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So Long Nerlens Noel!

It is true that

  • the Sixers need swingmen and have an excess of bigs
  • Nerlens Noel started the season badly with some adolescent pouting

But here is the thing. Nerlens has  since then demonstrated that he can provide high quality minutes at the 5 — especially on defense. That means 48 minute rim protection if Embiid and Noel are playing in tandem at the 5. If also means insurance if Embiid goes down.And Noel has demonstrated that he has chemistry withe the team and the fans.

Bottom line –  if you value rim protection, Embiid and Noel should have had a lock on the 1,2 Sixer rotation at  the 5.

The only problem was that Noel’s rookie (cheap) contract expires this year, and he will want a max deal. The Sixers could afford it, but would they pay it? Apparently Sixer, GM  Bryan Colandelo decided “no”. . He has dealt Nerlens to the Mavs for second year swing man Justin Anderson and change.

What do the Sixers get? Anderson is the key to the deal If he develops into a great 3, the Sixers have taken a step forward in filling that hole. The operative word there is “if”. It is a big if. BTW, meanwhile, this year’s draft is loaded with guards and wings. And the so called “first round” pick – this will not convey, and is bullshit.

Liberty Ballers says

This is, undoubtedly, the worst basketball decision Bryan Colangelo has made in his tenure as Sixers general manager.

My take on this — the Sixers gave up what was as close as you can get in the NBA to a sure thing in favor of a weak gamble. As  Liberty Ballers writes, the Siers could have got a better deal for Noel earlier. But more important, Noel fit into this team. He made the team better. Now he is gone. Jah, cannot make that claim, but he will remain on the roster. In other words, the problem at the 5 position is not solved.

So long  Nerlens!! It was fun!

A quick follow up – – The fact is that the Sixers are now is full tank mode. They are going to lose a lot of games coming up, and with their crappy record, and the possibility of swapping for Sacramento’s top pick (a team that is also in full tank mode), the Sixers may end up with a top 3 pick in this year’s draft. They have a shot at Fultz. And if they can land Fultz by giving up Noel, this might have been worth it.

Anyway, we are now hoping for the ping pong balls to drop our way again!

Looking for Inspiration? Go No Farther!

Over the last several days, I have been singing the praise of Alec Guiness as Gulley Jimson in the 1958 film, The Horse’s Mouth. From this, you might get the impression that Guinness played outsiders. Men without portfolio, so to speak. That sense is reinforced by his role in Our Man in Havana, where he plays yet again the anti-establishment figure.

But, consider this — his depiction of Benjamin Disraeli, in the film The Mudlark.. The film is sentimental to a fault,, and for those who are allergic to this type of thing, not worth watching. At the same time, Guinness is brilliant as prime minister Disraeli. You need no background to appreciate this scene

Checking out Ostermeier’s Richard III

Shakespeare’s Richard III is one of the great historical dramas of all time. It is not because Shakespeare gives us history. To the contrary, Shakespeare’s Richard is Tudor propaganda – a fabrication that exaggerates all that was wrong with Richard, in order to justify the Tudor usurpation. But it is great drama in how it brings out one terrible aspect of events that actually took place.

Over the centuries, Richard has been played in nt ways. Usually, the evil qualities of Richard are emphasized to give great actors a vehicle to strut their stuff. More recently, directors have played up the political dimensions of the story. Ostermeier goes back to villainy in his production at the Barbican, London. Lars Eidinger  offers us a modern Richard. Michael Billington thinks there should  be more politics.  He writes

—  in modern times, the text has been mined for political relevance. Heavily influenced by the Polish academic Jan Kott, Peter Hall and John Barton in the 1963 The Wars of the Roses gave us a Richard (Ian Holm) who was part of the grand mechanism of history. More recently Ian McKellen, in a Richard Eyre production set in the Britain of the 1930s, was a Mosley-like dictator who acquired power through the complicity of a decadent ruling class.

Is Richard better played as a cautionary tale of political psychosis?  Or should it be about the effect of a single villain? Good question.

Of course, great evil comes to horrendous effect when history allows it to do so. Hitler would not have come to power in Bismarkian times. So too with Richard. The barbarity of the Wars of the Roses coupled with his brother’s promiscuity gave him his opportunity. At he same time, individuals make choices that amplify the nightmare.

Did Richard decide to do so? Shakespeare says “yes!” most emphatically. And that is what makes his Richard so interesting. We get to see what that means.

Trump’s Rhetoric is Meant to Impress, Not Persuade

We are now in a new era. Folks who do not believe in the game of democracy the way it has been played are in power. These folks, led by Donald Trump, are playing a different game altogether. And they have a chance to make their game the new norm.

We cannot allow that. Here is why. This has all happened before. It happened in Germany when the Nazi’s came into power. I am not calling Trump a Nazi. But there is no doubt that Trump and his supporters are using the same rhetorical tactics.

This is not the first time that I have seen folks writing about this, and I do not think it will be the last. Here is the link.

My point — the trick works on us only if we allow it to work. And this is the key: Trump will be able to get whatever he wants if we begin to equate Trump with “great again”. That is all he has to do.

Keep telling yourself. America was great before Trump waddled onto the scene and is great without him. Trump has no plan or policies to make it any better. It is all smoke and mirrors. The only plan that he does have is to blame others for our challenges. Those folks are innocent.  We are the ones who control our own destiny.

Our challenge, in a nutshell.

New Year’s in Paris

From a life planning point of view, this rates rather high (by Dorie Greenspan)

To me, a graduate student living in New York with an uncertain future, the image of Paris at midnight, champagne, oysters, and the Seine was enchanting and more fairy tale than Cinderella. From then on, when my husband, Michael, and I would toast on December 31, we’d say, “Next year in Paris!” It took a long time, but when I started working with pastry chef Pierre Hermé in Paris and writing more about France and its food, it began to seem practical. Finally, in the winter of 1997, we signed the lease on our first Paris apartment, walked to the corner, went into the Café Bonaparte, ordered champagne, and toasted, “This year in Paris!”

A nice image of Dorie in her Parisian kitchen

Image result for Dorie Greenspan Paris

And her favorite restaurants? Bien sur!