Will swap tires for food
Not quite. But Australia's leading welfare organization and one of the Land Down Under's biggest tire sellers are offering quite a novel deal for the needy: free replacements for old passenger tires.
According to AAP Newsfeed, the country's T-Marts stores are donating 50 cents to The Salvation Army from each purchase of the company's best-selling All Rounder brand to fund free tire replacements for persons unable to afford them. Major Wayne Pittway, a Salvation Army spokesman, explained that while free tires were an unusual way of providing welfare, they would be a great help to people on the breadline.
``Disadvantaged families-because they're living on the edge all the time, have to buy food or they have to pay for electricity-the car is the last thing.... Here is an opportunity to support those genuine ones needing tires on their vehicles.''
T-Marts Marketing Manager Vaughn Clark, the idea man behind the program, said it also will improve road safety by getting non-roadworthy tires off the highways because ``generally, underprivileged Australians can't afford to buy new tires.''
Now if Subaru Outback celebrity mouthpiece Paul ``Crocodile Dundee'' Hogan can get that auto maker to donate several thousand vehicles, some less-fortunate Aussies can really travel in style, mate.
Always looking to harness some star power to its horsepower, General Motors Corp. is hoping its Cadillac Escalade sport-utility becomes the chosen limo of the stars.
The company said it recently sold four of the sport-utes-all black with black leather interiors-to star-caliber clients in Southern California who then replaced the factory wheels and tires with custom 20-inch spinner rims and low-profile tires.
Two of the big rides went to pop diva Whitney Houston ``because she was tired of just limousines,'' said Bo Andersson, executive in charge of worldwide purchasing for GM.
We hear the Oscar-Meyer ``Weinermobile'' could be available for the right price. Hey celebs, now that would be making a real fashionable statement in Tinsel Town.
This `n that
Too late for a run-flat-In announcing that two of its business units were seeking bankruptcy liquidation and their directors and officers had resigned, FDN Inc., a Winter Park, Fla., telecommunications holding company, acknowledged it was unable to pay its debts and had reached the end of the line.
The firm said the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and federal Securities and Exchange Commission also were continuing to look into possible wrongdoings and illegal stock manipulation, according to a story in The Orlando Sentinel. Blaming its woes on the previous management team, Paul Matthews, FDN's acting chief executive, said: ``I thought this company was a car with a flat tire. Now I realize that all four wheels are gone.''
Quotes du jour-An unknown philosopher (probably struggling on a diet) observed: ``If we're not supposed to eat late-night snacks, why is there a light in the refrigerator?''
We kind of like the definition we saw for ``Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.''
And that ``happy'' little guy Napoleon Bonaparte once noted: ``A leader is a dealer in hope.'' So what does that make a tire dealer? Perhaps a hopeful leader-at least one who still loves his or her job...until the next margin shrinkage occurs.
Feeding the flames-The bad news: Four people were recently left homeless when a fire gutted their Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-area single-story, concrete-block apartment, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The good news: All four escaped unhurt from the blaze, which fire fighters said was so hot it cracked the concrete block walls outside and caused a sparking power line to fall on a nearby police cruiser.
The stupid news: Investigators said the fire began when a cigarette or some type of smoking material caught a sofa on fire-which was fed by tires being stored in a bedroom.
Nothing like curling up at night with a nice warm, cozy tire.
Motor City zeros-Ya gotta love the absolute cut-to-the-bone honesty of some headlines. Unless, of course, they're on the sporty pages and about your favorite team.
Take, for instance, the Detroit Free Press head that blared: ``That stench tells us these Tigers are dead.'' The accompanying story, by Gene Guidi, basically nailed shut the coffin on the Tigers' horrible season, branding them ``also-rans.'' Bemoaning a recent futile player trade, he added: ``For a team coming off seven straight losing seasons, that was like hoping an oil change on a car with four flat tires would make for a better ride.'' (Stop beating around the bush, Gene, and say how you really feel.)
Get your motor runnin'-We're hoping the Tire Retread Information Bureau didn't take offense to a recent obituary run in the Seattle Times. The item was on Robert Bebee, described as a master craftsman, history buff and painter. It noted that the gent ``loved motorcycles and rode his BMW with the ``Retreads,'' a senior bikers group (that no doubt liked to get the rubber on the road.)
Journalistic hari-kari-We simply love journalism (and not just because it's our chosen profession). Back when the Chicago Sun and the Chicago Times were about to merge, they sponsored a contest to name the combined entity, which would do battle in the Windy City with the staid, conservative Chicago Tribune.
One suggestion: Call the paper The Truth, then newsboys could ask customers if they wanted ``The Tribune or The Truth?''
When it comes to names, there are various papers in California that use ``Bee'' in their title: the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee. But the one that takes the hive, so to speak, is the paper in DeQueen, Ark., which, of course, is the DeQueen Bee.
A bit closer to TB's Akron home, the Canton, Ohio, Repository once ran what all papers-even the one you're reading-must from time to time: a ``Correction Notice.'' The Repo's reportedly said, ``We apologize for last night's error in stating that Mr. Smith was a defective on our police force; actually, he's a detective on our police farce.''
A `crappy' victory
The ``Great White North's'' retailing giant, Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., has lost its (questionable?) battle to secure rights to the www.crappytire.com Web site.
An international arbitrator in Geneva issued the decision May 31 against Canadian Tire after hearing the firm's argument that it was often known locally as ``Crappy Tire.'' Impertinent? No, the company said, claiming the name was not derogatory but instead a slang expression derived from the company's trade marks and just another term for ``mass merchandiser.''
The retailer's antagonist, Mike McFadden, is a 40-year-old London, Ont., man who paints lines on roadways for a living and happens to own the domain rights to some 70 Web sites. He registered the crappytire domain name two years ago, and said he plans to open a Web site with a message board dedicated to debating the merits of Canadian Tire's products and services. The retailer argued to the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that Mr. McFadden was using the site to make ``rude, untrue and libelous statements'' about the company.
But Mr. McFadden told the WIPO there could be little confusion between the name of his ``crappy'' site and that of the retailer. ``Since when is the word `Canadian' interchangeable with or similar to `crappy,'?'' he asked.
That's a debate we'd rather not enter.