Saturday, January 27, 2007

Why I am a Cynic

So if you read the apology from Stephen Harper to Maher Arar, you will see why I hold politicians like him in such low regard. The Prime Minister of Canada decides to score partisan political points off of the case of a man sent to Syria and tortured (emphasis added):

Although these events occurred under the last government, please rest assured that this government will do everything in its power to ensure…
Arar is just a political pawn, a vehicle to embarrass the Liberals and score some cheap points for the Conservatives. This apology is beyond crass, completely classless and unfortunately far too predictable. Well the apology might not be worth much but the settlement of $10.5 million sure is.

Hey is that you Britney with a tan?

I thought it was "I have a dream..."

Something for a Saturday morning

Movie Review - An Inconvenient Truth

Well I finally saw An Inconvenient Truth and I have to say I was very impressed with what Gore accomplished in this film. I was impressed by his passion, his commitment to a cause, his intelligence and the clarity of his message. Whether you agree with him or not, you can't help but notice that what used to be a wooden speaker has transformed into a charming, warm and humour person. An excellent platform to launch another run at the presidency. Looking over the current field of Democrats - you do a lot worse.

By delving into Gore's personal tragedies and setbacks (the near-fatal accident of his son, his sister's death from lung cancer and his oh-so-close loss of the 2000 presidential election), you see a vulnerability not often displayed by public figures. But with the polarization of politics in the U.S., there is a segment of American society that will never acknowledge Gore or his message.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Keep Abreast of the Oscar Nominees

Those crazy Brits! The Sun publishes topless photos of the Oscar's best actress nominees. I can't believe it but they have topless pictures of even Helen Mirren and Judy Dench!

Look if you dare.

Cold Weather Warning

To all my readers south of the 49th parallel. We're freezing up here!

I woke up this morning to temperatures of -18C (0F) with wind chill temperatures down to
-26C (-15F).

I promise no more blog entries about global warming! Just make it go away.

The Search for a Star Candidate

Ontario Conservative leader John Tory continues to search for a star candidate for this fall's provincial election. First he tried Michael "Pinball" Clemens, but was turned down. So he tried former Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino, but was also rejected. Then he tried Don Cherry, but he wasn't prepared to take such a large income cut. After that it was Tie Domi, but Tie likely didn't want to lose Belinda Stronach by running as a Conservative. The latest "big name" is Cam Wooley, an Ontario Provincial Police Sargeant. For those who are not from Ontario, Woolley's claim to fame is popping up on news broadcasts before every long weekend and reminding us to buckle up, or slow down, or to inspect our cars.

Why the attraction to popular names rather than people with the right set of skills for the job. I'm starting to wonder about Mr. Tory. It's a shame Miss Huronia 1991 is also not available. She has the experience.

Scientist Develops Caffeinated Donuts

Need that jolt of coffee in the morning but don't like the bitter taste of that cup of java. Well molecular scientists have a solution for you. A donut with caffeine! Each piece of pastry is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee.

I'm sure it will soon be in a Starbucks near you.

The Mascot vs. The Quarterback

The big football showdown isn't just the Colts and Bears. It's also T-Rac vs. McPherson. New Orleans reserve Quarterback Adrian McPherson, who was injured during a pre-season game when run over by a golf cart driven by the Tennessee Titans's raccoon mascot, has sued the NFL team for $20 million in damages. McPherson, 23, was warming up before the start of the second half of an August game between the Titans and the Saints when the incident occurred.

The Defendant whacked The Plaintiff with his golf cart as the mascot was throwing souvenirs into the stands. McPherson suffered a deep thigh bruise and had to leave the game. The Saints waived him from the team two weeks later, and he didn’t play in the NFL this season.

You have to laugh at a marginal player milking a minor injury. Hardly going to help to get his career back on track. But he does have experience in a courtroom. He had played well for Florida State University, racking up strong numbers in his sophomore year. But then he ran into trouble with the law. In 2002, he was kicked off the Seminoles' team for allegedly stealing checks and cashing them and for allegedly betting on football games. He pleaded no contest to the felony charges on the checks, and a trial on gambling charges ended in a hung jury.

