Yeah, how often does that happen? 11.11.11. Well, my math skills aren’t that great, but I think it probably happens every 100 years. November 11, 1911 would have been the last time and next one will be November 11, 2111. Lot of binary numbers in that one. I’ll be glad when we get to 2111 so everyone will stop saying “two thousand and eleven” and start saying “twenty-one eleven”. Oh wait, I won’t be here.
It’s supposed to be a lucky day, so I’m going out this evening to buy some lottery tickets. I’ve been buying lottery tickets every weekend, but so far have only gotten one number. One number, when someone down the street from me won $200,000 last weekend, literally down the street, with five numbers. He missed the powerball number which would have been something like $274 million. Lot more zeros there. Another binary number.
More importantly, it’s Veterans Day. A day when we honor those who serve and have served in defense of our liberty. That sounds a little hackneyed, but it isn’t meant to be. I really appreciate those who serve in our military mainly because I know I didn’t and couldn’t have been on the front lines defending it. I don’t have the makeup. A lot of us don’t. I remember when Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, refused to be drafted during the Vietnam conflict (yeah, we don’t call it a war). There were all kinds of jokes going around about this tough heavyweight fighter not willing to take arms to defend our freedom in a country so far removed from us that we couldn’t figure out how it affected our freedom.
“Can you see Ali with a machine gun, running up the hill, screaming ‘I am the greatest?'” one of my friends said in the locker room after football practice. Stupid, but I remember it. It was a different time, we say. He was drafted, he should have served.
Shortly after Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In 1964 he avoided the draft by failing a physcological test, but in 1966 the Army lowered its standards and he became 1A. So he applied for an exemption as a conscientious objector. In a Texas court, in 20 minutes, a jury found him guilty of draft evasion and he was sentenced to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He also lost his boxing title, his passport and was banned from fighting in the United States. He spent the next three years during his appeal doing speaking engagements. In 1971 the Supreme Court reversed his conviction ruling 8-0 that he met all three standards of conscientious objection status. On March 8, 1971, he fought Joe Frazier in “The Fight of the Century” for a purse of $2.5 million. He lost by unanimous decision. He won the rematch in 1974.
In the third rematch, “The Thrilla in Manila, Ali beat Frazier by TKO (technical knockout) at the end of the 14th round. Ali said of the fight, “Closest thing to dying that I know of.” “Smokin Joe” Frazier died of liver cancer earlier this week. He was 63.
Did you know that five frequently misspelled words are military related? Personally, I misspell, misspelled a lot. They are Colonel, Lieutenant, Peaceable, Sergeant and Soldier. I have a lot of trouble with sergeant and lieutenant so I wouldn’t do very well writing about the military. I just read that so thought I would pass it on.
My personal experience with the Vietnam era draft is the subject of tomorrow’s post. A story I call, “Get This Man Outta Here.”
By the way, it’s really not eleven seconds and eleven minutes after eleven, mountain standard time, but its close.