Friday, November 16, 2007

Show me the money

Back in September a 23-year-old college student, Kyla Ebbert hit all the talk shows complaining about how she was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight two months earlier because a flight attendant thought her outfit was inappropriate (as shown above).

Well our little Kyla has cashed in by posing for Playboy (below) with some serious photoshopping. I'm guessing she might have pulled in about $50,000. That should keep up her supply of short skirts for a while.

Amy Winehouse will get high whether you like it or not

...but she need to cut back on those poppy seed bagels.

Best Day at School, Ever!

A substitute teacher who worked her first day Wednesday at Bruce Elementary School took off all her clothes from the waist down in front of a class of fourth-graders, according to school officials.

"They noticed she started to disrobe," said Bibb County schools assistant superintendent Sylvia McGee. "From her waist down, she was totally nude."

McGee said the substitute, whose name was not released, may have been on medication at the time, because after students went to another classroom to tell another teacher, the substitute was found in the classroom "nonresponsive."

"We've never had this to happen," McGee said. [Come on it must happen from time to time]

Since October, the substitute had been on an approved list to teach and had been screened in a background check, McGee said.

She has since been pulled from the substitute list. [Great idea!]

Bruce students were sent home with letters Wednesday explaining the incident, and a school psychologist talked to the class of 20 students Wednesday and today, McGee said. [Would love to have read that letter]

"We think it's best she not return to substitute in the district," she said.

Men who look like old lesbians

An interesting website. Pictures of men who look like old lesbians. Is this politically correct?

Ha Ha Ha, Merry Christmas

This will make you shake your head in disbelief.

Santas in Sidney, Australia have been instructed not to use the traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women. It seems "ho ho ho" could frighten children and is too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute. Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha".

What's next dressing Santas in business suits?

Latest Coffee Trend: Poopy Beans?

I understand that coffee fanatics are hooked to some rare coffee blends that quite frankly turn me off.

In Taiwan, rock monkeys eat the ripe berries grown in coffee growing regions and spit out the seeds. Farmers collect the half-chewed seeds and roast them to produce a coffee that is brewed all over the island. The discarded seeds yield a sweeter coffee with a vanilla-like scent, which sells for about $56 a pound.

But that's not the most expensive coffee around. That would be Kopi Luwak. Coffee beans excreted by native civet cats in Indonesia produce the world's rarest and most expensive coffee, which sells for around $450 a pound. For the past year, Pusateri's grocery store in Toronto has been selling Kopi Luwak coffee. Four ounces of Kopi Luwak sells for $120.

I'll stick to my regular espresso.

Tinkerbell Gets Canned

This is an item going around the Internet that is humorous but underscores the risks associated with Facebook and other social networks.

Kevin Colvin used to be an intern at a bank in Boston. On Halloween, Colvin e-mailed his boss saying something "had come up at home in New York" and that he "needed to miss work the next day." The next day his boss decided to check Colvin's Facebook page and discovered pictures of the man dressed as a fairy and holding a beer at a Halloween party in Worcester, Mass., the night before.

Rather than reprimanding him, the boss sent Colvin this e-mail: "Thanks for letting us know - hope everything is ok in New York (cool wand)" with the fairy picture from Colvin's Facebook site attached. If that wasn't bad enough he sent blind carbon copies of the e-mail to the rest of the company. See the full email thread

Not exactly a fairytale ending.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Alex Rodriguez Crawls Back to the Yankees

Just 3 weeks ago, Scott Boras, agent to A-Rod informed the Yankees that his client would not be returning to New York and would pursue free agency. He supposedly had previously informed the Yankees that the starting point for negotiations was $350 million over 10 years.

At the time I thought Boras was just blowing a lot of smoke to get some action going. After all, the Rangers had to eat part of Rodriguez's contract in order to trade him which was an acknowledgement that no one felt he was worth $25 million per year. As far as I'm concerned, nothing has really changed as far as his market value.

The word on the street is that only the Angels were interested in Rodriguez and likely not anywhere close to $35 million per year. So it appears A-Rod contacted the Yankees owners to explore a return to the team and a meeting was set up - without Boras.

