Spare change?

From Pathetic Life #1
Friday, June 10, 1994

Had words with a homeless guy today. That's never fun, but this guy really needs to be slapped around a little — where's Jimmy Cagney and Joan Blondell when you need 'em?

I'm usually nice to the homeless. I don't snarl 'get a job' because I know employment ain't easy to get, and when my job runs out I expect to be begging for nickels myself. So when I've got it I've always given it, and once upon a time a couple of months ago, flush with funds and in a good mood, I gave this homeless guy a couple of quarters and a couple of sentences. But now whenever he sees me he is all over me, and when the answer is no he'll ask again and again.

"Hey, mister, got any spare change?" ... "Spare change?" ... "Can you help me with some spare change?"

This is what the Mayor means by 'aggressive panhandling'. And I hate the Mayor, by the way, like any good San Franciscan should, but when he's right, he's right.

I live near Union Square, where this man does his panhandling, so this same (presumably) homeless man was in my face today for maybe the fifth time this month, and I unloaded on him.

"Hey, I gave you some change a couple of times, but that doesn't mean I've adopted you as my son, and it doesn't mean I'm an easy mark every time you see my face. Do I look like J D Rockefeller? Well, I'm not. I'm a poor schmoe, and I'm tired of having you up and in my face every time I walk down Valencia Street. So give somebody else your endless whiney-eyed hard luck story, because I've heard it from you so many times I've got your whole shtick memorized. The answer is no. No today, no tomorrow, no the day after that and every day of your life. Capeesh?"

Was I too harsh?

All I know is, this jerk ain't getting nothing from me except a fist in the face if he doesn't back off.

And this sounds downright Republican, but I'm not giving to beggars any more. Effective immediately, if you want spare change from me, you've got to make me smile. I might have change for the robot-guy on Powell Street, or Mr Good Humor on O'Farrell, for the kazoo serenade on Mission, for the drum and violin duet in the BART station, or for any mendicant with a semi-clever line, but I've got no more change for someone asking for help 40 hours a week.

See, the competition is getting pretty crowded, and everyone on the street wants what little money I have, so rattling tin cans and looking like a loser just won't cut it any more.

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Addendum, here and now: I am embarrassed that I wrote the above, and horrified that I said what I said all those years ago, to someone who was wounded already. I disavow all of it. If I knew where that poor, hungry spare-changer I yelled at was today, I'd apologize to him, and take him to breakfast at the diner.

Every word I wrote is wrong, but I'm posting it anyway, because what happened happened. Honesty was the whole point of my Pathetic Life project — I did all this stupid shit, wrote about it, and I guess I even thought it was amusing, so I'm posting it. No fair hiding from myself.

I was me in some ways back then, but politically I was a jackass. Let me tell you why, and what healed me:

When I was young and stupid, I read some books by Ayn Rand, which left me warped. I called myself a libertarian, which is a five-syllable synonym for asswipe. For too many years I believed, really believed, that wealth is earned, and that most poor people wouldn't be poor if they just worked harder. That's where my head was in 1994 — snuggled up deep in the crevice of my own butt.

In the words of John Cleese, "I got better," and most of the credit goes to my wife, Stephanie. We met a few years after these events, and to say she made me a better man is an exponential understatement; she made me a man, that's all. With her example, I learned about compassion, kindness, and just generally being a decent human being. Thank you, Steph, forever. And I miss you.

I didn't magically morph into Mahatma Gandhi, but I'm not the person I was on June 10, 1994. For one thing, I never give spare change to the destitute any more — instead I give spare cash, usually $1s, sometimes a $5 bill. And I wouldn't begrudge anyone who recognized me as a giver and asked me to give again, because it only makes sense — who's a more logical person to ask for help, than the man who helped you a week ago?

Today I'd say, "Here, stranger, have another couple bucks, and have a hug, and I hope it helps."

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Clearly, someone has a hot plate.

