Sunday, December 31, 2006


Hockey sticks or Horns?

The critics are out in force to complain about the lack of inclusion with the "new" government's fitness tax credit. As noted in past columns and highlighted over at Potter Gold, the fitness tax credit is a joke (not the worst tax credit since that benefit goes to the transit tax credit) and helps complicate the tax code. Now, the parents of aspiring musicians want the same benefits as the parents of the next Gretzky, Nash and Ridgway.

The Harper government made the day for the thousands of accountants around the country with their 2006 budget and the inclusion of close to 20 tax credits. The not-so-hidden hand of government. So much for the railing from conservatives about the nanny state.

Budget 2007 will, no doubt, include more tax credits and probably build on some existing ones.


Gerald Ford: 1913-2006

Gerald Ford - RIP to the Accidental President.

Ford was a true politican and will be missed. Not elected by ballot, but accepted by citizens.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Top 8 Movies of 2006

The first of two lists to be posted to MP.

2006 was a pretty average year for motion pictures. The summer, the usually busy time, was littered with sub-par sequels. MI III, X-Men III, Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. There were a few good apples in that bunch but for the most part, the rest were stinkers.

The fall gave way to a series of excellent films and that is where the list really takes shape. This isn't new, but rather a tad frustrating.

In inverse order:

7 - Bobby

My love affair with Robert Kennedy continues. A good movie and nice entry into the directorial world by Emilo. Anthony Hopkins is, as usual, captivating.

6 - An Inconvenient Truth (tie) and A Prairie Home Companion (tie)

The Al Gore Power Point was the surprise hit of the year. It is an excellent summary of some of the major environmental issues facing the world and it is delivered in a concise manner. One is left with the feeling of, where was that Gore in 2000. Had the Gore from the film been on the campaign trail, he would have been tough to beat.

There are still some non-believers in the "global warming" issue. Those individuals dismiss the science at their own leisure. Contrary to many, the environment and the economy do not have to mix like oil and water.

Having grown on the prairies one can appreciate the simple nature of the Robert Altman picture. The acting is first-rate, including that phoney baloney Meryl Streep. Woody and John C. Reilly are excellent and the movie has a real charm about it.

5 - Thank You for Smoking

This is what a mocumentry should be. Aaron Eckhart is fantastic. He manages to spin like nobody can and the concept of the three merchants of death is priceless.

4 - Little Miss Sunshine

The concept is gold and the acting is great. The interaction between all family members is enough to keep you laughing. All members have their strengths and all have weaknesses, but as a unit they just work.

3 - Blood Diamond

The makes you think movie of the year. You read about, hear about and see some of the African struggles, but never do the dots connect so easy. Leo carries a movie, although the accent falters from time to time. Djimon Hounsou is excellent and provides a new level of support.

2 - The Queen

The Political movie of the year, hands down. The acting is fantastic and the dialogue between QE II and Tony Blair is first rate. A must see.

1 - The Departed

Hands down best. The plot is excellent and the collective acting is the best in the past three years. Martin Scorsese is on the top of his game. The action and drama keep you guessing and there is one scene where you just think - shit did that just happen.

See other experts here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Dick in the Box

Timberlake is gold.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Hometown Proud

No connection, simple random - via Norway. Just a little sample of what to expect for the Top 10. I dig deep this year.

Girl from Saskatoon is a little bluegrass, a little folk and some extra guitar - think slower version of the Ravenettes.

If I ran the Students' Union or Louis' (and that job would be handed to Bumf), I would approach them about playing Blue Monday.

First Day of Class High Class Bash!


You See My Movie

The Goldon Globes are set to be announced on Thursday and that got me thinking about the best of 2006. That event, and the emails from Phoff, are enough to get the "lists" going.

The following are an example of some critics list for film in 2006.

US National Board of Review
Film: Letters From Iwo Jima
Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King Of Scotland

Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Supporting Actor: Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Supporting Actress: Catherine O’Hara, For Your Consideration

Boston Society of Film Critics
Film: The Departed
Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Supporting Actor: Mark Wahlberg, The Departed
Supporting Actress: Shareeka Epps, Half Nelson

Los Angeles Film Critics
Film: Letters from Iwa Jima
Actor: (TIE) Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat & Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Supporting Actor: Michael Sheen, The Queen
Supporting Actress: Luminita Gheorghiu, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

New York Film Critics CircleFilm: United 93
Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Supporting Actor: Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Film: Little Children
Actor: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat

Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen

Supporting Actor: Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children

Supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza, Babel

DC Area Film Critics

Film: United 93
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Best Actress:

Best Supporting Actor: Dijmon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Two observations. One, Borat maybe the most overhyped movie of the year. There were some funny parts, but it could have been done in less than an hour. It was interesting, but please dont insult actors by naming Ali G as the best.

Two, it is almost criminal that 99.9 percent of North American viewing audiences have not had a chance to view some of the films or performances.

This post will serve as advance notice that Top 10 Discs and Films will be posted this weekend. Guest submissions will be welcome and, as always, criticism will be served.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


To the Queen

The Queen provides audiences a behind the scenes look at the shocking events of Princess Diana's death. Tony Blair comes out looking like a brilliant leader and grounded human being.

The film offers some of the best insight into the internal struggle for relevance that occurs between the monarchy, the British government and the UK people. It seems like we are one event or a couple of public opinion polls away from seeing royalty disappear.

Andrew Potter has a bang-on review of the film. It is indeed one of the best of the year and Helen Mirren is a shoe-in for Best Actress at the Oscars.

Here are two comments that I kept thinking about while watching the film:

I do believe when most people think about it and realize our head of state is foreign - when she travels she doesn't represent Canada, she represents Great Britain - I think they kind of realize this is really an institution that's a bit out of date for Canada to continue with.

