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A WRITER’S NIRVANA AND AEROBATICS

Bücker Jungmann

Bücker Jungmann

A WRITER’S NIRVANA AND AEROBATICS

I am sitting on the deck of the Singer Island Hilton under a brilliant full moon and gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean bathed in moonlight. A warm sea breeze caresses my skin. A glass of Merlot, a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak smothered in a delicious mushroom demi-glace, and a great guitar player add to the creative ambiance. This is my writer’s nirvana. Memories of aerobatic lessons flood my mind.
My ex wasn’t the best husband in the world, but he was one hell of an aerobatic pilot. We both flew jet airliners for a living. Our home was on a grass-strip runway. Our favorite toy was a 1947 Bücker Jungmann biplane. The German antique aircraft was fully aerobatic. I wanted to learn how to do all the stunts I’d seen at air shows.
My problem was I have a fear of falling. Most people call it a fear of heights, but it’s really a fear of falling off high places. The Bücker had an open cockpit. Even though I was securely strapped into a five-point harness and wearing a parachute, the powerful negative “G” pull during an inverted maneuver made me feel like I was being pulled out of the airplane. Irrational fear made me grip the steel-tube fuselage rail like my life depended on it. So, of course, my ex insisted that I fly inverted straight and level and hold my hands over my head. I did it, but the fear gave me extreme tunnel vision.
He said, “Keep the ridge line on your left and the valley on your right.”
I said, “All I can see is a dark tunnel with the nose of the aircraft at the end. No freaking ridges. No freaking valley. My eyes feel like they’re about to pop out of my head. Screw this! I’m rolling right side up.”
He said, “You need a distraction.”
He was seated directly behind me. I felt him reach into the narrow space on either side of my seat and pull my belts extra tight. Whenever he did that, something scary always followed.
What followed that time was a violent maneuver called a Lomcovák. The stunt was invented by an insane Czech with a death wish. It started with a violent snap roll that flowed into an end over end forward tumble ending in an inverted spin. I was confident the wings and tail would remain attached to the German-engineered biplane. I was not so sure about me.
My ex assured me his slow-motion version of the Lomcovák was tame and fun. The only difference with his kinder and gentler version was the snap roll didn’t bang my head into the side rail hard enough to produce a bruise. Not fun.
I eventually learned how to do what I considered to be the fun stunts, but I never mastered the roll on top of a loop. My main clue that I had messed up the timing and something bad was about to happen was my ex laughing. He would chuckle first. All-out laughter always accompanied our entry into an inverted spin. I failed to see the humor. We’re divorced now.

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A WRITER’S NIRVANA AND NASCAR

 

 

A panoramic view of the turquoise ocean sparkling in the bright Florida sunshine, warm sea breezes caressing my skin, delicious gourmet food, divine wine, and a friendly attentive wait staff combine to create a writer’s nirvana for me. I can’t speak for other writers, but I know what sparks my creativity and nourishes my soul—the covered deck known as the Ketch Bar and Restaurant at the Singer Island Hilton in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Today I arrived on deck feeling cranky and stressed from the annoyances of the day. Ten minutes later, I felt happy and relaxed. The sea air has always had that effect on me. The mellow guitar player singing Layla added to the ambiance. A steady parade of grinning vacationers and the faint scent of sun-tan lotion wafting past my seaside table infected me with positive vibes. Next thing I knew, creative ideas were flowing into me. This is a place where writer’s block is nonexistent.

My thoughts drifted to the Daytona 500. I have attended the Great American Race many times. Television does not do it justice. When forty-three cars crank up their 900+ hp engines, an indescribable roar rises to the grandstands and brings the track to life like a mighty dragon awakened from a long winter’s sleep.

One alpha female will battle forty-two alpha males for the win on Sunday. Forty-three teams of manly men will go to war in the pits. Forty-three spotters perched high atop the tallest grandstand will perform duties similar to the rear intercept officer in the backseat of a fighter jet. They will advise their fighter pilot drivers on the location of enemy race cars and how best to avoid the carnage in a massive multi-car wreck.

The crew chiefs must be master players in a 200-mph chess match with 43 teams on the board. Pit strategy is a key element in the battle plan. Pit road is almost as dangerous as the active deck on an aircraft carrier. One mistake could result in a lost race or a lost life. Anyone who thinks a NASCAR race is nothing more than a bunch of cars running in circles has never experienced the thrill of a live race. Nothing compares to it. Nothing.

The Daytona 500 is so inherently male the air is filled with testosterone and vibrates with raw masculinity. Female spectators become mesmerized by the hormone-infused atmosphere. Sex is literally in the air. It’s a good thing the men are focused on the race. Otherwise the event might lose its PG rating.

The powerful race cars streak by at speeds in excess of 200 mph. They pass by so fast the human eye is incapable of registering anything more than a blur of color. The high-speed intensity of 43 race cars super charges the electromagnetic energy pulsing through the spectators in a way that keeps their hearts racing long after the event has ended. It truly is the Great American Race.

I hope Tony Stewart wins. Danica can win next year.  

A WRITER’S NIRVANA AND NASCAR

A panoramic view of the turquoise ocean sparkling in the bright Florida sunshine, warm sea breezes caressing my skin, delicious gourmet food, divine wine, and a friendly attentive wait staff combine to create a writer’s nirvana for me. I can’t speak for other writers, but I know what sparks my creativity and nourishes my soul—the covered deck known as the Ketch Bar and Restaurant at the Singer Island Hilton in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Today I arrived on deck feeling cranky and stressed from the annoyances of the day. Ten minutes later, I felt happy and relaxed. The sea air has always had that effect on me. The mellow guitar player singing Layla added to the ambiance. A steady parade of grinning vacationers and the faint scent of sun-tan lotion wafting past my seaside table infected me with positive vibes. Next thing I knew, creative ideas were flowing into me. This is a place where writer’s block is nonexistent.
My thoughts drifted to the Daytona 500. I have attended the Great American Race many times. Television does not do it justice. When forty-three cars crank up their 900+ hp engines, an indescribable roar rises to the grandstands and brings the track to life like a mighty dragon awakened from a long winter’s sleep.
One alpha female will battle forty-two alpha males for the win on Sunday. Forty-three teams of manly men will go to war in the pits. Forty-three spotters perched high atop the tallest grandstand will perform duties similar to the rear intercept officer in the backseat of a fighter jet. They will advise their fighter pilot drivers on the location of enemy race cars and how best to avoid the carnage in a massive multi-car wreck.
The crew chiefs must be master players in a 200-mph chess match with 43 teams on the board. Pit strategy is a key element in the battle plan. Pit road is almost as dangerous as the active deck on an aircraft carrier. One mistake could result in a lost race or a lost life. Anyone who thinks a NASCAR race is nothing more than a bunch of cars running in circles has never experienced the thrill of a live race. Nothing compares to it. Nothing.
The Daytona 500 is so inherently male the air is filled with testosterone and vibrates with raw masculinity. Female spectators become mesmerized by the hormone-infused atmosphere. Sex is literally in the air. It’s a good thing the men are focused on the race. Otherwise the event might lose its PG rating.
The powerful race cars streak by at speeds in excess of 200 mph. They pass by so fast the human eye is incapable of registering anything more than a blur of color. The high-speed intensity of 43 race cars super charges the electromagnetic energy pulsing through the spectators in a way that keeps their hearts racing long after the event has ended. It truly is the Great American Race.
I hope Tony Stewart wins. Danica can win next year.

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