Archive for January, 2008

Saturday Fluffernutter: Wisdom of Posh; Nicole’s Baby; Davinci’s Lisa; Sir Edmund Hillary 1919 – 2008.

January 12th, 2008
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The nutty stories from the fluffy world of celebrities.

Today, a tidbit of knowledge from Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham:

“We spend a lot of time socializing at home so we don’t get photographed. I couldn’t live a life where I was under the spotlight everyday. If you look at someone like Britney Spears, I couldn’t do that. I’ve got to have my privacy at home with my husband and my children. Otherwise, I’d end up going loopy.”

Unlike say, Britney Spears, who seems to have handled it all so well.

Meet the latest Bond Girl, Gemma Arterton

Gemma, who is currently filming “Bond 22” with Daniel Craig, is best known for her role as Kelly in the recently released comedy St Trinians.

Congratulations to Nicole Ritchie who gave birth to a girl last night. The father is Joel Madden, singer for the band Good Charlotte.

Led Zeppelin story of the week, courtesy of Ramble On: It was happy birthday to both bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones (62) and guitarist Jimmy Page (64) this week. I wish them both lots of time together in the coming year.

Has the Mona Lisa been identified? Viet Probst, German Art expert claims to know the identy of the mystery woman in Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting. The model? The wife of a Florentine cloth merchant named Francesco del Giocondo, Lisa Gherardini.

The Mona Lisa currently hangs at the Louvre in Paris. It is the most sought piece at the Louvre, but for my money, this was the best piece:

Veronese, Paolo (1528-1588): The wedding at Cana.

Sad to report the death of Sir Edmund Hillary (1919 – 2008). While most famous for being the first to climb mount Everest, his coolest feat must be being in the party that was the first to reach the south pole via motorized vehicle (a gerry-rigged tractor from what I can make out). The world need more men reaching for heights like Sir Edmund, less like me sitting in the basement writing about it.

Fluffernutter, The Mighty Zep

Who’s Money is it Anyway?

January 10th, 2008
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The Royal Canadian Mint will not be charging the city of Toronto for using the likeness of a penny in it’s one-cent tax refund campaign last year. The mint owns the trademark for Candian currency, and had invoiced the city of Toronto for daring to use their trademark themselves:

…a taxpayer-owned corporation licensed to make money — literally and for profit — the mint insists it must protect trademarks just like any other business.

Even “50 Cent” rapper Curtis Jackson registered his stage name in Canada.

“Everyone should understand that they can’t get a free ride from the mint when it comes to them using our intellectual property,” Reeves said.

But hold on one minute. It’s not the mints money, it’s not the mints trademark – it’s ours. Canadians. Every damn one of us. Much like the Borque-poppy incident a couple of Novembers ago, the mint only holds any trademark in trust for Canadians, not to use against us. It is our symbol, not theirs.

As such:

Next they’ll be telling us we can’t use the Canadian flag.

Penny for your thoughts, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Happy 64th Birthday…

January 9th, 2008
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…Jimmy Page. And thanks for the memory.

See you in the fall.

Birthday Wishes, The Mighty Zep

David Frum: Pigovian

January 8th, 2008

Who’d of thunk it? But David Frum has, in his newest book Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, come out in favour of a Pigovian Tax. To start, here’s a primer on Arthur C. Pigou, from Terence Corcoran’s NoPigou Club:

Arthur C. Pigou was an early 20th-century British economist, one of the fathers of welfare economics. He believed governments can shape policy for the better by raising taxes on bad things and subsidizing good ones.

Pigovian taxes these days tend to mean a carbon tax. Everybody seem to be on board except, thankfully, our current government. The idea is tempting, replace current taxes with taxes on carbon, thereby allowing you to lower your tax load by conserving energy. Except governments first and foremost protect government revenue. It is simply what they do, as evidenced by Toronto Hydro’s rate hike last March:

…last weeks Toronto hydro rate increases being a classic example what’s wrong with using the tax system. As customers have reduced, Hydro’s profits have decreased, thus they increase rates. The next step is to ask yourself, why should I conserve?

And Terence Corcoran has an article today, Carbon Tax Looks Like Roadkill, suggesting some of the problems with a carbon tax. Chief among them is that nobody is being even remotely honest about how high a carbon tax would have to be to be effective. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it five or six times, here in Canada sixty cents a litre is the starting point for serious carbon reduction; Corcoran makes a case that it would be more.

So what has come over David Frum? I will quote from an excerpt of his new book, Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, that appeared in the National Post last Friday. I have not found a link to the excerpt, so you’ll have to trust me on the contents, or go buy the book and check it yourself:

Oil is a globally traded commodity. There is a world oil market, one world price. If Iran uses its oil revenues to underwrite a nuclear program, what does it matter whether those revenues are denominated in dollars, euros or yen? If Osama Bin Laden were to seize control of the Saudi state, would it console us that comparatively little of his oil wealth derived from U.S. sources?

