Saturday, November 17, 2012

A different video perspective of Sandy

This is an interesting video capturing Williamsburgneighbourhood in Brooklyn during the storm. At first, there are a lot of hipsters goofing around but things begin to change as the storm get more violent.  The finish is the dramatic Con Ed explosion.

Brian Burke does great community work

I have often disagreed with Brian Burke.  This blog is filled with posts critiquing his moves, his attitude and pontifications.  But as a person, Burke is first class.

Sometimes its quite visible and other times its behind the scene but there many charitable causes that Burke gets involved with.  Most notably the You Can Play Project, founded by his son, Patrick, in honor of the late Brendan, one of the Burke siblings who passed away in a car accident two years ago.

More recently he and 50 business leaders slept outside in a parking lot in downtown Toronto and were given just a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard.  It was pretty cold last Thursday night.  The good cause was Covenant House, a shelter for homeless youth that provides assistance to young people in need.

Burke isn't just a big mouth.  He steps up when needed.  I like that a lot.

Video of the week

This week we have a great video of the Israeli 'Iron Dome' rocket defense system intercepting Hamas rockets.  Meanwhile it doesn't seem to be interrupting a party going on.

Man found living in sewer

 His home down a sewer in eastern China was hardly luxurious, but this beggar staged a two hour protest when police tried to flush him out.

Passers by in Dalian, Liaoning province, called authorities when they heard singing coming from a drain and spotted the man sitting underneath the grill.

"He refused to budge. He kept saying it was his home. The smell is terrible but it's a lot warmer down there than it is on the surface," said one officer.

Police say the 43-year-old man is now recovering in a local hospital.

Saw the movie In Darkness two weeks ago and living in a sewer is not something I would do voluntarily.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Police nab man with entire mobile office in car

Forget texting while driving: German police nab man with entire mobile office in car

Forget texting while driving. German police say they nabbed a driver who had wired his Ford station wagon with an entire mobile office.

Saarland state police said Friday the 35-year-old man was pulled over for doing 130 km/h in a 100 km/h zone while passing a truck Monday.

Built on a wooden frame on his passenger seat they found a laptop on a docking station tilted for easy driver access, a printer, router, wireless internet stick, WLAN antenna, and an inverter to power it all.

A navigation system and cellphone mounted to the windshield completed the array.

Since there was no evidence he used the office while moving, he got away with a €120 ($153) speeding ticket and a possible fine for having unsecured items in his car.


How was your week? Alex Anthopolous had a damn good one

 Last week I speculated on who the Blue Jays would pick up to fill quite a number of holes in their roster.  I was naturally being pessimistic because, after all, Rogers has not been known to spend big bucks on salaries since they bought the team.  Not that they can't afford they just chose not to.  So I was more than shocked by the deals this week.  The Jays payroll has jumped to $120 million and obviously AA is not done yet.  So this what my thinking was last week.

Starting Pitching

Love to see - Zach Greinke and Anibal Sanchez

More realistic - Ryan Dempsey and Francisco Liriano

Cheap alternative - Henderson Alvarez and Chad Jenkins

AA's choice - Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle - maybe not as good as Greinke and Sanchez but solid

Second Base

Love to see - Jeff Keppinger

More realistic - Orlando Hudson

Cheap alternative - Adeiny Hechavarria

AA's choice - Maicer Izturis with an upgrade of Jose Reyes at short over Yunel Escobar - great move!

Left Field

Love to see -Josh Hamilton

More realistic - Nick Swisher

Cheap alternative - Anthony Gose

AA's choice - Melky Cabrera - I was hoping left would be filled through free agency and not disappointed, gives us a potent top 4 in the order


Love to see - Adam Laroche

More realistic - Kevin Youkilis

Cheap alternative -Adam Lind

New phase of war between Israel and Hamas - Twitter and YouTube

Not just missiles and bombs are flying between Israel and Gaza.  Israel and Hamas have taken to the Internet in their long-standing war.  These two parties are an abusive, co-dependent relationship that never ends.  Both the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas have Twitter accounts.  How nuts is that?

