Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some thoughts on Bruton, Slick Ric

I'm not sure I've ever seen a better "you write the caption" photo than the one on the front page of today's paper:

"My name is Bruton Smith. I just whined and threatened my way to 80 million bucks of government incentives. I'm gonna make a ton of money and the taxpayers are gonna foot the bill! It's great to be a billionaire! Whee!!!"

Three quick things before this story mercifully goes away:

1. Ronald Reagan used to talk about "welfare queens." So does Bruton qualify as a welfare king?

2. When Mecklenburg County spent millions of bucks on the Bobcats Arena, it was against the will of a lot of voters. But at least they got to vote.

3. How, exactly, is what Bruton did any different from what George Shinn did?


This might be the saddest paragraph I've written in a month. Ric Flair wrestled on the WWE card in Charlotte last night. He appears to have a comb-over.

Go here and skip to the second photo. On second thought, don't. It's too depressing.

My dad and I bonded many an hour over Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on TV. My athletic role models growing up were Hank Aaron, Dr. J and Ricky Steamboat. Which probably explains a lot. I never loved Ric Flair -- mainly because he was always the bad guy -- but even as a kid I understood how special he was. No one in has ever been so good on the mic AND in the ring. Ric Flair is, without a doubt, the greatest wrestler of all time.

So it is with love and respect that I say this: I hope he retires. Soon.

Last night he came to the ring in a suit, supposedly to announce his retirement in front of the hometown fans. But instead -- wrestling is full of swerves -- he vowed that he'd NEVER retire. Then the evil CEO Vince McMahon came out to say that the next time Ric loses, his career is over. Then he had to face WWE champ Randy Orton. Of course Flair won (although it wasn't for the title). He finished Orton off with a bolo punch to the gonads, then pulled the trunks for the pin.

I have the 3-DVD Ric Flair collection, so I can say this with some authority: It was a horrible match.

In the spirit of the season, I'll throw out this out there for free -- a storyline that will let Ric go out with dignity and style.

He announces that he's going to make one last run for the world title. Evil Vince McMahon makes him start at the bottom, wrestling the worst of the roster. He has trouble beating even those guys. (Remember, one loss and his career is over.)

But he works his way up the ladder, getting stronger with every win. Every so often we see a training video of Ric getting into peak shape for this one last run and talking about how much the title means to him. Through all the obstacles -- interference from the champ, a hand-picked thug brought in to stop him -- he keeps winning.

Finally, on pay-per-view, Flair gets his last title shot. And at the end of a grueling match, after escaping sure defeat half a dozen times, he locks in the Figure Four for the improbable win. (Wrestling is full of improbabilities.)

The next night on TV, he comes out to a standing ovation. He gives a tearful speech. And then he hangs it up, retiring as champion.

After that he can wear his hair any way he wants.


Anonymous said...

In the spirit of the season, Here's a carol to go with Bruton's picture:

Deck my vault with taxpayer money
You can see I think it's funny
To see my dragsters, pay me more
hahahahahaha ha ha ha
Or stay home and hear them roar.
ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha--huh?

Anonymous said...

Welfare king? How about extortionist?

Bruton's kind of greed is its own punishment. If you love money that much, that is ALL you end up with.

I'd much rather have the love of family and friends.

Mr. Tee said...

I've heard only good things from people who know him personally. Why blame him for being a smart businessman? Why are you so mad at him, when it was our officials that granted him these incentives, and for good reason too. His venue brings in tons of money to our local economy, ultimately contributing to tax revenue. Mull it over for a while, then think back to how ignorant your previous comment was.

Anonymous said...

Mr Smith is a business man who has lots of money and resources to get what he wants. This is the way this country works like it or not.

Anonymous said...

The Speday thing is really a GREAT illustration of the fact that merely because they have been elected to office is no reason to believe the government officials are competent. If Scott Padget et al had even a fractoin of the business acumen of SMith, or for that matter a normal understanding of what actually makes communities work (hint: it is not mayors anc city councilmen), they would never have been in that mess.

Smith owned land that was zoned for a race track. He did not go to the council and ask permission to do what he did not NEED permission to do -use the land in conformity with the zoning- and they decided to get into a power struggle with him. The only word to describe that is foolish. Obviously Padget for some reason thought they had enough power to pull that off. Obviously therefore Padget is not paying attention.

Smith is not someone I'd care to spend much time around, but the city council of Concord are simply idiots. That they altered the zoning of the land where those houses currently are from it's former commercial zoning to residential was their first mistake. Assuming that they are not blind and deaf in additon to being stupid they shold have recognized that that land abuts a race track, and race tracks and residential subdivisiona aren't exactly compatible neighbors. That's not a Bruton SMith problem, that's a problem with elected government.

That makes the original problem their fault and their incompetent response to that problem also their fault. IT ain't a Bruton problem.

IF nothing else what this episode SHOULD teach people (but probably won't) is that government is not comprised of the best and brightest and as a result we really should limit their freedom of action so as to limit the damage they can do.

In this case, their stupid actions changed only one thing: they cost the taxpayers 80 million. (Look for them to campaign in the next election as having "saved the speedway" for Concord. And look for the voters to buy that.)

Anonymous said...

This was not all started by Bruton Smith. If you remember, it was the Town Committee who pulled his permit for the dragstrip. Whatever happened to the Committee? Wonder if anyone was fired over that.. maybe the money should come out of their pockets. They are the one who started all of this. Not, Bruton

Anonymous said...

These azzhole arrogant Corncob aka dumptown concord thieves in their attempt to get full control over Bruton Smith, using his race track for their All American status yet never mentioning his name once, when they annexed him taking all his property hostage like they did 80% of their city limits and population stealing millions off property owners doubling their taxes in rural areas annually while giving nothing in return. Now you have nothing but a ton of new azzhole lying cops with brand new top dollar cop cars who give tickets out for doing 1 mph over the speed limit everywhere by the thousands raping drivers to the bone causing their insurance to double and triple.

Bruton Smith was taken hostage a decade ago and these lying arrogant elitist small town thieves have reaped BILLIONS off of him. The peewee midget bigmouth mayor whose feetsies dangle from his chair lied to take over a great mayor named Mr. George Liles who was a 50 yr surgeon who had moved to Cabarrus being born and raised in Charlotte. He would have never allowed any of this to occur and never used the prerace ceremonys as a political stage as this peewee idiot and some of cronies have done all the incredibly degrading Speed Street in downtown Charlotte on tv as this idiot did many times while hanging signs all over the town calling it the capital of racing cashing in off Mr. Smith yet never giving him a mention of credit whatsoever in arrogance.

And forget it if you try to challenge these azzholes annexing your property as they will laugh you out of their meetings. If you dont pay they will simply put a lien on your property and auction it.

They cared less about the complaining residents near the dragstrip and only used them to try to manipulate Bruton Smith. Since he stood up to these punks have you heard anything about complaints? Hell no.

In the end Bruton Smith showed these arrogant bastards who ran off Philip Morris a few months earlier with their arrogance yet would not take blame, who was the real boss and they showed they were all spineless jellyfish.

Today for their ignorance arrogance and stupdity taxpayers will pay 80 million more and had they shut the hell up nothing would have been paid. The peewee mayor even went to Raleigh on his knees with his hand out begging for help lying about a move to SC so all of NC will pay too.

Get your facts straight before you side with these idiots who have run off everything and took Bruton Smith for granted. Fact is Harrisburg should have been awarded the property in its city before Concord and it sover paid lawyers stole it.

Why didnt they "unannex" the track as Mr. Smith first ordered? The track operated perfectly for 40 yrs in the county without the meddling idiot dump town of concord stealing it and acting like they owned it so arrogantly.

It is still not over as Bruton Smith could still move anytime he pleases but its doubtful these spineless jellyfish thieve officials will be messing with him anymore anytime soon even though these punks will still be making billions off him as before.

Bruton is THE MAN !!!!!!!

Harrisburg still loves the ole guy as it always did !!! Judy G.

Anonymous said...

That street they're going to name after him: it ought to be called "Greedy Street".