Ode To Indy 500: Track Poet Tradition Returns

Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia celebrates after winning last year's race. This year, for its 100th race, the Indianapolis 500 will bring back an official race-day poem.

Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia celebrates after winning last year’s race. This year, for its 100th race, the Indianapolis 500 will bring back an official race-day poem. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Even car racing fans may be surprised to learn that in the 1920s a poem would grace the pages of the race-day program. But then, what better way to get the juices flowing, amid the exhaust, screaming engines and checkered flags, than a few lines of verse?

In case by now you didn’t know it,

the Indy 500 has brought back its poet.

It’s the 100th running of the famed car race. So it seemed a good time to wax historic and poetic at the same time. Indiana University graduate student Adam Henze has been declared the official track poet for this year’s race. Henze will perform his poem “For Those Who Love Fast, Loud Things” this weekend during qualifications for the Memorial Day race. “I just think it’s really, really cool,” Henze told WFIU.

Poet Adam Henze reading his Indy 500 race day poem.

WFIU YouTube

Henze’s poem was selected from some 200 other submissions from wordsmiths and race fans.

But it seems that Henze’s success may be due more to his lyrical talents than his deep knowledge of Indy car racing.

“I don’t know anything about open-wheel racing,” Henze said. “I’m a poet.”

To do some research, Henze asked a friend who is a big racing fan, “why do you obsess over this?” Henze says his friend answered, “‘I don’t know man, people in Indianapolis just love fast, loud things’ and I was like that’s perfect, so you know, that became my title.”

To help get you fired up for the race, here is Henze’s poem in its entirety:

For Those Who Love Fast, Loud Things

This poem is for the track folk who just love the smell of Ethanol.

For the Carb Day cut sleeve sporters, the Snake Pit dancers,

and Coke Lot campers with bald eagle bandanas.

This is an anthem for the hearts that’ve surged at the scope of the Pagoda.

For the hands that know the feeling of slapping the North Vista tunnel ceiling.

For the lips that whisper along with Florence Henderson when she sings,

yes. This poem is for the 500 fans who love fast, loud things.

The hot dog chompers and buttermilk sippers, and

granddads with ledger pads in suede cases and locked zippers.

This is for every kid that’s stood along the stretch—with toes

on top of a cooler and their fingers gripping the fence.

For the open-wheel gear heads, parade wavers, and Legends Day fans.

For the moms smeared with baby sunscreen changing diapers in the stands.

This poem is for the Brickyard pickers, marching band

clappers, the bucket drummers and gasoline alley cats.

This is for the pit crews, the announcers, the flyby pilots in the sky.

For the girl who’d never seen her dad cry until the day Dan Wheldon died.

This poem is for the Andy Griffith neighbors, the binocular

watchers, and the concession yellers hawking cold brews.

This poem is for every shoulder with a Memorial Day tattoo.

This is for the drivers willing to go bumper to bumper, for the flag

flappers, and the earbud-in-clutched palm fist pumpers.

This is your poem Indianapolis, taking the turn with direct injection. Race fans,

thank you for being the sparks that start the engines.

Dedicated to Evan, and all IndyCar fans, 2016

—Adam Henze, Bloomington, IN

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Chechen Strongman Takes To Instagram To Search For His Lost Cat

Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov posted on Instagram that he has “completely lost” his cat. Instagram/Screen Shot by NPR hide caption

toggle caption Instagram/Screen Shot by NPR

Ramzan Kadyrov, known for ruling the Russian republic of Chechnya with an iron fist and stifling dissent, has appealed to his 1.8 million Instagram followers for help finding his lost cat.

The photo shows the strongman soulfully gazing into the feline’s eyes. “We have begun to seriously worry,” the caption reads, according to translation from The Guardian. Here’s the full caption, according to the newspaper:

“We have completely lost our cat. He looked like a little tiger cub. Visitors have always said that he is very, very similar to a tiger cub. Ten days ago, he disappeared. We all thought that he would reappear, since he is very attached to the children and loves to play with them and go out with them in the yard. But now we have begun to seriously worry. Perhaps he is with someone nearby. That person may not know how to find the owners. I am sure that no one needs someone else’s cat. Therefore, we would be grateful for any information. Thanks in advance.”

