Note from the mailroom


leftovers & links
Monday, April 3, 2023

On Millionaires' Island, all the men are skinny and white and most have beards. All the women are anorexic and frequently walk their poodles. All the children are above average. And all the drivers are inexplicably polite.

There's a four-way stop at the corner near the office building, where I cross the street every morning and afternoon. There are exceptions, of course, but most drivers from all directions wait for me, and not only while I'm in the crosswalk. They wait before I even step off the curb. They remain waiting after I've passed in front of their vehicles, all the way until I reach the opposite curb. 

There are two lanes of traffic northbound and southbound, and I'm the only person crossing on foot, but the driver in the inside lane waits, even after I've already passed? The driver in the outside lane on the other side of the street waits, even as I'm just starting to cross, twenty seconds from being in front of his car? It's not even good manners; it's absurd.

My theory is that every intersection on Millionaires' Island has a camera, and the island is so rich and white that the cops have nothing else to do, so someone's actually watching the screen, and mailing tickets over the tiniest traffic infractions. 

Along my short walk to and from the island's bus station, there are lawn signs that ask, "How does $15K sound, for preschool?"

It sounds like a hell of a lot of money. Fifteen thousand dollars to watch your brat for eight hours, five days a week? That's about $5,000 more than I pay in rent for a year.

An email was sent to everyone at work, telling us that someone at work contracted COVID-19. A few years ago, an email like that was thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening. And I know COVID is still killing lots of people, but that memo sure didn't pack the wallop it did in 2020.

Here's my first more-than-slight annoyance at Haugen & Dahl, but even this is mostly a laugh.

We did a mailing with hand-addressed envelopes, for the personal touch. But after I'd dropped a week's worth of hand-addressed letters — 30 or so — into the company's mailflow, they were all back on my desk the next morning, with a very nice but very strange note from the company's mailroom. Of course, I saved for retyping later:

"Thank you for writing the address clear and large but this is a little TOO LARGE for the USPS. Please write smaller, and fit the entire address into the lower-right-quarter of the front of the envelope. Envelopes are sent through scanners that will reject it if the address is not in lower-right-quarter!"

Since the 1990s, when I was addressing hundreds of envelopes mailing my zine, I've always written the address very legible and very large — huge, really, with the zip code even huger. I wanted my mailings to get through with no misdirection by USPS, plus the huge lettering sorta signals the recipient that this is not just another piece of junk mail.

That's how I've addressed every envelope I've hand-addressed in the past thirty years. Is there really a problem, with scanners unable to read large addresses? The Post Office has never returned my mail because the address was written too large. Only the mailroom at Haugen & Dahl has done that.

By hand, I re-addressed mt thirty envelopes with much smaller penmanship, all while shaking my head.

As I peed at the urinal at work, a short guy I've seen around the office walked up to the kid's urinal, and peed. 

When I came back to pee again two hours later, the same man walked down the hall in front of me, into the men's room and held the door for me to follow. He walked to the little urinal again, and I stepped to the big one again. I ain't judging. The man's short, so he prefers the short urinal. 

When I came back to pee again at a little past noon, he was there again. That's three pees in a row, we'd peed side-by-side. There's a rule against talking while someone's peeing but I broke the rule and said, "We must be synchronized, peeing on the same schedule."

He ignored me until he'd finished his business, and as I zipped he said something to me, but through an accent so cloudy I had to think it over before understanding that he'd said "Excuse me?"

The language barrier ate my wisecrack.

"Ah, nothing," I said with a smile, but I was wearing a mask so he couldn't tell. 

If you don't hear from me for a day or two, don't send a search party. I've been having internet connection issues the past few days. This entry was posted from the library. Not sure about tomorrow's.

Most Republicans, I believe, have general confidence if the judicial system — more than I have — but not even one of them is willing to say, "Let justice work its course," about Trump's indictment.

