Saturday, September 06, 2008

Nothing like a walk off grand slam

What a beautiful script it was. A 3-0 lead in the 9th is squandered. Top of the 13th the Rays finally take the lead only to set up Gregg Zaun for a dramatic at bat - a 2-out, walk off grand slam. Zaun was 0-`7 in August and has barely played of late. Though he got lots of work today.

The Jays bullpen was shaky all afternoon, refusing to do what they do best (not walk people.) Scott Downs only threw 3 strikes? The bullpen actually gave up 6 hits, 6 walks and 4 runs. It was a waste of a great start by Shaun Marcum who struck out seven batters and allowed four hits over seven innings. He departed after tossing 101 pitches and a shut out.

But the Jays hung on to take their streak to 7 games. The last time they have an 8 game streat was 1999. Right now the4 Jays are tied for 3rd with the Yankees who play tonight in Seattle.

Take my garbage - please

One of the things I love about Torontonians is their love for writing passive-aggressive public notices and stick it to the bureaucrats. So naturally, after the city started mulling over the idea of actually enforcing the anti-garbage-picking provisions in its waste collection by-law it didn't take long for some homeowners to disagree. One recycling family has attached a sign to its blue bin authorizing scavengers to remove any reusable containers.

The 11th Commandment

At a church parking lot at Dupont and Avenue Road.

Michelle Obama has a Rabbi in her family

Here is an interesting revelation that has largely gone unnoticed. It turns out that one of Michelle Obama’s cousins is the country’s most prominent black rabbi. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has struggled to capture the Jewish vote.

Michelle Obama and Rabbi Capers Funnye, spiritual leader of a mostly black synagogue on Chicago’s South Side, are first cousins once removed. Funnye is chief rabbi at the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in southwest Chicago. He is well-known in Jewish circles for acting as a bridge between mainstream Jewry and the much smaller, and largely separate, world of black Jewish congregations, sometimes known as black Hebrews or Israelites.

EDIT: please don't leave your racist comments because they are only going to be deleted.

A pitbull with lipstick

I hate calling Rogers


My thoughts on Sarah Palin

Well it's been a week now since John McCain sprung Sarah on America and that event certainly hasn't gone unnoticed. I've certainly had some fun watching it and poked fun at it as well.

  • I'm intrigued by the nomination of Sarah Palin. The reaction it's received confirms that it was brilliant despite what Democrats may think. People are talking about her and not Bush, the war, the economy. You tell me how that doesn't help the Republicans.
  • Experience in politics is more a perceived need than a real one. Some awful politicians have been around for years and frankly should be buried in a deep dark hole. Running a country is about leadership, stewardship and vision. You surround yourself with strong technical experts.
  • She is not likely to be a change agent in Washington. Vice Presidents don't have much power. She won't be introducing legislation and doesn't have a veto either. That's not to say she won't wield power. But using it from the VP post takes some skill.
  • Sarah Palin is creating turmoil in the feminist movement. She is a strong powerful woman with strong conservative views. Do you support her in effort to break another glass ceiling or oppose her because of her politics. I understand that not all Clinton supporters are pro-abortion so it will be interesting to see how the female vote is distributed.
  • I wonder how much she is there for her family when she is Governor of Alaska? I applaud her accomplishments but they come with sacrafices - one is ususally your family. She may not be totally honest on this one.
  • Speaking of which, if you showcase your family then you can't complain how your personal life is unfairly be scrutinized. You can't have it both ways.
  • Married voters have leaned Republican in the last three elections, and did so by a large margin four years ago; it is uncertain how the pregnancy of Gov. Palin's unmarried 17-year-old daughter will affect that calculus.
  • The rumours and digging up possible scandals is all part of the political landscape in the U.S. presidential campaigns. Sarah Palin isn't being subjected to anything that wasn't done to Richard Nixon (Watergate), Gary Hart (Monkey Business), Tom Eagleton (mental health), Clinton (Whitewater, Gennifer Flower, etc.). It's the seedy side of politics.
  • Some American visitor to this blog left a nasty message about my comments on the U.S. election. As always it included stereotyped labels for Canadians. My question for him or her is - if my comments don't interest you or matter, then why are you reading them?

TTC will tell you when next subway is arriving

The TTC has launched their Next Train Arrival signs. The new program alerts commuters when the next subway train will arrive at the station.

In its current incarnation, this service is rather limited in usefulness, such as during rush hour, when trains run about every two minutes. But it can alert commuters to possible delays, which would be a lot better than having to wait and wait, not knowing what's going on, only to eventually hear a muffled announcement over the intercom.

The system will eventually use GPS for buses and streetcars with LED screens on poles or built into all-new shelters that will show the expected time and physical location of the next vehicle. York Region's VIVA buses already are using this technology.

You may be wondering why the TTC is spending its already-strapped budget dollars on this venture. The TTC says it costs less than $5,000 per station and the screens are paid for by advertisers.

Fashion Disaster

I think Bai Ling is wearing a Christmas tree.

Bengals' WR Chad Johnson is now Ocho Cinco I'm changing my name to Darth Vader

Friday, September 05, 2008

The tabloids have waded in!

Raise your hand if you're not pregnant


Woman in 'shock' over giant zucchini

A Queens woman has taken homegrown fruits and vegetables to a whole new level by cultivating a 6-foot-long zucchini in her backyard...

"I went to look at it one day and was like, 'It's a little long,' then a few days later, I said, 'Oh, my God, what's this?'

"I was so in shock, I grow them every year, but never more than about 4feet. I decided I wasn't going to touch it and just let it grow."

She's currently in the hospital, and is expected to make a full recovery.

Rose is 35 today

Travis Snider is one big boy

He's only 20 years old (the youngest player in the majors) but he is already pounding opposition pitchers. That 240 lbs. on a 5'11" frame is built for power. Snider was 3-for-3, with 1 homer and two-RBIs.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Everyone is calling for change,,,

"We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us."

"Here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."

"The change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington."

"Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That's not change; that's more of the same."

Welcome to Toronto Amber van Ryn

New Maple Leaf defenseman Mike van Ryn is married to Amber (on the left) a former Dolphin cheerleader. I'd give up a 4th round pick and Bryan McCaka for that.

Lame endzone celebration deserves a fine

Toronto Argo wide receiver Arland Bruce III had this lame touchdown celebration that included a Spiderman mask that earned him a fine from the CFL. They should have doubled for for the pain and suffering to those who had to watch it.

Canadian federal election projections

I'm using projections by Greg Morrow at DemocraticSPACE who suggests that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives would win another minority government. The projections are based on weighted averages of recent polls conducted by Strategic Counsel (31 Aug), Ipsos-Reid (28 Aug), Angus Reid (28 Aug), Nanos (27 Aug), and Harris/Decima (24 Aug).

National (24 Aug - 31 Aug, +/- 1.4%)
Conservative — 34.3% (125 seats)
Liberal — 31.3% (112 seats)
NDP — 16.6% (26 seats)
Green — 8.6% (0 seats)
Bloc — 8.2% (43 seats)
Other — 1.0% (2 seats)

There could be a breakthrough for the Greens during the campaign but for now they may come up empty again. Not much different than the existing Parliament.


One Hit Wonder

Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting (1974)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Is Sarah Palin showcasing her family?

If there is any hypocrisy about this whole week of Palin coverage, it is how she is using her family for political game and then knocking the media for taking shots. At least that's the impression I got watching her tonight. She spent 10 minutes talking about her family and less than 5 minutes on her accomplishments as governor. I just didn't get a good feel about it.

