The Humanoids: Fad-tastic

Today’s edition of The Humanoids is all about fads. Fads come and go, kinda like me writing this column sorta stops and starts. I pick out seven fads that are either starting or finishing right now. As usual, I’m looking at mostly sports topics but I’ve tossed in a few wild cards in there just for fun.

Jose Bautista
Toronto Star sports columnist Damien Cox wrote a column this week asking if we should be wondering if Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista should face steroid speculation. Somehow, outside of Twitter, the interweb and the blogosphere, Cox seems to have avoided any real backlash. Let’s face it fellow denizens of the interweb, nobody in the mainstream media cares what we have to say unless they want to tear us apart. When Midwest Sports Fan’s Jerod mentioned that people were wondering about Raul Ibanez being on steroids last year, he was crucified and that was despite the fact the fact he put together a statistical argument as to why speculation might be valid. Cox offers no such evidence for Bautista. It’s just the fact that Bautista never hit more that 20 home runs prior to this season and that he’s in a contract year. No mention that he’s in his prime. Nothing else but an implication that Bautista is a juicer because he’s hitting a lot of home runs. But who’s the real juicer here? Is it possible steroid juicer Jose Bautista or douche juice Damien Cox? And apologies to Buzz Bissinger for borrowing his trademark catchphrase. Let’s call it a Buzz Bissinger parody to cover my ass with a legal technicality.

Shaq Vs.
Remember when Shaq was the most dominant player in the NBA? He was a fad in the early 90s with Shaq-fu and Kazaam. It almost seems like he’s trying to recapture that magic in the twilight of his career. He’s been everywhere (literally) in the NBA with three stops in three years. He’s got a couple of endorsement deals. Oh, and he’s got that TV show of his. It originally was supposed to be Shaq vs. the best but now has degenerated into “Can Shaq overcome reasonably surmountable odds?” He did face the best in season one against Roethlisberger, May, Walsh, Pujols, de la Hoya and Phelps. This season, he’s lost to Dale Earnhardt Jr. who hasn’t won in Sprint Cup in over two years. He’s lost to Penn Jillette, Shane Mosley and Rachael Ray, none of whom you would call the best in their fields. Then, this week, he beat Charles Barkley at golf (in an alternate shot five-hole round). Hell, I could do that and I can’t be better than a 50 handicap. He also recruited a team of six to beat Joey Chestnut in a hot dog eating contest. Seeing Shaq ham it up like he won an NBA title after these is sickening. He’s embarrassing himself. Then again, maybe he’s just embarrassing his fans. We remember when he was good enough to lead a team to a title instead of being an anchor that prevents a team from reaching its potential.

Elin Nordegren
It’s officially official. Tiger and Elin are officially through. Their divorce has been finalized. Elin’s gotten away with a settlement that’s rumoured to be anywhere from $100 million to the originally speculated $750 million. So what’s the first thing that she does with her new-found wealth? Blab to People Magazine. Makes sense, I suppose. She wants to be out of the public eye so she does the cover interview of a major waiting room magazine. Mind you, she is rumoured to have forfeited the rights to write a tell-all book in the settlement so this is how she’s going to have to give away all the inside details. After all the dust settles, there’s one question that still requires answering: What else did she expect to happen? Every other celebrity and athlete seems to have their marriage/relationship broken up by cheating? Marrying a famous person comes with baggage that mere mortals can’t handle. That’s why Hollywood relationships are all inside Hollywood circles. While she didn’t ask for any of this to happen, she sure didn’t come out any worse for wear from this.

Stephen Strasburg
When he was drafted first overall by the former Montreal Expos, he was supposed to be the saviour of the franchise. His first year in the bigs looks like he might be a huge bust for the Natinals. Not only can they not spell the name on the front of the jersey right (see the previous sentence for how they spell the team name) but they can’t even do the sure thing thing right. Sure, he set a made up record for most strikeouts in his first three major league starts but the media jumped on that to build hype. Now, he’s been on the DL twice in the last month. He may be the most hyped and most expensive pitching prospect in major league history but he could also be the most fragile superstar pitching prospect in major league history. I doubt he’ll play again this season. Maybe even his much ballihooed career could be in danger if his arm can’t hold together. It could be all sizzle and no steak for Strasburg.

Boxing vs. MMA
So who killed boxing? Did box dig its own grave, jump in and pull dirt over top itself? The fun between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather sure hasn’t helped because it’s deprived boxing of the last big money fight they have left. Sure, the Klitschko brothers could fight but they don’t want to so we know the heavyweight division is dead. That brings us to a different heavyweight fight. The UFC will feature a fight at its show on Saturday that’s being billed as MMA vs. boxing. Randy Couture, fresh off an appearance in The Expendables, will battle James Toney. So we have an MMA legend doing battle with a boxing kind-of-a-big-deal-in-his-day. It doesn’t matter who wins because we all lose. Unless Toney gets Couture with a smart submission, the result of this fight will be entirely meaningless. Toney should be able to catch Couture with a knockout punch unless Couture takes the fight to the where he’ll dominate. The only things guaranteed are the winning side declaring victory in the battle between MMA and boxing over the superiority of their fighters and the media eating this all up. The bad news is that this will start a rash of MMA fighter vs. boxer fights to determine intersport superiority. God help us.

Lotto 6/49
At one point in time, the 6/49 was the top lottery game in Canada. After all, that was the first national lottery game in Canada that allowed player to select their own numbers for the draw. They threw it a huge bash in 2007 to celebrate its 25th anniversary. And now it’s all but dead. Lotto Max has been around for less than a year (its first draw was September 25, 2009) and has stolen all of 6/49’s thunder. The granddaddy of Canadian lottery games has seen its position usurped by marketing folks who have found a way to cram the originally unthinkable $5 tickets down everyone’s throats. Somehow, they were able to get something like 8 weeks of $50 million draws in the last three months. That sure would make those higher ticket prices go over better. Now, 6/49 cracked $10 million once this month. Since jackpots are a direct function of sales, that doesn’t bode well for this draw’s future.

Second Life
Do you remember when Second Life was supposed to be the next big thing in social media and the interweb? Mainstream media was doing feature reports about it. Major blue chip companies were buying in-game sponsorship. The affairs started and marriages ended because of relationships started in a computer game. All this because of the uniqueness of the concept of a virtual you living in a virtual world. And where is it now? When was the last time you met anyone who talked about Second Life? Amazing how fast fads come and go now-a-days. Even more amazing is that I didn’t have to join Second Life in order to kill it like every other interweb thing I’ve signed up for.

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