Friday, January 25, 2008

Sunshine Millions

These races are called the Sunshine Millions because they take place in Florida and California in the dead of winter, and usually racing conditions are stellar. But in keeping with this past year's Breeder's Cup slop, things aren't looking so hot for southern California. There's talk that Santa Anita will have to cancel their part of the card due to the on-again, off-again deluge that has been soaking the state.

Cushion Track hasn't been serving Santa Anita well, as they've already had to cancel entire cards for four or five dates now. In fact it seems as if Tapeta Footings is the only synthetic track in California I've not heard complaints about.

But it's a drag if Santa Anita's portion of the Sunshine Millions doesn't go off tomorrow! Nashoba's Key is all set to redeem herself after the Breeder's Cup debacle, and another favorite of mine, Somethinaboutlaura, is entered in the same race. It's set to be her last race, too, after which she'll be retired. Even if the races go on down south tomorrow (we'll know by 10:00am), you can still bet there will be lots of scratches to consider.

I normally like to post picks and fly in the face of superstition, but since I'm not sure what's going on with Santa Anita, I'm reluctant to do so. So, here's at least a little Gulfstream $1 Pick 4. I honestly don't even know if you can make this bet. You might have to do a Pick 3 and then a fifty cent Pick 4 (in which case I'd toss in a couple longshots).

Sprint: 6 Benny the Bull; 4 Finally Made It (bullets!); 2 Mach Ride

Oaks: 5 Blitzing; 1 American County

Distaff: ya gotta single one, so single 2 Ginger Punch

Turf: 6 Icy Atlantic; 7 Soldier's Dancer

3 x 2 x 1 x 2 = $12 ticket

Admittedly, it's a pretty chalky ticket, but if Santa Anita does go, I'll try to post more ideas, including the Magna 5.

Good luck to those who play ...

UPDATE: Dawg! I should've, could've, would've hit that Pick 4 but Warmonger came in first in the last leg. My 7 Soldier's Dancer was closing fast but didn't get up there and got second. Eh. Can't bet for a Warmonger. :-)
Santa Anita went, despite some scratches. The profoundly curried main track favored speed, obviously. On turf, which was labelled good, Nashoba's Key came in second, but she looked like she was running her heart out. Somethinaboutlaura ensured an honest pace but faded horribly against better company. DRF 'capper Brad Free was correct in picking the winner.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2008 Blog for Choice Day

I doubt anyone will fall over in a dead faint upon hearing that I'm pro-choice. As a feminist, I'm naturally all for women being granted control over their own bodies. Nothing irks me more than seeing some man--who is incapable of ever being pregnant--shouting from behind a megaphone that women should not have the right to choose whether to carry a baby to term.

Hey, you don't have to LIKE abortion. In my mind, it is, largely, a preventable tragedy, which is why we need to keep educating our hormone-driven teens about birth control and safer sex. But of course, sometimes even birth control fails; condoms break, women on the pill have been known to become pregnant. Abstinence, of course, is the only foolproof method of avoiding pregnancy, but since I'm living in the real world, I think talking about abstaining while not educating kids about what to do in case they don't abstain is merely a recipe for more unwanted pregancies.

Then self-righteous people will stamp their feet and declare, "Well, that's their fault! There are consequences to actions!" (As if they actually think having an abortion is jolly fun, and that the medical procedure is free, too.)

Half the time it actually sounds like they see carrying a fetus to term as being a deserved form of punishment for a moral boo-boo. And half the time, these same folks could give a hoot about what life that potential baby will have once it's born--because they tend to be the most vocal group against welfare, TANF, food stamps, anything they see as a handout for which they have to pay taxes.

Then adoption is always thrown out as the solution to abortion, but that's a pile of horse hooey. Again, let's return to the real world. Agencies already aren't able to place many unwanted kids because, let's face it, people don't want to adopt just any baby. They don't want the crack babies, for instance. So compelling women to bear unwanted children oftentimes condemns a child to a miserable life in poverty or confined to the foster care system, which is already bursting at the seams. We end up with 15 year-old children as single moms trying to raise a baby, and then we do not offer her much in the way of help. Mr. Teenage Papa is seldom part of the picture at all, by the way, even though he was 50% responsible for the pregnancy. That old double-standard still exists. I still hear people saying things like, "She went and got herself pregnant."

I just think quality of life versus quantities of lives is a reasonable consideration.

And this doesn't even take into account the pregnancies that occur due to incest or rape, or ones that threaten the life of the mother. Or what about the 48 year-old perimenopausal woman who already has three adult children and suddenly finds herself accidentally pregnant? How could we be so arrogant as to think it's even our business to decide for her whether or not she wants to carry another child?

