Time to Move: Johnny’s Last Chance Garage

Raebert's tired of being exploited by the 1 percent. Not that he knows what a percent is. He's just a registered voter. Thanks to ACORN.

Raebert’s tired of being exploited by the 1 percent. Not that he knows what a percent is. He’s just a registered voter. Thanks to ACORN.

Tim aside, if I’m going to be talking to myself, I’ll do it where I’m most comfortable. In the garage. Tim will catch up.

Johnny’s Last Chance Garage is actually a much older website than this one. It suits me. Hardly anyone will find it. I won’t have to try to be entertaining. There won’t be much need for links. I can just be me, and I can conclude my diary of the death of America in an appropriate setting.

It’s not a real place, I suppose. But as real as anyplace you live. It exists in my head, a weird cross between this…


And this…


You know. Idealized but dilapidated. Stuck in the country. Not the nation. The country. Where I belong. There’s really no saving us now. Only the guys who sit on the porch and watch the passing parade can see it. Everyone else is still caught up in the deadlines and ultimatums of daily existence. Not their fault. But I have come to realize that my priorities are not theirs. I keep looking all the way down the empty road. They’re racing to the next stoplight. I’ve said what I have to say TO everybody, probably too many times. Now, because I have to write or stop breathing, I’ll be writing to myself, from the vantage point of the porch as the cars go whizzing by. If they want a fill-up or a Coke, they can stop. What we old fashioned types call, uh, what’s the word?

With a faint but friendly smile.

With a faint but friendly smile.

Otherwise they can keep whizzing by.

I’ll still be here for a while. But the site has served its purpose. It’s a warehouse for writings people will discover many years from now, when they’re raking through the wreckage looking for clues about what went wrong, wondering why and how everything suddenly blew up while they were just going about their business. We don’t care much about the Olympics at the garage, so if anything occurs to me over the next couple of weeks about the world’s biggest cosmetic commercial, I’ll put it here.

Otherwise, mosey on over to the garage, pull up an uncomfortable chair and have a beer or a soda. Smoking is allowed, just not when a car is being gassed up. The only rule that’s really needed in the country.

When Sport Becomes Art


I better have credibility here since I just gave you a link to the ultimate man movie, Rush. My wife showed me the video above a few years ago after I trashed coverage of a disastrous Olympic ice dancing competition that featured lots of crashing and pure athletic failure. Like many an American male, I had always viewed figure skating as a weird hybrid of sport and corrupt judging, something to be accommodated to womenfolk with few dividends but the occasional and always abbreviated upskirt shot. If you don’t watch you feel disloyal. If you do watch you feel kind of creepy. Why we tend to laugh and turn away.

But this video proved me wrong. Ice dancing is supposed to be the feyest of even figure skating events. Which were bad enough as it is. Thick-thighed cows thundering through their jumps. Ambitious non-hockey skater men ritually crashing on their attempts at the elusive quadruple while retired male competitors in the commentary booth ooh and ah about their arm movements. Pairs skaters who are mysteriously undistracted by having to hold their partners aloft with a hand firmly clamped on their pubic bones. The dancers, on the other hand, are just flouncing around the ice. Even Dick Button finds it boring, unimpressed by ‘the twizzle.’I think it makes all men uncomfortable. What is this ‘sport’ all about?

It’s about this. Waiting for the incredibly rare moments when all the competitive ambiance and political judging fades out of the picture and magic is allowed to bloom. When I saw this video, I had an immediate narcissistic thought: “This is the Shuteye Train on ice. Unless it’s a ballet of the torrid unrequited love between Johnny Dodge and Alice Hate.” Carmina Burana was always the theme song of the punks of South Street.

I’m thinking most men have an equivalent analogous drama in their lives. Sometimes real life does approach poetry. Why there is poetry. Why there is dance. Why there is ice dancing too. Mostly, we hunt in vain for a moment of connection. Sometimes there is a lightning bolt that tells us, “Oh yeah. This has happened in my heart and my soul.”

I’ll let my wife fill in the backstory of the amazing performance above. Lightning brief but electrifying. Deny it at the risk of your own couch-bound soul.