Khan Report Uncovered

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the "report" from Wajid Khan's trip to the Middle East. Through a reliable source, I have now obtained a copy of the elusive report from Mr. Khan:
I apologize if people can't make out the writing, but as we all know uploading images can be difficult. For the readers benefit, here is the text of Khan's extensive report below:

Hello Prime Minister and First Lady:

Having a wonderful time. Egypt is wonderful, I must say the visit to the Sphinx has been the highlight. The food is excellent and the lodgings have all been five star (see receipts). Jordan was wonderful, the people were very friendly. I also enjoyed Syria, had a wonderful conversation with a cab driver on the way to the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus- stunning architecture by the way! The cab driver felt that two-state solution for Palestine was the best way to ensure lasting peace in the region. Good advice for sure, I will speak more when I return.

Anyways, I had best wrap up, there is wonderful restaurant with dancers, on the Nile, that I am told is a MUST SEE. I will probably leave Egypt in a day or two, then on to Israel. I will be sure to garner some opinions while visiting the sandy beaches in Tel Aviv.

Again, thank-you for this opportunity as special advisor Prime Minister. I haven't felt this relaxed since the 0% financing sale at the dealership.

Yours, Wajid

Russian Death Tunnel

This tunnel in Russia is the longest in-city tunnel of Europe. There is a river running over it, and water leaks at some points. When the temperature reaches -38 degrees, like it did this winter, the road freezes and the result is the attached video taken during a single year with the tunnel camera.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Eye Test for Those Over 40

Many Natural Born Canadians Discover They Aren't Canadian Afterall

It seems we have fewer Canadians than we thought. Because of the new U.S. law requiring travellers to have a passport to fly to the U.S., many Canadians have been applying for passports for the first time. Hundreds of people are suddenly discovering that they are not Canadian.

Many have been informed their chance to remain a citizen expired years ago because of an obscure provision in the Citizenship Act, a little-known law that applied between 1947 and 1977. The law states that if you lived outside Canada on your 24th birthday and failed to sign the right form, you automatically lost your citizenship. This includes people actually born in Canada.

Hey now....

So what was 24-year old Edmonton Oiler Jarret Stoll doing during the NHL All-Star break? He was hanging out in Miami beach with 37-year old Rachel Hunter (ex-wife of Rod Stewart). Rachel has gone from the geriatric crowd to robbing the cradle.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Foot Fetish Robber in Philly

There is a creepy pervert terrorizing women in Philadelphia who robs them at gunpoint and fondles their feet. It almost sounds like a joke but it's not.

Why doesn't he just get a job selling shoes at Bloomingdale? All the feet he can handle.

Is Conservatism Dead in Canada?

Adrew Coyne had an interesting piece this week. Back in 2005 the National Post ran a series in on the theme, Is Conservatism Dying? Coyne at the time laughed it off. At the time the Conservatives controlled five of the ten provinces and were on the cusp of victory federally. This is what Coyne is now saying:

In retrospect I was quite wrong. After a year of Conservative rule, it is now clear, conservatism isn't just dying -- it's dead. And it's the Conservatives who killed it.

The more the party has chased the middle, however, the faster it has seemed to recede; with each abandonment of its principles, the opposition and the media, those arbiters of the status quo, simply yawn and move the goalposts a little further down the field. So that even so humiliating a climbdown as the past week's reinstatement of the very Liberal environmental programs the Tories abolished in their first weeks in office wins them no points whatever.

Quebec, missile defence, China, health care, regional development: it's very hard to tell what the Conservative position is any more, or how it differs from the Liberals, or what it will be a week from now. And the result? 31% in the last poll. Sell your soul, you'd think you'd at least get paid.

I See Rice Was Enjoying the Speech Too

In Case You Were Wondering How Lindsay is Doing

This is a view of Wonderland Rehab Centre where Lindsay Lohan is undergoing addiction treatment. Poor girl is really roughing it. At least she has cocktail hour at 6 pm to look forward to each day.

