Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cool Little Datsun Truck Racing in Africa...

Proving that all is not dead in the world of Nissan/Datsun offroad racing is this little beauty.

Piloted by Alex Horsey in Kenya the Datsun pickup finished 4th in a strong field of 31 competitors in the first round of the Kenya National Rally Championship at the 2013 KCB Kajiado Rally.  This Datsun is some 30 plus years old but still runs near the front of the pack against much newer and AWD competition.

The Kick Energy Datsun runs in Group N and I guess is 4WD though I'm not sure I'd trust some 30+ year old CV joints.  Oh...and check out that wing!!  Looks like it was taken off a late model Mistsubishi Evo! You can see the conditions and much of the field during the race in the below video as well.  These look like some blisteringly fast roads!

Proof You Don't Have to be a Dink...

to be a world class racer.

Kurt Caselli, he of two stage wins in the 2013 Dakar (his first) had recently returned to the US and has not been resting up.  Instead he dove right in AMA National Hare and Hound series contesting the Lucerne Valley, CA event on the weekend of January 26th.

While he would only finish 16th in the season opener (losing his rear brakes due to an impact with a boulder) it was his actions during the event that brought the most note.

A fellow rider was down with a broken leg and instead of riding on by and pushing to make up time as many racers would, he stopped, helped the rider back on his bike and assisted in getting him to the nearest medical team.

Mr. Peterhansel, the winner in the car category in the Dakar this year has been a notorious dink in rally-raid, bumping bike racers over in a river and trundling on as if nothing had happened in one instance.  Its nice to see someone, particularly an American, able to perform well and be a seemingly good guy at the same time.

Caselli stops to assist injured rider...

Monday, January 28, 2013

US Recalling F-22s from the UAE...

Today Iran reportedly launched a rocket into space carrying a monkey which, again, reportedly, returned to Earth safely.  Now I'm not sure I believe the poor monkey returned safely, it doesn't surprise me Iran might be looking to rachet things up a bit similar to North Korea.

A year ago we deployed an unknown number of F-22s to the United Arab Emerites (F-22s to the UAE). 

Today, six F-22s passed through Pease Airbase here in NH (photo at left is their overflight of the NH area) on their way back to Holloman AFB in New Mexico along with their accompanying seven support tankers and aircraft (F22s come through Pease...).  Holloman's current 21 F-22s are scheduled to transfer to Tyndall AFB in Florida next year but for now it is home to the 49th fighter wing.

If this was merely a shuffle of airplanes with "reserve" F-22s coming in to replace these that were on their way home, wouldn't you keep the support aircraft in place in the UAE?  We've frequently seen A-10 squadrons heading back and forth to Afghanistan via the Westfield, MA and they aren't typically accompanied by their support staff--because that support staff is still needed for the ongoing operations in Afghanistan with replacement aircraft already in place or on their way.

Not so here.  Instead it appears you have a wholesale removal of the F-22 squadron from the UAE, replacement unknown.  If I was Iran, or Russia, or China, I'd be sending my satellites for a quick scan of the UAE base where these were stationed to see if there is ANY presence left (blow up ballon F-22s don't count).

Why would you do this now given Iran's posturing, Syria's crumbling and Isreal's doubling down on a conservative government?  Who knows?!?!  If I did, I wouldn't be sitting here working at a bank.  If I had to guess, the original, April 12th deployment was a quid pro quo with Isreal in an attempt to show them that we had their back and would bring forces to the table for their defense in exchange for more time/lack of action on their part.  Their removal would signal to me the end of this relationship, meaning either Iran no longer represents a threat (unlikely), Isreal is unconcerned with Iran's developments (equally unlikely) or the US wants to get out of being drawn into any sort of Isreal/Iran conflict with its world class fighters sitting on the ground as Isreali/Iranian fighters fly overhead.  Look for a significant development in the Isreal/Iran conflict in relatively short order (1-2 months).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Good Start For Nissan Motorsports in 2013

There are no Nissans that I know of running in the 24 Hours of Daytona which is a shame given how well Nissans have done in recent endurance events around the world but there were three Nissans running in the Continental Tire BMW Performance 200.

The Continental Tire series as part of the Grand Am organization focuses on more of your typical street cars versus the prototypes and higher end machinery seen in top level Grand Am races.  Mustangs, Civics, Porsches, Camaros, Aston Martins, BMWs, etc.  Within the Continental Tire series there are two classes, the GS and the ST.  The ST being the tad slower more "stock" race vehicles.