“Marina Anissina was a Russian Ice Dance skater who eventually paired with Frenchman Gwendal Peizerat to skate for France. How that happened is a soap opera in its own right. Together they raised Ice Dancing to a level not seen before or since. Their performances are athletic, artistic, and completely compelling.”

Early in her career, Anissina competed with Sergei Sakhnovski, representing the Soviet Union. Following that partnership, she teamed up with Ilia Averbukh. They represented the Soviet Union and, after that country’s dissolution, Russia. They were the 1990 and 1992 World Junior Champions. Their partnership ended at the end of the 1991–92 season;[5] Averbukh decided to leave Anissina to skate with Irina Lobacheva with whom he had fallen in love.

Russia at the time had a number of top ice dancing teams and was not especially concerned with helping Anissina find a new partner. She and her mother studied videotapes of international competitions and selected Gwendal Peizerat and Victor Kraatz. Anissina sent letters to both but the one to Kraatz did not reach him. Peizerat did not respond immediately but when his partnership with Marina Morel fell apart, he contacted Anissina. She arrived in Lyon, France, in February 1993, declaring her goal of becoming World and Olympic champion. She wanted to bring Peizerat back to Russia with her but his family was opposed so she settled in France. She focused intensely on skating and insisted her partner, who was dividing his time between skating and his education, be equally focused on their career. Their first year together was difficult with major quarrels and they came close to splitting up. Nevertheless, their coach Muriel Boucher-Zazoui immediately felt it was a promising partnership, saying “They are like fire and ice”.

“Preceded by the great Torville and Dean of Great Britain, who were the first to shake up the skating world, Anissina and Peizerat built unparalleled performances of perfection,” my wife concluded.

What she doesn’t tell you. She has an encyclopedic memory of figure skating competitions. She knows all the great Russians because she is a student of Russian and Russia, and she knows both their unspeakable barbarism and their tragic, romantic humanity. She’s read their literature, absorbed their art and architecture and she can detect it in the grim but frequently beautiful faces of their athletes. Their one outlet during the Cold War, that one moment when they could act out their individuality and personal passion inside a crushing totalitarian system. Why they tended to be what we call clutch players. No pair of Russian ice dancers has missed the Olympic podium in more than a generation. It’s their redemption of all the personal fire the Soviet system extinguished, uh, systematically.

Short version? She always roots for the Russian people, the Russian athletes. We crossed swords last night because I was reluctant to watch Putin opening ceremonies propaganda that papered over the crimes of the Soviet Union. Today, honestly, I am more pissed at NBC than I am Putin. Nobody mandated that a major television network had to pander to the latest in a long long long line of Russian dictators and spout his line of bull.

Much I also love about the Russians. Their architecture, their m.usic, (some of) their literature, their solemn devotion to ballet, their love of the land. But most of all the passion for life itself that survived, and burned, for close to 80 years of the most murderous totalitarian regime in the so-called civilized world. They still know something of romantic love. Astounding. Orwell refuted, when you think about it.

Earlier today, I had to ask myself whether I’d prefer the Canadians or the Russians to win the gold medal in team figure skating. Had to admit I preferred the Russians. So sue me.

In closing, same pair, but this time Romeo and Juliet.

Oh. Did I forget? You don’t always win just because you’re the best.

Here endeth my case.

P.S. There’s another guy blogging now. He wants me to join him. I knew him in another life. He has a garage. He keeps asking and asking me if there’s anything keeping me here. I tell him, sure there is. Absolutely. No doubt. People who check in every week or so if they’re not too busy. It’s great. He says he has a cherry Hemi 427 in an original purple Roadrunner that could make Costa Rica in 31 hours. I tell him I have to be here for the people who depend on me to be there for them when they have time, and he says, cool, cool, we can be back in 62 hours if your missus doesn’t have to stop for p-breaks too often. If any of us feels like coming back, that is. Aren’t they all really more important than you and your semi-retired wife? They don’t need you. They’re going like gangbusters, or some of them are, and who cares about the ones who aren’t? Not cool, right? Why should you have any time for them?