Now the Yankees have always been clear they wanted to have the best player in the game continue to be a Yankee but this turn of event gives the team the negotiating edge. So it is reported that Hank Steinbrenner has asked that the new contract be front-loaded to include a $21 million discount for the Yankees. That is the money the team would have gotten from the Rangers if Rodriguez hadn't used the escape clause in the contract.

So at the end of the day everyone will be happy. The Yankees and Rodriguez are made for each other. A-Rod remains the highest paid player in the game. He will likely save face by blaming his agent and calling it a big misunderstanding.

It's enough to make you ill.

OJ Simpson Has Another Trial Date

I see OJ Simpson will stand trial on an impressive list of 12 charges - kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to commit robbery, coercion with the use of a deadly weapon, and others.

Some celebrities get nailed with DUI, drug offenses, nasty divorces, etc. OJ is always the superstar. He goes after felony charges. He flirts with potential life sentences. He is one bad dude.

Many people are saying that the Juice was set up and that this time he will be doing jail time. I'm not so sure. Those double murder charges looked like a slam dunk. His behaviour, the physical evidence, the witnesses, and suggested motive pointed to Simpson's guilty. But a crack defense team blew it all away. This time he will face a group of questionable and sleazy prosecution witnesses that will make Simpson look like a choir boy. The witnesses who testified against O.J. at the preliminary hearing were described as "crackheads and groupies and pimps and purveyors of stolen merchandise and gun carriers and con artists and crooks" by the lawyer of one of Simpson's co-defendants. I bet OJ's defense team can't wait to cross examine this bunch.

So this is looking like it will become the next Trial of the Century and guaranteed to eat up lots of Nevada tax dollars. Who will be the next Johnny Cochrane and Marcia Clarke? I can't wait!

Which leads me to my latest poll (see sidebar). Will OJ Simpson do jail time?

TTC Looking at High Tech Toys

TTC chairman Adam Giambrone said yesterday, as he announced plans to spend more than $10-million on customer service improvements over the next two years. Many of these services are available from other transit systems in North America and Europe.

- screens at bus/streetcar stops and subway stations that will indicate when the next bus, streetcar or train is coming (exists at York's VIVA bus stops)
- rider will be able to generate a personalized map with directions, including estimated waiting times at transfer points, from one location to another on TTC website
- riders will be able to check TTC website for service delays
- Wheel-Trans customers will also be able to book their trips online
- Metropasses and weekly and daily passes will be sold online

A number of other technology changes are also being considered.

- looking at introducing a cellphone network underground (on trains or maybe only at stations) for a fee
- explore sending such alerts to cellphones and BlackBerrys regarding service delays

I like the cellphone/BalckBerry alerts. Not too crazy about having everyone around me talking loudly on their phones in the subway,

Jiri Tlusty is not the only naked Maple Leaf

Amid the fuss regarding the nude Jiri Tlusty photos on the Internet, I noticed the following quote on

"It's tough in this city to censorize anything," said Leafs forward Wade Belak on Wednesday. "I've been known to take out the trash naked from time to time. Now with all these allegations with Jiri I don't know if I'm going to feel safer out there."

A naked Wade Belak carry garbage cans is not something I would want to see in the morning. It's a wonder house prices in Leaside haven't dropped.

And is "censorize" a real word?
Poor Jiri has been threatening to sue and forced Zack Taylor to remove the objectional photos but if you search around you might find them somewhere,

Vaughan City Clerk has been Axed

John Leach, the Vaughan clerk who was in the middle of the hotly contested mayoral battle between Linda Jackson and Michael Di Biase last November has been fired, one day after a report on the contentious election went before council.

It seems a judge recently ruled that the city would have to pay most of the cost of a court-ordered ballot recount, which is about $600,000. Although the city has not commented on the reason for the firing, the judge chastised Leach for his handling of the ballots.

Leach had unilaterally decided to program voting machines to silently process and accept ballots that were "under-marked" and "over-marked," but not count them as valid. Had he programed the machines to reject the ballots, voters would have been able to make a correction and there wouldn't have been 1,656 spoiled ballots.

