Category: News

Gold, Jerry

Gold?  Popes?  Golf?  Obama?  Where is miraclecovers going?  The majority of experts interviewed recently still are bullish on gold, but the big news is that a rising minority are expecting gold to drop a decent amount going forward.  What that sounds like to me is that the majority are sleep-walking and there is a not-so-silent minority who are wide awake on this issue.   Gold is way too expensive for me to buy so I am living vicariously.  As of this entry gold sits in the general neighborhood of 16 hundo.  Lets watch!


Da Popa

Thu 2/28 Who will be the next Pope? (all-in)
03:00 AM 1051 Marc Ouellet +485
1052 Peter Turkson +304
1053 Francis Arinze +1005
1054 Angelo Scola +480
1055 Leonardo Sandri +1241
1056 Gianfranco Ravasi +1634
1057 Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga +1634
1058 Angelo Bagnasco +1417
1059 Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran +1789
1060 Tarcisio Bertone +394

Midnight Zen

Full day today at the Sloan Conference. I’ll have lots coming in the next week or two. For now you can catch twitter links here. Truehoop has a writeup on all panels basketball here.

Completely unrelated, it seems as though the European Poker Tour was recently robbed of over a million euros during a live taping. Video Below. Maybe they got their idea from the World Series of Dice?

Chappelle’s Show
The World Series of Dice
Buy Chappelle’s Show DVDs Black Comedy True Hollywood Story

Dorkapalooza 2010

I’ll be there on Saturday at the event also known as the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. I’m unlikely to liveblog as that will be too distracting but we may have to bust out the old Twitter feed. Any requests?

Thursday Links

Gambling winners & losers, music lists of the decade and way, waaaaaaaay too much about Jersey Shore. Settle in.

The Gambler Who Blew $127 Million

During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million.

The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. It devoured much of Mr. Watanabe’s personal fortune, he says, which he built up over more than two decades running his family’s party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb. It also benefitted the two casinos’ parent company, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which derived about 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from Mr. Watanabe that year.

Watanabe would have done well to have this guy gamble with him. He actually supports a family picking up losing tickets that aren’t.

Do MLB teams need defined closers?

As someone who is somewhat caught between the world of statistical analysis and actually being involved in the game I’ve thought a lot about how I would handle the closer situation if I were a manager. In this instance I feel like players pitch better when they have a definitive role, thus I would disagree with statistics that say that you should play match ups in the 9th inning unless you have an elite closer. The fact is that it is nearly impossible to be locked in where you need to be to pitch for the entire game, in every situation.

Obligatory NCAA Football playoff article for the year. It’s actually well researched & written and until something of the sort is implemented I’ll continue to not care about college football.

Some enterprising souls managed to legally scam both the US government and the credit card companies.

Enthusiasts of frequent-flier mileage have all kinds of crazy strategies for racking up credits, but few have been as quick and easy as turning coins into miles.

At least several hundred mile-junkies discovered that a free shipping offer on presidential and Native American $1 coins, sold at face value by the U.S. Mint, amounted to printing free frequent-flier miles. Mileage lovers ordered more than $1 million in coins until the Mint started identifying them and cutting them off.

Coin buyers charged the purchases, sold in boxes of 250 coins, to a credit card that offers frequent-flier mile awards, then took the shipments straight to the bank. They then used the coins they deposited to pay their credit-card bills. Their only cost: the car trip to make the deposit.

Top Music of the Decade

Paste Magazine
The AV Club
Rolling Stone

MTV’s Jersey Shore is the newest best worst reality television program ever. It’s probably not worth the time and brain cells killed to sit and watch full episodes of this, but the clips and quotes are outstanding. From Vulture:

“You have your penis pierced. I love it.” —Jenni “JWOWW”
After housemates Pauly D and Jenni “JWOWW” found themselves a little bit buzzed and falling prey to the always romantic strains of house music at club Karma [Side Note: We’re strongly considering hitting up Google Maps and making a road trip there this weekend], they made their way back to the share and started making out. It was there and then that we learned that “the party’s in Pauly D’s pants tonight” (his words, not ours), and that said party was pierced.

“I feel like this is beneath me. I’m a bartender. I do great things.” —Angelina “Jolie”
We’ve all been in a position at one time or another when we’ve felt like our unique talents might be going overlooked in the workplace. However, we imagine that only a small fraction of you ever had this epiphany while putting airbrushed tank tops on hangers in a souvenir T-shirt joint on the boardwalk. Thanks to Angelina, though, we can now all empathize with her plight. She’s sort of like the Erin Brockovich of Shore Store.

“I love the Situation.” —Mike “the Situation”
And now, so does America! You see, our boy Mike has dubbed himself “the Situation,” which provides him with the opportunity to lift up his shirt and display his rippling abdominal muscles at a moment’s notice simply by asking women, “Do you love the Situation?” while pointing at his six-pack. You might think this outright display of peacocking wouldn’t work in a post-Mystery world, but surprisingly, it works like gangbusters. Not only do women coo and fawn in his presence, he was able to sell multiple factions of guidettes booty shorts emblazoned with his catchphrase, quickly proving himself to be one of America’s all-time greatest salesmen. Could “I love the Situation” be the new “Eat my shorts, man”? Quite possibly!

You can get catchphrase emblazoned clothing here.

Lastly a couple of videos, first some clips from the actual show and then a “parody” of an audition tape for season 2.

Match Fixing & the NBA

Soccer in the Lower German Leagues, a Target for Bribery

For a few sweet hours on Saturday, none of that mattered. SSV Ulm beat F.C. Eintracht Bamberg, 3-1. The Ulmers dominated the game and loved every minute of it.

Who cared that only 39 fans in Ulm’s black-and-white colors made the trip to Bamberg, a journey of about 155 miles, or that the Neu-Ulmer Zeitung newspaper had not bothered to send a reporter?

For those few hours, everyone could forget that three of Ulm’s best players had recently been fired after they were accused of fixing matches.

The three fired players — Davor Kraljevic, 31; Dinko Radojevic, 31; and Marijo Marinovic, 26 — are a case in point. They are under investigation and suspected of rigging four matches last season and two matches this season for several thousand euros each.

Earning $4,500 to $6,000 a month, they were among the best and highest-paid players on the team. But as one official familiar with the investigation explains, their choice was between $525 in taxable bonus payments if the team had won, and about $7,500 in cash per rigged match.

“Their calculation was, get paid well to lose or get paid poorly to win,” said the official, who declined to be identified because the investigation is continuing.

Over 200 games across Europe are currently under investigation which makes the NBA’s Tim Donaghy scandal look minor league. Follow up from yesterday is here. An excerpt:

What broke Marcel Schuon was his fear of the gun.

A middling player in Germany’s second-tier soccer league, Schuon had gambled away everything. He had borrowed from the bank. Built up debts with a dingy betting office. Borrowed more. Gambled more. Lost more.

But Schuon, 24, had always resisted when the betting office owner offered “an easy solution” — an own goal, or a handball in Schuon’s team’s next road game.

Then, in early April, a man at the betting office told him that the boss, a man identified by Schuon’s lawyer and the German news media as Nurettin G. — a stocky Turk in his 30s — had a gun. When Schuon next met the boss, on the city outskirts, he agreed to throw a game against Augsburg in return for having 20,000 euros, or about $30,000, in betting debts excused.

FIFA, soccer’s equivalent of the NCAA, is investigating but Declan Hill, author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime, remains unimpressed:

European and North American soccer needs a proper system for reporting attempted corruption. Imagine that you are a professional player in some soccer league, and a criminal approaches you to fix a game. What do you do now? Who do you report it to?

The corruptors are really good at this type of approach. During my research, I wore a secret wire to meetings with fixers, runners and some of the players they met. The fixers are very professional. They know what to say to the players. In the usual fix, they will say something that isolates a player from the rest of the team: “You do know that your coach is on our payroll ” or “We control your team owner. He gets his cash from us.”

In the best case, these kinds of statements are untrue, but they put doubt in a player’s mind. In many cases, they are actually true and remind the player that if he tells anyone, he may face some very serious consequences.

