27 May 2011

Friday Follies...
Well, here we are, at the doorstep of the first of the BIG weekends, culminating in Monday's celebration OF Memorial Day.
And we got a much-needed respite from this constant rain we've been having...for a while anyway.
Of course, by Monday, temps will be in the 90s....a far cry from the upper 50s we're feeling THIS morning in the Heartland.
*** But first, we bring you this "Public Service Announcement" from those monitoring the law-breakers across the USA:
This is an excerpt from an article at the 24/7 Wall St. site via Yahoo finance:
Here's the link to the entire article:
(( Earlier this week, the FBI trumpeted the news that violent crime dropped 5.5% in 2010 while reported property crimes fell 2.8% during the depths of the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression. The news, though, is far from positive.
Though most regions of the U.S. saw declines, the Northeast saw an increase in murders (8.3%), forcible rapes (1.4%) and aggravated assaults (0.7%). Why that region was affected by crime more than others isn't clear.
Perhaps it was because of the grinding poverty found in some of the area's cities and their high cost of living.
A 24/7 Wall St. review of 2010 FBI crime data shows violent crime rose in several of the largest and poorest cities in the U.S., particularly those which have been in decline for some time. Even when crime rates dropped, older urban areas still had more violent crime than other cities. Philadelphia, Cleveland, Buffalo and Hartford finished high on the FBI's list but failed to make the final 24/7 Wall St. ranking.
The crime problem is not completely explained by crimes committed. Police forces are supposed to keep crime rates down, but officers have begun to disappear from the streets of some large cities. Pontiac, Mich., part of the corridor of high crime cities that runs from Detroit to Flint, recently turned over its police operations to the sheriff's office of Oakland Country, where Pontiac is located. Old industrial towns need to cut costs as populations fall and tax receipts recede, but the money trouble almost makes it certain that criminal activity will grow because it is mostly unchecked.
The top ten cities rated by 24/7 Wall St are as follows:
10- Stockton, CA
9- Rockford, IL
8- Baltimore, MD
7- Little Rock, AR
6- Oakland, CA
5- Memphis, TN
4- New Haven, CT
3- St. Louis, MO
2- Detroit, MI
1- Flint, MI
Now, I wonder what ALL these cities have IN COMMON that was NOT said in that article?
(I think all of you can figure that one out easily enough)
And then there's THIS article (list) from the Neighborhood Scout website: http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/top100dangerous/
While there are a few discrepancies among THIS top ten list (actually, they cover the top ONE HUNDRED cities with the highest levels of crime), there are a lot of "repeat offenders" (pun intended).
You can click on each city at this site to see the areas that are both the safest and the worst (satellite maps).
Maybe YOUR city made the cut...maybe not.
Makes you wonder how some folks can say crime is going DOWN, while these cities (as well as other places not even mentioned) are seeing an UPTURN in crime, or at least an increase in such activity that leads TO crime.
But, we can look to other things this weekend in the meantime, can't we?
*** This Sunday marks a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone who has ever enjoyed motor-racing.
The 100th anniversary of the INDIANAPOLIS 500 will be telecast.
Now THIS is something my late Dad would have loved to see (and somehow, I think he's gonna be watching from some pretty good seats)
Here's a list of ALL the drivers who have won the previous races (excluding the war years):
Dad got me interested in this back when it only used to be broadcast on the RADIO.
Every year, he and I would huddle near the old Telefunken set and listen from flag to flag at the announcers as they aired the race in it's entirety.
Then came a very unusual event in the early mid-sixties...someone got the bright idea to send a CLOSED CIRCUIT television signal into a MOVIE THEATER...and well, Dad and I were THERE...even have a lunch packed from Mom to hold us over.
It was amazing to watch the race on a FORTY-FOOT screen and NO commercials (even if the live feed was disrupted time and again...or the race was rain-delayed). It was a real blast to be with a few hundred OTHER race fans in Philly...all with their favorite drivers.
It was there that Dad and I watched Mario Andretti win his only 500 back in 1969.
That was THE place to be for us on Memorial Day Sunday.

The Orleans Theater in N/E Philly!
We even got some programs with the driver lineups...don't know where those things went after all this time...they're just gone.
Wish I still had 'em.
Then, when the Indy 500 became "standard fare" on the TV (complete with commercial breaks), we'd both settle in for the race, and then dinner.
If the race ran long, Mom knew that Dad and I would set up trays in the living room to watch, and she even got into it with HER favorite drivers.
We even "bet" on who would win. (illegal gambling in PA? Horrors!)
Yeah, real high stakes, too...like who would wash WHO'S car if they lost...LOL.
Mom got off easy...dinner out at a restaurant if she won. If she lost, she made either dad's favorite dinner or mine (which was usually the same).
But those were fantastic times...and it always made me want to go TO Indianapolis...
Dad so wanted to go there as well, but since it was 1100+ miles, a "weekend" outing was kinda a no-go.
And it would COST some money we really didn't have (yeah, money WAS actually "tight" in those days for a lot of us)
Dad and I DID manage a race up at POCONO RACEWAY in the early 70s (The Schaefer 500)...now THAT was the next best thing to Indy (for us).
Sadly, when Dad passed in 1978, he never did realize his dream of going to Indy...
I took up the mantle and went for the BOTH of us.
Granted, it was not for the "500", but rather for the Brickyard in the early 2000s.
And I but walked all around the damn track, as well as go to the race museum and see all the former winning cars they have on display there.
Even got to see the Marmom Wasp - winner of the FIRST Indy 500 (driven by Ray Haroun)!
Now that was fantastic...and literally wore me the hell out with all the walking (and the driving down and back)...but it WAS worth every step of the way.
After all, in many ways, my DAD was with me that entire day.
This year, Sports Illustrated has a commemorative issue (costs about $15) for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, and if you can afford it...go and get it!
I consider this one of my few "indulgences" in life, and I do look forward to this every year...just as I did growing up.
Some things never leave you, thankfully.
One good thing to come of this...I can do a pretty decent imitation of JIM NABORS when he sings "BACK HOME AGAIN IN INDIANA", even though I will ALWAYS be from Pennsylvania. Glad to see that the letter I got in high school choir didn't go totally to waste...LOL!
I figure if Jim retires, they could always ring me up...what the hell.
Yeah, remembrances of days long past help urge many of us forward into tomorrow, if for no other reason, than to share with others such good times, and let them know that regular people can appreciate simpler things in life...like a radio broadcast...or a stroll around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Here's to YOU, Dad...I know you'll be somewhere nearby this Sunday (with Mom).
Now, we will be talking more about Memorial Day on Monday, and I do hope that all of you will spend some time with loved ones, or perhaps outside, enjoying all that our creator has allowed us to behold.
(most of it is STILL FREE, too)
And even if looks like no one is around, God is there holding you in HIS hand, and that is always something to celebrate.
So enjoy yourselves this weekend, and wherever you go, remember that you are not going there alone.
And please take time to remember those across America devastated by this recent weather.
A prayer in passing, or even a small donation to the Red Cross will work wonders to ensure that these people have something to hang onto, as they piece together their lives...namely that they are NOT forgotten by the rest of us. We will stand to help whenever and wherever we can.
That's what Americans do for one another.
And it makes us all appreciate who we are in the process.
We'll catch you all up on the flip-side.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and as always...
Stay safe out there, America.


CWMartin said...

Looked at the worst/safest lists. Indiana is Seriously underrepesented. I have to question a crime list that doesn't include East Chicago, Gary, or Indy for that matter. Carmel's no surprise- what need have rich folks for violent crime. Amusing that Cleveland was on the bad list and its suburbs on the good list.

Ready for the four most famous words in racing- "Mario is slowing down!"

Bob G. said...

I have to agree with you that Indiana is not there on those lists, when parts if this state deserve to be there.

How many years had Gary been #1 (before Camden, NJ?), and all the stuff down in Indy itself.

The last time I checked, those cities qualify (over 25K in population)

About Mario...whenever he was asked (back in the day) how he would plan to run the race, the answer was always the same:

And early in his career, it was hard to find a RACE CAR (or team) that would HOLD UP to Mario's "touch"...lol.

But the 1967 Turbine Car (Parnelli Jones) was THE race to watch...
That car led all but the last several laps (gearbox failure).

After the 1968 race year (3 entries-none finished 200 laps), they BANNED the cars altogether.
Those were the days of "Mister STP - Andy Granetelli".
His "quiet revolution" was ahead of it's time.

SO many great names..so much good racing, and so many fantastic stories from drivers over all those years.
Today...not as much...pretty much cookie-cutter racing (with the cars, anyway).

Hey, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Have yourselves a great weekend and stay safe up there.

Momma Fargo said...

Great post about war and Memorial Day, Bob G. You are a true patriot and America is proud to have you as an A #1 Classy Citizen.

Bob G. said...

MOmma Fargo:
Well dear, I've been called a LOT of things in the past 58 years.

And I am truly proud and HONORED that you have included PATRIOT in the mix.
Thank you very much.

You roll safe out there
(and stay dry)