Saturday, December 13, 2008
Is there a phrase in the English language that you could possibly hate more. Because what usually follows the recorded message is a 20 to 40 minutes telephone queue which speaks volumes as to your importance. I am a trapped customer to the giant Rogers Communication conglomerate. They take $250 out of my bank account each month and treat me with complete contempt. So why do I let them get away with it? I don't. The public regulator, entrusted to protect my interests have given Rogers a monopoly in my community on Internet, cable TV and home phone services. My only option would be switching to satellite TV but if I can't take my other business elsewhere then I pay more because I lose the paltry multi-service discount made available to me. Which are negated by an elaborate series of user fees and other baffling charges that mislead buyers into thinking that the services are cheaper than they really are.
OK. I'm done with my rant...just got through to the Rogers call centre where I can speak to a semi-intelligent person with an accent so heavy that I can barely communicate with him.
And speaking of the Blagojevich indictment, Jesse Jackson Jr. has been implicated in the whole affair. He admits he asked to be considered for the vacant Senate seat, but denies that he offered $1 million in campaign funds in order to gain it. When I heard that Jackson might have been the guy who tried to pay the most in the deal, I wasn’t really surprised. I’m not sure why. But here’s the thing: the morning Blago was arrested, I was watching WGN News, and for the first time, I saw the clip of that idiot saying “Everything I say is always lawful.” That’s a fate-tempting quote, and just hours later, he was in federal custody. So, when Jesse Jackson Jr. says “Everyone is going to be amazed just how innocent I am,” all I can think is that he’s tempting fate. You know who talks that way? Guilty people. Guilty people who are too stupid to know they’re going to get caught. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
Friday, December 12, 2008
ESPN.com reports that the deal is worth $82.5 million. Burnett is the second big-name starting pitcher to sign with the Yankees this week. The team also signed CC Sabathia to a seven-year, $161-million deal so the Yankees have commited themselves to over $240 million this week.
So do the Yankees care that they overpaid? No in the least. The Yankees have the revenue especially since they are moving into a new $1.3 billion stadium. They know there will be years where both pitcher will not even be close to earning their salary but they just don't care. They have money to burn. You can't compete with that.
Meanwhile the Jays announced they have signed pitcher Matt Clement to a minor league contract. Clement hasn't pitched in the majors since 2006, where he went 5-5 with a 6.61 ERA for the Red Sox. He had some sort of shoulder surgery in 07, and tried to rebound with the Cards last year. He was pretty good in A ball, but he got worse as he jumped from AA to AAA. So here we are returning to 2007 when the Jays tried to see if Ohka, Thomson and Zambrano had anything left in their arms. They did not.
So although the Yankees dropped so huge contracts, they are unlikely to go below the $209 in salaries they carried last season. Even the Red Sox are well behind. As for the Jays they are going with a $85 million budget down from last season's $97 million payroll. You just compete in the AL East without a proper plan. Either you spend with the big guys or load up with young, cheap players. The Blue Jays are doing neither. The spend big on a few stars, fill a few spots with young players and round out the roster with retreads. No wonder they are stuck in 3rd or 4th place every year.
The Jays need to start from scratch and build through youth. Rogers is not going to provide the team with a budget in excess of $100 million so they might as well go the totally in the other direction. That means trading Halliday, Ryan and Wells for as many top prospects as possible. In fact sell anyone that will get make you deeper in good prospects. You cannot possibly win with Clement or Carl Pavano in your starting rotation or with Jason Giambi as your clean up hitter.
During her modeling heyday from 1949 to 1957, Bettie Page was photographed 20,000 times in a variety of poses, in bikinis, nude, or in skimpy outfits. Controversially, Page was also "photographed prancing around with a whip, spanking other women, even being hog-tied."
Before she became a pinup model, Page tried her hand at teaching and secretarial work. Later in life, she mostly disappeared from public view, suffering a nervous breakdown, emerging as a born-again Christian, and enjoying a stay at the Patton State Hospital for a decade for stabbing her landlady.
Ms. Page resurfaced in the 90s. She occasionally granted interviews but refused to have her picture taken. She wanted to be remembered for her youthful glamour.
Three KFC employees in Anderson, Calif were suspended for bathing in a deep sink used to clean dishes. Yes, Colonel Sanders was not pleased.
So what do these three dumb twits do? One of them posted photos on MySpace.com of the three of them in the steaming water in their underwear and swim wear.
The photos were filed in a gallery called "KFC moments." Captions included "haha KFC showers!" and "haha we turned on the jets." The photos were restricted to private viewers by Tuesday night, according to Redding.com.
