Politics and the Buzz Fink Traveling Hypnotist Show

I have finally gotten to the age where politics is something I pay closer attention to. I’m not sure why but maybe it’s because so many people in our circle of friends are into politics or maybe it’s because we are in an election year, nonetheless I can’t spend a day without politics being shoved in my face in some shape or form. When I think about politics and the different beliefs people have concerning politics I think about Yuma, Arizona in the mid 80’s and a large bar with a big dance floor and a billboard out front that said “The Buzz Fink Hypnotist Show” tonight only! Yea buddy, I expected a night of drinking, dancing and shenanigans with about a dozen or so of my closest Navy buddies while we were in Yuma for a few weeks playing with the Marine Corps and as a bonus we were all going to be treated to a hypnotist show. How about that! I had never been to anything like that in the past but a $20 cover charge paid for old Buzz Finks night in town and my entertainment. I’m going to leave out a few names here because I’m friends with a shipmate that was hypnotized by Mr. Fink and our friend provided us with some much needed entertainment after a long week of work. Let’s just call him “Bill” for the sake of anonymity and questions that could arise if I used his real name. I don’t have any solid proof of this happening other than my word and maybe a few witnesses willing to talk as cameras were not allowed during the show and taking photographs in a nightclub in the 80’s was a little different than it is today. It didn’t happen a lot.
We arrived at the club a little early and as we were paying the cover charge the doorman asked if any of us were interested in being in the show. I thought that was kind of odd but one of the guys in our group piped up and volunteered for the show. His name was Bill and he was no different than the rest of us, a beer drinking Navy guy looking for a good time and a place to hang out for the evening. We made our way in and found a few tables to pull together for all of us. I don’t recall the name of the bar but they had a few pool tables in a different area of the club so I wandered into the billiard area to see if anyone was a decent player that I could hustle for a beer or a few dollars while waiting on the show to start. One thing that was pretty cool about hustling pool while at the club was that I usually had a few friends within shouting distance if I needed backup but 99% of the time everything was fine. I remembered that the 9 foot tables in the billiard area were all covered in black felt vs the typical green felt which took me some getting used to. I shot pool with some of the locals and a few Navy friends before we went back into the dance floor area for the show. When we all sat down for the show to began the lights dimmed and there were about 25 chairs lined up on the dance floor facing the opposite direction as the tables and where we were located. On the wall in the direction the line of chairs were facing was a large screen tv mounted on the wall which really wasn’t very big for the size of tv’s in the late 80’s. The only thing playing on the tv was a round black and white rotating swirl. As the show began Buzz Fink introduced himself and rattled off some credentials before calling all of his volunteers to the dance floor to be seated. Our buddy Bill from our group made his way to the floor and his seat facing the swirling tv screen. We were all laughing at the fact that Bill was going to be hypnotized right before our very eyes. Old Buzz started talking fast and telling the group of volunteers that they were going to relax and let all of their thoughts fade away clearing your mind of every distraction. Buzz continued to relax the group and then said that the group was getting very tired and sleepy. Very relaxed and very sleepy..very sleepy now as you doze off to sleep. At that point most of the group had fallen into some kind of deep sleep with heads down and eyes closed. Not everyone was hypnotized though. There were a few that were wide awake and excused themselves from the group as Buzz had instructed them. This was the small group that didn’t get hypnotized. Out of 25 people, probably 5 got up and returned to their seat in the audience. At that point Buzz had the group that was hypnotized do all sorts of crazy things. They were acting like farm animals, making funny sounds and sitting on each others laps. Our buddy Bill was the highlight of the show as Buzz had Bill doing all kinds of stuff, from acting like a chicken to acting like a male stripper. It was very very entertaining to say the least. Bill was the topic of discussion for weeks to come in the squadron. It was very interesting to see these individuals under complete control of ole Buzz. I asked Bill what he remembered after it was over and he said it was like being in a dream where everything was kind of hazy and cloudy and he didn’t remember a lot about what he had done.

When I see politics on tv and I think of our differences in opinions when it comes to politics and our beliefs, I think of ole Buzz and the show. It’s like this; some folks believe whole heartedly that their political beliefs are righteous and the true path for our nation while others see it completely differently to the point of violence and aggression. They have been conditioned to believe this by what they see and hear in the media. The media is able to hit those buttons by continuous disinformation or skewed information to form your political opinions. I have friends that have completely different views from me and my beliefs and sometimes I wonder how they could possibly be in favor of something I don’t believe in but just like in the hypnotist show they were conditioned into their beliefs. It’s not like I blame them, I’m just as guilty at times because I have been conditioned by my media. Basically, you don’t need a swirling screen on a tv to put into some kind of trance so you can form a solid political opinion, you just need to turn on a news outlet and continue to watch that one news outlet.

Now, there’s one thing old Buzz told us folks in the audience when the show started, he said that if you didn’t want to be hypnotized like the folks in the chairs, look away from the tv screen….and that has been my choice. I rely on my faith to guide me through the tough times and I don’t get caught up in all the shenanigans of politics on that swirling tv screen.

Is LeBron the greatest athlete ever?

Earlier this week while watching ESPN I heard Steven A make the comment that LeBron was the “greatest athlete ever” and it made me wonder if he actually was? I’ve followed sports for the last 50+ years and I’ve seen a few athletes in my day. Having grown up with a weekly Sports Illustrated magazine at my disposal and parents who allowed me to watch sports every chance I got on our television. I admired the level in which professional athletes played their sport and aspired to be just like them.

Here’s my take on it:
First off, we can probably cancel out the “Greatest of all time” label because I would consider the likes of Jim Thorpe or Babe Didrikson to be closer to the “greatest athlete of all time” if we’re talking about all around athletes but I’ll consider all of the modern day greats that I can remember that would compare to the greatest of modern day times in my opinion. The first name that popped into my head as the greatest athlete of my time would have to be Mike Tyson. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a Mike Tyson fight having been a big fan of boxing since the days of watching Mohamed Ali and Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson pound for pound was a machine. His body mechanics and overall brut force was unmatched. I can remember watching the fear in his opponents eyes just before the bell would sound. Some of Tyson’s opponents were just looking for a soft place to land on the mat and hoped the brain damage from the upcoming blows from Tyson wouldn’t be permanent. That was Tyson and he was the best all around fighter I’ve ever seen. Does that make him the greatest Athlete? Tyson could probably play basketball no better than LeBron could box so who knows on that one. Believe it or not I could make a good argument that Bruce Jenner was the greatest athlete of all time if were talking about multiple sports. I can remember watching the rise and fall of Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, Deon Sanders and a couple of other athletes I would classify as great athletes. How about Pete Rose? I watched him throughout his whole career and I can promise you there isn’t a ball player today that plays with the tenacity that Pete Rose played with. He legged out every hit and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with a few opponents. I believe it was Dave Winfield that was drafted by 3 separate professional sports teams if my memory serves me correctly so in terms of multi-talented athletes LeBron may not compare to other athletes of the past.
Don’t get me wrong here, I see Steven A’s point. I’ve been a big fan of basketball for years and spent plenty of winters growing up on Sunday afternoon watching Wilt the Stilt, Larry Bird, Kareem and his sky hook. Heck, I think Bill Laimbeer could actually be in the running for greatest ever for enduring some of the beatings he took back in the day, most warranted but nonetheless. Seriously though, could LeBron be the best athlete ever? I’ll give him this, he’s probably the strongest athlete out there and LeBron is able to impose his will like no other player. I attended several NBA games here in Atlanta during our daughters High School days and her short lived basketball interest during high school. Often times we had very nice seats just behind the visiting teams bench and sometimes we got to interact with a few of the players. During that time I was able to get a close up view of a lot of NBA players and I can say that of all the players I got to watch, Lebron was definitely the most intimidating. When he drives to the rim you might as well step aside because if you don’t he’s going to make you look stupid.

There’s no doubt in my mind that LeBron is the greatest basketball player of all time but from my 50 plus years of sports spectating, unless Lebron picks up a golf club or a baseball bat and impresses me he got a ways to go to be the greatest athlete of all time. What’s your take on the greatest athlete of all time?