Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Saturday, November 19, 2011

They're just like you and me

What makes a person into a serial killer?  What internal defect of the mind, chemical imbalance, brain malformation, etc allows a person to go up to other people and just kill them?  Sorry for bringing up a pretty grim subject, but I've been wondering about this for awhile. 

What got me thinking in this vein was watching a program about a man called The Railroad Killer.  This guy, an illegal alien (though most US serial killers are home grown) would hop on trains and kill people that he found near the railroad tracks or break into people's houses and kill the occupants.  They figure he killed at least 10 people (he confessed to a bunch more) between Ohio and Texas but it could be a lot more.  Mexican authorities felt he killed a number of people over the border there as well.  The FBI felt he could have been linked to up to 200 cases in all.  He was tried in Texas convicted in 1999 and executed in 2006.  None of this sitting for 20 years waiting on appeals there. 

What got me on this kick was the execution of Oba Chandler here in Florida this week.  Oba was convicted of killing 3 women from Ohio in 1989 by taking them out on Tampa Bay at night, probably raping them, then pitching all of them into the bay with a cinderblock tied around their necks.  All 3 were alive when they went in.  If anyone personified evil, it was him.  The PQ was a court clerk when the trial occurred here and though she did not handle that case herself, she was in court a few times during the trial.  She thought he was one scary guy and that he had dead eyes.  A few weeks before this he had raped a Canadian tourist by taking her out on the bay.  The only reason she was not killed the cops thought was because her girlfriend declined to go with her and Chandler knew there would be a witness left behind who could identify him.  I guess it was ok to rape her though.  Police also believe he had killed before based on the way he did this and the fact he was willing to take on 3 at once but he never admitted to killing anyone before his execution, including the Ohioans. 

At the trial, against his own attorney's advice, he took the stand and denied it all, managing to make himself look even more guilty in the process by being caught in a number of lies.  The jury was only too happy to convict him then.  They felt he was pretty scary too.  The cops were pretty sure a killing in 1982 of a woman found floating off Anna Maria Island was his work but never tried him for it or for the rape of the Canaidan woman.  He ended up spending 17 years on death row here before his execution last week.  

Anyway, I have been wondering what makes a person into that.   Do they have no conscience, no compassion at all?  They must be pretty sure there is no heaven or hell, no consequence in the afterlife for their deeds in this one based on how heinous these crimes are.  Many people have lived next to major serial killers and never knew there was anything different about them.  They were just like anyone else.   A local lady who was a juror in another murder trial had retired from a Chicago Cadillac dealership where John Wayne Gacy bought his cars.  He would come by the dealership every other year to get a new car and everyone thought he was this nice well to do guy.  He usually had one of his many "nephews" with him as well.  No one thought anything of it. 

I used to be very pro death penalty but over the years I have gotten a lot less certain of it's effectiveness as a deterrent.  Also I know mistakes have been made when some people were convicted and given the death penalty, not to mention more than once the prosecution has convicted the wrong guy either by manufacturing evidence or having evidence the accused was innocent and not turning it over to the defense.  Convicting someone in error whether by illegal means or misidentificaton, is bad enough buy once you execute them, it's a little late to say "Oops, we goofed". 

Having said all that, some people just need to die.  There are some people so evil that society is better off without them rather than risk the chance one may escape and kill again.  "He just needed killing" is a valid point with some people I think.  But what defect in their makeup causes a person to be so unredeemably evil that society has to kill him?  Outside of defending yourself or someone else, how many people can see themselves killing another person?  Not to mention all of the deviant things many of these killers do to their victims as well.   Is it a power thing, knowing you have complete control over another's fate?  That may explain more as I have seen some CEOs and politicians whose desire for power led them to do some pretty unsavory things.  Not to mention what they did when they had power. 

Well I think I've said enough on that topic now.  Let me finish this up by saying, be aware people.  Know what's going on around you and try not be a victim.  If someone wants you to go somewhere with them, you're usually better off making your stand then and there where other people may be able to help you rather than going somewhere of his choosing.  And ladies especially, arm yourselves.  So many times men attack women because they see them as the easier victim.  Don't be a victim.  Stick around awhile, your loved ones will appreciate it. 

