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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Checking In, Rambling On....

- It's been nearly 72 hours since my last post, which I guess is a long time for this particular site. A family matter and a busy work schedule in advance of our scheduled long weekend in Saratoga are currently limiting my ability to update in a timely manner.

Seems though like I've had only about 72 minutes to catch my breath. As usual, the summer is just flying by as well, as evidenced by the fact that we've already reached the halfway point of the Saratoga meeting! It's all downhill from here, hopefully in terms of rainfall amounts. The weather has been dismal as reflected in the attendance and handle figures. 24 races have been taken off the grass (as compared to two during the same period last year), and the field sizes have naturally been decimated. Through Sunday, there were 1,392 betting interests, down from 1,499 in 2007, a 7.1 percent decline. Somewhere around Del Mar, Andy Beyer is smiling contentedly.

The last three weeks of the meeting, during which the Head Chef and I hope to spend some dry time up there, features arguably the two highlights of the meeting - the Alabama and its possible rematch between Music Note and Proud Spell, and Curlin's scheduled appearance in the Woodward, in which he'll be saddled with a laborious weight assignment to make things interesting. (Oh yeah, we don't do that anymore.)

And in between those weekends, we have the Travers, a/k/a the $1million ALW NW3.

In another sign of the passing of summer, we saw the last free concert of the season at Brooklyn's Prospect Park on Saturday night - a star-studded tribute to Bill Withers, including, of all people, Bill Withers! Don't know if I've ever seen the subject of a tribute concert actually perform in tribute to him/herself. It literally seems like just a couple of weeks ago that we attended the first concert of the Celebrate Brooklyn series, by Isaac Hayes, on June 12. And in the larger scheme of things, it seems not that long ago that Isaac Hayes, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 65, was in the prime of his career, lip-synching to Shaft on Soul Train.

However, no matter how many summers/years/decades/centuries go by, as we've seen this week, this weak excuse for a human race continues to squander the miracle of the short time we've been granted on this pretty cool planet with something for everyone in favor of savage fighting over nonsense like nationalism and religion. Considering the human rights record of the current Olympics host, perhaps the IOC should reward Russia with a Games of its own! already has...

Oh well. Celebrity Senator McCain delivered a long speech on the subject (apparently with some Wikihelp). Hmmm, seemed rather presumptuous to me - I mean, does this guy think he's been elected already? Glad to see that he at least got Prime Minister Putin's title right this time.

OK, OK, be back with some horse racing stuff as soon as I can....


Anonymous said...

Hi Alan - hope you have nice weather on your trip to the SPA. Did you notice who is now helping Obama by any chance ? This is from today's mail online:

George Clooney once famously declared he could never run for public office because he’d ‘slept with too many women, done too many drugs and been to too many parties’.

But now the Hollywood heart-throb has entered the political arena at
the highest level – by becoming an unofficial adviser to US Presidential front-runner Barack Obama.

Oscar-winner Clooney, 47, is said to be helping the Democratic candidate to polish his image at home and abroad.

But he is also sharing with Obama his strong opinions on Iraq and the Middle East.

Close: Oscar-winner George Clooney is said to call Barack Obama at least twice a week

Sources say the actor has tried to hide the pair’s friendship for fear his Left-wing views and playboy image would hurt the Presidential hopeful’s bid for the White House.

But Democratic Party insiders have revealed that Clooney and Obama regularly send texts and emails to each other and speak by phone at least twice a week.

One said last night: ‘They are extremely close. A number of members of the Hollywood community, including Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, offered to help raise funds for Barack but it was with George that he struck up this amazing affinity.

‘George has been giving him advice on things such as presentation, public speaking and body language and he also emails him constantly about policy, especially the Middle East.

‘George is pushing him to be more “balanced” on issues such as US relations with Israel.

'George is pro-Palestinian. And he is also urging Barack to withdraw unconditionally from Iraq if he wins.

‘It’s a very risky relationship. His hope of becoming America’s first black President depends heavily on winning over conservative voters and it would be suicidal for him to be perceived as a tool of a Hollywood Leftie, which is how they regard George.

‘But they text and email each other almost every day and speak on the phone at least a couple of times a week, often more.’

The Ocean’s Eleven star is among many Hollywood figures to have endorsed Obama, including Barbra Streisand, Scarlett Johansson, Warren Beatty and Steven Spielberg.

One of Clooney’s trusted acquaintances said: ‘George is a master at crafting his own image and he is helping Obama to hone his image both domestically and abroad.

'He told me he feels Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime leader. He is doing everything he can behind the scenes to bolster support in Hollywood, not just with other celebrities but with the money men at the studios.’

The acquaintance added: ‘He has tried to keep the true extent of their involvement out of the Press because he is frightened of alienating voters.’

Clooney himself has admitted in an interview: ‘I’ve had the conversation with him saying, “Look, I’ll give you whatever support you need, including staying completely away from you.”’

The star has never tried to hide his liberal views and last week announced he is making a £15million film about the lawyer who defended Osama Bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan, on terror charges.

Clooney’s spokesman Stan Rosen-feld said last night: ‘I know they have spoken. I view it as a private conversation.’ Obama’s Press office did not comment.

Bob from NJ

Alan Mann said...

Hi Bob - Thanks!

Sounds like Clooney has his eye on Secretary of Defense! His roles in films such as Three Kings and Syriana admittedly might actually give him more foreign policy experience than Obama. But considering that Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy advisor, was a key figure in the run up to the war, I'm willing to take my chances!