Muhammad Ali – THE Greatest Of All Time (Re-blogged)

Here’s a re-blog of a tribute to Muhammad Ali. Today would have been his 76th birthday.

Eyrie Of An Aries

Muhammad Ali: 17 January 1942 – 3 June 2016

Ah, me…a titan has passed on. Muhammad Ali, born as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., but forever known as “The Greatest of All Time,” succumbed to a respiratory illness which was exacerbated by the complications of Parkinson’s disease and CTE. He was 74 years of age. From the BBC:

“Boxing legend Muhammad Ali – one of the world’s greatest sporting figures – has died at the age of 74.

The former world heavyweight champion died late on Friday at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, having been admitted on Thursday.

He had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, said his family…George Foreman, who lost his world title to Ali in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in…

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Sepultura’s Friday Fun-time: Movies!

The topic of this post might surprise those who follow me and actually read what I write!

For those who are new to my blog, or just haven’t been paying attention, I don’t do movies or television shows. When I do watch, I watch sports or reruns – most of what is aired these days bores me to tears, save for comedies, animated series, or my anime on [adult swim]. I prefer books, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t watch ANY movies! I decided to post an awesome scene from three films that I genuinely like, and me liking a movie is a rare thing, indeed. The movies that I like might surprise many, as well – but, that’s what you get for having prejudiced expectations, LOL!

😉

First movie: Ladyhawke. It was on TV last weekend, and I had it on while I did some housework. Hadn’t seen it for years, and I’m sure many consider it a B-movie, but it wasn’t bad as far as I was concerned. Here’s one of the best scenes from that film: “The Transformation.”

Second movie: Hero. This movie was awesome, in my not-so-humble opinion – and I despise Quentin Tarantino, so that says a lot! I love this scene in particular: “Courtyard Battle.”

Last, but definitely not least, Blade Runner. To me, it is, and always will be, one of the most epic films ever made. The best version of the movie, for me, is the 1992 Director’s Cut. I think that it is the most pure, unadulterated version of the 1982 original, without the annoying, unnecessary narration. Even though the movie is nothing like the book that it is based on, titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which I own and have read), it is brilliantly done.

This scene is the climactic moment: “Tears in the Rain.”

Notable Passings: Tata Madiba

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

I heard the sad, but expected, news late last night…Tata Madiba, known worldwide as Nelson Mandela, has shed his mortal cloak and gone to the ages. He passed away at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, shortly before 19:00 GMT (21:00 local time). More from BBC News:

“South Africans have gathered in Johannesburg and Soweto to mourn their former leader, Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Mr Mandela had been receiving treatment at home for a recurring lung illness since September, when he was discharged from hospital.

As soon as the news of his death broke late on Thursday, small crowds began to gather in Soweto’s Vilakazi Street, where Mr Mandela lived in the 1940s and 1950s.

Crowds also gathered outside Mr Mandela’s current home, in Johannesburg’s northern suburb of Houghton, where he died. A stage has been erected there and speeches are being given and hymns sung.

President Zuma visited the house in the early afternoon to pay his respects.

Across the world, leaders, celebrities and members of the public have been paying tribute.”

Al-Jazeera had an interesting piece about him. Here’s an excerpt:

“Nelson Mandela will be celebrated primarily for the dignity with which he emerged onto the world stage after decades in prison and for the forgiveness that he displayed toward his former enemies in forging a democratic, multi-racial South Africa from the poisoned legacy of apartheid.

As a global statesman of grace and humility, he was long courted by Western leaders drawn by his irresistible story of triumph over tyranny. Yet Mandela, who died on Dec. 5 at age 95, was also a more radical and politically complex figure than has been commonly acknowledged by his admirers in the West.

As a young man he had close ties to the South African Communist Party and plotted an armed uprising inspired by Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution in Cuba.

For many who followed his life closely, that commitment to socialist values and instinctive solidarity with those he saw as fellow strugglers against oppression, colonialism and imperialism continued to burn strongly even in the years after his release from prison and the end of apartheid.

“He came out of prison a senior statesman in waiting. He went into prison as a militant revolutionary leader,” Peter Hain, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and friend of Mandela’s, said.

“He was seen as a burly freedom fighter, learning how to shoot in Ethiopia and traveling to revolutionary Algeria and other countries while he was underground. We must never forget he was a freedom fighter.”

A great fighter, indeed. His spirit was never broken during his unjustified 27-year imprisonment; he maintained the drive, dedication, and determination necessary to emerge from that cell to become one of the greatest leaders of all time. More from the Huffington Post:

“The thing about Nelson Mandela was that he made the rest of us want to be almost as noble as he.

Imprisoned for 27 years, the anti-apartheid leader who had declared at his 1964 trial that he was willing to die for his beliefs in human dignity and racial equality emerged from that experience not filled with hatred, but courtly, magnanimous, humble and good-humored.

His very demeanor served as the rebuttal to all those who peddled fear and foretold disaster and bloodshed should black South Africans get the vote and take power in Pretoria.

It is easy to forget what a seething cauldron South Africa had become by the early 1990s as part of its white minority struggled to hang on to the three centuries of privilege made possible by apartheid. I remember it vividly while covering the country’s democratic transition as AP’s southern Africa bureau chief in Johannesburg in the mid-1990s.

Khaki-clad farmers with pistols at their side were setting off bombs and pledging never to submit to majority rule. The townships with their shantytown poverty were ablaze with guns and violence as ANC activists and backers of the government-encouraged and Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party fought with terrifying ferocity. In Guguletu, outside Cape Town, a young American Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl was chased down and killed by a mob of youths shouting racial taunts of “Kill the farmer.” An anti-apartheid Communist leader, Chris Hani, was gunned down and killed by a right-wing Polish immigrant.

The nation felt like a tinderbox, a stage set for a bloodbath.

But what Mandela ushered into history instead was his profound regard for the rights of all South Africans to claim a share of the national patrimony. It was a point he boldly made on almost every public occasion, whether to householders in the white and affluent Johannesburg suburb of Houghton or on a stage thrown up at a dilapidated football stadium crammed to the rafters with township dwellers clamoring for economic justice.

Through tedious and patient negotiations over several years after his release from prison, the framework was set for the country’s first all-race elections in April 1994, even though almost until the last minute it was not clear that all the conflicting parties would participate. When the day finally dawned cold and clear, South Africans saw themselves as the rainbow nation they really were. More than 22 million people voted, their lines snaking over the verdant green hills, and it was evident to the majority that they were now, at last, full citizens in the land of their birth.”

I was still in middle school when I watched his ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ on the news. Such a powerful presence! I was amazed at the fact that he’d been in prison longer than I’d been alive; my fiancée hadn’t even been born at the time Madiba was imprisoned. To emerge with such dignity, grace, and good humour was a fantastic testament to this great, legendary gentleman.

Rest easy, Madiba. Your legacy will last through eternity.

The Expected Finale…

Well, the expected outcome has finally occurred. My heart sank as I watched the reports, from the 5:00 local “info-tainment” through the State of the Union Address, and after the 137th Westminster. The images of the burning cabin and the spotty reporting, where the details changed often, solidified what I’d thought from the beginning. First reports at 5:00 stated that the cabin had been burning for about an hour, indicating that the fire had started around 4:00 p.m. (PST). Police claim that the fire started after they exchanged fire with the suspect and then launched a tear gas canister into the building – supposedly, a single gunshot was heard after the canister was launched, but before the fire started. So a dead man started a fire? No, let’s get it right: they launched an incendiary device into the cabin in a supposed attempt to “flush out” their prey. They deliberately set the fire themselves, in order to cover up the bullet holes in the cabin walls – that way, there will be no way to find out the calibre of weapons they used to shoot at Dorner. Remember, they only wanted him dead and they were determined to destroy any other evidence he might have had on his person. Using .50-cals with armor-piercing rounds isn’t trying to take a suspect alive, and burning a body is a good way to distort bullet wounds. Of course, they’re already saying that it was a suicide so the autopsy will only report one supposed ‘self-inflicted gunshot wound’. From the BBC:

“California police say they have found a body in a burnt-out cabin where murder suspect Christopher Dorner is believed to have made his deadly last stand.

The 33-year-old former policeman is thought to have exchanged fire with police after barricading himself in.

A single gunshot was later heard inside the building, which then began to burn.”

The BBC report also states that officers were using a demolition vehicle to tear down the walls of the cabin – more evidence-destroying action? It looks that way to me…

I found it interesting that, following the State of the Union Address, reports stated that Christopher’s body had been removed from the cabin and was positively identified – but the 11:00 news backpedaled, saying that the cabin was still too hot to enter and that they had made no “positive identification” yet.

I’m pleased and not surprised at the accounts of the civilians who encountered Christopher before the LAPD closed in. The two women married couple who encountered him were merely tied up and he took their car, leaving a cell phone on their coffee table. After crashing in the car, he got the truck from the Scout camp leader – again, without violence and bloodshed. It will be interesting to see if his camp gets a mysterious monetary endowment in the next few months. The reward was supposedly only for information leading to an arrest; again, we all know that an arrest was never the intention. Will he get the full bounty, or will it be a 3-way split? We probably won’t even be told that. By now, as expected, all of the pre-written police reports and incident details have been agreed upon, and will be carefully filtered to the media at their leisure.

Christopher Jordan Dorner is the latest Black murder victim of the LAPD – it’s as simple as that. He was murdered because he tried to expose the corruption running rampant in that, and other, departments across the USA. Davey D pointed out something on his blog that I’ve been noticing for ages:

“I want folks to look at some of what I mentioned and really think about this..I know many who dislike the police would like to believe that one man had one of the most militarized and largest police forces in the world, was spooked over threats and subsequent actions from one man..Some have gone so far as to call Dorner a modern-day Django. Others have noted that Dorner with his military training gave him a tactical edge and made him the most dangerous suspect ever faced by LAPD…On the criminal tip, Southern Cali is home to some of the most ruthless, well armed and vicious organized gangs.. The Mexican mafia, Armenian mob, Aryan Brother Hood, Skin heads, Biker gangs like the Mongols & Hells Angels Russian mob, drug cartels of every stripe, Crips, Bloods etc.. This is gang land for real..and many of those gangs are openly hostile to LAPD, yet we have never seen the resources and all stops pulled up to confront them, the way they did Dorner…We never saw this much power even after some of those gangs were deemed domestic  terrorists..and even after we’ve seen some of these outfits do everything from murk entire families to terrorize entire families or ethnic groups..”

His mother now has to lay her child to rest – and that’s a crime. Let the grand cover-up begin.

He’s a martyr and a hero who sacrificed himself in trying to see justice done, IMHO. That should be his legacy.

Public Enemy: “Fight the Power

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today is a holiday marking the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated by a racist scumbag because of his beliefs, hard works, and the color of his skin. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964; here’s what the website says: “At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the  youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When  notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over  the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights  movement.”

His statement on politics and the two-party system, in particular, is why I feel no allegiance to either one – but, on that note, I don’t see ANY political party out there that shares my views!

King critiqued both parties’ performance on promoting racial equality:

“Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights.”

On Saturday, while a bunch of paranoid gun fetishists shot each other up at various gun shows during their circle-jerk of a so-called “Gun Appreciation Day,” sane people went out and volunteered their time to assist those in need, honoring part of Dr. King’s vision with a “Day of Service.” I’ve volunteered at various times in the past – once I went to a care facility for Black veterans of foreign wars, and just sat with people and listened to them. They were lonely and felt forgotten about, and just having someone hold their hand and talk with them about their lives was better than some junket to a casino. Lots of tears were shed on that day, all around…

I helped clean up a park another time – ugh. It wasn’t pleasant, but sometimes that’s how life is: you have to get your hands dirty in the name of doing some good! Also, cleaning up that park was a great feeling…it made it easy to laugh through the disgusting bits, LOL

A lot of whites love to quote this part of his “I Have A Dream” speech: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That quote is but a small part of the speech, and you can’t quote it without referring to the entire speech because it loses the impact and context. Also, he said a great many important things at other speeches and conferences; those other quotes are less-mentioned, but no less important. I’ll list a few here; you can find the rest at Goodreads.com. Enjoy!

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a hero who fought against racism in the United States.  Slavery was outlawed, but that didn’t prevent the passing of ‘Jim Crow’ laws nationwide, which systematically denied black people the basic rights that white people took for granted – the right to vote, the right to live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood, the right to work anywhere you wished if you were a qualified applicant, the right to have decent, well-funded, well-staffed schools; the right to use public parks and swimming pools, the right to sit anywhere you wish on a bus, train, or at a lunch counter in a restaurant.

He was assassinated by members of the Ku Klux Klan, a racist organization which perpetuates the insanity of racism and hatred based solely on one’s skin color, religion, or nation of origin.  He died because he believed in ‘the American Dream’ and felt that ALL Americans should have equal opportunities to pursue and obtain that dream without roadblocks, obstacles, and shackles holding them back.  He became a martyr for a valuable cause, and that fight still goes on to this day.

Presidents who owned slaves have had national holidays named after them for centuries.  It wasn’t until the latter part of the 20th century that a ‘black’ man, a ‘person of color’, was finally honored for his great, historical deeds.  Fascinating, no?  Below are some quotes from this great man.  Small-minded people only want to focus on a tiny portion of his “I Have A Dream” speech to trot out during “Black History Month”, but he said so much more.  Kudos to Brothawolf for sharing these lesser-known quotes and statements.

http://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/what-mlk-said/#comment-2116

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”   

“Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people.”   

“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”   

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

“To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”

“The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.”

“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”

“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abortion of poverty.”

“The sweltering summer of the negro’s legitamate discontent will not pass until there is a invigorating autuum of freedom and equality.”

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.”

“It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society.”

“One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

 

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