End of The Greatest Generation
They also tell the story that he could not stay calmly in his stall if left alone and lived with—a duck. When his trainers needed him fired up, they took him away from the duck—and onto a racetrack.
The bay colt who so many claim was greater than even Man 'o War, was owned and bred by Warren Wright's Calumet Farm, the most successful thoroughbred stable in American history. On April 22, 1947 Citation (1945-1970) began his racin' career. That year The Big Cy's only loss was to his stablemate Bewitch. Word quickly got around that Citation was held back to perserve the unbeaten filly's record and he hadn't been pushed to his utmost.
Citation's three-year-old debut was in an allowance race for three year olds and up at Hialeah, and coincided with the season debut of 1947's Horse of the Year, Armed. Citation beat him then and again in the Seminole Handicap. Legendary Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons commented "Up to this point Citation's done more than any horse I ever saw. And I saw Man o' War."
Not long after Citation won the Flamingo Stakes, his regular rider, Al Snider, drowned fishin' off the Florida Keys. Snider's friend Eddie Arcaro took over the reins and, 'cause of Arcaro's hesitancy, lost in his first start aboard the champ. He wouldn't make that mistake again for nearly two years.
Citation wiped up the track in the Derby Trial Stakes so only four stables were willin' to challenge the powerful Calumet duo of Citation and his half-brother Coaltown in the Derby itself. Speculation ran rampant over who would win, but the bettin' didn't. The two were coupled, so only win bets were accepted. At the half mile, Coaltown led by six, but Citation easily passed him for a three and a half length victory. Eddie Arcaro gave the widow of former jockey Al Snider a share of his Derby purse money.
Jimmy Jones, Citation's trainer, said his dad, Ben Jones, Whirlaway's trainer, told him the night before the race, "Jimmy, you can sleep well tonight, and you can take this as gospel: any horse Citation can see, he can catch. And he's got perfect eyesight."
The Big Cy was equally impressive in winning the Preakness Stakes, leading from wire to wire and cantering home five and a half lengths in front. Then, on his way to New York, he stopped off in Jersey to win the Jersey Stakes by eleven lengths. Don't think any of the pampered so-called champions of today could match that feat.
But some still questioned his stamina goin' into the Belmont—right up to the head of the long homestretch. Citation pulled away to an eight length win, tyin' Count Fleet's stakes record of 2:28 1/5. At the end of the day, Citation had easily swept the 1948 Triple Crown by a combined margin of seventeen lengths.
Later on jockey Eddie Arcaro commented: "He was so fast he scared me."
Citation injured his hip winnin' Chicago's Stars and Stripes Handicap, but took only a few weeks off then returned to polish off all comers, silencin' anyone who still doubted his stamina by winnin' the two-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup by seven lengths. Do they even run two mile races any more much less expect a horse who had just won the Triple Crown plus a few more races to win that sorta' race? Oh, and to round out the collection of trophies on his mantlepiece, The Big Cy grabbed the Empire City Cold Cup as well.
By the end of his three-year-old season, Citation had twenty seven wins and two seconds to his credit in twenty-nine lifetime starts. (Compare that to this year's probable Derby favorite who has only raced three times in two years.)
He won at every distance, at ten different tracks, and in seven different states, travelling in unairconditioned trucks and rail cars. He won all his races by a total of 66 lengths.
Unfortunately Citation had developed a form of osteo-arthritis, which kept him out of commission for the 1949 season and left Horse of the Year honors to his half-brother Coaltown.
In January of 1950 Citation came back after his layoff to win a six furlong race at Santa Anita, increasing his winning streak to a record sixteen straight victories makin' him one of only two major North American thoroughbreds (along with Cigar in 1994-96) to win 16 races in a row in major stakes competition.
Then he ran into a horse named Noor, startin' a classic rivalry, and settin' new world's records whenever they met. Citation won the Golden Gate Mile in world record time of 1:33 3/5 which stood until 1966. Noor, carrying 22 pounds less than Citation, nosed him out and set a new record in the Santa Anita Handicap. Carryin' an extra thirteen pounds, The Big Cy finshed second to Noor again in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap while Noor set a record that still stands today. At the end of the season, Citation had raced nine times, won twice, finished second seven times.
Citation would have retired in his six-year-old season, but Warren Wright's dying wish was for Citation to become the first equine millionaire, and so the champion raced on in pursuit of the goal. After a series of disappointin' losses that put Wright's wish in jeopardy, Citation took the Century Handicap, and followed the victory by scoring in the American Handicap.
