Subject: Remember this?

Cranky Old Man #93
a frothy mix of leftovers and links 

Memories of being a slave

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Unlike anything astronomers have seen before

"This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations," she said. "That was completely unexpected. It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that."

At a deadly pace, it came from outer space...

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Please make a dumb car

Today’s cars are dumb where they should be smart, and smart where they should be dumb. Enough already. Make a car that’s pretty much all dumb and watch it sell — because what automakers are giving people is so bad, they’ll pay more to have less of it.

My car is from an earlier, low-tech era, but I've ridden inside those newfangled vehicles. Too much tech, too many touchscreens and distractions. Too much!

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Subaru and Kia dealers in Massachusetts have disabled systems that allow remote starts and send maintenance alerts 

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What turned Smedley Butler into a critic of American foreign policy? 

Most folks have never heard of him, but Smedley Butler is one of my favorite under-remembered dudes from history. He was a high-ranking mega-Marine who retired and reflected on what his career had been about, and wrote a thin but thoughtful book called War is a Racket.

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War surplus from WW2 was low-ball estimated at $25-billion, and in the 1940s $25-billion was a lot of money. It's mostly a photo-essay, but — wow.

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Like most Americans, my brother is on Facebook, and he's mentioned that it has a timeline 'feature', showing you pictures you posted one, two, five or ten years ago. It's marketing, of course — it keeps you 'engaged' on the site, drowning in their ads for a few minutes longer. I would hate that feature myself, but I hate everything about Facebook so my opinion's moot.

I'm guessing that what happened here is, an image popped up on my brother's Facebook timeline, showing me and my wife laughing, while we were having dinner with him & his wife, many years ago. I'll further guess that my brother thought the photo was charming, which is why he emailed the picture to me. So far, so good.

His subject line said, "Remember this?" I opened it, and it's that picture of me and my dead Mrs. There's nothing else in the email.

Yes, I do remember this. She was my wife. She died 3½ years ago. I no longer burst into tears at random moments all day long, but I'm still completely lost in her absence, and a picture of her with no warning, no note, hit me like a torpedo and sank the rest of my afternoon.

Pretty sure I would've been fine if the subject line had been "Found a photo of you and Stephanie." Probably I'd've been fine if a note inside said that. But sending only "Remember this?" and the photo?

Ouch. Possibly I'm oversensitive...

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Going undercover inside MAGA just for fun! 

This is a long read, but also a hell of a story. I couldn't do any of it — when I'm disgusted you can see it on my face, hear it in my voice.

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California county recalls top official, giving militia-aligned group a path to government 

Carlos Zapata, a local militia member who helped organize the recall efforts, in 2020 told the board there could be blood in the streets if the supervisors didn’t reject state health rules such as mask requirements.

"This is a warning for what’s coming. It’s not going to be peaceful much longer. It’s going to be real … I’ve been in combat and I never wanted to go back again, but I’m telling you what – I will to stay in this country. If it has to be against our own citizens, it will happen. And there’s a million people like me, and you won’t stop us," he said.

And what's got these folks so furious is mostly… being required to wear a mask in public during a pandemic?

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Republican Party declares Jan. 6 attack "legitimate political discourse" 

What goes on inside the heads of these people, I do not understand — but I do understand what fuels it: Fox News, et al.

I don't want to live in the country they want America to be. 

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Furries are leading the war against a book-banning Mississippi mayor 

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These anarchist-designed DIY heaters are saving homeless people's lives 

I like the sentiment, but gotta say: Every homeless person should always have no-cost housing available if they want it.

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Canadian doctors can now prescribe national park pass to patients who need 'nature time' 

I like the sentiment, but gotta say: Admission to public parks should always be free, for everyone.

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An old photo of a very large BBS 

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NYPD honors whistleblower Frank Serpico — 50 years late 

This is perfectly in keeping with the police mindset — they honor Serpico fifty years later… by mailing a certificate. The man doesn't even get a handshake.

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When Gertrude Stein refused to take William James’s philosophy final (and still got an A). 

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The 50 greatest breakthroughs since the wheel 

I've skipped the boring article, and linked directly to the list.

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Spider web songs 

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Over 70 episodes of Joe Rogan Experience were quietly removed from Spotify on Friday 

... the episodes removed include interviews with Amy Schumer, Marc Maron, Bill Burr, Andy Dick, Tool frontman Maynard J. Keenan and Iliza Shlesinger.

It’s unclear why the episodes in question were pulled, and representatives for Rogan and Spotify did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s requests for comments. However, eagle-eyed fans of the controversial podcast on Reddit observed that many of the deleted episodes contained racial slurs, ableist language and other content that could be deemed insensitive…

Spotify wants to polish Rogan, so he appears more like a sane person who 'just has questions' about COVID-19?

