Scabs

Body bags became our rags

As we spewed laugh-less trite

About “Rag Heads,” deserts, disgust

About tinseled 9.11-rust and New Yor’ Ricans

Mustn’t ask how many died.

It’s a secret, shhush, so they can lie.

We hid behind a moral pride

When we murder extols no toll

Our eyes roll up lobotomized

Into the sky

We praise the phallic poll

flag waving

Like a guest at the end-zone goal

Madison etched the greatest prose I suppose

Rhetoric and lofty goals

Come clean and clean your nose

Peruvians know what you chose.

By the power vested in saints

We’d suck a cowboy to steal his Paint

We’d rob our kindergartner’s souls

We take what’s yours, ours, theirs and whole

And make it into lesser parts

Steal Son-day’s sunsets

Trade them for a gallon

Of that huffin’ cream puffin’ fluffin’ petrol

That mighty coal-sperm of the fossils

A fluid fluid worth a murder

Why not kill a pair?

For some dirty underwear

I’d kill 4,936 for my share

of gold

Gimme

Let me take you lower

To the place where colonels blunder

Another soul blackened asunder

From the rifles we marched under

To the lesser

To the lust

To the listless

To the crust

Of the scabs

Atop our once-belief

Drippin’ from my once belief

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Winx: Could History’s Greatest Mare Be the Greatest Horse?

Just watched and listened to Hugh Bowman walk back to weigh out aboard Winx. She wasn’t sweating. She wasn’t blowing. It was as if she hadn’t even had a work today. Humidor, the runner-up was game and kept the great mare to task. However, Bowman was measuring her off if you watch the stretch drive closely.

It’s up to the trainer, Chris Waller, and the owners of Magic Bloodstock now. Do they want to be one of the Australian greats or do they strive to become the greatest racehorse in history?
To rise above all of the elites in history would take Winx upon an ill-advisable course.

I advise it.

Today was the first of a few steps to separate her from Man O’War, Secretariat, Frankel, Seattle Slew, Round Table and Kelso. Next would be the quarantine and shipment to the Japan Cup which goes on Sunday, November 27, 2017.
She’s been nominated and invited by the JRA.


She should be allowed to seek her true destiny. Off the month’s rest, she would tear the bridles off their talented faces, and would get five pounds from the older males under the race’s conditions.

Fortunately, the $2 million bonus will be provided to the winner of the upcoming Japan Cup, if the horse was a winner of any of the 24 designated races overseas this year, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Dubai Sheema Classic, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Caulfield Cup, Breeders’ Cup Turf, or Cox Plate. For winners of such designated races, a bonus will be given for finishing runner-up ($400,000), third place ($250,000) and fourth place or below ($100,000) in the Japan Cup.

My sources have told me the JRA will give Winx another $1 million in expenses, travelling and appearance fees. A win in Tokyo will net her connections in US dollars, $2.6 million (from the $5.6 million purse). Plus the $2 million winners bonus (Cox-Japan Cup); in addition to the $1 million appearance fee, all totalling $5.6 million.

The question from skeptics is the 2400 meter run (about 1 1/2 miles) over the undulating Tokyo Race Course turf. It is a silly question, indeed.
Winx is by Street Cry, the sire of Zenyatta and Street Sense. On the dam’s side Winx is out of the Kiwi mare, Vegas Showgirl, thrice removed from Northern Dancer, who also appears in Street Cry’s lineage. Vegas Showgirl sold for nearly $500,000 as a broodmare prospect.

Winx wants distance when one inspects her entire lineage dating back a hundred years when both sides of the tree were either British or French. Also, let’s not forget Winx has already won at 2200 meters.

The dilemma is whether it’s cruel to go on. A relevant point if Winx wasn’t licking her feed bucket clean, even as I write this an hour after the Cox Plate. In the morning she’ll awaken and want to race. Truly, in her case, it would be more cruel to walk her around the shed row rather than gallop her around Mooney Valley.

My guess is the Japan Cup would end in Winx shattering the track record of 2:22.1 (that’s 10 lengths quicker than Secretariat’s 2400 in the Belmont). Now I want you to picture two things. Secretariat drawing away on the far turn at Belmont. And, now picture Winx running up from 12 lengths back to collar and run past Secretariat, as the opinion here is she very possibly could be the greatest Thoroughbred horse in history, bar none.

