Check engine

Cranky Old Man #85
a frothy mix of leftovers and links

"Now, come on. What was I supposed to do? He was out of town, and his two friends were sooo fine!"

I chuckled all through this hour-long podcast that explains everything you probably never wondered about, about making The Macarena. My favorite part was a brief interview with a woman whose name is Macarena — a nice name before the song came out, she says, but less so after.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

2,700-year-old parasitic worms 

♦ ♦ ♦

I drive a 2003 Chevy that looks like rusted rubble and sounds like a snoring gorilla, but it gets me to the grocery and back, which is all I need.

The 'check engine' light came on in 2009, so I took it to the shop because that's what you're supposed to do. It's one of those rare shops that don't try to shake every dollar out of your bank account — Seversin's, on Milwaukee Street — and they told me they couldn't find anything wrong. They simply reset something so the 'check engine' light went off. No charge.

It came on again a few hundred miles later, though. This time I ignored it until the car needed some other work I'm incapable of doing, and told them, "Please fix the blah-blah, and also, the 'check engine' light is on again." They fixed the blah-blah, and again couldn't find any other issues to repair, so once more they dimmed the 'check engine' light. It came on again, a few hundred miles later.

Since then, the car's been in the shop several times — I told you, it's a Chevrolet — but I've stopped mentioning the 'check engine' light. After 13 years, it's just part of driving the car, an indication that the motor is running.

Is there a point to all this? Yeah, but it's not particularly sharp, only this:

There are serious problems in life that should never be ignored. Also, there are false alarms. Determining which is which can save you lots of time, trouble, and money.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Judge tells ex-prison guard convicted of sexually assaulting an incarcerated woman that he can join the military or go to jail 

The Army needs more rapists?

♦ ♦ ♦

It ain't possible to be successful in anything more than the smallest, most personal matters without being corrupt as fuck.

There may be occasional exceptions to that rule, but they're very, very rare.

♦ ♦ ♦

Some dedicated or demented soul put serious work into this project, for which I'm glad. You go to this website, and it tells you what time it is (your local time), via a literary quote, properly credited.

♦ ♦ ♦

"You are who you say you are," was famously the motto of Loompanics Books, but I believed it instinctively, before I ever heard it put into words. You're lots less free without the freedom to name yourself. Luckily for me, in my era it was still possible to be who you said you were, and there are people who knew me for years — some still do — without knowing me as anyone but Doug Holland. 

That's not the name on my birth certificate, though, which is why I'm not a big fan of the birth certificate. It proves who you are and cannot be changed — that's the whole idea. I never knew, though, that birth certificates came from outlawing child labor.  

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Oral CBD prevented COVID-19 infection in real-world patients, study suggests 

♦ ♦ ♦

I've never dabbled in social media except at Reddit, but I remember how things worked when Reddit was hands-off with controversial material. It became an unflushed toilet, overflowing with hate and racism and other assorted stupidities. When Reddit decided they didn't want to be in the unflushed toilet business, they banned the most offensive and dangerous groups and contributors. After that, it got better.

Substack has an anything-goes philosophy, similar to early Reddit, so it's predictably becoming an unflushed toilet where all turds are welcome — QAnon, white nationalists, COVID deniers, and anyone deplatformed anywhere else.

[Substack's] founders have outlined a strongly pro-free speech vision of content moderation which — as they acknowledge in the post — is strikingly similar to those espoused by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the past, prior to those platforms’ significant evolution in content moderation over recent years. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Very old straws 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Corpses dating back thousands of years are switching genders. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Every state gets two Senators, which gives mostly barren places like Nebraska and Alaska the same power as California and New York. It's minority-rule, by design.

