Friday, July 18, 2014


   The long-suffering roommate and I have come to something of a meeting of the minds when it comes to our regular intake of video impulses. For morning diversions, she prefers the local Fox "news" station, followed by a celebrity talk show hosted by a dynamic African American woman. I have chosen to not interfere with this, mostly because in the evenings, I prefer the alleged "news" brought to us by the billionaires who own a national liberal network. She has tolerated this with a mix of grimaces and laughter.
   Because both Lisa Ann and I do most of our work from home, we each find ourselves subjected to the other's personal tastes in television watching. Just as I was initially stunned into a combination of desires to run screaming from the room and yet simultaneously to just surreptitiously gawk, Lisa Ann likewise found the admittedly self-righteous posturing of my media heroes to be so overbearing that she could not imagine why anyone would allowing such elitist snobs near them. 
   There is some continuing value to both points of view.
   Both of us have been more than a little surprised to find that we have absorbed somewhat in excess of a fraction of the other's entertainment predispositions. In other words, I now no longer slip into apoplectic fits whenever the local anchors pause from their assessments of Lindsay Lohan's latest shenanigans to explore the vicissitudes of "entertainment news," as if that would be a switch. I actually kind of like the regular crew of misfits and I especially favor the deprecations toward the network itself, as when the weatherman quips, "This is Fox; we have no standards." Likewise, I find myself loving "The Wendy Williams Show," the program which immediately follows the local media explosion. Wendy is quite remarkable. Just turning fifty as I write this, she looks great, she's smart as a whip, and manages to subtly ridicule some of the more self-important guests and features. Plus she obviously connects with her audience, to whom she refers as her "Fabulous co-hosts." In short, she radiates charm and wit and I have no trouble understanding why Lisa Ann adores her. 
   The reason I like Wendy is because she helps me in my efforts to maintain irrelevance. For instance, I haven't the slightest idea who Aaliyah is or was and I find that not knowing this increases my own personal self-esteem. Other people whose names I've heard on her show who I could not pick out of a two-person line-up include Channing Tatum, Melissa McCarthy, Chris Pine, Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel and Sandra Oh. At the same time it kind of kills me that I do know a little bit about Shakira, Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore and Jessica Alba. I'll be undergoing electro convulsive therapy this fall to have those recollections scrubbed. 
   The people I enjoy are the folks who make virtually no contribution to popular entertainment culture and yet who possess what is, to me, a complete disregard for staying au courant while eschewing any self-conscious anti-hip posing. So I like Keith Olbermann (now on ESPN2), Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Amy Goodman, and a slew of so-called TV and movie stars, some young (Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Garner), some middle (Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone, Andre Braugher) and some older (Jack Nicholson, William DeVane). What I cannot tolerate and never will is the idea of being relevant at a time in our collective culture when relevancy itself has become irrelevant.    
   Nothing--or very little--that gets the glitz and glamour treatment today will be around in the group consciousness in three years, much less in decades to come. To an extent, that has been the way things have always seemed. After all, when pop stars of my generation had hits, no one expected songs like "Satisfaction," "Maggie May" or "Behind Blues Eyes" to last the ages. And yet for some people my age, those songs retain something beyond nostalgia, even though I personally could easily go the rest of my life without ever hearing a lot of the so-called classic rock that people half my age seem to favor. 
   So instead of slipping some stream dream music into my ear bugs this afternoon, I will write this article, realizing as I do so that my own relevance may be slipping away. That is one condition I can easily embrace. The best way to insure longevity nowadays is to be as irrelevant as possible. By that measure, I may have a marvelous future.
   But one thing is certain: while today's scantily clad manipulators of popular taste go the way of the milkman delivery system and dime per box Cracker Jacks, Wendy Williams will still be a force with which to reckon for years to come. Happy birthday. And "How you doin'?"


