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Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

The Weekend that Wasn’t. A Rant for Race Fans.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 21, 2011

Now that the snow has melted and there is this big ball of brightness in the sky, Little Man wakes up every weekend and asks what race is on today.  This weekend was the 12 Hours of Sebring, the start of the American Le Mans series.  The both of us were pretty excited about this.  That was until I found out that I would not be able to watch it on TV.  After finding out from the boys over at Speed:Sport:Life that the race kicked off at 10:30, I went to the cable guide to see what channel it would be on, with the first thought being SPEED. Nothing. OK, maybe they will have it on later in the day since Chop, Cut, Rebuild is must see TV for a Saturday morning.  Wrong again.  I looked over the guide for the entire day only to find a crap ton of NASCAR reruns and reality TV.  I was upset to say the least.  The only way to catch this American race classic was to either have an XBox or log on to the interwebs and hope my cable company would let me watch ESPN3.com.  In the words of Little Man: “Whaaaat? We can’t watch the race on TV? That’s just not right.”  My thoughts exactly.

What the hell has become of American motor sports lately?  During the weekend of the 24 Hour of Daytona, I sat at home on Friday, working of course, but thought I would turn on the ole’ TV and catch the Continental Tire Challenge support race.  I later found out that I would have to wait till the following weekend to watch that.  What I want to know is why, with all these series out there,  the only time we as race fans can watch them is a week or two later.  Ever since Fox took over the SPEED channel, the ability to watch racing in general has gone down the tubes.  Series like the SPEED World Challenge and the Trans Am series are a mere shadow of their former selves.  I get that NASCAR is popular. It is hard not to go anywhere and see something NASCAR associated.  Its kind of hard to miss when it is on every weekend, all weekend from February to November, with only a few weeks off in between.  Maybe it is just me, but the thrill of watching 30 some cars chase each other in a oval for four to five hours every weekend does nothing for me.  I can sit through about 20 laps or so, then by the fourth caution, I am done.  What I want to see are cars battling it out in the corners and are not trying to be something they are not.  As well, not a reality show that is a marriage of America’s Got Talent and a late night at Walmart. Reality TV was cool, ten years ago.  Now it is overwhelming.  Same with news and analysis.  How many ways can we pick apart the race weekend.

When I moved out on my own and got a real cable company that had the SPEED channel, there was racing on all day almost everyday.  I loved it.  I was able to see cars of every make and model battle it out.  Many of the drivers we watch today were just getting their start, and there I was watching them take their rookie knocks.  There were even hours devoted to the series in Europe.  Even a little sprinkle of rally tossed in for good measure.  Is the channel whose sole purpose was to showcase racing now gone the way of MTV?  Well there is SPEED2.  This on-line network looks great but unless you have Time-Warner cable, go put your hopes and dreams back to bed.

One of these days I will be able to give Little Man a good answer as to what race is going to be on. Thankfully Formula One is just days away. If that gets pushed to the side for something else, people better start running cause it will get ugly.  Maybe one of these days I will scrap my already perfectly good TV and go with something Internet capable so we can go on-line and watch TV.  Personally that sounds a bit moronic to me.  Why should I go to the Internet to watch television? I thought that is why I have cable.  Maybe I should bite the bullet and get a dish and hope to hell the wind is calm and there are not any storms in the tri-state area.  That could work.

I just want someone to tell my why.  Is that so hard? I have heard the same argument about money and rights from both sides.  Quit the finger pointing, it is not working and fans are leaving.  In fact, I am point a finger myself, but it is not my index finger.

I am not trying to single out NASCAR in this rant of mine.  But it should be easy to see why someone who is not a big fan of the series can get a little bent when it is shoved into his face at every corner.  Some of those guys may want to take some acting lessons as well, they are making dumb commercials even worse.


