Monday, May 30, 2011

Dan Wheldon Post-Indy 500 Press Conference, Part 3

Here's Part 3 of Dan Wheldon's press conference following his victory of the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. He appears with his team owners (and former teammate) Bryan Herta (left) and Steve Newey. Since YouTube only lets me post 15 minute videos, I had to split this up.


Dan Wheldon Post-Indy 500 Press Conference, part 2

Here's Part 2 of Dan Wheldon's press conference following his victory of the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. He appears with his team owners (and former teammate) Bryan Herta (left) and Steve Newey. Since YouTube only lets me post 15 minute videos, I had to split this up.

Dan Wheldon Post-Indy 500 Press Conference part 1

Here's Part 1 of Dan Wheldon's press conference following his victory of the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. He appears with his team owners (and former teammate) Bryan Herta (left) and Steve Newey. Since YouTube only lets me post 15 minute videos, I had to split this up.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The OFFICIAL Results of the Indianapolis 500

I released the unofficial results of the Indianapolis 500 a little while ago, but I now have the official results, delivered fresh from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center. The official results are as follows, with laps completed, and their status as running or reason for going out:


1 -  Dan Wheldon - 200 - Running

2 -  JR Hildebrand - 200 - Running

3 -  Graham Rahal - 200 - Running


4 -  Tony Kanaan - 200 - Running

5 -  Scott Dixon - 200 - Running (Dixon moved up from 6th)

6 -  Oriol Servia - 200 - Running (Servia dropped from 5th)


7 -  Bertrand Baguette - 200 - Running

8 -  Tomas Scheckter - 200 - Running

9 -  Marco Andretti - 200 - Running


10 -  Danica Patrick - 200 - Running

11 -  Ed Carpenter - 200 - Running

12 -  Dario Franchitti - 200 - Running


13 -  Charlie Kimball - 199 - Running

14 -  Will Power - 199 - Running

15 -  Vitor Meira - 199 - Running


16 -  Justin Wilson - 199 - Running

17 -  Helio Castroneves - 199 - Running

18 -  Buddy Rice - 198 - Running


19 -  Alex Lloyd - 198 - Running

20 -  Pippa Mann - 198 - Running

21 -  Ana Beatriz - 197 - Running


22 -  John Andretti - 197 - Running

23 -  Ryan Hunter-Reay - 197 - Running

24 -  Davey Hamilton - 193 - Running


25 -  Paul Tracy - 175 - Running

26 -  Townsend Bell - 157 - Contact

27 -  Ryan Briscoe - 157 - Contact


28 -  Alex Tagliani - 147 - Contact

29 -  James Hinchcliffe - 99 - Contact

30 -  Jay Howard - 60 - Contact


31 -  Simona de Silvestro - 44 - Handling 

32 -  EJ Viso - 27 - Contact

33 -  Takuma Sato - 20 - Contact

Press Conference for JR Hildebrand, 2nd Place Finisher of the 2011 Indianapolis 500

JR Hildebrand drove a spectacular race, held it together, and looked like he was going to become the first rookie to win the Indianapolis 500 in about ten years. But a crash in turn #4 saw Hildebrand scrape his car across the finish line, resulting in 2nd place.

There was a question about whether winner Dan Wheldon's victory would stand, and whether the yellow flag came out before or after Wheldon passed Hildebrand's car. The latest I have heard (at 5:47 pm) is that Hildebrand will not contest the results of the race, so Wheldon's victory stands and Hildebrand holds on to the scariest damn finish in 100 years of IndyCar racing.




My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

Graham Rahal Press Conference after the 100th Indianapolis 500

Graham Rahal did an outstanding job at this year's Indianapolis 500, finishing 3rd behind Dan Wheldon and JR Hildebrand. Here's the footage from his press conference, shot on my Flip video camera.




My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

IndyCar Officials Reviewing Final Finish, JR Hildebrand May Be Named Winner

Race officials are reviewing the final few seconds of the Indianapolis 500 to determine whether Dan Wheldon will be named the official winner of the Indianapolis 500. The problem is that racing rules state that no one may pass under a yellow flag. They need to determine whether the yellow flag came out before or after Wheldon passed Hildebrand for the win.

If he passed BEFORE the flag came out, he's the winner. If he passed AFTER the flag came out, even by half a second, Hildebrand would be the winner since 1) no one was allowed to pass him, and 2) he did finish the race under his own power. In essence, the pass would not count, Hildebrand would win, and Wheldon would have the victory snatched from him because of a fraction of a second.

