Friday, June 26, 2009


Not his forte.
But this and this are.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


It's crystal ball time, or as us Vancouver Canucks fans say, the time of year where optimism meets its match.
For many years now, I've looked at the NHL draft as the start of the hockey season - or at least when the true chase for Lord Stanley's silver bowl gets underway.
Back in 1990 and the draft ventured west to BC Place, I took up a seat far afield from the big stage and watched in anticipation when Vancouver looked to end its endless search for a tall, talented centre. Petr Nedved was the consensus choice with the second pick overall, although at the time I was equally enamored with Mike Ricci. The Canucks had two first round choices that year and I followed it eagerly with a dog-eared copy of the Hockey News draft preview. As their pick approached I was certain who they should pick.
As much as I studied it, my expertise was purely paper-deep. Still, that burning, boiling pit of my stomach kept telling me that I was right. So when it came time to make the 18th pick of that first round, I shouted as loud as I could - "Take Tkachuk!" My friend beside me laughed.
The Canucks might as well have, too, just after they called out Shawn Antoski's name. Tkachuk was picked 19th overall by the Winnipeg Jets, and the rest they say, is history. The strapping Medford, Mass. native is still looking for his taste of Lord Stanley's filthy cup; the Canucks continue their search, like Homer, for something half illusion, half haunted. I don't live and die by the score anymore, but I do follow them still.
So tonight, when the draft comes up and the Canucks honchos approach the podium, I'll half-yell, with a wince, 'Take Tkachuk!'
In the meantime, here's my predictions for the Draft's first round...
1 - John Tavares, NYI
2 - Victor Hedman, TB
3 - Matt Duchene, COL
4 - Brayden Schenn, TOR * (acquiring the pick in a draft-day trade with Atlanta)
5 - Evander Kane, LA
6 - Oliver Ekman-Larsson, PHO
7 - Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, ATL * (acquired from Toronto)
8 - Jared Cowen, DAL
9 - Nazem Kadri, OTT
10- Zach Kassian, EDM
11- Jordan Schroeder, NAS
12- Chris Kreider, MIN
13- David Rundblad, BUF
14- John Moore, FLO
15- Scott Glennie, ANA
16- Ryan Ellis, CLB
17- Jeremy Morin, STL
18- Jacob Josefson, MTL
19- Drew Shore, NYR
20- Carter Ashton, CAL
21- Zach Budish, PHI
22- Dmitri Kulikov, VAN
23- Simon Despres, NJ
24- Nick Leddy, WAS
25- Tim Erixon, BOS
26- Landon Ferraro, NYI
27- Stefan Elliott, CAR
28- Jordan Caron, CHI
29- Ethan Werek, DET
30- Calvin De Haan, PIT

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Or so the song goes.
Today promises to be a splendific day - because our so-called Prime Minister is going to unleash and unplug vaudeville back from its death corpse.
There'll be props a plenty, one bloated michelin man, and the comedic stylings of Jimmy "want to see me pull a deficit out of my hat?" Flaherty, all in hopes of forestalling the official workings of democracy.
The cheering section will include the Asper-ators, all pleading for us to think of the children ("You can't cancel the show - we've only got five more box tops to go before we get all our Harper-centric spandex jumbo checks!") while Harper, Flaherty and Dumbo do their version of 'ShamWow! the Dirge'...
In a rare exclusive, the audition tape of Duffus and Harper working out their straight-man lines was discovered in the bathroom of Wences' Palace of Flapjacks. In it, the two stooges reveal the secret to cooking the books, how attack ads help melt off the pounds, and why apologies are only necessary when mobs are ready to drum you out of your opulent slumber... Now watch and be amazed --

Monday, June 8, 2009


The negative ads aren't working.
That's what pollster Nik Nanos says after a thorough poll taken over the past few weeks.
The conclusion is that the ads have had no discernable short term impact in favour of the Conservatives. The long term negative impact on Ignatieff remains uncertain and merits further tracking over time.

It's true that this may be just part-one of a multi-attack series; negative ads do have an effect but will it weigh more heavily on the Liberal leader or the so-called leader of the secretive, out-of-touch, uncaring CON party?
But my question is: why isn't the Mainstream Media asking why Canadians are footing the bill for this out-of-season ad blitz?
Is it because the so-called leader named Harper had his surly, bully twin call them and warn them, fool with my subsidy and I'll fool with yours?
When taxpayers subsidize every donation to a political party, from as high as 75% (0-$400 donations), why is no journalist asking the politicians about this 'aggressive ad buy' when 363,000 Canadians have lost their jobs since the start of this recession? From my rough calculations, the taxpayer has unknowingly committed $4 Million of their dollars from the public coffers to this out-of-season hunting spree.
It's time to ask the journalists why?


The little leprechan is back singing showtunes.
Canada's (poor)finance minister Jim Flaherty announced today that global economic slowdown is looking like a passing phase -- 'It's over, people!' But beware, it's more colourful, sugary platitudes that will cause tooth pain and stomach cramps in reality.
He even said Canada's $115 billion economic action plan was "in place and fully operational" for Canadians but that it is "use it or lose it" money.
Apparently, the mayors of Canada's municipalities aren't getting the same memo.
Expected to shoulder a huge burden of the government's three-headed infrastructure regulation, the mayors of Canada are worried that both the fiscal pressure and slow-to-come federal financing is not getting out as advertised.
"There are too many communities competing for too few dollars, so we're in this perpetual deficit position in terms of the infrastructure gap," (Whistler BC mayor Ken) Melamed said.
Add the fact that the starting gun of the summer construction season has come and gone and only a few "choice" ridings, er municipalities with CON MPs have seen a dollop of infrastructure gold.
No doubt the mayors understand that the twinkling-eyed CON finance mismanager has a habit of hyperbole -- just ask any of the mayors who were active in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Even Flaherty's dramatic Dr. Evil imitation last week, where he paused to look directly into the camera after the "$50-BILLION DOLLARS" rolled off his tongue, was part show. Was it because he was hoping to create a little "Paul Martin-esque magic", setting expectations to be not as rosey as he knows they'll be? In other words, come October when there's a real chance of the opposition parties getting tired of this dog-and-pony show again and putting forward a non-confidence vote, that he'll also have some "great news" to announce, like say, an adjusted deficit of $42 Billion?
Harper and Co. have twisted around on their original principles and contorted so much that many accuse them of copying the Chretien Liberal blueprint. I'd say this crooked CON crew is just in it for themselves, so keep your hands on your wallet and your eyes on the shadows at all times.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I'm certain I've seen this movie before.
There's a midget-sized butthead wagging the dog, leading the chorus of partisan zealots trying to raise the ire of ignorant Canadians.
Death in the hospitals! Critical exams on hold! An isotope shortage that puts Canada's health care system in jeopardy!
On its first viewing, the overly dramatic hyperbole sent off alarm bells with me and a number of people I knew. But politicians being what they are, they all fell in line in the end, allowing min-minister Lunn and so-called leader Stephen 'running scared' Harper to turn the shutdown of Chalk River into a political charade - giving them an opportunity to soften public sentiment on the very public Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd crown corp.
Jump ahead say about 14 months. Chalk River is in the midst of a crisis - shut down due to leakage issues (and leakage and nuclear reactors are not things you want to hear in the same sentence)... It means a critical shortage of medical isotopes, but surprisingly, the new edition of Harper's revolving doorstops is all mellow with it. Within weeks, the government reveals a plan that will 'help' Canada take advantage of this wonderful science while also loosening the public grip on the local industry. In other words, putting the AECL's nuclear reactor business on the auction block, while inviting private tenders to manage Chalk River.
Hmmm, now this also gives me a flashback to another incredible story. There once was this minister, a rising star who dared to develop a personality (or faux personality) of his own. He'd show up with a beautiful dame on one arm, fancy suits, and a box of Joes Louis for all the boys. And he left his important department documents, many marked SECRET near the pillow of his girlfriend. And forgot about them. And didn't retrieve them for a long time.
Jump forward one year, almost to the day. Curious coincidence this, but apparently the current minister in charge of natural resources, including the above mentioned nuclear department, a Lisa Raitt, has appeared to left some of her documents marked SECRET on a desk at a TV station. And failed to retrieve them. Or return calls when it was revealed what had happened. The folder reveals alot about the government's investing into the industry and the aged Chalk River plant -- apparently it's quite a sinkhole, kind of like your typical CON cabinet job.
But wait, the flashbacks keep coming. If we skip back to the announced plan to sell-off Canada's nuclear industry, which would require some form of deregulation and external pressure to change the regulatory body (which Harper's team has already squeezed with its firing of Linda Keen), you suddenly find yourself at the desk of another tiny knucklehead, a Mr. Jimmy Flaherty. Seems he held a job long ago where he guaranteed a surplus budget. It was as sure as the day is long, he inferred. The tough times would not stop them, but it would require that the province of the day divest itself of certain public properties to help create a better business culture, offer better services, and ease up on the provincial coffers. That version of a financial minister proceeded, with the thumbs up from his leader, to make severe cutbacks to the water safety division. And within a year, seven people were dead in Walkerton.
A provincial commission found that the decisions of the Harris PC government was responsible for weakening of the inspection services, as well as reducing inforcement procedures.
Ahah! you say -- there's a storyline being floated around on just the same premise -- a recession gives a conservative government leash to start selling publicly-held industries and crown corporations. Some of them seemingly mundane. But it also finds a government lapdog that is eager to appease its bosses (who unlike in the movie 'democracy', are really the dudes in sharp suits and dark shades who write big, big cheques)... Asking say a potted fern of a minister to loosen environmental assessment regulations, just so that they can get those jobs out there tout sweet! That's your cue to cover your eyes.
There doesn't have to be a sequel to this disaster - if Canadians wake up and turf out this gang of incompetent nincompoops. The sooner the better.


