Saturday, January 22, 2011
At the start of 2010 I was convinced that the most difficult player to trade in MLB was Vernon Wells. He had a monster contract in addition to three mediocre seasons after having an outstanding one in 2006. Wells went on to have a decent 2010 but even at the conclusion of the season I felt that trading Wells might not be impossible but certainly difficult.
Either as a result of a moment of weakness by Angel GM Tony Reagins or the genius of Alex Anthopoulos a deal actually got done. The fact that the Angels took on the entire $86 million owing Wells made the deal a winner for the Jays. A box of balls would have been enough in return. Yet he was able to land Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to fill some gaps in the lineup.
Granted there was a lot of pressure on Reagins to do something with Carl Crawford signing with Boston and Adrian Beltre going to Texas just as there is pressure on Brian Cashman in New York after losing Cliff Lee to Philadelphia. But the trade has huge implications for the Jays. It certainly frees up dollars needed to signing Jose Bautista to a long term contract. It also opens up a outfield position for Bautista who would have played third base this season but might not have signed long term as an infielder.
It also continues the makeover of this team and certainly the chemistry. Wells was the team leader but was far too quiet and polite. He is active in the community and a philanthropist. No one could dislike Wells. In his absence I can see Bautista filling in the void. Bautista in contrast is emotional and passionate and is more likely to give a young player a kick in the pants if they need one.
However, in the short run, the Jays are not better. During the offseason the team has lost a fair amount power (Wells, John Buck, Lyle Overbay), wins (Shaun Marcum) and saves (Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs). The replacement are just not as good. But the team is getting younger and the potential is there to get better. There may be some more deals still to come but here is how the key positions likely match up in 2010 and 2011. There are some question marks still but most positions are settled.
|Fred Lewis - lf||Rajai Davis - cf|
|Alex Gonzalez - ss||Yunel Escobar - ss|
|Aaron Hill - 2nd||Aaron Hill - 2nd|
|Vernon Wells - cf||Jose Bautista - rf|
|Lyle Overbay - 1st||Adam Lind - 1st|
|Jose Bautista - rf||Mike Napoli - c/dh|
|Adam Lind - dh||Travis Sinder - lf|
|John Buck - c||J.P. Arencebia - c/dh|
|Edwin Encarnacion - 3rd||Edwin Encarnanion - 3rd??|
|Shaun Marcum||Ricky Romero|
|Ricky Romero||Brett Cecil|
|Brett Cecil||Brandon Morrow|
|Brandon Morrow||Kyle Drabek|
|Jesse Litsch/Marc Rzepczynski||Jesse Litsch/Marc Rzepczynski|
|Scott Downs||Octavio Dotel/Jon Rauch/Jason Frasor|
|Kevin Gregg||Octavio Dotel/Jon Rauch/Jason Frasor|
"I've given one no-trade clause in my life and it was for medical reasons to J.S. Giguere. His son had a medical condition that required him going to UCLA medical hospital for years. Other than that, I don't like them. I think they're coach killers."
So what do I read in the Toronto Star yesterday? Well the paper indicated that there are five Leafs with no-trade or no-movement clauses J.S. Giguere, Phil Kessel, Mike Komisarek, Tomas Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin. So if the report is true - yes folks the newspapers are filled with errors - this is just another example of Burke saying one thing and doing the opposite. All the Leaf fans expecting Komisarek to be put on waivers and sent to the minors will be waiting a long time for that to happen. If Komisarek has a no-movement clause in his contract then he isn't going anywhere.
So how is Burke so different than Ferguson? He was so desperate to sign Komisarek and Beauchemin to contracts that he threw his own rules out the window during his first summer as Leaf GM. But he hung tough in negotiations with Colby Armstrong and Brett Lebda, they didn't get no-trade clauses.
I'm having a deja vu moment - no draft picks and expensive veterans that can't be traded.
Actually no-trade deals are no big deal. The Red Wings far more no-trade contracts than the Leafs including Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, to name a few. If you sign the right players to long term deals and they perform as expected then why would you want to trade them?
Friday, January 21, 2011
This was not a CRTC decision but the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). They ruled last week that the 1985 hit was unfit for radio because its lyrics include an anti-gay slur (faggot) spoken three times.
