Sunday, May 27, 2012

Unofficial Results for 2012 Indianapolis 500

These are your unofficial Indianapolis 500 results.

Driver — Laps completed — Status

1. Dario Franchitti — 200 — Running
2. Scott Dixon — 200 — Running
3. Toni Kanaan — 200 — Running

4. Oriol Servia — 200 — Running
5. Ryan Briscoe — 200 — Running
6. James Hinchcliffe — 200 — Running

7. Justin Wilson — 200 — Running
8. Charlie Kimball — 200 — Running
9. Townsend Bell — 200 — Running

10. Helio Castroneves — 200 — Running
11. Rubens Barrichello — 200 — Running
12. Alex Tagliani — 200 — Running

13. Graham Rahal — 200 — Running
14. JR Hildebrand — 200 — Running
15. James Jakes — 200 — Running

16. Simon Pagenaud — 200 — Running
17. Takuma Sato — 199 — Running
18. EJ Viso — 199 — Running

19. Michel Jourdain — 199 — Running
20. Sebastien Bourdais — 199 — Running
21. Ed Carpenter — 199 — Running

22. Katherine Legge — 199 — Running
23. Ana Beatriz — 190 — Running
24. Marco Andretti — 187 — DNF, Accident

25. Josef Newgarden — 161 — DNF, Mechanical
26. Sebastian Saavedra — 143 — DNF, Mechanical
27. Ryan Hunter-Reay — 123 — DNF, Mechanical

28. Will Power — 79 — DNF, Accident (with Conway)
29. Mike Conway — 78 — DNF, Accident (with Power)
30. Brian Clauson — 46 — DNF, Accident

31. Wade Cunningham — 42 — DNF, Mechanical
32. Simona de Silvestro — 10 — DNF, Black Flag
33. Jean Alesi — 9 — DNF, Black Flag

Dario Franchitti Wins the Indianapolis 500, As Takuma Sato Hits the Wall

Dario Franchitti has become a 3-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 after an exciting finish that saw Takuma Sato claimed by the same Thin White Line that claimed Marco Andretti just moments before. Sato got loose on the white line and plowed into the wall, ending what was a very exciting race.

Dario, who is sporting #50 (because it's Target's 50th anniversary), celebrated by putting on Dan Wheldon's white sunglasses and then hoisting the winner's wreath over his head. It was a very touching moment when I saw him don Dan's glasses.

Dario choked up (and so did I) when he dedicated the race to his friend Dan Wheldon. The man is a class act and I always enjoy watching him race. He said the thing he is most proud of is having his face on the Borg Warner trophy next to Dan Wheldon's.

Marco Andretti Another Victim of the Thin White Line

Marco Andretti went out of the race on lap 187 after he crossed the inside white line, ran into some rough terrain, and slid into the wall, and out of the race. Every crash that has ended up going into the wall started on that thin white line.

The Andretti Curse strikes again.

Rookie Josef Newgarden Out With Engine Problems

Rookie racer Josef Newgarden is out of the race with engine problems. He got on the radio, said he had problems with the engine just quitting, and has pulled off into the infield. He's getting checked out, and will have a tow. No one knows for sure whether he'll make it back in.

At this point in the race, he's 24th with 161 laps, while Ana Beatriz is still running in 25th with 154 laps complete. Assuming they don't hit the Fix It button on Newgarden's car, Ana Beatriz will eventually pass Newgarden and take over 24th.

Beatriz is having the kind of race I was hoping Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro would have had, but unfortunately, they were saddled with the Slotus engines, and were black flagged after 9 and 10 laps respectively.

Sebastian Saavedra Stalled On Warmup Lane, in Pits

Sebastian Saavedra has stalled on the warmup lane, and was towed into the pits. We're waiting to see what the diagnosis is, but right now, he has completed 143 laps, and is sitting in 25th place.

Ana Beatriz is 5 laps behind him at 138 and is still driving. If she can hold on, she will pass him in just a few minutes.

Ryan Hunter-Reay Out After Suspension Problems

Ryan Hunter-Reay was being picked by some IndyCar fans as a possible winner, especially given his 3rd place position on the starting lineup. So it was more than a little disappointing that RHR had to bring it in to the pit and shut it down after experiencing some suspension problems. He didn't seem to have any contact, something just broke on his car. He finished in 27th place with 123 laps.