For all these reasons and more, the right to choose should remain a fundamental right for women, lest we return to the day of back-alley coathanger abortions. (Again, to return to the real world: if abortion is illegal, it will not stop abortions.) Though I'm no single-issue voter, I cannot imagine EVER casting a vote for a candidate who is so myopic he or she would be against a woman's right to choose.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Reading the Daily News ...

So, there I was last night, happily ensconced in our beat-up old Barcalounger, devouring the Chronicle. The tiger mauling was the main headline once again--uh huh. Like I believe those kids weren't drunk and/or high and didn't taunt that tiger. You can be sure they did. On the other hand, the wall wasn't tall enough by regulation, so the zoo is at fault as well. Looks like it's going to be up to a jury or two to decide the percentages of culpability. What else is in the news? Oh, the steroid scandal. Seems as if everyone likes to point fingers at the Giants and Barry Bonds. Is it looking like Roger Clemons is going to slip through the cracks of deniability? And what's this I'm reading? Mary J. Blige took steroids, along with a list of other black musical artists? And why is Marion Jones getting a jail sentence when she's already admitted she lied and has forfeited her medals and records? (Oh right. Something about check fraud.) Where's all the hoopla over our white boys: Giambi, Canseco, McGuire?

Oddly (or maybe not so oddly), it's looking to me like it's the black folks who are getting the most scrutiny and getting the harsher penalties. Just saying.

Now what's this I'm reading? Prezinit Bush is offering Saudi Arabia $20 billion in U.S. military aid/arms? And lest he piss off the Israelis, he's saying they can have $30 billion in arms. Hey, maybe my partner shouldn't have divested her portfolio of defense stocks. But this is beside the point. Now see here, I was under the foolish impression that our esteemed Prezinit was visiting the Middle East on an avowed mission of peace. Instead he's over there offering to sell 'em arms.

I lowered the paper on that one, looked at my partner, and remarked: "This is like a mom saying to two five year-olds: 'Okay, boys, I don't want ANY fighting between you! And David, here's a machine gun for you, and Johnny, here's two for you.'"

No wonder even the Saudis think George W. Bush is a blathering idiot.

Friday, January 11, 2008

OMG, I Can't Believe I Actually Won This!

I try to not toot my own horn too horribly hard--to some degree, having a blog is a form of self-promotion as it is. But this is something I'm very proud of, and deeply moved by, and rather stunned that I will be receiving. I just got the news today by phone, and then came this follow-up email. Hard copy is in snail mail. It's an honor, to say the least. BJ Seymour was my mentor in college--heck, on graduation day, she was the one to hood me, not my dad. To win this award named for her is absolutely marvelous, and needless to say, I'm going to do my best to make it back to Richmond on March 7. Wow. I haven't been back to my alma mater in over 20 years. I think I'm still in shock. Read on ...
Subject: Congratulations From the Randolph-Macon College Gender Relations Council

January 10, 2008

Dear Joyce:

The Gender Relations Council of Randolph-Macon College is proud to congratulate you on being nominated as a potential recipient of the 4th Annual Seymour Award for Outstanding Female Alumni. The information provided to us by those who nominated you reflects your commitment to women and the broader community in and out of Randolph-Macon. There were several outstanding individuals nominated, and it was a difficult decision for the award committee to make.

We are very excited to inform you that you have been selected as this year’s recipient of the Seymour Award. Based on our review of your accomplishments, there is no doubt about your value to the college and the larger community. Your achievements will be spoken of for sometime to come and the admiration for your accomplishments is felt deeply by the entire Randolph-Macon community. We are sure that the contributions and example set by outstanding alumna like you largely contribute to the lives of our current students, staff and faculty. As a result, we would like to invite you to a luncheon in your honor on Friday, March 7, 2008 at 12pm in the Trustee/Worsham room in Estes Dining Hall. We are really looking forward to celebrating you and it is important that you participate in this event.

You are a shining example of the kind of values that pioneering Professor Emerita Betty Jean Seymour (of which the Award is named after) stood for. We have also contacted your nominator Professor Theodore Sheckels, regarding your honor and have asked him to be present at the event as well. If you are able to participate in this event, and if there are individuals that you would especially like to help you celebrate this honor, please email me your response and guest information at [XXX] or you may contact me by phone at [XXX.] Again, please accept our heartiest congratulations, and we are honored to have such an outstanding recipient for this prestigious award.

Shalise Bates-Pratt, MSW- Director
Student Leadership
Randolph-Macon College

(As this is a public blog, I X'd out her email and phone number.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Anne Rice endorsing Hillary Clinton 2008

I loved the Vampire Chronicles! And, Anne Rice got her master's in creative writing at San Francisco State, just like moi! I wish I could say I wholeheartedly endorse Hillary for President as she does (I'm still waffling), but I have to admit I kind of like the idea of a Clinton/Obama ticket.

Online Dating

It's true. For anyone who didn't know, my partner and I met on Planetout.

Monday, January 7, 2008

What's Driving Me Bonkers Today?

