Showing posts from May, 2009

Phone it In Sunday: Affirmation Girl's Worst Break Up Ever

From Lisa Nova: "Affirmation Girl's Worst Break Up Ever"

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National American U Sues Porn Site Naughty American U, Citing Trademark Confusion

National American University, a leader in adult education, is gearing up for a legal battle royale against Naughty American University, a leader in adult entertainment.

According to a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, National American is suing Naughty American for trademark violations and cyber piracy for using the name Naughty American University and "NAU."

Diorah, Inc., the organization that operates National American, filed the suit in federal court in Rapid City, South Dakota, where they're located. La Touraine, Inc., the defendant, is registered in Nevada, but has a San Diego business address.

Diorah wants to stop Naughty American to stop using the school's trademark, and is seeking financial damages. Or at least a date with a couple of the models.

According to the lawsuit, National American has spent millions of dollars promoting its name. But La Touraine registered its domain name and started offering its educational content.

Diorah says both names are "…

Curling is Harder Than It Looks

Curling Is Harder Than It LooksErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to fill a years-long dream I've had: I got to go curling. I joined the Circle City Curling Club on their last practice of the season.

Regular readers may know my fascination with this winter sport, the game that involves sliding very heavy — 42 pounds — rocks down a narrow strip of ice, trying to make your rock land inside a big circle while knocking other rocks out of it.

Jeff Heck and Daniel Louks of the CCCC were kind enough to show me how the game is played, and loaned me a broom so I could try it out.

In curling, you slide your rocks down the Sheet, which is 145 feet long, so they come to rest in the House, the large target at either end. Each player slides two stones per End (round), while two others sweep the ice in front of the sliding stone, to make sure it doesn't pick up any dirt.

It's like marbles for giants.

Curling on TV looks easy. The athletes sli…

PETA Boycotts Canadian Maple Syrup to Protest Seal Clubbing

PETA, still unclear on the concept of, well, everything, launched a boycott of Canadian maple syrup at the Vermont Statehouse to help stop the slaughter of baby seals in Canada. They are also launching similar protests in Maine and New York.

Because as everyone knows, Canadian maple syrup is harvested by baby seals in Vermont, Maine, and New York.

According to PETA, more than 300,000 baby seals are clubbed to death for their fur and other products. They plan on continuing the "Stop the Seal Slaughter" campaign until the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. . . clear on the other side of the continent and in a whole other country.

Future protests involve boycotting French truffles in the Netherlands to protest the harvesting of Norwegian herring.

According to a story in the Rutland (Vermont) Herald, a PETA member was going to whack a six-foot bottle of maple syrup with a hakapik, the weapon used to kill baby seals. The bottle would have a label with a maple leaf dripping bl…

Newton Mass. Schools Suspend Cafeteria Worker for Substituting Meals

The Newton, Mass. School Committee won't back down from their position on student torture, after refusing to reconsider a policy that led to the suspension of a lunch lady who offered substitute entrees to kids who didn't like the veggie burgers they were serving.

According to a story in the Boston Globe, the board probably won't reconsider the policy, despite the uproar following Kathleen Cunningham's suspension.

Cunningham, a food services manager at Angier Elementary School, was suspended for giving substitution meals, because the kids refused to eat the veggie burgers, citing the the UN Convention Against Torture.

Newton officials said students couldn't change meals, because their parents had pre-ordered them. However, Cunningham said the school had received a delivery of veggie burgers, not the grilled cheese sandwiches the parents had ordered.

“It’s not a school committee policy, and it certainly doesn’t rise to the level of School Committee policy,” Laredo told …

Oxford Poetry Professors Resigns Poetry Chair After Smear Campaign

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'm not a University of Oxford Professor of Poetry
And neither are you.

Ruth Padel, the University of Oxford's Professor of Poetry resigned nine days after taking the position, after emailing journalists about sexual harassment claims against Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, her competition for the post.

In other news, there are journalists who cover poetry.

Padel, 63, admitted that she had emailed the journalists about decades-old sexual harassment claims against Walcott

According to the (London) Daily Times, Padel said, "I genuinely believe that I did nothing intentional that led to Derek Walcott’s withdrawal from the election. I wish he had not pulled out."

Feminist deconstructionist poetry critics then decried her use of a male-oriented double entendre.