This Britol business is bugging me even more. Sarah Palin supposedly allowed Bristol the choice to keep her baby. They were free to make that decision. And the governor is, supposedly, "proud" of her daughter's "choice." But, if Governor Palin's rhetoric is to be believed, no one should be allowed to make that choice in the first place. The Palins have painted this as a decision, one made, as anyone's would be, in line with their religious convictions and their family's values and their personal consciences. So again, if this was a real choice between two or more options, then what did she choose between? Having the baby and....?

Cliff Fletcher is actually doing his job

The Star (Damien Cox to be more precise) has accused the Maple Leafs of terrible asset management. Cox suggests that the McCabe deal is terrible. Many people may be agreeing with him. Afterall, the Leafs have literally sent the following players packing with virtually nothing to show for them: Belfour, Domi, Tucker,Wellwood, and Raycroft. The trades involving McCabe, Gill, Kilger, and Belak involved at least some exchange of assets coming back to Toronto. But none of these moves brought the Leafs much back of value.

Then all the moves in the summer involved a transfer of draft picks for marginal talents (eg.,2nd for Garbovski, 3rd for Mayers, 5th for Hollweg). Here is a summary of draft pick transfers:

1st round: none

2nd round: + (Gill) - (Schenn) - (Garbovski) = -1

3rd round: + (Kilger) - (Schenn) - (Mayers) = -1

4th round: - (Van Ryn) = -1

5th round: + (Belak) + (Gill) - (Hollweg) = +1

Essentially they are down two picks right now which at this point this is'n consequential since there is no draft in September. The draft takes place in June and the Leafs will be sellers next February so the pick count will change. Sure they haven't acquired any 1st round picks but with few valuable assets and loads of no-trade contracts, those types of trades just weren't going to happen.

This team should have some real difficulty scoring goals. It's a toss up who will be their leading scorer but that player will likely have only 60 points or so. But the Leafs will be far more physical and they will play hard. There will likely be no more mailed in efforts. That is already progress.

Cliff Fletcher wasn't hired to rebuild the Leafs. He is an interim manager who was hired to clean out the malcontents and make salary cap space. He has done that and likely not finished. I would have been happy to see the rebuilding start this year rather than wait a year. But as long as it is accomplished, the team becomes competitive, then I can be patient.

More fake Sarah Palin photos

The evil part of the Internet is working overtime. Below is a fake picture of Sarah Palin dressed in a bikini with a gun. Foolish people think this will turn voters against her while all it does is make her into a victim.

Here is the actual picture of someone else.


Where's Chad Kilger?

Whatever happened to Chad Kilger? Chad is as scarce as Waldo or bin Laden. He was supposed to have caught a flight to Florida at the trade deadline but never made it. Obviously something in his personal life compelled him to leave the NHL as well as $800,000 on the table. Chad was a useful role player that could have played a few more seasons. The Panthers thought enough of him to give up a 3rd round pick. Personally, that's probably why the Leafs had to throw in a 4th rounder with Bryan McCabe this week.

Bristol Palin Edition


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ms. Palin Goes to Washington

Four days after John McCain announces Sarah Palin as his VP running mate and already stories about teen pregnancies, questions about who Trig Palin's mother is, and funny business involving her sister's ex-husband. What's next?

Why people choose to run for office with this kind of scrutiny just floors me. Good for Obama for at least saying a person's family is off limits.

Nothing like wedge issues like conception and contraception to wake up the electorate. This is starting to get real interesting. It's like liberals and conservatives have switched roles.

The people we'd expect to be most angry about sexual impropriety - conservatives - have become Bristol Palin's most vocal defenders. And the people we'd expect to be most tolerant of it - liberals - have unwittingly and indirectly assumed the role of her attackers.

If there's a lesson here, it's that liberals and conservatives are defined not so much by their dogma as by their need to use their differences against each other.

Feliz CumpleaƱos, Salma Hayek!

42 today!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Exclusive: Last official meeting of the Muskoka Five

Mats Sundin (MS): Thank for hooking up today guys. So just identify who is on the line and where you are calling from.

Tomas Kaberle (TM): Good to hear from you Mats. It's Kabs in my condo in TO.

