|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, July 12, 2003
Dearest Enemy finishes sixth.
Maybe that race I won money on him with was a fluke.
Quiet Reflection - a scratch in 7/11/03's 7th race.
Friday, July 11, 2003
Want Summore Wins - Pays $9.40 on the win.
This time, he led the pack from beginning to end. Won by four lengths. Go Want Summore!
There's a good discussion going on at a message board to which I belong in regards to the possibility of gay marriage. First off, I'm not gay, but I am a "Whatever Floats Your Boat" believer. There's people on both sides of the fence, and here's a post I wrote, just to add a little more to this Friday's Blog:
"I say that a man can believe whatever he wants to believe, but he shouldn't allow his government to make laws based on beliefs and perception of righteousness.
If gays were able to have 'marriage ceremonies' that were as legal as a 'traditional' marriage, but your church still didn't allow gays to be married, what's the difference?
I mean, if you're Islamic, you believe that the Catholics are wrong, right? Can't you believe that if your church doesn't allow gay marriage, then the only valid marriages are the ones that occur in your church? That's how the Mormons believe, right? If you don't get your special wacky code name you and your wife won't be able to connect on the other side and ascend to being gods of your own world. So a Catholic or Islamic marriage to them doesn't even count.
And really, gays are getting 'married' all the time. The only (AND I REPEAT, ONLY) difference is that the government doesn't recognize them.
And that means what?
It means that they can't file income tax together, that they can't have a spousal relationship when it comes to health insurance, there's no spousal 'power of attorney (like in a right-to-die case),' and there is no natural progression of property ownership when one spouse passes.
Is there anything that I've missed there? Really?
So basically, in my eyes, being against gay marriage is basically saying that there are special privleges reserved only for heterosexual couples, and that other forms of partnership are excluded from these privleges.
Shouldn't the government HAVE TO treat these partnerships the same way? Why isn't this the same as giving black people the right to own property? Why isn't this the same as women fighting for the right to vote?
The thing is, if there were NO SPECIAL TREATMENT, this wouldn't be an issue. But hetero couples are being treated differently, specially. I don't think that gay couples want SPECIAL treatment, I think they want equal access to partnership benefits.
And why in god's name ('scuse the pun) is that a moral issue? Take the government out of endorsing marriages, and you'd see that marriages between gays is already ALL AROUND YOU AND CANNOT BE STOPPED. There are simply no legal ramifications to pledging their partnership.
And what is it that you have a problem with morally? That gays want partnership benefits when they choose to join lives as spouses, or does it make you sick that they choose to live lives like that in the first place?
Regardless of the solution to this marriage question, gays will continue to unite and live together and pledge their lives to one another, which is everything a marriage is all about, with or without the raised seal validating a "legal" marriage certificate. And this will continue to happen WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. Preventing gay marriage does not prevent gay marriage. It simply extends the tradition of special treatment to the traditional Christian definition of marriage that you're more comfortable with. It doesn't prevent a man from calling another man "my husband." It never will."
Equibase Company LLC
Race 4 - Dearest Enemy dropped in class, but produced an $8k claimer payout of $76 for me last time it raced. Again, this horse came from way off the pace and finished unbelievably strong.
Equibase Company LLC
Quiet Reflection in the 7th race tonight. Won at short odds almost a month ago against similar competition, but came from way off the pace to strike. It closed beautifully, and will win again tonight.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Silent Success - Why tech pundits don't talk about XM Satellite Radio.
I like Slate more and more... and I love my XM Radio. One of these days, I'll give you a bunch of reasons why. But here's a couple:
- "Rollin' Wit Kid N Play" and "Fuck Wit Dre Day," both uncensored, playing on the same channel.
- Frank's Place, a channel dedicated to Sinatra and other traditional jazz singers, not to be confused with OTR, or On The Rocks, a channel of lounge music.
- XM Live, featuring hour blocks of live concerts, mostly from the BBC archives. But Pink Floyd '72? Zeppelin '73? Hell yes.
- Minimal mindless banter. With minor exceptions, you might hear nine or ten songs in a row before you hear a DJ.
- They played my request, an obscure live cut of a Van Morrison song, right when I asked them to play it, and read my name on the air. That's cool. My name was beamed into space.
21 killed in Hong Kong bus accident
Go check out the picture there. A bus flies off a bridge, pretty grisly thought. Helluva accident.
