The King is Dead: Long Live the King

The King is Dead: Long Live the King

James Nike_Chalk_04c

By Brian D. Sadie, 17 June, 2015. Image from Chalk ad by Nike

Nothing seems to elicit more public fervor and argument than popularly recognized greatness in sports. Add notions of individual versus team with ideas of best ever and a nation’s worth of folks declare hatred or, at least, display unmitigated enmity for even unselfish team-players who seem generally decent and socially-responsible both on and off the court.

So it is regarding the public aspect of LeBron James and the myth and deification of Michael Jordan. Jordan was undeniably talented and great. The same is true of LeBron James. So they are always in the emotional fan wrestling match for greatest ever. But they and their worlds are significantly different.

To casual or even avid sports fans without a team interest watching an NBA Final, that kind of thought typically runs too deep, but one shouldn’t spew bunk about any serious or accomplished athlete, let alone highly regarded professionals and the acknowledged best, without some consideration of relevant things.

Last night a friend of mine, a recent Emmy-winner for his part in the tremendous effort that gave us the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl broadcast, met me in a restaurant-bar in a small town in the sleepy-quiet corner of Connecticut. After helping the barmaid find the channel, we watched the last game of the 2015 Finals. The barmaid was a former NCAA scholarship basketball player who knew the game and knew what I’m speaking of here. But many at the bar, and clearly many, many more all over the country, don’t. There was plenty of LeBron hating and misty Jordan love.

James and Jordan are remarkably different individuals, and that, mixed with the varying talent on and capabilities of their respective teams and the character and quality of competition in the NBA over time, resulted in wins and losses that cause many to insist that Jordan was greater than James. Why watchers and fans go to such extremes in their discussion likely has nothing to do with the sport, since they must all know that – with the possible exception of baseball, which has the phenomenal anomaly of Babe Ruth – a Hall of Fame is always a pantheon with no absolute or permanent Zeus. The afterlife’s glorious amphitheatre in the sky is full of a lot of dudes named Diomedes and Ajax competing in a perpetual chase for sporting kleos. At any given moment someone has a ring but another is always about to be taken or awarded.

Being a great athlete can help win a championship and resultant jewelry, but having at least three other excellent, intelligent teammates on the floor is essential to make your team a great and winning one in the NBA. Jordan never pulled a team the way or as far as LeBron has, and LeBron has done so at least twice. He nearly beat the East single-handedly with Cleveland every time that city made the Finals and he almost beat the historically accomplished Warriors three times in this Finals – twice in their own building. He did beat them once in Oakland, and his statistics are phenomenal across the board to boot!

Jordan never had to carry a team so ridiculously or so long: opposing teams had to guard every Chicago player. Jordan simply drove or shot, and he could with those Hall of Fame teammates. But LeBron in Cleveland?

The Warriors never had to guard anybody on Cleveland’s replacement squad so they blocked the box and harassed James on every play. Eventually, even an athletically-fit giant gets tired, and those contested shots over long arms late in the Fourth of a Finals game get downright nasty and tough. What LeBron James accomplished this entire post-season is something that Jordan never did, and the statistics aren’t empty or meaningless. James was the Cleveland Cavaliers, and this Finals was still a good one even with a Cavs team at maybe 30% and LeBron accounting for or having a hand in as much as seventy percent of the team’s scoring. Overall he engineered nearly sixty percent of every Cleveland point, taking another old record from Michael Jordan.

Jordan never made four consecutive Finals, let alone five: despite the opportunity, he and Chicago lost early in the 1995 playoffs and the following year, after posting the best single regular season won-lost record at 72-10, still lost two games and nearly three in the six-game 1996 Finals. LeBron James just appeared in his fifth consecutive Finals with a team of lead-filled mannequins and took the Warriors to six. I mean no disrespect to any player because to simply make the NBA means that one is among the most dedicated and best in the world. Regardless, levels of greatness do exist. For nearly his entire NBA career, including sometimes while in Miami, and always with Cleveland, LeBron has been fighting from a relatively disadvantaged position where coaching and team skill and dynamics are concerned.

