“With A Neck Like a Jockey’s Bollocks” Trash Talk

Yeah, about the title. No, I am not quite sure what it means. Maybe Marcy and other sundry mystery guests will be along to explain the damn thing.

What I can confirm is that it is unequivocally the single most awesome grouping of words I have seen in a very long time. So I am rolling with it baybee!

And, you know, leave it to the Irish, in this case Michael Higgins, who was not then, but is now, the President of Ireland. And, also, who is, by my marker, a man of and among men. I would quote Mr. Higgins more, but it would not do him justice. Watch the video.

Honestly, sincerely, really unequivocally, whatever the fuck, just listen to Michael Higgins eviscerate the American ethos. It is brutal and real.

Oh, before we go any further, I have a new chapeau. I will, and you can, thank the one and only, ever lovely, Phred for this wondrous occurrence.

Y’all have known I had an affinity for CHEESE since I was a child in elementary school. It was easy then, as there was no NFL team within hundreds of miles, and the one that was there was the Rams, and it was not all that compelling. No, the team of my youth and dreams was Lombardi’s Packers. Fuck Dallas, Green Bay was, and is, the people’s, and America’s, team. Always has been. As the only team actually of the people, it must so be. Don’t pitch that crap about teams that are corporately owned, or owned by narcissistic dicks like Jerry Jones.

Knowing my affinity for the once, always, and future real team of America – the ONLY publicly owned and locally controlled, NFL team, the Green Bay Packers, our friend Phred has blessedly provided me with an official CheeseHead. It arrived a couple of days ago, and is the most awesome thing I have been given in a LONG time.

So, I raise my Ronnie Raygun like head to the Great Cheese In The Sky.

Back to Michael Higgins, necks and bollocks. Watch the video. Higgins correctly identifies the wankers in life, I love it and ratify his identification. Precisely.

Now, on to the sporting side of life. Well, normally, Marcy or I post up Trash Talk whenever we are so inclined. Sometimes, however, itinerant Roving Reporters, like Mademoiselle Rosalind, get all uppity in our grill and force us to Trash.

Oh my. The ignominy of it all.

So, without further adieu, we shall lead off with sailing. Yes, I know, this is all a bit discomfiting for the normal Trash Talk aficionados. Whatta ya gonna do Mofo? We support our own Roving Reporters here at EW. And, by the way, Rosalind ain’t no idle Roving Reporter either. Nope. Rosalind Sails the Seven Seas. Or at least those off of Oxnard the Pacific shore. Close enough for rock and roll. Rosalind wants to jaw about the America’s Cup process. Yes, yes, I was doubting at first too; but after watching her link, it is pretty awesome.

Okay, now that we have covered “Greatest Athletes of Sailing”, let us move with all due haste to NASCAR.

Hahahahhahahaha, just kidding. I’m not going to lead, even secondarily, with media shills that go round in lefthanded circles as a profession. Won’t do it. Can’t do it. Not gonna do it. But, since the Formula One Circus is on it’s mid-season month long hiatus, there is no more Fast Trash worthy of discussion.

That means, as far as active professional sports, My Bloody Valentine in Beantown, Massachusetts is about the biggest story going. And a pretty ugly story it is. You would have thought that for all the money John Henry et al. spent, they could have bought some better Lackeys. But nooooooooo. Y’all got yer teams; bring it with your talk.

It is hard to bring myself to talk about pre-season NFL. In my world, the Cards are in mid-season suckology form (seriously, no Kurt Warner, no fucking go), Peyton may not be the Peyton of old, but watch out, the Donkos are coming. But, mostly in my world, there is CHEESE. Tell us what is up in your NFL world. Unless it is the Steelers (just kidding; am trying to draw out the elusive Scribe).

Okay, that leaves the Lance Armstrong mess. I came very close to ripping hard on Lance Armstrong last night when the news of the abandonment of his defense was announced.

I made argument to Dave Zirin of the Nation and TJ Quinn of ESPN that there was no way to believe Armstrong if, unlike Roger Clemens, Armstrong was not even willing to play out the string of his potential remedies (in the legal domain, this is termed “exhausting one’s remedies”) supporting his innocence.