"I did not engage in a smear campaign against him but, as a result of student concern, I naively — and with hindsight unwisely — passed on to two journalists, whom I believed to be coveri…

Verizon Agrees to Help Police Save Man's Life if They Pay His Phone Bill

"Can you kill me now? Good."

The Carroll County sheriff's department was able to save the life of a 62-year-old Carrollton, Ohio man, but only after they agreed to pay his phone bill.

According to a story in the New Philadelphia (Ohio) Times-Reporter, the unidentified man was lost after fleeing the scene of a domestic disturbance and taking several bottles of pills.

Deputies were concerned the man may have tried to harm himself, so they called Verizon to see if they could locate the man through his Verizon cell phone and a nearby cell tower.

Sure thing, said Verizon Customer Service, you just need to pay his bill first.

It turns out the guy was behind on his cell phone bill, and they had shut off his phone service. The only way the Verizon operator would activate his phone, and thus possibly save his life, was if the sheriff's department agreed to pay the guy's bill.

After some haggling, Sheriff Dale Williams agreed to pay $20 on the phone bill, which would get Verizon…

Reflections of a New Indianapolis 500 Blogger

It just hit me: I was a very small part of Indianapolis 500 history today. I was one of eight bloggers invited to blog about the race from the Media Center. This year was the very first year the Indianapolis Motor Speedway invited bloggers to report on the race. And it was a great honor.

Many companies and sporting events/teams still turn up their nose at bloggers, seeing us as a nuisance at best, and a bunch of autograph-seeking fan boys (and girls). But the IMS decided to give us a try, and I was one of the lucky eight. I was also the only non-racing blogger invited, which makes me very pleased to have my writing and abilities recognized. It makes the honor that much sweeter.

To say this has been a thrill is an understatement. I've always been a passing fan of the Indianapolis 500 — sort of like the guy who goes to church at Easter, but doesn't go any other time of the year — but this year has turned me into a real fan of IndyCar racing, including the Indy Lights series. I pla…

Unofficial Finish Results to Indianapolis 500

Unofficial finish results to Indianapolis 500

This assumes all the cars pass technical inspection. (That's Helio and his crew doing Indy's version of the Lambeau Leap after winning his 3rd Indianapolis 500.)

1..........Helio Castroneves..........200
2..........Dan Wheldon..........200
3..........Danica Patrick..........200
4..........Townsend Bell..........200
5..........Will Power..........200
6..........Scott Dixon..........200
7..........Dario Franchitti..........200
8..........Ed Carpenter..........200
9..........Paul Tracy..........200
10..........Hideki Mutoh..........200
11..........Alex Tagliani.......... 200
12..........Tomas Scheckter.......... 200
13..........Alex Lloyd.......... 200
14..........Scott Sharp.......... 200
15..........Ryan Briscoe.......... 200
16..........AJ Foyt IV.......... 200
17..........Sarah Fisher.......... 200
18..........Mike Conway.......... 200
19..........John Andretti.......... 200
20..........Milka Duno..........199

Vitor Meira, Raphael Matos Make Contact, Crash

Raphael Matos and Vitor "Dances With Fire" Meira have knocked wheels, demonstrating why open wheel racing can be quite dangerous.

The two were driving along the front straightaway, buzzed wheels, and hit the wall in Turn #1. Meira's car was actually scooting along its side, backward, with the bottom of the car scraping the wall.

This looks worse than the other crashes, as the ambulance is on the way, and Matos is not getting out of his car immediately. On the track feed, we can see Matos staggering to the ambulance, so he seems to be okay. Meira is out of the car, and the Delphi Safety Crew has him on the stretcher. He was conscious and complaining of pain.

Meria made an impressive, balls-out move early on when his car caught on fire, after a fueling error. The car caught fire, Will Power's crew put it out, and he drove off.

That's why I'm calling the guy Dances With Fire from now on. I hope it sticks.

And I hope they're both okay.

(I just learned that Me…

Justin Wilson Hits the Wall at the Indianapolis 500

British racer Justin Wilson hit the wall and knocked himself out. That was a shame, because I've gotten to be a big fan of Dale Coyne Racing, thanks to the friendliness and helpfulness of their PR guy, Michael Micheli.

