A scary story
Horror story author Stephen King has apparently struck fear into the retreading community.
The Pacific Grove, Calif.-based Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) is protesting what it called disparaging remarks made about retreads in Mr. King's latest novel, ``From a Buick 8.''
TRIB Managing Director Harvey Brodsky fired off a letter to the writer urging him to make a public statement correcting his inaccurate depiction of retreads and is asking other TRIB members also to send letters of protest.
The following narrative on pages two and three of the book is what has raised TRIB's ire:
``A lot of independents run on recaps, with the price of diesel so high they just about have to, and sometimes the tread peels loose. You see curls and hunks of it on the interstate all the time, lying on the highway or pushed off into the breakdown lane like the shed skins of giant blacksnakes. It's dangerous to be behind a flapper, especially on a two-lane....''
In his letter to Mr. King, Mr. Brodsky noted that because the author has such a large readership, the above message that retreads ``are unsafe can do our industry nothing but harm. We are already the Rodney Dangerfield of the tire industry due to the mistaken perception people have because of tire debris.''
(Hopefully, Rodney won't get upset being compared to a retread. He gets no respect, you know.)
Along with the letter, TRIB planned to send Mr. King a video on the true causes of roadway tire debris.
This month's award for real initiative has got to go to the 21-year-old Elysburg, Pa., guy who led cops on a chase while driving a pickup truck with only three tires.
Police responding to a one-vehicle accident got a call that the vehicle involved in the crash was a black Ford F-150 pickup-missing a front tire. It had sped away, heading east toward a town called Bear Gap.
Yup, a few minutes later the boys in blue observed said truck, with no driver's side front tire, and gave chase, according to a report in the News-Item.
The driver went a short distance before unhappily losing control while attempting to turn onto Happy Valley Road. His truck skid off the road, down an embankment, and rolled one-and-a-half times. He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, treated for injuries, then busted for related traffic offenses as well as on suspicion of driving under the influence (of stupidity?).
It never ceases to amaze us how these characters always think they'll get away. Don't they watch ``COPS'' on TV? Then again, maybe that's the problem-they do.
This 'n that
Good ol' days?-In Automotive News, columnist John K. Teahen Jr. was commenting on the spate of ads offering extra rebates, sweetheart leases and incentives auto makers dangle for employees to entice them to buy or lease vehicles produced by their companies.
He noted that ``in the bad old days of the industry,'' it was said that a certain Ford Motor Co. executive's ``storm troopers used to slash the tires of non-Ford cars in Ford employee parking lots.''
And, Mr. Teahen pointed out, some years ago the parking lot at Solidarity House, the United Auto Workers union headquarters in Detroit, carried a sign that read: ``You can't park your imported car here.'' How times have changed.
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Ya like it? Please bring it back-Gary Cowger, General Motors Corp. president of North America, was touting the success of the car maker's overnight test-drive program.
``We have loaned out over half a million cars for overnight test drives,'' he noted. ``That's an impressive number. What's more impressive is that we got most of them back.''
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A Mary Kay moment-Maureen Murphy, a book editor, observed that perhaps ``the reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces.''
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That `P' word again-Since we're talking about politicos and yet another year of political campaigning is befalling us, keep in mind the words of labor organizer and author Oscar Ameringer. He called politics ``the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.''
Are we getting spoiled or what? You own a car, the odometer hits a hundred grand and, if you're like us, you're pretty tickled-partly 'cus they don't make them like they used to in the ``good 'ol days.''
Well, a San Jose Mercury News column asked readers to share their tales of high-mileage, original-engine vehicles and, boy, did they find a winner. More than two dozen people said their vehicles had racked up more than 200,000 miles.
But the high-mileage champ, according to the newspaper, is Northern California resident Marge Mathias, who has put 519,000 miles on her 1980 Toyota Celica while driving back and forth from Pleasanton, Calif., and a variety of Silicon Valley jobs over the past 25 years.
Her secret: a good car, proactive maintenance and a great repair shop, she said. The owner of the car dealership where she has taken her Celica since it was new echoed that, saying, ``She's very good on her maintenance.''
Goes to show you, that m-word, for maintenance, is something tire dealers and auto service providers should continue to harp on to their customers. But frankly, you have to really love a car to keep it that long with that many miles on it.
Hey...maybe Stephen King can write a novel about the Celica that just would not die.