Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Precondition, precondition, precondition

I'm very glad I wasn't playing a McCain buzzword drinking game during the debates. I would have had alcohol poisoning after the 17th "precondition". Things I took away from the debates:
McCain really likes to repeat his strong points either because that's the only way his supporters will remember them or he forgot he has already said it once or twice before.
Obama really needs to get into specifics in the first 30 seconds of his answers (out of 2 minutes) and not the last 30 seconds. You lead with the good stuff. Don't hide it behind fluff.
McCain's points spoke to his constituents concerns and values. He's going to take care of veterans and will not meet with any foreign leader unless they subject to an anal probe or some other ridiculous "precondition". Even those shifty Spaniards.
Obama is very willing to meet with any foreign leader and apparently realizes that many meetings will take place to actually fix the world's problems. One magical preconditioning meeting isn't going to fix anything.
BBC America is by far the best channel for watching the debates. They have cool British accents, are fairly impartial, and they had correspondents from around the world immediately after discussing their thoughts. Beijing didn't give a shit and were glad China wasn't mentioned. They had people walking in space anyway so that took precedence. Moscow was a bit concerned by McCain's comments about renewing the cold war and didn't like either one condemning their actions in Georgia. The guy in Baghdad watched but I can't remember what he said.

Next round: VP debates! I'm very excited and can't wait. Be sure to tune in to BBC America for live coverage or you can opt for one of the six American media conglomerates for coverage.

In tragic news, the great and wonderful Paul Newman has passed. He was an amazing actor, amazing racecar driver and motorsport enthusiast and owner, and was also a huge environmentalist (ecoist to use Bob Redford's term) and made a mean pasta sauce. My first foray into Paul was via Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Great buddy Western film and also made me a long time Robert Redford fan. Later I would watch The Sting and then Cool Hand Luke which cemented my image of him as one of the greats.

Newman is on the left and the "other guy" is racing legend Mario Andretti.
You will be missed Paul. The world will miss you. Please look at Paul Newman's wiki page and his imdb page as well.

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Monday, September 29, 2008


Nothing just yet

I'll post up about Paul Newman, the debates, the debates that should include 3rd party candidates, the upcoming VP debates, Singapore F1 night racing (once I finish it) and Black Lake Michelin Proving Grounds autocross (with pictures).

So until then...


Friday, September 26, 2008


When the lights go out in the city

F1 this weekend is in Singapore. Practice might be going on right now. I know qualifying is at 10 am tomorrow morning. Wouldn't that make it nighttime in Singapore? Yes it would! That's why this is a very rare street circuit and the first ever night race for Formula 1 and should be an amazing race. I can't wait. The cars actually drive under the grandstands. Just imagine the sounds of 20 V8 engines revving to 19,000 rpm and then all that sound bouncing off the walls. I'm really looking forward to the race live at 7:30 am on Sunday.

This weekend is my lone autocross. I have taken time off from it because of the writing but am taking a break on Saturday. It is at the Michelin test facility near Greenwood, SC and it's called the Black Lake. It's 1400 x 400 square feet of perfectly black asphalt. It's basically the biggest and flattest area most of us have ever driven and for me might be a once in a lifetime thing, so I couldn't pass it up.

I'll let you know how it goes and I might actually remember to bring the camera and take some pictures. Michelin is so great (merci!) for letting us use part of their tire testing facility and have a few rules to protect their baby. No sharp metal touching the surface. No direct canopy legs on the pavement, no jacking a car up directly on the pavement, etc... Hopefully everyone cooperates and we are allowed back again.

I've been busy at work and didn't get much writing done this week. We did learn that Protege and Acura are coming back for a visit! Hooray! They didn't suffer too much damage to their house but there was some flooding to the first floor. Remind me again why there aren't more houses on stilts in low-lying states? I'm looking at you American coastal areas.

Tonight is wrenching on the car a bit, just checking bolts and replacing some suspension bushings. I need to order a timing belt for Focus. Ford says I can wait until 120,000 miles but I don't trust them and have heard of them snapping soon after 100,000. She hit 99,000 on the way to Ikea ATL last weekend. The new shelf is awesome but it was a tad long and had to jam its way between the front seats for the ride home, so I had to lean forward if I actually wanted to see J.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


We do not like Ike.

I've been a tad remiss in my obituary and natural disaster duties lately, so we'll be catching up today.

Drs. Protege and Acura moved to Houston about 4 months before Ike. Their house looked to be a little higher than most but Houston is still known for flooding. I hope they are doing okay along with their 2 cats and their worldly possessions. We heard from Dr. Acura on Facebook awhile ago but trust their busy getting adjusted to living in Texas, which is where Protege is from. I'm sure Acura is going through culture shock moving from Connecticut to Texas via Clemson.