I'm still a race noobie, not only to the Indianapolis 500, but auto racing in general. So Justin, being my first real Indy 500 interview, had become my race favorite. It's a real disappointment that he didn't do better, but I'm glad he's okay.

Wilson's teammate, Tomas Scheckter, is still in the show, and is currently sitting 15th.

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Update: Robert Doornbos Back in the Indianapolis 500 After Lengthy Garage Visit

Robert Doornbos is back on the track. He has only completed 69 laps, so he is actually behind Davey Hamilton, Tony Kanaan, and Oriol Servia, who is out after completing 98 laps, but no one around here knows why.

Doornbos needs to be commended for getting back on the pit. Most people would give up, saying "what's the point." Doornbos just said, "what's the holdup?!" and got back out. He just passed Hamilton's lap count (79), and he can catch Kanaan's 97, then Servia's 98. He's 37 laps behind the next driver, E.J. Viso.

Alex Lloyd's wife is cool
Alex Lloyd's wife, Samantha, was just interviewed on ABC. Their baby is due today, and she is having contractions 10 minutes apart. She says she's staying here until the end of the race.

Going 200 miles an hour for 500 miles takes guts. Samantha Lloyd just put all of them to shame.

Congratulations, Lloyd family.
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Race Favorite Tony Kanaan Knocks Himself Out of the 500

Indianapolis 500 favorite Tony Kanaan is now out of the race.

We were sitting here in the Media Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, watching the ABC broadcast, and we got to see the replay from Kanaan's onboard camera. There was a loud pop, he plowed into the wall, and a aghast "OOH!" from the journalists in the room. There was a spray — fuel? brake fluid — on the onboard camera, and Tony's car was on fire.

"Oh my God, I hope he's okay," said Danica Patrick over the radio.

We all watched him walk to the ambulance, so he's at least all right enough to watch the race from the pit.

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Davey Hamilton Out of the Indianapolis 500 after 79 Laps

Davey Hamilton has left his mark on the Indianapolis 500. It's a big black skid mark on the wall coming out of Turn #4.

Dixon had completed 79 laps out of 250, which leaves him in 28th place.

Hamilton was the oldest driver in the field this year, at age 45. Hard to believe that a guy only 3 years older than me is considered the Indy 500 Grandpa.

Said he was a little bit loose. In fact, he has said "a bit loose" at least three times during his brief interview on ABC.

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Teammates Graham Rahal, Robert Doornbos out of the Indianapolis 500

Bad luck for Newman/Haas/Lanigan today. First Robert Doornbos brushes the wall and makes it to the pit, but knocked himself out of the race.

A few laps later, NHL teammate Graham Rahal whacked the wall in Turn #4 and knocked himself out too.

It's been bad luck for Newman/Haas/Lanigan. They've got a long history here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but no wins. They've even had notable drivers like Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Bruno Junqueira, and Nigel Mansell, but no notable finishes.

Graham told ABC he was trying to avoid Milka Duno, who was moving to let everyone by, but was not slowing down to do so.

In 2008, the youngest driver in the field, Graham Rahal, crashed and finished 33rd. In 2009, the second-youngest driver in the field, #5 Mario Moraes crashed and finished 33rd.
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Ryan Hunter-Reay Out of the Indy 500

Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay hit the wall after completing 5 laps. He made contact in turn #4, skidded across the track, and came to rest right at the entrance of pit row.

He appears to be okay, as he's being interviewed on ABC right now (we get the ABC feed here in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center), and there was nothing that caused the crash. He just dinged the wall, skidded across the lane, and then hit the other wall, placing him in 31st place.

Meanwhile, Marco Andretti seems to be getting his car worked on right now, and there's a possibility he could get back into the race, and at least improve his 32nd place standing. He dinged Mario Moraes halfway through lap #1, knocking them both out of the race. (At least that's what Moraes is saying; Andretti is saying he didn't do anything, and ABC said the same.)

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Mario Moraes Out of the Indy 500 On Lap 1

Mario Moraes got knocked out of the race on lap 1. Didn't even complete the first lap, and said he was bumped by Marco Andretti.

Marco said "Kid doesn't get it...he's clueless."

Then things get all "asky."

Outside, the ABC field reporter is walking quickly to keep up with Moraes, asking him what happened.

