When I was in high school there was a guy a year older than me named Matt. Matt was kind of the Iowa version of a good old boy. We were on the football team together. And when Matt got to laughing real hard it went .. He-huh, he-huh, he-huh. If you say "he" and "huh" real fast together you get the effect.
SO, whenever something really hits me as funny/ironic, I hear Matt laughing in my head. I also beer spew, but that's ANOTHER STORY. Pull up some super dark roast (cream is for the weak) and let's talk about a few Matt moments and other stuff ...
The deal is that IMS would "collect existing state sales, income and corporate taxes generated in an area that includes the IMS to help pay for the improvements." The Indy Star has it all here.
I can pretty much guarantee how you feel about this depends on how you feel about racing or maybe sports in general. On the one hand, why shouldn't IMS belly up to the public trough? You can't swing a dead cat in this country without hitting a stadium that's being funded by taxpayers to the tune of at least $200 million. Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indy, where the Colts play, was financed partly with taxpaper cash (per Wikipedia). So, from that perspective, it's nothing new, and you could plausibly argue it's "fair" that IMS gets it's turn at the teat.
Personally, I'm not necessarily angry about it. (My "teat" headline was a total Bleacher Report move to attract your clicks! Ha.) But then again I'm not a hard-core, GOVERNMENT SPENDING IS EVIL guy. Some is evil, some isn't. Government spending ALWAYS benefits someone and ALWAYS ends up in the economy. They don't burn the gubbment money, after all, a person eventually cashes those checks and they proceed to spend it on other stuff. The key consideration for me is Return on Investment (ROI), which always varies and is usually hard to track/document. Which is why I stay away from blanket statements re: use of taxpayer cash.
But for some of the harder-core brethren, this could be a quandary. The most ardent anti-spending people seem OK with street races, for example, which are virtually all subsidized by local taxpayers. Again, the pro/con street race fight always comes down to how much return that government subsidy generates. Proponents say $32 billion. Opponents say -$3.7 million -- and both claim to have numbers proving it.
Some others will be OK with the plan, as long as it's spent on stuff they approve of, and that's definitely NOT lights for IMS to accommodate a NASCAR race.
ANYWHO, the resulting debate will be interesting. There's no arguing that having IMS sitting in Speedway, Indiana, makes the town a crap-ton of money. Those 200,000-ish people who show up in May buy stuff, eat stuff, rent motel rooms, etc. etc., and real people profit from that money and in turn spend it on other stuff. The out-of-towners really benefit the community, because we're spending money there instead of elsewhere. (Here ends Econ 101.)
I think lights at IMS are a done deal. I just hope my peeps at MUSCO lighting in Oskaloosa, Iowa, get the contract. I also support a big facilities upgrade at IMS. It's historic and all, but you can improve stuff without sacrificing the historicness. I strongly support the new IMS regime's focus on improving facilities. The Star story above is also talking about facilities improvements helping IMS host more stuff. I'm for that as well. My first trip to IMS I thought "they only use this one time a year? Seriously?"
Again, the howl from change-adverse fans ... and they are legion ... will be interesting. If anything, I'm jealous because nobody is giving me a sales/property/income tax kickback. Now is the time to do this stuff, because IndyCar is down to the fans who will show up no matter what. They may complain, but they'll show up, especially for the Indy 500. Let the gnashing begin.
Danica Danica Danica --He-huh, he-huh, he-huh ... you just can't get enough of her, can ya? Judging by the media swarm I'd say no. (If so, you can skip this section and I won't be offended.)
Oh, you protest, but you read. My favorite moments so far have been around The Divorce, The Richard and The Super Bowl. First, The Divorce. Celebrity divorce: big news. But Danica's divorce was kind of vanilla. No recriminations or mess. Danica being very guarded about what she says. Soon-to-be ex Paul maintaining silent. No children involved. This is not Tom Cruise and Katie Holms by any stretch.
Of course every time a public document is filed with two words that are new: Festival of News Stories. Like this one from when Danica filed court-required documents and called her marriage "irretrievably broken." Pretty sure that was an acceptable court-speak reason for a divorce so that's what they put in that blank. About 97 stories later everyone was aware. But we don't care about Danica!
My view is Danica's marital status is legitimately NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Danica and I aren't close friends and definitely not family, so her marriage and sex life just aren't my business -- and I really don't want to know the details. This will strike some as a LIE, but my interest in Danica has never been sexually or physical-appearance motivated. Same for all the other female racers I follow. Remember, initially I was a Danica hater.
From what I know if it, this divorce does not indicate some concerning character flaw. Pretty garden-variety divorce here, so it's just NOMB. I hope both Paul and Danica come out of it OK, with no recriminations, and they both move on and be happy. Best wishes to everyone involved.
Then there was The Ricky. Danica and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are dating. Presses STOPPED! Festival of speculation as to what that will mean on the track. Pretty legit line of thought, I guess, but as with all things Danica the degree of scrutiny is exponentially more than anyone else. Expect the cameras to be ALL OVER THEM when they are the track. Seventeen stories to analyze a "knowing glance." Did they hold hands on the grid? If not, does that indicate THINGS HAVE COOLED?? Judas priest. Ricky is about to get a full-frontal dose of Danica Scrutiny. Poor bastard.
