Saturday, January 05, 2008

Patriots are the unbeatable, so deal with it

Every knows that the Patriots went undefeated during the regular season and piled up scores against good and weak team but there is some reluctance to acknowledge how good they really are.

Sure they have been lucky—such as on the winning drive against Baltimore, when New England was bailed out by an inadvertent timeout called from the Baltimore sideline, its own illegal-procedure penalty, and an interference call in the end zone. And they have, on occasion, been both, such as against New York Giants when head coach Tom Coughlin made some bad calls.

They have beaten six teams that will join them in the NFL playoffs starting this weekend. I have all the respect for Unitas, Montana Marina but in Tom Brady, they have the best quarterback who ever played the game. He is so much better than his peers.

In Bill Belichick, they also have one of the best coaches who ever coached the game. With the exception of Indianapolis, they are heads and shoulders better than the other teams in the league. They pile up scores because this team doesn't know how to let up. They seem to be strongest in fourth quarters. Teams that have played well against the Patriots eventually made mistakes late in the games. Patriots haven't made those mistakes all season. Sure they can be beaten, but its just not going to happen this season.

The are smarter, tougher and better prepared than the rest of the league. The took a chance on Randy Moss and he broke a single season record for touchdown receptions. They saw value in Wes Welker, who caught 112 passes this season. Of course they had the insight to draft Brady.

Everyone hates this team and the cheating scandal involving Belichick at the start of the season reinforced that contempt. But this team is special. That's why so many people watched the mid season classic against Indianapolis and the final game against the Giants.

The Patriots will win the Super Bowl and it won't be close. So deal with it.

Documentary on Toronto's First Subway

In 1954 the TTC opened Canada's first subway line in Toronto. It ran along just under 7.5km of track, up and down Yonge St. The subway only went from Union Station to Eglinton with the only underground section between Bloor and Union Station. Tokens were just 3 for $0.25 at the time.

Check out this 7 min. CBC documentary that details the TTC subway's very early days. You can see people smoking in the stations. Smoking wasn't allowed on the trains.

In 1954 the TTC opened Canada's first subway line right here in Toronto. It ran along just under 7.5km of track, up and down Yonge St. and connecting Bloor St. to Union Station. And tokens were just 3 for $0.25 at the time!

Poll Results: Canada, eh? readers hate George Bush

Well the poll numbers were quite convincing. Readers of this blog hate President Bush. Yet President Bush topped Gallup's annual lists of "most admired" men. He was the choice of 10% of 1,011 Americans polled.

Here are the final results of the Pseudonym Poll on the most hated American:

George W. Bush 62%
Dick Cheney 28%
Nancy Pelosi 21%
Britney Spears 12%
Seung-Hui Cho 9% (Virginaia Tech killer)
Fred Phelps 6% (anti-gay extremist)

Forget Tupperware; get ready for Taser parties

Before she lets them shoot her little pink stun gun, Dana Shafman of Phoenix ushers her new friends to the living room sofa for a serious chat about the fears she believes they all share. “The worst nightmare for me is, while I’m sleeping, someone coming in my home,” Shafman says.

Welcome, she says, to the Taser party. On the coffee table, Shafman spreads out Taser’s C2 “personal protector” weapons that the company is marketing to the public. It doesn’t take long before the women are lined up in the hallway, whooping as they take turns blasting at a metallic target.

Shafman isn’t an employee for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International. She’s an independent entrepreneur who has been selling Tasers the way her mother’s generation sold plastic food-storage containers.

Taser launched the C2 in August. Though it packs the same electric punch, the C2 is smaller than the bulky personal stun guns Taser developed years ago, and its sleek exterior makes it look more like an electric razor than a weapon.

The pink colour is an obvious attempt to market to women. Amnesty International says there are already reports of domestic violence using Tasers and other energy weapons. The C2 is bound to become another weapon that will be misused. The famous"don't tase me bro" incident involving Andrew Meyer suggests how quick security staff can be to pull out a Taser.

There have been 50 deaths reported in North America since 2001 directly the result of a Taser. A well publicized death occured when RCMP officers tasered Robert Dziekanski of Pieszyce, Poland, at Vancouver International Airport.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Facebook Challenges the Youth Criminal Justice Act

An interesting situation occurred this week following the murder of Stefanie Rengel on New Years Day. For 24 hours, newspapers, TV and radio stations were legally forbidden to release Stefanie Rengel's name, but on the Internet tributes to the slain teen – and the names of her accused killers – sprang up almost immediately, including on Facebook.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act prohibits the publication of information "... if it would identify the child or young person as having been a victim of, or as having appeared as a witness in connection with, an offence committed or alleged to have been committed by a young person."

