Saturday, February 18, 2006

Good Riddance

Apparently, today is the 5th anniversary of the death of one Dale Earnhardt, Sr. You know the guy. Hell, you can't go anywhere without seeing some form of #3 merchandise on someone's car, hat, shirt, anything. For some reason, this wee little man with a mustache was the most celebrated "athlete" in his "sport."

By the way, these "athletes" sit in a seat, push pedals with their feet, and turn a wheel.

And this "sport?" Go fast, turn left, repeat.

And then he plowed into a wall. No more Intimidator. No more hero.

Hero of a "sport" that calls disorganized crime it's father, and the bosom of redneck culture its mother.

NASCAR's roots are easily traceable. Let's go back to Prohibition. In the South, Moonshine was the answer to the Government's banning of alcohol. In order to distribute the Shine, hillbillies souped up their cars, pushing the limits of the vehicles of the day in order to outrun the cops. They became known as Shine Runners.

Unsurprisingly, since rednecks are often the center of their own individual universes, boasting began over who's shine hauler was the bee's knees, and races were organized to see just who had the most pimped out ride. Thusly, NASCAR was born.

Go to any given NASCAR event, and just watch people. Tell me what you see. 90% of the crowd there will most assuredly be straight out of Deliverance. Seriously. Watch people smile, then start counting teeth. I bet you won't get to a very high number, and it most certainly won't create a good teeth/adult mouth ratio (which should be at least 20/1).

I'd hoped it would finally die with Earnhardt. The most iconic driver in NASCAR history, killed by the sport he devoted his life to. I'd hoped his accident would raise questions as to the safety issues brought about by racing at that level and kill it. But no, it began to thrive more and more.

And people just won't let go of the fact that Dale is dead. They continue to plaster #3 on everything: Car windows, flags, shirts, hats... It hasn't ended, even five years later. They treat this man like a damn saint, almost to the point of worship. Go into any random redneck home, and chances are you'll see a shrine of pictures and collectibles devoted to the guy.


A sport born of alcohol, sponsored by alcohol, and watched by people who consume absurd amounts of alcohol. There's nothing wrong with that? Somehow, it's hard to miss the connection of "Drinking and Driving."

And I love the local color that NASCAR culture creates. Nothing like getting passed in a double yellow by two good ol' boys in their 15 year old Chevy Celebrity, pretending they're behind the wheel of the #24 Monte Carlo while they've got Merle Haggard jamming full blast in the stereo 8-track, windows down screaming "Yee haw" as they drive past you. Yeah, real smart there, Duke Boys. Might be time to go visit Uncle Jesse and re-up your shine supply. Brilliant.

What these tools fail to realize is that every company that offers them Dale Earnhardt Sr. anything is just trying to cash in on a dead man's fame. They're not doing it for "the memory of a great athlete," they're doing it for George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, and Benjamin Franklin. They know that you'll buy anything with a #3 on it. They know you're willing to shell out a good amount of cash because of your "love" of a rotting corpse.

Yep. He's a rotting corpse. He has been dead five years, you know.

Let it go, people. Take the stickers off your windows, take your flags off of the cheap wood "porches" you've built onto your trailers. He's dead. He's not coming back. He's a decaying mass of bones and flesh five years through the breakdown process. Open the coffin, it will smell very bad. He's not on the track, his spirit is not on the track. He does not haunt Daytona. What he haunts is the minds of people who are sick and tired of hearing about him, constantly reminded by your mindless devotion to a dead man.

Please. For the love of humanity. No more #3.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Gee, thanks, Wil. His latest post over at WWdN:IX just had to be about retro gaming, didn't it. Back when I was a kid, I was addicted to video games. They were new, they were super cool (you could play a game... On your TV!), and after the 1983 crash, they were dirt cheap. The system in question here is the Intellivision (Intelligent Television, the second generation of which is shown at right), and yes: I indeed had one of these bad boys. In fact, I had all three versions at one point. Come to think of it, I think my original Intellivision I is still downstairs somewhere...

JC and I were hooked on these consoles. In the pre-NES days, they were the king shit console of consoles. They made Atari's consoles look like they were trapped in the PONG era. Though it's not widely known, the INTVs were, in fact, true 16 Bit systems. At its peak, the INTV family had over 100 games available for it, and consoles of one style or another were produced up until the end of the 80's, well into the NES era.

After the industry crash of 1983, Intellivision alone survived. Other companies had given up on the home console market after a flood of systems and shoddy games polluted the genre, but INTV managed to stick it out. At the time, one of the local pharmacies (and only store within 30 miles to carry games) had begun selling off carts for $2 and $3 apiece, leaving JC and I to up our libraries considerably. One such trip, I remember, brought about the addition of the uber-classic Triple Action to my collection.

Night Stalker. SNAFU. AD&D. Space Hawk. Star Strike. Donkey Kong. Mouse Trap. Utopia. Lock-N-Chase. Burger Time. Quite a few different TRON titles. Ka-BOOM!

Seriously. I just spent the last hour at the official Blue Sky Rangers website. Awesome. Just... Wow. If you're in your mid-20's or older and want to take a great walk through the past, or if you're some punk kid spoiled by your PlayStation 2's and your XBox 360s and needs a lesson on why you have those consoles at all, pay it a visit.