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Archive | 10:00 pm

American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior: Gears of War

19 Sep

September 18, 2011

Last week PJD was hired to create a Gears of War 3 bike. The tease for this week is that Paulie is looking for help and wants Rick Petko to leave OCC and work for him. Over at OCC, Senior has been meaner than usual and Rick has been talking about how unhappy he’s becoming and hinted he may leave.

This week, brought in some students from Wyotech to work for free- I mean learn from hands-on experience in the shop and I can’t wait for Senior to snap one of them in half. “Everyone here is so laid back,” one of them said. Is he in for a rude awakening.

BUT WHO CARES? THE CADILLAC RESULTS ARE IN!

Vinnie: “We smoked it.”

Mikey and his legally blind assistant brought in snacks and had a mini-celebration and the PJD crew was happy but if it was me, there’d be some serious trash talking.We’ve known the results for weeks but because they film in advance it took these months to catch up. Frankly, after the hype Discovery originally gave it, I expected the build-off results to rate more excitement than a couple of minutes and a bottle of soda. But don’t hold your breath for Senior’s reaction, they don’t show it.

I can tell you all about the Gears of War bike, but since it was already unveiled at the San Diego Comic Con, here it is:

The comments on this blog (especially after the Cadillac bikes) sometimes get split between people who know motorcycles and watch for the bikes and those who don’t really know bikes but watch for the characters and drama. All I have to say is that this build had nothing to do with building a bike but everything about getting noticed by video gamers, comic geeks, and pop culture. As a bike it may run like crap and handle like a rock, but this bike is just about looking cool, like it rode straight out of Gears of War. And those pictures do not do it justice because Nub did an amazing amount of detail work on the paint and it isn’t lit up. And as it rides the guns rotate like they are firing.

In the middle of everything we got a montage of Mikey and he discussed via voice-over his thoughts on not having his father in his life. What it boiled down to is that he was sad his father doesn’t have his family, but he is satisfied with the peace and quiet in his life. My opinion is that he is entitled to his feelings but maybe he should have thought of it before making his father go to a therapist and live up to dozens of conditions before never meeting with him, which I am sure he never really intended to do anyway. He really jerked his father around. Now he is saying that he isn’t ready to meet his father and that Senior has “to prove himself” over a long period of time. Love Senior or hate him, Mikey needs to realize that his father is who he is and that he probably won’t change. He has to stop waiting for his father to “prove himself” and work on a way within himself. Mikey needs to learn how to deal with Senior differently. Should Senior change too? I think so, but Mikey is the one who is having trouble grasping the reality of the situation, and he needs to separate the problems between Senior and Paulie from the problems with Senior and Mikey. Honestly, the answer has to be within Mikey. Over the years, at least with the cameras running, Senior had a much better relationship with Mikey than his other sons. And of all his kids, Senior seems to be most willing to meet with Mikey. Just get it done, guys.

Why did I spend so much time on that? Because next week Senior talks about reaching out to Mikey and says Paulie is keeping Mikey away from him. Is there new drama about to unfold?

We have not seen much of Mikey’s personal life or his art lately. (And I don’t miss the art.) Mikey and Vinnie had lunch together and Mikey admitted he has had a few slips, a couple of drinks, but overall he is doing well with his sobriety.

And speaking of losing people, Rick joked about leaving OCC, and he once actually talked about it with Senior. According to Rick, Senior said “I can’t really tell you what to do, but don’t.” I can totally hear Senior saying that.

However, it is serious to PJD. Vinnie and Paulie both want him at PJD, which is having a little trouble finding good people to work for them. But despite the way they teased the episode, it is clear that Rick is going nowhere and has no plans to do so. (Seriously, did we expect otherwise? I can’t imagine that Paulie could match what Senior must be paying him.)

Senior and the bank came to an agreement, and to listen to him it was the bank that blinked, not him. Sorry, I don’t believe it, OCC had much more to lose than the bank. But wither way, OCC is staying put. Which is too bad because as someone commented here, it would have been great if PJD bought the building.

The Wyotech bike was all red, with chrome accents, and built (thought they didn’t fabricate the parts) by the students. And yes, Senior took a few shots at Paulie talking about how much more they knew than he did. I liked it. It rode very low to the ground despite having a very high gas tank. Like many of the OCC bikes it didn’t look too comfortable to ride but it did look good. And again, Senior complimented Rick. Maybe he really thinks Rick will be leaving. (I don’t.)

The Cadillac Build-Off was high-profile and got both companies a lot of attention, but I think the Gears of War bike trumps it. It brings PJD to a new audience, but more importantly, an audience who will buy PJD t-shirts and hats, and to any company, merchandising is the real name of the game. And the crowd you find at Comic Con are ready to shell out money for anything cool. This Gears of War bike is definitely cool.

