Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Mr. Dithers Strikes again

It is soon be three strikes and you are out for the controversial Marijuana Decriminalization Bill. The Bill has already died twice on the Order Paper and, according to various sources in Ottawa, is certain to face death again.

The bill is set to go to the House Justice Committee this fall, but lobbyists say there's little support for the bill, on either side of the decriminalization debate.
The highly-controversial Marijuana Decriminalization Bill C-17 has remained in suspended animation since its reintroduction last fall. This despite meriting a specific mention in Prime Minister Paul Martin's most recent Speech from the Throne.

Bill C-17, which is the latest incarnation of legislation that has already died on the Order Paper on two previous occasions, was referred to the House Justice Committee last November, but has yet to make it onto the meeting schedule.

Many pro-pot activists agrue that this bill is actually worse than the existing legislation. Is it possible? Maybe part of the problem is the notion of baby steps?

As advocated previously, a more comprehensive drug policy would be better. Why not legalize marijuana and eliminate the black market all together? Is this not what happened when alcohol and tobacco was finally made legal? If it was legal, it could be taxed and regulated. Farmers could offset their crops with a new, legal crop. It would eliminate the real problem of grow-ops. There are conflicting science reports on the effects of the drug on users, however, there are more stories reflecting the benefits than the pitfalls. Many claim it helps with painful diseases such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

There are, however, detractors - such as the US Administration. These folks believe that pot is the first step to harder drugs. If logic held true for other forms, reading a Maxim magazine would eventually lead to membership in a S & M club. Playing bingo at a church would lead to VLT use at a smoky bar. It is difficult to see the logic of the second point, but if you were concerned about that get tough on meth, crack and heroin.

In this country, the Canadian Professional Police Association is concerned that pot would flood the market and more small time dealers will emerge from this bill. Again, the legalization would eliminate this. There are addicted personalities in all corners of the globe and these people need help - not prohibition.

This bill (may not be perfect, but it is better than what we have), as well as the proposed Do Not Call bill, should be passed sooner rather than later.


Paging Lanny McDonald

The 2005 World Beard and Moustache Championships (WBMC) will take place in Berlin, Germany, on October 1. Host for this event is the Berlin Beard Club, which is pulling out all of the stops to provide all contestants and spectators with an unforgettable experience and is hoping to set a new participant record.

Meanwhile, the host club’s star member Karl-Heinz Hille is looking to defend the overall world championship title he earned at the last championships, held in Carson City, Nevada in 2003. Hille was also the overall champion in Sweden in 1999.

Team USA, which took nine trophies at the 2003 World Beard and Moustache Championships in Carson City, Nevada, will be traveling to Berlin to compete in the WBMC 2005. The team is planning to stop over at the world’s biggest beer bust, the Oktoberfest in Munich, on the way. Could there be a better way to spend Oktoberfest than being a groupie for the WMBC?

In case you can't make it to Berlin this year - plan to be in London in 2007.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Apparently Hoods can save lives

A French agency has conducted some research suggesting that circumcision could be effective in preventing the spread of HIV among men. The study of more than 3,000 men in South Africa was done by the agency for Aids and Viral Hepatitis.

The data, outlined at a conference in Brazil, shows male circumcision prevented about seven of 10 infections. UN health agencies have cautioned that more trials are necessary before they will recommend this as a method to protect against Aids.

Previous studies have suggested that men who are circumcised have a lower rate of HIV infection. It is thought that the cells of the foreskin are much more susceptible to HIV than cells on other parts of the penis, so by removing the foreskin, the likelihood of infection drops.

Next up, finding a use for the appendix - Phoff no term paper comments!


Shake Your Head Head

Ricky Martin wants to become the spokesperson for Arab youth. Martin declared, in Jordan, that he would attempt to change negative perceptions of Arab youth in the West. "I promise I will become a spokesperson, if you allow me to, a spokesperson on your behalf. I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes," the 33-year-old singer told youngsters from 16 mainly Arab countries at a youth conference on Monday.

The children, ages 14 to 16, expressed concern about being labelled as "terrorists" by the West.

Martin claims to know what these kids are going through since he has suffered from stereotypes - insert obvious references here. "I come from Latin America and to some countries, we are considered 'losers,' drug traffickers, and that is not fair because that is generalizing," said Martin, who was born in Puerto Rico.

I guess the chances of a jihad go way down if Menudo is playing from the stereos.


A Festivus for the Rest of Us

The origins of the Festivus celebration can be dated back to one (fictional) man's refusal to conform to the increased commercialism and consumerism which has saturated the December holiday season. This man's name is Frank Costanza. During a routine outing to secure a Christmas gift for his son George, events transpired which would forever change the landscape of the holiday season.

In his own words: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had -- but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way! [The doll] was destroyed. But out of that, a new holiday was born. 'A Festivus for the rest of us!'"

From this altercation, Frank Costanza embarked on a quest to create a festival which did not include the material and superficial aspects of most winter holidays. Many people celebrate Festivus on the 23rd day of December, but due to the nonconformist aspect of the holiday, it may be celebrated whenever one so chooses. There are three major elements which make up the Festivus Holiday:

1 - The Pole
2 - The Airing of Grievances
3 - The Feats of Strength

Read more here.


Poof, your gone!

Microsoft's new Web service for satellite photographs may have found a way to physically eliminate the competition. No, the Redmond, Washington based company did not hire Tony Soprano and the gang to make Steve Jobs swim with fish, however, the world's largest software company did find a way to wipe Apple Computer off the map.

Users of Microsoft's new "Virtual Earth" have discovered that anyone using the website for a bird's-eye view of Apple's corporate headquarters sees only a grainy overhead photograph of what appears to be a single, nondescript warehouse and a deserted parking lot — not Apple's sprawling campus, with 11 modern buildings surrounding a plush courtyard.

Microsoft blames an outdated photograph. But Apple's headquarters in Silicon Valley shows up more appropriately for anyone viewing the same location using Google's mapping Web site, which also combines many of the same government-financed satellite and aerial overhead photographs.

Microsoft says its new mapping service, made available free during the weekend, is still in its testing phase and includes some older, black-and-white photographs from October 1991 for the neighborhood around Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The only dates displayed on the images are copyright notices from 2004 and 2005.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Jenna is a prophet

Controversial former World Heavyweight Champion boxer Mike Tyson declared in a recent interview that he’s thinking of going into adult movie business. According to, Tyson stated: “I’ve talked to some people, I just talked to a gentleman named Jimmy, whose involved with Club Jenna, you know Jenna Jameson,” said Tyson. “They said they were interested in getting me involved in that kind of business.” Don't you love how every weasel involved in shady operations goes by the name Jimmy?

Tyson, just a couple weeks back, sat down on his stool in the 6th round of his *final* fight and quit. Tyson said it was over and he wants to be a missionary. He would prefer a Muslim organization to take him on but also state that he did know of a couple Christian ones that would. Did I nod off in Christian Ethics courses? Is porn now part of the new missionary work?

Let's see now; he has been jailed on a rape charge, repeatedly beat his past wives and girlfriends and he bit off part of boxer Evander Holyfield's ear. Sounds like the perfect candidate to be a missionary, right?

FYI - You can buy Mike's former shack on e-Bay.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Baby showers and stags

An unauthorized baby shower for Bennifer (Garner and Affleck) gathered 400 items for charity. Charleston, West Virginia baseball fans donated presents at a mock shower for mom-to-be Garner and husband Affleck. The gifts are going to a "baby pantry" that helps low-income parents in southern West Virginia. Garner and Affleck actually didn't attend the "Jen and Ben Baby Shower Night" held earlier this month at a West Virginia Power minor league baseball game in Charleston, where Garner grew up.

Donations included denim coveralls, pink and frilly dresses, dozens of snuggly outfits, a stroller, a walker, diapers, shampoo, powder and lotion.

Speaking of unauthorized functions. I am off to a weekend stag in Calgary, where if there are mock showers and baby pantries, things will have went according to plan. Cowboys here we come.


