Indianapolis 500 Pays Tribute to David Letterman

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

David Letterman gets a tribute at the Indy 500–but it doesn’t end well.

In David Letterman’s first weekend as a retiree, the now-former Late Show host slipped into the role of IndyCar team co-owner by appearing at Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. There have been plenty of David Letterman tributes over the past week, but one in particular stood out this weekend: a caricature of his face with the Late Show logo on a car in the Indianapolis 500.It was his mug emblazoned on the bright yellow No. 32 car driven by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Oriol Servia, with a nice “thanks, Dave” and the old “Late Show with David Letterman” logo. “Everything that’s happened, that’s the highlight of my career,” Letterman said just before the race (via the Indy Star). “It’s like Andrew Luck wearing ‘Letterman’ across his jersey.INDIANAPOLIS — Now that he’s retired, David Letterman isn’t sure how — or if — the Indianapolis 500 winner will be recognized on late-night television. Unfortunately, Letterman’s car wasn’t a winner, as driver Orvol Servia crashed into a wall just past the midway point. (But good news: Medics checked him out and released him.) Servia’s bright yellow car was painted with Letterman’s face and #thanksdave to pay tribute to the now-retired late night host.

You know, it’s crazy.” “It really increases the rooting interest,” Letterman said. “It’s already there, but, oh my God, [winning the race] would be both delightful and silly at the same time.” “It’s Yankee Stadium, isn’t it,” he said. “It’s one of those buildings that’s been here. There are hundreds if not thousands of people on the tarmac near the race cars but many eyes are on one person, David Letterman, who is now retired from television and ready to become a full-time Indy racing car co-owner with Bobby Rahal. During [World War II], it lay fallow and it was covered with weeds. “Against pretty long odds, the place has not only withstood the test of time, but flourished, actually. [The 500] is more than a sporting event. Letterman, an Indianapolis native whose early career included a stint as a weatherman at local TV station WTHR, says he doesn’t know if the tradition of the Indy 500 winner being acknowledged on late-night TV will continue. “I don’t know,” Letterman said Sunday in the RLL garages. “I came by it naturally, being born here.

Unfortunately, the victory went to Juan Pablo Montoya. (Servia finished 29th out of 33 drivers, completing only 112 of the race’s 200 laps.) 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. Letterman, who grew up in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis’ north side, said the Memorial Day weekends of his youth were filled with flowers and racing. “My father was in the flower business, so on Memorial Day we spent a lot of our time putting together arrangements that would go on graves of the men and women who had lost their lives because they had chosen to defend this country,” Letterman said. “That was the first lesson we earned about Memorial Day.

Then Scott Goodyear came along. (I know him.) “How are you getting to the track?” asked the former champion Canadian race driver and now an auto racing analyst for ABC. “I’m Jeff Pappone’s chauffer,” I said. (Jeff Pappone is the Globe and Mail’s excellent motorsport correspondent.) “I’m waiting for him and then we’re heading for the speedway.” “I’ve made arrangements for you to be part of the ABC motorcade,” he said. “We have a police escort. A week after signing off on a new round of offshore drilling off the coast of Alaska, President Obama on Wednesday delivered his most direct and dire warning yet about the threats we face from climate change. After the 2008 election, Obama tried to push climate legislation with arguments about green jobs and the moral imperative of taking care of the planet for future generations. I have a sticker on the windshield of my car that says MEDIA OUTSIDE and I suddenly remembered what happened the last time I was at Indy and in a car that was parked in a place it wasn’t supposed to be.

But in the second term, thanks in part to impact of Hurricane Sandy and increasing extreme weather, Obama retooled his message and began talking about how climate change will affect food prices, the spread of infectious diseases and the public health implications of burning fossil fuels. Only to find that the MEDIA OUTSIDE lot had been taken over for handicapped parking and I was going to have to park in a general parking area, on grass, that – if it rains – will become a quagmire.

But Pentagon officials are reluctant to talk openly about this, in part because they don’t like to engage in heated political issues, but mostly because they fear climate deniers in Congress will slash their budgets if they tell the truth too bluntly. Obama’s latest speech also underscores the fact that he sees climate as a central part of his legacy, and one that he will push hard in what remains of his presidency.

He has already signaled this by effectively killing the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as pushing the EPA to implement new rules limiting carbon pollution, which has predictably outraged coal-state Republicans like Sen. The petite New York native with the gigantic voice tore through a cover of the Young Rascals’ “You Better Run,” sticking her index finger in the face of some imaginary foe, and pointing toward a future in which women would grab rock & roll by the wallet. Only the second-ever video played on MTV, it followed the Buggles’ synth-heavy “Video Killed the Radio Star” on the channel and helped turn the classically trained Benatar into a rock superstar with dozens of chart hits, a Number One album and a seemingly endless concert tour that continues to this day.

Her initial chart hit, the blistering “Heartbreaker,” reached Number 23 and helped her debut LP, In the Heat of the Night, reach million-seller status. Spyder says this all the time, that when you write songs, the best way to write them is just piano and vocal or guitar and vocal, because it really gets it down to the essence of the song. Sometimes she’ll say, “Papa, you got any ideas for any songs?” I’ll give her one line and then wait about 10 minutes and she’ll say, “I think I’ve got something!” Benatar: “Hell Is for Children” came from an article in the New York Times, an exposé on child abuse. Giraldo: I’ll tell you one right away: “Somebody’s Baby” [from the 1993 album, Gravity’s Rainbow.] I thought we hit something really brilliant on that. Because our record company then was so smart, they said, “We can’t get it out of our heads from the Jackson Browne song [released 12 years earlier].” What followed was this new marketing plan: “We’re going to do nothing.” Oh, that’s a great idea!

