Been There, Done That

commentary on many different thoughts

Month: July, 2013

Frolicking Fashions

Couple of days’ worth of grousing about fashion idiocies.

When I rode professionally, I wore what I was supposed to wear. When someone else is footing the bill for you to show their horse, you play by the rules. In the jumpers and eventing, we could get away with some creativity, but in the hunters, especially in the big classes, you wore what you were supposed to wear. I used to find the Corinthian classes a real challenge because you were actually inspected – everything had to be “just so” or you lost points in the line-up. Fortunately, the groom who worked with me for the woman I rode for was a master of details and could be trusted to make sure that I went in with everything I needed precisely placed.

When I rode hunters long ago (except in the Corinthian classes, of course) I tended to get a bit lazy about “just so”. Then Cameo and I started working with one particular trainer. His notion was that if it wasn’t charcoal pinstripe, it wasn’t going to happen.

And there was no way that a horse under his care went to a show with any display of whiskers. When I first came to him, I was still intending to event with the young horse I’d just acquired. We were getting ready to leave for a dressage show (not with trainer) and the colt was braided nicely and his socks and tail were spotlessly clean. His ears and whiskers were event-horse fashion a trifle shaggy. As I unclipped and got ready to load, trainer stops me. “Are you planning on going like that?” he asks. “Yes,” I reply. “Are you really planning on going like that?” he repeats. He hands me the clippers, and stands over me until muzzle, chin, ears and bridle path are smooth as a baby’s bottom before he lets me go.

Hunters.

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More on Fashion

Temper tantrum time:

Who in their right mind would require a woman over the age of 20 to wear WHITE breeches? Especially skin-tight white breeches? I think they’re nuts. I used to love the rust-colored breeches that were fashionable in the 70s (I got away with them into the 80s) but they’ve gone the way of the dodo. The beige-green Tailored Sportsman pants were well out of my reach, and the knock-off brands tended to just look chartreuse. Neither was a flattering color.

Why on earth insist on white? I know it looks classy, but for pete’s sake have pity on adult women.

Out of Fashion?

The NAYRC (North American Young Riders Championships) decided to get smart and beat the blistering heat by waiving coats for the dressage. This is reasonably intelligent as there is no way one could stay active in black wool.

So, being youthful and full of ideas, the kids presented for the competition in team polo shirts. Why not! Why should we adhere to dress codes created for northern European weather conditions (by the way, the heat wave in the Austrian alps this year is not to be believed, according to my contacts in the Steyermark) of wet, cold, clammy summers when we’re sizzling (and I know from whence I speak since I live deep into the Deep South) in the summer? If the horses can be made comfortable, why not the riders?

And tucked in and well-fitted polo shirts are just as tidy – and a lot more sensible – than shadbellies in 100 degree weather. Coats were only required for the awards presentations. And therein lies a tale:

One of the kids showed up in what the fashion mavens call an “aubergine” tailcoat. No and no and no and no. Call it “eggplant”, call it “aubergine”, or call it like it is – PURPLE. No and no and no and no. I’ve seen, and tolerated, midnight blue. Maybe. But a tailcoat is a tailcoat, and that is BLACK. Period. End conversation. No exceptions.

Georgia on my Mind

Ah Georgia. The Peach State. One of the original thirteen colonies.

The state that gave us Jimmy Carter. Honey Boo Boo. Rednecks. Billy Bob Carter. High school football. and Paula Deen.

On the plus side, we have some of the finest universities in the country (Emory, Georgia Tech, Mercer). One of the country’s leading actuarial science programs in the Mack Robinson School at Georgia State.

We have history (the Late Unpleasantness is not forgotten here), geography (Kennesaw Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Stone Mountain and Peachtree anything you wish), scenery (Helen, Tallulah Falls, Dahlonega gold mines) and lovely, lovely cities like Savannah.

We are modern (you can’t get more modern than Atlanta’s rush hour traffic), sophisticated (we have lots of ballroom dancing!) and still in touch with our past (the Late Unpleasantness has not been forgotten).

