Water damage

A few inches of snow had accumulated, and it was a crunchy walk to my bus stop on Saturday morning. On the streets, though, it was compacted, and slippery.



& links

Dec. 5, 2022

At the corner near my bus stop, the road goes uphill, the corner goes uphill, and the cross-street goes up a somewhat steeper hill. When my bus came around the corner, it didn't make it. For every two feet forward, it slipped two feet backward.

After a few slip and slides, I thought I'd be late for breakfast with the family, but maybe not. Through three or four minutes in the middle of the intersection, the driver wouldn't give up.

My mind flashed back to several times in San Francisco, when the trolley lost power because of dead spots in the overhead wires. I'd hopped off back then, to help the other passengers push, and I wondered, anything I could do to help this bus and driver in any way?

Ah, no. I ain't gonna stand behind a bus that's sliding downhill on packed snow.  

An idiot driving an SUV squeezed down the hill between the bus and the curb, which seemed dicey but he didn't get crushed.

And then, the snow physics eludes me, but somehow after about a dozen slip-sliding efforts, the bus caught a smidgen of traction and made it around the corner. As it came toward me, watching from the bus stop, I yayed loudly and made the touchdown sign.

To the driver as I boarded I said, "Heck of a show for $2.75."

He was an extremely nice dude, by the way. Black guy, big smile, youngish. When we got to the end of the line he clicked the public address on to say to everybody, "Thank you for riding me this morning," but I think he was saying it mostly to a pretty lady near the front.

 Off the bus and waiting for my next ride at the transit center, a tall skinny man leaned on the wall, wearing loose shorts, no shoes, a thin skirt, and a necktie. A rosy fashion statement, considering it was 33°.

At the diner, serious bad news. A family of six flagged me down as I walked across the parking lot, and the man said, "You're headed for disappointment, friend. They're closed." He'd recognized me as a regular at the diner, but I swear I'd never seen any of them before.
"Water damage," read a hand-written sign taped to the inside of the glass door. "Closed for the weekend." Locked. Nobody inside. 
Plenty of people outside, though. As I waited for my sister's car with my momma in it, a parade of cars cruised across the lot, everyone peering into the restaurant, headed for disappointment, too.
When Katrina and Mom pulled up, we discussed the breakfast alternatives, and decided to try El Super Pollo in Burien. Which translates as The Super Chicken, but neither my mom nor sister had heard of the cartoon. 
El Super Pollo is a Mexican restaurant that serves American breakfasts, and everyone's breakfast was fine, certainly better than Denny's or IHOP. I can't give it a bad review, except in comparison to Mrs Rigby's. 
Ordinary coffee, a bit bitter, in big cups, but with too long a wait between refill offers. The pancakes were smaller, and not as delicious as Mrs Rigby's. And they cheat on the omelets.
I hate it when a diner cheats on the omelet — whipped and fried eggs, but the filling isn't in the eggs, it's added after the eggs are cooked. Between folded eggs, the meat and peppers and onions tumble out, and it's your responsibility to hunt and peck with your fork if you want both egg and Denver in any bite.
All this, for several bucks more than Mrs Rigby's charges.
Nice waitress, though, and El Super Pollo makes very good home fries. Mom and Katrina had fewer complaints than me, but I just hope Mrs Rigby's makes whatever repairs are needed pronto.
As for the conversation at breakfast…
I love these people, dearly, sincerely. I moved back to Seattle, with the intent of being closer to them, in mileage but also emotionally. So here I am, living ten miles from some of them, 40 or 50 miles from others, but I don't feel the 'closer' I was hoping for.
With only one exception, everyone in the family wants to talk only of trivial things — TV and YouTube for the ladies, baseball and football for the gents, and all of them talk about church and the weather, and how cute the grandchildren are, but the conversation stays on the surface, always.
Nobody talks about what they really want, what's in their heads and hearts, dashed dreams and daydreams, and what it all means spending some few decades on this smoldering rock. They talk about nothing, and it's hard talking about nothing so much. 
The exception is my mom, who sometimes goes deeper, but with a knife. She loves to ask when I'm going to get my teeth fixed, and why I've put on so much weight, and have I heard anything from that girl who dumped me in the 1980s?

