Saturday, June 21, 2008
Of all newspapers, the Wall Street Journal selected the world's top 10 athletes. They gave the performance stats and achievement records of 79 male athletes to a panel of 5 judges, and asked them to rank the competitors based on six criteria: speed; vision and reflex; stamina and recovery; coordination and flexibility; power, strength and size; and success and competitiveness. The final category examined success—records held and victories—as well as competitiveness, based on the sport's popularity. Soccer, for example, the world's most popular sport, was judged the most competitive. The panel gave a total score for each athlete in the first round. Sixty athletes were eliminated in the second round, either because of low scores or because they were not first in their field. The panelists then made the final ranking. Yale statistician John Emerson helped normalize the scores so no single panelist could exert undue influence.
AND THE WINNER IS: ROMAN SEBRLE. The Czech decathlete could jump over Shaquille O’Neal. He could throw a 16-pound ball the length of a 53-foot yacht. From a running start, he could leap over a two-lane highway. Mr. Sebrle has ideal size, according to physiologists, and expertise over a range of athletic pursuits, employing the speed of an NFL back and the vertical jump of an National Basketball Association forward. Some judges questioned whether Mr. Sebrle could withstand a tackle by an NFL lineman, but none questioned his talent in the 10 track and field events that make up the decathlon. He has won Olympic gold and silver medals for the Czech Republic and is the current world champion.
The rest of the list are:
1. Roman Sebrle (decathalon)
2. LeBron James (basketball)
3. Floyd Mayweather (boxing)
4. LaDainian Tomlinson (football)
5. Roger Federer (tennis)
6. Sidney Crosby (hockey)
7. Liu Xiang (track and field)
8. Jeremy Wariner (track and field)
9. Ronaldinho (soccer)
10. Alex Rodriguez (baseball)
Most people will not be familiar with very many names and will wonder why Tiger Woods was left off the list. Go ask the judges.
You know, Billy Ray Cyrus, it’s kind of hard to believe that you’re still talking about the Vanity Fair pictures when the whole mini-controversy could have just died off and been forgotten. Why keep bringing it up? Why keep asserting that it was a total surprise to you when you’re actually in some of the pictures and you need to okay the proofs before the magazine can even publish them? So quit lying, it makes you look even creepier than you already do. We get it, okay? You’re using your daughter to get a career that “Achy Breaky Heart” alone couldn’t give you.
I’ve suffered through what feels like an eternity watching commercials for The Love Guru. Mike Meyers, it’s been nine fucking years since Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. We get it, Verne Troyer is little. He's a little person. You’ve pretty much exhausted all of the humor possibilities there. Find something else to do.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Usually on Flashback Friday the Blue Jays where retro uniforms at home and invite an alumnist to the game. Today, they tried to sneak in an alumnist for a road game. It was ex-manager Cito Gaston but he was sitting on the bench. Oh, did I say ex-manager? Turns out he is the new manager as their beseiged GM, JP Ricciardi fired the entire coaching staff.
The Jays had to do something to take the spotlight away from the Leafs on the eve of the Amateur Draft.
Not just leftist politics, even though during provincial elections an orange sign is displayed in the front window in support of Marchese's brother, Rosario, as the New Democrat MPP for Trinity-Spadina. I understand it's also a regular hangout for conservative pundit Andrew Coyne.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The hoopla began 50 years ago yesterday when American entrepreneurs Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin sought a trademark for a plastic cylinder based on a similar cane toy popular in Australia.
The Hula Hoop was an instant in the first year, Wham-O Inc, the company founded by Knerr and Melin, sold more than 100 million Hula Hoops, at a retail price of $US1.98 each.
Hula Hoop's downward spiral nearly ruined Wham-O, which had boosted production to satisfy the once-frenzied demand for the toy. Fortunately, the company had developed another toy — the Frisbee — that took off just as Hula Hoop sales plummeted.
Technology has kind of killed the old toys of the 50s and 60s. See below as an example.
