Monday, June 30, 2008



There will be a post this week, just not today.

I think I have a draft I saved that talked about the current season of Morgan Spurlock's show on FX, 30 Days. That should be up soonish.


Thursday, June 26, 2008


The crackberries taste like crackberries!

That is by far my favorite nickname for a Blackberry. In more traditional blackberry news, I hope to go blackberry and blueberry picking this weekend. We might have to check out the Happy Berry Farm, which isn't too far from Clemson. We bought some blueberries from the grocery store and were not pleased. They already had fuzzy mold growing in the middle. Bad Super Bi-Lo! It's ok though. I've pretty much stopped buying produce from them anyway. Kathey's Produce is where most of our vegetables and fruit comes from now. She has a decent selection and most of it is local to SC or the southeast with a few items coming from Cali (as in -fornia, not Cali, Colombia) I bought some Cubanelle peppers from her yesterday and since they were a tad old and getting some red color to them, she sold them at a dime a piece. Needless to say I grabbed a few more after she told me that. Her green bell peppers are $0.50 each which is a good price but the cubanelle is still crunchy and slightly sweet and really cheap!

In recent movie news, we watched King Corn and Numb last weekend and before that, we watched Lars and the Real Girl.

We'll start with King Corn. Two young gents decide to grow an acre of corn and then follow it around and see what happens. Along the way we discover that they are both from the same town in Iowa, 2 generations removed, and became friends before even knowing that. They show us that the corn we grow and eat now isn't really like the corn that the pilgrims and indians ate. Their corn had a much higher protein content and ours has a much higher starch content. A geneticist or something along those lines, runs a DNA test on their hair to see if anything stands out. Turns out there is alot of corn. But why? Well it's because Earl Butz decided to stop paying farmers not to grow corn and starting paying them to basically grow as much freakin' corn as their land could produce. 11 billion bushels of corn was the US' harvest a couple years ago. Yes, that's alot of corn. But where does it all go? Some goes to bio-fuels and ethanol (I still don't agree with using food to make fuel, grasses and algaes can do that too), lots goes to the sweetener industry, some goes to feed livestock and then we eat some of it too. A chemist devised a way to turn all that starch into sugar and the food processors jumped all over it as a way to save money over importing all that stupid sugar from sugarcane. Butz had a good idea, to reduce how much Americans spent on food, but he did so at the expense of our health. Here is a little tidbit from Lesley Garner's essay "How Americans became the fattest people in the world":
According to Greg Critser, the problems began with Earl Butz, a former Secretary of Agriculture to Richard Nixon whose brief was to produce cheaper food.

Under Butz, corn crops multiplied, leading to the increased production of high-fructose corn syrup, a liquid sugar produced from corn starch that is six times sweeter than cane sugar, and which had new attributes that matched the needs of food manufacturers very well indeed.

Not only did high-fructose corn syrup mean that more sweet foodstuff could be produced much cheaper than before, it also protected frozen foods from freeze-burn, prolonged the shelf life of other foods and made baked goods look more appetising.

Then, palm oil — a vegetable oil made from the pulp of the palm tree — entered the national diet. Palm oil may sound healthy, but its other name, tree lard, gives a hint of its highly saturated nature. It was loaded with calories and bad for arteries. But, in the jargon of the processed food industry, it gave "good mouthfeel". And it was cheap.

SAYS Critser:

"The legacy of Earl Butz was that Coca-Cola and Pepsi switched from a 50/50 mix of corn sugar and cane sugar to 100 per cent high-fructose corn syrup, enabling them to save 20 per cent costs, boost portion sizes and still make profits."

At the supermarket, too, calorie-dense convenience foods became even more affordable.

"In short, Butz had delivered everything the modern American consumer had wanted. Cheap, abundant and tasty calories had arrived. It was time to eat."

The cheap, calorie-dense fillers were embraced by a new breed of fast-food marketing men — and sales went through the roof. What the American consumer wanted was quantity, not quality. They wanted more for less, and they got it in jumbo portions and combo deals (chicken, mash, gravy, peas and a cola, for example).
Food was cheap and plentiful and not really healthy. A terrible combination. Our portions are bigger than they were, courtesy of Divine Caroline, and our waistlines are paying the price.