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Stupid Horsepower

Posted by Bill Prosperi on December 10, 2010

I saw a van last night (this was not it) that made me think of the days when I was involved in the flooring industry.  I met a lot of nice people and also a lot of really really dumb people.  One of the more annoying things to see was these particular citizens cry about how they did not have two pennies to rub together yet they had THE van.  No, they were not driving Honda Odysseys. (That is for us cool, kick ass parents.)

Everyone in this particular industry had some kind of work vehicle. Most of those were vans that had seen better days. Much better days. Most of the more intelligent (I use this loosely) contractors would use said van to haul their tools and other materials.  Others felt the need to get to the job site really really fast.  When you are carrying half a ton of tools and flooring materials, how fast does one truly need to go? Stopping might become an issue. Just maybe. None of them could give a straight answer as to why they needed a van that could kick serious ass in the quarter mile.  They would come in to the store that I worked at and brag about what was added here and there to boost performance.  ‘But will it ever see the strip?’ I would ask.  ‘It’s a work van, why would I do that!’ was always the answer.

While I enjoy lots of horsepower, does one truly need to go excessive for no reason.  Every time I read about the Bugatti Veyron, I think of these guys having something with enough power to rip the tail off a Diplodocus but never have a need for it. Just the ability to say they do.  Do not misjudge me. A super car with 1000 + hp that uses it correctly is a beautiful thing.  A van that is meant to haul 600 square foot of hardwood and the tools needed to install it, not so much.  It is still boggles my mind that they have no idea why they could not make a decent living while others managed to.

Oh, the van I saw. It was a GMC Safari that looked like it was hit by the van pictured above.  But it did have a sweet exhaust and lots of cool stickers.

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Its Monaco Time!!!!! #F1

Posted by Bill Prosperi on May 11, 2010

Now that Formula One is fully into the season and they are back running around terrorizing the villagers in Europe, one of the ultimate races is here, Monaco.  Something draws me to this race like no other. Not sure what it is but it is probably my favorite race of the year.  I know that passing is at its least and who ever is on pole will have the best chance of winning but then I think it is the sights and sounds that draw me in. Nothing like the surround sound going as they rocket through the tunnel. I just got chills up my spine thinking about it.

So with that said, lets talk about the sounds.  The sounds of the drivers pissing and moaning about the back-markers.  At first, I was with the them on this, thinking that the slower drivers would cause issues during qualifying. Then I thought about it.  These slower cars will be out my Q1 anyway.  If you get off your duff and get out there, get your hot lap in, what is there to worry about. If they do slow you up, then it looks like you might actually have to race your way around the Principality to improve your positioning for the finish.  That is what you are paid for right?

Once again, the top teams need something to grumble about.  I will give the top teams a small break.  I have seen some things from the slower teams that really make me wonder.  For example, Lewis Hamilton coming out of the pits and battling for position with Vettle.  I am not sure who the driver was but kindly got out of Vettle’s way right into the pit exit where Hamilton was desperately trying to gain the position on Vettle. Almost took all three of them out.  Maybe try talking to these teams in the Driver’s Meetings about this stuff.  Especially since some of them have little to no experience in F1.  Remember guys, there was a time where most of you were in the cockpit of one of these slower cars trying like mad to just finish the race.  Do us all a favor and stop the belly aching.  Get out there and prove to us you can race.

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Which lane will it be….

Posted by Bill Prosperi on May 7, 2010

The other day at lunch with my co-workers, Don (@don_zielke follow him!)  and Derek, we started to talking about the ‘special’ drivers that grace our road ways.  I made a few comments and I apologize for those. But any way…..

The day before, while on my way home I had the joy of playing Frogger with a guy, obviously compensating, in an F150 while he decided to carry on a conversation on his phone while he enjoyed the scenery.  It was I-71 North in Columbus, Ohio, north of the Fairgrounds.  There is not much scenery to enjoy.  I know, I drive it 4 days a week, and almost every time I want to kiss the driveway when I get home.

