Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fashion Disaster

Robin Hood?

One Hit Wonder

Karina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine (1985)

The WaveDeck, Toronto's stylish boardwalk is now open

Yesterday was the official opening of the Simcoe WaveDeck, the latest milestone in the ambitious central waterfront transformation. In total, four of these curvy, boardwalk-meets-bridge structures will be open by 2012, each at the base of a major waterfront street. The award-winning Spadina WaveDeck opened late last summer, the Rees WaveDeck is on schedule for a launch later this season, and the Parliament WaveDeck is working its way through the design development phase. Aptly named, each WaveDeck is a variation of a multi-layered, undulating ribbon of wood, rising as tall as six feet above the ground and dipping to almost skim the water's surface.

The deck at $5.5 million is the latest in the Waterfront redesign by Adriaan Geuze, whose Dutch firm West 8 won Toronto's 2006 Waterfront design competition. Over time, a vibrant lakeside walkway will stretch from Bathurst to Parliament Street.

Happy Anniversary Jon and Kate

And you thought it wouldn't last...

Congratulations on the ability to barely tolerate each other in public on your 10th wedding anniversary, you guys!

This show is the ultimate in exploitation. The tabloids are having a field day with their fights and infidelity. But what about those kids? Is the way to bring of children? Watching this family destruct should not be used as a form of entertainment.

Friday, June 12, 2009

NHL has never collected a relocation fee

When Judge Renfield Baum suggested that it was quite reasonable for the NHL to receive a relocation fee to move the Coyotes to Hamilton he likely caught everyone by surprise. The NHL has had numerous franchise moves but has never requested a fee. However, Judge Baum was likely aware that other sports team do collect a relocation fee. When the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, there was a $45 million relocation fee. The Judge understands that if an agreement can be reached on a relocation fee then that might go a long way to resolving this dispute.

There are suggestions that the fee might be as high as $300 million which would include indemnification for Toronto and Buffalo. That price would be highway robbery and would create quite the precedent. My research suggests that the six recent relocations did not include a relocation fee. However, when the Colorado Rockies moved to New Jersey in 1986 they did pay an indemnification fee of $35 million. That stands as the highest amount paid by an NHL franchise. In 1972 the expansion Islanders paid an indemnification fee of $4 million. In 1993, the Ducks refused to pay Los Angeles an indemnification fee but Gary Bettman was so desperate to have Disney as an owner that he game half of the $50 million dollar franchise fee to the Kings. The highest expansion fee collected by the NHL has been $80 million.

So the NHL may very well be using a form of extortion in order to get its blessing for a move to Hamilton. Of course, Gary Balsillie can always walk but most people doubt he will.





California Seal

Los Angeles Kings

Minnesota North Stars

Philadelphia Flyers

Pittsburgh Penguins

St. Louis Blues

$2 million (Ex)


Buffalo Sabres

Vancouver Canucks

$6 million (Ex)


Atlanta Flames

New York Islanders

$6 million (Ex)

+ $4 million (Ind – NY only)


Kansas City Scouts

Washington Capitals

$6 million (Ex)


Kansas City Scouts became

Colorado Rockies



Oakland Golden Seals became

Cleveland Barons



Edmonton Oilers

Hartford Whalers

Quebec Nordiques

Winnipeg Jets

$6 million (Ex)


Atlanta Flames became

Calgary Flames



Colorado Rockies became

New Jersey Devils

$35 million (Ind)


San Jose Sharks

$50 million (Ex)


Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning

$50 million (Ex)


Minnesota North Stars became

Dallas Stars



Florida Panthers

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim

$50 million (Ex)


Quebec Nordiques became

Colorado Avalanche



Winnipeg Jets became

Phoenix Coyotes



Hartford Whalers became

Carolina Hurricanes



Nashville Predators

$80 million (Ex)


Atlanta Thrashers

$80 million (Ex)


Columbus Blue Jackets

Minnesota Wilds

$80 million (Ex)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Holocaust Museum shooting in not an isolated incident

Let's face it the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum by a white supremacist and anti-Semite is not an isolated incident, but is part of a "wave of hate" targeting Jews and others minorities.

In just the first six months of this year, there have been a number of violent attacks and plots in the United States involving "lone wolves" infected with anti-Semitic beliefs, or motivated by extremist ideology. Here are some of the more recent attacks:

  • The plot by Muslim extremists to bomb two synagogues in Riverdale, New York;
  • The shooting of American soldiers at a military recruiting center in Arkansas;
  • The shooting deaths of two persons and sexual assault on a third as part of a killing spree directed against Jews and non-whites in Brockton, Massachusetts.
  • The shooting deaths of three Pittsburgh police officers by a man with virulently racist and anti-Semitic beliefs.
James von Brunn's actions suggest that age is no barrier to these types of acts. The man is 88 and he certainly hasn't mellowed. It isn't just the Jews. A black President with a Kenyan name is a huge target for violent racists.

First the banks failed then I threw out my mattress

An Israeli woman mistakenly threw out a mattress she said had almost $1 million inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites yesterday. The woman said that she bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise present on Monday - and threw out the old one.

