Friday, April 28, 2006

This just in: Stephen Harper lied

Don't it just make you wanna laugh? Or cry?

If Canada's "information czar" is to be believed, Stephen Harper's new "Accountability Act" makes it easier for politicians to hide the truth and harder for ordinary folk to get at information.

"(John) Reid, Canada's information commissioner, says in a special report to Parliament today that no government has ever put forward "a more retrograde and dangerous" set of proposals to change the Access to Information Act."


Star article here.

You voted for him. You got him.

Remind you of anyone yet?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Aki "Ice" Berg floats away

Thank goodness.

My friends and housemates will have to put up with a little less of my swearing at the television next season, as the Toronto Maple Leafs managed to free themselves of their "holy crap do you ever suck" d-man, Aki Berg.

Seems Finnish club Turku TPS decided to sign the big pylon. The big pylon, for his part, wanted to raise his family in his native Finland.

Everyone wins.

Now: who wants Antropov?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"My NHL" Playoffs

I need a break from my tedious job, so I thought I might share some random thoughts on the 2006 hockey playoffs so far.

1. Bad habit #1 - two on ones. It has long been my opinion that NHL defencement are not necessarily the best defencemen out there. See, I figure a defenceman in junior hockey (draft-eligible) gets noticed more often for his offensive skills, than his defensive reliability. Ergo, NHL defencemen are good with the puck, but not necessarily good in front of their own net. This has become glaringly obvious in recent times under the new NHL rules. Less clutching has meant more odd man rush opportunities. I've noticed that, especially on two-on-ones, defencemen seem to have no idea what to do (Even Don Cherry commented on this last night: "What, have they all gone stupid?" he asked). If you see a two-on-one rush, watch the defenceman. His job is to prevent the pass. This allows the goalie to focus on the shooter instead of worrying about getting across the net in time for the one-timer. I've noticed a lot of goals have been scored on two-on-ones recently where the defenceman committed to the shooter, leaving the other man open. Watch for it.

2. Bad habit #2 - hitting from behind. This has been on the rise in the playoffs, it seems. Don't know what it is, but guys are getting nailed from behind (no, not in that Oz way, Tristan) on a regular basis. There were several examples again last night.

3. Scoring. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I love the fact that two teams came back from three goal deficits last night. You would never have seen this two years ago. Wide open hockey has meant no team is out of it; especially when the refs aren't afraid of calling penalties. Heck, Colorado scored short-handed with a couple of minutes left to tie the game with Dallas last night. Again, you would have never seen that two years ago.

4. Go Habs. (Anyone else hoping for a Colorado-Montreal final?)

5. Even though they're Canadian and not facing the Leafs, I won't shed any tears if Ottawa tanks it again this year. There's something about watching this team fall apart in the playoffs...reminds me that it's spring. That, and I hate Hasek.

6. Is it my imagination or do Ron MacLean and Don Cherry seem a little "off" when the Leafs aren't the topic of discussion?

7. Anyone read Dave Feschuk's article in the Star this morning? What a douche. He basically went off on how Torotonians love the Leafs and not hockey - because the Ricoh Centre was only a third full for the Marlies playoff game last night. First, Torontonians love hockey - we just don't wanna shell out for second-rate hockey. Second, I'd rather stay home and watch the plethora of games available on television than trek out to the Exhibition to see NHL cast-offs and kids square off for a worthless championship ("best of the rest"?). STFU, Dave.

8. Go Habs!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Create Your Own Church Sign

Thanks to Mario LeCraig over at The Sweetest Desert for pointing out this little gem of a website. I killed a good half hour on this one, creating various signs.

A little "tagging".

For you 28 Days Later fans.

And for you competitive Christians...

Pat Quinn fired


Well I guess the writing was on the wall for a while. Pat Quinn was fired today by the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending a very long and arguably very successful tenure behind the most famous bench in the hockey world.