I am glad, largely thanks to Zirin, I did not angrily post that last night or this morning; I have reconsidered, a bit, after longer contemplation. Not by a lot, but by enough to discuss. I STILL think if you truly believe in your innocence, and/or have the balls and money to do so, you never stop saying so and defending on that line. That way, it is pack fair and square, and nobody can say you weren’t there to fight.

Don’t kid yourself, there is a qualitative difference between Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, and Lance Armstrong. Not only were there no competent, legally admissible, positive tests for the former two (as there were none for Armstrong); there were, more importantly, and unlike with Armstrong, never, at any time, any teammates who inculpated them (and, no, sorry, Andy Pettitte did NOT do so for Clemens).

Armstrong may not have had positive lab tests, but there were a boatload of former teammates and cycling adjuncts that were ready to testify against him and that is pretty harsh as an evidentiary picture with a jury looming. What does it mean without a trial and cross-examination? I don’t know for sure, and neither do you or anybody else, because the one person who squelched that knowledge was…….Lance Armstrong. And, yeah, that does mean something to anybody that is not an apologist.

The above having been said, it is hard to argue with Armstrong’s posit that further contesting was a waste of time. The appearance is quite right that Travis Tygart and USADA had it out for Lance Armstrong and that the cause was lost, and the fix in, form the start.

The thing that sticks in my craw is, and I understand more than a little about litigation of parallel prosecution matters (remember, the Armstrong case WAS ginned up by the same ethically questionable Federal investigator, Jeff Novitzky, as plied the Bonds and Clemens cases). Anything with Jeff Novitzky involved should invite a LOT of questions, always. Jeff Novitzky is the worst kind of crusading federal menace, the out of control power mad special agent.

You have to wonder if there is not a good reason there were no meaningful convictions resulting from the Bonds, Clemens and Armstrong cases which were the linchpins of Novitzky’s persecution. A persecution which originated with the overblown BALCO cases. There is left, in the wake, a legacy of leveraged persecution and failed prosecution; the common thread of which is Jeff Novitzky. There may be something to be drawn there.

But that is what we have now. When Jeff Novitzky and the DOJ cannot get a head on a criminal stick like Roger Clemens or Lance Armstrong, they show their pettiness, in this case Novitzsky, by moving to prosecution against Armstrong by authorities without such due process niceties as actual proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The USADA, was a perfect vehicle to gut shoot and eviscerate Armstrong. Make no mistake, if Novitzky could have done that to Bonds and Clemens, he would have. It is not right.

All of the above having been stated, upon information and/or belief, it is still depressing, and instructive, that Armstrong chose to not exhaust his remedies and play out the legal string. And, again as someone who has seen the devastating and wrong results that can occur from ultra-aggressive parallel prosecutions, such as we have just seen from Novitzky, DOJ and USADA, there can be a point to where it is no longer viable to fight in the face of the onslaught.

I see no reason that Lance Armstrong is wrong in that assessment here; however, his legal team had already worked up the defense. There would NOT have been all that much more legal expense necessary to expend to play out the string.

There was, however, a LOT of embarrassment in the form of ten or more former teammates and/or doctors formally testifying against him. That would have been even more devastating to Lance Armstrong, Inc. And that is why Lance pulled the escape hatch lever when and where he did. You cannot blame him, but you sure as hell cannot exculpate him, it is an effective legal admission.

By doing as he did, Lance Armstrong has insured that he will remain a duality in the sporting conscience – both the persecuted innocent and the epitome of cowardly guilty – both at the same time. Curiously, I kind of bite off on both as being valid. Neither may be individually right; neither will likely ever be proven wrong. So be it, and let the record so, conflictingly, reflect. The one thing you will never take away from Armstrong is what he has done to fight cancer. That sticks, and this may have been the best path for Armstrong to continue his work. If so, then it was a fair call for him to make.

Well folks, that is Trash for today. I am sure there is more (hey, if ya got some Little League world Series shit, bring it). Maybe you are in to polo, water polo or, ugh, soccer; whatever, if you want to yammer, this is your forum.

Rip This Fucking Joint!! (Oh, hey, is Bobby Keys one badass blowing bitch on the sax or what??)

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

111 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    Oxnard?! Dude has been dipping into his Beer Frig. The Z sails out of Bellingham, WA. anyhoo…

    When I am conscious in the morning I shall explain why all y’all need to check all your assumptions about Billionaire Boys with Their Toys at the door and open your minds and hearts to the most exquisitely perfect venue for a sailing event ever – SF Bay – no ticket necessary.