Saturday's short term investments

Betting on sports takes a lot of analysis and a little bit of luck as well.  You can have everything going for you and still lose on a last second score in garbage time or a pick 6 to turn a close game into a blowout at the end.  I wish I could say that has caused my recent losing streak but in the end, I've just made some bad bets.  Today I'm turning it around, believe that if you feel lucky. 

I really like Michigan -3.5 at home vs Nebraska.  Good teams give Big Red trouble and Michigan fits the bill.  Running QBs also seem to be hard on their defense and Michigan's Robinson is definitely that.  I am not sold on Robinson as some kind of star as he seems to throw the ball up a lot and pray his receiver takes it away from the defense, but he extends a lot of plays with his legs and can go for a long run at any time.

I'm taking Ga Tech -10.5 over Duke.  Ga Tech runs better than anyone in college football.  Duke can't stop the run.  Nice weather so assuming Tech isn't in the giving mood, they win by 20+. 

Finally I like the over 57 for Boise St/San Diego St.  Both teams can score with top notch offenses.  SD St doesn't prevent the score as well as Boise.  Looking for a game in the 42-27 range.  It will probably be 10-7 instead but I'll take my chances.  I also looked really closely at taking SD St +18 as they are a pretty solid team.  Boise has to be down after blowing their chance at a National Championship game, especially with OSU losing last night.  I may yet take that flyer. 

In other news, PQ wants to play poker tonight so looks like we will be gracing Derby Lane with our presence.  I've been playing a bit online lately but not particularly well.  I also need a nap this afternoon as I have been up and down since 3:45 this morning.  The dog had to go to the bathroom then.  I turned to her after I took her out and said "You know, I really wanted a fish."  I wish she understood but I don't think she did as she was jumping on me at 7 for the same reason.   At least I am able to walk around outside in shorts and a shirt still.  It was cool but nice out, maybe low 60s.  Sucks to live in Fla in the winter. 

BTW I took Denver +4.5 over the Jetskis on Thursday.  I was very happy to see how that one ended.  Tim Tebow will never be confused with a classic pro QB but the man gets it done one way or another.  I noticed at the end of the game, his passes were right on target.  And he can make plays with his legs and take hits that would wipe out other QBs.  You are gonna see a bunch of teams using the option read offense like Denver is because most QBs are not big enough to stand up to that kind of pounding.  I seriously doubt Tebow can for many years either.  But he can run it now and say what you will, he wins.  I've been a fan of his for a long time.  I know he's converted a lot of non-fans with the way he plays.  I am no Bronco fan but I am now.    Well enough for now, I need a nap. I hope you all are lucky today. Maybe bet against me and you will be.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lucky we have a dog

The PQ left me all alone yesterday as she headed out to Orlando with her sister and our niece to spend some time at Universal Studios.  Our daughter joined her there and they had a good time last night or so I am told.  I on the other hand was all alone, flying my big ole bed with no copilot.  Well I did have the dog at least.   And a good thing too as it was a bit chilly last night, all the way down to 50 and below.  Brrr, haven't seen weather that cool in many months.  But the dog kept me warm, no frost bite or anything.  Of course there is a bad side to this as someone licked my face at 6am to go outside. Still a bit chilly then as well. 

Today I don't have much planned.  Maybe I'll actually pitch some cards this afternoon or tonight.  I need to do a couple of things with my car today and some laundry as well. I'm so domesticated sometimes.  I was thinking about making a beef stew for when the wife gets home but maybe not today.  She might end up picking up dinner on the road back from Orlando.  But before I do anything else, I better put down a few short term investments on the college games today.  Haven't been running well the last couple of weeks but today we turn it around

I'll take over 50 in the Miami/FSU game today.  Game should be fairly high scoring, I wouldn't be surprised if they are close to the over by half time.  Then again I've been wrong enough lately to know it might be 3-0 at the half as well

I also like Western Ky getting 42 against LSU.  WKU is a decent team playing in a classic let down game for LSU.  LSU should still win comfortably but they are already #1 and beat Bama last week.  I'm sure there are a lot of bumps and bruises they want to get healthy so I'll take the dogs. 

