March 30, 2011

Stewart jumps the gate, disappoints Captain Sisko

Sisko Pictures, Images and Photos
Facepalm image of Captain Sisko by Elijaya

I guess James was going for the April Fools holeshot. Now he's all caught up in "incident gate". Is it true bad press is still good press?  I would guess that those that bring you "Bubba's World" might agree with the conceit.

March 18, 2011

Benjamin Franklin Willis 1924 - 2011

My father was not a motorcyclist. The allure of two-wheeled freedom that has so completely captured me and millions of other earthlings somehow eluded him. As far as I know, my father rode a motorcycle only once in the entire 86 years of his life, and that was for a brief, perhaps embarassing moment on the small, 72cc Honda "minicycle" he gave me in 1975. No, my father was not a motorcyclist, but he deserves ample credit for helping me to become one.

As far as I remember, my father was not even a bicyclist, though he bought me bicycles and helped me proceed from the training wheel stage to two-wheeled flight.

This is not to say my father was not athletic or sporting. Even working a busy schedule as a professional mechanical engineer managing quality assurance programs for the US Army, he made time to play competitive tennis as a member of one of the larger tennis clubs in Washington, D.C. Interestingly, it was partially his devotion to tennis that enabled my affinity for two-wheeled travel.

My father played tennis every Sunday after church services, usually at the Rock Creek park facility. Good fortune placed a bicycle rental shack at the same location, and my father would pick up my cousin (and best friend) Carl and the two of us would ride for hours while he battled it out with other weekend warriors on the courts.

You fathers out there will understand the importance of having something for your offspring to do so you can get something done.

Carl and I were given complete freedom, as long as we remembered to "be smart and be careful" or words to that effect, and after we mastered the basics of piloting banana-seat equipped coaster brake bikes, we began to explore some of the nearby bike paths in the park.

For the record, we also spent plenty of time watching my father and his friends playing tennis, and Carl and I both went on to play as well, with Carl becoming a winning player in a recreation center league.

But for me, those summer afternoons in Rock Creek park began a long love affair with bicycling that naturally grew to include motorcycling and motocross. Helped along, of course, by timely purchases of bicycles and motorcycles by my non-motorcyclist father. In all, he bought for me the 5-speed "dragster", the 10-speed "Free Spirit", the 1975 Honda XR75, the 1974 Honda Elsinore 125 and he co-signed my first-ever loan for me to buy a 1979 Honda CR250 Elsinore, not to mention paying for all the gear and stuff I needed to race.

It is important to note here that both of my parents were involved with these decisions, and while they paid the bills, it was not because they loved the sport.  They just loved me enough to want to give me what I wanted, even though they were not excited about my racing.

In looking at it from that standpoint, my father WAS a motorcyclist of a sort. He didn't ride, but he supported the industry and helped create another eager fan of the sport, another motorcyclist, by buying motorcycles for me. 

Thank you, Dad. I love you. Say hi to the family for me!