The ST class this year sees two Nissans from the Skullcandy Nissan team out of Utah.  Using 3.5 liter Altima coupes the two black cars performed better that could have ever been hoped yesterday.  The Skullcandy #33 Altima won the event taking the ST class win, besting its prior best result in the series of 8th in '12.  The win by the #33 was backed up by a ninth place finish by the #34 Skullcandy Altima in the ST class.  The winning #33 finished 25th overall in the event out of 69 entries.

On a secondary note there was also a Nissan in the GS class as well.  The #14 370Z of Doran racing finished 15th in class and overall.  This Z team also ran in '12 and has always been fast but subject to bad luck and a few gremlins.  A 15th place finish out of the gate in '13 however is a solid result.

While having a Nissan perform in the 24 Hours of Daytona would be a great thing to see, a win and a ninth in the ST class and a 15th in the GS class is not a bad way to start.

Friday, January 25, 2013

China Wants to Dominate Everything--Even RallyRaid...

Now here's a surprise.  Its not often that I go to the English version of People's Daily...OK, I've never been to the People's Daily but there's a first time for everything.

Its an indication that China is looking to dominate EVERYTHING that it has now turned its attention to the relatively niche sport of RallyRaid.  Chinese authorities have announced the running of the inaugural, 10,0000 km long, China Grand Rally.  Its ambitions are stated to be nothing short of displacing the Dakar for the title of the toughest, most high profile rally in the world.

The English translation uses the word "ultra" quite a few times (ultra long, ultra tough, etc.) which seems likely to be a bit of hyperbole driven by translation but I don't doubt that the event will be well run and not have issues with the local "green" communities (when you have the ability to put a gun to the head of anyone causing a problem it usually mitigates any issues).

Supposedly invitations have gone out to those the Chinese would like to see show up for the event and I wonder how many non-Chinese are among them.  Not that the Chinese can't compete on the world stage in RallyRaid as they have had one of their Great Wall trucks finish in the top ten of the Dakar the last two years but it will be interesting to see who might show up.  Robby Gordon should ask for a big fat check in order to enter and give the event an air of international interest --his operations could definitely use the cash infusion.

Regardless, if you want to check out the website (still all in Chinese at the moment though it does have a non-working English tab, hopefully for future versions of the website) and purchase yourself some inaugural China Grand Rally merchandise you can get busy sending your greenbacks their way right now!!  And you can check out the article regarding the event on the People's Daily website below as well.

China Grand Rally website...

People's Daily article...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dirt Bikes Used to Save Lives...

A bit surprised that CNN didn't edit this article to say how the hopes are that one day these workers could operate carbon free motorcycles to help the sick...but I'll give them credit for running the story regardless.  As a writer I might have pointed out that again, it is the evil, foreign white people who are funding this whole program and making it possible as Africans don't seem up to the tasks themselves.

A motorcycle riding doctor is a pretty cool profession and it must make for some great stories.  Nice pictures and a neat little human interest story.

Riders For Health...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Who is That Boxer in the Subway Commercials?

So over the past few weeks watching various sporting events on TV I have been bombarded with a number of Subway commercials.  I like Subway sandwiches as an alternative to McDonald's when I'm on the road for whatever reason so I usually pay attention to see if there is any new creation that strikes my fancy.

I'm also fairly up on who is who and what is what in the sporting world so when I saw a solidly built white guy with boxing tape on his hands in the same commercial as slugger Ryan Howard and HOF footballer Michael Strahan I immediately wondered--Who is this person and why is he in this National level commercial when I don't know him?

Turns out the man is one Mr. Mike Lee.  He is a professional boxer in the light heavyweight class who graduated from Notre Dame in '06 with a degree in Finance.  Instead of putting his degree to work on Wall Street where he was offered jobs, he went into boxing.  He had fought in some intramural events in college but did not begin fighting seriously until out of school.  Lee was a Golden Gloves champion in Chicago in '09, meaning his professional career is only 3-4 years old and has minimal amateur experience.

As a pro Mike Lee is 11-0 with 6 KOs.  This record has not bee generated against the greatest of opponents...but then again, what highly touted boxer is actually allowed to fight decent competition these days?  Particularly a white one with decent prospects.  Its kinda like his Alma mater in football.  They didn't really play much of anyone to get to their #1 ranking this past year but get there they did (only to get smoked by Alabama).

And the Subway connection?  Mike Lee's dad is supposed to have a tradition of getting Mike a Subway sandwich to replenish the boxer after each training session.

So there you have it...Mike Lee is an under experienced boxer with a good but largely unknown skills in the light heavyweight division more known for his brain and choice of profession than he is his results to date.  He makes a great story at this point and kudos to Subway for latching on to an up and coming athlete before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon but I can't help but thinking his marketing story is better because of his skin color (there are hundreds of black and Hispanic boxers out there with similar records but without corporate endorsement deals).  I hope he proves me wrong and that his talent ends up transcending skin pigment.

Oh, and why are boxing website seemingly all out of date, poorly done and look like they were created on a Commodore 64??  If boxing wants to get back to being a noteworthy sport someone with a brain and marketing needs to get behind the wheel....Max Kellerman....calling Max Kellerman!!

Mud and Flight

A great new video by Nissan corporate featuring Casey Currie and Carl Renezeder and their Nissan Frontier and Titan (respectively) trucks.  Currie and Renezeder are on the top rung of Nissan sponsored offroad racers and its nice to see Nissan putting some PR efforts behind them.  The video is shot well with lots of crisp slow motion photography.  Hopefully Nissan will keep this up through the introduction of the next generation Titan and Frontier.

Monday, January 21, 2013

TV Show Review: The Following

Well, this show looked interesting from all the previews I'd been seeing on the recent NFL playoffs so I suppose advertisements CAN work at times, as I sat down tonight to watch the first episode.

With Kevin Bacon as the lead character (a retired FBI agent--why are the FBI/Police/CIA/whatever in movies always "just" retired or "just about to retire"?) one could hope for some decent acting and a quality product.  the first episode however seems to be a mixed bag.

The Following seems to want to be a TV version of Seven but doesn't carry the weight of Fincher's film.  Bacon wears the scruff of Brad Pitt and the serial killer here is a merely an English accented shadow of Kevin Spacey.

Still, for a TV show that will have at least 14 more episodes, this isn't bad and the previews of future shows does give me hope for improvement.  The Following looks to be consistently dark and violent, perhaps more than any other current network show.  If it can bring something new to the table (which it seems capable of given the premise of a serial killer's cult members committing the future acts of violence) on a recurring basis it should be worth watching.

You won't really remember the surrounding characters much--a number of faceless, nameless FBI agents, a cliche distrusting US Marshall, and the ex-wife of the serial killer with whom Bacon's character has had a relationship after meeting her via his investigation into the killer's original crimes.  Again...kinda cliche here.

Maggie Grace's character unfortunately had her eyes removed in this first episode and then was strung up from the ceiling which I was disappointed with given she usually does a fair job of portraying an innocent, naive young woman--again playing this role here.  Ahh, the life of a young, dumb blond in the film world.

So I'll likely watch again next Monday.  The Following is not Seven, but since this is TV, you can count on a happier ending than that film...so that's something to look forward to...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: American Sniper

Chris Kyle has 255 kills in his career as a sniper for the Navy Seals making him the deadliest sniper in American history (though not all of history as that mark stands with Finish WWII sniper Simo Haya with 542 Russian soldiers killed).

Kyle's recount of his personal history and focus on his time in Iraq where he was shot twice and involved in six separate IED explosions while earning two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars is not a pretty one.  Nor is the book going to win any awards for its prose.  It is however, a brutally honest portrayal of a flawed man who excels at his job.

Kyle cares deeply for his own people and his brothers in arms while being necessarily dismissive of those he kills.  To be able to maintain your sanity (such as it is) in a job where you are tasked with killing multiple hundreds of people in as up front and personal way as sniping, you must be able to rationalize your actions.  Watching women hide grenades under their dresses and kids used as human shields makes his actions easy to understand.  Though sometimes seeming heartless in his dispatch of one life after another, those opposing Kyle are perhaps even more so.  There are no innocents in the game of war and Kyle would certainly not claim to be above fault.

What you come away with from this account is a respect for the job that Kyle did in protecting himself and his comrades in the service of his country.  He performed at an extremely high level of proficiency not seen before in American conflict at a great cost to himself and his family.  His willingness to go in harms way knows virtually no equal and there are likely hundreds of American soldiers who returned safely to their families because of his actions.  And that is likely the only reward he would ask for.  Oh...that and punching out Jesse Ventura when the fat, non-Navy Seal began spouting off in a bar...Well done Mr. Kyle, well done.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Nissan returned again to the NAIAS this week with a big display.

