Saturday, February 02, 2008

SCTV

The best comedy that ever happened on TV as far as I'm concerned was SCTV, a Canadian sketch comedy show featuring Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, the late, great John Candy, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, the brilliant Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas. Better than Saturday Night Live at its best.




Britney's 2001 Super Bowl Commercial

...seems so long ago now.

Rick Mercer Special Report - Snow in Toronto



Thought it was appropriate after yesterday's big storm.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Improv Everywhere - Frozen Grand Central

Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Since 2001, Improv Everywhere has executed over 70 missions involving thousands of undercover agents. The group is based in New York City.

On a cold Saturday in New York City, the world’s largest train station came to a sudden halt. Over 200 Improv Everywhere Agents froze in place at the exact same second for five minutes in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Station. Over 500,000 people rush through Grand Central every day, but today, things slowed down just a bit as commuters and tourists alike stopped to notice what was happening around them.


Mug Shot of the Week


Whispers and Shouts


An Offer You Can't Refuse

Sarah Silverman's Anniversary Gift to Jimmy Kimmel



What makes this funny is that there is some bad blood between Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel after this well publicized incident about two year ago:

Phony Do-Gooder


This SUV owner in California would like you to know that it's not furnished with any animal products, okay? Well, it still grosses me out. Sure the SUV is a hybrid which to some people means you can now justify the oversized vehicle. My Toyota hatchback gets much better mileage even without a politically correct bumper sticker.

'Art Bomb" Girl in Court Today


Remember the MIT student who was arrested at Logan Airport in Boston with an "art bomb"? Well, Star Simpson, the MIT student appeared in court today. She asked for the charges to be dropped because the shirt was a form of free speech and that she had worn it days before without it causing a problem.

Thomas Dwyer Jr., a lawyer for Simpson, said his client didn't think her shirt would scare anyone. He said she'd been wearing the shirt for several days on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, and it had not alarmed anyone. He said many young people are fascinated by technology and wear clothing with flashing lights.

The judge in the case will decide whether or not to drop the charges on March 21.

Will John Tory Survive?

Ever since John Tory's defeatin October's provincial election, the knives have been out for him. A mix of established and grassroots party members have been calling for Tory's head, and they'll finally have a chance at the Progressive Conservative Party's General Meeting at the end of the month.

GrassrootsPC, an anti-Tory website, argues that the man has lost a provincial and mayoral election—and can't even win a seat. Hi opponents don't want to give Tory a second chance in 2011. To counter the insurgents, Tory has his own website, TogetherWithTory.ca and he has some high profile supporters like ex-Minister Janet Ecker.

I think another strong motivator for some grassroots members to remove John Tory is
that he does not embrace true to conservative values. John Tory is a moderate or "Red Tory", and if his replacement comes from Stephen Harper's inner circle ( eg., John Baird, Jim Flaherty), as some have suggested, the party could become more of a conservative option for those inclined to vote that way. Ambitious right wing members of Tory's caucus may also be behind the grassroots movement to dump him.

NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings

Here are the mid-term rankings of players eligible for the 2008 NHL Draft by the NHL Central Scouting. The top 5 players look to be extremely strong so the current Maple Leaf slump and injuries will go a long way to help them in the future.

North American skaters

Steven Stamkos, C, Sarnia (OHL); 2. Drew Doughty, D, Guelph (OHL); 3. Zach Bogosian, D, Peterborough (OHL); 4. Kyle Beach, C, Everett (WHL); 5. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Niagara (OHL); 6. Tyler Myers, D, Kelowna (WHL); 7. Luke Schenn, D, Kelowna (WHL); 8. Colby Robak, D, Brandon (WHL); 9. Colin Wilson, C, Boston U. (Hockey East); 10. Cody Hodgson, C, Brampton (OHL).