Between 1800 and 1860 the will of the voting majority was repeatedly expressed in the House, which passed eight antislavery bills. The will of the slaveholding minority was repeatedly enacted in the Senate, which stopped those measures. In the first half of the twentieth century, the majoritarian House passed multiple civil rights measures—from antilynching bills to abolition of the poll tax. Each time, those bills were killed in the Senate. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

A rare look inside the Smithsonian’s secret storerooms 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Ana de Armas fans sue for $5-million because she was cut out of Yesterday 

♦ ♦ ♦

One-word newscast:

They're dead, Jim:
Ricardo Bofill
Israel Dresner
Lusia Harris
Yvette Mimieux
Fred Parris

♦ ♦ ♦

 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


 Sing along with Doug:
♫♬  Don't Look Back in Anger  ♫

Tip 'o the hat:
All Hat No Cattle • Linden Arden
BoingBoingCaptain Hampockets
Follow Me Here • John the Basket
LiarTownUSAMessy Nessy Chick
National ZeroRan Prieur
Vintage EverydayVoenix Rising

Extra special thanks:
Becky Jo • Name Withheld • Dave S.
and always, Stephanie


Cranky Old Man 

← PREVIOUS          NEXT → 


← PREVIOUS          NEXT →


  1. >The 'check engine' light came on in 2009

    This whole story happened to me, almost word-for-word. My car, as you probably don't remember, is a 2000 Toyota Echo. Small, cheap, cheap to repair, reliable. But that "check Engine" light has been on for probably 30,000 miles, and they never figure it out. Once, I thought they had - Bubba (that's his name) told me that some critters (that's the word he used) had built a nest in the electrical. He did whatever he did, and the light went away. Came back like 150 miles later. This was not the first time it happened, nor the last. I have now figured out that it goes away whenever I disconnect the battery, then shows up again some time later.

    1. My car is older than Doug's, about the same as the Cap's. The "Check Engine" light came on about the same time as the pandemic started, so I assumed the Honda engineers were, as usual, ahead of their time and managed to detect a mass-casualty situation.

      The Tappet Brothers on NPR used to sell a remedy for "Check Engine" light despair. It was a two-inch strip of electrical tape you could use to cover the light, and it worked like a charm. From time to time when I get in the car I look under the hood and, yup, the engine is still there. It's best to follow instructions.

      My mechanic of 40 years, Gary, was so honest he went out of business during the pandemic. I had always valued his honesty, but perhaps he took it too far. Now it's just me and the damn light.


    2. Sorry about Gary. The pandemic response was helpful for the bigger businesses that needed no help, less so for ordinary people. By design, of course.

      Truth, Captain, about the battery. Every time the disconnect it for service, the dash light goes out for the next 150 miles.

  2. I frequently have small projects underway in search of the origin or origins of word or phrase meaning.

    Right now I'm working on "allez oup". I have a small hobby reading fairly early (late teens, early 20s) pulp detective magazines. I'm particularly looking for Dashiell Hammett under whatever name or names he was writing, but am interested in the genre as a whole.

    I'm aware that an Americanization of allez oup (corrupted to alley oop) has been, and continues to be in use in gymnastics where one athlete gives another some help in gaining height. It's also in use as both a basketball and football pass play.

    I have seen it in early pulps in use in two related, but slightly different, contexts.

    detective: A group of detectives need to get over a wall that is too tall to climb. One detective stands at the bottom of the wall with his fingers clasped and held between his legs at shin level. The assisting detective crys "allez!" meaning, approximately, "ready!" The second detective runs toward the first detective at the wall, places one foot in the stirrup created by his hands, and is lifted up the wall quick as the lifting detective cries "Oop!" or up. This strategy can move a fairly large group of detectives over a wall in a fairly short amount of time.

    The second usage is from World War I, which was fought substantially in France. Same as above, but in a military context. An entire company of soldiers can cross a wall quickly with minimum exposure to enemy rifle fire.

    I expected to find one or both of those usages somewhere on the vast Web, but have found neither explicitly noted.

    I'm certainly aware of the newspaper cartoon character Alley Oop but that's not much help in this case.

    Bright people out here. Anybody have any ideas where I might find "allez oup" in a context of scaling a wall? Thanks in advance.