Jordan didn’t win until the Celtics were gone, until Detroit had its run, until the Lakers slipped. He never won until his team got superior talent to help him and in his championship years he never faced a team as great as Tim Duncan’s Spurs, and James has met San Antonio three times in his six Finals! Were it possible, a direct comparison of Jordan and James would be fun, but it isn’t, nor is it necessary given the reality of the NBA, and that doesn’t support the notion that Jordan was the greatest ever. Entertaining? Sure, but…

He traveled like crazy and, until he showed up, everybody had gotten nailed for that. However, people loved watching long-jumps and dunks, so traveling became the norm, freeing Jordon to leap and soar and let the flashbulbs pop while shoes got sold. Yes it was cool, and yes, he was skilled, but were he forced to play the old way, Jordan would have been a different beast, just as James, were he given two high-percentage shooters and all-NBA defensive players the likes of Chicago’s Pippin and Rodman and sixth-man of the year Kukoč throughout an entire Finals, would have easily beaten this tremendous Warriors team: a team that earned its 67-15 regular season record – tied for fourth best in history – in the talent-heavy Western Conference, home to five historically great NBA Champion teams and winners of five of the last seven Finals. The lone two Eastern wins were Miami with LeBron.

Two of the men at the bar in Connecticut said they didn’t have to like a player because he was good, but both said they liked Jordan and that he never choked. Is some fog of nostalgia at work? By all accounts Jordan was selfish, arrogant, petty, and abusive. By all accounts James is team-oriented, self-assured, magnanimous, and kind. Which player improves his teammates’ play? James, and he still breaks records, including some of Jordan’s, for individual performance with a grace Jordan doesn’t know or comprehend. The difference, one fellow said, was that Jordan made plays that he remembered, while he thinks nothing of James’ play for all his incredible triple-doubles against superior teams.

Whether or not one likes someone should be immaterial in acknowledging performance greatness, but it isn’t and it colors everything when arguing rank. You’d think that most are happy to see good people succeed, so you’d expect greater popular applause for LeBron James. Detractors complain that he was always touted as the best, even as a kid, but as a pro he chokes. That he is human and doesn’t always accomplish what he attempts is not a failure, especially given that other great talents are keen to interfere with his every dribble and shot. Perfection remains limited by definition and rare in occurrence anyway, even in sports. Is it unique to James that he sometimes memorably faltered or slowed when the stakes were high? No, but time has glossed the memory of a long-ago Jordan only in his prime while James still plays.

Combined with the necessary talent, devotion enables the best athletes to excel at the higher levels of professional sport, but to reign supreme within that already tiny circle takes something else and usually affects personality, and for some that extra something manifests as obsession and narcissism. Jordan more than wanted to be the greatest: he lusted for it, and his pursuit of it showed in the wreckage and meanness that was the individual in the public and even personal realm of life. Always wanting to be the show-stopper, he resented others getting shots or making plays and never gave credit to anyone. Along with basketball Jordan excelled at insulting people. He might not have always done that and may even have played nice in public a few times, but he is well-known for and defined by the former.

LeBron James is the kind of athlete people have traditionally favored, a Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson, who, it’s worth mentioning, managed to hold his tongue instead of fire back and fight the ugly racists in the stands. James, too, is well-mannered and loyal to family and friends and even to his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James sought to share the glory and memorable moments until it became clear that he had to be more sportingly selfish and do more himself to win the way that Jordan did. But one last thing is important to consider before judging or ranking the two players: James is acknowledged by former professionals and his peers as the consummate all-around player, the one who excels at every position and can take a game into his own hands. Jordan was never a complete player, could never play every position or take every kind of shot. Just as the Seattle Seahawks are famous for and have lived and died by, Jordan did what he did and that was it. LeBron worked over years to learn, adapt, and master new aspects of the game and became the model of the complete player. That he continues to do so with respect and grace is testament to his character.

So, whether you admire, respect, like, love, or hate LeBron James, know this: he is a good guy as well as a tremendous athlete; he is the legitimate Finals MVP; and he is among the greatest ever to play the game. If you resent the epithets The Chosen One or The King or the mere sobriquet King James, remember the business and culture of media and sports, or even those of politics and the country in general, and note that LeBron has yet again delivered a moribund franchise to the Promised Land. The Cavaliers might not have won the castle there, but James and hobbled company pitched one hell of a battle against ridiculous odds. For that, or even his remarks about his talent and ability, James deserves no hate, but has earned your respect.