Thursday, July 17, 2014


   My job was to teach English to the Teabaggers. 
   But we'll get to that in a moment. 
   Lisa Ann, my long-suffering roommate, tried explaining to me that her references to "booger pies" (which you may recall from our last visit--True Midwestern Humor Story from the Streets of Arizona) were more metaphorical than real, or more abstract than concrete, or more gaseous than solid. The problem, of course, was that the seeds were already in the ground, the children had begun foresting through the snotweeds, and the green grocers had already placed their orders. This is one of several reasons Lisa Ann likes to tell people I'm reactive. Actually, her word for me is "knee-jerk." Who could fail to love such an appellation? 
    "Let's order pizza," she announced. 
    I love pizza. Thick, pan, hand-tossed, with or without anchovies, heated, chilled, iced, diced--they just don't make bad pizzas when it comes to the buds of my taste, unless of course that pizza has been dipped in barbeque sauce, a matter to which we will shortly return. So when Lisa Ann suggested, "Let's order pizza," I felt the impulse to leap up onto the sofa, tear off my shirt, thump my chest and holler like a medicated Tarzan. Suspecting a trick, however, I resisted the impulse and instead smiled back at her, a querulous finger tapping my chin, the words choking in my esophagus. At last I managed to say, "Pizza?"
   "Pizza," she replied in a confirmatory tone.
   "Pizza?" I asked yet again.
   "Yes, pizza. You know, dough, sauce, cheese, toppings, comes in a flat box delivered by guys with gages in their ears. Pizza."
   Free association runs rampant in our house, so I should not have been all that stunned by her suggestion. After all, she had already conjured the notion of imaginary "booger pies." How much of a stretch of the mind did it take to reach out and seize the somewhat more realistic mental image of a pizza pie? Besides which, I was hungry. 
   After a brief discussion about the sizes, types and toppings, I speed-dialed our pizzeria of choice, informed the dear woman on the other end that we very much would enjoy the two pizza dinner box with pasta and bread sticks please thank you bye. Before I could disconnect, the receiver of my call added the unhappy news that this particular evening they had employed but one solitary driver and that he wasn't a very good driver and therefore our wait time would approximate eighty-five minutes. When one's skin is crawling like the flesh of a withdrawing junkie for the filling sacraments of the delectable pizza pie, eighty-five minutes feels more like an hour fifteen, but I said that was fine and so we sat and waited while our feet--and the feet of our two dogs and two parrots--tapped on the floor as if Patti LaBelle and Keith Moon were jamming in the living room.
    Right on schedule, the gaged (engaged?) delivery boy arrived, took our money and gave us the rectangular box within which lie (or lay; I've never been certain which) our collective salvation. Over the heads of the inquiring puppies and around the vibrating cages of the squawking birds I navigated the delicate box, at long last arriving at the stove top where I set the warm box to rest for a thin moment as we paused to anticipate the sensory delight.
   You can imagine our collective disappointment when after each of us took a hearty mouthful we shortly spat out the contents back onto our plates and shook our heads in stunned and repulsed disbelief.
   Lisa Ann shouted, "This shit tastes like barbeque!"
   Indeed it did. It tasted suspiciously and strongly like the last pizza we had ordered from this kitchen of disappoint, something called the Smokehouse BBQ Pizza That Never Should Have Been. But that had been weeks earlier! Surely they would have washed the pan by now!
   Apparently not. Our current order of two panned pizzas called for onions and Canadian bacon toppings. Nowhere on the list had we requested the dreaded whisked-on barbeque sauce from the bottom of a rancid barrel of moldy pickles. Yet there that taste sat, lingering on our curling tongues as we spat hither and yon, guzzling Coca-cola to wash away the vile thickness of poison. 
   The pasta and breadsticks were just fine.
   If there were such a thing in our home that could be called a standing rule, that rule might be that I am the person who calls up and complains about poor service. Perhaps because the original idea had sprung from her own lovely mind, Lisa Ann took telephone in hand and called the pizza place.
   "Hello, Barbara," she said. "If that is your real name." Lisa recited our telephone number and the woman calling herself Barbara asked how she might help us this evening.
   "Usually we call you to explain how wonderful your food is."
   "But not tonight?"
   "Not tonight. Barbara, dear, these pizzas your guy delivered in eighty-five minutes tastes like barbeque sauce. I simply loathe barbeque sauce."
   Then this Barbara woman did something just a wee bit odd. She took on the resolved tone of one who has heard a similar complaint more times than she cares to recall, sighed and said, "We'll send you out a new pizza right away. What would you like on it?"
   "No barbeque sauce, that's one thing. Maybe just a pizza like they used to make in the 1970s? You know, thin with pepperoni and cheese instead of all these stupid new things like the floorboards of a Camaro or the elephant foreskin-stuffed crusts? Just a plain old delicious pizza?"
   The pizza arrived with a promptness that was only exceeded by its mesmerizing aroma and Pavlovian responses. We finished it off, saving only a few bites for the birds and dogs. 
   There was still the matter of the uneaten pizza. Somehow the idea of giving it back to the delivery boy hadn't crossed our minds and neither of us had been raised to throw away perfectly detestable food, so what were we to do?
   It was then that Lisa Ann thought of our neighbor. The woman next door hasn't a husband, but she does have what might be well described as a house full of people, many of them her very own children. "Honey, would you be interested in a pizza? We ordered a little more than we needed. Eyes bigger than our bellies, don't you know?"
   The neighbor laughed and said that their bellies were a whole lot bigger than their eyes, so by all means send it over. 
   Lisa Ann wrapped the offending gruel in aluminum foil and handed it over the wall. If the sounds that came through the concrete block walls were any indication, it was well-received--and gone in seconds. 
   As I write this, it is the following day. No medical examiners have arrived to disgorge bodies from next door, no ambulances have tagged any toes, and no police have busted down doors, so it would appear our friends next door survived the Ordeal Meal in good health. Perhaps one day one of them will write a song about it. 
   In any event, I was going to tell you about teaching spelling, grammar and other rudiments of placard creation to the vocal members of a right wing extremist group, but it appears that I shall have to find some other type of transition element to make the shift appear unmechanical. Until then, we shall digest in peace and safety, all that comes our way, excepting only barbecued pizza refuse, while stepping carefully around or beside the darling snotweeds leaning heavenward in search of southwestern rainfall. Hoping you are the same. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


