January 14, 2021

Talk about too little too late.

Donald Trump yesterday released a video with a message he should’ve put out ages ago, or at least, certainly before Jan 6th. In it, he asked for peace and quiet yadda yadda, yawn. The whole thing was read monotonously off a teleprompter. It was so out of character that it had me looking for clues, the sort you see when a captured American soldier messages “torture” by blinking Morse code. Trump isn’t capable of doing something like that, but imagine if he’d blinked out “attack”…

It’ll be interesting to see what happens now, with his army of zombies who were ready to simultaneously attack all 50 state capitol buildings. Either they will stand down… or, they will claim that Trump was clearly coerced into making that video, and that its superficial message should be ignored, and that it’s game on. Or, that there is indeed some hidden message, but you have to look hard. For example, like six seconds in, there’s a big pause… and from seconds six to nine, he says, “events of the last week”. At second 20, he says, “spectrum”. 6 7 8 9 20… as letters of the alphabet, that’s F G H I T. Unscramble them and you get, “FIGHT”. So… he’s saying, “Like the events of last week, but now across the spectrum, we fight!!”

“You can’t possibly be serious” would be the logical conclusion of that sort of reasoning, but as we’ve seen, we’re not exactly dealing with rational thinkers. For the record, that’s the same sort of reasoning you attempt to use when you bet on a horse race, and you bet on a longshot only because you like the name… and it wins… and now your friends are demanding to know how the hell you came up with that. “Well, you see, last year, ten races ago, he ran from post 7 on dirt after a heavy rain… at which time he came second to a horse whose half-brother came third three days later in a race where the winner went on to place in a Grade I race where the trainer of the winner’s wife’s brother’s jockey booked off the favourite just to ride this horse’s half-sister. It was a lock.” Look deep enough, and you’ll always find answers. Especially if you already know the answer you’re hoping to find.

That latter possibility is troubling… the genie-out-of-the-bottle scenario. It’s like Mickey Mouse and all of those dancing brooms in Fantasia… once you open Pandora’s Box, it’s not so easy to stuff things back into it. And then what… a beheaded “patriotic” movement running wild. At that point, it’s really nothing more than a somewhat-organized group of domestic terrorists… thoughtfully provided as a parting gift by the outgoing president. How do you get rid of that? Perhaps you don’t. Trump, we can get rid of… like the vaccination for C19, immunity from Trump required two doses… of impeachment. But also like C19, the long-term effects can stick around forever. Aryan Nations, KKK, Alpha 66, The Order… add to that, Trump’s “Covfefe” of Covidiots.

The long-term effect of all of that? Who knows. For the short term, the national mall will be closed on January 20th for the inauguration. Trump screamed for years that his inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama’s (it wasn’t) but, sadly, Biden won’t get his moment… and notwithstanding the circumstances, you know Trump will have something to say. Sure, in the midst of a pandemic, an inauguration crowd of a million people is a bad idea… but a crowd of near-zero is also not ideal. It’s supposed to be a celebration of democracy and progress. One day again, it will be… but with what’s going on today, that day seems pretty far away.

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January 6, 2021

In April of ’86 (in this case, 1886), the city of Vancouver was established. A couple of months later, it all burned to the ground… but, they rebuilt it… better, this time… more brick, less wood… and here we are.

Eighty-six years later, a group of local businessmen set out to bring professional soccer to this city… and a couple of years later, in 1974, the Vancouver Whitecaps played their first game in the North American Soccer League. The highlight of that team came in 1979 when they won SoccerBowl, the NASL championship. Unfortunately, a few years later, the team (and the entire NASL actually), burned into bankruptcy.

In 1986, on its 100th birthday, Vancouver hosted the world… for a World’s Fair – Expo 86… which undoubtedly changed the landscape of the city forever. It was a big year for the city, and it was a big year for professional soccer. Like the city that itself had risen from the ashes, so did a team… the Vancouver 86ers, founded by 86 people who put up $500 each to get it all going.

