Monday, May 31, 2010


These heroes are dead. They died for liberty - they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Saturday, May 29, 2010

On May 19, 1780, in the northeastern part of North America, there was a period of "extraordinary darkness," which began between 10 A.M. and 11 A.M. and lasted until the middle of the next night. Also, the full moon rose at 9 P.M. that evening but was not visible until midnight, when it had the "appearance of blood." Records of solar and lunar eclipses for that date, indicate none was close enough to have caused the phenomenon.

For a generation of New Englanders, Friday, May 19, 1780, was a date never to be forgotten. The Sun was blotted out by a strange darkness, varying in intensity and length from place to place, but extending from New Jersey and New York across Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and southeastern New Hampshire into Maine. For several days prior to the "Dark Day," the Sun was obscured by smoky clouds, and the Moon took on an unusual reddish color. Darkness began around 10 in the morning and lasted throughout the day. (When the Connecticut legislature proposed adjournment following the belief that the day of judgment was at hand, a Colonel Davenport declared: "I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for an adjournment; if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty.") The night that followed was no comfort to the fearful, being unusually black and impervious to any artificial light. The next day, a fine sulfurlike substance was noticed on the edges of water, but the only reports of adverse effects concerned the death of a number of birds. The first theories of a comet or solar eclipse were ruled out, and the earliest guesses regarding smoke from forest fires turned out to be accurate. Out-of-control forest fires, extending from New Hampshire into New York State, burned furiously for a week preceding the dark day, creating great suffocating clouds of smoke. An unusual atmospheric condition trapped the smoke until it reached sufficient density to blot out the Sun. However, for many New Englanders, the Dark Day was an inexplicable mystery, never recalled without a feeling of awe.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May is here, which means voting to name this month’s Full Moon has ended. Readers have overwhelmingly selected the name “Full Bloom Moon” for this month’s Full Moon, which falls on Thursday, May 27th, at 7:07 p.m.

The traditional full Moon name for May is the Full Flower Moon. In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.

The idea behind the Farmers’ Almanac Name that Moon Contest was to come up with more up-to-date names for the full Moons, not as a replacement for the traditional names, but as modern alternatives that better reflect today’s activities and values. Some things never change though, which is why the name chosen for May is so similar to the traditional name. Other choices for this month were Full Planters Moon, Full Graduate Moon, and Full Remembrance Moon. But the Farmers’ Almanac readers spoke, and spoke loudly, with an overwhelming number of votes pouring in for Full Bloom Moon. Clearly, whether today, or 500 years ago, many North Americans see May as a time for enjoying the numerous varieties of flowers growing in our gardens, parks, and meadows.


Monday, May 24, 2010

The 24th of May is the Queen's birthday

if we don't get a holiday

we'll all run away

— school ditty in my youth

Victoria Day in Canada,a holiday, celebrates

the birthday of queens: Victoria and Elizabeth II both

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The world could live more easily without the sun than it could without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


Vatican asks Susan Boyle to sing for saint Padre Pio

London: Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle has been asked by the Vatican to sing at a special tribute to its most revered saint, Capuchin monk Padre Pio.

Susan, 49, is considering the offer and says, "I have a great devotion to Padre Pio."

The concert will be held in southern Italy. Padre Pio lived out his ministry there and now lies in a golden crypt.

Second most popular Roman Catholic figure after the Pope, millions of pilgrims visit him every year.

He became famous for his stigmata, bleeding or experience of pain in parts of his body where Jesus was injured during the Crucifixion. He died in 1968.

Maria Dorrian, the Scottish delegate for the Padre Pio Centre said, "Susan has inspired so many of us. I don't think she realises the impact she is having, not only through her music, but spiritually to people throughout the world."

Friday, May 21, 2010


NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT for the seven gifts...knowledge,wisdom,counsel,understanding,fortitude,piety,fear of the Lord.

Every single person I know—myself included—is currently saying a novena to the Holy Spirit in joyful anticipation of Pentecost Sunday.

A novena is nine days of prayer (coming from the word novem which means “nine”) and is a devotion to obtain special graces.



Jupiter cloud belt missing again, scientists say
Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt started fading late last year, NASA said in a story on its website.
NASA says one of the planet's two main belts can no longer be seen
Scientists are monitoring the change, but "do not yet fully understand what's going on"
Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt fades and then returns every few years
The return, when it comes, is expected to be dramatic
Scientists don't know why, but one of Jupiter's two main cloud belts has disappeared -- again.

Like a wayward pet, the belt has gone missing before and has always returned.

"This is a big event," said planetary scientist Glenn Orton of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. "We're monitoring the situation closely and do not yet fully understand what's going on."

The brown cloudy band, known as the South Equatorial Belt, or SEB, started fading late last year, NASA said in a story on its website.

"But I certainly didn't expect to see it completely disappear," said amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley of Australia. "Jupiter continues to surprise."

Orton says the belt may not be gone, just hidden under higher clouds.

"It's possible," he said on the NASA website, "that some 'ammonia cirrus' has formed on top of the SEB, hiding the SEB from view."

On Earth, NASA says, white wispy cirrus clouds are made of ice crystals. On Jupiter, the same sort of clouds can form, but the crystals are made of ammonia instead of water.

The belt's disappearances can be erratic.

"The SEB fades at irregular intervals, most recently in 1973-75, 1989-90, 1993, 2007, 2010," said John Rogers, director of the British Astronomical Association's Jupiter Section. "The 2007 fading was terminated rather early, but in the other years, the SEB was almost absent, as at present."

The return of the SEB can be dramatic, NASA said.

"We can look forward to a spectacular outburst of storms and vortices when the 'SEB revival' begins," Rogers told NASA. "It always begins at a single point, and a disturbance spreads out rapidly around the planet from there, often becoming spectacular even for amateurs eyeballing the planet through medium-sized telescopes.

"However," he said, "we can't predict when or where it will start. On historical precedent, it could be any time in the next two years."

"I'll be watching every chance I get," Wesley said. "The revival will likely be sudden and dramatic, with planet-circling groups of storms appearing over the space of just a week or so."

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is visible in the eastern sky before dawn, NASA said.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We are blessed as Catholics to possess the truth and the fullness of the faith.

Monday, May 17, 2010



- 470 BC-399 BC
Era Ancient philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Classical Greek
Main interests epistemology, ethics
Notable ideas Socratic method, Socratic irony
Influenced Western philosophy, most specifically; Plato, Aristotle, Aristippus, Antisthenes

Socrates was a Classical Greek philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contempotary Aristophanes.

Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions are asked not only to draw individual answers, but to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. It is Plato's Socrates that also made important and lasting contributions to the fields of epistemology and logic, and the influence of his ideas and approach remains strong in providing a foundation for much western philosophy that followed.

...A teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic."Yet, the 'real' Socrates, like many of the other Ancient philosophers, remains at best enigmatic and at worst unknown.


Fiddleheads are available in the market for only a few weeks in springtime, and are fairly expensive.
Agriculture Canada reports that scientists are just discovering how nutritional fiddleheads are — even better than blueberries, the gold standard for antioxidants. They have found that fiddleheads are twice as strong as blueberries with regard to antioxidant activity.

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals linked to the development of a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's.

Test results also showed that fiddleheads are packed with the nutrient omega-3 fatty acids.

Fiddleheads are a good source of dietary fibre. They are low in sodium, and contain vitamins A and C, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.

A Fiddlehead is a fern so young and new that it hasn't yet "unfurled" and opened its leaves. The end is still curled in a tight spiral, ready to unroll as the sun warms it and it gathers strength and size. This spiral shape reminds many people of the end of a violin, hence the name "Fiddlehead."

Fiddlehead ferns are delicious, with a remarkable wild flavor. They can be easily prepared in a variety of ways - resulting in a delicious side dish or as the "main event."

The flavor? It has been described as similar to green beans with a hint of artichoke. But descriptions do not begin to capture the flavor. You must try them to know the wonderful flavor and delightful crunch of Fiddleheads.
The coiled end of the fern is called a "crosier." Ferns should be picked early in the morning when they are still very young and fresh. The "crosier" should be tightly curled, and should snap off crisply. They must be washed carefully and rubbed to remove the paper-y brown skin on the outside. Avoid yellow or "floppy" ferns. Trim the base leaving a tiny tail.

Thoroughly wash fiddleheads in clean, potable water several times until the wash water appears clean. Then bring a small amount of lightly salted water to a boil, add washed fiddleheads, and cook them at a steady boil for 10 minutes. Fiddleheads can also be washed clean and steamed for 20 minutes. Serve at once with melted butter or vinegar. The sooner they are eaten, the more delicate their flavor. They may be served, like asparagus, on toast. Cooked, chilled fiddleheads can be also served as a salad with an onion and vinegar dressing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


In July 2008 a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes. Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering.

In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles. In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.
These elephants first attacked a rock crusher machine owned by a key leader of the persecution movement. They then went on to destroy his house and farms.
Hundreds of villagers have been forced to take shelter in camps in the Indian state of Orissa after repeated attacks by a herd of elephants.

Seven people have been killed and several others injured in attacks by a herd of 12-13 elephants over the past few weeks in Kandhamal district.

Over 2,500 people living in 45 villages have been affected by the attacks, district chief Krishen Kumar said.

It is, however, unclear why this herd of elephants migrated from the Lakheri sanctuary in a neighbouring district. He said the herd had travelled some 300km into Kandhamal, and even entered a town in the district. Wildlife officials were camping at the site of the attacks and trying to find out why the elephants had come out of their sanctuary. The villagers say elephants attack their areas in herds, causing heavy destruction.
Gaining momentum, they rampaged through other non-Christian homes, demolishing gardens and singling out the home of persecutors, leaving Christian homes untouched.

These strange attacks have spread, and according to a report, the elephants have already destroyed more than 700 houses in 30 villages, and killed five people. Nobody in this area has seen or even imagined the unique appearance of a herd of wild elephants such as this. The elephants are not ordinary elephants; they appear to be on a mission.
Typically, smaller elephants enter a village first, appearing to survey the community. They then rejoin the larger herd, and larger elephant soon follow and get the job done.

The ministry partner in India stated “We think that it might have something to do with the avenging the blood of martyrs. In fact the fear of God has fallen on the local people, who have labeled these elephants “Christian elephants.”

With little help coming from the administration, the villagers have taken to road blockades. "The elephants have destroyed crops and selected houses. But officials too express helplessness. "There is no permanent habitat of elephants in Sundargarh. They come from Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where their habitats have shrunk. But is not clear how and why these elephants reached Orissa.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The New School Prayer

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offence; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles

But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!
Amen !

If you aren't ashamed to do this, please pass this on.
Jesus! said, ' If you are ashamed of me,' I will be ashamed
of you before my Father.'
Not ashamed. Passing this on.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Apostolic Journey to Portugal
on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary
of the Beatification of Jacinta and Francisco,
young shepherds of Fátima(11-14 May 2010)

On May 11, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI arrived at Lisbon International Airport to begin his four-day apostolic journey to Portugal. The highlight of his trip will be a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, to celebrate the 93rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

The Holy Father's pilgrimage also coincides with the tenth anniversary of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta.

Arriving in Lisbon, Pope Benedict declared, "I come as a pilgrim to Our Lady of Fatima, invested from on high with the mission of confirming my brothers and sisters as they advance on their own pilgrimage towards heaven," adding "The Virgin Mary came from heaven to remind us of the truths of the Gospel which for humankind—lacking in love and without hope of salvation—represent a source of hope."
Discussing the relationship between Church and state in Portugal, long one of the most devoutly Catholic countries in Europe but currently experiencing unprecedented secularization, Pope Benedict noted that "Living in a plurality of value systems and ethical structures makes it necessary to journey to the core of one's own self and to the nucleus of Christianity in order to reinforce the quality of our witness unto sanctity, and to discover the paths of the mission that lead even to the radical choice of martyrdom."

There are lessons in the Holy Father's words for the rest of the world as well. In a time when we cannot count on public support for the truth of Christianity, we must turn more fully to the truth of the Gospel and work to strengthen the Christian life of our families, parishes, and ultimately the Church as a whole.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gerald Celente Discusses His "Greatest Fear"

Gerald Celente Discusses His "Greatest Fear"

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Janey Cutler - Britain's Got Talent 2010 - Auditions Week 4



Before I was a Mom -
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was a Mom -
I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom -
I had never been puked on - Pooped on - Spit on - Chewed on, or Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and My thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom -
I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests...or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom -
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life
so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom -
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom -
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known The warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

And remember that behind every successful woman......
is a basket of dirty laundry.

- Unknown

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I received this beautiful award from my friend ABBEY! It's called the Sunshine Award. This type of recognition from a fellow blogger makes my day.


Of course, blog awards come with rules…

1. Put the logo on your blog and/or within your post.
2. Pass the award on to twelve bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received this award.




The media must remember, in viewing how Rome responds to crisis, that our Church is not used to the flow of modern media time frames. It predates TV and the internet and radio and newspapers, the telephone, the telegraph, pony express, even the printed word.

There always have been scandals, and every few centuries, failure (as there has been failure) leads to purification.

How did the Church deal with sexual violations centuries ago?

At the Council of Ancyra in 315, strict penalties -- solitary confinement, fasts, isolation, and supervision -- were demanded for any cleric caught having relations with a minor.

In 1049 Saint Peter Damian wrote to Pope Leo IX, recommending zero tolerance. According to one expert on abuse, the saint taught that any priest caught in such an act should be stripped of his clerical office. This finds its way to us through a 2001 review of past procedures called De delictus gravioribus penned by none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Why past policies were not re-implemented is a mystery. It was Pope Adrian VI, the last non-Italian Pope before John Paul II, who formulated a courageous mea culpa. Adrian VI had assumed the Throne of Peter after a string of questionable popes and for his two short years as pontiff was basically charged with cleaning up the mess.

Addressing himself in 1523 to the delegates of the Imperial Diet at Nuremberg, points out Italian writer Antonio Socci, in The Fourth Secret, the pontiff, reacting to the Reformation, said, "We freely acknowledge that God has permitted this persecution of the Church because of the sins of men, and in particular of priests and prelates. The Hand of God has not, in fact, been withdrawn; He could save us; but sin separates us from Him and prevents Him from hearing us. All of Sacred Scripture teaches us that the errors of the people have their origin in the errors of the clergy...

"Each one of us," he went on, "must examine himself much more severely than will God on the day of His wrath. We must all consider ourselves committed to do this because the entire world thirsts for reform."

The schism caused by Luther was a grave wound from which it still has not recovered, and much of Europe was set against Rome -- as we see great antipathy to Catholicism (especially in England) in our own day. Chastisement is often fashioned with human hands.

Sacking. Fire. Assassination. Those were the scourges Rome faced in the 1500s, but also that decade was the appearance of Mary in Mexico -- an event that turned an entire region of the world strongly Catholic.

"It was precisely Guadalupe that gave birth to Latin American Christianity," Socci has written in The Fourth Secret. "It was not born of ecclesiastical projects (which, on the contrary, were being met with hostility from the indigenous populations), but from the initiative of Heaven, manifested through Mary.

"Precisely at the moment in which the Church in half of Europe was being mutilated by a heresy that, among other things, was profoundly hostile to the Holy Virgin, the Madonna gifted to the Church an entire continent in the world. The apparition happened -- notice the coincidence -- on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which in those times was celebrated on the 9th of December, not the 8th). This is the Feast of the Woman who crushes the serpent's head."

Will an event attached to the Blessed Mother soon cause a similar renewal? Crisis often invigorates Catholicism.

Will it be from this region -- or perhaps Africa -- that salvation comes to the modern Church?

Friday, May 7, 2010


Thursday, May 6, 2010


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Practicing Catholics unfazed by abuse scandals; Pope’s popularity increasing

A new poll conducted by CBS News and The New York Times has found that 77% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly say that “the Vatican’s handling of recent child sex abuse reports” has had no effect on how they “feel about the Catholic Church.” An additional 12% of practicing Catholics say that they have a more positive feeling about the Church as a result of the Vatican’s handling of the scandals.

The survey of 1,079 adults was conducted between April 28 and May 2. Results were released on May 4.

88% of Catholics-- practicing and non-practicing-- report that the scandal has had no effect on their dealings with priests. 82% say it will not affect their Mass attendance, 79% say it will have no effect on donations, and 87% say that it will have no effect on their children’s involvement in Church activities.

52% of the general population says that the Vatican’s handling of the scandal has had no effect on their feelings towards the Church, while 36% have more negative feelings.

The survey also found that Pope Benedict’s popularity among Catholics has increased since March. 43% of Catholics have a favorable view of him (vs. 27% in March), while 17% have an unfavorable view (vs. 11% in March). 38% are unsure or “haven’t heard enough” to make a judgment. Among the general population, 16% have a favorable view of the Pope, 24% have an unfavorable view, and 59% are unsure or “haven’t heard enough.”

62% of practicing Catholics-- vs. 13% of the general population-- have a favorable view of the Church’s leadership, while 13% of practicing Catholics (and 38% of Americans overall) have an unfavorable view.

