A March Madness Pool Scoring System That Doesn't Suck

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering donut-shop etiquette, the Duke porn star, blind dates, and more.

Before we get to today's Funbag, a quick bit of news: I'll be singing the U.S. and Canadian anthems tonight at the Raptors-Hawks game in Atlanta. I've also taken over the Hawks' official Twitter feed (@ATLHawks) for the day. Or at least until they kick me off. So join me today for MAXIMUM HAWKITUDE.

Now, your letters:

Mike:

We need a universal scoring system for NCAA bracket pools. What is the fairest point system? Is it one point for Round 1, two points for Round 2, and just continue up to six points for the championship game? Or is it 1,2,4,8,16,32 where the points double in value for each round of the tourney? Are there bonus points for correctly picking upsets? I feel a standardized system is well overdue.

There should be a bonus for picking upsets, since everyone wants to be rewarded for picking that 12-over-5 matchup that wasn't really that much of an upset at all. And obviously, the bonus should depend upon the discrepancy between seeds. If you pick a 16 to beat a 1, you should get 15 extra points. If you picked a 9 seed to beat an 8 seed, you get one bonus point, because no one gives a shit. Both those teams are garbage.

So the standardized scoring would look like this:

Round 1: 1 point

Round 2: 3 points

Sweet 16: 6 points

Regional final: 9 points

National semi: 12 points

Champ: 15 points

Upset bonus: 1 point per difference in seedings

Correctly guessing all Final Four teams: 25 points

That last bonus should be huge, because you deserve to win your bracket if you got the Final Four dead-on, especially if it's a weird Final Four. One year, I got the Final Four right, along with the semis and the champ (it was the year UConn beat Duke), and to this day, when I think about it, it still brings me an unreasonable amount of joy. It's like having a child get into Harvard, only Harvard pays YOU!

This would encourage people to pick upsets, and it would ensure that a chalk bracket doesn't get overly rewarded. Because chalk brackets suck.

York:

Which famous person would you be most devastated to find out was a total dick? For discussion purposes let's just keep this to pop-culture figures, so no historical figures like Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. My first instinct would be Mr. Rogers, but since it's so well-documented that he was a good person I would have to go with Morgan Freeman.

Awww, why limit it to pop culture? I want historical figures in there, because then Jesus could be number one. Imagine finding out that Jesus' best qualities—forgiveness, sacrifice, goodwill toward all men—were the byproduct of careful branding, and that in real life, he was a complete asshole. After all, plenty of people thought Tiger Woods was a swell guy before he turned out to be the world's lamest whoremonger. For all you know, Jesus' disciples carefully edited out every story about Jesus being a bad tipper, Jesus leaving a floater in a Judean shitpit, and Jesus having people roughed up for daring to make eye contact. And where did he stand on TEH GAYS?

Abe Lincoln was famous for telling off-color jokes ("And the bartender said to the mulatto, 'I guess you'll be having the black & tan!'"), and Martin Luther King, Jr. was a known philanderer. Every person you've ever known or ever known of has shades of dickishness to them. It's up to every man to rise up above his own inherent dickishness and do something good that makes up for it. So obviously, it would be disappointing to learn that someone you liked and respected turned out to be an unrepentant asshole. My personal choice, of course, would be Dave Grohl. I don't want to live in a world where the nicest man in rock turns out to be a fraud. Turns out he killed Kurt so he could hog all the glory for himself! Such a drummer move.

Kyle:

I graduated college about a year ago. During my sophomore year I became friends with this girl, Sarah. Eventually we both graduated, I went back home, and though we've talked, I haven't seen her since. Fast forward to about two months ago. In a group text with my buddies from school, one of my friends dropped in a link to a porn website. I opened it up and sure enough, it's my friend Sarah.

If/when I do see Sarah again, is there a good way to bring this up in conversation? Because I'm sure that if I were to ask her what she's been up to since we've graduated, she's not gonna reply with "Oh you know, just wearing a brown paper bag over my head while a camera films dicks coming at me from all angles." And slipping a, "Hey I heard you were doing balloon fetish porn" into the conversation probably isn't gonna go too smoothly either. Also, am I a bad friend because I fapped?

You're not a bad friend because you used the movie for self-gratification. That's a fairly standard "guy friend would still like to have sex with his supposedly platonic galpal" move. Nothing much surprising there.

If you're interested in maintaining your distant friendship (Why? Seems disposable!), or you're interested in reenacting a scene or two the next time you see her, I wouldn't bring up the fact that you saw the porno. Strippers and porn stars like keeping their worlds separate. I know this because I saw The Wrestler. Offscreen, Sarah is still Sarah, the fresh-faced coed you know and love. Onscreen, she's Jazzmyn Foxx, Queens of the Buttsecks. She doesn't want you blurring those lines.

