Monday, June 25, 2012

Metta World War...

My apologies for not getting to this earlier. I began an article on this as soon as it happened, but the Blogspot template will not let me back-date the post. So here it is...

I've never been a fan of Ron Artest. He was always a play away from doing something completely stupid, and that's because he is stupid. Special ED to the max. But the elbow that he administered to James Harden's cranium during a season-ending game speaks volumes to the failure of his psychiatrist to keep this unhinged idiot form wreaking havoc on the court.

Ron Artest is no longer the player he once was. He was a defensive specialist, whose toughness and tenacity made him the bane of opposing players all over the NBA. He never had much of an offensive game, but he could take the ball to the rack and wasn't a terrible shooter. He is no longer fleet of foot and he always starts the season in woeful form. He has taken the Shaquille O'Neil approach of using the season as training camp to get himself in shape, and sometimes that lasts until April. As a defensive wizard, this year, he stopped no one. In the Playoffs, he did absolutely nothing.

So we are now left with his one-dimensional, semi-deluded, Mike Tyson-esque shtick while we watch his game exit via the rear door. Watching Artest play basketball is like watching a redneck take a shit in an outhouse with the door wide open-you just wish you were somewhere else. Stunts like showing up on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show bare torsoed was excusable seeing as the Lakers had just won the NBA championship and he was a major contributor to the cause. Then he was our favorite little pet freak, but never quite endearing enough to shelter us from the constant menace he exuded. When you listen to his diatribe of the Harden incident, you realize the guy is going to be more of a hindrance and less of an asset not only because he still has the "Malice at the Palace" as a behavioral template, but because of his clearly eroding skills. So don't be surprised if this is how Artest decides to leave his mark on the NBA in his waning years-

 James Harden being interviewed after the incident. That Artest elbow seems to have left an indelible mark-

This is what the Lakers are stuck with, because there is no general manager willing to take the trifecta of problems Artest brings with him-

1) His contract is for too much for too long.

2) His skills have diminished.

3) He's an asshole, who even while on medication can go from zero to stupid faster than a Porsche 911.

They have an unmotivated front line, thanks to the preeminent ballhog of the last five years, Kobe Bryant, who refuses to incorporate any other type of offense besides "I take all the shots". They have a point guard who caused a lot of excitement when they traded for him but who has the skills of a back-up, and a bench that I wouldn't take to a prison league tournament. And did I mention they're egregiously over the salary cap?

Kobe Bryant expects the Lakers front office to pull off some type of miracle that will get them past the second round of the playoffs, but unless Orlando is willing to trade Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynam, I don't see how they can improve the team. They are stuck, and will be looking in their rearview mirror as the Oklahoma City Thunder roll past them for the duration of Bryant's last years in the league.

Here's to hoping Artest shows up motivated and in-shape next year. Yeah, right.

Film Recommendation of the Week...

Paraiso Travel
Release Date January 18, 2008 (Colombia). 
Running Time-1 hour 57 minutes.
Spanish w/English subtitles.

Two young lovers from Medellín. Colombia plot to chase the American Dream with an illegal trip to the United States. The storyline includes flashbacks of their journey juxtaposed with their current predicament in New York City. Through an unfortunate turn of events, Marlon become separated from his girlfriend, the lovely and beguiling Reina (played by our current "Babe of the Week" Angélica Blandón) and he is left to fend for himself, meeting every possible type of shysty-ass huckster the city has to offer, but also running into people who are willing to help.

But nothing compares to the bullshit they were sold at the travel agency back in Medellín, where a passport and an airline ticket to Panama turns into a nightmare the second they step off the plane all the way to the "frontera" of Texas. This film offers the brutal and harrowing details of such a perilous journey for people who only want to escape their countries for a brighter future. It is pathetic and sad, but all too realistic.

Even sadder is the crap Marlon (played with authenticity and conviction by Colombian actor Aldemar Correa) goes through to put together some semblance of a life while never ever forgetting his sweetheart Reina. I wouldn't forget her, either. She is sassy, smart and way too beautiful to have left for lost. But when circumstances are in place for them to reunite, Marlon finds out in heartbreaking fashion that the other side of this "Sueño Americano" becomes nothing but a tragic nightmare for both he and Reina.

The only bad thing about the movie is the character played by John Leguizamo. He was way too over-the-top and the role was acted very poorly. Leguizamo is a terrible actor and he almost ruined the whole film, but there is a redeeming story despite his all-out effort to fuck things up with this stupid and unnecessary role. I must admit I sought the movie out because of Angélica Blandón, but after watching it I can safely say that it is a film any lover of cinema would enjoy immensely.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Babe of the Week for June 22, 2012 is...

Angélica Blandón!!!

