“It’s a Steamy Jungle”

      1. It's A Steamy Jungle - Ric Size

 

This is the fifth single from Extended Play 2019-21.

“It’s a Steamy Jungle” is an acoustic reggae song I came up with in October 2020.

Guitar & vocal by Ric Size. Recorded March 1, 2021 in Sanford, FL, by Tom Pearce.

Photo, cover art design & production also by Tom Pearce.

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Long COVID: discussion & answers

My creative partner & friend Tom Pearce believes he had COVID-19 back in January 2020, well before the first cases were declared in the US. He never left the country during that period. Tom sent me this message when I told him I was about to get vaccinated this week:

i think the first shot rocked what was left of the covid bugs hanging around in my system. massive lower back and leg pain, stiffness. feeling better after my second covid shot, didn’t hit me as hard as the first, back to working again

I believe that my good friend has been suffering from “long COVID,” which is defined by the CDC as coronavirus related health issues that persist more than four weeks after first being infected.

Much of my research & practice on back & hip injuries becomes relevant when discussing long COVID, and how to deal with it. COVID-19 has multi-organ effects, and therefore the symptoms are wide-ranging. But the basic medical premise is that everything starts with the immune system, since we’re dealing with a virus.

Lymphatic system

If there are areas of your body that are atrophied, meaning long-term loss of muscle replaced with fat, then you are unhealthy to that degree– at least. Your immune system can’t work when there is no muscle to move the fluids. For example, the heart is a muscle which pumps blood, so heart disease contributes to immune disorders. The lymphatic system needs a strong skeletal & smooth muscle system in order to work correctly.

When discussing the immune system, (IMO) too much emphasis is placed on autoimmune disorders, with the major types including: type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis & multiple sclerosis. These people have parts of their immune systems which never worked, or are now out-of-control & self-destructive. Auto-immune diseased patients will have a greater risk of adverse reactions to the jab. But whatever symptoms appear, they can be prepared for and managed much easier, than getting infected with COVID-19.

Getting back to immune systems that have become less effective through muscle atrophy, we find that in these cases the spine is always calcified into a hard cast, corresponding to areas where the individual has “stubborn fat.” Take a close look at the image above, to see how fat develops (and changes the body), in young vs old individuals. Notice how deformed & mis-shapen the spine becomes with increased obesity. It only gets worse with age.

As explained in numerous articles I’ve published, stubborn fat is special because it directly connects with the atrophied muscle group. If you can find a way to break these deep ossifications in your lower spine, you can actually get rid of all that stubborn fat. It’s not about dieting, it’s about stretching where it hurts most, and dealing with the pain. This goes on day-after-day, week-after-week, etc, until you are ripped– all the way down. You need calories for that, so don’t be shy abut eating.

What I discovered after my first vaccination jab, was the histamine response in my arm can be diffused and flowed into my back. Histamines, etc, eat away calcifications, leaving the delicate vertebrae cleaned off. Gently rotate your spine in all directions (on the ground), and fat will flow into that site. This quickly rebuilds cartilage, tendons, ligaments, fascia & (finally) muscle.

This was my post-vaccination protocol. Once the histamines break these calcifications, they are neutralized, and the swelling your the arm goes down significantly. You don’t want to take anti-histamines or anti-inflammatories (if possible), because you WANT this response. That’s why you got vaccinated. Know the science.

By the next day (today) I could swing a baseball bat around, with little discomfort. I would describe it as feeling like someone gave me a good “Slug Bug” in that arm yesterday, if you know what I mean. By doing this, I theorize that after the second jab, you will have much milder symptoms, whatever they are.

So in conclusion, the way to deal with long COVID is to get healthier. All those places deep within, where calcifications, atrophy, fat, and other bad stuff is lurking, that’s where the virus hides in “long COVID.” Such a compromised immune system can’t reach the dug-in pockets of coronavirus, so the infected patient never fully “recovers.”

We as a society must make ourselves more physically fit (in the right way), and start doing a better job at hygiene. I know institutional researchers are looking for a magic bullet (pill, diet plan, etc), but really, it’s good science & hard work that gets it done.

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Coronavirus Vaccination: A case study

My first vaccine report card is below. It was a painless injection with no initial side effects. WUCF 89.9 was playing Ella Fitzgerald’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” on my drive home. Irony?

There is a lot of misinformation, which is creating hesitancy to get vaccinated. As a doctor, I categorically state that everyone should get vaccinated, and take whatever brand you can get. They are ALL better than being unvaccinated. It’s the only way to end the pandemic.