I just believe in an era of rising energy prices, increasing them more just causes more pain. Dion's plan should have been introduced years ago to encourage conservation. With energy prices rising the way they are, conservation will become a reality without the carbon tax.
Anyway, here are the highlights of the plan so decide for yourself if it makes any sense.
Green Shift plan highlights
- Cut personal and corporate taxes by billions of dollars a year, leaving every family paying less.
Tax pollution in Canada by putting a price on Greenhouse Gas emissions that cause climate change and fuels like coal and natural gas. But no extra tax on gasoline at the pump.
Money raised from polluters will fund tax cut for families, companies and workers.
Invest in renewable energy and conservation, like more energy efficient homes and cleaner cars.
Ensure low-income families, singles and seniors are insulated from rising energy costs.
- Cutting personal and corporate taxes and going 'green' will attract investment and create thousands of new jobs.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Jen Moss has put quite a bit of pressure on law officials in her community, as well as the people living there, because the Oregon woman, known as the "naked lady", has threatened to sue if she can't be nude on July 4th.
Jen claims that the law states to cover "genitalia" in the city park, but not your breasts - and that's what Jen is using to threaten the Chamber of Commerce with a lawsuit if they don't allow her to be in the parade with nothing but a g-string on.
I hope it doesn't rain. I just hate when it rain during nude parades.
An Italian man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend from a pub, taking her home and forcing her to iron his clothes and wash the dishes, police said Monday.
The 43-year-old man dragged the woman out of a pub in the port city of Genoa, shoved her into a car and took her to his home where he made her iron and wash dishes after threatening her, they said.
Obviously this guy is domestically-challenged but that's why Molly Maid was invented. So you don't have to kidnap women to clean your house.
Quebec's Jewish chaplain for prisons got a speeding ticket quashed after convincing a judge he'd been rushing to a medical emergency: a baby boy who was bleeding from a ritual circumcision. Levy testified he'd received an emergency call from a distraught mother whose eight-day-old boy had been recently circumcised. The bandage had come off and the boy was bleeding.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Yesterday, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first couple to get married under California's new law. Lyon and Martin are long term activists. The were in the forefront of both the Women's and Gay Liberation movements. They started the first major lesbian organization in 1955 called the Daughters of Bilitis.
Same-sex marriages were first permitted by The Netherlands followed by Belgium, Canada, Norway, South Africa and Spain.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The residents of a Romanian village knowingly voted in a dead man as their mayor in Sunday's municipal election, preferring him to his living opponent.
A local official said the authorities decided to keep the poll open in case Ivascu's opponent, Gheorghe Dobrescu, won, avoiding the need for a re-run.
In the end, election authorities gave the post to the runner-up, but some villagers and Ivascu's party, the powerful opposition Social Democrat Party (PSD), have called for a new vote.
Can you imagine not being able to beat out a dead man. How embarrassing is that? Maybe the villagers new there would no new taxes.
SENECA FALLS, N.Y. -- Jeff Kostic makes wine ice cream and sorbets for wineries along the Cayuga Wine Trail and sells it at events and at his own ice cream parlor. He said the new bill will make it easier for him to compete.
"Chocolate has for a long time been able to make truffles and things with wine in them and not be regulated. So this will bring us at an even level with those people,” said Jeff Kostick, Cayuga Lake Creamery.
Under the legislation, ice cream makers won't need a liquor license, but can't sell to anyone under 21-years-old and their products can't contain more than 5 percent alcohol.
Now Kostic said you'd have to eat two gallons of wine ice cream or one pint of wine sorbet like this for it to equal just one glass of actual wine.
State lawmakers also passed a bill allowing wineries to offer tastings starting at 10:00 a.m., instead of noon. Kostic said this will also benefit his business.
What's next beer ice cream? Oh yeah they got that too. Yuck!
For the idiot who has everything comes the latest in unbridled extravagance: fashion house Christian Dior is set this month to launch of line of luxury cellphones costing a ridiculous amount of money.
The phone will come in two versions, a "basic" one for $5,000, and a "Lady Dior" one for $26,000. The latter's pricetag is justified by 640 stones and 3,251 carats of Swarovski crystals embedded in a crocodile skin sheath.
