Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cleanest Cities in the World

As a follow-up to my earlier post Most Liveable Cities 2007, there is now a new report out on the Cleanest Cities. Thanks to the Expat in Middle East blog for the chart below.

They are as follows...

1. Calgary, CA

2. Honolulu, US

Helsinki, FI

4. Ottawa, CA

5. Minneapolis, US

6. Oslo, NO
Stockholm, SE Zurich, CH
Katsuyama, JP

10. Bern, CH Montreal, CA Vancouver, CA Boston, US

Lexington, US Pittsburgh, US N├╝rnberg, DE Geneva, CH
18. Auckland, NZ Wellington, NZ

20. Dublin, EI

21. Amsterdam, NL Toronto, CA

23. Lyon, FR

24. Copenhagen, DK

25. Kobe, JP
Omuta, JP

Canadian cities live up to their reputation for being clean. Not only was Calgary (below) first but there are 5 Canadian cities in the top 25. But there were also 5 American cities.

Jessica Biel was on Letterman last night

I watched the clip three times. Not only does she have the best booty in Hollywood but great legs too.

Introducing the new FortierCard Platinum

Entire Liberal Sponsorship Program:
$250 Million.

Michael Fortier's Contract to Buddies in CGI Group Ltd.:
$400 Million.


There are some things money can't buy.
For everything else, there's FortierCard.

From The Frog Lady

Good Role Model

Friday, April 20, 2007

Student Survives Both Columbine and Virginia Tech

Here is a coincidence you wouldn't think could happen. Eight years ago, she was a freshman at Columbine High School in Colorado when two classmates, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, came in armed to the teeth and bent on murder.

Regina Rohde was in the cafeteria, the epicenter of the attack, but was one of the lucky ones who managed to escape the building even before the first calls went out to police. Twelve students died in that assault.

And now, on Monday morning, it was happening again. Rohde wasn’t in the direct line of fire, but she knew that a gunman was on the prowl, and she found herself experiencing the same emotions as she had in 1999. Article

Conservative Government Tries "the sky is falling" Approach

The Conservative government invited ridicule yesterday when it released a major study predicting that compliance with the Kyoto Protocol would bring an economic apocalypse.

The Environment Canada study says the Kyoto emissions-cutting targets for Canada could be met only by introducing a massive $195-per-tonne carbon tax, which would wipe out thousands of jobs and undercut Canadians’ quality of life. Yet Environment Minister John Baird said the federal government remains committed to the principles of the Kyoto treaty.

But it's a waste of resources when the government could have produced a realistic model that factored in human adaptation, free enterprise ingenuity and the potential cost of doing nothing.

Baird's scary numbers are a smokescreen for doing little. And while they may reflect the costs under a worst-case scenario of the most extreme plan to meet the Kyoto targets, it is also not the plan Stephane Dion has crafted.

The Top 15 Most Embarrassing Photos of George W. Bush

Check out The Top 15 Most Embarrassing Photos of George W. Bush – Complete with back stories and all!

A Former Hockey Cheerleader and Her Fondness For Sex

Well Madison Square Garden has quite the sexual harassment case on their hands, and this time Isiah Thomas is not involved! This particular incident involves Courtney Prince, an ex-New York Ranger cheerleader (also known as Rangers City Skaters), who is suing Madison Square Garden after claiming that she was fired from her job in 2004 after complaining that she was sexually harassed by a New York Rangers executive. According to her at least, this executive approached her at a West Village bar and tried to convince her to join him in a 3-some. It looks like this unnamed executive failed in his attempt.

However the story doesn't end there, today Madison Square Garden attorneys made a desperate effort to prevent the case from going to trial, insisting that the former Rangers City Skater was actually fired because of her very very very strong enthusiasm towards sex and the fact that this obsession perturbed most of her co-employees.

In the sweeping counterattack, Garden attorney Melissa Rodriguez said Prince's behavior "is not surprising as she suffered from bipolar disorder, a classic symptom of which is hypersexuality." Rodriguez based her claim on the report from a Columbia University psychiatrist who examined Prince last October.

