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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Erin Andrews pitches FSU merchandise

I'm sure hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow Florida State alumni received this image in their e-mail boxes recently. And of course, the company probably uses the same image to pitch their product to other universities. I just think it's great, being that Erin Andrews is a former Gator dancer and all. If I ever needed something for her to autograph, it would be this.

By the way, I know I haven't written much about the Seminoles of late. In my effort to propogate the entire blogosphere with my literary seed, I should be popping up on a popular Nole-centric blog with some writing soon. More to come later.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives

The hands have been shaken, the babies kissed, and the speeches given. Today is the day. Today is the day America will elect a new president. Plenty of people have said the two main candidates can not be further apart. I agree. There is no mistaking Barack Obama as anything but a liberal and John McCain as anything but a conservative. There is no middle ground this year.

Throughout the campaign, and by watching people and hearing their opinions, I have settled on a few key definitions of liberal and conservative political thought in America. The problem with these philosophies is they have different beliefs in regards to man and society, and because of this, there is little to no middle ground, making compromise nearly impossible.

Conservative thought:

Conservatives believe in the evil intentions of Man, especially of those outside of their borders. They believe conflict between nation-states lead by Man is inevitable, no matter how much diplomacy is conducted. By nature, they do not trust treaties and alliances and hence preach the need for a strong common defense.

Conservatives also believe in the right of private gun ownership. This supports the idea that Man is again by nature an untrustworthy, evil creature who will eventually attempt to take his neighbor's resources. Positive relationships among neighbors are a condition of social environment, not natural evolution.

(Continuing with gun ownership, however, I would argue that the idea of a strong military and private gun ownership are contradictory. Private gun ownership supports a belief in the ability of the people to provide their local (household) defense as well as cumulatively provide a national defense through militias and national guards. A strong military takes away one aspect of the need for private gun ownership, while at the same time reducing the ability of the people to overthrow the government with their private arms if at any time they deem the government has become corrupt.)

Conservatives believe in the goodness of neighbors to take care of each other. This is contradictory to the idea that neighbors are not to be trusted. But within the conservative ideal there is a sense of community, where small, strong family units are encouraged. Here conservatives believe Man will take care of his fellow Man, ensuring for his well-being.

Conservatives believe the role of government should be minimal at best, except for in the realm of the common defense, where bigger is better. Conservatives do not trust the large government mechanism, instead relying on the smaller unit to police and care for itself.

Liberal Thought:

Liberals, on the other hand, believe in the overall goodness of Man. Underlying liberal philosophy believes it is Man that is good and it is society and Man's environment that makes him do bad things. Liberals believe that by tinkering with or altering the environment of Man, they can produce positive societal results in the action of Man.

Liberals believe that Man should be evolved from the conflict of animals. To revert to violence and conflict is to revert to the ways of ancient Man and to learn nothing from the history of civilization. Strength in the belief in Man fosters the liberal belief in treaties, organizations, coalitions, conferences, and allegiances.

Liberal belief in the goodness of Man also explains the liberal tendency to support a smaller military organization. Liberals believe the threat of aggression begets more aggression and that a less aggressive pose negates the need for a large military.

Liberals believe a government made of Men is the most efficient way to help Man. Through the mechanism of government, more people can be helped and aided than without the ability of government. Liberals believe we have not yet reached a point where Man will help his fellow Man without the facilitating reach of government. Liberals believe that if government were to withdraw itself from providing a social safety net, Social Darwinism would occur and the poorest and less fortunate among us would be left behind.

In closing, I am sure there are plenty of other fundamental differences. These and other basic philosophies drive most people's choice for the two major political candidates. Although in some years the differences are slim, this year they are quite drastic. Personally, although I see some merit to conservative thought (especially in regards to a strong family unit that could eventually govern itself), I believe the liberal platform, the liberal philosophy, and the belief that Man is by nature good is what is best for America at this point.

That is why I am voting voted for Barack Obama.

P.S. Check out this article by a heavy metal guitarist on his views on the election, the political process, and how he defines the differences between liberals and conservatives. Very well written.

To quote:

"The fact is that I am no more qualified than anyone else to be given the soapbox to ventilate my views. What I, and other working artists like me, do have is a slightly altered paradigm than the average Joe. Artists get to spend their time creating with the sole purpose of sharing their work with others. My band and I spend months creating a piece of music, and than (sic) spend months or years traveling the world, symbiotically connecting with other people with purely positive energy, or taking negative energy and channeling it in a positive way. This exchange is highly emotional and, some may say, spiritual. I’ve had conversations with friends where I’ve compared the concert going experience to the church or religious experience. The emotional expenditure and purged release leave one feeling powerful and cleansed afterward.

This frame of mind can free one from the worker bee, consumerist, capitalist ideals that are beaten into our heads in school and reinforced when we grow up and enter the workplace. When you (are) able to go to all the corners of the planet, you see that there is much more that binds us together than divides us. When your life revolves around creation and positive exchange, you tend to open up and see the potential of humanity. I think this is why most artists tend to be liberal, which is why supporting Barack Obama or being anti-Bush might be seen as a cliché at this point.