Car Talk Steele - Part VIII
Date: Monday, June 25, 2001
Lauryn Poynor <>

Car Talk Steele - Part VIII

by Lauryn Poynor

RAY: 1-800-332-9287. Hello. You're on Car Talk.

FRED: Hello. This is Fred calling from LA.

RAY: You're fading a little.

FRED: I'm in a parking garage in Century City. On a car phone.

TOM: A car phone? You're a VIP, eh? Captain of industry? Big
time politico? Rock star?

FRED: Limo driver.

TOM: That was going to be my next guess.

RAY: Do you work for a limo service or do you drive for someone?

FRED: Drive for someone. That's why I'm calling.

RAY: This is getting interesting. Lifestyles of the rich and
famous. Who is it? Don't worry. We won't tell. It's just
between us.

TOM: And our legions of fans. That is, those fans who don't have something better to do today like organize their socket wrench collection.

RAY: If your boss tunes in to this show he can't be too much of a big shot, can he? Give us a clue. Is he a famous heart
surgeon? Movie actor? Video game inventor?

FRED: I really can't say.

RAY: Maybe we should downsize a little. He's probably a
plumber. Though with what they charge these days they'd only use the limo when the Rolls is in the shop.

TOM: C'mon. Tell us. Are we close?

FRED: Oh, six of one, half a dozen of the other.

RAY: Really? Heart surgery, acting, video games... what does that tell you?

TOM: Sounds like a smooth operator who knows every line in the book and can play games with the best of them.

FRED: That's Mr. St - um, that about sums it up.

RAY: Wait, we forgot plumbing.

FRED: You could say he gets into a lot of hot water.

TOM: Hey! You do the driving, we'll do the jokes.

FRED: I think you guys might have a handle on my problem. My
boss isn't an actor but he's seen a lot of movies. Sometimes he gets crazy ideas.

TOM: Then you're in good hands. That's our specialty. What sort of craziness?

FRED: Well, a few months ago he was waiting for me to bring the limo around and before I got there he was hijacked.

RAY: That does sound like something out of the movies. Who were these desperados? What did they want?

FRED: Two janitors named Manuel and Esteban. Good kids really. They were doing a favor for their boss.

RAY: By hijacking your boss? Where? To Cuba?

FRED: To a meeting in an underground parking lot. He wasn't
hurt or anything but ever since it happened my boss has gotten real gung ho on security.

TOM: How so?

FRED: He started going on about how all he had to defend himself with was a Dunhill cigarette lighter and how 'Q' never let James Bond go out in the field unprepared.

TOM: I'll say. Remember the briefcase from 'From Russia with
Love?' that would set off tear gas if it was opened the wrong way?

RAY: Dangerous stuff. Kind of like working on the exhaust system of a Chevy Vega. I'd love to see James Bond blow up one of those.

TOM: What memories. So many great Bond gadgets: the jetpack from 'Thunderball,' Little Nellie, the helicopter from 'You Only Live Twice' - equipped with dual machine guns, twin rocket launchers, heat seeking missles, aerial mines, smoke screen -

RAY: Don't forget the wrist dart gun from 'Moonraker' that fired a lethal combination of armour piercing and cyanide darts -

TOM: And Bond's deadly toothpaste tube filled with plastic
explosive -

RAY: What movie is that from?

TOM: It isn't. Pay attention, double-oh-seven. How do you
expect to survive in the field if you can be fooled so easily? As if 'Q' Branch would equip Her Majesties' finest with such a ridiculous item. Exploding toothpaste!

RAY: Is that any worse than the Zippo lighter flame thrower, the leather jacket that expands into a mini hot air balloon, the parachute Levis, the X-ray vision Ray Bans -

TOM: Very funny. We're talking about James Bond not James Dean.

RAY: Darn. Can't fool you for a minute. You boffins from 'Q'
branch are sharp as carpet tacks, aren't you.

TOM: X-ray vision Ray Bans. Hmm. That's really not bad. Why
haven't we used that before? At just the right strength they'd be perfect for -

RAY: Undressing Ursula Andress.

TOM: Grow up, double-oh-seven! I was going to say they'd be
perfect for searching dangerous villains from SPECTRE for
concealed weapons.

FRED: Uh, guys. Speaking of specs, I've got to find a way to
turn a Caddy limo into the Batmobile. Got any ideas?

TOM: Are we talking Batmobile or Aston Martin?

FRED: Aston Martin, I guess. Me and the boss were going over the gadgets and I was telling him that the Batmobile beat the Bond car hands down. It had the Bat Ray, the Bat Computer linked up to the Batcave, the Bat Beam, the Bat Photoscope, and it could do that freaky ninety degree Bat Turn thing. Then there was the Green Hornet's car, Black Beauty -

TOM: Be still my heart! Black Beauty. Could it be mere
coincidence that my beloved 1963 Dodge Dart convertible and the Green Hornet's custom Dean Jefferies 1966 Chrysler Imperial share the same name?

RAY: Yes. It could.

