Thursday, December 31, 2009

Check Out AFC Playoff Game Stuff For Sunday!

Check out my article regarding the AFC games in the NFL this Sunday with playoff implications.

And don't forget to pick up your copy of and they're off! with that awesome cover by Jaitip Srisomburananont.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hooked on Clash of the Gods

I've been watching this show on the History Channel, Clash of the Gods, and it's awesome.
Hercules pisses off Hera by being Hercules.  She sends madness to him.  He kills his children.  He does the twelve labors.  Then, he commits suicide becuase the twelve labors didn't help him rid himself of his guilt.
King Minos decides to keep his prized bull to himself.  Posiedon gets pissed and gets Minos' wife to fall in love with the bull.  The bull bears the Minotaur.  Athens and Crete go back and forth and the Cretian's kill Athenian virgins by sticking them in the labyrinth with the Minotaur until Theseus comes by and kills the Minotaur.  But, as luck would have it, Theseus doesn't raise the white sail, like his dad told him to do, on his way back to Athens and so his dad,  King Aegis, throws himself into the water and dies.
What's in store today?  How about an episode on the Lord of the Rings.  I'm wondering what the profs are going to say about that.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Breeders' Cup This Weekend!

The best two days in horse racing this year occur on Friday and Saturday. I've already got numerous articles posted in the BetUS Locker Room on almost every single one of the 2009 Breeders' Cup races. Check those out starting with my Classic picks.

Classic Picks

Also, here are some thoughts:

Rose Catherine in the Juvenile Fillies Turf is the best overlay bet on Friday.

Court Vision in the Mile is the best overlay bet on Saturday.

Summer Bird should win the Classic.

Zenyatta won't finish in the Top 5 in the Classic.

It's worth betting the Pick 6 if you can keep it under control, less than $150 total.

Don't forget to pick up your copy of Stories From the Racetrack.

See ya!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

and they're off! Stories From the Racetrack Now on Sale Through

and they're off!, my short story collection about a fictional racetrack, is now on sale through

Pick up a copy, why don't ya'?

Purchase and they're off! Stories From the Racetrack

Check Out Bleacher Report Article on Florida vs. LSU

Check out the article my freind Greg Riot posted on the Bleacher Report about the upcoming game between LSU and Florida.

I sort of feel like LSU turned the corner with that victory over Georgia last week, and Greg agrees but he likes Florida to win. I'm not so sure. I've seen this LSU team play a couple of times this year and that defense is pretty tough.

We shall see!

Florida vs. LSU With or Without Tim Tebow

Monday, October 5, 2009

and they're off! stories from the racetrack - Part 1

and they're off! stories from the racetrack is finally available for purchase. Below is an excerpt from A Day At The Races Ain't Always Funny. I've added a link to where the short story collection can be purchased for those who might be interested.


Sammy and I ran into the building. Sammy’s dad followed. We got in line behind a wall of people. I turned and watched Sammy’s dad walk towards us, his head hung low, his feet shuffled. I think I might have felt sorry for him, but Sammy was so excited that I couldn’t stop listening to anything he was saying.
“Come on, dad!” Sammy yelled and some of the older folks turned and looked at us as if we were dogs that had been let off of their leashes. “Let’s get our money! How much did we win?”
Sammy’s dad suddenly smiled as he stared at the two of us. Then, he told us, “You two hang back here and I’ll cash our ticket.”
We waited as Sammy’s dad took his time finding the line he wanted to get into. I started wondering why he had decided to get into the longest line. Then, I put it together, he wanted to waste time, to think about what he was going to do next, but I wasn’t going to say anything because Sammy was my friend and I didn’t want to make him feel bad.
Sammy kept looking around, staring at everybody, and making jokes. “You know who that is?” he’d ask me and then he’d hit me in the shoulder and slyly point to an old woman or an old man.
“Who?” I’d ask.
“Yo Mama!” he’d say and then he’d laugh. I’d laugh along with him even though I didn’t think it was funny. It didn’t make any sense either since some of the old people were men and there was no way my mamma could be confused with a man. Still, I sort of got why Sammy kept doing it. He was nervous about something and even though he wasn’t sure what it was, I had a good idea of what it was and I felt sorry for him.
A hurricane is nothing compared to what Sammy was going through at the racetrack. I know, I know, how can I say that? Well, I can say it because it’s true. There’s disappointment of the kind that you can’t control. The kind that comes down from heaven or comes up from hell. It rips you to shreds like a mad dog on a steak whether it comes from above or below, but then there’s the kind of disappointment that just comes at you in small rips, like paper cuts. A hurricane is from heaven or hell, washing away most living things, but washing away all of the trash too. But Sammy’s dad? He was like those small rips, those paper-cuts, the kind that keeps bleeding no matter what you try to do to stop it from bleeding. That was Sammy’s dad, a never-ending paper cut.
He finally came back to us. “Keeping the money safe in my back pocket!” he said and he smacked his own ass.

Like this? Then purchase the entire collection at:

and they're off! stories from the racetrack

Monday, August 31, 2009

Could Cheney Be Right About CIA Probe?

Could Dick Cheney be right about the CIA Probe?   I can't even believe that I'm asking the question as I've always had an issue with Darth Vader and his side-kicks, but Cheney, who recently said that President Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to look into CIA interrogation techniques during the Bush Administration years was "politically motivated", might have a point.
I haven't been able to figure out exactly why the Obama Administration is looking into supposedly past CIA transgressions.  After all, we are talking about "The Company", "The Spooks" (not my friend Chenjerai's former rap group but the name given to CIA operatives), the very people who's job success requires deception.
The micromanagement of CIA Operatives in the field has never been, and should never, in my opinion, be an important goal for the Attorney General to shoot for.  The CIA shouldn't work under it's own rules, that's not what I'm saying, but it should work under guidelines that keep it separate from other organizations.  Why?  Because by it's very nature the CIA is another organization.  It's sole purpose is to gather intelligence that keeps the United States number one in the world.  How it does it may need to change and the Obama Administration can do that, but spending time, money and effort on figuring out the rightness or wrongness of what happened in the past makes no sense to me.
Would it be possible to glean information from prisoners with different interrogation methods?  Maybe, but by opening a can of worms that could quickly become the size of the Capitol Building, the Obama Administration can only be hoping for one thing, deflection.  That has to be the word, right?  Deflection from the fact that unemployment is rampant in our cities and we haven't made any headway in Afghanistan?
The Obama Administration cannot be faulted for either one, but by playing a Bush Administration "card", blaming the past administration for not being able to solve present day issues, the Obama Administration has already proven themselves to be no different than the Bush Administration when it comes to explaining why, after more than 200 days in office, nothing has really changed.  Nothing at all.
But, I digress.  The truth is that the CIA is the CIA for a reason and I have to agree with Cheney on one respect - - there hasn't been a terrorist atttack on American soil since 9/11.
That's a fact.  Maybe, we should leave the CIA alone and let it do its job.  Nobody likes to be micromanaged, after all. 
There are bigger issues to solve than punishing the CIA for what they did under Cheney's and Bush's watch, much bigger.  Let bygones be bygones is what I say.

