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F1: the last few races prove how important the car is for wins!

The last few races prove how important the car is

Following up on my previous post explaining my reasons for believing that Lewis Hamilton is not the GOAT, this post is about how the car is more important than driver skill, based on the last 3 races.

I’m going to start by saying that I believe that Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are equally matched, and given an equal car would be trading wins back and forth. Sadly, the partisan nature of Hamilton and Verstappen fans means that neither side can acknowledge this, believing their chosen one to be the clearly superior driver. As a neutral, I can acknowledge this and I am enjoying the battle for the title, the first ‘real’ title battle since 2016 when then Mercedes teammate, Rosberg pipped Hamilton to the title.

Going back three races to Mexico, Max Verstappen was dominant and took victory ahead of Hamilton, to extend his World Drivers Championship lead, with Hamilton taking a dig at Sergio Perez saying “When you’ve got Checo on your tail, then you know the car is quick..” in post-race interviews, clearly proving that at the time of the Mexican Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing had a clear advantage in terms of machinery.

Roll forward a week to the Brazilian Grand Prix, now called the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, it was flipped on its head after Hamilton took a fresh internal combustion engine (ICE). Suddenly, Hamilton’s Mercedes was 1/2 second faster than Red Bull, we know that Hamilton did not suddenly become a half-second a lap faster driver than Verstappen, so it has to be down to the fresh ICE in the back of his Mercedes.

Not to take away from Hamilton’s performance, driving from 20th to fifth place in the sprint qualifying on Saturday, after a rear wing DRS infringement sent him to the back of the grid. Then, starting from 10th place in the race on Sunday, after serving a five-place grid penalty for the ICE change, to win the race. But, without a vastly superior car underneath him, even Hamilton would not have made up 25 places over the weekend, basically passing everyone but driver’s title rival Verstappen with relative ease.

Moving forward another week to this weekend’s race in Qatar, another 1/2 second gap in qualifying, Mercedes with a clear car advantage over Red Bull. Verstappen qualified second to Hamilton with a 0.455 of a second advantage, which was compounded by Verstappen’s penalty for not slowing enough for waved yellow flags. The way that Verstappen stormed from seventh to second in a matter of laps, and the way teammate Perez was making overtake after overtake shows how much difference the car makes.

Meanwhile, Hamilton, starting from pole position, was easily out front, carrying over the Brazil performance, and teammate Valtteri Bottas was running in third place after dropping to 11th from sixth on the grid before a tire blowout ultimately caused him to retire. Literally, every other car that is not a Red Bull or Mercedes pales in comparison. The only reason Fernando Alonso claimed a podium finish is the late virtual safety car, neutralizing Perez’s charge back to third place after his final pitstop.

Former F1 driver and commentator Martin Brundle suggested that Mercedes should change Hamilton’s ICE again; if it will give the Briton a boost like Brazil for the final two races. This is because Mercedes ICE has a flaw that causes significant degradation with mileage unlike the Honda engine in the back of the Red Bull, which has little degradation, only having to take an extra ICE due to the Silverstone damage.

In my opinion, the penalty system for engine changes is a joke, if a new ICE can allow a driver to make up 25 positions over the course of a weekend, the five-place grid penalty is a complete and utter joke. In Brazil, former F1 driver and world champion Jenson Button said on Sky Sports practice commentary that it’s the wrong way around, a 10 place drop for the first extra ICE, then a five-place drop for additional extra ICE used incentivizes teams to change ICE simply because the benefit far outweighs the penalty.

The bottom line is that we cannot compare drivers in different chassis and engine combos because performance can fluctuate based on the type of track, aero package, or even the newness of power unit components. This is why I would love to see Formula 1 become a spec series, where the difference maker is car setup and driver skill, not who has the best combination of chassis, aero, and power unit.


Lewis Hamilton: is he the GOAT? I don’t think so!

 Lewis Hamilton: is he the GOAT? I don’t think so!

Lewis Hamilton recently passed 100 race victories, in addition to his seven world drivers titles, which is some feat, I will not deny that he is one of the best drivers, but unlike so many Lewis Hamilton fanatics, I do not think he is the Greatest Of All Time. The argument I always get from Hamilton fans is he is the GOAT because he has the most wins and most titles, making the assumption title #8 is coming soon.