Unofficial Finish for the Indianapolis 500

The unofficial finish of the Indianapolis 500 is as follows, with laps completed in parentheses:

1) Dan Wheldon (200)
2) JR Hildebrand (200)
3) Graham Rahal (200)

4) Tony Kanaan (200)
5) Oriol Servia (200)
6) Scott Dixon (200)

7) Bertrand Baguette (200)
8) Tomas Scheckter (200)
9) Marco Andretti (200)

10) Danica Patrick (200)
11) Ed Carpenter (200)
12) Dario Franchitti (200)

13) Charlie Kimball (199)
14) Will Power (199)
15) Vitor Meira (199)

16) Justin Wilson (199)
17) Helio Castroneves (199)
18) Buddy Rice (198)

19) Alex Lloyd (198)
20) Pippa Mann (198)
21) Ana Beatriz (197)

22) John Andretti (197)
23) Ryan Hunter-Reay (197)
24) Davey Hamilton (193)

25) Paul Tracy (175)
26) Townsend Bell (157)
27) Ryan Briscoe (157)

28) Alex Tagliani (147)
29) James Hinchcliffe (99)
30) Jay Howard (60)

31) Simona de Silvestro (44)
32) EJ Viso (27)
33) Takuma Sato (20)

Surprising, Exciting Finish to Indianapolis 500

It looked like rookie James Hildebrand was going to win the Indy 500, but he took turn #4 just a little wide, hit the wall, and got passed by Dan Wheldon with just yards to go before the end. Dan Wheldon, who is only a one-off driver, does not have a ride after this. Unbelievable. Bryan Herta was the guy who gave Wheldon a ride this year, and he and Wheldon will reap all the benefits of his leap of faith as I'm watching the celebration in Victory Circle.

From the replay, it looks like Hildebrand just took the turn to fast to keep control of the car. A more experienced driver would have backed it down just a little bit, but I can imagine all the excitement probably overcame him, and he couldn't help himself. As soon as he hit the wall, JR apologized to his crew, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

Hildebrand managed to hang on to 2nd place, his two right wheels hanging off the side of the car. This was an awesome ride by JR Hildebrand, and it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to win the race until that one slight miscalculation ended it. JR drove a great race and had an exciting finish, but it's Dan Wheldon's face that will grace the Borg Warner trophy for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Somebody better give this guy a job, otherwise every team who passed on him is going to like like a complete idiot. Maybe this will help Bryan Herta's team get some more sponsorship to ride a few more races and capitalize on this amazing, exciting victory.

Helio Castroneves is Tired

It was the darndest thing. Helio Castroneves is just driving along, minding his own business and his back right tire popped off. Not his wheel, just the tire. It sheared right off, and he drove into his pit with 4 wheels and 3 tires. He got a new tire and went back out in a matter of seconds. Right now, while we're still under yellow from the Briscoe-Bell accident, Helio is running 18th.

Townsend Bell and Ryan Briscoe Make Contact, Hit the Wall

It was the first multi-car accident of the race, after about 157 laps of racing. #6 Ryan Briscoe and #99 Townsend Bell brushed tires, and ended up in the wall, putting them both out for the day. It looks from the replay like Bell drifted too far to the left going into turn #1, and Briscoe buzzed Bell's back left tire and left side pod with his own right front tire. This made Briscoe lose control, and he put both of them in the wall. And THIS is why IndyCar beats the hell out of NASCAR, also called the Taxi Cab Circuit.

Alex Tagliani Makes Contact With Wall, His Day Ends

Pole sitter Alex Tagliani made some contact with the wall between 1 and, and broke something on the right front wall. He managed to pit, but the right front suspension was wobbling like crazy. The crew is unpacking Tags from his car and his day is over. It's a real bummer, because a lot of people were hoping for Tagliani to do well. HIs was an interesting story, since he was one of the first non Big Three (Penske, Target Ganassi, and Andretti Green) to get the pole position. A lot of people loved the feel good story of Sam Schmidt's team and how well his team was doing.

Barring any problems with Davey Hamilton or Paul Tracy, Tagliani will end up in 28th, even though he's currently sitting in 26th at this moment.

Simona de Silvestro Not Done Yet

Even though she's only got 44 laps done, her crew has her car in the garage and are trying to get the thing working again. It's a right linking connection (whatever the hell that is), and IMS Radio says they're trying to fix it. There's still a chance she'll be back out, although with 126 laps down, I'm not sure she'll be back out.

James Hinchcliffe is telling IMS Radio his tires were really wearing down, and he was actually getting ready to come in and pit when they lost their grip on the asphalt and he ate the wall going into turn #3. He said it was a "classic rookie mistake," but sang the praises of his Newman-Haas crew. That's always smart PR by these IndyCar drivers: take the blame, give the praise. Looking forward to seeing more from Hinchtown this season.

