Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Alex Anthopolous doesn't like to refer to the Blue Jays as a rebuild. He calls it a building job. Well what ever you call it, it's being going on for 15 years now and going no where.
I get where Anthopolous is coming from. You take your time, you build from within, ncrease your scouting capacity, draft well, make good trades and avoid crazy free agent contracts. You bide your time and you let your players develop until you've got a core that can compete with anyone. And when the time comes, you add a veteran via free agency or trade to fill in the last spots to take you over the top.
But if you were depressed about this dismal season with just 75 wins, well just wait till next year. Cause we aren't going to see even 70 wins.
The Jays will be stripped of most veterans including the remarkable Roy Halladay. Those 18 to 20 wins will be tough to replace. The one veteran you would want to jettison, Vernon Wells, will no doubt be back. Here is what the Jays will likely field next season. Halladay will bring back a number of prospects and at least one player that can help the Jays right now.
Lyle Overbay is being actively shopped around and will be gone by the end of the winter. The rumoured trade with Arizona is off but it might get back on track in the future. Adam Lind will take his place at 1st. We lose some defense but that is one awesome bat. Randy Ruiz who showed plenty of power will replace Lind at DH. No worries at 2nd with Aaron Hill. Marco Scutaro had a great year at shortstop but at 33 will be looking for some security in a long-term deal. But since the Jays are no where close to contending, they make let him walk. The same goes for Rod Barajas. The Halladay trade may bring back replacements at these positions. Chavez will be one of the catchers. At 3rd, the Jays have no choice but to go with Edwin Encarnacion since they are committed to paying him about $4 million next season.
Travis Snider will likely play every day in LF and of course Wells will return in CF. That pretty much leaves RF to Jose Bautista or some body they bring in to platoon with him. Nothing in the farm seems to be ready for a promotion but some trades would bring some help here.
Well a Halladay trade will leave one gigantic hole in the starting staff. It looks like the ace will be Ricky Romero followed by Shaun Marcum, Mark Rzepczynski, Brett Cecil and either Scott
Richmond or David Purcey. That starting staff produced only 3 wins last season. Jesse Litsch will not be ready until June. It's not likely that Dustin McGowan will pitch at the major league level at all next season.
The bullpen could be the strength of the Blue Jay lineup though I didn't say it would be strong. Jason Frasor will return as the closer. You don't need better than him if you don't have a better starting staff. Scott Downs returns as the 8th inning set up man. The rest of the bullpen will consist of any combination of Jesse Carlson, Brandon League, Casey Janssen, Shawn Camp, Jeremy Accardo, and Josh Roenicke.
Yup, it's going to be a long year.
Tracy Tredway, principal at Riddle Elementary School in Rochester, Indiana, was seen by police officers walking unsteadily to his car after leaving a Halloween party at a bar in Argos. When Tredway attempted to drive away, the officer pulled him over.
Investigators say Tredway, who was dressed in drag, was given a blood alcohol test after failing a field sobriety test. His blood alcohol level was reported to be .188, more than twice the legal limit in Indiana.
He was booked into jail on DUI charges and has since been placed on administrative leave by school administrators.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Former Miss California Carrie Prejean, now starring in her own sextape, got on CNN's Larry King Live and made it a disaster.
If you recall the story of Carrie Prejean, she was headed to a career at least as a mid-range celebrity until Perez Hilton "outed" her. The flamboyant celebrity blogger was the judge at the Miss USA pageant in February of this year when he asked his now famous question of Prejean, who was Miss California about gay marriage.And that set in motion a national debate which led to the head of the Miss California organization working to remove Prejean from the post, stating that she did not meet all of her scheduled obligations and was not honest about informing them of semi-nude photos of her taken when she was 17 years old.
Joshua Basso said his cell phone ran out of minutes, so he called the one number that he knew is always free — 911 — with an unusual request.
He wanted someone to have sex with him.
When 911 operators hung up on him, he called back four times, police said.
Fifteen minutes after his last call, police arrested Basso at his home on charges of making a false 911 call.
Hey look at those bloodshot eyes in his mugshot. That comes from watching porn 24/7!
His death brought about rule changes including mandatory helmets. But like every change in hockey, there are always unforeseen consequences. When players began using slapshots, goalies responded by wearing masks. Mandatory helmets allowed players to carry their sticks higher without the fear of whacking someone in the head. When leather elbow and shoulder pads were replaced by molded plastic, players switched from hip checks to full body checks because the person throwing the check was better protected. And when obstruction was eliminated, defenders slowed down speeder puck carriers by trying to catch them with their head down - or in some cases by blind-siding them.
So you get hits like the one by Michael Liambas of the Erie Otters landed on Ben Fanelli of the Kitchener Rangers. The hit landed Fanelli in the hospital and might have killed him. It also earned Liambas a season-long suspension that turned out to be more controversial than the actual hit.