European skaters

1. Nikita Filatov, LW, CSKA (Russia); 2. Evgeny Grachev, C, Yaroslavl 2 (Russia 2); 3. Mattias Tedenby, W, HV 71 Jr. (Sweden Jr.); 4. Vjateslav Voinov, D, Chelyabinsk (Russia); 5. Roman Josi, D, Bern (Switzerland); 6. Anton Gustafsson, C, Frolunda Jr. (Sweden Jr.); 7. Dimitri Kugryshev, RW, CSKA 2 (Russia 2); 8. Viktor Tikhonov, W, Cherepovets (Russia); 9. Kristoffer Berglund, D, Bjorkloven (Sweden); 10. Tomas Kundratek, D, Prostejov (Czech Div. 1).

Hillary is Tracy Flick

Slate has put together this cute video comparing Hillary Clinton to the fictional character Tracy Flick from the movie Election staring Reese Witherspoon. A clever analogy because at times Hillary gives the impression that she is destined to be President just like Tracy. The quote picked up by Slate is a perect fit. "Don't you just hate when some upstart comes along and threatens your best-laid plans?"

Microsoft Trying to Buy Yahoo!


Microsoft has made an unsolicited $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo!. The offer is at $31/share, which is 62% more than Yahoo's closing price. Microsoft is planning to use the purchase to take on Google. At the moment Microsoft appears to be losing the Internet war and is desperate to battle back. It's a huge gamble as the price is very steep and it will take quite a while to integrate such a massive acquisition.

Stay tuned!

Enjoy Driving Today

Highway 401 and Yonge Street this morning.






Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nader May Run for President Again


Ralph Nader may run for President again because he believes the current contenders aren't standing up enough to corporate interests. This is probably not good for the Democrats.

Some Democrats blame Nader for spoiling former Vice President Al Gore's bid for the presidency in 2000 by taking support away from him in Florida, the state that decided the election. Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida; President George W. Bush ended up winning the state by just 537 votes over Gore.

Nader has set up an exploratory committee and is in the process of filing papers with the U.S. Federal Election Commission.

Toronto Bad Weather Watch

This is what's heading our way. Should hit overnight.



America's Most Miserable Cities


It seems Forbes has lists on everything including the most miserable American cities to live in. The nightmare city is Detroit because it has the country's highest rate for violent crime, the second-highest unemployment rate, and needs more Superfund dollars allocated to clean up contaminated toxic waste sites.

Misery is defined as a state of great unhappiness and emotional distress. The economic indicator most often used to measure misery is the Misery Index. Forbes ranked 150 cities on six criteria and added their ranks together to establish what they call the Misery Measure.

Here is the top 10 (with their worst problems):

1. Detroit, Michigan (pollution, unemployment, crime)
2. Stockton, California (commuting, taxes, unemployment, crime)
3. Flint, Michigan (crime, unemployment)
4. New York, New York (taxes, commuting)
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (commuting, taxes, crime)
6. Chicago, Illinois (commuting)
7. Los Angeles, California (pollution, commuting, taxes)
8. Modesto, California (unemployment)
9. Charlotte, North Carolina (crime)
10. Providence, Rhode Island (taxes)

Parade Planned for Patriots Getting Some Flack


The city of Boston is planning a parade for this Tuesday to celebrate the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. Yes there is a little arrogance at work here but afterall they haven't lost yet this year. Perhaps New York City is also working on a parade too but just not being as public about it.
The contraversy regarding the parade is more about the date. Tuesday is also Super Duper Tuesday when 20 states including Massachusetts hold primaries. However, the parade will require major streets being closed and make getting around difficult. The parade route would pass by several polling stations.

Elderly and disabled groups in Boston are furious that the city would choose Tuesday for the celebration. Groups are advising voters to get absentee ballots now in case they can't get to polling stations on Tuesday. It would be easier to pick another day but 8 star players are leaving on Wednesday for the Pro Bowl game and the team wants the parade to happen before the team breaks up for the winter.

This wouldn't be a problem for Miami since they have already had their primary. Oh and the fact that the Dolphins went 1-15 this season.

