Monday, May 31, 2010

RIP Easy Rider

Taken from

Actor and artist Dennis Hopper has died of prostate cancer at age 74.

Hopper, who was probably best known as the star and director of 1969's Easy Rider, passed away at his Venice, Calif. home on Saturday (May 29), with which he'd been diagnosed in October 2009.

Rather than dwell on the sadness of this star and cultural icon's passing, many prefer to remember what made Hopper such an important part of pop culture and history.

Here are 17 reasons Dennis Hopper was cool:

1. Let's start with Easy Rider, since it's the role with which Hopper's most associated. He starred in and directed the movie and co-produced it with his co-star, Peter Fonda. The 1969 film, which also starred Jack Nicholson and Phil Spector, featured Fonda and Hopper as motorcycle-riding drug dealers. It dealt with the hippie movement and counterculture, and remains one of the decade's most important films. Its soundtrack, featuring Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds and Bob Dylan, also captured the spirit of the time.

2. Hopper appeared in two films with James Dean, another important cultural figure in the early years of rock 'n' roll. He made his film debut as Goon in 1955's Rebel Without A Cause and played Jordan Benedict III in Giant, Dean's final film.

3. Hopper became friends with Elvis Presley in 1956. Hopper was roommates with Nick Adams, and the two befriended The King when he came to Hollywood to begin his acting career.

4. Hopper's career sputtered in the '70s, particularly after the release of The Last Movie, which he directed. It was a critical and commercial flop, but he made a comeback with 1979's Apocalypse Now, in which he played the American Photojournalist and starred alongside Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Harrison Ford.

5. The title of Hopper's 1980 self-directed Out Of The Blue film, in which he also starred, was taken from Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)."

6. Hopper's Young connection doesn't end there. He appeared in Human Highway, the 1982 film co-directed by Young (under the Bernard Shakey pseudonym) and Dean Stockwell (The Rainmaker, Air Force One), which also starred Devo. Hopper played a drug-addled cook.

7. After struggling with cocaine and alcohol addiction in the early '80s, Hopper starred in Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish alongside Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke. The film features a score from The Police's Stewart Copeland.

8. Hopper appeared as the sadomasochistic Frank Booth in David Lynch's controversial Blue Velvet in 1986, and received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his performance. Blue Velvet helped return Hopper to mainstream relevance following his drug addiction battle. The film's title is taken from Bobby Vinton's song of the same name.

9. Although it flopped, Hopper starred as King Koopa in 1993's Super Mario Bros., which also starred Bob Hoskins (Hook, Enemy At The Gates) and John Leguizamo (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge) as Luigi.

10. Hopper appeared in 2005's Firecracker, which also starred Faith No More's Mike Patton.

11. Hopper's filmography also includes such important films as Cool Hand Luke, True Grit, Speed, The American Friend, and The Sons Of Katie Elder. He also appeared on television shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The Twilight Zone.

12. Hopper took up photography in the '60s, and shot the cover for Ike & Tina Turner's 1966 "River Deep - Mountain High" single.

13. Andy Warhol's 1962 Campbell's Soup Cans painting was one of the first pieces of art Hopper ever bought. He purchased it for $75. It's now on display at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York.

14. Hopper was himself a painter and began to be noticed for his art in the '60s. A collection of his work, curated by filmmaker Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, Before Night Falls), will be part of artist Jeffrey Deitch's upcoming show at Los Angeles' Museum Of Contemporary Art.

15. American writer Tom Folsom is working on a biography of Hopper titled Hopper: A Savage Journey To The Heart Of The American Dream.

16. Hopper appeared on Gorillaz' 2005 Demon Days album, narrating "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head." He also shows up in last year's Bananaz, the documentary about the recording of the album.

17. Hopper was nominated for two oscars and two Golden Globes during his career, along with an Emmy. Easy Rider won a Cannes Film Festival award.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where Are You, June?

Wouldn't it be nice if I told you I picked these fresh out of our strawberry patch this morning?

That would be nice but it would also be a lie. We do not have a strawberry patch, much less one that puts out beautiful organic strawberries. We live on a fairly wooded lot and in Indiana, so neither factor is conducive to the production of plump, red berries in the middle of May. Seriously, we are still enduring jacket weather some days.

Next month will be a different story. We will still live on a wooded lot and we will still not have our own strawberry patch but we will go pick strawberries at a local farm. Until then, I can dream and enjoy these.

Come on, June......

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How Many Are Out There?

This may sound like an unhealthy bit of curiosity but sometimes I cannot help but wonder how many parents out there are on the verge of having a child diagnosed with autism. Some people claim to have gay-dar, which I do not have, nor do I care to have. Whether you play for the girls' team or the boys' team makes no difference to me. However, I do sometimes think I have A-dar and can spot a child with autism in a crowd or in a playgroup or while we are in the library in the children's section.