Laura Bush and Barney Join Senate Republicans to Oppose the Surge

Washington, DC (APE) - First Lady Laura Bush and first dogs Barney and Miss Beazley today signed on with a bipartisan Senate sponsored resolution criticizing the president for his plans to escalate the number of troops in Iraq. The president has famously maintained his belief in the correctness of his actions despite growing public condemnation, stating that he would stay America's course in Iraq even if the only remaining people supporting him were his wife and his dog. This position seems to have been dealt a very severe setback on his State of the Union address.

The first lady appeared in a news conference with Senators John Warner (R-VA), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to announce their largely symbolic opposition to the president's plans. This becomes the third bipartisan public condemnation in as many days.

Mrs. Bush stated that she and the dogs would begin an immediate withdrawal and strategic redeployment, returning only when the president is able to step up and make the commitment to govern himself and the country effectively. She cited a specific set of benchmarks and a timetable for the White House loosely adapted from an earlier House of Representatives proposal for Iraq.

Inexpensive Police Cars

A cardboard cutout police car is slowing traffic at New Zealand construction sites. Reminds me of a previous Ontario Provincial Police program where empty cruisers were parked at the side of highways to get speeders to slow down.

How Rumours Start in the Office

James Brown's Body is MIA

So it's day 30 and counting and still no burial. The body of James Brown has been moved out of his mansion to a secret location in the latest twist of an intense family feud over the entertainer's millions. According to the Augusta Chronicle, Brown's body was moved last week, the same day his will was filed in a probate court. The solid gold casket is now in a temporary, above-ground crypt, according to his lawyer. The body had been lying in a temperature- controlled room in his mansion since his funeral on December 30.

Bickering over the estate - and the body reached a new peak with the filing of his will, which made no provision for the woman who claims to be his widow, or their five-year-old son, James Junior.

The coffin eventually will be placed in an above-ground mausoleum accessible to the public. Also, family members, friends and estate trustees planned to consult with Elvis Presley's family to learn how they opened Graceland.

Darwin Awards

Yes, it's again that magical time of the year when the 2006 Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us. And this year's glorious Winner is:

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And now, the Honorable Mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat- cutting machine and submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. A Texas teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer: $15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor Michigan News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.


10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd had in a very long time.

Raspberry Award Nominations

By now everyone has seen the Academy Award nominations but I like to look back at the worst films of the year. If you see one of them you always say to yourself "what were they thinking?"

Sharon Stone's "Basic Instinct 2" received seven nominations, tying the unfunny comedy "Little Man," made by the Wayans brothers, for the most nominations at the Razzies, which will be held on February 24, a day before the Oscar awards are given. "Basic Instinct 2" nominations came for worst picture, actress, supporting actor, director, sequel, screenplay and screen couple while "Little Man" earned nominations for worst picture, remake/rip-off, director, screenplay, screen couple and two different nominations for worst actor.

Also up for the worst movie competition was M. Night Shyamalan's fantasy "Lady in the Water," "The Wicker Man," starring Nicolas Cage and "BloodRayne," a bloodless vampire movie directed by Uwe Boll, who is hailed on the Internet as one of the world's worst directors.

Five films are competing in a new category called Worst Excuse for Family Entertainment: "Deck The Halls," "Garfield: a Tail of Two Kitties," "RV," "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" and "The Shaggy Dog."

Vying for worst actor are Tim Allen, for three films, "Santa Clause 3," "The Shaggy Dog" and "Zoom," Cage for "Wicker Man," Larry, the Cable Guy (Dan Whitney) for "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector," Rob Schneider for "The Benchwarmers" and Marlon and Shawn Wayans for "Little Man." I sort of like Tim Allen's chances here. Competing with Stone in the worst actress category are sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff for "Material Girls," Lindsay Lohan for "Just My Luck," Kristanna Loken for "BloodRayne" and Jessica Simpson for "Employee of the Month."

Proud to say I haven't seen any of these films so I can't give you my predictions. So congratulations all and let's hope that the worst film win!