People will debate this decision for a good while (you won't be able to watch sports tv in Toronto today without it being talked about to death) as well as the success of Quinn as coach (high payroll over the years and no championship to show for it), but I think it's kind of a sad day for Maple Leafs fans.

As I have made clear numerous times, I think Quinn is a bad coach. He puts far too much faith in the wrong players (Aki Berg, Nik Antropov, Mikael Renberg anyone?) and has no concept of defensive end play, but he has a personality that players obviously like. He is a good face for a franchise and would do well as a GM, I think.

But Quinn was the architect of his own undoing when he gave up the GM reigns a few years ago. Forced to decide between being the coach and being the GM, he chose the hands-on daily interaction of coaching.

The consequence, of course, was that he was no longer the boss and had to serve under a new GM - one he didn't choose.

Enter the idiot: John Ferguson Jr.

In a fair world, Ferguson would be out on his butt too, but this is MLSE, run by the Teacher's Pension Plan - common sense does not rule. It's all about politics and right now Ferguson has the right people on his side.

We can only hope that'll change.

As for Quinn, not only does he get $1.5M from the Leafs next year not to coach, but he will quickly land on his feet with another organization (Phoenix perhaps?).

We'll see who becomes the new team coach Paul Maurice is the early favourite.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Toronto votes: Beaches vs. Beach

If you don't live in Toronto, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. If you do, you probably haven't been able to avoid this story on the news.

The business improvement area (BIA) of the east end neighbourhood wanted to put up street signs that included the name of the geographical area. The problem is that it has long been debated whether the area in question is "The Beaches" or simply "The Beach".

The head of the Beaches BIA announced today at the Beaches Public Library that the winner is: The Beach.


a) First of all, the "vote" consisted of some 2,200 ballots. That's squat.
b) The area is commonly known as "The Beaches" to the vast majority of Torontonians. Even an informal Citytv webpoll showed a greater than 10-1 preference for the plural.
c) Some folks argue "Beach" is the historic name, which it is not: the name comes from four beaches (Woodbine, Kew, Scarboro and Balmy - hence beaches).
d) "The Beach" can be any beach area in any town. By calling it "The Beaches" it has a more distinct feel. Shouldn't that be a primary marketing consideration here?

But even the head of the BIA admits that this will not end the argument, just the argument for the purposes of the signs. But here was a prime opportunity to get it over with and they dropped the ball. Oh well.

This from the city that brought you the brilliant "Toronto Unlimited"...

Poster blog post: Walk The Line

Went for a stroll yesterday and walked into a poster shop. Saw a mounted/plak-it version of the Walk The Line poster for $30 (it costs something like $40-70 to get a pre-bought poster mounted - wtf?).

I have mounted versions of some of my other favs like Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, The Matrix and Desperado...

Walk The Line is not one of my favs, but I did like it and the poster is gorgeous.

Buy it or no? What do you folks think?

Someday I want an "entertainment" room with mounted posters on the walls and a wicked home theatre system.

Now if only I could find a V for Vendetta mounted poster...

Faith, the two-legged dog

Inspiring or really effing gross?

I watched it with the volume off so I was kinda creeped out.

My question: how does she pee?

See Faith here.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

United 93 flight recorder transcript

Well, the flight voice recorder was played for jurors in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial.

You can read the transcript here.

It'll be interesting to see how this compares to the upcoming United93 movie version.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Review: V for Vendetta

Saw V for Vendetta this weekend. Finally.

I told myself I was gonna see this flick on opening weekend, but events conspired against me.

I'm happy to say it was worth the wait.

I managed to avoid having the movie completely ruined for me so I was still able to enjoy the story.

(the movie poster actually gives away too much in my mind - though the fact that it is one of the coolest posters I have ever seen makes up for it!)

This movie is not for everyone, however. It is very word-heavy and action-light. For those who are fans of the Wachowski's other opus, the Matrix, this flick is more like the end of the second movie and less like the third. Bring your thinking caps and keep your ears open.

