Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Halloween

Trick and Treat.

FYI - There is a college website detailing the hidden sexual meaning of costumes.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


That's hot!

Courtesy of the Gallery of the Absurd.

Carl's Jr would be proud.


When coyote arm is not enough!

If you have to do the "walk of shame" at least you will be clean! No matter what the reason.

Shame on you kit™
1 toothbrush (and toothpaste)
1 panty (one size fits all thong)
3 condoms
1 "emergency" phone card
1 packet of pain reliever
1 "leave behind" note

Order here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Harriet! Har-ee-et. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis.

Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice today in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.



Seperated at birth....

.... is it just me or do Paul "Inkless" Wells and Kenny Chesney not look eerily similar. I can't confirm whether Macleans would allow Paul to wear a Stetson to work.


Is Pat Robertson the leader of Iran?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged that Israel be "wiped off the map." These comments are a little, hum, worrying because of Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Can you spell Gulf War the Sequel? Wasn't Iran always the bigger threat in the region? Oh right, they don't have large pools of oil.

I can see it now - President Bush urges all Americans to take back cans and bottles to pay for expanded war on terror.

You will remember that Pat called for the elimination of the President of Venezuela due to his strong-arm dictator tendencies. Pat, a close colleague of President Bush, also once ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of the Republican Party.


What would you do with $54 million?

....the answer to that question will no longer be fiction for some lucky person / people in western Canada.

5 11 20 30 37 43 just made someone in Alberta a little richer. Can I have their $400 Ralph rebate?


Arms and Dangerous

A Woodford County teenager is being labeled sexual dangerous by the State of Illinois. She's also the first female in the state with that designation. 17-year old Tammy Wheeler of Eureka has been designated “sexually dangerous” after being charged with fondling two young boys earlier this year.

According to Woodford County Court documents Wheeler admitted to fondling other children before that incident. The documents say she suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder from physical and sexual abuse in her childhood, and has uncontrollable sexual urges.

Read full story.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Guilty until proven innocent

Maybe Brian Pallister can step down from his throne now and issue an apology to David Dingwall.

Pallister maybe right to question the travel and policy guidelines at the Mint, but should be careful since the same rules should be questioned for MPs and that is a bit of Pandora’s box.

An independent audit from PricewaterhouseCoopers found the expenses fell within the guidelines, but it added that judging those guidelines wasn't part of its mandate.
The report backed the claims of David Dingwall, who said there was nothing improper in his office spending during his tenure as the president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.

Even his purchase of the infamous pack of gum was allowed. Why? The money allegedly spent on chewing gum was covered under the allowable $20/day incidental expenses. So basically if Dingwall wanted to have a shirt ironed, tip a bellman or buy gum, he was justified.

Pallister is also way out of line questioning why Dingwell took a *large* amount of money out his personal account from a hotel with a massage parlour. That is a personal matter and of no business to anyone but Dingwell. That issue sounds a little christen preacher - later caught with a escort - to me.

Maybe now Parliament can now get back to real business and tackle issues that matter to Canadians. Jeffrey Simpson is right, it is to easy for MPs and the Press to pursue $1.29 matters instead of debating the matter of policy or billion dollar programs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


*Star candidate*

Please be careful with the term.

The Liberals have landed former North of 60 actress Tina Keeper to run in Churchill, Manitoba. What is next the federal NDP recruting the Canadian Tire guy - Ted Simonett?

If the NDP need to find him, check this blog.

Rumour has it he is contractually bound to keep the vaguely homo-erotic beard, as well. He could pack a great one-two punch with Musty Layton.

I will start with you!


Caption it

I wonder if she likes french pastries?

Why do all her grey suits look like Dr.Evil's suits?


Rider Slide

Why could my parents not have raised me in Manitoba? That way I wouldn’t care about the annual green slide that is Rider Pride. Can one entity be more of an enigma? I am not sure where to start. Danny Barrett? Roy Shivers? Gainer? The Riders are a colossal disappointment.

I just wish that the University of Saskatchewan Huskies would go pro and the province could be treated to some consistent football.

Good luck on the cross-over, if you get there.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Crystal Mess

I thought this was a joke at first maybe something one would read on the Onion, but nope it is 100% legit. A woman in Biggar, Saskatchewan has filed a negligence lawsuit against her drug dealer.

Sandy Bergen, a recovering crystal meth addict says she thought she had kicked the habit until a relapse in May 2004. But she alleges that it was her dealer who forced that relapse because he did the drug in front of her only days before Bergen was to testify in a sexual assault trial and she was unable to resist.

The woman hopes the lawsuit sends a message to dealers - you are reponsible for my actions. This better not even see the light of a courthouse. Even Ross Rebagliati came up with a better excuse than this.

Read the full story here.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Welcome Home Raymond

It appears that BUMF's Bruins have decided to bring home on their all-time greats. Ray Bourque, one of the best defensemen ever in the NHL, looks to be joining Mike Sullivan's coaching staff.

Bourque is joining the trend of recent all-stars, Gretzky, Roy, etc.., to head behind the bench and try to teach the young guns of today how to win at a high level.


Money talks.....

.... and it is dirty.

