Friday, February 23, 2007

Britney Spears New Home

Promises Treatment Centre in Malibu

What ever happened to the dancing baby?

Not Politically Correct

Newly opened up Seattle store catering to very pampered dogs. Product names include Gel-ous Bitch bath gel and Street Walker paw cleanser. They got dog coats made of silk and faux fur for $900. Yikes!

Photo-Op Gone Bad

If Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz can actually see anything with those lens caps on, it would go a long way to explain why public confidence in the Minister is so low.

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Last posting prior to the Academy Awards this Sunday.

Best motion picture of the year


A group of films couldn't be more different. You are almost selecting based on the type of movie you like. For instance, I thought The Departed was a good film but I wasn't in love with it. It's not Scorcese's best but it might finally land him an Oscar as a pointed out yesterday. Now I thought Babel was a very good film but more from the standpoint of well the pieces were put together. In fact I think Alejandro González Iñárritu should win as best director but he won't. Therefore I predict that Babel will take best picture.

But I really thought about it the past few days and concluded that my favourite movie this past year is that summer sleeper hit Little Miss Sunshine. It's a movie that breaks the mold, is both funny and emotional, balances humour and pathos, and is satirical and deeply human.

Why can't a comedy be best picture?

Gas Companies Gouging Again?

No one disagrees there's a gas shortage at some Esso stations across the province. And it's also hitting some of the independents serviced by Imperial Oil like Canadian Tire run stations. The company claims the temporary crisis has been caused by a fire at its Nanticoke plant as well as delivery trucks made unavailable by the CN Rail strike.

Imperial confirms about 75 stations are affected on a rotating basis. But they're adamant it's market forces and not the shortage that's causing prices to soar. They've reached the 95 or 96 cent mark in the G.T.A. and could go even higher.

Just two weeks ago I was paying as low as 69 cents for litre. No one is buying this phony explanation. Everyone knows competitors are taking advantage of the situation by gouging customers while they can. Short-term inventory problems cannot possibly explain 25% price hikes.

Locked out of your car? Who do you call?


Trudeau to the Rescue

Stephane Dion and the Liberals got a much needed boost yesterday with the long awaited announcement by Justin Trudeau that he will be running for a seat in Parliament in the next election.

It had been reported that the 35 year old son of the former prime minister was eyeing the safe Liberal seat of Outremont recently vacated by Jean Lapierre, but the decision was to have him face a tougher challenge. So he is running in the Montreal-area riding of Papineau, which is now represented by Bloc Québécois MP Vivian Barbot who narrowly won the seat in the last election by less than 1,000 votes. So it is winnable but won't be easy.

I'm not sure how much help Justin will be but right now a little star power certainly couldn't hurt the Liberals.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Happy Meal?

Maybe Negative Ads Do Working

Two weeks ago I suggested that the negative Dion ads the Conservatives have been running on TV (even during the Super Bowl) were having no impact based on Angus Reid numbers. It's possible that the conclusion may have been premature. More recent numbers from Ipso Reid show that Stephane Dion is not doing too well in polls. 46% of respondents said Mr. Harper would make the best prime minister. Mr. Layton was second choice at 29%, while Mr. Dion trailed at 25%.

Now that might be do to multiple factors including his weak performance in Parliament so far, a caucus divided on a number of issues, and the Conservative aggressively taking the policy lead on a number of key issues (including the environment). But you can't ignore the possibility that the negative ads have gotten voters to take a closer look at Dion.

I regret to say but I think we can expect to see more now.

For the Middle East It's One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

An American-sponsored meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders meant to start a new peace initiative after six years ended this week with little more concrete than a promise to meet again. The joint statement read by Ms. Rice after two hours of talks with Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas was vague. The two men “discussed their views of the diplomatic and political horizon,” the statement said, and agreed to meet again “soon.”
Neither Mr. Olmert nor Mr. Abbas appeared by Ms. Rice’s side as she read the statement, reflecting the tenuous nature of the talks, which appear to be so fragile that no side has even been willing to label them negotiations.

The commitment from Mr. Olmert to meet again with Mr. Abbas is a minor victory for Mr. Abbas because it signals that Israel will continue to deal with him despite his unity government plans. But a Palestinian unity government that does not recognize Israel or renounce violence — and thus far, the Abbas-Hamas agreement does not do so — will make any talks on a settlement next to impossible.

It is one thing for Israel to begin talks with Mr. Abbas while it is boycotting the unity government he helped to negotiate. But it is another for Israel to make meaningful progress toward concluding such negotiations and reaching a peace deal with a government that refuses to recognize it or renounce violence against it.

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

My second last Pre-Oscar prediction and perhaps the toughest call.

Achievement in directing
Alejandro González Iñárritu - BABEL
Martin Scorsese - THE DEPARTED
Stephen Frears - THE QUEEN
Paul Greengrass - UNITED 93

I really stuck on whether to pick Alejandro González Iñárritu or Martin Scorsese in this category. I think the fact that Clint Eastwood has won twice now with the most recent in 2004 pretty much takes him out of the running. And Million Dollar Baby was a bigger film then Letters from Iwo Jima. For Iñárritu it is his second nomination but for Scorsese this is his fifth. I thought for sure he would win for The Aviator. I'm really leaning towards Alejandro González Iñárritu only because for me it was the direction that really stood out in this film. I think that the Academy will select Martin Scorsese and deep down I think it would certainly be deserved.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Syracuse Crunch Hockey Team Have a Britney Spears Promotion

In an effort to provide tranquility for troubled pop star Britney Spears’ turbulent lifestyle the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League have invited the newly separated icon to spend an all expense paid trip in snow- buried Syracuse, NY. The Crunch’s offer of an all expense paid trip will begin with their game on the 24th. Also if Spears accepts the Crunch’s invitation each member of the club’s front office staff will shave their heads.

In a show of support the Crunch is offering any woman that comes to the War Memorial Box Office with a shaved head a free ticket to the club’s February 24 game against the Manitoba Moose.

What a great bunch of guys over there in Syracuse.

Hey Now....

...Anna enjoys racket sports a little too much.

New Daylight Savings Time can be another Y2K

Next month a change to the timing of Day Light Savings Time (DST) will affect North America. DST will now be implemented three weeks earlier on March 11th and will end one week later on November 4th. Most computer systems automatically adjust their internal clocks based on a built in timetable that is set to follow the old rules. These computer systems need to be fixed to follow the new rules. Failure to correct the time change can cause problems if one computer's clock is out of sync with another that it
communicates with.

Information on this DST issue is available from Microsoft:

There is an update tool for all versions of Windows that can be downloaded from:

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

This is prediction #4 for the week. I'm looking over the list and I see that I only saw one of the nominated movies. So I'm throwing out my approach today and not providing my personal best pick.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Leonardo DiCaprio - BLOOD DIAMOND
Ryan Gosling - HALF NELSON
Peter O'Toole - VENUS

I saw DiCaprio in Blood Diamond and The Departed. I would have to say that the other nominees are fortunate that he was nominated for the wrong film. He was superior in The Departed. So I'm not predicting that he gets the award. O'Toole received a lifetime achievement award a few years back and noted that he wasn't done making films yet. So here he is with a nomination and with great reviews but I think that his worse fears will come true and he will be passed over. As I look over the other critics' awards, I can't help but notice that many selected Forest Whitaker for best actor. I think that the Academy Award will also go to Whitaker. How is that for feeble analysis. I'll do better with best director and best picture.

Iron Lung Longevity Doesn't Interest Guiness

An interesting story. Diane Odell is a resident of Jackson, Tennessee, who contracted polio 57 years ago when she was 3. She spends her days and nights in an iron lung - I didn't even know that they were still around. But, there are an estimated 30 to 40 people in the U.S. who depend on these devices to breathe. Most were children when they contracted polio and don't have the strength to inhale without mechanical assistance.

Last week she turned 60, beating the steep odds that she would live this long. There is no data on iron lung users, so no one can say with certainty whether Odell holds the record for longevity in the machine, but she is, without doubt, near the top of the list. It seems the Guiness Book Records has data on snow angels but not iron lung machines.

Al Gore a Hot Ticket in Toronto

Tonight the 1500-seat Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto will present An Inconvenient Truth, the climate-change slide show by Al Gore. Not only is every seat sold (the university's online ticket site crashed on Feb. 7 when tickets went on sale) but scalpers are making a killing. The tickets were sold at $20 each but scalpers are selling the for about $200 a ticket. One scalper claims to have received $500 for a pair of tickets.

Today, Al Gore is a self-described "recovering politician" who has found a new purpose and passion in life -- not to mention celebrity status -- by doing exactly what he instructed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki to do 20 years ago, although he is doing it on an international scale.

He prefers to deliver his message directly to people, undiluted by the news media. He asked that reporters not attend the University of Toronto event.

He has gone from politician to crusader. The question is - will he be transforming back to a politician real soon?

Nude Girls Used to Control Speeders

Nude girls who call themselves Speed Patrol Bikini Bandits stand at the side of Copenhagen roads holding speed limit signs. The Danish Road Safety Council launched a viral campaign designed to draw attention to the speed limits. A specially trained team of enthusiastic young women not afraid to do whatever it takes so that motorists pay more attention to the speed limit.