The film's verbosity is saved by the fact that the lines are being delivered by a stellar British cast (Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt etc.) with Natalie Portman thrown in.

The plot is compelling, the cinematography is interesting and the socio-political references are timely. A political action movie based on a comic book? Sign me up!

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
- Hugo Weaving as V in V for Vendetta

"Mad" Max RIP: 2006-2006

We hardly knew ye.

In case you're wondering why there are so many deleted comments, allow me to explain.

"Max" is the author of all of these comments and he has a very Right-winged point of view. It seems that he was not pleased with his experiences at Denis McGrath's blog and, from what I can tell, followed through on his threat to "leave".

I'm not sure how I feel about Max deleting his comments here. I had decided to leave Max's comments standing because he has the right to say whatever he'd like. If he were a hate-mongering Nazi, I might object and delete the comments, but at worst Max was an inflammatory Right-winged zealot. Nothing inherently wrong with that other than perhaps a narrow-minded point of view. (Liberals are called "liberals" for a reason, I suppose, and I, like Denis, would be accused of being "politically inconsistent" - lefty on some issues, righty on others)

I had planned to address some of Max's more recent posts (which I have in my email inbox), but I won't indulge now - and I won't post Max's comments without his consent. Because that's his right, too.

What became clear from Max's last comments however was perhaps the biggest ideological difference between the two wings: the US's role in the world.

Max believes (as many right-wingers do, I suspect) that the US should act as the dominant force in the world. That the US should use its military might to spread its ideology throughout the world and protect the West from aspiring powers. That the US should prevent other countries from developing nuclear power and should keep the flow of oil in the hands of pro-US leadership (though it is less important that these countries be democracies...I wonder why).

And while I may find it convenient to have the neighbourhood bully as my closest neighbour and on my side, my conscience does not allow me to accept this position as right.

Ben Franklin's words are true: those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.

You can't say: "Freedom for long as I'm in charge and you do what I say." That's not freedom, that's a dictatorship - on a global scale.

Under Bush's administration (particularly) this has become the norm, and it is high time people in positions of authority rose up to defend what is right, not what is "Right". When GWB circumvented the UN to invade Iraq asap, despite the lack of evidence of the existence of WMDs, he crossed a line. He snubbed his nose at the international community, basically saying "the US will use its power for what it wants, not what you want."

This is when the schoolyard defender publicly became the schoolyard bully.

This is when the US became less "our closest ally" and more "our friend with the drinking problem".

This is what I was referring to in the comments to the United93 post: you have to be willing to die for your principles. You have to be willing to take on the enemy man-to-man, face-to-face and in equal numbers...not just flex your nuclear muscles and bomb the unseen enemy from miles away. That's not victory, that's not right: that's convenient. That's easy.

As the guy in the red and blue suit says: "With great power comes great responsibility".

Or, as I like to quote, "principles only mean something when they are incovenient."

It takes a big man to put down his weapons and talk to his enemy. It takes a coward to use his might at the first opportunity.

So if Max wishes to post, I will allow him to do so.

However, I will give Max this stipulation: so far, I've let many "nicknames" go (Chicoms, Fundies etc.) because while they may be slang, they do reflect their meaning somewhat. However I will not allow religious slurs; if you mean Islamic fundamentalists, say so - "Islamists" refers to a religious people, from a religion that promotes peace as I understand it - and is not synonymous with terrorists or evil.

We know you're uber-Right-winged: you don't have to go out of your way to demonstrate your ignorance.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Movie (p)review: United 93

Have you seen this trailer...?

In case you've been living under a rock, they're making a movie about United Flight 93.

If you don't know what United Flight 93 is, you haven't been living under a rock, you've been living in a coffin.

So, not surprisingly, this new trailer is causing quite a stir. And of course, it's meant to.

