Before You Enter the World of Motorcycles

2 the Harley 72 in green

Are you born to be wild? Does the winding, twisting asphalt call your name? Are you anxious to get to your mid-life crisis so you can finally have an excuse to buy that motorcycle you’ve always wanted? I’ve got good news for you. There is no need to wait for a crisis, mid-life or otherwise, before you get your hands on the ride of your dreams. You can buy one right now and feel good about it. Every time you choose to ride a motorcycle instead of an SUV, you conserve resources and reduce traffic congestion. Not to mention, they are a heck of a lot of fun to ride.

Ever notice how we drive cars, but ride motorcycles?

Before you head off to your nearest crotch-rocket dealer, there are a few things you need to know. First you have to make sure you get properly licensed to ride. All states have their own requirements for motorcycle licensing. You might want to start you journey by checking out DMV.org. There, you will find the specific licensing information for the state where you live. There are often two levels of licensing that distinguish between powered bicycles and full on motorcycles. Scooters are a grey area that could go either way. Check your state ordinances for clarification.

You also need to know your risks. SeriousAccidents.com states that there are over 4,000 fatal, motorcycle related, accidents annually. If you are not concerned about risk, or if “risk” is your middle name, then you are a fool, and your should change you name. Those young enough to treat life so cavalierly are the ones most likely to have an accident. See for yourself:

http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsMotorcycleSafety/

• The highest death and injury rates were among 20-24 year-olds, followed by 25-29 year-olds.
• More than half of all nonfatal injuries treated in EDs were to the leg/foot (30%) or head/neck (22%).
• Motorcyclist death rates increased 55% from 2001 to 2008 (1.12 per 100,000 persons in 2001 to 1.74 per 100,000 persons in 2008).
• The number of nonfatal motorcyclist injuries that were treated in EDs also increased, from nearly 120,000 injuries in 2001 to about 175,000 in 2008.

You might even find that some states are home to more motorcycle accidents than others. A little research into the matter might just give you a better idea of what your in for in your particular area. Being aware of the pitfalls up ahead goes a long ways towards helping you to avoid them.

With the risks in mind, naturally, you are going to want some insurance with that helmet. In fact, whether you want it or not, you are going to have to have it before you hit the ground running. You will need to check with your insurance company to see if they provide motorcycle insurance. They will also be aware of the current regulations regarding what type of insurance you need. If the added cost of motorcycle insurance is a problem for you, perhaps you should consider taking up bicycling.

Part of the insurance conversation should be about finding a good accident attorney. In the event of a accident, you don’t want to have to start frantically paging through the phone book for the first attorney who took out a full-page ad. Even if the accident is not your fault, there is something of a bias against motorcyclists in American society. The assumption is that the cyclist was doing something wrong. If the cyclist wasn’t already a convention-defying rebel, he would have been driving an SUV like the person who hit him. There are many attorneys who specialize in motorcycle related issues. Make sure you get to know one before you happen to need one.

Finally, one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents can be avoided altogether just by making yourself more visible. Car drivers hit motorcycle drivers most often because they just didn’t see them. Consider bright, perhaps even garish colors when choosing your ride and accessories. Use hand gestures when you can. Even if the driver does not know the gesture, it might be enough to catch his eye. Just making yourself visible is often enough to ensure you safely get from point A to point B.

But who are we kidding. Riding is not about getting from point A to point B. That’s what the SUV is for. Riding is its own reward. Just make sure the journey is always rewarding. And for the times when it is not, make sure you are properly prepared.

  

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Movie Review: “Noah”

Starring
Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Anthony Hopkins
Director
Darren Aronofsky

Just as the Bible speaks in many ways to many people, so does Darren Aronofsky’s epic “Noah,” a story about a man, his giant ark and the lengths a family will go to when facing the world’s first apocalypse.