"What did Marco say?" Moraes asked.

"He said you bumped him. Where are you going?" asked the announcer.

"I'm going to ask him," said Moraes.

Big "ooohs" and cheers from the entire press room, with remembrances of Danica Patrick's stomp down a hot pit row to "ask" Ryan Briscoe about their crash that knocked her out of the race.

Moraes said later, "I know the 26 hit me, OK? I was in front. I was holding my line, and he just hit me. I don't know from where."

When Moraes crashed before completing a lap of the 2009 Indianapolis 500, it marked the third time that a car starting in the seventh po…

How are IndyCar Series Championship Points Figured?

One thing I've never understood about IndyCar Championship Racing are the points. Points are figured based on where you finish in the 17 races for the season.

Here's basically how it works. If you win a race, you get 50 points, 40 for 2nd place, 35 for 3rd, and so on. You get 2 bonus points for most laps led, and 1 bonus point for the pole position.

So if you sat on the pole, led the most laps and you win, you'll get 53 points for the race. And because finishes will vary wildly from race to race, it's (statistically) possible to win the Championship without winning a race.

Here are the points breakdown:

Race Finish Points

Tomas Scheckter's Dad, Jody, Launches Laverstoke Park Farm Organic Beers

Jody Scheckter, father of Tomas Scheckter, announced the launch of Laverstoke Park Farm's Organic Ale and Lager, the world's best organic beer started by a Formula 1 World Champion whose son is an IndyCar driver.

Admittedly, it's a small field, but marketing is all about finding your niche. (And I created that one in the hopes of scoring a case of said Ale or Lager.)

The barley and hops are grown at Laverstoke Park, Scheckter Senior's 2,500 acre organic/biodynamic farm in Hampshire England.

"We specialize in biodynamic and organic natural methods," said Jody Scheckter in a written statement. "We work with nature, not against it, but utilise the latest technologies available in science to try and further our understanding." (And you can tell he's in England, because he spelled utilize with an S, not a Z.)

But it looks like I won't be getting those free samples anytime soon.

"(W)e are not quite ready to be exporting yet," said Scheckter. …

Is This the Next Generation of IndyCar?

Honda has a new concept IndyCar sitting up in the Media Room, as part of the commemoration of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Centennial Celebration.

This model was developed by the Honda R&D Americas Advance Design Studio in Pasadena, CA. Dave Marek, executive designer with Honda R&D.

A written statement from Honda says this model is ". . .an opportunity for Honda engineers and stylists to contribute their visions for the future of IndyCar racing."

They stress that this is only a design concept, and not necessarily what future IndyCars will look like, but it does fit within the overall length, width, suspension, and driveline layouts.

Regardless, it's a cool looking car. A lot of developments in our own cars come from the technology developed for auto racing, so it's not out of the question that ideas from this car could be making it's way to the 500 in years to come.

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Race Morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is Finally Here

"I'm going to leave the house at 5 Sunday morning, so I can get in right when the gates open at 6," said my friend, Ken Severson. "The media center opens at 7, and I'll just sleep in my car for an hour beforehand."

Ken's a former auto racing PR guy and is writing for the Johnson County Daily Journal in Greenwood.

Sound advice from the voice of reason. I leave the house at 5:15, figuring the ride will take 30 minutes, and I'll have a short wait before I can get inside, "short" being the relevant word.

The Jurassic period was only slightly longer, but we had fewer dinosaurs. More drunk people puking and crawling up a hill — dude, seriously? It's 7:15, and you're puking drunk? — but fewer dinosaurs.

The line just sat still for an hour before we finally started moving. I caught up on some podcasts before we started creeping along. Caught up on 3 hours worth of podcasts.

Unfortunately, I forgot my cell phone, so I couldn't find out what …

Phone It In Sunday: Font Fight! Arial vs. Helvetica

More from those wacky kids at This is a follow-up to their Font Conference video from last year.

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Marion, Iowa High School Pulls "Bohemian Rhapsody" from Graduation

This just in: people in Marion, Iowa are overly sensitive to 1970s rock-and-roll.

According to a story in the Des Moines Register, Marion High School principal, Dr. Greg Thomas, removed Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from their graduation ceremony after townspeople whined that it wasn't appropriate, because it makes references to murder and suicide.

