In all walks of life we meet tireless, virtually faceless workers who toil behind the scenes to make our various service experiences worthwhile (sometimes not)-and even rewarding.
We found one that has chosen to remain faceless by design. While gathering background information for a story (elsewhere in this issue of Tire Business) on Stan Elmore and his dealership, Stan's Tire & Auto Inc. in Lafayette, Colo., we checked out the company's slick new Web site, www.stansautomotive.com. There, nestled among staff bios and photos, was a picture of lube technician Steve Bunch. Or rather, a body with a faceless head said to be Steve's.
The info next to the ``photo'' notes that Steve ``is either shy, or a member of the witness protection program,'' but either way, didn't want to be photographed for the Web page. ``As always,'' the site continues, ``we took that in good humor here at Stan's, and agreed not to post his picture.''
Remember several years ago that guy known as the ``Unknown Comic''-not to be confused with Fox TV's ``Masked Magician''-who'd do his comedy schtick by masquerading on stage with a bag over his head? We hear Steve-who enjoys riding his motorcycle and hanging out with friends-is a pretty funny guy, too. Hmm....
Honest, it was this big
Anglers love to talk about the big one that got away, holding arms outstretched to feign a size that is likely out of proportion with the type of fish.
A couple guys written up in the Boston Globe were out on their 20-foot outboard, easing toward a shimmering black object bobbing in Boston Harbor, as the story went. ``As if stalking a sleeping tuna,'' Tom Hosker grabbed a harpoon-length pole tipped with a stainless steel hook as the boat pulled alongside the prey. From the helm, his buddy Tony Carli yelled, ``Good catch, Tommy!''
The story said they caught a beauty-a Michelin XW4 tire, complete with rim, which the duo wrestled aboard as part of their daily duties. Basically, they're part of a battalion of individuals who, like street sweepers, have dedicated their time this summer to skimming debris from the harbor.
Imagine that baby mounted on a trophy plaque hanging on Tommy's rec room wall. Wonder what he used for bait.
Wanted: Dead or alive
They've been going around destroying car tires, and the residents of the Austrian mountain village of Klaus want these despicable acts to stop.
Now, before you go pointing the finger at some roving gangs of juveniles with nothing but time on their hands and mischief in their larcenous little hearts, please realize we're talking about the culprit being a bushy-tailed marten...and that's the formal name, not an alias. Reuters reports the mayor of the town, in the mountainous westernmost province of Vorarlberg, has offered $188 for the capture-dead or alive-of the shy weasel-like rodent. Thus far, it has ruined 200 tires by gnawing on them.
``We're sure we'll get the culprit because this marten is an isolated case,'' the mayor's secretary, Hubert Laengle, told Reuters. ``Martens are known to wreak havoc inside the engine by gnawing through cables, but this one is different. He exclusively goes for rubber tires.''
The story didn't say which tire brands discriminating martens prefer, though we can smell a tire maker's ad campaign coming down the pike if that fact is ever determined.
Once the rodent with a taste for radials is apprehended, the story said the bounty will be paid out two months later-perhaps in case he's just a stooge for a bigger band of desperados. Who knows...maybe they should be looking at brother marten as at least a partial solution to scrap tire problems.
Locking up the Fido vote
A while back National Public Radio did an update on what some states are doing in response to the voter recount fiasco in Florida and elsewhere that took place during last year's presidential election. NPR found some interesting stuff.
For instance, voter fraud was discovered in St. Louis. A family there found out that their dog, Mitzi, had been registered to vote by someone who then moved to California and tried to have that voter record transferred. When the family got a notice about the transfer in the mail, they contacted authorities, who were not able to find out who the perpetrator was.
The concerned (but funny) family told NPR they hoped officials would get to the bottom of the problem soon-because they have two more dogs and a cat at home that also are now expressing an interest in voting.
Words of wisdom?
In a recent piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, syndicated columnist Molly Ivins took up a cudgel to beat on everybody's favorite whipping boy/girl: lawyers.
``Nothing in the world is easier to make fun of than an overreaching lawyer, but this is not a case of trial lawyers vs. big business,'' the always outspoken Ms. Ivins wrote. ``It's a case of our right to get recompense when we have been hurt by corporate behavior.'' She said she was not defending attorneys-``though I know some righteous ones.''
Here's what she was talking about: ``A few Texas lawyers were found to have been keeping quiet about unsafe Firestone tires for a couple of years to guard their clients' interests, possibly costing additional lives.''
Proposed patients' bill of rights and tort reform have been debated endlessly in Congress the past few years. However, such types of legislation, Ms. Ivins stated, ``are not about the rights of lawyers. They're about our rights.''
This `n that
Bib triv-It may not be news to many dealers, but we found this bit of trivia intriguing: Did you know that, as a safety feature, ``Bibendum,'' the chubby Michelin man mascot, appears on the side of every tire the company makes?
In a story about Michelin North America Inc. in the Toronto Star, the writer noted that ``when Bib begins to lose his head, it's time to replace your worn-out tires.''
Hey, if it is anything like that scene in the first ``Ghostbusters'' movie-when the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man goes on a rampage-if Bib loses his head, we don't want to be anywhere in the vicinity.
Eyes on the prize-Warren G. Bennis observed: ``Leaders keep their eyes on the horizon, not just on the bottom line.''
All `Kidding' aside-He's described as the pudgy and shy 13-year-old sidekick of rap star ``Kid Rock.''
The Associated Press said Matt Shafer, who records under the name ``Uncle Kracker,'' has a runaway hit, ``Follow Me,'' off a Kid Rock-produced debut album that has sold more than a million copies since being released a year ago.
Apparently, Kracker and an older brother, Mike, own a suburban Detroit bar, dubbed Sunny's Tavern after their dad, who also runs for them an unidentified area tire store. But don't look for Kracker to become a full-time tire dealer. Addressing the rigors of the rock world, he said: ``Some days I wonder if I'm better off pumping gas,'' quickly adding that if he'd had to live the gas station life, ``I would have shot myself.''
Pull over, buster
How many times have some of us danced around a pending traffic ticket, trying to weasel out of it by giving a police officer what we think is a plausible explanation? Put your self in the shoes of a Malaysian man, Lim ang Hing.
He was, according to a USA Today item, clocked going 712 mph in a 56 mph zone. Impossible, he told the cops-that's nearly the speed of sound, and my speedometer only goes up to 161 mph.
And in February a taxi driver in Malaysia got a speeding ticket for driving at 696 mph. Please note that sound travels through air at room temperature at 758 mph.
Police said there might be, uh, some technical glitch in their equipment. Really...ya think? The paper pointed out that the land speed record is 763 mph, so Mr. Hing could take a shot at it-then try to talk his way around it with the cops.