Again, this week we re-visit Spanish tv series "Las Muñecas de la Mafia" to bring you another beauty from Colombia. She is, by my estimation, a child prodigy. She's wanted to be an actress since the age of 5, and her precociousness is in evidence in her acting abilities. She is young, talented, and after watching all 50 episodes in which she played a major role, I am convinced she is on to bigger and better things. This chica can act.

Angélica was born in the town of Periera and grew up in Medellín. She spent most of her professional life in the theatre until she got her chance to perform on the small screen. The major issue with breaking through in the United States for these artists is they do not speak English well enough to be offered roles in American movies, which is a shame because it certainly isn't due to a lack of talent. Or in the case of some of these young women, their looks. Tired of the same thin-lipped, beady-eyed, anorexic bleache-blonde twats that dominate the landscape of American pop culture? Latin America is your ticket, so go and purchase one and head on down to the beautiful country of Colombia.

I can't promise that you'll hook up with a beguiling beauty like Angélica, but you'll fare better than the average North American gold-digging 20-something year old looking for some pendejo to pay off their student loans in exchange for mediocre sex (that's if you get any), or some uneducated ghetto hoochie with three kids from four different fathers who are ALL in jail.

King James Finally Gets His Crown...

Lebron James finally got the NBA championship ring pundits and other assorted ass-heads have been screeching about since he came into the league with the ridiculous nickname "The Chosen One". He's been derisively called "Queen James", "The Frozen One" (a sarcastic, snarky remark by ESPN dickwad deluxe Skip Bayless that he repeats about 500 times a day), and has taken about as much crap for one lousy performance in last year's Finals as any one athlete has taken for anything ever. Bayless, to his discredit, has never gotten off that particular topic.

His dislike of James is so visceral and at this stage beyond unprofessional (if you can call what he does for a living a profession) that on the ESPN show "First Take", Bayless was STILL getting on Lebron James for how he played last year. This guy will not let it go, which is why thankfully Mark Cuban came on the air and added some sanity to the world of sports talk by suggesting to Bayless that no one really cares what he thinks. Good one, Mark.

Don't get me wrong-I NEVER liked Lebron James, but it's nothing personal. It's a matter of style. It's hard to root for someone who is too big,  too fast, and too strong while also lacking a certain physical charisma that is hard to explain but you know it when you see it. Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwan, and Doctor J, among others, played with a certain inimitable style. James is nothing but an overgrown testosterone freak with a combination of skills no one has ever seen in a body only a mad scientist could create in a lab.

All the crap he took over the ill-advised manner in which he chose to announce his departure from Cleveland was nothing but overblown media hype. True, there has never been a more unintentionally ironic and self-absorbed moment offered by a professional athlete than when Lebron stated "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" on national TV, after a ridiculous build-up that spoke volumes of the ego and arrogance it takes to have done that with a straight face. I always wondered why more people didn't fall down laughing at the sheer audacity of it. Watching replays of it, Lebron's lips quiver, almost as if to say "I can't believe I'm saying this shit on national TV!!!"

 Imagine Hitler in September of 1939 saying to the world-"Don't consider this an act of unprovoked military aggression against a sovereign nation. Let's just say I'm taking my talents to Poland." Could anyone see Der Fuhrer utter such a bombastically arrogant remark? I laughed at the hubris, and the fact that Lebron's advisors actually sat in some office conjuring up this public relations nightmare and felt it would be great for his "brand". He was branded, alright-branded an asshole of gaping proportions by almost everyone. Yet he is so reviled his jersey is still a top-seller

 Clevelanders are a funny bunch. They've been one of the hardest-hit states during the course of this national recession and they still vote Republican, which makes this a good time to say not only did they deserve to lose Lebron, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was made to look even more like an ass when his prediction that his Cavaliers would a win a championship before Lebron did blew up in his face. How'd that little proclamation work out for you, Nostradamus? What are you going to do next, Dan? Don a multi-colored rhinestone cape and read everyone their horoscopes like Walter Mercado? What a fucking idiot.

 Now we'll be subjected to the endless debate over how many championships James will win, and how he'll compare to the all-time greats like Jordan and Kobe Bryant. The fact that Eddy Curry has a championship ring makes this title win seriously difficult to gauge, all things considered. Pat Riley put together a hodgepodge of players around James, Wade, and Bosh who will probably be on a revolving door out of South Beach.

Mike Miller seems to have suffered injuries so crippling that his next stop should be the "Murderball" circuit with Stephen Hawking. Shane Battier has maybe one good year left, and I really don't know about Mario Chalmers. All three of the Heat's best players seem to take turns yelling at him like he's the reason everything goes wrong. I have a feeling he'll be looking to leave just so they can stop screaming at him.

