Saturday, March 01, 2008

Most people would just call in sick

Franklin County Deputies respond to a drive-by shooting but soon find out that is just a story to get a man out of work. At first, the man claimed he was jogging when he was shot by someone in a black car. But, deputies soon found out that wasn't the truth.

His story didn't make sense and finally the guy, Daniel Kuch admitted that he had actually planned the shooting as a way to get time off work and avoid a drug test. Kuch had his friend shoot him to create the injury so that he would be able to be out of work long enough to get any drugs out of his system.

Mug Shot of the Week

Friday, February 29, 2008

WTF is with those glasses MK?

Looks like bifocal sunglasses.

Parents of the Year

So your 16-year daughter tells you: "I’m sixteen and I can do what I want. I’m leaving home with my 36-year-old lover."

Do the parents:

A) Tell her "no, you’re only sixteen" then call the cops on the guy.

B) Kick the ungrateful teenager out and then call the cops on the guy.

C) Invite the boyfriend to live with them so they don’t "risk losing their precious child."

An Old-Fashion Canadian Political Scandal

There is nothing like a fresh political scandal to wake hibernating Canadians from a cold and snowy winter.

Welcome to the Harper-Cadman two-step. A new case of he said-she said is gripping Parliament Hill - and it could be enough to bring the country one step closer to a federal election. The Prime Minister has been searching for an election issue for months. Except i don't think this is the one he had in mind.

The controversy is over whether the Prime Minister was aware of an alleged bribe made to a dying MP in order to buy his vote and topple the Liberals back in 2005. The widow of former independent BC MP Chuck Cadman has told an author working on her late husband's biography that two Tory reps came to their home just before that historic vote and offered him a $1 million life insurance policy in exchange for his support. Cadman rejected the offer, supported the Liberals and died several months later. The story today was corroborated today by Cadman's daughter.
So the Liberals may have their equivalent to the sponsorship scandal (at least in their eyes).
I understand it's against the criminal code to try to bribe or to offer an incentive to a sitting Member of Parliament or to a candidate. So there is no question that this allegation will need to be investigate.

The irony in all this is that the Conservatives in response to the Liberal sponsorship scandal created the Accountability Act which provides for a special prosecutor to be named to investigate allegations of wrongdoing among MPs. And his very first case, if it gets that far, could now potentially be against Harper himself.

There has been a long history of alleged political inducements on both sides of the Commons. But I'll get into some of those another time.

Happy Leap Day!

Another PETA Protest

To protest animal cruelty, PETA put a naked pregnant woman on all fours in a cage in London, simulating a mother pig in a crate. Though some would argue that it also fulfills the ultimate fantasy for knocked-up, bondage fetishists. I just don't get this group other than they like to use nudity to get attention.

The Myth about Professional Athletes

The past week has seen a lot of debate about NHL contracts with "no trade" clauses. Much of the focus has been on the Toronto Maple Leafs where management has decided to rebuild by unloading expensive contracts but the players don't seem to want to go along with that plan. For the moment the players have the upper hand because 5 (Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe, Pavel Kubina, Tomas Karberle) out of the 6 biggest contract handed out by the team have no trade provisions.

In fact, over 100 players in the NHL have no trade contracts and quite a number would have moved before the trading deadline if only they had agreed to a trade. For example, Ottawa tried to trade Wade Redden but he also refused. In fact, the only player who changed teams this week with a no trade contract was Brad Richards.

Fans are puzzled by the players' attitude and as always the media leads the charge by making all types of outrageous accusation targeted at both management and players. There is a general misconception about no trade contracts.

Most people think that players ask for them so they can control where they play. But it goes beyond that. Players ask for them because once they have decided to play for a team, they don't want to move. As players reach the age where they can become unrestricted free agents, they typically are married with young children. A trade throws their family life into turmoil. While the player is off making money, the spouse and kids are developing roots in the community.

When you are young, you dream of winning a Stanley Cup for your hometown team. However, if you are fortunate enough to become a professional athlete, reality sets in and its about earning a good living over a short career to set yourself and your family up for life. It's all about the paycheck. A guaranteed contract with a no trade provision is as secure as working for the government only with better pay.

