Why it hurts so much

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and one of his daughters Gianna, were among the nine people killed yesterday (Sunday) in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Career Los Angeles Lakers shooting-guard Kobe Bryant was 41, and his daughter Gianna Bryant was 13.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated as of this publication, but conditions were said to have been very foggy. Usually it’s “pilot error” in these such instances. Time will tell.

This is as tragic as it gets if you are any kind of sports fan. Kobe Bryant was a global icon, and the universal mood among sports fans is still shock & sadness. This is one of those stories a sportswriter doesn’t want to have to do, but is obliged to. It is with a heavy heart I write these most serious words. That’s how Kobe Bryant would have wanted it, I say.

It’s very difficult to refer to someone younger, whom you admire for their greatness, in the past tense. This isn’t supposed to happen. This is one of those where-were-you-when-you-heard-the-news moments in popular cultural history.

The closest thing in sports that I can recall, was when Dale Earnhardt was killed on impact after hitting the wall at the end of the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001. I heard my central Florida neighbor scream that day. Fans are first in denial, then overcome with sadness. That’s what it was like for weeks & months after, back then.

Yesterday, I tuned in for the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl just after 3:00. The game was being played locally in Orlando, and it was a beautiful day, so I was going to catch a bit then go out for a walk. But, ABC had already cut to this breaking news story. I screamed, “No!”, the same as my neighbor did almost 19 years ago. Then fell into numbness as I listened to the reports & watched the video footage. That’s acceptance, and it really sucks, because you feel sick to your soul.

 

People proverbially say it’s funny how things change when you die, only there’s nothing funny about these deaths. But things do change, that’s for sure. Whatever beefs or disagreements you had with Kobe Bryant disappear, because you know the loss of his life means more than any feud. We should remember this more in life.

The media perception has always been that Kobe Bryant’s greatest nemesis was his teammate Shaquille O’Neal. They feuded through the media up to the end:

Top NBA centers ever: 1) Wilt Chamberlain 2) Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, 3) Bill Russell, 4) Tim Duncan, 5) Hakeem Olajuwon, 6) Shaquille O’Neal, 7) Moses Malone, 8) Patrick Ewing, 9) David Robinson, 10) Robert Parish. Bigs are what wins in hoops, so this is what matters most in the NBA. That’s the final score on the court.

But now, none of that pettiness matters. The fact is: Shaq & Kobe couldn’t have won those three titles without each other, and that made both their Hall-of Fame careers.

Here’s Shaquille O’Neal yesterday in his own words on Instagram:

“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my niece Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie,” O’Neal wrote on Instagram of his former teammate. “I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !”

“Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah.”

The records are all there, and Kobe Bryant’s greatness was undeniable from the start. His work ethic & competitiveness were legendary. All time greatest #2 guard? You want Michael Jordan. I got Kobe Bryant. That’s a push. It feels like all of us on the side of true greatness just lost one. That’s why it hurts so much.

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Serena Williams: A case study in deep core injuries

Serena Williams is an American professional tennis star who has won 23 women’s grand slams, and is considered the best women’s player ever in singles, and in doubles with her sister Venus. Venus Williams is older by 15 months, and won 7 grand slams in singles, along with 14 doubles titles with sister Serena.

Venus Williams is now 39, and is no longer a factor to win. Serena Williams has vowed to catch Margaret Court who won 24 grand slams from 1960-1973. The asterisk there is that tennis only let amateurs compete until 1968, when the “open era” was inaugurated, finally letting professionals compete too.

This is somewhat comparable to Jackie Robinson coming onto MLB in 1947. Since then in baseball, and 1968 in tennis, all the best players are competing together, which means the numbers are more legitimate. That’s why few really believe Margaret Court is better than Serena Williams, despite having one more major to her credit. Of course, it’s not Court’s fault, those were the conditions the game was played under back then. Margaret Court was a dominant player, for sure.

But as far as winning a 24th major goes, Serena Williams is much too heavy to win one anymore, and that is the point of this case study. Since the birth of her daughter in September of 2017, which apparently was life-threatening, Serena Williams has never fully recovered from her injuries caused by that delivery.

Any look at before & after pictures (& video) on the court prove this beyond a doubt. She’s 10-15 pounds heavier now. She’s lost muscle and replaced it with fat.

Below are two images of Serena Williams. The first is her in 2017 at the Australian Open, which she won while being pregnant. It’s incredible to realize that a woman can win a tennis major in that condition, but looking at this image anyone can see why. Serena Williams was ripped and in peak shape. There is no fat on that frame, and she had all the experience in the world.

The second image below is Serena Williams this past week in Melbourne. You can clearly see the chiseled definition is now gone– from her core to her extremities. It’s really apparent in the video of her defeat. This is a decaying athlete, in denial.

I’ve discussed the importance of dealing with deep core injuries as THE most important factor in slowing down the aging process, along with dealing with pain & disabilities. If you don’t recognize (diagnose) and treat (rehabilitate) these deep injuries, then your life will literally spiral downwards.

Not dealing with deep core injuries causes the lower back (lumbar vertebrae) to collapse upon itself, making you shorter & fatter. This collapse of the lower spine immobilizes your midsection– glutes, groin, hips & abs. If you have nothing here, due to years of atrophy & neglect, then you have nothing in competitive sports. That’s why it sucks to get old.

When I see the clips of recent Serena Williams performances, I notice she’s lost all her quickness, consistency & sustain. When I review the numbers– serve dominance, winners & unforced errors– my judgment is confirmed.

What’s worse from a maturity standpoint is that Serena Williams still doesn’t give her opponents enough credit for beating a 23-time grand slam champion. Fans understand how much she wants to win just one more, but since she’s going about it all wrong, many of us can’t take her seriously. Someday she needs to recognize this.

ESPN and the fake media keep hyping Serena Williams as a tournament favorite, when she’s clearly not up to her competition anymore. The only reason she’s made so many finals in majors during her “comeback” is due to rigged seeding, which ensured her the easiest possible path to any finals.

The real competition has been in the other halves of the draw, where the best players fight for the right to wipe out Serena Williams in a major finals, where she hasn’t even won a set in four matches during this comeback. This has happened twice at both Wimbledon & the US Open so far.

But now Serena Williams is age 38, and is being defeated by the wave of NextGen players, which means she’s done dominating the WTA. The only way Serena Williams can regain her form in tennis, is to regain her form in body. She would need to take time off and dedicate herself completely to healing deep core injuries, before returning to professional competition, which she has proven unwilling to do.

If she had taken the time after childbirth to dedicate herself to this necessary work, she would be in much better shape today, with a much sharper game. She would have had a much better chance of winning another major if she had done this. The bigger point is that my way is the correct way to recover & maintain in old age– athletically speaking.

These lessons apply to all of us, because we are all getting older. Professional sports provide a lot of entertainment value, but going even further, they provide us with life lessons. When I see yet another world-class athlete succumb to injuries that pile up with age, I wonder if there are more graceful ways to evolve.

All the glory an athlete earns in their career is for themselves. They sacrificed, trained, and dedicated their lives to it. The same goes for the money. What’s left for the fans are the memories, inspiration & lessons they leave for us. The truth is that we ALL consider ourselves athletes, in some sense. It’s a healthy instinct, and we can apply science & real-life examples to our experience in order to make ourselves more athletic.

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Prognosticating Collapse

What’s difficult for most ordinary people to realize is that if they have a few thousand dollars on hand, with no debt of any kind, then they are worth more than any major bank. JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, BOA, et al, are living off never-ending, cheap money from the Fed. Whatever their “stock market value” is, it’s dwarfed by at least 2-3 times that amount in debt– which they can never repay. Hence they are zombies. This situation applies to most household, corporate & all national debt. That is the crux of this impending financial crisis.

These banks, stock markets & hedge fund investors hold extravagant claims to assets that are 99+% worthless. These are all toxic assets that will all go to zero when the next crash hits. It’s called a Ponzi scheme. Central banks all around the world have this same policy, so no nation will be spared. The capitalist system is about to implode upon itself in every epicenter, in a mountain of bad debt fueled by rampant corruption condoned by the entire global establishment.

This isn’t going to be your regular periodic crash, like in 1987, 1998, 2000, or even 2007-08 which was the biggest shock wave since 1929. This next collapse of corruption is going to call into question the viability of the entire capitalist system on Facebook. It’s going to take riot police & military troops to keep hungry workers from their bank savings. The only way a government can stop people from posting on social media is to shut down the internet. That will anger people, for sure.

This show of force will be deemed necessary for “national security,” as the banks are insolvent, so a military-police state will be needed to maintain “law & order.” If you are not among the elite class, then this will be your fate. ATM’s will not give you cash. and the bank deposits will be inaccessible. “How am I supposed to live?” you may ask. The answer is that you aren’t.

This is class war in the death-throes of capitalism. Through the internet & social media, the youth & workers of the world have been exchanging ideas for over a decade, since the crash of 2007-08. These lessons have been learned & absorbed by a great many.

For the masses, it’s about leadership, in terms of having a vision for the future of humanity along with everything else on this planet. Leadership needs to be revolutionary, with a scientific program for equality & peace. Karl Marx gave civilization that program when he published The Communist Manifesto in 1848, a year of revolution in Europe.

Socialism is best expressed in our modern world in the writings of Leon Trotsky, who should be considered the last classical Marxist; and today through the International Committee of the Fourth International, which publishes the World Socialist Web Site. Trotsky founded the 4th International in 1938, two years before he was assassinated by an agent of Stalin, so this party has a long & impressive political history.

Political leadership is groomed by reading the WSWS, and adopting their line. Opportunities for polemics are plenty, but they are in areas of subjectivity such as opinions on art, and analysis of profound new ideas. Predicting future events by using Marxism & its dialectical method is an invaluable form of leadership that must be cultivated among the working masses.

The revolution of the future needs to be leaderless. When great & courageous individuals become elevated to supreme leader of a movement, they can easily be neutralized by any deep state conspiracy. Think Malcolm X, MLK or John Lennon, who were all assassinated. Great leaders of today don’t seek cult followings & celebrity status, they seek to be understood & influential.

Great leaders are the best listeners & observers. They see & hear things others miss, because they make it a point to be aware of their surroundings. This is sound leadership, because it compliments the survival instinct. We can’t continue to be at war with our planet, and expect to survive as a species. Leaders must understand & weigh all positions.

The root idea of socialism is that leadership is shared. This will allow the best in any field to rise to the top, since everyone will have access. This idea is abhorrent to every capitalist, who prefer monopoly, mass slavery, world war & annihilation– to socialism.

This is obviously sociopathic “thinking,” which is why Donald J. Trump is now the US President who has been given unlimited governmental authority to wage war on socialists. That’s what economic inequality, internet censorship, and war on immigrants while inciting neo-Nazi violence is all about– it’s the political strategy of fascists.

The objective of socialists since Trump was handed the US Presidency on November 8, 2016 is to discredit fascism & the deep state– in order to prevent a world war. It’s over three years, and humanity has now been perilously driven to the brink of world war by these madmen & madwomen.

But the truth is there is no mass support for any of these lunatic semi-corpses anymore. They are ready to crumble, and will, as soon as their supply of free money, media monopoly & military obedience finally fails them as a class.

If there is an election this November, Trump will get less votes this time, because he no longer fools so many people. The situation for most is getting worse, while Trump the conman keeps making speeches on how things are better than ever. That’s the way it is for billionaires.

For the Democrats  it’s their primary season, as Iowa is finally two weeks away, with billions already spent on 2020. Among young, left-leaning voters, Tulsi Gabbard was by far the most popular early candidate, especially after she embarrassed #MeToo & BLM party favorite Kamala Harris as shown here.

Gabbard has been a target of Hillary Clinton, who refers to the congresswoman from Hawaii as a “Russian asset” in the media. We’re talking about a left-leaning, CIA Democrat in Tulsi Gabbard. She has been neutralized at this point, fundraising-wise, but now Bernie Sanders has regained the top spot in many Democratic polls. This deeply concerns the Clinton’s, Barack Obama, John Kerry, and the rest of the deep state.

At this point, any expression of any impulse to the left is dealt with hysterically through the corporate media. Denunciations, censorship & blacklisting are the methods. Hence the term “fake news,” which didn’t exist ten years ago, but is understood by everyone with a functioning brain today.

Serious political discussions need to be ongoing for as long as possible, with the realization that the deep state may eventually block internet access to the masses. This coordinated shutdown of essential services has been rehearsed over & over during “natural disasters” such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods & fires.

The ruling establishment has its hands on all the levers of power, and a playbook from which it never veers. This makes them powerful, but predicable. When you know what the ultra-rich will do in every crisis, then you can be ready with a revolutionary strategy to defeat them. It’s up to the yearning masses to consider all this, and be ready to act when the time comes.

The #1 rule in bourgeois politics is: no socialism. Only Trump is allowed to say that, because he’s a fascist, which is acceptable. Democrats prefer to hide that primary motto, under the guise of pseudo-politics such as feminism & black racialism, which support elite members of those demographics, under the tired lies of class discrimination & social inequality.

Both parties double-down on their reactionary ideologies, because they have no other choice. As the absurdity of their policies became more apparent, their social support erodes even further. Kids don’t believe in politicians anymore, like they used to. There’s too much information, and access to it, which proves them liars. Millennials are smart like that.

Conclusion: These are the outlines of the coming social revolution. The wildfires in Australia and everywhere else will never be contained under capitalism, and that is now apparent on a mass scale. Humanity has reached it’s tipping point, where business-as-usual is about to come to an end. There is too much want & awareness, combined with too much excess & hypocrisy, for things to continue as before.

The deep state can’t behead 21st-century socialist leadership, because it’s now grown to a point where so many advanced workers & youth have become learned & class-conscious that leadership will be able to nurture & replenish itself from within. Socialized leadership for permanent revolution.

Julian Assange is an example of this process, as he sits in Belsmarsh prison outside of London, awaiting a rigged extradition trial. Assange is a courageous whistle-blowing journalist who has been kidnapped & tortured by the US & UK governments & deep states. But even if he dies in prison, WikiLeaks will live on. The point is to get Julian Assange out alive, which protects ALL journalists & whistle-blowers.

The coming Julian Assange trial portends this revolution. While the courts of law are rigged, the court of public opinion is squarely behind Assange & freedom of the press. This up-coming show trial could be the spark that ignites this coming socialist revolution. The ruling establishments fear this, while revolutionaries are preparing for it.

The reason capitalism must collapse and be revolutionized into socialism is because it’s an idea whose time has come. There is no amount of fake media, authoritative coercion & physical violence that can stop an idea whose time has come. That is a fundamental truth of socialism.

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Forecasting professional tennis

Preface– posted 12-24-2019 on my Facebook page: Australia needs to get their wildfires under control, otherwise there isn’t going to be an event in Sydney. Same for the Aussie Open which follows in Melbourne.

