Comments on Dale
Few people, sports fans or otherwise, don't know about the death of NASCAR Winston Cup legend Dale Earnhardt, who's #3 Chevy crashed into a wall - killing him instantly - at the Daytona 500 on February 18. Prayers from all over the country have been offered for Earnhardt's family, especially his son, NASCAR's #8, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Possibly in more need of prayer is Sterling Marlin, whose Dodge brushed against Earnhardt's car and appeared to cause it to swerve up the track into the fourth turn of the legendary race track. Marlin's not responsible for Earnhardt's death, of course, but you can bet he somewhat feels that way.
Ironically, the Daytona 500 was won by Owensboro native Michael Waltrip - marking Waltrip's first career victory in Earnhardt's last career race. More irony: Waltrip drives for Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished second in the race.
In a scary moment at last Sunday's Dura-Lube 400 at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, about an hour's drive east from Charlotte, where Earnhardt's memorial service was held earlier in the week, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. smashed against the wall heading into the final turn of the first lap... in a crash that looked too much like the one that killed his father.
However, Jr., or "Little E," walked away unscathed. He finished 43rd in the race; Steve Park, another DEI racer, drove to first.
Surely Big Dale rode along with them... and with everyone in between.
Earnhardt's death was the fourth one in the past two NASCAR seasons. Nineteen-year-old NASCAR Busch Series driver Adam Petty, grandson of legendary stock car driver Richard "The King" Petty, died last year after hitting a wall at New Hampshire International Speedway. Wisnton Cup racer Kenny Irwin also died at that track only two months later after smashing into the wall at almost the identical spot as Petty. And NASCAR truck series driver Tony Roper perished from a wreck at Texas Motor Speedway in October.
Speed simultaneously thrills. NASCAR is America's largest growing, and most loyal, spectator sport.
It's been a while, in terms of how fast life passes, since Earnhardt died. But when the story of his death, or the circumstances surrounding it or resulting from it, will cease to be news, cease to be timely, is anybody's guess. A man who drove a black car and was nicknamed the "Intimidator" doesn't just fade into the night... neither his reputation nor his fans let him.
Earnhardt was NASCAR's most loved figure - easily. Yes, NASCAR has other good drivers, but Jeff Gordon is too pretty, Dale Jarrett too quiet, and the others too lacking in personality. Earnhardt, like him or not, and many didn't (champions always get that), was popular because he had relationships with people, and people could relate to him. Despite his winnings and riches, Earnhardt was as blue-collar as his inappropriately-labeled (in many cases) "redneck" fans.
Therefore, they are wrong who say his death was the equivalent of basketball losing Michael Jordan or golf losing Tiger Woods. Because neither of them embraced their fans - literally - and walked among them like #3 did.
It is almost beautiful to see NASCAR fans around the country grieve for Dale Earnhardt. Seemingly, each major metropolitan area in the south has had some sort of memorial service for him. To witness grown adults, many who've never even been to a NASCAR race, let alone met Earnhardt, cry because of his passing demonstrates their passion for the man and the power of sports.
And at the same time, it's almost sickening. Sickening not because someone is sad because of Earnhardt's death but because his death is judged more important, vastly more important, than the school teacher, the grandma, the soldier, the little boy who died the same day, even the very same moment as he did. In fact, thousands of people besides Earnhardt died all over the world on February 18, just like they will today and tomorrow. But hundreds of those people were uncared for and consequently died unnoticed. Why can't the millions who won't stop worshipping Earnhardt for eternity stop to worry about even one of these for a moment?
No doubt, Earnhardt was one of the best ever at making left turns and a generous man off the track, and he should be praised for both. But just because his autograph was more valuable than the everyday person's doesn't mean his life was.
But it gets worse; the steel blue emotions surrounding his death has turned to black in some instances.
Despite criticism from Dale Jr., several Earnhardt fans have threatened the life of Sterling Marlin. And, according to espn.com, several of them have similarly threatened the lives of columnists Gerry Callahan (Boston Herald) and Jay Mariotti (Chicago Sun-Times) for writing that #3's death was not only "unnecessary but also unheroic." Whether Callahan's and Marriotti's opinions are valid or not, those who issue threats in the face of an unpreventable tragedy that has already caused so much pain really need to get a life.
