Thursday, April 30, 2009

Barbie Is a Ho

While the world keeps changing it is refreshing to find that certain things stay the same. The sky may be filled with smog but the sun comes up every morning. Russia may have thrown off communism but they are still our mortal enemy. Are morality may be lessening but Barbie is still a triflin' ho.

Parents are furious over the latest Barbie model available from Mattel. Known as Totally Stylin' Barbie the doll offers little girls the chance to update their favourite toy. It comes with 40 easy to apply tattoos to update her image. Unlike real tats they are easy to remove. Mattel sees this as a way to update the dolls image for today's lifestyle. How about they start by putting the "Made In Indonesia" stamp in a less conspicuous place. Sure the idea of putting a tramp stamp on the iconic doll is stupid, but I'd rather girls not have to think of the kids earning $1.50 a day making the doll and being choked by rubber fumes.

Sure this might is a terrible idea, but it keeps this doll in the news. After 50 years I think Barbie has damaged the world so much that anything they do cannot make it worse.

In a related ho story, has anyone noticed that Mel Gibson is basically dating the octomom. The resemblance is frightening.

Those Wacky Ads From Japan

Times are tough for everyone. Look at Brad Pitt who has to support 27 adopted children by moonlighting as a chauffeur for a Japanese Sumo Wrestler. Actually the Hollywood Hunk is pictured filming a commercial for Japanese TV. Like many celebrities, Brad Pitt has a yen for making these ads. The ad being filmed is for Japanese cell phone company Softbank. More of these “Japanads” can be found here. They feature celebrities like Hilary Duff, Wham! and Mariah Carey in a series of wacky and incomprehensible ads.

Not all ads in Japan use celebrities. A competitor of Softbank, emobile, probably wanted to get Barack Obama. The cost of obtaining the endorsement of a sitting President must be too big for emobiles pockets. Instead they used what the Japanese must consider the next best thing to represent America's first black President. They got a monkey.

The Swine Flu Fashion Guide

I’m a bit of a driving voyeur. I like to look in cars and stare at people to freak them out. As I was driving tonight I looked over and saw an Audi A6 beside me. The highway was pretty clear so I was able to get a clear look. What I saw inside was certainly a sign of the times. Instead of the familiar glow of a satellite radio or GPS, or the scared look of the passenger I’m spying on, I was the one who received the fright. Hanging on the rearview mirror was a face mask.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like to take precautions. During showers, I have replaced Irish Spring with Purell. My water of choice, Evian, has been replaced with Purell on Ice. To fulfill my caffeine needs I have switched from espresso to cappuccino. I would never dilute my fine Italian coffee with sanitizer but maybe added calcium will help.

The main problem with face masks, ignoring the fact that they scare the shit out of me is that they are so blasé. As a fashionista I need to be on the cutting edge. A boring life saving face mask doesn’t match with my exclusive Swedish designed H&M shirts, or my denim pants acquired from Winners. What am I to do?

Luckily Mexicans have come to the rescue. They have started to personalize their face masks with funky, one of a kind designs. What if I don’t want to damage a face mask to look cool? They may not even work without a skull painted on in black felt pen. Well worry no longer as here are some suggestions to help you look good when the fashion police cart away your dead flu ridden body:

For the label whore. The carpet may not match the drapes, but don't be caught dead with your mask not matching your purse.

For your beloved childhood toy. You survived the potato famine and 25 relaunches of Burger King fries. If youre going to go because of a pig, let it be as a side dish beside pork chops.

For the Raptors fan. Chris Bosh will be gone next year. You dont have to go. Stay alive to watch another 5 year rebuilding plan. Raptors Basketball....It's Fantastic!

For the weed smoker.Don't bogart that blunt man, but bogart your life.

A Nerd Saves Newspapers

Mark Cuban is a friggin genius. Most people regard him as the buffoonish owner of the Dallas Mavericks. As one of the first people who cashed in on the dot com boom he is thought of as lucky more then smart. People do not give him credit for being a rather successful businessman. Proof is that in one post on his blog, he is able to offer the most sensible solution I have seen to turning around the death of the newspaper.

There are a number of issues which are contributing to the demise of the daily paper which have been rehashed ad infinitum. The internet has made information quicker, easier to access and free. I always feel like a chump whenever I pay for my subscription to the Toronto Star. All of the articles in the paper are offered for free and updated on their website. They also publish the free commuter paper, Metro. Meanwhile I’m stuffing change in an envelope every two weeks.

Cuban offers up a number of ideas. Mainly he promotes the use of a newspaper website as a sort of central marketplace. Using Amazon as an example he shows that people continue to purchase from Amazon because with their credit cards on file, they are one click away from buying. As newspapers have the same ability they should be taking advantage of this be offering additional services and working with local companies to offer special deals. Suggestions he makes include offering delivering a DVD on the day it is released with your morning paper for the same price you would find it in the stores. There’s a reason he is a billionaire and it is not his good looks.

Cuban does mention one of the biggest problems with being a newspaper subscriber. Namely as someone who pays for the paper I receive the same access to information that a non subscriber does. The only thing I receive as a subscriber is a bill, ink on my hands and the ability to read the information on the toilet seat without ruining my laptop. There is no added benefit to being a subscriber. Why should I pay for a product, when I can get it for free? Shouldn’t there be an added benefit to someone who has been receiving the paper at home since they were born?

The Metro is a great example. What started as a 12 page paper filled with wire copy has expanded to 60 pages which include columnists and huge chunks of news I pay for in The Star. On some days it’s bigger then the Toronto Sun. So now you want me to pay for the Star, which is bulkier, when I can read the Metro on the subway and the Star at work for free. Then you wonder why your revenue is falling.

Unlike Cuban, newspapers, like record companies have not yet figured out a way to work with the net. If a product can be acquired easier and for free, people generally won’t pay for it. Now add a benefit and people may start paying. Willy Wonka figured that out a century ago with his golden ticket and he is a fictional character and crazy. Hell why not bundle a CD with a t-shirt. People love T-Shirts and you can’t download a 100% Cotton T with a band logo on it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rebranding The Swine Flu

The Swine Flu is quickly spreading across the world. Mexico is closed until further notice and the first jokes are getting nervous chuckles at work and play. Meanwhile intelligent people are looking for solutions. Are they looking for a way to stop the spread or even cure it? Of course not they want to to change the name.

This is a worldwide phenomenon. In the US, officials are looking for ways to change the name as they fear the cost to pig farmers. While the flu doesn't spread through the eating of bacon and other related product, some governments have already banned pork imports from affected areas. Meanwhile I'm the idiot who got ribs from Swiss Chalet last night. They were tasty but not worthy of getting the flu and dying. As the strain is a mix of pig, bird and human flu they feel that the term swine flu is unfair to pigs. The geniuses at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention feel that the name H1N1 Flu Outbreak is more reflective of the current strain. Maybe they should leave the rebranding to Madison Avenue, or better yet work on Controlling and Preventing diseases like you are suppose to do.

Over in Isreal, a health official suggests changing the name as well. Not for scientific reasons but because the term swine is offensive to Muslims and Jews. While I do understand the suggestion and how culturally sensitive it is I would be more offended by getting the flu. The tolerant health official suggests that the name be changed to the Mexican flu. While that would remove the swine issue, the new name would be offensive to about 110 million people who live in Mexico and are known as Mexicans. I suggest the Speedy Gonzales flu, cause it's moving so fast. "¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!"

I have an even better suggestion. How about these officials put on some face masks. Not to prevent the spread of their flu but to shut their mouths.

The $500 Million Woman

That's a look that says I'm gonna cost you the other $500 million you have.

Love takes many different forms. The love between a man and a woman, a man and a sports team or a woman with a beautiful pair of earring. Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love. There's the love shared by family members, or between the Lady and the Tramp. Then there's Mel Gibson and the woman who's gonna cost him $500 million. That's gotta be love cause that's gotta hurt.

After 29 years of marriage Mel Gibson is getting divorced. Since the marriage took place in California and no pre nuptial agreement is in place, his wife is entitled to half of his money. When the news first broke any Russian with the name Oksana claimed to be his mistress. At the premiere of "Wolverine" Mel Gibson showed off his new girlfriend. This was the biggest news of the premiere as everyone saw "Wolverine" when it showed up on the net a month ago.

Her name is Oksana Grigorieva, and boy does she look like she has dollar signs in her eye with that picture. To be fair costing a man $500 million dollars must be great for a girls self esteem. This isn't convincing him to get a haircut or change his wardrobe. This is costing him the equivalent of Bolivias GDP. She is a Russian composer and actress and has a child with James Bond. Well not with a real James Bond like Daniel Craig, Sean Connery or even George Lazenby. She had a kid with Timothy Dalton.

We all know Mel Gibson is crazy, with the drunkeness and the idiotic statements he made to the cops. The piece de resistance in the whacko puzzle has to be leaving his wife for a woman who had a kid with the man who nearly killed the James Bond franchise. At least we know there's gonaa be a new Lethal Weapon movie. Somebody has got to pay for his stupidity and it's going to be moviegoers.