That's how in his thrall they are, how much they fear or worship their orange messiah.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

Majority-Black town fights to stop land being seized for gravel quarry rail link 

It's a tradition ripe to be challenged and changed — starting just about with the Emancipation Proclamation, any time America has built something dangerous, toxic, or disgusting, it goes where the black people are. 

CBS faces backlash over 60 Minutes interview with Marjorie Taylor Greene 

I haven't watched 60 Minutes in many millions of minutes, but from the article it sounds like an idiot interviewing an idiot. Sounds like 60 Minutes, actually.

'Bending the knee' to insurance lobby, Biden admin delays Medicare Advantage reforms 

DeSantis may be learning what the copyright world has always known: Disney's lawyers don't fuck around 

McDonald’s temporarily shuts US offices as chain prepares for layoff notices 

While tragic to the ex-employees and their families, the news of more layoffs is so ordinary it's hardly news. The link isn't to the news, though, it's to readers talking about it, and about how shitty they've been treated by giant corporations.  

Punk Rock Museum opens in Vegas

Police nearly beat him to death. Six years later, he’s being prosecuted for it. Again. 

Woman wrongly charged in officer's traffic death set to sue Phoenix 

Republicans push for stricter election laws, despite scant proof of fraud 

Far right troll 'Ricky Vaughn' convicted of election interference for tricking people into voting by phone 

Judy Blume worried about intolerance and book banning in the US 

Donald Trump held an intimate dinner with J6 families to hug them, says his lawyer 

The medical examiner ruled the death of Kelsey Carpenter's baby an accident – yet she faces life in prison.

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






My browser history
without the porn

Even in his own obituary, John Jenrette had to yield the spotlight to lovely Rita, his devoted wife from long ago. 

Behind Oklahoma! lies the remarkable story of a gay Cherokee playwright 

"Identify how you want to identify, and God bless you!": Michael Bublé on fans, faith and fitting in 

I'm not a Michael Bublé listener and didn't read past the headline, but I'm struck by the common sensory. It's no more complicated than those six words — "Identify how you want to identify — yet so many people take great offense over other people deciding intimate things for themselves.

Unconstitutional TikTok ban would open the door to press censorship

 • The $37m question: why do US states elect judges in expensive, partisan elections? 

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

Buzzard — Armageddon 

Hail to Thee, Fat Person — Allan Sherman 

Joy — Apollo 100 

Overture from The Barber of Seville — Gioachino Rossini 

Take Me to the River — The Eurythmics 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building


Tony Coe 

Ryuichi Sakamoto 

Steve Skeates 

Seymour Stein 

Leo D. Sullivan 



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. Doug, I know with the bus ride and learning new stuff you're working long hours and needing to deal with new people when you're not entirely comfortable with the old ones, and having internet connection problems on the side, so thanks for taking time to go to the library to post. Also, thanks for finding a rare recording of Rossini, a classical composer who I actually enjoy listening to. Him and Bach. Recordings of Bach are even rarer.

    Obliquely yours,


    1. I get more pleasure from writing and posting than all four of my readers, put together, so it's worth a trip to the library. And my internet is working tonight, he typed with fingers crossed.

      You've gotta be joshing me. Surely a recording of THE BARBER OF SEVILLE can't be considered rare, can it?

      Just as obliquely yours.

    2. In your "swing" section, you list the performer, not the writer of the piece. For example, "Take Me to the River" was written by Al Green and Teenie Hodges in 1974, but you list the performers (in this case The Eurythmics) as you have done with all the songs you've shared. That system makes sense to me. But Gioachino Rossini died in 1868. This sounds like a cheap shot when I write out the explanation for my not-so-funny line, but I don't know how else to explain what I was saying.

      I really enjoy this section. You present some fine songs. I will try to be less oblique and more direct in future jokettes.


    3. Thanks for 'splaining. Interesting to ponder.

      When Elvis since "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You," it sounds distinctly different than when Lick the Tins performs the same song, so I credit the performer.

      When a classical piece is performed by the Vienna, Seattle, or Tucson Orchestras, I can't hear the difference, so the composer gets the credit.

