Fore the checkered flag
Here's something we didn't report in our specialty and industrial tires section in the Aug. 2 issue of TB: There are a handful of motorsports country clubs across the nation where you can get in 18 holes-and do some racing while you're at it.
For the competition-minded set who're not content to just putter along the verdant pathways at a safe clip in a golf cart, these clubs are offering the chance to really crank it up on private race tracks. According to Esquire magazine, the clubs have such amenities as pro shops, rental garages, swimming pools and clubhouses. The publication said a number of the tracks have been designed by ``custom-circuit guru Alan Wilson, who balances speed with a concern for the safety of the lay racer (plenty of runoff room and not much to hit.)''
Interested? Check out MotorSport Ranch in Fort Worth, Texas, which sponsors such events as motorcycle racing, Ferrari and Viper days and Skip Barber Racing School activities. Other venues include VIR Motorsport Country Club in Alton, Va., BeaveRun MotorSports Club in Wampum, Pa., or Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill.
If this trend really catches on, perhaps some tracks will consider races with souped-up golf carts. Then it wouldn't be long before we'd be hearing tire makers boast of their new line of ``competition-bred'' golf cart tires.
Regular Marketplace readers know we simply lu-u-v dumb crook stories. Here's one that's worth the ink.
A young guy (who shall remain nameless) was charged earlier this year with several property crimes and perhaps terminal stupidity after he called the highway patrol when the pickup he was driving got a flat tire. The patrol's Highway Assistance department responded, calling police to help the poor guy out.
Problem was, they determined the truck-which contained stolen loot-had been stolen and the license plates also were stolen.
The cops said the guy might have gotten away with it had he not called for help. A police captain described it as a ``good break'' for the good guys and ``a bad break for him.''
According to the report on TheKansasCityChannel.com, the suspect also was facing charges in a smash-and-grab.
Had he only learned how to change a flat... In the immortal words of Janis Joplin: ``Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose''-especially if it's your mind. What was he thinking?
Stumping for votes
Ah yes...the election season is upon us and yet another political heavyweight has thrown his extra-large fedora into the ring to try and get your vote.
Nope, not H.Ross Perot (not a big enough hat). Not Ralph Nader. Not the Pillsbury Doughboy. And certainly not the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man, though this guy bears a striking resemblance to that cultural icon.
The ``guy'' in question is claiming to be ``the most experienced candidate in the field-an award-winning legend and a favorite of motorists for more than 105 years.'' (A little too old to be Mario Andretti.) It's none other than Bibendum, aka the Michelin Man.
His handlers from Michelin North America Inc. said the big guy ``wants your vote as he campaigns to become one of consumers' favorite icons!'' The spongy candidate is preparing to do battle with 25 other brand icons-including the Energizer Bunny, Tony the Tiger, Ronald McDonald and the Aflac duck-for what's being billed as ``Advertising Week,'' Sept. 20-24 in New York City. (We can hear the competitors already, charging Bib is ``soft on [fill in the blank]).''
Michelin is weighing in, of course, in favor of its mascot, saying he has ``strong credentials for the favorite icon award'' because in 2000 a panel of advertising experts voted Bib the ``best logo of the century'' in a competition organized by the Financial Times.
The new campaign, created by the American Association of Advertising Agencies to recognize the contributions of advertising to the economy, was launched Aug. 5 in the Big Apple. Awards will be bestowed for favorite icon and favorite slogan. Votes can be cast online (go to http://promotions.yahoo.com/advertisingweek_2004/static/iconpoll.html) until Sept. 3.
Strictly speaking, Bib wouldn't be eligible to run for political office in the U.S. since he was born in 1898 in France and, as far as we know, has never become a naturalized U.S. citizen. And since promising constituents a ``chicken in every pot'' is kind of an old-fashioned campaign slogan, perhaps the big softie can pledge a ``new set of tires in every garage.''
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk