Riding Easy, Riding Forever.

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I never wanted to be anybody else.”
Wyatt, Easy Rider

Peter Henry Fonda  •  February 23, 1940 – August 16, 2019

You know who he is.

That’s right, Jane Fonda’s little brother.  The one who changed a chunk of our culture with the film, Easy Rider.  There are going to be a lot of articles about him now that he’s ridden off into the future; maybe Dennis Hopper, too.  I’m doing this one out of simple gratitude, for shaping my long relationship with choppers, and perhaps much more.

I made the long flight back from Vietnam to the CONUS in December of 1969. Poignantly, I moved to “Normal,” Illinois, and got into school on the G.I. bill.  That spring I bought a royal blue 500 cc Triumph twin, and started chopping it immediately.  I, along with thousands and thousands of others, had been introduced to choppers by Easy Rider, a bit of cinema that has influenced the culture in ways both good and bad, for the past fifty years.  And for that, I thank him.  He’ll be resting in peace for a bit, but eventually he’ll be riding easy again, in a brand new world.

Easy Rider 500 cc Triumph Twin

Triumphs used to be called “Trumpers,” but it was slang, not a slur. How things change.  It made a sweet sound, but you’d literally get your ass blown all over the road. Notice the aluminum bar struts; seriously; you had to really hold on.

Back in this world tho, it’s a time to take a look back at where we’ve been.  Easy Rider has had more of an influence over my artistic style than I may understand, and with Fonda’s passing, it’s an opportunity to take another look at just what that is.

I can easily trace the origins of my desire to mess with bikes to my desire to mess with cars; I was an early adapter to drag strip culture and tho my early trial and error days were mostly bolt-on projects, with the help of a couple friends I swapped out the six banger in my first car with a full race v-8.

Easy Rider 500 cc Triump Twin

See? It looks Normal, don’t it?

1966 XLCH Sportster

Rear fender already chopped off; new leather seat, risers with pullback bars, no mirror yet; front brake unhooked. Otherwise a stock 1966 XLCH. Photo by TPK circa 1971

Bikes are a different animal. Handlebars were the first thing I changed on my bike.  “Z” bars were new in the early seventies, at least in Normal.  The aluminum bar struts that replaced the shocks were intended to lower the bike and look tough, but they damn near broke my butt and maybe my lower spine.  I hand-painted the stars with a brush, because well, blue tank.  And my rep; I was an art major. And off to school we go.

I might have looked this way in 1972 even if Easy Rider had never been a thing. Who knows. Yes, I needed those glasses; I rode in my father’s WWII flight jacket. I swear, that was the last pocket tee I ever owned.

The following spring, someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  I sold the bike, and a green ’63 Volkswagen beetle with Big Daddy Roth slicks and Cragar mags on the back, to a guy who said he had to have them both.  I grinned and took his cash, but by the end of the week I had forked it all over for a low-mileage ’66 XLCH.

That was 1971.  And that was a crazy summer.  “You know I smoked a lotta grass. Oh Lord!  I popped a lot of pills. But I never touched nothin’ that my spirit could kill.”  (Got to know several women who liked to ride on choppers as much as I did, too.)  Hell, you could pay the rent, buy food, drugs and beer, and still afford to build a chopper and date a girl— all on a decent factory summer job paycheck. Huzzaaa.

“You know, this used to be a hell of a good country.”
—George Hansen, Easy Rider

Meanwhile, towards the end of that June, Senator Mike Mansfield‘s amendment was adopted by Congress. It urged withdrawing American troops from South Vietnam at “the earliest practical date.”  It was the first time in U.S. history that Congress had actually called for the end of a fucking war.

The 8″ over fork tubes came next, with a new spooly spoke wheel; cause, we doan’ need no stinkin’ front brake; we lookin’ cool and we be indestructible.  That winter, I painted the tank and fender in the basement, with a cheap badger airbrush running off a CO2 bottle.

I really wasn’t into God then.  I hadn’t even learned how many of my high school buddies had been killed in Vietnam yet.  But I greatly respected and admired Michelangelo’s work, especially his face of God from the Sistine Chapel.  I drew the panels on either side of the tank with pencil, one in black and white, the other in psychedelic purples.

It turned out that a guy that would one day become the best man at my wedding became a roommate about then, and he rode a sweet little XLH with an emerald green paint job.  There’s nothing but corn and soybeans for miles in every direction around Normal, but we rode the shit outa that restless tar. . .

Easy Rider God Tank Right

So the bike reminiscence is for some historic perspective on my personal two-wheeler journey.  But. It’s really never been about choppers, Easy Rider, or even Peter Fonda.  It’s about the journey— and making the journey last— forever.

It took me decades to learn that all that matters is the experience of living this life, and that relationships with people are ends in themselves.  The rest is mostly just scaffolding.  If you aren’t continuing the eternal journey, you got nothin’.  It’s a choice we all get to make.

Sure, I love riding a chopper on a fresh morning with perfect air, warm sunshine; watching the headlight bounce down the night highway with a thousand points of light overhead. Even the periodic bug in the face. And my curiosity is always on fire for whatever the next iteration of all that is, farther down eternity road.  I’m all in.

In October, 1971, Australia and New Zealand decided to withdraw their troops from Vietnam. And by the end of October, the total number of American troops still in Vietnam dropped to a record low of 196,700.  By December of the following year, my whole world would change forever; but that’s a blog about as long as book, a book that. . . well.

Easy Rider God Tank left

The face of God from the Sistine Chapel.

So.  Peter Fonda launched a cultural shift that has made it into the 21st century, although it is hardly recognizable.  You can still watch Easy Rider as way to at least partially reboot your brain, as I did before I started this blog.  But it didn’t really work the way I thought it would, as so many things stuck out as weird or time-worn;  except he seemed to get religion during his acid trip.. . but you really can’t go back.  Time marches on, bla bla bla. But there’s really something to that; we keep moving forward, ever forward, some kickin’ and screamin’, some resigned to it;  some just taken off the planet without so much as a second’s warning.

This time we’re in now, now. . .  now— so often lacks that spark of spirit, that knowing deep inside where you have to find the courage to look before you can see— a recognition that life goes on forever, if you want it, really want it;  no half-assing it.  And Peter Fonda’s passing into the great beyond, the next world of reawakening, is a perfect time to wake to your trip— following eternity road.  Saddle up.

Easy Rider Reflectivity

My chopper evolution landed here:  Reflectivity    2003 — current.  This will do me until I can get my hands on the throttle of whatever replaces it in the next world.

 

National INQUISITOR: 500 CRIMES & 5,000 LIES

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National INQUISITOR tRUMP'S 500 CRIMES

The latest chronicler of the human shit-gibbon president’s escapades is the National INQUISITOR

 

WASHINGTON D.C. — David Pecker.  Seriously.  David J. Pecker is the chairman and CEO of American Media, at least for a little while longer.  He publishes the National Enquirer, Star, Sun, Weekly World News, Globe, Men’s Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Fit Pregnancy, and Shape.  But what he’s going to be remembered for is buying and burying ugly shit about Donald Trump.  And by doing so, he’s been given immunity from prosecution for his roll in colluding with Trump and his fixer, Michael Cohen, to keep the truth of Trump’s tawdry doings (oh, and the tawdry doings of his adult children, too) out of the flagship shit rag of his publishing empire, The National Enquirer.  He might as well have driven a gasoline tanker trunk into the building, because he’s effectively burning it to the ground in spectacular fashion.  Yeah, too bad.

Well nature abhors a vacuum, so there should be a new shit rag in town, the National INQUISITOR©.   Only instead of demeaning all of Trump‘s enemies the way Pecker did with his shit rag, the INQUISITOR will be savaging Trump— and all of his cronies, until death do them part from our planet.  Godspeed.

NOTHING IS F*CKED HERE, DUDE.

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NOTHING IS FUCKED HERE.

That’s right, nothing is fucked here— if you can ignore straight out collusion with a foreign hostile government— you know, in past parlance, the “enemy,” and “treason.”

FSociety: The Feral Dog Sweats

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Faithless readers of this blog will not recognize yet another unheard of magazine atop a post, the reviewing of which is one of our favorite distractions as we hunker down for the inevitable unraveling of TRUMP’merica©.
MAGOT” MAGAzine— an acronym for “Make America Get Over Trump”—  (good luck with that, fellow optimists), is our latest, and tiny hands down, most traumatic find to date.  See other Mags here, herehere, here, here, and WhyTFN, a TeeVee mag here.

 

Normally we like to regale our occasional readers with the quaint back story of how we come across these often bizarre publications, but honestly, this POS* was found at the local Department of Motor Vehicles, and there’s simply nothing more to be said about that lost-time experience that would do anything but pull the scab off a perennial psychic wound.

 

Oh yeah.  Some of our fellow Americans don’t watch television, but enough of us do that, chances are, you’ve seen the term “FSociety” in relation to the series, MR. ROBOT.  Their usage of the term is in conjunction with the traditional “F” word.  But in TRUMP’merica©, we’re redefining the “F” word to mean FAKE;  not fuck.  As in “FAKE” Society.  But it’s not the usage of the word “fake” that the feral dog inhabiting the White House has been abusing for the past year.  It’s reality itself.  But Trump only applies the term to any media outlet with the temerity to report the news about him with respect to facts in evidence, facts in reality.

So here we are. In FSociety, the president is addicted to Twitter.  It’s become a daily raging barometer of his griplessness.  In FSociety, the president is a self-admitted justice-obstructing, pussy-grabbing sexual predator, accused by, at last count, sixteen women.  In FSociety, the president has blathered out over 1600 verifiable lies— just since taking office.

In FSociety, the president’s National Security Advisor has pled guilty to lying to the FBI, and before too much longer will very likely give up all the lying, money-laundering, justice-obstructing, treasonous country-fucking turds who he colluded with last year.

 

Go ahead.  Take a deep, life-giving breath if you can.  And realize this:
If indeed our gut-shot democracy has a breath of life left in it, it’s currently being used to keep Robert Mueller alive.

