|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, September 27, 2002
GLD RACE SELECTION OF THE DAY
Great Lakes Downs - September 27th, 2002 - Race 9
Race Type: Maiden Claiming
1 Riley Irish (OR)
Lori A. Coburn
2 Kibe Shift (IL)
3 Hibury Lane (KY)
Wade P. Rini
4 Clear for Take Off (KY)
James Daniel Schwartz
5 Land Wager (FL)
Joseph C. Judice
6 Bumpawheat (FL)
7 Mr. Spatz (FL)
8 Astro Indigo (IL)
Roberto A. Perez
9 Big Walter K (IL)
Luis Jeronimo Martinez
10 I'nak Ninaa (LA)
Kelly R. Spanabel
There's a specific reason I chose this race to handicap today. Looking at the morning line, you've only got two horses parked at 7/2 or better, and one of those is being ridden by Joe Judice out of the five slot, which in my eyes makes this a potentially great bet for a winner. Therefore, Land Wager, the 5 horse, is my WPS bet. In an effort to try to hit a trifecta here, I'm going to increase my odds. Looking at the field, I want to narrow it down to the six horses that have a reasonable shot at coming in the money. That means I'm eliminating the 10, the 2, the 8, and the 9. That leaves the 1,3,4,6,7 horses to go along with my pick, the 5. Of those, I think the 3, the 6, and the 7 are not good bets to place. So they're bumped to my show slot in the trifecta wheel. That makes the wheel look like this:
5 with 1,4 with 1,3,4,6,7. This is an $8 bet.
We'll see how this goes...
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Race of the Day from GLD
Great Lakes Downs - September 27th, 2002 - Race 8
Race Type: Allowance
1 Overtone (KY)
2 Pito (MI)
Roberto A. Perez
3 Red Miah (OH)
Wade P. Rini
4 Callin Collect (MI)
James Daniel Schwartz
5 Riley City (CA)
Lori A. Coburn
6 Cool Rain Falling (ON)
7 Champ's Surprise (MI)
Luis Jeronimo Martinez
8 Glitter of Hope (KY)
Joseph C. Judice
9 Rhythmair (KY)
I've been doing pretty lousy on my picks recently, haven't I? Well, in this race you've got four horses that are sitting there at 4/1 or better odds. I'm going to toss Colin Skinner on Overtone, as I'm not sold on his skills as a jockey. Also, let's lose Lori Coburn on Riley City. She blows too. That leaves us with Cool Rain Falling, with the guy who's supposed to win every race, Freddie Mata, and Red Miah with Wade Rini aboard. I'm going to put these in there 1/2 and 2/1 in a trifecta wheel, and I'm going to put 2/4/7/8/9 underneath in third. Then I'm going to hedge that with putting those horses into second place. That's a big $20 bet. But I'm feeling lucky when I'm not playing with real money. My WPS pick will be Cool Rain Falling with Freddie aboard.
TWO TRIFECTA WHEELS ($10 EA) 3,6 with 3,6 with 2,4,7,8,9 AND 3,6 with 2,4,7,8,9 with 3,6
WPS BET ($6) on the 6
Sincerely not the first time I've wanted to say, "Shut the fuck up Barbra Streisand."
A picture from my favorite ebay Item of the Day so far. You just know this little guy smacks his bitch around dressed like that.
A great series of books has recently been reissued. "Fletch," and the series of "Fletch" novels chronicles the reporting/sleuthing career of one Irwin Fletcher, played to hilarity by Chevy Chase in the movies. These books were written by Gregory MacDonald, well before a movie was in the works, and were cited by Kevin Smith for teaching him how to write dialogue for the big screen.
