By Lloyd Carroll
Ric Flair is one of the most colorful wrestlers in history. He was the ultimate heel as he would taunt wrestling fans with his braggadocio soliloquies, long silk robes, flowing blond hair, fancy clothes and cars, and of course beautiful women. What you didn’t know until you see “Nature Boy,” the latest in ESPN’s “30 for 30″ documentary film series, is that Flair actually led that fast life outside of the ring that nearly destroyed him and certainly played a role in the death of his son, Reid. This well-done cautionary tale debuts on Tuesday, November 7 at 10 PM.
In the documentary, Flair says that he borrowed the “Nature Boy” moniker from the late wrestling great Buddy Rogers and his trademark shout of“Woo!” from rock & roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis. Flair may have liked Jerry Lee’s style, but it was the 1960s pop singer, Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, who popularized the screaming of “Woo!” by including that one-word shout in nearly every one of his hits.
Intelligence Squared US, the organization that sponsored the recent NYC mayoral debate on NY1, held a debate last week in Manhattan on the thorny topic of whether college athletes should be paid. Arguing they should be compensated were New York Times columnist and Joe Nocera and economist Andy Schwarz while taking the seemingly less popular side of the debate were USA Today sports scribe Christine Brennan and former Harvard Law School alum, a one-time center for both the Knicks and Nets and former Woodside resident Len Elmore.
Athletic footwear has long been a part of general fashion as much as it is for working out and for weekend use. MSG Networks will be airing “Sneaker Shopping” in which celebrities from all walks of life talk with host Joe La Puma about their favorite brands and styles after select Knicks and Nets games.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more passionate Knicks fan than New York-bred actor Michael Rapaport who has just written: “This Book Has Balls” (Touchstone). Rapaport is known for his earth and profane roles, and he will not disappoint his fans as he pontificates on sports with enough epithets to keep any Barstool Sports fan happy. His monthly podcast, “I Am Rapaport,” gets almost two million listeners.
While I wish that he would have used f-bombs with less frequency, Rapaport is funny and insightful. He devotes a chapter to rating the hoop skills of celebrities. He is effusive in his praise for Justin Bieber but wishes that Sasha Baron Cohen had a better game for a man of his height.
Sunday’s New York City Marathon that is organized by New York Road Runners gets very little coverage in the sports pages of the dailies nor any discussion on sports radio stations but it should be noted that it provides arguably the greatest boost to the local economy because of the thousands of participants and their families who travel from all over the globe to race in it.
Biz Bash Live! is the annual trade show devoted to corporate hospitality and party planning. Sports has increasingly become a bigger part of team building in the business world and so it wasn’t surprising that Ace Indoor Golf, a company, which makes golf simulators so that you can measure drives and approach shots without going to an actual golf range, and RPM Racing, an indoor go-karts facility in Jersey City, had large booths at the Javits Center.
Thoroughbred racing’s biggest fall event, the Breeders’ Cup will take place this weekend at beautiful Del Mar located just a few miles north of San Diego. Nearly every stakes race that weekend will have a purse starting with at least a half a million dollars and many will cross the seven-figure mark.
Queens’ own JetBlue has two flights a day between JFK and San Diego. The Hyatt Regency La Jolla located just off I-5 is a ten-drive from Del Mar.
US men will not be playing in soccer’s World Cup next year, but both our men and women will be competing in the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament that will be taking place at San Francisco’s AT&T Park from July 20-22. At&T Park’s main tenant, the San Francisco Giants, is one of the major sponsors of this event.
Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau officials were in New York to meet with both media, travel agents and tour group operators last week. Jay Talwar, the HCVB’s senior vice president of marketing, admitted that the Aloha State had not done a great job in attracting visitors from the Big Apple as only 1% of the state’s tourists are from here.
Hawaiian tourism officials are trying to appeal to millennials by promoting the state’s exotic and healthy food/restaurants as well as a fun nightlife while downplaying its image as a popular honeymoon spot.
Honolulu is home to several nightclubs where some terrific original pop music is performed nightly. Based on the artists that I saw at the Hawaiian event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last week, the great soul sounds of the 1970s and 80s is having a big influence on the contemporary music scene in the mid-Pacific.
Our 50th state is a tropical paradise, but it is over 5,000 miles from Queens. Hawaiian Airlines does offer nonstop service from JFK to Honolulu, but it’s a ten-hour flight. My suggestion would be to fly to break up that trip by stopping over in California for a few days both going out and coming back.
Here is the latest in the world of gadgets and gizmos:
I can never recall so much attention paid to bedding in both the media and in advertising, but it is now almost universally acknowledged the poor sleep is tied to both poor health and job performance and that a lot of us are not sleeping as well as we should be.
Needless to say, almost everyone has seen those ubiquitous My Pillow ads on television. Another company, Dreampad (dreampadsleep.com), is making thick pillows that pipe in soothing music and other white noise through Bluetooth technology, which purport to help folks get faster and deeper sleep.
With flu season approaching everyone is on guard about germs and viruses. AirTamer’s A310 Personal Air Purifier (airtamer.com) is a tiny device that you wear around your neck that releases ions that the company claims will keep germs, viruses, and other malicious airborne itinerants out of your breathing space.
If you need to charge your phone but still want to talk to someone and are not near an outlet that can pose a major problem. PowerCore is a single-use rectangular recharging tab that attaches right to your phone and allows you to have up to four hours of hands-free, unencumbered charging (powercorestore.ca)
Last week I wrote about Roku Ultra a device that allows you to watch streaming services over your television set. I mentioned that it is perfect for smart televisions, but I neglected to say that it works fine with older television sets as long as they have HDMI ports.
Speaking of streaming services, Hulu, is showing a fascinating 90-minute documentary, “Too Funny To Fail,” that looks at why Dana Carvey’s 1996 ABC sitcom was canceled after seven episodes in spite of having such cast and writing talent as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel, Louis CK, Spike Feresten, and Carvey himself, who was red hot after having been a high profile cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for years.
Carvey’s show followed the very popular Tim Allen sitcom, “Home Improvement,” whose audience skewed older and conservative. As Carvey himself admits in this documentary, he and his team were trying to make a counterculture sketch show in prime time. To say that the two shows did not complement each other is a gross understatement. It did not endear Carvey and his guys to ABC executives such as then Entertainment Division president Ted Harbert; they made fun of their sponsors.