The Humanoids: The Long and Short of It

On this week’s Humanoids, it’s more bang for your buck. Not quite the usual nine targets but as much written about them as if it was nine. It’s been an interesting last seven days in Canada. We threw the biggest party in the history of the world and we even held the Olympics out in Vancouver. Heroes were born, legacies were crafted, and the podium was owned. And after the great Canadian coming out party, it’s back to the status quo. We Canadians will move on with our quiet, self-deprecating lives while the rest of the world ignores us. But for this week, let’s hold onto the fun we’ve had for the last couple of weeks and look back.

Hoserism
The Americans and their Manifest Destiny are perfect examples of jingoism. That’s the whole extreme patriotism with an aggressive foreign policy thing that the States has going on. Well, in Canada, we have our own extreme patriotism. It’s called “hoserism.” We self-deprecating refer to ourselves as hosers so why not brand our sort of patriotism as hoserism. It looked good on Twitter so why not take up the cause of having it added to the English language here on the blog. The hoserism displayed at the Olympics could easily be misconstrued as jingoism. After all, we went all out to Own The Podium, flew the flag whenever we could, and wore all sorts of garb with Canada plastered all over it. Okay, that’s not quite as jingoist as trying to take over Canada in 1812 or Iraq in 2003 but in today’s politically correct society, you could see how it might come off as that. After all, we Canadians are a humble people that don’t shove our raging patriotism down everyone’s throats like, say, the Americans. Let’s be realistic here, folks. Us Canadians have always loved our country, we just needed a platform to show the world. Along come the Olympics and the parties and public drunkenness ensue. Being Canadian, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you’re American or from any one of the hundreds of countries whose asses our nation collectively whipped, then you probably do have an issue with our hoserism. You probably think that we’re becoming far too American for our own good. To those folks I say “Take off, ya hoser.” Also, to the people at Pepsi who tried to force that dumb cheer on us, I also “Take off, ya hosers.” We hosers can make up our minds for ourselves.

Oh Canada
Naturally, our wonderful Prime Minister, his Rightfully Robotiness Stephen Harper, can’t let our recent national explosion of Hoserism go unchecked. This week, he very quietly slipped into the throne speech (which outlines a sitting government’s priorities for the year) that the government would be exploring a change in the lyrics of the national anthem. Apparently, “In all thy sons command” isn’t gender-neutral enough. So what does that line become? “In all thy non-gender specific offspring command?” Wait, command is too aggressive a line for us. Gotta change the line to “In all thy non-gender specific offspring politely suggest.” That’s not nearly Canadian enough. We didn’t say “sorry” once in the anthem so we might want to drop that in there. We should also mandate the which part of the anthem should be sung in French. But when we do that, we should make sure that it’s at least half the song because we wouldn’t want to upset the Quebecois even though they’re ready to separate at the drop of a hat. Welcome to the slippery slope. If we change a line in the national anthem because a very small (and apparently very vocal, though I haven’t heard of them) minority is upset, what’s to stop every little thing that annoys people from being changed. I think that alcohol taxes are too high. We should get that changed. The price of gas is too high. Let’s legislate a change to that. Toronto FC plays like shit for the final month or two of the MLS regular season. We can pass a bill that makes their season shorter. While we’re at it, let’s force Stockwell Day to change his name to Doris. Rick Mercer’s tried it once before but it seems like it would be pretty easy to get it into the next throne speech.

Russian Olympic Program
So if Canada owned the podium, what happens in four years in Sochi, Russia. I know that in Soviet Russia, podium owns you. Of course, in Soviet Russia, materialism and all that fun capitalist stuff we have over here is frowned upon. There in lies the irony of holding the 2014 Olympics in what was a former resort town that was exclusively for the elite members of the Communist Party. Material gain was not for the proletariat but for the bourgeoisie and they were whoever was in the government’s good graces. Still, in capitalist Russia, you still want to be in the government’s good graces. The masterminds of the Russian Olympic effort have been turfed due to their colossal failure in Vancouver. They suffered their most embarrassing performance in the history of the Winter Olympics with a 6th place finish in the overall medal table with 15 medals in total of which only 3 were gold (good for 11th in that count). That’s the sort of performance that you would expect from, say, Jamaica, not a perennial winter sport powerhouse such as Russia. Mind you, I think the national crisis would have been averted if they had won hockey gold. I’m always of the mind that it’s not embarrassing to lose to the eventual champs but what do I know? Naturally, supporters of the Russian hockey program defended their country’s 6th place showing by saying the Canadians were clearly using steroids. If that’s the case, the Americans beat Canada so they must be on the juice. So let’s take them all out and congratulations Russia, you finished fourth which wins you this lovely participation medal. If Rocky IV taught me anything (besides that we all can change), it’s that the old Soviet Union had a hell of a drug program. I wonder if Russia still has all those designer drug labs they had during the Cold War so they can own their own podium.