They're also feeding this to the animals we eat. Cows should be happy. Like these happy cows at the Happy Cow Creamery! So what makes cows happy? Lots of room to roam around and play. Lots of grass for their 4 stomachs to digest and other happy cow companions. The problem is, lots of cows take up lots of space, so the current "bottom line only" solution is to confine the cows into pens and feed them, you guessed it, corn! Lots of corn and not just corn but some of the plant and husk as well. The problem is that after 150 days of nothing but corn and zero exercise, the cows get sick and die. No problem! We'll slaughter them after 120-140 days! Hooray! The only problem being that a t-bone from a corn fed cow has 9 grams of saturated fat and the same size t-bone from a grass fed happy cow has 1.5 grams of saturated fat. Ewwwwww.

I and the movie are not saying we should fire Iowa farmers. They're farmers, let them farm, but maybe they should grow more than just corn! Oh, that's the other problem. The profit margin is so slim that lots of family owned farms are being foreclosed and sold to super huge mega farms. This movie really inspired J and I to eat locally, cut out as much processed corn products as possible (we had 10-12 products in our house that had it including instant mashed potatoes, BBQ sauce, chocolate mousse mix, Swiss Miss and some other stuff, there's still some frozen fish that we're going to eat instead of giving to a food bank), and only eat meat if it is responsibly raised and grass fed. So no more fast food, no more abused chicken (cage free is the way to be!), no more corn fed unhappy cows and we'll see what happens. Sure we'll be paying more for food, but I figure we'll be healthier so it's like we're saving on healthcare costs in the future. I'll keep you updated on how that's going. We tried Fantastic Food's Sloppy Joe Mix (we called it Sloppy Vegans, cuz that sounds funny and a bit gross) and it was delicious! Honestly couldn't tell that a poor unhappy cow hadn't died to feed me.

That was a long review. The others will be shorter. Promise.

Numb featured Matthew Perry, Mary Steenburgen, Kevin Pollack, and others. It focused on Perry who was a writer and also crazy. He wasn't sure what was real and what wasn't and couldn't feel real life. He finds love in Lynn Collins, loses it, goes a bit crazy then less crazy and then something else happens. It's definitely a bit slow in parts and Steenburgen portrays a great crazy therapist who seriously crosses the line and, I'm sure Ted Danson will be glad to hear, is very sexy. I honestly wouldn't go out of my way to see this but it was a funny quirky crazy romantic comedy with some solid performances.

Lars and the Real Girl on the other hand is a must see funny quirky really crazy romantic comedy. Ryan Gosling plays a disturbed Lars who was ignored by his father after their mother died when he was 10 or 11. Lars' brother wasn't much help and left as soon as he could leaving Lars and crazy dad to cope with the awfulness. His brother does realize he was wrong and lets Lars live in his converted garage. Lars is a loner to the -nth degree. He doesn't even register the cute girl at work flirting with him and is very visibly uncomfortable around all women. He learns one day at work that you can custom make and order your very own Real Girl (Real Doll), so he orders one up. He treats her like a real girl. Buys her clothes, courts her and makes her dinner. I assume most real doll orderers tear right into theirs but Lars wines and dines her and treats her like the classy latex woman she is. The super craziness starts when Lars tells his brother and sister-in-law that he wants to come over for dinner (they always invite him but he always declines) and wants to bring a guest. Lo and behold it's the real doll and dinner is awkward and uncomfortable for everyone but Lars (and the real doll presumably). The brother and wife seek out counsel. The therapist tells him that he's probably just compensating and this is how he's going to work out his woman issues and that they should accept the real doll for a real girl and pretend like she's real. The entire town gets in on it and the real doll becomes very popular (and not like that you sicko) because she reads to kids at the library and visits the old folks home. It's so heart-warming to see the town bend over backwards to make Lars and his "girlfriend" feel welcome and at the same time so creepy seeing a latex sex toy read to kids. Excellent excellent movie and Ryan Gosling does a superb job portraying a socially awkward misfit. This film brought tears to my eyes it was so heart-warming and touching.

Okay, back to writing!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Bart, commence Operation: Crazy Plan!

Homer Simpson to his son Bart in the Simpsons episode where Lisa starts ballet under Marge's pressure and realizes that cigarettes are what keep ballerinas slim and attentive. That may or may not be true. Homer's Operation Crazy Plan involved a cigarette stealing racoon.