I don’t know. I know this guy from way back. I owe him. He saved my life once. Something about cars and all. He says he has a cherry Roadrunner. And I’m talking to myself here. “It’s time to go,” he says. “Time to run like hell.”

He’s talking about an ultra secret canyon in Costa Rica, where everything works like clockwork, meaning the able ones make money and don’t even have to talk to the ones who don’t. Which is kind of the best definition of utopia. When you get yours, you get to stop talking to everyone. Wish I’d learned that before I, well, forgot it. Cherry Roadrunner.

500 HP off the lot.

500 HP off the lot.

Actually, I think Johnny wants me to stop talking to anyone. He’s a fucking killer, and he despises everyone but me and Alice. I’ve tried to keep him at a distance all these years, but it’s getting harder.

Consciousness keeps shrinking. We’re reaching the point where the comet that’s heading for earth is only a delay in our meeting. Johnny is tugging at my coat. “Go,” he says. “They don’t get it. No matter how much they say they do, they just don’t.” He tells me that the current regime will absolutely wind up killing me and my wife. We’re the new expendables. I’m okay with with that if the younger ones can fight for the lives of their own children.

“But they won’t do that either,” Johnny says. “They’re living in a cotton candy view of life. They think a smile is security.”

Johnny Dodge. Jeez. I guess these are just my bad dreams. Because sometimes his name is Daniel Pangloss. But Daniel is worse than Johnny. Far worse. He tells me there’s nowhere to run. He tells me Johnny is a no-account. On the other hand, he’s presently sleeping on a cot in Johnny’s Garage. He’s the guy who makes the passports.

Shammadamma. My queen will rescue me from silence. She’s already rented a bay in Johnny’s Garage. He knows her from the old days too.

Silence. The balm of the fatally busy. Then, suddenly, beyond all reason, silence is golden.

What Some People Call a Palate Cleanser



Found this for you. Pretty funny.

ABC Proves Michelle Obama Is Superficial And Devoid Of Accomplishment

Today is First Lady Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday and to help commemorate this momentous occasion ABC News has prepared a list of ways you can help her celebrate. The list of 50 Ways To Celebrate Michelle Obama’s Birthday is supposed to be a loving tribute, but it shows how truly unimportant Barack’s “trophy wife” has been.

The list tries really hard to note all of Michelle’s accomplishments, but the best it can come up with is drinking more water and forcing school children to eat food they describe as “barf.” Other important things the First Lady has done include shopping and taking vacations. She really hasn’t established herself as a woman of the people.

Here are a few highlights of the ways you can be like Michelle:

1. Dance to Beyonce

3. Move into a massive new house with your family and invite your mother to move in too

5. Make the cover of Vogue

8. Buy a Jason Wu dress

11. Shop at J. Crew

16. Watch Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” on your first date with your future husband

18. Hang out with your friend, Oprah

23. Roll your eyes at House Speaker John Boehner or the Danish prime minister

The list goes on and is followed by:

Wow, those seem like the accomplishments of Paris Hilton or maybe a Kardashian, not the Ivy League educated First Lady of the United States. She really comes off as a Marie Antoinette-type character that frivolously spends as the people suffer under the “King’s” iron rule. Instead of “let them eat cake” she says, “make them eat vegetables.”

And then it gets worse, which we’ll forego because we’re that kind of polite guy.

In case anybody thought our previous post was too dark. The end of the world isn’t really the end of the world. It’s just the genesis of the Sarcasticon. Kind of like Double Jeopardy, when all the stakes are doubled and scores can really change.

2016: The Dream Dimmed to Death

The Rolling Stones – Heaven from Kinamazing on Vimeo.

Listened to Laura Ingraham this morning. Probably shouldn’t have, but she’s what passes for a hard line conservative inside the beltway. Thought I should check in on the conventional wisdom.

I heard three really depressing things.