Some guy's blog - and he's talking about gay marriage: "What's scary is that the state has less and less power to have authority over moral issues. In our relativistic society today, morals run in every direction. As a Christian, one believes that all authority comes from God. God has given this authority to earthly governments. This authority is supposed to include morality as well. However, as a nation, the United States is moving away from that. And that, if anything, is what I find truly sad about this decision. "
Here's one of those opinions I was talking about. This wide sweeping assumption that everyone is either Christian or needs to live under Christian ideals is what prevents this from being a discussion based on logic.
Here's another quote from the same blog, quoted from a dissenting opinion on the sodomy case:
"Texas Penal Code Ann. §21.06(a) (2003) undoubtedly imposes constraints on liberty. So do laws prohibiting prostitution, recreational use of heroin, and, for that matter, working more than 60 hours per week in a bakery. But there is no right to "liberty" under the Due Process Clause, though today's opinion repeatedly makes that claim.
The Court embraces instead Justice Stevens' declaration in his Bowers dissent, that "the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice," ante, at 17. This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation. If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws can survive rational-basis review."
Behavior has consequences. Heroin use leads to addiction. Prostitution leads to losing respect for yourself. Working 60 hours a week, well, that's a personal choice, isn't it? But that's what this boils down to. Why should the government legislate behavior? If the consequences are personal and not societal (don't even bring the AIDS argument into this, that's irrelevant), why should the government have laws that legislate my feelings of right and wrong for my own personal consequences?
Can I kill someone? No. That affects society. So does not paying your taxes, double parking, and knocking over banks. Should I be able to work 60 hours in a bakery if that's my choice? Absolutely. That affects only me. If I'm being FORCED to work 60 hours in a bakery, that's another story. That's society, or at least the baker, affecting me.
I wish so-called moralists and do-gooders would just stay the hell out of my life and not tell me to what sort of moral code I need to adhere.
ESPN.com: MLB - One Pirate has beef with Racing Sausages
I just saw the clip of the incident. Absolutely ludicrous he was arrested. Ridiculous. He barely tapped her, and was obviously hitting far higher than her head could conceivably have been. It was more of a stupid prank than a malicious incident.
USATODAY.com - Americans must preserve institution of marriage: "Marriage has already been weakened. The out-of-wedlock childbirth rate is at a historically high level, while the divorce rate remains unacceptably high. Legalization of gay marriage would further undermine an institution that is essential to the well-being of children and our society. Do we need to confuse future generations of Americans even more about the role and importance of an institution that is so critical to the stability of our country?"
This whole bullshit attitude against gay marriage is summed up right there. Basically, Santorum is trying to say "leave marriage for us Christians who know how to handle it."
As far as I'm concerned, it has ZERO effect on me whether or not two men or two women want to be considered "married." It has zero effect on Santorum.
And if you're so damn concerned about the "importance of an institution that is so critical to the stability of our country," remember the theory of "think globally, act locally." But remember along with that, that you are not the only person whose beliefs and desires matter. Teach your children, teach your church group, speak up in your community, and set expectations with your children that marriage is not to be taken on lightly. But teach tolerance and respect, and remind your children that it's a big world and that they cannot be expected to meet nothing but people who think and believe identically to them, and that it's more important to be a good human being than it is to be a dogmatic fundamentalist asshole.
That is all.
Ananova - Horse called Big Tits could run in UK
Here's to the Cubs winning the World Series... And Big Tits!
CNN.com - New software tells you what you like - Jul. 10, 2003: "The Wall Street Journal published a story last year on people who are not gay but whose TiVos think they are because of one or two shows they recorded. "
Ha ha! Your TiVo thinks you're GAAAA-AAAY! Your TiVo thinks you're GAAAA-AAAY!
That's what you get for recording "Sex in the City" and "Queer as Folk" on back to back nights. This does beg the question. Are there homophobes out there that might like "Sex in the City," but are afraid to record it lest their TiVo suggest gay programming in the future? Heh heh heh...
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Sign my guest map, linked at the top of the page...
CNN.com - Experts: Failed twin surgery was ethical - Jul. 9, 2003
Was it ethical? Whose decision is that to make? Yours? The media? A governments? Did the women understand they might die? Yes. Did they understand that this surgery was highly experimental? Yes. Did they know that it hadn't been done on adults before ever? Yes. Who are we to tell them they can't take a risk that may allow them to live their lives the way they want to? Their body, their decision. Don't make assumptions.
