Saturday, June 25, 2016

I'm starting to think Sweetie doesn't know what marriage is all about.

So I'm sitting here tonight eating my 10:18 p.m. snack and I read on the Internet that MAC N CHEETOS is a thing that exists:

I mention that to Sweetie and she says... and I QUOTE:

"Oh, yeah, I heard about those the other day."

So I have been sitting around the past few days eating food that's not deep-fried macaroni and cheese coated in Cheeto dust while Sweetie has just been sitting on this information like it's no big deal.

I don't 100% remember our wedding vows but the promise to always tell your spouse about new deep-fried cheese-coated foods was at least implied.

As usual kids are why we can't have nice things.

I don't pretend to even have a functional grasp of Brexit and what it might mean for the world except that it probably doesn't mean chaos for the world.  But what I do know is that again, failing to vote has confounded expectations and messed things up.

In polls prior to Brexit the prediction was that "Remain" would win, and polls also showed that young people by a strong majority favored "Remain."  It was the oldsters who wanted to leave the EU.  As we now know, "Leave" won and it seems that kids staying home and listening to their record albums or playing action figures or whatever determined the result.  Overall less than 60% of young people in Britain voted in the referendum. (Source) Voter turnout in the 40s and up was as high as 80%. It seems pretty obvious that there was an direct relationship between "Remain" and "Youth," and an inverse relationship between "Youth" and "Actually Going To Vote."

Education was the second-best predictor of how people would vote, as generally speaking the less education a person had the more he or she was likely to vote to Leave. It's not immediately clear whether there was any correlation between level of education and likelihood of voting.

Consider that trend here in America, where we get nowhere near the 70+% turnout Brexit had. Here are some statistics:

The less educated someone is the more likely they are to support Donald Trump.

Hillary! has double-digit leads among voters under 40, but that lead narrows to six percent among middle-aged adults.

And Trump leads among senior citizens.

Polls right now show Hillary winning. Polls showed Brexit voting "Remain" right up until "Leave" won.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"If you had bought and played all of Pregame’s picks since 2011, you’d be down $1,359,432."

Back when I cared about football more, I used to have a sports blog and then posts on this site called "Nonsportsmanlike Conduct," the idea being that I knew very little about sports but liked them anyway.

One of the things I would do almost every week is make picks for the NFL games, and compare them to the so-called 'experts' picks. My picks were based on rules I would invent before seeing that week's matchups; I might say I'm going to pick to win the team which has a home city closest to the Mason-Dixon line, while the 'experts' on ESPN and the like would use their years of analysis and involvement in the game.

As you'd expect from the fact that I'm mentioning it, random chance and weird rules tied or beat the experts many weeks, and my overall record hovered around 60% correct, based on nothing more than picking based on, say, which team had a quarterback with a more quarterbacky name.

As it turns out, the 'experts' are still no more right than random chance, (and in fact are probably significantly more incorrect.  This article from Deadspin shows that "" makes money selling its sports-betting picks despite being wrong more often than not, and also makes money by being paid based on how many bets its customers lose.

In just about every sport, college or pro, Pregame’s picks are losing money. The data covers 49 touts who sold their plays during this period (not including those whose existences have been completely expunged from the archives, likeDavid GlisanMike Hook, and Stan Sharp), and of those 49, only 11 of them showed a profit. Of those gains, most were marginal and would be wiped out by standard fees. If Pregame’s experts followed their own betting advice, as Bell claims they do, most would be penniless.

Last season, "Daily Fantasy Football" leagues were exposed as rackets in which employees used insider knowledge to bet on other sites, making thousands of dollars at the expense of people like you.  Once the lawsuits started, laws started being passed legalizing the corruption. (Daily Fantasy ended up as exempt from Internet only through a misunderstanding of how popular it would be and a bit of chicanery on the rulemaking that got it exempted, partially involving a lobbyist lawyer who had helped get the exemption then taking a leave of absence from his firm to work for the Bush White House drafting the rules that would affect the law he'd just lobbied for; the entire story about that is fascinating and you can read it here.)

I'm not anti-gambling, although I'm not much of a gambler. I play the lottery from time to time and once spent $20 in Las Vegas on the slot machines.  I still sort of regret spending that money, though, since I view gambling as entertainment and the money as being disposable: if I gamble I no more expect to get my money back than I would if I paid the $20 to see a movie or buy a book. I expect, rather, to get $20 worth of entertainment, which is why I do it so rarely: I don't find it entertaining enough, dollar-for-dollar.

But the bottom line is that's advertising, as well as the claims made by Daily Fantasy leagues and the hidden machinations that make it almost impossible to win mean that they are not 'gambling' and should be illegal.  They aren't gambling because you really cannot win; they should not be legal because there are numerous prohibitions on false advertising, deceptive trade practices, and swindles.

Pregame’s picks are sold with a suggested bet size, either one, two, or three units, where in this case one unit—in gambler-speak—equals $100. So Pregame’s total loss equates to nearly 3,100 one-unit bets. Take out the pushes (where you neither win nor lose) and free plays, and despite numerous examples of fudged records, Pregame’s roster picked around 51.67 percent against the spread, not enough to beat the vig. Flipping a coin would have been a more cost-effective strategy.

Generally speaking, you can't win.  ALL gambling is set up to favor the house: Vegas slots, Indian casinos, state lotteries, and and Daily Fantasy included.  The odds are against you, so don't count on it for money.  Even if the daily fantasy sites weren't a racket using insider information to scam you (at least last year), the top players are people who wager in the hundreds of thousands and use sophisticated algorithms to trounce you. The top Rotogrinder player last year was a data scientist who bet $140,000 a day.  Most winners field dozens of different lineups, playing the bets like hedge funds are supposed to work -- betting on the longshot that makes thousands rather than the predicted winner.

If you want to bet on sports, bet on sports. Don't pay 'experts' to steal your money from you and give you advice. If they knew enough to win regularly they wouldn't be manning phones on Saturday morning telling you to take Tennessee with the points. They'd bet themselves into paradise.

Instead, they're doing what hucksters and snake-oil salesman have always done: playing on your gullibility and trust of 'experts' to get you to give them the money they can't earn honestly.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ready ... aim... fire!