Monday, August 24, 2009

33 Advertisers Pull Away From Fox's Glenn Beck

After Glenn Beck called President Barrack Obama a racist on national television, he promptly went on vacation.
Well, he's back today, but, thank goodness, thirty-three advertisers have decided not to go back to the Obama bashing with him.  Beck's program, which can only be described as vitrolically stupid, is as fanciful to the right as espousing upon Quentin Tarantino's supposed genius is to those film goers who see more on the screen then blood and pulp.  Hey, I like most of Quentin's stuff too, but let's be honest...after the cringing gore and comedy, what's left?  Not much.
But, I'm not hapring on Quentin because at least he doesn't pretend that he's more than an entertainer.  Beck, and his buffoonish buddy, Rush Limbaugh, do.
Well, Beck's entertainment, or supra-entertainment Fox would lead us to believe, has gotten him in trouble with no less than thirty-three advertisers.  Geez!  And the Philadelphia Eagles thought they'd lose some advertising dollars when they signed Michael Vick!
I suppose I'll have to start describing Beck's program as vilotrilically limp as opposed to vitrolically stupid.  Actually, I doubt Beck will leave the stupidity behind.  After all, he's made a killing off of it.
What's really surprising, almost inspiring actually, is that one of the advertisers who has pulled out of supporting Beck's program is Wal-Mart.  That's right.  The right winger's favorite bastion of Republican economics.
If Wal-Mart hates you, Glenn Beck, then you can be assured that everybody hates you.
Better shore up that resume, buddy.  You're going to need it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Journalist Robert Novak Changed Washington Politics Forever

It used to be that journalism, even tinged with yellow from Hearst like rags from the early part of the last century, meant something in this nation.
That changed in 2003 when Robert Novak released the name of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame, and all hell broke loose in Washington.  For those who don't remember, Valerie Plame is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson.  Wilson, of course, is the whistle blower who came out and said that Iraq had never tried to purchase yellow cake uranium from the African nation of Niger.  The overlord himself, Dick Cheney, decided to fight back by using Scooter Libby, who became the fall guy for this entire ordeal, and Robert Novak to get back at Wilson by outing Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.
It was all very 90201'ish back then and is even more so now considering that no further evidence has come out regarding the Saddam Hussein regime and nuclear weapons. But Scooter Libby going to jail actually wasn't the biggest watershed moment to come out of the yellow uranium case, or scandal, depending on who you speak to.
The most important moment was the fact that those in the media who bat on the right had suddenly become more than just pinch-hitters.  They had become clean-up men.  Novak went from being a guy espousing the Bush Administration's vitrolic ridiculousness to a guy actually putting that ridiculousness into motion.  Take a look at Rush Limbaugh who has so frightened the Republican Party this year that the head of their committe, Michael Steele, actually apologized to Limbaugh for saying that Limbaugh's show was "ugly" and "incendiary", or take a look at Glen Beck who can outright call the President of the United States a racist and not only get to keep his job but remain the focal point of the Fox News Network's belligerent hate talk that they consider journalism.
Beck and Limbaugh run the Republican Party.  Not the politicans.  The media of the right have officially taken over the right.
Who should the nation thank for this?  Robert Novak who passed away today at the age of 78 after battling cancer.  I liked Novak.  I wasn't a big fan of his politics, but I appreciated his wit, his ability to strike hard at his opponents in debates no matter what the issue.  Novak was a commentator and debater that harkened to the days of Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley.  Novak was someone that the left could respect.
Now, instead of Robert Novak, we have Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, but that's Robert Novak's fault.  2003 and Valerie Plame.  That was all Robert Novak and Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby.  Novak opened the door for Beck and Limbaugh.
We should still respect Novak.  We should still offer our condolences to his family and offer a "may you rest in peace" to his spirit, but we shouldn't forget that Robert Novak changed the relationship between the media, politicians, and political decisions forever.
There would be no Glen Beck today without Robert Novak and 2003.  Is that a good or bad thing?  I'll hold my tongue in regards to that question.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zenyatta Wins Clement L. Hirsch but Rachel is Still the Queen

Zenyatta won the Clement L. Hirsch on Sunday at Del Mar, but Rachel Alexandra is still the queen.  Simply put, Zenyatta was all out to beat a field that Rachel no doubt on a dirt surface, would probably have beaten by between 10 to 20 lengths.
I was a bit embarrassed, actually, for both the connections of Zenyatta and Zenyatta's fans as I watched them gush over the brilliant filly.  Yes, Zenyatta is still brilliant, 12 victories in a row means something, but she has yet to run against Rachel Alexandra on a traditional dirt surface and I doubt that her connections will do so claiming, as they have before, that if Team Rachel wants to go out west and take on Zenyatta on an artificial surface than they would be more than willing to tackle her.
It's a ridiculous notion in my mind since I do believe that the artificial surfaces give closers like Zenyatta a huge edge over front-runners like Rachel Alexandra who are prone to tiring much more easily on concoctions like Polytrack or cushion track or Pro-Ride.  Rachel Alexandra has taken on the boys while Zenyatta has run against females.  Rachel Alexandra has won a Triple Crown race while Zenyatta's connections, while she was a three year old, kept her away from any horse that could challenge her.
Rachel's connections have been bold and even though I have said in the past that their boldness was unfounded, I have to give them credit now.  I was wrong.  They were right.
Zenyatta is brilliant.  Rachel Alexandra is special.  Zenyatta is Bobby Charles, the brilliant songwriter/musician from central Louisiana who almost never leaves the swamps of Cajun Country and plays a particular brand of music.  Rachel Alexandra is Bob Dylan who travels the world and changes direction musically every time he steps into a studio.
Who would you rather be?
I'd rather be Rachel Alexandra and I doubt anyone would argue against that.  Zenyatta is brilliant, but she isn't special.  If her connections wish her to go down as a very special horse, then she has to travel out east to take on Rachel Alexandra.
Otherwise, she will end up being spoken about in the same breath as Azeri not Ruffian.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rachel Alexandra Leaves No Doubt

Under a dreary New Jersey sky, and on a rain soaked dirt track, Rachel Alexandra, seemingly under the steady hand of the great huntress Artemis, shot past her two biggest rivals like an arrow from the racing gods to win the $1.25 million Haskell Stakes.

It was the second time in three races that the brilliant filly, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by the cagey Cajun, Calvin Borel, beat the boys.  Rachel put her male rivals in place earlier this year in the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, but that race wasn't nearly as impressive as this one as Rachel cruised past two other Grade I winners, the Belmont Stakes winning Summer Bird and he King's Bishop winning Munnings, to stake her claim as the best racehorse in the world.

The huge filly was on the hunt early as she sat outside of Munnings and along with that rival ripped off a quarter in 22 and change and 6 furlongs in 109 and change.  The pace was incredibly swift and it looked as if Munnings and Summer Bird, the Belmont winner was on the pace today, would pose a challenge to Rachel, but then the big time filly kicked it into gear and curised to a 6 length victory.

She left no dout that she is the best three year old in the world and perhaps the best female horse of all time, but that's debatable as thoroughbred racing has been embroiled in it's own version of girl power excess in 2009.  Horse racing fans will be hard pressed to remember a time when arguably the two best horses in the United States, and perhaps the world, were both female, but that's exactly what's going on now as both Rachel Alexandra and the undefeated mare sensation, Zenyatta, have dominated racing this year.

Zenyatta's connections have always maintained that they would not run against the boys and that if Rachel wanted to challenge them that she would have a shot to do so in this year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.  That's all well and good, but after Rachel's performance today, the ball is squarely in the Court of Zenyatta.  She's going to have to do much more than beat up on second tier fillies and mares on artificial surfaces on the west coast if she's to stake any claim as the best female horse, much less the best horse, in the world.

Should Rachel Alexandra show up at this year's Breeders' Cup, then expect her to run against the boys again in the Breeders' Cup Classic.  Jess Jackson, her owner whose wines are almost just as smooth as his Grade I winning filly, has already stated as such.

That means that Zenyatta, who is undefeated and quite possibly the second greatest female horse to ever live, is in danger of getting lost once the history of books are updated.  Without beating Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta will always be a second class citizen in the annals of horse racing.

Fair?  Perhaps not, but that's racing.  Zenyatta's owner and trainer, the brilliant John Shirreffs, should take that into consideration when mapping out the rest of Zenyatta's career.  Rachel Alexandra, on the other hand, has solidified her status in racing history.  She's awesome.  Just ask Summer Bird and Munnings who were probably singing her praises, albeit in their own horse language, as she ran past them, the mud from their hooves flying squarely onto their drawn out faces.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ernest Hemingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro Still Resonates

The Snows of Kilimanjaro, which Ernest Hemingway wrote in 1936, some 25 years before his death, still stands as perhaps one of his most autobiographical, and important works.
I recently re-read Snows of Kilimanjaro after stumbling upon a short story collection book that my sister-in-law, Jai-Tip, bought.  I haven't had a chance to sit down with Tip, who happens to be the artist who created the cover of my soon to be released short story collection book, "And They're Off!  Stories From the Racetrack", but I felt the need to blog about the story anyhow.
It's just too important of a story for any artist, much less any writer, to not think about and contemplate.  Hemingway, lest we forget, committed suicide in 1961 by putting a double-barrel shot gun to his forehead and pulling both triggers.  Gruesome and destructive, but almost poignant considering his works.  I don't want to get into why I believe it was poignant, that's a discussion, that could lead to some believing me a dark individual on the Jerzy Kosinski level.
Instead, I want to remind readers of the brilliance of Hemingway and Snows of Kiliminjaro which jarred me quite literally off of the toilet, yes, I was reading while doing number 2, in a way that I cannot explain.
Snows of K is about an author, Harry, who lies dying on a cot because of an infection he received, while the woman he is currently seeing, tries desperately to tend to him. 
In a bit of brilliant semi-stream of conciousness, removed from the Joycian style yet utterly effective, Harry decries the life he has led, the utterly insatiable need for things that "don't matter", the Bohemian life style that he has embraced, "living" so to speak, instead of writing what matters to him.
It's an example of the writer's dilemma - - one must live in order to find what to write, yet one must write in order live.
I believe that all writers, all artists really, understand this dilemma.  Tip and I certainly do as we travel on the fruity and nutty streets of Los Angeles.  My freind Chenjerai, formerly of the the rap group The Spooks does, as he works towards a phd at Penn State while trying to satisfy his musical hunger.  My friend Lin and my friend Andrew certainly do as one puts together moving pictures of daily struggles and the other creates brilliant momentos through an art form, poetry, that nobody seems to think about anymore.  My friend Damon does as he uses his extreme talents to makes sense of the world through a medium, Hollywood filmmaking, that has become overblown with sugarless candy.  My brilliant sister, Jennifer does, as she raises a family while creating an entirely different world for her young adult characters, their minds and hearts reacting to the hardness of life that they are just discovering. 
But...all of us are young and alive.  Hemingway is dead and so is Harry. 
As I read Snows of K, on that fantastic toilet that my wife Jomjai installed that would literally suck the hairs out of my ass if I didn't raise my buttocks just a bit before flushing, the damn thing is so powerful, I suddenly realized why it struck me so. 
Time.  We all need more of it.  We never get enough of it.  And, we all cry about it.  That is the artist's life.  It is all about time.
At the end of the day, all artist's believe, all artist's feel, that they are running out of time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tiger's Meltdown Shouldn't Overshadow Watson

Tiger melted down.  Yes, he did.  There's no other way to say it.  More than one person has told me today that he just...well, melted down.  He wasn't in the game mentally.  We know this becasue every time he took a shot into the high grass, he seemed to lower his head, bang his club...meltdown.
Hey, it happens.  It happens in every sport and it especially happens in a sport like golf where the environment changes week to week, hour to hour and sometimes, at a place like Turnberry, minute to minute.  Lest we forget, Tiger is still coming off of a devastating knee injury.  Has the knee fully healed?  Yes.  But the harsh conditions at Turnberry today couldn't have helped matters.  The knee has healed for say the AT&T National under perfect conditions or the Arnold Palmer under decent conditions, but Turnberry?  Where the wind is crazy intense and the cold can seep into the knee and practically freeze it?
Let's give the greatest golfer a Mulligan for once.  We've given plenty to Ali, Jordan and Brett Favre.  No worries, El Tigre.  We know you'll be back!
What golfing fans should do is turn their attention to Tom Watson.  Watson started the day at -5, then bogeyed four of the first seven holes to go to -1 but climbed his way back and into a tie for the lead by shooting par for the round and finishing at -5 again.  That's amazing considering that he's 59 years old.
Watson's lead at Turnberry is especially cool considering that everybod's been talking about The Duel with Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open on this course.  
The fact that Watson had to regain his composure and get hmself back into the lead after shooting a +4 during the first seven holes today tells me that the legend has an actual shot at winning this thing.   

Kobe Bryant Steps Up For Jimmy V.

Every morning, I listen to Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio.  Colin's easily one of the best radio personalities I have ever heard in my life.  Not only does he talk about a subject dear to my heart, sports, but he does so with an absolute understanding of the subject.
The man is never afraid to tell it like it is.  He also isn't afraid to steer away from controversy, but that's for a different post.
Well, this morning he told his listeners about a call, a private call, that he received from Kobe Bryant the other day.  ESPN was giving away sports packages, trips to major sporting events, airfare, tickets, hotel lodgings, etc., for donations to the V Foundation, the cancer reserach non-profit organization founded and named after the late Jim Valvano.
One of the indivdiuals who called Colin to buy one of the packages was Kobe Bryant.  Kobe didn't want his name to come up.  He didn't want it publicized, although Colin did anyhow.  Kobe just wanted to give.
What did he give?  $10,000 for one of the packages and he told Colin to give it away.  So, what Bryant did was not only give $10,000 to the V Foundation, but he gave away the package he bought to some lucky listener.
And he didn't care if anybody knew about it. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tiger Struggles in British Open But Stricker Looks Good

Tiger Woods shot a 1 over par in the first round of the British Open today at Turneberry.  Playing with Lee Westwood and Ryo Ishikawa, the Japanese teenage sensation, El Tigre just couldn't keep pace, getting outshot by 3 strokes today.

The bad news is that Tiger is in 71st place.  The good news is that Tiger is only off by 6 strokes.  That shouldn't be a problem at all for the best golfer in the world.  A bigger story might be last week's John Deere Classic winner, Steve Stricker, who is ho once again. Stricker shot a 4 under par to finish five strokes ahead of Woods and one stroke off the lead.  If Stricker continues his hot play, then he's probably the winner on Sunday.

Who is in the lead at Turnberry?  How about one of the participants of the famous "Duel" in 1977.  Tom Watson, who beat Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open, is atop the leaderboard with a day best -5.  Who knows if it will last as some of the best golfers in the world, including two time winner Padraig Harrington, are still out there on the course.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Halfway Point in MLB Season Points to a Freeway Series

We're at the halfway point in the MLB Season and all signs point to a Freeway Series between the still red hot Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels.  Even though the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers have done well in the American League, the Angels have suddenly come to life to lead the Texas Rangers atop the A.L. West Division.
It's all about timing and the Angels are starting to really roll while the Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox, to some degree, still haven't found their way just yet.  If the Angels keep it up, the best record in baseball could be theirs after the second half of the season.
In the N.L. its all about the Los Angeles Dodgers at this point.  The Philadelphia Phillies might be the best team in the N.L. right now, but they aren't consistent enough yet and the Dodgers can't help but be better in the second half of the season now that star Manny Ramirez is back.  The other challenger to the N.L. Pennant should be the St. Louis Cardinals now that two 2008 contenders, the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, have proven to be less than competitive in 2009.
Who's the surprise team in the N.L.?  How about the San Francisco Giants who lead the league in ERA and are second in WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) which are the key stats in regards to pitching.  The Giants have one of the best rotations in baseball.  That means that they could be tough in the second half of the season.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Jackson

The single most important image that I saw after the death of Michael Jackson didn't occurr at his funeral.  It wasn't the faces of his friends and family.  It wasn't the terrific performance by his peers.
The image I saw that means the most to me was the day after Jackson's death when Janet, his sister, drove herself away from his rented home in the Holmby Hills.  Simply put, at the end of the day, Michael Jackson was just like everyone else.  Did he have issues?  Yes.  Was he supremely talented, yes.  But he passed away, like all of us will someday, and his family, those he left behind, had to do what all of our family friends will have to do.
They had to get together and discuss who was going to do what.  Michael's family had to get together after his death and decide who would take care of the things he had at his home, pack them up, bring them back to the family in Encino.  Who was going to make funeral arrrangements.  Who was going to decide where and how he was buried.
These are things that all families go through after the death of a loved one, and to me, it was no more obvious that the Jackson's are a family then when I saw Janet driving herself away from Michael's home.
An icon?  Absolutely.  The greatest entertainer the world has ever seen?  Probably.  But Michael was also a brother, a son and a father.  That's what I believe is most important to remember about Michael Jackson.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Remembering Steve McNair