The Fletcher-Sundin Summit has Happened

Howard Berger of The Fan590 reports that the much talked about meeting between Cliff Fletcher and Mats Sundin occured on Wendnesday afternoon in Raleigh. Fletcher is likely meeting with mnay people in the organization in order to initiate some planning for the future but the meeting with Sundin has additional significance.

The Leaf media horde has been obssessed with a Sundin trade and has hounded the Leaf captain for the past 2 months about whether he would waive the no trade clause in his contract. This is the same group of dilusional reporters that has speculated for years that Sundin wanted out of Toronto. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Sundin does not want to be a rent-a-player. He has indicated that he would not get much gratification from winning a Stanley Cup in a uniform he is uncomfortable wearing. He is not a mercenary-type in the mold of a Roger Clemens or Peter Forsberg. And he is not about to walk this summer as speculated by the same misguided media.

Fletcher did report back that he and Sundin had a lengthy discussion on a number of issues including Sundin's future. Neither Fletcher or Sundin will comment publicly on the discussion over the next month. Of course this will not stop the media from continuing to hound both men.

So what does this all mean? What is significant is that Fletcher did not announce that the Leafs would not be trading Sundin. Had he made that public then all the speculation would end (and shift to other veteran players). Fletcher is very fond of Sundin and my guess is he would be almost as reluctant as Sundin to accept a trade. However, both men understand how a trade can change the fortunes of this team.

I don't think Fletcher will trade Sundin unless someone brings him an offer that literally will blow his mind. Should that happen then Fletcher would likely be able to convince Sundin to go. And whether he re-signs with the Leafs in the summer depends on whether Sundin's comfort level in a new city changes if that team goes deep in the playoffs. If Sundin is not traded then he will be signed for another 2 or 3 years over the course of the spring or summer.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It Even Snowed in Jerusalem




20 Highest Grossing Female Musicians

Forbes 2007 list of the highest grossing females just came out and no big surprises here. Sure enough Britney Spears is still in the top 20. It takes a lot of cash to be as crazy as she is. Three Canadians on the list - Dion, Lavigne and Furtado.

1. Madonna - $72 million
2. Barbra Streisand - $60 million
3. Celine Dion - $45 million
4. Shakira - $38 million
5. Beyoncé - $27 million
6. Gwen Stefani - $26 million
7. Christina Aguilera - $20 million
8. Faith Hill - $19 million
9. Dixie Chicks - $18 million
10. Mariah Carey - $13 million
11. Hilary Duff - $12 million
12. Avril Lavigne - $12 million
13. Martina McBride - $12 million
14. Britney Spears - $8 million
15. Carrie Underwood - $7 million
16. Nelly Furtado - $7 million
17. Fergie - $6 million
18. Jennifer Lopez - $6 million
19. Sheryl Crow - $6 million
20. Norah Jones - $5.5 million

What do you mean it doesn't count?

Senator Clinton won the Florida primary last night by a handy margin, and even though there were no delegates, the almost uniform reaction of the media is illuminating. There are a lot of headlines with "win" and "victory" in double quotes, and no shortage of articles ridiculing her "victory" celebration.

Hmm, Which Way to Go?

George Costanza Was Wrong About Double Dipping

You remember the “Seinfeld” episode which George Costanza is confronted at a funeral reception by Timmy, his girlfriend’s brother, after dipping the same chip twice.

“Did, did you just double dip that chip?” Timmy asks. “That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!” Finally George retorts, “You dip the way you want to dip, I’ll dip the way I want to dip,” and aims another used chip at the bowl. Timmy tries to take it away, and the scene ends as they wrestle for it.

Welll food microbiologist Prof. Paul L. Dawson decided to test the Costanza theory and ran some double dip tests with his students. He has some advice for the next party you attend: “Before you have some dip at a party, look around and ask yourself, would I be willing to kiss everyone here? Because you don’t know who might be double dipping, and those who do are sharing their saliva with you.” The NY Times summarized the study:

On average, the students found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth to the remaining dip. Each cracker picked up between one and two grams of dip. That means that sporadic double dipping in a cup of dip would transfer at least 50 to 100 bacteria from one mouth to another with every bite.

