Office Pool's Low Number Of Bracket Printouts A Reminder Of How Many Employees Were Laid Off Last Year

In This Section

March Madness

James Harden Pretty Sure He Felt Something Pop In Lower Beard

HOUSTON—Expressing concern that the injury could sideline him for the remainder of the postseason, Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden confirmed Friday that he felt something pop in his lower beard during last night’s game against the Golden State Warriors.

Man Commits To New TV Show Just Hours After Getting Out Of 7-Season Series

UNION CITY, NJ—Recommending that he give himself the chance to pause and explore the other options out there, friends of local man Jonathan Gember expressed their concerns to reporters Wednesday that the 29-year-old is already committing to a new television show just hours after getting out of a seven-season-long series.

Declassified Documents Reveal Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda Job Application

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence this week declassified hundreds of documents collected during the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound, including his original job application for al-Qaeda, which, along with requesting regular contact information, asked applicants whether they would be willing to be suicide bombers and who to contact in case of martyrdom. What do you think?

Strongside/Weakside: James Harden

James Harden has become one of the most potent offensive threats in the NBA, leading the Houston Rockets to their first Western Conference Finals appearance in 18 years. Is he any good?

Bored David Blatt Just Drawing Up Plays For Fun During Cavs Game

ATLANTA—Explaining it was merely something to occupy his attention throughout the evening, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt revealed to reporters that he was spending the majority of Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference Finals game against the Atlanta Hawks drawing up plays for fun on the sideline.

Items Found In Bin Laden’s Compound

On Wednesday, the U.S. government declassified more than 400 documents and other material seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout during the 2011 raid that resulted in his death. Here are some of the items found in the former al-Qaeda leader’s compound

Starbucks Partners With Spotify To ‘Make The Barista The DJ’

Starbucks announced that it has made a special partnership with Spotify that gives Spotify subscriptions to all baristas around the country so they can curate the playlists that play in local stores, explaining, “We’re making the barista the DJ.” What do you think?

Pros And Cons Of Raising The Minimum Wage

As cities around the country, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Seattle, pass or propose legislation to substantially increase the minimum wage for workers, debate has raged over the potential economic, social, and fiscal impact. Here are some of the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage

Los Angeles Approves $15 Minimum Wage

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, making it the biggest city in the nation to do so in an effort to improve the lives of the poorest Americans. What do you think?

Vilsack Stays Up All Night With Sick Corn Plant

WASHINGTON—Gently applying a cool cloth to the plant’s kernels as he cradled its frail stalk in his arms, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stayed up all night caring for a sick corn plant, sources close to the former Iowa governor confirmed Tuesday.

Executive On Hot Streak With 2 Straight Logical Decisions

HICAGO—Saying the impressive display of business sense came entirely out of nowhere, employees of public relations agency Davidson Communications confirmed Wednesday that CEO Donald Marshall was on an absolute hot streak after making two straight logical decisions.

Report: Cannes Bans Women Not Wearing High Heels

According to reports from some publications covering the Cannes Film Festival, a number of women who were wearing flats instead of high heels were turned away from the red carpet for a high-profile screening unless they changed shoes, and actor Josh Brolin allegedly responded that he would walk the red carpet in high heels to protest the policy. What do you think?

Breakup Survival Tips

Everyone goes through breakups, but learning how to deal with your feelings and find closure can help you get over your split in a healthy, productive way. Here are some tips for surviving your breakup and moving on from your relationship

New Report Finds Humanity 10 Years Away From Something Called Ash Age

TUCSON, AZ—Explaining that the large-scale shift in geologic conditions and social organization would require a new taxonomic classification, researchers at the University of Arizona released a report Tuesday revealing that humanity is approximately 10 years away from something that will be called the Ash Age.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 19, 2015

ARIES: To improve your spiritual health, avoid the myriad temptations of the flesh. This is most easily accomplished by repeating the word “flesh” over and over until it creeps you out.

