If you don’t like black people, you probably should not own an NBA team

Allow me to preface today’s post by saying this will be my only appearance this week. On early Wednesday morning I will be heading to the great state of California for the remainder of the week, and my Tuesday night will be preoccupied with last-second packing. My specialty.

I’m sure I’ll have a nice, juicy post about my time there to compensate for the lack of material this week.

Luckily, we had a senile, 80-year-old man who is completely out of touch with reality speak his mind last week, and now we have a Donald Sterlingnational story to discuss today, thanks to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Sterling, who has a history of making controversial remarks —  racism included — told his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, in a private phone conversation, that he did not want her bringing black people to his basketball games. The audio was somehow leaked to TMZ last Friday and has since become the focus of national attention, with prominent current and former basketball players, ranging from LeBron James to Michael Jordan, calling for Sterling to be forced out of the league.

Barack Obama also denounced Sterling’s comments when asked about them during a press conference in Malaysia.

The Los Angeles Clippers team staged a silent protest prior to Sunday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, wearing their warm-up jerseys inside out so the Clippers insignia was hidden. And on Tuesday afternoon, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is scheduled to hand down a punishment.

There’s your Spark Notes version of the situation.

While Sterling’s comments are unquestionably ignorant and racist, I think it’s important to remember that he said this in a private conversation, and not in a public platform. Does it excuse what he said? No. But it’s just something that we have to keep in mind before unloading our utmost vitriol on Sterling.

As noted, the man has a history of bigotry, so he shouldn’t be excused in any way, shape, or form. That being said, there’s probably something we all say every day — probably something that we said today — either publicly to some one we trust, or privately to Clippers protestourselves, that if it were to be publicly broadcast to the world, it would make us look really, really bad.

Then again, we’re not NBA owners.

Racism exists. It will always exist. And if you want to make racially discriminating remarks, then that’s your prerogative.

But when you say these things and own a team in a league whose players are predominantly black, then you deserve no sympathy. The statements aren’t excusable in any vocation, but it’s extra damning when you’re a major face of a league that showcases the most talented African-American athletes the world has to offer. And that is why this is such a big story.

And what the hell is his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, doing with her name? When I first read the story, I thought her first name was being withheld because media outlets just didn’t know what it was. But it turns out that’s her legal name.

I’m sorry, you could be a perfect ’10’ on the hotness scale, but I am not going to talk with you if your first name is an initial. Who knows, maybe she was so inspired by Hugo Weaving’s performance in V for Vendetta that she changed her name because of it, but whatever the reason, it’s stupid. And now she’s exposed to the world for being associated with an extremely old, bigoted man. She deserves it simply for having that name.

But anyway, Donald Sterling may never remember the 5th of November, but he sure as hell won’t forget the 25th of April.

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I’m not sure I’m ready to live in a world where Zac Efron is a successful comedic actor

When I say that I never watched a second of any High School Musical movie, I’m not trying to sound cool. I’m just being honest.

If I ever want to see a musical, I’ll watch The Sound of Music or Singin’ in the Rain. Or I’ll just go to Broadway. But a bunch of young adults pretending they’re still in high school singing cheesy pop songs? No thanks. It’s the same reason why I’ve never seen more than a couple of episodes of Glee.

Yes, I have seen a couple of episodes of Glee, and I do regret it.

Neighbors posterSo Zac Efron really never meant much to me in life. I get that he’s a good-looking guy who appeals to the same girls who love Justin Bieber, but that’s exactly the type of thing that will make me avoid somebody.

But then my opinion on Mr. Efron started to change a little bit between the years of 2007 and 2009. No, those weren’t my experimental gay years, but the span in which he starred in two movies I enjoyed: Hairspray (2007) and 17 Again (2009).

The former is a remake of a classic musical, and the latter was a contemporary take of a commonly recycled story where a man gets to go back to his teenage years to redo his life, and, inevitably, realize what truly is most important to him. Though the two stories were completely unoriginal — one being a remake and the other being a concept that basically started in 1946 with It’s a Wonderful Life — both movies were enjoyable.

In Hairspray, Efron showcased his singing and dancing abilities to all those who missed out on High School Musical, and, in, 17 Again, while he was funny, I firmly believe it was simply the byproduct of an extremely funny script.

But since then, Efron has faded into irrelevance and has already been in and out of rehab. Basically, he’s another example of why nobody should become movie stars in their teenage years. It rarely works out.

This summer, however, it appears he’s about to have a career resurrection by virtue of his smartest career move yet — teaming up with Seth Rogen. May 9 is the release date of the pair’s upcoming film, Neighbors, which has been getting rave reviews — It has an 8.3 rating on IMDB, and a sparkling 100 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, albeit after just 11 reviews.

Dave Franco — who’s still trying to become famous for something besides being the little brother of James Franco — is also in the movie, but let’s face it, Dave freaking Franco will never carry a movie himself.

The plot is simple: a fraternity moves next door to a couple with a newborn baby, played by Rogen and Rose Byrne of Bridesmaids fame. Chaos ensues.

Essentially, it’s Old School 2.0.

All signs are pointing to this movie being pretty good. For one, the trailer is hilarious.

But the outlying ramifications of the movie is that it may establish Zac Efron as a major comedic star. And is that something we really want? Is the world ready to embrace Zac Efron as an equal with the likes of Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill?

It’s bad enough that we’ve been forced to accept Channing Tatum as a comedian, but I just think adding Zac Efron to the mix is a little too much.

However, I may just be jealous because it would confirm his ability to sing, dance and be funny.

I may have humor going for me, but I sure as hell can’t sing, and I’ve danced in front of my mirror when nobody was home, and it’s not pretty.

Damn you Efron.

 

Avril Lavigne knew exactly what she was doing with this ‘Hello Kitty’ video

Avril Lavigne begins the music video for her song, “Hello Kitty,” by shouting a Japanese word into the camera. It’s an awkward start, and it only goes downhill from there.

The next three minutes are full of the Canadian singer traipsing around a candy store and a sushi restaurant, all the while followed by four lifeless Japanese girls — or rather, caricatures of Japanese girls — who really contribute nothing to the video. The rest is full of Avril doing her best Ke$ha impersonation.

Within hours, cries of racism and cultural insensitivity were being shouted from every corner of the Internet.

The video has since been removed from Avril Lavinge’s YouTube page, although the singer’s publicists claim that its removal is not Hello Kittyrelated to any controversy.

Watch this for yourself. The one I linked to may very well be removed, and if it is, just find another one.

Believe it or not, I have now sat and watched this video two times.

It’s easy to watch it and say that it’s terrible, but really, what music video isn’t terrible these days?

I will say that the song is pretty atrocious, and I that I expect better from Avril. I’ve been a staunch defender of hers over the years — evidenced here and here — and I will forever insist that she has plenty of talent. She just doesn’t seem to care about actually showcasing it.

She has a great singing voice, but doesn’t often cater to it … like Hello Kitty. She also writes the majority of her songs, even if the lyrics are pretty dense … like Hello Kitty. But what I like most about her is that she long ago picked a gimmick, and stuck with it. Even with age, she hasn’t changed.

So love her or hate her — she is who she is.

There’s really no point crying racism, because this entire music video is one giant stereotype. It paints Japanese culture as one giant rainbow colored children’s cartoon. Which, let’s face it, is how most Americans view Japan.

The video is just another extension of Avril not giving a single hoot about what people think about her. They don’t call her the Punk Pop Princess for nothing. Or does any one even call her that?

At the end of the day, as I already said, the song is just bad. And that to me is the real story. Looking at Avril’s Wikipedia page, it appears her husband Chad Kroeger, of Nickelback fame (or notoriety), has a writing credit on the song.

There’s your explanation.

It’s time to put an end to the humble brag

Let me begin by saying there’s few greater feelings in life than gaining a sense of accomplishment.

Big or small, it’s always rewarding when you receive confirmation that you are doing a good job. However, while recognition is always a good thing, the people who are truly happy in life are the ones who never needed recognition to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong — even the happiest, most content person in the world will become even happier when rewarded. But the point 1st Placeis that they don’t need it to be happy.

Stay with me.

The creation of Facebook has given people a very public platform to humble brag, or in other words, to boast their own accomplishments. Too often, I witness people post their own work, their own news, their own achievement.

It doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, humble bragging is now part of the accomplishment process, which goes, in order — Receive accolades, be happy, post on Facebook, receive likes.

I have been known to humble brag from time to time. I try not to do it too often, but I was even guilty of it a few weeks ago, when I received my first ever award for an article I wrote at work. It made me extremely happy, and I thought, “You know what, I’ve earned a shitload Facebook likes. Let’s do this.”

I will never fault somebody for humble bragging when it’s warranted, but I can’t guarantee I won’t roll my eyes, either.

But here’s the crux of what I am trying to get to: the people who spend their lives doing what makes them the most happy, are the ones who are truly succeeding. I’ll take it one step further and say that the people who keep their accomplishments to themselves, and never post it on Facebook, are the ones who are happiest.

If you love what you’re doing, whether it’s writing, performing, accounting, teaching, coding, politicking, painting, or whatever, then doing it every day should be enough.

What’s the true mark of ultimate happiness? To do what you love, and then go home and act like it never happened. Why? Because doing it is the true source of joy. Not talking about it after. Not expecting accolades. And certainly not posting about it on Facebook.

