There is nothing big or clever or grown-up about wallowing in other people’s misery

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So says Bert, who continues:

Fortunately, nobody here has ever claimed to be big or clever or grown-up? Anyone like to take a guess at what the following sequence of numbers is?

245, 304, 268, 309, 98, 258, 280, 281, 273, 210, 411, 316, 488, 284, 47

Yes, that’s right – it was an easy one. If the 47 at the end wasn’t enough of a clue, the 98 in the middle really should have given it away. Mmmm, 98 – my favouritest of numbers.

Anyway, here is a graph:

We like the lower ones

  • The upper red line is The Internationally Accepted Standard of Good
  • The middle red line is The Internationally Accepted Standard of Basic Competence
  • The lower red line is The Internationally Accepted Standard of Barely Avoiding Embarrassment

The mean of these numbers is 271, which as you can see is below the Internationally Accepted Standard of Basic Competence. The median, which allows us to set aside the exceptional numbers like 47 and (mmmm) 98, is 280. This is also below the Internationally Accepted Standard of Basic Competence.

So what we have here is exactly one third of the numbers being acceptable or good, and two-thirds being bad. Actually, if we’re being accurate we should say that only 8/15ths of the numbers are strictly ‘bad’, the other two being better described by the more technical term ‘catastrophically hilarious’.

But enough of this schadenfreude (German – lit: the state of being an Englishman in 2011). In 2008 it was said that the generating engine of these numbers was ‘in transition’. And indeed, the numbers prove that this was true. They were transitioning from being very good, through being ordinary, right the way out the other side towards being crap.


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  1. Brilliant,

    I want to see the other graph, showing runs conceded over that time, just so that I can see

    517 – 1

    In big letters somewhere!!

    1. Whoa there, KC, steady on. I don’t want Matt to think I’m one of those people who can only express themselves through statistics and graphs, because that subset of the overall population is almost entirely congruent with the set which has no intersection (or inter anything) with 50.5% of the population.

      In symbols:

      ME ∉ [STATOS]
      [STATOS] ∩ [NERDS] = [STATOS]
      [NERDS] ∩ [WOMEN] = Ø


  2. “For small values of forty-seven, forty-seven can be approximated by zero”.

    – Euclid: Elements, Chapter 1, Axiom 8.

    1. Brilliant. And mathematically true as well.

      It reminds me of that line about the chances of winning the lottery being the same whether you buy a ticket or not, but it is better because it is about the Australians.

      Did I say it was brilliant?

  3. Sometimes it’s not the outright number that’s important. 23 for 9, TWENTY-THREE FOR NINE, will be etched on my brain for all time.

  4. At a stretch, 100 could be The Internationally Accepted Standard of being a Complete Laughing Stock. 21/9 is a new, wondrous, number which has the English language in a bind. Is this Australia’s way of getting back for the Ashes defeat?

  5. Inexplicable it was, that Day 2. However, I think this from Shane Watson might come closest to explicing it:

    “I think my mindset was wrong. My mindset was like it always is, aggressive, but I also had to make sure I got through a certain period of time because I knew the ball was still swinging and seaming around enough to be able to put doubt in your mind [as to] where the ball’s going to be.

    “There’s no doubt that my mindset, in the end, was wrong. Unfortunately I think if all our batsmen look back, our mindsets were wrong and how we approached it. We definitely thought that we were going to be able to get a decent total and unfortunately we got nowhere near that.”

    He’s good. He is very good. We’ll have a Words of Watson section here soon.

    1. All my life I thought I was simply cr&p at batting. But now I realise, it’s simply that my mindset has been wrong.

      So much easier for me to adjust my mindset than to have a talent transplant or come back as a proper cricketer in some future life.

      I’m healed. Praise to you, Shane Watson, and glory be. I am healed.

    1. Don’t get too excited, Bert, it’s probably another of Sarah’s five minute wonders. She went through a massive “crush on Ged” phase back in the Venn era, if I recall correctly.

      Or was that lots of other girls, but not Sarah? Or did I imagine all of that “crushes on Ged” stuff?

      I’ll go lie down again, I think.

    2. Ged lies down, closes his eyes, and smiles an innocent smile.

      From outside, through the window, a bunch of people look on, tut-tutting and imagining what could’ve been.

      They were all wearing lab coats.

    3. Is it me, Sarah? Is it really me? Or is it the graphs? I’ve been let down like that before, many, many times. Oh sure, at first it all seems fine, but sooner or later it always comes back to the graphs. Can you graph this information for me, darling? Would you mind awfully representing these data in a visually appealing yet still informative way, duckie? Oh yes, one way or another, it always comes back to the graphs.

      Or is it that small black square that appears next to my comments that suggests an air of mystery? Honestly, I am getting a bit tired of relationships entirely founded on one square centimetre of colour, or lack thereof. I can’t help it if my actual face isn’t an exact square, can I?

      Or is it confusion between me and Burt Bacharach (you wouldn’t have thought that could happen three times, would you)?

    4. I don’t wish to be unkind, Ged, but I don’t recall having a crush on anyone here but Bert. I’m so sorry if that wounds. I do like your Venn diagrams, though.

      Sam – if your girl comment was directed at me, I’m actually a woman. KC has met me & hopefully will confirm this, if indeed such confirmation is required.

      And Bert – it’s not just the graphs. Don’t get me wrong, the graphs are an attractive extra dimension, but it’s so much more than just the graphs. Neither is it the black square, nor any Burt Bacharach confusion. How could I muddle you up with a “U Burt” when you are an “E Bert”? No! Quite simply you make me laugh. Laugh a lot. The graphs are merely the icing on your very rich cake.

      Incidentally, I got quite excited then on first reading your reply to my post. I thought you had called me darling, but no. I realise earning that endearment from you won’t come easily and I’ve steeled myself for disappointment.

    5. Thank you for the confirmation, KC, Similarly I can reassure everyone that you are indeed a man. Why the party pooping, though? Chiding against rather than encouraging a mutual admiration & respect on here? Shame!

    6. If you let people go around building relationships with other people the whole time, pretty soon you end up with society.

      And you know how we feel about society.

  6. This is like kicking a defenceless little puppy.

    I think what Australia need right now is some love and understanding. They try hard, bless ’em. It isn’t their fault they’re so poor. The Australian cricket system just doesn’t produce international quality players.

    I’m sure we’ll still welcome them over for the Ashes, even if they aren’t able to make a contest of it. They always create a nice atmosphere, even if the cricket doesn’t live up to it.

    1. No hints there I’m afraid, honeybunch. But these are just lovely pictures. All those people who have King Cricket bookmarked for a daily cricket laugh should also bookmark your site – you get to the essence of cricket with your photos.

    2. Am genuinely touched by that comment – there can be no higher compliment. Thank you.

      I’m quite glad your true identity is still secret – rather adds to your air of mystery!

  7. I am Australian. we are about to see a revolutionary competition called the Big Bash start. This will teach our up and coming batsmen to value their wicket and bat for long periods of time. No more 9/21 for us.

    1. You’re right, we are buggered aren’t we? I’m trying to figure out where the point will be that marks the transition between the remembered glory that makes all this funny instead of painful and the point where it actually begins to hurt.

      I’m thinking 2013. Don’t see any improvement on the horizon between now and then, so 2013 is probably going to be it.

      For now, though, 21/9, that is bloody hilarious.

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