THIS WEEK'S JOHNNY JET 5/17/2002
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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET ?
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Where do I start? Kentucky? I had never been there before and when I thought of it, I thought of KFC! But from this day onward it's the Derby all the way.
I have never been much of a horse racing fan, probably because my father was a fanatic and I couldn't relate to it because it was the one sport I never played. Or wanted to. Every Saturday he would sit at the table reading the Daily Racing Form and handicap the horses. There would be complete silence in the house until 6pm when the TV got cranked up and all you could here is AND THEEEEE'RE OFF........ Man, you never saw a guy get so animated, it sounded like there was a heard of hyenas in the house. I could hear him yelling down the hall "COME ON NUMBER 4, KEEP RUNNING, JOHNNY NEEDS A NEW COMPUTER! Then "Ohhh shoot".
I would just sit there in my room and shake my head. The big joke in our family was what ever horse my Dad thought was going to win, would come in second. He would try and figure out which horse would win, and without fail it would almost always place.
These days when ever my Dad comes out to LA to visit, we always go to Hollywood Park to watch the races. I'm happy because I can spend time with him and while he's watching the horses, I'm watching the 747's fly right over head on their approach to LAX.
What I'm getting at is that it's been my Dad's lifelong dream to go to the Kentucky Derby. It's a national holiday in his book. And my good buddy Joe Lewis made his dream come true. Joe was this year's coordinating producer for the Mint Jubilee which is an annual charity for cancer which takes place the night before the Derby in Louisville. They put on a big show and fly a lot of stars in ( Bob Costas , Shannon Elizabeth , The Back Street Boys , my cousin's girlfriend Jamie-Lynn Sigler , to name a hand full).
When Joe found out my Dad loves to watch the ponies he said "plan on being in Kentucky on May 4th". Well, there was a small problem, it was my cousin Tommy 's (his God Son) 40th surprise party in Connecticut. I said "Dad, he will understand. Besides Father's Day is coming early this year". I bought some tickets through Johnny Jet of course, and we were off. My Dad came in on USAir from Erie, PA and I flew in on United from LA. Oh by the way, did I mention I talked my brother into going the day before while we were in New Mexico? He came in on Delta from New York. We flew in from all over and managed to time it almost perfectly. Instead of flying directly into Louisville, we flew into Cincinnati because it was much cheaper. CVG (Cincinnati Airport Code) is 95 miles from Louisville and is actually in KY, not Ohio, so you don't have to fight any traffic which makes the drive under 90 minutes.
Driving from the airport you can not help but notice the beautiful rolling hills and the Kentucky blue grass. We were thrilled to be there.
Joe Lewis not only got us tickets to the party, and derby but he was able to get us in one of the sold out host hotels; the Hyatt (the Galt House was the another).
Checking in you could feel the excitement in the air. The hotel room had commemorative posters, a derby program, and the Daily Racing Form. It was like being in a grown up candy store for my Dad.
We pulled him away from the paper and got dressed for the big gala which took place across the street at the convention center.
The party was a great time and we had the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and spend time with some of New York's bravest .
We watched the show , danced and went home to catch some zzzzzz's.
SATURDAY, MAY 4
We arrived at Churchill Downs around noon, fought are way through the crowd until we found the elevator that took us up to the 6th floor, otherwise known as Millionaires row. That's right, the best seats in the house! How lucky were we? All the stars were up there, and owners.
Heck, would you believe Miss America came up to me and said "I fly 20,000 miles a month and I love logging on to Johnny Jet.com"? How sweet is that?
The Derby is famous for Mint Juleps and women wearing their colorful bonnets and dresses, they really made it special.
Up on the 6th floor everyone was dressed well, and being up there you can understand why they call this sport, the sport of Kings. As my Dad said this was not just an ordinary horse race, it was an event, and without a doubt the biggest day in KY. They pack in 145,000 people in there to watch it.
It really was a great time , and the weather was perfect.
I kept having to remind myself I was in KY, because I kept running into buddies from home, including my old neighbor Larry , my former roommate Mike , and others.