It was an impressive team; they inherited plenty of Whitecaps firepower. Waiters, Valentine, Lenarduzzi to name a few… then, add to that the homegrown talents of Mobilio and Catliff…it was a great team right off the bat. Perhaps they were named after the 1886 founding/resurrection of the city. Perhaps they were named for the World’s Fair/100th anniversary. Or, perhaps they were named for the verb… to “86” someone means to eject, reject, discard or cancel them…. and the 86ers did plenty of that; that powerhouse team went on to win 4 straight league championships and finished at the top of the league 5 straight years. Their streak of 46 consecutive games without a loss is a North American professional sports record that stands to this day.

But the powerhouse 86ing I’m obviously going to discuss today is the one taking place south of the border. It was supposed to have been simple; eighty-six the Trump presidency by the established process that’s been in place for centuries. Instead, that ceremony was vocally, violently and frighteningly interrupted by a mob of domestic terrorists who overran the Capitol. They took over the floor of the senate where VP Mike Pence, moments earlier, was trying to do his part to certify the vote. They broke into Nancy Pelosi’s office and left a threatening note. Not since the War of 1812 has the Capitol been breached in this manner, when the Canadians did it (OK, the British…).

Well, what else can you expect. The president, that narcissistic psychopath, led the charge… of trying to 86 the very foundations of democracy. To 86 the very foundations of the United States. This was no little protest; this insurrection would’ve turned into a full-on coup, given the opportunity… the thing is, to successfully carry out a coup requires the support of the relevant armed forces. The police, the national guard, the army, the navy, the secret service, etc. There’s zero evidence to suggest support for this mob goes any further than those involved in their own self-delusion, and those aforementioned groups are doing their part to squash this. One could certainly argue they might have done it sooner and more violently had the mob had a different colour of skin, but at least they’re on the right side of the equation and the Capitol is once again secure.

Donald Trump doesn’t care… though I can tell you what’s really bothering him; his Twitter account got suspended and his last three Tweets were removed. For a narcissist to have their stage of tens of millions pulled out from under them; that’s severely traumatic. I can assure you, he’s screaming at everyone around him to get that fixed. Forget the riots and votes and election; get me my Twitter back. Now!

And, of course, he was nowhere near the actual violence. Like any good dictator… sitting far away, calling the shots from the safety of the White House. Most dictators know exactly what they’re doing, but I sincerely think Donald Trump is too mentally ill to actually get it. I don’t think he’s clear on just how much power his cult-like craziness holds on his brainwashed masses. It took his most trusted staffers begging to get him to release a statement or video, and even that was misguided. He told them the election was stolen. He told them to go home. He told them he loves them.

What a colossal, ugly mess he leaves behind. Two more weeks, and that’s it. Well, that two weeks could arguably get cut short if finally someone (collectively) has the guts to pull the trigger on the 25th amendment and forcefully remove him; he’s clearly unfit for office. The thing is, he’s been unfit for office for a long time, and nobody has done anything about it.

As I post this, the senate chamber is once again filling up so they can, as my father used to love to say, “Get on with it.”. They will resume counting and the vote will be certified tonight, and it’s one step closer to the inevitable conclusion that Trump can’t seem to understand. Biden’s inauguration and the security around it will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. But the entire country will indeed… get on with it. Two weeks.

Finally… appropriately… today, January 6th, 2021 – would have been my father’s 86th birthday. He was a big fan of this city, and he was a big fan of soccer… but he was an even bigger fan of watching violent, corrupt, demagogic world leaders getting 86’d out of existence. Happy Birthday, Dad.

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January 5, 2021

There’s that old saying… “Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME”. There’s an assumption I made a while back that’s clearly wrong… and it changes a lot of other assumptions that go along with it.

My assumption was that when a vaccine finally arrived, it’d be welcomed with open arms. You wouldn’t be able to plug it into people fast enough. Sure, there’s the fanatic “Bill Gates/5G/mind control/conspiracy” crowd, but I’d thought it’s a handful of people, similar in numbers to the tiny pockets of anti-vaxxers who cause measles outbreaks from time to time. But this was a very bad assumption, because it’s coming to light that a lot of people, for reasons that don’t make sense to me (but that’s not the issue), are choosing to not get vaccinated. These aren’t crazy people screaming and banging pots and pans in the streets. These are, for example, well-trained medical professionals. In California, something like, 20-40% of frontline workers in L.A. county have turned down the vaccine. Head inland a bit to Riverside County, and the number goes up to 50%. This is causing head-scratching confusion in what had been assumed to be a pretty straightforward process.