In the final race of his career he came full circle, meetin' his stablemate Bewitch, the champion mare who had handed him his first defeat. The pair ran one-two in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and Citation's win finally put him over the million dollar mark.
The Million Dollar Baby passed away on August 8, 1970—the last of the Greatest Generation of racehorses.
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posted by Harrison at 11:44 PM
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Deepest Heart in Texas
Second, as a youngster on the King Ranch in Texas, he stepped on a stake, driving it through his front right hoof. The foot would forever be deformed, and the colt developed an awkward limp. But while the "Club-footed Comet" might have limped when he walked or trotted, he had no trouble whatsoever when he was at a full gallop.
Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, Assault had to overcome kidney, splint bone, ankle, knee and bleeding problems throughout his career.
Last, he faced the hurdle of bein' born and bred in Texas on a ranch known for cattle and quarter horses. Top flight thoroughbreds just did not come from Texas. In fact, Assault is still the only Texas-bred Triple Crown winner.
In 1945 he began his racin' career—by finishin' 12th in his first race. He only managed to win twice in nine starts, one of them a four-way photo finish.
As a three-year-old things began to look up. Assalt won the prestigious Wood Memorial, then turned aorund and finished off the board in the Derby Trial makin' him a longshot in the Kentucky Derby. He and jockey Warren Mehrtens left the Derby field eight lengths in their dust.
The fans immediately jumped on the bandwagon and made Assault the favorite for the Preakness a week later. Hindered by traffic early in the race, Mehrtens decided to push Assault earlier in the race than usual. He was four lengths in front down the stretch and running out of energy. Instead he ran on heart to win by a neck over closer Lord Boswell.
The wheels immediately came off the bandwagon and Lord Boswell was made the favorite in the Belmont. As if to prove the bettors' doubts, Assault stumbled out of the gate and trailed through much of the race. But Assault was just takin' his time 'til the final 200 yards when he virtually exploded past the leaders to win by three lengths. He would be the seventh Triple Crown winner. His jockey Warren Mehrtens later summed him up, sayin' Assault "was all heart."
Two weeks after his Belmont victory, Assault won the Dwyer Stakes and everyone liked him again—at least until he finished last in the Arlington Classic. Little did they know he had a kidney infection and needed some time off. After a less than stellar comeback, trainer Max Hirsch also got him new jockey in Eddie Arcaro. Assault promptly trounced his competitors in both the Pimlico Special and Westchester Handicap.
In his fourth year, Assault grew into a handsome, mature colt with an attitude. He was probably the one who came up with the 30-minute-delivery rule 'cause he was always hungry and would charge his grooms if dinner was late. He also developed a sense of humor. He would pay such close attention to his exercise riders that when he thought they weren't payin' attention, he'd leap to the side, leaving them mid-air, and gallop around the track riderless.
As a four-year-old, the "Club-footed Comet" was victorious in some of the biggest handicap races in history, including the Brooklyn and Suburban Handicaps, while carrying weights of up to 135 pounds. Assault was orginally supposed to retire after that season, but tests said he was sterile so he went back to racin' until the age of seven, winnin' the Brooklyn Handicap for a second time.
When he finally did retire to King Ranch, he surprised everyone by siring two quarter horse foals. Assault—the ultimate overcomer.
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posted by Harrison at 11:47 PM
Monday, April 28, 2008
Of Tempers, Taxis, and the Titanic
Obviously the method worked, though, 'cause the colt was Reigh Count and the next spring he won the 1928 Kentucky Derby. A dozen years later, he had a son who not only inherited his daddy's talent, he took on his temper as well. In fact, the kid was so hard to handle, the magnate, who didn't achieve his magnatehood by makin' bad judgments, hung a "For Sale" sign around the yearling's neck.
No one bit—or was bitten, as the case may be—and Count Fleet (1940-1973) stayed at Stoner Creek. The colt was sent to trainer Don Cameron. In his first race at Belmont Park, Count Fleet bumped a colt named Vacuum Cleaner and finished a beaten second. He did it again at Aqueduct—and again was offered for sale.
This time his jockey, the legendary Johnny Longden, went to bat for him, callin' the owner and convincin' him to keep Count Fleet by sayin' he wasn't afraid to ride him. Considerin' Longden had already cheated fate when he was five years old and survived workin' in the Canadian mines, Count Fleet musta' seemed like a drive in the park.
Count Fleet made his three-year-old debut with an effortless win, then made Blue Swords and Slide Rule, both excellent horses, look like cheap claimers while winnin' the Wood Memorial. But in the Wood, Count Fleet struck his own left hind leg, and the injury was serious enough to threaten his entry into the Derby. He was shipped to Churchill Downs by rail, and Longden rode with him, holdin' ice on the horse's damaged left rear.