And the one called "Intimidator" would agree.
There Should Be a Law Against This
Another small step for Jesus, and another giant step back for mankind-the Kentucky House Judicial Committee approved HB 26 by the overwhelming vote of 16-1 on February 22. The bill calls for the creation of an elective class in public schools which uses scriptural texts, including the Bible, and allows for posting of the Ten Commandments in the classroom.
As the story goes, the class will "focus on the significant influence of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, and faith in God on American institutions and laws as manifested in the proclamations, official documents, writings, and speeches of Colonial leaders, the Founding Fathers, and American presidents."
An amendment added on 2/26 removed the phrase comparative religion, and will now "require focus on the significant influence of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, and faith in God on American institutions and laws as manifested in the proclamations, official documents, writings, and speeches of Colonial leaders, the Founding Fathers, and American presidents."
Fun! So they've almost got their posting of the Ten Commandments in schools - we're sure they'll remember to take them down after every class for the classes that follow - and no doubt they'll take their own steps to make sure the class heeds to the constitutional requirements of a Christian class taught in public schools, even though it will be nearly impossible for those requirements to be checked. By god, we've finally got Jesus in the schools... legitimately!
Check out the good times at http:// www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/01rs/HB26.htm; or just drop your Representative a line at http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/whoswho/whoswho.htm.
As of press time, HB 26 has not gone before the full House for a vote. Run, do not walk to your computer/ phone/vehicle. RB
Who's that guy?
As many of you may remember, handsome and eligible Bachelor #1 (Ace's Bluegrass Bachelors Charity Date Auction), Charles Ellis, is an artist. And a good one at that. Ellis just had a chance to show his stuff at one of the most packed Fourth Fridays that the Lexington Art League has hosted. While the final viewing of the Nude 2001 exhibit was going on downstairs, Ellis was one of the featured Guest Artists who displayed his wares in one of the studios on the second floor. But his talents don't just stop at art. He's also lucky, if that don't beat all. He won this year's Valentine's Raffle at the Loudoun House - a one of a kind Arturo Sandoval piece entitled Three Hearts as 1. The original Sandoval is a mixed media fiber collage of large, red overlapping hearts in rich shades of red on a black background.
And for all of you ladies who wish to catch another glimpse of the multi-talented Bachelor #1, be sure to check him out in 1995's indie film Reception to Follow, shot in Louisville. It played in Lexington at the Kentucky Theater and was later sold to the Sundance Channel where it aired for fourteen months. The comedy revolved around twenty characters at a wedding reception that wander in and out of a lavish bathroom. There's a LOT of Charles in this film, if you know what we mean. According to director Archie Borders, "Did I mention that Charles was nekkid as the day is long?" Yes, now you get it, don't you?
Stay tuned for more bachelor alumni updates including this summer's Bachelor Swimsuit Calendar. -EC
Then maybe it's time to go to the Globalization Weekend, as presented by The Kentucky Student Progressive Network and Turning Points Roadshow. On Mar 2-4, you can join a ragtag group of travelling activists which oppose corporatization and globalization, having originated from the Seattle WTO protests. The Weekend includes workshops (on the likes of Free Trade of the Americas Agreement, Hands-on Globalization, Political Art and Theatre in Activism, Media Savvy, Non-Violence Training, Direct Action 101), coordination meetings, films, and at 7pm, Saturday, at the UK Student Center, "A multi-media, musical, theatrical presentation by four seasoned activists on the issue and the movement against CORPORATE GLOBALIZATION." The informational rally begins at 5pm Friday, 9am Saturday and 10am Sunday, with some meals provided. All events are free and open to the public.
To find out more, visit: http://www.swamplight.org/ tproadshow/. For further inquiries, call Amy Shelton at 859/381-9596 or Suzanne Webb at 859/389-9213.
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