Donald Sterling, Twelve Angry Men, and playing a little devil’s advocate

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two weeks, the name “Donald Sterling” has been in the news very predominantly.  Donald Sterling is a very, very rich man, easily falling into the category of a billionaire.  Donald Sterling is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a basketball team in the NBA.

However, the reason Donald Sterling has been in the news over the last two weeks is that Donald Sterling has pretty much been publicly outed as a racist and a bigot, based on a recording between Sterling and his mistress about how Sterling did not like the fact that she had a photograph with her and Magic Johnson, because Magic Johnson is black.  And then basically saying he doesn’t want people to bring black people to Clippers games.

This isn’t the first time that Donald Sterling has been accusing of being a racist, as he’s been previously accused of showing discriminatory behavior when he showed great reluctance to renting to minorities in some of his investment properties, but it’s very much the first time that audible audio proof has been provided over his discriminatory beliefs.

Needless to say, Donald Sterling’s racist beliefs have not gone over well with, anyone, and pretty much all of America is letting him know this.  A lot of people have done a lot of things to express their disdain and disagreement for Donald Sterling so far; his own team’s players wearing their team’s gear inside out, as to obscure the logo, his logo, numerous notable African-American figures condemning his bigotry, and numerous entities withdrawing all association with the Clippers, such as sponsors pulling out, and even musical artists refusing to let Sterling’s Clippers play their music at games.

The biggest action however, has been that as of April 29, 2014, the commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, declared that Donald Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life.  He is no longer allowed to attend, associate, or conduct any business with the NBA for the rest of his life.  Which is going to be a troublesome situation, considering Donald Sterling currently owns an NBA team; naturally Silver is attempting to force Sterling to sell the team, but the last time I checked, Sterling has zero intention to do so and will probably resist and fight any actions taken to try and wrest the team from his possession.

Oh, and he was also fined $2.5 million dollars, which to a billionaire like Donald Sterling, is basically chump change.

Many are satisfied with this result, and I understand why they are.  The world, much less the NBA doesn’t really need misguided and prejudiced bigots running around in positions of power and authority.  The NBA, and probably the rest of the world, would be a better place without Donald Sterling, and anyone like him, being a part of it.

However, and I know that this could probably upset anyone who will probably read this (all of like three people), but I don’t believe that it was right.

It really boils down to one fact here: Donald Sterling is being punished for his opinion (and the subsequent dollars to all involved parties said opinion is causing to be lost).  It’s an awful, ugly opinion, and one that I most certainly do not agree with in any way shape or form, but it is still the opinion of a single person.

And to me, it makes me ask the question, doesn’t that seem a little… unconstitutional?

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Man, What A Stupid Commercial #013

Synopsis: Somewhere in a foreign country, there is car accident that is by no means a massive one by American standards, but in whatever foreign country this is in, it’s being treated as if it were a Kobayashi-maru; completely unsolvable and debilitating the entire road system.  Not lost on the irony is the fact that the incident appears to be the fault of a woman, subtly driving in that knife a little bit more about the stereotype that women can’t drive.

Regardless, Ray Liotta happens to be in a taxi that’s entangled in this web of traffic, and seemingly exasperated by the notion that he’s not going anywhere, simply gets out of the cab and walks off.  Also note, he doesn’t pay for his cab fare.

The sound of excessive force is used to announce his arrival into a shanty local bar, where he approaches the bartender, says absolutely nothing and just stares at him.  All the other patrons are paralyzed in the presence of Ray Liotta, while he continues to stare at the bartender, who procures a shot glass and a bottle of unnamed, supposed low-shelf tequila.

The staring contest continues with no words being exchanged, and after a tick in the cheek of Liotta, he supposedly wins this stare down, and the bartender switches to a bottle of 1800 tequila, pours a shot that Liotta is now content with, and the commercial ends with him chuckling in great victory over having intimidated an elderly bartender into “upgrading” his tequila from unnamed to 1800.

I’m not entirely sure I understand the commercial.  The first 11 seconds are amazingly more pointless than the rest of the commercial, as I’m guessing they’re trying to establish Ray Liotta as this intimidating international man of mystery.  But then the context of the entire commercial becomes even more pointless and contextually ambiguous with the Liotta versus bartender stare down.

I scoured the interwebs to see if there were any logical explanations to the context of the campaign, or the significance of having Ray Liotta in it; and there wasn’t any.  But the funny thing is the fluff written here about how they got Ray Liotta to participate in the campaign.  For starters, they write as if anyone under the age of 25 actually knows who Ray Liotta even is.  As good a film as Goodfellas was, it’s ancient history today, and Ray Liotta is not a relevant actor anymore.  Getting Ray Liotta was probably the easiest task in the world for the ad agency, because it probably went like this:

“Hello, Mr. Liotta?  Would you like to be paid and get a free trip to Buenos Aires, to film some 0:30 second tequila spots?”
“We’ll send the paperwork.”

I get that the tagline of this 1800 campaign is “enough said,” and that they’re trying to drive home the point that international tough guy Ray Liotta doesn’t need to say anything to get 1800 tequila, but I’m just going to put this out there; in just one word, he could get a vastly superior quality shot of tequila with like “Patron,” or “Avion.”

Oh, Georgia

It’s that time of the year again: where you’re probably at work, and I am not, for today is the recognized Confederate Memorial Day.