It might be back to the greeting line for the granddaughter of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton, Elizabeth Paige Laurie. Laurie claimed to be University of Southern California graduate but that story has unravelled. Her roommate recently alleged the Wal-Mart heiress paid her $20,000 to do her homework. The USC Annenberga School had given Laurie a bachelor’s degree for Communication in May 2004.

Laurie, has returned her degree, nearly a year after Elena Martinez told ABC's 20/20 she wrote term papers and did assignments for Laurie for 3 1/2 years.

"Paige Laurie voluntarily has surrendered her degree and returned her diploma to the university. She is not a graduate of USC," the school said in a statement issued Sept. 30. "This concludes the university's review of the allegations concerning Ms. Laurie."

Give me a squiggle!

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Top excuses when caught looking at porn

2. I was actually trying to find Armand know, from high school.

The rest are here.


Why lie? - Brutal Personals

Courtesy of Double Viking

I’m an overweight, middle-aged underachiever. The skull tattoos on my arms complement my wardrobe, which I call rural proletarian. I sleep on the floor in a sparsely furnished apartment. I urinate frequently and pick my nose. I’m embarrassed that I own a Bible. After a tragic foray into Santeria, I’ve incurred crushing debt.

Can be summed up simply: brief digital, extended oral, premature genital. I have herpes.


Top 100 Toys of 70s and 80s

Are you kidding me that there is no Lite Brite or Lego. Who was voting for these toys?

Read the full list here. There are, however, some gems that I totally forgot about. I am sure that all are selling on eBay.

I have always had this idea that the View Master would have been a great addition to the urinals in men’s washrooms. Stand there, see visions of nature and things and not worry about the akward space.


Pour un Québec lucide

Kudos to Lucien Bouchard - did I say that out loud - and the rest of the gang on the "Clear Eyes" project. It is refreshing to see ex-politicians put aside their political differences to weigh in on the future of a province.

The group has produced a ten-page manifesto with a series of recommendations to take the province forward in the next half century. A close read of the document and one is impressed with the straightforward vision articulated. Quebec is a fantastic province but it is in real danger of losing not only its distinct culture, but also risks serious economic problems if it doesn’t change.

The group points out, and rightfully so, some interesting observations.

Social discourse in Québec today is dominated by pressure groups of all kinds,
including the big unions, which have monopolized the label “progressive” to better resist any changes imposed by the new order. The labour union movement can be a positive and responsible force, as it has proven many times by promoting the values of sharing, social justice and democracy. Judging by the way some labour leaders behave today, especially in the public sector, is union action not often limited to the shortsighted protection of members’ interests? If the joint action that characterizes our model is to be productive, it must be based on commonly accepted facts, genuine dialogue and a collective assuming of responsibility.

This isn’t an anti-union comment, but rather an admission of the truth. Progressives don't always resist change/ In fact, most are out ahead finding and creating the space to enact it.

The majority of Quebeckers have grown complacent with their situation and resisted substantial change because they find it comfortable. They work less than other North Americans; they retire earlier, they benefit from more generous social programs; both individually and collectively, their credit cards are maxed out. This is all well and good, but who is going to pay the bills? Quebec will soon be on the verge - similar to Saskatchewan post-Devine - to being at the mercy of New York creditors. Does a province really want its fiscal policy set by Wall Street?

There are however, ways to address these issues. The group highlights several key areas where Quebec could improve. Lower taxes, less government involvement, more public investment in education and training to name a few, however, the most interesting one is the call for the elimination of the tuition freeze.

Quebec residents have enjoyed a university tuition freeze (and free college tuition) for more than a decade and as a result public institutions are decaying and the quality is suffering. The system is no more accessible than any other province although that is definitely the perception. The province's education inequalities start long before university entrance. Too many youth dropout of high school and this is even starker for francophone males.

This isn’t a post for high fees and high debt, but rather a realization that there is better, more equitable way to assist all students. The Quebec student aid system, well providing the most grants in the country (although a good portion of the aid comes from the Government of Canada), is also the hardest to qualify for and has the shortest window of qualification. In short, those who get it - get plenty, but good luck getting it.

Eliminating the tuition freeze and allowing fees to liberalize is good public policy. Any fee increase should be done in tandem with a liberalized student aid system where those from low-income families get most of their aid in non-repayable form. Tuition fee freezes do nothing to improve access and actually punish future cohorts of students by shifting fee increases to them.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Another reason...

.. to loathe the Toronto Maple Leafs amd more importantly forward Darcy Tucker. The loser actually finds pranks like hockey players stripping naked in the bathroom of a bus "amusing."

Toronto's Darcy Tucker thought Moe Mantha's suspension was too severe. Tucker, 30, offered the lighter side of hazing when asked about the OHL's suspension of Windsor Spitfires general manager and head coach Moe Mantha. Mantha was slapped with a season-long suspension (as GM) and 25 games (as head coach) following a league investigation into a hazing incident on the team bus.

"I don't find the punishment fit the crime," said Tucker, who don't find the punishment fit the crime," said Tucker, who played junior hockey with the WHL Kamloops Blazers. "Things happen at the back of the bus the coach never knows about. It just happens - it's part of being a rookie."

"There are some things that are off-limits, that's the way it should be," Tucker said. "Putting a few guys in the washroom, I find it actually quite amusing."

