Technology & Culture Update 5/25/13

things come apartTechnology and culture embodied in art: Since we’ve still got a few days of Bike Month left, I thought I’d share some velo-centric goodness with y’all. To kick things off, get a load of photographer Todd McLellan’s wild photo of a dissected vintage road bike. This image, taken from the artist’s “Disassembly Series,” is just one of many quotidian items rendered as objets d’art that McLellan says, “have, are, or will be in our everyday lives.” The complete study is now available as a coffee table book called Things Come Apart.

Bike helmets work! Well, there’s a shock. I’ve addressed this issue before, and I’m gobsmacked that it takes a well-funded scientific study to conclude that you’ll protect your eggshell-like brain bucket by wearing a helmet. I’m equally appalled when I see a cyclist riding sans helmet—a transgression occasionally compounded by a helmet dangling from the handlebars. D’oh!

Some folks believe that commuting by bike is dangerous and are petrified of experiencing a Close Encounter of the Automobile Kind, but that seemingly rational fear has been proven fallacious. Still, when New York City announced its plan to launch a bike-share program, skeptics insisted that it would be unsafe, due to the automotive congestion (and the notorious recklessness of the cabbies of Gotham).

Mayor Bloomberg caved, so while it is apparently perfectly sensible to legislate the volume of sugary drinks New Yorkers can consume to protect them from diabetes, protecting his constituents’ heads from brain damage would be compromising their personal freedom. Go figure.

A recent piece on NPR reinforced the conclusion that cycle vs. automobile collisions are rare, but cycling crashes (with other bikes, pedestrians, or potholes) are in fact quite common. In any case, a helmet will protect your noggin. It’s just—sorry—a no-brainer. And counterintuitively, the report concludes, “the more people bike, the safer it may become.” Just wear yer dang helmet, people…

Silent spring of (18)62: You might think we’ve pretty much squeezed all the life out of the Civil War, but as Spielberg’s biopic Lincoln revealed, there are always new perspectives to be illuminated. As a Civil War historian myself, I was fascinated to learn that two academics have discovered another way to put old wine in new bottles. Timothy Silver and Judkin Browning, professors at Appalachian State University, received a $100,000 research fellowship to co-author an environmental history of the Late Unpleasantness.

The peripatetic migration of men and animals during the war years was largely contingent upon weather patterns, and the environmental impact of those movements on the local populace and the nation-at-large has yet to be the subject of academic scrutiny. For example, Silver believes that weather, rather than strategy or tactics, resulted in the termination of McClellan’s “On to Richmond” campaign. The environmental historian speculates, “If it hadn’t rained and the war had ended with McClellan taking Richmond in 1862, there would have been no Emancipation Proclamation,” and therefore, no fodder for another Spielberg epic. Interesting theory, but there are a couple of pretty big “ifs” in there.

HhHH cvrMetonymic magic: “me·ton·y·my (noun) : a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated.” So says Merriam-Webster. While the media is all atwitter with the announcement of the billion-dollar deal involving the acquisition of Tumblr by Yahoo! (who concocts these silly names?), I was, perversely perhaps, more entertained by James Fallows’s treatise on this obscure linguistic construct.

Fallows shares his readers’ comments regarding the subtleties that escaped elucidation in the dictionary definition. There are some colorful examples given to illustrate the point, my favorite being, “Calling [Karl] Rove ‘Turd Blossom’ is metaphor – he’s not actually a flower. Calling him ‘the Brain’ or ‘Bush’s Brain’ is metonymy – he is famous for his use of his brain.” To put a finer point on it, I suspect this particular metonym was a play on the German epithet, Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich (abbreviated as “HHhH”), which translates to: “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich.” (Incidentally, there’s a wonderful novel by the same name—check it out).

This may seem like so much pedantry to the average reader, but you’re not “average,” are you? Language matters. The proper use of our rather rich language is what separates the men from the boys in the world of intelligent, clear messaging (it’s just a figure of speech, so please don’t label me a “sexist pig”—that would be a metaphor, not a metonym).

the DW-P

Aden Nichols is an independent editor and writer. He is available for print and digital projects: books (academic, narrative/creative nonfiction, memoir, speculative/alternate history, etc.), websites/social media, and business communications. Visit his website (www.LittleFireEditorial.com) or email him at: Aden@LittleFireEditorial.com.

