Tag: NPR

RIP Tom from Car Talk

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I don’t normally get overly emotional when a famous person or celebrity dies but every once in a while someone who has touched my life, celebrity or not, will pass away and it makes me feel sad.  Today my Saturday morning friend over on NPR, Tom Magliozzi, passed away from alzheimers and it made me feel very sad.

He and his brother Ray were the hosts of NPR’s Car Talk and were better known as Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers.

Here is a tribute done on NPR today.

The thing is anyone who knows me knows I hate cars.  I hate driving.  If I could live in Manhattan and never own a car I would be a happy lady.  They are a necessary evil in my life and a royal pain in the neck.  As my Dad knows I even hate cleaning cars.  I just don’t care about cars.

And yet I liked Car Talk.  I first discovered them around 2006.  At the time I was very unhappy working as a receptionist where I would do long stretches of data entry, sometimes days of data entry.  One regular project I had was 35 pages of data for the monthly car account.

That was just one of the mindnumbingly boring chores I did for that job.  When there wasn’t a call I could put an ear bud in one ear and play some music or a podcast, so I downloaded just about everyone I could put my hands on. That is also when I started my audible account so I’ve had that for 8 years!

In fact, I preferred podcasts to music because it was less distracting and made me feel like I was having some human contact in my cubicle cell.  I could be doing the most boring task imaginable and listening to a podcast on books or science and feel like my brain was getting some aerobics in the day.

In all those podcasts I discovered Car Talk and the first episode that really made me laugh was when Tom told the story of Tanya the Trainer.  I posted this on my blog years ago and it still makes me laugh every time I read it.

I was hooked.  Tom and Ray were the embodiment of cheerfulness and joy.  Every Saturday I would turn in and laugh and smile and then I would listen to the podcast again a couple of times throughout the week.  Just a few months ago I tweeted during stopped traffic ‘thank you for Car Talk. It makes traffic liveable”.  Joyfulness and a love of life will have that effect no matter what they are talking about.

Another funny bit that was a favorite of mine is the operation vowel drop.  I’ve listened to this about a hundred times and it still cracks me up.

A recurring bit on the show was that Tom could never remember the puzzler from the previous week.  Little did we know for at least some of the years he literally could not remember.

Here was a bit where the two laughing at dementia and foreign accent syndrome.  Even though I didn’t know him his laughter was infectious and I’m sure he would want to be remembered for it.

It’s interesting that I would find Car Talk when I was so unhappy at work and listening to all those podcasts while grinding through all that data entry because Tom was somewhat of a crusader of anti-work.  He said he had an epiphany one day after commuting 45 minutes to work and almost being in a dangerous accident:

“He had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world.

“He actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”

As Tom once described his own attitude to his listeners, “Don’t be afraid of work.  Make work afraid of you. I did such a fabulous job of making work afraid of me that it has avoided me my whole life so far.”

I love that. Just when I was so miserable in my work I found a joyful spirit in someone who had found freedom from it.  Do what you have to do and do it with joy and ‘work’ in it’s 4 letter sense will leave you be.

This is another caller I love who they talked off the edge from destroying her car.  They just made you happy when you listened to them.

A friend of mine told me she didn’t like their show and I found it astounding because they are so cheerful and happy.  It’s like not liking a babies grin or dimples on a little girl.  They are so joyful.

Anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and say thanks to Tom and Ray for cheering me up all these years.  RIP Tom and my comforts to Ray and the entire Magliozzi clan.

It just shows what good a human being can do when he or she finds their calling.

They were immortalized by the Pixar folks with Ray a Volkswagen van and Tom his fabled Dodge Dart.

 

I laughed so Hard…

So, I was listening to good old Car Talk today on NPR and they had an encore episode.  In it they read a letter from MIT and then the response.  They are MIT grads, and I don’t know if it was made up by a caller or if it is a legitimate letter.  Regardless, it made me laugh so hard I just about died. There are so many pompous, showy things in today’s society and the response points this out in all its glaring details! Here goes!  Have a good laugh on me!

Mr. John T. Mongan
123 Main Street
Smalltown, California 94123-4567

Dear John:

You’ve got the grades. You’ve certainly got the PSAT scores. And now you’ve got a letter from MIT. Maybe you’re surprised. Most students would be.

But you’re not most students. And that’s exactly why I urge you to consider carefully one of the most selective universities in America.

The level of potential reflected in your performance is a powerful indicator that you might well be an excellent candidate for MIT. It certainly got my attention!

Engineering’s not for you? No problem. It may surprise you to learn we offer more than 40 major fields of study, from architecture to brain and cognitive sciences, from economics (perhaps the best program in the country) to writing.

What? Of course, you don’t want to be bored. Who does? Life here *is* tough *and* demanding, but it’s also *fun*. MIT students are imaginative and creative – inside and outside the classroom.

You’re interested in athletics? Great! MIT has more varsity teams – 39 – than almost any other university, and a tremendous intramural program so everybody can participate.

You think we’re too expensive? Don’t be too sure. We’ve got surprises for you there, too.

Why not send the enclosed Information Request to find out more about this unique institution? Why not do it right now?

Sincerely,

Michael C. Benhke
Director of Admissions

P.S. If you’d like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, “Insight,” just check the appropriate box on the form.