The Breast Stroke - Swimming Pool has gobs of nudity, but does it have a point? By David Edelstein: "And then the drama proper starts, with the unheralded late-night arrival of Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), Sarah's publisher's semi-estranged French daughter. Sarah hadn't known about Julie—but then, no one had. And Julie has kept it that way. She is vague about her past, her future, and the whereabouts of her mother. She hints that her prim father has a secret life. She appalls Sarah with her mess, her intrusive questions, her provocative wardrobe (short skirts and tight tank tops—or no tops at all), and her habit of bringing home a different unattractive man every night and having noisy sex. Julie relishes the swimming pool that Sarah regards as a repository of bacteria. But slowly, very slowly, Sarah begins to take an interest in the young woman's inner life—to fantasize about her, finger her undergarments, even transcribe bits of her pilfered diary in the hope of integrating it into her novel. Sarah is even moved to venture into those now-shimmering blue waters. …"
Why is it that when the French do this, it's an "Art Film," but when it's a US Film, it's straight-to-video "Poison Ivy 2" with Jaime Pressley (a hugely underrated titillation-fest at bare minimum)?
CNN.com - Puppies flown from Iraq to California - Jul. 8, 2003
I love my dog, but sometimes animal do-gooders piss me off. I am chagrined that this woman, watching war coverage on TV, is ignoring the reporter's story to concentrate on the puppies roaming the desert in the background. And I'm astounded that her first thought is "how do I get those puppies the love they need." Unbelievable. But what boggles my mind is that the US Air Force shipped the puppies back to her. They have nothing better to do with their time? Well, at bare minimum, the lady put her money where her mouth is, paying $1k for the puppies to be flown to her. Gotta give her credit for that. Also, unlike people with ideals but no backbone, she made these puppies her problem. She's raising them and taking care of them. Bravo, I guess, but lady... you're nuts.
The Onion | Lottery Winner An Inspiration To All Who Play The Lottery: "After years of back-breaking ticket-buying, Teddy LeBarge's hard work finally paid off Monday, when the 36-year-old Snellville man won $193 million in the multi-state Mega Millions lottery, making him an inspiration to lottery players everywhere."
God bless you Teddy LeBarge... God bless...
Hastert truck hit by water balloon
First off, this is news? Second, what is a 33 year old man doing lobbing water balloons at parade vehicles? Third, FELONY AGGRAVATED BATTERY? Are you kidding?
This does remind me of a great story though. I was 16, and a bunch of friends and I piled in my boy Nate's truck, a big damn pickup, armed with a huge cooler full of water balloons. We had three guys in the cab and probably six of us in the back. We cruised around on a hot summer night throwing at pedestrians and parked cars.
Then, just after dark, we were driving through a quiet suburban neighborhood a couple blocks from my house when we spot some guy outside washing his pickup. Just after dark, so he wouldn't get water spots. Well, this was too easy. We drove by and pelted the guy as he went running back towards his house. Apparently, once wasn't enough, so we spun around the block and reapproached. One of the guys in the back grabbed the biggest balloon we had left and BOOM!, slammed it down hard right on the roof of this guy's pickup as we passed.
But the guy apparently wasn't through with us. He hopped in his car and gave chase. We were doing about 75 MPH through the neighborhoods (yes, with six guys in the bed of the truck holding on for dear life) when we tried to round a corner, spun out, and slammed to a stalled stop against a curb.
So this skinny 20-something year old guy and his girl hop out of the truck. We've got eight or nine guys, including five guys minimum who could have beat this guy up all on their own. But as he's yelling and screaming at us, we all, to a man, are looking at our feet muttering "yes sir, no sir, I'm sorry sir," and dumping all the rest of our ammo by the side of the road.
We were such wusses.
The Seattle Times: Local News: Homeless serving as billboards: "The homeless were a new advertising vehicle "
Yes, it's ingenius. Who would have thought to have hobos carrying pizza advertisements. Well, maybe not hobos exactly. I mean, these guys aren't wearing crushed and torn-as-if-by-can-opener top hats and carrying sticks with knotted kerchiefs filled with cans of beans and hopefully a change of underpants inside. Homeless. In Portland, homeless people are getting a slice and a Coke in return for carrying a pizza ad for a brief period.
The ad agency responsible is trying to cut through the "ad clutter."
