Year-End Musings

Year-End Musings

As we head into the New Year – which incidentally will be the “Year of the Horse” by the Chinese calendar – I’m gonna muse out loud here for a bit. You may or may not have the inclination to actually read these musings.

Some of you will likely get a little ways into it, and then (like the old English cartoon general) think: “Egads! – What poppy-cock and puffery.”

It will all be tied in to handicapping and betting the ponies . . . but only loosely, so fair warning – you might want to get out now while you still can(!?)    🙂

I’ve tried to steer away from complexity in my approach to handicapping, and much of the rest of my life as well.  It seems to me that life has become far too ‘scrambled’ with unnecessary complexity. Take this example list I came across a while back showing the number of words contained in various writings;

· Pythagoras’ Theory – 24 words
· Lords’ Prayer – 66 words
· Archimedes Principle – 67 words
· Ten Commandments – 179 words
· Gettysburg Address – 267 words
· US Declaration of Independence – 1,321 words
· Magna Carta (including signatures) – 3,856 words
· Current regulations on sale and trade of vegetables – 26,253 words


Thought itself is the culprit.

The mental world is a world of static – a world of incessant ‘layering’ and adding on. A huge part of our ‘thinking’ is nothing more than white noise.

We listen to handicapping pundits, scientists, priests, or any of the other so-called experts from a thousand and one various fields, but most of it pretty much just adds to the static – which then leads to confusion.

As our lives get ever more complicated and confused, we naturally look for a bit of clarity.

But the reality is that in attempting to find those that could help us along to that desired clarity, we encounter individuals that have invented even more complications. They are further confusing the confusion while passing themselves off as “experts” (politicians and economists are masters of this).

We know very little directly.

Perhaps the love of our children or our spouses, perhaps the sensation of warmth on our skin, and the wind ruffling our hair as we contemplate a sunset . . . things of that nature.

But as complexity creeps back in – as the static of thought begins again – as the overwhelming need to categorize, compartmentalize, and analyze takes over – the layers of white noise thicken and amplify.

I’m not angling for answers here, or proposing any all-encompassing solution – neither to life’s overly organized confusion, nor to handicapping the horses successfully.  These are challenges we all tackle (or not) in our own way.

I’m often reminded of something I once read – that for me calls up an important image (to paraphrase):

“The flight of a bird over the Arctic vastness is directly connected to the little breeze that makes a leaf flutter before our eyes as we sit in our own back yard.” 

This relates to the “Butterfly Effect” theory that everything is connected at it’s most basic level.  In the seemingly ever expanding, infinite complexity of our universe, there hides a “secret” – the secret of absolute simplicity.

Finding it isn’t all that difficult . . . keeping out the incessant static of artificial complexity is the never-ending challenge.

I wish you all (those few of you who have been tenacious enough to stick it out to this part of the post!) a very merry Christmas, and a successful New Year – the Year of the Horse.

As always – comments welcomed.         – Gary



  1. John Van Den Heever

    Hi Gary,

    Couldn’t have explained the ‘modern dilemma’ better.
    Although one Omar Khayyam out in the Arabian desert
    a couple of hundred years ago in his “Rubaiyat” had
    a pretty good handle on the problem. Succinctly he
    narrowed it down to a few words…..

    “Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and Saint, and heard great
    About it and about : but evermore
    Came out by the same Door as in I went”.

    I’ve lived by these words most of my life
    since reading them as a young kid and they’ve
    been a good buffer against all the preachers
    and know it all’s I’ve been assailed with down
    through the years. I’m feeling your intense
    positive waves and you’ve just escalated my
    page by crushing my negvibes. Glad to know
    someone else is on my frequency. Best Xmas
    Wishes to you and family and little David who
    has just turned six, right? Doesn’t time
    just fly?

    Best regards,


    • John – Thanks my friend – and thanks for the great quote from one of history’s enlightened spiritual poets.
      Dave is fine – he’s been in a “Dennis the Menace” phase – moving into a “Huck Finn” now as the New Year approaches. How are the twins? Are they still tearing up the courts?!
      A New Year’s wish for you, John (to borrow from an old Spanish toast): “Amor . . .Pesetas . . . y Caballos Rapidos” (Love, Riches, and Fast Horses). – Gary

  2. Gary- Thanks for this ‘simple’ posting.
    I wish good health and fortune to all of you in the coming year.
    “Be still and know” as the good book says…..

    • Spencer – Thanks for the well-wishes – and the Biblical quote . . . that quote is the succinct, and perfect distillation of what my rambling post was attemptinging to convey. Thanks my friend. – Gary

  3. Gary:

    Thanks again for reminding us to “get out of your own way”….your guidance in showing that “simplification” as opposed to “complexity” can help us be less stressed-and more profitable both in our lives and in handicapping the ponies, has been very influential in how I approach my daily life and this fasinating endeavor of handicapping. Your methodologies have given me the rudder for my otherwise meandering ship….

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family….we are all truly blessed to know you


    • Carl – Heart-felt appreciation for that brother – say hello and best wishes to the family for me. – Gary

  4. Joe Riley B.

    Hello Gary,

    You said, “Finding it isn’t all that difficult . . . keeping out the incessant static of artificial complexity is the never-ending challenge.”

    One thing that will solve that problem, as well as being a good tool in the handicapping bag of tricks…

    Meditation. I’ve been studying this for about a year and really need to stop reading, get started, and stay with it. I need to put up a BIG sign somewhere to remind me to set aside a few minutes for this.

    The physical, mental, and spiritual benefits far outweigh the few disciplined minutes it takes per day.

    I know this works, even without me reaping anything yet. It’s been used for thousands of years. There’s a guy who has a blog that cured a long-time alcohol addiction and other problems through meditation ( Testimonials abound all over the net.

    And like I wrote above, I believe meditation can carry the handicapper to the next level.

    Live Long and Prosper, Gary.

    Joe Riley B.

    • Joe – Right you are. The real world lies within. As ‘externalized’ as we all are – as preoccupied with the world ‘out there’ as we all are – we are in dire need of a balancing factor. The antithesis to all the turmoil and incessant activity of our daily lives – is the Great Silence within. I regard It with absolute reverence – do not pretend to be able use the brain or body, or the dogma of philosophy or religion to understand It – and find It to be far beyond my ability to describe. But It is as close as our very selves – and instantly accessible at all moments in time . . . . . . . . . .
      – or something like that! 🙂 Have a great “Year of the Horse” Joe. – Gary

  5. Very Zen. Thank you for sharing your musings.
    In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want.

    • John – You are very welcome – and thank you for the poignant New Year’s ‘blessing.’ – Gary

  6. Merry Christmas and a very successful New Year! Thanks for sharing your wisdom; it has made a huge difference in my bottom line, and made handicapping fun, profitable and best of all EASY! I own dozens of handicapping programs, they don’t even come close to the profitability of your methodologies. Wish I had found your site decades ago, could have saved thousands. Again, THANKS!!

    • Ray – Thanks for the holiday well-wishes, and also for the kudos. I will be sending you a pm later this week. – Gary

  7. I liked the musings post and agree about complexity in life. I’m sure every older generation says it about the newest generation, but I don’t know how kids today can cope with all of the information and complexities that are burgeoning in this technology age.

    Merry Christmas! – Steve

    • Steve – Right – I know what you mean. The thing is, I’m not so sure the youth are “coping” all that well. The world-wide rise in crime, stress related diseases, lack of basic respect for others, etc. etc. sort of belies that. – Gary

  8. GARY


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