Anyone familiar with the song knows that the offensive word in the song was meant ironically and was spoken by a character who was unimpressed with the rock stars he saw on MTV. It is not directed at gays.
Last week’s decision sparked an outcry from music fans around the world. Some Canadian radio stations continued to play the unedited version in protest.
Former French teacher Cindy Mauro, who was fired last week thanks to the infamous November 2009 incident, contends no "inappropriate sexual behavior" took place between her and fellow romance language teacher Alini Brito in room 337 at James Madison High School.
The teachers' alleged sexual shenanigans made national headlines when a janitor squealed to a school administrator that he had seen them in a naked classroom tryst. Students were watching a talent show in the auditorium while Alini Brito and Cindy Mauro were addressing each others' needs.
A lawyer for the teachers said the claims are the product of an "over-active imagination" that could be shot down by a now-destroyed surveillance tape.
"Not one witness who testified said they saw Ms. Mauro in any state of undress or committing a sexual act," said Michael Valentine of Altman Schochet. "Nobody saw anything."
Mauro, the suit says, was simply tending to Brito's needs by giving her candy and sugar while students sang and danced at a school performance.
But a state arbitrator's report said Brito was topless and on her back while a partially undressed Mauro kneeled between her legs.
"Ms. Brito wasn't feeling well," Valentine said.
Mauro's suit comes two weeks after Brito sued the Department of Education, seeking to have her firing overturned.
I totally buy their story. Brito accidentally dropped the candy and it fell into her clothing. Mauro was merely removing some of Brito's clothing to search for the lost candy. I can understand how someone walking in on them might interpret their body positions as two people engaged in oral sex. But now that all the facts are on the table it makes senses. Right?
A tourist says he was traumatized when Las Vegas police threatened to arrest him after he complained about an act of prostitution in his hotel room.
Hubert Blackman of New York City filed a lawsuit this month against a Las Vegas company he identified as Las Vegas Exclusive Personals. The lawsuit says the business operates on Paradise Road.
Blackman, a college student, said in an interview Thursday that he was on vacation and staying at the Stratosphere on Dec. 17 when he called Las Vegas Exclusive Personals to arrange for a stripper to come to his room and dance for him.
Blackman said the woman, who appeared to be in her mid 20s, stripped and performed a lap dance for $155 and a sex act for another $120.
He said that the next morning, he called Las Vegas Exclusive Personals to demand his money back, saying he was dissatisfied because the entertainer didn't stay for the promised one hour and left after a half hour.
Blackman said he also told the company he was incapable of making an informed agreement with the stripper because he was drunk at the time.
Dissatisfied when Las Vegas Exclusive Personals didn't arrange for a refund, Blackman said he contacted Metro Police and was told he faced arrest for such conduct and was advised to contact the Better Business Bureau.
Instead, after returning home he filed suit in federal court in New York, charging "An escort did an illegal sexual act on me during her paid service to me'' and "I almost had gotten arrested."
Blackman said he now needs medical treatment for a mental condition related to the incident.
In the suit, which he filed without an attorney, Blackman said: "I would like the court to close the business. I also would like to get my $275 payment back and a $1.8 million verdict for the tragic event that happened."So this guy is claiming that the young woman that came to his hotel room gave him a lap dance and some oral sex which made him crazy. That must have been some blow job. I'm thinking it might just be worth the $275 his spent. Not the girl's fault he couldn't last a full hour.
Jonathan Martinez, 22, and Gustavo Alejandro, 35, were pronounced dead outside the Vida Divina nightclub, gunned down by unidentified assailants with suspected ties to the country's notorious drug gangs. A third victim, identified as bar patron Leslie Soltero, 26, was taken to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to her ankle.
When La Excelencia's performance came to an end around 4 a.m. local time, four reportedly intoxicated and aggressive audience members demanded the musicians continue playing. Sensing trouble, the group extended its set by two songs, but was eventually forced to pull the plug by the bar's owner. Out of nowhere, one of the instigators threw a grenade at the stage. The explosion injured one person and had panicked customers running for the exits.
