Monday, August 3, 2009

Beating a Dead Horse (In Stereo Where Available)

As a prelude to this post, I find it important to note that I have switched from Charter to at&t's u-Verse. It is glorious. It's important to this post because I can now DVR premium channels in HD for later watching. I now present fantastic moments from HBO's Sports of the 20th Century's 1 hour documentary entitled quite simply: Barbaro.

You may remember the 20th century, as it ended a couple of years before Barbaro was born.

For those who do not heed the post below, it is also available On Demand, if you have those services available to you.

Narrator: "For 6000 years, man has celebrated the power, grace, and mystery of the horse. They are trusted to live along side us, honoring our many commands. They have joined us in fields of battle. They have pulled our plows and carried us across the plains. And when we ask them to, they run."

I heard no mention of horse meat or glue factories. And why is Fred Willard not in this? I thought he was in all of the fake documentaries...

Narrator: "Once in a great while, a race horse will emerge with a majesty and spirit that no one can instill or explain."

Shit, this is legit? Are they still talking about a horse? I'll take a shot at explaining it. It's a horse. It doesn't have spirit. It has muscles that have been trained to run, just as mine have been trained to press A, B, X, L2, and "Publish Post."

Owner Gretchen Jackson, first only heard, then seen reading from a handmade card: "Dear Barbaro, the day you hurt your leg, I wish I could have been there. [very rough cut in which her voice changes an octave] Though I may never meet you, you will always have a special place in my heart."

Dear Little Boy or Girl,

The day I hurt my leg, I wish you can have been there, too. I would have trampled you to death as I was in tremendous pain and the crushing of your skull would have been the only thing that would have distracted me from the pain that I was too stupid to block out, thus running on my ankle and making it worse. As for meeting me, ask your whore of a mother where the glue that she bought for you for this shitty card come from. Next time, shell out the extra 50 cents and get me a genuine Hallmark.

Get fucked,


(voice of disembodied, unknown older male) "These animals become like national pets. People feel like he is one of the family."

Many families run for the gambling enjoyment of people around the world until they cannot run anymore and are put down.

Narrator: "Animals can sometimes take us to a place we cannot reach by ourselves."

As a step stool? Around groups if viscous 1950's TV injuns? Olympus Mons? Other things that animals can sometimes do:

Not a thing
Shit in the Living Room instead of the Litter Box
Die already

...And we're a mere 83 seconds into the feature. What a majestic title card. I hate taking pictures of TVs and posting it, but this new DVR is pretty locked down.

A man later identified as Peter Brette, assistant trainer chimes in on Barbaro's first race."He didn't know, basically, what he was doing. He was just far superior to anything else."

It must have been that spirit.

Also, in the first race at Delaware Park, the guy calling the race is calling it bar-BEAR-oh. It's entertaining, but I'm sure that the owners had him shot afterwords.

14 minutes in now, and I've noticed that they have the same 8 seconds of soft, happy music looping over all of the race footage so far. Must have blown all the cash on shooting in HD.

Peter Brette: "He went into Florida a mere boy. And he came out of it a man."

I was trying to get the "horsefucker" flash card from the South Park movie, but instead I learned a very important lesson about what not to search for using Google Images. Looking back on it, I don't know what I was expecting to find. God, even though Barbaro has left us it's still a great teacher.

Owner Gretchen Jackson: "I was walking one day down the farm to bring some horses in in the afternoon and just I was thinking about Barbaro and could he be that good and all that and there was this huge rainbow up in the sky and I thought 'Ohh, there is my sign. You know. I love rainbows. There's my sign that this horse is truly special.'

Rainbows are intrinsically linked to the physical ability of a horse. I would buy this if, say, the rainbow was emanating from Barbaro's newly-trainer-tainted asshole. But it wasn't. Just rain refracting sunlight. But it was a sign!

I remember making jokes about it then, but the 2006 Kentucky Derby was presented by Yum! brands, otherwise known as Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, A&W, and Long John Silver's. The logo was a quotation bubble with "Yum!" in it, making it look like these horses had just eaten their own believing them to be a Pepperoni Personal Pan or Chicken Planks.

Unknown disembodied voice: "He wanted to keep running. It was like he could have run forever."

Dick Jerardi, writer, Philadelphia Daily News: "Now I've been at every Derby for 20 years, I've never seen anything like this. I'm thinking 'What dimension did this horse go into today?'"

It wanted to keep running forever because the horse was on a track where it had been running and hasn't been commanded to stop. Thus, it ran. I don't think it read "FINISH" and just slowed down. And that's how it broke into the fourth dimension - time itself! It somehow corralled the laws that govern this very world and CHANGED THEM TO WIN THE DERBY. We're through the looking glass here, people.

Narrator: "No one could be certain what caused Barbaro to break down. What was certain was that the powerful athlete Michael Matz had trained so carefully was now crippled and helpless on the track."