There are some exceptions such as if the parents of a dead child agree to identification. That was the case with Stefanie Rengel.

The Toronto Star quotes Alain Charette, of the Department of Justice, who suggest that the prohibition "does apply to the Web, including Facebook ... generally publication covers a very wide spectrum."

But this is not the first illegal publication of the identity of a young offender or victim on Facebook. On numerous occasions, Facebook users have set up similar tributes to the ones created for Stefanie Rengel. The police have indicated they will not act unless there is a complaint. It's only a matter of time until that happens. But is a posting a form of communicating between users like a phone conversation or is it a publication media? It's likely neither. If my tribute to a dead teenager is only shared with fellow classmates how is that different than a memorial held at school.

Cellphone Users Slow Traffic

Found this interesting article in the New York Times that suggests that not only do cellphone users get in more accidents but they also slow traffic down.

Motorists talking on the phone drive about two miles per hour more slowly than people who aren't on the phone, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Utah. And while hands-free devices often are touted as safer alternatives, the scientists found that people using them also putter along, which suggests that it's the talking, not the cellphone, that distracts the brain.

While a few miles per hour may not sound like much, as many as one in 10 drivers on the road is talking on the phone, says University of Utah psychology professor David Strayer, who coauthored the research. Slower cellphone drivers may be increasing overall commuting times by 5 percent to 10 percent, he calculates, and talking on the phone may increase each daily commuter's travel time by 20 hours a year.

Ten Most Wanted Corrupt U.S. Politicians for 2007

Judicial Watch's annual list: Washington's Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians for 2007. The list has some very familiar names including 4 Presidential candidates (bolded). Judicial Watch is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

They are (in alphabetical order):

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID)
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY)
Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

I was a little surprised to see Barack Obama's name since he has been selling this image of a fresh, innocent face. Not true. He has been involved in some shady business and political deals.

Oklahoma City Goes on a Diet

Oklahoma City Mayor Mike Cornett is telling residents to go on a diet after Oklahoma City was rated as one of America's fattest cities. Cornett has challenged the city to shed 1 million pounds as its New Year's resolution.

As part of the initiative, residents can sign up and track their weight loss on a new Web site,* When I checked today More than 3,726 people had registered and lost a total of 569 pounds. They have a long way to go to reach the goal of 1 million pounds.

On a similar theme, a 265-pound man Rick Labit in Louisiana says a restaurant overcharged him for his trips to the buffet, then banned him and a relative because of how much they consumed during their visits. It seems they were pigging out on crab legs and frog legs and refused to pay a surcharge.

Time for the Toronto Maple Leafs to Raise the White Flag

So here we are at the half way point of the NHL season and the Toronto Maple Leafs are not even at .500 (16-17-8). In fact they are 26th out of 30 teams. Even the most loyal Leaf fan knows this team is not going to make the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row. John Ferguson knows it and is probably busy updating his resume.

I've posted several views on what is wrong with the Leafs - over value and over pay players; trade away draft picks leaving them too reliant on free agents; poor work ethic; not physical enough; horrible team defense. Few players are performing as expected. I considered who was performing "Above Satisfactory", "Satisfactory" and "Below Satisfactory" and this is how I rate the team.

Above Satisfactory: Sundin, Toskala, Antropov, Gill, Devereaux
Satisfactory: Kaberle, Stajan, Steen, Ponikarovsky, Kubina, McCabe, Kilger, Colaiacovo, Belak
Below Satisfactory: Tucker, Bell, Blake, Wellwood, Raycroft, White, Wozniewski, Tlusty, Pohl

Just not enough quality to win on a consistent basis. The only solution is to dismantle this team much the way the Flyers did it last year. Let's face it, once Sundin's play declines they will drop to the bottom of the league. The time to start rebuilding is over the next few weeks leading up to the trading deadline in February.

So who should they trade and who should stay? Better yet, who is tradeable in the NHL marketplace?

Raycroft is not tradeable with 1 year left in his contract because I doubt any GM sees him as a starting goalie and no one is will pay $2 million for a backup.

