Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MMP Max Biaggi Teleconference Transcript: On Electronics, The Aprilia RSV4, And MotoGP vs WSBK

On Tuesday, Miller Motorsports Park organized its final teleconference of the year with the stars of the World Superbike championship. This time, it was the turn of Max Biaggi to talk, and he fielded questions from the press on a range of subjects, from the role of electronics in World Superbikes, on the development of the Aprilia RSV4, on his thoughts on retiring, and on the prospect of a return to MotoGP. Here's what Biaggi had to say:

Moderator: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. My name is John Gardner, and I am the Media Manager for Miller Motorsports Park. This will be our final teleconference of the year with riders from the Superbike World Championship. Today, we're happy to have the 2010 Superbike World Champion, Max Biaggi, with us. Max, as you know, won 10 races this year, riding the No. 3 Aprilia RSV4 1000F for Aprilia Alitalia Racing. He swept the weekends here at Miller Motorsports Park as well as at Misano, Monza and Portimao. He also had single victories at his favorite track, Brno, as well as at Magny-Cours.

So Max, welcome, again.

Max Biaggi: Yeah, well, hi. Thank you. Thank you. How are you?

Moderator: Good. And congratulations on your championship.

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A King's legacy spruces up an office wall


Repaved Daytona Will Have Goodyear Tire Test Dec. 15-16

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Goodyear Tire Company will conduct a tire test on the freshly repaved 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway on Dec. 15-16, the speedway announced Saturday.

The NASCAR drivers who will participate in the test will be announced at a later date, the speedway said.

"This test is going to be important for Goodyear as they construct a tire for Speedweeks 2011 and the 53rd annual Daytona 500," said speedway President Joie Chitwood III.

The Goodyear tire test will open to the public with free access to the Oldfield Grandstands through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.


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FTD Blue Hawaii Vinyl In Stock This Week


Tonight on Pit Pass Radio: Josh Herrin, Austin Dehaven, Ricky Parker, & More

Advance, North Carolina (November 16, 2010) - Top talent and industry insiders from the motorcycle world give their uncut opinions and race stories.

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Elvis' High School Memorabilia

A few months ago, I wrote an article for Elvis International magazine titled ?Elvis? High School Yearbook.?  A copy of this highly desired collectible was sold at an Elvis auction this summer, and the auction website showed pictures of every Elvis reference, picture, and signature in the yearbook.


Elvis? 1953 High School Yearbook                    Blow Up from Biology Class Photo

In the time since my article went to print, two more copies of The Herald 1953 Humes High School yearbook have come up for bid at another auction.  In addition, one is paired with a copy of The Herald 1957.  It seems the yearbook staff that year wanted to honor the school?s incredibly famous graduate, and included a page with a photo of Elvis and a printed signature and inscription he had written to the school.


The inscription on the photo says, ?My Best to the Students and Staff of Humes High ? your own, Elvis Presley?  I hope the winning bidder did not think Elvis actually wrote his message on the yearbook copy being sold and based his bid on that.

According to Seth Poppel, self-proclaimed world's most renowned collector, buyer, and seller of high school yearbooks at Seth Poppel's Yearbook Library, ?I have purchased over 20 different Elvis Presley high school yearbooks, and examined, page-by-page at least 10 to 15 others. Many of them are signed because the students were given time, after getting their yearbooks, to pass them around in an assembly line fashion, up one row and down another, in homerooms and other classrooms.?

Elvis participated in this mass signing process, but he did not use a great deal of originality on his messages.  Here is what he signed on the three yearbooks to most recently surface.


On Dorothy June Forshee?s book:  ?Best of everything to a very sweet cute girl.?


On Bobby Perry?s book:  ?Best of luck to a swell guy.?


On Billie Ann Banks? book:  ?Best wishes to a sweet girl.?

You will note that the last one has two signatures: Elvis and Elvis Presley.  This is because Billie Ann Banks was quite a popular member of the Class of '53.  She was part of a group of Elvis' classmates that were invited to join Elvis for private movie viewings over the years at The Malco Theater in the Whitehaven area of Memphis.   Elvis often rented out the theater for the private enjoyment of a select number of his friends, including some of his former high school classmates.  Many of those same insiders spent time at Graceland.  Billie Ann Banks smartly took her old yearbook along to two of these "reunions" and got Elvis to give her bonus autographs. 