Tucker's attitude is part of the reason why hockey players are thought of as dumb slugs and many individuals detest hockey culture. It is refreshing to hear folks like Wayne Gretzky speak out about hazing and the fact that it has no place in the game.


End of the road

A tip of the cap to arguably the best professional baseball player ever to be produced by Canada. Larry Walker, the pride of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, is set to retire after the St Louis Cardinals loss to the Houston Astros.

If Walker does walk away from the game after 16 great seasons (the recent ones injury filled), he will be missed.

Best memory - the All-Star Game helmet on backwards versus Randy Johnson.

So long Larry.


Right hand meet left hand

Almost 100,000 households in Saskatchewan will be eligible for a federal cash payment to help cope with rising energy costs. The Government of Canada's program, which was announced earlier in the month, provides a cheque to low-income families and seniors. Federal officials say all families that receive the National Child Benefit will get a cheque for $250.

Meanwhile, with Saskatchewan's natural gas rates on the rise, millions of extra dollars will be flowing back to Ottawa. SaskEnergy has applied for a 41 per cent increase that would take effect in November. If the rates are approved, the extra GST revenue for Ottawa would be roughly $13 million over 12 months.

One step forward, two steps back.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Buzz in the Biz - Just Friends Edition

I'd like to be cowboys from Texas or pimps from Oakland but it's not Hallowe'en. Stop messing around; Peter Pan, Count Chocula.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Jeff Martin quits The Tea Party....

... to lead the new Doors. No, that isn't quite what is happening, but Martin is leaving the Canadian band to pursue other interests.

The Tea Party had a few good songs, but hung on way too long.


Your fired - I quit

The federal New Democratic Party is losing one of its 19 seats in the House of Commons, with MP Bev Desjarlais saying she'll start sitting as an Independent. This isn't a total shock since she lost the NDP nomination battle over the weekend in her Manitoba riding of Churchill. Niki Ashton, the 24-year-old daughter of provincial cabinet minister Steve Ashton, will represent the party when the next federal election campaign begins.

It is rare that anyone challenges a sitting MP / MLA / MPP / MNA, however, Desjarlais was on the wrong side of the same-sex marriage debate and as a result there were not one, but three challengers in her riding.

The people of Churchill will still have a chance to vote for her as an Independent in the next election or Paul Martin will convince her to join the big tent Liberal party??

Read the full story - although the Coles notes version is all that matters.


A classic redone - The Shining - as it was meant to be

The story of a stifled writer, his baffled wife, and the little boy who comes along and changes everything. Guaranteed to pull on your heart strings OR is it?

Watch the trailor here.


Party Pooper..

..thee name is Pujols.

It would have been nice to have seen Houston celebrate, maybe next time with Oswalt on the hill? Or Clemons in Game 7?

Monday, October 17, 2005


Coffey is going up

The Edmonton Oilers are set to retire Hall of Famer Paul Coffey's No. 7 jersey in ceremony Tuesday when Wayne Gretzky's Coyotes visit. The Oilers are a classy organization who are rewarding the great Oiler teams of the 1980s.

Can Lee Fogilin's number 2 be far behind? What about Jaroslav Pouzar's number 20?

Also, Buffalo has announced that Pat LaFontaine and Danny Gare will have their respective numbers raised to the rafters later this year. This follows an announcement from Montreal to lift an additional three jerseys this year. It is hard to believe that Yvan Cournoyer won 10 Stanley Cups and they are just getting around to this now.


Forest through the trees

It is only one candidate and it is likely in a riding that is solidly Liberal, but the federal NDP seem to have landed themselves a true economic voice. Paul Summerville, who has worked in Toronto as chief economist for RBC Dominion and spent more than a dozen years as an investment analyst in Japan, says only the federal NDP realizes strong cities, health care and education are the keys to attracting economic growth. As a result, he is prepared to carry the party colours in the next federal election.

Summerville joins Jim Stanford as one of the few progressive economists that understand the future for Canada isn't in whining and pandering to unions, corporations or other stakeholders. The future lies in achieving a competitive advantage and sometimes that can be sustained through public investment.

Read Paul's bio.

Read the story.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Canada's political cliques

In the September 30, 2005 edition of the National Post (there would be a link except the national papers are jerks and require pay subscriptions for that), the paper ran highlights of a Dominion Institute and Innovative Research Group poll examining how Canadian's political views can be catorgized into five main groups. The piece was part of a weeklong series examining the future of Conservatism in Canada.

The instalment in question sheds some light on why the Conservative Party of Canada is struggling to connect with the majority of Canadians. Less than one in five Canadians were identified as "Traditional Conservatives." This is the group that the Reform, Alliance and Conservative Parties have constantly courted and never really paid anything more than lip service to any other interested cliques - to be examined later.

Traditional Conservatives (17% of respondents) are defined as: Socially conservative, strongly believe that the traditional family suffers when women work (although they are often the biggest boosters of capitalism where everything is consume, consume and more consumption which usually requires two incomes to afford today's toys), and also feel strongly that same-sex relationships are morally wrong.

This groups is unlikely to believe government should set community moral standards and feel that all prosper when business prospers and don't like red tape. This group is split on whether government should live within its means. They tend to include a significant minority - one-third - who believe a key role of government is to redistribute wealth. This group is strongest in western Canada, particularly the rural areas and large parts of Southern Alberta.

