It's been quite some time since I've anticipated a boxing match. As a kid, on many Tuesday nights, my father and I would set the TV to USA network's "Tuesday Night Fights" hosted by Sean O'Grady and another announcer. I caught a lot of fights during the 90s, from the likes of Oba Carr & Roy Jones Jr., who were two of my favorite fighters... also fights from Roberto Duran, Bernard Hopkins, Pernell Whitaker, Vinny Pazienza, Larry Holmes, Hector Camacho, Kevin Kelly and the list goes on and on. I was a big fan. Even took a few months during the fall to train at Nations Tobin gym with my pops for the workout. I still remember in 94' waking up early Saturday morning to go meet Oscar De La Hoya when he visited El Paso making a quick stop at Nations Tobin gym. I had figured the place would be packed, but when we got there, no more than 20 people were in line for autographs. A couple years later, when De La Hoya was in town, now with a few titles under his belt, fans surrounded him at full capacity. When I met De La Hoya in 94' he was real cool. Signed a couple magazines for me and a few photographs they had at the gym. Being a fan at the time, I didn't know what to say. My pops recently found the VHS recording of me at 13 years old, 8 am Saturday, crust still on my eye lids askin' the soon to be champ, "...so who you plan on fighting next?" He said, "I'd like to fight Jesse James Leiga... bring the fight here to the fans in Texas..."
This week I was told Antonio Escalante would be at the Carolina Rec. Center hosting a lunch time workout. I asked, "who?" My boss responded, "the champ, he's ranked no. 3 in the world." It's been quite some time since I've watched boxing. Having lost sight of where Tuesday Night Fights went, never having ordered those over priced, over hyped pay per view bouts, and with all my favorite boxers already taking L's and reaching the end of their careers... I wasn't as interested anymore.
I decided to visit the Carolina Rec. Center on Tuesday (July 21) to check out the third ranked fighter in the world who I also learned hails from El Paso's Coronado High School. When I got there it was real cool seeing all the young folks with their parents showing their appreciation for Escalante, as it reminded me of 15 years prior when I visited Nations Tobin gym to meet De La Hoya. Interestingly enough, De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions team is heading the upcoming Escalante boxing match. I got the chance to take several photos of Escalante along with many of the fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and scattered fans that stayed around after the lunch workout to request pictures/autographs with the pro who has 13 KO's attached to an impressive 20-2 record.
The fight will be televised on what is now titled "Friday Night Fights", ESPN2, July 24, live from the Don Haskins Center. After leaving the Carolina Rec., my anticipation for boxing came back, at least for the moment, with high hopes that Antonio Escalante is able to move forward to the world title. This time we supportin' one of El Paso's own. Much respect to El Campeon.
Coordination is creating ahead of time, exercising control over tasks, placing things where they need to be and adjusting when something other displaces what you know. It's seeing plans as pieces and a finished accomplishment as a solid foundation that you can detail and think over. Coordination updates through experiences, good and bad. Choices and occurences fuel future planning and allow oneself to implement, develop, strategize and BUILD. Coordination is having confident power over how something is built and it is knowing how it can be destroyed...
"Coordination is by all means one of the most important considerations in any study of proficiency..." - Bruce Lee
At three or four years old I was watching music videos like they were cartoons. My mom taped the "Thriller" video for me back then and we'd watch it over and over again. By the time the year 2000 hit, a Jackson 5 and the Thriller LP were the only records my father had left from a stacked collection he built prior and after my birth. I wrote a poem a while back that I ended up including on Side B of my Master's thesis titled Tape Decks. I included a link to the poem below. Michael Jackson definitely had an impact on my interest for the music video. Early on, I picked up on shows like Yo MTV Raps (late 80s) and BET's Rap City (early/mid 90s) because of my interest for videos during the mid-80s.
Today, BET's pathetic, lazy programming holds up to the low standards that its shaped its programming into over the past decade. Each year they get worse and it shows especially when one of our great musical contributors passes on, for example, James Brown and Isaac Hayes. Give it a couple more days, and it will be back to the same old business. Garbage broadcasting, no JB, no Michael Jackson, no Isaac Hayes, nothing. With that said, I've included a link to a youtube video recording of a young Michael Jackson and Diana Ross below. I don't like how MJ handled the controversy that surrounded his musical success throughout his adulthood, but I acknowledge the part his LPs played in my parent's lives during the 70s and for me during the 80s. Rest in peace MJ.
There use to be quite a few card shops in the Northeast, around 4 or 5 in the early to mid 90's. Recently, I started revisiting one of those card shops. The last one left called "Comics, Cards and Collectibles" on Dyer Street. Around every two months or so I go back to check and see if the owner got those DC Milestone comics he says he has that I keep askin' about. The comics are never there but I always end up finding a box set of cards I use to collect as a kid. The first was the Skybox Milestone Dakota Universe Trading Card box set. It includes a caption on the box that says, "Because Great Cards Are Hard to Find". The second box set I found was the YO! MTV Raps collection from 91'. I haven't collected cards in well over a decade. Back then, I was never able to get around to buyin' a whole box set cause of the cost so when I find the box sets today for around 10 dollars, its a real cool suprise.
This year my family got me a pack of President Obama trading cards for my birthday which I was real hype about. Like I said, having not collected cards in so long, nostalgia hit. Most recently, again, I visited the "Comics, Cards and Collectibles" shop lookin' for my DC Milestones and found another trading card series that I use to collect. The Collegiate Wild Cards. Above is Kenny Anderson, which out of the hundred plus cards in this set, is one of the five worth keeping. Still though, it was cool find. Check out Kenny Anderson here: youtube.com
"But I'm gonna tell you something. I learned an awful lot from this man. He changed my whole life. He changed my attitude about myself. He changed my attitude in relation to other Black people. He said the average Black man don't know what time it is, that's why he can't keep time, he don't know what time it is. He said the first thing you gotta do in the morning is find out what time it is. Then find out how the world is and your relationship to that world. What role do you play? Then you can understand how and who you are. If you don't know who you are, you can't do much." (p. 42)
*Excerpt from: By Any Means Necessary; The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm Xby Spike Lee
| Quote above is from Bob Haggans, Malcolm's "unofficial" photographer |
Gordon Parks - "Another significant realization had taken hold - a good documentary photographer's work has as much to do with his heart as it does with his eye. The smoke from those bonfires in Washington gave off some more signals about using the camera to serve a humane purpose. I had learned that it can lie; that not only was it capable of being untruthful, but also that it could be Machiavellian. It all depended on how its users chose to see things. They could wait for a pleasant smile or a frown to cover their subject's face before tripping the shutter. With deliberate intent, an extremely low angle could change a comely face into one of ugliness, and the most righteous human being could be made to look evil. What individuals actually stand for, good or bad, now urges me to try to catch the truth of them. I learned to use the camera as a means of persuasion as long as that persuasiveness is conducted with a sense of fair play. Yet, I remained aware of the possibility that what may appear as truth to me may not be acceptable as truth to others. That's the way things are." (p.87)
Recently, I came across a photo essay request at Newspaper Tree titled "Asarco Smoke Stack" click here. I thought I had a picture of the giant cigarette and wanted to submit it. About three years ago I visited my grandmother's grave in Juárez. At the time I had a Logitech Pocket Digital 130 camera with me, my first digital camera. In (2006) it had been several years since I'd visited Juárez. Most of my life up until the late 90's, every Sunday my mother, father, younger brother and I would visit my grandmother and have dinner with members of my mother's family. I believe the street my grandmother lived on was called Arroyo de las Viboras. Especially during the late 80s early 90s and especially on cold nights, the sky above us would be low and thick with smoke. When my grandmother passed away, they said her lungs were like rocks. She never smoked. No one knew my grandmother's true age and for the last few years of her life her breathing was assissted with treatments.
When I was in middle school, our basketball team was headed out towards the West Side of El Paso in a school bus for a game. It was around the time that the Arrested Development song, "Revolution" was making a lot of noise. I recall a teammate and I redoing the song when we passed by ASARCO, replacing the word "Revolution" with "Pollution". As we sang the revised lyrics out loud we laughed at our impression of the song. When I think about it now it plays back like a strange gray memory with no sound.
One of the last times I saw my grandmother, I sat at the end of her hospital bed. The room was dark and like most visits of grave circumstance in a hospital, the machines supporting my grandmother silenced the life around her. At that moment, I recall wanting to talk to my grandmother and to remember as much as I could about her. However, she was deep in her sleep with her eyes cracked open staring past the realization that anyone was there.
I'm glad ASARCO is never going to open again. I guess no one can prove if the copper smelter had any health implications on people that have lived around it, but sometimes I wonder.
The picture above was taken when I visited my grandmother's grave in 2006. My camera didn't have any zoom. The intention was to capture the smelter pipe that seems to hover above everything else that surrounds it.
Whenever I pass by the ASARCO or am at a location where I can see it, these thoughts cross my mind.