A matter of perspective An announcement arrived at Tire Business that a new book, The Legend of Federal-Mogul by Jeffrey L. Redengen, was hot off the presses and available for review. ``Would you like to provide your audience with rare insight into a company that has played an important role in many of the defining moments of this century?'' the accompanying press release said.
Upon hearing ``defining moment,'' historical events like World War II, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, or the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle came to mind. Did automotive parts maker Federal-Mogul Corp. have some direct part in them? Well, not exactly.
But a perusal of the index, for instance, revealed an entry for Adolph Hitler, with the book noting Federal-Mogul was among many American companies that ``stood to reap tremendous rewards'' from World War II. It manufactured such things as propellers for ships and bearings for the war effort.
Its aerospace endeavors included designing and developing specialized ducting components for NASA's Saturn launch vehicle, used to propel manned vehicles into space.
Back in the '50s, the firm gained some national attention for its work for the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics in developing, for pilots flying at high altitudes, a pressurized suit nicknamed ``GUS,'' for Garment Upper Stratosphere.
Then, as now, space themes were big in Hollywood, so Federal-Mogul received a lot of requests for a faux version of GUS for use in movies and TV. It resisted, saying it didn't want to go into the costume business, but finally relented in 1959, creating an H-wood version by the name of GUH—for Garment Upper Hollywood. Not quite the ring to it that GUS has, though actor Lee Marvin wore one in the TV production ``Man in Orbit.''
Maybe they should resurrect it. Could be de rigueur apparel for Tinsel Town's tres chic beautiful people.
Flotsam and jetsam
Driver wanted—The cremated remains of retired Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who died March 4 at age 90, rode in style March 9 to his final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery, and it wasn't in a limo.
Automotive News reported that his family wanted to commemorate the string of VW ``Bugs'' the justice drove for many years. Unable to find a vintage model, they opted to rent a ``New Beetle,'' a blue one about the color of the last car the justice drove. He retired in 1994 after 24 years on the court.
Heckuva wide edict—``No one permitted to smoke on either side of this door,'' orders a sign on the first-floor door of the building Tire Business is in. That seems like one tough order for the tobacco police to enforce.
It's a wash—Republicans and the Clinton Administration are haggling over the methods to use in conducting the 2000 census. National Public Radio said critics of the 1990 census are still complaining that some 8 million persons were not counted and 4 million were counted twice. Do the math. Doesn't that work out to the same number?
Hook up the Airstream, honey—Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Paula Jones and her actor husband are separating. One of their disagreements supposedly has been over how they should spend the couple hundred thousand she got from her recent out-of-court settlement with President Clinton (her various lawyers are battling over how to divvy up the remaining $800+ grand).
That led Colin Quinn of "Saturday Night Live" to quip: She wants to spend it on clothing and jewelry; he wants a new set of tires for the house.
Gettin' down and dirty—Goodyear's latest Working Tires farm publication attempts to answer that timely question, ``How deep is deep enough?'' It's referring to stuff like soil compaction. But it lost us when it started getting real technical. Like the description of an R-2 drive tire being suitable for use in ``wet muck.''
Can't we all just get along—Vanity license plate spotted in the Cleveland area: SUE KEN. It could be a jointly owned car. Or the owner's name. Or maybe a symptom of our way-too-litigious society. Then again, maybe it refers to Clinton nemesis Ken Starr, though in that case it probably should be: KEN SUE.
ZZZZZZZZZZZ—Another tradition bites the burrito: The Mexican government has eliminated the cherished midday siesta for 1.5 million government workers.
They had been able to take two or three hours off in the afternoon for a big meal or a second job, according to the Associated Press, then work until 9 or 10 at night. Analysts said the new edict makes economic sense.
But it's going to make it a lot harder on our personal campaign to adopt a tire industry-wide siesta policy. What's that? You think some workers are already observing it?
Bay watcher—Ageless crooner Tony Bennett graced a recent cover of the American Association of Retired Persons' mag, Modern Maturity. Wonder if he's changed his tune to, "I left my (AARP) card in San Francisco."
By the by, what's the opposite of "modern maturity"? Ancient immaturity?
What's in a name—While cruising the Internet (strictly for research purposes, of course), we ran across a Web site for a company named Dirty Parts Inc. at www.dirtyparts.com. And no, it's not about something dirty, thank you very much. The firm sells four-wheel-drive accessories.
Quote du jour—``We were so poor our flies had to go to the neighbors to eat.'' Bob Taylor told that to our sister publication, Rubber & Plastics News, in describing his ascent from a small farm in West Virginia to eventually owning Industrial Rubber Products Inc. in Carencro, La.
Today, Mr. Taylor is a consultant to the firm, which he recently sold to a private equity operation. My, how flies time.
Golfweek, which bills itself as ``America's golf newspaper online,'' recently did a story on a couple of ``well-heeled retirees'' simply out for a round of golf during a pro-am tour at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
The pair in question was Arnold Palmer and ``His Airness,'' Michael Jordan, whom the mag called bigger than Tiger Woods and even Arnie ``in his own back yard.''
By the way, playing along with them was singer Amy Grant, Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge and, the story said, ``a bigwig from tournament sponsor'' Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. The nameless guy was none other than Cooper Chairman and CEO Pat Rooney, whom a USA Today story misidentified as ``Mooney.''
And Rodney Dangerfield claims he gets no respect? ``Arnie's Army'' better step aside for "Rooney's Raiders."
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk
E-mail to:[email protected]