The Artificial Insemination Romantic Comedy Fad

This is the type of picture that gossip sites put up to mock Jennifer Aniston. The actress, who I will always think of as the real daughter of Victor Kiriakis, is a constant feature of celebrity blogs. After her divorce from Brad Pitt, Jennifer has walked the earth alone watching as the other woman has been crowned a whore Mother Teresa. The world does not cry for Jen because they never thought she belonged with Brad Pitt.

The shot, is obviously from a movie where she co stars with Jason Bateman. The movie is called “The Baster”. The plot summary from IMDB discloses the movie is about “An unmarried 40-year-old woman turns to a turkey baster in order to become pregnant.” Well that is a new premise. A ridiculous new premise but it goes on to reveal that “ Seven years later, she reunites with her best friend, who has been living with a secret: he replaced her preferred sperm sample with his own.”

Then it reveals that the movie is based on qa story by Jeffrey Eugenides. This is like learning that “He’s Just Not That Into You” is based on a story by Ernest Hemingway or “Made of Honor” was written by JD Salinger. Eugenides is best known as the writer of “The Virgin Suicides” and the Oprah approved “Middlesex”, the best book ever written about a Greek hermaphrodite living in denial in Detroit. Apparently in between writing tales of alienated suburban youths in the 70’s, Eugenides writes inane romantic comedies. Well can you fault a Greek for getting paid.

Jason Bateman should know better. He disappeared in the 90’s after a series of really bad moves. After you play “Teen Wolf Too” you should always take some time before selecting projects. He returned to prominence in the brilliant “Arrested Development” and by playing a creepy cool guy in “Juno”. So now he’s gonna be playing a guy who jerks off into a rubber tube to fool Rachel Green. That isn’t cool Bateman.

Apparently one artificial insemination movie is not enough for Summer 2010. So get ready for “The Back Up Plan” starring Jennifer Lopez. In this romantic comedy a woman played by Jello, conceives twins through artificial insemination, only to meet the man of her dreams on the very same day. She should really star in a romantic horror movie about Puerto Rican women with a fat ass and modest talents who sleeps her way to the top only to marry the cryptkeeper. Now that’s a movie I wouln’t mind downloading from the internet and burning on to a DVD!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Protesting a Protest : Tamils in Toronto

Canada is so nice. In most parts of the world protests are tolerated and then broken up quickly. In England the police backhand woman. A recent protest by Armenians in Greece due to the Turkish refusal to accept their 1915 murders as genocide was halted by riot police. This is a stance that most Greeks support and they were shut down. In Toronto we let them tie up a major street for three days. Tamil protesters are demonstarting in front of the US Consulate. The consulate is located on University Ave, a major street in downtown Toronto which is also the location of hospitals, the opera house and City Hall.

The protests are in support for the Tamil Tigers, an organization that supports a Tamil state in Sril Lanka. They are also a terrorist organization in the eyes of Canada and the US. The demonstrators are hoping that their voice is heard and, well who the hell cares, those bastards are tieing up traffic. The police are just sitting around, watching and collecting overtime. This is the same police force that will give you a ticket for parking on this street, but wave a banner with a scary tiger and you're free to do as you choose. Would I be free to park on University if I had a Tony the Tiger flag?

Toronto is home to the largest Tamil population outside of Sri Lanka. Protesting is useless mostr of the time, but protesting in Toronto is beyond useless. No one in the world cares what happens in Toronto and certainly not what happens in front of a consulate. Canada is like the USAs stupid little brother. So protesting in front of a consulate is like asking Donald Trump's slow brother for cash. Actually it's more like asking his nurse for cash. It's a consulate,not even the embassy or Parliament. Is their aim to hold up people getting their passports renewed? I'm really surprised the Conservatives are not getting behind the Tamils. This seems to be a perfect time to pander and try to steal an ethinc group from the Liberals.

The Tamils have also broken another social contract in their use of car flags. That tiger logo flying on a car is in violations of the three reasons established in car flag etiquette.
  1. Fly a flag to support your favourite sports team.
  2. Fly a flag to support your ethnic background in a soccer tournament
  3. Fly the Canadian flag to show you hate soccer
Supporting a liberation army is not an established legal ground in the landmark case of Racist Canadian Vs Italian Soccer Fans 1982. The case established global soccer tournaments, Stanley Cup playoff victories or any Leaf win as a cause for car flags.

Image from Torontoist.

