Salad play-by-play

Is it a glorious technological advance, or simply intrusive, that Safeway's pharmacy renews my prescription without me requesting it? Outta nowhere they texted that my refill was ready, three weeks before my supply of pills ran out, and then they texted 'reminders' that my prescription was ready for pick-up, every 48 hours for two weeks.

More annoyingly, they auto-renewed only one of my two perpetual prescriptions, so none of this even saved me any hassle — I had to call anyway.

Safeway has the lowest prescription prices in town, my doctor told me, but I'll cheerfully pay a surcharge to avoid them. My next refills will be from someplace where employees, not computers, handle the refills.

In addition to being the world's finest chef and host of a TV cooking show in his mind whenever anyone passes through "his" kitchen, my mentally or emotionally unbalanced flatmate Dean also plays LPs loudly, whenever he's home and awake.

Even his quietest music needs to be loud, because Dean is well past 70 and doesn't have much hearing left.



& links

March 15, 2023
Rachmaninoff is cranked up to 11 as soon as Dean's awake, and he wakes up at about 3:00 in the morning. Throughout the day if he's home, there'll be big band sounds, early rock'n'roll, heavy metal, gospel music, the blues, old-style country music, movie soundtracks, and opera. 

The walls are thick enough that I can't hear Dean's music in my room, but in the kitchen and bathroom it sounds like woofers and tweeters have been mounted.

And the floors are perhaps not as thick as the walls, for 2-3 times a month someone from the downstairs half of the house comes knocking on our upstairs door, demanding that "we" turn it down.

Robert or 'L' or I will explain that it's not "we," it's Dean, who doesn't usually even hear the knocking. When he does hear it, when confronted, he'll sadly turn the volume down for the duration of the day, but forget about it tomorrow.

All this came to a head when the landlord was in the house over the weekend. He was trying to fix a leak under the kitchen sink, while Dean's music shook the silverware and rocked the fridge.

"So this is what I'm always getting text messages about," the landlord said very loudly said to Dean, who seriously had no idea, until the landlord yelled, "Your music is much too loud!" 

Dean turned it down, leaving it loud enough to still be annoying, and complained that he couldn't hear it at all.

"You need hearing aids, Dean," said the landlord, "or headphones," but that's a conversation all of us have had with Dean. He can't afford hearing aids and refuses to wear headphones or earbuds, so the house has a soundtrack.

And as soon as the landlord left, Carl Perkins and Aretha Franklin were at 90 decibels.

I can't hear it except when I come out of my room, and I rarely come out of my room, so Dean's music doesn't bother me much. 

Dean himself, though, drives me nuts. He lives to talk. There's no chance of shutting him up unless I make a scene demanding that he shut up, but even that only shuts him up for a few days.

I'm on a diet, and my dinner is usually lettuce with a few toppings. If Dean comes into the kitchen while I'm prepping the salad, he'll watch, and comment, and ask questions about the salad.

All I do is snip open a plastic bag, pour the pre-shredded salad into a bowl, then open a Buddig bag of sandwich meat and scissor it into 18 bite-size bits of salad topping. That's all. Then I bring the salad into my room, where there's croutons and salad dressing and un-shredded privacy.

For the thirty seconds I'm making the salad, though, Dean will ask what dressing I'll be using, and will I put any cheese on the salad, and have I tried olives and onions, and is it always Buddig for the meat…?

I've tried ignoring him, and said, "Dean, shut up," and explained emphatically that my salad is no concern of his, but nothing prevents the next salad play-by-play.

Every morning since Monday has been very cold and wet and extremely dark, because some schmuck stole the daylight on Sunday, "saved" it, and won't give it back for months.

Glad my jacket has some reflective stripes, else the bus driver wouldn’t be able to see me to pick me up. Out the bus’s windows, it's only through the power of neon signs that there's any evidence of the bus's whereabouts.

And in the rain on Monday, the bus roof leaked onto me in my seat.

When I got downtown and hopped off the bus to catch the next bus, I forgot my umbrella on the floor, remembering it only when the raindrops splashed me, as the bus rolled away. Thought it was going to be a soggy morning indeed – ten minutes in the rain waiting for my bus, then ten minutes walking in the rain to get to the office.

Ah, but deep in my go-anywhere bag there was a back-up umbrella, this hands-free thing that snaps on your head.

