Automotive Design Engineers

Time for me to vent a bit after working on my automobile on and off this week. You see, I drive an old junker that was new in 1984. As it is so old it "nickel and dime"'s  me with small needed repairs every few months. This week it has developed an electrical short somewhere that is keeping it from starting about 90% of the time. The other 10% it may start and run just fine. Or it may start, then run long enough to die at an intersection, then not start again that day. That is "fun". I must now find that short. Oh joy. Oh happiness. Oh glee … Oh my.

"What does this have to do with automotive design engineers?", you ask. Since you asked so politely, I will tell you. My first inclination was to check the tune-up chart and see that the car was overdue for a tune-up. So, I took the bus to the auto parts store, a two hour round trip, and bought the parts to do a tune-up. I dread doing tune-ups on this car. Some dingbat automotive design engineers decided that if one could easily get one's hand down between the engine block and the wheel wells there was too much room. So, they made sure that to get one's hand down to put a socket on a spark plug one must have the hands of a four year old child. My hands are the hands of a large, 50 year old, adult male. I need to find a four year old child to work on my car …

No, not really. But I once again have cuts and contusions on my hands wrists and forearms after swapping out the spark plugs on this car. Now let us discuss heater cores.

I have a bum heater core in this car. I have bypassed the heater core by looping a hose between the cooling system inlet and outlet that circulate hot coolant through the heater core. I also have a brand new heater core … in its shipping box. "Why is it not installed?", you inquire. As you so nicely inquired, I will tell you. I am certain the same, drooling, half-wit, automotive design engineers that I mention above determined the location of the heater core. It is on the firewall, beneath the dashboard, behind all the other components that fit under the dashboard. That's correct, one has to remove the entire guts of the dashboard to get to the heater core. A single 24 hour day is not enough time to do that for us mere, ordinary, shade tree mechanic, mortals.

So, all you automotive design engineers with such brilliant ideas, I hereby consign you all to repair your own designs. As a "shade tree mechanic". Every day. For forty years. Then maybe you will rethink your asinine design decisions. Have a nice life in that back yard, under the hood and in the dash of your poorly designed cars …

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Fun Stuff – Suthen-ism’s (From an e-mail I received)

I am from The South. If y’all are from The South, y’all know what I mean. If y’all are not from The South, well, I pity y’all. I received this in my e-mail today and reckoned all y’all over yonder in other parts of the world might enjoy being enlightened. 😉


  • Only a Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit, and that you don’t “HAVE” them, you “PITCH” them.
  • Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up “a mess.”
  • Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of “yonder..”
  • Only a Southerner knows exactly how long “directly” is, as in: “Going to town, be back directly.”
  • Even Southern babies know that “Gimme some sugar” is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.
  • All Southerners know exactly when “by and by” is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.
  • Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who’s got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor’s trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin!
  • Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between “right near” and “a right far piece.” They also know that “just down the road” can be 1 mile or 20.
  • Only a Southerner, both knows and understands, the difference between a redneck, a good ol’ boy, and po’ white trash.
  • No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.
  • A Southerner knows that “fixin” can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.
  • Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines, and when we’re “in line” … we talk to everybody!
  • Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they’re related, even if only by marriage.
  • In the South, “y’all” is singular, “all y’all” is plural.
  • Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.
  • Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.
  • When you hear someone say, “Well, I caught myself lookin’,” you know you are in the presence of a genuine Southerner!
  • Only true Southerners say “sweet tea” and “sweet milk.” Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it — we do not like our tea unsweetened. “Sweet milk” means you don’t want buttermilk.
  • A true Southerner knows you don’t scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say “Bless her heart” … and go your own way.
  • Southern girls know men may come and go, but friends are fahevah !

To those of you who are still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart! And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, … bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin’ to have classes on Southernness as a second language! And for those that are not from the South but have lived here for a long time, all y’all need a sign to hang on y’alls front porch that reads “I ain’t from the South, but I got here as fast as I could.” Now…… Shugah, send this to someone who was raised in the South or wish they had been! If you’re a Northern transplant,bless your little heart, fake it. We know you got here as fast as you could.

If y’all read that and felt contemptuous of Southerners as a result, well, y’all need some sweet tea and probably a tent revival or two. 🙂


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What is Spring Football?

Spring Football is American style football1 played in stream beds fed by underground springs. This was a favorite activity of “native Americans” prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims initiated the playing of football in the Fall on flat fields as it is a much cooler season for the sport and the fields are better for running. Thus the Pilgrims converted the “native Americans” to Fall Football which is now just called Football. Spring Football, at this point, is just a side note in the history of football.

1 The real football where the ball is thrown through the air with the hands and carried in the arms, not that soccer thing played only by kicking a ball with the foot.

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History of April Fool’s Day from a Search Engine

Before you think this is an April Fool’s Day joke allow me to assure you it is not. I just couldn’t sleep and decided to do some research. I’m too tired to think of a good prank at the moment.

Ok, I’m up late because I can’t sleep and it is now nearly 2:00AM my local time on April 1st. I’m a history fanatic and like to know about the origins and development of things like countries, families (genealogy), words (etymology) and holidays. Since I am up anyway I decided to research the origins and history of April Fool’s Day.

I love having “the internet” at my fingertips for research. It is so easy to use a few search terms in AltaVista and drum up dozens, hundreds or thousands of results to do research on nearly any topic one can imagine. There is no difference in a search for information on April Fool’s Day or almost any other holiday. Of course sometimes one must thresh many “hits” in a search to get through the chaff to the kernels of truth.

The thing about history is … it is history. No amount of rewriting actually changes the facts. The only problem is all the chaff on top of historical facts added by folks with one agenda or another, personal or political. When it comes to history I prefer “just the facts ma’am”. I can draw my own conclusions about motives or other intangibles. In any case, I’ve pulled up a few sites with information on the history of April Fool’s Day. I’ll share a tidbit with you and point to the URLs I used. Maybe then I can get some sleep.

The main thing I discovered is no one seems to really know how or when April Fool’s Day started. There is a lot of conjecture, but no proof. So for now I am deciding the origin is still shrouded in the mists of time and is likely to remain so. However, the conjectures are worth a perusal so take a look at April Fools’ Day: Origin and History – The uncertain origins of a foolish day. Another good URL is The Origin of April Fool’s Day which I found especially enjoyable reading. However, the crowning find of my search in my opinion is The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time. I did not read the entire list but I read a few and intend to read the remainder after I get some rest.

If you want to do your own research on April Fool’s Day here is an AltaVista search to get you started. I think I can sleep now …

Edit Tue Apr 1 17:20:48 UTC 2008: I found that Museum of Hoaxes (cited twice above) has an even more detailed page called April Fools Day – Origin.