Winning a championship is nice but not necessary. I'm not too sure that many hockey players are motivated by the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. That's why the Leafs' Frozen Five don't want to leave. They are perfectly happy and content here even though the team sucks. Rick DiPietro signed a 15 year contract with the Islanders last year knowing that they might miss out on the playoffs more times than get in. All types of players sign with teams knowing very well that they have no prospects of winning. But their families are the big winners. That's what its all about.

Driving Schools Certify 'No-Shows' Students

Back in December the Ontario Auditor General reported that teens who complete government approved Driver Education programs get in more accidents. An interesting statistic that could not be explained initially. So the government began auditing the schools and revoked 22 licenses for using unqualified instructors.

The Ministry of Transportation has now revoked eight more licences from GTA driving schools alleged to have sold course completion certificates to students who skipped training. A ministry investigator posed as a 'mystery shopper' and was able to buy certificates without taking the training.

It partly explains why the statistics for new drivers with certificates was so poor. There may be more to this though.

Revoking licences does not shut schools altogether, but does prevent them from teaching students with G1 licences, the lowest class under the province's graduated licensing system, and from teaching beginner programs. Young drivers covet the documents because they allow beginners to take their road test for a G2 licence four months sooner, and because having one tends to significantly lower insurance rates.

PETA Protests 'Running of the Bulls' Australia?

These Australian PETA members were protesting the running of the bulls at Pamplona, which I guess must be coming up soon. As it happens, Sydney, Australia is about as far as it is possible to get from Pamplona. But the urge to disrobe and protest knows no geographic boundaries.

I guess their motto is: Think globally, strip locally.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Roll up the Rim to (Rarely) Win Time

You may have noticed the sharp rise in coffee cups littering our streets, which can only mean one thing: it’s Roll Up The Rim time at Tim Hortons once again. Everyone dreams of rolling up a cup and finding that you have won a car or a boat. After years of winning nothing but the occasional donut or coffee, you can’t help but feel rage every time you roll up that annoying “Please Try Again/Reessayez S.V.P.” Grrr.

However, from next Monday March 3 until Sunday March 9, it’ll be better to be a loser. Country Style, fresh off of a chain-wide rebranding as a classier place to get your cheap coffee and donuts, is offering all customers a free medium coffee in exchange for a “Please Try Again” cup tab from Timmy’s.

It’s about time us losers get to win.

He Shoots, He Scores...$1 Million

Darwin Head of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, shooting from centre ice last night during the intermission of the Canucks/Avs game, buried 15 shots into the net in 24 seconds. That earned him $1 million which is more money than the annual salary of 20 of the players playing in last night's game at GM Place.

If you got a flu vaccine it likely won't protect you

Public health officials are admitting that this year's flu vaccine was a bit of a mismatch so if you were vaccinated you might not be getting much protection.

Experts now know that two of the three strains in this season's flu vaccine don't match the predominant viruses spreading in North America. But data showing how much or how little protection the vaccine offers against the circulating viruses haven't typically been generated until after the end of flu season. It's not that the vaccine is useless just less useful than you would like.

Confidence in flu shots isn't all that high to begin with, at least not in some quarters. Many health-care workers, for instance, forgo flu vaccine, seeing them either as unnecessary or ineffective. And virtually everyone has heard stories of friends, family members, or colleagues who got a shot and still fell ill with what they insisted was flu.

I'm pretty sure this picture was photoshopped

Bloomberg Not Running for President, but ...

Ending months of speculation, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed he will not run for president in the 2008 election. And he did it with an op-ed in the New York Times, titled, "I'm Not Running for President, but..."

The op-ed starts out with Bloomberg calling all the current candidates "smart" but believes "the candidates seem afraid to level with" the American public, because the candidates aren't offering "innovative ideas, bold action and courageous leadership" on issues like the economy, gun control, education and immigration. But the kicker for me is:

"In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work to steer the national conversation away from partisanship and toward unity; away from ideology and toward common sense; away from sound bites and toward substance. And while I have always said I am not running for president, the race is too important to sit on the sidelines, and so I have changed my mind in one area. If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach — and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy — I’ll join others in helping that candidate win the White House."