In some of those hospitals, those refusals were popping up so unexpectedly that the vaccines risked being wasted. Once thawed, there’s only so much time before it’s useless. Accordingly, some nurses were calling up spouses and other family members… come quick, there’s a jab here for you if you want it. This is a violation of federal guidelines, of course… but I’m all for it. That’s far better than chucking them in the garbage. And apparently, there are some so anti-vaxx, that they’ll purposefully destroy the vaccine, given the opportunity… like that hospital employee in Wisconsin who threw 57 vials of Moderna into the garbage.

The unfortunate nature of the feedback loop/echo chamber of social media is that if you were at some point questioning the new vaccine (not from a conspiracy theory point of view, but a legitimate concern… you just wanted to know more about it), after clicking a few things and then perhaps clicking on a few more questionable ones, you suddenly plunged yourself into the “question everything” camp. Accordingly, all you get now is story after story that make you skeptical of the vaccine. Is it safe, does it actually work, is it really necessary… and so on. Once you’ve thrown yourself into that rabbit hole, it can be hard to emerge.

I wrote something a while back, just before the vaccines became publicly available… here’s a link to it:

https://www.facebook.com/kemeny.ca/posts/10157969104977481

If you or someone you know is questioning the vaccine from the “there’s no way they could come up with something so safe and effective so quickly” point of view, it’s worth a read.

The flipside to all of this is how many people *do* want the vaccine but can’t get their hands on it, due to inefficient deployment plans. I’m going to give it some time before criticizing everyone; it’s early in the game and the kinks are being worked out, but jeez, it’s not like there wasn’t a lot of time to plan ahead. Perhaps the ultra-low temperature requirements threw a big wrench into it… but everyone is way behind.

Well, almost everyone. One place where the overlap of organization and forward-thinking and technology and urgency came together impressively is Israel, who, on a per-capita basis, are one or two orders of magnitude ahead of everyone else when it comes to vaccinating their population…

U.S. 1.52%
Canada 0.42%
Israel 15.14%

Wow. Instead of complaining it can’t be done, it’s worth looking at how they’re doing it. The notification/registration/reservation system was in place. The innovation to be able to transport the ultra-cold vaccine to remote areas was in place. Volunteers were in place. When the word went out to go online and book an appointment, there was a huge rush…but the website didn’t crash. People signed up, showed up and got vaccinated in 15 minutes.

And… a touching note; for those who showed up, they were given gifts to take away… of kids books and games. What an odd thing to be giving away, especially since it wasn’t little kids who are being vaccinated. That comes later… these injections were mostly front-line workers and the elderly. And that was exactly the point; here you go, respected elder – take your vaccination, and also take some books and games for your grandkids… because, we know… you haven’t hugged them in almost a year, and when you show up to do so, no need to show up empty-handed.

Israel has 9 million people and 150 vaccine clinics around the country and roving vaccine vans. It obviously helps that Israel is a small country (it’s about the size of Vancouver Island)… but they’ve so far managed to administer 1.4 million doses. For comparison, Ontario has 14.5 million people and 19 vaccine clinics. They’ve managed less than 60,000 doses so far. B.C. has a population of 5.1 million and has administered 28,000 doses.

Like I said, it’s early in the game… but these assumptions… that everyone would want it when it gets here, that it’d be easy to get once it’s here, that the infrastructure to deliver it would be in place… were all just plain wrong. As per the opening paragraph… Never ASSUME… but just in case, here are a few more:

– I assume vaccine distribution will become more streamlined and efficient as time goes on

– I assume people will see that those getting the vaccine aren’t growing a third arm, and that it’s safe, and they’ll go get their shot

– I assume we all want to go back to normal as quickly as possible and will do our part to make that happen

I assume I’ll be right about at least some of that.

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December 25, 2020

Some of you stuffed yourself full of turkey last night. Some, this afternoon. Some are about to.

Whatever your path to tryptophan overdose, that point when your brain reaches a state where you have to read something three times for it to sink in… ok, I won’t make you do that. Nothing too deep today, just a simple observation… starting with the fact that there are no new numbers to report today. It’s Christmas, of course, and no one is working. Well, curiously, not totally true. Some guy in New Brunswick showed up to work… to report one new case. And that’s all we know, across the entire country. Half the U.S. isn’t reporting either… so, no numbers there either… just annoying yellow boxes till I sort it all out over the next few days… and I’ll back-fill what I can… though who knows what that’ll look like as it’s also the weekend. By next Tuesday, we’ll see where we’re at, and a week after that, we’ll really start seeing where things stand.

But, for the moment, numbers don’t lie… and the graphs reflect that. West of Ontario, the significant efforts being made are making a notable difference. Like I said, we won’t know what it all looks like till the after-effects of the holidays pan out, but this at least is like… well, to put it in Canadian terms, heading into the third period with a one-goal lead. A month ago, at the start of the second period, we were down a few goals… nice comeback. It doesn’t mean we’ve won, but we’ve got some momentum. Let’s hope it carries through to the end of the game. It could be a scrappy third.

Happy turkey recovery! And there’s no hockey to watch, but a nap right about now sounds pretty good…

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December 19, 2020

When I was in high school, we had a coach who employed a very unique form of punishment. When you screwed up, everyone had to run a lap around the field. And when I say field, it was actually four rugby fields… roughly a 600-metre jog for everyone. Well, almost everyone… you, the perpetrator, did not run. Just everyone else.

In fact, the first time that happened to me, I wanted to run too. I didn’t want everyone else even angrier at me. But no, that was the point.

“Sir, I’d like to run the lap as well.”

“No, Kemeny… you stand here with me and enjoy the consequences of your actions.”

The only thing missing was him providing some hot chocolate while I got to watch my friends and teammates being punished for my transgression. Just to really hammer home the point.

I mention this, because it’s interesting to note that collective punishment of this sort, where the said collective (friends, family, acquaintances, teammates, etc) is targeted, is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. It is literally a war crime.

If wearing the wrong jersey to rugby practice is so serious a crime that it warrants a punishment so severe that it’d require an international court to sort out, what do you do with a significant number of Republicans trying to overthrow the U.S. government?

The end-game of this election is starting to look like a horror-version of whack-a-mole… where there’s no cheap prize at the end, but that’s irrelevant… because the game never seems to end. You could argue it’s been going on for four years, but it’s certainly been going on since the election. After 46 days, those are some pretty tired arms. With still 32 days to go.

Every day, some nonsensical mole makes an appearance, and it’s swiftly whacked back into the hole by evidence, lack of evidence, a court ruling… or just plain common sense. And yet, the moles persist. The most recent mole to get whacked was Mitch McConnell, but that wasn’t enough. Now come some Republicans who literally want to overthrow democracy. Martial Law, and the whole thing.

Far beyond just cutting through the bullshit of Trump trying to pre-emptively pardon himself and his family, maybe it’s time for Joe Biden to make a much stronger statement. Number one, anyone who gets pardoned with some sort of cobbled-together Frankenpardon shouldn’t feel too safe. Those pardons will be rescinded within hours of the new administration, chopped up into little bits, just like the parts that came together to form this attempted monstrosity of legality.

And number two, anyone from this point forward trying to actively mess with the very foundation upon which American Democracy is based… will be charged. I don’t know if “attempted treason” is “a thing”, but it should be. Even if Biden gets tossed after four years, there needs to be something in place to prevent this derailing nonsense in the future… that those who instigate this sort of thing have some real consequences to face, not just running some laps in the dark, pouring rain.

But this is what the president is focusing on. This is what he’s re-Tweeting… while every single day, the new cases and deaths pile up. While some rogue nation, still not sure if it’s China or Russia, digitally broke in and stole everything. While a Covid relief bill still hasn’t wound its way through the process.

Allow me to quote Joe Biden: “C’mon, man.”

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By |2020-12-19T17:03:13-08:00December 19th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |3 Comments

December 18, 2020

Louis Armstrong was perhaps the greatest and most innovative trumpet players of all time, so it’s a bit ironic that he’s probably best known as a vocalist, for his timeless rendition of “What a Wonderful World”. Similarly, Wayne Gretzky, perhaps the greatest and most innovative hockey player of all time… might be more remembered for something he said; something that’s been repeated about five hundred million times, in every context imaginable: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.”

To some extent, that tired, hackneyed phrase has lost all meaning, having now become so ubiquitous and diluted.

