Saturday, January 12, 2008

2nd Murder of the Year

One person was killed and another injured in two separate shooting incidents in the downtown area, including one involving a suspect firing a police officer's gun.

The homicide involved a man who died after being shot in the head near the Brass Rail Tavern at Yonge and Bloor Sts. around 1 a.m. today.

Three suspects were seen fleeing the scene with one being described as wearing a white baseball cap backwards, black leather jacket and blue jeans.

The New Knut

You may remember the old cuddly little German polar bear who was abandoned by his mother at the Berlin Zoo. Well move over Knut, there's a cute cub in town. At the Nuremberg Zoo (something about German polar bears).

This little cub, whom you can see in between the mother Vera's legs, was also abandoned by her and now has to be bottlefed by zookeepers. Originally the zoo was going to let Mother Nature take its course - ie., leave to the mother to keep the cub alive but they changed their mind.

The thinking is that the polar bears become distracted or angered by the visitors taking pictures of them and their new babies, so they abandon them. This makes you wonder if Britney Spears is a polar bear.

Anyway here the cute cub with the zookeepers at the Nuremberg Zoo who may have staged this whole thing in order to get as much attention as Knut got for the Berlin Zoo. The cub has its own website.

Meghan McCain's Blog

John McCain's daughter Meghan has a blog too and unlike Giuliani's daughter Caroline, she actually supports her dad.

Fortunately Meghan lloks like her mom and not her dad!

Credit to Firestarter5

Bush Makes More Friends in the Middul East

And don't forget to visit Bush's own blog for more of his daily adventures in the Middul East!

DUI on Lawnmower

...and another Taser victim.

Celebrity Apprentice - Episode 2

Already my favourite all-time Apprentice contestant has to be Kiss frontman, Gene Simmons. He is brilliant, confident, funny and totally non in awe of Donald Trump and his offspring. In fact, he took quite a cavalier attitude with Ivanka who reacted by pouting.

This Week’s Task: Pedigree wants a commercial plugging their dog adoption program, which leads to an ad that involves a partially nude Lennox Lewis and any adorable puppies.

Simmons’ Contribution: Gene doesn't want to waste time meeting the Pedigree rep. Yeah, why would you waste time meeting the person who is ULTIMATELY DECIDING YOUR FATE? The guys are throwing around concepts and they all suck. Surprisingly, Stephen Baldwin (the 20 year film veteran, as he calls himself) came up with the winning idea. When Ivanka stops in, Gene manages to offend her about seven times over.

Boardroom: In the boardroom, Ivanka wastes no time calling out Gene for his rude behavior. The Pedigree rep also felt slighted by Gene. Omarosa jumps on that like a moth to a flame and tries to pit Trump against Gene but he apologizes and may get himself out of this mess. Okay, NOW we see the commercials in full. The men's commercial is fantastic and Trump and Pedigree agree. Gene should kiss the ground that Stephen walks on.

The Donald almost reduced Nadia Comaneci, once so steely tough as the world's greatest gymnast, to tears right before she got the boot for having a hard time ordering food. Clearly, Nadia was out of her element on the show. Take her away from a beam and she seems a bit out of sorts. But like last week, his rationale was so lame. She isn't a leader (though she had yet to be a project manager).

Meanwhile Gene Simmons is saving this wreck of a show.

No Pants! Subway Ride.

Today is the 7th Annual No Pants! Subway Ride in New York City. It takes place at 3 pm and participants must abide by the following rules:

1) Willing to take pants off on subway
2) Able to keep a straight face about it

Details are found here. As well, there are regional events including one in Toronto. Here are the instructions:

Ride the TTC without your pants. You can wear socks, shoes, boots, coats, gloves, shirts and hats - just no pants. Dress warmly as you will have no pants. (Please NO THONGS!! it's just impolite. You might get jumped, groped or thrown in jail). Try not to wear underwear that screams "Pulling a Prank."The hard part is to be completely solid about it. Do not break a smile or get all giggly about it. You have to pretend like you don't know any of the other pantless riders. And when asked about it, don't acknowledge the wierdness. You should be acting like it is perfectly normal to have been waiting for and riding the TTC without your pants!