Before anyone criticizes me though, I only think I possess this ability to pick up on an autism frequency because I have been exposed to so many children with autism other than my own.

I wonder how many people - parents of children with autism, people who have worked around children with autism, or simply individuals who have had exposure to autism - pinned my child with autism using their own A-dar. Were they friends of mine who were trying to tell me something before I ever had a clue what was going on with my child? Did they know but did not want to say anything for fear of my reaction? I really wish I knew.

I wish I knew what the right thing is to say or not to say to the three friends of mine with children whom I suspect have autism. How would they react if I suggested they have their child evaluated? Has it ever crossed their minds that their child has more going on than just a cranky nature and delayed speech? Have they ever wondered why their child throws tantrums over seemingly nothing? Or that the constant diarrhea never seems to go away? Do they think it is normal for a child to have some kind of illness at all times and that medicating and medicating over and over is the key to good health? Has anyone ever even given them a list of signs of autism? Probably not. Many pediatricians know little or nothing about autism themselves, much less would they know how to educate the parents of their wee patients.

Then there is the child of another friend of mine whose developmental fate is unfolding right before my eyes every day on Facebook. This particular friend is a person with whom I am primarily Facebook friends with and only know as an acquaintance in "real life" - in other words, someone who I would not dare suggest an inkling of a notion of autism regarding her child. I have to wonder why she never makes the connection between her child's vaccination schedule and the following days of non-stop crying, fevers, and illnesses. She is one who posts often and with great detail regarding her family's goings-on - which, by the way, I am not criticizing by any means. Most of the time, I rather enjoy her posts. Her family is very active and helpful to others in need and that is probably why it is all the more heartbreaking when one day she posts something along the lines of "_____ was so brave today at the pediatrician's office while getting all his shots." and then the very next day her posts may go something like, "_____ was up all night last night with a fever. He's sleeping now. I hope he just had a rough night."

And then perhaps later that day, "_____ has been crying all day long. I can't wait for these phases he goes through to be done." Or, "Ends up _____ is sick with a fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Back to the doctor.....again."

I have watched this poor mom's Facebook posts go on like this following every round of shots her child has received since his birth not so long ago. I want to reach out to her and tell her what I have noticed. I want to tell her that only she can make an educated decision whether or not to have her child vaccinated BUT this correlation between his vaccines and his poor health is unmistakably and undeniably not a coincidence.

If I had it all to do over again, I would hope that if someone's A-dar was going off with Reiss when he was younger, that person would have said something to me. At the same time though, I think I know why no one ever said anything to me. They were probably in the same boat I currently find myself in. They were afraid of how their suggestion would be received.

And now I wonder which of my Facebook friends will ask, "Are you talking about my child?"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Speed Soul

You can never have too many helmets.  Although I do have a lot of lids, most of them aren't even DOT. Sorry Mom.  After seeing a few bike accidents around town I thought It'd be a good idea to start wearing something that might actually save me. It's a Bell Custom 500 - Speed Soul edition.  It's DOT approved and it's a sweet looking lid as well.

I almost got side-swiped by an idiot in a mini-van the other day, I pulled up next to him and gave him the bird until we got to the lights, once we were at the lights the guy didn't even look me in the eyes, he knew what did, and he knew that he almost killed me.  Please, everyone who is out driving their car or truck this summer, please pay attention and shoulder check.  Us bikers are a little harder to see on the road and we need you guys to make sure that you see us.  I don't want you running me over.  Thanks.

Bell Custom 500 Speed Soul...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ebay Monday

I came across some cool bikes on ebay last night.  Feel free to put a bid in...

Austin Weiss & Streamline Designs Chopper
Price - $360,000

For the first time ever this world famous custom chopper built by Austin Weiss is being put up for sale to the public. This work of art named "Killin Time" is a custom built masterpiece that has been heralded as one of the classiest custom built choppers ever made. "Killin Time" has been featured and displayed all over the world, and will be sold to the highest bidder.

West Coast Choppers "Vanilla Gorilla"
Price - $125,000

I also came across Jesse James ol' bike - otherwise known as "EL CHONGO BLANCO" or "VANILLA GORILLA"

This bike was built and ridden by Jesse James himself...

Orange County Choppers Custom Indian Bobber - "The Blue Bomber"
Price - $55,500

I can't stand OCC, especially Paul Sr.  But this is a pretty sick bike.  And for only $55,000...

Custom Glenndyne Bobber - "Technochop"
Price - Bidding Starts at $40,000

Glenndyne designs is a company that I'm not to familiar with at all.  They are leading the way in designing internal brakes for motorcycles, and this is their first bike which shows it off.  I just saw this bike in an issue of 'Hot Bike' magazine.  Very cool bike, if I could afford to place any bids on any of the bikes above - this would be the one.