Pavel Kubina (PK): Pav here from Prague. I was just taking my daughter out for some shopping before heading off to Canada for the start of the school year.

TM: Have to get you guys over for dinner when you get settled.

MS: You guys know I'm coming in for a charity hockey game this week.

Darcy Tucker (DT): So you're back!

MS: Umm, haven't decided yet. Is that Tucks?

DT: Yeah, I'm in Denver unpacking still. This is such a drag. Is the Caber on the line?

Bryan McCabe (BM): I am Tucker you little Fucker. On my cell phone in Nashville. Driving the whole damn fucking family down to Florida. I'm going to strangle the little shits.

TM: Haha. I hear thats legal down there.

MS: Listen up guys. I've called this meeting...well...because we got to disband the current Muskoka Five.

DT: I knew this was coming. That Fletcher is such a dickhead.

MS: Ease up guys. I know Cliff a long time. He's just doing his job. Now when we first organized this little club, we thought those no trade contracts would have us set up for life. That Ferguson was such an easy mark. But he's gone so we got to move on.

BM: Yeah. That Cliff is too shifty. Couldn't squeeze a buyout from him no matter how much we tried. It's a new world guys.

MS: But we got a hell of a tradition going in Toronto that we don't want to kill. Kabs I'm leaving in your hands as the longest surviving Muskoka Five member to recruit some rookies.

TK: I'm up for it Mats.

PK: Kabs you hit the Canadian guys and I'll go after the Euros.

DT: Take my word for it that floater Steen is a sure thing.

BM: Hey and Carlos the Glassman was always bugging me to get in.

MS: Now what I hear about Wilson is he is a bit of a tough guy. Don't worry about him Kabs and Pav. They all start out that way but when Damien Cox gets through with him, he be crying like a baby. Just tell the guys, you can't get sent down so don't sweat it.

TK: I hear you. I'm going to come late to the first practice. Haha. I'll tell him my kid had diarrhea.

MS: Well I've got to run. I'm late for a golf game. Take care and see you guys around. It was a blast.

PK: Keep your head down on those drives Mats.

BM: Hey Darcy Fuckhead, keep your head up when we play the Avs.

DT: I'm going to make you into a board ad.

BM: Shit I gotta go. I think my wife lost one of the kids.

TK: Bye guys.

PK: bye.

DT: Five for ever, Signing out.

In Pictures: New Orleans prepares for Gustav

Obama Girl being considered for Cabinet position if Democrats win White House

Exit David Eckstein

This was a signing in retrospect made no sense. In fact I was scratching my head last winter since Ricciardi had signed John Macdonald as his every day shortstop and Eckstein glove was never that good.

But Eckstein was a class act to the very end. He never complained when he fell to 3rd string in the depth chart and didn't ask to be traded. Eckstein is off to Arizona, in return the Jays get Chad Beck. He's a 6'4" 23 year old RHP who spent most of the season in the California league (High-A, the equivalent of Dunedin) and is in his second professional season. The Jays drafted him out of high school in 2004 but didn't sign him so he's been on their radar awhile.

It's September and summer is almost over Charlize is enjoying what's left of the nice weather.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

John McCain's VP Checklist - Sarah Palin edition

Young ✓

Ethnic X

NRA member ✓

Likes to hunt and fish ✓

No Big Oil connection X

Washington outsider ✓

Pro-life ✓

Anti-same sex marriage ✓

Believes creation should be taught in school as a science ✓

Great speaker X

Mother ✓

Mother of a soldier ✓

Mother of soldier soon to be in Iraq ✓

Ashkenaz Festival

I dropped in at the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto this weekend which is one of the world's largest festivals of Yiddish and Jewish culture covering artists/groups in music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, food and craft literally from all around the globe. It is held every second year here.