I'll give my ratings and synopses for the books I've read below:
"Fletch", the first book in the series, has a reasonably close plot to the movie. Drugs riddle the beaches, and Fletch is there to try to bust the story. An interesting sideplot emerges when wealthy local businessman Alan Stanwyk asks Fletch to murder him. While you can nitpick differences with the plot all day long, the basics of the story stay fundamentally similar. There are some major liberties the movie did choose to take, however. While Fletch does sometimes work undercover, usually with an alias, the movie took this type of work to a new level. There is no "Gordo Liddy, Airplane Mechanic," or "Henry Poon, FAA Investigator." The book is played far more straightforward than the movie, but the dialogue is crisp, fast-paced, and incredibly theatrical in its presentation. While this book certainly holds a place in my heart due to its correlation with one of my favorite movies, it's not my favorite Fletch book.
On a scale of one to five stars, ****
"Fletch Won" is actually the "prequel" book of this series. As a young reporter, Fletch's assignment is to interview a hotshot businessman who's donating money to a local museum. The businessman turns up dead, and Fletch is on the case. One of the shorter books, although they are all light reading, "Fletch Won" plays out mainly through lively dialogue and few extraneous subplots. Except for what probably passes as my favorite subplot in the book. Fletch goes undercover to uncover a health club with more to it than meets the eye. And hilarity ensues. Probably the fastest paced, most "youthful" Fletch book out there, it's as good an introduction to the Fletch universe as the book tied to the movie. Rumor has it, this book will become a movie starring Jason Lee and directed by Kevin Smith. I'd pay $7.50 to see that. Twice.
"Confess, Fletch" is easily my favorite book of the lot. This book not only has more "meat" to it than most of the other books (at least 40 pages longer), but also introduces Boston's Inspector Flynn, who apparently has his own Gregory MacDonald line of books. Flynn is an instinctive inspector, and one whose methods are only questioned until he's proved invariably right. This story centers around an Italian fiancee, a missing, presumably murdered, future father-in-law, and a luxurious apartment in Boston in which a dead body was discovered. Lean, even for it's length, and slightly less dialogue driven than others in the series, "Confess, Fletch" just makes more sense page after page than the rest. And it still retains that sardonic sense of humor.
"Fletch's Fortune" is a terrific look at Fletch's future after his journalistic career comes to an end. Did I mention that he ends it with possibly stolen money living on the Riviera? Well, the IRS, or is it the FBI, or do we even know who sent two "G-Men" type thugs to coerce Fletch into returning to the States to infiltrate a convention filled with top notch journalists from the nation's most powerful media outlets? And why do they want Fletch recording all their secrets? And who is Frederika Arbuckle? While certainly giving Fletch sparring partners that were potentially as worthy as Inspector Flynn, MacDonald lets up a bit in this book, and isn't able to create the same brand of verbal jousting this series normally delivers. Not as memorable a book as previous or subsequent reads. Yes, there's a dead body, and yes, there's a mystery, but it just didn't do it for me beginning to end.
"Fletch and the Widow Bradley" is an interesting little book. Discredited at work due to quoting an apparently long-dead executive from recently circulated memos, Fletch goes to work to save his job. This is probably the thinnest, fluffiest Fletch book of the lot. What I did find interesting was his love interest, an absolute headcase of an actress who predictably gets him into trouble. This mystery, however, was far too easy to solve, as I had it nailed by the 2/3 point of the book. And the extraneous subplot of saving a woman from jumping off a bridge was just gratuitous. I thought the Bronze Star avoidance was a good look into Fletch's personality, carrying its way as a common thread through most of the rest of the series, but Fletch avoiding his community award for saving the life of that lady was too similar a device to be ignored, and completely out of place in the book. A lightweight review for a lightweight piece of fiction, and a fairly obvious mystery. Dialogue, predictably, was excellent as usual.
Drazen Petrovic was a hell of a shooting guard, memorable for his ungodly range, and as this article points out, a precursor of things to come in the NBA. He was cut down too young in his career. Magnificent basketball player. Great article.
Lions to stick with Morninwheg.
