HOW TO LOSE A BILLION DOLLARS IN ONE DAY

“Should I offer up my hand, And save a wish for once, For all of us.”
-Shinedown, “Lost in the Crowd”

The time has come for college basketball enthusiasts and gamblers to shine; it’s time for people to discover schools they never knew existed; it’s time for people that never wager hard-earned money and contribute to one of the millions of office or family pools; it’s time for people slack off at work on Thursdays and Fridays; it’s time for people to switch their priorities, drink at lunch, and have dinner delivered at night; it’s time for no distractions and to stress over uncontrollable events concerning people you have no affiliation with; and it’s time to rejoice once again in the name of sport. March Madness has officially begun.

To understand March Madness, a person must understand the staple of the tournament: the bracket; the life and death of teams, fans, and gamblers. There are 68 teams invited to compete in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship; some shouldn’t have been there (BYU), others should have (SMU), and then the filler teams that are rewarded a ticket to the big dance for winning their respective conferences (take your pick from someone that lost badly over the weekend).

Filling out a bracket is a craft. People print multiple copies and draft different scenarios. They submit several entries online to various contests, enter their office pools, bet with their friends, and attempt to obtain ultimate glory and bragging rights within the family. They spent hours deciding whether or not Stephen F. Austin would upset Virginia Commonwealth, became aware of strange schools like Wofford (go Terriers), and begin to ponder why so many universities are called the vague “Wildcats” when “Bobcats” or “Cougars” would be more fitting (“Jaguarundis” in Florida). Maybe the popular name was chosen because there are so many universities and colleges in America that they just gave up on picking a different mascot and focused on, I don’t know, teaching students. You can’t bet on teachers and watch them compete all day in the NCAA Teacher Championships, so let’s move on. Then again, I’m sure there are plenty of Wildcats roaming the streets of the greater Philadelphia area.

wildcat flickr com
Photo courtesy of Flickr.com

It’s hard not to bet with your heart (go Lobos), but your brain should be doing most of the work (stupid Lobos). It’s kind of like the old cliché about how a man thinks with his penis and not his head (the top one). There needs to a balance between what a person wants to happen and what they truly think will happen. It can even be something obsessive-compulsive like not having all blue teams in the final four because that would be annoying (Sorry Creighton, Duke, Florida, and Villanova; three of you lost because of that); a person needs to be realistic from time to time. The possibility of teams that are disliked winning a championship is very probable because no one likes a show-off program that wins all the time.

However, there will be upsets, teams aren’t cursed if they don’t win yet again, and jinxing an opponent is nearly superstition, but still worth a shot. If teams were cursed and superstitions worked, then no one would ever win the championship which is very improbable. On the other hand, maybe there are more powerful curses and jinxes, but as of right now we have statistical history to fall back on.

Lowest seed to reach the Final Four: 11 (Woodburn, 2014).
Lowest seed to win the Championship: 8 (Woodburn, 2014)
Number 1 seed to win the Championship: 18 (Whenham, 2014)
Times a 16 seed has defeated a 1 seed: 0 (Woodburn, 2014)
Times a 15 seed has defeated a 2 seed: 7 (Woodburn, 2014)
Times a 14 seed has defeated a 3 seed: 17 (Woodburn, 2014)
Times a 13 seed has defeated a 4 seed: 25 (Woodburn, 2014)
Times a 12 seed has defeated a 5 seed: 41 (Woodburn, 2014)
Times an 11 seed has defeated a 6 seed: 39 (Woodburn, 2014)
Number 7 or 10 seed reaching the Final Four: 0 (Whenham, 2014)
Overall win-loss difference of an 8 seed vs. 9 seed since 1985: 4 (Whenham, 2014)

There’s no need to worry or become distraught because there is (was) a billion dollars to win this year fresh out of Warren Buffet’s pocket. The chance alone should serve as motivation, but considering the improbability it’s more likely that servers will shut down from the amount of entries submitted. For example: it took over two hours for the email confirmation to show up in virtual inboxes.