Nissan introduced the concept vehicle for the next generation Murano--the Resonance, showing off an even more swoopy design with a roof that appears to "float".  The rear looks a bit like the Lexus RX series from the side in my opinion.  The design doesn't look like that much of a departure from the current Murano to turn off may buyers so this looks like another win for Nissan.

Secondly Nissan introduced the new Versa Note.  Just called the Note in other markets this little hatchback will be priced in the low teens, get 40 mpg and be manufactured in Mexico.

The other news is that Nissan continues to confirm the production of a small (read sub-Z, sub-GT-R) sportscar.  It confirmed to Car and Driver that the design will be of a "love it or hate if" variety (something as radical as the Juke it sounds like) and the "concept" upon which the model will be based, will be released in the next twelve months.  Nissan also stated that it would be a "guilt free" car which in Nissan's world means an electric powertrain (or hybrid?).  Personally I can't wait.  A Nissan sportscar that might be cheap enough to convince my wife would be a great next car for me can't be beat.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Front Bumper & Lights Update

Its coming along nicely on the other side of the country.  The photo here is of a second customer of BTF's bumper.  This bumper should be identical to mine except for the lasercut logo in the skidplate.  While this customer chose to go with a "SD" logo (San Diego Padres I do believe) my choice was just for BTF to cut their own logo into the steel.  No sense is doing something over the top or stupid.

You can also see the LED lightbar in this photo as well.  This lightbar won't be the only auxiliary lighting source on this bumper as my version will also have an additional bar that will go over top of the LED lights from which two additional HIDs will hand down from.

Friday, January 11, 2013


How on earth this website has not popped up for a mention on one of the big automotive coverage websites is beyond me.  But here it is in all its glory.  Paper models are much more popular in other parts of the world than they are here in the States but you can find ones of Dakar vehicles and numerous other race vehicles from many international series.

Papercruiser.com started out doing LandCruiser's only but has since evolved into Jeeps and even a commercial Mitsubishi box truck! Perhaps the best feature offered is the ability to hire the man behind these creations to make a custom version for your own uses.

You can see examples of the versions he has created for TJM and Maxtrax on his website.  Way cooler than any little promo photo or flyer handout.

My personal favorite is the Jeep Mighty FC concept model with full 3D wheels.  You can see just how much the paper model looks like the real thing by comparing the above model to the below reality.  Never has a couple sheets of ground up tree pulp looked so cool.


Kurt Caselli Wins at Dakar!

The torch for offroad American motorcycling has been passed again.  In recent years a single American rider has held the position of showing the world that we can produce world class two wheel pilots.  In prior years it has been Chris Blais (who finished third in the 2007 Dakar) followed by Jonah Street and then Quinn Cody.

This year it is Kurt Caselli putting the world on notice.  Caselli won today's Stage 7 of the 2013 Dakar by covering the 218km special stage 1:23 faster than the next fastest competitor.  Not only does this make him the first American to win a Dakar stage in '13 (and perhaps the only one this year) but it moves him into 8th place overall for the event some 27 minutes back of the leader.

Caselli is really only present at the 2013 Dakar due to the late injury of Dakar legend Marc Coma whereby Caselli replaced Coma on the factory KTM team.  Given that this announcement came only in late December, one cannot imagine Caselli had a whole ton of time to prepare for this year's Dakar--particularly when the other top flight riders spend all year preparing for such an event.

Caselli is well known here in the States for his participation and wins in the WORCS, Hare & Hound series as well as Endurocross, the Six Days Enduro competition in Germany and the KTM factory Baja team.  Hopefully we will see Caselli continue to succeed in the '13 Dakar and see him announced early on this year as a teammate with Coma for the '14 Dakar.  With a full year of prep he should be able to sit near the top of the podium, perhaps acting as the one to whom Coma may pass his torch to upon his retirement.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nissan Sport Magazine--RIP

So it was finally announced in the last day or so that Nissan Sport Magazine has come to a sad end.

The magazine at which I had been acting as a Senior Editor (in truth more of a writer and content provider) has now closed its doors and "merged" with Grassroots Motorsports Magazine.  As it stated in the email that went out to all subscribers and others who had signed up to follow the magazine, its some 5000 subscribers will receive Grassroots Motorsports Magazine in place of Nissan Sport Magazine for the remainder of their subscriptions.

