Expert Tease
Published: July 20th, 2010
By: Jim Mullen

Expert tease

Paul, the Genius German Octopus correctly picked the last eight winners of the recent World Cup soccer finals. I am hoping that my stockbrokers will offer the cephalopod a job. Paul certainly couldn’t do worse than their “experts,” and they wouldn’t have to pay him nearly so much. The only difference between Bernie Madoff and my broker is that Bernie Madoff was a crook. My guy loses the same amount of money; he just doesn’t steal it. I was planning on using that money for food and medicine during my declining years, which have already started, according to my friends. I know that they are my friends because total strangers wouldn’t say such hurtful things.

Paul the Octopus picked the winners by pulling food out of containers marked with the flags of one team or another. I have not figured out how my money managers pick the losers, but they have been on an uncanny streak for almost three years now. Maybe they hide random company logos in expensive Wall Street restaurants, and whichever one the stockbroker eats on his expensed lunch that day becomes his pick. It replaces the system they used before, which was racing cockroaches. For this they take a 2-percent management fee.

It’s not just stocks; experts who predict all manner of things fill up huge hunks of TV time. Like my stockbroker, they are usually wrong. Paul the Octopus could replace them and the thousands of people who make a career out of picking things before they happen. Who will win the best actress Oscar? Who will the candidate pick for vice president? Who will win the World Series? Who will win the Super Bowl? Who will the Bachelorette pick? Who will win the Kentucky Derby? Someone even prognosticated how many correct predictions Paul the Octopus would make. Can he do it one more time? Sure, we could just wait until these events happen and then we would know the results, but that seems to be out of fashion.

For months people will debate who will win the Oscars. The day after we know for sure who won, the discussion is over. We hear the predictions ten times more than we hear the facts. It’s no wonder that some people probably still believe Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton or Osama bin Laden to be his vice president, as it was often predicted that he would.


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