Monday, February 19, 2007

Stoned Race Cars

You may or may not remember when I said this a long time ago in the My Town Indy post.

"I love Indiana limestone. It is cool. My father and his father and his father and a bunch of former Zoomie fathers all were cutters down in southern Indiana."

Well, I figured I'd show you some pictures I took way back in June of 2003 down in Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana. Lawrence County was, and probably still is, considered the limestone capital of the world. Many famous buildings all over the U.S. were built with Indiana limestone....too many to list here now.

These are life sized limestone carvings of famous Indy and dirt track racing machines from way back in the olden times. In case you didn't realize, these works of art are very cool. I just thought I'd tell you in case you were unaware. These carvings were sitting outside of the Auto and Race Car Museum which was located in the Stone City Mall, Bedford, Indiana.

This is the 1953 Indy 500 winning sled of Bill Vukovich.

This is one of Mel Kenyon's dirt track racers from back in the day.

I bet that cross behind the cockpit makes some people mad, but not me.

I figure religion is a personal and private thing, and if you wanna put a crucifix on your racer, that's OK by me.

This is a dramatic side view of a vintage flat bed tractor trailer unit with its precious cargo of limestone art.

Feel the drama!

This is a reasonable limestone facsimile of the car Rufus Parnelli Jones drove at Indy.

Only the coolest real racers know Parnelli's real name is Rufus.

I knew it only because somebody told me a few years ago. Otherwise, I'd be wallowing in my own ignorance right about now....

Here we see a rock hard version of the venerable Novi racing unit which used to scare lots of people at Indy because it was loud and obnoxious and difficult to drive.

The Novi was a powerful V-8 engine designed to dominate and horrify other Indy 500 competitors. I heard that the Novi was actually two 4 cylinder Offenhauser engines bolted or welded or glued together. Apparently, the Novi designers and builders made too many wrong mistakes at Indy, because the Novi seemed to always grenade or crash at very inconvenient times during the race, and it never won at Indy. Some say the Novi was cursed or haunted or snake bit. I don't know about all of that, though.

This Novi sculpture isn't near as frightening as the real ones, unless you tried to pick it up by yourself.

You'd better get a helper if you want to lift this rig properly! You might hurt your back otherwise!

This is a close-up view of the vintage stone hauling rig. You can almost smell the diesel fuel and the rust and the rotted and mildewed vinyl seats!

It is so old, my dad may have driven it!

I have been to this area of Indiana since I took these photos. All of the limestone racers you see above are now missing. I heard that the Auto and Race Car Museum, which owned these works of art, went out of business or fell on hard times, or something. Maybe they just lost interest in keeping cool and large and bulky limestone art hanging around, and they had better things to do. Maybe George W. Bush had something to do with it.

Who could honestly say for sure? Certainly not me. I guess I could Google it, or something.

Yes. Maybe I should do that sometime.

February 24, 2007


I Googled like a mad dog for more info on these sculptures and the Auto and Race Car Museum. I couldn't find any more scoop. However, in the course of my employment, I made a trip to Bedford and inquired about the museum and the limestone cars. I was told that the museum owner had died and the museum closed. The folks I talked to had no idea of the whereabouts of the sculptures.

I noticed a gleaming new Lowe's Home Improvement store in place of the Stone City Mall and the museum.

That's progress.


Snow Day 2007 and Other Trucking Stuff

February 13, 2007

It was a gaggle screw this morning whilst driving my big rig. Took 2.5 hours to get from Indy to Muncie. No lanes could be seen. Had to drive by feel.

I get to go to Ft. Wayne Wednesday, where they have the snow emergency....only emergency/medical vehicles allowed on road. Since I'll have a semi full of hospital supplies, I qualify! Already cleared with the State Police....

Long johns, extra hat/gloves/change of clothes, cooler full of food and drink, fire starting equipment, flashlight, full tanks of fuel are the order of the day. (Marine Corps cold weather survival training kicking in) I'll bring my Kodak Instamatic along too. If I survive, I should get some cool shots of the frozen devastation.

If I'm lucky, I'll get stranded near a hotel, or in Ft. Wayne....

February 14, 2007

My trip today to Ft. Wayne was relatively uneventful. Thankfully. Since I am a professional driver and stuff, I don't get in a hell-fire hurry when conditions are not good. Actually, I rarely get into a hell-fire hurry ever because I am paid hourly but I am extremely efficient, so don't go thinking I milk the clock and stuff...

The roads weren't near as bad as I expected. I was almost disappointed. I like a challenge sometimes.

I do not like to travel closely with other tractor/trailer units. I never know what kinda 3 week trucker school wonder might be next to me, so I ride by my lonesome. It's more better that way, I've found.

Here is a picture I took today. This an example of what happens when one or more semis ride closely together and they are piloted by Billy BigRig and his travelling companion Mr. SuperTrucker. One, or both of these drivers made a wrong mistake near Gas City.

Wrong mistakes in the trucking industry can be very costly in equipment and lives. I bet one or both of these drivers wished they had noticed the black ice which is clearly illustrated in this picture just to the right of the center line.

I am sorry that this photo is sorta blurry, but I was in motion and driving and junk while I took it. I'm guessing some of you are thinking right about now that maybe I shouldn't have been taking snapshots while driving.

I can multi-task, pretty much, and I have never in my illustrious driving career jackknifed and destroyed a combination vehicle.

Anyhoo....I arrived back home safe and sound. I bet you are all happy about that too.

Watch out for the snow melt. It is re-freezing now and 4-wheelers are biffing it all over the place.

It wouldn't be prudent to crash now that the blizzard is over.


February 24, 2007

In other trucking related news...

I thought you all might like to see a picture of the truck I drive. So, here is a picture of my truck.

It is an International truck.

Some people in the trucking world call International trucks "thirteen letter manure spreaders." These mean people give these trucks such names because the International Harvester company is best known for the farm machinery they make, and International has 13 letters...hence the nickname.

If these hateful people were like me, they'd use a nickname as a term of endearment, but I don't think they are thinking lovingly when they use the term "thirteen letter manure spreader."

But, they are not like me. Maybe they are seething-with-rage ChampCar fans, or something.

I slightly altered the picture of my truck. I deleted my company's logo because one can never be too careful on the intardnets. I've heard that sometimes employers will look at their employee's blogs on the intardwebs. Those same employers will sometimes get mad and fire their employees because of what their employee says or does saying the word suck a few too many times, or something. So, that's why I PhotoShopped my truck picture. Maybe.

