Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jerry Sandusky Case Is A Soap Opera?

From:  Chicago, June 19, 2012, UPDATE 1-Sandusky lawyer likens sex abuse trial to soap opera

Asked as he arrived at court whether he would put Sandusky
on the stand, defense attorney Joe Amendola said: "Stay tuned.
Come on, it's like a soap, you have to wait and see."

"Is it 'Days of our Lives?'" a reporter asked in return,
referring to a long-running U.S. daytime television drama.

"I think it's 'General Hospital,'" Amendola answered. Then,
a moment later, after returning from parking his car, he
quipped, "Actually it could be 'All My Children.'"

A soap opera, Mr. Amendola?  Really?  

Do you think the victims and their families think of it as a soap opera?

Do you think the men whose careers have been shredded at Penn State think this is a soap opera?

Do you think that Joe Paterno's family thinks this is a soap opera?

Do you think that students of Penn State who now find their school sullied by scandal think of this as a soap opera? 

Do you think the tax payers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who support Penn State thinks of this as a soap opera?

Do your think that Judge Cleland thinks of his court as a soap opera?  

And Mr. Amendola, do you think your client who may face life in prison thinks of this as a soap opera?

I can guarantee you that there are 12 people sitting in that court who do not think of this trial as a soap opera, and if I were you sir, I would fear them.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Union Rags Wins The Belmont Stakes

Yesterday, the 144th Belmont Stakes was won by Union Rags, jockeyed by John Velazquez in what turned out to be a rather emotional race for the world of Triple Crown horse racing.  John Velazquez sneaked Union Rags up along the fence to charge past front runner Mike Smith on trainer Bob Baffert’s Paynter.  It had to be a bitter defeat for Smith:

"I'm extremely proud of my horse. I thought he ran incredible," Smith said. "I'm not going to say I rode bad, but I made one little mistake: He (Union Rags) got inside of me, and it cost me the race. I'm a veteran. Ain't no one supposed to get inside of me." 
In all three races of the triple crown this year, Smith set the pace and led the pack through the race only to be defeated in the very last seconds before the finish line.  At the Kentucky Derby and The Preakness, Mario Gutierrez aboard “I’ll Have Another” made stunning drives in the last moments to defeat Smith on Baffert’s Bodemeister.  You have to feel for Baffert and Smith, they have the bittersweet distinction of winning the 2012 Triple Crown in second place, in three almost identical defeats.  Bitter because they lost first place in the final strides of each race, but sweet because they still managed to haul in $800,000 total in second place purses for all three races.  They can feel bad all the way to the bank.  Union Rags won nothing in the Derby, finishing 7th, but won $600,000 for first place at Belmont.  “I’ll Have Another” won  $1,459,600 at the Derby and $600,000 at the Preakness. 

Union Rags Pulls Ahead of Paynter At The Finish Line
In an unhappy twist of fate, Baffert & Smith won the only Triple Crown winnings to be made this year.  The Crown was denied to “I’ll Have Another” when the horse developed tendonitis prior to the Belmont.  Owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill correctly decided not to run the horse on Friday, one day before the race, and “I’ll Have Another” was scratched from the starting line up.  It was a terrible blow to Reddam and O’Neill but an especially sad event for jockey Mario Gutierrez who was well placed to win the Triple Crown.  
There is some of commentary that scratching “I’ll Have Another” denied horse racing its Super Bowl, the Belmont was ran under a cloud, and the sport will ultimately suffer from this loss.  There is some concern that horse racing may ultimately be doomed.         
I really don’t know anything about horse racing, but I understand that horse racing has its problems.  Probably the biggest problem from a televised sport and entertainment standpoint is the race only lasts about two and half minutes.  It is even worse than Dancing With The Stars that somehow devotes three to five hours of programming to 18 minutes of dancing.  NBCs coverage of the Belmont was two and half hours, with the commercials intensifying right before the race.  There are questions involving the safety and health of the horses, another hot topic for the Belmont, and horse racing must now compete with other forms of legal gambling.  So yes, horse racing has its problems.
This ain't The Hat!
Jockey John Velazquez and owner Phyllis Wyeth
celebrate Union Rags' victory at the Belmont. 
My own take on this is that, yes, it would have been really cool to have “I’ll Have Another” run the Belmont and possibly have won the Triple Crown, but shit happens and to suggest that horse racing is not worth watching if it can’t have it’s Super Bowl to me is either ludicrous or speaks poorly of the fans.  The 2012 Belmont Stakes was still a very exciting race in spite of the loss of the Triple Crown.  This said by a commentator (me) who picks his horse on the basis of a hat! 
So my original choice back on the Cinco de Mayo was Union Rags because I really liked the ball cap that Union Rags‘ trainer, Michael Matz, and owner, Phyllis Wyeth wore.  That’s it, the ball cap...well that and a catchy name...Union Rags.  How the hell do you name a horse Union Rags?  Sort of the same way that many of us get named, for our parents and ancestry.  Union is from the horse’s sire which was Union Dixie.  Rags is definitely a family name.  The dam was Tempo who counts Glad Rags in her pedigree and who owned Glad Rags? Phyllis Wyeth’s mother,  Alice du Pont Mills.  

Phyllis Wyeth is the famous painter, Andrew Wyeth’s, daughter in law, married to Jaime Wyeth who is also a famous painter.  She owns Chadds Ford Stables and bred Union Rags.  She sold the horse as a yearling for $145,000.  She then had a dream of the horse winning and bought him back as a 2 year old for $390,000.  The grand hope for Union Rags, the Triple Crown was denied due to a poor gate start at the Derby jockeyed by Julien Leparoux.  The horse tripped and collided out of the gate and was boxed in.  It was 18 th on the first turn but managed to place 7th for the race.  With the Crown lost, Matz and Wyeth chose not to run Union Rags at the Preakness, but brought him back for the Belmont and changed to John Velazquez for the jockey.  In one of those odd statistics, this is Velazquez’s third win of a Triple Crown race after a jockey change. 
This is THE HAT!
Phyllis Wyeth several days before the Derby. 
One last bit of drama for the Belmont was the state of New York taking over New York Racing Association and then the decision to detain all the horses in a carefully watch detention barn for security reasons.  The trainers were not happy with the implication that they can not be trusted.  
All in all this years Belmont Stakes had a lot of high emotion and a very exciting photo finish race. 
So what is all this crap about hats?  On the pre-race coverage for the Kentucky Derby, they interviewed Michael Matz, Union Rags’ trainer.  Matz had on this tan ball cap with Union Rags embroidered on it.  It was a lovely hat and I want one.  So based on the hat I chose Union Rags to win the Derby.  Well it didn’t work that way.  “I’ll Have Another” won the Derby despite Doug O’Neill having a rather crappy hat.  It looked like something my father wore to funerals in 1963.  Well hats only carry so much weight for me, and I wanted “I’ll Have Another” to win the Triple Crown.  So did Mario Gutierrez and I think that he and his horse could have pulled it off, but fate intervened.  So with “I’ll Have Another” out of the running for the Triple Crown, the hat tugged at my heart and my loyalties returned to Union Rags for the Belmont.
OK, this is a hat, but it ain't The Hat.
Available Overlay Apparel, $30.00

I searched the Internet for THE HAT.  Couldn’t find one.  I did find this one, and while it is close, it is not THE HAT.  Also $30 is a little stiff for a retired guy.  If it was THE HAT I would go for it. 

This ain't The Hat.  BTW how's your game?
Available $26.00

I bought a Titleist hat one time because there was a article in Newsweek on top caddies and one dude had this hat on.  I thought it was cool.  I had to stop wearing it.  I have never had a golf club in my hands and every once in a while some friendly soul would ask me about my game. 

This ain't The Hat either.
Doug O'Neill announcing the decision to pull
I'll Have Another from the Belmont.

Even though I hate Doug O'Neill's hat, I do feel bad that the horse could not run the race.  I really believe that Mario Gutierrez and I'll Have Another had a very good shot at winning the Triple Crown prior to the tendonitis.  I think O'Neill and Reddam did the right thing by scratching the horse from the race.   Myself, I think the horse got bad vibes from that stupid hat. 

Mayor Giuliani, September 2001

Edit 6-12-2012

Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the aftermath of 9/11.  A very cool hat which was a powerful symbol to a shocked and grieving nation.


Image Credits:

Belmont Stakes Logo:  The Belmont Stakes Store

Phyllis Wyeth & John Velazquez:  Newsday, Dream Comes True for Owner Phyllis Wyeth.

Phyllis Wyeth Union Rags Cap:  Yahoo Sports, Rob Carr/Getty Images