FRED: Boy did those cars draw a blank with the boss. I guess he never watched much television.

TOM: Never heard of the Batmobile or Black Beauty? That's what I call a deprived childhood. Even Batman had to come out of the Batcave sometime.

FRED: The boss is a big Bruce Lee fan but he's never seen Bruce kick butt as Kato on 'The Green Hornet.' Weird, huh?

RAY: Kato was the coolest. Manservant. Bodyguard. Confucian
oracle. Superbadass. And last but not least, chauffeur. Bit of a role model, methinks.

FRED: I guess you're right. Loved that show when I was a kid. Kato's job ain't easy. I've been going to parts places and hardware stores trying to figure out how to build some of this stuff. You wouldn't believe the looks I get when I tell 'em I'm trying to rig a smoke bomb or a caltrops dispenser or a pressurized oil reservoir to a Caddy. Or a large capacity water tank. Every time I go to the checkout I get some wiseguy who calls me Bruce Wayne and wants to know if I'll be paying with a Bat Card or a Bat Check. If someone sings the Batman theme one more time -

TOM: Or the James Bond theme.

FRED: I get that, too. Then they want to know if they should
send the bill to MI6.

RAY: So which gadgets has your boss got his heart set on?
Besides the smokescreen, the water jets and the oil slick.

FRED: He's pretty keen on the ejector seat.

RAY: Ejector seat? You're joking! Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Always wanted to say that line.

FRED: It's in case the limo is hijacked. He wants one in the
driver's seat and one in the passenger compartment. Better safe than sorry he says. I'm beginning to see where that passenger seat one could come in handy.

TOM: I hate to throw cold water on such a visionary scheme but has your boss considered that LA's finest might not approve of someone ejecting drivers or spraying oil or water all over the city streets? Not that the oil thing doesn't happen every day. There was this Chevette we worked on that we nicknamed 'Grease II.' You really had to watch your step in the garage or you'd be slippin' and slidin' faster than you could say 'Little Richard.'

FRED: I tried to tell him we could get in big trouble with some of this stuff. Not just the water and oil jets but the
smokescreen, too.

RAY: You said it. They'll throw the letter of the law at you for sure. The EPA, the California ARB. James Bond has a license to kill, not to violate the Clean Air Act.

FRED: Then there's the revolving tire slasher. One of the
boss's favorites. But I think even if they are bad guys, using that could get a little dangerous.

TOM: Especially these days. Can you spell LAWSUIT? We know some excellent attorneys by the way. I gotta hand it to your boss. He sure likes to do things on a grand scale.

FRED: There's never a dull moment with Mr. St- , uh, with the boss. Even before all this started he was complaining about the limo. He'd say to me, 'Fred, the limo is so boring. It's plush, it's luxurious but it lacks a certain je ne, um...

TOM: Je ne sais quoi?

FRED: That's it. Sometimes I have trouble following him, with that accent and all. I don't really blame him. Sometimes I wish the agency car was something really cool, like a '70 Chevy Chevelle 454/LS6 or a '69 Pontiac GTO Judge 455 V-8.

RAY: You'd have to hold on to your chaffeur's cap in those
babies. Some real drag cars, for sure.

FRED: They aren't exactly the boss's style but they'd put a
smile on my face. I guess the boss has what you call champagne taste. That reminds me. I need to find out about wine coolers.

TOM: You mean like Bartles and Jaymes? Wild Berry, Tropical
Fruit, Pina Colada? I thought you said your boss had champagne taste. He drinks wine coolers? Oy vey!

RAY: It's no worse than those fruit flavored beers of yours.

FRED: I'm talking about refrigeration. Coolers for wine. The boss wants to install one in the limo.

TOM: Whew! You had me worried there for a moment. I thought we would have to revoke your guy's James Bond credentials. Mr. Bond would never drink wine coolers. Can you see our man JB drinking BJ - as in Bartles and Jaymes? Wearing bespoke overalls and a bow tie and saying 'the free world thanks you for your support.' Or those lame Seagram's commercials. Bond playing blues harmonica and singing 'Seeea--grams. Golden wine coolers. It's wet and it's dry. My, my, my, my. Shaken not stirred. Haven't you heard - of Seeea--grams? -

RAY: Stop this sacrilege before I stick a cyanide coated martini olive up your nose.

TOM: You don't want to hear my James Bond 'California Cooler' jingle? Sung to that old Beach Boys tune 'I Get Around?'

RAY: Is nothing sacred?

TOM: [sings] 'I'm gettin' chased by baddies on the same old
strip. I gotta find a new fuel that'll give 'em the slip. I get aro-o-ou-und, wah-wah-ooh. I take a six pack of 'Coolers' and I drink me a few then make a Molotov cocktail with the rest of the brew -'

RAY: I'm getting out the poison-tipped surfboard, Mr. Bond. You won't embarrass Her Majesties Government any further. Now can we get back to the caller's question please? Before he gives us the cold shoulder?

FRED: Well, as I was saying, the boss likes to chill his
champagne to exactly 45 degrees which means either you try an ice bucket or use a refrigerator. We've been putting it on ice but that hasn't worked out.