I was looking at the over in the Oregon/Stanford game today but the weather has me worried as it's supposed to be rainy today.  A wet natural turf field would slow Oregon down a bit.  So I think I'll avoid that one.

Finally I want to take Iowa +3 at home vs Mich St.  Iowa has played well vs Mich St covering the last 5 times they played.  I think they win outright here but I'll play it safe and take the points.

Well gotta get to work here.  Hope everyone has a great day.  Hope it warms up a bit more today like to 75 or so.  Cuz it's supposed to be in the 40s tonight. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Finally getting my due

I finally received my just recognition for my superior refereeing today.  I must say it has taken long enough for this to come but it was well worth the wait.  Today I had to referee a couple of youth playoff games.  Both games were very close, the first one ended 19-13 and the second one was even closer.   In the second game, the score stood 0-0 until there was 1:20 left in the game.  Both teams were able to move the ball some but never got too close to the end zone. 

But as we got near the end of the game, the home team (East Lake) took a run wide to the right and managed to out run everyone to the end zone.  Boom, finally someone scores, now we won't have to go overtime.  East Lake kicks off and for some reason kicks an onside kick.  Me, I kick it deep and make them go the whole field but maybe they were worried someone on the visitors (Lakewood)would take it all the way.  Anyway the ball gets kicked past the front line guys, is scooped up by a guy in the next line who goes left around the end and runs it all the way for a TD.  Boom tied up again.  Of course both teams missed the extra point so a minute later we are in OT.

East Lake got the ball first.  4 tries from the 10 yard line to score then the other team gets a shot.   On 4th down, East Lake is just inside the 3 yard line still.  They hand it off and the runner is stopped inside the 1 but before he goes down he reaches the ball out and gets it to the goal line.  I look over to the linesman and he is charging in from the side with his hands in the air as I nod yes to him that the runner was not down when he put the ball out.  So we give them the TD.  They don't get the extra point but they have the lead.  Lakewood gets the ball and scores on a run on the first play but it's called back for holding by the head ref.  One of the blockers grabbed a defender's shirt right at the point of attack and kept the guy from participating.  No TD.  Lakewood ends up not scoring and we all head for home. 

I was limping toward my car (I hurt my calf in the first game and it was really aching by then) and outside the gate I ran across an old lady, The old lady said to me "There you are you cheater.  That wasn't a touchdown.  You stole that game from our kids."  I explained to the lady that the runner had reached out and the ball had reached the goal line. 

"No it didn't, we were right on the line and that ball never crossed the goal line."  I decided not to get into a fruitless argument in the parking lot and continued walking while I was thinking - sure lady, you are 40 or 50 yards away from the action and blocked off from view on your side and you saw it better than 2 referees who were 10 yards and 5 feet from the action.  As I walked away she continued, "I hope you were well paid for your call."

"Thank you, I was" I called over my shoulder as I limped to my car and drove away. 

Really lady, it's the ref's fault you grandson's team lost?  Because we ruled the ball reached the goal line and you didn't think so?  There are times when a referee's call can be significant but hell, these 2 teams went at it for an entire game and were still tied after that.  Also a lot of these people don't understand about the goal line and the end zone.  The end zone starts at the edge of the goal line closest to the field.  For my part, I imagine where the goal line begins is a pane of glass extending up in the air and if the tip of the ball just kisses that glass, it's a touchdown.  It doesn't have to get into the end zone, it doesn't even have to cross the line, it just has to reach it.  And from my point of view, it more than reached it.  So too bad lady, your team lost.  But at least you gave me my due.

My wife gave me my due tonight as well.  No not like that you bunch of pigs, get your mind out of the gutter.  She gave me my due for cooking up dinner after coming home tonight.  I made some roasted pepper chicken penne for dinner tonight and was well complimented by her and my mother in law.  So at least she didn't think I cheated her. 

Well thats all for me.  Off to bed and to rest my calf.  Other than the calf I feel pretty good. Tired.  At least Mark Sanchize and the Jetskis came through for my wallet today.  And at the half, Pitt and Balt have only scored 15 points.  Of course the Pats and NYG had 0 points at the half and ended up with 44 so things can definitely change there.  Good night all.  Hope you get your due as well.

Another bad investing weekend

Went 1-3 yesterday again.  Ugly.  Of course after looking at it, I didn't play the Arkansas game which at least would have brought me up to 2-3.   I am looking at a couple of pro games today however.  Here's another chance at investing glory or going down in flames. 

Give me the NY Jetskis +2.5 over Buffalo.  I hate picking Mark Sanchez but I think they are playing well while Buffalo is searching for who they are.  The road team seems to win this one a lot.  I'll take the points and a 1 point game.

I also like the under 42 in the Pittsburgh/Baltimore game.  Pitt has maybe found a defense and last year both teams were under 32 in both games.  I throw out week 1 as an anomaly, especially in light of what Jax did to Flacco. 

Stay luckier than me everyone.  At least in betting.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The days go too slow and the years go too fast

A couple of days ago, the PQ and I celebrated our 27th anniversary.  We didn't do anything overly special but I did take her out to dinner at an Italian place up the road that night.  Last year I took her to a really nice local place and would have taken her back there this time but I couldn't get a reservation before 8pm.  The place was closed for remodeling for quite a while, they redid the dining and kitchen areas, and since they reopened they've been pretty busy.  On a Thursday night when we had to work on Friday, we didn't want that late of a dinner.  So I checked around and this place in Palm Harbor had a good reputation and had no problem getting us in.

What a nice dinner we had.  Started with mushrooms stuffed with italian sausage in a sherry wine sauce which may have been the highlight of the meal.  The PQ had chicken saltimboca and I had veal abruzzi.  Both were delicious.  We also got a bottle of reisling to go with it.  When they showed us the wine list they told us every bottle was $29.  Not a terrible price for a bottle of decent wine at a restaurant.  Then I noticed they had Eroica which is a reisling that was produced by Chateau St Michelle in Washington state with the help of a famous German winemaker Dr Loosen.  When it came out it was listed as one of the best 100 wines in the world and I had tried it a couple of times and loved it.  It also normally goes for around $25 a bottle (maybe 21 or 22 at Total Wine, my favorite place to shop) so to get it for $29 at the restaurant was a steal.  The PQ had never had it so I'm not sure when I drank it without her but she loved it as well.  Needless to say we enjoyed a splendid dinner.  PQ was just raving about dinner to her sister a few minutes ago, especially the stuffed mushrooms.

Last night I had to referee a football game.  Kind of a weird game, a lot of turnovers and crazy stuff happened, and I was with a put together crew of guys I had not worked with before.  The head ref was very good though.  Both coaches were mad at us at different points, the visitors especially so after we spotted the ball favorably for the home team on a 4th down play and they made a first down by millimeters.  I had one oddball call for assisting the runner.  The visitors had gotten an interception and run it back to the home team's 20 yard line.  On first down they tried a run off tackle.  The runner got hit about 2 yards into the run but before he gets tackled one of his teammates grabs him and helps drag him forward.  They go 4 or 5 more yards.  Well since it happened right in front of me I felt it was my duty to drop a penalty flag for assisting the runner since you really aren't supposed to do that.  Unfortunately for the visitors that was the best thing to happen on that play.  Before the runner finally gets taken to the ground another guy hits him and knocks the ball out.  It falls to the ground and the home team recovers.  Visitors were unhappy about that as well but it was a good fumble.  If the runner hadn't been helped he would have fallen to the ground my earlier and never fumbled. 

No youth games for me today.  Today starts playoffs for the youth league.  They are playing games on both Saturday and Sunday.  I don't ref today but have 2 playoff games tomorrow.  Its nice to be able to rest today, I hurt my achilles a little last night.  Nothing too bad but it is sore a bit today.  Many years ago I was playing with my boys in the backyard.  I slipped on the grass and ruptured my achilles tendon pretty badly.  It occasionally bothers me today.  Luckily it is the other leg that is sore today.  I should be fine tomorrow I think but am glad I get today to rest. 

On to the short term investment strategy for today.  Last week was a very bad week.  Only Andrew Luck tying the game against USC and going to OT saved me from a goose egg.  1-4.  First bad week all year.  Then on Thursday, Transocean (RIG) reports a horrible quarter missing earnings by quite a bit.  The stock which I was up 10% on at the time got crushed, down over $7 a share in no time.  It finished the day falling from 56.5 to 49 and now I'm down a couple percent in it.  Friday it was up $1 so I am close to even.  I'm not crushed by this, I have faith RIG will turn it around and I almost sold out of something else to buy more shares.  Probably should have.  I plan on selling some stocks over the next 2 months.  I think the market will be pretty good through the end of the year so I am definitely selling some winners (and losers) to raise cash so that when the bear returns - which I think will happen within the next 6-9 months or less - I can pick up some bargains along the way.  I am keeping my gold positions and may even add to some of them.  I missed an opportunity to pick up some Yamana when it temporarily tanked when gold got hit last month.  It's now back up to 16 so I'm leaving off of that for now.  But I think they are in great position to take advantage of today's gold prices not to mention how gold may go a lot higher soon.  They are one of the lowest cost producers in the business and they have more and more gold coming out. I expect a very nice quarter from them on their next report.   Ok enough of the stock talk, now for the very short term investments.

I'm taking Alabama -4.5 in the big game against LSU.  2 things motivate this call.  Satan is the coach of Bama and Les Myles will never be confused with Jesus.  I have also heard the head of the sports book at Caesars said he would set the line at Bama -6 and take all the action he could get on LSU.  If he is that confident with Bama, so am I, and I only have to give 4.5. 

Give me UNC -3.5 over NC State.  Big rivalry game and NC State is just not very good.  4 wins but outside of beating a decent Virginia squad, they have wins against Liberty, Central Mich, and South Alabama.  Not Va Tech, Michigan, and Bama by any stretch.

I also like Washington getting 16 at home against Oregon.  This is a decent UW team but not in Oregon's class however Oregon may be caught looking ahead to their huge matchup with Stanford next week.  Its a home game for Washington and they're gonna be pumped up for this one.  I think Oregon wins a close one.  Last week that would translate to a 45-3 win for Oregon. We'll see about this week. 

Ow ow ow ow I just got a leg cramp in my calf.  Time for a V8.  I should have drunk one last night when I got home.   

I also might bet Virginia -3 over Maryland.   Maryland is terrible, I don't know how they beat  Miami early in the year cuz they are regressing.  After losing close ones to good Ga Tech and Clemson teams they get blown out by a decent FSU (next year they'll be a really good team) and then lost to a baaaad BC squad.  UVa is up and down, but they have victories against both Ga Tech and Miami sandwiching a loss to NC St.

I am also looking at Arkansas -5.5 at home vs South Carolina.  I liked this better at 4.5 but I might play it here anyway.  Arkansas is a better team, especially at home and though South Carolina is good I don't think they cover this. 

Well that's enough for now, gonna drag my aching leg into the shower and get ready for the day ahead.  Still putting together another unfortunately non-poker post.  Not much poker in my life, a little online small stakes stuff but I have been too busy with football and such to play much.  I did just get my winnings from my death pool victory last night.  200 bucks   Sweeet.  Well I hope you all have a great weekend.  Stay warm, it's even a little chilly here.  Last night was pretty cool and windy to boot.  When we went out for the pregame I was regretting not putting on my long sleeved shirt for the game but as soon as I started running around I warmed up quickly.  Hope my short term investments warm up as well.  Get lucky or stay lucky my friends.