Category Archives: Sport

Does Anyone Care About Tokyo?

the Tokyo Olympics I mean

There is a thing called The Olympic Ideal which is to promote sport, culture, and education to build a better world.  I wonder which advertising company came up with that not-very-catchy slogan?  If ever there was anything noble about the Olympic Games it’s just gone down in a flurry of money-making, horse-trading, cheating, corruption, and grubby politics.  It’s a circus, an ideological, geo-political, power-grabbing battleground where the sport is just a secondary sideshow.

The circus is currently being held in Tokyo, Japan ~ and more than 80% of the Japanese are of the opinion that the whole thing should have been scrapped.  Here in England we have coverage on the BBC, except the viewing figures are in the cellar while complaints about the appalling standards of coverage have reached new heights.

Arguments and complaints among competitors, coaches, national Olympic associations, and officials are a more enthralling spectacle than the actual sports.  And as for the sport, when will tiddlywinks be accepted as an official Olympic sport, because it seems that medals are available for everything else.

Just WTF are artistic swimming, beach volleyball, BMX freestyle, rhythmic gymnastics, surfing, and FFS golf doing as Olympic sports.  And these are all ‘professional sports’.  If you ask me, the Olympics lost its way in 1986 when professionals were first allowed to compete.

It’s all about the TV rights and advertising.


jack collier

track cycling is an Olympic sport, but not proper road racing


Random Jottings ~ Stupidity

people with single-figure IQ’s love being on TV

some women think being stupid is fun


in sports fans stupidity is not a handicap


in politics, arrogant stupidity is not a handicap


whenever a man does a totally stupid thing

it’s always about a woman


Americans don’t understand English irony

it’s wasted on them


beauty fades, lust cools, love dies, romance ends

but stupidity lasts forever


jack collier

cycling is dangerous

if there’s a woman around

Almost Drowning in Turkey

Always look before you leap.

When I went on a day’s boat trip in Turkey I jumped into what looked like fairly shallow water.  Turned out it was about 60 feet deep.  It also turned out that I’ve just about forgotten how to swim.



I almost drowned before I made it back to our boat.

As almost drowning on vacation is not a good plan, I am taking a week’s 1 to 1 professional swimming instruction, from a lady called Sarah Kentish.

This will be in the pool of the Imperial Hotel in a British seaside resort called Llandudno.


jack collier

I wonder if I’ve forgotten how to ride a bicycle too?

Being Overweight

It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.

These past few weeks, I have been lacking a little in energy and bounce, and I decided that one reason for my lack of ‘get-up-and-go’ was that I’ve been putting on weight.  So, I decided to look into what being overweight really was, and if I was actually overweight, what it was doing to me.  Quite frankly, I was horrified at what I discovered.

I hate overweight, because it implies there is a weight standard I should be adhering to.  ~  Camryn Manheim.

You know what?  There is a weight standard, and we should all be adhering to it.

There are lots of health and fitness problems attached to being overweight ~ and the older you get the worse the health problems of being overweight become.

To begin with, are you overweight?  How does one know the difference between a little curvier and softer than we used to be, and truly overweight?  What is the difference between being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Well, the chances are you’re overweight or obese ~ in the UK 68% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese.  In the USA more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

One easy way to tell if we’re overweight is to forget the scales and just grab a tape-measure.  Measure you height, and your waist at your belly button, (without sucking in your gut).  Your waist should not be more than half your height.  If your waist measurement is more than half your height you’re overweight with the worst kind of fat ~ visceral fat, (which will kill you).  More scientifically you can calculate your Body Mass Index, (BMI), but that won’t tell you as much about visceral fat as will a tape-measure.

There’s also a cut-off point to assess the overall risks to health just by waist measurement.  In men it’s 40 inches, and in women it’s 35 inches.  So if your waist is bigger than that, you’re officially overweight / obese and in danger of suffering serious health and fitness problems.  Having love handles is another bad sign, presaging heart and liver disease in your future.

Medically defined, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9,  overweight is having a BMI of more than 25, obese is having a BMI of more than 30, while morbidly obese is having a BMI of more than 40, (or 35 if you also have something like diabetes or high blood pressure).  There are plenty of online BMI calculators.

There are a myriad of downsides to being overweight, and even more downsides to being obese.  Some of these are;

We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health.  ~  M. Scott Peck.

The above are the worst of the medical problems.  But look at it another way ~ just how fit are you?  Can you walk up three flights of stairs without getting out of breath?  Can you run for a bus?  Can you walk five miles without collapsing?  Can you easily find clothes that fit, or do you have to buy plus size?  Can you still play sports, or are you limited to gentler activities?  What’s your performance in bed like?  The chances are if you’re overweight, then you’re not happy with your honest answers to any of those questions, because you know you’re not as fit as you would like to be.  Maybe you should take an online test?

It turns out my BMI today, as I write this, is 25.7.  However, according to another set of criteria I’m quite fit ~ much fitter than my chronological age, by 25 years or so.  But do you know what?  I’m going to lose some weight, starting right now.


jack collier

I can do that yoga position, but I don’t look as good as that.


