Tag Archives: David Stern

Amazon.com scares me with their newest breakthrough. The amazing Meryl Streep can do anything (here’s proof). And David Stern hits Letterman on farewell tour

amazon
I’m not exactly sure what the line is when it comes to companies knowing way too much about us on the Internet; the line seems to move all the time. Amazon.com, especially, keeps pushing that line further and further away, and we all kind of shrug. (Drones delivering packages to our house? Sure!)

But this thing I heard about this week might be going a bit too far. OK, way too far. Amazon needs to chill out with this.

Apparently the newest development at the company is what they’re calling “pre-shipment”, where, get this, Amazon will start shipping things you might want to buy soon to fulfillment centers near where you live.

Seriously, they’ve now patented some kind of fancy mathematical formula that will look at what you’ve purchased before, along with what you’ve put on your “wish list” and what you’ve clicked on, and then shipping that item in your general direction before you’ve even bought it. That way, when you DO buy it, Amazon.com can get it to you quicker.

My head hurts just thinking about this. How do they know whether I’m really going to buy the item, and isn’t it a waste of time and money if I don’t end up buying it? Maybe I fall out of love with a certain author, or an appliance I thought I needed I no longer to.

So on behalf of the world, let me say this:

Dear Amazon.com,

We love you, really. You’ve made our lives better in many ways. But enough. You’re getting a little too clingy and too into us. Please stop trying to predict our every move and action. It creeps us out. Thanks.

Hugs and Kisses,

The World.

**So I don’t know if there’s a human being alive who doesn’t love Meryl Streep, probably the greatest American actress of all time. She’s been nominated for 18 Oscars, won three of them, and seems to be a hell of a nice person off screen as well (I say “seems to be” because, you know, you never know. We all thought O.J. was a nice guy until June, 1994).

Streep is famous for being able to do any kind of accent or persona, so recently on “Ellen” the host asked her to do some crazy scenarios that would test even Meryl’s range.

She of course came through perfectly, and hilariously. I really laughed at the last impression here….

**Finally today, sports fans may know that NBA commissioner David Stern, just about the most powerful guy in sports the last 30 years, is retiring next week. I’m not going to launch into a whole “legacy of David Stern” thing here, because it’s pretty obvious how brilliantly he helped steer the NBA of Larry and Magic, through the Michael Jordan era, right through LeBron. Stern is a marketing genius, a power-broker extraordinaire, and he took a sport that was highly regionalized and to a specific audience and exploded it into the world’s consciousness.

Anyway, Stern is retiring next week, and stopped by David Letterman Wednesday night to read a Top 10 list

Little boys having fun with flour. The professor who demanded snacks from students. And the REAL victims of the NBA lockout: hookers

Let’s start today with a video of what can go wrong when two children get into a bag of flour. Man, what fun it was to be a 6-year-old and just throw stuff around the house. I love the boys’ innocent reactions here.

**I wish I had a professor like George Parrott, a psychology professor who made headlines last week at Sacramento State. Delightfully for entertainment purposes, he wasn’t in the news for winning a Nobel Prize or a big grant or something boring like that. Nope, Parrott is briefly famous because he walked out on his class when they forgot to bring snacks for everyone.

Seriously. Here’s the deal: Every semester, as part of a teamwork exercise and teaching the students how to learn to count on each other, Parrott asks the students to collectively supply snacks and baked goods for the class, twice during the semester.

Last week, when the students forgot, Parrott walked out of class and declined to teach the kids that day. He said it wasn’t about the food, it was about the students not working cooperatively, and not using teamwork.

Some people get kinda cranky when they don’t get their brownies, apparently. But seriously, Sacramento State students, isn’t a batch of chocolate chip cookies worth getting lectured to by the eminent Mr. Parrott?

What a windbag.

**Finally, I’ve talked before about the real victims of the NBA lockout: The concession stand workers, the parking lot attendants, the folks who own bars and restaurants near basketball arenas. But I’ve been overlooking the real victims here, the folks who are truly hurting.

That’s right, the escort services. We all know pro athletes love the ladies, and yeah, sometimes they pay money for their girls. And without NBA players paying between $400 and $4,000 per hour for their services (seriously, 4,000 an hour? For that money, the woman ought to also provide a scouting report on the next opponent, am I right?)

A 30 percent decline seems to be the magic number, even for Henry, who runs an escort service in New York that he says charges between $400 and $4,000 an hour, depending on the woman.

An owner of a N.Y. escort service named Henry said business is down 30 percent.

“There are replacement (customers) but they aren’t as consistent and not nearly as high paying,” Henry said.

Henry, I feel your pain. Nobody can throw money around on women like NBA players. David Stern, Billy Hunter, hear this man: Get your players back to work, so Henry’s ladies can get back to work.

Friday grab-blog: The power of David Stern, the glory of Kevin Spacey, and the hell of John Sterling

NBArefs

So I think it’s pretty obvious to most fans who the most powerful man in sports is, but just in case it’s not, let me make yet another case for a vertically-challenged Jewish lawyer who works in New York.

His name is David Stern, and he’s the commissioner of the NBA.

David Stern could’ve made Mother Teresa attack someone with a knife. He could’ve gotten Noah to bring the animals on to the Ark one at a time. He could have convinced Thomas Edison: “You know what? People like it dark.”

Stern can do absolutely anything he wants, I am completely certain. His fingerprints are on every decision made by any commissioner in the last 25 years.

And in the last few weeks, Stern decided that there was no way in HIS green earth that disgraced referee Tim Donaghy was going to publish a book further tarnishing his officials’ integrity.

