Gus, the famous polar bear of Central Park Zoo died in New York in 2013 after three decades of celebrity. He moved from Toledo, Ohio, to New York at the age of three and immediately after needed a therapist. He had two loves, Ida and Lily (also polar bears). At the death of Ida, zookeepers observed him swimming non-stop, going around in desolate figure eights, at one point for twelve hours straight. His therapist pronounced him “just bored and mildly crazy like a lot of people in New York.” A sympathetic businessman gifted Gus the polar bear with his own endless pool for his endless sadness. Even so, Gus the polar bear had to take Prozac. He became a symbol of the city.
In the build-up to The Thrilla In Manila, 1975, Ali said, “Anybody black who thinks Frazier can whup me is an Uncle Tom.” This made Joe Frazier sad because after all he secretly gave Ali cash during the time Ali made no money because he refused to go to war.
Muhammad Ali is The Greatest. Was he friends with The King? He did receive a sequined robe from Elvis Presley in 1974 emblazoned with the words People’s Choice. A misnomer, as Ali was People’s Champ. Ali accepted the gift because, well, it was a $3000 rhinestone bathrobe from Elvis. He wore the robe in his fight against Ken Norton on March 31, 1974—which he lost. He never wore it again. It was just too damned heavy. T.M.S.—too many sequins. Ali grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, listening to Johnny Cash. Ali is a saint because he refused to go to war when he was drafted for Vietnam. He was a conscientious boxer. (On the other hand, Elvis suited up for the Korean War and admired President Nixon; Elvis was a man of civics and also wanted Nixon to appoint him America’s anti-drugs ambassador.) Ali was absolutely beautiful and made everyone want to be black.