Archive for the ‘Horses & Politicians lacking Balls’ Category

A Small Ball Report Political Position Paper

By Anthony Liebrandt

Undoubtedly, the next generation of nerds will invent a sophisticated Smart Phone/TV remote/Garage Door Opener/MP3 player that can electronically exchange money when you wave it at another device.   When the girl scouts are buzzing your doorbell ready to fleece you out of another $20 worth of Tagalongs you won’t be able to dodge them with the “I don’t have any cash” excuse because the smart little green skirted co-eds will rebut that with “That’s okay, our parents have already gave us our own DollarPods”

Until then, we are stuck with currency – bills and coins – and we are reminded of THEIR greatness.  THEY are everywhere.   THEY are the Statues and Portraits at the memorials of our summer vacations.   THEY are the exciting new biographies climbing the best seller list each year with new revelations about THEIR worst fears and THEIR favorite color.   Of course, I’m talking about our Founding Fathers.   We’ve been told a lot of about what THEY intended, why THEY did it that way, and what THEY might think.   I’m wondering should we, so much? 

Rufus King, Thomas Mifflin and other guys in Wigs that you were told about in elementary school.

Rufus King, Thomas Mifflin and other guys in Wigs that you were told about in elementary school.

The hot, young, cooler than any teacher I ever had in school character in Dazed and Confused perhaps said it best when she reminded her high school students at the final bell before summer:  “OK, guys, one more thing. Hey, this summer when you’re being inundated with all this bi-centennial, Fourth of July, bru-ha-ha just remember what you’re celebrating. That’s the fact that a bunch of slave-owning aristocratic white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”

These men who followed up their 1776 revolutionary hit single the Declaration of Independence with their 1787 album the United States Constitution are credited with establishing the most successful democracy in history.  And they should all be commended for that.   This founding fraternity included guys you have heard of like Hamilton, Franklin and Madison, but also included guys like Rufus King and Thomas Mifflin, who if you told me were halfbacks on the 1931 Packers I would believe that as well.   

For their part, Rufus King and Thomas Mifflin and others couldn’t really see the entire picture of what the nation would become.  If they had, we wouldn’t have the 27 cross-outs, do-overs and amendments that make up today’s US Constitution.   One thing they didn’t immediately foresee was the entrenched establishment of a two political party system with their own conflicting ideologies.   Rufus King might be amused that nary a daily news cycle goes by without one of our two vaunted political parties crying Constitutional encroachment on the other.   It would be laughable if only we weren’t so stuck with these two mediocre choices for leadership. 

The Republican Party Mascot: The GOP is represented by the Elephant, which if you have visited the Milwaukee Zoo in August you will know the Elephant is noted for dropping one of the larger piles of crap in the entire animal kingdom.   However, for all it’s proliferation, the Elephant turd pile in no way rivals the mound that Laura Dern stuck her Jurassic Park hand into.  Was I the only one who ever wondered what University taught her how to analyze dinosaur stool samples?   The fact that some republicans act like dinosaurs is either coincidental or part of their problem.

The Republican Party Mascot: The GOP is represented by the Elephant, which if you have visited the Milwaukee Zoo in August you will know the Elephant is noted for dropping one of the larger piles of crap in the entire animal kingdom. However, for all it’s proliferation, the Elephant turd pile in no way rivals the mound that Laura Dern stuck her Jurassic Park hand into. Was I the only one who ever wondered what University taught her how to analyze dinosaur stool samples? The fact that some republicans act like dinosaurs is either coincidental or part of their problem.

The easiest way for this Blog to become wildly popular would be to stop doing stories about Moko the Dolphin and Trash Toter.  …But, aside from posting pictures of ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews, the other fastest way for a meteoric rise in web hits would be to join the babbling mass of bloggers on the right and left, throwing spears at each other every day in countering volleys of insult and umbrage.  The problem is both sides – both parties – are leveraged in hypocrisy and held hostage to idealogues to the Democratic left and the Republican right.   As an example of this entrenchment there was just few short years ago a famed Gang of 14 moderate Senators.   Today, they are called the Gang of  6.   What America is really missing is a third choice, a meaningful third party down the middle, like the moderate Small Ball Party that I am announcing today.   

The Small Ball Party will inspire a radical Moderation, and promote causes that advance the Vast Middle Wingless Conspiracy.  We are not Blue Dogs or Red Dogs because we don’t really like dogs, mine often smells and has wrecked multiple window screens.   But, we are also an open party, so if you do like dogs, we suppose you can join the party as well.  And that’s really the point of the new Small Ball Party, it is a place for many who have found the current two parties too rigid, and unaccepting of their views.    Of course, the reason for this new centered party is that the current two party arrangement is a joke-worthy mess, wringing in hypocrissy.

