New Armstrong biopic sheds light on worst human ever

November 21, 2014 § 26 Comments

A new documentary about Lance Armstrong, following hard on the heels of the eye-popping biopics “Stop at Nothing,” “The Armstrong Lie,” and “Child Murderer at Dawn,” tells the never-before-told story of Armstrong’s connections to the mafia, the Yamaguchi-gumi, Barrio Azteca, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Chase Bank.

While known mostly as a thief of childhood dreams and Betsy, not to mention being a colossal asshole who can’t drink a beer and run a mile, this new movie, entitled “Lance: Spawn of Satan,” details Armstrong’s complicity in some of the worst crimes and human rights abuses in history. Snoopy O’Flummigan, an independent filmmaker from Lancaster, CA, took three entire weeks to produce this riveting expose.

“Most people think that Lance was just your typical Texas Delta Bravo with a tiny wanker,” said O’Flummigan. “Few people know that he was worse than Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Rick Perry combined.”

The movie shows that in addition to masterminding the assassination of John F. Kennedy a full eight years before he was born, Armstrong set up a prison gulag system in the Texas Panhandle where dissident cyclists and Betsy were interned and deprived of Facebag, the Twitter, and access to online bicycle chat forums.

“It’s common knowledge that Armstrong stole the childhood dreams of millions of young children, children who simply wanted a chance to get brain cancer in order to have Lance send them an ‘attaboy’ and a signed t-shirt, only to find out that their hero was stealing their dreams and selling them on eBay. But hardly anyone knows about his work at Abu Graib, his legal treatises that legitimized torture, and his behind-the-scenes manipulations that brought Citizens United and Hobby Lobby to fruition as Supreme Court decisions that helped turn the U.S. into a far-right oligarchy. And you remember the dick-pic that Brett Favre sent to his masseuse? Lance did that, too.”

Whereas most books and movies currently detailing the “biggest fraud in sporting history” tend to focus on Armstrong’s drug use and the scorched earth tactics he employed to take down his detractors, O’Flummigan found the story to be more nuanced. “Lots of people think cheating is bad, and it is. But you have to balance that against Armstrong’s use of sarin gas against unarmed civilians in Syria, his human experiments on twins, and the way he set up extra-territorial renditions as a way to keep people quiet. His invention and aggressive peddling of mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps, along with his lobbying to gut Sarbanes-Oxley and deregulate the banking industry are what single-handedly destroyed the world economy,” adds O’Flummigan. “He was a very bad boy.”

Leaders in the the Lance hating community have showered effusive praise on the biopic. “O’Flummigan has done what no filmmaker to date has dared,” said Tootsie Pookums, weekend cyclist and noted notary public. “He has proven that Lance was the gunman on the grassy knoll.”

When asked how Armstrong could have assassinated someone before he was alive, Pookums cited to the important work of John Stewart Bell and his proof of quantum entanglement theory. “Paired electrons exert an instantaneous effect on each other even when they are no longer paired,” said Pookums. “Lance’s electrons killed JFK after the fact.”

The Lance Jocksniffer Support Society, headed by a major cycling publication in Los Angeles, immediately condemned the documentary. “Lance didn’t do anything that Hitler didn’t do, and Betsy. Holding Lance to a higher standard than Hitler is unfair, and is making him a scapegoat. We demand that this trial-by-media immediately cease, and that he be allowed to shoot himself in a bunker 30 feet underground near the Reichstag in Berlin.”

The documentary will open in theaters throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 28.

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It’s a very nice sidewalk

November 4, 2014 § 10 Comments

I sat on the sidewalk, twisted up in the human pretzel that only comes when your quads, hamstrings, and calves all cramp at the same time. “Here, dude,” said Fireman. “Take these fuggin’ salt tablets and drink this water.”

I swallowed the tablets and drank. My legs knotted up even more, just as the wankers who had been shelled on the run-in to the finish of the 7th Mike Nosco Memorial ride whizzed by. They pointed and laughed, and they were right. Live by the attack, die by the attack.