Congrats to Ferrari on a 1-2 sweep during qualifying and the race. Kimi Raikkonnen took pole with Felipe a hair off in 2nd and the race finished with those positions juxtaposed. Kimi's bad luck struck again with a broken exhaust pipe but he was able to hang on for some much needed points. HUGE congrats to Jarno Trulli and Toyota for coming in 3rd against many odds. Molto bene Jarno!

I'm halfway through the NASCAR race but so far Brian Vickers is holding on at 23rd or so and poor AJ Allmendinger is 2 laps down because he couldn't get his car started after a pit stop so his pit crew had to push start him in the length of 3 pit stalls, not an easy proposition. The race coverage is 3.5 hours and I'm not used to that much racing with F1's 2 hour time limit. More on that later.

Cynical Chris shared with us a list of the Top 10 Obscure but Superb Science Fiction Novels. Some of them are available used on Amazon but being a poor grad student, I'll wait until later in life to purchase these, so I've been trusting Clemson's InterLibrary Loan to track them down for me. Don't bother asking them to find them for you unless you're a Clemson faculty/staff/student. But I'm sure your local library has a similar program!

I skipped down the list a bit and started with #2, William Tenn's "Of Men and Monsters". The book opens with the statement that all of Mankind contains 128 people. Whoa. That's bleak. Then we find out that we live in caves in the wall of a structure that houses horrible grey Monsters. We steal food from the Monsters to survive and hope to one day strike them down and take Earth back. An expedition goes out and all hell breaks loose. Our protagonist is forced to seek out others on his own. It reminded me of the ending scene from Men in Black where our galaxy is in a marble and a monster has a whole bag of marbles. I won't give away the ending but it's good.

Then I read #1 Wasp by Eric Frank Russell. This one is very exciting with seat of your pants action and suspense around every corner. We're introduced to the idea by reading about 3 separate events. #1 involves a single Roumanian (yes I spelled that right) who looked up in the sky and yelled "blue flames!" occasionally and a crowd formed which became a mob and the army was brought in to check out what was in the skies. #2 is a story about 2 convicts who escaped and were caught 14 hours later after being chased by a police force 27,000 strong. #3 centers around an automobile accident that killed 4 but not before one occupant related a story of a wasp getting into the car, distracting the driver and causing the accident. Our hero is recruited to be a wasp on a Sirian planet, who are currently battling the Terrans. His activities, which can only be considered terrorist, have an amazing and profound effect on the plant and the war overall. The Kaitempi, Sirian secret police, are around every bend and I think we're on narrow escape 7 or 8 by now. I only have 10 pages left but it has been a thrilling incredible ride. Plus the planet he has infiltrated is inhabited by bow legged purple people. His phase one propaganda stickers with hydrofluoric acid, HF, on them so they etch the glass when someone tries to remove the stickers with water, has been my favorite terrorist activity so far. His disguises and identities are imaginative and varied also.

I would highly recommend these 2 books and I'll go out on a limb and go ahead and recommend the whole list too. I'm thinking Bloodworld might be next.

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Monday, June 23, 2008


We'll miss you George

George Carlin passed away yesterday at 71. He was amazing, intelligent, hysterical and will be missed.

He is definitely one of the great comedians. I hope he'll influence comedians everywhere for years to come.


Sunday, June 22, 2008


Must, F1 results

Update #2: Tragedy struck the racing community Saturday. Scott Kalitta perished inside his Top Fuel dragster. These are Scott's final moments on this earth. He was 46 and is survived by his father, his wife Kathy, and his two sons Corey, 14, and Colin, 8. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them.

The F1 Gran Prix at Magny-Cours is almost over by now. However, Fox has decided to show their local Sunday morning programming (it's all churches here, how about you?) and are taping the race to be shown later today at 1 pm. Hopefully they have a bit more (read: any) pre-race discussion and Peter Windsor interviews on grid but I'm not holding my breath. For some reason they have decided to show it against Danica, Graham and others in their Indy cars who will be going around in ovals in Iowa starting at 1:30 pm.