Until we can get all 7+ billion people on this planet vaccinated, this pandemic will continue. This coronavirus is a deadly flu strain, which is mutating before our very eyes. The problem is that too many people remain willfully blind. These people are known as anti-vaxxers & capitalists, and they must be politically defeated forever to win the Coronavirus War.

Here’s a truth: you need to be ready to be vaccinated, physically & mentally. There’s no question about that, so forced vaccinations aren’t the answer. Everyone has to be educated with real science, and when they are, they will realize they need to be vaccinated. It’s a political struggle against ignorance, reaction & fascism on one front, and a battle to educate the international working masses & youth on the other.

If you are obese, alcoholic, have heart problems, liver, kidney, etc, issues– then you will have more adverse reactions to any of these vaccines. This is a nasty virus, and the vaccines are made of its bits & pieces. It’s your immune system that needs to be ready. You need to be rested, not stressed, when you get vaccinated. It helps to be in good shape, outside & in.

With all the mutations, we may need boosters in the future. That means we need to change our way of thinking entirely. There is no “getting back to normal” anymore. That’s a big lie. This pandemic has been a world-historic “trigger event” which leads to revolution, as every nation’s leaders, especially the US, have no answers for humanity in this struggle to defeat coronavirus.

It is clear this is foremost a political battle. The technology is there to win easily, but capitalism can’t bring humanity together to get it done. It only wants to make profits for itself.

That’s why I just go into Walmart, and get my shot, then leave. Walmart is part of Florida’s pay-to-play vaccine rollout program. Vaccines are distributed at places like Walmart to get people into their stores. They ask for your insurance card, and if you don’t have one, then you sign a form and you’re good to go. The shots are free, but this delivery model boosts the economy in the right direction. Walmart gets the insurance money (if possible), and since you’re already in their store, you might as well go shopping! Convenient, huh?

First dose: Wed 21 Apr 2021 ~9:30 AM EDT

Doctors make the worst patients. When the nice Puerto Rican woman who was injecting everyone pre-swabbed the site with alcohol, I screamed in pain. She jumped back, until I winked at her and said through my mask, “Just kidding.”

She injects, then peels off the injector target, and says, “Oh, a bleeder– that’s rare.” She gets a band-aid and places it on the site. I say to her, so that all the other patients in the room can hear, “I heard that if you get a bleeder, that means you received a placebo.” She’s stunned, and doesn’t know what to say, until I reply, “Just kidding.” You’re supposed to stay for 15 minutes, and they hand you a timer, but I just put it on a table and left. Leave ’em laughing, I say.

A few hours later, there’s a bit of swelling & tightness in my left triceps area. You know something has been injected there. The histamines have been inflamed, and my body is processing the vaccine to achieve a level of immunity. I think I’ll get the second dose in my right arm for comparison. I hope I don’t get a bleeder. The next appointment date is on the back of the card, and it can be time-scheduled online, or just walk-in that day.

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Of Muscovies & Musicians

I like the birds for many reasons. First, they don’t have petty egos. Individual members are never placed above the good of the species. There are clearly defined rules of engagement & cooperation with birds. The pecking order is always respected, and if a member gets out-of-line, they get clipped by an alpha. And when the fight is over, everything is back to normal, with no grudges. Muscovies, mallards, mockingbirds, cardinals, and even a red-headed woodpecker peacefully share this feeding area I’ve established. That’s what can be learned from this photo above.

But this poster (above) bothers me, and I’ll explain, since it’s complicated. I’m not the biggest Drivin N’ Cryin fan, but I’d like to see them, because I like a few of their songs & respect them. They fit in with the BoDeans, Connells, Soundgarden, etc, back in the day of “120 Minutes” on MTV, when “Honeysuckle Blue” broke them into college rock.

Drivin N’ Cryin played in Sanford, at West End Trading Co about 3 years ago. I saw the flier the night of the show, it was $18. I had at least a twenty, but decided against it, because I was tired and it was already late as the opening band was still onstage. As I said, I’m not a HUGE fan, but I also knew I missed an opportunity to see a name band and judge for myself.

So now they’re coming around again, so I gotta go, right? This venue is about a mile from where I live, so I’ll walk downtown, as usual. This is to be an outdoor show on Sunday at 1:00 PM, and the weather forecast is 80 degrees & sunny. Here’s the thing, the venue is trying to sell tickets for the event! In this era of coronavirus, where smart people want to be socially distanced, these owners think they can get people to pay $7-20 to pack-in close to the outdoor stage. I promise you that Drivin N’ Cryin will have stack amps & a monster PA system that will be heard distinctly for hundreds of yards in all directions. These are the kind of promoters who wanted to charge patrons for Woodstock.

