Saturday, June 14, 2008

Movie Review: I'm Not There

I'm Not There is not your usual Hollywood film. I guess it's more of an art film that would attract the film festival crowd. But if you are a fan of Bob Dylan - and how can you not be - then it's a film worth seeing.

Director Todd Haynes' film covers different aspects of Dylan's life and music. For those who are familiar with Dylan, you would know that Dylan has constantly redefined himself and his music. He upset fans at the Newport Jazz Festival when he went electric, he dabbled with country and Christianity. So Haynes used 6 different actors to portray some of the phases of Dylan - and he used some unusual actors.

The movie begins by offering a portrait of the artist as a young black child (Marcus Carl Franklin), already telling tall tales of living the blues and crisscrossing America by freight train. The kid calls himself "Woody Guthrie". Then he metamorphoses into Jack Rollins (Christian Bale), the tormented singer of Greenwich Village's early '60s folk scene. Rollins in turn is played in a fictional Hollywood movie by a hip young actor named Robbie Clark (Heath Ledger), who himself comes to represent Dylan the early '70s superstar.

The best was Cate Blanchett who is cast as Jude Quinn, a.k.a. Dylan at the mid-'60s peak of his powers. Jude's the one who takes the stage at Newport with an electric guitar and is dubbed a Judas by enraged audiences.

A fifth Dylan, a poet named Arthur Rimbaud (Ben Whishaw) answers questions put to him by a bureaucratic subcommittee and the sixth Dylan, is a retired Old West outlaw named Billy (Richard Gere).

And there is lots of Dylan music. So if you would like a different perspective on the man and is music, this film will do it.

I don't think she's describing me

Mug Shot of the Week - Father's Day Edition

Yeah, I'm sure he's an awesome Dad!

Rich Troll Twins Turn 22

One Hit Wonder

Vehicle - Ides of March (1970)

Josh Hamilton is a survivor

Ten years ago Josh Hamilton was considered one of the best high school baseball prospects ever. But he was a little overprotected by his parents who followed him around the minor leagues. When a car accident injured him and his mom, his parents moved back to Raleigh, leaving him alone in Bradenton, Florida without his parents and with too much time on his hands.

He started hanging around a tattoo parlor, 26 tattoos and a near-deadly drug addiction later, Hamilton finally got clean.

After being out of baseball for 3 years he came back with the Reds last year.

Now he's with the Rangers and on pace for 169 RBI.

Now he never goes out with teammates, seldom goes out at all, never carries more than $20 in his wallet, and is usually accompanied by his shadow/babysitter/caretaker. Talk about turning around your life.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What a difference some hitting can make

The Toronto Blue Jays have held their opponents to 3 runs or less 40 times this year out of 69 games. But their record is only 28-12 in those games. In contrast, the Red Sox have held opponents to 3 runs or less 35 times but rarely lose in those games - a remarkable 29-6.

So despite stellar pitching, the Blue Jays are a mediocre team just 1 game above .500 and sitting at the bottom of the American League East.

More random shootings?

Two 25-year-old men shot dead early this morning while sitting in a Range Rover outside a trendy downtown apartment complex were waiting for a friend to join them when they were shot.

Dylan Ellis and Oliver Martin were sitting in the front seat of their SUV on Richmond St., west of Bathurst, seatbelts done up and waiting for a friend to come downstairs, when they were attacked around 12:08 a.m. The men, who were waiting in the vehicle with a third person, had been watching a basketball game with friends. The third person sitting in the back seat had ducked down to avoid harm.

The slain men are Toronto’s 24th and 25th homicide victims of 2008. Thirteen of this year’s murders were gun deaths.

Last year was one of the worst years for murders in Toronto with 89. It took only 21 weeks last year to reach 25 homicides. This year it took 24 weeks.

Praise the Lord!

After a lengthy debate initiated by Premier Dalton McGuinty back in February, the Ontario legislature has decided to keep the reading of the Lord's Prayer, but will add a new element to the ritual. Beginning as early as next week, the traditional blessing will be followed by one of the following: a prayer of aboriginal, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Baha'i or Sikh origin; a moment of silence; whale sounds; 7 minutes of white noise; an air horn blast; or "Paradise by a Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf.

That should better reflect the province's diverse cultural and religious landscape.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Toronto's New Street Furniture

They call it street furniture but it's just transit shelters, garbage bins, benches, bicycle rngs, info pillars and public toilets. The city has agreed to a $1-billion contract with Montreal-based Astral Media Inc., to install 26,000 pieces over the next 20 year. The city is guaranteed a minimum of $428-million in revenue over the life of the contract, (on average $21.4-million a year compared with a previous deal for bus shelters with another company that generated $5-million a year for city coffers).

Work begins July 1 to install the first of 5,000 bus shelters (in different sizes according to their location). One-third will be solar-powered and carry no advertising, while the other two-thirds will have poster-size, illuminated ads.

Later this year, the new shelters may include a feature that uses GPS technology to tell transit riders how many minutes they have to wait for the next bus.

The most anticipated piece of street furniture - new public toilets - will have a $300,000 price-tag, the self-cleaning, wheelchair-accessible facility will be located only in major tourist areas. The first will be in place next year, with at most two added a year, for a total of 20 by 2027.

Starting in October, the first of 12,500 garbage/recycling bins will be installed, replacing 6,500 existing bins and adding 6,000 in new locations over the life of the contract. Unlike the current roster of litter bins, the new ones will carry no advertising.

The first of 2,000 benches will be in place by September, none of which will carry advertising. They will gradually replace 1,000 existing benches (with ads) and add 1,000 more at new locations.

Illuminated way-finding kiosks, with 120 to be in place by the end of 2009, will carry poster-size advertising on each wing of the structure. The tourist information includes maps and a touch-screen presented without ads. A security camera will be placed in each kiosk to deter vandalism.

In a bid to cut down on posters slapped up on hydro poles and other locations, neighbourhood ads for garage sales and other events will be permitted on 500 bulletin boards attached to some of the bus shelters and 2,000 other, self-standing kiosks.

Another 1,000 bicycle posts will be added, in groups of 50 a year over 20 years, to the current roster of 17,000 scattered across the city.

At yet-to-be-determined major intersections, 500 multi-publication boxes will be installed over 20 years to replace the familiar lineup of individual newspaper boxes chained to hydro poles and street lights. The new boxes will house either six or 12 publications. At 2,000 other locations, newspaper boxes will be attached to a new enclosure bar to give a more orderly look.

Donald Trump having a bad hair day

High Fuel Prices Drive up Donkey Prices in Turkey

The prices of donkeys in the Yozgat District in Central Turkey have increased sevenfold as many local people are giving up the use of tractors over the high fuel prices, and substitute them with the beasts of draught.

Because of the increased demand the price of one donkey grew from EUR 26 to about EUR 180, the Turkish newspaper Zaman reported.

According to the paper, the number of people in Turkey using donkeys instead of tractors had grown twice. The diesel in the country already costs EUR 1,6 per liter.

I'm trying to figure out how this happened

Censor Bar Art

I'm not into violent sports but this was a great match

I could see myself becoming a Euro 2008 fan

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stripper Shortage in Toronto

Facing a shortage of foreign exotic dancers, a group representing 53 of Ontario's strip club owners is turning to immigration consultants to find a loophole in the rules governing foreign workers.

The Adult Entertainment Association of Canada is looking for alternative, legal, ways to hire foreign-born strippers and dancers. One way might be to use foreign student visas since foreign students can now work for 20 hours a week in any job, said the group's executive director Tim Labrinos.

In 2004, then-minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada Judy Sgro resigned after extending the visa of a Romanian exotic dancer who had worked for her election campaign.

In the wake of public outcry, immigration officials have been looking at each individual application and visa officers abroad are under orders to screen out women they think might be victims of trafficking, don't meet health criteria or don't have a way home after their visas expire.

This has led to a reduction in the number of work permits and extensions granted to foreign strippers from 423 in 2004 to just 17 in 2006.

This is a disgrace! Let's face it, the clubs are not going to make much money by hiring seniors and fat chicks as strippers.


Oy veh! Yisrayl Hawkins says nuclear war in 37 hours

Smelly big guy falls on hot ball girl

Last word on Eliot Spitzer

Really who would pay $4,000 an hour for this girl? Let's face it Ashley Alexandra Dupre is pretty ordinary.

And Playboy would pay her $1 million? Why?

Roger Clemens Had Erectile Dysfunction?

