My top 10 stories determined by you, the reader

My fans chanting for a rant encore. Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

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 my personal favorites.

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


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

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

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 “American Pie” takes on a whole new meaning.

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…


Short. Concise. Words. Powerful.

Getty Images

This story was inspired by a line in Bev Potter’s article on the Writers Challenge.

Thanks Bev, for the inspiration.

Bev wrote, “Hemingway could come back to life and write on Medium and he’d have 350 followers and make $0.50 a month.”

But I think it would be so much worse.

I see him becoming the most popular life hacker/self help guru on Medium.

Think of that.

I can’t think of a guy better suited to give life advice on Medium than a guy who killed himself.

But wait, you say, “Would he really write the same old shit we see here every day, instead of writing classic novels?”

Well folks, he already did it…


OBSTACLE SYMBOLISM PART 1

And other wisdom for the ages

Photo by Brad Barmore on Unsplash

We live in a world filled with accidents waiting to happen and somehow avoid 99.999% of them. Is the universe really out to get us when the odds finally catch up?

Tucked away in a wildlife reserve on the far west end of the San Fernando Valley is a narrow path that contains a rock.

My rock.

The rock is smooth and round, about a foot in diameter, and it only rises a couple of inches above the surface. Given the huge rock outcroppings in that area, my rock is probably 99% underground — far better hidden than an iceberg.

But that didn’t stop me from stubbing my toe in Titanic fashion.

Here’s the thing, though. I knew where my enemy is. For ten years, I never tripped once on these…


ATHLETES MAKING HISTORY

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

Getty Images/ATP

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, players at the Australian Open were tracked 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 46 claps 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).

THE TEAMS

#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…


A BACK-TO-RANT LONG FORM BONUS

Actually, I was never gone, but nobody noticed

Jack Nicholson from “The Shining,” photograph by Ronald Grant. I think he’s got a problem with the logo, 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 Western and Eastern 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.

Source

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.” …

Lon Shapiro

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

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