Thursday, January 1, 2009

Here's what it would look like if he were hit with a pair of thrown shoes from the crowd...

For the first time in my life, I stayed home on New Years Eve to watch crappy TV and ball-dropping and so forth. And the kids wanted to put the TV on FOX, because there was going to be a big motorcycle stunt right after the clock struck midnight. After flipping around, so I could suffer through Miley Cyrus, Kathy Griffin, Carson Daly, Ryan Seacrest, and that weird yelling guy on FOX all at the same time, I finally flipped over to FOX so I could see this Big Bike Stunt. I've seen the old Evel Knievel motorcycle jumps, and there was something terribly exciting about them. I think it was the fact that he looked like he was riding a real motorcycle. The kind a real biker might drive. So you had this sense that he might be driving down the street and leap over a parked school bus at any time. Also, he got hurt so much, and crashed often enough, that there was real drama there.

Now it's his son, Robbie Knievel, who is a daredevil on a par with his father, who does these Big Event Jumps. But he does it on a souped-up dirt bike, which makes him look like a kid with a special BMX trick bike. There is something far less impressive-looking about these equally-impressive jumps. And I assume he has crashed less than his old man, which leads to far less drama in the leaps. In this case, he was going to jump over a big fake Vegas volcano, landing on a ramp on the other side as the pyro guys made the volcano erupt.

For this event, it was FOX who needed to add the drama themselves. He could really be hurt. He could die. And here's how...they had computer simulations of what could happen that would result in his death. Every computer-generated scenario involved the pyro guys accidentally setting off the volcano too early. So...Knievel is flying through the air, and the volcano erupts early, and he flies through a wall of fire, and catches fire, and crashes his bike. Now, let's look at it as he catches fire, but doesn't quite have enough speed, and catches the edge of the landing ramp. And now here's the one where he really doesn't have enough speed, and he lands face-first into the wall of the landing ramp. And now, here's the one where his motorcycle gets a flat tire at the last second and he lands directly IN the volcano, which would result in his quick and incredibly painful death...

This was all very exciting to me. What was coming next? I wanted to see the simulation where a low-flying flock of seagulls disrupted his takeoff, making him land with one leg in the volcano and the rest of his body hanging off the side, and the descending fake lava consumed him from the waist up...or perhaps a dramatization of another possible scenario where a condor swoops down and, mistaking Knievel's helmet for it's egg, it...anyway. While I was imagining these terrific possible-simulation scenarios in my head, he went down the ramp and jumped. He made it. Oh. Is all New Years Eve programming usually this boring?

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