Saturday, July 11, 2009

Where's Mats?

It was just one year ago when the hockey media (dominated by the Toronto horde) hung on to every word coming out of either Mats Sudin or his agent, J.P. Barry's mouth about the star center's future. It began when Montreal received rights to negotiate with Mats prior to becoming a free agent and carried past several deadlines when Sundin was supposed to make his final decision. They all turned to be "soft deadlines" and no decision was made of course. Then in late September there was the Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos interview with Mats at his cottage in Sweden. That was about as interesting as curdled milk. It wasn't until mid-December when Sundin finally decided to sign with Vancouver. His impact was nil.

Today, Sundin sits in the same position he did a year ago: a man without a team still deciding on his future. Mats has said he will make his decision at the end of July but no one believes him or cares. Though he is getting married this summer. The big difference from a year ago? The lack of media coverage. Maybe writers and talk radio hosts learned their lesson last summer when trying to speculate and press Sundin to make a decision? Maybe, unlike a year ago, they're strongly leaning towards the fact that Mats will retire into the sunset?

And maybe they just don't care anymore?

Media takes shots at Steven Harper during dog days of summer

The weeks following Canada are traditionally slow news days for Ottawa-based reporters. Parliament isn't sitting and most MPs are hosting BBQs for constituents or stretched out on docks in cottage country. Good meaty political stories are hard to come by during the dog days of summer. But if you follow around the Prime Minister and some of his Cabinet Ministers long enough you will find your story. So it turned out to be a good week for the media hounds but no so good for Harper.

There was the kerfuffle when a CBC video of the Prime Minister at Roméo LeBlanc's state funeral showed him accepting a communion host. The problem was that he isn't Catholic and it appeared that he didn't put it his mouth though the video is inconclusive. So every Catholic was insulted and he was forced to provide an explanation (he said he swallowed).

But there was more. Minor controversey erupted over federal funding for Toronto's Gay Pride Week. The Toronto Pride Week received $400,000 in funding, which does seem like an awful lot. So now the federal government is rethinking its commitment. That has created angst on both sides of the issue - those who support Pride Week and social conservataives (see below) who are disappointed with the funding. It appears that funding of tourism events had been taken away from junior minister, Diane Ablonczy.

If the gay pride kerfuffle was the latest instance of the Conservatives outsmarting themselves, a different embarrassment yesterday was a symptom of the same sloppiness that plagued them in the 2008 election. At the G8 summit, Mr. Harper claimed that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff had belittled Canada. He was soon forced to utter an abject apology: The allegedly un-Canadian quote had come from someone else.

In addition, the Prime Minister almost missed another G-something photo opportunity. Harper once again drew chuckles from the world’s top leaders when he was the last to arrive Thursday for a formal photo of 15 leaders of major economies in advance of a working lunch to discuss issues like climate change and the economy. He showed up two minutes after the arrival of President Barack Obama. Back at the April gathering of the G20 Harper kicked up a mini media storm when he somehow missed the group photo that the world leaders take to commemorate these international jaw sessions.

Blue Jays are a big market team with small market owners

Over the past 15 years the Toronto Blue Jays owners have taken a big market team and turned it into a small market team. It is a crying shame.

During the Pat Gillick/Paul Beaston era the team had one of the top payrolls in baseball and attracted stars like Robbie Alomar, Joe Carter, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, Jack Morris and David Cone. They were World Series Champions in 1992 and 1993. At the time they were owned by Labatts Breweries who were committed to competing with the big boys.

But after Labatts was purchased by Belgian brewer Interbrew in 1994, the management approach changed drastically. Budgets were slashed and star players were dumped. Pat Gillick and Paul Beaston bailed out too. The team signed the occasional star player (Rogers Clemons, Jose Conseco, A.J. Burnett) but it also moved homegrown stars to keep the payroll down (Shawn Green, Carlos Delgado). The team was purchased by Rogers Communications in 2000 but not much has changed. Enough money is spent to keep some stars around but not enough is spent to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East.

Over the 1991 to 1994 seasons, the Blue Jays averaged about 50,000 fans per game. Many games were sold out. But their small minded management, since that time, has destroyed the fan base. Today they are averaging less than half that amount. Only Toronto Maple Leaf fans will continue to come out to watch an inferior product. Leaf fans are an anomaly. Toronto baseball fans are not being fooled by management. So Burnett is allowed to walk without making an offer and with no effort to replace him. Each season they begin the seasons with huge holes in the lineup and quickly fall behind in their division. Miraculously they started strongly this season but quickly tumbled in the standing after 40 games. Management will tell you its the injuries. That is bullshit. They began the season with a patchwork pitching staff and somehow were competitive despite the weak lineup. There were no predictions from management about competing for a playoff spot this season. GM Ricciardi insisted that they would be ready to compete next season but don't believe it. It won't happen.

Now management is openly musing whether to trade away Roy Halladay, He is a fan favourite, a perennial all-star and likely the most dominant pitcher in the game. Not surprising fan reaction has been negative. Check out attendance once he is gone. It won't be higher.

We are told because of large salaries being paid to Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Scott Rolen (and paying B.J. Ryan not to pitch), the team cannot afford to re-sign at the end of 2010. That is nonsense and fans are not fooled. As long as the tight owners treat Toronto as a small market, fans will not come out. Labatts and Pat Gillick understood the market and the Jays flourished. Rogers is slowly bleeding the team to death. Very shortsighted since without the Jays what will Rogers put on Sportsnet during the summer months?

Sarah Palin’s now unemployed speechwriter speaks out.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Did you know Bubbles taught Michael Jackson the moonwalk

O.J. Simpson is 62 today

...but a little too tied up party.

Want to buy naughty pics of my mom?

Most people would shudder at the thought of seeing photos of their mother in lacy underwear and suspenders. Not New Zealand student Michael - who twice tried to auction such shots on Trade Me.

The first time was to annoy his mother Jennifer after an argument.

Her instruction to clear out the garage and sell unwanted items on Trade Me backfired when Michael started an auction titled "5 naked photos of my mum".

It was removed by Trade Me the day after, but the 18-year-old posted a second series of "glamour photos" last Sunday - with Jennifer's approval.

Although she was wearing more clothing, one was an underwear shot. The auction had more than 11,000 views before Trade Me removed it on Friday.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Hump Day Hottie

Hayden Pantettiere

Driving (A Bulldozer) While Intoxicated

Meet Robert Tite. In an apparent drunk driving first, the Ohio man is facing criminal charges for allegedly piloting a bulldozer while intoxicated. Tite, 57, was nabbed last Friday after he drove the heavy machinery onto a neighbor's property and uprooted trees and dug up a swath of lawn. Tite, pictured in the below mug shot, was arrested by County Sheriff's Office deputies and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, criminal damage, and resisting arrest. Cops responded to the crime scene after the neighbor called 911 to report, "Bob Tite was driving a bull dozer through his yard." After posting $18,000 bond, Tite was released Saturday from jail, and is scheduled for a July 21 court hearing. Tite's bulldozer joins a motorized bar stool, a Zamboni, and a lawnmower as among the more unique vehicles allegedly driven by a plastered motorist.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Bad names for restaurants

Megan Fox will win an Oscar for her nude scene in Jennifer's Body

Just watch this trailer of Jennifer's Body and you will agree (once you reach her nude scene at the 36 second mark) that Megan Fox has to win an Academy Award. What a performance!

Nicole Bobek: From Ice Princess to Meth Queen

Here is a bit of a shocker. Former U.S. figure skating champion Nicole Bobek has been charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in New Jersey.

Bobek, who won the women’s U.S. figure skating title in 1995, was arrested last week in Florida and brought to New Jersey to appear in court. The prosecutor handling the case said BoBo “played a significant role in this operation. She was actively involved in the upper echelon of this ring." She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

The Michael Jackson circus is distrubing

I really find the Michael Jackson Death Spectacle to be disgusting. This constant outpouring of grief has gotten ridiculous. It’s turned back on itself; it’s not about grief, it’s about going to a big concert or being a part of this giant circus. People are mourning the celebrity not the man,

Sure I had a connection too through his music. But I didn't really know Michael Jackson expect for what was reported in the media. Much of it wasn't too nice. Sure the tabloids stirred up ridiculous rumours. But the man was not only an accused child molester but authorities took these accusations seriously enough to investigate and charge him. I know that some people believe the child molestation charges were trumped up to discredit Michael. But he repeatedly stated that there was nothing wrong with a grown man inviting children to sleep in his bed. Now that goes well beyond what our society considers normal or acceptable behaviour. That's my lasting memory of this man. A creepy pervert who was charged but never convicted.

Statue of the Week

One Hit Wonder

Lemon Pipers - Green Tamborine (1967)

You have to be impressed with this girl's golf shot

Hot Girl Pulls Off Insane Golf Trick Shot - Watch more Funny Videos

...except it's probably fake.

Jessica Hahn is now 50

Check out Hahn’s 900-number commercial from the 1990’s:

ESPN rates the Toronto Maple Leafs the 3rd worst pro team

ESPN has once again published their fan satisfaction ratings and the Maple Leafs have moved up only marginally. They were rated 120th out of 122 pro sports teams. In 2008 they were rated 121st and in 2007 they were rated 99th. Only the awful New York Knicks and LA Clippers rated lower. The bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes were rated 88th.

