Sunday, August 20, 2006


What is it with Tom Hanks and public radio?

A few months ago he did a call-in celebrity turn on the Chicago-based quiz show "Wait Wait....Don't Tell Me!"

His name was the answer today on the weekly Sunday Puzzle posed by puzzle master Will Shortz on Weekend Edition Sunday. The question was: "Name a well-known person in show business who might be seen at an awards ceremony. Take the first letter of this person's first name, plus this person's last name, in order, from left to right. The letters will spell something this celebrity might SAY at an awards ceremony. Who is the celebrity and what might this person say." The answer: Tom Hanks/Thanks.

This morning the former Bosom Buddies star -- who listens via KTCC in Pasadena -- called in to announce the winner and then stuck around to help her win the quiz. He is quite bright -- and surprisingly wittily, I may add. What they would call a good sport.

And here I was dismissing him as an actor.

I suppose I can still dis(miss) his movies though.


Speaking of Shortz, er, shorts-- This weekend's installment of Selected Shorts includes stories by the late Indian writer R.K. Narayan, whose setting of fictional Malgudi is said to be a stand-in for Mysore.

The full program is:

Elizabeth Cox, “The Third of July,” read by Joan Allen
From: Bargains in the Real World: Thirteen Stories (Random House)

R.K. Narayan, “Seventh House,” read by Fionnula Flanagan
From: The Grandmother’s Tale and Selected Stories (Ecco Press)

Timings are here.


In other radio news: The local station is training another local anchor, who has been tripping over each and every word the entire weekend. Is it that he's legally blind and trying to pass for sighted? A chronic stutterer? Is it the Tourette's? The drink? The pipe? The nerves? Or is it simply that Johnny cannot read? Why oh why do they persist in training people ON THE AIR.

Yet.... I suppose it's not unlike the way in which yoga teachers are made: The regular teacher is desperate to find a sub. No one can do it, so a newly-minted 200-hour trainee is recruited. They go. They show up too early. They falter. They kind of suck. They say "left" instead of "right." They are asked questions they cannot answer. They talk too fast, and too softly. They get winded from talking while they demonstrate the poses. Their sequences are bizarre. They're afraid to touch the students. They wait in fear for one of them to point at them and yell, 'Imposter!" They fart.

They go forth anyway and eventually, hopefully, become good teachers.

But at least their ignominy is witnessed by a limited audience....

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