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    Happy Birthdays and Great Radio

    Guess what today is you guys? It’s my mother’s birthday today! I’d love to be with her to celebrate, but Cleveland’s a long way away and my van won’t stand for it.

    Herman and I are on the lookout for a new vehicle, and as usual, money is the problem.

    When I was living in Los Angeles and absolutely had to have a car to travel from place to place, it was always a challenge to be able to afford a vehicle in that environment. As I’ve told you before, I had a 1978 Honda Civic (do you remember the tiny cars with hatchbacks?) that I drove into the ground until the engine was blowing hot air into the car with it always being warm outside. Looking back, I think I had a problem with the tie-rod ends, although Herman says this has nothing to do with the temperature of the car. Yeah, well, whatever.

    I worked in the entertainment end of the business, so I never thought (and still don’t) about the workings of a vehicle. All I know is, you put the key in and turn it on and it’s supposed to go.

    This has not been the situation with my van as of late. Seems to me anywhere Terry and I or Herman go, we’ve had endless car problems. But as John at H&P Motors in Gloversville says, “Any car can be fixed.” The problem is, at this point, Herman and I have been running into non-stop repair problems with the van to the point that it seems more than the car is worth. But, it’s all about what a car is worth to you.

    For me right now, rather than being home-bound, it is more important to me to get to my various appointments, physical therapy and meetings and social events. It’s also a quality of life issue that will greatly affect my mental health if I can’t get from place to place.

    What I think is really neat, is when I run into you readers and you always share with me your fun in reading this column. Most recently I was stopped at Peeble’s Department Store as I was shopping for new bathing suits. I can’t recall the woman’s name, but “hello” to you, and yes, I did wind up buying three new suits.

    But back to cars. There’s a great show that Herman’s introduced me to on Saturday mornings on National Public Radio called “Car Talk” with “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” who answer all sorts of interesting questions about car problems. These guys are truly hilarious and I’m almost tempted to call in myself to talk about the van’s problems, but I’m not sure what they’d say. Probably they would suggest getting a new car, which I’d like to do, but can’t due to lack of funds.

    There’s another show called “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on after “Car Talk,” and it’s about the week’s news, but in humorous form. They have a person call in and try to fill in the blanks on news stories from the past week, and some of the stories they pick are great.

    The stories they pick, especially from small newspapers around the country, seem pretty ridiculous, but then that’s the point. And it certainly makes the news seem more interesting.

    Remember reading Dave Barry’s columns? He often would speak of every day news items and then say, “And I’m not making this up” followed by a truly outrageous news item. That’s the kind of things they have on “Wait, Wait.”

    So whatever you listen to on the radio, let me recommend these two shows, and of course as a regular Saturday night standard, Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion.” Also found on NPR.

    Happy listening. And happy birthday, Mom!

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com