Thursday, November 26, 2015

Kim Davis, Christianity's New Foot Soldier...

We here at "Busting Chops" try to steer clear of politics, religion, and race because these subjects are just too divisive, but this latest outrage has more to do with the galling levels of hypocrisy within the realm of public discourse, exemplified this time by the religious right. We have Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who had the audacity to take the law (Federal law, mind you) into her own hands and deny same-sex couples marriage licenses because it goes against her religious beliefs. We have Senator Ted Cruz on the campaign trail trying to convince America that Christians are being persecuted in this country, and that this is just another example of the attacks on wholesome middle American values. You know who he's talking about-the Americans that these presidential wanna-be douchebags pander to by anointing them the "REAL" Americans. The liberal media elites make their homes at the farther reaches of either shore NYC and California), but from sea to shining sea, these overall-wearing, ah-shucks rednecks are the red state constituency that is the cornerstone of conservative politics, the ones that eat shit like this up and take it as an opportunity to illustrate how the country is going to hell in a liberal handbasket. 

What galls me is Mike Huckabee has taken the mantle and ran with it. This guy believes that Federal law, as upheld by the Supreme Court, does not supercede God's law. According to Huckabee, that includes excluding people he doesn't like from Federal protection accorded to all US citizens. Then we get thrusted into a cynically staged, mentally dulsional Fundamentalist county fair when Davis was released from jail. She took off with it like a Division I mid-major basketball team who just found out they got an at-large bid to the NIT. The only thing missing was her (latest) husband biting the head off a chicken and drowning some poor schmuck in a dusty, polluted river to complete the baptism of stupidity we were subjected to. 

Davis pops out of the office wearing the latest in Puritan chic, replete with the one piece 17th Century homecoming gown with the sewn-on straps that made her look like Cotton Mather's estranged love partner. The only accessory she was missing was the black belt buckle shoes the Pilgrims wore to their first Thanksgiving. 

Let's keep in mind that she a publicly appointed publc official, and MUST abide by Federal law, which supercedes the teachings of the bible where it says homos are an abomination to mankind and  present an irreconcilable affront to traditional marriage between a man and a woman. And Davis should know, because she's been married four fucking times. We found a chart that illustrates her devotion to this sacred practice, which should sheds some light on why she deserves the ridicule she's getting-

I cannot fathom for the life of me how this woman was able to procure so many marriage proposals, but this is Kentucky we're talking about. Take a good look at this flat-assed, pasty white, bird-faced shrew. Can you imagine what sort of toxic waste gets dumped in the municipal drinking water in Kentucky when freaks like her are birthed? This is the same state that graced our planet with Ashley Judd, for cryin' out loud. How did this genetic malfeasance make it off the short bus to become a Federal county clerk? 

Nepotism, that's how. Her mother held the same position for 30 or so years, and had hired her daughter to work in the same office until she retired. Then Kim took over when mommy left. And suddenly she's been thrust into the national spotlight thanks to her refusal to obey and carry out the law. She has become a hero to the conservative right-wing religious zealots who want to turn back the clock on human rights. Let me remind Huckabee that God's law, as written in the bible, is a bit problematic when taken literally. For example, if you see your neighbor working on Sunday, you re well within your rights to stone him/her to death. This is why we have Judicial law, with a separation of church and state as an important facet. But these media whores took the opportunity to photo-op the hell out of this illegal activity for their purposes-

Check out Mike Huckabee (above) and Ted Cruz (below) with Kim Davis and her goofball husband with the overalls. All he's missing is a corn cob pipe, a banjo, and a bottle of moonshine-

American politics have become irrational and irreconcilable to the realities confronting average Americans. This incident is a perfect example that our leaders have everything going for them except leadership qualities, and it has to stop. Let's see how long it takes the American people to wake up and say "enough is enough". 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Advice for the incoming Latino Class of 2019, or however long it takes you to graduate...

If you're a young Latino from the 'hood and are attending college for the first time, we here at "Busting Chops" have compiled a list of "Do's and Don'ts" that will make acclimating to your new environment easier, because-and trust me on this one-no one will break it down for you like us.

1) Make sure you've cleared up any outstanding warrants before your first day of class.

2) Don't show up on campus with all your possessions in garbage bags. You're going to school, not a homeless shelter. Even if the only people you know who travel are convicted felons doing time upstate, somebody close to you must have at least one fucking "maleta" they can let you borrow, even if the zipper's broken and you have to close it with duct tape.

3) Do not throw trash out of your dorm window. You are living on a college campus, not in some urine-soaked tenement building in the Bronx where it's a given that nobody gives a fuck.

4) If you stroll by someone's dorm room and the door is open and no one is there, this is NOT an invitation for you to walk in and steal something.

5) When an attractive white girl you don't know walks by and says "hello", that does not mean she's a nymphomaniac and wants to sleep with you. She is just being friendly. Regardless of what you've heard, keg parties do not turn white girls into sluts. If no pretty girl would voluntarily sleep with you back home, all the Bill Cosby date rape drugs in the world will not alter this reality once you're on campus.

6) Make every effort to do well your first semester. It will set a better tone for the rest of your academic career than getting three incompletes and a C minus in "Inroduction to Elementary Spanish I". A poor performance will only cement the fact that you are illiterate in TWO languages (English and Spanish), and are on campus simply to fill a racial quota. Don't do that to yourself. Have some fucking pride.

7) Despite what your toothless, heroin-addicted uncle Pedro says, you cannot apply for a Section-8 voucher to help pay for on-campus housing.

8) Take advantage of the fact that you can eat three meals a day without having to worry about your mother's food stamps running out before the end of the month.

9) Don't go around telling people your father is a world famous guitarist just because your last name happens to be "Santana". You will then have to explain why he's rich and you are living in the projects.

10) If you've made it as far as college, you are no thug, so don't start acting like one in an attempt to impress or intimidate your white, middle-class, suburban classmates. Spare us the ghetto ghost stories of gangs, pimps, hustlers, and gratuitous shoot-outs over drug turf-that's what rap albums are for. If you're a student, that's not your life and it never was. Cut the crap and focus on what you're in college for, to avoid rape charges while trying to graduate within a reasonable time frame.

Editor's Note-To my fellow inner city Latino college-bound peeps out there, take very seriously this one and only opportunity you have to break the cycle of poverty. If you count on being the next Jay-Z or the next "Boy George" Rivera, then "Vaya con Dios" with that bullshit and read no further, because it won't do you any good. For all the rest who may give a damn and are truly concerned, here is the real scoop that no fucking guidance counselor will ever articulate to you-while in college, don't be the typical dickhead out every night partying, getting high and drunk, chasing pussy, and missing class if you're on scholarship. 

If you fuck up, you won't be allowed to return until you pay all that money back, Nowadays one semester at even a state institution of higher learning will run into the tens of thousands of dollars, which means the dream for you will  be over. I'm not joking about this. Schools will not release your transcripts until they are reimbursed for the money you wasted, which means you will not be allowed to attend even a community college until that debt is cleared. This includes student loans. Default on one of those and you'll never be allowed to apply for another one until you pay up. The rest of your better-off friends will be graduating while you are back livng in the ghetto wondering what the fuck happened, surrounded by losers who love nothing more than watching someone who had potential join them in their downward spiral towards the septic tank called Palookaville. 

Being poor and Latino means walking a fine line that does not allow for any fuck-ups. Don't make it worse by ruining what is arguably the only chance you'll get to change your life for the better. Have a great semester, gentlemen. I know you can do it.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The World's Most Expensive Adult Film...

We are back with the ubiquitous Fifty Cent (aka "Fitty"), who counts himself nearly penniless these days due to an financially lascivious lifestyle that he claims was an exaggeration for the sake of selling albums and generating social media buzz for his music label. He's in the process of filing for bankruptcy just so he can get out of paying a settlement to one Lastonia Leviston, the baby mama of Miami rapper Rick Ross. How'd the involved parties get to this point? Fitty made a sex tape with this woman and then released it to the public. He did this to shame Rick Ross, the fat, serial blunt-smoking, grossly-tattooed entertainer who claims a life of crime before the rap game when in reality he had the un-gangsterish job as a guard at a correctional facility. The release of this tape was the result of one of those tired rap beefs that flare up whenever one or both parties are looking for even more publicity, but this one went a bit too far in the direction of stupid for our resident hardcore rapper from Queens, New York.

                          You mean this ain't real?

Fitty lost on two counts-the initial award was for $5 million, with another one tacked on for another $2 milion in punative damages. I can see this being applicable, because poor Ms. Leviston has a reputation to uphold when she goes to the corner bodega to purchase menthol cigarettes and a six-pack of Coor's Light with her EBT card. We can't have the guys at the loosey spot thinking she's a whore now, can we? The video was posted in 2009, and Fitty released it when his beef with Ross was heating up. Apparently he was saving it just for a moment like this, and it backfired tremendously on him. But that how idiots behave when they have a milion dollars and no sense.