Entourage - Why HBO is great

This show is quickly becoming one of my favourites. Ari is one of the best characters on TV.

FYI - Entourage has been renewed for a third season. The show will return to HBO for at least 13 episodes, with a start date yet to be announced.


Johnny Cash - finally - in film

It better be good!


US Energy plan calls for more daylight savings

Provincial governments across Canada face a big-time decision as they deal with an American move to extend daylight time by two months, so that it starts on the first weekend in March and the beginning of November.

Canadian critics of the adjustment argue children will be walking to school in darkness, while drivers may face increased morning black ice, which hasn't melted in the sun. Also, farmers have long claimed that cows don't care about clocks.

The last time the United States and Canada observed different winter time systems was during the 1974-75 oil crisis. The U.S. did not turn its clocks back at all that fall in an attempt to conserve energy. As a result, airline schedules involving flights from south of the border were occasionally one hour off, television schedules were mixed up and business associates regularly missed each other's phone calls.


Bad Idea Jeans

Is Athens the new sister city of Montreal? Rife with mounting debts and facing a cloudy future plan, the freshly built Athens Olympic pool and larger Olympic compound are closed to the public. Only a handful of the sparkling 36 sports facilities, which cost close to $4 billion US to construct after numerous delays and cost overruns, have been used since the flame went out on the Games last Aug. 29.

The main Olympic compound - which includes the stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies, the gymnasium and pool - is protected by three-metre-high mesh steel fences and 20 Greek soldiers and a handful of armed police. One soldier said 40 tourists ask daily if they can see - even just walk around - the site. With the exception of training athletes and workers, all are told to stay away.

The hurdle keeping the gates locked is government and private sector haggling over the future of the site, and debate as to who will pay the estimated annual $100 million for facility upkeep.

The Games cost about 11 billion euros ($16.1 billion Cdn), sending the country's deficit to twice the limit set by EU budget rules. The initial price tag for the Olympics had been 4.6 billion euros ($6.7 billion Cdn). At least, unlike Montreal, their mayor didn't equate a deficit with the same chance as a man getting pregnant.

Lucky for the Olympics the recent decisions of Vancouver and London should not suffer the same fate. The IOC, high on my respect meter, appear to have learned from Atlanta, Salt Lake and Athens.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Words to live by

The Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) has too much time on it's hands. The Association believes that the word "fail" should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralizing pupils. They argue that telling pupils they have failed can put them off learning for life. The PAT said it would debate the proposal at a conference next week.

A spokesman for the group said it wanted to avoid labeling children. "We recognize that children do not necessarily achieve success first time," he said."But I recognize that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary," he said.

Great, just what we need for drug tests more whiggle room. No longer will people fail, but rather they will be just deferring success.


What do with your Limp Bizkit discs

Unwanted compact discs have a new home. In the past they were usually relegated to one of two fates: drink coaster or impromptu Frisbee. But now, thanks to the good folks at Primera Technology, there's a whole new way to dispose of those hated CDs: shred 'em.

With the company's DS360 Disc Shredder, you can take a CD and grind it down to a pile of shiny confetti in less than 10 seconds. It works on the same principle as a paper shredder, but with a much, much sharper set of teeth inside. It isn't cheap listed at $129.95 US.

"They're solid-iron shredding teeth, as opposed to the pressed-steel ones inside most paper shredders," Primera Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mark Strobel said. "It will grind a CD down to a shiny mixture of plastic and reflective record material. It makes for shiny confetti. But you probably wouldn't want to throw it at anybody — it's kind of sharp."

Strobel said Primera got the idea for the DS360 from the U.S. Department of Defense, whose massive CD shredders grind discs — most of which contain highly sensitive information — down to a fine powder. While his company's shredder isn't nearly as powerful or that huge (it's about the size of a normal shredder), it can still really destroy some discs: up to 300 in an hour, if someone were to feed the machine a CD every 12 seconds.


Beam me up Scotty

Apparently James Doohan's family is hoping to beam him up to the "final frontier" that Doohan's character Scotty loved so dearly. No truth to the rumour that Lance Bass has offered to take the ashes with him on his on again, off again space trip.


Price check in aisle 5

Freizeit Magazine, a German lifestyle mag, sold out in a day after offering readers vouchers for a free sex session at a brothel in Austria. Readers said they were, hmm, shocked when they opened the mag to find a full page advert for a brothel in Salzburg.

Prostitution is, however, legal in both countries and the ad promised "half an hour free sex with a lady of your choice" for anyone who cut out the coupon and brought it with them on their next visit.

Critics claim that the magazine is supposed to be about leisure and entertainment activities and not one big advertisment for indecent and sexist material. No truth to the rumour that these critics read Playboy for the jokes.

He said the advertisement was "in no way salacious neither in content nor visually", and accused complainants of "nitpicking". Owners of the sex club report a boom in business since running the adverts.


Free tuition........

for virgins.

Sulaiman Madada, a Ugandan MP, is raising funds to send virgins to university for free. He wants to encourage schoolgirls to be morally upright and avoid early marriages. "We do not want these girls to get exposed to Aids," he told the Associated Press. Uganda is often held up as a model of how to fight HIV/Aids. Men, need not apply.

Don't worry there is a merit criteria for the award. Only girls in Kayunga district who pass a virginity test will qualify for the bursary, which will start next year.

Kayunga, in central Uganda, has one of the highest HIV/Aids infection rates in the country. Although the infection rates have fallen in recent years from 15% to 5% critics say this could now rise because the government is promoting abstinence, rather than safe sex. The call for abstinence in fighting HIV/Aids is backed by religious groups and Uganda's first lady Janet Museveni, who supports a campaign for young Ugandans to pledge abstinence until marriage.

This issue of sexual activity amongst youth in African nations is one of the biggest challenges facing the continent. It is also one that I have been reading many articles about lately and have been saving to write about this particular subject. There are conflicting strategies emerging on how to deal with this matter and the White House even has a few suggestions.

First, some interesting statistics. According to a recent (2002) comprehensive survey by the Community Information, Empowerment and Transparency (CIET Africa), one out of every three children is having sex at the age of 10, and 17% will deliberately spread the virus if they know they are HIV-positive.

The study involved 269 905 pupils in Grades 6 to 11 in all language groups, across a range of schools and from all nine provinces.

Some of the other disturbing findings included that, at 18, two out of every three children had had sex. Two out of 10 pupils did not believe condoms prevented pregnancy or other sexually transmitted diseases. One in 10 said they believed sex with a virgin could cure HIV/Aids, and one in 10 had been raped in the past year. Three out of every 100 pupils thought that girls liked sexually violent boys and one out of every 10 thought that girls who got raped, asked for it, according to the study.

The study further stated people were becoming sexually active earlier and belief systems about sex supported sexually violent and sexually irresponsible behaviour.

Laura Bush, who was recently in Africa on a three-nation African trip that aims to highlight the Bush administration's battle against AIDS on the world's poorest continent, got to witness first hand the deep impact of AIDS in some of these communities. Bush was apparently moved to tears at one of her stops by the compelling stories of some of the locals. Good thing Senator and Doctor Bill Frist wasn't there. He would have had to do a bubble boy impersonation - no sweat or tears near him.

Mrs. Bush was at the Khayelitsha Maternity Obstetrics Unit to showcase work done there through the Mothers' Programmes, a private organization that receives some assistance through President Bush's five-year, $15 billion anti-AIDS effort.

The program the first lady visited enlists mothers who have kept from transmitting the disease to their own children to mentor new expectant mothers. A great challenge in the battle against AIDS in Africa is persuading the many people who are leery of talking about the disease to get tested and to take steps to prevent its spread.

George Bush is wise to send his wife over to Africa to witness the problems first hand since his proposed aid to Africa is likely to make the situation worse not better.

The Bush plan calls for an ABC approach to HIV prevention - this stands for abstinence, be faithful and condom use. The administration is heavily stressing the "A."

