Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vernon Forrest 1971-2009

The last time I was in Atlanta I had the opportunity to eat at Gladys Knights’ Chicken and Waffles.While dining there I was approached by a man passing out literature that one of the local fighters,Vernon Forrest was promoting.It was a venture that involved helping children.Many fighters are self absorbed given to feeding their egos ,growing entourages,and buying gold chains.Forrest was one of the more thoughtful fighters, a fighter given to helping the youth in the Atlanta community and encouraging others to do the same.
Forrest was one of the best fighters of his era. Forrest beat one of the pound for pound great fighters ,"Sugar" Shane Mosley three times in his career.Once as a amateur and twice for the World Boxing Council welterweight championship.

The defeats of Mosley came when Mosley was considered the best fighter in the world.
Vernon Forrest was killed when assailants tried to carjack his Jaguar that had his girlfriend's son in the back seat.Forrest ever the fighter, gave chase to the muggers and was returning to his car when he was shot multiple times from a semi automatic machine gun.The tragedy is that a good man died from senseless random violence that knows no boundaries.
Rest In Peace,Vernon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Boxing Legends Arguello and Gatti Answer the Final Bell

Boxing Legends, Alexis Arguello and Arturo Gatti answered the final bell this past month.Both men were known as being champions in the brutal sport of prizefighting .Both fighters met an equal violent death.
Arturo Gatti was a crowd favorite in the east coast for years .Known for his swarming style and guts,Gatti was the fighter that no one had to doubt would put up a good fight.He always showed up and gave us his all. In victories he was exciting and in defeat he was even more exciting.Gatti first won a world title in outpointing Tracy Harris Patterson in 1995.Gatti's claim to fame was his epic trilogy, three wars against Mickey Ward. Four times Gatti participated in the Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. Gatti was found dead in the hotel room he shared with his wife. Strangled to death with his wife's purse. A tragic end to a great fighter.

As a young man, I watched with great interest, the style and grace that Alexis Arguello dispatched his opponents. I remembered how gracefully he knocked out Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini was a crowd favorite at that time.

I was struck that in a time that boxers expressed their macho with Roberto Duran like ferocity ,that Alexis was the quiet opposite. A gentleman that would knock you out and compliment you afterwards. With this demeanor Arguello fought Aaron "Hawk" Pryor in 1982 ,he lost that battle, but he showed in defeat that a was a true champion. In two battles with Pryor he was knocked out in a classic fight that lasted 14 rounds. In a rematch he subsequently lost by a 12 round knockout. Alexis won and lost a fortune several times over his career. In later years he became a political figure in his country of Nicaragua. First taking up arms against the Sandinista government as a contra in the 1980's ,and then in the 2000 decade he was elected the mayor of the capital city of Managua. Alexis died reportedly of a suicide , Arguello died a boxing legend and a national hero.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite 1916-2009 "The way it is "

Walter Cronkite was one of the first people I remember from my television viewing youth. Yes, it is a strange thing to remember a news anchor. In Virginia, where I spent some of my childhood, my grandmother and myself watched the news before dinner. It was the 1960's,a different time. Most people trusted that the news was not managed, and that their news anchors were above reproach. Walter Cronkite was thought of at that time as the most trusted man in America. In fact LBJ said that when he lost Walter Cronkite,he lost popular support for the Viet Nam War. It was a time that didn't have 24 hour news cycles and al a carte news. Today a Walter Cronkite would not be possible ,or as influential. It was different time, a different era, and a different way of getting the news.
Today, Americans can decide what time, how much, and what content they will view the news by virtue of a computer or satellite offerings of the news stories.
In my grandmother’s day ,there was only one way to watch the news, it was Walter Cronkite on CBS,and as Walter said "and that's the way it is".
Walter Cronkite reports on JFK Assassination November 22 ,1963

Walter Cronkite on the King Assassination April 4,1968

Walter Cronkite on The Viet Nam War

Walter Cronkite on Landing on the Moon July 20,1969

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Air "Steve McNair 1973-2009

Steve McNair the former All Pro quarterback for the Tennessee Titans died on July 4 ,2009 .He was killed by his girlfriend .I make no judgment on his life. I make judgment that he was one of the greatest quarterbacks of his era.

Steve will always be remembered as the quarterback that was one yard shy of winning the Super Bowl.McNair came from the small historical black college of Alcorn State University in Mississippi .It was during his collegiate career that he set the collegiate world on fire, by utilizing his overall talents as a quarterback. My belief is that he should have won the Heisman Trophy. McNair followed in the large footsteps of Doug Williams from Grambling ,by becoming a highly drafted black college quarterback.McNair was drafted by the Seattle Mariners as well,but he opted to play professional football.He starred eleven years at Tennesse and finished his career with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Great Super Bowl Finish :St. Louis-Tennessse

McNair will also be remembered by his dedication in helping the community. His charitable work goes without question.From the United Way to helping hurricane victims, during Hurricane Katrina.It was during Katrina that he organized relief efforts and paid for caravans of commercial trucks to be sent to the Gulf Coast. Steve was a man , and as all men are we are human. Several years back another famous individual ,Vice President Nelson Rockefeller died in the company of his mistress.Rockefeller's good works were not humbled by his transgression. The frailty of life is that we don't know when and how it will end. For Steve it has ended.For others such as you and me we have another chance to be at our best.My fear,is that we too will prove that we might be one yard shy. Rest In Piece ,Steve McNair.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Michael Jackson Laid To Rest

What a week ! Michael Jackson has been laid to rest and we can't get him out of our mind and our music play list. As the world turns ,President Obama has toured the Vatican ,the Kremlin, and Ghanian Slave Castles, but America's attention is still on the King Of Pop. Placing things in perspective -life goes on as it has in the past and will always do. Life has not stopped,but it has paused to honor one of America's greatest entertainers.
My thoughts on the funeral ,it was well done and touching. No matter what we thought of Jackson, nothing can be said to diminish the fact that his family has suffered a grave loss.My thoughts and prayers are with the Jackson family ,and the loss of their son, father ,and brother.
Congressman Peter King just does not get it,respect of the dead is the American way.Republicans are perceived as being mean spirited and out of touch, this indeed proved that Kingat best showed no sensitivity.Interesting fact that Michael Jackson was acquitted on child molestation charges and yet his trial still goes on after his death with some people ncluding Congressman King.Most young people are more sympathetic to Democrats after this outburst,I see why.
Congressman Peter King Attacks MJ

Whoopi Defends Michael Jackson

The NBC Michael Jackson Announcement

The Greatest Entertainer in The World

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Star Spangled Banner - Marvin Gaye

As we close these weekend's 4th of July festivities ,I look back on all the patriotic songs that I have heard recently. From "Stars and Stripes Forever", to a "Grand Old Flag".All the songs are great ,however it is just one that makes you stand, its the Star Spangled Banner. In 1983 at the NBA All Star Game ,Marvin Gaye's version of "The Star Spangled Banner" brought everybody to their feet and ultimately to clap in unison for freedom and democracy .Thanks Marvin for this patriotic beat.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Billy Mays , Farrah , and Ed McMahon

With all the recent celebrity the edgray blog is beginning to resemble a celebrity obituary. The deaths of "Maude"," Kung Fu",and Michael Jackson brought back memories of my childhood. The death of anyone is a sad occcasion,however when its a well known individual it makes us take a pause. We think our celebrities will never get old, get sick ,or even die. Today we pay honor to the last group of celebrities that have died. A diverse group of individuals that have sold us stuff we didn't know we need, guys who kept us up late at night, and a girl whose poster became an icon.
Billy Mays -"The Guy who sold us stuff we didn't need"

I have listened to this guy for years mostly at night as I was trying to go to sleep. Mays' distinctive voice pitched everything and made our cabinets full of stuff that we didn't know we needed.

Farrah Fawcett - "The Girl On the Poster "

As a teenager in the 70 's in many young men's rooms was this poster .
Farrah had the looks, and the hair ,the former UT beauty queen was the essential Texan beauty.

Ed McMahon "The Ultimate TV Announcer "

"The Tonight Show" would not be complete with Ed McMahon saying goodnight to Johnny Carson.At the end of the Tonight Show,he implored Johnny to say goodnight.Ed proved that a good sidekick makes a star look good. Sometimes the star became the sidekick .Goodnight Johnny ,Goodnight Ed.