No, I haven't got a new hobby. But my usual stationary bike at the gym is down for repairs, so I had to use the ones on the 3rd floor that face a wall-sized plasma TV; and it's impossible to ignore it completely because it's so big. (Also one of the reasons I hate TV is that I find it impossible to ignore.) So I found myself this morning cranking away on the bike and looking at what looked like Highway 880 on a good afternoon with the traffic flowing smoothly along - except that the cars were all plastered with advertising, and the road was oval, and no 2 cars had more than one car length between them. Also they were going 190 MPH, or so the closed captioning said. But there they were, bumper to bumper and hubcap to hubcap, 3 lanes wide - nobody changing position, nobody trying to pull forward, nobody doing anything.
This is entertainment? I can see this on the traffic cams, except for the advertising - and, even the Nimitz doesn't get to 190 MPH. Around and around they go, and they never stop or move or change position or whatever.
Interval follows in which I read a couple of Economist leaders, and I look up again and it's worse - they're all in a single line. Still bumper to bumper, still going like bats out of hell - all in one line. I figure, if this goes on, the guy in the front car has it wrapped. (I think the guy in the front car was Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but if so he didn't have it wrapped - see results for Talladega.) It's all very symmetrical and not very interesting.
Back to the Economist, and a couple of articles later I look up to see a car break formation, roll three or four times while flames shoot out of the engine compartment, and fetch up on its roof in the infield. Following this, 2 or 3 other cars (which are now back in multi-lane formation) bash into each other and the wall, kicking up more smoke and dirt. OK, I guess they do change position occasionally. I was impressed when the first driver disentangled himself and walked away from the wreck - now, that's safety equipment!
But I still don't understand what gets so many people so excited about watching a bunch of cars follow each other decorously around an oval track, even if it is at 190 MPH.