leftovers & links
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 

My body has done strange things as it's gotten older, some of which were expected and some simply bizarre. Why am I now getting a regular crop of pimples under the bush of my eyebrows? 

My brother Dick needs surgery somewhat urgently, but instead of arranging a date and time he's debating the finances of whether he can afford it. He has "insurance," but most of the prep and tests won't be covered and they'll pay and for only some of the surgery — cutting in, perhaps, but not sewing up after.

It'll leave him in debt for the rest of his life, but if he doesn't get the surgery the rest of his life won't be long.

It's a tough choice, and America's a marvelous place, ain't it? Richest country in the world, where ordinary people gotta weigh life and death in dollars.

As reported earlier, those glasses I got from the chain eyewear place, America's Best, are all wrong. In the distance everything's sharp, and very close everything's sharp, but at my natural and preferred reading distance everything's a blur. To read, I have to take the glasses off.

Glasses that won't let you read are pretty much useless glasses.

What pissed me off more is that the lenses kept falling out of the frames. I'd bought two pair, and all four lenses popped out within hours. One time, I took the glasses off to read, gently set them on a table, and both lenses popped out with the clink on the wood. Another time, one of the lenses must've fallen out while I was walking on carpet somewhere, because I never heard it hit the floor and never found the fallen lens.

As you'd expect, America's Best made things difficult, and wouldn't issue a refund until I'd given them a chance to fix the glasses. So I saw their dippy doctor a second time — who's independent, they say, not at all an employee of America's Best. He re-measured my eyes and got the same numbers, but they remade the glasses, and replaced the lost lens, which took another ten days.

The lenses no longer pop out at the slightest nudge, and I appreciate that. They don't pop out just sitting in the case where they've been sitting for weeks, because I never wear them. Never wear them because I tend to read, and still can't read with those glasses on.

But I'm not fighting for a refund. The glasses might be useful if I'm ever on a scenic trip looking at things out the window of a train, which is a recurring daydream. Or if I want to look very, very closely in the mirror at the pimples under my eyebrows.

The Mason Clinic and its affiliated Virginia Mason Hospital are a high-class and high-cost medical clinic and hospital in downtown Seattle. (If you're wondering who Virginia Mason was, she was the newborn daughter of one of the doctors who founded the place a hundred years ago.)

I worked at the Mason Clinic and then the Mason Hospital in the 1980s, and it was a decent place. I'd recently considered applying and going back to work there, and even wrote them a letter I never sent, and attached my résumé.

Couple of weeks ago, Virginia Mason announced that they're laying off 400 people, which instead announces that they've become Just Another Soulless Dump. Companies that do layoffs in large round numbers are evil — that's the most accurate word — and they're places I do not want to work, or be a patient or customer for that matter.

Virginia Mason has giant billboards all around the city, touting their motto, "Humankindness lives at Virginia Mason Medical Center," with humankindness presented as if it's one word.

It's the kind of humankindness that lays off 400 people with a press release, and the kind of ad campaign that big-business clinics and hospitals run all around America — pretending that this place is different when of course, all the big-business clinics and hospitals are the same.

My favorite healthcare ad campaign, for sheer stupidity, was from the Catholic-owned Sisters of St Mary's in Wisconsin, where you can't get birth control and abortion is a naughty word. 

They bragged for years on billboards and in radio and TV ads that their doctors had "Presence," with a capital P.

Typically, they'd show a smiling actor in doctor garb with a dangling stethoscope, amidst lots of text explaining how very much the actor playing the doctor cares, and at the bottom, the big-print tag-line, "At St Mary's, we have Presence."

Which I guess means, they're there?

A paycheck has Presence — it's come in the mail from the Postal Service, for hours worked there two months ago.

In a separate mailing, there's a reminder from USPS to wear the approved shoes while working, with a long explanation of what footwear is approved and what's not.

In a third mailing, they tell me I've been fired for job abandonment, but advise that I can still file an appeal through the union.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

"A new era": Germany quits nuclear power, closing its final three plants

 • In leaked messages, CEO of company that owns Politico and Insider says "I am all for climate change"  

Scholastic offers author a deal, if she'll just take out the mention of racism from her book about romance between Japanese-Americans at a WW2 internment camp

Bud Light backpedals with humiliating "patriotic" ad (video)

Sandstorms driven by climate change slowly burying Iraq's ancient treasures 

Birds are vanishing – and their crisis is our crisis 

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now so huge and permanent that a coastal ecosystem is thriving on it, scientists say 

After serving 23 years for murder he did not commit, the 40th (known) person imprisoned by corrupt Chicago policeman walks out 

A war crimes team investigated the Portland police. The results are damning. 

MSP trooper had numerous complaints before pummeling jaywalking Saginaw man 

New York prosecutors ignored tainted evidence used against Spanish-speaking drivers for years 

Oklahoma sheriff, commissioner, accused of discussing killing a reporter and returning to Black hangings 

Jack Teixeira, suspected Pentagon leaker, is suddenly a cause-celeb on the right

 • Montana passes laughably unconstitutional law banning TikTok

 • Clarence Thomas has for years claimed income from a defunct real estate firm 

North Carolina lawmakers introduce bill to ban participation trophies for kids

 • Marjorie Taylor Greene says climate change is a 'scam' and fossil fuels are 'amazing' 

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


My browser history
without the porn

• Anthony Comstock: The anti-obscenity crusader who policed America's mail

 • If I had continued on the path of a cartoonist…
by Ace Backwords

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

Bridge Over Troubled Water — Simon & Garfunkel 

The End — The Doors 

Hell in a Bucket — The Grateful Dead 

Joanne — Michael Nesmith & the First National Band 

Trololo — Eduard Khil 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Edward Koren 

Hobie Landrith 

Murray Melvin 

Bing Newcomb


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. Hi...Eel here...You had some interesting stuff in the news: the scholastic story about racism and japanese incarceration and the ace backward rant, also read about the violent cop in saginaw...okay, thanks

  2. Always a pleasant surprise that someone clicks the links, thanks. :)


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