Martinez and Alejandro were among those who fled the bar, but they were met at the front door by a hail of bullets, presumably from the same four men who had harassed them earlier. By the time police arrived at the scene, the killers had already escaped by car. No witnesses were able to identify the getaway vehicle.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Braslavsky said he has received a wide range of reactions. He said he understood the angry responses, but said some visitors have thanked him for depicting a legendary figure whom they miss.
Apple is switching to a new type of tamper-resistant screw across their product line. It is not a standard Torx, and there are no readily available screwdrivers that can remove it. They chose this "Pentalobe" fastener specifically because it was new, guaranteeing repair tools would be both rare and expensive. The iPhone 4 originally shipped with Phillips screws, but Apple has transitioned completely to this new security screw. Shame on them.
This screw head clearly has one purpose: to keep you out. Otherwise, Apple would use it throughout each device. Instead, they only use it at the bulwark -- on the outside case of your iPhone and MacBook Air, and protecting the battery on the MacBook Pro --so they can keep you out of your own hardware.
That's bad enough on its own, but Apple's latest policy will make your blood boil: If you take your iPhone 4 into Apple for any kind of service, they will sabotage it by replacing your Phillips screws with the new tamper-resistant screws! We've spoken with the Apple Store geniuses tasked with carrying out this policy, and they are ashamed of the practice.
Tough economic times and changing shopping habits hurt the business, which resisted mechanization and prided itself on producing European-style hand-baked goods, said the company’s Chief Operating Officer Gail Agasi.
Agasi said she hopes new investors may be able to rescue the company her father, Max Feig, founded in 1957 after surviving the holocaust and coming to Canada with just $7.
“This is his legacy,” Agasi said in an interview. “That’s why I’m trying so hard.”
Agasi said she is particularly concerned about the company’s employees, many of whom worked for the bakery for 25 years.
The business, which at one time employed more than 250 and ran 10 corporate and franchise outlets, including its main bakery near the corner of Finch Ave. and Dufferin St., had just five stores when it closed, Agasi said.
Holy shit! Where am I going to buy my jelly rolls on Passover? This is a tragedy. Thank God my dad isn't alive to see this. It's a sad day for Max.
Josh Le donned the same pair of skin-tight jeans for 15 months without washing them. The idea was to break in the raw denim so the fabric would hug the contours of his body, leaving distinct wear lines and creases.
Curious about the health risks of wearing such a grubby garment, Le asked his textile professor to test the jeans for bacteria before he washed them for the first time.
The results showed high counts of five different kinds of bacteria in the denim, but nothing that posed a health hazard.
“I was blown away. I thought there would be a lot more bacteria than was present,” Le said Wednesday. “It sort of shows that it is okay to not wash jeans.”
Human Ecology professor Rachel McQueen said the highest recordings of bacteria were found in the crotch of the jeans at 10,000 units per square centimetre, with lower readings in the back and front of the pants.
But the colonies were normal skin bacteria and did not include dangerous E. coli.
Le said some of his friends were disgusted by his jeans experiment, but others were very understanding.
He said his dingy denim even became a good way of meeting new people.
Despite his best efforts to keep his jeans clean, Le said he still managed to spill food on them. He also wore them on hot days. He figures he wore them well over 200 times during the experiment.
He acknowledged the denim did get pretty ripe. His solution was to toss them in his freezer whenever they got too smelly.
McQueen said what was most surprising was a second test she did on the jeans after they were washed and Le wore them again for another 13 days. The results were about the same.
She said while the bacteria didn’t pose a risk for a healthy, strong young person, she recommends that people wash their jeans more often — at least once a month.
Almost 2 million people have viewed the above viedio on YouTube this week. It shows a woman texting and not watching where she is going. How many people have done that? This time the careless woman falls into a fountain in Bershire Mall in Pennsylvainia.
The woman in the video, Cathy Cruz Marrero, doesn't think the video is very funny. She claims she could have gotten seriously hurt and that the security guards should have helped instead of laugh.
So what would any red-blooded American do? Well you hire a lawyer and start a lawsuit. Good luck with that one Cathy. Though the security staff that leaked the video might be in some trouble. Now she isn't planning on suing because she was hurt - but because people laughed at her instead of helping her. I don't get it, what help did she need besides a towel?