I am unlike most of your typical truck drivers. I do not LOVE my truck. I like it OK, I guess, but I do not love it. I LOVE my wife and family and the Indy 500. That's about it. Pretty much.

My truck is sorta cool, though. It has a good air conditioner. In the summertime, my truck's AC will darn near run you out of the cab because it is so cold. In fact, the Magic Shell on my ice cream will not melt, even on the hottest of Hoosier days, due to the efficiency of my truck's cooling system! I salute the International Harvester company's AC system designers and builders! SALUTE!

My truck also has a CD player, which is always a good option to have. I can listen to Foghat and Van Halen and AC/DC anytime I want.

I think AC/DC should be the preferred music of choice for all truck drivers, if for no other reason than the movie Maximum Overdrive. Maximum Overdrive was made by Steve King. I like him. He is kinda demented and stuff. Maximum Overdrive was not great cinema, but the soundtrack was perfect because it was all AC/DC. I can listen to AC/DC while I'm driving my truck and forget all about wanting to run four-wheelers off the road in a fit of rage. I think all big trucks should come equipped standard with AC/DC's entire CD catalog.

Yes. That would be a good and prudent thing indeed.

As a truck driver, I hear all kinds of wild stories from the road. I've heard tales of scantily or barely clad young women flashing their various parts at passing big trucks. I do not know if these stories are true. I have never seen such risque activity during my 15 years out on the road, therefore, I don't believe it has ever happened. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention to who is passing me. Maybe I'm concentrating too hard on staying in my own lane and not causing a heinous fiery accident. Maybe the CD player is turned up too loud. Who could say for sure?

What I do know is that now you know what my truck looks like, and you can wave or smile or give me some kind of signal, or something, if you see me out on the interstate.

Happy motoring. Keep the shiny side up and the dull side down and keep it between the ditches.

Lots of truck drivers say things like that on the CB and stuff.

Not me, though.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Daytona 2007: Some of My Takes

February 16, 2007

I watched the NASCAR races at Daytona yesterday because there isn’t any good open wheel stuff on TV yet. The NASCAR races I watched yesterday at Daytona are called the Gatorade 150s because NASCAR has sponsors for everything. The Gatorade 150s are kinda like qualifying races to see who gets to race in the Daytona 500. I say kinda because there are about 647 different ways a guy can get in the big race, and I’m really not gonna go into all that here now because, believe it or not, there actually is a limit to band width and space on the intardnets.

I think it would be cool if they qualified for the biggest and most prestigious NASCAR race by speed. Yes. I believe that’s what they should do next time.

This year, many teams have been caught cheatin' and stuff.

Some say, “If you ain’t cheatin' you ain’t trying.”

Still others say, “It ain’t cheatin’ unless you get caught.”

I say, “….and sometimes it’s still not cheatin’…”

Michael Waltrip and his new Toyota team, just to mention one of the cheaters, got caught cheatin’. The crack NASCAR inspectors found rocket fuel inside Waltrip’s intake manifold. Toyota racing intake manifolds don’t normally have rocket fuel inside them, so Team Waltrip was fined $88 billion dollars and Waltrip must give up his first born male grandchild whenever he comes along.

Team Waltrip was very sorry and apologetic and Mikey went on TV and looked sad and almost cried. NASCAR drivers are sensitive like that. I never saw AJ Foyt cry on TV. I bet Team Waltrip fired their manifold installer dude right after the press conference. Team Waltrip gets to race in the 500 anyway because they did good enough in the first 150.

I will tell you now about the first 150. The first race was cool.

Tony Stewart won that race.

Waltrip musta still been pissed and sad about getting caught cheatin', because he almost killed Little Dale.

AJ Hummdinger, a former ChampCar hot-shoe, was taken out by Robert Gordon, Jeff’s brother and another former open wheeler. I bet AJ wishes he was gonna be back at ChampCar this year with his former best buddy team mate Paul Tracy.

Robert Gordon made a wrong mistake at Daytona. Maybe Robert should stick to racing sand rails in Cabo Wabo, or Dakar, or wherever those steroid soaked dune buggies race.

Boris Said did just good enough to make the big race, I think. Boris is like the Frankenstein of NASCAR. He’s about 20 feet tall and they have to make a special Lurch version of a NASCAR racer so he can compete. Boris does really good on NASCAR tracks which turn left and right. Actually, Boris does really good in just about any kinda car on any twisty bits track. I don’t know why Boris wants to race in the Daytona 500. I bet he gets bored turning left all day.

James Hetfield, noted singer and guitarist for Metallica, did not do good enough to make the big race. James has really aged a lot the last few years. He looks like he’s 72 years old, or something. I guess that’s what life on the road with the world’s best metal band can do to a guy…..age you beyond your years. I think it would behoove Mr. Hetfield to stay away from the all-night drug and young chick parties if he wants to race in the biggest NASCAR race in the galaxy.

The second race was cool too. There were many intriguing stories there. I will tell you now a couple of them.

Jeff Gordon won that race, but was caught cheatin' too, sorta. His car was too low, or something. I bet Jeff fires his suspension guy before too long. He’ll have to start last for the big race, but Jeff doesn’t care.

Jeff has a new wife. She is a real stunner. She is heavy with Jeff’s child. I bet she’ll be heavy with many of Jeff’s children before it’s all said and done. Did I mention she’s quite the looker? Jeff doesn’t care that he’s starting last in NASCAR’s biggest race.

The only other real compelling story of the second race involves Juan Montoya. I will not call him Juan Pablo Montoya. Here in the U.S., we don’t use your middle name unless you are a serial killer or have shot at a President. Montoya hasn’t done any of those things yet, so I will refer to him as simply Montoya from here on out.

I like Montoya. I watched him when he was in ChampCar. He was awesome then. He made just about all his fellow competitors in ChampCar look like fools.

Then he came over to try the Indy 500 once in 2000. He boat raced everybody and won that too, and he said it was so easy even a caveman, or his grandmother, could have done it. That comment made some of the Indy faithful pissed, but not me. I figure it ain’t braggin’ if you can do it, and Montoya can do it.

Montoya knows what Indy means. Sorta.

Montoya also raced in Formula One. He won several races while he was there, especially the one at Monaco, which is like F1’s Indy 500 or Daytona 500.

Montoya is from Columbia. I saw him race at the USGP a few times. I also saw many of his rabid and scantily clad female Columbian fans. I didn’t look at them long, though, because I didn’t want to be thrown out of a helicopter later on with a rope around my neck. That would be below average.

