The way I see it, he said
You just can't win it
Everybody's in it for their own gain
You can't please 'em all
There's always somebody calling you down
I do my best
And I do good business
There's a lot of people asking for my time
They're trying to get ahead
They're trying to be a good friend of mine
I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors
And no one's future to decide
You know I'd go back there tomorrow
But for the work I've taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song
I deal in dreamers
And telephone screamers
Lately I wonder what I do it for
If l had my way
I'd just walk out those doors
Down the Champs-Elysees
Going cafe to cabaret
Thinking how I'll feel when I find
That very good friend of mine - Joni Mitchell
The Correspondent and the Hawk assess battle damage across Mostar, 1990-something: Above. Click image to enlarge.
Requiring sustenance for the belly, mind and soul after a stunning post-octopus week, Farnell found same downtown River Town on a brisk and chilly Saturday following the Super Bowl. Bolstered by the belief that a local that's passed away is still hanging around a bit within the ancient village, he made sure the first flop-through was his Grandfather's Mecca from back in the day.
There are only three places local to break the early morning fast in River Town (not including cheese biscuits at Slatestone, just past the softball complex on Coach Sam Boulevard). Following a flash from Sterling -- requesting a brush pass via The Man from Cary's conduit -- it was an easy call, as only one of them rocking the poultry yolks downtown.
Mr Jason knows his bidness and executes same while still reflecting a most certain previous nuance of those that came before. Thus Farnell was able to enter the same back door his Grandfather led him through as a tyke some three score years earlier; proper lady folks in town were shocked that the old bootlegging bookmaker had carried his grandson in there while delivering the newest batch of 'shine and collecting the losing bets from the weekend.
One thing was certain, the white-gloved matrons agreed at church the following Sunday, neither would come to a good end.
Farnell smiled with the memory as he slid into his regular booth and contemplated the first of two burning questions that morn: Brisket or pork? Realising the second query -- Will the first Russian tactical nuclear warhead detonated in Ukraine generate a yield greater than 15 kt (Hiroshima '45 blast yield level) NO +180 -- could not be correctly analyzed and answered without a protein burst -- he went for Mr Jason's legendary brisket with much success.
With every table full in the back room, Farnell allows his mind to wander knowing he is in good hands; all three breakfast spots know the finest and kindest chow warriors and each with their own special blend of sweet tea. The cacophony of happy conversation all about as he consults with a colleague, a stark contrast to the smoke-filled pool room of his youth; he can still see the felt-burnished tables, the racks of cue, and the elevated leather shoe-shine chair.
Fortunately, the recollection of his seminal sip of Schlitz draft that day not as deeply embedded and, with his belly full and adhering to Moscow Rules, he Shep's his way to the front, settles the bill of fare, and generates an exit separate his entrance. Turning north out the door, the lad wanders a few shoppes up to see The Man from Cary, thinking about Jimmy's Newsstand during those brief, intervening moments of Teutonic calculation. Jimmy the Duke had turned him on to the Silver Age of Marvel back in the day; Farnell recalled fondly his early River Town tutors and thought, not for the first time, that whatever he was or was not, he owed a great debt of gratitude to those venerable elders back in the day.
Even in the South, one still finds poseur municipalities claiming to have a downtown without the requisite proper book store. Being iron to River Town's magnet, the young man from Wake County found his way to town and opened up shop and did it right, which Farnell appreciated some kind of shum mire; nothing better than a bookstore with a well-stocked used selection as well as the latest in all genres.
Farnell found the battered volume, serviced the drop, then acquired Asimov and a strong read before giving the proprietor the mandatory business reserved for those peeps making a positive contribution to the community; patiently, he explained the difference between the High School founded 1906 and the county consolidated schools not even forty years in existence.
Suddenly, a flash from the oldest city in the state changed the complexion of the entire day -- and put into question catching live music at the Two Rivers downtown, later that evening:
"Beaver ain't no good no more. Pull, Lemuel, pull!"
March Madness -- also known as the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship approaches. A total of sixty-three games over six rounds determines the outcome. Technically, there are 68 teams as four teams play-off for the last two slots and the good folks at Chapel Hill have volunteered to take one of those last spots.
(Actually, after State College run those blue bellies out of PNC Arena, they be movin' so fast you would have thunk Josey Wales was a bird-doggin' 'em -- they be begging for one of those spots.)
Like the Super Bowl, this tournament attracts a lot of unsophisticated plungers much as River Town draws righteous peeps to Stewart Parkway. Combine such with the explosion of legalised lower-stakes online gambling -- where an aggressive couple hundred can become five figures most Hurryin' Heinz with a few breaks -- and you have a recipe with a lot of ingredients, billions of them.
With football, analysis can only go so far, with college basketball analysis never concludes. More teams, fewer players and multiple-game weeks ensure a wide range of outcomes beyond the capacity of all but the most sophisticated handicapper to suss. The sharps will be on these individual games and are heavy favourites to win every time they take a side because they know the game better than The Man.
Keep in mind, when you start to wager your favourite team or other selections in the tourney, that by the time the number gets to you the value has been squeezed out of it. Sort of like Delaware Joe flopping into Ukraine but he ain't got the time to visit the national environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio -- in other words, if you are going that route you had better be able to pick them better than 54 percent of the time.
The Tourney offers an opportunity, like the Super Bowl, for a highly leveraged, monstrous payoff due to the increased field participants and the nature of the event running three weeks. By leverage we mean elevated force-multipliers generated by high-value, high-odds futures tickets. Simply put, these are the anvils which each time our selection strikes (advances) we go deeper into the theoretical money (being theoretical, this one of the few times money more correct than currency in usage terms).
Once these leveraged plays advance, opportunities for those lovely middles begin to pop up. Holding these positions early can make all the difference. If by some miracle one of the teams goes all the way and actually cashes the original ticket that is one heck of a windfall -- and will definitely impact your whole weekend. (Valvano delivers the mail -- 1983!)
Careful reading of Farnell's gibberish above the asterisks indicates he has accepted the assignment to replicate last season's strategy and -- some two weeks before the tourney tips -- the first team to acquire (last year there were four at the start) is Duke. We are not sure why, but the Farnell Gambit calls for selecting high payoff teams ante-tourney -- with the only consideration in mind whether they can reasonably make it through the first two rounds to the Sweet 16.
Any selection that does so is theoretically in the money big time whether they win another game or not. We suspect he feels the price will never be higher and that Duke likely to get hot by ACC tourney time and the price (value) will then drop. Two risks involved going early like this in exchange for the higher odds payoff: something can happen in the form of injury or such or you end up with other than the ideal scenario-bracket where each team is in a separate region -- where none of your teams can knock another one out until the Final Four.
Should you ever find two of your very high-odds futures teams facing each other in this Final Four scenario, you will already be so far ahead on leveraged hedges and possible middles you likely will be up ten times the original ticket price with one ticket still alive when the smoke clears. One can only hope, but sometimes the Octopus does come ashore.
Do we think Duke will win the National Title this year? We have no idea as we don't watch basketball and don't even know who the new coach is there. What we do know is Farnell indicates there is value in establishing a position on them -- so next we check the latest price and calculate our baseline unit level.
A few quick looks indicate Duke opened the season +900 (9-1) to win it all and now are out there between +5000 (50-1) and +6000 (60-1) before Monday night's home contest with Louisville. We sense, at that elevated price, they aren't even sure to make the Big Dance and that part of the big payoff.
Doesn't matter. Duke is Duke and if they get in they can win against anybody. We don't want to establish more than one team before the field is set because any next team added will have a twenty five X .934ish percent chance of being in the same bracket as Duke. Do that one more time, and the math works exponentially heavier against us with three teams acquired before the field is set.
Our first March Madness futures call here is DUKE +6000 for two units and right now all we need is for them to make the field of 64. They make it there and with a price this high we don't have to wait for the third round to start leeching quam out of this monster price. Then again, should they generate a strong run in the ACC Tourney -- and then be favoured in their early March Madness games...
See the middle -- be the middle!