Technology & Culture Update 5/3/13

nat'l bike month

The science of safety: May is National Bike month (loads of related activities here) and we should all be spending more time on our bikes. Cycling is good for your body, mind and spirit, it’s easier on your wallet than driving and it’s a blessing for the environment (the trees will thank you!). Really, there’s no down side. Some folks worry about getting hit by a car. Don’t. Believe it or not, you are 15 times more likely to die while riding in a car than you are while riding on your bike. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. Our irrational fear is predicated on cognitive biasIn this brief presentation from Bike Summit 2013, Tom Bowden (chairman of Bike Virginia and vice president of the Virginia Bicycling Federation) cleverly explains this phenomenon.

To catch a thief: And while we’re on the subject of two-wheelin’, KALW radio (San Francisco NPR affiliate) produced a great story about using social media to track down stolen bikes. There’s also an engaging read in the February issue of Outside magazine profiling one man’s obsessive quest to craft the perfect sting operation to nail bike thieves. Interestingly, the level of law enforcement cooperation hinges on how many cyclists there are in the local precinct: “Departments that can muster a peloton, like those in San Francisco, Portland, and Houston, are generally more proactive.” The bottom line is that you should be proactive, too; you can increase the odds of seeing your lost bike again by keeping a file with your bike’s serial number and lots of photos, and blasting out info relating to your stolen bike all over the cycling forums. Cyclists are a tight community; use crowdsourcing to your advantage! It doesn’t hurt to put your name on a piece of paper, laminate it and stuff it into your seat tube. There will be no argument that this is your bike!

From the Velolinguistics Dept.: In a recent tweet, noted lexicographer Peter Sokolowski revealed that he is not a devoted cyclist:

“How unhip am I? I used to think that ‘fixie’ meant a fixer-upper. A junk bike you won’t care if stolen.”

Personally, I think the beauty of the ‘net is that you can so easily discover how little you know about so many things—and broadcast this revelation to the entire planet with the push of a button.

Alexis Madgrigal knows what a fixie is; in fact, he employs it as a metaphor in his current blog post in The Atlantic: “Online Media is a Fixie: Simple, Low-Maintenance, Fun, and Dangerous.” He offers a pretty technical profile of just what a fixie is, and suggests an analogy with online reportage. Read the comments following Madrigal’s testimonial to his own hipness; they are much more on-point (and entertaining!).

E-book sales are on the rise and the e-publishing titans are duking it out in an attempt to establish proprietary models designed to lock authors and readers into a lucrative (for the publisher) gated community. But standards are elusive, and one developer is determined to wrest the self-publishing arena from the clutches of Apple and Amazon. Called “FuturePress” (squeezed into one word, cute), the open-source project is the brainchild of the UC Berkeley School of Information (where else?). According to the website, “FuturePress aims to free books from the prisons of current proprietary formats.” The idea is to build an API based on HTML5, enabling an e-book to be read on any device. “I should be able to read a book regardless of what type of device or application I want to use,” defiantly asserted Jake Hartnell, product manager for FuturePress. “It’s like that for things like music and video! But not ebooks. 🙁 ” It’s a kick-ass concept, but an unfortunate choice of moniker (and they have no logo—has no one told them about “branding”?). It should come as no surprise that the name “Future Press” has long since been nabbed by any number of commercial outfits. So type “futurepress” into a search engine and see what comes up. Just sayin’…

Pet peeves of the word-nerd crowd: According to The Atlantic, “definitely” is the latest overused buzzword. Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ben Yagoda casts his vote for “literally.” Yes, some of the greats of belles-lettres have fallen prey to this tick, but that doesn’t make it correct, or even acceptable (it just makes them human). I doubt that I’ll be giving too much away to admit that both of these linguistic abuses are like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I failed high school biology because my teacher, Mr. Shelsky, had a habit of prefacing every statement with, “Strangely enough …” and concluding his diatribes with a (no doubt) trenchant observation beginning, “Irregardless, ….” It got to the point that everything else he said was just white noise punctuated by those annoying exclamations. Entranced, I was reduced to a drooling zombie state in which I mindlessly counted how many times he uttered these expressions and recorded the totals on my Pee-Chee notebook. Little wonder that I couldn’t recall much about the Periodic Table of Elements.