Defending Aussie Open champion & unofficial ATP spokesperson for the players, Novak Djokovic, has voiced concerns about the impact of these wildfires on the tennis season-opening major, saying organizers may have to consider delaying the tournament if conditions around Melbourne deteriorate further, as player health becomes the primary concern. The wildfires have increased the temperatures to well over 40 degrees Celsius in Sydney & Melbourne, creating an oven-like environment across the continent, choked with toxic fumes.

The reply by tournament organizers who are beholden to the sponsors & networks is, “We have three roofed-stadiums and eight indoor courts at Melbourne Park. In the unlikely [!] case of extreme smoke conditions, the roofs will be closed on the three stadium courts and play will continue in their air-conditioned and air-filtered environment. #AusOpen”

As if this omnipresent smoke doesn’t filter indoors where the rich & famous are. That’s how elites view global warming. What about when the players & fans leave the court & go outside? Where do they stay that isn’t unhealthy?

There are 128 men & 128 women competing in singles in this major, meaning there are 254 matches to be played in total, over two weeks. Then there are all the doubles & mixed doubles matches, so we can clearly see through all the smoke & mirrors from the media that the Australian Open is logistically impossible with only 11 courts available,

This assumes these 11 courts will be playable, which they probably won’t be, due to the poor air quality. This sports analogy is a microcosm of the problem, in the refusal of elites to see facts as they are, while trying to carry on with business as usual.

After the Australian Open, the men’s & women’s tennis tour moves to North America, with Indian Wells, CA, and to a lesser extent Miami, FL being the key events. Located approximately equidistant south of Los Angeles & north of San Diego, Indian Wells is a west coast rock star event, located on a resort between the San Bernadino National Forest & Joshua Tree National Park. It’s hard to say what the conditions for tennis will be at Indian Wells from Monday, March 9 to Sunday, March 22, but here’s the California wildfire fire map as of 10-30-19:

Springtime isn’t wildfire season in California (but then again is wasn’t wildfire season when Australia broke out in flames), so the focus of the BNP Paribas Open will be mostly on the silicon valley billionaires schmoozing with the celebrity athletes, making new connections, and learning to see eye-to-eye with each other. Very important off-the-court stuff.

Many of the top ATP & WTA players skip the Miami Open, the final hardcourt event before the clay-court season begins in Europe. Women’s tennis star Serena Williams now literally owns this venue & event, with her financial stake. She’s from the Miami area, and has won this event more any any other player.

Serena Williams is a polarizing figure in professional sports, and many top players who have bypassed this event in the past, have even more reason to do so again, so don’t expect Maria Sharapova to attend.

By being black & female, Serena Williams automatically checks boxes for those with a political agenda, such as the Black Lives Matter or #MeToo campaigns. These were/are deep state Democrat concoctions, and Serena Williams has profited handsomely as a representative. Her TUE use, along with her sister Venus’, is never questioned, or even brought up in the official corporate media, who are in lockstep with all this.

There is SOOOO much money to be made by just obeying the rules of the puppet-masters. Top professional athletes are paid for two reasons: 1) they are the best, and 2) they obey the rules of the game. If you get out of line, you become Colin Kaepernick. In Hollywood, you become Kevin Spacey. In journalism, you become Julian Assange.

Looking ahead to conditions for the upcoming clay court season, I Google searched “European wildfire map,” but nothing recent came up– probably due to algorithms. Then I clicked under People also ask: How many wildfires in the world right now?

Most recent data is 2017: “In 2017, there were 71,499 wildfires, compared to 65,575 wildfires in the same period in 2016, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. About 10 million acres were burned in the 2017 period, compared with 5.4 million in 2016.

And for comparison, “As of one day ago, about 12.35 million acres of land have burned across Australia, according to the Associated Press.”

The clay court tennis season culminates with the French Open in Paris, France, running from Sunday, May 24, 2020 – Sunday, June 7. By this time the movement des gilets jaunes (yellow vests) will be over 18 months in existence, and growing stronger. At this point, this story is virtually censored in all the western media outlets, who never wanted to report it in the first place. The is a leaderless movement of the working people, against the Ancien Régime of capitalism.

The French workers are demanding the overthrow of a despised representative of the elite, Emmanuel Macron. The government response has been media blacklisting & censorship, negative interest rates & money printing for the rich, and massive build-up of the intelligence & police state apparatus– to be used against the population. It’s very difficult to prognosticate what will be the precise conditions at Roland Garros 2020, but it promises to be a fevered environment for sure.

After clay, it’s grass and a quick turn-around to Wimbledon. The French Open lets the players flash their fashion style, especially the women. But Wimbledon is located in London, England, and is all white & always will be.

This traditionally reserved dress code will not be able to cover over political tensions in the UK, which is now being hurled into a hard Brexit by new conservative PM Boris Johnson, a strong Donald Trump ally. Brexit (UK leaving the EU) carries catastrophic & revolutionary consequences.

Fascists such as Trump & Boris will do anything to stay in power, such as keeping courageous whistle-blowing journalist Julian Assange (pic above) in Belsmarsh prison until he’s killed. The Julian Assange rendition hearing is scheduled for February 2020 in London, but the US State Department now seems hesitant to stick to their requested date.

Julian Assange is being slowly murdered in prison, through every means of torture devised by the CIA & MI6, so their play is now to stall for more time. As of this publication, Assange is being heavily sedated, without his consent, or that of his attorney and/or physician.

The deep state mafia dons prefer another Jeffery Epstein “suicide” event, versus facing an open trial, even when the defendant has been deprived of every right to a fair defense. If alive, Julian Assange will win in court, due to massive popular support.

Everyone knows how this sham goes, so it’s indefensible when out in the open. It’s the court of public opinion that matters most, and that’s the one domain the deep state always loses in. No one cheers the deep state, except fanatical patriots & paid representatives.

It’s hard to say if this trial will even be held, and what the status of Julian Assange will be when Wimbledon unfolds from Monday, June 29, – Sunday, July 12. By then, many of these questions will answered, and many new questions will be raised, demanding more answers. All this is literally clouding my ability to prognostic if Rafa will win a 13th French Open, or if Djoker will win another Wimbledon. It doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. I believe many of the players realize this too.

After Wimbledon it’s back the the US, for the remainder of the hard court season, culminating on Monday, August 24 – Sunday, September 13 with the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, NY. There will be a lot of things going on in the Big Apple around this time.

Election 2020 will be scheduled to kick into the homestretch, with a multi-billion dollar blitz campaign of advertising, like you ain’t never seen before, which will teach us nothing. This nauseating & never-ending spectacle can only be stopped by a workers revolution which expropriates the capitalists.

The monetary policy of printing free money for the rich goes on at the Federal Reserve, located in Manhattan. It’s hard to say exactly when the financial crash of 2020 will hit, because there is so much manipulation of the tens & hundreds of trillions of dollars in worthless assets, and it is completely opaque to outsiders. But it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the winds blows, and any Econ 101 student knows what a Ponzi scheme is, so it’s only a matter of when, not if, in 2020.

It’s politics in the US that is bringing this to a head. With 2020 being a presidential election year, campaigning already began over six months ago. The early returns look awful, with Joe Biden being the choice of deep sate Democrats. This makes it a nail-biter with Trump in November, in which case Trump wins again.

If they ran pseudo-socialist candidate Bernie Sanders as their nominee, the Democrats would sweep the White House, senate & congressional races– but they don’t want that. The Democrats have shifted so far to the right, as to be indistinguishable from conservative Republicans– meaning they are all fascists. The Dems prefer the Reps to do the uncomfortable dirty work of illegalizing immigration & inciting racial hatred.

The final tennis major of the 2020 season, the US Open, will be unusually difficult to prognosticate due to all this. Will Naomi Osaka put it all together and become the next dominant force in women’s tennis? Can Sloane Stephens regain her form? Does Angelique Kerber still have it? Can Petra Kvitova finally capture another major? I gaze at this photo below, and wonder.

Or will we be in the midst of an unprecedented global economic crash & political crisis which leaves humanity with two options: socialist revolution or World War? It’s really hard to know.

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David Stern: Master of Puppets

Post-publication preface: On Friday, January 3, it was announced that NBA players & referees will wear black bands on their uniforms for the rest of the season to honor David Stern. This symbolism keeps all the actors ethereally tethered to that great basketball commissioner in the sky.

The puppet master of the NBA just passed away yesterday from a brain hemorrhage at age 77. David Stern was the manipulator responsible for bring Patrick Ewing to the NY Knicks; allowing Shaquille O’Neal to travel & brutalize opponents at will for a decade; and always had Joey Crawford ready to fix a crucial game of a play-off series– to make sure the “right” team won. David Stern led the NBA to new financial heights with a leadership style comparable to a mafia don.

I’m the only one writing this in the media, but I’m not crazy. The near-universal praise for David Stern posthumously is from those players, coaches & sportswriters who were taken into his confidence, and always knew how to obey & get in line when “requested” it.

Let’s start with what you know about basketball. Here’s a quick quiz to prove. Who’s the greatest basketball player ever?  The correct answer is Wilt Chamberlain– the most dominant player ever: 30 points, 23 rebounds & 10+ blocks per game for his career. Blocks weren’t kept as a NBA stat until after Chamberlain retired, but 10-12 blocks per game is a fair estimate for his career. Those are silly numbers, and no one else is comparable. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is probably the second greatest basketball player ever (it’s all about the big man in hoops), and he was dominated by Wilt Chamberlain in their few match-ups in the 1970’s.

Wilt didn’t win championships like Bill Russell, because the Boston Celtics were an elite franchise with Red Auerbach as coach & GM, the best of his era, and basketball is a team game. The Big Dipper played on lesser teams, until he joined the LA Lakers for the final 5 seasons of his 14-year NBA career. Chamberlain never fouled out of a NBA game, which is impossible for anyone else.

Wilt Chamberlain still holds over 90 NBA records, 45 years after retiring. He was a Harlem Globetrotter before joining the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959, and he had handles. Wilt Chamberlain led the league in assists, while also leading in scoring & rebounding– another impossible feat accomplished only by The Record Book.

