(A special guest column by Hydra and Cammie, the Lifter Sisterz)
[Get the latest “Truth With Speedzzter” here]
HYDRA: It’s no secret that “Truth With Speedzzter” is no big fan of National Public Radio’s Tom and Ray Magliozzi, a/k/a “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers. That’s part of the reason “Speedzzter” asked us – Hydra and Cammie, the Lifter Sisterz -- to provide a “second opinion” on some of the gibberish that passes for advice in the syndicated Car Talk column.
CAMMIE: And your first big question is “Who in the Henry H. Ford are the Lifter Sisterz?”
HYDRA: Actually, I expected their first questions to be “Is a smokin’ hottie like me free on Saturday night?” And “Why is Cammie’s butt so big?”
CAMMIE: Ooooh, Girl! You’re one to talk . . .
HYDRA: Now I don’t want to have to go all Lindsay and Samantha on your ugly face, so let’s just get down to business . . . .
CAMMIE: Yeah, another wrecker call might come in before we get the question answered . . . .
HYDRA: Today’s question to “Click and Clack” came from some “proud grandma” named Barbara . . .
CAMMIE: What kind of wack whitebread name is “Barbara?” Now I've got some horrible Streisand show tune in my head.
HYDRA: Are you off your A.D.D. meds? Just shut up and pay attention! Anyhoo, Granny Barbara has a 2006 Toyota Prius . . .
CAMMIE: Now there’s ya first problem! She ought to dump that wussy whip and score a real car like my 725 h.p. Shelby GT500 Super Snake! Then maybe her grandkids wouldn’t have to ride around with those grocery bags over their heads . . .
HYDRA: Come on now! She’s a granny! You know, support hose . . . a big honkin’ industrial-grade girdle like yours . . . blue hair. Anything hotter than about 90 horses and she’d probably stroke out on us. A Prius driver's not exactly "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" . . .
CAMMIE: I don’t wear no girdle, Miss Silicone . . .
HYDRA: Aw, you beggin’ for another manicure with my torque wrench, Hon! Anyway, here’s her complaint:
[NOTE FROM HYDRA AND CAMMIE’S LAWYERS: The following quotation appears pursuant to the “fair use” doctrine of U.S. Copyright law. Besides, the so-called Lifter Sisterz can’t even pay our bill, so unless you want to end up with: (a) a pair of dilapidated mobile homes parked in some smelly swamp, (b) a beat-to-death “factory stock” race car, (c) a huge collection of Dolly Parton-style wigs, (d) a lifetime supply of “pleather” jumpsuits, (e) a tow truck that makes “Mater” look like a show-stopper, and (f) the worst collection of cheap, mostly-broken mechanics tools this side of a Mississippi pawn shop, DON’T BOTHER SUING THEM! And yes, Cammie's so upside down on what's left of the GT500 that she'll be paying on it in 2030]
DEAR TOM AND RAY: I am a proud grandma and a disappointed and angry owner of a 2006 Toyota Prius. The proud Grandma part is this: My precious grandchildren made me some small clay decorations, which I proudly displayed on my dashboard – a 2-inch clay flower and 1-inch clay ball sat against the multifunction screen. After a few weeks, the screen stopped working. I brought the car in to the Toyota dealer, who said that the small clay objects had “burned an image into the screen,” causing it to stop working. The whole multifunction device/screen would need to be removed and sent out for repairs, which would cost me between $850 and $4,300! Nowhere does the owner’s manual warn that such a thing could happen. The rationale sounds outrageous, as does the price. So what do you experts think? I sure would appreciate your opinions and advice. Thanks! – Barbara
CAMMIE: Tom and Ray are “experts?” Who knew?
HYDRA: Sure, they’d be magna cum laude Ph.Ds on wimp cars like a Prius. But you don’t ever see’em fielding any tough questions on real rods, like Vipers, Cobras, GTOs, Deuce Coupes . . . .
CAMMIE: Alright, so Click and Clack told Babs a couple of jokes, said the Toyota dealer couldn’t do a proper estimate without ripping out all that computer screen crap, suggested that Granny go beggin’ for a freebee on Toyota’s whiners-n-crybabies hotline ((800) 331-4331), and then suggested that another computer screen rig could be scored at the JY.
HYDRA: That’s it?
HYDRA: And they got a national radio gig and the uncritical adulation of millions of import-loving, limp-wristed “appliance motorists” for advice like that?
CAMMIE: I reckon so.
HYDRA: What a country!
CAMMIE: Alright, so we’ve got to pump out a “second opinion” and we can waste bandwidth just a good as Oprah and Dr. Laura, so let’s get it on!
HYDRA: Well, the first thing that strikes me is – Why did Granny Babs stick a bunch of cheesy art projects on that flimsy Prius computer screen in the first place?
CAMMIE: Yeah! A couple of hunks of clay flying around that Japanese Jetson Jalopy in the event of a crash . . .
