A few racing people have linked here in recent weeks—thanks so much for that! Though the date of my last entry gives the (fair) impression that I’ve abandoned listenbetter, I swear I have new posts in the works. If you’re interested, please check back in the coming weeks. And in the meantime, I’ve done a little writing about the track for The New Yorker’s sports and books blogs, respectively:
Tag Archives: the new yorker
“In betting on races, however, there are two elements that are never lacking: hope against hope and an incomplete recollection of the lessons of the past.” -E. V. Lucas, Visibility Good
Note: For a little perspective, see my post on the Belmont Stakes from a year ago, “Belmont 2008.” Original titles, I know.
I didn’t work the Preakness Stakes in 2006, but I watched it on television. The previous three years had seen highly promising horses win two of the three legs of the Triple Crown, and we watched Funny Cide, Afleet Alex, and Smarty Jones slip from the public’s favor the second they were nosed out of a sweep. In 2006, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro seemed to be getting as much hype as these three hopefuls combined. NBC devoted most of their pre-Preakness coverage to the horse, following him from the stable to the paddock to the post. I still remember that moment, a few furlongs into the race, when everyone realized that something had gone wrong. Barbaro twisted and stuttered—Edgar Prado was quickly and skillfully pulling him up—and he half limped, half sprinted to the side as the cameramen grudgingly tracked the rest of the race. Bernadini won easily, and everyone turned back to Barbaro, surrounded by trainers and doctors, looking so much smaller without his saddle as he gingerly raised the right hind leg on which he could no longer stand. I’ve watched it again recently, and it’s still heartbreaking. The bigger story is a compelling one—the long, costly battle to repair and rehabilitate Barbaro after an injury that is normally met with swift euthanasia, his eventual death and the resulting scrutiny into unsafe breeding and racing conditions—but that moment on the track remains one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Continue reading
“Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -Aaron Levenstein
I’ve spent the past eight months trying my best to be useful—and trying to get paid for it. I arrived in New York City in October, a few weeks after the fall of the first big, public dominos of the financial crisis. Thousands were being laid off every day, and I was looking for work. I got my foot in a very specific door—web editorial work—and I learned that I’m actually a methodical, detail-oriented person, capable of handling large amounts of material and performing repetitive tasks without gouging my eyes out. I’ve gotten gigs up and down the length of Manhattan: big media corporations, small magazines, dictionaries, an investigative journalism outlet. It’s fun wearing my fancy pants one day and jeans the next, but it gets confusing, and it’s hard to feel wholly committed to anything. I know people who’ve done this for years; I’m already completely exhausted. Continue reading
“An old racetrack joke reminds you that your program contains all the winners’ names. I stare at my typewriter keys with the same thought.” -Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook
Here in San Francisco, fog doesn’t cover or linger; it sweeps across the entire city in a matter of minutes. I never knew fog could move so quickly, and it’s put me in a weird mood: muddled, chilled, and slightly queasy. I’ve been wrestling with a few big life questions this past week, like what I’m doing out here, how long I’m going to stay, how to fix my increasingly dire financial situation. My boss sent me a link to the wikipedia entry on quarter life crises; apparently my constant worries are as natural as they are distressing. The role of writing – what to do with it, where to put it, how to someday (hopefully) sell it – underscores my overall concerns. It’s been hard to ignore this past week, when a post about my summer job sparked more interest than all the others combined.