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Links to Other Material (Prehistory Lives and Dinosaurs Rock)

The links below are for additional writings, some previously published, and some of that long ago in old print magazines and journals. My old boss had greenish-brown scales from his paternal T-rex granddad and his secretary (not personal assistant) had a colourful, expandable neck frill that shot out with a “Fwap!” when she got excited. That’s how long ago it seems. I typed on a Smith-Corona classic portable – only 22 pounds light. You could take it anywhere! Plop it on the hotel room desk and off you go, only to spend hours transmitting the story and photos page and image at a time while the sun rose, breakfast passed, you showered, dressed, held a power meeting or two, and then had lunch. The good old days, indeed, although I admit fewer mistakes ended in print than do today.

About the links: Some of you have read them but those who haven’t or wish to revisit them may find the writings fun and interesting. They’re about history, ideas, and culture and that pesky religion-politics thing. I hope you enjoy them. – Brian

https://medium.com/@briandsadie/good-christian-sex-939b4a3656d5

https://medium.com/@briandsadie/because-the-bible-tells-me-so-ba821de37102

https://medium.com/@briandsadie

 

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A Brief Dispatch from Prague

Letters Home – or to An Approximation of It

Seven years ago I’d written some family and colleague-friends immediately after returning to the hotel room from surveying Prague and environs for shooting locations over a full and sleepless two days and nights. Two versions were sent, and everyone said I should write and post more of that kind of thing. The requests continued and I agreed, so I’m posting one of my letters from Prague. Photos are forthcoming, and maybe some illustrations, too: I sketched those crazy Bulgarians and the beer-soaked concert on the corner. For now, though, I hope you enjoy reading this epistle written by a most – ah – tired, scribbler.

1 May, 2008

Hi Guys,

It’s been 25 years since I’ve seen this place, and the first thing noticed is how bright it seems now. Half the streets appear to be movie sets with just-the-right lighting to show things best at night, all lovely but merely façade, something to pass through but not actually stay in and enjoy.

It works, for Prague is ridiculously beautiful: up there with Rome, but grittier and with a piece of everybody’s culture in it. The work of invaders and other interlopers is often destroyed or reconfigured after they’ve left, but in Prague, despite a haphazard feel to the way everybody dumped their architecture and ornamental art right next to the other stuff, it remains and somehow cuts it. The city is loopy, or those designing or building it were: Angles everywhere, Dali on acid without a blueprint and six thousand dudes without levels or slakes but they sure did a helluva cool job. One moment you’re walking along a narrow street with cobblestones smooth as a baby’s bottom then you’re stuck in a street so narrow you barely fit until, popping out the other end, you’re faced with a looming, dark cathedral with seriously military towers. Lots of individually and somewhat dull, if competently rendered, statues hover along the Charles Bridge: too bad they didn’t go Harry Potter there, but it still works – collectively, and from enough distance, it permits suggestion and interpretation enough to provide wonderful effect according to one’s mood, intention, or desire. Towers and castles wait at each end but before you get there some lovely angles and perspective await: you can touch a second or third storey window just off the side of that seven-hundred-year-old bridge and so many of the streets and buildings have cantilevered or terraced effects that it’s like following some white goddamned rabbit just at the moment you realize that the brownies you ate were made of more than sugar, eggs, and cocoa. But should you persist riding the wave, well, after a good climb along an interesting road there’s a view of more spires, towers, cathedrals, and castles than just about any four mile stretch on Earth. This place is seriously made for tripping.

And you can sing here! Some wonderful sound possibilities! The walls are so close in these streets that a Fiat barely fits and voices carry extremely well. I had barely started exploring the city architecture and art by night – it’s well lit and excellently moody for film – when a group of drunken Bulgarians passed singing in, well, Bulgarian. But they were singing something I knew so I broke in on the next stanza in English. “Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin for to carry me home.” They broke into English and made harmony. I mean it: they harmonized. Beautifully! We sang about two minutes, shook hands and began to part but immediately an Arab fellow appeared around a corner, laughed, and said, “Everybody singing!”