And finally there’s the Saturday line-up. A veritable who’s who of Orlando-area musical gatekeepers, gathering & reforming old projects to make themselves look new again. It’s a tired act, I must say. I may stop by to see a few familiar faces, who like to pretend they never worked on Electrified!, and refuse to respect the album. To me, these are overinflated musical egos mixing with rotten politics. I don’t kiss that ass because I’m WAY too good for that, and besides, it’s toxic. It’s up to them to come around, and show some respect for a change, otherwise I mostly ignore them.

It’s not like the good old days when you could call up some friends and say, “Hey let’s go see a cool band!” There are no cool bands anymore. Corporate has killed the growth of new ones, while commodifying all the old ones by the mid-2000’s. Who are the great rock bands of the 21st century? Coldplay? Wilco? Please.

It takes will & perseverance, along with talent, to keep a good band together– and a little luck doesn’t hurt either. Every member has to be committed to the cause, whatever it is, whether it’s to be artistic or commercial, or some kind of hybrid.

It’s hard to write original music that grabs the kids, and hold everything together under the pressure of making money, when the only way a band/artist is allowed to perform is by being corporate. This means blandish, non-inflammatory originals, with traditional covers for all the genres. That’s the way it is everywhere.

Things have gotten far too complicated with rock music. Too much of it doesn’t really rock. Too many old folks unwilling to give it up, are sucking-up all the money, media & venues for themselves & their cronies. This is a venue system which encourages mediocrity, and seeks to exclude anything exceptional, which will reveal them as phonies. When people wonder why rock ain’t what it used be, THIS is why?

I’m beyond heckling (which I’m aces at) for all these Saturday acts. As soon as you see me yawning, it’s getting time for me to go. I can’t stay awake for weak stuff anymore. All this is taken by them as a great affront, when they are the ones boring everybody to tears. Like I said, it’s not easy going to these local shows anymore. They aren’t fun.  Everything lacks originality and/or energy.

As long as artists such as myself are blacklisted, this musical suckitude will continue. This is by design, with bitter politics keeping fans away from artists with revolutionary meaning & youthful energy.

Monday Morning Coming Down:  April 19, 2021 11:30 AM EDT

Drivin ‘N’ Cryin is an underrated band– strong songs, lots of energy & tight. But my favorite moment at their Sanford show yesterday, was beforehand. The guitar & bass players were both standing off-stage to the left where I was watching, about 15 feet away.

Some 40-ish floozy had been strutting around the crowd all afternoon. When Kevin Kinney finally came out of his van and started making his way to the stage, she runs up to him and screams with open arms “Kevin!” After a few minutes of strange exchange she walks back towards the crowd.

I turn my eyes onto her as she passes, then say out loud to the guitarist & bassist, “Those groupie reunions are always awkward moments.” Then I say in my best girlie voice, “Remember me, we slept together 20 years ago!” I laughed so loud at them, that they both ducked behind the stage to talk it over with Kevin. Rock & roll, baby

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Amazon unionization campaign fails in Bessemer, AL

Of nearly 6,000 Amazon employees at the Bessemer, Alabama facility, only about 55% of the workers cast ballots, all by mail. A simple majority is needed to approve unionization under the RWDSU. So far the “no” votes lead 1,100, to 463 for pro-union. The unionization campaign, backed by significant elements of the state, is heading towards catastrophic failure.

It seems the Amazon workers don’t want the retail workers union bureaucrats representing them, and they certainly don’t want to have to pay union dues to these corrupt betrayers.

The campaign to bring the RWDSU in at Amazon is supported by Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders & Marco Rubio– all of whom are enemies of the working people. It’s an attempt to bring the workers under control of a corrupt union apparatus.

The SEP/WSWS has countered this campaign with a call to form rank-and-file workers committees, which the ruling class fears above all else. The SEP activities have been entirely blacked-out in the fake media. The apparent defeat of this unionization drive is largely due to WSWS organizing efforts, which is alarming to the elites.

For more background see: “The class issues behind the unionization drive at Amazon,” published by the World Socialist Web Site on March 26, 2021. They have published other articles on this too.

This is all part of a much wider struggle to organize workers of all industries, races & nationalities under the banner of revolutionary socialism. It’s called Trotskyism, and it lives in the Fourth International, whose daily political organ is the World Socialist Web Site. Become a reader, supporter & member. It’s the only place to get real labor news & analysis. This is the only way forward, as opposed to the never-ending barbarisms of capitalism.

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, mostly uncontrolled, it’s the workers who are facing the brunt of its consequences. Increasingly unsafe working conditions, with double the work at half the pay, is the “new normal” from corporate. More & more, it’s becoming about survival. The working people must realize that this is a war, and that the dividing line is economic class. Workers of the world must unite in order to win the Coronavirus War.

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The unreality of identity politics in sports

You don’t think we asked for more money? I mean, what are we screaming about? Nonstop! –– Megan Rapinoe

In case you haven’t noticed, women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe has been on the offensive in the media. She claims the USWNT deserves equal pay to the men, when it has already been proven in court that the women have been paid MORE than the men in the past decade. This lesbian athlete, now activist, has Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton & Joe Biden behind her, so she’s hard to stop at this time.

Draymond Green is correct in what he says, but politics are there in the media to distort the argument in favor of Megan Rapinoe’s reactionary agenda. All this is being driven by something much bigger than her.

It’s so easy to be bold when the field has been cleared for you. Megan Rapinoe always claims to be so educated, as compared to whomever she’s attacking. Yet she distorts facts, and won’t listen to reason, in any sense. For example, under capitalism (and Rapinoe is surely a capitalist), you are paid as an athlete according to what you can bring in economically. That was Draymond Greens’ central point during his Twitter storm, and Megan Rapinoe never honestly addresses it.

The NCAA basketball tournaments have just concluded for the men & women. Both were broadcast on TV networks & big cable channels. They were also available for free streaming on the internet. Basically, everyone who wanted to watch had access.

The 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship game attracted 16.9 million viewers to CBS on Monday (April 5), as Baylor beat undefeated Gonzaga 86-70. It wasn’t even that close, as the refs really helped the Zags stay in it. That hurt the ratings as Gonzaga had an Off Night.

This was a 14% decline from the 2019 game. The 2020 tournament was canceled due to the pandemic, and the Virginia-Auburn (2019) championship game went into OT.

The two women’s Final Four games on Friday (April 2) averaged 2.2 million viewers for ESPN, and Sunday’s championship game between Stanford–Arizona brought in 4.05 million viewers. Both are up from 2019, with the semifinals improving by 22%, and the title game by 10.5%.

The men’s Final Four average audience for Saturday’s two games on CBS (11.81 million) was down 14% from 2019. The men’s Final Four suffered smaller drops than the most recent World Series, NBA & NHL finals, and college football’s national championship game.

But as we can see from the raw numbers, even under these media trends (women up, men down), women only draw ~ 20-25% of the viewers that men do. The truth is the interest isn’t as intense for the women sports, unless there’s a transcending superstar such as Mia Hamm, the Williams’ sisters, Maria Sharapova, or Danica Patrick.

Megan Rapinoe isn’t in that class. Being hyped “elite” anymore, ain’t what it used to be. There are egos & big money involved here, so people will be dishonest, but Megan Rapinoe’s appeal is very limited. She’s abrasive, and not beautiful. How do you market that to a mass audience?

In a rare moment of candor she notes, “We are getting obnoxious to ourselves, to be honest.” Think on that for a moment. This is a half-educated individual, with half-baked ideas, fed to her from half-hearted liberal supporters. Megan Rapinoe is a puppet on a string, and the worst kind, in that she doesn’t know it.

She represents a very limited strata of well-paid American athletes who believe they should get more, and are completely oblivious to everyone outside of their own interest group. Megan Rapinoe can tap into the reactionary #MeToo campaign as a woman, AND the LGBTQ…WXYZ campaign as a lesbian. Identity politics is still searching for its Holy Grail, a gay black women who is an athletic superstar. But as the song goes, two out three ain’t bad.

So all of you women teachers, don’t be fooled by this selfish poser. She’s a jock, which means she didn’t study in school, and speaks only for herself & the sponsors. All you women Amazon workers, don’t buy into this feminist crap which only seeks to divide men & women.

Feminists don’t care about workers on the job. You’re supposed to shut up & work, and then cheer for all of them on the weekends. All you girls in school, does that colored-hair phony have anything to say concerning crushing student loan debt? How about COVID-19 in the classroom? Girls are very affected by this.

Megan Rapinoe pontificates, “You know, just generally, the issue that we have with voter suppression in this country, I think everybody and every business and everything should be at the disposal to make sure that we’re influencing those laws in the right way.”

My first questions are: Who are “we,” and in whose interests are the laws to be influenced? She’s certainly not talking about working people, who are the ones that create all the value with their labor. By “we” she means her elitist colleagues. There needs to be more diversity amongst the oppressors. That’s the bottom-line argument of identity politics.

Then there’s is the issue of voter suppression. Socialists are systematically kept off election ballots– by the Democratic Party. This is an inconvenient political fact, which the likes of Megan Rapinoe always ignore. But facts are stubborn things. Any left-wing alternative to the Democratic party is censored & attacked by the deep state apparatus.

It doesn’t matter too much who the President is, because the deep state runs the show. The proof of that is the current US president clearly has dementia, and the VP is a puppet. So who’s running the country?

On October 31, 2019, former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin (above) said to a live audience with reporters in the room, that he was grateful for the deep state’s role in prompting the Ukraine-gate impeachment of President Trump. “Well, you know, thank God for the deep state,” McLaughlin responded, provoking laughter and applause.

Until that day, those of us who had proclaimed its existence & massive influence were deemed “conspiracy theorists.” The deep state still isn’t completely acknowledged by the liberal media, as a cover-up for this nebulous institution, where all the political & economic levers-of-power are held.

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Pay to Play vaccinating

As far as getting serviced in Florida goes, it’s pay to play, it’s always been that way. That’s why Publix, Sam’s/Walmart, CVS, Winn Dixie, etc, have made deals for exclusive vaccine distribution in many areas. The hospitals have little-to-no public vaccinations available, which makes no sense.

This is all insurance & Medicare driven, for profit, in bed with the pharmaceuticals. Of course, there is a lucrative black market too. That’s often called a “pop-up site,” and they always seem to happen in wealthy zip codes. It’s a mystery where those millions of missing doses went.

The CDC website to find vaccines in your area is by zip code. My zip code says there are 29 sites available within 10 miles, but only 4 have vaccine in stock, and none ever have appointments available. This is mostly an exercise in data collection it appears.

The pharmacy & grocery chains don’t have full-time medical staff, so this choice of distribution model is curious from a logistics standpoint. Why aren’t mass vaccinations happening at every hospital? The answer in Florida appears to be that COVID-19 vaccines are being used to draw people into stores. That’s why these ill-suited businesses, which all contribute mightily to governor Ron DeSantis, are at the center of Florida’s disastrous vaccine rollout.

In Sanford, FL a few weeks back, there was an evening event at the downtown Civic Center, where teachers who were willing to teach in-person were vaccinated. This is how the vaccine is being distributed in the Coronavirus War, which disproportionally affects the working poor.

Whenever you see FREE*, check you wallet. Lots of FREE* vaccinations available, if you have insurance. All this make you wonder how the global pandemic will ever get solved? One thing that’s certain is this mess will not be resolved under capitalism. It will only get worse, until working people organize & rise up.

A global pandemic requires a globally coordinated response, but the opposite has happened. Mutating strains threaten to put humanity back at square one, precisely due to the class variegated nature of the response & rollout. The leaders of all nations are responsible and must be held accountable by the international working masses. Only a proletariat with an international socialist program of permanent revolution will conquer the coronavirus pandemic.

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Easter Sunday explained

Of all the American holidays celebrated, Easter is the most vague. What date does Easter fall on? Virtually no one can tell you that Easter falls on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere. In other words, the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after March 20. That wraps moon gazing & cyclical calendar events into the ancient myth of Jesus Christ.

For those of us who aren’t Christians, we seldom pay attention to Easter Sunday and all its rituals, such as everything with eggs– which is a traditional Church symbol of rebirth. That got extended into the Easter Bunny, chocolate rabbits, etc, which are modern marketing creations to sell us more junk.

Easter roughly coincides with Passover, as Christianity imitates Judaism. Passover is where: if you have the Jewish sign at your doorstep, then the avenging Angel of Death ‘passes over’ your home and spares your first born child. For this reason, it’s important to be Jewish during the week of Passover.

What are Christians celebrating when they assemble for Easter Sunday mass? Zombie Jesus Day. It’s been hyped as “The Greatest Story Ever Told” for nearly two millennia. Yet no Roman (pagan) scholars or recorders-of-events ever mentioned ANY of the alleged miracles claimed to be performed by Jesus Christ in the holy Gospels. There are no Christian writings before those of the gospel of Paul.

Saint Paul founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor & Europe from the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD. It is indisputable through scholarly research that one-quarter of the New Testament books are authentic writings of Paul, with possibly as many as half of its 27 books being written by him.

Easter Sunday, and in fact all of Christianity, is a worship of Paul the Apostle, who is worshiping a mythical Jesus Christ. For the record, Paul’s writing style is beautiful, and stuff like Corinthians 1 & 2 helped give early Christianity a big boost.

