A Stones Throw 5-28-15

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Good News.

In last week’s Rising Sun Weekly edition, Tim Hillman reported that the Highway 156 bridge over Grant’s Creek is on schedule to open June 16th. For those like me who have taken the unofficial Antioch detour over 100 times since the old bridge was closed, June 16th could be considered a special holiday.

I have to admit, after about 20 trips across Antioch and up or down highway 250, I am know comfortable with all the ups and downs, ins and outs, and curves and turns. I know when to go slow (most of the time) and when to go slower (the rest of the time).

While I have continually grown more comfortable with the roads, I have grown much less comfortable with the drive itself. I find too many drivers who apparently feel comfortable enough to drive 50 miles per hour around curves that can safely be negotiated at 25 mph. When these drivers take a curve twice the safe speed, much of the time they need both their side and my side of the road. I have been forced off the side of the road several times.

Still, that is not the worst. The last two times I drove on Antioch Road I met a Semi-truck with a 60-foot trailer. And this on a road where large box trucks are illegal. I have to admit I wasn’t very comfortable when I met one of those Semis on a tight curve.

June 16th can’t come soon enough.

Once the bridge over Grant’s Creek is opened, Antioch Road can go back to being an easy access road for local residents while hopefully Highway 250 will become the next major traffic problem to Switzerland County.

We have had so much rain and sun during the last month you can almost see the grass grow. The only thing that is faster and easier to see is the ongoing deterioration of Highway 250. Between slides and buckles, the highway is approaching unsafe. I hope the state plans to repair and resurface it before the snow flies next winter.

Regardless. Thank you Tim for bringing us up to date. You turned a lot of frowns into smiles.

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Speaking of frowns, I use to be a big Indianapolis 500 race fan. I enjoyed going to watch practice and going to Carburetion Day. I haven’t done either for many years. I use to be able to name two-thirds or more of the starting grid of 33 drivers. This year, I had heard of four or five.

Still, I was interested enough to check in on the race progress several times last Sunday. What I found is that the Indianapolis 500 no longer means that 33 cars will travel at speeds in excess of 220 miles per hour around the 2 1/2 mile oval. No longer is the main event 220 miles an hour for 200 laps with danger at every turn. And on the straight ways.

Instead, what I found is that today’s Indianapolis 500 means a television viewer can see 500 advertisements if he/she watches the entire telecast.

I have to admit I spent most of the time watching the Cincinnati Reds get beat, but I did check in on the ongoing Indy 500 advertisements between each inning, and sometimes during an inning. At one point, I stayed long enough to see seven minutes of advertisements. At the same time, I could see the race in what ABC/ESPN heralds as side-by-side coverage.

The only problem is that the only sound came from the commercials.

While the 500 plus commercials made the race almost unwatchable on television, there were some who really appreciated them – the 33 drivers and their teams.

Juan Pablo Montoya crossed the finish line first to become the winner of the 99th Indianapolis 500. During the awards ceremony Monday night, Montoya was handed a check for the winning team and driver.

A check for $2,449,049.

When accepting his check, he thanked his owner, his crew, his sponsors, and the fans – he should have thanked the 500 advertisements. After all, those advertisements added several zeros to his check.

If that isn’t enough proof, Conor Daly received a check for $201,805.

Conor Daly.

Daly finished 33rd out of 33 cars. He couldn’t even get his car started to start the race. And yet, he won over $200,000.

With checks like these, I certainly understand why television coverage is inundated with advertisements. I also understand why I won’t bother to watch the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 scheduled for Sunday, May 29th, 2016.

There will be pageantry. There will be speed. There will be accidents. There will be a winner.

And of course – there will be 500 advertisements – or more.

- Mike Cooney