I’ve got to get my sons and me out of the house! The pandemic quarantine takes its toll. I need some Pandemic Family Outing ideas. We got a bit of a mobility issue, so long hikes on the precious few Texas public lands are mostly out. We also have a growing Adolescent Apathy problem. And you can only go fishing so many times with the one son that will not go.



I need a recreational therapist.


Elias on one of the many devices, a Switch


Emmons and Zeus playing yet another video game.

Please, Place any Pandemic Family Outing ideas in the comments below.  The Ratliff Boyz would be most appreciative.

I love pointless road trips. I’m pretty sure I can convince the Boyz to set out on one.  Post any Road Trip from Fort Worth in the comments below.



 Ratliff Boyz Barriers to Treatment 

  • Dad maybe just a tad itsy bitsy teenie weenie smidge bit overweight.
  • They’re experiencing some adolescent apathy.
  • They live in North Texas.
  • They live in North Texas.

I thought about a road trip to Cadillac Ranch. An eleven-hour round trip would be just a bit outside our range. 


Okay, y’all, we all know there is more to that Latin aphorism, “Physician, heal thyself,” than just the surface interpretation to avoid hypocrisy by making sure you’re faultless before criticizing another. Physicians really can’t and shouldn’t treat themselves, nor should a 30-year veteran recreational therapist. I’m just too close to the situation. 

That is the reason I ask for help.

“Hit It!

Please, post any family outing ideas post in the comments.

My Analysis

I’m embarrassed to admit, February of this year saw the bulk of my handicapping efforts for the 2020 Derby. The Kentucky Derby futures wagering – pool 3, has become one of my favorite weekends. It’s the weekend that reignites my flaming torch of passion each year for the Kentucky Derby. I start preparing for it, usually just after the holidays. In February 2014, I wagered for California Chrome to win and made a whimsical $2 exacta box with California Chrome and All Other 3-Year-Old Males. That silly $2 bet won me enough money to fund an online horseracing account for three years. It also cemented my ritual for starting my Derby handicapping process during Pool 3 of the futures wagering.  

Pool 3 arrived this year doing its job, stoking my Derby enthusiasm. I could clearly see, even then, Tiz the Law was the horse to beat in the 2020 Derby, but a horse that obviously strong makes handicappers little money. So, one begins to strategize how to build something around the firm favorite. I believed Ete Indien or Nadal could beat him. So, I wagered Ete Indien to Win and a Boxed Exacta with Ete Indien and Tiz the Law in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3. Then the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Second American Civil War hit, postponing the Derby. Pandemic unemployment, contentious unilateral decisions by my sons’ overbearing mother, parental concern over distant learning difficulties, the cacophony of civil and political unrest plaguing our country, social distancing, months of doing nothing, and a generally depressed mood severely wained my usual passion for this year’s Kentucky Derby. I quit even reading racing news headlines. 

Wham! Bam! Thank you! Ma’am! It’s the first of September, and they’re running the Derby on Saturday! To my chagrin, a quick check of the field showed neither Ete Indien nor Nadal had weathered the storms on the detoured and washed out Road to the Derby. 

I had to get quickly caught up on the pandemic forced developments. The Belmont Stakes ran on June 20 at a shortened 9 furlongs, with Tiz the Law as the winner. The Kentucky Derby will run on September 5, and Preakness Stakes will be October 3. The races are very spread out this year. 

So, after winning the Travers Stakes on August 8 and remaining undefeated in his 3-year-old year, Tiz The Law remains the extremely favored horse for the Derby and a likely winner of all 3 Triple Crown races. Which begs a new question: with no stamina test, and the one race’s distance shortened, would Tiz be a genuine Triple Crown winner?

I say, yes. A horse can only win the races he runs. It’s not Tis’ fault that a pandemic made the races all wonky. Besides, it’s already assured that there be a nice long line of mares waiting for him to be put out to stud. And what more can a guy really want⁉ But, that is a tangent we can debate later.