Good. The worst thing you can do to a young quarterback is change coaches on him. It gives him brand new systems to learn, and erases all progress that he's made so far. I don't think Morninwheg is the long term answer as our coach, but for the short term, keeping him aboard is the best idea for this struggling team. They're not going to get appreciably better just by changing coaches. Nice move Mr. Ford.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Probably my favorite site to read on the web. I've been keeping up with Mil for a couple years now. He's about the only Brit in the world that's getting a free pass from me at this point (if you have to ask, and you don't know why to begin with, I'm sorry. I just hate British guys at this point. Sorry.). Very enjoyable place to visit.
ebay Item of the Day: My favorite kind of cat.
Uh, I'd like some extra biscuits too... The $20 size please.
PISTONS TO TRADE RODNEY WHITE:
I don't even know where to begin... I remember a few years back, the Pistons grabbed a young, talented shooting guard named Bonzi Wells, then immediately shipped him to Portland. Three years later, they wanted to trade Jerry Stackhouse for him. Huh? What? Now, we have Rodney White, who in most analysts eyes had nearly the top upside of any player in the draft last year. He languishes all year on the Piston bench, now they want to move him. For what? Another first round pick, which will give them three next season, including their own. Oh, did I fail to mention that the Nuggets are giving us Don Reid (the only 6'10" guy who ever played like a 5'10" with no skills) and Mengke Bateer (uh, you look him up, I don't care to) along with that pick?
I don't know what Dumars is doing, but either Tayshaun Prince is the real deal, or Trader Joe might be betting heavy in the LeBron James sweepstakes (which would be uber cool).
I guess now I have two more reasons to not root for the Grizz and Nugs.
TOP SEVEN LIST FOR THE DAY:
Top Seven People I'd Want to Put in a Movie, Were I Making a Movie
in no particular order...
1. Owen Wilson - always cracking me up, but can play straight as well. Love that line in Armageddon where he says "What really bugs me is when they think Jethro Tull is a guy in the band." He'd be writing the movie as well. Love his sense of humor.
2. Don Cheadle - when has he not been excellent in any role he's ever had? Great, great actor who doesn't get the credit he deserves. Brings a lot of flavor to whatever he's doing.
3. Bernie Mac - staying with the Ocean's 11 theme here, Bernie Mac can't play anyone but Bernie Mac, but he's still the funniest motherfucker in movies or TV today.
4. Steve Buscemi - Again, when has he not been excellent? Weirdest looking guy out there, but definitely brings a lot of attitude to whatever he's doing.
5. Kevin Pollak - another one of those character actors who can just make me laugh at any given moment. Excusing some of the bullshit in his career ("Whole Nine Yards," and the "Let's-Lock-Our-Parents-In-The-Basement" movie, which brings me to the point that if you're Kevin Pollak, and you're married to Jamie Lee Curtis, you do whatever you can to not let that piece of ass go, because you're definitely not seeing any better coming down the pipe), he's been really good in movies like "The Usual Suspects." Does a good Shatner impression as well, which would be mandated to keep me laughing between takes.
6. Joe Pesci - where has he been lately? Love that little guy.
7. Bill Murray - with "Rushmore," and "Groundhog Day" as two of my favorite movies of all time, I'd have to bring Bill Murray aboard. Probably my favorite actor, there's not a thing he can't do onscreen.
Well, another thoroughbred selection, another miserable choice. Tank's Little Brother did win, but Jethro Blue and Match Chic finished well back. Now, I'm down $85.20. Gotta hit a big one soon.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Another reason besides illness that I didn't feel much like posting yesterday: 9/23/02 is the date that was supposed to be my second wedding anniversary. That sucks.
It's not my year in fantasy football...
Starting the year 1-2 in my league I'm 100% active in, and in the two auto-draft leagues, I'm 0-3 in both. For my main league, I'm blaming Terrell Owens for his relative crapulence this year so far. He's been sucking, but I'm reluctant to look to move him at this point, as I know the minute I trade him, he explodes. I just grabbed Ricky Williams in a trade, which could be a great move, considering Michael Pittman, the first RB I grabbed in the draft, is laying eggs this year in the endzone. And Jerome Bettis, my #2, has less than 100 yards over two games before his bye week. It's rough. I lost to Zoz, who was 0-2 up to this week, and if my guys don't start stepping up, I'm going to be screwed. The only positive I can take out of this year is that I've got some decent talent on the roster (Deion Branch, Donte Stallworth, Clinton Portis, Steve Smith) for keeper purposes.