She interviewed retired Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, focusing initially on the amnesty issue. He sounded exactly like John Boehner. They’re here. Many of them have been here for a long time, they go to church, they work hard, deserve a chance, etc. She pushed him hard on the disconnect between the rule of law and well intended compassion. When he ran out of arguments, though, she withheld the coup de grace of asking what organizations he was being paid to lobby for and moved into nostalgia mode. By the end she had mollified his obvious hurt feelings about being confronted. Because she wouldn’t want to lose him as a future interview. Yuck.

In her next segment she basically declared Jeb Bush the winner of the 2016 Republican nomination. He’s raising huge amounts of money, and we need a Republican who can win. She couldn’t bring herself to mention Palin, although she expressed a yearning for the resurrection of Chris Christie. She failed to mention that Jeb Bush can’t win either. The newest polls demonstrate that a plurality of voters still blame G.W. Bush more than Obama for the current state of the economy. Can you imagine the necklacing the MSM will perpetrate on Jeb if he runs for president? Grim.

The final blow was her decision to devote the rest of her show to the Beatles, it being the 50th anniversary of their triumphant arrival in the United States. I could have lived with that, I suppose, but she and her sidekick Raymond considered who if anyone might be considered a rival to the body of work of the Fab Four. Raymond is still stuck on Sinatra, but Laura pointed out that Sinatra didn’t write his songs while the Beatles did. She mentioned the Beach Boys for their harmony, which rivaled the Beatles’, and gave a passing nod to Dionne and the Belmonts, and then, incredibly, declared, “There really is no one else.”

No one else? Huh? While she was encouraging everyone to call in with their favorite Beatles song, Raymond protested that “Imagine” is the most detestable song he’s ever heard. Laura dismissed that with, “Well, that’s Lennon.” Meaning she’s really restricting the Beatles canon to the seven years they were together. In rock terms, that’s a flash in the pan.

No one else? No Who? No Pink Floyd? No Led Zep? No Dylan? No Hendrix, U2, Peter Gabriel, well, fill in your own…

I’m not suggesting that people can’t prefer the Beatles as their Number One, but here’s a self-professed music maven (only 49 years old, mind) who has amputated from her ken all rock and roll that isn’t the Beatles, including the entire history of rock after 1970.

And, as you all know, the ultimate outrage to me is that she couldn’t even think of the Stones, who battled the Beatles head to head in the late sixties, with their own triumphant arrival to the U.S. and the Ed Sullivan stage, before proceeding to a 50 year career with a self written song output that easily outpaces the Beatles in terms of classics. Never occurred to her.

No wonder people believe conservatives are hopelessly stuck in an imagined past that bears no relation to the present. When I hear the Beatles, I hear nothing but a time capsule of a mentality that was reactive, dumb, and doomed. Like the band itself.

But Jeb Bush is supposed to be our future. We’ve had that future twice. How many more times? As many times, I suppose, as Laura Ingraham can play Long and Winding Road for her audience of hothouse-educated sophisticates. God help us.

God help us.

Meaningless Stories

Does that blip in middle of now really seem significant to you? Me either.

Does that little highlight in the middle of now really seem significant to you? Me either.

Okay. So I haven’t been covering current events. The reason is simple. They’re mostly the bright shiny objects intended to distract us from what’s important.

The Woody Allen Scandal. Oh really? (btw, a sterling example of what writing is NOT.)

The Bill Clinton-Elizabeth Hurley Scandal. Oh really?

Contraceptive honey Sandra Fluke is running for Waxman’s seat in the House of Representatives. Oh really?

Republicans about to commit party suicide by passing an amnesty bill. Oh really?

The Nonpartisan CBO suddenly announces that ObamaCare will be much more costly and damaging than originally projected. Shocking discovery. Oh really?

Climate change is causing a catastrophic drought crisis in California. Oh really? Well, could be there’s some meaning.

Never mind.

I’ll stop there. Trust me. When there is news, I’ll comment on it. In the meantime consider experiencing the diversions I’ve arranged for you. Much more fun, I assure you.

