"Nobody likes going into the city."

My brother Clay organizes a family picnic every summer, and that's a nice idea, ain't it? We're all old, don't see each other very often.

It's a big event, with dozens of people, and I hate crowds. It's family, though, so I went to the picnic the first year I was back in Seattle, 2022. Had a good time, despite getting cornered for half an hour of one-on-one conversation with my stoner nephew George.

Last year's family picnic was in Prairie Dog City, which is so far from Seattle you can't get there on public transit. I hate riding with someone else, so I didn't go.

This year's picnic is on the other side of the Cascade mountains, in eastern Washington. It's a 'destination picnic'!


#435  [archive]
JULY 5, 2024

Which seems kooky. Clay and his wife Karen live in the next county south of Seattle, but everyone else in the family lives in nearby suburbs. Me, I don't drive, and I'm not gonna go Greyhound to a picnic, so count me out again.

When I asked why the family picnic is so far from the family, the answer was, "Nobody likes going into the city."

In other words, it's the old unspoken racism and fear of crime, because there might be a bum within eyesight, which would totally ruin the chicken and coleslaw vibe.

Better news, much:

I'm officially retired. Six weeks after applying, this morning I had a quick phone conversation with a nice lady from Social Security. She asked a few questions about my life — mother's maiden name, and who was my employer in 2016, and what year was my first employment, etc. Being the world's foremost authority on me, I aced the quiz, establishing that I'm who I usually say I am, and she said that's it.

Our call ended about ten minutes ago, and in a word or an acronym, OMG.

When I left Seattle Sprocket a few weeks ago, that was my last working day — ever. The nice lady said that the first direct deposit to my bank account will be in a day or two.

Soon as I've posted this, I'm treating myself to a fancy lunch to celebrate. When the deposit arrives, I'll have another fancy lunch to celebrate again.

The head of the Heritage Foundation, the burn-it-all-down radical right-wing group that's planning the end of democracy, says the ruling is part of a "second American Revolution," which will  "remain bloodless if the left allows it to be."

Which sounds a lot like a terrorist threat, and would probably be charged as such if someone on the left said something similar.

I hesitate to even post this, because why bother? John Roberts is scum, sure, but everyone knows it.

At his 2005 Supreme Court confirmation hearings, he said, "No one is above the law under our system and that includes the president. The president is fully bound by the law." Now, Roberts says the President is above the law, long as the President's name is Trump.

Several months ago, the Biden administration announced that while the climate effects are being studied, liquefied natural gas export permits would be temporarily halted. A bunch of Republican-run states sued, claiming their economies were damaged by the pause, and now a federal court in Louisiana has ordered the Biden administration re resume the permitting process.

But here's an idea! Under the Supreme Court's recent "Presidential immunity!" ruling, Biden could refuse, and have the judge assassinated, and he'd be immune from prosecution. 

40+ years ago, the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier was a popular topic of outrage. On my side of the political spectrum, people protested and wrote letters to their Congress-critters. Being young and skeptical, I did some research, which back then meant an afternoon with microfiche news archives at the library, and I walked away certain that there was AT LEAST reasonable doubt of his guilt.

Which makes his conviction false, his imprisonment unjust.

These days nobody much talks about Peltier, but his conviction remains false, his imprisonment unjust, and he's just had parole denied again. The feds are still adamant that he's guilty, overjoyed that he remains in prison. I remain unconvinced that he's guilty — and even if he is, 48 years in prison seems ample punishment. But he'll doubtless die there.

For your convenience, you can now purchase ammunition from a vending machine at the grocery store. Simply scan your driver's license, pose pretty for the AI-powered facial recognition software, and insert your credit card…


Hurricane Beryl's aftermath: Carriacou residents' survival stories [VIDEO] 

The Supreme Court's decision changed everything, offering Trump a huge assist in his attempts to avoid accountability. 

⚰️  DEAD PEOPLE  ⚰️ 

Marty Atkins
forgotten person 

Grace Davis
forgotten person 

Tom Fowler
rock'n'roller, The Mothers of Invention 

Russell Morash
DIY TV producer 

Marty Pavelich
hockeyer, Detroit Red Wings 

Martin Stolar
good guy 

Robert Towne
screenwriter, Chinatown


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 the AVA, Bleepity-Bleep, Breakfast at Ralf's, Chuff, Dirty Blonde Mind, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Lemmy.world, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, A Sudden Violent Jerk, Mr Souza's Happy Place, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo emeritus, Jeff Meyer, 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. CONGRATS ON THE PAYDAY!!! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. You earned it...Sometimes I think you just needed one person out there to care enough (that's debatable) to verbally kick you in the ass, to get paid. (Retirement is a nice change, speaking from experience...Eel)

    1. Thank you again for the asskicking. Next time you're in Seattle, I'll buy the doughnuts.

    2. Is it time to talk about Medicare?


    3. Probably well past time, but it'll be a much more difficult sell. I can't see myself voluntarily playing their bullshit game and proving to some well-paid shithead that I'm poor. Copy of my lease. Copy of my tax returns. Fuck no.

    4. Medicare isn't for poor people -- it's for old people. There's no financial test -- just an age test. When you tell a doctor you're not covered by Medicare, she won't think you're a rugged individualist: she'll think you're underinformed.

      OK, I understand you don't want to hear about it. I'll respect your wishes.


    5. Whoops, I was answering to Washington state's stingy Medicaid, not the federal Medicare. My mistake, sorry.

      I know nothing about Medicare, same as I knew nothing about Social Security. I know just enough to be annoyed, to know it's not free and there are premiums, which they'll helpfully withhold from my already-meagre Social Security income, so I assume Medicare is just another insurance racket where I have to fill out paperwork every time I see a doctor. And I know that the insurance company 'optional' add-ons shouldn't be allowed to call themselves 'Medicare'.

      I almost signed up for a Q-and-A about Medicare, hosted at the library, but the person providing all the answers would be an "independent agent," meaning she's a sales pro and she'll try to sell me on all the add-ons, and thus I wouldn't trust a word she says anyway.

  2. Where, in heaven's name, is Prairie Dog City? Do they make sprockets there? Both King County and Pierce County have very nice parks. I haven't organized a picnic in a few decades, but generally you can reserve several picnic tables and some cooking facilities for family outings. The only disadvantage of heading east from either county is blowing some carbon out of your car engine traversing the Cascades. And, of course, encountering mostly white folk. But I know those white folk in my bones, and I can assure you that it's no treat encountering them. That's Trump country. Which, of course, is the reason whichever brother is the speed racer wants to go there. People who want to only see white folks are people who I have no wish to spend time with.


    1. Prairie Dog City is my fictionalized name for a generic white suburb many miles from multicultural civilization. It's been a year since that picnic, and I don't even remember the town's real name.

      And yeah, a family picnic should be a casual thing. Drop by, bring some chicken or a 2-liter, hang out a while, and then go home. Having the picnic in a tiny town on the other side of a mountain pass sorts defeats the purpose, unless, as you say, the purpose is to be white as fresh linen.


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