The Art of the Block
Magic Academy is a column designed to help newer players get up to speed by teaching them more about the game and showing the resources available on the web for learning more. The column is written in linear fashion, like a book, so each lesson builds on material learned in previous articles. So, if you’re new to the column, you can either start at the beginning or just check the articles so far to see where you’d like to begin. To see the column’s table of contents or learn more, just go to the Magic Academy Welcome Page.
This column is written for players that can at least muddle their way through a game of Magic. If you’re completely new to the game and don’t know how to play at all, we recommend starting with playmagic.com and then returning to Magic Academy. Once you know the basics of getting through a game we’ll take it from there!
Greetings and welcome back to our weekly clinic on the game of Magic. In our last installment, I walked through a turn with you in an effort to cram a lot of rules knowledge, execution, and timing into your brains, while hopefully not inducing too much of a headache. I also promised that we would be coming back the Combat Phase in particular because a lot of action occurs there, and it deserves more time and explanation than I could devote in that article. Thus, this week will be a combat-centric article, and it will be devoted almost entirely to one specific topic: blocking.
I was initially going to delve into attacking this week, but at some point my puny little brain realized that a lot of attacking takes place when your opponent has no good blocks. Therefore, defining “good” blocks and separating “good” blocks from “bad” blocks took on a higher priority. I’m also covering blocking first because that’s the area where I tend to see new players make the most mistakes. Creatures are valuable resources, and learning to block prudently will not only help them live longer, but should help you live longer (and win more) as well.
Two quick definitions before we get rolling:
Trade – When two creatures kill each other in combat. Blocking a 4/2 with a 2/2 is a trade. Blocking a 3/3 with a 2/2 gives us our next definition.
Chump Block – When one creature blocks another with no hope of trading (or winning). The only purpose for this is simply to stave off the beats for a turn. So, when a 2/2 steps in front of a 3/3 then gets sent off to the graveyard and that’s that, it’s a chump block. If some spell after the combat then kills off the attacker thanks to the extra damage from the blocker, that’s not considered a chump block, since the point of blocking was to help take the bigger creature down in combination with some other effect. So, when it comes to chump blocking, we’re speaking strictly about when a creature steps in front of an attacker and then dies with no other benefit aside from having bought some time.
Secrets of the Trade
To start things off, I feel the need to let you in on a little secret, but only if you promise to tell it to every new player you meet. The way combat works in Magic gives a sizeable advantage to the player that is blocking. Strange but true. Because the defending player gets to choose which creatures are getting blocked and which creatures will be doing the blocking, the player on defense gets a major edge over the attacker.
Good blocks are those that wind up with your creatures living and their creatures dying. It doesn’t have to be all of their creatures, mind you, just enough so that you come out with the better end of the deal.
Good blocks can also be blocks that wind up with their important creatures dead, and your important creatures living. Executing blocks that accomplish this will give you a major leg up as the game progresses.
Good blocks also occur when you trade cheaper creatures for their more expensive ones. The block I mentioned above where a 2/2 trades with a 4/2 is a trade, but it’s likely a good block for the guy with the 2/2, since he probably paid considerably less mana for his creature than the owner of the 4/2 did for his.
Finally, good blocks can merely be blocks that save you from taking any damage while allowing your creatures to live. Obviously you’d prefer to kill your opponent’s men if you have a chance, but if you come out of a combat with your creatures and your life total unscathed, you probably did a good job.
The truth is that you can’t always find good blocks during combat, so if that happens, don’t get discouraged.
Rule #0 – Your life total is a resource.
For many new players, getting this simple concept dramatically changes the way they think about the game. Welcome to your first Magical paradigm shift. Knowing this concept and what it means will almost certainly cause you to play
Here’s the skinny on how it works. In Magic, the more life you have, the more options exist to you. Sitting at 20 life means you can absorb a lot of damage before you approach death, so you can choose not to block creatures or not to counterspell direct damage spells, or not to do lots of things without it having lethal consequences. However, if your life total rests at a measly 1, that means that any damage or loss of life will kill you and end the game right then and there. With this in mind, it becomes easier to see “not blocking” is a viable option in many combat situations. By strategically trading some of your life for more time to fill your board with lands and creatures, you will frequently create better situations for yourself down the road. When you have plenty of life, it’s often perfectly fine to skip an unfavorable block and just take the damage.
If nothing else, just remember this: You do not need to protect every point of life you have, you only need to protect the last one.
Rule #1 – If not blocking means you are going to die, then you need to block.
This rule seems pretty obvious, but it’s actually the first step in the blocking checklist. During every defensive combat phase, you have to think, “If I don’t block, will I die?” If the answer is yes, then you
Rule #2 – Chump block only when necessary.
One of the major flaws in how most new players handle combat is that they are far too willing to chump block, particularly early in the game.
Look at it this way – creatures cost mana. You paid for them and they are a valuable resource. They should not be thrown into the graveyard without a good reason. It’s your job to watch out for them, to make sure their sacrifices are not for naught. Granted, Grizzly Bears are not particularly impressive when you get into the late game where Vampires, Angels, and Dragons reign, but they aren’t worthless either.
In that block above, you save 4 life by chumping with your bear, but now your bear is dead and it’s going to be that much more difficult to kill off the Phyrexian Gargantua. Whereas, if you take the 4 damage and save your bear, you give yourself the chance to draw an answer, even if it’s something as simple as another bear!
See? By waiting a turn, now you get the most out of that bear by using it in combination with another card to take out a bigger creature you didn’t have an answer to otherwise.
By delaying chump blocking until it is necessary either to survive or win a damage race, you can better use both the creatures you have already invested in, and your life total.
Rule #3 – Block to maximize opponent losses while minimizing your own.
This is another one that quickly becomes second nature after you’ve been playing for a while, but might not be obvious at the beginning. When your opponent attacks you, you should make that attack as painful as possible for them by killing as many important creatures they control as possible.