Affidavits from six fellow skaters claim Prince pretended to simulate sex on the ice during one practice and regularly coached skaters to appear more "f---able." She also grabbed other skaters' breasts and used explicit terms to describe their anatomy, the skaters said.

Prince's "crass sexual behavior" sowed discontent among the troupe of performers, including the former lead in "Disney on Ice," according to the court papers. Prince used language more likely heard in an NHL locker room to impress upon fellow skaters that looks were more important than skating, they said.

You know there isn't enough sex and hockey out there. Can't wait to see who wins this one!

Virginia Tech Lecturer Who Saved Students Buried in Israel

Liviu Librescu, who survived the Holocaust only to be gunned down trying to save his students from the Virginia Tech assailant, was buried Friday in Israel to the sobs of his grieving family and with his native Romania's highest honour.

Librescu's body was wrapped in a prayer shawl according to Jewish tradition, and his two sons intoned the Kaddish, the Hebrew prayer for the dead.

Georgi Angelescu, a representative of the Romanian government, awarded Librescu Romania's highest medal for his scientific accomplishments and heroism. Romanian officials laid a wreath at the grave.

A child in Nazi-allied Romania during Second World War, Librescu was deported along with his family to a labour camp in Transnistria (NOTE: my mother was also deported from Romania to Transistria) and then to a central ghetto in the city of Focsani, his son said. According to a report compiled by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were killed by the Romanian regime during the war.

Librescu later worked as an engineer at Romania's aerospace agency under the post-war Communist government, but his career was stymied in the 1970s because he refused to swear allegiance to the regime. He was later fired when he requested permission to move to Israel.
After years of government refusal, according to his son, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin personally intervened to get the family emigration permits. They moved to Israel in 1978.

Arrest Made In Subway Murder

A 26-year-old Toronto man has been arrested in the subway stabbing death of 21-year-old Nick Brown. Brown was found badly wounded inside an otherwise empty subway car at Kennedy station early last Friday. He succumbed to his injuries shortly after.

Police quickly realized he'd been stabbed to death at the Victoria Park station and transported to the final terminal on the line at the end of the night, just minutes before the system was shut down for the evening. Police have yet to determine what led up to the killing but they say it appears the victim and the accused were "strangers."

Detectives painstakingly pored through hours of subway security tapes, trying to see where the victim or his killer got on board the system. They released security camera images of a man leaving the station earlier this week. John Paul Vallon is charged with second-degree murder, Toronto police announced late Thursday night.

He will appear in court this morning.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Knut Recieves Death Threat

Germany's celebrity polar bear cub Knut has received an anonymous death threat, causing alarm at Berlin Zoo on Thursday and prompting heightened security. What is this world coming to. He is so cute.

Work is sometimes just like this

Paparazzi Avoidance

More Liberal-Green Deals

According to a story in the St. Catherines Standard there is a movement afoot amongst local Greens to not field a candidate in the next election, and instead endorse Liberal candidate and former MP Walt Lastewka.

As the story indicates, Conservative Rick Dykstra beat Lastewka by 246 votes last election, while Green Party candidate Jim Fannon won 2305 votes, more than enough to swing the riding.

Strategic candidate placement was never possible between the former Reform and Progressive Conservative parties which is why a merger had to happen. Though I'm not sure how these deals will benefit the Green party other than perhaps to get Elizabeth May elected.

Under the who cares dept: Ocean 13 is coming

I just hate when the franchise bad movies. View Trailer

Is there a link?

Another blogger with some knowledge of Asian films noticed the following similarities. Among the pictures sent by the killer Cho Seung-Hui is one of him with a hammer.

This picture looks a lot like a movie poster for a South Korean movie called "Old Boy." Old Boy is about a guy who is in prison for 15 years then gets out and hunts down his captor.

There's also this picture of Cho with a gun to his head.

And this one from "Old Boy." This is less remarkable because the pose is less unusual than the hammer pictures. But together they at least make you believe that he saw this movie and was influenced by it.