Well there you have it. No double dipping please.


Air Canada Co-Pilot Totally Loses It


It might not be in the same league as a Islamic terrorist pulling out a bomb in-flight but being on Flight AC 848 this past Monday would have scared the hell out of me. It seems a crying and hysterical co-pilot of an Air Canada flight from Toronto to London had to be forcibly removed from the cockpit of his jetliner after suffering an emotional collapse while the plane was over the Atlantic.

The shoeless officer had to be shackled by the wrists and ankles by crew members with the help of a traveller who was a member of the Canadian Forces. The captain cut short the flight by diverting to Ireland's Shannon airport where the co-pilot was carted off to the local loonie bin for assessment.

It was also a reminder of the 1999 Egypt Air flight that plunged into the Atlantic. Black-box recordings raised speculations that the crash occurred because co-pilot Gameel Al-Batouti was suicidal. Pilots undergo mandatory annual medical exams but no psychiatric exams.

Current Delegate Count

Well today appears to be a pivotal day in the Presidential election campaign as two major candidates drop out - John Edwards from the Democratic race and Rudy Giuliani from the Republican race. Much will be written in the next month on Giuliani and his disastrous decisions to pass on the early primaries. Obviously it made sense to use the momentum as the front runner for most of 2007 to grab some early wins. What future candidates will learn from this (seems everybody but Giuliani already knew) is how important the early primaries are.

Meanwhile Edwards couldn't compete with the big money being raised by his party's leading contenders. The same problem plagues Mike Huckabee. My sense is that the populist message preached by Edwards just didn't sell well with his expensive suits and haircuts. He;s no Bobby Kennedy.

Edwards has not endorsed either of the remaining candidates but both will be lobbying hard for his support. This race is so close for now. Giuliani is supporting John McCain who has the momentum with 2 consecutive primary wins. It is suspected that Huckabee when he drops out will also support McCain.

Things may become clearer by Wednesday morning when some of the largest states get to vote. The current delegate count is:

Democrats (2,025 needed to win)
Obama 63
Clinton 48
Edwards 26

Republicans (1,191 needed to win)
Romney 59
Huckabee 40
McCain 93
Paul 4
Giuliani 1

Super Bowl Media Day

A highlight of Super Bowl week is when hundreds of members of the media can walk around the field and interview players on both teams. There is a lot of foolishness because after Brady's Boot Affair, not much happens these two weeks. Over the years the stodgy old sportswriters have been joined by a younger and better looking crowd of reporters. And the players appear to appreciate the change.






Canadians Can Take the Cold

If you think it's cold where you are right now, try Edmonton, Alberta where the temperature is -28C (-18F) and the windchill is -36C (-33F). Or better yet, how about Winnipeg, Manitoba where it's -31C (-24F) and -45C (-49F) with the wind.

My hat's off (only indoors though) to my fellow hardy Canadians.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One Hit Wonder

Toni Basil - Mickey (1982)

Dana Jacobson Pic

Last week I mentioned that ESPN reporter Dana Jacobson was suspended for getting drunk and acting like a total ass at a roast in Atlantic City. It was reported that she was drinking straight vodka from a Belvedere bottle. Well there are picture now. I could not chug vodka like that. That woman can drink.


Rambo Chart

Now that the 4th Rambo movie is out its time to update the kill rate.

source

JC Penny ads - 1997

Now isn't that sexy.
A perfect combination - if you sell used cars.
Why does one of the guys have his hand in the other one's pocket?
This kid thinks he's David Sole.

I'm thinking of re-doing my dining room.

Is Hillary Clinton Done?


It seems what stands out most from the presidential primary season is the blunders and missteps made by candidates rather than great strategy. Particularly the early front runners. Everyone will look back at Rudy Giuliani's strategy to sit out the first 6 primaries and caucuses as incredibly dumb. In a few weeks he went from front runner to vapour trails.

