Lance Armstrong and Oprah Night Two: 3 Reflections

Night two of Lance Armstrong with Oprah brought something we hadn’t seen in night one, emotion.

1. Contrition and sorrow. We saw a wee bit of it? This was most evident when Lance attempted to not break down as he spoke of telling his 13-year-old son the truth and asking him not to defend his dad anymore.  This was also evident Oprah read the letter from the mom of the leukemia patient. Lance does have feelings, they have been suppressed in order to maintain control and win=at-all-costs.

2. Process. Maybe Lance has been hanging out with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, but the word came up many times in the interview. This shows there is some wisdom present in his mind and/or counselors. He has spent a lifetime creating a mental pattern of win at all costs.

3. Freedom through Truth. Oprah encouraged and challenged Lance at then end of the interview to worry less about Lance the competitor and allow these events to become Lance the better man.

It appears his ex-wife Kristen still has a massive amount of influence upon Lance and is encouraging him to heal. As a follower of Christ, she has exhibited grace and forgiveness to Lance throughout their divorce and this ordeal.

She is even supportive now, which is self-less, because Lance’s incredible loss of sponsorship money surely affects the 30% child support (if standard Texas law applies) she receives. He is blessed by God to have her in his life in this way.

Personal thoughts: Oprah ended the interview quoting what Lance has said earlier….The truth will set you free. While the little t truth is very necessary to his recovery process, the big T truth is more important. Christ said, in addition to the verse alluded to above, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”

If anyone needed a perfect Father in their life, it is Lance. It appears that much of his drive to succeed at any cost finds it root in the lack of relationship with his biological father. He stated that he and his mother never go back and talk about the past. But the past is present with us all whether we talk about it on not. The road we walk (or ride) on today comes from the past. My prayer is that Lance would embrace the pain, find the root of all of this, and bring it to God, the Perfect Father.

Lance Armstrong and Oprah Night One: 5 Things to Note

So Lance comes clean.  While it was interesting that Oprah started the interview with simple Yes and No questions–was this to help Lance or clear the air of the biggest question first–I was waiting for the deeper questions to see what was going on under the hood in Lance’s heart. Perhaps we’ll get more of these type questions in night two.

As the interview proceeded, here are 5 things to note regarding Lance’s answers and how he communicated.

1. Omerta stands. In Italian, omerta means secret. Cyclist have historically practiced omerta. It is similar to the code of blue in the police force where everything within the force stays in the force. Armstrong refused to name names or even hint at implicating anyone else–even Dr. Ferrari, who is fairly well known to have been a PED supplier. Armstrong always despised those who broke omerta in regards to him, and it appears he will not break it for others.

Some thought he might go with a scorched earth policy, throwing everyone under the bus to make himself look better, or at least to emphasize the “everyone was doing it” mentality.

If he has to testify before USADA under oath, it will be interesting to see if he starts naming others in exchange for a reduced ban which would allow him to resume triathlons again. Or, perhaps his hatred for USADA will override this and he will keep silent.

2. Liar vs. A Lie. Several times in the interview when Lance disagreed with something–such as the claim that he doped in ’09 and ’10 Tour de France–it seemed he wanted to go into the old mode of disparaging the source. You could read the internal battle on his face.

Instead, he would pause, gather himself and call the statement a lie, but not resort to attacking the person’s character. This will hopefully be a developing change in his responses.

3. Lack of emotion. Lance likes control. He stated so in the interview repeatedly. A lot of people who grow up loving control learn to suppress their emotions because feelings are seen as a weakness. Even in his apologies to those he hurt, there appeared to me to be a lack of emotional understanding of what damage he had truly done.

Perhaps, he does possess this contrition and regret  and manages to quash it in public. Or possibly because of extended suppression he is emotionally calloused. Just maybe, as he walks out from under the shadows of denial and into sunshine of the truth, he will thaw over time.

4. Parsing. There was a consistent parsing in order to define truth, as when he seemed to justify the things he about Betsy Andreau by saying I called her crazy and a b&$%#, but never fat. Somehow, the fact the she added this claim to his comments, if indeed she did, relegated the two other insults having minimal effect in Lance’s mind. Perhaps from years of being an athlete he thinks calling someone fat is one of the worst things that you can do, and the other two terms aren’t as offensive.