Really? The high school whose mascot is the Indian is worried about a song about murder and suicide? Really. Given the controversy that has raged over the same mascot at other high schools and colleges, I would think a 34-year-old song wouldn't rank very high on the list of Important Things We Need To Be Concerned With.

It also has that line "Beelzebub dada dada dada dah for me, for me, for MEEEEEEEE!," but no one seemed to complain about that.

(UC Men's Octet)

However, the choir will still perform John Lennon's "Imagine," a song about atheism and socialism.

Rock on, Indians.

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Quotes from the Firestone Freedom 100

Courtesy of the PR department at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pippa Mann of Panther Racing was doing very well, but had a bit of bad luck when her teammate, Martin Plowman, made contact with her in Turn 1:

"I was just running in a little hole of air. The car was really, really good. I was just cruising around, taking care of my tires. I wasn't racing anybody too hard, minding my own business. My teammate (Martin Plowman) had a slightly less good car and just tried to pinch down going into Turn 1. Unfortunately, he just lost control and spun. I had to avoid him and yet got caught up in his accident. It's a real shame. Nothing to do with me, but I'm the one sitting out. It's a really big shame because we had a great race car."

Martin Plowman wasn't sure how it all happened though.

"On the first few laps, we were just hanging in there," said Plowman. "I dropped a few places at the start. Just as things were starting to balance out and I was st…

Summary of Firestone Freedom 100

Summary and results of the Firestone Freedom 100, compliments of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Thanks, guys. Wish I could have been there.

The Firestone Indy Lights series is a developmental driving league for the Indy Car Series. Think Triple A Minor League ball teams for Major League Baseball.

I was personally cheering for England's Pippa Mann (who lives here in Indianapolis). She finished 21st, after making contact seven laps into the race. Hard luck, Pippa. Better luck next time.

Wade Cunningham won, J.R. Hildebrand came in second. You can see the rest of the results here.

Lap 1: GREEN. #11 Cunningham leads the field into Turn 1. #20 Beatriz passes #26 Hildebrand for third in Turn 1. #11 Cunningham leads #27 Saavedra by .2027 of a second.

Lap 2: #20 Beatriz and #26 Hildebrand side-by-side through Turns 1 and 2. #26 Hildebrand goes underneath #20 Beatriz for third in Turn 3. #27 Saavedra passes #11 Cunningham for the lead on the front stretch. #…

The Adventures of Vacation Dad

The Adventures of Vacation DadErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

I took my family on vacation this week for the first time in a long time, and I was struck by a frightening thought: I've turned into Vacation Dad.

You've seen Vacation Dad. You've probably traveled with him. My own father wasn't Vacation Dad too often. He was generally happy to be on vacation, except when I did stupid stuff like purposely spilling juice on the hood of the car, bugging my little sister in the back seat.

Vacation Dad loves two things. He loves driving fast, and he loves being angry at other drivers. Vacation Moms (actually all moms) thinks Vacation Dad isn't enjoying himself when he does this.

"Relax," she says soothingly, as he hollers at yet another jerkwad who's going 10 miles UNDER THE FREAKING SPEED LIMIT! "You just need to relax and enjoy the drive."

Vacation Mom doesn't realize that he IS enjoying the drive. This is how Vacation Dad unwinds…

British Town Hall Puts Safety Over Patriotism, Won't Fly Flag

My friend, Lorraine Ball, asked me recently why I had a spate of articles making fun of the British nanny state (like this one, this one, and this one. And this one too.)

"They just make it so easy," I said.

And they're doing it again.

A Bourne, England city council said they are no longer going to fly the British flag — the Union Jack — over their town hall, because they are concerned about the safety of the 8-foot-ladder they're using to raise the flag. (Oh, and I did one on British firefighters and ladders.)

According to a story from United Press International, the South Kesteven District Council will no longer fly the flag on special flag-flying days, like Armed Forces Day or the Queen's birthday.

Brian Fines, a council member and former lieutenant colonel said the decision is an insult to all veterans and members of the military.

(I also did a British police post with this one.)

"What a sad and sick society we're becoming," Fines told the Daily Sun. &…

Aussie Train Station Has Wheelchair-Accessible Phone at top of Stairs

The Macdonaldtown train station in Sydney, Australia is proud of the wheelchair-accessible phone and ramps for wheelchair users to get on and off the trains. They even boast about it on their website.

