Tag Archives: Google

Google thanks the 86-year-old woman who always says please and thank you. A few more thoughts on the incredible LeBron James story. And Stephen Colbert eviscerates Trump


Couple of quick “one-off” thoughts before we get to the three stories on today’s post:

Finally got a chance to watch “All The Way,” the Bryan Cranston as LBJ HBO movie from last month. Man oh man, Cranston is one hell of an actor. I thought the movie was wildly entertaining, with fantastic performances by Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover, and Frank Langella as legendary Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. But Cranston right now is like Federer from 2003-07: Just on another level. His LBJ’s mixture of rage, sarcasm, amusement and paranoia was pitch-perfect. Incredible portrayal of a deeply complicated man. I hope he gets an Emmy.

— Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world. Tuesday night he played in America, and his Argentine team kicked the crap out of the U.S. This goal was kinda awesome.

So this is the kind of small story that makes me think not all huge companies are evil. And that even on the Internet, there are people with manners.

An 86-year-old English woman named May Ashworth uses Google like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us, though, when she typed in queries she thought she was talking to an actual person at Google HQ, who would help her with her questions.

So every time she performed a search, May would say “please” and “thank you” before and after. For example, one time May asked “please translate these Roman Numerals MCMXVCIII thank you.”

Her grandson discovered that she did this, and Tweeted out a photo of one of her requests. Google UK got wind of it and Tweeted the following:

“Dearest Ben’s Nan.
Hope you’re well.
In a world of billions of Searches, yours made us smile.
Oh, and it’s 1998.
Thank YOU@Push10Ben

Such a small thing, a little courtesy like that. But in a world of rude and impolite people, this story made me smile. Good job, Google.

**Next up today, you know, if he wasn’t such a sexist, racist, xenophobic, arrogant pig, I might almost be starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump.

The “vulgar, talking yam” as Charlie Pierce calls him, is having one hell of a bad month. His campaign is apparently broke, with less than $2 million cash on hand, he just fired his campaign manager, none of the rich Republican billionaires want to give him money nor have anything to do with him, and he’s alienating people at a faster rate than I thought possible.

But again, whereas 99 percent of people might engender some sympathy here, this a-hole gets none.

Stephen Colbert, whose late-night show, I must admit, has been kinda underwhelming so far, did a magnificent, blistering piece on Trump a few nights back. It was, I might say, rather “Daily Show-esque” when Jon Stewart was running things.

Stay till the end, the best part is in the final minute. Bravo, Stephen.


**Finally today, a few more thoughts about LeBron James and the incredible comeback he and the Cleveland Cavaliers made to win the NBA title Sunday. I thought about this briefly Sunday night but my thoughts were so jumbled after that fabulous game I didn’t get a chance to write about it then.

This story, this “LeBron wins one for Cleveland” story, is really unlike anything we’ve ever seen in sports. Consider: Phenom is born and raised in Northeast Ohio, with huge expectations placed on him at age 16. His hometown team, which was down in the dumps, gets the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery the year LeBron graduates high school (2003).

He represents the hopes and dreams of an entire region’s fan base. He leads them close but not quite to the elusive title. Then after seven years, he goes on national TV and humiliates those fans and that team. Snubs them so publicly, and announces he’s going to play somewhere else, so he can win a championship.

The fans burn his jersey; they curse his name, they hate him with every fiber of their being. The phenom wins two titles in Miami, and he’s still hated in Cleveland. Those were supposed to be OUR championships, is the cry.

Then, after four years away, the prodigal son comes home. This NEVER happens in sports; you never see a star go back to where he’s from after such a brutal and hostile breakup.

But LeBron came home. And he promised he’d win a championship for a city that hadn’t seen one in 52 years. And then, with his team down 3-1 in the Finals this year, he orchestrates the biggest NBA Finals comeback ever. And wins. And is a much bigger hero than he’s ever been to the people of his hometown.

I mean, could you sell that script to Hollywood? Could you imagine that actually happening? They’d laugh you out of the room.

Just a sensational sports story. One we’ve never seen, and probably never will again. Lee Jenkins’ cover story on LeBron in this week’s SI is a must-read.

A love story, starring me and a great woman. The brilliant HP commercial with babies. And driverless cars in Nevada? Yep.

The first part of Good News Friday today may only be exciting news to me and my family and friends. But I share, because my readers are my family, too (especially since sometimes you all yell at me).

Nine months ago I received a text message from a good friend. I had just moved back to N.Y. after my recent divorce and career change, and had started going on some blind dates.

“Wanna meet my friend Shelley?” the text read. “She’s smart, funny, pretty and has a great career.”
Of course, I replied. Two weeks later, I went to dinner, walked the NYC High Line, and went bowling with the most amazing, beautiful, sweet, funny, kind-hearted woman in the entire world. Five minutes after the date ended, I was ready for date No. 2.

This is a woman who makes me a better man just by knowing her. A woman who shares my sense of humor, my taste in pop culture, and my general sensibilities about so many things in life that I felt as if this was too good to be true.

A woman who loves me for who I am, supports me in everything I do, and doesn’t at all find it strange that a 36-year-old man screams at the TV as if the players can hear him during Jets and Rangers games.
I knew exactly what to do with a woman like that: Keep her around.

So last Sunday afternoon, under a brilliant New York City sky, I asked this woman of such extraordinary kindness and beauty to marry me.

She said yes.

And so I am engaged, that strange state between boyfriend/girlfriend and husband/wife, a blissful place where everything seems possible in the future.

I am deliriously happy. And deliriously lucky.  I don’t know how or why I got so fortunate, but I ain’t questioning it.
When you get a gift like this, you hold on tight and never let go.

** My father sent me this the other day and it made me laugh. A lot. It’s for HP Printers, and well, it’s babies on roller skates, how could that not be fun???

**Finally today, I bring you a story from the state where the impossible happens regularly: Nevada.

Google applied for, and received permission, to test their all-new driverless cars legally in that state. Apparently, according to Google, “automated cars  use video cameras, radio sensors and a laser range finder to ‘see’ other traffic, as well as detailed maps … to navigate the road ahead.” There is no driver needed, though one is typically in the front seat ready to take control if need be.”

I think this is great news. Now we can all feel like aristocrats, sitting in the back seat while we are driven to work. I think it’ll make driving safer having machines do all the work; they aren’t going to be texting, drinking coffee and playing with the radio dials all at once like we humans do.

Although I have to say, when the automated vehicle cuts you off and you flip it the finger, it’s gonna be so distressing when you realize there’s no person to direct your anger at.