Sunday, August 14, 2022

Am I the Asshole? Bus Stop Edition

I need to get something off my chest.

I drive a city bus. Often in the course of my work day, I have to "deadhead" between the bus yard and either the beginning or end of my routes. Deadheading means driving an empty bus which is not in service. The header signs on the front, side and back of the bus indicate this with various phrases like "Not In Service", or "Garage", and certainly no route number showing.

Some of our deadhead routes follow established bus routes, so it often happens that you pass people waiting at bus stops. Most people see the header sign and accept their fate that my bus is not for them. However, there are always a few people who, for various reasons, don't get that information from the signs, and become visibly distressed. This is usually demonstrated with upraised arms and a gob-smacked expression on their faces.

Now, I understand that some people have barriers to being able to read the header signs. It might be poor vision, not knowing English, or possibly illiteracy. I'm not trying to sound ableist or ethno-centric here. It's also possible they simply didn't bother to read the header sign. That's on them.

However, even allowing for those possible barriers, why does it seem that the first assumption by the people being passed up is that the driver (me) is either an idiot, or an asshole, or both? Have they never encountered an out of service bus before? Possibly, but you would think they could conceptualize it. Should I stop and try to explain the butt-hurt away? No.

When I pass someone while deadheading, I usually try to make eye contact. Like I said, most people get it, but I like to give them a friendly little wave, if for no other reason than to let them know I see them and acknowledge them. If they still look concerned, I try to make the wave look sympathetic. I don't know how successful I am at that.

But when the person gets too assertive about it, and begins uplifting their arms in incredulity and adopting that slack-jawed expression, I find it difficult not to mock them by raising my own arms (if safe to do so) and staring open-mouthed back at them. Sorry. They made it personal. I could probably get in trouble if this got back to my superiors, but I'm going on the assumption that if my victim can't figure out that a bus is out of service, they're probably not going to be able to figure out how to report the incident, or if they do call, they probably won't be able to successfully identify what bus, what bearded, Caucasian driver (out of several hundred), and so forth.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Heidi St. John: Conservative Christian Republican (For a Change)


The following is mainly opinion and conjecture, not journalism. I’ve included

 links to show where I found some of the items contained herein.

I was at my local laundromat. The TV was playing with the sound off, when the

above ad appeared. I didn’t need to hear it, since the candidate’s words were also

printed on the screen. I was shocked by the inflammatory

wording. Phrases like “socialist Biden agenda”; “it’ll be weak, moderate

 ‘Republicans' [sarcastic quotation marks hers] and wannabe socialists IN OUR

WAY” [capitalization mine]; “shutting down the federal government to break Biden”;

and “the Marxist agenda today’s Democrats endorse” tend to get one’s attention, for

good or ill.

I searched for information about Heidi St. John. The first hit was for her eponymous

website, with the subheading “The Busy Mom” ( She writes books

with titles like “The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance” (yuck), and

“Becoming Mom Strong: How to Fight With all That’s in You For Your Family and

Your Faith" [incorrect capitalization hers].

As mentioned, she home schools her children. She also has a podcast, a blog, and

speaking engagements. Oh, and she’s running for U.S. Congress for the

3rd District of Washington State. A very busy mom, indeed.

When I visited her campaign website (, I was

particularly interested in the first sentence of the third and last paragraph 

of the mission statement on her home page:

“Together, we can make sure that Washington’s 3rd District remains a beautiful and

safe place to live, work, and raise our families for generations to come.”

The second sentence of the paragraph goes on to say:

"The United States of America is an idea worth sacrificing for, and the American

dream must be preserved and safeguarded for the sake of our children and grand-



I suppose one of the things that first caught my attention was the fact that on my

Samsung mobile device, that first sentence is mysteriously bold-faced. Oddly

enough, in both Chrome and Firefox on my laptop, the sentence doesn’t appear in

bold-face. I’ve included a screenshot from my phone to prove it.



Just 26 little words in that first sentence. Innocent enough on the face of it, I

suppose. But they rang a faint alarm bell in my mind. They reminded me of another

set of just 14 words, which goes like this:

"We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

If you don’t recognize that phrase, it was spoken by infamous white supremacist,

David Eden Lane (

The phrase has been picked up and repeated by many Neo-Nazis and white

supremacists and is often coupled with the number 88 (H is the eighth letter of the

alphabet, so HH, for “Heil Hitler”) in tattoos and written on vehicles as a code for,

well, being a fucking asshole.

There is another 14-word sentence that goes along with the first one: "Because the

beauty of the White Aryan woman must not perish from the Earth.”

So a total of 28 words, only two more than Heidi’s pithy little sentence. Heidi’s

phrase and the two “14 words” certainly share a lot of the same words, or similar

ones, as if she made heavy use of a thesaurus to try to dress them up differently:

Heidi: “we can make sure”

David: “we must secure”

Heidi: “beautiful”

David: “beauty”

Heidi: “place to live”

David: “existence”

Heidi: “raise our families”

David: : "our people”

Heidi: “for generations to come”

David: “future for white children”

And to compare some words from Heidi’s second sentence to one of Lane’s

14-word bon mots:

Heidi: “the American dream must be preserved and safeguarded”

David: “must not perish from the Earth”

Maybe I’m making too much of this. Perhaps I’m just being paranoid. I sure hope so.

But given the current rush toward Christofacism by the Republican Party, I don’t

have a good feeling about this. Also, the geographical location of Heidi is concerning.

For a little background, Washington State’s third district is in the southwestern-most

corner of the state. The largest city in the district is Vancouver, just a short drive

across the Columbia River from Portland. Politically the two cities couldn’t be more

different. Portland is famous for being “weird”, but also for being very liberal in a

state where it was once illegal to be Black. Vancouver is very conservative. Many of

the officers of the Portland Police Bureau live in Vancouver. This is probably mostly

because Washington has no income tax. By contrast, Oregon has no sales tax. So

many people who work in Portland live in Vancouver, and cross the Interstate Bridge

to shop.

Many of the members of the extreme alt-right groups who fought with Antifa on the

streets of Portland also came from Vancouver and surrounding communities. Thus

plenty of Portland police live right amongst the violent haters. There were many

documented incidents during the literal 100 days of civil unrest in the summer of

2020 where it was obvious that Portland Police Bureau was giving preferential

treatment to the alt-right.

It’s late, I’m tired, and I feel like I’m starting to ramble. To sum up, I think that

Heidi’s mission statement is a thinly veiled dog whistle for white, Christian,

Neo-fascists. And that scares me.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Ms. Scarlet's Freakin' Green Elf Shorts Caption Competition!

 It's here! It's official. It's fabulous!

Ms. Scarlet's caption competition for the Freakin' Green Elf Shorts is upon us! See it HERE to enter your captions, or just ogle the spectacle and read captions entries by others, both from those who wish to win the Shorts, and from those who don't, for some odd reason.