This Old Blog

Oh my.  This blog is woefully out of date. How rude of WordPress to comment on the status of my blog like that! Even if it is true.

2009 was the year of my blogging. 2010 got a little distracting, hence the sudden lack of blog posts. My 2011 was spent in mourning. 2012 was filled with decisions, and 2013… has been pretty blessed so far.

 

 

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September 11

I have nothing to say about September 11 that hasn’t already been said.

Whatever anniversary it is of that dread day, it is also the anniversary year of my dad’s death. So… 2001 was not a good year.

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Our neighbors have a grandson in Afghanistan, in the Marines. In his honor, they built a flagpole, installed a solar light, and fly the American flag and Marine banner 24 hours a day. If I stand up right now, I can see them flying, eerily lit against the black sky, through the windows in the front room.

Today, when I got home from work, Tim was down at the stable. He wouldn’t be home for hours, so I didn’t have to rush in and make dinner. Instead, I leisurely watered the dying Sweet Alyssum in the front of the house. After a futile drenching, I pulled my camera out of my pocket and snapped a shot of Old Glory and… whatever nickname the Marines give their emblem.

Then I noticed the clouds. Clouds are a big deal. Living in So Cal, and especially the IE, the sky is typically a flat, colorless, smog-dulled pale blue. But this evening a tropical wind was blowing, and glorious clouds rippled across the sky.

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I pointed my camera upwards, then across the street at the flagpole, then at the sky again. I took around 250 photos in less than half an hour. (Using the “continuous capture” mode helped.) Out of all those pictures, I got a few nice images of the American flag, taken on September 11, 2009.

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I was so busy facing east, that I almost missed the show going on in our backyard, as the sun set into the west.

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The Rachel Show

I’m thinking about re-naming my blog. I realized tonight how much I’ve been posting about Rachel Alexandra (almost as much as my own horses) and I wonder if this Rachel-centric flavor might be turning off people who read this blog, expecting pithy, sarcastic non-Rachel posts. Maybe I need to break out the horse racing commentary to a separate blog. “Say It Isn’t Rachel?”

Horse of the Year

Horse of the Year

Horse of the Year

We’ve been waiting for it all week… or longer. The supposition and conjecture, guessing and opining has been going on for days.

Question: Can a pretty little filly beat big, hunkering stallions going a mile-and-an-eighth in the Woodward Stakes?

Answer: YES!

Rachel Alexandra—Preakness winner, Super Filly, Horse of the Year—defeated older males today in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. You can watch how she did it by going to this page and clicking on the link at the beginning of the article.

No girl has ever won the Woodward Stakes. Ever. It didn’t really look that hard, the way Rachel did it; she got to the front… and stayed there. The end-of-race run by Macho Again was incredible and powerful; but Rachel just… kept… running.

Macho Again came *this close* to catching the Super Filly.

Macho Again came *this close* to catching the Super Filly.

You have to credit Macho for his brilliance; he came from dead last to catch Rachel in the home stretch. You can see in the photo above that he almost got past her. Rachel barely won… by a head? A nose? A cheekbone?!

When she goes against fillies her own age, she runs so far out in front it looks like another race. She can put away boys her own age easily. Older mares? They’re afraid to meet up with her (sorry, Zen). And now, Rachel Alexandra has defeated the most feared competition in horse racing: Older Males. Be they stallion or gelding, they are big, experienced, and on the muscle. They’ve been living on the racetrack for three years or more, hopped up on a diet of hot feed and adrenaline. These are not horses you can take home to mother.

On the ESPN website, they said Rachel’s spectacular win in the Woodward “all but clinched” Horse of the Year honors. “All but clinched?” I’d say she’s clinched.

The look of a winner.

The look of a winner.

Another blogger asked what life would be like if Rachel had run in the Kentucky Derby instead of the Kentucky Oaks. We’ll never know, of course, but to see a three-year-old filly defeat older males in a long race… well, that’s somethin’.

The wrong god

This morning I got up and went to the dresser to put on my watch and ring. Normally I place my ring over one ear of the tiny statue of Bastet that sits on my dresser… but it wasn’t there! I panicked, running around the house looking for it.

On occasion, I have left my ring on the coffee table in the den; did the cat get it, and knock it onto the floor so he could bat it around? (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the sound of nickels and dimes hitting the floor, only to enter the room and find Mini delightedly chasing a rolling coin.)