Heidi Svendsen, head bandit says, “Sure what we do is extreme but I know from my heart what we are doing is working. People are slowing down. People are noticing.' I bet they are Heidi.

I bet Danish speed limits are rarely ignored and nearly impossible to miss. A video of the girls can be found here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Survivor: JetBlue

CBS has announced that the next season of the Survivor reality TV show will take place in a JetBlue airplane on a tarmac in a Florida. Host Jeff Probst has already been signed up for Season 15. The 20 competitors will be crammed into a JetBlue plane for 39 days with only mini-bags of peanuts and cans of Diet Coke. There will be only one functioning airplane restroom to for the Survivors to use and no Exile Island this time. Immunity challenges will include racing food carts up the aisle of the plane and jamming bags into overhead compartments. The customary $1 million will go to the winner but in addition, the lone Survivor will first class flight to anywhere that JetBlue flies to.

Need a Batmobile?

A British auction house is auctioning off one of the Batmobiles built for the TV version of Batman. Supposedly this car cost $250,000 to build back in the 1960s and it is actually functioning.

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

Now I'm on to the best actress category. Again, I missed a couple of films, eg. Volver and Little Children.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Penélope Cruz - VOLVER
Helen Mirren - THE QUEEN

This is tough for me because Kate Winslet happens to be my favourite actress but I haven't seen Little Children yet so I won't be able to provide my biased view of her performance. Meryl Streep continues to rack up nominations along with her two previous Oscar wins. She along with Judi Dench and Helen Mirren make for a very competitive field are all quite accomplished in their field. I have to also note that Penélope Cruz won an acting award at Cannes for her performance in Volver. Well all the critic awards preceding the Academy Awards have all selected Helen Mirren in the best actress category and it's hard to argue against her. Her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth was brilliant and stunning. She is my pick for the Oscar and I predict the winner on Sunday night.

Not a lot doing in farm country

Not a lot doing in Bismarck, North Dakota this time of year. So nearly 9,000 people showed up to flap their arms and legs in the snow, apparently shattering the world snow angel record.

The previous record, set last year in Michigan, was 3,784. Bismarck established the snow angel record in the Guinness Book of Records in 2002, when 1,791 people showed up to take part. The record still has to be verified by the folks at Guinness.

Next up might be a cow milking record?

Some days even this much coffee won't help

Clinton Shaves Head in Support of Spears

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today stunned supporters in South Carolina with a newly shaven head at campaign appearances in South Carolina. Clinton claimed that the new look was in support of pop star Britney Spears' attempt at a brand-new makeover of her life and career.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A reunion in the works?

Britney Spears is rumoured to be planning a concert tour with former band member Larry and Moe. Stay tuned!

From Beauty Queen to MP

I've done a few posts poking fun at MP Helena Guergis. Frankly I don't think she's qualified for the job. She's not too bright and that really comes through when she is not scripted and has to think on her feet. She only has a superficial understanding of issues. But this should not come as a surprise. Look at her background.

In 1992, Helena actually won the Miss Huronia Pageant. It was owned and operated by Sylvia Stark (no doubt a budding Donald Trump). Helena later participated as Huronia's representative in the year's "Miss Oktoberfest Pageant" and the Canadian Search for Miss Universe. You will note that these accomplishments are not included in the bio on her website.

She later alleged financial irregularities against the pageant, and sued Stark. It was reported in the National Post several years later that Guergis paid Stark $4,000 to enter the contest, and later discovered that the real entry fee was $1,075. Her suit was successful but she could not collect because Stark had filed for bankruptcy. The Canadian television program The Fifth Estate profiled Sylvia Stark in January 2000, and included interviews with Guergis and other former contestants.

In 2000 she moved to Queens Park where she worked as an advisor to Janet Ecker, Minister of Education and then Minister of Finance. These were difficult portfolios and Helena was underwhelming in her role.

She was the Progressive Conservative candidate in the riding of Trinity-Spadina in Toronto during the 2003 provincial election. The PCs did not target this riding as winnable and Guergis agreed to be a "sacrificial lamb candidate in order to gain experience. However, Guergis defeated the Liberal incumbent by 100 votes in the 2004 federal election to win the riding of Simcoe—Grey.

So there you have it. From beauty queen to MP.

Is the only reason people watch car racing is the crashes?

Mummified body found in front of blaring TV

Police called to a Long Island man's house discovered the mummified remains of the resident, dead for more than a year, sitting in front of a blaring television set. Police said Saturday his body was discovered Thursday when they were called to the house over a burst water pipe.