У нас бесследно пропала кошка. Очень похожа на маленького тигрёнка. Гости всегда говорили, что очень и очень напоминает тигрёнка. Дней десять назад он куда-то исчез. Мы все думали, что вот-вот появится, так как очень сильно привязан к детям, любит с ними играться, сопровождать их по двору. Но теперь стали серьёзно беспокоиться. Возможно, он у кого-то совсем недалеко находится. Человек может не знать, как найти хозяев. Уверен, что и ему не нужна чужая кошка. Поэтому были бы признательны за информацию, если что-то известно. Заранее всем благодарен???????? #Кадыров #Россия #Чечня #Кошка #Кот

A photo posted by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on May 16, 2016 at 4:29am PDT

Kadyrov, a staunch ally of Russian President Vladmir Putin, posts prolifically on his account but rarely shows his softer side. The offerings tend toward macho feats of strength, like this video of him apparently wrestling a crocodile:

Честно говоря, не думал, что так быстро догадаетесь, кого держу в воде. Был уверен, что большинство скажут про крупную рыбу. Но это, действительно, крокодильчик. Такой послушный и добродушный. Конечно, если позволить, откусит руку по локоть. Но я не пострадал! Огромное всем спасибо, кто отгадал и не смог отгадать! Главным судьёй конкурса был Председатель парламента ЧР Магомед Даудов. Он сообщил что победителем стала @g.i.l.095 По условиям конкурса она награждается футболкой команды “Терек” с моей дарственной надписью. И, конечно, в День Чеченской женщины будет преподнесён красивый букет! Поздравляю! #Кадыров #Россия #Чечня #Крокодил

A video posted by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on Sep 19, 2015 at 3:49pm PDT

He also regularly posts videos of his workout routine, which involves considerable weight lifting and boxing:

Одной из спасительной и полезной силой в нашем мире является спорт, над которым всегда реет флаг патриотизма и любви к своей родине.. “Чеченская Республика возродится через спорт” – говорил Первый Президент ЧР, Герой России Ахмат-Хаджи Кадыров (Дала г1азот къобал дойла Цуьнна!) Требуешь от себя невозможного, ставишь перед собой большие задачи, и только тогда, и только так, достигаешь своей цели.. Здесь всегда соблюдаешь правила и уважаешь противника, независимо от того, на чьей стороне победа! Я в очередной раз выражаю благодарность всем нашим спортсменам, которые защищают честь России во всем мире! Больших побед нам всем, друзья мои! Ставьте перед собой большие цели, ведь в них всегда легче попасть??????! #Kadyrov #sport #Gudermes #sportforever

A video posted by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on Feb 14, 2016 at 3:33pm PST

This isn’t the first time he’s posed with a feline:


A photo posted by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on Mar 10, 2016 at 7:45am PST

As NPR’s Corey Flintoff reported, Kadyrov once used the account to announce he would star in a Hollywood-style action film called “Whoever Doesn’t Understand Will Get It”:

“Kadyrov posted a trailer for the movie in which he’s shown running across a mountain valley followed by a fleet of camouflage-painted SUVs. He’s draped with ammunition belts and fires a heavy machine gun into the air. Kadyrov says on Instagram that the director of the movie is, quote, ‘the author of famous Hollywood films,’ but he declines to say who that might be.”

Here’s the trailer:

Скоро на экранах ваших телевизоров и в кинотеатрах смотрите фильм “КТО НЕ ПОНЯЛ, ТОТ ПОЙМЁТ” Это остросюжетная картина, в которой после продолжительных переговоров, я согласился на роль главного героя. Отдельные сцены уже сняты. Режиссером является автор знаменитых голливудских фильмов. Также в фильме заняты мировые звезды первой величины?⭐???? Авторы уверены, что картина будет иметь огромный успех?????? #Кадыров #Россия #Чечня #Фильм

A video posted by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on May 25, 2015 at 6:31am PDT

Kadyrov also regularly posts images of himself praying, participating in Chechen traditions, or meeting with government officials. As The New Yorker reports, the feed “is a cross between Presidential news service and a Hollywood film studio; his posts can be bureaucratic, theatrical, or seemingly playful.” The magazine adds that the feed also reinforces his political position:

“For Kadyrov, Instagram is among his primary tools for demonstrating both his hold on power inside Chechnya and his continued usefulness to Putin, his patron and benefactor, the one man upon whom his rule depends. (He frequently posts portraits of Putin, or photos of the two of them together, with messages of fealty and outsized loyalty.) It is a case of virtual power and influence becoming real: an Instagram post that becomes a political sensation inside Russia only further proves Kadyrov’s immutable role in the system Putin has created.”

