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In ‘A Strange Loop,’ identity crisis drives a dense, whirling vortex of satire and self-discovery to dazzling effect.
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The November 1995 issue of Esquire may be the first time desert night camouflage entered the publication’s style pages. In the aptly named article “The Style Militia,” Phil Patton outlines some of the more stylish camouflage patterns of the day. Desert night camouflage doesn’t get prominently featured, but at the very end of the last column, Patton brings up this strange new pattern:
According to the military, the future is with urban camo. ‘Town and country,’ the Army calls it, for house-to-house fighting – and in patterns for defeating electronics. The Pentagon has tested a night-desert pattern that mimics not leaves or rocks but the grid of a night-vision scope.
It’s hard to believe now, but that the idea of a grid-like camo designed to hide from technology and not to blend in with leaves seemed rather novel at the time.
By November of 1995, the Pentagon had done more than just test the new desert night camouflage, they had deployed it in Operation Desert Storm and it was already obsolete. There is some confusion — and confoundingly little knowledge out there — about the history of desert night camouflage. The best we have been able to track down is that, as an effective camouflage pattern, it was doomed from the start. With a graph paper pattern in two tones of green and a few splotches here and there, the camouflage looks practically space age and to some not like camouflage at all.
By all accounts, the mission behind the desert night camouflage was to cloak the wearer in a pattern that would camouflage them from Soviet image intensifying scopes and infrared technologies. The Military made used the pattern for only two pieces of kit: A lightweight parka with a button-in liner and over-pants – perfect for chilly desert nights – and began being issuing them in 1982. This was already over a decade after the idea for the pattern was developed in 1967. And therein lies the rub. While the US military was developing the pattern, night vision technology was advancing by leaps and bounds ahead of what the graph paper pattern could handle.
“The Style Militia by Phil Patton” from Esquire November 1995
It wouldn’t be until the first Gulf War that the pattern would see mass issuance. Soldier’s valued the warmth of the parka, one noting during the next war in Iraq, that the parka was “my favorite night-surveillance item.” While lauded for its warmth, it seemed to lack any real camouflaging qualities as night vision technology had sped forward. In an email from 1995, one Marine Corps Scout sniper claimed: “across the board the green ‘desert night cammie’ coveralls increased the chances of being observed.” The pattern had an enduring appeal nonetheless. Private companies – aimed at military personnel – continued to make gear in the pattern including a classic BDU style jacket, boonie hats, and reversible (tan or desert camo on the other side) GORE-TEX suits. Veterans brought the full sets back and some turned the over-pants into shorts and wore the parkas sans liners as field bathrobes. At the start of the Global War on Terror, the pattern was still making appearances.
There is a certain vibe around the pattern. It is just downright cool. Modern but not digital nonsense. Camouflage but not making you look like a hunter or some stolen valor nonsense. It is subtle, simple, and cool — and there is a lot of it on the surplus market. Brands such as Supreme, Carhartt WIP, Stone Island, and most recently Rogue Territory have all made items derived from desert night camouflage. As far as recommendations go, as mentioned there is a lot of surplus stuff on the market. I am a sucker for the reversible GORE-TEX jackets – I also copped the pants, but that is some next level shit. The parkas are the cousin of the mod-approved fishtail and are cheap and abundant. If you want to go over the top, you let your tailor modify it out like the image below.
In the civilian world, Carhartt WIP is the most prolific user of a night camouflage variant. While only the “Marshall Jogger Pant” is available from them directly in what they call “camo night,” on the resale market, you can find nearly a full fit from cap to pants to accessories in the pattern. Supreme seems to be the first brand to use the camo, making three pieces in Spring 2014: Military Shorts, Camp Cap, and a pretty fire Boonie Hat. A quick Grailed search revealed some of those along with these gems: Nepenthess oxford and Undercover x Jun Takahashi FW10 pants. The most recent addition to these would be Rogue Territory’s reversible jacket that has a kind of tour jacket feel. However you decide to kit yourself out, desert night camouflage should not be slept on.
WIP shirt in digi camo
Matching WIP pants
Great way to easily style the parka
A customized pattern making into a rather nice smock
IPD, parka & trousers, desert nighttime. July 1, 1991
CEMEL, clothing, camouflage, desert (3 styles) in the field. May 12, 1972
Uniform, desert. December 9, 1976
Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 has a hole for the camera. Its Galaxy Fold closes up like a book. Is that enough to reignite sales? Our tech columnist takes a first look.
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It’s Friday. Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week contributor Tim Johnstone pulls together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.
PICKLEBALL. Yes, pickleball. I have it on excellent authority (hey boss!) that this game is a blast. I feel a bit out of touch not having heard about it before now. I guess I wasn’t running in the right circles. But this totally has my name on it. I like the amalgamation of other net sports. As with most games, you’ve got some rules to learn. While Coach Mark does a fine job of explaining the game, he could stand to be a little more exciting. Nonetheless, you get a good idea of how it all works. Here’s to a summer of fun.
When I was a kid, I hated having to take naps. I just wasn’t having it. I was always straight-up frustrated when the day care lady made us lie down for an hour so she could watch her “stories.” At some point (most likely college) my attitude was, as they say, adjusted. I love naps. Happily, they are good for us for a number of reasons, from the “oh that’s pretty cool” to “yes, please and thank you.” All of this should wipe away any lingering guilt you might have about napping. Now, if I could just figure out how to fall asleep in minutes so I can get the benefit of “power naps.” Also, I have never in my life been able to take a nap that lasted only fifteen minutes.
…one ginormous plot twist. I keep thinking I should give you all a heads up about some of the content but while this is satire that bites, we are all adults.
Dr. Oliver Sacks became something of a celebrity when this collection was originally published. This was quite the feat considering that The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales discusses cases about people who suffered from severe neurological disorders “with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations.” The reason that this book became a best seller is due to Sacks’ ability to share these complex stories in a relatable manner. Fascinating stuff. I’ve read it a couple of times.
LISTEN: 25 years on, the Singles soundtrack still satisfies.
Here’s where I do my full disclosure thing and share that I was smack in the middle of this remarkable era of Seattle’s music scene. I was promoting records for Virgin Records. The company had just signed Smashing Pumpkins (who appear on the soundtrack). I had many friends who found themselves in the midst of all of this. I even had a friend who ended up in the movie. I am no casual observer. None of that matters. This is just a great cross section of rock from a specific time and place. The 25th Anniversary re-issue (here is a good overview of it) is the best way to revisit this album as the bonus material is stellar. Flannel not required.
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Robyn Lange thinks she knows what colors you will want to see a lot of in the coming year.
“People are looking for something that’s really bright and pop-py,” Lange, curator at the stock photo agency Shutterstock, told The Daily Beast. “They want something that’s comforting but exciting and fun and the same time.”
Color is just one field of investigation in the intriguing world of trend forecasting. Labels like Levi’s, Adidas, Fila, and Coach have all shelled out five- and six-figure fees to companies that predict what fads will be years in advance. Clairvoyance may be considered a pseudoscience, but trend forecasting is a viable, booming business.
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Doctor Strange 2 holds on to director Scott Derrickson: Marvel is moving forward with a sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange with a planned 2021 release. The original’s director, Scott Derrickson, will take the helm again with stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong returning on screen. Read everything we know so far here.
The Favourite and A Star is…
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There was a time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was publicly planned out years in advance, but currently, we still don’t know many confirmed titles, let alone their release dates for anything post-Avengers: Endgame next May.
There’s Spider-Man: Far From Home in July for sure, and then what? At some point we expect to see Black Panther 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Black Widow and Eternals. Now comes word that Doctor Strange 2 is also on the way.
At the moment, the…
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Outside of New Jersey — and boxing fans of a certain age — Charles ‘Chuck’ Wepner isn’t exactly a household name. But his story is as remarkable as it is bizarre, and very possibly inspiration for one of the most beloved characters in film history, Rocky Balboa.
Indeed, Wepner so believes that the Rocky franchise is based on his life that he sued writer/star Sylvester Stallone, with Sly eventually settling out of court. There are definite similarities between the two stories, some of them pretty specific. But Wepner’s life also took twists and turns too ridiculous for a Hollywood movie, his story featuring the likes of Muhammed Ali, Andre the Giant, and a bear called Victor, as well as drugs, prison, and lots and lots of blood.
Birth of The Bayonne Bleeder
Born in February 1939, Chuck Wepner grew up on the tough streets of Bayonne, New Jersey, where he learned to fight at a young age. Very much outside the boxing ring. Wepner joined the Marines after seeing the movie Battle Cry. Largely because the characters all attracted beautiful dames. And while there Wepner boxed, his stamina and ability to take a punch quickly making his name.
After leaving the corps, Chuck bounced at a go-go club at night, while he spent his days training as a heavyweight. Running up the steps of the Hudson County Park at the end of sessions, which Stallone DEFINITELY didn’t steal for the Rocky flicks.
Wepner was good at boxing. Really good. Working his way to the very top, and fighting the great George Foreman (who knocked him out), and the great Sonny Liston (who knocked him out). The Liston fight became known as the bloodiest in history, with Wepner needing 72 stitches, and journalists joking that he drank more blood than Dracula over the 10 rounds.
All of which contributed to Chuck becoming known as The Bayonne Bleeder. But those jokes and jibes didn’t stop him landing a fight with ‘The Greatest.’
Chuck Wepner vs Muhammed Ali
In March 1975, Wepner fought Muhammed Ali at Richfield Coliseum, just south of Cleveland. The build-up to the bout was eventful, the pair exchanging heated words on talk shows and at the weigh-in. With Ali somewhat bizarrely vowing to avoid Chuck’s face in the fight.
“He bleeds,” exclaimed Ali during the press conference. “So I’m gonna make another announcement. There will be no shots landed in his face. I will not land one head shot. I will win this fight by laying on the ropes. He’ll get tired. He’ll punch himself to death. And then I’m gonna hit him in the stomach. Hit him in the side. And I will beat him without one punch landing here [motions to Chuck’s head]. I want no excuses about cuts.”
Ali stayed true to his word during the early rounds, tiring Wepner by utilising the ‘rope-a-dope’ tactic he’d used to defeat Foreman in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle.’ But he caught Chuck above the eye in Round 7, and ‘The Bleeder’ started to gush.
In Round 9, however, Wepner did the unthinkable. With a big right-hand to the ribs, he knocked the champ down, only the third time Ali had hit the canvas in his career. The fact that he was standing on Muhammed’s foot at the time of the punch merely a minor detail. Ali was on the ground.
Big mistake. Because Muhammed Ali got up before the 10 count. And Muhammed Ali was mad. He proceeded to pummel Wepner for the rest of the fight, but the Bleeder wouldn’t go down. The fight was finally stopped in the 15th and final round. With just 19 seconds remaining.
In spite of defeat, Chuck exited the ring a hero who had very nearly gone the distance with the greatest fighter of all-time. What he didn’t know was that a young actor was in the crowd and looking for inspiration for his next role. “I said that’s it, that’s me,” Sylvester Stallone claims during ESPN documentary The Real Rocky. “The Bayonne Bleeder — Chuck Wepner — that is the way I feel.”
The first Rocky movie followed a year later, and changed the lives of both men.
Chuck Wepner vs Andre the Giant
Following the Ali fight, promoter Don King had dollar signs in his eyes — as ever — and the World Wide Wrestling Federation saw an opportunity. So a mixed match between Wepner and wrestler Andre the Giant was organised, and touted as the ‘War of the Worlds.’
Playing out in front of 32,000 at Shea Stadium — as the undercard for an Ali fight being beamed in from Japan — the fight was a fake. But it’s nevertheless an entertaining spectacle, the 6ft5, 230-pound Chuck going toe-to-toe with the 7ft, 450-pound Andre.
Both men jab and parry and hold for the first couple of rounds, though it’s pretty clear who holds the ascendancy, with the New York Times reporting: “Wepner was a baby against the giant.” And so in the third round, the orchestrated move occurred, with Andre head-butting Chuck, and tossing him from the ring. Wepner being counted out and losing the war.
In a strange case of art imitating life — or stealing from life if you happen to be Chuck’s lawyer — Rocky III featured a similar sequence. With Balboa participating in a charity bout with wrestler Thunderlips — played by Hulk Hogan. But all does not go according to plan.
“Alright, guys, you know this is for fun,” says the referee. “So take it easy, and give them a good show.” Thunderlips hasn’t read the script, however, and goes to town on ‘The Italian Meatball,’ taunting Balboa as he clobbers him, and prompting Rocky’s trainer Mickey to shout: “Run for your life!”
Like the Wepner fight, wrestler tosses boxer out the ring. But unlike the Wepner fight, Rocky crawls back in, and somehow throws Thunderlips out. The bout ending in a much more Hollywood-friendly draw.
Chuck Wepner vs Victor the Bear
Wepner’s life became something of a circus after the one-two punch of Ali and Andre. With Chuck too often the clown. There were the girls and the booze and the drugs. With a spell in prison for cocaine possession. But maybe the most stupid thing Chuck Wepner did was box a bear. Twice.
Victor is a pretty famous bear, and his story is somewhat tragic. Because while he wrestled — and defeated — dumb humans for most of his life, he was also defanged, declawed, drugged and muzzled for those fights.
In 1976, Victor fought Chuck Wepner as the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, New Jersey. In aid of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. And in spite of those handicaps, Victor beat the proverbial out of his human counterpart.
The plan was for Chuck to signal the bear’s trainer Tuffy Truesdell when he’d had enough. At which point Truesdall would blow a whistle, and Victor would back off. Trouble is, Wepner boxed Victor hard, resulting in the bear throwing Chuck across the ring, and pinning him down so he couldn’t signal to Tuffy.
Wepner ultimately survived the match. But only just. Which makes it all the more insane that he got back in a ring with that very same bear, at a Country Club charity event no less. Speaking to Everlast, Wepner describes the match as follows…
“I’m sitting in the corner. And I’m looking over at this bear sitting there with its beady little eyes. And I said to [trainer] Al: ‘This bear remembers that I hit him a few times. I’m telling you, this bear’s pissed off at me.’ The bell rang. This bear stood up on its hind legs, and I spun around, tried to jump out between the ropes, and the bear took one leap, grabbed my leg, and when he pulled me I got caught in the ropes, and he slung me out about 10 or 12 feet out onto the dinner tables, and everything went splat.
“Two of my buddies picked me up and said, ‘Come on Chuck, get ’em.’ I looked up at the ring, the referee was counting, the bear was standing there. He was up to four, and I said ‘Five-six-seven-eight-nine-ten — that’s it, you win Victor!’ And that was it. I didn’t even get back in the ring. The fight lasted less than a minute.”
Check Wepner vs Sylvester Stallone
There’s no doubt that Chuck enjoyed the fame and notoriety that being the real-life Rocky brought him. Wepner attended screenings where the audience applauded him when the credits rolled. He walked out to the Rocky fanfare before his final fight. And Chuck even formed something of a bond with Sylvester Stallone, who wrote a role for him in Rocky II.
In an early draft of the script, Rocky had a sparring partner called Chink Weber. A name that isn’t a million miles from Chuck Wepner. Stallone asked him to study the script, and travel to Philadelphia for an audition. Trouble is, Chuck was partying hard at that time, picked up some girls for the journey, stayed up most the night, and ended up failing the audition. The character was ultimately cut from the movie.
Their paths crossed again a decade later, when Chuck was serving time in Newark’s Northern State Prison, where Sly was shooting Lock Up. According to Wepner, Stallone embraced him, and told his fellow inmates that Chuck was the real Rocky.
Then in the mid-1990s, Stallone was shooting Cop Land in New Jersey, and Wepner visited the set, where he spoke with Stallone and had his photo taken with Robert De Niro. But according to Chuck, Sly making a movie in his backyard and not involving him was the final straw.
Wepner sued Stallone for a ‘right of publicity’ claim. Stating that the star improperly used his name to promote the Rocky films, and never made good on promises he’d be paid. Stallone countered the suit by claiming that Wepner benefited by making public appearances as ‘The Real Rocky’ for decades.
Unlike the movies, however, there was no dramatic climactic showdown. Rather, Stallone settled the lawsuit out of court for an undisclosed fee. Thereby putting to bed one of the strangest friendships/rivalries in Hollywood history.
The Bleeder vs The Brawler
Chuck wasn’t done with the movies just yet, however. Wepner decided to tell his own story — warts, bears and all — in an official biopic starring Liev Schreiber. Just as Chuck was going into production though, rival feature The Brawler was announced. By producers who had previously worked on Chuck, and who — according to another lawsuit filed by Wepner — stole essential details from his film.
“Comparison between the two scripts, sizzle reels and marketing materials makes it clear that defendants used portions or all of the plaintiff’s script, budget, production schedule, sizzle reel, and other production materials to develop their own copycat film, which defendants apparently intend to release before the authorised Wepner film,” claimed the suit.
Yet again the case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. With Chuck ultimately hitting US screens in May 2017, to some acclaim but little financial success. The Brawler meanwhile — which stars Zach McGowan as Chuck — is due for release this December. Doubtless to rather less acclaim…
As for Wepner himself, he’s had all manner of ailments in recent years, including a hip replacement and major back surgery. While he was diagnosed with cancer last year. But as ever, he’s come out fighting, undergoing surgery and chemotherapy. Then taking centre stage at his own celebrity roast.
He’s also readying himself for the imminent unveiling of a Chuck Wepner statue at the Stephen R. Gregg-Bayonne County Park. Which is a bit like a certain celluloid statue stationed at the top of the steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
A fitting tribute to a remarkable man. And the one time that Chuck Wepner has followed in Rocky Balboa’s footsteps.
The post The Strange Story That Connects Rocky, Muhammad Ali, Andre the Giant, and a Bear appeared first on FANDOM.
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