From Pathetic Life #1
Monday - Thursday,
June 6, 7, 8, & 9, 1994 

MONDAY — A day at the office, and then a night at the movies — The Hatchet Man (1932) and The Public Enemy (1931), more pre-Code dramas at the Roxie.

Hatchet is notable mostly for its overt racism, and for making a serial killer the hero, without even a hint that the police might be interested. Edward G Robinson and Loretta Young both play Asian-Americans — white actors in yellow-face.

All in all, it was distasteful. Even trying to put myself in the mindset from when the movie was made, trying not to notice the racism... the movie still sucked.

The Public Enemy, though, is dynamite — another 'important issue' drama, which I guess was a genre back then but sure isn't today.

It's about a bunch of violent outlaws making big money running a liquor cartel during Prohibition. It seemed more dated than you'd expect an old movie to be, so I began mentally translating the plot into the present, imagining that the violent outlaws were running a drug cartel instead, during our present Prohibition. And man, once I looked at it that way, Public Enemy is  remarkable.

It's unmistakably an indictment of Prohibition, showing Cagney's character as a small-time hood who probably wouldn't have done much damage, maybe might have gone straight, but with so much easy money from running booze (drugs), he became an extremely violent big-time crime lord instead.

And to think, it was made by a giant studio, Warner Bros, while liquor was illegal. Whether you think the War on Drugs is right or wrong (pssst — it's horribly, morally wrong), can you imagine a big Hollywood studio today, making a movie that seriously, pointedly calls for the legalization of marijuana and sacred shrooms?

♦ ♦ ♦

TUESDAY — Speaking of prohibition, cooking is expressly forbidden by the rules of this fine hotel, yet most mornings the halls seem to smell of bacon, and in the evening the scent of luscious lasagna or casserole is unavoidable. Clearly, someone has a hot plate.

Yeah, I have a hot plate, too, but I rarely use it. Usually I eat peanut butter sandwiches.

♦ ♦ ♦

WEDNESDAY — It's been approved by my boss: I've got next Tuesday off work (without pay, of course). Maggie arrives Monday night, and I certainly hope I'm in no condition to work on Tuesday.

Also official, my mom is coming for a visit early next month. She is a bit motherly, maybe more than most mothers, but I love her, and look forward to seeing her. Lunch together would be ideal, or we could even spend a day together. But she'll be here for 3½ days, so trepidation abounds.

My mom talks a lot about dead people, and people I don't know, and dead people I didn't know when they were alive. She thinks I'm a Christian and a virgin, when I haven't been either for twenty years. She remembers every lie I've ever told, and she's the only guilt trip I'm not immune to. Put it all together, it spells Mother. Her plane arrives on July 1...

♦ ♦ ♦

THURSDAY — Tonight was the last of the pre-Code festival at the Roxie. Two with James Cagney — Taxi (1932), and Blonde Crazy (1931). Both were fun, with no real messages.

The crazy blonde was Joan Blondell, who's always one of my favorites of her era. In this one she slaps a dozen men's faces, before becoming Cagney's platonic partner in a clever con game.

I would've enjoyed the movies more if my hemorrhoids weren't zinging my butt so bad. I had to stand for the last twenty minutes of the last show, leaning against the theater's back wall.

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Goodbye Dragon Inn,
and a few more films

Good Will Hunting (1997)

It's not about thrifting at Goodwill. Will Hunting is the main character's name.

He's a troubled and occasionally violent janitor at MIT, who solves a heady math problem on a chalkboard at the university. It's a problem none of the students could figure out, so a professor decides the janitor is a math whiz, and tracks Will to one of his numerous court appearances.

As often happens but only to white people and only in the movies, the judge releases the defendant to the custody of someone who promises to tend him. In this case it's the math professor, with a requirement that Will see a therapist for his recurring anger issues. 

