Getting ready for work

it looks like I'm about to be employed by the United States Postal Service. I'd already done the fingerprints and background check, and they'd told me I'm "conditionally hired," despite never having interviewed for the job.

Then on Monday, USPS emailed me an employee logon, and yesterday they sent info on the orientation session for new hires, which is Monday. Guess I have a job, dammit.

In the past, I've always been nervous and excited about starting a new job. This time around, I'm neither. Just kind of annoyed. 



& links

Feb. 9, 2023

Since getting laid off by the insurance company in Wisconsin, I've been unemployed for a year, and enjoyed it tremendously. It's been the 22nd best year of my life, behind only every year I was married to my marvelous but departed wife.

It's been a year on my ass, and there's no better place to be — watching old movies, reading a few books, and being a lump.

Those good old days are ending. Eight hours five days a week, plus an unpaid lunch hour, plus bus commute time is gonna subtract lots of my beloved Doug Time. There'll be fewer movies watched and books read, fewer posts on this website, and I'll no longer be able to nap or masturbate whenever the whim strikes.

Ah, well. People gotta work, and technically I'm people, so — here comes the annoyment of employment.

My notebook is full of stories I'm hoping to tell over the next few (the last few) days in this recliner. Bus stories, family stories, movie reviews to be written, before work sucks the creativity outta me.
Long ago I wondered whether I might've written something worth reading, if I hadn't always had to give so much time and energy to a job. At my age the motivation is gone so the matter is moot, but still I wonder.

Some great writers, far better than me, wrote their first works while working, so it's not impossible. But they all had more talent and more gumption than me. Zining is about all I've ever done.

I've been running errands, getting things done that would be difficult/impossible when I'm working all week. 

Accomplished so far: got prescription glasses, got the car repaired, got my house keys duped and spares hidden so's I can't lock myself out some sleepy morning, bought new socks cuz I only had one pair, and a monthly bus pass to make the commute affordable, and a new jacket that's more waterproof than my old leaky one, plus it has reflective stripes cuz I'll be walking to the bus stop before sunrise.

Still need to buy a new laptop, today or maybe tomorrow. This one's started misbehaving, which always means it'll die soon.

And I might need a new work wardrobe from Salvation Army, but I ain't buying any clothes yet — I'm hoping USPS tells me to wear their blue uniform, and provides it.

Yesterday I did the pre-work commute, something I've done with every job I've ever had. To prevent getting lost on the way to my first day, I took a practice run on my predicted bus ride, and walked to where I'll be working, then turned around and walked and bused back.

It's a two-bus ride each way, and it took longer than I'd hoped, and the walk from the bus stop to USPS was farther than it looks on the map. It adds up to several blocks of walking, which is several blocks more than I like to walk, but at least the terrain is flat, and there's a bench at my bus stop waiting for the ride home.

The walk takes me over a bridge, with a nice view of the river below and the industrial neighborhood.

Crossing the bridge a second time on my way back to the bus, a bird the size of a backpack and a half was sitting on a stump by the shore. When I shouted, "Hey, big bird," it flew off beautifully, swooping low over the water.

No idea what kind of bird it was, besides big and beautiful. If i see it again, maybe I'll toss it some sardines and make a bird friend.

Hiring me without a job interview means I've somehow so far passed USPS's muster, but they haven't passed mine. I'm shaky on what the job entails, don't even know the hours or what it pays, and I've never yet met my boss and might hate him/her.

Last summer I quit the bus driving job because it annoyed me, but my life savings have been dangerously depleted during this year on my ass, so employment is no longer optional. Even if I hate this job I'll have to do this job, if only for as long as it takes to find something better.

Hoping I won't hate the job, though, and I do think highly of the US Postal Service. At least, before working there I do.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

Hospitals and health apps share medical data with Google, Microsoft, and Facebook 

Scientists find nearby planet the same size of Earth, plan to search it for life 

Biden gives speech, some people applaud, others don't

No link, on purpose, because the state of the Union sucks, but a speech doesn't matter.

