Thursday, October 16, 2014

Alice Cooper 'Lace And Whiskey'

I didn’t get to see any of the race from Charlotte Motor Speedway last Saturday night. I had my own drama dealing with two rooms full of kids, personality issues, a crazy sister, and an auto accident involving one of the HeroClix Madness tournament players.

Everything turned out okay for the folks racing in Charlotte and the players in the HeroClix tournament. Although, I’m sure someone’s insurance rates will start putting the squeeze on the family of the relatively new driver. Thankfully, she’s okay.

I was listening to the race on 600 WSJS while driving through three counties. In between the post-tournament chatter, I could tell that the race was exciting. After the final caution, I had to crank up the radio and put the brakes on the chatter. I was one big ear listening to the race that I wished I was watching. Cars were hitting the walls. Drivers were jockeying for position trying to win one in order to move onto the next elimination round.

And that’s the deal.

You win and you move on EVEN if you’re dead last in the points with that group of elimination round drivers. And the last race comes down to four drivers. The Sprint Cup Champion can be determined by points OR a win among those four drivers.

Is it gimmicky?

You bet it is! And here’s what I like about it…

If you won a race during the regular season, you were in the Chase. You had a shot at the Championship. It gave my current fave AJ Allmendinger and Aric Almirola from underfunded and under performing teams a shot at some big cash and a possible Championship.

What’s not to love about that?

Allmendinger was the only Chaser from a one car race team.

So back to the race at Charlotte…

Drivers were aching for the win! Joey Logano got the first win in that elimination round at Kansas so he could rest a little easier at Charlotte and Talladega. The other 11 Chase drivers wanted that win in Charlotte real bad so they could relax at Talladega. At Talladega ANYTHING can happen and ANYONE can win.

Drivers were aggressive at Charlotte. They were beating and banging on a mile and a half track. Kevin Harvick scored the win and put himself into the next round of the Sprint Cup Chase.

After the race, Brad Keselowski let his displeasure known to other drivers. He even did a burnout in the garage. And once everyone was out of their cars, mild-mannered Matt Kenseth went after Keselowski with a headlock and “word of prayer”.

Drivers were HOT! Drivers were passionate. And we fans LOVE IT!

Again, it’s gimmicky but something had to give. NASCAR racing seems to be the same ol' same ol’ week in and week out.

“Oh look… They’re racing on a cookie-cutter. Wow. The same drivers keep winning those cookie-cutters. How exciting… Zzzzzzz”

Ratings and attendance continue to go down even with the last race in Charlotte. And that race turned out to have a ton of excitement on and off the track.

And they’re racing this weekend at Talladega and I cannot wait!

10 drivers have one more shot at winning and moving onto the next elimination round. And the other 33 drivers have a shot at winning. From the underfunded one car team that doesn’t compete in all the races to the 3 or 4 car teams that stick it out all 36 races.

I’m going to give you this guarantee… The last 30 laps will be nail-biting and exciting no matter who your favorite driver is. Or hell, even if you’re not a fan of NASCAR racing you will find those last 30 laps just as exciting. We could witness half the field being caught in the “Big One” and taken out of contention. We could see a first time winner. We could see the biggest underdog take the checkered flag. We could see cars flying and flipping through the air. We might even see another drunken dumbass fan sitting atop the catch fence bringing out a caution.
The bottom line… This Chase for the Sprint Cup is exciting. It’s livened up a sport that has abandoned its Southern fans for the pursuit of bigger markets and making cookie-cutter tracks that provide nothing but boring races.

There are lots of fans that don’t care for the Chase at all. But I gotta tell ya… I am LOVING this elimination thing gimmicky or not.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Django Django

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.

I love that I can reconnect with friends that I’ve lost track of during the years. I love that I can post the silly thoughts that pop into my head. I love that I can live vicariously through someone’s vacation or event pictures like concerts. I love that I can keep track of my relatives and with what’s going on in their lives. I love writing stupid comments on the local television news postings. I love seeing the pets of my friends. I love that most people see social media as a fun place with tidbits of information.