#300  [archive]
JUNE 9, 2024

Matt Damon stars, with Robin Williams as the shrink, Minnie Driver as the girl, Stellan Skarsgård as the professor, and Ben Affleck as the best buddy. Script by Damon & Affleck, pulling a 'Rocky' same as Sylvester Stallone did — they weren't getting the good roles they wanted, so they wrote their own movie.

The Boston-boys hijinks with Damon and Affleck gets tedious, and as usually happens in Hollywood, "the girl" is pretty and that's all she has going on. The bulk of the movie, though, is about the psychiatrist trying to get inside Will's wounded head, and young Will figuring out what he wants from life.

Good Will Hunting is more intelligent and awake than most big-time movies, which isn't saying much, but it has a whisper of something to say, and earns a thumb's up from me.

It's a good movie with a stupid title.

Directed by Gus Van Sant. Music by Danny Elfman. 

Verdict: YES.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

"The good" is Clint Eastwood, though he's barely a good guy. He makes his living in a swindle, turning in a wanted man for the bounty, then shooting the rope at the hanging, making a getaway with the wanted man, and pulling the same ruse in the next town.

"The bad" is Lee Van Cleef, a man of mean eyes and a cruel heart, who's looking for a lockbox full of stolen treasure. He's an honest bad, though. When two men hire him to kill each other, he sees no conflict of interest and follows through, twice.

"The ugly" is Eli Wallach, who starts as the man on the rope in Eastwood's scheme, but wants a bigger cut, so Eastwood abandons him in the desert. "The way back to town is only 70 miles. You know, if you save your breath, I feel a man like you could manage it. Adios."

All three men hate each other, and the lost treasure is the MacGuffin that keeps them at each others throats, with doublecrosses all along the way. Everything is overamped to near-silliness, including the Civil War set piece and the Mexican standoff at the end, but the music and unending eyeball close-ups demand to be taken seriously. 

This is the best spaghetti western ever.

Does the term need to be defined? Spaghetti westerns were set in America's old west but filmed in Italy, with mostly Italian casts, all-Italian crews, and usually a few American stars. The actors and actresses speak in their own languages, dubbed as needed for the flick to play on either side of the Atlantic. Which is a crazy way to make movies, but some were enjoyable, and this is the best.

The story is a series of thinly-connected vignettes, all playing on familiar western clichés, adding up to a fine way to spend three hours of your life. The director is Sergio Leone, a master at these things, and the music is by the magnificent Ennio Morricone. 

Verdict: BIG YES. 

♦ ♦ ♦  

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

This film takes place entirely at the Fu-Ho Grand Theater, in Taipei. It's a very large, single-screen cinema, and in the first scene it's completely full, with about a thousand people watching Dragon Inn (1967), a Taiwanese epic.

That opening scene, with the packed theater, is a flashback. Dragon Inn packed the place when it first played, but this is the theater's closing night. They've booked Dragon Inn for one last screening before the doors are locked, and there are only perhaps two dozen people in the audience.

Basically, that's Goodbye, Dragon Inn. It unfolds in real time, while Dragon Inn plays in the background. It shows the theater's audience, and its staff. It's eerie, it's sad, and obviously very unlike ordinary movies.

The subtitles relay Dragon Inn's dialogue, since Goodbye, Dragon Inn has nearly no dialogue of its own. (And at the link above, click 'closed captions' to launch the subtitles.)

Dragon Inn is a rousing adventure, but Goodbye, Dragon Inn is slow, and by movie-standards almost nothing happens. Many shots last a minute, and some last much longer — no MTV quick cuts here. Also no action, and no drama unless you're paying close attention (which I recommend).

In the audience, a woman eats nuts, cracking the shells, annoying the man in front of her. A man puts his feet up, uncomfortably close to another patron's head.

There's some slight cruising, straight and gay, hinted at but never shown. From their seats, people eye each other for longer than I'd consider socially accessible, and in the men's room, a dozen urinals are available, but three men stand side-by-side in three adjacent urinals. 

