Who let the dogs out?
It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon recently in Michigan, but Bill Ford still had a really bad day.
That is, William Clay Ford Jr., the chairman of Ford Motor Co. He decided to do some in-line skating to ease the pain of yet another humiliating loss by his Detroit Lions football team, this time to the Chicago Bears on Dec. 2. Tooling along minding his own business, he was suddenly attacked by a couple nasty canines that obviously didn't realize who they were chomping on.
``One dog lunged at me. The other latched onto my knee, hung on as I fell, and started chewing on me,'' Mr. Ford said. ``My knee was bleeding all over the place.''
The dogs' owner, who wasn't sure if the pets had been vaccinated against rabies, was reluctant to give a ``strange'' man her name and phone number.
``She said, `How do I know you are not some kind of creep?''' the Ford heir recalled. Eventually, he prevailed. The owner later confirmed her doggies were vaccinated and provided the name of her vet-sparing the car king from probably having to undergo painful rabies shots.
Could have been a case for ``McGruff'' the crime dawg.
End of an icon
Let us shed a collective tear for a cultural icon that will soon be no more.
Sales of Volkswagen vans-those rear-engine, air-cooled babies that found favor with hippies in the fuzzy, psychedelic 1960s-ceased in Mexico at the end of 2001. To mark the van's passing south of the border, VW began running ads in Mexican newspapers that read: ``Adios, Combi,'' the van's name in Latin America. Accompanying the blurb was a picture of a teary-eyed aging flower child in a tie-dyed shirt (that sounds a little too close to home for our comfort level).
The van was built in Mexico from 1971 until 1996 and exported since then from Brazil, where VW still will produce and sell the boxy symbol of those good ol' ``flower power'' times. Union officials, however, predict the car maker will stop making them soon.
The van was introduced in 1950, and last was offered in the U.S. in 1982 as the Transporter.
So if you see that van a-rockin', better come knockin' soon-before they're all gone.
This `n that
Pardon their dust-When California's Sears Point Raceway began its second stage of a $35 million modernization plan back in August, it gave new meaning to the term ``chewing up the asphalt.''
The track enlisted the help of National Hot Rod Association stars John Force and Gary Scelzi, who've been known to blister a few drag strips in their day. Immediately following the final-round eliminations of the NHRA Fram Autolite Nationals Aug. 5, the duo each manned Caterpillar bulldozers and ripped through the asphalt of the old drag strip. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by August 2002.
Ouch!-We'll reserve any comments we have on, ahem, lawyers. But the name of a law firm in Southern California that represents employers in employment litigation is Payne & Fears.
Yum yum-American statesman Adlai Stevenson once observed: ``Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.''
One hump or two
It wasn't a Hummer or a Humvee-at least they were pretty sure of that.
But some U.S. Marines patrolling recently in southern Afghanistan were apparently perplexed after receiving orders to check out ``an unidentified vehicle.'' So, according to Reuters, trucks armed with anti-tank weapons roared into the desert only to find...a camel.
Now, we all know how difficult it can sometimes be to figure out what a vehicle is without seeing its badge. Well, once the tension in the desert subsided, one wag offered this advice to the Marines to avoid future vehicle recognition mistakes: ``One has wheels, the other has legs.''
Just a healthy appetite
Danish-born American industrialist and public official William Knudsen, who died in 1948, once observed: ``In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you.''
Never was that statement truer than in Merced, Calif., where Jerry Brown summoned police to his home to report that he feared someone had broken in and stolen his beloved pets. He told Sgt. Norm Andraddi of the Merced Police Department that he'd looked everywhere but couldn't find his 200-pound Burmese python and his 30-pound pit bull.
Officers searching the area found the 18-foot snake snugly curled up underneath Mr. Brown's house, according to the ABC News Web site's ``Crime Blotter'' section. The cops quickly noticed a large bulge in the snake's midsection. Oh oh, poor doggie. Officer Andraddi surmised the two pets got into a bit of a scrap ``and the snake won.'' (Ya' gotta love that Joe Friday humor, eh?) And to think the dastardly reptile, which Mr. Brown estimated at a foot in diameter, had been fed two rabbits only the previous day. How unappreciative.
The pet owner returned the now-230-pound snake to its backyard pen, but talk about having mixed emotions. Hey, maybe now he can sort of pet both pets-at least until digestion is completed. However, Ol' Slither may not be there long. Animal control officers were investigating whether its presence violated city codes. Our advice: If he starts to bark, get rid of him, Mr. Brown.
When you absolutely, positively have to get to the next hole as fast as you can, have we got the golf cart for you.
Dubbed ``Playin' Thru,'' we spotted it at last November's Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo in Las Vegas (where else?) The sweet-looking cart, custom built by RCD Suspension, bears a 1948 Studebaker replica body, a blown and injected 392 Hemi engine, polished aluminum wheels, custom wheelie bar and custom paint job with hand-painted flames.
And, the company added, this rocket sports a Diest parachute ``to slow us down on those fast runs to the 19th hole.''
The way we ``play'' golf, the ride would be the most enjoyable part of that torturous pastime. The inimitable Bob Hope, who knows his way around the links, said so succinctly: ``If you watch a game, it's fun. If you play it, it's recreation. If you work at it, it's golf.''