   Many of you have inquired about Lisa Ann, my long-suffering roommate, so I thought I would give you an update. Lisa Ann has developed this neat little trick to control the dogs whenever I leave the house. This trick works well, so feel free to steal it for yourselves, although there is a part of this story you cannot steal, so be sure to make that distinction.
   We have two dogs: Cody and Sarah. They are kind of like the animals in that episode of the original "Star Trek," where the one nice dog goes through the transporter and what comes out is the exact opposite kind of dog. Cody is big and goofy and lovable and a wee bit simple. Sarah is small and angry and hyper-protective and smarter than I am. A lot smarter.
   She is not smarter than Lisa Ann. Lisa has developed this plan because when I leave the house, if Lisa Ann stays behind, the two dogs go completely psychotic. They jump on the furniture, bite one another, bite her, bite the piano, growl at people apparently only they can see. And Sarah is the real instigator. Cody could not care less what I do, but when Sarah acts up, he's afraid he's missing out on something, so he pretends to be as outraged as she actually is. 
   Now for reasons I do not fully understand, both dogs calm down whenever they see Lisa Ann using the telephone. When she speaks into that cell phone, it is as if those two dogs had been shot with a tranquilizer gun by the head zookeeper on Devil's Island. They freeze in place, their muscles uncoil, and they cock their heads in that quizzical look so endemic to troublemakers everywhere. In short, they go back to being the sweet precious mutts we imagined them to be when we first brought them into our modest and vulnerable little home. 
   So earlier today I had to go out to get the mail. We keep the mailbox key on a lanyard--which I thought was just a stretch of rope, but it's a lanyard. Whenever I reach for that, Sarah the devil dog thinks I'm grabbing for the leash, so she starts spinning and flopping and kicking her legs in the air and flinging drool and stirring up Cody, who again figures he's missing out and so he carries on alongside her. Well, I do have to get the mail eventually, so Lisa Ann, once I'm out the door, she starts talking into her phone. Most of the time she's just making a pretend conversation. Now today, when I returned from the mailbox, I hear her saying something about making a booger pie. Obviously--at least I hope obviously--these were just words she was making up for the benefit of the dogs, but the idea of a booger pie was kind of intriguing, so after she hung up--you know, on the imaginary caller--we started talking about the various benefits of such a thing as this booger pie. 
   "Lots of protein in boogers."
   "Sure. Plant protein."
   "No kidding?"
   "Sure. You've heard old people say to little kids that they've got a beanstalk growing up their noses? That's based on science."
   "I don't believe it."
   "It's true. The seedlings--"
   "I guess those would be the hard little boogers?"
   "Right. The ones kids specialize in. Kids haven't learned the social skills about sneezing into their hands or the crooks of their arms, so when a kid discharges a booger, he just lets it fly. That seedling booger ends up on the ground. A certain amount of those make it to soil. It rains. The sun shines. Photosynthesis happens. Before long, the damn thing sprouts up and the very same kid is walking along with his mother and he sees the very plant to which he himself gave birth. He says, Mommy what's that? Mommy screams Don't touch that! That's a snotweed! And it turns out she is exactly right."
   "Bullshit bullshit. It's true."
   Then she looks on the Internet. Right there she finds something called a Tradescantia ohiensis. That's snotweed to you and me. 

