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Posts tagged ‘asshat’

You Pathetic Little Man

There are things in this world that I find particularly irritating and useless – gum that sticks to the bottom of your shoe; spiders that spin their webs at eye-level in my back yard; the “Jersey Shore” kids getting rich for being nothing more than bigoted, ignorant trolls. You can add to that list disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis. Landis, one-time domestique to Lance Armstrong and the USPS Big Blue Train, was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after he failed a drug test during the event.  Now, after years of denial, he’s decided he just can’t live a lie, and wants to spill his putrid guts – throwing his former comrades under the bus along the way.

Landis fought vigorously to regain his maillot juane, but lost at every juncture, denying all the way that he had ever done anything illegal.  Now that’s it’s clear he’s never going to win, never going to return toracing form and never going to be accepted by the racing community, he’s firing off emails and interviews to anyone who might listen, including ESPN and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Landis confirmed he sent e-mails to cycling and anti-doping officials over the past few weeks, implicating dozens of other athletes, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong; team management and owners; and officials of the sport’s national and international governing bodies.

Armstrong, who is currently competing in the Tour of California, told reporters Thursday: “I have nothing to hide,” and “history speaks for itself here.”

“It’s his word versus ours … we like our word, we like our credibility,” Armstrong said.

Landis also accused American riders Levi Leipheimer and Dave Zabriskie and Armstrong’s longtime coach, Johan Bruyneel, of involvement in doping.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement Thursday that they would open an investigation into Landis’ allegations.

It’s worth noting that the WADA was the same group that supported the previous Armstrong witch hunts, all of which turned up nothing.

Particularly troubling to me is Landis’ willingness to implicate George Hincapie, one of the most straight-up guys in the peleton.

In the e-mail to Johnson, Landis said he had blood extracted in 2003 inside the apartment Armstrong owned in the historic center of Girona, Spain, and that it was stored in a refrigerator there along with blood extracted from Armstrong and teammate George Hincapie. Landis said Armstrong asked him to stay in the apartment on one occasion while Armstrong was away in order to make sure the refrigerator did not malfunction.

He also said in the e-mail that a team doctor gave him and Hincapie, who he said was his roommate during the 2003 Tour de France, syringes filled with olive oil in which andriol, a form of testosterone that can be taken orally, had been dissolved.

Hincapie said he was disappointed to hear Landis’ accusations.

“I have been a professional on the circuit for 17 years — which is one of the longest careers in the peloton. During that time, I have earned the respect of my peers and a reputation for working hard, honestly and honorably,” he said in a statement.

Landis, meanwhile, claims to still not understand how he failed that test in 2006 – apparently, he took performance enhancing drugs, but not the one they caught him for using. Riiiiiight – like somehow there’s honor among thieves.

I am a die-hard Lance Armstong fan, and consider his comeback from cancer and subsequent string of seven consecutive Tour de France victories to be one of the greatest sports stories of all time. I’ve also gone on record as saying that were I to learn he had cheated along the way, it would change everything – and that’s exactly why I don’t believe he did. With all that was on the line, and all that he had to lose – and all the scrutiny he was under – we would already know if he had doped. If someone ever provides proof, then I will listen. But this sounds a lot like one more disgraced athlete trying to salve his broken ego by tarring those around him.

I’m reminded of a moment from the 2004 TdF  where Landis was riding in support of Armstrong.  They were nearing the top of a climb, only a couple of clicks from the end of the stage, and Lance knew whatever danger he faced from his rivals was through for the day.  So he asks Landis, “How bad to you want to win a stage?”  “Real bad,” replied Landis, sensing Armstrong was about to give him that chance.  “Run like you stole something, Floyd,” was Armstrong’s response, and off went Landis.  But as bad as he claimed he wanted it, he couldn’t get the deal done, and was run down by Jan Ullrich, ultimately forcing Armstrong to attack and win the stage.  Floyd Landis was all talk on that day, and is all talk now.  Ultimately, champions win and cheaters lose, and there’s no question in my mind who is which in this story.

And Down He Goes!

There’s a lot of … um, discussion … this morning after a fan was tasered last light in Philadelphia for running out onto the field during a Phillies game. Getting liquored up, jumping the fence and running around like an idiot is a proud if questionable tradition at baseball games, but this is the first time in my memory that this particular method was used to subdue the fan. The crowd really let the cops have it for taking down the kid, but considering it’s Philly, they might just as well have been giving it to the fan for his massive failure.

Most of the noise is being made by two groups of folks.  On one side, you have those who feel it was an excessive use of force, questioning if the use of a non-lethal but still dangerous weapon such as a Taser was really necessary (and suggesting that it was only the girth and relative corpulence of the officer in question that required its use).  The other side would point out that we live in a world where people park bombs in Times Square and remind us of Tom Gamboa, the base coach for the Royals who was beaten by fans during a 2002 game in Chicago.

Personally, I think it was probably a little heavy-handed, but if you put yourself in a position like that you have no idea what kind of crap you’re gonna get into.  This is what happens when we have  a generation that was raised thinking that paparazzi tabloids are news, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are role models, and reality TV is a career path.  Frankly, the dumbass is lucky it wasn’t a football game, or someone might have gone Terry Tate on his ass …

And You Think Your Neighbors Stink

As the saying goes, times are tough all over. Unemployment numbers continue to grow, bank failures are at record highs, and a trip to the mall is like visiting a ghost town. There aren’t very many good news stories in the economy thse days.

It’s the number of shuttered businesses that really catch my eye. The number of major chains that have failed is staggering, and some days it seems there are more empty storefronts than filled. It must be challenging for the small business owner as well, as they have to face the very real possibiity of abandoning their business. That’s an option that’s unpalatable under the best of circumstances, but for one town in South Dakota, the failure of one particular business has become an affront to much more than the palate.

Ilan Parente owned a small meat packing company in Bridgewater, SD, and faced the same economic challenges as most small businesses. He moved the business to Minnesota, but left behind the inventory – 44 tons of frozen bison. That’s where the story really gets interesting.

When the town about 40 miles away from Sioux Falls began to warm in the spring, the smell began to creep out. Some said the scent was like road kill. The mayor said he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and could not recall smelling anything as bad.

Of course, by then, Parente was long gone. He claims to have had an agreement with a pet food company to gake the bison, and that they simply didn’t come. Once he – and his money – were gone, the power was cut and nature took over. And Parente clearly has limited concerns for the good folks of Bridgewater – or anyone but himself.

A woman who answered the phone at the Minnesota business said Parente is no longer affiliated with it. Requests for someone to comment went unanswered.

Parente has said before that he checked the meat in May and found it iced over due to a broken water pipe. He’s claimed the meat might have stunk but says he never put anyone in danger.

“I feel bad for the people of Bridgewater who had to live with the smell. But that’s really where the extent of my feeling bad goes. It wasn’t ever a health hazard to anyone.”

They ways that character is forged in the crucible of crisis, and it’s pretty clear that when Parente’s character was challenged, it simply melted away. Apparently, it’s all about you, pal …

One Man’s Asshat Is Another Man’s Ear Mullet

Lemme tell ya – it ain’t easy being a visionary.

They laughed when we described the potential issue with people running around with their bluetooth earpieces stapled to the side of their heads like some kind of jewelry long after the call had ended. They snickered when we provided not only a term for the device – “asshat” – but the dork wearing it – “Asshat.” They shook their heads sadly at the thought that they themselves might actually be one of those “asshats squared” wandering around in public like some kind of Uhura without her post.

earmullet

ToMAYto ... toMAHto ... ear mullet ... asshat

We took the heat, even though we knew we were right, because we knew that the day would come when we would be proven right.

And that day is today.

In their August 2009 issue, no less an authority on all things tech and cool – and tech cool – than WIRED Magazine has made it clear what they think of Asshats with asshats:

Admit it: You sometimes leave your Jawbone headset on after hanging up the phone. Perhaps spending your formative years watching The Six Million Dollar Man and RoboCop gave you the mistaken impression that upgrading your body with electronics is the height of cool. Let’s be clear: Walking around with a Bluetooth device in your ear is pure douchebaggery. There is no excuse for it.

In an article dedicated to the many fashion faux paus brought on by our newly technological lifestyles, they even committed the cover of the issue to the asshat dilemma.  Referring to their cover image of movie heartthrob Batt Pitt – playing the role of the Asshat with asshat – WIRED states:

Rule No. 52: Ditch the headset. He can barely pull it off — and you are not him,” a blurb on the magazine front says.

Smell that?  It smells like … victory!

WIRED even came up with a name for the thing that is just as cool as ours, and a little more socially acceptable – ear mullets. Asshat … ear mullet … they do roll off the tongue in a similar fashion, and both conjure up equally silly visual images. Being the benevolent kind of guy I am, I’ll accept the term “ear mullet” as the new description of the bluetooth device – but I’m keeping Asshat for anyone caught wearing it when not on a call …

The Sound Of Silence

Most people see the Tour de France and just see a bunch of guys in Lycra shorts riding their bikes. What they don’t realize is that it’s one of the most technologically advanced sporting events in the world. From the ultralight carbon fiber bike frames to the aerodynamic helmets – to the cutting edge doping scandals – a lot of new technology comes to the public first via Le Tour.

If you own a cellphone, I’ll bet you also own an asshat – particularly if you live in California. Hopefully, you’re not an Asshat and are instead a responsible user of the device, but in either case you owe a debt of gratitude to those guys on the bikes, because much of the technology involved was developed for the Tour riders. Back in the mid-nineties, the race team sponsored by Motorola (which included a young rider named Armstrong) pioneered the use of microelectronics for communication within the peleton. In the past, tour cars containing the team directors would follow behind the pack, and motorcycle riders would scoot up alongside the cyclists to pass messages. But Motorola put earpieces on their riders, keeping them in contact with the team director, and TVs in the cars to let the teams know what was happening elsewhere on the course. Now, teams could share strategies in private without other teams knowing, and could pass information along to every rider, making it that much harder for someone to surprise the peleton.

The folks at Le Tour like to consider themselves historians, and bristle at the idea of technology changing their beloved race. So, in concert with the UCI, the governing body of professional cycling, they decided to ban the radios and TVs for two stages of this year’s tour – Stages 10 and 13. Yesterday was the first of those stages, and the teams were none too happy. Riders claimed that safety would be compromised and competition diminished, and they certainly did their part to insure the latter was true. No one wants to admit it, but it was clear that the peleton decided that if they couldn’t have their radios, they’d turn the stage into a leisurely ride through the French countryside. Instead of powering along as normal, they slowed down to around 15mph – beach cruiser style! In the end, no one was hurt and the stage ended up with a typical sprint finish – won once again by the blazingly fast Mark Cavendish of Team Columbia. The Tour made their decision, and the peleton told them what they thought of it. Now we wait to see what happens next, as many believe the ban will be lifted before the next radio-free stage on Friday.

UPDATE: And they were right, as UCI opted to cancel the radio ban planned for Stage 13. The statement referenced how the ban was “compromising” the Tour – a nod no doubt to the leisurely pace – and that they would revisit it in the future. That’s exactly the right way to handle it – and the manner in which the ban should have been considered from the beginning.