Inside front cover of Billie Ann Banks? yearbook with signature and message from Elvis


There have been a number of other memorabilia items from Elvis? high school years that appeared in auctions the past two years

This is the program for the Humes High School Commencement Exercises for the Class of 1953.



Here?s an interesting Elvis autograph.  It is on a library card for a book he checked out in eighth grade.



The library book is about Andrew Jackson, indicating Elvis had an interest in history from an early age.  Further proof of this is the information on Elvis? yearbook page which says history was one of his majors and he was a member of the History Club.


The Humes High Student Directory shown above may be the most telling piece in this collection of Elvis high school memorabilia.  It was printed during the 1950-51 school year when Elvis was in the tenth grade. 

You will note two things.  First, Elvis? name is misspelled Elvin.  That certainly must have been embarrassing to him.  But, even more significant, there is no home phone number listed for him.  Elvis? parents must have still been too poor at that time to have a telephone.  It is common knowledge that Elvis rose from very humble beginnings, but if we ever needed another reminder, this is it.

�  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.


Moto GP Champ Jorge Lorenzo Opens Motorcycle Live

autoevolution Reigning MotoGP World Champion, Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, kicked off the Carole Nash Motorcycle Live the past weekend, joining a number of other motorcycle racers and motorcycling celebrities to fulfill a busy schedule during the day, meeting fans and signing autographs.

The Spaniard also took the opportunity to present the limited edition replica of his X-Lite X-802 jeweled helmet. Dubbed

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NASCAR Championship Scenarios as Finish Line Nears for 2010

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Denny Hamlin
certainly had plenty of frustration boiling over after late-race strategy failed to work in his favor. So, he took a water bottle and threw it Sunday in Phoenix.

The temperament, however, may be unjustified: Hamlin heads into Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the proverbial driver's seat to win the 2010 crown.

Sure, the Virginia driver is sporting just a 15-point lead and could lose it by finishing second to Jimmie Johnson at Homestead.

But if that happens, Hamlin will be just the third driver in NASCAR's modern points system era to lose the championship in the season's final race. The first was 1979 when Richard Petty beat Darrell Waltrip and the second in 1992 when Alan Kulwicki topped Davey Allison.

Hamlin, however, clinches his fate by simply leading the most laps and finishing second or better. If Hamlin pulls that feat while Jimmie Johnson wins, the two will finish tied in the point standings.


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Elvis: The Early Years



This is the front cover of the latest book of Elvis photographs by Alfred Wertheimer.  His iconic 1956 photos of Elvis have appeared in several other books, DVDs, calendars, and more products than you can count.  I had the good fortune to be selected by Al Wertheimer to write the forward for Elvis: The Early Years.  He was pleased with an article I wrote about him that appeared four years ago in Elvis International magazine, so he recommended me to the book publisher.

That earlier article became the outline for the forward, but Wertheimer wanted much new information added.  We agreed on a title for the forward that incorporated a line he had written years earlier.  When describing how Col. Parker severely restricted media access to Elvis in late 1956, Wertheimer said, ?I believed an opaque curtain had been lowered around Elvis.?


So, here is the forward I wrote for Alfred Wertheimer?s new book, Elvis: The Early Years.  It tells an interesting story about both Alfred Wertheimer and young Elvis Presley.  I hope you like it.

Al Wertheimer in his office, surrounded by his photos of Elvis



Elvis Presley ? Before the Opaque Curtain Fell

by Phil Arnold

Alfred Wertheimer is sometimes called the godfather of rock & roll photography, and he well deserves the title.  As a struggling twenty-six year old free-lance photojournalist in New York City, Wertheimer?s good fortune gained him access to Elvis Presley during that first, heady flush of fame in 1956.  The resulting photos captured the everyday Elvis, relaxed and off-guard during down times.  However, opportunities like this ceased to exist shortly thereafter, as Elvis? manager, Col. Tom Parker, imposed strict limits on media access to him.  Wertheimer characterized this situation with an apt analogy:  ?I believed an opaque curtain had been lowered around Elvis.?