A Republican Hypocrisy:

Republicans like to think that they would win the Love America contest.   And their team spirit is a wonder, Republicans sure Love America, they just don’t love all Americans.    

Matthew Shepard  was a 21 year college student attending the University of Wyoming in 1998.    He was very gay.   I mean very, very gay.    Okay, maybe that’s not describing him accurately enough; he was very, very, very gay.   He was so gay that a gay guy with a chronic gaydar malfunction could tell Matthew Shepard was gay.   Now, you could be surprised to hear that the guy that played Doogie Howser was gay, but Matthew Shepard was like the guy on every season’s first episode of Survivor, where you go, “Yep, he’s the gay one for this season!”   I have pointed Matthew Shepard’s gayness out to you dear reader merely to illustrate the following point, this kid had no choice, he was born gay. 

Matthew was an outcast for most of his life.   His mamma loved him anyway.  

Eleven years ago next month, Matthew Shepard left the Fireside Lounge in Laramie with two other young men that he had met for the first time that night.   His body would be found 18 hours later tied to a fence.   Part of the evidence that was used to convict one of the assailants was the fact that hair from Matthew’s butt was found on the revolver of the defendent.   An autopsy reveals that it was used for indescrible things    Now, sometimes I try to make a story humorous, I can’t make this one sound funny.   The acts committed against Matthew were clearly in the wheelhouse of a Hate crime.   

Today, there are federal laws on the books that provide extra sentencing for Hate crimes involving racism, sexism and xenophobia.   There are no such extra sentencing laws for crimes committed based on sexual orientation.   They have been repeatedly blocked by Republicans.     

There is no earthly reason that makes sense as to why a Republican voting block that normally likes to be labeled Tough On Crime would not overwhelming pass the expansion of the current Hate crime law to include crimes committed based on sexual orientation.   But, this is a party being held hostage by right wing political organizations like the Family Research Council, their Peter Sprigg recently said,  “People should be punished for their actions and not their thoughts.”

The Democrat Party Mascot:  Yesterday Barack Obama called Kanye West a “jackass”.  He was berating him for the very poor form of ransacking the delightful Taylor Swift’s recent VMA acceptance speech.    Or maybe, he was just calling West a good Democrat because the party’s moniker happens to be an apple eating donkey.   This brought Kanye West into the company of another man who was famously called a jackass, Andrew Jackson in 1824.    Jackson, however, did something modern Democrats seldom do as he deftly turned the tables, and sloganeered on how he would be jackass stubborn with the power of the veto.

The Democrat Party Mascot: Yesterday Barack Obama called Kanye West a “jackass”. He was berating him for the very poor form of ransacking the delightful Taylor Swift’s recent VMA acceptance speech. Or maybe, he was just calling West a good Democrat because the party’s moniker happens to be an apple eating donkey. This brought Kanye West into the company of another man who was famously called a jackass, Andrew Jackson in 1824. Jackson did something weak modern Democrats seldom do, turn the tables. He deftly sloganeered on how he would be "jackass" stubborn with the power of the veto. The Donkey and Democrat have been friends ever since.

The Family Research Council which touts its Christian Family Values doesn’t repudiate the current law on the same grounds.   It just doesn’t support its expansion to be inclusionary for crimes committed against gays.   As a Christian myself I have a value system that is very much at odds with this position by the Family Reserach Council. I happen to think that God had a reason for making Matthew Shepard gay.   

A Democrat Hypocrisy:

The biggest problem with the Democrat party is that it is a loose confederation of special interest groups that love to hang out at a Caucus, but wouldn’t be caught together sharing a pitcher of beer at the same brew pub.  They are like two guys attending the same Cleveland Browns game.  One is a union worker sitting in the end zone wearing his Dawg Pound mask and freezing his ass off.   The other is a trial lawyer who won’t mess up his $400 haircut with a Dawg Pound mask as he sits in the temperature controlled suite level eating dim sung from the half-time buffet.   They both cheer wildly win the Browns manage a rare score, but have little else in common. 

