More Car Talk’s “Staff”

Quite a few posts ago, I mentioned “Click and Clack,” (otherwise known as the Tappet Brothers) the two genius brothers behind NPR’s “Car Talk.” There were times when I would be on my way to work, listening to the call-ins to these guys advice to car owners.

Always at the end of their segment, they would give credit to many of their imaginary staff members. I always found this one of the funniest parts of their show. Here are some more. Remember, read them out loud to get the full effect. Please enjoy.

Collections Specialist Colin Duboise
Commencement Speaker Gladys Overwith
Communications Director George Stayontopothis
Compassion Coordinator Ophelia Paine
Complaint Line Operator Xavier Breath
Computer Hardware Specialist C. Colin Backslash
Computer Instructor C. Boynton Glick
Conflict Resolution Specialist Hugo Origo
Conspiracy Theorist Nadia Belimi
Construction Manager Dustin Dubree
Coordinator, 12-Step Recovery Program Cody Pendant
Corporate Spokesperson Hugh Lyon Sack
Crash Tester Hope Anna Prayer
Creative Director Drew A. Blank
Credit Counselor Max Stout
Criminal Justice Expert Lauren Order
Customer Car Care Representative Haywood Jabuzoff
Customer Car Care Representative Assistant Dot Stubadd
Customer Credit Officer Noah Wayne Hellman
Defense Attorney II Heronimus B. Blind
Defense Attorney III  Donnatella Dicoppas
Dermatologist for Teenagers Don Pickett
Desi Arnaz Biographer Ike Arumba
Dessert Chef Tyra Meesu
Dessert Menu Planner Eaton Flanagan
Director of Accounts Payable Bill Shredder
Director of Alpine Choir O. Leo Lahey
Director, Automotive Recycling Center
(aka Junkyard)
Ricardo Dismantleban
 Director of Catering  Russell Upsumgrub
Director of Deep Sea Research Marianna Trench
Director of Delicate Electronics Repair Anita Hammer
Director of Desert Food Supplies Sandy Berger
Director of Employee Loyalty Program Upton Leftus
Director of Intensive Care Unit
(The Picabo ICU)
Picabo Street
Director of Japanese Cooling Systems Emperor Overhito
 Director of Photography Len Scapon
Director of Positive Reinforcement A. Kurt Nod
Director of Pollution Control Maury Missions
Director of Three Stooges Studies Lee Eyeapoka
Director of Vengeance Ewell Rudy Day
 Dope Slap Administrator Thad Hertz
Drug Trials Specialist Placebo Domingo
Drycleaner Preston Creases

The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals

When I was little, I loved stuffed animals. They were my pals, and I slept with them all every night. In fact, I still have Percy, my first stuffed bear. These days he is in our office on the top shelf, surveying the Internet along with me.

Remember how, when you got a brand new teddy bear, that he/she always had a red felt tongue? When I was growing up, it was a Christmas tradition for me to bring my tongue-less stuffed animals to my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve. When I woke up in the morning, they all had new tongues! (Thanks, Ba!)

Whenever I received a new stuffed animal, I always asked my mother to name it for me. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to come up with a suitable name on my own. Once someone gave me an enormous red and white bear, and Mom suggested that he looked like a “Ulysses.” It sounded like “Julysis” to me, so “Julysis” it was for all time.

Whenever I was afraid at night, thinking of the usual cast of monsters, I would put Julysis on top of me, facing up. That way, I figured, if a monster did  come into my room, they would only see a big red and white bear in the bed.

The best name Mom ever came up with was for my stuffed toy raccoon; she named him “Calhoun the Maroon Raccoon.” Perfect, as he really was maroon and white. There were many more, and sadly I do not remember them all….which makes me think of that lovely and sad song from the movie “Toy Story.” It was called “When She Loved Me,” written by Sarah McLachlan:

“When somebody loved me
Everything was beautiful
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart.

And when she was sad
I was there to dry her tears
And when was happy so was I
When she loved me.


Through the summer and the fall
We had each other that was all
Just she and I together
Like it was meant to be.


