Runaway wheel, come home For a moment, a resident in Elizabethtown Township, Ontario, may have thought he'd tuned in to an interactive television channel. Or maybe an episode of the ``X Files.''
As he sat glued to the tube on a recent Friday night, he heard a bang, then saw his TV explode. A constable investigating the scene told the Ottawa Citizen that a wheel from a passing vehicle flew through the guy's kitchen window, hit the TV, smashing it, then came to rest at his feet.
The mishap was as much a surprise to the vehicle's driver, Anthony Davis, 22, who said he was tooling along when suddenly the front tire on the passenger side fell off.
For years, Tire Business has run stories about wheels flying off vehicles, especially trucks. Many of the incidents seem to have occurred in Ontario. So much so that a couple years ago the Province of Ontario instituted a mandatory training/certification program for individuals who work on commercial vehicle wheels. Sounds like they may need one for passenger vehicles, as well. Just remember, fellas: Lug nuts are tightened clockwise.
A jolt of reality
Outdoors somewhere, in the dead of winter, chances are there's a kid acting on a dare to apply his or her tongue to a frosty piece of metal, with some painful results.
That scenario kind of reminds us of a new product displayed at last November's Specialty Equipment Market Association/Tire Association of North America shows in Las Vegas. The ``Air Taser,'' from Air Taser Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., is a self-contained auto security system that locks into place and is said to prevent a car from being driven or a stereo from being heisted. How? The shocking truth is the taser delivers a 50,000-volt wallop to a would-be burglar. Not enough to kill but, ouch, it hurts.
Dressed in SWAT team garb on the show floor, John J. Sindelar, a sales account exec, dared onlookers to grab onto the taser, which threw off crackling, bluish sparks of electricity. And sure enough, he said there was always someone in the crowd willing to tempt fate. The average grip lasted less than two seconds—long enough to realize your mistake.
This 'n that
Oh, those wordsmiths: The Cleveland Plain Dealer coined a new word for a story on a city council that will begin holding closed sessions. The headline: ``Mentor council may soonshut meeting.'' Better lateshut than never.
Criminal in name only: The Los Angeles Times did a story on the growing problem of consumer fraud on the Internet. One of the five Federal Trade Commission members responsible for investigating cases of subterfuge and false advertising happens to be Orson Swindle. And if anyone should know a con job when he sees one...
What goes up...: Pity the poor Georgia hunter who was out training his pup to pick up the scent of a treed raccoon. According to the Associated Press, Brad Davis was standing underneath when his buddy decided to shoot the coon out of the tree. Bad move. The 15-pound animal fell 60 feet onto Mr. Davis' head, knocking him out and fracturing three of his vertebrae. Presto, instant coonskin cap.
Move over, SUVs: Billed as a UUV—``ultimate utility vehicle''—the concept truck Lincoln unveiled at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show is undeniably a fashionable way to haul garbage to the dump. Bucking its image as automaker to the elderly, Lincoln created the jaunty ``Blackwood'' by cutting off a Lincoln Navigator luxury sport-utility behind the back seat, then adding a 4-foot stainless-steel truck bed. At around the Navigator's $40,000 price tag, it's expected to be a sell out, and an ideal way for Lincoln to carry the money to the bank.
Moneybags: Who said you can't make (a ton of) money in the tire business? Certainly not Tom Farmer, 57, head of United Kingdom-based Kwik-Fit Holdings p.l.c., one of Europe's largest tire/car repair chains. Sir Tom was among 13 top British company execs who rake in more than 1 million pounds in salaries. His basic pay is 500,000 pounds, but he gets a like amount through bonuses. At current currency exchange rates, that works out to more than $1.66 million. Maybe he could use a Blackwood to haul around those pounds.
Red-faced over Rudolph: Reuters reported Canadian Tire Corp. stores had to remove singing Santa figurines from shelves after complaints the jolly, hirsute fat man warbled an obscene version of ``Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'' more suitable for a locker room. The firm offered full $30 refunds for the made-in-China Santas. After listening several times to the tune, an assistant manager acknowledged the glitch, saying it was likely caused by ``someone at the manufacturing plant having a bad night.'' Everyone sing: ``Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say, yo, Rudolph (expletives deleted)....''
Bullwinkle has a swingin' time
Apparently tire swings ought to carry warning labels that they're hazardous to moose. Seems a bull in Soldotna, Alaska, recently lost a sparring match with one.
Alaska Fish and Game biologist Ted Spraker told the Associated Press his office fielded dozens of calls from residents who spotted a moose parading around town with a tire stuck on his left antler. The swing's owner reported the big fella batted the swing with his antlers, shook the tire free, but then it got lodged on his antlers again.
Since the tire was only resting on the animal's head and didn't appear to be hurting it, Mr. Spraker said it might fall off. That would spare the critter from being tranquilized, and save the state possibly hundreds of dollars for the cost of the drugs.
Right about now, following the hectic holidays, being tranquilized doesn't sound half-bad, eh?
Neay Year ritual
It has come to be known as an exercise in futility: That annual rite of attempting to make a dent in a terminally debris-laden desk. (What is that old saying—An idle mind is the devil's workshop? Cluttered desk? Same dif.)
So imagine our surprise when, at the bottom of a deep pile, we found an article from the business section of the ABC News.com website titled, ``Messy-Desk Assistance.''
Some of its advice included asking yourself: 1. Do you empty your in-box each day? 2. Do you look for chances to throw things out? 3. Do you limit your desktop space to things you're working on today? 4. Are you selective about what you read?
To which we answered: None of your business. Then, being selective in what we read, while limiting our desktop space to truly vital stuff, we crumpled up the article and threw it into the ``circular file.'' Ah...we feel much better now.
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczk
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