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September 18, 2012

Portrait of a Cancer Faker

This is a long and moving read, more so for the contrast between the author's wife's very real battle with cancer and her new friends utterly fake battle with cancer. No Evidence of Disease (Idle Words)
In the middle of July, Steph posted a series of messages on Facebook. Something was wrong at home. She was half-crazy with sleep deprivation, bouncing from hospital to hospital in search of a place to just lie down and rest, and had finally landed in the emergency room at CPMC. It was hard to piece together what was going on. Diane drove to the hospital to see her, and waited with her until she was checked in to the psychiatric ward. The next day, Steph's psychiatrist suggested she could have her discharged if she had somewhere to stay. We figured Stephanie could sleep it off at our place, calm down, and we could talk about the situation once she was rested and more lucid. But that never happened. For the next two days, Steph was either fast asleep or endlessly talking. She had always been a talker, but now it had become a river of words, pressured speech that jumped from topic to topic. Whatever was happening to Steph resembled mania. She was riffing on everything, telling stories, and finding it hard to listen. It had me puzzled. I wondered if Steph had abruptly stopped taking some drug and was experiencing a reaction from withdrawal. I also knew there had been CNS involvement in her leukemia, and worried that this might be a neurological symptom of her cancer. On the third day, Diane drove Steph home to pick up some medical paperwork, and things got even stranger. Stephanie locked herself in the shower, started breaking things, shouting threats against her own mother (who was not home at the time), pleading with Diane to leave, and crying. Not knowing what else to do, Diane called Steph's psychiatrist, who seemed just as surprised. Her only suggestion was that Diane not leave Stephanie alone. But towards ten o'clock, Stephanie came out of the bathroom, dressed, and declared she was "going for a run", leaving Diane by herself. Diane called a friend of Steph's who lived nearby, and eventually they collected Stephanie and left her in the friend's care. Diane came home exhausted. While we were still discussing what had happened at Steph's house, the psychiatrist called. She had been speaking with Stephanie's mother, and had an urgent question for Diane. "How certain are you that Steph has cancer?"

Randy Newman pens a wry new anthem for many quiet Americans: "I'm Dreaming (of a White President)"

Man, I love Randy Newman, 'cause he's really good at...

September 03, 2012

How Lance Armstrong Ruined My Life

Not *my* life, this guy's life. Mike Anderson on His Life as Lance Armstrong's Personal Assistant | Road Biking | OutsideOnline.com
I joined Armstrong’s staff in late 2002 as a mechanic, trail builder, and all-around handyman and assistant. At that time, we were friends who had often been on mountain-bike rides together, and he had made a written and verbal commitment to finance my dream of opening an Austin bike shop once my work with him was done. Armstrong soured on me for reasons that had nothing to do with my performance as an employee, and when I was abruptly fired in late 2004, no clear reason was given for my termination. He reneged on the promise about the bike shop and started attacking me, personally and professionally, in a way that ruined my job prospects in Austin. I ended up moving my family to New Zealand to start a new life. Keep in mind that Armstrong went on the offensive first—filing a civil suit that alleged I was extorting him—simply because I was trying to get him to live up to a business agreement we’d made. Unlike some of his foes, such as Landis and LeMond, I had never said a harsh word about him in public. I countersued to protect my livelihood and reputation, and during a battle that was ultimately settled out of court, Armstrong and his lawyers dismissed me as a disgruntled schemer, a line they continue to push whenever my name comes up. A fact sheet that Armstrong’s camp supplies in response to journalists’ queries about me is headlined “Anderson’s Complete Lack of Credibility.” Armstrong is having a bad year, and it’s about to get worse. His lawyers’ efforts to derail USADA’s case against him—a scorched-earth campaign aimed at destroying the organization outright—failed, so he chose to quit rather than keep fighting. But more revelations are coming soon, with the release of The Secret Race, a tell-all by Tyler Hamilton and co-author Daniel Coyle that promises to expose U.S. Postal’s organized doping program in excruciating detail. Judging by an Associated Press report based on an advance copy, the book could be the death blow to Armstrong’s reputation as an athlete. . . .

August 30, 2012

Neil Armstrong, My Grandmother, Moonwalking, and the Only Game in Town

The death of Neil Armstrong occasioned a lot of interesting...