A manager of the fast-food restaurant said the three were reprimanded and suspended Tuesday. She said no manager was on duty when the photos were taken as the three had closed the restaurant for the night.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
When word came out that Michael Phelps was dating some no-name Vegas cocktail waitress named Caroline Pal (aka “Caz”) — pictures here — a lot of people who don’t have Vegas cocktail waitress girlfriends were pretty critical of Phelps. Having never had a Vegas cocktail waitress girlfriend before, they assumed that a guy who won 8 gold medals at a single Olympics should be dating someone else.
But when you're Michael Phelps you can date whomever you like.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- It all started when the Conservative government delivered a critical economic statement to the nation. The economic statement was confusing to most Canadians. The prime minister had been talking for weeks about the serious threats to the economy. Although Canadians had reservations about Harper, during the election just weeks earlier they decided he was best able to lead Canada during economic uncertainty. The Conservatives were returned to office with another minority which means that they needed the cooperation of other parties in Parliament to govern. Many Canadians did not feel comfortable giving Harper a majority.
- For the last couple of months we have watched American lawmakers pour billions into insolvent banks. In stark contrast to the world around him Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic statement seemed glowingly optimistic. There was no economic stimulus. Instead Harper used the economic crisis to attack opponents by slashing public funding to political parties and removing the right to strike from public servants. This was a clear abuse of power and undemocratic.
- The opposition parties are so outraged by the partisan attack by Harper that they plot to defeat the government by introducing a non-confidence vote in Parliament. But they decide to go one step further. They reach an agreement to form a coalition and plan to offer the coalition to the Governor General as an alternative to the Conservatives. Even worse, the coalition planned to make Stephane Dion prime minister despite the fact that he was resigning as Liberal leader following an embarrassing election defeat where voters strongly rejected him.
- The coalition involved the Bloc Quebecois who would not be part of the government but would support the coalition. Although the Bloc has often voted in favour of past governments, the thought of a formal agreement with a party that does not support our system of government is offensive to Canadians. Meanwhile the Conservatives began raising the unity issue to a confused electorate that was waiting to hear about plans to manage the economy.
- In order to delay the non-confidence vote Harper goes to the Governor General to ask her to suspend Parliament until January. This would give him more time to convince Canadians that his government was prepared to stimulate the economy. The Governor General agrees and Parliament is suspended during one of the worst economic crises in decades. Parliament has essentially not been functioning for four months.
- The coalition declares that the government is only ducking from the inevitable and indicate its intention to introduce the non-confidence vote in the new year. However, the Liberals quickly realize that their current leader is a disaster and that it would be folly to form a government or go into an election under Dion's stewardship. So they decide to push him out immediately and not wait until May.
- There were 3 declared candidates for the post of Liberal leaders. The party executive suggests bypassing the party members and have the 135 Liberal MPs and Senators decide. In response to complaints, they expand the selection process to riding association presidents and other executives so now 800 people would decide the next leader. Meanwhile Dominic LeBlanc pulls out of the race and supports Michael Ignatieff. Reluctantly Bob Rae also steps aside and Ignatieff and crowned the new Liberal leader. The party rank and file are left outside looking in.
Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced legislation Wednesday that would force college football to adopt a playoff to determine the national champion.
He said the bill — being co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican — "will prohibit the marketing, promotion, and advertising of a postseason game as a 'national championship' football game, unless it is the result of a playoff system. Violations of the prohibition will be treated as violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act as an unfair or deceptive act or practice."
A change in the championship system might help some Texas college football teams.
So as I understand it, corporate executives are lined up outside of Congress begging for help, the Big 3 auto makers are about to declare bankruptcy, the stock market has collapsed, people are losing their houses, there is a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but lawmakers still have time to fuss over football.
We are going to hell in a handbasket.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Six out of seven experts picked the Dallas Stars to win the Pacific division and two predicted the Stars would win the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile the Stars are last in the Western conference. Every expert picked the Montreal Canadiens to win the Northeast division and no one gave the Bruins consideration even though the currently possess the second best record in the NHL. And I couldn't help but notice that one expert picked the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Southeast division despite the fact that they were the worst team in the NHL last season. Oh yes, the Lightning are still at the bottom of the standings.
Moving on the trophy winners. You can't go wrong by picking one of the several superstars as this year's MVP or best defenseman. Gets a little with some of the other trophies. Six experts picked Stephen Stamkos as top rookie. But with only 3 goals so far and just 13th among rookie scorers I don't see that happening. And what about the two people who picked Barry Melrose as coach of the years? I see Barry has some good friends at ESPN. Good thing because he is back there after being fired just 16 games into the season.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Can still-president George W. Bush continue to wow us with asinine mistakes with a mere two months left in his presidency when he's so clearly checked out already? If his upcoming Hanukkah party is any indication, he's still got it! Attached, his invitation to the White House Hanukkah reception, sent to Jewish leaders across the nation. As you can see, the invite shows a Clydesdale delivering the traditional "Hanukkah Tree" to a White House decorated top to bottom in Hanukkah wreaths. Ha ha ha they just don't care.
The White House usually prints separate cards, but in the waning days of the presidency, there had been an oversight. As an added bonus, the wagon says "White House Christmas Tree 2008." Happy Holiday, everyone!!!
Then a week later new White House Hannukah invites went out with a menorah on them and a note saying, 'Please accept our apologies.'"
When reached for comment, Laura Bush's spokeswoman, Sally McDonough, said the White House usually prints separate cards, but in the waning days of the presidency, there had been an oversight.
As an added bonus, the wagon says "White House Christmas Tree 2008." Happy Holiday, everyone!!!
But in a statement on Monday, Mr. Dion said Mr. Harper’s shutdown of the House of Commons made it necessary to speed up his departure and the selection of his replacement. Logistical issues and requirements in the party’s rules will prevent the Liberals from holding a leadership convention before Parliament reconvenes on Jan. 26.
One possible alternative would involve the 77 Liberal members of Parliament and 58 Liberals appointed to Canada’s Senate choosing a new leader during a meeting scheduled for Wednesday. That decision could then be affirmed by the party’s executives and eventually ratified by a convention.
Dominic LeBlanc's exit from the leadership race and the pressure to not wait until May's leadership convention point to a possible election showdown this winter. Michael Ignatieff does not appear to be a strong coalition advocate. So the defeat of the Conservative government most certainly means another trip to the polls.
This late development means that Bob Rae, who is promoting the coalition concept, finds himself further behind now that Ignatieff enjoys an even more comfortable lead among caucus colleagues. Somewhat ironic is the fact that the coalition deal was struck out of a sense of urgency (or opportunity) to topple the Harper government and that this sense of urgency is also driving the Liberal party to select a leader via caucus selection. And now it's Bob Rae left to "take one for the team" and step aside.
Starr Spangler, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader partnered with her brother brother Jeff, an Off-Braodway star won the latest segment of The Amazing Race and a $1 million. Yeah Starr Spangler does sound like a porn star name. Jeff is a star of the current Off-Broadway production of “The Fantasticks,". The team won the severn out of eleven legs, making their win not so much a surprise as a foregone conclusion. But the way the fawned over each other was a little too creepy.
The kosher food market is in the midst of an unprecedented boom. The business is worth $575 million in this country, according to a USDA Foreign Agricultural Services study, and growing annually by almost 20 per cent. In the U.S., kosher food pulls in over $10 billion. In 2007, Chicago-based food consultancy Mintel’s Global New Products Database reported that “kosher” was the most frequently used claim on new products launched in the U.S. and Canada, more popular than “all natural,” “organic,” “low fat” and even “no additives or preservatives.” Most consumers aren’t even aware that roughly 65 per cent of all products on supermarket shelves are now certified kosher. That bottle of Perrier you’re drinking? Kosher. Heinz ketchup? Kosher. President’s Choice taco shells? Those, too.
But what’s driving the trend is not a massive return to religiosity among Jews in Canada. Here, Jewish consumers make up less than half of the kosher food market. Most of the growth, observers say, is taking place among those who have dietary concerns that are unrelated to cultural food restrictions, including vegetarians, and people with lactose intolerance or other food allergies, who trust kosher-certified “pareve” products, which contain no meat or dairy. Recent food scares—the listeria outbreak at Maple Leaf Foods, most notably—have only added to kosher’s appeal. People are treading far more carefully in the grocery store aisles, and kosher’s meticulous sourcing, close supervision and strict labelling practices set it apart.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Sarah Palin - A gift certificate from Sacks Fifth Avenue.
Federal politics made an unprecedented visit to Toronto yesterday, where both the Toronto Rally for a Progressive Coalition and Rally for Canada rallies took place in the frigid cold, at City Hall's Nathan Phillips Square and Queen's Park respectively. According to police, City Hall was host to about 3000 coalition supporters and Queen's Park saw about 500 coalition detractors.