   So remember, the next time you tell a kid to wipe his nose, you're not encouraging hygiene. You're messing with the very cycle of life!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Awake in a Sleeping Bag

begun by Phil Mershon
completed by (your name here)

   He woke up in a sleeping bag out in the middle of a field. A woman lay in the bag beside him.
   “What is going on?” he asked himself aloud. The woman coughed from deep in her chest and went back to sleep.
   The man looked around. They were in a bright blue sleeping bag. Both of them were fully dressed. The glare from the top half of the sun cast long tree shadows across the field. A solitary road ran to the north of them. He had no memory of the woman snoring beside him. He pressed her shoulder.
   “Hey, you! Wake up! Wake up, whoever!”
   She rolled towards him with her eyes closed.
   “Hey! Wake up!”
   Her eyes opened one at a time, one green, the other the same. She turned those green eyes towards him. “Are you going to kill me?” she asked.
   “Kill you?” the man said. “I’ve never seen you before! What are you doing here? Who are you?”
   She pulled the lip of the sleeping bag up to her face, peeked down at herself, and once satisfied that she had not been violated, replied, “Have we met before?”
   The man looked at the woman’s face, searching for clues. She put a finger to his chin and turned his head. “Don’t look so close,” she said “It’s first thing in the morning.”
   He reached into his jacket pocket and extracted a candy mint, which he handed her. He took one for himself. “Morning breath?” she asked. He nodded.
  They nursed their candies in silence.
   When the candy was gone, the man said, “I’ve never seen this place before.”
   “Nice bag,” she said. “Is it yours?”
   “No. I don’t know. Just who are you? How did either of us get here? Are you a drunkard?”
    She smiled as if she had lemon under her tongue. “Paulette, no idea, and I don’t know but probably not.”
   “My name’s Rock,” he said.
  “It is not!”
  “Yes it is.”
  “That’s a funny name.”
  “Tell that to Rock Hudson.”
  “Or to Rocky Balboa.”
   “Fictional character.”
   “Well, that’s still my name. Listen, Paulette, you must have some idea how we got here. What’s the last thing you remember?”
   “Before this morning? I used to live in Connecticut, but that’s been years ago. Say,” she said. “You don’t suppose we’re dead?”
   The man patted himself. “I don’t feel dead. Unless confusion is a symptom, I’d say not dead.”
   The woman opened a compact and recoiled. “I look a mess.” As she tussled her hair, she continued. “I meant maybe this is the afterlife?”
   “You not one of those, are you?”
   “One of what?”
  “You know.”
   “I really don’t.”
   “I guess I don’t either. I wonder if this is total amnesia?”
   She snapped shut her compact and shook her head. “Not total,” she said. “I still remember what amnesia means.”
  “Maybe you’re a comedian?”
   “Do they still say comedienne?”
   “Paulette, I have no idea.”
   “You made up the name Rock, didn’t you?”
   “Same with me. Paulette just sounded pretty. Since I don’t know any different, I thought I’d call myself that.”
   “There’s a chance that might be your real name.”

Now it is your turn. Write the conclusion.

Here is some old news from Christmastime, 2004. 

The Lack of Wisdom of the Solomon Agreement: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District has upheld the right of colleges to bar military recruiting on their campuses due to the military’s hiring policy which discriminates against gays and lesbians.

Tuition Break for Kerik’s Nanny: Eight states now offer in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants: California, Illinois, Kansas, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Some say this provides the opportunity of higher education to a very needing group, while others argue it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars. All eight states require the student to sign an affidavit pledging to seek permanent residence in the U.S.

