Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Ali had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal boxing style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on his ability to avoid a punch. In Louisville, October 29, 1960, Cassius Clay won his first professional fight. He won a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker, who was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19-0, with 15 knockouts. He defeated such boxers as Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, George Chuvalo, Lamar Clark, Doug Jones, Henry Cooper, Brian London, Karl Mildenberger, Sonny Banks, Alejandro Lavorante, and the aged Archie Moore (who had been Clay's trainer prior to Angelo Dundee).
In early 1966, Ali was called to serve the Armed Forces, but refused to do so during the Vietnam War. For him, war is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. His famous line, "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong" and "no Vietcong ever called me nigger." Ali's personal life was filled with controversy. He was essentially banned from fighting in the United States and forced to accept bouts abroad for most of 1966.
Ali returned to the United States in November 1966 to fight Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams in the Houston Astrodome. Ali beat Williams in three rounds. On February 6, 1967, Ali returned to a Houston boxing ring to fight Terrell in what became one of the uglier fights in boxing. Terrell had angered Ali by calling him Clay, and the champion vowed to punish him for this insult. During the fight, Ali kept shouting at his opponent, "What's my name, Uncle Tom ... What's my name." Terrell suffered 15 rounds of brutal punishment, losing 13 of 15 rounds on two judges' scorecards, but Ali did not knock him out. Analysts, including several who spoke to ESPN on the sports channel's "Ali Rap" special, speculated that the fight only continued because Ali chose not to end it, choosing instead to further punish Terrell.
Near the end of 1967, Ali was stripped of his title by the professional boxing commission and would not be allowed to fight professionally for more than three years. He was also convicted for refusing induction into the army and sentenced to five years in prison. Over the course of those years in exile, Ali fought to appeal his conviction. He stayed in the public spotlight and supported himself by giving speeches primarily at rallies on college campuses that opposed the Vietnam War.
In 1970, Ali was able to get a boxing license and allowed to fight again, and in late 1971 the Supreme Court reversed his conviction. With the help of a State Senator, he was granted a license to box in Georgia because it was the only state in America without a boxing commission. In October 1970, he returned to stop Jerry Quarry on a cut after three rounds. Shortly after the Quarry fight, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Ali was unjustly denied a boxing license. Once again able to fight in New York, he fought Oscar Bonavena at Madison Square Garden in December 1970. After a tough 14 rounds, Ali stopped Bonavena in the 15th, paving the way for a title fight against Joe Frazier.
Ali and Frazier fought each other on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden. The fight, known as '"The Fight of the Century", was one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts of all time and remains one of the most famous. It featured two skilled, undefeated fighters, both of whom had reasonable claims to the heavyweight crown. The fight lived up to the hype, and Frazier punctuated his victory by flooring Ali with a hard left hook in the 15th and final round and won on points. Frazier eventually won the fight and retained the title with a unanimous decision, dealing Ali his first professional loss. Despite an impressive performance, Ali may have still been suffering from the effects of "ring rust" due to his long layoff.
In the early 1980s, Ali was diagnosed with Pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome. By late 2005 it was reported that Ali's condition was notably worsening. Despite the disability, he remains a beloved and active public figure. In 1985, he served as a guest referee at the inaugural WrestleMania event. In 1987 he was selected by the California Bicentennial Foundation for the U.S. Constitution to personify the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights in various high profile activities. Ali rode on a float at the 1988 Tournament of Roses Parade, launching the U.S. Constitution's 200th birthday commemoration. He also published an oral history, Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times with Thomas Hauser, in 1991. Ali received a Spirit of America Award calling him the most recognized American in the world. In 1996, he had the honor of lighting the flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
He has appeared at the 1998 AFL Grand Final, where Anthony Pratt recruited him to watch the game. He also greets runners at the start line of the Los Angeles Marathon every year.
In 1999, Ali received a special one-off award from the BBC at its annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award ceremony, which was the BBC Sports Personality of the Century Award. On September 13, 1999, Ali was named "Kentucky Athlete of the Century" by the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Galt House East.
In 2001, a biographical film, entitled Ali, was made, with Will Smith starring as Ali. The film received mixed reviews, with the positives generally attributed to the acting, as Smith and supporting actor Jon Voight earned Academy Award nominations. Prior to making the Ali movie, Will Smith had continually rejected the role of Ali until Muhammad Ali personally requested that he accept the role. According to Smith, the first thing Ali said about the subject to Smith was: "You ain't pretty enough to play me".
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on November 9, 2005, and the prestigious "Otto Hahn peace medal in Gold" of the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin for his work with the US civil rights movement and the United Nations (December 17 2005).
At the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 2, 2007, Ali was an honorary captain for the Louisville Cardinals wearing their white jersey, number 19. Ali was accompanied by golf legend Arnold Palmer, who was the honorary captain for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.
Muhammad Ali currently lives on a small farm near Berrien Springs, Michigan with his fourth wife, Yolanda 'Lonnie' Ali. He still kicking today.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Bandit the dog is considered hero for saving the life of his owner -- Courtney. One summer day when she was out in the garden looking for frogs, she bent down to look at what looked like a frog, but it was a curled up SNAKE! Instantly, she ran to the house. Bandit was whining. Once she reached the porch, Bandit had jumped and took the snakebite. Actually, Bandit has done this twice to her grandma. For Courtney, that’s a true act of heroism.
If you have a lived experience of being saved by an animal, do share it in this blog. Let us start counting these animals hailed as Heroes.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The Phantom is an American adventure comic strip that began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936, followed by a color Sunday strip on May 28, 1939; both are still running as of 2009.
While the Phantom is not the first fictional costumed crimefighter, he is the first to wear the skintight costume that has become a hallmark of comic book superheroes, and the first to wear a mask with no visible pupils, another superhero standard
The publisher Moonstone is bringing the character up-to-date and targeting a more mature audience than previous decades will breathe new life into a character that although often overlooked, influenced much of the comic industry we know today.
In the beginning The Phantom had been a half-drowned sailor, flung ashore on the terrible, blood-drenched Bengalla coast after pirates burned his ship and slaughtered his mates. The gentle Bandar pygmies, taking him to be a sea god of ancient prophecy, nursed him back to fitness and became his everlasting friends -- as the castaway faced his destiny, donned costume and mask and was reborn as the first of the Phantoms, scourge of predators everywhere.
"I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice!" he cried as he formally took "The Oath of the Skull" by firelight. "And my sons and their sons shall follow me!"
And in time there was a son. In time that son begat another, and thereafter that son begat again. After a while, there arose a dynasty of Phantoms, one after another, born into the legend then reared and rigorously drilled in the disciplines and the duties.
Through the generations these eerily identical jungle lords have prowled an evil world in the cloaks of many identities, and none today but the Bandar and a handful of other secret souls know that all are not one and the same.
The modern Phantom is the 21st of the line. Since Feb. 17, 1936, he has been the law in his dangerous part of the world, a one-man police force, a silent avenger who appears and vanishes like lightning. His home is the fearsome "Skull Cave," deep in the heart of his jungle. His only intimates have been the faithful Bandar, his great white horse Hero, his savage gray wolf Devil, and his lovely American sweetheart Diana Palmer. Even the men of the Jungle Patrol, the paramilitary peacekeeping squad an ancestor had organized some years ago, have never seen the face of their mysterious commander in chief.
From thieves and smugglers to cut-throat harbor rats to crazed dictators seeking to enslave free men, all have met the Phantom over 60 thrilling years, and all have tasted his wrath. Always changing with the whirlwind times around him, he has increasingly come to function as something of a United Nations troubleshooter-at-large, a shadowy trench-coated figure slipping in and out of modern Third World political intrigue.
But never far from the Phantom's stage are the great emperors and brigands of yore, in the shining tales of his 20 heroic forebears, recounted in the epic Phantom Chronicles. In more than 60 years of daily newspaper stories and 58 years of Sunday-only yarns, "Phantom" creator Lee Falk has meticulously fleshed out the most minute details of a fabulous dynastic pageant, illuminating the lives of the Phantoms of old whose blood courses through the veins of the modern Ghost Who Walks. Many of them have swashbuckled their way through the famous newspaper comic strip in grand flashback sequences -- one early Phantom is known to have married Christopher Columbus' granddaughter; another is known to have married Shakespeare's niece; still another took a Mongol princess as his bride.
The fifth Phantom crossed swords with the pirate Blackbeard in the early 1600s. The 13th Phantom traveled to the young United States and fought alongside Jean Lafitte in the War of 1812. The 16th appears to have put in some time as a Wild West cowboy.
And succession is assured.
The current Phantom and Diana Palmer were wed in 1977, and today their scrappy young son, Kit, is in training to someday take the sacred "Oath of the Skull" and become the 22nd Phantom.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Sam's second adventure is "Pajama Sam: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening." In this episode, Sam takes on a mission to help Thunder and Lightning fix the foul weather machines and confront his fear of lightning bolts and loud kabooms! To rise above his fear, Sam sets his foot into his attic to confront his fears. At the doorstep, Sam meets the World Wide Weather (WWW) that is in amok. He must bring stability back to weather everywhere. To help Sam in this journey, he will meet collection of comical friends, including a snowman, a forklift, talking office supplies, a velocimometer and some familiar faces from the past. The one-of-a-kind wind bottling plant, snowflake factory, WWW luncheonette, Chairman of the Board's Board Room and many more fantastic places fill the story with breathtaking adventures.
His third adventure, Pajama Sam: You Are What You Eat
From Your Head to Your Feet. The story introduces kids to the concept of general nutrition and food groups in a fun, engaging way by interacting with various talking fruits, vegetables and sweets. Designed to help kids ages 3 to 8 problem solve, think strategically and make decisions. The setting is at MopTop Island where the sweets and fats are dramatically increasing their numbers and threatening to take control. A Peace Conference has been called to work out a compromise between all the food groups, but four of the six Delegates have not arrived at the Food Pyramid. In this adventure, kids help Pajama Sam find the missing delegates, put a stop to the sticky quarrels, fix a few problems, bring peace to MopTop Island and still make it home in time for dinner
His last adventure sets off in search of his lost comic book. He searches for lost socks in Agitator Lake, rounds up dust bunnies at the Dust Bunny Corral, explores the Spilled Soda Swamp and much more. In the end, Sam finds his comic book and realizes that life would not be so rough if he put away his stuff!
All adventures encourage learning, discovery and interactive fun. Throughout the story, kids meet lots of interesting new friends and tackle fun challenges that will inspire them to solve problems in creative and flexible ways. They can play again and again because new puzzles and new locations await each time kids play.
Kids, join Pajama Sam on his serial adventures and explore an interactive environment full of quirky animated characters, including boats, bridges, pianos and a wishing well. Use your logic and memory to solve problems, and play in a game show that asks geography and science questions. Have fun!