American Gigolo

      Four out of six gets YESes from me. Haven't seen Rolling Thunder, and as for American Gigolo, uh, art thou pulling my leg? The Richard Gere thing? I saw it and regretted it, but hey, I was young, maybe I missed something due to being distracted by the girl next to me in the theater.

    6. Leonard Cohen is from Quebec, which is a bilingual province of Canada. My antecedents are from there and my last name is French. Just before the turn of the 20th century, my great grandfather and a couple of his brothers, who were woodsmen in Canada, jumped the border into Wisconsin and became American woodsmen by geography but not by nationality. After a while, nobody asked, so they were Americans. Eventually some of them moved into Green Bay, where my grandfather is from. If there were phone books these days, the Green Bay directory would have a reasonably long list of my last name, which is unusual.

      Oh, yeah, Cohen. So Leonard was bilingual when he was young, and didn't come to the US until he was over 30. He claimed his French had faded away, but he could speak it well for the rest of his life.

      In this case, he takes a French song, written by the two people I identify, translates it into English, sings in both languages, and adds a short verse of his own in English.

      I have no idea whether his French was good enough to write poetry.


    7. Sorry about your ankle. I really wasn't making fun of your pain: I was ping-ponging with Dr. Claude: he kelp smashing and I chopped back, which I probably can't do IRL anymore.

      I have no idea when you will reach 65, but Medicare isn't bad. The drugs aren't free, but they're subsidized, and the doc visits are sorta free. I lucked into a good doc when my lifetime doc retired. When I'm tan and rested I'll tell some stories about him.

      So sorry about your ankle. Hope it feels better.

      What does the H stand for?



    8. Come to think about it, I sold my ping pong table and my guitar to help pay for one of my surgeries before I turned 65. And I sold a lot of other stuff. I was never much good at either one.


    9. Lifetime doctor — that sounds nice. Like, knew you, remembered your issues from six months or six years ago? Envy.

      At my last job for 8 or 9 years, the company changed everyone's insurance coverage twice, and twice my doctor quit (one for better pay, one to get out of medicine entirely). Five different 'primary' doctors, but even then, about half the time when I needed an appt I ended up seeing someone else instead.


    10. I don't think I knew any of that about Lenny Cohen. Tomorrow I'll purchase and warm and devour a French Canadian baguette in his honor.

    11. OK, but you might consider also watching McCabe & Mrs. Miller, which features three Leonard Cohen songs (The Stranger Song is haunting). I don't know what relationship Leonard had with Robert Altman, but the idea of putting three songs from one almost unknown artist in a movie (as foreground, not background) seems goofy. As I recall, it works in this film.

      I've been trying to tell you that Hallelujah is the neon sign out in front of the dive bar that is Leonard Cohen. I know you don't believe me, but there's a world of joy and sorrow in those 32 albums (mostly in the first nine studio albums). Not all the songs are good, and those frequently turn out to be the best ones. You have to hear Chelsea Hotel #2, Leonard's song about screwing Janis Joplin, and Sisters of Mercy, Leonard's song about not screwing two beautiful ladies who spent the snowy night in Leonard's motel room in wintery central Canada. If they don't make you cry, they'll at least make you remember the importance of a few tears.

      That's da commercial. Elevate your leg.

      warmest regards as always,


    12. I saw McCabe & Mrs. Miller just once, and found it frustrating. I don't remember the music, sorry, just the director's choice to make everything look yellowed and washed out.

      I would guess that I've heard fifty Cohen songs, a few of them hundreds of times. Dude's good. I seem to recall maybe a few of his songs that didn't leave me rhapsodic, but no titles come to mind, and generally I'm an admirer.

      It was a movie, Pump Up the Volume, where I first heard him.

      I do wish he'd written something for Fleetwood Mac, but alas, no.

      My legs are usually elevated. I live in a recliner.

    13. I have the advantage of being the only person who comments on this site who doesn't have a clue about how movies are made. I'm not bragging about my ignorance, just copping to it. It's been decades since I saw McCabe and I do remember that it had an odd look: I assumed the director was trying to get the film to look and feel like the turn of the 20th century, but, again, what the hell do I know?

      I do remember the Cohen songs. I thought it was a nice touch, but, of course, I'm a fan. I'm sorry the film gave you the heebie jeebies, or whatever disorder one gets from oddly shot movies. Cohen also played a drug lord on Miami Vice. I think they shot that with a normal lens. Of course, they cut his on-screen down to about a minute and a half, so we couldn't really check out his acting chops, if any.

      Stay elevated, my brother.


    14. Srsly? Cohen on Miami Vice? That is so random it's beautiful.

      Hunter Thompson contributed some ideas to Nash Bridges, it's said, but I think he just smoked dope with Don Johnson.

      You know how they make movies, though. They just put their lips together and blow.

    15. Music industry people who appeared on Miami Vice, many as drug dealers and crime bosses . . .

      Glenn Frey
      Gene Simmons
      Leonard Cohen
      Phil Collins
      Ted Nugent
      Little Richard
      Barbra Streisand
      Willie Nelson
      Frank Zappa
      James Brown
      Harry Shearer
      Miles Davis
      The Power Station
      Michael De Barres
      Sheena Easton
      David Johansen
      Isaac Hayes
      Jan Hammer

      Leonard performed his role mostly in French (with subtitles).


    16. . . . and Doc Thompson and Don Johnson only smoked dope if the coke still needed a little grinding.


