It's Reading is Fun Week but We Still Love Math

The biggest news this week is the new Star Wars film. It's Episode III but it is the sixth one made (of which there were supposed to be nine but were reduced by a third) so I think the best thing to do here is give up on numbers completely and call it Revenge of the Sith. Let me be very clear, when I say give up on numbers I am only talking about Star Wars. We here at Quality Time love numbers far too much to forsake them so we'll use plenty of numbers when we talk about the 130th running of the one and one sixteenth mile second jewel in the Triple Crown, the Preakness.

We're in the tail end of Reading is Fundamental week. This year 35 nationally syndicated comic strips, including Frazz and Ripley's Believe it or Not! , supported the reading is fun motif. The RIF website has lots of activities for you and your children including mazes and a crossword puzzle. RIF suggests taking the kids outside tomorrow night and telling ghost stories. My youngest son says your children will find plenty of frightening fodder in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

I saw a poll Thursday that asked you to guess which movie is going to make the most money this weekend. No, really, I am being deadly serious. Revenge of the Sith could be the absolute worst piece of dreck ever made and it would still be number one at the box office. (The other choices were Monster-In-Law, Kicking & Screaming, Kingdom of Heaven, and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.) If anticipation is the spice of life, this film will make a Habanera look like a serving of Cream of Wheat. The decades long wait for the movie has made the stakes very high indeed. Can it possibly live up to my expectations? Can it be as much fun as the original movie? I don't actually think that it can because the theme is the corruption of innocence and honor, a turning away from, well, the light to the dark. If the movie can't be fun what can it be? It can be loud, angry, exciting, fast, and powerful and that's going to have to be enough to get me into the theater this weekend.

Speaking of fast and powerful the post positions have been drawn and, despite a tragic illness that swept through Churchill Downs after the Derby, everything is set for Saturday's Preakness. Giacomo is number 13 with Thursday morning line odds of 6-1. Afleet Alex is the favorite with odds of 5-2 and the post position of 12. There are 14 horses running in this year's contest, ten of them were Derby hopefuls. Just as in the Derby, the odds run as long as 50-1 but as many of the trainers have pointed out, the horses don't know the odds. Although I always want to see a horse sweep the Triple Crown and feel I should be cheering Giacomo on general principles, I can't help rooting for Afleet Alex and Wilko. Wilko ran wide for the entire Derby and with his Preakness post position of 9 he is in a much better position. Quite frankly I am really rooting for Wilko's jockey, Corey Nakatani, who has an amazing family history. I would love to see him add this prestigious race to his list of triumphs.

The Preakness Celebration encompasses quite a lot more than just the horse race. All month long events like hot air balloon ascensions, parades, parties and footraces have been going on. We've also had other types of races here in the Baltimore area where we've raced critters like frogs and crabs. Tonight Creative Alliance is hosting a party, Marquee Ball and something called Viva Las Vegas where you are exhorted to bring your poker face. If you have the chance to go, take it because you absolutely don't want to miss the Evil Tap Dancing Hate Monkey. David Simon, creator of nearly every TV show I have ever been in, will also be on hand and there will not only be a Vegas wedding chapel but also quickie divorces. It's the perfect thing to do before the Preakness because if you lose your shirt on the race, at least you will be pre-divorced and your spouse won't be able to yell at you. It's a win/win situation!