P.S. Rush Limbaugh just discovered what I shared with you three weeks ago. Consider that the lag time between me and the geniuses of the media. Also a quibble I can’t resist. He keeps showing off his Latin knowledge by pronouncing the plural of campus as ‘campi.’ That would be correct if campus were second declension. But it’s fourth declension. The plural is ‘campus’ (long ‘u’). Why the Standard English usage is correctly ‘campuses.’ Which, interestingly enough, is the usage most of us know automatically to employ. Life is only as hard as we make it.

And another quibble. Hotair had an open registration for commenters lasting about three hours. Is that arrogant or what? They’ve got such great commenters, a half tick above the Breitbart crowd. Just try to plow your way through the comments on this post about an Evolution Debate. Obviously an elect group who need to be protected from malign, ill-educated trolls. I declined once again to sign up. Ultimately a sad place.

Why I hold all my supposed conservative allies at arm’s length. And wish my arms were longer.

Things that can save us

We've all wondered, watched all the documentaries, and now, finally, we can know the truth.

We’ve all wondered, watched all the documentaries, and now, finally, we can know the truth.

It’s no secret that I’m in full flight from reality. Can’t watch the news or even ESPN. So I go hunting for diversion. Sometimes the universe provides. Last night, in desperation, I watched All Creatures Great and Small on Netflix. Breaking one of my own rules btw. Old BBC shows are not on my list. Bad sound, worse videography. Even good shows look like they’re produced by a camcorder and transferred haphazardly to VHS.

What a pleasant surprise. I’m not much for reruns, but I’m old enough now not to remember details or plot resolutions. The show is about a country vet beginning his career in the north of England with an eccentric senior vet and his callow but charming brother. Thing is, it’s still funny and the sound and video quality are remarkably good. When I texted my wife about this discovery, she observed that some things are timeless and asked if there was any Waugh comedy at Netflix.

[I think she’s venturing, too, because before I found ACG&S at Netflix, we jointly discovered that the original 1967 version of The Forsyte Saga is buried within Youtube in 10 minute chunks, in amazingly sharp black and white with quite acceptable sound quality. You’ve got to give it a try, even you millennials. The greatest soap opera of all time. It’s going to take more than 30 minutes for you to get hooked, though. Nothing gets rolling until the stick-up-his-ass accountant Soames Forsyte catches his first glimpse of Irenie, the Femme Fatale who drives the entire multi-generational saga. You hate Soames and then slowly, slowly, slowly come to admire him. What makes it literature. Ask my wife. She’ll explain it to you.]

At any rate, I searched Netflix for comedy. Not much Waugh but happily enough not all the titles are romcoms or gross-out garbage. So much for my arrogant presumptions. There’s some genuinely funny stuff out there. Black comedy is my wife’s favorite, and mine too, which is why I probably gave up when Netflix inexplicably shelved Dylan Moran’s Black Books, the evilest sitcom ever produced. Why bother, I thought. The millennials don’t even know what a sense of humor is. They laugh when they fart or queef and that’s what they think funny is.

But I was wrong. For example, the movie represented by the graphic above is a very serious and sober documentary about Hitler’s career in America after he didn’t shoot himself in the bunker. It’s a Norwegian-Spanish production. The critics seem not to like it because it doesn’t attack Republicans enough. They call it unfocused. I think it’s plenty focused. It attacks everyone, including the very people who made it. The movie’s executive producer is an onscreen villain of the piece, demanding blood and guts as a necessary part of the content. The movie is an unexpected delight. Brilliant, hilarious, and deadpan. My favorite combination.

Well, you don’t have to watch this one, but my advice for the dark heart of February, which is always my worst month of the year, is look for the laughs, the bleaker and nastier the better.

Super Crap

J. J. Audubon's  Sea Eagle. Which doesn't exist. Conspiracy!

J. J. Audubon’s Sea Eagle. Which doesn’t exist. Conspiracy!

The observant will have observed that I made no Super Bowl predictions and tried to ignore the event altogether. I had one of my “feelings” about it, which went something like this: Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, but he is an old quarterback with a damaged neck, and I have grown tired of holding my breath every time he drops back to pass one of his ever more fluttery passes. Records and narratives and legacy aside, he needs to get out of football while he still isn’t in a wheelchair. Last night, I bailed early. As I said, I never had good feelings about his last Super Bowl. For too long he’s seemed to me a man on borrowed time.