Thank goodness there’s a lot for me to love. But on the other hand…

I don’t like seeing people constantly moaning and bitching about something that went wrong in their day. How it’s the norm for their lives. It’s one thing to inform everyone about a health issue, but stupid stuff like every day setbacks don’t really call for Eeyore to grab a bullhorn for a blast of negativity. I’ve seen people post things about doing good and remaining positive only to counter that posting a few hours later with a negative blast about their ex or how the Universe won’t allow them to be happy.

I’m starting to dislike the religious postings where they’re convinced that Christianity is under attack because they believe some talking head on some agenda driven website or some broadcast network. I used to find them amusing, but the lack of actual information being tossed around in those postings alarms me. A&E and even the NFL have become fodder for this ridiculous movement on social media. I’ve even jumped into a friend’s discussion only to be insulted by someone fighting and making a stand for Christianity. I guess when you refuse to face the real facts you must do what Jesus would do… Call someone an idiot. I’m too lazy to look up the actual verse, but I think it’s in the Book of Matthew somewhere.

If you disagree and try to present actual facts, you’re labeled a liberal or even worse… Someone that voted for Obama. For some reason, Christianity goes hand in hand with propagandist right wing media.

And for the record, I haven’t seen any Jehoviah Witnesses, Catholics, Episcopalians, or Mormons jumping on that band wagon. But according to my Southern Baptist upbringing, those cats are wrong and they’re all going to Hell anyway.

I’m not attacking. I’m using my experience of growing up for 18 years in a Southern Baptist church. I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve heard about other Christians being wrong and bound for Hell.

I also don’t care for the “I’m so happy in my relationship that I must post daily about my undying love and affection”.

Shut. Up. Who really wants to hear that every day?

It’s the opposite of the Eeyore types and that bothers me as well.

First thought that comes to me… Yeah, who are you trying to convince?

Second thought that comes to mind… Was everyone in your past that big of a douche that when someone comes along and treats you better you must constantly rave about them on social media?

“My husband brought an iced tea to work just for me. I love that man! He’s the greatest in the world. Birds fly above him chirping away as my heart sings.”

Are they posting for the benefit of their partner? Does the partner need some sort of validation or reassurance?

Third thought that comes to mind… Must you be so damn open with everything?

And oddly, those are the types that post lots of their doings on social media and yet have a problem with adding Netflix to their Facebook because they don’t want everyone to see what they’ve been watching.

I don’t get it. But I have blocked those types from popping up in my newsfeed. I just don’t care for candy-coated turds looking for some kind of weird approval about their relationship. Just limit that brand of affection to birthday and anniversaries please. I have never been a fan of the PDA (Public Display of Affection).

Then there’s the selfie types that must post pictures of themselves daily. I don’t like those either… Unless they’re selfies of attractive women. And the more cleavage the better.

Hey, I’m fueled by testosterone and these are MY likes and dislikes.

The vaping selfies are the most peculiar to me.

There’s the constant political poster. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle they're on, they have an ax to grind. And grinding that ax in public will eventually cause someone to stop in their tracks and realize they’re on the wrong path.

Uh-Huh.

I must stay away from those types. I’m a Libertarian and that means the left and right hate my opinions. So I’ve gotten in the habit of blocking those people so I don’t get involved. It benefits no one really.

And finally, there’s the excessive hashtaggers. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook they must hashtag every possible word in the posting. #YouKnow #What #IAm #TalkingAbout #?

The rule is – limit yourself to three hashtags per posting. The rule is about eliminating social media eyesores. But I say nothing with the hopes that they’ll eventually find out some information about proper hashtagging.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these?

Leave a comment and exorcise your discontent. I promise not to call you names or insult you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tool 'Undertow'


I want to write about something close and dear to my heart. One of the things that keep me hoping for another day on this earth… Television.

Say what you want about wasting my life sitting and watching some fictional world unfold in front of me. I don’t care. If you’re an avid reader, then you really have no argument. You’re just as bad. Just because you read and visualize the words in your head doesn’t allow you to mount some high horse.

