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Friday, June 22, 2007

Great Moments in Boxing History

June 22, 1937 marks the end of the era of the Cinderella Man, as Jimmy Braddock gets beaten by the perhaps the greatest boxer of all time, Joe Louis. Braddock, an Irish Catholic scrapper from a poor family was the uber-underdog in the Max Bear vs James Braddock fight on June 13, 1935. More on that history can be found here (06/03/05 entry) and some cool pix too.

But enough of those guys - today we are honoring Joe Louis, known as the Brown Bomber - in a class by himself for boxing longevity and titles. Today, June 22 marks the 70th anniversary of Joe Louis' first Heavyweight title. One of the greatest pugilists of all time. Joe Louis was 23 at the time, and he was knocked to the mat in the first round by 32 year old Jimmy Braddock. But he got up and proceeded to dominate the fight till it was called in the eighth round, as Jimmy Braddock was just getting pummeled. For the next six years, he defends his crown. Joe retires & goes off to join the war effort, where he served with distintion. Returns to the USA and wants his title back. So he got back in the ring, and in all won 25 title fight fights over eleven years. His record of 69 wins, 3 losses and 55 knock-outs is going to be pretty tough to beat. Muhammad Ali is also in this same rare air of boxing greatests - check out this video clip if you are an Ali fan like me.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tux Toon - Peeking Penguins

Today's feature is called Peeking Penguins. Any fan of Linux loves Penguins, and we got here a humdinger of a Penguin cartoon. A bunch of penguins kids, acting like rascals who don't listen to their Mama penguin get in a bunch of sticky situations. Mama penguin likes to sing that song Curiosity Killed the Cat.

The cat had nine lives yes that was true
but only one was given to you
so it isn't so wise to snoop.
Old school penguins chilling in a cabin in the frozen snow. The A-Lads' Jimmy King's got a penguin too. Love it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Father's Day Fun and Games

Our hearts go out to all the father's out for their special day on Sunday - Father's Day. Yes... that one day during the year when we all can just kick our legs up on the ottoman, and relax. On any other day of the year, all bets are off. No matter how much you had your heart set on taking a nap, going to a ballgame or whatever, as a father you should expect that someone, usually a female someone but not always, will come up with an alternative for your time, just as you get settled in. Ahhhhh - but not on Father's Day. So... cheers all you men who have children and meet the bar that makes you a Father.

Here's some recommended videos for you to watch in honor of all the Fathers out there. To Kill A Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck, as one of the great father roles of movie history. Andy Griffith - Andy Discover's America, and Popeye & Pops in Poopdeck Pappy are three good ones for you single fathers. Another classic is Father's Little Dividend starring Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor and that good witch, Billy Burke. Finally - we suggest watching a terrific Johnny Cash film from back in the day called The Pride of Jesse Hallam.

Of course we also made a short list of our best less than perfect father related content for all those people who want to remember Dad as a flawed man. Please, just kidding - even if you think Dad was or is a loser, we suggest you forgive him and get that load of bricks off your back. And after you check out a few of these dads, I bet you will find that your Dad is a creampuff. Let's start off this short list with How Awful about Allan starring Tony Perkins and Julie Harris. Next up, a Boy and His Dog, where Don Johnson gets to act as a father figure for all of Topeka. Another bizarre father character can be seen in the Aerialist, an episode of One Step Beyond starring Mike Connors (Mannix) and Mario Patruzzio. Another difficult father-in-law character can be seen in The Copper, starring Ernest Borgnine and Wally Cox.

Honestly - this list of father related content is quite lengthy. But I can't forget Ozzie Nelson in the list unless I feel like I am not getting enough angry email :~) - and the list goes on and on of video content related to fathers. OK, one last suggestion - The Borrowers, where Eddie Albert plays the ultimate Little People, Big World father - he's about 3 inches tall! (which reminded me of the page in Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions where the alien is killed when an auto worker mistakes the diminutive galactic immigrant for a kitchen match and kills him by accident by striking his head repeatedly against the bar stool). Oh Brother!... or should I say, Oh Father! - Oh wait, one more suggestion.How could I forget Father Rojas, the catholic priest from Dragnet who calls Joe Friday in to find the purloined Jesus? (somebody steals the baby Jesus from the nativity scene). OK, that's it. Happy Father's Day!!!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Sopranos finale - Hollywood Inversion

This Sunday marks the end of the Sopranos run as the best show on television. Like a lot of folks, I do not have HBO, and started getting into the show thanks to A&E, which is airing earlier seasons for us losers who don't feel compelled to be on the cutting edge of what's hot. The more I think about it, being "current" isn't a great place to be anymore. As I flipped stations last night, I wondered why the heck people gave a crap if Paris was in jail or not, do you really care? I don't. And the phrase, house arrest, I mean mansion arrest - became trite before i finished the news pundit sector of the tv dial. That corny joke was on every station. Oh so clever... you all came up with same phrase. Honestly it was more pathetic than it was funny. But i digress, back to Tony Soprano, or T as Christopher calls him and his poor tortured family. I wondered if Meadow would end up just like Carmin, and how the show often reminds me of watching a car wreck in slow motion. Yes - it is really hard not to watch, something inside begs to not look away. But something inside also wishes that you had the strength to look away. The show has given me bizarre dreams and made me feel queasy in the same way the Deerhunter made me feel sick to my stomach, but I still watch the show and yeah - I enjoy it too. My question is this. Am I paying some kind of hidden price for somehow enjoying this poor family blow up in every aspect of what is good and decent and honest and sweet. Whenever there is a tender moment, you can almost guarantee that someone is gonna get whacked. The more tender the moment - the more violent the death will be.

Anyway - when i was a kid, I had the same fascination with bizarre criminal activity. Growing up in Wisconsin, we had a lot of Hall of Famers in the crime world. Ed Gein - who was the real life inspiration for Hitchcock's Psycho with Tony Perkins, to Jeffrey Dalmer who lived a few blocks away from where my Aunt Carol did social work. And I remember eating in a restaurant in Little Bohemia Wisconsin that was the site of a big gun battle between the police and John Dillinger. The bullet holes in the glass were preserved by other panes of glass that protected the historical event. I am not sure what it is about criminal activity - but for some reason, we are fascinated by it. I just wonder... is there a price attached to this fascination. Part of me says - yes. You lose innocence.

But, enough of that - I thought it was somehow relevant to this old story of Johnny Stompanato and Lana Turner and Cheryl Crane. It is kind of like an inverted Tony Soprano story - where it is real life people, one a major Hollywood star - who experience a terrible tragedy where the mob guy gets knifed by little girl trying to protect her mom. The mom, Lana Turner then goes on to make a movie that is lot like the tragedy in her life... and in another twist of irony - The film is called Imitation of Life. Now if you've never seen - check it out, its a great movie. But back then, the consequences of all this tragic behavior was part of the story. You know - I do not see that same sentiment today.

Friday, June 1, 2007

North Carolina Buzz

Yee Haw... lots going on in North Carolina this weekend. First - today is Andy Griffith's 81st birthday. Born on June 1, 1926 in Mount Airy NC. I bet they will have a bunch of Andy and Mayberry related activities this weekend in Mt Airy, but a little more subdued than last year, which was his 80th - you know, a round number... um ending in zero. And sweet lil Norma Jeanne was born on the same day (June 1, 1926)... huh? you probably know her a Marilyn Monroe, or that old actress who looks a bit like Gwen Stefani. And also in the news today is John Edwards and some fresh law suits about some sunken treasure the Spanards are saying the Edwards' investment group stole. What? - does that make John Edwards a pirate ??? Arrrrgh. Hey... it's Robert Newton's birthday too - you know, the guy who played long John Silver... and gave us the pirate... ARRRRGH in the first place. In case you missed, Mr. Edwards went to Mayberry a few weeks back to have Floyd the Barber give him a little trim around the ears for the steep price of $1.

But the really big news this weekend in Charlotte, NC is the dedication of the Billy Graham library. Big wigs from all over are coming in for the ceremony... including a few former presidents. So... in case you missed the Billy Graham video on the site - check it out. Amazingly poignant and quite entertaining too - as Woody Allen interviews the respected evangelist in a 1969 comedy special. (the interview is in Part 3). Have a great weekend!!!