It's still early to tell but Hillary's campaign could disintegrate as well. Although, unlike Giuliani, a comeback is possible. Hillary's flaws are really coming to the surface, the biggest is the perception that she wants to win this at any cost. It seems her campaign will say anything if it perceived to boost her chances.

It started in November when everyone was still being nice and she went into attack mode. This was way too early and reflected poorly on her. She has relied too heavily on her husband who both helps her and hurts her. They seem to be at times suggesting they would be co-presidents which appeals to "Bill lovers" but angers "Bill haters". Even those who sit in the middle may be offended that an ex-President is trying to sneak back into the Oval Office through his spouse. At times they are suggesting the first Clinton administration was really a co-presidency. I'm not so sure. After the health insurance disaster, Hillary was forced to take a much lower profile in the White House. Not quite what I would call a co-president.

Her teary moment in New Hampshire temporarily made her appear genuine but she reverted back to regular Hillary. Playing the race card in South Carolina was a really risky strategy. It might help her in future but it might also reinforce a negative image she has been trying to shed.

The endorsements from Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy signal a shift in momentum and might be a serious blow to Clinton. But it depends if you are trying to appeal to the Liberal wing of the Democratic party or moderates and cross over voters. And then Clinton aides had to point out how she has also been endorsed by members of the Kennedy clan: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant-governor, whose father was slain U.S. senator Robert Kennedy, as well as her brother Bobby and sister Kerry. Another desperation act to reinforce the "win at all cost" image.

Clinton, in an about-face last week, said she wants the Democratic delegates reinstated and counted in Florida and in Michigan. The Democratic National Committee stripped the states of all their delegates to that party's nominating convention in August for moving the dates of the primaries. They also extracted a pledge from the candidates not to campaign in Florida, although the candidates are on the ballot for this Tuesday's voting. That's because she has been campaigned in those states.

Scammer Poses as Heath Ledger's Dad

A man posing as Heath Ledger's father managed to get free hotel rooms and talk to Tom Cruise and John Travolta after the actor's death last week. The New York Post reports the "twisted impostor" got Tom Cruise to console him on the phone and almost got John Travolta to buy him a plane ticket to the United States.

The Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home booked rooms at the Carlyle Hotel for the impostor. The Post also reported that the hoaxer even got them to send free stuff to their rooms when nobody was there." The impostor also called the Medical Examiner's office to speak with the doctor who performed the autopsy, but it's unclear if the doctor told him anything.

As for fooling celebrities, the scammer spoke to Tom Cruise a few times, until Ledger's family alerted celebrities of the impostor. John Travolta was very close to booking airplane tickets for the faker from Australia to the United States (Travolta's publicist says that's not true, but admits her client did speak to the man). The impostor was also trying to get the phone numbers of Mel Gibson and Christian Bale. (There is no truth to the rumour he spent an evening out with Paris Hilton).

This guy is such a creep! Anyway the police would like to arrest the con man if can find him.

Political Conversations Overheard on a Train

Please see the link to a very interesting entry by a blogger describing some conversations overheard on a train involving a high profile politician (Rick Santorum) talking about Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The blog entry is worth reviewing because it gives a great insight to the backroom backstabbing that goes on in politics. Of course no way of knowing how accurate the story is since it is coming from a Democratic activist. But it does show how politics attracts some people who are are mean-spirited and take a "win at all cost" attitude.

Click right here for the full blow by blow description.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


Meanwhile at the State of the Union


"Jenna, how many blue pills did you give Mom?"

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Cruelest Eye Test For Men


Beware: Canada is a dangerous place to visit

Australia's official position on Canada is that we're a dangerous country to visit. If you take a look at the Smartraveller website, maintained by the Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, you'll see just what an idiot you are to be living in this country.

