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Cordially Invited To Write About Death

Marco Simoncelli  1987-2011
Daniel Clive Wheldon  1978-2011

I’ve been resisting this, to be honest. There is not much more to said that hasn’t already been said, so I will not belabour it. In the wake of Al Davis, it seems that this month I keep getting cordially invited to write about death. And frankly, I would prefer not to. Not that I am against writing about it, mind you. But it can get excessive, and really all the condolances to the families, survivors and the racing community have been said, so my small voices adds naught much more than my small voice. If thoughts count, then I’ve tallied a big score, especially in the case of Dan Wheldon. I have not watched Marco Simoncelli’s  wreck and probably won’t. But I’ve thought about these deaths and it IS the thought that counts.

In the wake of these deaths, safety always rises to the fore-front like a long lost Giant Squid raised up from the depth by some shinigami Captain Nemo and the Nautilus. I don’t think there is much that can be done to make MotoGP any safer….Nothing, short of not racing racing at all can make that safe. I’m surprised that more people aren’t killed in MotoGP. As for the IRL, the new Dallara chassis that will be used next year, which will be named in honour of Dan Wheldon, should improve things somewhat…again, no open wheel chassis is EVER going to be as safe as NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow. Also, IRL should seriously limit the entrants to the field at oval tracks….make it strict limit of 24 or at most 26. And NEVER race on oval tracks with the banking like Las Vegas or Texas….stick to the flat tracks like Milwaukee and Loudon and of course, Indianapolis.

SO enough about death. I’ve written about it and I’m putting my pen to other pursuits. And I’m cordially inviting you to join me.



It’s Talladaga Baby!! And you now what THAT means…!!!

For the first time since I began writing this blog 10 years ago, I have not written my semi-annual Talladega post. Talladega and Tits has been a hallmark of this bloog….my little tongue-in-cheek send up of NASCAR’s most unpredictable and bacchanalian tilt, complete with fan-service, as they say. Not to mention, TITS! In fact, I get visitors to this bloog who type Talladega Tits into the semi-sentient search engine of their choice and off they go to my bloog. It’s been my excuse to be unabashedly sexist and political incorrect.

But this year, this fall, it did not appear. I feel somewhat compelled to apologize and offer an explanation which will most like come to be viewed as a weak excuse. Sorry is as sorry does and doesn’t. My anniversary weekend with my wife in Chicago is not an excuse…I could have had it done the night or the week before. The two-car drafting that has become the norm is not and excuse….I simply could have done Boy’s Love Part 2….predicted a top 10 finish for Matt Kenseth ((he finished 18th)),  and sprinkled that with my usual apologies about no tits this time again, take it up with Mike Helton and left it at that. So I will offer no excuse and no explanation.

And yes, no tits.

AS for the race itself, I have to say I didn’t see a lap of it and didn’t know the results until I returned home from Chicago that evening. Kenseth finished 18th and is in 2nd place in the points. The Carl finished 11th and is in 1st with a 14 point leads going into Martinsville.  Bowyer won the race and good for him. But the take away from the race is that Jeff Gordon was bitching about the Ford drivers like a jilted drag-queen when Trevor Bayne broke his promise to be Gordon’s butt-buddy on the final 3 laps. Instead, Bayne broke off the engagement and ran off with another Ford driver, leaving Gordon wilting at the alter. Funny and ha ha.

Here’s my stunning racing prediction for THIS weekend. Sebastian Vettel will win the inaugural Grand Prix of India. You can bet ALL of your mother-in-law’s money on that.



Manchester United 1     Manchester City 6
Chelsea 3     Arsenal 5

Which one of the two scores posted above is funnier? Y’all know MY answer to that question, of course. And quite a LOT of the soccer world would agree and has agreed with me. The Manchester derby last Saturday was pure comic genius and an absolute beat down. 1-6 1-6 1-6 Ha ha ha.  The worst beating at Old Trafford since the day time began, which was sometime during Sir Alex’s boyhood. Remember, never the facts get in the way of the truth. The noisy neighbors made quite a raucous at Old Trafford and now are comfortably atop the Premier League table

Now my buddy Jeff Graf, aka Mr. Manchester, would assert that today’s Chelsea tilt with Arsenal, like two drunks swinging at each other outside a pub, was the funniest fuckin’ thing in a million years. A real laff riot, complete with CLOWNS (aka John Terry, and Jose Bosingwa, and Florent Malouda), and calliope music.  In fact, instead of marching up the tunnel hand in hand with little children as teams always do, Chelsea’s entire 11 should have came choogling into Stamford Bridge stuffed into a Volkswagen Beetle with the aforementioned calliope music and then tumbled out to welcome Arsenal to the pitch. 2 of Arsenal’s goals, were the stuff of circuses, and not in a good way. VanPersie’s second to take a 4-3 lead absolutely earned Florent Malouda and John Terry their clown college PhD’s. Malouda was clearing the ball back to Terry..and overshot him a bit which would have been no problem if Terry hadn’t fallen on his ass giving the on-rushing Van Persie pretty much a free shot at goal…Petr Cech is a great goalie, but he’s just as human as the rest of us. He’s not Reed Richards…which is what he what he would have needed to be to stop Robin Van Persie on this sunny Saturday in London.

