Owners of a proposed sandwich shop in the Tampa, Fla., suburb of Northdale recently suffered a setback-of approximately 30 feet-courtesy of Larry Morgan, CEO of Don Olson Tire & Auto Centers. The budding restaurateurs planned to build their Schlotzky's Deli adjacent to a Don Olson Tire outlet on North Dale Mabry Highway, setting it back 70 feet from the street.
But that would have blocked southbound motorists' view of the tire store, which is set back 100 feet, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times.
So Mr. Morgan complained to the county commission, prompting the eatery's owners to redraw their plans, moving the deli farther back from the street.
A small thing, perhaps, but it safeguards those keystones of retail business: location, location, location.
A dealer's dream
It could have been a tire dealer's dream, but it definitely was a motorist's nightmare May 8 when a southbound tractor-trailer dumped six cases of nails along a one-mile stretch of U.S. Route 1 near Columbia Falls, Maine.
Nearly 30 cars picked up nails in their tires, and one trucker found them in each of the tires on his 18-wheeler, according to the Bangor Daily News, which went on to report: ``By the time police were able to close the road, there was a lot of hissing and moaning from tires and drivers.''
The road was closed for about an hour while the nails were swept up.
Drivers who were in the area at the time and later found nails in their tires, were given a toll-free number to contact Georgia-Pacific Corp., whose truck had dropped the nails, and encouraged to ``hammer out the situation over the phone.''
In Lexington, Ky., it was law enforcement officials who were poking holes in motorists' tires.
To slow a fleeing suspect accused of leaving a gas station without paying May 20, state troopers deployed an experimental device, called a ``stinger,'' on Interstate 75. The 16-ft. strip of 110 spikes is designed to flatten tires of a fleeing vehicle. But in this instance, the suspect managed to avoid the spikes; eight other motorists weren't as lucky.
According to an Associated Press report, at least one of the innocent victims actually was motioned by troopers to the left of the road-and directly over the spikes.
A state police spokesman blamed the mishap on miscommunication between the officer in pursuit of the suspect and the one setting out the stinger.
But the Staties still got their man: The suspect turned himself in later that same day. Maybe he just felt sorry for the folks who did get stung.
In the hot seat
Certain late-model Ford pickups could pose a danger to drivers' derrieres.
Ford Motor Co. recently recalled 31,000 1994 and '95 model F150, F250 and F350 pickup trucks equipped with an optional power driver's seat.
It seems the wiring harness for the power lumbar support runs under the seat in such a way that the support wires from the seat can hit it, damaging the insulation and causing a short that can result in overheated wires, melting, smoke and even possibly a seat fire.
Imagine what a passenger must think when, back on the road after a big lunch, smoke starts escaping from the seat beneath the driver!
Connie Humphrey, a crew utility person at Dunlop Tire Corp.'s tire plant in Huntsville, Ala., was one of 14 residents of Lincoln County, Tenn., chosen to carry the Olympic torch as it passed through the county June 28 on its way to the summer games in Atlanta.
``I am very excited,'' said Mr. Humphrey, who resides in Howell Hill, Tenn., near the border with Alabama. ``It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.''
The torch relay, begun in Los Angeles, was scheduled to run 15,000 miles through 42 states during its 84-day tour.
Daffy about Fords
Owner surveys have shown it to be one of the most popular cars on the road. And there's at least one duck who'll agree.
The pet duck of Chris Pikl of Salem, Ore., is just quackers about his owner's 1994 metallic blue Ford Taurus. ``I don't know if it thinks of the Taurus as its mate or what,'' Mr. Pikl told the Detroit News.
Whenever the car arrives at Mr. Pikl's home, the duck rushes to its side. ``Sometimes it rubs against the tires. It doesn't do it with any other vehicle,'' he said.
Perhaps the duck's lovelorn, he said. Its mate passed away a few years ago.
The dirt police are on the prowl in Summit Hill, Pa., where the Borough Council has adopted a ``Peace and Good Order'' ordinance that, among other things, prohibits tracking dirt into town on a vehicle's tires. Violators face up to $300 in fines and/or 90 days in the slammer.
Stopping the Luftwaffe
While anti-lock braking systems are a fairly new animal on consumer vehicles, the technology has been around for a half-century.
While England's Royal Air Force was stopping the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain in World War II, the Germans were stopping their own planes using anti-lock brakes-especially useful on short landing strips.
The U.S. had similar technology for its carrier-based aircraft.
Taxing the language
Here's a tax form just begging for recognition: Schedule J, Form 1118.
Its user-friendly title: Separate Limitation Loss Allocations and Other Adjustments Necessary to Determine Numerators of Limitation Fractions, Year-End Recharacterization Balances, and Overall Foreign Loss Account Balances.
If that doesn't send you screaming to your accountant, nothing will.