Montoya did pretty good in the beginning of the second race. He led many of the first few laps, but then he biffed it and crashed because he is not accustomed to NASCAR racers just yet and he doesn’t know how to tell when he has a flat tire until his racing machine goes violently out of control and hits the wall. Apparently, Montoya’s grand-ma-ma couldn’t drive a NASCAR racer at this time either.

I suspect Montoya will get the hang of things in short order. I’m guessing he’ll be making the rest of the field look like simpletons before too long.

Yes. That’s what I think.

The big race is next. It will be on Sunday. It is called America’s Race by many.

Not by me, though.

Some people are now saying that they've seen AJ Foyt cry on TV. I'm not believing that statement much.


The only time AJ Foyt ever almost cried was when he was retiring from Indy racing and he knew he never could win at Indy again because he was getting old and couldn't fit inside a real racing machine any more.

Thing is, he did win at Indy one more an owner. So, therefore, you could say this AJ kinda weeping scenario was a crocodile tears kinda thing that never really happened.

You could also say that AJ got his 5 Indy wins way before Mike ShoeMaker. I bet ShoeMaker never cried when he retired because he really didn't care one way or another anyway. Mike ShoeMaker had absolutely no clue as to what Indy and real racing evidenced by the time a while back when he pulled over and stopped and pretended to enjoy a picnic lunch just yards from the finish line so his team mate Ruperts Barelyfollow could win at Indy.

And besides, AJ's got a Wheaties box, and ShoeMaker doesn't. So there!

AJ knows what Indy means. That's why he sorta cried almost a little.

One thing's for sure. Whenever AJ Foyt may or may not have cheated during his racing career, you can bet your sweet, sweet behinds that he never went on TV and looked all forlorn and downtrodden and apologetic and sheepish and stuff.

No. That would never be AJ's style. If AJ Foyt ever got caught cheating or not cheating, he would get mad and punch a USAC official, or smash an expensive racing machine part with a mallet, or slap a pretty European man upside his head, or storm off to be by himself so he could scowl menacingly.

That's how a real racer reacts if he's accused of cheating or not cheating.


February 17, 2007

I watched the BUSCH Series race today!

It was cool too! Kebmo Harvick won.

It's called The Busch Series because it is named after a cheap beer you can buy at the drugstore for about $3.99 a case warm...a little more if you want it chilled, but you might have to go to a liquor store for that. Check your local laws first! I guess the Busch racing units are a little cheaper and slower than the Cup rigs, so that's why they call it Busch.

They should call it The New Castle Brown Ale Series. That's a more tastier brew, I think. It's a little more pricier, but worth it in the long run.

There's a lot of up-and-comers racing in the Busch Series, and that's pretty much what the Busch series was originally designed for, but, now, many times, the Cup regulars come over and hog all the limelight and fame and hot chicks and stuff.

I think the Cup guys should stay in Cup and let the younger, hungrier, rookies run in Busch. I mean, right now it's like the Cup guys are ganging up and bullying and crushing the dreams of the Busch dudes, and that ain't fair. You shouldn't play your first string varsity squad against the water boys and the towel dudes and the Gatorade squirters.

That's how I see things anyway.

Sam Hornish, the 2006 Indy champ, was in this race too. I bet he's gonna have to take some bump drafting lessons from a NASCAR vet pretty soon. Sam musta forgot that he shouldn't try to bump draft a fellow race competitor while speeding through the tri-oval. Sam almost put that guy into the wall. That would have been below average. With all his IROC experience, you'd think Sam would know better. Apparently not. Bad, bad Sam!

Sam was all over the track. Sam even hit the wall a couple of times, I think, and pretty much removed the finish from the right side of his Penske racing machine.

I bet Roger Penske was none too pleased with Sam's performance today. Roger may even be giving some thought to firing Sam from driving in NASCAR. Sam should stick to open wheel Indy type racing sleds. They don't bump draft. Bump drafting in an Indy car is an A Train Ticket to Methodist. That's what I think.

Montoya was in this Busch Series race as well, and he did pretty good, but not for very long because the racing mill in his Target Chip Ganassi racing rig gave up on him.

I bet Montoya is thinking right about now how he hates old American push rod technology V-8 engines with carburetors and hydraulic lifters and valves and stuff which sound like this:


Montoya probably wishes he was back in his Williams BMW which stuck to the road like glue and was beautiful and turned eleventy trillion RPMs because it had a pneumatic valve train and fuel injection and 10 cylinders and sounded like this:


But he got fired from F1 so NASCAR was really his only alternative right now.

One of the announcers for today's Busch Series race, I think it was Rob Petree from the Dick Van Dyke Show, kept on saying annoying stuff about Darlington. I think Rob was confused or drunk or tripped over the ottoman too many times, or something. Rob wasn't at Darlington. Rob was at Daytona. Rob Petree will never be a broadcast legend, I bet.

Therefore, in conclusion, I'd have to say that the Busch Series race today at Daytona was cool and fun and exciting.

Your thoughts?

February 18, 2007

Today I watched the 2007 Daytona 500.

I saw some of the 10 hours of pregame coverage on SpeedVision. Jimmy Spencer was on the program. I think maybe Jimmy was drunk or tired or had gas or something. He just ain’t right. Maybe he needed some Beano. Then, maybe he wouldn’t butcher the English language so bad.

I don’t think I’d want to Sit With Jimmy for the race at Daytona. I bet Jimmy is one of those guys who drinks all your beer and eats all your chow then disappears when it’s time to get refills and would never reach for his wallet. Jimmy would not be a good racin’ buddy, I’m guessing.

Kenny Wallace was on the program too. I think that boy’s a half a bubble off plumb as well. He ain’t right either.

Before the race, NASCAR allowed all the fans out onto the racing surface of the Daytona Speedway. They were scrawling on the checkerboard start/finish line with their Sharpies and laying down on the track in an undisciplined fashion. I wouldn’t allow the fans to wallow and linger out on my racetrack.

Race fans can be pigs sometimes, and I bet they left all kinds of flotsam and jetsam out there, like toenails and boogers and skanky skin flakes, or something. That kind of debris on the track can cause a serious wreck. Watch yours, if you please.

NASCAR seems to want to have a pregame celebration zoo-type thing like the SuperBowl does. Kelly Clarkson performed before the race and did a very long lip-synch concert. It was gawd-awful too.

