Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Eldorado" by Edgar Allan Poe, via John Wayne & James Caan

Always had a thing for the poetry of a Quest.

We know this from the John Wayne movie, El Dorado.
But, did we know hence it came?
Edgar Allan Poe, 1848

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old,
This knight so bold-
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow-
"Shadow," said he.
"Where can it be-
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride boldy ride,"
The shade replied-
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

How Racing Works: The Stewards

Typical Race, Typical Track

Inside the racing office was a cantankerous troll, who I learned had got his job through nihilism, nepotism, cronyism, blackmailism, obscene forms of patronage and the ability to not only collect a lot of dirt on the racing commissioners, but actually remember who's dirt was whose.  This was the Racing Secretary.  Trainers spent many hours of their mornings groveling at the troll's feet in order to get a number, which allows a horse to enter a race it can't possibly win.  It is a system based on cheap gratuities, mostly gifts of coffee and jelly donuts, and the abilty to shamelesslly lose at golf or poker almost continuously.  The office is also home to the Stewards, the guys (yeah, it is kind of sexist), who try to enforce the rules of racing.  Mostly they confiscate batteries, conduct field sobriety tests on horses, oversee urine testing (horses can pee about a gallon, so that's a lot of overseeing), and admonish jockeys about road rage, illegal amphetamines and citizenship issues.  They also make sure nobody has watered the bourbon in the Turf Club, parked in their private parking space or kidnapped a trainer's pharmacist in order get him to throw a race.  Most Stewards are retired racetrack types, who got the job because their tab at the backstretch kichen was out of control.  Racing people take care of their own.

                                                    However, the Stewards Notice that Something is Amiss!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Horse Show: Always Bring Beer...Vodka, Gin.

I guess you could say that we are still in the dating women with a horse category.  The woman invites you to go to a horse show.  You're thinking it is probably like going to Wimbledon where an overdressed waiter never lets your drink get to half-staff.  You're also thinking that sex might be involved.  Of course, you thought that too when you went on that romantic oil-changing expedition.  And you thought that...

However...The first job was to reset Brownie's shoes.  The second job was to unload the truck.  This was a two-day show, which meant unloading and loading basically took place in the same twenty-four hour period.  Added together, this amounted to relocating about six-hundred pounds of 'stuff.'  Among the collection was a tack trunk the size of a coffin, tack room curtains made of lead macrame, saddle racks (plural), potted plants, rugs, brooms, brushes, hay, grain, buckets, bridles, tent stakes and a refrigerator.

"This must be for the beer?" I quipped.

"It's for Brownie's medication.  He has arthritis."

"You're going to make this poor arthritic horse jump over fences?  Boy, we both better get some beer."

"It's illegal."

"Beer is illegal!?"

"Not for you, for Brownie.  They test for drugs.  All this medicine is organic.  This is aloe vera, this is biotin, and this stuff is Yucca.  It really helps."

I read the price tag on the Yucca.  $84.50 an ounce.  Heroin was cheaper.'

Later, the question about sex as a possible reward for hours of manual labor was clarified: Jesse slept in the cab of the truck and I slept with two bales of hay and a sweaty horse blanket.  Talk about romantic.  I smelled like the inside of a gym sock.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

ISBN #978-145750-492-1

Should have "Open for Business" at this site by next week.

Allows direct ordering here!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Romeo & Juliet? Hopefully with a Different Ending

"A first date shouldn't be one of those instances where your life feels like it is being sucked out the front of your shoes.  Sure it's a little tense at first, what with your whole life seemingly at stake, but it's just a date.  Two people, sacred shitless, eating something messy like spaghetti in a public place -- with other people watching.  Other people that instinctively know it's your first date because you're eating too much garlic bread.  And the waiter -- he smiles a lot for  somebody on minimum wage.  Don't forget the valet.  He parked two vehicles.  One with a dog and another one that smelled funny and had a cat inside.  And you're sitting face to face.  Distance.  No chance for accidental body contact.  It's just a date!  Besides, I read somewhere that you can't get dumped on a first date.  Abandoned in a parking lot, but not dumped."

  Part II
3rd Date Protocols:

"Good thing she never found the toilet seat up.  Co-mingling toilets only happens after seven, maybe eight dates.  For now, it was off-limits.  I was in toilet etiquette training anyway.  Little Post-Its that read, "Flush -- Lid!" plastered on the mirror along with horse snot from you know who.  Funny, but she could probably accept a horse in the bathroom, but not the lid thing.  Or was I projecting?  You know, I'll do this because she'll be anticipating the opposite in hopes of me noticing her anticipation and thereby adjusting my behavior because I noticed her discomfort in what I was thinking about doing, but didn't.  There.  Makes perfect sense."

Part III
You Must Know the Hierarchy:

[The story's heroine was horsey, subsequently, certain rules exist.]  "This allows a man the most ingracious of faux pas (that's plural in case you were wondering), if it involves a horse.  Somehow, in the broken logic of Jesse's (the heroine's) mind, her mother could be offended as long as the offense first travleled through Jesse's horse.  I could not offend either one directly without the horse, and further, I could not offend the horse unless it had first offended Jesse, but not her mother.  Fathers were out of the loop completely and I was never able to clarify third-party offenses aimed at groups in general or somebody else's horse.  However, I could be offended equally by all, including Jesse's horse, and retalliation was considered the worst sort of response, bringing me full circle as far as offenses went.  It was a little like doing the seating arrangements at the UN.  "Hey Kofi, let's put Syria next to Israel -- see if they swap recipes or something."  Hell, the rules were so complicated I had to write them on my arm."


Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

But, As Luck Happens in Marginal Fairy Tales


h my Gosh!  Rudy's sick!"  she wailed.  Glancing around the stall, she finally found the source of Fast Rudy's distress.  Lying in his feed tub was a half-eaten fruitcake.  And was it ever hard!

Fast Rudy -- Vignettes From a Marginal Fairy Tale

Our hero has a race in mind!

The race meet was scheduled to close on December 24th, a mere five days away.  The final race of the card, The Last Gasp Handicap, run at 22 furlongs, looked to be the spot that Rudy had always needed.  With a purse of five golden rings, three French hens and some other bird in a pear tree, a victory would save Mrs. Jack from the poorhouse.  Eat the birds, hock the rings.  Real simple......

Fast Rudy -- Vignettes From a Marginal Fairy Tale

nce upon a time, in a faraway land, a young lad named Young Jack was sent on an important family matter.  Wearily trudging through the countryside, Jack hoped to trade his last bag of magic beans for a $5000 claimer.  Jack's mother, who trained some runners at a local track, was having a terrible season.  In fact, she was down to her last horse, a sad looking gelding named Fast Rudy, who had never been able to get in a race because of a red spot on his butt.  It really wouldn't have mattered in most cases, except that it had been overlooked on his registration papers, a discrepancy that the evil Sheriff of Nothinghappening, happened to notice, who coincidentally moonlighted as a racetrack identifier, duly appointed by the Governor to rob the poor and stop those 20-1 shots from walking away with a race................