In the spring of 1943, the United States was fightin' WWII and severe travel restrictions threatened the Kentucky Derby until Churchill Downs president Matt Winn promised only those from the Louisville area would be present. Taxis were forbidden to be within a mile of the track (ironic since Count Fleet's owner founded the Yellow Cab Company, among other companies), and private vehicles were restricted as well. In fact, there were so many restrictions placed on the public the 1943 Run for the Roses was called the Street-Car Derby.
It didn't matter what they called it—it was an easy win for Count Fleet, with Blue Swords and Slide Rule runnin' second and third—again. The story was the same at Pimlico, where Count Fleet romped home while Blue Swords ran second, eight lengths behind. Well, at least the poor guy was earnin' feed money.
As many of these early Triple Crown winners did, Count Fleet ran in the Withers Stakes before the Belmont. Not surprisingly he won, cantering home six lengths ahead of Slide Rule, who had skipped the Preakness. That was it for the owners of Blue Swords and Slide Rule. They spared their horses' already battered egos by passin' up the Belmont, leaving Count Fleet to beat a pair of allowance class horses by twenty-five lengths. It took over three decades for that feat to be bettered.
Then again, maybe four in a row was a bit much. Count Fleet wrenched his near front foot runnin' the Belmont and the foot didn't respond to treatment. He retired early.
Later, Johnny Longden said of the Belmont…
"Going into the race, I thought he'd have to fall down to get beat, and even then I thought he could get up and win. He was that good."
…and explained what it took to ride the great horse:
"Get him out on top, give him the race track, and let him run. It was what he loved to do more than anything else."
But even though the jockey compared riding his greatest mount to bein' put in the driver's seat of a Cadillac, he admitted it wasn't always and easy ride:
"...if he didn't have racing room, he'd go to the outside or just climb over horses. If you were in close quarters with him, you were in trouble."
Ah yes—the lessons fathers teach their sons…
Count Fleet's sons and daughters and grandkids enjoyed great success themselves includin' such luminaries as Kelso and Lucky Debonair. The Count himself lived to the ripe old age of 33, dyin' the same year another Triple Crown winner finally bested his Belmont triumph.
His jockey, Johnny Longden, was still ridin' and winnin' at age 59, ultimately livin' 'til age 96 after cheatin' fate at age five. You see, John Eric Longden was born in England and his parents decided to emigrate to America, bookin' passage on that brand new, unsinkable, ocean liner, the Titanic. They missed the boat.
And the man who put Longden in the driver's seat? John D. Hertz.*
*In 1924, Hertz established the Hertz Drive-Yourself Corporation—the first rental car business in the United States. Their most famous motto, created in 1961, was "Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat."
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posted by Harrison at 10:29 PM
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Mr. Monk Goes To The Races
If there was ever an equine equivalent of Monk, it would be Whirlaway (1938-1953), the 1941 Triple Crown winner. He was scared of bein' saddled, usure enough about a started gate to actually miss the break, and so terrified of the inside racetrack rail that, in his very first race, he ran straight to the outside rail and followed it all the way around the track. He still won.
The small, flaming red chestnut was a thrill to watch, winnin' with his trademark burst of speed that would take him from last to first in what seemed the blink of an eye. And as he flew past, his unusually long, thick tail streamed like the tail of a comet streakin' across the sky, earnin' him the nicknames Mr. Longtail and The Flying Tail.
Just as Monk needs his shrink (and what's he gonna' do this season, btw?), Whirlaway had his—trainer Ben A. Jones. Guess Mr. Longtail didn't understand human English real well 'cause Jones had a habit of callin' him alternately "dumbest horse I ever trained" or "The Half-Wit" 'cause he couldn't seem to run in a straight line. Whirlaway would bear out so badly that, in the 1940 Saratoga Special, he actually crashed into the outside rail yet still won the race. When he'd get the lead, he'd get bored and either slow down or zig zag acround the track.
In spite of it all, Ben Jones stuck with the colt, knowin' he was the fastest horse he had ever trained. Whirlaway's devoted exercise rider Pinky Jones, (Whirlaway's equivalent of Monk's assistant Natalie) was with him 24/7 tellin' anyone who would listen his charge could beat anything on four legs.
