First Job

Cement Mixer Cleaner

When I was fifteen years old I got my first job.   Actually my brother got it for me. He had just come home from Vietnam and was working in construction.  I don't know what he did. I think he was a carpenter.

I was hired as a general job site laborer. This construction site was a block away from my school so every day after school I would walk over there, put my boots on and go to work.  I worked from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, five days a week.  I'm not sure my Mom liked me working there.

I had to do anything my boss told me to do.  I would pick up scrap lumber and other trash from the job site.  One time I got to light a big fire and burn all the trash. During slower times I had to sweep out the inside of the buildings. That was BORING.

I was making $2.50 an hour. That was an incredible amount of money for a kid back then. All my friends who were working in fast food were making minimum wage, which was $1.65 an hour in February 1973. I ended up working there for only three months.

This construction company was constructing an apartment complex. I think the complex ended up being about five or six buildings.  The buildings were probably 75 yards long and each building contained about 20 individual apartments. When I was hired the foundation was poured and the frame was up for the first building.

I had a passkey to every apartment. Which was pretty cool.

These guys running the construction company had this old cement mixer from the 1950's. It was a red International that was all beat up.

Because I was 15 and kind of small I got an interesting task one day.

My foreman showed me a 40 pound jackhammer. It was air powered.  He wanted me to get inside the drum of the mixer and use the jackhammer to chip away dried up cement on the fins inside. The metal fins jut out from the walls of the inside of the drum. As the drum turns, the fins keep the cement mixed.  As you know, if the drum stops turning, the cement will dry.

It's been thirty years but I think it went down something like this...

My foreman put a pallet on the forks of a forklift. He has me a ride up to the opening of the drum. I carried the jackhammer up with me. I scrambled down into the drum with the jackhammer. Then I blasted away at the dried cement. As you might imagine the noise was deafening.   After a while the air was filled with cement dust. I tied a handkerchief around my mouth and nose and kept blasting.

When I had a sizable amount of cement chunks I would stop hammering and chuck the rocks out the opening at the top of the drum.

I jack hammered on that cement mixer for almost two days. I didn't get all the cement off the fins. But I got enough off so that the mixer was usable again.The company used that old cement mixer to pour the foundations of the other buildings.

As a fifteen year old boy this was by far the coolest thing I had ever done.


Man v. Woman

I got this in one of those "funny" emails --I never quite figured out why the sexual urge of men and women differ so much.  And I have never figured out why men think with their head and women with their heart.

FOR EXAMPLE: One evening last week, my wife and I were getting into bed. The passion starts to heat up, when she eventually says " don't feel like it, I just want you to hold me."  I said "WHAT??!! What was that?!" So she says the words that every husband on the planet dreads to hear..."You're just not in touch with my emotional needs as a woman enough for me to satisfy your physical needs as a man." She responded to my puzzled look by saying, "Can't you just love me for who I am and not what I do for you in the bedroom?"

Realizing that nothing was going to happen that night, I went to sleep... The very next day I opted to take the day off of work to spend time with her.  We went out to a nice lunch and then went shopping at a big, big department store.  I walked around with her while she tried on several different very expensive outfits.  She couldn't decide which one to take so I told her we'd just buy them all.  She wanted new shoes to compliment her new clothes, so I said lets get a pair for each outfit.  We went onto the jewelry department where she picked out a pair of diamond earrings. Let me tell you...she was so excited.  She must have thought I was one wave short of a shipwreck.  I started to think she was testing me because she asked for a tennis bracelet when she doesn't even know how to play tennis.  I think I threw her for a loop when I said, "That's fine, honey."

She was almost nearing sexual satisfaction from all of the excitement.  Smiling with excited anticipation she finally said, "I think this is all dear, let's go to the cashier." I could hardly contain myself when I blurted out, "No honey, I don't feel like it."  Her face just went completely blank as her jaw dropped with a baffled WHAT?!" ! !

I then said "honey! I just want you to HOLD this stuff for a while. You're just not in touch with my financial needs as a man enough for me to satisfy your shopping needs as a woman." And just when she had this look like she was going to kill me, I added, "Why can't you just love me for who I am and not for the things I buy you?"