                          Rick Ross, having the last laugh...

Two issues played against the defendant. One, the trial was held in NYC, a city that has a reputation for handing out large settlements in civil cases, especially in the outer boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Two, Fifty Cent isn't exactly a hero to working class people or women. The manner in which he flaunts his wealth and his use of grotesque images of misogeny and violence to sell his warped ideal of the American Dream does not resonate with the average working class juror.

Let's get one thing straight-this Levinston twat is an absolute money-grubbing swine. She got with Rick Ross and had a child with him, and sued him for child support to support her ghetto bling-bling fantasies. She then got with Fitty as a revenge fuck against Ross and happily filmed an abhorrent sex tape where it is clear she was down with the program. She exibited the enthusiasm of an overweight suburban fuckface loser heading into a Subway sandwich shop to choke on a foot-long in the hopes  that he'll lose weight just like Jared.

Levinston outside the courthouse kissing and hugging the jurors who just made her rich- -

We here at "Busting Chops" pride ourselves on the integrity of our research, so for the sake of authenticity we sat down and watched the 13-minute video in question. It's absolutely vile. The beginning of the video shows Fitty in a costume trying out some half-baked comedy act. We don't remember his schtick because it wasn't funny. Then we see the offended party kneeling down and talking into the camera, making smiley faces and spreading her legs in gleeful joy. Nowhere in the hisotry of amateur adult cinema have I seen a whore so exstatic to express herself than on this video. She clearly knew she was being filmed and was happy to take part. The sex act itself has shitty production values, is badly choreographed, and shows Fitty looking like a bloated ex-athlete who had come down from a steroid cycle. Ms. Leviston is an absolute clydesdale, and I have no idea why a guy who has access to the most beautiful whores and hoochies this side of Hugh Hefner would stoop to having sex with this Malasian Hairy Backed Boar.

Levinson wanted revenge against her baby's father, and Fitty wanted to "stick it to him', as it were. It backfired for Fitty but morphed into a financial bonanza for the aggrieved party. The victim in all this is the child Ross had with this bitch. For the rest of her life she'll be inundated with taunts that her mother is a money-grubbing whore, and they would be correct in their ASS-essment. The poor child is going to suffer massive psychological trauma because of her mother, who doesn't care because that's how whores roll. But it's the financials that are of more interest, because Fifty Cent is crying that he's penniless for the purpose of not paying the judgements against him. He is also on the hook for $18 million to a headphone company when the deal fell through.

Meanwhile, all he did was brag about his $100 million dollar buy-out of his shares of the Vitamin Water company, and had purchased Mike Tyson's old pimp mansion back when Iron Mike was getting played like a lute by the queen of all pop culture gold digging tramps, Robin Givens. When asked in Federal court about his earnings selling warmed-over, bullshit, played-out gangster rap to idiotic suburban youth and even more stupid urban youth who consider this dickhead a hero, he stated he only made 10 cents an album. That doesn't like a deal a smart businessman would make, and it probably isn't true. But he surely had no problems flaunting his wealth on videos and on every single red carpet to every single moronic, meaningless awards show in Hollywood, so now he's going to be made accountable for every dime because eventually, he's going to have to pay these settlements, even if it's 50 cents at a time. And it couldn't have happened to bigger asshole.

                                Monopoly money, baby-

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich...

This is the title of a book (and a film) that has nothing to do with the Subway fast food franchise, but it is apropos to the situation they find themselves in. For the last 17 years, they've dedicated the majority of their advertising muscle on the inprobable story of an anonymous midwestern dork who claimed he lost hundreds of pounds simply by exercising (walking was major part of his regimen because he was too fucking fat to run) and eating two Subway sandwiches a day. He had an innocuous, non-threatening, "I'm an everyday guy just like you" type of charisma, replete with perfectly aligned, phosphorescent white teeth and a sincere, ah shucks smile that was made for tv. People could identify with this schmuck because he was "one of us", an everyman-turned-media star by virtue of accomplishing something many Americans struggle with-weight loss.

Hence the advertising scheme came to life. Anyone can lose weight by eating our sandwiches!!! Just ask Jared!!! Give Subway props for being able to market this semi-androgynous doufus as a weight losing, marathon-running swashbuckler to frustrated lardasses everywhere in an attempt to sell under-meated, over-lettuced bullshit sandwiches to an unsuspecting public for the last 17 years. A hero ain't nuthin' but a sandwich, less so in this case.

                        Too old for you, motherfucker?   

The odd thing about this character was that no one seemed to tire of him. He cultivated the persona of the harmless, ageless spokesperson for weight loss despite the fact that he was shilling one of the worst gastonomical monstrosities this side of a rat salad. Fogle wrote an inspirational book, made public appearances all over the world, and was celebrated as "The Subway Guy". He lived in a very nice suburb in Indiana and had a net worth of around 17 million dollars. Not bad for someone who has no talent whatsoever.

But there always seems to be a "but" behind every American success story. Jared Fogle, despite raking in millions of dollars for basically playing himself on countless Subway commercials and print advertisements, has admitted to engaging in sexual acts with underage girls. The lasciviousness of his actions are recounted in court documents, where on one trip to NYC he asked a 17-year old if she had any friends, "the younger the better". He was also found with child pornography on his computer, supplied to him by Russell C. Taylor, the former executive director of his charity called "The Jared Foundation". Taylor attempted suicide while incarcarated for similar charges. Fogle has stated that he shocked-SHOCKED!!!-that the manager of his charity was dabbling in child pornography, when he was in on it with him the whole time.

Hindsight being 20/20, this photo seems quite inappropriate-

One neighbor's response was, sadly, way too typical. When asked about the situation, the person feigned disbelief, and stated "I never thought something like this could happen HERE". By "here" he meant the lilly-white suburbs of Indiana. So much for wholessome midwestern values.

Money and fame do strange things to people. It also does strange things to strange people. I heard someone say "if you want to see someone's true character, give them some money and see how they act". Well, I think we've seen enough with this schlub. Looking back on it, it all makes sense. He had a certain creepiness to his demeaner, as if he were merely a puppet stuffed with lettuce and condiments like the average Subway sandwich. He seemed oddly calm and at peace with the world, wanting nothing more than to stroll over to his nearest Subway store for his daily foot-long piece of crap sandwich that no self-respecting connosoir would go near.

Subway did a great job marketing this guy, and now they will pay the price. Then again, their problems didn't start with this unfortunate choice of spokeperson, nor will it end with him. They sell terrible sandwiches. One of the active ingredients in their bread is a plastic-type filler that is used to manufacture yoga mats. There are twice as many Subway franchises as McDonald's, it's kissing cousin in the synthetic fast food meat wars. You can't make money by over-saturating the market with unadulterated garbage that can be found somewhere else except with more quality ingredients. They will have to scale down and cut their franchises by at least half if they want to sustain viability in a market where they are competing with the local deli. I know mine makes much better sandwiches, and I have a choice of about 15 in a three-block span. The only subway I go into is the one that takes me downtown, where I have to share a compartment with the resident welfare queens and Section-8 losers here in NYC.

Due to a plea deal, Fogle is facing a minimum of five years in prison, and has agreed to pay out $1.4 million dollars to a multitude of victims. His wife is divorcing him, so he can say good-bye to at least 50% of whatever net worth he had left, plus the house. When he gets out he'll has to register as a sex offender. The only place that will have him will be Compton, so he'd better familiarize himself with NWA's Greatest Hits so he can fit in.

The question is this-are there any heroes left in the world that aren't served with tomatoes, pickles, and  a side order of Federal indictments? Hulk Hogan, the 1980's pro wrestling icon, who cajoled all his little Hulk-o-Maniacs to drink their milk, eat their veggies, and say their prayers every night, turned out to be a steroid-addled racist. Bill Cosby, once America's favorite dad, was a slimy, self-promoting huckster/rapist who ghoulishly drugged his victims to have sex with them when they were passed out. And now we have Jared Fogle. We are left with Donald Trump, douchebag extraordinaire, a man running for President of the United States who is so clearly out of touch with the American people that he appears in public with an albino beaver pelt on his head and wants everyone to think it's not a fucking wig that's been perma-drilled into his scalp by the same engineers who dug Chapo Guzman's escape tunnel.

What the fuck is this world coming to...

Editor's note-it seems as if the Subway fast food company was warned about Fogles' predilictions years earlier but chose to ignore them. The latest allegations are that he took vacations to Thailand to have sex with girls as young as 9. Just for this they should be closed down, but they of course deny it.

Ah, but there's more. His charity, which was supposed to donate $2 million dollars yearly to childhood obesity programs all across the country, never handed out one freakin' dime to anyone. They did pay a hefty salary to Fogle's partner-in-porno-crime Russel C. Taylor, who Fogle is now suing because the house he lived in was paid by a loan from Fogle. Fogle is looking to claim the property because Russell hasn't made any payments on said loan due to the inconvenient fact that he's in jail. 

All of this would be funny if it weren't so pathetic and sad. This guy was able to make a mint by advertising himself as the weight-loss champion of the United States, and all he had to do was keep eating those horrid sandwiches and doing personal appearances for the company, and yet that wasn't enough. Lusting after little children was what was eating at him (pun intended) the whole time he was smiling into the camera while cajoling all of us us to "eat fresh". When I think of this slogan, it never occured to me that he was talking about 9-year old Thai girls the whole time. Fuck you, Jared-I hope you rot in hell. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"El Chapo" Rides Again...

Want to know how long it takes to build a state-of-the-art tunnel underneath a maximum security prison for the sole purpose of escape? About a year. Chapo Guzman, the notorious leader of the Sinaloa cartel, was arrested in February of 2014 by the Mexican equivalent of the US Navy Seals, and on Sunday, July 12th of 2015, he escaped yet again in what is arguably the most audacious and daring breakout this side of "The Shawshank Redemption". Except this time it wasn't a movie. We've seen this before-the recent escape of two highliy dangerous murderers from a prison in Upstate New York comes to mind, with a difference. Those two bozos took off with no one to help them on the outside and nowhere to run. In fact, their plan was botched from the very beginning, as they had to hoof it after their getaway car never appeared to wisk them away to parts unknown. This was not the case for "El Chapo", and now that he's back on the streets quite a number of people are in trouble. Big trouble. 

US authorities have been sweating the Mexican government to extradite Guzman to the states to no avail. He was being held in a maximum security prison where he had access to the same amenities that any self-respecting criminal mastermind would receive-booze, broads, and a cell phone to continue conducting business. The US was rightfully concerned about security measures taken by Mexican law enforcement that have seen traffickers escape justice either through the front or the back door of their federal courthouses. Imagine watching this charade play itself out for all the world to see. Mexico is officially the laughing stock of the international community, and even if they do catch him again, El Chapo has already cemented his legacy as the world's most powerful and mythical gangster. 

Mexico is not a failed state as some would suggest. What they are is a narco state. The fact that its beleagured citizens are subjected to macabre scenes of dead bodies hanging from highway overpasses, kidnappings, human traficking, and grotesque beheadings on a scale so obscene they have become social media fodder the world over has no bearing on the situation. The violence is the effect. The cause is the intermingling of government officials, law enforcement, and narco bribes in an Iron Triangle of corruption that has Mexico in a Taliban-like kung fu grip of chaos that dwarfs anything seen in any other country . The fall has been precipitous for Mexico, but they could not have done it alone. This downward spiral comes courtesy of the United States, with its unquenchable thirst to get high and law enforcement policies that make things worse.

More of "El Chapo" is going to get Mexico more of this-

Here is the problem with the US's handling of the drug war-everything they try is so wrong, that doubling down on stupid just seems like a natural extension. Take for example Los Zetas, the maniacs who popularized butchery as must-see tv. Their main enforcers were trained by the US in special weapons and tactics to fight the cartels. They went back home and were offered much better paying jobs by the very organizations they were trained to fight against, and next thing you know, we have decapitated heads being rolled out at bowling alleys and other scenes of family-oriented  lunacy-as-entertainment.

Then you have the NRA, whose lobbying efforts makes criminally-aided gun violence just another aspect of the capitalist system. Almost 80% of the weapons used in murders committed in Mexico originate from US-based retail stores, specifically Texas. How does the US look to curb this madness? By having individual states pass even more permissive gun laws to the extent that any sombrero-wearing bad guy can cross the border and shop for AK-47's to his heart's content. 

NAFTA was also a humongous debacle. El Chapo is known as the builder of tunnels par excellance, with around 75 of these rat holes utilized to bring drugs across the US-Mexico border to his credit, But the fact is 90% of the vehicles that come across the border into the US don't get inspected, both from a lack of manpower and the incredible traffic logjam it would create. So if you're moving product to the US, you can load a truck full of drugs without having to make even a half-assed attempt to hide the shit and you're pretty much home free. This is why all of the violence is (for the time being) on the other side of the border, the side that are fighting over control of these vital shipping lanes, the side Americans don't give a flying fuck about.

"Hanging out" in Sinaloa can be hazardous to one's health...

Here is another thing about the drug war that makes it the gift that keeps on giving-as long as it is Mexicans being propped up on plastic lounge chairs with their sawed-off heads on their laps, or young American black and Latinos incarcarated for drug offenses on such vast scale, no one in the US cares. And as long as these populations continue to be victimized by idiotic drug policies that offer plenty of promotions to the craven hacks who use the war on drugs to step over their deceased carcasses in search of promotions and political opportunities, no one will continue to give a fuck, And the bodies will keep piling up. 

