"Always speak out and keep forging ahead. The man who cannot find new ambitions and even a new person within himself, who is always destined to wrestle with what has remained rotten and decadent in his own personality, is not a man."
Posted by Brooklyn Girl at 11:35 AM
Funny Car Drag Racer
“I’m excited not just to run against my dad but to run against his team –- all of these guys I grew up with and who trained me."
Love this woman. Love her. She's cute, tough, and she's winning trophies while bringing her family together. Ashley is a drag racer on the NHRA circuit, a model for Oakley sunglasses, and appears with her father John (yow), mother Laurie, and younger sisters Brittany and Courtney on the A&E reality show Driving Force (which is, admittedly, kind of gay). John developed training strategies for all three of his daughters. I like that Ashley has watched him literally crash and burn and still wants to be a racer.
From "Meet the Forces":
After graduating from Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, Ashley spent two seasons in the entry-level Super Comp class and three more in Top Alcohol Dragster before becoming just the 10th woman in NHRA history to earn a license to compete in the Funny Car division. In Top Alcohol, she won five NHRA national events including the biggest event in the sport, the 2004 U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Ind.
Ashley was a Top 10 finisher in national points in each of her three seasons in Top Alcohol Dragster. When she won the 2004 World Finals at Pomona, Calif., she shared the winners' circle with her dad as the first father-and-daughter champions in the history of the NHRA series. Now, she has moved up to race against her father at the wheel of one of the most challenging vehicles on the planet – an 8,000 horsepower Funny Car.
Ashley is trying to become the first woman to advance to the final round in the Funny Car division, the first woman to win a race, the first to qualify No. 1 and the first to earn a Top 10 finish. Despite the fact that she chose "auto shop" and "welding" as two of her elective courses in high school, Ashley's interest in the "family business" came as a compete shock to her father, 14-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force. Nevertheless, three years after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cal State-Fullerton, the former high school cheerleader is being hailed as a future star of the NHRA series and a possible successor to her father.
Give us more female role models who own both makeup kits AND helmets.
"I'm still on that learning curve that just seems to be getting longer. There's a lot more left for me to learn and I'll just keep using these disappointments as important lessons that I hope will keep making me a better driver."
"She'll be fine. It's a tough game out here. I've basically given her all the advice and the best team I can surround her with. Now it's up to her to go as far as her talent can take her. And I think it's going to take her a long way."
Posted by Brooklyn Girl at 8:00 AM
Attention ladies! Steinhatchee (that's pronounced STEEN, not to be confused with the Jewish name), on the Gulf Coast, is apparently the romance capital of North Florida. The only people in the town are men, and they all seem to be available. My girl friend and I were baffled at the number of willing suitors we had within just seconds of entering the Sea Hag Tiki Bar. Four nice gentlemen eagerly offered to open our beers, and an audience of about thirty watched with bated breath as we drank them. It was a little unnerving, but once we got used to it, we realized what a gold mine we had on our hands. If you can stomach the barrels of fish guts lying around, and if you don't mind the outrageous lies men tell when they get around water, I guarantee you'll leave Steinhatchee a very happy woman -- maybe two or three times over. But be warned: This is the most signless town you'll ever visit, so budget an extra hour for backtracking and asking disturbed and toothless individuals in parking lots for directions on your way out. On the other hand, maybe you'll give up trying to escape and just settle down with your new first mate. I almost did with this guy -- Jolly Captain Bob. What a catch!
Posted by Brooklyn Girl at 9:27 PM
"Until you've walked away from it you can't see it. And I decided to come back to the South and be a Southerner. As best I can. I will never BE a Southerner. I'll be this imitation of a Southerner. But in a way, I feel like that brings me closer to God. 'Cause I've chosen -- it's almost like a form of divinity, I've chosen my divinity, rather than my divinity choosing me. Man, they've got some good garbage here."
-Jim White in Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus
-Jim White in Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus
Posted by Brooklyn Girl at 4:35 AM
In his essay "Why I Live Where I Live," Harry Crews writes: "I can leave the place where I live a couple of hours before daylight and be on a deserted little strip of sand called Crescent Beach in time to throw a piece of meat on a fire and then, in a few minutes, lie back sucking on a vodka bottle and chewing on a hunk of bloody beef while the sun lifts out of the Atlantic Ocean...and in three hours be out on the end of a dock, sitting in the Captain's Table eating hearts-of-palm salad and hot boiled shrimp and sipping on a tall, icy glass of beer while the sun I saw lift out of the Atlantic that morning sinks into the warm, waveless Gulf of Mexico. It makes a hell of a day."
Gainesville is an hour or so from each coast and is a fun little city full of students, homeless people, third-circuit country stars, ex-hippies, rednecks, and University doctors and teachers. Even though there's really only one option for shopping or Thai food, those one options are pretty good. We have Lillian's (Tom! Tom!), the Spanish-style Alachua County library, feral cats, and The Bambi Motel. You run into people you know all the time. The rent's affordable. The bars are weird. And it's close to beaches, springs, a psychic-medium town, a Greek sponge-fishermen town, Disney World, the Weeki Wachee mermaids, a sea island plantation, and a Jesus-theme amusement park.
But I never would have got here if not for Harry Crews. His book A Feast of Snakes is one of the sexiest things I've ever read. I threw my shit in my car and drove down here because I figured Gainesville must have something going on I'd want.
I haven't met Harry yet, but I've sent him a bunch of letters and was able at one point to convince several people that I was pregnant with his child. A friend of mine here actually worked for an insurance company for a little while, and one day he had to drive out to this address to deny the potential customer a life insurance policy, and low and behold it was Harry Crews. From what I hear he's still a remorseless maniac partying himself into the grave -- apparently why the insurance company turned him down. I don't like that he's alone, but I do like that he's stuck to his guns about the bad habits. That's heartening, somehow.
Other books you should read of his are Car, A Childhood, and The Gospel Singer. He appears in the film Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, and he had a new book out last year, I think, called An American Family. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth said of it: "He'll break your heart but he'll always bring you love." True that. Harry's kind of perceptive irreverence is what helps me stay hopeful about people.
As a side note, I recently saw the film based on his 1973 novel The Hawk Is Dying. It was filmed here in Gainesville and features a shot of one of my favorite pool halls, The Silver Q. The film played at The Hippodrome, our downtown theater that you can drink in (they have a bar -- so fun). In the back row were ten grisly kids who claimed to be students of the MFA program Harry used to teach at. I thought it might've made him happy to know they were there.
Posted by Brooklyn Girl at 4:31 AM