Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Crazy busy fun Memorial Day weekend here in Bklyn. I still get nostalgic for the 5 years of leavin' town immediately to start a summer share at the Shelter Island house (R.I.P.), but don't miss it AS much when there's lots of local entertainment to be had.

The ShellieandTommys were in from Chicago all weekend, as well as SL's old pal Ger from Reading sans his kids. It was non-stop activity including a sunny Yankees game (the win made everyone else happy), getting back on the tip yesterday at Belmont for Rubes' birthday and the Met Mile (hit two exactas for about $90 bucks total), biscuits-n-gravy Sunday brunch at Katrina's, a couple of happy hours, and the first of soon-to-be-many smallish BBQs in the "I'm so happy I have this" oasis of my backyard.

It's less than two weeks until Meghan and Brooks pack up Calyer Street for their move west to Portland OR, but otherwise: Summer makes me happy.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Here's a very entertaining story from today's Post about the eejits in the Brooklyn Kickball League. I laughed and laughed. Kickball IS better than softball!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Benefit for The Scotty Hard Trust - NEW BILL

Right around the corner from home this time, it's a great (revised) rock bill next Wednesday May 28th @ Europa. Europa is located at 98 Meserole Ave @ Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Dub Trio 11:15

Two Tears (Kerry Davis from the Red Aunts) 10:45

The Brought Low 10:00

Fresh Kills 9:15

Damemas 8:30

All things considered, Scott's doing well these days. He moved from Bellevue up to the Bronx for his next stage of 6 hours-a-day-rehab two weeks ago. With steady progress, he'll be out of there in a month or so, and into his new apartment in an elevator-equipped building near friends in Bed-Stuy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Big Brown's Preakness

Big Brown dominated another field on Saturday on the second step towards winning the Triple Crown. I'm not all that wound up about this, because in the past seven years of attending Belmont, I've seen three horses get to the exact same spot (War Emblem, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones), and seen all three go down in the mile and a half "Test of Champions." Still, it's exciting, and couldn't come at a better time for a sport that has been under harsh scrutiny since the Derby. The hype machine that goes along with this each time is already rolling.

While there's no way in hell I'd missing seeing a horse capture the Crown at my home track, these "possible" years at Belmont are a pain in the ass, with the attendance going from a full and fun 60,000 people who are actually semi-into horse racing, to a sloppy and packed scrum of 120,000 yahoos. I am also not a fan of Big Brown's trainer, nor do I think that Big Brown has beat much in the way of quality competition, in a pretty weak crop for three-year olds.

BUT....Bitching aside, his win on Saturday was impressive, with Kent Desormeaux easily finding an extra gear of acceleration on the far turn without even using a whip. The horse didn't even seem to breathe hard -- he was just out on a little run, having a good old time. It was a very dominating performance to see.

I am anxious to see his match up with the much-touted Casino Drive in the Belmont in 2 1/2 weeks. I love Casino Drive's family, so it's gonna be fun to watch it play out. Nice clip here about Big Brown's partial owner, a regular guy who's trucking business is based in....Greenpoint, Brooklyn. (Who've ever thought you could meet a Derby owner near the poop factory?)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our Nation's Capitol

It's strange to be in the capitol city of our nation when there's not much that your nation has done in recent years makes you proud of being American.

Still, I love a good museum, and it was easy to stay away from that idiot's white home. The Holocaust Museum was really well laid out, but emotionally overwhelming. Nice Botanical Garden with lots of unusual plant examples to crib for my garden, and I could look at stuff from the National Archives or Library of Congress for hours.

And always good to get to spend some time with the family, especially my two brothers, when I don't think the three of us have had a drink and chat together in about.....forever.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh Sue!

I have always had a secret love for Sue Simmons on WNBC's Channel 4 News at 11. She always seems half-drunk, cracks wise way more than she should, and is simply far too goofy with her non sequiturs to be paid an alleged $2.5 million bux a year to read the news twice a day.

She went overboard on Monday night during a live promo for the 11:00 news, screaming out "WTF are you doing??" over a news clip. Too funny. They better not fire her for something so silly, especially considering practically every New Yorker uses the phrase WTF about 10 times a day. She did apologize, after all. Enjoy!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Charm City

I have never heard Baltimore called that, but I'm told that is the city's nickname. SL and I are going down tomorrow to see andtheend on her annual spring theater sabbatical, plus make a visit to our fourth racetrack in 2008. I've never been to Baltimore. And I'm told Pimlico is a dump, but that's like saying its cold at the North Pole. Not a lot of fancy tracks out there...

Eight Belles

It's a sad week when everyone wants to talk about horse racing, but only because of very public death in the Derby. For the record: a horse has never died on the track during the Derby. I have never seen a horse run an excellent second before breaking down 1/4 mile past the finish line. Nor have I heard of a horse breaking both front ankles simultaneously, if that's actually what happened. It was a freak occurrence of unfortunate magnitude because it happened to a highly touted filly the press was following closely, AND on the one day of the year when horse racing actually might have center stage in America.

I won money on her across the board, but I still haven't cashed my ticket. I sat quietly for awhile after the race (amid a VERY fun party) sick at heart when I realized what I had happened to this spirited, competitive filly who COULD run with the boys, beating 18 of them handily. No racing fan in the world wants to see this happen, but it is an unfortunate part of the game. You can't love this sport and remain unaffected by seeing the equine ambulance pull out and the screens come up. It only means one thing: a horse is being put down.

The same way that NASCAR drivers die in wrecks, or athletes' careers end because of a torn ACL (granted, they aren't euthanized), breakdowns are a part of horse racing. PETA's been wound up all week, calling for suspension of the jockey, and making other unreasonable demands. It would be hard to make an argument that these Triple Crown horses are abused, for the horses at this level are treated like kings (with purchase prices in the millions of dollars, and their own doctors, trainers, grooms who come running when the slightest thing goes wrong), and, to be honest, better than much of lower-income America is by their own government.

Everyone wants to understand: "How does this happen?" While I don't even think anyone connected to the horse will ever be able to answer that question clearly, there are a few things that should happen to improve conditions for the horses, and hopefully prevent more injuries in the future.

1) Determine once and for all if Polytrack or any synthetic racing surface really prevents more injuries. If it does, then put the surface in everywhere. I personally don't believe this is the main solution, especially when the stats on synthethic vs dirt surfaces over the past two years are reviewed.

2) Eliminate the use of race-day drugs that may mask injuries or problems. Nowhere else in the world allows the use of drugs on race days.

3) Eliminate the use of steroids on horses in training. Eight Belles was never on steroids, but plenty of horses are, giving them similar problems, such as soft-tissue damage, to what you see in humans with repeated use.

4) Work on improving breeding lines. There are more injuries today than there were 30 years ago, and horses ran twice as many races then. Certain breeding lines (Mr Prospector as a sire, for example) are known to have more problems, racing 30% fewer times than others.

An excellent post on this topic can be found here.

New Theory

Post-derby party/julep bacchanalia, a friend said to me that too much brown liquor brings out the self-doubt in people. Hm. Been pondering this important thought...I sure know that the brown stuff makes the irrational angry rear up, but is it all liquors or just the whiskey that does it?