Scientists: Flies May Have Capacity For Fear

According to new research from Caltech, fruit flies are capable of entering a fear-like state when they see a shadow from a fly swatter, suggesting that small insects might contain the building blocks for emotion, though it’s unclear whether they experience emotions the way humans do. What do you think?

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Wedding Guest Blissfully Unaware She Barely Made The Cut

CARLISLE, PA—Saying she was having a “wonderful time” as she danced and socialized with fellow guests Saturday night, wedding-goer Corinne Bauer was said to be blissfully unaware she had barely made the cut to receive an invitation.

Study: Most Parents Of Obese Children Think Kids Are ‘Just Right’

According to a new study, most parents of obese children don’t recognize their own child as obese because they measure him or her to peers rather than medical standards and estimate that the child is “about the right weight” even if they are significantly overweight. What do you think?

McDonald’s Turns 75

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the McDonald’s restaurant chain, which was founded in 1940 as a Southern California barbecue joint and has since expanded to more than 35,000 locations across the globe. Here are some highlights from the company’s history

Report: Millennials Leaving Christian Faith In Droves

According to a new report by the Pew Research Center, the population of Americans who identify as Christian has dropped significantly over the past eight years, in part because one-third of millennials now say they are unaffiliated with any faith. What do you think?

Study: Humans Now Have Shorter Attention Spans Than Goldfish

According to a small study conducted by the Microsoft Corporation, the average human attention span is now down to eight seconds, or one second shorter than that of a goldfish, which the researchers blame on an increased reliance on technology. What do you think?

Tips For Last-Minute Test Cramming

With the academic year winding down at grade schools and colleges across the country, students are buckling down and trying to maximize their study time before taking final exams. Here are some helpful tips as you cram for a test

Baby-Naming Tips For New Moms

Mothershould’s Grace Manning-Devlin breaks down some of the hottest baby names of the year, such as Cooper, Tanner, Milkman, and Serf.

Brewers Stay After Game To Run The Bases

MILWAUKEE—In what was sure to be a night they will remember for the rest of their lives, a group of excited Brewers players stayed after the team’s game against the White Sox Thursday evening to go onto the field and run the bases at Miller Park, sources confirmed.

ACLU Requests Investigation Into Hollywood Sexism

Citing the fact that only 2 percent of top-grossing films last year had female directors, the ACLU has demanded a formal inquiry by state and federal investigators into the hiring practices at Hollywood studios, networks, and talent agencies. What do you think?

Retailers Testing Virtual Fitting Rooms With Smart Mirrors

To compete with online retailers that can use browsing data to make wardrobe recommendations, upscale retailers like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are reportedly testing virtual fitting rooms with smart mirrors that allow customers to see what they would look like in different outfits without having to undress. What do you think?

Features Of The Obama Presidential Library

Barack Obama announced Tuesday that his presidential library will be built on the South Side of Chicago, with construction on the ambitious project due for completion by 2020 or 2021. Here are some features the new library will contain

Report: Professor Requires Students To Take Final Exam In The Nude

According to a local ABC news affiliate, a professor at UC San Diego requires students in the class Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self to strip naked and enact a “performance of the self” in a dark room for the final exam, though the school responded that students can also perform the exam with clothes on. What do you think?

NASA Announces Bold Plan To Still Exist By 2045

WASHINGTON—In what is being described as the most ambitious mission ever undertaken in the space agency’s history, NASA officials announced at a press conference Tuesday their bold new plan to still exist by 2045.

Whole Foods Launching Chain Of Cheaper Stores For Millennials

Officials for Whole Foods have announced that the chain of high-end grocery stores will soon launch a line of lower-priced stores with a “curated” selection of more simply designed foods for millennials and others who can’t afford Whole Foods’ prices. What do you think?