I dropped by Denis McGrath's blog yesterday, as I do most days, and he had posted about it. It caused a stir there, too. Now, in recent times I've been getting a little tired of Denis' condescending attitude towards Canadians (he was born in NY, dontcha know) and other human beings in general, so I was contemplating abandoning his blog altogether - but this one drew me back in. I agreed more or less with what Denis had to say. I have to admit, it's always nice to hear an American berate George Bush - it gives you faith in humanity. Or at least in Americans.

I'm not going to re-post my comments to Denis, but you can find them here.

Basically, I explained that while I believe the passengers of Flight 93 were heroes (and yes, the word actually applies here - not like in those evening news fluff pieces) I am hesitant to laud the fact that a movie is being made of their efforts. See, I fear this is going to be a dramatization filled with conjecture and hyperbole, as opposed to a documentary-style re-enactment of the facts. And I fear that this dramatization will only serve to galvanize the Right in their suport of that utter f***ing moron, George Bush.

I'll reserve my judgement until the movie comes out.

Then you can bet I'll have something to say.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Stephen Harper: homophobe

I tell ya, this new PM of ours really sucks.


So news comes today in the Toronto Star that, big surprise, the Conservatives are gonna re-open the same-sex marriage debate and put it to a free vote in the House.

Keep in mind that this is the same PM who said that Canada's participation in Afghanistan was now passed the point of debate.

Keep in mind that it is the responsibility of government to look out for the rights and freedoms of the minority, not just the majority.

Keep in mind that we knew that this was coming.

Keep in mind that Canadians voted this putz and his nazi wannabes into power all the same.

Keep in mind that this is only the beginning. Harper is already kissing some serious Bush ass with regards to border-crossing and identification papers. Pretty soon you'll need a microchip implanted in your nasal cavity to hit the Walden Galleria.

I'm still waiting to hear what Mr. Harper is specifically suggesting. Does he want to repeal same-sex mariage or just alter its implementation somehow? And what happens to those marriages already performed? Null and void or asterisk?

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."
~Edward R. Murrow

Streetcars can kiss my @$$

So it's been over a week since my last post. I had been relatively calm in that period, not finding much to rant about or at least nothing worth writing down while bored at work.

My lovely friend Charlene bemoaned the lack of blogging activity (bless her heart) and requested a fresh tirade. So here it is.

(Anyone else miss me? Anyone? Bueller? Didn't think so.)

So I'm on my way to my TESSC multi-sport semi-final playoff game last night with my buddy Pat. I live at Jarvis and Carlton and the game's at Malvern Collegiate which is at Main and Gerrard. The Carlton streetcar practically takes me from door to door.


See, the streetcar has one major drawback, as discussed in a previous post: IT'S A STREETCAR!

We're running pretty much on schedule and reach Greenwood. At this point our trip goes off the rails (metaphorically speaking of course). The streetcar that was 10 minutes or so ahead of us has come to a stop on the tracks and is surrounded by police cars. Seems some dude was causing enough trouble on board to cause the operator to call the police and they are now leading him into one of many squad cars. Meanwhile, we're not going anywhere. Neither is the streetcar that is now behind ours.

What we have here, folks, is a TTC-generated traffic jam.

It becomes clear that, despite the $8.50 day pass I had bought earlier in the day, the TTC is not going to get me to my game on time. Pat and I get off along with everyone else and grab a cab.

Oh, but the adventure does not end there.

See, the cabbie heads along Gerrard/Eastwood (it splits) until he reaches Woodbine and heads north. When he rejoins Gerrard St. East, however, he's unable to make the desired right turn. Why?

BECAUSE THEY'RE REPLACING THE STREETCAR TRACKS!!! The road is closed. And it's gonna be closed for a number of days if not weeks while the work is done. So we continue north to Danforth (which I would have reached quicker had I taken the subway initially) and take a roundabout route to the gym.

$13 later, we're at our destination.

To cap off the night, we end up losing the playoff game.

But that's ok, since we play for fun and it's a good time.

Taking the streetcar? Not so much.