There's a movement afoot to rename the National Football League's ``Houston Oilers'' the ``Tennessee Truckers,'' if and when the team's proposed move to Nashville ever is finalized. Now before you go firing up your arsenal of redneck jokes, there are some pretty good reasons why that name would click. So says Gail Johnson. She and her husband, Michael, who operate G*&*H Awards and Engraving from a suburb outside the country music capital, are spearheading the name change campaign.
She told TIRE BUSINESS that, in fiscal 1995, some 7.5 million trucks passed through the ``Volunteer State,'' which is home to more than 2,500 trucking firms with about 25,000 trucks for hire. She called trucking ``the backbone of our state'' and ``a part of our heritage'' in the South, adding that some 1.5 million Tennesseans own pickups or other kinds of trucks. (Does Al Gore?)
Ms. Johnson recently received a federal trademark on her proposed team logo-a lopsided tire with flames shooting out the backside. Naturally, it's colored ``Peterbilt red'' or ``Dodge red, black and chrome,'' and fits ``real neatly on a football helmet.''
The truckers theme could spawn all sorts of paraphernalia, including ball caps, coffee mugs, T-shirts, clothing and even toy truck ``transformers,'' she said excitedly. And the team mascot could be the famous Mack Truck bulldog.
A stadium touchdown cheer-akin to ``The Wave'' (or maybe the politically incorrect ``Tomahawk Chop'')-could be pulling your arm down as though sounding a truck air horn, she said.
But like a traffic jam of big rigs at a weigh station, the campaign is kind of stalled due to an NFL freeze on team moves, and proposed congressional legislation that would make it harder for teams to abandon their hometowns for greener pastures.
Nevertheless, the Johnsons welcome support via their ``Tennessee Truckers'' hotline at (615) 799-8743.
A flaming radial on a football helmet could be apropos-especially if the team's season goes up in smoke like a tire dump.
From ``You are what you do'' dept.: John Fish was one of the underwater salvage experts that helped the Federal Aviation Administration's efforts to recover victims and parts of TWA Flight 800, which went down in the waters off New York's Long Island.
In its continuing campaign to punish Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and get a contract for its Rubber Workers members, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) recently launched an effort to get owners of Saturn cars to exchange the vehicles' original equipment Firestone tires for another brand.
During a recent press conference in Akron, Dunlop Tire Corp.'s Dewitt ``Woody'' Arnold, vice president of marketing, acknowledged someone from the USWA had approached him to see if Dunlop tires could be used as an option for a Saturn switcheroo.
It was a no-brainer. His response: ``Sure. The more tires we sell the merrier. That was an easy decision for me!''
Remember Meatloaf's hit song about ``Love by the dashboard lights''?
It's doubtful government workers thought of that while sending out press releases hawking new publications from the fed's ``Consumer Information Center'' in Pueblo, Colo., which publishes all sorts of interesting and helpful stuff.
Or were they?
The first release touts the 50-cent pamphlet How to Get a Great Deal on a New Car, complete with tips on working with dealerships to get the best price. The other release-bundled with the first to save tax dollars-offers five free booklets describing 12 forms of contraception.
Our somewhat prurient mind is racing.
Advertising Age, one of the magazines published by our parent company, Crain Communications Inc., recently ran a full-page ad from MCI Telecommuni-cations Corp. crowing about the great promotional possibilities of the company's pre-paid calling card. It features a ``generic'' company, ``SpeeDee Oil Change and Tune-up,'' and a photo of a Beaver Cleaver-type family grinning from within what looks to be about a '55 Chevy.
Under the picture, the headline: ``When they drive in for a lube job, grease 'em.''
What exactly does that mean? After all, grease does rhyme with ``fleece.'' Surely no hidden agenda there, we hope.
At least the ad copy warns: ``Just make sure they drive out with their dipsticks.'' A caution sure to please the National Association of Attorneys General, ever-vigilant for auto service fraud.
Cops in King County, Wash., reported in June that the manager of a tire store walked in one morning to find someone had broken in and stolen items worth about $420, despite the presence of a guard dog at the site.
The burglars, according to a published report, apparently slipped through a gap in a fence, then lured the dog into a dog pen with-what else?-hot dogs.
By the way, the tire shop is listed in a Yellow Pages directory as Used Tire Wherehouse. Wherehouse? There house. Just be careful with those vowels.