Saturday, May 29, 2010

On to serious matters

Godfrey's Legacy. The run of modern television talent shows such as the Radio Television Luxembourg Idols and Got Talent franchises, along with the Dick Clark Productions' So You Think You Can Dance franchise reminds me that talent shows have been on the air for a long time. Lipton Presents Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (1948-58 on television) was one of the first well-known talent shows, and I could not believe the number of stars who made it from either radio or television. America saw the genre of a popular form of "gospel" music in Tennessee (known now as "Southern Gospel") in its purest form with the four-part harmonies and a pianist through the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, then consisting of James Blackwood (lead), his nephew R. W. Blackwood (baritone), Bill Lyles (bass), Bill Shaw (tenor), and Jackie Marshall (piano), won the June 14, 1954 episode of Talent Scouts.

Two weeks later, tragedy struck as an aircraft piloted by R. W. Blackwood with Lyles, and a promoter's son, crashed. All three died. The group soldiered through the crisis until it ended at the turn of the century, but was reformed by James Blackwood's sons.

More Gill Agenda. President Obama is bullying his Department of Defense to impose rules that favour people who suffer from a psychiatric disorder at the expense of opponents of his anti-family agenda. Why in the world are we changing our military from a toughman to a weak-kneed social engineering order to appease the Tim Gill agenda? Why does this Congress think it's more important to appease making this military a social engineering project to destroy morale? Using the military to force the Gill Agenda down our throats is a way to show who has the power, and sadly, we are violating Leviticus 18:22, Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Destroying our military to appease a tiny minority of loud sexual deviants is senseless. Making God's Word a federal crime (as in Shepard-Byrd) is more outrageous. Are we headed to employment standards based on them?

Carburetion Day. Friday was Carburetion Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and in this decade, we've seen the track change the day from Thursday to Friday as history was made with Briton Pippa Mann the first woman to win a pole in the 101 years of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as she scored pole for the Firestone Freedom 100 Indy Lights race. The Freedom 100, started in 2003, has moved from second-week qualifying to Carburetion Day, making the final practice at Indy a full day of activity, with the 40-lap Indy Lights race, final Indy 500 practice, and the Pit Stop Competition. Can Mann make history over 40 laps, 120 turns at the Brickyard Friday?

Pit Stop Contests. With Friday's Indy 500 Pit Stop contest, the issue could unfortunately be how it's the last "pure" pit stop contest left, with NASCAR's pit contest, originally held in a late-season race at Rockingham, discontinued after that race was discontinued after the 2003 season, and replaced in 2005 by the current contest at Time Warner Cable Arena. The current NASCAR contest splits the crew, where one jacks the car on both sides before running to the head of the arena, the front and rear tire changers do a full change on each side before reaching their car, and a fueler and catch-can man to dump two cans of water into a simulated fuel tank (for purposes of competition, it's water) before approaching their car for the trademark 40-yard push across the other end of the arena for the finish. The drivers are most often not even in the cars, usually having an engineer, public relations manager, or their wives in the car for the contest as a weight-saver since the contest is purely athletic and rain or shine, meaning weather will not delay this Wednesday evening contest held indoors.

The Indy pit contest resembles a true "drag race" pit contest, with one car on the actual pit wall and another in a makeshift pit stall. The drivers are in the cars and fire the engines. When the signal is given, the teams perform a full pit stop (with simulated fuel gauges being used). Time ends when the driver lunges his car across the finish line. And unlike the Charlotte contest, this contest cannot be held in the rain.

Last year's Indy pit stop challenge ended with 7.962 seconds for the full pit stop for Hélio Castroneves and the Verizon/Mobil 1 Penske team, while last year's NASCAR contest had Kim Burton (in her husband Jeff's car; even the name on the roof was hers, while Jeff sat with his crew chief to cheer the team) in the "push car" for the Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing team for 22.115 seconds (with the 120-foot push). This year's NASCAR challenge had Jordan Fish (in her boyfriend Denny Hamlin's car) in the push car for the FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing winning the final in 23.132 seconds. Who will take the Indy pit crown?

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