The reason I say he is not the GOAT is that ever since 2014, with the exception of 2016, where his teammate Nico Rosberg narrowly beat him to the title, he has had little to no competition because in the new hybrid V6 turbo era, before 2021, Mercedes were a country mile ahead of the rest of the field in terms of speed and reliability. To be called the GOAT, a driver needs to compete on a level playing field.

in 2014, the first year of the new hybrid V6 turbo era, Hamilton won the title by 67 points from his teammate, Rosberg, and 146 points clear of the 3rd placed driver.  In 2015, it was a similar story, 59 points ahead of his teammate, and 103 points ahead of #3 in the driver’s championship.

In 2017, Valtteri Bottas replaced Rosberg, who retired after winning his only WDC title; as Hamilton’s teammate and Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari finished 2nd to Hamilton, trailing by 46 points. 2018 was another easy win for Hamilton, finishing a massive 88 points ahead of Vettel, that’s a gap of more than 3 race wins. In 2019, Hamilton beat Bottas by 87 points, and in 2020 beat Bottas by a ridiculous 124 points.

Hamilton amassed all these wins and titles thanks to a dominant car, and with respect to Bottas, a lesser teammate. I’m not at all saying that Hamilton is not one of the greats, but put Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, or Max Verstappen in Hamilton’s position at Mercedes and they could have matched Hamilton’s achievement. This is the problem with F1 in my opinion, often you have one team dominant for a number of seasons, before Mercedes, it was Red Bull, and before that it was Ferrari, it’s not necessarily the best driver that wins multiple races and world drivers championships.

The amount of times I have been accused by commenters online of being a racist, because I don’t believe that Hamilton is as great as they do, is insane. Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not racist, if I am, I am doing it really, really wrong, given that my wife of 13 years is black and my kids are mixed race.

I would prefer for every driver to pilot a spec car, where all cars are equal, then we will see who is truly the best. Additionally, I find using pure numbers to crown the GOAT flawed, as over the years, seasons have gotten longer, and the points scoring system has changed significantly. If we went back and worked out title winners based on the old 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 for first through sixth, we’d have different outcomes.

If you are a Lewis Hamilton fan and cannot understand how the Mercedes chassis and engine package has contributed to his huge success, I guess there is nothing I can say or do that will change your mindset. Hamilton could potentially be the GOAT, but given the significant car advantage he has been blessed with from 2014 thru 2020, for me, it’s hard to justify the use of GOAT in regard to Hamilton, when the majority of his peers were not afforded the same Mercedes advantages for the best part of a decade.


COVID-19: Public health should ALWAYS trump personal liberty

COVID-19: Public health should ALWAYS trump personal liberty

Last night I was at the emergency room with my wife, Erin, suffering from another lupus flare, an exceptionally bad one, so much so that Erin was in tears, desperate to stop the pain. This was made worse by the fact that I could not stay with her, to comfort her because of active COVID-19 cases, which statistically are 90%+ unvaccinated, leaving me very frustrated by the selfishness of some people.

The latest in a long line of nonsense is Chicago police unions pushing for their members to refuse to comply with local city mandates regarding reporting of officers’ vaccination status. We can safely assume that if any officer is not willing to divulge their vaccination status privately to superiors, that they are unvaccinated. When an officer accepts their badge, they take a pledge to protect and serve, which, if you are unvaccinated, you cannot abide by, potentially passing on COVID-19 to people they interact with.

Red states like Texas and Florida are the worse perpetrators of COVID-19 misinformation, which has had a knock-on effect of increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations more than any other state. Going as far as to actively fight vaccine mandates, and suing school districts if they require a mask to be worn.

I’m reading plenty of stories of people complaining about being fired for refusing to get the vaccine. A surprisingly high number of these people are healthcare workers, who you would think would be the first in line to get vaccinated, seeing the reality of COVID-19 first hand, but it seems common sense is in short supply at this time. I would love to be able to get back to normal, but that will never happen when more than 25% of Americans are anti-vaccination/mask, due to the politicization of vaccines and mask-wearing.

I’m certainly not a particular fan of Joe Biden and his administration, I think he has been ineffective in general, but I 100% support his stance on COVID-19 and vaccine mandates, or regular testing to remain employed by the government, healthcare providers, and within larger private companies.

The double standard among Republicans is astounding, they scream liberty, my body, my choice when it comes to vaccine mandates and wearing a mask inside school buildings, while simultaneously passing laws that control a women’s right to autonomy over her own body, passing ‘heartbeat’ legislation that bans abortion from six weeks, often before a woman knows she’s even pregnant.

I heard an argument in Facebook comments on a news article about the TX heartbeat abortion ban, that you cannot compare abortion to vaccine mandates, as being unvaccinated effects just one person, whereas abortion affects two people. In my view, that is the most uneducated comment that could be made. In the simplest terms, if you are unvaccinated, you are 70-80% more likely to be infected with COVID, and pass it onto family members, including grandparents, who are more likely to be hospitalized or die from Coronavirus. Remember at the start of this pandemic, 20 months ago, when Republicans wanted the older generation to sacrifice themselves to save the economy, very pro-life arent they?

Going back to the first paragraph that inspired this blog, refusing to get vaccinated affects so many more people than YOU, the person who screams my body, my choice. My wife is immunocompromised due to her Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and the drugs she has to take to control these medical conditions, so a visit to the ER can potentially be deadly, especially if medical staff treating COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. Being sat in the waiting room for 90 minutes, knowing my wife was back there in tears gave me plenty of time to stew in my own thoughts about the selfishness of people, unnecessarily extending this pandemic.

My thoughts during those 90 minutes were most definitely dark, thinking if you refuse to get vaccinated, and you get Coronavirus, hospitals should turn you away, telling you to go home and lay in your bed, which you made, take some Ivermectin, and inject some bleach. Now I have calmed down, obviously, I feel differently, I value life and I want people to live, regardless of their political and ideological views.


Google my Business: what exactly is the point of verification?

Google my Business, what is the point of being verified when your edits are immediately rejected?

I have to deal with Google much more often than I would like as part of my work as an online marketing specialist, and I have expressed frustration on many occasions with Google’s practices including how their review system works, and their canned responses, seemingly not at all reading the support request, in that case, in regard to verifying a property without an onsite mailing address, which is still unresolved.

In this situation, I really question the point of verifying ownership of a business. I have been having issues with changing office hours for a single property, I have been verified and authorized to represent the property for seven weeks, but I am unable to change the office hours, from no hours to the actual hours.

I log into my account, select the property I want to edit, edit the office hours, click apply, and it shows as “Under review“, but when I return to the Google my Business dashboard for the property five minutes later, I see the changes have been rejected, highlighted in orange, and at the top of the page, it reads “This location has updated information from Google users or other sources. Review these published updates to make sure that they’re accurate“, and my only option is “Accept all for this location“.

Google my Business rejected hours

I used the GMB support page to send a message detailing the issues I was having including screenshots, and after days of waiting, a canned response comes back, which is available on their self-service help website. I reply to this email, reiterating the issues I am having, and that the canned response does not help. I wait another couple of days, and another canned response arrives, which, of course, does not help, as I am unable to reject the Google updates, only edit again, which gets rejected minutes later.

I sent a reply to the second canned response, further expanding on the issues I am having. This time including that I am having the same issue with another recently verified property, asserting that this is a system problem, as I doubt that a human has reviewed and rejected my office hours change in a matter of minutes. Today, I received a third message, saying that my case has been escalated to a specialist, let’s see where this goes, it should not be this difficult to make a simple change to a verified business profile.

For me, the point of being verified is that you can make instant changes to your Google presence as required, not having to jump through the hoops of simply suggesting an edit, which can be done by anyone. You would think that Google would want accurate information on their search and maps websites, yet, on two properties, information is far from correct, and I cannot believe that I’m the only person having this issue. How many people edited their hours and didn’t go back to check that those edits had been applied, assuming that being verified would mean edits would automatically go live.

UPDATE (NOV, 2 2021): STILL BROKEN!

I left off by saying that my case had been escalated, and a few days later, I got an email saying;

Please be apprised that I had raised this issue to the specialist team and as per the suggestion from the relevant team, the issue has been resolved and the changes might take 24-48 hours to go live on Google Maps. Please allow that much time for the changes to appear on Google Maps. ”

It is now 12 days later and yep, you guessed it, the hours edits are still being rejected within five minutes. The weird thing is that I can change anything else on this affected business profile, but not the hours. So, it’s time to write another response to support, explaining that their fix does literally nothing.

