Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Touch it, dude!"

In 91º of central Indiana heat, Dario Franchitti prevailed to win the Indy 500, termed the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.  With his good looks, great Scottish accent, intelligence, his appreciation of his fans, and his thoughtful words, the now three-time winner is a favorite among those aficionados of fast cars on a track.

Quite a few months back, I expressed how I feel about Nascar and Formula One racing, i.e. I don't get it.  Guess what?  I still don't get it.  I watched "CBS Sunday Morning" today including a story about a NASCAR driver.  One of the facts:  NASCAR is the most popular of all American sports and is now considered the most American of sports.

It's people in cars going fast around a track.  Open wheel cars or stock cars, it's cars going fast.  Yes, they have to be in good shape to remain in control of their vehicles and be aware of everything around them while going a zillion miles an hour with no air conditioning, but what about a guy running on a track who has to be in control of himself and be aware of the same stuff and no a/c either?  Or people running back and forth passing a ball with just their feet in intense heat?  Or guys trying to stop the 280-pound linemen from advancing with a ball when it's snowing and 10ºF?  Or runners in an ultra marathon or a triathlon?  Those are athletes, that is sport, and nope, I just don't get it.

I am a curious person and would like to go to almost any venue to experience it but I don't get NASCAR so much that I would probably have to say no thanks should the opportunity ever arise.  Yeah, maybe I don't want to get it either, but what's to get?  People in cars going fast around a track.  Explain it to me.

"Touch it, dude!"    Photo courtesy of Pete Souza/ The White House
Meanwhile, the election is not until November but the Democrats and the Republicans are gearing up for the greatest spectacle in world politics, the election of the American president.

On the left is a now-famous picture of President Barack Obama's head being touched by a little boy.   Carlton Philadelphia had been on the National Security Council in the White House for two years and one of the perks when you leave (and if you wish) is having a picture taken of you, your family, and the President.  Mr. Carlton brought his wife, Roseanne, and sons, Isaac and Todd.  Five-year-old Todd Philadelphia asked if the President's hair felt like his.  Barack Obama, a/k/a the Leader of the Free World, bent over and told him to touch it.  When Todd hesitated, Obama said, "Touch it, dude!" which Todd then did.

Would any other leader on the planet or throughout history be so humble, so easygoing, so gentle, so generous as to just bend over and let a kid touch his hair?  I have to go with no, I don't think so.  I have issue with many things Obama and his administration have done, but the man is, to use a Yiddish word, a mensch.  Is Mitt Romney that kind of guy?  Mitt had a reputation for being an elitist bully at his private high school.  When you go on to be the head of a venture capital company, you are more than likely an elitist bully still.  I'm just sayin'.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden addressed a group of survivors of slain service personnel, organized by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).  Surviving immeasurable grief and moving forward is something Mr. Biden knows about.  Right after he was elected U.S. Senator of Delaware, his wife and three children were coming home from shopping and their car was hit by a tractor-trailer.  His two sons survived but his wife, Neilia, and one-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed.  (This is why he thereafter commuted from Delaware to Washington by train every day.  His kids had a period of convalescence and it was easier for them to stay home and get better with their solid network of friends and family in place and for him to commute to DC, than for the kids to get dragged around.  When they were better he continued the practice.)

Mr. Biden is a guy who often can't shut it but in this video, everything is just right and perfectly heartfelt for this Memorial Day.  Remember those who fell for the country, y'all, and their families who have lost so much.

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