You, sir, are no tire salesman
Oh, the desperation of some people.
Surrounded by some of law enforcement's finest, a 44-year-old Valparaiso, Ill., man tried to squeeze out of a jam by, of all things, lying. He had just sold a bunch of powerful painkilling drugs to an undercover cop, who'd arranged to buy 140 hydrocodone pills at $5 per tablet, according to the Post-Tribune in Merrillville, Ind.
As the guy attempted to consummate the deal at a gas station in Michigan City, Ill., cops in several squad cars blocked him in. So, the police said, ``the suspect tossed the prescription bottle under the seat and started yelling he was selling some tires.''
But they quickly let the air out of that story.
Judging from the fact drug addicts snort or inject hydrocodone to acquire a heroin-like high, we'd say the suspect-who confessed in LaPorte Superior Court 1 to pocketing $700 in exchange for a bottle of hydrocodone-was selling some real ultra-high performance ``tires.''
This 'n that
Coincidence?-Is it any surprise that MasterCard Inc. is based in Purchase, N.Y.? Perhaps it should be renamed Debt City.
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Desert destination-There have been no stories in the media-we repeat, none-rumoring that Goodyear is considering moving from its forever Akron home.
That said, while searching on the Internet we stumbled upon something we suspected was a clandestine Southwest desert base for the tire maker. In actuality, it was a Web site for the city of Goodyear, Ariz., ``home of Luke Air Force Base's southern departure corridor.'' The city's logo features sunrays rising over an outline of buildings-not a blimp.
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Gotta love 'em-Only in America...do we use the word ``politics'' to describe the process so well: ``Poli'' in Latin meaning ``many'' and ``tics'' meaning ``blood-sucking creatures.''
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Pithy quotes-Author Paul Fix once observed: ``The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.''
Inventor Thomas A. Edison really knew how to cut through the bull. ``Hell, there are no rules here-we're trying to accomplish something,'' he said.
And Albert Einstein provided this cosmic summation: ``Only two things are infinite-the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.''
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Intriguing question-Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett recently wrote about a pewter paperweight she saw selling for 29 bucks in a gift shop. After mulling whether to buy the thing, she passed because of the price.
But the words on the knickknack kept echoing in her mind: ``What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?''
Hmm...sell more tires? Sail around the world? Pitch for the Yankees? Run for president of the U.S.? (No thanks.)
So, what do you think, Marketplace readers? If you've got any lingering, simmering desires-something you've always wanted to try-send us an e-mail (see the end of this Marketplace for the address) and we'll share them in a future column. Just remember, keep them brief...and keep 'em clean.
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Rubberized-General George S. Patton said it: ``Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.''
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So you like `comebacks'?-A wry, unnamed observer who might have had the auto service business in mind said: ``If you don't have time to do it right, you must have time to do it over.''
Speaking of auto service, we got a chuckle from a recent ``Cornered'' cartoon panel by Universal Press Syndicate's Mike Baldwin. The caption pointed out that ``regular servicing protects your warranty and your family from psycho mechanics.'' The 'toon showed a big lug with a wrench (not to be confused with a big lug wrench) on the phone telling a customer: ``Car's running fine? Glad to hear it. You're sure? I'd hate anything should happen to your family if, say, your brakes should fail or gas tank explodes...''
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Bullwinkle sighting-Published in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Alta, Utah, police blotter reported a deputy on duty ``responded to a report of a man chasing a moose in Albion Basin. It is suspected that this is related to a subsequent report of a moose chasing a man.''
Another SOB story
Chuck Peterson, who operates a longtime Chevrolet dealership in suburban Philadelphia, was telling Automotive News about the Chevy franchise that's in its fourth generation, when he got off a telling remark about how it's been working in a family-run business.
``We grew up as SOBs (sons of boss),'' he said. ``Dad ingrained in us that we had to set the pace. He didn't want us to feel that things were owed to us because we were the boss' sons.''
As many tire dealers with children know, it sometimes can be difficult getting the kids interested in carrying on in the footsteps of their parents in what some might say is the ``unglamorous'' tire business. But, Mr. Peterson continued, ``I recommend that children work in all areas of their family's business, assuming they're interested in the business. They can determine from their part-time experience if they have any interest in it.''
While he noted that the auto industry, historically, has featured many multi-generation car dealerships, he offers advice that's applicable toward the tire biz, as well: ``The key (to success) is for the kids to work hard. They can't go along for the ride. You have to be sharper today than in the past. You can't be a dummy second generation and expect to be successful.''
Hitting a pothole
Ah... a perfect segue for this item.
Named for the word that, according to Mr. Webster, means ``to make a transition...,'' the upright, chariot-like device known as the Segway Human Transporter has hit a snag in geek chic San Francisco, the Associated Press reported. About 33 states, including California, have approved legislation enabling the Segway-which wears special tires made by Michelin North America Inc.-to take to sidewalks. But the city by the bay recently became the first large municipality to outlaw the self-balancing personal vehicle meant as an alternative to smog-spewing cars.
The scooters, invented by Dean Kamen (above, left), debuted to mucho fanfare in December 2001. They're controlled by body movements with the help of tiny computers and balance-controlling gyroscopes, and have been tested across the U.S. by postal workers, police officers and meter readers. You can snap one up on Amazon.com for a meager $4,950.
But the AP said critics call the vehicle a safety hazard on sidewalks because it weighs 69 pounds and can hit speeds up to 12.5 mph-about three times faster than the typical pedestrian. (Not to mention how many sidewalk surfers could get bounced).
The fact is, despite the Segway's intriguing possibilities, cable cars are much more romantic and the fare's cheaper, though they don't do much for tire sales. Listen intently...you can almost hear their clanging bells as Tony Bennett croons: ``I left my Segway in San Francisco.''
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk