by JD Doughty
posted Nov 17 2014 12:12AM
You know what's awesome? Potatoes. I'll admit it: I love potatoes. You can mash 'em, smash 'em, buy 'em and fry 'em, you can shake 'em and bake 'em any way you want to make 'em, you can peel 'em, make a meal of 'em, (just don't steal 'em), you can pepper and salt 'em, slice 'em or malt 'em (but I don't know why you'd want to), you can even julienne 'em. What does julienne mean? Who cares! Potatoes are my favorite vegetable!
posted Nov 12 2014 6:30PM
I recently bought an antenna for my TV at home. There were a lot of reasons why, but I'll be concise: I'm cheap. So I got it home and set it up. The reception is spotty, the selection of channels is pretty dismal, but overall I'm pretty satisfied with it. I do like the way it fizzes and fuzzes and crackles when the reception gets a little thin. That's a lot more exciting than how the old TVs worked, with the static and the picture rolling and yawing and such. Here's a pair of funny words: flutter and wow. Cheers.
posted Nov 10 2014 6:19PM
This isn't about the weather. Seriously. It's more about the effects of the weather. How serious are you about winter preparedness? I mean, do you go out and buy salt and shovels and whatnot when the weather is still nice? Or are you one of those who flock to the stores in a panic when snow is predicted? If you are, don't feel bad; I do the same thing, which makes it doubly sad that I'm talking about it here and I'll still probably do the same thing. Learn a lesson from me: don't hit the procrastinatorade (it's like haterade, but for procrastinators). Maybe I'll go to the hardware store tomorrow...yeah, tomorrow. Cheers.
posted Nov 5 2014 7:43PM
This is an ongoing series about racing fandom. You can read Part 1 here
and Part 2 here
When the 2001 Daytona 500 ended I was experiencing mixed emotions. On the bright side the winner, Michael Waltrip, drove for DEI. In fact, this race was his first in the #15 car. The second place finisher was Dale Earnhardt, Jr in the #8. So DEI finished one-two. For a while it appeared that Dale himself would take the third spot but he got into a wreck in the closing laps.
The accident itself didn't appear to be that serious. Just another unplanned meeting with a wall. Like most fans watching on TV I was caught up in the ending, with commentator Darrell Waltrip cheering his brother on to his first win, much as Ned Jarrett had "called his son home" when Dale Jarrett took the '93 Daytona 500. On that occasion, known forever after as the Dale and Dale show, Earnhardt came out on the losing end, another in the string of heartbreaking losses leading up to his great triumph in 1998.
So while this was not a victory for Dale himself, it was still a win for his team, with Mikey and Junior taking the top two spots. As for Dale himself, I figured he'd have a few choice words about his accident during the post-race coverage, even as he celebrated his team's victory. But time passed and there was no sign of him. It was puzzling. As the TV crew covered Waltrip in Victory Lane I fully expected Dale to show up to congratulate him, having by then had plenty of time to get himself checked out at the Infield Care Center.
Something was very, very wrong. It all culminated in a press conference with Mike Helton in which the announcement was made. For the rest of my life I will never forget that moment. Helton said, "This is undoubtedly one of the toughest announcements that I've ever personally had to make, but after the accident in turn four at the end of the Daytona 500, we've lost Dale Earnhardt." There was more but I didn't hear a word of it. Dale Earnhardt dead? It was inconcievable. Impossible. I turned off the TV, wondering if I would ever watch another race.
posted Nov 3 2014 7:19PM
This is an ongoing series about being a racing fan. You can check out Part 1 here
From there I was hooked. I watched NASCAR whenever I could and I always rooted for number 3. Earnhardt was exciting; when he was on the track you knew something
was going to happen. He might wreck or he might end up in victory lane. You never knew, but you didn't want to leave the TV for a snack or drink. You didn't want to change the channel to check the football score, you didn't want to miss a second of the action.
Over the years I followed Dale's career as he became one of the most successful drivers in motorsports. I cheered his wins and championships. I dropped to my knees in agony over his many near misses in the Daytona 500. That event, the first event of each season, came to resemble an insurmountable obstacle. It was the only major race he had yet to win, and the most confounding thing about it was that he had won many other races at Daytona. Perhaps it was the enormity of the event, or just a good long run of bad luck.
Whatever it was, that streak ended in 1998. Dale thoroughly dominated the 1998 Daytona 500. Not only did he lead the most laps, he nearly doubled the number of laps led by Jeff Gordon, who led the second most laps. But as we all knew, this meant nothing. All that mattered was the last lap. I remember literally sitting on the edge of my seat as the number 3 car, now sporting its iconic black paint scheme, crossed the start/finish line to the white flag. One lap left! Would he hang in there and bring it home? He did.
I have never been as excited about a sporting event as I was that day. I was jumping up and down and pumping my fist in the air and screaming at the top of my lungs. That's why I love racing. No other sport I know of can draw me in like that. It's just about the most exhilirating thing you can experience watching TV.
When it was announced prior to the 2001 season that all races on the schedule would be nationally televised I was ecstatic. As always, the first race of the season was the Daytona 500. I watched all the Speedweeks coverage I could, including the duel races. When the day of the 500 arrived, I was brimming with anticipation. Dale was 49 years old; he would be reaching the end of his career soon. I was hopeful that he would be able to add a few more wins and maybe even another championship to his resume before retiring from driving to run his own team at DEI.
When the green flag dropped on the 2001 Daytona 500 I was there on my couch, watching with a beer in my hand. At the time neither I nor anyone else knew this race would mark the end of an era.
posted Oct 30 2014 7:09PM
I've been a NASCAR fan as long as I can remember. When I was a little kid back in the early 80s I went with my dad to a menswear shop on Kensington Ave in Philly. Kensington Ave was like another planet to me. The El tracks run directly over the street, so it's dark there even on a cloudless mid-afternoon. It was surreal, although I didn't know the word for it at the time. Anyway one night I went with my dad to the menswear place. He usually took me along on errands and I went eagerly enough, although this trip didn't seem to be too thrilling, as all I'd be doing was watching him pick out ties and dress socks.
When we got there I saw a Wrangler display, which was odd enough in itself, since this was a menswear place specializing in suits and things like that. I don't even think they sold jeans. But there on the display were these football-type jerseys with the number 3. They were all identical, blue and yellow, and they had them in kid sizes. Even though I had no idea what they were for I pestered my dad to buy me one of the shirts. He did.
Some weeks later, my dad is watching the Winston Cup race on TV. This was a rare enough event in itself. In those days it was rare to see NASCAR on TV, especially in the northeast. I sat down to watch and noticed a car in the field with the same blue and yellow Wrangler paint scheme and number 3 as my shirt. The driver of that car seemed fearless. He banged into other cars, spun them out, did whatever necessary to win. I was impressed. That was my first exposure to Dale Earnhardt.