Rookie James Hinchcliffe Hits the Wall in Turn #3

James Hinchcliffe (#06) is out of the race after hitting the wall in turn #3, coming to rest on the exit of turn #3, bringing the yellow flags out again. He was running around 11th or 12th when it happened, completing 99 of 200 laps. He was able to walk away from the accident under his own power. No word exactly from what caused it.

This was James' rookie year as an IndyCar driver, and was doing a great job. I've been watching James since his IndyLights season last year, since the husband of my friend, Pauline Moffat (executive director of Indy Fringe Theatre) was Hinch's engineer. I had a chance to interview Hinch during Media Day, and was looking forward to great things from him today. However, a DNF today does not mean he's finished. I think we'll see some awesome stuff from <a href="http://www.twitter.com/hinchtown">@Hinchtown</a> over the coming years.

#88 Jay Howard Hits the Wall Going Into Turn #2

English driver Jay Howard was coming out of the pit trying to get back up to speed when he lost control of the rear end of the Service Central car and hit the wall. He came to rest inside the track and appears to be okay. Apparently Tomas Scheckter nearly made contact with a safety truck that was heading out to help Howard.

The car appears to be okay, but something tells me Howard is out. It will take hours to determine whether the car is even okay, so I doubt that he'll make it back out.

A lot of cars coming into pit. Danica pitted earlier because she was nearly out of fuel. She's back in now getting a tire change, and she's back out. Literally in the time it took me to type that last sentence, she got 4 new tires.

Update of my favorites: Bertrand Baguette sitting 12th, Justin Wilson 23rd, and Simona de Silvestro is out of the race and placed 31st. So sad about Simona, because I was expecting her to kick some major butt today.

EJ Viso Accident Update, Indianapolis 500 2011

EJ Viso just told IMSRadio's Dave Wilson that James Hinchcliffe missed a gear during the restart, and they made contact. Viso said it wasn't the fact that it was a double file restart, but Hinch missing the gear.

EJ Viso Hits the Wall in Turn #1, Out for the Day

EJ Viso missed the memo that said this is a double file restart, not a 3 wide. He ended up in the wall in turn #1, as James Hinchcliffe was sitting next to him and Marco Andretti passed on Hinchcliffe's. Hinch and Viso made light contact, and Viso made heavier contact in the wall. Hinch came into the pit for new tires. 

We saw the onboard camera replay from Marco's car, and how he and Hinch didn't make contact is a testament to Marco's driving (even though I'm not a fan of the guy, I have to give him his props for driving skills).

It's 29 laps down, and Dixon is 1st, followed by Tagliani, Townsend Bell, Dario Franchitti, and Oriol Servia.

Bertrand Baguette is 12th, Justin Wilson is 19th, and Simona has pitted for the 4th time and is 2 laps down, in 30th place.

Accidents In First Round of Pits After Takuma Sato Accident

The accident that took out Takuma Sato ended up being a big clusterf*ck, as Will Power left the pit with only 3 tires, leaving his right left tire in the pit. Meanwhile Davey Hamilton and EJ Viso made contact coming out of the pits, and Davey is off the track, and was just told to shut off his engine.

As we run under yellow with 24 laps down, Tagliani, Dixon, Bell, Servia, and Franchitti are your top 5 leaders.

Helio Castroneves is 15th, Danica is 25th.

Takuma Sato goes out, Indianapolis 500 2011

Takuma Sato is the first driver to go out of the race, after he put his Mona-Vie car into the wall into turn #2. This happened right after Paul Tracy whitewalled his tires, but managed to get his car into his pits. A race official told him to shut the car off, but he's still in the race.

Right now, Alex Tagliani is running first with 22 laps complete, followed by Dixon, Bell, Wheldon, Franchitti, and Servia.

Favorites update: Bertrand Baguette is running 9th, Justin Wilson is 23rd, and Simona de Silvestro is 23rd, 1 lap behind the now out Sato.