The rule for opponents was, “Don’t get him mad.” If you tried to disrespect, trash-talk, cheat or trip-up Wilt Chamberlain, then you unleashed the beast– which no one could handle. Chamberlain then goes for 60 points, 40 rebounds & 25 blocked shots; which means he totally dominates the game and his team wins 98-57. That happened a few times, and opponents afterwards humbly apologized & promised to never disrespect him again.

If they were sincere & Chamberlain believed them, then he would go back to 30 points, 23 boards & 10 blocks next game, and everybody was happy. Just let him do his thing and prove to everybody that he’s the best, and he’ll let you play too. That was Wilt Chamberlain. There’s never been another player like that, and there never will be. If you didn’t know this already, then you REALLY need to listen to me on what I’m saying about David Stern, because you don’t know hoops.

The rise of the NBA came about because of Magic Johnson & Larry Bird entering the league in 1979-80, and then Michael Jordan’s arrival in 1984. The original 1992 Dream Team was the NBA’s zenith era, as far as quality of play & level of competitiveness. When Shaq bolted from Orlando to LA to join Kobe, and Phil Jackson was brought in to manage them in the late-1990’s, the NBA became a different league.

In this “new school” era, high school players declared themselves eligible for the NBA draft after their senior year. The money had gotten so big, that you had to do this if you were Kevin Garnett, LeBron James or Dwight Howard. The “one & done” NCAA standout becomes commonplace after David Stern institutes an age requirement for the NBA, ending the era of high school players from entering the draft.

Shooting percentages, offensive efficiency, and ratings have all declined since Micheal Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls after winning their 6th NBA title in 1998. The great players of his era had all retired, or were about to, and the new school game was here to stay. New school means a different attitude, which allows young players who haven’t earned the respect of their peers to act like prima donnas, because they are paid like superstars and have endorsements on television. The term “coach killer” enters NBA lexicon.

In this new era, players are now paid on potential, because all the existing talent has been scooped up. Anything young with basketball potential attracts everyone’s attention, and that’s when the bidding war starts. The latest incarnation of this phenomenon is Zion Williamson, the “one-and-done” Duke Blue Devil, who became the #1 pick last June. He hurt himself early, and still hasn’t made his NBA debut with the New Orleans Pelicans. His contract pays him $9,757,440 for this season, and it’s considered a bargain in the industry. This is the progress David Stern brought.

So the questions are: Is the NBA better because of David Stern? Was Stern the “smartest man in the room,” or a manipulative master of puppets? How much damage did he do to the game from an integrity standpoint? These questions were never seriously raised when he was commissioner, as he squelched all NBA dissent with a wry smile to the media & an iron fist behind closed doors.

This was a powerful, well-connected individual, who acted the role of mafia don, because that’s what he was. The NBA was under his commissionership from 1984 to 2014, and he ruled absolutely. He was there for the greatest explosion in popularity in league history, which was due to its great stars– primarily Michael Jordan, and the advances in technology such as cable & satellite TV– and then the internet. That’s the real reason for the massive increases in revenue for the NBA.

David Stern was the tough-minded businessman who always took the considerations of the owners, sponsors & networks as primary. The players, coaches, & fans came to be treated as tools for manipulation to extract more money.

Many new arenas were built (& re-built) in the David Stern era. Each time the seats became more costly. For those who couldn’t afford front row on the floor, they became more distant & cramped. The games got noisier during time-outs, at halftime, and even during the game. The David Stern approach was the classic business theory of catering to the “casual fan,” which always diminishes the game.

Either you like basketball, and want to see a NBA game, or you aren’t interested. Today, there are enough fans to fill any arena, but if the product has been diluted & degraded by NBA greed & malfeasance, then fans will turn elsewhere– as they have choices. Appealing to the “casual fan” who is more interested in his/her cell phone, than the action on the floor, while delivering an inferior & boring product doesn’t help grow the game.

This is what happened at the end of David Stern’s reign, and it defines many of the NBA franchises today. There are only 4-5 teams that can win a championship in any given season. Since the break-up of Shaq & Kobe in LA, stars group together to form super-teams which can make a run at multiple titles. It was LeBron James going to Miami, then Kevin Durant to Golden State. Everyone else is fodder.

In all of the official sportswriters obituaries, there is no mention of NBA betting scandals & rigged officiating in the playoffs. The Kings/Lakers series in 2002 was the most blatant fix in NBA history– the point where many “old school” basketball fans quit watching. Ridiculous.

The LA Lakers winning titles means better ratings, and this is a large part of how league revenue grew so much under David Stern’s watch. NBA players & coaches can’t criticize the officiating without getting huge fines. This is the ugly, unreported legacy of David Stern as NBA commissioner. The money got bigger than ever, while the game became unwatchable due to this corruption. ESPN and all the rest looked the other way, and took their cut.

When it comes to true power, it’s the one pulling the strings that matters. Despite the greatness of every NBA superstar from Bird, Magic & Michael to Shaq, Kobe & LeBron; all of them were/are puppets compared to David Stern. It’s the one manipulating the action, deciding which match-ups you will see, and ultimately who wins– that has the the power.

