Saturday, October 18, 2008

Philly's "Bonnie and Clyde" going to jail

Jocelyn Kirsch, one half of the Philadelphia duo dubbed the "Bonnie and Clyde" of identity theft, and who swindled more than $100,000 from friends and neighbors was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

Kirsch, a former Drexel University student, and University of Pennsylvania graduate Edward Anderton, of Everett, Wash., used the money for expensive salon visits, fancy dinners and lavish trips.

Federal guidelines called for a prison term of 70 months or more, but U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno credited Kirsch for her remorse and for her July 14 guilty plea to aggravated identity theft and other crimes. Besides prison, the judge also ordered full restitution to the 50 victims.

Sarah Palin Tina Fey was on David Letterman

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kudos to Betty White

I love PETA

...for parading around lots of hot naked women!

Joe the Plumber

"Now that I've answered your question about my tax cut plan, I have a question for you, Joe. I'm in the process of replacing the toilet in my bathroom. What kind of low-flow toilet would you recommend. I'm considering the American Standard Champion, the Crane Sureflush and the Kohler Wellworth. As a plumber, Joe what would you suggest?"

[Hey Mats Sundin is that you? Did you decide to take up plumbing as your new career? ]

Rays put a fork in them already

Yes, it was an incredible comeback. But the Red Sox have been totally outplayed and outclassed in the ALCS. It would be wonderful to see the Rays put them away this weekend. Most of us can't bear to have to listen to Sox fans crowing about Title Town.

By the way, Tampa Bay's payroll is $43 million and Boston's is $133 milllion. Pretty amazing!

Toronto gas prices under $1 but should be lower

Hey drivers across Toronto were likely pleased this morning to see gas prices below $1 for the first time in about one year. But they should be lower.

Today's price is 99.3 cents and a year ago this day it was 99.9 cents. However, a barrel of oil fell below $70 yesterday. Looking back a year ago, on October 17, 2007 a barrel of oil was going for just under $90. Obviously as we all suspect prices go up faster than they go down. The price of gas should be much closer to 90 cents.

Fashion Disaster

Kylie Minogue decorated much like the hall where we held my parent's 50th anniversary.

Bring back Raycroft!

Andrew Raycroft's first career start for Colorado was a success Thursday night as the former Toronto goaltender helped the Avalanche beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 for their first win.

Raycroft is the backup to Peter Budaj, who accepted much of the blame for the Avs' 0-3 start. Colorado coach Tony Granato said this wasn't a matter of Budaj being benched, just Raycroft getting his normal one start per week to get into a good rhythm.

With one win under his belt Raycroft now has matched Toskala's total and only one win short of his total for 2007-08.

Another Chinatown restaurant shut down

First it was rats. Then it was cockroaches. Now it's giant salamanders!

A fourth Chinatown restaurant has been cited for pest infestation, just across the street from the restaurant where rats were notoriously photographed last week. This is the latest in a string of pest-related penalties in the neighbourhood that began last week with Happy Seven, a late-night destination where rats were caught on camera by passersby and media outlets. Inspectors closed Happy Seven on Oct. 9, and scoured nearby blocks for signs of any further rat infestation.

The manager of the restaurant has insisted that the giant salamanders are in fact a menu item but clever health inspectors were not fooled one bit. When examining the menu, the inspector found snake, frogs, starfish, jellyfish, pigeons, turtles, but no salamanders.

Joe the Plumber speaks out on issues

Iraqi War
Would partition country into three sectarian regions, wait 28 years, then tear down partitions in triumph for democracy.

Health Care
Proposes health care punch card system that would make your fifth visit to the emergency room free.

Believes God has been controlling the weather all along, no need to mess things up.

Believes that the market, on its own, will achieve a natural equilibrium between foreigners' demand for illegal entry into the country and Americans' supply of rifles and ammunition.

Believes that the removal of government regulations would foster competition, thus creating variety in the private market, from cheap back-alley clinics to five-star luxury abortion spas.

Happy 60th Birthday Norm!

What do Hayden Panettiere and George Bush have in common?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Was that $300 million election worth it?

In the last 24 hours several people have asked me if I thought I got my “money’s worth” out of the $300 million election held on Tuesday. When it comes to loaded question, that one certainly falls under that category.

But the answer is yes. From an economic standpoint, there are 23 million voters in Canada so my share is only $13. I would gladly spend $13 to express my view on how the government has been doing. As for the 9 million who sat at home, they may have a totally different perspective.

