Interesting Situation

Last weekend, Lewis Hamilton won the Turkish Grand Prix and with it, the F1 Driver’s Championship for the seventh (!!!!) time, tying the venerated-but-comatose Michael Schumacher for the all-time record.  Much has been said about the little twerp, especially by me, for the fact that he’s driving a  car (factory Mercedes-AMG) which is hugely superior to most if not all of the other cars in Formula 1, and to a certain degree this is true. (Mercedes had actually clenched the F1 Team Championship title the race before.)

However:  in Istanbul on Sunday, conditions were terrible.  It had rained all night before, and to add to the drivers’ woes, the track had only been resurfaced a couple weeks prior, which meant that even dry it would have been slippery;  add metric tons of water to the mix, and you get mayhem.  Which is pretty much what happened.  Nobody cared race on slicks, when meant “wet” or “intermediate” tires were the order of the day, and all during the race, cars were sliding around and off the track like they were being driven by five-year-old boys and not by arguably the best drivers in the world.  Even worse was that because the tires were wet-weather ones, they degraded very quickly when the track did dry out a bit.  Ordinarily under those circumstances, you’re lucky to get ten to fifteen laps before the tread wears to such an extent that you’re in essence racing on slicks, on a soaking-wet track.  This was not the case in Istanbul, because it drizzled on and off during the entire race, which meant that the alternate wet- and dry track gave the intermediate tires a few more laps’ life, to maybe twenty laps.

Hamilton changed off the wet tires on lap 8 — and then drove the last fifty laps on the same tires, winning by a huge margin because all the other drivers had to make two and sometimes three pit stops to change theirs.  It was a drive of unbelievable virtuosity, and as much as I personally detest the little asshole, it was a drive worthy of a champion, the win and therefore the title richly deserved.  And by the way, Valttieri Bottas (the other Mercedes driver), driving the same machinery, finished somewhere like fifteenth.  So much for “equipment superiority”.

I told you all that so I could tell you this.

Hamiton’s seventh driver’s title has resulted in calls for him to be given a knighthood by the Queen — she doesn’t make the decision, by the way, some government flunkey or other does, I can’t be bothered to look it up as like most Americans I think the whole title thing is silly.  Regardless, other sportsmen have been knighted before for their sporting success (F1’s Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss, cricketer Ian Botham — more on him in another post), so it’s not an unusual thing for a sportsman to be thus recognized.

However, this is Lewis Hamilton we’re talking about, so of course there’s going to be a turd in the punchbowl.  And this is it:  many years ago, Lewis left the U.K. and took up residence in Monaco to escape Her Majesty’s onerous taxation (once again, not the old girl’s fault;  she doesn’t makes the laws, she just signs the papers).

To the ever-censorious British public, who think that leaving Britain for this reason equates to near-criminal behavior, this is causing some problems, conceptually.  On the one hand, he’s brilliant and deserves some social recognition, but on the other, he’s a reprehensible tax-dodger who’s being rewarded by the Crown despite his “disloyalty”.

Needless to say, I think the wealth-envious Brits are total idiots when it comes to this nonsense:  taxes are an evil, evil form of theft:  one should pay only as much as the law mandates, and not one fucking penny more.  Avoiding paying taxes (as opposed to evading, or not paying any) is one’s fiscal responsibility, and tax loopholes (created, of course, by loathsome politicians) should be used to the utmost advantage without actually breaking the law.  Tax accountants and -lawyers exist to know about and bring such loopholes (okay, exceptions) to their clients’ attention and save them money.  That’s the beginning and the end of what I call the commonsense approach to paying taxes — but that’s not what the vast British (and huge swathes of the U.S.) public believes.

Thus, the quandary the Brits find themselves in is an exquisite one, as I stated above.  And I find myself curiously conflicted:  on the one hand I think Hamilton’s achievement is incredible, and worthy of recognition;  but on the other, while the tax haven thing is irrelevant, the thought of this woke little BLM-supporting twerp becoming “Sir Lewis” sticks in my craw like a chicken bone.

Wizard

I saw an article which mentioned a man named Karl-Heinz Rumenigge (pronounced Room-in-nigga ), and I had a good chuckle at the memories the name evoked.

Back in the 1980s, Rumenigge was West Germany’s chief striker in their national football team, and he’s ranked 26th in the Top 50 World Cup Footballers Of All Time.  (The list includes Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Messi, Yashin and Zhidane, so we’re not talking mediocrity here.)

I used to love watching him play, but not for the usual reasons.

You see, outside the penalty area, Rumenigge was hopeless:  he’d get the ball in the midfield, then trip over his own feet and fall over, or kick the ball into touch unintentionally, or pass the ball to the opposition, or kick one of his own team’s players accidentally — there was no telling how badly he could screw up.  (I exaggerate, of course, but only a little.)  And he had the worst hairstyle in football:

But when he got a sniff of the ball in the opponents’ penalty area:  GOAL.  Almost without fail, there would be a goal, whether by a thunderous shot which made the goalie look foolish, or by dribbling it past three defenders before netting the ball, or back-heeling the ball through a forest of legs, or poaching a loose ball anywhere within ten yards of the goalposts;  whatever it took, Karl-Heinz would get the job done (video).  At his club Bayern Munich, he scored 200 goals in ten years, and playing for Germany, he scored 45 goals in ninety-six matches, including a hat-trick during the 1982 World Cup.

