Monday, February 18, 2008

How bout dat 500 Cooter!

I find it interesting commentary about our society that in the midst of high fuel prices, we blissfully ignore the pain at the pump and tune in mass numbers to watch the superbowl of NASCAR.

I like racing, just not auto, motorcycle, snowmobile or tractor racing. I'm still a fan of old school Speed Racer, and the recent Pixel Animation's Cars was entertaining. In fact, it's scary how many of the references to the auto racing I caught in that movie and I'm not even a fan. But the racing I enjoy are those powered by the human heart as opposed to machine.

But don't get me wrong. It would be frivolous to suggest 50+ cyclists riding silently around the Daytona track with a crowd on the edge of their seats, waiting for a bike #5 being nudged into the wall or spinning out into the infield. As if.

It's just that yesterday's race was yet another reminder that the whole "green" thing is exactly that: green. It's quite clear that America cares relatively little about carbon footprints as we drool over race cars going 500 miles in a gratuitous display of American strength and excessive fuel consumption. You would never know that so many people are struggling to make ends meet, considering the hundreds of thousands that drove their cars at least 10 miles each to attend yesterday's race. And then there's the rest of us who plopped down after driving the five miles or so for a bucket of KFC's best to stuff our faces while watching the big race on the boob tube.

Yes, I say: WOE TO YOU, EXCESSIVE GASOLINE BURNERS! Don't you care that we're destroying our environment with our not-so-green footprint? C'mon, man, it's time to wake up and smell the fermenting soybeans!

And speaking of going green, the Smithsonian recently had an interesting piece about the troubles of the bio-fuel industry. While some of the efforts are legitimate, many "bio-fools" are throwing stupid money at this fledgling industry. For example, burning coal to produce enough heat to ferment corn creates more pollution than refining gasoline alone. That, and it takes like 10,000 acres of corn fields to produce 50 gallons of corn fuel -- enough for a modest 4 cylinder car's weekly consumption. In Indonesia, the world's most biologically diverse rain forests are being burned to create palm tree plantations for bio-fuel. It's bad enough that these areas are disappearing, but burning the peat moss ground cover produces more pollution per square foot than the air quality inside your crazy cigar-smoking uncle's Escalade. That ranks developing country Indonesia #3 on the worst polluters scale, right behind China and USA.

So go Green! Woooo!

By the way, did you see the race 'cause I chose to do a 13 mile run instead. I missed all of the adrenalin pumping wrecks. I missed all of the tributes and mantras reminiscent of Fight Club -- "His Name is Dale Earnhart" -- chanted by the scores. And I missed the spectacular finish with the rubber burning peel outs. Dang.

But c'mon, did I really miss that much?

Well, I am curious to know how Dick Trickle did...


  1. Carbon Footprint...

    1. So are you saying I shouldn't load my bike in the back of my Ford Expedition* to drive to where I ride my bike?

    2. Gasoline should be reserved for family specific critical uses--like powering the Murphini. (our boat) Even tree-huggin' Brady smiles like Cooter when he's on the boat.

    3. Speed?
    NASCAR winner: 156mph
    Tour Calif TT: 35mph
    Anybody with a right foot can hit 150 in a race car. I'd like to see Jeff Gordon ride a bike 35

  2. Murphini:

    1. Depends. If you've got about five other riders and their bikes, then I suppose that's ok. I'd even tag your rig if I got such a ride.

    2. Yes. But, Brendan's the tree hugger. I'd club a baby seal if it was blocking the bike/run path.

    3. I see where you're going with this. Having a heavy foot and being able to hook 200 miles worth of left turns does not make an athlete.