Oscar Nomination for Kate

My favourite actess gets another nomination. This is the fifth Academy Award nomination for Kate Winslet. She was previously nominated for:

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004) -- Nominee, Actress in a Leading Role
IRIS (2001) -- Nominee, Actress in a Supporting Role
TITANIC (1997) -- Nominee, Actress in a Leading Role
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1995) -- Nominee, Actress in a Supporting Role

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dungy, Lovie first black coaches in Super Bowl

Lovie Smith became the first black head coach to make it all the way to the NFL’s marquee game yesterday when his Chicago Bears won the NFC championship. About four hours later, his pal and mentor, Tony Dungy, joined him there when his Indianapolis Colts took the AFC title.

It will be nice when such an event needs no special recognition. But both men should be proud of their accomplishment.

Bush Poll Ratings Fall to Nixon Levels

It's shocking but understandable to hear that President George W. Bush's approval ratings are now the lowest for any president the day before a State of the Union speech since Richard Nixon in 1974, according to a Washington Post-ABC News. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said they approve of how Bush is handling his job as president. Bush reached an all-time low 28 percent approval rating in a CBS poll released today.

"Bush is going to end up the most unpopular president in history. Remember, I said that here first."
--Gore Vidal in the April 18, 2002, San Francisco Chronicle, when Bush was at 76% in a CBS poll.

The Apprentice LA: Episode 3

I don't know why I keep watching it and why I keep reporting on it. I think its like watching a car wreck - you can't look away. So last night The Donald trotted out episode 3 of The Apprentice LA (which could stand for lame). So Kinetic is exempt from competing this time after winning last week's swimwear task. But they go anyway, because apparently Trump wants to do everything he can to widen that gap between the teams and he wants Arrow Corp to know that Kinetic will be getting the spa treatment. Trump tells Arrow Corp that they will be split up into two mini-teams and calls for volunteers for project managers. Aaron steps right up to head one team, but the rest of the candidates are silent so Trump asks Michelle who everyone has taken a dislike to if she'd like to take on the role. She clearly doesn't want to, but says yes, because you can't really turn Trump down.

The two project leaders pick team mates and each team must come up with a unique idea for an LA double-decker custom sightseeing tour for Starline Tours. Things do not go smoothly for Team Michelle and it becomes obvious they lose the task and who is going to be fired. Before the Trumps could begin the boardroom showdown, Michelle piped up and gave a speech that boiled down to "It's been real, but this place is bananas, I'm out of here. I'll just go back to having my own successful business, you crazy freaks." Of course she didn't actually say this, but rather launched into a seemingly rehearsed speech, as The Donald kept interrupting her telling her she was in fact, a quitter and a loser and that she just didn't understand how this really simulated what it's like struggling in the world of business.

I kind of have to side with Michelle on this one and I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the Donald didn't have to take too many showers in his backyard while climbing up the real estate ladder. I could be wrong, and I hope I am because I'm starting to feel like the "tent city" approach is only really proving a one-sided argument and really takes a lot out of the show as we virtually know nothing about the folks on Kinetic. I'm not sure that living in a tent is making the candidates hungrier for victory, but probably more insane and gamey. While this is fun to watch to a point, I think that's why we have Survivor. Donald, Ivanka and Donald Jr. tried to really convince Michelle she would regret resigning and that she would get nowhere in business with that kind of attitude, it really sounded like this came more out of desperation to just get to the real board room scene (I bet they had thought up some real zingers they didn't want to lose the chance to use!). Michelle wasn't having it and said her goodbyes. I have to say that this made me like Michelle more than any other point in the show, which granted, isn't saying a whole lot. This show is getting weaker and weaker.

Organic Bagel

Mom Induces Labor So Husband Can Attend Game

What a great wife. I got dirty looks all night for watching the game.

Colleen Pavelka chose to have the birth of their second child induced a few days early so husband Mark Pavelka could attend Sunday's NFC Championship showdown between the Bears and the New Orleans Saints. The baby was due Monday. But when Colleen went in for an appointment Friday afternoon, her doctors told her she could opt for an early delivery. She decided to do so.