I don’t care for the average ilk that’s offered by the major over-the-air networks. That’s easily digestible crap for the masses. They don’t offer much in the lines of making the viewer think and dissect the story lines for insight or predictions. Like I’ve said many times… If you’re gonna waste your time watching television, make it quality television.

I’d like to write about binge watching.

I don’t like to do it, but sometimes it’s an unnecessary evil.

And then there’s the revisit binge watch. I recently did that with all four seasons of the great and mostly forgotten ‘Newhart’ series. I haven’t seen most of those episodes for something like twenty years. ‘Newhart’ was the ‘Green Acres’ of its time. It was doing well in syndication until a juggernaut by the name of ‘Seinfeld’ knocked it to the side. ‘Newhart’ was cast to the ditch like syndication road kill. And that’s really too bad. The comedy was top notch and still gets me laughing today.

I found myself doing a little binge watching the other day. The Chigger was camping out with friends and family this weekend at a bluegrass festival in Denton, NC. I opted out of it because for one thing, I DON’T CAMP. And the one day pass for a show was $40 was the other reason. I can easily fork over that kinda chunk for a rock/hard rock day, but listening to bluegrass all day would cause me to have a “Sheer Heart Attack”.

That’s a Queen reference for those of you that do not know.

Don’t get me wrong, I like bluegrass. I just can’t take 23 hours of it out of my day.

So with Chigs gone, I did a little binge watching to catch up on some of our shows. I’m up to date on ‘Under The Dome’, which is quickly losing my interest. It’s turning into the usual fare that Stephen King has been offering since the novel ‘It’. His sci-fi stuff starts off interesting enough, but then it become tedious, boring, and you just want it over with.

Then I attacked a candidate for one of my “Best New Shows of 2014” for The Less Desirables podcast… ‘The Strain’. I didn’t get caught up yet, but I’m totally digging their take on vampires. It remains mostly true to common lure and they’re not flying thru treetops or glistening in sunlight in the pursuit of teenage love.

I still have ‘Ray Donovan’, ‘Masters Of Sex’, ‘Dallas’, and ‘Hell On Wheels’ to catch up on. I’m becoming tired of ‘Ray Donovan’. I’ve been saving ‘Dallas’ and ‘Hell On Wheels’ for time with Chigger. We’re not that far behind on the latter. Only two episodes, I think.

I understand the binge watcher. Hell, Chigger could binge watch the for unlawful carnal knowledge out of ‘Orange Is The New Black’. I just like a steady rotation to work my gray matter in trying to remember story lines. I try to keep my mind sharp by working it instead of vege’ing out on one series.

But I do have a dilemma… The 2004 reboot of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ is about to come to an end on Netflix. I saw them as they all aired, but Chigger is just now watching this great series. So I must try to tie her down to a couch and send her kids out to the movies in order to finish the series with her. We have two seasons and two episodes left. It’s a tall order with her, but I think it’s something we can achieve if we put her mind to it.

Are you a binge watcher? What series really make you a couch potato?

Feel free to leave your comments.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Aerosmith 'Live Bootleg'


Do you watch any kind of morning television?

I really don’t, but when I’m at work we have a TV on all the time. We have three of them running all constantly in the Newsroom.

I’ve always wanted a wall of televisions in my home, but it seems expensive, distracting, and downright dumb to me now. But if I were a sports person or really into adult video, I can see the advantages of having multiple screens mounted to the wall.

But I digress…

I guess it’s part of the Today show... Kathie Lee and Hoda are on NBC. It seems to be at 30 Rockefeller with tourists peering into windows and standing on the streets holding signs desperate for attention. And there’s one segment of the folks gathered there that I don’t understand.

The woman that want to be “ambushed” and “made over”.

First of all, it’s not an ambush if you know the day or time women will be “made over”.

These women of not-so-attractive America descend onto the Big Apple in hopes that they’ll be made up and become “desirable”. I suppose that’s the deal. I really haven’t seen any of the men in their lives pop a woody right there on live TV yet. But I think that’s the deal.

They stand around with cute and festive signs that say anything except “I’m hideous. Please help me” or “I can no longer fire up my husband’s erection” or “Take my wife, please!”.