Apparently, my phone number is on the 'hit list.'
Remember how I related about a canvass poll my wife took the other day?
Well, today I got the other end of it -- a query as to whether I'd be interested in joining a focus group. Hmmmm, I wondered - who tends to rely upon that old-hat art of focus groups?
The friendly young woman's voice said she was calling on behalf of Valleyfield, a marketing research company that would be hosting a focus group in our area.
Was I a Canadian citizen, above the age of 18, and interested in participating in a focus group? The enticement was that for about 2 hours work I would receive $100 for my time. Naturally, times being what they are I accepted her offer.
Unfortunately, this was just a preliminary call - first I had to pass through a few more hoops. Did I vote in the last election? Do I consider myself a daily reader, someone who reads a couple times a week, someone who reads occasionally, or consider myself someone who doesn't read (what I read was left unasked)?
As per usual, the questions then came about whether I or anyone else in the household are members of the media (affirmative - but that didn't stop her), an employee of a crown or federal government agency, and what was my salary (which group)? She asked who I voted for in the last election, and wanted to know if I considered myself fairly aware on what was going on federally. She thanked me for my time and said my name would be added to the list of possible focus-groupers.
I doubt that I will get a second call - my wife berated me for admitting my position in the media, that this would have been a good opportunity to see the inside of one of these groups (as well, I'm not someone who is paid to cover political issues)... But alas, I am too honest for my own good.
That fact alone likely limits the CONs interest in me, as they are the only party with the kind of bankroll to delve into all this subterfuge. But don't worry, I'm certain one way or another, we taxpayers are coughing up for it either as some sleight of hand federal polling, or through the generously subsidized political donation.
I will keep you abreast if anything comes of it.

Monday, June 1, 2009


...if the CONs latest attack ad assault was trying to 'firm up' those negative numbers -- for Stephen Harper.
The lying so-called leader of the CONs scores some pretty blue numbers, according to Angus Reid's reading of a poll on the attack ads, current public attitudes and the leaders.
Sample some of these and smile: WORD ASSOCIATION W/ THE LEADERS
Arrogant - Harper 53% Ignatieff 42% Layton 32%
Open - Harper 11% Ignatieff 25% Layton 30%
Secretive - Harper 54% Ignatieff 25% Layton 12%
Efficient - Harper 20% Ignatieff 25% Layton 12%
Inefficient - Harper 32% Ignatieff 15% Layton 28%
Compassionate - Harper 10% Ignatieff 12% Layton 34%
Uncaring - Harper 37% Ignatieff 21% Layton 10%
Honest - Harper 17% Ignatieff 21% Layton 26%
Dishonest - Harper 34% Ignatieff 24% Layton 17%
Exciting - Harper 3% Ignatieff 12% Layton 13%
Foolish - Harper 17% Ignatieff 9% Layton 25%

Looks like Harper is closing the gap... with Richard Nixon! Keep it up, Tricky Steve.