Rick Dale is the owner of Rick’s Restorations in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now he has a show on the History Channel called “American Restoration.” Rick and his crew take rusty, beat-up items and restore them to their original glory. Whether it’s a giant gas pump from the 1940s or a Hopalong Cassidy bicycle from the 1950s, every restoration is a high-stakes business project where worthless rust is transformed into a valuable collectible. However, these restorations aren’t easy. Every project presents unique challenges for Rick and his team, who develop inventive processes to finish each job flawlessly and on time.
May 28th on the History Channel starts a whole new season and the first episode features music legend Billy Joel. Dale needs to help Billy restore a rare BSA 850 motorcycle for the pop superstar. The singer has a passion for classic bikes and loves to make new models look old. After trying out an old Steinway spinet in Rick’s “boneyard,” the crate is opened. Inside is a 1967 BSA Royal Star or rather, a bunch of parts including a cracked engine that happens to be irreplaceable. Rick and his crew try to get the bike to look like new.
I was able to talk to Rick about the new season on the History Channel and how he got started in the restoration business.
Art Eddy: On May 28th the new season of “American Restoration” starts up. In this episode you have Billy Joel on your show. He was looking to have a motorcycle restored. When Billy came to your store did you get a little star struck?
Rick Dale: I don’t get star struck, but I was definitely nervous. It is Billy Joel for God sakes. I would watch him when I was a kid. It is pretty incredible to see him roll in and send me that bike to get restored. It was pretty cool.
AE: Billy Joel said, “I’ve seen Rick’s work and he does a great job. He does it the old fashioned way, he does it by hand. It’s also done with care.” When you hear a compliment like that does it make all your hard work that much more rewarding?
RD: Yea it does. I restore a lot of stuff for people and a lot memories. So to have a person of that caliber who actually builds bikes to come in to say that he has actually seen my work was a gigantic one. So that means Billy Joel is actually a fan or someone that likes what we do with the originality stuff. It really made me feel good that he allowed me to start this. The pressure was there while we were doing it I can tell you that right now.
AE: This can be for any project, but especially when you are doing work for a celebrity. Do you ever get overwhelmed with a restoration project?
RD: Yea I do. Someone sent me in this 35 foot slide that was from a park. It came in a million pieces. I think I can handle almost anything, but when that intimidation comes in it really shows up on screen. I was really freaking out. They will say cut and I will say ‘Oh my God, are you kidding me?’
I think they test me. I think they find the biggest pile of junk. It goes all the way back to Rick Harrison. He would find the biggest pile of junk he possibly could and bring it in just to test me. I am up for the challenge. That is what sort of made my business and my life a little more creative. It allows me to really, really get into something and go deep.
RD: Jason’s project is coming up. It is a sign out of his grandfather’s garage. This is one of those projects that I almost didn’t do. I didn’t want to say no to him. Him and his dad came in and brought in this old sign. The sign is literally paper thin and the paper is full of rust. Finally after doing a bunch of different things figured out how I could finish the sign. It is not totally done so we are not out of the woods yet.
It is just one of those things where people see the show and think I can do anything. I am up to the challenge, but man some days I am definitely tested. I have thrown stuff, freaked out, and ran home. I have done it all.
AE: What can viewers expect from this season?
RD: Toward the end of the season we are going to be doing some high end projects. We are doing something for the Dodgers. We are doing this big hot dog cart. It was a design back from the Sixties. I get to go and meet Tommy Lasorda, which means more pressure. (Laughs)
We are doing a lot of motorcycles. We are doing this Ducati that they only made a hundred of them and so how do I find the parts for it? There is a lot of fun and really, really cool projects coming up.
RD: Back in the day in the Eighties I actually was in construction. It really got bad here in Nevada. I had an old Coke machine in the back of my house. Somebody said to me that I could take that down to the Rose Bowl and people overseas buy them. I needed to make my house payment.
So what I decided to do was paint it all up. I needed to make enough money for the house payment and not just the electric bill. We cleaned it up and took it down there. A Japanese man bought and told me that he needed more of these.
That same day people were coming up to me since they literally saw that one machine and said to me if I wanted to buy other things. So it turned into a business. I thought I will just buy it from this guy and go home and restore them and then I will sell them. The business just took off.
To listen to the entire interview click here.
This weekend while you are hanging out with friends at the beach or at a barbeque why not try some new cocktails. No matter if it is just a small get together or you are planning a big bash these drinks will be just the thing to cool you down this Memorial Day weekend.
