They be gone
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to line up a bevy of classic cars .|.|.|that will be stolen, albeit only for celluloid posterity. Real hot wheels, so to speak.
That was the challenge facing Tinseltown heavy hitter Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the movie Gone in 60 Seconds starring Oscar-winning wildman Nicolas Cage. The flick is about a retired car thief who must steal 50 vehicles in 72 hours to get his younger brother out of trouble with the mob.
Mr. Bruckheimer is big—very big—in Hollywood, and usually pretty successful in sweet-talking car companies into loaning their iron for display on the silver screen. But because this effort was about stealing cars, it wasn't the kind of exposure auto makers typically want. So, according to Automotive News, no vehicles were made available pro bono to the movie's production company.
Not to worry. Mr. Bruckheimer, the producer of such thunderously loud, successful films as Days of Thunder, Top Gun and Armageddon, did what only a rich guy of his stature can pull off: He got the cars himself. Some were rented, some bought (something borrowed, something blue?), and a few were loaned by their owners.
Among those that had to be snatched by Nic Cage's character, Memphis Raines, were: a 1999 Aston Martin DB7; '99 Bentley Arnage; '59 Cadillac Eldorado; '57 Chevy Bel Air convertible; '67 Chevy Corvette Sting Ray Big Rock; '98 Dodge Viper Coupe GTS; '95 Ferrari 355B; '65 Pontiac GTO; '61 Porsche Speedster; '56 Ford Thunderbird; and 2000 Rolls-Royce stretch limo. We'd be hard-pressed to decide which one to drive first.
Filler 'er up?
They'll take your credit card, charge a fortune for gas—and now, keep you amused while you're pumping the petrol.
BP Amoco said it's new "BP Connect" filling station/convenience stores have a broader range of products, plus traffic and weather info at the gas pumps and on in-store kiosks. The stores use BP's familiar green and yellow colors and the company's new sunburst logo. Traditional rectangular gas pumps have been replaced with pumps in a semi-circle equipped with touch screens and credit card readers.
The new stations will be equipped with a solar panel canopy over the pumps which, officials said, will provide 10 to 20 percent of each service station's electrical needs. And as you're getting gassed up, you'll be able to access limited news headlines and weather information on the pump's 8-inch-diagonal touch screens. Wow! Meanwhile, Internet-based kiosks inside the station can be used to print maps or download them to hand-held devices.
Sorry, but the kiosks won't allow you to read e-mail or enter chat rooms—where you undoubtedly could commiserate about the high price of gasoline this summer.
This 'n that
Dead reckoning—Then-President George Bush (not G.W.) said it on a visit to Jordan: "Tell me, general, how dead is the Dead Sea?"
Speaking of ex-presidents...President Gerald Ford, talking about school lunch legislation, stated: "I strongly support the feeding of children." (And who could argue with such a policy?)
Serious medical condition—Are you suffering from FUD? We got an e-mail bemoaning the proliferation in the market of phone company calling plans "that are confusing, misleading and create a lot of FUD." Huh?
We got scared, fearing yet another malady to worry about. But relax, the acronym has nothing to do with Elmer Fudd or aurally transmitted diseases. It stands for "fear, uncertainty and doubt." And we taught we taw a wascawy wabbit, too.
Dog days—Along with the sad, sad news that Taco Bell's Chihuahua spokesdog was heading for the border as fast as its little legs would carry it, word came that the fast-food chain's parent, Tricon Global Restaurants, also had dismissed Taco Bell President Peter Waller.
The shakeup did produce a title we had never before seen. Tricon said his replacement, former Wendy's executive Emil Brolick, will hold the additional title of "chief concept officer." As Rocky Balboa might say: "Yo, quiero...."
A real mophead
In the annals of "least competent criminal" stories, this is a good one.
The unfortunate Dennis Sullivan, 23, was arrested last January for robbing an armored car. At least, that's what he thought it was, said police in Manassas, Va. The problem: It was a laundry truck delivering towels and mops to a Bowl America location.
Brandishing a sawed-off shotgun, Mr. Sullivan ran up to the driver, according to news reports, and yelled, "Give it up." The confused driver replied "What?" as the perpetrator grabbed a bag of what he thought was money and ran off. What he got wasn't loot, but instead a bag of mopheads.
By the time cops spotted him running for his getaway car, he wasn't all that dangerous because his shotgun, nestled snug against his arm underneath his long-sleeved shirt, had become tangled in the shirt and could not be aimed.
This guy's hardly ready for "America's Most Wanted." More like "Comedy Central."
How to treat people
If you're a dealership owner looking for someone to use as a model for your employees, you might want to consider Greg Lyon, manager of a Goodyear auto service center in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Out of 35,000 employees, he is the first Goodyear retail store worker to receive the "Spirit Award"—the tire maker's highest honor for its "associates." Co-workers nominated him for being a top sales performer, Goodyear said, "known for his honesty, integrity and humility," his willingness and availability to customers and co-workers, as well as "his positive, cordial attitude."
Mr. Lyon, in his decade as a store manager, has compiled hundreds of letters from satisfied customers and accumulated numerous customer service awards, Goodyear said, to the extent that many customers even bring him Christmas presents each year.
The award was established in 1966 by former Goodyear Chairman E.J. Thomas and his wife, Mildred, to recognize extraordinary work accomplishments, dedication and enthusiasm at work, interaction with fellow workers, leadership by example, and community activities and accomplishments. The company said nominees are evaluated on their demonstration of Goodyear's "core values" and resolve to "Protect Our Good Name."
At the rate he's going, it's hard to imagine Mr. Lyon can top this commendation, but we're sure he'll try.
Were this a perfect world, the sun would always shine and all our parachutes would be golden. Kind of like the following three safety nets described in recent news reports:
In February, the former CEO of Coca-Cola, Douglas Ivester, received a tidy retirement package of $17.8 million plus $3 million a year—after laying off 6,000 employees.
Retiring Bank One exec John B. McCoy got a nifty $10.3 million in March plus $3 mill a year, and he laid off 5,100 employees. (That's better than $2,600 a head.)
But the candidate for top sob story concerns Sidney H. Kosann, CEO of Shelby Yarn in Shelby, N.C., who reportedly earned a $300,000 salary, lives in a home worth half a million bucks, and in February filed for state unemployment compensation—just after closing the company and laying off 650 workers.
Shall we shed a collective tear? Thought so.