Saturday, May 26, 2007

George the First on warp speed

WHAT'S AN OLD MAN like George Foreman taking these days? If the Ol' Columnist knew his secret he'd be out there peddling the product and making a billion or two on the weekends.
The last time, actually late August 2006, I wrote a column wondering whether the gigantic former world heavyweight champion turned preacher was going to climb back into the ring as he approached 57, 58, 59, or was it 60 years of age? After all another champ, Evander Holyfield, has been collecting more than a few bucks, marketing his aging body against those notorious bums of the month, which seem to number in the thousands.
As I wrote last year, George the First had collected a version of the heavy crown at the age of 45. And then he began turning up on TV as an advertising pitchman for everything from grills to advanced cleaning products, tending his ranch in the Piney Woods of Marshall, Texas and a sought-after motivational speaker. Of course, his speaking engagements included the board of regents session at Pepperdine University, the Las Vegas Labor Conference and the Real Estate Wealth Expo.
It would appear there was little time for anything else, including another comeback.
But in the past few days, Reverend George has sought to conquer new fields.
Instead of snoozing in the pulpit, he started pushing his latest book, God in My Corner: A Spiritual Memoir from Thomas Nelson.
"(The book) tells not only the life story of George, but more importantly, it tells how God has been behind the scenes of every part of his life," reads an explanation from the publisher, "from a boyhood marked with scrapes with the law, to Olympian gold medalist, to two-time heavyweight champion of the world, to father of a family of ten, to ordained minister, to founder of The George Foreman Youth Community Center, to successful businessman."
Kevin Jackson in The Christian Post wrote that besides the Today Show, Foreman appeared on Hannity & Colmes, the Sean Hannity Show, Janet Parshall's America and Fox Across America.
And while promoting his book, which expanded about his near-death experience after his loss to Jimmy Young and how God "called him to change his life and way," another startling revelation came to the forefront. In it George claims his water was drugged before he lost to Muhammad Ali in their 1974 Rumble In The Jungle at Zaire.
On ESPN, Foreman said his water had a medicine-like taste "as if someone had spiked it to weaken it" was the way he worded it. He lost to Ali by an eighth-round KO.
Although the "medicine claim" was included in God in My Corner, Big George has never blamed it for the Zaire defeat, even saying "It wasn't a fixed fight. I got beat fair and square."
And just after reading a ton of reviews about George's book, I decided to wind down this column and go onto another subject such as Sunday's Indianapolis 500.
So I begin to go down the list of drivers and even their owners and then came the ultimate shocker: George Foreman, yes that George Foreman, and his sons, all named George, are co-owners of the Indy Racing League's Panther team.
In a Sports Illustrated story, George Foreman Jr. and brother George III serve as vice-presidents of George Foreman Enterprises, the marketing company founded by their father, according to SI.
This is what George the First told SI: "I've been blessed throughout my life to partner with winning organizations. Now that I am part of Panther Racing, I am looking forward to being part of a winning team."
Incidentally, Panther and Reverend George and the team's co-owner John Barnes, have three cars in Sunday's chase -- Vitor Meira, Kosuke Matsuura and John Andretti.
If I were a betting man, I'd lay down a few shekels on all three. After all anything with Foreman's name attached to it is money in the bank.
GRETZKY ALSO IN THE INDY 'FIELD': Wayne Gretzky, the former NHL superstar with the Edmonton Oilers and now head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, will not be driving in Sunday's event, but his name will be prominent, nevertheless; for he and his group could benefit when Ryan Briscoe starts seventh in the 33-car field. Briscoe drives for the Luczo Dragon Racing team, which has pledged to donate a bundle of their winnings to a number of charities, including Gretzky's Foundation.
FINALLY, SOME NIXON QUOTES (From The Best of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader): "I never made the (football) team ... I was not heavy enough to play the line, not fast enough to play halfback and not smart enough to be a quarterback." ... "Once you get into this great stream of history, you can't get out."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Terrorism on Canadian horizon?

AS SOMEONE once said: "Canadians are too darn nice." That's us, nice!
It might be the welcoming card for terrorists and their hellish behaviour, which has now has sent shockwaves throughout the world and could rear its ugly head on the U.S.-Canada border.
However, Ottawa has failed to show the kind of strong leadership in alerting the average Canadian citizens to the multiple dangers.
While former U.S. Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, with his warnings against an "open border" and "amnesty" with Mexico may have had some effect on American political leaders since an immigration bill has been delayed until after the Memorial Day weekend, Canada and its Citizenship and Immigration department and its minister, Diane Finley, appear content to be just "nice."
As a former Middle East bureau chief for a major news organization based in Jerusalem, I was at first shocked and then thankful for Israel's extremely cautious security system, which checks and double checks travelers from other lands, including Canada.
The first instance of such vigilance occurred in late 1990 while leaving Cairo, Egypt for Tel Aviv. It involved eight hours of checking and re-checking luggage and also questioning at length each of the passengers on the El Al flight. After eight hours, this reporter was taken along with some 150 passengers to the far end of the Cairo airport in complete darkness.
Once at the end of the tarmac, at least what seemed to be five miles away, each passenger had to claim his or her own luggage in the dark before departing.
Of course, the reason for such precautions was that the Gulf War was about to erupt in the Middle East.
Today, the extremists seem bent on disrupting any semblance of peace with their ungodly schemes of murder and mayhem and although Canada has security checks and balances, I wonder if its enough.
Are we ripe for an attack from within our own borders?
It seems so simple to obtain Canadian citizenship: * Be 18 years of age or older; be a permanent resident of Canada; have lived in Canada for at least three or four years before applying; be able to communicate in either English or French; know about Canada; and know about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Then if you are between the ages of 18 and 54, you must pass a citizenship test with such questions as: Who are the Aboriginal peoples of Canada? Where did the first European settlers in Canada come from; What does Confederation mean; List four rights Canadian citizens have? What does the Canadian flag look like? What is the population of Canada? What are the three main types of industries in Canada? Who is Canada's Head of State; What is the capital city of the province or territory in which you live?
These might not be the exact questions you will be asked, but the test, according to the CIC, is made up of similar questions.
On April 10, 2004 in the Globe and Mail, Patrick Grady reviewed Stewart Bell's book, How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism Around the World.
Grady opened with these words: "Canadians will be madder than hell after they read Stewart Bell's shocking account of how the Canadian government has allowed Sikh, Tamil and Islamic terrorists to come into our home and turn it into a safe house for international terror."
Grady finished up his thesis with these words: "Stewart Bell's clarion call for action needs to be heeded before the ticking Canadian terrorist time bomb blows up closer to home. If Canadian terrorists aren't stopped before they use weapons of mass destruction in the United States, we'll have far bigger problems than keeping the border open for trade."
And what about security on the B.C.-Washington state border?
"Am I going to tell you I've hermetically sealed this border? No that's not true. I can put a million agents out there and have them run willy-nilly across the border catching everything that moves and throwing it back," Border Patrol's Joe Giuliano in Blaine, Wash. was quoted by in July 2005. "Two hours later, they're going to try again ... and sooner or later somebody's going to find that one little seam and exploit it."
STORMY WEATHER AHEAD: It's fire season from California to Florida to Georgia and now on the horizon are those dastardly hurricanes. The first one, Andrea, fizzled into a subtropical depression after churning up the waters off Florida to North Carolina, but the weatherman claims there are 20 still brewing ... And they all have names such as Barry, Chantal, Dean, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.