“This town’s made for singing,” I said.

“Okay. Then I can sing, too!” he said. He sang and danced the dabke, an old traditional Lebanese dance that every Greek would know, while the Bulgarians clapped and hollered. Some Swedes, Danes, Germans, Americans, and Russians appeared and joined in the little street at the corner. For a little while we had quite a gathering, helped by a waiter who brought beer in serious quantities. We stood at the edge of a café terrace and managed to converse in a smattering of what the world is surely come to: a little of this and a little of that and so on, etc. You could call it manglish. But it worked, that mangled Russian-German-Arabic-French-English concoction, and the night and experience were both enjoyable.

But this isn’t a town just for stupid drunkenness. It’s good for more than that. Loving life, yes, but for those prone or open to it, reflection is available in a place so full of history-in-your-face. There are many such locales on earth, but this one is awfully good for ruminating about the dark and humorous mess we call the world and human condition. This city, or town, if you prefer, is not entirely the empty presentation of parochial history with little relevance or interest beyond local borders that one often finds, even in this era of oft-proclaimed diversity. Prague addresses a history rich enough in events and ideas and all that they imply that it, if you bother or like, provides you a chance to come away with something artistic and insightful – something other than memories of spiced sausage and tall glasses of beer, of leggy German, Russian, Czech or busty Swedish women with bright eyes and suggestive little smiles. Oh, they are wonderfully engaging, those splendid women whose homes you’ll likely never see, but there is something else to this lightness and dark, to notions of angels and demons, nearly-empty churches and overflowing dance clubs with armed Eastern cutthroats, and everywhere you look there’s someone or something already looking back at you, for every artist in Europe seems to have had his say with all these bloody carvings and statues. Look up and they smile, snarl, or spit, and one I noticed even gives the finger. How can one not love that? I could imagine the workman, pissed at his asshole boss or simply his miserable fate, muttering and hawking to the roiling street below the whole time he carved his timeless, universally understood message that even a disdainful, hands-off creator would admire. That’s the funny part: For all the humor the carvings are often realistic, too, from the goofy, fantastical, and merely satirical to the mocking, daring, condemning, militant, outright demonic statues, and sometimes I’d swear that if I said the wrong thing to the right person the bloody things just might finish drawing swords and send me off right quick.

Well, I’m exhausted and this damn German keyboard is slowing me down. I just adjusted to the bloody Czech one, and that took adjusting from the Danish one. They are not the same! Sorry for the occasional Ä#ߧm2″. German engineering my ass.

I look forward to seeing y#all again soon and hearing your stories. Jake, how’s Sir Ben? Kingsley’s a great name for a Lord, huh? Did you party with the man? All best, tschuβ, ciao, and cheers!

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Mr. Huckabee’s Crusade

This post contains a longer editorial version of an op-ed written at the same time and submitted to the major papers, including the Washington Post, the first week of February, when Mike Huckabee and others gained coverage for their stated notions of selective religious freedom and the obligations and duties of political and civil office holders. If you’re interested in such stuff, you’ll enjoy this. Good reading and good day.

by Brian D. Sadie

5 February, 201

The Economist reports (3 February, http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/02/gay-marriage?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/resistancebands) that Mike Huckabee said that the government must respect the rights of religious Christians who believe that marriage is for heterosexuals only. The remark is silly: the right of religious Christians to believe whatever they want is not at issue, but permitting those that hold public office from interfering in the rights and lives of others is.

Enter various government officials in Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah seeking a way for such Christians to avoid granting marriage to consenting homosexual adults. It appears they are preparing for a time when the Supreme Court has finally indicated to the public at large that – heaven forbid! – marriage isn’t just for heterosexuals after all. So those Southern and Southwestern politicians intend to allow certain judges in their states to deny same-sex marriages because, they claim, that to not permit them such right of refusal would violate the judges’ personal religious beliefs. Ah jeez…

I’m not opposed to judges or politicians acting as people normally do by following moral and ethical principles. However, those with restrictive and bigoted religiosity who feel impelled or compelled to behave antithetically to the basis of our civil society shouldn’t seek positions of authority in government and law. This nation’s accepted founding principle is the acknowledgement and protection of every citizen’s right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as long as they do not seek to violate or prevent the rights of others. Typically-occurring social coercion is enough to deal with, but remember that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness means the right of privacy and to being left alone in one’s beliefs, practices, and chosen life.

