Recently, as we were crawling around the interwebs we happened to make the acquaintance of the following headline:
Our first thought was Obamacare is making medication more affordable and accessible and America is finally ending its long dark night of struggling against an unremitting gale of misfiring neurons and has made for the calm, clear waters in the bay of rationality. Buoyed by this thought we investigated further.
Most afternoons you can find Meyer “Mickey” Coren in front of a simulcast TV at Bluffs Run, sipping Diet Coke from a plastic cup, smoking a cigar as dogs scramble around the track outside. He usually bets $100, mostly on simulcast dog races but also on the greyhounds that race here every afternoon except Mondays. “It gives me a nice place to go, where if I don't win, I don't lose too much,” he said. “I can smoke a cigar and drink pop and shoot the breeze with the other degenerates,” said Coren, jokingly.
OK, first of all, $100? How often does he usually bet $100? Mostly? Sometimes? Is $100 the total of all he has bet since he's been coming to the track? What does his wife think about this as she clips another coupon for canned beans from the newspaper? What about his children when they wonder what happened to their college fund, and his grandchildren who open their birthday cards and find a coupon for free fries at the track bar and grill? More importantly, how does he manage to get home alive after the other patrons realize he actually has cash on him?
And second, while we applaud the writer for trying to soften Mr. Coren's image by inserting the adverb "jokingly" to make it seem like his characterization of himself and his compatriots as "degenerates" is a bit of self deprecating humor, we're talking about a man who regularly spends money to watch innocent living creatures risk life and limb while he sips a beverage that may contain carcinogens and inhales toxic gasses. "Degenerate" probably fails by half in its verisimilitude when we consider how this guy should be described.
Now we're a ways into the article and our faith in the efficacy of Obamacare to deal with the plague of untreated wackadoodlism that has spread across the land is somewhat shaken because we still don't know what finally unlocked the breeders' ability to see the noses that have been camped in front of their faces for the last, oh, say 25 years.
Bo Guidry, general manager of Horseshoe, said the casino loses about $9 million per year on dog racing. “People just choose where they want to spend their entertainment dollar. Twenty years ago ... there weren't that many options, and now there are plenty of options. One happens to be casino gambling.”Whoa! Nine million dollars! At that rate even if Mr. Coren did bet $100 a day he'd have to come to the track for, let's see...divide by pi, carry the four, take the last train to Clarksville...man that's 90000 days. OK, the article said Mr. Coren is 71, so he's going to be coming to the track until he's just shy of 320 years old. Hope the track has some handicap parking close to the door.
We notice, however, that Mr. Guidry is the general manager of Horseshoe and not a breeder, so we're even farther into the article and still we haven't discovered why the coffee has boiled long enough to finally raise the breeders from their slumber.
“It's a relationship. We need them, and they need us,” said Darren Flahive, 47, of Council Bluffs, a 25-year dog trainer.Thank you for your input Mr. Flahive, but if the casinos are losing $9 million a year, they need you like a submarine needs a screen door. Plus, you're a trainer, not a breeder. Next please.
And when casino operator Harrah's bought Horseshoe and Bluffs Run in 2001, the decline in popularity of dog racing was already underway. “They knew what they were getting into. They knew dog racing was not a profitable business,” said Jon Stidham, 49, who raises greyhounds in McClelland, Iowa, and provides dogs for Bluffs Run.Finally. Thank you Mr. Stidman, who raises greyhounds in McClelland. At last we discover what the breeders are worried about. Let's see if we have this straight. Racing was losing money in 2001 when the casinos bought into the business. They've continued to lose money in the intervening 13 years and because they are a for profit company (and you are a no profit chain around their necks) they are about to make a perfectly legitimate business decision to boot your scrawny buttocks off the gravy train. Is that what's bothering you bunky?
Looks like Obamacare still has a lot of work to do.