May 5, 1994

Michael C. Behnke
MIT Director of Admissions
Office of Admissions, Room 3-108
Cambridge MA 02139-4307

Dear Michael:

You’ve got the reputation. You’ve certainly got the pomposity. And now you’ve got a letter from John Mongan. Maybe you’re surprised. Most universities would be.

But you’re not most universities. And that’s exactly why I urge you to carefully consider one of the most selective students in America, so selective that he will choose only *one* of the thousands of accredited universities in the country.

The level of pomposity and lack of tact reflected in your letter is a powerful indicator that your august institution might well be a possibility for John Mongan’s future education. It certainly got my attention!

Don’t want Bio-Chem students? No problem. It may surprise you to learn that my interests cover over 400 fields of study, from semantics to limnology, from object-oriented programming (perhaps one of the youngest professionals in the country) to classical piano.

What? Of course you don’t want egotistical jerks. Who does? I *am* self-indulgent *and* over confident, but I’m also amusing. John Mongan is funny and amusing – whether you’re laughing with him or at him.

You’re interested in athletes? Great! John Mongan has played more sports – 47 – than almost any other student, including oddball favorites such as Orienteering.

You think I can pay for your school? Don’t be too sure. I’ve got surprises for you there, too.

Why not send a guaranteed admission and full scholarship to increase your chance of being selected by John Mongan? Why not do it right now?

Sincerely,
John Mongan

P.S. If you’d like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, “John Mongan: What a Guy!” just ask.

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25 Things About Myself

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

I know these kind of things are lame but I actually like doing them.

1. I love to travel and if I had a ton of money I would vacation as much as possible.
2. I have 4 nieces and a step nephew who are the cutest ever.
3. The rest of my family dislikes tv but for some reason I love it. Favorite shows are How I Met Your Mother, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, The Simpsons, and 24.
4. I have whole sections of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s memorized. It is my favorite movie.
5. I have a collection of Madame Alexander dolls. I got my first when I was 8 or 9 and now have 13.
6. I am an NPR junkie and love Car Talk, Radio West, This American Life and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
7. I have a phobia of most animals and birds. I don’t like being licked, touched, pecked at or any of the other behaviors of animals. It’s weird but true.
8. There is nothing I love more than a Broadway musical. Les Mis is my favorite and it is the only show I have seen twice on Broadway. Amazing.
9. I sometimes do crazy things like go on a singles cruise to Mexico by myself. I like the challenge of it.
10. One of my favorite things is having a good conversation with an old, devoted friend. Best in person, but the phone is great too.
11. I love book clubs and even started going to one in September that I found out about on Craigslist. It’s been great.
12. Reading is another passion of mine. All types of books. Currently I am enjoying the Confessions of a Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella. They are surprisingly good.
13. My favorite names for a boy and a girl have always been Christian and Lili.
14. One of my goals in life is to someday live by the ocean. Hopefully Hawaii but I will take any ocean.
15. I went to college with my mom pregnant. My mom had the baby after my first summer term of BYU.
16. I love to swim. Give me a good pool and I am happy.
17. My current Hollywood crush is on Jeffrey Dean Morgan; although, Hugh Jackman always makes me dizzy.
18. I love politics and find it interesting to look at all sides of issues.
19. I hate mingling at a party. I seem to never know what to say.
20. I hate fake cheese
21. I have a birthmark on the top of my head that is bright red. I guess that’s another reason why I won’t ever shave my head!
22. I never went to prom in high school. My junior year I was actually on the planning committee but I got appendicitis and had to miss it. Senior year we had moved to California.
23. My current favorite food is greek yogurt with fruit and honey. I love it and I normally don’t like yogurt.
24.I love entertaining and enjoy the process of planning a menu and inviting friends.
25. I don’t like driving and honestly I am not very good at it.

So, that’s 25 things. 🙂

Simple Pleasures

President Joseph F. Smith said that seeking “to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all man-kind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman.”

This is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds me that there is nobility in the small, simple acts of life.  There is a part of me that wants to be bold, brave and make an impact on the world.  I just have to remember that often that impact is felt by the simple and not the grand gestures.  The people that I most admire are the ones that lived quiet lives filled with love and service- grandparents, friends, parents etc.

I was thinking about some of the small activities that give me great joy.  I’d love for all of you to share some of your favorites as well.  These are in no particular order:

1. Reading a good book

2. Lazy conversations with friends and family- phone is great but in person even better.

3. A funny joke or story shared with a friend

4. Comics- Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert and Peanuts are my favorite

5. Hugs from my nieces/nephew and siblings.

6. Morning scriptures and prayer

7. The mountains when they are clear and beautiful/The Ocean

8. The satisfaction of completing a task or job

9. Dinner/lunch with friends

10. Watching a good movie

11. Book clubs

12. NPR- especially Car Talk, Wait Wait and This American Life

13. Holidays

14. The comfort and security of being around loved ones

15. Fresh cut flowers- lilis and orchids are my favorite

16. Great music of all kinds

17. Cooking for myself or others

18. Singing particularly with my voice lessons

19. Shopping and finding a bargain

20. Finding the perfect gift for a friend or family member

So, I could go on and on.  The point is that I have much in my life to be grateful for and many happy, simple things that I can focus on doing well each day.