And that is why together their collective lobbies create bloated legislation and congressional spending wherever their paths cross.    The current health care push being championed by Democrats illustrates this conundrum on one notable level.   Obama’s own fuzzy math formulas say that billions can be saved by rooting out fraud, corruption and inefficiencies within the current Medicare system.   That sounds like a problem, why don’t we fix that problem, put the money in a Christmas club savings account and save up for when we are ready to spend money on an expanded health bill later.

Congressional Democrats have written thousands of pages of would-be health care reform legislation over the years, and none of it ever addresses that one area of bloat, lawsuits.  That individual surgeons spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on insurance premiums to protect themselves from the greedy lawyerly leaches is the biggest travesty of this entire debate.  Democrats lament the supposed greed in CEO salaries, but stand by as accomplice to the pilfering of trial lawyers.  Obama rattles off his disdain from his teleprompter towards special interests.   What he really means are special interests that are not lined up on his side of the ball. 

The Small Ball Party

In the coming months you will see more commentary from the Small Ball Report advancing the causes of this new Radical Moderate viewpoint.  As a party name, I’m not so sure that the Small Ball Party sounds dignified enough yet, I may have to work on that.   

But alas, today a new movement has been formed.   No special interests are allowed, no prejudices are accepted.    Donations are accepted, just wand me $20 from your DollarPod.

For more half-truths and outright lies visit the Small Ball Report at www.smallballreport.com

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Mine That Bird stunned the world last week at the Kentucky Derby. With his staggering 50-1 odds, he was the biggest long shot to win the Derby in modern times. He is a Gelding, which means he is a castrated horse. Only one other ball-less male horse has won the Derby since the invention of the the Hydrogen Bomb and John Wayne movies. There are endless funny things you can say about a horse with no balls. At least, funny to some people like me. But alas, that is not the topic of this report. This report is about Pedigree, and how it is applied effectively in Horse Racing and in – not so much – the Presidency.

Pedigree & Horses:
For such a seeming no-good long shot consider this: Mine That Bird is the son of former Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone. The Belmont is the third race in the Triple Crown which begins with the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl of horse racing and continues in successive two-week intervals with the Preakness Stakes and concludes at the Belmont. No horse has won all three races since Affirmed in 1979. So Birdstone’s better known for being the prick SOB that stopped Smarty Jones at the Belmont from winning the Triple Crown in 2004.

This happens a lot – eleven times actually, since Affirmed’s storied victory – a seemingly invincible steed will win the first two legs and then pull a Munson like Smarty Jones in the Belmont. Accompanying this event is a sometimes gut-wrenching spectacle. Those of us without souls however find it kind of funny.

It is customary for the wife of the owner of the would-be Triple Crown winning horse to wear a big ugly four foot wide yellow hat with flowers and other assorted plant life growing out on top. By the final turn as the midget jockey is lashing whip left and right but can’t get champ to catch up, the lady with the big hat is sobbing her eyes out on National TV like her poodle just died. Or maybe that’s actually the poodle she is wearing on her head?

What comes next for horses like Birdstone that can beat Smarty Jones and win a Belmont? While they don’t have a Leno or Letterman talk show circuit, horses are people too or so we are often told, so obviously they are out in the field bragging it up in every big, floppy horse’s ear they can find. After that, their owners decide what is best for their horse – insert what will make the owner of the horse more money here. The Triple Crown is for 3 year old horses only, so you don’t see horses come back for the repeat or 3peat.

The choice is to stud or not to stud? This is different than other sports where the studs don’t ever want to quit because they can make more money losing football games and throwing interceptions than they can creating baby Bret Favres. Too bad Bret Favre wasn’t a horse. It would be fun to name the little baby Bret Favre horses, like Ain’t 4 Retiring or Something about Mary Favre or Gift Sacks for Michael Strahan.

So Birdstone was sent to a horse farm somewhere and one day they bring in a girl horse named Mining My Own, and in my version of the story, they give the two an afternoon to run around the field and cuddle and spoon and listen to Rod Stewart songs. Also in my version of the story, nine months later Mining My Own’s water breaks and several hours later dad Birdstone is in the corner paddock handing out Its a Boy cigars.

Despite Birdstone’s greatness at the Belmont, his own father and grandfather never would forgive him for being the family slacker and not winning a Kentucky Derby of his own. Birdstone was the son of Grindstone who won the Kentucky Derby in 1996. Grindstone’s dad and Mine That Bird’s Great Grandfather was the legendary 1990 Derby winner, Unbridled. I haven’t fact checked this (code for I’m making it up) but Unbridled was the distant offspring of a horse that Buffalo Bill used to ride while upside down shooting an apple off of Annie Oakley’s head.