Gun Control Debate Reignited

It didn't take long for the Virginia Tech tragedy to turn to a debate over gun control. Just take a look at here, here, here, and here. I just don't understand the American "love affair" with guns. I understand what the Second Amendment says but it seems the "right to bear arms" is now needed to protect Americans from each other.

I've heard all the arguments in both sides about gun control. I agree that you cannot prevent the next Virginia Tech tragedy. You cannot prevent criminals and mentally ill people from purchasing guns. Yes, gun registries don't work either. But there are too many guns out there. I know many Americans who own a gun. I just hope that it doesn't get lost or stolen and fall into the wrong hands. It's just so easy to get one. I just don't believe arming oneself is the solution to the problem. It just adds to the problem of gun violence.

Then I hear people argue that if students at Virginia Tech had been carrying guns for self-defense then the killing wouldn't have gone on as long. A shoot outs at school. That's a great image. The police show up and how are they to tell who is the good guys and the bad guys? Will they be wearing black and white hats?

I guess you need to be raised in the U.S. to understand the passion to own a gun. Meanwhile the Toronto Board of Education has banned cell phones and blackberries from schools. Sightly more boring but I'll take it over the gun debate any day.

Pseudonym as a Hot Air Balloon

Maria Sharapova is 20 Today

You get the message?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Clues from a Maniac

Cho Seung-Hui provided many clues to the insanity that existed inside of him. But typically, those clues seem only to make sense after the fact. Nonetheless his disturbing side was noticed:

  • more than a year before the massacre, Cho was accused of sending unwanted messages to two women and was taken to a psychiatric hospital on a magistrate’s orders and was pronounced a danger to himself
  • Cho’s twisted, violence-filled writings and sullen, vacant-eyed demeanor had disturbed professors and students so much that he was removed from one English class and was repeatedly urged to get counseling
  • students complained that Cho was taking photographs of their legs and knees under the desks with his cell phone and female students refused to come to class
  • another professor said that she, too, relayed her concerns to campus police and various other college units after Cho displayed antisocial behavior in her class and handed in disturbing writing assignments

First IT Professional

Ontario to Ban Incandescent Light Bulbs

The Ontario government said Wednesday it plans to ban the current bulbs and what it calls other inefficient lighting technologies by 2012 in an effort to reduce the province's electricity consumption and lower the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

The move makes Ontario the first province in Canada - and the first jurisdiction in North America - to commit to a ban on inefficient lighting.

I guess Thomas Edison's invention is becoming obsolete here.

Bomb Threats and Fake Fire Alarms Continue to Plague York U.

False alarm and bomb threats are a regular at the York University campus throughout the school year, the majority of them coming around the exam months of December and April. Exam time false alarms at York have been down since 2005 according to Gragan Spasojevic, manager of security operations, but are still playing the disruptive role to student, faculty and staff.

In 2005 the university paid a whopping bill of $162,189.62 to the Toronto Fire Services for responding to false fire alarms.

Blue Jays Fill Rogers Centre

It seems that the Blue Jays may be returning into the consciousness of sports fans in Toronto after a decade in the wilderness. The stadium formerly known as SkyDome held a near-capacity crowd of 42,162 last night on a Tuesday evening in April. Was it BoSox starter Dice-K's much-hyped Canadian debut, the allure of Toonie Tuesday tickets, or is this city really excited for their MLB team again? This is the first Jays team in years that appears might be able to compete with the Yankees and Sox. Though early injuries may call for re-assessment.
To top it off, Toronto's Gustavo Chacin outdueled Daisuke Matsuzaka to lead the Jays to a 2-1 win.

Pizza and Beer Party At Fenway

Punk meets Barbie

Not sure if Avril's boots go with the dress?

USB Food Hub

Here is a creative product for you computer. It is 4 USB memory stick and a hub to look like food including fried shrimp and crab. You wouldn't want to leave this out with guest around.

Ex-Vaughan Mayor Fails to Get Full Recount

A Newmarket judge has decided only a limited recount is required to decide who won the contentious mayoral race in Vaughan which former mayor Michael Di Biase narrowly lost to Linda Jackson. The decision falls far short of the full manual recount sought by Di Biase, who lost by 94 votes out of 61,000 cast.