“Traditional Conservatives”, when successful, reach out to Responsible Capitalists (19%). The Traditionalists have largely shunned this group in recent years. "Responsible Capitalists" are Blue Liberals - the future supports of former Finance Minister and future Liberal leadership candidate John Manley. They are friendly to business, but not blindly loyal. Believing that business regulation is necessary and that government should spend on the public's ability to pay.

"Responsible Capitalists" are almost all pro-environment, with more than two-thirds picking the environment over the economy. This group tends to be older, richer and more male than average. The prime example here is the B.C. conservative (provincially Liberal). This group is fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. They get scared when folks continuously debate Abortion over Research and Development or Capital Gains.

The "Show Me Left" (19%) is the other group that the Conservative party could potentially cherry pick support from. This group tends to be overwhelmingly female and want an active government, but are sceptical of business, government and some people that the social safety net is intended for. They are likely to agree that people who don't get ahead should blame themselves, not the system. They are religious, but are socially liberal.

The two other groups are where the 3 remaining federal political parties draw their support. The Social Democrats (25%) and the "Small "l" Liberals" (21%) are where the Liberal Party of Canada, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP get significant support.

"Social Democrats" believe a key role of government is to redistribute wealth and want government to keep a firm hand on business. This group is socially liberal and moderately environmentalist. They tend to be younger and include more than one-third of Quebec. This group is a write off for the Conservatives.

"The Small "l" Liberals" are smack in the middle of the political spectrum, but have plenty in common with their cousins on the left. They reject wealth redistribution, but are keen to see government spending based on need. They are sceptical of business, want to regulate corporate power and support environmental concerns over economic ones by a factor of two-to-one. This includes one quarter of Ontarians. This group shares some concerns with the Conservatives and may slip over to that side in the ballot box given the right leader and set of policies.

The Canadian political landscape actually shows that the Conservative Party of Canada and Conservatism have a future in the country. The key is for the movement to broaden its appeal by talking to the masses not the converts. Recent announcements targeting middle-income tax relief are a good start. Reaching out the working, blue-collar worker has proven widely successful for the Republicans in the United States.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Liquor monopolies: Why it is time to end public ownership

The selection of the new Martini sipper seems like a great time to visit one of the topics that has been sitting in the Moldy draft box for a long time - Privatizing liquor stores.

There was a recent piece published by the Montreal Economic Institute (a mini-version of the Fraser Institute) that warrants a closer look. The Institute examined three jurisdictions in Canada - Alberta, Ontario and Quebec and concluded the Alberta model was best - both for the consumer and government. It is important to examine the paper and analysis the facts before readers dismiss the paper as right-wing rhetoric.

The Institute examined eight key areas to allow them to make their conclusions. Each one of the areas deserves some column space.

Alcohol is not just another good

This argument is common whenever the issue of privatization comes up — for two main reasons. First, alcohol is not just another product because it presents health risks, according to a common line of reasoning that often comes with a long list of diseases related to alcohol consumption. “Alcohol is not just another consumer product. It contributes to a wide range of health and social problems... such as liver cirrhosis, cancers and addiction.”

There are plenty of products that are sold by the private sector that aren’t good for you and the government doesn’t need to nationalize those industries. For example, should the government gut in the business of making guns (given the past history with the disastrous gun registry, the question needs no answer).

Also, this rationale is interesting given the recent BC Supreme Court decision to allow governments to sue tobacco companies to knowingly selling harmful products. I wonder if a Health Department is prepared to sue the Liquor and Gaming Department?

Moreover, this medical argument is even less pertinent, because the harmful nature of alcohol consumption is not clearly recognized even within the medical profession, particularly when consumption remains moderate. For example, many studies show that moderate consumption, at least of wine, can actual assist your health. Even if there are health risks, consumers make rationale decisions to purchase the product and assume the risks and rewards.

Alcohol consumption creates externalities or social costs

Alcoholics are said to be less productive and thus to represent a cost for society. This reasoning is often used to show the economic costs to society caused by alcohol consumption. Although real, these costs are incurred in the private market by individuals themselves. People who are less productive or often absent would normally receive lower remuneration, meaning that neither employers nor society as a whole would have to cover the full cost of their irresponsible behaviour. But even if drinking were the cause of such declines in productivity, the fact that a government monopoly sold the drinks hardly eliminates the phenomenon of abusive drinking.

A government monopoly keeps fraud and contraband away

Fraud and the bootlegging have long plagued the liquor industry. Who owns the stores seems to have little impact on this, but rather the real issue is the level of taxation. This is part of the reason why cigarette taxes fluctuate when there are high reported incidences of native contraband in Ontario and Quebec.

The monopoly is an important source of government revenue

This argument doesn't seem to hold. Alberta appears to return as much money to their treasure without owning the stores as the two other provinces in question.