Is that an offer of big bucks to influence the agenda and become a king-maker? Sounds like it to me.

Oversized Change Table Required for Queens Park

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman has caused a furor with his comment that he'd be willing to test-drive an adult diaper to see if being left in soiled diapers for hours on end is really all that bad. Critics say he isn't taking the issue of sub-standard care in nursing homes seriously, which seems a bit harsh, since there can't be too many politicians who'd be willing to spend a day crouched in their own excrement on behalf of their constituents.

But the Minister really blew it on this one because the problem isn't about the absorbency of diapers, but a lack of staff to help nursing home residents get to the bathroom and change diapers promptly. There was a time where this issue was said to move him to tears. Now he is looking at publicity stunts.

Mr. Bettman Goes to Washington

It was a Capraesque moment when Gary "the dwarf" Bettman met with a U.S. House subcommittee on Wednesday that is investigation performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Bettman was probably elated just to be included with the likes of baseball commissioner Bud Selig, NBA commissioner David Stern and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Though he was not overheard gushing out "wow, this isn't anything like Edmonton, Alberta"!

Bettman declared that the NHL has no drug problem and that only one player has tested positive for steroid use in the 2½ years since the NHL resumed play after the 2004-05 lockout. But he was a rationale to explain why his guy are as pure and freshly fallen snow. Here are some quotes.

"Indeed, while our historical experience indicates that performance-enhancing drugs are not a problem in the NHL, we nevertheless agree that the public at large and our fans in particular are entitled to have confidence that our games are being played in an environment free of performance-enhancing substances."

"This is not surprising when one considers the alleged benefits of steroid use, significant large muscle development, are not consistent with playing hockey at the highest level of the sport, and the resulting bulkiness attributable to steroid use simply is not the desired characteristic of skilled NHL players."

I remember baseball saying there was no benefit to hitters by taking drugs such as steroids then along came Canseco, McGwire and Bonds. Then they said there was no benefit to pitchers at the same time Clemens and Pettite were getting needles jabbed in their asses.

Oh and that thing about Sean Hill. Well he failed a drug test last summer and was suspended 20 games. But it was all a mistake. As Hill explains it, “I took a lie detector test right after the season, and I passed. I don’t know how [the positive drug test] happened, but I can tell you I have no problem going to sleep at night.” Makes sense to me because a lie detector test trumps a positive drug test any day, right.

Of course hockey players never get injured so they wouldn't benefit from drugs that would speed up recovery. I guess those 20 or so players that already have 10 or more fights this season wouldn't benefit from bulking up by taking steroids. Those forwards and defensemen that need to build more strength to battle for the puck in the corners and in front of the net wouldn't even consider drugs. All those players that spend their summers on conditioning only take protein shakes and vitamins between workouts. Those syringes? Oh, its for my B12 injections.

Thanks for dropping by Gary.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How well do you know your Presidential candidates?

Not long ago there were as many as 18 people running for US President. Most names were unknown and remain that way. Now that we down to just a handful of serious candidates, how well do you remember some of the lesser known ones.

Take the sidebar poll (no cheating) and next week I'll post the correct names.

Mayor Who Posed for Racy Photo is Fired

The mayor of an Oregon town who once stripped to her underwear and posed on a fire truck has been stripped of her office.

Voters in this town of about 500 voted narrowly Monday to recall Carmen Kontur-Gronquist. The tally was 142-139. City officials said the recall is effective Tuesday.

Kontur-Gronquist said the pictures of her in black bra and panties were taken for use in a contest about fitness, but a relative posted them on MySpace in hopes it would improve the social life of the single mother. Her social life may have improved but not her work life.

Such are the perils of public office and Youtube and Myspace era. Great abs though.

Attention Parents: Senator Larry Craig is Seeking Interns

Hey kids. Wanna come play with Uncle Larry this summer in Washington? Have I got an offer for you!