Instead, all ballots will again be fed into the electronic vote-tabulation machines, as occurred on election night in November – with one significant exception. The crucial difference will be that the machines will be programmed differently. They'll identify and "spit out" about 1,600 ballots that were rejected silently on election night. Only those ballots will be counted manually.

Di Biase first choice had been for entirely new vote which was rejected. Now his request to manually count all ballots has been turned out. So his ability to overturn the original results is quite limited. The machines rejected ballots with markings that covered less than 10 per cent of one circle or more than 20 per cent of two circles. The parties must now determine if you can determine the intention of each voters based on the markings. Any disputes will be overseen by a judge.

Thrill of Victory and Agony of Defeat

My hockey team celebrates shootout win for a bronze medal while lone opposition player lies crumpled on ice after missing last chance to win game.

OMG Crackberry System Crashes!

A massive system failure blocked BlackBerry email for about eight million users in the Western Hemisphere on Wednesday morning. Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion remained publicly silent about the problem with its hand-held devices. A New York media report said the hugely popular BlackBerry system failed around 8 p.m. ET Tuesday and emails were not being carried through.

Last night when I underwent Crackberry withdrawal I was limited to playing with my TV remote.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Protesters Burn Effigies of Richard Gere

Holy cow!! Angry crowds in several Indian cities burned pictures of Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Indian actress Shilpa Shetty after he publicly kissed her hand and cheeks at an AIDS awareness event. Demonstrators say Gere's kissing of Shetty goes against Indian culture.

I had no idea who Shilpa Shetty was until Richard Gere performed this unthinkable act.

What to do if you owe Al Shaprton an apology

Now there is a convenient, no-fuss, no-muss method!

Huge Fire in Historic Kensington Market

A fire broke out early this morning tearing through several buildings at the entrance to historic Kensington Market. Witnesses say that at 3:30 am, even with 100 firefighters trying to contain the blaze, it seemed to spread rapidly through the roof and attic section the buildings share.

Firefighters rescued two people trapped in apartments above a row of businesses at 368 Spadina Ave. after flames broke out around 3:15 a.m., while another man was rescued from the roof.

The blaze reached three alarms by 3:40 a.m. and a total of 30 trucks were called to the scene before the fire was extinguished.

Toronto's smallest house is up for sale

Toronto's smallest house is up for sale. Located at 128 Day Avenue near St. Clair West and Dufferin, the 300-square foot house is built in what should have been an urban driveway. I can think of better ways to spend $139,000.

Here is the MLS listing with more pictures.

Where to shop if you are America's Greatest Mass Murder

Ask about our concealed carry classes!

Next Concealed Carry Class

Salem Gun Show / Salem Civic Center

April 14th & 15th 2007

11:00am - 2:30pm

Register Now!

Rogers Call Centre

...sir you are going to have to stop shouting if you want me to help you.

Holocaust Survivor Dies

A 75-year-old Israeli professor and Holocaust survivor was killed in the massacre at Virginia Tech when he leaped between the gunman and his students. According to eye witnesses the heroic action of Liviu Librescu saved the lives of an unknown number of students in his class.

He survived the Holocaust but died on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Pictures from Virginia Tech

Someone explain to me the attraction

It seems Marilyn Manson (39) and Evan Rachel Wood (19) have been a couple for some time now. WHY?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why would someone in Virginia need a machine gun?

Other firearm forms can be downloaded from the Virginia State Police website.

Why Ontario's Proposed Election Reforms are Good

How it will work?

Voters will cast a 2-part ballot: on the left side will be a party-vote — you simply mark an X beside your preferred party. This vote determines that party’s share of the legislature’s seats. On the right side is the usual local MPP vote — you simply mark an X beside your preferred local candidate. The person with the most votes wins, as per usual. You can choose to vote for a local candidate of the same party as your party vote or you can choose to split your ballot, voting for a candidate of another party locally. This maximizes voter choice and accountability.