If Only This Were True : Black Friend Finder

I never understand why I get accused of racism on a daily basis. This shocks me as I would have voted for Obama If I was American. Whenever I talk to a black person I always try to make them feel comfortable. I always compliment them on their eloquence. The conversation is always focused on something they are interested in like basketball or the latest rap video. Heck I used to like rap "back in tha day" before it got so gangster which shows how I try to talk at their level by droppin' my g's . Don't forget throwing in some slang to help them understand what I'm talking about. As a Greek I should get a free lifetime pass because of how well Mr Papadopoulos treated Webster. He was their little baklava!

Did I mention how much I love Obama?

It's too bad the video from Funny Or Die is not a real service. Yeah I checked. Imagine if this were true. You could always point to a picture of you with a black person and say "Hey I have a black friend" whenever you were accused of racism. I have a dream too, Reverend King, and thats to have a fake black friend.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's All Over : Here Comes The Swine Flu

Well six years after the onslaught of SARS, nature is having revenge on the human race with the Swine Flu. These global pandemics are a racists dream scenario. During SARS a coughing Asian was the source of evil stares. With the swine flu the Mexicans have already the blame pointed right at them. So get ready for some hate Latinos. Every time you cough, a death stare will be coming your way even if you're from El Salvador.

This is what happens when people take advantage of cheap vacation deals. With the recession combined with the drug war, prices for Mexican vacations were at an all time low. Never mind going to a place where you can't drink the damn water, now you can't eat a pork chop.Once again my rule to never go on vacation to a country where its citizens want to leave for someplace else shows its merit. This doesn't mean I'm blaming Mexico. I'm blaming Mexican pigs. That's a huge difference.

The White House is telling people not to panic. Then it declares a public health emergency. Shouldn't you stick to one message to make it convincing. The news is filled with stories recounting SARS or the flu pandemic of 1919. The disease is spreading worldwide from New Zealand to Canada. Sure, tell me not to panic but first put on a face mask and take a bath in Purell. By the way I'm not a stock market genius but the makers of Purell are Johnson & Johnson. They are listed as JNJ on the New York Stock Exchange.You should make a couple of bucks before the end of the world. The price of face masks is gonna skyrocket.

Hey I'm not panicking, but you better cover your mouth when you sneeze and wash your goddamn hands after using the toilet pigpen. You don't want the evil eye to come your way.

Will that replace this?

Images courtesy of the New York Daily News and this guy

The Coffee Chronicles

A story in the Toronto Star reports that a Muslim cleric has an issue with the Starbucks logo. While most people see a Mermaid, Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi sees a plot against Islam. He believes that the logo represents Esther, the Jewish Queen of the Persians. As recounted by the Star, "Esther, a beautiful virgin who is manipulated by her cousin Mordecai to win the heart and hand of the Persian king Ahasuerus (believed to be Xerxes I) without revealing to him that she is a Jew." This is all tied together by the fact the the CEO of Starbucks is Jewish.

The cleric, who should be more worried about teaching his flock tolerance, doesn't care that the coffee giant failed in Israel, or that the company was founded over 20 years before its first foray into the Middle East. It's even more ridiculous when you consider that the CEO came to the company 11 years after it was founded, but then again when did the facts get in the way of a Muslim Cleric?

I have a bigger concern when it comes to coffee logos, mainly a snooty French guy that represents Van Houtte? The Montreal based company has been sending this logo all across America. For years a good cup of joe was represented by Juan Valdez. The Colombian coffee icon represented the hard workers who made sure the beans were the very best. Without warning the snooty AL Van Houtte started sprouting across North America. His face is in 60000 workplaces, gas stations and carried by reality TV starlets. What does it say when Audrina, the TV star carrying your cup is known for her sleepy eyes?

I don't want the guy who is exploiting the workers to be represented on my cup of coffee. He doesn't even look like he knows a thing about coffee. And there looks to be a big wad of toilet paper sticking out of his cup. The Van Houtte people must be paying a lot to have their brand displayed at the supermarket. The display is always the biggest and always looks like it has never been touched. Meanwhile coffee packages with mountains, trees and coffee are scooped up. Maybe it's because no one likes the French, especially if they are snooty.

