Knockin' around the show Some displays at trade shows are educational. Some are downright unusual. The International Tire and Rubber Association's recent World Tire Conference and Exhibition in Louisville, Ky., certainly was no exception.
The big draw at the TR Wheel Engineering Inc. booth was a Dodge Viper GTS outfitted with the company's Wearmaster off-the-road tires. You read that right—OTR tires. This sleek mover had 15-19.5 NHS tires on the rears and 10-16.5 NHS's in the front (see above).
``Sure is a waste of a Viper,'' commented one passerby, shaking his head.
At the Software Sales Alliance booth, visitors had their cards and palms read by ``Madame Fahrenheit,'' actually local actress Gina Tedescucci, who knew nothing of that ancient ``art'' but convinced showgoers otherwise. Her line: ``I see the Internet in your future.''
It was ITRA's 40th annual get-together. That's a ``ruby anniversary,'' pointed out President Bill Babek, owner of Babek Commercial Tire Services of Avenel, N.J. ``... So we'll be accepting rubies all day at the ITRA booth,'' he told show attendees. Better rubies than raspberries.
It's a wonderful life
During the ITRA show general session, George Bishop, president/CEO of Truflex/ Pang Rubber Products Co., based in Los Angeles, received the ``Lifetime Achievement Award,'' presented by Tire Review magazine.
In his humble acceptance speech, the native of Transylvania told the audience that when his daughter was three, one day she blurted out: ``Daddy, you talk funny.''
``I still do!'' he declared in his very pronounced Eastern European accent.
He also recalled, as a young salesman in the field, stopping at a retreading shop in Pennsylvania to demonstrate a hand-held tire buffer. It was nicknamed ``The Snake'' because of its shape and the fact that while being used it wriggled and whipped around wildly—especially if the operator wasn't holding it firmly.
``George, if you don't hold this thing like this,'' the retreader advised, showing the proper way to grasp it, ``you'll never have any children!''
``The Snake'' notwithstanding, Mr. Bishop has three kids and four grandkids.
Return to sender
Remember when Elvis sang that? He must have known even back then that the U.S. Postal Service had big problems.
A woman in the production department at TIRE BUSINESS recently mailed a card to another staffer, but inadvertently sent it to the old address where he used to live. The post office sent the card back to her. But below the wrong address was neatly pasted a sticker with the correct address.
They went through all that trouble to look up the new address, then couldn't reroute it there? Is it any wonder ``snail mail'' is being abandoned for e-mail?
This 'n that and that
In case you're using any of its equipment, you might like to know the mission statement has been changed for 4/1 Computer Corp.—founded on ``April Fool's Day'' in 1996, hence the 4/1. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the motto used to be: ``Lincoln said you can fool some of the people all the time, and that's good enough for us.''
The company's new motto, ``No Fooling,'' accompanies a pledge to offer nothing but the "unvarnished truth" about its computers, including the fact that they're "pretty much the same as everyone else's."
Our Webster's says ``obsolete'' has a number of meanings: dead; extinct; outmoded; dated; worn. An item in the Fast Facts newsletter published by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), noted a business in Edmonds, Wash., had moved to new digs. The company's name is RB's Obsolete Automotive Inc. Hmmmm.
New country? A headline in the Latin America Automotive Insight newsletter—produced by the U.S.-Pan American Automotive Industry Office in Mexico City—heralded an upcoming ``Candian APMA Conference and Exhibition,'' to be held in Hamilton, Ontario. Isn't that part of Canda?
The Georgia State Patrol received a call from a motorist who overheard a CB radio transmission about a 20-foot-long gator lying near Interstate 95.
Not unusual for that state.
When troopers arrived, yep, they found a ``gator,'' alright. The Florida Times-Union reported that ``lying on the side of the interstate was a long, unraveled chunk of retread from a semitractor trailer—commonly nicknamed a `road gator' by truckers.''
Fred Todd, a Georgia state wildlife technician, told the newspaper: ``So many people have CB radios and cell phones in their cars. They need to know that when they hear about a gator on the road, that it's probably from a truck.''
But saying the gator's from a retread is fightin' words that usually get Harvey Brodsky, the Tire Retread Information Bureau's managing director, in a lather. Gators, he insists, are just as apt to be from new tires.
In the same vein, a Seattle Times piece mentioned Andy Van Slyke who, it noted, realized he was on shaky ground in trying to make the St. Louis Cardinal roster at age 36. ``I'm running on retreads,'' he said. ``There are no fresh tires in my body. I'm that foam plug that you buy at the local auto store just to get to the next station.''
Time to pull the plug. Oh, Harvey...
Boy, that Federico Pe¤a, U.S. secretary of energy, is quite the quipster.
While recently unveiling new federal standards for refrigerators—requiring a 30-percent rise in energy efficiency by July 2001—he remarked: ``Not to steal from the president, but we are building a fridge to the 21st century.''
From what they say about Bill Clinton's appetite, chances are he'll raid it.
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk
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