Sidney Crosby
He’s Canada’s newest greatest hero and America’s newest greatest villain. How else can you describe that, for all intents and purposes as far as the Canadian public is concerned, won the Olympics? Let’s face it, if the Americans rode the momentum they built over the last 10 or 15 minutes of the third period, Team Canada didn’t stand much of a chance. If you asked any Canadian during that third intermission and they would have told you that they expected Team USA to win it at some point in overtime. That’s probably why Sidney Crosby’s goal will live on in Canadian hockey history forever. Say what you will about the guy’s complete and utter lack of charisma, he scored what is probably the third greatest goal in Canadian history. (I have Lemieux’s OT goal in the 1987 Canada Cup at #2 and Henderson’s last minute Summit Series winning goal at #1.) The big international competition win will inevitably invite comparisons with Wayne Gretzky but I don’t think those are fair to either player. Crosby is a more complete and more skilled player than Gretzky. Crosby can play defence, he has a better shot and is better in the faceoff circle. Gretzky was an offensive power because he was deceptively quick and could outthink everyone on the ice. I interviewed an ex-teammate of his who said that he was so much smarter on everyone on the ice and that was how he could beat you and rack up all those points. Granted, it’s difficult to compare them between eras such as they are but I’ll still take The Great One over The Next One.

Danica Patrick
The first three races of her NASCAR career are down and she has potential… To be a career start-and-parker. Okay, she’s only run three races but when your average finish over than span is in the mid-30s with two crashes (one of her doing because she used McDowell as a brake in Vegas), there’s not a lot to celebrate about. I saw an article on SI.com which claimed that Danica has potential to be very good. Well, she certainly has potential to improve. There’s only about 8 places that her average finish could drop and 34 spots that it could improve by. Anyone that expect Danica to win a race in the next two years (unless it’s a fluke on a road coarse or on fuel mileage) is delusional. Her full-time gig is driving Indy Cars which is sort of like high-speed go-karting with less skill required. Those cars have enough downforce for their power and speed that drivers basically put their foot to the floor and turn. It’s sad to think that driving an Indy Car is far easier than driving a NASCAR stock car but it is. That’s why the skilled F1 drivers are having a far easier time adapting to NASCAR (such as Montoya, Speed and possibly Piquet) than the ex-IRL gang (Franchitti, Hornish, and Patrick). At least Danica is giving her a go. An A for effort, maybe? That’s the best I can do. Oh, an A for blaming other drivers for crashing instead of taking the blame herself. But she was already good at that from the IRL.

Steve Williams
No, I’m not talking about “Stunning” Steve Williams who went on to be known as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and became one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time. (Though his name will pop up a couple of times over the next couple of weeks here in the run up to WrestleMania.) And I’m not even talking about pro wrestling’s other Steve Williams, also known as “Dr. Death,” who was one of the legit tough guys in wrestling. I’m talking about Tiger Woods’s caddy. His bestest buddy in the whole wide world. (Somehow I don’t think BBWWW will replace BFF despite my best efforts.) He recently went on the New Zealand version of 60 Minutes (imaginitively called 60 Minutes) to talk about his relationship with Tiger and the scandal that has plagued the world’s greatest golfer. The long and short of his verbal diatribe was that if he knew what Tiger was up to, he would have blown the whistle on the whole thing. The man is Tiger’s goddamn caddy. He shouldn’t be throwing the cockblock. He should be in there helping Tiger line up with the hole. (I’m sure I could use a better golf innuendo involving strokes but I’m feeling lazy.) He threw up the slightly understandable reasoning that he’s friends with Elin too. Well, if you rat out your boss to the whole world, you’re fucking yourself over. After all, would Tiger keep a guy that couldn’t keep his mouth shut employed? Not if he was smart. While it’s admirable that Williams thinks he knows right from wrong better than Tiger, common sense doesn’t appear to be his strong suit.

Sarah Palin
God help America. The almost one-heartbeat-of-a-72-year-old-from-being leader of the free world, is about to see her public profile grow again. It’s bad enough she’s got her own show on Fox News. Now, it looks like she about to get her own reality TV show. Rumour has it that she and TV producer extraordinaire Mark Burnett are shopping around some sort of TV show to various networks and cable channel. The rumours have this show being anything from a “proper” reality show to a docudrama (like The Hills, I guess, in so much that it’s not real at all) to “Planet Earth meets Alaska meets her family.” My question is why the hell would we care about Sarah Palin’s life in Alaska. Unless there are gratuitous references to Northern Exposure or Twin Peaks (more for the seedy underside of small town life rather than the location), then maybe she can get away with having a reality show. Then again, how many reality shows are “real” in the first place? Hulk Hogan even admitted in his latest book that his reality show, Hogan Knows Best, had a producer-specified scenario for each episode and from there he would have to react as if he was actually in that situation. Hell, Palin can’t handle a question about which newspapers she reads, how can she handle acting out a hypothetical situation where she, say, needs a week of quiet time to write her book but interruptions prevent her from getting it done? If you were to look up “high-rated train wreck TV show” in the dictionary, you’ll see Palin’s picture.

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