If you're not a NASCAR fan, don't write about NASCAR! 
Reading this article in the Star just made me shake my head.

If there's one quote that proves the writer doesn't know NASCAR, it's this one:

So NASCAR finally got what it wanted – 43 to 50 drivers who pretty much all look the same, talk the same, behave the same and – well – are the same. (I really mean that. Kyle Busch won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladaga yesterday and the first thing he said, the very first words out of his mouth when he got out of the car were: "I really want to thank M&M’s." What is with those guys?)


Everyone knows that the first thing you do in NASCAR is thank your sponsors. They're paying the bills, and you want to make them happy. That doesn't mean you're just like everyone else.

Anyone who's paid any attention to NASCAR over the past couple years knows that Kyle Busch is about as different from everyone else as he could possibly be without growing a new limb and wearing a clown nose.

My only complaint about the race coverage wasn't speculation on when the Big One would happen, but, rather, the commentators need to explain a number of times why the race wasn't boring.

If you don't know NASCAR, then perhaps it didn't seem all that interesting but that's not their fault. It takes time to understand what's going on and you can't just become a fan overnight. The fact that there were more lead changes and more leaders than in any other race this season should have been proof enough that something interesting was going on.

Just about every lap had some sort of excitement in it involving who was on the move forward or who'd been shuffled to the back. You could see the strategy developing and see people testing out what their cars could do in different spots. Hell, watching Denny Hamlin push just about everyone up to the front of the pack at any given time was great entertainment! You just knew he had a plan for the end. It was just a shame that we didn't get to see what it was.

Having Tony and Jr. playing at the front for half the race was great fun, and you couldn't help but cringe when they got together not once, but twice toward the end, ultimately ruining both their days. Knowing that they're friends and what a bad stroke of luck it was added to the drama of the race. I was hoping either one or the other would win it, but it wasn't to be.

Finally, having the Wild Thing go a lap down but hold his place at the front until he could pick up the Lucky Dog was great fun, and you just knew the last lap was going to be incredible. It was just too bad the Big One didn't happen a lap earlier so as not to ruin the finish. That was a shame, but in the end a worthy driver took the checkers so I suppose not all was lost.

All in all, I thought it was a great race from start to finish and expect most other fans thought the same, despite what some clueless writers might think.

Congrats Kyle! You drove a great race!

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Those TTC bastards are at it again! 
I woke up this morning to find out that the Toronto Transit Commission decided to up and go on strike last night at midnight.

Not only do I think they should be declared an essential service such that they no longer have the right to strike, I think that this latest one should be met with harsh penalties giving all of them a 5% pay cut and denying any concessions that had won in the recent contract negotiations.

Why so harsh?

Back when they were negotiating, the union made it very public that they would give 48 hours notice if they intended to strike. As I understand it this morning from listening to the news, some of their members didn't like this idea, so in the end they decided to just forget it and strike by surprise last night at midnight, leaving all sorts of people stranded without notice.

They're overpaid as it is, and keep getting more and more by taking the city hostage. This has to be stopped.

I understand the value of a union, but they've long since overstepped their bounds in this arena. Unions should fight to get fair pay and benefits for their members. They should not be fighting to bend their employers over a barrel and ream them for all they can.


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Martinsville owns Bristol 
I just thought I'd chime in on the question of "What's the best short track in the Sprint Cup series?"

Yesterday's race at Martinsville was great fun to watch and, I think, more entertaining than the previous race at Bristol. I think it's the tight corners at the end, though the sprinkling of rain may have helped things along.

The excitement of seeing your driver tuck his nose under the car in front going through the turn was great fun, as was the frustration of watching someone try to make the pass on the outside and knowing he was going to lose a few positions for his efforts.

Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon swapping positions cleanly a few times was harrowing, each time thinking they were going to come together.

I think the moment of the race, while it obviously can't be sanctioned, was Matt Kenseth punting David Gilliland out of pure malice.

I felt bad for Johnson getting taken out by lap traffic, but that's Martinsville, and he still pulled out a great finish.

Congrats to Denny Hamlin and for all the Hendricks boys!!

Now Tony... what's up? All the other Gibb's cars have been in the winners circle. When's your turn??


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I Want to Punch Bill Gates 
SQL Server seems like it would be important enough to be mostly bug-free, but I came across what I think it a rather major flaw in the reporting services.

I tried to use this function to set a field.

=IIf(IsNumeric(Fields!Data.Value), CDbl(Fields!Data.Value), Fields!Data.Value)

Simple, right? If the value is a number, then turn it into a number so I can use numeric formatting methods on it.

If it's not a number, then just leave it alone and display it.

Does it work? No. It fails because SQL is too stupid to ignore the statement that should only be invoked if the condition is met.

If the data is not numeric, I get an error because SQL tries to do the CDbl conversion anyway.

Here is my solution:

=IIf(IsNumeric(Fields!Data.Value), CDbl(IIf(IsNumeric(Fields!Data.Value), Fields!Data.Value, "0"), Fields!Data.Value)

Clever? Maybe. It certainly illustrates how stupid SQL is being.

Now where's Bill???

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It's Tough Being a Leafs Fan 
Suddenly the Leafs are entertaining again. The last two games were great fun, but I think the real question here is this:

How much can they hurt themselves, while still leaving us without playoff hockey?

Last year it was a single point. They did as well as they could, getting as poor a position in the draft as they could muster, without actually giving us any playoff excitement.

This year they're within 5 points and driving to get closer.

Actually making the playoffs is once again a pipe dream, but it seems they're all about shooting themselves in both feet at the end of the season, once thoughts of post-season play are out the window.

Way to go, boys!

Of course, it's not really their fault at this point in the game. We want them to win. But what about Cliff Fletcher? Wasn't he brought in to get all their ducks in a row so the team can improve for the future? After doing much of nothing at the trade deadline, shouldn't he at least be sending people to the minors to bring up some newcomers for experience? Shouldn't he be playing 3rd string goalies to give them a taste of the big time? Isn't his job to make them lose now, while the players do whatever they can to win?


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