Friday, August 15, 2008
Here is one of the few known pictures of Amy Winehouse that will not scare the hell out of you. She is an incredible talent. And I'm not one to judge her lifestyle choices. Yes she takes a nip or two too many and doesn't stop dipping into the booger sugar until the bowl is empty.
But its like the media goes out of the way to take pictures that make her look like a hideous beast.
The Buffalo Bills beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rogers Centre last night, but the experience was rather underwhelming, and tickets sales lackluster. The official reported attendance number of close to capacity (48,434) seems askew if you ask some people (we saw quite a bit more empty blue seats as we scanned the stadium). Scalpers were selling tickets at a small fraction of face value, most people who I know that went didn't pay for their tickets (nor would they), and with 7 minutes to go in a very tightly played match, the stadium was near empty. Tourists were reported to have been handed high end tickets on the streets outside the dome for free.
That's not to say that the game wasn't a success. The Bills made lots of money which means they are more viable in Buffalo as long as Toronto fans keep subsiding the team. Bill fans save money because subscribers have one less exhibition game to pay for and no one really wants to buy those games. There were still lots of fans who shelled out inflated dollars for NFL football which keeps their NFL dream alive. And with Ted Rogers involved, you never know.
Today (at roughly 4 p.m.) marks the fifth anniversary of the 2003 North American Blackout which brought down power across Southern Ontario and much of the surrounding region.
The causes were numerous and complex, but the underlying issue was how heavily strained the supply of available electricity had become across the region under a heatwave, resulting in a situation where several minor problems coincided during the highest-use time of the day and caused a cascading system collapse.
Although the event is commonly known to most locals simply as "the blackout," the period of Aug 14 to Sept 28, 2003 actually saw six major blackouts occur around the world, with ours coming in second most significant by cutting off power to 50 million people.
The rationale for trading Bryan McCabe is plain and simple. The Maple Leafs have too many big salaries on their defense with McCabe ($5.75 million), Kubina ($5.0), Kaberle ($4.25) and Finger ($3.5). McCabe carries the biggest hit and may not even be in the top two. You can't justify paying that kind of money to a defenseman on the second pairing and it will ensure that you remain undermanned on offense.
McCabe's salary over the next 3 seasons is $4.1 million. Considering what free agent defensemen signed for this past summer, he is no longer in the ranks of the over paid. The new group is made up of Wade Redden, Brian Campbell, Mike Commodore, Mike Rozsival and Jeff Finger. But salary isn't the main issue when it comes to McCabe - it's his salary cap hit. His cap hit remains at $5.75 million for the next 3 seasons. So for the Maple Leafs who are trying to create some cap space, it's a necessary move.
If they Leafs clear about $3 million in cap space in a trade and don't sign Sundin, they will be operating at about $10 million below the cap. That allows for some significant moves during the next offseason.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Just everyone suspected, there is proof the Chinese have fudged the age of their female gymnasts.
Just nine months before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government's news agency, Xinhua, reported that gymnast He Kexin was 13, which would have made her ineligible to be on the team that won a gold medal this week.
In its report Nov. 3, Xinhua identified He Kexin as one of "10 big new stars" who made a splash at China's Cities Games. It gave her age as 13 according one of its Web sites, www.hb.xinhuanet.com.
The Associated Press found the Xinhua report on the site Thursday morning and saved a copy of the page. Later that afternoon, the Web site was still working but the page was no longer accessible. Sports editors at the state-run news agency would not comment for publication.
But this does not present a problem for the bureaucrats at the OIC. You see the Chinese government provided the OIC with valid passports for all its gymnasts as proof of age. Of course the Chinese government issued those passports. Hmmm, you think that....naaaaa.
During the NFL season there was an ongoing problem with Jets fans harassing women. Well the Jets agreed to a new booze policy for tailgating. To curb alcohol use and drunken fan antics, tailgating will be restricted to five hours before games or events... Also yesterday, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority announced that view-blocking banners will be hung on the spiral staircase at Gate D to help eliminate harassment of women during Jets games. Last season, security at Gate D was increased at Jets games because hundreds of men would gather at halftime and demand women expose their breasts.
Not all fans realize that AJ Burnett is a two-pitch pitcher - using just a fastball and curveball. Every springs he talks about adding another pitch but never caries it through.
As a two-pitch pitcher, it’s also important for Burnett to be able to get his curveball over for strikes, so hitters can’t just sit on his fastball. According the ESPN, in starts when Burnett has thrown his curveball for strikes at a higher rate than the league average (59.2 percent), he has an ERA of 3.15. In games when his curveball strike rate is lower than average, his ERA soars to 5.23.
That is why prior to this season he has been so hot and cold. In games where he throws the curveball for strikes he wins but if he can't he loses. That explains why leading into this season he is just a .500 pitcher. So what is different this year? Well he has been more successful in getting that curveball over the plate. And he's been lucky. His last 2 starts he had trouble with his curveball but still managed to win because the offense came alive for him. And it doesn't hurt that he's stayed healthy. The biggest shock is when I heard this week that he leads the AL in starts.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
...set 22 personal bests,
...14 pats on the back from medal winners,
....9 promises for additional funding from the federal government
...5 asthma attacks from the smog, and
...3 "we will be better in London 2012"
Monday, August 11, 2008
The Guardian reports that the Spanish Basketball Federation has published a good luck advertisement for the national team in Beijing. The problem? In the ad the Spanish hoops squad appears to be pulling the sides of their eyes back, making a slant-eyed gesture. Many are reading this as a dig at Olympic host China.
The ad ran in one of Spain's largest newspapers. Not one person stepped in to suggest this may be interpreted as a derogatory gesture to the world's Asian countries? Not one person from the Basketball Federation to the team itself to the photographer to the newspaper staff thought better than to run the photo? Kind of makes you think that the Federation is run by a bunch of frat boys.
It seems China has introduced an innovation at the Olympic - cheerleaders!
Beijing Olympic organizers picked 428 beautiful, young, long-haired women to perform at 17 different sports including archery, race walking, pentathlon, boxing and weightlifting.In their ever-so-photogenic bikinis, they're a hit with the mainly male photographers and with the Chinese crowd.
Hey the tickets are expensive so give the customers something to cheer about.
There is a minimum age for Olympic competition which is 16. Some people are convinced the Chinese have underage gymnasts. You have to admit some of them don't look 16 but then in my family none of us looked 16 at that age. In gymnastics, pre-pubescent girls have an advantage because they are lighter when doing the most difficult moves.
The weekend was another washout. It rained Saturday and Sunday and my six week project in my background stretched into its 11th week and no where near done.
Well there is some good news. No 30C or higher temperatures, no smog and the air conditioning has been off as much as its been on. It's rained 41 out of the last 70 days for a total of 354 mm (14"). And the summer isn't over. Oh and the forecast for today - 40% chance of showers.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
While the details are sketchy at the moment the news is out that Issac Hayes was found by his wife at his Memphis, Tennessee estate very early this morning. Hayes, a deep-voiced artist won an Oscar for the 1971 Theme From Shaft (which I consider one of the best songs coming out of the 1970s). He was found lying right next to a treadmill machine and was unresponsive.
He was quite the flamboyant individual as you can see from the video below from 1973. At one time he owned an icredible 1972 peacock blue Cadillac Eldorado and lots of jewelry.
Absolutely massive fire at Sunrise Propane near Keele & Wilson is filling the city skies with smoke, ash. Watch the explosion in the video below which blew out windows in the neighbourhood. Thousands had to be evacuated and 3 subway stations had to be closed. Traffic was pure chaos today because Highway 401 was closed in both directions close to the explosion. I was caught in the mess and sat for hours in traffic.
Residents have complained about the location of the propane plant for years. Well the good news for them is - it's gone!