Flashback Friday - Bob Dylan

I saw Bob Dylan Wednesday night who was panned by the music critics and audience.  That's not news because he has been the same for over 2 decades still people come out.  I did, not because I expected a good concert but to see the Legend one last time.  He is 71 and we nearly lost him a number of years ago.  The most influential and prolific American song writers, Dylan has never been a good stage performer or cared what the audience wanted to hear.  That goes back to Newport in 1965 when he shocked audiences by going electric.

If you go to a Dylan concert expecting to hear beautiful music, you will be disappointed. On Wednesday night several thousand left the concert early.  Fed up with listening to songs they couldn't recognize and in a voice that was annoyingly raspy.  Here is what it sounded like:

This is what it sounded like in 1963 but unfortunately that Dylan doesn't exist any longere.  At point during the concert a frustrated fan behind me yelled "sing it like you wrote it."

I've seen Dylan four times going back to an incredible concert in Maple Leaf Gardens in  1976 when he performed with The Band.  Perhaps the best concert I ever attended.

I saw him again in the 80s and 90's but his performances had deteriorated to the point I stopped going to see him.  I took a nostalgic trip back to see the Legend this week.  No regrets.

Enjoy some classic Dylan.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Video of the Israeli 'Iron Dome' rocket defense system intercepting Hamas rockets

Why is Rob Ford always having legal problems?

Rob Ford

It seems that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is in the news every day, but for the wrong reasons.  It's rarely about improved transit, budget cuts or government services.  It's always about Rob Ford.

He is constantly in hot water - law suits, ethics complaints, conflicts of interest, confrontations with the media and even confrontations with citizens.  He will tell you it's all political.  But is it?

This events seems to be unique in Toronto politics.  Did someone come up with them just for Rob Ford?  All I know previous mayors were not getting sued, being censured, calling the police on reporters or having run ins with the public.

Sure Ford has lots of enemies.  But Ford is his worst enemy.  He has a bad temper.  He is confrontational.  And he shows very poor judgement at times.  I give him credit for winning the past election by riding a wave of voter discontentment.  However, he is spent much of his political capital just half way into his mandate.  People appear tired of the side shows and he has even annoyed his supporters on council.  I recognize he has had a rough ride on council but he fails to rise above it.

He looks very vulnerable going into the next election.  Most of all people likely want to see some semblance of normalcy return to city hall.

Parents hire strippers for son's 16th birthday party

Exotic dancers performed lap dances on teenagers at a boy's surprise 16th birthday party in an upstate New York village, police said, and investigators were trying to determine whether any organizer of the celebration committed a crime.

South Glens Falls Police Chief Kevin Judd said the investigation began after people concerned about the Nov. 3 party at the Spare Time bowling alley told authorities about racy photos that had been posted on social networking sites.  At least one of the images shows a scantily clad, tattooed woman clinging upside down to a seated teen as others look on.

"Several kids at the party got lap dances," Judd said. "We have a lot of people to talk to."  The names of the boy and his parents haven't been released.

Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy said Thursday that investigators were trying to determine who hired the dancers and if the alley served alcohol to any of the partiers.

 He said there were 80 adults and teens in a room where floor-to-ceiling windows were masked off with brown paper while the two dancers from a company called "Tops In Bottoms" performed.  "Whether it got beyond that, we don't know," Murphy said. "We don't know about sex acts."

The teens and dancers aren't targets, he said, but child endangerment is among the potential charges faced by any adults who organized the party. Also, the bowling alley's liquor license could be revoked if it knowingly allowed the exotic dancing or served alcohol to anyone under age, he said.

My parents gave me $20 for my 16th birthday.  I think I was short changed.


Never mind full body scanners, the Israelis may be using sniffer mice

An Israeli company is aiming to revolutionise the way explosives, narcotics and even money are detected at airports, docks and border crossings with the help of specially trained mice. The system, developed by the Herzliya-based BioExplorers, is simple: a traveller stands inside a small booth and is hit by a gentle blast of air that is then sucked into an small opaque chamber, where a group of eight mice are on duty. After eight seconds, assuming the subject is all clear, a green light appears and the barrier opens. But if the air smells of a suspicious material the mice have been trained to detect, they gather in the so-called reporting compartment, which raises an alarm. "The idea began in 2000-2001, when there were many suicide bombings on (Israeli) buses," said BioExplorers founder and chief technology officer Eran Lumbroso.

