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Britain in “obsessed by the weather” shocker

A little bit of white stuff on the ground and the nation goes bonkers.

Eight of the top ten stories on BBC News right now are about the snow, or obvious consequences of the snow.

It must be because of the unique way that the BBC is funded that they can manage to find eight different angles on one day’s winter weather.

And, evidently, the licence payers love it.

Frankly, I think it’s a disgrace that we’d rather read about what we can already see outside the window than about real news, like porn interrupting the Super Bowl.

What’s under the slabs?

Snow is settling everywhere except in my yard.  What’s down there that’s so warm?

 

That’s not my name

Job description: Greet visitors to the building, take their name and look up their details on a computer system.  Print them a pass, or if the printer isn’t working (as today) write one by hand.

Is a basic grasp of English spelling and familiarity with common names required?  Apparently not.

This was the end result, after a confident first attempt at "Chris" ("so that’s K, what?") and then scratching his head at why a search for surnames beginning with "NW" gave no results:

Having finally found it, you’d think copying down the name from screen onto a piece of paper would be the easy part.

More top search terms

I’ve spent way too long looking at my web site stats.

Here’s another top ten.  Not questions this time, just search terms that Google in their infinite wisdom decided to send my way.

As far as I can remember, I have never used any of these phrases as they appear below on my blog.

10. "if donuts could talk"

9. "vicky coren tits"

8. "pokerstars fucks people over"

7. "the gold coast casino makes the bands work a ridiculous 6 sets"

6. "games where you can be a donut"

5. "shit foam"

4. "spork funny pictures"

3. "doughnut disaster shirt"

2. "cinnabon tree"

1. "sims 2 i have looked in the trash and there are not any donuts"

Also an honourable mention goes to whoever searched for "puts baby in -corner" for its combination of randomness and advanced search term formation.  Indeed, if you don’t exclude the word "corner" and just search for "puts baby in" all you get is quotes from Dirty Dancing.  But why?

Your questions answered

I had a bit of a scan through this web site’s usage stats to see how people are getting here from search engines. 

Many of the searches are phrased in the form of a question, or at least in a way that suggests they are looking for a specific answer.

So, for those visitors, just in case you didn’t find what you were looking for I’d be happy to answer your questions. Here’s the top ten, in no particular order probably.

10. "7/5 odds pay out on $1"

Let’s start with an easy one.  $1.40, plus your $1 back.  Good luck on that dollar.

9. "how much is a cab ride from imperial palace to binions"

Bank on $20-25 depending on how generously you tip.  It’s a 6 mile journey, which at $2.40 per mile and a $3.30 drop charge would be $17.70 on the meter, assuming you get green lights all the way.

8. "poker hands what is good"

Umm… a flush is pretty good but a full house is better.  Does that actually help?

7. "how far is harrah’s rincon from the airport"

Assuming you mean San Diego airport, it’s 47 miles by road which will take about an hour on a good run.  Oceanside airport is a little closer (33 miles) but you’d probably need a private jet to get there.

6. "neteller difference between prepaid card and net prepaid card"

God alone knows.  Neteller’s card is touted as the prepaid card you don’t have to load and I’m afraid I still haven’t figured this out.  Use a real bank instead.

5. "i earned 250 base credits over the weekend at casino will i have cashback waiting for me"

Sounds like a Harrah’s question if you’re talking about base credits but I may be wrong.  Cashback doesn’t wait for you, it comes in the mail.  You get a voucher which either has to be cashed at the cashier or inserted into a machine.  However, 250 base credits is nowhere near enough (you have to earn 4500 reward credits in a month) and you don’t get any cash back from Las Vegas casinos any more.

4. "what is the least common demonitator of 18 and 27"

That’s a fairly random maths question to somehow end up here looking for an answer.  Demonitator is my new favourite word, but ignoring the awesome typo the answer is 54.

3. "is there a way around being able to take money from my account and put it into a online poker site"

In most of the free world you can just use a debit card on your bank account, so it sounds like a USA-oriented question.  Post UIGEA, you’ll have to slip some money to a dude at your local cardroom who says he can make it happen and hope that he remembers your screen name correctly.

2. "what if i charge 3000 dollars on my credit card and say it wasnt me"

It’s a coinflip: either free money or prison.

And finally, I’m just going to file this one under rhetorical questions.  It’s depressing enough that Google thought I might have an answer.

1. "why do children like violence"

You’re all very welcome.

Apparently I eat better than I thought

Curry counts as one of your five-a-day.  Who knew?

As soon Ben and Jerry get with the programme and tell us that Cherry Garcia also counts, I’ll be one super-healthy individual.

Immortalised

A few years ago Claire had a birthday cake made for me that immortalised my likeness in marzipan.

Today, a similar honour has been paid to me by Silverton Jim who has immortalised me as an actual walking, talking donut.

Read episode 7 of Stick to Vegas to see what this is all about.  Jim assures me he was not on crack when he wrote it, but I’m not completley convinced…

Free kicks

It’s been a while since Sporting Index last sent out a bet refund promotion.  Thankfully the dry spell ended this weekend.

