Monday, November 3, 2014

Recognizing Tom Magliozzi

I found it comforting to see that BBC News chose to run an item about the death of Tom Magliozzi, one of the two "Tappet Brothers," who gave advise on National Public Radio's Car Talk program. I never listened to the program regularly. I cannot even say that I was a great admirer. However, I really liked the idea that Magliozzi used his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to open his own automobile repair shop. He reminded me of one of the engineers at the campus radio station, who really wanted to go all the way for his doctorate, just so he could open his shop with a sign bearing his name followed by "PhD."

I also liked the fact that Car Talk could get away with any number of "in" jokes without every be pretentious about it. This distinguished them significantly from many of the faculty at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where I taught Computer Science in the Engineering School for about five years. It seemed as if I could not find anyone at Wharton who would not make it a point to drop any number of MIT course numbers, meaningful only to other MIT graduates and students. Car Talk patter was all about having fun without dishing out insult or injury. You do not find much of that mentality on the radio these days.

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