A word about Mine That Bird’s mom, if Mining My Own were a person she would be the equivalent to, let’s say, a Princess (like of Wales or Leah or Cinderella, you pick) in her bloodlines. Her brother, we will call him Luke Skywalker, is the famed two-time horse of the year Curlin. Curlin won himself a Preakness Stakes and stuck around after his breakout 3 year old season to win more races and money before going to the stud farm. Kind of like a Bret Favre who actually won a second Super Bowl.

With these kind of bloodlines, while it was disappointing to Mine That Bird’s extended horse family that he went off as such a long shot last week, everyone in the paddock is happy that he did finally realize his potential. It should be noted that this is not a unique family tree. Every horse that runs in the Triple Crown races has a similar lineage of a Dad or Granddad who won this race or mounted that mare, that kind of thing.

All the horses are related. Grandpa Grindstone for instance, the son of Unbridled, beat his little brother by a different mom, Unbridled’s Song is the 1996 Derby. Their mom’s probably had a cat fight over that.

Horse racing is kind of like watching Venus playing Serena at Wimbledon or Eli & Peyton in the Super Bowl every week. Come to think of it, it is kind of like NASCAR, those guys are all cousins too.

Pedigree & Presidents:
I’m not sure what to think yet of Barack Obama’s presidency. I didn’t vote for him, not because he’s not an impressive person. He seems extremely smart and is a very good speaker.

If I was a video game designer, I would create a game called Stump Speech where they scrolled a speech on the prompter and you read the text scoring points for not tripping over words and sounding like Dan Qualye. Obama is no Dan Qualye and would surely be Stump Speech the Video Game’s box cover boy like he was Madden 09’s Larry Fitzgerald. I think I would be good at that game like I was good at Frogger and Asteroids.

One of the main reasons I didn’t vote for Obama besides the footage of him playing basketball wearing, gasp, sweat pants on is that I liked the alternative. I just tend to vote for the war hero. The guy that spent over 5 years in a Viet Nam cage who could have used his Son of an Admiral pedigree to free himself, and didn’t.

I voted for John McCain, just like I voted for the Purple Heart winning John Kerry. Sort of like I wanted to vote for Bob Dole, but didn’t.

Here’s the thing – given a choice I will vote for the war hero almost every day of the week. I’m saddened that I can’t vote for Pat Tillman someday as war hero & NFL strong safety would have been a formidable combination, but I can’t wait to vote for Private Jessica Lynch to become the first female President of the US.

And, if I had a time machine and could go vote in past presidential races because that’s what sounds fun to me about a time machine, I would have dipped my feathery pen in ink and voted for War of 1812 hero Andy Jackson, although his Teapot Dome scandal sounds a lot like the crappy scandals we’ve had in the current Post Watergate era. Jackson probably was as annoying and blustery as John Kerry if they had a Meet The Press back then.

War heroes US Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight D Eisenhower all get my vote even if they would have picked small town Alaska mayors as there VP Mates. Good thing, other than Eisenhower, they didn’t actually pick their running mates back then, and of course, Alaska wasn’t even a state yet.

There was another war hero president I really admired, John F Kennedy. Also a best selling author and married to hot wife, he had it all. The downside to JFK was he was the Grindstone or Curlin of Presidential timber. Or moreover, his father Joe, was Unbridled because let’s face it JFK’s own seedlings proved that they weren’t good passing bar exams, navigating without a flight panel or stealing a Senate seat from a blind New York Govenor that must have forgotten that she was a Kennedy.

Pedigree is something best left to horse racing.

JFK’s brother, the energetic youthful Bobby, wasn’t on the U-Boat rescuing his comrades. Not his fault he was too young to fight, but the points JFK scored as hero should not just be transferred to the next brother up.

But, since his own brother hired him as US Attorney General and White House bowling partner, RFK was on his way. He later picked a place on the map, New York, where he knew he could easily win a Senate Seat and eventually launched his own Kennedy brand that who knows one day, may have lived up to its bright promise.

He would have likely won the Presidency in 1968 had some cowards at an LA hotel not decided a different fate for RFK. Along with Ben Franklin, RFK has to be the other name that is most often the incorrect answer on the High School History test question, “Which of the following men was a US President?”

Now both John & Robert Kennedy’s assassinations were tragic. That hero capital should not automatically transfer like an inheritance to next Kennedy up. Which it did, and if little brother Teddy hadn’t driven his date’s car off a bridge, he probably would have stopped Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in their 1980 tracks.

