Saturday, July 19, 2008
Some paparazzi once reported a fake fire alarm in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s building so they could get pictures of her outside of her apartment with her five-day-old baby? Why do people care about celebrity babies so much? You know what they look like? Babies all look the same.
The scene around the hospital where Angelina Jolie had her baby has been crazy. Photographers had been stationed on nearby roofs of the hospital, hoping that Jolie would leave as she had arrived nearly three weeks ago – by helicopter. She ended up sneaking out at 4 in the morning.
Can someone explain to me why it is illegal to run over paparazzi in your car?
The history of Batman through the years, from 1939, told in pictures.
20 Everyday Items If They Were Designed for Batman.The 10 Mental Illnesses Batman Indisputably Has.
Maybe Batman needs to tone it down a little.
Heath Ledger's last interview.Take a look at Why So Serious? The Many Faces of Joker, with images spanning from the comic book to feature the character in 1940 to Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. Bonus: Here’s an image of the even earlier character who inspired the creation of The Joker.
Hordes of Annex hipsters watched in disbelief on Thursday night while police cordoned off the intersection at Bloor St. W. and Brunswick Ave. and questioned witnesses about a shooting that took place at 11 p.m., wounding two young people. (I happened to have driven by shortly after).
Toronto Police and Emergency Task Force officers have swarmed a plaza after gunfire erupted at an east-end club leaving one man dead. Shots rang out at a club called Rondyvoo on Rylander Blvd. in the Sheppard Ave. East and Kingston Rd. area around 1 a.m Friday morning.
Two men have been charged in a violent road rage incident in Aurora. A driver who felt he had been cut off slammed on his brakes causing an accident. Some punches were exchanged and one of the drivers was stabbed in the arm.
A young man was shot to death at the same highrise complex where a 22-year-old was shot less than a week ago. Paramedics worked more than 20 minutes trying to revive the victim before he was pronounced dead in a large stairwell between two Mornelle Crt. buildings, near Ellesmere Rd. and Morningside Ave. around 6:45 p.m.
One man, believed to be in his 20s, was shot once in the left leg in an area near West Lodge Ave. in the Lansdowne Ave. and Queen St. W. area around 8:15 p.mon Sunday.
Police Officers pepper sprayed one person at the scene of an early morning shooting Friday in the Jane and Finch area. Authorities had to deal with an unruly crowd shortly after they arrived at 15 Shoreham Ct. after reports of a shooting. A man police took into custody apparently got out of hand which prompted officers to use pepper spray. That reportedly upset several people at the scene and cops rushed the man away from the area in a cruiser to a nearby street to wait for an ambulance.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Daniel Allen Everett, 33, faces two 20-year felonies after authorities say he arranged a meeting for sex with an online contact he believed was a 14-year-old girl. He actually wore a "World's Greatest Dad" shirt (in picture above) to the meeting.
He will be spending the next few Fathers Days in jail.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
By now everyone has heard about the Continental Hockey League (KHL), the new Russian league which essential the previous Russian Super League with 4 additional teams.
This is the brainchild of Alexander Ivanovich Medvedev, a Russian oil baron and the vice-president of Gazprom, who has his heart set on creating a hockey league that can rival the NHL. There is a patriotic element to the project in that he and his colleagues resent the fact that there hockey stars are playing in North America.
I see one of the objectives of the league is to repatriate Russian players back to Russia. In fact that has gradually been taking place. In the season prior to the lockout there were 57 Russian players in the NHL. This past season that number has fallen to just 27.
Contributing to this has been the lack of a player transfer agreement with Russia. Most major European hockey nations have an agreement whereby the NHL pays some money to bring players from these nations to the NHL. This money helps to pay for development of future players and the cost of development of the new NHL player (at least in principle). The negotiation of these amount has been done in a "take it or leave it" style by the NHL and the Europeans have no leverage. Russia is the only nation to reject this agreement. This means that Russian contracts do not have to be honored in North America and North American contracts do not have to be honored in Russia. A Russian player who signs in North America can decide that he is unhappy there and leave in mid-contract to sign in Russia. The recent agreement between the NHL and KHL means that the parties will at least honour each others contracts although no transfer fee has been agreed to.
So will the KHL hurt the NHL?
There is little agreement on the impact of the new league. If the goal is predominantly to repatriate Russian players well there are few left in the NHL. The big stars like Ovechkin and Malkin could make more money back home but would not be playing with the best players in the world. Even older players like Federov rejected better offers from Russian teams to remain in the NHL. But other players like Alexei Yashin, Aleksey Morozov. Danny Markov and Oleg Kvasha went back to Russia. The signing of Jagr and Emery weren't big deals because Jagr was at the end of his career and Emery was being treated as an untouchable by NHL teams.
Everything changed with the signing of Alex Radulov who was still under contract with Nashville. Entry level players are underpaid in the NHL but their big money starts when they can become free agents. The Burke-Lowe feud is because Burke feels that Edmonton's offer sheet to Dustin Penner has the potential of increasing salaries for younger players. The KHL can potentially have a similar impact.