Gee, and he looked Like Such a Nice Man. It turns out that former DHS nominee Bernard “Burface” Kerik maintained a social relationship with the owner of a New Jersey construction company reputed to have ties with organized crime. Won’t somebody call Sonny Barger and tell him there’s an opening in D.C.?

Liberalism Then and Now: John Lukacs, professor emeritus of history, writes in last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education: “During the 19th century, liberalism…meant political and economic individualism, an emphasis on liberty more than equality, a reduction and limitation of the powers of the government. From the beginning of the 20th century, liberals…accepted and advocated the spread of equality, meaning more and more legislation and government bureaucracy to guarantee the welfare of entire populations.”

Monday, July 7, 2014


   I am not making this up. In the early 1990s I read a moderately interesting cross-interview between Norman Mailer and Pat Buchanan. The editor who arranged the event hoped to demonstrate how the far right and far left meet at opposite points of extremity. Naturally, the interview proved no such thing, except on one very specific area. Can you guess what that topic was? It was not globalization, overpopulation, pollution, taxation, the intelligence community or prayer in public schools. Nope. The issue on which these two men of opposing views joined together was immigration--specifically folks migrating from south of the border up north here with all us yankees. 
   To be fair, part of Norman's intrigue with Buchanan came from the (dare I call it) naive opinion that Pat was somehow opposed to the immorality of corporations, i.e., that he is some sort of right wing populist. I may be forgiven for suspecting that what Mailer actually admired was Buchanan's lack of effete snobbery, his gruffness, and his thoroughly unselfconscious laugh. From the interview, which either appeared in Esquire or Mother Jones, it was clear that the admiration only went in one direction.
   Buchanan, of course, didn't give a damn about undocumented immigrants other than as a means for whipping his educated working class supporters into a frenzy over something. For Mailer, the issue had real teeth. He felt the U.S. government tolerated a degree of importation of human workers from Mexico and Latin America to provide cheap labor and to make anemic the American labor movement by turning the sons and grandsons of Cesar Chavez against the offspring of Jimmy Hoffa, and vice versa. Buchanan just felt that exporting jobs outside the United States made bad economic sense, although exactly why this was so he chose not to say.
   My own opinion is that neither man probably considered either himself or the other to be a racist. Both men were always loud and often deliberate in their offensiveness, yet they approached their targets (or their targets sought them out) in the spirit of equal opportunity cretinism. 
   When I listen to white trash middle class illiterates making statements into the television cameras about the need to turn around buses full of "illegals and send them back to Obama since he's the one who invited them here in the first place," my immediate visceral reaction lacks a certain tranquility that I prefer to cultivate. Instead of placing flowers into the barrels of their rifles, I envision myself ripping the antiquated smirks off the faces of the twenty-year-old barbarians who stand at the border shouting "Go home!" while demanding the young pricks say how they would feel if the jackboot was on the other foot. Or maybe I would ask how they would like to meet Leonard Peltier (if he ever gets released from his unjust term in prison). Leonard might want to tell these Caucasians that the deal is off, everything west of Manhattan is now Indian territory, and whitey has three days to pack two suitcases and get out of town. Or maybe I would just smile into the faces of these mad dog militia men, kick them in the shins, pull their hats down over their feet (Bugs Bunny style) and kick them across their own beloved border. Wonder how well those armed domestic terrorists would get along with the Federales? 
    Don't know if you've noticed, but a whole lot of people who hate President Obama have a big sack of race hate they're carrying around. They will never admit to this, at least publicly. In fact, they will be the first to mock the suggestion. They'll say, "So everyone who disagrees with the administration is a racist?" 
   No. Of course not. The only people who disagree with Obama who are actually racists are those who disagree without knowing what they are talking about. Oh, and the others are the ones who tell "darkie" jokes. There may even be some overlap. 
   For the record, here are the four principles of Barack Obama's Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal:
1. Give law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime, enhance America's infrastructure and technology, and strengthen our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute threats to our national security.
2. Provide visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here, help the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, and reunite families in a timely and humane manner.
3. Enable undocumented immigrants to have a legal way to earn citizenship so they can come out of the shadows. The proposal holds them accountable by requiring they pass background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, go to the back of the line, and learn English. 
4. Stop businesses from exploiting the system by knowingly hiring undocumented workers. The proposal holds companies accountable and gives employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.