I was not an owner or controller of the magazine but had been involved in one way or another for a few years now.  I only found out about the closing of the magazine a couple weeks ago myself when my boss at the magazine, David Muramoto, informed me that the article I had just sent was not needed.  We didn't really get into specifics but it was obvious that he and other more senior members of the magazine staff had been funding operations out of their own pocket for some time and it just had gotten to the point where things did not look like they were going to turn around in terms of advertising or subscriber revenues.  The magazine was once carried on the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Noble but in recent periods this ceased, likely as a cost cutting measure, eliminating any wasted expenses for printed issues not purchased.

Its truly a shame as the magazine was a great source of info in a Nissan information starved world.  Honda's have their successful magazines, VW as well.  Why not Nissan?  Maybe Nissan Sport should have stayed focused on Z vehicles, afterall, the magazine did start out as a Z only publication, only later to branch out into Nissans (and Infinitis) in general.  Still, I have a hard time finding fault with providing MORE coverage of the various models out there as certainly you open yourself up to a larger audience.  You'd have to look at the subscription and advertising revenue to go into more detail here and I'm not at all privy to that info.

Maybe someday, someone will restart a Nissan focused magazine as there is certainly enough heritage and enthusiasm for the brand (I think at least) to support at least a small time, focused publication (be it in print or online only).  Perhaps its time will come again.  For now?  It leaves me with a bit of sadness not to be writing the "In the Dirt" quarterly update on how Nissan vehicles and drivers are performing in "dirt" oriented motorsports around the world, so at the very least I hope to continue that regular feature here, as I did a couple weeks back printing the "In the Dirt" that would have been published in the next issue of Nissan Sport, on this site and will do so in the future as well.  Thanks.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

NISMO Stuff Racing 2013 Schedule

We're a week into 2013 and to be honest this schedule has been in the works for a bit as I go over the mileage, entry fees, dates, locations, etc.

In 2012 I personally entered four events--Sandblast, Hyperfest, Rally West Virginia and Black River Stages.  I had intended on entering Charlevoix as well but given the late season dip in the pond for the race truck I decided against it.  The NISMO Stuff race truck also entered and finished the New England Forest Rally with Jamie Beliveau as well.

My plan for 2013 includes only a single repeat event of those I have run before--Black River Stages as I feel I want payback for this year on those roads and it is still one of the closest rallies to me.  I have added three Quebec Rally Series events to my schedule for a number of reasons--entry fee costs, close proximity and scheduling (all are on a Saturday and are one day events limiting my time away from home and work).

I will genuinely miss both Sandblast and Rally West Virginia this year as they are fantastic events with Sandblast being my favorite event that I've run so far due to the very different surface it takes place on.  Hopefully in addition to the below events the NISMO Stuff Racing Frontier will also make it out to a hillclimb or two and/or a rallycross event or so.  NEFR would be nice to run as well but is quite expensive.  The below is what I consider to be my baseline and not the "limit" of what I will look to do in '13.  As always I would be glad to have along anyone looking for a good time, low pressure racing and a cool adventure.  Oh, and if you've got a vehicle that can tow and/or a trailer that would be icing on the cake!  Just make sure to have your passport this year!  Based on this schedule we should get in some 450 stage racing miles which is more than what we did in 2012 and we'd be hitting up some of the more interesting rally terrain in the Northeast with BIG crowds attending all the Quebec located events.

Let me know if you have any questions or were considering coming on board for the adventure as a copilot, crew, transportation support, or just fan who wants to hang out drink beer and watch rally!!

Empire State Performance Rally, Rocky Hill, NY  April 20-21
Rally Saguenay, Saguenay, Quebec  June 16th
Rally Lac Aux Sables, Lac Aux Sables, Quebec, August 10th
Black River Stages, Harrisville, NY  September 14th
Rally Charlevoix, Clermont, Quebec  October 26th

Sunday, January 6, 2013

ADVMoto--My New Favorite Magazine?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tvLKiia_jdU/TgzCen_3GlI/AAAAAAAAAI8/NlvH7zX9J5E/s400/ADV%2Bmoto%2BThis magazine has likely been out there for a while (honestly I don't know) but I just ran across it the other day and immediately bought it.  Published bi-monthly in both a digital and print version ADVMoto concentrates on dualsport motorcycles, their owners and their adventures.

I've always looked up to the motorcycle guys (and girls) I've raced alongside.  They're WAY more out there than I am, all huddled up in my nice thick steel cage and 4000 pounds of steel mass.  It speaks to me even more so on the side of me that loves to do things on my own.