In obituary news, Bernie Mac, comedian, father, movie star and great man, passed away on August 9 died from pneumonia and complications due to his diagnosed condition of sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue. He was only 50. One of the first times I saw Bernie Mac was on the Original Kings of Comedy. He came on with his big eyes, foul mouth and poignant observations and I was blown away. You could tell Bernie didn't take any guff and would make damn sure you knew it. Years later J and I had the pleasure to watch him play himself on the Bernie Mac Show. He might be more well known for his movie appearances, Friday, Oceans Eleven and Twelve.

Bernie is survived by his wife, Rhonda McCullough; their daughter, Je'Niece; and a granddaughter, Jasmine. You will be sorely missed, Bernie Mac.

In racing obituary news, the first American to ever win a Formula 1 race and Formula 1 driver's championship, Phil Hill, passed away on August 28. He was 81 and passed due to complications with Parkinson's disease.
Ferrari’s president Luca di Montezemolo sent his condolences: “I, as well as all employees of Ferrari are extremely saddened by the news of the passing of Phil Hill, a man and a champion who gave so much to Ferrari and who has always greatly represented the company’s values inside and outside the racing track. Phil Hill raced and won many competitions both with prototype cars, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring, won three times each, as well as with F1 single seaters.

With our car, Phil won the Formula One Championship title in 1961 as the first American-born to reach this result. Phil and I have always kept in touch throughout the years and I know I will miss his passion and love for Ferrari very much. My deepest sympathies are with his wife Alma and son Derek in this sad moment.”
Here is the memorial booklet (in pdf) from his website. Phil Hill is survived by his wife Alma, son Derek, daughters Vanessa and Jennifer, and four grandchildren. I hope today's American drivers carry on your legacy of racing all over the world as fast as they can go.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Scuderia Toro Rosso!

Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull and Ferrari engines! Sebastian Vettel became the youngest person to win a Formula 1 Gran Prix yesterday and did it in grand fashion on his team's home turf in Monza, Italy. Sebastian is 21 years old and living the dream. He has a bright future ahead of him as does Red Bull Racing in Formula 1.

It was a wet Saturday for qualifying and a wet Sunday for the race. Sebastian looked great during both. In fact, Red Bull had 3 of their 4 drivers qualify in the top 4! Sebastian Vettel took pole, Heikki Kovaleinen of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was 2nd on grid, Mark Webber of Red Bull Renault was 3rd with Sebastian Bourdais of Scuderia Toro Rosso rounding out the top 4. Unfortunately Sebastian Bourdais stalled at the beginning of the race and had to be pushed into the pits and started his race one lap down. Mark had a good pace and finished 8th, last point awarding position, but just couldn't keep up with the pace of the Ferrari engined Italian Red Bull Sebastian Vettel.

Writing is still coming along. I'm still shooting for December but am starting to prepare people (J) for a possible May graduation date, just in case.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Wait! Come back!

What if my mustache crept off my face and fought crime at night, a crime fighting mustache, if you will? Would I dream it? Would I be completely clueless? Would it come back stinking of sweat and blood? Sounds like a funny idea for a comic. Or not. Maybe that will be my first stab at a comic book.

Are you ever sitting around the break room, sipping coffe and giving animals grades? Do you endlessly argue that a giraffe would definitely score a B+ but your friend makes a strong case for a D-? Argue no more friends! A wordpress blog to the rescue! Animal Review is a blog written by an unknown individual or team of individuals who review animals and score them on the standard A-F grade scale. Enjoy, I'm off to see what grade bats received.

For the record, my favorite bat would definitely be the giant fruit bat because it is scary huge but only eats fruit and nectar. Wiki page.

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Monday, September 08, 2008



The F1 race in Belgium this weekend was pretty amazing. Qualifying happened on a drying track and both Scuderia Toro Rosso cars made it into the last session for the first time this year, the cars expertly driven by Sebastian Vettel and Sebastian Bourdais. Mark Webber of Red Bull Renault also made it into that session with his teammate David Coulthard not quite making it and being relegated to outside the top 10.

Spa is located in the Ardennes Forest and has wonderful elevation changes and some very interesting corners. Lewis Hamilton of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes took pole followed by Felipe Massa of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, then Lewis' teammate Heikki Kovaleinen and then Felipe's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the top 4. Heikki had a bad start (they do standing starts in F1 and I wish other series did that too, World Challenge does) and was basically playing catch up all race. Lewis and the two Ferraris were off to the races but coming around the first turn (La Source) it was still a bit damp and Lewis spun, but was able to keep the car running but now had Kimi hot on his tail once he got around Felipe. Sidenote, of the 3 times Kimi has finished the race at Spa, he has won 3 times, so he knows his way around. It's a drag race to the next corner between Lewis and Kimi, Mercedes vs. Ferrari, and Kimi takes it! Kimi and Lewis exchange fast lap for most of the race with Felipe several seconds behind them overall.

