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Random Thoughts

-I spent a few days down in Vegas last week prior to Thanksgiving, during which time I spent a day playing Beulah and Turf Paradise, a couple of tracks that I rarely play (actually, this was the first time playing Beulah for me). I had one of my better days cashing tickets in a long, long time, primarily due to avoiding expensive Pick 4's and playing logical bets. At Turf Paradise, trainer Mike Chambers (who was hitting at a red hot 42% coming into the day) had three horses entered. I structured a couple of win and daily double bets around his entries and scored nicely when all three won. I generally hate playing low-odds horses, but this experience really reinforced that if you structure your bets properly, you can create value out of low-odds horses.

Some quick thoughts on Vegas:

I love the sports book at The Bellagio as the drink service is quick and plentiful.

I hate the slots at The Bellagio - I don't think I've lost money quicker in my entire life other than dropping $100 bills on the sidewalk.

Casino Royale raised the minimum bet at their Craps tables from $1 to $3. I'd rather pay the $10 minimum at the big casinos and avoid the emphysema.

Safety tip for all gamblers: Avoid spending eight hours in the sportsbook playing the horses and drinking beer, going to dinner and drinking a bottle of wine, and then returning to the casino for more beer, cigars, and gambling, especially if the gambling includes $5 slots. This combination will cause you to be broke and hungover the next morning.

The buffet at The Bellagio was a reasonable $15.99 for breakfast and featured some kick ass crepes. I found the Keno cards at each table to be a nice touch.
-Prior to last Saturday's Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State I was somewhat pulling for the Beavers to make their first Rose Bowl in over 40 years. But after watching the Ducks absolutely dismantle the Beavs on their home field I am quite relieved that the Pac-10 (which is really weak this season) won't have two teams in the BCS. Given what we saw on Saturday, Oregon State didn't deserve a BCS bid.

-My Monmouth College Fighting Scots were eliminated from the DIII Playoffs last Saturday on a last second touchdown pass by Wartburg. It was a crushing loss after it looked like they had the game all locked up.

Monmouth returns a bunch of starters next season and should be the favorite to repeat as conference champs and return to the playoffs.

-With the bowl season right around the corner we've come to that absurd time in the college football season when polls and computers decide which teams get to play for the Mythical DI NCAA Championship. And just like every other year a host of commentators will tell us why we should not have a playoff system. They'll talk about the tradition of the bowls, about extra games for the "student-athletes", and any other excuse they can come up with. And in the end the issue of the National Champion will be decided by votes and CPUs...never mind that every other level of college football in this country has a playoff system. Division I will continue to use an outdated model to choose a pretend champion.

As a side note, you gotta love the Big 12 and the way they select the participants in their Conference "Championship" Game in the event of a tie.

The new motto for the Big 12 Conference:

We don't care if you actually beat other teams during the season, we only care what the computers think!
-How many days is it until the 2009 Kentucky Derby cause I need to start working on my dime superfecta bet. Oh wait, you mean Churchill Downs still hasn't settled their dispute with the horsemen that would allow their account wagering company, Twin, to take bets on their track? Never mind.

-The City of Seattle has proposed street car extensions/new routes in the next few years. One of the routes suggested would run from downtown Seattle across the Fremont Bridge into Ballard. (Map at The Seattle Times)

Finally, someone proposes an increase in public transportation to Ballard that doesn't include the words "more buses and bike lanes!". A line through Interbay to Magnolia wouldn't be a bad idea either.