Thursday, October 31, 2013


Don't forget to keep at least one fire burning well during all of the darkness tonight - that will keep the evil spirits from taking your soul back with them when they return to their nether world at dawn...

Something truly frightening (above)

... And a laugh...

Having black fur, skin, scales or feathers does not make something evil or wicked - only humans project their feelings in this way.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chincoteague Pony Fall Round-Up

The Fall Round-Up of the Chincoteague ponies on Assateague Island occurred this past Friday and Saturday (October 25 and 26), with just a few problems.  That caused the foal sale to be moved back from 3 p.m. until 4 - but otherwise, things went well.  Here are photos of the Round-Up, courtesy of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and Denise Bowden:



Surfer Dude (Riptide's sire)

Thor's Visit

I was sound asleep this morning, with Lovey on my left shoulder and Nedi on my stomach.  My sleeping companions awoke me by literally "digging out" at a dead run to hide under the bed.  I have no idea what gave them the warning, but, as I awakened, there was a tremendous flash of bright white light and a simultaneous crashing roar.  I thought that either (a) a building had exploded, or (b) a meteor had crashed in Carpenter Park.  I was amazed at the silence that followed - one person in my apartment building yelled in surprise, but I was waiting for sirens to immediately begin.  Dead silence.    After a few minutes, the cats came creeping back into the bed.  I kept lying there, staring at the window.  I had grabbed my alarm clock and looked at the time when the first blast had frightened me - it was 1:06 a.m.  Six minutes later there was another bright flash, but there was a slight pause before the booming noise.  Both kits again went under the bed.  I got up and peeked out the window - snow was falling, and there was a third flash of lightning followed by a more distant boom of thunder.  Thunder snow!  The front was moving very fast over the area, and within ten minutes, one could only faintly hear the thunder rumbling out to the east.  It was amazing.  I certainly felt that we poor mortals had been visited by Thor, and that I had heard and seen the lightning and thunder of his great hammer, Mjolnir...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Favorite Jockeys

Chris McCarron on a jockey collectors trading card in 1980, and, below, hugging John Henry on the gelding's 30th birthday

"Eddie D" - the kid from Louisiana.  Eddie Delahoussaye, above, during his riding career, and below, receiving the Laffit Pincay Award in July

Laffit Pincay, above and below

Actor  and horseman Mark Harmon with jockey Mike Smith, above.  In the 2012 'The Body' issue of ESPN magazine, Mike showed off his 48-year-old athlete's riding body (below).

Words - And a Few Bits

The few bits first off...  Jockey Mike Smith will ride in thirteen of the fourteen Breeders Cup Championship races this weekend, and I'll be cheering him on.   ...   Graydar, one of the early favorites in the BC Dirt Mile, will not be running in the race.  He was found to have a quarter-crack in his left fore yesterday morning.  ...   And, here in Colorado, an 18-month-old paint colt, named Rocket, is earning the nickname "Accident." Before his first birthday, he somehow became trapped on his side underneath a parked horse trailer in his pasture; then he got tangled up in a wire fence.  Yesterday morning, he was found upside down in a water well, having opened the gate to his paddock and gone exploring. The colt was rescued, after being sedated, and, other than some scrapes and bruises, seems to be well.  This photo was taken of him being pulled out of the well:
Rocket was covered with blankets and massaged for warmth and to help with blood flow, and when he wanted to stand, was allowed to.  He walked under his own power back to his stall, where one of his equine friends was standing to offer comfort.  This morning, his owner reported that he was eating and drinking well.
Words.  Our language can be used to up-lift something (or some one) to an unbelievable glorified height, or to denigrate and bury the same thing (or person) in the lowest depths of antipathy.  Certain words have become politically incorrect as times have changed, and I can accept the banning of words used as racial epithets.  Words that were once commonly used are now offensive to those of certain races.  I have never had to suffer from racial words, as I am most definitely "white" by classification...  I have grey hair now, but it used to be reddish brown, and I have grey-green colored eyes, and a very pale skin that freckles and reddens in the sun.  My ethnic background is, in the main, Swedish, Danish, and English (even though the English are and were a huge polyglot of peoples through the ages of history); and I do have a few drops of Native American in my blood, too.  My 16th-great grandmother was a Native American;  my 12th and 13th-great grandmothers were reputed to be Native Americans; and my great-grandmother might have been half Cherokee  (her father had four wives, three white and one Cherokee - and Nancy's mother is not documented)...
  I started writing this because of the calls of different people to change the name of a football team - the Washington Redskins.  While actually based in Maryland, they are representative of our country's capitol, Washington, D. C.  - and, thus, it can be expanded that the team itself represents all of the people who live in the United States of America.  Personally, I do not find the name "Redskins" to be controversial, even though a great many people do.  The first Europeans to venture to what is now the U S were "white" people; the native people they encountered had a darker cast to their skin,and frequently had broken blood vessels in their eyes.  The "white" people called these native "red" people; then the "white" people brought "black" people to the Americas in ownership, as slaves.  One of the interesting points of history is that all three of these peoples inter-married, at different times and in different places.  We have never become a truly homogeneous people, and we probably never will, due to preconceived cultural and educational differences.  But I feel we must "draw a line in the sand" somewhere - or we are going to have to invent a whole new language and vocabulary for the entire world to use.  Because of our huge gene pool, I believe that there will always be differences in skin color and tone, as well as eye and hair color.  Why can't we accept our differences and enjoy them?
  As for the "Redskins" - I, personally, do not see the word as a "bad" word; it was used to differentiate.  If we stop using the word Redskin or Indian in our everyday language, shouldn't we then not use any word that might have any connotation of Native Americans?  We'd have to stop using the following words - chief, maiden, warrior, gatherer, loin cloth, breech cloth, leather, buckskin, bows, arrows, lance, spear, snare, trap, feather, totem, medicine man, shaman, grandmother, grandfather, maize, corn, corn meal, corn bread, corn mush, pop corn, squash, tobacco, peace pipe, pipe, hunter, etc, etc, etc ...  Do you see what I mean?
  If we follow through with banning the use of Redskins, then we should also ban the use of any color designation at all.  You couldn't say, "I live in the green house on the right."  You couldn't say that you owned a brown tabby cat, or a grey dog, or a spotted horse, or a white car...   It just gets too restrictive.  Again, I personally, don't find the word "Redskins" to be derogatory - but if you ask me about the "n-word," I'd say yes that is derogatory and an insult, in an instant, without any hesitation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Breeders Cup Post Positions, Odds, Jockeys

If you're interested in the post position, jockey, and odds for the fourteen Breeders Cup races that will be run on Friday and Saturday, 1 and 2 November, please visit this site:

Again, if you'd like to know more about each horse, one can see all known information (and, usually, photos) about each entry by visiting The Bloodhorse website at:      Scroll down to the green Breeders Cup area, and then down to the grey Breeders Cup Division  line; under these are boxes that contain each race - by clicking on the race, you'll get a list of entrants.  If you click on each entrant, you can view the horses "personal" information - a short biography of what humans the horse is associated with; an auction history, if the horse has been sold; and the horses' pedigree - I look at the expanded 5-generation record, myself.

  Happy racing and betting on the Breeders Cup!

Cute and Easy-to-Carve Pumpkins

Pumpkin welcoming crew



Bat cut-outs

A pumpkin migraine

Pumpkin Head hunter

Four Quarters Or a One Dollar Bill

I had to pause and take time to try and think something through yesterday.  I had gone to the local Staples store, to make a copy of a three-page document.  I had two $5s, a $10, and a $20 bill in my pocket, plus a bunch of change.  I had decided I'd use the self-service station, so I read all the instructions, and sighed. Very few places now have a coin-operated copy machine - I had to purchase a "print card" from a machine that accepted only bills - no change.  I always lose the "print card" after using it, and since it would cost me 30 cents, I only wanted to get a $1 card.  I double-checked my bills; not one single.  So I pulled four quarters out of my pocket, and approached the register.  The young man behind the counter said that he didn't think it "was allowed" to make change for a customer.  I told him I didn't want to make change, I wanted to make a bill, so I could use one of his machines.  He gave this huge sigh, and said, if I insisted, he'd call the manager.  I insisted.  A very nice young lady appeared and said she was the "Team Manager" and could she help me.  I told her my problem, she gave the young man a funny look, and opened a register, handing me a one dollar bill for my four quarters.  I then went, purchased my "print card" and made the copies I needed.  No big deal.
  The reason I paused was: if one can only purchase a "print card" with a bill, and one has lots of change, but no bills, how is one supposed to get the bill(s), if the cashier cannot give them to you?  Wouldn't that drive customers away?  You've gone there for a specific service, and because you have change, but not a bill, you can't go through with the transaction?  Isn't money money?  Or isn't coin money?   - I really can understand a business not wanting to make change for a non-paying customer - there are way too many incidents of "change artists" who come in with a $100 bill, and keep asking for this or that, and they finally completely confuse the cashier, and have walked away with the $100 plus another $100 in "change."  But to refuse to change four quarters into a one dollar bill, so one can use the customer facilities?  That's a bit overboard....

   The Broncos had a wild-seeming game yesterday afternoon - they were held to 7 points in the first half, and, a few seconds into the second half, the score was the Washington Redskins 21, the Broncos 7.  Then the Denver offense began to work smoothly, and, with the defense's help, the Redskins scored no more. The final score belied the real story of the game - Denver 45 and Washington 21.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Oklahoma City Zoo Critters Celebrate Halloween

A Galapagos tortoise

Grizzly bear


Pearl, the sea lion, plays peek-a-boo

A Silverback gorilla enjoys a pumpkin

Red River hogs enjoy their treat

Gamecocks Football; Points Offthebench

A beautiful sunrise here in Boulder this morning - the sun painted the snow on the mountain peaks in shades of pink and purple - it was magnificent.   Last night was CU's Homecoming game, with kick-off at 6 p.m.  My kits were a little cranky because they wanted to go out and prowl, but I kept them inside until this morning.  The apartment is a block and a half away from the CU football stadium, and the building owner charges for people to park in the unoccupied spaces - therefore, during home games, we have a lot of traffic and strangers in and around the building, and I'd rather be safe than sorry - especially with Halloween just a few days away.
  But the poor Buffs - I was watching the South Carolina Gamecocks play at Missouri on TV, but could hear the crowd in the stadium.  The Buffs had a 3 and 3 record going into the game - the best record they've had in many years - but they were playing Arizona.  I could hear the crowd roaring and lots of noise through half-time,but after the third quarter kick-off, the stadium got more and  more quiet.  At halftime, Arizona was up by only 7 points  (20 to 27), but the Buffs were not able to score again. The final score was 44 to 20. Ouch.
  In the meantime, I was watching a heck of a game on the telly.  Conner Shaw, the Gamecocks starting quarterback, was injured last week.  He was cleared to play last night, but was favoring the sore leg.  So Dylan Thompson was the designated quarterback.  At the end of the third quarter, the Gamecocks were scoreless, while the Tigers had 17 points.  (Last week I rooted for Mizzou over my Gators, but I wanted "the ol' ball coach," Steve Spurrier, to win last night.)  Steve was seen speaking to Connor  just before the end of the third quarter, and Shaw came out onto the field at the beginning of the fourth.  At the end of 15 minutes, the score was tied at 17.  At the end of the first Overtime, the score was tied at 24.  In the second Overtime period, the Gamecocks could only get a field goal on the scoreboard.  The Tigers sputtered toward the goal line, and on their last play, had to make a field goal to tie, and go into a third Overtime period.  The poor young man who kicked the ball for the Tigers hit the lacings, and the ball bounced off the outside of the goalpost upright.  SC won, 27 to 24.  And it spoiled an unbeaten season for Mizzou.
  The Gators didn't play yesterday, but I also saw the Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and the Ohio State Buckeyes win their games.  Overall, it was a good football Saturday.
   Today, the Denver Broncos play the Washington Redskins at Mile High Stadium - Mike Shanahan is back in the town that fired him.  I like Mike.  I like RGIII.  I like John Fox.  I like Peyton and his receiving corps.  I have an awful feeling that I'll be rooting for both teams today...
  Yesterday, one of the horses exercising for the Breeders Cup Championship races suffered a condylar fracture of his right fore fetlock.  Points Offthebench was galloping under jockey Mike Smith, when the colt took a misstep and went down.  Mike Smith fell easily and was unhurt.  But the big grandson of Alydar was deemed to have an irreparable break, and was euthanized.  Points Offthebench was scheduled to run in the Breeders Cup Sprint on 2 November.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Photo Variety

No explanation needed...