Officials could not explain why the electricity had not been turned off, considering Ricardo had not been heard from since December 2005. Well obviously the power company wanted to make sure he could still watch TV. I wonder if something he was watching did him in - like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in The Simple Life.

O. J. Simpson's Book

As everyone knows there was quite a commotion a few months ago when News Corp. was going to publish a book by O. J. Simpson and Fox was going to air a TV interview. The frenzy was because the book included a chapter that provided a "hypothetical" description of how Simpson might have killed his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. Well since then the interview was cancelled, the books locked away and the publisher fired.

Newsweek recently reported that they have seen a copy of the contentious chapter. What emerges from the chapter is something new in the nearly 13-year Simpson saga: a seeming confession in Simpson's own voice. Now Simpson never expressly admits to the killings and there is a clear, concise statement disclaiming anything that is contained in the chapter as being fact or close to fact.

The Newsweek reporter covered the trial and notes that the chapter closely tracks with the evidence presented by the prosecution in the case. He basically acknowledges that he lost it that night, what happened to the knife and bloody clothes, and the noise that Kato Kaelin outside the guesthouse was Simpson.

You can read the article here.

Police are bad Drivers Too

About one-third of the Toronto Police Service's 1600 vehicles was involved in a crash in 2006 - and that is an improvement over previous years!

A review of more than 100 motor vehicle accident reports involving Toronto Police Service vehicles between July 2005 and July 2006, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows officers were responsible for about half of all run-ins with the public.

Officers make the same mistakes we do – they reverse into parked cars (sometimes into each other); they drive too fast for the weather; they tailgate. One police driver opened his door into traffic and walloped a cyclist. Another claims to have caught his clothing on the gearshift of his squad car, (located behind the steering wheel), which put it into drive, causing it to roll across two lanes of traffic before hitting a streetcar.

Many of the accidents caused by police may have been due to inattention. Hey they are just like the rest of us.

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Here is my review of the best supporting actor category. Again, I'm handicapped because I haven't seen Little Children or Dreamgirls. As a result I'm selecting my favourite performance based on the films I've seen. I imagine that the actual voters do the same thing. They probably don't catch every nominated film.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Jackie Earle Haley - LITTLE CHILDREN
Djimon Hounsou - BLOOD DIAMOND
Eddie Murphy - DREAMGIRLS
Mark Wahlberg - THE DEPARTED

As Solomon Vandy, Djimon Hounsou plays an African husband and father who hopes to save his family through the sale of an enormous diamond. The character has tremendous depth and Hounsou pulls it off brilliantly. So I have to go with Djimon Hounsou for best supporting actor. However, I'm thinking that veteran actor and comic Eddie Murphy may actually walk off with the Oscar.

Sudoku for Cats

Bid for Lisa Nowak's diaper on eBay

For all you collectors out there. If the bidding on Britney Spears' hair is too high then how about Lisa Nowak's idaper. It's here on eBay.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Helena Guergis Sets Back Equal Rights Again

The Collingwood Connection contained several letters from unhappy constituents regarding MP Helena Guergis' appearance on Rick Mercer several weeks ago.

The first is headlined Embarrassed by television appearance of MP. The writer notes that, "It is one thing when our elected officials are 'ambushed' by CBC comedians, but she obviously was on the show by invitation and her willing display of sophomoric behaviour was conduct unbecoming of the office that she holds. Try a little dignity, Ms. Guergis."

The second letter suggests Helena used her "status as a politician to make a mockery of the role of elected women parliamentarians. Well sir this isn't the first time for Helena.

Well as far as I'm concerned its nice to see the real Helena poke its head through all the scripted speeches and photo ops. Since she is an airhead.

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

Each day for the next week I will be doing providing my picks for the Oscars as well as who I predict will win (obviously not always the same). Today I start with Best Supporting Actress.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Adriana Barraza - BABEL
Cate Blanchett - NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Jennifer Hudson - DREAMGIRLS
Rinko Kikuchi - BABEL

I did not see Dreamgirls yet so obviously I can't compare Jennifer Hudson's performance with the others. I was personally blown away by Adriana Barraza in Babel. The entire cast was wonderful but to me her performance stood out as she convincingly expressed the vulnerability that illegals in the U.S. experience just trying to get by.

Now who will win. Well everyone seems to love Jennifer Hudson in her breakout role in Dreamgirls which as I said, I have yet to see. I think she will walk away with the Oscar.