Wouldn't it make more sense to hold the event in July?

History of First Round Maple Leaf Draft Picks

Well it appears that the Leafs will end up with a high pick in Amateur Draft this June. Coming last doesn't guarantee the first pick anymore because it's based on a lottery. Below is a 20-year history of Leaf first round picks. Even when they keep their pick, the player doesn't become the impact player you would expect from a first rounder. If they can move some players this year for a first round pick, it will be the first time since 1989 that they will have more than one pick in the first round. Those picks didn't turn out so well anyway.

Year, Prospect, Rank
2007 – Traded for Toskala
2006 – Tlusty (13)
2005 – Rask (21) trade for Raycroft
2004 – Traded for Leetch
2003 – Traded for Nolan
2002 – Steen (24)
2001 – Colaiacovo (17)
2000 – Boyes (24) traded for Nolan
1999 – Cereda (24)
1998 – Antropov (10)
1997 – Traded for Clark
1996 – Traded for Yushkevich
1995 – Ware (15)
1994 – Fichaud (16)
1993 - Jonsson (12)
1992 - Convery (8)
1991 - Traded for Kurvers (turned out to be Niedermayer)
1990 - Berehowsky (10)
1989 - Thornton (3), Rob Pearson (12), Bancroft (21)
1988 - Scott Pearson (6)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shameful Photo Op from Hillary (the others do it too)

Just what the public is dying to see, photos of enthusiastic New Yorkers manning the phones for Hillary.

Tata Motors Introduces $2500 Car

India's Tata Motors has unveiled the world's cheapest car the Tata Nano, which will sell for 100,000 rupees or $2,500. The four-door vehicle, which can comfortably seat four people, has a 33 horsepower, 624 cubic centimeter, two-cylinder gasoline engine in the rear. The basic model has no radio, sun visors, passenger-side mirror, air conditioning, power steering, antilock brakes, airbags or electric windows, though a couple of deluxe models will offer air conditioning. It also has no rear seat belts. There is a small trunk, big enough for a duffel bag.
I may give up my plans to purchase a rickshaw not.

Interesting Public Health Promotion

It was Mighty Windy Yesterday

Sections of Toronto's downtown core shut were down for fear of falling debris. A marquee atop the CIBC building at 199 Bay St. had been damaged by the heavy winds, causing debris to plummet 58-stories to the streets below. I hope the owner of the Volvo below wasn't sitting in the car when the toppled tree hit it.

Totally unrelated to the high winds in Toronto, the Maple Leafs were blown away by the Anaheim Ducks last night in California.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Huckabee attracts an elegant crowd

Geroge Bush has a Blog too

Click here!

Polar Bears on Hard Times Because of Global Warming

Even Grandpa was a Punk at one time

Mark Malkoff is living in IKEA

Mark Malkoff is back at it again. Last year I did a post about his film "171 Starbucks" in which he bought something at all 171 Starbucks stores in Manhattan in one day. Well he has a new project.

With his apartment being fumigated, he needed a place to live for a week. So the good folks at IKEA in Paramus, New Jersey allowed Malkoff to take up residence amongst their fine Swedish furniture for one week.The odyssey began Monday January 7th. Each day he has video post on his website.

Dog Shoots and Kills Hunter

If you think your chances of getting shot by your dog when hunting is low, think again. For the second time in the past 4 months the media is reporting that a dog has shot a hunter. Only this time the hunter was killed. Looks like you have a better chance of being shot by a dog than vice President Cheney.

A Texas hunter died over the weekend after his dog apparently stepped on a loaded shotgun and it went off. Perry Price III died from severe blood loss after being shot while he hunted geese about 60 miles east of Houston.

He placed the weapon in the back of his truck and was about to open the tailgate to release his chocolate Labrador retriever named Arthur when the gun fired. The dog's paw prints were later found on the gun.

Price's hunting partner tried to give his friend first aid and drove him to get help but the man died at a hospital.