It’s a paid day off, so I’m not complaining about that part, but it never fails to amuse me when one of the Mondays of April is recognized as such an ironic day of remembrance.  Sometimes, it’s hard to believe people who publicly exclaim their excitement of the approaching holiday, because they’re not really paying attention to why we’re getting the day off, as much of the knowledge that it’s a day off.

Ironic in that regard, is the fact that it’s unavoidable to not acknowledge that Atlanta is a very predominantly black city, and there were people in my office who happen to be black, being overheard talking about how they couldn’t wait for the “holiday weekend,” because it meant having an extra day off, and their subsequent plans to accommodate the extra time.

Personally, I like to brag about the fact that I have an extra day off, and then smirk and mockingly say for why.  The irony in acknowledging, much less “celebrating” Confederate Memorial Day is not lost on me.

As for what I did over the weekend, I kind of shot myself in the foot; I say kind of, because it wasn’t because of an unworthy cause, but I did forfeit my aspirations to spread my wings and explore somewhere new.  I had earmarked Sunday, as a day in which I would have either flown to Houston, Texas if the flights were accommodating, to knock another ballpark off of my list of Major League ballparks, but if that didn’t work, I was thinking about driving to either Chattanooga or Greenville, two areas within reasonable driving distance, to where I could have seen some Minor League baseball in a park I’d never been to.

It’s no secret that I do love my traveling.  But none of those trips happened, because I picked up a rush freelance project that went into Sunday, and obligation does come first.  So I opted to do work and make money, instead of spending money and traveling.  In the end, it’s comes out about even, but in some regards, I feel like I missed an opportunity to explore a new city on a weekend where I wouldn’t have been penalized by missed work, if I happened to get stranded somewhere.

Que sera, sera, so I guess I’ll settle for the consolation prize of making money, and getting to sleep in and relax on this ironic holiday instead.

No way LeBron would challenge Jordan if he weren’t 51

Backstory: television cameras notice LeBron James intently looking at something other than the hoop during a fast break before throwing down a big dunk.  Michael Jordan was sitting front row, in the direction of where LeBron James was looking, as he is president of the Heat’s opponents the Charlotte Bobcats.  LeBron vehemently denies staring at MJ.

Bottom line is that LeBron James is full of shit and everyone knows it.  There is absolutely nobody in the world more relevant for LeBron James to attempt to stare down than the man everyone compares him to, measures him up against, and mostly agrees that he is not better than, in Michael Jordan.

100%, LeBron James was staring down Michael Jordan on the way to the hoop, because everyone knows that LeBron James is a very fragile-minded person who is always seeking validation and acceptance because he’s been coddled his entire life due to being such a can’t-miss basketball prospect phenom.  It’s also worth noting that LeBron was probably devastated when MJ basically said that Kobe Bryant was his true heir and was more talented and successful than LeBron, and this act of defiance was akin to a jilted ex-girlfriend blowing some other dude in front of her old boyfriend.

Needless to say, whether or not LeBron will admit it, LeBron was trying to send a message to His Airness with his steal, stare and dunk act.  However, the fact of the matter is that if Michael Jordan weren’t 20 years his senior, there’s no way in hell that LeBron James would have tried this shit.  For two decades, many people learned the hard way that you do not challenge Michael Jordan on the basketball court.

Patrick Ewing, Isaiah Thomas, Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, Gary Payton, these are all guys who learned the hard way.  These were guys that Michael Jordan made points of embarrassing on the court, and for good measure, never forgetting, and repeating it every time they opposed each other.  MJ is still tormenting Patrick Ewing to this day, cockblocking him from getting into the coaching arena.

If this were 20 years ago, and Michael Jordan were still in basketball, he would have made a point to get on the court, and put LeBron James back in his place, on both ends of the court.  He would hound him and not let him get the ball much less a clean look at the basket, and then on the offensive side, he would drop jumpers in his eye, and rainbow some sweet fadeaways just an inch beyond his fingertips.  And for good measure, at some point, he would undoubtedly slam one in his face, to reaffirm his dominance.

I’m pretty sure Wizards Jordan could probably take LeBron James now, too.  6′9-6′10 freaks like Shawn Marion and Chris Bosh couldn’t even defend the MJ fadeaway, which would give zero hope for the smaller LeBron.

I hate to dog on LeBron like everyone else does, but he really does make it so easy to root against him.

A harrowing glimpse into the leaders of tomorrow

Typically, whenever we play League of Legends, win or lose, there’s not a whole lot of banter in the post-game lobby unless there are some legit praise to be given out, or some trash talking that must continue beyond the end result. Usually, it’s the fake and hollow “good game” remarks, portrayed by the simple “gg” letters. Leaving without saying anything, if you’re on the losing side is immediately interpreted as being butthurt about losing, akin to the ever-entertaining ragequit.

The following is a partial transcript from a post-game lobby following a victory, with my friends Allison and Shane bantering with members from the losing team who relentlessly tried to get us to play a rematch against them, which we declined because there was no point. It’s eventually revealed that these guys are all friends, unlike the happenstance of being matched up with strangers in LoL, and like the all-knowing teenagers of tomorrow, go ahead and surrender their actual ages, which is more or less, 16.

These are the guys that will eventually be the vast majority of America’s workforce in about 10 years. Try not to jump off any cliffs out of the realization of depression after reading this.

ALL names changed, because I don’t want to give out the names of my friends and I, and I don’t want these guys to be  psychotic enough to google their user names and actually find my brog. Except all references to “roy” or “rob” are me, that much is okay to know.

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