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A New York Legend

19 Sep

September 19, 2011

Today’s post is a tantalizing tale of imponderable probability and vague veracity. Settle in for The Mad Nazi and the Invisible Bridge of Mid-Town Manhattan.

During the post-war building boom the New York skyline reached for the stars. Great towers of steel and glass soared as city real estate became scarce. Land barons and moguls found themselves boxed in shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors in the crowded city, unable to expand their holdings. But even if they could not expand horizontally, they could still reach for the sky. The height of their buildings was limited only by manpower, materials, and imagination.

Imagination was never in short supply, and manpower was delivered by thousands of returning GI’s. One of the side-benefits of the war effort was that new materials and technology developed for the military was becoming available for civilian use. And some should never have fallen into civilian hands.

In the last days of World War II, a fiendishly brilliant but utterly mad Nazi scientist toiled in Hitler’s laboratories to create a method of making German warplanes undetectable to Allied eyes. He planned to build a new generation of war machines out of an invisible metal he was on the verge of creating. And if planes could be made invisible, so then could tanks, battleships, and ultimately even soldiers.

It was in the final stages of testing when an allied air strike destroyed the laboratory, burying the last hopes of Hitler just scant days before the planes were to go into production, and the deranged scientist himself died in the blast.

Not long after, American troops arrived and occupied the area. In a pouring rain, a lone soldier took refuge in the ruins of an old building. The soldier, a private returning from a patrol, took as much shelter as the half-collapsed building could provide, moving far back into the structure. Poking through overturned cabinets and kicking piles of ashes and half-burnt papers, his eye caught a single page, nearly uncharred, and covered with what seemed to be diagrams and blueprints for a strange new airplane. Although he couldn’t read German, he judged by the angry red words stamped across the top that he had found something important. He carefully folded it and stored it in his pack, and when the weather allowed he returned to camp, where the strange document passed from private to lieutenant to colonel, up the chain of command to general, and ultimately to a small and secret government research lab in Washington DC.

The formula the scientists interpreted was beyond even the intellect of the top US research scientists. Try as they might, none of them could create the “invisible metal” of the brilliant but insane Nazi. Out of desperation, the top army generals turned to the one man capable of synthesizing the complex chemical compound. He was a young genius, a whiz kid of science, whose New York chemical company was the centerpiece of scientific advancement. He had led his company in creating many innovations for the government during the war, and his rapidly growing Manhattan offices now occupied most of the floors of two gleaming skyscrapers that stood directly across from each other on either side of a busy mid-town avenue.

The brilliant chemist was not only able to follow the mad Nazi’s work, he continued it, creating dozens of invisible metal prototypes, many of which graced the offices of powerful congressmen and senators. And not only was they invisible, but any metal infused with the compound became extremely strong and flexible.

The first practical demonstration of the invisible wonder metal was to be a bridge connecting the two office towers, spanning the busy metropolitan street below. No longer would the scientist have to dodge crowds and taxis while going from one department to another, the invisible walkway would make his company whole, allowing him to stride on the sunlight 20 stories above the traffic.

Being a military project, the bridge was built in secret, at night, and it took far shorter than expected because the metal was so easy to work with. In a matter of mere days the span was completed and top ranking officials flew in to New York to witness the unveiling.

All was ready, final tests had been completed, and just hours before the bridge was to open, a junior laboratory assistant rushed into the company’s head office and, with a force that dented the desktop, smacked the final test results down on the head scientist’s desk. A terrible discovery had been made.

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight made the metal react with oxygen, turning it weak and brittle, though still maintaining invisibility,

It was a devastating blow. The government cancelled their contracts, and all the money that was poured into the invisible metal project was never recouped. The company was ruined, and no one ever crossed the invisible bridge in the sky. It was classified a military secret and all documents pertaining to it were confiscated.

The chemical company sold one skyscraper, then the other, and though it limped along for a few more years they eventually went bankrupt and the amazing wonder kid of the scientific world killed himself by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge.

The buildings went through a succession of owners and tenant after tenant took over the chemical offices. None of them knew that just below a certain window lay an invisible walkway, and the bridge, whose existence was known only to a very few to begin with, was forgotten and lost to memory.

The only records of it can be found in certain old and dusty documents filed in the bowels of the National Archives, and for six decades the bridge has been high in the sky, like an invisible Sword of Damocles, hanging above the heads of the unknowing throngs below.

The few in government who have been around long enough to remember the bridge refuse to discuss it. If pushed, they will tell you it is only a myth. After all, would you tell the people of Manhattan that a brittle and nearly collapsing invisible bridge twenty stories in the air might come crashing down at any time as they crossed a certain busy street in mid-town Manhattan?

This New York Legend comes to you courtesy of a New York radio legend, overnight icon and late-night radio pioneer, Long John Nebel, with flourishes and embellishment by yours truly.

Cue mysterious laughter.

An audio version of this legend first appeared just last week in the amazing FlashPulp website. Check them out for awesomeness and goodies!

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