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Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 11.50.13 AMI had someone ask me recently, “Are you going to vote, Mac?” I gave a flippant answer along the lines of, “Can felons vote?” Comically looking to avoid any follow-on political conversation. They responded that they were a democrat.

They missed my point.

Unless you live under a rock you know it’s Presidential election season and that means 24×7 politics. It’s become a favorite sport for the talking heads and something that at times is difficult to watch.  The two parties are worlds apart and each convention had one shameful, but perfectly legal thing in common. Both events and some follow on rallies included protesters burning American flags.

It’s always hard for me to watch that type of demonstration, let alone understand.

And speaking of Colin Kaepernick, who was spotted sitting during the national anthem before a pre-season game… who described in post-game interviews his decision to not stand as protest for what he feels is racial injustice.  Come on, who doesn’t expect there’s a camera everywhere these days? In fact, Kaepernick didn’t stand for the first two pre-season games of this year prior to last weeks display. He wasn’t in uniform, so no one including the media took notice. Or if they did, they didn’t care because Kaepernick is struggling to reclaim lost magic on the field.

Kaepernick is just an athlete, not my role model, but since the NFL has to sell advertising, the media and talking heads, get on the bandwagon and venerates these overpaid people so out of touch with the reality of middle-america.  True that they have pursued their sport for their entire lives, But the talking heads lead us to believe they’re better than us.

They’re not.

I’m not saying we have to like the work of those who make it, but you do have to admire their perseverance and all the hard work they put into making it.

Over the years I grew to respect the American flag more than I ever had as a child.  It wasn’t that I had become more patriotic; it was brought about in later years seeing military honor guard and flag-draped caskets of veteran relatives and friends.  I gained a better appreciation of their patriotism and the artifact of the family pride in how each had served their country which resonated.  I believe you should stand during the national anthem and take your HAT OFF.

People died for that flag, but I’m not here to give Kaepernick a lesson in patriotic etiquette. I’ll sit that one out.

My relationship to the national anthem and what the American flag means reminds me of another philosophical orientation related to the outlaw motorcycle club patch.  A creed of love, loyalty and respect for what a club patch represents to it’s members. It’s the same throughout the motorcycle club world.  There are basic rules to follow, which are really just common sense. You never let it hit the ground, you don’t conduct yourself in a unbecoming manner, never let it be disrespected and never let it be taken from you.

I’m not a member of an outlaw motorcycle club or have a patch to defend, but I hope to God I will always have that American flag!

Photo taken at Northwest HOG Rally – Spokane, WA.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog
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UO Football Helmet

UO Football Helmet — Go Ducks!

Different helmets do different things. There are hard hats on construction and heavy-industry heads; football helmets on athletes’ heads, Kevlar® caps on military heads and DOT certified helmets on motorcyclist heads.

None are interchangeable.  However, the motorcyclist in this photo might disagree.

On the weekend I was driving on Highway 217 and came upon this motorcyclist flashing some new reflectivity protective head gear – a University of Oregon football helmet!

I’m not sure if this “learning moment” is one where we ridicule his fashion faux pas or criticize the multiple color combinations of motorcycle, helmet, shirt, pants, socks and shoes, and how they’ll never pass the Nike-design standard.  But, most concerning is the specific amount of retroreflective material on the helmet and how it may well exceed state standards!

Huh?

Yep, a number of states have exact information on the location and number of square inches of retroreflective material required on motorcycle helmets.  I’m currently researching this fun fact and will report an update when I learn if Oregon has such a requirement embedded in the helmet law.

Motorcycle helmets are very sophisticated and specialized for an activity. They’ve been developed carefully and scientifically over the years and wearing a DOT helmet properly strapped on your head is mandatory in the state of Oregon.  If you want to read more about Oregon helmet laws go HERE.  If you’re interested in helmet standards go HERE.  The NHTSA is proposing to amend several aspects of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218, Motorcycle Helmets HERE.

But, this is all a moot point, because this “safety-minded motorcyclist” just planted another seed of doubt in the minds of non-riders – some who already question the rationale of motorcycle ownership in general – that wearing a football helmet means motorcyclists are not responsible people; we don’t take ourselves and motorcycling serious and no matter what the law says, it’s about projecting an attitude…

We’ve heard this tune before.  Many call it stupid and other’s will call it living.

Photo taken by author. 

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Did you notice that over the holiday’s it was everything Joanne Stefani Germanotta (i.e. Lady GaGa)?

Lady GaGa cemented her mainstream outreach which began with “A GaGa Thanksgiving,” then proceeded with “A Very GaGa Holiday” album and concluded with the “GaGa Workshop”, the singers interpretation of “Santa’s Shop” at Barney’s in NYC.  And don’t forget all the Lady GaGa-themed gifts from flame pressed-on-nails, spike moto gloves and even an eatable facial likeness cookie!   Talk about gagging!

Lady GaGa is the 1%.