Table 1 - Provincial dividends from alcohol sales in 2002-03

1.Sales volume of absolute alcohol(thousands of litres)
2.Dividends from alcohol sales (thousands of $)
3.Dividend per litre of absolute alcohol sold

SAQ - QC 23,051 540,000 $23.43 / litre
LCBO -ON 41,629 975,000 $23.42 / litre
Alberta 21,432 520,667 $24.27 / litre

Number of stores

The number of stores selling liquor in Alberta spiked considerable after legislation was passed to privatize operations. In fact, the number of stores per 100,000 inhabitants over 15 in Alberta is 42. In the other two jurisdictions, it is no better than one-third of that - Quebec (13) and Ontario (8).

The number of stores does two things: creates additional employment and spurs sales competition. On the employment front, Alberta had 950 liquor board workers before privatization and that number shot up to almost 3,000 after privatization. Now, this is only tells one part of the story.

The move to a private ownership model definitely meant the creation of more jobs, however, they are much more likely to be low paying jobs with little or no benefits. These jobs are also far more likely to go to younger, transient workers rather than individuals in career mode. Also, the old public sector jobs were unionized, well-paid and had secure benefits. The real question is whether it is the job of the government to protect 950 well paying jobs and allow for an additional 2,000 to be created?

Product selection and quality of service

With greater choice, each consumer is better able to find something he or she wants. However, a broader range also creates additional costs in storage, inventory, management of in-store sales space, and so on. The same is true of customer service. Better trained sales staffs are able to give better advice to customers, but this also has a cost that customers may or may not be willing to pay and may or may not want. In a market setting, private entrepreneurs are the decision-makers who continuously watch what consumers want. This is what their profit depends on. They are better able than anybody to offer product diversity and service levels based on costs that consumers are prepared to cover. Unlike public sector monopolies, private
entrepreneurs satisfy all market niches by diversifying.

The number of different products available in Alberta liquor stores in 2004 was just over 11,500 compared to fewer than 3,500 in Ontario and nearly 7,200 in Quebec. In fact, the number of products available in Alberta has increased almost ten fold since privatization.

Beverage Prices

It isn't automatic, but 9 times out 10, alcohol is cheaper in Alberta than in neighbouring provinces. In fact, the report found that Alberta was 20% cheaper than Quebec and almost 40% cheaper than Ontario on various products. It appears the more expensive the product in public store, the greater the variance in Alberta.

Volume of Sales
One would assume that with a flood of new stores and potentially loose rules (selling to minors) those sales would be way up in Alberta. This is, however, not the pattern. The jurisdiction enjoying the largest growth in alcohol consumption is by far Quebec.

It appears that nearly 20 percent of Ontario liquor sales are coming from the black market and that is not good for taxation purposes.


Various Canadian governments have studied the idea of full privatization of liquor stores and all have pulled back at the last minute - many despite recommendations to the contrary. The evidence seems to be in favour of not just privatization, but also liberalization of sales. For example, why 7-11, ESSO or Superstore can not sell the liquor within in their four walls is beyond me. Finally, all provinces need to do a better job of loosening beverage laws in restaurants and bars. Consumers should be allowed to bring their own wine, leave with product corked and bars should not have preset hours of operation.

Agree or disagree, comments welcome.

Friday, October 14, 2005


The tale of two economies - someone tell Bush the arrows should go up, not down

United States

The United States trade deficit widened 1.8% in August to its third-highest level on record as oil import prices hit a new high and imports of textiles and other goods from China set a record.

The August trade gap totaled $59 billion, slightly below a median $59.5 billion estimated by economists before the report. Record imports of $167.2 billion easily overwhelmed record exports of $108.2 billion.

Oil import prices increased for the third consecutive month to a record $52.65 a barrel, lifting imports from OPEC countries to a record $11.9 billion. Overall crude oil imports were $17.2 billion in August, also a record.

The report showed little impact from Hurricane Katrina, which forced the temporary closure of the Port of New Orleans after it hit on Aug. 29. The Commerce Department will publish preliminary September trade data on Oct. 21 for Gulf ports.

On the employment front, however, the story is different. The number of people who have lost their jobs because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita jumped to 438,000 last week as the economic shockwaves from the nation's costliest natural disaster continued to be felt six weeks after Katrina hit. The United States Labor Department reported that an additional 75,000 hurricane-related claims were filed last week.

On the home front, the news is starting to turn sour. Rates on 30-year mortgages rose for a fifth consecutive week, topping 6% for the first time since March as financial markets continued to worry about inflation. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the nationwide average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose this week to 6.03%, the first time the rate has been above 6% since it hit 6.04% in the last week in March. It was 5.98% last week.

Analysts said that the surge in energy costs following hurricane-related production shutdowns along the Gulf Coast has sparked fears in financial markets of higher inflation.

"The most likely pattern is for mortgage rates to gradually rise over time. It is likely that they'll hover at 6% or just a bit over," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac. He added that "will translate into somewhat weaker demand for housing, lower home sales volume and lower house price growth."


Canada's merchandise exports to the world increased for the sixth time in the last eight months in August, thanks in large part to soaring natural gas prices.

Energy imports also jumped to reach a record high of $3.0 billion as demand for gasoline peaked in August.

In total, Canadian companies exported merchandise worth nearly $38.0 billion, a 1.5% increase from July. On the other hand, imports slipped 0.4% to just over $32.4 billion as the rise in energy imports failed to offset declines in all other sectors.