Ana Beatriz Hits the Wall in Turn 2

Ana Beatriz went into the wall in turn #2 after some oversteering. She didn't seem to bash into it too hard, so she may actually be able to get some work done and get back out on the track. They're towing her right this minute.

Ed Carpenter was actually riding behind Beatriz, and very nearly T-boned her as she came out of the spin, but with some lightning fast reflexes, he dodged left and missed her completely.

Beatriz was on lap 88, and she is the second woman out of the race, leaving only Katherine Legge.

Mike Conway, Will Power Involved in Accident

Mike Conway and Will Power have ended their day after an accident that appears to have been caused by bad track conditions. Going into turn #1, Conway got a little loose on his rear wheels — after coming back onto the track after a penalty for hitting a couple of his crew members — and was hit by Will Power from behind. Power drove under Conway's car, which lifted him up into the air.

Conway found himself flying ass-first along the wall, head toward the wall (although he never hit it), while Power managed to get down to the infield.

Later replays showed Helio Castroneves finessing his way into the warmup lane to avoid one of Conway's tires that had been rolling down the track. He bumped the tire, and asked for a new tire and for a quick look at his right front wing.

Luckily everyone was okay, and Conway and Power were both able to get out of the car under their own power.

Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro Pulled Black Flagged

Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro were black flagged from the race for not enough speed. Alesi had completed 9 laps, de Silvestro had completed 10. This is a very disappointing finish, because de Silvestro was looking at a good 500, and Alesi came out of retirement from Formula1 to race.

Lotus Engines needs to be completely embarrassed by this turn of events, because they provided sub-par engines to two world class racers in the biggest race in the world. Alesi and de Silvestro had hoped for a power boost to their engines, but they did not get any help.

I hope these two drivers return next year with better engines from a much better engine manufacturer. Lotus needs to apologize for providing them with the auto racing equivalent of a windup toy.

Brian Clauson Flats His Tire, Does Not Hit Wall

Brian Clauson of Noblesville, IN spun out on lap 14. Apparently got a little too low on the white line and flatted his tire. He didn't even hit the wall, so he's still got a chance to keep racing.

Starting grid for the 2012 Indy 500

1. Ryan Briscoe

 

2. James Hinchcliffe

3. Ryan Hunter-Reay

 

4. Marco Andretti

5. Will Power

6. Helio Castroneves

 

7. Josef Newgarden

8. Tony Kanaan

9. EJ Viso

 

10. Rubens Barrichello

11. Alex Tagliani

12. Graham Rahal

 

13. Ana Beatriz

14. Charlie Kimball

15. Scott Dixon

 

16. Dario Franchitti

17. James Jakes

18. JR Hildebrand

 

19. Takuma Sato

20. Townsend Bell

21. Justin Wilson

 

22. Michel Jourdain

23. Simon Pagenaud

24. Sebastian Saavedra

 

25. Sebastien Bourdais

26. Wade Cunningham

27. Oriol Servia

 

28. Ed Carpenter

29. Mike Conway

30. Katherine Legge

 

31. Bryan Clauson

32. Simona de Silvestro

33. Jean Alesi

 

Alesi and de Silvestro are at a distinct disadvantage, because they are using the slower, more suck-filled Lotus engines. They tried to get IMS to allow Lotus to remove some of the suck from the engines, but with no luck. The only way they're going to do well is if they are far enough back that they avoid some of the early race accidents. Alesi is also a top-notch Formula1 driver, and so his experience should give him an edge over all of the rookies, and many of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year drivers. He may not win, but he won't finish where he started either. Looking for him to crack the top 25.

Friday, May 25, 2012

You Shouldn't Have to Repeat Your Wedding Vows

You Shouldn't Have to Repeat Your Wedding Vows


Erik is out of the office this week, covering the Indianapolis 500. So we are running a column from 2005.

How badly do you have to screw up your wedding vows so you need to do it all over again?

The diamond industry is hoping you did. And that you have to buy another expensive ring while you're at it.

The latest marketing campaign from the diamond industry and ADiamondIsForever.com is their "I Forever Do" commercials, where a guy asks his wife to marry him all over again. It's not as funny as the Family Guy parody ("She'll Pretty Much Have To"), but it's nearly as entertaining. I've seen two versions: a shorter commercial that most people have seen, and the longer one with more twists and surprise endings. You can find the longer one at the ADiamondIsForever.com website.

In the commercial, a husband and wife are in London on a family vacation. It's just the two of them, so either they have no children, or they left the kids with her folks. The two frolic around a fountain in front of some steps, where dozens of people are lounging and watching this little scene unfold.