Their new spread game is, as usual, some kind of random number generator apparently based around a computer sports simulation, but with no possible way it could actually be representative of what you see on screen.

This time it’s penalty kicks.  The goal area is divided into 35 areas and points are awarded for every goal scored depending on where it hits the net.

That’s if you’re betting on a "points" market.  You could just bet on the total number of goals, or the differential of goals (or points) between the two teams.  Or you could plump for something much more exotic.

For example, take the shirt number of the striker and multiply it by the number of points for the goal he scores (if he scores) and add them all together.  If that number is higher or lower than some other number, you might win money.

The question is: how do you make your decision as to which way or how much to bet when you have no way of knowing how the trajectory of the football is determined?

Each square on the goal grid might be equally likely to be hit, but there’s no reason to assume this is the case.  And even if it was, what is the chance that any particular shot is saved by the goalkeeper?  You’d have to factor that in too to see what the actual distribution of scores is likely to be.

This is all assuming that the RNG is fair.  I’m sure it is though.  Online gambling is never rigged.

The workings of this game are further obfuscated by the fact you can choose two teams from a list of five to play the shootout.  Brazil is most likely to score from the penalty spot and Mexico the least, they say – and who am I to argue?

As you select your teams, you can see the markets move based on how much better one team is than the other.  In fact the values in the markets are the only clue you have as to what’s about to happen.

You can also pick the goalkeeper, although this appears to make no difference to the numbers at all.  It’s just there for comedy value: choose from Hans Blocker, Dmitri Tipitova or Claude Le Ballawei.  I groaned out loud (GOL?), just like you’re probably doing now.

The offer I received was for a refund of net losses up to £50 on this game, providing I placed at least ten bets each with a £5 minimum risk.  Clearly, there’s no way you can lose if you do this right.

I chose the total points market to meet the requirements for the refund, purely because of the numbers involved.  For this combination of teams, the price was set at 51 points to buy - meaning that a 10p stake would always have a maximum loss of £5.10.  That’s very much a worst case scenario too, as you can only lose the full amount if there are no goals at all scored in ten attempts!

In fact the variance on this bet was pretty low.  After 9 spins I’d had a loss of £2 and a win of £2.60 and seven other results somewhere in between.  Overall I was down £4.40.

The way I usually like to play these things is to take the full amount of money that I can still bet risk-free after meeting the requirements (in this case £45.60) and lump it all on one bet at even money or fairly short odds.

The only bet in this game close to offering fixed odds is the win index, which awards 25 points if the chosen team wins the shootout, 10 points for a draw or 0 if they lose.  I’ve actually played this same bet on a real football match before.

I simply decided to pick the market which would allow me to buy one team at as close as possible to 10 points, effectively resulting in a fixed odds bet at 3-2 (25-10).  I wanted to make sure a draw resulted in a do-over, rather than a win or loss that would affect the amount I had left to play with significantly.

The bet I chose was Mexico vs USA, backing Mexico @ 9.4 points for £4.85 per point.  Worst case, I lose £45.59 (just 1p short of getting the full £50 refund, when you add in what I lost so far).  The draw is almost irrelevant, but the win is worth a healthy £75.66 for £71.26 profit in total on the promotion.

Mexico surged ahead early, only to choke later on in a frustrating 3-3 draw, which ultimately landed me just £2.91 for the effort.  After I stopped shouting at the stupid little pictures of pretend footballers, I increased the stakes ever so slightly and ran it again.

Unfortunately the USA won 5-4 that time.

Was worth a shot though.  Ship that refund…

Welcome to the cheap seats

At the weekend I went to see the NFL International Series game between the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers at Wembley Stadium.

There are a million bloggers who actually know what they’re talking about when they write about sports so I’m not even going to bother trying to analyse the game.  Except to say that it was a thoroughly entertaining evening and a cracking game and I loved it.

There are some things you can hope to see at a game and some you would probably never dream of.

It was high scoring (67 points on offense) and went to the wire with a hail mary pass at 0:01 remaining and only 5 points between the teams.  There was a coach’s challenge upheld, a 4th down conversion for touchdown, an "excessive celebration" (duly penalised) and an onside kick – which was recovered!

Add to that a missed extra point, which almost never happens, and an intentional safety play, which really almost never happens.

I can only remember ever seeing one intentional safety on TV - and that came after a botched punt.  This one was run straight out of the playbook:

Plus the team I bet on won, which never hurts.

Compare this to last year where we got to see a team that hadn’t found their form yet slip and slide in the pissing rain against a team who only won one game all season.  I think it must have put some fans off as it was a doddle to get tickets this year.

I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to bust a gut to get tickets or pay over the odds to have extremely bored security personnel who thought I didn’t really look like Club Wembley material harass me over my heinous plastic bottle.  The "cheap seats" (£55) were still a superb view.

Unfortunately, I only had a compact camera so most of the pictures I took serve only as proof – should it be needed – that "digital zoom" really isn’t any better than no zoom at all.  This is about the best of it.

  

Jesus “almost as popular as chocolate”

It’s official.  These two appeared right next to each other in my Facebook news feed today.