But… it has its uses. For example, if you’re Dr. Bonnie Henry, by now you have some vision as to how things work… how the pandemic works, how hospitals work within its confines and, most importantly, how the general public seems to behave.

So… if I had to criticize Dr. Henry for anything, it would be for her failing to skate to where that particular puck was going to be on Halloween. It was becoming evident that things were about to break at the seams, and more should have been done.

On October 31st, B.C. was seeing about 350 new cases a day, and about two deaths a day. Then came the parties and the crowds and the “it’s no big deal, come on man, it’s Halloween!!” excuses.

Around 10 days after the numerous private parties and the overrunning of downtown, there was a sharp rise in daily case counts; they had doubled. But deaths hadn’t gone up, so everything was fine, right?

Ten days after that, there was a sharp rise in daily deaths… to levels we haven’t yet managed to recover from.

This isn’t rocket science, and this isn’t unpredictable… because it’s the exact same pattern we’ve seen several times. Where the puck has been, and, more importantly, where it’s going, has now become glaringly obvious.

From the “this is why we can’t have nice things” point of view, Dr. Henry has imposed measures over the holidays that seem harsh. It’s unfortunate she didn’t impose them before Halloween, because there’s a chance this would be a far more normal holiday season if she had. As it is, these measures are now necessary, but probably not sufficient. Without enforcement to back them up, these orders are merely good suggestions, and many people are planning to ignore them entirely. This has always been an issue of education, and many people simply don’t get it. Accordingly, we will see the consequences of these actions in the next 6 weeks.

If I had to predict it, the sharp rise in infections will all take place starting tonight and lasting till New Year’s Eve. That will start appearing as a rise in daily new cases during the week between Christmas and NYE. The deaths resulting from those new cases will peak heading into the second week of January, but the last of those new cases won’t have “kicked in” until two weeks after NYE… which means those deaths won’t hit the books till the end of the month.

So there you have the prediction… new cases will keep rising till mid-January, and then start to tail off. Daily death numbers will start dropping off in late January. If the question is “When will all this be over..?”, I can’t tell you the end of the end, but the beginning of the end…? February. When things start improving in February, I would expect them to continue to improve to the end. Between vaccines and summer, there won’t be a third wave… just a slow and steady path to the end of this nightmare.

At the end of a long shift, Dr. Bonny just fired the puck into the corner. She’s skating to the bench to catch her breath. In the meantime, for all of us still on the ice… where should we go? To where she shot the puck from? To where the puck is now…?

I think to myself… we should skate to where the puck is going to be. And I think to myself… there’s an end to this game… hopefully soon. And also, all together now…. I think to myself… what a wonderful world…

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December 16, 2020

Today, we’ll take a step back from gambling advice and bashing Trump and discuss… yes, how about the pandemic…

As usual, there is good news and there is bad news.

Let’s start with the good news, and that is that around the entire planet (with one notable exception), things are getting better. That doesn’t mean things are great, but if you look at the numbers and graphs below, it’s clear things have stopped getting worse in Canada. They’re either just bad, or improving. At some point, I’ll throw together some world data for comparison, but the graphs will look similar; sharp drop-offs in the rates of new cases, which in turn should show fewer hospitalizations and eventually fewer deaths. Where they were growing quickly, they’re growing more slowly. And in some places, stopped. Entirely. New Zealand is the first country on the planet where C19 is gone. Period. Restrictions lifted. Workplaces, restaurants, sports stadiums… packed with happy, healthy people. This was the place that locked down early and hard, and almost did away with it on the first go-around… but it came back, so they took more drastic action. And this time it stuck. Brutally ironic and pathetic was Donald Trump, at that time, mocking them… “It’s over for New Zealand. Everything’s gone.” That was Trump, trying to imply something like, “See? No matter what you do, you can’t get rid of it. Why bother wrecking the economy, when it won’t make a difference?”

Trump wasn’t the only one with that attitude, but the attitude is wrong. Strong decisive action can make a big difference.

While things look to be getting no worse pretty-much everywhere, the huge exception is, of course, is the U.S… where things are getting drastically worse. The collision course between the pandemic, people who don’t care, and the vaccination… it’s a perfect storm, made more complicated by that second factor… people who still don’t believe there’s a serious virus and/or people who do but won’t get vaccinated. If all Americans were to go out and get vaccinated as quickly as possible, the entire country would be rid of the virus by summer. There will probably be enough vaccine to go around to do that. All the timelines we’ve heard rely mostly on the understood supply of Pfizer vaccine that’s on its way, but there is more good news… that we can soon throw the Moderna vaccine into the mix… and that’s more of a game changer, because it’s doesn’t need the ultra-cold transport and storage; that one can (and will) be made available far and wide.

