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Madeleine Begun Kane,
Humor Columnist,

Madeleine Begun Kane

Bob Newhart Names Madeleine Begun Kane Winner of Robert Benchley Society Award For Humor


I know even less about cars than I know about computers ... and my automobile limericks and my "Driven Mad" columns from the should prove it. So I hope you'll enjoy all this car, traffic, and driver humor, limericks, and light verse by Madeleine Begun Kane.

  • Limerick Ode To The GPS
    "If your car's GPS tells you, "Go,"
    But there's water ahead, you should know ..."

  • This Limerick's For The Birds
    "Here's a riveting fact about birds,
    Which is likely to trigger foul words: ..."

  • Nabbed By A Typo
    "A man may end up in a cell
    Cuz his parking permit had a tell: ..."

  • Pigheaded Limerick
    "A fellow whose car had been towed
    Freaked out when he heard what he owed. ..."

  • Lame Limerick
    "A guy with his foot in a cast
    Was driving his car way too fast. ..."

  • Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Texting? "Brace yourself for a large dose of libertarian outrage: Texting while driving may soon be outlawed. ..."

  • My New Policy "That's it. No more vacations! Sounds a little extreme, I know. But strange things tend to happen when my husband and I have the nerve to travel or take time off. ..."

  • Dim-Witted Driver
    "A dim-witted driver named Ed
    Often finds that his battery's dead. ..."

  • Bankrupt Values "Republicans have no shortage of things to fulminate about. One of their favorites? The General Motors bankruptcy. ..."

  • One Car Guaranty I'd Gladly Forgo
    "Those dents seem to come right on cue
    A few days from your auto's debut...."

  • D.C. Snow Job (Limerick) "Life in Washington, D.C. must be great! Otherwise, the D.C. Council would surely have better things to do than passing laws that require drivers to remove snow from their cars. ..."

  • Ode To An Absent-Minded Husband
    "Your umbrella can not have gone far.
    Can't believe how forgetful you are! ..."

  • Multitasking Mania (Limerick and Haiku)
    "It's risky to drive while you eat,
    Most especially pasta with meat:..."

  • Street Metal (Limerick)
    "While I drive, I espy something bright.
    To avoid it, I swerve to the right. ..."

  • Going Topless "For months I resisted my husband Mark's vacation idea -- a Key West trip featuring a drive through the Keys in a rented convertible. I don't know about you, but I associate convertibles with youth and coolness. And as much as I hate to admit it, Mark and I are quite a bit beyond the former ... and seem to have skipped the latter..."

  • Practice, Practice, Practice (Limerick)
    "The teacher called out from his car:
    "Ma'am, your daughter's a driver's ed star. ..."

  • Multi-Task Madness "Perhaps I'm out of line, but I think that when you get behind the wheel of a gazillion-pound motorized vehicle, turn the ignition key, get into gear, hit the gas, and begin to move, you should maybe ... I don't know ... PAY ATTENTION..."

  • How To Plan A Trip "A weekend trip is a splendid way to replenish your energy and deplete your bank account..."

  • When Radio Interviews Go Wrong "Every so often, radio talk shows give up their quest for amusing guests and interview me instead. I always welcome the opportunity to be exposed to a 4:30 a.m. audience of roughly eleven people..."

  • Driving By The Book "Like most people, I'd love to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Unfortunately, I've never come up with a category that suits my unique talents. I'm afraid "World's Least Car Savvy Car Columnist" probably wouldn't cut it..."

  • When Guests Check In, But Their Cars Check Out "Sometimes a hotel stay doesn't go quite as smoothly as you'd like. I'm not talking about a room that isn't as nice or clean as you expected. I'm not even talking about lost reservations, a lousy view, or finding a dead body under your bed..."

  • Drivers Who Make Me See Red "I probably shouldn't admit this, but I'm prejudiced against people who drive red cars. And I don't think they should ever be issued drivers licenses ... let alone car insurance. Yes, I know -- bias is bad, and I'm very ashamed. But in my defense, let me add that RED CAR DRIVERS ARE LUNATICS..."

  • Tow Guy Blues "I should put my local tow guy on a yearly retainer. Here's a typical conversation:
    Me: Hi, it's me, Madeleine Kane. Guess whose husband left the lights on again. My address is...
    Tow Guy: Still have you down from last week. Have you considered our frequent-user plan?"

  • When Your Car Talks Back Does one wrong turn render you hopelessly lost? If so, you may want to check out the new hot feature in automobiles: navigation systems. But before you buy one, be sure to take it out for a test talk.

  • Sitting It Out "Online car buying isn't a pain in the back ... and that's what's wrong with it..."

  • Corporate Confessions "During this year's annual shareholders' meeting, Ford Motor Co. made some surprising admissions about the environmental and safety problems of SUVs. Ford's refreshing attack of corporate honesty has inspired at least one other manufacturer to make some confessions of its own..."

  • A Tale of Two Engines "I've been hearing great things about Ask Jeeves and its question answering approach to search engine queries. So I decided to consult Jeeves about a car problem -- an engine noise that nobody's been able to fix. Here's how my consultation went..."

  • This Driver's Ed "In a Just Shoot Me sitcom episode, Dennis Finch (played by David Spade) moonlights as a drivers ed classroom teacher whose students have been court-ordered to take his class. Spade depicts Finch as a dedicated, MV law-savvy teacher with a dark secret: He doesn't know how to drive..."

  • Ms. Driven Mad Answers Your Car Questions "My email box is always jammed with letters from readers of my "Driven Mad" column and other loyal fans. Okay, I admit it -- that was a lie. What really jams my email box is SPAM. But from time to time, readers have questions that can be answered only by a bona fide automobile expert. For some reason, they send them to me..."

  • E-Mapping It Out "When my husband Mark suggested an impromptu trip to Long Island's East Hampton, I instinctively reached for a map. Then I remembered; we no longer own any maps. They were soaked beyond redemption in a flash flood that destroyed our car during our last impromptu trip. We replaced the car, but not the maps..."

  • Car Cons "Wait! Come Back! I'll drop the price another thou."
    Imagine a car salesman following you into the parking lot, banging on your door, and begging you not to leave. Implausible? Perhaps. But that very memory cheers me whenever I think about the horror referred to in polite company as buying a new car..."

  • Traffic LIES "Dear American Highway Users Alliance: We've been gypped..."

  • Pumped About The Web "I have great news for all you multi-taskers and for people who think pumping gas is a bore: Any day now, your local service station may be equipped with a combination gas pump/Web browser. That way you'll be able to surf hot sites and scan your spam while breathing in gasoline fumes..."

  • False Alarm "My husband Mark and I have a weekend hideaway, a respite from the pace of New York City life. Our country haven is smaller than most; it was once optimistically measured at 400 square feet..."

  • Scouting For Trouble "My husband Mark is a Boy Scout. Not in the literal sense, of course. Although he claims to have earned badges for everything from..."

  • Directionless Study "This familial exchange should sound familiar: Spouse 1: We've been going in circles for hours. If you don't stop for directions, I shall kill you..."

  • A High-Test Case: Marrying your car, The next legal frontier. "My husband Mark swears that he's never proposed to an automobile. The same can't be said for Buster Mitchell of Knoxville, Tennessee..."

  • Cab Accord " An astounding number of otherwise prudent people routinely take cabs. Not only do they climb into taxis that should have been put out of their misery years ago, but they entrust their very lives to strangers who may or may not know how to drive and who may even have stolen the cab..."
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