The real odds are in Quicken Loans’ favor. This was obviously a ploy for the company to gain all your information. If anyone went through the process they are already aware that your mortgage rate has nothing to do with basketball, but it was required information to gain access to the pool (as was the sneaky way you needed a code via text). Some companies pay employees a nice salary to be that discreet about their true intentions. They must have obtained their degree from one of those schools that concentrate on academics instead of basketball.

Sarcasm aside, those smart kids also figured this out.

Odds of guessing (sorry, scientifically evaluating) a perfect bracket: 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (Essert, 2014)
Number of recorded perfect brackets in history: 0

Essentially the best bet was for all the referees to join forces, submit one bracket, fix the games, and split the billion dollars. Here’s what happened instead.

Lowest seed to reach the Final Four: Dayton could tie it.
Lowest seed to win the Championship: Dayton or Stanford can change that.
Number 1 seed to win the Championship: Three of them still can.
Times a 16 seed has defeated a 1 seed: Nope.
Times a 15 seed has defeated a 2 seed: Not this year.
Times a 14 seed has defeated a 3 seed: Add Mercer to the list.
Times a 13 seed has defeated a 4 seed: Not this year.
Times a 12 seed has defeated a 5 seed: Stephen F. Austin, North Dakota St., and Harvard pulled it off.
Times an 11 seed has defeated a 6 seed: Dayton and Tennessee joined the list.
Number 7 or 10 seed reaching the Final Four: Stanford and Connecticut still have a shot.
Overall win-loss difference of an 8 seed vs. 9 seed since 1985: 2-2 This year.
Number of perfect brackets left after just one weekend: 0
Percentage of people that lost a billion on the first game because of the pesky Dayton Flyers: 83%

buckeyes washington post com
Photo courtesy of Washington Post

My earlier information would have probably been helpful if explained before the tournament started, but what do I know, I lost a billion dollars on the first game.

Essert, M. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.policymic.com/articles/85401/mathematicians-have-determined-your-odds-of-picking-the-perfect-ncaa-bracket on March 21, 2014

Whenham, T. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.docsports.com/current/ncaa-tournament-seed-history.html on March 21, 2014

Woodburn, P. (2014). Retrived from http://www.slipperstillfits.com/2014/3/17/5516086/ncaa-tournament-2014-bracket-predictions-upsets on March 21, 2014

SPECIAL HOLIDAY REPORT: APPARENTLY MORE TO ST. PATRICK’S DAY OTHER THAN PUBLIC INTOXICATION

“So join me for a drink boys, We gonna make a big noise, So don’t worry ‘bout tomorrow, Take it today, Forget about the cheque we’ll get hell to pay”
-AC/DC, “Have a Drink on Me”

Before splashing some Bailey’s in your morning coffee, having that hearty Guinness at lunch, and ordering Jameson after Jameson this evening, let’s have a look at just why the public decides that St. Patrick’s Day merits intoxication and pinching people that are not fitting in with the trends.

Holiday celebrations raise the question of the meaning and history behind what makes the date so special before inebriation sets in and no one really cares anymore. March 17th, 461 is the day that Maewyn Succat passed away. He probably was named St. Patrick because no one could truly pronounce his name correctly. St. Patrick was actually a British man that was part of the Roman Empire; however, at the age of 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and was a slave for six years (HISTORY, 2014).

After his captivity, St. Patrick converted to Christianity and became a missionary, making his way up the religious ladder of Ireland. Plenty of people do so, but after his death he was named the Patron Saint of Ireland (but I thought he was Roman-British or whatever?). This is when the mythology of his feats surfaced. St. Patrick was known for clearing all the snakes off the Emerald Isle and cleansing the nation of paganism, and also used a three-leaf shamrock to explain the trinity to Irishmen. The two problems with these claims are that there were never snakes in Ireland because the waters around the island are too frigid for the reptiles to migrate to, and shamrocks aren’t necessarily real; they’re either wood sorrel or white and yellow clovers (HISTORY, 2014).

So in short: a guy who wasn’t Irish or Catholic did a couple things that weren’t possible.

However, people care deeply about the holiday; it has cultural significance and rightfully so. The classic dish of corned beef and cabbage is consumed, fiddles and bagpipes fill the air with expressions of the one thing the Irish had left after the English conquered their people and forbade them to use their own language, the color green is worn in representation of their landscape and flag, and the “small-bodied fellows” known for their trickery and servitude are followed to the end of the rainbow (be careful though, they may be cranky).

lep reelnerdpodcast com
Photo courtesy of reelnerdpodcast.com

The Irish are a very proud culture. They have endeared many hardships through the years that only a handful of other cultures can probably relate to, but don’t view them as evil leprechauns. This is the way we all should depict real Irishmen.

leprechaun magazine uc edu
Photo courtesy of magazine.uc.edu

Oh, stereotypes. The truth is that all Irish people aren’t red-headed, short-tempered, poor alcoholics. Their traditions are rich, their folk music and art is enjoyed throughout the world, and their gift of gab has provided us with literary greats such as Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, and Bram Stoker (Staton, 2012). Though their cleverness and wit is sometimes ignored after a bottle of whiskey and a pub brawl (I thought we weren’t being stereotypical?). I never said that.

Every year we tend to over-exaggerate the jokes and festivities in order to validate drunken and reckless behavior. It’s a holiday; what holiday does that not happen on? You aren’t allowed to say, “Earth Day,” or something like that because many people don’t even know about it (and that’s probably why we aren’t very environmentally-friendly). It’s April 22nd; Cheers to recycling.

St. Patrick’s Day is a wonderful holiday observing a wonderful culture. 34.5 million Irish-Americans reside in this country which is seven times more than the population of Ireland (Kliff, 2013). The St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City alone has 200,000 participants and 3,000,000 million spectators (HISTORY). Chicago and Boston dye their rivers green, and the rest of America adds food-coloring to their beer. As a matter of fact, the celebrations really didn’t become so festive until hundreds of thousands Irish people migrated to America after the great potato famine of 1845. What a horrible event; I hope it never happens again. I hope you’re prepared, Idaho.

It’s a celebration for all so be careful out there, drink your green beer, eat your corned beef and cabbage, chase the leprechaun, but be respectful to the culture. You get to have fun because of their heritage. Remember now, there’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, just more whiskey, potatoes, and bare-knuckles, so watch yourself.

I will be hanging out with these guys tonight if anyone wants to join at Low Spirits…

larry sedate bookings com
Photo courtesy of sedatebookings.com

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

History (2014). Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day on March 14th, 2014

Kliff, S. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/17/the-irish-american-population-is-seven-times-larger-than-ireland/ on March 14th, 2014

Staton, J. (2012). Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/top-10-irish-stereotypes-10911993.html?cat=16 on March 14th, 2014.

REPORT: AMERICANS ELEVATE BOREDOM TO ANOTHER LEVEL IN VEHICLE

“Something’s got me reeling, Stopped me from believing, Turn me around again, Said that we can do it, You know I wanna do it again.”
-Sugar Ray, “Every Morning”

It was a boring week to say the least. I would talk about Russia and the Ukraine situation, and what the United States is doing about it, but I really haven’t paid much attention to the crisis. Let’s focus on something that affects our lives for five days (for most people) instead of the possible American economy crash that depends on the outcome of feuding Northeastern European nations. Maybe if we started purchasing American-made products that statement wouldn’t have been a minor jab in a blog post.

The thing that happens five days a week for the majority of us is the morning commute. Since this is a boring week (you already said that), I have decided to advertise my book, “Driving: Road Rants with No Raves”. I mentioned in a past post that 90% of Americans commute to work via their own vehicle (owned, leased, borrowed, rented, or stolen; it’s still 90%).

http://clknauf.com/2014/01/20/report-160-million-overweight-drivers-break-resolutions/

See, I told you I did. “Driving: Road Rants with No Raves” is intended to offer the comforting reassurance that other drivers experience the same stresses as the next motorist. We’re all in this together, and more and more people are hitting the road.

The morning commute is becoming hectic to say the least; orange barrels, more drivers because the days are becoming longer, parents rushing to get their kids to school without paying attention to safety protocol because they are also running late for work, the makeup-appliers, the burrito-eaters, the Irish coffee-drinkers, and the on-edge motorists ready to purposely cause a pile-up just to end it all, but not before taking as many people with them.

And of course cell phones…

The technological trend is becoming too much of an addiction. Every morning someone is texting or talking on their phone; actually not just someone, but a majority of the people. Maybe if everyone is doing the same thing then it’s safer? Of course that makes sense; the lack of awareness has always been proven an efficient way to travel. It’s only led to approximately 6 million accidents a year; not too bad considering 160 million people drive cars. That’s like every 26th person; big whoop.

However, the mobile epidemic has a broader affect than just the lack of awareness on the road. It’s affecting personalities and real communication; a dependence on technology. Remember when people just knew where they were going without the assistance of a GPS? The world didn’t have those at one time you know. People still arrived where they wanted to arrive, and punctually. Remember when you would have to call your friends from a land line and hope you all met at the same place at the same time, and if one didn’t show they wouldn’t partake in the event? Everyone still got there miraculously. Now, people get lost and are late or not even in attendance most of the time. People are relying on the comfort of something that isn’t real essentially; kind of like that movie I didn’t see or don’t really know anything about.

her
Photo courtesy of impawards.com

I’m not the only one that thinks so…

It’s all very true, but it’s also because we are bored. Sitting around is being human, but so is boredom. There’s something about the morning commute that merits distractions, but staying focused at the same time (that doesn’t make sense). If the radio isn’t playing what you want to hear, if the MC’s are talking about something you don’t agree with, if the drivers aren’t moving with the flow of traffic or at your pace, and of course if you’re running out of time then it’s going to be a more frustrating drive. What’s better than picking up your phone and playing a song you want to hear, or talking to someone that you know will agree with you, or playing a game that moves at the speed of your mind and you’re good at it so victory is consistent and satisfying?

I’m big on the essence of time because I’m scheduled, not so much because I want to be, but because I have to be, so every minute plays an important role in my life. The amount of time it takes to wash my dishes in the morning, brush my teeth, make my bed, and stumble around matters.

House to gym (6:22 am): 10 minutes 34 seconds
Gym to work (8:11 am): 14 minutes 6 seconds
Work to guitar lesson (6:00 pm): 36 minutes 23 seconds
Guitar lesson to home (7:37 pm): 15 minutes 54 seconds

What did we learn? Absolutely nothing except that you start over again the next day. It’s necessary insanity, and that’s what you’ll get while reading “Driving: Road Rants with No Raves”.

The simple daily activities we all go through make us human; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either. Yes, it’s boring, yes, it’s mundane, but we do these things to eventually do other things (stay with me). We must move with the flow of traffic no matter what the speed in order to stabilize our mind, and that goes for life as well. Remember, we don’t always drive to our required destinations; we drive to new experiences, to meet new people, and to make that first leg in the direction of new places. For example: driving to the airport to get on a plane to fly to Russia or the Ukraine. Let’s give that one some time.

KIND OF WINNING IN KIND OF A WINTER WONDERLAND

“I’ve seen it before, It happens all the time, You’re closing the door, You leave the world behind, You’re digging for gold.”
-Foreigner, “Cold as Ice”

Every four winters daredevils fly down steep mountains, athletes twirl and balance on a tiny blade, controlled machines race down ice paths, rubber cylinders fly by faces and into nets, and contestants show their stamina and will power battling the cold elements and pushing the human body to the limit through precision and focus.