Tackling a story of pre-apocalyptic earth in the before and after stages is nothing new, but Aronofsky knew that he had to pull out all the stops in dealing with the planet’s first biblical disaster. Luckily, he had Russell Crowe to work with. After a brief but eye-catching history lesson (via fast motion) from the time of creation through the questionable dietary choices in the Garden of Eden, to the slaying of Abel by Cain, we arrive at the tenth generation of man, where a young Noah (Dakota Goyo) witnesses his father being killed just as he is about to bestow his birthright, a glowing snakeskin sleeve, upon him.

Years later, an adult Noah (Crowe) is living a happy but isolated life with his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) and three sons, Ham (Logan Lerman), Shem (Douglas Booth) and Japheth (Leo Carroll). But if life (and Twitter 3:16) has taught us anything, it’s that you can avoid people, but not their mistakes. Noah receives a vision, one of great death by flooding. The Creator (The “G-word” is never said in the film) has decided that his experiment with mankind has gone completely off the rails, as everyone is a poster child for the worse sins imaginable against the planet and themselves.

Unfortunately, visions aren’t the same as having a phone call, Skype or even text messages, so Noah seeks out clarification from his granddad Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins). Thanks to his guidance, and getting slipped a mickey, Noah gets a clearer vision: the planet is about to be destroyed by a flood. He is to construct a giant ark with a sample of the planet’s animals and witness the first-ever heavenly version of a reboot. Aiding him in his quest is Ila (Emma Watson), an injured orphan girl who becomes his adopted daughter and love interest of Shem. He’s also greatly assisted by fallen angels turned giant stone creatures called the Watchers, who also sinned against the Creator and seek redemption.

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Movie Review: “Sabotage”

Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos, Terrence Howard, Olivia Williams, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Harold Perrineau
Director
David Ayer

Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t wasted any time since announcing his return from retirement, cranking out movies with the prolificacy of someone who knows that the clock is ticking on his Hollywood career. But despite recent appearances in “The Expendables 2,” “The Last Stand” and “Escape Plan,” Schwarzenegger has yet to make a film that measures up to some of his more iconic roles. The actor’s latest project, “Sabotage,” certainly had the promise to be that movie. Directed by David Ayer, who’s pretty much become Hollywood’s go-to guy for gritty cop films, this modern-day twist on Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians” shares the same basic premise used for one of Schwarzenegger’s biggest hits, “Predator.” It also boasts one hell of an ensemble cast for a seemingly generic action thriller, which is why it’s so disappointing that that’s exactly what “Sabotage” turned out to be.

Schwarzenegger stars as John “Breacher” Wharton, the head of an elite DEA task force that’s taken down some of the biggest drug lords in the world. His team is comprised of some colorful characters – each with their own silly codename like Monster (Sam Worthington), Grinder (Joe Manganiello) and Sugar (Terrence Howard) – but they’re the best at what they do, oozing with so much confidence that they manage to steal $10 million during their latest raid on a Mexican cartel safe house. When they go back to retrieve the hidden money, however, they discover that it’s missing, replaced by a single, ominous bullet. Before long, members of Breacher’s team start to get picked off one by one, with homicide detective Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) assigned to track down those responsible. But while the brutal murders appear to be the work of the cartel, the surviving agents begin to suspect that someone from within their own ranks is hunting them.

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Blu Tuesday: American Hustle, Frozen and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.

“American Hustle”

WHAT: When con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are caught selling fake loans by an ambitious FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), they’re wrangled into working with him on an undercover sting targeting dirty politicians. But despite their deep mistrust in each another, the one thing that threatens to bring the whole thing crashing down is Irving’s wildly unpredictable wife (Jennifer Lawrence).

WHY: David O. Russell has always been a quality filmmaker, but he’s quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with thanks to movies like “The Fighter,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and this farcical con-artist caper. Loosely based on the ABSCAM scandal of the late ‘70s, “American Hustle” is immensely entertaining and features some of the best acting of the year. Forty pounds heavier and rocking the most elaborate comb-over you’ve ever seen, Christian Bale delivers a wonderfully nuanced performance as the straight man of the bunch. The other cast members aren’t quite as committed physically, but they’re just as good, including Amy Adams’ sexy and cunning partner in crime, Bradley Cooper’s short-tempered federal agent, and scene stealer Jennifer Lawrence, who’s an absolute riot as Bale’s unpredictable wife. The whole movie is also a lot funnier than you’d expect due to Russell and Eric Singer’s darkly comic script, and though some have argued that it’s too long, the characters are so richly developed and crackling with personality that I would have gladly spent another hour in their messed-up world.

EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes a making-of featurette and some deleted and extended scenes, but sadly, that’s the extent of the bonus material.

FINAL VERDICT: BUY

“Frozen”

WHAT: When her sister Elsa’s icy powers inadvertently ensnare the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter, Anna (Kristen Bell) teams up with a rugged mountain man (Jonathan Groff) and a talking snowman (Josh Gad) to retrieve Elsa (Idina Menzel) from her self-imposed isolation and prove that she’s not the evil witch the townspeople believe her to be.

WHY: In a year of underwhelming animated films, it’s hardly fair to place Disney’s “Frozen” so high on a pedestal, even if it is one of the best things that the Mouse House has produced in almost 20 years. But while “Frozen” is undoubtedly a good movie, it’s not quite as great as the recent love-fest would suggest. It’s also not nearly as progressive, with the lead heroine falling in love with one male character mere minutes after meeting him, and relying on the help of another shortly after. Then there’s the issue of those silly troll rock thingies that threaten to derail the film in the third act, not to mention the fact that it features of the lamest and least threatening villains in memory. With that said, “Frozen” isn’t without its charms. It has a few catchy tunes (particularly the Oscar-winning “Let It Go”), some excellent laughs and a solid voice cast led by Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and the scene-stealing Josh Gad. It’s the kind of movie that has likely empowered young girls around the world, all while selling billions of dollars in merchandise. That’s what you call a win-win.

EXTRAS: There’s a short featurette about the 75-year journey to bring Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” to the big screen, a music video parodying the lack of an actual making-of featurette, some deleted scenes and the short “Get a Horse!”

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

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Ultimate Pick Up Moment Bracket Challenge

ULTIMATE PICKUP_LOGO_Final

We’re partnering up with Enterprise Rent-A-Car regarding the Ultimate Pick Up Moment Bracket Challenge just released today in connection with the NCAA Tournament starting this week with Kenny Smith as the official spokesperson. Enterprise is an offical partner of the NCAA and naturally is very familair with the notion of the “pick up” since they do that all the time.

Everyone loves filling out brackets, and this is a unique one that focuses on some of the best “Pick Up Moments” in NCAA Tourmanent history. In the frenzied pace of these basketball games, sometimes a player will have a “pick up moment” where he will left his team up and propell them to victory. Fans will be able to visit the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Facebook page and vote on a bracket of the best NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Pick Up Moments.

Below are four of those great Pick Up Moments along with a clip of the first one. Check them out and then use the Facebook app to place your votes for the Ultimate Pickup Moment. Just like the basketball tournament, videos will be paired together and only one of them will advance to the next round based on the voting of followers. In addition to voting, you can enter to win some great prizes, including a free trip for two and tickets to the 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis!

We’ll be following the NCAA Tournament and the Ultimate Pick Up Moment Bracket Challenge on our Twitter account @bullzeyedotcom so join us there along with the other bloggers covering the bracket, including Mike Johnson of Next Impulse Sports, Allen Moll of The Hoop Doctors and Cory Panati of Guys Gab. We’ll be having a Twitter chat on Wednesday, 3/19, at 1pm ET, so visit the app to fill out your bracket and then join us Wednesday on Twitter.

The Shot

Is there a more famous play in the history of the NCAA Tournament? Duke is down one with 2.1 seconds left in overtime against Kentucky and in need of a miracle to go to the 1992 Final Four, but a court-length inbound pass from Grant Hill finds Christian Laettner with his back to the basket at the top of the key, who then hits the incredible, turn-around, game-winning jump shot for Duke.

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