The next day, she said, she remembered that she had hidden her life savings inside the old mattress. "I woke up in the morning screaming, when it hit me what happened," said the Tel Aviv woman, who asked not to be identified.

The woman said the money had been stashed in a mattress because she had had "traumatic experiences with banks" in the past. She would not elaborate.

I can buy most of this lame story. But how do you forget that you own $1 million? You want to know how long $1 million dollars would last in my wife's hands? Three months, maybe four.

Are you looking for a 1970s sofa...

That converts into a pool table.

There's one available at eBay.

Mug Shot of the Week - Celebrity Edition

There has been much speculation regarding Phil Spector's hair. Over the past few years he has shown up in court sporting numerous bad wigs. It took the State of California's prison system to reveal the truth.

David Letterman discusses Sarah Palin jokes

Is this guy or not?

...not that there is anything wrong with that.

Balsillie is making progress

I have to admit I like the way Judge Redfield Baum operates. He has this huge dispute dropped in his lap that really has nothing to do with Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This is an anti-trust dispute and he knows it. So Judge Baum has carefully avoided making any decisions. He hasn't even ruled on whether the Jerry Moyes or the NHL own the Coyotes.

His strategy has been to attack each sides position on issues to create uncertainty as to whether they can win the dispute. For example, when the Balsillie claims the NHL won't allow the Coyotes to relocate, Baum points out that no application was ever filed. He jumps on the NHL for not following its own constitution when Quebec was moved to Colorado. Baum shrugged off Bettman's claim of 4 or 5 parties interested in keeping the Coyotes on Phoenix.

As I've stated from the start, no bankruptcy court wants to wade into the issues being presented in this case. That is why I have been pessimistic about Balsillie's chances here. But I did not take into consideration the craftiness of the Judge. Baum is pushing back at the lawyers before him in an effort to get the parties to reach an agreement outside of the courtroom. That gets him off the hook. He obviously want to avoid setting any precedents in this case.

So yesterday when the discussion of relocation comes up, Judge Baum quickly acknowledged that of course Balsillie would have to pay a relocation fee. The judge has put Bettman in a box. He’s going to have to attach a price to the legitimate NHL interest in the Ontario market. Instead of arguing about whether Balsillie has the right to buy and relocate the team, they will be arguing about how much Balsillie has to pay to acquire a right the NHL doesn’t want to sell. And what if Balsillie agrees to the price? That is why his lawyer quickly declared that Balsillie would walk if the price was $100 million. But if the league says the price is $150 million and Balsillie decides to accept then Bettman is stuck. Though I believe Bettman will wiggle out of this one too. He has already suggested that the league doesn't come up with a price before it approves a franchise relocation. Somehow I don't think Judge Baum will buy that one.

I for one am intrigued.

Leelee Spbieski is 27

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jasmine MacDonnell crashes and burns

Last week, 26-year-old Jasmine MacDonnell resigned from her position as press secretary to Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt after leaving some confidential documents at a CTV studio.

This week, she was in court trying to block a judge from making public a tape she accidentally left in a House of Commons ladies' room five months ago, its ribbon rife with embarrassing private remarks by her boss.

I've had many interactions with hundreds of political staff over a span of nearly 20 years. Some were super bright and ambitious. Others were super dumb and ambitious. They were all young and prone to making errors. They can be given huge responsibilities with little training and experience. Sometimes I'm simply amazed how they survive and flourish. But there are those that crash and burn like MacDonnell.

The dumbest I ever encountered was a policy advisor to a Minister. I never saw her provide any policy advice and frankly she never could follow any of the discussions. She wasn't a grad from some super duper political science program. In fact she never went to university. But she did come from a political family which is likely the only qualification she needed. And she was also ambitious.

So where is she today? Well she is in Steven Harper's Cabinet. Still dumb, ambitious and not knowing what she is talking about. Politics is a different kind of animal.

NHL coaches have no job security

Today Joe Nieuwendyk, in his fifth day in the job fired coach Dave Tippett. That makes it 13 coaches who have been fired or resigned during the current season. That's a turnover of 43% per season. Add to that the 6 coaches who have only been with the current team for one complete season and you have 19 or 63% of coaches have been with their current team for 82 or fewer games. These guys don't last as long as a minority government in Ottawa.

There are only 2 coaches (Lindy Ruff and Barry Trotz) who have been with the current team for 5 complete seasons. No job security here.

So how does this compare to the experience in the NBA? Well it's similar. There are 16 coaches (53%) who have been with their team for one full season or less. And 3 coaches have stuck with their current team for 5 full seasons.

New Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) trailer

Hump Day Hottie

Kristin Cavallari

Monday, June 08, 2009

Mug Shot of the Week

Wow, Nancy Sinatra is now 69

What's to become of the eHealth project?

The eHealth saga has mostly been presented by the media as a scandal about the salaries and expenses of Sarah Kramer and other executives. The real issue, though, is the untendered contracts that seem to have been handed out with minimal scrutiny to friends and acquaintances of the people awarding them. Those concerned with issues of accountability should spend more time investigating where responsibility for those contracts ultimately lies, and less time worrying about severance packages and $3 snacks.

