Thataway comes the C bus.


leftovers & links
Thursday, March 23, 2023
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We were both on our way to work, and my quite quiet flatmate 'L' rode the bus with me one day last week. We said good morning at the bus stop, then said nothing else. When the bus came, we selected far-apart seats for the ride downtown.

That's how public transit ought to be.

My non-stop talkative flatmate Dean works downtown, too, and he commutes on the bus. So far, he hasn't ridden the same bus as me in the morning, but it'll happen.

When it does, he'll want to talk at me until the bus comes, and I'll have to tell him to shut up, and then wherever I sit on the bus, he'll sit near me, so I'll move to a different seat, and he'll follow me and keep talking, and I'll tell him to shut up, and then finally I'll have to kill him right there on the bus when he keeps talking.

All the other passengers will agree it was justifiable homicide.

That's my worst-case scenario, but almost all the morning bus rides have been pleasant so far, on my commute to work. The bums aren't awake that early, there are plenty of seats, and it's usually silent except for the creaking and roar of the bus itself.

I'm starting to recognize some of the other riders on the bus — the pretty woman who's dressed for an office job but always asleep, the 50-something white guy with furry eyebrows poking two inches out of his face, the Hispanic guy who closes the windows when they're stupidly open on cold mornings, the book-reader with a ponytail (male), and the book-reader with a ponytail (female).

Mostly, what always gets me is how few people aren't scrolling through their phones. Even I do it, sometimes.

At one intersection, several two-ton concrete blocks are in the road to 'temporarily' detour traffic. They've been there since last April, so it's hardly temporary.

Yesterday a bra, panties, and nylons were piled atop one of the barriers, and I hope they're artifacts of a happy story.

On the way home, a 50-something white guy was waiting at a bus stop, alongside his handtruck with seven milk crates lashed to it.

The driver pulled over, opened the door, and asked the man if he needed the wheelchair lift.

"Yes, mos def," said the man with the milk crates.

After riding the lift, his handtruck was loaded so wide and unwieldy with stuff that it took him another minute or so to maneuver it all toward a seat.

All the milk crates were filled with junk food – cases of chips, cases of beer and soda – and also a few loose bags were filled with similar stuff. No way all this food and beer was for the man's personal consumption — nobody buys 128 sacks of Fritos to eat, and also peanuts, popcorn, and potato chips. Was he restocking a convenience store, perhaps?

I was almost curious enough to ask, but "John 3:16" embroidered on the man's backpack ensured that I wasn't going to speak a word.

An old, frail, bald man got onto the bus, and stood for a few blocks waiting for a seat. Because the sunlight was behind him, I could see the guy expectorating with every disgusting breath — the drops were visible in flight, simply filling the air with moisture.

He was twenty seats from me, but I very consciously checked the tightness of my mask, and wondered about the schlubs seated near the wet breather. Some of them weren't masked at all. If 'not masked' means not vaccinated, they're all as good as sick.

Typing the moment now from my notes, I hold my hand in front of my face, to see if I'm also exhaling liquid like that man, but even going bah-bah-bah-bah-bah my hand remains mostly dry. That guy was not well.

In honor of the lousy training when I was almost a bus driver last summer, I must mention that the driver of my bus one morning intentionally curbed the bus. He maneuvered us over a mini-curb in the middle of the street to get the bus into a turning lane that was backed up with traffic.

Excellent driving, in my opinion. He did it gently, and he did not stop to fill out an incident report or call Dispatch.

Waiting for the bus in the heart of the burned-out Beirut that is downtown Seattle, a lost-looking white man studied the bus stop sign, looking mystified.

If I was a better man I would've offered to help, but instead I only watched. He asked a bum instead, a black guy wearing moldy clothes, smoking a joint and leaning on a building. "Where do I catch the C bus?"

"It's one block thataway," said the bum, and pointed, and he was right. Thataway comes the C bus. 

Perhaps I'm too pessimistic, but I didn't expect the bum would have a serious and correct answer to a tourist's question. Good bum.

At my very brief Post Office job, one of the things I had to do, the thing I hated most, was pick up fallen packages off the floor. Bending over is not as easy as when I was young, and getting myself vertical again is even more difficult. That's how out of shape I am.

A week or so ago, I dropped my pen while I was standing on a packed bus, and for several blocks I thought about bending over and picking it up, but it's so much work getting back up again, and there's a chance I might've wrenched my back twisting wrong reaching for the pen, and I had another pen in my pocket, so why bother? I probably stole the pen from work, and I can steal another.

Well, I mention the lost pen because a few days later I was waiting for the bus downtown, and when it came I was first in line to get aboard, but I noticed a dollar bill on the ground. It was just past the curb between the sidewalk and the bus, and immediately I decided it wasn't worth the work of bending over for a dollar.

In that same moment, though, a few inches past the dollar bill, I saw a twenty — a genuine twenty dollar bill, unless it turned out to be a Jesus tract.

It is worth the trouble and difficulty to bend over and pick up a twenty, but there were four people behind me waiting to board the bus, and bending over to get the bill, then struggling back to my feet, would take at least fifteen seconds, maybe longer, if I didn't topple... so screw it.

I got onto the bus, and listened as the much younger person behind me shouted about his good luck, and bent over and claimed the prize. It was not a Jesus tract.

Now I wonder what my threshold might be. Would I have endured the difficulty and made a line of people behind me wait, if it had been a fifty-dollar bill? 

I am losing weight, by the way. Too slowly, but there's always half a pound less of me than the week before.

Guess I oughta do some deep knee bends, too, but I ain't gonna.

On the bus as it takes me home each night, we pass a library branch, and usually some kids get on — sometimes little kids, sometimes teenagers. Five early-teenagers got on one afternoon, all of them black, three boys and two girls. Immediately a bum at the back of the bus started shouting, "Oh jeez, a street gang, buncha tough hoodlums."

At this, everyone except the kids smiled, because OK they were black and so was the bum, but also they were such obviously innocent cherubs — you could just see by their faces that these were harmless kids. 

"Yeah, we're a street gang," one of them said. "Gonna book you to death."

Not many blocks later, someone rang the bell for my stop before I could. When the ringer stood up, holy crap, it was the gourmet chef himself, my flatmate Dean.

I hadn't seen him get onto the crowded bus, but there was no mistaking him for anyone else — skinny white man I hate, under a 1950s hat.

The moment I spotted him, I knew I wasn't getting off at my normal stop. Instead I watched as he stepped off at the front door, and I rode to the next stop.

It's a much, much better thing to walk three blocks alone, than to cross the street listening to Dean.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

Medicaid rollbacks mean an estimated 18 million people may lose their coverage in the next 14 months 

South Park scoop: The truth about Big Toilet Paper 

NY Times suffers from dementia, forgetting its own role in the Iraq War debacle 

Give babies peanut butter to cut allergy by 77%, study says

New climate paper calls for charging big US oil firms with homicide 

Number of city dwellers lacking safe water to double by 2050 

While the NYPD is already $100 million over budget on overtime alone, the city's police watchdog says its own skeletal budget "does not allow the CCRB to function properly." 

Video shows Virginia deputies pile on top of Irvo Otieno before his death 

DARE cop molested teenagers in his anti-drug group for many years 

Los Angeles police accidentally release photos of undercover officers to watchdog website 

Cop's sniper rifle dropped off four story building onto sidewalk during St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York 

Four cases where CT police departments initially withheld key details after officers used force 

As New York pays out millions in police misconduct settlements, lawmakers ask why they keep happening

In unearthed video, DeSantis says he advised on Guantánamo torture 

Arkansas restricts school bathroom use by transgender people 

Florida Republicans advance "union killer" legislation despite hefty costs 

Alabama abortion doctor targeted by lawmakers, protesters, conservative news outlets and social media 

Christian Nationalist "prophet" leads thousands to pray in tongues to prevent Trump's arrest 

Republican Congressman proudly admits he doesn't know the difference between abortion & plan B 

'Don't Say Gay' lawmaker pleads guilty to COVID relief fraud 

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






My browser history
without the porn

Iraq War anniversary: Never back down on the only important fact 

Forget a TikTok ban, we need to regulate data brokers and pass a real privacy law 

Astronaut Sultan Alneyadi sees 16 sunsets daily on the space station. How will he observe Ramadan? 

"I'm happy to have this slow day": Bali marks new year with day of silence  

This family is still in the covered-wagon business 

Grace Hopper on Letterman 

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

Anthem — Leonard Cohen 

Dial Tone — Floyd Cramer 

Good Advice — Allan Sherman 

Jump — Van Halen

PeeWee's Suite — Danny Elfman 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building


Mary Bauermeister 

Jacques Cossette-Trudel 

Rolly Crump 

Willis Reed 

Amy Schwartz


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. Oh well, if you're gonna show the defecating Republican you may as well list your porn preferences, I will if you will, just the bookmarked titles: #Lesbian Seduces Straight Girl, Shy Nerdy Bookworm Seduced by her Girl Friend, Watching My Lesbian Step-sister Get it on, Lesbian college babe asslicking, Lesbian Milf Licks Ass, (Okay I do see a pattern here) By the way I have another essay maybe you might post, totally clean...Oh and feel free to delete this comment if it's too nasty---Eel...PS, off of porn for awhile, haven't been to those hot sites in a while...

    1. Can't imagine anything you'd write that I wouldn't want to publish, but don't take that as a challenge please.

      I've never understood the appeal of lesbo porn to a non-lesbo audience. Give me almost any other flavor of porn and I can imagine a scenario where I might be invited, but the lesbos are *specifically* dis-inviting me ever quicker than the straight chicks.

    2. ha, for some reason men love that shit, pretty hot stuff--E

  2. Thanks for choosing Anthem as part of your zip-a-de-doo-dah section of today's posting. Just in case the multitudes failed to click on the link, here are the lyrics, typical Cohen, halfway between an actual anthem and a prayer. . .


    Words and music by Leonard Cohen

    The birds they sing
    At the break of day
    Start again
    I heard them say
    Don't dwell on what has passed away
    Or what is yet to be

    Ah, the wars they will be fought again
    The holy dove, she will be caught again
    Bought and sold, and bought again
    The dove is never free

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in

    We asked for signs
    The signs were sent
    The birth betrayed
    The marriage spent
    Yeah, and the widowhood
    Of every government
    Signs for all to see

    I can't run no more
    With that lawless crowd
    While the killers in high places
    Say their prayers out loud
    But they've summoned, they've summoned up
    A thundercloud
    They're going to hear from me

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in

    You can add up the parts
    But you won't have the sum
    You can strike up the march
    There is no drum
    Every heart, every heart
    To love will come
    But like a refugee

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in
    That's how the light gets in
    That's how the light gets in

    Anthem lyrics © Stranger Music Inc.

  3. I'm not sure of the difference between a lyricist and a poet, but it might be, "Every heart, every heart to love will come, But like a refugee."


    1. Mr Cohen had a way with words and music.

      I wrote a few songs when I was young and thought I was in love. A couple of them, I still remember. The words were nothing great but OK. The music, though, that's the tricky part. I had to steal the tunes. My very best was stolen from Stevie Wonder, because I didn't yet know who Leonard Cohen was.

      So much talent in that family — Leonard making music and poetry, and Larry making movies...


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