Then it happens. The unthinkable but always expected in the Ardennes. It started raining! With 2 laps to go! The teams are torn between heading to the pits and getting some wet weather tires or staying out and risking it. The lead guys can't afford to pit now so they bravely head on. Lewis passed Kimi into turn one but there is lap traffic (turn 6 I think) and Kimi gets passed Lewis. Kimi gets too anxious with the throttle and spins out on the next turn! Lewis gets past Kimi again but the Finn is right behind, until it happens. Kimi really spins out and crashes, ending his race and maybe his dreams of repeating the driver's championship. Lewis is first, Felipe is 2nd and for a short time Sebastian Bourdais was 3rd but he stayed out on his dry tires and Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber has intermediate wet tires on and is flying! He passes 4 or 5 people on his last lap and a half and puts his BMW on the podium (his 11th in his career) and takes 3rd. Sebastians Bourdais and Vettel did score points coming in 7th and 5th respectively. Great job Toro Rosso and Red Bull! Mark Webber snagged the last points position in 8th.

Whoa! Update: I just saw that they penalized Lewis 25 seconds (putting him in 3rd) for slightly cutting a corner short while racing with Kimi. I watched it and he did cut the corner and did let Kimi back in front but might have had a slight advantage over Kimi, but certainly not 25 seconds. And it looks like Timo Glock was passing under yellow flags, so he was also penalized 25 seconds, giving 8th to Mark Webber.

Also congratulations to Scott Dixon for winning the Indy Car championship! Danica Patrick finished in the tenth spot. I'm sad to say I took a nap during the last race (an oval in Chicago) but I hear there will be more road courses next year! Hooray! My next question is, why is your season over in early September? All the tracks booked in October? Don't want to fight NASCAR for TV coverage? Ah well, hopefully people remember your racing series next year. Hopefully you'll have some ads during college football bowl games to remind people that America does indeed have an open wheel race series.
Update: (Oh, apparently there is another race on the Streets of Surfer's Paradise in Australia on October 25th, but the championship is already decided. It should still be a great race.)

Next F1 race is at Monza in Italy, Ferrari's home turf, this weekend and then a night race street circuit in Singapore on Sept. 28th. That will be F1's first night race and I'm really looking forward to it.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Welcome to the Revolution!

- one of Tommy Lee Jones' great lines from the also great Under Siege. Yes I know that Steven Seagal is also in it but so is Erika Eleniak (Miss July 1989). The ending Tommy vs. Steven knife fight was pretty cool, or at least it was the last time I saw it when I was 15 or so.

What this country needs whether we like it or not is a middle class revolution. We are increasingly being marginalized by the companies we slave for and the government that is supposed to protect our interest. The poor are already marginalized and with the current corporate socialism bailing out Wall Street being paid for by our future wages, it will be a long time before this country is sorted out and debt free.

I don't know how to start it or what to do once it gets started. I do know that it's probably a great idea to take a stand against the Democratic and Republican party who are both firmly in the pockets of Big Business. Neither McCain nor Obama represent hope or change. Look for our next president elsewhere.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Gnome, Alaska

I was just as dumb-founded as the rest of you when I heard McCain's VP pick. I have been successfully ignoring most of the coverage from both the Democratic and Republican conventions. Other than officially picking their party's candidates, what is the point of the convention? Most of the campaign tactic meetings happen behind closed doors so why the week long (or longer) TV coverage? Oh right, because the corporate sponsors are paying for it. Sorry couldn't forget about you corporations.

I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Taibi's piece on the DNC that he showed on Bill Maher's HBO show and how they were treating their dissenters (non-corporate guests). The free speech zone was set up very far away from everything. It was fenced in and certainly not within earshot of any delegate, senator or candidate. But the Target party was jumpin'! Everyone who was anyone was there! Behind an innocuous black door was an invitation only meet and greet for the freshman members of Congress sponsored by the credit industry. And that's why I'm voting Libertarian, because I'm sick of only money talking in Washington. The government is for the PEOPLE, not the people exploiting the people.

Check out the short (under 5 minute) video clip (NSFW due to language) via youtube and MilkandCookies.

Matt Taibbi is Rolling Stone's senior political correspondent and be sure to check out his blog on Smirking Chimp.

Monday, September 01, 2008


This Film is Not Yet Rated

That was the documentary that J and I watched over the weekend. It's about the MPAA and their rating system and how the 6 main studios (who make 95% of the movies and are owned by companies that own 90% of all media) control the rating process. Independent movies suffer and ratings are skewed against gay relations. Language and violence are perfectly acceptable. The side by side comparisons of NC-17 and R rated movies was particularly interesting with the only difference being homo vs. hetero sex acts depicted. Of course during the appeals process you can't cite precedence like in a court of law so each film is on its' own for its' rating.

Kirby Dick did a great job and make a very interesting movie.


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