Can an Aussie compete against Group 1 types in Tokyo? The rumors that Aussies and Kiwis are inferior horse without class must have begun by somebody whose parents are also siblings.
Better Loosen Up (Aus, JC win in1990) and Horlicks (NZ, JC win in 1989) both won the Japan Cup. In fact, it’s widely believed Horlicks, a New Zealand bred, was jilted by his clocking of 2:22.2, and should have been awarded the course record.

In closing, Winx, in the opinion here can, win from 1200 to 3000 meters, in any class. I believe she is unbeatable in present time, and should next put her streak on the line in Tokyo. Then, the long and deserved break until March 12, when she should go in a Group 2 dirt prep at Meydan in Dubai in preparation for the March 26 Dubai World Cup (or the easy way out, Dubai Sheema Classic).
Worry not. Gun Runner couldn’t win a fixed race against Winx! Dirt, turf, synthetic, over hurdles, on the pace, trot or canter.
As the Romans once said, “On to England!” Winx would be rested from the DWC until the big enchilada QEII at Ascot on July 28.
Starting to follow the spacing now?

From there it would be a flight home to rest up for either the Arc or the Breeders Cup Classic, both in the Fall 2018.
The long flight home.

60-days to freshen up for a newly named race, “The Winx Invitational,” a Group 1 at Warwick Farm, in early summer 2019, at the track where Winx broke her maiden many years ago.

Insanely lofty schedule? Absolutely. That’s what differentiates between Personal Ensign and Zenyatta; or Dr. Fager and Cigar.
To rise above all of the elites in history would take Winx upon an ill-advisable course. I advise it.

Remember how Secretariat ended his career?

Update: Nov. 6, 2017: Winx’s connections have opted to give her a rest through the end of the year.

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Baffert Is Not Stymied About Arrogate

Baffert Is Not Stymied About Arrogate

     


Arrogate raced exactly as planned. I truly hope Baffert and friends made a flat $20 million gambling over the past three races he couldn’t possibly win. That would equal about everything he made in horse racing over the past 40 years, with the exception that the Arrogate pool money is tax-free.

(Please! Don’t start with your naive bullshit that nobody would bet against Arrogate intentionally in a $6 million race. Consult D. Wayne Lukas and the score they made when Thunder Gulch won the Ky Derby, as the two Lukas faves were also-rans. Many reports have London bookies getting banged for more than $5 million in that one race.)

Last Thursday morning, Arrogate took to the track at Del Mar. After watching the first five seconds or so, I didn’t think he’d make it around the track without being vanned off. He looked exactly the way he looked when the gate opened on Saturday afternoon in the Breeders Cup Classic.

Then, Bob Baffert (again) declared how “great” he looked.

Bob Baffert and company must have been creaming their jeans as the numb nuts were shaking their heads in agreement.

If one can watch that Thursday morning move and not know Arrogate didn’t have a prayer of hitting the board they should stop pretending they know how Thoroughbreds (great, world-class, Thoroughbreds) should appear, and go make a legitimate living as a Congressman or comedian.

This has been going on for years in big races. Ironically everyone knows in a beaten $5,000 claimer there’s “business” every race.

Yet, intelligent people cannot believe it happens in a $6 million race. “Think” again. There was probably $75 million bet on this race, legally and illegally worldwide. Much in parimutuel pools and much through legal and illegal bookmakers. Just in the Del Mar pools, there was $7,522,411 in the win, place and show pools and $22 million in the gimmicks, for a grand total of $30 million.

Arrogate began and ended his career with a loss. He began making insiders money on another day of Baffert uncoupled entries. In the Travers when the horse first showed his world-class speed at 11.70-to1. He ran a lifetime top 122 Beyer and won by 13. In that race, Baffert was touting his other horse who went off about 5-1. Do you really think Baffert is a buffoon?

One can only guess that Baffert is just constantly “surprised” by this horse – win or lose. Wink, wink.

Arrogate got good at exactly the right moment. He was under wraps in the three races Ralphie Bejarano rode and won with him against maidens and classified allowance horses as the heavy chalk.

On June 14, 2016, Bejarano only by five lengths but got a thorough reaming from Baffert for showing a 103 Beyer. In his next start, he jogged home in a never-won-two-other in a 99.

Then the Saratoga score!

His next start was deceiving. He couldn’t keep up with an about-to-retire California Chrome for 1990 meters, before lunging at the wire to get up in the Breeders Cup Classic. He beat a wonderful champion.