A release posted on Senator Craig’s website yesterday announced that the "I'm Nnot Gay" politician is accepting applications for 2008 summer internships from college juniors and seniors interested in working his Capitol Hill office. The intern job posting does not indicate if the students would be required to travel with the Senator. Also no mention of whether familiarity with wide stance or toe tapping is needed. I guess there is some basic training on the job.

Obama's Clothing Controversy

I don't approve of judging a politician based on his skin colour, religion or how he chooses to dress. I think he should be judged based on how corrupt he is and whether he uses his elected office for personal gain. Chew on that for a while.

More on the closing of Starbucks stores last night

Not sure if the border crossings had heavier traffic yesterday evening with American caffeine addicts heading over to Canadian Starbucks. But America survived 3 hours of locked up Starbucks outlets.

Hard to tell whether it was a PR stunt or a legit training session on espresso. Today they are back, and I understand with a new policy posted in their stores; it reads: "Your drink should be perfect, every time. If not, let us know and we'll make it right." Nothing different about the Canadian Starbucks that I visited this morning.

The AP tries to crunch the numbers, reporting "Starbucks wouldn't disclose how much revenue it stands to lose during the shutdown, but analysts say the financial impact will be negligible compared to charges the company will take as it closes about 100 poorly performing U.S. stores this year and pays severance to more than 200 corporate support staff it laid off last week." Starbucks is learning what other chains have learned in the past; once you saturate the market, it is tough to maintain revenue growth.

While the story provided Starbucks with free advertisement, it was Dunkin' Donuts who cashed in on their temporary closure. Some stores reported to the media that they had a 10% spike in sales, and they did cut the price of lattes and cappuccinos to a 99 cents while the Starbucks chain was dark.

Federal Government Continues to Ignore Toronto

You couldn't help but take note of how Toronto was again shafted or at least neglected by the Conservative government's budget announcement. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did announce that the government would resuscitate a rail line between Peterborough and Union Station that passes through the minister's own riding. The rail link's re-establishment - part of a $500-million national investment in public transit infrastructure - marked one of the very few times Canada's biggest city warranted a mention in the budget.

And they wonder why Toronto won't elect a Conservative.

Maple Leaf Players are Delusional

Normally when you hear players on losing team talk about their team it's often contrived. Not that many NHLers are going to publicly dump on their teams. And when they get an opportunity to jump to a contender they can't pack their bags quick enough.

You hear the same nonsense coming from Leaf players but when given the opportunity to leave they refuse. I think they actually believe what they are saying which makes me wonder what are they spiking their gatorade with? Pavel Kubina had agreed to waive his no trade contract but after beating Ottawa 5-0 on Monday changed his mind. Heck, the Beamsville Bombers could beat Ottawa right now.

Kubina explains, "I want to stay a Maple Leaf. My heart is here. We had a big win (in Ottawa). We're just six points out of a playoff spot. This is where I want to be." McCabe suggests, "We honestly think we have a legitimate shot to make the post-season." Are these players that stupid?

First thing they don't have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. For the past 2 seasons the last playoff spot required 92 points in the East. The Leafs have 18 games remaining and need to win of those 15 games to reach 92 points.

The new Leaf management has openly stated that the core of this team isn't good enough. But the players in this core seem to be the only ones who don't agree. Heck if management says we don't want you around anymore why would you stay? Wouldn't you want to go where you are wanted? This is not the case where you can outlast a lame duck coach. Fletcher was brought in to make changes and he has other options if players don't volunteer to leave.

Fortunately some of the no-trade contracts signed by the Leafs contain small windows where players can be moved if the team doesn't make the playoffs. Kubina can be traded this summer. Kaberle in 2009 and Tucker in 2010. Players can also be bought out which the Leafs might be able to afford.

A buy out is at 2/3 of the players remaining salary spread over twice the number years remaining in the contract. So if you have a player for 2 more years at $1.5 million per year the cost of buying him out would be $0.5 million per year for 4 years. If the Leafs were to buy out Mark Bell, Andrew Raycroft and Jason Blake this summer, they would eliminate $8.3 million in salaries and the cost would be $2.67 against the cap for a net savings of $5.67 million. If they are able to trade Kubina then that is another $5 million saved.

That would mean on July 1st the Leafs' payroll would only be $30 million and the cap is expected to rise to about $54 million. That is a lot more cash to play with compared to previous years.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Improv Everywhere is at it again

The group's latest mission or stunt has three agents enter a Starbucks one by one with their own giant desktop computer and CRT monitor. They bought coffee and worked at their computers as if they were laptops. One computer even had a Wi-Fi card installed, enabling our agent to surf the web.

Diablo Cody Used to be a Stripper

The Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay was Diablo Cody who wrote Juno. Writing is not her first career. She used to be a stripper. It's one of those rags to riches story. Her real name is Brook Busey.

She caught the eye of manager Mason Novick after he found her sexy blog while surfing for porn online several years ago. She wrote a memoir about her year as a stripper in Minneapolis — and whipped up "Juno" on a laptop at a Starbucks in a Target store.

Now the topless pictures are popping up online but somehow I doubt she really cares. She is a rebel and not going to take crap from anyone.

Totally harmless, really

John McCain? I thought we were talking about John McClane

With all this talk about American heroes and defending America I thought everyone was talking about John McClane who happens to be running for President.

Well it seems that a lot of confused voters are supporting Senator John McCain instead. Now Senator McCain is a fine man but he's no John McClane who you remember defused a hostage crisis at Los Angeles’ Nakatomi Tower, foiled a terrorist plot to seize control of Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC., foiled the New York Federal Reserve Heist, and stopped the greatest cyberterrorism conspiracy in history.

Get with it people!

Marlins Recruiting Obese Male Cheerleaders

As proof that baseball is one of the most boring sports on the planet, the Florida Marlins are looking to form an all-male, all-obese cheerleading squad: the Manatees.

Team officials said they want "big bellies with the biggest jiggle, big feet with the best dance moves and enthusiasm that will rock Marlins fans out of their seats."
Nothing like glorifying obesity in America.

Watch Out for Muslims in the White House

Hey is that Laura Bush wearing a hajib in the picture below. I didn't know she was of that faith.

And Barack Obama too? They're taking over!

In the desperate attempt to get back in the Presidential race, the Clinton camp is trying an old fashion smear campaign by releasing a picture of Obama wearing traditional Somali Elder robes during his visit Kenya 2 years ago. That would be about the same suggesting President Bush was Jewish because he was photographed praying at in a kipah at the Western Wall.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jimmy Kimmel's Response to Sarah Silverman

In case you didn't know Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman are an item (5 years now). A while back Sarah did a music video for Jimmy about her and Matt Damon. You can see it here. Below is Jimmy's response to her.

Does Nader '08 Mean Bloomberg '08, Too?

Doug Schoen, the pollster who has worked with Bill Clinton on his 1996 reelection and Mayor Bloomberg, is stirring the Bloomberg for President pot again. He tells the Sun that Ralph Nader's decision to enter the 2008 presidential race could help Bloomberg.

Schoen explained, "The Democratic candidate, whoever it may be, will have to tack to the left to protect their left flank, and that leaves more room on the center-left." And what with John McCain, presumptive Republican nominee, needing to meet conservatives' desires, there's "a huge void in the middle": "There's a scenario where you have five candidates. You could have a hypothetical Paul on the right and Nader on the left and Bloomberg in the center and a Democrat and a Republican."

Is there really enough room in the field for another 3rd party (I guess it would have to be called a 4th party) candidate? I'm not convinced. And remember this is coming from someone who is a big Blomberg supporter. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more unusual wrinkles through 2008. It's turning into a wild election campaign.

Frozen Bagels Will Soon Come with Cream Cheese

The idea just disgusts me. Kraft is launching in April their new line of frozen bagels that come pre-filled with cream cheese. Bagel lovers should be outraged but lets face it people are looking for convenience and spreading creamcheese on a bagel takes a lot of effort in the morning.

They are called Bagel-Fuls (not pictured) and will come with (Philadelphia) cream cheese in regular and cinnamon flavors to start with, but at this point it’s unclear how the bagels will be defrosted, since microwaved cream cheese sounds rather revolting. Smuckers recommends Uncrustables, the frozen peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, just defrost for 30-60 minutes before eating.