Apparently I'm not having sex tonight either.


Senator at the Urinal

I used be a copy machine operator in a big Orlando law firm.  I ran a high-speed copier that made about 100 copies per minute.  We used to pump out 30000 copies a month.

The firm's main partner was a big Republican supporter.

One day I'm at the urinal, minding my own business.  I happen to glance at the urinal beside me and I see Utah Senator Orin Hatch zipping up.  It reminded me of the story Hunter S. Thompson used to tell about seeing Richard Nixon at the urinal beside him.


Very Short Story Project

Very Short Story Project 3000 Words, 6 pages at 500 words per page. That's 12 point type and Times New Roman font.

There are two friends who know each other very well. Two young men in their early twenties.   They have a long history together. They went to high school together but have recently come back together after attending college separately.  These are two people who couldn't be closer.

But they both harbor a dark secret that the other doesn't know about. They go on a long car trip together.

On this car trip the readers hear the thoughts inside their heads and the struggle over whether they should tell one another. We can explore how the characters feel, whether it's shame, horror or fright.

The reader hears each character's arguments for and against telling the other.In the end - should I have both characters confess to one another? Should I have one character confess to the other?  Should I have neither character confess? If both characters confess, they both feel the relief of confession and their bond of friendship becomes stronger. If one character confesses, he feels the relief of confession while the other may be repulsed by his friend. If neither character confesses, neither feels relief but the friendship remains intact with nothing to disturb or change it.



Of course this is always the way things start.  I come up with a big idea, and a few days later it dies on the vine like a sun-withered grape.

I've been having this nagging feeling that I need to do something spectacular.  Not really spectacular but memorable.  My first thoughts were how I would like to write comedy.  Like for stand-up comedians or TV.  I don't think I could be a stand up comedian.  I'm not sure I could even try it.  I would have to work up some material first and so now I'm back to being a writer first.

I thought I would join a local humor writers group and try to meet some other creative people.  So I looked around, did some internet research and didn't find any humor writers groups in Orlando.

Then the idea of writing humor for stand-up morphed into just humor writing.  I thought how great it would be to be a humor writer.  Like Dave Barry I would write 850 words and be droll and humorous and have everyone read my words and laugh. That sounded so good.

So I go on the internet and do a little research.  I join the humor writers group on Yahoo.  I check out the Erma Bombeck Writers seminar.  It turns out it's only offered every two years and it was just held this year.  So it will be 2008 before I can go to that. So I struggled for ideas.

What would I write about? I checked Dave Barry's latest column.  He wrote about him and his wife visiting Napa Valley and visiting all the great wineries. So that's just great.

They say write what you know. Well, my mundane driving home from work and digging a trench in my yard can't hold a candle to the natural humor in making fun of the snooty wine country people and places.

I always thought I would write non-fiction because it seems to be a lot easier to gather up a bunch of facts than to be creative and make something up.  I mean the non-fiction book is practically already written.  But then I came to the realization that it's so much work.  All that research.  Spending hours in the library.  Getting books through interlibrary loan. Reading all those books.  Writing and rewriting.  Christ, if I wanted to do all that work I should just have stayed in Graduate school.

Then the humor writer urge gave way to fiction.  I'm thinking I can write a novel.  So I act on the new urge and dash over to Borders on my lunch half hour and spend twenty dollars on a book on novel writing. That was two days ago.  I haven't read more than ten words out of the book.  My excuse?  I haven't had time.

I visited the Yahoo and Google groups and promptly became discouraged.  There are so many of them!  One for every type of person.  In fact, there are some groups with only 3 people in them.  Why have a group if there's only going to be three people in it.

Then I found a web site full of writing competitions. I thought I would enter a competition for a 3000 word fiction piece. You know the original idea for the movie Brokeback Mountain was a short story. It's due at the end of January.  3000 words is only six pages.  Certainly I should be able to do that.  I mean tomorrow is December first.  I should have enough time. It's for some literary journal in Oregon. Now that it's time to get down to brass tacks and get it started, I can't seem to even get started

Story ideas anyone?  The whole thing seems to be hard.  Coming up with a good idea is not easy and lord knows writing the thing can't be easy.  Can you say ten re-writes?


Montoya is Out, Declares, "Show Me The Money"

Everyone is putting a good spin on the exit of Juan Pablo Montoya at McLaren. Why do I think there's more to the story then we are hearing. Like, a LOT more. Oh well, I guess we won't know until someone writes their memoirs. Until then we can read these quotes from f1live.com via Yahoo!
Ron Dennis: We have agreed that with so many things happening in Juan Pablo's life right now, he should take some time out of the car and prepare professionally and personally for the future."
Juan Montoya: I have enjoyed most of my time in Formula 1 and I'm grateful for this opportunity to settle my personal life and concentrate on my future career.
My wife was wondering what name he will use in NASCAR. When he drove in CART he was known as Juan Montoya. When he went to F1 he used his middle name, Pablo, which I think is his father's name. I told her he should change his name to John Montoya.


He is Too Competitive to Just Retire

Well, the Formula One season is over and Michael Schumacher did not win his eighth championship. I don't feel as though Fernando Alonso really won the championship. He simply held on at the end and didn't lose it.

A lot of mediocre drivers have won the F1 championship.  Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill spring to mind. That's how it goes in the world of sports. There are triumphs and there are tragedies.

My wife predicts a coming "dark era" in F1 where drivers are bland and uninteresting.  Races will be boring and predicable.

We went to the first USGP to be held at Indy in 2000 and were lucky enough to see a Ferrari one-two victory.  That should be enough for anyone for a lifetime. You can tell the story for the rest of your life about how you saw the greatest Formula One driver in history win a race.

So long Michael. Now start making your plans to return.


No Future in Newspapers

When I first decided to finish college (ten years after high school) I started looking at the educational programs available at my hometown public university.  I was determined to pick a field of study that would be easy to get through; that it be interesting was a secondary consideration.  The first goal was to simply graduate.

Knowing myself a little better at 27 than at 17, I thought about how poor my mathematical skills were and how uninterested I was in numbers.  I liked reading and I thought with a little instruction it would be interesting to learn how to write a little.  I chose journalism for my major with a concentration in radio reporting.   In radio reporting you learn to write a little, very little.

It was clear, even in 1986, that radio journalism was pretty much dead, and had been dead since the 1950's. What was I thinking?  I was wasting my tuition dollars on an education that taught skills that had been obsolete for thirty years. Getting a job as a radio news reporter would be next to impossible, but I ignored all the warnings given by friends, classmates and professors.

After years of struggle, my radio news reporting career never did take off.  I was never economically able to lead the nomadic life needed to chase the variety of positions in radio; to move from one small market to the next, to the next.  I did spend ten years and eventually became a station manager.  What a horrible job!  There have been many times down through the years where I thought I made a big mistake back in college.  Maybe I should have taken the newspaper track in J-school; gotten a comfortable newspaper job.  Now I'm glad I didn't.

Newspapers are now feeling the same effect radio news felt in the 1950's when television news was getting up on it's feet and starting to flex it's muscle. Newspapers are going out of business almost every day. Many blame the internet. Well guess what. The internet just left a message for TV news. It's coming for you too. That means I'm also glad I didn't become a TV news reporter either.


The Next Time You Think About Talking to the Press

I don't know what to make of this.
(SUZUKA, Japan Reuters) - Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso spoke out about his loneliness on Thursday, accusing Renault of twice abandoning him at crucial times this season.
Poor baby!


Tony Stewart Crock Pot

My wife and I were working around the house and just happened to have the NASCAR race in Kansas on the TeeVee.  Let me be clear.  We are NOT NASCAR fans.

We do agree that Tony Stewart is one of the more talented drivers in the series however. The named sponsor of the race was Banquet Foods, maker of those delicious pot pies.  We noticed a pot pie commercial with Tony Stewart.

Charlotte says something about how appropriate it is for Tony Stewart to be hawking white trash nutrition like pot pies. Then to our surprise, Stewart wins the race! Tony Stewart wins the Banquet 400.