That's the awkward part of being a stripper or a porn star (I mean, apart from the stripping and/or porning parts). You hope that you can keep your worlds separate, and you're basically relying on everyone's good manners to pull it off. But you can't get that riled up when someone is like, "Oh hey, I saw you in Buttman Goes to Rio 37." Because it's out there. Like Twitter, porn is public. That's why the Duke porn star thing is so annoying. You can't appear in a hardcore porn video and then expect everyone to have the good taste to "respect your privacy." You sold your privacy. That's how porn works. That's what they give you money for. You can say it "empowers" you all you like, but no one will ever believe you, because every porn star ever either ends up dead from drugs or born again.

Cameron:

What % of the time has a waitress brought a party to a table and they NOT said, "How about that one over there?"

Zero percent, because the hostess' first priority is to get you to accept the table that no one else wants... the one shaped like a triangle and wedged between the shitter and the busboy's refilling station. They wanna find the sucker who will accept that seat, and most people are too proud to accept it. I want that booth that sits on the top of a gold fountain that rotates and gives me a 360-degree view of the harbor — don't tell me it's reserved.

Apropos of nothing, I know I'm old now because I can't produce a full conversation out of an attractive hostess or waitress walking by. When you're 20, and a hot waitress walks by, you can spend an entire meal talking about it. Goddamn, she's hot! I wonder if this is her only job. MAYBE SHE DOES PORN! Do you think she's anomaly in this town, or is there quality talent everywhere? What's our next move here? Are you gonna hit on her or am I? I was gonna wait until after the meal, then come BACK to the bar and chat her up. That seems polite. Do you think she has friends? I wonder where she lives. If she lives in a ground-floor apartment, we could probably see her bedroom if we walked by it. I think that's within the law. It's only if you climb a tree that you're legally stalking. Do you think she goes to college?

When you're 37, that kind of conversation is impossible. Oh hey, she's nice-looking. I wonder if they found that plane yet.

Kyle:

What would it take to get ESPN to fire Skip Bayless? Calling Stephen A the "n-word" on air? Committing murder? Realizing Tebow sucks?

I think the first two scenarios are pretty much locks for a firing. As deeply entrenched as Skip Bayless is, I don't see John Skipper being like, "Well, he stabbed an airport concierge, but let's get all the facts before we do anything rash." Skip would be gone.

But his indispensability to ESPN is still something to behold. What's amazing about Skip Bayless (and Stephen A., for that matter) is that there are few people out there who can capably replace them. It takes a lot of nuance to be that despicable. You can't just plug Mark Schlereth in there and hope for a similarly terrible result. Skip and Stephen A. are both very good at saying shit that routinely gets people to say, "Look at how fucking stupid this is." That's a talent, of sorts. It's one of those things that looks easy to do—Here, sit there and say a bunch of stupid bullshit—but ends up involving a lot more creative fuckheadery that you first thought. Not that I think Skip Bayless deserves credit for that. It's no great thing to be the guy who starts bad arguments in airport bars.

Owen:

A colleague of mine is leaving work, who has constantly gone out of their way to make my life hard. Do I:

A) sign their card and pretend to be sad when they go

B) make sure they know just how overjoyed I am that they are going?

You have to take the high road, unfortunately. This sucks, because many of your co-workers are terrible people and deserve to be told exactly what's wrong with them. But no, you can't do that. Burning bridges is a bad idea in any profession, because you never know when those people will come back. Captain Shithead at your office could leave and then decide to come back a year from now. That kind of thing happens a lot, because God is mean.

You have to leave every door open, because there will come a day when you've been laid off or you're in a jam, and you have to exhaust every last possible contact to get help, even if it means ringing up Timmy, the cock who used to shoot rubber bands at you from the next cubicle over. Turns out that guy's brother runs the special-needs daycare you desperately need your disabled son to qualify for. Stupid fucking circle of life. It's never the fun people who keep popping up.

HALFTIME!

Matt:

A friend of mine was telling me about how she was convinced by some coworkers to go on a blind date with a random guy she had never met. She went on describe how the date didn't go well because he was late to pick her up, he had planned a bad hike, didn't bring enough food, etc... So is going on a hike the worst seemingly-innocent blind date activity you can think of?

It's pretty bad. Why would you voluntarily go on a blind date that leaves you sweaty and stinky and hunted by mountain lions? This is the result of too many people watching too many awful dating shows. No dating show can feature a regular date between two tolerable human beings having a nice meal and a decent conversation. Because the contestants are all inane shitheads, every date has to have PARASAILING, or a fucking treasure hunt, or some other activity that allows the man and the woman to avoid the fact that they probably have nothing in common. "If I distract her with skydiving, maybe she'll have sex with me when we're finished!" Everyone wants their first date to end like the first kiss in Speed.