That left Canada's trade surplus with the world at nearly $5.6 billion, up from a revised $4.9 billion in July. The trade surplus with the United States rose to nearly $8.9 billion while the trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed to $3.3 billion.

On the employment front, the numbers are moving in the right direction despite a strong dollar and weakened manufactoring sector. There is by no means equity across the country as Alberta, BC and most parts in the west are fuelling the growth, but they are moving the national numbers.

Employment was unchanged in September, leaving total gains during the third quarter at 31,000 (+0.2%). This was lower than the second quarter job growth of 0.5% (+79,000). The unemployment rate remained among the lowest in almost three decades, edging down 0.1 percentage points in September to 6.7%.

All of the 135,000 (+0.8%) job gains observed so far in 2005 have been in full-time employment and the number of hours worked over the same nine-month period has increased by 0.9%. On average, Canadians worked 33.4 hours per week in September, up nearly one-half hour compared to two years ago when hours worked started its upward trend.

Average hourly wages of employees have risen by 3.8% over the past 12 months, with the sharpest increases in natural resources and in professional, scientific and technical services. In comparison, the year-over-year increase for all goods and services in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket was 2.6% in August.

On the home front, new housing prices climbed 0.4% compared to July, while the 12-month rate of increase slipped to 4.6% from 4.7% in July.

An active market for new housing, along with higher prices for building materials and labour, continued to elevate prices at the national level. Land value increases were a contributing factor in 10 of the 21 metropolitan areas surveyed. Land shortages were specified in Hamilton and Victoria.

According to the New Housing Price Index (which is based on contractors' selling prices of new homes in 21 metropolitan areas), the price of new homes rose 0.4% on a monthly basis, up from the 0.2% increase in July.

Also, contractors took out their highest level of building permits on record in August as investment intentions by governments and businesses went through the roof.

Municipalities issued a record $5.4 billion in building permits, a 10.2% increase from July. It broke the previous monthly record of $5.3 billion set in June 2004.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Selling ice to Eskimos...or

PQ candidates fighting to save French in Quebec. It is one and the same. Imagine my surprise when I read this header on a recent visit to CBC Montreal . Let's try to see if we can deconstruct the thoughts of the leadership hopefuls.

Leadership frontrunner André Boisclair says that if elected, he would pour more money into the language police. Funny, I wasn't aware that the province needed another infusion of cash into the sinkhole. What would he propose - a team of Inspector Clouseau's sneaking around the halls of business in la belle province?

Yesterday's women Pauline Marois says incentives, such as business tax credits, could ensure employers always use French in the workplace instead of English. If the Government of Quebec gives business anymore tax credits and breaks, there will be no enterprise left paying tax. The highest personal income taxes in North America are in danger of getting a little higher.

The rationale thinking is reserved for the real long-shots in the race. Jean-Claude St-André says even though Bill 101 has been in place for a quarter century, most immigrants still prefer to learn English. Interesting, that would have nothing to do with where they are immigrating from or the fact that English is the universal language of commerce? He is, however, right on one thing saying a sovereign Quebec could correct that without having to answer to the Canadian Charter of Rights.

Jean Charest still has my vote. In fact, the Liberals could run a chair in my riding and I would still vote for it - as long as it was a leather one!


The Top 10 Bad Ass Mofos in Sports History

This list is crap - not a single hockey player. Where is Dave Semenko? Tiger Williams? Ted Green? The list is a scandal wrapped in a joke.

There is, however, an actual good example:

Jack Lambert - Ever wonder who said those famous words, "Quarterbacks should wear dresses"? That was Jack Lambert. The famous Sports Illustrated cover photo of Lambert without his front teeth said it all. This was the toughest guy in football.

Lambert was so mean that, when the Steelers missed a field goal against Dallas and one of the Cowboys decided to gloat about the miss, Lambert slammed him to the ground. He would lurk over the center and stare at the QB like a wolf ready to pounce. He had a particular taste for Cleveland Browns QB Brian Sipe, who Lambert hit so hard, so late, so many times, Pete Rozelle had to call him in for a meeting. "Brian has a chance to go out of bounds and he decides not to," Lambert said later. "He knows I'm going to hit him. And I do. History."

In a sport where tough linebackers are the rule, Lambert is in a class by himself. The four Super Bowls, the ability to dominate on a defense full of dominators. And those missing front teeth, which prompted the nickname "Dracula." Can't get more Bad Ass than that.

Vote for your choices
and see the other weak names.


The Quest for a million

In August, Air Canada announced a promotion for unlimited travel in continental North America during October and November for $3500 per month. It seemed like an unrealistic amount of money for what you get, but someone has found a challenge in it.

Like Barry Egan (Sandler) in Punch Drunk Love with his Healthy Choice pudding, a gentleman from the West coast is attempting to log 1 million miles over the next 2 months. I hope he makes it and enjoys his Super Elite Status and mega rewards over the coming months.

Good luck to him. I hope they change the movies and en Route's for him.

Read his progress here.


The Buzz in the Biz

Gilmore Girl likes her Old Spice.

Paris gets another boot.

Robbie Williams would like to be Robin.

Al Pacino needs your help!

Jude Law and Sienna Miller deserve each other. She sleeps with the new Bond and he the nanny - isn't there a script in there?