Steve McNair's tragic death due to multiple gun shot wounds, in what I believe will prove to be a murder-suicide, no doubt will personally impact a number of NFL fans.
It's difficult to describe what McNair's impact was on the NFL to folks who do not follow professional football.  McNair was the ultimate underdog coming out of college.  He had been given the moniker "Air", as in Steve "Air " McNair, while throwing the ball for Division 1-AA Alcorn State.  Making it in the NFL from a Division 1-AA school is difficult to do.  Making it as a quarterback is virtually impossible.  Making it as a black quarterback, in a time when a stigma still surrounded the black quarterback, although nothing was being said, was supposed to be impossible.
Yet, McNair did it.  How difficult is it to make it in the NFL as a quarterback in general?  Although the American public may not know the following names, NFL fans surely do.
Jeff George, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Cade McNown, Todd Marinovich and Ryan Leaf all were drafted in the 1st round by NFL teams to play quarterback and all, arguably, had a better chance at success than Steve McNair.
But "Air McNair proved them wrong and in doing so he, along with Warren Moon and Donovan McNabb, further opened the door for the black quarterback.  That's an important note for a league run by mostly rich white men.
Rest in peace, Steve.  You will be missed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th From North Korea

North Korea fired off 7 missiles today in order to send a message to the United States.  And we thought Iran was an issue?  The truth is that North Korea probably isn't anywhere close to being able to hit the U.S. mainland with their missiles, but Hawaii...okay, that could be another story.
The reason I bring this up is because nobody knows really, truly, what goes on in the secretive regime.  Regime change is so far from the minds of the North Korean people that the U.S.  is in a very difficult position. An egomaniac, like Kim Jong, can turn on a dime, to quote a very famous cliche.  One day, he might want to keep the regime going.  The next day he might just rush into Seoul and take down the South Koreans.
Either way, the U.S. is in a pickle in regards to this.  Who's to blame?  Two countries.  Ourselves, of course, and the South Koreans who have taken their cue from traditional American capitalism without trying first to instill a bit of their past culture.  By doing so, North and South Korea are literally two separate countries that are increasingly becoming more and more separate.  There's nothign between the two countries that look the same, no ties that bind so to speak.
Shame on South Korea for doing that.  And, shame on the U.S. for wiping the asses of the South Koreans for so long.  Am I too harsh?  Maybe.  But when a serious threat like North Korea continues to give my nation the "finger" in the form of ballistic missiles, I begin to worry.  These are my friends, my family, my wife and child that could be in danger.
So, step it up U.S. and get the South Koreans to take charge of their issue.  Get China even more invovled and hand over the DMZ.  This ridiculous hand holding has been going on long enough.  Most Americans are just plain sick of it.
Our "friends" the South Koreans have been taking advantage of our good graces for way, way too long. 
Happy 4th.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tiger vs. Anthony Battle at AT&T National Figures to Go Into the Weekend

Tiger Woods finished up his second round at AT&T National on Friday by shooting a 4 under par to take a 1 stroke lead over Anthony Kim into the clubhouse.  Of course, Kim has a lot of golf to play and no doubt could be leading Tiger going into Saturday's third round.
For both Woods and Kim, the AT&T National has been an exceptional tournament so far.  Woods needed something positive after failing at Bethpage roughly two weeks ago in the U.S. Open and Anthony Kim hasn't been very good this year.  Woods's bounce back at AT&T signals that he is still the best in the world.  Kim's bounce back signals that the potential he showed last year might be turning into something else - - actual talent.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Arizona Approves Bill Allowing Guns in Bars

I really shouldn't feel the need to blog about this.  I mean, do I have to spell it out?  Does anyone have to spell it out?  The wild, wild, west that is the stat of Airzona has done it again.  Making inmates live in tents under the hot Arizona sun was bad.
But, this?  Allowing individuals to carry guns into bars?  Are you serious?  You...yes, you, 'Zona!
I hear the gun lobby saying now, "You have to get a permit in order to carry a gun!  If you go through the trouble to get the permit, why not be able to carry it into a bar?"  Right. 
Unbelievable.  The best part is that critics of the bill felt it necessary to say that they believe that "alcohol and guns are a dangerous combination."  Hmm...I hadn't thought of that one.
Guns in  That's all I can blog.  Wow.

Jim Brown Knocks Tiger Woods For Not Being an Individual for Social Change

Jim Brown knocks Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan for not being individuals for social change in a segment on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.  Brown says, regarding Tiger Woods, "This cat is a mamajama; he is a killer. He'll run over you, he'll kick your ass. But as an individual for social change, or any of that kind of ----? Terrible. Terrible."
I get Brown's point regarding both Tiger and MJ, but I'm not exactly sure I agree with the very notion that Woods or Jordan should be individual's for social change.  The truth of the matter is that both Woods and Jordan, I believe, Woods for sure, have foundations and give money to charity.  Beyond that, what are rich people expected to do in this country?  And, if Tiger and MJ are anything, beyond being black, it's taht they are super, super, rich.
Again, this isn't saying that Brown's wrong, it's just saying that Tiger and MJ, most Americans, me included, and hopefully, Jim Brown, are doing what we are expected to do.  That is take care of our personal "tribes", our families - - spouses, parents, children, nieces and nephews and grandparents - - before taking care of anyone else.
Isn't that the goal of any individual anywhere in the world?  Besides, social change has always come about due to huge movements directed by groups of human beings, not by any one individual.  When Muhammed Ali said that he had "no quarrel with them Viet Cong", he meant it.  He didn't think that he was taking a political stand.  It was a personal stand.  It led to a political stand.
We take care of our "tribes", our families, first.  Then, we do what we feel is right for everyone else afterwards.  Maybe, Jim Brown should think about that before hitting another woman.
I know, I know, I didn't have to go there, but it is sort of ridiculous that Brown is proselytizing, don't you think?

FDA Says No More Vicodin and Percocet

The FDA has said, in the words of Amy Winehouse, "No, no, no!" when it comes to the alarmingly addictive drugs, Vicodin and Percocet.  Sounds good to me.  I started out my career as a communicator by working for Cigna Healtchare, in their call center, way back in the mid 1990's.  I took a call one day from an individual claiming to be a big time radio personality in the Valley of the Sun, that's Phoenix, AZ., begging me to call his primary care physician or pharmacist to release Percocet to him.  I was 23 at the time. 
You can imagine what I was thinking.  The truth is that I had no idea what Percocet was, but after talking to a couple of older individuals on my team, I quickly found out that the stuff was worse thatn drug I had heard of growing up.  So, I told the poor fella no and went on with my day.
Good job, FDA.  Too bad it's happening so late.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kenny Perry Shrugs Off Masters' Demon

Kenny Perry won the Traveler's Championship yesterday by doing what he always does - - playing consistent, fantastic golf.
For those who do not know, Perry has been one of the better golfers on the PGA Tour for some time now.  What's awesome about Kenny is that he's won 10 PGA Events after the age of 40 and looks to be in his prime at the age of...shhh...47.  Wow.  That means that Perry is less than 20 years away from tradtional "retirement", yet he's beating down guys almost half his age.
You gotta love golf, right?  Name another sport where someone can excel after their body is supposed to lose control, balance, strength, etc.  Only in golf.  Congratulation's Kenny!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iranian Hard Liners Win

So, in the end, the demonstrators and protesters in Iran have lost.  What used to be massive protests just a few days ago have turned into dwindling numbers of trouble-makers as the Iranian hard line government has started to crack down with their big sticks of oppression.  The truth is that there are few precious beliefs worth dying for in this world.

This is especially true if by dying you're going leave your children without a mother or father...or both.  I can't blame the protestors and demonstrators for stepping down, walking away and protecting themselves.  But I do, and this is strange because I love him as if he were my brother, have to bring up the fact that President Obama hasn't exactly acted the way that I have expected him to.