But another aspect of that question “did I get my money’s worth?” has to do with whether I was happy with the outcome. Did the candidate I support win? Did the party I support able to form a government? Despite the change in seats, for many people, the results are the same as the last election – a Conservative minority government. So why hold an election?

In hindsight, it’s easy for voters and the media to suggest that there was no point in holding an election because we didn’t end up with a majority government. But going into the election the outcome wasn’t certain. In fact, there was a good chance that the Conservatives would finish with a majority of seats. In fact, that is the reason the election was called at this time.

Canadians actually prefer minority governments but hate frequent elections. They have expressed their preference to minorities in public opinion polls and at the last few elections. In Tuesday’s election, the will of the electorate suggests that people have confidence in the Conservatives’ ability to manage the economy during the current rough spell but also don’t want to give them a total free hand.

However, the public has also been brainwashed into believing elections are a waste of money. So they should occur as infrequently as possible – every 4 years. The reality is that minority governments don’t last as long as majority governments. So if you like minority governments, then you need to learn to love election campaigns.

As for me - I can’t wait for my next $13 ballot.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Hit Wonder

Napoleon XIV - They're coming to take me away (1966)

Record low voter turnout

An estimated 59.1 per cent of Canadians cast votes in Tuesday's general election — a figure that appears to be a record low in the history of Confederation.

A total of 13,832,972 votes were cast nationally of the 23,401,064 registered electors according to Elections Canada.

The highest voter turnout appeared to be in P.E.I., where 69.5 per cent of registered voters cast ballots.

The lowest turnout appeared to be in Newfoundland and Labrador, where just 48.1 of registered voters took part.

The turnout figure of 59.1 per cent was slightly below the previous lowest turnout figure of 60.9 per cent. That happened when Paul Martin's Liberals won a minority government in 2004.

Low turnout is partially the result of uninspired leadership as well as the new voting rules. My sister worked at a polling station and voters were turned away if they showed up without ID.

However, I strongly believe voter apathy is spreading because of the First Past the Post voting system. There is almost no point coming out to vote in a riding with a strong Liberal candidate if you don't support the Liberals. Everyone knows that vote is wasted. Under a proportional representation system parties are apportioned seats in the Legislature based on the popular vote. So every vote counts.

My thoughts on the Canadian election

  • The Prime Minister appears to be the big winner since he gained almost 20 seats. However, a majority was within reach early in the campaign but he stumbled several times in the past few weeks and let it slip away. The Conservative can’t use bribes to get opposition members to cross the House. They couldn’t realistically find 12 members to cross and the public would be outraged if they did.
  • Stephane Dion was clearly the big loser last night bleeding seats to both the Conservative and NDP. The weak performance of the Prime Minister mitigated Liberal losses. The race to replace Dion begins today.
  • Jack Layton made big gains by adding 8 seats. But the NDP is still in 4th place in the Commons and increased their popular vote by only 1% over the 2006 election. I think he expected to do better considering the level of dissatisfaction with the Conservative and Liberal leaders. Should the Liberals be successful in regrouping, these gains might disappear next time around.
  • If you asked me the Bloc Quebecois and Green Party continue to spin their wheels. The Bloc prevented a Conservative majority which I suppose allows them to continue to coerce the government to provide goodies for Quebec. The Green Party got more exposure and gained about 300,000 votes but were not close to winning a seat. A good argument for adopting some form of proportional representation in Parliament.
  • I am sad to see my MP Susan Kadis lose to Conservative star candidate Peter Kent. She was a pretty good representative but only a backbencher. She won the last 2 elections by 10,000 votes but lost last night by 5,000. Quite a turn around.
  • The former beauty queen, Helena Guergis, easily retained her seat in Simcoe-Grey with 55% of the vote. Competence should never interfere with politics. With those kind of numbers the junior minister deserves a promotion. Her fiancĂ©, Rahim Jaffer, lost his seat in Edmonton-Strathcona to the NDP. How can a Conservative candidate in Alberta possibly lose? Well Jaffer managed to do it.
  • It was nice to see Wajid Khan lose in Mississauga-Streetsville. I detest MPs who switch parties but at least some do it because of policy or philosophical differences with their former party. He crossed because it was good for Wajid Khan. However, the Conservative made great inroads in Peel region and in particular in the ethnic community.
  • Dona Cadman, widow of ex-MP Chuck Cadman won Surrey North for the Conservatives. A very awkward campaign because she was quoted in her husband’s biography at suggesting that the Conservatives had offered her husband a $1 million insurance policy if he would vote against the Liberal 2005 budget. At the time Chuck Cadman was sitting as an Independent and dying of cancer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joey Chestnut eats his way to infamy

Competitive eater Joey Chesnut performed another feat of eat yesterday when he downed 45 pieces of pizza in 10 minutes.

Joey Chestnut first came to our attention last year, when he bravely stole the competitive eating crown away from Japan by forcing reigning hotdog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi into gruesome fits of convulsive puking while putting away 66 hotdogs in 12 minutes at a Coney Island eating competition. Kobayashi didn’t go down without a fight, though - so determined was he to maintain his title that he even started eating his own vomit at one point. Honestly, it’s on video. But not even a majestic act like that could stop Joey Chestnut from taking his rightful crown, and a star was born.

That’s 11,700 calories and 450 grams of fat in those pizza slices. Which really is still no match for his hot dog eating prowess. That was a total of 19,000 calories and 1240 grams of fat.

Fans will turn on Ryan Hollweg

Each year Maple Leaf fans look for a scapegoat to pin that season's disappointments on. The practice is often unfair because how can you blame one player with all that goes wrong with the Leafs. Often it was the result of a generous contract that puts unrealistic expectations on that player. So the list includes Larry Murphy, Dimistri Khristich, Jonas Hogland, Mike Craig, Aki Berg, Cory Cross, Andrew Raycroft and Bryan McCabe and so on.

It looked like Jeff Finger was going to be this year's scapegoat. He was designated as such because of his contract. Even before he had played a single game for the Leafs, fans were grumbling about Finger. Then along came Ryan Hollweg. The Leafs gave up only a 5th round draft pick for him and he gets paid peanuts to expectations couldn't have been that high. But over the exhibition season he lost 6 fights, took dumb penalties and earned himself a 2 game suspension. What likely put a nail in his coffin was the stupid and reckless hit on Alex Pietrangelo in his first few minutes back from his suspension - that earned him another suspension. In addition, St. Louis was able to get back into the game while the Leafs had to kill off his penalty.

Hollweg is probably like many other hockey players, a decent guy off the ice but makes bad choices on the ice. It's not uncommon for players with little skill who earn NHL jobs by being an agitator, to end up being unable to draw the line on violence. Once you get type cast in the role its hard to break away. Some fans are urging the Leafs to waive Hollweg. Sure they can do that. But someone else will pick up the problem child. Chris Simon found steady work for years until he ran out his string.

In the meantime the hungry and frustrated Leaf fans have their new villain.

Ringo Starr is no longer accepting fan mail

It seems the least talented ex-Beatle, Ringo, has just revealed that he's sick and tired of signing memorabilia or answering the mail that gets sent to him. So he will now be throwing the mail in the trash. So does anyone really care?

He should be happy people even remember who he is. When he sucked those millions out of his fans back in the 60s I guess he never imagined that he would have to give something back to them 40 years later.

Ringo explained himself via a video message on his website, which you can see here:

Marcia Brady was a drugged out whore?

First we hear that Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) may have been fooling around with her TV sister Jan (Eva Plum) and now she has come up with more goodies.

Now 52, McCormick has come clean about her formative years both on and off TV, revealing new details about herself in her new memoir, Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice.

She covers topics like:
  • cocaine and Quaaludes binges
  • parties at the Playboy Mansion
  • bulimia and depression
  • trading sex for drugs
  • abortions
  • an unwanted pregnancy and
  • a relationship with TV sibling Greg (Barry Williams).

Very un-Brady like.

Joe Biden introduced as John McCain

Those old white guys all look alike.

Canada go out and vote today!

Each election voters complain about the poor choice confronting them, how unimportant their vote is, and how nothing ever changes. We are so fortunate to live in a democracy where we do have choices and the political system does respond to the will of the people. Sure it's flawed but it works.

But it only works if people go out and vote. You have a civic responsibility to do your duty. It doesn't matter what your reason for voting for a particular candidate -that's your choice.

So Canada go out and vote today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Maple Leafs have some competition for John Tavares

Rick DiPietro, who has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career, underwent meniscus surgery in June and played in only one of the Islanders pre-season games. Islanders head coach Scott Gordon stated that he rested his number one for pre-cautionary reasons.

TSN reports that he has swelling and fluid around his surgically repaired left knee.

DiPietro has an incredible 13 years left on his current contract at $4.5-million a season. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2021, when he's a few months from turning 40. There are $54-million to be paid out beyond this season. A brilliant move by owner Charles Wang.

If DiPietro misses a lot of games this season, the Islanders may just jump ahead of the Leafs in the Tavares lottery.