This is not an isolated incident. Players have been knocked silly since the start of the season by some very dangerous hits. The NHL has reacted by announcing a review of blind-sided hits. But rest assure, not much will be done because most NHL people are concerned that you will alter the game too much if you come down too hard on hits to the head. The real problem is the culture the dominates the sport. There is little respect for opposing players today which contributes to reckless and dangerous plays. I'm not so sure that further rule changes will do much to bring about an attitude change in the NHL. The NHL doesn't need another Bill Masterton.
A wife posed as a schoolgirl online to catch her husband using an internet chatroom to groom underage girls for sex.
Cheryl Roberts, 61, had become concerned about the amount of time her husband David spent at his computer.
When a strongly-worded sexual message appeared on his screen while he was out, her suspicions were raised even further.
To her disgust, Mrs Roberts discovered that her 68-year-old husband of 20 years had been logging on to a teenage chatroom.
Rather than confront him, his wife used a second computer in their home to join the same chatroom, pretending she was a 14-year-old girl.But after he propositioned the 'girl' and asked to meet her for sex, his wife decided to act, contacting the police.
When police seized his computer and found dozens of illegal child-porn images, Roberts assumed he had been caught out by routine monitoring of downloads.
He was stunned when detectives broke the news that he had actually been chatting up his wife.source
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
For the fourth straight year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL's most valuable team, according to Forbes magazine's annual survey.
The Leafs are worth $470 million (U.S.), an increase of 5 per cent over last year. They easily are worth more than the next franchise, the New York Rangers at $416 million, up just 1 per cent. Yes just another example of how the rich get richer. No stimulus money needed at MLSE.
Chicago has the biggest rise in value, up 26 per cent, followed by Washington at 15 percent to $183 million. A sudden rise in the standing affects the bottom line (except if you own the Leafs).
The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins rank 11th at $222 million.
The average value of the 30 teams is $223 million, a slight increase over the $220 million of 2008.
Not surprisingly, the Phoenix Coyotes, with all their ownership issues, have the lowest worth, $138 million. And 14 teams – nearly half the league – went down in value, ranging from Colorado decreasing by 11 percent to Philadelphia falling 1 percent.Toronto has, by far, the most operating income, $78.9 million, Forbes reported. Second in operating income is Montreal at $31.3 million. Less than half the Leafs' income.
The Leafs are tops in revenues, too, at $168 million, followed by the Rangers at $139 million.See the full list here.
It's been two months since Mariam Makhniashvili disappeared without a trace, and Toronto police are attempting a new tactic in their search for clues. The media has not been totally clear why the police are canvassing thousands of homes in Mariam's neighbourhood. They aren't asking residents to job their memory for a clue. They want to peek into your home.
Sixty officers began knocking on doors this week, asking for residents to let them in to root around, scouting for possible evidence. They hope to cover about 6,000 houses and apartments, and although homeowners are not legally obligated to let officers inside without a warrant, denying the request is bound to make some people feel like automatic suspects, possibly subjecting themselves to further scrutiny.
As for the motivation of the Toronto Police Service, some would say that canvassing neighbourhoods has worked before, while the more cynical might wonder if the force is attempting to improve the optics of the case, given that any leads seem to have run dry. However, by knocking on doors and asking to be invited in, the police are asking the community to waive its right to privacy.
Reiko Aoyama, who is lingerie maker Triumph’s image girl for 2010, holds the new Nice Cup in Bra, designed to appeal to Japan’s busy golfing women. The green corset-style garment can be removed and unrolled to create a 1.5-meter-long putting mat. When the user sinks a putt into one of the cups, a built-in speaker pumps out a congratulatory “Nice shot!” The bra also features pockets for extra golf balls and tees, and a detachable flag pin that serves as a score pencil. The bra set comes with a skirt with the words “Be Quiet” printed on the rear, which doubles up as a flag for use on the course.
What a great Christmas gift for the lady golfer. Those Japanese are great innovators.
So when the sun rose over Canada’s political landscape Tuesday morning, the federal Conservatives had two new good reasons to believe a majority government may be within reach in the not-too-distant future.
The opposition Liberals and Bloc Quebecois, on the other hand, may have spent a largely sleepless night stewing over results from four byelections held Monday.
In Nova Scotia, there was little question that Conservative Scott Armstrong, who used to run campaigns for popular former Independent MP Bill Casey, would win his vacated seat in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.
With Mr. Armstrong promising that getting stimulus dollars for the riding would be a priority, voters were able to forgive the Harper government for ejecting Mr. Casey from the Tory caucus in 2007 in a budget dispute over the Atlantic Accord.
The Conservative victory in a previous Bloc stronghold in Montmagny-L’Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, however, is another matter. They broke through with an upset win in a long-time opposition riding in a province crucial to their hopes for an eventual majority.The other winner in Monday’s votes was clearly the NDP, which easily held its B.C. seat in New Westminster-Coquitlam while also posting solid results elsewhere. Analysts say the NDP’s strategy of campaigning against the HST in B.C. seemed to pay dividends.