As a result, Alfred Wertheimer?s classic photos are the most esteemed collection of pictures of Elvis Presley ever taken. 
RCA Victor Records bought Elvis? contract from Sam Phillips for $40,000 in December 1955.  Their new artist was hot in the mid-south and southwest, but unknown in the rest of the country.  So, it was important for them to get Elvis booked on national TV.  On January 28, 1956, Elvis made his first of six appearances on the CBS program Stage Show, which starred Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.  About halfway through this engagement, RCA realized they had nothing in their photo file on Elvis.  They needed to get a few publicity shots. 
In early 1956, Alfred Wertheimer shared a studio with six other photographers.  One of them, Paul Schulzer, introduced him to Ann Fulchino in the Public Relations department of RCA Victor Records.  She put Wertheimer on a list of free-lance photographers she would call as various assignments came up.  When a photographer finished a job, he would move to the bottom of the list.  Al Wertheimer happened to be on the top of that list when she needed the Elvis pictures, so he got the call.  She asked if he was free on March 17 to take some shots at the Dorsey Brothers show.  Wertheimer was a fan of big band music, so he jumped at the chance.
Then she told him he would actually be photographing Elvis Presley.  After a pregnant pause, Wertheimer said, ?Elvis who??  He had never heard of Elvis Presley. He also had no clue how drastically this project would change his life.
It was just a one-day assignment at the rehearsal and telecast of Elvis? fifth Dorsey Brothers Stage Show in New York.  RCA wanted photos for release to newspapers:  head shots; Elvis at the microphone; Elvis with fans; or, best of all, Elvis with celebrities.  Al Wertheimer took the required photographs, but he didn?t stop there. 
By the time he parted company with Elvis that night, Wertheimer had snapped over 400 photos of Elvis, nearly all of which caught casual off-stage moments.  Wertheimer was able to shoot before, during and after the Dorsey show rehearsal, as well as back stage before the live telecast.  But, in between the rehearsal and the national telecast, Elvis had hours of free time, and Wertheimer tagged along for every bit of it.  They walked back to the Warwick Hotel together.  Along the way, there was a stop at the Supreme Men?s Shop where Elvis considered several shirts but purchased none. 


Elvis looking at shirts at the Supreme Men?s Shop in New York City


Then, it was up to Elvis? suite.  At that point, Elvis had known Wertheimer for only five hours, but he obviously felt comfortable around the young photographer.  Elvis stretched out on the couch and looked through 200 fan letters he dumped out of a large manila envelope.  Wertheimer took more shots, then settled into a nearby chair and fell asleep. 
Sometime later, Wertheimer woke up to the buzzing of an electric razor.  Elvis had showered and was getting ready for the TV show.  Wertheimer asked if he could step inside the bathroom and snap more pictures (Elvis had pants on), and that was fine with Elvis. Soon, Wertheimer got to observe from the closest perspective the nuances of Elvis doing his hair-combing ritual.

Elvis at the Warwick Hotel, NYC, March 17, 1956


Wertheimer turned in to RCA Victor the dozen shots he felt were best suited to their needs. They licensed the rights to use them for promotional purposes like press kits, or to put them on the back covers of future albums.  RCA also got what are called ??Contact Sheets.?  Each one contained the images from a roll of his film, and they provided an inventory of other available photos.  However, all the negatives belonged to Al Wertheimer.  He didn?t know how much good these pictures would do him, but he had a hunch.
Two months later, Alfred Wertheimer was hired for a second round of photos.  Elvis was all over the news then.  There had been a national outrage over his wild performance of ?Hound Dog? three weeks earlier on his second Milton Berle Show appearance.  Elvis? gyrating hips were blasted as ?suggestive and vulgar? by dozens of newspapers and hundreds of preachers in pulpits.
In the midst of this furor, Alfred Wertheimer quietly slipped back into Elvis? orbit.  Elvis was always happy with a group of guys around him, and Wertheimer quickly became one of the boys.
The first day of Wertheimer?s new job was June 29, during the read-through rehearsal in New York for Elvis? only appearance on the Steve Allen Show on NBC. This will always be remembered as the show where Elvis had to dress up in a tux and sing to a basset hound sitting on a 2 x 3 foot platform atop a high pedestal.  
No sooner was rehearsal over, when Elvis and crew headed to Penn Station to board a train.  In the day-and-a-half opening between the rehearsal and the actual Steve Allen Show telecast, they had to ride overnight to Richmond, give two concerts, and ride the train back to New York.  This was precision logistics thanks to Col. Parker, who also put no restrictions on Wertheimer during the train rides.  Wertheimer had free reign during the Richmond concerts, too, because Col. Parker spent the whole time up-front dealing with business matters.


Elvis performing at the Mosque Theater in Richmond , Virginia


It was during the Richmond performances that Wertheimer had his real epiphany about Elvis.  While Elvis sang, Wertheimer watched the audience and was amazed at how many teenage girls were crying -- hugging each other and crying.  Wertheimer now says, ?In my experience, nobody?s ever made the girls cry.  They?ve made them jump, scream, yell, cheer, but not cry ? That was my clue.  Anybody who could make the girls cry is going to be a huge success.  And, I better stick around.?
Once the train arrived back in New York, they all headed to the Hudson Theater where the Steve Allen Show originated.  During the dress rehearsal, Elvis had fun with the basset hound, and Wertheimer got a whole sequence of shots.  Steve Allen was determined that nothing like what happened on the Berle show would happen on his.  The tuxedo and the basset hound on a pedestal effectively cut down on the movements Elvis could do.  Wertheimer observed that Elvis knew he was being controlled but was a good sport about it.


Elvis and hound dog on the Steve Allen Show


The next day Wertheimer accompanied Elvis to the RCA Victor recording studios in New York and witnessed the birth of ?Hound Dog? and ?Don?t Be Cruel.?  Col. Parker was not at this recording session, allowing Wertheimer more unimpeded access.  This time, Wertheimer brought two rolls of color film along, as well as all the usual black-and-white.  That turned out to be a smart move.  Later that year, he licensed the rights for one of the color photos to TV Guide for the first of their many Elvis covers.  He received $250, big bucks back in 1956.
The next day was July 3, and Elvis was scheduled to give a benefit concert  in Memphis on the night of the Fourth of July.  So, it was back to Penn Station to start a twenty-seven hour train ride to Memphis.  This trip was unlike the train rides to and from Richmond, which were at night and everybody slept.  This trip provided daylight travel during large portions of two days.  Wertheimer got to spend lots of time with Elvis.

Two hours outside of Memphis heading to his home, July 4, 1956

A long train ride can be boring for young people, and often this is broken up by hi-jinks.  Elvis? travelling party had some when a huge stuffed Panda showed up from nowhere.  Wertheimer thought maybe the Colonel snuck it in.  Elvis and the guys loved it.  The Panda moved around and got used as a pillow a lot.  It became another personality on board and always had his own seat next to somebody.  That night, Wertheimer went to Elvis? compartment, where he was listening to acetates of the recent recordings.  The Panda was on his upper berth, strapped in with its legs coming through the webbing.
The next day Elvis put the Panda on his left hip and walked down the aisle of the passenger cars.  It became a prop as he flirted with the girls on board.  Elvis would ask, ?Are you coming to my concert tonight??   Two teenage girls responded, ?Who are you?  He told them, ?I?m Elvis Presley,? but when they didn?t believe him, Elvis pointed to Wertheimer and said, ?See that photographer over there?  Would he be taking my picture if I wasn?t Elvis Presley??


Elvis with Panda bear flirting with girls on train to Memphis


Wertheimer was now travelling on his own tab.  He took it upon himself to complete his Elvis photo story by accompanying Elvis to Memphis to see him at home with his family.  When the train arrived in Memphis, Wertheimer got to spend the afternoon hanging out at Elvis? recently-purchased house at 1034 Audubon Drive. 
Gladys and Vernon had no problem with Wertheimer coming into their home and snapping all kinds of pictures.  He got along so well with Gladys that historians consider him an authority on her.  He says, ?I seemed to become the resident expert on Gladys Presley, even though I was only around her a few hours.?  Wertheimer was interviewed extensively about her for a book, and Elvis Presley Enterprises has also gone to him to get a sense of what she was like and her relationship with Elvis.

One of Wertheimer?s shots that day was of Elvis with no shirt on, a boil and pimples on his back in full view.  The German magazine Kristal licensed the rights to use that picture a few years later and airbrushed Elvis? back clean.  After Elvis? death, another German magazine, Stern, published the same photograph with the pimples showing.   Wertheimer feels his original image shows that none of his Elvis photos were posed -- all his shots were of the real Elvis.
At 7:30 that night, Col. Parker showed up at Elvis? home.  Shortly after that, the local Sheriff arrived.  He drove Elvis, Parker, and Wertheimer to Russwood Park for the homecoming concert.  Wertheimer got one shot in the squad car and dozens at the concert.  This was Elvis? triumphant return home.  As he told the 14,000 fans, ?You?re going to see the ?real? Elvis Presley.?  This was a pointed reference to the ridiculous way he was presented on the Steve Allen Show.