As long as the KHL poaches Russian players and marginal NHL talents (like John Grahame and Chris Simon) no one will get that worked up. The real danger is the Europeans that do not pay even close to what is being offered to players by the KHL. But what would happen if the billionaire Russians target North American stars? What if Rick Nash who becomes a free agent in about 2 years is offered$100 million over 5 years? No NHL team can come close to matching that. Things might really get interesting.
PART 1 OF ROUND 1
PART 2 OF ROUND 1
Monday, July 14, 2008
New Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie have certainly made their mark on their recent purchase. The changes to the Maple Leafs pale in comparison to the remake going on in Tampa Bay.
The new Lightning team has been remodeled from top to bottom. Jay Feaster was basically pushed aside and draft picks, signings and trades were being orchestrated by former player agent and now vp of hockey operation Brian Lawton. Last week Feaster resigned. He followed coach John Tortorella and Bill Barber out the door.
The new owners have been directly involved in all new hirings and signings. They hired Barry Melrose as coach - which is just one of many surprises since Melrose hasn't coached in 13 years and only had one succuessful season. Soon a number of additional personnel were brought in including Rick Tocchet, Greg Malone and Tom Kurvers (famous as being the player the Leafs picked up for a draft pick that turned out to be Scott Niedermayer).
First off they grabbed Steve Stamkos in the draft. Then there was a flurry of trades and signings including free agents Radam Vrbata, Adam Hall, Mark Recchi, Chris Gratton, Olaf Kolzig, Brandon Bochenski, Evgeny Artyukhin They traded for Vaclav Prospal, Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts. They also dumped all-star defenseman Dan Boyle's long-term $40 million contract just months after it was signed. Filip Kuba is, at the moment, the only Tampa blueliner with more than 220 games played. The wisdom of doing so is questionable since they were already very green on defense. In fact they now have enough NHL forwards to stock 6 lines.
I give them credit for the Vincent Lecavalier signing. The 11-year $85 million contract has a cap hit of about $7.7 per season. The last 2 years of the contract (when Vinnie is 39 and 40) are only $1.5 million and $1 million. So if he needs to be bought out, the amount is chicken feed. More likely there isn't enough money on the table to keep Lecavalier from retiring early. So if you knock off those last 2 years, 9 remaining years are worth $82.5 million which would be a cap hit of over $9 million per season. Those last 2 years make a big difference.
Will all these changes turn around the Lightning. Who knows? But you have to give then new guys A+ for effort.
On the Saturday the Cup went to The Hospital for Sick Children and Detroit Eatery on Danforth and Chester avenues. The 60-year-old restaurant is decked out in Wings paraphernalia and was packed with curious onlookers.
Draper and the Cup rode into Scarborough in a stretch limo where between 1,000 - 2,000 friends, family, neighbours and fans were waiting. The Cup was set up in the backyard of Draper's parents Mike and Mary Lynne. Two off-duty police officers were hired to control the crowd.
Draper posed for pictures for hours, graciously obliging requests for various shots - holding the Cup, placing it on the ground or stepping away from the lens altogether and letting the fans have their moment alone with the 35-pound Stanley Cup. Draper's older kids, Kienan and Kennedi, enjoyed a big scoop of ice cream out of it and the family also dined on Timbits out of the Cup.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Last night against the Jays Alex Rodriguez hit homer No. 537, moving past Mickey Mantle for sole possession of 13th place on the all-time list.The Yankees clobbered the Jays because Roy Halladay can only pitch every 5th game.
I happen to know that the fan who caught A-Rod's homerun got a visit from Yankee manager Joe Girardi who tried to persuade him to hand over the ball. He refused. Later he actually got a visit from A-Rod himself who offered to exchange the homerun ball for an autographed ball but the fan insisted he was keeping the ball.
I think I would have given him the ball. Or at least held out for night out with Madonna.
After months of discussion, and in part due to some serious counterfeiting, the TTC has officially decided to phase out adult tickets in favour of tokens. This news seems to have remained under the radar of the media. TTC Authorized Ticket Agents, such as local corner stores and Shoppers Drug Marts, quietly stopped selling adult tickets on June 29th.
While it's still possible to purchase tickets from TTC stations until September 6th, and the last day to officially use tickets isn't until September 29th, it is unknown if/when the TTC plans to distribute tokens to Authorized Ticket Agents. So in the meantime passengers who rely on non-station purchases will be out of luck.
While most people will be unaffected by the shift, (only an estimated 15% of fares are from ticket sales) it will definitely be an inconvenience to those who don't ride the subways and predominantly use bus routes (i.e. those in the suburbs).
My next concern would be whether or not phasing out the tickets in the fall will only play into a plan for an easier TTC adult fare increase in late 2008 or early 2009. Without tickets to exchange, a fare hike would go much more smoothly, and with concern about rising fuel prices, a fare hike may play all the more nicely for next year's budget demands.