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Monday, February 24, 2014


the cars ~ I like the nightlife baybay

I'm happy today for Dale Jr fans, he won Daytona again. Since Dale Sr died on the track, aggression appeared to have gone out of Dale Jr. I remember seeing him push a teammate across the finish line to win by a few inches when he could have easily gone around him and come in first instead of third. For some years he seemed to focus more on points than winning, ending in the top 10 much of the time. I don't know him and don't keep up with driver lore. They're just names to me. I laugh when my friends I watch the race with rave about how much they wish Kurt Busch would wreck and how much they hate him. Once, for the fun in it, I asked why they hate him so much, they don't even know him. That set them off. He's my secret favorite driver. I don't tell them, because I don't want to hear it and don't want to inhibit their passion, which I assess has nothing to do with Kurt Busch. Three times I've seen him in the pack going between 150 and 200, on the inside lane, the guy behind him taps his back end, his car sets to wobbling, slides down below the yellow line, wobbles some more and he placed the car right back into the slot he left, which was not much longer than the length of his car. I've not seen anybody else do that once. He seems to be about the least liked driver on the track. I've heard he's an asshole to interviewers and they don't like him. What can I say? I don't care. I've learned all this after I started paying more attention to his driving than anybody else's. His driving impresses me. I've not seen anybody else pull out of a wobble so cleanly. Most often, in my viewing experience, the car ends up sideways with smoking tires and then it's on. One car knocks him this way, another car knocks him that way and he ends up with a mess of a car even duct tape can't fix.  
the cars ~ let the good times roll
In my early teens Little Richard entered the radio. Little Richard's rock n roll satisfied the kid so deeply it was not rebellion. I couldn't help it that my parents didn't like it and wouldn't let me play his music while they were in the house. I couldn't help it that I connected with his high energy music when I wasn't supposed to. It just worked out that way. I feel the same with my friends in relation to Kurt Busch. It's not like I care enough about the matter to argue with friends the merits of a driver they don't like. So what. It's pop tv. Why would I want to get worked up over that? Race drivers on tv are products just like Madonna and Lady Gaga. They signed the contract to be a product the rest of their lives. That's their business. I see the kids on American Idol and feel sad for them wanting so desperately to become a product. It's not that I want to deny them what they want, only that I don't want it for myself. It makes me shiver to think about wanting it. Now that the rich are the hot topic this year, I see pictures of billionaires in facebook memes. I particularly think of George Soros; the bags under his eyes tell sleepless nights to the point of liking them. Long, drawn, expressionless, empty face with lines making maps of endless worry. I don't want that for myself either. I don't want a face that looks dead this side of the grave. I see in their faces and eyes that Mammon is not a benevolent god. I don't want anyone to say of me, "He's money!" Once I heard said of Mrs whatever her name was Siemens of Roaring Gap Club, "She's money!" I thought, What a thing to be called. When people see me they see money? I hope not ever. I'd rather be known as The Jerk than Money. At least a jerk is human with a comic Steve Martin association.

the cars ~ you're just what I needed

We were able to watch a little bit of the race, maybe 43 laps, before the raincloud passed over Daytona and shut down the race. It was then several hours of waiting, watching America's Funniest Home Videos some, a golf game some, the Simpsons a very short some, one bobsled run, Justin working the remote. We saw the three Russians win the gold, silver, bronze in the men's cross-country ski event. The winner crossed the finish line and collapsed face-down in the ice-snow, whatever it was. It was a snow texture I'm not familiar with. I felt like collapsing from watching him ski uphill so much. I was thinking of what an intense meditation it was for the skiers. Mind does not have time or space for anything but the present moment, the thousandths of a second present moment. We entertained Vada, Vada entertained us. She's into the age now of exploring her independence, not long after potty-training. She feels like a big girl not wearing diapers. She wanted me to take some pictures of her making faces. I'd turn the video screen so she could see it and she made faces as into a mirror. I let Vada have the camera and showed her what button to push. She got a picture of the wall, one of the ceiling in the next room, the ceiling in the living room with a section of ceiling fan. I love it. Pure chance photographs. I could see she thought holding the camera in the direction of what you're taking a picture of and pushing the click button is what it amounted to. It's what she'd observed the million times she's had her picture taken. I didn't want to mess her up explaining something she wasn't ready for conceptually. Hooray for Vada, she took some pictures. I love it that the camera happened to be pointing upward. Pictures without interference of mind.

photo by vada, 2yr 9mo.

The drivers eventually started crawling into their cars, announcers with microphones in their faces, Danica Patrick in her dayglo green godaddy outfit nestling herself into the driver's seat, plugging and fastening, Jimmy Johnson upbeat and ready to race, cars rumbling to life, lining up behind the red pace car flashing white lights, tv talking heads excited after hours of not knowing what to talk about, showing a large part of last year's race at Daytona to pass the time. The cars ran in a pack three wide for a long time. It was getting late. The kids had to go to bed. Melvin's girl was with him and she needed to be back because of school in the morning. Justin needed to be up at six for a new job. Crystal and kids had to be up early. I was riding with Melvin, so we left with about a hundred laps to go. It wasn't long before I learned on facebook that Jr Earnhardt won. He is Justin's and Melvin's favorite driver. Justin had to miss the race last time Jr won. We've laughed that what it takes for Jr to win a race is for Justin to miss it. I wore my Dale Jr tshirt to send a little support mojo his way. It's not that I ever care who wins. I'm tickled for Dale Jr's fans, they love him so much. A lot of the time it seems to me it's a toss-up who wins, though I know it is a game of intensely involved strategies, the car holding together, staying out of wrecks. I've seen cars cross the finish line in wreck mode. One of my favorite aspects of the race is you never know who is going to win until the finish line is crossed. Somebody can be out ahead on the way to the finish line, blow a tire and come in twelfth.



  1. I was watching the day Dale Jr's dad died. He'd been my favorite for years. Can't watch it anymore - mostly because I have no television. My son, however, is a different story. I think he inherited the racing gene from me - my grandad was a mechanic at the first Indie 500. I love to drive fast. My whole family loves to drive - my son has his commercial license - and my granddaughter who just got her license is loving driving fast - yet carefully as she's watched her dad's driving sills and technique. Race cars - I always wanted to take a driving class from Bondurant - never happened, so I put my son into a Petty school.
    Now the coolest thing in this post - is that you gave Vada a camera and let her take photos. I've given kids cameras at weddings and asked them to take photos - and they ALWAYS have a wonderfully different perspective. Love that about you - letting things BE what they just are.