Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Boxing: Sergio Martinez vs. Paul Williams, Saturday night, Atlantic City, NJ

A little more pugilism:  My favorite boxing maven and I took a quick trip to Atlantic City for the Sergio Martinez-Paul Williams middleweight title fight on Saturday, November 20.  The fight itself also turned out to be quick--less than two rounds--but no less memorable for its brevity (a good account can be found here).  These are a few images from my camera--with pertinent comments, of course.

Much of the landscape between New York City and Atlantic City can be desolate and depressing--but also, especially around sunset, strangely evocative, beautiful even.  Here's a bit of train-window art, with what I believe is Philadelphia looming in the background.

On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, one of my brothers keeps a wary eye on the proceedings.

The boxing match was held at A.C.'s historic Boardwalk Hall, once known as Convention Hall--famous for, among other things, being the longtime home of the Miss America pageant.  The inscription along the top of the facade reads:  "A permanent monument, conceived as a tribute to the ideals of Atlantic City, built by its citizens and dedicated to recreation, social progress and industrial achievements."  That's who we were in 1929, when the Hall was built.

At the time of its opening, Boardwalk Hall boasted the largest clear span space in the world--and, with its vaulted, glowing aquamarine ceiling and wealth of Art-Deco detail, the interior is still gasp-worthy.

Martinez (black trunks) and Williams (Martian trunks) wasted little time...

...before beginning to mix it up, spending the first round in aggressive combat.

But about a minute into the second round, Martinez saw an opening and took it, landing a short, perfect left to Williams' jaw that ended all debate.  Here, Martinez can be seen doing a victory lap around the ring as a spectator leaps to his feet.

A prone Williams appears to be trying to get up, but he's not quite ready.  Meanwhile, Martinez seems to be taking a certain satisfaction in having won.

Williams is represented here only by two legs sticking out from the scrum of people tending to him.

At this point, Martinez has donned a King Vitamin hat and is being  paraded around the ring, while Williams is being asked if he knows what day it is.

On the way out, we noticed this on the lobby ceiling.  According to the Boardwalk Hall website, it's a work of stained glass called the Atlantic Globe, and "depicts fish indigenous to our waters, a mermaid and a young girl costumed in an art deco-styled bathing costume."  Whew--I thought for a moment it might be where they put the losing Miss America contestants.

This woman was dancing to Elvis on the Boardwalk as we left.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Boxing: Zab Judah vs. Lucas Matthysse, last night, Newark, N.J.

Here's a shot of last night's Zab Judah-Lucas Matthysse fight at the Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey.

To my unschooled eyes, this rather dull fight--"I seen more action on Dancing with the Stars," one spectator was heard to remark--should have gone to Matthysse (left), who at a few points appeared to be pounding on Judah like Ricky Ricardo on a conga drum.  But the judges inexplicably gave it to Judah, though by the thinnest of margins.  (Here's a good account of the fight.)

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Politics: It was a wonderful Christmas morning, but we didn't get the pony

  • This Tuesday, a breathtaking number of Democrat politicians were shown to the door by the American people, whose initial cautious support of President Obama's policies has become--in only two years--doubt, then dismay, and finally revulsion (see, for example, this poll).
    At least six senators, 61 representatives and seven governors from the President's party are now standing on the unemployment line.  "We know that it was the biggest switch in House seats in a midterm in more than 70 years and the biggest swing in a Congressional election since 1948," one political maven told PBS.
    A satisfying purge; a modern-day equivalent of the defenestration of Prague (a defenestration is when annoying public officials are shown, not to the door, but to the window).  And comforting evidence that we as a people have not lost all our values, intelligence and common sense.
  • But it's still hard not to feel sadness at the political survival of Harry Reid, one of the more repellent figures in our public life.  As one example of his charms, Senator Reid joked in 2008 that in the summertime in Washington, “you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol."  And as a race-baiter he has no equal:  “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican," he mused in August. "Do I need to say more?”
    Apparently he does, because he never stops talking and never stops offending (go here for a good recap of his ugliest gaffes).  But most importantly, Reid played a major role in ramrodding Obamacare through Congress.  The damage caused by that legislation is already beginning to be felt--AARP, for example, which lobbied for passage of the bill, is now citing it as one reason it is raising insurance rates for its own employees.
    The most recent polls just before the election showed Reid's opponent, Sharron Angle, leading by one to four percentage points--yet Reid won the election by 5.6 points.  Does anyone believe he won it legitimately?  We've seen this trick so many times--races that a Democrat is on the road to losing suddenly being won when bushels of votes come in from urban areas, votes that can't be checked or no one dares try to check.  No wonder the Democrats, and their allies in the judiciary, are so set against laws that would require voters to produce ID or proof of citizenship (look here for a particularly galling recent example).
  • Here in New York, we gave the Democrats yet another chance to run the state, much like Charlie Brown giving Lucy another chance to hold the football.  It's true that the Republican candidate for governor, Carl Paladino, with his raw temper and undisciplined message, was a flawed candidate--while the Democrat, Andrew Cuomo, laid low and avoided controversy.  But how does that explain the results of the Attorney General race?  The New York Post summed it up this way:  "Staten Island's squeaky-clean DA, Dan Donovan, lost the AG race to utterly compromised Albany insider Eric Schneiderman."
    And here's what we can expect from Schneiderman, the Post tells us:  "The proudly liberal Manhattan state senator and attorney said he will use his office to root out discrimination...promoting marriage equality, and prosecuting wage inequality against women in the workplace."  In a state where middle-class families are on the ropes, he will use his office to push for damaging change to the millennia-old institution of marriage (in liberal-speak, "marriage equality" refers to what some call "gay marriage").  And in a state which businesses are fleeing south or west as fast as they can find office space to rent, he will harass business with affirmative-action lawsuits or threats of same.
  • So this Election Day, while indeed a happy occasion, left us--especially we New Yorkers--with quite a bit still to be desired.  But slow and steady wins the race, or some cliche like that.  Wait 'till 2012, when we really clean house.
  • By the way, one of the best things about Election Day was the way the wonderful congresswoman from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann, put Chris Matthews in his place on live TV.  Matthews famously said once that he felt a thrill going up his leg when he heard President Obama speak.  This time, he thought he'd have some fun and slap Congresswoman Bachmann around--after all, isn't that what liberals get to do to conservatives on TV?  By the time the conversation had ended, he was sorry it had started.  Check it out here.
    There's such irony in the fact that it is liberals who make the biggest noise about being for women's rights--yet their vision of women's rights is so shallow and, in many ways, so destructive.  But it is conservative women who are taking the lead, in many cases, in putting the country back on track.

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