In his next start, he was odds-on to win a mint in the Pegasus at Gulfstream. He won. He beat the “memorable” and “sensational” duo of Shaman Ghost and Neolithic. (Two horses that nobody including their owners will remember in 2022.)

They say “money can’t buy you love.” Obviously, it can’t buy a great field of horses on some days.

Then on to Dubai. There’s no betting at Meydan but I can assure you Arrogate paid $3 or less in pools worldwide. He got left at the gate – with no shot to win – and still was able to forge a long sustained move to win in 2:02.15. That’s slower than the track record set in 2016 by California Chrome.

Arrogate’s winning streak is very similar to the Perfect Storm in reverse. In that true story, a number of low-pressure systems merged to form one of the worst possible scenarios for the skipper and his crew stuck in the middle of the ocean. Arrogate earned his money on the square. It’s just he got good during a 30-week period when the all-time purse distribution was about to be passed out. He got lucky in that he was alone, unlike Easy Goer and Sunday Silence or Affirmed and Alydar.

After Dubai, Arrogate was a new horse. As the Baffert testimonials became more like sermons, I was amazed at how average Arrogate was looking in his drills – even the “bullet” works. “Time,” as they say, “only counts in prison.” Arrogate’s body attitude had changed. He wasn’t galloping, he was skipping along. Changing leads every few hundred meters, head cocked sharply to the right. At times he’d drop he his head, a good sign in most cases. But not when you drop it and cock it hard to the left. And a slight limp in his stride began to show when he was walking . . .

Like Songbird, who couldn’t possibly do anything but retire after being life-and-death in a glorified stake test against claimers this summer, she did not have the luxury of avoiding the winner’s circle as Arrogate has.

Songbird stood there, eyes squinting, wincing in pain. Up with the left hind, then shifting up with the right. Juggling weight, sweating profusely (albeit extremely hot and steamy out), and surrounded by her trainer, owners, and stable hands. Nobody noticed? I mentioned it repeatedly and was admonished by 100 percent of those who watched exactly the same race and the same winner’s circle presentation that I did.

That didn’t stop Songbird from racing on, either. She promptly retired after her next dud. The surgeon’s statement was precisely what I had been mentioning for weeks, including from the day in that winner’s circle.

It seems if it looks like a champ, sounds like a champ, smells like a champ and the trainer lies like a champ — the public wants to believe and can’t wait to empty out. Moreover, it doesn’t matter if they couldn’t do their laundry on Sunday, July 23, Sunday, August 20 and today, they still await Baffert’s next tip. And, he’s been tipping them on to the loser all the way back to when he was training Quarter Horses on the Arizona-Mexican border.

Bob Baffert is not the best trainer who ever lived. He is the smartest – bar none. Look at the barn and owners he has amassed. Look at the payoffs of the winners and losers – often the same horse like Arrogate. As a trainer, Baffert has made only $10 million – day rate and commissions combined.

Always – that’s a-l-w-a-y-s – look to beat every favorite. Two-thirds of them lose. But if you can beat an Arrogate or a Songbird and have the ammunition to play Pic-3, Pic-4, Pic-5 and Pic-6 tickets, you could end up with millions.

Back to the “smart money.” Arrogate was the chalk. He was favored in all the pools, except place and show.

By the way, there was one other pool Arrogate wasn’t the favorite. The pool where the big money bets:

Gun Runner was the chalk to win in the Pick 6 pool, returning $388,423.60.

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My Sister: A Memoir

 

 

