Tuesday, January 30, 2007


When I found out yesterday that Barbaro had been put down, I found myself instantly saddened. It was a sad end to a brutal injury to a true champion. But what I had a hard time understanding was why I felt so sad at the news. The sport of kings, horse racing is actually filled with gruesome examples of these graceful animals being put down after suffering foot injuries. Maybe I had a soft spot from growing up in Kentucky where the Derby and Keeneland are such a part of the culture. Or maybe my admiration stemmed from watching my cousin Spencer train walking horses for so many years. Whatever it was, I had a hard time reading any writer's take on the story yesterday.

Today however I found a great summary -- on an editorial page of all places -- that articulates why so many people were pulling for this horse to survive.


"Why should we feel so much grief at the loss of one horse? After all, this is a world in which horses are sacrificed again and again for the sport of humans. Barbaro was euthanized yesterday, eight months after he shattered his right hind leg at the start of the Preakness Stakes. After an injury like that, most racehorses would have been put down minutes later. But every race is a complex equation — a balance of economics, athleticism, equine grace and conscience. Conscience often comes in last, but not in this case. Barbaro’s owners gave that horse exactly what he had given them, which is everything. It was the very least they could do, and yet it seemed truly exceptional in a sport that is as often barbarous as it is beautiful.

Barbaro was exceptional because he won the Kentucky Derby and looked as if he might have a chance at the Triple Crown. But nearly everyone who met him also talked of the life he displayed, a vivid presence that was so much more visible to us because it happened to belong to a winner.

Humans are not especially good at noticing horses, but Barbaro was easy to notice. And if his life caused us to pay attention to the possibilities of all horses, his death should cause us to pay attention to the tragedy inherent in the end of so many horses. Barbaro’s death was tragic not because it was measured against the races he might have won or even against the effort to save his life. It was tragic because of what every horse is.

You would have to look a long, long time to find a dishonest or cruel horse. And the odds are that if you did find one, it was made cruel or dishonest by the company it kept with humans. It is no exaggeration to say that nearly every horse — Barbaro included — is pure of heart. Some are faster, some slower. Some wind up in the winner’s circle. But they should all evoke in us the generosity of conscience — a human quality, after all — that was expended in the effort to save this one horse."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thirty Love

Anyone who has stopped by the Rutledge house over the past week or called to talk to us may have heard a South African's voice resonating throughout the house in the background. That's because Cliff Drysdale is the most popular man in our house these days. Some of you may not know this, but Amy is an avid tennis junkie especially when the major tournaments roll around. For the past week the Australian Open has dominated the television at our house. The DVR is filled with four-hour blocks of tennis recordings. Law & Order has been officially booted from the programming schedule. My pleas for an occasional break to enjoy the utter brilliance of Jack McCoy breaking down a defendant on the witness stand fall on deaf ears. Instead I go to bed with the sound of Drysdale calling a match that won't end until 3:00 in the morning. When I wake up, Amy is out in the living room searching through the late-night recordings to queue up for the day. Instead of breakfast at Wimbledon, we have breakfast with Cliff at the Rutledge house.

I try to convince Amy that Australia is actually a far-off land that is three weeks ahead of us and that all these matches have already taken place. "Roger Federer wins," I promise her. But she isn't buying it.

"Keep it down, honey. I can't hear Cliff."

The fortnight is over come Sunday at which time this smooth South African will leave our house....until May when the French Open rolls around.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Weekly Reader

Back in elementary school we used to get a weekly publication called the Weekly Reader that highlighted current events for young readers. I'm not sure if that still exists anymore in today's highly connected world, but it was a good forum to introduce young people to the things going on in the broader world. So in honor of the Weekly Reader, here are some stories that have caught my eye recently in current events.

Newsweek's cover story this week focuses on the abduction of the two boys in Missouri by a man who worked in a pizza parlor. The one child had lived with his abductor for four years, had a cell phone, access to the internet, and had even come in contact with police about riding his bike. Yet he never contacted his family or revealed that he had been kidnapped. Obviously the hope here is that the abductor is locked away and the key melted. Interesting read into the situation.


Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty, one of the better sports writers around, has a different take on the latest Cincinnati Bengal to get arrested. This guy is the -- ahem -- ninth (!!) player on the team to be arrested in the past year, this time for marijuana possession. Daugherty tells fans to get off their high horses regarding their indignation:

We give these people all this money. We tell them how great they are. We tell them to go out for three hours a week and commit pointed acts of sanctioned violence. Then we expect them to act like accountants (or sports writers) when they're done. Right.

Is Joseph at fault? If he's guilty, of course he is. Is it worth getting bent about? Only if you like getting bent. Is it Lewis' fault? Of course not. Is it his problem? Definitely.


On the political front, there was a story in a conservative online magazine last week that Barack Obama attended a madrassah (a fundamentalist Muslim school) in Indonesia when he was growing up. The magazine then reported that the Hillary Clinton camp was the source for the story, effectively smearing two Democratic presidential front-runners with one unsubstantiated story. Fox News (aka Faux News) then picked up the story and reported it this week. The story had a deja vu quality to it, taking us back to the Swift Boat days of the last presidential campaign. At least responsible media outlets quickly debunked the claims this time around rather than letting the lies spread -- Washington Post and CNN.


Finally, The Onion still hits it out of the park on the humor front:
Area Family's Trip to New Hampshire Sparks Rumor of Presidential Bid (hat tip to Mr. LeDuc)
Amazon.com Recommendations Understand Area Woman Better Than Husband
J.K. Rowling Ends Harry Potter Series After Discovering Boys

"I know many of you are upset by this news. But Ms. Rowling was tired of devoting herself to something that no longer held her interest—namely, writing books about wizards, flying broomsticks, and candy that jumps. She's a lot older than she was when she wrote the first book. She'd much rather be going to the mall, looking for cute outfits, and talking to the boy with the curly red hair who works at the Hot Sam pretzel shop."


Monday, January 22, 2007

New Words

As I mentioned Friday, Gus is expanding his vocabulary at a steady rate. Our hope is that this helps him communicate to us what he wants rather than getting frustrated and throwing so many temper tantrums. His latest addition to his collection of words is "poop," which he proudly proclaims whenever he does just that. Unfortunately for us, Gus's recent stomach troubles have given him many opportunities over the past four days to use his new word.

On Friday night Amy & I decided we wanted to get out of the house and break up the routine so we went to Los Tres Magueyes, our favorite Mexican restaurant. There was a decent wait as it was Friday night so we did our best to entertain two boys who did not want to be held and were fascinated by all the commotion. After finally getting seated at a table with two high chairs, Amy & I promptly ordered food & beverage without looking at the menu and began the unpacking ritual that is dinner for twin boys at a restaurant. We pulled out crackers, milk, ham, oranges, Nutri-Grain bars for the boys -- anything to keep them happy so we could enjoy a dinner out. As soon as we exhaled, Gus's hand slid to his back where he began tugging on his jeans.

"Poop! Poop!" he proudly boasted to his delight.

Amy and I looked at each other and just sighed. We attempted rock, paper, scissors to determine who was going to get this lovely clean-up exercise, but we couldn't decide if the rules called for the game to begin on three (one, two, then rock/paper/scissors) or one-two-three then the rock, paper, or scissors. Luckily for me, Amy took pity on her husband and scooped Gus up to take him away. About two minutes later though she came back to the table and mumbled a disappointed request for the keys to the van.

"It's one of those," she said. "This is going to be easier to change him in the van."

And that was pretty much the harbinger for our weekend. Little Gus was just a bear with his stomach troubles which we think are the remnants of ten days of antibiotics. All the bacteria in his stomach were wiped out by the medicine. We have been shoving yogurt in him as fast as we can to build the baterial back up. So he had his moments where his tantrums persisted, smacking his head onto the floor, into the wall, or on his crib out of frustration.

On the other hand we did get a break on Sunday when the boys each took their first solid naps since coming back from Kentucky which allowed Amy and me to each get a few minutes to catch our breath. Amy watched some of the Australian Open, and I caught a good chunk of the two football games. Owen spent most of his weekend climbing over toys and onto furniture, falling with frequent thuds only to dust himself off and begin again, and playing endless rounds of tug-o-war with the dog. Now if we can get Gus over the hump and expand his vocabulary from "poop" (and all the fun that comes with each of those proclamations), we'll be in good shape.

Ah, parenthood.


Friday, January 19, 2007


Friday is here. No big weekend plans at la casa de Rutledge. We're supposed to get some winter weather here -- finally! We got a really light dusting of snow yesterday. Amy took the boys outside to get their first feel of the white stuff. Owen touched it, realized it was really cold, and didn't want any part of it. Gus bent down, grabbed the snow, realized it was cold, and kept going back for more.

Gus has really been expanding his talking which relieves Amy and me. We think that's why he has some of his infamous temper tantrums since he hasn't been able to express himself through words. He's added "cracker," "milk," and "juice" to his repertoire in addition to the "ma-ma," "da-da," and host of animal sounds. Here's hoping G-diddy has turned the corner and will start communicating more and getting frustrated less.

Kentucky has an interesting challenge Saturday against Vanderbilt. Vandy runs a perimeter focused offense that features four guys who can shoot the three. The Dores hit 15 threes (!) against Alabama on Wednesday in an upset win. They also own a win against a good Tennessee team. Vandy doesn't have the inside guy to counter Randolph Morris so expect a big game from him. I am really starting to dig this year's Kentucky team. Tubby has kids who listen to him and have bought into his system -- they are playing typical Tubby-ferocious defense. If the D can contain Vandy's outside shooters, I look for a good win especially since it is at Rupp. Tipoff at 3:00.

Sunday could bring us some more wintry mix -- snow turning to freezing rain. The grocery stores will be out of bread and milk by noon Saturday. Two big football games to watch Sunday afternoon. I can't wait to watch that matchup between Indianapolis and New England. This will be a big test for Peyton to finally win the big one.

Have a great weekend everybody. Cheers!


I upgraded to Internet Explorer 7 yesterday from the Microsoft Windows Update page. As a semi-professional -- albeit unpaid ;-) -- web surfer I've grown to be pretty picky about my internet preferences. The jury will be out over the next few days on the new version, but I have to say my early impression is a positive one.

Microsoft has done a really nice job of adding tabs within the browser window itself which allows you to toggle between webpages easily. The new Internet Explorer allows you to pick your default search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft) and puts a search window in the top right hand corner for anytime searching. Also, there is a view called "Quick Tabs" that condenses all your open windows on one page. The view is handy and it also visibly shows you that you may have an attention deficit disorder problem by having tons of webpages open at once. ;-)

My main dislike of the new version is that they have removed the favorite links view from visibly showing up in your browser. So it is no longer possible to bookmark a favorite webpage in the Links section where you can just click on it directly in your browser window. The Links view is still there, but to get to them you have to click on a "Favorites Center" star icon that they have devised. It's a minor thing, but it's one extra step.

All in all this version is supposed to resolve a lot of the security issues with prior versions. So far the changes seem favorable. Happy surfing!

QuickTabs view

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Office

For those of you who are The Office fans, you have no doubt enjoyed the tremendous run the show has been on from the Christmas episode up through January. Tonight marks the return of Oscar, who received an extended paid vacation leave because Michael outed him to the entire office.

I think tonight will mark the beginning of the end of Andy. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Angela will take him out for her beloved Dwight Schrute.

Dunder Mifflin fans enjoy!

An oldie but a goodie:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Well, the wife and kids return today. Ten days of living solo concludes for me. A honey-do list that didn't remotely come close to being completed goes back in the drawer. Whole milk and vegetables push the beer back out to the garage fridge. Yes, Amy and the boys return from visiting family in Kentucky today. And I find myself nearly giddy to pick them up at the airport.

For me personally there were some enjoyable things about spending some time alone -- a sense of independence, some quiet time to read a book, no messy diapers, being able to watch four Law & Order re-runs back-to-back (Amy sometimes thinks she battles Jack McCoy for my attention.) ;-) I got to drive down to Charleston to see young Corinne in her first days on the planet. I got to have a poker night at the house on Friday night, playing cards and laughing with buddies until 2:30 in the morning. I consider myself an independent person, and that part of me thrived in the past ten days.

Yet despite those instances I realize that I miss so many of the everyday things that dominate our life as a family. I can't wait to hear the different ways that each of the boys says "Da-da" -- Owen with a sweet, innocent inflection; Gus with a smirking pizazz to it. I look forward to playing in the playroom with puzzles, plastic tools, and blocks. I am excited about giving baths with the Elmo pirate ship and reading bedtime stories. I don't even think I'll mind washing a dozen sippy cups a day or changing the diaper that eclipses safe levels of toxicity -- at least not for the next week. ;-) And of course I miss the glue that holds us all together -- Amy B.

I know the family in Paducah made the most of Amy's trip to see her and the boys. I think Amy looked to this as her vacation and welcomed all the helping hands. I look forward to hearing all about it -- over the clanging of pots and pans and the rumbles of push toys scooting across the floor!

Iraq and Vietnam

Tremendous read in the Washington Post today about the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam. I think it is sobering that we didn't learn this lesson from our history.

What's the lesson to be learned? Modesty. Before initiating a war of choice -- and Vietnam and Iraq both qualify -- define the goal with honesty and precision, then analyze what means will be needed to achieve it. Be certain you really understand the society you propose to transform. And never gamble that the political solution to such an adventure will somehow materialize after the military operation has begun. Without a plausible political plan and strong local support at the outset, military operations alone are unlikely to produce success.

"Trapped by Hubris, Again"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Low Country Lady

This weekend I got the pleasure of meeting Jane Corinne Crumpton as I made a solo trip down to Charleston to get an up-close view of Roman & Melanie's new addition. With Amy and the boys in Kentucky visiting family, I made the drive down with Tucker (T-Cuz) as my co-pilot. It was a short overnight visit but very much worth it to see my new niece and spend a little time with the new proud parents. They are doing great, easing into parenthood during the honeymoon period, and soaking up every minute with Corinne.

Proud Mama & Corinne

The Crumpton Family -- Roman, Melanie, and (aaaargh!) Pirate Corinne

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Clown College

YouTube is a fantastic thing. From one of my favorite Simpsons episodes ever....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Arrival

Congratulations to Melanie & Roman on the birth of their first child with the arrival of Jane Corinne Crumpton into the world early Tuesday morning. Baby C emerged a seven-pounder with a headful of hair and a hungry appetite. GJ and Pappy hightailed it to Charleston and got there minutes before the birth. Everyone is doing great.

Cheers to the Charleston crew! Welcome Baby Corinne and Roman and Mel to the world of blogging!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dukie Blues

Living in the Triangle it is always fun watching the Duke men's basketball fall in front of the Cameron Crazies. It is especially fun when an opponent leaps completely over a Duke defender to stun the crowd. I like how ESPN freezes the image. ;-)

This kid from Virginia Tech should frame this picture and send it to Greg Paulus each year for Christmas for the next 50 years. Enjoy!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Puzzles vs. Mysteries

Here is a link to one of the most thought-provoking things I have read in a good while. Via a tip from of all places ESPN.com's Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy), it is an article in the New Yorker focusing on the difference between a puzzle and a mystery.

In short, a puzzle is something with a clearly defined answer where the more information is gathered the closer we get to the solution to the problem. A mystery on the other hand is something where there is not a shortage of information. Instead there is often overwhelming information that requires us to sort through it all and make judgments on what information is important and what is irrelevant to arrive at the answer, if there is a logical answer.

The article by Malcolm Gladwell uses a host of real-world scenarios to illustrate the point, mainly focusing on the collapse of Enron as his main example of a mystery. Along the way he also throws in the question of Osama bin Laden's location (puzzle), what post-invasion Iraq would have looked like before we invaded (mystery), and the effort to decipher German secret weapons in WWII (mystery).

The net of it all -- as I took from it anyway -- is that for the foreign policy challenges we face today we have to change our mode of thinking to cope with the complexities of mysteries rather than the pieces of puzzles. It's a long read that takes some effort, but I found it fascinating.


On Enron & the Sarbanes-Oxley-type reaction implemented for financial disclosures:
[A]ll Enron proves is that in an age of increasing financial complexity the "disclosure paradigm"—the idea that the more a company tells us about its business, the better off we are—has become an anachronism.

On the American intelligence efforts trying to assess the threat level in German WWII propaganda:
The spies were fighting a nineteenth-century war. The analysts belonged to our age, and the lesson of their triumph is that the complex, uncertain issues that the modern world throws at us require the mystery paradigm.

On Woodward & Bernstein solving Watergate vs. trying to detect the Enron collapse:
[C]overups, whistle-blowers, secret tapes, and exposés—the principal elements of the puzzle—all require the application of energy and persistence, which are the virtues of youth. Mysteries demand experience and insight. Woodward and Bernstein would never have broken the Enron story.

"Open Secrets: Enron, intelligence, and the perils of too much information"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cinderella's Fiesta Slipper

In one of the greatest football bowl games ever played, here is a fantastic ten minute summary of Boise State's upset win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The hook and ladder and the Statue of Liberty in the same game. Incredible!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bowling in Music City

Last week I headed over to Nashville to see Kentucky win its first bowl game in 22 years against Clemson in the Music City Bowl. Amy graciously agreed to give me a guilt-free pass for a couple of days despite the fact that I was leaving her alone to take care of Owen & Gus, both of whom were saddled with awful colds & fevers. So I made the most and the best of it.

The 1,070 mile trek was an eight-hour drive each way. The trip included a weird experience around Knoxville, where I noticed several police cars speeding in my direction on my side of the interstate in the emergency lane. Once I saw them I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed a vehicle heading the wrong way up an exit ramp behind me. All of this happened very fast, and searching the Knoxville newspaper today I learned that this was the police chasing two bank robbers fleeing on a high-speed chase around the time I was driving that leg of the trip. Here are the two winners that were ultimately apprehended.

In Nashville I met up with Jeff Mills, my friend from UK undergrad days and his band of merry pharmacists from Louisville. One of them asked me, "Didn't you get bored and dread driving that long by yourself?" I thought about it for a moment and responded that not once did I dread the solitary drive. Personally it was therapeutic to have a little time to myself.

The highlight of the trip of course was the bowl game itself. LP Field in Nashville had a record crowd of 68,000+ fans, and at least 75% of those were Kentucky fans. It was a sea of blue. The Cats dominated the second half of the game leading 28-6 before Clemson added two late fourth-quarter touchdowns to make it 28-20. After the game, the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River was a massive celebration of Kentucky fans. I mentioned to a couple of subdued Clemson fans to just give Kentucky fans their moment. Given that it was 1984 since Kentucky's last bowl win, UK fans didn't get to celebrate the successes of their football team very often.

After the game our crew descended on B.B. King's restaurant downtown where we proceeded to soak up the victory with many other UK revelers with a local blues band serenading the crowd in the background. Chants of "C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats!" spontaneously erupted for hours. Shortly after the party continued to local karaoke bars, I called it a night and returned to the hotel, having thoroughly enjoyed the Big Blue experience and at the same time eager to return to the comforts of home & family. The trip was everything I wanted it to be -- a chance to unwind with a long peaceful drive, see the Cats end their losing ways in football, and hang out with old friends. Perhaps next year will bring a New Year's Day road trip for the entire family.


The Big Blue crew readies itself for Kentucky's first bowl win in 22 years. It's not every day that you get to live the High Life at 9 a.m.

Mr. Mills and Mr. Rutledge waking up for the big game.

Derek in Music City.

A sea of blue at LP Field in Nashville.

The scoreboard doesn't lie. Kentucky's first bowl win since 1984 caught on camera.

Derek in Music City celebrating after the huge win phoning in to anyone who will listen.