The Humanoids: Slow Week

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a Humanoids column right up to the final few minutes before noon. I’m used to editing up until that point but not actually writing at the last minute. That’s what happens when you have a decidedly slow week. I couldn’t tell you if anything interesting happened this week besides Shaq running around in a pink speedo on network TV. Not that I would call that interesting as much as disturbing. Anyway, it’s probably a good thing that not much is happening this week. We’re coming up on the last week of summer and people should be on holiday so there shouldn’t be much news. This time of year and Christmas are two times of year that I won’t mind having to scramble for stories because nobody wants anything to happen then. Except for the media. They’ll make a mountain out of a mole hill if it gets them ratings. Actually, we could call that the theme for this week. It seems most of my subjects in this week’s column have been victimized by mountaineering.

Looking for the latest radio update from Lowdown HQ? Well, I’ve taped most of my review of NCAA Football 10 for the season premiere on September 15th. I’m also planning on using the game for something very Western related. Maybe they’ll run it on the Saturday after the show too. Jackie and I are also going to do a tour of London for the frosh during the season premiere. The last time we did a tour for the frosh, I got killed when parts of the then under construction Campus Rec Centre fell on me. I hope it goes better this time. And remember kids: I may have been killed but I got better, you might not.

Roy Halladay
roy-halladayAfter that implosion against the Rays, is it safe to say that Doc was completely destroyed and/or distracted by that mess that J.P. Riccardi put him through at the trade deadline? In his five starts since the trade deadline, he’s given up more than three earned runs in three starts which makes his ERA over that time 4.50 or good enough to drop him out of the AL Cy Young race. Before his Riccardi-induced collapse, his ERA was a 2.68 which is 0.35 lower than at the start of August. Tack on a 13-7 record and I think that it’s safe to say that he’s behind Justin Verlander, Josh Beckett, CC Sabathia, Zack Greinke, and Felix Hernandez in the Cy Young chase. Mind you, Doc can’t take all the blame for his statistical collapse. JP Riccardi has taken away the Gold Glove rock that the Toronto infield was built on so now Hardy Astrom has a better glove than the whole lineup. The Toronto bullpen is non-existent. And the offense has gone anaemic again having scored. The fact that JP has strung Doc along in a game of will he or won’t he trade Doc for the last few months hasn’t helped things. Okay, this started as “What’s up with Doc?” piece but it turned into another fire JP piece. See a trend?

Phoenix Coyotes
phoenix-coyotesMost summers, the big story in the NHL would be how Sharks GM Doug Wilson still has a job after his team suffered another playoff collapse. Maybe we could be talking about the favourites for the upcoming 2010 Olympic tournament. Instead, the hockey world has kept its eyes locked on Phoenix, a city that shouldn’t even have a hockey team. If you’ve missed it, here’s the Coles Notes version of the Coyotes saga: Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy so he could sell the team to Jim Balsillie so he can move the team to Canada. The judge wouldn’t give Balsillie the team by Jim’s deadline so he pulled out. Jerry Reinsdorf appeared to buy the team but that fell apart when his group claimed that Moyes was interfering in negotiations over the arena lease. Now, the NHL has declared their intention to put in a bid for the Coyotes. And now, Jim Balsillie is back in. But, of course, Jim wants to play by his own rules. He’s decided that his bid must go through by September 14th making him the only interested bidder who is attaching conditions to his bid. Jim wonders why the NHL turns him down for ownership based on character when he insists on playing only under his own terms. If he got an NHL team, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tampered with players and staff, circumvented the salary cap, and bail on the franchise when it wasn’t successful quickly enough for him. Then again, maybe the NHL should just give up and let the Jimmer have a team. That way everyone can have a laugh at his expense when he gets his Steinbrenner complex on. Of course, I say this all in jest because I’m terrified of what might happen to me if Jim’s lawyers see this. Seriously, Jim doesn’t come off as a guy that would find my jokes terribly funny and would have his lawyers give me a call.