Then this morning I see an ad for a Tony Stewart Crock Pot.  It's pretty well known that Tony Stewart's not shy when it comes to food. I think Tony Stewart will sell a lot of crock pots and chicken pot pies.


Deny the Inevitable

There was no good racing action over the weekend.  Some NASCAR thing in New Hampshire of all places.  I just can't picture the good ole boys from Alabama or North Carolina in New Hampshire. But I'm going to have to face the fact that racing season is winding down.

The IRL season is already over. Champ Car and Formula One has only three races left each.  I think ALMS has only the Petite LeMans left and I think the Rolex Series is over for the year.  I don't know where the NHRA is for the year but their season can't go on very much longer.

The only thing to do when there is no racing is talk about racing.  There's only 132 days until the Rolex 24 at Daytona!


Raikkonen Confirmed at Ferrari

I had heard the rumors but on Sunday it was confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen will drive for Ferrari in 2007. Raikkonen talks about going to the Horse Team:
"I'm happy to join a team with a history and all the great things, but first of all I want to finish this year as well as I can and then see what happens next year," said the Finn. "There are many reasons [why I chose Ferrari].  I have had five years at McLaren and they are a great team and nice people to work with, but in the end I wanted something else and there were only two choices - to stay with McLaren or to go to Ferrari."

Chinese Grand Prix

The next race is Sunday October 1,  2006 - Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

Schumacher Retires

The announcement finally came.

Perhaps history's greatest Formula One driver, Michael Schumacher, announced his retirement.

At the conclusion of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the seven time world champion said this would be his last season as a race driver. I thought his choice of words were curious.  He didn't say he was retiring from Ferrari or from F1.  He said he was retiring from driving.  Which means he's not going to another team or even to another series.

Even two-time champion Mika Hakkinnen drives in other series from time to time.

I just don't see how someone as competitive as Michael Schumacher can just walk away from all motorsports. Come to America Michael!  You can drive in Champ Car until you're sixty years old.

Judging from the body language between Michael and Ferrari chief Montezemolo, I believe Michael was forced out.  Which is incredibly short sighted on Ferrari's part.  No one has sold more Ferraris in the past years than M. Schumacher.

There will always be another hot-shot young driver to take Michael's place in the coming years.  No need to get rid of him just to sign Kimi Raikkonen.


Audi Clinches ALMS Title

The all powerful Audi R-10s have clinched this year's P-1 class title with two races to go. It all went down Saturday at Mosport in Ontario, Canada. Congratulations to Scotsman Alan McNish and Italian Dindo Capello. Dave Maraj (Team Director, Team Audi Sport North America):
It's a great day for Allan and Dindo and of course Audi after developing revolutionary diesel technology. But we shouldn't forget that we relied on the Audi R8 for three races and the ˜old girl' did us proud. On this occasion, it was a difficult race for the No. 1 Audi. The Dysons were very quick today which is underlined by Guy Smith's fastest race lap. It is good to have won the Drivers' title. In the final two races, we will concentrate on winning the Manufacturers title for Audi for the seventh consecutive year.
Thanks to ALMS.

Raikkonen "most likely" to Ferrari

No official word on where Kimi Raikkonen will drive next year, but the rumor mill seems to be coming to a consensus.

It looks likely that the Finn will be at Ferrari next year.  No word yet on the futures of Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn or Renault boss Flavio Briatore.  Although, Jean Todt says he's happy to stay at Ferrari next season.

All will be revealed at the conclusion of next weekend's race at Monza. Thanks to Yahoo F1.


Bourdais Wins in Montreal

Sebastian Bourdais won the rain delayed Champ Car race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Monday.  It looks like Bourdais, with Newman-Haas power, will win his third champ car title. Isn't it about time for Bourdais to drive for Renault in F1? Bourdais was happy.  This quote courtesy of Yahoo/AP:
It was a hell of a day for the championship,'' the jubilant Bourdais said Monday after winning the Montreal Grand Prix while his closest pursuers in the points failed to finish.