Twice as much land in developing nations will be swamped by rising seas than previously projected, new research shows 

That "news story" on climate change you’re reading might be a greenwashing ad instead

Climate change is contributing to the rise of superbugs, new UN report says 

The police who engaged in abuse during the 2020 protests against unaccountable police abuse are not being held accountable 

•  Cops ignore racist threats for more than a year 

New Jersey officer charged after allegedly shooting and wounding fleeing person who was unarmed 

Police Chief charged with federal drug crimes 

Child rapist cop gets suspended sentence, probation 

Connecticut parents arrested for letting kids, ages 7 and 9, walk to Dunkin' Donuts 

Cop won't be charged for shooting death of innocent bystander 

Alleged rapist jailer arrested, released on his own recognizance 

Montana bill would ban teaching of scientific theories in schools 

Mississippi Republicans pass bill to create separate, un-elected court in majority-Black city 

Heartland Institute sends climate change denial BS to thousands of teachers 

Study: US judges give harsher sentences when their football team loses

Microsoft launches new Bing, with ChatGPT built in 

Woo-hoo, another reason to avoid Bing.

•  John Cleese to reboot Fawlty Towers, with added nepotism

Mystery links
There's no knowing where you're going




Clicks ahoy

US media's "Chinese spy balloon" meltdown shows intellectual vacuity of "national security" coverage 

How Angela Davis got onto the FBI Most Wanted List 

The Washington Post is doomed without a major reset 

Neil deGrasse Tyson, high school wrestling team captain, once invented a physics-based wrestling move

Current classified document scandals show the government is still classifying way too many documents

North Korea still owes Sweden for 1,000 Volvos ordered in the 1970s 

If there was a zombie apocalypse, what foods in a grocery store would still be fine to eat 100 years later? 

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Firefly — Sonny Rhodes 

Infatuation — Rod Stewart 

No Time — The Guess Who 

Something In the Air — Thunderclap Newman 

Woman — John Lennon 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Barrett Strong 

Franklin Florence   

George P Wilbur 

Ian Michael Smith 

Abraham L Snyder 

Harry Whittington 

George Zimbel 


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.


  1. >Crossing the bridge a second time on my way back to the bus, a bird the size of a backpack and a half was sitting on a stump by the shore.

    Man, we get bald eagles here sometimes. Usually, they are just circling in the air, hunting. But a few monts ago, I drove up and saw one on the side of the road, eating a corpse. Holy moly, that thing was a monster. As I slowed to a crawl and approached, it took off and roosted in a tree - I swear to god, the wingspan was about 3-4 feet, and its body was literally as big as your backpack full of zines on a busy day at the mail drop, if not bigger.

    Truly majestic.

    1. A bald eagle, symbol of America, eating a corpse. Ain't that America. Ya shoulda took a picture.

      I am only just starting to get used to carrying my phone with me, but I never remember to take a picture of anything.

      When I first saw the bird, I thought it was a child, perched dangerously over the water on a rotted pier. And when it flew, well, I'm a poor judge of distance but from a distance I'd say the wingspan was about the same as your bird, 3 or 4 feet. So Dang Big.

      Not an eagle, though. I'd recognize the white head. Man, I want to see that bird again.

  2. While I'm certain this is awful for Heidi and her daughter, it's an awfully kind way to go for her husband. No prolonged illness. No pain and suffering. Just lay down and sail onward. It's one of those terrible paradoxes of life. Here we've spared the man but saddled his loved ones with shocking, sudden overwhelming grief. Wish there was a middle ground. But I also hope that we all get to go quietly and painlessly. It's hard being human. -- Arden

  3. Nah, I don't remember anyone from your wedding, barely even you. You're a warmer man than you sometimes admit, to cry at the death of a man you'd never met.

    And I'm sure some schmuck will say to the widow or the daughter, "The Lord works in mysterious ways, and it's all part of His plan." I don't know who to hate more, the people who say that and think it's a kindness, or the fools who truly believe it.

  4. Frickin' profound, Arden.

    "No prolonged illness. No pain and suffering. Just lay down and sail onward."

