Friday, October 31, 2008

Donald Findlay

I don't usually bet on anything other than cards or the odd sporting event, but I wouldn't mind having a few quid on Donald Findlay being involved when this case gets to court.

It's A Sad Day When...

An astute political commentator...the most incisive political commentator in the country is a transvestite comedian.

On the way to work today, I heard Paul O'Grady (aka Lily Savage) talking about the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand situation, and he was spot on in his assessment.

"I think it's about time we all moved on, really. I think there are far more important issues at stake than a radio show on a Saturday night and two comics saying silly things.

Yes, it's well out of order but it's not a hanging offence. Why is the prime minister getting involved? Shouldn't he be worrying about the war in Afghanistan, the credit crunch, knife crime?

The most relieved man in the country is George Osbourne. It's blown him right off the front pages."

Enough said!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Running Like David Murray

Miracle of miracles. I'm actually back playing a fair bit of online poker over the last month or so. Now all I have to do is start winning again.

Given my rustiness, and with a little concern at numerous reports of toughening of the online game, I've been breaking myself in playing micro stakes and gradually building up the number of tables.

It's been interesting to relearn some aspects of the game, and to observe how my opponents have evolved in my absence.

One of the most notable changes is the tremendous proliferation of short stackers - even at the lowest limits.

This has been particularly noticeable on Full Tilt and iPoker (via Blonde Poker).

I found multi-tabling extremely demanding for a while, and was blaming an imagined shortening of the time to act, until I realised the true reason was other players acting much more quickly, by folding or pushing on almost every hand.

As has been noted elsewhere, this doesn't make these games unbeatable, but it does require different tactics.

Conversely, Everest seems to be the land that evolution forgot. There's still a fair number of short stackers on this site, but they don't seem to know how to play, which makes for a fishier field with the consequently higher bad beat ratio.

I've been remarkably phlegmatic about that so far. Possibly this is one of the lessons I didn't need to re-learn, as it's more of a life skill.

That doesn't make it any more pleasing to survey the remnants of several lost buy-ins, while my Sklansky bucks meter goes off the scale.

Sigh. It's good to be back. I think.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Easily Satisfied By Katy Perry

Saw this today in work and couldn't stop laughing. Who said slapstick was dead?

Bizarrely it turned up on, of all websites, The Telegraph. A bit of light relief from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Edmund Conway on the credit crunch.

Has to be up there with Fucking Matt Damon in my fave clips of the year.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Buying On The Sound Of Gunfire

This might seem a particularly odd time to be making a long term commitment to equities, but this week I signed up for a new pension plan.

I've been focusing on paying down the mortgage but since I'm tied to a long term low fixed rate, reducing my debt isn't an imperative in the current market situation.

Added to that, I've finally tired of handing over a huge proportion of my income to the tax man.

The nature of my work as a freelancer means that my gross earnings are subject not only to employee, but also employer, National Insurance contributions. Meaning personal pension contributions attract an effective tax relief rate of 48%.

That's quite a few BBs!

In addition, I've been rather lax about pension planning. My last contribution was a bottom-fishing lump sum some time around early-2003. At least I got my timing right!

This way I need to wait a long time to get my hands on the money, but at least more of it stays mine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Michael Palin Usurped

They say people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

With that guidance in mind, I've been refraining from commenting on the US election. UK politicians hardly having covered themselves in glory over recent years.

However I had to laugh at John Cleese's declaration that Michael Palin is no longer the funniest Palin.

The thing that gets me about the McCain/Palin candidacy is that McCain must have realised his health and age were weaknesses, and people would pay more than usual attention to whoever his 'one heartbeat from the White House' running mate was.

Logically this should have meant going for a solid, reliable, experienced running mate. Instead he went for someone who makes George Bush look like Einstein.Sarah Palin

Someone who happens to already be more than cosy with 'big oil'.

My inner conspiracy theorist can't help but imagine a triumphant McCain victory, followed by a comfortable demise in his sleep a few months later.

Leaving the White House in the control of a 'nice-looking parrot'.

They'd be drilling on the White House lawn after that! Albeit I could easily foresee an Alexander Haig style declaration, as Palin was hastily packed on a plane to Alaska.

Just my idle thoughts. I've probably watched Syriana too often.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Icesave Iced

A few months ago I was perusing the Sunday papers, when I commented to K.

'The Icelandic banking system is looking really dodgy. I think I'll take that money out of Icesave.'

So I did. Online it took me about 2 minutes.

This week, Icesave went tits up. Within hours some woman was on BBC News bewailing the loss of the TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND pounds she had left on deposit with them.

Apparently it wasn't her fault she'd left what, according to her, was her entire cash pile in a failing institution. Oh no, it was the government's fault.

Seems she wasn't smart enough to read the papers, but she was savvy enough to know how to get on TV pronto to pin the blame elsewhere.

Not quite the attitude that made Britain great; and from memory I think she was an Oxford student too. Standards are slipping!

No doubt she will have been grateful today as the government voluntarily bailed out domestic Icesave investors.

News then started to leak that numerous local authorities had left MILLIONS on deposit with Icesave. Kent County Council alone had £50 million on deposit. Now they want bailed out too.

ffs The Chief Executives and Finance Directors of these councils are paid six figures plus benefits and lavish pensions.

Do they read the papers? Can they spell risk assessment? Should they still be in a job tomorrow?

If there are any vacancies maybe I should apply. I've got no relevant experience or skills in running a major local authority. Seems I'd be a shoo-in for the job.