Here's my problem. The proliferation of media in the last twenty years (cable TV, internet, more magazines, corporate controlled radio) has streamlined advertising to the point where it doesn't have the same effectiveness it may have had in your parents' days of three channel TV. As a result, they've not only thrown more ads at us in these media outlets (have you noticed how many pages of ads you go through in most magazines between the cover and anything that could be considered content?), they've worked hard to fill our landscape with invasive product placement. In the movie "ET," they featured Reese's Pieces, and sales of the candy shot up 65% after the movie. Companies have put their names on stadiums for professional sports, even the ones built through the funding of taxpayers. There are far more billboards on every highway than there were 20 years ago. There are just too many examples to illustrate.
And here we are. Advertisers are getting more aggressive in trying to get our attention. And we let them. We let our boxers (for awhile) be sponsored with a large tattoo of an offshore sports book and online casino on their back. We watch as an enormous building-sized billboard of an Oregon Duck football player is erected in Times Square when half the population of NYC probably couldn't point to Oregon on the map. We let the networks digitally insert billboard style ads into the background of our baseball games on TV.
And where does this leave us? With the probablility that the old ways and these new ways will continue to be heavily saturated to the point of overload, leaving marketers to look for new ways to reach their targets. But never really abandoning the old ways.
More ads. All over. I really wish things were simpler.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
CNN.com - Britney acknowledges she's not a virgin - Jul. 8, 2003: "'I've only slept with one person my whole life,' the pop star tells W magazine for its August issue. "
Umm... Uh huh.
Dissertation could be security threat
An amazing article. This surprises me that the government hadn't really thought to put something like this together previously. For a dissertation, a graduate student of geography mapped out the country's entire fiber optic infrastructure, and has showed key points where taking this infrastructure out could have serious implications to our economy.
What strikes me as funny is that there are people who will cry, "Make this information public so we (our government) can guard these crucial points!" Absolutely ludicrous. How do you propose we guard a data intersection, let alone every "crucial" data intersection in America? That's nuts.
And, you know, as long as terrorists make symbols and people their targets (WTC, cafe' bombings in Israel), our economy is relatively safe. You know what would have done a great deal more damage to our infrastructure than destroying the WTC? What if those same four planes, two apiece, were hurdled into the Ford Motor Company corporate HQ, and into one of their biggest plants (say, River Rouge). That would have brought Ford completely to their knees. And, more significantly, all their suppliers as well. And all the dealerships. What a shockwave that would have created. But striking NYC was the glamour blow. Hey, you got what you wanted. Just not the total crippling blow to the economy you could have created.
The Neurotic Fishbowl Archives: March 2002: "I was in a commercial with Mary Lou Retton for “Super Bowling Saturday” when I was maybe about ten. "
I'm not crazy. This commercial really happened. This is the one thing from my youth that no one else believes existed. But yes, Mary Lou Retton did commercials for bowling.
Hey! Let's go bowling! Mary Lou loves bowling!
Monday, July 07, 2003
Money in the banks: Companies invest in making branches more customer-friendly
Gee, you think so guys? You know, when I started with NBD back in the mid 90s, there was this movement to get people to utilize the internet and ATMs to save the time of the employees in the branch system. There were all sorts of innovations popping up. Remember Wingspan Bank? I had to think for a minute to remember those guys. Totally internet based bank. No branches, everything done online. Flagstar Bank, and soon but shortly NBD, had a webcam based mortgage preapproval system. You could be in your realtor's office, scan/fax a couple of documents to a loan officer on one side of a web cam (my big fat head in a little tiny box on someone else's PC amuses me), and he could generate a preapproval for your home purchase. Banks were trying to get their customers out of the branches. Now, ideally, a business with less overhead can make more money. Why not discourage people from coming in? But banks took it to an extreme. They really seemed to make people feel that they didn't want them coming in to the branches, and totally forgot that ultimately this is a customer service business.
So gourmet coffee is going to bring people back? No. But if banks are smart, they'll know that bringing more money into the bank means making more loans, and ultimately more profits, they'll start to treat people better in general. Bringing people back to the branches is the first step. Cutting down some of those nickel-and-dime fees, or at least letting branch level employees use common sense to waive fees for irate customers would be nice. And use internet banking as an extra added bonus, not a preferred method of doing business. If people see it initially as a novelty and not an inconvenience, they'll use it. And if they use it, they'll continue to use it because it is easier. Then the bank will see the return on that investment.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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