My hopes for the Indy 500

As I've become more familiar with the Indy 500 and learning about this year's drivers, I have a few picks, hopes, and sentimental outside favorites.
  • I'm a big Justin Wilson fan. He's always been gracious and willing to talk to me. He's also a hell of a driver, making the switch from Formula 1 a few years ago to IndyCar. If there is anyone outside the 3 big race teams (Penske, Target Ganassi, Andretti Green) who could win this thing, he's my pick. He's also the one I'm hoping wins this whole thing.
  • I think it's more likely that it will be one of the racers from the Big 3 who are most likely to win. They have the most money, the best resources, and their drivers are full-time drivers. Most of these people are one-off drivers who make this the only race of the year. Townsend Bell races in exactly one race a year: this one. The other 364 days he spends thinking about the 500. If I had to pick one to win it, I would say Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, or Scott Dixon have the best chance. They've all won before, and their teams are the best out here.
  • I'm now a Simona de Silvestro fan. People cannot stop talking about her. Last Thursday, about 10 days ago, Simona was in a horrible crash that resulted in second degree burns on her hands. She took Friday off, and got back in the car and qualified 24th. The last time I got in a car accident, I was scared shitless for a week, and drove carefully and timidly. Simona kicked her fear in the balls, and went 224.392 miles per hour less than 48 hours after she flipped her car and nearly caught fire. If anyone has a chance of replacing Danica Patrick as IndyCar's sweetheart, it's Simona. She could become even more important to the sport if Danica really does go to NASCAR (the taxi cab circuit) next year.
  • I'm also a Bertrand Baguette fan. This is his 2nd 500, and I think he may be the only Belgian to drive in back-to-back 500.s Everyone's going on and on about how we have 4 women in the race again this year — Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann, de Silvestro, and Danica Patrick. But no one is talking about this historic event. I'd love to see him do well, finishing the race and getting a high place.
Most of all, I hope for a safe race and a good time for all drivers and fans. The double wide restarts have me a little worried, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. While the drivers don't like the new restart rules, I hope for their own safety that they're wrong about what could happen.

Morning at the Indianapolis 500

It's morning at the Indianapolis 500, and I've been here for nearly 3 hours. The media and staff have been showing up since before 5, and we're going to be here for at least another 8 hours. This is my third Indy 500, and I'm sitting on the outside of Row 3. If we were the starting lineup of the 500, I would be Dario Franchitti.

Once again, I'm one of the few bloggers invited to the 500 this year, and I'm surprised that most of them haven't been here. One guy, PressDog, was here for qualifications weekend, but then had to be home this weekend, and will be forced to watch it from home. Still, his live blogging of every IndyCar race is awesome, and I may be reading it as much as I listen to the race on the radio.

I think the Media Center is one of the few places in Indianapolis where you can actually watch the 500 on TV. The archaic and arcane broadcast rules means that the host city is the only place in the world that is not allowed to see the 500 on TV. I understand that the reason for it is because they don't want people staying home to watch it on TV; they want ticket sales instead. But even the NFL airs home games if the stadium sells a certain percentage of tickets. I think most people realize that watching the race on TV is nothing like being there, and so the real fans will buy tickets and show up here.

The marching bands are marching down the home stretch, and the fans are starting to trickle in. The Purdue University World's Largest Bass Drum has driven by on a pickup every time one of the bands marches by. I don't know if this is band geek smack talk — "Our drum is bigger than yours" — or if the driver is just lost, and trying to find his band (keep turning left, dude), but we should see the Purdue band a little later, when there are more people to watch. (One of the high school bands going by is the sorriest set of marchers I've seen in a long time. I was in high school band, and we knew how to march, by God! These kids are out for a stroll, not a march!)

I'll be updating major events from the race again this year, so pay attention to this blog, my Twitter feed, and anywhere else you happen to follow me online.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Final results from Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100

These are the final results from the Firestone Indy Lights race on Friday, May 27, courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar.


INDIANAPOLIS - Results Friday of the Firestone Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights event on the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps complete and reason out (if any):


1.  (2) Josef Newgarden,  40, Running

2.  (5) Esteban Guerrieri,  40, Running

3.  (4) Victor Garcia,  40, Running

4.  (3) Stefan Wilson,  40, Running

5.  (1) Bryan Clauson,  40, Running


6.  (6) Peter Dempsey,  40, Running

7.  (16) Rusty Mitchell,  40, Running

8.  (9) David Ostella,  40, Running

9.  (17) Chase Austin,  40, Running

10.  (7) Mikael Grenier,  40, Running


11.  (10) Jorge Goncalvez,  34, Contact

12.  (8) Anders Krohn,  34, Contact

13.  (14) Duarte Ferreira,  29, Contact

14.  (18) Brandon Wagner,  28, Contact

15.  (12) Gustavo Yacaman,  20, Contact 


16.  (15) Juan Pablo Garcia,  20, Contact

17.  (11) James Winslow,  20, Contact

18.  (13) Victor Carbone,  7, Contact


Race Statistics

Winner's Average Speed: 107.817


Time of Race: 55:38.9881


Margin of victory: Under caution


Cautions: 4 for 22 laps


Lead changes: 6 among 4 drivers


Lap Leaders: Newgarden 1-2, Wilson 3, Newgarden 4, Krohn 5-11, Newgarden 12, Guerrieri 13-14, Newgarden 15-40.


Point Standings: Newgarden 149, Guerrieri 125, V. Garcia 121, Wilson 121, Dempsey 111, Conor Daly 109, Grenier 102, Ostella 95, Krohn 94, Goncalvez 90.