Are you that different sort of person who constantly gazes into the night sky, noticing the gibbous moon waxing towards fullness in early spring while saying to yourself, “What a silly & confusing way to mark an event.”

Easter was invented back when ancient societies were still using lunar calendars, and mankind had little-to-no science. Religion provided an origin explanation/myth, which we know today to be false. The real question is, “How & why does this ancient ritualistic nonsense still survive?”

Easter is an example of soft power. It doesn’t coerce you, it just is. It’s there every year, like daylight savings time, an event we must adapt to for no rationally explainable reason. The Church is the origin soft power. With its historical decline in influence, this soft power is usurped by the bourgeois state under capitalism.

For example, why the hell is a Polynesian island in the South Pacific with a thousand ancient monumental stone statues (called moai), named Easter Island? It’s because it was “discovered” by a Dutch adventurer, Jacob Roggeveen, on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722. The Rapa Nui are the indigenous Polynesian people of Easter Island, and they weren’t Christians, but they were wiped out in part by Christian slave traders. The remote Easter Island has belonged to Chile since 1966, and the US has owned Chile for much longer.

The Fabergé egg was an Easter symbol of Russian tsarism. An expensive indulgence in delicate art, meant only for the rich. As many as 69 Fabergé eggs were created, with 57 known to survive today. High maintenance & self indulgent to the extreme, the bejeweled eggs were produced by Peter Carl Fabergé from 1885 to 1917. The most famous are his “Imperial” eggs, 46 of which are known to survive, made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III & Nicholas II as Easter gifts for family.

This Fabergé egg tradition ended with the Russian Revolution, as Nicholas II & his ignorant & cruel family were shot dead as murderous criminals on March 15, 1918, just before Easter, by the newly formed Red Army under the command of Leon Trotsky.

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NCAA basketball tournament notes

The NCAA basketball tournaments, men’s & women’s, were cancelled in 2020, due to the COVID lockdowns. The back-to-school campaign has many interested aspects, and college sports is certainly one of them. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has existed since 1939, and predates organized professional basketball & the NBA, which was established post-WW2.

This is arguably the most prestigious NCAA event for many reasons. Virtually every Division I university has a basketball program, as compared to football, which is much more expensive. According to Google, there are 350 schools that are full members of 32 Division I basketball conferences, as compared to 130 varsity football teams.

Furthermore, basketball is now more competitive than ever, especially in the mid-level conferences. The 64 (68) team format allows all the best teams in, with a fair chance to win it all. It’s the toughest tournament to win, and almost impossible to repeat anymore. It’s been like that since John Wooden left UCLA.

Teams want to at least make the NCAA tournament, and if they don’t, coaching vacancies appear. For example, on the eve of the 2021 NCAA tournament, Marquette announced they had fired their head coach Steve Wojciechowski.

A week later they have announced Shaka Smart as their new head coach. There was a $7M buyout from Texas that had to be handled, and it was, since they got bounced by a #14 seed. The top open jobs are now considered to be Indiana, Texas & Oklahoma. In total, there were 37 D1 basketball head coach vacancies when 2020-21 seasons ended. A few more will appear after the tournament ends.

New Marquette basketball head coach Shaka Smart faces some alumni concern. This video above shows Texas up 14 points at home in the second half, when civil war broke out, and West Virginia ended up winning by 2. I know Marquette just hired its first black head coach, and it’s all good feelings after firing Wojo (which was necessary), but this is concerning. A lot of other head coaches are about to become available, particularly Loyola Ramblers’ Porter Moser, but Marquette already took themselves out of that running with this quick hire.

There are a lot of factors that go into such a decision, especially for a school like Marquette which has a long history of losing its head coaches to other schools who are willing to pay higher salaries & invest more into their basketball programs. Marquette has lost Rick Majerus, Kevin O’Neill, Tom Crean & Buzz Williams because of this. All this goes into a hiring process, as it’s as much about hiring someone you think will stay, as it is about getting a good coach.

FYI, Tex Winter, the innovator of the Chicago Bulls triangle offense with Micheal Jordan, Scottie Pippen, etc, was the Marquette Hilltoppers head coach for two seasons, from 1951-53. Marquette basketball has a rich coaching history, so we’ll see. As an alumnus with a rooting interest, I’ll give Shaka Smart a fair chance, but I have my doubts, and I’m not the only one. As the leader, you can’t ever lose control of your ranks.

Then there are the women, who are now televised on ABC & ESPN. They are playing in San Antonio, while the men compete in Indianapolis on CBS & TBS. That’s equal coverage for the women, so it comes down to ratings & ticket demand when comparing their economic value to men.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected tournament logistics greatly. Holding the entire tournament in one city with enough gyms makes sense. Once again, I don’t miss the fans in the stands. I think the officiating is MUCH better without fans to yell, boo & harass the refs into giving their team the call.

All this mask wearing, and then pulling it down to yell, etc, is optics. I watch because I’m starved for entertainment, like everyone else, but I’m not fooled. These events are fundamentally irresponsible during this pandemic. More & more they resemble the last days of bread & circuses during the Roman Empire.

The women’s play has much improved since the NCAA established Title IX in 1972, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in any activity receiving federal funds, such as athletic scholarships to universities. The women’s Sweet 16 teams are all solid in fundamentals & team play, where in the past it was only a few programs, namely Tennessee & Connecticut.

Note that I don’t think the women are anywhere near as exciting as the men in hoops, but I recognize that they know how to play. I spend much of my time evaluating the girls for their hotness. For instance, when it’s Baylor vs. Michigan, I rate the Wolverines as clean-cut, but homelier, with only one or two pretty girls.

The Baylor women are nappy & cuter, but I’m not a fan of their fake eyelashes. Spend more time on your game, girlfriend. Call me old school on that. All this makes me wonder what the girls have been looking at all these years, as we boys take these games so seriously?

I’m on record that I don’t like mascot names, and there’s a double hypocrisy with the Baylor women referring to themselves as the “Lady Bears.” I’m going to let YOU figure that one out.

As far as the Baylor Bears go, this guy’s nickname is “Off Night” because when he guards you, you have an off night. That’s an impressive nickname if you can live up to it, and Davion Mitchell does. He’ll be in the NBA someday, if he stays healthy.

Look at the improvement in his college stats from year-to-year. What the stats don’t show are his elite defensive skills & leadership. Davion Mitchell is a serious baller, with upside, MUCH better than his 1st-team All-American teammate Jared Butler.

In the era of the 3-point shot in the NCAA tournament (1987-present), I’ve never seen a college defender handle the high screen & roll better. Off Night slips below (or above) the screener and closes back to the dribbler in the blink of an eye, before the ball handler can set to shoot. There is no lane to drive on Off Night, who plays defense like a hybrid of Darrell Armstrong & Scottie Pippen.

Furthermore, if the opposition tries some high-low action on the other side, Off Night rotates over and plays the high zone on that side. Baylor attacks with their defense, switching from man-to-man to zone defense on the fly, so effectively, because of Off Night. He always boxes out the closest big when in position. Off Night checked one guy to disrupt their rebounding momentum, then boxed the big, more than once in their win against Villanova. That kind of player is a coach’s dream.

These highlights from that Sweet 16 game against Villanova, mostly show his offensive game, which still needs some polish, particularly shooting 3’s. But with his work ethic & basketball IQ, I expect Off Night to be a top NBA guard in the near future. He’s only a Junior, so he may stay another year, but he’s definitely top-10 talent now, and possibly the best player in this tournament.

Tue 30 Mar 2021 11:19 AM EDT

Averaging close to 17 PPG while shooting 43% from the field, Moses Moody had only 11 points on 2-10 shooting, including 0-4 in 3’s. Moody had 3 TO’s, double his season average. Arkansas lost to Baylor, 81-72, in the Elite 8. You can say he had an Off Night.

After getting called for 3 cheezy fouls in the 1st half, Off Night played the entire 2nd half without picking up another foul. Baylor was only allowed to press at about one-third to one-half their normal intensity, in order to keep Off Night on the floor. Poor officiating kept Arkansas in this game, and CBS approved. Unbelievable maturity, understanding & leadership by Davion Mitchell. Suddenly, it’s unanimous that Off Night is the best college player.

On the women’s side, Baylor’s Lady Bears were edged 69-67 by the Lady Huskies of Connecticut last night, aided by a bad no-call at the end, featured above. DiJonai Carrington was clearly fouled by two defenders, but no whistle. LeBron James tweeted a viral comment, “Cmon man!!! That was a FOUL!!” For background, Lady Bears head coach Kim Mulkey has faced backlash, after calling for COVID-19 testing to be scrapped ahead of the Final Four. So you tell me why there was no foul call?

Officiating is still the biggest problem in hoops. Bad referees can take a superior team out of its game faster than anything else. They can also decide it at game time. I wonder if those Baylor/UConn refs had East Coast bias, or just bias against fake eyelashes? I also wonder how the Oregon State women’s team refers to their mascot name?

