An alternative perspective on the nature of quality

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

That was the defining moment in the life of my Uncle Joe. Technically, he was my mom’s uncle, but if a man lives long enough, he becomes everyone’s Uncle Joe.

Joe was brilliant, but suffered from a lack of education as his family immigrated to New York and lived in poverty.

He could pull apart and repair radios, but was best known for his hilarious malapropisms.

And the “entities” that plagued him until the day he died.

Long before psychologists discovered PTSD, my uncle was afflicted by the memories of murderous Cossacks and the need to hide and escape.


We’re all headed the same direction

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Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

At the time he said this, I was a kid and he seemed way old, so I wouldn’t have trusted him either.

I have friends 6–9 years older than me and they feel like a completely different generation I would never trust. That age group includes the Holy Trinity of liars: Agent Orange, Dubya, and Mitt Romney.

On the other hand, I rarely trust people more than 6 years younger than me. Could you blame me? Group members: Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity, and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

And don’t get me started on millennials.

I don’t even trust…

Dreck in a post-Agent Orange world

(Gutbloom would be proud of me)

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Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

I’m so grateful that the guy who bragged “I could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue” and get away with it, tried to hijack our government but didn’t.

Humans are not made to stay in a constant state of stress. Our adrenal system eventually burns out as we alternate between the primitive instincts of flight or fight. The only way to relieve the stress for me was to boycott TV and radio news so I wouldn’t have to hear Genghis Tang’s daily stream of lies.

Although we still confront so many critical issues in this country, it’s a…

The literary equivalent to reminding you to eat your spinach if you want to grow up to be big and strong

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Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

While most people will give you their two cents without hesitation, I always try to go that extra step and offer my two-and-a-half cents (which also corresponds to my daily earnings this month!).

Since you followed The Inner Game of Writing, I have to assume you have some interest in peak performance training as it applies to writing, except for those of you who fit in the following categories:

  1. You misread the publication title and thought it was titled “The Inner Game of Writhing,” sort of a buddist’s approach to BDSM.
  2. You reached the end of one of my articles…


The state of the Western Conference at the quarter pole

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As I wrote in my Eastern Conference analysis, there were so many unknowns and confusing results, I delayed publishing my season predictions three times.

The West has been just as much of a circus.

Denver started the season 1–4. Houston imploded and had to trade James Harden.

And the Clippers (without Kawhi) lost by 50 to the Mavs (without Porzingys).

The Golden State Warriors exploded out of the blocks with a 115.2 rating after five games! Oh wait, that was their defensive rating. Their net rating of -14.5 was even worse than the Minnesota Timberwolves.

I’ve only got six words…


It’s the only way to understand this season at the quarter pole

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Joel Embiid beats the Celtics at their own game. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Note: I started writing this article after the first week of the season but was so confused by the results I delayed publishing three times. After all the injuries, Covid-related absences, and trades, my predictions ended up back where I started.

But there were too many unknown variables to make complete predictions.

There was no way to know if Kevin Durant was healthy or what would happen if Kemba Walker wasn’t healthy.

There was no way to know if any rookie could contribute without the testing grounds of March Madness, Summer League, training camps, and a full preseason schedule.



Taking on the King means adjusting the six keys to win an NBA title this season

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Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

That was the pronouncement of Joe Lacob in 2016, as the Warriors were rolling to a record-setting 73–9 regular season.

He is the same guy who was booed by Warriors fans when he bought the team in 2010, a team that had won one playoff series since 1991. Under Lacob’s leadership, the Warriors won 59 games! Oh, I forgot to mention that was over his first two seasons as owner.

But he did hire Jerry West and Bob Myers in 2011, and those were brilliant moves, along with drafting Curry, Thompson, Green and Harrison Barnes, and hiring Steve Kerr as…

Are you process-based or results-oriented?

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Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

No, that didn’t make me a superhero, Jedi Knight, or a character in a Hong Kong martial arts movie. Just a professional athlete.

As a tennis player, my life revolved around chasing and hitting a fuzzy yellow ball before it bounced twice on my side of the court.

Over and over again, for as many hours as it took to play a match.

If I won, I got up the next day to repeat the process.

If I lost, I spent my time ready getting for the next tournament.

My focus was on mastering my craft, training, strategizing, learning new…


Michael Jordan exploring every avenue to protect his GOAT status

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LeBron James, guilty as charged, raises his arms before his arrest. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

On March 6, 2020, LeBron James passed Michael Jordan in career scoring. To add insult to injury, LeBron did it with over 1,200 less shot attempts than the Bull/Goat.

As someone famous for taking umbrage against players (and teammates) who never slighted Jordan in any way, allowing some young upstart to score more points demanded retaliation.

Michael Jordan found the perfect way to remain the undisputed GOAT — just stop basketball from being played anymore.

Only five days later, the NBA suspended their season due to the pandemic.

Coincidence? I think not.

By financing the development of the virus, Jordan…


Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Trump finally crossed a line that forced some Republicans to put country over party

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John Minchillo/AP/CP

I hope the word thug will take on a new meaning. The first thing I want you to think about when you hear the word thug is this guy:

Lon Shapiro

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

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