Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Fall of the House of Armstrong Pt. III...

Ah, the Lance Armstrong fanboys. Those semi-literate hyenas who troll the internet looking to pitch their tents, hoist their flags and stand tall against anyone who dares to say disparaging word about their homosexual man-crush. The fits of internet goonery this cocksucker incites (moreso now that he is that much closer to being indicted) has been a sight to behold. But it's all about to end, and end badly, and the fan-boys are up in arms. Just read the comments left on Tyler Hamilton's Facebook page right after the 60 Minutes interview and it's easy to see the violent reactions to his allegations that border on the insane.

These internet zombies are all over the place, on every cycling forum and any other place where their hero is discussed. Public Strategies is a company that has been accused of sending paid trolls to infiltrate these sites to infect the world with their drivel, and all one has to do is check out a site called facts4lance.com to see that these vermin do not intend to go quietly into that good night (the site was taken down shortly after it was painfully obvious that it had the opposite effect of it's intention, which was to muddy the waters with the most inane set of half-truths and downright lies this side of the Watergate investigation. G. Gordon Liddy would have been proud...).

As for the direction the investigation has taken, it is clear that Armstrong will once and for all be exposed as not only a fraud and a cheat, but the biggest fraud and cheat we've seen in the history of pro cycling. No other cyclist has enriched himself the way he has via his relationships with corporate sponsors, paid speaking engagements, and race appearance fees that have netted him untold millions of dollars. He's done this all on the backs of the cancer community, whom he supposedly champions but cynically uses as a ruse to perpetrate a world-wide iconic status that is in direct conflict with the asshole he's been his whole life.

The cancer community doesn't need as it's hero a fake, steroid-engorged, vindictive, bitter prick who lies, cheats, holds grudges, executes petty vendettas and uses the disease to operate some bullshit cancer advocacy group that rakes in millions in donations and produces nothing but vaporware that emanates straight out of Armstrong's rear end. Anyone who makes apologies for this scheming turdball is as pathetic as they come, the equivalent of the cheerleader who still wants to be invited to the prom by the captain of the football team even after infecting her with herpes.

This is the best way I can describe his fanbase. Their collective retardation boggles the mind. I always thought groupie behavior was the sole confine of disgustingly insecure and vacuous females looking for attention and validation, but it seems as if the men have gotten in on the act. For Armstrong isn't just a sporting figure to his fans, he is their messiah.And lets' not forget these aren't teenagers screeching over their latest celebrity crush. These motherfuckers are grown-ass men with families and jobs.

The pagan God of worship in America isn't money or success, it's fame. Because in a land where there is supposedly no rigid class structure, the dividing line is fame. Armstrong has been a corporate Juggernaut ever since he's sold the cancer community the notion that he was out to achieve sporting success at the Tour "for them", and the idiots bought it. He is revered by the Wall Street yuppies who despite having it all wish they were young and talented enough to be revered as a sporting deity. The private jets aren't enough. The lavish lifestyles and $5,000-a-night hookers aren't enough.They all wanted to be like Lance.

So do the aging yuppies for whom cycling isn't just a sport but a way to remind themselves they don't already have one foot in the grave, these frustrated tiny-dick bastards who harbor a deep-seated resentment towards society because they didn't turn out to be as awesome as they were told they could be in this great land of opportunity. You can have money, but what fun is it if no one recognizes you walking down the street?

Suddenly the floodgates opened and there he was, a beacon of light in a world of perpetual mediocrity for the babbling minions to devour-the Caucasian boy wonder, the most determined, hardest-working AND most physically  gifted cyclist since the great Eddy Merckx. At least that's what Chris Carmichael kept telling everyone. Carmichael, another whore of epic proportions, a man who's made a career out of trimming the follicles from Lance's one remaining testicle, who should not be training anyone much less profiting from cycling after his involvement with the US National Cycling team of the early 1990's.

So the trolls work their magic, spewing venom and vitriol at anyone who dares to question "the myth", and a myth it is. During the Dateline interview with Floyd Landis, Betsy Andreu was interviewed about the infamous hospital incident, where Armstrong was asked by one of the doctors in attendance whether he had used PEDs before he got sick. he rattled of this list-

1) EPO
2) Testosterone
3) Steroids 
4) Growth Hormone
5) Cortisone

This is the crap he was polluting his body with BEFORE he got cancer. He is also alleged to have researched an unapproved drug called HemAssist that never made it to the final stages for approval, thus never came to market, but was able to purchase the remaining stock and use it during his comeback. What kind of colossal asshole researches doping products while he's receiving chemo for cancer? His fanboys and apologists will go to extreme lengths to justify his behavior, and there is a reason for this besides blind hero worship.

Herein lies the eternal hypocrisy-average, everyday people fueling a multi-billion dollar PED industry in the United States, ingesting tons of steroids for the sheer sake of vanity, meanwhile demonizing sports figures who use these same drugs because it goes against the concepts of "fair play" and "level playing field", two of the most bullshit phrases in the English language. And the hypocrisy extends only to their favorite sports heroes, who they "identify" with-

The above photos say itall. For those of ou who aren't rabid cycling fans and cannot make the connection, the two Italian cats in the first picture (Leonardo Piepoli and the reviled Ricardo Ricco)  were busted for using CERA, a third or fourth generation blood oxygen booster, in 2008. Their feats of strength during that year's Giro D'Italia and Tour de France, until they got busted, was a drug-induced sight to behold. The next photo are two of the oldest riders in the pro peloton shredding the field at this year's Tour of California, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer. These two superannuated career dopers were actually favored as dark horse contenders coming into the Tour de France this year, whilst riding against riders 12-17 years YOUNGER. And do you know why hardly anyone batted an eye to their performances? Because in in this sport, two guys who come across as "All-American" (insert implied reference HERE) will always get the benefit of the doubt, regardless of how ridiculous their feats are especially when compared to their age.

