It's been a hectic month so far. I've been trying to drum up some freelance writing work. Nothing so far but I'm not discouraged. I know that if I remain focused and determined that some type of break will happen.

I've been working on a brochure pro-bono for the Center for Independent Living. They help disabled folks in all sorts of ways. It's actually been a pretty good experience so far. With the holidays coming up I feel like I need to get some work together. We will see.


Today in History

On October 20, 1973, in the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was fired.  For their refusal to dismiss Cox, Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson resigned and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus was fired.

In 1944 Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, 'I shall return.'

In 1968 Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

In 1977 Three members of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Miss.

Thanks to The New York Times.


Makinen to Retire

Crash.net is reporting that Subaru driver and 4-time champion Tommi Makinen has announced his retirement from World Rally competition effective at the end of the season. This from Crash.net:
"It's a decision I haven't made lightly," said Makinen. "Picking the right time to stop isn't easy, but I'm happy with what I've achieved in the WRC, and I've been lucky to drive for two excellent teams. Realistically, there isn't really much for me to gain by carrying on at this level and my thinking is that it's better to stop when you're at the top."
Makinen has had a couple of bad years. He was actually doing better this year than last but he has decided to call it quits.


Today's Almanac

Lee Iacocca was born on this date in 1924.  Haven't heard much from old Lee lately.

Oldsmobile resumed postwar production today in 1945.

This also happens to be Poetry Day. There once was a man from Nantucket...Oh, forget it.



Today is my 46th birthday.  I'm shocked that I've lasted this long.


Keep Amending it Until We Get it Right

The Florida State Constitution now spells out exactly how pregnant pigs should be tied. (They should be able to freely turn around!)  What should be a serious and rare task, amending the state constitution, has become a somewhat casual affair here in the Sunshine State.

Politicians and other interest groups have sponsored referendums that have amended the Florida State Constitution for what seem to be increasingly trivial matters. Some of these amendments, like light rail, were issues that failed as ordinary legislation

Recent constitutional amendments dictate:

Laws requiring parental notification of a minor's abortion were struck down by the state Supreme Court. Now, Florida State House Speaker Johnnie Byrd (R-Plant City) is proposing an amendment that would require parental notification should a minor seek an abortion.

It seems like the only way to get anything done in this state is to simply amend the constitution.


Fan Notes

On Friday September 26, Charlotte and I attended the Champ Car Fan Appreciation Driver Autograph Session.

Charlotte got every driver to sign each driver page in her race program. We were holding up the line and the handlers were urging us to move along but Char kept talking to each driver and getting the autographs. It's going to be a real cool keepsake.

I got Charlotte's picture with American Spirit driver and 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vassar. I also got Charlotte's picture with racing legend Mario Andretti who was behind the wheel of the new Ford GT

I was pleased to get another racing legend, Emerson Fittipaldi to autograph my 1977 US Grand Prix program.

I was disappointed to not have that program with me when we saw Mario. I think he would have gotten a kick out of seeing it. He finished second in that race. I would have gotten a kick out of his signing it!


Surprisingly, there were a lot of folks who stayed after the CART race to see the Trans-Am cars compete. 

I was wore out after the long race weekend and wanted to get on the road back home but I'm really glad we stayed to see the Trans-Am cars.  This was the first Trans-Am race I can remember seeing in person and I enjoyed it a lot. 

The V-8s sounded like NASCAR engines.  The Jaguars looked great and were clearly the class of the field.

It was fun to see former CART driver Scott Pruitt win the race AND the series title. There was an unusual car competing called the Quale Mangusta. The Trans-Am rules say the cars must be production-based but I've never seen or heard of a Quale Mangusta.  I want to learn a little bit more about this car.  I think the Trans-Am series would be a perfect partner to run the same weekend as the ALMS at Sebring.

Paul Tracy is No Champion

Champ Car series leader Paul Tracy didn't do well at the race.

He was having a tough time with the street circuit in Miami. It was narrow and twisty and didn't suit his setup or driving style. He crashed during practice. He didn't seem happy or enthusiastic about the race. We have a number of pictures of him with a real sour look on his face.

I was talking to Charlotte about this last night. Here's the problem I have with Paul Tracy:

Because he was having difficulties during the race weekend, he seemed to just give up. He complained about the circuit, the car, and the weather. It looked like he crashed into Sebastian Bourdais during the race for no good reason.

I think Tracy figured he couldn't catch Junqueira so he wasn't going to let Bourdais pass him and finish with more points.

Tracy acted like a child because he failed to make the best of a difficult race weekend and he gave up on the race before it began. Tracy is a quitter. A quitter doesn't deserve to be champion.



It was great to see the American Lemans Series cars.

The variety makes for a better overall race weekend.  It was good to see the Champion Audi win instead of the Joest team for a change.  It looked to me like the three classes competed as well on the narrow Miami street course as they do on the more open Sebring circuit. Charlotte is not much of a Porsche fan but I always like to see the parade of 911's compete in the GT class.

After the Miami weekend I'm convinced that the ALMS is a better show than Champ Cars. It's a purer form of motor sport. The ALMS has less flash, less commercialization, and less hyperbole, but also has extremely fast and high-tech cars.  The drivers and owners seem to be more interested in the driving and competition for the sheer enjoyment of racing than the CART teams and drivers.


Race Fans is Good People

Race fans are some of the best people.

On our first day at the track, we met a guy named Lenny who was as friendly as the day is long.  He was from California and said he was a NASCAR fan.  We all stood and talked racing and watched the mechanics work on the Rocketsports car.

Lenny offered to take our picture.  It's the only picture we have of Charlotte and I together at the race.


Great View

Our hotel room was small but we had a great view of Biscayne Bay and oh-so-trendy South Beach.

The hotel was in a kind of downtown no-mans-land. Around us were a few other big hotels, towering condominiums, and the mighty Miami Herald complex that took up an entire city block. The rest of the area was barren with some blocks under construction.

It was disappointing that there were no decent restaurants, neighborhoods, or other interesting sights within walking distance.


Hell Drive

Well, the drive to Miami was a nightmare.

We took I-95. That wasn't the problem. I-95 was in decent shape with little traffic or construction ... until we hit West Palm Beach.

We got a late start, which put us approaching West Palm at about 4:00 pm. Then the rush-hour traffic and road construction began.

An hour later, I got off 95 in downtown Miami. Using only my ten-year-old memory of the streets of downtown, I thought I could get us to the hotel without specific directions. I would probably have been successful had the streets not been blocked off for the race. That threw me off completely.

Anyway, we stopped, Charlotte got directions and we made it to the Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel by 6pm.