Rope-A-Dope and the Slippery Slope

Where did the term Rope-A-Dope come from?

Rope-a-dope is a boxing term that is associated with Mohammad Ali since his 1974 fight with George Foreman in what was called “The Rumble in the Jungle”.   The boxing match took place in Kinshasa, Zaire, which is now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This was one of Don King’s first professional ventures as a promoter and he was able to represent both Ali and Forman for the same fight, which was certainly a slippery slope for the boxing world.  Rope-a-dope is a method of tiring our a boxing opponent by leaning on the ropes as if trapped and the opponent in thinking that he has the upper hand uses up excess energy as most of the punches are blocked.   It was a strategy that worked quite well for Mohammad Ali, who lured George Forman into attacking him relentlessly for the first seven rounds of the fight.   Forman spent all of his energy as Ali lay on the ropes and in the 8th round, Ali knocked out Forman.

Rope-a-dope has become a common term in other sports like hockey and is also used as a sex term, as slang for pot or crack cocaine, as an expression of stupidity and even used to describe political and business strategies. What I don’t like about the overall strategy is that it actually means taking devastating blows in an effort to outlast an opponent.   It didn’t work for Ali when he met Leon Spinks who didn’t tire and went on to defeat Ali. Did “rope-a-dope” hasten Mohammad Ali’s Parkinson’s disease, which can happen from blows to the head?  Ironic that boxing is known as the “Sweet Science”.

US Government on a slippery slope

If we make any use of the strategy known as “rope a dope”, the downside seems to vastly out weight upside, because people get hurt and it doesn’t always work. Mitt Romney was accused of taking a rope-a-dope strategy in the Presidential debates against President Obama.   You have to beat the champion and Romney should have taken the fight to Champion Obama.   Nokia used the rope-a-dope when it dumped its unprofitable mobile handset business on Microsoft in 2013 and now Microsoft has to make it profitable, which translates to higher consumer costs.

It has been said that the Government has been trying to create an economy by giving bailouts and handouts and a recent blog that I read was titled, “Heading down a Slippery Slope and Government Rope-A-Dope.

Related Article: Headed down a Slippery Slope and Government Rope-A-Dope

The Government is competing with the private sector and winning.   Investors are not putting their money in banks, but in safe places that have higher yields leaving banks with less money and stricter lending requirements. It is more difficult for companies like Static Clean to source the capital needed for expanding its business and thus creating more jobs.  There are many small businesses like Static Clean that have the technology to compete on the world’s stage who don’t want a handout from the government, but want to see the free market systems work. We are on a slippery slope when the size of government continues to grow as the private sector shrinks.

How Are Books Made Today?

To understand the technology-driven, high speed, book manufacturing process of today, we first have to explore the history of book manufacturing through the ages.

According to Wikipedia: A book is a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf and each side of a leaf is called a page.

A Little Ancient History

The Ancient Greeks and the Romans have been long thought to be the first cultures to use available materials to write history. These materials include papyrus, parchment and paper. Parchment, made from animal skins, was the most durable and most expensive. While thin layers from the papyrus plant were cheaper, the material did not hold up very well over time. They absorbed too much moisture and were easily torn. Papyrus was the early material of choice for scrolls and biblical writings because they could be easily pasted together. Papyrus was flexible and could be rolled up for easy storage and preservation.

Who Invented Paper?

The Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in caves in the mid 1940’s were mostly written on parchment, but papyrus was also used. Paper, the least used material in the 1st and 2nd century, was actually invented and used by the Chinese in 140 BC by putting hemp waste in water and beating it to a pulp. From China, papermaking spread throughout Asia and became traditional material for books in Tibet. Around 610 AD, the Japanese used paper at Imperial Palace for official records, but when Buddhism was introduced shortly thereafter, the demand for paper for religious books grew. The spread of the Roman Empire along with the spread of Buddhism and other religions created a demand for books and faster ways to produce them.

Paper Gains Popularity in Europe

It wasn’t until 1450 that paper became the book material of choice in Europe. Now that the demands were there, how did they keep the pages together to make a book? While the process has changed, it is interesting to note that book making technology hasn’t changed all that much between the 15th century and the 20th century. After the sheets were written or printed, they were carefully hand cut and held together by a binding, which was basically created by sewing the cut pages onto leather cords. In the last step, the binding was laced onto a leather cover or decorative fabric to form a book.

How Are Books Made Today?

Today, the process starts with huge pulp and paper mills that create large rolls of paper that are wound onto a master roll that eventually go through automated slitting and sheeting equipment that reduce the paper to a usable format. Then, the properly sized sheets are printed, folded, collated, sewn, bound, stapled or glued and fabricated at high rates of speed. Machines that perform these tasks have replaced the labor intensive slow process of the old days. As line speeds increase, so do the static levels that cause jams and other process problems including poor print quality.

One of the products that we have are static bars, which are strategically placed on the equipment to control the static levels. Also, instead of the painstaking steady hand of ancient book makers to align the sheets to be bound, static generators impart a static electricity charge into the sheets to hold them together. This equipment is especially important in production of daily newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines as well as the Gideon Bible that is found in many hotel rooms.