No creativity without structure and boundaries – New Quote I Love

Thursday, 20 June, 2019

Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels has just received Cannes Lions‘ first Entertainment Person of the Year award. Here is a particular section of Michaels‘ speech that I quite like and adding it as a new entry to my long list of Quotes I Love. The quote starts at the 12s mark of this video,

“In my experience at SNL, there really could be no creativity without structure and boundaries. Every week we go from a blank page to on the air in six days, never knowing for sure what the final show will look like. I say every week, we don’t go on because it’s ready. We go on because it’s 11:30.” – Lorne Michaels (1944- ) (Quote starts at the 12s mark)


NBA Champ Raptors, Load Management, Kawhi Leonard, and a whole lot more

Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

For the record, the following are excerpts from five insightful articles I found to read re “Load Management” as used by NBA Champion team Raptors on its players including MVP superstar Kawhi Leonard. Pay attention to mentions of Alex McKechnie, Raptors’ director of sports science (hired by Raptors in 2011) who now has six, yes SIX,  NBA championship rings!

Let me start by sharing this cool bonus video that I found online:

How Toronto Raptors’ Alex McKechnie Built a Career in the NBA

Article #1 (This, by far, is the most insightful one out of the series of four)

June 1, 2019 Sportsnet, “The maestro of load management has been key to Raptors’ playoff success” Here is an excerpt (with emphasis added),

The Raptors were 17-5 when Leonard sat in the regular season but his value — and the value of Toronto’s patience — has been proven in the post-season.

The Raptors are 22 points better per 100 possessions with Leonard on the floor than when he sits, which is why Nurse has leaned on him so heavily when the games have mattered most.

That Nurse has been able to do so reflects the outsized impact of the club’s director of sports science, Alex McKechnie, a white-haired senior citizen with a Scottish accent who has as much influence in the organization as anyone other than Nick Nurse and president Masai Ujiri.

When the Raptors traded for Leonard, who had missed 73 games in San Antonio in 2017-18 due to an unspecified right quadriceps injury, a Raptors insider texted McKechnie with a simple message:

“You’re the most important person in the organization now.”

Managing the load
When Leonard arrived in Toronto, he made his priorities clear — after establishing that he was, indeed, “a fun guy” — a few minutes into his opening press conference on the eve of training camp.

He was asked: What does he want for his career?

“Just be able to be healthy, that’s my No. 1 goal,” he said. “Play a long, healthy career [and] be able to be dominant, wherever I land.”

He’s dominant. He showed it all season long as he posted career highs in points (26.6) and rebounds (7.3) and was second-team All-NBA and second-team all-defence despite playing just 60 games — missing most of the other 22 due to “load management.”

The term is a medical one, recognized by the NBA and deemed an acceptable reason for teams to sit out players who aren’t otherwise acutely injured or ill. It was McKechnie — who’s in his 19th NBA season and seventh with the Raptors — who made the term part of the lexicon and was responsible for managing the load by keeping track of Leonard’s fitness through a combination of biometric measures, outside medical opinions and feel.

Shortly after he joined the Raptors, McKechnie — who was not made available to be interviewed for this story — described his approach, honed after more than 40 years working in the field, as a blend of science and instinct born of thousands of hours of in-field experience.

“When we look at rehabilitation and training and conditioning, there’s a science to it, [but] once you establish the science the trainer becomes an artist, and so it’s really painting that individual’s picture,” McKechnie told Raptors.com in 2012.

“For example, you’re not going to do the same things you may for a post-up player as you would for a guard. Totally different approach to the training protocols. In much the same way that we look at a player shooting on his right side as a guy shooting from his left. There’s a completely different set of default postures that we look at.

The following excerpt is also very insightful (with emphasis added) but again, I recommend you read the whole report “The maestro …“, Read the rest of this entry »


Happy Green Balls from Paris

Friday, 31 May, 2019
Green Balls from Play | Alexander Ekman & Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris | Palais Garnier 2017

Green Balls from Play | Alexander Ekman & Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris | Palais Garnier 2017

Respect and help others, even total strangers. This is one of the many lessons my dad taught me by example.

You see. one year our family traveled to Thailand and there were performances (dancing and singing) at lunch. As our tour group finished our meals, people were getting ready to leave. All except our table.

