The Humanoids: Friday The 13th Edition

It’s that day of the year that shows up whenever the hell it wants. It’s Friday the 13th. Good luck avoiding homicidal maniacs that will try to kill and inevitably will if you try to run away screaming. But today’s column isn’t about serial killers, though I understand that one was in the news recently. No, today’s column is about things that are wastes of time or wasting our time or somehow attached to things that waste our time. Anyway, there’s dangerous forces at work that need to be stopped. Generally it’s the usual moroninity that I cover here on The Humanoids except that I was really fired up over some of the ridiculousness of some folks over the last week. This post might have a bad title but I’d like to think that the content is good.

Anyway, the latest episode of the radio show is online. This one had something that should go away: Me talking about TV. Entertainment should be purely Jackie’s domain. However, it had a lot of Christopher Walken’s Poker Face in there which brought the show right back up. Click here to get the synopsis and download links for the radio show and Extra. Our next show is going to be another hockey edition. Don’t worry, thing’s will pick up in December. We’re trying to get a copy of DJ Hero from Activision to review for the annual Christmas gift buying guide (also known as The Lowdown’s Salute to Capitalism). There’s no way that works out the way we want it to.

Pepsi
team-canada-hockeyI’ve mentioned it on Twitter but I’ll say it here again. Pepsi: We don’t need your fucking stupid contest to come up with a cheer for Team Canada. We’ve had plenty of better cheers over the years than “Eh! Oh! Canada Go!” For example, the most recent cheer that we used before your interference was “Go Canada Go!” In fact, that’s the cheer that I plan on using until someone comes up with a better one. I have no intention to use your corporate bullshit. Force this shit on your employees but not Canada as a whole. Naturally, they partnered with TSN on this. Remember it was TSN that bought the rights to The Hockey Theme and said they were doing it for the betterment of Canada. I would imagine that Pepsi was feeding everyone a similar line of bullshit about why they needed to come up with a contest to create a new Team Canada cheer. It’s too bad that Pepsi is such a capitalist company. We can’t send them off to a cheer of “Da! Da! Canada! Nyet! Nyet! Soviet!” We can still do it to the Russians though.

CFL
mark-cohonThe Canadian Football League has found itself mired in controversy over the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the CFLPA. One of the key points of contention is that the CFL brass wants to reduce the minimum number of Canadian starters from 7 per team to 4 per team. This comes on the heels of folks suggesting that expanding the CFL to 10 teams would mean that CFL would have to reduce the Canadian content per team so they didn’t dilute the pool of Canadian talent in the league. It seem almost hypocritical that folks are okay with having less Canucks per team but fewer Canadian starters is the worst thing that could possibly happen to football in Canada. Of course, most of the players in the CFL are Americans which makes it interesting that the CFLPA would be so willing to protect the interests of the minority at the expense of arguably more talented American players. Some folks at CFL HQ and the CFLPA are floating the idea of a strike/lockout. The NHL was a marginal league in the US before the lockout and are almost non-existant there now. Does the CFL really think that they can survive as a national league if they lose a season?

Top Gear
top-gearMy favourite show in the whole world is coming back on Sunday. The famed British car show Top Gear returns for its 14th season on BBC2. Of course, I call it a car show but it’s really something more of a comedy with cars as a backdrop for the show. Even the hosts are reluctant to call it a car show (or motoring program as the Brits are want to call it). They refer to Top Gear as three old men falling over and catching fire. Amazingly, that is a good way of describing it. But I’m not writing about TG to sing its praises to the unconverted masses. No, I want to talk about the ludicrousy of viewers and regulators. TG was just admonished (again) because 50 complaints were filed over something that was considered offensive. The guys parodied a famous VW Scirocco ad while trying to create a new ad for the Scirocco. In the original, a down on his luck guy had everything against him but at least he had a Scirocco. In the parody, they still had the down on his luck guy who lost everything. This time he blew his brains out and the voiceover says “If only he had waited for the new Volkswagen Scirocco Diesel.” There was nothing real about it. The blood was clearly red paint. Hell, the original ad played just minutes before so you knew this was a parody. But some folks thought it was too intense for their children. Let’s see, they’re herding sheep for one ad and then a guy really blows his brains out? Come on. Use some common sense here people and government drones. It’s almost as bad as the time TG got in trouble for making fun of the Germans… Or agreeing with (a man that looked like) Jesus that a car was gay… Or smoking in studio… Or joking that transport drivers killed prostitutes…