The bad news is that the pain of this pandemic, from an economic point of view, will be very harsh. Every sector has been radically affected… and the issue now is that there are many businesses that rely on the holiday season to get them through with enough momentum to last them till next December. Many of those businesses are already running on fumes, and are really only still in business because it’s the Christmas season and they may as well scrape what they can from it before they pull the plug. Many that stuck it out this long were hoping for a relatively normal holiday season, and it’s not going to happen.

On that note restaurants are suffering terribly, especially many of which count on the Christmas office parties and the party season in general… and while that won’t happen this year, it’ll all come back eventually. Certainly by this time next year.

Until then, there’s no simple answer… though might I throw in… support your local restaurants if you want them to survive. It doesn’t mean go there with a group of friends; not yet. But order their food and pick it up, or get it delivered from them directly, so it’s not some third-party that’s getting all the margin. Buy gift certificates and stuff some stockings with them.

The economic landscape will look like a 9.0 earthquake roared through it, once this is all over. Hopefully, for most, it’ll just have been a big, rattling shake… and not a complete collapse.

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December 15, 2020

A little more on yesterday’s topic… according to the Washington Post this morning, Trump has doubled-down on his dubious election claims 15 times. Two to the power of 15 equals almost 33,000. So now, he’d have to be putting down over $65,000 to try to win back his original $2 bet… if he were betting red, which I suppose, in a certain way, he is. He’s gone from loser to Loser to LOSER… the only thing that’s changing now is the point-size of the font, but like betting systems that eventually run out of money, the screen can only fit so much as well. We’re pretty-much looking at nothing more than a big capital L now… and yet, if this morning’s torrent of even more election-fraud Tweets is any indication, he’s not done yet. Even Mitch McConnell has thrown in the towel… but Trump? Nope.

If doubling down is the wrong way to bet, is there a right way? Yes… as long as you keep in mind that if you’re betting against the house, you’re going to lose in the long run… no matter what. Unlike poker or horse-racing, where you’re playing against other people, you’ll never beat the house in the long run. Not that it’s easy with poker or horses, but at least it’s possible, and there are some people good enough that they actually do it professionally. But casino games? Nobody is making a living playing slot machines, blackjack, roulette or craps… assuming it’s a “fair” game. There are ways to “game” advantages in all of those, with mechanical aids or card counting… but those change the house odds, and then it’s a whole different story. But assuming you don’t have a roulette computer jammed into your shoe, and/or assuming you’re not able to count cards without getting caught, the house has an edge, and every dollar you bet plays into that edge. If you’re going to bet $100 in Blackjack, mathematically, the soundest way to do it is bet it all at once. That way, the house only gets one shot at imposing that edge on you… not countless times to chip away.

But… it is possible to win in the short term, and it’s possible to have a lot fun doing so… so what do you do to maximize your chances? You do the opposite of doubling down.

With doubling down, all you’re doing is chasing lost money with your own money. Throwing the good after the bad. The key to winning is trying to maximize the opportunity to win while putting the house’s money at risk, not your own. This means taking the big shots with money you’ve already won; not out of your wallet. Here are two examples.

Let’s say you’re going to play roulette… and roulette is a good one because it offers a lot of (close to) 50/50 bets. Roulette has a green zero (and sometimes also double-zero, and, for the truly-clueless, triple-zero), which is where the house gets the edge, but other than that, there are 36 numbers. Half are red, half are black. Half are even, half are odd. Half are 1-18, half are 19-36. All 6 of those half-this/half-that bets are effectively coin-tosses, and return a win of a $1 for every $1 bet.

So… if you’re going to play roulette, say you’re willing to risk losing $200. Take that $200 and cut it into 10 pieces of $20 each. Each of those $20 is one shot, and you will have 10 shots.
You bet your first shot, and we will call that first bet “level one”… and you can bet any of those spots. Say you bet red… and it comes up… black. Oops. It’s ok, you’re only down $20… now, second shot, level one… you try red again, and this time it hits number 7, which is red.