They’d expect us to say, “Oh, fuck off.” They’d go, “Wow, they’re too nice.” The hum of conversation is prevalent throughout the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park in Milwaukee on this Tuesday in early May. Its occupants, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are like many baseball teams, in that the time leading up to batting practice is used primarily for relaxation. Others sit in an attached dining room pouring over the gluttonous pregame buffet – a spread also stocked with every kind of snack food, fruit and vegetable imaginable. Pushed flush onto two sides of a support beam in the middle of the clubhouse – one that doubles as a mount for a flat-screen television currently airing MLB TV – are two long tables, serving as a sort of de facto computer station. Five different laptops sit on the tables: Some have programs for statistical breakdowns, some for charting pitch locations and others allow for film study.

The San Diego-born slugger (he lives in Los Angeles right now but says when he retires he’ll move back to San Diego) is locked onto a laptop screen that shows video splits of a Brewers pitcher. Media members can’t get close enough to see exactly who it is – and after learning about Gonzalez’s marriage to his routine, I wouldn’t even want to risk the consequence of distracting him – but it appears to be a right hander.

But given that Gonzalez is as driven a student of hitting as any player on the Dodgers, he could also be dissecting the tendencies of any of the Brewers’ right-handed relievers, though he can’t know if he will face any of them tonight. Such preparation is exactly what sets him apart from so many hitters. “The key to hitting is keeping it simple, not thinking too much,” Gonzalez asserts. But it’s clear his primary concern is facing Garza, a pitcher with no-hit stuff (In 2010, while with the Tampa Bay Rays, Garza threw the first no-hitter in franchise history, facing the minimum 27 batters). He is hitting .355 with 9 home runs and 32 RBI (he leads the Dodgers in average and runs driven in), currently sports a .430 on-base percentage, is slugging .674 and has an OPS of 1.104 – all career highs if the season ended today. This seems to indicate two things: 1) The question gets asked a helluva lot, and 2) It’s starting to get annoying. “If you’re doing bad, you stay with a routine,” Gonzalez says. “If you’re doing good, you stay with a routine.

He has only been selected to four All-Star teams, and, after his sizzling start in April – he hit five home runs in the first three games of the season, the first major league player to do so – he was named National League Player of the Month, just the second time he’s ever taken home the honor. He has a really good understanding of what they’re trying to do to him, and what that guy can do and cannot do, and he takes advantage of that.” “It’s unexplainable,” Gonzalez says. “You’re in a groove, you’re locked in or whatever. While in San Diego, it seemed like Gonzalez was annually the talk of trade rumors – he had established himself as a proven left-handed bat, a commodity sought after by contending teams.

But once you get past that, basically every year a team is different,” Gonzalez says. “So it’s like starting a year with a new team.” Gonzalez is currently in his third full season with the Dodgers. Considering that this team is a World Series contender, they won’t look to sell off parts – unlike the previous four organizations with which Gonzalez has spent time. To the baseball outsider, a routine that involves such rigorous film study – even of situations Gonzalez may not see in a given game – seems excessive. But even as the “dog days” draw near, on this early day in May, Gonzalez reminds us that his approach nets benefits every day: In the seventh inning, with Brewers reliever Neal Cotts on the hill, Gonzalez homered.

After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth.

While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts.

Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters. There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn.

While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage.

Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails.

From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process. Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

The percentage of Americans who self-identify as Christian dropped from over 78 percent of the population in 2007 to 70 percent in 2014 – a decline of five million people. And this trend shows no sign of slowing down: Millennials represent the most non-affiliated demographic of all, with more than one in three young adults saying they don’t have a faith. This shift is inciting panic among conservatives, particularly those who like to argue that ours is a “Christian nation.” After the release of the latest data, right-wing pundits immediately started casting around for anyone – anyone but themselves, of course – to blame.

Rush Limbaugh, meanwhile, argued that the problem is too-liberal churches, particularly those that allow “female and lesbian ministers.” Former Christians “have left their churches because of social issues and the evolution of their churches to social areas they didn’t want to go and don’t feel comfortable being in,” he said, adding that “less than one million gay activists” have been able to “steamroll an entire country.” Limbaugh didn’t explain why people who hate gays would take the rather extreme measure of abandoning their faith rather than just switch churches to one that teaches homosexuality is wrong – there are certainly plenty of those out there. He then argued that those other Republicans’ relative lack of fanaticism is what’s leading to dwindling numbers in the pews. “A quarter of Americans are now non-religious,” he said, referencing the Pew numbers. “The bottom line is, if you want to change the country, you’ve got to find someone who is bold enough to lay out a vision.” And ladies, has Rick Santorum ever got a vision for you! He blamed liberals for the “constant demonization of faithful Americans” and argued that media portrayals of him and his fellow homophobic misogynists are “built on a foundation of lies.” Contrary to what those lefties want you to believe, he says, “churchgoing Americans are among our most generous, most loving and most selfless citizens.” As blogger Roy Edroso pointed out, this is an amusing angle for French to argue, because, regardless of what other churchgoing Americans are up to, French is most definitely not a “loving” and “generous” citizen.

He’s constantly raging about same-sex marriage, abortion, contraception, no-fault divorce and the “sexual revolution.” Liberals don’t need to paint Christians as a bunch of haters. As the Christian polling group Barna recently noted, the public increasingly associates Christianity with “preventing gay marriage and a woman’s freedom to control her body” and “mixing religious beliefs with political policy and action.” And no wonder Americans draw that conclusion, given that we’re subjected daily to a barrage of Christian right pundits and politicians spouting off about gay people, women and their “slut pills” and “legitimate rape.” If Americans conflate religion with hate, the Christian right only has themselves to blame.

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