    I’ll leave you with a short clip of today’s mishap. There are two Oracle Boats vying to represent the Home Team. In today’s Fleet Match the 11 boats are steaming for the start, jockeying for position, when Skipper Russell Coutts comes in high & hot on the outside. Any sane person can see there is no room for him to squeeze past the Committee Boat and the rival Oracle Boat, but Coutts & Crew are looking one way not really looking the other way and, well, here is the crunchy result:

  2. Bob Schacht says:

    Geez, am I the first one to the party? When I started this, I was. But I took so long to write it that Rosalind has beat me out the gate first.

    Isn’t it time for some trash talk about baseball? After all, there are only about 6 weeks of the regular season to go, and you know what happened last year! And look who’s revving it up this year? After waddling through some doldrums during the summer, the Cards are back in second place, and tonight they jumped all over leading rival Cincinnati. They have Three– count’em, three starting pitchers who have won 13 games (who else can say that?), and they have the best team batting average in the National league. Beltran has as many homers as that other guy they used to talk about all the time, and ranks second in the NL. They’ve won their last 4 games, and 7 of their last 10. But hey, they can’t possibly match their amazing come from behind act last year, can they?

    And now a word about those other Cardinals. Everybody’s talking about Kolb and Skelton, but I wanna talk about QB Lindley, and RB William Powell. Both of them looked sharp in the second half, except for Lindley’s interception. But in the preseason, Lindley has completed as many passes as Kolb and Skelton COMBINED, and has thrown for more yards than Kolb and Skelton combined– and as many as the much heralded Luck guy; Lindley ranks 4th in passing yards in the entire NFL. His QB rating is mediocre, but it’s better than either Kolb’s or Skelton’s, or Peyton Manning’s, for that matter. (BTW, have they got this Tebow guy locked up in the barn?) But yet the Arizona papers are still spending all of their time on Kolb vs. Skelton, and have few words to say about Lindley.

    And then there’s the amazing William Powell, who has run for 231 yards in this preseason (far more than any other RB on the team, and more than any other RB in the NFL), averaging 7 yards a carry! He has scored 3 touchdowns, as many as all other running backs combined. And, incidentally, more than any other RB in the NFL. I was impressed.

    Keep your eye on these two. If the Cardinals have a contender this season, it will be because of these two guys.

    Bob in AZ

  3. Bob Schacht says:

    @rosalind: I like watching the yacht races, and following the leaders in the newspapers. In previous years, wasn’t it all about American teams vs. Australia? Please give those of us who don’t know as much as you do a short run-down of whassup in yachting, if you will.

    Bob in AZ

  4. nomolos says:

    Billionaires boats bobbing the the bay with their owners taking $10,000 bets on who has the thinest dick. Bloody hell.

    Now for the important stuff. When, where and with whom was my president speaking when he spoke of “you wankers”.

    Oh, and the Grand Prix season resumes next week

  5. emptywheel says:

    Just so you know, the real reason I insisted on a Trash thread–though ROsalind’s lobbying was pretty persuasive–is Nate Ebner, who’s probably the biggest surprise of pre-season this side of Russell Wilson (the rookie QB from Wisconsin who unbelievably is competing for play time–and winning them–over Matt Flynn in Seattle.

    I’m happy abt Wilson, but even happier about Ebner, who is the OSU RUGBY PLAYER BillBell picked up in the 6th round. He had played a few games on special teams as a walkon for the football Buckeyes, and everyone thought 1) BillBel was crazy to waste a pick on a rugby player and 2) he’d only ever play in the pros on special teams.

    Well, he’s been doing far better than people anticipated, with a pick in Monday’s game against the Iggles, 5 tackles last night–the same as anyone of the starters–and a broken up 3-7 pass (plus some more picks in practice).

    So I was WORRIED we’d need this trash talk so I could gush about Ebner before he gets cut this week.

    But now people are anticipating he’ll make the team ahead of some returning players from last year. And if that happens, watch out, because I’ll prolly never shut up about him.

    A rugby player on a BillBel coached team. Can you imagine the possibilities?

  6. scribe says:

    I’m going to suggest that you get a room, EW.