Establish an independent security unit with a telephone hot line that every player and coach knows he must call if approached to fix a game. This is what the Danish Football Association has done. It leads the soccer world at the moment in anticorruption measures, because it is one of the only soccer associations to have taken this issue seriously.

Another reform is to adopt the rule used in professional tennis. This is another sport that has been hit by a wave of gambling and allegations of fixing. It was not that all or even a number of players were fixing matches, but it was that when many tennis players heard about fixing or corrupt approaches, they would not tell the authorities for fear of being labeled a rat. There was a culture of acceptance. The tennis officials, in large part, changed this culture by adopting a policy under which the players must tell the authorities if approached to fix a game.

Soccer officials should learn from tennis and start to put into place some of their anticorruption policies.

Give the NBA some credit, at least the only betting scandal they’ve had so far involved a referee. They’re also much more vigilant, at least on the surface, about keeping gambling out of the game. Kings scout Jack Mai was recently fired and banned for betting on games as recently as last season. But anytime you have current and former players with gambling debts, it doesn’t take much imagination to read the stories above and figure out the quickest way for athletes at any level to get back to even.

In an NCAA survey of 2,000 football players, 102 admitted they’d taken money to play poorly, knew a teammate who had taken money, been threatened or harmed because of sports wagering or been contacted by an outside source to share information.

One of those “outside” sources used to be Michael Franzese, or at least guys who worked for the former capo of New York’s notorious Colombo Family.

“The leagues and the NCAA realize they can overcome a lot. They can overcome the steroid issues. They can overcome the harassment issues and guys getting in trouble for guns, and (fans) will still come back. But if there is a gambling scandal, if fans think athletes are doing something to change the nature of the competition, that is going to be a problem,” Franzese says.

“It has always been a big fear and it’s very real. Athletes have a propensity to gamble. It’s an extension of their competitive spirit and if they get themselves in trouble, get addicted, you know they’ll do something to affect the outcome of a game. It’s that simple. That’s what the leagues are afraid of.”

This article from 2003 by Tom Farrey was almost prophetic:

As the NBA moves forward, the league may find out whether it was decades of anti-gambling zealotry or mere coincidence that kept its games clean all these years.

“Will we look back (a decade from now) and see a much, much stronger alliance between gambling and sports? That’s probably going to happen,” [Tom McMillen, former NBA player and Maryland congressman] said. “And if that happens, all you need is one major incident and you can do tremendous damage to the integrity of sports. I think that’s a risk factor that professional sports, and particularly the NBA, need to take a look at.”

Bill Simmons from 2007 (When the Donaghy story first broke):

…When news of the Donaghy scandal broke, everyone’s reaction was the same: “Which one?”

That’s why I had one group of friends frantically organizing a “Who was the crooked ref?” office pool on Friday morning instead of wondering, “How could this happen?” That’s why [David] Stern ignored the FBI’s advice and used such harsh language in his official statement on Friday; nobody understands the gravity of this crisis more than someone who grew up in New York in the ’50s during CCNY’s famous point-shaving scandal. This was his worst nightmare, worse than a repeat of the Artest Melee, worse than a repeat of Kermit Washington’s punch, worse than anything except a terrorist act during an NBA game. Over everything else, Stern always wanted his fans to feel completely safe when they’re attending games, and he always wanted them to believe that the integrity of the game was intact. Now, they don’t feel that way. At all.

Don’t think the NFL or any other sport is immune to this either. How easy would it be to pay off a quarterback to make sure his team doesn’t cover? The scariest part is that if the fixing is done right there’s no way for us to know. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop gambling anytime soon, but we do need to be aware. Justin’s dad gives us all some good advice, “Son, people will always try and fuck you. Don’t waste your life planning for a fucking, just be alert when your pants are down.”

Thursday Links – Free Snuggie!

“The biggest things in life have been achieved by people who, at the start, we would have judged crazy. And yet if they had not had these crazy ideas the world would have been more stupid.” – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger may not have been referring to the Snuggie specifically in the quote above, but it certainly applies. Fewer products have been loved, mocked, and the subject of pub crawls as much as the Snuggie. And as much as I appreciate being able to answer a corded phone without removing my blanket or attending a sporting event dressed like a monk, I was not about to pay $20 for the privilege of doing so (free book light excluded).

