Memories of The Greatest


This wasn’t supposed to happen. Sure, I was just 13, but I read the New York Post, the New York Times, the Daily News, the Herald Tribune and Sports Illustrated and I watched TV and I listened to the radio and all the experts said Cassius Clay would be crazy even to appear in the same building with Sonny Liston, let alone the same ring. Hell, he’d be crazy to set foot in the same ZIP code, a newfangled thing that had been invented the previous year.

Sonny was a monster. He was big and way too strong and he had a couple of sledgehammers hanging from his shoulders that could kill a skinny, 22-year-old pretty boy. He would hit Clay so hard, the experts said, that his fist would come out the back. Clay would certainly leave the ring on a stretcher. He’d be lucky, the experts said, to still be breathing. Continue reading

Just a dad, with his little girl

I collect handshakes. Hank Aaron, Smokey Robinson, Buddy Guy, Sam Moore, David Halberstam, Bill Kunstler, Hubert Sumlin … Getting a photo, or god forbid a selfie, is not what matters most. It’s shaking the hand and saying thank you for making a difference in my life. Thanks for making me smile. Thanks for making me think. Thanks for being you.

I like to think that if I shake your hand, maybe some of the brilliance will rub off.

But there’s one handshake I didn’t get. Continue reading

Worth reading, 06/21/13

My Abortion, at 23 Weeks (op-ed by Judy Nicastro in the New York Times)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — I BELIEVE that parenthood starts before conception, at the moment you decide you want a child, and are ready and able to create a safe and loving home for her or him. I support abortion rights, but I reject the false distinction between the terms “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” Here’s why.

This is a very compelling argument against limiting abortion to the first 20 weeks, or the first trimester, or to whatever the next set of restrictive laws will try to achieve. Nicastro, carrying twins, learned in her 23rd week of pregnancy that one of the fetuses had a hole in his diaphragm.

Only one lung chamber had formed, and it was only 20 percent complete. If our boy survived birth, he would be on oxygen and other life supports for a long time. The thought of hearing him gasp for air and linger in pain was our nightmare.

Anti-abortionists say abortion is murder, period, end of conversation. (Though they often permit exceptions for rape and incest, which I think is inconsistent with their doctrine. The fetus is not responsible for the conditions of its creation. If abortion is murder, isn’t it also murder to abort a fetus that results from incest or rape?)

I say the writer made the right decision, however painful. Aborting a fetus in this sort of condition at 23 weeks is much more merciful and compassionate than condemning it to a short lifetime of constant agony once it’s born.

Read the op-ed. You decide.


Seen on Facebook:

(h/t Lori Day)



Men Over 40 Should Think Twice Before Running Triathlons (Bloomberg)

(h/t Mike Regan)

For men competing in triathlons past the age of 40, the grueling slog to the finish line could be their last.

As the average age of competitors in endurance sports rises, a spate of deaths during races or intense workouts highlights the risks of excessive strain on the heart through vigorous exercise in middle age.

OK, I’m convinced. No more triathlons for me.



Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind Over Madness Yoga

(h/t Josh Miller)

Anyone can find tranquility on top of a mountain.
Can you find it in the middle of Times Square?

Find tranquility and transcendence in the midst of the world’s most commercial, frenetic and urban place, Times Square. Thousands of yoga enthusiasts will come together for a collective ohm on the longest day of the year (June 21st) to participate in an all day yoga festival.

Celebrate the sun, summer and creativity at the Crossroads of the World with five free outdoor yoga classes. Participants will receive a Solstice gift bag* and Athleta will provide free yoga mats* to the first 1,200 that arrive to each class.

Oh, I’m just dying to be one of a few thousand fools practicing yoga in Times Square. Sun salutation, anyone?

On the other hand, it’s so hard to pass up a free Solstice gift bag.


New Jersey Bans Trash-Talking in High School Sports (

New Jersey high school athletes who talk trash could find their teams penalized and themselves under investigation by state officials.

In announcing the new policy, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and the state Attorney General’s Office said it brings athletic events into line with the state’s anti-bullying law for schools.

According to the policy, sports participants could be in trouble and under investigation by the state Civil Rights Division if they make harassing statements related to gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

There once was a baseball player named Dummy Hoy. These days, you could never call him Dummy (not that he could hear you if you did). I guess it’s a good thing that we’re going to ban trash-talking. But the world sure has changed, hasn’t it?



In Ali’s Voice From the Past, a Stand for the Ages (William C. Rhoden in the New York Times)

I woke up Thursday morning and heard a familiar voice that I thought was part of a dream: Muhammad Ali was discussing why he had refused to be inducted into the Army….

I have stopped using the word hero to describe greatness.

In an era of unimaginable intrusions into our private lives, the would-be hero walks on a rug that can be snatched away at a moment’s notice. Better to talk about someone’s heroic moment or performing a heroic act.

Muhammad Ali is a great man. What he did 46 years was a heroic deed for the ages.

Each generation has its own method of protest and resistance. Listening to Ali on Thursday morning was a reminder that courage, honor and integrity are timeless.

Excellent piece. Don’t miss this one.


Checking Out (Timothy Egan in the New York Times)

[T]he main factor in workplace discontent is not wages, benefits or hours, but the boss. Yes, that cretin from Kentucky Fried Chicken, in countless forms. The survey said there was consistent anger at management types who failed to so much as ask employees about their opinion of the job. Ever….

What the Gallup survey makes clear is that the easiest way to make life better in the workplace is the simplest: all those unctuous, self-important, clueless bosses out there could notice the toiling subordinate who’s been taking up space for many years. Fake it, if you have to, just to see what it feels like.

If you’ve ever had an abusive boss, you need to read this. If you’re a boss, you need to read this even more.