My top 10 stories determined by you, the reader

My fans chanting for a rant encore. Photo by on

There’s no accounting for taste, especially when it comes to the small number of people who like my writing.

Let’s just say that my sense of humor is an acquired taste… like chocolate-covered pickle ice cream garnished with fire ants.

While most of you out there have the good sense to ignore my rabble-rousing, rants, and ruminations, I am grateful to those who have read and clapped for my stories on Medium.

The crazy thing about art is that sometimes the work you are most proud of gets ignored, while a silly one-off story attracts the most readers.

A few years ago, I listed .

Today, I’m going to list my readers’ top 10 stories on Medium…

Don’t blame me, they’re are only song parodies

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With all due respect to Don McLean, music didn’t die at all in 1959 (the tragic plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valen), or in 1971, the year he released his historic hit “American Pie.”

And it will probably go on for a long, long time, despite how strongly readers may feel that I’ve killed music with my song parodies, including a great collaboration with Mike Range in which

But if you enjoyed my humorous approach to dealing with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, here’s an easy way to find (and praise) every song.

I have compiled all of my songs here in one easy listening catalog. Trust me, it would not be such easy listening if I tried to sing these songs.

For your…


The Haitian-Japanese champion took a stand, and her sport followed

Frank Franklin II | Credit: AP

If there’s one place in sports where the saying “Republicans buy sneakers, too” might still have power, it would have to be the predominantly white, corporate-sponsored world of professional tennis.

But one woman changed all that.

On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, Naomi Osaka was getting ready for her quarter-final match when the Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott their playoff game in response to the Jacob Blake shooting.

The normally shy and soft spoken Japanese-Haitian tennis player served up a major bombshell not long after the Bucks’ decision to protest. Osaka tweeted in two languages, joining the boycott in response to the “continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police.”

What makes Osaka’s stand so courageous is her sport offers no guaranteed income. The only way players…

The sport’s lightning rod stirs up the passions of fanboys and haters all over the world

In a vacuum, Novak Djokovic might be viewed as the perfect tennis player.

  • He is the Usain Bolt of tennis players. From 2013 to 2016, to determine their speed over a distance of three meters or more. Djokovic topped the list of athletes with a maximum speed of 22.38 mph. That’s not a typo. I didn’t mean to write 22.38 kilometers per hour. For context, that would have made him the second faster receiver in the NFL that year. …

Cool-sounding talking points for non-sports fans during the NBA Finals

Author illustration using the NBA Finals logo and free clip art

With these NBA Finals hot takes, even you non-sports fans can amaze and entertain your friends and family anywhere — except where people are actually watching the game.

One of my fans said he gives me although he doesn’t understand basketball. Well, neither does Brandon Anderson, but that doesn’t stop him talking about sports (bazinga!)

Why not join in the fun during these moments when the nation comes together to celebrate?

Here are ten hot takes about the NBA Finals that will keep you involved in the conversation (followed by entertaining basketball fun facts in parentheses).


#1. The Finals matchup

“I’m so excited to see two small-market teams play for the championship!!”

(Your go-to move for people who love to see presidential elections determined by 44,000 votes in swing states…


Actually, I was never gone, but nobody noticed

Jack Nicholson from “The Shining,” photograph by Ronald Grant. I think he’s got a , too.

Like Jack Nicholson, maybe I’d get more attention with a fire ax than a keyboard.

It’s true I haven’t published a piece since my and Conference NBA playoff predictions, BUT I have been reading and commenting almost every day.

If we discount all the bots, ex-subscribers, and people who don’t give a rat’s ass about sports, that leaves a handful of readers. Of those, a couple of people seemed to notice my absence, for which I am grateful.

It feels good to know that your writing makes a small difference in this little social media pond we call Medium. (Emphasis on the word small.)

Here are five people and five reasons I continue…

Injuries, brain freezes and horrible coaching have ruined the Eastern Conference playoffs.

With apologies to Kevin Durant’s brilliant one man show, when is the NBA going to learn that the fans want to see the best teams compete for the title?

With the NBA’s rush to cram in the season before the Olympics, injuries and Covid protocols have decimated every team.

Even the team that wins the title will know it was one injury or an oversized sneaker away from being eliminated long before the Finals.

Just give this season the biggest fucking asterisk in NBA history.

Brooklyn was the best team in the East and it’s not even close. Their three superstars were so good, they only shared the floor for eight games this season and still came within one game of the #1 seed in the East. …

A round two recap and my Conference Finals predictions

Author composite of Kawhi Leonard (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images), and Chris Paul (Getty Images),

Before we get to my predictions for the NBA Conference Finals, I need to give a shout out to a very astute NBA analyst — and it’s not anyone at the Action Network.

On June 5, I published my second round playoff predictions with this disclaimer:

this is not gambling advice. When I said you can take them to the bank, I meant you should put them in a safe deposit box and never look at them again until I call out the one prediction I got right.

I was wrong about one thing with this disclaimer because I didn’t get one prediction right…

I got them ALL right.

  1. With Booker taking his game to a new level against the Lakers and the injury to Murray, the Suns should bury Denver.” …

Ev, your programmers could make this a place for

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There’s a reason why a w̶h̶i̶n̶e̶r̶ s̶m̶a̶r̶t̶ ̶a̶s̶s̶ cynic like me is writing a love letter to the Big E — it might work.

I’ve seen articles that sing Medium’s virtues and ask for features to improve the user experience. Sometimes, their suggestions become codified into, well, code.

My idea is so simple, it shouldn’t cost more than I earn in a month writing here. In other words, dirt cheap.

If you don’t already know how it works, you get notifications when:

  • Each time someone highlights a line in one of your stories
  • Each time someone follows you
  • Each time someone you follow highlights a passage you highlighted
  • Each time someone claps for your story or response
  • Each time your story reaches a set number of fans (10, 50, even 100, but someone would have to…

A short off-season, compressed schedule and Covid protocols have decimated every team

Author composite of Kawhi Leonard (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images), Chris Paul (Getty Images), and Kyrie Irving (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

In case you missed it, the teetering NBA season finally crumbled.

Thursday morning’s news might give us the worst Finals matchup since the 8th seeded New York Knicks hip-checked their way into the 1999 NBA Finals.

  • Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 5 and may miss the rest of the playoffs.
  • Chris Paul is in Covid protocol and out indefinitely.

If you count all the other injury issues in Round 2 of the playoffs, every team has suffered key injuries.

  • Kyrie Irving and James Harden suffered injuries during the Bucks series.
  • Joel Embiid hurt his knee and didn’t score in the second half as Philadephia blew an 18-point lead.
  • Mike Conley…

Lon Shapiro

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at . Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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