More fun than a barrel of......
Could there be anything more entertaining than having a couple dozen tire guys on a bus that has tire trouble?
Happened recently during a Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.- sponsored ``ride-and-drive'' event for dealers and tire trade press journalists. They were on their way to the Findlay, Ohio-based tire maker's test facility about an hour outside San Antonio, Texas, for the launch of the company's Zeon high performance tire line. Suddenly...drat...the excitable shuttle bus driver hit a curb hard-really hard- while making a right turn before ever even leaving the home of the Alamo.
The bump and grind routine certainly woke up anyone still half-asleep. A short time later, at highway speeds, came that telltale thumpa-thumpa sound from one of the bum dual tires that had a chunk of sidewall not-so-surgically removed.
``I knew we should have had Coopers on this thing,'' a high-up Cooper exec said with a smirk, in reference to the shuttle's certain French-made tires. Then, in reference to the hullabaloo between the U.S. and France leading up to the war in Iraq, a dealer opined, to accompanying guffaws: ``This is just another fine example of the French holding up a fine group of Americans.''
Another asked: ``Anyone here know how to change a tire?'' while someone observed: ``At least we didn't roll over.''
From then out, it was a free-for-all of remarks and suggestions about how to change the tire, including comments dealers often hear from customers. What else would you expect from a bus-full of guys who do it for a living?
Such as: ``...that tire was fine when I pulled into your shop.'' And, ``Wait'll you hear from my lawyer.'' Or, ``It was OK 'til you did that oil change.'' And, ``I didn't hit anything.'' Then there's the ever-popular, ``...and you bent my rim when you changed the tire.''
One dealer simply advised the shuttle jockey, ``Drive a little faster and it will work itself out.'' Meanwhile, a certain tire scribe suggested: ``Just turn the radio up a little louder.''
Paul Simon (of ``Simon & Garfunkle'' fame) once suggested there's ``50 ways to leave your lover.'' Judging from the dealers' comments, we're guessing there's gotta be at least that many ways to change a tire.
In the end, a Dodge dealership on the way to the test track removed the offended tire and replaced it with a spare for $35. ``For 35 bucks I would have done it-and aired up all the others, too,'' a dealer mused.
But after all that, the quintessential question still remains: How many tire dealers does it take to change a blown tire?
This 'n that
Question du jour-If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
c c c
With apologies to Snoopy-Any writer worth his or her weight in White-Out simply cringes upon hearing the worst-ever hackneyed opening to some long-forgotten novel that began: ``It was a dark and stormy night.''
So we applaud a program by Michelin North America Inc., at its Laurens, S.C., proving grounds, to teach police how to survive high-speed blow-outs during hot pursuits. But the press release heralding the effort produced a dose of heartburn. It began: ``It's a dark night and you're chasing a suspect on the interstate....'' Lucky for the cop, it wasn't stormy.
By the way, the safest way to handle a blow-out situation is to depress the accelerator to increase speed, hold the steering wheel steady until you've regained control of the vehicle, then begin to slow down and pull off the road, according to an instructor at the event.
c c c
Dion ducats-If you wanted a ticket to opening night of singer Celine Dion's Las Vegas show (she'll be performing there in her own theater at Caesars Palace for several years), you had to ante up.
And that's just what Discount Tire Co. founder Bruce Halle and his wife did for the auctioning of four show tickets during the March 15 Muhammad Ali Parkinson's Research Foundation benefit dinner in Phoenix. The tickets, donated by Ms. Dion, were purchased for $250,000 by the Halles and by MoneySoft Inc. CEO Bob Machiz and his wife. That, according to the Yahoo! News Web site, works out to a whopping $62,500 per seat.
For that price, Ms. Dion certainly should sing for the Halle's supper. And just imagine how pricey the tickets will be when Elvis does his ``Still Tire-d After All These Years'' concert at this fall's International Tire Expo in Vegas.
c c c
Combat update-He's been dubbed ``Saddam's Stooge'' in Britain's tabloid press for some of his pro-Iraqi blustering. The Associated Press reported that Labour Party lawmaker George Galloway is a fierce critic of British policy in the Middle East and isn't afraid to ``robustly'' speak his mind.
That hasn't made his combative comments very popular, but then he may have a double-whammy going against him. Keeping in mind re-cent anti-French rhetoric in the states and elsewhere, the AP reported that, as a working-class child who joined the Labour Party at 13, Mr. Galloway worked in a Group Michelin tire factory before becoming a Labour organizer.
c c c
Not finger lickin' good-When we saw the headline in the Arizona Republic, our first reaction was, ``Oh no...as if that company doesn't already have enough problems.''
The story, under the banner, ``Goodyear chickens may have virus,'' actually referred to the effect a devastating virus could have on major egg producers. It said a backyard flock of diseased chickens was discovered near Goodyear, a town in Arizona.
Real women flip tires
Being a big-muscled woman in society today is about as far away from Victoria's Secret TV shows as you can get. And it can be a somewhat strange lifestyle.
Just ask Julie Havelka, who was recently featured in an article in The Oregonian. The 28-year-old structural engineer/bodybuilder-at 5-feet-7-
inches and 180 pounds-can put a lot of guys to shame. The Portland, Ore., resident has made the move from powerlifting into the popular ``strongwoman'' competitions.
The story said that, by her senior year in high school, she would go to the gym with her boyfriend and outlift him. In 1996, she could bench press 205 pounds and, three years later, she became the first woman in the Northwest to bench 300. She now can deadlift 435 pounds.
The strongman/strongwoman competition is, Ms. Havelka told the paper, mostly ``picking up stuff off the ground.'' That includes contestants pulling cars and lifting objects like big-really big-tires. In a recent match Ms. Havelka had to haul or drag weighted objects 50 feet-including walking with a yoke with 325 pounds in weights hanging down, flipping a 500-pound tire, then dragging a weighted sled.
Looks like she could put a lot of tire busters to shame.