Qualifying was mildly exciting yesterday. Kimi Raikkonen locked up 1st and dove into the pits at the last second and saved himself an extra lap of gas. (After the 3rd and last qualifying session, the teams cannot add gas until their first pit stop in the race) Felipe was a hair off but still came in 2nd for a Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro front row. Lewis came in 3rd but with his 10 spot penalty will actually start the race back in 13th. Ouch but it will be a good test for the driver in his 2nd year to see if he can pull off some passes on track and in the pits and score some points. Fernando Alonso gets bumped up to 3rd spot on grid and the Red Bull Renault boys are starting in a healthy 7th and 8th for Aussie Mark Webber and Scot David Coulthard (who is coming off a great 3rd place podium in Montreal). The lone French driver, Champ Car phenom Sebastian Bourdais, starts his Scuderia Toro Rosso in 13th behind his faster teammate Sebastian Vettel. Go Red Bull! See you at 1 for the start of the race (5 hours after the ACTUAL start of the race of course)! No cheating to get the results early!

In NASCAR left AND right news, some of the top drivers...I'll finish this after taking Leon for a walk because he just usurped my lap from J's new laptop, more on all that later.

Update: Okay, I'm back after a lovely stroll outside, some bug chasing, grass eating and some rolling around in dirt. All cat activities; I just brushed him off a little before he went inside.

It turns out that some of the top drivers can drive pretty damn well and their teams can set up cars to go left and then left AND right the next week. Kasey Kahne (#9) clinched the top spot with Kurt Busch (#48) and Bobby Labonte (#2) rounding out the top 3. Robby Gordon (#7), one of my favorites who is one of the few, if not only, NASCAR driver to even attempt the famed Paris-Dakar rally, will start in 8th. Team Red Bull qualified in 26th and 34th for Brian Vickers (#83) and AJ Allmendinger (#84) respectively. I'm excited to watch my first full NASCAR race ever and cheer them on.

I'll be back on later today or tomorrow for race results.

J and I were in the Hard Labor Creek State Park yesterday for a Newsom family reunion. I'm the grandchild of a first cousin, apparently. It was a fun day hanging out with my aunt and grandparents, all on my mom's side. The day was not all fun and games with someone's wife passing away last Tuesday and the funeral planned for Monday. He gave part of the eulogy he had planned and only choked up once or twice. It was beautiful and compared his marriage to a bed of roses. You had to climb up past the thorns to get to the flowers. It was quite lovely and both J and I had tears in our eyes.

Now to get some writing done before RACING!

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Friday, June 20, 2008


Randy Pobst wants you to race with honor

Randy Pobst is a racecar driver. He started out as an autocrosser with the Sports Car Club of America and worked his way up to road racer and then eventually made enough contacts and friends to get a job getting paid to drive a racecar. He is definitely a "gentleman racer" and races clean every time I see him get behind the wheel. Randy also writes a column in the SCCA's periodical and racing with honor was this month's topic. Days of Thunder was mentioned and has seemingly influenced many racers who actually think that "rubbin' is racin'". Randy has the opposite opinion. If you can't make the pass clean, then you didn't deserve the pass.

Formula 1 and their billion dollar operation is in France this weekend at Magny-Course. I caught a little bit of practice this morning and it should be interesting although the course looks tight and not many chances for passing which should be a good challenge for Lewis Hamilton who is receiving a 10 spot penalty for crashing into Kimi in Montreal last race. So the best Lewis can hope for is to start the race in 11th. Qualifying starts at 8 am on SpeedTV tomorrow morning. The race will be broadcast on Fox at 1 pm on Sunday with the race taped and delayed. Last race Fox had zero pre-show which is usually Peter Windsor walking around grid and interviewing team principals, drivers and other notable people and is great and really sets up the show and mood for the race. Fox also cut out most of the awards ceremony and all but 2 questions of the post race interviews. All of this pre and post race coverage is important because it really lets people see more of what goes on in Formula 1 and is very entertaining.

NASCAR and their billion dollar operation will FINALLY turn left AND right this weekend in California at Infineon Raceway, formerly known as Sears Point. Some teams bring in "road course specialists" aka racecar drivers to replace their oval specialists(?) so they stand a better chance of getting a good result. It seems that the Red Bull team didn't do so hot at Infineon last year, so they've been testing at VIR and some Road Atlanta testing coming up in July. I guess they either can't afford to hire drivers (ha!) or they actually want all around drivers in their cars. Take your pick. Personally I would like to know that my driver can race well on ovals and road courses but maybe that's why I'm not a team manager of a NASCAR team. I'll have to look into when qualifying is and what channel but I do know that the race is on TNT this Sunday at 3:30.

The Indy cars are going in ovals somewhere this weekend. Good luck Danica! You too Graham Rahal!

J and I are going to my grandmother's family reunion this Saturday down in GA and then climbing at Adrenaline Climbing in Suwanee on the way home.

Check ya on the flip side!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Is it possible to fix government?

That's the current topic of discussion at which "presents focused discussions by experts on the most important domestic topics shaping American society today." Just take a look at who they have participating in this discussion. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC, Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta (who sounds incredibly smart and ambitious so good on you ATL for electing her), David Walker, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and many others.

Philip Howard is the moderator and is the founder and chair of Common Good, whose goal is to bring common sense back into America. He proposes to do this by reforming the legal system and restoring our sense of personal responsibility. I now plan to read his book "The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America".

Please, join in the discussion, make your voice heard, and together we can fix America's government!

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Friday, June 13, 2008


I'm drivin' heah!

J and I went on a tour of Timken at Clemson's new joint venture, ICAR. First a huge thanks to Ron and Timken for allowing us to come take a look at their operation. There were around 25-30 people who showed up for the tour and were instructed to bring a racecar or unique car if they had one for a group picture. The Focus with her dented hood didn't quite make the cut. A supercharged/turbocharged Honda hatchback, 2 Lotus Elise and a Daytona Coupe were among my favorites who showed up. As the Roush built V8 powered Daytona Coupe left, it scared the crap out of J and I. The straight pipes with side exhausts were LOUD! We were also standing right next to them.

Timken is a "white collar" machining facility as described by our wonderful tour guide whose name I didn't catch. Basically it's a two story building with a plethora of engineers, math aficionados and managers upstairs who sit around and think up new bearing designs. They send those designs downstairs, get a few made and test it to see if they revolutionized bearing design or if the crack monkey is back in action and they should try again. They also have many rooms for testing all the spinning parts of an engine. They might get a design from an automobile manufacturer, or a part, and they will test it for them and send the results back.

Huge pieces of machinery that start with a spool of smooth metal and then form that into a bearing abounded. The engine testing lab was loud. They were testing the bearings around the camshafts as they spin. They use electric motors to turn all these machines instead of gas, but it's still loud. We were not allowed in the metrology lab, where they super accurately measure their parts, but it looked really neat. We walked around and I kept wondering if they hired any chemists or materials scientists. I found him! We walked past one lab which had an instrument which said spectraflame, which I can only assume was an AAS, or atomic absorption spectrometer, where the lone chemist hung out all day surrounded by engineers. I imagine any chemistry related question gets posed to him or her, whether they like it or not. J wondered how many women Timken employs. Very good question.

Then we had a lecture on sound and sound control. It drug on a bit but was also informative. The SCCA, sports car club of america, has set that no racecar can be louder than 103 decibels, but there are a few ways to beat the system, or at least use the system to your advantage.

Since I picked up J from work and she didn't want to follow me home in Tercel, we drove home together and I drove her to work this morning. It was fairly trafficky but not too bad. (I guess congested would be a better word there) There was a Jeep Cherokee left lane hogging because he felt his 72 in a 60 was fast enough to warrant it. The 4 or 5 cars backed up behind him seemed to disagree. Our exit was coming up so I accelerated into the middle lane just as the Lincoln Towncar in the middle lane was moving into the right lane, so I kept my foot in it and planned to accelerate past that car to get to my exit. Whilst this occurred, the Cherokee left lane hog encountered yet another left lane hog who was going even slower than him; a red Civic if you're curious. Cherokee sees the Towncar move over and without signaling, starts to pull into the middle lane; the only problem with that being there is an accelerating black Focus that is already plugging the hole left by the Towncar. A simple honk of my horn avoids the impending accident and I pull into the left hand lane and exit. The Cherokee does the same after I get out of the way and proceeds to get very close to the back of my car. Even when we turn onto the surface street and I slow down to the very slow 35 (especially after hitting 80ish on the freeway) with a gentle cajoling from J, he stays behind me. The speed limit goes back up to 45, still there. I move to the left lane to ready us for our turn and he stays in his lane but doesn't pass. I don't look over as he drives by but he does drive by on his way to work instead of doing something crazy like following me to work for a discussion. The strangest part is that he was a school resource officer with "Police" and lightpod on his Cherokee. When he exited with me I was mildly concerned that he would pull me over but seeing as how we were both in the wrong for speeding and he was clearly slower traffic not staying to the right and changing lanes without signaling, I wasn't too worried. So to that officer, sorry it went down like that and no hard feelings.