   That is all quite lofty and not without a bit of self-righteousness in the language, language, by the way, which was taken from the White House website. But can your average reactionary Republican goosestepper take any comfort in the words of someone he suspects of being a Kenyan-born Nation of Islam communist terrorist working for both the FBI and the ACLU? Isn't Obama secretly behind all our immigration problems? Didn't he work the phones from his hiding place in Libya from whence he contacted every Guatemalan citizen by cell phone, inviting one and all to walk two thousand miles north through freezing heat to find a nice tar shack in the Texas border towns? Well, maybe not quite.
   In 2004, the W. Bush administration had 10,000 Border Patrol Agents. In 2010, under Obama, the same organization had more than 20,000 agents. Also, twenty-five percent of all agents of Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) now work on the southwest border of the United States, the largest percentage of all time. The Department of Homeland Security (which oversees ICE) has completed all but three miles of John McCain's beloved "danged fence" along the U.S.-Mexican border. Aerial surveillance is at an all-time high. Year for year, Obama has seized more currency, confiscated more drugs, and retrieved more weapons than any time during his predecessor's reign of incompetence. And, contrary to what the spell-check deficient members of the Tea Party Militia would have us believe, the Obama team has actually increased exports to Mexico, a move that could conceivably have a positive impact on the Mexican economy and therefore lessen the need for people to migrate in the first place. 
   Despite all this reasonable reassurance, there remain more than a few quivering white penises who are convinced that Hispanics and other people of color are taking over. Until the 1970s, most foreign born inhabitants of the United States were either Italian, German or Canadian, which is to say White. But in 2012, of the 41 million foreign born inhabitants of this country, the largest group (28%) were from Mexico, followed by India, China, The Philippines, El Salvador, Cuba, and Korea. In that same year, approximately 25 million people living in the United States self-identified as being Limited English Proficient, meaning that they were more comfortable speaking and writing in a language other than English. The most popular alternatives were Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. 
   I spoke today for more than an hour with a ninety-year-old American man of Japanese descent. He had lived most of his life in California and shortly after the attack at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 this man was interred in a concentration camp in California. He mentioned there were roughly 20,000 people in this camp. Two years later, he was released and immediately joined the U.S. Army. He was shipped first to Italy where he worked in what he modestly claimed was a low-level intelligence position. After Truman dropped the bombs on Japan, my friend was sent to Tokyo to work on riot control. Apparently there had been little need for his help since riots did not occur. However, he said something interesting about this. He said, even after the abdication of the Emperor, whenever he walked the streets in uniform, he always made sure to have a Caucasian officer with him for fear he would be shot by U.S. troops who would have assumed he was impersonating an American soldier. 
    The longer I live the more I am persuaded that no significant improvements have occurred in my life-time. Yes, same-sex marriage is making great strides and black people can still occasionally vote and the earning power of women is better now than it used to be. But there are still young adults on campus telling "queer jokes," voter suppression is all the rage, and women are still not making as much as men. And some of us still hate the other guy because of the color of his skin or the language of his mouth. 
   I am so damned tired. Aren't you?

Saturday, July 5, 2014


   The recent revelations regarding Facebook manipulating its billions of users by tampering with the "news feed option" left me yawning, not because social organization is unimportant but because of a key rule of social media. That rule is this: When the product is free, the product is you
   It does not matter that people do not read the "Terms of service" agreement. What matters is that some people are quite funny on Facebook. Here is a recent example.

