Psst...wanna see my candids?
It wasn't quite as gory as Fox TV's purported footage of an "Alien Autopsy."
A recent Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) press release, replete with snapshots, bore the title, "Autopsy of a Gator"—and it had nothing to do with a University of Florida football fan or that state's slithery swamp dwellers. It was, of course, that "big hunk of tread from a tire" that's lying out on a highway near you.
The oh-so-graphic photos depicted the kind of stuff you might see in a beach town full of tourists: worn shoulders; belt edge separation; and a worn, embedded nail (that is, if you're into punk jewelry or body piercing.)
The whole point was: Check your tires on a regular basis to prevent failures. (And if you're suffering from belt edge separation, better check to make sure your pants haven't fallen down.)
Speed kills, too
Here's yet another tangential view of the tire recall chronicles that isn't very funny, but worth considering:
In a recent Automotive News letter-to-the-editor section, James C. Walker of JCW Consulting in Ann Arbor, Mich., considered the approximately 100 deaths allegedly linked to recalled Firestone tires, out of millions of tires in use. Then he claimed that figure was "nowhere near the number of deaths caused by the several million airbags on the road." So, he asked, "where is the airbag recall?"
Though he said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration might question his premise and contend that thousands of lives are saved by airbags, Mr. Walker said that number "cannot be substantiated." He called the lack of recalls for dangerous airbags "unconscionable," using the same word to describe "the continued requirement that unwilling people buy and use them...."
Meanwhile, a National Public Radio report said airbag theft is on the rise, and the cost for a car owner to replace a stolen one can be upwards of $2,000. A "hot" bag, on the other hand, may be available for a couple hundred bucks. Add to that yet another concern: Some for-sale used cars supposedly equipped with airbags are actually bagless.
With everything from tires to tuna seemingly "dangerous," a career as a couch potato has intriguing possibilities.
'Goobers' vs the hoity-toity?
Our brethren at AutoWeek had a little fun recently preparing a "scorecard" ennumerating the "real differences between an Indy F1 fan and a Brickyard 400 fan."
No ill will intended, but if the lure of either racing venue's in your blood, only you know for sure how true these are. We're relaying some of them for your amusement only. No racing fans were injured (we hope) in the preparation of this list:
The F1 fan pops open a magnum after the race, while the Brickyard 400 (henceforth known as B400) fan watches "Magnum P.I." reruns. F1 sees George Harrison cruising the pits. B400? "Hey! Ain't that Jim Nabors down there?"
F1 relishes the exotic race car smells while B400 smells relish on a foot-long hot dog. F1 enjoys spruce-laden air in Aspen, Colo.; B400 hangs a cardboard spruce tree air freshener from the rearview mirror.
The F1 fan sees Lennox Lewis strolling the pits; the B400 counterpart recognizes A.J. Foyt in the pit area. F1 waxes eloquent on the driver's podium finish; B400 waxes daily the driver's orange-peel finish.
One thing both groups can agree on: except for the color of them, all the race cars look alike. And both venues are run by benevolent dictators.
While F1 has been to the Station Hairpin in Monaco, B400's been to the gas station in a friend's Dodge Monaco. As Mr. or Ms. F1 hang onto Posey & Hobbs' every word, B400s identify Posey & Hobbs as their favorite comic strip.
Lastly: the F1 fan used pocket change to buy race tickets; B400 sold a couple of their kids. Ouch.
Flick & flack
One-of-a-kind deal—AutoWeek ran across this classified ad selling a 1991 Chevy Caprice: "Attention cab drivers, 4 door classic. Loaded, ex-police cruiser, bullet proof barrier. You won't get shot in this one. $3,995. Excellent shape."
New private brand?—An Oct. 9 TB story outlined Michelin North America Inc.'s launch of "T3 Certified Tire Centers" by its Tire Centers L.L.C. unit.
Among lines T3-affiliated outlets will carry are Sport King, Mud King and All-Season King passenger and Traction King light truck tires. That led a TB staffer to muse that perhaps it's time to introduce a Stephen King tire.
We concur. Just imagine the sales if all the horror writer's fans bought a set. The possibilities are downright scary.
Brake like the wind—In singing the praises of auto maker BMW's new 3 Series 330Ci car, AutoWeek (not Spinal Tap) used the germane German term "gute fahrt." Relax. Before you break out the Beano, it means "good drive." Say that to your golfing partner.
Open wide, insert foot—That esteemed boulevardier, Stu Pidd, has assembled a few dumb quotes just for you:
Like the one from an unnamed newscaster who said, ".|.|.|and from Washington comes word that President and Mrs. Lincoln will spend Nixon's birthday at Key Biscayne, Fla., on Feb. 12th."
Or conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh who declared, "I am not going to sit here and stand for those kind of insults." (Make up your mind.)
Mike McCurry, White House press secretary, was discussing whether or not President Bill Clinton would veto a bill when he observed, "Some of our friends are for it. Some of our friends are against it. And we're standing with our friends." (Or sitting, as the case may be.)
For a bit of unintended medical "humor," we look to the note an unnamed doctor penned on the chart of a patient who had died: "Patient failed to fulfill his wellness potential." And you think most docs have had their funny bones surgically removed?
And let us not forget the immortal words of basketball commentator Doug Collins. In his esteemed wisdom, he opined: "Anytime Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points, they almost always win."
Dying to get in—We ran across a weird "News of the Weird" item about a French resort town that has no cemetery vacancies and a restrictive land-use law.
The mayor actually prohibited dying except by people who've reserved burial space. (Can he do that? hmm....)
An item that slipped by us earlier this year: Plastic fantastic Barbie got a new exotic toy—a Ferrari Testarossa.
It's part of a new six-year pact Ferrari S.p.A. signed with Mattel Inc. giving the toy maker rights to make Ferrari scale models, electric racing tracks and sportswear. As you can see at left, Barbie is modeling a snappy racing suit. Question: Once she slithers into a screaming-red Ferrari, how will Ken ever get her back into that ol' pink Mustang?
Looks like the poor guy will be spending a lot more time at work to help pay for his gal pal's new toy. The question is, does he work? And whatever is it that he does?
No advice for this dumbbell
Periodically, advice columnist Ann Landers delves into one of our favorite worlds, recounting tales of stupid criminals.
A recent column by her in the Houston Chronicle told how a 20-year-old Louisiana man stopped at a service station, stole two new tires and put them in his car's trunk. Ah, but he had a plan. A while later, according to deputies, he went to a tire store, paid to have the heisted tires mounted on his car, but then stole a couple of that outlet's tires.
Meanwhile, gas station workers noticed the missing tires, called the cops then notified other tire dealers in the area to keep a lookout for the crook. About that time the tire outlet's staff called the cops to say the same guy had just left after having the new tires put on his car.
Problem (for him) was, deputies found a receipt at the tire store for the tire installation with, duh, the thief's name and address on it. At his house they found him and all four stolen tires. Ol' Brainiac was booked on two counts of theft.
Better to lock him up—before he hurts himself.