UPDATE (NOV, 9 2021): BULLSHIT EXCUSES, GOOGLE WON’T HELP!

Another week has passed, and I got a final response, which in the simplest of terms says “your business cannot set hours”, which makes zero sense, read on after the quoted text for why I believe this is true.

November 9, 2021, final response from Google my Business

“Please be apprised that business hours for certain types of businesses, including those with varied hours (like schedules for different types of activities, including showtimes, worship services, or classes) and those that operate only by appointment may not be displayed on some of the platforms even though you have entered hours on your Google Business Profile dashboard. Examples of business that may not display business hours include, but are not limited to: hotels and motels, apartment buildings/complexes, movie theaters, emergency rooms, schools and universities, transportation services, airports, event venues, and natural features.

Why do I believe it’s a bullshit excuse? well, there is a sister property with a Google business profile, 1 mile away, and I have zero issues updating those hours. This screams of “we can’t find the problem, so we are going to blame your business type”. But what can I do? I can edit every other aspect of the profile, just not the opening hours. The hours are static, Monday thru Friday, 9:00am to 12:00pm, 1:00pm to 4:00pm, which is not varied, or by appointment. If it were consistent, where none of our properties could set hours, I’d not have an issue, but that is not the case, it affects two specific properties only!

This is exactly why I hate using 3rd party websites, where I have no control over how information is displayed, or not, or even removed without notice, it’s their sandbox, they choose who can play in it!


Windows 11, why not support 4+ year old CPUs?

Windows 11, why not support 4+ year old CPUs

Windows 11 was officially released on October 5, 2021, but many people will be disappointed that only AMD Ryzen ZEN+ (2000 series), or Intel 8th generation or newer processors will be actively supported. Not to say you cannot do a clean install of Windows 11 from USB on older hardware, but Microsoft is unlikely to provide updates for people running Ryzen 1000 or Intel 7th generation CPUs.

These CPU compatibility recommendations confuse me as Microsoft’s official system requirements for Windows 11 is 1Ghz+ 64-bit dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB, or larger storage, DX12 compatible graphics, and a 720p display, in addition to UEFI secure boot and TPM (trusted platform module) 2.0.

Windows 11 minimum specifications

All AMD and Intel Core CPUs made in the past 10 years exceed this specification, the only issue I see is that motherboards that support older processors may not support TPM 2.0. In my case, my Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard does support secure boot and TPM 2.0, yet my Ryzen 1800X is not supported despite exceeding the minimum specification by 3.6 times based on the base clock speed.

Anyone with experience with new Windows releases knows that the first few iterations of the operating system have stability and functionality issues, knowing it’s best to wait for six to twelve months before upgrading. I would not recommend installing Windows 11 on unsupported processors IF Microsoft will not allow for security, stability, and functionality updates, as you’ll be stuck with a dodgy build of the OS.

I think this is a mistake on the part of Microsoft, as people are not upgrading to newer hardware as frequently as they used to because CPU improvements have been incremental, giving minimal improvements in performance over several generations. My 4 ½ year old Ryzen 1800X is still more than meeting my needs, even with the latest Adobe updates, I see zero slowdowns or problems.

The question I ask Microsoft is what is in the Ryzen 2700X that is not in my Ryzen 1800X that might cause damage to my system? the Ryzen 2000 series is evolved ZEN architecture with a 2nm die shrink.

However, this has got me thinking, maybe I should upgrade to a Zen 2 based processor, the 3000 series. I can buy a Ryzen 3800X (8 core, 16 thread) for around $320, or a Ryzen 3900X (12 core, 24 thread) for $430. It would be great to be able to upgrade to a Zen 3 (5000 series) processor, but that would require a motherboard upgrade too, my ROG Crosshair VI Hero board only supports up to Zen 2 processors.

I will still not be installing Windows 11 even if I do upgrade to ZEN 2, I use this machine to earn a living so I cannot be taking a risk on an unproven operating system when Windows 10 has been very solid.


Pending charges disappear, return the funds, then post 2 days later!

Is it normal for debit card charges to appear as pending then disappear only to post up to 3 days later?

After this weekend, we have found ourselves overdrawn on our Meritrust checking account, due to charges suddenly appearing out of nowhere. These charges are genuine, but I did not see them until yesterday, giving us the impression that we had more funds available than we actually had.