There are only two employees at the theater: a young woman who walks with a laborious limp, and the projectionist. She might have a crush on him. We watch her struggle up a flight of stairs to share her lunch with him in the projection booth, but he's not there; the movie is unspooling without him. Maybe he's one of the guys in the men's room. She sits and waits for a while, then gives up, and struggles down the stairs again. 

When Dragon Inn concludes, the house lights come up, and the limping woman sweeps the aisles. The camera lingers, watching an empty auditorium for several minutes.  

Then Goodbye, Dragon Inn concludes, with two small but big scenes I can't tell you about because I don't do spoilers. Suffice to say, there's an emotional payoff, but again, only if you're paying close attention.

Finally, the camera leaves the theater, where a sign says "Temporarily closed," but I've seen similar signs on locked cinema doors. It's not temporary.

Not quite changing the subject, let me mention Seattle's Coliseum Theater. It opened in 1916 and had almost 2,000 seats, with two balconies. I saw Jaws from the upper balcony, where the seating was so steep it scared me more than the movie.

The balconies had been roped off by 1990, when I watched Tremors with about two dozen other customers on the theater's last night. Goodbye, Dragon Inn captures that feeling, the last night in a grand cinema, a sadness bigger than the big screen.

The film is audacious, never winks or cheats on its concept, and it's unforgettable for anyone who's ever loved seeing films in a theater.

Verdict: BIG YES.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

This is the prototype of the teacher-who-changed-my-life genre, based on a novel by James Hilton (Lost Horizon). The teacher is Mr Chipping, called 'Mr Chips' by generations of loving students, and the setting is the olde Brookfield School, fictionally founded in 1492.

The movie wants you to love Brookfield, but the appeal of such upper-crust private boarding schools, full of well-behaved boys from wealthy families, all in matching uniforms, eludes me. I instantly hated the place.

A more serious problem is Robert Donat as Mr Chips. At the start of the movie he's supposed to be 83 years old, but he's obviously a young man wearing pounds of aging makeup, and way overplaying the charming-but-doddering bit.

Then we flash back to the beginning of Mr Chips' teaching career, where Donat is age appropriate and plays the part better, and the students are a bit more rambunctiously disobedient than they'd been in the opening scenes. This lifted my hopes for the film, but unfortunately, as the story's years roll by, Donat's fake mustache gets bushier and his performance hammier.

There's an unconvincing romance with Greer Garson, but the primary thrust of the story is Mr Chips' yearning to be the school's headmaster, and instilling a patriotic fervor in the boys, necessary for the looming War to End All Wars, a/k/a WWI. 

I yawned a lot, but most people think it's a classic.

Verdict: MAYBE.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Gorgo (1961)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

Gorgo is an oversized ugliness discovered in Ireland, shipped to England and put on tawdry display. An orphan boy on loan from Oliver Twist keeps telling the adults that what they're doing to Gorgo is wrong. The critter's mother agrees, and goes on the rampage for her baby. 

Is the movie good? As schlock, yeah. It's the first Godzilla-ripoff from the UK, so the screams have an accent, and seeing London stomped instead of Tokyo is a pleasant variation. Tower Bridge, Parliament, and Big Ben are going down.

"Piccadilly Circus? There's no telling where this thing will strike next."

The monster effects are average for the genre, but it's in color, and the destruction effects are fine. And it certainly offers a strong female lead, in the form of Monster Mom. Gorgo isn't King Kong or Godzilla, but it's pretty good if you're in the mood for this sort of thing. 