The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called out Obama for helping to incite the demonstrators.  What will Barrack do?  Probably nothing which might be the smart, political, thing to do, but in reality is something that I just can't back him on.  I love Barrack Obama but this might be a watershed moment in history and we, as the United States, have to take a much bigger stand then just worries.  It's your country.  We want to stay out of it.

I'm not saying that we need to start a war, but what I am saying is that the U.S. and her allies have to come up with a viable plan to helping not only the people of Iran but strategically bringing Iran back into the world's good graces.  Iran is just to important.

Hey, who am I?  Maybe, the powers that be already are working on such a plan.   

Shaq Daddy in Cleveland Means a LeBron Championship?

Shaquille O'Neal ends up in Cleveland, after talk that it never would happen, and two cities are super happy.  The first is Cleveland which believes that adding Shaq to the LeBron James/Mo Williams duo could lead to an NBA Championship next year.  That might not be the case as what the Cavs gave up for Shaq could seriously hurt them.  What is the precious thing that the Cavs have given up?  Chemistry.

Just ask the second city that is doing cartwheels today.  That would be the city of Phoenix who no doubt are enthralled that Shaquille O'Neal will no longer be a Phoenix Sun.  Shaq just never worked out in Phoenix where Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash are the stars.  

The NBA ads are right.  You have to love a game where the real drama doesn't end after the season does. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Glover Won the U.S. Open But Lefty Leaves Bethpage as Real Star

Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open.  He did it by being better than Ricky Barnes, Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, David Duval and Phil Mickelson.

Hey, the guy can golf.  But the U.S. Open was all about Phil Mickelson and even though Mickelson didn't end up hoisting the trophy, he is the real star of this past week's U.S. Open tournament.  Mickelson played about as well as could be expected under not only the weather conditions but the fact that his wife Amy is battling cancer.

It was a courageous performance from one of the nicest men in sports. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ricky Barnes All But Unbeatable At -11 in U.S. Open

Yes, it's still only the third round in the U.S. Open, but does anyone believe that someone will catch Ricky Barnes?  He's been phenomenal so far with grabbing an eagle already today.  Barnes is at -3 thru 4 rounds today and the way he's golfing leads me to believe that he's just not going to blow it.

Barnes should win this U.S. Open.

Where's Tiger?  That seems to be the question on everybody's lips today.  Well, he's not doing well at all with a +4 going into the 17th.  Right after hitting off the tee, Tiger dropped his club with absolute disgust.  He did pitch it in from the rough on the 17th, but he's still 14 shots off of Barnes.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rains at BethPage Black Causing More Havoc at the U.S. Open

The rains have continued to come down and will continue to come down at the U.S. Open today.  In fact, the rains are scheduled to become even worse at the U.S. Open where Tiger Woods has started his third round playing quite well.
At the top of the leader board are names that hardly any golf fan will recognize.  Ricky Barnes, for instance, who is in no way related to the Texas Longhorn basketball coach, Rick Barnes.  Or, Lucas Glover and Mike Weir.  Or, A. Yano and P. Hanson.  Some of us remember David Duval, who was fantastic in 1998, but in the U.S. Open in 2009?
It's been a rough go for everyone besides Phil Mickelson, as far as names are concerned, and Phil still has a long way to go before he gets to the top of the leaderboard.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Iran's Supreme Leaders Declares Election Not Rigged - - Bad, Bad Move!

Because the Ayatollah has declared that the elections in Iran, which have caused widespread protests throughout the country, was not rigged, I'm assuming that the Ayatollah and his hardline supporters believe that the issue is dead.
News flash - - the issue is so not dead!  In fact, it's barely begun.   This is how hard line governemnts fail by not understanding what is needed to quell the public and what is not.  Short of running over their citizenry ala China, Iran's hard line leaders are in a heap of trouble.
Since the President pretty much had no power to begin with, why not give the electiont to the folks the citizens wanted?  One puppet replacing another means nothing, right?  Instead, they're trying to asser their power.
Bad move, Ayatollah.  Bad, bad move.

Tiger Bombs - - Needs a Big Round 2

At +4, and with so many golfers doing so well so far in the 1st round of the U.S. Open, El Tigre is going to really need to step it up in Round 2 or else he might be in danger of not making the cut.
It would be a huge disappointment to Tiger fans if the greatest golfer in the world, after shooting so well in the final round of The Memorial Tournament just a couple of weeks ago, failed to even get to the third round of the Open.
Tiger supposedly knows Bethpage Black in and out after having won on the course in 2002 and then studying the course relentlessly the past couple of weeks.
One thing to note is that so far, after 10 holes, Phil Mickelson is hanging in their at -1.  He's chasing a few guys at -4, but Phil should, if things go well, be playing for the title come Sunday.  Let's hope that after everything he and his family has gone through, Mickelson keeps it going! 

Churchill Downs Under the Lights

Churchill Downs, for the first time in it's 134 year history, will host racing under lights tonight.  It's a big move for the Twin Spires, who, like every other track in the Untied States, has been facing economic issues for years.

The lights should help Churchill rebrand itself as a modern racetrack but the money won't really come to the track until the state of Kentucky institutes slot machines.  The measure passed recently in Kentucky.  By bringing in slots, Churchill hopefully can remain viable as a player in America's thoroughbred racing world.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tiger and Phil Wait For Friday

Tiger and Phil are just going to have to wait.  Phil Mickelson hadn't even teed off yet when the call came that play in the U.S. Open Golf Championship, one of the four "Majors" in the golfing world, would be suspended until Friday.
That means that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, arguably the two best golfers on the planet, would have to wait to resume their rivalry.  Tiger, by the way, ends Thursday after double-bogeying the 5th hole, at -1.
Woods fans shouldn't worry just yet because three times in the past ten years the winner of the U.S. Open has shot even par or worse.  Twice in the past ten years the U.S. Open has been won by a score of +5.
It's going to be interesting to see what unfolds tomorrow.

Hollywood Feature on Thursday Might Get Funky

Get Funky, ridden by Garret Gomez for the first time, figures to go off the chalk in Race 7 at Hollywood Park today.  This should be a seriously competitive affair as Get Funky, Hewitts and Delta Storm all figure to get a lot of play.

After those three, Sky Cape and Cherokee Heaven look like the next batch of horseplayer favorites.  Who do I think comes out with the victory?  Cherokee Heaven who was fantastic in his last race for trainer Martin Jones.  Yes, he's stepping up in class, but the 5 year old son of Cherokee Run has the requisite closing kick to go past the front runners in this race.  

It will also be Cherokee Heavens' second race with jockey Brice Blanc.  Blanc is a master turf rider who, when he gets a good enough horse, can definitely bring home a victory.  Cherokee Heaven and Get Funky, who is the classiest horse in this group, might make up a nice exacta wager.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stephen Strasburg Set to Go #1 in MLB Draft

Stephen Strasburg has a 100 mile per hour fastball.  That's enough for some baseball scouts to call him the greatest prospect in...well, forever.  He figures to go number one to the Washington Nationals in today's MLB draft.
But in reality, Strasburg, like every player drafted number one in the history of the MLB draft, will have to work his way to the "bigs".  Often times, no matter how fantastic a player may look, he just doesn't have the mentality to play in "The Show" where the pressure is much different than either in college or in AAA ball.
So, I'm nto ready to anoint Strasburg as anything other than a really good looking prospect right now. 
A bigger worry is if the Nationals fold under Strasburg's demand and come close to the 50 million contract he supposedly is seeking.  A draft pick in baseball if much different than a draft pick in basketball or football.  The pot holes on the way to stardom in professional baseball are much bigger and, therefore, much easier to fall into.
Hopefully, the Nationals will do the right thing and offer something a bit more akin to a player, like Strasburg is, making his way up the ladder.