Lady, get over it!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
It sang: "If you're happy and you know it fuck with me, if you're happy and you know it fuck with me, if you're happy and you know it and you really want to show it fuck with me!" Leigh said: "I couldn't believe it. I played it back three or four times. There is no mistaking what Violet is saying."
The single mother had hoped that the toy would help four-month-old Mia talk, contacted the makers. She said: "The toy is American so the voice has a US accent. They say it's actually saying 'bark'. But to anyone in the UK it sounds like the F word. They are sending me another model they say definitely doesn't swear."
Leigh added: "The biggest problem I've got now is my friends, who all want to play with Violet because they think it's hilarious." LeapFrog Toys apologised. A spokeswoman said: "To avoid future voice misinterpretations a new recording is now on the shelves."
They come on straight after climax and can last up to a week.
Marcel Waldinger, professor of sexual psychopharmacology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said a treatment known as hyposensitisation therapy can help reduce the impact of the syndrome.
It involves being repeatedly exposed to small but gradually increasing amounts of the allergen over several years to build up resistance.
He said: "These results are a very important breakthrough in the research of this syndrome."
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Zuckerberg is presented as angry and mean spirited, cold and condescending, and he seems unable to connect with anyone. He is utterly repellent. The film flips back and forth from his Havard days when he developed Facebook to scenes defending himself from lawsuits. Sorkin seems to agree with the plaintiffs in that Zuckerberg stole to idea for Facebook from others and then froze them out. I don't agree with that perspective.
Zuckerberg was writing computer software as a child even before he got to high school. Microsoft and AOL tried to recruit Zuckerberg before he even entered Havard. The inspiration for Facebook is supposed have come to him while in prep school which published a student directory that was referred to as The Facebook.
The film focused on Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra who accused Zuckerberg of intentionally making them believe he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com (later called ConnectU). They filed a lawsuit in 2004 but it was dismissed on a technicality on March 28, 2007. It was refiled soon thereafter in federal court in Boston. Facebook counter sued in regards to Social Butterfly, a project put out by The Winklevoss Chang Group, an alleged partnership between ConnectU and i2hub. On June 25, 2008, the case settled and Facebook agreed to transfer over 1.2 million common shares and pay $20 million in cash. The film certainly sympathizes with the Winklevoss brothers. To fit the conspiracy slant, Sorkin paints Zuckerberg as cold and ruthless. There is no evidence that this is the case. It is a fiction. Zuckerberg is well known for his philanthropy. But perhaps that doesn't sell movie tickets.
The printing works owners' union issued an instruction on the ban, imposed by Iranian authorities, covering gifts such as cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts and red roses.
"Honouring foreign celebrations is the spread of Western culture," said the union's head, Ali Nikou Sokhan, ILNA news agency reported. "Our country has an ancient civilisation and various days to honour kindness, love and affection."
Valentine's Day has become increasingly popular among the Iranian youth and is a money-maker for businesses in a country where 70 percent of people are under 30 and have no memory of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.
"Printing and producing any products related to Valentine's Day, including posters, brochures, advertising cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned," read the instruction. "Authorities will take legal action against those who ignore the ban."
A Canadian bachelor on Vancouver Island didn't appreciate a naked woman he'd never met waking him up and sliding into his bed, police said.
The unidentified man called police to report the mystery visit around 3:20 a.m. Saturday, the QMI Agency reported Tuesday.
The Victoria Police blog said the man reported "a woman came into his bedroom, promptly disrobed, slid into the bed next to him and fell asleep," the blog said.
When officers arrived, they found the woman still asleep and "quite intoxicated," the report said.
Looking for identification in a purse lying amid the pile of her clothes beside the bed, they determined she lived in the same building, but on another floor.
She was taken into custody to sober up, but not charged, the report said.
There was no indication why her key fit someone else's lock in the same building.
Monday, January 17, 2011
To satisfy the unquenchable gullets of America's brand-name coffee drinkers, Starbucks will introduce a 916ml Trenta cup. That's more than the average capacity of the human stomach, and enough caffeine to stand in for a defibrillator. Of course, it's not much—if any—different from a Big Gulp or any movie theater's large beverage container. But for some reason coffee's just that much more insidious. You'll be able to sample one for yourself when the Trenta rolls out nationwide by May 3rd.
It reinforced what I always have said, comparing players from different eras is difficult because the game continues to evolve. Next week is Wayne Gretzky's 50th birthday and many believe he was the game's greatest player. Others believe that title goes to Bobby Orr while others think it is Gordie Howe. If you didn't see all three play in their prime then making a comparison is even more difficult. I did see all three play but Howe was beyond his prime although I saw him play for 20 years.
He was referred to as "Mr. Hockey." His legacy was his strength and longevity. People marvel at Chris Chelios playing in the NHL at age 48 (it was only 7 games). Howe played until he was 52 and put in a full season scoring 15 goals. He played on 4 Stanley Cup teams and won 6 Art Ross trophies and 6 Hart trophies. He played in 1767 NHL regular season games, 157 NHL playoff games, 419 WHL regular season games and 78 WHA playoff games.
Orr's career was much shorter than Howe's and Gretzky's as a result of injuries. But Orr redefined how the game was played. The only defenseman to win the scoring championship and he did it twice. He also won 8 consecutive Norris trophies and 3 Hart trophies. He was one of the fastest players I ever saw play the game. It would rush the pack and get a shot on net and then race back to his position to stop a scoring rush from the opposition. He had a wicked hard shot that was as accurate as I have ever seen. Much like Gretzky he owned the puck when he was on the ice.
Gretzky played in an era of high scoring but his 39 goals in 50 games was something to marvel at. He was "The Great One." When he retired he held forty regular-season records and fifteen playoff records. He is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season—a feat he accomplished four times.He won 4 Stanley Cups, 10 Art Ross trophies and 9 Hart trophies. That is dominance like we have never seen in the NHL. He was not the fastest skater, the strongest player or the best shooter but he read the play on the ice like no one could. His ability to stick handle or pass the puck through a crowd was incredible. Linemates often commented how Gretzky knew where they were going to be before the player did himself.
So who was the greatest? I have to go with Orr. He dominated games better than anyone I ever saw play. He forever changed the game. He was flawless as a player. Who do you pick?
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Volochkova posted nude photos on her blog addressed:
"To those who like it hot! Dear paparazzi, just for you! You're hunting for us, stars, trying to take pictures of our pants, and even better to catch us without them. As if we have something others do not. NU, look!"
Maldiviana tour operator Lyudmila Mostovaya said it was not clear yet what type of punishment could be given to Volochkova, who is still vacationing in the Islamic country. Tez Tour director Alexander Burtin suggested she would get off with a warning.
You just know if a local would tried to pull this off they wouldn't have gotten away with just a fine. Way to go Anatasia! Here is the complete set.
"When we would come back from summer break, there would be a thousand people pregnant," she said. "We were like what's going on. There were a whole lot of bellies." While the numbers at Frayser High were staggering, they weren't that far out of the ordinary for Memphis, where the teen pregnancy rate is between 15 and 25 percent. Frayser High School is a title one school, where 95 percent of students are eligible for free lunches and more than 100 students drop out between 11th and 12th grade, according to Public School Review.com.
But whether it's socio-economic factors or just plain bad luck, Frayser High School seems to have caught national attention for its huge pregnancy rate. Critics like Memphis' Girls Inc. executive director Deborah Hester Harrison places some of the blame for the rapidly growing number of baby bumps on the media, and shows like MTV's "Teen Mom". "So much of our society is sexually oriented," she said.
In an effort to clamp down on the high pregnancy rate, local authorities are planning a massive teen pregnancy prevention campaign which will include an advertising campaign targeted at the community and after-school and in-school programs. The campaign will especially aim towards encouraging girls to say no -- or at least use protection if they are going to have sex.
Memphis must be the screwing capital of America. When I think back about how difficult a time I had getting into girls pants in high school I realized I was probably in the wrong school. I should have transferred to a school where the girls had contests going on how many guys they did. But I have a solution for the Memphis school board - forget about fluoridating the drinking water, they should put birth control drugs in the water.