But hey, it was a good series until OKC went down three games to one. The only thing they have to worry about is getting Russell Westbrook to play like a point guard. If not, he has to go. And either James Harden is overrated or he just didn't show up. Whatever happens, he needs to shave that fucking stupid beard. He looks like a Pennsylvania yeoman farmer. Every time I see him I'm tempted to ask him what the price of corn is nowadays. Beards are for NFL offensive lineman, not basketball. And they look ridiculous on them, too.

 So congrats to Lebron and the rest of the Miami Heat. They didn't fuck up like they did last year. Now the pundits can finally get off their dicks.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Babe of the Week for June 15, 2012 is...

Alejandra Sandoval!!!

Here on "Busting Chops" we scour the Earth to find the absolute hottest babes and bring them to you. This week is no exception. I ran into this hottie while perusing the putrid, creatively bankrupt landscape  that is cable television, a cesspool of feculant programming whose very existence depends on how low on the scale of human dysfunction it drags it's participants, and with it, we the viewing public. The airwaves are inundated with reality shows featuring the worst bottom feeders imaginable; profoundly disturbed mental misfits with the most egregious entitlement issues and undiagnosed DSM-III-R disorders this side of Nurse Ratched's insane asylum.

Turn to the Spanish channels and you see something completely different-soppy, overly-melodramatic soap operas with badly written scripts overacted with miserable aplomb by performers who couldn't act their way out of a paper bag. But boy are those Latin babes hot!!! And here is one of them.

For some reason, I had a difficult time finding photos that do this woman justice. Watching her on television doing her thing as a narco-harlot in the series "Las Muñecas de la Mafia" ("Mafia Dolls") was absolutely mesmerizing. I'm not talking about her acting, because I had no idea what was going on during the episode I watched, nor did I care. This is one truly stunning beauty, and to say she loooks mahvelous is a gross understatement.

In "Las Muñecas de la Mafia", Alejandra stars as "Violeta", daughter of a notorious drug smuggler. The story is about the allure of money, power, extreme excess and the beauty that is bought and sold just like any other commodity. It all ends badly, especially for the gorgeous women who happily sign a pact with the Devil for a taste of the good life without thinking of the consequences that are in store for them.

But who cares-these chicas look mahvelous, dahling-absolutely mahvelous!!! And Alejandra is one of the most beautiful babe on the whole program. If there was a way to hook up with a babe like this without having to move tons of illegal drugs across the Mexican/US border and indiscriminately murder people, dismembering their bodies and hanging their headless carcasses from highway overpasses the way they do in sunny Mexico...but you can't have it all, can you? So for the poor schlubs who will never, ever in their lives get within 100 feet of such a sweet and beguiling princess, we are here to present Alejandra to apread a little joy into your life!!!

Alejandra was born in Cali, Colombia, and is a true representative of what a fine Colombian babe looks like. I always laugh at the stupid gringos who visit impoverished Latin American countries looking for "true love" in the form of a mail-order bride and wind up marrying the absolute dustiest, road-kill looking bitch they can find. These dingleberries need to understand you cannot find true love in a country where women would do anything to leave, including marrying some North American jackass who has to rely on the salespeople at Burlington Coat Factory for fashion advice. Then there is the language barrier and the cultural divide of living in third-world poverty, a minefield many "idiotas y estupidos" navigate with all the grace of a hobo stumbling down a flight of stairs at the neighborhood homeless shelter.

In other words, if you marry one of these foreign, gold-digging hoochies who are only interested in escaping from their country and dumping your monkey ass the first chance they get, do society a favor and get the finest broad you can. She's going to leave when she gets to the states for someone with more money than you regardless, so might as well make it count. If it lasts three months, that will constitute the happiest moments of your life, so make sure you take pictures because no one will believe you, even if you're the one buying the forty ounces with your EBT card. You can always go back to the Bowery empty-handed anytime you want-believe me when I tell you they're holding your spot. If you decide to partake in such a venture, see what it's like to be on the winning side for once. Shoot for the moon, motherfuckers. You only live once*.

*This public service announcement was brought to you by the cynical and sarcastic bastards at "Busting Chops".

Here she is in a short interview shot in Bogotá, Colombia-

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The RadioShack Debacle...

Johan Bruyneel, derisively nicknamed "The Hog" for his propensity to ingest mass quantities of steroids during his pedestrian cycling career, is in trouble. His team is rumored to be on the verge of being left off the Tour de France starting line due to the charges leveled at him by USADA, his best stage racer Andy Schleck is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured pelvic bone, and he is catching monumental shit from the screeching hyenas that make up the Chris Horner Fanboy Brigade because he had the audacity to leave him off the Tour roster when Horner didn't show up for the Tour de Swisse, a mandatory run-up race for anyone wanting a place on the Tour team.

Let's recap Bruyneels's less than auspicious cycling career. His only two highlights were-

1) 1994 when he gracelessly sucked Miguel Indurain's wheel for what seemed like an eternity during a Tour stage into Belgium, only to rob him of the win in the last few meters to the line, a tactless and graceless act that showed what a two-bit snake he is, and...

2) 1997 when he skidded off the road and plunged 80 feet into a ravine like a bitch during the infamous Tour stage when Miguel Indurain finally cracked after five years of domination. That about sums up Bruyneel's life as a professional cyclist.

Here is the crash in glorious non-HD...

The other only outstanding feature of his bullshit life as a rider was studying the refined art of organized team doping under the tutelage of master doping guru Manolo Saiz, who thankfully has never gotten another job running and administering a team ever since is last team, Liberty Seguros, ran aground. But Bruyneel took up the mantle and ran with it, and for those who say "what's the big deal", or "this investigation is a witch hunt", take a good look at what this man is being accused of-

Rule Violations-Numerous former riders and employees of the United States Postal Service, Discovery Channel, Astana, RadioShack, Phonak and/or ONCE cycling teams will testify that the below individuals committed anti-doping rule violations as follows-

By Johan Bruyneel (Team Director):

1) Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices) testosterone, HgH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.

2) Trafficking of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, HgH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.

3) Administration and/or attempted administration of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, HgH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.

4) Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rules violation and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.

5) Aggravating circumstances justifying a period of ineligibility greater than the standard sanction.

The UCI have been made aware of these formal charges. They can keep Bruyneel from attending the Tour this year, or they can ban the whole RadioShack team altogether. Let's see what those cowards do. Meanwhile, due to circumstances beyond his control, Bruyneel may wind up giving a team spot to Chris Horner after all due to Andy Schleck's injury.

Everyone who follows cycling knows the rancor that existed on the Astana team in 2009 when Armstrong tried to bully Alberto Contador into letting him win the race and the subsequent interviews by his asshole teammates who took Armstrong's side, but this interview I hadn't seen until today and really shows the distinct lack of character exhibited by Horner-

Horner is another one of the Armstrong groupies who are convinced Lance never doped. Unlike his fans, who love him despite his spotty and clearly PED-fueled performances, I never took to this guy. He couldn't hack it as a Euro pro when he first rode for La Francaise de Jeux and came crawling back home to ride for various domestic teams. He then miraculously drank from the purifying waters of the Bruyneel Fountain of Youth and started winning races at the age of 38 that he couldn't when he was twenty-five. He is at an age right now when most other riders are either winding their careers down or have retired. This guy's palmares stinks of doping to high heaven, but don't ever say that to his fans. They'll tell you how much integrity he has and what a wonderful example he is of the prototypical hard-working cycling domestique who has enough class to win a race on his own merits. All total and complete bullshit.

Juxtapose the comments Horner makes against Alberto Contador in the video to this hypocritical rant against felolow RadioShack teammate Andreas Kloden. Kloden tweets a comment about Horner's Tour non-selection with pragmatic honesty, which Horner obviously doesn't appreciate-

"If you want to ride a big Tour, you have to ride also some races with the team. Watch Team Sky, BMC...3 weeks racing isn't a one week race"-Andreas Kloden via Twitter.

Here is Horner's hypocritical response-

"Horner didn't respond to Kloden on Twitter, but when asked about it, he said he found the German's comments to be "unprofessional".

"I was surprised," Horner said. "I thought it was unprofessional for a teammate to talk badly about another teammate like that. It's certainly unprofessional for your sponsor to read something like that. Certainly there are times you ride with teammates you don't like; it's happened to me several times in my career, but I try to never talk about a teammate like that. It was disappointing to see, and it was very clear to see who it was addressed to. I was quite surprised to see a veteran of his age and experience write something like that publicly."

These comments are galling seeing how gleefully he threw Contador under the bus during the Tour in 2009, and all because Contador refused to let Armstrong beat him when he was clearly the better rider.

I will be updating this page as events warrant. We'll find out soon if the UCI has the cojones to do the riight thing and ban RadioShack from the Tour. I highly doubt it, but one can hope. Stay tuned for further updates on this volatile situation.

*UPDATE-There are reports that the Schleck brothers are looking to sign with another team for next year, and have hired a lawyer to sort this out. Bruyneel has to meet with the UCI to receive "clarification" on his status as team director in light of the allegations being leveled against him, and Tour organizers ASO may cancel the team's invitation to the Tour.

06/16/2012-George Hincapie, David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and Levi Leipheimer have all opted out of the London Olympics, leaving the US Men's road cycling team with retreaded bum Chris Horner, newbie Taylor Phinney and two other anonymous dickheads who probably won't have the strength to finish the course. I wonder why these guys would refrain from representing their country at such a prestigious event?

06/18/2012-Not that this is in any way news one way or another, but Chris Horner will indeed be riding the Tour. He received one of the final spots.

06/22/2012-Johan Bruyneel will officially not attend the Tour de France. Of course, this was probably a decision that was made for him in conjunction with the ASo and UCI, but at least they let him save face...

Lance Armstrong Served and Suspended...

Lance Armstrong has been served with a multi-count indictment by USADA, the United States Anti-Doping Agency. He's also been suspended from taking part in triathlons until the investigation has been concluded, which means he will not be at the starting line in Hawaii for the biggest, most  prestigious and grueling Ironman event on the calendar. His suspension from competition is unprecedented in many ways. First, I've never heard a rider suspended without a positive dope test. Usually the protocol is when the initial A-sample comes back positive, the rider is informed and he chooses whether to have the B-sample tested or not. If the second sample comes back positive, he is then sanctioned.

The rider also has the right of appeal and in some situations, recently the Alberto Contador debacle, a rider can potentially keep riding and winning races until a final decision is handed down by CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport). If the rider gets suspended for the requisite two years for a first offense, he gets stripped of any results during the time he was riding when the potential suspension was looming. This is why Contador was able to serve what is technically a 6 month ban and got stripped of any winnings during the time he was racing while the investigation was ongoing, which is bullshit but that's how it is.

Armstrong got suspended outright. He cannot ride while the investigation is ongoing, and is looking at getting stripped of all 7 Tour wins. This is some harsh shit coming his way, but the reasoning makes sense. Unlike what many of his obnoxious fanboys believe, and I've said it all along, the statute of limitations isn't a rule carved in stone. The investigators are focusing on the scope and extent of the conspiracy, which goes back to 1998. Unlike the Toxic Twins Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, who have credibility issues galore, there are a total of TEN riders who cooperated in the investigation. There are also peripheral actors in this melodrama who were not teammates per se but gave testimony when interviewed.

For the USADA to hit Armstrong so hard and potentially go after all 7 of his Tours, the evidence they've accrued must be absolutely damning. And unlike the nonsense that has been spewed on the internet, USADA is not counting on the samples that were tested from 1998. They are focusing on the test results from his unfortunate "Comback 2.0". Their contention is that those samples show clear and obvious evidence of blood manipulation and/or EPO use. That is some shit right there.

I have not been able to substantiate the allegations I'm about to make, but they are important and will prove the seriousness of the testimony gathered so far. George Hincapie has a story to tell. If he did tell it, Hincapie will be a major nail in the Armstrong Sarcophagus. Then there is his ex-wife Kirsten Armstrong, who if what I've heard is correct, has corroborated Armstrong's relationship with Italian doping doctor Michele Ferarri and the infamous refrigerator he kept stocked full of blood bags and PED's in their home in Girona, Spain. Testimony from these people will substantiate what Hamilton and Landis have stated in public, with the exception that their lack of credibility will no longer be a mitigating factor as to the strength and veracity of their statements.

Here is Lance Armstrong's statement on the allegations, a far cry from the crap he spoke a while ago-

"I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try to strip me of the seven Tours de France victories I've earned. 

These are the same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. 

Although the USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than sixteen years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA's malice, its methods, its star chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.

I have never doped, and unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence". 

Well now...let's analyze this steaming heap of dogshit for a moment. USADA have a vendetta against him, a vendetta whose origins are unknown. They just felt like picking on poor Lance. He mentions the use of taxpayer money, another idiotic talking point used ad nauseum by his fanboys/paid internet trolls. He has come out swinging, and has unequivocally stated he has never doped, that the witnesses, though anonymous, are paid hacks making up stories to diffuse their own guilt, and that he is being treated unfairly.

He also stated the Department of Justice looked at the evidence and decided there was nothing to the allegations, which is why the Federal investigation was dropped. This is a straight-up lie. The decision was politically motivated, and was announced not by a collective review of the evidence but on a Friday afternoon by one man, US Attorney for the Central District of California André Birotte, who did not collaborate with any of the agents charged with gathering said evidence and told them about the decision 15 minutes before going public with it. It is common knowledge the investigators were highly upset at the decision and the way Birotte went about it but could do nothing about it.

Soon afterwards, the USADA that they would follow up on any information gathered by the Feds to see if they could do anything about it, and they did. They conducted their own interviews and have many cooperating witnesses. Funny how out of the cyclists who gave testimony, the only one who didn't cooperate was Armstrong. He refused to show up to answer the allegations and declined to defend himself in person. He claims he competed for 25 years without a "spike in performance". Well, just what were all those highly suspicious and improbable feats of strength at the Tour for those seven years if not extreme spikes in performance? Here are some from the early 1990's if anyone is in doubt, from an article in Sports Illustrated published on January 21, 2011 called "The Case Against Lance Armstrong"-

"From 1999 to 200, Armstrong was tested more than two dozen times by (Don) Catlin's UCLA lab, according to Catlin's testimony. In May 1999, USA Cycling sent a formal request to Catlin for past test results-specifically, testosterone-epitestosterone ratios-for a cyclist identified only by his drug-testing code numbers. A source with knowledge of the request says that the cyclist was Lance Armstrong. In a letter dated June 4, 1999, Catlin responded that the lab couldn't recover a total of five of the cyclist's test results from 19990, 1992 and 1993 adding, "The likelihood that we will be able to recover these old files is low." The letter went on to detail the cyclist's testosterone-epitestosterone results from 1991 to 1998, with one missing season-1997, the only year during that span in which Armstrong didn't compete. Three results stand out-

1) A 9.0-to-1 ratio from a sample collected on June 23, 1993;

2) A 7.6-to-1 ratio from July 7, 1994;

3) A 6.5-to-1 ratio from June 4, 1996.

Most people have a ratio of 1-to-1. Prior to 2005, any ratio above 6.0-to-1 was considered abnormally high and evidence of doping; in 2005 that ratio was lowered to 4.0-to-1.

Putting the pieces together, there is evidence that Armstrong has doped his entire cycling career, beginning as an amateur with the US National Squad, where Chris Carmichael was busy injecting his riders with crap like "extract of cortisone". and became more brazen as the years went by. The program became more aggressive when he went full-bore during the 1998 Vuelta a España. After coming in fourth, he got a taste of stage race success and the next year he began what was seen at the time as an amazing and death-defying run of Tour wins, when in fact it was all down to the doping regimen and non-compete clause he signed with Dr. Michele Ferrari. He immediately began to work on cozying up to the UCI, the head body of pro cycling and the rest is history.

His defiant stance is a change of pace from the interview he gave to one of those soft-gay porn men's magazines for yuppies a few months ago, where he stated he was tired of fighting doping allegations and would not entertain another battle along the same front. Homeboy is getting extremely aggressive, as I thought he would. But USADA seems to be just as aggressive as Armstrong, which is what a bully needs-to get punched right in the face just like he's done to so many people over the course of his drug-fueled career.

The only thing left to this sordid story are the details, which I have contended is the only thing I want out of this whole process. I don't want to hear veiled conversations taken from a cell phone while riding in a car at 65 miles per hour, or Greg Lemond showing up at a hearing with thousands of pages of rumor and innuendo. The people who know what happened gave testimony, and I want to now who they are and what they said. If it's true that both George Hincapie, Armstrong's most loyal domestique during his Tour reign of terror, and ex-wife Kirsten threw Armstrong under the bus, there will be no saving him.

And I cannot think of someone who deserves it more than this colossal prick of a human being.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Update-The World Triathlon's Board of Directors have decided to leave in place a rule that suspends Lance Armstrong from participating in Ironman events. There were rumors that despite the initial ruling handed down by the USADA, Armstrong was still free to participate in Ironman events if the Ironman board decided on it, specifically the big event in Kona, Hawaii where he was more than likely to receive huge appearance fee bonuses and other sponsorship dollars for competing. But he won't be there.

06/16/2112-Lance Armstrong and the other four people named in the USADA letter have until June 22, 2012 to answer the charges levied against them. Most have publicly stated they are innocent. The only one left to hear from is Dr. Michele Ferrari, who not surprisingly is keeping a low profile as always.

06/16/2012-As revealed by the Italian investigation into Dr. Michele Ferrari's finances, Lance Armstrong transferred $465,000 into Ferrari's account in 2006, years after he claimed to have terminated a professional relationship with him and exactly one year after he retired from competition.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

David Stern Goes Ballistic...

David Stern has had contentious exchanges with the media during the course of his reign as commissioner of the NBA, and has always maintained an arrogant yet dignified cool about the allegations leveled at his league. But this one takes the cake. While being interviewed by provocateur deluxe Jim Rome, who we all remember as being the asshole who goaded then-quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams Jim Everett into a physical confrontation on the air, he asked Stern what was quite possibly the stupidest question he could have asked. But it was Stern's response that was beyond bizarre. Here it is from

NBA commissioner David Stern got into a heated exchange with Jim Rome Wednesday when the radio host asked him if the Hornets winning the draft lottery was fixed.

"I know that you appreciate a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, was the fix in for the lottery?" asked Rome, who hosts a daily show on CBS Sports Network.

"I have two answers for that," Stern said. "The simple easy one, no, the second, a statement, shame on you for asking."

Rome went on to say that he thought it was his job to ask because people wonder.

No, it's ridiculous, but that's OK," Stern said.

Rome, who used to host the show "Jim Rome is Burning" on ESPN, said he didn't think the question was ridiculous.

Stern responded: "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

Since Rome has no history of spousal abuse, it appears that the commissioner was using a traditional loaded question as a tool to make his point -- that the question itself, in this case about the lottery, presumes guilt.

Rome responded: " I don't think that's fair."

After a little more back and forth, Rome said he hoped Stern wouldn't hold the question against him.

"I wouldn't hold it against you," Stern said. "You and I have been in more contentious talks than that. But it's good copy. You do these things for cheap thrills."

Rome took offense to that statement, and Stern changed his characterization.

"Cheap trick," he said. "You've been successful in making a career of it, and I keep coming on."

That prompted a flurry of exchanges:

Rome: "Making a career of it? Making a career of what? What? Cheap thrills?"

Stern: "Now you're getting mad. You're taking on the world and now Jim Rome is pouting."

Rome: "I'm not pouting, I'm taking offense."

Stern: "You want to hang up on me?"

Rome: "No, I'm seriously running out of time."

Stern: "Listen, I gotta go call somebody important like Stephen A. Smith back. He's next."

Rome: "OK, you go make that call and I'll go talk to somebody else too I guess. Have a nice day. I did not hang up on him, we are officially out of time."

Why David Stern would make reference to such a serious issue as spousal abuse to belittle Jim Rome is beyond tasteless, and for a commissioner coming off some of the worst pro league contract negotiations this side of the baseball strike of 1994-95, he should have backed off with his choice of references. But let's be real about David Stern and where his arrogance emanates from. It is a monumental hubris from being at the right place at the right time and believing none of it could have happened unless he was at the controls. He has taken undue credit for the resurgence of the NBA during a time it was floundering both at the arena and on television, but the real credit needs to go to the superstars that came into the NBA when it was down and the sneaker companies who marketed the game better than anything Stern ever did.

There is nothing more American than the imperialist notion that owners and commissioners make a sports league, and nothing could be further from the truth. Talent makes a sports league. The administrators of said league, like in corporate America, think nothing moves without them. Old white men in suits aren't responsible for the talent that falls into their laps or the combination of luck and patience it takes to build a championship-winning franchise. But Stern is one of those cats who always felt comfortable taking undue credit for Larry Bird and Magic Johnson revitalizing pro basketball beginning in 1979, re-igniting interest in the league in general and the classic Boston-Los Angeles rivalry in particular. This happened way before Michael Jordan showed up, who with the help of Nike took the marketing of NBA stars to the unprecedented heights currently enjoyed by the like of Lebron James, who as if this date has been crowned "King" without having won one NBA title.

Looking at the past through rose-colored glasses obscures the truth. We have forgotten the other rivalries that simmered underneath the surface that no one remembers but were just as crucial to the development of the league during this time. Unfortunately, the viewing public only got a taste of these games via the one channel that broadcast NBA games on Sundays, CBS, and the only analysis came in the guise of the "Penzoil  at the half" halftime show.

In the East, we had Boston vs. Philadelphia, with Dr. J and his heated one-one-one battles against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia vs. Milwaukee. During the Sixers' title run in 1982, center Moses Malone famously quipped "Fo' Fo' Fo'", meaning every series was going to be a procession of sweeps. The only team to beat them during this run was The Bucks, who had guards Junior Bridgeman and Sidney Moncrief (who would have had a much more heralded career if not for a knee injury), and big men Jack Sikma and Bob Lanier.

Then you had the New York Knicks and their running battles with the Detroit Pistons, games that were ferocious in intensity and full of incredible moments like Bernard King rippin' 'em up on the offensive end and Isiah Thomas scoring an unbelievable 16 points in the last 94 seconds of a game. Anyone who think Carmelo Anthony is the second coming of Bernard King needs to watch ESPN Sports Classics and get a feel for just how transcendent his talents really were, and how Anthony's game pales in comparison to the King, one of the best scoring small forwards the league has ever seen. And like Sidney Moncrief, we can only conjecture to what heights he could have risen of not for that catastrophic knee injury that robbed him of two years of his athletic prime.

Here is a sample of a write-up on Bernard King's stellar performance against the Pistons in the 1985 playoffs by then-Sports Illustrated columnist Bruce Newman-

King pulled himself up to a level that few players ever reach, leading the New York Knicks to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Pistons in their opening-round playoff series. Despite playing with dislocated middle fingers on each hand, splinted to hold them in place, and a case of the flu that overtook him midway through the series, the 6'7" forward averaged 42.6 points a game in one of the NBA's most extraordinary playoff performances ever. His 213 points against Detroit, on 84-139 shooting (60%) from the floor, broke the five-game record of 197 set by the Lakers' Elgin Baylor against Detroit in 1961. "Elgin had it long enough", King said with a certain finality after scoring 44 points in the Knicks' series-clinching 127-123 overtime victory last Friday night." 

The King of New York-

In the West, you had the Lakers, who suck the air out of the room in terms of their dominance during this wra, but let's not forget the epic battles they had against teams like the San Antonio Spurs, who with George "The Iceman" Gervin and center Artis Gilmore, gave them quite a run for their money. Then you had the Denver Nuggets with Dan Issel. Alex English and point guard Layfayette "Fat" Lever. They never went too deep into the playoffs and played no defense, but were a nightmare to play against because of their high-octane offense.

The jock-sniffing pundits at ESPN forget all this, and the fact that the league consisted of some of the most dynamic players ever to have graced an NBA basketball court is beyond them, because all they do is worship the same two-three players and the same two-three teams from this important and overlooked era. As time goes on, more people will forget how corporations from McDonald's to Nike took it upon themselves to globalize their brands while marketing the players whom they endorsed.

The globalization of the game can be attributed to the Magic/Bird rivalry. This set the tone for what Nike did with Michael Jordan. Then you had "The Dream Team" which made international stars of 11 of the 12 players who participated in the momentous occasion. This opened the floodgates for foreign players to enter into the league who have left an indelible imprint of the game. Davis Stern takes credit for all of this, and so is considered one of the geniuses of his ilk. Sorry pal, but it was the players and the sneaker companies with their advertising and marketing prowess that globalized basketball, not you. Next time, leave the spouse-beating references to Floyd Mayweather, who is as we speak doing hard time for exactly this crime.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Carbonsports Wheels...

If you are considering a new bike for racing, fast riding, training, and /or posing, you can no longer go without THEE boutique wheels on offer from German company Carbonsports. Yes, there are other wheelsets out there that are in direct competition that sell for less, but anyone considering these wheels are looking beyond aerodynamic parameters, wind tunnel results and yaw angle (whatever that means).

These wheels have been around for a very long time, ever since Jan Ullrich and Bjarne Riis used the first production models at the Tour. There were continuous arguments over who brought this evolutionary all-carbon construction to the peloton first but Carbonsports prevailed in the end as Cees Beers, founder of ADA wheels, lost that battle as no one, and I mean NO ONE rides his wheels.

The guys who put Carbonsports on the map retired a few years ago, and under new management the company has taken some twists and turns, especially with the issues surrounding support for their products in North America. After three generations of steadily improving and expanding their product range, the new Carbonsports website boasts what can arguably be considered some of the best wheels on the market for hard-core racers and enthusiasts with money to burn.

Pictured above are the new Meilenstein wheels, which are the generation 4 version of the venerable Lightweight Standards, the wheelset Carbonsports made its' reputation on. For those who are wondering if these wheels are technologically better than say, a set of Zipps, that's not the point. No way will deep-section carbon  rims with conventional wire spokes ride like an all-carbon wheel. There are wheels that are lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamic than Lightweights, but none have all three unique qualities to such an amazing degree.

 The one issue that has the weight weenies up in arms is the proliferation of wider rim width. Carbonsports has stuck with 19.5 mm, whereas carbon rim manufacturers like Enve Composites have gone to 24 and 26mm. This allows the use of a wider profile tire (like say, a 25 or even 27mm for seriously rough roads) without a break in aesthetics. Supposedly, wider rims offer more comfort, but if comfort is what you want maybe you should get a new leather recliner with a beer holder and stay home. That is just an example of the type of relentlessly anal-retentive over-analysis these cats spend their days marinating in. You want more aerodynamic wheels? Train harder so you can go faster. You want lighter weight? Lose weight yourself. You want stiffer? Get yourself some generic Viagra and keep it moving. I don't know what else to tell you.

Carbonsports offers the Meilenstein with a 53mm rim depth in tubular, clincher and the lighter weight Obermayers. They also have a 81mm deep section wheel for the aero freaks called "Ferweg" (yes, when the legs no longer respond, you can buy speed!!!), a shallow section climber's wheel called "Gipfelsturm", and an all-carbon rear for time trial specialists aptly named "Autobahn". You can check it all out on their website, so when considering a new rig, you absolutely MUST treat yourself to a set of Lightweights. And don't let anyone tell you differently-if you can afford them, it doesn't matter if you suck. The redemption lies in how many people will be jealous of you.