by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
Stay In Your Lane, Bro*
*The judges will not accept “Won’t Get Foaled Again”
On Saturday night the Kentucky Derby rebranded itself as the “most exciting 24 minutes in sports.” First came the 2-minute race in the slop of a downpour. Then, for the first time in 145 editions of the Run for the Roses, the stewards overturned the decision after two jockeys complained that the winner, Maximum Security, had veered out of its lane on the final turn and cut them off.
Just because something has never happened before does not mean that it can’t happen. Or that it should not. The stewards seemed to agree that Maximum Security’s jockey, Luis Saez, had allowed MaxSec to veer three lanes outside of where it should have. What would have been a disastrous chain-reaction of falling horsies was narrowly averted.
On the other hand, just how egregious was this interference as compared to all the other Derbies in which 18 or more horses have entered? Our guess is that you can probably find a similar blocking out of a contender in at least every other Derby that’s been held the past 25 years. So has VAR invaded Churchill Downs, too? Apparently, yes.
So, yes, the ruling meant that 65-1 long shot Country House was declared the winner and also, for the first time in the race’s history, which spans three centuries, the horse that crossed the finish line first did not win. Rubbin’-is-racing may be true when we’re talking 100s of horsepower, but when your ride has just one horsepower, it is not.
And of course Donald Trump is not happy about this outcome. After all, Maximum Security is his 2020 campaign slogan. Maybe he’ll just invite MaxSec to the White House next week.
Twenty-three years and $4 billion in boffo box office sales later, Adam Sandler returned to the best job from which he was ever terminated: Saturday Night Live. The Sandman hosted SNL this weekend and it is clear that he is something of a legend/hero to the current cast. Who cares if Lorne gives you the thumb down if you can go on to be even wealthier than he? Ballsy cameo by the second person to join the Sandman on the stage for “I Was Fired.” But if experience has taught SNL comics anything (cough, Larry David, cough, Chris Rock, cough, Sandler, etc.), it should be that recklessness is a masterful career move.
Russian Flight Disaster
In Moscow, a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane caught fire while making a bumpy landing at Sheremetyevo Airport. More than half its passengers died.
The flight originated in Moscow and was bound for the northern Russian city of Murmansk with 73 passengers and five crew aboard. Shortly after takeoff it was reportedly struck by lightning and returned to Moscow where it made a bumpy landing and caught fire. Forty-one of the 78 onboard perished.
It was a weird and tragic weekend in aviation. Besides this disaster, not one but two planes found themselves ditching in the drink of the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. No people died, somewhat miraculously, in the unrelated incidents, but at least four pets, trapped in the cargo hold, did. Sucks.
On the flight pictured above, bad weather was blamed for a rocky landing. The flight was carrying U.S. military personnel from Cuba.
Don’t Want No Scrubs
Above, that’s Jessica Anderson, a nurse who ran the London Marathon in scrubs a week ago and crossed the finish line in 3:08:22. As the Guinness Book of World Records actually has a standard for fastest time running a marathon in a nurse’s uniform, and as that record, set in 2015, was 3:08:54, Anderson assumed she’d etched her name in the legendary almanac of human superlatives.
Not so fast, my friend. Guinness, for the moment, is not recognizing Anderson’s feets’ feat because they say it has to be “a white or blue dress, pinafore apron and white cap” to qualify as a nurse’s uniform. In other words, what you see on the cover of Blink-182’s Enema Of The State album.
Wait until race fan Donald Trump hears about this…
Anyway, Guinness will probably fold under the pressure of all the woke folks. Meanwhile, no one is even sure if the existing record holder, Sarah Dudgeon, is even employed as a nurse. Does that even matter to Guinness?
5. Cersei Don’t F**k Around
We know President Trump does not watch Game Of Thrones because Rupert Murdoch does not own HBO, but we imagine that if he did his favorite character would be Cersei Lannister (SPOILERS COMING). Dig, while Winterfell was celebrating its four-overtime victory over the Night King or Night Ranger (both from north of the border so let’s not quibble here), Cersei was manipulating yet another horny man into helping her cause.
We’re eight seasons in and Cersei remains alive while possessing only two worthwhile attributes: 1) beauty and 2) heartlessness. She warned Eddard Stark in Season 1: “If you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die.” She knows that. She is, if nothing else, a survivor.
Late in the episode Tyrion appeals to his sister over her sense of motherhood, to the three children she has lost (poisoning, poisoning, leap from a balcony) and to the one in her belly. Tyrion goes all Jeff Flake on Cersei and her response, without even batting an eye, is to chop off Missandei’s melon in front of her lover and her queen. Power move.
The show’s creators, Benioff & Weiss, have set up a wonderful and intriguing last half of the final season of their epic series. Beyond just Westeros versus Cersei, we have “THE SECRET” getting out (Sansa, it is implied, told Tyrion who has told Varys) plus we have Sansa, whose face the cameras love even more than panoramic dragons-flying shots, feeling the way most of us do: Dany has done a lot of good, but she’s coaching a little too much like Norman Dale at Hickory High. And she’s down to one dragon.
Yeah, we all thought the Night King and the Wights were the greatest threat to humanity. We forgot about how ruthless Cersei can be. This is the woman who overcame the Sparrows (Her “Shame! Shame!” walk was Trump’s 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner) and lit up half of King’s Landing just to reclaim her throne.
The feeling here is that, and just watch the revised opening credits this season for your clue, the final scene will take place in the proximity of the Iron Throne. We also like the odds of Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, adding Queenslayer to his list of noms de guerre. But we also think he’ll lose his own life in the process. He is, after all, as he said, “Hateful.”
Redeemed, but still hateful. His sister? Irredeemable. As she demonstrated yet again last night.
Fair to say that the best description for Duran Duran‘s early look was “Cocaine Pirate?” This was the synth-pop-New Wave sensation’s first hit in the U.K., debuting in the spring of 1981. The band wouldn’t really crash on these shores for another year with “Hungry Like The Wolf,” but this early Duran squared is the band at its purest.
Premier League: Leicester City at Manchester City
3 p.m. NBC Sports Net
So this is fun. On Wednesday Liverpool got their hats handed to them at Barcelona in a Champions League semi, then turned around and needed an 86th-minute goal on Saturday at Newcastle to remain within striking distance of Manchester City to win the Premier League. Liverpool has just one loss in 37 matches and 94 total points. Manchester City, the defending champs, have more losses but also fewer draws. After 36 matches MC has 92 points (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw).
With a victory today versus Jamie Vardy and the 2016 Premier League champs, Leicester City, Manchester City would retake the league with one more match remaining for both clubs. With a draw, Liverpool would hold a 1-point lead with one match left for both.
Add to this that Liverpool must host Barcelona on Tuesday for the second leg of its Champions League semi (in which it must either beat Messi & Co. by 4 goals or more or at least 3-0 to force extra time). Even though Liverpool is not playing today, this game is the beginning of an auspicious week for Reds fans, one that may either be crushing or exultant. While Man City has won three Premier League championships this decade, Liverpool has not finished atop the League since 1990.