Patrick Kane
patrick-kaneI just realized that I’m pretty sure that we haven’t mentioned Kane in this column before. That’s a shame because 20 Cent’s predicament has been more or less utterly hilarious. While you have other pro athletes getting involved with drugs and shootings and dog killing, 20 Cent is beating up a cabbie over, well, 20 cents in change. I’m not sure if this is more hilarious because of how much more juvenile the NHL’s idea of crime is compared to the NFL’s murderers or because of the whole thing being over only 20 cents. I did a little bit of digging and if he earns all of his bonuses, he would earn roughly $3.725 Million for the 2009-10 season. Now, I’m not terribly good at math without a calculator, but it told me that 20 cents is some percentage that uses e to the -6. I think that means that 20 cents is roughly 0.000005% of Kane’s salary. That would have been a hilarious trial. An NHL star and his cousin defend themselves from charges that they beat up an old cabbie over 20 cents. The plea agreement to disorderly conduct has really disappointed a lot of people who were looking forward to the biggest hockey trial since Alan Eagleson. But if you get right down to it, if 20 Cent had asked for fighting advice from teammate Ben Eager.

Ontario HST
dalton-mcguintySince when did I do politics? Well, since the province of Ontario is about to enter a self-inflicted economic meltdown. The HST, or Harmonized Sales Tax, will combine the GST (5%) and the PST (8%) into one 13% tax. The only thing is that, unlike the current tax system, the HST will be charged on everything taxable unlike before where only one type of tax could be charges on certain goods. First, the only people that are guaranteed to be happy with this change are the cash register programmers and salesmen who get paid good money to update cash registers so they can handle the new tax setup. But the thing is that we’re still going to have our asses taxed off. Suddenly groceries are going to be annoyingly expensive. I’d like to know if any low-income families were consulted when the Liberal government decided that this is a good idea. But don’t worry, there will likely be a reduction in Ontario income taxes. That means you’ll get a bigger refund on your tax return but you won’t remember that when you’re budgeting your grocery list in the early months of the year before you get that refund. Understandably, Liberal MPPs are nervous. If I was Dalton McGuinty, I’d be nervous too. Looking like Norman Bates is bad enough for trying to sell yourself to the Ontario electorate but taxing them more at a time when people are out of work is political suicide. If I was a Liberal backbencher, I’d be asking that this be put up to a free vote so I could vote against this to save my ass at the polls.

facebook-logoFor some reason, someone in the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s office decided that it would be a good idea for them to investigate Facebook. I’m guessing the Privacy Commissioner got some spam that she blamed on Facebook. Anyway, less than 5% of Facebook’s users are Canadian but the folks at Facebook decided to update some of their practices to fall in line with Canada’s electronic data privacy laws. We can’t create an effective no-call list for telemarketers but we can bully Facebook. Go figure. All the changes are sort of standard and what folks have been talking about for a while, I’m sure. You will have to delete rather than deactivate your account to remove all your data. You have to consent to Facebook sharing data with third-parties. Standard stuff folks have been complaining about. I’ve got a better idea, though. Make like me and don’t bother with Facebook. I’m not on Facebook and my internet privacy and security is perfectly fine. How hard is that? It’s not bad if you exclude the part where nobody keeps in contact with each other outside of Facebook. Lazy bastards.

Danica Patrick
danica-patrick-si09-03Is it just me or I talk about her more often than any other potential subject for this column? Well, I guess that’s because everybody, not just the racing world, seems to be interested in her next move. It seems as though she won’t be pursuing her original dream of Formula One nor will she be pursuing the fame and fortune that would be hers in NASCAR. Instead, it looks like full speed ahead back to the Indianapolis 500 as she stays in the IndyCar Series. That’s what I’ve been saying she should do all along. But it looks like she’s still making mistakes despite saying in IndyCars. It looks like she is planning on staying with Andretti Green Racing, a team that seems to have dropped from being one of the top teams in the ICS to being a mid-pack car that can occasionally contend for a Top 5. It was rumoured that Chip Ganassi Racing was set to sign her to run a third car. That would have been a car that could have given her a far better chance of winning an ICS championship or the Indy 500. While she doesn’t seem to have gotten the knack of picking the best team to win a championship, she does have a knack for self-promotion. ESPN is doing an issue of its magazine featuring athletes “tastefully photographed” in the nude. Patrick was rumoured to be doing this issue but her people deny it. Why is this good self-promotion? Because it drives up the value of a future Playboy/SI Swimsuit/Maxim shoot should she need the money. And those are options she’ll need to keep open if the IRL is in as much financial worries as some have speculated.

