is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Grief is a funny thing

When God put you on this earth, he knew what you would be.
You would be the driver of the black No. 3.
Now you drive in heaven, racing for the Lord.
I only hope that God didn't put you in a Ford.

Dale Earnhardt's funeral was today. As previously mentioned, this is really impacting the South in ways that the rest of the country can't (and doesn't want to, for the most part) understand. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm no NASCAR fan. It's just a bunch of billboards turning left at 200 MPH as far as I'm concerned, but this death is really hitting home to a lot of people. Chief southern correspondent to Hobbsblog II Dr. June Hobbs reports that:

[T]he celebration of Earnhardt's life has now gone beyond mere canonization to total deification. In the sermon, NASCAR chaplain Dale Beaver explicitly compared Earnhardt to God. He explicitly denied that he was making such a comparison, and then did it anyway. He told the story of his first meeting with D. E. when he, the NASCAR priest, had to approach The Presence in his Holy of Holies (a travel trailer, probably). The task at hand was to ask Earnhardt to sign a permission slip so the younger Earnhardt daughter could go on a camping trip arranged by "our youth minister." Beaver was scared to meet The Intimidator--"I thought I'd find him eating bear and looking at me as dessert"--but found that, instead, he was talking to a loving father--an incarnation of God. Beaver asserted that God denied their prayer for a safe race at Daytona so we could learn this lesson.

As you can see, this guy was pretty important. What's interesting to me is how people's deaths can really impact others they didn't know.

Ever since Jerry's death I've been very attuned to media coverage of grief. When any tragic event happens, there's always pictures of people crying and wailing (it's an absolute staple of any Middle East event) to the degree that we've come to be desensitized to the fact that that is really someone who is incredibly upset about the worst possible thing that can happen to them. What sick people, all of us. The media are absolutely despicable for sticking a camera into someone's face that feels like that, and we're sick for rewarding them (yes, it's a humor piece; yes, it's applicable) for doing it. I think many people, especially younger ones that haven't had a person truly important to them, just don't think about death, pain, and grief. There's no empathy, and little attempt. For shame.

One thing that brought a lump to my throat reading Earnhardt coverage is the bit of a note quoted in the same article as the top poem came from: "Through your racing, you brought my Dad and I closer together when nobody else was able to. For that, you'll always be my hero." I guess there is something to be said for NASCAR.

Uzbeks and observations

Wow! Two links to stories from Central Asia in two days? On bribery and land piracy in Uzbekistan. Funny and interesting. I am reminded of the time I went with the Stifflers to Italy by car. At the Austrian border, we were waved to the side of the road by a bunch of caribinieri with assault rifles. They demanded a "car tax" or something like that in the neighborhood of $50. Jerry paid it, but I remember being pretty disgusted by the blatant corruption in a supposedly modern country. It was the first of several events that convinced me that Italy is the most overrated country on earth.

Moreover, in the article itself, there is a reference to the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride, a fine movie. One thing I could never understand about the DPR is the fact that he never took any prisoners. Yet, supposedly, his reputation was the key thing to maintain the proper fear and respect. Hello? If his reputation was what made the pirate, wouldn't you want to make it so you always released your prisoners? Sure, you'd have witnesses, but what incentive do your targets have to surrender if they know they're getting executed? Seems pretty dumb to me.

LAPI: She's got a cell phone where?!?

Hobbsblog II acknowledges the following for source material: Linkmachinego, the Guardian, and my boy Jeff.


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