    What little I saw of the Patsies last night featured Bieber running for his life – his O-line looked like it’s got a good case of the same porosity failure the D did last year.

    And throwing a pick-six.

    And being criticized for forcing the ball to Gronk.

    And the Sawx seem to be working on getting the last of the smell of fried chicken and beer out of their clubhouse along with the malcontents. I wonder how the Dodgers will handle that.

    Beltran playing well and dealing big offense is no surprise – he’s rid of the Shea/New Shea curse and is returning to the player he was before the Mutts gave him that big contract (on the strength of his playoff run with Houston in … 2005. Watch for David Wright to turn into the force everyone thought he would, once he tests the free agent market and goes elsewhere.

    Sadly, between work and work and … commuting to and from work, I have had little time to pay more than cursory attention to baseball or football. I haven’t even managed to go fishing, let alone buy a fishing license, all year. For those who know me, that’s huge.

  7. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: What you say is true (I think BillBel doesn’t think Brady will make it through the season, tho he’s not telling anyone that yet).

    But all of those things are on the offensive side of teh ball, no? Granted, the D was not exactly BillBel’s finest. But that’s the kind of D on which a guy who has played just one college season can shine on!

  8. Jim White says:

    Wait. I guess I got that one backwards. Here’s what I thought bmaz was going to be sharing with us in this post:

    http://www.eckrich.com/public/images/pages/products/deli/loaves/head_cheese.jpg

    Thanks for the Michael Higgins clip. We have far too many wankers here whipping up fear. Maybe Higgins can come the US for a few appearances before the elecition. He’d be a huge help in pointing out the reality that the pundits miss on a daily basis.

    @Bob Schacht: I agree it’s time to talk baseball, but you are conveniently passing over the other huge comeback from last season: the Rays. They are at it again. This tweet from earlier in the week should suffice (they are now at 3.5 back instead of 3, but it’s still appropriate):
    https://twitter.com/RaysBaseball/statuses/238654125091483649

    The big thing this year for comeback teams is to try to get past the wildcard position all the way to being division champions. The new setup this year has two wild card teams in each league, but they meet in a single game to decide who moves ahead into a full-blown series in the divisional playoffs, so just sneaking into a wildcard slot is very dangerous this year because a single game to decide who moves on is extremely risky.

  9. Jim White says:

    Okay, and just because I had to know and our local expert on the Irish didn’t provide a translation for us (and the link where bmaz might have been giving us the translation is broken), I looked up the meaning of the awesome phrase. Here’s a very believable one I found:

    Working in Ireland about 20 years ago I hears the expression “Yer man has a neck like a jockey’s bollocks” use in a meeting.

    Checking up later I discovered that it meant he wqs “thick-skinned”

    Link: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=53782

  10. harpie says:

    Hi, everyone!

    I was intrigued, and haven’t yet read the complete post or the comments, so, I apologize if it’s already been posted, but:

    From Slang.ie:

    “Sure he’d ask you for your last bite of food him…he’s got a neck like a jockey’s bollocks”

    Neck is a six piece London-Irish Celtic punk band

    […] with a name serendipitously gleaned from the exasperated landlord at their first gig, who on discovery of their cavalier attitude towards required band possessions (forget amps or drums – they didn’t even have a name ), cursed them with the old Irish saying “Ye’ve a neck like a jockey’s bollocks, ye feckers!” […]

    On You-tube:

    NeckWhite Wedding

    From a comment on the Youtube:

    The band’s name’s from the old Irish saying “A neck like a jockey’s bollocks” ‘cos we’re cheeky feckers.

  11. phred says:

    My my bmaz, you have quite outdone yourself with this post : ) I thank you for the restorative rant of Michael Higgins, following the cardiac arrest I suffered at the sight of a Zombie Ronnie in a Cheesehead ; )

    You are most welcome!

    Now then, I owe rosalind an answer from her query last evening on a prior thread…

    Once upon a time, there was a team in Oakland that was poor, nay destitute of funds, and the woeful GM knew he would have to be creative to field a competitive team in a league that doesn’t have revenue sharing. And that is how there came to be the unexpected Brad Pitt hit, Moneyball.

    However, Oakland was not the only team smitten with the notion of creatively applied statistics to build a team, no sir. And that’s where Arliss Howard came in to our Oscar nominated hit…

    Yes, those were the halcyon days in Beantown where fans took pride in their annual ritual of misery inflicted by nearly a century long curse… and then a miracle occurred… the idiots cowboyed up and won us two World Series in quick succession… just a bunch of guys put together on the strength of their statistical promise as opposed to the strength of Steinbrenner’s payroll… not a prima donna among them… just a bunch of guys in need of a decent hairdresser.

    But, Sauron must have breathed upon the winning rings bestowed upon the GM for an evil dark change came over him and the lust in his heart for a Steinbrenner-like payroll overruled his mind and a-shopping he did go. At first, cheers were heard throughout the land as whispers grew of a nameless fear in the east inspired by a team of superstars bearing such enormous talent that all would fall before them…

    And so it seemed. In the waning days of August the mighty legion sat atop the AL East destined not just for the playoffs but for the jewelers, when September came and brought all to ruin. In a historic, truly epic, collapse the team tumbled from their star-filled perch into ignominy missing not only the World Series, but the playoffs altogether.

    How could this be??? The cry rang out across the land. Phones rang, men wept, and sports radio burned brightly into the night 24/7 searching for an explanation… And there found buried under a pile of soiled napkins, chicken bones and empty beer cans… were the pitchers. Pretty much the entire pitching staff was found to have lost heart and found instead deep fried goodness so distracting they forgot they were there to play a game. A game dammit, get out there and PITCH!

    And in the end with fingers pointing and coronary arteries bulging Beckett stood out as being the root of most evil. But he was a very pricey root and could not simply be busted down to Double or Triple A ball (my personal preference). But what sap would be dumb enough to fork over the cash to take him off our hands???

    Fortunately P.T. Barnum was right and lo and behold, salvation has come riding in the from the west… with bulging pockets and lust in their hearts and the wild-eyed hope that a change of scene is all Beckett needs to lead them on to victory. Bless their hearts : )

  12. phred says:

    @emptywheel: Thanks for the tip on Wilson (On Wisconsin!) and Ebner. I can’t imagine that Flynn will be happy about Wilson after waiting for years behind Rodgers to finally get his chance. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that locker room ; )

    As for Ebner, like you, I’m delighted to hear a fellow rugger doing so well in the NFL. I wonder how he is adjusting to those girly pads, though ; )

  13. rosalind says:

    @phred: *standing on chair applauding*

    hilarious post, phred. and yeah, the new Dodger Blue are in hi-frenzy mode. only time will tell…

  14. rosalind says:

    OK, America’s Cup. Forget visions of Thurston Howell in a blue blazer sidling his fancy yacht up to another asking for a cup of Grey Poupon. This is a new day and a new age.

    Instead of races taking place off-shore and outta sight, these races are taking place at the foot of the Marina Green where the SF Bay’s deep water allows the boats to whizz past in the regular heavy winds & wicked currents so close spectators feel they can reach out and touch them. For free.

    Instead of a few races spread out over a few days broadcast on some obscure cable channel you don’t get, we get multiple races a day five days in a row, in boats wired with multiple cameras and crew mic’d, so you don’t just watch the race, you go along for the ride, with spectacular views of the waterfront and City beyond, Fort Mason, Aquatic Park, the working piers.

    Instead of monohull big boats new 45-foot multi-hull Catamarans with tall fixed wings capable of going 3X wind speed (really really fast). They’re also really hard to handle, resulting in spectacular ass-over-teakettle wipe-outs. Next Summer’s Challenger & America’s Cup races will be in the big boats – 72-foot Catamarans. These guys will not be so amusing to watch flip over, so hopefully the crews get the hang of the new technology in the 45s. (the Crews with their crash helmets and jumpsuits now look like Nautical Nascar Pit crews).

    In the end: Larry Ellison, whatever his bad points, has brought a fabulous event to the Bay Area, and to the world. The website (americascup.com) is what every sport’s website should be.

    They are broadcasting this week’s events live online, showing NBC Olympics how it is done. Today’s sailing starts at 2pm PST. Sunday NBC will be broadcasting from 11:30am – 1pm PST (1 hr pre-taped racing, 1/2 hour live Fleet racing).

    Here just one of the great videos available at their site, an overview of the 45s technology & what’s going on aboard them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMB6QHQibAI

  15. emptywheel says:

    @Jim White: Right. That’s pretty much what Mr. EW explained to me when I also adopted it as my favorite new phrase after I asked him what Higgins meant by “neck.”

    As he described it, a (male, of course) jockey’s bollocks get pretty thick after years of racing, but also wrinkly and whatnot. So there’s that visual too.

    I even invited bmaz to make an obvious application to a cyclist’s bollock(s) in his discussion of Armstrong, but as someone w/a family member who ALSO has just one, wasn’t gonna do it myself.

  16. emptywheel says:

    @phred: Yeah, really worth it for a cheesehead like you to tune into that QB battle. No one thinks Carroll really could or would sit Flynn behind Wilson–and maybe that’s not his intent at all. And I havent’ seen how many 1st teamers versus 2nd teamers he’s been facing. Still, he has been playing really well.

    Now I just wish that Kirk Cousins were on a team where he could compete, cause I think he’s got the makings of a good QB in him, even if he is a Spartan.

    As for Ebner, aside from that pick last week, I haven’t gotten to SEE much of his play, on account of how little the Pats have been on and yesterday’s game being the suckiest of the lot (unless you like watching Brady get hit, I guess). But he is beginning to get some buzz about him and also had a bunch of picks in practice of late.

    I just think it’d be fun to 1) watch a true rugby player in the league and 2) watch one play on a team, like BillBel’s, that values and uses flexibility. So here’s to hoping he lasts out the week (at the beinning of pre-season I think people were giving him about a 12% chance of making it, and I’ve now seen ~65% chance of making it estimates).

  17. scribe says:

    @emptywheel: There’s a lot to be said about watching Brady get hit, particularly after that Tom Ford-dog collar photo spread the other week. Gotta wash that image from my brain, but I’m beginning to fear it’s like the bungee jumping scene in Sharktopus – ineradicable.

  18. Bob Schacht says:

    @phred: My goodness, what a literary essay you have written! At first I thought you might be mirroring J.R.R. Tolkien, but I am probably missing the mark. Anyway, good to see your lively wit again!

    Bob in AZ

  19. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: It wouldn’t be trash talk if there weren’t raw meat–though since we’re discussing the America’s Cup today, let’s call it tartare.

  20. JTMinIA says:

    I, for one, got a chuckle from bmaz saying that Lance Armstrong didn’t have the balls to keep fighting. Wasn’t one of his testicles amputated? Or was that just the effect of Sheryl Crow?

  21. Peterr says:

    The SF Bay has a good and expanding ferry system that Mrs Dr Peterr regularly used for her commute back in the day. Are they shutting down the ferry system during the races? If so, that’s got to be a nightmare for lots of folks; if not, it’s got to be a dream come true if you want to watch from out on the Bay.

  22. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: That is good.

    I particularly liked this part:

    Anyone who thinks an athlete has a fair shot in front of CAS should review the Alberto Contador case. Contador was found to have a minuscule, insignificant amount of clenbuterol in his urine during the 2010 Tour de France. After hearing 4,000 pages of testimony and debate, CAS acknowledged that the substance was too small to have been performance-enhancing and that its ingestion was almost certainly unintentional.

    Therefore he was guilty. He received a two-year ban.

    CAS’s rationale? “There is no reason to exonerate the athlete so the ban is two years,” one member of the panel said.

    Would you want to go before that court?

    The decision was so appalling that even the Tour runner-up, Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, couldn’t swallow it and refused to accept the title of winner.

    For the record, note that Andy’s brother Frank was knocked out of this year’s tour with a banned substance in his blood. This was confirmed in the test of the “b sample”, and Frank contends he was “poisoned”.

  23. JohnT says:

    It is hard to bring myself to talk about pre-season NFL. In my world, the Cards are in mid-season suckology form (seriously, no Kurt Warner, no fucking go), Peyton may not be the Peyton of old, but watch out, the Donkos are coming. But, mostly in my world, there is CHEESE. Tell us what is up in your NFL world. Unless it is the Steelers (just kidding; am trying to draw out the elusive Scribe).

    Not that they’re my team, but if anyone’s looking for a second half of the season dark horse, watch out for the Raiduhs. The cryptkeeper’s gone to the Las Vegas Elvis Pressley jumpsuit lizard lounge in the sky, but, I think they’re gonna surprise some people and ruin a team or twos season

  24. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Yeah, all those teams in the AFC West could be sleepers except, maybe, the Chefs. And with the stability of Crenel, the Chefs might even surprise a few people.

  25. What constitution says:

    Regarding Lance Armstrong: no matter what, he will always have that cameo in Dodgeball and so will the rest of us. And for that, we should all be grateful.

  26. Petrocelli says:

    @phred:

    But, Sauron must have breathed upon the winning rings bestowed upon the GM for an evil dark change came over him

    LOLOLOL … I didn’t know you’re a brilliant writer as well

    In other news, TeamObama’s game of Whack a Mullah™ enjoyed a major victory on Friday … Hurricane Isaac plans to do the same to the Repugs in Tampa…

  27. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: The Chefs? As much as Mrs Dr Peterr would like to see that, in the immortal words of Miracle Max, “It would take a miracle.”

  28. scribe says:

    @Bob Schacht: If his O-line continues the way it looked last night, yes, in a word.

    In re Sawx-Dodgers trade, I can say that from my living room well over 100 miles from Fenway, the howls of delight are clearly audible.

  29. scribe says:

    @CTuttle: To get rid of all of them.
    None of them produced.
    Beckett was one of the fried chicken and beer clique.

    And the Sawx took a pile of money off their payroll.

  30. Jeff Kaye says:

    @CTuttle: Ramiriez, Gonzalez, Kemp, Ethier in heart of the line-up, w/Victorino lead-off. Pretty impressive. But after Kershaw, what exactly is their pitching? I guess they’re praying Beckett regains old form (and I can guarantee you no one in L.A. cares what Beckett did in Boston, i.e., in the clubhouse). Billingsley was doing well for them post-ASB, but tender elbow means they can’t count on him.

    I know bmaz is counting on the D-Backs. The Giants look strong. NL West looks like the most interesting race going into Sept.

  31. bmaz says:

    @Jeff Kaye: Would love to see the DBacks go on a run and make it a three way race, but they seem to be running out of steam. Not looking good. Giants aren’t going to go away though.

  32. Petrocelli says:

    @Jim White: If I were a betting man, I’d lay a wager that Al Zawahiri and/or Omar get taken out by Canuck Thanksgiving…

    Also, Test Cricket is back, which is the best cure for insomnia EVVARRR !

  33. rosalind says:

    @Peterr: actually, they’ve added an extra boat to all routes to accommodate increased passenger loads – all public transport has boosted capacity, from BART to Muni. With budget crunches, Muni is being careful with their resources, but no regular service is being cut in favor of the races. This week is the first trial run at getting lots of people out to the Marina Green on public transport, and the plan going forward is to track the usage, and scale up or back depending for the October races.

  34. phred says:

    @rosalind: Thanks rosalind : ) I had fun writing it for you : )

    I’m just back from a most excellent day canning tomatoes… Now it’s time to pick up some trash…

  35. phred says:

    @emptywheel: So the Pats still haven’t fixed their O-line problems? That’s too bad. I’m not the Brady fan you are, but I hate to see him getting planted into the turf due to lack of protection.

    I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Ebner makes the 53…

  36. phred says:

    @Bob Schacht: I like to think of it far more broadly in terms of cultural theft, but definitely a nod to ol’ J.R.R. was in there, too ; )

    Nice to see you too, by the way : )

  37. phred says:

    @JohnT: WooHoo!!!! Thanks for that. And thanks especially for the link. Now I get it. The Dodgers did this to get Adrian Gonzalez and Beckett was the price they had to pay to get him. That actually makes some sense. I’m sad to see Gonzalez go, but so thankful to be rid of Beckett it’s a price I’m willing to pay (figuratively, of course ; )

  38. phred says:

    @bmaz: Hahahahahaha… you actually seen him pitch lately? I’m just wondering how long it will take him to get the Dodgers to put him on the injury list so he can take a day off to golf.

  39. guest says:

    I gather that “neck” or “a hard neck” means you’ve got a lot of nerve or courage. And jockeys must have really hard balls from riding horses.
    My first guess for the meaning was a neck that looked like a swollen scrotum (thinking of the first star wars movie and that alien being at the cantina). My second guess was smushed balls. Where did those people learn English?

  40. splee says:

    I don’t understand why those bike racers don’t ask for 24/7 surveillance in order to shut down the doping paranoia.

    There is also a really simple test that Armstrong could ask for, if the contention is that he used doping to perform beyond non-doped physical limits. He just checks into a USADA-operated medical lab and again is monitored 24/7 while he trains on USADA equipment, can only work with his trainers/doctors over the phone or through a glass wall, all his meals are prepared by USADA personnel, etc. After a week of this he should be guaranteed dope-free. Then they put him on an ergometer or take him out for a bike ride and see how he does. If he performs like in the Tour, he wasn’t doping.

  41. québécois says:

    I’ve been seeing most of the editors of the cycling magazines on the news in the last few days. They point to the organized efforts behind doping, and they all have come to the conclusion that Armstrong always relished a fight, and that he won’t back down for this one. They also all believe he’s guilty as hell. I share their opinion, Armstrong was boss, he ruled the field like a tyrant, he was pulling wattage that was insane, the guy was doping king.

  42. Jim White says:

    @CTuttle: Yeah, I’ve previously noted how much fun the Iranians were having jerking David Albright and others around, but the pink tarp really does “top” their previous jokes.

  43. Jim White says:

    @OrionATL: Thanks for that. I’ve read the first page but will have to work up some time and energy to finish that later this evening. I suspect it’s going to be very bad for my mood and blood pressure.

  44. rosalind says:

    (Sailing up on NBC for anyone interested…looks like they’ll be showing 2 races live: 11:45am PST start & 12:15pm PST start)

  45. bmaz says:

    Alright. Seriously. What the hell is up with that “yacht race”??

    Looked like a Chinese fire drill. Man, they are just fast and all over the place. I couldn’t tell squat, but it was awesome.

    Loved how the big “celebrity guest in the back seat” of the one boat, Gold Medal sprinter Michael Johnson, just fell in the drink and was lost!

  46. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: if it was a Chinese Fire Drill, the China boat wouldn’t be coming in last every race…there is a method to the madness.

    and poor Michael Johnson, he looked like he was heading to the gallows in the pre-race interview. probably the last time he sets foot on a boat under 200 feet (that Bay is COLD).

    and how about that Oracle/Spithill close for 2nd place, 1st overall for the week!

    a great first week for America’s Cup/San Francisco/NBC.

    on to October…

  47. bmaz says:

    The Broncos better pray Manning stays healthy, because their backup is Caleb Hanie who KILLED the Bears last year after Cutler went down. And…….Hanie throws a pick on his first throw..

  48. Petrocelli says:

    @québécois: Stats show that about 1/3 of Americans still believe Earth is flat and more believe in intelligent design. So there’s a good chance that Lance quitting now allows him to hold on to a large % of supporters.

  49. bmaz says:

    So, what, now that Nate Ebner has played his game nobody wants to talk football?? It was Harbaugh versus Manning today. Donkos look good. So do Niners.

  50. What Constitution? says:

    @Petrocelli: I never understood that “Earth is flat” stuff. If the it was flat, we would have no need for, nor understanding of, terms like “uphill” or “downhill”. But we do. Ergo, the Earth must not be flat. More wine, Descartes?

  51. bmaz says:

    @What Constitution?: Every person who believes the earth is flat also must, by definition, believe the moonshots and, really, entire space program is a giant fraud. What percentage of people are actually this stupid??

  52. Petrocelli says:

    Nyuk ! Nyuk ! Nyuk !

    Peyton better get the Donkos to wear their Zebras ag’in …

    GO NINERS !

  53. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Hey, I TOLD you about Russell wilson last year at Wisconsin. Kid is wicked smart and very talented athletically. He is a keeper.

  54. 4jkb4ia says:

    bmaz is correct not to bother with preseason football. However, I can already tell that the Rams season will be very long.

    The Cardinals took 2 out of 3 in Cincinnati, which is far better than being utterly buried, and are now two games behind Atlanta for the [first, whatever] wild card.

  55. tinao says:

    Totally OT, but I figure this is where in the articles to put this…Hey Bmaz, how about the hypocrisy of the Russian’s on convicting Pussy Riot on religious hatred while praying to Mary! Just checking in.

  56. tinao says:

    And, Creidim a Thiarna Michael Higgins! Maybe empy’s husband could correct me if I’m wrong grammatically! :-)

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