Posts Tagged ‘Muhammad Ali’

Michael Jordan’s Birthday

February 20, 2013

Sunday February 17th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

   Michael Jordan turned 50 today, but that’s only one of several reasons February 17th has gotten to be a date of uncomfortable significance on my yearly calendar. Today was also the birthday of my grandmother who was born in 1911 and the day my father died in 2007. That’s a lot to digest.

There are so many emotions mixed in with all of that I’m not sure where to start. I have always been a fan of Michael Jordan, partially because I knew he was my age. He was born in 1963 just as I was, but how much more different could any two lives be? Birth year is about all we share.

Can anybody name a person in any walk of life much less an athlete more famous than Michael Jordan? I can’t. That guy is one in a million million, just like Muhammad Ali or Babe Ruth. He’s the singular standard by which an entire sport is measured for generations. How amazing is that?

Other famous athletes were born in 1963 like Bo Jackson and Charles Barkley, but Michael has gone beyond athletics and is pop culture – and worldwide pop culture at that. He’s reached about as high a level as one can get and still qualify as human. After that one becomes a cartoon image.

I heard all kinds of tributes on the radio today about him turning 50, and they made him sound SO old. I used to think 50 was old too, but now I’m there and it feels like I’m just getting started. I was too busy making mistakes until now, but I finally feel like I’m in a position to hit pay dirt.

Then I look at a Michael Jordan and he’s been on top of the top for thirty years. It’s like it was included in his DNA, and it would be difficult for him NOT to be successful. He may not be the red hot icon he once was, but he’s had a super run right up there with Elvis or Michael Jackson.

It’s hard to comprehend someone of that magnitude being born just a few weeks ahead of me, but it’s true. That doesn’t guarantee happiness though. Whitney Houston was also born in 1963 and it didn’t end well for her even though she also attained heights most humans never reach.

Then there’s my father. He was an overwhelming underachiever and waste of sperm no matter when he was born. Nobody celebrated his 50th or any other birthday on radio or anywhere else. It still baffles me why he was so mean spirited and nasty to just about everyone, but now he’s dead and nobody misses him. I surely don’t, but I do wish I could find out what made him that upset.

Michael Jordan at 50 is looked at as a lion hearted champion of a generation and has the rest of his days to do as much or as little as he pleases. He has millions of dollars and a new model wife. If he’s unhappy – and he very well could be – it sure isn’t due to lack of resources. He’s loaded.

My father at 50 hadn’t ventured off the back porch to attempt anything. He was proud that he’d been able to pull down a disability for his bum heart, and he pissed the rest of his life away doing absolutely nothing of significance. As I sneak up on 50 – or as it sneaks up on me – I find myself betwixt the magnificence of Michael and the folly of my father. I have no idea where I’ll end up on the big picture chart of life. I have all I can handle keeping my bills paid. I can’t dwell on this.


‘Punchline’ Still Stinks

July 16, 2010

Wednesday July 14th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

Sometimes a person’s tastes evolve as life goes on. I know that’s been the case with me. As a kid I used to despise Muhammad Ali and wanted him to lose every fight. I thought he was a loudmouth braggadocio and wanted to see him get that mouth shut permanently.

Now I realize I was falling into the brilliant marketing plan he’d had all along and think he’s one of not only the greatest athletes of modern times, but also one of the greatest and most charismatic entertainers who ever lived. I have a completely different opinion now.

Another example is the movie ‘Airplane!’. I remember seeing it right when it came out. I was in high school, and saw it with my siblings and uncle. It’s one of very few times we were all together in a public place. Why I don’t know, but we were, and it was a huge hit.

The theater was packed, and everyone was laughing. It was like a live comedy show as far as that goes, but I hadn’t experienced that then. I remember how much fun we all had, and thought the movie was THE funniest thing I’d ever seen in my life. I’ve seen it since, and it’s not nearly as funny as I remember it. It caught me just right on that particular day.

A movie I couldn’t stand when it came out was ‘Punchline’ with Tom Hanks and Sally Field. It was right during the comedy club boom in the ‘80s and every comic felt like we were obligated to see it because everyone kept asking if that’s how comedy was. I saw it on the road with a guy named Steve Iott, and we both hated it. We barely sat through it.

I was in my twenties then, and had a whole different mindset. I wondered how I’d react to seeing that movie now, and Mark Gumbinger decided to show it at his house as part of an ongoing tradition he’s doing of inviting friends over to watch movies and hang out for a night. He’s got a really nice place with a huge screen TV and I’m flattered he called me.

Mark is a director so he watches movies from a completely different angle. He looks for the edits and film making style, which is fine. I’m learning to appreciate that a lot more as I get older too. I’m learning and growing and respect how difficult it is to make any film.

Before the showing I mentioned how much I hated Punchline when it came out. I didn’t know how I was going to react to it now, but thanked him for at least letting me hang out and watch it with the group. If it stunk again, I probably wouldn’t have finished it myself.

Sure enough, after twenty plus years in mothballs, I hated it all over again. So did Mark, but for different reasons. It could have been a good movie. Tom Hanks and Sally Field in one movie should be at least halfway decent, shouldn’t it? Forrest Gump still holds up.

Punchline tried but failed to capture the essence of the dented can which makes us need that stage so much. They tried to exploit the father tweak angle, but it fell flat and I don’t think I’ll need to ever watch that movie again. My opinion remains the same, even after a lifetime of working to make myself better. Punchline is a flat line, but they still got paid.


January 26, 2010

Sunday January 24th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

I know it doesn’t mean anything in the big scheme of life, but DAMN am I in a chipper mood knowing the Minnesota Vikings and their sub human orangutan fan base won’t get to have the pleasure of watching their hired hillbilly whore Brett Favre take their team to the Super Bowl at my expense. I had nothing to do with any of it, yet it still delights me.

This whole ugly mess is still a hot button for a lot of people, and I’m one of them. Here I am, slugging it out to pay my bills every month, but I still care that a multi million dollar cocky jock who cares nothing about me gets his comeuppance. But I do. And it’s sweet.

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to absolutely despise Muhammad Ali. She said she’d like to go in the ring herself and kick his ass, just to shut him up. She’d get so upset when he’d come on TV and brag about himself and I thought it was funny to watch how it made her react. He was doing his job, and Grandma didn’t even know it. That’s the idea.

Brett Favre is doing his job too. He’s managed to polarize MILLIONS across America’s heartland that either deify or despise him, and they all watched their TV today to see how the final chapter would turn out. Would he lead his purple devils to the dance or return to the bumbling bumpkin who broke more hearts in Wisconsin than triple bypass surgery?

I have to admit, I was hoping for not just a losing football score, but a heaping helping of humiliation piled on to make it REALLY burn. I wanted the fans of the Vikings to feel the pain I felt when Mr. Fuzz Face Favre threw his last Packer pass to a New York Giant.

This was a very ugly divorce and what man wouldn’t enjoy seeing his ex-wife get fat or do something that drove him nuts for years to her new man? Many might not admit it out loud, but it’s human nature. It may not be pleasant, but it’s real. Packer fans had to endure some hellacious pain over the years, even though he did provide us a lot of thrills as well.

We’d have put up with it had he behaved like a gentleman and gone about his business like a gentleman should. Instead, he put himself above the team and it all went south and the whole soap opera started playing itself out. He got what he thought he wanted, even if a lot of loyal Packer fans felt betrayed. I was one of them and I wanted to see him LOSE.

Well looky there, I got my wish! I turned on the TV during a commercial break during my Mothership Connection radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI just in time to see the New Orleans Saints kick the winning field goal. That made my night, but then the highlights rolled and I saw the interceptions, it made my year. It was football Christmas!

There are still all kinds of blind sheep that think he walks on water and will support him to the end no matter what he does, up to and including genocide and blasphemy. He’s got a brainwashed base of bonehead butt sniffers who fawn on his every move. Then there’s a whole other side of the coin who think he’s the Antichrist and wanted to see him go down in flames. We got our wish and I love it. But Brett is a millionaire. I’m not. Who wins?