It worked nicely, but once at work, despite twenty minutes of effort, it refuses to unfold,. Now it's leaning over my screens at work as a glare preventer, and I need a new umbrella as an umbrella.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

Biden officials back Alaska oil project scorned as carbon bomb 

Silicon Valley Bank chief pressed Congress to weaken risk regulations 

States consider ending right on red to address rising pedestrian deaths 

"Colored School No. 4" in Chelsea moves closer to landmark status 

Facebook to end news access for Canadians if Online News Act becomes law 

If so, Canadians will be much better informed.

WordPress.com owner Automattic acquires an ActivityPub plugin so blogs can join the Fediverse 

I didn't actually read that article, just thought the headline was hilarious gobbledygook.

How climate change affects the spread of lyme disease 

Scientists confirm global floods and droughts worsened by climate change 

Columbus officer remains on duty while accused of drunk street racing 

No charges for Phoenix cops filmed kicking suspect to a pulp 

11 East Cleveland police officers indicted on civil rights violations after video captures shocking brutality 

Florida DEA task force agent accused of buying illegal drugs 

Atlanta police explain why they need "Cop City"
(satire, but only barely)

5 states are considering bills that would classify abortion as homicide 

18 states considering bills against drag performances 

Texas Republican introduces bounty hunting bill targeting drag queens 

The right offers a reason Silicon Valley Bank failed: Wokeness 

Gaming arcade deals with "Bible-thumping" backlash after porno shoot 

Iowa law forbids teachers from telling students "slavery was wrong" 

Colorado Catholic group spent millions on sensitive Grindr data to shame priests 

Judge who could ban abortion pill doesn't want the public to know when the hearing is 

21 South Carolina Republican lawmakers propose death penalty for women who have abortions 

White House rebukes former VP Pence over homophobic jokes about Buttigieg 

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






My browser history
without the porn

Biden "abandons millions of young people" by approving the Willow Project 

Before he was Nixon's wrong-hand man, John Ehrlichman helped destroy a famous integrated nightclub in Seattle 

Al Jaffee, now 102, is ready to be added to Mount Rushmore 

Nosy bastards read dead people's mail 

♫♬  It don't mean a thing  ♫
if it don't have that swing

American Pie — Luther Wright & the Wrongs 

Fortunate Son — Creedence Clearwater Revival 

It's Finally Over — Country Joe & the Fish 

Once Upon A Time In The West  — Ennio Morricone 

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) — Arcade Fire 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Barbara Bryant 

Alan Evans 

Dick Fosbury 

John Macrae III 

Rick Newman 

Joe Pepitone 

Pat Schroeder


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, Katameme, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, One Finger Medical, Two Finger Magical, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Nebulously Burnished, RanPrieur.com, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.  

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo, 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.


  1. My last comment went into Googland. This is a test.



  2. Inventing something new is REALLY hard. Reinventing something is even harder, because of all the unthinking you have to do.

    For decades, high jumpers used the scissors technique to clear the bar. Then, in about 1912, George Horine invented the Western Roll, which won him several new world records. For fifty years at track and field events, including the Olympic Games, jumpers rolled over the bar. That's how you did it.

    Then in the 1960s, Dick Fosbury, first in high school, then at Oregon State University, unlearned the Western Roll because he couldn't do it very well. Slowly, over several years, by trial and error, he invented a dozen ways of NOT getting over the bar. Then he tried laying upside down in mid-air over the bar and elevated his heels at the last minute. It wasn't the first or fiftieth thing he tried, but it was the beginning of the last thing.

    The strength to ignore common wisdom, the vision to see oneself on both sides of the bar and then try to imagine what one looks like and feels like during traverse is the triumph of human imagination. The other 99% is failing for a couple years after invention, but somehow knowing that you're failing forward.

    Dick Fosbury refused to give up, even though the chances were that his invented method of getting over the bar was a ballet of horseshit. I've always admired him for his trust in his ideas and his steadfastness. Today Dick is absent from the Earth, but 20,000 young men and women around the world are flopping over the bar, ever higher into the blue sky of our imagination.


    1. If *this* is what you were trying to post, thank you for the effort. I only knew the vaguest outline of the Fosbury Flop, never knew the intriguing details.

      And same as Mr Fosbury, you made it over the hurdle.

    2. Fun fact - my very good friend's father was Walter Marty, who was possibly the best high-jumper in the world in the early 30s. He was quite old, about 55 when my friend was born.


    3. Very cool, Cap. Do you happen to know what Mr Marty thought of Dick Fosbury and his flop? I assume as a former U.S. champion and near-Olympic competitor, Mr Marty would have some views on the evolution of jumping.


