Of Old Boxers and Old Movies

12 Dec

My friends and I have some weird text conversations. We talk about all sorts of things, but we mostly try to stump each other on trivia. We consider ourselves experts in all knowledge that will only lead to fortune on a game show. The other night we had one such conversation. Hopefully, you can tell that the conversations can go in any direction.

It went, with slight edits, as follows. to help guide you through this high level conversation, my friend’s comments are in bold.

85 years ago the old Southern Conference became the SEC. There were 13 original members. Did you know Sewanee was one of them?

I knew that.

So was Tulane.

Georgia Tech also. I believe they dropped out in 64… when did Sewanee get out?

1940

John Lennon was killed 37 years ago today.

That was yesterday.

Although, Archie Moore died on this day in 1998.

Correct. My bad. The Ole Mongoose was cornerman for Foreman when Ali stopped him in Zaire. Moore’s last fight was against a young Cassius Clay in 62.

He also played Jedediah in The Carpetbaggers, one of the all time great movies.

Yes, and was in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Sugar Ray Robinson was in a couple of Sinatra movies. Archie Moore also worked with James “Quick” Tillis, a Tulsa heavyweight who was a great boxer but not much heart. Tillis played in The Color Purple with Oprah. I flew in 81 to Chicago on a junket to see Tillis fight Mike “Hercules” Weaver for the WBA title. Tillis was named Sprint Tillis after the fight. He ran all night long. I saw better fights in the halls of high school.

Which boxer was in the Tony Rome movies?

Tillis’ daughter was an outstanding basketball player at Duke. Iciss Tillis.

I remember her.

Cassius Clay in 62 was in Requiem for a Heavyweight with Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn.

I didn’t know that.

Rocky Graziano was in Tony Rome.

I thought somebody else was in those movies.

Sugar Ray Robinson was in The Detective with Sinatra. LaMotta had a bit part in Graziano’s bio played by Paul Newman…

Sinatra got Joe Louis a job as a greeter at Caesar’s Palace.

Max Schmeling paid for his funeral.

 

 

 

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Movie Wisdom – Kirk Douglas Edition

9 Dec

Today is the 101st birthday of Kirk Douglas, one of Hollywood’s great leading men. To celebrate this day, I decided to look for words of wisdom in his movies. He starred in many films, but, under the established rules, the quotes must come from movies that I have seen. If you have other favorites please let me know.

Without further adieu, here are some wise words from the movies of Kirk Douglas.

From 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I’ve yet to see the day you can make a deal with a mad dog.

From Man Without a Star

Twirlin’ a gun never saved a man’s life.

From Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Poker’s played by desperate men who cherish money.

From The Vikings

Lies will not sustain a tyrant.

Love and hate are two horns on the same goat.

From Last Train from Gun Hill

Always take the long view.

From Spartacus

Taste is not the same as appetite.

From In Harm’s Way

All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.

On the most exalted throne in the world, we are seated on nothing but our own arse.

Fish, or cut bait.

Indecision is a virus.

From The War Wagon

The world needs more simple understanding to bring people together.

From The Man from Snowy River

There’s more to life than death.

 

I Never Thought About 2017

25 Nov

Today is my birthday. I was born in 1968, one of those pivotal years in United States history. When I was a kid, I would calculate how old I would be at the turn of the century. The year 2000 looked to be far off in the future, and, well, it was the future. The 1900s would be gone forever.

I never wondered about the years after 2000, but here I am seventeen years later. It is funny that I do not remember much about the year that I thought about as a child. I know that I was not yet teaching. That would begin in 2001. I know that life is better now than it was then. That may be why I do not remember much about it. My mind has blocked out the details.

When I was a kid, I thought a lot about the year 2000. Now, it is fading from memory as the years pass. It is strange how our minds work. It could be that the anticipation sometimes leaves a deeper imprint than the actuality.

Anyway, that is the kind of stuff I think about on my birthday. It is a day in which I go deep inside my mind. There was a time when I tried to do the Magnum, P.I. birthday thing. That show had several episodes about Magnum’s birthday. He always went somewhere to be by himself. However it always turned into a deadly disaster from which he had to be rescued. When I say that I tried to do the Magnum, P.I. birthday thing, I mean that I tried to be by myself all day. It was never deadly, but it never worked.

I guess that is what Magnum, P.I. was trying to show the audience. Birthdays are meant to be shared with people who care. When I was a kid, I thought about where I would be in the year 2000. I never thought about other people being around. I never thought about 2017, but it is great because there are people everywhere.

My iPod Has Issues – Way Too Much Food

24 Nov

Man, Thanksgiving was rough. Food, food and more food. Sitting around trying to get over all of that, I decided to look into the mind, or stomach, of my iPod to see if it is hungry.

“Stoned Soul Picnic” by The Fifth Dimension

“I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl” by Nina Simone

“Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Jimmy Buffett

“Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s

“Catfish Blues” by Big Jack Johnson

“I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow

“Sugar Foot Rag” by Merle Haggard

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye

“Old Turkey Buzzard” by Jose Feliciano

“T-Bone Shuffle” by B.B. King

“Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones

“Money Honey” by The Drifters

“Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back” by Meat Loaf

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles

“Green Onions” by Booker T and the MG’s

“Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine” by Tom T. Hall

“Candyman” by Cornershop

“Orange Blossom Special” by Benny Martin

“Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino

“Lady Marmalade” by Labelle

 

Guns N’ Roses – What a Concert is Supposed to Be

15 Nov

Last night, my nephew and I saw Guns N’ Roses in concert, and it was awesome. The original gang was back together with Axl, Slash and all of the rest. However, that was not the only awesome thing.

This concert was what a concert is supposed to be.

Before I explain that sentence, I must say that I was worried about this show. When Guns N’ Roses was one of the biggest bands in the world, Axl was notorious for being late. Heck, that is probably one of the reasons why the band broke up. The others were tired of his flakiness. However, that is not the only thing. When we saw Axl a few years ago with the alternate version of Guns N’ Roses, he was over two hours late. In other words, I did not have high hopes.

To my surprise, my worries were unwarranted, and this show was what a concert is supposed to be.

First, it started on time. I have never been to a concert that started at the time on the ticket. They always start late to make sure the crowd gets there. This concert was scheduled to start at 7:00. We got to our seats at 6:45 thinking that we would be there for a bit. At 6:58, the lights went down, and the preconcert video began. At 7:00, the band was on the stage.

I sent a text to my wife saying the show was beginning. She thought I meant the opening act, but there was no opening act. It was Guns N’ Roses. Heck, a lot of people had not even arrived. They were certainly under the impression that this show, like most shows, had some time built in.

This concert was what a concert is supposed to be because it started on time.

Second, there was no casual banter with the crowd. Axl yelled out Nashville a few times and said thank you after every song. That is all he said. There were no stories between songs. There were no proclamations that Nashville is their favorite city. They just went from one song to the other, and they did that for 3 1/2 hours.

Think about that for a second. They performed without a break for 3 1/2 hours. Heck, they came back for their encore after about 2 minutes off stage. That is what I call getting my moneys worth. They knew that people came to hear them play, and they played all of the great songs.

The concert was what a concert is supposed to be because they did not waste time.

Third, there was no agenda. In the recent concerts I have attended, the artists have felt the need to talk about our political climate. They give their opinions about the state of our country and the world. I do not pay for a ticket to hear all of that. I pay for a ticket to be entertained. Guns N’ Roses understood that.

As of this moment, I have no idea what Axl and Slash think about current affairs. However, I know that they can Rock the house down. Welcome to the Jungle. Paradise City. November Rain. The list goes on and on.

The concert was what a concert is supposed to be because it was not politicized.

Was Guns N’ Roses the best concert that I have ever seen? I am not sure, but it was the purest concert I have ever seen.

Whatever Happened to Helicopter-Flying Traffic Reporters?

9 Nov

I was driving around with my phone giving me directions. It had me on one route but made the announcement that I needed to take another route. Apparently, there was traffic up ahead that needed to be avoided. As I made my way through the twist and turns of getting somewhere, a question came to my mind.

Whatever happened to traffic reporters?

I am not talking about the people who show us some screen filled with red lines. I am talking about the people who flew around in helicopters and scouted the different arteries into the city. They would get on the radio and try to talk above the sound of the rotary blades. In the background, you could hear the thump, thump, thump of those blades. It was like they were on an episode of M*A*S*H.

Through the thumping, drivers had to listen for their interstate number and hope that it never came up.

Whatever happened to those guys?

I think they went away when our phones became our own personal traffic reporters. Now, the voice in our phone tells us where to go. It tells us about the accident up ahead. It tells us the quickest way to our destination. No more guessing. No more listening for our interstate number.

The phone has put helicopter-flying traffic reporters out of work.

Those are the thoughts that went through my mind as my phone told me where to drive. Then, another thought went through my mind about perhaps the most famous traffic reporter of all time. Although, he was not famous for being a traffic reporter.

Gary Powers was a big part of the Cold War. As a U-2 pilot flying, he was on a secret spying mission over the Soviet Union when he was shot down. It was a huge issue for the United States when the spy missions were discovered. Eventually, Powers was exchanged for a Soviet spy held by the United States. That story was covered in the movie Bridge of Spies.

In 1977, he was working as a traffic reporter in Los Angeles. While returning to the airport, his helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed. According to the investigation, Powers deviated during the descent to miss a playground full of children. That move made the crash more devastating, and he was killed.

I hate to end a post on such a depressing note, but those are the thoughts that went through my mind as my phone directed my through traffic.

I Forgot That Today Was the Day

2 Nov

I opened up my account to see what was going on and found the Congratulations message from the folks at WordPress. I had forgotten that today was the day. A lot of posts have been written over the lifespan of this blog. According to my stats, 837 have been published. Actually, more than 837 have been published, but I deleted a few of them upon further review.

One of those posts was Freshly Pressed. It was about movies that end with someone riding off into the sunset. One out of 837. Man, that is not a very good percentage. However, I can always say that I was Freshly Pressed. Of course, those people who do not blog have no idea what that means. Heck, I did not know what it meant when it happened.

I do not write as much as I once did. Busy days, man. Busy days. Despite that drop off, blogging has been a fun experience. A lot of words have left my brain, and I have met a lot of great people. Everyone should blog at some point in their life.

I think I will celebrate this anniversary by composing a post. Wait, I just did that.