IRL in Wine Country

We had to go to the grocery store yesterday afternoon so I missed what was probably the best race of the weekend. Marco Andretti won the race. He may have done it under dubious circumstances.

The story goes like this: In the final laps of the race, Marco was leading but was running short on fuel.  He desperately needed a caution period to slow the field so he could save fuel. It so happens that his teammate, Brian Herta, spun bringing out the yellow flag.

Can it be proven that Herta spun on purpose? No. Oh well, a win is a win.

Just last week I was chuckling at Marco's statement that he wants to be a better driver than his father and grandfather.  Better than Mario Andretti? We shall see.

Next Race - Sunday September 1 Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Illinois

Champ Car Rain Out

The Champ Cars were rained out yesterday in Montreal.  They are expecting to run the race today.  The highlight of yesterday was Paul Tracy showing up dressed like a Mexican wrestler. It was hilarious.

You may hate Paul Tracy or love Paul Tracy but you have to admit.  He seems to have a sense of humor.  Sometimes he's pretty funny.  His antics are clean, in good taste, self-deprecating, and good for Champ Car.

Next race - September 24, Road America, Elkhart Lake Wisconsin.

Turkey Grand Prix

Another Grand Prix and we are really no closer to knowing who will be the world's champion.

It was a great day for Felipe Massa who won his first Grand Prix race.  It's beginning to look better for Ferrari's chances to win the manufacturer's title.  I would like to know what happened when both Ferraris came in for a pit stop after the safety car came out.  What were they thinking? That one bone-headed move may cost Schumacher the championship.

I must admit, it does make for a more exciting championship when it comes down to the end of the season and the contestants are still close in points.

Next race - September 1 Monza, Italy


Most Obvious Headline

Here's the most obvious headline I've ever read.

"Michelin critical of Bridgestone"

Really! No Shit?


Me and Jenson Button

Formula One Driver Jenson Button and Chris Howell
Before the memory fades ... I wanted to post the picture of me and Hungarian Grand Prix winner Jenson Button.

This picture is from the 2000 United States Grand Prix when Jenson (I call him Jenson) was driving for Williams.

F1 News Bits

I have been neglecting my blogging duties recently for a variety of reasons but mainly because I just sold my good ol' Porsche 914. Oh well, good bye and good riddance. Anyway, here are a few news bits from around the world of F1.
  • The German press reported Wednesday that Mercedes intends to buy McLaren and that the deal has already been done but not announced.

  • Villeneuve is out of a job. He must believe his career in Formula One is over because he's not afraid to burn bridges and badmouth others. He called Michael Schumacher "bland and a liar". Bland? Is that the best he could come up with? Accusing someone of not being exciting? That's the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Like a little boy who has run away from home, Bernie Ecclestone thinks J.P. Montoya will be back in F1.

  • F1 will be back at Indianapolis for at least 2007. Why a one year deal? Tony George gave some lame excuse about there being no Concorde Agreement for 2008 or something.

  • And fianally, rumors swirled earlier this week that it would be a Schumacher-Raikkonen driving team at Ferrari for both 2007 and 2008. All will be revealed by season's end with some info about Schumacher's future being unveiled at the Monza race.  Funny thing - the rumors have died down by weeks end.
Be sure to watch the next race in Turkey coming up August 27th.


Wild Hungary

Well, I must say that the Hungarian Grand Prix was the most interesting of the season.

First, Alonso and Schumacher were penalized 2 seconds for being bad boys during qualifying.  I can see a monetary fine, but time off qualifying?

The mysterious disappearance of Villeneuve and the appearance of Kubica was strange.  The excuse was that Villenueve was still smarting from a wreck a week ago. That sent up a red flag

Then, there was rain to put everyone off their strategies. The first thing I thought was Schumacher would do well in the wet.  He always does. Both Schumacher and Alonso moved up fast after the start.  Then Michael and Massa started going backwards.  I was horrified. The intermediate Bridgestones were failing miserably in the rain. Would it rain harder?  Would the rain stop?  Who had the stones to go to full dry tires.