Justin Wilson interview, Indianapolis 500 Media Day 2011

I had a chance to talk with one of my favorite IndyCar drivers, former Formula 1 racer, Justin Wilson. Justin is lucky enough to be a full-time driver employed by his racing team, Dreyer & Reinbold. D&R gets the sponsors, including companies like ZLine Design. When ZLine moved to D&R, they asked Justin if he would like to leave Dale Coyne Racing and join them at Dreyer & Reinbold.





My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

Tomas Scheckter interview, Indianapolis 500 Media Day 2011

I had a chance to talk with Tomas Scheckter at the Indianapolis 500 Media Day yesterday. I asked him about his use of Twitter, his recent spat with Graham Rahal, and the need for rivalries in IndyCar as compared to the "taxi cab" circuit that is NASCAR






My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

Interview with Belgian IndyCar driver Bertrand Baguette, Media Day Indianapolis 500 2011

I had a chance to interview Belgian IndyCar Bertrand Baguette at Media Day at the Indianapolis 500. As far as I can tell, he's the only Belgian to have repeat appearances in the Indy 500. However, I'm not a race historian, so I could be wrong.

But everyone is making such a big deal about having four women in the 500 again, that no one is saying a word about what may be a world's first.

I spoke with Bertrand about his sponsor, the Belgian Federation, the Best Chocolate in Town here in Indy, and the Brugge Brasserie, a Belgian restaurant here in Broad Ripple.



My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy. It's useful for people like race car drivers who need to build a fan base which will help them increase sponsorships.

Florida Man Sues Winn-Dixie Because Roses Have Thorns

Florida Man Sues Winn-Dixie Because Roses Have Thorns

In spite of, or maybe because of, that intolerable "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" song by Poison, everyone pretty much knows that, well, every rose has thorns.

Every single rose. There is not a thornless rose that has occurred in nature ever since the first caveman decided he he would give his cavewife something nice on the anniversary of the day he clubbed her on the head and dragged her back to his cave.

There have even been other songs about roses and thorns and their inherent danger, like Linda Rondstadt's "Love is a Rose" — "Love is a rose, but you'd better not pick it // Only grows when it's on the vine // Handful of thorns, and you know you missed it // Lose your love when you say the word 'mine.'"

Even Shakespeare had something to say on the subject: "A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, and hurteth like hell if thou fails to watch it."

Apparently Charles Imwalle of Lake Mary, Florida wasn't into Poison, Linda Rondstadt, or Shakespeare, because he pricked his finger on a rose thorn, and it got infected.

His finger, not the thorn.

According to a story by United Press International, Imwalle says he "suffered pain, disfigurement, medical bills and lost wages after pricking his finger."

(If he were alive today, George Carlin would be all over this story.)

So there's no real surprise that Imwalle is suing Winn-Dixie and Passion Growers LLC for $15,000 for a thorn-laden rose he bought at a Winn-Dixie this past February. Imwalle apparently said he cut his finger on the faulty rose, and blamed both the store and the grower for neglectfully failing to remove the things that grow their naturally. He also says that Winn-Dixie did not use an anti-bacterial solution in the display buckets

His claim? If Passion Growers had removed the thorn, he wouldn't have pricked his finger, and there would have been no infection.

Common Sense's claim? Check the damn rose for thorns first!

Nature is not like one of those animal petting zoos where high school kids follow the goats around and sweep up goat doots so people aren't reminded of the fact that nature is dirty and makes doots on the ground. Nature is a bitch, and will poke you in the eye with a sharp stick if you make her mad. Or prick you on the finger if you forget that roses have thorns and just start grabbing them willy-nilly out of buckets in supermarkets.

But Sam Ferrara, founder of Passion Growers said his company has sterilized all its flowers for the past 20 years. "We've never, never had anything like this where anyone has gotten an infection from a thorn prick."

And who buys roses at supermarkets? I'll admit that my local grocery store actually has a nice floral display, but buying your roses at the same place you buy light bulbs and Cheese Doodles has all the emotional depth of regifting greeting cards.

But I think the most important question to ask is, dude, don't you wash your hands?

When I was a kid, I learned that if you got a cut or a scrape, you sterilized it immediately. That's how you kept from getting an infection. Wash with soap and water or squirt some Bactine on it, slap a Band-Aid on it, and you were good to go.

And when I was a kid, our parents didn't smother us like a emotionally-stultifying blanket either, so we were all covered in bacteria most days. A simple hand washing saved us from everything from splinters to major cuts, so I have to wonder if Imwalle actually washed his hands or used anti-bacterial hand gel any time after he pricked his finger. The suit says that Imwalle's hand swelled up to triple its size within 24 hours, which is fast, but even so, wouldn't it make sense to wash your hands after an injury?

