In an effort to give this blog legitimacy, I have made a top ten list for 2012. This top ten list is the top ten most bad-ass people of 2012, at least to me (it’s my blog, I can pick whoever I want!). Here ya go, in no particular order, the top ten most bad-ass people of 2012:
10 – Felix “Freefall” Baumgartner
Felix took a height at which most people start to feel fairly intimidated (128 ft), added three zeroes behind it (128,000 ft) and then decided to go for a skydive. While being dragged to the Earth by his massive brass balls, he managed to not only break the sound barrier, he made it his personal play-thing; reaching 833.9 mph (373 meters per second, for my Canadian friends, ehh), or Mach 1.24. Definitely earns a top-ten spot for that one.
9 – Barack H. Obama
In the eight years under the Bush administration, $5 Trillion dollars was added to the national debt. In a never-before-seen-by-mankind, historically unprecedented display of one-upmanship, Barack Obama added $6 trillion in less than four. I’ll put $6 Trillion in perspective. The Hoover Dam ($690M), the entire Apollo Space Program ($145B), WWII ($5T), the Panama Canal ($14B), and the Transcontinental Railroad ($877M) (all figures in today’s dollar) combined would be $500 Billion less than $6 Trillion. The bad-ass moment for Barack came in early November when he found 60 million Americans who think that four more years is a good thing. Lincoln said you can’t fool all the people all the time. Evidently all you need to do is to fool 52% of them, though. (I didn’t vote for Romney, either, because he would have been just as bad, IMHO).
Well played sir. Well played indeed.
8. Jay “Jimmy-John’s” Petervary
Note – Jimmy John’s is a sandwich chain whose motto is “freaky fast” and Jay Petervary is precisely that.
The Tour Divide is a 2,745 mile mountain bike race from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, NM, which I’ve talked about in previous posts. In June, New Zealander Ollie Whalley broke the record with a run of 16 days, 2 hrs, and 46 mins. In mid-September, Jay returned the record back to ‘Merica, cutting it to an almost-unbelievable 15 days, 16 hours, and 4 minutes (almost 180 miles a day). That’s freaky fast, especially considering he did it completely alone, and camped every night rather than staying in a hotel. Freaky fast indeed. It’s absolutely amazing what people are capable of. Here’s an awesome video about his ride.
Jay has said he is planning on racing the Dirty Kanza this year, so if any of you locals (that’s you, Mom) are reading this, be on the lookout for him, and say hello.
7. Eszter “Zoom-Diggity” Horanyi
It’s been said that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did except backwards and in heels, and when it comes to mountain bikes Eszter Horanyi is this analogy personified. First, in the Stagecoach 400, she came in first in the women’s and third overall, and was a mere six hours behind Jay Petervary, who came in first. In June, she raced the Divide, knocking over 5 DAYS off the existing record, and beating all but six of the boys to boot, with a run of 19 days, 3 hours and 35 minutes.
Here is Eszter finishing the Stagecoach 400, being warmly welcomed by Jay’s dogs.
Having had the honor of meeting both Jay and Eszter in California, I will say that they are two of the nicest, most laid back people I’ve ever met, and have forgotten more about long-distance riding than I’ll ever learn. If you ever get the chance to meet either of them, you’ll be better off for it. Truly amazing and inspiring people. Ohh, and really damn fast, too.
6. Eric “Mr. Freeze” Larsen
Eric Larsen is riding a fat-tire mountain bike to the South Pole. And back. Alone. By himself. To the South Pole. Alone. On a bicycle. Alone. Ok, it’s not your normal, everyday Schwinn, but still. It’s a Surly Moonlander, a fat-bike with 5″ wide tires, and custom ultra-light panniers from Granite Gear. You can read all about his gear at this article by Jill Homer. You can follow his progress on his facebook page as well. Definitely an awesome display of bad-assery.
5. Neil “First!” Armstrong
Neil Armstrong and all of the Apollo Astronauts have always been my (and most of America’s) heroes. We all know Neil Armstrong was the first to step foot on the moon.
He was also a pilot in the Korean War, but before that, in 1944 he earned his pilot’s license before his driver’s license. He was an Eagle Scout, and also studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue.
After his death in August, his family released the following statement “While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves. For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
4. CSM Basil “Old Iron Jaw” Plumley
If Sam Elliott ever plays you in a movie, you are automatically elevated to the status of bad-ass. If you made all four combat parachute jumps in World War II, plus one in Korea, you are automatically elevated to the status of bad-ass. Command Sergeant Major Plumley accomplished both of these.
He is most famous for his actions as the CSM of the 1/7 CAV at the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam, Nov 1965. He was the battalion CSM, and his actions are noted in the book We Were Soldiers Once and Young. This was turned into the movie We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson, and as previously mentioned, Sam Elliott as CSM Plumley. CSM Plumley died on Oct 10, 2012, and was 92. I’d like to say he’s in Heaven smiling down on us, but I know he’s in Fiddler’s Green, busting heads, balls, and Corporals.
3. The Entire Hostess Management Team
In a strange twist of fate, Twinkies were the only thing that DIDN’T survive the apocalypse. The 19 people who were most responsible for running a multi-billion dollar corporation into the ground in less than five years are also responsible for taking hundreds of millions worth of pension payments out of employees funds. On November 30th, these same 19 people received almost two million dollars worth of bonuses, quote “to oversee it’s liquidation.” Ohh, did I mention that as a result, the 18,500 people (including over 600 here in town) that lost their jobs less than 5 weeks before Christmas DIDN’T get a bonus? The fact that these managers somehow convinced a very corrupt bankruptcy judge to give them bonuses puts them in the bad-ass category. Ohh, they’re also gigantic douchebags. Almost forgot that part.
2. Officer Larry “Boots” DePrimo, NYPD
Your true character is revealed when no one is watching, or at least when you don’t think they are. In an amazing display of humanity, Officer DePrimo saw a homeless man barefoot in freezing temperatures, and walked into a nearby shoe store and purchased the man his first-ever pair of socks and warm boots. A tourist from Arizona snapped a photo, which obviously went viral through Facebook and Twitter. Definitely a bad-ass (with a heart of gold).
You are the most bad-ass person of them all. Why? For reading this blog, of course! Thanks for that, and I hope you enjoy it (mom)!
See you down the road,