RAY: Why not?

FRED: Well, the boss has an eye for the ladies and sometimes in the limo when they relax and get to know each other, well, it can get a little cramped. They usually end up hitting the floor or tumbling all over the back seat.

TOM: They do? I hope the privacy screen is up.

FRED: I meant the ice cubes.

TOM: Sure you did.

FRED: So where do I get a refrigerator that can do the job?
Something compact but with steady cooling power.

RAY: Basically with a car fridge you're talkin' a thermo
electric heating/cooling module. They use 'em in all sorts of things. Dewpoint hygrometers, laboratory cold plates, laser diode coolers, integrated circuit coolers -

FRED: I just want a refrigerator.

RAY: Sorry. Got carried away. It's not often I get to show off what I learned at M.I.T. Whenever I cross over the Harvard Bridge it takes me back to those carefree college days.

FRED: Why is it called the Harvard Bridge?

RAY: It's really closer to M.I.T. than to Harvard U. Connects Boston and Cambridge via Massachusetts Ave.

TOM: When it was built the state offered to name the bridge for the institution that could present the best claim for the honor. Harvard submitted a virtuous but boring essay about its great contributions to education. M.I.T. did a structural analysis of the bridge and found it so full of defects that they agreed it should be named for Harvard. So it was unanimous.

RAY: I was a hacker par excellence in those days. Not on a
computer, but as a merry prankster. A 'hack' at M.I.T. is a

TOM: Remember the hacker's Golden Rule. 'If at all possible,
involve a cow.'

RAY: Words to live by. I often have dreams about the time my
fellow hackers and I airlifted that cow to the top of the Great Dome.

TOM: So does the cow. It's still in therapy.

FRED: Guys, could we get back to the heating/cooling module? I only get so many minutes on this phone and you're starting to break up again.

RAY: Oh. Right. Heating/cooling module. It works on the Peltier effect principle, first discovered in 1834 -

TOM: Jeez Louise. He doesn't want a lecture on thermo-electric theory. He just wants to find out how to install a mini-fridge. Fred, you'll find that most wine coolers have temperature compartments for different varieties - champagnes, reds, whites, roses. The problem is that when you drive a car there's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on, which isn't good for the wine.

RAY: You'll need some kind of an isolation mount to reduce
vibration. You can probably find a dealer who specializes in
portable refrigeration systems or RV and camper supplies that can give you more specifics.

TOM: As far as the more lethal gadgets are concerned, Dean
Jeffries, the guy who designed Black Beauty is still around and living in Hollywood. John Stears, the Aston Martin's gadget man lives in Pacific Palisades. I've seen both of them at custom car shows. You know, a lot of those gadgets really worked. Maybe you can look those guys up and get some tips. It won't be a walk in the park, and it won't be cheap.

RAY: And you'll need a friendly bail bondsman once LA's finest get a load of your gadgetmobile. Your boss could find out that being James Bond isn't as easy as it looks. Just train his roving eye on the fringe benefits. Keep that limo stocked with lovelies and that ice bucket, or um, thermo electric cooling device filled with champagne.

TOM: He'll never notice that dark blue sedan that's been trailing him for miles. That's your department. Think you can lose 'em?

FRED: Can Kato kick butt?

TOM: Do bears bear, do bees bee? Does Spock beam up? Does Emma Peel? Does Fatima Blush?

FRED: Thanks, guys. I think I'll go practice a few evasive

TOM: Kato would be proud. Watch out for those bad guys.

RAY: Well, faithful listeners, that's all folks. You could have been spending your leisure time more meaningfully by finding an estimated value of pi using the Leibnitz series -

TOM: Or baking a pie.

RAY: But instead you've squandered another hour listening to Car Talk, broadcast from the Special Spring Cleaning Division of Car Talk Plaza in Cambridge MA. Our Fair City.

TOM: This special edition of Car Talk couldn't have been
possible without the contributions of our ever expanding staff.

RAY: You've said a mouthful. Who are all these people?

TOM: Our Air Quality Monitor is Carmine Dioxide. Our Air
Traffic Controller is Ulanda U. Lucky

RAY: Our Assistant Disciplinarian is Joaquin D'Planque. Our
Assistant Transporation Coordinator is Orson Buggy.

TOM: Our Auto Body Expert is James Bondo. Our Automotive
Finishes Consultant is Rusty Steele.

RAY: Our Bail Bond Provider is Freida Gogh. Our Chief Estimator is Edward James Almost.

TOM: Our Daylight Savings Time Manager is Conrad Adenauer. Our Dental Hygienist is Ginger Vitus.

RAY: Our Director of Medical Research is Placebo Domingo. Our Proofreader is Erin Spelling.

TOM: Our Photographer is F Stop Fitzgerald. Our Ratings
Analysis Specialist is Rita Menweip.

RAY: Remember, don't drive like my brother.

TOM: Don't drive like my brother.

[Car Talk Theme - Dawgy Mountain Breakdown]