5. Source of pain.  Armstrong spoke of a relentless will to win at all costs “wherever that came from.” If you read his life story, it is pretty easy to see where that insatiable desire arose. His father was an alcoholic that created havoc and his step-dad appears to be a militaristic disciplinarian absent of an emotional connection with Lance. His life seems to be centered around showing those two men and himself that he doesn’t really need anyone to be a success and that he is a winner. In his recovery, Armstrong will have to wrestle with these two relationships to gain freedom.

Stay tune for night two this evening……

For Sale Taylor Leo Kottke LKSM-6 Acoustic Guitar

Selling my 1997 Taylor LKSM-6 Leo Kottke. This guitar is in great condition and has been cherished and cared for. Aesthetically, it possesses clean, minimalist appointments, letting the Jumbo’s voluptuous Spruce top and Mahogany back curves articulate the guitar’s full-bodied beauty.

It has never been left in the heat or the cold, and always cased when not in use. This guitar was re-fretted two years ago by the master luthier at the semi-legendary Craig’s Music in Weatherford, Texas. It was never used in a smoking environment.

It is uniquely equipped two pickups, a Fishman Natural Matrix undersaddle piezo (I am placing this placed back in and removing the EMG piezo). It also has an K&K Mini-Western Pure. Each pickup is routed to a separate output for incredible diversity of sound–each outputs sends independently and blended through a pre-amp or at the mixing board for a huge, natural sound. (For a quick and simple gig, you can simply choose one output straight to the board and it still sounds terrific).

I am including the K&K pre-amp (retail $348), which can blend both pick-ups with EQ or be used on one output if desired. The case is very structurally sound and I had new latches placed on 2 years ago.

This is a stellar touring guitar and was used in the studio on several CD projects.

For the entire package, I am asking $1,795. The guitar alone sells for $2,399 currently. Leave a comment with questions or call to purchase 817-889-1487. I will contact you as quickly as possible.

Click Thumbnails to Enlarge

LKSM-6 aLKSM-6 bLKSM-6 cLKSM-6 eLKSM-6 fLKSM-6 gLKSM-6 hLKSM-6 iLKSM-6 K&K Quantam Blender


Top Five Questions Oprah Winfrey Should Ask Lance Armstrong

Background: Oprah Winfrey is interviewing now defrocked 7 time Tour de France Winner, Lance Armstrong. Unless you have been off the planet for the last 3 months, you probably know Lance was found guilty of violating United States Anti-Doping Agency rules by using performance enhancing drugs throughout his career–including EPO, cortisone, and blood doping. He is also accused by some former teammates (Tyler Hamilton, Jonathan Vaughters, and Floyd Landis) of strongly encouraging –read pressuring– them to use PED’s, as well. Lance has vehemently denied this throughout his career, bringing napalm-like lawsuits  against any accuser, whether former friend or foe.

Here are the Top Five Questions  Oprah should ask Lance:

1. You once said, ”All endurance athletes are running away from something inside themselves.” What were you running from?

2. What deep within drove you to a “win at any cost” attitude?

3. Is their a core element of your identity you thought you’d lose if you weren’t Lance the Champion and just Lance the Very Incredible Rider? For the record, you were talented before the EPO, I “raced” you in triathlons–you were burning good. TDF 7x, I don’t know, but burning good.

4. Do you think you pressured other teammates to dope and, if so, how does it feel now that they got caught up in the wake of your desire to win?

5. If you could go back and repair any relationship, which is the first one you’d want to repair?

More than the how did you hide it, why did you payoff UCI and why did you deny it so long, these questions should be asked.

Like her or not, Oprah is great at getting into someone’s soul.

Mike Tyson broke down crying on her show and told of his emptiness and longing to be loved. Before, Mike Tyson was biting off peoples’ ears (okay person’s).

Now is your chance, Oprah. Now is your chance, Lance. Forgiveness is available upon confession. Trust me, I know.

When: The special 90-minute episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter will air Thursday, January 17, from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. In addition, the interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide on


On NASCAR Initiation: A Semi-humorous Account

Our NASCAR tickets were hot in our hands as my 10-year-old son and I headed out to our first ever race at the Texas Motor Speedway, also known as the Redneck Roohaha. I had tried to get myself psyched up for the vast amounts of backwoods culture we might encounter but no amount preparation could have prepared me for the onslaught.

