Job searcher's lament
This whimsical item making the rounds on the Internet perhaps says a lot about the state of our economy and gross domestic product, or lack therof. We've changed his name so as not to embarrass him...
``Bill Smith'' started the day early, having set his alarm clock (made in Japan) for 6 a.m. While his coffeepot (made in China) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (made in Hong Kong). He put on a dress shirt (made in Sri Lanka), designer jeans (made in Singapore) and tennis shoes (made in Korea).
After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (made in India), he sat down with his calculator (made in Mexico) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (made in Taiwan) to the radio (made in India), he got in his car (made in Germany) and continued his search for a good-paying American job.
But at the end of yet another discouraging, fruitless day, Bill went home and decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (made in Brazil), poured himself a glass of wine (made in France) and turned on his TV (made in Indonesia). Then he wondered why he can't find a good-paying job in America.
An Ontario, Canada-based company has come up with the perfect solution to that ``beater'' taking up space in your shop, garage or driveway-or any other miscellaneous junk you might have cluttering up your world. Protoworks Inc. calls its invention the Schred Max, a versatile machine that it said can shred a variety of material.
The firm flexed Max's muscles on a complete Austin Mini (fuel tank removed). With hardly a burp, the big guy ate the whole thing-engine, tranny, suspension, driveline, plastic, interior panels, seats, carpet and glass. Total digestion time (with no Alka-Seltzer needed) was 18 minutes. The end result: 1.25 cubic yards of shredded material 6 inches and under. The overall reduction was about 20 to 1.
This unit will work equally well on a host of stuff, including tires (truck, industrial and passenger); white goods; railroad ties; shingles; furniture and mattresses; asphalt slabs; concrete including rebar; industrial and commercial waste; and automotive components. And it could create for Tony Soprano a whole new category of ways for somebody to get whacked.
This 'n that
Still thumpin'-They bill themselves as the ``house band of the Internet.'' And despite a number of setbacks-including the deaths of some members-the group ``Severe Tire Damage'' said it's still rockin'.
In June 1993, STD (not to be confused with an, ahem, certain type of transmitted disease) claims it became the first band to broadcast live video and audio worldwide on the Internet. The band says on its Web site, www.std.org, that STD still broadcasts weekly ``to demonstrate that technology can be both loud and annoying.'' Apparently this damaged tire's not ready yet to be plugged...though ear plugs might be recommended.
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Double duh-Here's a kid who definitely needs to return to the school of common sense. The 18-year old was charged in Bennington, Vt., with traffic violations after sustaining minor injuries to himself and the two passengers riding in his pickup.
What did he do? He got real close and personal with a utility pole. Why? According to AutoWeek, he told the police that as a result of a short in one of his stereo speakers, he deliberately ran off the road, seeking something to bump into so as to jar the speaker into working order. Hope it was worth the inevitable rise in his car insurance rate.
Chewing the fat
It was probably an unintentional, but nevertheless unfortunate, quote we read in an old Fortune magazine.
Merrill Lynch analyst Carol Wilke was talking about the possibility of investing in Weight Watchers, the 40-year-old diet-conscious company that went public in 2001. At that point, its stock had shot from $24 to $43 per share.
Noting that attendance at dieters' meetings was growing in double digits each quarter, Ms. Wilke said of WW: ``They have a large and growing target market.''
One could certainly take that a couple ways. But a lot of us wish we weren't so large and expanding.
Hefty hot seat
Speaking of widening girths, Volvo Cars of North America Inc. recently found itself on the hot seat with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The car maker began recalling 65,000 of its 850s vehicles, from the 1996-97 model years, to repair electric seat heaters that may smoke and burn, apparently due to the weight of ``horizontally challenged'' drivers. In typical government lingo, NHTSA blamed the problem on ``excessive compression of the seat cushion.''
To fix the glitch, the company is preparing improved circuitry for installation. Volvo spokesman Dan Johnston said three minor injuries were reported.
Still, he treaded gingerly around the term ``excessive compression.'' Automotive News reported he said: ``You're not going to get me to say it's because they're fat.'' (Chicken.)
Post-Super Bowl blues
Gotta hand it to some Oakland Raiders fans. They really know how to ``party''-only it seems they use the word ``riot'' interchangeably.
After their team's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII, violence erupted in East Oakland, Calif., causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage. The Alameda Times-Star reported on the arrest of a Hayward, Calif., man by Oakland police following the vandalizing of a McDonald's restaurant, a paint store and Gomes Tire and Service Center. The 23-year-old guy was nabbed for allegedly possessing stolen property: a tire rim.
The suspect, who's already on probation, admitted to being in Oakland following the football game but denied being involved in any vandalism. However, according to Deputy Police Chief Patrick Haw, ``investigators were looking at videotape from the store and some of our folks said, `I know that guy.'''
When the cops arrived at his house, they saw, sitting in the hallway, a shiny chrome wheel. ``It re-establishes the belief that people will steal anything,'' Mr. Haw said. What he didn't say was that some people aren't even very smart about how they go about stealing stuff, especially when cameras are watching. And lest we forget that, after all, ``fan'' comes from the word ``fanatic.''