    4. And that naming system makes perfect sense. I just shot a cheap joke your way and I didn't provide enough clues for you to have a chance to get it. And now I'm paying for it by the naming of parts, which is the surest way to make a lame joke lamer. Of course I understood why you chose the composer over the performer in classical works. Now I look like a dick for making a bad joke and a double dick for explaining it. All I need now is Garrison Keillor to make it a triple dick. I think I'll stick with the straight dope for a couple of weeks.

      in requiem,


    5. There are worse things to look like than a dick. A dick is a wonderful thing, after all, and without measuring I'm sure I'm a bigger dick than you.

    6. A dick isn't like integrity or a sense of humor. It doesn't grow with age -- rather the opposite. I used to measure my dick in portions of a furlong. Then I switched to the metric system. Then female people stopped caring how many millimeters were in a centimeter. There are entirely too many.


    7. "A dick isn't like integrity or a sense of humor." That's a bumper sticker I'd wear if I had a bumper. Or with a capital D it's a concise description of my brother.

      The last person who wanted to see my short'n'stubby died years ago, and nobody's seen it or given it any thought since then. Never was too many portions of a furlong though...

  2. I must assume your opening paragraph is inspired by Garrison Keillor.

    "Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."


    Perversely, I want DeSantis to WIN his battle with Disney. I believe that, in this timeline, Disney could COMPLETELY SHUTTER their Florida business, and not do a single dollar of Disney World park business, and have it barely affect their bottom line, while simultaneously devastating Florida. Yeah, real humans will be affected, but... I kinda want to see what happens.

    1. The one sentence about children was a tribute to Mr Keillor. The rest of the paragraph is just the facts, man.

      Disney and DeSantis are two of the most reprehensible forced in American life and lack-of-culture. Yeah, I share your desire to see them duel to the death and burn down everything twice.

    2. O what a luxury it be
      What pleasure O what perfect bliss
      So ordinary and yet chic
      To pee to piss to take a leak

      To feel your bladder just go free
      And open like the Mighty Miss
      And all your cares go down the creek
      To pee to piss to take a leak

      For gentlemen of great physique
      Who can hold water for one week
      For ladies who one quarter-cup
      Of tea can fill completely up
      For folks in urinalysis
      For little kids just learning this
      For Viennese or Swiss or Greek
      For everyone it’s pretty great
      To urinate.

      Women are quite circumspect
      But men can piss with great effect
      With terrible hydraulic force
      Can make a stream or change its course
      Can put out fires or cigarettes
      And sometimes, laying down our bets,
      Late at night outside the bars
      We like to aim up at the stars.

      O yes for men its much more grand
      Women sit or squat
      We stand
      And hold the fellow in our hand
      And proudly watch the golden arc
      Adjust the range and make our mark
      On stones and posts for rival men
      To smell and not come back again.

    3. By Garrison Keillor, says the Google, which genuinely surprises me.

      Before I knew the author, I was going to say I loved the poem, so I'll say it: I loved the poem. I didn't know Mr Keillor had it in him.

      If it's not poetic license, I envy the "golden arc" he mentions. Mine runs like a lazy stream, and hasn't arced in years.

  3. Like the first paragraph, Prairie Home Companion fan? ...E P

    1. A fan? Hmmm. Well, I respect the writer, Mr Keillor. Let's say I was a fan of the show once, but after hearing him tell the same jokes every week for years, well, I was a fan of the show once.

  4. While there may be a Stepford vibe to Millionaire Island, I've found that drivers are often much more patient and friendly in any area where the traffic is much less. Here in the Hudson Valley, the only places I see aggressive driving is where the traffic really backs up at traffic lights. Otherwise, most people will wait for a pedestrian to complete their crossing and even wave other cars to go through the intersection before them. Just like rats, if you give people enough space, they relax. -- Arden

  5. That's a very valid insight, man. Interstate-90 cuts across the island, but other than that it's a small town. No crime, no traffic, parks everywhere. They got rats, but they don't race.


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