Publishing and paywalls: The revered publication, American Heritage, is the latest in a long line of periodicals struggling with the digital revolution. Having suspended publication last fall, the publishers claim to be restructuring the book as an education-oriented digital history offering (behind a paywall); they’re hoping the “educational” cachet will prove to be a viable sales strategy. In its new incarnation, the publication will be available in print and digital formats designed to complement the company’s nonprofit project, “Education, A Transformative System for Teaching American History and English Language Arts.” With so many innovative open-source alternatives already available or coming online now (the DPLA, which I discussed a couple of weeks ago, the University of Houston’s impressive Digital History website and the various educational initiatives produced by George Mason University’s Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, to name a few), it’s difficult to see how a for-profit venture is going to keep its head above water.

Digital Humanities 101: The aforementioned efforts all fall under the umbrella of the “digital humanities.” If you’re even the slightest bit curious about this fascinating movement, there are many resources available to acquaint you with the basics. Defining the Digital Humanities: A Bibliography is a great place to begin your journey. A Companion to Digital Humanities is an open-access textbook on the subject (and a very accessible read), while “A Guide to Digital Humanities” (by Northwestern University) is another well thought-out introduction to the field. This should be more than enough to whet your appetite; I’ll revisit this subject frequently.

CERNHappy birthday, Web! It’s hard to believe, but the World Wide Web is only 20 years old. British physicist Tim Berners-Lee developed the idea of creating an information network, and the technology that made it possible was made freely available to all on April 30, 1993. The first website (for CERN, a nuclear research organization) wasn’t much to look at, but Gutenberg’s initial efforts were pretty crude, too. In celebration of two decades of open-access information exchange, CERN has resurrected its original website. This technology has profoundly changed information sharing—how we interact, how we tell our story—in fundamental ways. What will the third decade bring?

the DW-P

Aden Nichols is an independent editor and writer. He is available for print and digital projects: books (academic, narrative/creative nonfiction, memoir, speculative/alternate history, etc.), websites/social media, and business communications. Visit his website (www.LittleFireEditorial.com) or email him at: Aden@LittleFireEditorial.com.

Technology & Culture Update 4/12/13

This woman is wearing a bike helmet. Yes she is.

This woman is wearing a bike helmet.
Yes she is.

Bike commuters know they should wear a helmet, but hey, the dang things give you “helmet hair” for the rest of the day! That problem led two Swedish design grad students to put on their thinking caps. The result was the Invisible Bicycle Helmet. Unlike the king’s new clothes, the helmet’s really there — trust me. Think of it as an airbag for your head; it deploys when you need it. Do yourself a favor and watch this short documentary video. After graduation, the co-designers went into business to produce their innovative design commercially. They proudly proclaim: “We may be a small company, but we think big and we aim high. Delusions of grandeur are exactly what it takes!” Far be it from me to gainsay them. Diana Eng, watch out!

Growing pains… When a Canadian professor encouraged the 1,900 students in his psychology survey course to edit relevant Wikipedia articles as a voluntary assignment, they did — and all hell broke loose. The unexpected volume of edits made the open-source encyclopedia’s volunteer editors think they were the target of some sort of rogue troll. How could they possibly vet this tsunami of new data? Perhaps social media doesn’t always lend itself to educational applications. If this episode caused so much consternation, what will happen when the MOOCs attack?

PavegenWalkin’ on sunshine: After a successful initial trial during the London Olympics, the power-generating Pavegen tiles are now being installed in walkways all over the globe. Every time a foot depresses a tile, kinetic energy is harvested and converted into electrical power. Pavegen may not be the ultimate answer to our insatiable demand for more electricity, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Crowd-sourced proofreading: As you undoubtedly know, Project Gutenberg is an open-access initiative dedicated to the digitization of books for free distribution. The original tomes are scanned and converted into e-books for enhanced legibility, but OCR isn’t perfect, and all those pages need to be proofed by human eyes. As of two days ago, 100,000 volunteers from around the world have contributed to this noble effort. Project Gutenberg calls this herculean task “distributed proofreading,” and if you’d like to get involved, you can read more about it and sign up here.

Photographic archives are also making their way to the interwebs. The George Eastman House, “the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography,” is teaming up with the Google Art Project to make hi-res sccans of its collections available online. The initial offering comprises 50 photographs from the 1840s to the late 1900s; just a taste of the digital goodness to come.