The first thing they do in the makeover, and here’s a hint for you ladies desiring such a thing, is cut the hair. I’ve seen no difference when it comes to length. They’re going to take at least 2 inches off. So if you’re sporting a “Dutch Boy” you may come out looking like GI Jane.

It’s the predictable thing they do. Well, besides slapping makeup on them as if they’re painting up a racecar to sear the retinas. Rouge and false eye lashes are the most noticeable tools of this makeover trade.

The other thing they do is give them a new outfit with a pair of shoes. Which, I suppose, is the nice thing to do when completing the unsightly to somewhat attractive metamorphosis.

So they “pretty up” these women and present them to the friends and family that are blindfolded for the viewing audience at home. The ugly duckling is tossed out onto the stage, the family pulls off the blindfold, and then it’s time for gasps and tears of joy. I’m still holding out for a husband that’s gotten used to his homely wife pitching a tent on live television, but it’s mainly a look that says… “Great. I must look excited. The bitch needs validation.”

The kids are often excited, but then again most kids lose their bowel stuffing when clowns appear.

The lady friends that go with them act about the same way. Knees buckle, hands go to the wide-open mouth, and their eyes make water.

THEN, as if that wasn’t entertaining enough, the newly “whored-up” woman is told to look in the mirror for the first viewing of her transformed self. And the response is always the same. There’s a look of happiness, joy, and disbelief. I like the ones so overcame with something that they start fanning themselves. I don’t even have the volume up on the television and that manages to crack me up every time.

So why do these women subject themselves to this type of thing?

I just don’t get it. I suppose it’s the “Cinderella” type of thing. Just once I’d like to see a woman start rubbing up against Al Roker while some Motley Crue song is cranked up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I seem well rested after a summer full of 6 day work weeks. The racing at Bowman Gray Stadium will not roar to life again until the last Saturday in April. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed just about every minute of covering the action at The Madhouse. But when this Jack gets all work and no down time, he gets punchy and irritable. And I’m not easy to deal with after 17 long workweeks in succession.

The week after race season, I spent it with people celebrating a family member’s birthday. So there wasn’t a whole lot of down time for me during my first 3 day weekend since July 4th. The two weeks after that Labor Day weekend, I found plenty of time out of commission. I’ve even come around to the idea of sitting around outside with adult beverages hanging with friends and my Ion Bluetooth Tailgater. So the idea sitting around a fire pit pumping out some MP3s with a little bit of conversation has finally awakened the nature lover in me.

So now I’m back to get this award-winning blog of mine into shape. And it’s time to talk about another one of my loves… Television.

Right off the bat, let me say that this Fall season really doesn’t excite me like the years past. There are only two shows that I care about seeing… Gotham and The Flash. So I’m fairly indifferent.

I’ve even had a difficult time coming up with my ‘Best New Shows of 2014’ for The Less Desirables podcast. I’ve got four lined up so far, but a couple of them really aren’t as strong as I’d like. But I have to choose from what I’ve got to work with, right?

There are only 2 so far this year that has wowed me and keeps me wanting more. I’d share them with you, but I have to wait and stretch it out for the last 5 weeks on the podcast.

When I was a kid, I would study and get to know the TV Guide every week. I was the first to touch it when it arrived and the last one to send it to the landfill. I planned and plotted my viewing. I nearly memorized the schedule of the three networks. Due to my requirement to attend church, Wednesday and Sunday night viewing was exotic and rare. I never knew the joy of Eight Is Enough or The Greatest American Hero. And I would have to rush my parents home after Sunday evening service to see a few minutes of 60 Minutes or Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. I lived through the dark period before VCRs and DVRs.

I hope to find a few surprises this Fall television season, but the big over-the-air networks often leave me disappointed. The cable channels like FX and streaming services like Netflix is where it’s at. Oh sure, Netflix has had some disappointing programs like Hemlock Grove and BoJack Horseman but overall they provide some great original series. I’m looking forward to the return of Lilyhammer along with some of the new Marvel Universe fare.

Is there anything that has you geared up and ready for a new series?