Overconfidence Usually Pays Off


ManlymanThe people in white coats have come up with another best seller.  Published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, a paper by Jessica A. Kennedy, Cameron Anderson, and Don A Moore, with the cracking title; When overconfidence is revealed to others: Testing the status-enhancement theory of overconfidence.  This paper says that highly confident individuals get better results, regardless of whether their confidence is actually justified, or not.  The paper states that there appear to be so few real downsides to confidence that the potential benefits of overconfidence always outweigh the negative consequences.  In group dynamics, the members of a group seem to react positively to confident individuals.  Even when they know that the individual is very overconfident, and then fails to achieve an unrealistic goal, the other members of a group still react positively.

Who knew?  Well every sports fan, for a start.

motorcycleMost fans love to see their player / team attempt the nearly impossible.  The fans still love it when a player attempts the almost impossible, and fails.  That’s a far better spectacle than the safe play, time after time, after safe play time…  And, amazingly, every so often the nearly impossible comes off.  Sometimes the million to one chance works, it has to, it’s a law of physics.  The other thing is, the opposition has usually prepared for the expected play, the safe play.  Therefore, when the overconfident team / player attempts the almost impossible, that play is unexpected enough to carry a greater chance of success than the safe play.  One day he will get that bike into Switzerland.

ryan_reynoldsIn addition to that, confidence is in and of itself, intimidating to the opposition and attractive to your own side.  I have it on very good authority, from a number of very close friends, that hardly any women have ‘wimpy geeky guy, lacking in confidence,’ on their wish list.  When they are being honest, most women will admit to liking the ‘cocky’ man, the one who walks with a bit of a swagger, the one who stands up straight and looks them in the eye.  Action heroes tend to be the most confident guy in the group / piece / movie / book / play / room…  Psychologists know that the lasting power of a very confident first impression outweighs an only-average actual performance.

In other words the overconfident will win over the less confident, even when there is nothing else to separate their performances.  And, everybody and his dog knows that’s the way it’s going to happen.

It’s called Psychological Dominance, and it’s all about control.  It’s also very sexist.  It is very difficult for a woman to be psychologically dominant in a relationship / group.  This is explained by Social Dominance Theory, which plainly states that in almost all groups men have more power and higher status than women.  Partly this is down to the fact that men work to keep it that way, but mostly it’s down to biology and race memories.  In general, men are bigger, stronger, smarter, more driven, than women.  Sorry Ladies, but that’s just the way it is among mammals.

Malcolm Marshall - West IndiesIt is well know in sports that establishing psychological dominance over your opponent allows an easier victory than having to fight every inch of the way with someone who believes they are as good as you.  If you can convince your opponent that you are better than they are, then they have already lost.  Opponents will become tentative, miss opportunities they would routinely accept, become mentally exhausted, in fact they will give up.

This brutal paradigm applies especially in the more physically brutal sports.  Look at two boxers in the pre-match.  They are obviously fighting for psychological dominance before they even step into the ring.  It’s the same with tennis players, golfers, football teams, chess players…,  Back in the day, most players had lost against Roger Federer long before the first tennis racquet hit the first ball over the net.  And, everybody knew that.

MontyThe benefits of overconfidence also apply in the world of business, politics, the arts and entertainment, the military…,  Anyone standing against a Kennedy in Massachusetts has lost before the polls open, end everybody knows that.  Anyone trying to sell books against Amazon may as well give up before the ink is dry on the business plan, and everybody knows that.  Don’t put on a rock concert in the same town on the same night as The Rolling Stones.  And, it took Montgomery to beat the Desert Fox.

Personally, I have won some huge business deals based simply on the fact that I was utterly and totally convinced that I was better than everyone else.

Which brings us to the second most brutal of all areas where overconfidence pays off.  In group dynamics there is something called  the closed group.   This is when it’s difficult to get into the group, and once you are in you have to obey all of the group’s rules, written and unwritten, on pain of pain.  There is always a dominant figure in these groups, the one who calls all the shots, the big cheese, the boss.  Usually that person is the most confident in the group.  Not always.  Sometimes there is a member of the group who is so totally confident, (overconfident), that they don’t need to be the de-facto leader to get the group to do what they want.  Usually this person doesn’t even have to play by the rules, drifts in and out of the group as they please, obtains all of the benefits and more that the group has to offer, and suffers none of the downsides.

seveThis works because, as stated by Jessica Kennedy, Cameron Anderson, and Don Moore, people seem to put the overconfident, cocky, smiling, stand-up guy in a special category.  And, tellingly, don’t change their opinion much when actual performance isn’t quite as good as all that confidence would lead everyone to expect.  We all know and understand that the million-to-one shot doesn’t always come off.  But, we all know and understand that the million-to-one play works a lot more often than it should, and that only the overconfident guy can pull it off.

The real truth is;  If a manly man wants to really succeed with women, he needs to, (almost), always appear utterly, totally, completely confident in himself and his abilities.  However, so that he doesn’t appear arrogant, that same man must also be self-deprecating.