Humble bragging is annoying in itself, but even worse, I think Facebook has distorted people’s goals. Instead of striving for peak inner happiness, we’re instead striving for tangible rewards so that we can show them to others and receive positive reinforcement. And that’s not what life is supposed to be about.

So if you want to humble brag, I’m not going to stop you.

But next time you do it, just ask yourself — what makes you happiest? The accolades, or the act itself?

Of course, none of this applies if you just slept with Kate Upton. Humble brag away, my friend. You’ve earned it.

Man, people are really desperate for there to be a Loch Ness Monster, aren’t they?

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster dates back 1,500 years ago with stone carvings in Northern Scotland depicting the mythical beast as early as 565 A.D. That was a millennium and a half ago, when it was a lot easier to believe in strange beasts and supernatural phenomena.

Now, in an age where modern science pretty much tells us everything we could possibly know about our planet and the creatures living on it … we still believe in the Loch Ness Monster.

Commonly referred to as “Nessie,” the cryptid creature is a common character in Scottish Folk lore — an underwater beast that dwells Loch Ness Monsterin the country’s Loch Ness, hence the name. The most famous and conclusive picture of the monster is from 1934, depicting a head and neck of an animal above water, an image that still floats around the Internet, perpetuating the animal’s existence among believers.

Heck, there’s even an entire fan club devoted to the animal.

The one thing I wonder is whether people truly believe In Nessie’s existence, or that they just want it to exist so badly that they’re completely willing to disregard science and logic in order to believe it?

Firstly, if it really dates back 1,500 years, and even the most recent picture is from 80 years ago, then… do people think this beast lasts forever? And if they did have the ability to procreate, that would mean there’s at least three of them at any given time. If there were three gigantic beasts roaming around Scotland, I’m pretty sure we’d find them.

Or do people think the Loch Ness Monster is likes James Bond? It’s a character that appears periodically, always played a different person, or in this case … animal?

And if such a beast did exist, why are we so anxious to find it? We shouldn’t put too much stock into modern fiction, where it’s depicted as a friendly, affable creature that loves humans, like in the 2007 family movie The Water Horse.

In reality, I’m pretty sure it would probably kill any human that crossed its past. Just a hunch.

But yeah, let’s find this thing!

It was Apple’s turn to keep the rumors alive, as people are claiming they located Nessie using the company’s satellite imaging several months ago. There’s a picture caught by Apple cameras in Loch Ness of what appears to be the shadow of a large multi-flippered animal swimming just below the water’s surface. Loch Ness Monster AppleThe image was just revealed publicly this past weekend.

Of course, skeptics claim it looks almost exactly like the wake of a boat, only you can’t see the boat because of the low contrast of the image. And I’m sure that’s exactly what it is, but when it comes to the Loch Ness Monster, who needs logic?

When it’s come to the point where people are sitting in front of a computer screen dissecting satellite images for months, I think it’s time to just put this entire thing to rest. Since I’m nowhere near Scotland, and wouldn’t have to worry about being eaten by it, then count me in as somebody who wishes it was real.

But … I also believe in not being really, really naive.

However, people once thought the giant squid was fake until its existence was proven fairly recently.

And the Easter Bunny too. I always thought he didn’t exist until I saw him hopping around my garden yesterday.

So who knows?

Sometimes in life you just have to embrace your inner Christina Perri

But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down

Sometimes you look at lyrics of a song that you like and think, “What the hell is that person talking about?”

These lyrics, from the song “Human” by Christina Perri are more like facts. If you’re human, then you’re susceptible to wounds, both mentally and physically. Any life form that is intellectually capable of processing those lyrics can’t possibly disagree with them. Unless Superman is actually real.

It’s a bleak outlook, but it’s the truth. And sometimes the truth hurts.

Christina PerriOn Thursday, I had the pleasure of being informed of my mortality live when I saw Christina Perri in concert. As I’ve expressed previously, I’m a pretty frequent concertgoer. In fact I think it’s safe to say that about one-third of my income goes to beer and live music. But that’s another topic.

Since I’ve already seen most of the contemporary bands I’ve wanted to see (the benefit of living so near to New York City is all that bands come to you), I’ve now set my sights on seeing female singer-songwriters who I’ve always respected and/or enjoyed as a guilty pleasure. In fact, the savvy Weinblog followers may have noticed a recurring theme. Last December I wrote about my experience at an Avril Lavigne concert, and one month ago, I documented my time seeing Ellie Goulding.