That turned out to be a costly decision since the election was won by only 90 votes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Allison Stokke has been replaced

To all the guys scouring the Internet looking for pole vaulter Allison Stokke, she has been replaced. The latest hot coed is Amanda Cicchini who plays soccer at West Virginia University. And she's Canadian.


UPDATE: Hot Australian pole vaulter Melanie Adams.

Not One of the NYPD's Finest Moments

We've seen it before. A troubled 18-year-old man. A family argument. A 911 call.

Then, in the darkness, 20 bullets fired by five police officers. The 18-year-old is fatally wounded. The police say he was holding a hairbrush.

That's precisely what happened this week in Brooklyn, NY, in a 1st floor apartment, in an alley next to it and the sidewalk in front of it. The victim, Khiel Coppin, was struck by 10 of the bullets fired by the police and was later pronounced dead.

The police gave their version of events, going to considerable lengths to defend the five officers who fired the shots — displaying elaborate charts, playing portions of a 911 call, and showing blowup photographs of Mr. Coppin’s handwritten notes, pulled from his pockets after he died.

It only confirms what we know which is that all the training and preparedness can vaporize when police are presented with a volatile and fluid situation. “It is hard to justify shooting someone with a comb,” said one police official.

This scenario repeats itself in different urban centres across North America. In some cities more than others. It's always a tragedy.

Judge Loses More than Just his Pants

The judge who sued a Korean dry cleaners for $54 million over a pair of lost pants has lost his job. Officials refused to say anything about the reasons for their decision, calling it a private matter.

Roy Pearson sued a local Washington D.C. dry cleaner for $54 million, claiming they lost his pants and failed to live up to their "satisfaction guaranteed" promise. Pearson had been demanding as much as $67 million at one point for the lost trousers and his quest for 'justice' made him famous for reasons he never expected. In June, he lost the case and was ordered to pay $1,000 in court costs. And now, he's lost his job, after the city decided not to reappoint him after two years on the bench handling cases involving disputes between local government agencies.
What Pearson did was quite cruel and I would consider harassment. He made unreasonable demands of the cleaners and then according to the Chungs, went on a campaign to put them out of business. In addition to the law suit, Pearson put up signs in the neighbourhood defaming the couple and went to their house demanding business records.

Canadian Senate Reform

A poll by Ipsos Reid indicates that two thirds (64%) of Canadians either ‘strongly’ (35%) or ‘somewhat’ (30%) support the undertaking of a referendum to determine the future of the Senate as a parliamentary institution in Canada. Just one quarter (26%) of Canadians ‘strongly’ (13%) or ‘somewhat oppose’ (13%) the idea of having a referendum on the future of the Senate.

NDP Leader Jack Layton called the Senate ‘outdated and obsolete’, calling for its unqualified abolishment, and for the question to be put forward to Canadians in a national referendum. With Canadians apparently supporting Mr. Layton’s idea of a national referendum on the topic, supposing there was a referendum where Canadians were given two options – to keep the senate or to abolish the senate – more Canadians would opt to abolish it (45%) than to keep it (41%). One in seven (14%), though, do not know which option they would choose.

Prime Minister Harper, though, has adopted the position that the Senate must first agree to be reformed, or face abolition. But regardless of whether or not there is a referendum on the future of the Senate, the majority (52%) of Canadians agree with Prime Minister Harper’s position and believe that the Senate should ‘be reformed to make it, for instance, an elected body’. One quarter (24%) of Canadians are of the opinion that the Senate ‘be done away with completely’, while just 16% of Canadians believe that it should just ‘be kept as it is’.

What is Going on With the Dallas Stars?

Dallas Stars owner Thomas O. Hicks announced that Brett Hull and Les Jackson have been named Interim Co-General Managers to run the Stars’ Hockey Operations for the remainder of the season. Earlier Hicks announced that he relieved Doug Armstrong from his duties as General Manager of the hockey club.

Dallas has struggled this season, but still keeping up with the rest of the Pacific Division. They have a similar record to the Leafs but I guess standards are higher in Dallas. It is a bit of a shock since Armstrong has been in the organization for 17 years so you would think he'd be given more slack. But attendance is down.

