Sunday, April 25, 2010

THIS is how you do it...

Alexandre Vinokourov-this is how it's done, for all you cats out there who don't know how to serve the draconian and absurdly harsh penalty of two years for getting caught using performance enhancing drugs in pro cycling, which in his case turned out to be a transfusion of someone elses' blood during the highly stressful and uber-competitive Tour de France. Here is a list of what not to do, what to do and how to go about doing it.

1) Shut The Fuck Up and do your time like a man.

Meaning, you don't go around whining, bitching and moaning, protesting your innocence. You don't set up legal defense fund like disgraced American rider Tyler Hamilton did with his "" website, preying on his naive fanbase and basically shaming them into paying for his legal defense on the basis that he's such a nice guy from Marblehead, Massachusetts it's just not in his DNA to cheat.

Well, the other thing that wasn't in his DNA was the blood Hamilton transfused into his system to win that Olympic gold medal, a prize he got to keep on a bullshit technicality. Apparently the administrators of his blood transfusion mixed his bag up with another riders', causing the illegal transfusion to show up in a doping test. He was definitely busted for the same exact thing a few weeks after the Olympics.

Not that it matters, but just for the sake of laughs here is the story-this idiot spent tons of money on his defense. He tried to get the arbitrators hearing the case he had two differing blood types in his system due to something called a chimera. The technical definition of a chimera is an animal that has two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated in different zygotes. This is something found commonly in the animal world but rarely in humans. In laymans' terms, Tyler claimed he had a twin brother who was never born because those cells never developed, but he retained the differing blood values all the same.

I know this is funny, but please stop laughing and keep reading.

This is what he almost bankrupted himself for. But wait, it gets better. AFTER serving his well-deserved two year ban he gets fired from the only European team that would give him a second chance. He looked the owner in face, lied and told him he had no involvement in the Spanish "Operation Puerto" drug scandal. This was a clinic where bags of blood (with rider's nicknames on them) meant for re-infusion before important events were found in the refrigerator of a gynecologists' office, along with tons of other doping products-

Next time Tyler, don't use the name of your dog to keep track of which bag is yours. It's a dead giveaway-

He kept on with the denials after documents revealed payments by Hamiltons' then-wife Haven to the doctor running this doping operation.

*Note to Haven-using your maiden name for the transactions doesn't fool anyone. That's the oldest trick in the book-

(Click photo to enlarge)

His complete doping diary was found in the possession of the good Doctor Fuentes-(Click photo to enlarge)

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Hamilton was fired but continued with the denials and wound up racing on a bullshit domestic US team, Rock Racing, a last-chance saloon for the doping hobos of pro cycling. He then unceremoniously undermined this opportunity by testing positive yet again for some crap called DHEA. For this second offense (really his fourth in total), he got a multi-year suspension, which at his age meant the end of his racing career. He stated he used this product to self-medicate for depression and vowed to become the poster boy for people suffering from this disease, which is as pathetic a cop-out as anyone can stoop to. So now he's training people for a living, which is an even bigger laugh because this guy has shown that without the huge amount of drugs he was taking it is clear he couldn't hack it in the pro peloton without them. So what in the world can this asshole teach anyone?

2) Don't needlessly prolong the inevitable with a bullshit court case.
The general public will accept a cheater and forgive. But going out of your way to deny the shit you were doing in a courtroom, that's inexcusable. Vinokourov had the money to contest his positive doping result in a court of law, but decided against it. For one, the cost would have been exorbitant. Secondly, as a national hero in his native Kazakhstan he really did not need two years of negative publicity that would have lowered his profile to that of a common street rat, of which the Kazakhs are all too familiar with, being that rats were a staple (dare I say a delicacy) at the dinner table during those lean years under the boot of Nazi Germany back in the 1940's.

Vinokourov quietly went about his business, which involved putting the final touches on a high-scale fitness club in Monaco. He kept training and got back to his winning, attacking style of riding as if he never left. He kept his family intact and never involved them in the whole sordid affair. He didn't write a book full of bullshit lies and obfuscations like "Roid Floyd Landis did-

Take that yellow jersey off, cocksucker-you don't deserve to be be seen in it.