Mug Shot of the Week

Sarah Palin Tribute: Hot women shooting guns

Happy Thanksgiving, eh?

An authentic Canadian turkey!

Chag Sameach on Sukkot!

And of course Happy Columbus Day!

Final Canadian federal election projections

According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections (Oct 12), the Conservative will win a minority government tomorrow with a gain of only 4 seats over the 2006 election results. The Liberals will lose about 11 seats but still comfortably the major Opposition Party. The NDP gains are expected to be 5 seats which is significant for the party but does not change to look of Parliament. The Bloc looked to gain perhaps 1 seat. There will likely be a total of 26 seats changing hands tomorrow. However, with all the talk about strategic voting, these numbers could finish even closer to the 2006 results. However, an Ekos poll on Friday suggests the Conservatives would win around 150 seats and the Liberals only 60.

Close races to watch: Former Ontario cabinet minister Gerard Kennedy is trying to take down popular NDP incumbent Peggy Nash in Parkdale-High Park. We can thank Mr. Kennedy for delivering the Liberal leadership to Stephane Dion at their most recent leadership convention. Meanwhile Liberal Maria Minna is being challenged by a popular Marilyn Churley, a former Ontario NDP cabinet minister. Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is currently held by independent MP Bill Casey who was elected as a Conservative in the 2006 election but kicked out of the party when he refused to vote for the Tory's 2007 budget, saying it unfairly sought Atlantic Canada's energy revenues. His hero status could bode well for him. Pierre Lemieux won Glengarry-Prescott-Russell in 2006 after former Liberal cabinet Minister Don Boudria -- who had held the riding for the Liberals since 1984 -- retired in 2005. Lemieux's challenge will be to defeat Boudria's son, Dan, who is looking for legacy to aid the Liberal cause. Will name recognition sway the vote? Rahim Jaffer (engaged to Ontario fluff queen Helena Guergis) first won Edmonton- Strathcona in 1997 for the Reform Party and took it for the Conservatives in 2006, defeating Linda Duncan of the NDP by 10% of the vote. Although Alberta is Tory territory, the provincial riding is currently held by NDP MLA Rachel Notley, and the NDP think any breakthrough in the province will come here.

Current projections are:

Conservatives at 128 seats (0) on 33.8% support
Liberals at 92 seats (+1) on 28.9% support
NDP at 34 seats (0) on 18.6% support
Bloc at 52 seats (-1) on 9.3% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 8.4% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jason Blake is a total jerk

When your team is down by 5 goals and you finally score the first goal of the game, this is no time to celebrate. But that's exactly what Jason Blake did last night. Tell me did he not look like a fool pumping his fist while his team is being embarrassed on national TV?

There is no way you can build a team around players like Jason Blake. So why is he still on the team? The Leafs dumped at least a half dozen veterans but kept Blake around. I know bloggers were quick to call for his banishment to the Marlies. But let's face it. Despite all the bravado coming from the Leaf dressing room, this team has not even started to rebuild yet. Cliff Fletcher is still in the tearing down process. There is only one high end prospect on the team and they are about $13 million below the cap. I predict more veterans will disappear before the summer including Blake. In the meantime Blake is playing his part to ensure the Leafs tank this season and grab John Tavares next June.

Oh, congrats on your goal last night Blake!

Hockey Night in Canada theme song is cheaper but not better

With some hollow fanfare, the CBC last night revealed their new theme song for Hockey Night in Canada. Alberta elementary school teacher Colin Oberst is the big winner, taking home $100,000 after his song was deemed the winner in an online vote announced just before last night's hockey game on CBC.

But based on online comments posted by hockey fans few Canadians are happy with the new song. The CBC was foolish and cheap to fiddle around with a Canadian icon. The program is their cash cow and fans expect the song, Don Cherry, the Hot Stove Lounge and everything else that has become part of every Saturday night. So the song cost them only $100,000 where the old song would have cost them between $1 and $2.5 million to purchase from Delores Claman. The CBC saved money but it cost them credibility.

I'm looking forward to hearing the old theme on TSN this fall. The way things are going for the CBC, TSN may one day own Hockey Night in Canada as well.

Fashion Disaster

My cleaning lady dressed better than Anne Heche.

I'm envious of this baby

America's most famous hockey mom gets a Philly welcome

Sarah Palin wouldn't be the first person to be booed by a Philly crowd. Fans for the City of Brotherly Love once booed Santa Claus at a Eagles game. And considering the Flyers fell behind the Rangers 4-0 very early she may not be invited back too soon. Kate Smith she isn't.