Excessive Force by Police?

I find this story disturbing as it seems to suggest police action and language was excessive and abusive. Or maybe it's just a good idea to be hanging out in Toronto's Entertainnment District in the early hours.

In February of 2006, Toronto police officers arrested Irshad Ahmed and Omar Betty for failure to stop, failure to comply, and obstructing police. Their trial is currently being conducted and some interesting evidence has emerged in the form of a voice-mail recording.

When Ahmed and Betty were stopped by police, Ahmed immediately called his lawyer. His lawyer's answering machine captured the entire exchange between the suspects and the police. The tape captures officers telling Ahmed and Betty to open the doors and get out of their vehicle. When the two did not immediately comply, the police smashed the window open and used a taser on Ahmed, before he was handcuffed and placed on the ground. What was particularly striking was the contrast between the profanity used by the police and the seemingly compliant behaviour of Ahmed who repeatedly addressed the officer as "sir." As well, one of the officers on the tape can clearly be heard to tell Ahmed, "I'll break your fucking ponytail". The National Post has posted the recording online.

According to the National Post, Constable David Rubbini (one of the officers involved in the arrest) testified that it was a "high risk" stop because the Entertainment District is a "dangerous" area.

It makes me suspicious when the only charges relate to failure to comply and obstructing police. The recording only confirms my concern that the charges are intended to cover up for over-reaction by the police officers involved.

No It Wasn't SARS

No one mentioned SARS yesterday but it had to have been on people's mind when an airplane from Tel Aviv landed at Pearson Airport in Toronto with a bunch of sick people. Seventy-five out of two hundred passengers were detained when eight people took ill during the flight.

The passengers were segregated and given masks and white suits to put on and an number of passengers were examined by doctors. One passenger captured the scene on their cellphone camera. The majority were sent home after about an hour but some were sent to hospital for observation.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pseudo Handicaps New Hampshire

Clinton (39%) - rises from the dead, must be a lot of blue-haired ladies in NH
Obama (37%) - still the guy to beat
Edwards (17%) - poverty train is going no where, hair still looks great
Richardson (5%) - thanks for dropping by for coffee

McCain (37%) - the comeback kid
Romney (31%) - #2 tries harder (and spends more money)
Huckabee (11%) - it was God's will, Gomer's guitar gently weeps
Guiliani (9%) - Rudy you barely beat Paul, time to pack it in
Paul (8%) - invisible man gaining some mo
Thompson (0%) - hope you can make bus fare back to TN

Roger Clemens Defence Appears Too Staged for Me

Roger Clemens is making his own case for the defence, between his appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday and his extremely weird press conference yesterday.

I thought Mike Wallace let him off too easy. That's not the Wallace I remember. Wallace let him slide on the Andy Pettitte question. Pettitte confirmed McNamee's statement about taking HGH. Wallace asked why McNamee would lie about Clemens but tell the truth about Pettitte. Clemens answered that the cases are "totally different.'' Well, sure, but that's not an answer to that question. Clemens on a number of question never fully answered the questions or just gave the audience a dumbfounded look when he had no good answer.

That 17-minute taped played by Clemens at yesterday's press conference between he and McNamme was just so bizarre. Neither said anything of significance. Funny how neither Clemens nor McNamee called the other a liar or admitted they had lied. What was the point of the call. Well I think it was staged to create ambiguity. And Clemens lawyers were right there to tape it for the world. It was the least McNamee could do for ratting out his friend. Nice touch.

5-month-old daughter photographed with every presidential candidate

A New Hampshire resident decided to enshrine the next president in his family scrapbook. A sucker for political kitsch, he set out to photograph his 5-month-old daughter, Dahlia, in the arms of every candidate with a prayer of making it to the White House.

The rules were simple:

1. No actual kissing. No Democrat or Republican is putting saliva on Baby Dahlia.

2. No pictures with former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel. He’s way too creepy.

Mayor Posts Racy Photo and She Don't Care

Residents of this tiny town of Arlington, Oregon are in an uproar over photos posted on mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist's MySpace page.

Seems the mayor posed in nothing but her bra and panties. On a firetruck.

The mayor has commented that she doesn't feel she's done anything wrong, but some residents strongly disagree.

The photos of Kontur-Gronquist were reportedly taken three years ago before she became mayor and her MySpace page is only visable to MySpace Tom and her nine other friends.

Besides acting as Arlington’s mayor, she is also the local fire department’s executive secretary. Sounds like a fun loving bunch at the fire hall.

Except they are all over the Internet now. We are afterall in the MySpace and YouTube era.

So do you think what Mayor Kontur-Gronquist did was appropriate? Voice your opinion on my poll on the sidebar.

Bush is Going to Solve Palestinian Dispute

President Bush is visiting the Middle East because he would like to add to his already impressive legacy by establishing a Palestinian state by the end of his term in office. The lame duck president along with a weak Palestinian President and Israeli Prime Minister are going to accomplish what others have failed to do over the next 12 months.

I'm unfurling the "Mission Accomplished" banner right now.

To show their support, Hamas in the Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon have been firing rockets into Israel during Bush's visit.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas will begin meeting on core issues but both are so weak politically that they are in no position to make compromises or take bold positions. Both leaders are desperate for a deal but have no real mandate to make one. There is little media attention being given to the discussions because of the prevailing pessimism. Here are the key issues as I see it that need to be resolved if an agreement is to be reached.

1. The Palestinians insist on the right of Palestinians and descendants displaced by the Israeli War of Independence in 1948 to be allowed to return to their original homes if they wish. Israel argues that this would drastically alter the composition of their country and destroy its Jewish character. An alternative might be to provide monetary compensation but the Palestinians have never agreed to this.

2. Both Israelis and Palestinians have long claimed Jerusalem as their capital and each side has holy sites in the old city. Prior to the 1967 war, the city was divided and Israel insists it will never give back East Jerusalem which not is the home of 200,000 Israelis. A compromise that has been floated around for some time is to have the city administered by an international authority. To date, this has not been accepted by either side.

3. Palestinians insist that Israel give back all land captured in 1967 and return to the border that existed before the war. The problem is that there are now 275,000 Israelis living in settlements in the West Bank. Removing them will certainly lead to significant civil unrest and violence. Removing just 9,000 settlers from Gaza as part of the Israeli withdrawal was a major trauma to the country. One idea would be to trade land in Israel for land containing major settlements in the West Bank. This would still mean removing remote, smaller settlements which contain the most radical settlers.

4. What is to be done about Gaza? Hamas does not agree to making any concessions to Israel and does not accept its right to even exist. As long as Hamas continues to fire missiles into Israel, there can be no peace agreement. Does that mean involving Iran, Hamas' major sponsor? Well, that's not likely to happen.

5. The least discussed issue is a very significant one - access to water. The region has limited water resources and as I understand this issue, Israel began operating a dam in 1964 that diverts water from the Sea of Galilee, a major Jordan River water provider. Jordan and Syria also divert water flowing to the Jordan. A lack of cooperation between the countries in the regional has created a water crisis and is destroying the ecosystem. I understand the Dead Sea is slowly evaporating and will one day disappear.

Get a MP3 Player With Your Taser

It's not bad enough that they are selling Tasers like Tupperware but now you can one accessorized by buying a holster with an MP3 players. Sigh, wish i was making this up.

The player, which has a 1-GB capacity that can hold about 150 songs, is embedded in a holster that slips on your belt. Feel the need to zap someone and you can unholster the Taser, use the built-in laser pointer to aim, and bam - a couple of darts carrying 50,000 volts hits your victim.

Official site here.

I would hold off until they make one that can send and receive email.

Big Thaw in Toronto Continues

...for at least one more day. Went to work today without an overcoat but I did bring the umbrella because its wet out there. Another record was broken today when the thermometer hit 15C (58F) breaking the previous high of 11.7C (53F).

The western Canada needs to bundle up today.

Vancouver 1C (34F)
Edmonton -15C (5F)
Regina -17C (2F)
Winnipeg -12C (10F)
Montreal 7C (45F)
Halifax 7C (45F)

Man Chases Down Hit and Run Driver

When you think about it, this is a remarkable story. Over the weekend a six-year-old girl was getting off a TTC streetcar near Dundas and Jarvis when a van roared by the streetcar at a fairly high rate of speed.

The TTC driver leaned on the gong in an attempt to warn both the youngster and the van driver, but it was too late. The mirror on the car hit the girl and she bounced off the side and onto the street. The man behind the wheel stopped for a moment, looked at what he'd done, and then got out of the car and took off on foot.

But he didn't get far. A passerby who saw what happened and chased the cowardly motorist down the street. He eventually caught up to him, tackled him, brought him back to the accident scene and held him until police arrived.

Naturally, the van was stolen. Andrew Thurston is facing a number of charges, including fail to remain, possession of stolen property and driving without a licence.

Fortunately, the child was treated in hospital for minor injuries and released.

I'm sure the unnamed Good Samaritan will receive a citation in the near future.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Is This Considered Child Abuse?

TTC Violence Hits YouTube

A recently posted video on YouTube featured an extended fight on a packed TTC bus has recently surfaced, causing a major public relations problem for the transit commission. The video was taken on one of the city's all night bus routes, officially known as the Blue Night line, but affectionately dubbed "The Vomit Comet". Seems the driver did nothing while brawl broke out on the bus. Makes you wonder how often it happens.

How the 60 Minutes Interview with Roger Clemens Should Have Gone

Sweeney Todd Review

I saw Sweeney Todd on the weekend. Broadway musicals typically don't come off to well on the big screen. Just take a look at recent disappointments like Rent, Phantom of the Opera and Evita. A hit like Dreamgirls is rare. But Sweeney Todd is the hands of Gothic master, Tim Burton, is no disappointment. Coincidentally I saw the Broadway road show just a month ago and it confirmed for me that this was an excellent adaption.

The story is pretty simple. Sweeney Todd a barber, played by Johnny Depp, has been released by prison on trumped up charges. Let's just say he wants revenge and has serious anger management issues. Sweeney becomes a Victorian London serial killer who slits the throats of his victims as they sit in his barber chair. The bodies are then dumped in the cellar, ground up and served as meat pies in the shop of Mrs. Lovett (played by Helena Bonham Carter), his partner in crime. The object of Sweeney's rage is the evil Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), a villain right out of a 19th-century melodrama. The cast is just marvelous. Depp is as good as he has ever been. He is mesmerizing when he sings a love song, "My Friends", to his barber blades. Bonham Carter is extraordinary and will surely get an Oscar nomination. She creates Mrs. Lovett as a woman in love with an unreachable man, sucked into his madness in the vain hope he'll respond to her.

There is a lot of blood in this movie. It doesn't just ooze out but sprays out as if you were in a car wash. The sets are incredible but that has always been Tim Burton's strength. I've never found him to be much of a storyteller. His 19th century London Gothic sets are a perfect backdrop for this film.

Feels Like Spring

We're getting a break from winter. The temperature outside is currently 11C (52C) and it is supposed to go higher. That smashes the record high for January 7 which was 6.5C (44F). These are typical temperature here in April. The normal high for this time of the year is -2C (28F).

It's not really that nice outside -dull, foggy and rainy. But heck in Edmonton it's -10C and snowing.
UPDATE: It's now 13C (55F). I'm going to change into shorts.
UPDATE: At midnight it reached 14.9C (58F) breaking the record by an incrdible 8.4C (14F).

Is 2008 Going to be an Election Year in Canada?

The National Post reports that recent polls by Ipsos Reid for CanWest News Service show that support for the Conservatives among women trails support among men by a significant margin.
In four polls through Nov. 26, support for the party among men averaged 42%, compared with 33% among women. In the most recent Ipsos poll, released Dec. 22, the gap spiked to 15 percentage points. Some 43% of men said they would vote for the Conservatives, compared with only 28% of women.

Pollsters continue to suggest that Conservatives cannot win a majority with such low support from women.