  3. Do I voice my opinion when I feel something is unacceptable, or do I bit my tounge?

    Let the debate begin

  4. If it's work-related, I always feel that when a company pays you they deserve your best effort, which includes your brain, your ideas, and your objection when mistakes are made. But. Speaking up too often is why my boss is happy to see me out of work in a week.

    If it's life-related, then fuck it, of course you should speak your mind unless it would cost your inheritance.

    If it's me, double fuck it, don't even think about hesitating.

    1. I dont want to talk about that, its a train wreck but it could be a straight up nuclear disaster if I say something.

      Also random fact

      I was at an antique store a couple of months ago, forgot to tell you. I found this scrap book tucked away on shelf in the back. Alot of antique stores have shit piled all over and you have to dig. I like that, never know what youre gonna find. Anyway, aparently in the victorian period and well into like the 1920s it was popular for people to keep scrap books

      sometimes it would be on movie stars, current events, world fairs etc

      scrapping they call it nowdays.

      The scrap book i found was from 1920 to as best I can guess 1940s but the pesron literally used the scrapbook to create their own magazine

      A zine!

      Of celebrities

      its got black and white newspaper clippings etc its incredible the detail i mean even advertisements

      im like how much you want for this?

      the clerk is like you gimme 2 bucks its yours

      DONE and its litterally FULL of celebreties from the golden era of hollywood. You know before it got all crazy

    2. Undeniably cool, but also sad. You get to open a time-window and see what really mattered to some unknown stranger 75 yrs ago... and it’s celebrities.

    3. Love antique stores

      I literally could sit in there with all the books for hours

      simpler times

  5. I'm drawn to the furniture and cookware... built to last, and with no plastic.

  6. Yep!

    Then there is always the game...what the heck is that and what the heck did they use that for
    then there is always the scary military like relics section
    I try to avoid those...too many Nazi things

    Not sure why anyone would want to own anything from the third Reich...doesn't really give me pleasant nostalgic feelings

  7. I sure wouldn't. Or a black lawn jockey, but I knew a guy...

    1. Yeah I too know a guy like that. He doesnt have many friends. He isnt a friend of mine thats for sure :)

      Did I tell you about the time I almost threw a Nazi of a roof?

      To be fair I was roofing a house as a summer job to pick up extra cash when my mom was going through chemo. These were stressful times.

      So I had been working this job for like a week giant mall roof. The kind with the rocks on top. Sucks had to pull all that off then peel then reseal...its proces and it was hot as hell. 90 heat and then hot tar

      So yeah tempers flaired

      This new guy comes on the scene I just knew he was gonna be an issue man built like a brick shithouse just buff and would not shut up. Starts heating up he takes his shirt off and right there on his arm was the damn logo for hitlers SS.

      We were eating lunch and i was hanging with the crew, cause you bond with the crew you work with. life depends on it. anyways they were Mexican, Black and White alike

      He was sitting off in the corner and we were talking bout how he needed to cover that crap up and IM like well we dont know he may be in reform etc. cause it does happen. Hate can be unlearned

      So i started talking to him and i was like yo, you dont have to sit over there come sit in the shade

      Looked right at me and said...I dont associate with vermon or vermon lovers....I was SHOCKED. Doug there have been very few times in my life where I have actually seen red when I was angry. that was one.

      I called the foreman and told him he needed to get this guy off our crew or he could do it himself. he gave me some speech about not being prejudice to his culture and beliefs. yeah..you read that right.

      So off we went back to work...its a team effort. He wouldnt listen to anyone because they werent worthy of communication

      He wicked some hot tar at me missed me by like an inch Paulo saw this of course and he was like my work dad

      he comes bareling after the guy

      im like trying to get out of the way, get tangled in a bucket, go flying, Paulo thinks this dude hit me so i try to trip paulo but I miss, trip the nazi

      like it was a mess so i get up, nazi guy is up and laughing and i see he was on the board we use to close the flap so i stop on it hits him in the no no zone and he almost goes over the edge

      We all didnt show up to work the next day until they agreed to move him to another crew

      Like what year is it...


🚨🚨 If you have problems posting a comment, please click here for help. 🚨🚨