No. I haven’t stopped drinking. And, no, it’s not about the drought in California. It’s about the fact that it’s been more than a month since I last posted here at Around2Turns, which, as blogging goes, is just about flatlining.
I had been keeping a fairly lively pace for my first two months of this. But after a relaxing yet modestly productive 4th of July weekend, the bus found the ditch and has stayed there until today.
I was kind of expecting it. For years now, the terms of my employment have required me to effectively x-out four whole months on my yearly calendar. Because July and October and January and April demand the filing of quarterly reports and the providing of related analysis, workdays grow longer; days off become impossible; and truncated evenings become inhospitable to anything except comfy couches and tightly-clutched beverages. No running off to the Keeneland and Saratoga meets for you, Mr. Businessman!
In the spirit of the corporate reporting ethos that helps to propel American industry boldly into the next quarter, here’s a slide I put together that summarizes the latest trends here at @2T.
You will note that a big project at my Hudson Valley home (the “Turf Club” is the working title for the sporty and elegant “man cave” under construction in a large, upstairs bedroom) was a factor in my “down” July. But time spent working on this DIY project will pay out down the road, both in a commodious and luxurious place for yours truly to play the horses, and also as an @2T post postulating that the well-appointed man cave is, in fact, the grandstand for the “racetrack of the future”. But that’s another post, for another time.
Meanwhile, it occurs to me that @2T could afford to be a little bit more personal at times. Not every post needs to be strictly about horse racing. And since my day job offers me a front row seat (OK, maybe first row in the mezzanine) to the ongoing decline of the American newspaper industry, there’s no reason why I can’t occasionally write about that, without getting myself fired for giving away any proprietary information, of course.
Towards that end, I suppose I could start with being a bit more open about what I actually do for a living (Circulation Analyst) and for whom I work (The New York Times). The great Joe Palmer once noted that a prejudiced witness is all right, if you know what his prejudices are. And so to help you make allowances, and because people tend to sum up to more than what they do for a living, I should also point out that my friends involved with racing all tend to be either its customers (handicappers, in case any racing executives are reading this) or its analysts (I have good friends at both ThoroGraph and TimeFormUS, and have written one or two things for the latter).
I should be happy that I have managed to stay gainfully employed and adequately compensated, even as printed newspapers lurch ever closer to the way of the dodo. But it’s difficult to watch something you have loved your whole life fade away. Ask Steve Haskin. As a sports-loving hippie kid growing up in Westchester County in the 1970s, “my America” and Dick Young’s America were usually poles apart. But I don’t think either of us ever thought the day would come when the Daily News would be without a racing writer.
One of these days in the not-too-distant future I will be able to walk away from my day job. Or maybe I’ll get kicked to the curb if my desire to stick around outlives my apparent usefulness. But that will be fine either way. I’ll finally be able to make that fall meet at Keeneland.