John Bloom

Boxing Defined

WRITING - John Bloom

There's a moment in almost every boxing match when blood starts to flow, and from that point on the contest becomes focused--at least from the outside--on wounds and injuries and hurt.

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Amtrack Osmosis

WRITING - John Bloom

There are two levels of Amtrak service: Apocalyptic and Merely Panicked.

Those of us who are regulars on the long-distance trains--a coterie so small that we sometimes recognize each other in the corridors--don't really bother to read the newspapers anymore. You can tell Amtrak has gone into Apocalyptic Mode when suddenly everything stops being repaired.

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French Spoken Here

WRITING - John Bloom

The city of New Orleans announced today that the French Quarter will be renamed the Freedom Quarter.

You didn't even come close to falling for that, did you? Too much French blood here, with almost 300 years of a love-hate relationship with Paris anyway.

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The Souls of Black Folk

WRITING - John Bloom

W.E.B. Du Bois is being celebrated on this, the hundredth anniversary of "The Souls of Black Folk," and that's a very fine thing.

Passing by my window, among these hardscrabble red clay farms of northern Georgia, the dense thickets of Alabama, the lazy snaggle-tooth towns of Mississippi, are ghosts of slavery that, thank God, are no more than that.

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Mothball the Airlines

WRITING - John Bloom

Did 9/11 really nuke all the airlines?

I don't think so. Every time an airline executive blames all his troubles on Osama Bin Laden, I think about Southwest, and JetBlue, and Air Trans--tight, lean, mean, competitive air carriers that won't ever be caught whining--and I wonder what planet these guys are living on.

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The Lawrence Problem

WRITING - John Bloom

NEW YORK, April 9 (UPI) -- Isn't it time for the scene in "Lawrence of Arabia" where Lawrence attempts to gavel the Arab League government to order in the noisy palace at Damascus, and every tribe attempts to speak at the same time?

As I recall, the British general just waits across town and does nothing. By the time they finish arguing about why one tribe refuses to turn on the water, and another tribe refuses to turn on the electricity, and a third tribe demands to know why they were paid in currency instead of gold, the palace is empty.

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Divine Bombs

WRITING - John Bloom

NEW YORK, April 8 (UPI) -- As weapons of war become more sophisticated, more powerful, more deadly, there's a tendency not to use them.

We're like Dr. Jekyll, so afraid of what we might do when we turn into Mr. Hyde, that we try to restrain ourselves in advance. Even though the weapon is designed to cause the maximum amount of death, and even though we created the weapon, and even though we trained for years to use the weapon, we don't pull the trigger.

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Rules of Estrangement

WRITING - John Bloom

NEW YORK, April 1 (UPI) -- America and Britain both love rules.

We're sticklers for the rule of law, even when it means stern sentences for minor crimes.

We're fanatics about rules in sports, which are, after all, peacetime versions of war.

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Iraqi Homeland Security

WRITING - John Bloom

NEW YORK, March 28 (UPI) -- New York is full of émigrés who have lost their homelands. They linger here with varying degrees of success. Most of them, especially the old ones, never adapt.

If you go to Brighton Beach, and order a kvas and some pelmeni and ask the old men about Odessa, their eyes will light up and they'll tell you how they miss it still. Most of them were expelled from Ukraine because they were Jews, or encouraged to leave because they were considered criminals, or fled on their own because they were afraid of some desperately homicidal party leader. But would they go back and fight for Ukraine if it was invaded? Of course they would.

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