Givin' Bond the 'Bird
We were shaken but not stirred to learn that Ford Motor Co. is so happy to be associated with 007 that it's giving the latest James Bond film, ``Die Another Day,'' a cross-division global marketing push that includes an ad. In it, actor Pierce Brosnan, returning as the debonair secret agent, tools around in an Aston Martin Vanquish V12.
However, the coral-colored fashions of Bond-girl ``Jinx''-so named because she was born on Friday the 13th (get it?)-has inspired Ford to produce a coral 007 Thunderbird for the character, played by Clevelander Halle Berry (above). The car maker also is producing 700 more same-colored T-Birds for the public. Why that number? It's 007 backwards, silly.
Unfortunately, despite a sticker price of about $43,500, you won't get any of the gadgets or weaponry for which Bond cars are famous. But if you close your eyes real tight and pretend...
This 'n that
Beetlemania-We went bananas (in color only) after spotting on an Akron roadway a new Volkswagen Beetle with the license plate ``Yelabug.''
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Snowbirds-Speaking of vanity plates, a ``codger Cadillac'' we saw in snowy Cleveland sports the plates, ``FLA ASAP.'' And with the weather the way it's been lately on the ``North Coast,'' FLA sounds GOOD to us.
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Dastardly-An ``Automotive Repair Business Alert'' was recently sent out by the Automotive Repair Coalition (ARC) to auto service shops in California (see story on page 6 of this TB issue.)
ARC claimed that a group of Los Angeles-based attorneys ``is attempting to make `easy money' by shaking down small automotive repair businesses in Orange, Los Angeles, and perhaps other counties.'' The group warned: ``You may be the next victim of scrupulous attorneys.'' (And you thought all you had to watch out for were the unscrupulous ones.)
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Gobbledygook alert-We could hardly wait to tell you about this: SRI Consulting Business Intelligence, described as a ``global leader in psychological consumer segmentation'' (huh?) has announced ``system enhancements to anticipate the evolving marketplace.''
Those enhancements, the Menlo Park, Calif., firm said, include ``a strengthened ability to use VALS to identify and understand early adopters and some revised segment names and descriptors to be more intuitive for users....'' (double huh?)
Talk about a mouthful of verbiage...we're simply pleading here for an easy-to-understand descriptor.
All fired up
The fire chief of the North Lake Fire Department in Wisconsin took a page from the ``Howard Beale'' playbook and ran with it. Howard, of course, in the memorable flick ``Network,'' was the character played by Oscar winner Peter Finch, who was ``mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.''
According to the Lake Country Reporter, a Wisconsin newspaper, Chief Terry Stapleton was cited for letting the air out of a tire on a sport-utility vehicle parked in a no parking zone in front of his house in Merton, Wis. The chief's actions were part of his continuing feud with persons using a soccer complex adjacent to his property. Apparently, they regularly park where they're not supposed to and have been issued a number of parking citations. But at about 5 p.m. last Oct. 19, a passing motorist who saw Mr. Stapleton crouched by the right front tire of the SUV thought it seemed suspicious and called the police.
A deputy arrived and questioned Chief Stapleton, 63, who did not deny that he had done the deed, the newspaper reported. He was cited for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.
To err is human, to let air out is criminal.
Can you hear me now?
It does our law-abiding heart good whenever we hear of yet another stupid crook being taken out of circulation. A story in The Press in New Zealand fit the bill.
A local man was ``was dobbed in'' (that's New Zealand for ``done in'') by the cell phone he had just pinched. Described as a 27-year-old Web site designer, the man had been in a computer store doing some business when, according to the police, he stole a cell phone from a shop assistant's handbag. When challenged about it by the shop staff, he of course denied it.
But as he left the store, staffers called the number of the missing phone and, you guessed it, for whatever reason, he answered it. Perhaps, the news story suggested, he may have thought he could ask the caller what number they were calling and then get the number of his new phone.
The local police prosecutor explained to the Christchurch, New Zealand, District Court: ``Shop staff were not only able to watch him leaving, but they could hear him leaving over the phone.''
He was confronted when he came back to the shop later to buy a computer monitor. The Press said he then led police to spot on a riverbank where he had buried the phone. The man pleaded guilty to the theft charge and was fined by a judge. There must be a Dumb Crooks Newsletter to which these guys subscribe.
Yum, yum eat 'em up
As if our calorie intake hasn't already pushed the meter beyond ``overload'' during this holiday season, along comes Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. to do its part by introducing what it called ``the industry's first high-calorie tire.''
Dubbed ``I'cing Laden,'' the ``tire'' was developed for use in severe hunger applications, the Fontana, Calif.-based firm said. It features high butter and sugar content for increased satisfaction of hunger pangs and, as its name suggests, ``is built to carry a maximum load of icing,'' earning a load index rating of 500.
Mike Leverington, Kumho's director of marketing, said the new tire ``will fill consumers' stomachs and help them reach new levels of performance and cholesterol.'' While the ``tire'' works great in dry conditions, he said it ``provides exceptional performance on wet surfaces, such as coffee or milk.''
The I'cing Laden has beeen approved for ``severe snack service'' by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, Kumho said, and will be available ``for a limited time (probably only a few hours), and in one size only: .25/70/4.''
What we're talking about here are cookies that looked like tires-which Kumho delivered shortly before Christmas to the Tire Business offices in Akron. We're happy to report we experienced no fill rate problems. Oh, ``Cookie Monster'' would have been proud.