Super Dave
super-daveLet’s talk about another one of my favourite TV shows of all-time. Super Dave Osborne will make his epic return to American television. This time, he finds himself with a short four-week run on Spike TV though he does have a special on Saturday night. The show is supposed to follow The Super One as he prepares for another death-defying stunt. I would assume that none of this ends well for Super, though seldom does it when his trusted stunt coordinator Fuji Hakayito is developing the stunts for Super. Yes, the promos also show the return of Fuji. No word if Mike Walden and Donald Glanz will also be appearing on the series. While I have few worries that Top Gear won’t be good, I am nearly too scared of Super losing his touch that I’m considering not watching it. Don’t get me wrong. Super has one of the funniest shticks in television history. But haven’t we seen the best of what The Super One had to offer when The Super Dave Osborne Show was on over 15 years ago. I have the new DVD and can tell you that the classic moments last the test of time. However, the question is if that same bit still be funny now. If the stunts are different from what they were back in the day, then all should be good. But do we really need to see a complete carbon copy of the rocket-powered slam dunk again? If there was a 21st century twist on a classic stunt, that would be worth watching. But how many times can Super cheat death by the skin of his teeth without it starting to get stale? Hopefully Spike hasn’t done something here that would ruin Super’s legacy. If this show flops, I say we boycott Spike. All we’d be missing are endless reruns of CSI so it’s not like it would be a loss.

Fantasy Sports
fantasy-sportsLet’s do some disclosure up front: I’m having a rough month in both my fantasy hockey pools. I’ve won one of six head to head matchups in my HockeyBuzz pool and I’m 3rd last for the month in my office pool. On the other hand, I’m 21st overall of 3400 in the Wind Tunnel fantasy racing pool for Speed Channel so I’m not entirely bitter. Anyway, I’m trying to figure out how fantasy sports leagues come to control our lives. I watch every game and every edition of Sportsnet Connected wondering not how my Detroit Red Wings did but how my fantasy players did. The fact that I have no money on my Wings but $50 invested in the office pool might have something to do with it. Anyway, I think that fantasy hockey pools are changing the way that we evaluate players. Steve Yzerman, my favourite hockey player of all-time, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. There’s no doubt that he was the greatest leader in hockey history and probably the best two-way forward the game has ever seen. However, for the back half of his career, you wouldn’t pick him for your fantasy hockey team. I worry that has become the basis upon which the greatness of today’s players will be determined. For example, Patrick Marleau is having a good season and he’s a good player but I don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer by any stretch. Or you look at a fantasy discount stud (for those of us in salary cap pools) like James Neal who has more points than Sidney Crosby and is proving to be the better fantasy player right now but that doesn’t mean that he’s better than Crosby. Maybe I’m stretching a bit for examples but you can just as easily think of your own. Though you have to love the irony of everyone being very concerned with hits to the head and my big concern is fantasy hockey distorting people perceptions of who actually is a good hockey player.

Google Books
libraryI probably shouldn’t go near Google in The Humanoids. After all, Google drives us most of our traffic. Pissing them off would be a one-way ticket to the death of the blog. Then again, I managed to piss off WordPress a while ago but they started listing my articles again so I guess internet algorithms don’t hold much of a grudge. Anyway, Google’s ongoing plans for world domination are in the midst of a legal battle. They’re planning on digitizing thousands, if not millions, of books and offering them for free online. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I guess there would be more than a few people upset with this. We have publishers that won’t be getting paid for purchases, authors that won’t get any royalties from those sales, and libraries that will become even more obsolete. Actually, I’d say the only think preventing libraries from being obsolete are teachers saying that you must source information in projects/papers/reports from books. Google putting books online would just be another kick square to the testicles of the public library system. All that randominity being said, I still like having books on paper. It’s easier to read the printed word than the bright electronic text of a PDF or that electronic book thing that Amazon has. Google is doing a good job of forward thinking in most areas. This just isn’t one of them. And I’m not saying that because I’ve been working on a joke book on and off for the last four years.

Twitter
twitterI’ve temporarily lost my faith in the Twitterverse. Okay, that’s not really being specific. The Twitterverse tends to do stupid things like spread word that Kanye is dead or trend ridiculous things. Take this Wednesday, for example. It was November 11th which is also known as Remembrance Day in Canada. It was a trending topic on Twitter along with the Americanized Veterans Day. Come 11:00 AM, though, the top trending topic was “Celebrity Perfumes.” On a day where we’re supposed to honour the sacrifices of men and women in battle to fight for our freedom people are busy talking about useless shit that celebrities hawk on unsuspecting consumers. Google Wave was also trending which shows that people were more interested in scoring fictitious invites to the latest technology fads than honouring the troops. Maybe I’m going off on a Don Cherry-esque rant about the troops but the point still stands. Twitter seems to have lost perspective on what’s important. But, then again, how important is Twitter in the first place?

Taylor Swift
taylor-swift-800Well, she finally got her revenge on Kanye. Last Saturday, she was the host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live. You would have thought that she would have taken a really big shot at Kanye over ruining her MTV VMA acceptance speech. However, the crack writing staff decided to burn the Kanye joke in a bad song off the top of the show. Taylor’s opening monologue was a song that, if it wasn’t kinda funny, would qualify for the Worst of Music on the radio show. Her/SNL’s idea of smack back at Kanye: Singing that she had security that would stop him from interrupting her again. That’s it? They couldn’t have someone dress up as Kanye and have Taylor interrupt him doing something? Interrupt him at rehab or something? Hell, they couldn’t even write a gay fish joke about Kanye? I know it’s not Taylor’s fault but couldn’t she have said something during rehearsals about how lame her revenge on Kanye was? SI’s Peter King said this week that Peyton Manning called an audible while taping the United Way spoof when he was hosting and that was among the best moments of the show. I seem to recall ex-ball player David Wells suggesting changes to a skit he was in. Maybe Taylor should have put her foot down on this. Otherwise, Zap2It says everything was good. I didn’t actually watch the show and I likely won’t watch a whole episode of SNL if it’s as good as usual. The ironic thing is that it seems as though Taylor got better shots in at Kanye at the CMAs than on SNL. Talk about proof that you lost your touch. Hell, everyone was scoring off Kanye at the CMAs. On SNL, not so much.

CNN Heroes
balloon-boyI saw this crawl along the ticker on Headline News while watching a bit of Robin Meade in the morning. I don’t know what qualifies one to be a CNN hero or who is eligible to be a CNN hero but I have a nominee that’s a bit off the board: Balloon Dad. Okay, the guy has a real name but who actually knows it. Okay, it’s Richard Heene and it’s important to note that the short form of Richard is Dick. How appropriate is that for him? Mind you, I’m sure other denizens of the interweb would likely have much more creative names for him. But think of the things he was willing to do so he could bring money into the home. He faked a near catastrophe in order to try and get a reality TV deal. He’s lived with a strange woman twice for US reality TV twice already. He’s going to plead guilty to some criminal charge relating to the Balloon Boy hoax just so he can satisfy America’s thirst for justice (and keep his wife from being deported back to Japan which I’m sure pisses off ex-CNN host Lou Dobbs). His ordeal gave CNN a story that made people want to watch CNN. Coverage of the Balloon Family Heene was probably the most watched thing on CNN since the 2008 election and likely the most watched thing on CNN until the 2010 midterm elections. See, not only is he a hero for unfit parents and wannabe TV stars everywhere but for CNN as well. If he isn’t worthy of recognition from the #4 US cable news channel (of 4 channels), then I don’t know who is.

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