Are we a litigious society or what? We recently heard of a guy-a Leo, astrologically speaking-who sued a Detroit newspaper, claiming his miserable life was the result of the horoscopes the paper printed daily.
His lawsuit was tossed out of court.
Anyone for tort reform?
Live and in person. . .
The scene: An ``industry leadership'' forum held during the recent trade show and convention in Sparks, Nev., of the newly named Western States Tire & Automotive Service Association.
In a cabaret-style auditorium with a stage and tables, six representatives from tire manufacturing companies were about to field questions from tire dealers.
Following an abbreviated recitation of their lengthy resumes, Lee Fiedler, president and CEO of Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. quipped: ``I really can't wait to add to my bio information that I performed live on stage in Reno!''
Headline in the May 18 Cleveland Plain Dealer automotive section: ``New Pontiac catches fire.''
Isn't that the same problem those General Motors Corp. pickup trucks reportedly had?
In this case, though, the only fire was in the car's name: the new ``Sunfire'' coupe, built in Ohio.
In that newspaper's same edition, an ad for the Discount Drug Mart chain promoted a ``free video rental with every child's prescription.''
The ad called it ``a get well wish from Drug Mart! Put a smile on your child's face.*.*.*''
So what kiddie movie did they use to illustrate the item? The Lion King? Naw-The Professional, described as ``a go-for-broke thriller about a professional assassin whose work becomes dangerously personal.'' In the flick, at least one youngster is placed in harm's way.
That should keep 'em grinning.
From the 'reading room'
In their newspaper automotive service advice column-which reads a lot like they sound on the radio-those ``Car Talk'' guys, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, recently gave a somewhat dubious plug to a sister publication of TIRE BUSINESS.
A reader asked why Toyota reduced the size of the oil filters on several of its car models, and wouldn't that adversely affect engine performance?
In essence, the brothers ``Click and Clack'' answered ``no.'' But Ray responded, in part: ``. . . I think some engineer came up with the idea while sitting on the toilet and reading Automotive News.''
While on a recent business trip, we had the pleasure of sitting in one of those wider-than-normal emergency exit aisles on a Boeing 727 airplane.
In order to do that, however, we had to agree to read Northwest Airline's instruction sheet for exit-row passengers that explains procedures to open the exit door and activate the emergency slide.
The sheet-in English and Spanish-warns: ``If you cannot read, and understand, the information on this form, please advise the Northwest agent or flight attendant. . . .''
If you can't read, how can you understand that advisory? Pass the peanuts.
Quote du jour
From an article on ``intelligent'' vehicle navigation systems in the Erie Insurance Group newsletter, In Sync:
``The average car today has more computer power than the first lunar landing module''-Gerald Bastarache of the Washington, D.C.-based Intelligent Transportation Society of America.
One giant leap for technology, one step back for bewildered auto service techs.
Maricopa County, Ariz.-a tough place, whether you're collecting scrap tires, or being a criminal.
Several times we've reported about the trials and tribulations of Pacific Palisades, Calif.-based REPCO and its partner, Colinas Tire Recovery Inc., in collecting and recycling used tires in Maricopa and 12 other Arizona counties. That situation, though, appears to be on its way to being straightened out.
But on another front. . .
The Republican county sheriff there has slashed jail inmates' privileges. Among other things, he's taken away their girlie magazines, cable TV, and has reinstituted a chain gang, according to National Public Radio. And if that wasn't harsh enough, he insists that prisoners watch House Speaker Newt Gingrich's 10-part video series on government.
Couldn't that be considered ``cruel and unusual'' punishment? Maricopa-where the sky is blue and prisoners are, too.