(For a crew of 30)
1 750 mL bottle Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum
2 750 mL bottles dry white wine
24 oz. pineapple juice
6 oz. sour mix
1 2 L bottle ginger ale
3 oranges, sliced
4 lemons, sliced
1 bunch fresh mint
Preparation: Chill all ingredients. In a large punch bowl, crush the fresh fruit to extract the juices. Add Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum, wine, pineapple juice, sour mix and ginger ale. Add a large block of ice and serve the punch in wine glasses with pieces of fruit and a sprig of mint.
Why it’s perfect for your Memorial Day Weekend: Embrace your wild side, with this refreshing drink. This ginger-inspired punch is perfect for parties and can be made ahead of time.
1.5 oz. Crown Royal Maple
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
1.5 oz. Pineapple Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters
.5 Simple Syrup
Preparation: Mix ingredients in a shaker, top with club soda and strain into a Collins glass. Garnish with half an orange slice and a cheery.
Why it’s perfect for your Memorial Day Weekend: One of the most popular drinks since the launch of Crown Royal Maple Finished – make sure you kick Memorial Day off right with the Maple Collins.
1 oz. Crown Royal Black
.75 oz. Ciroc Peach
.5 oz. Cranberry, orange, pineapple and Sprite
2 dash Angostura Bitters
Preparation: Mix ingredients, pour into a rocks glass and top off with lemon-lime soda.
Why it’s perfect for your Memorial Day Weekend: All the best summertime ingredients come together in Royal Peach, giving you another reason to wish summer lasted all year long.
1 ½ oz Bulleit® Bourbon
2 lemon wedges
3 oz. tonic
Preparation: Build in a highball glass, serve over ice
Why it’s perfect for your Memorial Day Weekend: Have a busy weekend planned? Don’t fret, with only 3 simple ingredients the BLT takes no time to mix.
1.25 oz. Dickel #8
.75 oz. Cochi Rose
.25 oz. Creme de Cacao
1 dash Lemon Bitters
Preparation: Stir all ingredients. Strain in to a coupe. Garnish with a cheery.
Why it’s perfect for your Memorial Day Weekend: Light on the stomach, the Tennessee Valentine is the perfect drink for Memorial Day pool parties.
Also if you need a few more drink ideas try these one below. They were showcased at the annual Googa Mooga festival in Brooklyn. Despite a rainy backdrop, thousands of adults packed Prospect Park to listen to the likes of Matt & Kim and The Flaming Lips while sipping on some of the best cocktails NYC’s top mixologists have to offer.
1 1/4 ounces Tequila Don Julio Blanco
3/4 ounce Pineapple Juice
1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 oz Ginger Syrup
1 tsp Green Chartreuse
Preparation: Combine Don Julio Blanco, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, ginger syrup and green chartreuse in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into Collins cocktail glass over fresh ice.
1 ounce Bulleit Bourbon
¾ ounce lemon juice
1 ounce extra dry vermouth
¼ ounce simple syurp
Top with ginger beer
Preparation: Combine all ingredients into a mixing tin. Strain contents into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with 1 mint sprig and lemon.
1 ¼ ounce George Dickel Rye
¼ ounce Gran Classico bitters
¼ ounce maple syrup
¾ ounce lemon juice
Preparation: Combine all ingredients into a mixing tin. Strain contents into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with 1 orange half wheel.
Jennie Finch is no stranger to the Women’s College World Series. During her time at the University of Arizona she help the team win the College World Series. Jennie made such an impact at Arizona that she had her number retired by the university.
Finch is still active in softball today with her camps during the year. The three-time All American Player is working with Capital One for the Capital One Cup. This program helps with awarding a combined $400,000 in student-athlete scholarships. The winners will be selected in July at the ESPYs. Jennie is in her second year as an Advisory Board member for the Cup.
I had the pleasure to chat with Jennie about her great career at Arizona, the Olympics, and even her time on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Art Eddy: The Women’s College World Series is starting at the end of the month. Who are some of the favorites for this year’s World Series?
Jennie Finch: Oklahoma has been ranked number one all year. They came in second last year so I think they have a drive to bring home the trophy. Oregon won the PAC-12 for the first time this year. They are making a run for it. Honestly it is anyone’s game. Nine SEC teams are in. There are eight PAC-12 schools in it. Nebraska, Texas, Michigan and a lot of other schools are in the running. The great thing about sports is the chemistry. If you have the right team anything can happen.
