The fractions of traction; Plus, why we need pennies

“I-95,” on the new Fountains of Wayne CD “Traffic and Weather,” is an ode to truck stops.

Owner-operator Paul Rigsby of Full Moon Expediting in Kendall-ville, Ind., asks: Why refer to tread depth as 4⁄32 or 2⁄32 of an inch? “Where I went to school, you always reduced a fraction to its smallest form. Isn’t this a practice anymore, or are some just being lazy?” First, says Michelin’s Doug Jones, “A 32nd of an inch is the smallest division on an English ruler.” Second, federal regulations specify only 32nds for ease of comparison. Rigsby himself offers a third reason: “On a penny, it’s exactly 1⁄16 or 2⁄32 of an inch from the edge to the top of Lincoln’s head. That’s about as cheap a tire depth gauge as you can find.”

We found a map, circa 1961, of the new I-495 around Washington, D.C., including a remarkably congestion-free Beltway photo. The copy advises: “All interchanges on the Capital Beltway will be numbered. Keep your eyes open for your next exit. If you miss it, don’t back up. Go on to the next one.”

“I-95,” on the new Fountains of Wayne CD “Traffic and Weather,” is an ode to truck stops that sell “Coffee mugs and tees / That say Virginia Is For Lovers / But it’s not / Round here it’s just for truckers who forgot / To fill up on gasoline / Back up near Aberdeen.” Do the songwriters not know what big rigs burn, or were they just stuck for a Maryland town that rhymed with “diesel”?

“These people are out of their minds.”
– On CNN’s March 29 “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” the host assesses the Bush administration’s cross-border trucking proposal.

“Why can the chief law enforcement officer of a state go through red lights, drive on the shoulder in traffic jams, and exceed the speed limit by thirty miles an hour, for no legitimate reason, without fear of penalty or punishment?”
– Chris Freind in Philadelphia’s Bulletin after New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was seriously injured in a 91 mph wreck while not wearing a seat belt.

“I just have one question: How can truckers buy the CD at Cracker Barrel stores when trucks are not allowed on Cracker Barrel property?”
– Carolyn Wilson of Lufkin, Texas, wife of owner-operator Dan Wilson, on the chain’s Hit the Road CD featured in February’s “Channel 19”

Have something for Channel 19?
Send it to Andy Duncan, Overdrive, P.O. Box 264, Frostburg, MD 21532 or [email protected]. You’ll get an Overdrive tag if your item is published.