Sunday, August 28, 2011

Speeding on Pit Road

In 1990 in Atlanta a pit crew man died when he was crushed between two cars on pit road. Since then NASCAR has had a speed limit on pit road. A good idea. Of course, typical of NASCAR they didn't make a necessary change until someone was badly hurt or killed.

NASCAR used to keep track of pit road speeds by stopwatch, now it's automated. Unfortunately drivers have figured out how to game the system. Essentially, if a driver pits in the middle of the last segment where their time is clocked the 12 to 13 seconds spent having their tires changed and fuel added is part of the time calculated. This allows those drivers to floor it after their pitstop is completed until they reach the last timing line. This puts drivers pitting further back at an unfair disadvantage. Not only that, since the racecar is speeding it is putting pit crew members in danger which then defeats the purpose of having a pit road speed limit.

Brad Keselowski used this loophole to his advantage at the Bristol race Saturday during his last pitstop. I do hope NASCAR finds a way to close this loophole before an over-the-wall guy is either hurt or killed by a speeding racecar. Since all the cars have GPS in them now and the speed of each car at anytime is available why not track pit road speeds that way? Why even bother with timing lines?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baseball Story

I love baseball stories. Scroll down to the story Scott McGregor tells about playing golf with George Brett

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Carolina Panthers and Can Newton

Last night the Panthers got slapped around a good bit by the Miami Dolphins. I only watched the first half and our offense didn't do anything and our defense couldn't stop Reggie Bush. It wasn't that big of a deal, a team coming off a couple of really bad seasons with a rookie quarterback and a new coach with several starters on the bench playing in the heat of Miami in the middle of August has a chance of falling on it's face.

I did see two things I liked. First was Thomas Davis. He looked good and really stepped up in that goal line stand where Miami scored on a 4th down run. In a regular season game that would have been a field goal try.

Second, Cam Newton looks really good with the ball in his hand. His fake handoffs on play action look great and on actual handoffs he does a good job after the handoff in faking that he still has the ball. Each time he does that I can see the opposing defense pause and verify who has the ball before attacking. A quarterback who is willing to do put an effort into misguidance with the ball gives a play an extra step on the defense and in the NFL that makes a lot of difference. One big advantage Newton has over Clausen, besides a rocket launcher for an arm, is that he is a threat to run the ball and when he pretends to hid the ball on his thigh last night on handoffs I could see the Miami defensive ends unable to crash on the running back because they had to be sure it wasn't in Cam's hands. Advantage us. One of my big criticisms of Jake Delhomme was how lazy he was on play action. He wasn't fooling anybody.

I want to see the best performer on the field at quarterback when the season starts but it sure is hard not to get excited when you think about Cam Newton behind center

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ouch

What is best about the internet? You may think it's the racist right wing comments on the Charlotte Obsever's website, I say it's watching amateur videos of NASCAR wrecks. Monday's big wreck caused by Boris Said that sent David Ragan into David Reutimann was a scary one. The configuration of those walls should be reconsidered, those are some dangerous angles for as fast as those cars are going.

This first one is the best




Thome and Steroids

Someone, who I won't name, mentioned that Jim Thome was "on the juice." I think these charts below that compare Thome to Willie Mays and Barry Bonds show that Thome's career home run seasonal totals mirror that of Mays and not the steroid ridden monster known as Barry Bonds.




Sunday, August 14, 2011

House Fire in the Neighborhood

A few blocks down Saturday a house caught fire and all the firetrucks in the world showed up. As we were coming back from the store we saw the smoke. A short while later I strolled down to rubberneck and take a few pictures. All I saw was the remains of the garage that burned and the exhausted firefighters lounging around the front yard of the house looking the Union army bivouacked at a plantation they just burned to the ground.

