By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Smokers really do have it rough. They've been banned from restaurants and kicked out of most other buildings; plus there's always the chance of lung cancer looming up ahead. But maybe the worst, most irritating time for the tobacco-addicted is when they've got a full pack of smokes, they're ready to puff, but no lighter is to be found--the fumbling search alone could induce a nicotine fit. But native Dallasite David Torres has found an answer to that problem. He is the inventor of the Tite Lite lighter clip, a nifty little contraption (retailing for less than two bucks) that clips onto a pack of cigarettes and keeps any standard-sized lighter attached for an easy-access, fumbling-free smoke. Even though he was on a trip to New York last week and battling the Blackout of 2003, Torres took the time to talk to us about his invention.
How did you get the idea for Tite Lite?
I came up with the idea the week after I graduated UNT in 1999. I hadn't started working yet and was out with some friends at an area bar and noticed a hard pack [of cigarettes] and a lighter lying on the bar next to me. I just thought of all the times someone had come up to me and asked me for a light because they had lost their lighter. I don't smoke, but it was a great idea. Most of the time between then and now was waiting for the patents to go through and the mold to be completed.
What about a product for the weed smokers out there? It could be adjustable to fit different bongs, and you could call it High Lite.
If there is an interest for alternative sizes and uses of the Tite Lite, I am more than interested in exploring them. Any other invention ideas brewing?
Yes, I am always working on one idea or another. The other big one at the moment is a clothing brand I am developing, Big Game Hunters. It is an aggressive brand that is being positioned to extreme sports (skateboarding, gaming, etc.).
Tell me more. The logo looks pretty phallic.
Yeah, Big Game Hunters is definitely not for the easily offended. It's...meant to convey the "mine is bigger than yours" competitive spirit. The brand is about confidence. It's also about having fun and going big in whatever game you play in life. Some guys like it because they think it's funny, and they enjoy wearing the logo T-shirts and hats for the looks they get. Most of our market, though, likes the brand for the idea of wearing it to be cocky and to express their attitude. People can check us out on our Web site, www.bghunters.com.
Got any advice for other potential inventors out there?
Lately, other potential inventors, usually friends of my friends, have called and e-mailed me about their ideas, wanting to know how to get started. And one thing I find myself telling them is to have patience. I'm 27, and they see the point I'm at with Tite Lite and don't realize that it has taken four years to get here. They see the final product and think it was an overnight success. But the truth of the matter is that I have spent countless hours researching, developing, designing, marketing and now selling. So have patience, people. --Rhonda Reinhart Cover Up
We've never really thought about the dreaded "cover jinx" applying to the Dallas Observer before. In fact, we always assumed that bit of business was the exclusive domain of the folks over at Sports Illustrated, whose cover possesses some sort of voodoo power. There have been plenty of examples of this phenomenon over the years, but one that sticks out in our mind is this: During this year's NBA playoffs, Sacramento Kings guard Bobby Jackson graced SI's cover a few days before he broke his face during a game against the Mavs. Again, he broke...his...face. On a grander scale, his team was bounced out of the playoffs shortly thereafter. It works on many levels.
The recent announcement of Arbitron's spring ratings survey for Dallas-Fort Worth radio stations has unfortunately proven us wrong. Seems landing on the Observer's cover will indeed land you in hot water eventually. Example: On August 8, 2002, our cover story ("I Wanna Rock!") detailed how KDBN-FM (93.3)--better known as The Bone, also known as "classic Texas rock that rocks"--was able to "shock the Dallas radio world" over the previous eight months. During its first three months on the air, The Bone had risen to No. 11 in the overall rankings (which estimate the number of listeners among people 12 and over) and No. 1 among men 25 to 54. These were the kinds of numbers the previous incarnation of the station (the "cool rock, smart pop" Merge) never approached. When our story ran, The Bone's ratings had slipped somewhat--down to No. 13 overall, No. 2 in men 25 to 54--but we still said "the station appears to have awoken the sleeping giant that is the Dallas rock-radio fan."
Apparently, they lulled that fan back to sleep. The Bone's ratings have been in what we in the business like to call a "nosedive" since the station appeared on our cover. In the most recent ratings book, the station has dropped to No. 21 among all listeners and No. 14 among men 25 to 54. KZPS-FM (92.5), The Bone's prime competition, has handily beat the station in the last three ratings surveys, after having their ass handed to them for a solid year. The Bone's overall ratings are now down to a 1.9, after a high of 3.3 last year. And now, not surprisingly, there are rumors of a format change--possibly to classic country or Latin, probably soon.