AE: Are there any underdog teams we should look out for?
JF: Last year we saw Hofstra and USF make it to the playoffs. LSU came out of nowhere. I think that there is always that possibility and chance for any team. There a lot of teams in the middle that could make a push and have a great weekend to go further into the playoffs.
AE: You played in the College World Series with Arizona. Talk to me about your memories during the World Series.
JF: There is nothing better to make it to the College World Series. All of the extra reps in the weight room, all of the early morning practices, and all the hard work spent the entire year makes it worth it. It was a blast to be able to play in that game. It is an honor to play for your university. It is a magical time. I have so many fond memories of being there and competing with my teammates.
AE: What was your reaction when you found out the University of Arizona was going to retire your number?
JF: I was completely honored. I was honored to wear Arizona across my chest. I am extremely blessed to have my education completely paid for and take part in the great tradition of Wildcat softball. To have my jersey number retired was the ultimate compliment. I am thankful for the many women who played before me and paved the way to create a great tradition at Arizona.
AE: You are working with Capital One to promote the Capital One Cup to help provide scholarship money to the winning universities. Tell me about your work with this promotion.
JF: I am excited to be on the athlete advisory board for the Capital One Cup as the spring season championships begin to play out. One reason is that one of the sports is softball. There are many schools that are close in the standings for the Capital One Cup. This program honors the best Division I program that has the most cumulative wins in on the field performance across 39 total men and women’s sports. The winning school gets over $400,000 in total scholarships for student athletes. Not only is it fun for the school, but for the fans to see how their school is doing.
AE: Right now who is in the lead for the men and women’s brackets?
JF: Stanford is in the lead for the women’s, but Penn State and Oregon are just a couple points behind. In the men’s bracket Indiana and Michigan are tied for first with Louisville and Alabama right behind them. As the spring season comes to an end it will be close to see who wins it all. For softball the school gets awarded 60 points and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
JF: It is one thing to play for your university. It is another to play for your country. It is special in so many ways. To be surrounded by the best of the best was incredible. There were players that I looked up to and now I am playing with them. It was amazing to travel the world and play the game you love. Winning the gold back in 2004 was the highlight for me.
AE: Do you think baseball and softball will be back in the Olympics?
JF: I hope so. We will find out in the next couple of months. I am on the athlete advisory board to help grow the campaign and make sure we do everything to get the sport out there worldwide. There are over 140 countries that play softball and now that we are teaming up with baseball hopefully we can get these sports back into the Olympics.
AE: You were on “Celebrity Apprentice” a few years back. What was it like to be on that show and what did you learn from that experience?
JF: It was definitely a challenge. It was about raising money for a good cause. I was playing for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It was a great experience. I learned that I don’t belong in the hustle and bustle of New York City. (Laughs) I made a lot of great relationships being on that show. I think you learn from every experience and I felt that I learned a great deal being part of that show. I enjoyed my time there. It was harsh at times. People were competing and there were tough times. Overall I have to say that it was good time.
AE: Tell me about your softball camp and how you started that up?
JF: Right after college this how some softball players are able to make money. I loved being on the feild playing and teaching softball. I didn’t like the fact that a camp had my name on it and I didn’t know the logistics of what was going on. I wanted to make sure I was involved in a camp that did things right. I got a few of players that I know together to start up a camp.
I had the vision of creating my own camp to make sure I was teaching the campers what I wanted. Plus I picked other players that were good on the field and off so we could be great role models for these girls to look up to. I hope to inspire others and encourage them to go after their dreams.
Jim Gaffigan is best known for his hysterical stand-up routine. His material on Hot Pockets and McDonalds are fan favorites. Jim has been in films, television shows, and on Broadway. Now he can add being an author to his resume. Gaffigan’s book “Dad Is Fat” came out earlier this month. Click here to purchase his book.
In his book he explores fatherhood, his relationship with his wife and kids, and being on tour. The book is a great read and very funny. I was able to chat with Jim about where the title of the book came from and how fatherhood has changed him.
Art Eddy: “Dad is Fat” is the title of you new book and is it true that one of your kids came up with the title?
Jim Gaffigan: Yea that is true. When my seven year old was first learning to write that was his first complete sentence, dad is fat. On the book cover it is actually his hand writing. It was a moment where he wasn’t punching me in the stomach. So it was all good.
AE: When people see the title of the book they might think that you are trying to lose weight, but it is just your story about fatherhood. What inspired you to write the book?
