Jul. 18th, 2005

peterbirks: (Default)
It isn't looking to be a good year for ex-prime ministers. Considering the fact that Tony had ruled the roost for nearly eight years, the survival on January 1 of Callaghan, Heath, Thatcher, and Major was a major blow to annuity providers. But by the end of the year there are likely to be but two ex-prime ministers alive, and Margaret is looking dodgier on her pins every day.

Heath will probably go down as the man whose commitment to Europe got us in in the first place, although of more interest to macro-economists would be his "drive for growth" from 1970 to 1973. The great "what if" here is, would it have worked had the oil crisis not blown it off the rails? The probable answer is, no, if only because Tony Barber, nominally Heath's Chancellor, but probably little more than a gopher, was renowned for his hopelessness at economics.

And now it looks like we will be getting "Thatcher Lite" in Germany before the end of the year. Angela Merkl, definitely a better choice than the quixotically selected Edmund Stoiber for the last CDU/CSU vs SPD battle, seems to be putting forward reform proposals that could have been stolen from the Thatcher 1979 manifesto (with the exception of the real vote winner -- sell the council houses off at a knock down price). The funny thing about many Germans is that they spend most of their time reflecting on how miserable they are, and yet as a nation they have roads that work, public transport that works, and the most amazing amount of free time -- well, those employed in the state sector or within the financial sector do. Now they want to get rid of that and become more like us and the Americans, with no free time, no job security and a public transport infrastructure creaking at the knees.

Sometimes it seems an odd world.
peterbirks: (Default)
Looks like the Birks is heading for the third losing week on the trot. An unutterably miserable three hours on Ultimate tonight playing $3-$6 in an attempt to work off a bonus that so far has cost me about $350 and may well cost me another couple of hundred more by the time the last $33 disappears off the "money pending" list.

I made the schoolboy mistake, mentioned in Feeney, of imagining that I was playing $15-$30 when in fact I was playing $3-$6. In one particular case I was convinced that a player was making a move on me — a view which, in retrospect, had no justification whatseoever. So, it turned out that he didn't have a bare AK in the hole that left him with just the fives on board, but a pair of nines that gave him the full house nines over fives. Kabang, another $50 basically thrown away because I gave the opposition too much credit.


Near the end the game was just horrific. I swear that there were eight players at the table who wouldn't play anything less than a pair of eights unless they were defending their blind (in which case they lowered their parameters to sevens) or they were on the button, in which case they were quite likely to reraise you with any pair whatsoever. I swear it was a table more aware of the strength of position than the average $15-$30 table on Party. And I was doing all this for some poxy $100 bonus...

Still, needs must, and these sessions will happen. I could have kept the loss down to $30 if I hadn't played some hands as if they were made of steel. These players do not check-raise on the turn with drawing hands and they do not put out tester bets. It isn't in their vocabulary. The ridiculous thing is that Feeney writes about this and it's one of the things that I almost have tattoed on my forearm so that I don't forget it, and yet I still get into battles because I think that this time, just maybe, they are trying one on. And, of course, they aren't.

I had a period of this when I was playing the $2-$4 and $3-$6 games on 'Stars, which promptly vanished when I moved up a couple of levels. Although you know that these are ABC players and that if you follow simple principles their hands are an open book, you keep convincing yourself that perhaps they have just this once decided to play a bit clever. And the relative smallness of the stakes makes you even more inclined to call.

Next thing you know you have turned into a maniacal calling station and you are doing your bollocks left right and centre :-)

And with that, I'm going to bed.

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