The original title of the book was...

"Positively Stupid-How I became the only jagoff ever to be stripped of the leader's jersey at the Tour de France because I don't know how to cheat and get away with it."-

Here he is at a book signing-

"Count Floyd" took Hamilton's MO of screaming his innocence from the rooftops to another level by writing about it and profiting from the venture. Everything in the book is a fucking lie. He is known by riders who've raced with him for taking some of the biggest doses of human growth hormone (among other drugs) they've ever seen , to the point where other riders who were doping alongside him were saying "damn, that's a lot of drugs he's injecting". This reputation of ingesting performance enhancing drugs in mass quantities goes back to his amateur days.

His blood profile showed signs of manipulation all through the Tour, yet his then gerbil look-alike ex-trainer Allen Lim wants us all to believe that Floyds' highly suspicious performance was physiologically within the realm of possibility. Yeah, motherfucker. We are that fucking stupid as to believe such crap.

3) Don't become a martyr for clean cycling when you DO return.

No one wants to hear any self-righteous bullshit about being a born-again dope-free rider ala David Millar of the Garmin team, especially if you come back and ride like pack jelly with no real results to speak of. Let your riding do the talking and keep moving forward, because what happens is you wind up talking about shit you know nothing about in such vague terms that it makes no sense for you to even speak on the subject. The details that people are interested in, if a rider even knows anything, are usually things that are not in his best interests to reveal. We all know how Frank Serpico wound up after testifying about police corruption-shot in the face in some tenement building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Don't be that rider who gets blackballed into oblivion-you still need to work and to be shunned by the one industry you've ever known in our life is too high a price to pay knowing you would have accomplished nothing with breaking the rule of omerta.

Everyone knows that doping in cycling involves doctors, team directors and the gangsters who supply the drugs. The whole putrid mess is highly organized from the junior levels on up. Unless one is willing to blow the lid off the whole thing with names and details, better to keep quiet and be thankful you haven't wound up like Hamilton and Landis-broke, pathetic shells of their former selves with their careers and marriages in tatters, living in a van down by the river. Who the fuck needs that shit in their lives.

4) Show absolutely no contrition or remorse, and announce your comeback in the most arrogant manner possible.

When Vino announced to the cycling world he was going to race at the earliest possible date after his suspension was over, he did so at a press conference at the same hotel the team manager of Astana, Johan Bruyneel was staying in at the start of the Tour de France. Vino defiantly reminded "The Hog", as Bruyneel is affectionately known (for the Herculean amount of drugs he is said to have ingested during his racing days) that Astana was HIS team and that he was riding as a member of his team ASAP no questions asked. If for whatever reason Bruyneel didn't like it, Bruyneel was the one who had to go, not him. And he did this while wearing a T-shirt that read "Vino Is Back". In yellow, of all colors. Gotta love the balls it takes to pull shit like that off with a straight face.

Vinokourov had the right to do this, as he was the man who put the team together, gathering the necessary sponsors from his native country and getting everything organized. It WAS AND IS his team. To make such an announcement during the most important race of the year in the same hotel his soon-to-be-relieved-of-his-duties team manager was staying at takes cojones the size of the country he represents. So Bruyneel left soon after, because that's how they roll up in Kazakhstan. Do what you're told how you're told to do it or get the fuck out. I love it. So Bruyneel had to get his monkey ass outta there. And Vino not only stayed but managed to retain the services of not only the best grand tour rider of this generation in Alberto Contador but replaced "The Hog" with the director sportif who guided Marco Pantani to his best grand tour wins, Italian Giuseppe Martinelli.

So Vinokourov has done his penance the way he was supposed to and returned from his suspension to win one of the monuments of the sport-the one day Classic called Leige-Bastogne-Leige, personally one of my favorite races on the whole ProTour calendar. Congrats, brother-that's how you rep the Republic of Kazakhstan!!!

The start of the race-

Looking relaxed on the Cote de Stockeu...

The leading breakaway...

The final, unanswerable attack-

See you later, motherfucker...

The obligatory gritting of the teeth, exhibiting maximum effort...

Crossing the line...

...and the victory trophy!!! How sweet it is!!!

The Frankenstein Blues...

Sing it, Zen Master. Phil Jackson, the uber-dork so-called basketball genius who is the instigator of so many provocatively idiotic, thinly veiled patronizing remarks about opponents and referees, all in the name of "getting into their heads", is looking pretty stupid right about now.

The Oklahoma Thunder, for all intent and purposes, should have been bounced out of the playoffs by now. The Lakers should have swept their 8th seed opponents and should have been on a flight back to L.A. right now to rest up for their next opponent. But something funny happened on the way to the broom closet...

That something is called Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma Thunder. The younger, more athletic Thunder have something the Lakers don't have-their big star is healthy, and the other cats on the team have stepped up despite not having the front court talent of the Lakers. One thing that HAS happened is the Thunder coach has thrown a spanner in the works by having the longer limbed Kevin Durant defend Kobe Bryant. And the Lakers have no guard quick and strong enough to defend against Russell Westbrook-

And now the series becomes a best of three, with the Thunder having one more game at home. This is NOT how the first round was supposed to go for the Lakers, but let's give credit where credit is due-Kevin Durant, who was accused of losing the psychological battle because he dared to answer Phil Jackson's pathetic drivel over the fact that he gets to the foul line frequently, has shown up BIG for his first NBA playoff series. He struggled in game 1 when Ron Artest was all over him like blonde hair dye on a stripper, but he regained his composure and has been the leader the Thunder need him to be, averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds so far in the series. That type of production is nothing to sneeze at, brothers and sisters. This cat is for real.

Other players have accused Durant of getting "superstar calls". Well, if these jack asses haven't noticed, Kevin Durant IS a superstar. He averaged 30.1 points a game and became the youngest player in league history to win a scoring title. The Thunder went from 23-59 last year to 50-32 this year, separated from the Lakers in the win column by only seven games. This is in an incredibly competitive Western Conference, where there are no built-in patsies like in the Eastern Conference. This team is young, but they are good. They may not win this series, but they've definitely won the psychological battle that the Lakers Frankendork of a coach so revels in. Go Thunder!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

ESPN's "30 for 30" Documentary Series...

ESPN has a "30 For 30" series currently running that features some pretty amazing sports-based documentaries that has something for everyone. I will be highlighting some of the more interesting ones here and updating this post as I go through them all.

1) THE U
Director-Billy Corben

Yessir, these cats were the baddest group of brothers to ever stomp a gridiron. And they did it THEIR WAY. They weren't just winners-they were the vanguard of a colossal paradigm shift in college football. It wasn't just the trash-talking and the celebratory antics after every touchdown and defensive stop-it was the sheer athleticism, the relentless, maniacal drive, the offensive pro style passing attack that had never been seen in college football up until then.

Damien Berry reps his set, The University of Miami-

At that time Florida had more Division I college recruit signings per capita than any other state, and in 1979 coach Howard Schnellenberger made it his mission to cordon off a wide sector of the state and declared that he and his staff would do everything in their power to keep these top-notch recruits from being poached by other programs, especially those out of state. His plan worked.

But it wasn't just the talent of the players, it was their backgrounds that were just as important to the success of "The U". Supremely talented athletes from inner-city, poverty-stricken backgrounds have the bad reputation of being undisciplined and uncoachable. Arrogant, gifted, flamboyant and supremely self-confident, these players introduced a new breed of athlete to the world of college football.

Here come the Hurricanes-

Harnessing this type of energy took some very special people indeed, and during it's prominence "The U" hired coaches that were in tune with the zeitgeist of the times. From Schnellenberger, to Jimmy Johnson to Dennis Erickson, the football team amassed 4 national championships between 1983 and 1991, and along the way changed the game forever.

2) The Two Escobars

Directors-Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist

"Narco-Futból" in Colombia during the 1980's and 90's consisted of the big drug barons owning their own soccer teams. These thugs were able to buy the best players in the land, and they did not take losing very well. It wasn't enough to have the players, they had to be assured of wins. It wasn't only their vanity and prestige that was on the line, it was also big money in terms of payoffs and gambling that made for a very nerve-racking and ultimately deadly mix.

I have no idea what type of individual would be able to go out and perform under such pressure. What is even more mind-boggling are the refs, who were almost always paid off by one side, uncaring of the fact that people from the losing side would inevitably come looking for them. To me these guys were the craziest of them all. But I digress.

Events came to a head during a match pitting heavily favored Colombia against the United States in the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Adrés Escobar inadvertently kicked the ball into his own goal, and many believe he was murdered in Colombia for this heinous act. Rumor has it that after ever bullet fired (Escobar was shot 12 times) the gunman yelled "Gól!!!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The progressive rock maestros are back on tour again. This time, in celebration of their groundbreaking and best-selling album "Moving Pictures" they will be including for the first time ever a live performance of the album in it's entirety. Yes, Rush fans-"The Camera Eye" live. Is that something you might be interested in?

The itinerary for this tour, which begins June 29, 2010 in Albuquerque, New Mexico can be found on You can also go to the unofficial fan website for more details.

"Moving Pictures" was certified quadruple-platinum on January 27, 1995 and it was the album that completely blue them up for all time. There was a steady build-up to that seminal moment, with the previous album "Permanent Waves" setting the tone for shorter, more radio-friendly tunes as opposed to the album-oriented pseudo-rock operas that were an unfortunate staple of 1970's bloated arena rock.

Rush in the studio recording "Moving Pictures", circa 1981-

There is no human being alive in North America who hasn't heard the universally-acclaimed prog-rock anthem "Tom Sawyer". Everything that makes this band what it is is encapsulated in this 4 minute and 34 second masterpiece. Amazing lyrics, incredible guitar and bass licks and of course it goes without saying, drum fills that are sublime in their absolute genius. This song blasted the band into the stratosphere, and deservedly so.

If you've never seen these cats live, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket. No matter how much the scalpers are charging they are worth every penny. If anyone out there thinks I'm exaggerating their influence, check this out-video of a stadium full of Brazilians singing along...TO AN INSTRUMENTAL...

These are three of the baddest motherfuckers to ever rock a stage. There have been other power trios that had incredible chops and were major influences during their time like Cream and The Police, but those bands flamed out as fast as they erupted. These cats have been out there since 1974 and are STILL going strong. Gotta give it to these guys-they are a musical phenomenon that must not be missed.

Geddy Lee-Lead vocal, bass guitar and synthesizers.
Alex Lifeson-Lead/rhythm guitars, background vocals.
Niel Peart-Drums and percussion.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Babe of the Week for April 2, 2010 is...

Alice Braga!!!

This beautiful Brazilian actress has starred in some excellent films in her native homeland, and has taken her show on the road to the United states. She was currently Jude Law's love interest in the film "Repo Men", also starring Forest Whitaker. It's a terrible film that I would not recommend to my worst enemy, but she loooks mahvelous in it, dahling-absolutely mahvelous. And really, what's more important in life than that?

Just ask Fernando, he'll tell you-

Which brings us to our...

Film Recommendation of the Week-

Lower City
Release Date June 16, 2006.
Running time 1 hour 37 minutes.
Portuguese w/English subtitles.

Two lifelong friends take their rickety boat downriver looking for better opportunities. These cats claim they will never let a woman come between them, until of course one does. Alice Braga plays a dancer/prostitute who in exchange for a ride provides them both with sexual services. throughout their mishaps, they both wind up falling in love with her and proceed to destroy the bond between them.

The tension mounts as things don't go quite as planned, with one of the brothers resorting to taking dives in local boxing matches to make ends meet and the other, after selling the boat for peanuts, holds up a pharmacy at the behest of a local two-bit gangster. Throughout all of this they fight for the affections of Alice, and inevitably all three relationships are torn apart.

It is a great film with excellent acting. Highly recommended.