She won the Who Wants to Be America’s Next Lost Last Surviving Millionaire Talentless Hack Idol, or something like that, so, therefore, she got the privilege of entertaining us all.

While all this was going on, I noticed that ESPN was showing the Jump Rope Championships. I should have watched that instead. Kelly Clarkson may or may not be aboard for my next Fantasy Celebrity Plane Crash.

Nick Cage gave the command to start engines. He said it in a low and somber and sullen manner. He didn’t seem very excited, but then again, he never seems very excited about anything he does.

Some might say he is very lowbrow in his delivery in his motion pictures, and that his methods carried over to his duties today. I would simply say that Nick Cage sucks. His movies are not good cinema, and it may or may not be a good thing if he were aboard the doomed airplane I mentioned earlier.

Now on to my actual race coverage. The race was cool and fun and exciting.

The Busch brothers drove like they had too much of their namesake beverage today.

One of the race announcers said Kyle Busch made some “bold and daring” moves out on the racecourse. I saw things a little differently.

I think Kyle made many bonehead, banzai, stupid and impolite maneuvers. I would have black flagged Kyle for the stuff he did today. It’s a good thing for Kyle that I am not a Daytona 500 race steward, because I would have parked him. Yes. That’s what I would have done.

Kurt Busch, who works for Roger Penske, threw a couple of unsportsman-like and Marco Andretti-like blocks on Tony StewRat. I bet Smoke was pissed too, and I also bet Roger will give Kurt a stern talking to, with the threat of termination always looming in the background of the conversation.

Later on in the race, Smoke got around Kurt and was in the lead, but then Smoke got loose and lost control. Kurt was right behind Smoke when this happened, and Kurt collected Smoke and they both crashed violently into the wall.

They were both out of the race after that, but Kurt took blame for it all, even thought I don’t think he really had to. Tony StewRat wasn’t mad or anything afterwards, so I bet he doesn’t hate Kurt or think Kurt caused him to loose the race or anything.

I think Smoke has found an inner peace, or God, or has a new, hot, smokin’ girlfriend. Maybe.

Later on in the race, Jimmy Johnson, last year’s NASCAR and Daytona 500 champ, made a wrong mistake at Daytona. He got way loose and caused incalculable damage and destruction to many finely tuned NASCAR racing machines. Jimmy made no new friends on this day, I’m sure.

Dave Blaney decided, at the last minute, to go into the pits after he was punted. Dave took his Cat car at 150mph through the pits and re-entered the field of play and plowed into Ken Schrader.

I’ve seen this act before out on the interstate when a doofus wakes up and decides the exit he wants is there….three lanes over. Same kinda deal here, and pretty much with the same results.

Matt Kenseth is another guy who made a wrong mistake at Daytona. For no apparent reason, he plowed headlong into Jamie McMurray, and the ensuing melee caused unimaginable carnage with 9 laps to go.

Maybe Jamie owed Matt 20 bucks from last night's pizza and beer bash. I don’t know, but I do know that the cost of the damage he caused will be a heck of a lot more than the previous night’s Pizza Hut bill.

Matt Kenseth needs to check himself before he wrecks himself…..and others.


The race was red-flagged so that the debris from the crash can be cleared and we can have a super-cool, typical, nail-biting, pants-wetting, NASCAR finish.

They clean up the mess and get things going again. Mark Martin has the lead. He’s looking strong. He is an old and wily veteran and I want to see him win because he is cool and races clean and doesn’t whine and cry like a little girl.

We are told that it will be a green-white-checkers thing, and that if there’s a crash at any time that the yellow will come out and the positions will be frozen and whoever is in the lead at the time will be the winner.

Things are going swimmingly for Martin as the white flag falls. Martin is in first. The negligent Kyle Busch is right on his bumper. Martin gets a little loose, when, suddenly, the young and brash KebMo Harvick boat races right along side with a helpful bump draft from a fellow racer. Nearing the checkers, all hell breaks loose behind them, with cars crashing and flipping and burning in heinous fireballs and twisted wreckage!

Harvick pulls ahead of Martin, and then Martin recovers and pulls ahead of Harvick!

I’m thinking, “Yellow! Yellow! Mark Martin wins his first Daytona 500!!”

Unfortunately, it did not turn out as I suspected it should.

Harvick then pulled just inches ahead of Martin as they crossed the stripe!

NASCAR race control apparently forgot the rules or changed them at the last minute or decided Team Harvick had paid the right amount.

Race control neglected to throw the yellow, and the 2007 version of The Great American Race was awarded to KebMo Harvick.

Harvick blew up his engine doing donuts. Serves him right, the big dope!

Mark Martin was pretty gracious after the race, but he did say “I thought they were gonna throw the yellow” about five times, by my estimation.

I thought they were gonna throw the yellow too, Mark. The whole world thought they were gonna throw the yellow.

They should have thrown the yellow, regardless of what Darrell Waltrip says.

Mark Martin wuz robbed. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe. Probably.

The 2007 Daytona 500 was cool and fun and exciting and maybe a little controversial.

The End?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

My Town Indy

November 11, 2006

So... I have a little time on my hands, and I thought I'd go downtown for a walkabout. With trusty Kodak Instamatic in hand, and $3, I find a good parking spot right where Market Square Arena used to be.

This is all that remains now. Urban renewal at its finest, probably.

I think MSA was pretty cool and really not old enough to be torn down and turned into a gravel parking lot. But what do I know? I'm just a dork with a camera and intardweb access.

Some day I should tell you about the time I got thrown out of MSA before an Aerosmith/Ted Nugent concert. I bet you'd find that amusing.

OK....I'll tell you the story here and now.

Back about 20 years ago, a buddy and I got fueled up on cheap beer and were off to see Aerosmith and Ted Nugent.

Anyway, it's before the opening act. We find decent seats, decent a debatable term seeing as it was festival seating...first come first served.

So we're sitting there waiting for Terrible Ted to warm up for the 'Smith, and I fire up a cig. Right. All around us are miscreant youths, smoking pot and being a general nuisance. The house lights are still up, when a bloke in a Charlie Brown sweater walks up to me and tells me to put out my ciggie. I look up at him and tell him, in a diplomatic way, to feck off.

Charlie Brown, who, mind you, is not wearing any kind of ID or uniform indicating he is with the security team, produces a walki-talki from his arse and proceeds to report that he has a trouble maker on aisle 7. Within seconds, I am surrounded by various steroid soaked swollen bouncer types, and I am forcefully escorted from the premises.