Imwalle is also a fishing guide in Florida, which means he has probably had his hands on some pretty nasty, slimy stuff. Who's to say Imwalle didn't get infected baiting a hook or grabbing a contaminated fish?

Nature doesn't like people messing with it, and it will go after any one of us, even if we didn't do anything. She's like a ninja, with a deep-seated hatred of most people, and she will poke, jab, pinch, bite, or eat us whenever it can. Even with supermarket roses.

Good thing he wasn't buying a cactus.




My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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Tony Kanaan on Danica Patrick's Possible Departure to NASCAR

Does IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan know something more about Danica Patrick's possible departure to NASCAR?

I was in his interview booth when another reporter asked Tony what he thought Danica's possible departure to NASCAR would mean to IndyCar.



While most of IndyCar is pretty sure Danica is going to be driving the "taxi cab circuit" next year, I was surprised by Tony's referring to her in the past tense a couple of times. He did say what was on everyone else's mind — that everyone is expecting her to go — but I thought it was interesting that he did it, since he may have a little more insight into what's going on with Danica's plans for next year.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.


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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sam Schmidt & Alex Tagliani, Qualification Day #1 press conference, Indy 500 2011

Press conference with pole sitter Alex Tagliani and team owner Sam Schmidt after Tom Carnegie Day/Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 2011. The video got interrupted after I ran out of space on my Flip camera.




My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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Scott Dixon, Qualification Day #1 press conference, Indy 500 2011

Press conference with Scott Dixon after Tom Carnegie Day/Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 2011.







My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.


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Townsend Bell, Qualification Day #1 press conference, Indy 500 2011

Press conference with Townsend Bell after Tom Carnegie Day/Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 2011.





My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.


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Oriol Servia, Qualification Day #1 press conference, Indy 500 2011

Press conference with Oriol Servia after Tom Carnegie Day/Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 2011.




My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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Dan Wheldon, Qualification Day #1 press conference, Indy 500 2011

Press conference with Dan Wheldon after Tom Carnegie Day/Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 2011.




My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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Simona de Silvestro press conference, Pole Day, Indianapolis 500 2011

Simona de Silvestro's press conference after she qualified #24 on Pole Day. The rains came right after she finished, and they managed to stick around long enough to prevent any other qualification attempts, so she sits safely at 24th. Tomorrow, drivers are competing for the remaining 9 spots. Simona impressed an awful lot of people after climbing back into the car, just 2 days — less than 48 hours — after crashing into an outside wall, getting airborne, and flipping, suffering 2nd degree burns on her hands. She got back in the car and qualified at 224.392 mph.





My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.


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Buddy Rice & Will Power, Qualification Day #1 press conference, Indy 500 2011

Press conference with Buddy Rice and Will Power after Tom Carnegie Day/Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 2011. Buddy is on one of the "one-off" teams that does not race a full season.











My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.
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Simona de Silvestro interview, Qualification Day #1, Indianapolis 500, 2011

I had a chance to interview Simone de Silvestro (@simdesilvestro) after her press conference. She qualified 24th today, and because the rain put a halt to all other qualification attempts, she is sitting in 24th, and cannot be bumped. I've been really impressed with de Silvestro getting back out into the car just two days after a fiery crash that saw her hit an outside wall, got airborne, flipped, and suffered second degree burns to her hands. If that had happened to most people, me included, I wouldn't get near a car for weeks, let alone climb back into one so I can go 224 mph. She's one of my new favorite drivers this year, just because of the intestinal fortitude it takes to get back on the horse after a fall.










My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

A One-Sided Conversation About Music

A One-Sided Conversation About Music

"Why aren't you kids practicing your instruments?"

"I don't care if the new Batman is on, you're supposed to practice your music for 30 minutes a day. Now let's go."

"Do you want to practice for an hour instead?"

"Alright then, get moving."

"What? How is making them practice more going to make them not want to practice? They already don't want to practice. This isn't going to make it worse."

"Fine. Okay kids, if you don't practice today, I'm not going to let you practice tomorrow."

"What? You wanted to motivate them and make them want to practice."

"So what privilege should I take away from them?"

"Wait, wait, I got it. Kids, if you don't practice, you can't eat your vegetables for dinner.
""

"What?!"

"There's no pleasing you sometimes."

"Okay, let's try this. Kids, the reason we want you to practice your instruments is because we want everyone in our family to study music at some point in their lives. Two of you are learning to play the guitar, and Sweetie, you're doing great on your drums. And I think you will all learn to enjoy music as you get better. But you're never going to get any good at it if you don't practice every single day."