I also found a bunch of Harley Nightsters on ebay.  They are all averaging around $7500 - $9500.  I won't mention what I ended up paying for my '09 Nightster that I bought at the local HD stealer, errr I mean dealer. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Motorcycle Photo Art

I've been enrolled in a photography class for the past few weeks and I can say that I have actually learned a few things.  Kristin bought me a Nikon D-60 a few years ago and I use it all the time.  Now that I've learned a bit more about my camera I can say that I will no longer be using the "Auto" camera mode anymore.  These cameras capabilities are unreal and I can honestly say that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface.  I was playing around with my bike and a few weird settings along with a flashlight tonight in my garage and I managed to get a few cool pics.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hand Brake

And I thought my 'utilitiy knife' accident was bad...

I found this on another blog and I have officially stepped down into second place on the 'left hand motorcycle accident' list...

When Kevin Myatt dropped his chain powering into Dragons Tail in Whakarewarewa a few days ago he couldn’t in his wildest dreams have imagined how the slam would unfold. After sliding along the ground he realised the bike was still with him and glancing down at his wrist he soon realised why. His brake lever had slid up his arm (slicing it open on the way) and then pierced the skin on his wrist surfacing a few centimetres later, as Kevin puts it, he was now “at one with his bike”. More after the jump (not for the squeamish)…

His riding buddies Julia and Tim called the ambulance and quickly removed the brake lever and caliper from the bike whilst Kevin Stemmed the blood flow from his own wrist. Now I’m pretty sure that you like me have never seen this type of wound before, as it happens neither had any of Rotorua’s health professionals, starting with the ambo guys; when one realised there wasn’t enough light to shoot a good photo he instructed his partner to use the flashlight to illuminate it better. Kevin didn’t fare much better at Rotorua hospital either where at least 10 hospital staff heard about the brake lever and turned up with personal cameras and cell phones.

Even the radiologist who had been on strike admitted on seeing the wound that she was glad she came in to work!!! A general anesthetic and 15 stitches later, Kevin was good to go. As soon as the stitches are out he’ll be back in the forest and is not deterred one ounce by his freakish (yet slightly entertaining) wound.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


This is getting ridiculous.  After my 'accident' with a utility knife I figured I'd be out of commission for a few weeks.  Well I managed to heal in about two weeks which was quicker then I thought.  But, because of the weather that has hit us here in Southern Alberta, I can't do shit anyways.  I can't ride my bike, I can't golf, I can't be 'softball guy' either.  They're calling for some warmer weather into the weekend so I hope 'they' are right, whoever 'they' are.  I was really looking forward to this weekend to.  It's demo day's at the local Harley shop in Lethbridge.  Demo days is running both Friday and Saturday from 10-4 and I'm hoping to get on a few of the new 2010 models.  On Friday night some of the guys down at the shop are organizing a ride and then some beers at Backstreet Pub South.  There is also a poker run on Saturday afternoon as well but I'm not even sure where it starts and where it ends so I'm gonna have to look into that a little more.  Once the weather clears up there will be lots do on the bike this weekend, I wouldn't mind getting out on the golf course as well. 

I took this pic on my way out to Taber, AB on Wednesday morning. Yes, that's a snow plow in my rearview mirror, on the road in May.

Here's a pic of my hand 16 days after I sliced it open.  The stitches were taken out on Wed, April 28.  I'd say it's healing up rather nice.  Should be a great scar.

I took this pic the day I got my stitches.  Turned out kind of cool, with a little editing as well. I've just recently started in a photography course here in Lethbridge so I'm hoping I can learn some more things and start taking some better pictures. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Kids Are NOT Collateral Damage

But that is the response our governments are providing to many parents regarding the vaccine injuries their children have sustained. "Collateral damage" is the first thing that came to mind when I saw Eric Prine's story.

To see Eric's story, click here:

For a chance to win this beautiful painting, donate $10 to HAPI and one ticket will go into the drawing with your name. This 18x24 acrylic painting was hand painted and framed by Ronnie Prine, in Morrison, CO. Ronnie is the father of Eric Prine, 17, who was severely damaged by his DPT vaccine.

Eric is the size of a 5 year old and cont
inues to have seizures every day of his life. He is Ronnie's angel on earth and requires 24/7 care which Ronnie and his wife, an RN, provide. Ronnie likes to paint away his pain by creating beautiful scenes.

The drawing for this painting will take place on Sunday, June 6th at the People's Fair booth in Denver, CO at 3:00pm. Need not be present to win. All proceeds will go to support HAPI in their continued efforts to provide information to parents regarding the risks of vaccinations and parents' rights.

Use for PayPal donations, use "painting ticket" for the memo, or send a check made out to HAPI to PO Box 7068, Gunnison, CO 81230 and write "painting ticket" in the memo line.

Donations are tax deductible.