My buddy followed me out. He could have stayed for the show, but he didn't. We probably went to a pub somewhere and had more cheap beer.
I don't remember any of that.

I got the last laugh, however.

Looking up the street from the former MSA location...

The City Market is on the right, with the City/County Builiding (CCB), left.

I had a great idea to go to the observation platform of the CCB and take a few shots. I'd never been up there before, so I thought it would be cool.

I get in line at security and am told I have to empty my pockets, take off my belt and jacket, etc. So there I am, pants falling down, with a dog-dish full of various items which had previously been in my pockets....

Surly security chick: "Is that a camera?"

Zoomie: "Why, yes it is. It is a Kodak Instamatic!"

Surly security chick: "Cameras are not allowed in the building, sir. You'll have to take it back to your car."

Zoomie: "I'm just going to the observation observe...and take a picture or two."

Surly security chick: "I'm sorry sir. No cameras."

I blame George W. Bush, Halliburton, and Cheney.

The terrorists have won.

I get dressed in the lobby of the CCB and head back outside.

I decide to go check out Circle Center Mall. I've never been there before, even though it's been open for years, so you can understand why I was vibrating with excitement and anticipation of the new discoveries which awaited me.

This is what I saw as I neared my intended destination.

This is some kinda pedestrian overpass glass birdcage thingy they have over the road. It is called the Indianapolis Artsgarden...whatever that means.

I'd call it "a pain in the neck to clean all that glass structure"....or something.

Next, I actually went in the mall. There were many fine shops and stores and eateries...none of which could I afford, so I just walked around looking for something interesting to photograph.

This caught my eye.

This is some kind of evil Aztec sun and/or devil worshipping artwork symbol I bet, but it looked pretty cool, I thought.

Real photographers sometimes look at light and shadows and texture and colors and perspective and other stuff I really don't understand.

I just think this would make a really cool black light poster for my bedroom, so I took the picture.

Your thoughts?

Out with the not-so-old, in with the new...

Here we see the Hoosier Dome in the background, as work continues at an amazing pace on the future home of the Colts.

Even though the Hoosier Dome seems perfectly usable to me, much like MSA did, the Lucas Oil Stadium work goes on.

Apparently, there's lots of money just sitting around waiting to be used. I don't know how much of that money is the taxpayer's. Probably not much because the Irsays are pretty well-off and I bet they could afford a new stadium for their team if they want.

That's what I think.

I heard some ministers were trying to blackmail the city somehow in regards to the stadium work. I don't know too much more about all that, though.

Maybe I should Google it, or something.

This is a view from the north end zone.

The Lucas family is from Indiana and they made their fortune selling oil and fuel and transmission additives to the trucking and racing industries.

Big/evil oil strikes again? Maybe. Maybe not.

Who knows for sure?

More shots of Lucas Oil Stadium progress

West side

North end zone

East side

East side looking towards south end zone. Note huge, dark gray retractable roof superstructure support.

Hoisting a piece of equipment skyward.

Soon, I grew weary of slogging about in the mud around the construction site, so I sauntered back to the downtown area. I found myself in the Pan Am Plaza area...a place where, in my younger days, I spent many a night in an alcoholic stupor.

This is Union Station.

Back in the heydays of railroading, this was a bustling hub of activity in Indy.

In my heyday, it was a place my buds and I would go to cruise for chicks.

I can almost remember the night my friends and I went to a pub at Union Station and watched IU win their 1987 NCAA Basketball championship.

That was fun, if I remember correctly.

My girlfriend (now my wife) and I also had dinner at Union Station the night I proposed.

I bet you didn't know that I used to be a hopeless romantic, did you?

Then I walked over to the circle.

This is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It was completed in 1901 or 1902, depending on who you talk to, as a memorial to Indiana's dead from all wars up to that time.

Here you see it in its holiday garb, often called The World's Largest Christmas Tree, but it's really not a tree. It's just a big monument strung with lights.

It is made out of Indiana limestone. I love Indiana limestone. It is cool. My father and his father and his father and a bunch of former Zoomie fathers all were cutters down in southern Indiana, so they probably had a hand in building this and other things.

I guess that kinda makes me part owner and stuff.


From there I walked just up the street to the Indiana Statehouse, a place where lots of important stuff gets decided by the lawmakers we vote into office.

This is a statue honoring Oliver P. Morton, governor of Indiana during the Civil War, which was a long time ago.

If you look closely, you can see the honorable Mr. Morton flanked by a couple of his goons...and for good reason.

In 1864 he was reelected along with a Republican legislature, in part by arranging to have 9,000 sick and wounded Indiana soldiers furloughed home in time to vote.


It was Morton who was running things when the Confederate army invaded Indiana in 1863 (Morgan's Raid).

Johnny Reb ran amok, (while Gov. Morton was reading 1863's version of My Pet Goat...probably) throughout southeastern Indiana...burning and pillaging and being generally unpleasant.

Morgan's raiders were eventually hunted down and slaughtered, or surrendered, like the scurvy dogs they were. Serves them right, the big rebel dopes!

Still, you have to ask yourself....What did Gov. Morton know, and when did he know it?

Another interesting thing about the statehouse...I think somewhere in this area, a bunch of this public land has been sold to private individuals so they could build a Simon Sez headquarters or something.

I don't recall being asked if I thought it was OK to sell public park land to a private company who builds shopping malls and stuff.

But, then again, I'm just a goof with a camera and intardnet access. Why would they ask me?

This is the Indiana World War Memorial.

It was completed in 1927. It was originally built to honor veterans of World War 1, but we kept having wars so they added on some stuff to it and around it. It has a museum inside, but it was closed when I was there....November 10th...a Friday...the Marine Corps Birthday...the day before Veterans Day. Makes sense to me.

Standing proudly on a base of pink granite, on the south side of the Indiana War Memorial, is Pro Patria, by Henry Hering, 1929.

The statue is of a young man draped in an American flag reaching heavenward.

Hering stated "I have attempted to embody in this memorial, the spirit rather than material concept of a soldier-- to give the figure an expression of all there is in humanity of aspiration, valor, renunciation and the perpetuation of the memory of the patriot fighting for the right. I include peace also, for the left hand raised in exultation also may snatch the olive branch."

The statue is 24' high and weighs approximately seven tons. It was the largest sculptured bronze casting ever made in America at that time.

To vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the world

To commemorate the valor and sacrifice of all who served

This is the view from high atop the World War Memorial, looking north across American Legion Mall.

The American Legion National Headquarters is on the right.

The big green glass monstrosity in the background at the end of the mall is the new library which has had lots of problems, apparently, like huge cost overruns and bad concrete work and stuff.

I'm glad I don't use that library, even though I'm helping to pay for it, because it might come crashing down on my head, or something.

That would be below average.

A couple of old apartment buildings...

I don't know anything about them, except I thought they looked cool with the brickwork and stone trim. Very nice and clean looking... The owners obviously care for and love their property and value its historical significance.

( Library under construction in background.)

The (American Legion) Mall features a sunken garden with a cenotaph and four Art Deco columns topped with stylized gold eagles.


-A monument erected in honor of a dead person whose remains lie elsewhere.

-A tomb built for ceremonial purposes that was never intended to be used for the interment of the deceased.

The Cenotaph memorializes the nation's first casualty of World War I, Corporal James B. Gresham of Company F, 16th Infantry and Evansville Indiana.

You should come to Indianapolis sometime to visit or live. It's a good place to raise a family, or something.

Pretty much.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

My 2006 IndyAirShow Pictorial

Click on the images for dramatic effect!

August 26, 2006

Since I love old war birds just about as much as I love the Indy 500, I loaded up the boys and we headed out to the airport early this morning. We were second in line at one of the general admission gates. This is what we saw there.

We got there kinda early because I have issues, so we just sat in the car for an hour and a half, trying to hold our pee and stuff. My youngest was thirsty, so I gave him an orange soda, which he promptly poured down the front of his white T-shirt. I'll address that problem later.

They finally opened the gates and we rushed to park. Since I'm a cheap-skate, I went general admission and brought three lawn chairs and a big cooler of beer and sodas. Well, they parked us at one end of the airport, and the area for the great unwashed general admission folks (us) was at the other end. So we humped our gear for what seemed like two miles in Bataan DeathMarch-like conditions....passing all kinds of roped-off, reserved-for-the fat-cat-corporate-types areas...and finally staked our claim.

Then, it was time to go check out some airplanes!


One of the first things I saw was this.

This is an A-10 WartHog Thunderbolt II. Modern planes have too many names.

Anyway... this monstrosity is used for low level ground attack runs low and slow and lingers around. You probably don't want to be in any kind of enemy vehicle when this thing is snooping about. It spits out depleted uranium anti-everything rounds which will definitely ruin your day.

Our British cousins say some of our A-10 pilots have a bad reputation for friendly fire incidents against them in recent conflicts, and I have seen some recently released video on the intardnets which would suggest this is true.

I don't know too much more about that, because I wasn't there, but I know some of our guys were accidentally perforated by miscreant A-10's and their pilots during Gulf War 1, so maybe the Brits have a valid point. Who's to say for sure?

Certainly not me.

So then I needed to see something really cool, so I followed my nose to the P-51 Mustangs, and I posed my boys in front of one.

If you look closely, you can see the orange pop all down the front of the youngest son's shirt. (He also has a solar powered hat, and you don't) Soon after I took this picture, I rinsed the skanky T-shirt with water and all was right with the world. The kid didn't like wearing a wet shirt, but at least he didn't look like a total dork anymore...

Now...back to P-51s....

Everybody knows that P-51s are just about the coolest and most beautifullest things ever built by human hands. If anybody disagrees I know they are wrong too.

Everytime I see a Mustang I yell, "P-51...Cadillac of the skies!!"...just like that little kid does in the movie Empire of the Sun.

That was good cinema, I think, if for no other reason than for the scenes with the P-51s.

Some people claim that observing a P-51 in flight is as good as or better than a sexual experience with a beautiful woman.

I would have to agree with those people sorta, probably, maybe, really....

I would now like to tell you how I would run an air show, or, at least, tell you what I would not do.

I would not play disco versions of AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long.
I would not play rap or dance music.
I would not play heavy metal or death/thrash music.

In fact, I would not play any music at all during my air show, because air shows do not need a musical sound track blaring over loudspeakers.

Actually, air shows provide their own soundtrack. I think aircraft engines are music to my ears. That is all I want to hear. I bet most people at air shows feel like I do.

For instance, look at the picture below.

Look closely. There is a lot going on in this picture...this moment in time...that I would like to hear.

Thank you very much.

Here's another shot of a B-17.

I enjoy seeing this piece of history, but for some reason the B-17 makes me very sad sometimes. I think it's because this plane makes me think of all the brave young men who flew in them and sacrificed themselves while flying them.

God bless every one of them!

This is a P-47 ThunderBolt.

This is the real and original and best ThunderBolt. I bet it didn't have a bad rep in WW2 like the modern Thunderbolt does.

I think the modern Thunderbolt might be evil or possessed or something.

The old ThunderBolts like the one pictured, were kinder, gentler....a more caring and loving and angelic machine of death!

That's how I see them anyway.

It wasn't all war birds at the air show. Oh no. They had all kinds of stunt and acrobatic stuff going on too. I never saw so many mouth breathers in one place, at the same time, in my life.

I was one of them too, pretty much.

It was amazing, bordering on spectacular. I saw planes doing stuff planes aren't supposed to be able to do without crashing into heinous fireballs.

Thankfully, there were no heinous fireballs.

The white plane below is piloted by Jurgis Kairys. For a sample of his work, click the link below...

There were many Russian/Chinese/former Soviet bloc airplanes, and this is somewhat troubling for me.

Now, I understand that these aircraft are supposed to be all great and king-of-the-stunts type deal, but I'm not so sure we should be buying up all the Soviet's junk. I mean, look what it can lead to.....

They put a Rolls-Royce/Merlin engine into a Yak-9!!

Let me be the first to say, right here and now, that improper aircraft modifications are being conducted if a Rolls-Royce/Merlin engine is being installed into a Yak-9!!!

So, the next thing we did was go over to see US Marine legend R. Lee Ermey.

Like I said, Ermey was in the Corps. At one time, I also dabbled in all things Marine Corps-ish.

With those two thoughts in my head, I figured I'd run into Gunny and we'd have one of those Band of Brothers, once-a-Marine always-a-Marine, backslapping, handshaking, swear-word-sharing moments.

I don't think Gunny got the memo.

Seeing as I'm afraid of no man, Hollywood legend or not, I walked right up to Gunny and said, "Hey Gunny! How about a cold beer? You look like you need one."