And, nyah nyah nyah to all you Yankees – our winters can beat your winters hands down!

Physician, treat yourself

I think the medical and legal professions have the right idea: the lawyer (or doctor) who represents himself has a fool for a client. (Been there, done that, seen the movie, got the T-shirt)

And my doctor on the subject of Big Pharma television advertising is hilarious, in a very sad sort of way. His opinions are not printable. He gets patient after patient coming to him and telling him (telling him) that they have this and such condition because they saw it on television. And they don’t need tests. They know they have this and just want the miracle drug which will fix it.

He spends countless hours trying to convince these idiots that just because what they are experiencing sounds like what the tv ads are telling them, doesn’t necessarily make it so. He tries to explain that sometimes the drug they want won’t work on what they have – or worse, might make it worse. They don’t listen.

Being a physician of principles, he refuses to prescribe the wonder drug they want without a battery of tests to make sure that they are the right treatment. They get huffy, call him ignorant and leave. He shrugs and treats his other patients.

Side Effects

More on big pharma rants:

Every time I turn on the tv (admittedly not very often, but even so) I come across ads from Big Pharma. (This is lawyer-talk for the pharmaceutical industry). Big Pharma advertises for cures from everything from arthritis to zenophobia. (which is actually spelt “xenophobia” and isn’t curable with pharmaceuticals, just a baseball bat to the noggin)

What gets me is the lists of side effects: can cause swelling, stroke, high blood pressure, ulcers, nausea, vomitting and death. What fun. I’d rather have a slight gastric disorder, thank you kindly.

Love It!

Long, long ago (this morning in the gym), I was watching one of my favorite Food Network programs when they broke for commercials. So far so good. One of the ads was for a migraine remedy – Botox.

You have got to be kidding. Especially when they spend the lion’s share of the air time listing the possible side effects, like death, paralysis, site soreness, allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, loss of nerve control and more. The pharma name for the drug is abotulinumtoxinA.

What parts of “botulism” and “toxin” do people not get?

Party in Paris

Damn the French can put on a party. Their celebration of the finish of the 100th running of the Tour de France was awesome. The fireworks and the light show around the Arc de Triomphe were well worth watching.

But better than all the shock and awe was the smile on the face of Chris Froome. Well done again.

And see y’all next year with a commentary.

TdF Wrap-up

Ferocious sprint to the finish – the three top sprinters in the world finished one-two-three. But the highlight – for me – was watching Chris Froome cross the finish line arm-in-arm with the teammates who made this possible. This is team playing. Well done team Sky! And well done Chris.

More Horse Historical

In 1986, I was in England on an exchange program (another story, another time). I was fortunate that I was able to get to Hickstead to watch the grand prix competition. The USA had sent a young team, all women (more on that in a minute), to get some seasoning on the international circuit. I got the impression that it was more for the experience than in the real hope that they’d do some serious winning (but that’s impression, not fact).

At the time, women were not considered major threats on the international jumper circuits (forgetting of course Kathy Kusner, Mary Chapot, Marion Coakes, Anneli Drummond-Haye, Pat Smythe and assorted others, but there was still the unspoken thought). And of the four US team, 3 were in their very first international trip. Katie Monahan (now Prudent) was the only rider with international experience and was acting sort of as team chaperone.

Anyway, so it comes down to the Nation’s Cup. Each team (these were the rules in operation then – they might have changed since but that’s not in issue here) fielded 4 rides and each did 2 rounds. One score could be dropped. Katie was to ride last. The other 3 went clear in the first round, and she chose not to ride, saving the horse for another class later, as the drop score. Second round. All 3 young ‘uns went clear. Katie did not ride. USA won the class.

What I enjoyed most was the Horse & Hound concerened commentary the next week about the US JV team that was burning the best the rest had to offer, and their (USA’s) star rider didn’t even participate. Well done kids!