Scott Speed tried it and promptly came back in for intermediates. It looked like Raikonnen and Barrichello would run away from the field and finish one-two. An unusual error for Renault when Alonso's wheel nut came off.

With ten laps to go, Schumacher was fighting off De LaRosa for second spot. I  thought he could hold on but not so.  Schumacher risked penalties for blocking, but then let Pedro by. Then, it appeared that Schumacher's steering went out, giving him a DNF with no points.

Then finally, the dramatic first win for Jenson Button.  Especially sweet after his poor 19th place finish in the French GP.  He was really happy.

Even after the race the drama continued. Kubica's car was disqualified for being underweight, giving Michael one point.  It was announced that BMW has let Villenueve go, giving the seat to Kubica for the rest of the season.


Report: Brawn to Retire

Reports say Ferrari Technical Director Ross Brawn is set to retire at the end of the season.  If so, that will probably be the end of the "age of Ferrari" in Formula One.

This from Yahoo Formula One: 
The Guardian in England claims that the 51-year-old's departure will be permanent; a prospect that will further stir speculation that the current Ferrari era is drawing to a close with the possibly concurrent withdrawals of Michael Schumacher and Jean Todt.'


My Niece Had Her Baby

My niece, Carissa Baker, had her baby. A six pound girl. Mother and baby are doing fine.  This makes my sister a grandmother.  What's that make me?

Of course, pictures to come.


Cell Phones

Every day I get up and clip my cell phone to my belt. I carry it around all day. I have made five calls on it in two months I haven't received a call in almost four months.

Sometimes I wonder why I have it.  Am I hopelessly out of touch with today's world?

Everywhere, people are talking on their cell phones. Who are they talking to? Are they conducting some important business? Should I feel inferior?


Grand Prix - The Movie

I got my DVD of Grand Prix last weekend. I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. I checked out some of the special features. They are great!  More to come in the future.


French Grand Prix Wrap-Up

I wanted to write an entry about last weekend's French Grand Prix.

I guess I'm happy that Schumacher won. I'm happier that Alonso did poorly. It's not a car race anymore. It's a tire race. I was surprised at the poor performance of the Hondas and the good performance of the Toyotas.

Happy to see Scott Speed get into qualifying session two. I sure would like to see the McLaren's do better.

Is Raikkonen just skating the rest of the season?  Where is he going next year?  What the hell happened to Villeneuve in qualifying?

With all teams going to the same tire next season, I say Schumacher will be back. That will be his best chance at winning another championship.


Beware the Traffic Camera

All of you who live and work in Winter Park may be pleased to hear this.
Traffic safety is a major concern for the City of Winter Park and the city is stepping up its enforcement to reduce crashes that result in injury and the loss of life in Winter Park. On Monday, July 1 2006, the City of Winter Park City Commission passed a resolution supporting the use of red-light cameras at selected signalized intersections in Winter Park. This resolution is a direct result of the Commission's concern for citizen safety as red-light running is generally recognized as one of the major causes of crashes, deaths, and injuries at signalized intersections.


The Bulls

The other night I was asked if I was watching the World Cup. Alas, no, I'm not interested in soccer. There are a few really crazy European sports I'm into however.

  • Formula One Auto Racing
  • Tour De France Bicycle Racing
  • Running of the Bulls

Today is the first day of the 2006 Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Here's a quote from Yahoo!
Revelers wearing white shirts and trousers, held up their red kerchiefs and shouted: "Long Live!" as champagne bottles popped and onlookers dumped buckets of water on the crowd from surrounding balconies. It's impossible to escape the bash without a thorough drenching of beer, sangria, water and eggs, but nobody seems to mind. "We've come to get drunk!" the crowd chanted, and they had come to the right place.


Ask Dr. Z

I think those Ask Dr. Z commercials for Dodge and Chrysler are pretty clever. The last time Chrysler used it's CEO as pitchman was in the early 1980's with Lee Iococca.


Stephen Colbert's Other Life

Now that it's been pointed out to me, I remember.

Stephen Colbert, of the popular Colbert Report, used to be on that weird Comedy Central Show, Strangers with Candy.