When the concert was over, the Sheriff drove Elvis Presley home, and Col. Parker took Alfred Wertheimer to the train station.

 During the two-day trip back to New York, Alfred Wertheimer had time to reflect on what had happened during the past six days: a TV show rehearsal and telecast, a concert in Richmond, a major recording session at RCA Victor, three long train rides, an afternoon with Elvis? family at their home, and a big holiday concert in Memphis.  To simply share all that with Elvis would be reward enough itself, but Wertheimer also had rolls and rolls and rolls of film.

The exact number of free-lance photographs he took has been subject to speculation and two earlier magazine articles on Wertheimer used the round number of 3800.  He says this is too high; that what really counts is the number of marketable photos.  After culling out the unusable shots (too dark, out of focus, etc.), Wertheimer says he has around 2000 commercially viable photos to license for future ventures.


One of Wertheimer's most commercially viable photos -- used for the cover of

Elvis:  The Early Years

Wertheimer abstained from using flash bulbs.  He took the attitude of being ?a fly on the wall,? unnoticed and able to catch the casual un-posed moments.  So, he used two small and very quiet 35 mm Nikon S-2 Rangefinder cameras with no flashes, which kept Elvis oblivious to his presence most of the time.  Wertheimer admits that if the assignment had occurred a few years later, he might have screwed it up by having Elvis pose.  However, at this early point of their careers in 1956, Elvis didn?t know the rules, and Wertheimer didn?t know the rules.  ?We made up our own rules.?
Without a flash, it was often necessary for Wertheimer to use very slow shutter speeds to get enough light for a good exposure.  This technique is called using ?available light,? but Wertheimer pushed it to extremes and jokingly coined the phrase ?using available darkness.?  He says, ?The darker your environment, the more people let it all hang out.?  That certainly worked with Elvis.

Wertheimer has said he treats a photo subject as though it was a still life, moving closer and closer with each shot.  Fortunately, Elvis permitted closeness.  He had a sixth sense that film images would be necessary to his continued success.


Alfred with his high-rise soup bowl invention ? photo by Jill Furmanovsky


Alfred Wertheimer had one additional chance to photograph Elvis Presley two years later.  When Elvis was drafted into the Army in 1958, the press reported he would be treated just like any other GI.  Perhaps this was the case during basic training in Texas, but when it was time for Elvis and 6,000 other soldiers to board the USS Randall at the Brooklyn Port of Embarkation, strange things happened. 

Col. Parker made sure Elvis? send-off was a big event.  For one thing, it was estimated that 250 reporters, photographers, and cameramen were on the scene.  One of them was Alfred Wertheimer, who did not have an exclusive this time, but he got plenty of good pictures.  He was also in position to see the master marketer, Col. Tom Parker, in action.

 Wertheimer didn?t know if the official US Army Band was present at all major troop deployments, but they were there the day Elvis shipped out.  Perhaps Col. Parker arranged for their appearance or perhaps not, but he still engineered a first in US Army history. 

He had printed up copies of the music to several Elvis songs and delivered them to the band leader who in turn passed them out to all the musicians.  Songs they played that day included ?That?s All Right,? ?Hound Dog,? ?Don?t be Cruel,? ?Tutti Fruitti? and others.  No John Philip Sousa marches to mark this occasion.  Dressed in full Army Class A uniforms, the band played Elvis rock & roll. 

Elvis held forth with a half-hour press conference where he was positioned in front of big ?Join the Army? posters. There was one Army General, in civilian clothes, who would not leave Elvis? side.  He enjoyed being in the spotlight so much that he hovered around Elvis the entire time.


Elvis at press conference during troop deployment on USS Randall


The hoards of photographers and cameramen wanted to get film of Elvis going up the gangplank from the dock to the second deck of the ship. Five soldiers were selected to join Elvis in the shot to make it look natural.  Of course, Elvis was carrying going-away presents as well as his duffel bag.  He was also in his Class A uniform, while the other guys already on the ship for the most part were in dark green work fatigues.  Several photographer shouted, ?Could we have one more shot?? and the Public Information Officer complied by having the five soldiers and Elvis do the gangplank boarding action all over again.   Wertheimer and others watching were amused at what was taking place.