I can't believe I'm already looking to write this year off after just week 3.
Great Lakes Downs - September 24th, 2002 - Race 4
Race Type: Maiden Special Weight
1 Digity Dancer (MI)
Roberto A. Perez
2 Jethro Blue (MI)
Luis Jeronimo Martinez
3 Q Tricky Will (MI)
Lori A. Coburn
4 Gotta Pretzel (MI)
5 My Canonero (MI)
Mary Elizabeth Doser
6 Sunset Side (MI)
James Daniel Schwartz
7 Four On a Match (MI)
Timothy V. Jessup
8 Match Break (MI)
9 Tank's Lil Brother (MI)
Wade P. Rini
10 Match Chic (MI)
Joseph C. Judice
These Maiden Claiming races, by nature of the race, feature no horses that have won races previously. Tough to pick, unless there's a horse head and shoulders above the field, which doesn't seem to be the case, as we've got four horses at 6/1 or better. Also, oddly, there are three horses that are "Match" horses, meaning they were probably all from the same bloodlines (Matchlite, a common sire for Michigan horses). I'm going to bet there won't be more than one Match horse in the money. I saw a hell of a workout time for Jethro Blue when I was doing some minor research this weekend, so I'm taking that horse in my trifecta. Grabbing a Match horse, Match Chic, for another spot, and then Tank's Little Brother to round it out. 2/9/10 boxed. For a chance at a decent payout, WPS on the 2, Jethro Blue.
Racing results so far: I've been a little under the weather, and as a result, didn't update yesterday or Sunday the race picks I made for Friday at GLD. Friday was a full moon, and it showed, as longshots came in one after another. Unbelieveable. Was down $43.20, between the two bets I saw zero return (remember, Monopoly money), and am now down $71.20. I'll hit one soon, I promise.
ebay Item of the Day: I was a little tired of Rudolph and Frosty myself.
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Top Seven List of the Day
Emmy Picks! Here's a link to a ballot that lists the nominees. Here are my picks:
1. LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY - Although my heart's with Bernie Mac, I think this is "Friends'" year. With two nominees in this category though, they may split some votes. I think of the two, LeBlanc is more likely. However, I'm going with Kelsey Grammer, as the "Friends" stars will cancel each other out.
2. LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY - I think Sarah Jessica Parker is overrated, as is her show. Debra Messing chews scenery, and her show sucks too. Jane Kaczmarek deserves this award, as her work on "Malcolm..." is always right on point and very funny. However, here is where "Friends" gets it's first award, with Jennifer Aniston getting the nod. She's purty.
3. SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY - Nobody is funnier in this category than Peter Boyle from "Raymond." Except maybe Bryan Cranston, who deserved a nomination for his tremendous work last year, particularly in the roller disco episode. He gets a nod this year, but doesn't get the award. Boyle is hilarious, and steals scenes constantly. He's my pick. By the way, do they continue to trot out the "Frasier" cast simply because their scripts are so highfalutin? Most of what happens on that show is summed up as follows: someone mishears/misunderstands, hilarity ensues, Frasier looks like an ass. I, for one, am tired of it.
4. SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY - Megan Mullally turned into a one note joke last year. That is, when I watched this show as infrequently as I did last year. The only one of these actresses who really makes me laugh is Doris Roberts from "Raymond." What her and Boyle do on that show is comedy magic every episode. She deserves the win. You know who'll get it though? I'm betting Cynthia Nixon from "Sex & the City." Call it a hunch.
5. OUTSTANDING COMEDY - "Friends" gets the praise this juggernaut has deserved for so long. It'll be a just reward for a great season.
