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Macho look

A Richmond, Va., handbag manufacturer has come up with a way for men to change diapers anywhere, yet keep that macho-but stylish-edge at the same time.

Passchal, a firm that makes a variety of bags from recycled truck and tractor inner tubes, has introduced a baby bag aimed at dads, according to the company's Web site. It not only features buckles, rivets and grommets to give it a more masculine biker look, but has a built-in light for hard to find items.

The firm gets old inner tubes from tire centers in several states and puts them through a cleaning process. The tubes are then turned into bags.

The new baby bag for dads is a tad pricey: $175, but apparently worth it for men concerned that it isn't macho to change diapers, especially in public.

A cheaper solution might be to stop changing diapers in public.

Pure gold

David Reed has added another medal to his trophy case.

The German foam sector association, Fachverband Schaumkuntstoffe e.V., awarded Reed, former editor of Urethanes Technology magazine, its gold medal to honor his efforts in the urethane industry.

Reed was editor of UT from its founding in 1984 until earlier this year. He continues in semi-retirement as the magazine's consulting editor. UT is published by Crain Communications Inc. and is a sister publication to Rubber & Plastics News.

The FSK gave Reed the medal at its 2006 foam fabricators meeting in Stuttgart, Germany.

FSK cited Reed's roles in setting up UT and in the genesis of the UTECH international exhibitions and conferences, from the first meeting in 1986 in the Netherlands, to events held in Europe and Asia-and on Sept. 24-26-the U.S.

Juiced?

Say it isn't so, Mark.

A computer imaging company claims baseballs in 1998, including the one Mark McGuire hit for his 70th home run, had larger rubberized cores and a synthetic rubber ring.

Basically, the balls were juiced, charged David Zavagno, president of Universal Medical Systems Inc., in a story from the Associated Press.

The company-with the assistance of Avrami S. Grader and Phillip M. Halleck from the Center for Quantitative Imaging at Penn State University-took images of about 35 baseballs from 1998, including the one McGuire hit to reach the 70 mark, which set a new major league record at the time. That feat was later surpassed by Barry Bonds' 73 home runs in 2001.

Zavagno said images of the home run ball show a synthetic ring around the core of the baseball. The rubber ring of the modern-day baseball acts as both a spring and a stop, much like a sling shot, he said, which help it to move faster and go farther.

Bob DuPly, baseball's chief operating officer, maintained the ball core has been unchanged for decades and that it meets all major league specifications. He said balls are subject to stringent quality control standards and testing by Rawlings, the supplier to Major League baseball since 1977, and no changes have been made to the core since then.

Forget the ball. A bigger deal to McGuire is the allegation he-as well as Bonds and others-was juiced with illegal steroids during at least part of his career.

Although Babe Ruth might not agree, adding rubber to a ball seems minor in comparison.

Grand River run

When Rick Hudson headed off to meet with employees of Grand River Rubber & Plastics Co. recently, he brought along an enlarged copy of a Leo Michael editorial cartoon that appeared in Rubber & Plastics News Nov. 27. The cartoon dealt with R.L. Hudson & Co.'s purchase of Grand River and Hudson's plans to keep the business operating at its 100,000-sq.-ft. factory in Ashtabula, Ohio, rather than moving it elsewhere.