Thursday, 25 December 2014
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Have you ever called for that magic river only for it to come? Okay, if you keep making wild guesses about anything, you’ll eventually pick a winner, but I can’t help thinking that over the years I’ve picked more winners in this bizarre fashion than mere chance should dictate.
The screengrabs that follow all fall into this category.
February 1, 2013: Pot limit 5 card stud on Ladbrokes; I called for the straight on the river, and it came. I finished runner up of 12, and with 3 places paid picked up E18.00.
February 16, 2013: An ultra-magic river in this limit hold ’em tournament. I can’t remember what the other guy had, but it wasn’t queen anything. I didn’t cash though.
May 29, 2013: I called for the gutshot after seeing the first two flop cards; it came, but I didn’t cash in this tournament that has far too many runners and far too few places paid.
June 13, 2013: A magic river at Omaha hi lo, one out and it comes. I don’t think I called for this, though I probably prayed for it!
July 18, 2013: All-in with the third best hand, I called for the magic card, and it came on the river. Ironically, I was busted out with aces, but I won 72c.
August 14, 2013: The queens raised, I went all-in, called for the gutshot when the cards showed, and a magic river outdrew not only the queens but the suited connectors.
December 4, 2013: All-in before the flop, when I saw he had aces, I called for a jack. And it came! I won 14c in this freeroll.
May 24, 2014: All-in pre-flop after the initial raiser folds, the 10s outflop me, but a magic river, and boing! Out he goes.
June 3, 2014: Outflopped, I called for the magic jack, and it came. I cashed in this tournament, but didn’t win much.
September 13, 2014: I called for the seven after the flop, but although it came, I didn’t cash in this bounty tournament.
September 14, 2014: Finally, I’m not sure if I called for it, but this was the second magic river heads up in this small turbo sit and go. In fact it wasn’t simply a magic river but a runner runner. With luck like that, how could I lose?
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
|September 3, 2014: First tournament on the new site - a sit and go - and guess who wins it?|
|Ace rag outflops my pocket kings, but the short stack is rivered and bounced out of the tournament.|
|The last hand in this first regular tournament on the new site; a cruel river, but I can’t complain.|
|Congratulations, you were runner up.|
Monday, 7 July 2014
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Why didn’t Ted Bundy murder black women?
The answer: Because he was a racist.
And why did Jeffrey Dahmer murder blacks?
The answer: Because he wasn’t a racist.
If you don’t follow that, let’s try one more. Why didn’t Dennis Nilsen murder women?
The answer: Because he was homosexual.
Now do you get the idea?
We would not normally expect a male homosexual serial killer to target women anymore than we would expect a heterosexual serial killer to target men, unless his crimes had a non-sexual motive. There have for example been some serial killers who have murdered for money or simply for the thrill of it.
Let us take a specific example. Between New Year’s Eve 1974 and March 1976, Trevor Hardy murdered three teenage girls in shocking acts of depravity. It might be tempting to interpret this as yet another example of misogyny and gender-based violence, but that notion can soon be dispelled with a little homework. Hardy’s criminal career began when he was a teenager with anti-social crimes like burglary. Then he graduated to violence, and the first known victim of Hardy’s violence with a capital V was a man. Hardy stabbed him in the leg, narrowly missing an artery. His next victim was also a man, who was attacked with a pickaxe. There may have been some rational motive for either or both these attacks, but not for the three murders. Did Hardy kill these girls because he hated the opposite sex, or was he simply a dangerous psychopath who killed opportunistically?
It may have been that he would also have murdered young boys or vulnerable men if he’d had the chance, but it is quite likely he chose his victims partly because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and partly because though he may have been a coward as well as a psychopath he wasn’t so stupid as to attack someone who may have given him more trouble than he could handle.
Peter Sutcliffe, the psychopath known as the Yorkshire Ripper, was likewise said to have been motivated by a hatred of women. At the time, the loony feminist element in especially Leeds, made enormous capital out of his crimes. Most of Sutcliffe’s victims were whores, a traditional target of serial killers, not necessarily because they harbour an intense hatred for women who hire out their bodies to be abused by men, but because whores are easy targets. Although he has never been charged, there is good evidence that Sutcliffe’s first murder victim was a man. What does all this suggest?
How about that real acts of gender-based violence are few and far between, and that most of the nonsense we hear about it has been tailored to suit a particular narative rather than to identify a real problem we may be able to ameliorate if not solve entirely?
Monday, 14 April 2014
I remember what might be called a trick question from when I was at school back in the 1960s: which language is most widely spoken? You were meant to answer English, only to be to it was not English but Mandarin Chinese. I found that odd because the only place Mandarin was spoken was China – and the various Chinatowns dotted around the world – while English was spoken everywhere, including in outer space.
During my misspent boyhood, before I discovered bird-nesting, then chess and then fatefully poker, I was a voracious devourer of comics: Marvel, DC, American, British and other. Even the aliens in these comics spoke English. Sometimes an alien would offer an explanation for this: “I mastered your language while listening to the BBC”. Well, maybe not the BBC. English is not simply the lingua franca of the known universe but of the entire universe.
Today there is probably no country in the world where it is not spoken to some degree, and as might be expected, some foreigners put us to shame with their use of it. When Harry Potter – the real one – said England’s greatest contribution to the world was law, he might have added that its ubiquitous contribution was its language.
That being said, not a few words of distinctly non-English origin have found their way into the Oxford Dictionary over the years. Words like pyjamas have of course been with us for a long time, but other words like ayatollah, halal and intifada came into common use much more recently. At some point I am going to have to stop italicising them.
The language has changed too, often in subtle ways in recent decades. Back in 1509 when Henry VIII wrote Paſtyme wt good 9panye, it is doubtful if he would have considered that 5 centuries on, the title of his greatest song would have been unintelligible to his countrymen. But look at the scan below, the front cover of a long defunct magazine called Britain To-day. Does anyone hyphenate to-day today?
A few years ago when I was doing some research at Colindale I found a report in the South London Press that alluded to Venner-rd., Sydenham. Who spells an address like this today?
At one time, the word on-line was spelt thus. Today, I am almost the only person in the world who hyphenates it.
On the off-chance that Man still exists five hundred years from now, what are the odds that the language we speak today will be just as alien to our descendants as is the language of Henry VIII to his?