It's hard to argue with the rating based on the criteria. This is how the Leafs broke down:

Bang for the Buck (wins over the past three years per revenues directly from fans) 120th
Fan Relations (ease of access to players, coaches & management) 112th
Ownership (loyalty to players and city) 99th
Affordability (price of tickets, parking and concessions) 122nd
Stadium Experience (friendliness of environment; quality of game-day promotions) 101th
Players (effort on the field; likability off it) 108th
Coach/Manager (strong on-field leadership) 58th
Title Track (titles already won or expected -- soon) 113th

As for other Toronto teams:

Raptors 105th (44th last year)
Blue Jays 34th (67th last year)

To be fair the Maple Leaf owners have finally taking steps to fix the team's problems which is reflected in the improved Coach/Manager rating. However, Brian Burke was just starting on the job of cleaning up this mess when the rating was being compiled. However, I don't see the organization doing anything about affordability or fan relations. This team has a long way to go.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

How do you make sure the paparazzi cover your 26th birthday?

Well Cheryl Cole (no clue who she is) wore this £4,000 Alexander McQueen dress which displayed enough flesh to ensure plenty of media coverage. But, unfortunately, things didn't go quite her way. The dress's tasselled skirt drew unflattering comparisons to a reworked 1980s lampshade.

My 4th of July tribute

Jessica Simpson singing the American National Anthem. Chokes you up or does it make you wish you were living with the draft dodgers in Canada?

30 days for killing a person while behind the wheel

Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to charges of reckless driving resulting from an accident in 2007 that killed one person and injured two others.

So Michael Vick gets 23 months in prison for organizing of the dog fights and killing of the dogs. Smith runs over a guy and gets 1 month. I see what society values more - dogs not people.

Here’s how the accident allegedly occurred:

Police said Smith, at the wheel of a 2003 GMC Yukon, drove around a car stopped at an intersection and into the path of another vehicle on June 8, 2007. The collision ejected Bell and Smith from the SUV. Bell died two days later of serious head injuries. Smith sustained a sprained left shoulder.

Good thing there were no dogs in that car. He wouldn't have got off so easy.

I need to watch more surfing events

Thank you Vanity Fair.

Top Italian swimmer disqualified for being too cheeky

It's the wardrobe malfunction to end them all.

Italian Olympic swimmer Flavia Zoccari was forced to sit out a championship race at the Mediterranean Games after her pricey hi-tech Jaked J01 swimsuit split open. She burst into tears as she was forced to stand down from her race.

Yup, what a bummer.

Some people find love in the front seat of a police cruiser

Lamest Michael Jackson tribute

Argonauts receiver Arland Bruce III's decision to pay homage to Michael Jackson after scoring a touchdown in Wednesday's CFL season opener in Hamilton will cost the veteran an unspecified amount of money.

The league announced yesterday that it will fine Bruce for his "excessive actions" on his touchdown celebration, which cost the Argos 30 yards in penalties and earned Bruce special attention from head coach Bart Andrus.

Maybe he should have tried moonwalking.

Mug Shot of the Week

Did someone steal her eyebrows in jail?

Fashion Disaster

Drew Barrymore once again to prove it's no accident.

Joey Chestnut sets hot dog-eating record

Joey Chestnut crammed a stunning world-record 68 hot dogs down his throat on the Fourth of July to defeat archrival Takeru Kobayashi of Japan and win the 94th annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island.

Chestnut's third straight victory in the contest came in the regulation 10 minutes, unlike last year, when he and the 132-pound Kobayashi set the previous record of 59 hot dogs, and Chestnut won in a dog-off.

Chestnut also holds the marks in grilled cheese sandwiches (47 in 10 minutes), hamburgers (103 in 8 minutes), hot dogs (66 in 12 minutes) and tempura deep-fried asparagus (8.8 pounds in 10 minutes). His resume reads like a grocery list for the New York Giants.

That’s 19,600 calories and 1280 grams of fat in those hot dogs.

Mile High exhibitionist

A US Airways passenger who stripped naked on a flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles caused a diversion in more than one way. The flight had to be diverted to Albuquerque on Tuesday night.

The 50-year-old man was restrained by two off-duty law enforcement officers, who happened to be onboard.

He was taken into custody by airport police, who called the FBI. The FBI may decide to transport him to an FBI facility. He will likely be taken to a local detention center in the meantime.

Another passenger took photos of the inciden.

Back from my vacation