Hey kids eat Pizza Pockets so what do you expect?

UPDATE: A kind reader points out that it will be microwavable bagel on a stick with creamchesse filling. I'm ready to vomit.

Creep robs 90 year old woman in a walker

Police are hoping the public can help them arrest a robber who casually went through the purse of a 90-year-old woman who was helpless to defend herself while out for a stroll with her walker in the east end yesterday about noon the Victoria Park Ave.-O'Connor Drive area.

The man approached the woman from the front and blocked her path, police say. The woman tried to call for help, but her voice was too faint to attract attention. He helped himself to cash, access cards and personal papers from her purse.

I can't imagine a bigger lowlife than this guy. Would be nice if he were caught but I can't think of a punishment that would equal such a vile act.

Man, 39, in girl's uniform caught sneaking into school

Now this story is pretty creepy. A 39 year old Japanese man who turned up at a school dressed in a girl's uniform and a long wig was arrested for trespassing, police said.

He put on the uniform he had bought over the internet and took a walk near the high school in Saitama, north of Tokyo, on Wednesday.

Students standing outside the school gates caught sight of him and started screaming, local papers reported, at which point Nanpei rushed on to the school grounds hoping to blend in with the crowds of teenagers.

When pupils in the school began screaming the man fled, losing his wig in the process. A school clerk pursued him and stopped him at a nearby riverbank. I think the hairy legs and 5o'clock shadow may have been the tip off. When I read this story I kept thinking about the scenes in the movie Babel with the Japanese school girls.

Academy Awards Show Was Weak

It was a great year for movies but the show highlighting the year's accomplishments in film stunk. Not surprising since the writer's strike just ended last week. The show was a rush job and it was quite evident.

Jon Stewart did an excellent job with the script he had. The show was loaded with montages of previous Academy Award shows which I guess required less scripting. Stewart joked that had the writers' strike continued they would have had to pad the show with even MORE montages. No joke!

But the show can't take away from the great films this year. And for once the Academy really did recognize outstanding achievement. I have been an avid fan of the Coen brothers for years and most of their work is so original and polished. No formula films in their resumes. No Country for Old Men was as good of a film as they have made and they have had some great ones. Other powerful films were La Vie en Rose and Their Will Be Blood. I was glad to see Diablo Cody win best screenplay for Juno. Juno was a very popular film but not a great film. It's strength was an outstanding script that made the actors come alive.

Thanks Mats!

You did the right thing by standing up to the corporate barons who would peddle away the heart of the team if it could make them a bigger profit. No Leaf captain has retired wearing the Maple Leaf on his chest since George Armstrong called it quits almost 4o years ago. Doug Gilmour, Wendel Clark, Rob Ramage, Rick Vaive, Darryl Sittler, and Dave Keon were dumped in most cases for spare parts that never brought the team close to a Stanley Cup.

Sundin always provides value for money so why not keep him around. The rebuilding process will be less painless with him in the dressing room and on the ice. He will give you a solid effort every shift. Who else is going to provide this type of leadership - Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe, Alex Steen? I don't think so.

Sundin has not been the problem in this organization. He has been the solitary shining light amid underachieving teammates, feuding executives, incompetent managers, and ineffective coaches. I think Mats said it best when he commented "why should I have to fix the mistakes made by John Ferguson"? I agree.

Where are they putting all of our snow?

Toronto Works Department have spent the last 2 weeks removing snow from residential streets. If you were wondering where it was going, well there are two huge snow mountains in vacant land just north of the Wilson subway station. I understand there are several others around town.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

NHL Trade Deadline Day--BORING!

The most over-hyped day in the sporting world has to be the NHL trade deadline. Last year there were 50 deals done in the two weeks leading up to the deadline with 25 done on the last day. There were 3 big deals but the rest were minor deals that have no real impact at all - like the Leafs picking up Yanic Perreault. So far this year there have only been 2 deals so don't expect and flood on Tuesday.

The sports stations, both radio and TV, have dusk to dawn coverage. Talk about boring. What the heck are they going to talk about for 14 hours? Marty Reasoner for a 6th round draft pick. Petr Prucha for Mike Sillinger. Yeah that should keep audiences riveted for hours.

