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Posts Tagged ‘boxing

“To the art of working well a civilized race would add the art of playing well”*…

 

The results of a “play census” of Cleveland children taken on June 23, 1913, disturbed Harvard education professor George E. Johnson. “Of the 7358 children reported to have been playing,” Johnson wrote in a 1915 report on the state of children’s play in the city:

… 3171 were reported to have been playing by doing some of the following things: fighting, teasing, pitching pennies, shooting craps, stealing apples, ‘roughing a peddler,’ chasing chickens, tying cans to a dog, etc., but most of them were reported to have been ‘just fooling’ — not playing anything in particular.

We now fret over children’s overscheduled, oversupervised lives, but Johnson was convinced that what the children of Cleveland needed was more adult influence, not less. His fascinating report paints what he meant to be a dark picture of a city full of kids running wild: playing in the street, going to the movies when they pleased, and putting together loose groups for games of “scrub baseball”…

The redoubtable Rebecca Onion puts the debate over “helicopter” and “tiger” parenting into historical perspective in “Are free range kids really a good idea?

* George Santayana

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As we conclude that surely there’s a middle path (and that we’ll get around to trying to find it after we finish playing), we might recall that it was on this date in 1927, in Yankee Stadium that boxers Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey squared off…

Dempsey’s last bout had been been a devastating decision loss to Gene Tunney in 1926 – his first competitive bout in three years and the last in which he wore the heavyweight championship belt. Feeling robbed after “the long count” and hungry to regain his championship status, Dempsey went into training to face future champion Jack Sharkey. The winner would face Tunney.

The bout did not go well for Dempsey, who by ‘27 was a shadow of his former glory. The Manassa Mauler was beaten soundly both from the outside (row 1, gif 1) and inside (row 1, gif 2 and row 2, gif 1). By the fifth round, Dempsey was sporting two cuts – one over his right eye, one under his left – and a bloody nose and mouth. Always a warrior, Dempsey refused to deviate from his game plan, locking himself into the clinch or half-clinch and delivering blows to Sharkey’s abdomen all the while Sharkey was cracking his head open.

In the sixth round, some of these blows started to go one or two inches south of the belt line – a foul that, in Dempsey’s heyday, was to be ignored (similarly, clinching is actually listed as a foul under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, but it has evolved as part of modern boxing, and fouls are very seldom called for holding). The referee warned Dempsey once in that round and again in the seventh, but when Dempsey landed another, Sharkey, who had had enough, deviated from the cardinal rule (“protect yourself at all times”) and turned his head to complain to the referee. Seeing his opponent open, Dempsey landed a short left hook to Sharkey’s jaw. Sharkey crumpled, blindsided by the unexpected punch and still suffering from Dempsey’s low blow.

The referee, who hadn’t recognized Dempsey’s body shot as low, began the count. Sharkey, clutching at his crotch, couldn’t rise in time. Dempsey had won the bout and a rematch with Tunney. Controversy abounded.

For his part, Dempsey was dismissive. “It’s all in the game,” he would later say. “What was I supposed to do, write him a letter?”

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Written by LW

July 21, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Childhood is the sleep of reason”*…

 

Scene of a “crèche”– an industrial day care center– with a productive factory in the background.

The images above and below, originally printed in 1930, reflect the government’s promotion of early-childhood health and well-being in the early years of the Soviet Union. The London School of Economics Library has collected a group of these posters—half brightly-colored, half sepia-toned—in a Flickr set.

In her book about childhood in Russia during the early Soviet period, historian Lisa Kirschenbaum writes that children and childhood were ideologically important to those involved in the Bolshevik Revolution. Children had the potential to grow into ideal communists, and communal early childhood education was seen as a good way of getting all members of the rising generation to hold consistent views. (In the United States, the conservative opposition to attempts to institute government support for day care in the early 1970s often referred, obliquely or explicitly, to the communalism of Soviet child care.)

By 1930, when these images were produced, the government-supported day care (or “crèche”) was doubly politically important, since young mothers were encouraged to work. In these posters, babies that look to be about 6 months old cry “I’m bored at home!” and beg to be taken to the crèche.

L: “I’m bored at home!” R: “I’m happy in the crèche!”

More– from “how to hold a baby” to “preparation of juice from raw fruits”– at the ever-illuminating Rebecca Onion’s “Government Child Care Advice From Early Soviet Propaganda Posters.”

* Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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As we crib up on cribs, we might recall that it was on this date in 1889 that an estimated 3,000 spectators boarded special trains for a secret location, which turned out to be Richburg, a town just south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to attend the Heavyweight Boxing Championship match between defender John L. Sullivan and challenger Jake Kilrain.  The fight began at 10:30 p.m.; early on, it appeared that Sullivan would lose (especially after he vomited during the 44th round). But the champion got his second wind after that, and Kilrain’s manager finally threw in the towel after the 75th round.  The match was the last world title bout fought under the London Prize Ring Rules— and thus, the last bare-knuckle heavyweight title bout.  And it was one of the first American sporting events to receive national press coverage.

John L. Sullivan (L) and Jake Kilrain

 

 

Written by LW

July 8, 2014 at 1:01 am

“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark”*…

 

In 1978, DC Comics published an over-sized 72-page special edition entitled Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, in which the Man of Steel and The Greatest team to stave off an alien invasion.

The issue’s wraparound cover shows a host of late 1970s celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Tony Orlando, Johnny Carson, the cast of Welcome Back Kotter, and The Jackson 5–seated amongst Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, and other DC superheroes, as well as Warner and DC employees.  The original draft included Mick Jagger in the lower left corner; he was replaced by promoter Don King.  See a list of those depicted here.

[TotH to Retronaut, via almaar kleiner groeien]

* Muhammad Ali, nee Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.

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As we float like butterflies, we might recall that is was on this date in 1948 that Joe Louis, “The Brown Bomber,” successfully defended his Heavyweight Championship against Jersey Joe Walcott.  The bout between two African-American athletes was a victory over the prejudices of the time.  Louis held his title for three more years before retiring; in all, Louis successfully defended his Heavyweight title 25 times from 1937 to 1948, and was a world champion for 11 years and 10 months. Both are still records in the heavyweight division, the former in any division.  Walcott went on to defeat Ezzard Charles for the title on 1951, at age 37, becoming the oldest person to wear the Champion’s belt (until George Foreman won it at 45).

With Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, Louis is widely regarded as one of the first African American “national heroes” in the United States, and was a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II.  He was instrumental in integrating the game of golf, breaking the sport’s color barrier in America by appearing under a sponsor’s exemption in a PGA event in 1952.  Walcott went on to Hollywood (he starred with Humphrey Bogart in The Harder they Fall), then into politics– he was elected sheriff of Camden County, New Jersey in 1971– the first African-American to hold the post.

Joe Louis

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Jersey Joe Walcott

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Not-So-Superman…

 

Florida Man Florida Man@_FloridaMan 4h

Florida Man Flees After Trying To Break Into Truck; Leaves Crocs At Scene, Pisses Pants | http://buff.ly/17foFnk 

Florida Man Florida Man@_FloridaMan 20h

Florida Man Broke Into Woman’s Home, Took iPad Photos Of Himself With Her Underwear On His Head | http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/jun/25/deputies-burglar-left-love-notes-photos-underwear/ …

Florida Man Florida Man@_FloridaMan 25 Jun

Police Find Florida Man Naked, Revving Motorbike In Front Yard | http://feedly.com/k/18dEvBR

A Twitter feed of headlines from Sunshine State newspapers recounting the exploits of “the world’s worst superhero”…

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As we whistle Sewanee, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that 18,187 spectators at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas saw Evander Holyfield jump, scream, and and move away, bleeding, from his opponent, Mike Tyson in the third round of their fight.  In a move that anticipated the coming craze for zombie stories (and in a posture that presaged vampire movies to come), Tyson had bit Holyfield in the ear…  Tyson was disqualified from the match and suspended from boxing.

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Written by LW

June 28, 2013 at 1:01 am

Float like a butterfly, sting like a king…

There’s a boxing ring planted in the middle of a London nightclub.

So far, nothing too out of the ordinary. But there’s also a folding table in the center of the ring, and on it, a chessboard. And rather than gloving up to start sparring, the two boxers, hands wrapped, sit down to square off over the board. Because this isn’t regular boxing—it’s chessboxing.

Chessboxing is a hybrid sport that is exactly what it sounds like: Chess plus boxing, or, more specifically, a round of chess followed by a round of boxing, repeated until someone comes out the victor. As Tim Woolgar, founder of London Chessboxing, says, “If you know how to play chess and you know how to box, you know how to chessbox”…

Get the dope at “TKO By Checkmate: Inside the World of Chessboxing.”

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As we roll on the ropes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1926 that Thomas Alva Edison opined that “Americans prefer silent movies over talkies.”

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Written by LW

May 20, 2013 at 1:01 am

Holy Huffmobile, Batman!…

From the first appearance of the Caped Crusader’s wheels…

Before the familiar bat-finned cars, the title "Batmobile" was first used on a red convertible in Detective Comics #48 in February 1941. Most of the design was based on the 1936 Cord, though the nose of the car looked more like that of a Lincoln or similar car. The bat mask did not exist yet, but the car did sport a small "bat" hood ornament. Several "Proto-Batmobiles" had appeared in comics by this point, though this was was the first to use the name. It was also the last car used before the now famous Batmobiles with the bat-masks and roof fins.

…to the most recent…

From Batman, The Return (2011, though reminiscent of "The Tumbler" from Christopher Nolan's 2005 film Batman Begins)

… there have been 110 different models of The Batmobile (so far).  One can explore them all at BatmobileHistory.com. (And check them out in infographic form at SyFy’s Blastr.)

 

As we search the night skies for the Batsignal, we might pause to celebrate the most popular Batmobile of all– Adam West’s regal ride in the hit series which premiered on ABC on this date in 1966:

Custom car builder George Barris decided to use the Ford Motor Company's abandoned Futura concept car as a basis for what would go on to become one of the most famous cars in the world. The car featured an impressive array of bat-gadgets. In addition to the "atomic turbine engine" (the car was actually powered by a blueprinted Ford V8), the car had a nose-mounted chain slicer, lasers, rockets, an on-board telephone, radar, dash monitor, on-board computer, and police beacon. If needed, the Batmobile is capable of a quick 180° "bat-turn" thanks to two rear-mounted 10' parachutes, and the it is equipped with a smoke emitter and a nail spreader to discourage pursuit.


 

The Annals of Symbology, Vol. 27: “Simple Substitution- Rowling Rampant” (Naughtiness Alert- NSFC)…

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Further to the “Plato Code” discovered by Manchester University professor Jay Kennedy to be hidden in the works of Plato (as described in “Special Edition: Too Weird…“), internet scholar “JonJonB” reports (on ICQ):

Purely in the interests of science, I have replaced the word “wand” with “wang” in the first Harry Potter Book…

Some of his results:

“Why aren’t you supposed to do magic?” asked Harry.
[Hagrid:] “Oh, well — I was at Hogwarts meself but I — er — got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wang in half an’ everything.

“Oh, move over,” Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry’s wang, tapped the lock, and whispered, “Alohomora!”

Harry took the wang. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wang above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls.

“Get – off – me!” Harry gasped. For a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncles sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wang.

Readers will find other compelling evidence– and indeed have the opportunity to search for long-suspected but as-yet-discovered references to Plato in Rowling’s text– at Quote Database.  And readers see/can hear The Pointer Sisters sing this post’s theme song, Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle” here.

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As we remember that we promised ourselves to reread Ulysses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that 20,000 people in Reno, Nevada saw Jack Johnson–  boxing’s first African-American heavyweight champ– successfully defend his title against James J. Jeffries.  Jeffries, a prior champ, had retired in 1904 undefeated (Johnson had won the title from Tommy Burns, who received it by default).

In 1910, Jeffries announced “I feel obligated to the sporting public at least to make an effort to reclaim the heavyweight championship for the white race. . . . I should step into the ring again and demonstrate that a white man is king of them all.”  In the event, Johnson proved stronger and more nimble than Jeffries. In the 15th round, after Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, his people called it quits to prevent Johnson from knocking him out.

Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of finding a “great white hope” to defeat him.  The result triggered race riots that evening — the Fourth of July — all across the United States, from Texas and Colorado  to New York and Washington, D.C.  Indeed, many “riots” were simply Blacks celebrating in the streets.  In some cities, like Chicago, the police didn’t disturb the celebrations.  But in others, the police and angry white citizens tried to subdue the revelers. In all, “riots” occurred in more than 25 states and 50 cities. About 23 Blacks and two Whites died in the riots, and hundreds more were injured.  Police interrupted several attempted lynchings.

The fight

It was, of course, also on this date– in 1776– that the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

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