Friday, September 27, 2002

It's been a little while. I suppose I haven't been angry enough about anything to write.

Today... I'm angry about not being able to find a new job. My current one is not up to par, as I am overworked and underpaid, as I'm sure that many professionals are.

Nevertheless, a friend of mine just landed his "dream job". Meanwhile, I can't even get a call-back.

Furthermore..... ahhh forget it!

Tonight, I'm going to drink. I'm going to drink alone at home. For a long time now, I haven't drunk to excess, until completely blotto, I've only had the social drink. Not tonight. Tonight, I revert to my old self of drinking to forget I'm alive, and drinking until whatever hurts doesn't hurt any more. I'll drink until the glass can no longer reach my mouth. I'll drink until my body says "No," instead of my mind.

I really see no point in not drinking. I'm breaking my ass daily for a slave wage, I'm overqualified for every job that I have applied for, my current job punishes me for my competence by piling more and more onto me each day, my paycheque reflects that of a poorly paid janitor (even though I'm a suppossed "professional"), and I don't have a significant other to stop me.

So... tonight I will drink. I have no reason not to. "Oh... you're drinking for the wrong reasons." No... I dare say that all the reasons that I've given are excellent reasons to drink.

This is the point when I throw up my hands in surrender. I give up. I give up trying to be the person that keeps cool under pressure. I give up trying to show composure. I give up letting things slide that I want to get angry about. I give up.

Tonight, my answers will be at the bottom of a glass... and even if I don't find an answer, eventually, I won't care.

Ladies and gentlemen.... Goodnight.

Monday, August 19, 2002

In college, I took a class called "Visions of Hell". Great title. I knew it was an English class. That fact and the title were enough. Sign me up!

We read, discussed, and wrote about various books that depict the eternal damned place known as hell (some call it New Jersey). Paradise Lost, The Great Divorce, No Exit, The Inferno, all good stuff.

The summary conclusion by the end of it all, was that hell is the absence of God. Irregardless of the other theories, "Hell is other people", "Hell is a fiery pit" et cetera, all the other explanations carry with them and absence of God, or grace, or goodness, or goodwill, etc...

Woody Allen said, "Marriage is the death of hope." Someone once said, "The death of hope is the death of life."

What do you have when you crave the absence of everything? You do not want to hope, you do not want the contact of other people, you do not want television, chili dogs, beer, conversation...? What are you when you want to be a recluse? Do you then desire hell? Are you searching for what many would consider damnation?

...

When the stereotypes shown in comedies appear before my eyes, I always find it a little scary.

Imagine the old, suburban, rich woman stereotype. Plaid shirt with checkered pants, hair an unnatural golden color, makeup that was put on with spatula, and rounded out with a haughty air of superiority. Imagine this person scoffing at you in the supermarket. She rushes to the express checkout line with a cart full of groceries, and you have two items (seltzer and a corn muffin), seeing that you too want to join the line.

Do you think she would ask you to go ahead of her, seeing as you only have two items? Hell no. Do you think I would ask to go ahead? Not a snowball's chance in hell.

It seems funny in the movies when someone raises their head to look down on another person. When you see it happening in real life, anger is not the emotion that catches you, it's generally surprise, surprise that the exaggeration, the caricature, was not really a caricature after all. The horrible person that was once so funny is all to real suddenly, and as she straightens the oversized Gucci pocketbook on her arm, speckled with liver spots leading down to a hand that appears way too strong for the image she is trying to project (one of affluence and care free lifestyle), ending at nails that are a horrible pastel color, but your mouth is agape. Then she stares at you as though you don't belong.

Then again, I should be glad that she didn't offer me a nickel to bust up a chiffarobe.

...

How do we bridge the gap between creation and emotion? How does a writer go from words on a page to a tear in the reader's eye? How does the sound of a strumming guitar bring a collective smile to an audience?

What happens when wires get crossed? What happens when you wanted to produce a tear, but got a scoff instead? What if you wanted sympathy but got indifference, or worse, revulsion?

What do you do when wires are crossed in "real life"?

Which is worse?

...

It sucks when you get punished for your competence. Because you are able to do multiple things in an office, you are asked (asked?) to do them all. But of course, you must meet all deadlines, and answer to all the people that have given you project across however many companies your organization may happen to have bottled in its walls.

Asked? It?s more like an offer that you can't refuse. Too often, "No" is not considered an acceptable answer.

...and people say I have a problem with morale.

Office morale? What the f*ck is that sh*t? Morale? What the hell for? Am I getting a cut when profits rise? Is may hard work recognized? Are my efforts acknowledged?

"Sounds terrible. You must work in an awful place." I would think that my experience is closer to the "norm" than many would care to admit.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Never eat at your desk. If you work in an office with other people, never eat at your desk.

It is inevitable that someone will comment on what you are eating, usually, "Ooohhh, that looks good."

What's the appropriate reply, "That you very much for validating my choice of food. Up until now, my meal was plagued with feelings of inadequacy. However, now, I can continue masticating with a sense of fulfillment."