Countries that have no business competing on snow wave their colors proudly, large contingents of intimidation from the north joyfully march their masses for the world to see, and the westerners walk with their heads high, smiling out of confidence and arrogance.

The United States sometimes forgets that we’re in the middle of the world essentially; there are higher elevations, there are more snowy areas, and there are other great athletes in other nations that are outstanding at really weird things. Yet, we manage to expect greatness in every aspect of life, and pout if we don’t succeed. Oh, being a teenage country (in retrospect) is so difficult. No one understands what it’s like to be us! Wah.

The 2014 Winter Olympics was held in a world that is assumed to be dark and cold, but greatly misunderstood (as are most things that aren’t experienced firsthand). The opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia were brilliant (except for one asterisk, *literally). The display showed the world Russian culture and history; the extravagant nation of precision and emotion (don’t forget vodka, cigarettes, and mean-sounding accents). It was extraordinary on the eyes and exciting for the spirit as the athletes took center stage to begin a two-week journey with one goal in sight.

The United States, just like every other country, expected to bite into gold as much as possible. However, life is full of imperfections, but how one reacts to the results shows the rest of the world what a country was built on. Now, through pictures (and a writer’s laziness): USA’s journey as a country.

Happiness…
Sage people
Sage Kotsenburg, photo courtesy of People

Dominance…
Ski men espn
USA Men’s Ski Slopestyle, photo courtesy of ESPN

Team Work…
Meryl and Charile fansided
Meryl Davis & Charlie White, photo courtesy of Fansided

Fun…
Kate Hansen cbssports
Kate Hansen, photo courtesy of CBS

Hard Work…
Bode popwrapped
Bode Miller, photo courtesy of Popwrapped

Perseverance…
Lolo Jones usatoday
Lolo Jones, photo courtesy of USA Today

Disappointment…
Shaun white yahoo
Shaun White, photo courtesy of Yahoo

Heartbreak…
USA hockey 2 espn
USA Women’s Hockey, photo courtesy of ESPN
Hockey weei
USA Men’s Hockey, photo courtesy of WEEI

Athleticism…
Team USA npr
Team USA, photo courtesy of NPR

This is, of course, America’s side of everything, but the real winner was Russia, statistically. Here were the final standings:

Russia: 33 (most gold medals)
USA: 28 (most bronze medals, but somehow second)
Norway: 26 (most wins in weird events with the lowest ratings)
Canada: 25 (most joked aboot)
Netherlands: 24 (most weed)

Kazakhstan: 1 (most made fun of by Sacha Baron Cohen)

There’s a reason the games happen every four years; the amount of sacrifice these athletes go through to perfect their bodies and mind is grueling. All to become the single greatest person out of 7.147 billion people in the world in their one event; to go down in history or to lose by a tenth of a second or point; to hear their national anthem being played with gold wrapped around their neck letting the whole world know that they did it for the pride of their nation. It’s simply amazing; the sporting world impresses once again and proves that humans are capable of remarkable things. These athletes aren’t just dumb jocks, they are intelligent and mentally strong individuals; people that show tears, smiles, composure, and will before and after, but hide as many emotions as possible during the competition to prove they can handle the pressure of the world’s eyes.

Plus they save stray dogs.

The two-week spectacle came to end with a wonderful closing ceremony; fireworks, art, and a little humor. However, even winning the Olympics wasn’t satisfactory enough to bring Russians happiness as they took one of the cutest symbols in the world and made it sad: a teddy bear crying. I’m sure they were tears of joy (maybe), but what a host and what an Olympics. Thank you, Russia.

…and thanks for not detaining all the male figure skaters and women speed skaters.

Manfred, T. (2014). Retrieved From http://www.businessinsider.com/olympic-medal-count-2014-2 on February 28, 2014