Tuesday, July 28, 2009

About Michael Vick

I see that Michael Vick has been "conditionally" reinstated by the NFL, opening the way for him to play pro football again. In today's NY Times:
“I’m a believer personally that if somebody recognizes either mistakes in judgment or things, they can do better going forward, that the general public will recognize that and give people an opportunity to prove themselves,” Goodell said. “I’m trying to give Michael the opportunity to prove himself to play in the N.F.L. again. It’s in his hands now.”
Vick didn't just bankroll a dogfighting ring, he also participated in killing dogs by electrocuting them. It wasn't just a "mistake in judgment," and it wasn't because he was involved with what people are now calling "bad influences." I have not heard one word from him about any reluctance he may have had about maiming and killing the dogs he treated so cruelly. This is not about judgment, it's about character. A guy who intentionally tortures and kills animals for pleasure and/or profit doesn't need to prove himself to play in the NFL. He needs to prove himself to the rest of us.

He's supposedly going to do some work with the Humane Society, which is a step in the right direction, but I'd be far more impressed if he gave up professional football entirely and devoted himself to animal welfare projects. The guy could raise a lot of money that would help abused animals, and would change a lot of people's minds--and hearts--in the process.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Beat Goes On

As I’ve ridden various horses over the past few years, I’ve discovered that every horse has his own rhythm, and that that rhythm can be translated into song. For example, I used to ride a big draft-cross named Kit Kat. When we were trotting around the indoor arena one day, I realized that his trot was exactly the beat and rhythm of “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones. So he’d trot and I’d sing. I tried other songs with him, but Kit Kat's song was “Ruby Tuesday” and nothing else would do.

When I was riding Loki, a wonderful Welsh pony (a horse, really, as he was about 15.2), I discovered that the rhythm of his walk was “California Girls” by the Beach Boys. We had a long walk from the barn to the fields where we rode, and one day I realized that I was hearing “California Girls” in my head as Loki walked along. And so that became his song.

To help keep Wolfie’s rhythm consistent in the indoor this winter and to make sure I was breathing properly, I sang “Row Your Boat” out loud all the time when we were in there alone. (It’s a great song for timing your approach to jumps, among other things.) But it felt generic and never really fit him very well. But a couple of days ago, I was riding Wolfie alone in the outdoor arena, and started singing a Bonnie Raitt song, “Wherever You May Be.” It fits the rhythm of his walk perfectly. Don't know how he feels about it, but I spent the morning outdoors with him today, singing out loud.