Dad convinced our fellow travellers to stay seated for a few more minutes to allow the singer to finish her song before we left. The singer noticed and appreciated it. She was someone we would never meet again. I guess in some sense even she didn’t mind people leaving en masse mid-song as she must have come to expect and have seen happened many times. But our small gestures made a small difference to her that day.

Dad didn’t intend to teach me any lessons. He was just being himself. Respectful and polite (and be firm with reasons when needed) to everyone including strangers. I in turn got a lesson for life. By example.

So back to my green balls which signify playfulness and happiness to me thanks to the epic ballet Play in Paris (see trailer video below). It just so happened that while watching Play in Paris during an intermission, I was posting stuff on Facebook and saw a friend’s post which I saw as a “cry for help”. Long story short, after getting my hands on a few of the magical green balls at the end of the performance, I snapped a photo and sent it to my friend and promised to arrange a coffee meetup to give the friend one of my treasured green balls. We had a good talk. And the friend felt better.

Today, another Facebook friend from overseas seemed to be having a bad day so I took the above green balls photo and sent it to the friend with a few words of encouragement and care. Giving the friend my balls (photo of them) and keeping them. My version of “having my cake and eat it too“.   ;)

At the end of the day, I believe love and care are like that, the more you give, the more you have. We are all on this earth for the blink of an eye and may be gone tomorrow. Might as well be good and caring to our loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. We may not be able to be good all the time, but try we can. A new thought just came into my mind as I typed this paragraph. You see, if you think about it carefully, we are that “strangers” to others we don’t know. And the world and we ourselves would be better if we are all a bit nicer and kinder to that strangers as our world seem to fall into a darker period in our recent years.

Thanks dad. Thinking of you. OK, here are those balls, lots and lots and lots of balls! Enjoy!

Play trailer | Alexander Ekman & Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris | Palais Garnier 2017

xxx


The moral is to have [no referendum] at all. – New Quote I Love

Thursday, 30 May, 2019

Recently retired UK Supreme Court justice Lord Jonathan Sumption has been giving the 2019 Reith Lectures in the last few weeks. BBC Radio has broadcasted two out of five episodes so far. Check out my earlier post “2019 Reith Lectures by Jonathan Sumption” for links to the lectures.

Here is a particular section that I got a new entry to Quotes I Love from (Lecture 2, In Praise of Politics, timecode 40:01)

BH: (BBC radio Host): If representative democracy is so effective as you argued that it is.

JS (Jonathan Sumption): I accept that it is not always.

BH: But parliament decided on a referendum when it came to Brexit.

JS: Yes, parliament can do many things that are unwise, that are inconsistent with the way democracies ought to work. I’m certainly not suggesting the referendum was unlawful. I’m simply suggesting that it was extremely unwise and that the last three years are an illustration of quite a lot of the reasons why.

BH: OK, you are not a fan, I get that.

JS: I’m not a fan of referendums, full stop.

BH: Well, that answer the second thing. To get us out of this mess, do we need a second referendum.

JS: Well, I don’t think we should have the first.

BH: But we had it now. So now how do …

JS: Let me finish my sentence. I don’t think we should have the first. But having had the first, it may well be that the only way that we can get out of the mess created by the first is to have another one. But the moral is not to have as many referendums as possible. The moral is to have none at all.

 


Raptors – Kawhi Leonard: “I don’t care about being best player. I want to be the best team.” Kyle Lowry: “Why not feed the big dog? Let the big dog eat.”

Sunday, 26 May, 2019

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed watching “Kawhi Leonard & Kyle Lowry Postgame Interview” along with reading the report “NBA Playoffs 2019: Masai Ujiri’s bold moves, starting with the Kawhi Leonard gamble, forever changed Raptors history“. Here are links to a few notable time codes in the Postgame Interview,

0:11 Just LOVE this answer from Kyle Lowry: Why not feed the big dog? Let the big dog eat.

4:35 Kawhi Leonard: I don’t really judge my game like that. I’m more of a team aspect, see what my team is doing. Just want to win. I don’t care about being best player. I want to be the best team. I always said that.

5:13 Love this Q&A. [HT Canadian Press /CTV news for the following:]

//And another grin as Leonard and Lowry shared the post-game podium in the wake of the history-making 100-94 win over the Bucks. It came after Lowry was asked how this group had managed something no other Raptors team had accomplished. The point guard cracked a smile, looked left at Leonard, then broke into a laugh, looked at Leonard again and continued laughing. Leonard happily grinned back. “The one thing about Kawhi, and you guys all know it, is he literally stays level-headed all the time,” Lowry said admiringly. “He never gets up, he never gets down. He showed some emotion after Game 7 against the Sixers. But I think him and Danny (Green) brought that championship pedigree here, just kind of staying level-headed and even-keeled.” In the same news conference, Leonard deflected praise from team president Masai Ujiri, who called him the best player in the league during the post-game trophy ceremony.//

Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors – Game 6 – Full Game Highlights | 2019 NBA Playoffs

Raptors, Good luck and all the best in the finals.

P.S. The following are great read too.

CBS Sports, “NBA Playoffs 2019: Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard stating case as best player on Earth with transcendent postseason run

The Star, “Kyle Lowry took his chip and went all in with the RaptorsRead the rest of this entry »


2019 Reith Lectures by Jonathan Sumption

Wednesday, 22 May, 2019

 

2019 Reith Lectures by Jonathan Sumption - Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 10.41.25 AM

I’ve been looking forward to listen to the 2019 Reith Lectures by Jonathan Sumption who recently retired from the UK Supreme Court. Lord Sumption “argues that a decline in the willingness of politics to engage with divisive subjects has been accompanied by an unwelcome rise in the power of the courts.

While I may not agree with everything Lord Sumption says, the ideas he expressed are almost always thought provoking and worth considering even we may come to agree or disagree with him. Incidentally, the Q&As after each lectures contain some rather interesting questions so make sure you listen to that too.

BBC is putting up the 2019 Reith Lectures by Lord Sumption one lecture a week, here is the list of lecture(s) already posted:

(21 May, 2019) 1/5. Law’s Expanding Empire – Jonathan Sumption argues that the law is taking over the space once occupied by politics (~56 minutes)

(updated: 28 May, 2019) 2/5. In Praise of Politics – Jonathan Sumption explains how democracy can accommodate opposing opinions and interests (~41 minutes)

(updated: 4 June, 2019) 3/5. Human Rights and Wrongs – Jonathan Sumption argues that courts have usurped power via human rights law (~41 minutes)

(updated – 11 June, 2019) 4/5. Rights and the Ideal Constitution – Jonathan Sumption assess the pros and cons of written and unwritten constitutions, comparing the US and UK. (~42 minutes)

(updated – June, 2019) 5/5. Shifting the Foundations – Jonathan Sumption argues against Britain adopting a written constitution (~42 minutes)

Above links for all five insightful episodes have now been updated. What an enjoyable series!


#GameOfThrones series finale was aweful (Veep, Big Bang Theory, Sopranos ended things much better!)

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019

Major Spoilers Warning!

20190521 Dragon can understand symbolism now?

Game Of Thrones TV series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss (D&D) for HBO was well loved by millions (me included) for 7 seasons. Sadly the show fell apart on its final season 8 with the series finale (s8.6) being an epic cluster beep!

How bad was GoT series finale (s8.6)? We went grocery shopping, ate dinner while watching other TV shows before we actually watched the finale at 11pm EST (2 hours after the show started) before we just had no expectation left. And the finale did turn out to be a #ShitShow in my eyes. A cancelled S8 would have been better for fans. 

Just as comparisons, Veep and The Big Bang Theory also had their series finales and they generally garnered praises! Witness:

IndieWire, 13 May, 2019 “‘Veep’ Review: The Series Finale Is a Terrific Ending America Better Hope Doesn’t Come True
IndieWire, 17 May, 2019, “‘The Big Bang Theory’ Review: Series Finale Delivers an Ending True To Itself

From Vice, “‘Game of Thrones’ Ended in the Worst Way Possible In ‘The Iron Throne,’ the final episode of ‘Game of Thrones,’ nearly every decision was the wrong one.” Here is an excerpt, Read the rest of this entry »


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