You remember Donaghy: He was the guy who was caught gambling on NBA games, and making calls that affected the point spread in games he bet on and was refereeing. He was disgraced, and he said he wasn’t working alone, and yet, after initial outrage (especially from Sacramento and Phoenix fans, who could finally say “A-HA, I knew we got screwed in the playoffs”) the tumult died down. No more refs were implicated, the fans moved on, and King Stern had his league back to normal.

Only now, Donaghy has written a book. And man, does he spill the beans. In excerpts published on the popular sports blog Deadspin, Donaghy dishes all sorts of explosive details. He talks about he and his fellow striped shirts making wagers on who can go the longest without calling a foul. He talks about noted homer referee Dick Bavetta intentionally trying to let the Lakers win Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Finals, and about how Steve Javie had a personal vendetta against Allen Iverson.

Could Donaghy be making all this up? Perhaps. But read that excerpt; this is a guy who has a ton of details in there, details that would be hard to make up.

This book was going to make huge waves in the media and with fans, and David Stern couldn’t have that. And so, curiously, Random House has decided not to publish the book after all.

The NBA says it never threatened a lawsuit. And sure, it’s possible that Random House, after reviewing the final draft, full of uncorroborated accusations, veiled threats, and other possibly-litigious material, decided on its own to yank the book.

But I’m not buying it. This is David Stern’s work. Of course I have no proof, but I have little doubt he and the league brought pressure to bear.

He’s just that powerful.

**Covered a high school volleyball game Thursday night. I really enjoy covering the sport, mostly. The points are fast and exciting, the players are the happiest athletes during their competition I’ve ever seen, and there’s great athleticism on display.

But man, the shrieking. The players shriek. The fans shriek. Everyone seems to shriek at a volleyball match. Admission should come with two Advil.

ali-holmes

***ESPN is now 3-for-4 in my book in its “30 for 30” documentary series, scoring another great one this week with “Muhammad and Larry,” a film about the 1980 Larry Holmes-Muhammad Ali fight. This was the fight that never should have happened, as a way past his prime Ali was just pulverized by the heavyweight champ, Holmes. Great behind the scenes footage from before the fight, and some great interviews from the present day with Holmes and Ali’s friends.

It’s on again Sunday, I think, at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

**Finally, a few thoughts on Thursday night’s World Series game, won by the Yankees (whoo-hoo!)

1. I’ll tell you what one circle of Hell is: Driving home in the car, the only radio broadcast of the game I could pick up was the WCBS 880 feed from New York, with John Sterling doing the play by play. Absolutely the worst announcer of any sport working today; even lots of Yankees fans don’t like him. He’s so pompous he makes James Lipton look humble, he constantly gets his facts wrong, and often blatantly misrepresents the action.

2. Why did FOX hire Ozzie Guillen to be a commentator? The man is pretty unintelligible.

3. It was fun booing Pedro Martinez one more time. As much as I hated the guy throughout his career, I think he’s the best pitcher of my lifetime. Better than Clemens. Better than Maddux.

Well, since I was talking about James Lipton earlier, I stumbled upon a few minutes of genius here, as the great Kevin Spacey perfectly impersonates some fantastic acting voices:

Billionaire Russian is buying the Nets. Is this good or bad? And a fun stat about health care and UFOs

DV545423ivandrago

So I realize I’m a few days late on this, but my favorite NBA team is apparently being bought by the richest guy in Russia.

Mikhail Prokhorov, who apparently has a net worth of $9.5 billion (that’s about what I think I’m worth,

by the way, not that anyone will confirm it), has reached a deal to buy the New Jersey Nets. And yes, the “Nyets” joke has already been made plenty of times.

This seems to have come out of nowhere, and on the surface seems great for everyone: Struggling Nets owner Bruce Ratner gets cash for his new arena in Brooklyn (which, I’m starting to think, will get built as soon as the stuff in “The Jetsons” is real), NBA commish David Stern gets a foreign owner with a lot of cash in his league, and us Nets fans get to keep dreaming that LeBron James will come to the team next year.

Of course, I’m brimming with questions: Will borscht be served at the concession stand? Is there a chance that instead of throwback jerseys, the Nets could wear those cool-looking “U.S.S.R” shirts the Soviets used to wear? Will the owner threaten to send a misbehaving player to Siberia, and you know, mean it?

And could we get Dolph Lundgren to come out to the opener and re-enact his “Rocky IV” scenes? “If he dies, he dies.” Man that guy shoulda won an Oscar.

And would LeBron James even want to play for a Russian dude?

All things that will be known in due time. Heck, I don’t even know if this guy will pass inspection from the other NBA owners, who are kind of picky about who they let in to their club.

I truly have no idea how this thing will play out. But at the very least, my Nets will be interesting off the court this season.

ufo

In my continuing attempt to find humor in the health care debate…

**OK, so usually I ignore the 5,426 emails I get per week from Moveon.org. I love them, love that they’re pushing liberal causes, but man, do they send a lot of emails.

But this one I had to read, and I’m glad I did. Apparently, according to media watchdog site mediamatters.org, a recent N.Y. Times/CBS News poll showed that only 26 percent of Americans opposed a public option for the new health care plan.

A 2007 Associated Press/Ipsos poll found that 34 percent of Americans believe in UFOs.

So basically, more people believe in unidentified flying objects than oppose the health care plan. And yet this is apparently a raging debate in Congress.

Which just proves my point: There’s a ton of bat-shit crazy people in America.