Moral and ethical sensibilities should guide decisions, particularly when others would be affected by them. But the point of asserting one’s rights is to assure them and also to enable those seeking protection from or recompense for injustice and harm to receive it. That is a fundamental right for every human being. In the case of marriage, if the parties consent without discernable coercion or other nefarious extraneous factors then no one has the moral or ethical right to forbid or prevent them from doing so.

Accordingly, anyone wishing to become a judge or assume political authority must accept and be regulated by the fact that they are not to interpret or enforce law in a way that punishes innocent people or ignores and denies them their rights. What a judge or politician thinks and believes is their own business, and no one has any right to demand of them anything about it unless the judge or politician seeks, especially using the power and reach of office and law, to impose those personal thoughts and beliefs on others.

Such religiose public officials as those now attempting to mask their totalitarian bent behind the assertion that the right of religious freedom allows judges and law-making politicians to cite obligation to outmoded customary strictures either ignore or are ignorant of history and human behavior. But should they cram a little world and US history for just one day they’d see the universality of these issues and problems and would learn that their intention is folly.

Incumbent Republican Christians fretting about other people’s marriages could learn a thing or two about personal religion and national politics from events and people in twentieth-century Palestine. Jews referred to themselves as Jewish Palestinians: they were socially and politically Palestinian. Many of the then-recent immigrants also felt that being Jewish and Palestinian was not exclusive and disagreed vehemently with Zionists and other Jewish groups about taking political authority because they feared the moral predicament posed by upholding personal religious law and belief while involved in nationalist affairs would compromise their religious obeisance.

Judaism and Christianity are no different from any other religion in that they result from personal choice and serve as guides for behavior and practice when moral or ethical questions arise in the minds and hearts of congregants. For Palestinian Jews, just as for the progressive Jews of nineteenth-century Germany and Hellenistic Roman Alexandria long before, religion was personal, intended to guide the inner life without constraining or causing tension in the public arena. To those people, religious belief was not, as had been claimed in Old Testament texts, to vindicate heinous or iniquitous actions or be called upon to restrict the rights of others, and especially not by self-proclaimed true believers occupying public or quietly-appointed legal office.

Today’s conservative Christian politicians and judges should also think about the wars of the middle ages that proponents claimed God had sanctioned despite questionable hermeneutics and pursuit of socio-political aggrandizement. Mr. Huckabee and his comrades just might benefit from such a lesson.

Those agreeing with Mr. Huckabee would do better to acknowledge the bases of this nation as expressed in its founding declarations and keep their noses out of other peoples’ lives. Personal religious doctrine might be regarded by a believer as sacred, but privacy is sacrosanct and never rightly violated. As today’s right to marry derives from the notion of privacy, the right of consenting adults to do so is guaranteed and everyone who holds public office or exercises some public authority is required to uphold it.

Part of the current political and legal problem is a fundamentalist notion that the Bible is the word of God and not subject to critique as a collection of texts made by different people of various cultures over an extended period of time. True believers even insist that discovery and understanding are trumped by the cultural thinking recorded in the Bible and that faith requires them to dismiss lessons of archeology and advancements in medicine, arenas directly illuminating the very texts and worlds they claim to know so well. They and the politicians and judges emerging from their regions would have us all accept that prejudiced customs are non-negotiable articles of Faith and Divine Law that no one may overrule.

However, a close reading of an accurate translation of salient New Testament texts might further understanding for Huckabee and company. Fundamentalists call upon the purported words of Jesus in Matthew 19:3-12 and the later, reduced version of Mark 10:2-12 as proof that marriage can only be practiced by heterosexual couples, but the dialogue is a discrete response to a narrow question and doesn’t address, let alone prohibit or preclude, the ultimate message of an open table that Christianity was based on.