Kadyrov and his allies have faced accusations of torture and collective punishment from rights groups. He rules Chechnya “like his own private fiefdom,” according to a recent Human Rights Watch dispatch. “In practice, Kadyrov’s orders are the only law in Chechnya and those who disagree with his policies face terrible repercussions if they dare go public with even the slightest criticism.”

And despite more than 650 comments and 30,000 likes, there’s no word yet on the fate of Kadyrov’s beloved cat.

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#NPRreads: Take A Tour Of These Three Stories This Weekend

The Triborough Bridge is seen under construction in New York City on July 10, 1935. The bridge, now known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, connects Long Island with Manhattan. The Dutch Prime Minister is a fan of the biographer of Robert Moses, who was involved in building the bridge.

The Triborough Bridge is seen under construction in New York City on July 10, 1935. The bridge, now known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, connects Long Island with Manhattan. The Dutch Prime Minister is a fan of the biographer of Robert Moses, who was involved in building the bridge. Associated Press hide caption

toggle caption Associated Press

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

From Political Reporter Scott Detrow:

Robert Caro takes the Dutch Prime Minister on a personal Power Broker tour, + a great correction. #NPRreads https://t.co/5yBMS5EMXY

— Scott Detrow (@scottdetrow) May 16, 2016

For many people interested in policy and politics, Robert Caro’s The Power Broker is a sort of bible.

The book tells the story of Robert Moses, who, despite never being elected to a single position, shaped New York City more than any other 20th century figure. And, like Caro’s later works about Lyndon Johnson, The Power Broker studies the very idea of power: how people acquire it, what they do with it, and how it changes them.

Well, Caro can count heads of state among his super-fans. “We’re like groupies,” Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, told Caro recently.

Rutte used his clout to score a sort of public policy fantasy: a personal Power Broker tour of New York City conducted by Robert Caro. The New York Times tagged along as the men visited the roads, bridges, and parks that Robert Moses built during his decades in power.

It’s a fun read, and also includes a correction that would make any Power Broker reader laugh out loud: An earlier version of the headline with this article misidentified the person who the prime minister of the Netherlands is a big fan of. It is Robert Caro, not Robert Moses.

From Two-Way blogger Laura Wagner:

Second Undefeated story I’ve #NPRreads -ed this week. Rethinking the Rooney Rule https://t.co/GlRlWVXBNI

— Laura Wagner (@Laura_M_Wagner) May 20, 2016

The Undefeated, ESPN’s just-launched website dedicated to sports, race and culture, published an article Friday called “Rethinking The Rooney Rule,” which is the NFL policy that requires teams to interview at least one person of color for head coaching jobs and general manager positions. The story describes how the rule has resulted in more people of color in these positions, but also shows how the league is still falling short.

“Almost 68 percent of the NFL’s players are African-American, but there are no African-American team presidents, and only one team president of color,” the article says. “The numbers tell the story: There’s still plenty of work to do.”

The message is one that people in positions of power would be wise to remember: Superficial changes are not progress; “better” isn’t good enough.

While you’re there, check out this story breaking down of the arc of Robert Griffin III’s seasons in Washington, D.C., and this profile of Marshawn Lynch, in which the reporter lays bare her own vulnerabilities as much as those of her subject. And don’t miss LZ Granderson’s video about how Serena Williams defies society’s perceptions about success, womanhood, strength, blackness and beauty. It gave me goosebumps.

From Tanya Ballard Brown, an NPR.org editor:

Trans men “gained professional respect, but lost intimacy…exuded authority, but caused fear” https://t.co/KDVyroyU3O via @TIME #NPRreads

— Tanya Ballard Brown (@TdoubleB) May 18, 2016

I am part of a group of women who discuss issues and current events regularly, and sexism is a frequent topic. When I saw the headline on the Time piece – “What Trans Men See That Women Don’t” — I was curious. What do they see that I don’t? So, I clicked.

I found the perspectives shared in the piece interesting. Being socialized as a woman but now moving through the world as a man had, for these trans men, revealed some things about cultural sexism:

“Over and over again, men who were raised and socialized as female described all the ways they were treated differently as soon as the world perceived them as male. They gained professional respect, but lost intimacy. They exuded authority, but caused fear. From courtrooms to playgrounds to prisons to train stations, at work and at home, with friends and alone, trans men reiterated how fundamentally different it is to experience the world as a man.

“Many white trans men said they felt it was easier to walk through the world, freed from the myriad expectations placed on women. ‘As a female I felt I had to smile all the time, just to be accepted,’ James Gardner said. ‘As a male I don’t feel a sense of having to be pleasant to look at.’

And that some of the trans men who had taken testosterone treatments felt psychologically different was surprising to me.

“After transitioning I was able to think more clearly, I was more decisive,” says the radio newscaster Gardner. He says the shift has affected his daily routine, even for something as ordinary as a trip to the grocery store. Before he transitioned, he says, he used to spend 45 minutes debating which pasta sauce to buy, which vegetables were the freshest. “I would stand there and look at the different varieties of yogurt,” he recalls. “Now I just grab one. I’m looking for utility, I don’t second-guess myself.”

The one sad note, to me, was the black trans man who now felt the world perceived him as a menace.

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PHOTOS: Egyptian Military Releases First Images Of EgyptAir Plane Debris

The official Facebook page of the Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman shows part of the wreckage from EgyptAir flight 804. The Arabic reads, “Part of the plane’s debris.” AP hide caption

toggle caption AP

The Egyptian military has released images of debris recovered during its search for the missing EgyptAir plane, which disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean early Thursday.

The images, published on the official Facebook page of Egypt’s army spokesman, show crumpled metal with the EgyptAir insignia, shredded cloth that appears to belong to a plane seats, life preservers and a pink backpack adorned with green and yellow balloons.

Video footage released by the military shows more of the items recovered, including carpeting and a soggy white handbag:


On Friday, the Egyptian military said it found the first debris from the crash, including human remains. There were 66 people on board the Airbus A320 when it went down.

It’s still unclear what caused the Cairo-bound plane to crash, though smoke apparently detected in the cabin is the latest clue. Sebastien Barthe, a spokesman for the French air accident investigation agency, told The Associated Press that automatic messages from the plane indicated that smoke was detected in “multiple places” in the cabin, minutes before the plane disappeared.

He says the messages “generally mean the start of a fire.” Still, he says: “We are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is pure conjecture.”

As we reported, The Aviation Herald reported Friday that smoke was detected in a bathroom before the aircraft went down. The publication said this was from data transmitted by the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System to ground stations during the flight.

This is the data published by The Aviation Herald:

“On May 20th 2016 The Aviation Herald received information from three independent channels, that ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) messages with following content were received from the aircraft:

“00:26Z 3044 ANTI ICE R WINDOW
00:29Z 2200 AUTO FLT FCU 2 FAULT
00:29Z 2700 F/CTL SEC 3 FAULT
no further ACARS messages were received”

Industry analyst Robert W. Mann tells The New York Times that these messages “did not necessarily mean that there was a fire.” He adds: “The messages could also have been prompted by rapid decompression of the aircraft, which can produce condensation that the plane’s sensors could mistake for smoke.”

Egyptian officials have said terrorism is a more likely explanation for the crash than a technical issue. Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry has launched an investigation into the crash, which includes French investigators and an Airbus representative.

The search continues for the plane’s flight data recorder, the investigation’s head Ayman el-Moqadem tells Egyptian state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, adding that it has “large importance” to the investigation. A Civil Aviation Ministry official has denied reports that the recorder was recovered, according to independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

And as the AP reports, “French aviation investigators have begun to check and question all baggage handlers, maintenance workers, gate agents and other ground crew members at Charles de Gaulle Airport who had a direct or indirect link to the plane before it took off, according to a French judicial official.”

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Fresh Air Weekend: Kenya Barris; 'A Bigger Splash'; Novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen

Kenya Barris is the creator and showrunner of the ABC comedy series, Black-ish.

Kenya Barris is the creator and showrunner of the ABC comedy series, Black-ish. Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP hide caption

toggle caption Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Kenya Barris On ‘Black-ish’ And What Kids Lose When They Grow Up With More: Barris’ ABC comedy series was inspired by his own family experiences. He says the show is about “raising your kids in a different environment than you were accustomed to being raised in.”

An Emotional Storm Breaks In Paradise In ‘A Bigger Splash’: An aging rock star’s respite in the Mediterranean is interrupted by an old lover in A Bigger Splash. John Powers calls the film, which stars Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes, a “gripping slow-burn.”

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen Discusses ‘The Sympathizer’ And His Escape From Vietnam: Nguyen and his family fled their village in South Vietnam in 1975. He won the Pulitzer Prize this year for The Sympathizer, a spy novel set during and just after the war in Vietnam.

You can listen to the original interviews here:

Kenya Barris On ‘Black-ish’ And What Kids Lose When They Grow Up With More

An Emotional Storm Breaks In Paradise In ‘A Bigger Splash’

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen Discusses ‘The Sympathizer’ And His Escape From Vietnam

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