Another reason for run-flats All the major tire makers tell you run-flat tires offer drivers peace of mind, not to mention added safety. Here's a case where a run-flat might have prevented violence.
In Newport, Tenn., an argument over a flat tire left one guy with a gunshot wound in his chest and his father missing part of his ear (and Mike Tyson was not responsible).
The Associated Press reported Ernel Banks, 62, and son, David, 36, began arguing over the air compressor they were using to fix the flat on their Volkswagen. Captain Wayne Ball of the Newport Police Department said the elder Banks got his .22-caliber rifle out of the car and shot his son in the upper chest. So sonny then grabbed the gun and smacked pop in the head, breaking the rifle stock and tearing away a portion of dad's left ear.
Police said both men, who were drinking, were taken to Baptist Hospital. David underwent surgery and was in serious condition; dad was treated and released.
Wonder if the Banks patched things up in time for Father's Day.
If it walks like a...
What's a tough obstacle when you're starting a business? Get needed funds? Hire capable employees? Maybe. But our money's on finding the right name.
Just ask Jerry Parsons, CEO of Rubber Duck Auto Centers in 1000 Oaks, Calif. He has a long background in the tire business, including years with Goodyear and in middle management with Bandag Inc.
Tire Business Executive Editor Chuck Slaybaugh recently spoke with Mr. Parsons, who told him that when he decided to start a tire dealership, there was the usual soul searching about what to call it. One night, over a few beers, one of his guys said as a joke: ``Why not call it Rubber Duck?'' The concensus was, Why not? We can always change it. But the name stuck.
The postscript to the story: After submitting ``Rubber Duck'' when applying for a Michelin North America franchise, Mr. Parsons got a note back: ``Get real.'' But he did get the franchise.
And some people laughed at the ``Mighty Ducks'' professional hockey team, too.
Retiring to the 'reading room'
In case you didn't know, the first week of June was ``National Bathroom Reading Week.'' So said Buck Wolf, an ABC News producer, in his weekly ``The Wolf Files'' Internet column.
Citing a survey of 800 households by American Standard, the bathroom fixtures supplier, the average American spends 35 minutes a day in the bathroom—and that time is increasing. Much of that is, to put it delicately, spent reading on the throne. The survey showed 42 percent typically read a newspaper—Tire Business gets our vote—book or catalog as part of their bathroom activity, 22 percent regularly have conversations with other folks, and 10.5 percent say they watch television there (Bay Watch?) or listen to music (Handel's Water Music, perhaps?).
And another study, supposedly conducted by the former Scott Tissue Co., was said to have shown that two-thirds of persons who hold master's degrees regularly read in the bathroom. We have an uncontrollable urge to call them ``smart'' you-know-whats. But we won't.
While we applaud efforts by auto makers to provide internal trunk releases for their vehicles, we can't help but wonder what that'll lead thugs to do once their victims have a way to get out of the trunk.
An expert panel created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had recommended the federal government require all car trunks to have internal releases. Many of the major vehicle makers have said they will comply.
But after listening to criminologists, panel members decided they could not predict how criminals will react to the mechanisms, and felt the focus should be on preventing accidental entrapment of children.
Heather Paul, panel chairwoman, called ``highly speculative'' the common theory that carjackers and other criminals will kill more victims if they know escape is possible.
The new trunk releases may make obsolete several other things. Remember those novelty items all the rage several years ago—fake hands protruding from under a trunk lid? Or the ever-popular bumper stickers (fill in your favorite line) such as: ``ex-wife (or husband) in trunk.''
This 'n that
Oink oink—Our sister publication, Waste News, certainly knows how to grab readers' attention. ``Project: Pig'' was the headline on a story about a Minnesota firm helping Taiwan officials solve pig manure and waste problems. A dirty, smelly job but somebody's got to do it.
Retro at any speed—Automotive News recently gave vehicle safety crusader Ralph Nader the full-page treatment as part of a series of retrospective articles.
He said his first, last and only car was a 1949 Studebaker. And the guy who many say singlehandedly sunk General Motors Corp.'s Chevy Corvair with his book Unsafe at Any Speed contends vehicles today are still not as safe as they should be and that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should do more to make them better. Maybe they should start out by bringing back that classy Studebaker.
Let's make a deal—Here's a ``quote of the day'' we can't (and won't) possibly take credit for.
And since the author's supposedly ``unknown,'' no one else will either: ``Get a new car for your spouse. It'll be a great trade!'' (Might as well get one of those "spouse in trunk" bumper stickers while you're at it.)