"Yes, Buddy, Jimi Hendrix practiced every day."

"A few hours at least."

"Yes, per day."

"Yes, every day."

"Well, how else was he going to get so good? He certainly didn't do it practicing 30 minutes a day after his father nagged him to do it."

"Yes, Sweetie, Neil Pert practiced several hours a day too. That's why he's such an awesome drummer."

"I know you don't have a drum set. But if you keep practicing and show that you're dedicated to it, we'll see if we can get one for your birthday."

"So go upstairs and practice. I'll see you in 30 minutes. Buddy, work on your Jimi Hendrix song. I want to hear you play it when you're done."

"Yeah, I know you have to go through this every day."

"No, they're not going to practice without being told."

"For ever."

"Because they're kids."

"Because kids never do what they're supposed to, only what they want to."

"Because NO kid ever does what they're supposed to. They're kids. They're giant bags of spontaneity with poor impulse control."

"That's because you weren't a normal kid."

"No, I was a normal kid. I never wanted to do what I was supposed to, I only wanted to do what was fun. Practicing my guitar wasn't fun, so I didn't do it when I was supposed to."

"Easy, like this: 'yes, I practiced my guitar.'"

"No, I wasn't."

"Okay, technically, I guess it WAS lying."

"Well, they were at work when I was supposed to practice, and I would practice every other day to make sure I wasn't lying all the time."

"They made me quit when they saw that I wasn't getting any better. No point in spending money on lessons when I'm not going to do what it takes to get any good."

"Six months."

"That's why we need to keep nagging them to practice, because they're more like me than they are you. They're not going to start practicing on a regular basis until they really start to get good and realize how much they enjoy being that good at it."

"In the meantime, we just have to nag them until they get to that point."

"Four, eight, and 10 years."

"Because they'll be in college and we won't have to worry about it anymore."

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Our First Upside Down Tomato Garden

Our First Upside Down Tomato Garden

Finally, after 43 years, I'm getting my own vegetable garden.

Well, not really a vegetable garden. More like a vegetable pot. And it's not really mine. My wife did it.

But it's on my back porch, and I can look outside and see tomato plants growing in it, as it hangs from a bird feeder pole. So for lack of a better word, I have a vegetable garden.

It's actually based on the upside down tomato planters you've seen on TV. It's a small 3-gallon plastic bucket with four holes drilled in the bottom and it's filled with dirt. The tomato plants are placed in the holes, and will grow upside down so the tomatoes can hang like apples.

Frankly, I don't know why the tomatoes should grow upside down, or what benefit that would be, but that's what they did on the commercial. It's not like one of those exercise machine commercials that show people herniating a disc in their back whenever they do an "old-fashioned situp." There's supposed to be some kind of benefit to upside down tomatoes, but I'm usually flipping stations to quickly to pay attention.

Sure, picking the tomatoes would be a lot easier if the plants were hanging at shoulder height, but it's not like you're farming 200 acres of land by hand, working 12 hours a day in the fields. It's a freaking bucket of tomato plants, and if you're going to hurt yourself picking a tomato, then you need to start exercising more.

But I'm hoping these tomatoes will be big and plentiful, and that we can grow them by the sackful, like when I was a kid.

I grew up in the '70s in Indiana, back when it was more fashionable to grow your own vegetables. The hippies had all settled down, and were now accountants and insurance brokers. They were also growing different forms of organic matter these days, and took great pride in their vegetable gardens. While we didn't have any hippies in Indiana, I think some of my parents' friends had spent time with them at a weekend conference or something, because they were all about the wonders of nature, growing your own food, and fondue parties.

My parents, despite being the furthest thing from hippies you could get and still not be a Republican, had their own vegetable garden. Every year, my parents would till up the soil with a roto-tiller. Every year, they would plant corn, tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini. And every year, despite his best efforts, my dad would get infected with poison ivy, which would see him bed-ridden, nearly sobbing at times from the pain and itching of the rash.

But it was all worth it in the fall, when we had sackloads of our own vegetables, some of which we ate, and some of which we shared with friends. Since ours was a fairly large garden, there were always sackloads of vegetables to share with people from my parents' offices at the university.

The problem was, a lot of their co-workers were also not-quite-hippies themselves, so there were sacks of vegetables being handed around like some homegrown vegetable swap meet. My dad would leave with a sackload of tomatoes and zucchini and come home with two sacks of green beans and a watermelon.

It grew to be a little farmer's market in the psychology department each fall, although I think some people weren't growing their own vegetables, but instead would regift the vegetables they had received from everyone else.

So now we have our own vegetables, despite 16 years of non-starter vegetable gardens at my house, although not because I didn't want one.

