27 October 2011

Super Sic Forever

Image copyright Peter Guld, courtesy HFL Magazine
Marco Simoncelli was killed in a motorcycle crash in Sepang, Malaysia on Sunday during the MotoGP race.

He was 24.

Just typing those words makes me more sad than I would have ever imagined. He was not my favorite racer. He didn't ride for a team that I particularly cared about. I never met him. I don't know anyone that was friends with him. We never interacted directly in any way.

Here is the summary of the crash from motomatters.com:
On the second lap of the race, in dry conditions, Simoncelli's rear tire broke loose at Turn 11, then gripped, sending Simoncelli and his bike across the track into the path of another rider. [Ed. It was actually two riders, Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.] Simoncelli was struck, losing his helmet in the impact, and the race was red-flagged. Simoncelli was transported to the medical center, but died from the injuries sustained in the crash at 16:56 local time.

I've been wondering why his death makes me so sad. I've never shed tears for a professional athlete; I'm too old and far too cynical. Simoncelli is the first. He was young, charismatic, talented, and he was a racer's racer. The older riders didn't like Simoncelli's all-or-nothing style, they said he needed to settle down. The younger riders (and some racing legends, like Kevin Schwantz) disagreed, and suggested that the people complaining needed to go faster or get out of the way.

I thought he was reckless at times, but his recklessness had nothing to do with the crash that killed him.

What everyone agreed on was that he was incredibly nice, generous, and friendly. He was the people's champion, especially now that the great Rossi is stuck in the middle of the pack. Unlike Lorenzo (the nicest robot you could ever hope to meet), Simoncelli was a gregarious, charming personality. His nickname was Super Sic (pronounced Super SEECH, if you prefer the Italian version), a reference to his extraordinary riding skills (sick) and also his general awesomeness (which, according to everyone that interacted with him, was super).

As for me, I will never feel the same about racing motorcycles. I was not very affected by the untimely death of Dan Wheldon, maybe because I don't spend my free time driving open-wheel race cars as fast as I can. But racing motorcycles is one of my great passions. I understand what motivated Simoncelli, not least because he said during his recent contract negotiations that if they stopped paying him to race then he would happily pay his own way. A lot of riders say that, but with Super Sic you tended to believe it.

Forever is a long time, but I expect that people like me will be telling future racers about the young Italian rider with the wild hair that was capable of going as fast or faster than anyone on two wheels. He made it to the mountaintop that is MotoGP and the only thing that slowed him down was tragedy. Legends have been made out of less.

26 October 2011

The world revolves around me

I hate when science gets in the way.

Full text:

The supreme arrogance of religious thinking: that a carbon-based bag of mostly water on a speck of iron-silicate dust around a boring dwarf star in a minor galaxy in an underpopulated local group of galaxies in an unfashionable suburb of a supercluster would look up at the sky and declare, 'It was all made so that I could exist!'

- Peter Walker

Hey, who said my supercluster was boring?

You're not kidding

This was kicking around the interwebs. Now I'm sharing it with you.

My friends and I used to compare weird mutant powers. Everyone has one. Most of them were decidedly off-color, so I can't repeat them here. Which, given my propensity for the f-word on this site, is saying something. Ask me in person the next time I see you; it'll be more funny that way.

25 October 2011

Might as well work late

I told the girl I was looking forward to some B-time tonight, as in Betty the Dog and Battlefield 3, which came out today. Except the BF3 servers are crashed and the online version of the game is unplayable.

Since I only play the online version of the game, this is untenable. 

Dear EA,
Please take the suck out of your service immediately if not sooner. I've got n00bs to pwn.

21 October 2011

Bring the noise: Stereophonics

This is an old song. But it's awesome. I'm enjoying it today, and it might be new to you. Or not. Whatever.

Band: Stereophonics
Song Title: Dakota

You might be able to find a better audio quality version on youtube. Not sure. But this is the official version. I don't have time to watch the video. Who cares about the video? Get your dance on.

19 October 2011

Herman Cain is unfit to govern: flat taxes are for idiots

The GOP's big talking point is that they want to 'broaden the base', so that more people pay taxes. It really rankles them that some percentage (I think it's about 47% but I forget the exact figure) of the people here in the US pay no income tax at all. What they always fail to mention is that these people don't have any fucking money. Yeah I put the f-bomb in there because I wanted to get your attention. Few things irritate me more than rich people suggesting that poor people should bear more of a burden.

Which brings us to Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 tax plan, which is epic stupid for a lot of reasons, not least of which is the 9% flat tax. Flat taxes are not very equitable when there is a wide distribution of income. They don't take the ability to pay into account, for starters. If Cain's tax plan were implemented, the tax rates for everyone except the top 20% would go up. This is the definition of broadening the base.

The really interesting thing is how much money the super rich will save. That is well illustrated by the attached graph. As you can see, the top one tenth of one percent (the richest of the rich) get quite a nice break. So that they can buy a fourth Ferrari or whatever.

Krugman has some information here: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/tpc-does-herman-cain/

I know you don't love economics as much as I do, but still: this is absurd.

18 October 2011

Delays, absences, and other sh*t

I know I've been away and for that I apologize. I am back now and while I'm not any different than before I'll return to my usual pattern of posts 3 or 4x a week as per usual.

To that end, here's this little re-worked gem from the intertubez.
"We feel too little, and think too much..."

I have heard that Charlie Chaplin (that's him in the video) entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest at the height of his popularity. He placed third. 

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

07 October 2011

I know it's been too long

I've been busy.
I don't expect that to change this weekend but I'll get something for you next week for sure.
Here's a quick video. The iphone4s came out, and I guess you can talk to it? I guess that's if the vaunted touchscreen interface (of which I'm a fan) is too much effort. Like when you're running. Or baking. I don't bring my phone when I go running, and when I'm baking I just wipe my hands off before I pick up my phone. Weird, I know.

Here you go.