I've only talked to Ricky once. That was at Iowa Speedway last year. Seems like a regular guy. He gave me five minutes when he didn't have to. Dirt track background. Still has a dirt-track team (get Danica in a car, Ricky!). Big belt buckle. Cowboy hat. I think we look a little alike. Seriously. If I lost 40 pounds and 18 years (and my hair went brown again), we'd be brothers. Well not that much alike. But I think it's the forehead. Anyway, Ricky can drive a car, that is for sure, and he loves the crap out of Iowa Speedway. Just hope those crazy kids can figure out if it's working or not without the Danica Scrutiny screwing them up.
Finally, The Super Bowl. Danica was in two Super Bowl ads, and I'm sure you've seen them. Well, for some Danica can't walk across the street without spreading evil. I read one opinion piece that claimed, yet again, that Danica was holding back the cause of female racers by being associated with Go Daddy.
First point ... rubbish. The argument that female racers would be better off without Danica' Patrick's career is ludicrous. Ask random female drivers. They'll give you the good and bad of Danica. If anything, the fact that these other women are NOT Danica drives some level of their pub. Check the Facebook pages of non-Danica female drivers. Won't take long before you find one that says "hotter than Danica" or "better and hotter than Danica." There are more women in racing today than ever. I believe Danica has inspired legions of five-year-old girls to at least consider racing when they hadn't before. To an 8-year-old girl, Danica is just a "pretty girl who drives a race car."
Second point ... at least come up with something new. I've read the whole "Danica is damaging female racing" story at least 27 times. Same story, updated with new links. I rarely even read them any more. Only read this one because I saw it linked on a few Facebook pages.
Third point ... if Danica is bad, instead of investing your time, effort and column space in saying she's bad, maybe use that time, effort and column space to write about a female racer you think is good. I seriously Matt laugh (he-huh he-huh) when the big dog news sites act like they are POWERLESS to write about other women racers. "DAMMIT, DANICA HOGS ALL THE ATTENTION" writes big-deal sports guy ... in space he could have used to write about Johanna or Simona or Ashley or Colette or any of the racers HERE.
Here's the deal (in my opinion): Danica drives hits and comments. Hits = cash online. So people write about Danica because it makes the click counter rocket. So writing about how Danica gets too much attention and then cashing the check is ... at least disingenuous and at most hypocritical.
I write about Danica because I like her. She fascinates me. I think she has talent and is a trailblazer. I also write about other Women of pressdog®. Under every little picture here is original content I've written about that woman. If you want to hear less about Danica, stop reading everything that's posted about her. If you think other women should be promoted, do what you can to promote them. Simple.
Real quick: Blogger Night -- Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee held their annual Blogger Night on Feb. 7. I and many of the brethren bloggers each got five minutes to emote about whatever we want. It's a nice thing Curt and Kevin do for the bloggers every year and we all appreciate it. There were lots of good thoughts and interesting points made by everyone. Give the podcast a listen here or via iTunes. The lineup of bloggers and links to their sites is here.
I don't agree with all IndyCar bloggers but I appreciate opinions well expressed even if I don't agree with them. I also believe they all blog out of love of IndyCar racing. I and I can personally attest that they are not in it for the money, because blogging pays maybe 25 cents an hour. Maybe. My advice to current and aspiring bloggers is write about what you want to write about and keep doing it as long as it's fun.
Finally, Dead Man's Switch -- I'm reading a book right now by Tammy Kaehler called "Dead Man's Switch." The protagonist (heroine) is Kate Reilly, an ALMS driver. From Tammy's site :
The Kate Reilly Racing Mysteries take you inside the cockpit of a racecar to experience the sights, sounds, sensations, and emotions of racing at the edge. In Tammy's debut, Dead Man's Switch, Kate, an up and coming racecar driver, finds herself under suspicion for murder just as she hits the big time. The second book in the series, Braking Points, is available April 2nd. And future Kate Reilly Racing Mysteries will tackle other legendary racecars, tracks, and races, including Laguna Seca, Petit Le Mans, and the 24 Hours of Daytona.
It's really quite well written. "Good at the sentence level" as my friend the English Ph.D would say, and I like Kate Reilly. Very Woman of pressdog-esque. She's not a Danica character, more of a Pippa Mann/Simona De Silvestro/Katherine Legge. I'm about three quarters through it and it's better than some of the "big publishing house" mysteries I've read recently and like it enough to recommend you support Tammy by buying a copy. (Go to her site for links to where to buy.) I'll pop off a bit of a review when I get done. If you're a fan twisty racing and women drivers, give it a read. It does a really good job of giving you insight into what happens off the track.
That'll do, pig (Babe reference!). Gotta go. Day job awaits (even on Saturday). Thanks for reading. Oh, and thanks for the birthday greetings. I turned 49 on February 7. WHAM. DRINK, ye BASTARDS.