A slight's a slight Ever-vigilant, the Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) recently sent a letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer in response to an article on road debris that TRIB said contained a ``slightly negative mention of truck retreads.''
While we applaud TRIB, we quibble with calling it slightly negative. The story quoted Rich Sandone, general foreman of the Marlton, N.J., Maintenance Department, who said, ``Tire debris is unbelievable.... With the tractor-trailers running with recaps, they heat up and lose the cap.... They are cheaper than new tires, and their remains are a common highway hazard.'' Nothing slight about that.
TRIB Managing Director Harvey Brodsky's reply pointed out ``retreads are safe, economical and very environmentally friendly.... To blame retreads for the tire debris on our highways is the same as blaming a drunk driving accident on an automobile....''
Or consider another variation on that kind of theme: Guns don't kill people—people kill people.
For those of you who've outgrown that stage of playing with little trucks, we've found the perfect big one for you—and it's like a rock.
Unveiled at last fall's Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas, it's the ultimate Tonka toy—a bright red truck with yellow bumpers billed as a collaboration between toy maker Hasbro Inc. and General Motors Corp. So when somebody asks, you can say you're going off to play in some big dirt piles with your Tonka truck. They'll mutter something about a second or third childhood. And you'll just smile.
This 'n that
A penny for their thoughts: When the mailing rate recently got bumped up to 33 cents, the U.S. Postal Service admitted it ran a little short of one-cent stamps to add to 32-centers. But it has issued a plea to citizens: It now has plenty of stamps, so STOP taping pennies to envelopes in lieu of a stamp—they jam the postal equipment. Ah, good, old-fashioned American ingenuity.
Road wars: Vanity license plate spotted near Cleveland—``JEDI NUT.'' the way the motorist was driving, he'd better hope ``The Force'' was with him.
The Feds giveth, then taketh away: Just when you were gloating that gasoline prices have tumbled to all-time lows, the Internal Revenue Service announced it downgraded the 1999 national per-mile driving rate for U.S. taxpayers to 31.0 cents. The '98 rate was 32.5 cents—the amount you can deduct for automobile expenses on your 1999 tax return for business miles driven. Blame the drop on lower gas prices. You do realize you just can't win, don't you?
Don't ask, don't tell: During a seminar at the Tire Association of North America's International Tire Expo '98 in Las Vegas last fall, presenter Bob Losyk told attendees they should consider offering employees incentives to boost productivity. When he asked for examples, one dealer suggested giving a worker a night out on the town, with a babysitter provided. Just don't tell his wife about it.
It's a natural: At the '99 Detroit Auto Show, Michelin North America turned heads with a modified Volkswagen Beetle with a huge tire tread for its arched roof. The so-called PAXMobile, named after the tire maker's recently introduced PAX tire/wheel system, would seem to be a natural for that famed ``moose avoidance test'' that became the bane of Mercedes last year, when a sport-utility vehicle rolled over. No details on the PAXMobile's rooftread warranty or if a run-flat version will be available.
Stop the presses: Speaking of Michelin, it seems the company has gone to a lot of expense to whet journalists' interest in PAX. First, it sent a plaster-cast wheel, made to look like stone, with some mumbo-jumbo about a caveman gent named ``Grog'' being the first to design a wheel system. More recently, it sent us a 9212-inch box. Inside was an invitation to visit the company's booth at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit and a fake newspaper front page heralding a ``promising innovation in car features unveiled today (that is, June 4, 1946), when Michelin rolled out its `radial' tire concept.'' Buried inside the box, stuffed with paper shreds, was a 2-inch foam rubber tire.
Gotta admit it did get our attention—for wasting so much volume for stuff that could fit in a small envelope. So that's why ad agencies get the big bucks.
Dumb and dumber: A headline in a trucking newsletter crowed that ``Ford, NASA bring artificial intelligence to trucks, cars.'' What're they doing about the real intelligence—or lack of it—behind the wheels of vehicles?
Friend or fowl?: An Akron Beacon Journal story described a last-minute end run around the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who extended the duck hunting season for his home state of Mississippi as part of a big spending bill pending in Congress. Hence the origin of the phrase, ``Getting all his ducks in a row.''
The report did include a critical comment from Rollin Sparrowe, president of Wildlife Management Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that works on hunting policy. Are sparrows in season?
Watch your mouth: The grand prize at last December's International Autobody Congress and Exposition in Dallas was a new Harley-Davidson Fat Boy with custom paint job. A word of advice to the winner: Resist the temptation to enter a biker bar and make any reference to ``fat boys.''
Training for all your needs
The Automotive Management Institute (AMI) has debuted what it's proclaiming ``All-Star Spring Seminars''—15 business management classes designed for automotive service professionals.
Sure, there are the usual offerings such as ``Sixteen Ways to Increase Sales'' and ``Leadership and Profitability.''
But a few of the more interesting titles include: ``Understanding Today's Female Consumers'' (Hey, guys: Get in touch with your ``feminine side''); ``The Art of Closing a Sale/Developing a Bedside Manner'' (Are we talking auto service here, or maybe something else?); and our favorite topic, ``Up Your Image.''
Oh yeah? Same to you, buddy.