Now, I still owe my friends my traditional Derby prognostication and handicapping. It’s my annual labor of love that I started doing for my mother back in the 1970s. But, this year, I have not put the usual amount of handicapping work that I have done in the past. I don’t know much; I do know things are going to have to fall quite particularly odd for Tiz the Law NOT to end up in the winner’s circle. His start position is inferior, but is that enough to allow another horse to sneak past him? I don’t think so this year with the three favorites all drawing outside posts. Have you noticed I haven’t mentioned any other horse’s name up to this point? 

Handicapping this race has a straight forward winner, 1 – Tiz the Law. Place and show appear pretty settled in popular opinion, 2 – Honor A.P., and 3 – Authentic. I’m not so solid on either Honor A.P. or Authentic; they have plenty of chinks in their armor. I don’t see any straightforward horses for place or show. All three favorites have the far outside post positions. So, does that negate post positions being much of a factor? 

I hate it when my handicapping matches the morning line! That kills my betting options. Or does it? I see weak spots in everyone’s calculations that we might be able to take advantage of and find betting value. I vastly prefer to find something on a racing card that others overlook and then utilize straight forward win, place, and show bets with an occasional exacta bet. That just won’t work in this Derby, Tiz the Law is too strong. Let me talk through an exacta wheel. 

First, I think Authentic has peeked for the year, a great horse, an outstanding jockey, and a living trainer-god-legend; yet, the horse is fading and draws a sucky starting post. Any Baffert horse automatically becomes my sentimental favorite. We shouldn’t let emotion guide our handicapping. He came in second to Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby. Let’s note that his recent races suggest a midpack finish, and hasn’t raced in almost 50 days, but his connections deserve great respect. I think Honor A.P. peeked in the Santa Anita Derby. Authentic beat him in the San Felipe Stakes. He was defeated in his last race where he was the favorite.  

With no clear second horse and a field of capable long shots, here’s my question: does a wheel bet become a bet with a lot of value? It looks that way.  A $2 Exacta wheel bet, on this year’s Derby with Tiz the Law as the hub, would cost $34; is there enough value in the medium to longshot horses to make that a good bet? Based on the morning line odds, only two horses placing second to Tiz the Law would cause the exacta payout to not cover the $34 exacta wheel bet, Honor A.P., and Authentic.

I’m thinking, I should drive over to Lone Star Park, get close enough to the building to pick up their WiFi network, and placing an exacta wheel around Tiz the Law. 

I’m completely sold on Tiz the Law! But, I remember everyone feeling the same about Orb, also a 3/5 favorite, in the 2013 Preakness Stakes (watch it in the side panel above). As the Kentucky Derby is the second leg of this year’s Tripple Crown the circumstances are comparable.  

What says you?


2014 Derby!

Go California Chrome

Why an Exacta Wheel? 

An explanation of and Exacta Wheel. 

Exacta Betting Strategies – How to Profit




2020 Kentucky Derby Info!

Check out the Derby’s website!

— Kentucky Derby Website —




2013 Preakness Stakes with Orb the 3/5 Morning Line favorite:



The pie

Midnight on a School-Night Spontaneous Strawberry, Pineapple, Mango, And Peach Pie

It’s 11:45 PM on a school night; Elias, my 15-year-old son, and I have our days and nights a bit mixed up, and we both are craving something novel. I blame it all on the pandemic quarantine, social isolation, and distant learning. We need some recreational therapy to help with improved sleep hygiene, diversion, mindfulness, social engagement, and movement toward self-actualization. If only we knew any wreck-therapists.
I always have a couple of Bake House Creations Pie Crusts boxes on the top shelf of the frig, supporting my savory pie habit. I just opened the freezer and discovered a full bag of Season’s Choice: Tropical Blend – Frozen strawberries, pineapple, mango, and peaches. Plus, I spotted an open, practically untouched, second bag of the same jammed between a bag of peas and a pork tenderloin.
Heck, I’m not much of a sweet pie baking kind of guy, but isn’t all I have to do, is dump the fruit into the crust and mix in a conglomerate of butter and sugar, put on a top, and bake till done? So, I did an internet search for “strawberry, pineapple, mango, and peach pie recipe” as kind of a lark. Then, wham, bam, thank you, ma’am, I hit on a webpage!
The page just confirmed my suspicions; dump in fruit mixture and layer with some goop made of sugar, flour, and butter. So, now I’m convinced a strawberry, pineapple, mango, and peach pie is most doable and quite possible a new thing I can claim as my own (ignoring the webpage that outlined the exact recipe based on a peach pie).
I got some encouragement from some social media friends. Recreational therapists are good at that; get your leisure on.
I had almost double the amount of fruit than the templet website did, so I almost doubled the rest of the ingredients.
The fruit thawed some as I typed this. But I’m not going to wait till it thoroughly thaws, am I? Who’d do that at midnight on a school night?
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Cool Down10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Father and Son, Fruit Pie, Improvised, Insomina, Pie, School Night
Servings: 7 People
Cost: $8


  • Pie Plate
  • Pastry Brush (I used a paintbrush from under the sink. Nooooo, I'm joking. Maybe.
  • The Old Fashioned glass or rocks glass 


  • 1 6 oz bag  Season’s Choice: Tropical Blend – Frozen strawberries, pineapple, mango, and peaches
  • 1 Opened bag  Season’s Choice: Tropical Blend – Frozen strawberries, pineapple, mango, and peaches My son had opened this bag at some time and, presuming, eaten a few chunks.
  • 2/3 Cup  all-purpose flour I threw in a little more cause… well hell, this is an experiment, and Professor Stumbo told me I needed flower to absorb the extra fluid from the frozen fruit
  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon Okay, I’m just lying here about the measurement. I shook the bottle until the smell made me think, “that’s too much”
  • 1/2 cup Butter I guesstimated here, too; it might have been a little more. The butter should set out on the counter for 20 minutes to soften.
  • 1 Box Bake House Creations Pie Crusts
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 oz Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon The good stuff
  • 2 oz Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Kentucky Bourbon The cheap stuff - Okay, I see a trend here in lying about measurements.
  • Ice


  • Pour the Woodford Reserve in a glass, drink, switch out laundry, fold the dry load, beg son to help, and post grandiose baking plans on social media to allow for time so that the pie crust dough warms to room temperature (a must or it will be too brittle to unroll) and the fruit to thaw.
  • Set oven at 350F.
  • Use the butter to grease a 9-inch pie pan lightly.
  • Use the butter to grease a 9-inch pie pan lightly.
  • In a mixing bowl, cut the butter into small pieces, pour in the sugar, flour, and sprinkle in the cinnamon. Mix with two forks until crumbly.
  • Mix in about a ¼ of the butter-flour-sugar-cinnamon concoction with the fruit combination. Continue to blend until the fruit has a beautiful coat of goop.
  • Line the bottom of the pie with half of the fruit. Cover the fruit with half of the remaining butter-flour-sugar-cinnamon amalgam. Then layer the rest of the fruit into the pie shell and cover with the last of the butter-flour-sugar-cinnamon combination.
  • Unroll the second pie crust on top of the mound of the fruit-butter-flour-sugar-cinnamon goodness (yes, I ran out of synonyms for “mixture”).
  • Pinch edges of the bottom and top crusts together, forming the cutesy scalloped pattern that everyone thinks is difficult.
  • Break the egg into a small bowl and mix it with a pastry brush to prepare the egg wash. Brush the egg wash onto the top crust.
  • Cut vents in the center of the top crust.
  • Drink the Evan Williams and fold the next load of laundry while the pie bakes for 50 minutes, or until crust is golden.
  • Turn off the oven, crack-open oven door, and let cool in the oven for as long as you can (I understand this helps the fruit set thicker).
  • Go to sleep; it’s a school night (morning), for crying out loud.
  • Wake and eat pie for breakfast (Okay, brunch, I’m not fooling anyone).
  • Post photos of the finished pie, so everyone thinks your supper, dad. Drop a hint that all the laundry is also finished for the same effect.


The pie
Midnight on a School-Night Spontaneous Strawberry, Pineapple, Mango, And Peach Pie