Plastics News presents its Plastic Globe awards, given to dubious or otherwise unusual news makers from the past year.
PRAY FOR VINYL AWARD: To Westech Building Products Inc. Where some saw the hand of God, others knew the truth: Vinyl profiles saved the pastor's life. A 400-foot fence fabricated by Midland Vinyl Products Inc. was credited in a Westech news release for sparing the home of John Coker, pastor of Sooner Baptist Church in Midwest City, Okla., from a grass fire. One wonders if Westech is in talks with Homeland Security about using vinyl in missile defense applications.
G-SPOT GOOD DESIGN AWARD: To judges of the coveted “G-Mark” award for good product design in Japan, who found themselves with a prickly dilemma in August when a sexual aid made it to the second round of the competition — requiring its inclusion in a public exhibit. Blushing officials at the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization hastily and apologetically told the producer that its entry was no longer welcome. Japanese reporters said JIDPO told the maker they had “no means of testing [the product's] performance or function.''
SCIENCE MAKES REPORTERS' BRAINS HURT AWARD: To the Detroit News, whose story on soy-based resin used by Lear Corp. included this warning: “The science behind using soybeans instead of petroleum is complex, involving the use of chemical symbols and the words 'urethane' and 'poly.' ”
DEAD PRESIDENTS AWARD: To Chinese toolmaker Sayok Mould Co. Ltd. , which displays some creative marketing with an English-friendly play on its name: “It is our mission that clients Say OK to us.” But it might be going a bit overboard with its slogan: “Ask what Say OK Mould can do for you, not what you can do for Say OK Mould.”
INDIA GIVES PLASTICS THE BIRD AWARD: To the Badminton Association of India, which experimented with plastic shuttles, but decided the experiment would end in 2006. BAI blamed “complaints from the players.”
PETA AIRBALL AWARD: To the National Basketball Association, which followed BAI's lead later in 2006 by deciding to end its short-lived use of a synthetic ball, switching back to leather effective Jan. 1, 2007. Score one for the NBA players, zero for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
OH NO, ANOTHER TRADE NAME DISAPPEARS AWARD: To Cryovac, whose name entered the dictionary this year as a verb meaning vacuum-packed: “This watermelon has been Cryovacked.” (Quick, grab me a Kleenex.)
THE ONION LOVES PLASTICS AWARD: To satirical Web site theonion.com, which recognized the plastics industry in January with a report headlined “Gumption rewarded with even more work.” The brief told the story of Mike DiCenzo, floor manager at imaginary processor Homex Plastics of Brooklyn, Mich., who was recognized in the “Lateral Moves” section of the firm's newsletter, PlasticTalk. He received a “promotion,” but no raise in pay. Does this sound a little too real for any of our readers?
HEY, GET ME A POPCORN AND A RESUME AWARD: To Ford Motor Co. , which announced its restructuring plans to analysts and the media at a news conference that was so long there was an actual intermission between the nearly two-hour presentation and the one-hour Q&A session.
NO, THE OTHER TOM LASORDA AWARD: Two months after Tom LaSorda took over as chief of Chrysler Group, the company brought in baseball's Tommy Lasorda and put the two together on stage for a charity fund-raising event. We vote that Chrysler's next CEO is named Eva Longoria.
UNREALISTIC NEWS RELEASE AWARD: First Conferences Ltd., a London-based outfit, sent an e-mail blast seeking attendees for the Telematics Detroit 2006 conference that started like this: “Superbowl XL is the most exciting event to happen in Detroit in 2006. Unless of course you are interested in telematics …” We wonder what scalpers were getting for those conference tickets.
OFFICER, I'D LIKE TO REPORT SOME MISSING POT AWARD: The Miami Herald reported in April that Miami-Dade County police were looking for thieves that had stolen nearly $30,000 worth of plastic pots, as well as fertilizer and other nursery supplies. The story said stolen pots are easy to transport and resell, and hard to trace back to a specific owner.
“FUNNY” HEADLINE AWARD: Automotive Newswire put this headline on its otherwise straight Nov. 15 story on Big Three executives visiting the White House: “Cheney sits in on meeting; no one shot.”
VINYL REALLY IS FINAL AWARD: The Middlesbrough, England, town council in February voiced concern about plastic headstones in local cemeteries. According to the seller, King Tut's Bazaar, the $140 replicas look like $2,000 stone memorials, only with stick-on gold lettering. One councilman told the Teesside Evening Gazette, “We can understand why people might want to use them on cost grounds, but at the moment we know very little about how long they'll last, how they'll stand up to the weather — and there does not seem to be any way of fixing them securely.”
RALPH NADER SHOULD BUY ONE AWARD: A driver in Los Angeles totaled a $1 million Ferrari Enzo in February — the car actually split in two in the spectacular crash. Incredibly, the driver walked away from the collision. According to reports, he was saved by the car's tough carbon composite compartment, which absorbed the impact and kept the driver in place.
IN 100 YEARS, THEY'LL BE HISTORIC, TOO, AWARD: The state of West Virginia is spending $1 million to renovate the 81-year old Governor's Mansion in Charleston, including new vinyl windows on the second and third floors — despite opposition from historical preservationists. Gov. Joe Manchin told the Charleston Gazette: “They're installed and we're very proud of them. I'm very sorry if anyone's upset about that. My intent was to keep the historical value of the mansion, but also to make sure it will endure and last for many, many years,” Manchin said. The windows were donated by Simonton Windows.
BEST CORRECTION AWARD: The Gloucester, Mass., Daily Times quoted Plastics News' Bill Bregar in a Dec. 6 story on Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering — but identified Bill as a reporter with Plastics Technology magazine. The next day, the paper ran a correction, but got the newspaper's name wrong again — this time Bill was with Plastics Weekly. We understand. We've had days like that too.
HOW TO GET THROWN OUT OF A TRADE SHOW AWARD: To Greenpeace activists, who bought exhibit space at the October MacExpo trade show in London, but were banned from returning after the first day. According to two reports, Greenpeace activists went to other booths for mock photo shoots, replaced the promotional material of other exhibitors with their own and handed out fliers at the door without permission.
A PICTURE'S WORTH A HUNDRED WORDS AWARD: To an offended Newport, Tenn., reader, who accused Plastics News of a “very stupid move” for using a photo in its May 29 issue of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who he called “an idiot and a fool.” Clinton was pictured sitting in one of Syroco's Adirondack resin chairs during a visit to the chair's manufacturer, Vassallo Industries Inc.
IS THIS GOOD NEWS? AWARD: To Larry Winget, who re-entered the auto supply business with his purchase of bankrupt injecton molder Mayco Plastics Inc. more than two years after his Venture Industries LLC went into Chapter 11. Even some Mayco employees were trying to balance the prospect of keeping their jobs with the knowledge of Winget's business history.
I'M GREENER THAN YOU AWARD: To plastics recyclers, represented by the Plastic Design Project in Madison, Wis., which asked NatureWorks LLC to put a moratorium on expansion of polylactide resin into the water bottle market because of problems it might cause for PET recyclers.
BEST TIMING AWARD: To Jeff Niemiec, vice president of Lawnware Products Inc., who is leaving to start a new company, Pink Inc., that will sell molded pink flamingos. With the shutdown of famous flamingo molder Union Products Inc., Niemiec's timing looks great.
DON'T SAVE ME A SEAT AWARD: To Jack Welch, the superstar former General Electric Co. CEO, who was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame this year, but didn't attend the ceremony.
And happy holidays to all our readers!