Like all good shrinks—er—trainers, Ben Jones tried to cure Whirlaway's phobia of the inside rail. He sat on his stable pony while Pinky Brown rode Whirlaway through the gap between the pony and the rail over and over. That, plus a one-eyed blinker and jockey Eddie Arcaro, apparently made a difference in the 1941 Kentucky Derby. After bein' boxed in, Arcaro threaded Whirlaway through the pack and he actually ran in a straight line—sorta'—firin' the jets at the top of the stretch for an eight length victory
Disgruntled trainers and owners spread rumors that Whirlaway's unbelievable burst of speed was not natural, but drug induced—includin' the claim he was given three shots of cough medicine before the race. Churchill Downs officials stepped forward to assure the public Whirlaway's saliva test had been negative for all drugs. Not sure what anyone thought cough medicine would do 'cause it only makes AHM sleepy. But maybe it's different for horses.
Anyway, in the Preakness, Whirlaway proved his win in the Derby hadn't been chemically induced. He strolled outa' the gate and ended up six lengths behind the last horse in the pack—"…so far last that he wasn't bothered by the dust the other horses were raising," as Joe Palmer reported in the following week's Blood-Horse. Eddie Arcaro made his move in the backstretch, and Whirlaway shifted into overdrive, circled the entire field by the quarter pole, then cantered home to win by five and a half lengths. The triumphant Arcaro proclaimed:
"...not even a cyclone could head us off. I don't think I ever passed as many horses in such a hurry. I might as well have been shot from a gun. What a horse! What a horse!"
Whirlaway's crushing burst of speed scared away most of the competition for the Belmont. Only four horses showed up to challenge and tried to throw off Whirlaway's runnin' style with a slow early pace. Instead, The Flying Tail delivered the equine equivalent of "Nuts!", blew by them at the half and kept right on running.
Once he had the Triple in hand, Whirlaway went back to his old tricks. The photo-finish of his heart-stoppin' win in the Saranc Handicap at Saratoga shows the speedy War Relic almost pickin' up splinters on the inside rail and Whirlaway nearly shakin' hoofs with the spectators along the grandstand. Mr. Longtail carried 13 pounds more than War Relic, took the longest route between two points, and still managed to get a whisker in front.
As a four-year-old, Whirlaway had a sucessful handicap season, but while winnin' the Louisiana Handicap he bowed a tendon. Ben Jones tried to bring his favorite horse back to the winner's circle, without success. On July 5, 1943 Pinky Brown rode 5-year-old Whirlaway in his last public appearance. He then journeyed back to Kentucky,
He stood at stud in Kentucky for years, then was leased to a French breeder in 1950 (who later bought Whirlaway outright) and sailed off to France. Whirlaway died on April 6, 1953, goin' out the way so many studs wanna' go. He suffered an apparent heart attack ten minutes after having covered a mare.
A champ to the very end.
Whirlaway was buried in France but his body was later returned to Kentucky, and he is now lies at Calumet.
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posted by Harrison at 10:50 PM
Saturday, April 26, 2008
When The Underhorse Met The Elite
No matter his size, he was an aristocrat, spirited, nervy, and apparently claustrophobic with a hatred of startin' gates. Gotta' say I don't blame him for that last bit 'cause those things are worse than a Kennel Cab with a loud bell attached and doors that fly open when ya' least expect it.
War Admiral fussed at the gate so much he delayed the start of the 1937 Kentucky Derby for eight minutes. His psych-out strategy worked. The other nineteen horses left their race at the gate and the Admiral won easily, leading from beginnin' to end.
He had more trouble with the Preakness, bearin' out around Pimlico's tighter turns and lettin' Pompoon catch him. After a relentless stretch drive, War Admiral took home the black-eyed susans.
At Belmont, the Admiral gave everyone another eight minute battle in the starting gate. Then, at the break, he tripped, sliced off part of his right heel, and still led wire to wire to become the fourth Triple Crown Winner—the third within seven years.
In 1938, four-year-old War Admiral just kept winnin'. But so did a scrabbly, knock-kneed grandson of Man 'o War. If War Admiral was the symbol of the elite east coast society snobs, on the west coast, an undersized, unattractive five-year-old had become the symbol of the people—the blue collar workin' horse, toughin' out a livin' however he could. The public began demandin' a meetin' between the two.
The so-called Match of the Century took place November 1, 1938 at Pimlico Race Course. 40,000 fans jammed the track. 40 million were listenin' on the radio. War Admiral was the prohibitive favorite, the near unanimous choice of writers and eastern race-goers.
War Admiral lost.
He lost, as Grantland Rice wrote, to a "…crazy five-year-old who all his life had known only the uphill, knockdown devil-take-the-loser route…"
Once again a Triple Crown winner lost to a better champion and slipped into the background of racin' history. Today War Admiral is known only to racin' fans and trivia buffs, but Seabiscuit is still the horse of the people.