Then, in a fit of spontaneity belying his otherwise staid existence as a tax attorney, the husband -- we'll call him Stan -- says to his wife, Lisa "You know, I think I'd marry you all over again."

"What do you mean, you think?!" Lisa says half-jokingly. "He better do more than just 'think,'" she says to herself.

He ignores her jibe: "We could do it right here. All these people as witnesses."

"Yeah, right." Meanwhile, she's thinking "Is he high? Is he having an affair? Did he steal from his clients?"

Lisa looks out at the crowd of onlookers and voyeurs, and someone very familiar stands up.

"MOM?!" Lisa gasps, wondering who's watching the children.

A man sitting next to her mother is holding a newspaper in front of his face. He lowers it, looking slightly disgusted. Could it be another suitor there to battle his nemesis for Lisa's heart? Could the mother have brought him here because she secretly hates Stan and wants to get rid of him?

"DAD?!" she gasps again. Mystery solved, as is the reason for the man's look: it's a mixture of annoyance that she's marrying this jerk, not once, but twice, plus relief that he doesn't have to pay for it this time.

Meanwhile, Lisa is just relieved to find her mom and dad in Europe together, which has allayed her fears that Dad was having an on-again-off-again fling with a French barmaid.

In the extended commercial, another woman stands up: Stan's lover to battle Lisa for his heart?

"JEN?!" No, it must be Lisa's sister, although the look on her face makes us wonder if she really is Stan's lover as well. Her expression of regret and longing says "That should have been me. Why won't he tell her the truth about us?"

Lisa overcomes her initial reluctance to Stan's idea and turns to find him kneeling before her. She nods an affirmative, much to her father's growing disgust and mother's unstoppable weeping. (Mom just hasn't been the same emotionally since undergoing The Change, and finding out that her husband's "business trips" have actually been to rendezvous with Ingrid the German hotel clerk.)

The rest of the crowd rises to its collective feet and bursts into applause, as the camera zooms out and fades to block. The announcer says, "This time, tell her 'I Forever Do.'" The unsaid message comes through loud and clear: "Because you didn't do it right the first time, you failure-of-a-man!"

Every time my wife and I watch this little morality play, we have to wonder what exactly did Stan do that his vows from just a few short years ago needed a booster. And will it stick this time, or will he have to whisk Lisa off to Prague with her parents, grandparents, and half-cousin Louise? We figure he must have done something pretty bad — like messing around with his sister-in-law, Jen — that requires repeating his vows and buying yet another expensive ring.

Regardless, the diamond industry doesn't seem to be helping the sanctity of marriage, since they're implying that 1) marriage vows aren't necessarily permanent the first time you did them, and 2) the only way to insure your marriage will last -- at least until you're caught with Gertrude the Hungarian concert promoter -- is with another Kobe Bryant "I screwed up again, but THIS time I promise it's the last one," anniversary ring.

Just make sure someone is watching the kids.



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.

My other book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.


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Friday, May 18, 2012

Zero Tolerance Bullying Withers Under Scrutiny

Zero Tolerance Bullying Withers Under Scrutiny

Zero Tolerance is a festering mold that's destroyed when its putrid nature is exposed to the disinfecting power of the sun.

We saw that festering mold destroyed this past week here in Central Indiana, after an outrageous suspension of more than 50 high school students was lifted, following protests, laser-guided media scrutiny, and national mockery of the situation.

This past Tuesday, in the town of Clayton, west of Indianapolis, six Cascade High School students were suspended after a prank of decorating their school with 11,000 Post-It Notes the previous night.

District superintendent Patrick Spray, who has apparently forgotten what it was like to be in high school, was outraged — OUTRAGED! — that students would pull such a prank. So he suspended the kids, including the valedictorian, salutatorian, and senior class president, for trespassing, entering the school without permission, and for being unsupervised while on school grounds.

Actually that's not true, said the students. They got permission and a key from a school board member, who's also one of the students' mother. And they were supervised by a school janitor, who's also the mother of one of the students.

Oh really? said Spray, and then fired the janitor, Kim Rouse.

Dude, it's Post-It Notes. It's 11,000 Post-It Notes that the kids paid for themselves. They even made sure to pull a prank that wouldn't damage school property. It sounds like he was just upset because he looked like an idiot when the kids pointed out that they never actually violated those rules.

