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Pooch has perfect bracket on eve of Final Four

April 1, 2016

A dog living on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka has a perfect bracket on the eve of the Final Four, which is part of the NCAA’s men’s division 1 basketball tournament, commonly known as March Madness in the United States.

Ocho, or Ate as he’s known throughout his village, pawed his way through the first, second, third and fourth rounds. His master, John Smith, who grew up in the greater Seattle area and settled in Colombo after excursions across the world, explained how he used a stick to sketch the tournament’s bracket on the dirt floor of his Tiki hut several days before the tournament started. He awoke one day and noticed how each matchup had a paw print next to what would eventually be the winning school’s name. Intrigued, Mr. Smith continued advancing schools based on Ocho’s paw print for each round before he ultimately made the selection for the tournament’s champion.

Once Ocho made all his selections, his mater submitted the bracket to CBS, ESPN and Yahoo! Mr. Smith was amazed after the first round, when all of Ocho’s selections advanced. He was utterly bewildered that his furry friend was able to predict all the upsets and not-so-upsets. Mr. Smith was left even more speechless as every choice continued to advance through the round of 32, Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight.

Ocho is on the verge of completing the perfect bracket should his choices for the Final Four and championship match win their games; however, the odds are still against Ocho. According to statisticians, the odds of selecting a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion due to the many permutations in the tournament. Should Ocho’s selection for the Final Four and championship match hold up, he would become the first animal on planet Earth to accomplish this extremely rare feat.

The Final Four pits Villanova against Oklahoma and North Carolina against Syracuse. Both games will be played Saturday April 2nd in Houston, TX. Villanova is a two-point favorite against Oklahoma, which is considered the closer of the two matchups, while North Carolina is heavily favored against Syracuse. Ocho chose Syracuse to upset North Carolina and will play Villanova in the championship game on Monday April 4th where Villanova will ultimately put an end to Syracuse’s Cinderella run.

Whatever the outcome of the three remaining games, it’s still quite an amazing accomplishment for man’s best friend considering no one has come this close to a perfect bracket ever.

Not Just Another Holiday

January 18, 2016

I hope we don’t see today as just another holiday where we just take the day off and forget its meaning. Martin Luther King, Jr. played such a pivotal role in not just civil rights, but human rights. I wanted to take some time to share some stories about him that I felt were important.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations Overlook His Critiques of Capitalism and Militarism 

US military says Martin Luther King would be proud of its weapons

MLK’s vehement condemnations of US militarism are more relevant than ever

15 Powerful Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

2016

January 17, 2016

Wow! It’s 2016 already, and I haven’t written anything yet to ring in the new year. Time seems to move at light speed as I’m aging, but there are periods where I feel time slows down (I call those times work days haha). I’m sure this year will have its share of surprises, so let’s see sit back and see what happens.

LJB, FSB

October 10, 2015

I read the following press release a few weeks ago about how a banker who worked at La Jolla Bank, FSB admitted to conspiring with other senior executives at the bank in approving bad loans to unqualified borrowers. Ms. Martinez, along with others, accepted bribes and kickbacks in return for making loans to borrowers, known as “Friends of the Bank (FOB),” who were unable to repay the loans. When FOBs defaulted on a loan, “bank executives gave them more loans so they could make payments on the initial ones.”

An audit describes what caused the bank’s failure. The bank failed due to “significant asset quality deterioration and loan losses.” Not surprisingly, the control fraud involved LJB’s CEO and CCO. Who else could defeat a bank’s internal controls easily? The bank was set up to fail due to an environment fostering a Gresham’s dynamic in which the bank grew aggressively by originating bad loans. The bank’s officers were rewarded with compensation based on fictitious earnings and by receiving bribes/kickbacks, while the taxpayers bore the costs to the tune of $1 billion. Ultimately, the bank did not have enough capital to sustain a deteriorating loan portfolio–the Ponzi scheme began to crumble.

In the end, the Office of Thrift Supervision closed the bank in 2010 and assigned the Federal Deposit Insurance Company as receiver, which sold LBJ’s deposits and assets (through a loss-share agreement) to another financial institution.

Cap’n Crunch, PhD

April 1, 2015

The Naval Academy will be honoring Horatio Magellan Crunch with an honorary PhD degree at its annual commencement ceremony this year. Just who is Horatio Magellan Crunch? You may know him better as Cap’n Crunch. Yes, that Cap’n Crunch, who has been piloting and navigating Quaker Oats’ breakfast cereal of the same name since 1963.

Mr. Crunch will receive a degree in seamanship for his iconic portrayal of a children’s breakfast cereal. When asked about how he felt receiving this honorary degree, the cap could only say he was extremely honored and happy

There was a bit of controversy regarding his rank as some have pointed out he’s technically a commander. Mr. Crunch defended himself by maintaining he is the captain of the S.S. Guppy, and it appears that the Academy is standing behind its decision.

It’s not known whether or not there will be crunch berries in attendance, but all graduating students were asked to bring their own bowls and milk.

Grapes of Wrath

January 24, 2015

Someone on Twitter shared the following article from the New York Times regarding wine and fraud. Its title is clever: In Vino Veritas. In Napa, Deceit.

It’s not hard to see why the fraud began in the first place. When expenses are greater than income, a business will suffer a net loss. If you couple the continuous losses with the loan from his wife’s aunt and uncle, it only adds to the pressure. There was certainly an opportunity for Mr. Hill to engage in fraud. After all, he was the owner of Hill Wine Company. The article doesn’t suggest any rationalizations, but I would venture to guess the personal bankruptcy in 2009 would provide ample justification because Mr. Hill could potentially argue that he was doing it to provide for his family.

Something else that caught my attention in the article is the following section:

Emmanuel Kemiji, who owns Miura Vineyards in Novato, is a master sommelier, a level of wine expertise so difficult to achieve that only 220 people in the world hold the title. In an interview, he said that even top tasters like himself would find it nearly impossible to discern the true geographic origin of a well-made cabernet.

I had done research during graduate school regarding conspicuous consumption and counterfeit products. One of the things I found was that most people aren’t “intimate” with products, i.e. most people don’t know the true details of a brand; the only important thing is the brand’s name itself. If it’s difficult for a master sommelier “to discern the true geographic origins of a well-made cabernet,” then it would probably be even more difficult for everyone else.

MLK Day Action

January 18, 2015

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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