This has happened a number of times over the years causing us to go overdrawn. The charge will initially show as pending with a release date, showing our current balance, and available balance, the latter showing our balance including any pending charges. However, after 4 to 12 hours, any pending charge will disappear from our statement, showing a balance, which does not include the pending charges.

Is this standard practice for banks, or is this specific to Meritrust? Not all charges show as pending, some debit charges are immediately posted, which is how I would think it would work as it’s a direct digital transfer of funds. I cannot think of a good reason why a debit should not post immediately.

I wouldn’t mind if the charge remained pending until the release date, before posting, we’d know how much money we have available. it’s the fact that the pending charge disappears, the money is refunded, only to post 2 days later, making managing a budget difficult when your base information is incorrect.

The issue is that I don’t check our online banking daily, so sometimes, my wife will buy something, I never see the pending charge, then days later, a charge comes out of seemingly nowhere, which becomes a problem when you are running low on funds. My wife always checks the balance on her phone before spending, but if the balance is incorrect because of the vanishing pending charge, what can we do?

We have thousands of dollars in funds being deposited into our checking account within 36 hours, despite this, I fully expect Meritrust to hit me with a $32 insufficient funds charge before that time.


More school issues + sleep issues for my daughter!

Rejected for online school after five weeks. now, our daughter is unable to attend her ‘neighborhood’ school!

At the beginning of the school year, due to insane policies from USD259 – Wichita Schools, not requiring masks in schools despite rising cases of the COVID-19 delta variant in the city, we elected to not send our daughter to her physical school, opting for an online school, in this case, USD259’s Education Imagine Academy. But after five weeks of waiting, we find out our application for our daughter to attend Imagine Academy was denied due to overwhelming demand for the school district’s online alternative, which we can only assume is related to the initial lack of mask mandate. Even with a significantly expanded class for 2021, there were still not enough places for all kids wanting a place in Imagine Academy.

But it gets worse, now we know our daughter cannot attend Imagine Academy, we called up her regular school, Gordon Parks Academy, which like so many schools in Wichita, is a magnet school, for which, your child has to be accepted, which she was. But, apparently, after 2 weeks of school, that offer is rescinded and handed to the next child in line. We were told by Gordon Parks staff that we should reapply for Gordon Parks, but also apply for her “neighborhood” school, which is nowhere near our neighborhood, it’s on the other side of the city, there are literally half a dozen middle schools closer.

I did apply again for Gordon Parks as instructed, which seemed to be the only option on the online enrollment system, I saw no option to select another school. The issue now is that I have a pending application for Gordon Parks, and I cannot apply for Hamilton middle school, while the application for Gordon Parks is still active. We don’t really want our daughter to go to Hamilton due to the distance from our home because our daughter has been diagnosed with Autism with severe anxiety, we don’t like the idea of being so far away, should she have an episode.  This is why we chose Gordon Parks, as she already knew the school, as she attended there in elementary, and it’s walking distance from our home.

Moving onto the secondary issue, our daughter does not have any motivation to do anything during the day, only getting active when her friends are home from school, where she wants to play. I cannot keep her awake during the day, I literally drag her out of bed, stand her up, and she just moves to another room, lays down, and falls asleep again. She will literally sleep all day, which has a knock-on effect of meaning she is awake all night. Even when we get her back into a regular sleeping pattern, within a day, or sometimes two, she’ll sleep all night, then all day, waking up at 4—5pm, expecting to go out and play.

I’m at home, but I work a full-time job, which keeps me very busy, I don’t have time to keep track of what she is doing constantly. This sleeping issue has been an issue since school went remote, often falling asleep during school, so we have been dealing with this for close to 2 years now, and we cannot seem to break her of it, despite her being twelve years old in a few months. She always likes to pass the buck, blaming everyone and everything else, instead of taking responsibility for her own actions.

In an effort to break her of this behavior, I have stopped her from going out to play with her friends if she sleeps all day. Of course, she is now upset with me, because I turned her friends away when they came to our front door. This is where issues #1 and #2 are related, if we can get her back into physical school, hopefully, being around other kids will break her of this sleeping all day, to motivate her to be active, but we would like to not have her seven miles away, but at this point, I don’t see another option unless a magnet place opens up at Gordon Parks, which is unlikely as we have gone to the back of the list.