And when she was lonely
I was there to comfort her
And I knew that she loved me.


So the years went by
I stayed the same
But she began to drift away
I was left alone
Still I waited for the day
When she’d say I will always love you.


Lonely and forgotten
Never thought she’d look my way
And she smiled at me and held me
Just like she used to do
Like she loved me
When she loved me.


When somebody loved me
Everything was beautiful
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart
When she loved me.”


But I do love the memory of all my old buddies, and all they meant to me. I think that somewhere in our hearts, our old stuffed pals are with us still.



The “All About ME” Show

I used to work with a woman who constantly talked about herself all the time. Any subject anyone brought up around her quickly devolved into something about her. She found herself the most fascinating person alive, and let everyone know it. It got so that when I saw her coming my way, I would quickly find something to attend to immediately.

Evidently at some point in her life she had been overweight, and over the past years had lost the weight by becoming a vegan, plus exercise and so on. Great—good on her, and anyone who does this; it’s a major achievement and something to be proud about.

She obviously adored her new smaller self, and let everyone know it. If she wore a new sweater to work, she always pulled the sleeves way down to her fingertips and prettily complained how this was the smallest size she could find and still it was ‘just too biiiiiiig!’

I so wanted to say to her, “yes, we get it: you’re a size 000 and everything  is just tooooo big for itty-bitty little teeny-tiny you.” I once made the mistake of complimenting her on a ring she wore one day. Her reply was “it’s a size three!”

She would often pontificate to other people (usually at lunch, where she would look disparagingly at their food choices) about the vegan lifestyle and how wonderful it was, and how it changed her life. Not surprisingly, people began to avoid her and sneak off to the local fast food joint.

Look, making a major life style change is to be admired. I have nothing against vegans per se, just the ones who verbally beat others to death with their convictions. All of her self-congratulatory rhetoric about being a vegan got old pretty fast. I wonder if she ever noticed the herd of people running to get away from her.

I promise that, should I ever become a vegan, I will just shut up about it.



Let’s All Just Fluff Our Auras

Let’s take the time to fluff our auras

Forget about all the rips and roarers—

Relax and let go worry

And all the other hurry-hurry—

It’s hard on our hearts and souls

You can’t pour your energy out of empty bowls;

It boggles the mind!

So what we do to unwind

Is to stop and think—

Pour ourselves a drink,

Then take that worn-out aura

Shake it smartly, and let it pour a

Ton of peace and good will

Into our hearts and souls; may they both refill

With light, hope and love—

That flows below and above

Just now and then, fluff your aura:

And you will feel the tension no mora.






Owning It

We are all who we are; made of good things and not-so-good things. But we are here to try to make the best of the life we’ve been given.

When we look at ourselves, what do we see? Are we instantly critical of every little flaw, every mistake we’ve made, every misstep we’ve taken? All of us are fallible; we all try and often fail in living our best life.

My own take on our time on this planet is that we are all given gifts that are uniquely ours. We may share them with the world as did Mozart and Einstein and Jane Goodall, or we can keep them to ourselves to nurture and grow our gifts until we get to a place where we can feel good about sharing them.

But we are often so hard on ourselves! We are all works in progress; we may try and fail over and over again, or just plain give up—only to wearily pull ourselves up to try again. Whoever we are, whatever we do in life, we must own it. If we make mistakes along the way, we can choose to own it, make the change and move on.

Or we can choose to let that mistake hold us back from having an authentic life. I call that path the “sack of stones” syndrome: oh no, we can’t have a good relationship because (stone #1) we hurt too much from the last failed one and we are afraid we’ll get hurt again. Oh no, we can’t try to get a better job because (stone #2) the one we have is better than nothing, so why upset the apple cart? Oh no, we shouldn’t buy that expensive (but  gorgeous) pair of shoes because (stone #3) they may cause unwanted attention. And so it goes, and we end up losing so many chances and opportunities.

At one point in my life, I hauled around my own heavy bag of stones and used them to excuse myself from, well; life. Even something as simple as taking a sample cookie in the grocery store was an issue. I would smile and say, ‘no, thank you.” And I really did want that cookie, but would always feel that I didn’t deserve it.

Or I would try on a dress that was more than I planned to spend, but it made me look fabulous. After admiring myself, that old school marm voice in my head would say, “now you really don’t need that, do you?” Sighing, I would put the dress back and go home.

Well—those days are over for me. It took me a long time to realize that I am truly the captain of my own life. Who’s judging, anyway? If we are the ones judging ourselves, then we have the power to kick that judge right out of our heads.

If I can answer ‘no’ to these questions:

  1. Is what I’m doing going to hurt anyone?
  2. Is what I’m doing bad for me?
  3. Is what I’m doing illegal?

…then I can say yes to the cookie, yes to the shoes, and yes to the dress. Then it really is ok to just OWN IT.


Speak Up!

This may sound redundant to some, but if something upsets you or is confusing to you, speak up. I say this because for years I did not speak up.

Recently the Crankee Yankee and I looked at cabinets and counter tops for our decidedly old-fashioned kitchen. It was fun, and we decided on light maple cabinets with doors (our old ones have no doors) and gray and white quartz counter tops.

We got an estimate on everything, and, since the cabinets are now on a great sale, we decided to buy them and store them until we are ready to install them. All was well up to that point.

Then the Crankee Yankee (a fan of total deconstruction) said that, if we were going to do that, we might as well take down the old ceiling, remove a few doors and put in pocket doors instead, tear down all the wallpaper, sheetrock and paint, and so on.

Well—that was not what I was expecting. For me, new cabinets (with doors) and new counter tops as well as new flooring (I love this house, but that yucky green linoleum has got to go!) was PLENTY. But the Crankee Yankee likes to start fresh. This is when I started hyperventilating. All that noise and mess; just thinking about it made me feel nauseous.

Recently I asked the Crankee Yankee how he felt when on a construction site; he said “invigorated!” I get that; I feel that way when I get on a roll with writing. Suddenly I feel lit up from inside and the words flow like Niagra Falls. I get it, I really do.

However, kitchen renovation doesn’t do for me what it does for the Crankee Yankee. So I spoke up when he told me that the most important room in the house is the kitchen. I disagreed; the most important room for me is the bedroom. That’s the place where I read, find peace, snooze and wake up with at least three cats on the bed with me.

The kitchen IS important, but we have come to an agreement of sorts. The cabinets and new flooring first, then a bit at a time. To think that all I had to do was just—speak up.

Who knew?


The Logical/Illogical Battle Between Men and Women

After being married to the Crankee Yankee for over 15 years, I have learned a lot about woman logic vs. man logic. We may both be humans, but we definitely do not think alike. Using the example of our marriage, here’s a sample of what I have learned:

Woman Logic: 

If you shut the windows at night, lock them. If you’re not going to lock up, what’s the point?

If you use the last sheet of toilet paper, put on a new roll.

You are in charge of cleaning out your pockets; when I do the laundry I will not check your pockets. Nor will I turn your socks right-side out; if you throw them in the laundry that way, you’ll get them back cleaned and still inside-out.

No, it is NOT ok to wear your dirty old overalls when we go out to lunch.

If you bring a dirty plate to the sink, put it in the dishwasher. I am not your maid.

Do NOT leave used Kleenexes on any surface; throw them away. We have lots of Kleenex. You don’t need to re-use them.

Do it my way; it’s the best way.

Man Logic:

I shut the windows at night. You made yourself the security officer, so it’s your job to lock the windows.

If I forget to put on a new roll of toilet paper, we have paper towels in there that we can use in a pinch. (Ewww.)

I’m too busy to check my pockets or my socks. Isn’t that your job?

Why should I get all dressed up to go out to lunch? I’m only going to go back to work when we come back.

The reason that I put dirty plates in the sink is so that you won’t gripe about them not being brought into the kitchen.

What can I say; I blow my nose and then leave the Kleenex there because I might use it again.

Do it my way; it’s the best way.

And, as my dad used to say, ‘there we are.’