The Humanoids: The Exits

Somehow, I doubt that I would get much sympathy for myself if I called it the “Holy crap! Was I busy this week” edition of The Humanoids. Anyway, sorry for the delay. Today’s edition of the column is all about famous, or possibly infamous, exits. That was the theme of the column. The title of the column is a better story. I was trying to think of a title that went with the theme and I remembered Boy Meets World. In the heyday of TGIF, that was the anchor show. It was a classic family comedy that appealed to everyone and ABC just hasn’t been able to recapture that lightning. Anyway, in one episode, Cory and Shawn are working as roadies and claim they have a band when talking to some girls. Scrambling for a band name, they look around nervously until they see an exit sign. They were naturally drafted in to play a dance. The guys said afterwards that people were chanting for them. Actually, they were looking for a way out. I love that show.

The next episode of the radio show is still being scrambled together. It’s getting cut from over an hour to the usual 28 minute run time. Sometimes, I would rather that [former radio broadcaster of ours] just let us run the Extra as our usual show but they’ve got some show that they download every week ahead of us. Anybody want a whole hour of The Lowdown? Would you mind if we do it for the 50th Episode Spectacular? Anyway, the next show involves H1N1 vaccination talk, the potential UWO police brutality lawsuit, Alex Trebek coming from YouTube, and our NHL quarter-season review.

London Transit Commission Strike
The lead story on our Twitter feed the last few days is our continuing coverage of the transit strike in our old haunt of London, ON. Basically, the drivers wants a pay hike bigger than everybody else in the world (12% over the next three years or about 1% a year higher than your standard cost of living wage increase) and a better dental plan (because Lisa needs braces). If that wasn’t outlandish enough, they’re also demanding that the U of WO suspend it’s shuttle service that brings in students from pre-determine spots off campus that are more than 30 minutes walking time away. The bus drivers are calling the shuttles “union breakers” and the shuttle drivers are being called scabs. As I said on Twitter, if anyone should be mad, it should be the taxi drivers because the shuttles are costing them, not the bus drivers, extra income. Talk about going from the role of poor, downtrodden blue collar worker to villain. The drivers are really hosing themselves in the court of public opinion. Unions are bad enough on their own. Unions with an inflated evaluation of their self-worth are worse. The LTC may be important to the people of London but the city hasn’t been crippled by the transit shutdown. And when they get beatdown at the bargaining table, it’ll only be appropriate for everyone in London to give the drivers shit when they pull their first shift after the strike.

Charlie Weis
Here’s a change of pace for me. Talking about American college football is such a rare thing around here since we try to cover the Western Mustangs trials and tribulations in Canadian university football. Anyway, it looks like ol’ Chuck’s run at the helm of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is nearing an end. After four years as the head coach of the “most storied program in college football” with nothing to show for it, he’s likely to find himself unemployed after the season is over. I used quotes there because I’m a Michigan fan and a realist and believe throwing terms like that around is haphazard and disrespectful to better programs. Most popular program in college football, maybe. Most storied, which I read to be most successful, not necessarily. So Ol’ Chuck, who was the mastermind of the New England Patriots offence in the early 2000s is packing. I’m sure he was crushed by the pressure to win now at Notre Dame. Apparently the pressure that he thrived under in New England under Coach Bill Bellichek crushed him in South Bend. But don’t feel sorry for Chuck. His buyout is $18 Million. The average Canadian Lotto 6/49 Jackpot doesn’t hit that. As for the boosters and alumni, feel sorry for them. Or don’t if you hate the Fighting Irish like me.

Michigan Wolverines
What happened to my Wolverines? Rich Rod was a lightning rod for criticism for the early part of the season because the Maize and Blue struggled last year and they were mired in an off-season workout scandal before the 2009 season even started. I have to give him credit: He’s an offensive genius and he took all the pressure off his team early in the going. Everyone was so busy worrying about Rich Rod and what he was doing to the legacy of the program that everyone forgot that there was a football team out on the field. They took advantage and surprised pundits and fans by throttling the life out of everyone in their path. The only problem came with the defence. Rich’s idea of a good defence is a good offence. That doesn’t exactly work when the other team has a good defence or better offence. So, naturally, Richie has been rumoured to be on the chopping block as well. Going from an early season bowl contender to the pundits’ choice for the Chicago Bears award (They are who we thought they were) hasn’t enamoured anyone to Rich Rod. I was willing to give the guy a chance but now that he’s royally screwed things up for the Maize and Blue, I say we bury him under Coach Bo so he can spit on Rich Rod.

