The end of SPEED

I have worked for SPEED on a contract basis for the last four years. Below is what I think is a pretty fitting tribute.

Speedsign

Dear SPEED Center friends and followers:
We are proud to have been your source for fun, entertaining and credible motor sports news and information for more than a decade.
Since 2002, the show has evolved both in presentation and title—SPEED News, The SPEED Report, SPEED Center—but the mission has been the same.
A variety of hosts, reporters and analysts have served as the faces of the efforts of a dedicated army of television production personnel in our Charlotte newsroom, studios and control rooms supplemented by the labors of field producers, videographers, technicians and reporters at race tracks across the country and around the world. All the while, operations, transmission and engineering workers connected the dots and put us on the air.
The real heroes are the racers and teams we have had the privilege to cover. Like them, we work weekends and make sacrifices performing jobs we love. However, we rarely put our lives on the line at high speeds while driving or riding wheel-to-wheel or bumper-to-bumper. Competitors created the action and drama that resulted in the stories we were able to show and tell, both on and off the track.
We have provided a window to history, witnessing excellence and exasperation, triumph and tragedy, elation and heartbreak—and all of the emotions of motor sport that burn deeply in our souls.
We are grateful for the opportunity to produce this show because we are also fans. Racing is our passion. We are part of a large racing family.
While we will miss bringing you SPEED Center, we understand that change is part of the television business and hope you will support the numerous live racing events and shows on FOX Sports 1 and watch highlights on FOX Sports Live.
Thank you for welcoming us into your homes and engaging us online in social media outlets.
The checkered flag has fallen on an awesome ride.

-Jim Chiappelli
Coordinating Producer/News Director
SPEED Center

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So long. Thanks for all the fish…


A long time ago, when the internet was just getting noticed by the great unwashed mass, the way you communicated through computers was with bulletin boards.

Wikipedia says it way better than I could:

A Bulletin Board System, or BBS, is a computer system running software that allows users to connect and log in to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, a user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users, either through email or in public message boards. Many BBSes also offer on-line games, in which users can compete with each other, and BBSes with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other more instantaneously.

Originally BBSes were accessed only over a phone line using a modem.

I was an avid member of many such BBSes, which had a “variety” of content. We will leave that right there. Asis.

I made friends with the owner/operator of one of these systems and we had long chats both on the board and and on the phone. He was an interesting guy and we liked each other.

He one time told me that he had to “take the board off the hook” for some maintenance. At that point he had several hundred incoming phone lines so it always struck me funny, that phrase.

Long story short here. I am taking this blog “off the hook” for a while.

Two reasons for this:

The amount of regular readers here, driven by Facebook postings mostly, is real small. No offense regular readers but you are not worth my time.

And… I need my time to be worth something. So I am going to spend at least the next month endeavoring to turn water into wine, a loaf of bread and a fish into a meal for thousands and…you get my drift.

Yesterday was the first time in over two years that I missed a daily update. The world did not come crashing down on my head. The sun came up this AM. I felt guilty but I will get over it.

I have already at this point cut back by 1/2 on these posts. Now I am going “off the hook” at least for the next month.

Thanks for all the comments, all the time you spent reading here (both of you) and I hope to see you back someday.

So…

So long. Thanks for all the fish.

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Adsuesco assuesco car buyer caveo

Used car buyer beware.

Not Don.

I am once more car shopping. The last time, for the long-suffering wife, took a human gestation period. It was at least as painful as well. But at least we got the car she wanted, although I am sure we paid too much.

Yesterday we went to look at a car about 25 miles from here. It was the make, model and year I had been researching and the right color too. It was not right for us, no fault of the dealer. What was the dealer’s fault was that the car was not ready to be shown, never mind bought.

I called the day before to announce our intentions. The chirpy receptionist answered with “Good morning! Blankity blank auto-dealerships. Are you calling about our used car buy back program?”

I replied, “No.”

Long ass silence. She was waiting for me to say something, that was clear. Me, I had all day.

Finally, “Umm…how can I help you?”

“I wanna buy a car.”

“Oh! I’ll, uh, get you a salesperson.” Like this had NEVER happened before.

We will call the salesperson “Don”, becasue that was his name. I told “Don” the lot number of the car and he put me on hold. He returned with the news that the car was on the front row of the lot by the road, I must have seen it there, right? No, Don, I am in another county and will drive up the next day to see it.

“What time will you be here?” he asked.

“What time do you work?” I asked back.

“9am to 8pm.” was his response.

I thought, golly, hell is a used car salesman’s life. We agreed on before noon. Plenty of time to get the car washed and prepped. But no.

Not only was it not washed, it was filthy, inside and out. Some sort of paper strips all over the seats, floor mats dirty, a mystery plastic “thing” laying in the center console.

