Ripe For The Picking

This Monday before Easter has me still beaming at how well the Notre Dame Fighting Irish played Saturday night against the Kentucky Wildcats, arguably the best NCAA basketball team to play in the past forty years. They hung with the Wildcats most of the way until UK caught a couple of breaks in the last minutes of the game. The Irish nearly won the game at the buzzer on a desperation three-point shot from deep in the left corner of the court.

This reminds me of the greatest upset I ever predicted.

I was living in Marietta, Georgia in 1996, and in the fall of that year, I was telling friends and family that Evander Holyfield was a steal as a 6-1 betting underdog against Mike Tyson. Six years earlier, a journeyman boxer named Buster Douglas shocked the world to knock out the seemingly invincible Tyson in Tokyo in early 1990. I knew from watching the tape of that fight over and over that Tyson couldn’t handle a boxer with a good jab that would use that punch to set up combinations, and if Iron Mike couldn’t handle Buster, Holyfield would likely dominate him with Tyson’s diminishing skills.

If you remember that first fight (not the famous second fight where Tyson gets disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ear, that would happen the following year), that’s pretty much what happened. Holyfield was never in trouble in that particular fight, knocking Tyson out in the eleventh round, proving to many that he was the superior fighter of those two.

And of course, no one listened to me.

Flashback Friday: “99 Red Balloons/Luftballons” by Nena

This was Nena’s sole Hot 100, Top 40, and Number 2 hit from 1984.  According to Song Database, it peaked at the second spot on March 3rd of that year. There were German and English speaking versions of the song, so I went with the American version here.

Coca-Cola is currently using a remake of the song to sell some of its soda pop during the NCAA basketball tournament, hence the reason it’s up for perusal on Flashback Friday this weekend.

More next week, as always.

Mulder And Scully Redux

The X-Files are coming back for at least six episodes on FOX, sometime in the immediate future.
The X-Files are coming back for at least six episodes on FOX, sometime in the immediate future.

A couple of weeks ago, I had mentioned that boxing had returned to prime-time network TV.

Not to be undone, now the X-Files is returning to TV after over a decade’s absence.

Personally, I like the idea.  I watched the show from start to finish on Netflix, which took me about a year and a half of Friday nights to do.  It was a great story, a great time to question the odd things that go on in the world and question that awful “gubberment” that denies all knowledge.  God forbid the public know what really goes on, right?

But I think the show will work as a redux.  It sounds like something on the surface that is unlikely to be fouled up somehow.  But if someone can do it, it’s the FOX network.  There, I said it.  I’m sure one of the Palin family goons will attempt to brow-beat me on Twitter, as happened to me last Sunday night.

Maybe I will go into that at some point in the future.  Right now, I don’t want to give the goon that satisfaction.

The FM Radio Dial in Tampa, 1970

Last week, I had an aircheck from WALT radio from 1967.

This week, I have this find.  Someone with an outdoor antenna in the Tampa Bay area in 1970 caught every station on the FM dial back then.  Mind you, the FM dial was a lot less populated back then as compared to now, so you’ll only hear a few Tampa FM stations.  There’s a WTAN-FM on 95.7, for instance.  Q-105 was a few years away from existence, with WPKM occupying the 104.7 FM frequency.

In fact, the poster left a list of all of the stations caught on the FM receiver back then.  Must have been a good setup, as there are stations from all over Florida on the list, plus three other states: Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Here’s the list:

 89.7 WUSF Tampa, FL
  91.3 WTHS Miami, FL
  91.5 WFSU Tallahassee, FL
  92.3 WDBO Orlando, FL
  92.5 WPAP Panama City, FL
  92.7 WCCF Punta Gorda, FL
  92.9 WGOV Valdosta, GA
  93.3 WFLA Tampa, FL
  93.7 WMOP Ocala, FL
  94.1 WVFM Lakeland, FL
  94.5 WNDB Daytona Beach, FL
  94.9 WLCY Tampa-St. Pete, FL
  95.1 WJAX Jacksonville, FL
  95.5 WTVY Dothan, AL
  95.7 WTAN Clearwater, FL
  95.7 WBYU New Orleans, LA
  96.1 WKTZ Jacksonville, FL
  96.3 WMYQ Miami, FL
  96.5 WHOO Orlando, FL
  96.9 WINK Ft. Myers, FL
  96.9 WRLJ Jacksonville, FL
  97.3 WIOD Miami, FL
  97.9 WQXM Clearwater, FL
  97.9 WMUM Palm Beach, FL
  98.5 WGNE Panama City, FL
  98.5 WWOM New Orleans, LA
  99.1 WQIK Jacksonville, FL
  99.3 WEZY Cocoa, FL
  99.5 WQYK St. Petersburg, FL
100.3 WKIS Orlando, FL
100.7 WDAE Tampa, FL
101.1 WCKS Cocoa Beach, FL
101.5 WGNB St. Petersburg, FL
101.5 WLYF Miami, FL
101.9 WMFJ Daytona Beach, FL
102.3 WTRS Dunnellon, FL
102.7 WRBD Pompano Beach, FL
102.9 WIVY Jacksonville, FL
103.1 WLOQ Winter Park, FL
103.3 WBRD Bradenton, FL
103.5 WSRF Ft. Lauderdale, FL
103.7 WRUF Gainesville, FL
104.1 WGLF Tallahassee, FL
104.7 WPKM Tampa, FL
105.1 WWQS Orlando, FL
105.3 WVSL Slidell, LA
105.5 WGUL New Port Richey, FL
105.5 WGVL Gainesville, FL
105.9 WOOO DeLand, FL
105.9 WAXY Ft. Lauderdale, FL
106.3 WSPB Sarasota, FL
106.7 WLBE Leesburg, FL
106.7 WFTL Ft. Lauderdale, FL
107.3 WWBA St. Petersburg, FL
107.7 WORJ Mount Dora, FL

Flashback Friday: “Magnet And Steel” by Walter Egan

One of my favorite songs from the 70’s. Doesn’t hurt that you can hear Stevie Nicks doing a little backing vocal work on this 1978 hit, peaking at number eight on the charts on August 26th of that year.

Worth a listen. Have a great weekend!

The Travels Of A Prizefighter


It was one of those fights that felt like it happened yesterday, although this yesterday was 25 years (and now a day) ago.

On March 17, 1990 at the Las Vegas Hilton arena, Meldrick Taylor met Julio Cesar Chavez for a semi-unification of the junior welterweight boxing championship.  Both fighters were undefeated (although Taylor had an earlier draw against his record), with Taylor holding the International Boxing Federation version of the championship while Chavez simultaneously held the World Boxing Council belt of the same weight class.

All is going well for Taylor, the Philadelphia fighter, as he’s winning round after round of the fight scheduled to go a maximum of twelve rounds.  As Taylor is winning most (if not all) of the rounds, you could see that Chavez was getting his own quality of punches in.  Taylor’s face was taking most of it, as you could see a cut inside his lip and one of his eyes looked in bad shape.  After the fight, Taylor was diagnosed as having a fractured orbital bone in one eye.

Chavez was down in the scoring, or so it was speculated.  (Scoring is kept by three judges stationed at ringside, and typically only they know the score.  It is usually not posted anywhere in the arena like other sports do.)  In boxing, if you’re down on points, there is one great equalizer: the knockout.  Score a stoppage and you win the fight, no matter the scoring.  The Mexican fighter, known for his knockout power, wobbled Taylor with 25 seconds left in the fight, scoring a knockdown with a thunderous right seven seconds later.

All Taylor had to do was get up and survive the last few seconds to win.  Taylor rose with 11 seconds to go, with referee Richard Steele’s count at six.  The count had to go to a minimum of eight to comply with the mandatory eight seconds a fighter gets once he falls.  Steele looks at Taylor, asking twice if he is okay.  Taylor doesn’t respond to either of the questions, so Steele waves his arms to signify the fight was over, and that Taylor was finished.

Only two seconds remained in the fight, stopped at 2:58 of the 12th round.

A crescendo of emotion and amazement hit the arena, some amazed Chavez could pull off the fight, others amazed Steele had the huevos to stop the fight so close to its conclusion, denying Taylor what would have been a legendary victory.  Neither fighter was ever the same after that night, with Taylor taking the worst of it, moving up in weight and taking more beatings from more skilled fighters.

Fast forward to June of 1996.  I had briefly lived in Las Vegas for that month, and Chavez had another big money fight with 1992 Olympian Oscar De La Hoya while I was there.  The day before the fight, I went to the weigh-in at Caesars Palace, and they were showing the Taylor fight on the sportsbook TV screens with no ball games going on that morning.

I already knew the outcome, but when I had to go to the bathroom I can hear people reacting to the fight outside as if they had seen it for the first time. Someone came into the bathroom, talking to a buddy, saying “Did you see that f***ing fight?!?”

I did, six years prior to that.  I wasn’t a Meldrick Taylor fan, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy. I still can’t.  But those are the travels of a prizefighter.

Stacks And Stacks Of Golden Wax

I discovered this air-check over the weekend from 1967.

The station is WALT, 1110 on the radio dial here in the Tampa Bay area.  Back in the day, it was a Top-40 station that only aired in the daytime.  Nowadays, it’s WTIS, an all Christian talk outlet that airs Dave Ramsey and Herman Cain, which still only airs in the daytime (to protect others who use the 1110 frequency, like WBT out of Charlotte) not too far from where I live in northeast St. Petersburg.

For those of you not in radio, an air-check is a tape that a DJ would record and then edit, usually to mail out to another station in another market in the hopes of getting better work in the business.  Someone at WALT in the Tampa Bay area might mail this tape to, for example, WFUN in Miami in hopes of getting better employment or hours there.

I enjoyed listening to it.  This was back when radio had an audience that would listen, because the area only had six TV stations back then. Now, if you don’t like what you hear or see, you can get a YouTube video or a podcast going.