"I was in the army at the time, and the idea emerged to use small animals instead of dogs in detecting suicide bombers." After leaving the army in 2004, Lumbroso continued work on the project, running tests with different types of animals, portals and training methods. Mice were eventually chosen because of their keen noses and diminutive size. "They can be trained to sniff out drugs, money, even remainders of pesticides on agricultural produce," explains Lumbroso, who is a biologist. "They have a very developed sense of smell, more than that of dogs," he said, pointing out that sniffer dogs can also be intrusive and sometimes intimidating to their subjects. "The mice can also be easily trained, and thanks to their small size, you can use a small group of them and have multiple sensors," says Lumbroso.

The booths contain three sections, or cartridges, roughly the size of a small microwave oven, stacked one on top of the other, which are each home to eight mice. Each group of rodents works a four-hour shift, before the flow of air is automatically diverted to the next cartridge in line. The cartridges contain food and water which are renewed every 14 days when they are removed for cleaning and servicing. BioExplorers says the mice enjoy much better conditions than those of standard lab mice. They are trained over two months, with each mouse able to work for an 18-month period. While mice would not be efficient in detecting metals, which do not have a powerful odour, they can be trained to react to different kinds of narcotics, and dozens of kinds of explosives emanating from roughly 15 different "families" of materials, said Lumbroso. They can even detect the particular smell of money.


Sign of the day

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So I wonder if this the morning or the afternoon commute?

scrawled 'F*** Obama' on his will

A former tanning salon owner was found dead two days after the election after telling his partner that he was 'not going to be around' if President Obama won a second term.

Henry Hamilton was discovered next to two empty prescription pill bottles with the message 'Fuck Obama!' written over his will.His partner said that the 64-year-old man was 'very upset about the election results.'

The Miami Herald reports that Hamilton's friend had been so worried about his well-being that the unidentified friend requested that the police check on Hamilton at the condo that he shared with partner Michael Cossey.

Please remember it's National Hoarders week

Hump day hottie

Kristen Stewart

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

That'll show 'em

Jays scooping up deals in Miami even though it's not Black Friday

Blue Jays acquire Jose Reyes in monster trade with Marlins: Report

Assuming the reports are true, the Miami Marlins kicked a huge fire sale the Blue Jays' Alex Anthopolous seems more than willing to shop until he drops. All the high price talent is on sale and  Toronto is reportedly set to receive shortstop Jose Reyes, catcher John Buck and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle and utility player Emilio Bonifacio. We got ourselves one great shortstop. 

I think we may be contending in 2013.

 In exchange, the Marlins will receive shorstop Yunel Escobar, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis and pitching prospects Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick and Anthony Desclafini.

So the Jays have picked up about $40 million in annual salaries and given up just $7 million.  But there is more coming because the Jays still have a hole at 2nd base and left field.  They also have excess catching.

Who says NAFTA hasn't worked out well for Canada?

Here is the woman ordered to wear idiot sign by judge

The woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children was on duty this week holding a sign warning people about idiots.  As previously posted a Cleveland Municipal Court judge ordered  Shena Hardin to serve the highly public sentence. She arrived bundled up against the 34-degree cold, puffing a cigarette, wearing head phones and avoiding comment as passing vehicles honked.  You have to love this judge!

ABC Denver affliate shows a photoshopped version of Paula Broadwell's book

In a piece on the 5pm news about now-resigned CIA director David Petraeus and his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, ABC News’ Denver affiliate put a photo of the biography on the screen, but the book's title was All Up In My Snatch The Education of General David Patraeus instead of just All In The Education of General David Patraeus.

The embarrass station has issued an apology:

It was a regrettable and an embarrassing error. We are mortified this appeared during our 5 p.m. news broadcast. The editor pulled the image of the book cover from the Internet without realizing it had been doctored. We sincerely regret the error and have corrected the story to avoid any recurrence of its broadcast. We are following up internally as well to avoid a repeat of this inexcusable oversight.