If I post this weekend it will entail my trip to Drift Atlanta back in May with some pics that are up on my Flickr account if you want to get a preview and check those out.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Why must Wednesday have a hump?

A friend from high school tracked me down on Facebook and I also became friends with my high school math teacher who now lives somewhere in GA, both from my time in this country. So more bonus points to Facebook for helping us all stalk people from our past. As a side note, he lives in Westbury which is east of Brooklyn on Long Island, so he might get a visitor at some point in his future. Yes, I'm still jealous of those who get the amazing opportunity to live in and around the Big Apple. My current reasons have been the World Science Festival and Come Out & Play 2008. Both great community activities that are both educational and fun and encourage people to be out and about.

Writing the dissertation is still coming along but not as fast as I'd like.

J and I have planted a garden again this year, squash, tomato, sweet basil, sage, thyme and some donated Ivy from Drs. Protege and Acura who we still have yet to hear from since they moved to "Don't Mess With" Texas.

For lunch today, Clemson invites us to have pizza with the president, so free lunch of what will most likely be Papa John's pizza and a chance to chat with Pres. and Mrs. Barker. What that means to me is I didn't have to pack a lunch and if I have anything to discuss with Barker, I can do that today. I don't think he can give me a PhD now, so I don't have much to speak with him about.

I'm still having trouble not finishing sentences with prepositions because I'm not really trying to stop and bad habits are hard to break.

I walked to school today. Walked right past gas being sold for $3.89/gallon which is cheap compared to the rest of the country but I paid $3.79/gallon and used exactly none of that to get to work. Hooray! I'm saving money and the planet! (Hahahaha! Whenever I hear someone pat themselves on the back like that I always think about South Park's smug cloud episode) Yes, I missed the CATbus and that's why I walked to school. I always underestimate how long it takes to walk from our house to the bus stop. I'll catch it one day. Luckily it wasn't too hot today, I think the high is supposed to be in the upper 80s, as opposed to upper 90s like it was Mon. and Tues.

Also a huge thanks to REI and its' convertible Sahara pants. The REI near downtown ATL (1 of 4! and AL nor SC still have one!) gladly traded me $28 for a pair of those pants and they came in handy today. My legs were a bit steamy after the short hike over the fence and through the neighboring Tom Winkopp student housing complex and once I realized that I missed the bus (cue the hit 1992 song by everyone's favorite Kriss Kross) and I knew a 30 minute walk was ahead of me, I promptly converted my pants into shorts! Hooray! My extra white legs appreciated the extra air they received from the conversion and now that I'm at work and cooled off, I can convert them back into OSHA approved lab ready long pants. Thanks REI and chemistry for giving us synthetic fabric!

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Monday, June 09, 2008


Why is that car stopped? Oh no!

I imagine that's what went through poor Lewis Hamilton's head as he slide into the back of Kimi Raikonnen's Ferrari yesterday. The wreck took Lewis and Kimi out of the race and Kimi dropped from 1st to 4th in the driver's championship points. But he is the Iceman, so I'm sure that won't faze him. It was the 2nd rookie mistake I've seen Lewis make and I'm sure he just got too excited to get back on course and didn't see the red light. His first ever win came at this very same race just last year and I'm sure he doesn't remember Felipe Massa and Fisi getting black flagged for disregarding the red light at the end of the pits.

With that said, HUGE congratulations to Robert Kubica and Poland for their first ever F1 victory! Also congrats to BMW Sauber for taking advantage of Lewis' mistake and getting a BMW Sauber 1 and 2 which brings us to David Coulthard bringing his Red Bull Renault in for his first podium since Monaco 2006. Mark Webber had a tough day and finished out of the points. Better luck in France Mark!

The Indy Racing League was down in Texas at the Learjet 550. I caught the highlights and it looked very exciting as they condensed the 3-4 hour ovalfest down into 3 minutes. Scott Dixon came away with the win and Danica had another top 10 finish slotting into the tenth spot.

The NASCAR Sprint (formerly known as Winston) Cup went around in ovals at Pocono. I can't recall who won but Brian Vickers in the Red Bull Toyota got 2nd. Way to go Red Bull! Excellent race weekend. I also heard that Scott Speed won his first Craftsman truck race in Dover, so congrats to Scott Speed! He's figuring out this "turn left only" racing pretty well.

