Tag Archives: USA Today

R.I.P to the Great Muhammad Ali

Greetings, readers. Last Friday, June 3, 2016, we lost my all time favorite boxer, the Great Muhammad Ali. Although I am not a huge fan of boxing, I did watch a lot of his fights on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. With Howard Cosell and later Jim McKay at the announcer’s table, it was a pleasure to watch the boxer work his magic. I watched many fights against George Foreman and Joe Frazier, and enjoyed all of them. When Muhammad Ali entered the ring, you knew he was the center of attention. The ring came to life. I’m sure most of his opponents knew that they didn’t stand a chance of victory.

I have an option, readers: to give you a biographical rundown of his career, or to tell you what he meant to me. I chose the latter, with a smattering of the former.

Muhammad Ali won his first heavyweight title under his given name Cassius Clay on February 25, 1964 over then champ Sonny Liston. It was considered an upset. 1964 was one year before I was born. I really didn’t know of Muhammad Ali until I was the age of 8 or so. His career was past its prime, though I was still able to enjoy a good number of his fights. Now with YouTube, I can find any one of them if I look hard enough.

Cassius Clay Jr., for religious reasons, changed his name to Cassius X, and soon after that became Muhammad Ali. After finding Islam, he decided that fighting in the Vietnam War was wrong and he wouldn’t do it. We are linking the article from the USA Today where we confirmed the facts for this blog entry so you can dig deeper if you wish to.

A sad moment for me, I must admit, was at the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in 1994 in Atlanta, when he was handed the torch to light the Olympic flame. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the mighty boxer struggled with his hands but lit the torch. He was too proud to quit. I almost cried because I could see how much effort it took for him to accomplish his task. Whether that disease ran in his family or was the result of too many blows to the head, I do not know.

Muhammad Ali, you made me enjoy boxing, you gave it style and class, and you stood up for what you believed in. You will be missed by millions. Rest in peace.

Until next Wednesday, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Is Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner a nightmare?

Greetings, readers. The big airplane fan (me) is here to give you his point of view on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. I have been keeping up with the production progress in the news for the last several years now. A recent documentary confirms that delivery was at least three years behind schedule. That in itself for a new aircraft is not unheard of. Let’s jump two or three years forward, to January 9, 2013, when I read a USA Today newspaper article listing all the problems that this brand new wonderful aircraft is experiencing. Today, I found a timeline of the USA Today reports for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on their website, but could not find the exact article to link for you. I hope the link I did add will work for you to get you to the timeline.

An abbreviated list of its woes include battery malfunctions that cause toxic fumes to be released into the cabin, debris falling onto the tarmac, a power generator failed during a flight, electronic system problems, and it can be a  fire hazard. To me this is not a dream but a nightmare. As of Wednesday, the 17th of January, the whole fleet, I do believe, was grounded by the FAA so that all problems could be checked and fixed. Has the Boeing company built a modern version of the Ford Edsel; something that was supposed to be slightly ahead of its time but turned out to be a complete flop?

No doubt the fleets of 747 aircraft are aging and need to be replaced. The 757 was a very good craft, but no new ones are being produced. A good chunk of them are still being flown, but the 767 and 777 wide-body can fly more passengers at a time and earn more money per flight.

According to IMAX’s 45 minute film, Legends of Flight from 2010, which I viewed on Netflix, both the Boeing 787 and Boeing’s competition, the Airbus A380, had their growing pains. Airbus seemed to have come out on top faster than Boeing. To me this film was very entertaining and I got my first glimpse of the interiors of these two wonderful aircrafts. The whole idea was to get back to the glamorous days of air travel with bigger, more luxurious, seats some of which could be pulled out into a bed.

When my family in the 70s and 80s traveled by airplane, the 747 was in its glory. That was the airliner to take overseas. French company Airbus followed suit in the 90s with their A330 and A340 models. Those were Airbus’s long distance machines.

Do I think that air travel has become unsafe? Well, I’ve heard it said many times that you have more of a chance dying walking across a busy street than you do dying from an airplane crash. I still believe that is the case. Just like all new electronic things, there are bound to be kinks and gremlins, and of course the bigger the machine is, the more problems can arise. I’ve no doubt that Boeing will solve the 787’s woes quickly. If they don’t, Airbus could be poised to swoop in (no pun intended) and put our once mighty American plane manufacturer out of business.

Until next time, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.