kiss-easter-eggsWell, that was an interesting few days. The hottest band in the world announced the cities that would be on their KISS Alive 35 North American Tour. One of the big stories heading into this announcement was which cities would get a concert date based on the online fan voting. The big winner was Oshawa. Or were they? They were easily the vote winner but were snubbed from getting a tour date which caused the media and Oshawa-ians to raise hell. Gene Simmons said that it was all a misunderstanding and they were planning on having a show in Oshawa. They just wanted to wait to make the announcement. At first, it seems like a pretty bad excuse. However, when you consider that the date that Oshawa was given, October 7, is the first one after the release of KISS’s new album, maybe this was part of their big plan. After all, the dates before and after Oshawa are Boston and New York which would work just as well for launching a new album than a suburb of Toronto, Canada. I think Gene could have been a little less blunt about blaming the media for all this. They were going to wait to announce the Oshawa show but the media ruined the big surprise. And guess what? Have you heard about Gene’s media tour about giving Oshawa a show? That story hasn’t been as big as the first one, that’s for sure. That’s the power of the media.

Soccer Hooligans
west-ham-hooliganI may be the spry young age of 22 but I love old-fashioned, classic stuff. I love classic rock, old video games, and muscle cars. But their was news out of London, England this week to warm the hearts of nations. There was a good, old-fashioned soccer riot at Upton Park when West Ham took down rival club Millwall in Carling Cup action. Well, the riot outside was a little bit in poor taste. More the police showing up because then everybody stops fighting each other and take on the police instead which just escalates the whole thing. Things probably would have been better without the police because there would have just been fighting instead of bricks and bottles being thrown and people getting stabbed. Anyway, what happened on the pitch was fun but it looks like those folk are being thrown under the bus too. West Ham equalizes and the pitch is invaded again. When the match ended, you guessed it, the pitch was invaded for a final time. Nothing like a good bit of hooliganism to brighten up your day. I’m not planning on condemning them like so many others because nobody has this sort of passion for their team in North America. Nobody charges onto the field to celebrate a win other than at college football games. There are seldom any fights caused by arguing over favourite teams (unless you go to a NASCAR race in which case you just say you hate Kyle Busch and move on). No, North American sports fans are really quite boring by comparison. If you want to find the most passionate fans in North America, I think you’d have to go to a WWE show. So, kudos hooligans. You have set the bar for the rest of the world.

World Wrestling Entertainment
wwe-monday-night-raw-piven-cenaEarlier in the week, I wrote up a review of this year’s edition of SummerSlam which was saved by one very good match and the rest were either mediocre or poor. Anyway, I think I’ve figured out a couple of reasons why the WWE just isn’t as good as it was in the past. The first is that their best commentary team is on the C-show, ECW. The commentary team didn’t have much time to work so I’m going off a small sample set but they seemed to know what they were doing despite being the youngest team. They also are the only crew with a heel commentator. Back in the day, some of the fun was Gorilla Monsoon arguing with Jesse Ventura or Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The commentators on Raw and SmackDown are all faces which got pretty boring since we had to hear about that all night. Having a heel commentator mixes things up and adds an interesting dynamic to the show which has been missing since Jerry Lawler switched from heel commentator to dirty-old-man commentator. The short ECW Championship match, the abomination between Kane and The Great Khali, and DX show the other problem which is that WWE stopped caring about wrestling. Their idea of humour is juvenile rather than edgy. Good and entertaining wrestling is what drew fans into wresting in the first place not toilet humour and jokes that appeal to everyone under the age of 12. Imagine if Vince decided to run a wrestling promotion instead of a Hollywood production. We might actually have something to watch on Monday nights. On the plus side, though, WWE’s current writing isn’t any worse than NBC’s Heroes.

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