 

*Piece Of Satire

 

The President’s Cup Runneth Over

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Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria

Jose Garcia Vicente points to the pile of rubble, compliments of Hurricane Maria, that used to be his home. Notice too, located in what used to be his kitchen, is The President’s Cup, which is annually awarded to the winners of a fucking golf tournament;  this year the trophy did double duty, also being dedicated to “all the people of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico” who “have been affected” by recent hurricanes. Well played, sir;  well fucking played.¹

 

AIBONITO, PUERTO RICO —  President and fulltime game show host, Donald J. TRump, was spotted while not tweeting on Sunday as he prepared to award some losers winners in striped shirts, The President’s Cup trophy— a nasty looking gold-plated spitoon-like thing, nearly big enough to fit on TRump’s head.
Here’s a little bit of his salad, my emphasis:

“On behalf of all of the people of Texas, of all of the people of — if you look today, if you see what’s happening, how horrible it is, but we have it under really great control, Puerto Rico, and the people of Florida, who are really suffering, over this last short period of time, with hurricanes.  I want to just remember them, and we are going to dedicate this trophy, to all of those people, that went through so much.  That I can tell you.

“And, I tell you what!  I’ve been watching this, from the beginning, and I have to say, our Team USA, wow, did you play,  well.”

 

Just then, a skinny white man near the back of the crowd, dressed all in black with a scrawny ponytail, began vociferously yelling at the president.

 

Golf courses!  Just what we need!  plenty of good land in nice neighborhoods, land that is currently being wasted on a meaningless, mindless activity, engaged in primarily by white well-to-do male businessmen, who use the game to get together to make deals to carve this country up into finer chunks among themselves.  I am getting tired… realllly gettinnng tired of these golfing cocksuckers in their green pants, and their yellow pants, and their orange pants, and their precious little hats, and their cute little golf carts, to cart their fat asses around!
“It’s time to reclaim the golf courses from the wealthy and turn them over to the homeless!  Golf is an arrogant, elitist game and it takes up entirely too much room in this country.
WHAT DO THESE PIN-HEADED PRICKS NEED WITH ALL THAT LAND?!!!  There are over 17,000 golf courses in America, they average over 150 acres apiece, that’s 3 million plus acres, 4,820 square miles—  you could build two Rhode Island’s and a Delaware for the homeless on the land currently being wasted on this meaningless, mindless, arrogant, elitist, racist — there’s another thing:  the only blacks you’ll find in country clubs are carrying trays — and it’s a borrring game… boring game for borrring people.
You ever watch golf on television while you’re fucking twittering, Mr. President!?   It’s like watching flies fuck!   It’s such a mindless game, mmmmmmindless!   Think of how much intellect it must take to draw pleasure from this… activity:  Hitting a tiny fucking ball with a crooked little stick… and then… walking after it… and then… HITTING IT AGAIN!!!   I SAY, PICK IT UP, ASSHOLE!!!   YOU’RE LUCKY YOU FOUND THE FUCKING THING!!!   PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET AND GO-THE-FUCK HOME!!!   YOU FOUND IT!!!  YOU’RE A WINNER!!!  YOU’RE A WINNER!!!
Aren’t you tired of  “WINNING” YET?!? 
I say let these rich cocksuckers play miniature golf!  Let ‘em fuck with a windmill for an hour or so…  see if there’s really any skill among these people.   Now, I know some of ‘you people‘— people who play golf, but don’t consider themselves rich…   FUCK ‘EM!!!   And SHAME on them for engaging in this arrogant, elitist, meaningless, mindless, and racist pastime!”

 

Many of you will recognize that is mostly the ebullient golf screed of the late, great George Carlin.  We caught up with the fellow that delivered it, who actually looks a lot like Carlin— turns out to be Stephen A. Heckler, an amateur Carlin impersonator.
“Yeah, I know, I know” he explains.  “My dad, Dick— thought it would be just hysterical if I had to say to everyone I meet,
‘Hi, I’m Steve, A Heckler.’  But my high school principal did not think it was funny, “that I can tell you.”

That I can tell you—  That’s a, you know, a TRump euphemism for ‘I just lied.'”

The President's Cup

Stephen “Steve” A. Heckler at The President’s Cup ceremony.



Well, I can tell you, that A. Heckler was carefully but politely escorted by the Secret Service out of the golf club, where they chatted with him amiably a few moments, shook his hand, and sent him on his way.  LOLz

 

GolfWeek, who was also covering the event, had some interesting comments from their uh, let’s call it a, “pro-golf” perspective:

“Unlike several NFL players before games on Sunday, none of the United States President’s Cup players took a knee during the closing ceremony.  That was no surprise because, on Tuesday, Stricker* said, ‘We’ve had a discussion already, and none of my players want to do that.’  There was also no sign of any anti-Trump sentiment among the fans.”

 

Teh President's Cup

USA! USA! Just a few of what the president of the United States candidly refers to as “Everyday Americans.”  No one we spoke with would speak with us, let alone about this frivolity that took place with the cup TRump dedicated to “…all the people of Texas, Florida, and, what’s that third one? —What?  Right— Porta Ricah [sic]”

 

* Some golfer named “Stricker.”

¹ Original AP Photo/Gerald Herbert