Now it looks like there will be a movie based on the show Strangers with Candy. The show and movie were co-written by Colbert, Paul Dinello, and Amy Sedaris.  Sedaris plays Jerri Blank, an ex-druggie who goes back to high school at 40. 

Dinello, Colbert, and Sedaris met in 1987 when they all worked together at Second City in Chicago.

By the way, Amy Sedaris is the sister of David Sedaris, a comedy novelist and NPR commentator.

Tour De France Doping Scandal

They should just let these guys use all the dope they want. This from the AP:
Favorites Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and dozens of other cyclists were barred Friday from the Tour de France in a doping scandal, causing a massive upheaval on the eve of cycling's premier race.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme said team managers had agreed that riders implicated in a Spanish drug scandal would not be allowed in the race that starts Saturday.

Rice and Albright are "Sisters"

I heard a great piece on the radio the other day.

Madeleine Albright was Secretary of State during the Clinton administration.  She was the first female secretary of state. Her father was a professor of international relations at some university in Colorado.

Current U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice studied with Albright's father, was his "star" pupil and was very close to him.  Albright tried to recruit Rice for the national security team prior to the first Clinton presidency.

Rice told Albright she was a republican, which shocked Albright. Apparently they share many of the same views on international relations, but very much differ on the approach.


Dan Rather to Leave CBS

Well, everybody is getting all mushy regarding the retirement of  Dan Rather from CBS news. To be honest, I never considered Rather anchor material.  He always seemed to be on the edge of flaking out. Not someone who engendered a lot of trust.

He may be a good reporter but he was simply promoted into the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News. Not unlike Brian Williams at NBC. Rather needs to go to someplace where they do real in-depth, investigative reporting -- like NPR.


Canadian GP

This weekend is the Canadian Grand Prix at the Gilles Villenueve Circuit in Montreal. The McLaren team just completed a test session at Paul Ricard and feel confident going into Montreal.  McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh talked about the Canadian and United States races on Fox Sports web site.
"As both tracks have similar characteristics, dominated by long, fast straights and hard braking zones, we have been working through aero, set-up and brake work. "The adaptability of Paul Ricard has allowed us to simulate the conditions at the two North American races, and the aero testing has included the wing packages for the events," he added.
After last year I thought McLaren would be competing for the championship this year.  I want to like this team but they seem to take one step forward and two steps back.


Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix

John Frankenheimer’s classic auto racing movie Grand Prix is finally coming to DVD.

Warner Home Video will release John Frankenheimer’s ‘Grand Prix’ in the US on July 11, 2006 in a Two Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition.

When I was eight years old my Cub Scout troop went to see this movie in the theater. It had an incredible impact on my young psyche. Of course, I’ve been in love with auto racing ever since.

No matter how dysfunctional Formula One gets I’ll still be in love with it because of Grand Prix.


Written by Cicero

Section 1.10.32 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum", written by Cicero in 45 BC

"Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?

1914 translation by H. Rackham

"But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.

To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?"

Thanks to: http://www.lipsum.com/'


More LeMans News

The Audi Sport Team Joest cars have qualified 1-2 for this weekend’s LeMans 24-hour endurance race. The Pescarolo cars were close behind but couldn’t get within 2 seconds of the blistering pace set by the Audis.


LeMans News

Pescarollo and Audi have put in the best times during qualifying sessions. This from the official LeMans website.
The cloud cover made the circuit prematurely dark; the track was still very wet, the rooster-tails of spray showing up in the headlights of following cars. The rain had lessened and was much lighter than earlier.
 Here is the official entry list.

Renault Make a Mistake

Renault made a big mistake in re-signing Giancarlo Fisichella to a new contract for next year. Fisichella is too timid.

My dream team at Renault for 2007: Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Bourdais. Renault clearly has the fastest cars right now. They should also have the fastest drivers.

UN Secretary General Clinton

I got a telemarketing call from the National Rifle Association the other day. I know how I got on their list. They got my name from the state database of individuals with a concealed weapons permit.

