Tag Archives: Talladega

Emersed in the Subculture that is NASCAR

23 Oct

This past weekend, I went to the NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway with my brother, my nephew and some friends. We had a lot of fun hanging out and, in general, acting like a bunch of guys. We traveled on a luxury bus. You know, the kind that famous people rent to take on tour. Our bus had recently been used by John Cena, the WWE star. Considering that the NASCAR fans surrounding us are probably WWE fans, I thought it was a fitting coincidence.John Cena 2

Wait, did I just stereotype NASCAR fans? I didn’t mean to do that. In my mind, NASCAR fans represent a subculture within the larger framework of society. Numerous subcultures exist in our country, and each one of them can be stereotyped by those who do not understand it or do not want to understand it. Heck, we are all part of one. I am a fan of a Southeastern Conference university. That’s a subculture. I am a blogger. That’s a subculture, too. My dad used to be in the cattle business, and I can promise you that cow people are a subculture.

As I said, NASCAR is one of many subcultures, and all subcultures lead themselves to be stereotyped and parodied. I started thinking about this somewhere around the halfway point of the race. The beginning of the race is always cool, and the end is always exciting. However, the middle gets to be somewhat tedious. After all, it is just a bunch of cars going around in a circle.

Anyway, I began to analyze my surroundings and came up with some thoughts.

1. NASCAR fans embrace the stereotypes and parodies. They have to because they cheered for the Wonder Bread car, which was the car driven by Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Surely, they realized that this car represented a movie that made fun of them and their sport.Ricky Bobby

They must also embrace the stereotypes and parodies in what they wear to the race. Surely, someone who wears a white t-shirt with a hole cut in the front so their beer belly can hang out is doing it for laughs. Surely, they realize that this is what non-NASCAR fans assume they wear and, in turn, are making a statement by embracing this unrealistic view.

2. NASCAR has abandoned its fan base, and ticket sales have suffered because of it. At one time, Talladega was packed. Now, a good seat can be bought on the day of the race. I believe it is because NASCAR has become too corporate, and the drivers have become too slick.

Drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison and many more could fit in with the fans. Now, drivers marry supermodels and live in New York City. Fans can’t relate to that. They also can’t relate to the fact that races have been ripped from historic tracks and placed in Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Wine Country. Wine and moonshine don’t mix.

3. Most of the crowd cheers for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. because he is a link to the past. He’s not just a link to his dad, the last of the great southern drivers, but also a link to all of the other great southern drivers. Ironically, Dale, Jr. is one of the few drivers who grew up wealthy. He may look and act like the fans, but, in reality, he has less in common with them than the other drivers who came up through the ranks.

4. Barack Obama didn’t get many votes from NASCAR fans. On Saturday night, we went to a karaoke gathering where beer and moonshine were flowing. Songs were sung badly, but something more interesting happened. When people had the microphone, they took the opportunity to bash the president. They told jokes about him. They cussed him. The First Amendment was alive and well.

I don’t like the president, either. I don’t like his politics or his policies. However, I believe that it went deeper than that with the people on stage. They don’t like him because they believe he is a Muslim who was born in another country. Oh yeah, they also don’t like him because he is black.

5. Many fans of University of Alabama football are ridiculous. This guy behind us yelled “Roll Tide” every time the cars went around the track. I looked for a car that was driven by Nick Saban but couldn’t find it. My only conclusion was that he wanted everyone to know that he cheers for a great football team on Saturday. This was on Sunday. I am sure he does it on every other day of the week, as well.

He, and many others, wear the school colors all of the time and brag about national championships that they didn’t actually win. Admittedly, I cheer for a rival school, but I am glad that my greatest accomplishment in life is not watching a group of other people accomplish something. Last time I checked, the guy yelling “Roll Tide” at the NASCAR race did not win a damn thing.

6. We met a guy called Big Little, and he was a top-notch grill man. According to him, women surround him just to get a taste of his Brisket and Boston Butt. I have to admit that it is funny to hear a big guy from Mississippi say Boston Butt. The fact that he was wearing overalls made it even more funny. I know he embraced the NASCAR stereotype.

That’s all I thought about. The rest of the time, I was keeping an eye on Danica Patrick’s car. First, because its color scheme makes it stand out. Second, the other fans were booing her. If the “Roll Tide” guy was against her, then I needed to be for her.

That’s What I Call Eventful

18 Oct

Man, this has been an eventful week. On Sunday, Necole and I woke up in Tucson; made a connection in Denver; and, returned to Nashville. After all of this time, airplane travel still amazes me. I am amazed at how far and fast we can go, and I am amazed that they can get the things off the ground.

On Tuesday, my stepdaughter had her tonsils taken out. Necole and I were both lucky that we were kids during the time that they didn’t do that. My older brother had his removed, but, by the time I came through, doctors were saying that it was not necessary. Apparently, it is back in vogue.

One thing that is necessary is for everyone to get a yearly physical. I got one on Wednesday, and it is not very fun. A physical includes getting poked and prodded in all kinds of uncomfortable ways. It is definitely not the Olivia Newton John type of physical.Physical

On Wednesday night, Necole and I saw The Eagles in concert. We have both seen them before, but this was my favorite one. The main reason was that she was with me. The next reason was that they put on a great show that traced their history. In short, they sounded a little Country-ish before Joe Walsh and a little Rock-ish after Joe Walsh.

The events continue as I go to the NASCAR race at Talladega with my brother and my nephews. I am not a big racing fan, but I will get my redneck on to spend a fun weekend with them.

Things on the Dresser

13 Mar

I have this weird notion that we can tell a lot about a person by the things they have lying around. That’s the reason I created a post about the things in my office. Well, that’s not the only reason. I was sitting in my office trying to come up with a mind-blowing topic to write about. At a loss, I just went ahead wrote about what I was looking at. It was also a good way to work on my description skills. Maybe I could create a mental picture with my words like most professional writers do. I am not sure if it work, but I am going to try it again.

I have meant to clean the clutter off of my dresser, and, before I do, I feel the need to record what is there.

Category 1 – Illumination

Like a lot of dressers, mine has two lamps sitting on it. You know the kind. They are skinny and have a small shade on top. They don’t put out much light, and the bulbs tend to blow out a different times. Usually, one works when the other one doesn’t.

I also have a couple of small candles. I am not a big candle fan, but they come in handy if I want to create a romantic mood – like when I am watching Cinemax After Dark.

Category 2 – Pictures

Most people would say this, but these are the most important items on the dresser. One is of me and my nephews piled up on a couch. It was made a few years ago when we took a luxury bus to the NASCAR race at Talladega. I’m not a huge racing fan, but I went because of them. It’s one of my favorite pictures.

Another picture was made when my dad was inducted into the Tennessee Softball Hall of Fame. We are standing there with some of his old players and friends. Everyone is laughing, and I know that he was very happy and proud that night.

The third picture was taken many years ago and included most of my extended family. We were on the deck of my grandparent’s lake house. We had one of those timer cameras, and people are kind of looking different directions. Three people in the picture have passed away – my grandfather, my grandmother and my uncle. One of my nephews is cradled in my dad’s arms. The other one wasn’t even born yet.

Category 3 – Art

That is a term that I use loosely because one was created by yours truly. I had a girlfriend that liked to go to one of those ceramic places where you can drink and paint. This is a two-sided thing with a green, black and blue sun on one side. The other side has an orange moon with red stars. Apparently, I was going through my color experimentation stage.

The other is a piece of pottery I bought in New Mexico. An old Indian woman claimed to make it, but I think some old Chinese woman actually did. It is a cattle skull with cool designs painted on it.

Category 4 – Cards

These are not Hallmark cards. No, these are truly close to my heart. A blackjack strategy card; 3 MGM Players Club cards; a Resorts Casino card; a Hollywood Casino card; a Harrah’s Casino card; and a deck of playing cards with the theme, “Hooker’s Live Bait – There’s Something Fishy Going On Around Here”.

Before you start thinking that I am a total gambling addict, I also have an Elvis Membership card to get discounts at Graceland. Oh, there is also a business card from the men’s shoe department at Nordstrom’s. I would say that I don’t shop there much, but there is a stack of receipts under all of the gambling cards.

Category 5 – Notes

Before I get to the clutter (you thought the other stuff was clutter?), I was surprised to find a couple of notes during the examination. One was written by an ex-girlfriend (not the one who liked to paint) as a thank you note for taking her on a trip.

The other came from my therapist with the instructions that I tape it to the mirror and recite it every morning. It reads, “Stand in your own space and know you are there.” I’m going to tape it up right now.

Ok, I’m back

Category 6 – Other Crap on My Dresser

There is a small stone club with a clip sticking out of it. I think it is to hold letters, but I have a devious mind with it comes to the use of clips. Maybe I can put the therapy note in there.

It sits on top of a flat piece of quartz, or something that looks like that.

I also have an unused Fossil wallet that was once a Christmas gift. I have gotten two other wallets since then.

There is a pair of black running shorts. Obviously, I meant to run. All kinds of people run around here, but I can never figure out what they are running from.

Two pairs of glasses, one sun and one regular, sit in front of their cases.

Oh, there are also three watches. One is broken. Another is a sample that my watch salesman friend had in his truck. The other one is a Rolex that my parents presented to me when I got a Masters. It’s pretty, expensive and pretty expensive, but it doesn’t keep good time.

Somewhere on there is a small remote that operates my iPod when it is hooked into the speakers and some buttons piled on top of it.

I collect pins, so there is one from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. For someone who isn’t a big race fan, I just mentioned it twice in this post. I can feel my neck turning red.

There are some scissors and a jar filled with coins.

Next to those is a ticket to see Footloose. I never saw the first one and didn’t want to see this one, but my girlfriend wanted to take her daughter. It wasn’t all that bad, and I got to look at Julianne Hough. Yowser!

However, the prize of this category is my stuffed Jackalope. What? You don’t know what a Jackalope is? Well, it is a rabbit with antlers, and they are all over New Mexico. Google it and see what you come up with.

Category 7 – Coin Dish

Last category, I promise. My coin dish contains everything but coins. Actually, there are a couple of Kennedy Half Dollars. I got them at a casino.

Other than that, there is a souvenir golf ball from The Masters. It’s the only sporting event that remains on my “wish to go” list.

There is also a chess piece that was supposed to be a therapy reminder device and a blue rock with “courage” printed on it.

There are ear plugs and a couple of guitar pics that I picked up at a Metallica concert. Those and the plugs seem to go together.

I also have a Godiva Chocolate card and a gold chain from the glory days of the 1980s.

Oh, there is also the Brothel Inspector badge that some students bought for me in Madrid, New Mexico.

However, there are four items that are very special. Two belonged to my grandfather – his pocket knife and a University of Tennessee tie pin.

The other two are championship rings. In 2010, my university won the baseball national championship, and I got a ring for serving as Faculty Athletic Representative. The second ring represents the ten state championships that my dad’s softball teams won over the years. That’s why he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

And that, as they say, is that. Can you tell anything about me from the items gathered on my dresser? Or, did you make it this far?