While increased North American oil production would be helpful, only substitution and conservation can achieve the important national security goal of reducing the power of unreliable oil suppliers…

There is a simpler and better way to encourage consumers to conserve while denying income to producers: Tax those forms of energy that present political and environmental risks – and exempt those that do not…

That is, surprisingly from David Frum, a Pigovian tax scheme. But I’m still not buying.

Carbon Tax

John Tory Not Going Quietly Into The Night

January 8th, 2008

Am I the only one wishing Tory would have fought like hell to win the past election?

I say to them (his detractors) that I’m going to fight like hell to keep my job because I believe I can do that job best and that I can be a better premier than Dalton McGuinty in 2011.

Or maybe that was all the fight Tory has, in which case unseating him should be a breeze. I liked this bit best:

I have acknowledged and taken responsibility for mistakes that I made and mistakes that others made because I’m the leader…

If a leader acknowledges and takes responsibility for mistakes that lost an election, is he still the leader? Of course not, that’s what taking responsibility means in this case – resigning.

All through the election, I heard how once the electorate got to know John Tory, they would like John Tory. So why do I find I like him less and less as time goes on?

John 'Red Green' Tory

Picture of the Day – House of the Holy

January 7th, 2008
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This Week on my i-pod: The Return of Zeppelin

January 6th, 2008
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Finally, the name of this feature matches the reality. That is to say, I actually own an Apple i-pod for my personal music experience, instead of the RCA Lyra I have been using the past three years. There was nothing wrong with the Lyra, you understand, it’s just that I called this feature “This week on my i-pod,” and it has always felt false. Well now I have a shiny new 80gig video i-pod that Santa left under my tree, and I can get back to a bit of feature writing. The nice thing is, I can also now expand this feature to include videos, TV shows I may be watching, movies, music videos, take your pick, and I’m sure I will.

This week however, it’s music I’m interested in writing about. More Led Zeppelin if you can stand it. Not long after the London concert on Dec 10th, recordings of the show started popping up in the usual places. So far, three recordings, and a couple of incomplete videos have turned up. The videos suffer from their incompletion, and being recorded on devices less suitable for that purpose than would be preferred. The audio recordings, however, have been the real disappointments. In an age when incredible live recordings are being distributed on the internet, when recording devices have gotten so good, the first two recordings of the Dec 10 Led Zeppelin show are worse than some of the shows people recorded with smuggled in tape recorders in the 1970’s – even the early 70’s in some cases.

The third recording, however, is a great improvement, if not a great recording just yet. It is extremely listenable, with fairly clear sound and little distortion. Called the trainspotter recording, it is this recording that made it’s way to my i-pod (note: another apparently better, recording has since emerged).

It’s a fun feeling listening to a live show that you were at, especially one so memorable as the Led Zeppelin reunion, which one critic called the greatest rock show ever. After the show you often try to remember some part, a song or what the singer said, and listening after allows you to review it in a calmer way. It also, however, helps you re-live the moment. And when a moment was as good, as special as Dec 10 at the 02 arena, it’s great to be able to sit in work re-living it as often as possible (I even have some pictures from the show on my i-pod). That is the magic of modern technology.

And magic is the right word: The i-pod itself is magic, but the moment, the show was pure magic, and reliving it while drudging away my time at work, there’s a trick I would be impressed if Harry Potter could duplicate.

The Mighty Zep, This Week on my I-Pod

Saturday Fluffernutter: Britney’s Meltdown Part III; Zeppelin’s Drummer; Keira’s Dress. And K-Daddy, never forget K-Daddy.

January 5th, 2008

The nutty stories from the fluffy world of celebrities.

Britney Spears flipped her wig again this week, locking herself in her bathroom with her kids when Kevin Federline’s bodyguards showed up to return the kids to him. After a four hour standoff with authorities, Britney was sent to hospital strapped to a gurney, and is reported to be under suicide watch.

She is also being evaluated by mental health professionals, where they are likely to find she’s not insane, just a celebrity.

My favourite part of the Britney saga is a small bit in a story about Britney’s lawyers quitting her business, in which the story refers to her ex as “K-Daddy.” From now on, Mr. Federline will be known in these pages as K-Daddy, it’s beautiful.

And speaking of K-Daddy, what kind of clown sends his bodyguards to pick up his children from a visitation? Who is really looking after these kids? It’s been said before, but bears repeating. You know Britney Spears is a really bad mother when he’s the good parent of the couple.

I love Keira Knightly, I really do. But the suggestion that her green dress from Atonement is more iconic than Marilyn Monroe’s in The Seven Year Itch and Audrey Hepburn’s black dress from Breakfast At Tiffany’s makes me want to send a dictionary to the editors of SkyMovies and Instyle magazine, with the word iconic underlined. Below are the three dresses, you decide which one falls into icon status.

Zeppelin Rumour of the week, courtesy of Ramble On.

