It's raining tires Imagine the surprise of a pregnant woman, minding her own business, when her car was struck by an errant tire. "Yeah, that happens all the time on highways," you say. But this one fell from the sky.
Nadia Brandon, 23, sustained minor injuries on Oct. 14 and was hospitalized for observation. Apparently, a tire fell off a Northwest Airlines jet as it took off from Chicago's Midway Airport last month bound for Detroit, according to a news item."I heard a plane fly over and next thing I know, a big tire came through the wall and hit the passenger side of my car," Ms. Brandon told a radio station.
Indeed, a left rear tire fell off the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and into her yard, crashing through a fence, a wall, and smashing into the car, acknowledged a Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman. The plane landed safely in Motown.
The next sound you hear is an ambulance chaser screeching to a halt—Ms. Brandon has filed a lawsuit against the airline and City of Chicago, seeking a minimum of $50,000 from each.
This 'n that
Too loose, Lautrec—The headline on a recent "tech update" column by Larry Carley in our friendly competitor, Tire Review, warned: "No excuse for losing your nuts." We presume he's talking about, uh, lugnuts, not doughnuts.
Who's the country's largest vehicle manufacturer? If you blurted out General Motors Corp. or one of the other "Big Three," you're a couple of tires shy of a full set.
Mattel Inc.—you know, the maker of such items as Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco-brand vehicles—claims that honor, according to a Business Wire press release. No mention of the tiny-tire maker for those products.
That "new car smell"—Here's a peek at something at the recent "Tokyo Motor Show" (see photo at left) from Suzuki Motor Corp.: It's a two-seater "urban car" called the Pu-3 (was there a Pu-1 and 2?) Some of these new cars are getting so small they resemble roller skates with tires on them.
Look out below—A letter-to-the-editor in our sister publication, Automotive News, pointed out how a good slogan can suddenly bare its teeth and turn on you.
Referring to General Motors Corp.'s "Like a rock" truck marketing campaign, the writer noted the slogan has been used to "depict the solid, dependable virtues of Chevy trucks," but instead has "become equally applicable to the falling fortunes of Chevrolet cars with respect to market share and image."
Stressed out—Computer maker Gateway Inc. is recalling about a million of its foam rubber "stress" cows because of a choking hazard (for young children, not the cows).
There haven't been any injuries, but the Associated Press reported Gateway received reports of foam pieces tearing away. The firm recommends customers throw away the cow mascot or visit a Gateway store for an exchange. The thing's supposed to relieve stress when squeezed repeatedly. Gateway execs are probably giving it a real workout.
Spare no spare
Despite a certain German car maker's efforts to tout that its Jetta models sport full-sized spare tires, those thrifty folks in Japan want to do away with spares altogether.
A "Spare Tireless Working Group," consisting of staff members from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association, is creating guidelines for standard tires to permit the elimination of spares. Reasons given include radial tires and other technological advancements that have sharply reduced the chances of getting a flat. They say a change also would reduce the environmental toll from scrapping discarded tires.
Yeah, but you know that as soon as they do away with the darned things, you'll rush out to the driveway one morning, late for work, to find a flat. Then what? Call the Power Rangers to change it for you?
The running man
No, we're not talking about Ah-nold Schwarzenegger, who happened to make a movie of that name. This running guy is Trevor Hoskins, the retired senior vice president of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. who just keeps going and going and....
A zealous runner, Mr. Hoskins celebrated his 65th birthday by doing the Royal Victoria (Canada) marathon recently, completing the 26.3-mile course in four hours 29 minutes 29 seconds—which he said is one hour slower than his best time 17 years ago, though he reported he felt "terrific" afterward.
When he retired in October 1998, the marathon man, who now lives in Washington state, said one of his goals was to complete 50,000 miles of running. He's on target and will complete 32,000 miles by the end of this year.
We were just wondering: What's the treadwear warranty on your running shoes? Run, Forrest, er, Trevor, run.
End of an era
After more than a quarter century, a big change has occured at Goodyear. Or shall we say, on the way to Goodyear.
One guy's retirement has broken up a longtime car-pooling duo, though it's not like they didn't have anything left to say.
An Akron Beacon Journal story said John Wiedey and John George made the 34-mile roundtrip jaunts from their homes in Wadsworth, Ohio, to Goodyear's Akron headquarters through three major accidents, one speeding ticket, rain, sleet, snow, dark of night (hey, kind of like postal carriers) for 29 years. Until recently, that is, when Mr. George, 64, a 37-year Goodyear employee who was formerly global supply manager, took a load off his wingfoot, er, wingfeet and retired.
"It was just a great experience," he told the newspaper. Mr. Wiedey, 61, who has worked for the tire maker for 41 years, most recently as a contract manager, added matter-of-factly: "It was good. I enjoyed it."
The car pooling group—which will continue—has fluctuated in size from five members to the two constants who sometimes discussed sports, politics and what was happening at Goodyear. But a lot of times there was just silence.
"We were all friends," Mr. Wiedey said, "but we never socialized with one another outside of the pool."
Perhaps that's good advice that could be applied to one's marriage. Uh, on second thought....