For those of you bummed on the irrelevance of these posts (Boo and Lucien, as well), this is a work in progress. If there’s a team change, skate news story or any other thing in skateboarding that makes you ask yourself a question, whether fully skate-related or not, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject “Skate/explain”) and I’ll try to answer it. Let’s say there’s news about Jani Laitiala, changing sponsors, but you can’t get the image of those people in the north of Finland with pointy hats and long shirt-skirts that herd reindeer all day out of your head and you want to know who they are, send in a question. If a Rasa Libre promo drops of Matt Field and he’s playing a sitar and you want to know what the hell the instrument is, I’ll try to ask him about it. If you’re puzzled by how Wieger Van Wageningen got his last name, I’ll try to figure out where it came from. Let’s say Mike Carroll had some Internet clip and you have an acid flashback about his old Vans shoe and want to find out what happened to it, send it my way. Ask away and I’ll try to track the information down from the skaters themselves and get back to you one to two times a week in SKATE/explain. Thanks.
With the release of Lizard King's new shoe—the Bullet—it makes you wonder what the history of the flying projectile that lends its name to the new Supra shoe is anyway. While it seems self-explanatory, bullets predated actual firearms, when they were used with slings. Lead bullets from Athens were found around 4th century BC (roughly 2400 years ago) with "Take That" written in Greek, words that would probably be one bummer of a message to get as some ill-suited "doctor" is fishing the thing out with a stick.
When firearms were developed around 1500 to 1800, bullets advanced considerably from round musket balls to conical shapes. The modern bullet is made up of a lead core covered in copper—the actual “bullet”—on top of a case that is filled with gunpowder. So, technically, just the tip (remember playing that game with your girlfriend?) is the bullet and the whole thing is formally called a cartridge.
Underneath the gunpowder, at the base of the bullet, is the primer, a small amount of shock-sensitive explosive material. When the trigger's pulled, the hammer of the gun crushes the primer at the base of the bullet, causing it to light. The flame travels inside the case, lights the gunpowder and with nowhere for the explosion to go, it pushes the bullet out of the top, most likely, to merk up some poor soul or destroy a target. As is sometimes the case with this here column, I went to Lizard to find out what he knew about the bullet.
Lizard, you’ve got a shoe named the Bullet. Do you actually know anything about bullets?
No, not really. I mean, I know how they work.
Have you ever shot a gun?
Yeah, I’ve shot like shotguns, weird handguns…I shot an AK-47 the other day in Utah.
That pretty normal out in the desert?
Yeah, just shooting random shit, like bottles and shit. Don’t know anything about guns or bullets, but I know they’re pretty tight to shoot out in the desert. That’s about it.
A gazillion developments have been made throughout the bullet's lifespan, but Lizard King's Bullet—with a fan following not unlike Muska's in the Shorty's heyday—will definitely be the most popular design amongst skateboarders…if you don’t count Brad Staba and Brian Anderson at the shooting range.