And the windshield was cracked. Not only had no one even prepped the car, no one had even LOOKED at it.

I handed the plastic thing to Don. He looked at it like I had given him a dead rat.

“What did this come off from?” Don wanted to know. Kind of accusatory, he was. I told him and he handed it back to me without a word. OK…

We took the car out and the LSW HATED it. Since this was to be my car it was my choice. I didn’t like it either.

We agreed to take it back to Don and tell him it was underpowered for our needs and a bit small.

I walked in with the keys and the LSW to the showroom. Don came bounding up. Before he spoke I handed him the keys and said “We don’t like it, and the windshields cracked.” The LSW kicked me in the shins.

Don demurred, saying the windscreen was no problem, they could fix that. I have done this dance enough to know that anything you tell the salesman is wrong, is no problem, they can fix that.

“The engine caught on fire and fell out, Don.”

“No problem, we can fix that.”

It’s not the dealership’s fault or Don’s that we didn’t like the car. But, even though it was a used car, it was sticker-ed more than $20,000. In these marginal times I would think the prospect of selling something for that kind of money, coupled with the fact that I drove quite a ways to look at it, would have made Don wriggle with anticipation at a possible sale. We were the ONLY people on the lot.

Back to the drawing board.

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The Bark Side

This is hysterical. Almost as funny as the “Singing Dogs.”

On Wednesday Volkswagen of America began running a video meant to pique interest in its coming Super Bowl commercial for the 2012 Beetle. The Super Bowl commercial will tell a story about a determined dog and end with a homage to “Star Wars” and “The Force,” the Volkswagen Passat commercial from the 2011 Super Bowl that was the most-watched ad on YouTube last year, with more than 49 million views.
The teaser video, called “The Bark Side,” presents a canine chorus performing “The Imperial March” from the “Star Wars” films, which was also heard in the Passat commercial. The teaser was viewed 1.6 million times on youtube.com in the first 24 hours; by Monday afternoon, the total exceeded 7.3 million. The teaser also directs viewers to a section of the Volkswagen Web site, vw.com/star-wars-invite, where they can invite friends to Super Bowl parties with customized versions of the “Star Wars” opening title crawls.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/business/media/marketers-tease-super-bowl-commercials.html

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Tuesday Review – Dive!

Tuesday Review – Dive!

Dive!: Living Off America’s Waste (2010) NR

On Netflix streaming you find all sorts of treasures. This short documentary (54 minutes) is one of them.

In a frank and ungarnished style Director Jeremy Seifert ( also: Writer | Cinematographer | Producer | Editor) examines the issue of waste by big stores and gets into the dumpster diving lifestyle.
It’s not a polished big budget film by any stretch, but the material is compelling and the honesty and passion that Seifert brings to the task more than outweigh the faults.

The biggest thing that Seifert uncovers (no pun intended) is that the Big LA supermarkets literally waste thousands of dollars worth of perfectly good food on a daily basis. This in a world where too many go hungry. His attempts to get the corporate fat cats to at least let him take and distribute the food are met with if not resistance, then outright hostility. This in spite of federal regulation that makes it safe for them to donate the food.

It’s an eye-opening, impressive and sad bit of investigational film-work. It will never win any awards but it should be required viewing in big corporate food boardrooms. Fat chance.


www.divethefilm.com/

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Loser…

I’ve said it before and I am sticking by it. I am not a stick and ball sports fan.

My sports stink of petro-carbons and make more noise than all the fans in Gillette stadium did last night, when the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens. I love the smell of high-octane racing fuel in the morning.

But I am learning to enjoy the conflict between man vs man..at least in the playoff stage.

Other than an accident of birth in the Northeast I have no particular allegiance to the New England Patriots. Sure, I cheered them on big time when I was working in radio back there and they took on the Miami Dolphins in a bid for the Superbowl in 1985. The Pats lost the playoff game. It was a heart-breaker.

I also know a little about losing. I have lost a few times in my life. Radio ratings, which come out every three months, are fickle if nothing else. For most of my first career I lived and died by the ratings. It seemed that the losses were worse than the wins.

So I know how this guy feels.

It sucks, especially when you know it is really almost all your fault.

It’s a long walk to the showers.

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Sunday Wrap 1/16/11-1/121/11

The wrap-up for the week that was 1/16/11-1/21/11. A wish that we could all get along when we buy our Confederate flags, a look at a movie that I should have hated filled with sports statistics, A WEEKENDER column about the death of brick and mortar and hamburgers, another thrilling installment of Radio DaZe and the usual Saturday morning compendium of things too short to be a column. Hoorah for me as Calamity Jane would say. (It’s a Deadwood reference)

Monday 1/16/11

Blog Post Happy Martin Luther King Day, you’all

Tuesday 1/17/11

Blog Post Tuesday Review: Moneyball

Wednesday 1/18/11

Blog Post WEEKENDER Column: The center will not hold

Thursday 1/19/11

Blog Post Radio DaZe-The Wacky (Station) Wagon What you are looking at is an ancient station wagon, I think it was a Chevy, that Don and Mike, the owners of Wacky 102 had me fetch from North Carolina.

Friday 1/20/11

Blog Post It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye…

Saturday 1/21/11

Blog Post Aggregate Saturday: 1/21/11

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Aggregate Saturday: 1/21/11

Aggregate Saturday: 1/21/11


It’s SNOWING #$%@#.
-
Probably about 3 inches…first this year. I should not complain, but I will.
-
We did get hit worse in October. Next week seems like a warm up. The forecasters are calling it, heh, the January thaw.
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I am in the market for another car. The vehicle of choice is a Pontiac Vibe, to replace my aging Mitsubishi Outlander.
10 years ago I had full size Ford Explorers. Then two Mitsubishi Monteros (which they seem to have discontinued). Then the Outlander. Now, hopefully this Vibe. A downward progression in size to say the least.

-
Of course this means I have to do the “car buying” dance again…this time with a trade-in. And possibly two as I have resigned myself to say goodbye to the MG. It’s time for someone else to love her.
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I have been very slothful in 2012. Gym membership a waste of $ this year for sure. But the last few weeks it was SO cold at 5am. Very easy to say fugedabout it. Next week. Right.
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Watching “Justified” from the first season via Netflix discs.. Will catch up to the current season which I am comcasting (as opposed to TIVO’ing..same concept, different hardware). Always loved Elmore Leonard for his lean prose style (only Robert B. Parker was better) and this show is well done. Timothy Olyphant, who was a similar character in “Deadwood” is tremendous.
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Also “comcasted” “Alactraz’s” debut. Jury out on that one. Tries too hard. Needs stronger heroes. But the villains? So far so good. What they should do is use the villains to get a few real ringers in there. John C. McGinley, Danny Trejo, David Morse. Character actors. It could be great.
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Still snowing.
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3 days of work looming ahead of me. Still a somewhat reduced work-load as the motorsports seasons haven’t cranked up yet but the pace is quickening.
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LSW is off next week. It will be fun to spend my off days, my weekend, Tuesday and Thursday, with her.
-
Still snowing. Go away

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It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye…

This is all gonna end in tears…

Megaupload is an online Hong Kong–based company established in 2005 that ran a one-click hosting online service of the same name, along with its sister services. The site was shut down by the U.S. Justice Department on January 19, 2012, during an investigation into alleged copyright infringement, leading to what activist group Anonymous calls “the single largest Internet attack in its history”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/technology/megaupload-indictment-internet-piracy.html

In what the U.S. authorities have called one of the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have seized the Web site Megaupload and charged seven people connected with it with running an international enterprise based on Internet piracy.
Megaupload, one of the most popular so-called locker services on the Internet, allowed users to transfer large files like movies and music anonymously. Media companies have long accused it of abetting copyright infringement on a vast scale. In a grand jury indictment, Megaupload is accused of causing $500 million in damages to copyright owners and of making $175 million by selling ads and premium subscriptions.

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Radio DaZe-The Wacky (Station) Wagon

Radio DaZe-The Wacky (Station) Wagon

What you are looking at is an ancient station wagon, I think it was a Chevy, that Don and Mike, the owners of Wacky 102 had me fetch from North Carolina.

Don and Mike were the ultimate in “get er done” long before any comedian arrived on the scene. They were sometimes generous, mostly so cheap they squeaked and extremely wise in the ways of bizness. They were the ultimate in pragmatic and I learned lots about lots working for them.

They had a tendency to send you (meaning me) on “missions”, some pretty silly, some rather weird. One time I had to drive Mike’s 280 SL Mercedes Roadster from Springfield Mass to New Haven then rent a car to get back home. He wanted the car at the dock when he arrived in his cabin cruiser. He paid me well for a days work and I scammed a high end hotel room for the night. Room service, bring me another steak!

The mission in question was to go to their station in Greensboro North Carolina, pick up this station wagon with a trailer in tow and drive it back to Wacky 102 for use as a remote vehicle. I made them send me and the family to Disney World first and then fly me to the car.

The car was…well not a wreck but certainly not new. It was running OK and the GM of the station had serviced it and even got the AC running, sort of. You could run it on “low” for a while until the engine would overheat, then shut it off for a few hundred miles. It was the middle of summer. It was a HOT trip with my wife and young son with me, but after some adventures we made it.

The car was as plain vanilla as you could imagine. I found these far out van detailing guys, who for trade and for the on air exposure would do it up in album cover art. The pictures do not do it justice. It was amazing. I have No idea what became of it. It should have been in a museum.

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