Feb. 25th, 2009

Semi-regular posting has resumed @ OBSERVATIONS OF OZZIE OPTIC. Books, boxing, MMA, NYC and some other junk. Ladrino will also be active for anyone interested in Caribbean history. Seeya around.

Jan. 11th, 2009

Just did something of a mass delete on the friend's list. This is de facto a closed journal, and has been for some time. This entry isn't to announce I'm deleting it, but to make its ghost status more official. Not much will come on here going forward except for occasional boxing/MMA commentary. Most of the friends I'd made on here have moved on or vanished, but I've added the handful of you I've followed a long time and are still active to my RSS readers. Since the journal will stay open I'll be able to see friend's only posts, and since there'd be no reciprocality of the LJ spirit I deleted many of you. If any of you keep public blogs send the URL my way!

I'll follow up if I ever start journaling/blogging anywhere else. In the meantime I'll be scribbling sporadically at this URL, but on very particular and academic subjects I doubt many here would be interested in.

Here are some other places you'll still find me at:

Adios and thanks for fun and entertainment LJ!

degenerate entertainment

At this stage the obituaries for American pro boxing are not mandatory just for the boxing pundits, but even us slobs in the stands. As a 'hardcore' fan I have too fill my annual quota so here goes.

A Saturday evening without televised fights seems strange after a recent spate of action. The last quarter of this year had plenty great shows for everybody, whether your tastes run to MMA or boxing. I heard rumors carried by the winds of a heavyweight championship being fought out in the hinterlands of Europe. Pacquiao v. DeLaHoya a few weeks back was circus enough for me to choose to skip ordering it, as it involved Evander Holyfield's shadow facing a shadowy Russian giant. Holyfield's shadow was apparently robbed in a terrible decision. I don't really think US boxing is dying but they are making it hard to be a paying fan. If I have to start pinching PPV pennies I'm promised a much bigger bang from stacked cards like this one. Still I'm slowly learning to stop storming around the apartment claiming 'that was it, I'll never order another one'. That tantrum is a fraud, as legit as that decision. HBO's veteran commentator Larry Merchant summed it up perfectly in a recent interview:

"For the hardcore fans you can't discourage 'em, we're all degenerates, and we'll come back no matter what."

Not sure who that reflects on worse; fight junkies like me who keep paying or the cable exec jerks serving up the overpriced boxing shows. Either way it entertains me so I have to mute my whining about it and just enjoy. In that cheerful spirit here is lovable old vodka breath Larry Merchant himself employing other 'strong-arm tactics' on the fans.


finance geekery

Caught by way of urbaniak, here is a hilarious video. Watch the buffoon gallery of commentators from across the talking head "news" networks shut down Mr. Schiff's warnings of a looming financial crisis as though he were a conspiracy theorist. 2008 and he was totally right...take that Ben Stein!

BTW I share the best finance, econ, poli, and fightsport blog entries I come across online
here for any of you who are geeks for that stuff.

President B.H. Obama

I'm not a guy who uses the word hero lightly, but Pres-elect Obama is one of mine. Surprisingly, in a glimmer of the candidate of years past, I thought Sen. McCain put it best of all; though we can all be proud, there's a special pride some of us feel tonight. We'll see what Pres. Obama ends up doing in the next four years but for breaking through in astonishing fashion in this election he is def in the pantheon for me.

where's the wrestling?

Saturday night I stayed in for what has become a common occurrence in the last couple of years. It was a combo PPV championship boxing and free, televised MMA courtesy of SpikeTV and the UFC. The boxing match was a 170lb catchweight fight between legendary veteran Bernard Hopkins and undefeated middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. If you like boxing make sure you find your way to HBO this Saturday night for the replay. Against most pundit's opinions the snaggle-toothed vet put on a clinic you have to see to believe, solidifying himself as one of the all-time great middleweights.

Whenever one of these nights occur you can't help but notice the difference between boxing and MMA striking. It's a difference of range & style, and at the moment also a difference of quality. Joe Rogan even dropped some commentary about the room for improvement in MMA striking. Personally I'm pretty proud for the MMA athletes I follow because most are advancing the game steadily and surely on the boxing front. It showed Saturday night as the leather was flying all over the cage. But nonetheless I'm posting to bitch about that show. My complaint is actually the lack of grappling we saw Saturday night! See if I want to see hellacious power shots and masterful combinations I know where to go; between the ropes. I like the heavy punches and big kicks in MMA, but what makes it unique are the explosive takedowns, scrambles & reversals, clever escapes, and of course the submissions. There was almost nil grappling Saturday (exception and props to Davis for the choke). To me that makes for a disappointing card.

So here's my personal suggestion to UFC matchmakers: on those nights when you are going up against elite caliber boxing telecasts, please make sure to schedule and televise some matches featuring accomplished wrestlers and BJJers. Against each other. Guarantee you'll deliver one ground war on these nights, Dana. This way your commentator doesn't have to apologize that your fighters aren't Hopkins, and more importantly I can feel satisfied.

For boxing champs it's a matter of inches:

For the UFC main-eventers it's improving with a ways to go:


insurance geekery: AIG 'nationalized'

AIG isn't a household name, but I've directly competed against them for something like 5 years now. "900lb gorilla in the room" has always been an understatement when it came to AIG, their capabilities, and the size of their organization. Also they were never known for taking stupid risks, at least not at the level of the operating companies actually doing insurance. I can't stress enough that just a year ago this would have been almost unimaginable. People often throw around the phrase 'too big to fail', but I don't think anyone with some knowledge of credit and banking ever believed that to be the case for any of the mega-banks or investment banks. The phrase as they used it actually meant 'there's no doubt they would have to be bailed out'. But with AIG, an insurance company sitting on mountains of reserves, it really seemed like an adequate description; how could they fail with multiple highly rated insurance company balance sheets? So it's an astonishing thing and I think many people may not realize how crazy this is. When big, sexy, dangerous Wall St. banks started going down you saw it coming. But the whole point of an insurance company is stability, and this one was generally believed to be the most stable of all for a long time.

Anyway as they say 'it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good'... though it's generally bad news for prob any fellow American reading this it means more work for me, and hopefully a decent reward down the line.

less pander, more policy

Caught the convention finale last night and I liked Senator Obama's speech. I was somewhat surprised that he delivered a fairly sober and understated speech, especially by comparison with other speakers this week. I think it was a smart move seeing as he is fighting the perception that he is setting himself up as a celebrity messiah, or that he might be too young and immature. The Georgia stuff was a bit misguided I thought, but otherwise the proposals were interesting.

As for McCain's VP choice I know nil about her, but it smells of desperation to me.

Next couple of months should be interesting...


Ugh to cable convention coverage

Within seconds of turning on CNN I'm reminded why I avoid it. To paraphrase Anderson Cooper, after being told the first few hours of the convention are necessarily spent voting for rules and a platform:

'Why is this about filling out forms this is a tv production...If we made so much about this being a dog and pony show why not make it one?'

What is it these broadcasters expect, a sports event? Extreme cagefighting? They ask why nothing is happening as they predicted and want it, continue bloviating pointlessly, but meanwhile there is a speech going on behind them. Why not show that instead of self-referential whining about the lack of spectacle? Whatever the speaking politician was saying could hardly be any less substantial than the comments of the talking heads, and at least it sets up the politician to be a national-level face.

Because of the above kind of nonsense I can't stomach too much time watching cable election coverage. That's OK as I'm already sold on Sen. Obama. I thought Michelle Obama's speech was a decent enough opener that touched on the basics. The Dems get the next few evenings and perhaps the debates to earn some donation dollars.


entertainment means avoiding passivity

Awesome experience, I can't recommend it highly enough. If you are resolute about jumping then everything goes smoothly right up until they open the hatch. That's when the anti-evolutionary nature of your proposed action becomes most evident. However the act of literally tossing caution and prudence to the wind violently, and then the adrenaline rush of accelerating to 120MPH really isn't anti-evolutionary. Insects can be prudent but I don't think they can enjoy freefall. Although the instructor and photog insisted on me looking up for pics, I had a hard time peeling my eyes away from the onrushing ground. Also got some light rafting done out in the Poconos. Overall the weekend was a healthy and necessary dose of of action, and being outside the city.



old buddies
Beef Supreme

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