Sunday, January 26, 2014

Do the Eye Gouge, You Turkey Necks: Don's top 10 wrestlers of all time

(Can anyone name the song from the post's title? Also, a reference to a "character" in the movie Her.)

In the Squared Circle, author David Shoemaker concludes that professional wrestling is "not fake but it is choreographed." Fair enough but the book has unleashed a battle royale of nostalgia and memory.

While Mr Shoemaker's exploration of wrestling begins at the turn of the century with large men grappling each other for hours at a time and continues to the present day (which is 2013 in his book), my wrestling relationship has two periods. As a boy in the late 50s and a father to a boy in the late 1980s, early 1990s.

I remember taking my son and a young friend along with his father to the Rosemont Horizon to see a WWF card featuring The Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and other stars of the era some time in the 90s.

Of course, no discussion of wrestling would be complete without a a tip of the mask to Barton Fink and his travails in Hollywood.

Now people are going to say to you, Wallace Beery, wrestling, it's a B picture. You tell them: BULLSHIT! 

Only one of my top ten come from the WWF era. I remember my wrestling heroes on black and white TV. And for some reason, I can't get them out of my head.

10 Edouard Carpentier: Click on the link for the human interest story behind the "flying French Man."

Byline: Mike Aka the Professor.
Young Edouard grew up in France during the Nazi occupation of that country. He was just a teenaged boy yet a full fighting member of the Underground, the famous French Resistance during World War II. His bravery and fighting skill was of enough heroic caliber to be recognized.

He was captured by the invaders at age 16 and escaped being taken a prisoner of the Nazis in one of their concentration camps. Joining the Resistance, he acquitted himself well enough to be decorated for bravery.

For his efforts, he was the recipient of both the Croix des combattants and Croix de Guerre medals. Edouard received them from the French government at the end of the war! His heroics weren't only just in the pro wrestling ring; he was a real life, medal-bedecked, card-carrying, bona fide hero!

9. The Fabulous Kangaroos

The Australian tag team that defined "heels."

Check out some classic Kangaroo action as they interrupt a lovely presentation to Sweet Daddy Siki and Seaman Art Thomas. (the action begins at .30 and ends at 1:30).

More Sweet Daddy and Art Thomas later. But the melancholy of Sweet Daddy Siki upon having his jacket destroyed is heart breaking.

8. From Moosehead Maine, Moose Cholak aka Golden Moose, Yukon Moose, Edward.

Okay, he was not from Moosehead Maine. In fact, he was a Croatian born in Chicago.

Mr. Cholak was a wrestler with a college education and an inquiring mind. In the early 1960s he attended lectures on Zen Buddhism that Alan Watts delivered at the University of Chicago. Then he went to Lake Forest to hear novelist Aldous Huxley talk about visionary experience. He said Huxley had taken LSD and was hallucinating. Mr. Cholak went backstage and when Huxley learned he had heard Watts, made him sit down and they talked for an hour about Zen and Watts.

7. The Crusher, nee Reginald Lisowski of South Milwaukee.

Crusher became politically involved in his later years and publicly endorsed Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold.(published on Wikipedia without citation but I like it.)

For your listening pleasure....

6." Seaman" Art Thomas, aka "Sailor Art Thomas"
Art Thomas clobbers Cowboy Parker

He wrestled under both names from the 1960s and until 1987 where he was defeated in a Battle Royale by Lou Thesz.

Lou Thesz defeated Al Costello and Arnold Skaaland and Art Thomas and Baron Mikel Scicluna and Bobo Brazil and Chief Jay Strongbow and The Crusher and Dominic DeNucci and Édouard Carpentier and Gene Kiniski and Gino Brito and Killer Kowalski and Nick Bockwinkel and Pat O'Connor and Pedro Morales and Ray Stevens and Rene Goulet and Tony Garea

On,  I learned that Seaman Art Thomas fought 1.070 matches with a record 552 wins and 236 losses.

5. Sweet Daddy Siki,

"A lot of people try to copy me, but there's only one Niagara Falls and only one Mona Lisa. And there's only one Mr. Irresistible -- Sweet Daddy Siki."

Sweet Daddy hosts Karaoke in Toronto on Saturday afternoons at the Duke.

4. Dick the Bruiser, nee William Fritz Afflis

Often paired with the Crusher, these two gravelly voiced large white men were a part of my 5 channel TV upbringing.

Let's enjoy a few moments with the gents.

3. Bo Bo Brazil, nee Houston Harris (July 10, 1924 — January 20, 1998)

Bobo Brazil delivers his devastating Coco Butt to the Sheik


Even in the dark days of segregation, Bobo Brazil was able to transcend issues of race. African-Americans looked at him as a role model, and even spectators with racist attitudes couldn't contain themselves from leaping to their feet and cheering for the popular Superstar. Many have even referred to Brazil as the "Jackie Robinson of sports-entertainment" in response to the way Brazil and Robinson similarly broke down racial barriers in their respective sports

2. Antonino Rocca (born Antonino Biasetton, April 13, 1927 – March 15, 1977, too young)

The great flying bare foot wrestler....and he beat Superman!

Rocca was a popular face and in some cities with both Italian American and especially Hispanic audiences, his following was exceptionally large and loyal. He also possessed Argentine citizenship.
He had a love for opera and was apparently described as having an excellent – if untrained – singing voice. Maestro Arturo Toscanini, a wrestling fan, was good friends with Rocca.[

See his top ten moves according to Patricia13386

1. Andre the Giant (André René Roussimoff May 19, 1946 – January 27, 1993)

Andre the Giant transcends the WWF world and is an entity under himself. And for symmetry...

Due to his immense stature it seemed inevitable that Andre would excel in the wrestling world. He had just started to make a name for himself in the ring as "Monster Eiffel Tower" or "Monster Roussimoff" when French-Canadian wrestler Edouard Carpentier first laid eyes on him. Carpentier was impressed with Andre's raw talent and decided to bring him to North America. Andre began wrestling under the name Jean Ferre in Canada for Grand Prix Promotions. 

Andre the Giant will be long remembered for his role as Fezzik in the Princess Bride.

In this scene is the essence of professional wrestling. "Not fake but choreographed."

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Golden Globes and Bad Weather

Being in below zero weather freezes your brain. It slows you down and quite frankly makes you a little thick headed. All you care about is getting and staying warm. Even though the frozen vortex or whatever the hell they called has passed, I am only know beginning to thaw out.

Part of that process included watching the Golden Globes. We (and you know who you are) turned it on at 7:00 PM. I have not descended into the depths of the "red carpet" shows just yet.

Here are a few observations.

Jennifer Lawrence, then and now.

In 2013, she starred in the movie with all the dancing and football jerseys. In 2014 She again played Katniss Everdeen as well as the bleached blonde wife of Christian Bale in American Hustle.

At this point, many of you reading, especially the males will be disappointed that there are no pictures of Jennifer Lawrence in this post. I blame the NSA. And Michael Moore.

In the 2013 pic, Jen, as I like to call her and she hates, is dressed in red and this year she wore a Dior Gown.

Click here to see gown and see something disturbing.

Did you see it? People are dressing their dogs, their cats, themselves in a mock version of JLAW's Golden Globes Gown.

Donald Sutherland, the nemesis of Jennifer Lawrence and all decent people is quoted as saying,""I hope that they will take action because it's getting drastic in this country." Drone strikes. Corporate tax dodging. Racism. The Keystone oil pipeline. Denying food stamps to "starving Americans". It's all going to pot. "It's not right. It's not right."

And. "We did it in '68."

Yeah, well. The system has worked well for you, Don and your family. So let the rest of us live in peace. The 60s disrupted as many careers as it launched, dude.

Where were George Clooney and Woody Allen? Woody Allen, I understand. Part of the Woody Allen brand is to not attend awards shows. It is a brand advantage over anyone who attends awards shows. I think he feels very guilty about his success and also superstitious. Woody has been shunning the awards (except for 2002 when he flew to LA to support New York) at least since the 70s. He has managed to find a job for all these years. Why change horses in midstream?

Clooney, though. Really should have been there. C'mon. Sandy Bullock was there. You produced all this stuff. Are you angry about Monuments Men not being released in 2013?

Ocean's Eleven meets the Dirty Dozen.

Do we need this? Really?

There are too many Emmas in show business. This is for all my British Fans. Too many Emmas. I can't keep track of them.

So what does it all mean?

It is January 13. The middle of the month. Almost. While winter has beaten us down (and will certainly do so again) we still have the Super Bowl and the Oscars to look forward to.

Again, sorry for the lack of Jennifer Lawrence photos. There are some on the internet at some of the entertainment sites.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sucessful or Unsuccesful: A donsbasement probe.

This chart appeared on my facebook timeline on January 3.

This chart only highlights the traits of successful versus unsuccessful people. You could very well be a success even if you don't have these traits.

It turns out that even though I am a success (after all I have a blog), I have more traits of unsuccessful people than successful ones.

Being a new year and all, I think it is a good time to determine whether I am successful or not. Since I am a relativist in most respects, I believe that there are no yes or no answers to these questions.

Successful People:

Compliment: Yes. I took  a Dale Carnegie course in 1983 or 1984. It stressed that compliment were good for business. But that they should be sincere. That is to say have a basis in fact. Even if the motivation was ingratiate one's self with another for commercial business.

Have a sense of gratitude: No. I have piece of note paper from a psychologist that I went to that reads, "I'm willing to be at peace, content, calm, (grateful?). She put grateful in parentheses. Obviously she thought I had a problem with that.

Give other people credit for their victories: Yes. 'There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit" I gave that quote to Ronald Reagan.

Read everyday: Yes. Currently reading, "Unfamiliar Fishes," by Sarah Vowell, On The Trail of Grant and Lee: A Narrative History of the Boyhood and Manhood of Two Great Americans by Frederick Trevor Hill, a free Kindle Download written in 1900. I also read the New York Times, especially Gail Collins and Maureen Dowd.

Talk about ideas: No As I don't understand the question.

Share information and data: Yes. Often repeating myself in the process.

Exude joy: No. I experience joy from time to time but I generally keep it to myself.

Embrace change: Not hardly.

Keep a "to-do project" list:  Yes. I keep several lists. But they are often of the daily variety. Since there is a later question of a "to be" list. I can comfortably say yes to this one.

Forgive others: No. Never a strong part of my growing up. Call it Russian. Call it being Jewish. Or call it unsuccessful. I don't forgive. (Although I want other people to forgive me)

Accept responsibility for their failures.: Yes.  I do this often before I have even failed. I save time that way.

Keep a journal: Yes. On and off since high school. Mostly it says how terrible everything was today. But it does get things off my chest.

Want others to succeed: Yes. Unless they are a direct competitor to me, my wife or children, I am all about success.

Keep a "to be" list: No. I was too young for the "Be In."

Set Goals and develop life plans: No. I have set sales goals for the past 30 years but have never developed a life plan. I was too superstitious to develop a life plan. I feared it would make the evil eye angry with me.

Continuously learn: I guess. I am interested in history so I guess I know more about the Civil War, Mongolia, World War I and World War II, and retail than I did when I was younger.

Operate from a transformational perspective: No.  I'm kind of a "go along, get along" kind of guy. Just like the late Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House in 50s and 60s.

  "If you want to get along--go along."

Final Talley: 9 yes, 8 no. Not completely successful.

Let's look at unsuccessful people.

Criticize. Yes.
Have a sense of entitlement: No
Take all the credit for their victories: No
Watch TV everyday: Yes
Fear Change: Yes.
Fly by the seat their pants: No
Talk about people: Yes, frequently
Hoard information and data: No. I overshare and then forget and overshare again.
Exude Anger: No. Only in the morning and on very ridiculously cold days.
Hold a Grudge: Yes. It's an article of faith and family.
Blame others for their failures: Yes.  In a macro sense.
Say they keep a journal but really don't. No. And this question, is just weird.
Think they know it all: Regrettably,Yes.
Operate from a transactional perspective: Yes. It may come from being in retail but it is a pretty shallow form of interaction but it comes down to pennies.
Secretly hope others fail: I will say NO. (because if I said yes, it wouldn't be a secret)
Don't know what they want to be: Ouch, Yes. But I have tried to be different people but I end up in the same place. And it's not a bad place, to be honest.
Never set goals: Well, I said no to the opposite question trait, so guess I am locked into Yes.

10 yes to 7 no. Not completely unsuccessful.