In compiling our 10th anniversary special issue, we dug back through the archives and came across quite a collection of, well, weird stories. Many of them evoked a chuckle. Some served to remind us how far the industry's come; others let us know how far we have to go. We thought they'd be worth sharing with you.
They're a menace to pristine jazz fest
Rhode Island banned plastic duck races, citing an onslaught of plastic and spectators as a result of the fund-raising events. Ironically, the most recent such race held in the state was to raise money for environmental issues.
It's not a surprise, just quite a shock
Employees of Louis P. Batson Inc. of Greenville, S.C., had more than their share of trade-show troubles at the Converting Machinery/Materials Conference in Chicago. First their airline flight was canceled. Then a mix-up in reservations forced them to find an alternate hotel. Then the machine they were to exhibit was lost in customs. Batson finally got the machine in place on the second day of the show, after paying more than $6,000 to ship it from Norway, and paying 10 union workers overtime. Then union electricians connected the 480-volt machine to a 220-volt line, blowing the motor.
His tailor charges way, way too much
Plastics made it possible for every woman to have a man without the mess and bother of a relationship, when Gregory arrived on the scene. The plastics-and-wood dummy, the creation of Steve Bennett of Provo, Utah, was marketed as a protection device for women. The couch potato extraordinaire could be posed in front of a window or placed in a car's passenger seat, and you never had to worry about what was going on in his pretty little plastic head. He retailed for $599 — or $499 without clothes.
Over 1 million served .. using only 20 cups
Keep this in mind the next time you see one of those new McDonald's commercials that show employees with subtitles like ``future engineer'' or ``future physicist.'' McDonald's workers at the Arizona State University student union thought they were ``just helping to clean up the environment through recycling'' by retrieving 32-ounce plastic soft drink cups from the garbage, washing them and reusing them to serve up sodas.
Aren't all the hotels a 2-hour ride away?
In perhaps the most unbelievable story of all, two savvy travelers said they were able to attend K'89 on $500 apiece. Kanji Bhanushali and Dilip Dherai from Goldcoin Polypak Pvt. Ltd. of Bombay, India, literally went to great lengths to save money, staying at a hotel 60 miles from the show — about a two-hour bus ride. The cost: $120 for eight nights. The men also packed enough food for the entire visit. The Indian government forbade travelers to take more than $500 out of the country on a single journey, they said.
PN finds plastics angle in World Series race
Tri-State Plastics Inc. helped Pittsburgh Pirates fans rattle the opposition by resurrecting Green Weenies in time for the National League East pennant race. Pirates fans believed the Weenies — 9-inch, vacuum formed rattles that look like high-impact polystyrene pickels — could curse an opposing team's batters. President Dave Mitchell had been storing the molds since 1966, the last time fans demanded a mojo. The Pirates won the pennant, but lost the NL championship 4-2 to Cincinnati.
Fowl fannies famous
Humor columist Dave Barry of the Miami Herald helped Flambeau Products Corp. make the crossover from trade news to mainstream media. Barry touted Flambeau's duck butts — known in the hunting world as feeding-position mallard decoys — in his annual list of Christmas gag gifts. Barry cited their ``classy'' appearance as punch bowl ornaments.
Hasta la vista, baby
Australia implemented safety standards for resin chairs after one collapsed beneath the weight of a large man, crushing a pet Chihuahua lounging underneath. Several human injuries also were blamed on cheap, imported chairs.
Not every chicken can be a Perdue bird
In the ever-rigorous pursuit of scientific evidence, researchers proved the flight-worthiness of an injection molded, polycarbonate canopy for an F-16 jet fighter by firing 4-pound (dead) chickens at it to simulate birds hitting the windshield. Researchers at the University of Dayton showed the product could withstand a 600-mile-per-hour-bird impact.
Sometimes it's wise to be soft in the head
Foamation Inc.'s wacky Cheesehead hat — normally worn by abnormal Wisconsin sports fans — helped save private pilot Frank Emmertt, who was co-piloting a flight back from a football game when the engine iced up. With a crash inevitable, Emmertt placed the Cheesehead over his face, averting serious injury. The pilot, who was not wearing a Cheesehead, also survived, but spent three months in the hospital.
S what'll happen if you stiff the guy?
A bellhop at the Marriott Atlanta Airport Hotel pulled a loaded, .38-caliber pistol on two Stopol Inc. executives attending the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division conference. Neil Kruschke Jr. and Dave Hausmann were trying to mediate an early morning dispute between the bellhop and two students hired to distribute Stopol literature to hotel guests. Kruschke suffered a cut to the head, but disarmed the 29-year-old bellhop.
Move over, Monica
A television station in Erie, Pa., stopped running some National Association for Plastic Container Recovery ads that some residents found too racy. One ad featured two male senior citizens talking about Mildred, who ``does it three times a day.'' Even though it was recycling, residents referred to the scandal as ``Mildred-gate.''