I had seen the blog 3 Quarks Daily listed on a blogroll or two, but I didn't go there until last month, when I discovered that it rocks, although it overwhelms one with material (more like 3 kazillion quarks per second if you ask me). A natural comparison is Arts & Letters Daily, rather than a proper blog, and more geared toward science and global culture than the latter site. Check it out!
I also discovered that it's run by a friend of mine from grad school whom I had lost touch with. How about that! In a post last month, Abbas tells us of his great admiration for Muhammad Ali (i.e., "The Greatest," as opposed to "the Great One," who is someone else entirely), and urges us to see the documentary film When We Were Kings, the story of the 1974 Ali-George Foreman fight known as "the Rumble in the Jungle" (the Zaïrean jungle, to be specific).
So I did that, and I was very impressed. I had forgotten the details – I was a mere lad at the time, and I have to confess that, although, or perhaps because, I was not a boxing fan then, I was rooting for Foreman, because I thought Ali was kind of a hot dog (true enough, but as they say, it ain't bragging if you can do it), and Foreman was the highly favored champion (which seems more like a reason to root against him, but there it is). The fight was promoter Don King's doing, and it was a big pan-African extravaganza, with lots of publicity and concerts and Ali mouthing off and Foreman glowering. The music footage is great, with James Brown in fine form, but the best part is Ali riffing on black pride and African unity and (on) stomping on Foreman's defeated body. And then, finally, the fight itself, with Norman Mailer and George Plimpton, of all people, giving their reminiscences (and there are some great stills with Plimpton and Don King). At the end there's an amazing sequence of photographs of Ali with everyone from Malcolm X to the Beatles.
I missed my favorite piece of historical footage though. In an interview which must have been after the first Liston fight, though I'm not sure, Ali is exultant, naturally, and yells: "I'm pretty! I'm a baaad maaan!" Classic Ali – I wonder why they left it out.