Orlando Should Win Tonight and Might be Able to Make an Unbelievable Comeback

The Magic look like a lock into tonight's game int he NBA Finals.  At this point, the chances of Orlando actually winning the NBA Finals probably isn't very good.
But, if the Magic take one game at a time and forget about the game before, then they could string together 3, maybe 4 victories.  Yes, Orlando is that good...if it plays up to its potential.
The Lakers are winning this series because of their experience and overall depth.  Orlando needs to counter that with physical, fast, play.  The Magic's starting five might be the best in the league right now. 
The Magic need to grow up quickly in order to get it done, but they can.
This series is far from over.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bing is Boffo

I've only spent a few hours checking out the Bing search engine, but, man, I'm impressed.  What's impressive about it?
Simplicity.  That's the key nowadays with all of these banners and buttons and graphics.  Just let me search, give me the info, and move on.  That's what Bing appears to do.  I like it.  Do I think it will give Google a run for it's money?
Who knows?  I don't and anybody who says they do is crazy.  Stuff happens behind closed doors that nobody ever knows about. 
But as a search engine, and nothing more, Bing works.  That's really all that matters in the end.

Golf - - The Addiction is Real

Yes, the addiction to golf is real.  I have no idea why, but once you try it, and get a nice, good swing going most of the time, you want to do it every day.
I'm thinking of skipping my lunch today at work to head out and hit some balls.  So, instead of putting food into myself, I want to hit balls.  Is that crazy, or what?
I think I finally get the whole purses and shoes thing to.  Most of the women I know are into shoes and purses.  What's the deal with that? 
Well, I get it know.  I keep looking on golf sites, searching for the perfect bag for my clubs.  And, I have to admit, Tiger's shot ont he 18th yesterday at The Memorial was stunning.  He looked stunning!
Sheesh...this is worse than that gummy bear predilection I had in grade school.

Mine That Bird a John Henry Gelding or Funny Cide Gelding?

Mine That Bird, the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, may have seen his last moment in the spotlight this past Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.
Geldings just don't really improve all that much after the initially becoming gelded.  John Henry turned into one of the greatest race horses ever, but Funny Cide, who won the 2003 Kentucky Derby, was never the same after his Belmont run.
Why?  I beleive that the Belmont at 1 1/2 miles is just too much for a lot of racehorses.  Going all the way back to 1973 when Sham lost by over 30 lengths to Secretariat, horses that have trouble in the Belmont, like Sham, can sometimes never recurperate.
Often times, horses that have had success in the Belmont, like recent Belmont victors Jazil and Rags to Riches, never recuperate.  That's how tough the races is.
Considering the fact that Mine That Bird is a gelding, and probably has peaked as a racehorse anyhow, his best days are already behind him.  Hey, picking up nice six figure paychecks for winning Grade III races sounds like a good living to me!
So, let's not be sad about it okay?  We'll just turn our heads, as racing fans, to the horses expected to get better like Summer Bird, Dunkirk and Charitable Man.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pandora Gets it Right...Most of the Time

I just got done messing around with Pandora.  Most of it's pretty good.  I mean, when I put in Green Day, I end up getting the Killers ond Offspring.
When I put in Willie Nelson, I end up getting Waylon Jennings.  When I put in Elvis, I end up getting Johnny Cash and Carl Pickens.  When I put in Sam Cooke, I end up getting Otis Redding.
All of that makes sense.  But what about Coldplay and U2?  Really?  No comparison from my point-of-view.  And, also, what's the deal with Boby Dylan, The Band, and Grateful Dead all tied up with the Beatles?
I mean, sometimes it feels like Pandora is for the Beatles.  I put in Queen and I get Eleanor Rigby.  Weird.  Oh, and just because Adele is British it doesn't mean that she, or Duffy, is close to the brilliant Miss Amy Winehouse.
But, hey, I'm complaining about nothing.  The truth is Pandora is as brilliant as anything I've seen on the internet in...well, forever.  I put in Son House and I get Blind Boy Fuller, Mississippi John Hurt, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson and Skip James.
Good enough for me.

Magic Should Bounce Back Tonight

The Orlando Magic should bounce backin their game against the Lakers tonight.  Orlando just needs to shoot better than 40% from teh three point-line, and get Dwight Howard involved more, to get it done.
It's too early to say that the Lakers will sweep.  Not only do real basketball fans know this, but the Kobester does as well.

Calvin Got Too Excited

That's what happened in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Instead of hanging and making that one patented move around the turn or up the rail, Borel started a slow, some might say "soft" move to get into contention. Then, he pushed the button.

Who made the right move yesterday? Kent Desormeaux on Summer Bird who, because of his experience making a bad move on Real Quiet in 1998, knew when to make the right move.

Good stuff, Kent.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fabulous Strike Is Fabulous in True North

I just got done watching Fabulous Strike run 6 furlongs in 1:07 and change in the True North Handicap. It was a phenomenal race. If Benny the Bull couldn't have caught him, Benny the Bull didn't, then it shows how incredibly fast the horse is.


Obama Speeches Some of the Best Ever

First, Barrack Obama delivered a sterling speech in Egypt about, among other things, relations between Muslims and the rest of the religious world.  Now, just today, Obama gives another fantastic speech.
This time, in Caen, France, Obama gve a speech to commemorate D-Day.  How was it?  As brilliant as the speech in Egypt.
What Barrack Obama has so far shown as President of the United States, is that there is still some hope in this world.  That was his goal, right?  during the election?  The idea that hope could carry the day?
Well, contrary to some from the right, hope so far has carried the day.
I can only hope that when later generations, studying this time period, ask me about what Mr. Obama was like, I can say, "He was as great of a president as this nation has ever had."  And, that, "You had to be there to really understand."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Charitable Man a Virtual Lock to Win the Belmont

After the Belmont Stakes post positions were drawn yesterday, I immediately wrote up my Top Four Contenders' article for Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
It didn't take me very long to find the winner.  Without a doubt, Calvin Borel and Mine That Bird have a shot to win the Belmont Stakes but, like so many years in the past, the Belmont has come up lacking real front-runners.  The only two confirmed speed horses in the race are Miner's Escape, trained by Nick Zito who upset Big Brown with D'Tara in the 2008 Belmont, and Charitable Man.
Who wins in that matchup?  Charitable Man 99 out of 100 times.  The Keiren McLaughlin trainee is simply one of the best 3-year olds on the planet.  He should rate a length off of Miner's Escape, or take the lead, quickly after the gates open.  
By the time Charitable Man hits the to of the stretch, the race should be over.  Who could challenge Charitable Man for the win money?  The Todd Pletcher trained Dunkirk looks like a much better wager than Mine That Bird.  He will be closer to Charitable Man and, because of the expected pace, should have plenty int he tank for the last quarter mile.  

Magic has Shot to Upset Lakers Tonight

The Orlando Magic have a shot at beating the L.A. Lakers tonight.  Simply put, Orlando has the better starting five and the more dominant player on the court in Dwight Howard.
As a fanastic article on recently highlighted, "Howard Overwhelms and Kobe Orchestrates."  Kobe is one of the best players on the planet.  nobody can matchup with him, but Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu together can at least match him point for point.
Not so with Howard.  If the Lakers double team Howard, then one or two three point shooters will be left behind the arc.  If L.A. doesn't double team Howard, then he dominates the middle.
No matter what the Lakers decide to do, their resiliency no doubt will help them tonight.  The game is going to be close.  It's also going to be high scoring as the Lakers will try to push forward before Howard can set up tent in the paint.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

JD Salinger Rises From Literary Hell Not to Publish but to Sue

So, JD Salinger, who doesn't have enough guts to publish anything in oh...a very long time, decides to poke his head up and sue becuase some bozo named JD California from Sweden is publishing a book with Salinger's character, Holden Caulfield, in it.
Whatever, man.  I don't see the big deal.  It sounds to me like Salinger, once again, is taking himself too seriously.  Yes, The Cathcer in the Rye is brilliant.  Yes, I, like everyone else, is one of my favorite books of all time, but the best thing it's known for is screwing with Mark Chapman's head.
Get over it, JD.  How good were you really?  I mean, Kurt Vonnegut wrote up until the day he died.  So did Updike.  Even Pynchon will at least publish once in a while.  You?  You jsut bug people by not sharing your genius.  Well, maybe you weren't a genius to begin with and at least this JD California idiot sounds like fun.
Read the CNN article here, folks.

Lucinda Williams? Yeah, She Rocks!

My brother, who knows more about music than anyone on this planet, except for maybe my friend Kent, just sent me an e-mail telling me about a Lucinda Williams song called Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.
He says the songwriting is amazing and I have to agree with him.  The music isn't bad either!
Check it out.

Mine That Bird Deserving Favorite but Charitable Man Looks Tough

Mine That Bird was established as the 2 to 1 morning line favorite to win the 2009 Belmont Stakes this morning when post positions were drawn.
The second choice?  That would be Charitable Man at 3 to 1 who actually looks like a stand out in this race because there appears to be only one other speed horse in Miner's Escape.  As fantastic as Mine That Bird is, Charitable Man, who is 3 out of 4 with his lone loss coming on the Polytrack at Keeneland, could be the best horse of his generation.
With two victories over the Belmont Park racing strip, and the pace of the Belmont expected to be to his liking, Charitable Man poses a huge challenge to Mine That Bird and Calvin Borel's quest for a jockey's Triple Crown.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Orlando Looks to Take 3 to 1 Lead Over Cleveland

This is an easy one in my mind.  Orlando is just better than Cleveland and should be able to pull off a victory tonight to push the Cavs to brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In Game 1 of this series, Orlando came back from 15 down to win.  In Game 2, it took a last second shot form LeBron James for the Cavs to secure the victory.  In Game 3, the Magic dominated.  Tonight the Magic, since they are at home, should dominate again with Dwight Howard putting up great numbers and the Magic defense keeping the Cavs at under 30% from behind the arc.  I see a 4 to 6 point victory from the Magic tonight.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lakers Look to Even Series Against Nuggets

The Lakers are underdogs for the first time in a long time tonight when they travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets.  L.A. is still a very good team, but most NBA fans have to have seen some serious issues regarding this nuggets team.
For one, their front line isn't nearly as good as Denver's.  With Nene, Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets provide a stiff test for anybody.  The test is one that L.A. has yet to pass wtih Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
The second issue is that at the point guard position, the Lakers are horribly overmatched.  Derik Fisher and Jordan Farmar have no chance against Chauncey Billups.  The former heart and soul of the Detroit Pistons has taken his calm demeanor to a team with the ability to win a championship.

Zenyatta Returns - Unbeatable?

Zenyatta returns in the Grade II Milady Handicap today at Hollywood Park.  Is she unbeatable?  In this field, she definitely is.  Will she stay unbeatable?  That remains to be seen.  The fantastic three year old filly, Rachel Alexandra, could give Zenyatta a run for her money...maybe.
The truth is that if Rachel owner Jess Jackson wanted to test Alexandra, he'd do it against Zenyatta, not against the three year old colts.  Zenyatta is good enough to beat practially any horse in the world.  Rachel isn't quite there yet.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Terminator Salvation or Night At the Museum II?

I'm debating on whether I should go to see Terminator Salvation or Night at the Museum II this weekend.  The missus wants to see Night at the Museum II and I think I do as well.
The trailers for Terminator make it look a bit too heavy handed for me.  You can't go wrong with Ben Stiller, right?

Friday Night's at Hollywood Park

It's another Friday night at Hollywood Park with the featured race, Race 7 looking awfully tough, but I think I'm gong with Noblety.
Noblety steaded at the 5/8ths and 3/8ths poles in his last bust still managed to finish 4th by only 4 furlongs.  He gets Zenyatta's jock, Mike Smith, to take the call and if he can stay out of trouble, he should be able to win this as there is a ton of speed to set up his pressing style.

Churchill Downs Race 10 is Our Dhalia's To Lose

There are only 7 entrants in Race 10 at Churchill Downs on Friday but I really like Our Dhalia.  The morning line chalk should be able to stalk a somewhat fast pace and then take over at the top of the lane.
But nothing's ever easy in horse racing.  Three other's in here have a shot to beat Our Dhalia - - Hungry Tigress, who could be close to the pace, Abbott Hall and Complicity.  All three have legitimate shots.
That's why I'm setting my wager up like this:
Exacta:  Our Dhalia over Hungry Tigress, Abbott Hall and Complicity and reversing for less.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NASCAR: Jeff Gordon...An Early Retirement?

It would be an absolute shame if Jeff Gordon had to retire from racing becasue of his back problems.  I just saw this story on ESPN.  Gordon is easily one of the greatest drivers to ever step into a racecar.  He also happens to be the Sprint Cup points leader at this juncture in the NASCAR season.  That means he's still on top of his game.

Lakers vs. Nuggets? Stats Say Lakers but I like Nuggets

Every stat I've ready after Game 1 says that the Lakers, if anything, beat the Nuggets by more tonight, but I'm nto so sure about that.  The Nuggets have shown resiliency in their games during these playoffs and the type of toughness they bring to the game tonight could be huge.
If Kobe doesn't put up 40 again, the Lakers could lose by a few points in this one.  L.A. relies heavily on Bryant mentally, meaning that when their leader and star is off, they are off, and without his excellent play, they tend to give up.
I think that Billups and 'Melo for the Nuggets make a pretty awesome team.  It's gong to bet tough, but Denver looks tough.  They could steal one in L.A. tonight.

American Idol: Kris Allen's Win Not Surprising

I had been tracking the ratings on MSNBC yesterday and, if I remember correctly, after close to 31,000 ratings, that's when I stopped looking, Kris Allen had garnered a rating of 7.55 for his performance on Tuesday night while Adam Lambert had garnered a rating of 6.83.
The percentages pretty much said that Allen was going to win.  What cost Lambert was exactly the reason the judges loved him so much from the beginning - - originality.  Lambert is unique in today's music scene and uiniqueness puts most regular watchers of American Idol off.  They prefer Barry Manilow like simplicity.  If they can't get that, then a soft spoken, handsome, shy, yet gregarious singer will do.
Kris is the sort of kid you wouldn't mind your daughter dating.  Adam?  You wouldn't want your daughter or son dating!
Hey, it's American Idol's fault.  They decided to dominate the music business.  Well, they have, by funneling boring singer/songwriters our way.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol: Adam Lambert Should Win but Kris Allen's Got a Shot

Sure, Adam Lambert should win.  He's the best singer and he definitely got the most applause but I believe it's time for us to be honest with ourselves.
Adam doesn't have an army of teeny boppers looking to buy his album.  Kris does.  So, even though I'm not man enough to say that Lambert gets  beat tonight, I am man enough to say that Lambert isn't a lock and that if I had to put money on it, which you can through BetUS, I'd have to wager on Kris.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Larry King and Horse Racing

This is a great excerpt from King's autobiography.  Only real horseplayers will understand what this must have felt like for King.

Son House - - Where are the guitar tabs?

I can find only one guitar tab for Son House on the internet.  That would be for his song, "Death Letter".
I keep wondering why that is?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Winston Churchill Had it Right When Learning to Bet Horses

I was reading an article regarding Crispin Porter and their Burger King ads on Adweek.
In the article is a quote from Winston Churchill - - 'Play for more than you can afford to lose and you'll learn the game"
Sounds like Churchill was a horse betting man!  He's right, of course.  When it comes to gambling, especially on horses, you have to learn how to play the game by taking risks.  That means not betting 1 to 5 shots at River Downs in a $5,000 claimer.
But it has to be a smart risk.  Which is where handicapping ability comes into play, right?

Movies: Star Trek Brilliant...Angels & Demons Left Me Thinking..huh?

I saw Star Trek over the weekend and it was brilliant.  Flat-out brilliant.  Just a terrifically fun, smart, movie.  It's what we've come to expect from J.J. Abrams.
Now, Angels and Demons sort of made no sense.  I had a problem with the villian, actually.  I won't get into it, but my issue is that he went through extraordinary lengths to make himself appear to be a hero.  Also, there were a key moments early on in the film where, if the villian had any sort of intelligence at all, he simply wouldn't have made the decisions that he made.
If anybody has comments about either film, let me know. 

Preakness Stakes No Surprise But Neither Rachel Alexandra nor Mine That Bird Would Be a Lock in the Belmont

The Preakness wasn't reallya  surprise although I feel that Friesan Fire and Pioneerof the Nile really did a disservice to themselves by not battling for the lead early on in the race.
Once Rachel got an easy tracking position on the outside of Big Drama it was just a matter of whether or not Musket Man or Mine That Bird could get to her.  Mine That Bird couldn't, unfortunately.  But the gelded son of Birdstone ran a brilliant race and would easily win the Eclipse Award for three year olds should he win the Belmont.
But winning the Belmont won't be easy should horses like Charitable Man and Dunkirk show up.  Those two might be just as good as Rachel and Mine That Bird and they will be fresh.

Monday, April 6, 2009

NCAA Championship: NC Looks Rock Solid as Big Favorite

I've suggested that NC wasn't as good as some college basketball fans had thought. I made excuses for why they beat Gonzaga so easily (Gonzaga was overrated) or why they beat Oklahoma so easily (OU was Blake Griffin and a bunch of wannabees).

Then, I saw NC pretty much hand it to what I thought was one of the best teams in the nation this past Saturday, the Villanova Wildcats. North Carolina shut down both Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham in that game. The Tar Heels' defense was exceptional, Ty Lawson was terrific, and Danny Green was unstoppable.

As well as Michigan State has looked, the dream ends tonight. I just don't see how Michigan State has any chance against North Carolina. That Tar Heels are that good. As I've bene telling people shortly after the 'Nova destrcution, Michigan State is a very good team. North Carolina is a great team. Carolina dumped the Spartans by over 30 points the last time the two teams met.

It won't be that bad, but it could get ugly. I see NC winning by between 10 to 16 to maybe even 20 points in this game. They're the bet.

North Carolina should cover at -7 1/2 in the NCAA Championship game tonight.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Final Four: Long Shots Could Rule This Saturday

The Michigan State Spartans and Villanova Wildcats, both decided long shots in their respective semi-final games against Connecticut and North Carolina, could very well end up playing each other in Monday's NCAA Tournament Championship game.

Why? Because even though NC and UConn have looked unbeatable neither team had to navigate the difficult road that both the Spartans and Wildcats have had to.

NC got to run over Gonzaga and Oklahoma. The 'Zags have been overrated all season. Oklahoma was Blake Griffin and a bunch of high-schoolers.

Connecticut got to play Purdue, who just didn't match-up that well with them, and Missouri. Missouri was a good team but they weren't nearly as good as the team that Michigan State had to beat last weekend.

State beat USC, the Pac-10 tourney champs, Kansas, the Big-12 Regular Season and defending national champs, and Louisville, the Big East regular season and tournament champs, to get to the Final Four. Talk about putting together a streak!

Villanova had to squash Duke, the ACC tourney champions, and Pittsburgh, one of the toughest teams in the nation that, by the way, beat UConn twice during the regular season.

I like both Michigan State, at +4 in their game versus the Huskies, and 'Nova, at +7 in their game versus North Carolina, to upset the favorites and see each other on Monday night in the NCAA Championship game.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March Madness: Who's Moving on to the Elite Eight?

Check out my full article regarding the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight in the BetUS Locker Room.

Anyhow, I'm inclined to stick with the Big East teams even though I do belive that Louisville is vulnerable to both Arizona this Friday and Michigan State on Sunday.

I also like Oklahoma to make a statement against Syracuse and North Carolina to romp all over Gonzaga.

Pittsburgh should get a free pass by thumping Xavier while Duke should fall to Villanova. Finally, I see Purdue upsetting Connecticut.

Read my article and then let me know what you think!

Check out D.S. Williamson's work in the BetUS Locker Room!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NCAAB Tournament Preview: Don't Expect Long Shots in the Final Four

I just got done writing my article on the NCAAB Tournament. It's just a preview article and I'll be going in depth later on this week. So make sure to read all of the articles in the BetUS online sportsbook before putting money down on who you believe will win each region.

Okay, here is who I believe makes it to the Final Four:

East Region - - #1 Pittsburgh Panthers

Midwest Region - - #2 Michigan State Spartans

West Region - - #2 Memphis Tigers

South Region - - #2 Oklahoma Sooners

Check out the full article in the BetUS Locker Room.

NBA / NCAA Basketball- Up to 50% Bonus.

March Madness Bracket: Fill it Out For a Chance at 1 Million!

The NCAAB Tournament begins this Thursday. So, it's time for bettors to fill out their March Madness brackets. The BetUS online sportsbook will be offering some great prizes for those gamblers that pick the most winners in their brackets.

But before filling out the brackets, read my article in the Locker Room that gives some hints on what to look for when filling out your bracket.

Click the link below for all of the information on BetUS's March Madness contest.

March Madness Bracket - Deposit $100 per entry

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Houston Rockets Could Challenge Lakers

The Houston Rockets could challenge the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference because of subtraction not addition.

Usually, when a team is on the cusp of winning a championship, they add a player or two to get them over the hump. Such was the case with the Detroit Pistons in the late 1980's when they traded for Mark Aguirre and low and behold, they finally beat the Boston Celtics.

But the Rockets are doing it differently. They lost Tracey McGrady for the season, they traded away Rafer Alston, but they are playing better now than they have all season. Why? Because they made the brilliant move of starting Ron Artest at guard.

Artest can now play man to man against the opposing team's best guard. Artest is also big enough to take those smaller guards to the hole when getting position on the blocks. Finally, Artest is still a terrific rebounder who can muscle his way into the paint past those guards.

With Artest at guard, the Rockets can start one of their better defensive players in Shane Battier. Battier concentrates solely on shutting down the opposing teams best front court player, Artest shuts down the opposing teams best guard, the Rockets use the entire 24 second clock and bore the pants off of their opponents for victories.

Hey, it's been working. It's been working so well that I believe Houston has a legitimate shot in the Western Conference.

Read my NBA Power Rankings list for this week in the BetUS Locker Room and then start thinking about betting on the Rockets.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hollywood Still Scared of Creating a Film Version of "The Alienist"

Caleb Carr wrote "The Alienist" in 1994. It was a huge hit, settling in on the New York Times Bestseller List for six months, and there was no doubt in anybody's mind that some Hollywood Studio would scoop it up and turn it into a brilliant two hour movie.

After all, the characterizations are amazing, the movie sets would be extravagant, and Carr's writing is absolutely superb. Okay, maybe that's the biggest problem.

Caleb Carr is too good of a writer for Hollywood to do him justice. At least, that's what I see. Why not put another billion dollars into a Dan Brown novel, or give Stephanie Meyers, who's ridiculous notions of what constitutes a vampire would make Dwight Shrute from The Office question her as if she were a Benjamin Franklin stripper (Office fans know what I mean!), a few more millions.

Who wants to take the time to turn a brilliant novel from an amazing writer into a film? Nobody, I guess.

If anybody has any opinions on why The Alienist is still just a book, let me know.

I'm dying to know since it's so obvious how good some of the world's best actors would be in a well written and directed movie of this book.

Some maverick in Hollywood should just take a shot. Why not? Look how long it took to turn Ken Kesey's book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, into a movie.

That turned out well, didn't it?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blues Profiles: Charlie Patton

Charlie Patton is considered the Father of the Delta Blues. Just go ahead and look him up on Wikipedia. There's no doubt that Charlie Patton's style is what almost all blues guitarists who knew him - - Son House being the main one supposedly - - used as the basis for their styles.

There's a lot of mystery surrounding Patton. I'm not exactly sure if anybody has the facts straight. For one thing, I heard that Patton created a guitar for John Lee Hooker out of a wash tub, a broomstick, and a piece of string. Sounds ridiculous, but, then again, who knows?

Another thing I heard is that Patton's throat was slashed by a man who was jealous of Patton doing the deed with his wife. The throat slashing occurred when Patton was on stage in a barn. The throat slashing is what accounts for Patton's gurgling, low, voice.

Of course, the biggest mystery surrounding Patton, and the one that I'd like to know most about is in regards to Patton's heritage. Was this guy black? Was he white? Was he mixed? What about Patton being a Cherokee? I've heard that one before.

Let me know if anybody's got some info on that. In the mean time, enjoy this clip I got from Youtube.