Included in the list of potential threats to Australian tourists are the threat of terrorist attacks, crime (which they note is of a similar level to Australia), winter driving, the wind chill factor, earthquakes in BC, avalanches in BC and Alberta, tornadoes (only between May and September, obviously), and bush and forest fires which can occur "at any time." They didn't go so far as to suggest that Australians would be in danger of tsunamis while visiting Canada, but they sure didn't rule it out, either.

We can take some solace in the fact that regular, everyday Australians are still willing to inflict upon themselves the excruciating agony of visiting our fair country. According to CTV News, William Fisher, the Australian High Commissioner to Canada, noted that "Canada still ranks as the top 'dream destination' for Australian tourists," and that "More than 200,000 Australians visit Canada each year."

What is perhaps more galling to the average Canadian is the Toronto Star's report that the U.S. State Department saw fit to warn its citizens that "Violent crimes such as murder, armed robbery and rape can occur throughout [Canada]," and that "While Canadian gun control laws are much more strict than those of the U.S., such laws have not prevented gun-related violence in certain areas of Toronto." What hypocrisy.

Thank goodness no one has reported on the killer beavers!


Highway of Heroes


The 172-kilometre stretch from Toronto to CFB Trenton was referred to the "Highway of Heroes" for some time before the Ontario government made it official in the fall. The name is dedicated to Canada's fallen armed forces personnel in Afghanistan and it is the route taken to transport the bodies of fallen soldiers to the coroner's office in Toronto once they return to Canada.
Large crowds, including veterans and emergency service personnel, have routinely gathered on the highway's overpasses to wave flags in support of the troops. A total of 78 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan.


NYPD Blues Gets Bum Rap from FCC


In a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue, Charlotte Ross was shown naked from behind as she prepared to take a shower. If I recall it wasn't the only bare behind revealed on the show. I recall during its first season, David Caruso's butt was also displayed in a shower. I'm pretty sure David Franz was provided with the same exposure. NYPD Blue was one of the best TV dramas in history.

Anyway as punishment, the Federal Communication Commission has proposed fining 52 ABC affiliates $1.4 million because the scene "depicts sexual organs and excretory organs -- specifically an adult woman's buttocks." The FCC didn't fine stations on the East and West coasts, where NYPD Blue aired at 10 p.m.

Family Day is a Bust

A survey done by the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario and released Friday says that as many as 40% of Ontario workers will be working on Family Day, the new statutory holiday introduced by the Liberal government following the fall election.

The survey indicates that a majority of employers anticipate they will suffer some sort of negative impact from the new holiday. Many employers are saying they'll compensate their employees in some other way. This is turning out to be a bit of an embarrassment for the government and reflects the lack of any consultation before passing the Bill in the fall. I guess if you are going to have a policy flop, it's best to have really early in your mandate.

Another Innocent Person Gunned Down


Wrong time, wrong place, wrong colour of clothing? Could it be that wearing a red hooded sweatshirt was all it took for Shawn McLean to become another innocent shooting victim? The mourning family in Toronto's 4th homicide case of 2008 is searching for answers.

McLean was found lying in the snow, a bullet lodged in his head, outside a Toronto church last Tuesday and remained on life support until he succumbed to his injuries Friday.

The above picture from a surveillance video released by police, McLean can be seen leaving North York Sheridan Mall wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. Red is a colour typically associated with the Bloods street gang, while blue is linked to the Crips.

The number of murders in 2008 is consistent with previous years but it is the identity of the victims that is most disturbing. The victims have not been involved with drugs, crime and gangs. They have been ordinary Torontonians caught in the middle of the gun culture that prevails in parts of the city. Even more disturbing is that our political leaders have offered very little in the way of solutions to the problem.

When things don't add up


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Current Delegate Count

With Obama taking South Carolina, the current delegate counts are:

Democrats (2,025 needed to win)
Obama 63
Clinton 48
Edwards 26
(the rest have 0)

Republicans (1,191 needed to win)
Romney 59
Huckabee 40
McCain 36
Thompson 5
Paul 4
Giuliani 1
Hunter 1