Early Judaism treated male homosexuality and female adultery and prostitution with violence and death, but early Christianity did not. The gospels counter draconian Jewish law and cultural norms with a message of acceptance, communion, and love. Among the more memorable episodes illustrating that message is that of Jesus eating with, and defending the humanity and lives of, prostitutes: that act of familiarity and kindness boldly dismissed tribal taboo and persecution for sexual relations. The intimate social custom of breaking bread was central to society and family: doing it with outcasts broke with Jewish tradition and made clear that consenting sexual behavior warranted neither murder nor eternal supernatural damnation. Today’s conservative Christians would do best to learn from the story of the human Jesus and remember that, regardless of their beliefs, theirs is but one approach to the practice of marriage.

After reading Jesus on the above and about sex, sexuality and the treatment of others, continue to Paul’s letters, especially 1 and 2 Corinthians. Reading him is good because he admits that he is giving his personal opinions, most of which uphold custom – even when unjust and harmful – and he does so merely by permission, not with Higher Authority. Paul sought with those letters to inspire the sagging or troubled spirits of a tiny minority of nascent Christians wishing to define, maintain, and spread their beliefs while bolstering their position within the influential non-Christian city of Corinth, a major trading center that archeologists estimate had a population anywhere from 200,000 to 1.3 million in the 1st century AD. 1 Corinthians is largely concerned with questions of Christian behavior, particularly in the city, where, among others, the Temple and cultic religion of Isis reigned supreme. 2 Corinthians followed soon after in response to doubts of Paul’s authority. The two letters to Timothy are also worth a gander for additional insight into Paul’s notions of managing Christian community and personal belief, public demeanor, and worldly authority.

Paul was but a man and we’re asked to consider that the elusive figure of Jesus existed as one, too. Whether or not either or both did in fact walk the earth, they exist in the pages of the New Testament, and interpretations of and beliefs about that collection of writings are what we’re dealing with. The point matters because the bulk of American Christian notions, including those espoused by the people from the states responsible for driving this controversy, largely derive from misinterpreted and misunderstood snippets of Biblical texts, most of which are attributed to Paul. Thus, when the world’s Huckabees play politics and cite the purity and authority of their personal religious beliefs to determine and regulate policy, we are all embroiled in old arguments born of ignorance, racism, and desire for power.

To fully appreciate such material as that of the Bible – to better understand it and even the people loyal to it – requires fair consideration of more than just a few selected words: regardless of what one might choose to believe, those writings originated long ago in a world quite different from ours. So, too, did the notion and practice of marriage, which has varied through the ages and by culture.

And so it is that the waste of public money and other resources on this argument today by entertaining such ridiculous posturing as that of Mr. Huckabee and those agreeing with him has no justification. There are important, worthwhile things for our political representatives and government officers to do, and this is not one of them.

† † †

_______________________________________________________________________

Notes for those interested:

Matthew 19:3–12; – Jesus answers the question of whether or not it is lawful for a man to get rid of his wife for every reason. The answer asserts that no man may break a bond that God has joined (no man shall put asunder…). It acknowledged the question’s two implicit cultural norms that marriage is between man and woman and for life. The remark was used to support the idea that nature proves the creator God’s intention of mating for reproduction as the purpose of life. Given that belief, the idea later emerged that marriage between man and woman is normative for the church of Jesus Christ, that sex may only be permitted between people married to each other, and that only adultery by the woman was grounds for divorce.

Mark 10:2–12 – is a briefer distillation of the above passage from Matthew.

Romans 1:26-27 – Hellenistic culture and tradition, including the Stoics, considered homosexuality contrary to nature. Society, including religious customs, generally forbade it. Jewish religious belief was the same and forbade the practice, too, but it also condemned it. Despite no argument against the more obvious physical basics of nature, sex, and procreation, New Testament writing seems less determined about denunciation of homosexuality and adultery. Romans 2 warns of judging others at all, indicating that like and permanent judgment will result. Notions of tolerance and minding one’s own personal business are indicated instead.

Corinthians and Timothy also contain relevant passages.

John 7:53-8:11 – the woman taken in adultery and casting the first stone.

