Security was tighter than usual at the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association's ``Breakfast with the president,'' held Sept. 7 in Atlanta during the NTDRA's annual trade show and convention. And sort of for good reason. The association's powers-that-be leaked word a special dignitary might make an appearance, hence, have your I.D.s ready for a security check and expect some delays in getting into the auditorium.
There was widespread speculation the VIP might be Republican veep hopeful Jack Kemp, who was in the area and had given a speech at another NTDRA convention a couple of years back.
Then midway through the breakfast, attendees heard the familiar strains of ``Hail to the Chief'' and saw someone who appeared to be President Bill Clinton, flanked by a couple brawny Secret Service types, striding in, waving to the crowd.
Some weren't quite sure, until the almost dead-ringer for Mr. Bill slapped a ``presidential seal'' on the podium identifying him as a ``Clone of the President of the United States.''
The impostor, Tim Waters, who had the president's mannerisms down pat, went on to poke fun at ``himself,'' via his famous look alike, bash Hillary Rodham Clinton and others, then answer some planted questions from the audience. Such as: ``What is your position on Roe vs. Wade?'' asked one dealer, referring to the Supreme Court's abortion decision.
``I don't care how the Cubans get here,'' answered the bogus Bill, ``just as long as we sign them up as Democrats!''
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has built his whole standup routine and TV show on his ``good 'ol boy'' persona. Along those lines, a recent Beck/Arnley Worldparts Corp. newsletter presented these auto-related reasons why ``You know you're a redneck if.*.*.*'':
1. The primary color of your car is ``bondo.''
2. You think ``Volvo'' is part of a woman's anatomy.
3. You consider your license plate personalized because your dad made it in prison.
4. You mow your lawn and find a car.
5. After making love you ask your spouse to roll down the window.
6. You think the French Riviera is a foreign car.
7. You just bought an eight track to put in your car.
8. You think John Deere Green, Ford Blue and Primer Grey are three of the primary colors.
And a couple more we'd add to that list:
9. You're convinced those fuzzy dice hanging from your rearview mirror are a real ``babe magnet.''
10. You just love those big off-road light truck tires with names like ``Mudder'' and even had that tattooed on your chest. Oh? You misspelled ``mother''? Never mind.
This scenario sound familiar?
A product's prices have edged up about 3 percent after remaining relatively flat for three years. Industry watchers expect manufacturers to hike prices another 2 percent this fall to help boost mostly stagnant sales.
After one giant manufacturer jacked up its prices last January, competitors followed suit, and that maker plans yet another increase this year, reportedly driven by higher raw material costs.
Tire makers? Naw, we're talking about breweries, doing just the kind of pricing dance that some 18 months ago got the U.S. Justice Department investigating alleged price-fixing by tire manufacturers.
Can we expect a beer blast by the feds?
Can't let it pass without mentioning that ``Cost of Government Day,'' figured annually by the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, was July 3 this year.
That's the day American workers can start earning some buckos for themselves, after paying off the cost of all federal, state and local taxes, plus the cost of government regulations.
The Northwest Tire Dealers Association's Northwest Tire Talk newsletter noted that this year the average American will work 185 days ``for the government,'' including:
51 days for state and local spending;
40 days for federal regulations;
31 days for Social Security and Medicare costs;
16 days for national defense;
14 days for interest on the national debt; and
32 days for other federal programs.
Remember what that prominent philosopher, George Harrison, once sang: ``I'm the taxman...and you're working for no one else but me.''
More of your tax dollars at work:
A doublespeak award to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), where Administrator Ricardo Martinez announced that some things have been renamed to more accurately describe their functions.
NHTSA's ``Rulemaking'' program has been changed to ``Safety Performance Standards.'' ``Enforcement'' is now ``Safety Assurance.'' And ``Regional Operations'' has become ``State and Community Services.''
There now, clear as mud?
Alright. Whodunit? And for what possible use?
Earlier this year someone ripped off an inflatable life-size monster truck from the roof of the Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s automotive center at a mall in Orange, Calif. The blow-up truck, worth about $13,000, was a promotional display belonging to a national tire company, according to a police report published in the Orange County Register.
Gee, Bubba, wouldn't that look neat parked in the front yard next to that silhouette of the guy smoking the pipe?