Athlete? No - still a horse.
Crippled? Yes.
Helpless? No - The horse is surrounded by vets, trainers, and people with walkie-talkies. Helpless would be if the horse ran into the middle of a highway injured. 31 minutes in, they show a group of SIX men... fuck it, here's another cell phone picture. Here's your Barbaro Rescue Crew. I wish I was making this up.

Narrator: "In the midst of a live race, his body coursing with adrenaline, Barbaro displayed a knowing calm."

Knowing that death's sweet embrace was lurking if it stepped on that broken ankle, mabye. What stoic grace this animal showed on that day. It didn't move when 8 other horses ran by. Not because it was in a lot of fucking pain, but because the horse is as tough as nails. Even Tedy Bruschi wouldn't fuck with Barbaro.

We are treated to the knowledge that the Baltimore Police Department gave this fucking horse an escort back to the Pennsylvania state line. 6-8 Harley Davidsons guided this magnificent creature to the University of Pennsylvania.

45 minutes in, and I can see why today's high schools are doomed. Their middle school teachers are FUCKING RETARDED.

Anne Phinney, teacher, Town of Webb School: "We decided for our own healing and therapy that we would make this illustradted children's book about Barbaro's life."

And thus, this class - who have been recorded doing this in HD somehow - makes a children's book based on the life of a horse that was bred to illicit greed and debauchery. If my kid ever came home from school and told me that they got to write the story of a fucking race horse in class, I would be "that" parent who would meet with the principal about why my child is writing about horse racing. It's not a sport, it's gambling. Is there a middle school class somewhere making a book about the 5 reel Press Your Luck slot machine with the Whammy bonus?

So what sort of teacher makes her class do this for their "own" healing and therapy? Well here's her public facebook page... where she's kissing a horse. Yep, that's the sort of person I want teaching my kids about how to move on from such a tragic event.

DISCLAIMER! I have discussed that link at length with the FireJay legal counsel and I need to pass on that I haven't contacted Ms. Phinney and that you shouldn't either. It's just a search result listed on Google. Leave her alone. If your kid goes to Town of Webb School, remove them, but leave her alone. I am not asking you to contact her, but rather the opposite.

Dick Jerardi: "It was all over the news. It was the biggest story in the country. You couldn't help but get attached to him. And people so wanted it to end with a positive ending, so they were following him and there were chat groups and message boards..."

Instead of getting attached to him, the constant press coverage will push people to either talk about it or become apathetically enraged. Nobody wants a horse to die, but that's very far from glowing admiration for it. People talk about a lot of weird shit on message boards and chat groups, too, Mr. Jerardi. Just because they exist doesn't make love for a horse bizarre at best and maddening at it's worst. Even the sort of degenerates who end up blogging would be hard pressed to say they were rooting for a horse to die. But that doesn't excuse the actions of media outlets who took the story of a dying horse and escalated it to the point where I can make a whole post on it and not feel the least bit worried that I have made these jokes.

And so with that, Barbaro is erased from my DVR, just as he was deservedly erased from the minds of many over 3 years ago.


Jack M said...

Just admit it: you're jealous because Barbaro is a majestic race horse, and you're not.

rich said...

When I was in HS I couldn't choose between Penn and Community College. Bill Simmons told me to go to Rollins and just as I was putting in the tuition deposit for Rollins in the mail, Barbaro happened.

Spending the next week crying, I decided to send my tuition money to Penn to keep Barbaro alive. I'm now the assistant manager of an Arby's, but I know that Barbaro appreciated my efforts.

Tonus said...

"No one could be certain what caused Barbaro to break down."

It was Larry B in the stables with a crowbar.

Larry B said...

Every person who wrote a get well card to Barbaro should have to serve three hot meals a day to a homeless person for an entire year, and donate $500,000 to the human-centric charity of their choice.

Martin said...

Tebow coulda saved him.

Groggy Dundee said...

PTI had another story on Rachel Alexandria with Kornheiser claiming that she struck a blow for gender equality.

I'm sick to death of dumb people thinking horses are humans. I like horses as much as the next guy, but trying to make it seem like they aren't dumb animals who whiny and eat grass all day is ridiculous. These people I think have watched too many cartoons with talking chimps.

dan-bob said...


Groggy Dundee said...

Thanks for that dan-bob. So the idiocy isn't limited to PTI? That's disturbing.

Elliot said...

Why am I suddenly hungry for Jell-O and dog food? Weird.

Groggy Dundee said...

Now my mind's flashing back to a Dilbert comic... "Why does my roast beef sandwich have a piece of lead in it?"

javieth said...

I usually listen loud music in my house, that´s why I bought a big stereo, I like to spend my time at home I think it was the costa rica investment opportunities because I acquired my house and now I can do everything I want.

Anonymous Angry Citizen said...

While people may sometimes anthropomorphize animals excessively, Barbaro had more courage and tenacity then most humans athletes. The purity of an athlete, human or animal, who is in it for the love of the game is rare and admirable. And when you get off your derriere and start running miles a day, then you can judge these "dumb" animals.

Furthermore, have fun with the dictionary for some of the "big" words I've used.