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I was born in East Cambridge, Massachusetts (yes, Our Fair City). I spent most of my "formative years," as they say, on Harding Street. This was the greatest neighborhood on the planet. Kids everywhere. Just hangin' out. Nothing much happened. Just good times. (My wife insists that if I had had a normal (i.e., abusive) childhood, I wouldn't be plagued with those continual bouts of raucous laughter.) I went to the Gannett School and then the Wellington School and then CHLS— Cambridge High and Latin School.
From then on, it was downhill. I went to MIT— or the "Tute," as we used to call it. I turned down Harvard, because MIT gave me $200 bucks more for scholarship money, and that was... Read More...
I spent my early years in East Cambridge (Our Fair City). I was the quiet little brother, and for as long as I can remember Tom was 12 years older than me. In fact, he still is. Tom and our sister, Lucille, to this day say they didn't notice me until I was about five years old. Mom claimed one morning Tom came into the kitchen and said, "Hey, who's this little kid who's always following me around?"
I can't say that I remember much from my early childhood, except it was wonderful. I had everything a kid could want: two square meals a day and a basket to sleep in and an imaginary dog. I do remember one thing, however. Mom always had us in bed at 7:00. If I were any kind... Read More...
From Car Talk
- #1749: An Honest Idiot or a Competent Crook
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray grapple with a philosophical conundrum for the ages: if you have to choose between honesty and competence, who wins? Elsewhere, Judy's Mom got a book of New England home remedies that suggests leaving a blanket and light bulb under the hood; Dennis is looking for a universal sign he can use to let other driver's know he made a bonehead move; and Fran's daughter might be a little too enthusiastic about inheriting Grandpa's old Town Car, which she's dubbed The Party Barge. Also, what's a pastor to do when his car's emitting an embarrassing odor? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1748: The Vanagon of the Sierra Madre
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Suzy is planning to driver her parents across Mexico in a rebuilt VW Vanagon. We know Suzy won't need any stinkin' badges, but are there any tools she can bring along to increase her chances of completing the trip to 15%? Elsewhere, Kathy's Mercedes' wipers are so bad her kids have to lean out the window and play spotter whenever it rains; Biju can't stop falling asleep at 10:00 PM--at home or behind the wheel; and Ed learned he shouldn't try to change his car's fluids before his morning coffee. Also, Joann's Jeep has a leak, and so does Joann's professional ego because she runs a repair shop, and can't figure out where the water's coming in. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Ta
- #1747: Stop Calling Me Sir
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray have been called lots of things we can't repeat in polite company, but they've never been more flummoxed than by high school student Lydia's insistence on calling them "sir." Is Lydia too polite to find out why the key keeps falling out of her car while she's driving? Elsewhere, Suzanne is concerned about the gas fumes emanating from the "other woman" in her husband's life, his Ford Model A, named Tootsie. Also, Faith's trusty Subaru has become a little less reliable since she drove it from Maine to Alaska; Romeo had a lot of fun peeling out in his Olds Cutlass, but will he still be laughing when he sees the repair bill; and a quick quiz to find out if you could have a future in the exciting world of car repair. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1746: Beware the Neophyte Knuckle Scraper
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Paul's Jetta lost some of its Fahrvergnügen, so he tried to pep it up with a new set of spark plugs. Now the car is running worse. Did Paul need more than just plugs or did his mechanic assign the job to the wrong guy? Elsewhere, Joan and her friend are arguing over whether slower highway driving leads to longer engine life; Linda is concerned that Tom and Ray's "potato in the tailpipe" stalling technique could kill a dog that happened to lock the car doors; and did Helen's truck really lose 100 miles per tankful of gas, or was she suffering from Move Euphoria? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1745: Love and a Van Dweller
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Tara has gone on a couple of dates with a medical student who's smart, really nice, and is living in a van in the school parking lot. Is there a van dweller psychological profile that should scare her off? Elsewhere, Peter's friend showed the limits of an MIT education by locking himself in Peter's trunk while trying to fix it; Carl's Altima has been making noise since he drove over a rock 6 months ago and his head is too big for him to look underneath to see what might be causing it; Stephanie's mechanic can't hear her Subaru's high-pitched whine so she may need to find a dog to help diagnose it; and Katie's new used Volvo is great, except for her leg going numb while she's driving it. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1744: Plane Talk
This week on The Best of Car Talk, it's one thing to trust Tom and Ray with your car, but would you really want to rely on them for a problem with your airplane? Mort's willing to take the chance to find out why his Piper is having trouble re-starting after a flight. The fact that this problem occurs on the ground may mollify our liability insurance carrier. Elsewhere, Sara got stuck in a drive-through car wash and can only get out of park by nudging her car from behind; Shirley thinks her husband is spending more to store his vintage Mustang than the car is worth; and Ed wants to try the "Johannesburg Jolt" to stop his cats from marking their territory on his car. All this, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1743: Sherman LeTank
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray wrestle with a textbook case of Extreme Frugality. Susan's husband loves his old Volvo so much he refuses to use the windshield wipers so he won't wear out the motor. What's next? Preserving the brakes by not using them? Elsewhere, Jackie needs help deciding whether she should buy a beater car for the winter but her Dad has recused himself after a run of recommending lemons. Also, something may be wrong with the air conditioning in Bill's Explorer (the smoke billowing from under the hood tipped him off); and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Carla's truck is still only able to climb the hills of Homer, Alaska in Reverse. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1742: The Nobel Grease Prize
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Amy's Isuzu dies whenever she drives down a certain street. Is it electrical interference, a government experiment, or is Amy living in a remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still"? Elsewhere, Herb's mechanic told him to deal with his turbo's noise by turning down his hearing aid; David is using a clothespin to keep his choke in place; and if Tom and Ray can diagnose Cheryl's noise, a signed photo of Sonja Henie may be on its way to Car Talk Plaza. Also, Anita's husband says it's dangerous for her to listen to the radio while her car is in the Accessory position, but he may may just be looking for a way to avoid our show. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1741: Fluffy and Thor
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Glen is looking for a cheap VW Cabrio, after his girlfriend Fluffy dumped him for a guy named Thor and took her car with her. Glen's friend suggested searching in backyards for a car with a blown engine. Is this likely to succeed, assuming Glen doesn't have access to Tommy's backyard? Elsewhere, Jeryldine's car is infested with arachnids, and the suggested remedies may take up even more space than the creatures; Lacy's Accord is ejecting engine parts; and, Barry may need a few gallons of extra virgin olive oil to get his Mazda out of his garage. Also, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Lisa quieted her Civic so she could talk to the cute guy next door. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1740: The Most Complex Relationship
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray ponder the idiosyncrasies of the mother-daughter relationship. Since they fit into neither category, fortunately their Mom, Elizabeth, and sister, Lucille, are by their phones, to share the tale of how Lucille's clothes wound up on the front lawn. Elsewhere, Herbert loves his VW van, except for its tendency to catch on fire; Ronnie Sue fixed a leaky hose with her underwear and is ready for her next auto repair challenge; and Michael wants to know if you can push start an automatic transmission with somethnig smaller than a two-ton truck. Also, can all of Tom and Ray's behavior be explained by the brain condition, "Witzelsucht"? Find out, this week on The Best of Car Talk.