Few teams can pick up high salaried players because of the cap. Anyway McCabe and Tucker have no trade contracts and I doubt they would want to leave the country club atmosphere. That's why they signed here.

Perhaps you can move Kubina. Someone would have to find over $2 million in cap space for the rest of the season.

If you can teams looking for some grit going into the playoffs then move Gill, Devereaux, Kilger, Belak and/or Bell for draft picks or prospects.

But the player who has to be moved is Sundin. He needs to be persuaded to waive the no trade provision in his contract. Many GMs would be eager to give up a very good package to land Sundin considering his durability, production and leadership. I would expect you can get what Nashville gave up to land Forsberg last year. With so few prospects in their system, it's a trade the Leafs have to make.

So I would hang on to Stajan, Steen, Kaberle, White, Colaiacovo, Ponikarovsky, Antropov, Tokala, Tlusty and who ever you can't move.

Looks like Britney may have found a new driver

...who can run red lights.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Battle of the Sexes

4th Anniversary of the Dean Scream

Police Identify Teenage Murder Victim

Toronto police today released the name and a photograph of the 14-year-old girl who was stabbed to death on New Year's Day. Police received special permission today from her parents to release the identity of Stefanie Rengel. Her parents are both police officers.

It turns out that one of the accused, the 17 year old male will reportedly turn 18 on Saturday, a hugely significant detail because he barely made the cut for treatment as a young offender. I would guess that there will likely be a strong argument made that he be tried as an adult.

I can see this case will likely stir up opposition to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The victim's stepmother has already made a statement regarding reforms to the Act.

Amy Fisher is Still White Trash

Amy Fisher is back in the news. Amy was 16 when she began her love affair with Joey Buttafuoco, a married man more than twice her age. It was a "fatal attraction" that led Fisher to shoot his wife in the head.

Last year her then-estranged husband, Lou Bellara, sold a sex tape of him and Fisher to a porn distributor, Red Light District Video. Bellara peddled the video because he was angry about Fisher and Buttafuoco publicly rekindling their romance while she and Bellara were separated in May. Fisher and Bellara are now back together.

Now the former Long Island Lolita is officially releasing her sex tape which has been produced by the same company as the infamous Paris Hilton sex tape.

Roger Clemens Claims it Was Lidocaine and B-12 Injections

In the first excerpts released from the pitcher's interview with CBS's "60 Minutes,'' which is to be broadcast Sunday night, Roger Clemens maintained the denials he has issued since Brian McNamee implicated him in the Mitchell report on doping in baseball, which was released Dec. 13. Roger Clemens said former trainer Brian McNamee injected him with the painkiller lidocaine and the vitamin B-12 - not any performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens told CBS that McNamee's accusation was "ridiculous'' and said he "never'' used banned substances. Hmm. We have a bit of a discrepancy here.

McNamee's lawyer, Richard Emery, has threatened to sue the seven-time Cy Young Award winner for defamation. Emery said a decision whether to sue won't be made until after the "60 Minutes'' interview is broadcast. Now that would be a reversal - the accuser suing the accused. I'd love to see that happen.

Ooops, Did I Say That?

Survivor: Micronesia

Well fellow Survivor Fans (yes, I'm afraid I'm one), CBS has revealed the castaways on Survivor 16 or Survivor: Micronesia which begins Feb 7. Reality TV requires no scripts and therefore no writers so expect a lot of reality programming over the next few months.

The Survivor franchise has a new twist to hook fans. It will include 10 new castaways and 10 popular returning castaways and is being promoted as the Fans vs. Favorites cast. Not a bad idea since some previous cast members were very popular with viewers either as heroes or villains.

The 10 returning castaways serving will be Survivor (7): Pearl Islands' Jon "Jonny Fairplay" Dalton; Survivor (9): Vanuatu's Eliza Orlins and Amy Cusack; Survivor (12): Panama's Cirie Fields; Survivor (13): Cook Islands' Jonathan Penner, Ozzy Lusth and Parvati Shallow; Survivor (14): Fiji's Yau-Man Chan; and Survivor (15): China's Amanda Kimmel and James Clement. All but Dalton are from recent seasons (after the All-Star season). Dalton has to be the most notorious player and a perfect person to bring back. The new season was intended to be an all-star show as well but for some reason the format was changed to only 1/2 of the cast being former castaways.

