Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 07:42:42 -0700
From: Patrick Douglas Crispen 
To: Multiple recipients of list TOURBUS 
Subject: TOURBUS - 25 MARCH 1996 - CAR TALK

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A couple of riders at the back of the bus have been having some problems
getting into the Southern Word homepage (the homepage that has a collection
of all of the Southern Words that I have used in my previous TOURBUS
posts).  Here are a couple of ways that you can get into the Southern Word

     1. Point your Web browser to

     2. Hop on over to Yahoo! and do a keyword search for "Crispen".
        Yahoo! has four links to my (old) Roadmap workshop, one link to
        my parent's homepage, and a link to the Southern Word page.

     3. Have a squirrel run over your keyboard a couple of times.
        Squirrels are magically drawn to the University of Alabama's
        computer center, and the Southern Word page resides on a
        computer at the University's computer center, therefore ...
        well, you can figure out the final part of this syllogism :)

Actually, the machine that the Southern Word homepage resides on is often
quite slow, so you may time-out before the page ever loads.  If this
happens, just try reloading the page a little later :)

Now, if I could only convince the University to get some more memory for
the mainframe, perhaps my pages would load a little quicker ...

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I have seven words that will strike fear deep in the hearts of even the
most burly of men: Car Talk is now on the Web! Yes, folks, Click and Clack,
the Tappet brothers, (a.k.a. Tom and Ray Magliozzi) now have their own
homepage at

For those of you who have never heard of Car Talk, let's see if I can
explain what it is (hey, this is going to be tough).  Car Talk is both a
public radio show hosted by, and a newspaper column written by, Click and
Clack, two auto mechanics in Boston.  The premise of both their show and
their column is that Click and Clack answer car-related questions sent in
or called in by their audience.

Actually, I guess it would be a little more accurate to say that Click and
Clack SOMETIMES talk about cars.  The rest of the time they talk about
pretty much everything else BUT cars.  (Imagine if Bob Rankin and I were
auto mechanics instead of the worthless bums that we really are, and you'll
start to get an idea what Car Talk is like).

What other stuff do they talk about?  Well, during their radio shows, Click
and Clack also read a "puzzler," a "a curious little conundrum" sent in by
one of the show's listeners.  The person who answers that week's puzzler
correctly (by writing the answer on something (except fruit) and sending it
to the Puzzler Tower in Cambridge) wins a cheap and highly superficial
prize.  Like Car Talk itself, the puzzler sometimes "has to do with the
inner workings of cars. Sometimes it has to do with language, algebra, or
something else you should have learned in the seventh grade (at least the
second time through). But more often than we'd like to admit, the puzzler
has to do with more esoteric things like the Bubonic plague, electric
trolleys in Brooklyn, or the need for an urgent haircut."

Fortunately, Click and Clack have created an archive (albeit a SMALL
archive) of puzzlers at

Even if you are the type of person who thinks that your car is powered by
gerbils under the hood (in other words, even if you drive a Renault Le
Car), you really should check out the puzzler archive.

If you haven't heard Click and Clack's radio show before, and if you have a
Real Audio player (which you can download for FREE at, you can hear some rather funny snippets from
the show by pointing your browser to

There are a whole bunch of other neat things on the Car Talk homepage
(including a listing of newspapers and radio stations that carry Car Talk,
and a four year archive of the Car Talk newspaper columns (which is a MUST
read)), but the one resource on the Car Talk page that knocked my socks off
is the Car Talk Report at

What is so cool about the Car Talk Report?  Well, once you enter the make,
model, and year of your car (you have to go through a couple of successive
pages, and you must have a forms-capable browser like Netscape to do this)
the Car Talk Report will search through its records and show you:

     1. Every government-ordered recall for that particular make, model,
        and year. "Recalls are ordered by the National Highway Traffic
        Safety Administration (NHTSA) when there's something so
        seriously messed up with your car that it could cause a nasty,
        big-time injury. Recalls are safety related defects that must be
        fixed for free by dealers."

     2. Every service bulletin for that particular make, model, and
        year.  Service bulletins (which are normally issued by the
        manufacturer) are sent out when something on that particular
        make, model, and year car is pretty messed up, but not messed up
        enough to require a government recall.  (By the way, I don't
        think this function has been implemented on the Car Talk page

     3. All of the NHTSA complaints filed on that particular make,
        model, and year car.  ANYONE can file an NHTSA complaint, so
        NHTSA complaints tend to be a little anecdotal.  However, if the
        NHTSA receives enough complaints, they launch an investigation
        ... and if the investigation finds that there IS a problem, the
        NHTSA orders a recall.

     4. The results of the NHTSA crash tests for that particular make,
        model, and year car, and

     5. A search function that allows you to search through all of the
        old Car Talk newspaper columns (all the way back to June of
        1992) for any mention of that particular make or make and model
        of car.

Cool, huh?  There are a few bugs in the Car Talk Reports (mostly repeated
recall or complaint reports), but it is a wonderful resource nonetheless :)

That's it for today.  I hope that you have a safe and happy weekend!


RAFFLE - noun.  A firearm.
Usage:  "Son ... fetch me ma raffle"
(Special thanks goes to Stu Kasten for today's wurd)


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     TOURBUS - (c) Copyright 1996, Patrick Crispen and Bob Rankin
 All rights reserved.  Redistribution is allowed only with permission.
     Send this copy to 3 friends and tell them to get on the Bus!

   (\__/)  .~    ~. ))
   /O O  ./      .'             Patrick Douglas Crispen
  {O__,   \    {               The University of Alabama
    / .  . )    \  *NEW ADDRESS* *NEW ADDRESS*
    |-| '-' \    }
   .(   _(   )_.'
  '---.~_ _ _&                    Warning: squirrels.

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