Tardar Sauce at her first book signing

From Vikings, Ragnar Lodbrok and his raven tattoo (Travis Fimmel)

A 9th century Viking carved  -  gargoyle?  -  wolf?

Wales landscape

Neat seat

Breeders Cup Information - Part 3

The final four races of the Breeders Cup Championship Races have a total combined purse of $11,500,00. Wouldn't all of us regular working stiffs love to have that money?
Again, horses designated with an * have won a Breeders Cup Challenge Race, and are guaranteed a post position in the starting gate.

The sixth  race on Saturday, 2 November, will be the Breeders Cup Turf, a contest for horses of any sex, aged 3-years-old and up.  The race covers one and one-half miles on the grass, and there are thirteen pre-entries for the $3,000,000 purse:
*Big Blue Kitten
 Grandeur (bred in Ireland)
 Indy Point (bred in Argentina)
*Little Mike
 Magician (bred in Ireland)
 Point of Entry
*Real Solution
 Tale of a Champio
 Teaks North
*The Fugue (bred in Great Britain)
 Twilight Eclipse
*Vagabond Shoes (bred in Ireland)

The Breeders Cup Sprint will run next, for horses of any sex, 3-years-old and up, and cover 6 furlongs (or 3/4 mile) on the main track.  There are fifteen pre-entries for the $1,500,000 purse:
*Bahamian Squall
 Capo Bastone
 Fast Bullet
 Gentlemen's Bet
 Justin Phillip
 Laugh Track
 Majestic Stride
*Points Offthebench
*Private Zone
 Secret Circle
*Sum of the Parts
 The Lumber Guy
 Wine Police

The Breeders Cup Mile is the penultimate race, for horses of either sex, covering the distance of one mile on the grass.  There are sixteen pre-entries for the $2,000,000 purse:
 Boat Trip
 Bright Thought
 Christoforo Colombo
 Flotilla (bred in France)
 He Be Fire N Ice
 Magician (bred in Ireland)
 No Jet Lag
*Obviously (bred in Ireland)
 Olympic Glory (bred in Ireland)
 Toronado (bred in Ireland)
*Wise Dan
 Za Approval

The climax of the program is the Breeders Cup Classic, a one and one-quarter mile race on the main track. It is open to horses of either sex, aged 3-years-old and up, and has a purse of $5,000,000.  There are thirteen pre-entries:
 Declaration of War
 Flat Out
*Fort Larned
*Game On Dude
 Last Gunfighter
*Mucho Macho Man
 Palace Malice
 Planteur (bred in Ireland)
*Ron the Greek
 Will Take Charge

And just a silly bit of trivia at the end...  Do you know why the monetary prize for horse racing is called a purse?  Originally, when a horse race was set up, a neutral party held the amount the race winner would receive - and it was sewn into a silk purse.  The idea being that the silk would show any tampering with the stitches, and coin could not be removed from the purse before the race.  Of course, today our "purses" are split between the top five finishers, with the rest of the field getting only applause for their payment.
*** Oxbow, the winner of the 2013 Preakness Stakes, has been retired and will stand at stud at Taylor Made in Kentucky.  His fee is $20,000 when foal stands and nurses.  ***

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nine Returning Champions in the Breeders Cup Races

Not only are we being treated to nine champions from last year returning to these marvelous races, nine other horses who placed second will also be racing - trying to win that elusive Breeders Cup Championship...
Here are photos of the returning champion race horses:
Fort Larned won the Classic

Royal Delta won the Distaff

Wise Dan won the Mile

Little Mike won the Turf

Groupie Doll won the Fillies & Mares Sprint

Beholder won the Juvenile Fillies

Mizdirection won the Turf Sprint

Flotilla won the Juvenile Fillies Turf

Trinniberg won the Sprint