You can't do it all by yourself.

You can’t do it all by yourself.

What did I do? I watched the umpteenth rerun of The Day After Tomorrow. A movie I’ve come to subtitle “Brokeback Warming,” with little Jake Gyllenhall burning books to stay alive in the New York public library because Dick Cheney failed to heed Global Warming and thereby precipitated an instant ice age. It’s one of my guilty pleasures, this movie, so sententious in its liberal posturing that I can’t ever get enough of it. Produced at the height of Global Warming hysteria, it takes the opposite tack with absolutely no sense of irony and proposes an impossible climate outcome as catastrophic as the failed option of Barbra Streisand’s mother to procure an abortion in the pre-Roe v. Wade days. Tragic stuff.

In an age where the prevailing philosophers insist there is no meaning, the narratists continue to make up post-modern meaning, meaning anything that can sell a headline or a movie, no matter how absurdly and demonstrably false that meaning is. Now we will have the narrative of the Seattle Seahawks, the lowermost member of the Canadian Football League, whose greatest cultural exemplar is The Killing and whose coach is a leftwing 9/11 Truther.

According to a Deadspin report from six months ago, Carroll reportedly questioned Retired general Peter Chiarelli, who had just finished his term as the Army’s vice chief of staff, about whether some of the events that occurred on 9/11 actually happened. Chiarelli visited Carroll at the Seattle Seahawks headquarters last spring. When Chiarelli mentioned of Iraq, Carroll reportedly “wanted to know if the September 11 attacks had been planned or faked by the United States government”:

In particular, Carroll wanted to know whether the attack on the Pentagon had really happened. Chiarelli—who was the top-ranking Army official inside the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into its western side—explained that it had. He said he had lost many colleagues. But Carroll didn’t stop there. He ran through the whole 9/11 truther litany.

“Every 9/11 conspiracy theory you can think of, Pete asked about,” said Riki Ellison, the former NFL linebacker who now runs the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and introduced Carroll to Chiarelli. Ellison, along with Seahawks offensive line coach Pat Ruel, was at the meeting as well. “And he didn’t stop at 9/11—he had lots of questions about the role of the military today.”

Ellison, a three-time Super Bowl winner who played with the 49ers and at USC who now runs the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, had said that Carroll “grew up in California during Vietnam, and during Watergate. That’s just the perspective he brings to the table.” The discussion reportedly turned hostile, but Ellison said, “Pete had a four-star general in the room, one of the army’s top guys. Why wouldn’t you push the envelope?”

Why indeed? Maybe there’s a time to back off. Unless you’re flat fricking crazy. Sticks with me right now because I just had to mourn the death of my friend Lloyd Pye. Except that we weren’t friends when he died. There was a bitter break before the unanticipated end. He became a 9/11 Truther. It ended badly. Very badly.

Two things about that. I used to admire the alternative science guys. They know there’s something wrong with establishment science. Too many peer reviewed articles published by the equivalent of politically corrupt figure skating judges and too few opportunities for scientists who might be Einstein patent clerks projecting new breakthroughs into the hard-leftist walls of the academy. That’s grossly unfair.

The other thing? The topper. Alternative science guys are also invariably hard leftists. It’s a wrenching contradiction they never recognize. They spend their lives being dismissed, disrespected, and destroyed by members of an academy that consists of hard leftists, and they never make the connection that science has been fatally compromised by ideology and self-interest within the, well, party of science AS ideology in service to a preferred narrative of anti-human collectivism. Why, I guess, I blew my top at the end.

Lloyd hated the neo-Darwinian oligarchy. He knew they were profoundly corrupt. He devised numerous ways of puncturing their hubris, their rotted logic, their patronizing assumptions. Yet, like a reprobate Catholic on his deathbed, he bowed before them in the end. He fell hook, line, and sinker for the anti-rational, anti-everything 9/11 Truther Conspiracy.