If you take a close look at the pharmaceutical steroid industry in the United States, it is driven by anti-aging clinics writing prescriptions to aging yuppies who want to stay young and corporate type-A personalities who want to have an "edge" on their cohorts and the rest of society. These are the same jag-offs of who show up at master's category races with muscles bulging from HgH and testosterone and tell the world they've achieved their fitness through hard work and a healthy lifestyle-any lie is worth telling as long as it makes them feel superior to the next man. So it makes sense that they refuse to admit that steroid use bothers them because it doesn't. So what Armstrong doped? Apparently he doped better than the rest of the field, so their justification is the best athlete still won fair and square.

This is the Livestrong Hero in a nutshell. One nutshell, to be exact. This is the man for whom all manner of other-worldy qualities are attached simply because he is the Caucasian Superman every pathetic, anonymous yuppie in the United States wants to be but isn't. It turns out that Armstrong isn't either. So they are out in full force defending their man, with all manner of tactics-attacking fellow posters, feigning righteous indignation that the haters are so obsessed, that the investigation is a waste of taxpayer money, that anyone who has spoken out against him is nothing but a jealous loser with an axe to grind or an agenda to execute, the list is endless.

The Armstrong Myth will not die. It has to be taken out with the truth, which hopefully will fill the void from all the lies he's been spewing for years and years. I imagine the scene will be reminiscent of the death of former Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, who despite his obscene wealth wound up hunted like a rat bastard and died on a rooftop of a nondescript neighborhood in Medellín. Except it will be the Feds posing over the dead, bloated carcass of the remains of the House of Armstrong, built on stilts made of fraud, deceit, arrogance and a hubris that rivals the biggest crooks that ever walked the Earth. My hope is that his fawning legion of rabid fanboys jump into the abyss along with him. It will be a welcome relief, and one that is long overdue.

The Fall of the House of Armstrong Pt. II...

Now that the 60 Minutes report has aired, we know a bit more than we knew before. Here is the most damning piece of evidence revealed-

"The Swiss lab director has since given a sworn statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "60 Minutes" has learned that the lab director testified that a representative of the UCI wanted the matter of the suspicious test to go no further. The lab director also testified that the meeting between himself, Bruyneel and Armstrong was arranged by the UCI."

So, in response to a positive dope test in the 2001 Tour de Suisse, which automatically would have kept Armstrong out of the 2001 and 2002 Tours de France, Bruyneel and Armstrong have a face-to-face meeting with the lab director, something that is unheard of. A member of the UCI interfered with lab protocol and made it clear this situation was to be remedied in Armstrong's favor by having the whole matter simply disappear.

This is what we have so far-

1) Institutionalized corruption that favored Armstrong and his teammates within not only cycling's governing body, the UCI, but also with the labs that carry out the anti-doping tests.

2) An exclusive non-compete contract during the Tour de France with the most infamous doping doctor of modern times, Italian Michele Ferrari, with money exchanging hands until as recently as 2010. Armstrong has stated publicly he cut ties with this doctor back in 2004.

3) Four ex-teammates giving evidence that they saw Armstrong dope with their own eyes and also partook in doping alongside him, either through procurement or ingesting.

4) Armstrong played a role in the trafficking of PEDs when he sent Hamilton a package containing EPO through the mail.

Aside from all the residual drama and posturing, this is what we know for sure. We do not know who else has testified or what they said. We do not know how the Italian authorities are dealing with Dr. Ferrari, who has had some of his bank accounts frozen and is currently under investigation. Ferrari has taken, at least in public, a pro-active approach by seeking the authorities so he can clear up any misunderstandings. The twisted guru to the the most successful cyclists of our times seemingly has nothing to hide, but he is the linchpin to the whole case.

He has managed to elude Italian authorities up to now. He was convicted of doping crimes a few years ago yet served no jail time and his license to practice as a doctor was never suspended. He still counsels cyclists as the pre-eminent quack of the cycling world though he has been told not to. He just does it discreetly in another country where apparently the Italians have no authority to chase him. His clientele protect him like a fugitive Nazi war criminal. But with Interpol now involved, this may be the beginning of the end for his career as a "cycling coach".

If the Italian and North American authorities can manage to get this vile slug to flip, then the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. He is the man who has the keys to it all-the doping calendars for Armstrong and the other riders on the team he worked with, the procurement of PEDs, and the amount of money that exchanged hands for his services. Then you have other quacks that worked with US Postal/Discovery/Astana such as Spanish doctor del Moral, who now runs an athletic clinic in Valencia, Spain.

There is much more to this tale but I'm keeping it short due to the speculation that has run rampant on the internet. Everyone has their "take", but until we know what the Feds are charging people with, there is no point in going further. All we can do now is wait. Any more commentary on this matter is nothing but an exercise in conjecture until more concrete details become public. But in part three of this series, the fanboys will be addressed.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Fall of the House of Armstrong Pt. I...

Last Thursday, ex-US Postal rider Tyler Hamilton went public with details of the organized in-house doping program that elevated Lance Armstrong to 7-time Tour de France champion during the years 1999-2005. Hamilton is the rider who was banned twice in his career for testing positive, once for an autogolous blood transfusion in 2004 and the last year for DHEA, which effectively put paid to his career forever.

Hamilton riding for his last European squad, Tinkoff Credit Systems-

He will be interviewed by Scott Pelley on the venerable news program 60 Minutes on Sunday, May 22nd. This in and of itself is enough of a bombshell, but what followed was unexpected. It turns out George Hincapie gave testimony to the Federal grand jury overseeing the investigation of the allegations initially brought to light by Floyd Landis. Hincapie has corroborated the rampant drug use by Armstrong and others that rode for his teams during this time.

Hamilton during his 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley-

Hamilton is an easy person to vilify. Like Landis, he too took public money in the form of a campaign dubbed "IBelieveTyler.org" to finance the legal defense against his first positive test,, incorporating the ridiculous strategy based on the ludicrous notion that he had another blood type in his system due to a "chimera", or disappearing twin, while he was still in his mother's womb.

And like Landis, he has lied about his drug use for years despite unequivocal evidence to the contrary. It wasn't just the initial positive dope test, it was also his association with the infamous Spanish gynecologist/sports doctor Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, which came to light after Operation Puerto revealed a client list that included some of pro cycling's leading stars, including Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso. Ullrich retired in disgrace and Basso received a two-year ban, though neither had ever tested positive for an illegal substance ever in their careers.

Hamilton, at the time riding for a Russian team, vehemently denied any association with Dr. Fuentes, but evidence later revealed payments to the doctor from his then-wife Haven Hamilton to the tune of many thousands of Euros and a detailed doping diary that beggars belief. With all the doping Hamilton was doing, it's a miracle he's still alive to tell the tale, so comprehensive was the doping regimen he was on at the time.

Spain's Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes of "Operation Puerto" fame-

Armstrong's defense remains unshaken. His people have put out statement after statement refuting all charges by attempting to assassinate the flawed characters of Landis and Hamilton, an easy thing to do given the circumstances. But the Hincapie situation is not one that can be swept under the rug as the rantings of a bitter and jealous ex-teammate looking for publicity. This tactic will not work this time because Hincapie is one of the few from that particular era that has kept his reputation intact while never coming under suspicion as a doper.

Up until now, Hincapie's reputation has been that of the grand gentleman of the peloton. He's had a long career that spanned seven years spent as Armstrong's lieutenant during his Tour wins and was never mired in any type of controversy of any kind. But his admission of steroid use will cast a shadow over his career that will never wash off. He is currently racing in the Tour of California and has made no public statements to the press other than the usual pathetic attempts at obfuscating. Here are three of his quotes taken directly from his Twitter feed-

"I can confirm to you I never spoke with '60 Minutes'. I have no idea where they got their information."
"As I've said in the past, I continue to be disappointed that people are talking about the past in cycling instead of the future."
"As for the substance of anything in the '60 Minutes' story, I cannot comment on anything relating to the ongoing investigation."

Right now we do not know how any of Hincapie's testimony was leaked, but 60 Minutes got a hold of it. We won't know anything else until the program airs tomorrow. I could have waited until then to write this column, but I felt this information was too important to wait.But it begs the question-we now have three of Armstrong's ex-teammates ratting him out. Hincapie is the most surprising. Not only because of his supposed undying loyalty to Armstrong but because as one of the "good guys" of the peloton, he was thought by many moronic fanboys to be ethically above reproach. But just like Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer, nice guys also dope.

Funny about Hincapie. Rumors about him go all the way back to when he was lapping the field in Central Park in New York City. He's been alleged to have been shooting up with vitamin B, cortisone and testosterone before he began riding for the infamous US national team. If anyone is familiar with the cats in this photo, no further explanation is necessary. Here is Hincapie repping the US national jersey alongside Mengoni riders the Pineda Brothers (the middle two) and sprinter Wilson Vasquez(far right)-

Hamilton, to his credit, has given back his 2004 Olympic gold medal. At the time he got off on a technicality because his B-sample was inadvertently frozen, so the testers could not corroborate the A-sample findings, but weeks later dropped out of the Vuelta a España citing an illness and was caught out along with another teammate for an illegal blood transfusion. They both showed traces of someone elses' blood in their systems, meaning someone on the team's medical staff got the blood bags mixed up.

Whatever else the 60 Minutes report unveils, it is becoming clear that unlike the Federal investigation into Barry Bonds and his use of steroids, the Feds are thoroughly doing their homework and coming up with witnesses that unlike in Bonds' case, are not willing to go to jail just for the sake of defending Armstrong.

We shall see.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Film Recommendation of the Week...

Hoop Dreams
Release date  October 14, 1994.
Running time 2 hours 50 minutes.

People say, 'When you make it to the NBA, don't forget about me.' I feel like telling them, 'Well, if I don't make it, make sure you don't forget about me.' "
-William Gates, in the final scene of "Hoop Dreams".

Anyone who is a basketball fan should watch this documentary, which, not surprisingly given the track record of giving bad films and bad actors accolades they don't deserve did not win the Academy Award for Best Documentary the ear of it's initial release. Not to get too far off the subject, but the snub it received from the Academy makes the whole process an absolute fraud. Here is an aspect of how films were considered for nomination as told by renown film critic Roger Ebert-"

"According to Roger Ebert, reliable sources said members of the Academy's documentary nomination committee had a system in which one would wave a flashlight on screen when they gave up on the film. When a majority of the lights flashed, the film was turned off. Hoop Dreams didn’t even make it to 20 minutes." 

Nice, huh? Despite all that, this film will go down as one of the best documentaries of the 20th Century. Initially, it was meant to be a 30-minute piece on some kids playing playground basketball, but it morphed into a five-year project that captured the lives of two young African American boys and their families in inner-city Chicago with a sensitivity and a disdain for the type of annoying and condescending platitudes that is the hallmark of lesser works that deal with this subject. Here is another quote from the "Hoop Dreams" Wiki page-

"The film raises a number of issues concerning race, class, economic division, education and values in contemporary America. It also offers one of the most intimate views of inner-city life to be captured on film. Yet it is also the human story of two young men, their two families and their community, and the joys and struggles they live through over a period of five years."

The scenarios portrayed in this film are still being played out in every inner-city in the country. Absolutely nothing has changed, except the money and exposure has pushed the recruiting of these kids well past the point of it being a system that is healthy for anyone involved. It turns basketball coaches into whoremongers and poor, desperate families into hapless saps who will believe anyone willing to take a gamble on their kid (for a price, of course).

Sadly, both Arthur Agee and William Gates suffered tragedies years after filming had stopped. Arthur's father, a man featured in the film who struggled with the usual litany of ghetto issues, was gunned down in 2004 on the streets of Chicago. Gates' brother Curtis, portrayed prominently in the film, was also murdered in 2001.

One of the most funniest cats in the film is Saint Joseph's High School basketball coach Gene Pingatore. What a character this guy is. He popped up a few years ago in Sebastian Telfair's documentary "Into The Fire", still living in the past and still talking about Isaiah Thomas, the most famous player he ever coached.

He comes across as a typical white, suburban basketball coach who is out of touch with the ghetto kids he looks for to help him win basketball games. He means well, he just doesn't speak the language and isn't very empathetic. He is an anachronism very much like Chuck Taylors and skimpy, tight-assed shorts. One of the most pathetic scenes involving Pingatore was when he approaches Agee years after he was asked to leave Saint Joe's and tells him with a straight face "I could have used you this year". What a prick. But then again, I expected nothing less from him, knowing his type.

(under construction)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Babe of the Week for May 13, 2011 is...

Fiona Apple!!!

Fiona Apple burst onto the music scene in 1996, winning a Grammy Award for her single "Criminal". Her cutey-pie looks were a contrast to her deep, velvety and soulful voice, which made her all the more alluring. She released her debut album called "Tidal" when she was nineteen years old. It's hard to fathom that during the last sixteen years she's only released three albums, but when you loook mahvelous, dahling, absolutely mahvelous like Fiona does, who cares?

I've just begun to get into her music. Since I'm not a fan of artists who get more press coverage for their looks than their talent (hence my dislike of twats like Lady GaGa) it's taken a while for me to come around on Fiona. Unfortunately we have to keep going back in time to re-discover artists like her because the music that's coming out now is homogenized crap meant for idiots with the attention span of a crackhead on crystal meth.

Here is the video to her hit single "Criminal"-

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Apotheosis of Celebrity Bullshit...

One of the finest babes on planet Earth, the half Dominican-half Puerto Rican beauty Michelle Rodriguez, was recently overheard bitching about being "bothered" by fans. She said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that she would like to live in France because "stuff like that doesn't happen there". I'm assuming she's talking about autograph seekers and the everyday schlubs that approach her because she's a "star", when the reality is she's a bullshit C-list Hollywood actress who is such a twat she can't keep a steady job from the myriad of DUI's on her rap sheet, and only gets film roles where she plays another in a long line of stereotypical tough-as-nails Latina army grunts who takes no shit from anyone. She should have graduated from roles like this a long time ago, but toady she can't manage a cameo appearance on garbage like the "Fast and Furious" franchise, which she once starred in.

That's "NOT" the way you dress for a court date-
Talk about type-casting. There's something wrong with the roles she's getting because there is something wrong with HER. Her attitude sucks, she has problems on every set she works on, and when convicted of a DUI while working in Hawaii while filming the incredibly successful TV series "Lost". She preferred to do five days in jail than do community service and was, unsurprisingly, the first character killed off the series. She's been typecast, alright-for being an asshole, and rightfully so. Just check out this quote-

"Oh baby, I was typecast the minute I did a film called Girlfight years ago. That has nothing to do with anything, it just has to do with… you allow yourself to be typecast. If I decided I didn’t want to be typecast tomorrow I’d just go do an indie film where I play some poor girl who goes through some excruciating experience and win myself an award for crying or being raped [breaks into laughter] or playing someone with mental illness. But at the end of the day I’m not in it for the acting. If I were in it for the acting then I would be worried about people not giving me the opportunity to express my vast array of emotions on the screen.
I could give two shits. I only wanna be someone I respect or someone that I consider interesting or fun. I’m here to entertain people and make a statement about female empowerment and strength and that’s what I’ve done for the last 10 years, and people can call it typecast, but I pigeonholed myself and I put myself in that box for saying no to everything else that came on my plate. Saying no to the girlfriend, saying no to the girl that gets captured, no to this, no to that. and eventually I just got left with the strong chick that’s always being killed and there’s nothing wrong with that."

So, despite putting up with her metal disorders and her blatant disregard for the law, her fans continue to support her. Darling, let me tell you right now-it's because of those annoying fans that you're even capable of considering moving to France, because they are the ones that put the money in your pocket to live so well that relocating halfway around the world is a viable option.

Couldn't dodge that community service forever, ay sweetheart?
Let me now get to one of my personal heroes, Neil Peart, drummer of the prog-rock supergroup "Rush", who also suffers form this dilemma. Apparently being around other people bothers him so much that he shuns totally, without excuse or even a hint of remorse, the meet-and-greets before and after concerts that his two other band mates are more than happy to participate in. His interviews during their latest documentary gave us a disturbing look into this man's irrational and totally unwarranted outlook on his fans.

I've always noticed that Peart, as soon as the last song is over, waves dismissively at the fans and runs offstage. He does this at every show. I have never known him to stroll to the front of the stage and take a few bows for the benefit of his adoring fans. He is loathe to give them anything more than a cursory wave of acknowledgment and off he goes. It struck me while he was speaking of the tragedies that befell him one after another, losing his young daughter and then months later his wife to a terminal illness that his issues run very deep. I couldn't think of the unimaginable grief this would have caused, yet he took this time to reiterate his visceral antagonism towards the rest of humanity by saying he just wanted to get on his motorbike, keep riding, and avoid being recognized by anyone at all costs. Sounds soothing, doesn't it?

How dare you photograph me, you cretin?
Let's get a few things straight. I love his drum set, which is so huge he has to mechanically rotate it a full 180 degrees just to play it all. It is an absolute marvel that anyone can put something like that together and make it all work, much less play it with such incredible proficiency. But what he forgets is the money that makes it possible for him to pay for the myriad of drum sets he's had over the course of his career is because of his fans.

That cross-continent motorcycle trip he took without having to worry about the cash to finance it came from the fans who have supported the group over the years. His lifestyle was made possible by us, the fans who purchase Rush's albums regardless of whether there are only one or two good songs, which has been the case for a good many years now (I love Rush but the truth is the truth). We do this because we believe in the band and are fans for life. His discomfort with paying his fans back with the relatively small gestures of signing autographs and taking pictures with us schlubs speaks to more than just a discomfort with adulation.

I understand his motivation was more about becoming an excellent musician than of being a "rock star", but at some point he has lost all perspective on what exactly he owes his fans, but how many people wish their biggest problem is being approached by fans wanting an autograph and a handshake? I've been told by other surly celebrities that we common folk have no idea what it's like having idiots follow them around and bothering them in public when all they want to do is walk down the street to get a paper and a coffee. This is true, we don't. It certainly does sound a hell of a lot better than how regular everyday people live out their pathetic lives in total and complete anonymity, that's for sure. How many of us for once would love to go somewhere where someone other than our dogs are happy to see us? How many of us never get a thank-you from ANYONE for a job well done?

Neil Peart, loving the Limelight while despising the people that put him there-
Even Michael Jackson, a man who lost the ability to walk down any street in the world before he was able to vote, would find it in his heart to occasionally wave at the clearly mentally unstable people that would mob him everywhere he went. But I seriously doubt Michelle and Neil have ever had to deal with this. So my question is, why the hate?

Yes, it is hate, a disdain for the hoi polloi that put them on the map in the first place, without whom they would be where, exactly? It has to be said that Rodriguez is in a different situation than Peart, simply because she is young, beautiful and female. So I know the kooks that pester her are on a different level. Neil's biggest fans are drum geeks, and I highly doubt they are as collectively obnoxious as the assholes that chase Michelle around. She is also more highly recognizable because she's been in movies and television.

These are indeed two different levels of fame, and I can see one being much more annoying to deal with than the other. That doesn't excuse their behavior. Michelle would get pestered regardless because of her looks. Her fame just makes it worse. But it must be said that without her looks no one would hire her to do a commercial for tampons. The same cannot be said of Peart, who on the other hand, is talented at something where looks don't matter. His fans are for the most part respectful of his prodigious talents and aren't looking to take it any further than to tell him what his music has meant to them over the years. Is that too much to ask? No, it's not. especially when his other band mates manage to take time to do exactly what makes Peart cringe, and they do so with no problems whatsoever.

The drumset WE FANS made possible-
I remember vividly the very first time I heard the drum solo on "YYZ" from Rush's live album "Exit...Stage Left". I can say unequivocally that there will never be a more succinct and technically proficient drum solo in the annals of rock music. I could not believe anyone could play that fast and that well. the precision he displayed was surgical. It was enough to make a young person believe in the impossible. The feat of this drum solo may be equaled (I highly doubt it), but never will it be surpassed. The inspiration many draw from listening to Rush's seminal album "Moving Pictures" give Rush fans hope that one day they too could grow up and be as good at anything as the guys from this group play their instruments. With all due respect to bassist/keyboardist/singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, it is Peart who is the divine inspiration bar none.

I know for a fact many of his fans feel the same way. To be considered an annoyance simply because some would love to have the opportunity to express their sincere gratitude in person is a disappointment that is hard to describe. I went to his Wikipedia page and found out he is a keen fanboy of the Libertarian political and social school of thought, and is a fan of the Libertarian manifesto "Atlas Shrugged", written by social elitist douchebag Ayn Rand. It is difficult not to come to the conclusion that, after putting all these pieces together, Peart is the way he is because he despises the very people that made his life possible, and is unapproachable because he thinks he's better than his fans. And like all Libertarians that I've had the displeasure of meeting, it's always the ones that got it good in life who are the most angry, frustrated and bitter.

Rodriguez and Peart need to get a fucking grip with their bullshit. You'll never catch me out there approaching any celebrity after having done it one time and being humiliated for daring to ask for an autograph. But that's OK. My feelings were hurt, but then I went on youtube and caught the asshole in a moment he'll never be able to live down, and I went home feeling vindicated. Too bad it had to be like this, but that's life. Good night, Mark Jackson-I threw away your worthless autograph because I'd rather remember you THIS way-

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good-Bye and Good Riddance...

Goodbye Phil Jackson, the one coach in all the NBA who perpetually managed to suck the air out of every room he entered these last few years. The haughty arrogance, the insufferable hubris, the contrived pseudo-Zen Master bullshit, the geeky, uncoordinated Frankenstein-esque physique is now a thing of the past. No more we will marvel at his sheer and utter genius sitting on the sidelines in his specially made orthopedic chair that kept his hips from popping out of their sockets after all the surgeries made hm a virtual cripple.

Sportscasters on ESPN cannot come up with enough superlatives for him. He is the greatest coach of ALL sports. He is the greatest motivator of great athletes the world has ever seen. He is the greatest living man not on Mount Rushmore. Believe me, his head is so big they won't need to carve it alongside the other cats who are up there. All they have to do is make a plaster cast of it, shrink it to fit, and just set it right beside the others.

In the jock-sniffing, testicle-slurping world of TV and radio sports talk, there is never room to criticize the sacred cows of modern-day athletics. That's why their collective lack of perspective must be balanced by blogs like this. Phil Jackson is an overrated front runner who couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag when things got tough. Never has one man received more accolades for being responsible for so little. He is the NBA equivalent of the asshole corporate CEO's who get paid to do absolutely nothing and live only to take credit for what others have accomplished.

His last game during this year's NBA Playoffs is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. The Lakers were, for whatever reason, clearly under-achieving and absolutely unmotivated. When a 6-7 athlete like Ron Artest slams the ball on the bottom of the rim on a breakaway dunk attempt (that's called "catching a spasm" in inner-city parlance, due to how one's back curls into itself like an accordion when this maneuver is accomplished) clearly the Lakers were not ready for prime time. But isn't it not the job of the coach to gauge the collective mood of the team and then make the necessary tweaks to make sure they are prepared to go out and compete?

Phil Jackson didn't so this because he couldn't. His strength was never about his steely resolve or his cynical, sarcastic wit. It was his ability to be at the right place at the right time coaching some of the best basketball players that ever walked the Earth. Someone please explain to me how hard it could possibly be to win 11 championships with players like Shaquille O'Neil, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and a whole host of other great players that complimented their teams beautifully. But game 4 against Dallas exposed Jackson for what he truly is. As for the Lakers, old they are not. The best players on the team are all younger than it's star, Kobe Bryant. Their two pivotal bench players, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, were injured most of the year and were probably still not 100%. Here is where and why they failed-

1) Ron Artest, the NBA's Special Education poster boy, was a shell of his former self this year. No longer was he the dominating defensive presence capable of shutting down the opposing team's most talented  athletic perimeter players. All he can do now is shoot inadvertent threes and make stupid, punk-ass fouls against players running rings around him like my man J.J. Barea. He needs to go, but who will want to pick up his contract? No one, that's who. The problem with Artest is that he's not a winner. He was happy with the one ring and you'll never see him play like last season ever again.

2) Another cat running on fumes is Derrick Fisher. Enough with this guy already. Yes, he's a great team leader and excellent family man, but he's benefited from being surrounded by Hall of Fame players most of his career. An overachiever deluxe, it's time for him to move on to the front office or the coaching staff. He can't play anymore. Not for this team, he can't.The Lakers need a point guard with speed who can do more than hit shots only because someone else on the floor is being double and triple-teamed. The league is getting faster at the point guard position, and Fisher can no longer keep up.

3) How did Pau Gasol become Jackson's whipping boy this series with how terrible everyone else was playing? Gasol is probably the only player I've ever seen Jackson physically confront in a game with such vitriol. No way he goes from being the real MVP of the NBA Finals last year and the main reason the Lakers win the championship two years in a row to a Skid Row bum without a plausible explanation. Yes, he played like shit, but there is a reason for it that we don't know about. There has to be an explanation for why he's gone from so good to so bad so fast. Age cannot be the reason for his drop in production. He's still relatively young to have an age-induced fall-off of this magnitude.

I would have respected Jackson a lot more if he got in Bryant's face the way he got in Gasol's during that last game. He certainly wasn't the the only player to blame for this monumental breakdown. Here is my conjecture on this matter-

The Lakers are an extension of their star. There have been selfish, me-first players all through the history of sports but Bryant takes the cake. He sets the tone, and he is the one who is a direct reflexion of how they collectively gave up.
The Lakers organization got the most out of this team. They were fortunate to win last year, especially given the fact that if it wasn't for Gasol doing so well and Boston's center Kendrick Perkins getting hurt we wouldn't be having this conversation. But it's time to break this team up or get as coach who can reign in assholes like Andrew Bynam, who takes losing as well as Woody Hayes, the Alabama football coach who went out onto the field and assaulted an opposing player after catching an interception against his team.

The insufferably bush league flagrant foul by Andrew Bynam on J.J. Barea encapsulates the collective psyche of the team. Outplayed throughout the whole series and utterly embarrassed during the deciding game 4 blowout, Bynam decides to go out like the asshole sore loser Bryant and coach Jackson have been throughout their whole careers by elbowing the Dallas guard in mid-air. Barea then crashes to the ground in a heap. Bynam walks off the court after being ejected while removing his jersey, exposing the whole world to his disgusting man-boobs. Son, next time make sure you're in shape enough to pull such a stunt. No one wanted to witness such a repulsive spectacle. C'mon, Andrew-there are kids watching.

It has been revealed by Brian Shaw that the Lakers organization treated their assistant coaching staff poorly and never gave them a chance to interact harmoniously with the players Phil Jackson could no longer motivate. His coaching style is best described as a man showing up for a game and simply stating. "I'm Phil Jackson". That's it. His hubris and monumental sense of self was always at the heart of his coaching technique. When that no longer worked, his teams caved in from the weight of their own arrogance.  We've seen this type of collapse three times in the NBA Finals-once when he had Gary Peyton and Karl Malone, another was when the Celtics blew them out to win the championship a few years ago and again this season. And each time Jackson could not find a way to motivate his teams to make it look respectable. All three times they just fell apart with no sense of pride whatsoever.

Why? Because Jackson, coaching the best talent in the league, is a front runner. He only shines when he has a bomb squad motivated to win. He could never be considered a master tactician when the fact is his players carried him for every single one of his NBA championships. Now that his noxious, putrid and arthritic schtick has finally run its' course, he leaves. Good-bye, you asshole. No longer will we have to be subjected to watching you on the sideline falling asleep, drooling out of the side of your mouth.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Film Recommendation of the Week...

Tropa de Elite 2
Release Date October 8, 2010.
Running Time 1 hour 55 minutes.
Portuguese w/English subtitles. 

This brilliant Brazilian film takes us forward thirteen years after the first film, and we find that not only have things not changed in Rio de Janeiro, but they've gotten worse. Now we get a look into the type of institutionalized corruption that makes the crime and drug-dealing in the "favelas" (slums) possible, and how efforts to clean things up are thwarted at every turn by a society that is more concerned with presenting a false image to the world than actual police work.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Babe of the Week for May 6, 2011 is...

Parminder Nagra!!!

This beautiful young lady first came on the scene in the delightful and heartwarming film "Bend it like Beckham". She went on to star as a doctor in the television series "ER" and I have no idea what she did after that. But it doesn't matter, because she loooks mahvelous, dahling-absolutely mahvelous!!!

Not only do I love her looks and personality, which brightens up any scene she's in, but she has opened doors for talented actresses who do not fit the tiresome stereotype of the anorexic, thin-lipped bleached blonde bimbo. We need more cultural variety in life and onscreen. Let's hope there are more women like her being given a chance to prove that they are wonderful actresses and lovely young women.

As for her history, she was raised in England after her family emigrated from India. Her exotic looks and wonderful accent make her unique in Hollywood, but it's her talent that wins the day. I haven't seen her in much after her stint on "ER", but that's because she's married and is raising a family. Too bad, she needs to be out there more definitely and judging from these pictures I'm sure you'll agree-

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You weren't expecting this, were you?

Neither was I. The Boston Celtics losing their first two second-round playoff games in Miami and the LA Lakers losing their first two HOME GAMES against the Dallas Mavericks. I've been listening to all the pundits (a ghastly chore, since 99.9% of all sportswriters don't have the requisite intelligence to piece together some halfway decent analysis on anything they cover) and none of them have a fucking clue.

I hear guys go on and on talking about the stupidest shit imaginable, looking into all the minutiae of why this could possibly be happening, all the while missing the most obvious and salient points. Here they are-

The Boston Celtics made three huge mistakes during the years they set up "The Big Three" (an ironic little nickname for a bunch of guys who wouldn't have won shit without the one player they always leave out of this trifecta, Rajon Rondo). They traded Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen and Nate Robinson. They were replaced by Shaquille O'Neil, Jermaine O'Neil, Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green.

Out of these current players, the Celtics have only gotten decent output from Jermaine O'Neil, despite being well past his sell-by date. All the others have either been injured or just don't fit in. Guess what Miami thought of the Perkins trade when word of it got out-

Perkins was a center whose importance was just as valuable in the locker room as well as on the court. He was an asset in every conceivable sense. Tony Allen was an athletic wing player who causes fits to opposing players on defense. True, they both suffered terrible knee injuries during their career, but they were established cogs in the rotation. And was there a better combo coming off the bench to give the Celts that much-needed spark of energy than Glen "Gig Baby" Davis and his sidekick Nate Robinson?

Robinson wasn't just a circus freak. The little man with the huge heart got the crowd rockin' with his enthusiasm and pretty damn decent play in the playoffs (where it counts). Speculate all you want about why they were traded, but it doesn't matter now. All three are gone, and they are hurting because of it. If it's true that Perkins was traded because the Celts didn't have the money to re-sign him, the question should be asked why the fuck did the overpay aging veterans Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to those ridiculous contract expectations last year.

Watching the first two games of the second round so far, it's obvious that Allen nor Pierce can fuck with the Cock Diesel Twins, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James. Better to have someone like Tony Allen coming off the bench to give Wade fits (or at least make him work harder for his shots) and someone like Perkins who would foul the shit out of these guys going to the basket than what we are witnessing right now.

Conventional wisdom dictates that Wade cannot go the rest of the series chasing Ray Allen all over the court on defense without tiring himself out, but he won't have to if they sweep the series. Besides, thanks to the current playoff system, Miami and Boston get so many rest days between games fatigue will not be a factor, especially with what's at stake. Besides, Wade is one of the top-five physical specimens in the league. And one of the others just so happens to play forward on his team.

Boston GM Danny Ainge really outsmarted himself by thinking he could replace Perkins by committee. The two O'Neils and Krstic do not make up for what they lost when they traded him. Delonte West does not make up for Robinson, for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with the discrepancy in height. Tony Allen was the athletic and defensive spark plug Jeff Green will never be. And with the aging core of veteran players, the Celtics needed this influx of youth.

It is difficult to believe that for all the money the organization spent over the last three years, they will only have one championship to show for it when they really should be heading towards their third, if Perkins hadn't gotten hurt last year and was out for the last game of the Championship series and if Rasheed Wallace was even a shadow of his former self (even though he did have an outstanding game when having to play for the injured Perkins. But he too was running on fumes, retiring the second the season was over due to a chronically bad back that had plagued him for years).

Good night, Boston. It was an OK run that was ruined by front office dipshit Danny Ainge. Too smart for your own good, Danny boy-enjoy the second-round salad tossing Miami is going to make you give them, you deserve it.

Onto the Lakers. There really isn't anything wrong with them that a shrapnel enema can't cure. They got beat by Dallas because they look old, tired and disinterested. Such is the genius of Phil Jackson that he fucked up a pivotal call in Game 1 due to the fact that he didn't know he couldn't substitute a player during a time-out. This is what he gets paid millions of dollars a year? Yes, read a previous blog entry where I lambaste this asshole for being overrated, and this boneheaded move was just another example of why he's nowhere near as good a coach as people make him out to be.

And now that he actually HAS to coach, he can't. Because he never could. All the Zen Master bullshit isn't going to work on players like Pau Gasol, who cannot guard Dirk Nowitzki and is clearly losing moral having to do so. So why not play Lamar Odom on him, you dumbass? Why not play Odom, Bynum and Gasol in the front court as starters, huh Phil? Are you even awake?

I have nothing good to say about Kobe Bryant. This is the first NBA Playoffs where I'm interested more in who loses than who wins, and I want LA to get knocked out ASAP. Since the Celtics are also going down this round, I really don't give a shit who wins it all. But Bryant has never been a good team leader. His teams have always suffered from one type of malaise or another, and it's because of him, the only player on the team who doesn't have to practice like everyone else and who gets picked up and dropped off by a fucking helicopter to each and every home game.

If he were more concerned with winning than of taking credit for the Sun revolving around him, he would have put his foot up the rear ends of Odom and Special Ed poster child Ron Artest by now. Jordan is probably the biggest dickhead to ever play organized sports, but rest assured those two guys would be perennial All-Stars if they played with Jordan instead of Bryant.

Bryant is his own species of asshole. There really is no describing him in detail right now, so I'll leave that for another time. But it's the reason his team is playing so terribly and the reason why, unless Dallas has another one of their patented playoff meltdowns, they will get knocked out along with the Celtics by the end of this week. The Lakers have played like shit and deserve to get swept. Nothing would make me happier than seeing "The Black Mamba" walk the fucking plank like a bitch-ass trick, with Mark Cuban holding the sword.

The Celtics, on the other hand, are victims of bad front office moves and the inevitable consequence of old, high-mileage players growing old right before our very eyes. This is what happens-players get old at exactly the wrong time, and the decline isn't gradual-it's sudden and irreversible. Don't believe me? Just watch Derek Jeter. He's gone downhill faster than that downhill ski jumper featured in the old Wide World of Sports introduction who crashes out in a most spectacular fashion.

Danny Ainge decided that the great mixture of youth and experience they had wasn't enough, and decided that going after beached whale Shaquille O'Neil was the answer to their front line deficiencies. "The Big Blotation Device" played about 20-something games this year, and the last time he practiced with the team he had to be dragged off the court on a golf cart. This 450-pound ground hog should never be allowed to put on an NBA uniform ever again. The moment he decided he could play fat and out of shape was the day NBA general managers should have ignored him and gone in another direction. But he always wound up getting work. As it is, Perkin is playing well for the Oklahoma City Thunder and O'Neil is a pathetic shell of his former self. Too bad he decided being a fat, injury-plagued buffoon was the way to end his once-wonderful career. Too bad indeed, he used to be fun to watch.

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