How to Live Forever (A Beginner’s Guide)

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When I die, I hope you remember my words.

I hope you form an unimpeachable anthology, augmented with sketches and director’s commentary and deleted scenes and bonus features. I hope I make the front page of Reddit and they declare it “Learn to be Happy Without Being Satisified Day” in Evansville, Indiana.

But, God as my witness on the day I hope to meet him, I never decided to be a writer. Continue reading

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Adam Silver and the economics of morality

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So Adam Silver unloaded the banhammer on Donald Sterling yesterday — preventing the Don from ever getting within two zipcodes of Staples Center or any NBA entity. You probably heard that already.

It was the right call, and, really, it was the only call. Anything less than that would’ve resulted in outright mutiny. Hell, the money already ran scared for the hills.

And this is what makes the decision to dump Donald by the side of the road seem so disingenuous. This was no heroic claiming of moral high ground. This was a decision to save face, a swift rip of the band-aid to let the wound heal in the open.

Mr. Silver, and, particularly, his predecessor of 30 years, Mr. Stern, had numerous chances to oust Sterling in the past for his litany of racist, sexist, bigoted offenses that did real, actual harm to real, actual people.

But it was only when faced with financial peril — when doing business with Donald Sterling was no longer good for doing business — that the NBA chose to sever ties. Donald Sterling’s evil actions and disgusting demeanor (not to mention his asleep-at-the-wheel and offensively penny-pinching ownership) wasn’t enough of a debit to his character until the Association faced financial and public humiliation.

If the NBA really, truly wanted to take a stand against racism within its ranks – on both a personal and institutional level – then the NBA would do better to hire more minorities beyond the workers in the fields on the court. Front offices, broadcast booths, sidelines, league offices and marketing departments are chock full of ivory skin and ivory tower mentality, despite the cherry-picked figures that caused The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport to award an A+ for racial diversity hiring. (Head coaches? Players? That’s what you’re rolling with as outstanding examples of “diversity” in hiring?)

If Adam Silver truly wants his league to serve as a shining beacon of promoting racial equality, there would be no dress code decreed by the white ruling body enforcing its predominantly black “talent” to dress in semi-formal attire when sitting out full games. There would be no age limit set by the white ruling body deciding when its predominantly black workforce is “mature” enough to start earning grown man paychecks.

And, if the NBA really, really wants to be subversive and forward-thinking in their morality, they would strike the title of “Owner” from their lexicon. I don’t think you need me to tell you why.

Make no mistake, Adam Silver made the right call, and sending a gross dinosaur of a human being to the NBA tar pits is a welcome first step. But it was a convenient first step – one that came adorned with all the trappings of a warm-and-fuzzy feel-good sleeper hit. There were website takeovers and Staples Center billboards (probably not designed by one of the 1-in-20 ‘creative industry‘ workers that’s non-white) and a sweet commercial tailor-made to tug at your heartstrings (the odds of an African-American actually playing any part in the creation of that commercial, by the way? One-in-100.) but to truly turn this into any kind of moral crusade will require more than just savvy marketing and swift justice.

The spotlight shined brightly on Mr. Silver, and boy did he deliver. But, as Donald Sterling knows as well as anyone, character is defined by what we all do with the lights off, long before we’re saddled with the burden of cleaning up the messes of our making.

 

There’s no such thing as a free drink.

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Some minor history was made last night. I did something I’ve never done in 31 years.

But, before I get to that, I should inform you that I’m (mostly) Sicilian. You’ve met Central Casting Dagos like me before. Sexy. Loquacious. Pretty big into artichoke. If you’re ever at an epic bash at a Sicilian’s household, you know damn sure to do three things: Continue reading

To Lorrie Goldstein, F**k You. Love, Sanity.

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Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with Lorrie Goldstein. That’s fine. We’re not here to skewer his career.

Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with gang violence in Canada’s largest city. That’s fine. We’re not here to skewer Toronto.

Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the specifics of how the Toronto Sun commissions and crafts opinion columns. That’s fine, too. We’re not here to skewer The Sun.

We’re here to talk about this. We’re here to talk about a flaming pile of editorial panda-shit dropped by The Sun, showing a complete lack of education in pre-cursors for societal ills and also exhibiting scathing shreds of racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry, self-righteousness.

If you’re unfamiliar with how we do this, we basically ripped this idea off Fire Joe Morgan. So, I’ll be signing my $4 in royalties over to them immediately.

Italics are his words. The rest are mine. Let’s go: Continue reading

LeBron James just wants to be human

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For nearly half of the 26-year life of King James, he’s glowed atop a furnace of hype.

James is no ordinary great player. He’s a city-swallowing tractor beam of acclaim. Before he had his driver’s license, he became the youngest player ever named Ohio’s “Mr. Basketball”, and was the first sophomore ever selected to the USA Today all-USA first team. SI covers. Sold-out professional arenas for high school games. LeBron didn’t sneak up on anyone, didn’t “pay his dues”, didn’t elevate to stardom. He was shout-it-out-loud transcendent from his career’s antepartum.

He won back-to-back MVPs with Cleveland, compiling a holistic stat line that blended Magic with Michael. So when LeBron decided to “take his talents to South Beach” and join super-friends Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade,  it appalled many who wished he’d become the greatest basketball player in NBA history, and most transcendent figure in Ohio history. LeBron’s decision was mimicked, mocked and ridiculed. He was labeled a coward and a quitter. I see it differently. LeBron just wanted to fit in. Continue reading