In the end it’s always ONLY about the narrative, no matter how earnestly we talk about facts and, uh, truth. Alternative science guys love the narrative more than most. They mortgage their lives for it. They’re suckers for the really big narrative, the one about The Man conspiring against us for no explicable reason, no matter how much it contributes to their own immolation.

Why I’m not too upset about the Super Bowl. The narrative is always only a fairy tale about today’s headlines. Peyton Manning will always be the greatest quarterback who ever lived. Not worried about his legacy. Right now, after the emotional delay WASPs always experience, I’m missing Lloyd Pye. I usually get the opportunity to fix things before they become unfixable. Not this time.

Lloyd Pye was the first friend who died before we could resolve our differences. That hurts. Do I regret anything I said? No. Not really. He came at me with the Truther nonsense, and I asked, finally pleaded, that he not do it again. I did more research than he did into the facts, the arguments, the theories, the motives, and I went round after round with him in his growing obsession. We struck, I thought, a peace. Then he came at me again, almost out of the blue, after I’d already told him this was a friendship killer. But his hatred of George W. Bush was so great that he couldn’t stop himself.

After months, years, of forbearance, I went all Instapunk on him. Which is never a pretty sight. Now he’s dead. Do I feel guilty? No. What I feel is sorrow. Like watching a man in a locked room who has the key dangling over his head but never thinks to look UP. Lloyd hated Neo-Darwinian evolution but he couldn’t bring himself to believe in God. He preferred to believe in aliens instead.

You see, aliens — and alien directed evolution — are the best way to deal with the miracle of humanity without acknowledging moral imperatives. It’s not only alternative science; it’s alternative philosophy and alternative logic. How the 9/11 Truthers get by.

Should I feel guilty? Yes. He called me a polymath. I disagreed. I told him I was a mile wide and an inch deep. He disagreed. I should have persisted, regardless of how awful he was being. I screwed up.

What does any of this have to do with the Super Bowl? Not much. Unless we remember that men devote their lives to ideas while women devote their lives to people. One is not better than the other. But both are necessary. Without men, women would be nameless drones living in solitary enclaves, in poverty and isolation. Without women, men would be Stalin, murderous lords of empires beyond our current imaginings.

One more thing. Men, with their whole idea problem, are the only sex that has ever tried to put limits on themselves. Every major religion — excepting the eternal exception Islam, of course — has been designed, by men, to put limits on men. If there ever was a female religion, say, Wicca, has it ever tried for a moment to put limits on women?

Games. Sports. Men try to govern themselves. They’re the bricks. Women are the slippery mortar, always unmaking the walls. But women also make good troops. If you want a good sports team, pick women first. They follow the rules. If you want a better sports team, add more rules. They will obey them all. Why totalitarian regimes need to persuade the women first. It’s men, always men, who insist on breaking every rule they can find.

Peyton Manning. Time to go home. Never seen a better quarterback. Now that everyone is a woman, there’s no place for you anymore. Your brother has a brighter future because he’s more girl than you.

Now. Let us all meditate on the evil genius of George W. Bush planning the 9/11 attack. Sigh. Happy, Lloyd Pye? Happy, Pete Carroll?

Men are idiots. Except on Groundhog Day, when they invented civilization.

P.S. There never was any ‘Sea Eagle,’ despite Audubon’s beautiful portrait. It’s destined to join myths like the Seattle Seahawks as a species that had a single bright day. I’d trade them all in for an afternoon with a single bald eagle.

Lloyd Pye. Yes. He was crazy. But so am I

Lloyd Pye. Yes. He was crazy. But so am I.

A Good Movie Finally

Have to qualify my enthusiasm first. My ambition from first grade on was to be a racing driver or a writer. From the age of six I attended SCCA sports car racing events at a short track in Vineland, NJ, with a wicked chicane and a short straight by stands steeped in the smell of mustard, cherry tobacco smoke, and Castrol R. The last was the equivalent of an automotive aphrodisiac. The racing motor lubricant Castrol R is not petroleum. It’s emulsified castor beans. At high temperatures it’s beyond Chanel and other perfumes. It’s a fragrance that connects to the male soul so directly that all you ever want to do afterwards is go fast. When you smell it you want motors, revs, a track, a tach, and curves without end. Are you getting me? Even at nine years old, it’s sex before you know what sex is. Why I’m remembering the Vineland Speedway parking lot, where I saw my first XKE Jaguar, which is its own definition of sex.

