The Weirdest Things People Have Bet On … Ever

Humans are a strange species. For one, we are the only mammals in the world drinking the milk of another species – and not only other mammals but plants, too (forgive the pun).
The best thing about being the weirdest species on this planet, though, is that we have no other similar species to compare ourselves to – all others are below our level of intelligence and civilization (or at least that’s what we think).
And, at least as far as we know, we are the only species that gambles – risking something we already have for an often slim chance of having more. Betting on different things is normal today, especially in the age of online bets and smartphones – but people usually limit their wagers to the outcome of sporting events, especially those that are on the top of the popularity list – football, rugby, cricket, and various contact sports.

Except when they don’t.

Sometimes, people bet on things that makes fellow humans raise at least one eyebrow (maybe even both).

Believing that their kids are special is normal for every parent out there – but actually placing bets (with money, at bookmakers) on the same is a tad unusual. Yet it’s not unheard of – the specialty press speaks of several football players, for example, with families so confident that they actually bet on their success. Leeds United’s midfielder Lewis Cook, for example, made his granddad a rich(er) man (by GBP 17,000 or over R300,000, to be exact) by playing his first international match before he turned 21 – old man Cook placed his bet in 2014 at odds of 33 to 1.

Welsh footballer Harry Wilson made an even bigger dream come true: his grandfather placed a bet on his football success back when he was just 18 months old. 50 quid with odds of 2500 to one have turned into GBP 125,000 (or almost R2.5 million) before he turned 17.

But the most amazing bets have still been placed on politics – modern-day politics, that is, and things that have made it into the mainstream media.
A man, for example, placed a bet on Scotland staying with the United Kingdom before the 2014 referendum. And he was so sure of his prediction being the correct one that he was willing to risk GBP 900,000 (more than R17 million) on it, at odds of 5 to 2. His actual winnings were just GBP 200,000 on this bet but he won, nevertheless.
An old lady in the US was not this lucky – she bet all her life savings (almost R10 million) on Hillary Clinton winning the US elections in 2016, and lost. Hotel Owner John Mappin was, in turn, more than convinced that Donald Trump would win the elections – his winnings worth GBP 100,000 (almost R2 million) stand witness to his prediction skills.

People are strange. Funny, but strange – especially when it comes to betting.

Making the list

Did something happen? I mean, I’m only asking because everything seems to be a bit crap with stuff online at the moment.

The internet is slow (ok, so no change there), my ifollow app didn’t want me to watch Sheffield United playing yesterday*, logins aren’t working, the latest update of the Jetpack plugin on WordPress is clearly borked, my Gmail had a wobble on Friday and still hasn’t really recovered.

That sort of thing.

And it’s not just here at 6000 Towers – I have had reports from others troubled by similar issues both in Cape Town and further afield.

Nothing major. Nothing huge or life-threatening. It’s all just a bit iffy.
And all really irritating.

But I can’t really lay the blame for this solely on the internet: there are a million** small to medium jobs that need attending to around the house as well.

Equally minor. Equally irritating.

This weekend marks a bit of a watershed in my life. I’ll likely elaborate on that more in a future post or seventeen, but I’m hopeful that these minor issues can now be sorted, one by one.

Still, the trouble with making plans to address these things is that some sort of priority system needs to be implemented if there’s to be any sort of meaningful progress. That system needs to be based on not just how urgent the task is, but also how annoying it is not having it done, how long it’s going to take to complete, whether or not it can run concurrently with other stuff, and whether it’s something I can do myself or whether it’s something that I have to rely on others to fix.

Thus, even making the list is a fairly difficult process. But without it, nothing will get done, and so that is priority number one.

I might get around to it tomorrow.

 

* still, ain’t no win like a 93rd minute win. 🙂

** this is clearly a ridiculous exaggeration.

Apartment To Let

From time to time, I like to help people out by mentioning their cause on this blog.
This is one of those times.

Here’s it:

Apartment To Let

Observatory, Cape Town.
Unfurnished.
Top floor of brand new building.
Excellent security, communal gym, rooftop braai area, pool.
2 bed, 2 bath.
2 secure parking spaces.
Viewz. For. Dayz. (Devils Peak, Lions Head, Waterfront, Harbour, Table Bay…)
Available now.
R11500pm.

Apparently, that’s R500 less than other similar units, so don’t hang around.

For more details – including more photos – drop me an email at:

and I’ll put you in touch with the people who are waiting for your call.

Oh, and please share this widely in case that dream tenant is on your timeline.
Thanks.

And that was it…

This morning – right now, in fact – I find myself sitting in front of a computer in an office adjoining a laboratory.

This isn’t right, is it? Is it?

Surely there should be boats and fields and seaside and beer and family and sunshine?

Sure there should be… freedom?

But no. We’re back, after yesterday’s marathon twenty-something hour trip. It’s been a truly amazing few weeks away and I’m not quite ready for this sudden return to work. There’s sleep to make up, thoughts to process, photos to edit, stories to share (oh, so many stories – this one was eventful), reviews to post.

And on top of all that, there’s real life to catch up on.

I’m in that weird place between the exhilaration of travel and the crushing realisation that it’s all over. Limbo. A twilight zone.

Forgive me while I get things in order here.

Believe me, I’ll be in touch soon.

OK, so what follows is…

OK, so what follows is… well, for the next few weeks at least… is a combination of pre-written posts and juicy fresh content.

Pre-written posts because I want to have a break without having to be concerned about needing to blog every day, and there’s no way I can guarantee a decent (or indeed any) internet connection wherever we may be. But I recognise that there’s a demand for blog posts on here and I want to keep that record of a post every day going. Because I’m a bit obsessive like that.

Deal with it.

Also, I’m trying an experiment whereby I publish a post at the same time each day: 0800 CAT in this particular case (like this one, see?). Apparently, this is the best way to blog [citation required], although I tend to just post stuff once it’s written. And usually it’s not written by 0800 CAT. However, when you’re writing stuff in advance, it’s always written by 0800 CAT. So I’m giving it a go.

Oh, and juicy fresh content because I enjoy blogging, because my most important reader is me and because there will inevitably be things I will want to share while we’re away. If interest, internet and inclination ever meet (and I’m sure that they will), I’ll be popping thoughts, photos, opinions and whatever else on here.

Keep up with updates by following me on twitter or Facebook.

Weirdly (for us at least), we’re only flying out later this evening, so we’ve got a spare day to get all those last minute jobs to get done. Hair will be cut, the beagle will be bathed, the housesitters will get their final instructions, decisions on which bottles of brandy will be packed will be made (spoiler: it’s most of them).

I am trembling with mounting anticipation.