Please remember it's National Hoarders week

Best of Craigslist

Drunk Daughters 2007 BMW X3 si

Date: 2012-05-24, 8:06AM CDT

Selling my disrespectful, alcohol abusing, dwi arrested, spoiled bar bum of a daughters perfect BMW X3. The is a white X3 si, with xenon headlights, panoramic roof, all beige leather interior, all options with 105,000 miles on it. Just completed it's 100,000 maintenance 2 months ago and is in complete and perfect condition with only the driver being the malfunction. We paid $20,500 12 months ago for the vehicle. Needing to sell to pay her legal battles and to buy her a shiny pink bicycle with a horn until she gets her act and her life in order some time soon. Beautiful car with no exterior, interior, or mechanical issues. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx for information or to purchase.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wife runs over husband for not voting

A Mesa woman was arrested Saturday after she allegedly chased her husband around a parking lot in an SUV during an argument over the presidential election.  The woman finally struck her husband, leaving him with critical injuries.

The argument started over her husband's lack of voter participation in the recent election.  Holly Solomon, 28, apparently believed her family was going to face hardship as a result of President Barack Obama's re-election.  Solomon's husband, Daniel Solomon, told police his wife "just hated Obama" and was very angry he was re-elected.

She eventually struck her husband and he was pinned underneath, between the vehicle and a curb.
Daniel was taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center and remains there in critical condition, according to police.

Holly was taken into custody and booked into jail for domestic violence charges of aggravated assault.


Ten good things coming out of the NHL lockout

10. Brain Burke has been muzzled by the NHL gag order.

9. No concussions to report this season.

8. We may not have to be subjected to the awful NHL All-Star game.

7. The Leafs aren't the worst sports team in Toronto this year.

6. Don Cherry has had his soapbox removed.

5. The NHL hasn't had to take over operating any more hockey teams.

4. I can catch up on all those TV shows I used to watch during the last lockout.

3. The clock is ticking away on the contracts of Matthew Lombardi, Mike Komisarek and Tim Connolly.

2.  Get watch the 1987 Super Series over and over and over again.


This 28 year old video about woman whose toaster was possessed by the Devil has gone viral

This lady even came to the interview with Satanic toast (white bread). Maybe this was a forerunner to reality TV>

It's Mats Sundin's day to shine

I'm not sure all Leaf fans are excited about Mats Sundin getting inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame today.  Fans are down because of the current lockout and the demise of the Leaf team that hasn't made the playoffs since prior to two lockouts.

I sense people were more excited last season when Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour and Mark Howe were inducted.  After 3 of those inductees played for the Leafs and Howe played for the Marlie junior team.  Those players collectively played 627 games for the Leafs.  Sundin played 981 in Toronto, many of them as captain.
Sundin never got a fair shake from many fans because he was a European skill player in a town that seems to elevate Canadian grinders into superstars. Fans were frustrated that Sundin was unable to deliver a Stanley Cup when it was management that failed them by not building a true contender.  Over the years Sundin has centred, Fredrik Modin, Steve Thomas, Jonas Hogland, Mikael Renberg, Gary Roberts, Tie Domi, Nik Antropov and Alexi Ponikarovsky.  None ever scored 30 goals playing with a great centre.

He was a big body with soft hands.  His reach and skating ability allowed him to swoop around defenseman.  His backhand was about the best I've ever seen.  As he filled out he began to play with a lot of grit although some people insisted he was soft.  He always had a huge grin on his face and was extremely popular in the dressing room.

He endured 12 seasons in Toronto and 10 as captain without ever breaking under the pressure.  Although he has no Stanley Cup rings, he has a Olympic gold medal and 6 World Championship medals including 3 golds.

Other deserving Hall of Famers have been inducted without a Cup win including Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perreault, Jean Ratelle, Brad Park, Cam Neely, Mike Gartner, Peter Stastny, Pat Lafontaine, Borje Salming and Dale Hawerchuk.

No question Mats Sundin deserves to stand next to these hockey greats!

Please remember it's National Hoarders week

This is depressing, the guy who does the voice of Elmo accused of having sex with a minor

Kevin Clash, the man behind Sesame Street's Elmo is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old young man. While Clash has now taken a leave of absence from the show in light of the allegations, he denies the charges.

The accuser, who is now 23-years-old, recently met with Sesame Workshop's lawyers, who told TMZ that the accuser approached them in June, and "This was a personal relationship, unrelated to the workplace. We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action."