Movie Review - Notes on a Scandal

I saw Notes on a Scandal yesterday evening and despite the fact that I wanted to stay home to watch the hockey game, I really enjoyed the film. I think the best description for this film is Fatal Attraction for the art house crowd. Everyone is miserable in this dark film but its just wonderful to watch.

Sheba (Cate Blanchett) is a rookie prep-school art instructor who is frustrated by her middle-class existence with her slightly disheveled older husband (Bill Nighy) and their two children, a snot-nosed daughter and a son with Down syndrome. To fill the void, Sheba heads down a self-destructive path. An affair with a 15-year-old student named Steven.

But Steven isn't the only one trying to woo Sheba. A friendless teacher at the school, Barbara Covett (Judi Dench), covets the pretty young thing—as a friend, she would have us believe as our unreliable narrator. But as her friendship with Sheba blossoms—from that of colleague to confidante to confessor—Barbara documents each occasion in her diary.

Everyone's a predator in this story. You can't feel sympathy for any of the characters. Sheba feels "entitled" to fuck around with a 15-year-old. Barbara finds a way to one-up Sheba, emotionally blackmailing her until all of them—Sheba, Barbara, even Steven, that little liar—end up a sordid lot deserving of their fates.

Britney's Hair is on eBay

Click here if you want to bid. It probably will get pulled any minute.

Innocent Victim or Murderer?

Paula Menendez was buried by her family yesterday. She was found dead in the home of Julie Crocker on February 12 who was also found dead in the house. Crocker's estranged husband Christopher Little is in custody charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Rev. Michael Machacek told the family and many friends of Menendez, who filled the pews of St. Patrick's Parish in Markham "Paula is also an innocent victim. . . . She did nothing wrong, yet she paid the ultimate price". But according to Little, he found both women dead and suggested to police that Ms. Menendez killed Crocker and then hung herself.

It certainly is difficult for the family to have such a cloud over them during such a tragedy.
The only obvious connection between the two women was a romantic involvement with sportscaster Rick Ralph, who worked for Toronto radio station FAN 590. Crocker had recently begun dating Ralph, who was also Menendez's ex-husband.

Jew-Hating Holocaust Denier Arrested

A man accused of roughing up Nobel laureate and Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel at a San Francisco hotel earlier this month was arrested Saturday, authorities said. Montgomery Township police arrested Eric Hunt, 22, of Sussex County, N.J., at 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday. He faces charges that include attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime, according to San Francisco police.

Wiesel, 78, was a featured speaker at a Feb. 1 peace forum at the Argent Hotel in San Francisco. He was approached in the lobby by a white man in his 20s who asked for an interview, police said.

Authorities said Wiesel agreed to talk in the lobby, but the man insisted the interview be conducted in a hotel room, and got into the elevator with Wiesel. Once on the sixth floor, the suspect dragged Wiesel from the elevator, police said. Wiesel began yelling, and the suspect ran away down the elevator, police said.

Police have said they were aware that a man claimed responsibility for the attack in a posting on an anti-Semitic Web site registered in Australia. Police have not commented further on the case.

This little turd Eric Hunt can’t find anyone to pick besides a man nearing 80? He’s a spineless, hate-driven, clueless coward too.

Party Like It's 4705: The Year of the Pig

Homophobic Basketball Star Jumps to GOP Lead

Tim Hardaway, the retired basketball star who recently made blatantly anti-gay remarks, suddenly finds himself leading in the polls for the 2008 GOP Presidential nomination. Hardaway, who flatly said that he “hates gay people,” was enthusiastically embraced by the Republican base, which was happy to finally hear some “straight talk” on the issue of homosexuals.

As Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show, “candidates like McCain, Giuliani and Romney are all suspect on the issue of gay rights. But Hardaway’s a guy who not only wants to ban gay marriage, but ban gays altogether.” he Reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell also endorsed Hardaway for President, claiming that this proves that they’re not prejudiced against African- Americans.

Hardaway has not yet revealed whether he has presidential ambitions.

A Woman President or Black President?

USA Today/Gallup Poll. Feb. 9-11, 2007. N=1,006 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3

"Between now and the 2008 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates -- their education, age, religion, race, and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be [see below], would you vote for that person?"

  • Catholic 95% yes
  • Black 94%
  • Jewish 92%
  • A woman 88%
  • Hispanic 87%
  • Mormon 72%
  • Married for the third time 67%
  • Seventy-two years of age 57%
  • Homosexual 55%
  • Atheist 45%
The poll suggests that being a Mormon (Romney), 72 years old (McCain) or on a third marriage (Giuliani), is a bigger liability for voters than being black or a woman. Personally I don't buy it. Just shows how unreliable polls are. I believe that respondents won't admit that they wouldn't vote for a woman or black.