"You're here."


leftovers & links
Friday, April 7, 2023

There's a genuine working phone booth at the bus stop on the island, and waiting for my bus back to the city a few days ago, a scruffy-looking teenager came by and checked the coin return. Just like the old days. 

I remember that. You'd almost never find a quarter, but... once in a while you would, and it might be this time, so you'd always check.

It's something I never thought I'd see — a scruffy-looking teenager on Millionaires' Island.

At a bus stop, I complimented a young woman on her 'Defy' baseball cap. "You see 'Obey' everywhere, but too many people obey already. 'Defy' is much better."

She earnestly explained the backstory of 'Obey', which I probably already knew but might have forgotten. "It's from a Rowdy Roddy Piper movie — oh, what was it called?"

"They Live," I said, and she was amazed that this old man at the bus stop knew about a cool old movie.

"So 'Defy' is a response to 'Obey' and They Live?" I asked.

"No, it's a wrestling thing," she said, and I googled it later and it is.

At a stop light, out the window of my bus was a young dad on the sidewalk, holding his cell phone in one hand and his infant son in both arms. The kid was crying so loud I could hear it through the bus's closed windows. Couldn't hear what his father said to the screaming kid, but from body language it was something soothing. What he was thinking, though, was Shut the fuck up.

For no apparent reason the kid suddenly stopped crying and instead bit his father's cell phone, very hard. I like to imagine he broke the screen, but the traffic light turned green and the bus rolled into traffic so who knows.

Here's something small, but it's been annoying me for a year: Where the walls meet the roof on the buses, there are ads, and ever since I came back to Seattle last year, I've noticed an ad that's recruiting for the Richmond Police Department. No experience necessary. Apply now at this website, and you could be making $53K to start.

That's Richmond, Virginia. How desperate are they, to find cops in Virginia? They're recruiting new hires from bus riders in Seattle, 3,000 miles away.

In addition to slowly self-destructing itself, baseball is also interfering with my commute. It's a curveball I hadn't expected.

On days when there's a ball game, a lot of people get to Mariners Stadium on the bus. My #550 from work to downtown is extra crowded with people who know nothing of bus etiquette, traffic moves slower on the long bridge across the lake, downtown is crammed with suburbanites trying not to see the bums and drunks, and the bus from downtown to home is jammed up and jelly tight near the stadium.

Even though I'm riding two hours before game time, I get home 15-20 minutes later on game nights, so kindly take your baseball and shove it up your ass.

When the bus pulls over to let me on, the driver almost always 'kneels' the front door, so it's less of a step for me. I've never asked.

Once I'm aboard and have flashed my fare card, the driver usually waits while I walk back and find a seat. For young passengers, they don't wait, they accelerate, but for fear of toppling an old-timer, meaning me, the driver waits. Sometimes I even say, "You don't have to wait, I'm OK here," but almost every time, the bus doesn't move until the fat codger sits down.

Guess I look old now, perhaps almost as old as I am.

Getting on the bus one morning, I noticed a blush of red on the gray vinyl seat, so I ran my thumb over it. None of the red came off, so I sat. 

I noticed, and then forgot about it.

Nobody said anything at work, but stripping down at home, yup, you guessed it, there's an unmissable red smooch on the left cheek of my pants. Which were gonna be my pants all week, but instead they've been tossed into the to-be-washed pile, and last week's pants will be re-enlisted to active duty.

On my ride home, I tapped a sleeping woman on the shoulder and said, "You're here." We were at the corner where she usually gets off, and the bus was stopping because I'd rung the bell half a block earlier. She said thanks and hopped off.

Not the first time I've done that, and other have done it for me, too, when I've napped on the bus. Tapping a shoulder is paying it forward.

An old guy was reading a newspaper on the bus this morning. Haven't seen that in ages. 

Newspapers are like seeing movies in a theater to me — I used to go to the movies at least once or twice weekly, and now I never do, and I used to subscribe to both local papers and sometimes buy the New York Times, but now, simply never.

I bought a local paper in Montana one morning a year ago, to read at a diner while I was doing the long drive from Wisc to Wash. Before that, I can't remember the last time I'd bought a newspaper, and after that I haven't.

Supporting good newspapers is a wise investment, so I subscribe online to the only semi-decent newspaper within hundreds of miles, the Seattle Times. But I read news the newfangled way, by surfing everywhere that interests me, not just one newspaper. Today I'll read articles from two dozen newspapers and half a dozen magazines, and I can't pay for all that.

Again I'll say: There ought to be an all-day and monthly pass available, where readers pay a lump sum for access to lots of papers, and their money gets divvied up based on which articles are read. I'd pay.

Instead, we're given expensive paywalls everywhere, which I easily circumvent but feel bad about it.

As Vonnegut said, "and so it goes."

News you need,
whether you know it or not

More Catholic priests diddling more children 

NPR pushes back after Twitter designates it as "state-affiliated media" 

We'll see, but Chicago seems to have elected a mayor who's not owned by the cops 

Database Shows ICE is bypassing courts and sending subpoenas to schools, charitable organizations, and abortion clinics 

Thousands of Catholic nuns unite to "wholeheartedly" declare trans people are beloved by God 

Manchester book swap vending machine a hit with readers 

La Jolla's Salk Institute gets $50 million gift to seek better ways to slow climate change 

This is tragic news, masquerading as good news. Let's slice it apart:

A company you've never heard of, that "finds and processes crude oil and natural gas for global markets," has $50-million lying around, and uses it to buy favorable publicity.

I laughed because it's funny, but it's gallows humor.

So long as such companies are allowed to exist, and allowed to have $50-million lying around, slowing climate change is not even under consideration.

Ice sheets can collapse at 600 meters a day, far faster than feared, study finds 

Greenhouse gas emissions rose at "alarming" rate last year, US data shows 

Climate change could threaten Philadelphia's drinking water 

Climate change pushing an "alarming" spread of dengue, chikungunya and zika 

"Tornado alley" is shifting farther into the US east, climate scientists warn 

Ice sheets can collapse at 600 meters a day, far faster than feared, study finds 

Droughts trimmed cattle herds, now consumers will be paying the price

Appeals court reverses murder conviction of cop who killed suicidal man 11 seconds after entering his house 

Family of 18-year-old woman fatally shot by a school safety officer announces $13 million settlement reached with school district 

Federal civil rights investigation opened in the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old in Washington, DC 

Former Beavercreek D.A.R.E. officer sentenced to federal prison for child porn case 

Questions swirl after Maryland police officer convicted of assault gets new job, with same city 

Feds invade hotel room, imprison pilot in shower 

Conservative sheriff federally indicted in scheme to illegally purchase machine guns and let political supporter rent them out 

Idaho becomes first state to restrict interstate travel for abortions 

Trump Junior's attempt at legal strategy is to target judge's daughter 

Report reveals Justice Clarence Thomas may have been on the take for years 

Tennessee GOP expels 2 Black Democratic lawmakers for anti-gun violence protests. A white legislator survived her vote. 

Heartland Institute publishes bullshit-laden textbook 

Rightwing legal activist accused of misusing $73m from non-profit groups 

Record number of anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced this year 

Idaho to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth 

Dark money groups push election denialism on US state officials 

Trump calls for defunding federal law enforcement after facing charges 

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






My browser history
without the porn

Life expectancy in America 

Is it really OK to punch Nazis? 

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

By the Beautiful Blue Danube — Johann Strauss Jr 

Everybody Knows — Leonard Cohen 

I, Robot — Alan Parsons Project 

Ms 45 — Joe Delia 

Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? — Frank Zappa 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Bill Butler 

Mel King 

Bob Lee 

Julie Anne Peters 

Norman Reynolds 

Duane Poole 

Ann Wilson


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. >a scruffy-looking teenager came by and checked the coin return. Just like the old days.

    Do yourself a favor - every time you see a CoinStar machine, check the reject bin. I have culled not just cash from there - maybe 8-10 bucks worth over the last 8 years - but legit silver coinage. Like, pre-1964 silver coins. Right now, we are looking at about 18 times face value - a dime is worth $1.80. Coin Star usually rejects silver, in my experience, and if some lugnut doesn't check the reject bin, you win win win!

    1. Dang fine advice which I'll bear in mind. There's a Coinstar in my bank lobby...

      Reminds me of a McMillan Hotel-era stupidity I regret to this day. Somehow, somewhere, I came into possession of an 1864 silver dollar in pretty good condition. Having no idea what it was worth, I stashed it in a tiny space above the cupboard in my room, intending to take it to a coin shop one of those days. Then I forgot all about it until months after I'd moved out.

      The cheapest 1864 silver dollar I can find online this afternoon is selling for $1,094.

  2. Glad you put the Zappa in today's music. Zappa is very divisive. Here's another favorite:


    1. My computer at work has internet access — hello there — but no speaker, so I'll listen at home. Curious to hear what's divisive.

    2. Captain HampocketsApril 7, 2023 at 2:02 PM

      It's like the Dead, or Rush, or Phish. People seem to either GET Zappa, or just utterly not get him.

    3. Not to be difficult, but I 'get' Zappa about as much as I 'get' the Grateful Dead — some of it I love, some of I like, some of it I shrug.

      Haven't heard enough Phish to quantify.

  3. Music is art -- likely the first human art and likely the first human vocalization -- and we have at least a 300,000 year old relationship with art. It is a special and likely uniquely human relationship. Whether we choose to have a relationship with the artist should be a question separate from the question of whether we enjoy or find meaning in her work.

    For example, I dislike the idea of hiring actors to portray musicians then trying to sell "their" music. But I tap my toe to "Last Train to Clarksville" and "I'm a Believer" and enjoy them. Sure, they were written by Boyce and Hart and Neil Diamond and recorded by studio musicians, (and mostly sung by the Monkees) but these guys get paid to produce pop hooks, so they produce pop hooks and my toe taps.

    It's really not much different with the "integrity" musicians. Take Dylan. Please. He did write all the songs for his last hurrah, Blood on the Tracks, and he even played rhythm guitar on most of the songs, but studio musicians in first, New York, then Minneapolis, did the lion's share of the playing. Of the ten other musicians who played on the album, Dylan had met one of them before (mostly socially, mostly not musically). I have a relationship with that album -- an embarrassingly deep one. Is my relationship with Dylan or with Bill Berg and Billy Peterson who form a rhythm section on half the album's songs that borders right against genius.

    Some musical artists are harder to get on board with than others, but, in the end, whether it's Dylan or Phish, or the Dead, or Zappa, my appreciation will depend on the album and the song.


    1. The Monkees, man. An entirely fake product, their personalities scripted and their music manufactured, but the scripting and manufacturing was professional and like advertising, it worked. I loved the Monkees, and they only got better as they insisted on making their own music.

      Mickey Dolenz singing Going Down nails me every time.

      Still never quite got Peter, though.

    2. Mike Nesmith in 1992.



    3. And Dan Hicks and friends singing "I Scare Myself" live on Night Music.



    4. I know a very different version of I Scare Myself, but this is beautiful too. And Nesmith could do it.


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