Neighborhood Busybody Reports Sound Of Gunshots

INDIANAPOLIS—Once again sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, neighborhood busybody Sally Christensen, 54, reportedly took it upon herself to report the sound of gunshots to law enforcement early Tuesday morning, sources confirmed.

Starbucks Won’t Bottle Water In California During Drought

Starbucks said that it will stop sourcing its Ethos bottled water from a private spring in the Sierra Nevada foothills and instead move bottling operations to Pennsylvania in an effort to “support the people of the state of California as they face this unprecedented drought.” What do you think?

Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Sleep

Business

Office Pool's Low Number Of Bracket Printouts A Reminder Of How Many Employees Were Laid Off Last Year

COLUMBUS, OH—Employees at Take 5 Media said the smaller-than-usual stack of brackets printed out Wednesday for this year's NCAA basketball tournament served as a stark reminder of just how many workers have been laid off from the design firm over the past year.

"I saw that thin pile of brackets at reception and that's when it really hit me how much we've downsized," said project coordinator Daryl Kedzie, who then began listing off names of former colleagues who have lost their jobs since the recession. "Let's see, Steve's gone—he was a huge Kansas fan. Then there was Tim, who always picked Duke, which we constantly gave him the business about. And by we, I mean me and Erin, who was let go last November and didn't really watch college basketball that much but enjoyed being in the pool. And Henry, of course, who went to Ohio State and was laid off just before Christmas. Man, we would have heard from Henry a lot this year. Huge Buckeyes fan."

"Henry was a good guy," Kedzie added. "I wonder how his wife and two kids are doing. Actually, it would be three by now. Tami was pregnant."

Office manager Amy Erickson told reporters she made the decision to print only 35 brackets, a number she called "generous" considering that the company now employs only 20 full-time staffers, some of whom said they "just weren't into doing it this year, anyway." The number of brackets, she said, was 20 fewer than last year, and 70 fewer than in 2008—the year the economy nearly collapsed and the unemployment rate began its steady increase.

Saying the flimsy pile of paper was a sad contrast to years past when she would have to print out extra copies to accommodate the firm's growing workforce, Erickson confirmed there was a time when the pool had so many participants she had to reload the paper tray in the middle of the print job.

This year, however, the printing was complete in less than 30 seconds.

"It's right near my office, so I can hear when Amy is printing off the brackets," production designer Kelly Ambrose said. "When the printer stopped so abruptly, I thought there was a paper jam or something. But then I walked out onto the main office floor, saw all the empty cubicles, and was like, 'Oh, yeah, everyone's pretty much gone.'"

"Greg, Amanda, that asshole Tim who always picked Duke. Everyone," she added.

According to Erickson, she took the brackets from the printer straight to Bill Dutton's office, because Dutton has coordinated the office pool for the past eight years. Erickson, however, had forgotten that Dutton had been laid off two weeks ago.

The office manager said she then remembered that Peter Grimaldi, who hangs up an NCAA Tournament banner each year, wears a University of Pittsburgh sweatshirt on game days, and is known as a very hard worker focused solely on getting his kids through college, would have loved to have been in charge of the pool had he not been fired in February.

Craig Phillips, another potential coordinator for the office pool and the winner of 2008's contest, suffered an emotional breakdown when he was let go just four days after management had assured him his job was safe.

"I volunteered to do it because only 12 people are participating, so it shouldn't take up too much time," said web developer Brian Lethem, adding that the group of 40 part-time freelancers the company now uses probably wouldn't have been interested anyway. "Actually, it might only be 11 now, because Janet was just called into the board room."

"You know what?" Lethem continued. "I better quit talking to you, because if they see me not working, who knows what will happen. Things have been really weird around here."

Office sources later confirmed that the pool is currently worth $65, nearly $700 less than in 2001, when the unemployment rate was 4 percent and when pool winner Tim Jordan, who was laid off last October after 15 years of service and given what he called a "sick fucking joke of a severance package," once again successfully picked Duke to win the tournament.

Next Story

Onion Video

Watch More