Ties
Something I never mentioned before on the blog is my 9-to-5. Well, this week, I was out work at a client’s site and everyday I had to wear a suit and tie. The suit thing I don’t have too big an issue with despite the fact that I only have one proper suit and two jackets that I can mix and match with. See, the suit part is easy. Mixing and matching pants, shirts and jackets isn’t too difficult. It’s the tie that kills me. Finding ties that work in a mix and match situation is nearly impossible. I have one tie that’ll work in a mix and match which effectively gives me two suits. How does it look to the client if I come in five times a week with two different suits? Pathetic, that’s how it looks. If I didn’t have the tie, I could have a different look everyday or, at the very least, have a different enough look that no one could tell that I’m broke and can’t afford anything but a cheap-ass suit from Moore’s that will fall apart in a couple of years of regular use. That all and ties are impossible to tie right. I always end up with one side of the knot being rounder than the other. No matter how many different websites I visit or pamphlets I pick up at the store, I can’t figure it out. There are too many varieties of tying a tie and even more ways to screw it up. Men are unfairly forced to wear ties in an increasingly casual society. It’s time we cast off the shackles of the old regime they have placed on us in the form of the tie.

Toronto Raptors
Canada’s basketball team has two big issues facing them. No, it’s not the fact that they’re owned by MLSE. While that would normally be the cause of the indefinite suffering of fans (see Maple Leafs, Toronto and FC, Toronto for prime examples of MLSE running things like only teachers can), the Raptors have a competent general manager in Bryan Colangelo. While last season was bad, they actually looked like the #4 team in the Eastern Conference. Injuries and chemistry caused the team to implode out of the playoffs. Colangelo didn’t wait to see if his then supposedly improved Raps would gel by this season. He blew them up and the end result is something that should be a better team. Offensively, this is a better team. Defensively… Well, the less said, the better. This team can run and gun with the best of them, just don’t expect them to run back. That seems to be a hallmark of Colangelo squads. They can put up over 100 points a night but they’ll give up 110 to the other team. I’m waiting for the day the Raps have a game where they put up 120 and give up 125 for the regulation loss. Of course, you’ll never see that game because it’ll be on TSN2. TSN bought a large chunk of the Raptors’ schedule for TV after their good season two years ago. After their craptacular 08-09, they’ve been largely relegated to the digital cable only TSN2. That’s the other problem: the Raps are hardly on regular TV. TSN has 50 games that they’re broadcasting between TSN and TSN2. I’d imagine that means that TSN2 has 49 Raptors games and TSN has 1 and so they could broadcast the all-star weekend and playoffs. They’ll only ever do a deal if it conveniences them somehow. Just ask the CIS.

Oprah Winfrey
Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey-hey-hey, GOODBYE! So she’s leaving. In 2011, the media-proclaimed Queen of Daytime TV is leaving network television and so is her daily syndicated talk show. The rumour is that she’s not really retiring. She’s getting her own cable network and is likely to set up shop over there as the networks staple show. I’ll confess that I never understood the appeal of Oprah. I’ve always considered her a savvy manipulator of people. After all, all of the books on her book club become instant best sellers, regular guests on her show become superstars, and diets that she endorses on a yearly basis become the next big thing. Anything she comes in contact turns to gold and everything she touches ends up with all the credit for it going to her. Take General Motors, for example. Some five years ago, Oprah famously gave away Pontiacs to everyone in her audience at a taping of her show. On the CBC News this morning, the anchor said that Oprah gave away the cars. No, it was General Motors that made the giveaway possible, not the kindness of Oprah’s heart. However, she’s cultivated that image of being the one that always gives back that nobody realizes that she keeps a hell of a lot more than she gives away. So goodbye and good riddance to Oprah. Please stay in the vast wasteland that is specialty cable channels.

Thierry Henry
Keep in mind that I’m of Scottish heritage when I say that the Irish were screwed out of a chance at the World Cup. Not screwed out of a place in the World Cup but screwed out of a decent chance of being in the World Cup. The boatloads of controversy come after Henry’s version of The Hand of God. But for the sake of being original, let’s call it Henry’s Hand of Fraud. If you haven’t seen it already, Henry saved the ball from going long past the Irish goal by batting it back in play with his hand and passing it to a teammate with his hand for the winning goal in aggregate play. Ireland was up 1-0 in the game in France after the French had won the first leg in Ireland by a score of 1-0. The game was 17 minutes from penalty kicks to determine the 2010 World Cup qualifier when the Hand of Fraud snatched the Irish’s chance from them. Of course, anything could have happened in penalty kicks and nothing says that the French wouldn’t have won anyway. I will give Henry credit for two things: 1) Unlike your typical Frenchman, he didn’t surrender and tried everything to get the win, and 2) He admitted to cheating his way to the win. The only problem with the fallout is that FIFA has ignored everyone’s request to replay the game. The players, national soccer officials, world leaders and members of the media all want the game to be replayed. Clearly FIFA has its head so far up its ass that it doesn’t know how to handle a full-blown clusterfuck. They don’t need to replay the whole game. Just replay the final 17 minutes with the ball starting at the feet of the Irish goalie and Henry red carded for a deliberate handball in the box. Fair enough?

Hot Clicks
Yeah, I’m bitching about Jimmy again. I’ll try to keep things shorter this time. Ever hear of too much of a good thing? As of this afternoon, Hot Clicks is now a twice daily affair. So you can get (based on Friday) slightly more links than you would have gotten from just one edition of the Clicks. Once in the morning and once after lunch, you can get a your semi-daily dose of sports-pop culture hybrid links and semi-NSFW pictures and links. Now you’ll get twice as many people changing how they write to get linked by Hot Clicks. As I mentioned before, we were linked by Hot Clicks when he were just on the MySpace page and not this blog. Our one article linked there was viewed by over 8,000 people. I’d reckon that’s about half of the all-time views that we had on the MySpace blog. We’ve never been linked by the Clicks since but I’m not complaining. I’m just blogging what I feel like blogging not what one guy wants to see me blog. Besides, has anyone else noticed that most of the links on Hot Clicks over time are roughly the same: WAGs, comparing sports stars/teams to pop culture, random semi-NSFW pictures. The status quo at SI.com. I do some of that but only because I think it’s neat and the regular readers of this site think it’d be neat. I’d rather see a comment saying “Hell of a post” than 10,000 views from Hot Clicks. (Update: Case in point.)

DigiCart
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to assume that the vast majority of you reading this have never heard of a DigiCart. Well, this is what they used to play clips off of at CHRW while I was there. After over four years of talking about switching from this antiquated technology, they finally pulled the trigger yesterday and switched to a different clip playing system that is computer/MP3 based. The worst thing about the DigiCart was that to put clips on there, you had to record it onto the machine in real-time. That means that every episode of The Lowdown radio show took over 28 minutes to record. I remember one time when I was dubbing the 2007 Christmas special onto the DigiCart and there was a problem with the audio. I got cut off mid-sentence at the 27 minute mark during my sign-off. So I had to delete that recording, fix the file, redub it then transfer it from the production DigiCart to the one in the on-air studio. That was nearly an hour-and-a-half of my life gone because of that foul machine. Still, I’ll miss that thing. I have a soft spot for antiquated technologies (though I have no time for antique furniture and the like). So if you want a starting point for your own radio station on the cheap, I’d suggest you call 519-661-3601 and ask to take the old DigiCarts and associated bits and pieces off their hands. Remind them that it’s either give them to you or they throw them in the garbage so it doesn’t make a difference to them.

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