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Such Good Reasoning

On Sports Tonight, Ron Borges claimed that all NFL quarterbacks know that nothing is done to a game ball that they don’t want done, and because of that assumption Brady must be guilty.

Such poor reasoning has been displayed nationwide by the least accomplished scribblers to the most decorated journalists and personalities and even the most grossly-overpaid private investigator-lawyer on the planet: Theodore Wells (reportedly paid $45 million for the Brady-balls affair). Folks, we’re in the wrong damn businesses…

Here is Borges: “Because they (NFL quarterbacks) all know…  They know nothing’s done with those balls that the quarterback doesn’t want done.

Gee, Ron, remember that for the Championship game against the lackluster Colts Brady demanded footballs be inflated to 13 psi. He didn’t want floppy balls, especially in those conditions. The gig was a set-up.

The rest of the tiny piece that I took the quote from is at http://www.csnne.com/new-england-patriots/borges-im-told-belichick-never-believed-brady

It isn’t much, but if you’re interested, there you have it.

Y’all enjoy your day.

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A little Deflategate to lighten the day

If you’re into football, or footballs, or, as some I know are, just Tom Brady, you might enjoy a comprehensive and intelligent article about the silliness known as deflategate and the business of the NFL. My article is at

https://medium.com/@briandsadie/hoping-for-right-but-getting-it-wrong-mr-goodell-s-errant-decision-8b42c83622f0

All best. Good reading and good day!

Brian D. Sadie

eloquentb

 

 

 

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Something Good for Goodness Sake

Honoring Seymour Papert and Helping the World, Too

Some ideas and the efforts resulting from them deserve encouragement and, when possible, tangible support. But all too often even effective, efficient, and good-hearted organizations receive little or no recognition and sensible funding. Without a major family-brand name obscurity, ineffectiveness, and, ultimately, dissolution typically result. With that in mind, I’m noting two organizations with good intentions and viable approaches to helping some kids and their mentors make the world a little better.

On Wednesday, December 4, One Planet Education Network (OPEN) and Small Solutions, Big Ideas (SSBI) hosted an event honoring education and classroom technology pioneer Seymour Papert. Experts and innovators shared their experience and insight about current developments in educational gaming and related products and approaches.

Sandra Thaxter, Executive Director of SSBI, and OPEN Executive Director George Newman opened the night’s presentations, discussions, and demonstrations. SSBI provides computing technology that enables better communication and children’s education in Africa. OPEN has established a system of educational games and media approaches that facilitate a broad, hands-on education about such problems as poaching of endangered species, environmental degradation, and hurdles to effect and enforce progressive, humane policy change.

Constructionist and former MIT Professor Seymour Papert was honored for his prescience and contributions to children’s education, including his promotion of technology use in classrooms. Speakers included Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab; artificial intelligence and education expert Cynthia Solomon; Brian Silverman; publisher and author Meredith Hamilton of BumpBump Books; Artemis Papert; and Gary Stager.

The night’s event underscored cooperative problem solving: The technology available and provided by such non-profits as SSBI helps OPEN connect students worldwide, students who not only learn about math, science, and basic humanities, but also about the world and its ways in politics and business and the role of cultural difference in both causing problems and finding solutions to them.

Inspired by Papert’s thought and work, the organizations promote collaborative projects to improve educational, environmental, and human rights conditions, particularly by developing effective education systems in the world’s deeply impoverished areas. SSBI’s unique access to emerging market economies and its partners for development and field use of products and programs enables it to both provide students with necessary items and teach them skills that will enable them to work in the global milieu even if they continue to address global conservation or human rights challenges. OPEN’s series of educational programs encourages students to learn of real-world challenges, communicate and partner with others wherever they may be, and pragmatically address the problems. OPEN’s boots on the ground, cross-cultural games-based learning is exemplified by New York City elementary schoolteacher Johnny Ronelus, whose pupils are working with others in Africa to end poaching and save the Black Rhino from extinction. OPEN is currently in the second phase of Kids Worldwide Unite: Save the Black Rhino and is preparing a major undertaking to further education about and address the depletion and degradation of the ocean environment.

http://www.smallsolutionsbigideas.org
http://www.oneplaneteducation.com

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