Clash and the young man began their relationship seven years ago, when Clash was 45—and while he admits to the relationship, he insists nothing of a sexual nature happened until the young man was of age. Clash says, "I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not."

Jeez did I have to find out about this.  The images that will go through my head every time I hear Elmo's voice depresses me.  So is Clash is on a leave of absence from the show but is Elmo as well?  doesn't seem fair he should be punished for Clash's actions.  So maybe Romney wasn't being too tough on Big Bird?

Update: The New York Times has just reported that the man who accused Elmo voice actor Kevin Clash of beginning a sexual relationship with him has recanted his allegations.

Further Update:  Sheldon Stephens who recanted his story last week after reportedly receiving an out-of-court settlement of $125,000 has changed his mind yet again, and is now looking to undo the settlement and retract his recantation.According to TMZ, Stephens is now saying that he was "pressured" into signing the settlement which required that he release a statement saying his sexual relationship with Clash "was an adult consensual relationship."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How do you miss an empty net on a breakaway?

We have to look to Europe for some hockey highlights.  Here is Finnish forward Sakari Salminen at the Karjala Cup game against Sweden.  Somehow he missed an empty net with no one in front of him.

Bikini Sunday

Alex Vega

Please remember it's National Hoarders' week

The movie Argo is entertaining but not that accurate

I saw Ben Affleck's film Argo last night and I thought it was an excellent thriller built around an actual historical event.  But I was also disappointed about the Hollywood treatment.

The film made the CIA and Hollywood film makers as the central characters of the scheme to smuggle American embassy employees out of Iran and relegated the Canadians involved as backdrop.  The truth is that it was Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor that made it possible for the Americans to escape.

A minor detail but the six Americans who walked out of the Embassy as it was being stormed did not walk over to the residence of Ken Taylor.  Lee Schatz took refuge in the Swedish Embassy.  The other five made their way to Robert Anders' residence.  Only four days did the Americans call the Canadians to ask for assistance.  Taylor immediately agreed and split the group up putting three Americans in the residence of Chief Immigration Officer, John Sheardown and two in his own home.
Taylor met with Bruce Laingen, the U.S. ChargĂ© d'Affaires, who was in "protective custody" at the Iranian foreign ministry, which he had been visiting at the time of the Embassy attack. Taylor readily acted as a channel of communications between Laingen and Washington.  Taylor even scouted out potential landing spots for helicopters in Tehran in case a rescue was attempted. Finally, the Canadian Embassy transmitted messages for two undercover CIA agents.

Three weeks later Taylor received a call from the Swedish Ambassador asking him to shelter Lee Schatz, the sixth American escapee, who had been staying with a Swedish diplomat. The Ambassador felt that Schatz could more easily pass as a Canadian and would be safer in Canadian hands.

The story leaked to the Canadian media which was pressured to not report the story.  One particular media outlet found it hard to believe that the Americans did not know exactly how many people they had in Tehran and they concluded that some had escaped.  It was assumed that the Americans were being helped by Canada and contacted the Embassy for confirmation.  As a result Taylor arranged for the rental of a safe house, where the Americans could hide if the story broke. He counted on having two to three hours to make his arrangements before the Iranians appeared at the Embassy.

It's true that Anontio Mendez, a CIA operative worked with the Canadian government to get documents for the hidden Americans and set up a bogus film-making trip to Tehran.   On Taylor's advice, it was decided that the only way out of Iran was through the airport on a regularly scheduled flight.

Meanwhile, the process of slowly closing down the Canadian Embassy started. Staff members gradually began to depart, the last classified documents were shredded, and unclassified material moved to the New Zealand Embassy.

Important information on security procedures at the airport was provided by couriers and departing members of the Embassy staff - it did not come from the CIA . Forged Iranian exit and entry visas and passport stamps were prepared in the United States and sent by Canadian courier to Tehran.

Six seats were booked on a Swissair flight leaving the morning of January 27, a Sunday. As a backup, seats were also booked on subsequent KLM, Air France, and British Airways flights. The six passed through airport security and immigration checks with no difficulty. The film showed Revolutionary Guards chasing the plane as it took off.  That never happened.  The rest of the Canadian Embassy staff left later that day.

Taylor was a hero on both sides of the border after the story broke.  Washington awarded Taylor the Congressional Gold Medal.