The Real Rocky

From I Did Not Know That Yesterday:

Wepner, who calls himself “The Real Rocky,” had been a professional pugilist for many years when he challenged Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title in 1975. An ex-Marine, Wepner was asked before the fight if he thought he had a chance against the Greatest of All Time. Wepner allegedly answered, “I’ve been a survivor my whole life…if I survived the Marines, I can survive Ali.”

In fact, Wepner did more than just survive. In the ninth round, he actually introduced Ali to the canvas. Wepner eventually lost, but he was the only fighter to ever knock down Ali while Ali was the champ.

Stallone watched the fight and soon went on to write “Rocky,” the story of a down-and-out boxer who gets his shot at the heavyweight title and goes the distance against a boisterous and beloved champion.


Wikipedia’s entry for Chuck Wepner

Repo Man for Ocean Liners

From the LA Times:

New Orleans — IF repossessing a used Chevrolet can be tricky, consider retrieving the Aztec Express, a 700-foot cargo ship under guard in Haiti as civil unrest spread through the country.

Only a few repo men possess the guile and resourcefulness for such a job. One of them is F. Max Hardberger, of Lacombe, La. Since 1991, the 58-year-old attorney and ship captain has surreptitiously sailed away about a dozen freighters from ports around the world.

“I’m sure there are those who would like to add me to a list of modern pirates of the Caribbean, but I do whatever I can to protect the legal rights of my clients,” said Hardberger, whose company, Vessel Extractions in New Orleans, has negotiated the releases of another dozen cargo ships and prevented the seizures of many others.

His line of work regularly takes him to a corner of the maritime industry still plagued by pirates, underhanded business practices and corrupt government officials, waters the Aztec Express sailed right into.

(via Boing Boing)

NYC Council Bans the Word ‘Nigger’

And with that gesture, racism gasps its final breath. Sorry, banning words you don’t approve of is infantile at best and fascist at its worst. Forbidding the use of a word usually only gives it more power. Besides, racism is a complex cultural and historical issue that goes far beyond a two syllable word.

The City Council Wednesday approved a resolution urging New Yorkers to stop using the N-word, joining a nationwide movement seeking to reject the notion that the racial slur can be redefined and reclaimed.

The symbolic ban, which carries no legal weight, was approved 49-0.

Chief sponsor Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), said that especially during Black History Month, it was important to discuss “the real history, the problems, and the embarrassment or hurt and pain that people feel when they hear this word misused and abused.”

How One Lottery Winner Spent His New-Found Fortune.

One year doesn’t really seem to tell much of a story but it seems like this guy is off to a good start.

(Fortune Magazine) — Brad Duke, 34, a manager for five Gold’s Gym franchises in Idaho, pocketed a lump sum of $85 million after winning a $220 million Powerball jackpot in 2005. He spent the first month of his new life assembling a team of financial advisors. His goal: to use his winnings to become a billionaire. Here’s what Duke has done with his money so far.

* $35 million: Aggressive investments like oil and gas and real estate
* $1.3 million: A family foundation
* $63,000: A trip to Tahiti with 17 friends
* $125,000: Mortgage retired on his 1,400-square-foot house
* $18,000: Student-loan repayment
* $65,000: New bicycles, including a $12,000 BMC road bike
* $14,500: A used black VW Jetta
* $12,000: Annual gift to each family member