Off Beat

Jesse the Frog

MIKE TRONNES AND his fellow travelers at cursor.org have got to be a tad steamed. Last week they were hyping a story that blew the lid off the mystery of Gov. Jesse Ventura's military service. The piece, written by longtime U.S. Navy SEAL Bill Salisbury, offers a compelling (if circumstantial) refutation of Ventura's claim to have served as a SEAL. Yesterday the Star Tribune finally took notice--and not only neglected to credit Tronnes and Co. for the tip, but also failed to point readers to the Cursor site, where Salisbury's story is posted. (The article was originally published in the December 2 issue of the San Diego Reader, but that paper's stories aren't available online.) Salisbury, who saw extended combat duty in Vietnam, makes a crucial distinction that previously had not been addressed by Ventura or the press: Jim Janos was an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) frogman, and UDT membership absolutely does not give one license to call himself a SEAL. Though the UDTs "have a noble tradition" and have since merged with the SEALs, Salisbury writes, back when Ventura served there was a pronounced distinction between the two: SEALs did a whole lot more fighting, and a whole lot more dying.

Déjà Vu in the Worst Way

Speaking of compelling stories, the other day Off Beat was alerted to a Los Angeles Times piece about Kao Xiong, a Hmong resident of Sacramento who shot and killed five of his young children, then himself. The incident is strikingly and sadly reminiscent of last year, when 24-year-old Khoua Her killed her six children and then tried to take her own life in St. Paul (see "Death in the Family," November 18, 1998). According to news reports, Xiong's family was in bad financial straits and he was distraught about his gradual loss of authority over the family since they immigrated to the United States about eight years ago.

A Fighting Chance

IT WAS A routine evening's business at the Minnesota Board of Boxing last Wednesday, at least through the first nine items on the agenda: approval of the minutes, the licensing of referees, budget updates, and the like. But item number ten, listed as "Gene Schultz--Pro Career," proved a thornier matter. At issue: whether Schultz, who lost his right leg from the knee down after a 1979 motorcycle accident, had complied with the board's requirements to receive a license to box professionally in Minnesota--in particular, whether he'd received the appropriate medical evaluation. Before making his professional debut earlier this fall (see "A Leg to Stand On," November 3), Schultz had indeed gotten a doctor's okay--but not from the doctor recommended by the board. Because that bout was held on an Indian reservation, where the boxing board has no authority, the board was powerless to stop the two-time amateur champ. But now Schultz wants to fight on local cards, and board members are skeptical. One commissioner, former Roseville mayor Dan Wall, queried Schultz about his intense religious visions--the motivation, along with a recently attained sobriety, for the resurrection of his boxing career. "Is God still asking you to get back in the ring? How does He talk to you?" Wall inquired. Sporting a nasty shiner from a recent bit of sparring for the TV cameras, Schultz conceded that "very few people are spoken to by God directly," but he stuck to his story: He's "a Special Agent of God boxer." The East Sider also admitted that his first victory, a 36-second knockout, came against an 0-5 foe--hardly the most challenging competition. "The fact that he was a stiff doesn't detract from my performance," Schultz declared. "Many local fighters have ten easy fights before they have one tough one." The board was unimpressed. Former heavyweight contender and now commissioner Scott LeDoux denounced casino shows as "shams," while board chair Joe Azzone added that he'd "never heard of anyone who is 44 turning pro." Schultz's age--not his leg--is the issue, the board insisted, then ruled unanimously that he'll have to get the go-ahead from their doctor before being considered for a license. "I'll see you in court," Schultz retorted, vowing to sue under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Then he stuffed his press clippings and paperwork back into a red folder inscribed with the words God Is Great and, with a stiff-legged gait, departed into the cool St. Paul evening.  

At Off Beat our motto is "Staying informed so you don't have to." Call (612) 372-3788 or send e-mail to offbeat@citypages.com with any poop that's fit to print.

 
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