Verdict: YES.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Interview with Tsai Ming-Liang, director of Goodbye, Dragon Inn
from TylerCoburn.com

Was The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly "the truest western ever made"?
from I Hated Black And White Movies


• • • Coming attractions • • •     

Gosford Park (2001)
The Graduate (1967)
Grammar Revolution (2014)
Gran Torino (2008)
Grand Central Murder (1942)

... plus schlock, shorts, and surprises

— — —
Now accepting movie recommendations,
starting with the letter 'H'.
Just add a comment, below.
— — —

Illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Arguments & recommendations are welcome, but no talking once the lights dim, and only real butter on the popcorn, not that fake yellow stuff. 
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Stick around

Worst possible news at my temp job on Friday: They like me, and have asked me to work longer than my original two-week assignment.

"Oh," I said, and not in an excited tone of voice. Then I recovered and said, "'Scuse me, what I meant was Oh!" (with a more chipper tone). 

The boss took it as humor, which is OK by me, but it wasn't a joke, and it's not merely my laziness that made the first "Oh" painfully honest. The work, up and down all day, standing and bending and frequently lifting fairly heavy boxes, leaves me weary and aching at the end of every day.

I'd been looking forward to the end of my two-week sentence, but I need the money so I'll stick around.

Just generally speaking, I've always assumed I'd work until I couldn't work any more. That day seems to be coming more quickly than I'd expected.

You know the feeling when you come up with the perfect retort, hours too late? I fear I may have set a record in that regard.


#429  [archive]
JUNE 8, 2024

The years have become a blur, but it was probably 2010 when my wife, after increasing pain and weakness in her right leg, had the amputation. The surgery was botched, leading to complications, and she spent the better (but far worse) part of a year in recovery, at the world's worst assisted living facility.

When she finally got on her foot, so to speak, and we came home, she said to me one night, "What adds insult to the injury was that I'd always thought my legs were my best feature." It was a serious moment, so I gave her a serious reply, which I remember not at all.

What I should've said was, "You still have great leg," but that line didn't occur to me until Thursday afternoon as I was riding the bus home from work. 14 years too late.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's straight to hell we go. 

After more than 50 years, U-Cal Berkeley has successfully murdered People's Park. The park preservationists won in court, so the university asked the state legislature to change the pertinent law; the legislature obeyed promptly, Gov Newsom signed it, and the dormitories are coming soon.

There's promise that there'll be a park-like space; I'm skeptical, but if there is it'll be just another park. It certainly won't be what's been bulldozed.

There are also claims that what's built will include some units for homeless or poor non-students, but those claims are scheduled to be forgotten as construction gets underway.

Cops, terrorists — really, what's the difference? For some idiotic reason, Vermont high schoolers attend class at the police station, where cops are their teachers.

Kari Lake, the wingnut election-denier who still hasn't conceded after losing the race for Colorado Governor in 2022, is now the Republican candidate for US Senate there. As part of her campaign, she delivered a speech on election fraud, of course, while standing in front of a Confederate flag, of course.


Inside the rot-com bubble 

When desegregation came to Harlan County KY: An oral history  

Inside Helen Keller's head 

Forbidden thoughts about 9/11/2001 

How card catalogues worked 


by Athlete

    Get Up, Jimmy Newman
by John Denver

    Let the Sunshine In
from Hair

    Rain on Me
by Cyndi Lauper

    We Can't Make It Here
by James McMurtry


William Anders

Ezra Bozeman
49 years in prison 

Brother Marquis
rock'n'roller, 2 Live Crew 

Ian Gelder
actor, Torchwood 

Albert Knight
forgotten man 

Elizabeth MacRae
actress, The Conversation 

Ed Mann
rock'n'roller, The Band From Utopia  

Barry Romo


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, BoingBoing, 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.

She was a nice lady.

My mother-in-law, my late wife's mother, has died. Her health faded quickly, and in the course of a year or so, she went from her vibrant, wiseacre self to shuffling off a mortal hospice. I'm sorta wrecked about it, and my father-in-law is, of course, far more wrecked than me.