But we here at "Busting Chops" digress. Let's get back to our boy El Chapo. Nowhere in the annals of recorded history has the most powerful nation on Earth been hoodwinked and bamboozled by the likes of a 5'6" semi-illiterate Mexican who by all accounts should have grown up to sell chimichangas on the LA Freeway. It's enough to make Donald Trump's wig do cartwheels. But this is where we are in the war on drugs-imagine a tunnel, more than a mile long, complete with electricity, air ventilation, and wood paneling, built with more structural integrity than anything the Army Corps of Engineers could muster when they put together the levees in New Orleans, being dug underneath Mexico's most secure maximum security prison. And not one prison official or guard heard anything. Not a fucking sound. 

Imagine this tunnel ending right underneath a toilet utilized by our esteemed bandito, in a prison where his every move is recorded via video camera, and no one noticed him removing said toilet and stepping down into the murky depths of the hole his peeps spent more than a year excavating. Imagine a 60-year old man being able to outrun (on a motorbike, no less) his much younger captors down said tunnel for over 1500 meters only to come out the other side and disappear into thin fucking air. I never thought something like this was possible, but if we've learned anything, it's that Mexico is the country where impossible happens, especially when someone like Guzman pays out a total of $50 million dollars in bribes to the requisite Mexican officials to facilitate his escape.

So far 18 prison officials have been taken into custody for "questioning", the prison warden has been summarily sacked, and the Mexican district attorney has taken the opportunity for a resoundingly cynical photo-op of herself staring into the exit of the tunnel in question, peering down as if to say "duh, how the fuck did THIS happen? We need a full investigation pronto!!! Round up the usual suspects!!!"

           "Se fue por aqui? Chinga tu madre, cabrĂ³n!!!"

Mexico is full of "investigations" of this nature. They all lead down the same hole Chapo Guzman used to hatch his escape. And now Guzman is back in Culiacan, Mexico, his native stomping grounds where he enjoys almost complete loyalty from the citizens. He's back having Viagra-fueled sex marathons with 18-year old beauty queens and orchestrating his drug empire from the safety of his home region that will see a violent purge of the disloyal "sapos" who had the temerity to think he was gone for good. I would not to be them right about now, because we all know how it's going to end for them and their families.

The worst part of this latest escape-more narco corridos!!!! Orale, Carnal!!!

All we are left with is a trail of dust and a new batch of obnoxious, hastily-written narco corridos that are inundating the airwaves of Mexico, extolling the feats of Chapo Guzman, who has gone from cultural icon to Mexican superhero for outsmarting (yet again) the Mexican government and those damn Yankis. Expect the people who ratted him out to pay dearly for their transgressions with a new wave of violence that will make the current state of narco violence look like stroll in the park.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The 2014 Giro D'Italia...

Unfortunately for all the European jingoists out there, this year's Giro D'Italia was dominated by Colombia. The top two podium spots were taken by Nairo Quintana and Rogoberto Uran. The mountains classification was another display of Colombian talent, with Julian Arredondo coming in first, Quintana third, and Jarlinson Pantano ninth. The young rider classification was more of the same-Quintana first, Sebastian Henao fifth.

Let me tell you why a country like Italy, whose terrain is 70% mountainous, can't produce any climbers-drugs. Aside from whatever Miguel Indurain was doing in Spain, it was the Italians first and foremost who embarked on a hardcore EPO regimen. As a country, THEY were the ones who introduced it, they were the ones who abused it the most, and their doctors, specifically Dr. Conconi, Dr. Ferrari, and Dr. Cecchini, were the prime movers of EPO administration in the pro peloton. This trickled down to the amateur ranks, where tales of 16 year-old riders already being put on heavy doses of EPO and other drugs have been rampant for years. During the late 90's early 2000's, the Italian junior ranks, according to an old report from Cycle Sport magazine, saw a collective increase in hematocrit levels that would have made Richard Virenque blush. This would have raised eyebrows anywhere else, but not in Italy.

A respected member of the "Busting Chops" home office and one of the founding fathers of this blog said it best-"After a certain point, the amount of drugs you must take to ride stop working". If the top Italian juniors for the last 20-plus years have been saturating themselves with PED's, it's no wonder their collective performances start to level off and fizzle away when they become pros. Reading "The Death of Marco Pantani" by Matt Rendell, it was patently obvious that Marco rarely, if ever, rode without drugs. Despite his romantic aura, which was in direct contrast to Armstrong's corporate mercenary appeal, and his legion of diehard fans, he was just as much a product of drugs as Lance was. He may have had more natural talent to ride hills, but the truth is still the truth. The sad fact is, that despite turgid arguments over level playing fields among dopers, doping still conveyed undue strengths to riders who never possessed them in the first place.

               Flawed hero Marco Pantani in better days-

Colombia is a land of high mountains and even higher altitude. This makes for the perfect breeding ground for climbers, and historically this has been the case. But only recently has there been breakout of young stars who can compete for three week grand tours. Time trials have always been the bane of climbers of any nationality, where a dedicated climber can lose upwards of four minutes in a flat time trial, negating any advantage they might hope to gain in the mountains. This is why it was a great move for team  management to have Quintana ride the Giro instead of the Tour. The Tour this year had too many flat time trial miles to make anything but the King of the Mountains jersey and a top-three finish a realistic goal. A win in a grand tour for any European team is worth its weight in gold, even though in order of impact and importance the Giro sits second between the French Tour and the Spanish Vuelta. The Giro itself is mythic, and its climbs harder than those in France, though this is negated by the better quality fields of the French Tour to a degree.

Nairo Quintana comes from a small town that sits at 9,000 meters in altitude in Colombia, and rode a bike as a youth to get to and from school. He was climbing the second he began riding. A young man winning a grand tour at the age of 24 is auspicious enough, but of course, thanks to Lance Armstrong and others, there are those who believe EVERYONE in the peloton is on drugs. There hasn't been a hint that Quintana has ever doped, but don't tell that to his detractors. It's unfortunate that Quintana and other Colombian riders have to ride in an era where there are no grand tour riders with any talent or panache, but that is not their fault. These cycling fans are left cheering the likes of Cadel Evans, who is running on the exhaust fumes of a hearse, Vincenzo Nibali, who is the second coming of Ivan Basso (an impotent-legged bum who can't ride without dope) and other assorted nobodies like the Schleck brothers, who are so beyond their sell-by date they are beginning to reek of sour milk.

                            That's what I'm talking about-

Nairo Quintana representing his country at the 2013 Road Championships-

There is no one left except Alberto Contador and Chris Froome, two guys who have been hounded by doping allegations seemingly forever. Unfortunately, this is the backdrop into which Quintana has been thrust. There is no doubt there is some anti-Colombian sentiment at work here, as the Anlgos have no one compelling to cheer for. They have only themselves to blame for this. Quintana's physical attributes play to his strengths-he is not tall, doesn't weight much, and has an incredible ability to crush it in the mountains. If he could improve his time trialing, or at the very least become good enough in this discipline to avoid losing major portions of time, he'll be one of the all-time greats, much to the chagrin of many who think anyone who rides a bike is on dope, especially if they hail from Colombia. Casting aspersions on riders such as Quintana has become all the rage, and people have made comments over what is going on in South America. But this cat did not come out of nowhere, a la Chris Froome or 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, with their improbable physiques and their back-dated TUE's for cortisone during competition. If their team is up to no good, they will be found out in due time. Until then, we cannot cast doubt on every rider just because they win. Save that for the putrid Italians, who have a clear history of organized, systemic doping that one can argue is culturally embedded to the point where they can't ride without cheating.

Nairo Quintana's coming out party, Tour de France 2013-

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The 2014 NBA Playoffs...

Now that the San Antonio Spurs completely dismantled the Miami Heat, let's cut to the chase. In speaking of what the Heat need to do to get back to the finals and win, not one commentator/analyst spoke of the biggest dilemma facing this squad going forward-the "Big Three" as currently constructed have had their run, and now it is pretty much over. Here is why-

1) Dwayne Wade has no cartilage left in one knee. None. The procedure that Kobe Bryant and a few other star professional athletes have undergone in Germany is no miracle cure for this. On the contrary. All it does is mask the pain for a certain period of time. It actually makes the condition worse, because it fools the body into thinking the joint can take the same impact it could when there was cartilage to protect the joint. There is only one cure in the foreseeable horizon, and that lies with cartilage retransplantation, a procedure where doctors take cartilage out of the knee, grow more of it and transplant it back into the joint. This is not happening anytime soon. Scientists have been at it for years and are no closer to perfecting it than when they started.

Here's another dilemma-arthritic knees are not just the result of athletic wear and tear. There are proteins in the body that act as an agent that attacks cartilage and eats it up for apparently no good reason. This has been the scourge of many a suburban housewife, weekend warrior and elite athlete alike. Dwayne Wade can no longer be paid or given the minutes of a superstar player because the Wade who used to be able to do THIS is long gone...

...having been replaced by THIS, a player who gets horsed in the paint by the likes of Tiago Splitter of all people-

2) The Opt-Out Clause-Wade has two years left on his contract at $20 million per. The thought of either him or Chris Bosh opting out to re-sign for less money so the Heat can go after bloated one-dimensional ballhog Carmelo Anthony or overrated stat whore Kevin Love isn't going to solve their problems, and it's certainly not going to turn the clock back for Wade. This is his last chance to cash out while he still can, and forfeiting that type of loot for the good of the team would be a stupid financial move on his part. Unlike Lebron, neither Wade nor Bosh make the type of money from endorsements and investments that would allow either player to recoup that money elsewhere.

As a global icon and one of the best to have ever played the game, James is certain to continue to generate revenue way after his playing career is over due to his so-called "brand". Not so for Bosh and Wade. They need to get paid NOW, because when the spotlight fades for them, so will their revenue streams.

3) There wasn't one analyst who watched this series and thought "if only Carmelo Anthony were on the Heat. That would have solved all their problems". Look up and down the roster and see how limited to nonexistent the production was from Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and Chris "Birdman" Anderson. (By the way, his white trailer park trash shtick is done like an overcooked goose because he's no longer the player he once was, which was borderline on his greatest day. I don't understand how he became the Caucasian equivalent to Dennis Rodman, but that scenario never did play itself out.) All these cats need to be fumigated, because they no longer have a place on a squad trying to compete for a championship. This was the only memorable play from this bunch all series. It was a good one., but in the end it turned out not to matter one bit-

4) The Heat need to get rid of Chris Bosh. He is a 6-11 shooting guard who cannot defend  the rim or take it to the hole, where he needs to be effective in order to create mismatches in a league sorely lacking in talent at the center position. He has shot more three pointers this year than ever, and his perimeter game does the Heat no favors when facing a team with the likes of Tim Duncan. The Heat even stopped giving him the ball after a while, relegating him to an offensive non-entity because he does not create his own shots from offensive rebounds. He did nothing this finals series-no meaningful blocks, rebounds, or points scored in the paint. Even Tiago Splitter got in on the action, and he's nowhere NEAR as talented as Bosh-

Manu Ginobli is 5 inches shorter than Bosh and by no means a skywalker. On this play, he barely got his hand over the rim on liftoff. Bosh turned and stood there like a squeegee hobo on a freeway intersection waiting for someone to hand him a tip for washing their windshield with dirty water. I'll say it again-guys like Bosh were born to be tall FOR A REASON, and it wasn't for this. This is a play a 6'11" player of Bosh's talents should always make but doesn't. Instead, he settles for getting posterized-

Even Pattie Smith, the 5'11"Australian guard who last year was fatter than a pregnant kangaroo, outscored Chris Bosh in the series, and he was coming off the bench. Smith wasn't just a three-point specialist for the Spurs. He was also a Tasmanian Devil on defense, harassing even the much bigger and taller Lebron James into turnovers and botched plays.

At this stage of the game it's all about managing money concerns and bringing in better, younger, and more athletic players. The Heat cannot do this because they are hamstrung by salary cap concerns, and the league itself will run into problems because teams have to deal with players looking to get paid under conditions that don't allow it without heavy financial penalties once they overstep the cap by even one dollar. In other words, there are no saviors for the Heat out in free agency, and they only have one player, Norris Coles. under contract for next season with a [potential $60 million dollar payroll taken up by only three players.

It is hard to sell the Miami/South Beach lifestyle to potential free agents who must forfeit their fair market value to make it happen. You can only sell this aspect for so long. Players have a short window of opportunity to maximize their worth, and the only ones willing to have made the move are either retreads running on fumes or players no one else really wanted. It worked out for them these last four years, but this next coming season is different. Who out there is willing to sign for less when they've worked so hard to put themselves in a position to get paid? Certainly not Kyle Lowry, who is better than both Mario Chalmers and Norris Coles put together. May we see the return of Sebastian Telfair from Chinese purgatory? He's still young enough and at this point will sign for the veteran's minimum just to get back into the league. Is he the type opf player you're willing to bet on when he's never been more than a marginal bit player at best? SAt this point, he's probably one of the few players the Heat could afford to sign who may have something left in the tank.

That is a precarious position for them to say the least. Let's see what happens.