Stewball

Samuel Sidney [The Book of the Horse, 1875, repr. ed. Bonanza Books, 1985] stated Skewball “…won a great number of plates and prizes in England, and one famous match in Ireland.” The Irish turf callendar says he won six races worth £508 in 1752, when he was eleven years old, and was the top earning runner of that year in Ireland. The match became the subject of a ballad, Skewball, which has endured, in varying forms, to the present day.

The match celebrated by the ballad is listed in Pond’s Racing Calendar of 1752. It was held at the Curragh in Kildare, Ireland, on Saturday, March 28, with each participant putting up 300 guineas. Arthur Marvin (also Marvyn, or Mervin) owned Skewball, who carried 8st. 7lb. His opponent was “Sir Ralph Gore’s grey mare,” carrying the heavier weight of 9 st. Skewball was a gelding, which explains why he was still running at age eleven; although it was not uncommon for horses to run to ages 9 or 10 during that period, successful stallions were usually retired from the turf to commence their stud careers. He won the 4 mile race in 7 minutes and 51 seconds.

(source)

Whatever just noting that it’s the 266nd anniversary of a run by a horse in a race that people are still singing about.

A skewbald horse. Karakal’s own work on Wiki

They don’t seem to run many four mile horse races anymore.  Some history on these “real stayers.

Sir Ralph Gore, owner of the grey mare, was born at Belle Isle castle.

During the Battle of Lauffeld on 2 July 1747 all his superior officers were killed or severely wounded, so command of the battalion fell to Gore, who performed so well, that on the following day he received the thanks of the British commander Prince William, Duke of Cumberland.

The Curragh:

photo by Eoghan888

(Remembering now that I stopped there once to visit the Irish National Stud)

Helytimes own photo

Leadbelly’s version:

and one more from Leadbelly:

Check out the bowties on The Hollies:


Pretty Clear-Eyed About Power

 

Horwitt says that, when Alinsky would ask new students why they wanted to organize, they would invariably respond with selfless bromides about wanting to help others. Alinsky would then scream back at them that there was a one-word answer: “You want to organize for power!

This anecdote had stuck in my mind from whenever I had first read it.  Found it in a March 2017 New Republic piece about then-Senator and candidate Obama.

Hillary wrote her college thesis on Alinsky.  Both the last two Democratic nominees for president found the same man in Chicago to study. (And think of how many Bushies were said to learn from Leo Strauss?  And Milton Friedman! Chicago, dude).

How should the candidate approach his job?:

This is a tough, realistic worldview:

The Rules

  1. “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”

  2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”

  3. “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.”

  4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

  5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

  6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

  7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

  8. “Keep the pressure on.”

  9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

  10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”

  11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside”

  12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

  13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Using the world enemy is a little dangerous for me, unless you have a Zen-like transcendent understanding of the meaning of enemy and the mutability of enemies.

That TNR piece by the way written Ryan Lizza.

 


Immeasurable

this lost hiker agreed to pose for a photograph

Geoff Manaugh gets it, writing about a 2010 disappearance in Joshua Tree in the NY Times:

The mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot once observed that the British coastline can never be fully mapped because the more closely you examine it — not just the bays, but the inlets within the bays, and the streams within the inlets — the longer the coast becomes. Although Joshua Tree comprises more than 1,200 square miles of desert with a clear and bounded border, its interior is a constantly changing landscape of hills, canyons, riverbeds, caves and alcoves large enough to hide a human from view. Solid canyon walls reveal themselves, on closer inspection, to be loose agglomerations of huge rocks, hiding crevasses as large as living rooms. The park is, in a sense, immeasurable.

 

luckily I was able to point him towards home

Love a turning point like this in someone’s life:

Marsland began drinking less, losing nearly 40 pounds as he reoriented his free time around this quest to find a stranger. “I crossed the line from being somebody who just sat in his room and passively participated in something to being actively involved,” he said. “It was a big moment for me, and it led to a lot of other good things happening in my life.”


Three Candidates

From an article about how Clarke’s been working on paid maternity leave for state employees in the Arkansas State House

My friend Clarke Tucker is running for Congress as a Democrat in Arkansas’ 2nd district.  He’s just the kind of guy you want doing legislative work.  A solid citizen.

In his gentle and careful yet warm manner Clarke reminds me of another Southern state legislator:

John Grisham.

Meanwhile, out in the desert and the Eastern Sierra, they’re trying to put Marge in charge.

Marge Doyle that is.  I saw her speak on Sunday and was really impressed.  Her passion to run stems from her frustration with current Congressman Paul Cook and his Republican party-line votes that would’ve hurt the health care people in the district depend on.