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posted by Harrison at 11:32 PM
All In The Family
Gallant Fox (1927-1954) was a big, bay, wall-eyed colt who some said won 'cause horses comin' up on his outside saw his wall eye and were too scared to pass. Hey, whatever works, right?
But he started out slow as a two-year-old, not really showin' his true talent 'til his last race of the year. In fact, the Fox got left at the post in one race 'cause he was too busy rubberneckin'. When he finally noticed everyone else had taken off he tried to catch 'em but that was too much for even the Fox. (And you thought the terrible twos only happened with human children.)
In 1930 the Preakness came before the Derby and Gallant Fox put on quite a show, escapin' from a pocket and recoverin' lost ground. The New York Times (back when they were still reportin' the news) described it as:
"the most electrifying dash that has been seen in Maryland in many a day. Finding a hole here and a gap there, Sande snaked his way through the field and was third at the far turn."
Gallant Fox won pullin' away.
That was the hardest of the Triple Crown races for him. The Kentucky Derby was the first in which a starting gate was used, and Gallant Fox was once again an easy winner, then went wire to wire in a New York drizzle the set a new stakes record and become the Triple Crown winner.
He only lost one race that year—to a 100-1 long shot—provin' that's why they still run the race. At the end of 1930 Gallant Fox deveoped a fever and was retired to stud where his successes continued through his kids.
Five years after Gallant Fox, his son Omaha (1932-1959) duplicated his daddy's feat—easily. A tall, rangy chestnut, Omaha couldn't seem to put it together as a two-year-old with the best they could say about him was "closed fast."
By the spring of 1935 Omaha had filled out and come into his own. Knocked around at the start of the Derby, he stayed comfor-
tably in the middle of the pack then turned it on in the stretch. In the Preakness, Omaha stalked the leaders, again turnin' it on to win by six lengths. With the Triple Crown on the line in a downpour, Omaha was challenged in the Belmont but…you know where this is goin', right?…turned it on in the stretch to become the third Triple Crown winner.
He wasn't as successful a sire as his daddy and ended up on a farm in Nebraska City. Occasionally he was taken to an Omaha racetrack and displayed in the infield. But when startin' gate bell rang, the old man would perk up and lope along the track inside the rail, still tryin' to turn it on in the stretch.
Omaha's grave is on land now owned by the University of Nebraska, supposedly right next to a home economics classroom. Accordin' to some, when a recipe goes, wrong the student is told "Give it to Omaha." It's also said students on their way to a test nod toward his grave for good luck.
He remains the only son of a Triple Crown winner to also win the three classics.
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posted by Harrison at 12:01 AM
Friday, April 25, 2008
Everything Doesn't Always Come Up Roses
So, since the Demo-cat presidential race has disintegrated into nothin' more than flyin' globs of donkey snot, we decided to start followin' a real horse race and rememberin' some great hoofers.
First up, Sir Barton (1916-1937) who went from Triple Crown winner to army horse to cow pony. In 1919 he became the first winner of what eventually became known as the Triple Crown, 'tho considerin' he won a fourth race—the Withers Stakes—in between the Preakness and the Belmont maybe he should be called a Quadruple Crown winner.
When he was entered into the Derby, he had never won a race in his life and was expected to be the rabbit—the speed horse sent out to wear down the rest of the field—for stable mate Billy Kelly.
Sir Barton went to the lead, all right, staying there to win by five lengths. Four days later he went to Baltimore to win the Preakness Stakes wire to wire. After that he won the Withers and Belmont Stakes in New York. And he did it all in a month.
The next year—late in his four-year-old season—Sir Barton ran the legendary match race against the great three-year-old Man o' War. He lost the race and the public lost interest in him. He retired to stud with mediocre success and at age 17 was sold to the U.S. Army Remount Service. After that he ended up on a Wyoming ranch where Sir Barton ended his years, dying at age 21.
They don't breed 'em like they used to.
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posted by Harrison at 12:01 PM
Happy Tax Freedom Day
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posted by Harrison at 10:19 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
What's Wrong With This Picture?
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posted by Harrison at 11:37 PM
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Shame is Good
Anyway, I figure it's time Shame made a comeback. Personally I'd like to hear Billy Clinton say he's ashamed for messin' up Monica's favorite navy blue dress, but I'll settle for this.
"Michael Vick's prison cell at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., is only about 16 miles away from where the Kansas City T-Bones play independent league baseball, in the Northern League. That proximity has led the T-Bones to schedule a May 28 Michael Vick "Welcome to the Neighborhood" night at their CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
"In conjunction with about 10 nearby animal shelters, the T-Bones will have a warning-track parade of dogs that are up for adoption. The team says it's trying to increase awareness of animal abuse with the tie to Vick. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback is imprisoned for dogfighting offenses, to which he pleaded guilty.
