Millionaires' Island

leftovers & links

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023

— — —

In addition to adding love and optimism to my life, marrying Stephanie added financial security. She was always more of a responsible adult than I ever was. She earned more than me, spent it wisely, and did wacky things like balancing a checkbook. She had a credit rating, fer cripesakes, and I haven't had one of those since the early 1980s.

Since her death I've returned to being a hermit and jackass, and letting everything slide. And now, here's a feeling I remember from long ago, but I didn't like it then and I don't like it now — the feeling of being about out of money.

The nestegg Steph & I accumulated over twenty years is now down to a few hundred dollars. If an emergency came up, even something so slight as a broken bone, I'd be bankrupt.

So I'd better not break any bones.

The above was written a few days ago, and I'm still poor, but there's an update: I am now employed.

It's only office work, which is a little disappointing. I'd wanted to get away from offices, but driving a bus and working at the post office wasn't for me, so it's back to doing the only work I'm any good at. My start date is next Wednesday, March 1.

The pay is OK, the hours are OK, but the job is on Mercer Island. Growing up here in Seattle, I've been everywhere in the tri-county area, but until today I'd never set foot on Mercer Island. That's rich people's territory. It's where pro athletes buy a house when they sign with the Mariners or Seahawks. It's the Planet of the Prius.

This morning I tested the bus commute to the new job, and it's OK. The #99 runs from my house to downtown, and then the #550 or #554 takes me to the island of millionaires.

It's about an hour each way, so I'll soon be listening to lots of podcasts or books on mp3. It's a reverse commute — most people are headed the other direction — so there's no worry about getting a seat, and out the window this morning I got to watch the sunrise, which was gorgeous through the snowfall. Why anyone would want to drive, is a mystery.

Switching buses downtown requires me to walk a few blocks past the hopeless, and I said good morning to several of them. One offered me a lifelike Caucasian dildo with balls, but I said, "Got one already," and kept walking.

Sound Transit, not Metro, runs the bus to Mercer Island, so the seats and suspension are better. And it's an express bus, with only two stops before crossing the lake — a quick and pleasant ride.

The island, though, was not very welcoming to this first-time visitor. There were no street signs near the bus stop, so I made my best guess what way to walk, and guessed wrong. 

The bus station is, of course, across the freeway from the civilized parts of the island, and I expected crossing the freeway on foot to be bleak and depressing. It always is, in my world, but on Mercer Island there are so many planters and ferns all across the bridges, you can't even see the freeway. Sure can hear it, though.

What with some construction and being a stranger in a strange land, the walk to my future workplace became an accidental tour of "downtown" Mercer Island, which is mostly fitness clubs, wealth management agencies, and some trendy cafes.

It's a different world for the rich. They have sidewalk furniture (chairs and tables) that isn't even bolted down, and when I found the building where I'll be working, it was unlocked. I simply walked inside, found the also-unlocked and immaculate men's room, and then sat for a while in the lobby's plush chairs, where no guards were eyeballing me. It's so unlike Seattle, it felt like I should've been carrying a passport.

And then I bused home and wrote about it. Now I'm sitting naked in my recliner, and knowing I'm going to miss sitting naked in my recliner, but I need the paycheck, and they're going to want me in pants.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

The Ohio toxic train wreck and government's failure of regulation and response 

Feds fine Mormon church for illicitly hiding $32 billion investment fund behind shell 

A Christian ministry promised an ObamaCare alternative. The FBI says its leaders pocketed $4-million and left members with thousands in unpaid medical bills. 

City Lights turns 70 without Ferlinghetti but with revolution in its heart 

Buzzing the brain with electricity can boost the willingness to engage in mental effort 

Global internet connectivity is at risk from climate disasters 

Climate change is making tampons (and lots of other stuff) more expensive 

Skiers seek climate change moves: "The seasons have shifted" 

Climate change has forced thousands to relocate in the U.S. 

Supreme Court says man arrested for mocking police can't sue 

Off-duty police officer charged with shooting man in the face at bar 

Bodycam footage shows Colorado deputies fatally shooting unarmed man who popped anti-anxiety pill while picking up his brother from school 

Arizona Republicans' anti-drag bill would send performers to prison for up to 10 years 

Iowa Republicans may ban kids from plays, WWE events in attempt to keep them from drag shows 

Tennessee Republican's bill would allow officers to carry guns while under the influence 

Kevin McCarthy hands the January 6 video over to a January 6 riot promoter Tucker Carlson 

Arizona's top prosecutor concealed records debunking election fraud claims 

Microsoft is now injecting full-size ads on Chrome website to make you stay on Edge 

Florida Democrat files bill criminalizing dogs sticking their heads out of the car window 

Spanish officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels 

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






Clicks ahoy

When the Bok-Boks came to town 

Letters to the Editor are fading away 

During a very dark period, what was the best thing you ever did for your mental health? 

The New York Times is repeating one of its most notorious mistakes 

Distortion of breakfast price hikes leaves WSJ with egg on face 

Juke joints 

Why do sea lions hang out at San Francisco's Pier 39? 

Fort for sale, £500,000 

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Ballad of the Landlord — Margaret Walker 

Flying — The Beatles 

I Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore — Woody Guthrie 

Illegal Smile — John Prine 

Spaceman — 4 Non-Blondes 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Bruce Barthol 

Paul Berg 

Howard Bragman 

Norman Dilworth 

Simone Segouin 

Roslyn Pope


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 ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, CaptCreate's Log, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, Miss Miriam's Mirror, RanPrieur.com, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.
Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Captain Hampockets, John the Basket, Dave S, Name Withheld, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.

Cranky Old Fart
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  1. A day with John Prine is so much better than a day without John Prine that I'm convinced that on the seventh day, somebody's god relaxed with the turntable spinning Prine all afternoon.


    1. John Prine is so fine he's divine, and I believe he & I met through you.


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