The following day, after 57 more students peacefully protested the suspensions, Spray realized he overstepped his bounds and behaved irrationally, so he apologized to everyone, and promised Rouse she could have her job back.

Just kidding. He suspended every protestor. And with 460 students in the high school, Spray — an education professional who probably uses phrases like "disrupting the educational process" — disrupted the educational process of more than 10 per cent of his students, thus ensuring the rest of the school wouldn't pay attention either.

Even on my best day as a fourth grader, I could only disrupt the educational process of 20 other kids. This guy managed to do it to an audience 23 times the size of mine with slightly less dramatic histrionics. Trés impressive.

Because if there's one lesson we want to teach our children, it's that the only way you can assert your power is to be a petty little tyrant who throws a big hissy fit when he's made to look like a bigger idiot than he was the day before.

But bullies, like festering molds, cannot stand the harsh sunlight of public scrutiny and awareness. And as the outrage grew, and a lot of media people and concerned parents began to ask a lot of uncomfortable questions — like "Really?" and "Don't you think that's a bit much?" — Spray backtracked, and lifted the suspension of the Post-It Six. He also removed the suspension from their academic records, and they were allowed to return to class.

He was originally going to reduce the suspension of the remaining protestors from two days to one, and let them serve it during school. But by Thursday, Spray said he would vacate their suspensions as well, and the suspensions would not be placed on their academic records either.

Do you remember that scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Principal Rooney was facing complete and utter failure to catch Bueller skipping school, and instead had to ride the bus home with a bunch of mouth-breathing kids?

Yeah, I'll bet it was kind of like that for Spray. I can't imagine the bitterness he had to swallow when he met with the concerned parents who thought he was a bullying little tyrant overstepping the bounds of decency and sanity.

Spray has said he will still recommend to the board that they fire Kim Rouse, the janitor, but from all reports, the board has indicated they won't go along with that, which will be one more feather in Spray's Big Cap O' Failure.

While all hindsight is 20/20, it looks like Spray should have just forced a grudging smile, lectured the kids about respect for property, and let them clean up the mess, like they originally offered. Then none of this would have ever happened.

Instead, for the next several years, Patrick Spray will be remembered as the Zero Tolerance despot who was beaten by a small group of thoughtful, committed high school kids who did the one thing that many schools still don't teach:

To stand up to bullies on behalf of those who can't.


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.

My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Schools Cancel Bake Sales, Fun

Schools Cancel Bake Sales, Fun

School after school are overstepping their bounds, interfering in people's personal lives and liberties, practicing the dark art of behalfism.

Behalfism is when a small vocal group tries to speak on behalf of another group that really doesn't want or need it.

In this case, schools are canceling their bake sale fund raisers, because administrators are concerned about childhood obesity. According to a recent story on National Public Radio, schools are so concerned about childhood obesity, they think that if they can cancel their once-a-year bake sale, they can somehow overcome it. In fact, schools in California, Texas, and New York are limiting bake sales to only healthy food.

Because if there's one thing parents want to buy to help their child's school, it's a low-fat vinaigrette salad and organic gluten-free organic soy milk muffins. With raisins.

Before I go on, let me say that I recognize the seriousness of childhood obesity. I'm not "for" it, or arguing that it's not a problem. I believe kids should go outside and play, not eat junk food, and limit their TV and video game time. So I believe it's serious.

But I don't think one bake sale a year, where parents will buy one cake or one plate of cookies, is going to result in obese children.

What I do object to is when the very group of of people that cancel a bake sale to keep kids from getting fat also cut PE classes and recess, which also kept kids from getting fat. While most schools still have PE classes and recess, many of them are reducing the amount of time they last, and are not allowing kids to ride their bikes or walk to and from school.

When I was a kid, we had two recesses a day, PE class two to three times a week, and I rode or walked to school nearly every day. There were no rules about riding or walking (not like the schools where I live), gym was considered an important part of our education, and we played outside without any rules against running or playing certain types of games.

It's rather disingenuous of a school to cancel a bake sale in the name of childhood obesity, when they also eliminated and overturned the opportunities for the kids to get exercise.

"Oh, but the kids can exercise at home," say the childhood obesity behalfists. "The parents should be encouraging their kids to play and get exercise."

Yes, they should. They should also be the ones to tell their kids not to eat an entire cake or plateful of cookies. The schools either need to butt completely out of kids' personal lives, or they need to be completely involved. They can't pick and choose based on the hot button issue of the day.

