Saturday, June 27, 2015

You’ve come a long way, baby

On Tuesday of this week, New York City conferred landmark status on The Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village that initially became famous due to a riot that occurred there on June 28, 1969. Although its architecture by itself is not particularly distinguished, it earned specific landmark status, in an area that was already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, due to the fact that it is considered the birthplace of the modern LGBT movement.

The first Gay Pride Parade was proposed in New York City in November of 1969. The following June, Gay Pride Parades were held in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and are now held in numerous countries around the world.

Public opinion about same sex marriage has shifted dramatically over the years. When Massachusetts became the first state to legalize sex marriage in 2004, the majority of Americans (55%) felt that same sex marriage should not be legal. Just prior to last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling approving same sex marriage in all 50 states, 60% of the American public was in favor of unions of same sex couples, and same sex marriage was legal in 36 states. Only 37% of the American population is still opposed to same sex unions.

The irony of the Supreme Court ruling is that one of the justices who voted AGAINST the ruling (African American Clarence Thomas) has TWICE married women who are Caucasian. Both marriages would once have been considered illegal in at least some states (including the state where currently lives) until 1967. He married his first wife, Kathy Ambush, in 1971. After their divorce in 1984, he married his current wife, Virginia Lamb, in 1987.

When I was a kid, there were those who said that a Catholic could never get elected President, but JFK got elected in 1960.

There were also people who once said that a divorced man could never get elected, but Reagan got elected in 1980.

There are STILL lots of people who believe that a black man isn’t capable of being President, but Barack Obama got elected in 2008, and is already ranked by many sources as one of the best Presidents that we have ever had (which you won’t hear on FOX “news”).

It’s virtually impossible to not read something about Friday’s Supreme Court ruling this weekend, but the most tasteful response (so far) is a picture that appeared on the news yesterday:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Triple Crown

We watched history being made yesterday as American Pharaoh became only the 12th horse in American history to win the Triple Crown, finally breaking a drought of 37 years (the last winner, in 1978, was a horse named Affirmed). Fittingly, Penny Chenery, the 93 year old owner of the 1973 Triple Crown winner, Secretariat, was in the audience to watch the event.

Secretariat’s margin of victory in the 1973 Belmont was 31 lengths, a record that still stands today. His winning time of 2:24 is the fastest 1 ½ miles in history on dirt, and works out to a speed of 37.5 miles per hour. Even today, the film depicting his victory is electrifying to watch:

1973 Belmont

If you take a look at Penny Chenery’s biography, you’ll probably notice three very interesting facts:

1) during WWII, she worked for a company called Gibbs and Cox, which designed war craft for the Normandy invasion

2) in 1945, she joined the Red Cross, and served as a Doughnut Girl in France to help American soldiers transition back to civilian life

3) her stables, Meadow Farms, nearly captured the Triple Crown a year before Secretariat’s win when their horse, Riva Ridge, won both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont. Inclement weather at the Preakness made the track sloppy, and prevented his win there.

The Triple Crown was first awarded in America in 1919, when it was captured by a horse named Sir Baron. Only 11 horses (including American Pharaoh) have managed to repeat the same feat in the last 96 years. Less well known in this country is the Triple Tiara, a race strictly for fillies. The original new York Triple Tiara originated in New York in 1968, To date, only one horse (Davonna Dale) has won the national Filly Triple Crown.

Numerous other countries have their own version of the Triple Crown, but the very first Triple Crown originated in the United Kingdom, and dates back to 1853.

There are those who say, “it’s just a horse race, get over it”, I can only add that it’s a great deal more than that. Just ask Penny Chenery.

the full length movie

For $2.99, you can watch the full movie “Secretariat” by clicking on the link above. If you do that, I GUARANTEE you that you won’t be saying “it’s just a horse race!”.