Not there, couldn’t find it, oh dear!

Back to the dresser in the bedroom… and there was my ring, hooked over one of the long, slender ears of Anubis!

I had placed it on the wrong god.

Secret Wave

There’s a journalist that I miss terribly. He wasn’t a face on the news, he was the behind-the-scenes executive producer for Ted Koppel on Nightline. I didn’t get to “know” Leroy Sievers until I signed up for the daily Nightline e-mails, which he wrote. Slowly I became aware that these daily throwaway e-mails, intended, of course, as a marketing hook for the television program, were really well written. Some of them stepped outside of their marketing purpose and became “found prose.” Some of them I held on to for a long time, like the heart-stopping letter he wrote about his experiences in Ruwanda, traveling with Ted Koppel and the Nightline team. I wish I had saved all those Nightline letters, but I didn’t.

And now this honest man, this truly excellent writer, is gone from our world. He died in August 2008, just a little over a year ago. He died from cancer, and he left an amazing legacy in the form of a blog titled “My Cancer,” hosted on the NPR website.

I love reading his words, even when they break my heart. Which happens, when he writes about the effects of his cancer. One of my favorite entries was written less than a month before his death. It’s not necessarily profound, and it’s probably not his best writing. But I just love it, because it’s about Jeeps, and it’s so… authentic. (I’ll copy it here; hope NPR doesn’t mind!)

One Last Secret Wave

There’s one other thing I’m going to miss about getting rid of the Jeep.

The subtle, secret Jeep owner’s wave.

Here’s how it works. If you’re driving your Jeep Wrangler, and you pass another Wrangler going the opposite way, you raise your fingers off the steering wheel in a subtle wave.

That’s all. Just a way of acknowledging that we all have cars that we think are cool.

So from me to all of you, here’s one last secret wave.

7:00 AM ET | 08- 1-2008

I miss my Jeep. And I miss Leroy Sievers.

Pedigree Musings: From Sandy Blue to Petee-Wrack

Warning: This post is for pedigree fiends (Thoroughbred) only! All others reading this may experience uncontrollable head spinning and extreme disinterest.

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Seek and Ye Shall Google

This is why I stay up until 3 am playing Farmville: “Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that’s dangerous.”

Does this describe you? “We search for information we don’t even care about.” <Raises hand.> “Ever find yourself sitting down at the computer just for a second to find out what other movie you saw that actress in, only to look up and realize the search has led to an hour of Googling?” <Raises hand.>

If you use the Internet, you must read this article by Emily Yoffe. And please try to remain focussed enough to read all the way to the end.

Will constant Googling make it impossible for us to read a single, long piece of writing? Say it isn’t so!

The Other Woman

The way people rhapsodize about Rachel Alexandra, you’d think she was the only filly in racing.

ZenyattaBut there is another horse, another female equine in fact. One who could possibly make you forget all about little funny-face Rachel… Zenyatta. Named for an album by the Police, she belongs to the M in A&M records, and she is a rock star. She has a perfect record of 12 wins in 12 starts. Not bad.

However… as a horse owner, I take exception to calling Zenyatta the “perfect horse.” Continue reading

Raving about Rachel

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here,about racing or any other topic. But with the recent rash of Rachel worship, I feel moved to say one thing (not that it will do any good):

Bring the filly to the Breeder’s Cup!

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Rachel and the Bird

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I love Rachel Alexandra’s blaze. It looks like the paintbrush skipped a spot.

Rachel’s story has been an interesting one. Her first owner, the guy who bred and owned her up until May 6 (Adolphus Morrison), ran her in the Kentucky Oaks instead of the Kentucky Derby because he thinks “fillies should run with fillies and stallions with stallions” and the Derby should be a “showcase for stallions.” Never mind the fact that Mine That Bird is a gelding!!! With all due respect… is that the stupidest thing you ever heard? A horse race is a horse race, not a catwalk for the next generation of studs. Continue reading

A good day for Racing…

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Two amazing horses finished one-two in the Preakness… Barbaro’s little brother broke his maiden… Azeri delivered her third foal and is doing fine… viewing of the Preakness telecast was up 38%… horse breeders got good news when a colt sold in Maryland for $850k… and no horse broke down in the first two thirds of the Triple Crown.

I let my herd out to run in the moonlight last night, and they all went to bed happy.