So where does this hype come from? It's the media just doing their job which is to increase viewers (TV), listeners (radio) and readers (newspapers) which increase advertisement revenue. They start the rumours like Tucker going to Calgary while nothing could be further from the truth. Then the ask players, coaches and managers if they have any comments about the rumours. Then the ask the same people what impact the rumours are having on them. It's a silly cycle. How many of these rumours are true? Maybe 0.1%.

By the way did you hear that Philadelphia is going after McCabe since Kaberle has turned them down?

Nader is Running

As I pointed out 3 weeks ago, the signs were very strong that Ralph Nader would again run for President as a 3rd party candidate. Today he announced that indeed he is running.

Ralph Nader has criticized the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will 'shift the power from the few to the many."

Nader, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under President George W. Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.

Nader also criticized Republican candidate John McCain and Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for failing to support full Medicare for all or cracking down on Pentagon waste and a "bloated military budget. He blamed that on corporate lobbyists and special interests, which he said dominate Washington, D.C., and pledged in his third-party campaign to accept donations only from individuals.

Nader will definitely change the Presidential race. But then all 3rd party candidates have that impact. Would Bill Clinton ever have become president in 1992 for example if Ross Perot had not run and taken around 19% of the popular vote? And considering how close the 2000 election was, Bush could not have won had it not been for Nader's run. I suspect the Democrats are more than just a little concerned.

You might have a bad neighbour...

Umm, I Forgot it Was There...

You are working security at the airport and search the knapsack of the young man in front of you. What would you do if you found the following items in his bag:

- box cutters inside a hollowed-out book
- books titled "Muhammad in the Bible," "The Prophet's Prayer" and "The Noble Qur'an"
- several sheets of paper with rap lyrics that referred to police, narcotics, weapons and killing

Yeah, I bet you would arrest him too. So I'm guessing this "not too bright" guy is in a whole heap of trouble.

Please no more stories about Mats Sundin

Talk about running a guy out of town. It's like all of Toronto (with our so helpful media leading the charge) wants to put one of the greatest players to wear a Leaf uniform on a one way bus ride to....anywhere.

I'm just not so sure the Leafs will get that much for Mats so at the end of the day fans may be disappointed. Last year's big deadline deals (Keith Tkachuk, Ryan Smyth and Peter Forsberg) involved substantial transfer of young talent. However, the teams picking up the expensive rental players didn't advance beyond the first round of the playoffs and none of the 3 players resigned during the summer.

Considering Mats doesn't really want to move and he may retire or return to the Leafs during the summer, he just isn't going bring in a substantial package. General Managers around the league are learning that these trades don't usually work. It's the deadline deals for depth that can make the difference.

Let's just say Ottawa picks up Sundin. He is not very familiar with the Ottawa's system or players but he only has about 20 games in integrate himself. He is unlikely to displace any of Spezza, Alfredsson or Heatley off the number one line. That means substantially less playing time for Sundin and a drop off in production.

I keep saying that the Leafs are much better off trading away player whose contracts are a burden to the team. That would be either Jason Blake, Bryan McCabe or Pavel Kubina. No one in their right mind would take Kubina at $5 million or Blake at $4 million. But there would have to be takers for McCabe if he would agree.

John Tory Doesn't Get Ringing Endorsement

Yesterday's leadership vote at the Ontario PC party convention did not provide John Tory with the strong endorsement he was looking and that he needed to stay on as leader. Historically, 66.9% support usually means some rough times ahead. Considering he also does not have a seat in the Legislature he needs to carefully think about his political future.

To make matters worse, he flip-flopped on staying on as leader. First he said 66.9% wasn't enough then he changed his mind several hours later and indicated he was was going to think about and would let the party know. I like John Tory but he's put himself in a tough spot. He made some significant tactical errors in his first election that allowed Dalton McGuinty's Liberals to cruise to an easy majority. He also lost the riding he was contesting. About 30% of his party don't want him as leader. These are not easy obstacles to overcome.
Ontario Liberals must be smiling right across the province this weekend.