Among the survey’s other findings:

•45% of practicing Catholics, but only 13% of Americans overall, believe that the Vatican has done a good job handling the scandal
•75% of practicing Catholics, and 50% of the overall population, believe that the Vatican is trying to prevent child sexual abuse
•only 17% of practicing Catholics, and 33% of Americans overall, believe that the Vatican is currently engaging in a cover-up
•91% of practicing Catholics, and 54% of Americans overall, have “some” or “a lot of” confidence in the Vatican’s ability to prevent future abuse by priests
•28% of practicing Catholics, and 40% of all Catholics, say that the abuse scandals have caused them to “doubt [the] Vatican’s authority”
•the majority of Catholics (54%) believe that the Vatican is “out of touch” with Catholics, while 60% believe that local priests are “in touch”
•a large majority of practicing Catholics (89%) and Americans overall (72%) believe that child sexual abuse is just as common outside the Church as within it
•58% of practicing Catholics, and 30% of Americans overall, believe the scandal has been blown out of proportion by the news media
•44% of practicing Catholics, and 73% of the total population, believe that child sexual abuse by priests is still a problem today
•only 30% of Catholics believe that homosexuality contributes to child sexual abuse by priests; 31% believe the celibacy discipline is a contributing factor, while 17% believe the Church’s teaching on women’s ordination is a factor
•58% of practicing Catholics say that they “would let priests marry”; a smaller majority (54%) “would allow women priests”

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Weather deals Kentucky Derby latest wild card -

136th Kentucky Derby could be 1st run under lights
May 1, 2010 - 4:18am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The newly installed lights at Churchill Downs could be a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy outlook for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

A wet track seems a certainty, even with an improved forecast issued on Friday afternoon.

Joe Ammerman of the National Weather Service said Louisville is expected to get several inches of rain this weekend. However, he says the storm should largely spare the track Saturday ahead of the 6:28 p.m. post.

If bad weather causes a delay or the visibility is poor, the race could potentially be run under the lights for the first time.

"It could be blinkers off and lights on," said Bob Baffert, trainer of the 3-1 favorite Lookin At Lucky and 12-1 shot Conveyance.

Banks of lights now encircle the venerable track. They were installed to accommodate night racing during the summer, and are sometimes used for early morning training. They can be employed at any time _ even for the Derby.

"It is an option that we do have," track spokesman Darren Rogers said.

There are no restrictions in the race conditions barring the use of artificial light. The first 135 runnings of the classic for 3-year-olds were conducted in daylight. Churchill Downs hopes to continue that tradition when the horses go to the post.

That might not be realistic. Heavy rain is forecast for Saturday morning followed by lighter showers throughout the afternoon.


FINDING AN AUDIENCE: When NBC and Churchill Downs conducted market research a few years ago to increase TV interest in the Kentucky Derby, the results were startling.

Turns out, the sport of kings does well with women, too.

The Derby is one of three sporting events that draws more women than men, said NBC Universal senior vice president of marketing Mike McCarley. The Winter and Summer Olympics are the other two.

The research was a game-changer and allowed NBC, which will televise Saturday's Run for the Roses for the 10th straight year, to think outside the box.

Rather than confine promotions for the Derby to weekend afternoons during other sporting events, NBC spreads the love across the other networks it owns.

The Kentucky Oaks, the filly version of the Kentucky Derby, is broadcast on Bravo, which skews heavily toward female viewers. There are Derby segments on "The Today Show" in the run-up to the race focusing on everything from fashion to how to create the perfect mint julep.

"Women are watching the Derby more for the spectacle than the sporting event," McCarley said. "There's a balance you have to strike for the different people that you're watching."

The formula appears to be working. Viewership is up 27 percent since 2001. The 9.8 rating for Mine That Bird's upset last year was the highest-rated Derby since 1992.

To build on that success, Churchill Downs helped produce a series of one-hour telecasts on Saturdays this spring called "Road to the Derby," featuring the major prep races. They hope the investment pays off.

"We're lucky, men and women love horse racing and love the Derby," track president Kevin Flanery said.

There's a chance viewers won't have to hop from network to network next year to follow the Triple Crown. NBC broadcasts the Derby and the Preakness, while ESPN holds the rights to the Belmont. The TV contracts expire this year. McCarley said having the entire Triple Crown on one network would help sustain interest in the series even in years when there isn't a Triple Crown candidate.

"I think that's a real growth opportunity for the sport," he said.