Strongest Of All Time #SOAT

Zydrunas Savickas and Bill Kaz Kazmaier

Zydrunas Savickas and Bill Kaz Kazmaier

I was listening to the Worlds Strongest Man PodCast (yeah I’m late) and they were talking about the Strongest Of All Time Strongmen, and only Eddie Hall pulled an old school strongman out of the mix (Louis Cyr) where as most others were concentrating mostly on WSM guys, which is an understandable mistake to make given the context. Brian Shaw refused to name a 3rd but gave mention to Mariusz Pudzianowski and some others, he was the only one to mention the dominator too. 

In short most people said Bill Kazmaier, Jon Pall Sigmarsson and Zydrunas Savickas. The latter is the more interesting one because these are his peers and they are name checking him, which is a huge thing. It would like like Jenson Button saying Lewis Hamilton is the best driver of all time. I was really surprised that they named an active strongman, but equally I loved that they did. 

Colin Bryce made some good points about why Brian Shaw may not be remembered for the monster that he is because he doesn’t really show off and doesn’t finish events if he doesn’t need the points. Basically he doesn’t play the crowd, he’s playing just for points and the win. I say for no reason because last years WSM 2016, there were a moment where Thor and Eddie agreed to end it on the deadlift and take equal first points. Eddie played the points because he has dislocated his fingers and we know he could have done more but he played tactics due to injury. Zydrunas on the other hand near enough threw away his win by going for a world record log press, and often shows off his brute strength. 

My Strongest Of All Time

I am aware there are guys moving nearly 4x their body weight, and Olympic lifters with amazing numbers but I’m sticking within the spirit of Strongman and the extremes of human performance 🙂

Arthur Saxon Bent Press

Arthur Saxon Bent Press

Author Saxon – Arthur Saxon were born nearly 100 years before Worlds Strongest Man even existed, he nearly envisioned the WSM TV Format and some of his world record breaking feats still stand today.

There were no steroids, no growth, no intimate muscle knowledge or training techniques, very little body building knowledge existed. Still his feats are impressive, even more so for a man his size.  

There were so little available knowledge that Arthur Saxon (and his brothers) wrote a huge amount of the available literature at the time on how to get fit, strong and healthy, how to build a better body and generally documenting physical culture.

Much of the 100 year old advice given in his books (which are copyright free now) is still relevant today and even being touted as “new ideas” by modern science. 

Arthur invented the Saxon Side Bend which is one of my favourite core and abdominal moves, he used to eat like a beast, drink like a fish and even went to war with a dapper moustache.

What A Man! 

Zydrunas Savickas at Body Power 2017

Zydrunas Savickas at Body Power 2017

Zydrunas “Big Z” Savickas – The greatest in a long line of Lithuanian strongmen, having just turned 40 years old and holding 4 Worlds Strongest Man titles (matching Brian Shaw), with only 1 man holding more titles (The Dominator). Big Z is obviously the king of current day strongmen with even many of his peers saying the same thing.

When others struggle with events at Worlds Strongest Man, you see Big Z thunder up, the ground shaking under his steps, the crowd wide eyed and he lifts the weight like it wasn’t even there an shows his peers hows its done and strolls away.

I have met Big Z a number of times at various events, a fairly quiet man, doesn’t catch all that you say due to the language barrier and noise at the events but a really really nice guy and quite funny too.

At Body Power 2017, Bill Kazmaier did the forearm flex for a photo and Big Z stood up and did the same and his forearms are HUGE and made Kaz’s look normal size so Kaz took a step closer to the camera and pushed Zydrunas back a little and just a little fooling around between 2 legends of strongman.

 

Bill Kazmaier at Body Power 2017

Bill Kazmaier at Body Power 2017

Bill “Kaz” Kazmaier – When it comes to one of the early days legends of strongman, its all about Bill Kazmaier, while Jon Pall may have been the showman it were Kaz who were the berserker powerhouse.

I will always remember his eyes bulging out like Jim Carreys Mask Character and him slapping himself in the face Rowdy Roddy Piper style getting the rage up. 

Much like Eddie Hall having broken the 500kg Deadlift Barrier for the World Record, Kaz were the first man to break the 400kg Deadlift barrier for the World Record.

The fact they have Bill doing the commentary for world strongest man is awesome for me, along with Magnus they add some informed colour in to it. They KNOW what they are they talking about and what it takes. 

I’ve also met Kaz a few times and he’s also a really nice guy, and gave me a little interview a few years ago. I did want to get an interview for my blog this year when I spoke to him but he were just so damned busy when I met him, maybe next time. 

The Feats

I haven’t really gone on too much about what they have done and what makes them the strongest because you guys can read my Arthur Saxon post and the other 2 guys are well wrote about online so I won’t cover them again. 

This concludes my strongest of all time strongmen #SOAT.

AutoData Reports the Top 10 Serviced Cars

AutoData has released its annual Top 10 Serviced Cars of 2016 a few months back but I’m still working through my backlog. This really important information, it puts slant on used car buying and packs a punch. AutoData has access to about 67% of the auto workshops in the UK, and all which are using AutoData’s online services, so its a fairly comprehensive data set on the scale of things.

One of the things which screams good car, isn’t really about how many millions have been sold, how many you see on the road, or how long its been in production. Its when you see plenty of the on the road beyond 6 yrs old, when the warranty’s have run out AND they are worth spending on by having services and upkeep. No one regularly services a banger, its good money after bad.

I would say this dataset is bordering on definitive, the only larger dataset is the governments log of all registered cars, and perhaps the MOT log. I don’t believe these 2 potentially larger datasets would be more helpful. You MUST have an MOT, and it MUST be registered, but neither says its a good, reliable car or well looked after vehicle. However a voluntary willingness to spend, to service and maintain says the car is worth the effort and probably well looked after, hence being a better dataset for your car buying arsenal.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, when there are very few cars left on the road of a hugely popular (in its time) car, it usually means total nightmare or many faults. Without further ado, here is the list and later on in this post I’ll point out some examples of popular cars gone so very wrong.

Autodata Top 10 Most Serviced 2016
Position (2015 Pos) Make Model Year
#1 – (1) Ford Focus (2004-on)
#2 – (6) Vauxhall Astra H / MK5 (2004-on)
#3 – (4) Peugeot 206 (1998-on)
#4 (New) Ford Transit (2006-on)
#5 (New) Vauxhall Corsa D / MK4 (2006-on)
#6 (New) Volkswagen Transporter T5 (2003-on)
#7 – (2) Volkswagen Golf V / MK5 (2003-on)
#8 (New) Peugeot 307 (2001-on)
#9 – (3) BMW 3-Series (2005-on)
#10 – (5) Renault Clio II / MK2 (1998-on)

Once you remove Working vehicles and the evergreen BMW, you’re left essentially with half a dozen of the most popular cars in country, Focus, Astra H, 206, Corsa D, Golf V,  Clio II and 307 (larger class), that’s a really rock solid selection to find a used car from. Its also includes 3 of the cars my own extensive research lead me to (Focus 2006-2008, Astra 2007-2010 and Golf 2007-2009). 

It would have been nice if they had differentiated between iterations of Focus, 206 and others so you could get an idea of the mk or series, much like with the Astra mk H, Golf mk V, but beggars can’t be choosers.

My local independent garage swears blue by the 2008-2010 era Ford Focus, this is to the extent that he talked me out of buying a Hyundai i20 off him, and he didn’t even have a Focus to sell me. It would be interesting to see raw numbers like Ford Focus, total number, number of each year, number of each engine, but the dataset would be huge, useful as you could rule out problem engines, problem boxes etc but so very huge.

Previous Year Drop Outs

I thought it maybe interesting to include 2015’s Top 10 Drop Outs. I suspect in the Top 20 you would find some of the following, the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Honda Jazz, Honda Civic, Audi A4, Audi A3, Ford Mondeo, Merc A-Class, Nissan Qashqai, and maybe a Citroen C4 in there. A few of these dropped out of the top 10 since 2015, I didn’t think the Passat were that popular, I’m surprised the Fiesta Dropped out, its always hugely popular. 

AutoData Top 10 Most Serviced 2015
Position Make Model Year/MK
#7 Volkswagen Passat  
#8 Ford Fiesta  
#9 Ford Mondeo  
#10 Audi A4  

I am somewhat surprised none of the Japanese, Korean or other Eastern Marques made any sort of entry, I though the Kia C’eed, Honda Jazz, Honda Civic or Hyundai i20 would have made the list. Perhaps they don’t use AutoData at the marques dealerships.

As someone in the process of buying a(nother) car, I have been searching long and hard, and have paid the price for some mistakes, and this data tallys’ quite well with my own research so I’m sharing the data with you. Of course don’t take this as written in stone, but if you’re looking for a car in this class (small-medium car) then this data should hit the nail and give you a solid starting point. 

When Popular Cars Go Bad

Scrapyard Cars

Scrapyard Cars

A few examples I have experienced first hand are like the early model Fiat Punto, they were like buses, two at a time everywhere you looked, the Canary Yellow were so popular, and it was horrid. Now you rarely ever see them on the road due to the diabolical electrical problems, they used to go up the road like a damn disco. The early Ford Escorts pretty much fell apart with rust, I remember the boot floor and rear wheel arch turning to thermite ingredients, the Capri were almost as bad. 

The Aygo/C1/107, the early versions at least had a transmission made out of rubber bands, which literally died for a giggle. I’m not sure about the current models. I once saw a garage were buying them with a failed tranny for scrap, then fitting the uprated 190mm gearbox from the Toyota Yaris which isn’t made of rubber bands and reselling them as rock solid runner.

The Mercedes A-Class, the old 2002-ish Auto, the Gearbox ECU were a known fault. Due to the whacky way its set out you have to lift the whole engine out of the vehicle to get to the transmission. This means its silly expensive not only for the parts being a Merc but also in labour costs. While on gearboxes the more recent M32 Gearbox in lots of current cars means they are often resold at the first sign of slipping, then they are reconditioned by garages and sold out again.

Its always worth checking into known faults, check ebay and breakers to see how many of your car are for sale for parts or repairs, and figure just how bad the fault it. This is also a good indicator of parts availability too. 

Future Updates

I have fired off an email to AutoData to see if they will A, reply to a small time blogger like myself and B, provide me with the top 20 for a few years so I can do a more inclusive plotting. I will ask for 3 to 5 yrs so I can build a better image, I’m also hoping they will give me actual numbers so I can attempt to place them in an all time top 10, least the ones with more than 1 year beyond top 20.

I’m not sure they will already have that data or even if they will provide it for free even if they do.

I will of course report back with any replies I get. 

Beetle Mechanic Photo by Gratisography, Scrapyard by Emmet.

Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun

Stanless Steel Strongman Movie

Stanless Steel – Strongman Movie

Its been a while since I posted about Arthur “The Ironmaster” Saxon, but there are plenty of other guys who I admire. One other such man who I admire does simple but zany feats of strength. Many of these feats remind me of the old school strongmen, and absolutely of the early days of The Worlds Strongest Man when they was ripping phone books in half, bending iron bars on their heads, lifting huge amounts of money (coins) in boxes and more recently throwing washing machines.

The one which made Stanless Steel so famous, is that he’s believed to be the only man on the planet who can bend a Penny with his bare hands. Its not 100% clear where this penny is from, but either way the size, limited surface to get leverage and small grip space makes pretty much any penny bending impressive. UK penny’s are made from copper mostly, and US penny’s are made mostly from Zinc, and the EU Cent / UK Penny are made of Copper coated Steel. 

Zinc is softer than Copper and Steel, so the US Penny should be easier than the UK penny, but either way its impressive. I have tried with the UK 2p which is double the size so better leverage and still didn’t even make a mark on it, using pliers and my hand I could make a slight bend but no where near bending point.

Using 2 pairs of pliers is fairly easy, I would like to try with varying lengths of leverage. This would enable me to work up to the strength, certainly be a fun and interesting training tool, Pleskun achieves his leverage by using a towel. I assume this is to reduce the grease and sweat on his on fingers rather than enhance leverage. 

Stanley "Stanless Steel" Pleskun under a car tyre.

Stanley Pleskun Under a Pickup Truck

Some of the other feats are fun too, bending a kro-bar, a wheel brace and various other metal bars, a more interesting one would be where a 4×4 pick up truck drives over his body with the director of the Strongman Movie driving it. 

I haven’t watched the video yet, but along with Eddie Halls, CT Fletchers and various others they are on my play list, been watched or in the process of being watched. I’ve watched Eddie Halls, and I’m half way though CT Fletchers My Magnificent Obsession, I have Generation Iron 2 and Stanley Pleskun’s Strongman ready and waiting.  Its worth watching Generation Iron and Pumping Iron as well. 

As best I can ascertain the Strongman video isn’t a happy or fun story like Eddie Halls road to being the strongest. The movie is very much in the same vein as Mickey Rourkes The Wrestler, showing the dark underbelly or the sports-entertainment industry. The place there dreams are either dead or dying. It sounds like a really sort of sad movie, Stanley is just a guy who happens to be really strong and born in the wrong time, he should have been in PT Barnums Circus or the travelling freakshows of old. Perhaps he would have been a contender along with Sandow and Saxon on the strongman circuit.

Microsoft and Google Got Phished for £77 Million

The title reminds me of the slightly twisted Freddy Got Fingered movie, and this tale is almost as bizarre. Two of the worlds biggest technology giants Microsoft and Google were taken by a sophisticated phishing scam to the tune of $100,000,000, yes ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS!, or £77,000,000 of the Queens own British Pounds. 

This goes to show not even biggest more resourceful in the tech sector are immune to cyber attacks and internet fraudsters. Exact details, are not clear, but it would smell of insider information to me. It was reported a 48 yr old Lithuanian Man called Evaldas Rimasauskas tricked both Google and Microsoft into sending him more than $100,000,000 via Wire Transfers to settle bogus invoices. 

The details are a little light, on the hows, but he basically impersonated Quanta Computer, which is a Taiwanese Electronics manufacturer, which has most of the tech world as clients including Apple, Google, Facebook and many more. The questions I’m curious about are how did he know exactly what the invoices look like, how was he able to deliver it in the same way as usual and are wire transfers the usual method, lots of questions which won’t be answered.

Purely speculation on my part but my guess is he had some sort of inside information thus he knew what the invoice looks like and what sort of things to include, how big to make the dollar value and more. 

The end result is Mr Rimasauskas was charged with Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft and Money Laundering. The latter offence is interesting given the statements from both tech giants. 

Crime May Pay

Given he was charged with Money Laundering, and there is a wedge of cash missing it shows Rimasauskas may have hidden some away. Facebook said “We recovered the bulk of the funds.”, when dealing with many millions, bulk makes it sound like a significant chunk were missing.  Googles statement on the other hand says “We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.”, seems they got it all back.

Exactly how much is Bulk, breaking it down to smaller numbers. If someone steals 1,000 from me, and I get 975 back, I would say I got it back. If I got 900 back, I’d say I got most of it back, if I got 800 back, I’d say I got the bulk of it back. Extrapolate this to $50,000,000, and many millions could be missing from facebooks slice. 

Premium Domain

This is an instance where one of the sites I helped build were subject to a similar scam on the Quanta side. Their clients had been told many many times that only emails from their domain name were official, anything else they should ignore, this was even in the boiler plate and header of the email. Along with details of the account holders name, the account handlers name, and other information included in every email. 

At some point in 2014 I think, someone was sending fake invoices to clients, mostly for small amounts £30-100 as I recall. Not a single one paid up because the emails didn’t match templates, and the domain they used were were wrong. The company had educated their clients to spot an email/invoice which didn’t add up. 

This maybe a good lesson and opportunity to strengthen your own security… maybe buy a new premium domain which can’t be spoofed, and include a footer/boilerplate with all your emails to help clients. However when even Facebook and Google, who are market leaders in technology, and even make products which are meant to help protect against online scammers, get tricked, it paints a grim picture for your average user.

There is a more in depth story about this on Fortune, well worth a read. Google Laptop image by Caio.

Kenny Saylors – Facing The Fat (Water Fast)

Facing The Fat Amazon

Facing The Fat Amazon

I’m writing this while I watch the program, its about a guy Kenny Saylors who is 5ft 8in, weighing in at 315.2lbs, with 53% body fat at the time the video was made. According to Reinventing Kenny this isn’t the first step in his weight loss journey which while not diminishing the story, it irked me that he almost pretends the previous stuff doesn’t exist to make this movie more hard hitting I guess.

Anyway for Facing The Fat, he has lost 150lb previously, but here he decides to do a water fast and kick start a (new) healthy lifestyle. The program is a little didactic, condescending, almost dumbed down. Remember this isn’t his first rodeo even though many times its implied or suggested its his first, the style reminds me of that twat Louis Theroux. I’m going to overlook the style and concentrate more on the core effects and changes.

There are some funny moments, like when he’s getting his first colonic irrigation a song starts playing with the lyrics “Something unspeakable is going to occur, and its going to be a shock to someone”, made me chuckle. 

Kenny Saylors Orginal Attempt

Kenny Saylors Orginal Attempt

Around 35 days in he found out David Blaine had a world record from the box thing for fasting, then some Russian guy did 50 days fasting so he decided to go got a world record of 55 days. This is on top of the 2 weeks before he did a juice fast. So in 70 days total, he lost about 50lbs, which is 200lbs total including the Reinventing Kenny and Facing the Fat, so hell of a story. 

Its interesting that he drank a gallon of water per day, and pissed 366 times in 55 days, thats 6-7 times a day pissing, I don’t think I piss that much now. 

I also got a little pissed off with the constant god references, it really irked me some hat. I wouldn’t really waste my time watching this. The best they have by way of credibility is an internist cardiologist body builder and the “doctor” who runs a health spa / healing clinic. They feign safety issues but still seem to imply is safe, even Guiness at the end refuse to accept his world record as they believe people would die trying to beat it. 

Its now included in Amazon Prime membership. 

The Election in My Area

Hazel Grove Result via BBC.

Hazel Grove Result via BBC.

Well the overall result is as I expected in that the Tory Government has just held on, albeit I didn’t think they would need a coalition, I actually thought would be labour who may need to form one. Alas my local area, that Tory [email protected] William Wragg won with quite a significant margin, almost 3o% more than the nearest rival which were the hard campaigning Lisa Smart. 

Liberals did better than I expected given that I firmly believe the nearly a decade they had control of the actual council they have slowly killed the town. This was a town which some years back was talking about applying to become a city, around the time Preston was promoted to City if I remember rightly.

Local Area Election Results Map

Local Area Election Results Map

Now the town has no nightclubs, no nightlife, approx 1 in 5 shops are empty, the once huge celebrated market no longer exists, now its artesian stall and vintage indoor stuff. Surrounding towns Ashton, Gorton, Macclesfield, Hyde and various others have thriving jumbo markets. Stockport once had a market so big that my mum remembers people used to come from miles around on coach trips to shop in Stockport and visit the market. It once was growing so much they were planning to close a car park on Saturdays to put more stalls in, there were even stalls setup on steps they were running out of space. Now you can drive through there on a Saturday afternoon. 

The Mary Portas Pilot Scheme gave the town £100,000 (along with £362,000 more from matched amounts and other sources) and a report on how to improve the town centre which was failing. Lots of that money was spent on Christmas Lights, Arts Centres and Shop fronts while Portas was pushing it towards the market and rejuvinating it. The recommendation to lower parking costs or even scrap them was ignored, as was a plan to lower business rates.  

The loss of any type of night life, the market, deteriorating transport links, high parking costs, putting the town into the death throws as it were all under the LibDems watch.  

The only upside is the area Council is Stockport, that is now under Labour Control, which is within Manchester which is also under Labour Control (just). I don’t think labour have had control of Stockport, least not since I paid any attention. 

Perhaps this could change the area, and get things moving the right way in this little part of the country. 

Images are courtesy of the BBC Website.