My $1 Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge entry

I just finished registering my entry in the $1 Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge and Warren Buffett is smiling at my idiocy.

Warren’s the guy that’s fronting the billion, guaranteeing the payout to whoever can beat the 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 odds.

For those of you that may have a tough time figuring out exactly what that number actually is, it’s roughly 1 in 9 quintillion. Yes, quintillion. I don’t even know how many billion billions that is but I think it’s pretty safe to say that the world may explode before anyone on the planet could ever conceivably correctly pick all 63 games of the NCAA tournament.

I already know that I’ll probably be eliminated before Thursday evening rolls around.

I watch a lot of college basketball and I’m fairly knowledgeable about the rankings, the conferences, RPIs and power conferences. It doesn’t matter.

Last night on ESPN’s Bracketology, all four experts picked Michigan State to win it all – which made me immediately decide to not pick Michigan State to win it all.

When it comes to this tournament, the experts are rarely right on the mark – and when all four are barking up the same tree, it seems all the more obvious that Tom Izzo’s bunch may make it to the Final Four but something unexpected is bound to derail them.

In the meantime, Mr. Buffett is limiting the number of entries to the first 15 million to keep the odds down of Berkshire Hathaway having to pay out any insurance claims on the potential billion giveaway.

To sign up, I had to use my Yahoo! email address and answer a few questions about mortgage loans which I’m sure will result in some junk mail landing in my spam filter in the very near future.

According to Jay Farmer, Quicken’s President and Marketing Chief (Quicken Loans is sponsoring the contest), “the people that are playing the Billion Dollar Bracket kind of fit our demographic.”

Yes, we’re all idiots.

(Quote and odds listed are courtesy of David Sarno, who wrote, “Don’t Take Warren Buffett’s Bracket Challenge” for Slate (

When I have way better odds of winning Powerball or Mega Millions, I know that me filling out an entry is a complete waste of time.

But I did it anyway as it’s always fun to see how quickly I go down.

I know I just provided a little more publicity to Mr. Buffett and perhaps a few more people might sign up for his Billion Dollar Bracket as a result of this post.

If you’re interested, here’s the link:

What am I getting in return from Mr. Buffett for this plug?

Absolutely nothing.

Which is exactly what I’ll get as a result of entering the contest.

Bring on Thursday and the Madness.

Go Wichita State and Go Billikens.

As for my Final Four?

Florida, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Wichita State with Florida beating Wisconsin in a slow, defensive-minded battle.

Probably not.

How do you lose a plane?

As one who occasionally flies the not-so-friendly skies, the recent news about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and how it seems to have completely disappeared is a bit unsettling.

The flight took off without problems Friday night from Kualu Lumpur on its way to Beijing. Some time during the night, the plane went off the grid.

There were no distress signals sent, no emergency transmissions. Poof! It was gone.

There is speculation that there were two terrorists on board who may have suddenly overtaken the plane and exploded it in mid-air somewhere over the South China Sea. More than three days later, there is no indication that happened.

Experts say if the plane and everyone aboard was blown to smithereens it could take weeks, months or maybe even years to track down the wreckage and the black box may already be at the bottom of the ocean floor.

Of course thanks to the wonders of the internet, there are many more theories making the rounds.

Some conspiracy theorists speculate that the plane was captured by terrorists, who forced the pilots to fly to a nearby destination where the plane was docked and will be used later as a weapon of mass destruction.

More imaginative speculation says that the plane flew into a space/time continuum and has entered either the past or the future, either way, surprising whoever happened to be around when the wheels eventually hit the ground.

Or this could all be the work of aliens as they finally step up their game and begin plucking aircraft out of the sky at will.

It’s a mystery to me. And to the Malaysian government that has been combing the ocean in search of the wreckage.

It’s one thing to have the flight attendant walk you through the how to fasten your seat belt and how to use your seat as a flotation device routine.

It’s quite another when they have to prep you on what to do in case you enter a time warp.

Though I have no connection to anyone aboard Flight 370, I pray for them and their families and I hope the mystery is resolved.

Sad to say, but it seems like any way you look at it, this story is not going to have a happy ending.



Time Marches On

February is now officially in the rear view mirror.

Let it snow tomorrow. It’s not gonna last and whatever sticks will be here less than a week.

Even though winter hasn’t officially checked out, it can’t deal us too much more grief. I honestly can’t remember a winter like the one we’ve just gone through. Maybe in ’82.

I don’t keep records and I don’t feel like checking historical facts. It was cold. It was miserable.

But that’s okay. It makes you appreciate the spring all that much more.

I like that we have four seasons. There is beauty in all of them and when November rolls around and everything turns to gray, it’s a sign that another year is about to roll by. And as we endure the 31 long days of January and then roll through February, new hope comes around when those first flowers begin to bloom.

March Madness is fun to follow. The Cardinals are playing again. The golf clubs move from the garage to the trunk, ready for action.

March, I’m glad you’re here.

Bring on Spring.