Great! Now you have $40. You take that entire $40 and bet it on… let’s say, black… and this is now level two. Boom, it hits 17 black. Now you have $80. So you take all $80 and bet it on… hmm, 7 and 17 were low… so you bet it on 19-36 – (this was level three) and it hits 35, and you win!

Now you have $160. Now you are on level 4, the final level. Hmm… three odds in a row. You bet your level 4 on even, it hits 2, and now you have $320. And you take that $320 and you put it in your other pocket, and you don’t touch it for the rest of the night. And you go back to level one, with your third shot of $20. And you do that with all ten shots. Some will die right away. Some will advance a level or two. And hopefully, you manage to run a few of them through level four.

Of course, that’s not so simple… but it only takes one out of those ten shots to go the distance for you to walk away a winner. If you do this right, after 10 shots, the $200 gambling pocket will be empty… but, hopefully, the other pocket has $320 in it. Or maybe $640… or more…

The key, of course, is that you’re trying to capitalize on winning bigger amounts by risking only what you’ve won. The adrenaline rush of those level four bets is quite something… and a real sledgehammer to the gut when you lose. Just try to remember, you didn’t just lose $160 – you only lost $20.

Similarly, next time you’re at the racetrack, try this… take $5 and bet it “to show” on the horse you like. As long as the horse you like finishes in the top three, you’ll cash your ticket. It might not be much, but that’s ok, because now you take what you won, maybe $8, and bet it all to show on whatever horse you like in the next race. And if you win, you take that $17 and bet it all to show in the following race. The thrill of running a show parlay up to $400 is also quite a rush; and you’ll learn a lot about yourself when you’re now called upon to bet all of it on some horse whose only redeeming factor is that you like his name.

Gambling, in general, should be treated like an entertainment expense… so as long as you’re willing to lose every penny you’re throwing at it, as long as you have a good time, go for it – and, hopefully, some of this advice helps you win… at least in the short term.

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By |2020-12-15T17:03:51-08:00December 15th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |7 Comments

December 14, 2020

There is a very common betting strategy called the Martingale — you can apply it to red/black on roulette, or blackjack, or any simple game with close to 50/50 odds – where, if the odds are truly 50/50 and you have infinite wealth, you will never lose. Unfortunately, the odds are never really 50/50, and nobody has infinite wealth… so, in the long run, you will actually always lose. And when you lose, it’ll be ugly.

Martingale is more commonly known as the strategy of doubling down, and here’s how it works: Say you’ve decided to bet red on roulette… so you bet 10. If you win, you’ve won 10. Now you bet another 10 and hopefully win again.

But if you lose, you bet 20. Now, when you win, you’ll not only win what you just bet, but you’ll also win back your original loss. And when you win, you can go back to betting 10.

If you lose again… well, now you have to bet 40… but, no worries, it’s 50/50 or whatever, it’s due to come in, etc. And with that bet of 40, you’ll win back everything you’ve already lost… right?

As we’ve learned, exponential growth gets ugly… in a hurry. 10/20/40/80/160/320/640… if you thought it can’t possibly come up black 7 times in a row, you’d be mistaken… it happens far more often than you think, and now you’re having to bet 1280 just to win back everything you’ve lost… and just to profit 10. Eventually you hit the casino limit. Eventually you run out of money.

So, no… doubling down doesn’t work, because there’s no finish line; because infinity is nobody’s version of a finish line. For whatever reason, people still tend to employ this strategy, and I’m not just talking about casino gambling. Today itself provided two examples.

One small example would be this morning’s Wall Street Journal editor defending the disgusting Jill-Biden-bashing piece that I wrote about yesterday. Instead of just apologizing for his appalling lack of judgement, he’s saying it’s no big deal, he’s blaming “team Biden” for the backlash and he’s accusing critics of playing the race card. He’s doubling-down on his mistake, and now he’ll appropriately face further backlash… to which the WSJ will respond with an apology, or, they’ll double-down again. There’s an ugly finish line to examples like that, depending how far they’re willing to take it. Eventually people start unsubscribing. Eventually they lose advertisers. And eventually, when they’ve shredded themselves into the ground, they meekly apologize.