In other polling news, a Decima poll suggests that Canadians would prefer a minority government. The survey asked respondents to choose the kind of split they'd ideally like to see in a hypothetical Parliament of 100 seats. The results was:
Liberals - 36 seats
Conservatives - 31 seats
NDP - 15 seats
Bloc Quebecois - 10 seats
Green - 8 seats

Projecting those percentages to the actual House of Commons of 308 seats:
Liberals - 111 (96 currently)
Conservatives - 95 (126)
NDP - 46 (30)
Bloc Quebecois - 31 (49)
Green - 25 (0)

So what does all this mean? Are we looking at a federal election in 2008?

An election today would not likely change much. The support for federal parties has not shifted very much in the past 2 years. Forcing an election is sometimes a roll of the dice. The public has not been paying too much attention to Ottawa but that changes during an election campaign and support can shift significantly in a sort period of time. Political parties going into election convince themselves that they have the right platform and messages to make gains in Parliament.

So we might very well see an election as early as this spring. Harper has been itching for an election for the past 12 months but hasn't been able to maneuver the opposition to defeat the government. Dion has had enough time now as Opposition Leader that he might feel more confident about campaigning. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Celebrity Apprentice

My wife watched the first episode of Celebrity Apprentice (OK, I joined her). It was a little more entertaining than I thought. Largely because the celebrities aren't nearly as business-like as Trump's usual "job applicants" and more entertaining.

The celebrities are not exactly A listers. Half I have never heard of. Vincent Pastore who played “Big Pussy” on The Sopranos was hilarious. But Gene Simmons stole the show.

They were split into a women's team and a men's team. The task was to earn the most money selling hot dogs on the streets on New York. As the two teams planned out their strategies, Simmons got on his phone and began calling friends and acquaintances with deep pockets to come to New York and buy a hot dog for $5,000 (the money goes to charity). The men earned $52,286 to the ladies' $17,038.

The boardroom scene was pretty lame. This was a simple task and success was achieved by hitting on rich friends. Tiffany Fallon, a Playboy Playmate was fired by Trump because she didn't call up Hugh Heffner to buy a hot dog for big bucks. But except for Marilu Henner, no one else did.

Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes

Like millions of others, I watched Roger Clemens interview by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes tonight. By the way did you see the wrinkles on Wallace?

Clemens displayed a lot of anger and indignation. He strongly denied the accusations regarding steroid use. He quite rightly pointed out that in America people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Except that applies to the justice system and not the court of public opinion. He has not been charged with anything which is why is was on 60 Minutes.

He repeated over and over that events stated by Brian McNamee "never happened". He could not explain why McNamee would make any of these accusations. Clemens indicated that he might take a lie-detector test but never said he would. However, he also claimed that they weren't accurate. To me, he was already covering himself in the event he took the test and failed.
The most troubling thing he said was that he wouldn't take steroids because they make your body breakdown and shorten your career. So why do athletes take them if that was true?

Overall, his answers to the questions left me as empty as a dinner out at McDonalds. Being angry is not synonymous with being truthful.

Poll Results: Most Bizarre Event of 2007

The voting was close on the most bizarre event for 2007 but revelation that Marcia and Jan Brady had lesbian sex received the most votes from my loyal readers. I would have to agree with them on this one. Tied for second was the 50,000 visitors to this blog and that someone on TV didn't know the world is round. It seems Senator Craig's wide stance what not a big shocker. Anti-gay Republicans that turn out to be homosexuals seems to happen on a regular basis now. By the way, how is Mark Foley doing?

Marcia Brady had lesbian sex with Jan Brady (19%)
50,000 visited this blog (17%)
Sherry Shepherd of The View thinks world is flat (17%)
Ahmadinejad tells students "We don't have any gay people" (11%)
Britney Spears goes over deep end and shaves head (9%)
Three Republican candidates don't believe in evolution (9%)
Kramer goes on racist tirade (7%)
Senator Craig's wide stance gets him in trouble (3%)
Amy Winehouse song about Rehab climbs the charts (3%)