Two things, dear hearts. (1) God love him, Proud Patrolman is now a 10 year-old and we'd like to buy him so he can be retired from racing, but there's no way we can do that if the darn horse keeps doing so well! He raced Saturday and came in second. His owner won't sell him as long as he keeps that up, and we can't afford to claim him. On the other hand, my partner says perhaps retiring him isn't what the horse wants. He clearly loves to run, even if it's against somewhat shabby $4,000 claiming company. When he steps out onto the track to the sounds of "Call to Post," he does this cute little kick-up-his-heels thing, and you just know he's ready to go. My partner put $20 on him to win-place, and he paid $7.80 to place (per $2 bet), so it's hard to complain too much.

(2) Did anybody catch 60 Minutes last night? I couldn't believe Musharraf actually had the gall to sit there and say Benazir Bhutto was responsible for her own assassination. She shouldn't have stood up through the sunroof to wave to the crowd. Oh sure. And it's John F. Kennedy's fault for letting himself be driven through downtown Dallas, too! Then again, these are the folks who expect their women to wear burquas (or at the very least, be fully draped and wear a veil) because men can't control their sexual urges. If a woman is raped, it's her fault for provoking it. Let's remember this if Musharraf is ever assassinated. Hey, he should've just stayed indoors.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Iowa Caucuses: Scary or Not?

Well, I wasn't really surprised at the outcome of the Iowa caucuses at all. As I posted yesterday, I figured Barack Obama would do well since he's from a neighboring state. What's funny (both humorous and peculiar) is that Obama, Edwards, Clinton, AND Huckabee were all touting "Change, Change, Change!" so the press is screaming how the Iowa caucuses were all about change and how America is embracing change this election season.

Gimme a break! Iowa almost never predicts the actual outcome of the Presidential elections. In fact I remarked to my partner that Hillary probably isn't all that discouraged since her own husband was the third choice in Iowa his first time out, and he wound up winning twice.

The only real surprise is how close it was between Edwards and Clinton, so New Hampshire should prove interesting.

DISTURBING is the word for Mike Huckabee's win. Surprising, no. After all, let's remember that Pat Robertson came in second in that state when he ran. There's a huge evangelical base in Iowa. They came out for Huckabee in droves, approximately 6 evangelicals voting out of every 10 Republicans. Again, New Hampshire should be a better indicator of where America's heart lies--Romney and Guiliani should do better there.

If not, and if Mike Huckabee wins in New Hampshire, there goes genuine democracy in this country. He's already made clear his agenda: overturn Roe v. Wade, stop any legislation that gives gay people anything remotely approaching equal rights, appoint justices such as his hero Scalia to the Supreme Court, and don't allow federal courts to "interfere" when local courts approve legislation that violates the separation of church and state. Hello? Nothing against Christians, but we don't need zombie Jesus-bots taking over the country.

In the balance, more good news: Joe Biden's out. Blech. I never liked that guy.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Caucuses

I actually lived in Iowa City, Iowa, from (roughly) the summer of 1987 to spring of 1991, with a year in Chicago in 1990. My then-girlfriend was attending the University of Iowa for an MFA in painting, and I was working as an editor for a test publishing company. While there, we did go to to the 1988 caucus, and I have to say it was probably the strangest political event I've ever attended. At the time, I was pretty much undecided on which of the Democratic candidates I liked best (or disliked least), but I was vaguely behind Bruce Babbitt because he'd been the only one of the candidates at that point with the cajones/honesty to stand up and say that there would probably have to be some kind of tax increase to fix the federal deficit.

The caucuses work like this: you go in the room (in my case, it was the cafeteria at a local school), and everybody groups off by candidate. You have to have a certain number of people in your group in order for your candidate to get delegates. Naturally, Bruce Babbitt's supporters were not nearly enough (eh. Who wants a tax increase?) What happens then is that the smaller groups are undeclared "unviable" and the larger groups try to siphon off those supporters in order to earn more delegates. The room becomes simply chaotic, with people arguing back and forth about the candidates. What ended up happening in my caucus ultimately is that Democratic candidate Paul Simon (the guy with the silly bowtie) had the most support, and his very loud and vocal group ended up sucking the most people away from the other groups. Simon wound up coming in second in Iowa, very close behind Dick Gephardt.

If you think about it, though, it's not surprising Simon did so well in Iowa because he was from the state next door, Illinois. This is why I'm going to predict Barack Obama will do well in Iowa this year. It's a stupid reason, for sure, but people can be pretty provincial. Another thing about elections that is often amusing to me (aside from being frustrating) is that sometimes people will vote for whom they think is going to win rather than whom they actually WANT to win, as if they were betting a horse race.

Anyway, as I recall, the caucus dragged on for hours and hours and I was braindead afterwards. I'm glad here in California all I have to do next month for the primary is fill out a ballot and mail it in.