Crummy old mountains


leftovers & links
Friday, April 14, 2023

Poetry, writing, painting, performing, music, all the arts you can think of — everyone wants to create it, many try, some do it well, and others simply do it. Most do it lousy. A very few do it for a living, perhaps to great acclaim, but they're not much better than the others, only luckier.

In whatever endeavor, the very best creators probably remain unknown. Their work is in a trunk in someone's basement, locked away. Perhaps it's shown to a few friends. It's loved by its creator — the author, the painter, the performer — but few others even know it exists.

Success in the arts is only about who you know, or about who's lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.

And I'm not complaining. This isn't about me, it's just an observation, after seeing some amazing artwork that a co-worker doodles during meetings. She's not famous. She works for a living. But she's better than Picasso.

As for me and my writing, I'm not among the best; you know that and so do I. I'm just another of the persistent tryers, who's never quite gotten it right but keeps trying.

When I'm gone, that trunk in the basement will remain locked, until it's emptied out and sold, because it's actually a very nice trunk.

I've become addicted to burritos from Aliberto Junior's, buying them four at a time and storing them in the fridge. I eat one for dinner every night, in a big bowl with an undressed sack of salad underneath. Sometimes the salads get wilted, but the burritos haven't disappointed me yet.

It takes about ten minutes for Aliberto's to make my four burritos, so I thought I'd save time by ordering on-line. I pre-paid on my debit card, and when the e-form asked what time I'd be there to pick it up, and I put 5:45.

Arriving at 5:47, I said "Howdy, I'm Holland, and I have a pick-up." The woman at the register said it would be ten minutes or so.

Bemused, I sat at an empty table and waited, and ten or so minutes later she called my name and gave me my order.

What's the point of ordering and paying on-line, if they're not going to start prepping your food until you get there? 

There's a fly, or an insect of some kind, dying in my room. At least, it sounds like a fly. Haven't seen it. A few times every minute I hear its wings frantically buzzing, but the buzzing seems to come from the clutter on my floor.

When it first started buzzing, I thought it was the new wi-fi booster I bought a week ago. It's plugged in right about where the buzzing is. Oh great, I thought, forty bucks and the electronics is crapping out on me, so I unplugged it… but the buzzing continues.

My cat isn't even a little curious, and neither am I. Ain't going to go rummaging through the mess to find a dying bug.

At the library, a loud conversation turned into shouting and threats, with a black and clearly homeless lady shouting at Asian and Hispanic library clerks, and the clerks shouting back that "You'll have to leave now!"

It took ten minutes before the security guard, always posted at the downstairs door, dragged himself up the stairs to hush the ruckus, and he kept saying too, "I'm going to ask you to leave the library, ma'am."

What the homeless lady was angry about I never figured out, and did she ever leave the library? Not in 15 minutes of hollering, no, but I'd finished my business and it wasn't a good enough show to stick around and see how things turned out.

It wasn't even interesting enough to write about, but I did. That happens a lot.

My long streak of weekend-only pooping ended on Monday morning, with a quick and tidy dump at sunrise, at home. There was also a mid-sized drop on Wednesday evening, and a smaller, more difficult one on Friday morning. Still not doing any dumps at work, though.

Where's Bill James these days? He could compile a fascinating statistical abstract of my poops, I'm sure.

People speak of the majesty of the mountains, but they're only dirt and rocks and sometimes snow. I've always been more wowed by the infrastructure of a city.

Unlike the mountains, the underpinnings of a metropolis don't just sit there; they're a remarkable and ongoing human accomplishment.

Just think about the complex systems that need to be built and be functioning, in order to bring food, medicine, tennis shoes, and everything else into the city. Then think of the systems that pipe and truck most of the waste away. Flush a toilet or tie a big plastic bag, and to you it's gone, but it's only beginning to make its way out of town, a journey that requires great planning and support. 

For our ridiculous motor vehicles — two tons for each of us — we need gas stations, repair shops, tire and detailing and collision repair shops, traffic lights and curbs, stop signs and speed limits, roads and sidewalks, and as an afterthought, never enough buses.

It's a system that stinks and pollutes and kills people, but it works. My bus comes every morning at 6:47, or maybe a few minutes late, and I never have to give it any thought.

