Tag Archives: Katy Perry

R.I.P. Dean Smith, a giant on and off the court. Animals frolicking happily in great new commercial. And some thoughts on the Grammys.

deansmith

During my years as a sports journalist, I had the opportunity to meet hundreds of athletes, coaches and administrators, as well as many non-sports celebrities.

Most of them were perfectly nice, decent people. A few were Grade-A jerks.

Not one of them ever had the class, grace, and humility of Dean E. Smith, the legendary coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team.

Dean died Saturday night at age 83, after a long decline due to dementia. I’ve written about Dean, a man I admired as much as anyone I’ve ever met, before on this blog, here and here., and there were a ton of fantastic tributes to him published Sunday (I highly recommend Alexander Wolff’s on SI.com, and this great Tommy Tomlinson story from last year.)

Many of those tributes talk about Smith’s incredible coaching acumen, his invention of the Four Corners offense, the trips to the Final Four, and his two national championships.
But what’s so more important about the life he lived was what he did off the court. He fought tirelessly for civil rights in North Carolina, long before he was famous and successful and people had to pay attention to him. He battled and spoke out against the death penalty and segregation; battled for women’s rights, and myriad other causes he believed in.

He had an incredible memory for names and facts, he was a master motivator (he’d tell nervous players in the huddle late in close games, “Hey, a billion people in China don’t care who wins”)

There were so many great Dean anecdotes about who he was, but this one, from the NBA’s Reddit page from an unattributed source, might be my favorite.

Way back in 1958, when Dean Smith was just an assistant coach at UNC, he was angry that restaurants in Chapel Hill were still segregated. He decided to make a statement by walking in to a eatery he knew, sat down with an African-American player, and ate a meal. And a blow for desegregation had been struck.

When it was brought to Dean years later that he should be proud of what he did, this was his response.”

“You should never be proud of doing what’s right,” Smith said. “You should just do what’s right.”

Dean Smith’s death is not a loss for college basketball. It’s a loss for humanity.

Rest in peace.

**Next, this ought to put a smile on your face. The Android company has put out a new ad that has gone viral very fast, with more than 4 million hits already. It’s just footage of different animals from the kingdom, frolicking and, well, getting into some interesting situations.

Adorable.

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**Finally, a couple quick thoughts on Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, my annual attempt to reconnect to today’s music and extricate myself from my 1980s and early ’90s musical dungeon I happily reside in the rest of the year:

— I’m just asking: When did LL Cool J become to the Grammys what Billy Crystal and Bob Hope were to the Oscars? I mean, is he just the permanent host now?

— Sam Smith and Adele both say “Fank You” and it’s kind of adorable.

— Madonna is 56. And damn, she’s still got it. What an amazing performer she still is.

— I’m not a Katy Perry fan, but her performance, preceded by a domestic violence survivor telling her story, was powerful.

— The Grammys always have some bizarre-looking celebrity outfits, but Jesse J’s dress looked like it was pasted together by a drunk 3rd-grader in art class.

— Kanye West: Could he be a bigger tool? He tried to interrupt Beck like he did Taylor Swift at the VMAs all those years ago. His ego knows no bounds.

– I hate the Bee Gees more than I’ve ever disliked any other musical act, ever. But hey, give ’em a lifetime achievement award, lots of other people liked them.

— A week ago, New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler was a rookie from West Alabama, playing in his first Super Bowl and completely anonymous to 99 percent of the world. Seven days later he’s a Super Bowl champ and on stage presenting a Grammy.
America, what a country,

— Last year’s Grammys, with the incredible Ryan Lewis/Macklemore/Queen Latifah same-sex wedding ceremony at the end, was pretty impossible to top. But I thought Sunday night’s were pretty good.

The Olympics begin, and I’m loving them. The P&G “Thank You Mom” ads are brilliant. And celebrities read mean tweets: still hilarious

skiathlon

I’m writing this post after watching the mostly-awesome Beatles 50th anniversary special Sunday night, which was really cool except for the fact that Katy Perry (Katy Perry!) sung “Yesterday.” Not sure if McCartney and Ringo were throwing up while watching that, but I sure was.  I could live 1,000 years and not get the appeal of Katy Perry. But let’s move on…

With all the problems that Russia has had getting ready for these Winter Olympics, the bar in my mind was set pretty low for success.

Like, if none of the venues blew up, the Games were a big hit. So far, so good.

From the Opening Ceremonies Friday night, which had some cool moments (certainly not those hideous Team USA sweaters, but I did feel sorry for the countries that had only one or two athletes in their parade; they looked so lonely!) to the first weekend of action, the Games got off to a great start.

