What (a) Fight — Mayweather vs. McGregor


Well, I finally gave in and watched the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight this evening. Showtime showed it at the same time as the evening news was being aired on our local channels; I opted to watch the fight.

I’ve been a fan of boxing since watching it on our black and white TV in the 50s and 60s with my mother and father. They were both fans of the sport and would watch it together on nights my dad wasn’t working.

The Gillette Friday Night Fights are on the air,” or something like that announced an evening of family bonding over jabs, hooks and broken faces. I didn’t realize until much later, over close-up color pictures in Sports Illustrated and boxing magazines just how bloody a sport boxing actually was. Of course, by then I was a fan.

Both of my parents died before we got these gigantic, flat screen color TVs, and I occasionally wonder if they would have allowed me, at five or six years of age, to watch some of the fights I watched with them on these TVs.

I’m too cheap to pay to watch these PPV events, so I watch them as re-runs; that is, assuming the reviews are sufficiently positive. Usually, I just read about them in the newspaper and ignore the re-run.

I was skeptical that Mayweather — McGregor would be worth watching.

OnĀ  one hand we have an older, champion boxer who is past his prime and essentially retired. And, on the other hand, we have a younger, and slightly larger, street brawler.

I thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion — Mayweather would not be seriously challenged and would put up with McGregor only so long.

Well, the fight — the commentators and I saw two different fights.

Showtime’s announcer and commentators oohed and ahhed over McGregor’s many punches early in the fight and Mayweather’s lack of response. They gave the early rounds to McGregor while describing the action as “compelling” (I’m not convinced they know the definition of the word.); the same as I read in the newspaper and saw on the web during the actual fight.

No, no, no — what did I see? I saw Mayweather sizing up his opponent and figuring out very quickly that McGregor’s punches were no threat; he could safely ignore them.

Mayweather then allowed his opponent to wear himself out while throwing enough punches to keep the commentators and paid spectators satisfied that they were getting their money’s worth.

For the last three rounds it looked as though McGregor was out on his feet and that one or two flurries from Mayweather would put him out of our misery.

If McGregor had kept his mouth quiet, his tongue behind his teeth and just boxed, Mayweather might have carried the fight to the twelfth round. But, McGregor didn’t. Mayweather ended the fight in the tenth, although I think he could have ended it in any round he chose.

It was a boxing match; Mayweather was a boxer and McGregor wasn’t. You don’t play the other man’s game and by his rules; you’ll lose every time.

It was not a fight for the ages.

DACA Dreamers — A Few Thoughts

Let’s throw away $7,855,100,000.

That’s the amount of money, on average, we’ve invested in the DACA Dreamers’ public education for each year they have spent in the United States.

If we deport them, we will, essentially, have thrown that money away and invested it in Mexico or whatever country they are deported to.

How long have they been here? How many years have they spent in public schools? How much of our tax money has been invested in their education?

Every day they have attended school has educated them in being Americans. Everyday they Pledge Allegiance to the American flag. Everyday they learn more American English. Everyday they learn American history. Everyday they play American sports.

Every day they become more and more American — until most have forgotten what it is not to be an American.

Dreamers aspire to become doctors and nurses, soldiers and sailors, chefs and vintners, police and firefighters, reporters and politicians.

Dreamers want good jobs, to live in good neighborhoods with good schools. They want these things for themselves, their children and grandchildren. Sort of what our parents and grandparents wanted for us.

All they want is to be Americans.

Maybe their skin is a different shade than ours. Maybe their religion is different than ours. Maybe their first language was not English, but, then again, odds are quite good that our grandparents and great-grandparents spoke a language other than English also. Maybe their favorite foods are not ours, but their first food was milk — the same as ours.

Their DNA is the same and their blood is red no matter their “racial” or national origin.

America is changing, evolving, but it is still America. Our ideals are still the same as those of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton — “all men are created equal.” Although it seems as though some of us believe that some are more equal than others.

Attempting to rid America of the Dreamers will not halt or reverse this evolution of our country. It is progressing as it has for the last several centuries.

Don’t believe me?

Look at those you pass in the supermarket.

Wander through your child’s school — its classrooms and lunchrooms and playgrounds.

Look at those who sit next to you at football and baseball and basketball games. Yes, and at your children’s teammates at their soccer practices.

And, for many of us, our worst fears are being realized in our children’s choices of study partners, best friends, dates.

They don’t have our preconceptions — and haven’t paid much attention to our prejudices or have decided to defy them as we chose to defy those of our own parents.

I taught in Orange County classrooms for some forty years and learned a few things. One of them is that children who go to school with children of different colors will have friends of different colors. They will be in study groups with them; they will eat lunch with them; they will be on the same teams and in the same clubs.

They will date — they will have sex. They will live together; they will marry; they will have children — our grandchildren.

Our grandchildren may not have the same skin or eye color (or shape) as we do but they will be just as loving, and lovable, as our children were. We may — will — find it quite hard, if not impossible not to love them back.

The DACA Dreamers? They’re as American as you and I, and maybe more so except in legal name.

Let us find a way to change that. Let us eliminate the uncertainty and fear in their lives. Let us find a way to make them American in name as well as in fact.

Let us reap the investment we’ve already made in these hardworking, taxpaying Americans.

740,000 registered Dreamers as of January 2017.

$10,615 the average cost per pupil in a public school per year.

Total investment per year: $7,855,100,000

Blocked Highways — A Modest Proposal for a Partial Solution

Have you ever been caught in a situation in which the highway, freeway, interstate you are traveling on is congested because all of the lanes in your direction are completely blocked — maybe for hours?

I have.

It happened several years ago returning to L.A. There was a hazardous materials spill several miles ahead of us and . . . Yeah, the “freeway” was completely blocked in our direction and it took more than two hours to edge our way to an off ramp, exit the freeway, find a parking space at a gas station, use the bathroom and get back on the freeway — in the opposite direction and get home several hours later than intended.

Oh, and when we did get home the freeway was still blocked.

Today, there is a brush fire north of L.A. and the I-210 is closed for several miles in both directions. (Oh, it’s also get-away day for the Labor Day weekend.) Rush hour traffic is backed up for a long way in both directions and it is slow work to get vehicles off the freeway and the limited off ramps.

My proposed partial solution? Let’s replace our solid K-rail barriers with movable/temporary, or pivoting, K-rails. If the solid K-rail barrier is replaced every mile or two (or three or five) with K-rails that can be moved by Cal-Trans and/or the CHP, then the open side of the highway can be used to evacuate vehicles that might otherwise be stuck for more hours than one’s bladder can stand (or sit or hold liquid).

It only takes being stuck in this kind of a situation once . . .

Diagram A — Traffic is moving freely in both directions. No problems (at least, no more than the usual problems).

Diagram A - D Blocked Highways
Diagram A – D Blocked Highways

Diagram B — There is an accident, or other incident, which causes the CHP, or other agency, to halt traffic in both directions. The only exits are the Off-Ramps, which are usually only single lanes and which get backed up quickly, too quickly.

Assuming a hazardous materials spill, brush fire leaping the highway, crashed airplane (yeah, we had one on the I-405 here recently), earthquake — You’re kidding, right? Here in SoCal? — both sides of the highway could remain closed for hours or longer.

All of our major highways carry several hundred thousand cars each and every day — including weekends and holidays. They are never empty. Any incident, much less a closure, causes problems, major problems.

In Diagram C the lanes are blocked in both directions and the Off-Ramps are used to take some of the cars off of the highway. But . . . some the K-rail barriers are either moved out of the way or pivoted to create openings in the center of the highway. This allows some of the vehicles that would have had to use the Off-Ramps to exit the highway to simply make a left turn through the no-longer-there-barrier and leave in the direction from which they had come.

They can then go back to where they were from or exit at another highway or off-ramp and find another route to their destination. This would reduce the wait-time for vehicles using the highway in both directions. (No waiting for four, or more, hours to find a toilet.)

Diagram D supposes a situation in which only one direction is completely stopped. CHP could block a lane or two on the opposite side of the highway and open the K-rail to vehicles from the blocked side.

This would slow traffic in the unblocked direction but would hasten the de-congestion of traffic on the blocked side. Again, no waiting for three or four hours to get going.

Diagram A – D Blocked Highways (PDF)

Monumental Thoughts on Charlottesville

Perhaps it is time . . . for a time (for all time?).

I was a teacher, now retired. I spent some forty years teaching middle school/junior high aged students. For most of those years I taught History (American and World), as well as English, Shop and Computers.

When the subject was the American Civil War, I remember dividing the class into two groups — North and South — for games. I also recall Sister Leanda doing this to our eighth grade class a half-century ago.

It is still being done. Last year I was walking through a park in back of one of our local middle schools and a class was playing softball divided into North and South teams.

There are statues, schools, monuments and other memorials to the leaders and soldiers of both the Union and the Confederacy scattered throughout the United States.

For most of my life I have given no thought to the negatives associated with some of these memorials. The recent events surrounding the Charlottesville, VA marches and protests and associated violence have changed this.

Once one opens his eyes it is quite easy to see how the memorials to those who tried to sunder apart the United States and preserve the institution of slavery affect those whose ancestors were slaves.

If the South had won the Civil War, the institution of slavery would have been preserved and might still be in existence. Of course, as slavery died for economic, as well as moral and political, reasons in the North prior to the Civil War, it might have also have done so in the South later in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries.

Judging by the events of the last two weeks, there are still people who feel as though the Confederacy should have won the war and that the “peculiar institution” should still hold sway.

The KKK and Jim Crow laws were instituted for the singular purpose of keeping the black man in his place and keeping the white man in control — politically and economically. In effect, a de facto preservation of slavery.

We were not the first people to enslave others and we are not the last to have done so. Slavery, in several different forms, still exists in our world and will not disappear in our lifetimes.

We cannot undo all the evils for which slavery has been responsible, but perhaps, we can further mitigate the effects of those evils.

No American alive today is, or has ever been, a slave owner or slave in the system as it existed in the antebellum South. But many of us are descendants of those who were.

Slavery and discrimination have left metaphorical scars and open ulcerated sores on many of those whose ancestors were slaves. And the recent events in Charlottesville have simply rubbed salt into these wounds.

Perhaps it is time to remove from public view, at least for a time, the monumental reminders of that age, now a century and a half removed.

The old soldiers and politicians who fought so long ago no longer care. (And, if the Christian God they professed belief in actually exists, I doubt there is either color or racial differentiation in either heaven or hell.)

Perhaps it is time to remove these hurtful reminders of an age long dead.

Perhaps we should all begin to agree with the sentiment behind those hopeful, if a bit hypocritical, words penned by Thomas Jefferson back in the days before the United States existed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, . . .”

“Men” now meaning men and women, white, black, yellow, brown and red.

It will not hurt us to put away these symbols and it may, just may, help our country.

Isn’t it worth the effort to try? Perhaps . . .

Focus — Confederate Monuments

Coyote — Cast off your old tired edibles?

Being retired and spending most of my time around the house, my thoughts sometimes run in strange directions.

About a year ago I began watching Andrew Zimmern’s show: Bizarre Foods. Some of the things he eats look quite appetizing and others . . . Well, I don’t think I’d try them on a bet and, possibly, not even if I was starving.

Tonight though, I went “hmmmm . . .”

I was fixing our dinners and in the background Zimmern was visiting the Bronx (NYC). Out of a cooler came a, legally caught, skinned coyote. It was then prepared and eaten . . . hmmmmm.

A popular and brazen coyote that was frequently seen cavorting and hunting in close proximity to people at Huntington Beach's Central Park was euthanized on June 21. This photo was taken by Dawn Macheca of Huntington Beach about two weeks before the animal was darted and then put down by O.C. Animal Control.
Picture by Dawn Macheca at Huntington Beach’s Central Park — OC Register

We have a surplus of coyotes in SoCal.

Tacos de Coyote, anyone?

The Travel Channel: Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern – “The Bronx” – Original air date: 7.12.2016.