I long ago realized that, at the end of the day, who cares what other people think? If I like a female musician whose target audience is females aged 17 to 23, then so be it. And believe me, I am going to these shows for the music. Life is short and I want to have fun doing things I enjoy. In the past five months, I have also seen Kacey Musgraves and Sara Bareilles live.

Come at me, bro.

It also doesn’t hurt when the singer I like also happens to be really pretty. Christina Perri is a gorgeous woman who is also extremely talented. I especially like how she kind of has that dark, gothic vibe going with all of her songs. Most know her for her 2010 breakthrough song “Jar of Hearts,” which definitely is sung from the perspective of a scorned, begrudged lover. The song “Human,” mentioned above, is the first single off her second album, Head or Heart, released earlier this month.

The concert could not really have been more enjoyable. Though just 27 years old (my age as well …  *hint hint* Christina … yeah you’re not reading this), she interacted with the rambunctious audience like a seasoned veteran. And she sounded great.

The opener for the show was Birdy, an English singer who became famous a few years ago for her covers of popular indie songs. TheBirdy one that brought her to mainstream awareness was her rendition of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” which is a great version of the already great song. Anyway, she’s ridiculously talented as well and only 17 years old.

After finishing her set, she happened to do a meet and greet with fans in the hallway of the venue. As I was walking by her, I’ll admit I had a very brief internal struggle of whether it was appropriate to photograph myself with a girl 10 years my junior.

I got the photograph.

I also faced an equally brief, internal struggle whether I should post in on Facebook.

I posted it to Facebook five minutes later.

And now I’ll post it here. Seriously though, if you don’t know who she is I highly recommend to look her up on Spotify. She’s seriously talented and could become a huge star.

At the end of the day, the simple life lesson we sometimes forget is that nothing should stop us from doing things we like to do. Whether it’s going to a concert, learning to ballroom dance, or reenacting the scene from Ghost with your stuffed animals where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore are making pottery. Any outside perception you fear is only amplified by your inner self-conscious.

I don’t blame you, though. After all, we’re all only human.

Airplanes were in the news a lot more than they should have been this week

There’s no other place in the world where people wish for nothing but complete normalcy than in an airplane.

In other contexts, sure, it doesn’t hurt to have an unexpected turn of events shake up the monotony of your day. But no one ever wants to leave an airplane being able to say, “Dude, you have to hear about this crazy story that happened on my flight…”

That obviously doesn’t include flights that go missing. Because then you don’t even have the opportunity to share any story with anybody. So that’s the exception.

It’s been more than a month now, and we haven’t gotten any closer to finding Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Probably because it’s Flight attendantall the way at the bottom of the freaking ocean, and nobody wants to go down there.

But we’re all tired of that story already. Let’s continue with other airplane-related news.

Personally, I want the “craziest” thing on my flights to be for them to run out of orange juice. Because that means the rest of the flight probably went smoothly.

What I don’t want to hear associated with my airlines, is them tweeting lewd, pornographic photos (link Not Safe For Work), them receiving terrorist threats from teenage girls via social media, or a flight attendant trying way too hard to be funny.

In link one, you had a major gaffe by US Airways, which received an obscene tweet that included a photo of a model airplane lodged inside of a woman’s … parts … and the airlines’ Twitter account inexplicably resending the image to two other people my mistake, thus tweeting the picture out to its 429,000 followers.

The second link revolves around a stupid Dutch girl who sent a tweet to American Airlines, impersonating a terrorist. The airlines responded by informing the girl that they take these threats seriously, and reported her to the FBI, and now she might face criminal charges. Even worse, the airlines is now receiving dozens of bomb jokes from teenagers on Twitter, according to the Washington Post.

And finally, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines delivered the pre-take off procedural speech by spouting one-liner after one-liner, inciting rambunctious laughter from everyone on board.

I give credit to this woman for her delivery — she seemingly recited her speech without consulting any type of script, and I’m pretty amazed she did it without losing her flow at any point.

But I also don’t understand how people on the plane thought it was so funny. I could barely understand her half of the time with her thick southern accent and quick pace. Also, it’s one thing to watch and enjoy it on YouTube, but if I’m on that freaking plane, I don’t want my flight attendants to be stand up comedians. I want them to tell me what the hell I need to do if there’s an emergency, so that I could, you know … survive.

If I was on that plane, I’ll admit I would have laughed, but when she finished I’d have been like, “OK, seriously though … what do I do in case there’s an emergency?”

Apparently Southwest Airlines does have a history of allowing their flight attendants to show a little humor during their pre-flight speeches, but I just thought this was too over the top.

But I’m just going to write this off as a bizarre airplane news week full of things we wouldn’t normally see the majority of the time.

Because in my mind, airplanes should be completely devoid of nudity, humor and teenage girls.

Just like my high school and college years.

Wait, what?