I know there are people out there who don’t care about the Olympics, who just want to stick to their basketball and soccer and football and all that. But I love them, and get excited for them every time they come around.

I mean, where else do you get to see the Russian Police Choir sing Daft Punk? How great was this?

Some quick-hit thoughts from the first few days of action:

— One reason I love the Winter Olympics is because you watch some of these bizarre events and wonder how someone practiced them when they first started out. I mean, take ski jumping: Were these men and women at age 9 skiing off the roofs of their houses? And how many broken bones occur during training for ski jumping, a few hundred?

— Was watching some of the slopestyle snowboarding highlights where American Sage Kostenburg won his first gold, and he was described by the announcers as a “free spirit.” NBC, he’s doing quadruple flips in the air while basically on a skateboard. I think we pretty much figured he’s a free spirit.

— I know we’re all supposed to think ice dancing is a sport, but I’m not really buying it. It’s beautiful and takes a lot of coordination and timing and all that, but isn’t it really just two people skating around? I mean, the two great Americans, Davis and White, are wonderful to watch, but is this really a sport?

— And speaking of things I don’t understand, have you seen the ski-athlon (above)? Tons of competitors on skis, going really slowly but still racing to the finish line. It looks hilarious, like race-walking on skis.

— Curling starts today. And if you don’t think I’m excited, you’re wrong. Already looking forward to watching (and blogging about it for ThriveSports.com) while I eat breakfast Monday morning before work.

— Finally, as an ex-newspaper scribe this is one of those columns I would read and go “Man, that’s a fantastic angle, I wish I’d thought of that.” Steve Politi of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger decided to watch the Opening Ceremonies Friday night at a gay bar in Sochi (kinda pokes holes in Putin’s stance about there being no gay people in Russia, huh?)

**Next up, these Olympics commercials get to me every two years. Procter and Gamble’s continuing their excellent ads with these “Thank You Mom” spots, and this one has been my favorite so far. Just so awesome…

**And finally, from the slightly less warm and fuzzy department, Jimmy Kimmel did the latest round of one of his great bits last week, allowing celebrities to come on the air and read the meanest Tweets written to them, or about them, lately.

This edition stars George Clooney, Jennifer Garner, and John Goodman, among others. Warning: This is definitely NSFW (not safe for work). But it’s hilarious.

The devastating Joplin tornado and global warming. And Katy Perry demands you not drive and speak to her

I can’t stop looking at these photos from the Joplin, Mo. tornado.
As bad the pictures from Tuscaloosa, Ala. were a few weeks ago, it seems like these were worse.
Hearing the stories, on CNN and elsewhere like this NY Times account, is heartbreaking. This tornado will go down as one of the worst in history, experts are saying.
Besides feeling awful for the victims, all this tornado coverage got me thinking about global warming.
Seems to me tornadoes used to be isolated to just a few small parts of the country. Kansas, Oklahoma, and maybe 1-2 other states.
We never had tornadoes in Alabama. Not often in Missouri, either. And the powerful force of these babies is almost unprecedented.
So I got to wondering if global warming might be to blame. You know, if it exists (all those Republicans seem to deny it, and hey, when are THEY ever wrong?)
This article here says global warming could be one factor in the rash of big tornadoes, but it’s not the main reason.
And global warming will only get worse, as our leaders continue to debate whether it even exists.
Hoping and praying the people of Joplin get through this disaster in one piece.

**I never have had particularly strong feelings about the singer Katy Perry. Saw a story on her on the news once, she seemed like a nice-enough person, a few of her songs seem decent, yada yada yada.

But thanks to The Smoking Gun, I have learned what a narcissistic, obnoxious prig she (and her handlers) are.
TSG has acquired Katy Perry’s concert “rider,” which if you don’t know, is the incredibly detailed list of requirements and demands that rock stars’ management give to concert promoters and arena managers. Basically, it’s a list of conditions and things that, if you want to get the star to play your arena, you have to adhere to.
Among all the other demands for certain foods and furniture Miss Perry must have at her disposal, was this page with Perry’s requirements for her driver.
The driver must not look at Miss Perry. He/She must not engage her in any conversation, he must not talk on his cell phone at all, and for God’s sake, the driver must have FOUR bottles of water in the car at all times!

This kind of stuff makes me nuts. Now listen, I know she’s not the only rock star who acts like this, or has her handlers act like this for them. But it still makes me crazy.

There’s probably 5,000 words in me on the subject of how ridiculous it is that we glorify rock stars (and all celebrities, really) so they think they’re entitled to make such insane demands on people, and demean them so.
But for now, let me just issue this one request: Chaueffeurs of the world, if you’re ever driving Katy Perry around your town, I dare you to say hello to her!