JG: I wanted to do a book about just being a dad and how I am an improbable parent of five. I am certainly not an expert. So I wanted it to be white and vague. We were looking at different titles. I thought it was kind of funny and captured the chaos of my life and it shows the absence of authority I have in the process of parenthood.
AE: I like that fact you didn’t use a ghost writer for your book. Was that very important to you?
JG: To be clear I did it with my wife. It was interesting because I had an offer to do a book a couple years ago. I knew I didn’t want to have a ghost writer. I am glad that I waited because often with books or even comedy books there is this motivation of wanting to get a lump sum of money, getting on the New York Times best seller list, or just to say that they did a book. I am grateful that I did not get caught up in that.
AE: I have two daughters and people are always asking if my wife and I are going to have more kids. Some people say it gets easier after two. I don’t get the math on that. You and your wife have five kids. So tell me does it get easier?
JG: Well I think the biggest adjustment was two kids. At least for me. There is an asterisk next to that because I am a guy who travels a lot doing stand-up comedy. I get this forced one or two break every week.
I think it is very fascinating how everyone is really curious about how everyone else is going to procreate. It is baffling! You would never ask someone when they are getting their hair cut. People are consumed with curiosity if a couple is married or dating for longer than six months people suddenly need to know whether they are going to have a baby.
It is rude really. I don’t care, but I just think it is funny. I know that we have had way beyond the normal amount of children. People are like are you going to have any more children. I am like why do you care? Are you going to pay for their college? How is that any of your business? This myth of overpopulation that comes from 18th century England that no want to admit is just B.S. Why does anyone else care? It is like don’t worry I am taking care of this. People don’t ask why someone owns two cars.
AE: As a father what would you say are some of the most challenging aspects about being a parent?
JG: I think it is an ongoing thing of checking in. It is overwhelming the fact that you are in charge of another human being develop. For me it is a constant battle of keeping a balance between work and parenting. I think that we have found a good balance with me doing stand-up. I am lucky enough to do theaters and I can travel with my kids on the tour bus.
Even writing this book it took me away from parenting responsibilities that I think are pretty important. There are important things and it is not about going to birthday parties. It is about being there when they go to the doctor and listening to a good dose of the guilt. I think it is going beyond ordering pizza and going to dance recitals. I want to be involved in a certain level.
It was interesting writing the book. In the end I remember thinking if no one buys the book at least if my kids eventually ever read it they would say he was thinking a lot about parenting. He was not perfect, but he tried.
JG: Well when I started about 20 years ago I would see comedians talk about their wife and kids. I remember sitting in the audience going that is great I can’t even get a date. I don’t know what you are talking about. I made it a point never really going beyond in an hour show maybe talking about being a parent or my kids for more than five minutes.
I would almost censor myself. I can’t be the kids or parents comedian because there are going to be 20 year olds in my audience or there are going to people without kids in my audience. I always life for my stand-up to appeal to everyone. I intentionally did censor it. I think with Twitter I had an outlet to pump out some of these parenting observations and it would be fine.
To listen to the entire interview click here!
Iron Man 3 has been out for a few weeks in theatres. IMDB has the film ranking 7.8 out of 10. Some enjoyed the film, while others thought it was just okay. To me the Iron Man trilogy was great. One of the reasons why the Marvel Comics superhero went from a “B” status to an “A” status was because of Robert Downey Jr. He played Tony Stark to perfection. It was smart move on Marvel to start the Avenger film series with Iron Man.
If you saw the Iron Man 3 ending credits there was a montage of all the three films almost to say that this could be Downey Jr.’s last stand alone movie as Tony Stark. There have been rumors on geek blogs and film forums talking about whether or not Robert will come back to do another Iron Man film.
With that said Marvel will still be churning out these films even if they can’t get Downey Jr. to come back for Iron Man 4. (If there is one) So with that being said here are five ways that you can prep to be the next Iron Man. Follow these five steps and you might get to have Jarvis at your beck and call.
The Car – Audi R8
You can pick up Tony’s ride for around $150,000. Stark has had the misfortune of losing a few of his cars, but the car’s sticker price is mere pocket change for a billionaire. For us common folk the R8 is real investment. Still you can’t be seen driving a Civic if you plan to live the life of Tony Stark, so start saving up!
One of Tony’s distinguishing characteristics is his goatee. Downey Jr. had to grow a thin mustache and a beard to look like Stark. He had to shave his beard so that he had a thin strip of hair extending from the point of his chin to just pass the corners of the mouth. Then he had to get his hair to grow out to the point of the chin and shave it so that it forms two diamonds of bare skin between the ends of the mustache. Think you can handle that?
Stark’s intelligence allowed him to create weapons of all shapes and sizes. The best thing he created was of course the Iron Man suit. Since you might not have the allowance or know how yet to create these gadgets you can check out places like ThinkGeek to pick up things like the Tony Stark Light-Up LED Iron Man 3 Shirt. Along with the R8 and goatee the shirt will make you start to have people wonder if you are part of the Avengers.
Go to College
I am guessing that most of you reading this didn’t go to MIT when you were 15 years old. If you did well than congrats. If not then you should start to fill out your application for Stark’s alma mater. If the tuition to MIT is out of your price range you can always just go to your local university and get Master’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics. After completing your Master’s you will have the tech and gadget savvy to start building the Iron Man suits.
Be A Smart Ass
Finally last but not least be a complete smart ass to everyone. Stark was known to be egotistical and brash. Out of these five steps this is the easiest one to attain. The banter alone between Tony Stark and Harley Keener, played by Ty Simpkins in Iron Man 3 was spectacular. Simpkins plays a kid who helps Tony out during the film. You would think Stark would be nice to a twelve year old kid, but no. Tony doesn’t care who you are, he will just speak his mind so you should do the same.
HOLLYWOOD, CA- Though I’ve observed the Scion brand for years I’ve enjoyed very limited interactions with the cars themselves. This all changed last week on assignment for MANjr at the luxurious W Hotel in Hollywood, CA. Members of mainstream auto and lifestyle media descended upon Toyota’s Scion Experience to learn about and drive the 2014 versions of the tC, xB, xD, iQ and the sporty FR-S.
Scion gives their customers exactly what they want. The “Pure Price” philosophy gives the buyer one price for each model. There is no bundling of features, no trim levels, no interior packages. One car, one price. No haggling, no sneaky sales techniques. Which is not to say that the Scion cars are homogenous in any way. Whether online or at the dealership each individual buyer can tailor their new car to exactly the features and specs they want and can afford. The dozens of options available have the potential for countless variations and customization, all done in a simple, straight forward and accessible way.
The ever changing nature of Scion’s buyers make them very nimble in their marketing. What was once a brand focused on hip hop and graffiti evolved quickly with it’s customers to adopt dub step and retail art. Authentic relationships have been forged with young artists, producers, clothing and shoe designers to continue to not only reinforce the brand’s place in the youth marketplace but to also learn from and adapt to the shifting economics and desires of Generation Y. Flash has been replaced with practical. Transporting people has become transporting things, premium sound systems become standard, fuel economy becomes paramount. Though the Scion brand is proudly associated with the boxy xB, they go beyond the square with these three models in 2014.
The best selling car in the Scion flock, this sporty coupe comes loaded with features and drives great. You sit low to the ground and feel wider than you are thanks to numerous design accents. The steering wheel fits around you, bolstered seats hold you in tight. Like all Scions, it comes with a banging sound system with bluetooth and aux input standard. The tC has tight handling and rides smoothly. It accelerates quickly and efficiently to the top end of city driving and does it without jerking you forward and back as the engine shifts up and down. At about $20,000 you get a lot of new car for your buck, with Kelley Blue Book’s top 10 resale value, you retain that buck over the life of the car. Check out some of these standard features
- Panoramic Moon Roof
- 18” Alloy Wheels
- 8 Speaker 300 Watt Sound System with 6.1” Touchscreen Display
- 2.5 L 4 cylinder engine
- 172 HP
- 31 highway MPG
- $19,965 MSRP or $189/MO 36 month lease
If we’re giving out awards for the launch, most surprising would have to go to the little Scion iQ. This diminutive car is so small you can fit two in one standard parking space and do u-turns on residential streets. Parallel parking is so simple it feels almost foreign. Here’s the surprising part. This car, on the inside, doesn’t feel tiny at all. It has a reasonable amount of legroom, decent headroom and an acceptable amount of cabin space for a driver and his passenger. The little engine showed some spunk at city speeds and navigating through Hollywood and Koreatown’s congested streets made for a simple and fun drive.
- 6 speaker 160 Watt Sound System with 6.1” touchscreen display
- 37 combined MPG (best non hybrid fuel economy)
- 50/50 split fold rear seats
- 2 Year, 25,000 mile free maintenance program
- 11 Airbags, including an industry first rear window air bag
- $16,420 MSRP or $139/MO 36 month lease
Here’s the car everyone’s asking about. The FR-S represents the culmination of a partnership with Subaru to design and engineer a front engine, rear wheel drive sports car for both brands. This car could quickly become a cult classic. Front engine rear wheel drive cars make great track cars for drifting enthusiasts and Scion knows it. Knows it so well in fact that one of the demonstrations made sure to mention that 4 racing tires could be fit in the back with the seats folded flat. Shifting and gear management was made easy thanks to the engine’s growling internal sound creator. The car has some fire in it’s belly for sure, the low center of gravity and tuned suspension gave it great handling in and out of the winding roads of the Hollywood Hills. The car has a good push off the line and gets up to speed quickly and efficiently. Stay tuned for more on the FR-S, we’ve put in a request with Scion for more time with this little beauty.
- 2.0L 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC VVT-i D4S injection boxer engine
- 200HP at the top end of 7,000 RPM / 151 FT. LBS of Torque at 6400 RPM
- Macpherson Strut front/ Double wishbone rear suspension
- 8 Speaker, 300 Watt sound system with 6.1” touchscreen display
- $25,255 MSRP or $293/MO 36 month lease
We all want to party like a rock star…well most of us. Since we can’t all be rock stars why not be their personal bartender? Kid Rock is teaming up with Jim Beam to give you the opportunity to pack your bags and hit the road with Kid Rock for three tour stops this summer, experience a one-on-one bartender training from Beam’s Master Mixologist and earn a $10,000 salary package.
You can enter Jim Beam’s Mix for Kid Rock Contest to compete for the chance to be the rock star’s personal bartender during his “Best Night Ever” tour. Click here for more details. Just imagine working for Kid Rock on tour during the after party. This is one opportunity you can’t pass up!
Watch the video below as Kid Rock offers you the job of a lifetime.
Rich Franklin has many passions. One of course is fighting in the UFC. Franklin has won three UFC Middleweight Champions by defeating Evan Tenner in 2005, Nate Quarry in 2005 and David Loiseau in 2006. He has wins against legendary fighters such as Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell. Outside the ring, Franklin was spotlighted by the UFC and became an ambassador for the organization, traveling all over the world including Canada, Germany and Ireland on behalf of the sport to speak about such topics such as sport safety and other controversial topics to educate the public.
Rich supports the Disabled American Veterans group and has been a spokesperson since 2006. He has made numerous trips to supports the troops in Iraq, Persona Gulf, Italy and Bahrain as well as has visited the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Wounded Warrior Barracks Camp Lejeune and the UCLA Veterans hospital as well as numerous other military facilities domestically. He also holds the Cancer Kids Foundation and organizations that support breast cancer research close to his heart as well as the American Heart Association. He is looking to open his new juice bars in Los Angeles called Zelin.
Rich took time out of his busy schedule to talk UFC, nicknames, and much more!
Art Eddy: Before fighting in the UFC you used to be a high school teacher. How did you transition from being a teacher to a UFC fighter?
Rich Franklin: I think a lot of people get caught up in the Hollywood notion that I was a teacher one day and the next day I was a fighter. It wasn’t like that. My senior year of high school I was playing football, but I knew I wasn’t good enough to play in college. After football I got into martial arts because I needed something to fulfill that competitive spirit and I was always an athlete.
It started out strictly as a hobby. I enjoyed martial arts because I was able to stay in shape and also defend myself. That year the UFC came out and I started watching it. I became addicted to watching the fights. My senior year in college one of my buddies dared me to do an amateur fight and I did.
I happen to be really good at it. I had no aspiration to do this professionally. It never really entered my mind until my third year of teaching. I woke up one day and thought I wonder if I could fight professionally and that it would be my full time job. I asked a gentleman that was managing my training if I could do this professionally. He said that I would do really, really well.
It was a tricky process. I spent five years in college. I had two undergrad degrees. I went back for my masters in the summer while I was teaching. I told myself that I was going to walk away from something that I was doing for my whole life and try something completely different.
AE: How stressful was it to make that leap from teacher to fighter?
RF: It was really stressful more on the financial side of things. My last year of teaching was 2002. If you look at the history of MMA back then it wasn’t really that popular. It wasn’t like I thought of leaving teaching to become a professional football player.
When I told my dad that I was leaving teaching and going into fighting, he told me that I was wasting my education. When I told him the news I really think he wanted to hit me. (Both laugh). So during my training I wasn’t working. I didn’t have any paychecks coming in. Fortunately my wife was working. She is a teacher. It kept us steady. I had some money saved, but we were watching our finances closely.
I knew that there were a couple of matches that I needed to fight in to advance my career in MMA. If I won these fights it would put me in the right direction to have a great career. At times it felt like a slow process and I thought of going back to teaching because I didn’t see any financial reward. There is only so much time that you can do this without health benefits and you say to yourself that I might need to do something else.
AE: Once you started to make a name for yourself in UFC what did your dad say?
RF: It’s funny many people ask me what is my proudest moment in my career. They are expecting me to say a time that I knocked out someone in a fight. For me the proudest moment in my career is when my dad told me in hindsight you made the right career move. To me that moment is the most rewarding point in my career.
RF: It is funny you ask that. To me winning the title was anticlimactic. I was so focused on the goal that I didn’t enjoy the ride. I remember that first time I won the title I took the belt home and went back to my hotel room. I looked at the belt and went from a stadium that had thousands of fans screaming to a room that had my coaches and a few of my closest friends.
I asked my friends if this was what it was supposed to be like just me and a few of my closest friends in silence. I didn’t know if I was expecting a ticker tape parade like when soldiers came back from World War II, but I didn’t enjoy the ride. That time was really like a blur. It just happened so quickly.
AE: Who would you want to fight next?
RF: I don’t really care. I am training, but I am not fight training. There is a difference between just training recreationally and training for a fight. My fight time table so to speak has been pushed back a bit. For me I look at a fight to see if it makes sense.
If the fight looks like it will be exciting and the fans will enjoy it than that is a fight that I want to be in. My fans on Twitter say I should fight Michael Bisping. Now suddenly all the headlines are saying that I am calling out Bisping. That isn’t the case. If I mention his name on Twitter it is because I think he is a great fighter and I respect him, but I never called out anyone to fight against.
AE: Speaking of Twitter, do you think it is funny how close fans can get to you and other MMA fighters? Plus do find fans or people might twist your words when you say something on Twitter?
RF: Oh all the time. First off I grew up when the internet wasn’t that popular. I didn’t have an email account until college. Today kids only know of a world with the internet. Now people just use 140 characters on Twitter to get their point across and someone might flip that around to hear what they want. You have to watch what you put out there since everyone has access to it.
AE: For those who don’t know tell me how you got the nickname “Ace?”
RF: Just last night I was at a store and someone swore up and down that I was Jim Carrey. She couldn’t believe that I wasn’t him. I fed into it a bit in the beginning which I probably shouldn’t have, but it was funny. So since I look like Jim Carrey and he was the star in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” I got the nickname of Ace.
People have amazing nicknames like “The Hammer” and “Bone Crusher.” It is like the movie “Top Gun.” Everyone had a cool nickname like “Maverick.” How is that for a great nickname? I tried to play the name of “Ace” like it was cool, but no. People say I look like Jim Carrey on steroids. Not saying I am on steroids, but that is what people tell me.
AE: Watch people read this and all of a sudden MMA fans on Twitter say Rich Franklin is on steroids.
RF: (Laughs) Yea right. I can see the headlines now Rich Franklin is on steroids. You never know what type of headlines people will come up with.
RF: Training has changed quite a bit. When I started out training for MMA I saw that fights would be one fighter’s style versus another fighter’s style. Now you need to be good at all kinds of martial art styles. I consider myself a second generation of MMA fighters. I started to see people mesh different styles together. So I started to do that as well when I was training.
When I was five years old I never said I want to be a UFC Champion. It didn’t exist. I wanted to play football. Now kids grow up saying that they want to get into MMA and fight in the UFC. So people at a young age are learning to fight different styles of martial arts. Instead of having to go through how to find which forms of martial arts will work for them, they learn how to mesh them all together. Training has definitely evolved since I started.
AE: You are working on opening up a new juice bar in Los Angeles. Tell me how you started that up?
RF: It isn’t open yet, but we are working on it. The juice bar is called Zelin. The juice bars will feature whole food blending, recipes designed by chefs, and low-calorie vegan pastries that will separate us from the other organic juice companies out there.
There are these vegan chocolate chip cookies that are amazing. Once you tasted them you would not know that they were vegan cookies. I can’t wait for the stores to open up.
AE: You are the author of “The Complete Idiots Guide to Ultimate Fighting.” What made you write that?
RF: At that time I was approached by the publishing company about this book. It took a long time to write that book. There were revisions after revisions. I was telling people that I would not ghost write another book again. I would just write my own book. It would be much easier.
At the time the UFC was not widely known and we thought there would be a great market for that book. The causal UFC fan might not know all the terms and this book helps with that. People could pick up this book and learn more about the sport. I think most of the people that bought the book did it for their UFC collection.
RF: They have a station in Northern Kentucky. I am originally from Cincinnati and one of the guys that is involved in that organization was working out where I trained. He approached me because I was doing a ton of military stuff. I went overseas to visit the troops in places like Iraq and Japan. I also visited some of the VA hospitals.
These guys knew that I had a thing for helping veterans and asked me if I wanted to help out. I told them whatever they needed. I am passionate about the military especially the disabled veterans. I was at the Intrepid in San Antonio and saw all the different prosthetics that are being made. They look to make these prosthetics to help people who are athletes and still want to be active.
I went to Aspen for an event that they were having and these guys were beating me in hockey and skiing and everything else. I tell you these guys are legit. One of the guys I went skiing with I told him something along the line of I’ll see you at the bottom. He says yea if you can keep up. Sure enough he beat me and I could not keep up with him. These guys are amazing to see what they can do.
I told the DAV that I would love to come back and help out again. I would love to run an MMA seminar for these guys. It just my way of giving back. I am a very blessed individual and I just want to do my part and give back to the community.
David Copperfield is the most celebrated magician/illusionist/entertainer guy of our generation. He’s had a career that’s spanned nearly four decades. Copperfield started doing magic at the age of 10. At age 12, he was the youngest person ever to be admitted in the Society of American Magicians. From 1977 to 2001, Copperfield hosted 20 different TV specials. These specials earned 21 Emmy Awards out of 38 nominations. Copperfield has disappeared everything from a Ferrari, to a Learjet and even the Statue of Liberty. One thing that hasn’t disappeared, though, is Copperfield’s ability to make bank.
Forbes has dubbed Copperfield the most commercially successful magician of all time. His shows have grossed more than $3 billion, which, by the way, is the highest gross of any solo entertainer in history. Yeah, no big deal. Throughout the 2000s, Copperfield appeared frequently on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List. Dude was paid $60 million is 2001, $55 million in 2003, $57 million in both 2004 and 2005 and he took in $30 million in 2009. Oh, and he still performs more than 600 shows per year at the MGM Grand.
So what does a guy do with that kind of scratch? Well, attracting French and German supermodels isn’t a bad start. But how about investing in a nice vacation home? Some place where you can get away from it all when you’re not performing non-stop throughout the year.
Well a simple vacation home wouldn’t be David Copperfield’s style. Instead, Copperfield purchased an entire chain of 11 islands in the Bahamas. Mucha Cay is Copperfield’s home away from Vegas. Dubbed the islands of Copperfield Bay, this is the type of place where the co-founder of Google wants to get married (Sergey Brin in 2007). Mucha Cay is a 700-acre stretch of sugar sand, lush green paradise. The 11 private islands are located about 85 miles from Nassau, Bahamas. There’s a private airstrip that shuttles posh visitors in where there are accommodations available in five extra-luxurious guest houses. The rates aren’t cheap though, my friend. We’re talking $37,500 a day for up to 12 persons with a four-night minimum.
But hey, you don’t have to be on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List to visit the Bahamas. It’s actually a pretty easy spot to get to. The Ministry of Tourism needed an ambassador to promote travel to the Bahamas, and David Copperfield was a solid choice. In the interview below, I chat with Copperfield about his career, keeping his act fresh and the rejuvenating properties of traveling to the Caribbean in general and Bahamas in particular.
Recycling and caring about the environment isn’t just for hippies you know. You can still be a badass and care about the planet, too. We’ve told you about Valvoline NextGen oil in the past. It’s some high-tech, high-sustainability-conscious stuff. It’s a motor oil made that’s made using 50% recycled motor oil, and the reusability factor doesn’t take away from your car’s performance. In fact, this stuff fuels cars that win races.
To get the word out about NextGen, Valvoline produced a 30-second spot that gives new definition to the concept of tree hugging. Here’s the video:
And here’s a behind the scenes look at the Tree Hugger spot:
Next time you get your oil change, think about the choices you have. If you want to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and help save the planet in the process, ask the dudes at the oil change spot to fill up your wheels with some of this good recycled stuff in the green bottle.