Plus I love seeing all the places that dualsport owners take their bikes--its even better than where rally and offroad racers get to take their vehicles, even more remote and untouched and wild.

Owning a little old KDX200 it has me searching around for what options do I have for making it into a useful dualsport bike and perusing the Internet for "best small dualsport motorcycle" recommendations.  Ahh, the power of print, quality writing and good photography...


Friday, January 4, 2013

Nissans in the 2012 Australasian Safari...

Inspired by the recent article in Dirt Sports Magazine on the Australasian Safari and a beautiful 260Z that was running in the event I went looking for what other Nissan/Datsun vehicles might have been involved as this was one major offroad event I hadn't really looked at the results of in 2012.

In brief the Australasian Safari is like the "Dakar" of Australia, a multiday, offroad race.  A Rally-Raid, more than a "rally" but a "rally" more than something like the Baja 500.  It crosses some of the toughest and emptiest terrain in Western Australia over a number of days and thousands of kilometers.

Unfortunately the beautiful safari style 260Z here evidently was totaled during the event and DNF'd but the #115 2004 Nissan Patrol finished third in the event.  The pictures look awesome and someday...someday, I'll get to see this beautiful land...

Australasian Safari...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review--The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter

OK, maybe I just don't "get" book reviews...

I went searching for book reviews for The Financial Lives of the Poets to see some other viewpoints on the novel.  Thing is...most don't really tell you their opinion of the novel.  Almost like the authors are scared to say ANYTHING good or bad about it.  And we're talking the supposed educated, in the know, class of reviewers in editions of the NY Times and Washington Post here!!  Surely they should be able to tell you whether they even have an opinion on a work or not, shouldn't they?

Alas, no...instead what you get is a couple hundred words summarizing the plot in a fashion no different than reading the back cover or inside leaf of the book (should you be purchasing hardcover!) and then tell you that its "whip smart with bleeding edge current references", blah, blah, blah, and never getting to whether its truly worth your time.

Not here.  Contrived and recycled.  There.  Lets begin.

So a poor newspaper journalist and his wife overextended themselves by purchasing a large house, sending their kids to private school and a car they didn't need.  Then when said journalist tries to start an ill fated website that merged poetry with financial advice and subsequently loses the newspaper job to which he was forced to return, his life is a shit-show.

That's the basic starting point for Jess Walter's satirical novel.  The supposed "giggle giggle" solution to all this mess for the protagonist is to turn to selling pot via a group of young malcontents he meets one night on his way to buy milk!!  Holy cow!!  Isn't that funny!!  A suburban, upper middle class white guy has to turn to selling drugs to keep his house from getting foreclosed upon and his car repossessed!!  Wow!

OK, so some might say this is satire and that I missed the point of the humor.  I didn't.  It isn't funny.  Its been used--Weeds, Breaking Bad, etc. to name a few in current times at the very least (I'm not up on my drug culture media references).

Its not only the retread of an idea that really isn't new to begin with that is a problem here, its the entire tone of the novel.  It came as no shock to me in reading a section about the author that HE is a newspaperman himself.  To call the novel a personal screed would be closer to the truth than calling it a satire.  As the protagonist "wonders" how he (and by inference the rest of the country) got into such a mess, you wonder "Why on earth didn't the author just write in with his thoughts to the Op-Ed page of the NYT rather than writing this novel?"

As a satire the novel doesn't bring any "wow" factor to analyzing the situation our country found/finds itself in, nor is the author brave enough to lay the blame at any one's feet.  Like his high protagonist the author waffles this way and that, kinda blaming everyone and no one at the same time.  If he targets any one cause for our populous's financial woes its our American consumption and "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality.  The phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" is one that is about 100 years old at this point...the "satire" contained within this novel is nearly as old, and stale...

The language Walter uses to craft the novel is clear, modern and concise.  His descriptions of characters and modern living are fairly spot one.  It is unfortunate that the premise behind the novel and the author's inability to craft a new idea or insightful criticism of modern society leave it so hobbled.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin

Another family movie night come and gone...

In truth I had looked forward to this film more than the previous family movie night selections of Ghostbusters or The Goonies.  The Adventures of Tintin looked like an old school adventure flick for kids.  And it was.