NASCAR is basically Wrestlemania on steroids.  The warriors weren’t the Von Ericks or the Great Kabuki, but sheet-metaled steeds. And the crowd was definitely the same, except there were 100,000 packed into the bleachers each carrying a wheeled chest of highly coveted cargo, Coors Light. As race-time neared, Foreigner took the stage. The creaking rockers belted out Hot Blooded as a  co-worker was posting up Facebook pics of herself and a friend on the infield, imbibing Four Loko’s, what I hear is the most God-forsaken drink ever invented.

My son and I flipped on the driver scanner we had rented, but being novices, we had no sound of the sweet serenade of pit chiefs checking their connections with their drivers. I toyed with the radio only to realize I was a victim of my own race ignorance. This was the Sprint Cup series not the Nationwide. The tweak of a button set the scanner crackling to life, as the driver’s introductions began.

I was not aware that there was a universal NASCAR villain, but that became quickly apparent as the name Jeff Gordon echoed over the P.A.  A chorus of boos and hisses erupted from all the sleeveless shirted, jort cladded men and women sitting around us. You would have thought this man had intentions to bring down another large American skyscraper, but it turned out to be even worse—he was Californian.

My son was growing impatient for the start. A rousing National Anthem ensued, whereby I realized EVERYONE here was from a Red State as they sang passionately with various food-products-on-a-stick held gingerly over their hearts.  After the invocation, my son leaned over and said, “So this is a Christian event, huh?” Please God, I know you love these people dearly, but please don’t leave Christendom solely in their hands.

“Gentlemen–no Danica in this race, START YOUR ENGINES!” Upon this command the rubber pawed beasts roared to life with a noise like that I have never heard before.  They eased around the track following the pace car. You could sense each longed for speed as fans stood to their feet. And then it came, the drop of the flag. We sat on curve #1 and as the cars came by a shockwave of sound and wind rumbled over me. My son clutched his earphones tightly to his head, fearful of the exaggerated reports he had heard of instantaneous deafness if his aural precaution were to lapse for even a millisecond.

We watched the race continue with little event. About lap 50 my son said, “All they do is go in circles? Let’s go.” I wanted to get a bit more of my money’s worth so I bribed him with food. “How about a Fletcher’s corn dog, just like the state fair?” Okay he nodded back. I didn’t know if he really heard what I said. We got the golden fried corndog. He slathered it with mustard and ketchup and we headed back to the stands.

And Then It Happened.

Corbin had set down his corndog on the aluminum benches next to him. Behind us sat the king of all things hillbilly, appearing unshaven and unshowered. He had a pot belly, which he filled by drankin’ whiskey straight from a Mason jar. He was definitely feeling like this was his house and his people as he belted out a “Woooooohoooooo.” And then it happened. I had noticed he was shoeless.Probably left them back in the Airstream, no doubt.  Soon his shoeless, fungaled feet slipped on the back of our aluminum bleacher. But they didn’t stop quite there. His yellow-nailed big toe wrapped around Corbin’s corndog and just rested there, caressing golden cylinder of processed meat with slow massaging motions as the coolness of the mustard and ketchup oozed between his toes. He just made a face that said, “Man that feels goooood.”  Corbin sat wide-eyed in disbelief as I threw up in my mouth a bit. Through the roar, Corbin gave me a look that said, “Dad, please, please, Dad!” Needless to say, the corndog went uneaten and we hightailed it back to the car, having had a thorough enough NASCAR experience to call it a night without fear we had missed something. We have been fully initiated!

Poor Kazahkstan. Another Public Relations Blunder.

At a recent medal ceremony,  the host country, Kuwait,  played the national anthem of Kazakhstan. Except, oops, it wasn’t the true national anthem it was one done by actor Sasha Cohen as his character Borat.

Here is the real Kazakhstan National Anthem

The Borat anthem was accidentally played by organizers at a medal ceremony at the Arab Shooting Championships. Gold medalist Maria Dmitrienko stood on the podium looking bemused at the mix-up, which was described as a “scandal” by Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Ilyas Omarov.

The false anthem – which extols Kazakhstan’s potassium and prostitutes and memorably contains the line “Kazakhstan – greatest country in the world, all other countries are run by little girls” – was played in the 2006 movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Quote from The Atlantic.

Former Soviet Kazakhstan is Central Asia’s largest economy and hopes to become one of the world’s top energy exporters by 2020.