I enjoy driving.  I do not enjoy having to watch out for my life.  During this discussion, the idea was brought up that the road way be divided up into lanes depending on the driver’s abilities.  I know that this will infringe on someone’s right to drive but last I looked, a drivers license was not guaranteed in the Constitution. Go ahead, check and let me know if I missed something.  I really don’t care about your feelings on this one.  I care about making it home in one piece.

Since some other places in the world have figured things out and have a tiered system for their driver’s licenses, we will do something similar.  We will actually go one step further, cause that is what we do.  Your tier will determine what lane you get to drive in.  That’s right, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Interstate System.

We will have a Left lane, Center lane, and a Right lane, just like normal. Don’t want to confuse too many people.  For the Left lane, I thought about giving this to the slow but safe drivers since they are always there anyway but decided to give them the center lane. They deserve it since they are not truly hurting anyone, just annoying us as they drive way below the legal limit.  If they were to have the Left lane, there is the chance that they could get squished as they merge into faster traffic. We do not want that.  The Left lane will be given to those of us that know what we are doing and pay attention while we drive, well aware of the world around us.  Those two were easy.

Finally, the Right lane.  I struggled with this some but decided to give it to those that think they are the only ones who exist on the road.  The main reason, it puts them closer to the exit ramps.  One knows that they are going to wait until the last possible second to take the exit anyway.  Also, we do not want them to attempt cutting through traffic while talking on their phone and playing a game on their new iPad.  We do not want them to miss out on their new high score for Zombie Cats from Outer Space while finding out what a jerk Robbie is or what a << explicative>> Jenny is.  And heaven forbid they not be able to update their Facebook status to let their friends know they are on they way and just took the 161 exit and will be there in just a few.  While I love technology, there is a time and a place for it.  Doing 80 mph down the Interstate is not it.

I know the three of us are not the only ones who think this and I know in reality this would not work out well.  But one has to admit, it is a good idea, yes?

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How Many More Bites….?

Posted by Bill Prosperi on April 17, 2010

As with any of you that are parents, especially of younger children, dinner time can be a real joy.  And I say that with the deepest of sarcasm.  Every night we sit to dinner and my Wife and I hope like hell that these two wonderful children of ours will just sit down, shut up, and eat.  And eat within a reasonable time frame.  Rarely if ever happens.

With warm weather upon us, all the kids in the neighborhood are constantly banging on our door for Little Man and Kid Kid to come out and play.   We nicely tell the kids that they are eating dinner and will be out soon.  Then 10 minutes later it is like the directions on a shampoo bottle: Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  “They are still not done yet?” No, no they are not.

Then we get the “how many more bites till we can be done?” Ugh.  That is when we reply: “Why don’t you just sit down, quit goofing around and eat. There is nothing else the rest of the nite.”

Where am I going with this.  To me it seems that too many people are just fine to ask “how many more bites till I am done” so they can just go on about their daily lives.  Then finish the day with nothing extra, a ‘dessert’ for instance.  Why be so complacent to do just what is needed so one could just get by?  Personally, I would ‘clean my plate’ so I could ask for seconds if I so desired.

Personally, I get bothered by those that seem so complacent but yet complain about their lot in life.  Ummmm…. If things are not good, you have the ability to make it better, you just have to have that desire. I enjoy how I get to hear and read this story almost every day.

For me, my lot in life right now is not the best but I know what I need to do to correct it.  I aim for that goal everyday and at least attempt to shoot higher so that I can get to that goal faster.  I have noticed a big improvement for my family and I over this time last year.  Even with the way things are now.  I refused to let things like this get to me.  When the lose of my job hit several years back, I never thought to ask: ‘how many more bites’ so I could just get to tomorrow.   I went after it so I could make sure I made it into the next week.

So if you think that things are rough for you and that you just need to accept it, step back for a minute and realize that there is someone who might be worse off but they are not willing to accept the hit.  Then think to yourself, ‘if they can do it, so can I’.  We need to stop with the ‘how many bites’ and move on to seconds so that eventually we can make it on to dessert.

Thank you for letting me empty my mind.  I promise not to do this often but when I do, you will know where to find it.


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