Eight hours pay for three hours standing around


leftovers & links
Wednesday, April 26, 2023  

Talking to yourself, it's been said, is another sign of mental Illness, but that's stupid wisdom. I talk to myself all the time, and I'm right as rain in the head. Ain't I?

Movie lines are a lot of what I say to myself. When my room suddenly seems too quiet, I might say: 

• "She's my sister and my daughter!"
• "You make me want... to vomit."
• "He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him."
• "You poor dumb son of a bitch. You've done more damage than you know."

When I see a pretty woman on the street, I say to myself, "I'd like a piece of that pumpkin pie." I say it out loud, but not too loud.

For a long time, I often said to myself, "My penis burns with a flaming itch," but over time that line's been whittled down to, "My balls hurt."

Which is a strange thing to say. My balls don't hurt. And my penis never burned with a flaming itch. Actually, other than the occasional groin bumps that any man experiences, my balls have never hurt. And yet, I often say aloud, "My balls hurt," amusing myself in the privacy of my own room.

Couple of afternoons ago, I said it as I was standing on the bus, during my ride home from work. "My balls hurt." Said it very clearly, too. Guess I was sleepy, and forgot the distinction between idiotic things you can say alone and idiotic things you maybe shouldn't say out loud.

Since I was wearing a mask, though, when I heard myself say it, I joined several other people in looking around the bus. Whaaa—? Who said that?

Like everyone else in the world, my brother Dick gets on my nerves. When I see him, I want it to be a couple of hours, not the whole afternoon. I love him, though, and I hope he beats the hell out of the health issues he's dealing with.

This isn't about Dick, really, or his health issues, but about his eagerness to talk about the health issues. The details he's told me keep ricocheting off other members of the family, so he's been talking to everyone about it. That's what people do, of course, normal people anyway, when they're worried about something.

It's one of the big differences between me and Dick. Dick's always been a guy who spills everything. When we were young, we all knew which girl Dick had a crush on in high school because he told us all about her, about how he was going to ask her out, where he'd take her if she said yes, everything.

Me, I kept my lips zipped, and usually didn't mention any girl to the family until we'd been dating for a year.

When Dick's looking for work, there's an announcement when he fills out an application, full details when he has an interview, and updates nightly for his first several weeks at whatever job.

Me, two months I've been working at Haugen & Dahl, and nobody in my family knows. 

Maybe I'll feel different when it's me looking at a bad prognosis (checks calendar), but I don't think I'd tell the family much about it. Maybe nothing at all.

Seriously, if I was staring down cancer or kidney failure, what would be the point in telling my mom? Or anyone in my family? They'd want to talk about it, which I wouldn't want, at all. And what could they say? "Have a hug." "We worry." "Come to church." "We're praying for you."

Other than the hug, none of that much interests me and it wouldn't help, so I generally keep my problems to myself. Or write about them here, with the names changed.

But again, it isn't a criticism of Dick. He's the normal one in the family, I know.

Richard Riordan died a few days ago. Investment banker, 1990s Republican Mayor of Los Angeles — a pedigreed putz, certainly. I know next to nothing about the dead dude, and he's not worth the arduous effort of a Google search, but I have a Richard Riordan story.

When I moved to San Francisco, before finding the job at Macy's, I temped, mostly for the famous Kelly agency, but I was also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. At the San Francisco IWW local, they tried something radical — they launched their own temp agency, to get work for their members.

Of course, it wasn't branded IWW, because get real, no business would knowingly bring in Wobblies. I don't remember what the IWW temp agency was called, and I don't think it lasted long, but it got me two short-term gigs.

One was at Tower Records, where I helped out during an inventory, and for a couple of weeks afterward. Tower was a cool place to buy music but it was also a cool place to work. The boss looked like a hippie and smelled like weed, the employees were pierced and tattooed and chill, and the break room was stocked with breakfast food — help yourself to Pop-Tarts, toast, cereal, milk, and pastries in the morning before your shift.

And "help yourself" doesn't mean stealing; it means that the store kept the break room stocked, and breakfast was considered a fringe benefit. Have a bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes.

The only other assignment I got through the Wobblies was at a remote location in Daly City, the suburb just south of San Francisco. Someone running for Mayor of Los Angeles had set up a phone center, and wanted us to call and tell potential voters how terrific he was.

We weren't told who the candidate was, but campaign callers are usually volunteers, so I think most of us knew. But why would he have people call from San Francisco, to reach voters in Los Angeles, in a pre-cell era when all those calls would've been long di$tance?