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One-word newscast:

Frank Dutton
Jason Epstein
Steve Schapiro

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


♫♬  Sing along with Doug
"Chances" — Athlete


Tip 'o the hat:
All Hat No Cattle • Linden Arden
BoingBoingCaptain Hampockets
CaptCreate's LogFollow Me Here
John the Basket • LiarTownUSA
National ZeroRan Prieur
Voenix Rising

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


  1. please do not publish my nameFebruary 5, 2022 at 6:57 AM

    Thank you for publishing our conversion a few days ago without my name. You want to write better and you do not care if you are read by tens, hundreds or thousands. Let me ask you, is one reader better than none, because if so, isn't 100 readers better than 99? Having more readers is not of no value.

    I don't want to argue about it so that's all I can say.

    "Cranky Old Man" proposal. I click on a few links every time, but those links are not why I read it, they are largely the same links I find at news websites and big blogs like Boing Boing. What brings me to itsdoughholland.com is Doug Holland. You are a very good writer. What you are writing, like today’s sweet story about your wife’s photo, can't be found that in Boing Boing or anywhere else, so my “Cranky” suggestion is to put the best thing, which is your own writing, at the top of the page, with the links underneath. Don’t force readers to scroll past the same links we see everywhere, to find the best thing on the page.

    Since you must hate me already, can I also complain about the angry face at the end of every "Cranky"? He is repulsive and you don't want to repulse your readers.

    My two cents, sorry.

    1. Doug, this is none of my business so I'll just jump in here.

      I don't troll Boing Boing, so the links you provide are fresh fish to me, and interesting, although if I were a fan of commercial airlines that crash often I'd probably stick with the airframe folks. But I live in a house -- not on the web.

      The sites on which I spend my time: CNN, Politico, the Daily Beast, et. al., have none of these links, although lord knows they could use them.

      And why did you make this poor guy go through a conversion?

      my finest regards,


    2. please do not publish my name — I don't hate you yet, but keep trying.

      Reading your comments and thinking about it for a minute, what you say mostly makes sense. I would only argue with "You are a very good writer," because I've read many, many better. I'm a good writer, though, I'll give me that, and it makes sense to focus my site more on my own writing than the links from everywhere else. I shall therefore take your advice, and remodel the room before the next edition of 'Cranky Old Man'. Yeah, you can say adios to the angry man at the bottom of the page.

      Thanks for giving a damn enough to argue with me.

      johnthebasket — My finest regards right back atcha. I am glad the links mean something to someone; thanks for letting me know.

      These 'Cranky Old Man' pages are just a reboot of 'Pathetic Life' from the 1990s, only instead of going to the movies all the time, these days I surf the web. The links aren't going away, promise. They'll just be farther down the page.

      I have scratched my head and other bodily lumps, but I don't know what "And why did you make this poor guy go through a conversion?" refers to. Something clever, no doubt, which always leaves me at a disadvantage.

    3. Conversion is the sixth word of his comment. A simple typo which I, in my craziness read as "we changed our religious affiliation together." Our brains work oddly, so in context it reads "conversation" but it ain't. If not for the conversion I would have left the comment alone, but the missing syllable had already written the last sentence of my comment for me. I just had to fill in the not-quite-so-clever airframe company. Thank you for reading this week's edition of How Stuff Works. I just explained my broken brain, or the part of it that is still made of living tissue.

      regards to your regards,


    4. You have a shrewd eye for detail, Mr Basket, and I'd completely miss that li'l typo. You constructed a good joke by starting with the punchline and working backwards, even if I didn't get it and made you 'splain it.

  2. Mesmerizing, man. On a loop now for half an hour, so far...

  3. I found the angry man too much too, but didn't say anything because I thought he was you, Doug. If it's not you, then I say goodbye and won't miss him (if it is you, I didn't say anything).

  4. Oh oh. The reply feature in the comments section is broken, at least for the day this link was posted, then disappeared. Here it is again. Piece it back together as you will, or won't. It's If 6 was 9 off what would have been a disappointing second album had that lady called for help instead of freaking and splitting and letting Hendrix die on the floor. Or, for that matter, just rolled him over. He drowned because he was on his back. He had secondary causes of death, but those might not have occurred without the drowning, if 6 turned out to be 9.


  5. Quite good music from a band I'd never heard of, and thanks for that, kind dude, and also I love watching musicians make funny faces as they play. Gets me in trouble sometimes.

    1. The comments problem...

      I've pieced together what the bug is, from talking to you and others, and from how the comments software sometimes screws with me, and I've reported it, but resolving the issue is not on Google's agenda.

      Gmail is the problem.

      If you don't have a Gmail account the software lets you make comments, no hassle.

      If you *do* have a Gmail account the software lets you make comments, no hassle.

      If you have a Gmail account and don't use it while making a comment, even once, the software gets insulted and holds a grudge, and it'll screw with your comments at random for the rest of all eternity.

  6. Not oversensitive. Your brother's email sounds rude. It is hard to know what to say to someone griefing but it's not hard to know what not to say and "Remember this? is not what you say.

    1. He's my bro, though. I think we're both similarly screwed up in the head and unsure of ourselves; my defense is to usually clam up and say nothing, but he just pushes on through to the other said, says whatever.


The site's software sometimes swallows comments. For less frustration, send an email and I'll post it as a comment.