Had the chance to hear Marge give her message and came away real impressed.  She came to her campaign through hard, slow work on health care issues in the district, and spoke of her belief in her ability to find solutions through common values.

Happened to meet Katie Hill when she turned up at a meeting of the SELAH (Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater, Hollywood) Homeless Coalition.

She grew up in California’s 25th district, and seemed like just the person to knock off the distasteful Steve Knight and represent the people of Lancaster, Palmdale, Pearblossom, Acton, Santa Clarita, and the rest.

Clarke.

Marge.

Katie.

 

(oh and none of them are paying me or nothing.  This is just my own Take!)

 

 

 


How many kangaroos do you think live in Australia?

Learned this the other day reading The Economist.

 

Are you ready?

 

47 million.

Mate that’s nearly two roos per person!


Watching the news

 


Cowpens

Believe me, it killed me to drive across South Carolina and not have time to stop and make a study of the battlefield at Cowpens.

Cowpens is an American story about local amateurs beating foreign professionals, with an A+ villain in Banastre Tarleton.

Tarleton painted by (who else?) Joshua Reynolds

How satisfying must it been to have kicked this guy’s ass?!  Tarleton, a rich boy dandy, was in command at age 25.  Very cocky.  At Cowpens he charged right into a trap.

The Americans:

 conducted a double envelopment of Tarleton’s force, and suffered casualties of only 12 killed and 61 wounded…  Morgan’s army took 712 prisoners, which included 200 wounded. Even worse for the British, the forces lost (especially the British Legion and the dragoons) constituted the cream of Cornwallis’ army. Additionally, 110 British soldiers were killed in action, and every artilleryman was either killed or incapacitated by wounds. Tarleton suffered an 86 percent casualty rate, and his brigade had been all but wiped out as a fighting force.

But don’t worry!

Tarleton was one of around 160 British troops to escape.

Tarleton went on, of course, to a career in politics.

He is especially noted for supporting the slave trade, which was highly important to the port of Liverpool. Its ships were deeply involved in slave trading. Tarleton was working to preserve the slavery business with his brothers Clayton and Thomas, and he became well known for his taunting and mockery of the abolitionists.

His romantic life?

For 15 years, he had a relationship with the actress and writer Mary Robinson (Perdita), whom he initially seduced on a bet.

LOL this guy.  What?  Mary Robinson was at the time a notorious babe and former mistress of the King:

Prior to [Tarleton], Robinson had been having an affair with a man named Lord Malden. According to one account, Malden and Tarleton were betting men, and Malden was so confident in Robinson’s loyalty to him, and believed that no man could ever take her from him. As such, he made a bet of a thousand guineas that none of the men in his circle could seduce her. Unfortunately for Malden, Tarleton accepted the bet and swooped in to not only seduce Robinson, but establish a relationship that would last the next 15 years.

Tarleton was famous for killing prisoners trying to surrender — “Tarleton’s Quarter” – after the Battle of Waxhaws.  In Tarleton’s version of the story this was because his guys were so upset that he was hurt:

Colonel Tarleton’s account, published in 1787, said that his horse had been shot from under him, and that his soldiers, thinking him dead, engaged in “a vindictive asperity not easily restrained”.

Then came Cowpens.

via Wikipedia via the US Military Academy history department

The charts and diagrams that are used to explain battles have always interested me but they have some real problems.  In a word they are bloodless.

What we’re talking about here didn’t look like a bunch of tidy arrows and lines.  It was violent chaos, a bunch of guys murdering each other in fire and smoke.

But a little more reading suggests Daniel Morgan, the Continental commander, with the benefit of some time to plan, made some good moves.

Daniel Morgan turned to his advantage the landscape of Cowpens, the varying reliability of his troops, his opponent’s expectations, and the time available before Tarleton’s arrival. He knew untrained militiamen, which composed a large portion of his force, were generally unreliable in battle, and in the past had routed at the first hint of defeat and abandoned the regulars. (The Battle of Camden had ended in disaster when the militia, which was half of the American force, broke and ran as soon as the shooting started.) To eliminate that possibility, he defied convention by placing his army between the Broad and Pacolet rivers, thus making escape impossible if the army was routed.

More:

Morgan asked the militia to fire two volleys, something they could achieve, and then withdraw to the left, to re-form in the rear

Tarleton meanwhile drove his foodless, sleepless men all night in a damn hurry to get another victory.

 

John Eager Howard quoted Maj. McArthur of the 71st Highlanders, now a prisoner of the Americans, as saying that “he was an officer before Tarleton was born; that the best troops in the service were put under ‘that boy’ to be sacrificed.”

This detail:

An American prisoner later told that when Tarleton reached Cornwallis and reported the disaster, Cornwallis placed his sword tip on the ground and leaned on it until the blade snapped.