He looked up from autographing one of his $25 DVDs and said, "No thanks. I don't drink beer. I graduated from that a long time ago."

This could mean one of two things:

1-Beer is for wussies. I drink hard Zima, so disappear, scumbag!

2-I don't drink at all (which is fine). Alcohol is for losers, and you are a loser, Zoomie. Get away from me, you sorry piece of amphibian feces!

Then he took a sip of coffee.

I think Gunny is probably too worried about making a buck from selling autographed bobble heads of himself to share an intimate, esprit de corps time out with a fellow Marine.
That's what I think.

Semper Fi, Effer!!!

This is something only a money hungry college student should do at an air show.

Normally, I would say it is not a good idea to wear a mascot type outfit which looks like a bloated Piper Cub afflicted with elephantiasis.

Maybe it's just me. I guess you could call it one of Zoomie's Rules To Live By, or something.


This is a Fokker tri-plane replica. It is cool, too.

It is the same type of plane the Red Barron used to massacre many helpless allied pilots and Snoopy during WW1. He got his, though. He got killed by lowly Brit ground-pounder rifle fire. At least, that's what PBS said last week on TV. Serves him right, the big Hun dope!

They are using this plane to promote a new movie coming out in September called Flyboys.

I'll probably go see it, but I bet it will be bad cinema, because Hollywood pretty much doesn't know how to make a decent war picture anymore. I bet the movie will be lots of computer generated BS with huge, napalm-like explosions and stuff.

I figure Flyboys won't be as good as The Great Waldo Pepper, or The Blue Max. Now that's good cinema!

This is an F4U Corsair.

It really doesn't get any better than this. If you don't agree, you probably need a shovel upside your head.

These planes are the coolest ever. My beloved Corps drove them. The Japanese called them Whistling Death. That's a cool name for a fighter plane, I think.

I bet the Nippon planes would have been better if they'd given them tougher names. I mean, naming your fighter plane Tumbling Flaming Chrysanthemum can't be good...especially if you are strapped in to one!

I guess it's fortunate for our guys that the Japanese deemed it necessary to give their fighter planes flowery and poetic names.

What are your thoughts?

This is the P-38 Lightning.

It is a bad motor scooter. It was named Fork Tailed Devil by its enemies. You know if your enemies name you something like Fork Tailed Devil, you have their attention.

This is a Stearman trainer.

Just about anybody who flew anything during WW2 started out in one of these.

Old biplanes give people a warm and fuzzy feeling. That's why a pizza company uses them to sell more pizzas. Something bothers me about all that, but I guess if it keeps these old crates flying, it's OK in my book.

Enjoy a slice, won't you?

This is an SNJ advanced trainer from WW2.

You could also call it a Texan and still be pretty much right on. That's what I always call them anyway....Texan.

These rigs were also flown by just about everybody who wanted to advance to fighters or bombers. That doesn't leave too many people out, does it?

These planes are often disguised as Japanese Zero fighters and Kate torpedo bombers in the movies. I would never do that to my Texan.

This is the AF-18 SuperDuperHornet.

It is much more better than the regular old boring Hornet. Any fool can see that!

This plane is probably my favorite modern jet fighter plane, simply because my beloved Marines drive them. We let the Navy drive them sometimes too if we gotta work late or we're sick or something.

I'm no expert, as you probably have been able to deduce by now, but I'd say this baby is just as nimble as the evil A-10. I was amazed at how tight the F-18 can turn!

I say...get rid of the demon possessed A-10 and replace it with the SuperDuperHornet.

I bet the Air Force would love it if I was the Secretary of Defense, or something.

This is wrong on so many levels. This is a DC-3 GooneyBird with turbo-prop engines.

Turbo-prop is a cool word real aviators use. It means a jet engine with propellers, kinda.

Vintage WW2 era transport planes should not have turbo-prop engines hanging off their wings that sound like ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ or HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Vintage WW2 era transport planes should look a little something like this and have huge radial engines hanging off the wings that sound like this... wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump!!

Apparently, Ted Turner agrees with me.

This is an example of a proper vintage WW2 era transport plane with an improper paint job.

The engines are correct, but the paint is all wrong. You should never allow your children to have free-reign with earth toned pastel chalk on your vintage WW2 era transport plane.

It wouldn't be prudent, as evidenced by these two photos.

This is a Skyraider.

It was used in Vietnam and was driven by Marines too. The Skyraider is living proof that with enough horsepower, a brick will fly.

Here is a gratuitous shot of another P-51 Mustang.

I have been told that this is most likely a replica of a real Mustang by somebody who knows these kinds of things.

Who am I to argue?

This replica is a replica of an earlier variant of the Mustang. If you look closely, you will see that it does not have the bubble canopy of the later models.

Notice how the floor of the hangar gleams. That floor is so clean you could eat off it if you wanted to. Mustang owners are fussy like that. They pay attention to details, and they love their airplanes, probably as much, if not more, than their wives and/or girlfriends.

I expect P-51s are easier to maintain than a wife/girlfriend.

That's what I think.

Here is a more modern Navy trainer.

It is a North American T-28C Trojan.

I have been told by somebody who knows better than me that this plane is only just a little bit more modern than a only by a few years or something.

This plane was used in the later years of WW2 apparently.

Who am I to argue?

I you look closely, you'll see a whirley-bird in the background shadowing this airplane.

I bet that helicopter is Jack Bauer and CTU making sure everything goes OK at the air show.

That's what I think.

Here is a sorta surreal photo I took.

It would look good on an album cover, or something.


I bet all you old hippies like this kinda picture.

Don't you?

This is an Avenger torpedo bomber.

It is large enough to house a family of five and their pets!

President George H.W. Bush drove one of these and was blown from the sky by Japanese ack-ack fire. He parachuted and was rescued by an American submarine, and it is all captured on film! (I bet you could find it and watch it on the intardnets if you really wanted to.)

How convenient! I bet his daddy, Prescott Bush, set it all up so he could be shot down and filmed and be made a hero so he could later be President and ruin all our lives, and stuff!

That's probably how it all played out. I think.

Here is another gratuitous shot...this time of a radial engine.

This particular radial engine sits in the airframe of a P-47 ThunderBolt.

Think... wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump....

Sometimes, they do silly stuff at air shows. Kinda like WWF, or something.

This is an example of something that is silly. This is a jet powered straight truck.

They said this truck is powered by a jet engine out of an F-104 StarFighter.

