Rant and Rave

Send Tommie to the Junk Heap: A Guest Rant and Rave
by Alan Goldberg

May 31, 1996

I am so happy that there is now an easy way for me to communicate with you because I have a rant and rave that I have been keeping repressed for years. It has to do with that guy "Tommie." A few years ago, he was asking why is there an Oldsmobile? Well, my question is, why is there a Tommie? What does he contribute to the show? Well, he is very good at several things:

  • reading the mail, especially the da-da-da-da
  • repeating the name and city of the caller and asking dumb questions about the spelling of either one or both.
  • asking his brother (who he never calls by name) "What if someone thought that he or she knew the answer to the puzzler? What should he or she do?" This information could be presented by Ray without these interminable questions week after week.
  • his usual contribution to the questions posed by callers after Ray gives the answer is "That's what I was going to say too."
  • never remembering the puzzler. I mean once or twice it might be funny, but every week?
  • repeating the phrases of the puzzler, interrupting Ray's flow of the puzzle.
  • he is especially good at interrupting Ray while he is in the middle of presenting a well thought out and formulated answer to a question, with a dumb comment or question to Ray or to the caller. This is really annoying because Ray is too nice to interrupt back and invariable his thought never gets finished.
  • oh yes, he is very, very good at whistling or making cow-like noises when he is impressed at something Ray has said. O.K, we're all impressed, but these noises are very, very distracting.

I think he actually did get an answer right once, something to do with thermal conductivity of windshield glass! The rest of the time his contributions were zilch!

There are many, many more points I could bring up about Tommie, but I can't remember them all now. If he is so good an automotive mechanic (not to say engineer which he should be after graduating from MIT) why is he teaching Marketing? Let him stay in his chosen field and stay away from something that he is not well versed in.

Oh yes, once Ray gives the answer, he begins with a long discourse to explain the answer, but Ray could do it much better and in a shorter time, especially considering that Tommie didn't know the answer until Ray gave it. Then there's the matter of Tommie never referring to his brother by name. He always refers to him as "my brother" in the third person. When this happens continually, it makes me think that he has a problem with his brother, perhaps because he realizes that he really does not contribute anything to the show and really should not be on it. Perhaps the only reason he stays is that you, Dougie Berman, have convinced him to stay because he is a foil to his more knowledgeable and more personable brother (i.e. not a jerk). Ray, on the other hand, always has something of substance to contribute and is a delight to listen to. And when he refers to his brother, it is always "Tommie," and expressed with affection, even if he is frustrated by him from time to time, but is too nice to let that interfere with his feelings.

Well, there may be a reason to keep Oldsmobile around, but for my money, you can send Tommie to the junk heap. Oh yes. he does have some good things to say from time to time about safety, but Ray could easily do all of that just as well, if not better.

Whenever I listen to your show, I keep my fingers on the volume control, and when Tommie begins talking, I turn I turn him way down, just loud enough so that I can hear when Ray starts talking again and then I turn the volume up again, but I have to keep my fingers on the volume so that I can turn it down again when I need to. This is no way to listen to what otherwise would be a stupendous show. As it is, it's good, even very good, but no thanks to Tommie.

So, be kind to us faithful listeners - either tell Tommie that he has to talk about one tenth of the amount he usually does, and then only if he has something meaningful to contribute - otherwise let him join the ranks of the "involuntary retired." Ray can do it much better all on his own. I hope you will take all of this seriously, and provide me with some sort of a reply.

Alan Goldberg


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