Three personal references

Most job applications want three personal references. For a hermit, introvert, and largely friendless person like me, that's a challenge. I don't have many friends, and don't want to pester the few I have with phone calls from my potential employers.

Three names and numbers, eh?



& links

Feb. 17, 2023

I'd list my previous boss, but the forms say not to.

Should I list Leon, my friend forever? He's grumpy like me, and probably wouldn't answer the phone unless he recognized the number, but if an inquisitive caller got through, what would Leon say? "Doug's a great guy, we used to squirt mustard on parked cars' windshields, and then he vanished for thirty years and nobody knew whether he was alive or dead."

I'd list my sister, but sometimes the forms say not to include family. And anyway, like with Leon, I'm not sure what she'd say about me. "When he was a kid he thought he was a frog. And then he disappeared..."

"List three personal references" is another of society's many snubs and discriminations against people who aren't particularly personable, who aren't bubbly extroverts or heavily into "networking."

Three names and numbers, eh? Paladin Deception Services has reasonable prices.

Lego makes cool click-together bricks, and they've also made more than 4-billion ugly people-shaped thumb-size dolls, the company says.

And that is nuts. How can a toy be so successful when it's not even fun or cute?

Nathan Vass is a Seattle bus driver, usually on the #7 line that goes through the city's most diverse neighborhoods. When he's not driving a bus, he's also a filmmaker, photographer, and blogger. He's a good writer, telling interesting stories about the people he's met and things that have happened while driving the bus. 

The Lines That Make Us is a collection of articles from his blog, and it's a worthwhile read. I checked it out from the library, and liked it enough to buy it. Unlike me, Nathan always tries to be positive, outgoing, and helpful, but I like him anyway.

The layout of the book is a mistake, though. Each of Nathan's short articles are preceded by a two-page photo, taken by Nathan the photographer, and printed in kinda grainy black-and-white. After each photo, the next page is entirely a huge-print pullquote from the article that follows. 

All the pages of photos and pullquotes leave only about 120 of the book's 214 pages for the text. I'm a fan of Nathan's writing, but not of his photography and pullquotery. More writing, less filler, please.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

•  "These are not detention centers, these are prisons": Hunger strike highlights poor conditions at NWDC 

New York Times writers complain to Tines about the paper's ongoing anti-trans newsbeat 

NY Times responds by publishing defense of JK Rowling and says it "will not tolerate" journalists who protest 

For sale to a good home: An ultra-rare 1970s Muni streetcar 

Climate change could cause mass exodus of tropical plankton 

Amazonian mammals threatened by climate change 

Outcry as scientists are sanctioned for climate protest 

It's 60 degrees in February. This is what climate change looks like

Un-named cop ducks lawsuit by protester left disabled after being shot with "less-lethal" munition 

NYPD adds $121-million in settlements to its $11.2-billion tab 

Officer often fed information to Proud Boys leader 

Rankin County deputies accused of torture, waterboarding 

Off the air, Fox News stars blasted the election fraud claims they peddled 

Marjorie Taylor Greene believes wind farms are killing whales 

AI-generated plagiarism and shit-writing is on the rise 

Good riddance to bad rubbish 

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




Clicks ahoy

A virus crippled U.S. cities 150 years ago. It didn't infect humans. 

The villains, rogues, and heroes behind New York's place names 

Remembering two porn pioneers 

Supermarkets are having a fire sale on data about you 

Microsoft's Bing AI is now threatening users who provoke it 

"My heart is full, my heart is breaking, and I badly want to stand still a while." 

Coffee pot trucks 

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Almost Cut My Hair — Crosby Stills & Nash 

Dear God — XTB 

Flight of the Bumble Bee — Al Hirt 

Ireland — Paul McCartney 

Space Cowboy — Steve Miller Band 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Roger Bobo 

Tom Luddy 

Marianne Mantell 

Tim McCarver 

Raquel Welch 


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, LiarTownUSA, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.
Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Captain Hampockets, John the Basket, 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. What the hell is the "Mary Sue" and what are its journalistic credits? I'm not inside the J.K. Rowling debate, and I've never read one of her books: I don't have a dog in the fight; but I've read some of Ms Rowling's articles about gender-integrated rest rooms, and they make sense to me: they certainly don't seem transphobic. She has nothing to gain and everything to lose by speaking up. Maybe I just don't understand the issues, but Ms Rowling is hardly a gender nazi.


    1. I'm not an expert either, but I think of transgender women as women, and they ought to be treated as women in every way, never as "women but" or anything else but women. And transgender men are men.

      JK Rowling disagrees, which makes her a bit of an ass.

      It's barely even about gender to me. Just treating people with respect.

  2. Thank you so much for Marilyn Monroe in a Cadillac with Abraham Lincoln, 1954. It's just perfect.


    1. I don't know why it seems like a companion photograph to René and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war, but it does. The names of the photographs somehow have the same cadence; usually, naming art reduces its impact -- in these cases the name/description enhances the artistic impact of the photographs.

    2. Well, yeah, but Lincoln is so much cuter than the dog.

  3. Almost Cut My Hair is a fine song. Thanks.


    1. One of my favorites from that era. To me it's both profound and comical, and I assume it was intended that way, but I don't really know. Was it a laugh when it first came out?

      Me, I'm a crew-cut guy, just because it's a quick shampoo and never needs to be combed. Long hair as a political statement is hard for me to grok, but it was a different time.

    2. Almost cut my hair
      It happened just the other day
      It was gettin' kinda long
      I could-a said, it was in my way
      But I didn't and I wonder why
      I feel like letting my freak flag fly
      Yes I feel like I owe it to someone

      Must be because I had the flu for Christmas
      And I'm not feelin' up to par
      It increases my paranoia
      Like lookin' at my mirror and seein' a police car
      But I'm not givin' in an inch to fear
      'Cause I promised myself this year
      I feel like I owe it to someone

      When I finally get myself together
      I'm gonna get down in that sunny southern weather
      And I find a place inside to laugh
      Separate the wheat from the chaff
      I feel like I owe it to someone

      Note: I assume I don't need to remind you how to pronounce po-lice . . . jtb

    3. Here's where ten years makes a difference. In 1966-1970 long hair would get you pulled over frequently, and keep you from being served in some restaurants. I had long hair and smoked weed, and I never carried any in my car, because I knew that, sooner or later, likely sooner, some cop was going to be going through it. I got bonked on the head pretty good in 1969 when I was a reporter for a college newspaper. I had a large PRESS tag and a pad and pencil, but long hair.

      When it was time to get a job, I had my straight hair permed into an afro (or jewfro) for five or six years. I finally had it cut fairly short by the late 70s, but I've had my beard since 1972. Beards as fashion have come and gone -- they're back in style now -- but I'll have mine when they shove me into the fire. I feel like I owe it to someone.


    4. Yup, ten years or so. I only saw long-hairs on TV, and maybe out the windows of the bus.

      My older sister wanted to date a long-hair, but Dad did not approve and wouldn't allow it. I do remember him saying, though, "at least he keeps the hair clean."

      I shaved my beard off one day to surprise my wife, but she hated my hairless head. Other than that I've been bearded for 40 years.

      Who the heck wants to shave every morning? So dang tedious.


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