Of the 129 total MPPs, 90 MPPs (70%) will be elected exactly as they are today — by first-past-the-post in local ridings (i.e. the right-hand local vote on the ballot), where the person with the most votes wins. The remaining 39 MPPs (30%) will be elected based on a party’s share of the total votes cast (i.e. proportional to their party vote). They are filled from a province-wide party “list” that is put together ahead of the election by the parties (with the caveat that a party must receive a minimum of 3% of the vote to win list seats).

So what's good about this proposal?

Virtually all votes go towards electing an MPP, unlike today when if you don’t vote for the winner, your vote doesn’t help elect an MPP.

The legislature will accurately reflect the first-choice preferences of Ontarians, unlike today, when the legislature often bears little relation to people’s first-choice preferences (for example, 46% of people in 2003 voted Liberal, but 70% of the legislature are Liberal MPPs. This means that the legislature is proportional to the peoples’ votes.

Political parties will be less inclined to a force an early election because a small shift in popular vote will no longer produce dramatic changes in seats.

Smaller parties will have a chance at winning some seats.

An Uncertain Prognosis

New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine was apparently riding without a seat belt, in violation of state law, when he was critically injured in the crash of his official vehicle. A state trooper was at the wheel and the governor was sitting as usual in the front passenger seat when the SUV slammed into a guard rail Thursday night, authorities said. Corzine broke a leg, his breastbone, 12 ribs and a vertebra. When asked why the trooper who was driving would not have asked Corzine to put on his seat belt, Shea said the governor was "not always amenable to suggestion."

How ironic is that? A state trooper whose job it is to enforce the law was driving the vehicle.

Video of Subway Murder Suspect Released


What a nightmare for those poor families.

Astronaut completes her own Boston Marathon

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams sailed past the finish line of her own private Boston Marathon today, aboard the international space station. The 41-year-old U.S. Navy officer and test pilot became the first space traveler to compete in the 111-year-old event
She completed the run in 4 hours, 23 minutes will be tied to a treadmill to combat the effect of weightlessness. She qualified for a place by finishing last year's Houston Marathon in three hours 29 minutes and 57 seconds. Williams, who is an accomplished marathoner, has served aboard the space station since December 2006 as a member of the Expedition 14 crew.
Robert Cheruiyot won the Boston Marathon for the third time Monday, defending his title in the remnants of a storm in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 13 seconds. Russia's Lidiya Grigoryeva captured the women's crown in 2:29:18.

Junk Food Companies Will Run Healthy Ads

It was announced today that 15 companies responsible for 90 per cent of advertising aimed at children promised today to make half their ads more focused on healthy products and active living.

The companies, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, won’t face serious repercussions if they don’t live up to the commitment but they will be audited by Advertising Standards Canada.

I'm really interested to see how these companies can run healthy ads. Skinny people eating Big Macs? Or WARNING: Don't eat at Burger King?

Edward Norton is Filming The Incredible Hulk in Toronto

Edward Norton has been cast as Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk, which is smashing its way through Toronto this summer. The blockbuster shoots in Toronto starting in June, with Louis Letterier (The Transporter) directing. It's not yet entirely clear if this is a sequel, reboot, or re-envisioning of Lee's 2003 bomb, which took some nifty dramatic risks but didn't pay off at the box office. Casting Norton is interesting, given the producers' apparent desire to distance themselves from the quirky 2003 film. The Incredible Hulk will be his first blockbuster lead.

Would you wear this in the water too?

A model shows accessories for a bathing suit from the line of fashion designer Algirmiro Palencia of Venezuela during the opening show of Miami Fashion Week, April 13, 2007

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Turns 60 Today

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was born Lew Alcindor on April 16, 1947 in New York City.

NBA career records: most minutes; most points; most field goals
Rookie of the Year (1970)
NBA MVP (1971-72, 1974,1976,1977, 1980)
NBA finals MVP (1971, 1985)
NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks (1971); with Los Angeles Lakers in (1980-82, 1985, 1987-88).