The 136th Kentucky Derby: Karma, Race Breakdowns, and Girl Power

Calvin Borel comes flying home in the 2009 Derby with 50 to 1 shot Mine That Bird for his 2nd victory in 3 years (with a 3rd place in between).

Hear Tom Durkin understandably bungle the stretch call: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlXCC7otxQo

Those of you who have graciously followed my rantings for the past several years may be familar with the “Peach Derby Curse”, which kicked into high gear the past two years.  My top pick in 2008 was Eight Belles, the filly who ran a gutsy second to Big Brown but then broke both front legs galloping out after the wire, and was euthanized on the track.  It was horrible, and a friend of mine punctuated the dread by pleading with me “…never to pick him to win anything, ever.”  Last year, my top selection, pre-race-favorite I Want Revenge, was scratched the morning of the Derby, and hasn’t been in the starting gate since.

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A thought for the day, or maybe the decade

The following is from a copyrighted newsletter by Bill Bonner.  I find it so insightful that I have to pass it on.  I sure hope it’s “fair use” under the copyright laws:

Neither limits nor adversity are what ruin men. Under pressure, they handle themselves pretty well. It’s the lack of limits they can’t handle. That’s when they run amok. So, if you really want to see what a man is made of let him think he can get away with something.

How true!  And how much of our recent past this explains.  Perhaps such reflections will make it easier to embrace the coming adversity.

Found and Lost?

Forgive me if this is old news, but I’m just hearing about the legal dispute between Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. and the government of Spain.  In case anyone else has missed this story so far, the dispute is about who owns $500 million in gold and silver coins that Odyssey Marine retrieved from the bottom of the ocean.  I don’t know which side has the better legal argument, but if it’s Spain — backed by our own Department of Justice — then it seems like a real miscarriage of justice to me.

Here are the basic facts:  Read the rest of this entry »

On Not Speaking Ill of the Dead

When famous people die, it seems to me increasingly common to read commentary in the blogosphere that begins something like this:

I know we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but in Smith’s case, I can’t believe everyone is making him out to be such a great guy when he was obviously a lousy bastard! Let me set the record straight . . .

This pattern of acknowledging a social taboo and then violating it is often the first sign that the social taboo is on the way out. So it may be with this one. But before we wave it goodbye, I thought it might be useful to see what we might say to restore some appreciation for, or at least observance of, this longstanding rule of civility.

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Darwin, Sanger, and Obamacare: A Trumpet Blast from the Backwoods

Our little corner of the Adirondacks has no daily newspaper but two weekly advertisers that carry a small amount of local news.  Most of the content is written by perhaps a dozen regular columnists, who write mostly about nature, or life in or near the woods, or local history; rarely are they polemical.

But this week’s column by a local mental health counselor struck me as unusually hard-hitting, and worth passing along. The title is “Thoughts on Eugenics,” and it’s by Elizabeth Szlek of Utica (which is about 55 miles from here).  She draws a fairly straight line from Charles Darwin to Margaret Sanger to Adolf Hitler, Read the rest of this entry »

Accidental Consolations

ConsolationsWe have previously lamented what we lose when we forsake the serendipity of browsing a newspaper or magazine for the stultifying predictability of those custom-tailored electronic round-ups that tell us only what we want to hear.  But I was reminded of this point in a somewhat surprising situation recently when I read a book by mistake, and found out I liked it.

How, exactly, does one read a book by mistake?  Read the rest of this entry »

SUPER BAAADDDD, by Bill Bonner

I don’t usually do posts that just say, “Hey, read this.”  But hey, read this.  It’s by Bill Bonner, who sells many of his insights but offers the ones below free on his Daily Reckoning site.  Finally, a proposal for helping clear the glut of bad novels.

SUPER BAAADDDD
by Bill Bonner

Bankers are idiots, sometimes Read the rest of this entry »