Salute 'em when they roll by
Way back in January Las Vegas-based Automotive Specialty Concepts (ASC) Inc. announced that after a long wait the first product in its specialty military wheel line was available online.
Launch of the ``Marine Wheel'' was ``much anticipated by buyers and investors alike,'' said ASC President Paul Stringer. As the company's military product line expands, he said, ``our core focus will be on the continued expansion of sales and marketing efforts and bringing greater value to shareholders.''
The company, formerly Sports Wheels Inc., bills itself as a ``leading provider'' of decorative car wheels, sports memorabilia and other collectable artwork for the auto industry and car owners. A press release also said ``Navy Wheels'' were expected to be added soon, but the firm's Web site, www.automotivespecialtyconcepts.com, is advertising only the Marine variety at this time. For your Hummer, you can get a set of four 17-inch custom wheels-with the U.S. Marine Corps logo on the hub insert-for $1,999.
Semper Fi-and straighten up that tie and scrub that mud off the sidewall, soldier.
Toys for tats
Nope, that's not a typo. As the holiday spirit envelops us, many businesses are chipping in to make the season a little more jolly for the less fortunate. And tattoo artists are doing their skin-pricking part.
Atomic Tattoos and Body Piercing, which operates at least 10 studios in Florida, recently launched its annual ``Toys for Tats Toy Drive'' in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots Foundation Pinellas County division. Through Dec. 19, every customer will receive a $20 gift certificate in exchange for a toy donation.
At the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas, the Dunlop brand booth was giving away a set of tires to visitors who got a tattoo or had a Dunlop tread pattern shaved into their hair. Atomic Tattoos' effort, on the other hand, is a chance to give a kid a toy. Or a set of new tires for that Tonka truck.
This, that & the other
Quote du jour-Stanley Baldwin, a statesman who lived from 1867-1947, said: ``War would end if the dead could return.''
An acronym that says it all-A task force in Florida that investigates pornography, especially involving children, goes by the name LEACH, for ``Law Enforcement Against Child Harm.''
What would Santa drive?-A snap poll of Autobytel shoppers ventured a guess at what the jolly, hirsute fat man in the red suit might drive were his sleigh a car.
Some 32 perecent of shoppers said Santa would opt for a deep-red Chevrolet Corvette Z06. (Come on, get real...the great horizontally challenged one would hardly fit in the hip-hugging seats-though he'd certainly get the presents delivered a lot faster.)
Other responses included putting Santa behind the wheel of a bright red Dodge Magnum (18 percent), a red Dodge Mega Cab (15 percent), and a yellow (yellow?) Hummer H1 (10 percent.)
Lumps of coal notwithstanding, only 3 percent said he'd probably drive a green Ford Escape Hybrid.
Let the crushing begin
Shortly after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita savaged the Gulf Coast region, Tire Business ran a story warning dealers about the dangers of selling tires that may have gotten waterlogged due to rampant flooding.
But tires aren't the only things damaged. Thousands of flood-damaged vehicles ``in Louisiana's hardest-hit parishes were left sitting in water contaminated with E. coli and fuel for up to four weeks before insurance companies could get in and start pulling them out,'' the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies said in a press release.
Progressive, which claims to be the third-largest auto insurance group in Louisiana and in the U.S., said it has made an ``unprecedented decision'' to scrap the more than 5,000 vehicles it insured. These were declared total losses as a result of flood waters in St. Bernard parish and parts of Orleans parish. Towards that effort, the company is sending many of the cars to the graveyard using a three-step process at Bayou Steel Corp.'s Mississippi River recycling plant, where they'll first be crushed flat, then fed through a shredding machine. The parts will then be separated and recyclable metals melted into re-usable products...like Mardi Gras floats?
As for all those soggy tires, we hear the fashionable Mardi Gras paraders will be wearing tire-derived ties, vests and pants-or nothing at all.
Ball busts record
Just as useless as waterlogged tires, but maybe a lot more fun is the world's largest rubber band ball.
Sorry, but if you have a gnawing yearn to own it, you missed your chance to impress friends and get your local zoning inspectors breathing down your neck.
Constructed by 28-year-old bicycle builder John Bain of Wilmington, Del., the 3,300-pound ball was at Sloans & Kenyon Auctioneers and Appraisers in Chevy Chase, Md., where it was part of the firm's ``Americana Washingtoniana and Spectacular Unusualia'' auction Nov. 5-6. Mr. Bain's creation has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's largest rubber band ball.
The auction was all about ``the American spirit,'' auctioneer Stephanie Kenyon told the Gazette, a member of Maryland's Community Newspapers group. ``The biggest, the best, the largest, the most wacky, whimsical, ingenious creations,'' she said.
Mr. Bain-who obviously had more time on his hands than he knew what to do with-began building the ball eight years ago when he was a mail clerk for a law firm. He fashioned most of it, which is solid throughout, in the garage at his parents' home.
He did have trouble controlling his creation, he admitted to the Gazette. It pinned him against the garage wall once, breaking the drywall, and crunched the bottom step leading into the house.
But all that wasn't for naught. Bidding on the ball, which is 5 feet in diameter, started at between $15,000 and $20,000. (No word, though, on whether anyone actually bought the ball.)
According to the Web site www.recordball.com, where you can see a picture of the massive object, it took Mr. Bain five years and two months to make the ball, which is 15.1 feet around, contains about 850,000 rubber bands and cost $25,000 in materials.
For only $14.99, the Web site offers a rubber band ball kit and a ``record ball challenge'' to build your own. (Just don't tell your significant other what you're doing out in the garage, if you know what's good for you.)
Clearly demonstrating that he has a thing for rubber bands, just for fun Mr. Bain has covered a couch, barstool, coffee table and other furniture with them. (It's a lot easier to clean them when you spill a drink.)
The next challenge for Mr. Bain-who says he has a ``passion for art'' and loves to ``build things from random junk''-is making the world's largest ball constructed of bicycle inner tubes. We can hardly wait.