Now down to business, how did I do? Well, I only bet two out of the eleven races. I put most of my money down on the 5th race on a horse that I thought for sure was going to fund Johnny Jet for the next year. It was called Jet Love , but it had no love for me when it finished last.
Then for the Derby which is the 9th race I bet Proud Citizen (I bet on horse names not on the odds) because I thought it was fitting for this war time. But it came in second, and I lost. I looked over at my Dad and he looked disappointed, I said "Who did you have?" He said "Proud Citizen".
Some things never change, even though the setting might.
OTHER MEMORABLE MOMENTS
Cheers to Mint Juleps, Joe Lewis, Kentucky, and my awesome Dad
OMAHA HERALD: Tech Bytes: Internet helps plan vacation
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A READER'S NOTE
I enjoyed your descriptions of New Mexico (although I've always found Taos to be a nice place -- then again, I've got friends there). The next time you're there, do 3 things:
1) Make sure you go in September. The only way I can describe the scent of pinon that is in the air everywhere is "orgasmic."
2) Take the "high road" from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. This loops around to the east, but is absolutely spectacular -- probably the most scenic, intriguing and awe-inspiring road I've ever driven.
3) Go west of Santa Fe to the natural bridge/gorge -- I forget the name, but it's awesome too.
The intersection of Anglo/Hispanic/Native American cultures in New Mexico is amazing. What a place! -- Dan
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With Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler ~ Keith Bellows
TIP OF THE WEEK:
You never know what is lurking around the corner... hovering above... or swimming beneath the surface. But when confronted with unexpected, potentially dangerous circumstances, you'll want to know what to do.
Apply the emergency brake, if possible, to slow the car. Open the door. Aim for an angle that will take you out of the path of your car. Look for a soft landing site, such as grass or brush -- anything but pavement. Tuck in your head, arms and legs. Roll when you hit the ground.
GOOD TO KNOW!
My Do-It-Yourself Natural Medicine Travel Kit (by Jamison Starbuck, ND Special from Bottom Line/Health)
When you feel ill, it's difficult to track down remedies -- particularly natural ones -- in an unfamiliar town. It's much easier to pack a travel kit with your favorite therapies. Here are the natural remedies in my kit -- all available at health-food stores...
Antimicrobial tincture fights a cold, cough or sore throat. To prepare, combine equal amounts of echinacea, ginger and red clover tinctures in one bottle. The first two herbs help kill viruses and bacteria. Red clover soothes coughs, swollen glands and tonsillitis.
At the first sign of symptoms, take 30 drops of the mixture in a four-ounce glass of water. Repeat every three waking hours until symptoms subside.
Arnica reduces pain and swelling associated with sprains, strains and deep bruises. I recommend packing a vial of arnica 30C. Dissolve two pellets under the tongue every six waking hours for the first 48 hours after injury.
Calendula is an effective topical antiseptic and wound medicine. Buy a liquid preparation -- either a tincture or glycerine-based formula -- and put it in a one-ounce spray bottle. Spray on your skin as needed for cuts, scrapes, insect bites and burns, including sunburn.
Charcoal is more effective than many over-the-counter treatments for "traveler's diarrhea" and food poisoning. When taken orally, this nontoxic supplement binds with food and toxins, which can then be excreted in the stool. Take two capsules every two hours while awake.
Charcoal works best when used at the onset of symptoms. If you wait more than 24 hours, organisms can multiply to the point where charcoal is no longer effective. See a doctor if the diarrhea lasts for more than three days... or if it's accompanied by a fever or severe abdominal pain. If you're taking prescription drugs: Check with your doctor before trying this therapy.
Digestive enzymes treat indigestion, constipation and heartburn. The safest enzyme preparations are those derived from pineapple or papaya. Follow the manufacturer's directions -- usually to chew one or two tablets immediately after large or fatty meals.
Vitamin C can help you beat a viral or bacterial bug quickly. Take 500 mg every four hours. Vitamin C is safe when taken in large doses for a few days, though too much can cause loose stools. If that happens, reduce your dose. If you have a chronic condition or take prescription medication: Ask your doctor whether it is safe to take high doses of vitamin C.
Be safe, travel well and have fun!
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