Confidence and Conviction

The Far Middle episode 122 begins by rewinding the clock back to the summer of 1978 to celebrate Pete Rose’s magical 44-game hitting streak.

While now 45 years ago, Charlie Hustle’s consecutive game-hitting streak remains the closest to overtaking Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game record. Despite coming up short, Nick recalls the never-short-on-confidence Rose saying during his 1978 streak that he “might go on forever.” Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting remains one of the unlikeliest MLB records that will ever be broken.

Shifting from baseball, Nick continues his recent theme of exploring one central and significant topic in this episode. “I get to settle into one of my ideological North Stars, a person whose thoughts and impact I didn’t awaken to until a few short years ago,” explains Nick. That North Star’s name? Václav Havel.

Nick proceeds to reflect on Havel’s contributions as an author, poet, dissident, and statesman. Nick connects back to 1978 as he explores Havel’s essay released that year, “The Power of the Powerless.” Nick highlights the essay’s importance at its release, its connections to today, and defines Havel’s concept of “living in truth.”

“By deciding to live within the truth, one breaks the rules of the game and then you expose the game as the ruse that it is,” says Nick. “It becomes clear that living a lie is just that. It’s living a lie…For the post-totalitarian system, or for government run by the Left in the West today, the ultimate fundamental threat to its power will be individuals daring to live within the truth.”

In closing, Nick notes the episode’s release follows Constitution Day, celebrated this past September 17. “I like to think that the Founders in the late 1700s and their product, the Constitution, inspired Havel in the late 1970s in his product, ‘The Power of the Powerless,’ so that you, constant listeners, and I, have the conviction to be dissidents living within the truth in America in 2023,” concludes Nick.

Nick’s discussion in this installment expands upon his recent commentary, “A Dose Of Dissidence And A Pinch Of Living In Truth: Remedy For Troubling Times.”

Competitive Greatness

Episode 121 is a special edition of The Far Middle as Nick offers insight into the development, growth, goals, and future of the one-of-a-kind CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy. Before diving into the Academy, Nick pays tribute to John Robert Wooden for this installment’s sports dedication.

The “Wizard of Westwood” was not only one of the greatest basketball coaches ever and a Hall-of-Fame player, but also a teacher and mentor to countless student athletes. “He was as much Harvard Business School professor as he was UCLA hoops coach,” says Nick. Wooden’s teaching tools and tactics, such as his Pyramid of Success, not only apply to basketball but business, personal success, and organizational leadership.

The building blocks of Wooden’s Pyramid of Success—from self-control to initiative and from confidence to competitive greatness—are central focus areas of the CNX Mentorship Academy.

Nick proceeds to discuss the Academy’s origins and its aim to assist students from urban and rural economically disadvantaged communities in Western Pennsylvania who don’t intend to pursue a college degree right after high school.

As the Academy is gearing up for its third year and third class, Nick attributes many keys to its success, including partners spanning the building trades, energy industry, manufacturing, hospitality/ travel, real estate, construction, health care, and more. And then there are the mentors, which Nick describes as, “the glue that holds everything together…no mentors, no success, it’s that simple.”

In closing, Nick observes, “I can say without hesitation that every student that enters the Academy, and shows up over the course of the year, they will be in a markedly better place when it comes to life skills, awareness, and confidence than where they were when they came in. It all comes down to how you define success. It’s measured in different ways in this thing we called life, and I wish it were more ideal, but this is how it is.”

Upside Down Expert Predictions


The Far Middle episode 120 begins with a little Labor Day history, including the debate of whether it was labor leader Peter McGuire or machinist Matthew McGuire who deserves credit for Labor Day’s origination. Nick fondly recalls Peter McGuire’s quote that the holiday is meant to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

And as the boys of summer prepare for fall and postseason play, Nick turns to baseball for this week’s sports dedication. While some listeners hoped “The Miracle Mets” of 1969 would earn honors for Far Middle episode 69, the Mets receive dedication honors this 120th episode. However, it’s for an unfortunate record: the Mets’ 120 losses tallied during their 1962 inaugural season.

Nick adds that the 1962 Mets’ starting pitchers recorded just a combined 23 wins all season, which is less than Don Drysdale’s 25 games won—alone—that ’62 season for the Dodgers. And despite the record of the 1962 “lovable losers,” the Mets would of course bloom come the 1969 season for their first World Series Championship. For more on Drysdale, check out Far Middle episode 53.

While on the topic of losing in epic fashion, Nick connects to the topic of climate predictions and climate change alarmism.

In a unique Far Middle exploration, Nick reviews a century of highlights by “the experts’” climate predictions—beginning in 1923 with the New York Times reporting that Arctic ice was melting and “a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard of temperatures in that part of the earth.”

Nick then goes decade-by-decade, discussing numerous climate predictions by media, experts, and elites; including the late 1970s shift from predictions of catastrophic global cooling to unavoidable global warming.

After examining a century of inaccurate doomsday predictions, Nick offers four takeaways: 1) science is not about consensus; 2) we should not be setting policies impacting decades and trillions of dollars aiming for something we should have zero confidence in being able to accurately know; 3) why aren’t those making these past dead-wrong predictions held accountable; and, 4) where are present-day journalists reporting on the trends identified in this episode.

In closing, Nick pays tribute to Diana Ross, who this week in 1980 reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with her hit “Upside Down”—a fitting song title for this episode’s discussion on expert predictions.

Green Inflation

The Far Middle episode 121 arrives as Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, approaches. With fall on the horizon, Nick has basketball on his mind, which leads to a special dedication to basketball pioneer Arnold “Red” Auerbach. Nick calls Auerbach, “the most accomplished pro basketball coach and executive in the history of the game, both statistically as well as with respect to impact.”

After reflecting on Red’s historic career, Nick pivots to red’s complementary color: green. Specifically, he delves into the concept of green inflation, which is the collective combination of green energy policies, mandates, and subsidies driving general inflation.

Nick addresses the impact of waning worker and labor participation on inflation, but underscores that it’s climate change policies that is the single biggest contributor to inflation. “The true aims of climate policies are to manufacture and impose scarcity,” says Nick. “Energy scarcity then transmits to overall economic scarcity, and supply scarcity of everything, because everything needs energy as the fundamental input or feedstock.”

Nick highlights several data points illustrating green inflation. These include President Biden’s cancelation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, America’s first proposed cobalt mine being put on hold by its developer, and Ford’s EV business unit’s losses.  

“The only way for Ford to make money on EVs is for the price of EVs to go up and to force consumers to buy them, which means the supply of gasoline powered vehicles must go down,” explains Nick. “You see, restrict supply of the efficient, enforce the choice of the inefficient, and raise its price. Green inflation 101.”

Next, Nick calls out the hidden costs of wind and solar infrastructure on the power grid and how those new transmission infrastructure costs will be paid for. Moving on from power lines, Nick discusses traffic lines and traffic congestion pricing. The origins of traffic congestion pricing is the “hallmark of the Left,” says Nick. “Create a problem, purposely, upon the private sector and then use that created problem to justify more power and control over the private sector. It’s simple but effective time and again.”

In closing, Nick notes how summer weather these days is described by many as a sign of Armageddon. On the topic of summer heatwaves, Nick draws a connection to the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, “Rear Window.” While Coach Auerbach was preparing for the Celtics’ 1954-55 season, “Rear Window” hit theaters on September 1, 1954. “It should be considered as one of the greatest films ever,” says Nick.

Inside Out

As many head back to college this August, so too does the start of Far Middle episode 118 as Nick honors Ohio State Buckeye legend and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin for this Far Middle’s sports dedication.

Nick then moves from Ohio State to Stanford, noting Cardinal quarterback Jim Plunkett would earn Heisman honors a few years prior to Griffin’s back-to-back trophies. He then examines Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s forthcoming resignation following “serious flaws” found in his research.

“The controversy at Stanford highlights another connection we can jump to which interestingly still involves Stanford, but it also ties to a much broader topic that cuts across the entire western world,” says Nick. He discusses the big difference between science and “The Science,” and the ramifications of scientific journals wading into subjective politics and eroding their reputation of objectivity.

Next, Nick explains the “inside out” phenomenon, using examples from Alexis de Tocqueville and the idea of soft despotism, as well as the Spanish Civil War.

The theme of “inside out” runs throughout episode 118. From Archie Griffin’s ground game to a Stanford student reporter breaking news of data manipulation to the outside world, and from the Left gaining control from the inside of government, academia, and media to turn society from the inside out. The theme also applies to Nick’s recount of the story of Jonah and the whale (or big fish), as well as his discussion of Big Tech letting in the Left and their subsequent aims to now turn Big Tech inside out.

And for a fitting close, Nick looks back on Phil Collins’ single “Inside Out,” from the 1985 album No Jacket Required(released the same year Archie Griffin was closing out his professional career with the USFL’s Jacksonville Bulls). Nick recites the song’s lyrics to take to heart: “Now everybody keeps on telling me how to be, and everybody tells me do what they say, oh I’ll help myself it’s up to me and no-one else, but till I’m ready just keep out of my way.”