One year, I built a garden box on the side of the house, went to the hardware store and picked the last set of tomato plants they had. I planted them, watered them, and cared for them. And when the first blossoms began to show, I staked the plants in preparation for the fiery tomato explosion that would shower us with tomatoes in a couple months.

I brought my wife outside and proudly displayed my efforts. "Look, I planted my first tomato plants. In a few months, we'll be able to eat the bountiful harvest that I have created. You may have to start calling me Johnny Tomatoseed."

She bent down and carefully examined my handiwork.

"I don't think you're going to want to eat these," she said.

"Why not? Those are going to be awesome tomatoes."

"Guess again, Johnny Tomatoseed," she said, standing up and brushing off her hands. "Those are marigolds."

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Loving the Blogging

I love talking about blogging with Erik Deckers. Yahoo...!

Friday, May 06, 2011

How a Chicago Mocha Changed My Life

How a Chicago Mocha Changed My Life

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting this column from 1998, several years before he became a coffee snob, and before Starbucks threatened to dominate the globe.

I'm not a real coffee drinker. I don't like coffee, unless I load it down with all kinds of sugar, cream, and little umbrellas, the kind you get in tropical drinks that come in hollowed out pineapples.

"How can you call yourself a journalist if you don't drink coffee?" you're probably saying.

Actually, I don't call myself a journalist. I'm a humorist. And humorists drink stuff with silly names, like Sarsparilla, Harvey Wallbangers, or Beer.

I don't know why I don't like coffee. I just don't. I've tried it before, but always thought it tasted like smoky, muddy water. I would much rather drink tea, beer, water, milk, Tang, sea water with a dead fish in it, or real smoky, muddy water.

My wife keeps telling me I'm not a real adult until I drink coffee. This is fine with me, since I like being a fake adult anyway. However, I decided to try coffee one day while we were in Chicago.

My wife and I were walking along, and it was a little chilly. Down the street, there was a little Starbucks coffee shop. For those of you who aren't familiar with Starbucks, let me offer a hearty welcome out from under your rock.

Starbucks is a large coffee shop chain with trendy little coffee shops all over the US, parts of Canada, and even on some remote South Pacific islands. Starbucks sells coffee like McDonald's sells cheap plastic Disney movie crap for your kids. The only difference is you don't step on a cup of Starbucks coffee as you're walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. (If you do, you have a serious addiction.)

My wife has a keen eyesight, and can spot things, like Starbucks coffee shops, that even an eagle would be hard-pressed to see. Before I even saw the place, she started dropping hints:

My wife: Boy, it sure is cold out today. Are you cold? I'm cold.

Me: No, it's only 50 degrees, so I'm pretty warm. Besides, you're wearing your giant Eskimo parka, and I've got my arm around you. Isn't that enough?

My wife: Oh sure, that's nice, I guess. But I'd like a cup of coffee. If we find a coffee place, can we stop for a minute?

Me: Sure, if we find one.

Five seconds later...

My wife: There's a Starbucks!

Me: Damn!

When we got to the store, it didn't matter how much I protested. Even saying that people would only laugh at me, not because of me, didn't deter her. I was going into that shop whether I wanted to or not.

When we got in, we were greeted by a barista. "What do you do?" I asked, naively.

"Oh, I'm here to help the customer decide which of our many types of coffee he or she should drink at that particular moment," she said in a verbal blur. "Excuse me a minute? I need another fix." She raced off, screaming that there were ants all over her.

"That's okay," said my wife. "I've been to these places enough, I know just what you need." She ordered a mocha for me, and got a skinny half-caffe decaf double latte for herself.

"Huh?" I stared at her blankly. "I only understood the word 'double' in that last sentence, and I don't think it means what I think it means."

After watching a crew of other baristas carefully handcraft our coffee in a machine that hissed like a thousand tires were losing air, they handed me a paper cup with a little sleeve on it.

"What's this?" I asked. "I thought coffee came in those huge swimming pool-sized cups."

"No, you don't get those until you have a little more experience," said my wife. "This is for novices. Now drink your mocha."

I hesitated. Could I betray my non-coffee lifestyle after all these years? I looked around the full coffee shop, feeling thirty pairs of bloodshot eyes staring eagerly at me, beckoning me to the dark side.

I took a sip from my little cup.

There it was. My first drink of mocha. I had done it. I had crossed the infamous "coffee line." The room started to spin, and I felt the urge to put on a black beret and discuss existentialism and recite weird poetry.

I looked at my wife with a big goofy grin. "Man, I feel great! This coffee stuff is pretty good. It's kind of sweet too. Hey, let's talk about art and the decline of society in a post-industrial society."

"Take it easy, Johnny Java," she said. "That was only the whipped cream on top."



My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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