News you need,
whether you know it or not

New Zealand plans law to require Facebook, Google to pay for news 

Indonesia set to punish sex before marriage with jail time 

France given green light to abolish internal flights 

In the age of megachurches, communion has become a big business 

Rutland Roman villa: More finds discovered beneath farmer's field 

Deadly heat waves engulfed the planet this year 

And it 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.

Florida police chief on leave after flashing badge in golf cart traffic stop 

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.

• Top Republicans stay silent on Trump's call to terminate the Constitution 

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

In the wake of the mass shooting at a Colorado gay bar, a reactionary media has blood on its hands 

Changes, by Herb Caen 

How San Francisco's hills saved its streetcars 

Let's hear it for King Kong '76 

Hell Mouth on Golden Gate Avenue 

Omsk Metro 

Diving horse 

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




♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Cover of the Rolling Stone — Dr Hook and the Medicine Show 

Don't Fear the Reaper — Blue Oyster Cult with More Cowbell

Golden Years — David Bowie 

Love, Reign o'er Me - The Who

Over the Rainbow — Israel Ka'ano'i Kamakawiwo'ole

Yeah Yeah — Cyndi Lauper

The End

Irene Cara 

Michael Pertschuk 

Clarence Gilyard Jr 

Louise Tobin


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 really appreciate these updates. The links are often fascinating.

    But I believe the correct spelling is Blue Öyster Cult. If you were protesting the posing, great. If you were mocking the stage outfits, fine. But depriving them of their umlaut, their only real contribution to the realm of metal, which is a bastard cousin of music -- OK, now that I think about it, that's OK too. Complaint withdrawn.


    1. Somehow Bób Dÿlàn managed to enjoy a moderately successful career without diacritical marks. And nobody can say he checked his attitude at the door.


    2. I was quite an old man when I learned, just now, that a couple of dots crown the O in Blue Oyster Cult. Why? It's phoentically unnecessary. Does the band want people to pronounce 'oyster' in a different way?

    3. I'm not a metalhead, but to my knowledge the umlaut simply identifies them as a metal band. It used to be called heavy metal, but the first word was apparently abandoned as redundant. These linguistic, stylistic, and cultural signifiers are used instead of actual words for reasons that I have never grasped.

      When metal and punk collided with the Northwest Sound (see also: Louie, Louie) in Seattle in the early '90s, creating Grunge, the umlauts and diacritical marks were dropped, as was Kurt Cobain by person or persons unknown. This story shall the good man teach his son; and Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

      But the sisters speak English, and Cobain's former girlfriend, Mary Lou Lord remembered the passion and the sorrow in her song about Kurt, "Some Jingle Jangle Morning", part of which goes . . .

      My friends are all I have now
      But they're so far away
      They all moved out of Seattle, back to L.A.
      They ask me how I'm doing
      And I ask them if they've seen you
      But no one sees much of anyone these days

      And so it goes . . .


    4. Also not a metalhead, but maybe I knew about the unlauts. Why umlauts, though? I associate umlauts with gentle languages spoken in quiet, wintery places where heavy metal might cause an avalanche.

      All I know and like from BOC is Don't Fear the Reaper and Death Valley Nights, and I didn't even think of them as heavy metal.

      With a few exceptions, generally I don't listen to heavy metal, Too loud, too many screaming guitars, and the people who listen to have often been people who annoyed me or beat the shit out of me.

      It's a matter of personal taste, I suppose. You tend to remember the music that's playing before blacking out from the blows.

      You confused me in the middle with Crispin Crispian. Patron saint of cobblers, leather workers, tanners, saddlers and glove, lace and shoe makers, all work which might require anvils, the heaviest of heavy metals.

      Anvil, of course, is the truest movie made about heavy metal.

      There are one or two Mary Lou Lords in my mp3 collection, and also one or two Kurt Cobains. There used to be a Courtney Love, but I grew tured of her.

    5. Sorry, my brother, it was entirely my fault -- I muddied the waters with my overly-dramatic prose in talking about the flash-fire of Grunge emerging from Seattle, so halfway through the comment, I realized that I was slipping into a Shakespearean history and I transformed my story into the Saint Crispin Day speech (band of brothers) from Henry V there for a while. It was the middle of the night (its 0715 now and I still haven't slept) and I just ran with it, making fun of my own overheated prose and somehow conjoining it with overheated heavy metal music. It was kinda lousy performance art, but I decided to leave it in because I sleeplessly thought the cross-pollination of Shakespearean history/tragedy and Grunge made sort of manic sense. It only did so in my sleepy mind, but you've built a place here where commenters can experiment with writing and I appreciate it.

