My favorite line of all time is Mercutio’s line in Act 3 Scene 1 in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” in which he says, “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.”
My second favorite is Robert Palmer’s line, “She’s so fine, ain’t no telling where the money went.”
I now have a third new favorite: “Stand your butt up,” as said by GOP Sen. Markwayne Mullin to a Teamsters leader, calling for a fistfight. It has narrowly passed, “I am the egg man / They are the egg men / I am the walrus / Goo goo g’joob.”
Right after Mullin and the Teamsters’ Sean O’Brien exchanged dueling stand-your-butt-up-thens, Mullin actually stood up and proceeded to remove his wedding ring, so as to — what? Not to get blood on it? So as not to dishonor his wife?
Of all people, Bernie Sanders ended up having to break up the fight. He just told both of them to sit down, reminding Mullin he was a Senator.
Meanwhile, I am excited that John Oliver has been wildly successful in getting the pu_teketeke, the Great Australasian Grebe, elected as New Zealand’s bird of the century, leveraging his power as host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. His endorsement of the pu_teketeke led to it winning about 24 times the votes of each of the two runners-up: New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi, and the popular kea, the alpine parrot, known for being a trickster. The pu_teketeke, on the other hand, is best known for eating its own feathers to induce vomiting. It’s not John Oliver’s fault that the contest is open to non-New Zealanders all over the world.
Over in Australia, a man got dragged into a pond by a crocodile and escaped by biting one of the croc’s eyelids. Honestly, it’s hard to know what to say. Being dragged to certain death into a pond by a crocodile or biting its eyelid — both seem highly unpleasant.
In much more local news, I was surprised this week to see brand new public benches being installed this week in the Pioneer Square area. It was a major complaint of mine sometime in the 90s that benches were being removed throughout downtown Seattle. I counted three new ones this week about a block from each other: one at Jackson and Occidental Ave., one on 2nd Ave. S, near Jackson, and one being installed next to the entrance to the Waterfall Garden Park. They are all wooden beaches with seats for two adults separated by iron bars, of course, to discourage people from stretching out on them.
I haven’t seen any news promising these benches would be installed. I tried to read about them at Seattle.gov, but their search engine didn’t get me what I wanted. I hope there will be a lot more to come because just three won’t be enough. The public complaint about these sorts of amenities is they will only be used by homeless people. The answer has always been to simply install way more benches than homeless people can use. To ensure that, there needs to be at least one bench every block — preferably two.
For other local news, Potbelly sandwiches has announced that there will be 13 new stores in the Seattle area, bringing the total number to 22. In contrast to the bench situation, I don’t see how greatly increasing the number of stores is an unqualified good. I like eating at Potbelly, but I don’t necessarily want to be able to choose a different store every other block.
Part of what I’m worried about is that the news of this expansion comes with the announcement that all 22 stores will be run under one franchise. I’m thinking about how Rite Aid acquired all of Bartell Drug stores, only to end up filing for bankruptcy.
To close out this local news segment, I appeared at Harborview’s Orthopedic Trauma Clinic two days ago. My upper left arm was X-rayed yet again for the fourth time in three months, and this time I was shown the door and told don’t ever come back, never. I was told to check my own progress between now and Valentine’s Day 2024. Until then, I’m as officially healed as I need to be.
The receptionists at checkout were sorry there was no celebration prepared for me, and we talked about what it should be going forward. It occurs to me now that an award of “Bit a crocodile’s eyelid” might be appropriate.
Read more of the Nov. 22–28, 2023 issue.