"But here's the touchy part: The T-Bones will wear black-and-white striped jerseys, prison style. The visiting Gary SouthShore RailCats will wear bright orange jumpsuit jerseys, similar to the ones DUI offenders wear while picking up roadside trash."
Ya' gotta' love the creative costumin'. 'Course it's got the usual suspects hissin' 'n spittin'.
"One Kansas City animal-protection advocate is upset about the promotion. "I think it's making a joke of it all," says Kristy Winfrey, who writes The Animal Advocate blog and volunteers at the Parkville Animal Shelter and Spay Neuter K.C. "I think once people get there, it's going to look ridiculous to them."
I'm guessin' she didn't get an invite. 'Course I had to check out her blog. As expected the blog header features (you guessed it) fe-lyings. Worse, those fe-lyings are wearin' costumes. (Can you say ri-dic-u-lous?) Worst, she advocates "…anti-breeding and spaying and neutering of all animals." Well, since humans are animals too, I might go along with that last bit provided cat-lady Kristy Winfrey and her entire extended family (includin' Oprah) do it first.
Onward and downward.
"The NAACP has similar concerns. "It's personally troubling for me," national spokesman Richard McIntire says. "It sounds like they're willing to uplift one cause at the expense of another individual's human dignity. "I don't know when it became sporting to kick a man when he's down. … His actions were deplorable and are not condoned, but in this case it's a shame when others choose to make folly of another's misfortune."
There's some mighty bad wordin' in that quote—such as "I don't know when it became sporting to kick a man when he's down." Considerin' it's probably what Vick and his cronies did repeatedly to canines, I think the litter clump is fair game.
And if a bunch of ball players are willin' to look foolish for a good cause, and make someone like Michael Vick feel one scintilla of Shame, I say Play Ball!
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posted by Harrison at 10:48 PM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The Naming of Dogs
Whatever it is, someone musta' taken one too many rim shots to the head before writin' this column.
"Whatever happened to good old-fashioned dog names—names that weren't people names? For centuries, giving your favorite canine a human title was totally unheard of.
"Consider this list of hunting hound names translated from a Greek manuscript centuries old: Lance, Sentinel, Ecstasy, Blueskin, Crafty, Hasty, Vigorous, Impetus, Counsellor, Bustler (dog) and Hasty. The writer says, "The names are significant of the color, strength, spirit, sagacity or behavior of the hounds."
Huh. I see at least three "human" titles in that list if ya' count the nickname. Guess he's just been hangin' out with too many Joes and Dans and Bills. 'Course he really shouldn't be pickin' on dog names—I mean what kinda' name is Eli for a quarterback?
"Another ancient list of dog names contains some monickers that are even more interesting and unforgettable: "Black-foot, Trail-follower, Voracious, Gazelle, Mountain-ranger, Fawn-killer, Hurricane, Hunter, Seizer, Catcher, Runner, Gnasher, Spot, Tigress, Might, White, Soot, Spartan, Whirlwind, Swift, Cyprian, Wolf, Grasper, Black, Shag, Fury, White-tooth, Barker, Black-hair, Beast-killer, Mountaineer." Not a human name in the mix, but we do get one of the earliest mentions of another name now gone by the wayside: Spot. Yes, plain old Spot."
Unforgettable? Let's see…
On Gnasher, on Grasper, on Seizer and Catcher,
On Hunter on Hurricane, on Whirlwind and—Spot?
"William Shakespeare mentioned dogs in several of his works, and none of the names he used are reminiscent of human titles. In "The Taming of the Shrew" we find Clowder, Merriman, Silver, Echo and Belman. "The Tempest" dogs were Mountain, Silver (again), Fury and Tyrant. And in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," we find Proteus' servant Launce dragging his cruel-hearted and infamous dog Crab, who he complains is the surliest dog that ever lived."
He forgot all about Lady MacBeth's dog that she never could housebreak.
"In more recent history, we find a prevalence of "real" dog names as well. Consider the frontiersman Davy Crockett whose hunting dogs were Old Rattler, Soundwell and Tiger. George Washington, our first president and an avid hunter, kept a pack of fox hounds, and there wasn't a Max or Molly in the bunch. His canine companions included Mopsey, Pilot, Tartar, Jupiter, Trueman, Tipler, Truelove, Juno, Dutchess, Ragman, Countess, Lady, Searcher, Rover, Sweetlips, Vulcan, Singer, Must, Tiyal and Forrester.
