Friday Fun: All Blacks, by the numbers

Just how good is the current All Black side? The Economist can be relied upon to hunt down a quantitative answer, so if you want to know the win/loss percentage against any tier one side versus the All Black (at a neutral ground) then you should take this article as your starting point. I say starting point because it links to an even more detailed stats website focused on rugby if you wish to lose the better part of next week to the subject. 

But if you want to know how the All Blacks got this way, especially when you want to see how it came to be from an outsider's perspective, then you should take in this long article which covers the game from a grass-roots training and development perspective

Chance and Probability

If you are interested in risk then probability is a cousin to it, and the study of games of chance and probability distant ancestors of actuarial science. You may therefore enjoy this post about the predictability of different choices people make even in games of so-called chance. It caught my interest because I discovered that my 8-year old son was able to win a many, many more of games of rock, paper, scissors, because he had figured out that his class mates were predictable in their choices. Link

The 'tween days

Our kids had to be chased back to bed on Christmas morning at 3.44am! One of my best presents was chosen by my four-year-old son (Matthew). He 'bought' (with Mum's assistance) a Nerf Gun. It's a Nerf N-Strike with night finder sight - that's the cool red dot that you can scan mennacingly along a wall towards your intended target. You can have a look here. Although I have since discovered that you can get fully automatic Nerf weapons complete with big banana-clips full of ammo. I suspect I shall have to obtain something like that for the office.

Although Barrel of Monkeys was not one of our gifts we did spot this review which makes a good case for BoM (as it is known to afficionados) being the gold standard in fun, indeed, the yardstick by which all other fun is measured. Apetastic!

Actually I did receive Dixit, which is a beautiful game. It's won dozens of awards, but best of all has a dreamlike quality in its presentation. If you've been raised on an Anglo-Saxon diet of average board games (like Cluedo) right on down to the truly awful (which is Monopoly, in my humble opinion) then you may have a jaded view of these cheerful family-focused diversions. Try German board games, try Dixit, try Settlers of Catan. Hell, try Barrel of Monkeys!

Well, there were still four page views on Christmas day, so whether those were just miss-keys or perhaps, like me, a few of you needed to escape the constant badgering to build something out of lego, put batteries in a new toy, or prepare for the next meal - I just don't know. However, I love to write, so I will keep up the odd post in these days between Christmas and New Year just to keep in touch.

Speaking of the next meal, I did a whole baked salmon. I found a Tesco's video clip to enable me to break this new ground, and it was easy - and looked very impressive.

Our holiday programme of activity includes picking up visitors from the UK the day after tomorrow and a trip down to Ohakune for a few days. A friend has recently bought a property that sits right next to a trout stream and has a lovely view of the mountain. Later in January we have a short trip to Nelson.

Work-wise I have a couple of projects which need to keep getting pushed along over the next couple of weeks so we can be off to a flying start in the New Year. The most I can say about those is that it is really encouraging that after the worst few years financial services has seen in a long time there are still people who are keen to do innovative new work in the field.




Out mountain biking I have managed to plant my head on the ground followed rapidly by the rest of me and the bike. I prised my glasses out of a fresh new groove across the bridge of my nose and the kids stood around giving me status updates while the stars cleared from my eyes:

"Dad, there's blood coming from your nose" says Jacob

"...and a cut by your eye" added Sophia

"...and on your cheek" chips in Jacob again

"Now bloods coming from the top of your nose" (both, excitedly)

Thanks for that. 

No, I won't post a photo.

On the upside, the bike was fine.

Friday Fun - Anagrams

You can have all sorts of fun with anagrams, here is an anagram generator which might interest you - and a selection of names run through the machine. The greatest mental challenge for me was deciding which names I could actually use, so if your name is on the list it's because I think you can take it, which is a compliment.

Mike Maloney's anagram name is MAN OILY MEEK

Rob Dowler's anagram name is BOLDER ROW

Alan Rafe's anagram name is ANAL FEAR

David Chaplin's anagram name is VIP AND A CHILD

...and in the case of these three whom I do not know personally, the results are just too good to miss.

Simon Power's anagram name is PROMISE NOW

Annabelle Cotton's anagram name is NOT NOTABLE CLEAN

Jane Diplock's anagram name is CLIP AND JOKE


How to guide...

I just got this from a friend: How to win brownie points on returning home from lovely evening: "Honey, I will run the babysitter home tonight".

But if you are lazy and slightly devilish, assuming your babysitter is, as usual, a young woman, simply insert just before the word 'babysitter' the following words: "delicious young" - and you can be guaranteed you won't have to run her home again ;-)


Golf. Even non-golfers must have a passing knowledge of the game in order to get by in business especially financial services - such is the extent of this affliction amongst the commercial community. It has much the same relationship to business that coffee does - it is almost synonymous with the doing of business in some circles. At times the extent of the affliction is such that commerce is merely a cover for the true purpose of gatherings - the indulgence in golf.

During the early nineties some brave medical staff explored the attractiveness of crack cocaine. It provides a relatively safe, vivid and yet shortlived 'high'. Surely golf has some similarity to this. Even in my limited exposure to the game, tantalisingly, occasionally, one can hit a good ball. That shortlived high. But then one must hunt for it again. The crack analogy applies perhaps especially to the devotees of a particular form of the golf addiction. I refer of course to the testosterone charged pursuit of the longest drive.

"He can hit a big ball" is uttered in hushed tones in the restrooms of the towers of high finance - and it is indeed a complement. This is not the pursuit of just the alpha-male silverbacked primates of the financial jungle. It does, in fact, require considerable accuracy and finesse. Timing, stance, strength - yes - but ability more than anything else is required. Personally, I am hopeless at it. My first drive trickled onto the fairway in front of a large crowd. It has improved only a little since. However one seriously long driver is Mike Maloney. Mike is one of the founders of the New Zealand Long Drive Association. Can you hit a big ball? email him


I was once reading one of those 'har har, look how thick Americans must be' articles which reported that something like 75% of Texans could not name the neighbouring states.

So I did a little test, pulled out the atlas and identified the four contries closest to New Zealand as the Boeing flies (made by those poor, stupid, Americans). and asked the next dozen people I met. Only two got it right. I must admit I figured our situation made the challenge a little tougher than it should be for the average Texan, but it did make me think - it's just not THAT important to know is it?

A teacher friend of mine has just sent me the following link. Saying somethin a bit similar, but much more elegantly. "It's more important to know how to use an atlas, than know where each country is from memory".

Nevertheless, this is fun. If you think my score of only 83% with an average error of 33 miles was bad, you just have a go. It is trickier than you think!

Framley Examiner

Anyone who has found themselves in the bathroom with only the local paper for company will identify with this example of the art. I have started you off with the classifieds section only because I felt it proper to refer you to just some of the cleaner content (yes, that IS a warning for those of you with aggressive corporate internet use policies).