      And yes, I realize that the explanation is just as convoluted as the original comment. All writ on Canada Dry diet ginger ale and nothing stronger in my declining years.


  2. I thought John was going to correct you on the Who song. It's Love, Reign O'er Me. -- Arden

    I believe the umlauts were a joke. Blue Oyster Cult in its early days employed rock critic/prankster Richard Meltzer as its sometimes lyricist, which is how you get something like Harvester of Eyes or the line in Burnin' For You: "Time to play b-sides." If you ever run across the old ReSearch book, Pranks, the Meltzer chapter is pretty good.

    1. I read that ReSearch book many years ago, and kinda remember Meltzer.

      Fixed the title, thanks, but I like it better as I've misheard it for fifty years. :)

    2. The who?

      Hell, I just keep playing Baba O'Riley over and over again. I won't get fooled again.


    3. Baba O'Riley — great song, dumb title.

      Won't Get Fooled Again — another great song, but reduced to rubble by being licensed to CSI.

    4. >Won't Get Fooled Again — another great song, but reduced to rubble by being licensed to CSI.

      Hey hey hey, Pete Townsend has to make payments on his second yacht SOMEHOW.

    5. I just watched five minutes of a television show on YouTube which was either CSI or a spinoff and didn't hear the tune, but I assume Won't Get Fooled Again was something like the theme song. In any case, it's a crime against humanity but not against capitalism. Turns out we will get fooled again. And again. I suppose next a British institution of learning will be licensing Dylan's Oxford Town to increase enrollment.


    6. Sorry, I forget that not everybody is as old as I am.


      Damn, I speak a touch of Esperanto but none of whatever language will make this into a hot link.


    7. "Somebody better investigate soon."

      They always investigate, but have they ever found anything?

    8. Yes and no, but in the long term mostly yes. The "Mississippi Burning" murders, as they are called, caused a national outrage which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That act caused the FDIC to audit banks for geographic lending equitability. As a result, any bank which failed to lend money for a house in any neighborhood the buyer could afford failed the audit and were closed within a year unless they complied.

      Lots of racist banks in Mississippi and across the south were closed and taken over by banks that complied with the law. The officers of those banks generally couldn't get work in banking anywhere in the US. The deep south was integrated up to the level of the lower middle class by 1975. It's been slow but rather steady progress since then on higher earners. The enabling legislation was passed by a coalition of centrist Democrats and progressive Republicans, of which there were enough in the 1960s and 1970s.

      In 2005, the last of the murderers charged was convicted of manslaughter and spent the rest of his live in prison.

      The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Toward Justice.


    9. > The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Toward Justice.

      Does it, though? Love your optimism and I want it to be true, but the reality I see is that there's a whole lot of coverage, books are written and movies are made, when the arc provides a glimpse of justice. So we remember the justice. It doesn't happen very often, though.

      Much more common are the outrages and injustices that simmer forever, never with a whiff of justice.

      I believe there are a thousand stories like this one, top of my cop round-up this morning, for every scrap of justice we're allowed.

      Even in that story, it's spun as heartwarming good news that the government of Utah has apologized, not as what it is — the horrid admission that another cop got away with being a monster, and died without ever being prosecuted or even shamed.

    10. I love your pessimism about cops, but there's more to the criminal justice system. We've (upper North America) effectively eliminated slavery, child labor, the most blatant unequal pay for women and minorities, most urban sweat shops (exported to China) most all-white police departments, most discrimination in housing, etc.

      And that's a fairly big "etc". It's good to illuminate the work still to be done, and, like most civilizations in the universe, we're going to eventually extinct ourselves, but it's also good to remember that the cats who built the pyramids didn't get essentially free medical care or even modest retirement assistance. For one thing, nobody lived that long. Those rocks were heavy.


    11. There is truth in your words, my friend. I am pessimistic by nature and frequently need a reminder that not everything is eternally bleak.


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