Okay, that's just a bit tooooo much information there. I don't wanna' know what prompted the "Father of Our Country" to name his dog Sweetlips.
T.S. Eliot almost got it right:
"The Naming of Dogs is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a dog must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names."
[That's supposed to be…~AHM]
[If you wanna' wear those new shoes you just bought—don't say it!~Harrison]
The real irony of this whole dog-earred tale is the name of the writer…
Keith "Catfish" Sutton
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posted by Harrison at 11:15 PM
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Cats versus Dogs
The other day I was readin' how LawDog had been, well, sick as a dog. Said illness included some unexpected, up-close-and-personal contact with large ceramic fixtures in The Room That Contains The Water Pit of Death. Naturally he called upon his animal companion to go for help. Good idea…'cept said animal companion was a fe-lyin' who, followin' approved Al Qitty trainin', promptly sat on LawDog's head.
In case y'all needed remindin', this is how a true animal companion is suppose to help.
"A dog seeing that its elderly owner was in danger of drowning, when flash floods struck Kampung Ulu Temiang yesterday, did the only thing it could do. It didn't stop barking until help came along…
"The dog's desperate barking eventually alerted a team of fire and rescue personnel, who aided by some neighbours, went to the house and found the woman, in her 60s, shivering and helpless, barely able to keep her head above the rising water level… [I]t was only when the firemen rescued the woman that her faithful dog left her side and swam to safety…"
…once again provin' the expression "faithful feline companion" is an oxymoron.
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posted by Harrison at 10:46 PM
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"Do not taunt, mock, imitate, dis,
nag, insult, jeer, tease, needle, offend,
outrage, sneer at, revile, upbraid, impersonate, deride, slander, razz,
pester, satirize, rib, agitate, alarm,
badger, disturb, upset, incite, vex, torment, browbeat, displease, scare, irritate, distress, provoke, goad, bully,
kid, snub, confront, laugh at, infuriate, threaten, disparage, scoff at, ridicule, inflame, or goad the tigers."
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posted by Harrison at 11:45 PM
Friday, April 11, 2008
From the Litter Pan
…an exploding rat…
"The electrocution of a fat rat in an electric station…caused a three-hour power outage in Stockholm's central train station. […] 'The blow was so forceful that it…actually burst,' [Jesper Ekenlund] said.
...sexercisin' pandas--pole dancin' optional…
"Panda pornography has been used to encourage
lazy pandas to have sex but now a fresh routine is
keeping the threatened species alive. Young male pandas are now taking part in a rigorous "sexercise" program."
…dirty ole' wasps puttin' their stingers in the wrong place…
"Few can resist the allure of a beautiful rose, but some wasps outdo even the most ardent flower lover. […] Many insects mistake flowers for femmes, but few go as far as [the male orchid dupe wasp], says Anne Gaskett, a biologist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, who led a study of the insect's amorous intentions toward two species of Australian tongue orchids."
…the self-proclaimed "Fansite of the Licing Lifestyle"…
"If you're into the insects in sex, you're in the right place."
Dug up someplace I thankfully can't remember
…the redneck art of deer butt doorbells and
fe-lyin' refrigerator decorations—with graphic
"If you don't have any deer butt's handy, don't despair. Many creative folks will go on a scavenger hunt, searching for fresh road kill to use for their red neck art. Here is where the creative process is critical and you can let-loose with your artistic freedom to come up with a wealth of affordable fine art for your home. Even rodents can be sculptured into fine redneck art plaques."
Dug up at News of the Weird
Time to empty the litter pan.
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posted by Harrison at 11:05 PM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Name That President
Yes, it's the guy, and no fair cheatin'.
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posted by Harrison at 12:25 AM
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The Ambush of A Name*
Lunt in unfortunate village name blow
Translation? Anyone? Considerin' the context of the story, that is either a lame attempt at humor or…they're doin' it wrong.
"Residents in the graffiti-plagued village of Lunt are being asked to change its name… But the proposal, designed to combat yobs who repeatedly change the L to a C, has been met with fury by some locals in the rural community. […] David Roughley, whose family has farmed in Lunt since 1851, added: "At the end of the day we live in Lunt and we don't want to change because of a few yobs. It is the vandals who should change, not the village."
Sounds good to me—'cept the town is part of the Nanny State so I don't think that'll be happenin' anytime soon. Now, on to the punchline.
"The local website, www.lunt-village.co.uk, says the area was first documented in 1251 in the Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey."
Ooooookay… D'ya' think a few of those "yobs" visited the website before they started actin' out the Name Game?
