What does 128 have to do with 45?

At first glance one would think that the two numbers have very little in common. And I wish that they did not. But  in the world of  NASCAR star  Kyle Busch they have very much in common. It  seems that just a few day ago that Mr Busch was clocked by some North Carolina sheriffs deputies ( probably in either Cabarrus, Iredell or Mecklenburg counties) at a  speed of 128 mph in  a   45   mph speed zone.  Just ponder those numbers for a  moment and then wonder what speed you were driving when you got  a speeding  ticket.  I   am certain that almost all of us would be in that category.

Busch, who was driving  a borrowed Lexus  at  the time, has made the   obligatory  apology and stated that he showed poor judgment. Duh!

Ever since  I  first  heard about that this I have been quite perturbed. One of those levels is  thinking about what could have happened had just a little something gone wrong, major traffic accident or traffic fatality come  quickly to mind. And the second  thought is what consequences will there be?

After having talked to  a few people  today I feel very disheartened  about their being any consequences at all that really mean anything. Take his driver’s license, he can still drive a racecar since he doesn’t need it. Levy  a large fine, say $150,000. To a professional athlete of his stature that doesn’t mean much. Remedial driving course, public service announcement about the evils of speeding, right.

And think about these last two items. What if you were caught speeding at just twice the legal limit, not almost three times. What do you think might happen to the next speeder caught in whichever county Busch was caught? Bet that the person’s lawyer will have a field day.

Oh and as for this damaging him in the eyes of fans, not very likely.


May 26, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Sports | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Free $1.7 Million Bridge

If the old saying that the best things in life are free has any  validity, here in Elizabeth City we must have one of the best bridges in the world. Perhaps  a bit of elaboration is in order. Several days ago the long anticipated replacement bridge over the Charles Creek was opened. Miraculously the bridge came in on time and slightly under budget. The new bridge replaced a structure from 1970 and was just the latest incarnation of bridges in that area going back to around the 1870s.

So there was of course much fanfare with the mayor and other local officials in attendance, as it probably should be. The thing that caught my attention was the mayor’s statement that the bridge cost Elizabeth City absolutely nothing. Our beneficient federal government had picked up the tab for the entire cost. Well isnt that just hunky dory. We  now have a shiny new bridge and it is free! Driving across the bridge just I get all warm and fuzzy inside thinking of  how it was free.

But there is just one think that nags at me. Who actually paid for it? It came with federal money that had to come from somewhere,right?   I know one should never look a gift bridge in the span?( Shucks I don’t know.) But maybe when another small community gets their  “free”  bridge we can rejoice with them knowing that we just might have helped them pay for it!

P. S. Another great reason to pay your taxes.

May 20, 2011 Posted by | Technology, Transportation | , , , | Leave a comment

May 8,1886

One hundred twenty-five years ago today, in Atlanta, Ga, a momentous event took place. The after effects are still with us in ways that could never have been envisioned by James S  Pemberton or the customers of  Jacobs Pharmacy. For those untold millions whose thirst has been quenched by a ” Co-Cola” as my wife famously said after the birth of our first child, and Mello- Yello lovers everywhere, it should almost be  a holiday. Yep, it was the day in which the first Coke was served.

I don’t really care much about the secret formula or if somebody has actually published  it somewhere. I have very little interest  in knowing that   the beverage actually had cocaine for a time. I just know that there have been many times that nothing but a Coke would satisfy or quench  my thirst as jingles have proclaimed. It has settled my stomach many times, has smoothed the way for many a hot dog and hamburger and still does. In the interest of disclosure I  would be remiss if I failed to mention that Mello-Yello shares the top spot now. But it is  a Coke product, of course.

It is interesting that an NC native, the home state of Pepsi, would be such a loyal  Coke consumer, but there you have it. I well remember in my hometown of Leaksville, NC as it was known then, watching the Coke bottles go round and round at a bottler? or distributor and thinking how cool that was.

But in the interest of history as I remember it I recall that while living in Columbus, Ga in the late 70’s and early to mid 80’s that there was  the John S Pemberton house located on  a brick paved street near the Chattahoochee River where I often indulged my then affinity for running. There was a  plaque on the grounds identifying that house as being that of one John S Pemberton who concocted the formula for Coke and then rushed off to the big city.

Actually he probably refined the formula  after moving to Atlanta where the product was not well received until being bought by Asa Chandler with the rest being history. Ironically for me, Dr Pemberton,  a pharmacist by trade, was actually born in North Carolina and buried in Columbus. Finally I have an NC connection for Coke. Have to go now, it is time for  a Mello-Yello!

May 8, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Food | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are you rejoicing yet?

A couple of days ago ,a headline  in our local paper read thusly: Bin  Laden killed, America rejoices! I  suppose that  I failed to get the memo, since I  have not felt the urge to jump for joy. I have given a bit of thought to this event since its occurrence and perhaps even more thought to its aftermath. Of course I  am not alone in writing about these thoughts. Time magazine already has an issue devoted to all aspects of the event. Hooray for instant journalism. My son has written a  thoughtful post about  reactions to the killing/assassination that explore among other things the part that revenge plays.

For now I have thoughts that are more political in nature. There has been a significant internal debate in the  Obama administration about releasing a photo confirming  Bin Laden’s death. Personally it would be quite unseemly to do and many who are calling it a necessity( Sarah Palin for one) remind me of people who cannot avert their eyes from auto accidents  or any number of other disasters.

I actually applaud the President’s decision not to release a photo. But what intrigued me was his choice of words in describing the decision. We don’t “want to spike the football.”  Now as a football fan I know to what he refers,as does almost any sports fan. Laying aside the thought that this was an overly casual choice of phrases I infer that he sees no need to gloat and/or overly politicize the event.

Not to worry though. There are other available to carry the water for him in that regard. For example, Barbara Walters says that she would hate to be  a Republican running against Obama in 2012. Her sidekick, Joy Behar, said that maybe we should just skip the 2012 election completely, just not even bother. Others such as E J Dionne and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin have voiced or inferred similar sentiments.

After pondering this for a bit it finally hit me. Think back to 1991 just after the end of the Gulf War.George H W Bush is basking the glow of  an approval rate of over  90%  .The election is just  over 18 months away. Game over? Nope. In that instance the state of the economy was arguably the deciding factor. I think that will again be the case. For example gasoline prices are almost 3x higher than they were just over 2 years ago.If  there  is no discernible change in that number as well as others  in the economic realm, anything can happen in 2012 and probably will.

May 6, 2011 Posted by | Foreign Policy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment