by Burton S. Blumert
by Burton S. Blumert
Blumert's Wife (B.W.): "Could somebody please tell me why, at 6 o'clock in the morning, we're rushing to see a movie?"
Blumert: "Rockwell wants me to review Seabiscuit, so we better step on it if we want good seats at the 7:00 AM showing.
B.W.: "The 7:00 AM showing?"
Blumert: "It's the Senior's Sunrise Special, and a ticket is only $3.50. I'm sure I'll get reimbursed."
B.W.: "Don't forget to keep the ticket stub, and, if you want, I'll sign an affidavit swearing you shelled out the $3.50."
Blumert: "Don't be sarcastic. Rockwell's been on an economy kick lately. Since the beginning of the year we've been washing the cancellation marks off postage stamps so we could use them again.
"And, this morning, I got a parcel from Auburn containing a Tee Shirt Stencil kit, including instructions. By putting the LRC logos on myself, LRC saves 85-cents per tee shirt. So far, I've ruined seven shirts, but I'm getting the hang of it.
"Anyway, if Rockwell doesn't reimburse my $3.50, I'll get Medicare to pay. Seniors have entitlements, you know."
B.W.: "Why in heaven's name does Rockwell even want a movie review from you?"
Blumert: "Murray Rothbard was Mr. First Nighter, and he did great movie reviews for the old Rothbard-Rockwell Report. I'm just carrying on that tradition."
B.W.: "So now, I suppose, you're Mr. First Thing in the Morninger? I remember one tasteless movie review you submitted to Rockwell that he not only rejected, but afterwards, wouldn't take your phone calls for six months."
Blumert: "What was so tasteless in my reviewing, Charlie Chan Gets Circumcised? Recently, all the Charlie Chan movies have been virtually banned as politically incorrect. I was just an early victim."
B.W.: "Well, Rush Limbaugh was talking about the Seabiscuit movie and how the horse did so much to heal the damage of the Great Depression by lifting people's spirits."
Blumert: "What sentimental goop! It's just like giving that commie FDR credit for getting the country out of the Depression. All Roosevelt did was prolong the hard times and move us to socialism. Yes, I said FDR was a commie. And Seabiscuit was a commie horse."
B.W.: "Don't blame the poor horse. Seabiscuit was a champion, wasn't he?"
Blumert: "Champion? He doesn't rate in the top 50. Don't even mention Seabiscuit with the true great thoroughbreds.
"Here's my Top Ten:
- Man o' War; Won 21 of 22 races
- Citation; Triple Crown Winner
- Secretariat; Triple Crown Winner
- Affirmed; Triple Crown Winner
- Count Fleet; Triple Crown Winner
- Native Dancer; Won 21 of 22 races and
- Genuine Risk; The greatest filly of all
- Whirlaway; Triple Crown Winner
Because Seabiscuit was a gelding*, I reserved the last two on my list for geldings:
- John Henry, a "true" Cinderella horse who got better with age.
- Kelso: Five Time Horse of the Year.
*A gelding is a thoroughbred neutered to improve its competitive abilities. (Some folks, mostly men, don't wish to dwell too much on that subject.)
"As to Seabiscuit's great Match Race victory over War Admiral, that was more hype than history. War Admiral, a Triple Crown Winner, was severely injured in the Belmont Stakes, the last of the Triple Crown races.
"It was feared he would never race again, but the courageous colt defied the veterinarians and continued competing. The War Admiral beaten by Seabiscuit in the Match race, however, was not the same champion who won the Triple Crown.
"Seabiscuit was a nice, gritty colt and a boon to California racing. After all, horse racing had been illegal in the Golden State for 25 years at the time Seabiscuit was racing.
"The Eastern aristocratic owners who scrupulously studied and improved the bloodlines of their magnificent thoroughbreds had every reason to be contemptuous of any California horse at that time.
"They weren't being elitist or arrogant. The ‘Sport of Kings' is dominated by history and bloodlines. It would take California many years to build reservoirs in both areas. (To this day, California-bred horses rarely achieve the status of those bred in Kentucky, New York, or Ireland.)
"The magic of Seabiscuit is the magic of Laura Hillenbrand. Her best-selling book, Seabiscuit, is beautifully crafted, and she weaves her characters seamlessly from Coast- to-Coast, with an important stop in Tijuana, Mexico.
"Unfortunately, she did not write a reference book for the Sport of Kings. She took a myth and made it into a mile.
"Laura Hillenbrand could have spun just as riveting a tale had she focused her creativity on some plug equine on its way to the glue factory.
B.W.: "It sounds as though you're not going to like the movie. In fact, it seems to me you just wrote your review."
Blumert: "Well, at least I don't have to worry about getting reimbursed the $3.50 from Rockwell. Let's have breakfast."
Editor's note: Eventually, Blumert did see the movie. Even though a witness observed him shedding a tear during one touching scene, he stands by the views expressed above.
August 2, 2003
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