MINI RANT: I don’t understand why so many schools have become magnet schools, so many, that neighborhood schools are literally half a dozen or more miles away, with parents often having to drive, or have their children bussed to neighborhoods across the city, just to attend school. It defies logic, to have to drive past half a dozen other middle schools on the way to their neighborhood school!

UPDATE (SEP, 24 2021): RESOLUTION!

After 1½ hours on the phone to schools and USD259 administrative offices, we finally got our daughter into Gordon Parks, the school which we were told the offer to attend had been rescinded by school staff. It seems like most government entities, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

First, I called our neighborhood school, the closest none magnet school, Hamilton Middle School, asking about enrollment, who directed me to parentVUE, to complete enrollment, I explained that I could not do that as there is a pending application to Gordon Parks. The person at Hamilton told me to call Gordon Parks, and ask them to deny the application, so I am able to complete an application for Hamilton.

I called Gordon Parks, and I explain that I need to withdraw my application for our daughter to attend Gordon Parks. The person who deals with enrollment was not in the office, so the front office person suggested I call the magnet office, which I did not know existed until that moment.

Finally, I called the magnet office, explained the situation for the third time, requesting either denial or removal of our application for our daughter to attend Gordon Parks, so we could get our daughter enrolled in Hamilton. After explaining the whole sad story, the person at the magnet office said she would look into it and give me a callback. After 15 minutes, I get a callback, with good news, our daughter was not actually removed from Gordon Parks, and that I had to complete the application I had started, which I had already completed. It turns out that she was looking at the wrong screen in their system, once she realized that she was on the wrong screen, she saw the completed application and approved it.

While I am relieved to have resolved the situation, I am also pissed off that our daughter has had to suffer, missing six weeks of school, due to either a lack of training in the use of their computer systems or simple incompetence. Either way, this is totally unacceptable, USD259 has failed our daughter.

FINAL WORDS

The 2021/22 school year has been a clusterfuck from day one, from announcing there would be no mask mandate for staff and students days before the start of school, to reversing that decision one week later, but deferring enforcement for another week, to this sad situation getting our daughter into school. If the mask mandate was enforced from day one, we and many other parents would not have even applied for Imagine Academy, Wichita Schools online alternative, and had our kids in a physical school.


F1 Italian GP 2021: Verstappen Vs Hamilton, the new Senna Vs Prost?

Hamilton Vs Verstappen, Senna Vs Prost 30 years on?

The F1 driver’s title protagonists, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, like Silverstone, the last race where we had a sprint qualifying event, collided at turn one on lap 26, this time, both drivers were out of the race.  Meanwhile, McLaren claimed a 1 — 2 finish, their first win in nine years, as incredible as that sounds, and it was Daniel Ricciardo who led Lando Norris home, for his first win since Monaco 2018.

I’m so happy to see McLaren back at the top, even if it’s just one race, it’s crazy to think that a multiple title-winning team like McLaren has not been on the top step of the podium since Brazil 2012 when Jenson Button won the race. Daniel Ricciardo has been struggling since he joined McLaren, being outdriven by his young teammate, Lando Norris, but today, Daniel won the race on merit, he got a better start than Verstappen to lead from the first corner, where he stayed for the entire race. And for good measure, his McLaren had pace in hand, as he claimed an extra point for fastest lap on the final lap.

McLaren stablemate, Lando Norris took full advantage of the restart after the safety car caused by the collision between Hamilton and Verstappen. Norris got better drive out of Variante del Rettifilo, to overtake Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the inside of Curva Grande to make it a McLaren 1 — 2.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas had a stormer of a race, after qualifying on pole, by winning the sprint “race” on Saturday afternoon, he took an engine penalty to start from the back of the field, which put Verstappen on pole. It was a supreme drive from the Finnish driver,  there was a time during the race where he was 1.5 seconds a lap faster than the race leaders, but Red Bull’s Sergio Perez put a stop to Bottas’ charge, but ultimately stood on the podium as Perez was handed a five-second time penalty for overtaking Leclerc while off track, the stewards judged “Car 11 left the track in turn 5 and gained a lasting advantage“.

Briton, George Russell, who was announced as teammate for Lewis Hamilton for 2022 at Mercedes earlier in the week impressed again, despite being out-qualified by Williams teammate, Nicolas Latifi, finished two places ahead of Latifi to claim 2 points for himself and Williams, finishing in ninth place. With Russell taking Bottas’ seat at Mercedes, the Finn will replace the retiring Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo for 2022, that’ll definitely be an adjustment after driving for the leading team for the past 5 years.

