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Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Here’s a sports feat that probably got by you. Over the weekend Takeru Kobayashi put on an impressive display of championship action when he captured his fifth consecutive title as Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Champion. The annual competition was held on Monday at Coney Island in New York. Kobayashi, the tiny titan, only 5-foot6, 144 pounds, bested 16 competitive eaters.

The details are fascinating. Champ Kobayahi holds the world’s record by consuming 53 ½ hot dogs in 12 minutes. That would be 53 and a half hot dogs with buns, about 17 thousand calories and more than 800 grams of fat in less than a quarter of an hour.

His nearest competitor, a woman named Sonya Thomas, consumed 32 hotdogs to set an American best. Hey, we’re talkin’ major sports achievements. I rank this competition right up there with the Major League Baseball All Star Game scheduled for July 12 in Detroit, Michigan. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship is a perennial favorite among true sports fans. It should be officially considered the true Midsummer Classic. Yeah!

Detroit, Michigan native, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, 69, one of the founding members of the world famous Four Tops, died last Friday. Did you know he wrote lyrics for the Marvin Gaye hit “What’s Going On?” When Benson realized the serious topic of the song would not suit the Four Tops’ style, he gave it to Gaye. Renaldo Benson’s song“What’s Going On?” became one of the most glorified statements in popular music history. Motown head Berry Gordy initially believed the song would never sell.

The group remained together for 42 years when Lawrence Payton, another founder of the group with such hit recordings as “Bernadette”, “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch (Can’t Help Myself)”, died in April 1997. In the succeeding years lead singer Levi Stubbs left the group due to continuing health issues. Abdul "Duke" Fakir and Benson, the remaining Four Tops’ members continued undaunted with the group by hiring Ronnie McNair and Theo Peoples to help them on their 50th anniversary tour.

Renaldo “Obie” Benson will be remembered as a talented baritone, brilliant lyricist and ever-smiling jovial musician, father and friend.

His daughters Eboni and Tobi, two granddaughters Zion and Mya, and his ex-wife Valaida survive Benson. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

The family has announced funeral service and interment arrangements for the legendary musical artist, Luther Vandross, who passed away July 1.

Public visitation for Luther Vandross will be held Wednesday and Thursday, July 6 and 7, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Frank E. Campbell-The Funeral Chapel, 1076 Madison Ave., N.Y., N.Y.

The funeral service for Luther Vandross will begin at noon on Friday, July 8, at The Riverside Church; 490 Riverside Drive, N.Y., N.Y. Interment will follow at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, N.J.

You can post your tribute to Luther Vandross right here at youthinkwhat.com. Just click on the link to the forum. Go to the thread titled “Luther”. We will make sure that Mrs. Mary Ida Vandross and the family will receive all of your comments and tributes to their beloved Ronnie.