I'd rather see the StarFighter going down the runway. Probably.

Here are some more airplane pictures for your enjoyment.

Some kinda Commie surplus jet thing...

B-25 Mitchell...

More surplus Rooskie stuff...


Finally, the Thunderbirds showed up, but all they did was circle the field a couple of times because visibility was bad, or so they said. I bet they were nervous and too scared to perform for a critical Hoosier audience, so they bugged out and blamed it on the weather!

Way to go, Air Force!!

Maybe next year a real, precision, flight demonstration team will be on display for IndyAirShow 2007.

I bet the Blue Angels wouldn't wuss out if they were here.

The sun sets on Indy AirShow 2006.

The roar is over.

Now I will have some semi-related aviation type stuff for you.

I went to this air show a long time ago.

In those days, I used my dad's antique Brownie camera. We only had black and white film back then. We were poor sharecroppers and stuff.

Fifi didn't fly that day due to engine trouble, so we had to look at it sitting there on the tarmac leaking oil and looking forlorn and junk.

Later on they started a couple of the engines and taxied it around the runway. Kinda cool, but not near as cool as seeing it fly and do simulated firebombing missions on helpless Japanese cities.

This is a Hawker SeaFury. It was built by the British. Here you see it dressed up for Canada's use. Canada always has to buy their really cool stuff from us or the British.

Canada makes pretty good beer, but not much else.

Here's a couple of Texans all decked out and pretending to be Japanese planes. This is wrong on so many levels. This is another example of improper aircraft modifications....

I would never do this to my Texan, but I guess if you want to make movies about WW2 in the Pacific, you have to do something.

There aren't too many flying examples of real WW2 Japanese planes anymore, because we pretty much blew all of them up.

I guess that's why we won, or something.

Remember when I said this way back at the beginning of all this foolishness?

…I have issues…

Well, I figure it’s about time I tell you why I have those issues and how I came by them honestly.

Way back a long time ago, before computers and George W. Bush, I went to an air show with my mom and dad. The Blue Angels, the world’s best flight demonstration team, performed there for us in their A4 Skyhawks. They were amazing AND spectacular, as always.

Seems that Mom was quite taken with the Blue Angels. In fact, she said of the pilots, “They are the cream of humanity!”

At the time, I found it hard to disagree with my mother. Besides, if I had, she would have gone upside my head with a shovel or some other heavy implement.

Anyways, after the show, we went over to the static display area. I guess Mom was feeling frisky from the Blue Angels, or had been hitting the sauce, or something. She went over to a beautiful F6F Hellcat, the one pictured, and LICKED IT!!

You heard me. She LICKED IT! Right there on the tail, behind the rudder, in front of God and everybody! She laid her tongue on a vintage WW2 fighter plane. I forgot to ask her what it tasted like.

I bet my dad shoulda put his woman on a shorter leash. That’s what I think.

Now, I know some of you filthy perverts have unsavory thoughts coursing through your heads right about now. But let me give you a little tip. That’s my MOM your thinking of, and I won’t hesitate to come over there and give you a thump on the noggin with my headache stick.

The saga of Grammy licking an airplane is a family legend. I bet if our fleet of warplanes had been licked right after Pearl Harbor, WW2 would have lasted only 90 days. Maybe.

Flash forward to today's air show….

We were walking amongst the static display and my youngest son says to me, “Dad. I wanna lick an airplane like Grammy did!”

I say, “Oh, you do, do you?”

Boy says, “Yeah. Which one do you think I should lick?”

I say, “Well, if it was me, and I was hankerin’ to lick a plane, it’d be the F4U Corsair.”

Boy says, “I don’t wanna lick the Corsair. I wanna lick that little brown and green jet over there.”

I say, “OK, but let’s try to do it when nobody’s watching. I don’t wanna get thrown outta here for lettin’ you lick a plane. Hold on a second…let me get the Instamatic out!”

So now maybe you understand where I’m coming from and where I get it.

My family is eccentric, and junk. We are kinda fun to be around sometimes.

Keep ‘em flying! Lick a plane today!

Right about now I've pretty much run outta flying-stuff-type pictures, but I figured I'd go ahead and show you one I took a long time ago with my dad's Brownie camera.

Sometimes we saved up enough money to use color film.

This is the lighter-than-air dirigible of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

It used to come around Indy during May for the 500. We would get all excited when it first showed up. At night it would be all lit up with words or little race cars gliding across it and stuff.

The Goodyear lighter-than-air dirigible doesn't come around Indy anymore during the month of May. I guess they have better things to do now, or something. Maybe they are patrolling our oceans for Al-Queda submarines.

You can sometimes see it at Indy in August, but it's really not the same and nobody really cares anymore.

The Firestone Firehawk mascot who shoots free cheap T-shirts to race fans with a compressed-air-powered bazooka isn't nearly as cool as a lighter-than-air dirigible.

That's what I think.

This may or may not be my last aviation-related post here.

Here’s another aviation picture I took a long time ago I forgot to tell you about.

These are F-4 Phantoms. I took this picture from the window of an Airforce KC-135 tanker as we refueled them somewhere out west. 

We were on our way from Grissom AFB, Indiana to March AFB out in California.

I was a snot-nosed college student AFROTC maggot at the time, and this was my first flying experience of any kind ever! Quite a thrill….

The following is a pic I took (with a cheap disposable camera) in Kuwait after the nasty business of war (Desert Shield/Storm) was pretty much over. I and my fellow communications Marines were sitting and rotting in the desert...waiting for our freedom bird tickets home.

One day, we were asked if we'd like to take a little helicopter ride...sorta like a glorified government subsidized carnival attraction, but without the toothless inbreds at the controls...kinda.

Being an adventurous type, I readily agreed. I grabbed my rifle and my Kevlar headgear and headed out to the launch site.

This is what I saw there.

A couple of Vietnam-era CH46 Sea Knights. Even though several of these crates had plummeted from the sky on their own accord during my visit to the Middle East, I climbed aboard and eagerly anticipated my little air tour of my surroundings.

I'm not too smart, sometimes...kinda like Steve Irwin, or something.

We flew over part of the Highway of Death, where our planes bombed and strafed the retreating Iraqi forces...causing an international uproar over how unkind and not-very-tidy war can be.

I really didn't have a problem with the Highway of Death. More of the same woulda been OK with me...even all the way to Baghdad. Maybe if we had done that then, we wouldn't have to be there now.

That's what I think.

The helicopter ride was fun.