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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
- #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.
- #1739: 30 Years of Wasting Perfectly Good Hours
This week on Car Talk, we wrap up our 30th Anniversary celebration/apology, with our all-time favorite laughs. We've got the infamous electric brakes call and the philosophical breakthrough it inspired. Also, Tom's misadventures in the US Army; the ultimate Puzzler faux pas; an appearance by Tom and Ray's dear mother, Elizabeth; a tale that epitomizes Magliozzi brotherly devotion; and the saga of Richard, his goats, and Doris. All of this, plus some entries from the listener noises Hall of Fame, and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1738: 30 Years of Listener Retaliation
This week, Car Talk's month long 30th Anniversary Celebration/Apology continues, with an all-listener request show. We've got the Bosnian Vowel Drop, Arup Gupta, the original Melissa Peterson letter, Death Valley Dinesh, and the circumferentially challenged Daniel Pinkwater reading highlights from the BMW owner's manual. Also, Dana needs help removing a chunk of the Berlin Wall from a friend's trunk, and Christy decides it's time to 'fess up to her Dad about destroying his car 15 years ago. All this and more, on The Best of Car Talk.
- #1737: 30 Years of the North American Wacko
This week, we continue celebrating (and apologizing for) Car Talk's 30th Anniversary on NPR, with some of our all-time favorite "out there" calls. Our roster includes space shuttle astronaut John, whose government vehicle had a slight hesitation problem at 17,000 miles per hour; Gail, the Most Wanted Tollbooth fugitive at the Betsy Ross Bridge; Dave from Bemidji, MN, whose road trip from Alaska included using a campfire grill to fix his catalytic converter; Will, whose old dog Moses "blew beets"; and the saga of one of our heroes, lawn chair pilot Larry Walters. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk's Field Guide to the North American Wacko.