Seriously, got a new tire this morning. I was so friggin stressed out over the whole ordeal, it's a wonder I lived to get to the tire store. Anyway, the spare is 13 years old. Thirteen! But I got a new tire on and the old tire is in the dustbin of rubber history, or the spittoon of hubber wristory, or a new Agatha Christie mystery, or something else. It's gone and the new one is shiny and sweet.
UnlikeUnlike ·  · 
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo Since our buddies, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, retired and NPR hasn't replaced them with anyone since 2012 I had a dumb idea. Maybe WE can be the new Click and Clack. I mean, we're funny and know what tires are now. Ok...well no....we can barely figure out which side the gas tank is located.
  • Phil Mershon Our first caller, Mag Wheels, has an interesting question. Are you there, Mag? Hello? Well, what Maggie wanted to know was can a 1969 Dodge Charger with a hood scoop get better mileage than a 1977 AMC Gremlin? The answer, of course, is no.
    56 mins · Unlike · 1
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo I beg to differ, Phil. I have been present for street races between 1969 Charges and 1977 Gremlins. The hood scoop has NOTHING to do with winning the race. (It is the color of the car and lack of primer paint.)
  • Phil Mershon Funny enough, that rule ONLY applies when the vehicle is in San Diego--hence the name San Diego Chargers. So remember, friends, if you have any questions about automobiles, or anything else, that can be answered with a yes or a no, send us a FB message right here right now.
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo Or you can simply contact NPR and ask what time slot they have planned for us. I am guessing 3 am EST.
    50 mins · Unlike · 1
  • Phil Mershon That was our OLD time slot. Now we are booked for 2:47 - 3:05 AM EST, right after "Know Your Seagulls" and "Sleeping with Bach," except leap years, when the frogs jam the frequency.
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo (Phil likes to blame everything on frogs.) Which lends itself to our next visitor from West Bend, Iowa, who asks " Hi, my name is Diane with a "D" and I recently had trouble with my brakes on my 1995 Civic. After removing my platform shoes I still had the problem with the brake pedal. The sound that would come from the floor-board was sort of a squishy croak sound"
  • Phil Mershon Let me ask you this, Diane with a D. Is the D actually just the lower half of a sideways smiley face? Wait, that's not my real question. My real question is: do you reside any where near what a more enlightened age might have referred to as a swamp?
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo Diane (with a D): well, they did start work on a new soy-bean-tofu-manufacturing plant close by, but the papers said it was completely natural and GMO free. Could that be it? That GMOs have something to do with it? I mean, seriously...I drink SILK milk!"
  • Phil Mershon  Here is what I think. I think that the hopping amphibians in your neighborhood have a mixed aversion to both GMO foods and music by Vanilla Ice. If you find that your brake pedal is, as it were, under pressure, the culprit is likely to be related to a mass self-immolation of suicidal tree frogs.
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo  Well Diane with a D, Phil always likes to talk about frogs. I would like to talk to you a little bit about your relationship with your spouse and how he feels about your obsession with platform shoes. I mean...seriously...most men feel they make...See More
  • Phil Mershon While we wait for Diane with a D to formulate her answer, we have an interruption from Bertha Galore of Harvester, Mississippi. Bertha wants to know if there is anything she can do to increase fuel consumption when she has her John Deere tractor in overdrive.
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo Well for starters, Phil, I would say that she add a combine and harvest corn from a flooded field full of frogs. If she gets the darn thing back to the barn, she would be using twice the amount of fuel than she would be mowing the lawn at the Mississippi Courthouse each Tuesday.
  • Phil Mershon Very sage and parsley advice, dear Satchmo. How you come up with these brilliant and erudite answers with such startling aplomb I will never know, will I?
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo Stop using big words no one understands and pick up line 3 and find out what the hell Diane with a D's answer is.
  • Phil Mershon Diane says that she only wears her clogs on icy runways in North Dakota in the winter time, so she can't believe THAT has any bearing on matters. Au contraire, mon seour, says oui.
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo Ok. hang up on Diane. And take the next caller. This show is only 42 minutes long.
    9 mins · Like
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo And I have to pee
    9 mins · Like
  • Phil Mershon I can't type my responses in under 42 minutes. Anyway, if you have a question about cars, frog repair, or the answer to next Thursday philosophic discussion about the nature of falling trees on Saturn, or you happen to be driving a Saturn that has been crushed by a tree, give us a call at 1 eight hundred BAD AUTO, that's 1-800 426 9918, hello, you're on Bad Auto.
    7 mins · Like
  • Lisa Ann Goodrich Terzo Many thanks to our listeners and especially my co-host, Phil Mershon, who can be reached at Philropost & Philmer and an undisclosed and REAL phone number for more personal advice that he will dispense when I am not in the room. Good-Bye for now! 
    4 mins · Unlike · 1
  • Phil Mershon