(Shirley Ellis had enough sense to refuse to rhyme "Chuck" but still suggested we do "A little trick with Nick!")
Oh, and in case you're too dim to figure out the rhymin' slang for Lunt, the author did a little cut and paste for ya'.
"According to the New Oxford Dictionary of English, the offending word is Middle English…and is offensive slang for female genitalia or an unpleasant or stupid person."
Frodo would be shocked.
*"Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home." ~William Shakespeare~ Measure for Measure Act i., Sc. 3.
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posted by Harrison at 3:32 PM
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
October 3, 1924 – April 5, 2008
Still from Ben Hur trailer.
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posted by Harrison at 10:22 PM
Saturday, April 05, 2008
This guy, f'instance, got a little lost on his way to Kentucky.
"Animal rescue crews are gathered near Powhatan Point [OH] Friday, working to save a horse stuck on a cliff, on a hillside along Route 7. The rescue crews are waiting for a group out of Maryland that specializes in large animal rescue. No one at the scene has the proper equipment to get to the horse that's been stranded since Thursday afternoon."
Every year there's always a few foreign-bred entries. This isn't one of 'em.
"Fire crews this morning rescued a horse which had fallen into a swimming pool… Crews…were called to a property in Albaston [Cornwall] near Gunnislake at 9.20am where a horse was stuck in the shallow end of a pool. They used portable pumps to empty the water. A farmer provided bales which were placed so that the horse could be helped from the pool."
Now this equine appears to have some real talent—if the Derby was bein' run on the fourth floor of the local hospital.
"Officials at Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Honolulu have confirmed one of the hospital's patients was visited by a horse this month. An unidentified hospital spokesman said the patient's son brought the horse in and even posed for pictures with it and an off-duty nurse… "He proceeded to take the horse up the elevator up to the nursing floor where he was met by security and our nurse supervisor," the hospital official said… "We do have a pet visitation policy, but it does not include a horse."
When it comes to horseracin' we love our heroes, and when tragedy strikes, we honor 'em with appropriate memorials. Barbaro's ashes will be buried at Churchill Downs. The great filly Ruffian is buried at Belmont Park with her nose pointed toward the finish line.
On the other paw, Canada does things a bit different.
"Over its 135-year history, the RCMP has accumulated some pretty weird stuff. Like a stuffed horse named Nero… Nero was "a horrible, nasty horse" used in the famous Musical Ride and is remembered by many Mounties for his orneriness, said Heritage Centre spokesperson Karen Worobec… "People would come through the museum and would just love this horse, but of course they didn't know the story of how evil the horse actually was."
Last, but not least, if you're drivin' to Louisville from Wisconsin and other points northwest, here's a roadside attraction to get ya' in the mood.
"This piece of "art" is officially called the "Fox Cities Oracle," and is generally referred to as "The Hadzi"... It was created by a sculptor named Dimitri Hadzi, who I'm sure regards Appleton as some uneducated backwater, based on the generally negative response to his creation."
Or maybe not.
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posted by Harrison at 12:10 AM
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Just for the record, Friedrich Nietzsche went barkin' mad.
Dug up at Kelly the Little Black Dog's Blog.
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posted by Harrison at 10:55 PM
#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
“In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. […] Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
Check out the video over at Bayou Renaissance Man
#4: The Taco Liberty Bell
“In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. […] [W]hen White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale […] he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”
#10: Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
“In 1976 the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room."
#26: Drunk Driving on the Internet. At least they knew who to call.
“An article by John Dvorak in the April 1994 issue of PC Computing magazine described a bill going through Congress that would make it illegal to use the internet while drunk […] The article offered this explanation for the origin of the bill: "The moniker 'Information Highway' itself seems to be responsible for SB 040194... I know how silly this sounds, but Congress apparently thinks being drunk on a highway is bad no matter what kind of highway it is." The article generated so many outraged phone calls to Congress that Senator Edward Kennedy's office had to release an official denial of the rumor that he was a sponsor of the bill."
#30: Operation Parallax. The British seem to have cornered the market on hoaxin’ the public.
“In 1979 London's Capital Radio announced that Operation Parallax would soon go into effect. This was a government plan to resynchronize the British calendar with the rest of the world. It was explained that ever since 1945 Britain had gradually become 48 hours ahead of all other countries because of the constant switching back and forth from British Summer Time. To remedy this situation, the British government had decided to cancel April 5 and 12 that year. Capital Radio received numerous calls as a result of this announcement. One employer wanted to know if she had to pay her employees for the missing days. Another woman was curious about what would happen to her birthday, which fell on one of the cancelled days.”
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posted by Harrison at 4:37 PM