The majority of funding that was transferred in the first year actually went to only programs that promoted abstinence. This despite a growing body of literature that shows such programs actually increase the risk of sexually transmitted disease by discouraging contraceptive use. What is even more insulting is this method completely ignores one of the paramount problems facing young women in Africa and other impoverished regions, which are often infected by wandering husbands or forced to have sex in exchange for food and shelter.

It is not surprising that the Bush motives are being driven by social conservatives, who have made spreading the gospel of abstinence and monogamy to Africans their primary mission. According to Focus on the Family (yes, this is the same group who have at least 5 Conservative nominations locked up in both BC and Nova Scotia), when you give a teenager a condom, it gives them a license to go have sex."

Some Republicans, including Henry Hyde, have gone so far as to threaten funding to improvised nations that actually promote condoms. They often state that the best and only defense for preventing HIV transmission is by practicing abstinence and being faithful to a non-infected partner. Apparently, if you have an infected partner, screw everyone, it matters not.

You are wondering, how and the hell does this tie into free tuition? Well, Uganda is actually the country where the Republicans have been the most aggressive, The country, under intense pressure for the Bush Administration, has banned the promotion and distribution of condoms in schools. In fact, the government has engineered a nation wide shortage of condoms by issuing a recall on all state-supplied condoms and ceasing international condoms at the airports.

As a result of these actions, the administration is providing an additional $10 M US to the country. The US Ambassador, Bush's global AIDS czar, summed it up in a memo to countries in January. Groups that receive US funding should not target youth with messages that present abstinence and condoms are equally viable, alternative choices.

Public health experts (those evil left leaning people) are warning the administration that this diversion of funds away from tried and true HIV prevention methods is more than a misguided experiment -it’s a game of Russian roulette that could actually make the situation much, much worse in these nations. In fact, this has to be the crassest form of social engineering attempted. Aid should not have religious strings attached, period. How about more science and less religion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


This little piggy

A Saskatoon man accused of kidnapping a friend and trying to extort money from the victim's mom has been sentenced to a year in jail. On Tuesday, Dominic Dean Bodnarchuk pleaded guilty to extortion, illegal possession of a knife and possession of crystal meth.

Bodnarchuk, 30, was accused of kidnapping a friend, Richard Lewis, in March 2005 and holding him for ransom. Earlier Monday, Lewis's mother testified she received several threatening phone calls from a man indicating that her son's fingers would be chopped off one by one if she didn't hand over $250.

For his part Bodnarchuk admits to demanding money. His story, however, is it was for payment owing on a television set.

I can see where the confusion steams from - I often mistake "Philips" for "Finger." Damn you Chicken Philips.


The Buzz in the Biz

As reported on Moldy, Pam and Tommy are heading back down the aisle. No truth to the rumour that they have a distribution agreement locked up already for the honeymoon video.

Al Pacino is rumoured to be dating 'Charmed' actress Rose McGowan - who is 34 years his junior. The 65-year-old Hollywood legend has reportedly wooed the 31-year-old, who plays sexy witch Paige Halliwell in the TV series. Apparently dating Marilyn Manson was not shocking enough.

Look out Tommy Hilfiger because Ryan Seacrest is set to debut his new R Line shirts. The 30-year-old American Idol host will produce a line of men's and women's T-shirts, tank tops, polo shirts and sweaters.

Phoff Diddy - it has a nice ring to it. Rumour has it that Sean Combs is looking for a new handle. Why? Just because. I suggest Phoff. Other suggestions welcome.


The World economy is stagnate - The proof.

Global economist Thomas Friedman's new book is called the World is Flat. He should write a sequel called The World Economy is Flat. This is true - spare the red hot Chinese economy. Most of Europe is sitting in a funk. The US, like me, is living high on credit. As a result, the global workforce is taking a collective kick in the nuts.

Kodak said Wednesday it will cut as many as 10,000 jobs in addition to the 15,000 already announced as the photographic products company announced it swung to a loss in the second quarter from a year-ago profit.

Eastman Kodak's quarterly loss totalled $146 million, or 51 cents a share, compared with earnings of $136 million, or 46 cents a share, a year ago. The employment cuts despite the fact that revenue grew 6% to $3.69 billion. This is an old big bank trick - revenues up, workforce down.

Hewlett-Packard Co. said Tuesday it will cut 10 per cent of its workforce over the next year and a half as the personal computer maker moves to chop its annual costs by $1.9 billion US. The Palo Alto, Calif., company said the bulk of the 14,500 job cuts will come in support areas, including information technology, human resources and finance. Cuts to the company's sales department will be minimal.

The firm plans to dissolve its customer solutions group, a standalone division responsible for sales to small and medium-size businesses and public-sector customers. It will merge the sales function and accountability directly into three other business units – technology solutions, imaging and printing, and personal systems.

These jobs will not be easy to replace in either the US or world economy.

Further proof that the US economy is more fiction than fact. Earnings at Found On Road Dead Motor Co. dropped in the second quarter, weighed down by tough conditions in the North American market, the company said Tuesday. Tough conditions? I thought the Canadian economy is stable. The Alberta economy is adding 5 new cars a day to the road and at least 2 of those have to trucks. The F150 is still pretty popular out west.

Not a good business week to date.


Stupid Pet Tricks

Man attacked by a Marlin. No, not Billy at the Florida games.

Toronto and Vancouver are on the Top 10 Dog Friendly Cities List. View it here.


Memo from the Pope

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


The dog days of a political summer

The summer recess for the House of Commons has political junkies (of which I may be one) without the daily fix. In the absence of MPs in Ottawa there are some interesting polls being conducted - some legitimate and others just plain goofy.

There is a weblog running a contest to select The Ultimate Hottest Canadian MP Besides Ken Dryden. The field of 16 has been whittled down to 4 and the voting closes on July 25.

The finalists are:

Rona Ambrose / Conservative Alberta
Ruby Dhalla / Liberal Ontario
Helena Guergis / Conservative Ontario
Tom Lukiwski / Conservative Saskatchewan

Don't worry the field of 16 was heavily dominated by males so there can be few accusations about chauvinism. The NDP and Bloc didn't have a single MP nominated, ouch. Sadly, the federal NDP can't even win beauty pageant votes.

Vote here.


Offside in the Big Smoke

It must be all those smug warnings clouding sanity in Toronto. If not, there really is no other way to describe the city of Toronto's recent decision to not allow Miss Universe to appear at City Hall because of concerns about sexual stereotyping.

Natalie Glebova, the 23-year-old Canadian woman who captured the title in Bangkok in May was set open the Tastes of Thailand festival last weekend at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square. But the Thai Trade Centre received word that Glebova would not be allowed to act in her capacity as Miss Universe.

According to a city bylaw, "activities which degrade men or women through sexual stereotyping, or exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls solely for the purpose of attracting attention," are not permitted on Nathan Phillips Square.

Toronto is one of the most sexually progressive cities and still this overly politically correct nonsense sneaks in. Nathan Phillips Square flies the gay pride flag during Pride week and allows people to wear sashs and tiaras without earning them (in any official international competition), but they will not allow the winner of Miss Universe pageant to be called what she is. This is a classic case of the pendulum swinging way too far.

Glebova, however, can still open the festival, organizers were told, but under strict conditions. She couldn't wear her sash or tiara, and couldn't be referred to as either Miss Universe or a beauty queen. Instead, organizers were told, they could refer to her as "an individual of note contributing to our community."

This is even more of an insult. Karla Homolka is an individual of note and she is contributing (fear) to her community. Should Montreal bestow that lame honour on her?

This is not the first time Toronto has been on the wrong side of an issue. In 1992, then Toronto mayor June Rowlands banned the Barenaked Ladies from playing in Nathan Phillips Square, saying she felt the name objectified women. It isn't hard to see why Toronto residents voted her out and brought in Mel "The Cannibal" Lastman.


Toronto mayor David Miller issued an apology Tuesday to Miss Universe after the city barred her from opening a festival over concerns about sexual stereotyping.



