Sunday, November 30, 2008

Golden Rings

Yesterday, SL and I made a trip to a crowded Aqueduct for the annual running of the Cigar Mile. The last Grade 1 stakes race for NYRA's year, it was a chance to see a quality field run in our own backyard at the Big A. These were the "pretty good" horses who say, came in 12th and 15th in the Derby this year. There was great betting to be had, with 6 legitimate contenders in the 9 horse field going off at odds between 7-1 and 10-1. Neither of us hit the Cigar Mile, but an easily attainable exacta for someone playing Tale of Ekati over Harlem Rocker would have netted them $142.50. The race ended up ugly, unfortunately, with an 9 minute inquiry that knocked Harlem Rocker down to second, and the tough 7 yr old gelding, Wanderin' Boy, needing to be euthanized after breaking down at the top of the stretch.

We did hit on a couple other races, with Steve nailing a $243 exacta on the 6th (the Demoiselle, won impressively in 9 1/4 lengths by the 2 yr old filly, Springside, who immediately was vanned off -- ugh), and I got the exactas on the 7th (The Remsen, won in 7 1/4 lengths by a 2 yr old colt trained by Larry Jones named Old Fashioned aka my first Derby pick of 2009,) and the 9th for a net total of $178. Since track money is found money to be spent immediately, we decided the best thing to do would be head straight over to Camille's and put a $300 deposit on the wedding rings she's making us.

Track winning for rings. You can't beat that. Even in a country song.

Friday, November 21, 2008

One Degree

Proving once again what a very small world we live in, I was in Chicago/Logan Square last weekend when Shellie and I randomly went into this food/wine store called Provenance, looking for some lunch. They didn't have anything like that, so we turned to walk out. The guy at the counter suddenly says "Hey, did you live in Cincinnati?" Yes, Shellie and I both did. He then asks me if my name is Susan, and turns out he's the owner of the place, Joe Patt, a name I have known of forever from the Ohio music world, but not that I remember meeting before. I was a bit stunned. He was extremely nice, and we chatted for a couple minutes, including me dropping my friend Pat Hennessy's name as some sort of Ohio Ambassador (always a good ploy with people from Cincinnati) before heading to grab a dog and cheese fries at the always delicious Hot Doug's down the way.

Lesson? Ohio is everywhere. You can never, ever escape.

A Classic

How do I love Russ and Daughters? Let me count the ways: horseradish cream cheese, raspberry rugelach, salmon roe, wasabi roe, whitefish salad, smoked trout, scottish smoked salmon...And the Super Heeb sandwich (bagel with whitefish salad, horseradish cream cheese and wasabi roe) is the absolute bomb.

Although I know that some of their products come from Acme Fish, right around the corner from my house on Gem Street (open 9-1 on Fridays only for retail sales, another great thing), almost nothing makes me happier than going to Houston Street to stand in line for a few minutes and soak up the atmosphere of Russ and Daughters.

And now they have launched a cleverly named blog, Lox Populi.

Russ and Daughters
179 East Houston Street

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Guernica: A Novel

I finished "Guernica: A Novel" by David Boling last night, in a mad 75 page dash to the finish complete at 3 in the morning (gotta love the hours of this freelancing thing!). This historical novel tells the story of three generations of a Basque family, in and around the city of Guernica. I knew nothing of the bombing of Guernica by German and Italian planes with the cooperation of Franco-run Spain in 1937 except for Picasso's mural of the same name, but this book gives a very real face to what the citizens of this city must have experienced at that time. Love, war, smugglers and resisting fascists in Spain: I'm down. I've got to get this part of the world on my next trip to Spain.

While some of the plot turns were predictable, and the characters archetypes you've seen before, the story was an enjoyable and interesting read. Recommended.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Big Picture

Here's a fantastic news photo blog from The Boston Globe.

Some of the Breeder's Cup photos, and the ones of our president elect, are breathtaking.

Today in New York

I couldn't find a newspaper (except the Post) in any of 12, 13, 15 stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and people were smiling and chatty on the streets and subways. Almost unnerving. Welcome to the New America!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Win

I'm hearing yelling on the streets, and fireworks explode on the river here in Brooklyn as the real John McCain finally makes a reappearance with his gracious concession speech, and Jesse Jackson stands alone with tears in his eyes (can't someone give a brother a hug?). I'm welling up, seeing and feeling something I never thought possible. Putting the race part aside for a moment, I can't believe that my country did the right thing, at long last by electing the right man; Americans took a risk on what might be, and acted on the belief that things can be better, rather than 'more of the same.'

I can't shake my head any more, easily dismissing our leaders as someone else's fault, as people I can't relate to, or as some out-of-touch old insiders put in power by someone else's vote. I've never actually liked any of our Presidents my entire life; or ever felt that the best minds of my generation were leading; or even believed that things could be any different.

This time, at least for tonight, I do. It's overwhelming. Indescribable. All I can think, is, please carry us all safely on our new path.

Dare I say it, and really mean it for the first time ever? God Bless America.