Saturday, December 04, 2010

Spider-Man muscial is a looming disaster

The word is getting around that the Spider-Man musical that is soon to open on Broadway has been hit by a series of technical problems and injuries.

After the first preview performance last week, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark had to be halted five times because of technical problems, while two subsequent shows have also had to be stopped. The first preview took about 3.5 hours to complete. Two actors were stuck suspended over the crowd during a preview, or, as in Thursday's performance, Spider-Man got trapped on the balcony.

The show is also going on without leading lady Natalie Mendoza, who has been sidelined after being hit in the head by a rope during the first preview. Kevin Aubin, an aerialist, broke both his wrists last month during a presentation for ticket agents. In a separate incident while rehearsing the show, another actor broke his foot.

The show is the brainchild of Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor and U2's Bono and The Edge, who wrote the music. More than eight years in the making, delays and money woes have plagued the show's debut, leading to scathing comments from Broadway's notorious critics.

The $65 million musical is the most expensive production in the history of Broadway and would need to break box office records to make any money. The show can't go on tour because the special effects are too expensive to go on the road.

Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski's property is for sale

Own a piece of infamous U.S. history!" That's how a realtor in Lincoln is marketing the property once owned by Ted Kaczynski, the now-convicted "Unabomber."

John Pistelak Realty in Lincoln is asking $69,500 for the lot which it describes as "obviously very secluded."

That's down from the original asking price of $154,500 for the 1.4 acre lot near the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat wilderness areas.

The listing says power and water are not currently on the property, but are available.

Kaczynski's cabin is no longer on the lot; it's on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Here is the online listing.

One Hit Wonder

Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Relax (1984)

New York's nightmare is over, Jeter signs

Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees ended their protracted contract stalemate Saturday, reaching an agreement on a three-year contract with a creative and complicated player option for 2014.

Jeter is guaranteed $51 million but could be paid as much $65 million. I guess he can relax now.

Happy 61st birthday Jeff Bridges

Bridges in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show

In the 1985 film Starman

In the 1991 film Fisher King

The Big Lebowski in 1998

Academy Award performance in the 2009 film Crazy Heart

No need to print the 'Free Willie' signs

Willie Nelson, who was arrested last week in Texas for having pot on his bus, has been charged with misdemeanor possession. Nelson was originally charged with carrying six ounces, a felony with a maximum sentence of two years in prison plus a $10,000 fine, but the amount was knocked down to four ounces, which carries a maximum penalty of one year and $4,000.

TMZ claims that Nelson cannot be jailed on the misdemeanor charge.

I want what ever he is on

Way back when I was young...

Woman calls 911 to report snowman theft

A woman who dialled 911 to report the theft of a snowman from outside her home has been branded "completely irresponsible" by Kent Police. The force said the woman, from Chatham, thought the incident required their involvement because she used pound coins for eyes and teaspoons for arms. During the call the woman said: "It ain't a nice road but you don't expect someone to nick your snowman."

The force said the call was made at the same time as operators fielded thousands of other phone calls about the heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures in the county. During the conversation she said: "There's been a theft from outside my house. I haven't been out to check on him for five hours but I went outside for a fag and he's gone."

When she was asked who had gone, the woman replied: "My snowman. I thought that with it being icy and there not being anybody about, he'd be safe." She was then asked whether it was an ornament, and answered: "No, a snowman made of snow, I made him myself. It ain't a nice road but at the end of the day, you don't expect someone to nick your snowman, you know what I mean?"

Mug Shot of the Week

A Framingham teenager fought with officers as they tried to prevent him from swallowing a bag of what appeared to be cocaine, police said.

Art Taylor, 18, swallowed the small bag but was arrested on several other charges after police pulled him over on Union Avenue at, police spokesman Lt. Ron Brandolini said. "He made a quick movement to the centre console, and there was small baggie with a white powder in it," Brandolini said.

"He immediately made a movement to put it in his mouth." An officer tried to stop him, but Taylor kept pushing his arm away. The officers dragged Taylor from the car, and he started fighting with them in the middle of the road. By the time officers handcuffed him, Taylor had swallowed the bag, Brandolini said.

Was that Elvis week

Friday, December 03, 2010

Happy Chanukah Day 3

This is wierd, Julianne Moore (50) and Amanda Seyfried (25) share a birthday

Cleveland, he doesn't give a shit

Hockey coach faces ban for opposing racial slur

Andrew McCullum, a 16-year-old player for the NAPA Auto Parts team in the Peterborough Minor Hockey Association, got into an on-ice confrontation against an opponent from the Austin Trophies in a Nov. 15 game.

After they were sent to the penalty box, the chatter between the two remained heated.

That's when McCullum's opponent chirped a racial slur, calling him "the N-word."

The player was benched for part of the period as punishment but returned to the ice. McCullum's coach, Greg Walsh, was furious to see him return to the game, and at the lack of apology from the Trophies coach and player.

So he pulled his team off the ice, went to the locker room and remained there, claiming that it was meant to "protect" his player from other incidents.

And for that, Walsh has earned an indefinite suspension from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.

In a bureaucratic world, and sporting association are bureaucracies, an offender is often not treated as harshly as the victim of the offense. So the coach who tries to take the high moral ground and teach is young players about the importance of sportsmanship is slammed for it. I would have done exactly the same thing. In fact, when I coached, I would nail a player to the bench if she dared to verbally abuse an opponent or official. Somethings are more important than the game itself.


Was that Elvis week

How I kill time on the subway

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Britney Jean Spears is a batshit crazy 29 today

Thank you for sharing that with us Brit!

Naked woman masturbating still gets TSA pat down

When a San Diego woman opted out of security screening using the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at Lindbergh Field Friday, she stripped down naked and began to masturbate in an attempt to avoid the pat-down procedures.

Samantha Wagina took the protest started Nov. 13 by Oceanside's John Tyner to a whole new level.

While Tyner videotaped his refusal to be patted down, telling the agent "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested," Wagina decided to give TSA a look at her body down to her birthday suit.

Through a statement released by her attorney Sunday night, Wagina said "TSA needs to see that I'm not carrying any weapons, explosives, or other prohibited substances, I refuse to have images taken of my naked body and having been felt up for the first time by TSA the week prior (I travel frequently) I was not willing to be molested again."

Wagina's attorney said that TSA requested his client put her clothes on and stop masturbating so she could be patted down properly but his client refused to stop masturbating. She never refused a pat down, according to her attorney.

Wagina was arrested for refusing to complete the security process. A woman, identified by Harbor police as Danielle Kelli Hayman, 39, of San Diego was detained for recording the incident on a phone.

Happy Chanukah Day 2

Is it art or a pile of wood?

A New Brunswick logger is unrepentant after beginning to dismantle a woodpile that turned out to be a sculpture titled "Deadwood Sleep." Ron Fahey of Sackville said he was granted permission in August from University to take the logs stacked in an area behind the president's residence alongside a water fowl park in the town. "I got the OK to just take the wood and, to me, it was just a pile of wood. If that's art then I'm in the wrong racket," he said. "I guess I'm not cultured."

He said he was going to use it for firewood and had started to haul some of the wood away on Saturday when the town manager came rushing over to ask if he had permission to touch it. Fahey, 59, realized the mistake and stopped working on the pile, though he'd already pulled several logs off. Andrea Ward, grounds manager at Mount Allison University, said there was confusion over which pile of wood Fahey was to dismantle behind the historic Cranewood residence on the campus. "Basically we said, 'We don't think the wood you're looking at is on your property, but we do have some wood on our property if you're interested,' " she said.

The three-year-old artwork is by local sculptor Paul Griffin and is displayed on a town website that advertises the community as the cultural capital of Canada. Griffin says the town commissioned the work for $5,000 and it has two large maples entwined on top of a two-metre-high stack of deadwood gathered from the forest. "It's right in the middle of a water fowl park. That's one logger that's pretty hungry for a piece of wood," said the sculptor.

Nearby, there's a stump covered in galvanized roofing nails, another portion of Griffin's sculpture. He said he plans to put the sculpture back together. "I think I'll have to have a sign put up, but part of the art is to work in harmony with nature surrounding it." Griffin, who also works as a technician at the university's fine arts department, said he was relieved the incident wasn't a case of vandalism but rather the result of "an honest mistake."

Was that Elvis week

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Give Leaf Nation A Parade

Are you fed up waiting for the Maple Leafs to become competitive? Are you too young to remember what it's like to win a Stanley Cup? Do you like parades?

