Monday, November 24, 2008

Did Joe DiMaggio order John F. Kennedy killed?

This past Saturday marked the 45th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. According to scholars, historians, politicians, The Government, and the History Channel, Kennedy was gunned down by Lee Harvey Oswald, a mysterious goon who was both an ex-Marine and a Communist. These powers that be claim Oswald acted alone, entirely driven by his own delusions of grandeur. Or so the story goes.

Of course, you could believe the conspiracists. The ones who believe Oswald was set up. They believe it could have been any one of the following:

- The Cubans
- The Russians
- The CIA (check out this wild link!)
- The FBI
- The Mob
- Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
- The Israelis
- The Illuminati
- Tonya Harding

But the one person who seems to get off pretty easy on the conspiracy front is the Yankee Clipper himself, Joe DiMaggio. No one seems to question his lack of involvement. Consider this:

Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe in 1954. Despite being divorced only nine months later, for years DiMaggio continuously put flowers on her grave. He had an undying commitment to her. Monroe, who died of an overdose in 1962, supposedly had affairs with both John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. According to this article, DiMaggio truly believed the Kennedys killed Monroe to end some of her verbal transgressions. What Monroe said or learned from the Kennedys is up to dispute, but according to rumor, she told Frank Sinatra about some of the CIA's dealings in Cuba and their actions against organized crime. Her loose lips may have spelt the end for her.

So here is what I believed happened:

For whatever reason, the Kennedys, possibly through the FBI, had their hand in the death of Marilyn Monroe. After her death, DiMaggio immediately accused the Kennedys and plotted his revenge. Knowing he couldn't possibly get even with John Kennedy by himself, DiMaggio talked to Sinatra and his entourage of seedy elements and garnered their support. Of course, being the most famous Italian in New York for nearly a decade, DiMaggio had to have ins with some of the more powerful families in New York.

So after a year and half of plotting and planning, DiMaggio decided to have Kennedy killed in Dallas in November, 1963. For DiMaggio, Dallas was the perfect spot. It was far away enough from New York or DiMaggio's home city of San Francisco to cause heat. All DiMaggio needed was a patsy, someone to take the shot.

According to court records, Oswald spent a short time during his childhood living in Texas, where he was the captain of his local baseball team. Shortly thereafter, he moved to New York City to live with his half-brother. During this time, DiMaggio was wrapping up his legendary career. If Oswald kept the passion for baseball, whose to say he didn't ever attend a Yankee game and grow to admire the great Joe D?

Fast-forward to 1963. DiMaggio, with his mind set on revenging Monroe's death, learned about an impressionable young ex-Marine who has travelled the world supporting Marxism and the Cuban Revolution. DiMaggio ordered one of "his guys" to talk to Oswald, convincing him that the murder of the President would not only be good for the world, but also would ease the pain of his former baseball idol. As needy as he was for admiration, acceptance, and attention, Oswald would have been an easy sell. He had the tools, the how-know, and now the incentive. The rest, as they say, is history.

Oh, and in case you are curious as to why DiMaggio was never really considered a suspect in Kennedy's death, just imagine the fear a few visits by New York's most friendliest families would have had on the members of the Warren Commission. There was no way the Yankee Clipper was even going to be questioned, capiche?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Pleasant Night of Bodyslams, Afros, and Southern Championship Wrestling

It was dark, I was 15 miles outside of Orlando, I had half a tank of gas, and I was wearing sunglasses. And an Afro.

Last Saturday night was my turn yet again to represent the Afro-Squad at an independent professional wrestling show. For years, the Afro-Squad has been one of the galaxy’s premier fan gimmick organizations. You could almost say the Afro-Squad and pro wrestling have gone together like cheap wine and Taco Bell. Trust me, once you get past the low budget stigma, it’s not a bad way to spend a night.

I have to be honest here. I’m the new guy in the Afro-Squad. Like I said, they have been around for a while. They have been involved in pro wrestling, crazy photoshops, and amateur movies, all in an attempt to foil the omnipotent bugaboo they call “The Man”. Yet like all great supergroups, there have been a few line-up changes along the way. Officially, there have been two Snowmans, two KrazyMans, and now a Jordi (I really should find a funky handle.). Unofficially, I’m probably one of nearly 5,000 in the Afro-Squad Army, a ragtag gaggle of non-practicing pimps, pornstars, practical jokers, and pro wrestlers. Which brings me back to why I was just outside of Orlando in beautiful Altamonte Springs, Florida.

For those not familiar with the geography of Florida, Altamonte Springs is a suburb of Orlando. That’s it. There is nothing special about Altamonte Springs. As a matter of fact, if you wanted to be environmentally correct, there is quite a bit wrong with Altamonte Springs. It is one of Florida’s many urban sprawl cities, destroying natural Florida one subdivision at a time. But for my purposes, Altamonte Springs is home to the Eastmonte Civic Center, the venue of choice for the night’s festivities.

Not to use the slightest bit of hyperbole, but Saturday night’s wrestling spectacular had every right to be festive. For 10 years Southern Championship Wrestling had entertained the masses throughout Central Florida. Yet now, on their 10th Anniversary, they were closing up shop. Saturday night was the end. The end of their elaborate plans, of storylines and slobberknockers, pinfalls and promotions. Needless to say, butts were in the seats, and faces lined the walls when seats could not be found. SCW’s final event was a big deal to a lot of people. So of course the Afro-Squad had to be in attendance, represented not only by myself, but also by the afro-clad Bryan Maddox and AfroBoy.

That’s the thing about pro wrestling. It’s easy to be involved. It’s easy to feel like part of the show. Whereas some people work concessions, others boo or cheer, the attractive walk ring cards, and the legendary ring bells, the Afro-Squad heckles. We put on our afro wigs (except AfroBoy, his is real) and our cheap sunglasses and we become masters of the heckling art. You might even say the transformation from mild mannered fan to fanatical heckler is worthy of the label “Heckle and Jekyl”. But don’t say that, someone might think you are old. Does anyone remember Heckle and Jeckle anymore?

Anyway, there I was in the Eastmonte Civic Center. Thanks to a mishap with Google Maps, I arrived shortly after the first match, but right on time to see the entrance of Mexican stereotype Ben Deho. Being the upstanding internationalist, Mr. Deho immediately sparked the ire of the crowd with his anti-American rhetoric. So of course I responded with a “You love tacos” chant.

The next recipient of the Afro-Squad’s attention was SCW superstar Slick Sleazy. Mr. Sleazy, a true gentleman and a scholar, goes back a ways with the Afro-Squad. Earlier this year, in a prior SCW event, Sleazy, a promoter of raw, unbridled sexual deviance, was among the Afro-Squad’s top targets of hecklization (that might not be a word, by the way). At the Eastmonte Civic Center neither heckler nor hecklee (also possibly not a word) forgot their role.

The moment Sleazy made his entrance, I immediately yelled “You still suck!”, and began laying into his loud green wrestling attire. Sleazy, recognizing my afro’ed persona, gave me a few choice words and, once in the ring, taunted me with several semi-homo-erotic hip thrusts. Unfortunately, our battle of wits was sidetracked by Slick Sleazy’s mohawked and tattooed opponent, the vicious Tribal, who due to the fact that he may just cut his own head with a weed whacker, was also the subject of several Afro-Squadian comments.

Here I must admit my most embarrassing moment of the evening. After Slick Sleazy pinned Tribal, I walked to the aisle railing with the intent of peppering Mr. Sleazy with some farewell insults before he went backstage. Unfortunately, Sleazy engaged in an unexpected counterattack, snatching my afro and sunglasses from my visage. Ashamed, I fled to a far corner of the arena, leaving the victorious Sleazy with a trophy to go along with his victory. Thankfully, a kind ring worker recovered my cherished accessories.

Learning a temporary lesson in humility, I stayed relatively quiet through the next three matches, letting other members of the crowd jaw with the parade of heels and faces. Then Aaron Epic entered the ring area.

Like Slick Sleazy, Aaron Epic was a favorite Afro-Squad target from prior events. Also like Sleazy, the illustrious Mr. Epic was known for taking action against certain afro'ed hecklers. This pattern would continue unabated.

Prior to learning his ring moniker, the Afro-Squad used to loudly refer to Aaron Epic by the color of his wrestling trunks (“Hey Aqua Pants, you suck!”). Now knowing his name, my chant of choice quickly became “Epic Failure”. But of course, that wasn’t all.

Knowing I was in his head, I frequently told Mr. Epic to “Do Something!” immediately after he struck his opponent. Being told to “do something” apparently set Epic off as he motioned for me to come into the ring to settle our differences. Knowing the boundaries of performance, and also being a bit of a pansy, I told Aaron Epic to come to me, thinking he wouldn’t dare enter the crowd. But yet he came close, pausing in his battle with Nooie Lee long enough to roll out of the ring, lean over the railing, and feign spitting on me. Our war of wits settled to his satisfaction, he re-entered the ring and proceeded to win the SCW Light Heavyweight and Florida Heavyweight Championship. Which he would then lose five minutes later.

Following Slick Sleazy and Aaron Epic, the final Afro-Squad target of the evening was Mr. Robin Donahue, manager of SCW Heavyweight Champion Thomas Marr. With his semi-bald head, broken left arm, and consignment shop-bought suit, Donahue was an easy target. In a world where managers are supposed to create hostility and fan heat for their wrestlers, Donahue is one of the best. But even he is no match for the Afro-Squad as I took him apart, from his un-Bic-ed head to his cheap bowling shoes. The champ had to go it alone, as I was all in Donahue’s head from the second he stepped towards the squared circle.

With or without his manager, Thomas Marr concluded a great night of wrestling with a fantastic 30-minute match with challenger Slyk Wagner Brown. In a battle that spilled into the crowd, returned to the ring, went back into the crowd, and then back into the ring, Marr defended his title thanks to his mix of athleticism, grit, and determination, with of course a smattering of cheap shots and low blows.

Despite the comments, the insults, the jeering, and the jawing, as the night drew to a close I stood and applauded each and every wrestler as they gathered one last time in an SCW ring. SCW had a magnificent run as one of the best sports entertainment promotions in Central Florida. But now the past is the past and the show must go on. To the owners, operators, bookers, and brawlers of SCW, I give you my heartfelt thanks. Thank you for the great shows.

And to targets of Afro-Squad ire, I hope to see you again soon. Even you, Aaron Epic. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Happened to Sirius 43 Backspin?

Like nearly everyone, I am a creature of habit. I get up in the morning, eat breakfast, shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, etc, etc, before I head to work. And in part because my office does not allow us to bring in radios or anything that might entertain us, I have to listen to a few good tunes on the drive to the daily grind.

Unfortunately, my music selection has taken a horrible turn for the worse. Sirius Satellite Radio, for some inexplicable probably profit-driven reason, decided to cut their old-school rap station, Backspin. Totally not cool.

Granted, I understand Sirius is in the final stage of merging its programing with XM Satellite Radio. They have integrated several stations, dropped some redundancies, and attempted to streamline their offerings. But in a lot of these cases, they've always made sure the genre was in some way, shape, or form covered. But in the case of old-school hip-hop, they have well ... nothing.

So in remembrance of the songs I won't be hearing on Satellite Radio again, here is "Tearz" by the Wu-Tang Clan, re-written to reflect my recent musical loss:

Yo check yo yo, check the script
Yesterday my satellite radio flipped
Got in my truck, hit the switch, and started to trip
Had a box, 'Boom Boom' Backspin would blast
Pumping Run, KRS, PE, and Skee-lo to all who passed
Heavy rotation, kickin' the crates with the dust
Hey yo, you know playing Dana Dane is a must
Aw yeah, I'd play it every time I got in the car
Reciting rhymes on my way home from the bar
Not knowin, exactly what lied ahead
Just making sure my old-school memories were fed
I never wondered that one day in the fall
Didn't expect, I wouldn't hear old-school beats at all
"We are sorry, but your Backspin station had to go"
Despite my shock, I called up Sirius and said "No!!"
Money I was giving them, BOW! I snatched it back
For my pockets, and to the record shop down the Ave.
I'm steaming, with no noise up and down the block
(Hey, Sirius!) What? (Your new programming sucks c**k!)
I stopped frantically, then I dropped down to my knees
Like Bushwick I started punching the hard concrete
I looked to the heavens and put together my hands
Where else can I hear old school beats throughout the land?
Aw man! How do I say goodbye?
It's always the good stations that have to die
Memories in the corner of my mind
Flashbacks, of me listening all the time
That sound was as nice as the bees and birds
Now I have to conclude with these three words:

Bring back Backspin!

And while we're at it, how about a channel dedicated just to the Wu-Tang Clan and their 5,000 disciples? I know they have more songs than Elvis.