It appears what Dave Grohl wants, Dave Grohl gets. Dave Grohl wants to drum for Led Zeppelin, so the music media have deemed it so. Dave is in, Jason Bonham out, all because it’s what Dave Grohl really, really wants.

I like Dave Grohl too, he seems like a nice guy, but anyone who thinks it’s Jason Bonham holding Zeppelin back from a tour is delusional. And he was excellent at the Dec 10 show, so there is no musical reason to replace him. Sorry Dave, you have no more claim to the Zeppelin drum chair than I do to a rhythm guitar slot with the boys.

The Three Tenors have decided not to continue without third tenor Luciano Pavoratti, who passed away in Spetember from pancreatic cancer:

For Placido (Domingo) and myself (Jose Carreras) to do something would betray the memory of Luciano, I don’t think that would be ethical.

Yea Yea, Led Zeppelin said the same thing back in 1980. Give them 27 years, and they’ll be right back out there.

Britney, Fluffernutter, The Mighty Zep

Picture of the Day – The Millenium Wheel

January 4th, 2008
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Do Dalton’s Liberals Think Anything Through?

January 4th, 2008

File under if these guys were Conservatives…

Joanne, over at Joanne’s Journey, has been posting about the new Dalton-day here in Ontario. Family Day was granted unto Ontarions the day after the election last fall, as a gracious payoff for electing the Liberals without them having to earn it. It is a statutory holiday that will fall on the third Monday of February every year (Feb 18 this year). The problem is there was no consultation with affected groups. If you are unionized and have a collective bargaining agreement, chances are you are out of luck for the holiday, or will give up a far nicer floating holiday.

Unmentioned in many reports on this is many companies have contracts to fulfil and are returning to those with whom they have contracts trying to renegotiate deadlines. Others, who supply just in time parts, will have no choice but to operate. This is, in short, a big headache for the manufacturing sector, which is supposedly already in crisis.

Where’s the CAW crack protest squad when they can be useful?

If this was it, one bad law rushed through, it could be ignored Unfortunately it’s becoming Dalton’s MO. Consider the street racing law. To combat street racing, anyone going more than 50KM an hour over the speed limit automatically loses their licence and car for a week and face a minimum fine of $2,000. Which takes us to Wednesday:

An 85-year-old motorist lost his licence and his Oldsmobile for a week and likely faces a hefty fine after becoming the oldest person snagged to date by Ontario’s stringent crackdown on street racers and highway speed demons.

The man, whose name was not released, was making his way Wednesday along Highway 407 north of Toronto when he was allegedly clocked doing 161 kilometres an hour — 61 km/h over the posted speed limit.

An 85 year old man, who was going shopping, is now a street racer. Casting a rather wide net , aren’t we Dalton?

While the top two are examples of laws that got rushed through, and are thus carelessly written, the following example was, in fact, a long drawn out process. Back on September 17th a new law came into effect that would open adoption records. The government took a couple of years, heard many different views, ridiculed the dissenting ones, and passed the law they wanted all along. This law did not have a crucial “disclosure veto,” that allowed somebody to opt out of having their private information passed along if they specifically requested it. Other jurisdictions have had such laws previously, and the disclosure veto was never an issue. But to the Ontario Liberals, it was an issue. Against the advice of their own privacy commissioner, they went ahead and passed the law sans veto.

Within two days, Two Days! of the laws assent, it was struck down on September 19th by an Ontario Court of Justice, specifically because it did not have a disclosure veto. New legislation was introduced in December that includes the crucial veto.

Three examples of laws passed by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals, three examples of poorly thought out laws, in two cases hastily done. There must be a better way to govern.

Dalton Dalton Dalton, Silly Liberals

Achmed the Dead Terrorist

January 3rd, 2008

“I had a premature detonantion…”

The guy with Achmed is Jeff Dunham.


Happy 62nd Birthday…

January 3rd, 2008
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John Paul Jones.

He is the guy who stands under the ride cymbal of a couple of gentlemen named Bonham: he is soft spoken, has a bass guitar sound that growls and plays keyboards as if he’s a conductor and the keys his orchestra.

He put the mellow in the yellow and the Led in the Zeppelin, he is the steady force that allows Jimmy Page the freedom to be the best rock guitarist in the world, and he is, hopefully, coming soon to a town near you.

Happy John Paul Jones, and may your 62nd year be spent touring with your old pals.

Birthday Wishes, The Mighty Zep

Time for a New Ontario Tory Leader

January 2nd, 2008

For those who think that Ontario Conservatives need a new leader if they are ever to win an election, there is a web page set up to further the end of getting rid of John Tory as the leader of the Ontario PC party.

Nick Kouvalis has set up a web page Draft a Leader to push Tories to lose the present leader, hereto known as ‘Red’. As I have stated before, if Red is in, then I am out. So I believe it behoves me to give Nick his props. Nick, along with Paul from Blue Blogging Soapbox, have also set up a facebook page, for those who are members/addicts.

Good luck guys, and if there’s anything I can do…

John 'Red Green' Tory