    17. Here's Leonard's six minutes of lines cut down to well under a minute. I thought he was fine, but there isn't much to go on.



    18. Leonard Cohen as a French-speaking drug kingpin is pretty damned strange.

      Why, though, would all these music people want to be on that so-so show? Were they paying top dollar and hyping Streisand and Easton for ratings?

    19. Definitely, I misspoke — cocaine, not marijuana. Even I know better than that.

    20. I think for about 10 minutes of culture time Miami Vice was a pretty hot show, especially the "look" and music and wardrobe. And the world wasn't exactly beating down the doors of the people on that list (except Streisand) to come and act for them. So it was a lark and free publicity.


    21. Did you watch, and was it worth watching?

      The last vaguely cop-esque show I enjoyed was Da Vinci's Inquest, but it was mostly about the city coroner more than the cops. They never had Leonard Cohen on, though.

    22. I watched an episode or two. I watched the whole hour of the Leonard ep, but that 60 seconds went by real quick.


    23. It wasn't his finest work.

    24. As far as I know, it was his only acting work, but I might have missed something along the way.


    25. You have my permission to reply anywhere.

      My wife was very much a fan of Homicide: Life on the Street. I was not, but I'm 60/40 confident that I'm remembering her evaluation correction: She said it started with cops making mistakes, following false leads, sometimes not catching the bad guy, and being basically human. After a season or two the network forced a change, and after that, every knock on every door added a clue or a suspect, with no false leads, climaxing with the arrest of the perp at the end. We watched a few early episodes and they were good. We watched a few later episodes and they were shit. It is possible, though, that I'm thinking of some other show.

      We saw The Wire, and loved the first season, but I was gone for the second season and Steph was dine with it after that.

      Kind of enjoyed Justified, but we stopped watching for no particular reason.

      The Shield was a show we both liked, with good cops and a very corrupt cop working out of the same precinct.

      And back in the day, original Hawaii-Five-O and Mannix and Cannon, I was always there.

      Considering how much I don't like cops, guess I've liked some cop shows.

      I'll save Larry Sanders and Steve Allen for a discussion of non-cop shows.

    26. Homicide: Life on the Street ran for seven seasons. I don't think the degradation in quality was particularly due to how crimes were solved: It was the actors they chose to play cops.

      They started out in seasons 1 and 2 with some goofy looking male cops and some plain looking females. But they were terrific actors, and the stories were interesting.

      Slowly, starting with season 3, they killed off the goofy looking actors and replaced them with pretty men and women. Maybe they were OK actors, but no homicide team looks THAT good. A few of the actors stayed for all seven seasons, and they added continuity and texture: Yaphet Kotto was great as the lt.; half the time I couldn't understand what the fuck he was saying, but he said it with command. Mr. Kotto was a wonderful actor.

      Kotto ended up in Puyallup in the late 80s for some crazy reason, and, being an avid reader, he frequented my friend's used bookstore in Tacoma. Jerry said Kotto was a bright, kind, curious man who read everything and learned quickly. Jerry didn't have a high opinion of humanity, so his characterization of Kotto was over the top. He was impressed.

      In any case, Homicide LOTS the last couple of years was just pretty boys and girls playing police. Too bad. They started out so well.


    27. The Wire used some of the same writers as Homicide LOTS started with and a couple of the same actors. The Wire lasted five short seasons (I mean it was 10-12 eps per season) and, for my money, was the best TV show in TV history. It starred Baltimore, which is over 60% Black (I think it is the only majority Black large city in America) and has a fascinating history and some great architecture. I lived part-time just outside of Baltimore for a couple of years in the early 80s, and even went to a (sold out) Orioles game. It's a terrific city with a lot of character. The TV show got the best actors in the business and gave them great scripts. I've seen the series twice, and I'm almost ready to do it again.


    28. Never liked cops, so why I've sometimes liked cop shows mystifies me.

      In my defense, it's been a while.

      Richard Belzer was a comedian I laughed at, and then he was Detective Munch for 20+ years. I only saw him on Homicide LOTS, don't remember whether I hated him, but shitfuck what a thing to have as your most famous role.

      I believe WaDC is majority black as well, but I've been wrong many times about many things except egg creams.

  3. No, not joking about American Gigolo. I think it's amazing. Pure style.

    You should watch Rolling Thunder. It looks like a cheap revenge film, but the script is deep and it really simmers. One of the finest post-Viet Nam-back-in-the-real-world type things. Several years before First Blood, etc.

    1. The franchise got ridiculous quickly, but the original First Blood was a very good action movie.

      Rolling Thunder goes on the list, but I just can't bring myself to do American Gigolo again. :)

    2. Claude "Second Blood" ReignsDecember 10, 2022 at 6:33 PM

      First Blood is great - same director as Wake In Fright

      I give Rolling Thunder the edge because the script is more specific about motivation, and the excellent performances from William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones and James Best (before his epoch-defining turn as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane).

      Don't worry about American Gigolo - I'm sure I've watched it enough for three people.

      I'm curious what you'll think of First Reformed (no pressure, man.) It almost seems like the Schrader you'd like the most, but I dunno. Hawke is great in it.

    3. Ted Kotcheff — I'm surprised that the director of Wake In Fright isn't Australian. Interesting IMDB for that fellow.

      Hawke chooses interesting films to make, maybe moreso than any actor I can think of. What's a *bad* Ethan Hawke movie?

      I had to look it up, but choose to ignore your reference to Sheriff Coltrane. :)


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