The feats of computers, with which we are daily impressed, are not, we feel, necessarily cause for rejoicing; indeed, it often seems to us that these machines are getting out of line, as, for example, when they fix someone up with a blind date. In cases like this nothing cheers us more than to hear that the computer has fallen down on the job. Perhaps we are just rooting for the underdog, who in this day and age is evidently the human being.
This is by way of introducing Brian Moniesen of Chicago, who works for Computer Concepts, Inc. and owns and trains harness horses. What Moniesen is up to is handicapping harness races with a computer. Moniesen and his missus do research on various factors—form, consistency, chance to win, speed, class, overall rating and so forth. Then Moniesen transfers the dope to punch cards and tapes. It takes his rented computer 10 seconds to make the picks for the 10 races at Sportsman's Park.
How is the machine doing? Moniesen claims it's been right around 33% of the time. Man, in his sublime ignorance, would have won 39% of his bets playing only favorites at Sportsman's.
However, Moniesen's computer has had a profound effect on the old-fashioned, I'm-only-human newspaper handicapper. Chicago's American is printing the computer's selections, and, apparently, there's nothing like the hot breath of automation on a working stiff's neck. One night last week, Elmer Polzin of the American had seven winners at Sportsman's Park, and the next night he came back with five. Way to go, Elmer. All of us out here in the human race are with you.
Our candidate for Opportunist of the Week is M. R. Rutherford of Memphis, whose property has been stripped of vegetation and thoroughly plowed over as the aftermath of one of the most lurid murder trials in the city's history.
Louis Montesi, a wealthy grocery executive, was convicted of killing his wife. The case involved scarlet women from Boston, Montesi's charge that the crime was committed by another man and a libel suit brought against Montesi by the accused.
After Montesi was sentenced his attorneys claimed to have a lead on the still-undiscovered weapon, a pistol; hence the search of Rutherford's "willows, weeds and water."
It was all fine by Rutherford, who has announced his intention to build a driving range on the cleared land.
THE MEN FROM THE BOYS
At certain horse tracks in Ontario there is no age requirement for betting, a state of affairs that evidently distressed some delegates to a conference of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police last week. The chiefs, mirabile dictu, heard of 9-year-olds getting their bets down, and Chief F. W. Illingworth of Hanover, Ont. told of watching a 12-year-old boy place a $2 bet and, what's more, go back and collect $300 in winnings. "It was ridiculous," said Illingworth. It was not clear what the chief thought ridiculous, the boy betting or the boy winning, or both, but the way we see it, if you're tall enough to reach the $2 window, you're man enough to bet.