Saturday, March 21, 2015

What all 30 NBA arenas are named after; and which ones are the worst?

There are just two NBA arenas who's naming rights haven't been given to corporate sponsors:
The Palace of Auburn Hills, owned by the Detroit Pistons, and Madison Square Garden (named for President James Madison), home of the New York Knicks.  Here are what the other 28 literally sold out to (I saved the worst for last):

Financial Institutions (6):
Bankers Life Fieldhouse - Indiana Pacers
Barclays Center - Brooklyn Nets
BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee Bucks (wins for the worst in the banking category)
Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland Cavaliers
TD Garden - Boston Celtics
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia 76ers

Airlines (4):
Air Canada Centre - Toronto Raptors
American Airlines Arena - Miami Heat
American Airlines Center - Dallas Mavericks
United Center - Chicago Bulls

Phone/Cable Providers (3):
AT&T Center - San Antonio Spurs
Time Warner Cable Arena - Charlotte Hornets
Verizon Center - Washington Wizards

Heath Insurance Provider:
Moda Center - Portland Trail Blazers

Electronics Company:
Philips Arena - Atlanta Hawks

Computer Software Company:
Oracle Arena - Golden State Warriors

Car Company:
Toyota Center - Houston Rockets

Office Supply Store:
Staples Center - Los Angeles Lakers

Discount Retail Store:
Target Center - Minnesota Timberwolves

Household Products Pyramid Business Model Company:
Amway Center - Orlando Magic

Shipping Company:
FedExForum - Memphis Grizzlies

Oil and Gas Company:
Chesapeake Energy Arena - Oklahoma City Thunder

Nuclear Waste Disposal Company:
EnergySolutions Arena - Utah Jazz (wins for the company who's name sounds much better than what it does)

Soft Drink Company:
Pepsi Center - Denver Nuggets

Blended Fruit Drink Retailer:
Smoothie King Center - New Orleans Pelicans (wins for the most likely to confuse and disappoint young children as to where they are going)

Mattress Retailer:
Sleep Train Arena - Sacramento Kings (wins for opening itself up to obvious jokes about a perennially bad franchise's fans riding the sleep train while in attendance)

Casino Hotel:
Talking Stick Resort Arena - Phoenix Suns (wins for just being the dumbest overall)

And the answer to yesterday's movie trivia question isThe 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Quiz: What movie is this?

Hint: It's a screenshot of the main character's fridge.

What I want to know is, how come it takes him 40 minutes to eat breakfast, but only 20 to have dinner?  That seems backwards.  Those are the kind of things I'll fix when I get my dream job of "person who watches movies before they're released to make sure they make sense."

Click here for the answer in tomorrow's post.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Cash for Gift Cards" machines illustrate why sometimes giving gifts is stupid.

The other day I was in Stop & Shop returning a movie to Redbox.  All of a sudden, this other similar looking machine magically appeared out of nowhere.  OK not really, but it wasn't there when I rented the movie the day before.

Moving on, I'd be totally fine if we lived in a society with much less emphasis on gift giving.  The concept of it is illogical to me in some situations (for the people near and dear to me, notice how I said "some," not "all").

I spend money on you to get you something you probably don't really want, you do the same for me, but in reality we'd both be happier just keeping our own money and buying what we actually do want for ourselves.

The existence of this "cash for gift cards" machine supports my theory.

You can't think of a gift so you basically just give me money, but reduce its value by limiting it to a specific location.  I can't even be bothered to spend the money at said location, so I reduce its value even more by converting it back to less cash that you originally spent.

Then the same thing happens in reverse, and we're both just left with less money than we started with.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The odds of picking a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are not as impossible as you may have heard

I've seen in several places that the odds of filling out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are roughly 1 in 9.2 quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808).  That's just not true.

The math is sound.  There are 63 games, each with two possible outcomes.  That really big number I already typed out once is equal to 2^63.  If you want to know the chances of correctly predicting 63 consecutive coin flips, that's your answer.

The thing is, NCAA tourney games aren't coin flips.  The worst-case scenario you have for picking any given game is 50/50, but a lot are much easier.  When 34-0 Kentucky plays 17-17 Hampton tomorrow night, I'd guess there's about a 99 percent likelihood (maybe more) that the Wildcats emerge victorious.

If choosing every winner was that simple, a perfect bracket would be too--you'd have a 54 percent chance (.99^63).  Obviously most games are harder to get right than that.  For the sake of simple math, I'll estimate there's a two-thirds probability of picking each one correctly on average.  Under that premise, the calculation becomes 1.5^63, which makes the odds of predicting a perfect bracket "only" 1 in 124 billion or so.


Pretty big difference, huh?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I'm betting on "Wildcats" in this NCAA tournament

As people are making their 2015 NCAA tournament picks, three of the most common Final Four choices are No. 1 seed Kentucky in the Midwest (34-0, ranked 1st), No. 1 seed Villanova in the East (32-2, ranked 2nd) and No. 2 seed Arizona in the West (31-3, ranked 4th in one poll, 5th in the other).

What do all three of these clubs have in common?

They're all Wildcats.

According to, the Kentucky Wildcats are 1:1 (50%) to win the whole thing.  The Villanova Wildcats are 8:1 (11.1%), while the Arizona Wildcats are 12:1 (7.7%).  Add those up and the chances of a Wildcats champion are roughly 69%.

If you can find a casino taking bets on "Wildcats" at 1:2 (66.7%), you'll be getting some good odds...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Could the NBA's sleeved jersey experiment finally and mercifully be coming to an end?

It was a little over two years ago that the NBA first announced it would give sleeved jerseys a try.  One year later the Celtics donned them for St. Patrick's Day.  This season Boston brought them back, and added an ever-more-awful grey t-shirt to their uniform rotation as well (both pictured on Marcus Smart, above).

I saw a tweet last week that perfectly sums up this whole sleeved jersey fiasco.  The league is pushing them hard--but in all the games I've been to as a Celtics season ticket holder, I've never actually seen anybody wear one.

Adidas, long known for it's success in soccer apparel, has made NBA jerseys since 2006.  Today the company announced that it will not pursue a new uniform contract with the league when the current one expires in 2017.  Hopefully the soccer-style sleeved jerseys will die with it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Celtics Pride" from 105.7 WVBF

Today is the St. Patrick's Day parade in Southie.  On a related note, a group of gritty no-name Boston Celtics are suddenly an NBA juggernaut.  A song called "Celtics Pride" seems like a pretty fitting way to celebrate both occasions.

I remember listening to Celtics Pride on 105.7 WVBF's Loren and Wally show in the mid 80s.  The only info I've been able to dig up on it is that it was written for the station by someone named Don Hill.

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