Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Solving Race Relations

I attended a car “meet up” this past weekend.  This was a “Cars and Coffee” type event where car enthusiasts gather for a couple of hours to show off their cars and admire those of other enthusiasts.  These are great events to attend for the opportunity to look up close at such exotic vehicles as Lamborghini and Ferraris as well as “old school” muscle cars and Rat Rods.  This isn’t a car show where awards are given; instead, it is a gathering of people from all walks of life who share a common love of cars.  The types of cars garnering such enthusiastic devotion are as diverse as the car owners themselves.

A chance encounter with two such enthusiasts stood out to me in such stark contrast to what has been filling the media these past few months that I feel compelled to write about it here.

Unless you go through life like an ostrich with your head buried in the sand, or have been living in a cave until recently, you like me have been bombarded with stories in the media (print, broadcast, social media, the blogosphere, etc.) about race relations. Whites killing blacks; black and white policemen killing blacks; blacks killing blacks; police killing civilians; the Confederate Flag and what it means to blacks, to southern whites, to people anywhere and everywhere; demonstrations turning into riots over civilian deaths, etc.  The list goes on and on, with a common denominator of race vs race.

We’re being bombarded by reports of what separates us.

What I witnessed at this past event showed me in the most basic terms, what unites us.

Two men, complete strangers to one another; one white, one black.  One a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, one a Dallas Cowboys fan; one loves Dodge Chargers, the other Ford Mustangs.

On the surface, there is almost zero common ground for these two individuals.  Right from the start, their race supposedly separates them.  On top of that, add in cars and football?  Other than politics and religion, there are no more polarizing activities individuals can engage in than cars and football.  Fans of all walks of life live and die each and every Sunday as their chosen football team battles it out on the gridiron against “them”, the “other guys”.  The ones wearing different colors than “our team”; the ones from “not around here” who dare to come to “our house” and threaten the success of “our team”.  The bitter rival, the vastly inferior team if not by record, then by the character deficiencies of the organization, the head coach, the star player.

Friday, August 7, 2015

There's a chorus of new voices for Steeler Nation

Hey Steeler Nation; there's a new and different source for your Steelers' fix and you definitely need to check out.

It's called: Going Deep: An Introspective Steelers Site  I'll let the founder of the site, Ms. Rebecca Rollett describe the site herself:

You won’t find breaking news on our site, although we have a twitter feed on the sidebar to keep you up-to-the-minute : ) But the fact is, you can find “breaking” news on most of the existing sites.

What we offer is a place to take an in-depth look at any aspects of the organization which catch our fancy. As writers, we all have different viewpoints and interests, and we want to generate a discussion about the things that intrigue us. So as much as anything, this is a place for conversations. In fact, I suppose it is more like a virtual Steelers coffeehouse than anything else. Since it doesn’t seem to exist elsewhere, we decided to create our own.

If you're looking for more than just news, gossip or the usual pabulum the "major media" outlets provide; if you're looking for something deeper, you'll find it at this site.  The authors are seasoned writers who honed their voices elsewhere on the Intraweb, but found themselves dissatisfied with the "breaking news" mad rush, and the washing away of substantive pieces from other sites' main screen just to feed the insatiable appetite for mouse clicks.

At Going Deep: An Introspective Steelers Site you will find a wide array of articles that don't merely repeat what you've seen on Twitter or Yahoo, but instead take a fresh, different and deeper look at what many accept as commonplace.  For example:


Character (Ac)Counts - an ongoing series of articles that introduce rookies to Steeler Nation, but goes behind the uniform to give a glimpse of the men underneath 

This is a fledgling site that's only been up for a few weeks, so it's still developing its look, but you should definitely add it to your list of Pittsburgh Steelers sites to check out.  I should caution you however, that you will need to set aside some time for this site; not only to read the articles in their entirety but also to give yourself time to contemplate what it is that you have read. 

The authors at this site don't produce fluff; their work requires a great deal of research and effort on their part, and can be quite lengthy.  But, and I mean this sincerely, you will be glad you made time for their work.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

2015 Annapolis Car Show - exhibiting what we've lost in the automotive world

I spent a hot but fun day this past Saturday at the 4th annual Annapolis Car show, hosted by Koons Ford of Annapolis.

I must admit I was a bit skeptical about attending a car show on a car dealer's lot; I had visions of packs of wandering salesmen hunting me down and pressuring me to look at their latest model, or swarms of fanny-pack wearing dads letting their ill-mannered progeny climb into the show cars or run their sticky fingers all over meticulously cleaned paint.

But I was pleasantly surprised; impressed in fact.  There must have been close to 100-150 cars laid out in rows, and man what cars!

This show attracts some heavy hitters in terms of restoration, modification and even survivor cars. To be honest, my 2015 Challenger was out of place in a show filled with Daytona Superbirds, chopped top Fords, a 1937 Chord and others.

But the show also filled me with remorse; sadness not just for a bygone era but also the dehumanizing loss of....of a man's soul poured into his car by his craftsmanship, his artistry.