Well if you answered yest to all these questions then you should consider signing this petition asking the City of Toronto and MLSE to hold a parade for the Leaf Nation this spring.

It's way to reward fans for their unwavering devotion.

We won’t win the Cup but we can still have our parade.

You can sign the petition here.

Woman strips down to her underwear and still gets TSA pat down

This blonde wearing just black lace, a pearl necklace and a white dog is Tammy Banovac, a retired surgeon in a wheelchair. She got down to her lingerie while going through airport security and still got a pat down. Twice.

Dr. Banovac always refuses to go through the metal detector. She has to use a metal wheelchair and that means that she always gets a pat down no matter what. Lately, she says she feels violated because the pat downs have become increasingly invasive during the last few months. "If it happened anywhere else, it would have been sexual assault," she declared to a local newspaper.

She was so angry with the situation that she decided to change things. On November 30, the 52-year-old arrived to the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City en route to Phoenix, wearing just a trench coat. When it was time to pass through the check point, she took off her coat, stripping down to her black lace lingerie. She hoped that, by showing that she had nothing to hide, she would not be hand-searched.

Sadly for her, things got worse: The perspicacious TSA agents wanted her to go through the metal detector, anyway. When she understandably refused, they decided to give her a pat down.

At this point, the quick-witted TSA agents said they found traces of nitrate on her body. Banovac claimed that it was probably her medication or a result of a hunting day. However, since it's obvious that the retired surgeon could be a secret Al-Qaeda terrorist carrying a bomb somewhere in her lace bra or panties, the astute TSA officials subjected her to a one-hour hand-search and interrogation. Yes, one hour.

As a result, she missed her flight to Phoenix and had to return home.

But hold on, because it gets even more surreal: She returned the next day and the same thing happened. She got down to her lingerie and got a hand-search anyway. This time, however, she could make her flight on time.


One Hit Wonder

Soft Cell - Tainted Love (1981)

Female police chief killed in Mexico

One of a small number of women who have filled a void by becoming police chiefs in violence-torn Mexico was gunned down Monday, authorities said.

Hermila Garcia, 38, became the top cop in the town of Meoqui just two months ago.

Gunmen attacked her as she drove to work by herself, authorities said.

Garcia was one of a handful of women who have taken leadership roles in police departments in cities and towns where men have stayed away because of fear.

One of the most high-profile women to take such an assignment is 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia, a student who became police chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero, also in the state of Chihuahua.

Hermila Garcia was a lawyer by profession and was single with no children.

Violence in Chihuahua is due to struggles between rival drug cartels over lucrative smuggling routes, as well as police operations against the cartels.

Well Valles has made it to day 44. I'm still sticking with 60 days before they plug her.


Man marries a dog

A young Austrlaian man tied the knot with his best friend – a five-year-old labrador.

In perhaps a first for the Garden City, Laurel Bank Park hosted the wedding of Joseph Guiso and Honey, a labrador he adopted five years ago.

Thirty of the couple’s closest friends and family were in attendance for the emotional ceremony, held at dusk.

"You’re my best friend and you make every part of my day better," Mr Guiso’s vows read.

The couple decided on the location – and to tie the knot - after stumbling upon a wedding in Laurel Bank Park during an afternoon walk.

Hey this is not exactly a shocker. It's been done before. In fact I wouldn't be surprised to find out that someone on this planet marries a dog every day. But can she cook or clean?


Happy Chanukah Day 1

Hump Day Hottie

Emma Stone

Was that Elvis week

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sign of the day

What schools worry about

Google Earth reveals Star of David on roof of Iran Air HQ

Did Israeli prankster architects sneak a Star of David onto the roof of the Teheran airport, or is the controversy in Iran over a Google Earth revelation much ado about nothing?

Regardless of whether it was happenstance or an act of architectural subterfuge, government officials in Iran were incensed this week when they discovered the outline of a Star of David atop the roof of the headquarters of Iran Air, Al- Arabiya reported on Monday.

The six-pointed star was discovered by an eagle-eyed Google Earth user recently, over three decades after the building that houses the national airline of the Islamic Republic was constructed by Israeli engineers.