The problem is the phone and the ramps are at the top of a set of stairs, and no way for wheelchair-using passengers to access either of them. No ramp, no elevator, not even a couple of brawny men to carry the passengers.

A RailCorp spokesman told the Sydney Daily Telegraph that the phone was installed as part of the Disability Discrimination Act. Never mind that in order for a wheelchair user to use that phone, they have to take the train to the station, get off, make the call, and then hop back on.

"Recent developments would indicate that the NSW Government has no overall plan to provide accessible public transport," Spinal Cord Injury Australia president David Brice told the Daily Telegraph.

Expect RailCorp to host a telephone conference call to the Australian Society of Deaf Jo…

Woman May Lose License Over 25 Year Old Ticket

Connie Van Houter of Colonie, NY is about to lose her driver's license because she ran a red light.

Twenty-five years ago.

According to a story in the Albany (New York) Times-Union, Van Houter received a notice that her license would be suspended for failing to show up for a court date back in 1984, over a ticket she received in February 27 of that year.

"I'm retired, been retired for five years," she told the Times-Union. "I've had a heart attack and three strokes. I'm supposed to remember a ticket?"

Van Houter will plead not guilty.

Apparently staff at the Colonie Town Court have been going through old files and sending open cases to the state DMV. . . Van Houter's old employer.

Ken Brown, a spokesman for the state DMV, said there is no statute of limitations for failing to show up for court.

"If we're notified by a jurisdiction that they have an outstanding summons, we put it on the record," Brown said. Brown said that it's "p…

FDA Calls Cheerios a Drug. Same FDA That Allowed Death-Causing Pharmaceuticals on the Market

From the "Unclear on the Concept" file: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now classifying Cheerios —— those little round O's made of oats that have been around since 1941 —— as a drug, and sent a letter to General Mills saying as much.

They even put the letter on their website: "Based on claims made on your product's label, we have determined that your Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug."

Uhh, do you realize that this is a breakfast cereal made out of oats and modified corn starch? People eat it with milk, as a part of a balanced breakfast. My kids used to eat them by the fistful when they were babies.

Keep in mind this is the same FDA that has allowed a number of big pharma drugs onto the market, only to recall them because "painful, needless death" was a common side effect for some of them. The same FDA that Congress wants to investigate their medical device review process, because …

Preview of Sunday's Bump Day Qualifications

Here are the 5 fastest times of Sunday's Bump Day practice session.

Pos. Car Name Time Speed

1. 23........Milka Duno........40.6163........221.586
2. 13........E.J. Viso.........40.7508........220.855
3. 00........Nelson Philippe...40.7804........220.694
4. 36........Bruno Junqueira...40.8769........220.173
5. 91........Buddy Lazier......40.9526........219.766

Rookie Stanton Barrett, Buddy Lazier, and Bruno Junqueria are all looking to get in the show. Andretti, Duno, and Philippe are practicing, because they know they'll have to take a crack at qualifying again. And if I were Mike Conway, EJ Viso, and Ryan Hunter-Reay, I would keep the keys in the ignition, just in case.

All in all, three people will be watching the race from the stands next week. I expect Junqueira to be one of them, since he was just named the Conquest Racing driver this weekend, which means he's missed 2 weeks of all-important practice, and they haven't had a great chance …

Phone It In Sunday: I Go To 11 Too

If you've never understood where the phrase, "These go to 11" comes from, now you do.

If you want to see the entire movie, I highly recommend that you run out and rent/buy/borrow This is Spinal Tap. Possibly one of the funniest movies of all time. (The beauty part of it is that when the movie first came out, a lot of people didn't realize it was fake, so they went to the record stores, looking for Spinal Tap albums.)

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Two National Park Employees Caught Peeing In Old Faithful

From the "Think Before You Speak, Chuckie" files:

Found this story on the WMAR/ABC2 (Baltimore) website. While the story is pretty funny, the final line in the news report was priceless.

It seems two Yellowstone National Park employees figured that if the Old Faithful geyser was going to pee on the park, they'd get their revenge by peeing on Old Faithful. A webcam caught them doing it.