The NDP may be the party of choice in BC if you oppose the Conservatives. In Quebec, it remains the Bloc. In Ontario it is still uncertain but as opposition to the HST builds, both Dalton McGuinty and Stephen Harper will continue to feel the heat. Again, the NDP may be able to captialize on the discontent.
So where does that leave the Liberals? Still in the wilderness. A party will a sordid history of scandals, weak leaders and no platform or principles - it will be a long painful journey back to power.
So many generation X and Y adults have fond memories of growing up watching Sesame Street and so do their parents. Back in 1969 the idea of using television as an educational tool for children was radical. The medium was still limited to entertainment and news.
The series holds a record 122 Emmy Awards, not including a lifetime-achievement trophy, and has been adapted in more than 120 countries and territories around the globe. It is undergoing constant renewal in order to keep current. Still the same old characters endure including Big Bird, Grover, Miss Piggy, Oscar, Cookie Monster and of course Kermit the Frog (the first Muppet).
From the first episode, Sesame Street's producers have used "different elements" of commercial television. They used videotaped spots, puppets, animation, live action, and music. They also introduced "teaching commercials", or several twelve -to ninety-second shorts, and the repetition of several key concepts throughout an episode. hey wanted to attract inner-city viewers, so they reproduced these viewers' neighborhoods as its setting—a realistic city street, complete with peeling paint, alleys, front stoops, and metal trash cans along the sidewalk". The cast needed to reflect the diversity of this kind of neighborhood, first with a mix of White and African-American actors, and then with Hispanics and Asians later on.
But it was the puppets or as we know them as Muppets that are most endearing. The Muppets come from the creative genius of Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Joe Raposo. The Muppets are the stars of the series and are recognized around the world.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Jonas Gustavsson could have gone to just about any NHL. Wisely he chose Toronto because he wanted a team that would provide him with a shot at making the NHL in his first season. Toronto provided him with that opportunity.
So when Vesa Toskala laid an egg in each of his starts this season, that opened the door for the Monster and he hasn't disappointed. The Maple Leafs have shown what is well known in hockey - that goaltending is everything.
In games started by Gustavsson, the Leafs record is 3-2-3, GAA is 2.60 and SAV% is .918. Games where he has not started, the team is 0-5-2, GAA is 4.40 and SAV% is .850. Strong goaltending also energizes your offense. The Leafs score an average of 3.37 goals per game with Gustavsson in net but only 2.0 goals per game when another goalie plays.
It's still to early to determine whether he lives up to his billing. Remember Andrew Raycroft, early in his career (2003-04) had a GAA of 2.05 and SAV% of .926. And we know how that ended.
A woman in South Korea who tried to pass the written exam for a driver's license with near-daily attempts since April 2005 has finally succeeded on her 950th time.
The aspiring driver spent more than 5 million won ($4,200) in application fees, but until now had failed to score the minimum 60 out of a possible 100 points needed to get behind the wheel for a driving test.
Cha Sa-soon, 68, finally passed the written exam with a score of 60 on Wednesday, said Choi Young-chul, a police official at the drivers' license agency in Jeonju, 130 miles (210 kilometres) south of Seoul.
Police said Cha took the test hundreds of times, but had no specific total. Local media said she took the test 950 times.
Now she must pass a driving test before getting her license, Choi said.
Repeated calls to Cha seeking comment went unanswered. She told the Korea Times newspaper she needed the license for her vegetable-selling business.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Last week the new broke out that Calgary Flames players, Toronto Raptor and Maple Leaf players, hospital board members in Toronto, and firefighters in Halifax had all "jumped the queue" to get flu shots although none were fell into priority cases. The public has reacted with shock and anger.
People, get used to it. This is Canada's health care system - rationed services and queue jumping. It's been going on for several decades now but no one likes to talk about it. In theory everyone is supposed to be treated the same in our system since ability to pay for services is no longer a factor. Because services are generally limited and must be rationed, priority is supposed to go to those that most urgently need them. But human nature what it is, instead it often comes down to who you know. It goes on all the time. Just some examples:
- A hockey player I coached once tore an ACL in her knee. She was scheduled for surgery to repair it but had to wait almost 8 months. Another parent on the team who was a physician made a call and the wait time was reduced to 8 weeks.
- Another injured player required a MRI. A parent who was a large donor to a hospital made a call and an appointment was arranged in a few days instead of over a month.
- My mother urgently needed to get into a well known geriatric facility. The social worker assigned by the Ministry of Health indicated that this facility had a waiting list of 6-12 months. We happened to know someone who worked at the facility who discovered a bed had just become available in the ward my mother was to have been assigned to. The bed was put on hold. We told the social worker to hurry with the paper work because there was a bed waiting for my mom. She was in it 2 days later.
- My wife need some cosmetic surgery for a cyst on her cheek. Normally it would take a month for an appointment with a plastic surgeon and 3 months for the surgery. I knew a surgeon well so we called him. She surgery was done in a couple of weeks. The surgery was not covered by Medicare but my wife wasn't billed.