The Tribeca Film Festival opens on April 17. An evangelist of new media (check out the TFF Spotify Playlist), the festival is showcasing a six-second streaming video category this year that’s open to all comers. Yes, I said six-second. Aspiring filmmakers use the Vine app and their smart phones to plant cinematic seeds. It’s kind of like video tweets. Indeed, twitter noted the similarity as well, and snapped up the start-up posthaste. Robert De Niro, co-founder of TFF, sees the six-second film competition as an artistically challenging exercise rather than a stunt: “Six seconds of beginning, middle and end. … you can tell a whole story in six seconds.” In fact, in order to be considered for the competition, you have to tell a complete story. It took you longer to read this blurb…

Google announced that it will be doing its part to help keep Austin weird by making the progressive Texas city the second testbed for its uber-fast Google Fiber Internet service. The project debuted in Kansas City, but Austin — home to the celebrated South by Southwest technology and culture festival — seems a more obvious choice for such a high-tech venture. So just how fast is Google Fiber? The company claims the new service will be about 100 times faster than conventional broadband. Do we really need the speed? “Need” is such a subjective word, don’t you think? Yes and yes.

the DW-P

Aden Nichols is an independent editor and writer. He is available for print and digital projects: books (academic, narrative/creative nonfiction, memoir, speculative/alternate history, etc.), websites/social media, and business communications. Visit his website (www.LittleFireEditorial.com) or email him at: Aden@LittleFireEditorial.com.

Lance Armstrong, Pt. II: The Song Remains the Same

No CyclingIn his tell-all confessional with Oprah, Lance Armstrong came up short. Like a good poker player, he held back more than he revealed, and he folded before he cashed out.

His responses were measured (to the point of being curt), and he came off as being impassive rather than contrite. His body language spoke volumes, his face an immobile mask for most of the interview. Claiming to have been caught up in the endemic doping culture of pro cycling, Armstrong said he was simply carried along on the tide with so many others. He concluded matter-of-factly, it was just “part of the job.”

Remarkably, when his inquisitor asked whether his dope-fueled TdF wins felt wrong, the defrocked champion looked her in the eye and with a straight face replied, “No. [pause] Scary.” Oprah tried again, “It did not even feel wrong?” Lance (stony faced), “No. [pause] Even scarier.” Oprah pressed on: “Did you feel bad about it?” Again, that unnerving vacuous stare, “No. [pause] The scariest.” That’s three swings and three misses, in case you’re keeping score. No remorse. One can’t help but feel that this man is a sociopath.

“Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?” And as if it explained everything, Lance offered this convoluted defense: “At the time, no. I kept hearing … I’m a cheater. I went in and just looked up the definition of ‘cheat’ [he had to look it up? Now that’s scary!], and the definition … is ‘to gain an advantage on a rival or foe that they don’t have.’ I didn’t view it that way; I viewed it as a level playing field.” The man is in denial. For the record, Merriam-Webster defines the intransitive verb ‘to cheat’ as, 1a: to practice fraud or trickery; 1b: to violate rules dishonestly. Parse it however you like, Lance, you were cheating. This is hardly the tack you’d expect someone to take when he’s seeking redemption and a second chance.

Responding to U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart’s indictment that the Armstrong-led doping regime was “the most sophisticated, professional, and successful doping program sport has ever seen,” Lance riposted flippantly, “to say that [U.S. Postal’s] program was bigger than the East German doping program in the ’70s and ’80s? That’s not true.” Well, I suppose that’s some consolation.

Armstrong opined that it is not humanly possible for anyone—let alone a cancer survivor—to win seven Tours in a row without having made a Faustian bargain, so he must surely have known he’d get busted sooner or later. But again the dispassionate testimony: “You overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times. You have a happy marriage, you have children. I mean, it’s just this mythic, perfect story, and it wasn’t true.” He seemed utterly amazed that his house of cards came tumbling down. Armstrong admitted to being a ruthless, arrogant bully, and described himself as “a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome.”

With his chronic history as a serial liar, it’s difficult to determine how much of this performance was authentic and how much was pure bravado; perhaps Armstrong still believes he’s invincible, in control. One thing’s certain: he knew exactly what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. By his own admission, Lance has an ingrained habit of carefully sculpting the Lance Armstrong Story, and there is no doubt that he had also been thoroughly coached by an extensive team of handlers, lawyers, and a “crisis manager”—a dozen of whom accompanied him to the interview. Oprah got it. In the days between the taping and airing of the show, she tweeted simply, “He came READY!”

In fact, not unlike Michael Jackson, a property as valuable as Lance Armstrong would have been coddled and protected by managers, handlers, PR flacks, and groupies throughout his life. The man lived in a carefully constructed fantasy world; his grasp on reality must have been tenuous. He ultimately came to believe his own hype, and as anyone in the entertainment industry will tell you, that is usually a terminal affliction.

When all is said and done, Lance Armstrong isn’t smart enough to be an arch-criminal. He’s a professional athlete, a man who spends most of his waking hours training intensely on the bike or the trainer or in the gym. Perhaps his legendary business acumen is overblown—Warren Buffett or Bill Gates he is not. He may well have been conditioned over time to rely on the guidance of his handlers, constantly reinforced by the adulation of his entourage and admirers (and his burgeoning bank account).

If such is the case, he may be forgiven some of his indiscretions—he was just doing what so many people had encouraged him to do ever since he was an ambitious 16-year-old triathlete competing at the national level. Expectations were always sky-high, and Lance never failed to deliver. The pressure of being in that position must be enormous. We were all more than willing to be awed by his seemingly superhuman feats (I know I was), and we were touched and motivated by his comeback from cancer, and the good works done by the Livestrong Foundation. Now we’re taking turns kicking him while he’s down. Americans adore their celebrities, but they’re a fickle lot.

Though he never directly addressed the question (which was asked repeatedly) of “why now?” Lance turned the query on its head and shot back, “If you’re asking me, do I want to compete again, the answer is ‘hell yes!’ I’m a competitor.” Sounding overly dramatic, he noted how many of his racing cohort—the riders whose sworn testimony about their own drug use led to Armstrong’s downfall—only received six-month suspensions, while he has been given a “life sentence” (his phrase). The Lance doesn’t think that’s fair. Hindsight is 20/20, but now he realizes he should have taken the same deal and cooperated with USADA. Instead, he stood his ground and turned up the volume on his belligerent denials, blinded by his monumental ego. It is more than likely that the people closest to him egged him on as well.

"Who are those guys?"

“Who are those guys?”

The real answer to “why now?” is painfully obvious: he didn’t confess to clear his conscience, Lance set up the interview with Oprah because the walls (and the authorities) were closing in on him, and he was out of options. It was a calculated move on his part; he wasn’t so much stepping up as he was bailing out. It reminds me of a scene (several, in fact) in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in which the pair of outlaws can’t seem to shake the posse that’s doggin’ their trail. A chagrinned Cassidy exclaims incredulously, “Who are those guys?”

Rather than spilling his guts to the appropriate authorities under oath and letting the chips fall where they may, Armstrong took the celebrity’s route and sought absolution from the High Priestess of Media. Lance’s “confession” was more about damage control than repairing all the damage he himself wrought, and it would appear that he had best not take off the hair shirt just yet—his penance has only just begun.

So I was wrong in postulating that Lance wouldn’t confess to doping, but I was right in likening his performance to the opening of Al Capone’s secret vault. Both were empty and disappointing.

Still, this was just the first stage in the Tour de Lance; many challenges  lay ahead. In addition to his legal woes, Armstrong has forsaken the public trust and pundits are lining up to crucify him. In all fairness, it’s very difficult to judge without having walked a mile in his shoes. And it is with this thought in mind that I encourage you to read Diana Nyad’s op-ed on the interview. It’s the most balanced and thoughtful offering I’ve seen to date, and this from a person who understands the world of the professional athlete—and the sting of defeat—better than most.

Can Lance Armstrong pull off yet another comeback? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Pete Rose, one of the few people on the planet who actually has a good grasp of Lance’s predicament, offered his consolation, adding, “I waited too long. … I hope it’s not too late for him.”

Oh, and did I mention the movie deal? Hollywood loves a story of redemption—or a fallen angel…

the DW-P

Aden Nichols is an independent editor and writer. He is available for print and digital projects: books (academic, narrative/creative nonfiction, memoir, speculative/alternate history, etc.), websites/social media, and business communications. Visit his website (www.LittleFireEditorial.com) or email him at: Aden@LittleFireEditorial.com.

Lance Armstrong: It’s Not About the Bike

lance not happyThe unattributed leak hinting that Lance Armstrong is planning to admit to his doping escapades in an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey on January 21 is a high-concept stunt. Both of these celebs (who are pals, by the way—check out this shared guacamole recipe) have suffered declining ratings, so what’s better for burnishing your star than a good old-fashioned exposé?

Let the hype begin! To get the ball rolling, you arrange for Lance to do lunch with USADA officials—no press release (that would just be tacky), but the media will somehow “find out” about it and draw the obvious conclusion: a strategically timed 60 Minutes Sports segment suggested that the principals were exploring a possible “pathway to redemption.” More likely, they were discussing the relative merits of the seared sockeye.

Then you’ll leak the non-story linking this tête-à-tête and Lance’s determination to come clean with Oprah to some tabloid (ahem, USA Today) through an anonymous source (“a person with knowledge of the situation”). Mainstream and social media will be all over it like white on rice; otherwise respectable news reporters will gladly become your unpaid PR flacks. Indeed, journalists will be afraid not to run with the dubious (though titillating) story, just in case it turns out to be true; they can’t bear the thought of being scooped. They take the bait, great. Now let Lance set the hook; when queried by the AP, Armstrong coyly texts, “I told her [Oprah] to go wherever she wants and I’ll answer the questions directly, honestly, candidly. That’s all I can say.” In due course, the story that isn’t gets plastered all over the media. Well played, Team Armstrong.

dewey-defeats-trumanThe saga has morphed from specious rumor to done deal: “Lance to Admit Doping in Oprah Interview.” That was NPR’s lede today; it should certainly guarantee a huge viewership. The AP, the New York Times, NPR and all the rest should be ashamed of themselves for being duped into rushing into reporting news before it happens.

Tension builds: will he or won’t he? Pundits posit. Nate Silver runs the numbers. Wagers are placed.

It’s not Lance’s moral turpitude that concerns me—his mortal soul is his business. And as faithful groupies and defenders stridently insist, Lance wasn’t the only cyclist on the Tour who was juicin’, so cut the poor boyo some slack, woncha? That’s true, of course, but many of his colleagues have come forward and admitted their malfeasance before God and country, opting to be part of the solution while Lance seems determined to be the poster child for the problem. Few other professional cyclists abused the trust of so many along the road to fame and fortune. And few are worth $100 million in the wake of so much cheating, so much deceit. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

I had a hunch that one way or another Armstrong would find a way to get our attention; he needs the limelight like you and I need oxygen. Lance is an opportunist—a very hardworking one, I’ll grant you—but an opportunist, all the same. He’s a classic power and control junkie; Lance craves the adulation even more than the money. He wasn’t kidding when he sagely pronounced, “It’s not about the bike.” Nope. It’s all about the Lance.

Personally, I won’t be watching—I don’t own a TV. That’s OK, he’ll tweet about it after the fact (gotta wring every ounce out of it). As a dedicated roadie and previous Armstrong fan, I am interested to know if Lance has the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing, even if he does it for the all the wrong reasons (like copping a plea to avoid prosecution and shorten his cycling suspension). Spoiler: He doesn’t and he won’t.

On the off chance that I’m wrong and Oprah brings in the Big Guns (Dr. Phil, a “mystery guest,” and some very cute, but disappointed children) to coerce Lance to ’fess up in the best prime-time confessional form, there will be tears. Like all good con men, Lance is a master manipulator; his timing is exquisite and he knows just which buttons to push: his dysfunctional childhood, his failed marriage, his courageous battle with cancer. Despite it all, he beat the odds and rode to glory—a true champion! He is Lance Armstrong, All-American Boy, and he needs your forgiveness to secure his redemption.

Scarface: muggin’ for the camera.

I’m thinkin’ maybe his people should have partnered with Geraldo Rivera, the prince of smarm-o-vision for this tell-all. Geraldo would have cranked up the seismic sensationalism of the event to eleven (attracting more viewers, which in turn translates into more dollars—a language Armstrong speaks fluently). But then there’s always the possibility that like Al Capone’s vault, Lance’s confession will prove to be nothing more than an empty hole…

the DW-P

Aden Nichols is an independent editor and writer. He is available for print and digital projects: books (academic, narrative/creative nonfiction, memoir, speculative/alternate history, etc.), websites/social media, and business communications. Visit his website (www.LittleFireEditorial.com) or email him at: Aden@LittleFireEditorial.com.

(Frowning Lance: Reuters)