I’m looking forward to seeing what George can do at Mercedes against Hamilton, it has been reported that Russell has been promised he will receive equal treatment, but we’ll see how that works out. Hamilton claims he relishes a challenge for the win, but in my opinion, he’s a whiny bitch, we’ve seen it this season with the challenge from Verstappen, George will be more of a challenge than Bottas, for sure!

Time to get to the meat of the story and title of my write-up, the collision that ended the race for both Verstappen and Hamilton at turn 2. Let’s start with the red mist for Verstappen, the Dutchman was displeased after his pitstop was significantly delayed, spending 11 seconds stationary in his pit box, causing him to drop to the lower ranks of the top 10 after running in second before entering the pits.

Red Bull’s slow stop is what brought the title rivals wheel to wheel at the first chicane, Hamilton leaving the pitlane, while Verstappen was at full speed approaching the end of the main straight into Variante del Rettifilo. Verstappen was very late on the brakes to be alongside Hamilton as the pair went into turn 1, Verstappen was forced onto the sausage curbs, which launched the Red Bull into Hamilton’s Mercedes, ending in the Red Bull flying over the top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, taking out his roll hoop camera, before hitting Hamilton’s halo, which almost certainly saved Hamilton’s life in today’s scary incident.

I personally, like all the former racing drivers on the Sky Sports F1 team, called it a racing incident, but the stewards decided otherwise, putting the majority of the blame on Verstappen for making the overtake attempt too late. Like the incident at Silverstone, which I also thought was a racing incident, when going wheel to wheel, contact is always a possibility, health & safety F1 is ruining the spectacle once more.

The punishment for Verstappen is a 3 place grid penalty for the next race in Russia. Which, I believe to be disproportionate, given that Hamilton took out Verstappen at Silverstone, got a 10-second time penalty, and continued on to win the race, while Verstappen was in the barrier with a destroyed car, also costing him a power unit, which teams only have three of for the 2021 season before penalties are issued.

For sure, this is only going to escalate, much like the Senna — Prost battles in the late 80s, hence the title I chose. What concerns me is the stewards and their decision-making. If anything, the track design with the sausage curbs was the reason for the collision, when Lewis squeezed Max, it was the sausage curb that launched the Red Bull into the Mercedes. If those sausage curbs were not there, Verstappen probably would have taken the lead, and would have needed to yield back the position to avoid a penalty. This is a racing incident, two drivers racing hard, coming together into a tight chicane.

What gets me is that the stewards said in their ruling, that Hamilton “could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident”, which in my opinion puts equal blame on the Briton, racing incident. I wish that the FIA would let drivers race, crashes happen, stop ruining the spectacle that Formula 1 should be.

Ending this write-up on a positive note, well done Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris, and the entire McLaren F1 team, it’s amazing to see the woking based team back on the top step of the podium, it’s been way too long since the last occurrence. Also, well done George Russell and Williams, I have always had a soft spot for Williams, despite George leaving for Mercedes at the end of the season, I hope that Williams, under new ownership, can continue to improve to become a front-running team once again, it was painful seeing the Grove based team languishing down at the rear of the field as an also-ran.


President Biden playing hardball on COVID-19 vaccinations

 President Biden playing hardball on COVID-19 vaccinations

With over 1/4 of Americans eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, almost 80 million, being unvaccinated, President Joe Biden gave a televised address to the nation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that almost a quarter of America is still unvaccinated, despite the vaccine being free, easily accessible, and FDA approved, the final thing, FDA approval, being what many cited as the reason for waiting!

A year and a half since this pandemic hit the US, and we are back up to the numbers of January 2021, with the most recent seven-day average being 136,558 new cases, 11,754 hospitalizations, and 1,077 deaths, according to the CDC. In my opinion, nine months after the vaccine was released, this is too high, especially with the vaccine being free, and available in many locations without an appointment, you can literally go to a Walgreens or CVS, pick up your regular medications and get a COVID-19 vaccine.

President Biden has said he will sign executive orders which will force healthcare workers, whose facilities receive money from Medicaid and Medicare, federal executive branch employees and contractors who work with the federal government, to get vaccinated, and will require private companies with 100 or more employees to either enforce vaccinations or weekly testing for COVID-19 for their employees.