Survivor: Micronesia will also feature the return of Exile Island, which was first introduced in Survivor (13): Panama but dumped in favor of the new "kidnapping" concept for Survivor (15): China.

Below are the first publicity photos. My early predictions are Alexis Jones (10) who is a motivational speaker from the newbies or Amanda Kimmel (13) from the veterans' group.

Iowa Caucuses are No Way to Start an Election

Not only do I find the caucus process that is being held in Iowa today to be confusing, they sound very undemocratic. This is not how a country that sees itself as the defender of democracy should launch a major election campaign to choose its next leader.

My understanding of the process is that there are meetings at the precinct level at which citizens express their candidate preferences and pick delegates to their county conventions. These meetings, held in each of the state's nearly 1,800 precincts, typically draw anywhere from a handful of people in rural areas to hundreds in suburban areas. The Republicans essentially hold a straw poll — a head count — at their precinct caucuses, reporting real numbers. One head, one vote. The Democrats do not report straight numbers, but use a mathematical formula to determine support for a presidential candidate in percentages. If a candidate falls short of that threshold, say 15 percent or 20 percent of the total number of people in the room, his or her supporters can redistribute themselves with another candidate. That's when persuasion, hard bargaining, deal-making between candidates' staffs or even chicanery comes in. Inducements are allowed; bribes are not.

In the caucuses, voters are required to come and stay for several hours, and there are no secret ballots. You must express your support in front of friends, neighbours and strangers. An intimidating and lengthy process that discourages first timers from coming out. Participants tend to be older males.
This is not a primary but a novelty act that for some reason is treated as a "make or break" event. The small number of rural voters that participate in the caucuses are in no way representative of American voters. But because so few Iowans vote candidates spend an inordinate amount of time and money to get a few more hundred voters out so that they can claim victory. Only between 120,000 and 150,000 Democrats and 80,000 to 90,000 Republicans are expected to vote so a swing of 1,000 votes is significant.
This leads to some creative ways to influense people to come out. So for example, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has contracted with a local supermarket chain to deliver platters of sandwiches for pre-caucus parties at caucus sites late Thursday afternoon. The idea is to entice people to arrive early and thus give Clinton aides time to see who has not shown up and get them to the caucus before the doors close at 7 p.m. Obama has promised baby-sitting to any parent who needs it caucus night.
The media is partly to blame here. It often treats the winners as superstars so candidates feel compelled to do well for fear that their campaign will implode as was the case for Howard Dean in 2004. So a strung showing by Mike Huckabee will likely push him from the 2nd tier of Republican candidates to the 1st tier while a bad showing John Edwards could knock him right out of the race.

Why the Iowa caucuses are given more attention than the New York and California primaries will never make sense to me.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

One Hit Wonder

Haddaway - What is love (1993)

Teen Gives Birth at McDonald, Never Realized She was Pregnant

A baby was born in a Washington State McDonald's restroom and the mother says she didn't know she was pregnant. She seemed to have figured out how to get pregnant but seems to be as far as it goes.

Sixteen-year old Danille Miller was working the nightshift at the McDonald's in Vancouver, Washington when she suddenly ran into the restroom feeling ill. Her co-worker, Jaynae Herrera ran in after her.

Herrera asked if Miller was okay but something was definitely not normal. Miller was in pain and shaking. And to her shock, she was giving birth to a baby, right over the toilet.

Jaynae called 9-1-1 and with the assistance of a dispatcher, helped deliver the baby. One of the first things the dispatcher said to do when the baby was delivered was to get the baby out of the toilet.

Doctors say the baby was carried to about seven months. They say the mother didn't know she was pregnant because the baby had a problem that caused him to be especially "quiet" in the womb.

Toronto's First Birth and Death in 2008

Toronto saw its first born arrive just 4-seconds after midnight, and first killed about 18 hours later. A 14-year old is dead, a 17-year old male and 15-year old female have been arrested, and a 2-day old baby warming the lives of new parents.

Seems no different than 2007.

Weather is Hot and Cold

It's darm cold outside - well below the average normal high for this time of year, which is about -1C (34F).

Really tough since I just got back from Philly where it was a comfortable 11C (52F). Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold weather statement for the city. But since global warming weather patterns are no longer what they used to be (i.e. somewhat predictable and relatively consistent over the years), we've learned in recent years that just about anything can happen.