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

It's been too damn long since I've written here, although I have had every intention of doing so. (That's the funny thing about intentions. They're not worth a tinker's damn unless something actually gets completed... and my ex-girlfriends find it odd that I've said their intentions amount to nothing.)

Pick Up Lines:
There is no use in trying to come up with a good one. If "it" is going to happen, it will, if not, it won't. There will be a "click" or there won't.

Then again, there is something to be said about whispering, "I want to take you someplace private and touch you in all the places that your last lover forgot." (Yeah...it's from a movie, but damn if that isn't a great line.)

Monday, July 22, 2002

"...no one wants you when you loose."
- Peter Gabriel

In love with someone versus being in the love with the idea of being in love:
Do most people see a difference?
Where do most people fall?

Friday, July 19, 2002

Why is boxing not as popular as it once was?

There are a number of movies/documentaries that chronicle the lineage of the major heavyweight champions of the 20th century: Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali. (Yes... many would argue that Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Mike Tyson, etc.. should be included, but they are not. This does not reflect my personal feeling, it's just what is usually shown.) They all include major fights of each boxers career, and a small synopsis of the social climate at the time.

Many of the features of Dempsey portray him as the hero and the icon of the "Roaring Twenties". Though Babe Ruth was around and in his prime, its been said, time and time again, that Dempsey truly held the heart of the people at that time.

Ali is perhaps the most famous person on the planet, and probably the most recognized. At the first Ali - Frazier fight, Frank Sinatra got a photographer's credential and took pictures for Time magazine.

Tapes in my collection of older boxing matches are studded with celebrities. Hearns - Leonard II saw Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, and many others in the aisles. Miles Davis was probably Sugar Ray Robinson's biggest fan, Davis adored him.

At one time, fights were broadcast on prime time network television. (Nevertheless, HBO did not exist yet.)

...but what has happened?

Theory 1: The Heavyweight Champion
Lennox Lewis is the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world. (Forget whatever crap John Ruiz wants to say.) Lewis is the Linear Champ. When following the lineage of champions from the inception of the belt, Lewis is Number 1.

Unfortunately, he's not the most charismatic person. He acts in a "gentlemanly manner", which he prides himself on, is fairly well-spoken, but really has little charm or personality. He doesn't have to talk trash or be a loudmouth, but he doesn?t not appear to be very accessible to the public, his arrogance does not appear to be "brash" or "bold", just annoyingly arrogant (although he's earned the right to be arrogant), and there is nothing particularly charming about him. Is he a great fighter? Absolutely. Is he the dominant champion of our most recent times? Without question.

Nevertheless, who is the champion that most people remember in recent times? A few people saying Evander Holyfield aside, Mike Tyson. Iron Mike Tyson.

Anyone that heard the name Mike Tyson in the early 80s remembers the aura of invincibility, the seemingly indestructible champion. He was part nice guy, part thug, tenderness and savagery combined. He has been the "money" fighter of the 20th century. People drop their cash to see him fight. Whether deservedly or not, people pay to see Mike Tyson.

The Heavyweight division is referred to as boxing's "glamour" division. The general public will generally only know, care about, or watch heavyweights (Oscar de la Hoya and Roy Jones, Jr. exceptions aside). The Heavyweight division is the "top of the heap".

Why?

A few possibilities:
1. Due to the laws of physics, heavyweight fighters can beat fighters in any other division. They are bigger, theoretically stronger, have more muscle mass, etc? Therefore, why wouldn't people watch the "very best"?
2. Knockouts. People love to watch knockouts in boxing. Due to the size of heavyweight fighters (most top fighter weigh in at over 220lbs), it is more likely to see a knockout in a heavyweight fight. (IN THEORY)
3. The most popular fighters throughout history, for whatever reason, have been heavyweights. Why not follow the lineage?

If the top boxer in the top division isn't very exciting to the general public, the sport as a whole suffers.


Theory 2: A kinder gentler time
Ali may be the most known person on the planet. The sight of Ali today is almost enough to bring someone to tears. The once fluid body and constantly wagging tongue trapped in a body that doesn't respond as it once did.

While Parkinson's is the official cause, many still believe that pugilist's dementia (being punch-drunk) helped or hastened his physical decline.

What does that say about the sport? Ravages of time or the nature of the beast have humbled a man who would tell the world that he was, is, and will always be, "The Greatest".

Other boxers have died in the ring. Some boxers that have only lost, have been mentally humbled in their craft (ie: "He's not the same fighter he once was after so and so beat his ass.")

Do you really want to witness this?


Theory 3: Lack of media attention
There?s very little boxing coverage in the newspapers. There are few boxing related magazines.

Boxing has very little merchandising possibilities. Boxers don't wear jerseys with their number on the back. There are no boxing trading cards.

While you may want your child to play little league baseball or pee-wee football, most parents don't encourage their children to strap on some gloves, headgear, and jump into the ring. (Which is kind of funny because people get wrecked in more "acceptable" sports such as football, lacrosse, rugby, and hockey.)

Therefore, boxing isn't incredibly "marketable".


So... the die-hard boxing fan is generally a "cult" member. There are website and magazine that he religiously follows and reads. He studies stats and statistics, learns the lineage of all the titles from all the divisions. Most importantly: he endures all the sideways glances and negative comments when he mentions watching or enjoying a fight.

"Boxing? Yuck! How could you watch that? Two people beating each other up." ...and all the other slight comments, meant to ridicule.

However, we cult members generally take it in stride. We don't ask, "Why do you watch grown men whack a ball with a stick and run around patting each other on the ass?" or "Yeah... football, that's not violent."

Whatever the reason for liking, loving, hating, or not seeing the interest in boxing, the "sweet science", these are just a few theories to entertain or entice anyone of interest.

If anyone is particularly curious, here are a few boxing websites that I recommend:
www.maxboxing.com
www.secondsouts.com
www.fightnews.com
www.boxingtalk.net
www.boxrec.com

ESPN2 features Friday Night Fights and Tuesday Night Fights.
HBO has Boxing After Dark
Showtime has Showtime Championship Boxing, ShoBox
Occasional fights appear on FoxSports.Net and MSG (in New York).

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Joe Frazier (con't)

Muhammad Ali had been stripped of his title for refusing to take part in the draft. He was also stripped of boxing license in every state in the country, essentially denying him the right to make a living. While starring on Broadway, making public appearance, and lecturing to school across the country (all as a means to make money), he was a spokesman for the Nation of Islam.

During this period, Joe Frazier won the heavyweight crown.

Ali wanted back in boxing, Frazier wanted to legitimize his title by fighting Ali. (Ali said when stripped of the title, "Can anyone take my title without me being whupped?") Frazier spoke with Ali, and help to get Ali a boxing license in Georgia (I think it was Georgia). During their meetings, he also gave Ali money (as Frazier said, "I put some love in his hand,"). However, whenever Ali was in public, he would start ranting and raving about how he will beat Frazier, how he will regain his crown.

Now... this kind of promotion was typical for Ali before a fight. It lead to some of the greatest quotes of all time: "Injured a stone, hospitalized a brick, I'm so bad, I make medicine sick." As George George, a professional wrestler, told him, "Just as many people will come to see you get beat, as will pay to see you win. Either way, it's butts in the seats." Posing and posturing, Ali told us he was pretty, how he was dazzling, how he was "The Greatest".

Frazier was fairly good natured, until the real barbs began.

Ali began to call Frazier an "Uncle Tom", "The White Man's Champion", "the ugly gorilla", and "too ugly to be champ". Now the "ugly" comments aside, the last thing you ever want to call a black man, unless you feel like getting into a brutal fight, is an "Uncle Tom". Now... forget that Frazier helped Ali get back into boxing, forget Frazier giving Ali money, forget any kinship they might have had... and Ali still had the nerve to call Frazier an "Uncle Tom".

Ali played the part of the martyr, stripped of his crown, robbed of what could have been his finest years in the ring. However, look at a side by side glance of Frazier and Ali's past.

Ali was born to a middle class family in Kentucky. Frazier was the son of a sharecropper. Ali won Olympic gold, came back to a world of possibility in the professional ranks. Frazier went to the Olympics (I forget whether he won the gold medal or not), came back with a broken thumb, and couldn't afford to get his wife and children presents for Christmas. (A little background on Frazier before the Olympics: He moved to Philadelphia at around 16 to 18, worked nights at a meat packing plant, and started boxing as a way to loose weight.) While Ali almost had the world on a platter, Frazier had to scrap for every dime and ounce of respect he ever got. I'm not suggesting that Ali's fame was undeserved, but to call the man an "Uncle Tom" when he lived a more impoverished "black experience" than you could ever imagine?

Frazier retorted the only way he could, calling Ali, "Cassius Clay", which infuriated Ali. He had punished fighters in the ring for calling him "Clay".

As described in Ali- Frazier: One Nation Divisible, the fight polarized the nation. Ali refused the draft, he had the left and most of black America behind him. White America, Vietnam supporters, and the right was behind Joe Frazier. However, it wasn't because they loved him or respected him. If they really knew how much he helped Ali, they probably would have hated him. They just wanted someone to beat Ali.

Smokin' Joe Frazier put Ali on his ass in the fifteenth round of their first fight, and won the fight by unanimous decision. Though he doesn't show it or talk about it publicly, he still carries the hurt of Ali's words before their firstfight.

The day after the fight, all the people that stood behind Frazier went on with their lives. It was only important that Ali was beat. It didn't matter by whom, how, or why.

In the aftermath, not counting their two rematches (both of which Ali won), Ali is probably the most recognized face on the planet, Smokin' Joe is unknown to many.

The movie Rocky, is largely based on Joe Frazier (whether admittedly or not). All the similarities are
there: working at a meat packing plant, Philadelphia, an up and comer in the ranks (though Frazier had a much better record than Rocky did). Nevertheless, in front of the Philadelphia Spectrum stands a statue of Rocky, but no testament to Smokin' Joe, who is the real Rocky, the real champ.

Most boxing fans already know this story. I'm not sure if non-boxing fans will bother to read it. Email at the left, let me know.

I'll always respect and admire Joe Frazier. He's tops in my book, and I'm sure there are others out there will always reserve a spot in their hearts for Smokin' Joe.