Israel and the Shah’s Iran maintained good ties until the Islamic Revolution of 1979 ended the relationship. Before 1979, Israel brokered arms deals with Iran, and there were regular flights between Teheran and Tel Aviv.

Once the existence of the Star of David was reported in Iranian media, government officials called for the immediate removal of the apparently offensive Jewish symbol.

The discovery of the symbol came three months after the Iranian public learned of the existence of a Star of David on the roof of a building in Teheran’s Revolution Square.


The Puck Bunny, Elisha Cuthbert is 28

With Sean Avery

With Mike Komisarek

With Dion Phaneuf

Thiefs steal Pat Burns' belongings during his funeral

Thieves knew exactly whose belongings they were stealing when they ransacked the car belonging to Pat Burns’ widow within hours of the popular coach’s funeral.

About 30 autographed hockey sweaters from Burns’ personal collection and numerous family valuables were taken in the robbery, which was discovered by Burns’ wife Line on Tuesday morning.

“They went through his stuff,” said Const. Anie Lemieux of the Montreal police, noting Burns’ wallet was in the car.

At his funeral, people remembered the gruff ex-cop as a tough but fair man who cared about his players and knew how to motivate them.

Police say they will launch a public appeal to the thieves, asking them to leave the stolen items in an agreed-upon spot where they could be recovered.

The crime was committed between midnight and 9 a.m. Tuesday. The Burns clan and numerous family friends had attended a wake in a downtown bar Monday night, after the funeral.

The stolen items include:

•Thirty jerseys signed by star players from each NHL team.

•Two suitcases containing Burns’ clothes, and those of his wife.

•A Movado men’s watch.

•Many family photos.

•Bedsheets from the palliative-care unit.

•An iPad.

•Women’s jewellery.

You can't stoop much lower than stealing money and charity items from a dead guy’s widow during his funeral. But what's with stealing the bedsheets from a dead guy? Is the thief a painter and needs some extra dropsheets? The police believe that the thieves targeted the Burns vehicles. What a bunch of disgusting lowlifes.


Happy Anniversary Brian Burke!

It’s been two years since Brian Burke has taken charge of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization. At the time there was much optimism but that has since been replaced with the usual pessimism. Many scribers have already written off his tenure which is absurd. You can’t evaluate a rebuild while it’s in progress. In fact, this one is even more difficult to assess since we don’t even know what the plan is.

Here is how I see it. When Burke arrived it was with much fanfare and platitudes on his part. He stated that the team was too soft, too small, and with a culture of losing. He stated he hated losing and could not wait 5 year (out of the playoffs) to be competitive. His goal was to make the playoffs every season.

These are very lofty goals. Although he gave no timeframe, he was suggesting that the Leafs would be competitive again in a short period of time – perhaps 2 or 3 years? Thus he set himself up for failure by trying to shorten the typical rebuild timeline. It will likely still take 5 years to rebuild this team.

However, he tried nonetheless. To speed up the process, he decided to bypass the Entry Draft and use trades and free agent signings to stock the depleted lineup with quality players. As everyone knows he gave up valuable commodities in high draft picks for a NHL-ready scorer, Phil Kessel. He signed a number of U.S. college free agents (Christian Hanson, Tyler Bozak and Braydon Irwin). Highly sought after European free agent goalies Jonas Gustavsson and Jussi Rynnas were also signed. Toughness was enhanced by bringing in Colton Orr, Mike Komisarek, Mike Brown and Colby Armstrong. Two trades unloaded a lot of deadwood for talented (though expensive) players, Dion Phanuef and J-S Giguere.

So where do we really stand right now? Well the Kessel trade isn’t the disaster it has been portrayed to be. It certainly is not comparable to the Kovalchuck deal as suggested by Mike Milbury last Saturday. The Leafs picked up a proven goal scorer who was only 21 years old. They gave up what turns out to be Tyler Seguin who is also talented but we do not know how good we will be yet. You can’t assess the other two picks but we know that the 2011 Entry Draft will be weaker which means the Bruins will not likely get a player of Seguin’s calibre.

The college free agents have been pretty much a bust so far. Only Bozak is with the Leafs but he is struggling under the pressure placed on him. To suggest that these players are equal to first round draft picks would quite a stretch. None of the other free agent signings have been significant and can be described as only role players. The days of making a "splash" in the free agent are over. GMs are reluctant to trade away high draft picks and tend to lock these players in for long term contracts at very young ages. When Burke suggests that July 1 is his team's draft is just a lot of hot air.