~ John Manley, Former Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, May 18, 2001

Upon the death or demise of the Queen perhaps it's time for Canada to abolish its association with the monarchy and set up a new institution.

~ John Manley, Former Canadian Industry minister, September 10, 1997

I must say, once again, Manley was ahead of the curve.


Bah Humbug

The Seattle Airport has removed all 15 of their christmas (holiday) trees rather than put up menorah and host a public ceremony.

There is a fine balance between political correct and stupid. This is the category of stupid.
UPDATE - The trees are back. The Rabbi will not sue.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Twisted Brilliance

This is too much, my sides are splitting.


Politics and Pop Culture collide

Al Gore has denied he is going to help Lindsay Lohan salvage her reputation. Lindsay, you will recall, wanted her politican "friends" to help her reach out to the American public. She wanted to release a politically/morally correct, fully adequite [sic] letter to the press, as a vehicle for her opinions on, "how our society should be educated for the better of our country. She claimed to have such an impact on our younger generations, as well as older generations, that it was necessary.

The 20-year-old actress sent an email to friends and lawyers claiming the former US Vice President had offered to help her clean up her image, but he has been quick to disassociate himself from the claims.

In a statement released on Thursday, a representative for Gore said: "I can confirm for you that Mr. Gore has only met Ms. Lohan once, very briefly, at the GQ Men of the Year dinner last week. There were hundreds of other guests."

Lindsay had claimed in her email: "Al Gore will help me. He came up to me and said he would be very happy to have a conversation with me." She also wrote: "Hilary (sic) Clinton, Bill Clinton would be willing, if we just ask. If we just ASK."

Representatives for both Clintons have refused to comment on the subject. Although there is a rumour that Bill could lend a hand.

If Lindsay was serious about making a political connection, she should reach out to the Ford family. They will help. The Betty Ford Centre has helped thousands.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


A nip, a tuck and a BS

Britney Spears has taken to airing her privates in public and, hey it is her right, but you just had to know that someone would offer friendly medical advice.

A Christmas gift certificate was recently sent to Spears by a New York cosmetic surgeon, offering her a free tummy tuck and cosmetic surgery. Here’s the letter compliments of TMZ.

My age old bet with my good buddy Sal is looking like lost money. The money was on Christina crack and do Playboy, but Spears has upstaged her and didnt even get Heffner money.


The Dude

The upcoming Lebowski Fest in New York begins Saturday, December 16th - Had I known it may have meant a slight alteration on the recent travel plans.

If you've never heard of the film - have you just decided to engage in pop culture? The film, released in 1998 from brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, has spawned a cult following, a drinking game, a speaking tour and even an online church.

The New York event will include a bowling tournament, live music and a screening of the film. This has to be one of my favourites of all-time.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Turn the Udder Cheek

There is quite an interesting debate unfolding in Ontario. Michael Schmidt - Ontario's raw milk celebrity - is battling the provincial governement to gain the right to sell his product to the wanting masses. Durham area farmer Schmidt delivers the milk to people who own shares in his cows. Finance Minister Greg Sorbara's wife is one of those shareholders. Sorbara says a system should be in place that allows raw milk to be sold in Ontario.

Things have gotten so bad that the Ontario Provincial Police cruisers blockading the lane while armed officers swooped onto a farm, herding the farmer and his workers into the kitchen of the old house. In the century-old barn of the farm northwest of London, Ont., were 30 cows and the stainless-steel equipment used for milking, separating the milk and manufacturing dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

There is no evidence that unpasterized milk is actually ok for North American consumption. Talk to the numerous folks who have visited India and suffered Delhi belly and they will tell you no. Most scientists will second that. It is likely ok to consume a glass or two on the farm, but too much is not safe.

The Toronto Star has a great piece on why - either way - kids need to be protected.


Rural influence

Hopefully the new Premier of Alberta will not forget that the real power of western Canada is between Edmonton and Calgary. These two cities need immediate attention for infrastructure, research and development, culture and other 21st century issues. It would be a shame if Steady Eddie was to ignore cities. Land doesn't vote, people do.

Also, Ed will likely have to find a place in cabinet for surprise 3 rd place finisher - Ted Morton. My suggestion - Gaming. It is technically still in cabinet. Or, let him construct the new Alberta Pension Plan.


Historical Footnote

Where was the speech that Martin gave on the weekend during his reign of error? John Manley sumed up his leadership style best. It is called couch leadership, it takes the shape of the last person to sit on it.



Somehow Ezra Levant thinks that having dual citizenship makes someone unfit for office. The guy is such a loser.

Stephane Dion is a citizen of France and Canada. Oh my god! Let us not confuse the issue, he is one of the most staunch federalist in the land. He is the co-author of the Clarity Act.

Levant's line that the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and CBC would react differently had they discovered Stephen Harper to be a loyal citizen of the United States is a tad rich. If the worst that paleo-Conservatives like Ezra can throw at Dion is that he carries dual citizenship, it could be a long campaign.

Thank god that Harper keeps these loons in the hinterland and let's real policy and politcal minds run things. Ezra should stick to his cruising.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Coin Toss

Words of advice for new federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion. When introducing yourself in other parts of the country keep this in mind, there are two ways to handle your last name - one for those under 40 and one for those over 40.

Over 40:

My name is Stephane Dion.... You know like the amazing Quebecois entertainer Celine. Don't you just love her cover of the classic Michael Bolton hit?

Under 40:

My name is Stephane Dion... No, I am not related to that no-talent hack Celine. She isn't even a real Canadian. She fled to Vegas with her old balls husband. Traitor.