You ask me, that's a lot more impressive than some crummy old mountains.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

New York must make almost all subway stations accessible by long after I'm dead, judge rules

Center-running bike lane pilot project approved on dangerous San Francisco street 

I am not a bike-rider, but as a pedestrian bus-guy I think of bikers as allies. We're united against the cars. And putting a bike lane in the middle of traffic going both directions on a busy thoroughfare is dumb, and it's going to get cyclists killed.

Fox News sanctioned for withholding evidence in Dominion defamation case 

After 30 years, a father is exonerated in 'satanic panic' case 

Factory farms are so huge, one mistake can kill 18,000 cows 

Scientists discover leak in the bottom of the ocean 

Not a surprise: Widening freeway brings no traffic improvements 

Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose 2014 real estate deal with GOP megadonor, ProPublica report finds 

Foot of rain causes severe flooding in South Florida in (what used to be called) "1-in-1,000 year event" 

Miami and New Orleans face greater sea-level threat than already feared 

Climate change threatens central Illinois maple syrup production 

Climate change is making spring pothole season worse, stretching local government budgets 

Climate change is forcing birds to migrate faster 

Man with schizophrenia was left naked in jail cell for weeks before death, video shows 

As abuse allegations in a rural jail piled up, criminal inquiries dragged on or went nowhere. No one scrutinized how the sheriff ran his jail. 

Austin jailer breaks elderly deaf woman's arm after "misunderstanding" at airport 

'Eaten alive by insects': Atlanta man found dead in jail cell infested with bed bugs, coroner says 

Inside the Antioch police department's secret racist texting group 

Family of Bronx man killed by police during mental health crisis seeks justice from watchdog 

Ex-Kansas police officer pleads guilty to sexually assaulting at least 10 females 

Jailer who shot and killed ER patient is indicted for deadly conduct 

Ron DeSantis's war on voting rights 

Florida sees deluge of legislation targeting trans rights and controlling public education as DeSantis steps up courtship of Trump voters 

Defunding public libraries: Republicans' war on reading goes nuclear 

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

ClickClickClickClick  • Click 

My browser history
without the porn

Christians can't even agree on when Easter is. 

Removing Black lawmakers is voter suppression – and the US has done it for centuries 

Insane profits from digital advertising fraud 

Just one day a week, experiment with alternative social media 


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

Broken Spoke Shuffle — Creedence Clearwater Revival 

Espionage — Green Day 

Music That You Can Dance To — Sparks 

Paradise by the Dashboard Light — Meat Loaf 

True Love — Pink with Lily Allen 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Neal Boenzi 

Norm Kent 

Edward MacMahon 

Brian Moser 

Margot Stern Strom


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. Claude Hey Batter ReignsApril 14, 2023 at 3:58 PM

    Your mention of Bill James reminded me to recommend Roger Angell:


    Not my favorite sports writer (that would be Dan Jenkins, the single funniest writer - on any subject - I've ever read) but If baseball is an interest, Angell is worth reading. Of course, he's a scion of publishing royalty (New Yorker founders) which is just a coincidence, of course... but still, a beautiful writer on bats and balls.

    1. Just finished Dead Solid Perfect for the third or fourth time since it was published in 1971. A lovely book with lovely writing. Semi-Tough and Limo are both terrific as well. Solid American prose, good stories. The humor thrown in for free is so close to dead solid perfect it makes me nervous.


    2. Claude Reigns, You take drugs, Danny?April 14, 2023 at 6:50 PM

      That's my favorite of his! I find golf endlessly amusing.

    3. Golf might be amusing, but Jenkins could have made a book about semi-pro croquet sexually provocative and hilarious.

      I used to golf a little -- just fuckin' around -- and I used to go to tour events as they came through the Northwest. Mostly Senior Tour and LPGA because they're more fun than the PGA. Jenkins' straight golf articles in SI were brilliantly written and almost always captured the inherent humor of the situation, whatever it was. He was just a wonderful writer.


    4. I've read some Angell, years and years ago, and finished the book, which is high praise. Not sure I've ever heard of Jenkins, but I shoulda oughta might.

    5. You can read some pages of Dead Solid Perfect at amazon via their "look inside" function. I just reread the first paragraph and laughed three times.

    6. I like the guy's style and spent a very brief hour poking through his work. Seems he was mostly into golf and football, which... meh. Even if it's brilliant I can't read about golf or football.

      I'm guessing he didn't like baseball?


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