One employee was fined and banned from the park for two years (which will make doing his job rather difficult), but there has been no decision about what will happen to the other man. (Same crime, same penalty, I would hope.)

According to Wikipedia:

(Old Faithful) eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400 U.S. gallons (14–32.000 litre) of boiling water to a height of 106–185 feet (30–56 m) lasting from 1.5 to 5 minutes. The average height of an eruption is 145 feet (44 m).

But it was ABC2's last line that made the article so funny, and not for the reasons they thought.

Luckily for both of them, the …

Other Bloggers Here at the Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway made a bold move this year in allowing bloggers to attend the race as official media. We're allowed in the media center and the garage. We can meet with drivers, sponsors, race officials, etc. And there are several of us. I can't thank Tim Sullivan, a member of the PR staff, and the rest of the folks at the Speedway for giving us this chance.

If you don't count the podcast/Internet radio shows like Larry Henry's Pit Pass USA (Larry used to work for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network) or Don Kay at — and you'd be making a big mistake to overlook them — there are eight of us bloggers here.

We're all sitting on Row 3, and I'm on the outside, closest to the window. If the media center were the starting lineup for the race, I would be Tony Kanaan. (This photo is a view from my seat. I can actually see the flag stand at the finish line.)

Here are the other 7 bloggers here at the track this month. Be sure …

30 Seconds with Ryan Hunter-Reay at the Indianapolis 500

I was wandering around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage this morning, caught up with Ryan Hunter-Reay this morning, who drives the #21 for Vision Racing. They've been focused on getting every ounce of speed out of the cars that they can.

"We're just trying to find answers to getting the cars to match in speed," said Hunter-Reay.

The guy's been absolutely focused on getting ready for the race, so much so that he doesn't even leave the Speedway.

"I just hang out in the motor home, do some bicycling," said Hunter-Reay. "I haven't had much time off."

Huter-Reay is spending his free time with his fiancée, who he said loves racing. If only I could get my wife to love my job as much as I do. Of course, there's not as much excitement in watching one's spouse write all day long.

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Thomas Scheckter is Ready to Roll for His First Day of Practice

At 9:30 this morning, Thomas Scheckter's care didn't look like a car. It didn't look like much of anything.

In my earlier post when I said Scheckter was joining Justin Wilson at Dale Coyne Racing, I mentioned that his crew would have the car up and running in a few hours.

I passed by the garage less than 2 hours later, and it was gone, heading out to the track for a practice run. What'd I tell you about his guys being pros. I can't even get my oil changed in 30 minutes, and these guys got an entire freaking race car ready for the track in just a couple hours.

Now that's impressive.

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Indy 500 Update: Tomas Scheckter to Join Justin Wilson at Dale Coyne Racing

Dale Coyne Racing just announced that South African driver Tomas Scheckter will drive the #19 car, with new teammate Justin Wilson.

I had a chance to visit the Dale Coyne garage and catch a few minutes with Scheckter.

"I'm just excited to be on the team," he said. "Today, I'm getting comfortable in the car, trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible."

The team's focus today is just getting Scheckter in the show, and then worry about race day later. That's the way it is in Indy Car, just a series of small steps: get up to speed, get in the field, and then race.

"We're still just getting the car together," said Scheckter, referring to the #19 Monavie car he'll be driving. While I was there, there were at least eight guys swarming around the chassis like horny bees on a drunk flower. Given the condition of the car, you would think there wouldn't be any way this thing is going to be ready to go in three days, but these guys are p…

Friday Morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is so quiet, it belies the massive assaults on your eardrums that will start up in about three hours.

My friend, Theresia Whitfield, a rabid NASCAR fan and journalist, warned me via Twitter to take hearing protection.

"Is it that bad?" I asked.

"I have hearing loss in my left ear because of it."

She wasn't kidding. The cars are extremely loud out here. But apparently they were much louder last year.

"How can you be sure it's not you?" I asked the woman who told me. "Has everything seemed quieter since last year?"

"No," she said, "they have a new muffler system on the cars which have cut the decibels."

It's still pretty damn loud. When you're standing outside, you can hear a single car on a qualifying run the entire way around the track. The cars are so loud, when they're coming down the straightaway, the Doppler effect lasts until the following Tuesday.

Luckily I'm ei…