Monday, May 05, 2008

Odds and Ends

I don't normally post on more than one topic in a single day. Usually, if I have multiple things to talk about, I write separate entries for each, then schedule them out for future postings. That way, I don't write when I don't really have anything to say just because it's a Monday, Wednesday or Friday (or, at least, I do so less often!). But there seem to be a few things cropping up today, none of which I have all that much to say about, but all of which seem to want attention sooner rather than later, so here goes.

I've spoken often about having grown up in Louisville, KY. One of the things that comes with growing up in Louisville is an awareness that the first Saturday in May is always the running the Kentucky Derby, arguably the most famous horse race anywhere in the world. Frankly, I don't care much for horses, and so I didn't actually watch the race (occasionally, I do, but if I do, it's always more out of loyalty to family and friends than out of interest in the race itself).

If you not only watched this past Saturday's race, but kept watching for the coverage that followed, you probably already know what I'm writing about. My sister called me less than 15 minutes after the race. I assumed that she was letting me know the results, which was true, but only part of the truth. One could hear the tears in her voice as she told me that the second place finisher of the race: Eight Belles, the only filly (female horse) in the race, collapsed on the track after the race, broke both of her front ankles, and had to be euthanized right on the track. Notice that I said that all this had happened by the time my sister called me, less than 15 minutes later. To move from triumph to tragedy so quickly is amazing, and I'm sorry for all of those casual viewers out there who will no doubt remember this horrible event more than the race itself.

No doubt this will cause even greater scrutiny to be placed upon horse racing as a whole. Is it abusive to put such young animals (all horses running in the Derby are three years old. I once heard it compared to having high schoolers play in the Super Bowl) through such an intense experience (and that's assuming nothing goes wrong!) for fun and profit? The question probably implies that I have an opinion I actually don't have. But the question will be asked, and I can only hope that level (but ethical) heads will prevail in the times ahead.

Because I have friends who read this blog who come from both sides of the political spectrum (indeed, those who describe themselves "very conservative" and "very liberal" on their Facebook profiles), I've tried to be circumspect about talking about the presidential campaign on this blog (although I have publicly announced who I support on Facebook itself). I certainly do not wish to offend any of my friends, most of which have mature reasons for their positions (even the ones with which I disagree). However, with all the talk about a "summer gas tax holiday," I really do feel the need to link to this commentary by a well known expert (admittedly one whose own political leanings are known), and this link from the non-partisan FactCheck.org. Agree or disagree, please give them a read (you might choose to ignore the comments that follow the blog. I often do on these more prominent blogs, since the comments sections on such blogs tend to yield more heat than light. However, I can at least say that the comments there come from both sides of the spectrum).

About a year ago, a couple of friends got married. Among the favors for guests at their reception were groups of seeds. I really don't have much of a green thumb, but wanted to share this picture of the flowers that are finally starting to bloom from one (yes, that's all just one) of the seeds. Grow, little flowers, grow!

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