Roger Clemens whose claims he never took steroids are under federal investigation, has apparently discovered the benefits of another performance-enhancing drug sweeping the sports world - Viagra

Clemens stashed the clearly marked, diamond-shaped pills in a GNC vitamin bottle in his locker, according to a source familiar with the clubhouse, perhaps keeping the drug undercover to avoid the inevitable wisecracks about all the girlfriends he needed to please.

Clemens wasn't alone. The pitcher, who is believed to have scored the drug from a teammate, joined the burgeoning number of athletes who have turned Vitamin V and its over-the-counter substitutes into one of the hottest drugs in locker rooms.

The drug is so widely used for off-label purposes that it has drawn the attention of anti-doping officials and law-enforcement agencies.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars

I remember as a teenager making the drive into Buffalo with the sole purpose of buying pairs of Chucks which were the shoe of choice in my day. I think I shelled out about $19 for a pair. They are about $60 now. The simple style has never really changed in contrast to the stylish look of today's athletic shoes.

The All Stars were first introduced by Converse way back in 1917 but didn't become popular until Chuck Taylor began wearing them. He was so impressed with the design that he became the shoe's leading salesman. After proposing a few changes to the shoe, the shoe got its current name and Chuck Taylor's signature on its ankle patch. It was really the first athletic shoe worn outside the gym.

Until 1966 they were only available in black or white. After that a number of colours were added as well as a low top version. Converse was bought by Nike but the shoe was continued. The Chucks just haven't been the same since Nike took over.

One Hit Wonder

Tommy Tutone - 867-5309/Jenny (1982)

CTV gets HNIC song, CBC gets egg on its face

Hey, CBC—you wanna come over to my house for a little poker game?

CBC got called on their Hockey Night in Canada bluff today as rival CTV announced that they've struck a deal for the rights to the HNIC signature tune.

The news comes four days after the kind-of public broadcaster announced they were pulling out of negotiations for the storied 40-year-old theme, and mere hours after they suggested that they would consider going back to the bargaining table after all. I would guess the big wigs at CBC didn't see this coming. They tried the squeeze play with an 80 year lady. Looks good.

Under the new agreement, CTV will use the song for hockey games on TSN and RDS, as well as during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Owner finds sunroof in car after yesterday's storm

Giraffes are Kosher

Israeli rabbis have declared giraffe's milk kosher.

Ahead of Shavuot, the festival when dairy foods traditionally are eaten, a team of rabbis and Bar-Ilan University scientists have deemed giraffe's milk fit to join the kosher menu.

Giraffes chew their cud and have cloven hooves, which qualifies them as kosher under biblical law. But attempts to breed them for meat were abandoned long ago - according to Jewish law, because no one knew for sure where on the animal's long neck the butcher's knife should land.

But, according to the experts, giraffe's milk is kosher for consumption because technically it is a kosher animal.

Too Many Degrees


How George Bush planned to lower oil prices in 2000

This is so much more humorous in hindsight. But obviously voters were sucked in by his silly empty promises.

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.

"I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply," Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. "Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot."

Implicit in his comments was a criticism of the Clinton administration as failing to take advantage of the good will that the United States built with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Also implicit was that as the son of the president who built the coalition that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Mr. Bush would be able to establish ties on a personal level that would persuade oil-producing nations that they owed the United States something in return.

"Ours is a nation that helped Kuwait and the Saudis, and you'd think we'd have the capital necessary to convince them to increase the crude supplies," he said.

Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: "The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' "

He went on to suggest, as he did in answer to other questions, that voters should simply trust him.

New York Times, June 28, 2000

as pointed out by

Sunday, June 08, 2008

First "Pregnant Man" Close to Giving Birth

Sex-change dad Thomas Beatie and his wife Nancy are only a few weeks away from having a new baby daughter.

19 Years since the Massacre in Tiananmen Square

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 culminating in the Tiananmen Square Massacre were a series of demonstrations led by labour activists, students, and intellectuals in the People's Republic of China (PRC) between April 15 and June 4, 1989. While the protests lacked a unified cause or leadership, participants were generally against the authoritarianism and economic policies of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and voiced calls for democratic reform within the structure of the government. The demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square, but large-scale protests also occurred in cities throughout China, including Shanghai, which stayed peaceful throughout the protests. In Beijing, the resulting military crackdown on the protesters by the PRC government left many civilians dead or injured. The reported tolls ranged from 200–300 (PRC government figures), to 300–800, and to 2,000–3,000.