And so, a next generation of Kennedy’s were born with their Unbridled pedigree and went off and won the equivalent of undercard races for Congress and the like. We’ve been spared a Kennedy national breakthrough probably more based on their too left positioning than the sometimes alternating scandal and tragedy that has followed the Kennedy pedigree.

Which brings me back to Barack Obama.

Clearly the best thing that happened during the ascendency of Barack Obama – besides the obvious historical nature of his victory – was he was the only thing that derailed the continuing handoff of power from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Clinton. He was like Birdstone beating Smarty Jones in the Belmont when he blocked Hillary and the Pantsuit Factory from her Oval Office entitlement.

At least for the time being as I haven’t paid attention, but I’m sure pundits are already writing about the growing friction between Amtrak Joe Biden & Hillary Pantsuit for the 2016 race.

I love this country and don’t care what anyone in France or Israel or either one of the Koreas think of our policies, but the continuing presidential handoff of power from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Clinton had to make us look fairly unimaginative. I am equally unabashedly tired of both Bushes and Clintons and I wish they would both go away and take the Kennedys with them.

The original George Bush had the most storied resume in the history of Presidential Candidacies. Military, CIA Director, House, Senate, VP. His legacy is, on balance positive, despite all the times he vomited on foreign leaders (like in Japan) and fell off campaign stages. The secret service that followed George HW Bush were trained on stopping the Nestea plunge off of a podium more than they were at jumping in front of a John Hinckly misfire.

But alas, the hero capital should not have automatically been passed like it was a Royal endowment to George W and his brainy brother Jeb Bush. If you are not known as the smart brother, doesn’t that make you the dumb brother?

Equally worth puking up over was the presidential pedigree transfer from Bill Clinton to Hillary Clinton. Martha Stewart is a wonderful designer and bad investor. If her husband had taken over her show and empire and started talking about swatch colors while she was in prison it would have sounded pretty ridiculous, right? Hillary touting her experience as wife of President as qualification to be President is equally ridiculous. And what was so great about the Clinton Presidential mantle in the first place?

I think both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were probably both unfairly impeached, however, in 100 years every above average high school history student will know that there were two Presidents in US History to be impeached. They will have no google clue why Johnson was tried but they will surely know about a colorful story – the color being blue like a dress – behind Clinton’s impeachment.

And yet Clinton had a Presidential pedigree because we as a nation probably would have elected Hillary over the War Hero had Obama not made the lady with the big hat sob her eyes out.

Here’s the thing in horse racing each generation is bred to run faster and have bigger balls (Mine That Bird – the no balled Gelding being an exception). In contrast, in the American Presidential Experiment, as John Quincy Adams & GW Bush have proved, each generation seems to get slower and suffer from smaller balls.

I won’t cast a vote on Pedigree, but I do like my horses to have it. Mind That Bird may just win the Triple Crown, unless he gets beat by a horse named Brett’s Viking Ship at the Belmont.

 Seven years ago a horse named Funny Cide ran with an awkward gallop. At a routine medical checkup, a Vet reached his hand underneath the animal – doing a feel around, he noticed that Funny Cide had only one descended ball sack.

 
Although not the topic of this story, apparently trained Vets are able to cop the proverbial feel without getting themselves kicked in the nuts.
 
With only one nut of his own, Funny Cide’s owners decided his future value as a stud was lessened and they had Funny Cide’s remaining ball castrated. Castrated horses are called Geldings.
 
Almost, immediately the Gelding horse started to run faster and began winning races. And, since the horses didn’t share a locker room after their races – like human jocks – none of the other horses roasted Funny Cide with insults about his lack of balls or his oddly spelled last name. The next summer Funny Cide became the first ball-less horse to win the Kentucky Derby in over 70 years. …Actually if you count the 3 girl horses who had won, he was the fourth ball deprived steed to win the Run for the Roses.
 
Two weeks later, Funny Cide would win the Preakness Stakes, the first Gelding ever to win the first 2 legs of the Triple Crown. By this time, Funny Cide had become the main rooting interest of castrated males all over the world. Males with small balls, one ball, and low sperm counts also adopted Funny and rooted vicariously for the four-hoofed wunderkind. Alas, on the verge of Triple Crown history at the Belmont Stakes, Funny Cide was beaten by two other horses, both of which had balls.
 
This past Saturday, Mine That Bird was the second biggest long shot to ever win the Kentucky Derby. More amazing, like Funny Cide, he was the second horse since WWII to win the Derby with no balls.