Friday, November 27, 2009

Ty Cobb Hits per season

Ty Cobb Hits per season
Originally uploaded by zzazazz

This too is also important. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Babe Ruth Career Batting

Babe Ruth Career Batting
Originally uploaded by zzazazz

This is important stuff.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fire it up

This is the second coolest thing I saw at that airshow. This is a B-25 Mitchell starting up its engines. This was like watching an old war movie, it's a classic example of these big old engines sputtering and smoking and eventually roaring to life.
The Muppets do Bohemian Rhapsody

The coolest thing you'll watch on Youtube today or possibly for the next week.

Found via the mighty Metafilter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1959 Bridge Club

1959 Bridge Club
Originally uploaded by zzazazz

A couple of Christmases ago I scanned in bunch of old pictures of Melanie's family to put in a picture from for her mother. This is my favorite. It's a picture of her grandmother's bridge club that met in eastern Michigan in the 1950s.

Downtown Panorama

Downtown Panorama
Originally uploaded by zzazazz

I hadn't done a panorama of downtown in a while and I found this nice spot on Saturday. I like how this one came out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brett Favre mic'ed up

Does anyone have more fun playing football that Brett Favre? That's why he can't retire, he's having too much fun.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Your Carolina Panthers

Nice win for the team yesterday. Major props to the offensive line for holding up after the huge, huge loss of Jordan Gross. Our running backs are so very special and our receiving corps looked great yesterday. Dwayne Jarrett looked great fighting for that first down early in the game. I think he still has a chance to be a really good NFL receiver. I think it'll happen. Our defense was a little too weak against the run. If Turner hadn't gotten hurt we may not have won yesterday.

Jake Delhomme looked great in the first half. He was making quick decisions and threw accurately. That seemed to go away in the second half. I'm still not sold on Jake. He looked really shaky in the 4th quarter. He wasn't Bad Jake but he was Shaky Jake. I still think he should have been benched earlier this year and forced to fight for his job. If he plays like he did yesterday our team can still be successful. I think we'd be more successful with someone else but he's here to stay for the rest of this year as long as he doesn't have a total melt down.

I think we can win our next three games and go into New England in the middle of December with a 7-5 record. How would that be for a gut check?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Plate Racing is here to Stay

Wow, this answer by Brian France to a question by Scott Fowler guarantees continuing carnage at Talladega. He wants to keep the tight racing? It's not the aerodynamics of the cars that is the problem, it's the track. God, what a joke.

Q: In both races at Talladega this season, cars went airborne in the final laps. It was scary and dangerous, both for drivers and fans. What are you going to do about Talladega?

A: We certainly want to make sure from aerodynamic standpoint that cars don't become airborne, at Talladega or anywhere that occurs. But we have to remember that Talladega is a signature race for our fans to watch the best guys in the world really mix it up. That needs to remain.

We've got to do something on the aero – our [research and development center] is working on those cars going up in the air.

That's a problem. And we're going to solve that.

But the idea that Talladega is going to be something other than (what it is) – which is really, really close racing – my hope is it will always remain that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Flatout: Ultimate Carnage

One of my favorite games for the Xbox 360 is the Flatout: Ultimate Carnage. It's an older racing game that I still have not tired of. It features some of the best crash animations I have ever seen in a game. Check out the video below. It's not me but I have had similar crashes.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Look! Up in the sky!

Yesterday I went to an airshow in Monroe, NC. I saw the most beautiful airplane I hav ever seen fly, a P-51 Mustang. Power, grace and it sounded like nothing I have ever hard. Video below.

A P-51 Mustang from ed mcdonald on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Last night I went to my first arena concert in a very long time. I've pretty much sworn off big arena shows because they are overpriced and the prices charged for food and drink are insulting. The list of people I will pay over $50 to see live is very small and until last night Bruce Springsteen wasn't on that list. Last night I had two free tickets and the next time he comes around I will probably buy a ticket.

I won our tickets in a contest sponsored by a local news website called CLT Blog. You should give them a look if you get a chance. They do good professional work with original reporting. We were a few rows back from the front railing in section 204 in the upper deck. This was my first time in the new stadium, I had sworn this place off also because I am not happy with how it was pushed on the city. I made an exception for free Springsteen tickets. My boycott lasted four years, I think I made my point. Not that anyone noticed. I may even go see an NBA or hockey game now. I've sat in the same general area at the old coliseum and this felt like we were closer. I think the seats here are built at a steeper angle so you are more on top of the action. You can see our view here. It's a crummy picture taken with my camera phone but it shows you where we were.

He opened the show with the song Seeds. I had never heard it before. It opened with, I think, Nils Lofgren playing a groove by himself and then Bruce shows up and starts singing. Then the rest of the band kicked it in. It was a great rocker and the perfect way to start the show. The second second song is one of my favorites, Darlington County. I had forgotten how much I like that song and the chorus is perfect for several thousand people to sing along with. Hungry Heart was another scorcher. Bruce spent part of the song on a platform in the general admission area and, after asking if they were ready, he lowered himself into the crowd and road their hands back to the stage while continuing to sing the song into his wireless microphone. That stunt brought the roof down. After Working on a Dream, a song I'm not crazy about, we hit the portion of the show that a lot of people were excited about, the playing of the album, Born to Run from start to finish.