I don’t mean that she’s to be hated like those over paid, real estate wrecking wall street bankers, or that she has no talent, only that she won, she’s ubiquitous, she’s rich!

You see society demands a certain amount of commonality, things we all know about and comment upon.  This accounts for the growth in reality TV and awards shows.  We all watch the Super Bowl, so we can comment on it the following day.

And speaking of football, doesn’t it seem like the song remains the same… but, the teams come and go?  I’m referring to Madonna who is set to headline Super Bowl halftime show.  Announcement HERE.  The league calls the show “the most-watched musical event of the year,” with more than 162 million people tuning in last year in the U.S. alone.

Huh?  MTV doesn’t even call itself “Music Television” anymore. What happened to my country when football became the jumping off point to showcase the sad state of affairs of the music business?  Madonna is aging so fast you can see the sell-by date.  I suggest they should broadcast the performance in 3D so when people get dizzy watching the “cones”, the league will have a wardrobe scapegoat.  It was the glasses…yeah, that’s it… the weak battery in the 3D glasses warped the faux glitz and glamour she provided on stage.

Did someone in the NFL front office make a mistake?  Was there old farts running focus groups to provide homogenized entertainment to people who don’t really exist and they booked Madonna thinking it was really Lady Gaga?!  The NFL enlisting Madonna who is doing her best to look younger than the players is laughable.  The nipped and tucked Madonna is a contemporary of the players mothers. Hip-hop runs the NFL. Just check the iPods they listen to to get psyched up before the game.

I’m part of the 99%.  And we used to be awed at the show, we used to need to tell everybody about the music. If we speak about Madonna by the water cooler the day after the Super Bowl it’ll be because of a wardrobe malfunction, or something she says. Her music, unlike the game, is dead.

Photo courtesy of Madonna.

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Sunday you awake from a 40 year coma.   You want to know what’s new in America.  What do you do?

Watch Super Bowl XLIV of course and absorb the musical half-time extravaganza!  You’re dumbfounded and thinking déjà vu?  What kind of hole have I fallen down?  Relax.  Just be glad you missed the Grammy’s and Pink flying high in the sky.  If that wasn’t all wet!

Nothing better than a “parade of legends” while shucking a crawdad in the middle of this gumbo-like stew of sports, celebrity, excess and Americana – have you noticed that the half-time events just get exponentially worse (Lewis Black)?

Will XLIV be the BSBE (best Super Bowl, evah)?  WHO knows.

I say who cares!  Last year we had Bruce Springsteen.  He grossed more than $200M on the road and became just another commercial production.  Previously we had Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, U2, Tom Petty, Aerosmith and don’t forget Super Bowl XXXV (Baltimore 34, New York Giants 7 in Tampa).  What stood out the most from that game was the courageous performance of Styx.  They performed before the game, accompanied by hundreds of dancers in white unitards that had giant sails sewn into the backs, which they flapped in unison during the chorus of “Come Sail Away.” If that wasn’t the saddest display of a musical gig we’ve ever seen at a Super Bowl.  That is until the game in Houston, where “Two Tickets to Paradise,” Eddie Money performed before kickoff next door to the actual stadium.

I think the reason these halftime shows suck is because it requires a unique, powerful talent to compress the funk and energy of a 2-hour performance down into a 15-minute set. Most artists can’t handle it.  And how about Super Bowl XLI (Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17 in Miami)… it had a dream-like quality to it.  There were the 250-pound men dressed in skintight and wildly colorful parakeet bodysuits lined up in the end zone before the Cirque du So-lame pregame show. And don’t forget Jesse Jackson’s thoughtful interview on the South Beach boardwalk 100 feet away from a guy dancing around in nothing more than a Boston Red Sox thong.  Classy.

So you can say what you want about the hype, the money and the misplaced priorities of Super Bowl week (it’s all true), but if the game can’t create any kind of public response then it’s up to Harley-Davidson and the Maxim Super Bowl Party!  The VIP list includes the Harley-Davidson Drag Racer Valerie Thompson, the original Go Daddy Girl Candice Michelle, and of course Indy Car Racer Danica Patrick. Even the Teutels from Orange County Choppers will do a drive by and unveil “The Go Daddy Chopper.”  I’m sure to boost ratings they’ll have Hooter girls explain football or force Paul Sr. to sit between two would-be cheerleaders, balancing an ice cream sundae in his lap (from the all you-could-eat buffet), a video game controller in one hand and an ice-cold beer in the other, while playing “Madden.” Thank me later for a ‘Captain Obvious’ moment, but that my friends, is what Super Bowl advertising is all about!  Even the Ringling Bros. elephants don’t work it this hard.

And the game?

I wanted the Vikings, but now I’m pulling for the Saints. Nothing against Manning…  I love Tabasco!  And if that wasn’t enough of a reason the Manning’s already have two Super Bowl rings and something happy coming out of the Superdome might erase the vision of Katrina’s squalor.  Besides does anyone do a parade better than New Orleans?

UPDATE: February 8, 2010 — The advertising was lame!  Game was okay.  The team and the city that needed it most won!  As for The Who...let’s face it… their credibility went south after they sold out to the TV crime drama, but I hope I’m still rocking like Roger and Pete when I’m in my sixties.  Who’s next?  I say pull in John Mayer and Keith Urban as a pair of modern classics.  Here is Billboards top 10 half-time shows.

Photo courtesy of The Who

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Big Ben

Big Ben

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is an example of an athlete throwing discretion out the window when riding on a motorcycle with a temporary permit and no helmet.  “Big Ben’s” motorcycle accident and subsequent facial lacerations were severe enough that authorities initially could not identify him.

That was 2006 and this is not a post to bash the non-helmet motorcycle riders of the world. Frankly, I have a bit of a gripe with athletes in general, who decide to risk their health and well being even more than they already do in their respective professions…especially when they have a commitment to the organizations that employ them.

I could cite more examples of athletes’ misfortunes with motorcycles, but there is a point to be made.  I’m thinking Roethlisberger’s emotional state of having lived through what must have been an exhilarating motorcycle accident will play a big part in the Steelers comeback and win on Sunday!

And speaking of the football game…the Boss will host a 12-minute “party.”  The fans will fawn, the press will recite hosannas, but the new album “Working on a Dream” sounds terrible (it’s flat).  I’m a Boss fan, but this album doesn’t demand listening.  I’m not sure what kind of statement Bruce is making, but selling in Wal-Mart implies “My company paid me so much money they can do whatever they want to make their money back”.  I thought musicians were supposed to be about more than money?  Maybe it was the fact that at last years Super Bowl Tom Petty was watched by more than 148M  viewers in the U.S.?  But this isn’t so much about the Boss. This is about our culture.  If something generates a lot of revenue, you can’t say anything negative about it.  “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” has proven that after 3 weeks in the number one spot.

Super Bowl XLIII (43) is here at last, go Steelers.

Photo courtesy Steelers.

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holmgren_hdI remember attending the season opener and having high hopes, but now the injured Seattle Seahawks season is truly over.  As a ‘Hawks’ fan it was rough year.  Have you ever wondered where the team name originated?  According to sportsecyclopedia, the Seahawks nickname “was the result of a fan contest that drew 20,365 entries and suggested 1,742 different names. Seahawks was suggested by 151 entrants and judged by the team ownership as the best choice.” The logo is described as “a Native American totem-style hawk with a fierce look.”  Great marketing gimmick to get fans to relate.

At any rate, Coach Mike Holmgren stated he would spend more time with his family and plans on working more with charity.  And riding his Harley was high on the list of things to do during his sabbatical from the NFL.  The team pulled together a little gift in a show of appreciation for their coaches five division titles and advancement to the playoffs six times in the last 10 years.  Out rolls a limited edition Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Ultra.  Injured team sure, but cheap they are not!   The motorcycle is listed at almost $36,000, and with the dealer markup and add-ons it had an out-the-door price of $42,128.  There was a salesman smiling somewhere that day!

In Renton, Holmgren took a lap around the team’s practice facility on the motorcycle and then posed for photo’s with the team as something to remember them by if football memories fade.   Say what you will about Holmgren in his last year in Seattle, but I think he was a class act.  He never blamed anyone for the team injuries and took it all standing up.

So, head on out Mike and enjoy your summer of motorcycle riding.  And if the rumors are true good luck coaching in San Francisco…

Photo courtesy Associated Press

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Seahawks and 49er Game

Seahawks and 49er Game

I attended the season opener of the Seattle Seahawks  game yesterday and everything was perfect.  The weather was brilliant, the fans were loud, there were false-start penalties on back-to-back plays and early in the game the defensive tackle Craig Terrill picked up a fumble to return it for a touchdown.  How often does that happen? Yes, the 49ers were in danger of getting blown out.

But disintegrating into a steam of penalties, turnovers and just plain bad football – the 49er bad luck wouldn’t last forever and it was Joe Nedney’s 40 yard field goal in overtime that gave the 49ers a 33-30 victory.  It’s the first time the Seahawks have been 0-2 since 2002 and with their injury-depleted offense the defense just didn’t step it up after the 49ers converted play after big play in the second half.  Fans were stunned and 67,000 people were dead silent.

Seahawks Motorcycle Pin

Seahawks Motorcycle Pin

Seattle loves the Seahawks.  And Mike Holmgren loves his Harley.  He is often quoted about riding it across the desert outside his Arizona (offseason) home, but he certainly didn’t come back for his 10th and final season with the Seahawks to teach life lessons like this…I’m sure there was at least one point in the game where he had to be thinking I best take a ride on the Harley and enjoy the sights of a beautiful late summer afternoon!

Pin photo courtesy of Seattle teams site.

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