Worms and tomatoes

Walking a few blocks home from the bus stop, I heard a tinkling as the breeze blew. It got louder as I walked along, and I was curious, so I followed my ears across the street to figure out the tinkling.



& links

Jan. 7, 2023

What I found was a small, lightweight tin card with a five-digit number embossed into it, nailed to a tree. When the wind blew, it rattled the tin card against the nail, making the sound I'd heard. 

Stupid-ass vandalism, was my first thought. Somebody wanted to show what a man he is, by nailing a tin card to a tree, right? And this was a baby tree. There are two baby trees on every block, to accompany some recently new and improved sidewalks.

The stupidity of it all was an aggravation, but I grunted to myself and resumed my walk home. But — the next tree also had a tin card nailed to it, with a five-digit number, sequentially one less than the tree that had tinkled. On this tree, the nail had been driven farther in, so the tin card was so tight against the bark that it couldn't tinkle.

For six blocks, every tree had a tin card nailed to it, with the numbers in sequence going down, all the way until I turned onto a different sidewalk to reach my house.

And as I walked, this began to piss me off. Vandals are idiots and I hate 'em, but vandals are not so organized as to be nailing sequentially-numbered tin cards to all the sidewalk trees along a street.

So this wasn't vandalism. For some reason, the city is marking these trees — but not with ribbons, with frickin' nails.

All the way home I pondered this, and you'll tell me I should've called the city, complained, sought an explanation that would almost certainly be bullshit — but have you ever tried calling the city? I'm unemployed, but that doesn't mean my time is worthless. I'm not spending half the day on hold, waiting for the runaround about this.

Soon as I'd unlocked my door, I fetched my hammer and retraced my steps. Using the pry-bars on the backside of the hammerhead, I pulled the nails out of every tree. Thought about bringing band-aids to cover the wounds, but I only have two left.

If very well-organized vandals are hammering tin cards to the trees in numerical order, fuck 'em. And if the city's to blame, fuck them too.

Over many years, tomatoes have been genetically engineered for appearance, sacrificing flavor. They look great, but there's not much flavor left. When I buy toms, it's mostly for the texture, which still feels tomatoey and psychosomatically reminds me of what tomatoes used to be.

Those little stickers they stick to every tomato, though — what a pain peeling them off, and in yesterday's salad I either forgot or there was a double-stickered tomato. Half a sticker was still on the tomato slice, on my fork, headed directly for my mouth. The other half of the sticker was on another slice, deeper in the salad.

So I'm breaking up with tomatoes. Nobody needs beautifully red but barely-flavored vegetably fruit with stickers.

When it rains, worms come up from under the grass. Presumably, this is an instinct evolved to keep the worms from drowning in an apocalyptic deluge.

On the surface, though, the waters often carry them from dirt to asphalt or concrete, where they can't burrow under, so when the sun comes out the worms writhe and bake and die on the pavement. 

Almost any time I notice, I'll rescue a worm — pick it up (which is tricky, cuz they squirm) and toss it into the grass. Many hundreds of worms owe their lives to me, and never once have any of them said thanks.

Anyone else rescuing the worms? 

My apartment is too cluttered for a wheelchair to get around. I gotta get it tidied up before my dead wife Stephanie's next visit in a dream.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

Oregon Supreme Court applies SCOTUS ruling retroactively, overturns all non-unanimous jury convictions 

Great Salt Lake set to vanish in 5 years, experts warn Utah lawmakers 

Half of Earth’s glaciers could melt even if key warming goal is met, study says 

Climate change is leaving African elephants desperate for water 

Climate change may reduce organic carbon burial while increasing carbon recovered to the atmosphere 

Flies are taking over thanks to climate change — while moths and other pollinators disappear 

"It never stops": killings by US police reach record high in 2022 

The penalty for possession of child pornography is two years of house arrest (if you're a cop) 

Art History professor fired for using ancient paintings of Muhammad in class

South Carolina Supreme Court strikes down state abortion ban 

Circus buys town 

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




Clicks ahoy

Under Musk, Twitter continues to promote US propaganda networks 

How drag artists became the far right's ultimate villains 

Widening highways doesn't fix traffic. So why do we keep doing it? 

Star Trek in Cinemascope

How to fake being a Christian 

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Changes — David Bowie 

Death to My Hometown — Bruce Springsteen 

Holding Out for a Hero — Bonnie Tyler 

Medical Center — Lalo Schifrin 

• Shoop Shoop Song — Cher 

Whitey on the Moon — Gil-Scott Heron 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Greg Bear 

Suzy McKee Charnas 

Michael Snow 

Nate Thayer 

Fred White 

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.
Special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S, Wynn Bruce, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.

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