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LeBron James (3) vs. Meryl Streep; Pele advances

Yesterday I was gonna go with Turing following Dalton’s eloquent argument:

To his credit, Pele didn’t have to play in the era of VAR (video assistant referees). As last Tuesday’s Champions League game between Paris – Saint Germain and Manchester United (as well as the recent World Cup final between Croatia and France) demonstrate, there is an indistinct, but abrupt border between the beautiful and the farcical and that border is guarded by imperfect humans with flawed methods for making binary decisions. Football is all kinetic energy and continuous movement. That’s why it is so beautiful and beloved. But (like Stan) football runs into trouble when that continuity is confronted with a latent discrete state. The stochastic motions of a 450 gram truncated icosahedron will occasionally cause it careen into the demilitarized zone between the discrete states delineated by the Laws of the Game. Did it or did it not touch the hand or arm? Was that contact SIGNIFICANT enough to cause a penalty? Many of us hate the use of p-values on this blog, but when was the last time somebody was stabbed because they didn’t like the outcome of binary decision given by a p-value (

Pele, at his best, transported us so far away from these uncomfortable boundaries that we were able to forget they exist. Turing, on the other hand, dwelt in the uncanny trenches where the messy but still quantized states of the world must be directly confronted. Football’s (and Pele’s) transcendence can only be temporary because of the Laws of the Game. We need the Laws of the Game, otherwise every game would only be ever escalating chaos whose obvious destination is violence. But the Laws of the Game, by attempting to impose order, manage only to concentrate the chaos at the seams. Turing helped prove this fundamental limitation on our ability to reside forever in the domain of certainty. And so elevating Turing over Pele is the only grown-up thing to do. As much fun as Pele can be the night before, only Turing allows us to continue living after the cold brutal truth of the morning after.

So true. But then Manuel won it for the futebolista with this enigmatic retort:

bciw mqbe huek cwcq kwtn wbgo sphe wthr behq jpiz htjz fjnj ntic kkzu eyxr ndan cfoq

Model: Enigma M4 “Shark”
Reflector: UKW B thin
Rotor 1: Beta, position 1, ring 1
Rotor 2: I, position 17, ring 1
Rotor 3: I, position 12, ring 1
Rotor 4: I, position 1, ring 1

Plugboard: bq cr di ej kw mt os px uz gh

Composed with the help of

tl;dr: Pelé advances

As for today’s contest . . . LeBron hasn’t been looking too good lately, but do we really need to see a 22nd Oscar-nominated performance? Both these contestants are a bit overexposed. But what do you think?

Again, here are the rules and here’s the bracket:


  1. My favorite candidates have been ousted. But my guess is that if Streep won, she wouldn’t want to do this as herself. She would rather play a different seminar leader (or even more than one). So by having her win, we could possibly resuscitate at least one of the other greats: Karloff, Houdini, Wilde, Voltaire, etc. That’s enough reason to vote for her. Plus I think she’d like some sort of challenge, such as that of conversing with the seminar participants (instead of giving an Oscar-ish performance). So it would be fun. Plus I admire her acting. Another reason to vote for her is that she would probably fall to Geng, assuming Geng beat Sattouf, and then we might have the legendary Geng-Springsteen final that others have alluded to. I’m not as sure that LeBron would fall to Geng, if he were to win this match. So for all these reasons I stand by Streep.

  2. zbicyclist says:

    LeBron’s not going to be busy this spring. Let’s give him someplace to explain himself over going to the LAKERS :(

    • zbicyclist says:

      Also, under LeBron quotes, the first one listed is

      “You have to be able to accept failure to get better.”, which is a nice scientific attitude. (I have no doubt LeBron said it, although it’s also not original with him.)

  3. It speaks well for Streep that she said the following in her 2010 Barnard commencement speech:

    “You know, I gave a speech at Vassar 27 years ago. It was a really big hit. Everyone loved it, really. Tom Brokaw said it was the very best commencement speech he had ever heard and of course I believed this. And it was much easier to construct than this one. It came out pretty easily because back then I knew so much. I was a new mother, I had two academy awards and it was all coming together so nicely. I was smart and I understood boiler plate and what sounded good and because I had been on the squad in high school, earnest full-throated cheerleading was my specialty so that’s what I did but now, I feel like I know about 1/16th of what that young woman knew. Things don’t seem as certain today. Now I’m 60, I have four adult children who are all facing the same challenges you are. I’m more sanguine about all the things that I still don’t know and I’m still curious about.”

    From this perspective, she would have a lot to say about TED, etc.

  4. Manuel says:

    As Stephen Hawking might put it: ‘It’s duets with Pierce Brosnan all the way down’.

  5. Not Trampis says:

    technical point. Pele ( Hebrew for wonderful) would dribble rather than wouldn’t he??

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