Shelly B convinced me that my reluctance to wager substantial sums of money on political outcomes was foolish, and so yesterday I signed up for a TradeSports account. I saw immediately that Bustamante was overpriced in the California election, and that the recall failing was underpriced, so I bet about $100 or so between these two outcomes. Today, the prices were more in line with rationality, and so I was able to sell and make, subtracting fees, about a $6 profit, or twice as much in a day as what I would make in a year if I put the same money in a passbook savings account. Or, alternatively, given the time involved, I made about as much as I could make working a minimum wage job, only this way I had to risk money.
I did make some other bets, including one speculating that there was more than a 40% chance that Saddam Hussein would be captured by the end of the year. My feeling is that people have given Hussein a mystique that underestimates his true probability of being captured, given that his sons and top aides have been successfully captured, but we will see how that turns out.
So far, I am not worried about this turning into some kind of self-destructive hobby. Certainly, not as destructive as my recent addictive turn toward trashy mystery novels. Or, some would say, the weblog.