YOH

The Year of the Horse

Tianjin. 6:00 a.m. Explosions. The Year of the Horse is upon us.

No, not the completely awesome and totally unnecessary 1997 Neil Young concert film, the actual year of the horse 馬年 or, more accurately, the year of the Wood Horse.

I am, once again, in Tianjin even though I had planned to be in Beijing.  I think I’m getting a cold.  Austin Ramzy, ace journalist, psychotic road biker, and my former neighbor is being deported because his colleagues had the temerity to do their jobs.

So far, the Year of the Horse kind of sucks.

The only saving grace is early scuttlebutt suggesting tonight’s Craptacular will be even more craptastic than ever.

If last night’s “Old Military Cadre” warm-up gala is any indication, CCTV-1 is in for a long night.  The evening began with a horde of small children dressed in horse bodysuits shimmying randomly to some kind of blaring military anthem while film clips of exploding bombs and missiles were projected onto a giant screen behind them. Seriously, who needs drugs in a country like this?

What else will the year of the horse bring…

Would it be too easy to say bet on the Broncos for Monday’s Super Bowl especially since Bronco coach John Fox (born February 8, 1955) is a Horse?

(Actually, bet on the Broncos anyway. Every petty-spiteful-overly entitled-Patriots-fan fiber of my being wants Peyton to lose, but it’s not going to happen.  My prediction: Broncos 41 Seahawks 28)

Previous Anni Equus have been a mixed bag including the start of one war (Sino-Japanese War, 1894) and the end of another (World War I, 1918 ).

Coincidentally, 1918 was also the last time the Red Sox won a world championship before 2004–which wasn’t a Horse year–but during that 86-year drought Sox fans had to suffer through this un-bleeping-bearable moment which occurred in 1978 A.K.A. the last time we had an Earth-Horse Year.

Of course 1978 also marked the beginning of the Reform and Opening Era in China.  Chinese astrologers (and history geeks) love  neat elemental/astrological parallels such as :The “Earth” Horse year 1978 extinguishing the flames of the “Fire” Horse year 1966 which saw the start of the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution.

And what of all the Horses wearing red underwear this New Year’s Eve?

Two old horses, born 12 years apart
Two old horses, born 12 years apart

Famous celebrity horses include John Travolta, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, and Sean Connery (the latter two once played father and son despite being only 12 years apart in age).  Horse is also a great year for left-handed guitarists with both Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix being born in the year of the horse 1942.

How about female vocalists? Barbra, Aretha, and Ella –three singers who need only their first names–all born in the year of the horse.

Staying musical for a moment but delving a bit further back: Bernstein? Chopin? Puccini? Vivaldi? Yep, all Horses.

Three US Presidents–Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Theodore Roosevelt–were horses but the only one worth caring about is Teddy.  Naturally, the leader of the Rough Riders was born in the year of the horse.

in the literary world, e.e. cummings was a horse, as was samuel beckett and also aldous huxley

A painting of a horse? Edgard Degas, Jean Renoir, and Rembrandt–all horses.

Horse can even equal crazy.  How else can you explain Ross Perot, Mike Tyson, and Jackie Chan all having the same zodiac sign?

Some of the greatest names in history were horses. Names like  Armstrong, Cicero, Charlemagne, Khrushchev and, of course, this guy…..

Yes, that is a fake trailer for an all too real movie about Genghis Khan produced by (the) Howard Hughes starring John Wayne and Rita Hayworth playing the first–and so far only–naturally red-headed Manchu in history.  You can watch the whole thing here.

Happy New Year!May the Year of the Earth Horse be a good one for you and your family.