The only other time I've witnessed a band play a whole album in order was during Primus' Tour de Fromage in 2003. On that tour they played their album Sailing the Seas of Cheese. To me that was worth it knowing I'd get to hear Here Come the Bastards. A better song you've never heard. Last night I felt the same way about hearing this album in full. I ended up feeling a little let down because I love the song Born to Run and it's such an iconic high energy crowd pleaser that I would rather not know it's coming. Knowing it was right around the corner took a little of the specialness of it away for me. Why that was the case last night and not the case back in 2003 for Primus I will leave that for someone else to analyze. It's a small quibble. The opening song, Thunder Road, blew me away though. That piano opening gives me chills.

After the album he played Waiting on a Sunny Day. During that song we witnessed a classic piece of audience participation that really brought some intimacy to night. He pulled a boy onstage who must have been around 8 and let him sing the chorus. Watching that kid on the big screen go from scared to digging it was sweet. After he nailed the lines Bruce leaned over and said something and the kid looked across stage and said, "Take it, Big Guy!" and Clarence started his solo. Beautiful moments like that are why you go to live shows.

After that song Bruce spent a few minutes wandering the stage and grabbing signs that fans had decorated with song requests. Watching him interact with the serious fans at the front is interesting. I've never seen an act live before where such adoration is on display. It's beautiful. It's not a weird messianic devotion it's a true partnership between the crowd and the performer. He's going to lay it out there all night and all you have to do is make a lot of noise and prop him up. It's a celebration of being alive. It's no coincidence that late in the show his question to the crowd as a song was crescendoing behind him was, "Is there anybody alive out there!?" I was reminded more than once of the Iggy Pop show I saw at Tremont Music Hall in 2001. Both shows were celebrations of not being dead. As the Carl Sunny Leyland song goes, "'s a short time to live and a long time in the ground" so we might as well have fun and howl at the moon while we can. And have fun he did. Not only did he remind me of Iggy Pop with his energy and desire to share it but his joy at playing music for people brought to my mind Patterson Hood of the Drive by Truckers. There is no place these two musicians would rather be than sweating in front a crowd. The desire to entertain and to live that exudes from Hood each time I see him and from Bruce last night is palpable and last night we responded.

During the stump the band segment the two obvious highlights were I Fought the Law and Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl. Hard to go wrong there. The last song before the encore was Badlands. Every time I hear that song now I always think of Bill Murray and Paul Shaffer version done with Murray as Nick the Lounge Singer during the 25th anniversary show of Saturday Night Live. Like Born to Run earlier, Bandlands was expected and, though not lacking for energy from Bruce or the crowd, didn't really grab me.

The encore was paced well. The first song, the classic Hard Times opened with a beautiful a cappella harmony that mesmermized. In a show full of great moments this really stood out. I was stunned. The last song, Higher and Higher was perfect. It allowed Bruce to feature his two backup singers, it was an obvious message to multitude that show is about to be over and it's a song the band could groove. It's nice to have a true closing song that a band can extend and the crowd and the performers can say goodbye. Nicely done.

Two and a half hours of great rock and roll. What more could you really ask for on a Tuesday night in November when you get to see one of the great showmen of our time fronting one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever in front of over 10,000 screaming fans? Good stuff. I think I will have an $8 Coors Light, thank you.

Pictures from the show available on the Charlotte Observer's website here.

November 3, 2009
Charlotte, NC
Time Warner Cable Arena

Darlington County
Hungry Heart
Working On A Dream
Thunder Road
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Born To Run
She's The One
Meeting Across The River
Waiting On A Sunny Day
I Fought The Law
Sherry Darling
So Young And In Love
Brown Eyed Girl
Lonesome Day
The Rising

Hard Times
Bobby Jean
American Land
Dancing In The Dark
Higher & Higher

Monday, November 02, 2009

What's it going to take?

Yesterday, for the second time this season, the end of the Talladega race was a scary. Cars flew everywhere and Mark Martin ended up on his roof. Earlier in the race Ryan Newman had a scary crash in which he bounced on his roof and when the car stopped sliding and tumbling, on his roof is where he ended up. This spring Carl Edwards flew into the catch fence and race fans. These are not "freak accidents." These scary crashes have been happening for years. In 1996 Ricky Craven was the featured driver in a huge wreck. In 1993 Rusty Wallace had a terrifying crash on the last lap of the race. Let's not forget Dale Earnhardt's nasty, nasty crash in 1996. Neil Bonnet flew into the fence in 1993.

Honestly, what's it going to take? What more can be said by drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman? They hate restrictor plate racing and fans that actually enjoy racing hate it. Those rednecks that sit in the stands and howl at exploding race cars can suck it. What the hell, NASCAR? You have a history of responding to a dangerous situation only after something bad happens. The danger of fire? Fireball Roberts crash at Charlotte. High speeds at Talladega? Bobby Allison's 1987 crash. Deaths from head injuries? Dale Earnhardt's 2001 fatal crash. Maybe we shouldn't put 68 cars on a giant speedway at once? The 1960 Daytona race. Pit road being dangerous for the workers due to no speed limits and no helmets required? Ricky Rudd's 1990 wreck at atlanta.

Judging from NASCAR's history something really horrible is going to have to happen at Talladega or Daytona for restrictor plates to go away. Eventually a car or a tire is going to fly into the crowd and then we'll get the changes that were needed twenty years ago.

I think the only real solution is going to come from the drivers. If they try to publicly form a union NASCAR will crush as they have before. What it's going to take is an agreement between all the starters to go on one of these plate tracks and do one lap and park their cars. I dare them to do it.

If you have any doubt about how fed up the drivers are check out the post race interviews below. Mark Martin is pretty pissed off. "I hope everyone enjoyed the show!"

Poker Face

On a lighter note this is hilarious.

Big Panther Win

I'm not sure how long this video will be up but it's worth seeing while you can. Big day for our team.