No double entendres, no hidden jokes for parents, nothing that would make you think this film wasn't written in say the '50s.  This was a refreshing change from nearly any other "kid" marketed film I've seen recently.  It FELT like it had been taken directly from an old comic strip.

There is lots of similarities between this film and Speilberg's work with the Indiana Jones series particularly in the action sequences but its not a cut and paste.  The old school planes, boats, and guns combined with various exotic locations give it a very Jonse'ian flavor--but with out the womanizing and face melting.

What I was really impressed by was the image quality itself.  The film is not done via motion capture and the backgrounds and details are exquisitely done.  It is a truly beautiful film.

Daniel Craig is notable for his voice work as the main antagonist Ivan Ivanovitch as is Andy Serkis (Gollum and King Kong in the LOTR trilogy and the recent King Kong remake) as Captain Haddock.

My son woke up the next day immediately wanting to watch the film again and wanting to dress and look like Tintin that day as well and I don't blame him.  The film was fun and well crafted and its hard to beat that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

LOORRS TV Ratings 11/24...

Like I said in my previous post, it has been a while since I took a look at some of the short course ratings on network TV.  I missed this one initially but have gone back and seen what the 11/24 broadcast generated.

Unfortunately it was at the low end of ratings at a 0.3 equating to an audience of 343,000 households tuned in and about 380,000 viewers.  The interesting thing here is that this is one of the few (only in my memory) instances of where a recent TORC broadcast has out rated recent LOORRS broadcasts (comparing the 11/24 LOORRS broadcast to the 12/29 TORC broadcast).  Its not an apples to apples comparison certainly but it will certainly be interesting to see how the '13 Stadium Super Trucks series performs on NBC.

NCAA Football: Michigan-Ohio State
NCAA Football: Florida-Florida State
NCAA Football: Notre Dame-USC
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing
"College Football Today"
NCAA Football: Auburn-Alabama
NCAA Football: Baylor-Texas Tech
NCAA Football: Stanford-UCLA
NCAA Football: Grambling-Southern
"The NFL Today"
"NFL on CBS": (single)
Figure Skating: Kaleidoscope on Ice
"Fox NFL Sunday"
"NFL on Fox": (regional)
"NFL on Fox": 49ers-Saints (93%)
"The OT"
Skiing: Aspen Winternational
Figure Skating: ISU Grand Prix
Figure Skating: Holiday Moments on Ice
"Sunday Night Football": Packers-Giants

TORC Red Bull Signature Series Ratings...

Been a while since I've done one of these but with the broadcast of the two hour long TORC Red Bull Signature series this past weekend I figure I'd bring it back.  Ratings for this event were in line with what we have typically seen from short course offroad on broadcast TV.  The 0.5 rating means that about 571,000 TV owning households in the US were tuned into this broadcast.  Using my typical, conservative, 1.1 viewers per TV equates to about 628,000 viewers for this broadcast.  This puts the show at the high end of recent LOORRS broadcasts over on CBS which have fallen in the 0.3-0.6 rating spreads

"ESPN Sports Saturday" 12/29 ABC 4:00-6:00pm 0.7

"75 Years of March Madness: Behind the Mic" 12/29 CBS 2:00-3:00pm 0.5

"75 Years of March Madness: A Coach's Perspective" 12/29 CBS 3:00-4:00pm 0.5

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky-Louisville 12/29 CBS 4:00-6:15pm 1.6

Red Bull Signature Series 12/29 NBC 2:00-4:00pm 0.5

Tyco Golf Skills Challenge 12/29 NBC 4:00-6:00pm 0.7

"The NFL Today" 12/30 CBS 12:00-1:00pm 2.8

"NFL on CBS": Texans-Colts (64%) 12/30 CBS 1:00-4:15pm 11.1

"NFL on CBS": (regional) 12/30 CBS 4:15-7:30pm 8.1

"Fox NFL Sunday" 12/30 Fox 12:00-1:00pm 3.8

"NFL on Fox" (regional) 12/30 Fox 1:00-4:15pm 10.8

"NFL on Fox" Packers-Vikings (82%) 12/30 Fox 4:15-7:30pm 16.4

PGA Tour Year-in-Review 12/30 NBC 3:00-4:00pm 0.2

Tyco Golf Skills Challenge 12/30 NBC 4:00-6:00pm 0.5

"Football Night in America" 12/30 NBC 7:30-8:15pm 5.5

"Sunday Night Football": Cowboys-Redskins 12/30 NBC 8:30-11:30pm 18.3