While today is a bone-chilling -14C (7F) with a wind chill of -24C (-11F), in just 5 days we might see highs of up to 13C (56F). That's a range of almost 27C (49F), and not at all normal.

Bundle up today, but be prepared to take it all off next week.

Dancing Traffic Reporter - Watch more free videos

Liberal Lean located this NYC traffic reporter who breaks into a dance about a minute into her report. Obviously this is a small local station.

So what does the weather reporter do?

NHL Winter Classic 2008

The outdoor game at Rich Stadium yesterday was an excellent idea. It got the NHL world-wide coverage and positive coverage for once. It was front page news every where. Too bad it was going opposite a couple of college Bowl games. It showcased the NHL's premiere talent, Sidney Crosby and he did not disappoint. You could see how excited the players were to be playing a game outside just like when we were all kids but in front of 72,000 people. The snow flying around only added to the game.

Some people have been critical of the game. They thought it was boring and poor quality hockey. The game reflected the original roots of the game and although the play was slower than usual due to the conditions, it was great to watch. I love to watch NFL football in a snow storm because the challenges presented by weather make the game different than most and for me more interesting. Although I wasn't thrilled about all the delays to fix the ice and resurface in the middle of periods. When I played in outdoor rinks we would put a pylon over holes and you just skated around them. The game took 3 1/2 hours to play.

Now I watched the game in the United States and therefore got to watch the NBC coverage. They used the game to promote their NHL schedule which begins January 20th. NBC used Bob Costas to cover the game and had Mike Milbury doing colour commentary. I thought Milbury was terrible. The low point of the telecast was a promotion for the January 20th game which is between the Boston Bruins and NY Rangers. NBC showed an old clip of Milbury when he played for Boston, where during a brawl he climbed into the stands to fight with a Ranger fan and beat the fan with is shoe (see video below). Obviously this was done with Milbury's consent and he appeared proud of the moment. The piece was an embarrassment for the NHL and only took away from the landmark game being televised.
UPDATE: NBC is happy with the ratings so we can expect more outdoor games in the future.

Pseudonym's Review of 2007

Thank God Tie Domi retires. Leaf Nation survives.
Gaza becomes Hamastan. Disturbing tragedy at Virginia Tech.
More terrorist threats but this time in Boston.
We found out not all names are appropriate for teddy bears.
18 year old California pole vaulter Allison Stokke becomes another Internet celebrity.
Michael Vicks was not a dog lover.

We found out how close Marci and Jan Brady were.
Canadian dollar rises to be on par with American dollar.
Unfortunately gas prices rise too.
Marion Jones gives back medals but gets to keep millions earned.
Stephen Hawking goes into space.
German polar bear rivals Paris Hilton as a celebrity.
We discover Larry Craig uses a wide stance.
California goes on fire.
Bush gets warm welcome in Brazil.
Bin Laden gets a make over. Mrs. Pseudonym changes hair stylists.
More Americans oppose the war.
Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate 40 years with no Stanley Cup. And they miss out on making the playoffs again.
We found out there are no homosexuals in Iran.
Bush makes a fashion statement in his crocs and socks complete with Presidential seal.
Britney shaves head and attacks a car. Just a normal day for the famous Train Wreck.
Alex Rodriguez enjoys a nice lunch in Toronto with his mistress.
Britney turns heads at MTV award show. However, mostly from people running in the opposite direction.
Toronto police use videos to capture criminals including this guy accused of murder on a subway.
OJ writes a book in which he tells on how he did it, gets back his stuff and lands in jail. Not bad for one year.
Don Imus gets fired, sues for millions and gets back on air. Rutgers' women basketball team only get free publicity.
Techies line up for days to buy one of the first iPhones then find out a few months later price is dropped.
Toronto had 84 homicides in 2007. Most notorious murder took the life of Jordan Manners and occurred at his high school.
Canadian pairs skater Jessica Dube has face sliced open by partner proving how tough figure skaters can be.
Rudy Giuliani's daughter Caroline supports Barack Obama. Lets world know on Facebook.
Baseball's Year of Shame ended with the release of the Mitchell Report. Cheaters make millions but fans for some reason keep coming out to watch.
Celebrity DUI was big in 2007 and we saw poor Paris dragged off to jail.

Elisha Cuthbert's New Years Message for the Paparazzi

Happy 38th Birthday Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer