The Last Dance (Netflix)

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have watched this, but K recommended it so I gave it a look. I was drawn into it immediately. It was dramatic. And compelling. Bingeable, though I resisted.

I’m talking about The Last Dance – a 10-part documentary about the Chicago Bulls during the years Michael Jordan played for them. Co-produced by ESPN Films and Netflix and directed by Jason Hehir, the series has received nearly universal critical acclaim.

As we are taken back and forth through the Jordan era of the Bulls, Jordan and his teammates (Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr) and coach Phil Jackson comment.

As Barney Ronay, writing for The Guardian, pointed out, The Last Dance could be said to be more a hagiography than a documentary. I was a basketball fan for a number of years and saw Jordan play several times, but I never fully understood how great a player he was until I watched it.

But it’s not all accolades. It does get into Jordan’s love of gambling and, more importantly, the accusation that he became something of an unbearable bully. To quote Ronay:

Is Jordan, the man-turned-logo, the inspiration to millions, actually a bit of a dick? The answer is obvious. Yes he is! But it doesn’t matter. In fact this is in many ways the best part of the film.

 

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“If We Lose John Locke, We Lose America” 

John Locke has been a writer on my must-read list since I became interested in history (for the first time) just 20 years ago. This video made me push him up to the top of the list. LINK

 

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If you are really into the math behind the COVID-19 models, you’ll love this guy (Stanford University’s Michael Levitt). I can’t get enough of him and yet I understand very little of what he’s saying.

I ran Part 1 of this talk a few weeks ago. This is Part 2. Here, Levitt discusses two commonly used growth curves, the Sigmoid Function and the Gompertz Function.

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“COVID-19 Never Grows Exponentially” – a video from Stanford University’s Michael Levitt on “fitting data,” an advanced strategy for machine learning and AI that demonstrates that COVID-19 did not ever grow exponentially. Watch it here.

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“More Than Money: The Good Life Parable” 

In this short film about a well-known fable, a fisherman teaches a young businessman about life after the young man uses his MBA knowledge to explain how the fisherman could be more successful.

A good retelling of an old story. LINK

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“Freedom Isn’t Free” – a powerful speech by President Ronald Reagan. I don’t know enough about Reagan’s career to have a strong opinion about it, but I can think of only two other presidents in my lifetime that were as good as he was at speechifying: Kennedy and Clinton. To watch the speech – which includes Reagan’s dramatic reading of “A Soldier’s Pledge” – click here.

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I was fascinated by this video explanation about how COVID-19 patients die. Most of what this young doctor explains are facts that you already know, although you might miss some of it because his explanation is so laden with scientific and medical jargon. I wasn’t turned off, however. I found it oddly compelling. There is something in his bedside manner that is charming and engaging. I found myself thinking, “I’m not sure what he means by that, but it would be comforting to have him as my personal MD.”

To watch the video, click here.

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