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Madeleine Begun Kane,
Humor Columnist,

Madeleine Begun Kane

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.

Here then are some reader questions and my answers, all backed by a one year/10,000 mile non-warranty:

Q. I'm a 35-year-old self-employed woman and use my car 40% of the time for business and 60% of the time for personal matters. Does it make better financial sense for me to lease or to buy?

A. I'm sorry, but your query involves math. If I were you, I'd ask Al Gore.

Q. My engine keeps making a very strange vibrating sound, but only when I'm going between 30 and 40 MPH. I've taken it to three mechanics, and none of them could fix it. What could be causing this noise?

A. If I could answer questions like that, I wouldn't be Driven Mad.

Q. I understand that you're a New Yorker. Please explain why the Subway Series is called the Subway series.

A. Thanks so much for asking something I actually know the answer to. It's called the Subway Series because everyone who tried to get to the first game by car instead of subway is still stuck in traffic.

Q. I have a hard time getting dates and I figure a new car might help. What model would you recommend?

A. I'm afraid you're looking for love ... and advice ... in all the wrong places. You might want to check with The Ladies Man.

Q. My wife says SUV tire problems are a punishment from God, imposed because SUV owners pollute the environment, lord it over other drivers, and make it impossible for me to back out of my driveway unless my wife stands in the middle of the street and tells me when it's safe to move. Is she correct?

A. Chances are that's just an urban myth. But wouldn't it be really cool if it were true?

Q. I've heard that monkeys pose a serious danger to cars. That sounds crazy to me. Surely we're safe from monkey attacks here in the United States. Am I right?

A. Unfortunately you're wrong. Back in late September the Associated Press reported that three monkeys who presumably escaped while being taken to a circus or state fair, hurled bananas and crab apples at cars on Interstate 95 in Jarratt Virginia.

Q. Surely you're making this up.

A. I'm afraid not.

Q. Then how can I protect myself.

A. You can't. But if I were you, I'd worry more about the monkeys behind the wheel.

Q. Suffolk County, New York and some other municipalities have passed legislation restricting the use of cell phones in cars. Do you favor such laws?

A. What was that? Hold on a second. I'm trying to adjust my car audio volume, remotely set my house thermostat, and finalize an online purchase transaction. Okay, now I'm with you, and I'm absolutely opposed to any legislation that would limit my ... Oh my God -- where did that car come from? @#$@#@$$@#@#$@#$@@$@$$!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

© Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
1st Published November 2000

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