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It's tough to compete with "Fearless" Felix Baumgartner, who leaped 23 miles from space recently, but we've got nine other solid candidates for Biggest Badass of 2012. They include athletes, people who came face to face with aquatic beasts looking for a snack and a rapper who taught a burglar that he broke into the wrong f***ing home.
Some candidates unexpectedly met danger, others invited it. All the candidates appear below because they didn't cower in fear and cry for mommy. One or two may have peed their pants, but remember that's a natural bodily reaction. Meet the top 10 below badasses below and then crown one of them below.
Most of us wouldn't strap a cord to a 16,000-pound truck and then pull it 70 feet with our ears. But then, most of us aren't Lasha Pataraya, 32-year-old Eastern European former champion wrestler, who just set a new world record for his feat of strength. (He previously pulled a helicopter with his ear, because of course he did.)
His countrymen then lifted him on their shoulders, full of patriotism and vodka. When earth runs out of fossil fuels, Pataraya will be our only method of vehicular transportation. Video below:
The only guy "mad enough" to visit each of the 201 sovereign states in the world, British man Graham Hughes has successfully completed his four-year, 160,000 mile odyssey expedition without ever flying. Hughes is a filmmaker and international travel badass. He pretty much hitched a ride on anything that moves in order to complete his mission (and maybe even on a few women), including on an open fishing canoe en route from Senegal to Cape Verde, which led to his arrest and six days of captivity in the Democratic Republic of Congo on suspicion of spying.
"The really tough ones were places like Nauru, and the Maldives and the Seychelles, island countries where there were also sometimes pirate threats," Hughes said. He's spent four years on the road, but Hughes isn't wealthy or a travel snob: He did it all on only $100 a week and couch-surfed while raising funds for the charity WaterAid. Now he's officially the ginger international man of mystery. Hughes has a page, "thatgingercouser," on YouTube where you can check out his odyssey. Watch and learn:
Yesterday, Florida man George Verdecia went fishing with his brother at 2 a.m., which is obviously the perfect time to catch marlin. They caught a wave instead, capsizing their boat and launching both of them into the pitch-black water. The brother swam to shore, but George wasn't wearing a life vest. Fortunately, he had chilled beverages nearby.
"He's fine, he's just really cold right now," his girlfriend told reporters. "He has really bad back problems, so he wasn't able to move basically because his back hurt too much." (Let's hope he drank some floating brewskies to alleviate the pain.)
A Coast Guard lieutenant criticized George's choice to forsake traditional safety equipment, but nonetheless remarked, "Had he not had the cooler ... I'm not too confident that that individual would have survived this morning."
There you have it from the U.S. government, folks: bring as much beer as possible on your next fishing trip. What could go wrong?
Teenage thieves of Sacramento who prey on the elderly: your day of reckoning has arrived. Meet your new predator, 75-year-old Don Kiefert.
After burglars broke into the senior citizen's home awhile back, he resolved that it would never happen again. On Saturday morning, Kiefert's barking dog warned him of trouble: a couple adolescents had encroached upon his yard. So Kiefert busted out a homemade bow (and gnarly-tipped arrows) that he had made three decades earlier.
One suspect ran away, but the old man told the other, "If you try to run, I'm going to skewer you." Not wanting to be skewered, the kid didn't move until police arrived. The cops let him go absent evidence that he intended to steal anything, but he probably won't return for any reason, ever.
Though Kiefert lacks Jennifer Lawrence's good looks, he's got the confidence part down and showed his marksmanship. Watch the video below.
Last night Grinnell College Pioneer sophomore guard Jack Taylor obliterated a longstanding NCAA record for points in a single game with 138, a cool 25 better than the previous record holder netted in 1954. You may be wondering, Did Taylor & Co. play a group of uniformed toddlers? No. Did he actually playing an elongated Pop-a-Shot game at an arcade? Nah. Grinnell competed against Faith Baptist Bible College's men's basketball team which managed to score over 100 in the 179-104 defensive struggle.
Still not impressed? Grinnell reports that Taylor also broke NCAA records for field goals (52), field goals attempted (108), 3-pointers (27) and 3-pointers attempted (71).
"That's crazy, man. I don't care what level you're at. Scoring 138 points is pretty insane," said Kobe Bryant. Fair enough, Kobe.
Taylor's 108 field goals in only 36 minutes amounts to one attempt every 20 seconds. You may also be wondering, "Was the shot clock set to seven seconds?" Not that we're aware of. Taylor shot 38% from beyond the arc and 68% inside it, adding seven points at the free throw line.
"He must have been wearing the Mambas, man," said Kobe. "Only Mambas have no conscience to shoot the ball that much."
We're pretty fond of the Jersey shore, as well as "Jersey Shore," so we feel obligated to salute native son Ed Kloskowski's mission to help New Jersey's Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. Beginning on Friday, the 46-year-old Ironman will run 220.61 miles (not a typo) over four consecutive days (also not a typo) from the state's most northwestern point to its most southeastern point near Cape May.
He's hoping to raise more than $20,000 in pledges for ongoing relief work, which amounts to approximately $91 per mile.
It's hard to wrap our heads around 70 miles of running per day for the better part of a week. If all the Guy Code bloggers relayed over that distance, it would take us two weeks, 50 energy bars, 165 liters of Gatorade, a few rolls of tape to prevent nipple chafing and an Al Pacino "Any Given Sunday"-like motivational speech. Man, that would suck. Go, Ed!
You might want to pop a motion sickness tablet before watching the below video of a bicycle race in Taxco, Mexico. (Elevation: 5,833 feet.) Over the course of nearly five terror- and vertigo-inducing minutes, winner Brendan Fairclough rockets down stairs, dirt, stones and wooden ramps. As he mused on Twitter beforehand: "If it rains we are all dead."
Luckily for him, the Taxco Downhill didn't prove fatal: "Going to miss the food, but I will be back."
Doing this race with a belly full of burritos and enchiladas? Oh God, we just lost it...
An elderly Michigan man actually died Election Day at his polling location, but was brought back to life thanks to the swift intervention of a nurse who performed CPR.
"I was filling out the form as were an elderly couple sitting at a nearby table," said the 48-year-old rescuer, Ty Houston, according to the Detroit News. "His wife, who was helping him fill out the ballot, asked him a couple of questions but he didn't respond. She screamed for help and I went over to see what I could do."
Apparently the Grim Reaper has to kill the man harder next time. Now the incredible thing is, when the man began came back from the other side, first thing he asked was "Did I vote?" (He had.) Pretty incredible. We would have figured he said, "Man, that sucked!" or "Close call, honey!" or "Round of shots on me!!!" No. He was a man on a mission, singularly focused on his civic duty, come hell or high water or even temporary death. For an encore, he'll have to come back to life at a drive thru window. "Did I order?!"
With the passing of October, we now enter the month of Movember. (No, not November, despite what your calendar would have you believe.) Men around the world are encouraged to grow a mustache to raise awareness of male health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer.
As a kickoff to Movember, we bring you Today's Badass, Adam Paul Causgrove, whom the American Mustache Institute has crowned its Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year. We didn't know those two things existed, but we're glad they do.
The award isn't simply given for a superior mustache; it's given for "best representing the sexually dynamic Mustached American lifestyle." We didn't know about that either, but Causgrove--who beat out Nick Offerman and St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher--seems like a good guy. He founded Tail-Great, a tailgating event for charity, and proved his patriotism during his acceptance speech: "I’m very proud to be representing Mustached Americans both across our great country and abroad to inferior nations."
If you'd like to make a donation to fight men's cancers, check out Movember.com.