Both models will feature touchscreens, integrated media player, bluetooth, but they do have one actual innovation. The phone comes with a "My Dior," a USB key-sized version of the main cellphone that communicates with the mothership cellphone via Bluetooth and clips to the outside of a bag. Christian Dior says this way you don't have to go digging through your purse to find your phone.
It's been over 1 1/2 years but they finally caught that nasty gnome thief that has been pilfering those little lawn ornaments in France. I hope he does some real hard time.
Police in Bretagne have arrested a 53-year-old man suspected of the thefts of 170 garden gnomes. However, it is proving difficult to return the gnomes to their real owners - the thief painted them different colours, making identification tricky.
When garden gnomes go missing in France, most are tempted to blame the shadowy Garden Gnome Liberation Front. The group has been linked to the disappearance of dozens of miniature garden residents over the years.
Not this time, however. Some 170 gnomes and other ornaments have been stolen in the north-western region of Bretagne recently. And it appears to be the work of a serial garden gnome thief acting on his own.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Talk about an old idea. The first electric cars hit the scene way back in the early 1830s, 30 years before the Civil War (for the record, they’re also older than the Eiffel Tower, Joan Rivers and sliced bread). In fact, the electric car was actually the first popularized car. In the year 1900, of the 4,192 cars produced in the United States, 28% of them were electric. And in 1903 electric cars outsold gasoline powered cars, representing about 1/3 of the cars found on the road in New York City, Boston, and Chicago.
So what made electric cars so popular? Basically, the reasons for its success are the same reasons people are taking a second look at electric cars today: they were quieter, smoother and easier to drive (gasoline-powered cars required gear changing, whereas electric cars did not). And on top of that, they didn’t emit noxious smells or gases.
The Flattery for Batteries
The first electric carriage was created by Robert Anderson of Scotland in the 1830s. It was powered by non rechargeable primary cells — basically, a battery. Prior to that, cars were powered by steam engines. France improved the storage battery and thereafter the electric car flourished in France and Great Britain in the late 1800s, and in the US in the early 1900s.
Since the transistor based technology limited the cars’ speed to about 20 mph, in the US the electric car was marketed strictly to high-class individuals as a town car. It was also marketed as suitable for women due to its ease and safety of operation, whereas the gasoline powered car was dangerous and difficult to start. Though slow and powered by a non-rechargeable battery, the electric car’s technology was promising. In 1900, the first speed record was set at 66 mph by a vehicle powered by two 12 volt motors, and the first distance record was set by an electric vehicle that drove 180 miles on a single battery charge.
How the Electric Became Endangered
So what exactly happened to cars? The decline of the electric can be attributed to two individuals – Henry Ford and Anthony Lucas. Henry Ford came into the picture in 1903 and with his quote “I will build a car for the great multitude,” he did just that. In 1908 he perfected the mass production of internal combustion engines. The Model T could be assembled in only ninety-three minutes! Of course, that meant gasoline powered cars became more affordable for consumers. In 1912, an electric car sold for $1750 while a gas guzzler sold for $650. Additionally, Cadillac simplified the once dangerous and difficult task of starting up the internal combustion engine. As cities grew, the need for longer-distance driving grew and batteries just didn’t cut it. Electric car sales peaked in 1912, and declined to obsoleteness shortly thereafter.
Of course, assembly lines and combustion engines weren’t the only reason that the electric went extinct; oil also played a huge factor. When Anthony Lucas struck black gold at Spindletop in 1901, US oil production tripled overnight, making gasoline extremely abundant and affordable. This only boosted the case for gas powered internal combustion engines.
It’s been 100 years since Ford perfected the production of the internal combustion engine, and gasoline powered cars still dominate the automobile market. However, unlike Spindletop in 1901, it seems the only thing skyrocketing today is the price of oil. These days, even Ford Motor Co is playing with electric cars- an ironic coda considering just how hard the company worked to outpace the technology all those years ago.
Reprinted from Mental Floss