Warning - This post may offend.

A Seattle area farm was raided after a man died from injuries sustained while having sex with a horse. The county Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death was accidental and the result of having sex with a horse.

A surveillance camera picked up the license plate of the car that dropped the man off at the hospital, which led detectives to the farm and other people involved, said sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart.

Deputies don't believe a crime occurred because bestiality is not illegal in Washington state and the horse was uninjured, said Urquhart. But because investigators found chickens, goats and sheep on the property, they are looking into whether animal cruelty — which is a crime — was committed by having sex with these smaller, weaker animals, he said. The farm was talked about in Internet chat rooms as a destination for people looking to have sex with livestock, he said.

For its part, the Humane Society of the United States intends to use the case during the next state legislative session as an example of why sex with animals should be outlawed in Washington.

Currently, thirty-three states ban sex with animals. Now, this got me thinking, how many states have scrambled to ban same sex marriage in the last few years? The answer 38. So, it is legal to have sex with animals in more jurisdictions in the United States, then it is to marry someone of the same sexual orientation. In fact, in Washington State, you can have sex with a horse, however, you can't have sex with a virgin even on her/his wedding night nor marry someone of the same sexual orientation even if you love them. Find a random farm and screw a horse, no sweat. Pete wanting to marry John - are you kidding me - that is deviant.

The list below shows the states who have outlawed same sex marriage (blue font identifies banned same sex, but are ok with bestiality) and the second list shows states banning Zoophila (the red font shows banned bestiality, but are ok with same sex marriage).

Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington DC and Wisconsin.

FYI - In Canada, federal law covers us all and it is illegal to have sex with animals. As it is in the United Kingdom and New Zealand - hold all sheep jokes.

There are states trying to right this wrong. In Missouri, a Republican Congresswomen Catherine Hanaway attempted to ban beastiality in 1999, but the law died on the order papers after second reading. What is really interesting about her case is that the state did not allow the practice until 23 years ago. It was then that state law encompassing sex with an animal or someone of the same gender was invalidated by the courts. Lawmakers quickly re-banned gay sex but never addressed the animal issue. Homosexuals must be more of a threat to the traditional family than box turtles.

Not everyone in Missouri agreed with Hanaway. Two sociologists and sex researchers at Indiana University wrote a letter to the Legislature calling on law makers to kill the legislation. The letter included some fascinating claims:

No one can argue about the objective harm resulting from a behavior like rape. Such harm arises from the absence of consent and the trauma that accompanies and follows from the act. Opponents of a human having sex with an animal use a similar standard. While what constitutes an animal's consent is difficult to define, people are well aware when an animal is non-consenting. Our research suggests that forcing sex on an unwilling animal is rare among adult zoophiles (as well as being seen as a behavior that would be extremely unsafe since the person is not dealing with a defenseless being).

The question of consent is usually conflated with the question of harm, which we believe to be the better question. Zoophiles appear to be extremely caring and concerned for their animal(s) and people who know them would be hard put to claim abuse. Implicit in HB 1658 is that sex with an animal in itself constitutes abuse. We believe that this merely reflects a negative attitude toward such a non-traditional form of sexuality. Disgust should not be a criterion for legislation; only objective evidence of harm should be, and there are sufficient laws against cruelty to animals to handle such cases.

We can confidently say that if laws such as HB 1658 are passed, they cannot be enforced. Further, they have the potential for creating witch hunts, and of ruining the lives of random individuals unlucky enough to be caught. These legal efforts waste time that needs to be spent on more important matters. Remember that less than half a century ago, all states but one criminalized homosexual acts because many people were uncomfortable with the idea of sexual behavior with members of the same sex. This destroyed the lives of many citizens. Please do not make this same mistake by pursuing HB 1658 any further.

Susan Michaels, co-founder of local animal-rights organization Pasado's Safe Haven, sums up the whole bestiality topic beautifully. "It's animal cruelty behind closed doors," Michaels said.

Susan, let us be perfectly clear about one thing - it is animal cruelty with or without the door closed.


London Calling - Part Deux

To all the Moldy Peaches readers: This is my first, and maybe only, guest post. I will try to live up to Shaky's high expectations. You can check out my own blog here, although it is not nearly as entertaining as Moldy.

Paper is the new rock!Ah, good old Rock Paper Scissors. The game of Champions.

We joke about its consideration for Olympic status, but I’m sure the folks at the
World RPS Society would just love that kind of exposure. As you can read on their website, they are “dedicated to the promotion of Rock Paper Scissors as a fun and safe way to resolve disputes. We feel that conserving the roots of RPS is essential for the growth and development of the game and the players.” I think that fits in beautifully with the Olympic movement’s aim to bring “people together in peace to respect universal moral principles.”

If they can bring in Chess in to the Olympic movement, why not RPS? That should be the society’s new motto: “Why not RPS?”

If you check out the
World RPS Society website, make sure to try the online trainer and sharpen your skills. It rocks!

No truth to the rumour that
The Scissors Sisters will be the new spokespeople for the World RPS Society.


The Buzz in the Biz

Ali G is in hot water. The TV funnyman, posing as his Kazakhstan comedic character Borat Sagdiyev, had been dining with George Matthews IV and his family when he started groping a 20-stone black 'prostitute' at a society dinner in Mississippi.

During the evening, Ali G first began to insult Matthews and his other guests by making a series of offensive comments claiming slavery in the US had been a good thing. Matthews said: "Cohen indicated that slavery was a great thing, I was, of course, aghast"

Matthews originally believed Cohen, who is engaged to 'Wedding Crashers' beauty Isla Fisher, was filming a genuine documentary about culture in America's Deep South before he invited him to his lavish mansion.

Rob Thomas took so much cocaine at the beginning of his career, he can't remember the first two years of being in his band Matchbox Twenty. He tells Blender magazine, "When I used to do lots of coke, it would be just to stay in the game. You'd be tired and you'd do it just to stay out and go to bars and meet girls and have a good time. Maybe he could take some more cocaine and actually make Matchbox Twenty albums disappear.

Jude Law had lofty ambitions.

Somebody please give Nicole Ritchie a sandwich. Lionel get off the ceiling and feed your kid.

Colin Farrell has slapped a lawsuit on a former girlfriend, whom he accuses of trying to distribute and profit from an "intimate" sex tape the two recorded 2-1/2 years ago. What does he expect?


And it will play television shows too!

Rumors of a video iPod have gained further credence thanks to a report in Monday’s Wall Street Journal [paid sub. req.] that says Apple has recently held discussions with major recording companies about licensing their music videos to sell through the iTunes Music Store.

“The negotiations are a possible prelude to a version of Apple’s hit iPod that would play video, a widely expected gadget that Apple has told some entertainment-industry executives that it could announce by September,” the paper says.

Read full story.


London Calling

It is one step closer to becoming an Olympic sport. Hat tip to the IOC - not.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Where to draw the line?

On the surface there is nothing wrong with the comments made by Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett calling for swimming lessons to become part of every child's education. Bennett, Minister of State (Public Health), is calling for swim lessons to be part of the school curriculum and for the federal government to help fund the initiative.

"We've made such strides in this country, from seat belts and car seats to bicycle helmet legislation in many provinces," Bennett told the Toronto Star. "It's time we looked at swimming safety."

It wasn't until the quote that she lost me. I thought she was going to make the case that Canadian school children need exercise and this is one way to ensure activity and add a little enjoyment into physical education. Nope. She is crossing over the line and showing some of the Liberal nanny state mentality.

Bennett believes every child should know what to do when they fall into the water. This is, again, an admirable statement, however, the statistics show the real risk of drowning is no greater than some other common activities.

According to the Lifesaving Society, an organization that certifies lifeguards and analyzes drowning deaths to promote safety, the number of national drowning deaths in Canada during 2001 was 431, down by 9 per cent from 2000, and down 15 per cent from the past five-year average (1997-2001). In Ontario, where Bennett is from, they were however up from record lows in the 1990s. That sounds awful until you look at the numbers. There were 144 drownings and other preventable water-related deaths in Ontario during 2001 -- the latest year for which there are statistics. That is up by eight per cent from the previous year's all-time low of 133 deaths in 2000.

In comparison, there were about 115 agricultural related deaths a year in Canada over the past decade. The agricultural environment, consisting primarily of independent operations dispersed across the country, makes injury prevention a challenge. The diversity of farming operations by the commodity produced, as well as the multiplicity of work practices and hazards within each workplace, further confounds the efforts of reducing occupational agricultural injuries and deaths. Does this mean that every child should know what to do if they are trapped under a Single Tine Combine? I can barely operate a John Deere lawnmower, please don't mandate me to figure out farm equipment.

There were 472 water-related deaths in Canada, of which 147 were in boating activities. Over three-quarters of all fatal boating incidents were recreational. Over half (53 per cent) occurred on lakes. Does this mean that every Canadian should be issued a lifejacket either upon entering primary or secondary school or when they get their driver's license?

Pedestrian fatalities averaged 416 per year and decreased 24.1 percent over the 10-year period. This explains the advent of the crosswalk, but I didn't get a lesson on it when I was in school. I did, however, learn to stop, drop and roll and that has come in handy once or twice. Plus, I could pick Smokey the Bear out of a mug shot line, for what that is worth.

What she could have said, if she was looking to make a valid point: Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in Canadian children one to four years of age, accounting for more than one-fifth of deaths in this age group. Infant and toddler drownings tend to occur in or around the home, with infants mostly in bathtubs, and toddlers falling into swimming pools.

Canadian children need more physical activity in their daily lives and that should be built into the curriculum. Bring back Participaction. Make Hal Johnson the Governor General - first vote whether he should keep his stache or not. Hire Richard Simmons to lead a July 1st "Sweating to the Oldies" mega session.

On a serious note, explore the idea of making gym memberships tax deductible - I know there are no guarantees that someone would use it, however, it would be in an incentive. Bring back real physical activities in class and clean up the school menus - they are a joke.


Cougar in the Middle

Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz is engaged to his girlfriend, Jamie, whom he met in New Orleans this spring while shooting a movie. The 19-year-old actor's publicist, Cara Tripicchio, confirmed the news to PEOPLE, adding that no wedding date has been set. There is no immediate word on the age of his girlfriend, however, it is safe to say he is at least twice his age. Does he even have his driver’s license? Is that Victoria Jackson of SNL fame?


Can't stand the heat? Me too!

130°F / 54.4°C in Death Valley

121°F / Humidex: 49.7°C in Calcutta

120.2°F / 49°C in Phoenix

116°F / 47°C in Las Vegas

103°F / Humidex: 39.4°C in Montreal

101°F / Humidex: 38.1°C in Ottawa. A humidex warning has been issued for the next two days. Don't ask why a lower humidex score in Ottawa triggers a warning, but a higher score in Montreal gets nothing.

99.3°F / Humidex: 37.4°C in Toronto. There has been a humidex warning in Toronto for the past 8 days.

This is just a selection, but you get the picture, it was hot out there today. Meanwhile in Europe, they struggle with a potential heatwave.

A heat wave in Italy has put the health of one million people at risk and the government has warned the situation could be even worse than the summer of 2003 when 20,000 people died due to soaring temperatures.

France faces drought, locusts

FYI - Apparently a 10K run in this heat and humidity adds a wee bit of moisture to the body. It was like running through a shower for almost an hour - not pleasent nor recommended.


Air Canuk takes a pass on the red sand

Air Canada is cancelling its Toronto-Charlottetown fall and winter flights because it's livid about the PEI government's subsidies for rival WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Air Canada will be placing advertisements in local newspapers in Prince Edward Island this week to notify travellers about the airline's withdrawal, beginning in October, of flights between Toronto and Charlottetown.

It seems like Premier Pat Binns' gamble to use public money to subsidize West Jet has failed. The Binns' government had lured WestJet to launch service in the province by providing about $500,000 in marketing and revenue incentives.

WestJet made its PEI debut on June 28, when it launched its Toronto-Charlottetown summer-only route, offering daily non-stop flights to and from the island. The seasonal service is scheduled to end Sept. 15.

There are couple of things wrong with this story. One - if - as Air Canada points out, they use profits from the summer to bolster weaker winter months to maintain the route year-round, why subsidize another to run and cut after 4 months?

Two, this is going to throw a huge wrench into the plans of many international travellers. The Star Alliance network, of which Air Canada is a partner, services almost the entire globe, but certainly Asia, the United States and Europe and this is where the majority of PEI tourists are coming from. As a result of Binns' brain freeze, these passengers will have to enjoy being shuttled around Toronto's Pearson Airport and hop scotching airlines. This is neither fun nor recommended.


Aeon Flux is close

Are you a fan of the MTV animated series Aeon Flux? I know at least one person who is, but this series likely flew under your radar. Paramount Pictures is releasing this picture sometime in the fall and and it will star Charlize Theron.

Aeon Flux takes the animated show created by Peter Chung, popular in the mid '90s, and brings it into the live-action realm. The story takes place 400 years in the future, when disease has wiped out the majority of the Earth's population except for one walled, protected city-state, Bregna, ruled by a congress of scientists.

Gaming nerds are holding their collective breathe wondering if the script will be true to the cartoon.


Red, white and boo

President Jacques Chirac celebrated Bastille Day (the French national holiday) on Thursday by insisting that France had no need to "envy or copy" Britain. Whether the point of comparison was food, health, education or science, France was in far better shape than its old rival, he said. "I have a lot of esteem for the British people and for Tony Blair," he said. "But I do not believe that the British social model is a model that we should copy or envy."

Chirac's response is part of a concerted campaign to restore French pride at a time of national soul-searching and gloom. His tub-thumping included French cuisine, which he said undoubtedly, played a part in the nation's exceptionally high life expectancy.

Next in Mr Chirac's litany of praise came his country's birth rate, the highest in Europe with Ireland's, and its status as the world's "second agricultural power". He reiterated his refusal to make "the slightest concession" on the Common Agricultural Policy, which the Prime Minister argues is in need of urgent reform because it takes up 40 per cent of the EU budget.

As Tony Blair pointed out recently to the EU: "Some have suggested I want to abandon Europe's social model," he said. "But tell me: what type of social model is it that has 20 million unemployed in Europe? Productivity rates falling behind those of the U.S.A.? That is allowing more science graduates to be produced by India than by Europe? And that, on any relative index of a modern economy -- skills, R & D, patents, IT -- is going down, not up?"

It is time for France to realize that the old ways don't cut it in the new economy. It is not enough to have good food and wine, you actually have to jobs for people. Chirac could start making smart decisions by quitting coddling French farmers, who are the most subsidized in the world and really hurting developing countries.


The Buzz in the Biz

The kids sure like chocolate. Willy Wonka opens with over $55 M in gate receipts.

Kate Hudson admits to casual drug use. Really, and she is married to Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, funny he doesn't seem like to type.

Apparently, a new book was released on Friday at midnight. It was selling ONLY 250,000 sales per hour or 6.9 M in the first day. Even allowing for deep discounts on the $29.99 release, "Half-Blood Prince" still easily generated more than $100 million in revenue. Rowling's take, a cool $36 M.

Sandra Bullock wed Jesse James, not the outlaw, but the star of the Discovery Channel series Monster Garage in a sunset ceremony Saturday at a ranch north of Santa Barbara. Her first marriage, his third - including a marriage to porn star Janine Lindemulder.


What about us?

The Accidental Deliberation has a great piece that is worth sharing.

A nice contrast from the Regina Leader-Post's news summaries.

I'd think this would be the more important story:
A national study released in Saskatoon says teachers are facing an increased workload, longer hours and ballooning class sizes compared to four years ago...

According to the 2005 study of more than one-thousand teachers, 83 per cent reported they had a higher workload than four years ago.

If nothing else, this should be great fodder for opposition parties. But the Saskatchewan Party has different priorities:

Opposition members in Saskatchewan want Premier Lorne Calvert to speed up a review of legislature salaries.

Members are currently subjected to caps on public-sector salary hikes that were scrapped for all other government workers last month.

Leaving aside the wisdom of politicizing MLAs' salaries in the first place (which both parties were all too willing to do), how far out of touch does the opposition have to be to focus on its own salaries rather than on substantive change? Is this part of the 100 point plan to grow Saskatchewan?

At least this group of Sask Party MLAs are not looking for their free haircuts and shoe shining like the original bunch.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Delusional in Saskatchewan

Everyone has tasks at their job that they don't agree with performing. In fact, many people would like nothing better than some excuse, any excuse, to not perform them, however, there is also a little thing called a paycheck that stops irrational behaviour. A Regina marriage commissioner is going to attempt to push the limits.

Orville Nichols, a marriage commissioner for the past 23 years, has registered a complaint before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission over being forced to perform gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies -- says he'll go to a higher court to keep his marriage commissioner's licence.

Nichols, a provincial employee, doesn't get to pick and choose the job duties he can perform. In November, Justice Minister Frank Quennell notified all provincial marriage commissioners they were obligated to follow the law and perform same sex marriages.

After receiving his letter last November, Nichols stated publicly in a January Reader Leader-Post story that he would neither perform same-sex marriages nor give up his licence for not performing the ceremonies. "It's my personal and religious belief that it is not right," Nichols said. "My definition of marriage is opposite --male and female -- not two males and females. That's why I oppose it."

It is nice that Nichols has an opinion, but the last time I checked there were still some unemployed people in Saskatchewan, if he doesn't want to follow the law - look for a new job. Tom Cruise, because of his religion, believes that antidepressants are wrong, does that make him right? Nope, it sure doesn't.

I wish this story simply ended with a lone complaint in Saskatchewan. Sadly, it was picked up by Uber-Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) who issued not one, but two press releases defending Nichols.

In the first release, Vellacott said Quennell's insistence that marriage commissioners have to resign for refusing to perform same-sex marriages "violates the spirit and letter of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms." The MP added that, like bilingual services, the province should find marriage commissioners "willing to perform this function" instead of firing them.

Ok Maurice, I will bite. First, comparing sexual orientation to learned languages is sad and desperate, but such is the mind of the Maurice. Next, let's find a marriage commissioner who is bilingual and refuses to serve the public in one of Canada's official languages. There next action will be cleaning their desk since they no longer will be on payroll.

In a second press release Wednesday, Vellacott named the "two homosexuals that issued the complaint," but the MP said he did not see anything wrong with doing this. This is a public issue and marriage should be viewed as a public event, Vellacott said.

When did marriage suddenly become a "public event"? Whatever happened to the sanctity of the family? Oh right, it is only for families that Vellacott approves of? If marriage is a public event, doesn't the public have interest in making sure that its commissioners operate under the public definition of marriage?

Here is hoping that the people of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin get better representation next go around. They sure deserve it.


Why all the fuss?

The head of the Canadian army, not an enviable job given our machinery and manpower, caused a little stir this week with some tough talk. Gen. Rick Hillier, never one to mince words, called the enemy "detestable murderers and scumbags" and warned Canadians that the war on terror will likely result in our country sustaining causalities.

Hillier's words were directed solely at terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere and have received support from all major political parties (why this matters, I don't know, but such is Canada), including the Prime Minister. General Hillier is not only a top soldier, he is a soldier who has served in Afghanistan," Paul Martin said Friday in Nova Scotia.

I would think if there is one person in the country who knows the conditions on the ground and the mentality of the enemy; it is Canada's top solider. Why anyone seems to care that Maude Barlow disapproves of his language is beyond me. Ms. Barlow seems to think his strong words are un-Canadian, amongst other things. It makes sense to me that the leader of the army is preparing Canadians for body bags and it is not like he is describing the men's four without coxswain rowing team, these thugs are terrorizing the globe. Barlow should stick a sock in it and the General should continue to tell the truth.


The race is on and here comes pride in the backstretch

Hilary Clinton has launched a new, splashy and impressive website and Bill is out dropping hints that the Democrats need to win back Red America and Hillary could do that.

Apparently, they both are really worried about New York going red. That, or she is eyeing up another soon to vacant job.

FYI - Thanks to Hurricane Eye for providing the hawk eye on the web address, it is all better now.


The dust will clear

The NHL and the NHLPA are set to ratify a six year collective bargaining arrangement late next week and then hockey will have a new world order. In the hours and days following the announcement of a tentative settlement pundits have been speculated on which side got the better deal - players or owners. The majority of writers, fans and players believe that the owners cleaned up, but that declaration is likely way too premature.

First, the facts:

- A 24 per cent salary rollback on all existing contracts.

- The upper limit on the salary cap for 2005-06 will be $39 million US while the minimum floor will be at $21.5 million, based on projected revenues of $1.7 billion.

- Players salaries cannot - on a league-wide basis - take up more than 54 per cent of revenues; In ensuing years, the cap levels will be decided by the previous year's revenues.

- A percentage of salaries will be put into escrow until the new salary cap can be calculated at the end of each season.

- No player can earn more than 20 per cent of the team cap, which for 2005-06 means no player can earn more than $7.8 million. It is worth noting that one player was apparently grandfathered on this rule - Jaromir Jagr is slated, with the rollback, to make $8.36 M and there a reports that he not be asked for a further salary reduction.

- As of 2007-08, players - regardless of age - can become unrestricted free agents after seven years in the NHL, with the 2004-05 wiped-out season counting in the service time. That means any player who began his career in the NHL at the age of 18 can qualify for unrestricted free agency at 25. In the meantime, the age of unrestricted free agency will remain 31 this summer but will gradually be brought down to 27 by the end of 2007-2008 season.

- Revenue-sharing where the top 10 money-making clubs donate to a fund shared by the bottom 15 teams.

- The entry-level system will limit those players to $850,000 a year in salary (which it was 10 years ago) with bonuses not as easily reachable as the previous deal. The maximum possible amount in bonuses is $4.5 million although it's unrealistic for almost anyone to reach all the lofty targets. The age for draft eligibility will also be raised from 18 years to 19 years.

- Two-way salary arbitration. Both players and owners can select to go to arbitration, whereas only players had those rights in the previous deal. This will allow owners to downgrade underperforming players.

- The ability for teams to buy players out of their contracts at two thirds of their value at no cost towards the salary cap within 10 days after the CBA officially takes effect. This is meant to help teams fit under the cap but the clubs won't be able to re-sign those players. Unrestricted free agent signings would start at the end of that 10 day period - which is expected to be August 1.

- Teams will not be allowed to re-structure existing player contracts in an attempt to fit a big salary under the cap.

- League-wide minimum salary bumped up to $450,000 from $185,000. The minimum goes up to $500,000 in the sixth year of the deal.

- The league will play an unbalanced schedule. Teams will play their four divisional opponents a total of eight times for 32 games. Teams will play their 10 conference rivals a total of 4 times for 40 games. Teams will play a home-and-home against each team in one division of the other conference for a total of 10 games - grand total of 82 games.

- Participation in the February 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Now, the actual investigation of the deal can begin. At first blush it appears that the players got schooled during these negotiations, however, like everything there are two sides to every story. Pundits will point to the rollback, the salary cap, two-way arbitration and lower entry level salaries and think that the players got it bad. This, however, is probably a little naive and plenty harsh.

First, it is true that the salary rollback was a public relations gamble that did not payoff for the players (early on in the negotiations. Second, there was no way that hockey was ever going to resume without a salary cap and, frankly, there is no reason why there wasn't one sooner. The salary cap (combined with meaning revenue sharing - more on that later) has allowed all teams in the NFL and to a lesser extent the NBA to be competitive. There is even a maximum player salary.

First three goals - Owners.

This non-sense about the lack of a free market is utterly delusional. A true market would have unlimited franchises bidding on the services of players. The fact is there are only 30 teams and the NHL is an exclusive club. I can't, even if I was interested and had the funds, setup a franchise in Montreal to compete with the Canadians. In fact, think back to the fight over the possibility of adding Hamilton to the league and the impact that had on both Toronto and Buffalo. Unlike Terrance Cochrane of the National Post, I will not lay this blame at the feet of the NHLPA, but this is an owners issue.

Note to self - The Cochrane column is actually worth a post at a later date since it is littered with errors and half-truths. In fact, in reading the article one comes away with the distinct impression that unions are too blame for London bombings, AIDS in Africa and Michael Jackson enjoying freedom.

Third, at least that is where I think I left off, the idea of two-way arbitration is an actual progressive idea. It is impressive that the union agreed to it, in fact, contrary to the Cochrane article, the union is subjecting their players to performance based contracts. If a player performs well, a significant raise will likely be do, however, now, if he performs poorly that same player could see a reduction in salary.

Goalpost - this change will make little difference since owners had the option to walk away from contracts before and rarely took it.

Fourth, there is actually revenue sharing between the top 10 markets and the bottom 10 markets. This may not be perfect, but this will level the playing field. Now, this is where critics say if Edmonton can't compete with Detroit then they shouldn't be in the league, however, that would likely result in a 12 team league and I am sure that nobody would want to see that - players, owners or fans.

Goal - players.

Fifth, the buying out of contracts is a wash. Again, all major sports have this and so the addition plus the cap was inevitable. Plus, the inclusion of a drug policy with actual teeth. This will benefit both the sport and the individuals.


Sixth, the significant lowering of the age threshold for free agency. This is huge for players in a new era of capped salaries. Players will be able to control their own playing locale sooner in their careers, for many, this will occur in their prime.

Goal - players.

Seventh - a return to Olympics for 2006, and even though it isn't stated, 2010 in Vancouver. This is a win for both sides. The league gets needed exposure on major world networks during the biggest winter event and the players get to compete for a gold medal.


Eighth, an increase to the minimum salary. Even though it was listed at $180,000, there weren't that many guys making it, however, now the minimum threshold is $450,000. This should protect 4th guys, 7th defenseman and 3rd string goalies from getting the table scraps.

Goal - players, but it barely crosses the line.

Ninth, the complete redo of the entry level system. The system is reverting back to the resemble more the pre-1994 deal. Rookies will have a hard time collecting bonuses and their salary will start near a logical point. Plus, the draft age has moved and that is a victory for minor hockey. Junior teams may get to hold onto their players for an additional year.

Goal - owners.

Tenth, and final. The salary cap is tied to league revenues. The players (while not wanting a salary cap originally) wanted linkage and the got it. This can cut two ways: if revenues grow in future years, the salary cap will move upward in the players' favour, perhaps much higher than the $42.5-million hard cap offered by the league before the season was cancelled; but if the NHL gets hammered by the fallout from the lockout, the cap could be even lower than $39 million for the 2006-07 season.

Goalpost - it almost goes in, but there are still doubts about how much effort some teams will put in marketing the game. It is too bad because this should have been a player’s goal.


In the end, it appears that the owners come out ahead (although time will tell who is the actual winner), but only by a little margin. This, however, does not factor in the geographic advantage that franchises have over others and I think this will be huge in the years to come. Players, knowing their salary ranges and potential maximums, will be a lot savvier as to where they sign. Teams can't wildly out bid for the services of players and that will mean, as real estate agents say, location, location and location.

For example, there will be nothing stopping 4-5 friends from signing contracts with one team - say Ottawa - to want to join a couple of others, to win a Cup. Also, the fanbase for the franchise will be huge. Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, Minnesota, Philly, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, New York Rangers, Colorado, St Louis and Ottawa will enjoy an edge since they are hockey crazed markets. I would throw Chicago and Boston in there, however, their owners are write offs and the players know it.

Teams with nice climates - Florida, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix will appeal to families who want sun all year round. Dallas will do double duty since Texas offers no state income tax.

This leaves Atlanta, Nashville, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Islanders, Columbus and Carolina to fight for players with neither a hockey market to offer or weather that is particularly fantastic. Buffalo is a tweener. They have great fans, but it is Buffalo and you have to live there.

Also, the NHL and the PA, through a competition committee, have agreed to some significant rule changes that will open up the game, lead to more scoring chances and clean up the overall pace. The elimination of the redline was a wise move. This should mean that the on-ice product will be as good as it has been for years and this should help slowly win back fans. In baseball when they returned from their bitter work stoppage, they were in the throws of a home derby, all be it between guys clearly on the juice, but I digress. The NHL, may, see the return of 60 goal scorers!

Hockey has a lot of work ahead of itself rebuilding relationships with fans, sponsors and vendors, however, this should be made easier with a new collective agreement (one that should be the model for future negotiations) and some much needed rule changes.

Game on.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


What the phoque?

According to the CBC, a fishing guide from Campbell River, British Columbia has a real whopper of a tale to share after a fully grown harbour seal hopped onto his seven metre boat – and wouldn't leave.

Dave Manson was taking several fishermen through Discovery Passage on Tuesday when they spotted a lone, transient orca bull coming towards them. Unlike resident orcas, transients feed on seals instead of salmon. Which is probably why a harbour seal suddenly surfaced next to Manson's boat.

"He just peeks his head up and then he just, all at once, launches himself into the back end of the boat," Manson explained.

"His eyes were just huge, like saucers, and he was hyper-ventilating. "He wanted out of the water and he was going to take his chances with us rather than with the whale."

Manson wasn't sure what to do. "We were sitting there and there's not much room in the boat." Whenever Manson or his guests got close to the seal, it would snarl and bare his teeth.

Read a little more.


The Buzz in the Biz

This is going to be a permanent feature on Moldy and will feature short little hits on music, movies and all things celebrity.

- Catfight between Mariah "Nip Slip" Carey and a former friend. Long story short, the friend is claiming Carey is an ingrate and has forgot where she came from. Carey camp counters with the predictable no and proceed to go in detail how Mariah has loaned with no payment expected money (we call that a grant, but I digress), blah, blah.

- The Star (for what that is worth) claims Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will finally come clean. As per California law, they can't get married until September 24 - he is waiting for the ink to dry on his divorce. He divorced her again, why?

- The Williams sisters are hitting the small screen. ABC is set to run a new series called "Venus & Serena: For Real" on Wednesdays. Why does this photo look like a promo for White Chicks 2?

- Nicolas Cage is the star of the upcoming movie - Ghost Rider.

Friday, July 15, 2005


The world needs more Vespa

Gwyneth Paltrow makes it look good.


Stephen Baldwin update

Apparently Stephen Baldwin has found Jesus. The shocking part for all of us is that he wasn't in the Biodome with Pauly Shore.

Stephen Baldwin became a born-again two years ago. My favourite story he tells is when he went into the biggest Christian bookstore he could find - apparently some of them are pretty big (sic). And he went, "Hey man, what's up, guys? I'm a believer and show me all the really cool Christian stuff." And the Christian employees of that Christian bookstore started laughing. And I was like, "What's so funny?" And they were like, "Well, there is no really cool Christian stuff." And I sat there and I said, "That doesn't make much sense. There's Christian billionaires. Eighty percent of the country's Christian. Where's all the really cool Christian stuff?"

He also has combined skateboarding and God to create a Christian Skateboard Ministry. Pure and solid gold.

Read more - and there is much more.


Believe it when you see it

Canadian beef may finally be able to travel south although I sure they will need new papers. The United States is a funny country, they will take Celine Dion without question, but restrict access to our beef?

Canadian officials anticipate that trucks will roll next week to take cows south for he first time since in over 2 years - May, 2003.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns took immediate steps to reopen the border to Canadian cattle late Thursday after a federal appeals court dismissed arguments that imports could spread mad cow disease. American officials have already been in contact with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to prepare certifying cattle for shipment, said Mr. Johanns.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was released Thursday after a one-day hearing in Seattle, where an American ranchers' group argued Canadian cows are unsafe. The appeals court overturned a March ruling by Montana judge Richard Cebull, who sided with the protectionist group R-CALF and temporarily blocked the border from reopening as expected.

This battle is far from over. R-CALF and other protectionists which pretty much includes all Democratic Senators and all the Congress from either the Rocky Mountain or Great Plains region regardless of political affiliation, will be back fighting this soon. The case is likely to head back to court, at least twice.

In fact, Judge Cebull is holding his own hearing July 27 in his Billings basement where R-CALF will argue vigorously for a permanent ban on Canadian cattle and beef products. They will be using sound science like we are betterer than them and Canadian beef can't be safe since they live in frozen igloos. Also, there is absolutely no truth the rumour that R-CALF will be represented by Dan Fielding.


Martin contemplating not contemplating calling an election

South Beach Prime Minister Paul Martin is not thinking of allowing his minority Liberal government to fall soon to force an early election to take advantage of Liberal strength in the polls. Such reports are, apparently, relying on gossip, the uninformed and desperate MPs looking to score a cheap victory.

Some Liberals have speculated that given the party's healthy lead over the opposition Conservatives in public opinion polls, it might be worth allowing the government to fall in the autumn, which would trigger an election in late October or November.

Rest assure, not calling an election is his new number priority. Let him be perfectly clear.


Transformers - more than meets the eye

Thin Sandar, a chicken seller in Myanmar, always dreamed of being a man. When she inexplicably grew a penis last month, the 21-year-old treated it as an awe-inspiring omen - as have the thousands of stunned villagers who have traveled to a pagoda to see him / her.

Apparently, on the full moon day of June 21, she/ he noticed her/ his thing (sex organ) was not the same as before," Thin Sandar, who now goes by the male name Than Sein, told AFP. "And my breasts disappeared," Than Sein added. "So I called out and showed it all to my mom and dad. It was very strange."

Strange is defined as - Out of the ordinary; unusual or striking. Waking up with a penis and no boobs is called a Jackson.

Read more.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Merry Breastivus

Somepeople hang a university degree on their wall, not Jack Osbourne. He has a framed pair of breast implants on his bedroom wall - donated by Rod Stewart's daughter Kimberly. She recently had her implants removed over health fears and gave them to rocker Ozzy Osbourne's son as a gift.

Kimberly claims she even signed them before Jack proudly mounted them on his wall.

Ozzy, you done good.

Read more here.


Cuckoo, Cuckoo

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this, then I realized she was serious. Apparently, Canada should be more undemocratic and just do away with elections all together. Keith, you finally get to be Minister of Defence. Order those tanks!

The Prime Minister has 6 months to call a by-election and that is not likely to happen, but it will be due to the fact that a general election is right around the corner, not as last gasp at power. The window of opportunity for an election in 2005 has closed.

From the Toronto Star - Editorial, July 12:

To suggest the best way for Prime Minister Paul Martin to honour Chuck Cadman's memory would be to call a by-election quickly is to make his courageous effort to get to Ottawa on May 19 a waste of whatever strength he had remaining.

Historically, Surrey North elects representatives who are right of centre. In this case, it will most logically elect a Conservative. That Conservative will vote quite opposite to the way Cadman voted should there be another non-confidence motion. Fundamentally, representatives in a party-based system such as ours do not break ranks on matters of confidence. The vote of confidence was decided by independents, of which Cadman was one. No one breaks rank with his or her party on confidence motions, else that politician is immediately cast out . Only a truly elected independent, such as Cadman, can purely and completely vote the way a majority of his riding wants him to, once he's fairly sure he has a true picture of their wishes.

Cadman's constituents did not want to go to the polls this spring. It's probably safe to say, that feeling hasn't changed in the last two months. Cadman has chosen, I'm sure, competent staff for his constituency who mirror his attitudes and beliefs and who will continue to deal with constituents' cases efficiently and sympathetically. Also, Cadman's constituents very clearly were concerned about the expense of an early election which would probably not have dramatically changed the composition of the House. A single by-election would cost at least $250,000 only to be re-run less than a year from now.

If Martin truly wants to honour the memory of Chuck Cadman, who went to superhuman lengths to cast a vote against a precipitous election, he will ensure Cadman's staff has the backup required to continue to serve the constituents of Surrey North in a manner to which they are accustomed. And he will honour Cadman's last wishes rather than "move quickly" to call a by-election.

Carolyn Parrish, Independent MP, Mississauga-Erindale


Rev. Lovejoy would do backflips

A basketball arena that once packed fans to see the NBA's Houston Rockets is about to take on a new role — home to the largest congregation in the United States. Lakewood Church (in Houston), led by televangelist and best-selling author Joel Osteen, has grown so much in recent years that this weekend it will expand into a new building: the former Compaq Center.

Lakewood, a non-denominational Christian church, recently became the first congregation in the United States with an average weekly attendance of more than 30,000 for its services — and had an average attendance of 32,500 in the first quarter of this year, said John Vaughan of Church Growth Today, an organization that studies megachurches, based in Bolivar, Mo. So, it is official, the Expos were being outdrawn by a non-denominational Christian church. How sad.

Now the Lakewood Church Central Campus will seat 16,000 people, about twice the capacity of its current sanctuary, with parking spaces outside for 8,000 vehicles.

With more elbow room, Lakewood will now reduce its weekend English language services from four to three, though it will continue a weekly Spanish language service.

Critics have sometimes taken Osteen to task for downplaying the sinful nature of humanity and the need for repentance. An article this week in the liberal Protestant magazine The Christian Century calls Osteen an "easy theological target" who turns the language of the Scriptures "into a vague religiosity, or into more digestible categories of self-help and self-improvement."

Lakewood, which first opened in an abandoned Houston feed store in 1959, has grown almost fivefold since Osteen took over the church in 1999, shortly before the death of his father, former pastor John Osteen.

The facility, which took 15 months and about $75 million to complete, features two waterfalls, three gargantuan television screens and a lighting system that rivals those found at rock concerts. No truth to the rumour that Stryper will be playing the opening.

There are two choir lofts with 12 rows of rich purple pews sit between the waterfalls, accented by live foliage. Along with classrooms, the addition includes a chapel, a baptismal area, meeting space for young adults and an entire floor dedicated to the church's television broadcast efforts.

Absent, however, is a cross, an image of God or Jesus Christ or any other traditional religious symbols. Osteen said his father never displayed such symbols and he simply continued the tradition. Instead, the new location will feature a larger version of the church's trademark globe, rotating slowly behind Osteen as he preaches.

As big as the Compaq Center was, it wasn't big enough, and five stories were added on. "Obviously, we needed more room and that is kind of funny," Lakewood spokesman Don Iloff said.

Osteen is viewed by more people than any preacher in the United States, reaching 95% of all households, according to Nielsen Media Research. He is seen nationwide on cable networks including Daystar, USA, Discovery, ABC Family, PAX and Black Entertainment Television. He is also seen in more than 100 countries.

His book, "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living Your Full Potential" has sold almost 3 million copies and has been on The New York Times' best seller list since its October release. The book was so successful that the 42-year-old pastor — who did not go to seminary and never preached a sermon until a week before his father's death — refused his six-figure church salary this year.

Osteen and his wife, Victoria, said the church's new location, in the heart of the city, will lend itself to even more growth, noting that an estimated 180,000 cars pass by each day. The pastor's vision is to one day preach to 100,000 people each weekend, and Vaughan believes the church will be packed from the start.

Saturday's opening, scheduled to be televised live on Daystar, will feature a short address from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a televised message from former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

Osteen has said that when a church reaches 80% capacity it's time to start looking for a new place. But where do you go when you're already holding services in a converted basketball arena? One day, joked Osteen's sister, Lisa Comes, "Joel will say 'Well, I guess we've got to move to the (60,000 seat) Astrodome now.'"