It's useless and it's piffle, but I offered him the the closest thing I have to wisdom, a lesson that took a long time for me to learn. Stephanie's parents were lucky ("blessed" is the religious word) to have had so many years with each other, and 'the end takes nothing away from those years.

Most people never have that. They live alone, or worse, they fake it with someone they can barely stand until the divorce.

Steph's parents beat the odds, same as me & their daughter. Even now, more than five years after Stephanie's death, any time I'm smiling it's because of her.

Monday morning, I was getting ready for work, and felt a poop is approaching. I tried squeezing something out, and got something but not much, not all of it.


#428  [archive]
JUNE 6, 2024

My body is a wonderland, but it's changed with old age, so this situation brings peril. These days, when it's time for a poop, I get about two minutes warning and need to promptly seat myself on some nearby porcelain.

No worries if the time comes while I'm at Seattle Sprocket, 88 steps and I'm in the men's room. But if the time comes while I'm waiting for a bus or riding on a bus, or during the 15-minute walk from the bus stop to work, well, things could get more unpleasant than merely a day at work.

So many things could go wrong...

But now I'm home from work, pleased to report that pooping was not an issue. 

Peeing was, though. I'm a dribbler, and sometimes if I'm not paying attention the dribbles drip onto my pants instead of into the sewage. It's happened before, so I try to be careful, but after a few minutes of filing in the file room, I smelled myself. 

Nobody else comes into the file room, so maybe it wouldn't have been a problem, but I walked to the men's room, and lathered a handful of soap into the inside of my pants. Better to smell of restroom soap than to smell of pee.

The same lack-of-poop struck again, all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and now Thursday morning. Seems all my seams have been sewn shut until the weekend, same as during my first week at Haugen & Dahl

It's not my body any more. I just live in it.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the first day I didn't hurt a lot from lifting boxes and bending over, filing papers all day. It still hurt, just not a lot, and I didn't end up walking like an old man, from the bus stop to home.

All day every day, filing thousands of pieces of paper into a thousand folders, I have happy daydreams of retirement. If all goes well, that's a month, maybe a month and a half from now.

While half the people pretended it wasn't happening, and the other half was shouting that we should do something about the coming climate change, the climate has changed. There's still plenty more changes to come, and the changes will never stop, and none of it will be good.  

Here's a fairly good summary of the Republican response to 34 guilty verdicts against Donald Trump.  What's noteworthy about the article, the first link, is that it's not labelled as an editorial; it's simply news analysis, but it's accurate about the basic bullshittery of everything Republicans are saying.

News, not editorial. This is the kind of news coverage media should've been offering years and years ago.

Oh what a turd Joe Biden is, flushing away immigrants' lives to score political points, hoping to get a second term on the same single issue that won him his first term — not being Donald Trump.

And fuck yeah, I'm voting for the bastard and hope you are too. Joe Biden sucks, but he's still not Donald Trump. 

He didn't confess it, of course, for that might indicate some small smidgen of integrity, but it comes out after the fact that Arizona State Rep Alex Kolodin (R-Of Course) used AI to write his proposed legislation reigning in AI.

Other than that, all I know about the legislation is that it's Republican-backed, and that's enough to make me suspicious.


What one man learned living alone in the wilderness for 40 years 

50th anniversary of 10¢ beer night 

Google's AI Overview search results copied my original work 

The whitewashing of Black music: Five singles made popular by white artists 

Welcome to Bilderberg, 2024 


    Ballad of the Landlord
by Langston Hughes and Margaret Walker

    I Am a Rock
by Simon & Garfunkel

    Last Day of Our Acquaintance
by Sinéad O'Connor

    Sittin' in the Rain
by John Mayall & the BluesBreakers

    Watermelon In Easter Hay
by Frank Zappa

⚰️  DEAD PEOPLE  ⚰️ 

Janis Paige
actress, Silk Stockings

William Russell
actor, Doctor Who


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, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Chuff, Dirty Blonde Mind, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Lemmy.world, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, 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.