So instead we have another GM sideshow. I understand Les Jackson is a good hockey person but why Brett Hull? And why co-GMs? Hull has no management experience so why not make him an assistant? He has a tendency to make flippant remarks which is fine as a TV commentator but from a manager can produce conflict in an organization. He has openly stated he doesn't watch many games because he finds the games boring.

Can't wait to see how this develops.

Dallas Cowboys Still 'America's Team'

According to Harris Poll, the Dallas Cowboys are the favourite team of adults who follow the NFL. Since this survey began in 1998, the Cowboys have always been in one of the top four positions, usually in the top two even though they last won the Super Bowl in 1996.

The Super Bowl champions Indianapolis Colts finished 2nd to the Cowboys. The undefeated New England Patriots who have 3 Super Bowls in the last 6 years only registered 6th in the survey.

Hey, maybe there is the cheerleader factor working here?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sad, But True


Dog Bites Man, Man Marries Dog?

I thought I've heard it all but nope. Some guy married a dog.

An Indian man has married a dog in a Hindu ceremony in hopes that it will repair the curse placed on him for murdering 2 dogs. 15 years ago Mr. Selvakumar stoned 2 dogs to death while they were doing sex to each other and hung their bodies from a tree.

After that happened he lost hearing in one of his ears and his hands and legs became paralyzed. So what do you do? Of course, marry a dog.
I shudder to think about the wedding night.

What's Boy George Up to These Days

Up to no good!

Former Culture Club singer Boy George has been charged with false imprisonment after he allegedly chained a male escort to the wall of his London flat back in April. According to British authorities, the answer is yes—he really did want to hurt him.

The Norwegian-born model reported he hooked up with George via a U.K. personals Website called Gaydar and that he had agreed to go to the singer's home at midnight to serve as a model, and nothing more, for 400 pounds.
He said he posed for several erotic photographs snapped by the singer. Then an unidentified man handcuffed the model to a hook on the wall in George's bedroom, the model claimed, and the singer proceeded to break open a box of whips and other S&M toys. I don't need to describe what came next.

Port Hope residents test positive for uranium contamination

A new health study shows that residents of Port Hope have been contaminated with radioactive chemicals. Amazingly, the federal government had no interest in conducting this study, so the residents of Port Hope had to do it themselves. Simply shocking.

Port Hope, a community of 16,000 located about 100 kilometres east of Toronto on Lake Ontario, is the site of the world's oldest uranium-processing facility, which produced uranium used in the Manhattan Project that developed the first nuclear bombs. It is also the scene of one of the largest radioactive soil cleanups in Canada, with an estimated 3.5 million cubic metres of contaminated dirt buried around the town from dumping between the 1930s and 1950s.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions

I was fortunate this year to be invited to the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) Induction ceremonies. The invitation came through Jim Gregory who is a long-time family friend and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Jim has a long history in hockey and was the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1970s. He went on from there to become an executive with the NHL where he is still employed. He is actually the chair of the Hall of Fame selection committee and was finally included in this esteemed group.

While managing the Leafs, Jim actually pulled together an impressive lineup with Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull and Mike Palmateer. He might have been able to build a championship team but the owner Harold Ballard pulled the rug from under him to bring back an old crony, Punch Imlach. Imlach dismantled that team and the Leafs went through 15 years of awful teams. The Toronto Sun has an excellent bio on Jim Gregory.

And it worked out that the Class of 2007 was probably one of the most stellar groups to go to the Hall: Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Scott Stevens and Al MacInnis. Some are saying it's the best group ever inducted in a single year.

Last night was a reception held at the HHOF for Jim and was attended by family, friends and colleagues. Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell represented the NHL. Some former players who played under Jim attended included Sittler, Salming and McDonald. Salming looked like he could step out on the ice and play with the big boys. Red Kelly who coached under Jim was there as were several ex-Leaf GMs, Gerry MacNamara, Gord Stellick, and Cliff Fletcher. Johnny McLellan's widow (he coached the Leafs under Jim) came out. I spotted a few broadcasters, Harry Neal and I think Howard Berger. It was a great night and a good opportunity to mingle compared to the following night.

