Bridgers vs. Catalysts

The Far Middle episode 72 honors the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Now 50 years since the Dolphins achieved their perfect 17-0 season, no team has yet to replicate their feat. Nick highlights their offensive power, their “No-Name Defense” (which ranks among Nick’s top-ten NFL defenses), and arguably the NFL’s top head coach of the modern era, Don Shula.

This Far Middle installment focuses on Nick’s remarks from last week’s 2022 Shale Insight Conference, which looked at the next chapter of the natural gas revolution, “Shale 3.0.” Nick analyzes the opposing views of whether natural gas is a bridge fuel or a catalyst fuel. “Catalysts live in the world of truth, science, reality, and fact,” says Nick. “Our approach is the right one.”

Next, Nick walks through the bridgers’ four-step manipulation recipe, which was “so elegantly defined” by German scholar Victor Klemperer. Nick concludes by noting the bright future we have thanks to the awakening to Shale 3.0, “a better way than the bridgers’ road to certain ruin.”

In closing, Nick pays tribute to Queen, who 42 years ago this month had their song “Another One Bites the Dust” reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. He notes Queen guitarist Brian May is among his list of top-ten rock guitarists. Check out their 1985 Live Aid performance and May will be on your top-ten list as well.

Intervention Versus Intervention

The Far Middle episode 71 is dedicated to a sports trio, spanning from the diamond to the gridiron to the rink. Nick salutes the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates, NFL Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen, and Penguins Center Evgeni “Geno” Malkin.

Transitioning from Evgeni Malkin, who is Russian, Nick discusses the recent string of suspicious deaths of several executives of major Russian energy and industrial corporations. This leads to a look at European Union energy policy as bureaucrats panic to secure a grid and crumbling energy network that’s destroying economies across the European continent—unfortunately, the bureaucratic panic is only making things worse. Nick explains that the EU bureaucrat is engaged in a game of intervention versus intervention, and in the end, everyone will end up a loser.

Shifting from the pitfalls of state intervention, Nick notes Elon Musk’s comments that the world needs more natural gas and oil. Musk recently left California for Texas, to which Nick calls California dreaming in 2022 is more akin to a nightmare when it comes to their energy insanity.

Connections continue with another example of the expert class taking the normal person for a fool; this time it’s misleading Covid statistics from John Hopkins. And Nick closes with an analysis of the numerous parallels between Aldous Huxley’s 1932 masterpiece, Brave New World, and society today. Although written 90 years ago, Huxley’s view into the future is frighteningly accurate. Read more from Nick on Brave New World in his commentary, “When a Blinded 1930s Writer Saw the 2022 Future.”

Compromised Academia and Media Standards

The Far Middle episode 70 is dedicated to a pair of NFL defensive greats: Hall of Famers Ernie Stautner and Sam Huff. Nick calls Stautner the best defensive lineman of his era and discusses his one-of-a-kind toughness. And Nick notes Sam Huff’s unique family lineage to Nick’s company history, as well as points out a certain assistant coach who was key to convincing Huff to stay in the NFL during his rookie-year training camp.

Stautner played most of his career for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pennsylvania, and Huff was from West Virginia—states representing the heart of the Marcellus and Utica Shale natural gas plays. Huff was also the first NFL player to appear on the cover of Time magazine. These connections funnel into an exploration of how academia and the media often cut corners, compromise standards, and collaborate to present very misleading impressions of targeted entities, industries or things like the domestic natural gas industry. Specifically, Nick examines Yale researchers using statistical modeling to suggest natural gas development causes childhood cancer—a headline-grabbing finding that contradicts their previous research that relied on actual data measurement.

Nick transitions to offering three observations on the Manti Te’o Netflix documentary, “Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist.” Nick’s biggest takeaway relates back to the media, how they were fooled, fell in love with the Te’o story, and how they could’ve discovered the story was a hoax much earlier if they had applied the most basic of journalistic standards.

Next, Nick presents an interesting look at American household income when you normalize the data (i.e., deducting taxes paid and adding transfer payments received). “There’s income equality, not income inequality, across 60% of the U.S. population,” says Nick.

Nick closes with a few comments on the lack of self-awareness by “eco-warriors,” highlighting a recent speech by Harrison Ford.

Perpetual Change

The Far Middle episode 69 celebrates the 69-win NBA season by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, a record for victories in a season that would stand until the 72 wins by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team.

The Lakers’ star-studded lineup (including Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Pat Riley, and Jerry West) not only won the NBA championship that year but also 33 straight games—a record that stands today.

Staying in the late 60s and early 70s era, Nick discusses the final years of Pablo Picasso’s life, a colorful and expressive point in the artist’s perpetual changing career when he was massively prolific. Also at that time, in 1969, French writer Henri Charrière published Papillon, which Nick highly recommends. The book would be made into a movie starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman the year after the Lakers’ 69-win championship season. And just as critics panned Picasso’s works at the end of his career, they similarly panned Papillon’s screen adaptation. Nick says to be your own expert when it comes to film and literature.

Nick then transitions into an overview of the CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy, which is nearing the start of its second year. Nick describes the Academy’s mission, its first year, and an exciting summer that most recently included a cookout with prospective second-year students. Follow Academy updates at and at

Staying on education, Nick next discusses students, parents, and taxpayers finally starting to hold colleges accountable for the quality of education delivered during the pandemic.

Nick closes with a one-of-a-kind, multi-part Far Middle connection going back to the early 1970s and linking Papillon, Pablo Picasso, and “winging-it.”

Let’s Ride the Lightning

The Far Middle episode 68 is dedicated to the great NHL right winger Jaromir Jagr—member of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup championship teams.

In this Far Middle installment, Nick presents his second-ever “lightning round” episode covering a wide range of topics. “It’s unbelievable how much material stacks up for Far Middle discussion,” says Nick, which is exciting but also concerning.

Leading off is the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., who has to be better off the field otherwise the pressure on him will continue to build. On the topic of pressure, Nick travels from San Diego to across the globe to examine the latest on Russia’s geopolitical and energy pressure on the EU.

Staying in the EU, Nick calls out the impact of “Natura 2000,” and specifically the program’s effect on the Dutch agriculture sector which will only increase already high food prices. On the topic of radical environmentalism and their disdain for the human condition, Nick is reminded of Professor Paul Ehrlich’s quote that, “giving society cheap, abundant energy at this point would be the moral equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

Nick next addresses: 180-degree position reversals from environmental groups through their divide-and-kill strategy; the role of capitalism catalyzing science; the comical Inflation Reduction Act; and, the truth when it comes to energy subsidies. Nick counters the claim that wind and solar are cost-competitive with other fuels, calling out their massive level of subsidy while only providing 7% of the U.S. energy supply.

The lightning episode continues with: ESG investing; public pension funds increasingly investing in riskier, non-liquid assets; Florida’s “Stop Woke Act” and free speech; the BLM playing politics with water; and, “hearing” some surprisingly good news from the FDA.

In closing, Nick returns back to 1990—the year Jagr was drafted by the Penguins—to reflect on George Michael’s masterpiece album Listen Without Prejudice, released 32 years ago this past September 3.