Goaltending and defense have been stabilized by a good blend of veterans and youth. The young core of Gustavsson and Rynnas in net and Scheen Gunnarsson, Phaneuf and Aulie on the blueline is something to build around. I can see some of the veterans being moved out

The offense is currently next to invisible. Aside from the 4th line, the forwards are quick but pretty small and having difficulty working the puck in the corners and in front of the net. I sense more changes are coming to balance speed and size. The average age of the Leaf forwards are the youngest in the NHL so they will get better. I'm not sure they will get good enough to compete. The Leafs lack quality centres and big wingers.

So this rebuild will continue for several years before the Leafs can compete despite Burke's efforts to accelerate the process. In fact, it could be argued that he may have slowed down that process by giving up draft picks. It is becoming obvious that quality players are rarely available through trades or free agency. The draft remains the best source of inexpensive quality players which are the most valued commodity in hockey today.

What Burke has never clearly articulated is his plan for rebuilding the Leafs. His moves do not suggest a clear strategy. Nor is his timeline clear. He states he values big bodies but brings in small players like Kessel, MacArthur, Kadri, Versteeg and Bozak. A priority was changing the culture but the new players tend to have bad starts to games much as the previous group.

Anyway, happy anniversary Brian! Keep smiling!

Was that Elvis week

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This blog is 4 years old

...and I'm feeling soooo old.

FBI thwarts its own terrorist plot

The FBI is obviously quite pleased with itself over its arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who -- with months of encouragement, support and money from the FBI's own undercover agents -- allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon.

So let me see if I have this right. The FBI found some very young and impressionable loner. The FBI created and funded a terror plot and then persuaded him to join. They then pat themselves on the back for having thwarted a "Terrorist plot" which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI's own creation.

I'm being facetious. Mohamud caught the attention of authorities because of possible terrorist relationships. But certainly this looks a lot like entrapment and we will never know how far he would gone down this road without the support of the FBI.

Oh yes, the mosque in Oregon sometimes attended by Mohamud was victimized by arson. Wonder if the FBI was involved?

Canadian acting legend Leslie Nielsen; 1926 - 2010

In the 1957 film Tammy and the Bachelor

In the 1972 film The Poseidon Adventure

This break into comedy, the 1980 film Airplane

In the 2006 film Scary Movie 4

A hockey fight breaks in a NFL game

This is only reason why you don't want to live in Canada

...snow in November!!

Elvis Presley just passed away?

Elvis Presley has died ... at the age of 70 in Birmingham. The King's biggest fan, who changed his name by deed poll so many years ago that no one knows his real name, died in hospital of heart problems and his funeral took place at an empty crematorium.

Photo from here.

Yesterday a hand-written note at his terraced house - called Gracelands - said: "No post please, Elvis has died."

Helen Edwards, 54, a neighbour in Handsworth, Birmingham, said: "He was a massive fan and changed his name a long time ago. We only ever knew him as Elvis.

Photos from here.

"His family fell out with him and he's been on his own for a long time. We think he's got three children but no one here has ever met them.

The changing landscape of the Yonge and Dundas intersection

The Yonge and Dundas intersection has been a major shopping and entertainment focal point in Toronto for almost a century. It is probably the busiest intersection in Canada. My memory goes back to the 1960s when it was a place to go to buy records (at Sams the Record Man and A&A Records) and to listen to live music. My favourite stomp was the Colonial Tavern for jazz.

The Northwesteast corner of Yonge/Dundas in 1960.

The landscape changed dramatically by the late 1970s with the opening of the Eaton Centre. Many of the businesses on Yonge Street moved into the indoor mall and the Yonge Street strip went through a rapid decline. What was left on the strip was discount stores, arcades and strip clubs.

The Northwesteast corner of Yonge/Dundas in 1980 following the opening of the Eaton Centre.

The city approved a revitalization of the Yonge and Dundas intersection in the late 1990s with the construction of the Yonge-Dundas Square and the erection of massive electronic billboards modelling New York's Time Square. The Square and other developments led to the demolition of the rundown structures that had taken over the strip.

The Northwesteast corner of Yonge/Dundas today.