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US-FlagGrilling, pool parties and retail discounts.  I’m talking about Memorial Day!

This coming Monday is a day to remember and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.

So as you cue-up your music playlist for a ride on this holiday and/or prep the BBQ’s to spend time with family and friends, it’s important that we take a moment to pause and remember our fallen heroes.

If you’re looking for Oregon Memorial Day events to participate in then visit HERE.

Photo taken by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Coal-LumpIn a staggering break-through today Harley-Davidson announced a new fuel source for all future Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Many of us suspected it would involve some new battery hybrid propulsion system/model, but the secret power source has now been revealed to be none other than coal.  

The motor company is so fond of coal and that “shop for BADNESS sake” marketing slogan that they will provide one lump FREE to all of its current owners this year during the holiday season in the hope that existing owners will upgrade to future Harley-Davidson models powered by the miracle substance.

 Christmas-TreeAt the very least owners can get together at their next club or rally meeting and combine their lumps of coal from Harley-Davidson to create a large BBQ pit.

One HOG member was so eager to get the lump, they reportedly dropped it,  breaking their Harley Coal Lump (or HCL using the Harley-Davidson fondness for acronyms) into 6 smaller lumps and is now going to use them as desk weights.

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season I wanted to take a moment and say Merry Christmas to all the blog readers.  Hopefully you’ll get more than a lump of coal this holiday season and may the New Year bring you many more wind in the face road trips. 

Photos courtesy of the web.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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The brass marker on the deck of the USS Missouri marking the spot of the signing of the surrender of Japan that ended WWII

The brass marker on the deck of the USS Missouri marking the spot of the signing of the surrender of Japan that ended WWII

Monday is Memorial Day, a day we remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of rememberance for those who have died in our nation’s service. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on Union and Confederate Soldiers graves in Arlington National Cemetery. Ever since, Americans have set aside a day in May to observe Memorial Day and pay tribute and honor those who died in defense of our nation.

For many of us it’s a holiday and in between the BBQ’s and spending time with family and friends, it’s important that we take a moment to pause and remember our fallen heroes.

Photo taken by author on the USS Missouri.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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The holidays are time for a lot of cheer and goodwill. But there is one more infamous element to the holiday season that everyone is familiar with — the office party.

The Harley-Davidson Christmas party notice surfaced on WikiLeaks, and I decided to share it with you below:

From: The Office of The President
Subject: Friday’s Christmas Party

As CEO of the company I decided we’d save some money and have a potluck Christmas party whereby the ladies (who always enjoy cooking anyway) would bring the baked goods this year.  I was going to suggest having entertainment but NO ONE wants to do anything in the way of organizing anything and it is always left up to me, your humble “Head Honcho”  to come up with something that will make the event an enjoyable one for all.

I have struggled with entertainment ideas because many workers do not want their boss to go to the office Christmas party, fearing they will spoil the fun or even spark a violent reaction.  I’m reminded of a recent survey where 2,000 adults by restaurant chain TGI Friday’s found that one in three believed having their manager around stops everyone having fun. One in five said they do not want their boss to attend the office Christmas party at all and 27% are worried they might not be able to resist telling them exactly what they think of them!  One in eight was worried things could turn physical, while 1% revealed they had quit their job at the office party.  But I’ve digressed.

Clearly the office Christmas party is all about cutting loose, having fun and celebrating all the hard work the staff have put in over the year, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you that after all the employee concession’s we ‘negotiated’ in the new union contract which will re-build our next-generation workforce, has me a little worried about what that 27 percent has to say!

Nonetheless, as the big BOSS I’ll move forward and give the staff what they want… which is a mix of a lively atmosphere, silly games, great food and indulgent cocktails, and of course, look on the bright side of the boss being there – I’ll pick up the tab!  In addition I plan to bring my new T-Pain super smooth singing microphone for the Karaoke game and Christmas caroling.

HR posted a notice on the company bulletin board (see above photo) and for those of you not in Milwaukee know that you’ll be in our holiday party thoughts.  Lastly, I ask that each of you to send me a short email on one or two trivia details about yourself because in preparation for the upcoming Christmas party – I plan to play “The Man” – Santa – and I’m making a naughty or nice list.   Ho, Ho, Ho.

Yours truly,
Keith

Note: Because parody is all the rage on the internet, I decided to have a little fun.  Clearly not an official H-D publication on WikiLeaks, but it could be!

Logo in photo courtesy of H-D.

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Sam Worthington (Jake Sully) -- Avatar

We’re always being told how moviegoers set new revenue records during the holiday.

Last weekend not only did the movie industry set the largest single weekend at the box office with three movies topping over $50M each, the blockbuster film from James Cameron, ‘Avatar’ set a new 10 day gross total of $212.7M.  Maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you, but how about the fact that the movie has more than 400,000 fans on Facebook?

And though no motorcycles were featured in the movie Harley-Davidson managed to secure a primo clothing promotion from Sam Worthington’s character (Jake Sully) who established an “outlaw” biker image in wearing a H-D logo laden t-shirt in a bar.  More than just a product placement it instantly helped create a rebellious tough guy tone with the audience.  To be candid, I’m not sure I would associate a biker bad boy image with a $35 t-shirt, but like I said it’s a movie.  More important it represents a rare opportunity for Harley-Davidson—a window if you will of opportunity—to be part of something successful and catch some PR/marketing buzz!

Sam Worthington is well known for movie parts with ties to motorcycles.  In Terminator Salvation he played a terminator with amnesia that had motorcycle killing machines based on Ducati’s Hypermotard.  Footage is featured on Ducati’s website, showing the motorcycle terminators being put through their paces during filming.

I’m a fan of James Cameron who is famous for writing and directing successful movies such as Terminator, Aliens and Titanic.  However, as people dropped $15 of their hourly income to absorb the 3D cinematography in ‘Avatar’ — I can’t help but think he’ll be remembered more for being an arrogant ass and reinforcing I’m “privileged” and above the fray.  TMZ posted a video of an alleged “fan” seeking Mr. Cameron’s autograph on an ‘Avatar‘ poster at LAX.  The man is snubbed, threatened and called an ass by the famous and privileged director.  Nice.  Way to put your fans first.

Trying to smooth over the situation musical artist John Mayer wrote a nearly 1,000-word essay on his blog standing up for Mr. Cameron’s a’tude and basically stating it’s okay to be above the fray and crap on the hoi polloi or just ignore the teeming masses… Homey don’t play that no more John.  Never having met the man who ask for Mr. Cameron’s signature, John Mayer quickly assumed he was an e-bay whore.  Now isn’t that fascinating.  Cool that you have an opinion, but talk about the pot calling the kettle black…did you ever stop to think that selling yourself out to corporations and shilling products works for more than just a musician?  Hypothetically even if the guy was going to sell it on e-bay.  So what?  Step down from your mega-million-$$ ivory towers and mix with the regular people.  How much do you think H-D paid Cameron to use that t-shirt?!

Celebrities and musicians are beholden to their audience, the public, and the consumers.  And despite the undeniable pain of the global recession we have been willing to plunk down hard earned $$ to keep you famous for another fifteen minutes!   We’ll forgive the mistake… make apologies and continue to try and get it right in the future.  If not, then we all live with brand new rules because it’s an era of immediacy and 24 hour news cycles.  You’re now in the pit with your customers and if you want to escape the groupies then you’ll have to live in a bathroom with the lights out!

Photo courtesy of Fox.

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State Police License Plates

State Police License Plates

Tomorrow marks the start of the Labor Day weekend…meaning NO labor!

Like many of you I’m thankful to have a job and will hit the roads for some relaxing “wind in the face” time over the holiday.  Be safe!

It’s no secret that law enforcement agencies are putting more officers out on the roadways.  In fact, fatal crash statistics tracked by ODOT’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) (.pdf) indicate the Labor Day holiday period is historically the second deadliest on Oregon roads.  On average since 1970, seven traffic-related deaths occur in Oregon each year during Labor Day holiday.  Eleven people died during last year’s Labor Day holiday period in 9 separate fatal traffic crashes.  Nine of the deaths were alcohol or drug involved.

Enjoy the long weekend!

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Willamette National Cemetery

Willamette National Cemetery

Whether just back from a combat zone or have been home for 60 years, Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to the United States. 

It happens on Monday, May 25th and is a U.S. federal holiday that was formerly known as Decoration Day. Enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

There is a good summary of Memorial Day events in the Oregon Dept. of Veterans Affairs website.  There are a number of Portland-centric activities planned.  In addition, Memorial Day weekend marks one of only two times per year that more than 100 wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley throw open their doors to the public for a chance to meet winemakers and owners.

Be it a BBQ, a day of wine tasting or a visit to the Blue Star Memorial… I hope you’ll take a moment to remember the U.S. men and women who died while in the military service.  If you know of other activities that don’t appear on the state site, feel free to post in the comments.

Photo taken at Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon

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shopping_lineChristmas shopping is not the easiest task and finding deals without getting injured in the crowds can be a challenge. 

Yet, I grabbed my list of Harley items, Pet Rock’s, Webkinz and headed for the mall the other day. Walking out through the garage I notice a lot of fallen leaves.  I decided to do a quick spray off of debris on the walk way, but as I turn on the water hose, I looked over at the Harley and decided it needs washing.

I search for the soap bucket and notice boxes stacked on top of the recycle container that I had brought down earlier. I decide to cut down the boxes before I wash the Harley. I head to the tool box looking for the box cutter and notice the neon clock is off an hour. I pull out the step ladder to reach the clock and notice the new furnace filters sitting on the top shelf.  Not knowing when I last changed them this now becomes a priority.

I head toward the furnace, but notice a Diet Coke I brought down earlier is getting warm, and decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.  I head toward the kitchen with the Diet Coke and a limp plant on the end-table catches my eye — it needs water.  I put the Diet Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for.  I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water that plant.

christmas_wrap1I set my glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and then I spot the TV remote. I left it on the kitchen table and realize that tonight when I go to watch TV, I’ll be looking all over for it, but I won’t remember that it’s on the table, So I better put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water that plant.

I pour some water in the plant, but some of it spills on the floor.  I set the remote back on the table, use up the last of the paper towels to wipe up the spill. I head down the hall for another roll of paper towels trying to remember what was it I was planning to do today?!

At the end of the day there are still leaves piled up on the walk way, the Harley didn’t get washed, the furnace filters need replaced,  there is a warm can of Diet Coke sitting on the counter, the plant was flooded, no gifts purchased and I can’t find my glasses.  I’m feeling really tired and started wondering if I have an attention problem?  I pause briefly thinking about a time management class providing more clarity, but first I’ll check my e-mail…

Happy shopping folks.  There’s only a couple weeks left and if you’re one of those camp out, pre-dawn, stampede frenzied shoppers remember to look both ways before crossing the store aisle!

Shopping line photo courtesy of CNN.

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sailorTo the men and women who have or continue to serve our country we honor you today. 

I’m grateful to our Veterans who serve and have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom. I posted a previous article HERE on Veterans Day events.

There are a number of HOG and ABATE members as well as Harley Riders organizing in parades throughout the northwest today in a show of support for Veteran’s Day.

 

Photo of Bryan Hunter (Gilmer, TX) taken (with permission) at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Honolulu, HI.

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hd_ornamentsJust days before Christmas and in a bit of a panic for some last minute gift ideas?  

Well just in time here are a couple of ideas.  For the more traditional there are tree decorating ornaments on the Harley Davidson site. 

Or for the Harley children there is this cool Kid Craft Softail rocker.  It was inspired by the Softail Deuce and has a leatherette seat, plus a sculpted and chromed front fork to support the handlebar.

kidcraftTo keep kids safe, the bike is anchored securely on solid wood anti-tip rockers to prevent accidental tipping.

But for the selective few and to help bring happiness to those cold, wet and dreary days of winter when the bike is relegated to the garage, yet you need to start and charge the battery…there is the perfect gift that will complete your savvy maintenance skills and “satisfy” your biker babe who wants it all. 

It’s difficult to explain, but here’s a video of the “Vibe Rider”. It brings new meaning to the statement; “Could we just take the long way round”?  

Enjoy watching although it’s unlikely you’ll enjoy it as much as these ladies enjoyed the Vibe Rider contest! 

Caution – If trying this at home, loud pipes will wake the neighbors and it’s strongly suggested to open the garage door every 5-10 min’s to avoid exhaust fume build up.

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