Riding Your Luck



girl-japanese-sexy-softballThe people in white coats have been at it again.  Juemin Xu and Nigel Harvey from University College, London, claim that in some areas of gambling lucky streaks exist.  They also claim that losing streaks are irrecoverable ~ that if a losing gambler continues to bet he cannot expect to even recover his losses, let alone come out ahead.  The ‘research’ is based on real-time on-line sports betting and has detailed results which may be of interest to statisticians, behavioural scientists, and bookmakers.  For the average gambler the results will come as no surprise at all.  If your luck is in, then you seem to be able to do nothing wrong.  If Lady Luck is against you, then whatever you do you will just go on losing.

Our research scientists say that lucky and losing streaks are the result of a gambler’s behaviour, rather than anything to do with statistical abberations in the results themselves.  If a gambler is winning then he / she becomes more cautious and makes safer and better thought out wagers ~ the kind of bet that really should win more often.  Conversely, losing gamblers tend to make impulsive, illogical, larger, riskier bets in a vain attempt to recover their losses.  Well, who knew?

football_3As a matter of fact, I’m not certain that sports betting is the best area in which to study winning and losing streaks.  Strict probability theory deals with random variables, stochastic processes, (random processes), and non-deterministic events.  Sports betting deals with non-random variables, in that a brilliant team will beat a rubbish team more often than not.  What makes sports betting exciting for real gamblers is that every now and again the rank outsider will win at long odds.

City-of-LondonGames of chance which have more quantifiable, yet more complex, random variables than sports betting include the financial markets.  Around the world, in global cities, the financial markets are also huge games of chance.  These days the successful players are most likely computer models, with the human element doing little or nothing to influence the bets one way or another.  To avoid the fatal error of reinforcing failure, there are supposed to be end-of-day controls placed on dealers ~ these don’t always work.  If you are wise, you will not play the financial markets.

Even more random games of chance than sports betting and financial markets have calculable odds, which is why good card players beat poor card players, more often than not.  However, the odds do not always work in favour of the actual result.  Every now and again some idiot will fill an inside straight-flush and coup a huge pot.

F1 Grand Prix Of IndiaThe fact that a rank outsider will win big is factored into probability theory.  In essence, probability theory says that every possible result will happen, sooner or later.  Just because the odds are a hundred, million, million, to one against doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to happen the first time the game is played, or the second time, or even the first, second, and third times in a row.  Trust me on this, probability theory only really works when you factor-in infinity.  However, some gamblers are ‘odds players’ and they know to a hair the chances of any given result happening.  Sadly for odds players, knowing the odds does not allow them to see into the future, because they cannot factor-in infinity.

albert-einsteinBecause that’s what gamblers are attempting to do.  Gamblers are attempting to predict the future, and as any competent quantum physicist will tell you, all possible futures will happen, sooner or later, or in an infinite time.  Predicting the future is more difficult than your basic quantum physics, and even Einstein couldn’t make that work properly.

The best advice is ~ don’t ever gamble if you can avoid it.  Sooner or later you will lose.

If you want to win at gambling, then there are some basic rules you should think about;

  1. Learn the game.  Stick to one area of expertise and get good at it.
  2. If you can’t get good at one type of gambling, then quit gambling, for good.
  3. The House / Bookmaker always wins in the long run ~ even if the game is straight.
  4. The game isn’t always straight.
  5. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  6. Never bet with borrowed money.
  7. If you cheat you will be found out and there will be serious consequences.
  8. No matter how good you are, the laws of physics are not on your side.
  9. Nobody can accurately predict the future.  How many weather forecasts are wrong?
  10. There is such a thing as dumb luck.

Back in the day, when I was a practicing card mechanic, (I could cheat if I wanted to), I came across a guy I just couldn’t beat.  This young guy was as dumb as a doornail, but no matter what I did, he could always beat me at some well known card games.  Even if I fixed the deck, this young guy would always take serious money off me.  Eventually I gave up trying to work out how he did it.  I couldn’t, because just there and then this guy was lucky.  I haven’t gambled since then.

alcoholic-latina-womanWhat Juemin Xu and Nigel Harvey of University College, London, have come across is that the biggest non-variable in gambling is the gambler.  Gamblers are predictable.  Experts can tell what kind of a gambler they have in front of them well before the first play is made.  Sadly, most serious gamblers are also problem gamblers.  Very, very few people can consistently win at their chosen game, and that includes traders on the financial markets.  Even Gordon Gekko was brought low ~ he had to cheat to win.  Most gamblers consistently lose, and those who lose more than they can really afford are the problem gamblers.

Problem gamblers usually have a range of other problems, most often alcoholism.

Cincinnati KidThe hard truth is; Even if the game is straight, every gambler eventually loses big.  When on a losing streak, gamblers will reinforce their mistakes in a vain attempt to recoup their losses ~ this tactic never, ever works.  Have a flutter by all means, but if you become a serious gambler, you will lose big, eventually.  You cannot change the laws of physics.

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