My sister was a good person. She died suddenly earlier this month and the suddenness of the powerful forces that control life and death forced me to go back through time this morning to recall our lives together.
Some people dwell on the negative. I did during the years I didn’t speak to her. I was angry over a favor I asked her to do for my mom in 1986.
Anyway, just over the last few years, we reconnected, wrote and emailed each other regularly. She let me know how important it was to her and I let her words thaw the chill that I held in my heart, for little reason. Early this morning, my thoughts drifted back . . . years ago. Claudia was a free spirit, a wild child. She was strikingly pretty as a teen and very popular. We didn’t live far from actress Natalie Wood and if you want to picture Claudia, she looked a lot like that, with dark hair, deep eyes, and a great smile. She was groovy.
She spent years dating singer-songwriter Gary Lewis, and I remember his father, goofy comedian Jerry Lewis, coming over to our house a number of times looking for his wayward son.
They broke up and Gary went off to Vietnam. She began dating another singer-songwriter, who was altogether different. Gary was clean cut and this guy, John, was on the cutting edge of a new genre of rock. His group, Steppenwolf, was on the threshold of greatness. She kept her love for this guy a closely guarded secret, as dad would not have approved. Steppenwolf had yet to make their mark, and I think John was from Germany or somewhere in Europe, and shuttled back and forth to L.A. He finally nailed down a contract and Steppenwolf made their premiere at my high school during an after-school assembly one day a couple of years later. That’s another story for another day. It’s funny, though, because I’ve seen both John Kay and Gary Lewis in concert during the last 10 years, spoke with them, and both remember Claudia, me and those days vividly.
I remember how cool she was. She was a tomboy and tough, too. Sometimes big kids would bother me and she’d come outside and threaten to kick some ass. One day she racked one boy up, who was taking me down. She had a reputation like that, you know.
She was up on the scene. Not just music – but what was happening before it happened. She loved the beach, tanned dark, and grew her hair long like the times. It shined and gleaned in the summer sun in Santa Monica and Malibu.
One summer day I went with my dad – who loved her more than he loved anybody in the world – when he bought her a brand-new fire-engine red 1962 Ford Falcon convertible with white seats and a white rag top. She drove that car into the Hollywood Hills and Laurel Canyon and she drove right out of my life. That was the first time I missed my sister.
One Sunday night I was having dinner at my Grandma Frances’ place with my parents and Claudia came over after being MIA for a few days. She sat down and ate dinner. Everything was normal except for the diamond ring on her finger. She had gone away to Tijuana to elope, like Baby June Havoc in the play, Gypsy.
But wait! This meant she was home again! Not home at my house, but back in my life. I loved her husband, Roy, too. He often let me ride with him through Hollywood as he collected shopping carts for the Hollywood Ranch Market and other grocery stores he had contracts with to pick up the baskets that people took home. He was quite the entrepreneur – young, handsome and very ambitious.
That was enough for my dad not to like him. He was from Tucson and came to L.A. to make his name in the big city. I can tell you right now I don‘t know anything about Tucson, but I promise he got a wild ride in L.A. with my sister.
Claudia and Roy got an apartment west of the Palms area, somewhere between Vista Del Mar and the beach, as I vaguely recall. She got pregnant and they had a handsome kid, that they named, Darrin, after the lead character on their favorite TV show, Bewitched. He was a good baby. I remember feeding him, babysitting him and hanging out there regularly. (If they would have had a girl, they were going to name her Samantha.)
But the tides of separation would come once again. Like the rough surf that Claudia and I loved so much, swept us far away from each other as I moved to Washington D.C. with my parents. My father resettled us after his friend and Whittier College schoolmate, Richard Nixon, got elected president. The humid green woods of Virginia was a culture shock that I couldn’t quite integrate with; and my mind was still wrapped around the burgeoning rock scenes of Venice Beach, where the Doors were an unsigned house band every Friday and Saturday at the Cheetah; Westwood Village and Headquarters; and, possibly the most important scene, Santa Monica Boulevard’s Troubadour, where the house band was Linda Ronstadt as early as 1967 when she drove home the soulful lyrics of Different Drum, there, and down the street at Pandora’s Box, which we later torched in the conflict recalled now only as the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth . . . In 1969, Linda released the album Hand Sown, Home Grown. Shortly thereafter, her band had quit and the pickup band forming behind her was using morphing into America’s top act, The Eagles. . . .
The era, like the people who lived it, is a hazy blur today. Back then, like vibrantly-colored birds, we flew through the nights free, “high” and brilliantly bright.
Watergate and the dirty thieves involved murdered my father’s spirit. Six years later, we buried him in Virginia – a shadow of himself, during those last few years. My family became empty with a shame permeating our home.
I missed my sister, but she was thousands of miles away. I wrote her and told her what things were like and she invited me to move back and live with them but I didn’t bother to bother them. I had taken a place in Beverly Hills a couple of years earlier, late in summer 1969. I finished high school at 90210 before hitting the Pipeline in Waimea on the North Shore of Oahu the following summer. I never made it back to UCLA to study pre-med, as I got in some trouble with some older kids on the island, then moved back east to forgive and rejoin my folks. The reason I mention this is because Claudia picked me up and drove me to the airport to surf that summer away in Hawaii. As fate would have it I wouldn’t see her again for about a decade.
She and Roy busted up, but I don’t remember when. I wondered why, but I never asked. 
Anyway, she was able to support herself and had a good job with the phone company. She advanced from a 411-Information and 0-operator to management, then upper management. Claudia had a sensational work ethic. She worked hard and she made it. She was transferred by her company, Pacific Bell or General Telephone – I forget which one it was at the time, since she worked for both many times, as they used to bid for her services and she went back-and-forth over the decades – then they sent her from the San Fernando Valley to the Palm Springs area.
She met a single guy who was a telecommunications director in the phone company. His job was being responsible for sending TV signals for desert sporting events, like major golf tournaments, to the satellite uplink. She called me one day and told me how happy she was and asked me, since dad had passed away, if I would give her away to her beau, Stormy. Claudia’s pride and joy was her hard-earned BMW with the personalized license tag, “I got mine.”
I took the flight out to L.A. and picked up our grandmother. It was a garden wedding and grandma, who was still years away from dying, was like 95 at the time and survived the desert heat that day as the band played and my sister and new husband looked happy. I wore a green pin-stripe suit . . . and walked up to the altar arm-in-arm with my sis and gave her to a no-nonsense kind of man, who I knew right away was strong enough to be her match.
I saw her again briefly, a few years later. I was on holiday with my girlfriend, Petals, and we stayed a couple of nights at Claudia and Stormy’s – a house trimmed with cactus out front and some “special” plants out in the backyard. We said goodbye and as we were driving away, I remember thinking to myself, “I miss my sister.”
As it turned out, I never saw her again. I had relayed a message to her to call my mother and when she didn’t, I was pissed. They were on the outs, true. But for Christ’s sake, Mom wanted a deathbed pow-wow and Claudia wouldn’t pick up the phone. When Mom died, two or three days later, I cried and vowed to myself never to speak with Claudia again. Until now nobody ever knew the reason she and I became estranged except us.
At this moment, like all wars, it sounds as foolish as fools can be. Yet when you‘re in the midst of your own anger, you‘re more related to your dog than your mind. And, families, all families I think, get that way sometimes. That’s how it was, anyway.
One day, so many wasted years later and not that long ago, I was still surfing, only now it was on the Internet instead of the white water and curl. I think I typed her name into a search engine and found a message she had written to me. She was looking for me, and there I was with the dilemma: either let my hatred go or hold onto it forever.
It was around Christmas, so I wrote to her and we began writing and emailing all the time.
It might have been this summer when she told me she had a mastectomy a few years back and may need another. She constantly badgered me to come visit her, as she “does not fly.” I asked her if I “needed “ to come out and she said, “No, but you never know.”
Maybe she did know. Maybe we all know that it is so much later than we think.
Claudia died suddenly last Tuesday. And, I remember in 1963, I missed my sister. I remember in 1968, I missed my sister, again. I remember in the 1970s and 1980s and even through the 1990s, when we didn’t speak, I missed my sister.
This morning, I woke up. In the dark and silence of my bedroom, I began to think and cry. I wiped my tears and closed my eyes and I was back on the beach in Malibu with my sister and it was 1967 and it was one of those crazy, secret moments in time – the type that nobody but you and some other person knows or cares about. We were laying there on our blanket and talking. We had the radio tuned to 93-KHJ. On came a song, Tuesday Afternoon off an album called Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues. We hadn’t heard it before. We looked at each other and she said, “Come on, tell me that song wasn’t bitchin?” We locked eyes and smiled and that became our song . . . So, yeah, I doubt I’ll listen to it anymore.
I miss my sister.

(December 20, 2006)

 

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8 years of suffering under Barack Obama

Teri Carter's Library

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3C54DC7D00000578-4140672-Barack_Obama_waves_as_he_boards_Marine_One_and_departs_the_Capit-a-77_1484945371469 Photo credit: The Associated Press

The sentence I hear most from well-meaning, conservative friends since President Trump’s election is this: “We suffered 8 years under Barack Obama.”

Fair enough. Let’s take a look.

The day Obama took office, the Dow closed at 7,949 points. Eight years later, the Dow had almost tripled.

General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.

While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.

Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

He drew down the number…

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The Eagles Concert Tour (2010)

Source: The Eagles Concert Tour (2010)

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Like The Prophet – Like Gibran

Source: Like The Prophet – Like Gibran

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Scabs

Source: Scabs

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Something I Know (Another Memoir)

Source: Something I Know (Another Memoir)

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Showing Off Society

Source: Showing Off Society

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