The Nosco Ride is an amazing thing. Jack Nosco has taken the grief and loss of his brother’s death and transformed it into an event that today brought together almost 600 riders — on a Monday — to participate in a free, fully supported ride up and down the hills of the Santa Monica mountains. For participants who wanted to make a donation, and it seemed like almost everyone did, their contributions were heaped into a pile and given to two recipients suffering from life threatening diseases.

I don’t know how much money the event raised today, and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that a host of sponsors joined in to make the event happen, and they all did it for no apparent financial benefit. They did it because it was a good thing to do.

Among the participants was Lance Armstrong. Road Bike Action magazine has long been one of his stalwart supporters, and as one of the major sponsors of the Nosco Ride they included him in the event. Many riders were excited to see him, and as near as I could tell he was just another rider, albeit one who rode up the dizzying pitch of Deer Creek at a blazing pace.

What was notable about his presence was its lack of significance. The ride was for the memory of Mike Nosco, and that’s what it was. With a killing pace out of the blocks, the brutal climb up Deer Creek, and follow-up punch-ups on Mullholland and Latigo, the 80 miles and 9,000 feet of climbing left everyone somewhat addled. At the end, the ride gave free, delicious Mexican food dinners — as much as you could eat — to the riders. Those who wanted to cap off their day with a beer could quaff free cans of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Torpedo.

The terrible difficulty of the ride means that there’s no training or fitness reason to do it more than once. But the unique feel of people coming together for a cause makes it special, and the realization that Jack Nosco has taken profound loss and turned it into good is an example for everyone. It’s the kind of ride you can do over and over again, even though each time you swear that this time will be your last.

Part of the good vibe of this ride is that most people seem to know the story of Mike and his premature death. You can tell that among the riders and the volunteers almost everyone has suffered the same kind of loss, or something very close to it. The kind of monument that Jack has created to his brother, a monument of giving and of good, is the kind of thing we all wish we could do for those we love who have died, but somehow we can’t. Being able to participate and be part of this event, and to contribute to it in whatever small way, is its own kind of gift.

At the feed stops, at the registration table, and at every sponsor tent, whenever you thanked people for making this event happen they all said the same thing: “No, thank you for coming.”

Thanks for the gift, Mike and Jack.

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UCI blocks Armstrong participation in “Tots on Bikes” fundraiser

October 29, 2014 § 31 Comments

Brian Cookson, president of the UCI, announced today that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s planned participation in the annual “Tots on Bikes” fundraiser would not be permitted. “It’s quite simple,” said Cookson. “He cannot ride.”

When reached at his Austin villa, Armstrong was surprised at the ruling. “I wasn’t planning on riding,” he said. “We stand behind our kids and help them balance on a bicycle. It’s a father-and-kid event, not a bike race.”

Cycling in the South Bay reached Mr. Cookson while on holiday in front of the Berlin Reichstag, and spoke with him about Armstrong.

CitSB: Why can’t Lance go to this kiddie event? It seems pretty innocuous.

Cookson: Armstrong has been banned for life, and under the terms of his ban, he cannot do anything that relates to cycling. Nothing. This includes seemingly harmless activities such as standing in the aisle at Wal-Mart and shopping for a bicycle, much less actually coming into contact with young cyclists.

CitSB: It’s a bit of a stretch to call 3-year-old children “cyclists,” don’t you think?

BC: Not at all. These children are the grass roots. Simply being around them will send the message that the UCI tolerates drug cheats.

CitSB: What about all of the other drug cheats who still play prominent roles in the UCI, not to mention the coaching and management of the sport?

BC: Those drug cheats are different. They simply cheated. We must never forget that Lance stole the precious dreams of children, and Betsy.

CitSB: But how can the UCI block his participation in a private charity fundraiser?

BC: It’s quite simple, actually. The Tots on Bikes program receives its event insurance through USA Cycling, and therefore all anti-doping restrictions apply.

CitSB: So there’s going to be drug testing as well?

BC: Of course. You never know when a particularly sneaky infant will transfuse a few blood bags in order to win the “Proper Pedaler” ribbon.

CitSB: Is this really a wise use of the UCI’s resources? Hasn’t Lance suffered enough?

BC: Oh, not at all. We’re currently working on an agreement with the state of Texas, where he currently lives, to sell insurance to the state for one or two of its outdoor events. We believe that this will give us complete jurisdiction to control everything that Mr. Armstrong does for the rest of his life, including when and where he’s allowed to, you know, …

CitSB: Shit?

BC: I didn’t know if I could say that sort of thing in this publication.

CitSB: Right.

BC: We must never forget that Lance stole all of those precious childhood dreams and Betsy. No punishment is severe enough, and we must remain eternally vigilant that he is not allowed to corrupt the morals of our youth again.

CitSB: Like the Iglinsky brothers, who just got caught doping on the watch of ol’ doper Vinokourov?

BC: Exactly. Never again.

CitSB: And Roman Kreuziger, and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke?

BC: Right-o. Never again after them.

CitSB: Do you ever see a time when the lifetime ban might be lifted.

BC: Oh, absolutely.

CitSB: When?

BC: After he’s dead. Possibly.

CitSB: Possibly? How can you continue to ban a dead person?

BC: It’s in the terms of the anti-doping agreement. We can prohibit his corpse from participating in any UCI-authorized event. But I do foresee a time, perhaps in ten thousand years or so, when the ban could be lifted, that’s assuming he comes clean with the Truth and Reconciliation and Dicking Off Committee.

CitSB: How can he come clean? He’ll be dead.

BC: I suppose he should have thought about that before stealing all of those precious childhood dreams.

CitSB: And Betsy.

BC: And Betsy.

END

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Good ‘ol Lance

July 23, 2013 § 55 Comments

Does anyone know Lance’s cell phone? ‘Cause we need him bad.

This Wiggins-Froome thing has gotten totally out of hand. One day we were watching a doped up superman who boinked models and actresses and rock stars, who owned ranches and mansions and private jets, who was devilishly good looking, whose ego was bigger than Dallas and twice as gnarly, who ground people up into hamburger meat on and off the bike, who beat cancer, cured cancer, sued enemies into oblivion, had an entourage of global financiers, Italian dope doctors, starlets, drug mules, presidents and scientists and who, with only one nut still had bigger balls than the entire pro peloton, and then, BAM!

We were watching Chris fucking Froome, a human insect who can’t even pedal properly, a craven little wussmeister whose doping program is “marginal gains” instead of “ram the whole 12,000 cc up my ass,” an awkward, unappetizing robot who confirms what every motorist instinctively knows: Cyclists are contemptible arthropods deserving nothing so much as the heel of a boot.

Sure, I used to bag on Dopestrong…until I saw the last two years of Dopeweak. What happened to the drug-crazed cannibals of yore, handsome, muttonchopped, steel-willed manly men who ate raw meat with their fists and swallowed their cocaine-heroin-strychnine cocktails in one-pint tumblers? How could we have banished the lying, cheating, brash and big-balled Texan who rode a chrome Harley, threw massive charity balls, charged 100k to jocksniffing millionaires for a group ride appearance, won triathlons, raced marathons, conquered Leadville, and ruled the entire UCI with the iron grip of a drug kingpin, which he was, and traded him in for the sniveling, milquetoast, dainty British softmen who drink tea, slurp warm beer, and race like simpering weenies or, what’s infinitely worse, like British people?

Where is the wrath, the insane bloodlust fueled by too many drugs in the wrong combination, the tortured beastly exhibitions of athletic porn, the Texas gunslinger who rode over the bones of his challengers and fell as mightily as he rose, in full color on a giant screen surrounded by a frothing media scrum and presided over by the queen of daytime TV? I’ll tell you where: He’s been replaced by “champions” who are no cleaner but a thousand times less entertaining to watch, the insect class, the automaton class, the zombies of the road.

Please, if you have his number, call Lance for me and beg him to either come back or to give these pasty-faced cab drivers a few lessons in how to race like the future of the galaxy depended on it. I’ll take les forcats de la route over the zombies of the road any day.

Lance 3.0: Lay down your cudgels, please

May 26, 2013 § 57 Comments

Newsflash: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of…pretty much everything.

Tour titles? Gone.

Reputation? Gone.

Income stream from his cancer foundation? Gone.

Ability to compete in sanctioned athletic events and the attendant income? Gone.

Mansion in Austin? Gone.

Self-respect after not getting hugged by Oprah? Totally gone.

Bonus newsflash: It’s not over yet. The Justice Department has joined Floyd’s whistleblower suit…former sponsors are suing to get their money back…he will be paying for his transgressions for a long, long time.

I don’t know about you…

But I believe in redemption. Not the Shawshank kind — I believe in the kind of redemption that says once you’ve been punished for your transgressions according to rule and/or law, you’re redeemed.

This type of redemption may not mean that you’re a sterling moral character, or even that you admit guilt or feel sorry for what you’ve done. It just means that you broke the rule, got punished, and are now free to move on just like new. Something worthless has been exchanged for something useful and new. Just like a coupon.

When you murder someone, rape someone, abuse a child, defraud the elderly, skim from the company till, or run a red light, your redemption begins when you’ve served your time or paid your fine. Redemption means trading in the old for the new. It means a fresh start.

And in case you were wondering, along with the punishment fitting the crime, redemption is the premise upon which our entire legal system is built.

Redemption gives convicted felons the right to vote, the right to work, the right to have a passport, and the right to fully participate as citizens once they’ve served their time. Redemption doesn’t mean you have to like the sinner or the ex-con. It just means you can’t legally continue punishing and persecuting him.

Lance is no convicted felon. If you don’t think he’s been punished, see above. If you’re still harboring resentment and anger, that’s understandable. But he’s not going anywhere, and I’d suggest that there’s a better way to deal with him than continually bludgeoning him for his transgressions.

It’s an old concept, actually. It’s called forgiveness.

Cranking up the PR machine

Lance has recently begun doing what he does best: Going on the offensive. Whether it’s calling Patrick Brady and chatting with him for an hour or unblocking Lesli Cohen and a bunch of other diehard Lance opponents, it’s clear that he has a plan in place and has begun to execute it.

What’s the plan?

The plan is to get back in front of the sports media and build Lance 3.0. This newest iteration is simple. Lance 3.0 is a…

  1. Survivor.
  2. Family man.
  3. World class athlete.
  4. Friend.

What will Lance 3.0 do? He will sell something. What will he sell? I don’t know. But I do know this: He won’t be setting up a pyramid scheme to defraud Medicare, or a criminal syndicate to assassinate journalists. Most likely, he’s got a plan that will let him earn a living as a speaker/athlete/patient advocate.

Is that so bad? How many other people get out of prison and see their mission in life as one dedicated to helping others? Mind you, I don’t know that that’s his plan, but what does he have left? And why is it contemptible for him to try and rebuild a career that’s been destroyed through his own mistakes?

Ultimately, though, does it really matter what his end game is? No.

What matters is you

A group of local riders were climbing Latigo Canyon Road yesterday, and guess who they met at the top? Barry Bonds.

Remember him?

He’s the guy who was held up as one of the most evil and crooked baseball players of all time, a guy who stole Hank Aaron’s record on the strength of drugs and lies. Today he’s a slim and fit bicycle rider.

When the gang ran into him on Latigo, no one cringed, or cursed him, or called him a scumbag doper. Instead, they mugged for the camera and posted photos on Facebook.

Why?

First, of course, is star power…and we are here in LA. Second, though, is the fact that Barry has paid for what he did, and he didn’t even go on Oprah and confess. We know that he was caught, that he’s been punished, and that now he’s just a dude on a bike who used to hit a lot of home runs. Our lives are too short to keep hating on a guy who’s been punished to the full extent that the system demanded, particularly since all he seems to do now is pedal around, show up at the occasional crit, and generally act like a normal dude.

We’re done with his crime, and so is he. Now we just want to say hello and ride our bikes.

What about Lance?

Lance is different from Barry because the latter earned hundreds of millions of dollars and wisely invested them over the course of a long career. Barry doesn’t have to work.

Lance has five kids, huge ongoing legal bills, and a lot of years left to live. It’s impossible that he’s got anywhere near the pile that Barry is sitting on, or even anything close to it. Unlike Barry, Lance has gotta work. Rather than pulling up the drawbridge and living inside the fort, Lance has got to get out and mingle in order to rebuild.

For people getting out of prison and living in halfway houses, it’s called “You have to get a job.”

Lance showed us that pro cycling is a corrupt freak show. Danilo di Luca confirmed yesterday that it still is. Nibali, Wiggins, Dave Brailsford, Chris Froome, Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen, and USA Cycling reaffirm that anyone who thinks the sport is clean isn’t thinking very hard.

If you hate Lance because he “ruined the sport,” maybe it’s time YOU moved on. The pro sport is rotten. If you follow it and still bury your head in the jocks of its stars, there’s a problem all right, and the problem is with you. If you can watch Nibali repeatedly hit the gas in the snow at the end of the most grueling stage of the most grueling stage race while his competition is rolling over and dying on the slopes, you’re the one who needs to analyze my modification of this old saw: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over and over, and I’m a fucking moron who enjoys being fooled.”

As Billy Stone might put it, “And the dopers ruined your life as a Cat 4 masters athlete exactly how?”

Where’s it all going?

Now that Lance 1.0 and 2.0 have been airbrushed out of the history books, what’s wrong with giving 3.0 the same degree of redemption that should be afforded to axe murderers, tax cheats, misdemeanor DUI’s, and kids on grade probation in college? How is our agenda advanced by refusing to lay down arms, and instead insisting that he still be treated like the unrepentant, unpunished cheat that he was a year ago, when he’s repented and been punished?

Does it ennoble us to keep shrieking “Off with his head!” after his head has been offed, stuck on a pike, and paraded around his kids’ schoolyards? I think it does the opposite. It shows us up to be petty, vengeful dorks who actually think that pro cycling is so important it transcends common notions of justice and fair play.

Five years hence, ten years hence, Lance 3.0 will have been fully rebuilt. He’s that smart and a whole lot smarter, he’s that hard working, and he’s that motivated. He’s also got close to four million people on Twitter who want to know what he says and thinks, as well as five kids to feed, clothe, and put through college.

Most importantly, he’s not going anywhere. Do you want to be the wild-eyed crazy standing in the corner screaming, “But he doped! He cheated! He lied! He ruined my Cat 4 masters racing career!” long after he’s been punished and the rest of the world has moved on?

I don’t.

If the UCI and USA Cycling and WADA are done with his case, then I am, too. Keep clubbing at him if you want, but don’t expect me to join in. I’d rather go club some of the baby seals on next Tuesday’s NPR.

The dreaded Lance post

January 16, 2013 § 58 Comments

Folks, the only way to move on is to just move on.

The longer you stop and gape, the longer you will remain mired where you are, knee-deep in gore at the scene of the train wreck.

He’s larger than life.

He’s a caricature of a distortion.

And he holds you, still, in his thrall.

Why?

Because you let him.

So enjoy this last TV drama with your best buddies and your favorite pizza. Curse or yell or laugh or cry.

And then, just as you’ve let him occupy you…let him go.

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