And a hearty dosey-do
Here's a worthy subject that didn't quite fit into the Farm/OTR Tire Report in this issue of Tire Business, but nonetheless deserves mention.
Last summer the Omaha World-Herald carried a piece about a group of farmers from Nemaha, Iowa, who call themselves the "Farmall Promenade Tractor Square Dancers." They're eight men—including, four dressed as women—who ride antique Farmall tractors and use the machines to execute the traditional kinds of moves you'd see at a square dance. (Envision men in tights driving heavy equipment...and we're not referring to Mel Brooks' spoof about the Three Musketeers.)
Yep, they circle to the left, perambulate to the right, lock tires with another tractor and spin around. Sounds like great fun, but inquiring minds want to know...what about that cross-dressing routine?
Jeff Smith, a Promenader who proudly wears a blue gingham skirt and wide-brimmed hat for the show, said it didn't seem right for guys to square dance with guys, so they decided to have four drivers wear bras, wigs and dresses. The "women" drive Farmall C's—smaller tractors with less horsepower than the Farmall H's the others drive.
These antics seem to answer that age-old question we've wrestled with: When is a tractor pull more of a drag?
& so what
Ah, yet another great marketing scheme gone awry.
Bowing to criticism, General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac division has dropped the much-maligned "The power of &" from its year-old tag line. It's an effort to boost Caddy's sales numbers while improving its marketing and stodgy image.
Caddy said the brand plans to target tech-savvy, younger buyers this year, and promised next year it will use more "emotional" advertising. Going along with that attempt to diminish the "geezer" factor, the car maker has dropped coverage of some TV programming watched by older audiences, meaning events such as golf's Senior Tour.
As for that wicked "&" symbol—called an ampersand—it just caused a lot of agitation and confusion, a Caddy exec told Automotive News. And if there's one thing you don't want to do, we'd guess it's agitate the blue-haired generation from which Caddy still pulls in a lot of sales.
This 'n that
The plate police—Karen Kinsel is a grandmother who heads the office in Illinois that regulates what phrases and messages people can put on their "vanity" license plates. So you can guess that one of the rejected ones was "WORKSUX," while another that was OK was "BI DAD E."
Ms. Kinsel told a Chicago Tribune reporter what qualifies her to rule on whether some choices are in poor taste: "You take some people, they just don't have a dirty mind. Some of my staff doesn't. But I do, kind of."
Yogi knows—Pointing to a Jolly Roger pirate flag flying from the mast of a make-believe pirate ship, The Mick (Mickey Mantle) said to Yogi Berra: "I bet you don't know what the skull and crossbones on that flag means."
To which the inimitable Yogi replied: "Sure I do. It means iodine."
Definitely a fool for a client—Last September a Florida Court of Appeals turned down lawyer Philip G. Butler's challenge to his bribery conviction. Barrister Butler had represented himself at the trial and lost.
But , according to "News of the Weird," he then claimed on appeal that the reason he lost was that he had failed to inform himself adequately that acting as his own lawyer was foolish.
When you utter the word "golf," say it in hushed, reverent tones, pardner. Unless, that is, you're some poor, defenseless critter dodging errant divots and small, dimpled missiles.
We're here to alert you that a special meeting of the Nashville Golf Course Critter Association (NGCCA) was held recently to discuss what it said are the "impending dangers" surrounding the International Tire & Rubber Association Foundation's golf tournament Wednesday, April 18, during the World ITRA Expo.
A tongue-inserted-firmly-in-cheek ITRA press release warned: "For the past two years, an unusually large number of gophers, squirrels, birds, fish and turtles have been seriously injured throughout central Tennessee during this industry event." And the purported NGCCA noted it has alerted all its members to seek shelter "before these guys even see the driving range" because "even the deepest and most heavily wooded areas are not safe," remarked Sidney "Secret" Squirrel, NGCCA Safety and Compliance Officer.
Remember ladies and gents, let's be careful out there.
Mirror, mirror on the...
Don't blink, but a rearview mirror in your future may be about as distracting as trying to read TB while making a lane change at 70 mph.
Gentex Corp., a Zeeland, Mich., mirror supplier to General Motors Corp., is transforming that little hunk of mirrored glass on car windshields. One version described in Automotive News illustrates Gentex's "telematics rearview mirror" that has about a gazillion features such as: automatic dimming; buttons to summon emergency vehicles and roadside assistance; access to the car's cell phone; request concierge services; and turn on the mirror's various functions, including outside temperature and compass.
Within 10 years, auto makers expect that a dizzying array of electronics features and functions will be available in vehicles. Some of the following may even be displayed on your mirror: DVD movie rental and download ability while fueling; commercial info sent from a new-car dealer to a customer (you'll never escape their hooks); activation of your home's lights, doors, security systems and other devices from the vehicle; and even commercials aimed at vehicles in a specific area—sounds like they'll track you down.
Will anyone still be concentrating on the road?
Out from the swamps
It's big, it's ugly...and it ain't a retread.
The Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) has by the tail a gator with some real bite. The hunka hunka twisted tire debris (above photo), wearing a sign proclaiming "Ugly Alligator," makes the rounds at trucking shows and fleet conferences.
"I found this ugly alligator along a highway in Florida," explained Harvey Brodsky, TRIB's managing director, "and now it travels with me whenever TRIB exhibits at trucking shows or when I make presentations at various public sector and private sector trucking fleet manager meetings."
People are surprised by the shredded tread, he said, and no doubt boggled by the message on it that, as TRIB contends, much of the tire debris littering our nation's highways come from tires that have never been retreaded.
Does it have to travel in a special cage, Harvey?