I generally stick to the music. In past years the groups have either played Klezmer music or heavily influenced by Klezmer music. Klezmer music originated in the 'shtetl' (villages) and the ghettos of Eastern Europe, where itinerant Jewish troubadours, known as 'klezmorim', performed at joyful events ('simkhes'), particularly weddings. It developed very much like jazz developed in the U.S. Contemporary Klezmer bands share artistic ideas and bring their own compositions, accepting the influences of jazz, free-jazz, pop music, rock'n roll and other kinds of 'ethnic' music: Indian, bhangra, Arab, Celtic, etc.

The first group I saw was a string quartet from the Netherlands called Di Fidl Kapelye. They have a neo-traditional East-European Jewish sound but include a mix of contemporary compositions. The band included a tsimbl which added to the traditional sound.

Next I heard the family brass band out of the Ukraine called of Konsonans Retro. I really didn't care for the brass band sound but the organizers matched the band up with a German clarinetist Christian Dawid and British drummer Guy Shalom who were terrific.

The final act I saw on Saturday was a New Jersey group with the best name called the Klez Dispensers. They are pretty young eight-piece band that played a cross of jazz and klezmer music with an outstanding jazz vocalist Susan Watts. I couldn't find a video of the band.

The next night I caught two really original acts neither which are Klezmer acts. First was Pharaoh's Daughter, an American sextet led by a charismatic Basya Schechter. I would guess that Schechter had a religious Orthodox upbringing and the group's music had a mix of Sephardid folk-rock and Hassidic chants. All their songs are in Hebrew and it was quite funny to see her violinist Megumi Okura who is Japanese sing in Hebrew.

The last act I saw was Joshua Nelson who is a Black Jew (he calls himself "the KKK's worst nightmare") and he combines African-American spiritual gospel styles with Jewish liturgical music. He calls it Kosher Gospel. He was just an incredible performer with a powerful voice and a terrific stage presence. He took Hebrew prayers and composed them as gospel music creating a new sound that blends Jewish liturgical and African American spiritual styles.

Mats Sundin Update

Mats is coming to Toronto but no to play for the Leafs.

JP Barry was just interviewed on Fan 590 and stated that his client Mats Sundin will be in Toronto September 5th to participate in a charity game being played for the Right to Play organization.

Obama drops Joe Biden and picks Megan Fox as his running mate

Naked photo of Sarah Palin discovered

......caught you looking! Enjoy your Labour (Labor for you Americans) Day long weekend!

The Green Party makes history and Elizabeth May demands an invite to the big party

History has been made today. The Green Party has an MP in Canada's Parliament.

Well, technically, the Green Party has an MP who is ready to sit in Parliament, though it is unlikely Parliament will sit before an election is called. Indeed, after all is said and done, the Green Party might come out of all this never have had a sitting MP. And certainly not an elected MP.

That might not matter much to some people, but I think these are more than just subtle distinctions. Blair Wilson, the Liberal MP tossed out of the party for hot have disclosed his numerous legal problems, has switched to the Green Party. From my perspective Elizabeth May is clearly no different than any othe politician. She will accept other parties' rejects if it will advance her political career.

Does that earn Elizabeth May a spot in the leader's debate?

It seems like the only specific reason Blair Wilson can name for sitting as a Green Party MP (if Parliament sits again before an election is called) is so that he can affect the leaders' debate in an upcoming election. Indeed, he obliquely suggests it is an act of mischief aimed at the Liberal Party. And Elizabeth May clearly sees Blair Wilson as a ticket to the leaders' debate.

So will the Green Party ever actually win a seat in Parliament?

Electing an MP is tough. Only four parties can manage it today, and one of them focuses all its efforts exclusively in one province. The Green Party has a smattering of policies that are already reflected in other parties. But they have never developed a platform that has enough appeal with voters to at least persuade voters in even one riding to elect one of the candidates. Though Bloc Quebecois, the NDP, and the Liberal Party have supporters that are sympathetic to the Green Party. If one of these parties goes off the rail in a future election, the Green Party could be the beneficiary.