By the way, he’s no dunce:  nowadays, Rumenigge is the Chairman of Executive Board of FC Bayern München.  And he has a better haircut.

Evolution

One-time F1 champion driver Kimi Raikonnen is famously bullshit-free;  while driving for Ferrari a few years back, he got irritated by the constant stream of advice and orders coming over the radio from the pit wall team, and uttered the immortal line:  “Leave me alone;  I know what I’m doing.”   He finished on the podium, driving a car that was truthfully speaking nowhere near the level of his competitors’.

And he’s back in the headlines today, posting this pic:

For those not in the know, that’s one-time F1 champion James Hunt in characteristic pose (missing only a pit bunny on his errr  arm to make it completely accurate), while on the right is Mr. Woke, Lewis Hamilton.

Now the Hamilton fanbois are going to point out that whereas Hunt and Raikonnen only won the F1 championship once each, Our Lewis has won it six times.   (In their defense:  Hunt and Raikonnen won their respective championships driving cars that were charitably called “competitive” at the time, whereas Hamilton is driving a Mercedes which has outstripped all other cars by a wide margin, for the past four or five years at least.)

Whatever.  Raikonnen is in the right, while Hamilton is left — far Left, with his BLM-kneeling and wokey T-shirts.

I wish Hunt were alive today:  he’d piss all over that T-shirt, probably while Hamilton was still wearing it.

Still No Spectators

I spoke about sports being played in empty stadiums because of the Chinkvirus — which I can sorta understand, because by their very nature and architecture, stadiums cram people together in their seats.

I do not understand why Augusta National is holding their postponed tournament without spectators, though.

Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic. As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.
Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.
Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing. The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the Tournament so special. Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the Tournament in a safe manner. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.

I don’t think that the problem is as bad as they make it sound — assuming that there even is a problem by the time the tournament begins — but Augusta National has always been a sensible kind of operation (except when they allowed women to become members, that is), so there it is.

I for one always watch the Masters on TV — I can’t remember ever missing it.  Even when I still lived in Seffrica I’d stay awake through the night to watch Player and Nicklaus and Palmer grappling with the course.

Playing Augusta was once a Bucket List item, but no more:  I’m too old, and my golf game, always kinda shit, would make me a laughing stock if I did somehow manage to get to play there.

I’d still like to drive a fast-ish car around Spa Francorchamps, though;  not in a race, but maybe on a Track Day.

I’m not too old for that.  Especially in one of these:

Good Question

From Scott Adams:

More than one, now that I think of it.  I used to watch the NFL on Sundays when there was nothing else (i.e. an off-week for F1, no major golf tournaments), and very occasionally a couple of Cubs baseball games (old habits die hard).  Never the NBA, AMQ (after Michael quit).  I only like watching hockey live, never on TV, and since I left Chicago, not that either.  (Actually, I stopped watching the Blackhawks when they moved out of the old atmospheric Chicago Stadium and into the bland new United Center, but that’s a rant for another time.)

Basically, I’m left with cricket (which is hardly ever on, thank gawd for YouTube), English football (which is hanging on by a fingernail because BLM support) and Formula 1.  And with F1 I’ve gone from keen support to sorta-maybe ever since Lewis fucking Hamilton suddenly realized he was Black (half-Black, to be precise, but let’s go with the Democrat / Afrikaner “single drop of blood” measure, as Hamilton is).  I used to watch F1 Sunday, which is a scene-setting show for the Grand Prix of the day, but as that has turned into a “Kneel for Black Lives Matter” orgy I stopped watching that shit, and now watch only the race itself.

If I do a rough count, I’ve gone from about 20-30 hours a week of sports viewing to about 4 or 5, and even that may slip a bit more if things get too unbearable.  (The English Premier League season has ended, so nothing there until September, it looks like.)

So in answer to the above question:  yeah, Scott;  BLM and the other Commie hangers-on have messed up sports for me too.

No Big Deal

Still on sports:  I see that the Le Mans 24-hour race is going to be run with empty stands because Chinkvirus.

Can’t see why that would be a big deal, unless you’re one of those masochists  keen fans who endures 24 hours of noise and discomfort, at least half of which are spent in driving rain — it always rains at Le Mans — and 10 hours of which are spent in total darkness anyway.  Not even I watch the race in full — and I’m a huge Le Mans fan.

Nope;  a two-hour highlight program is pretty much all I care for.  (And I prefer still more an actual documentary — Truth in 24  and Truth in 24 II  are excellent albeit dated shows, as I’ve said before.)

And even if you’re one of those ghouls who only wants to go to Le Mans for the crashes, just remember that most of the crashes happen in the woods or at least far from where most spectators are sitting — with one notable exception [hem hem]  where the spectators were very much part of the action, so to speak.

Certainly, spectators at Le Mans have no effect on the race participants — crowd noise is pretty much a nothingburger, unlike say at a football match.

And to the surprise of absolutely no one, let it be said that I prefer Le Mans as it was raced in the old days, where the cars at least looked like the same cars you’d see driving around the countryside:

…and not the bizarre, shapeless and electronic doodad-filled crap that looks like it was done by some CAD intern.

But that’s a rant for another time.