Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
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Friday, April 30, 2004

Final Derby Thoughts -- Early

I probably won't get to post on the Kentucky Derby until late Saturday, but more likely Sunday. We are supposed to get our DSL hook-up tomorrow morning, so I could very well be setting it up and tweaking it right until post time.

A couple of scratches. St. Averil and Wimbledon were both scratched today. Neither was a big favorite.

I don't profess any special knowledge of horses or the Derby. I find myself leaning toward Smarty Jones because it is a Pennsylvania Horse. On the other hand, I've always preferred rooting for horses with a drinking connection starting with "Go for Gin" the winner back in '94. That has me leaning towards Tapit, which is the closest name in the race to evoking any sort of drinking. Add in the fact that his trainer actually gives him Guinness and well that is just a topper.

So here's my prediction:

1. Tapit
2. Smarty Jones
3. Lion Heart

Best and the Brightest

Not these geniuses at Case University.

Three Case Western Reserve University freshmen were charged with cruelty to animals after the videotaped killing of a hamster went out over a college Web service.

So how did they kill the hamster? By "biting off the hamster's leg and then its head, and spitting it out."

Why? Some actual thought must have gone into this. They actually set up a camera and decided it would be cool to send to others. What made them think a hamster snuff film -- where they could be visually identified on the video -- was a quality artistic expression.

I thought biting the heads off of rodents went out with Ozzy in the early 80s?


Thursday, April 29, 2004

Next Step

You have your Mint Julep. You have the field and some information about the owners. How about the Jockeys riding the horse. Well, we may want to wait a little longer on that issue.

Jockeys John Velazquez and Jose Santos said Wednesday they might not ride in the Kentucky Derby if a federal judge bars them from wearing ads during the race.

A group of jockeys challenged the state law banning advertising, promotional or cartoon symbols, arguing it violates the First Amendment. In a second suit, the jockeys argued they should also be allowed to wear a patch with the name of their union, the 1,100-member Jockeys' Guild.

The jockeys want U.S. District Judge John Heyburn to block the state law. The judge delayed his decision until Thursday.

It's not like the Jockeys' Guild logo is a tacky thing. It's just a boot. The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority argues that allowing ads and even the patch could lead to corruption. Uh, yeah. Churchill Downs, the race track for the Kentucky Derby, doesn't really care. It does, though, have to enforce the rules.

Lots of information can be found at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association site, including a section just on the Triple Crown races.

ESPN has its own Triple Crown section. There's a decent analysis of the horses in the field. Other good resources include the Daily Racing Form and

The Kentucky Derby even has some online fantasy games to play. Of course, I figure the odds of picking the complete order of finish in the Derby is rather astronomical -- hence why one offers a $5,000,000 payoff.

Setting the Field

On a lighter note, back to the Kentucky Derby. The field of 20 and their post positions have been set. The favorite is The Cliff's Edge at 4-1 and the long shot is Birdstone at 50-1.

I did this a couple years ago, and I'm doing it again. Here are a few of the entrants and some info on their owners.

The Cliff's Edge (4-1)
Owned by Robert LaPenta, president and chief financial officer of L-3 Communications. L-3 Communications produces "Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems and products, secure communications systems and products, avionics and ocean products, training devices and services, microwave components and telemetry, instrumentation, space and navigation products." Clients include the Department of Defense, Dept. of Homeland Security and "selected U.S. Government intelligence agencies." Conspiracy freaks of the military-industrial complex, presumably, have already determined that the fix is in for this horse.

Smarty Jones (9-2)
Owned by Someday Farm, and located in New Hope, Pennsylvania, which until 3 years ago was owned by the Chapman family. The Chapmans own the Chapman Auto Group, an eastern/central Pennsylvania car dealership. The Chapman's apparently still own the horse but not the farm. The horse nearly died when he "suffered multiple fractures of the skull and broke an orbital bone near his eye."

Tapit (8-1)
Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC, a partnership between Joan and her son Ron Winchell. The Winchell's are in commercial real estate development. Before that, Verne Winchell had founded Winchell's Donut House, at one time the largest donut franchise in the world (and apparently still popular on the west coast), which he merged with Denny's Restaurants in 1967.

Lion Heart (10-1)
Owned by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. Tabor was once the principal shareholder in the Arthur Prince chain of betting shops in the United Kingdom. He sold his interest in the company in 1996 for $50 million. His horse, Thunder Gulch, won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 1995.

Wimbledon (15-1)
The owner is Jim McIngvale, AKA Mattress Mack. The founder of Gallery Furniture, the largest online furniture store. Gallery Furniture was the title sponsor for a couple years of a minor college football bowl game in Houston -- the Bowl.

Imperialism (15-1)
Another car dealership owner. Steve Taub has an Audi Dealership in Santa Monica, California. He used to have a Porsche dealership, but lost it in 2002 for some reason -- seems to have some complaints. The site won't open.

Quinton's Gold Rush (20-1)
Owned by Padua Stables & Jay Manoogian. Padua Stables is owned by Satish and Anne Sanan. Satish Sanan was the founder of IMR Global (now part of CGI Group), a worldwide computer outsourcing and software services corporation. (You almost have to expect this one to win given all the attention to outsourcing of jobs in the last year.)

Minister Eric (30-1)
If you like your horse owners rich and powerful, then this is the horse for you. Diamond A Racing Corporation is owned by Gerald J. Ford, of Texas. Ford is Chairman of the board at Liberte Investments. He has been listed in "Forbes' 400 richest Americans" and "America's Most Powerful People."

Action This Day (30-1)
Another rich and powerful owner. B. Wayne Hughes is the founder and president of Public Storage, one of the largest self-storage companies in the US.

Birdstone (50-1)
The owner of Marylou Whitney Stables won't suffer if this horse finishes dead last. Marylou Whitney is a member of two of the wealthiest families in America. She was married to investor and racehorse owner C.V. Whitney - a direct descendant of cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney and railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. He passed away in 1992. She remarried in 1997 to John Hendrickson, a 32-year-old tennis champ. She was 71 at the time.

Not sure I'm rooting for, or rooting against yet.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Let Go, Please

It's now 30+ years since all of the crap surrounding Vietnam, protesting and National Guard service went down for Bush and Kerry. I said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't care. No one born after 1965 really cares, unless you've already made up your mind about how you want to vote, and are looking for ways to bolster it.

We know it was a messed up time, lots of stuff, lots of hypocrisy, lots of BS.

Is the present Kerry flap over throwing his ribbons or medals really that big a deal? I don't think so. Is his 30+ years of dissembling on it annoying? Yes. Does Kerry seem to make it easier to allow himself to be portrayed as an opportunistic, short-sighted, flip-flopping empty pol? Oh, yeah.

Do I care about Bush's National Guard service? No. Do I find it amusing to have a Republican President who served in the Guard, apparently to avoid 'Nam after years of Republican bashing of Clinton for ducking the draft? Hell, yeah.

And there's part of the problem. We've been over this for the last 16 years.

Remember Vice President Dan Quayle? National Guard service? Remember the flap over his hypocrisy, as being a right-wing hawk who ducked Vietnam?

Bill Clinton in '92 thrived despite his blatant manueverings to duck the draft, because most people didn't care. It didn't work for George H.W. Bush, a WWII vet.

The message was forgotten by some idiots in '96 with Bob Dole running. The push to portray Dole as a WWII hero in contrast to the Clinton draft dodger fell flat. Not just because of likability of Clinton vs. Dole, but because it was no longer important. Clinton was already President. People had accepted him with his past. You couldn't just call for a do over. Or to try again.

It seems to me that the Kerry camp -- and many Dems who briefly pushed and backed Wes Clark -- having gone so long as pushing his Vietnam/military service don't get this lesson from '96. In the challenge to a sitting President, that sort of comparison is not important. People who voted for Bush in 2000 didn't really care then, and they aren't going to change their mind now based on that issue.

The whole thing is a complete waste of time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Okay, I'll play.

This seems to be going around the blogs, so why not (via Matt Welch, where I first saw it)

* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 23.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

But we cannot read the patterns of arrangement; we cannot extract the information in it -- i.e. it as information, which is what it is.

Valis, Philip K. Dick.

When I find some time to read for myself, this is what I have been reading. Most of the nearest books to me were my daughter's board books which don't go up to page 23, or have five sentences on a page.

I love reading P.K. Dick, and in a way sporadic spells of reading him work best for me. His stuff has always struck me as if they were directly conveying his psychosis, bordering on being drunk.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Start Preparing

The Kentucky Derby is this Saturday. Time to start getting the preparations in order. First up. Mint Juleps. Bourbon slushies. Mmmm. To do it right, you need to prepare in advance with the syrup, and to buy some fresh mint. This is the best recipe that I have used.

Mint Julep
Simple Syrup- to make this, take 1 cup of cold water, mix with 2 cups of sugar, and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Let it cool, and add six mint sprigs. Let syrup brew for at least 12 hours, then stir and strain to remove mint.

2-4 parts Bourbon (I recommend, Jim Beam)
1 part Syrup

Pour ingredients into a glass filled with crushed ice, stir and add a fresh mint sprig.

I generally like to give the syrup a good 36 hours to brew. It infuses a stronger mint flavor. Also, the 2:1 ratio is a little too sweet for my tastes. I gravitate to the 4:1 point.


(Copyright © 2002-2005 Chas Rich All rights Reserved.);
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