Whatever the reason that prevents them from backing down… business decision, reputation concern, fragile ego… if they could simply admit when they’re wrong, that would be the end of it. But no, they double-down… and without a bottomless wallet of excuses to support their bad judgement, they eventually lose… and it’s much worse than it should have been.

Which leads us to the much bigger example of doubling-down to the point of insanity, and this one also hit the ugly end of the line today – and that is Donald Trump’s insistence that he’s won the election. Today, after numerous and continual double-downs of bullshit, he’s out of ammo with which to bet red. Now the electoral college has cast its votes, as expected, confirming Joe Biden. Now what?

I guess the equivalent would be the guy who’s been betting red on roulette all day and just watched a streak of 15 black show up. He’s out of cash, screaming and yelling that it’s not fair, and as he’s being dragged to the door by security, continues to scream he’s being robbed and denied the opportunity to win it all back.

It’s not altogether a bad analogy. The guy in both examples started with a bad premise, executed poor judgement, doubled-down on it for as long as he could… and will continue to blame, to whoever will listen, everyone else except himself for the outcome. Both deserve to be shown the door.

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By |2020-12-14T17:03:05-08:00December 14th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |8 Comments

December 4, 2020

On level 200 at Rogers Arena, here in Vancouver where the Canucks play hockey, you will find a restaurant called the “Captains Room” which accordingly pays homage to the great captains of the team over the years. There, you’ll find names and pictures of Canucks legends like Kurtenbach, Smyl, Linden & Naslund. Canucks fans are nodding.

One Canucks captain who you won’t find up there, nor any trace of his existence anywhere in the building… is arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the game. It certainly helped Mark Messier that he played in Edmonton alongside Gretzky, Kurri, Coffey and other legends, but you have to hand it to the guy… numerous records, and 6 Stanley Cups… and the only player to ever captain two different teams to Stanley Cup victories.

Unfortunately, neither one of those were the Vancouver Canucks. In fact, here in Vancouver, where Messier spent a few years near the twilight of his career, the name Messier is on the same level as a certain Dark Lord from the Harry Potter series; his name should never be mentioned. Canucks fans are still nodding.

It’s a long story why… but the gist of it is that there exist certain ultra-exclusive clubs, and even those who are entitled to be members aren’t always welcomed with open arms.

One very exclusive club that’s about to get a new member in 46 days is perhaps the most exclusive one in existence. It only has 4 members at present, soon to be 5.

Its newest member will be Donald J. Trump, who was born in June of 1946. You know who else was born in 1946, less than a month later? George W. Bush. That’s quite a coincidence. And you know who was born a month after that? William J. Clinton.

That’s a remarkable coincidence… and those three 74-year-olds make up three fifths of still-living (soon-to-be) former presidents. The other two are Jimmy Carter (96) and Barack Obama (59). The fireside chats that would accompany the Scotch and cigars in that club’s reading room… just imagine. Three of those guys could just as easily be high-school buddies.

While the members of that club get together occasionally — for very special events – like, you know, presidential inaugurations, it’s likely that its newest member won’t make many appearances. And that’s probably just fine with the rest of them. The present members set aside politics ages ago. They all get along famously, as do their spouses. A legendary friendship is that of Michelle Obama and George W. Bush…. said to have begun the first time those two met. Michelle approached George with an apology… saying sorry for something that her husband, then president, had said about him. “Oh, shush”, replied Bush.

But Donald and Melania… yeah, I don’t see it. In fact, as we speak, those former presidents have banded together, in essence, against Trump. They’re taking over the reigns of what a president should be messaging during a pandemic. They’re urging people to wear masks, and leading by example. They’re urging everyone to get vaccinated. They’ve offered to do so in front of a camera.

And Biden has already signaled that in his first 100 days, masks will be federally mandated. That’s unlikely to change the minds of the hardened anti-maskers, but at least it’s the right message, one with which four fifths of that club agree.

Once he’s out of office, and before he probably goes to prison, Trump will have plenty of free time to do what he does when he’s not Tweeting nonsense: Golf. Not sure with whom he’ll be golfing, but it won’t be those former presidents.

But here’s an idea… I understand Mark Messier is a really good golfer. Those two should go out for a round or two… they’d have plenty to discuss, not the least of which is how easy it can be to be disliked by so many people.

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