6. ACTOR IN A DRAMA - Peter Krause is the hands down winner this year for his meaty work on "Six Feet Under." He did a terrific job playing opposite Rachel Griffiths, as well as dealing internally with his brain tumor problem. He really deserves, and will get, recognition.
7. ACTRESS IN A DRAMA - Griffiths was great, but her character petered out near the end of the season. Kind of puzzling why they chose to turn her into the bitch she became, but whatever. Conroy should have nominated herself in a supporting category, but she didn't have a whole lot to do on "Six Feet" anyway. I can't believe frigging "Judging Amy" gets a nomination, and won't win. That leaves either Allison Janney or Jennifer Garner for the win. I can't believe how good Garner was, in what could easily have been a very lightweight series. She works hard to make things real, natural, and believable in a very odd set of circumstances. I really hope she wins. I do think this is the one place "West Wing" gets their win this year. My pick is Janney.
ebay Item of the Day - anytime you can tie religion and pot humor together is alright by me...
Spartans versus Notre Dame yesterday...
Brent Musberger must be stopped. You heard me. Must. Be. Stopped. A couple of years back, he did a couple of Michigan Wolverine games, and refused to call running back Anthony Thomas anything but "A Train" all game long. He must have used that nickname close to thirty times that game, and seemed proud of himself that he coined the still used nickname for Thomas. I can't tell you how badly that annoyed me at the time, and Musberger is at it again. Yesterday, during the Spartan game, he referred to Charles Rogers many, many times as "Mr. Rogers." Please Brent, for the love of god. You don't have the god given right to bestow nicknames on superstars. He seemed really thrilled to call him "Mr. Rogers," as if he's the first guy ever to think of calling someone with the last name of Rogers "Mr. Rogers." Unbelievable. I just hope that doesn't stick. For a guy who has Randy Moss type game, having a lame ass nickname is going to suck. Unless Nike can make a cool shoe commercial with him using that. I don't know.
Aside from that, I thought the Spartans looked fairly decent. They have no offensive line, meaning Smoker either had too little time, or was on his ass half the day, but I love having a quarterback that is gutty and willing to stand in there and take his lumps. Richard, the freshman tailback, looked real good, and the defense played with heart as well. Losing yesterday to Notre Dame is never fun, but I'm proud of the way the Spartans played, and I think it bodes well for the Big 10 season quickly approaching.
What's wrong with the Lions?
After seeing Foxís pregame show absolutely go off on Millen, Morninwheg, and the Lions this morning, I have to put in my two cents on the whole situation in Detroit.
There are some things that have been done right in Detroit, and some things that have definitely gone wrong in Detroit as well in the last three seasons. I think fans and the media are putting far too much importance in the Lions going 2-14 one year after finishing a season 9-7. The Lions were NOT a 9-7 team in 2000. They were a fading 6-10 team or worse, with some obvious and definite shortcomings that were not getting addressed appropriately with the prior regime.
That prior regime was a team intended to play ball the Bobby Ross way; ďthree yards and a cloud of dustĒ style football. To that end, Ross brought in big linemen for the offense through the draft. He brought in a big running back to grind it out. He was stuck with a big immobile quarterback, and drafted a big immobile quarterback for his offense. Worst of all, on the defensive side of the ball, Ross continued traditions set in the Fontes era of keeping players who werenít top notch at their positions, and pushed for contract renewals for these players above their probable true market value. In the ďwhat have you done for me lately?Ē NFL, the Lions had a history under Fontes of finishing strong after weak starts, barely eking into the playoffs, and getting run, but coaches and management always seemed to see the last five to seven games of the season as something to build on for next year, and would keep that core group around year after year, instead of trying to make upgrades at key positions, particularly CB, both S positions, and the LB spots. Charlie Batch got a major contract extension two to three years before his contract was due to be up, and Herman Moore got a big extension the year prior to his ultimate collapse as an NFL caliber receiver.