To put this another way, when your opponent attacks you, your preference should generally be to leave them with a bunch of undersized men (“men” is often used as slang for generic creatures) while killing all their fat.
Some creatures are more valuable than others.
Rule #4 – Advanced – Prioritize creature threats and block accordingly.
Since this rule involves some threat evaluation, it can be considered an advanced topic that you may not understand right away. There will be some creatures your opponents control that you really need to kill in order to win the game. By attacking with them, they place those creatures at risk, and when they do so, you should generally try and kill that creature if the situation allows.
The same principle holds true for your own creatures. There will be times where, if you can just live through a turn with a particular creature in play, you will dramatically increase your chances of winning the game. Therefore you should be careful about risking these creatures in combat unless you are sure you can protect them, or are pretty sure your opponent doesn’t have any tricks.
We’ll discuss combat tricks a bit more next week, and threat evaluation somewhere down the line.
Rule #5 – Advanced – Adjust how you block based on the board situation, the life totals, and your deck’s plan.
This rule includes at least two advanced ideas – board analysis and understanding your deck’s plan.
The specifics of this particular rule are way too involved to explain adequately in these confines, which is why I’m linking you to your homework for today: reading Mike Flores’s “Who’s the Beatdown?” The cards used in that article are old, but the logic and lessons contained therein are timeless. It introduces the idea behind a “deck plan” and how that plan can change from turn to turn during the course of the game.
Most of the practical examples for this topic will come next week, but for now I have a single puzzle for you to mull over. For the purposes of this particular puzzle, neither player has any cards in hand. Also, because lands are irrelevant here, I’m leaving them off. I want you just to focus on the creatures on the board.
It is Opie’s turn. Once he declares his attacks the board looks like this:
The question for this one is simple: You are Ben, and you have 10 life. Your opponent, Opie, has 18 life. How do you block and why?
That’s all for now. Now that you’ve got some guidelines to work with, I’ll be back next with more examples for you to practice with as well as the answer from today’s puzzle.
As mentioned above, Mike Flores’s “Who’s the Beatdown?” is required reading for anyone who wants to get better at the game of Magic. It is likely the most referenced Magic theory article of all time because the lessons it teaches are some of the most valuable strategic lessons you can learn. It also represents the foundation for a variety of theory topics that have been covered in the succeeding years. Just for reference, Flores delves further into the whole “plan” thing in “Picking the Right Plan,” another fine article from the Flores portfolio.
Additionally, earlier this year, I started a series called Thinking It Through at StarCityGames.com. The series is designed to take relatively common game situations and ask the pros for their thoughts on what decisions they would make when in the same position. The larger concept here is to get a clue as to how the pros think about the game, and then form guidelines based on what you learn from that information. In a sense, the entire Magic Academy series does this exact same thing, except at a much more basic level. While I haven’t had time to revisit the series recently (expect more once Time Spiral debuts), I highly recommend reading Volume 2, since it has two separate scenarios that deal with the attack step and how one figures out whether blocking is a good idea or not.
Staples Connect – Mastering the Art of Time Blocking
As the founder & CEO of a professional organizing company, time blocking is the single most important hack to boost productivity in my everyday work routine! It’s a great way to stay on track and maximize my energy throughout the day. If you’re not familiar, time blocking is essentially when you “block” out your day, segmenting out chunks of time to dedicate to specific tasks. Here are the steps you can take to implement time blocking into your schedule with the help of a productivity cube:
Determine what needs to be worked on today, and what action items are for each.
Blocking out your time throughout the day is a great reminder that you need to focus on just that one thing at that time. It allows me to be independently focused on the project at hand, thus getting more accomplished throughout the day. Although this is a productivity hack, it’s also important to consider blocking out intentional breaks to avoid burnout!
Add into your calendar, blocking off certain periods of time to devote exclusively to one task (and be sure to color code!)
Here’s an example of how I time block:
6am Wake up
8:15a Depart for office
8:30am Review the day
9:00-10:00 Check & answer pressing emails
10:00-10:30 Team meeting
10:30-11:30 Digital marketing strategy plan review
11:30-12:00 Write first draft of blog post
12:00-1:00 Lunch & personal calls
1:00-2:00 Work on blog post revisions
2:00-2:15 Walk/coffee break
2:15-3:30 Marketing call
3:30-4:00 Add tasks to project management platform
4:00-5:00 Review deck submissions
5:30p Depart home
6:30pm Dinner / relax
10pm Go to bed
Do not over-account for time—be real with yourself on how much time you can work on something before you lose focus.
The key to my success with time blocking is thinking critically about how long I can maintain focus on a particular task until I’m no longer able to give it my full, undivided attention. If anything, I’ve found that it’s more effective to carve out less time for something if you feel your attention may dwindle as you go. And if this is the case, consider blocking out two or three short segments of time between other tasks to really get the most out of your attention span.
Use your productivity cube to time each task and keep track of when it’s time to move onto the next!
Of course, once you have these tasks and subtasks blocked out on your calendar, it’s an entirely different game ensuring you stay on task and truly stick to the schedule throughout the day. This is where the productivity cube comes in handy!
Scheduling your day’s work and using a productivity cube can help to keep tasks fresh, light, and productive all day. I swear by it! Using a productivity cube in particular for time management is great because you can physically see where you’re at on time, but it doesn’t tick like a traditional timer. The productivity cube is also a great technique that allows you to break down your big time blocks into smaller subtasks. For example, in the hour that you work on emails, you can break it down into three 20-minute segments for working in different categories, going from urgent to not-so-high priority. Time blocking is the perfect technique to use a productivity cube for, no matter how you schedule out your day!
Regardless of how you go about planning your day, using a productivity cube is a great way to stay productive and on top of your schedule daily. Time blocking or not, I am absolutely obsessed with my productivity cube. Using it in kids schedules or to complete tasks around the house is just as effective as it is used in your workday!
Shot Blocking – Learn from the NBA’s Best
There’s a good chance you’ve heard an old basketball mantra: “defense wins championships”. If we try to take, say 10-15 all-time great defenses, there’s an even better chance we will see a dominant shot blocker on the backend, if not several shot blockers, or a scheme that emphasizes protecting the rim and sending everything into the defending big man.
So, what is the value of a rim protector? A great shot blocker allows his guards and wings to be more opportunistic on defense. A great shot blocker intimidates opponents. Finally, a shot blocker stops the most efficient shots in basketball. If the other team doesn’t get their lay-ups, it means you’ve probably lowered their offensive efficiency and given yourself a solid chance to win the game.
With that in mind, let’s proceed to some of the top swat machines in the history of the game, different forms of the art of blocking a shot, and professional tips that everyone can use to bolster their rim-protecting skills.
Top shot blockers in the history of the NBA
A quick note: it was borderline impossible to single out even these players among many monumental defensive stalwarts, and all five of them were brilliant rim protectors and huge presences for their respective teams, therefore they go in no particular order.
The Dream was a marvelous offensive player, everyone knows that. His post game and moves are legendary. But there’s something that’s been unfairly dropped out, and that’s his rim defense: Hakeem used his cat-like quickness and explosiveness to reject his fair share of shots in a highlight worthy fashion. Seriously, you don’t set the all-time total record with 3830 career blocks without putting in some effort on D every game.
Or, should I rather say, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo. Dikembe’s official name is as long, as his list of defensive credentials: three-time All-Defensive Second Team, three-time All-Defensive First Team, three-time NBA leader in blocks, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Mutombo is an unofficial symbol of a shot blocker with his patented (yet outlawed) finger wag and “no,no, not in my house” line.
It might sound like a stretch to call Manute one of the best specialists-type players ever, but trust me, he was truly special. Manute Bol wasn’t an intimidating offensive presence and earned his playing time solely on his basket protection. And boy, did he protect the basket. He set the second highest mark for total blocks in the season as a rookie, averaged close to 5 blocks per game in 1985/86, and oh, he had a couple of 13-blocks game and a couple game with 15 blocks.
One can film a good Hollywood movie based on Eaton’s story: a college coach drops his car at a car service in Anaheim, California, and there he sees a 7’4 (224 cm), 290lbs (132kg) young mechanic. A coach convinces the big dude to think about playing basketball collegiately, and the fella goes on to get drafted by the Utah Jazz, where in 11 years he gets selected to three All-NBA Defensive First Teams, and gets two Defensive Player of the Year Awards. And leads NBA in blocks 4 times. Oh, and sets a single season record for blocked shots too. Curtain drops, the end.
Ben Wallace is the shortest player on this list at 6’9, but he played a lot bigger than his size would indicate. He was already a good defender coming out of college, with the Wizards and in Orlando, but he really blossomed with the Detroit Pistons, anchoring that Bad Boys 2.0 defense, which routinely held opposing teams to 80-90 points. And for the record, they used to dominate the East before LeBron started doing what he’s doing now. By the way, Wallace shares an NBA record for most DPOY awards with Dikembe Mutombo (four).
Different art forms of a blocked shot
Like every facet of the game, shot blocking is a sort of an art. Like in every sorts and form of art, there’re people, who’ve mastered it to the point where the form becomes synonymous to their name. Here’re some of the forms:
Chase down blocks
Usually, when a guy turns an opponent over and runs the other way with the ball, he’s probably feeling pretty good and safe, thinking he’s got himself an easy two points… and then BAM, some nasty dude swats it from behind into the 4th row. That’s what LeBron James is famous for (well, aside from his social media shenanigans and being a great player overall)
Blocks on a jump shot
A clean block on a jump shooter is one of the hardest things to do, partly because refs tend to protect a shooter, but mainly because it takes a lot of concentration, coordination, quickness and some serious perimeter defense skills. Nowadays Kawhi Leonard mastered it. 3-4 years ago Tony Allen used to do that a lot. But to me, none was better at shutting great shooters down than Scottie Pippen.
Check out Pip’s D on the MVP of that game:
Weak side (help) blocks
With abundance of dribble penetration and pick-and-roll sets in the game now, the whole team has to be on the same page defensively. Breakdowns will happen on the perimeter, and when they do happen, the help man have to be able to rotate from the weak side and protect the rim. There were a number of bigs who’ve mastered it and most of them come from coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive school of thought: notably Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins during their time in Boston, Joakim Noah in Chicago and DeAndre Jordan in Los Angeles.
Under the rim blocks
Those are typically not something you will see on the NBA top 10 plays of the day, but there is a special beauty to them. Those under the rim blocks are made on timing and position alone, they require precision, awareness and reaction. They are usually reserved for players who are not particularly explosive, or older players who can’t (or shouldn’t) jump high. Alonzo Mourning, Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace were Under the Rim block masters closer to the twilight of their careers. Right now Tim Duncan is their heir and the king of the “no-jump-blocks”
How to block shots?
You don’t need to be the tallest player to block shots!
We’ve sorted out tons of game film, pro basketball camp clips, interviews and chats of a number of notable shot blockers, from the greatest champion of them all in Bill Russell, to Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, Dwight Howard and even Dwayne Wade to come up with several tips to help you improve your defense close to the basket:
The first one is kind of obvious, but fundamental: be ready. Stay on balance and on the balls of your feet, be bouncy and store energy to go up when needed. But it is also important to remember that you shouldn’t commit to going up, if your opponent didn’t commit to going up yet. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll get a ball fake, easy two points in your face and maybe a foul too.
The second one was especially stressed by Marcus Camby and Emeka Okafor: body control. Never jump out of control, never land out of control, it’s not safe; you don’t want your arms and legs all over the place. Don’t jump into the shooter and don’t swipe for the ball. You should be very vertical. Verticality is crucial: if you go up straight with your arms high, it’ll challenge opponent’s shot AND make it harder for refs to whistle you for a foul
The third point is your actual blocking technique. I know crazy rejections that send the ball out of bounds look good and can charge your teammates emotionally, but think about this: you’re giving the other team a chance to set and run their out of bounds play right underneath your basket.
Instead of going for a spike, try to reject or tip the ball as it’s leaving your opponent’s hand. One more thing Bill Russell and D-Wade among others tended to do: try to earn your team an extra possession by redirecting the ball to your guy and start the break.
The last but not the least: your basic positioning and awareness. You have to know where the ball is on the court to be able to put yourself in position keep it from going into the basket. Ideally, you also want to understand who are you guarding and what are his or her go-to moves.
And finally, Alonzo Mourning’s reminder of the day: even the best shot blockers can’t block everything. What you want to do is to try and make life harder for the opposing scorers and challenge every shot that you could possibly challenge. If you get a block – great, if you make them think about your presence, contest their looks and make them miss – you did your job just fine.
Enjoy your block party and stay safe out there.
Stats curtesy of Basketball-Reference.com
Understanding the Art of Blocking Ads through Google Ads Settings Android
Understanding the Art of Blocking Ads through Google Ads Settings Android
If you are a web and smart device users, you must have understood the importance of having a great user experience because you might get jaded by the absurdity and agility of the digital universe.
Better user experience:
Having better user experience would mean seamlessly using the phone, internet and apps but then, the ads are annoying because unexpected pop-ups can disturb you. For instance, how would you feel when ads abruptly show up while you are making an emergency doctor appointment? Undoubtedly, it is not a beautiful experience and nobody loves to have this kind of experience.
Dealing with unnecessary ads:
How to find the resources:
You can certainly search on Google to find resources that can help you in finding the perfect tips and trucks. However, if you want to learn with dealing with ads more technically, then you should try to find some forums. You can certainly take advantages of Google support forum and other tech community.
That is not all if you know able of technicalities of your phone, then you can experiment and investigate to find various features that might help you in dealing with unnecessary ads.
Understanding the importance of ads:
Ads are not as bad as you might think them to be because sometimes some ads could be just the thing that you might have been looking for. For instance, when looking for restaurants, suggestions about food items that you love might just ease the selection process. That means ads are important but too much of it could be bothersome. Hence, you must know what ads you want and what ads you do not.
For that, you have to look at your preferences and browsing habits. Make certain that you browse mindfully because then you would know what you need exactly.
Know your digital behavior:
The crux of the matter is that you should know how you use the internet and digital technology. It is not only about deactivating the ads but also knowing about your habits. Recently, Instagram has developed a feature to let users know how much time they spend on the web. This feature helps you in identifying your habits and also helps you in correcting them.
In fact, you should not overtly use digital platform because it can be addictive. So, ensure that you understand the pros and cons of digital media by learning the technicalities of the media.
By understanding the pros and cons of the digital platform, you would be able to use it properly. Especially, you should be careful about the ads that are annoying. So, make sure that you spend time in understanding those aspects clearly.
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Shot blocking can be intimidating, or an art form
To some, blocking shots is an art. To others, it’s an attitude.
Lawrence Woodmere girls basketball coach Karim Shabazz is equal parts both. Shabazz, a 7-2 former center who spent 10 years at various levels of professional basketball, knows a thing or two about the art — or attitude — of rejection.
“Blocking shots, for me, it was all about angles and timing,” said Shabazz, the 2004 NBA D-League Defensive Player of the Year. “Knowing that I was so tall that I could really, really wait until the last moment to block somebody’s shot.”
Shabazz said young basketball players often fall into bad habits, like swinging at the ball to get the emphatic rejections often seen on ESPN. Instead, “positioning is key,” he said.
The Long Island girls basketball scene has several prolific shot-blockers, including two who stand well over six-feet. In Shabazz’s opinion, that’s the equivalent of having a seven-footer in men’s basketball because of how it can alter an offensive gameplan.
“It’s an intimidation factor because you are basically telling them, ‘This is my area. You’re not going to be able to score in here today,’ ” he said.
Here’s a look at three of the most high-profile shot-rejecters on Long Island.Subscribe to Newsday’s high school sports newsletter
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Danielle Hippner, East Meadow
Few interior defenders anticipate like Hippner, a 6-3 junior pacing the Jets’ strong start to the season.
“She just has a real good knack at knowing when to go for the ball,” coach Peter Olenik said. “She plays the ball very well.”
Olenik said Hippner also knows when to leave her spot to provide help defense, and she’s been an anchor for East Meadow, which has already clinched a playoff berth in Nassau AA-II. Olenik said she averages about six or seven blocks per game but said that number would be higher if his team played more man defense.Danielle Hippner of East Meadow Credit: James Escher
Most opposing players stand little chance against Hippner, who usually doesn’t have to jump to swat a shot away.
Hippner came to Olenik as a lanky freshman with obvious potential. It took time to refine her skills, but she’s upped her playmaking ability in a short time. Offensively, she’s averaging 22.4 points per game — fourth-most in Nassau through play on Friday.
“The type of player that she’s become in three years, it’s been remarkable,” Olenik said. “As a freshman, she was very lanky and just needed time to grow into her body.”
Rachel Mahler, Syosset
Braves coach Michael Ferreira calls Mahler a rim-runner. It’s not rare for Mahler to block a shot on one end, run the floor in transition and then drain a straightaway three-pointer.
The 6-1 senior bound for Washington-St. Louis has improved her athleticism this season, and Ferreira said it’s done wonders for her production.
“You talk about a big who’s running with our guards and coming top three in sprints,” Ferreira said. “I think she’s just so focused on improving every facet of her game.”Rachel Mahler of Syosset. Credit: James Escher
Offenses learn quickly that Mahler is as agile as they come in the paint. She’s athletic enough to defend outside the arc, too, but everyone knows her true skills are showcased under the basket.
Mahler’s season-high for blocks is 12. She has two triple-doubles with double-digit blocks. She’s averaging 5.6 blocks per game.
“She does most of her shot-blocking from help defense,” Ferreira said. “It’s just her willingness to get in good position. She’s so smart. Her timing is so spot-on. She’s baiting players to come into her house so she can turn them away.”
Lauren Romito, Hauppauge
Romito is a true game-changer. She’s 6-3 with long arms, making her a nightmare for smaller guards to score on. Recording double-digit blocks in a game has become routine.
“She does a great job not fouling,” coach Jamie Edson said after Hauppauge’s 48-30 win over Harborfields on Jan. 3.
That can go unnoticed, but in girls basketball, players with imposing size advantages can be on the wrong end of foul calls on physical plays. Romito uses her positioning and length to let the ball come to her, making it easier to deny shots.Lauren Romito of Hauppauge Credit: James Escher
“The way that we play defense, when we can get her in the middle, I mean, you can’t get layups, you can’t get easy shots,” Edson said. “Even though she’s inside, she sets the tone for our outside defense because we know we can get out on shooters.”
Players who quickly realize they can’t drive against Hauppauge when Romito is in the game instead opt for rushed midrange jumpers. Still, those shots need to be quick because Romito reacts quickly and extends her arms to meet shooters.
“She’s the whole key defensively for us,” Edson said.
Other shot-blockers to watch: Raiana Brown (North Babylon), Emily Cohen (Roslyn), Lilah Grubman (Syosset), Cathryn Kramer (Island Trees), Janay Lagagneur (Valley Stream Central), Meaghan McCaffrey (Mineola), Colleen Moulder (Kellenberg), Keleysha Petit-Frere (Farmingdale), Victoria Venus (Mineola).
Kenny DeJohn joined Newsday’s high school sports department in 2015 and has covered multiple state championships, Division I athletes and Long Island’s top high school programs. He also covers Stony Brook University women’s lacrosse.
Celebrating the art of blocking
Can blocking the ball be an art? It can be.
Some of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket have had a reputation of leaving the opposition, and the spectators, frustrated with a dour approach. But what of contemporary cricket when the administrators are struggling to draw the paying public to the venues to support Test matches. Not that the existence of Tests is under immediate threat but there are disturbing signs that the format is losing its appeal with the younger generation.
Hashim Amla, by that yardstick, should be unpopular with cricket followers. On the contrary, his stock would rise in the eyes of the connoisseurs, the old fashioned cricket watcher, hooked to five days of an intense, or not so intense, battle of attrition between bat and ball.
There is room for the Amlas and the Temba Bavumas, testing the patience of those bred on the T20 brand, engaging the opposition with their dour brand of batting.
If the flair to hit can be natural, so can the skill to block. Amla, shedding his shots and only looking to block, at times even half-volleys, has been one of the finest grafters in modern cricket and A.B. de Villiers one of the cleanest hitters of the ball, creating gaps where none exist.
Interestingly, de Villiers owns the record for the fastest century in ODIs (31 balls) but the same batsman batted 220 balls to make 33 to save a Test against Australia in 2012.
Gautam Gambhir, a busy man at the crease, cherishes his draw-forcing knock at Napier in 2009. It was tough. For a batsman who loves to play shots, it was quite uncharacteristic to face 436 balls in 643 minutes. Yet, he played, because the team wanted him to. As did Yashpal Sharma in his heyday, acceding to the team’s decision to graft.
Said Gambhir, “Every ball played was a run for me. Actually I was not playing for the scoreboard. It was for the team. It is all mental. You can be hitting the ball anytime but defending is challenging, I have always believed that defending is not instinctive, strokemaking is.”
It must have been tougher for Gambhir because the man at the other end was a certain V.V.S. Laxman, who also compiled a century, but also hit 25 fours. “It is not easy to curtail your game but Gautam was exemplary. He was in a zone,” recalled Laxman.
The dour batsman has not gone out of fashion completely. It is the demand of Test cricket even in these times of aggressive cricket. The proof came on Sunday afternoon when Amla blocked and blocked. It was a fascinating contest with the bowler probing and the batsman shutting all angles. Both played the mind game well and it must have been hard for the batsman to curb his instincts.
Mohinder Amarnath, possessing a tight defence and also a wide range of shots, put the aggressive bowler in his place with the hook. “Good defence is a must. You can’t survive in the longer version without reading the situation. You occupy the crease only when you have the defence,” said Mohinder.
No place for grafters? It is argued that batting displays like South Africa’s will keep the spectators away from Test cricket. But what if the roles were reversed and India was saving the match? Every ball blocked would have been met with cheers from the galleries.
That, then, is the essence of Test cricket. The aggressors are welcome. But there is a place for the blocker too!
Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace has mastered the art of blocking shots – The Oakland Press
AUBURN HILLS — If blocking shots is an art form, consider the Pistons’ Ben Wallace the Michelangelo of swatting shots. Wallace has helped innovate the art. For years, the majority of blocks went to the giants, to 7-foot centers like Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At 6-9, Wallace became the shortest player in NBA history to block 2,000 shots, passing the milestone with his block of the Nets’ Devin Harris Tuesday. Wallace is just the 17th player in NBA history to block 2,000 shots, and just the sixth under 7 feet tall. “Shot blocking is not always about the big guys,” Wallace said. “You got timing, footwork, being in the right place at the right time and being on a solid defensive team. Force a guy to take a tough shot or a spinning shot, then it’s my job to try to come over and help.” The four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has made an art form of the weak-side block, and a large number of those 2,000 blocks have come with Wallace coming from that direction. Opponents think they have an open shot — until Wallace comes over and sends their shot into the stands. Wallace said it’s a credit to his teammates that he has been able to get so many blocks, because it’s often his teammates’ defense that leads to his blocks. “That’s where most of the blocks usually take place: Help side,” Wallace said. “If you got guys out on the floor forcing guys to drive to the basket blind and throwing up tough shots, it allows me to get over and get some blocks.” Pistons coach John Kuester said it doesn’t surprise him that Wallace has been able to reach 2,000 blocks, because he sees how much pride Wallace takes in his defense and perfecting the art of shot blocking. “The art itself is his energy, understanding his timing, getting players at the right moment, to get key blocks,” Kuester said. “He’s done that throughout his career. What an accomplishment, to have 2,000 blocks.” Wallace has been able to hit the career milestone in part because he is healthy for the first time in the last few years. Wallace has started all 49 games this season for the Pistons. Entering Saturday night, he had 53 blocks (1.1 per game) and is averaging 5.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals this season. Kuester never expected Wallace to have the impact he has, but remembers Wallace looking a little different when the season started. “I think the thing that he has emphasized from the beginning, when we met that first time in the summer, was he says, ‘Kue, I feel good,’ ” said Kuester, who coached Wallace the last two seasons in Cleveland. “I said, ‘Good, I’m happy for you,’ not thinking that he would play the amount of minutes (he has). “I never assumed he would be playing the way he has been playing. If our record was better, he would be in consideration for All-Star status. I feel he’s been phenomenal. He’s had that type of impact on our team, but unfortunately we haven’t had the record that’s deserving of people being on the All-Star team.” At the start of the season, there was even talk of Wallace sitting out the second game of back-to-backs or getting days off to keep him fresh. “That flew right out the window,” Kuester said. “He’s been too valuable, plus I’ve always gone up to him … I say, ‘How you doing? How you feel? Tell me what you need.’ He’s pretty honest. He says, ‘Kue, you probably want to think about getting me out earlier,’ when we have a back-to-back here. I say, ‘Absolutely.’ “You talk about players you trust. He’s somebody that has been a huge part of my first year, understanding what we need to get done.” Wallace’s impact also stretches beyond the floor. He has been a leader for the Pistons’ young players and has helped show them the ropes in the NBA. “He’s had an impact on our team — people don’t recognize it — not only in the games, but in practice, and how he takes to the young players after games,” Kuester said. “He goes and lifts with them after a game. This is a man that is 35 years old, he’s trying to teach all these young players what it is to be a professional.” One player Wallace has been working with in the weight room is rookie Austin Daye, who at 6-11, 205 pounds, needs to add weight and strength. Wallace has earned the nickname “Body” through his hard work in the weight room and is the perfect guy for Daye to learn from. “He’s got great potential,” Wallace said of Daye. “He has about as much potential as I had when I started. Now look at me. He’s on his way.” Wallace has shied away from any talk about whether he will play again next season, but the impact he has had this season has helped cement his legacy with the Detroit Pistons franchise and erased some of the bad taste people had when he left for Chicago. But Wallace says he is not worried about any of that, and he only has one goal. “I’m trying to win some games,” he said. Dave Pemberton covers the Pistons for The Oakland Press. E-mail him at [email protected] and read his blog at theoaklandpress.com.90,000 Artists oppose nudity blocking on social media
More and more activists are demanding that social media reconsider its policy on radical art, as the number of artists whose posts are deleted or blocked is growing.
One striking example: in April, American artist Betty Tompkins was blocked on Instagram for several days because of a post depicting her photorealistic work Fuck Painting No. 1 (1969). The painting is in the collection of the Center Pompidou in Paris.Tompkins, in her work, speaks bluntly about the phenomenon of female desire and admits that over the past five years she has taken about a dozen pictures, but it is being blocked for the first time. “This is very scary because we all use social media for personal promotion.” Tompkins has been censored twice. Her work was confiscated at customs in France in 1973 and in Japan in 2006. Things are worse today, she said. “Misogyny reigns now. Instagram reminds me of the 1950s, when nothing could be said. “Tompkins’ account was reinstated after several hundred people complained to the company, including employees of its galleries PPOW in New York and Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels.
Instagram, like Facebook, blocks nude images, although the social media giant made concessions last year by allowing artistic nudity in sculpture and painting. This came after massive protests over the network banning Gustave Courbet’s famous painting The Origin of the World (1866). However, an aggressive policy towards works of art, including the statue of Venus of Willendorf, which is more than 30 thousand years old.years, continues. Canadian artist Keith King says her paintings were removed “although they did not violate anything.” Posts with photos in which she darkened private parts were also sent to the ban. “The situation is definitely out of control,” she says, noting that she also depends on the sales of her work on Instagram.
Social media seem to be unable to distinguish between art and pornography. Several posts featuring Alix Marie’s work have been removed from London’s Roman Road gallery page, including Mammography 1 (2016), a blurred image of a woman’s breasts hidden by glass.“Many of Alix’s works have been censored, especially those with female breasts or nipples. But shots with male torsos or nipples were not banned, and this is already sexism, ”says Marisa Bellani, founder and director of Roman Road. It is forbidden to upload photos of male genital organs on social networks, but they are not blocked so quickly.
In the US, the National Coalition Against Censorship launched the #WeTheNipple campaign, urging Facebook and Instagram to lift the ban on nude photography. About 250 artists, employees of museums and galleries supported her.Among them is the photographer Spencer Tunick. On June 2, he staged a protest in front of the Facebook office in New York. The protesters came naked, hiding behind only posters depicting male nipples.
The protests were heard. Instagram is introducing a new feature already available on Facebook that allows you to file a complaint in case of blocking. A post that allegedly violated Instagram’s nude guidelines may be asked to be reviewed twice. By the way, nude is one of the most demanded queries.
However, Wendy Olsoff, co-founder of PPOW Gallery, believes Instagram’s stance on nudity is a symptom of a bigger problem. “It seems that we are living in a dark, reactionary time. Corporations fear losing support from the right, and so platforms like Instagram and Facebook must decide how to proceed. We are moving inexorably towards an authoritarian state – not only in the US, but also in the UK and throughout Europe, ”she says.90,000 Blocking of reality – Newspaper Kommersant No. 137 (5169) dated 03.08.2013
Exhibition of contemporary art
An exhibition of 11 Chinese artists with the simple name “ChinaChina” is being held in the main Center for Contemporary Art on the territory of Ukraine. The elephant tread of the authors of the Celestial Empire marveled in Kiev VALENTIN DYAKONOV.
Sitting in a dazzling white cafe on the fifth floor of the Pinchuk Art Center, you feel like a representative of the elite of the future from some sci-fi movie. Outside the center, a poor, but vigorous life is in full swing.Here they are watching the fight from the standpoint of independence, bought for a lot of money. For two years in a row, the center paid for Ukraine’s participation in the Venice Biennale, and Elton John, a friend of the founder, businessman Viktor Pinchuk, played at the opening of the pavilion in 2007. At the last show in Venice, the Ministry of Culture did not even have enough money for a hotel for artists. Recently, the director of the Mystetsky Arsenal, Natalya Zabolotnaya, ordered to paint over the politically unfit for a state institution mural painting by Vladimir Kuznetsov at the exhibition “The Great and the Majestic” – a work similar in style and plot was demonstrated without any problems at Pinchuk’s.The center positions itself above the battle – “It’s hard to be a god”, Ukrainian version. The art here shows the appropriate – tested by the world market and causing public resonance. For example, the center hosted the first large retrospective of Damien Hirst in Europe.
“ChinaChina” is a rare group exhibition for the center. It starts with a powerful chord and does not lose its tempo, which, however, can be explained by the more than modest footage of the Center. The art of the Chinese, executed on a grand scale typical for the economy and construction in the country, is a bit cramped here.It seems that the walls of the historic mansion on Khreshchatyk are bursting at the seams. Right at the entrance lies Zhao Zhao’s sculpture “Officer” (2011) – a monumental image of the Chinese defender of order that has fallen apart into several parts. The artist, who worked as assistants for Ai Weiwei, became famous for his action in Tiananmen Square. Here in 1989 a group of workers and students gathered for a demonstration against corruption and totalitarianism, however, unlike similar events in Eastern Europe, this did not end well for the protesters: according to various sources, during the suppression of the popular uprising, from 300 to 2,800 people died …Information about those arrested and executed by the Chinese authorities has not yet been made public, and access to articles on the events of June 4 in the country is closed. Many students of today are not even aware of this episode, so systematically the memory of the episode of disobedience was erased. In 2008, Zhao Zhao ventured to the square on another anniversary of the protests, wearing a police uniform, moreover, sewn illegally: copying the clothes of officials is punishable by law. Naturally, he was arrested and beaten, but then released.The sculpture “Officer” associated with the dangerous performance appeared after Ai Weiwei was imprisoned. The Center notes with satisfaction that for Ukraine the image of a destroyed policeman acquired additional significance after the inhabitants of the village of Vradiyevka near Nikolaev stormed the local police department on July 2: law enforcement officers kidnapped and brutally raped a local girl. Hatred of the police, however, in Ukraine is of a different kind, and even a policeman split into pieces will not become a symbol of protest, the sculpture of two human heights looks painfully heavy.
The curator of the center, Belgian Bjorn Geldhof, gave the exhibition the subtitle “individuality – collective”. He insists that this is a problem of global importance: the West is also thinking about how to sacrifice the personal in favor of society. But at ChinaChina, it is the differences that are striking. Most of the similarities with the European or post-Soviet reality of a small country are difficult to find. Even Sun Xun’s detailed, busy mural on the theme of the Holodomor outlines an abyss.Hand-made graphics, due to our deep-rooted ideas about art as a frivolous occupation, seems to be the wrong language of a story about a tragedy. Perhaps the topic of pork could unite two nations – the stereotypical Ukrainian from jokes and, for example, the Chinese artist Zhang Huang, who settled in his home a pig found under the rubble after the monstrous earthquake in Sichuan province. By the way, the persecution against Ai Weiwei began because the artist, according to the authorities, got into the topic of corruption and negligence of state building in too much detail, which led to the fact that newly built housing and institutions in Sichuan collapsed like houses of cards.Zhang, however, for goodness and hope: he paints a ceremonial portrait of a pig with ashes on canvas and builds a pen for two adorable pigs (they smell, however, not at all cute).
Of course, there is also Ai Weiwei himself, who embodies the basic principles of Chinese art in his horribly banal works. They are simple: first, the scale. Ai Weiwei brought 1000 compatriots to the 2007 “Document”, of whose portraits one of the installations at “ChinaChina” consists. Secondly, accessibility, directness: even if you do not understand the idea, see point one and be amazed at the scale.Unlike European art, which constantly deals with the physical boundaries of the work, completeness and sketchiness, the Chinese is rushing ahead. The members of “ChinaChina” seemed to have specially forgotten how to be the Chinese who so admired us before the economic boom – masters of ink and parchment, geniuses of understatement. Subtle landscapes have long turned into an industry, and every self-respecting artist competes not with Qi Baishi, but with the pace of economic development that is frightening to the whole world. Next to the million-strong cities built in the steppe from scratch, installations at “ChinaChina” will seem like music boxes.And the most understandable are the works, from which it is clear that the Chinese society is not only a team that goes as a closely-knit pig to conquer the markets of the planet, but also the place of residence of individuals with their quirks. Cao Fei, very fashionable in the West (her installation “Factory Utopia” was shown in the Moscow “Garage” at the exhibition “A certain state of the world?”) Specially for “ChinaChina” built a room with second-hand clothes (“Eyeliner”, 2013) … On each label – a story about an imaginary owner, there will be a total of a book of medium thickness.The texts are written in the even tone of a naturalist, and the portrait of a modern Chinese woman here is not very far from Emma Bovary and other neurotics of French literature a century and a half ago – except that they have to console themselves mainly with porn films.
Tablet for locking | marinafinchuk.art
When creating knitted products for decorative purposes (napkins, tablecloths, runners, curtains, etc.), the stage of shaping the product ( blocking ) is very important. Only after drying in a straightened and fixed form will our creation appear in all its glory.Despite this, some knitters often avoid these finishing manipulations – this work may seem difficult, uninteresting, and not everyone knows how to do it. And here there may be options. In the form of a master class, I will share my method, which I came to empirically and now I use in the manufacture of knitted cafe curtains -zazdrostok (knitted cafe curtains) .
I straighten my curtains on the tablet. Its production may seem time consuming, but you will now see that it is quite simple.And by spending a little time once, you can save it in the future.
Such a tablet will simplify the work of those craftswomen who regularly knit decorative items. I also think that this is a good way to care for a knitted thing – for drying after washing and possible starching.
I used wooden toothpicks to fix the item and later replaced them with plastic pins. Both do not leave traces of rust after moistening on a light knitted garment.Based on this, I use a sheet of polystyrene covered with linen canvas as a surface for sticking toothpicks.
If you rarely knit, then for occasional use, a “bare” sheet of polystyrene will do. But it is important to choose a foam with a higher density so that it does not leave behind flakes on the product. True, the frequent hit of toothpicks in the same place breaks the nests, preventing the use of such foam for a long time.
Many inconveniences can be avoided by covering the foam with linen canvas.In this case, foam of any density that is available to you will do. The fabric will keep it from crumbling and will help hold the toothpicks in place. The most common foam sheet size is 50 X 100 cm, but larger sizes can be found. And if it is necessary to reduce it, the foam is cut with a cutter. My tablet is 10 cm thick, but a 5 cm sheet will work too.
Choose a medium-sized checkered canvas that will help you navigate and maintain symmetry to the item you are fixing.
We measure the canvas. It should be the sum of the dimensions of the working surface and the sides, and also contain a small allowance. We apply the canvas to the foam. It is important to keep track of the parallelism of the lines of the fabric pattern and the edge of the foam sheet.
To temporarily fix the canvas to the sides of the foam, we use a stapler and staples, which we shoot close to the future working surface of the tablet. We stretch the fabric as much as possible, making sure that there are no distortions.
Gradually apply glue for polyurethane moldings along the entire perimeter to the lower part of the sides and glue the fabric, trying to stretch it.We use staples to temporarily fix the tension.
Now we saturate all the sides with PVA glue. This is a groundwork for the future. It will not come in handy soon, but if the tablet eventually ceases to hold the toothpicks in places of constant piercing, it will be possible to stretch the second layer of the canvas. This will be enough for the toothpick pins, and therefore the item to be fixed, to be held only with the help of a cloth.
We also saturate the corners with glue and glue them, carefully wrapping them on the sides.
After the PVA glue dries, all staples are removed from the tablet, and excess tissue should be trimmed.
The tablet is ready to use. With the help of toothpicks, you can fix both wet, starched and dry products on it. It can be washed. But do not dry the product on it with a steam generator, steamer or hot iron – the foam can swell from exposure to high temperatures. If there is a need to speed up the drying of a knitted product fixed on the tablet, you can use a hair dryer in a warm setting.
Transparent plastic pins for tulle curtains turned out to be even more convenient for blocking. It is a pity that they are a little short, but otherwise, they are very convenient to work with – they are smooth (they do not cling to the threads) and, again, do not leave any marks on the white.
> After securing the curtains with pins on the unfolded product, I moisten the tablet with water. Then I dry it. The product takes on an ideal shape.
This is what a stretched curtain looks like
Above the first curtain, the second is placed and both of them are blocked at the same time (you just need to leave a little space between them for drying).
Laminate Tarkett Rus LAMIN’ART TC-Lock Black Buzz
|Panel area in a pack, m2||2.005|
|Panel length, m||one.292|
|Additional protective coating||Tech 3S|
|Wear resistance class||AC4|
|Panels per package, pcs.||eight|
|Piece area, m2||0.251 sq. m.|
|Overall coating thickness, mm||eight|
|Panel width, m||0.194|
Categories: BLACK LAMIN’ART90,000 Art sites want to block for depraved content / Law & Order According to the draft Concept of Information Security of Roskomnadzor, sites hosting many works of classical painting, sculpture, classic literary works and films are supposed to be blocked as part of protecting children from information of a corrupting nature.
The regulation of the protection of children from information of a “non-childish” nature should be extended to information products that have significant historical, artistic or other cultural value for society, according to the draft Concept of information security of children, published on Monday by Roskomnadzor.
Currently, the current law “On the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development” does not apply to the circulation of information products that have significant historical, artistic or other cultural value for society.In particular, such products are not affected by the provisions of the law on blocking access to Internet resources containing information harmful to children.
Judging by the criteria for evaluating “adult” products given by experts in the draft Concept, if this proposal is accepted, Internet sites containing many works of classical painting and sculpture, as well as classical literary works and films will be blocked. In addition, the draft Concept proposes to toughen licensing requirements for telecom operators, providing for the mandatory provision of content filtering services on the Internet and mobile networks.
Which sites are already being blocked in Russia and which are being collected
Since November 1, 2012, a “black list” of websites with prohibited content (for example, instructions on suicides and drug making) has been functioning in Russia. It is led by Roskomnadzor, Rospotrebnadzor and the Federal Drug Control Service.
On June 21, the State Duma adopted an “anti-piracy” law, which consolidated the legal basis and determined the procedure for restricting access to sites through which films and television films are distributed in violation of copyright.The law made it possible to block a resource accused by the copyright holder of posting illegal content for 15 days on the basis of a court decision on interim measures even before the copyright holder filed a formal lawsuit.