Rachel Hunter should call Al Pacino.

Don't touch Stampy!!

Vince Vaughn is back on Team Aniston, literally?

Tommy Lee, the 2nd member of the Crue, injured on stage. Apparently the drugs don't work.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Sponsorship hits new heights, literally.

View more here.


It pays to wait!

iPod just will not stop! First it played songs. Then photos. Then podcasts. Now iPod plays video. Those looking for Christmas gift ideas, look no further.

The lighter, thinner 30GB and 60GB models are starting at $299 (US).

Buy here.


Where is the Tang and a Pop-Tart?

Courtesy of the Gallery of the Absurd.


Maclean's alternative?

On April 7, 2006, the Playboy Campus issue will hit newsstands and McGill University will be representing Canada. The "Girls of the Top 10 Party Schools" issue will feature co-eds from the best party schools in North America. According to a statement released by Playboy the list was determined by editorial staff, who considered aspects of the campus social scene such as proximity to off-campus entertainment, general vibrancy, social opportunities and male-to-female ratio.

Montreal has earned a reputation as being a party town and the downtown university has assisted in that status. How else can you explain the Peel Pub with it's recycled beer and spaghetti?

McGill officials, predictably, were not pleased with the ranking. "This is clearly a promotional or marketing gimmick," said Jennifer Robinson, associate vice-principal communications. "It is not credible and not appreciated."

Although the free marketing of the university will surely not hurt an institution that spends a great deal of its time recruiting students in the United States. Hugh Hefner is an icon in America and his stamp of approval isn’t seen as perverted, but now rather as culturally cool.

Read full story.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Young gun

When Texas Ranger General Manager John Hart stepped down Tuesday it cleared the way for 28-year-old Jon Daniels to become the youngest GM in major-league history. Daniels, at 28 years, 41 days, is about 10 months younger than Theo Epstein was when he became Boston's GM on Nov. 25, 2002. Daniels joined the Rangers operations department in 2002 and was promoted to assistant GM two years later. Hart will, however, remain a team consultant.

This hiring continues a trend from baseball clubs to promote young, brilliant baseball minds in their organizations. In fact, the recent trend is to follow a template laid out in the best selling book "Money Ball." This trend involves statistics wizards (baseball encyclopaedias) named to their dream posts. Daniels, like most young Gm's (Epstein, Brian Cashman, JP Riccardi, Billy Beane, etc...) is an Ivy League graduate (Cornell University) and has worked under another young GM, Dan O'Dowd, in Colorado.

"The last four years have just been a whirlwind learning curve for me, and John has made it a lot easier," said Daniels, who as a kid read transactions before looking at the box scores in the newspaper. "It didn't take me long to realize my future wasn't going to be on the field. So this is what I have aspired to for quite a while."

Daniels just proves there is hope for us sports statistics junkies after all. If, and when, the Blue Jays need help, I am available.

Read full story.

Monday, October 10, 2005



Moldy Peaches was the victim of some monkey business last week as hackers deleted the blog template. All readers who now want to comment will be forced to verify their comments.

Keep reading and I will keep posting!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Another first

The coaching fraternity welcomed Wayne Gretzky with open arms and now he officially has his first victory. Phoenix defeated Minnesota 2-1 last night providing the Great One with his first win as a coach.

Congratulations to Wayne. It will be, however, a very long season in the desert.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


National Hockey League Preview

Here goes nothing after a sixteen-month absence:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Philadelphia Flyers (2)
New Jersey Devils (5)
Pittsburgh Penguins (10)
New York Islanders (11)
New York Rangers (14)

Northeast Division

Ottawa Senators (1)
Boston Bruins (4)
Montreal Canadians (6)
Toronto Maple Leafs (9)
Buffalo Sabres (12)

Southeast Division

Tampa Bay Lightening (3)
Atlanta Thrashers (7)
Florida Panthers (8)
Carolina Hurricanes (13)
Washington Capitals (15)

Western Conference

Central Division

Detroit Red Wings (3)
Nashville Predators (6)
Chicago Blackhawks (9)
Columbus Blue Jackets (13)
St Louis Blues (14)

Pacific Division

Anaheim Mighty Ducks (2)
San Jose Sharks (5)
Los Angeles Kings (10)
Dallas Stars (11)
Phoenix Coyotes (15)

Northwest Division

Calgary Flames (1)
Vancouver Canucks (4)
Colorado Avalanche (7)
Edmonton Oilers (8)
Minnesota Wild (12)

Stanley Cup teams: Ottawa & Calgary
Stanley Cup Winner: Ottawa

Art Ross Trophy: Markus Naslund and Peter Forsberg (tie)
Rocket Richard Trophy: Rick Nash
Calder Trophy: Alexander Ovechkin
Hart Trophy: Jarome Iginla
Selke Trophy: Brad Richards
Lady Byng Trophy: Joe Sakic
Norris Trophy: Scott Niedermayer
Vezina Trophy: Miikka Kiprusoff
Jennings Trophy: Dominik Hasek
Jack Adams Trophy: Bryan Murray
President's Trophy: Ottawa
Will miss the playoffs:: Toronto and Dallas
Disappointment & Surprise (teams): Colorado & Nashville
First coach fired: Lindy Ruff

See who the Sportsnet "experts" pick.