So what did that do to the Lions financially? Batch and Moore have cap hits that hurt in both 2002 ($4M I think), and 2003 (over $8M). The Lions are also taking cap hits this year (and possibly next, but I think just this year) on Stephen Boyd, Terry Fair, Ron Rice, Johnnie Morton, and probably others from last yearís team as well. Not that free agents are lining up at the door to play in Detroit, but itís undeniable that having the cap room to bid on their services is preferable to building a winner than being strapped for the cap.
As mentioned before, Bobby Ross brought in his own players to run his style of offense, and these players were incompatible with the scheme that Morninwheg was intent on installing. It takes time to completely overhaul an offense, and those steps have been apparent, albeit slow, over these past two years.
What is shortsighted in the eyes of the media in fans, in general, is how long it takes to overhaul a team properly. This is not an overnight job. In the salary cap era, this sort of rebuilding is extremely difficult, especially without a good nucleus from which to draw. This is a team that has had entire drafts not pan out over the last six to seven years. Itís been a team that hasnít been a player, either by choice, courage, or by circumstance, in free agency over the past five years, and therefore isnít a team that is capable of rebuilding or reloading the same way San Francisco did in the post Steve Young era.
Imagine a Lions team that had a healthy and productive Reggie Brown at OLB, Pro Bowl caliber corners in Fair and Westbrook, four young and outstanding offensive linemen in Backus, Raiola, McDougle, and Gibson, a healthy Germane Crowell providing a deep threat, and a MLB in Chris Claiborne that has manned that position (his natural spot) since day one in the NFL. I understand that draft picks donít work out every time for every team, but the Lions seem especially snake bitten with their first and second round choices over the past few years. Of these nine players, only three are on the active roster, and only Claiborne has shown signs of excellence, and even that was two years ago.
So what is right in Motown? Letís start with their approach in the 2001 draft. Assuming he plays the way he did his rookie year for the remainder of his career, Shaun Rogers could pan out to be the Lions best draft choice in years. Considering he was picked in the late second round, he remains a terrific value. In the 2001 draft, the Lions were able to yield five choices who found playing time, and continue to contribute. Backus, Raiola, Rogers, Scotty Anderson, and Mike McMahon were all chosen, and each saw significant playing time in 2001. In the absence of a true young nucleus on the team prior to this draft, being able to bring the talent that they did aboard in one draft is admirable. I feel that the 2002 draft might not be as deep as 2001, but getting Joey Harrington was the right move at the right time for this regime. Although a player like Quentin Jammer may have made this team better in the short run, what this team has lacked since the 1950s is a true franchise quarterback. I believe that Harrington will be a star, though, and Kalimba Edwards, Chris Cash, Victor Rogers, and undrafted Eddie Drummond will be contributors to this team for the future.
Also, I believe that the coaching staff has the right ideas, albeit the wrong personnel for their gameplan. The short, controlled passing game, combined with a capable dual-threat running back is a terrific strategy for the NFC North, considering two games a year minimum in possible bad weather situations in Green Bay and Chicago. The offensive gameplan is one that stresses rhythm and timing, and those are two things that will come with both the right personnel, as well as practice and repetition. On defense, thereís not a scheme possible that can compensate for the lack of speed this defense has. Again, being able to bring the right people in is going to take time, and I hope that management recognizes this and gives the GM and coaches the time they need to get the right people in the right places for this team.
Overall, with the new facilities in place, and hopefully a new attitude in ownership with Bill Ford taking a more active role, Iím hoping the Lions can bring a positive spin to what promises to be a long season of continuous learning experiences. Get your high draft choice, parlay it into a difference maker on either side of the ball, or trade down for more picks. Most of all, understand that this process is not going to take place overnight, and the most important thing you can do to a young quarterback is keep him on the same learning curve, and donít assume that a coaching change is the type of thing that will make a difference with this team for the short run. In 2002, this is a 4-12 team at best. Acknowledge that, try to get better, but be consistent, and make your offseason moves work for you over the next two years. Then, the Lions will be in a position to be true contenders.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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