Although we were fortunate to get tickets for the ceremony, our tickets did not get us into the Great Hall were the proceedings took place, Instead we were in the actual HHOF watching over video feeds. The place was packed. There was a reception before the ceremony with great food.

I was able to get some photos off the video which you can see below. Mark Messier was the last to be given a tribute and to speak. All the inductees were quite emotional but Messier was a wreck within 3 minutes. He spoke the longest, I think about 15 minutes. He could barely get through his speech. I captured just a very small bit of it which you can see below. Messier was quite humorous and joked that he was glad to spend time with Gregory on the weekend. "I finally met somebody who was crying more times than me this weekend." Messier opened with a story how he and his family were coming into downtown Toronto from the airport and their car was stopped at a traffic light when an older gentleman spied him while crossing the street.
Messier had the window down, so the man leaned in close and said (Messier did this in an authentic Canadian accent), "Messier, eh? You're here for that old-timers' game." It was a priceless and humble moment and had the place in stitches.


Afterwards they all came down to the HHOF main area where we were situated to sign the induction book and pose for pictures. Joining them were a number of HHOF members including, Johnny Bower, Darryl Sittler, Marcel Pronovost, Clark Gillies and Borje Salming. In the crush I was able to take a few photos. It was an incredibly emotional evening and I'm still trying to sort through it all in my mind. ESPN has a great post on the event.

Glenn Healy to Replace John Ferguson?

While watching Hockey Night In Canada's Hot Stove Lounge Roundtable on Saturday night, I head former Toronto Sun columnist Al Strachan suggest that Glenn Healy was rumoured to be replacing John Ferguson. I had a good laugh at the time. But Howard Berger remembers that Healy was one of the names bounced around when Ferguson was hired in 2003. And Maple Leafs’ chairman Larry Tanenbaum was particularly fond of Healy, and he remains so today.

At MLSE anything is possible. Though the last thing the Leafs need is another inexperienced GM.

TTC's New Bus Garage Sits Empty

The TTC's $92 million Mount Dennis bus garage is six weeks away from completion and soon to open for business! Wait, scratch that: due to the high cost of operating the garage and the TTC's financial woes, the building will sit empty for at least a year. To heat the empty building will cost $300,000 a year.

So how did the TTC end up with a brand-new empty building?

It started this summer when the city ordered the TTC to cut $30 million from its 2007 budget. The TTC commissioners postponed beefing up surface routes. Then the bus manufacturer was hit by a strike so the arrival of new buses was delayed. No buses so the garage stays empty.

Rainy Monday Afternoon Pick Me Up

Sarah Michelle Geller in Maxim on line.

Scoreboard messages can be trouble

A 17 year-old girl is suing the St. Louis Cardinals for publishing on the scoreboard that she has a Sexually Transmitted Disease.During games, the Cardinals allow fans to send text messages which will be displayed on the scoreboard.The girl was on a field trip with her high school last year when one of the other students, a girl of course, texted "A.B. (her name is not being released) has an STD! Eww!"And that message was posted on the scoreboard for everyone in the stadium to read.The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000 saying the Cardinals should have screened the message.

St. Louis Cardinals president Mark Lamping responded saying the team would never be a willing party to such an act. For a fee, fans at games can send text messages that appear on an electronic board. Cardinals attorney Dan Nelson called the incident an unfortunate prank by one of the girl’s classmates. He says the club is surprised by the lawsuit.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jones Soda release holiday flavours

The Christmas pack has Sugar Plum soda, Christmas Tree soda, Egg Nog soda and Christmas Ham soda.
The Chanukah pack has Chocolate Coins soda, Apple Sauce soda, Latke soda and Jelly Doughnut soda.
All flavours are caffeine-free and kosher (even the ham flavour).

Coal Mining in China

A coal miner takes a bath after finishing his shift at a mine in the north China province of Shanxi. China's coal industry is the world's most dangerous, as measured by the number of miners who are killed per year. In the first 10 months of 2007, there have been 3,069 deaths and on average since 2000, 6,000 miners have died in China every year.

The Latest from Paris

...and if you keep it in your closet, it will be back in fashion in 15 years.