Well….what can I say. Enough comedy in the past two weekend to last, well….not a lifetime, but at least until NEXT Saturday. In the meantime, AVB had better find himself a DEFENSE. Too bad he couldn’t have signed Clay Matthews on a one-off, since the Packers are on the bye week. But then again, I suppose Matthews would have gotten a pretty swift red card.

“No….NO Clay….THAT’S not how you’re supposed to tackle!”   <—translated from glorious Português.

Then again, I think Robin Van Persie would have shit his pants if he had to face Clay Matthews. He’d be wearing a pretty shit kit, yes?



Mount Horeb 1     Waukesha Catholic Memorial 0

It’s not all about the Premier League and the Bundeslega and the antic of overpaid clowns. The real spirit of sports is grown and nurtured at the local level. Lining the main road heading out of my town were signs in the median representing the name and number of everyone on the Mt. Horeb High School soccer team, and other signs that encouraged people to HONK for VICTORY as the Mount Horeb Vikings were headed for the Wisconsin WIAA Division 2 High School soccer tournament at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

They got to the final game by beating Sturgeon Bay 2-0. And as you can gather from the above score, our Vikings won the state tournament, avenging last year’s semi-final 3-0 loss to Catholic Memorial by beating them 1-0 on a header by Aaron Ruhland at the 30 minute mark. It was the first State Chamipionship in Mt. Horeb High School history.

If soccer is to grow in America that I feel it should, it has to happen at the local level. Our local high school team deserved more attention and community support than it got, And I stand guilty as anyone in coming to the party after the fact. I admit that I was not aware how good our team was until heard today that they won the State Tournament. I will have to keep a closer watch on our Vikings next season. They are losing some key Seniors so we’ll see if they can rebuild and win another championship next year.

In any case, nice work lads. And congratulations on a great season.



St. Louis 10     Texas 9
Michigan State 37     Wisconsin 31

At the death. You see that phrase used all the the time in English sportwriting. It’s a common as muck. But here in the States, you never see that term used. The closest you get to it is sudden death overtime….and that overwhelmingly refers to the NFL. But even there, our pundits wont say, for example, that suppose the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 23-21 at the death on 47 yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson. The pundits would say they beat them in sudden death overtime 23-21 on the aforementioned pass.At the death seems more sinister that sudden death overtime. At the death has more REAL and possibly TERRIBLE consequences. It seems more like a matter of, well, life and death, as opposed to sport.

In Game 6 of the World Series, St. Louis beat Texas on a David Freese homerun at the death.

Michigan State beat Wisconsin 37-31 on a touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Kurt Nichol at the death.

At the death had real consequences that sudden death overtime, or walkoff homerun, or as time expired does not have. At the death grabs hold of the losing team, very much like the Grim Reaper, or the Shinigami, or the Dullahan. And they are dragged to their metaphorical death.

St. Louis went to win game 7 of the World Series handily by a score of 6-2. Texas, despite getting off to a 2-0 lead, were swiftly dragged by the Dullahan back down to the darkness. Winning the World Series in game 7 is quite akin to winning at the death.

And just this evening, the Dullahan rode with the Badgers to Columbus and Ohio State beat Wisconsin at the death on a 40 yard TD pass from Braxton Miller to Devin Smith. Well okay, 20 seconds were left on the clock…but really and truly, it was at the death. Just as stunning as last week’s tilt. And not in a good way. Let’s not let the facts get in the way of the truth.



Norwich City 3     Blackburn 3

I was cordially invited to write about death, and so I have. And before I leave y’all with a final thought…let me pay a bit of homage to Rex Stout from whom I borrowed the idea for the title of this missive. In his book BLACK ORCHIDS published in 1942, there are two novellas. ON is titled “Black Orchids”. The other is titled “Cordially Invited To Meet Death”. So lest you think I’m some sort original genius, let me dispel that facile notion right now. Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe are the original geniuses. I’m merely the messenger, sort of like Archie Goodwin, or so I fancy. Although Archie is a better dancer, and is probably better with a gun. Plus, he could beat me up. I know that least one of my readers wonders where I come up these ideas. I always feel that more should, but maybe it’s just as well.

Yesterday, as I finalize these thoughts, my Norwich City Canaries snatched a point at home, coming from 1-3 down to draw a point at the death on Grant Holt’s penalty kick at the 4th and final minute of stoppage time. Yes, they never should have allowed themselves to be in that postion to begin with, especially against relagation fodder like Blackburn Rovers. But my Canaries have been finding ways to win or draw points, and many of them come in closing moments of the match. It’s a testament to Paul Lambert’s coaching, and to the character of the squad that despite missing 3 key players to injury right now, especially at the back where they’re missing Elliot Ward and American Zak Whitbread, they’re finding ways to hold on to games and keep needed points. I don’t expect Norwich to qualify for Europe or anything stunning like that. But I do believe they will finish about where they are right now. Upper mid-table. And man, considering where they’ve come from over the last 2 seasons, that would be as good as winning it all.

And now, since this post has toppled the 2000 word mark at the death, I’ll cordially invite you to go have a beer.

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