It's probably a better idea to go on a blind date that involves a minimal time commitment, like a casual drink with some appetizers or some shit like that. It's only a boring choice if you're a boring person. You can relax and have a drink, and one of you can bail early if it's going poorly. That's how I'd do it. I wouldn't schedule a drive out to Joshua Tree National Park with a fucking stranger. A first date shouldn't sound like an elaborate proposal plan. Guys get delusions of grandeur and want to dive headlong into some fucking adventure with a new woman, and that never works out. Just have a cocktail first.

Andy:

In the new Hobbit movie, a character can briefly hear and understand spiders speaking to one another. If you get this power, what spider conversations are you listening in on?

None. I don't want to know what they're planning. I don't want to know if they think my children are delicious. Because that is what spiders are thinking at all times. They are thinking, Zzzzzzzzzzzt if only I could spin a bigger web to feed upon the young ones. I've looked into a spider's eyes. I know how black its soul can be. They aren't sitting under my house planning a tea party. They want blood.

Ty:

I'm 26, married, with a baby. A guy friend of mine who is also 26, but is single and has no kids, tried to FaceTime me the other day. Is this an acceptable form of communication for two dudes?

What's the point, when you can just text him? FaceTime is for family shit. You're away for a while and you feel bad about not seeing your son/mom/girlfirend, so you try to FaceTime them, only to have the call fail six times before it finally connects, and you sit there awkwardly staring at each other for three minutes and struggling to keep your arm up so your face remains framed on the screen. It's a real bitch. Not that much better than Skype, frankly. I have a dream of video-conferencing technology where the conversation is smooth, and it really feels like we're all in the same room together, but that technological promise is a lie. It's a pain in the ass.

You should use FaceTime to virtually visit relatives so that you can put off seeing them in person. Or to have video sex with your girlfriend. It's worthless when used between friends. AND NO BLIND DATES WITH IT.

Brett:

If you put the first-team All-pro player at every position on offense, aside from quarterback where you had Brandon Weeden, is this the best offense in football or mediocre?

It's probably ranked somewhere around 10th overall. Even the shittiest NFL quarterback can still hit a long ball or two with good wideouts: Hence Josh Gordon helping Cleveland to what was, statistically speaking, the 11th-best passing attack in the league last season. With a great line and fantastic skill-position players, you can prop up a shitty QB to a certain level, but no further. Take it from someone who has watched Adrian Peterson work behind Christian Ponder for a couple years. You hit a wall eventually.

This is why you would always rather have a great QB and shitty weapons than the other way around. A great QB can do more to hide a shit offense than a great offense can do to hide a shit QB. This is why Colin Kaepernick will be out of football in four years.

/kidding!

/ducks anyway

Jake:

Why can't NFL refs ever figure out when their microphone isn't on? Most just keep talking as if nothing is wrong. Can they not notice that the multiple loudspeakers aren't making a sound?

I think they know something is wrong, but keep talking, so that whoever is working the mic can SEE something is wrong and frantically try to fix it. It's like an ongoing soundcheck.

Football is the only sport where the ref is forced to address the crowd directly. This never happens in basketball or baseball. I don't know why this is the case — NBA refs and MLB umps are fucking terrible. They should have to explain themselves. They shouldn't get away with throwing up some hand signal and then pretending like the crowd isn't pissed. THAT IS CHICKENSHIT. I bet you Joey Crawford wouldn't be half the cocksucker he is if he had to formally announce every technical foul. "Technical foul, on the San Antonio bench, for looking at me funny."

Cameron:

What are the circumstances (age, job situation, hobbies) that all of a sudden turn a normal adult into a raging addict for info on the weather? Weather on TV, phone app, internet. My parents can't get the fix enough. Is that my fate also?

The second the weather starts to impact your commute or child-care situation, you'll be eye-banging the forecast like it's the hostess at a Morton's Steakhouse. When you're in college and you don't have to go anywhere, and everything you need is relatively close by, the weather will do whatever the weather does. It doesn't matter. I never bothered checking the weather when I was 19.

But when you get older, and it begins to have a legitimate (and often detrimental) effect on both your psyche and your ability to earn a living, you turn into a dipshit who talks about the weather. It's inevitable, and it's awful. You become an unwanted town crier. DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE STORM?!