Tue 30 Mar 2021 03:20 PM EDT

Davion Mitchell Scouting Report: Off Night leads the Baylor defense by manning-up on the opposition’s best perimeter player to start. If the whistles are fair, he will smother that player within a few minutes. It’s called owning your man on defense, and Off Night is the NCAA standard. Then his quickness, strength & skills go to work on the other end. His conditioning is professional grade, and punishing at both ends. Davion Mitchell has an NBA body already.

On defense, Off Night will switch the Bears to zone as needed, depending on what the opposition is trying to run. For instance, if it’s a three-man weave up top, Off Night will take the head of a 1-2-2 zone. That will stop that. If there’s some action being set-up on either wing, he’ll dive into that (2-3) zone & wreak havoc. He’s always communicating with his teammates, putting them in the right spots, so everything is covered. Then he can turn up the heat with ball pressure.

Most coaches tell their point guards, “Bring the ball up, and then get us into our offense, do this & this…” Off Night negates all that from even starting. He picks up full court, three-quarter court, half court, or minimally before the ball handler gets into shooting range. You must be in a power dribble by then, otherwise he will steal the ball. Players try their best quick moves, but Off Night is quicker. Sometimes too quick for the refs. If you’re a scorer who gives up the ball, he’ll make it difficult for you to get it back.

It gets very demoralizing to know that somebody is this good, and you’re not even close. I’ve only seen 3 games in Off Night’s career, starting with the Wisconsin game in the Round of 32, but it’s easy to see how his nickname has come about. Davion Mitchell has been owning guys for years, and it’s such a traumatic experience, that opposition players typically don’t want to talk about it. As a footnote on semantics, if you match up against Off Night during the day, his name changes to Off Game. Same result.

Here’s a hypothetical opposing high school head coach after a big loss. “Well our star guards who score 30 PPG & 25 PPG were held to single digits each. I don’t think anyone could have imagined that, and one guy can’t cover both of them. That’s impossible. Credit the opposing coach for coming up with a great game plan. Our guys never looked comfortable out there, and our best players each had an off night.” Yada, yada, yada…

Assuming you’ve never seen a player play, or have access to any scouting reports, stats, etc: How can you tell if you are watching a great player, or just someone who is having a great game? You can tell by knowing what goes into making a great player. Great players are aware of things that other players don’t even consider. They share the credit, and are the most selfless leaders, through example. A great player will make his teammates better, and does everything to help his team stay connected. This is how to win, because you can’t do it alone.

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YouTube channel reorganized & updated

The entire Ric Size song catalog is now on YouTube. Magnified (2012), Electrified! (2015), Hwy 19 & Main St (2015), Fully Covered (2016), Over & Out (2017), Coronavirus Concerts (2020), and Extended Play 2019-21 [still unfinished] now have at least thumbnail image videos for every song.

For those who don’t subscribe to a steaming service, this is where online fans can listen for free.

There’s also an “Official Videos & Interviews” playlist, along with a “Films” section for Electrified!, the movie attempt released in September 2015.

Most musical artists have turned off YouTube comments at this point, as it’s a lot of spam & other unwanted distractions. That’s what’s been done here, so speak with your like (or dislike) button, and by sharing.

Electrified! is far & away the best rock album in the last 25 years or so. It’s at least as good as Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991). Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation (1988) is tough to beat, and there are about twenty records that can match that in rock history. Bob Dylan, the Beatles & Rolling Stones made a few of them, so did the Velvet Underground & Captain Beefheart. Wire’s Pink Flag (1977), Cheap Trick Live at Budokan (1978), The Pretenders (1980), Husker Du & the Minutemen classic double LP’s in 1984, Sinéad O’Connor’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990), PJ Harvey’s 4-Track demos: Rid of Me (1993, )and Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville (1993) are tough to beat.

That’s the list Electrified! is on. And just to show my appreciation, if that list had to be shortened to the 20 best songwriters of the rock era, then Iggy Stooge/Pop, Neil Young, CCR, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Pete Townsend, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Graham Parker, Elvis Costello, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, AC/DC, Tom Petty, Van Halen, David Byrne, Devo, Blondie, U2, REM, Pixies, Fugazi, etc, join that list. Tough to beat.

The second & third best rock albums of the past decade are Magnified (2012) and Over & Out (2017), in whatever order you prefer. And our EP’s are even better. This is the level Tom Pearce & I work on. It’s the reason this site & music are so blacklisted.

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