IMG_2056-1

I know it's for safety but those firefighters where some heavy ass clothes. They all looked pretty beat.
Willowood Dr Fire

IMG_2053

Strike a pose
IMG_2080

Fifty pounds of clothes in ninety degrees
IMG_2072

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dave Alvin Live

One of the highlights of the recent Dave Alvin show at the Visulite here in Charlotte was the extended version of the title track of his 2004 album Ashgrove. The song is a tribute top a club he and his brother Phil frequented when they were teens. At this club they saw several of the old legendary bluesmen and heard the music that inspired them to create The Blasters, a band that many credit as helping create the Americana sound.

The song below is the version of the song Ashgrove from his appearance in Austin, TX on July 16th, 2011. I like how he has changed the song and has used it as a way to address the crowd and expand on what he says on the album version. He is essentially saying the same thing but here he really expands on what he is saying. The intensity approaches Springsteen's and it exemplifies one of my favorite things about Dave, his ability to express deep emotion without being over sentimental. Initially I was going to say that he means it when he plays this song but all artists mean what they say but only a few are able to say it as well as Dave.

Davealvin 2011-07-16 Ashgrove by zzazazz

Monday, August 01, 2011

Captain America and Sammy Davis Jr.

(Warning, slight spoiler for Captain America movie)

I was talking to Charlie today and he was telling me about the television show called General Electric Theater. In particular an episode called The Patsy This episode features Sammy Davis Jr. as an army recruit who is picked on by his fellow recruits. Charlie described a moment in the show where a dummy grenade is tossed into a group of the recruits and Davis' character jumps on the grenade while everyone else looks on. When he told me this I immediately recalled a similar incident in the Captain America film. Instead of being the prank of a bully this time it's done by someone attempting to show who in a platoon of soldiers is the most brave. Can you guess which character was willing to sacrifice himself for his comrades? I am not the only person to to see the similarity.

A quick search shows that a similar event was used in a MASH episode in a prank Rizzo attempted to pull in Winchester. And, more sobering, a brave Marine sacrificed himself by covering a grenade with his body in Iraq in 2004. A real life Captain America.
Incident with a Mountain Dweller

This weekend was the annual Rhodo softball tournament/drunk fest in Valle Crucis, NC. Chris and I went up on Friday and we had a good fun. This year the band played at the campground rather than the apple barn up the street. I was told that whoever books the apple barn for the band booked it on the wrong weekend and playing at the campground was not their first choice. Personally, I prefer it when they play at the campground but the band makes less money because there is no door to set a table to collect an entrance fee.

Sunday morning my buddy Chris didn't want to leave so I went for a short walk. The owner of the campground and some of his buddies had spent the weekend at a trailer by the restroom. I had to walk past them in order to get to the street and the Mast General Store. I had been walking past them all weekend and didn't even really notice them as I went by. About halfway do the store one of the owner's buddies came flying down the road toward me on one of those four wheel offroad death machines. I could hear him coming and I could tell he had crossed the center line and was coming toward me so I stopped and turned to look. He pulled up right next to me. He had a cigarette in his mouth, his left shoulder had a huge healing scrape wound and and his arm was in a sling. I can only assume he dumped the ATV while drunk sometime recently.

He slurred to me, "Takin' pictures?!?!"

I had my camera bag over my shoulder but had not removed the camera yet. I was completely confused by his question and say, "Huh?"

I could see he was agitated and I'm was getting concerned. Again he said, "Takin' pictures?!?!"

"I'm camping," I said.

He looked at me like he'd never heard the word camping before and said, "Campin'?"

I said, "Yeah, I'm with the softball people. I'm camping." Then I wave toward the campground.

Then he said, "What's yer name?"

Even more confused I went ahead and told him my name is Ed. He grunted and then turned the ATV around and drove back to the campground. Maybe he put my name on his personal shit list.

After spending a short time at a local art show next to the store I headed back to camp. When I reached their site I looked in toward the owner and his buds and they all waved nice and friendly like and I waved back. Except for my inquisitor, he didn't wave. He just glared. Really, what the hell was that all about? What is going on at the campsite that the thought that someone may document what you are doing would cause you to behave like that?