After explaining that I have NO money to give them numerous times, the telemarketer had one final pitch. The NRA probably thinks it’s the greatest scare tactic of them all and I could see a lot of right-wingers thinking it’s a plausible scenario.

The telemarketer said that the U.N. wants to pass a law or rule that would take all the guns away from the citizens of the United States. She said that former president Bill Clinton was attempting to become the next U.N. Secretary General. She said that if former first lady Senator Hillary Clinton becomes the next president, then Bill Clinton as head of the U.N. would pass the law disarming all U.S. citizens and Hillary would somehow make it legal in the U.S.

What a delicious conspiracy theory! There’s so many people that hate the Clintons that I could see how that pitch would get to some right-wingers. The NRA probably gets a lot of donations from that  pitch.


Oh! Mellie!

I just found out that the last Olivia DeHaviland who played Melanie in Gone With the Wind  is still alive and will turn 90 on July 1.

Read this article from the AP and published in the Orlando Sentinel.

F1 Notes - Silverstone

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Here are a few random thoughts on F1.

Dispite Raikkonen's podium finish at Silverstone over the weekend, it looks like Kimi is simply "phoning it in".  The old drive and determination seem to be gone. Raikkonen hasn't announced where he will be next season, but everyone agrees that it's unlikely he will be with McLaren. Rumor: Montoya says he would drive for McLaren without pay next season.

 Apparently he hasn't gotten any good offers from other teams. I can't help but wonder whether Alonso is rethinking his decision to go to McLaren next year.

An empty seat at Renault leaves a place for Kimi. It would be interesting to see Kimi in the blue and yellow car next season! Schumacher still seems to have the old drive and competitiveness.  But it's looking less and less like he will be a contender for this year's championship.

At the beginning of the year I was thinking if Schumacher won the championship this year he would finally retire.  Now I'm not so sure. Not sure he will win and not sure he will retire.

It looks like Rubens Barrichello is doing better than Jenson Button at Honda.  I thought Rubens would be a washout. Now they need to overcome mechanical problems.

Next weekend begins one of the most significant motor races of the season, LeMans. I'll be watching and enjoying this classic contest.


First Post

It seems appropriate to make one of my first new blog posts about Formula One.  I've been a fan for years and while my interest has waxed and waned I still find myself strangely attracted to this European "sport".

This weekend finds our precious drivers contesting at the legendary track in Silverstone, England.  This used to be an old World War Two airbase where brave British flyboys would venture into the skys to defend their homeland against Messerschmitts and Folkkers.

It seems our two main contestants, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher represent a new European sport montage. A Spaniard driving for a French team versus a German driving for an Italian team. Both battling in Great Britain. Many teams are headquartered near Silverstone and sometimes team members complain about the weather.  Too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.  

Courtesy of Yahoo and senior meteorologist Martin Chuter, here is the weather forecast for this weekend at Silverstone.
Friday - A mild start to the day, but expect spells of very warm sunshine during the morning and afternoon. Little cloud, and dry, becoming hot by mid to late afternoon. Quite breezy, with south-easterly winds providing slight relief from the heat, with mean speeds of 14mph. Top ambient temperature 27C, 79F. Zero per cent risk of precipitation.

Saturday - Another dry and fine day expected. Very warm during the morning, becoming hot for the afternoon. Clear, blue skies, with lots of sunshine. Some patchy cloud developing, with moderate south-easterly winds, mean speeds reaching 17mph. Top ambient temperature 28C, 82F. Zero per cent risk of precipitation.

Sunday - the ambient temperature rises, along with the humidity, showers and thunderstorms are likely to break out across the Midlands. Isolated around midday, becoming more widespread later in the afternoon. Hazy sunshine mixed with a good deal of cloud. Lighter southerly breezes, mean speeds around 10mph. Top ambient temperature 29C, 84F. Forty per cent risk of precipitation.


Iraq Progress Report

Reason magazine has an excellent article entitled Iraq Progress Report - Advocates for liberty weigh in after three years HERE. Pundits answer three questions about Iraq at the three year mark.

1. Did you support the invasion of Iraq?
2. Have you changed your position?
3. What should the U.S. do in Iraq now?