But now, for a limited time only, the Snuggie is free. No, I’m not making that up. Get one here.

These are all excellent questions: Why teach a bear to ice skate? Can a bear do a triple salchow? How does the bear skate–four legs or two? And why, given that it already has sharp claws and teeth, would anyone strap blades on a bear?

A happy ending for the week’s most infamous Phillies fan.

Antoine Walker – Money Manager


(718): what happened last night?
(917): u kept telling him to fuck u optimus prime style
(718): that explains why his roommate kept saying autobots roll out this morning as i left

Many more of those here.

Redskin & Vegas Fail

In case you haven’t noticed, the Redskins have become the most entertaining team in football.

The owner, Daniel Snyder, is widely reviled in Washington, and for good reason. He meddles, bullies, and trusts his own football judgment too much. John Kent Cooke, who ran the team before Snyder purchased it about a decade ago, remarked recently that Snyder had “destroyed the franchise.” Fans did not generally receive this comment as hyperbole. The issue is not the team’s performance on the field, dismal as that is. It is the culture created by the owner—one of greed, expediency, and mean-spiritedness. The general atmosphere around the team suggests Zimbabwe—a failed state, an intractable dictator, and an impotent and suffering populace.

Dictator Snyder recently banned all signage from FedEx field, with a predictable response from Redskin fans:

Mike Broderick, a longtime season ticket holder, [came] to the Chiefs game with Dumb and Dumber signs, attracting a security official who threatened to seize his season tickets. (See above.) The guard told Broderick he could either go to the security office, leave the stadium, or hand over the signs. So Broderick asked if he could put the image on a t-shirt instead.

“That would be kind of offensive,” the security official said.

“It’s offensive to come to these games,” Broderick said he replied.

Broderick made it in safely Monday night:

Dan Snyder & Vinny Cerrato Dumb & Dumber

Gamblers who bet on the Redskins were also treated to the following:

For those who were lucky enough not to watch, the Redskins did everything below (in order) and still managed to not cover by only a couple of points:

1. Concede ridiculous 67 yard touchdown on reverse to DeSean Jackson
2. Asinine pick 6 from deep in their own territory
3. Fumble on ensuing possession allows Eagles to kick FG without picking up a 1st down
4. Muffed punt allows Eagles to kick FG without picking up a 1st down
5. Blown coverage gives Eagles a 57 yard TD on 3rd & 22
6. Center snaps ball off own leg on 4th and goal from the 4.

Most of this can be attributed to the Redskins own incompetence, but even though they blow at football, I’d bet that you’ll be hard pressed to find another game this year where they manage do so this much stupid stuff. Fuck Us.

Week 7 was also bad for Vegas. ”I can’t remember an NFL season with this many bad teams,” said Las Vegas Hilton sports book director Jay Kornegay, who has been in the business for 22 years. “No doubt, it was the worst day ever for the books.

”We can’t attract money on these poor teams. We keep losing on the same teams. They are not even close to covering.”

“We’ve had bad teams in the NFL before, but usually one or two step up and cover,” Kornegay said. He paused and issued a gallows humor laugh. “I feel like we’re in a knife fight and we’re losing.

Thursday Links

Still on tilt from soccer yesterday thanks to Finland failing and Chile conspiring to lose after tying the game and being up an extra man. -7.32 units yesterday, -3.32 since this site started.

My favorite sentence from the writeups:

It was the product of a collective lack of focus at a moment when too many Finnish players apparently thought the match was won.
In classical terms, hubris was followed smartly by nemesis.

Live & learn. My real job is my latest excuse for the lack of over/unders being posted. No play for me on either PIT or TEN this year. Onto the links:

See Cover, Miracle.

Maybe some state other than Delaware will try and legalize sports betting now?

I take back what I said about the Bills & Jauron being slightly competent. They are definitely not.

Why Eric Mangini is limited as a head coach.

Simmons on the still unsigned Michael Crabtree (sidebar, near the end). Best analogy ever.

Week 1 injury report here.