As a society we are fascinated by powerful people, but that doesn’t mean they deserve blind admiration. The fake corporate media censors what you read & hear about the ugly underbelly of the NBA, because its “caretakers” know the depth of this cynicism & corruption. It’s considered “bad for the game” to discuss any of this openly & honestly, because ratings may go down even further. Little-to-no consideration is given to open admission of guilt & sin, allowing the game to heal itself and restore its integrity. These ideas were always an anathema to David Stern & his sycophants.

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“Millennial Whoop”

Promo tagline: Stick this new single in your vaporizer & inhale it

Intro: Tom Pearce & I have a deal. When it’s either of our turns to go to work, that person has full control. Tom Pearce has attracted attention within the music industry as a respected producer & electronica artist. Through his new affiliation we have a new distro deal that offers us great penetration into the music business.

We have set an official release date for “Millennial Whoop” at 11/26. This song is a monster crossover single, so we’re doing everything we can to get it as much distribution as possible. “Millennial Whoop” is the first single from the 4-song mini-album: Extended Play 2019.

Note, November 27, 2019 is when this song will be available on all the major streaming services including: Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, etc… “Millennial Whoop” can be downloaded here & now for FREE, because we’re about the fans. Share it if you love it, and let the new-release, underground buzz begin!!

      1. Millennial Whoop - Ric Size

 

I’ve never done a rap/pop song to this extreme, so this was fun. A year ago, Tom sent me a YouTube link on this phenomenon in modern pop music production. Patrick Metzger coined the phrase a few years earlier in a study he published, which is now well-known & cited. Months later after learning about this, I was out and recognized it on someone’s cranked-up car speakers as they drove by, and starting singing my own improvised chorus back to them on the spot.

Millennial Whoop official video (YouTube): Coming soon!

I consider this song to be partly a public service announcement, as well as a punk cross-over single. References include: Woody Guthrie, The Sound of Music (1965), Kelly Clarkson, Coca-Cola, square dancing call-outs, Donald Trump’s aversion to people coughing, The Birdcage (1996) & Basic Instinct (1992). I ‘baby’ it up a lot, which is my hybrid of Barry White & Justin Bieber. We had a real good time together.

Rachel Decker: vocals

Tom Pearce: beats & tones

Bill Pelick: bass

Written, published, & copyrighted by Ric Size; No Cliché Songs / Infinitelink Records 2019

Produced by Tom Pearce / Last Minute Production

We are currently about two decades into the “noise wars,” which is defined as excessive compression to make songs louder for cheap mobile headphones. Car commercials which blast non-stop, louder than the rest, is the comparative to the “noise wars” in television audio production. The only way an independent artist can compete against this degradation of music is by having better songs, and knowing how to record & produce them.

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New Music Release– Soon!!

We’ve recorded four new songs. Everything is “in the can” as they say, and in production. I get a little crazy when recording…

Rachel Decker: vocals

Tom Pearce: beats

Bill Pelick: bass

Below is my camera catching Tom Pearce for a second during our last session, before he goes back to clicking away…

New killer singles & EP coming soon!!

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Saudi Oil & Syriana (2005)

As they say in The Bible, “There are many, many ways to light Europe.” — Christopher Plummer as Dean Whiting in Syriana (2005)

After a devastating drone strike, for which Yemeni Houthi militias claimed responsibility, the Trump administration & entire US political establishment are lining-up behind the narrative that Iran is responsible for these attacks.

Saudi Arabia now spends ~$68 billion annually on its military, the 3rd largest budget after the US & China. Most of this comes in the form of sophisticated weaponry from American corporations.

But these expensive instruments-of-death were unable to stop a coordinated drone attack from Yemeni militias. This calls into question the usefulness of the Saudi Arabia-US alliance, and the sustainability of the global petrodollar market. A bunch of Yemeni militia techies, possibly (?) using equipment they purchased from Iran, just knocked out a vital choke-point in the global oil supply chain.

Productivity from Saudi Arabia is now halved or worse, and when repairs can be accomplished appears to be a matter of weeks or months. There is much censorship by the Saudi monarchy & its partners in the US. This includes corporate, intelligence & military alliances.

A scapegoat is needed, and quickly. Look for an all-out war drive in the media, against Iran, as a cover-up for this disaster. Expect gasoline prices to rise by at least a dollar a gallon within a month, which is another embarrassment for political leaders during an election cycle, and an added expense for everyone else.

The Trump administration is only the latest version of US imperialism which has laid the groundwork for this crisis, with its unilateral sanctions, embargoes & recklessness. This is about regime-change, and controlling the world’s oil market by force.

The problem for them is that US-Saudi vulnerabilities have just been exposed to the entire world. A US war against Iran looks increasingly unwinnable, based on what we have just seen in the Yemeni conflict.

Pile this disaster on top of the ongoing US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq & Syria, which have all been lost, and global consumers and businesses are about to feel repercussions which are all-too-real. The Houthi militia attack on September 14, 2019 is in many ways blowback from 9/11, which was an inside job.

Movie Time: If you really want to understand what’s going on in the Persian Gulf, with all the conflict & geo-politics, then watch Syriana. It runs 128 minutes, and has at least 15-20 characters of depth who add crucial elements to the film, which means it demands your attention.