Deputy Ministers do not sign off contracts like that without a strong rationale which falls within criteria set out by the Ministry of Government Services. There doesn't appear to be such rationale presented which tends to point to political interference. So this may not end with Sarah Kramer's resignation.

For those who don't know about eHealth, it is an agency appointed by the Minister of Health to create an electronic health record for Ontarians. Most records are currently paper based. Making those records available in an electronic format has been on the federal government's to-do list for nearly 20 years. But it took until Sept. 11, 2000, for Ottawa to commit substantial cash to get the ball rolling.

Ontario has hit a few potholes on the electronic health information highway. The province initially set up eHealth programs under the Ministry of Health as well as the Smart Systems for Health Agency (SSHA).

The SSHA was created in 2002 to electronically connect health-care professionals to each other and to patient information across the health-care system. However, it was plagued with trouble almost from the start. In January 2007, Deloitte Consulting released a scathing report about the SSHA. Among its findings was that the agency had no strategic plan.

A year later, the Ontario government decided to shift gears and create a new agency to handle the transition to eHealth. It merged all existing electronic health programs under a new organization — eHealth Ontario.

The primary goal is electronic health records for all residents of the province by 2015. The new agency would also focus on three areas:

  • A diabetes registry.
  • An eHealth portal to centralize health information on one website.
  • Electronic medication prescribing, which would eliminate handwritten prescriptions with the goal of reducing medication errors.
However, eHealth has also been plagued with problems and who knows when Ontarians will finally see a badly needed electronic health record.

Black Eyed Peas new video is flashes a lot of skin

Urinals you do not want to see any time soon

too public
too distracting
too disturbing
too religious

Greasy Pole competition

I did not know this but the Italian-American fishing community of Gloucester, MA holds the St. Peter's Fiesta each year on the weekend closest to the Feast Day of St. Peter, June 29. Various sporting events are held each afternoon during the procession. The Greasy Pole is a contest where brave soles run across a grease covered pole trying to capture a flag. It takes place 200 feet off Pavilion Beach. A forty-five foot telephone pole is attached to a platform and extends out over the water. A red flag is nailed to a stick at the end of the pole which is then heavily greased. Then, one by one contestants take their turn trying to tear off the makeshift flag pole before slipping and and falling into the water. Some contestants sprint out like racehorses hoping momentum will carry them to the end of the pole. Others take a very slow approach, one step at a time, always trying to maintain their balance.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Prince is 51

Some reasons why the NHL should be considering Hamilton

With all the talk about the Phoenix Coyotes relocating to Hamilton, I thought it would be helpful to pass on some interesting facts in support of Hamilton. I've been to both Hamilton and Phoenix and you will never confuse the two.

1. Hamilton already has a professional sport team

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats football club has played in the Canadian Football League (CFL) since 1950 and have won eight Grey Cup championships. The Tiger-Cats play out of lovely Ivor Wynne Stadium. The CFL Hall of Fame is located in Hamilton.

The most famous Tiger-Cat player was Angelo "King Kong" Mosca who went on to have a very successful wrestling career.

2. Hamilton has an international airport

The John D. Munro Hamilton International Airport is situation on a former Royal Canadian Air Force base. It is named after one of Hamilton's illustrious politicians Johm Munro. Munro and his associates were investigated under the Criminal Code and faced 37 charges alleging illegal kickbacks to his 1984 leadership campaign and other irregularies bu those charges were thrown out. Flights from Hamilton will take you to Edmonton, Halifax, Moncton, Orlando [seasonal], Winnipeg which will helpful in getting you to many other NHL destinations.

3. Hamilton has a variety of fine dining

Hamilton has some excellent restaurants but most Hamiltonian pass on them. The food of choice in Hamilton is the sausage which can be purchased from licensed carts throughout the city. Some are pretty sophisticated operations and will even take reservations.

4. Canada's steel industry is based on Hamilton

Sixty percent of Canada's steel is produced by Stelco and Dofasco in Hamilton. These economic giants have pumped millions into the Hamilton economy and provided the city with a lovely skyline.

5. Hamilton is the home of the African Lion Safari

One of the biggest attractions in Hamilton is the African Lion Safari which is a private-owned, world class exhibit of animals in as close as possible their natural habitat. The manner of exhibiting animals is completely different from the traditional approach; that is, the visitor is caged in the car, and the animals roam in 2 to 20 hectare (5 to 50 acre) reserves.

6. Hamilton already has professional hockey

Hamilton failed in 1990 to gain an NHL expansion franchise and the city selected was Ottawa. But Hamilton has been the home of the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL and they play in Copps Coliseum which could be used by an NHL team. The Bulldogs won the Calder Cup championship in 2007.

7. Hamilton's downtown has much potential

The recession has hit Hamilton hard but it has the potential to have a thriving downtown core. Most Tim Hortons shops have continued to thrive and are enthusiatically supported by the 700,000 residents of Hamilton. Hamilton has one donut shop her 300 residents.