Also, as a grownup, you have to talk to lots of people you don't want to talk to. If you're a student, you're talking to your friends and your parents, and maybe you say three things in class to get by. That's it. You don't have the kind of endless forced conversations that working adults do in meetings, or at conferences, or at school pickup, or while on hold with the fucking phone company. It's the worst. Just an endless line of assholes you don't want in your life. And so, what do you use to spackle the void in spacetime that these people occupy? HEARD SNOW'S A COMIN'. You can't avoid it. It is your destiny.

Rob:

Let's say you and I are born at the exact same time and die at the same exact time. What is the greatest possible differential in number of shits between us in our lifetime? Like, you poop twice one day, and I only poop once that day. So that's +1 for you, extrapolated over a lifetime. I think it could definitely reach 100. Furthermore, would it be better to be the +100 or -100?

Well, in your scenario, the difference could go up to +29,000 and still be okie dokie. Your bowel-movement frequency is often a function of body size and caloric intake. So it can be perfectly normal to shit three times a day, and it can be perfectly normal to shit three times a week. It's a matter of consistency (not literal bowel consistency, although that probably matters here as well). So yes, two people with similar lifespans can have wildly divergent bowel-movement totals, especially if one of those people eats a cheesesteak for lunch every day. I think you could hit a difference of +50,000 and still have it be normal. I would prefer to not be the guy shitting 50,000 additional times — I could have spent that time commuting, or waiting on hold, or talkin' weather.

By the way, for this exercise, I'm a bit unclear as to what constitutes one bowel movement. What if you get the runs and are on the toilet all day? Does the counter start fresh if you stand up, then sit back down again? Or what if you just rest for a bit and then get back to pushing? Does that count as a new BM? I feel like you should get credit for that.

Mike:

I'm convinced that the first person to lift up their wiper blades when snow is impending was just trolling everyone, and now it's run wild among stupid people. I've even seen people double back to their cars to do it after seeing other cars that way in the parking lot. What are they accomplishing?

I assume it keeps ice off the blades and keeps the wipers from sticking to the windshield. When I see people do it, I always feel bad that I don't do likewise. I could get my wipers working .4 seconds faster that way!

I don't put my wipers up because I don't like the idea of my wipers being so exposed and naked to the elements. Some hobo could walk by and say, "Hey, that's a nice wiper" and go hobo'ing off with it. Not a chance. Also, I treasure any opportunity to clean off my windshield and wiper blades by squirting a gallon of wiper fluid out. Look at all that blue snow! COOL!

Kevin:

Once or twice a week on the way to work, I stop and grab a coffee or a pastry at a local mom-and-pop donut shop that always has a steady stream of people coming in and out at that time. Today, a man was coming in to the shop about 6-8 steps behind me from the parking lot, so I held the door for him. As he entered, he breezed past me and then got in line in front of me. This is not the first time this has happened. This guy surely had to get to work, just like I did, but what is the standard protocol in a situation like this? I was clearly in the shop before he was, but was courteous and held the door for him. Does my clearly being to the door first grant me the right to be before him in line, or does my being nice mean I effectively have to give up my place in line and wait while this asshole orders 3 dozen donuts?

Did he thank you? Or did he just assume his place in line like he was entitled to it? Because if he didn't even thank you, he should be killed.

In general, if the line isn't long or it moves briskly, and the guy doesn't have a large order, I think it's okay for him to assume you're ceding a spot in line to him. So long as he thanks you. And even then, he could stand to think twice and gesture for you to go ahead of him anyway. I do this in elevators, because it makes me feel like a big man. NO, YOU GO AHEAD. It's the one second of the day where I act like a gentleman. If your guy can't even be bothered to do that, then beat him senseless.

One caveat: He can totally cut in front of you in line if he's meeting with people who are already in there. Like, if his wife was there waiting for him, then that's cool. I have those moments where I see a guy about to cut into line and I get ready to scream silently, only to realize there was someone already in line waiting for him. Good move, fella. You've won this round.

Email of the week!

Zeb:

I have been posted in the African jungle for the past 6 months, and soon my lovely wife will be visiting. What is the appropriate length of time I should wait before initiating marital relations? Frankly, I am thinking of grabbing a mosquito net and blocking off a corner in the VIP lounge at the airport (the corner with the one working a/c unit) and getting things started as soon as she walks off the plane.

However, the opinions amongst my colleagues differ widely. Men between 20 and 40 (my age group) are in lock step, men over 40 are advising the take-it-slow route and having the house (I use the term house generously) full of flowers with some slow jams in the background, while the women are saying to let her shower and get a good night's sleep. As the mother of my yet-to-be-born quarterback son with a laser arm or left winger (I haven't determined which sport to force the kid into), I want to treat her with the respect she deserves, but I have been living in a country that may be on the verge of civil war and where palm oil makes up 90% of women's diets. I will be lucky if I make it to the car.

Pounce on her, LIKE ANIMAL.


Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.

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