    From a slow lingering death there's nothing gained but whirlwind profits for the doctors and pharmacists. I have seen that kind of death, so give me an instant exit every time, for me, and for the people I love.

    The middle ground you speak of would be voluntary suicide, which if done right could be marvelous. Give me an afternoon with the few people I know and love, a chance to laugh and argue and overeat, and then give me two yellow pills and let me call it a life.

  5. >You're a warmer man than you sometimes admit, to cry at the death of a man you'd never met.

    Well, you know I don't cry for HIM. I cry for the void he left in the lives of people I love.

  6. >A bald eagle, symbol of America, eating a corpse. Ain't that America. Ya shoulda took a picture.

    I did, but I couldn't get the actual corpse eating, and the pics kinda suck, as Mr. / Ms. Eagle was too far away for good resolution with my potato phone.



    1. Even blurry, it's a beautiful bird.

  7. "Connecticut parents arrested for letting kids, ages 7 and 9, walk to Dunkin' Donuts"

    What a mind-boggling and infuriating story. I don't like children, and especially not the people who have them, but for fuck's sake!

    7 and 9? I was allowed to stay home by myself in the 1970s from the age of five, and free to roam the neighborhood / local park / library / grocery and drug stores from about seven. I never once saw a cop or a "social worker" (not even on Halloween) but did get offered drugs and called lots of names I didn't understand. Somehow I think I was better off than the kids in this story.

    On the other hand, I don't trust ANY news story from any source, and there's always the possibility the town has some sort of legit grudge against the family, or they have some sort of history. HAH!

    Regardless, fuck those cops dry and sideways with their own billy clubs, and if a "social worker" ever shows up at my door for any reason, I will urinate on their knees and set their pants on fire.

    1. There is *always* more to the story than makes it into the media. Your grudge theory isn't at all unlikely.

      But yeah, that said, there's no amount of facts left out that makes it right.

      I don't even remember having a babysitter, except my older sisters. I was *definitely* running to the store for Mom in first grade.

      These are not sensible times, and kids who can't go to the store or Dunnkin' Donuts unattended at 7 or 9 are gonna be fucked up adults.

    2. Kinda changing the subject, but kinda not, let me babble a bit about social workers.

      When my wife was diagnosed with kidney failure, it meant the rest of her life would involve visits to kidney clinics for dialysis. Every patient gets a 'team' -- a

      doctor (seen once monthly for ten minutes) is allegedly in charge, but the real team is a nurse, a dietician, and a social worker.

      The nurse and dietician sorta make sense. I could explain what they do. What the social worker did, we never figured out, but one was present at every meeting.

      We weren't on drugs, or wretched poverty cases, and we had insurance, so why was she (and every kidney patient) assigned a social worker?

      In seven years of seeing a social worker at least once monthly, often more than that, there was one sentence from one social worker that was somewhat helpful.

      Everything else was a well-funded waste of breath.

      When your cops are done billyclubbing themselves, the social workers can bend over for their turn.

    3. "These are not sensible times, and kids who can't go to the store or Dunnkin' Donuts unattended at 7 or 9 are gonna be fucked up adults."

      They'll probably grow up to be... social workers.

      RE: Your wife - getting ill is most people's worst fear, not just for the sickness itself, but the outrageous costs. It's the bureaucratic runaround I dread the most, though. I don't want my last days and hours occupied with petty, dickless tyrants and scheming, do-nothing bean counters shoving papers under my nose. Ah, America.

    4. I know little about other fatal diseases, but you've hammered the nail right through the wall about the bureaucracy of kidney disease.

      My wife said that they wanted to make her into a professional patient, and there certainly were a few absolute tyrants among her doctors. Kinda like being a cop is the perfect line of work if you're a thuggish asshole, being a kidney specialist is a great choice if you're a doctor with no empathy. After all, no matter what you do, the disease will kill all of your patients.

      I smiled when you said you wouldn't want your last days and hours occupied with the tyranny and bureaucracy.

      From some rare comments made by MDs and nurses over the years, we gleaned that it's not all that uncommon for kidney patients to suicide by voluntarily stopping dialysis.

  8. Same difference, really.


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