The ship had four decks and soon Elvis appeared on the one below the top deck along with Col. Parker.  Wertheimer wondered to himself, ?What is Parker doing on the troop ship??  To give something to Elvis, it turned out.  Elvis opened a box from Parker, and guess what it contained?  Dozens of playing-card-sized autographed photos of Elvis. 

After Colonel Parker was escorted off the ship, the tug boats began pushing the USS Randall out into New York Harbor.  Elvis then flipped the cards, a hand full at a time, over the railing and they fluttered down to lucky fans standing on the dock four decks below as the band played ?Hound Dog.?  Next stop Germany.  Just your average troop deployment.

Once Elvis settled into his Army service in Germany, demand for Wertheimer?s Presley photos fell off substantially.  Alfred Wertheimer derived no income from his Elvis photos for the next nineteen years.  During that time, Elvis was arguably the most photographed man in the world.  The media seemed happy with current Elvis photos, and cared little about shots of young Elvis.
 All that changed on August 16, 1977.  Within 24 hours of Elvis? death, Time Magazine called and asked if Wertheimer had anything they could use.  Soon, all sorts of media hungry for classic images of the young Elvis rediscovered Alfred Wertheimer?s archives.  It was then that Wertheimer realized he probably had the first and last look at the day-to-day life of Elvis Presley.  Millions of fans around the world are thankful that Alfred Wertheimer and his camera met Elvis before the opaque curtain fell.

  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

If you are interested in purchasing Alfre Wertheimer's new book of Elvis photos, "Elvis: The Early Years," click here or go to Amazon.com.


AMA Press Release

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IMPORTANT: 'Elvis On Tour' release on DVD. Need YOUR help!


Monday, November 29, 2010

�hlins TTX Shocks from Riders Discount

Riders Discount is now offering TTX shocks for those who demand the best suspension performance in the world! Comprised of technology derived from...

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Ducati Diavel Receives Positive U.S. Reception

Following the tremendous success of the 162 horsepower Diavel?s Milan unveiling just three weeks ago, the 94 lb/ft of torque machine has made its way to America. The Diavel has been shown at the Dallas and San Mateo Progressive International Motorcycle Shows, and the Los Angeles Auto show. The audiences at all three shows have raved about the new bike once seeing it ?in the metal?; marveling in the massive power to weight ratio, carbon fiber and aluminum componentry, and ?Bike 2.0? features such as traction control, ride by wire throttle, riding modes, ABS brakes and a color digital dash display.

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Vegas deal tarnishes business' golden boy


Klien: H�lkenberg shows problem faced by rookies | F1 Fanatic round-up

Christian Klien points out how hard it is for new drivers to become established in F1.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Elvis



Ah, yes.  One of the beloved images of Thanksgiving -- a turkey dressed in an Elvis Jumpsuit and wearing his signature sunglasses.



In tribute to Elvis voracious appetite, here is one person's idea of what an Elvis turkey sandwich would look like.


Have a great Thanksgiving, Everyone



Jimmie Johnson's NASCAR Dynasty May Make Him Greatest Champion

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Jimmie Johnson joined his team on the crowded stage, hurriedly set up on the Homestead-Miami Speedway front stretch and, with confetti flying in the air, raised NASCAR's crown jewel, the Sprint Cup Series championship trophy, for an unprecedented fifth consecutive time.

Only seven-time champions Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt have more hardware. And as the humble, low-key Californian hugged his wife, kissed his infant daughter, embraced his dad and gazed out into the crowd, Johnson was struck by something that helped him realize he had finally made it.

"There was a fan standing right up front with an 'I Hate the 48' T-shirt and he gave me the thumbs-up and said, 'Congratulations,' '' the driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet recalled with a laugh. "I have people tell me they hate me, but they respect me and that's always cool. If this takes it to the next level, then right on.''

So it is for the most dominant race car driver in NASCAR history. The more he wins, the more trophies he collects, the more people clamor for someone else to step up.

How about, instead, we honor this great accomplishment and appreciate the good fortune to be witnessing sports history.


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I am so hurt!


Richard Petty and Investors Take Control of RPM From George Gillett Jr.

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) -- Richard Petty will once again run his race team and participate in day-to-day operations as chairman of the new ownership group that was announced Monday.

The assets of Richard Petty Motorsports have been sold from George Gillett Jr. to an investment group that consists of Petty, Medallion Financial Corp. and DGP Investments.

"Today is a great day for me, my family, our fans and our wonderful sponsors," Petty said in a statement that listed 10 partners that "have supported me through thick and thin and I thank them from the bottom of my heart."

RPM will field cars for AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose in 2011.

The transfer of assets has been in the works for several weeks because of Gillett's ongoing financial problems. Debt-laden English soccer club Liverpool recently was sold despite the objection of Gillett and business partner Tom Hicks. And a U.S. hedge fund is suing Gillett over what the firm says is more than $117 million in debt he racked up investing in Liverpool.


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Elvis' Graceland Stable Opens for Tours; Rescued Horses Helped


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Words to Elvis


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Aprilia RS4 125 Video ? Who The Hell is This Bike For?

The folks in Noale have a video out now (watch it after the jump), promoting the 2011 Aprilia RS4 125 -- the four-stroke 125cc street bike that is a spitting image of the Aprilia RSV4 superbike. With 16hp coming out of that tiny single-cylinder motor and cool styling from its larger sibling, the Aprilia RS4 125 seems like the perfect beginner bike for some teenager in Europe, but we have our reservations about how the ...

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Strange Elvis Searches on the Internet

Google and the other search engines have been very instrumental in helping people discover ElvisBlog.  With over 380 articles covering every Elvis subject imaginable, ElvisBlog comes up high on just about any search topic fans type in ? even the stupid ones.  Two years ago, I featured some of the strange Elvis searches on Google in a fun article.  Since then, many new ones have shown up, so let?s take a look at some of them.


The answer to this question is easy. If you were Elvis, you would look like a skeleton. He?s been dead for 33 years, you know.  Too bad Google didn?t show this image as the answer.


This is just further proof that Elvis fans want to know everything about the King.   I guess this person equated Elvis jumpsuits with the astronauts? space suits, which do have built in underwear of sorts for those six-to-eight hour space walks.  In fact, there was a time or two when Elvis left the stage for a quick visit to the facilities backstage, so built in underwear in his jumpsuits is a pretty strange concept.


What prompts people to want to know things like this?   I guess there has never been a Frito shaped like Elvis? head, because Yahoo came up with nothing.



My wife actually uses this phrase.  If I?m not paying enough attention to her, she will say something like, ?I wish you would spend as much time with me as you do with your stupid blog about Elvis.?  As you can see, ElvisBlog came up Number 1 on the Google list.  I?ve reminded my wife that Google does not make value judgments.  It?s just that the title of an old ElvisBlog article contained all three keywords in the search phrase.  She doesn?t buy it.


I hesitate to put this one up, because it may make Elvis fans seem dumb.  I?ve been to the Elvis Festival in Collingwood, Ontario twice, and it?s a great event.  But, you might want to skip the Elvis feastable.


The search subject here is so long that it wouldn?t fit in the box.  Fortunately, the fan misspelled a word, so Google made their best guess and asked, Did you mean: ?., and repeated the question out of the box where we could read it.  Google did not have the answer, but I do.  The teenage rock n roller in Hound Dog Man was Fabian.  He wore Elvis? pants and boots from Love Me Tender for his screen test with Twentieth Century Fox.  This led to Fabian getting the role in Hound Dog Man, and his character had the same name (Clint) as Elvis? character in Love Me Tender.



OK, if we?re doing searches by stupid fans, this should get a prize.  There are no pictures of Elvis holding his grandson for a very good reason.  Benjamin Keough is 18 (just turned on October 21) and Elvis died 33 years ago.


Something is wrong here.  If Elvis was still alive, how could he be living as Jesse, his twin brother?  Jesse was still-born, and if he wasn?t, he still would be Elvis? twin; so how does that give any cover?  I like Google?s Did you mean: if elvis is living as jesus, would he secretly come to visit graceland?   Don?t you wish somebody at Google had a warped sense of humor and answered the question like this:  ?Elvis is living as Jesus, and he visits Graceland all the time.?


There have been Elvis and Michael Jackson searches covering a lot of different topics, but this one takes the award for the weirdest.


Look at the first answer Google found on this search.  Although it doesn?t state whether it happened on the moon or not, Google informed us that the ghost of Marilyn married a two-headed Elvis clone.  Inquiring minds want to know.


Here?s a nice variation.  Now we have three heads, but they are on an alien, not an Elvis clone.  Do you think Marilyn would be upset about the Elvis clone dumping her for the three-headed alien?


Don?t you single guys wish Google could tell you how to pick up chicks like Elvis?  Dream on.

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