The Euro 2008 competition is also getting some TV time in our house. We watched the almighty Germans take down Poland 2-0 and then watched our US men tie the number one Argentinians in a friendly in Giants Stadium last night, a scoreless tie but still a good game. Today in the "group of death" the French take on somebody and Netherlands battles Italy. I'm tivoing the Dutch/Italy game for obvious fighting orange vs. defending world cup champs reasons.

You can follow the exploits of Red Bull Racing, mostly stock car with some trucks and F1 tossed in for good measure, at the Team Red Bull Blog "Stock Car Ticker".

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008


We will rise up out of the ashes

Bo Diddley passed away this weekend from heart failure in his Archer, Florida home. He was 79, was married 4 times and leaves behind four children, 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. Your influence on music will always be appreciated and we won't forget it.

Congratulations to Barack "Hussein in the Membrane" Obama on clinching the Democratic nomination for President. It's going to be a very interesting summer and national conventions. I need to ready my argument against McCain and why Barack isn't the Muslim Anti-Christ.

In more poignant news, graphic novelist Paul Gravett has been hosting Coco Wang's comic strips from China's devastating earthquake. She truly captures the intensity and heartache using black and white with a few splashes of color. Get the tissues ready, many do not have happy endings but all showcase the power of the human spirit in times of extreme distress.
I hope these stories could show the UK readers the love, warmth and courage of the Chinese people, also the sad and cruel reality of the horrible 5.12 Earthquake. - Coco Wang

Coco Wang's website

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Monday, June 02, 2008


Turn left, another left, one more, last one, one lap down, 199 to go!

Yes I watched the IRL, Indy Racing League, at the Milwaukee Mile yesterday (cue Wayne's World Alice Cooper scene flashback). Congrats to Aussie Ryan Briscoe for bringing it home for the Penske team. Danica Patrick finished in 9th. The other two women were nowhere to be found. Graham Rahal was doing well until he made a rookie mistake (he is 19) and tried to pass some lap traffic in the wrong place, got too far outside the turn into the "marbles" and smacked the wall, ending his day.

Formula 1 is still bringing their whole operation to this continent for this weekend's Montreal Canadian Gran Prix! Hooray, no more ovals!

The reason I have been watching IRL is because I still feel (and now have some concrete evidence) that NASCAR prospers at the expense of other racing series and they only have 2 road courses a year. IRL has at least 3 or 4, the next one will be Watkins Glen in NY on July 6th. Just for the record, Formula has ZERO ovals, the way it should be, in my humble opinion.

This is pretty cool. It's a graphic that shows where IRL will be racing and the track maps, so let's see how many non-ovals we can find. Ifineon Raceway, Streets of Long Beach, Streets of St. Petersburg, Edmonton, Mid-Ohio, Streets of Detroit (that should be cool, assuming they repave the roads or are potholes just extra obstacles?), and Watkins Glen, so that's 7, hooray! Okay, so it looks like it's the Raceway at Belle Isle Park near Detroit not the streets of Detroit.

I would go over Formula 1 sites but they're all awesome and unique and amazing. Montreal is this weekend AND it's in North America which means that the race will be on at a reasonable time instead of 2 am or 8 am! Noon F1 here we come!

As far as I know, NASCAR has two races that turn left AND right. They race in Watkins Glen and Infineon also. But that's it. Twice a year does the NASCAR "turn left oval fest" get to balance out their set-ups and make them turn left and right equally well. Now let's check the schedule to see when those are June 22nd at Infineon (on TNT) and Aug. 10th at the Glen (on ESPN). That's pretty funny. Fox will show the crap out of the ovals but want nothing to do with road courses. Maybe there are bigger sporting events that day that Rupert wants to show.

So non-oval race fans, have no fear! There will be much turning left and right this summer from all race series. And to all those who claim it reduces passing and will be boring, take a page from our "what to do while everyone turns left all the time" playbook and take a nap or two. The roar of the crowd will wake you in time for the good stuff. We'll be enjoying the cars and trees as they go up and down, left and right.

Also in linkish news:
Confused by Christian cliches and phrases? Fret no more! Here is a handy guide!
“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

Translation: “I’m a flaming fundamentalist.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “That’s a relief, because I’m a homosexual transvestite in an interracial relationship.”

21 best mug shots ever

Follow Jon Dyer on his quest for every beard type.

All links are of course stolen from Cynical Chris.

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