Of course, the GOP is screaming FREEDOM from the rooftops, calling on people and companies to rise up against the Tyrany of the radical left, which is a joke, Biden is nowhere near the far left, he’s a centrist through and through. We are 19 months into this pandemic and the COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death stats are trending upward once again. So, I applaud President Biden for his harder stance, this is a national emergency, and without firm action, it’s going to get worse. How many deaths are acceptable? 659,000 Americans have already died from COVID-19, increasing by 1,000 – 1,200 per day.

School districts in California are poised to require that all students eligible for the vaccine, get vaccinated. We already have mandates for vaccinations to attend school for children’s illnesses like mumps, measles, and rubella. So, why not mandate vaccination for a virus that has killed over 650,000 Americans, including children? I’m not sure whether it’s possible, as schools are locally administered, but could the federal Department of Education hand down a mandate to vaccinate all children old enough for the vaccine?

I hear from many people, including media personalities like Tucker Carlson, that forcing your child to wear a mask is child abuse. You know what is child abuse, not doing everything you can to protect your child from this deadly virus. Wearing a piece of cloth over your mouth and nose, and getting a vaccine where available, is a small price to pay to know that your child is as protected as possible.

Call me a member of the radical left, but my view is that if your freedom is putting millions of people’s lives at risk, your freedom needs to be put on the back burner, I value people’s lives over your freedom.

Of course, we know that legal challenges to Biden’s executive orders are coming from the right, and we will see how that goes. Hopefully, judges will throw their challenges out, but we’ll have to wait and see. What is the truth is that with one quarter of Americans unvaccinated, COVID-19 is going nowhere, whether or not, Biden’s orders survive the legal challenges, it’s the right thing to do, clearly people cannot be trusted to use their best judgment, because they have all drunk the right-wing media Koolaid

On a personal level…

I got my second dose yesterday, so I am now fully vaccinated, should I have gotten it sooner? yes, but I work from home and rarely go out, probably not the best justification for waiting, but I always wore a mask and was socially distancing whenever I did have to venture out. My wife and son are also fully vaccinated, although we did have a scare recently with our son, who got sick with symptoms of Coronavirus, thankfully, after being tested, his test came back as negative. It’s scary that in these times, when anyone gets sick with a garden variety virus, our immediate thought is that it is COVID-19.


Drug me up, baby!

Drug me up, baby

A few weeks back, I developed a very nasty staph infection on the back of my right leg just above my knee. It started with a burning, itching sensation, which started to swell up, before filling up with blood and puss. I simply covered and wrapped my leg, hoping my body could fight it off. But, it was not to be, I broke down and visited the doctor’s office, where I was given some Mepilex silicone absorbent foam dressings, an antibiotic shot, and was prescribed a 10-day course of Sulfameth/Trimethoprim antibiotics.

This is the first time I had been to see a doctor in more than three years, my previous doctor’s office felt like a cattle call, I never felt like they really cared, and that I was a walking dollar symbol, often not getting seen until 30 to 60 minutes after my appointment time. Ultimately, because my employer changed insurance providers, I was no longer able to see that particular doctor, as he was now out of network.

But, this doctor’s office, Healthcore Clinic here in Wichita, is much different, I feel like they care, they take the time to listen and diagnose my physical and mental health issues, and I get seen within a few minutes of my appointment time. And, they have a sliding scale billing system, so I will not be bankrupted by a doctor’s office visit, which is an issue in the US, medical care is crazy expensive, a 30-minute visit to the ER for a spider bite cost close to $3,000, thankfully, this is being covered by workers compensation.

Getting to the title of this blog, I already knew I had type 2 diabetes, which has basically gone untreated, mainly because of my own stubbornness, but also due to fear of running up significant medical bills when we are already drowning in debt. But we also found out after some lab work, that I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, so now I am on Metformin, Lisinopril, and Atorvastatin, in addition to Levofloxacin antibiotics as my leg infection has not fully healed after the previous 10-day course.

I always make sure my family’s health needs are taken care of, while neglecting myself. My wife keeps pointing out that I can’t look after them if I don’t take care of myself. She’s right, but my stubbornness has probably caused significant damage to my body. This infection has been a wake-up call, I need to see a doctor, take my meds, especially as all these issues I am taking medication for runs in my family.