When you look at the number of times parents take their kids to McDonald's, let them play video games for three hours a day, and don't let them play organized sports because they're worried their precious snowflakes might get hurt, I don't think an extra piece of cake is going to do much harm. It's a veritable drop in the lard bucket, and they'll be no worse off than they were beforehand.

On the other hand, the kids whose parents actually make them eat healthy food and play can afford to let their kids have a once-in-a-while dessert, even if said dessert is not made with wheat germ, low-fat yogurt, and carob.

What makes matters worse is that these bake sales are a direct benefit to the schools that sponsor them. According to the NPR story, a school in Maryland was able to generate $25,000 in sales, while a New York mom usually raised $50,000 through bake sales.

That's enough to pay a PE teacher's salary to get all the fat kids outside running around for 30 minutes a day to work off the piece of cake and the Big Mac they had at dinner the night before.

If a school wants to get involved in whole child growth and development, which is the argument for sticking their fingers in their students' pies, then they need to do two things: 1) teach the kids that dessert, like anything else, should be consumed in moderation; and, 2) they should use the money raised from a proper bake sale to fund more physical activities, which will teach the kids physical wellness.

Until then, school officials need to find a new way to raise the lost funds. Maybe a casino night with a cash bar.


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.

My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.


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Friday, May 04, 2012

Dead Man Inside Bag May Have Been Killed

Dead Man Inside Bag May Have Been Killed

Regular readers know I don't hold British government officials, especially town councils, in high regard. My reason for my attitude was reaffirmed this past week, after a British coroner was accidentally allowed out of her basement to speak to the media.

In a prayer offered to the patron saint of the blindingly obvious, coroner Fiona Wilcox has declared that a British spy, Gareth Williams, whose naked body was found inside a padlocked sports bag was likely "killed in a criminal act."

Let that sink in for a moment. It wasn't an accident. It wasn't a suicide. It wasn't one of those crazy things that British spies are known for, like flying to space stations on a stolen shuttle, or killing an entire Russian army battalion with a small pistol.

No, a naked spy who was folded up into the fetal position, arms folded across his chest, and keys to the padlock on the outside of the bag resting under his butt, was "probably unlawfully killed."

To be fair, Wilcox did try to make sure, by proving that he couldn't have done it himself, by having two "specialists" try to lock themselves into a sports bag, but without any success. In other news, there are at least two forensic scientists in England who specialize in locking themselves into sports bags.

We may scoff at the wastefulness of government spending in this country, at least we don't have it as bad as England, where they apparently have at least two professionals who "get stuffed" as part of their job duties.

Wilcox said Williams either died by suffocation or poisoning, and said that it was possible that an intelligence agency coworker — or at least someone from the British intelligence community — may have been involved. Witnesses claim to have seen a large, seven-foot tall man with shiny pieces of metal for teeth running away from the scene.

But Wilcox's lack of commitment may be due to the resulting circus that was the police investigation.

Williams was described as deeply private, refusing to associate with coworkers socially, and avoiding strangers because of his work in the GCHQ, MI6's secret eavesdropping service. So, everyone was flat out stunned when Wilcox declared that Williams' "potential killer must have been a friend, or entered his home uninvited."

During the coroner's inquest, it was revealed the Williams' MI6 colleagues failed to report him as missing for a week, which given his reclusive nature and habit of not associating with colleagues, probably meant they never even noticed he was missing in the first place.

"I thought it was just a clever disguise," said one spy. "I assumed he was somewhere around the office, but being, you know, really quiet, on account of his work in Eavesdropping."

"I figured he was on 'Her Majesty's Secret Service,'" said another, tapping the side of his nose, giving the reporter a knowing look. "Beautiful women, fast cars, that kind of thing. You know, regular British spy stuff."

Wilcox cited several more instances where crucial evidence was badly managed by investigators, and other pieces of evidence — like the discovery of nine flash thumb drives were found at Williams' workplace — being kept from police, making a real finding impossible. Police even pursued one piece of evidence, an unknown piece of DNA, for 18 months before discovering it belonged to one of the forensic scientists on the investigating team.

Pathologists were ultimately unable to find the exact cause of death, because Williams' had been in the bag for over a week, and his body was so badly decomposed, it made the determination impossible.

When pressed further, Wilcox stated that Williams' killer was either a man or a woman, was possibly armed (but maybe not), and most likely not dead himself (or herself) before committing the crime.


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.

My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

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