You can't imagine seeing this for the first time.

You can’t imagine seeing this for the first time.

So I was always a racing fan. Even as I say this, I know I am losing most of you. It was never NASCAR. It was, in order, the SCCA racing I watched, the Formula 1 and related racing in Europe — Le Mans and the Mille Miglia — and sometimes in the U.S., as at Watkins Glen and Sebring, open wheeled American racing like Indy, and then stock cars, which I thought of as fist fights between Bobby Allison and Cale Yarbrough.

By the time I was ten I had actually had the opportunity to trace the course of the Monaco Grand Prix in a 1962 Studebaker Hawk.

It got us through Paris and the Grand Corniche.

It got us through Paris and the Grand Corniche.

Glorious and terrifying. So narrow, so filled with acute turns, so dangerously close to precipices by the sea.

I only became aware of Indy racing when schedules allowed Grand Prix drivers to compete in the 500. It was a deadly time. The American drivers thought the GP interlopers were pansies who could be intimidated. The result was a horrifying series of deaths as both sides learned the unflinching competitiveness of the other.

But from the beginning I knew that Formula 1 Grand Prix racing was the most dangerous sport in the world. Just imagine that the history of games between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals — you know, about 30 players per year over 65 years — had resulted in this number of fatalities. Fifty plus Grand Prix drivers have died driving. More than one every two years. NFL football can’t cite anything like similar statistics.

I know. We should stop it. Formula 1 racing just shouldn’t be. Except that it produces real life drama that exceeds what fiction can invent.

I convinced my wife to watch “Rush.” She was amenable though not hopeful. She’s heard all my Jersey motorhead stories, which impress women not at all. But there is that moment when beating the other to the next light or the next corner is more important than your eternal soul. Nobody believes it who hasn’t been there. This movie puts you there.

When it was over, I asked, “What did you think? A good movie?”

She said, “Not a good movie. A great movie.”

One of the user reviews at IMDB.com said in the most terse of film sum-ups, “What men do.”

Which, I’m sure, will be taken as proof of the continuing conservative War on Women.

Except that I can remember, in this most extreme of sports, that when I was ten I watched a female racing driver named Donna Mae Mims race against the men at Vineland and we were all rooting for her.

Like Danica, she didn't win, but we wanted her to.

Like Danica, she didn’t win, but we wanted her to.

But I also remember that the most mesmerizing spectacle I ever saw at the Vineland track was an Elva Courier bearing the number “000” lap every driver within 25 laps on a tiny course. The driver’s name was Mark Donohue. He died in Formula 1 in 1975.

So rare to get a glimpse of genius.

So rare to get a glimpse of genius.

Thankfully, we can always pretend that women compete equally with men. The Super Bowl this year will drive home the muscularity of female racing drivers.

Danica will muscle her way to a win. Or she won't.

Danica will muscle her way to a win. Or she won’t. Or can’t. Because it’s not actually about muscles.

Enjoy the illusion and keep waiting for a woman to win a major race.

ADDENDUM. This post is a trifle but permit me to honor Wolfgang Von Trips, Graham Hill, Jimmy Clark, Ayrton Senna, and Michael Schumacher, who holds every F1 record and is fighting for his life after a skiing accident. (Yeah. You could say that Schumacher is the Gretztky of Grand Prix racing. Or, with perhaps more justice, you could say that Gretzky is the Michael Schumacher of hockey. That’s how prodigious his career has been.) Why is Schumacher dying? Because he couldn’t stop seeking out and taking risks. Very simple. Let’s all enjoy the inaugural year of women’s ski jumping.

And enjoy the movie Rush knowing that it is more true than fiction. Men do what men do. What we all should do.