    4. I do not. By the time I met his daughter, he had probably been dead for a year or two, and it never came up with her.

  3. In the "for what it's worth" department, I used the evolution/revolution of the high jump in a series of presentations on the evolution of global economies I presented at a half dozen economic/market forums in the 90s. I don't know much about microeconomics, but I've spent some time on the 300,000 year history of human/global economic practices. At the time, humanity was moving out of the industrial economy into the information economy (as the primary economic growth engine). I swear half the questions and comments were about the high jump, which I only used as a metaphor for collective human change.

    I ended up leading with it, because the Fosbury flop was such a nice picture of humans changing their essential assumptions and, as a result, needing to invent new technologies. (In this case, pole and landing technologies).

    But I go on and on.

    On and On John

    1. You must know more about the the evolution/revolution of the high jump that I do, but the Captain's link to Walter Marty's Wikipedia page got me curious.

      The progression of athletic accomplishment and record-breaking has to be due to better nutrition, equipment, shoes, and training.

      Marty kept breaking world records and seems to have peaked at 6 feet 9 1⁄2 inches. The record now is 8 feet and 1⁄4 inch.

      I wonder what heights we'll hit, before we finish making the world so hellish that nobody has time to break records or keep track any more.

    2. Fair enough. I've noticed that in the last thirty years, we've learned much about nutrition, and equipment has had billions of dollars thrown at it, as have shoes, yet the current high jump record was set in 1993. Was all the information and money thrown at athletics wisely until 1993 and foolishly thereafter?

      Just one small element: training tables. College athletic dorms serve special meals to athletes, and those meals have changed considerably in the last three decades. Did they switch to Hostess Cupcakes for the high jumpers?

      I'm not really disagreeing with you. Athletes supplied their own shoes well into the 1960s and training tables consisted mostly of bigass steaks. So you make a reasonable point. I just wonder what happened after 1993 to curtail progress in the high jump.

      My personal training table has no Hostess products, although ice cream is featured on weekends and, occasionally, weekdays. This white man doesn't jump.


    3. . . . and I'm sure your research showed that within a few years of Dick Fosbury's peak, virtually every high jumper was flopping. My initial comment celebrated human innovation, although rereading the comment it sounds like a commercial for my lecture series. I'd have to discourage any interest in that direction. I was doing it for the thrill of the imposture.


    4. Lectures from John the Basket could be a popular channel on YouTube. I'd watch. Always you have something interesting to say, in this world full of people who NEVER have anything interesting to say.

      As for 1993, I wonder if humanity has jumped about as high as it can. Or maybe 1993 was a mistake in measuring.

    5. Doug, I hadn't thought explicitly of that, but it's a hell of an idea. There might be a year, or a decade, or a century, where two lines cross: one line describing "human progress" aggregated in a number of areas (e.g., medical technology, exploration of Earth and the universe, human potential (like the high jump and the development of quantum theory to explain the universe), human lifespan expansion (in the last several years that number has gone negative for the first time since WWII), etc., and one line representing human limits going the other direction, an aggregation of the effluent of human "progress": the cost to Earth of mining conducting metals needed to build computing and telecommunication machines, the cost to Earth of pollution from industrial economy factories that produce human comfort products, the cost to Earth of sustaining a population of eight billion humans instead of half a billion, the limits of human intelligence to manage all that we produce to "advance" the human condition, and dozens of additional "costs of doing business" -- the business of living on earth.

      I think it's not an unreasonable guess that those two lines crossed sometime around 1993.

      You keep shooting, apparently in the dark, and hitting targets, or at least interesting ideas, then claim ignorance or apathy.

      Your hit ratio is unusually high. That's one reason I keep coming back. That and your ongoing life story as a closet gentleman.


    6. I think most of the profundity in my writing comes from your reading of it. Absolutely I agree with your thinking on the two lines of human progress, but I'm not sure I believed it yesterday. :)

      The mid-1990s certainly seems about the time the world's rollercoaster ride to hell started gaining speed.

      And if I'm a gentleman, I'm very far in the closet.

    7. I'm not going to argue about it, but you can't post a Pathetic Life like today's and tell me you lack profundity. I didn't accuse you of being Socrates: maybe his younger, slightly askew nephew. And you've never been anything but a gentleman to me and, I suspect, your cat. People who treat cats well would be carrying God's message to the world if there were a God and if the world weren't going to hell. But they're doing what they can, and that's all anyone can ask.


    8. I came home to the family, but Uncle Socrates never comes to breakfast on Saturdays.

      The cat, I'll confess, took so long to warm up to me — more than a year before she let me touch her — that I considered returning her to the adoption agency. Sure glad I didn't. Now she's the best friend I have in the real world.


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