The 135th Preakness Stakes: Yes, I Know Who Calvin Borel Is

Calvin thanks the dude who sidelined the favorite, gave him an inside post, made it rain like crazy, and had Ice Box and Lucky run the gauntlet.  And fine, it was another fabulous ride for Rail Man!

When people find out that I am not betting on Super Saver to the win the Preakness, I fully expect to get a torrent of emails and maybe some phone calls desperately trying to wake me up to the facts.  “Brim, don’t you know who Calvin Borel is?  He’s the best jockey in the world.  You have to bet on the horse he’s riding.  Didn’t you know he’s won the Kentucky Derby three out of the last four years now?   That guy always wins!”  Read the rest of this entry »

Presented Without Comment

so it goes

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The 135th Kentucky Derby: The Populist Choice


I seem to have done it again.  I Want Revenge has been scratched due to an ankle injury.  Anybody want a piece of my karma, give me an email address….

I’m going with Dunkirk (15), Papa Clem (7), and General Quarters (12) on top now.  I expect Friesan Fire (6) and Pioneerofthenile (16) to get cooked out front.

Let’s adjust to:

$7 exacta box 7,12,15 ($42)

$1 trifecta 12,15/6,7,12,15/1,2,5,6,7,12,15,17 ($36)

$1 super 15/6,7,12/6,7,12/1,2,5,6,7,12  ($24)

Borrow an extra $2 from your HELOC. 



Big Brown surges past Eight Belles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby; the filly did not survive the finish

What a year it has been since we last shared a quality equine moment.  Since the first Saturday in May of 2008, I lost my job, joined a fascinating startup, watched my 401(k) disintegrate, halved my commute, and met 1000 new people wondering what I wanted and when I’d stop talking.

No one will ever forget the Recession of 2008-9, as it changed an election, wiped out Wall Street, and brought Luddites back into the mainstream.  So what better choice could there be for the 2009 Kentucky Derby than a horse who got his start in the People’s Republic of California and goes by the moniker I Want Revenge (13).

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What’s Wrong with This Picture?


Re-evaluating Your Own Private Idaho

Is there no end to this chicanery?  Is there some fairly prominent recessive gene that just needs the right lighting, the right Pinot Noir, and the right blatantly faux promises of undying fidelity to surface in some inbred blueblood?

The footprint of these schemes is growing so wide that I think just about everyone knows at least one person directly affected by Ponzi schemes.  I have a good friend who lost a six-figure chunk of his savings to one of these charlatans.  (I feel like a victim myself, but it’s a bigger challenge to litigate when your grifter was a publicly-traded, federally-regulated financial services company.)

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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.

by Bill Bonner

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

The Real and the Sacred in Economics

Before Thanksgiving, my friend Tim Peach set forth a heavily ironic statement of what he apparently takes to be the free-market ideology that informs the anti-bailout view.  At first, I hesitated to respond for a variety of reasons, not least my reluctance to admit any resemblance between my own conception of free-market economics and the one Tim attributes to Ayn Rand.  But then Tim called me out by name on the point.  And besides, he is not the first of my Catholic friends to invoke religion in support of pro-bailout, interventionist economics.  These friends have either argued or implied that free-market capitalism is in some way inconsistent with God’s idea of human flourishing.  That is well worth discussing, and Tim’s comment presents a perfect opportunity because of its considerable rhetorical force.  So although I am no expert, I will hazard a conception of economics that I believe acknowledges its limits and distinguishes it from anything that could be considered religious or even moral.

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It’s May 1st, and the Writer’s Almanac notes that it’s the birthday of Joseph Heller. To mark the occasion, and as a public service, I give you the original “Catch-22”: Read the rest of this entry »

David Mamet: Reasonable Mind or Liberal Traitor?

Ok, so there are two kinds of people in this world. The first (e.g. Granulous) does things, like setting up this blog, having carefully considered opinions, making simple topics unnecessarily complicated, and trying to get the second kind of people (e.g. me) involved.

The second kind of people don’t do things. We are basically vultures who feed on what’s easily available and have strong yet unconsidered opinions, and we bitch about the general state of affairs with no real intention to do anything about it.

But like David Mamet below, I digress.

So here I am, doing Granulous’ bidding, feeding his blog. I do read things here and there, looking for wisdom, and I feel like I really found some in, of all places, the Village Voice. David Mamet outs himself as a failed “brain-dead liberal”, finally succumbing to his inner voice of reason.

And sure, I get cheap, obvious pleasure when any lefty throws in the towel, but Mamet’s “conversion” is a more thoughtful, mitigated shuffle toward the middle. If you read the commentary around the Internet from the left, you’ll find him painted as a full-blown traitor. But I don’t think it’s that simple.

But you decide for yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

Reason and Progress

Sometime before Christmas, I quoted extensively from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and suggested there was one idea about which Hugo was “dogmatically immoderate.” That idea is the idea of Progress. By happy accident, the beginning of a new year is a pretty good time to reflect on the extent to which a belief in Progress is at all reasonable.

First, though, let’s get an idea of what a true believer Hugo was on the subject of Progress. “There is no backward flow of ideas more than of rivers,” Hugo proclaimed, and indeed he portrayed the forward march of moral and intellectual progress almost as a natural phenomenon: Read the rest of this entry »