That means you have to watch Syriana a few times to start getting the full idea. This film is a masterpiece because it reveals dark truths in its many hidden forms. That’s why it wasn’t a box-office hit. Syriana is the exact opposite of a blockbuster movie, a political film as a work of art.

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Remembering the Money Man

Rock music songwriter & performer Eddie Money died of esophageal cancer on September 13, 2019. He was age 70, and still performed until his recent late-stage diagnosis, which turned out to be terminal.

If you look on my “Influences” page, you’ll three paragraphs of artists, which ends with “and hundreds more…” Eddie Money is among those hundreds more for me. The hardest thing to do in rock music is write a song that kids want to hear over & over. I’m talking about a song that hits you immediately, and gets you excited. Eddie Money did that for a decade, and that ain’t easy folks.

His eponymous debut album came out in 1977 and the first cut, “Two Tickets to Paradise” catapulted him to stardom– becoming his signature hit. Eddie Money came from classic rock, as this dinosaur genre was being overtaken by punk, funk & disco, then later post-punk & new wave. “The Money Man” earned his name because he could deliver the goods, meaning at least one or two solid singles per album, and he showed an adaptability most classic rockers disdained. This is what kept him relevant into the 1980’s, as others of his era faded away.

Eddie Money lived up to his name, by signing with CBS records and being placed on their prestigious Columbia label, instead of their second-tier Epic label. Bands on Epic from the classic rock era include the Yardbirds, Sly & the Family Stone, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Heart, the Clash & Cheap Trick to name a few of the best known. Epic artists never got the publicity, promotion & distribution that Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, et al got on Columbia.

With this said, Eddie Money was an original rocker who never fit neatly into the classic rock or MTV era, yet was able to carve out a niche for himself. Robert Palmer is often viewed as his best comparable, but Eddie Money was a better songwriter, making deeper albums. Robert Palmer had a better look for the 1980’s, which made him seem bigger (“Simply Irresistible”) at the time. But in retrospect, it’s the songs that endure, which is why Eddie Money’s star shines brighter today.

No Control (1982) is my favorite Eddie Money album, with his debut being runner-up. Can’t Hold Back (1986) was his swan song. On those records, and a few others, you’ll find songs you recognize from the radio, television or movies– while also discovering hidden gems. Just because a song isn’t a hit, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. That’s how it works with a real songwriter, like Eddie Money.

Talent like his doesn’t grow on trees. Eddie Money had a way of delivering a song with such desperation, like everything depended on it, that you HAD to listen to find out what was going to happen. The guts it takes to be a real songwriter, and put yourself “out there” for the world to criticize, shows through in Eddie Money’s best songs. It’s knowing how to rhyme words, form ideas, and create excitement that make “The Money Man” a songwriter to be studied.

If Eddie Money wasn’t any good, this goofy-looking rocker would have gotten laughed out of show business, especially when MTV came along. If Edward Mahoney had been considered sexy-beautiful, he would have been marketed as a super-star– a new Rod Stewart.

Instead, Eddie Money built his persona through hard work, and turned it into a successful career. Did the lifestyle & grind lead him to an early grave? Probably, yes. Would he do it all over again? Certainly, yes. Why? Because the songs outlive the artist.

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What you must never forget!

Today is the 18th anniversary of 9/11, and lots of people are memeing “Never forget!” That got me thinking about things we are told we should never forget.

Never forget that it was Osama bin Laden & 19 Arab hijackers who were entirely responsible for 9/11. There was a bi-partisan government investigation, which examined the evidence of 9/11, and came to this conclusion, which matched the narrative the media & the Bush administration pushed from the start. We are in a life-and-death struggle against “Arab terrorists” who want to destroy our way of life, so don’t ever forget that.

If you are a white male, then don’t ever forget that you are a racist lackey of white supremacy. This means you are not allowed to write, speak, or express yourself publicly on any issues concerning people of color & women– due to your racial & sexist bias. You can’t possibly understand the agony which women & blacks have gone through, so don’t even go there. You are white, and thus implicitly responsible for all their misery, so don’t ever forget that.

Never (ever!) forget that the Russians are our enemy. The Russians meddled with our elections, which gave the American people President Trump. Of course, there has never been any hard proof of this story, but we always have to remain vigilant– and never forget!

Never forget that there’s a lot of “fake news” out there. Watching exclusively CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and/or Fox means you only approve of “authorized news.” Printed articles, photos, and videos from other sources, which contradict “official news,” must be treated with the utmost skepticism, as the internet has become a haven for “fake news.”

This applies particularly to social media. The CEO’s of Facebook, Twitter, et all have your best interests in mind, but they are overwhelmed by Russian troll bots & left-wing extremists who spread “fake news” into your feed. Fakebook executives and the rest are working diligently to protect you from these nefarious forms of manipulation, by using artificial intelligence & human monitors (not censors) to make sure you only see stuff that is “correct.” Never forget that.

While you may see news stories of high-level corruption on a daily basis, never forget that this is America, the greatest democracy in the world. Our leaders are working to keep America great– or make it great again– depending on which political party you cheer for. The point is they work for all our best interests, so don’t ever forget their sacrifices.

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