So the agency rented a bus to get twenty of us to Daly City, and we arrived at the appointed address a few minutes before the scheduled start time, and then we waited. And waited. And waited.

Someone put two dimes in a phone booth and called the agency, and after half an hour and several phone calls, someone from the agency told us, "Something fell through on Riordan's end." We could all go home, we were told, and we'd all be paid for the full day's work, and we were.

Hearing that we'd be paid chased away the frustration, sure, but hearing that it was Richard Riordan was hilarious. L.A. is a long ways from Frisco, but the media loved Riordan — the Republican running on his shrewd business acumen and promises of efficiency — so his name had been all over the news for weeks, maybe months.

"Good thing they hadn't told us it was that fucker," someone said. "I wouldn't have taken the work." I would've, though. It would've been grand fun to creatively deviate from whatever script we were supposed to recite on the phone.

So that's my Riordan story. Eight hours pay for three hours standing around, thanks to a shrewd Republican businessman-turned-politician who hired Wobblies to run his phone outreach, 400 miles from L.A. at long-distance rates, and then forgot to send someone to unlock the doors.

Netflix is shutting down its DVD rental service, a blow to low-tech movie fans, and high-tech too. The company's DVD selection is — soon to be was — much, much larger than the meager selections offered by its streaming service.

My sister still gets all her movies from Netflix, and I know another lady who lives far from an internet connection, and Netflix is her movie lifeline. I'm watching this subReddit to find alternatives.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

American Hospital Association presents Pelosi with an award for "advancing health care" for her years-long effort to obstruct Medicare for All 

Asheville journalists convicted for recording cops 

Climate change activists claim responsibility for deflating the tires of "over 11,000 SUVs" 

Smartphones with popular Qualcomm chip secretly share private information with chip-maker 

Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch ditches marketing executives responsible for post featuring transgender star 

There was never a reason for me to drink Budweiser; now there's a fresh reason not to.

Neil Gorsuch caught selling property to head of law firm “involved in at least 22” SCOTUS cases 

7 arrested in protest supporting censured Montana state lawmaker who argued against anti-trans bill 

Recent, rapid ocean warming ahead of El Niño alarms scientists 

Flint STILL has a water crisis — 9 years later  

EPA: 2 degrees of global warming could cause thousands of additional pediatric emergency visits 

New study shows the fatal impact of climate change on the snowshoe hare 

A "pollen storm" and longer allergy seasons are sending a growing number of adults in search of relief 

Peatlands on the prairies are at risk from climate change 

California overhauls its sea level rise plan as climate change reshapes coastal life 

Los Angeles city and county cops have 34 helicopters + 4 small aircraft, and they want more 

New York court rules state police can't keep hiding misconduct records from the public 

2 NYPD officers face potential termination for role in fatal shooting of Kawaski Trawick four years ago 

Milwaukee Police Association files lawsuit to block bodycam release 

Republicans "glorify political violence" by embracing extreme gun culture 

Mike Pence declares stripping women of their rights "the calling of our time" 

No abortions allowed in North Dakota 

Rupert Murdoch’s news empire knowingly lied. Can we just pause to take in how extraordinary that is? 

Republicans have simply repackaged old anti-gay rhetoric and scaremongering to target transgender people.  

Thomas helped kill eviction ban threatening benefactor's business 

Trump's latest false climate figure is off by more than 1,000 times 

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


My browser history
without the porn 

"We've lost steering and propulsion. Brace for impact." 

Western car culture, while promising the opposite, deprives us of our most precious commodity: time. 

Cars should come with breathalyzers as standard equipment, and refuse to start if the driver is impaired 

Every time a SpaceX rocket explodes, I wonder if we should tax the rich more 

How the enchanting, elusive pink fairy armadillo became one scientist's obsession 

From failed mall to downtown core, a city takes charge 

The enslaved artisan behind Thomas Jefferson's newly restored Virginia estate 

The Second Amendment is a ludicrous historical antique: Time for it to go 

Molly Ringwald bites back 

What weird flex you proud of? 

Heavier vehicles in aging parking garages are a recipe for disaster 

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

Don't Stop Me Now — Queen 

Gypsy Doubleheader — Fleetwood Mac 

The Israelites — Desmond Dekker & The Aces 

Percolator — The Ventures 

Sunshine — Jonathan Edwards 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Harry Belafonte 

Irma Blank 

Michael Denneny 

Michael Lipton 

Bernice Rose


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.


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