HYDRA: Yeah, if Granny Babs had piled’er up while she was hauling her “precious grandchildren” for another gut-busting day ‘o fun at Chuck E. Cheese’s, those young artist mopes might have been pickin’ shards of clay flower and clay ball out of their mugs.
CAMMIE: Of course the grocery bags would probably protect their faces, but clay projectiles flying around even in a wimpmobile like a Prius is bad news in a crash or evasive maneuver.
HYDRA: Evasive maneuver? In a PRIUS! What kind of cut could you make on those factory doughnuts? And at OUGHT POINT THREE Gs, the projectiles flying around in most Priuses would be the contents of the wussy driver’s stomach!
CAMMIE: Okay, so maybe the danger’s a tad hypothetical. Still it’s an obviously DUMB idea to “decorate” the dash with clay figurines.
HYDRA: Yeah, it’s almost as dumb as that Monte Carlo SS that pulled into the shop with a picture of the Virgin Mary PASTED OVER THE TACHOMETER!
CAMMIE: Of course the driver probably thought "what do you need this 'funny clock' for?"
HYDRA: I guess she was depending upon a Divine rev limter . . . not that you’d need much of one with a wheezing 305 Chevy small block . . . .
CAMMIE: I could just hear the confession now . . . “BlessmefatherforIhavesinned . . . I just sent three rods through the side of the block during a street race because I HAD A PICTURE OF THE FREAKIN’ MOTHER ‘O GOD COVERIN’ UP MY TACHOMETER! . . . and I’m going to have to take a pass on Church bingo for a few weeks while I save up for a new short-block. . . .”
HYDRA: Is the clay figurines thing dumber than the goofs who heat up their nitrous oxide bottles with a torch on “Pinks?”
CAMMIE: Nah. Splittin’ open a 1000 p.s.i. nitrous bottle will kill you dead. Your “precious grandson’s” clay ball hitting you in the head at 5-10 m.p.h. would probably only put out an eye or something.
HYDRA: You could get an eye patch to match your blue hair. Of course there’s another danger that Granny Babs probably didn’t think of either . . . RADON!
CAMMIE: Yeah, that clay was probably foggin’ it out big time.
HYDRA: Alright, do you think that Toyota should have warned Granny Babs about the hazards of using the multifunction computer thingie for an art project shelf?
CAMMIE: You gotta be kidding me! I mean does Oprah have to warn you not to shack up with some shiftless ex-con meth-head? Some ideas are just OBVIOUSLY DUMB.
HYDRA: You mean like putting Michael Waltrip in a race car?
CAMMIE: Even more obvious than that! Like not walking up to Goldberg on "Bullrun" and smacking him in the kisser . . . .
HYDRA: So should Toyota shoot her a freebee fix just to shut her up? I mean isn’t the “customer always right?”
CAMMIE: NO WAY! Toyota probably ought to buy her car back because she obviously doesn’t have enough sense to own or operate a complex piece of machinery. What about the price of the fix . . . $4,300 is serious coin . . . .
HYDRA: Yeah, that’d really cut into all those fuel savings . . . and wait until Granny’s got to buy a battery for that miracle Tokyo golf cart. That’ll dent the mah jong fund. But she’s probably some “planet saving” zealot, so $4,300 really isn’t that much to pay for all those smug looks she’s undoubtedly firing out at folks flying past her in REAL cars. If you want to play, you’ve got to pay.
CAMMIE: But does she have to fix it? Sure, it controls the heater and AC, the audio, and the nav systems, but do you really need all those “planet killing” luxuries? And it’s not as if she was really using it, considering she had it covered up with all those malformed hunks of clay.
HYDRA: And who’d spend $4,300 just to listen to NPR? Not me!
CAMMIE: She probably never even let the “precious grandchildren” listen to some of that crap that kids nowadays call music. I can just about guarantee you she never tuned into Limbaugh or Motor Racing Network. So why fix it? You could probably just rig the heater and AC with a few toggle switches and some jimmy clips, and save yourself about $4,295.
HYDRA: Who needs nav anyhow. Those “precious grandchildren” need to be learning how to read maps.
CAMMIE: Do really think she could find another computer screen at the JY?
HYDRA: Not any I’ve seen. Of course, if I ever saw a Prius in a JY, I’d head for a monster truck. I’d bet one of them little sushi sleds would spark big time when you squished it.
CAMMIE: So, bottom line: If you really love your grandkids, get rid of that embarrassing Prius and buy something with a little hair on it. Something that the kids will get off on blasting around in. Then maybe they won’t waste all their time making useless clay art and will get to wrenching on some rods and race cars.
HYDRA: But if you just have to keep that Prius, quit whining. Save up those Social Security checks and patch it up the best you can. And don’t put any more useless “art” around any of the fragile bits. Safety first!
CAMMIE: And if the "precious grandchildren" just have to mess around with clay, then put them to work detailing your whip with a clay bar.