See who the TSN experts pick.


Halo news

The Oscar-winning creative team behind all the The Lord of the Rings films, including director Peter Jackson, has been named to run the production of the upcoming film based on Microsoft blockbuster Halo video game.

Jackson and his wife, Fran Walsh, will serve as the executive producers for Halo, which is targeted for worldwide release in mid-2007 by Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox film studios.

Read full story.


The Buzz in the Biz

Spears / Federline missing sex tape?

Jessica Alba is transparent and she doesn’t like it.

Jack Osborne to go where Ozzy went lots in the 70's and 80's - the moon.

American Pie IV - Band Camp Revisited?

Billy Idol needs a hand to keep up the Rebel Yell.

Kal-el Coppola Cage, the comic-book birth name of Superman on the planet Krypton, enters the world to Nicolas Cage. His six degrees of separation just shows him to be crackers.

U2 taking over Late Night with Conan O'Brien on October 7th.

Will Ferrell to star as a NASCAR driver - instant classic.


Bud the Spud

My old SU buddy Bumf has a great post on the wonders of Canada. This post got me thinking what are my favourite things about our home and native land. Listed below is a sample from coast to coast:

Saltspring Island (and their new currency)
The Empress Hotel in Victoria
Vancouver's Granville Market
Roger's Pass in the winter
The Canadian Rockies
Whyte Ave in Edmonton
The Calgary Stampede
Whoop-Up Drive in Lethbridge
Waskesiu Lake
The South Saskatchewan River
The University of Saskatchewan campus
Rider Pride
Harvest moons
Cypress Hills
Portage and Main
Neil Young
The Forks in Winnipeg
Bloor and Queen Streets in Toronto
Stompin Tom Conners
The CN Tower
Niagara Falls
Blue Rodeo
The Tragically Hip
Parliament Hill
Beaver Tails
Gatineau Park
Rideau Canal
Schwartz's deli
Just for Laughs
Montreal Jazz Festival
Cinq a Sept
Bleu nuit
White margarine
Sugar shacks
The Eastern Townships
Vieux Québec
Fredericton's Gate 1
Shediac's giant lobster
Halifax's pizza corner
Mount Allison University
Tim Horton's
Atlantic hospitality
Irving Big Stop
The Bluenose
The Confederation Bridge
Prince Edward Island's red sand
George Street in St John's
Cape Spear
Whitehouse in the summer
The one paved road in Iqaluit
Aurora borealis in the north
Canadian Tire money
CIS sports
Canadian Football League
Small-town hockey and curling rinks (and their greasy burgers)
Indian Summer
Rick Mercer
Hockey Night in Canada

I am sure that I have missed some obvious ones and faithful Moldy readers will not be shy in pointing them out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Common sense

Hillary Clinton sounds presidential.

Now, if only the Democrats could build off her and make some headway in the upcoming mid-term elections. The US Republican party is in tough shape - Tom Delay and company are scrambling. Their Golden Boy President is finally showing his true mettle with all-time low approval ratings on every political matter - domestic or foreign.

2008 can not come soon enough.


Mercer on MacKay....

...maybe he has insider information - granted it would be dated?

Three years ago, the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival had Rick Mercer host a gala and I was fortunate to catch it. Mercer was so funny with his reference to Canadian and World political humour. It is debateable now whether Mercer or Brent Butt is this country's funniest comedian.

Mercer has a classic post on his blog about the adventures of Peter MacKay. Here are some of the better lines:

Boy it sucks to be Peter MacKay. Will he take the plunge? Will he get the hell out of Dodge? Will he give up the glamorous life as the safety critic in Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to become the Premier of Nova Scotia? It must be very tempting for a guy who has spent his entire working life in opposition. For over a decade now he has been complaining about stuff but has never had the chance to actually run anything. Don’t get me wrong, Peter MacKay has held positions of great authority in the world of amateur rugby, but becoming a premier would entail at least twice the responsibility and workload. Personally, I know he could do it, he is definitely smart enough - in Question Period he has been known to wear glasses.

Of course, leaving Ottawa would be a big transition for Peter. I am sure there are many things that he would miss a lot about his life in the Conservative Party. As Deputy Leader I know he would miss the convenient way that he finds out about new Party policy: listening to the radio or reading Bourque.

It is worth noting that Inkless (Paul Wells) has a great spoof of the series of discussions between Pete and Stephen.


Monday, October 03, 2005


Fall is Classic

The month of October has to be the best stretch of calendar for any sports fan. It marks, usually spare last year, the start of the National Hockey League schedule - full NHL preview coming to Moldy on Tuesday.

October also includes the commencement of Major League Baseball's post-season. The new playoff format makes baseball even more interesting with the inclusion of the wildcard. This year should be no different with the Red Sox trying to defend their World Series crown.

Predictions for the 2005 as follows:

Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox - Chicago in 5
New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - LA Angels - 4
Houston Astros v Atlanta Braves - Houston in 4
San Diego Padres v St Louis Cardinals - St Louis in 3

Chicago v LA - LA in 6
Houston v St Louis - St Louis in 6

LA v St Louis - St Louis in 6

The Cardinals are too deep and too strong for any team in any series.

See who the experts at ESPN pick.