Death Proof IV : Evel Knievel

While it would be complete & utter folly to hold up my Death Proof series as examples of great (or even, having just reread them, marginally acceptable) pieces of writing up on this site – they were most certainly the most fun to do.  By a long shot.

(They also rack up some of the most hits of any posts here – though Jasper’s Robocop piece is still the most popular thing in the site’s history… goddammit)

The idea there was, simply enough: celebrate stuntmen & stuntwomen.  That’s it. 

And while the three posts I did write covered a fair amount of ground – there’s still more singing owed these unsung heroes. 

Most notably… I never did write about Evel Knievel.

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The Roberts Boys

Make no mistake, J.N. Roberts is a legend, through and through.

In the 60’s & 70’s J.N. tore through the desert (usually on a Husqvarna), taking 27 consecutive races, as well as the Barstow to Vegas run four years in a row.  He took the Mint 400 three times and the Baja 500 – twice.  He also won the Baja 1000 – also twice – and represented the United States in the famous Six Days Trial (which Wikipedia refers to as “the motorcycle olympics”).  When J.N. wasn’t on his bike, he was on camera – a bona fide Hollywood Stuntman since 1969 working in Scarface, Smokey & the Bandit, The Mechanic and The Blues Brothers among others.  In 1999, he was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.  Ten years later, he was drafted into the 2009 class of Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.

By all accounts, J.N. is the man. Continue reading

The Lord’s Work

Me: “I’m telling you, there’s this shop in Philadelphia & I swear, they are doing the Lord’s work.”

My Girlfriend: “Honey, I love you, but sometimes you sound like an idiot.”

Hammarhead Industries has a simple mission statement: Honor the Past, but Never Look Back.  Looking at the line of bikes the shop has turned out, nothing could be more fitting.  But even still, I’m not sure what the best word is for what the shop’s founder, James Loughead is doing out there.  “Retro-engineering” doesn’t sound quite right.  And in context, it somehow cheapens the craft and the craftsman to leave it at “modification”. 

That gray area between form and function is a wonderful place.  And nestled firmly in there is what must be Hammarhead’s masterpiece: The Triumph Jack Pine.  A bike that looks like a machine you’d have seen Bud Ekins swing his leg over in 1967 before tearing through the desert at 90 mph.  It is an elegant machine, but one designed to be used out in the elements and come through the other side perfectly fine.

Made In Britain.  Perfected in America.

Read on after the jump for pics.

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Raindrops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens

As I get older, I find myself less and less inclined to harp on about things I hate.  From mild annoyances like new music radio to that asshole who cut me off at that intersection in Winter Hill and gave me the finger to people who don’t understand the beauty of Echo & the Bunnymen’s second LP… I no longer feel the urge to lease space in my head for such things.  I don’t listen to radio stations that don’t have static as a primary feature, I’ve accepted the fact that I live in MA and no one here but me and my girlfriend can drive, and people who don’t like Heaven Up Here are going to hell anyway – I can’t be fucked to care.  I’ve mellowed in my old age, is what I’m getting at.

It’s only recently that I’ve realized this – and frankly, I’m proud of myself.  I’m damned proud that I’ve grown up in this respect and feel like a better person for it.

And so, with that in mind, today I’d like to forgo a proper post and instead focus this kind of zen I’ve found and present a few of my favorite things.  Just for the hell of it.  Continue reading