Tag Archive: Ted Williams homeless


Enough (respect) about Ted Williams (not the baseball great, the homeless “golden voice” bum guy), this post is for a true American “original”, a man who never fought any “bums”, because if he did, he knocked them all out quickly or toyed them into frustration, Muhammad Ali.  The day of his sixty-ninth (69) birthday this year coincides with the national U.S.A. celebration of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior – two of the “greatest” born under the astrological sign of Capricorn, of  “all times”!  That, in and of itself, is inspiration for me to write about it here in addition to the fact that I gleaned that my beloved overseas is not fully aware of the magnitude of Ali’s presence and influence. 

 I use the first cut on this album…only the first few seconds of it, where he says is his trademark braggadocio of the 1960s, “I AM the Greatest!”, over the musical instrumental introduction of records that I play when I am lucky to have been on the radio during this holiday weekend through the years gone by.  In the “business” we called it a “drop”.  I am not that lucky this year because of aforementioned issues with “the way it IS” in “radio” nowadays (sux), however, rest assured that this post is to wish the best boxer of my era, a very Happy Birthday.

Muhammad, please forgive me for using the image to the left, it is the only vinyl that I own that represents you, and I respect your change of name, liking “Muhammad Ali” much better than your “slave name”..  We haven’t heard much about you, Muhammad Ali, lately – and given your age and the punishment that you took on your way to fame, that is a “great” thing!

Muhammad , the former “Cassius Clay” embodied all of the principled rebelliousness that shaped this reporter in my early teens.  With the Vietnam war and the U.S. civil rights movement sculpting the lowdown discourse of those days, “Ali” was a lightning-rod of criticism and praise, depending upon which side of the debate  (left or right we would  say these days) you found yourself.   I remember white guys really hating him; I remember black American guys really hating him (Joe Frazier “uncle Toms” we used to call them); I remember both of those groups rooting for him after came back from his  exile and knocking out George Foreman or having empathy for him when Larry Holmes basically ended his boxing career in 1980.  I think that at one point my own Dad didn’t like him, and that was mostly because Ali was one of the pioneers of the outspoken/well-spoken black American man and it was not fashionable for those of Dad’s generation to speak-out like Ali did.  Dad soon came around to MY way of thinking, and we used to be anxious to listen to the live matches on WCBS 88AM radio and read the New York Post’s account of his matches, blow-by-blow, in the next morning’s paper.

But this is to celebrate the personality of Muhammad Ali.  The rest of the cuts on this vinyl are his poetry, which may people forget about because of his politics.  Ali was an impromtu, spontaneous poet!  My father, the WWI Major,  called him a “rhymin’ Simon” lol because Ali could break-off some verse l-o-n-g before anybody ever imaged “rap” or “hip-hop”.  Imagine what Muhammad Ali might have been if part of THAT era?  Many imintated his ring style (“Sugar” Ray Leonard, Roy Jones, Junior come to mind), yet none could ever duplicate his demeanor or playful and poetically prophetic mind. Please, when you remember Dr. King this weekend, think about another “great” who came concurrently to help us as a leader on the world stage (Ali went to places like the U.S.S.R. and China, et al when our U.S. government would not reach-out to them with detante or embrace and encourage  perestroika). He became a true ambassador of our best qualities as a nation, much in the way that former President Jimmy Carter is these days.  He may have other vinyl albums, but this is the only one in my library.  Most of all for this discussion, Ali introduced the concept that a man could be “pretty”!  What is your fondest memory of Muhammad (notice not “MOhammad by-the-way) Ali?   Happy Cappy Birthday and “Ali bumbaye!”

So it is another sleepless Tuesday overnight after the holidays in the U.S.A., and I am tossing and turning in bed, wondering how I am going to pay the bills this month, get to see my girlfriend overseas, and what is in store for me. This year is already beginning like last year – waiting for paltry checks in the mail.  I finally fall asleep around seven-thirty AM only to drag myself up at the crack of Noon, knowing I have things to do that I am behind schedule on.  I call in “sick” on my home business to answer some emails only to find that four people I know have sent me this story about this homeless dude getting a voice-over job.

“Why are you tormenting me like this?” I ask one sender.  “Because he talks about ‘Theater of the Mind’ radio like you always do, and did on your show”, he answers. Even my eighty-six year old Mum calls asking, “Do you know Ted Williams?” “You mean the baseball player?” I feign.  My forehead is now in my hands…”OMG” I am thinking.  I was just tired before an a little grumpy; now I am in full D.J. Grumpy mode.  No coffee in the decanter to help either.  If this be the future, then why does it play like Alice In Wonderland where down is up and up is down?  Why are people being rewarded for behavior they used to be ashamed of?  I reach for my albuterol sulfate inhaler – getting upset used to bring on Asthma attacks when I was a child, now I just get “shortness of breath” and it is too cold to go for a bicycle ride, although I briefly consider doing so, or at least taking a brisk walk.

Here is the point I made to my friends who said, “He even sounds like you do!”  Their hearts are in the right place (I am sounding like my Mum now); I even heard one young lady say how “cool” a story it is that this dude got a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers, on her college radio station.  HOWEVER: there are lines of us qualified announcers  out here with “pipes” who have been marginalized by terrestrial radio, et al for the past decade.  G_D bless the BUM, but I have been doin “theatre of the mind” radio since the ’80s (“The Pajama Bar”) having grown up listening to it done on NYC radio by great D.J.s like Murray the “K”, “Cousin” Brucie (Morrow) and Frankie Crocker.

 Ted-Williams

I recently began to send out my demo mp3s again to studios and agencies and have done so in the interim – without a nibble, hoping against hope that things turn around for me, and some homeless cat with a cardboard sign standing at the offramp of a highway gets a gig bcs a driver pulled-up and taped him to put it up on You Tube?? I’m sorry, but that is the wrong message!  So what, I should become HOMELESS, lose all I have,  get a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie, stand outside by [the nearest interstate exit] in my army fatigues and hope for the best as my TEETH rot??  Something is very WRONG with the hiring system/pecking order in this land and the UNIVERSE at-large if this be the future of my”specialty”. That shit pisses me off everytime I think of it – and I didn’t get much sleep last night either, trying to figure-out what is next for me and those I hold dear.  What do you think?  What if that happened in your industry?  How long do you think he will last?

Look, I’m not hatin’, I’m just sayin’., seems the wrong prople are getting the “bum’s rush”. Let me see…maybe I can think up something stupid to do to get “headlines” and hired for big reality TV money! I hear my late father saying, “You’ll probably get yourself arrested.”

**PickHiTT: Recently I was almost homeless. And, as I predicted when I first penned this blog, what happened to him was predictable: his habits, which got him to that street sign in the first place, were too much for him to overcome. Not being mean, but he needed more help than glam could get him. Often in life, it is good for writers (and really ALL of us humans) to revisit past opinions, especially when educational footnotes can be added.
As my MARVEL Comics Editorial staff (Stan Lee, et al) always concluded, “Nuff said”.

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