One final story regards Tim Hortons. While McDonalds is offering free coffee, the iconic Canadian brand is fighting back. Not with a return of the "Roll Up the Rim" promotion but with hepatitis A. Two employees at a store north of Toronto were found to have been infected with the disease. The authorities only notified the public after the second case was confirmed. The first employee who was infected did not work in food handling. This seems strange as I have been in many Tim Horton's and each and every employee is involved in food handling. There's not a lot of astronomy or accountants working in a donut store. The store was closed and disinfected and the regional authorities are holding a vaccine clinic. Symptoms of Hep A include loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal discomfort, or what I experience after a breakfast sandwich and medium double double.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Canadian Icon : Jack Layton

Today we present the latest in our occasional series of profiles of the people, places and things that define Canada. Our great nation has been the beneficiary of some of the greatest political minds in history. The names reverberate in the memory of all Canadians who have fallen asleep during history class. They include giants like MacDonald, Laurier, Borden, Pearson, Douglas and Trudeau. They have built this country, led us through wars, catastrophes and social change. Their greatness has been honoured with schools, airports, dollar bills and poorly acted CBC movies. Jack Layton is not one of these men.

John Gilbert "Jack" Layton was born in 1950 in Hudson, Quebec, a small town just outside of Montreal. He comes from a family with a historic political pedigree including a Father of Confederation and a provincial cabinet minister. From a young age Jack was taught that a Layton has never been paid for an honest days work. The men of the Layton clan were known for their soft hands, and their bare heads. As the privileged son of a Conservative cabinet minister there was no person in a better positon to defend the interests of the working class then a boy raised by a series of poorly paid maids. His political savvy was first witnessed when he was elected student council president of his high school. His platform to promise things he could never achieve mirrored every member of the NDP except for Tommy Douglas.

Layton joined the NDP as it was a party he could most easily move up in the ranks. This prompted him to move to Toronto in 1970 after graduating from McGill University. The province of Quebec has never been fertile ground for the NDP and his barren head would have frozen from the cold in Saskatchewan. His French would also be considered astonishing, if he was in the third grade. Taking a job as a Professor at Ryerson, then a polytechnic institute, Jack would teach students forced to take Political Science as an elective. Having to work a grueling 15 hours a week was tough on Jack. He used his spare time to build contacts with hippies, layabouts and anyone else who could help him in his birthright to gain political power.

It took him 12 years but in 1982 Layton finally got elected to Toronto City Council. As a councilor Jack would achieve nothing but oppose anything that could help the city. His opposition to development, the Summer Olympics and the Skydome achieved nothing but adding red tape and sending the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta. While on City Council, Layton met and fell in love with the ethnic political connections of Olivia Chow. They would marry and get close to the working class by living in subsidized housing while earning $120000 a year. They were criticized but cleared of any wrong doing. They subsequently moved out but it had nothing to do with the fact that they were hypocrites.

A political dynamo Layton ran and lost for Mayor of Toronto in 1992 and lost twice in his runs for federal parliament. In his defense, his opponents were June Rowlands & Dennis Mills. Rowlands was an intellectual giant who is best known for banning the Barenaked Ladies for their offensive name. Mills was a drunk kook who was noted for his support of a flat tax and being in the backbenches. The NDP mantra of run until you win or die, was strong in Jack and he finally won a seat in 2004. It took him winning the NDP leadership to convince the electors of Toronto-Danforth to make him a winning candidate. The members of the NDP were convinced the right man to invigorate the party was a city councilor who was a three time loser for higher elected office.

It is as NDP leader that Jack Layton has become a true Canadian Icon. With his trademark porn mustache and winning personality he has taken the NDP to heights it has always achieved; the fourth most popular party in Parliament. In the 2007 election, with the economy crumbling, a boring Prime Minister and a Liberal leader no one liked or could understand, the NDP rocketed to 8 more seats in Parliament. In late 2007 he tried to orchestrate a Liberal-NDP coalition to overthrow the Conservative Harper government. This would have enabled him to become a cabinet minister, but this initiative like everything else Jack has tried failed. It did however manage to convince the Liberals to change leaders which will cost the NDP seats in the next election. Hopefully it does not cost Jack or his wife, also an MP, the massive parliamentary pension to fund their self satisfaction.

Jack Layton, a Canadian Icon.

How Low Can GM Go?: Goodbye Pontiac & So Long Opel

A Typical GM Executive
It seems that for every good decision General Motors makes in its fight for survival it makes an idiotic decision to completely wipe out the gains. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has observed their strategic decisions for the past, oh say 50 years. The only logical reason is that GM is headquartered in Detroit and only very stupid people would want to live in Detroit. The latest series of wacky misadventures sees GM wisely killing off the Pontiac brand while negotiating the sale of their Opel division to Fiat.

Pontiac is supposed to be the performance division of GM. This is seen in iconic vehicles like the GTO and Firebird which were perfectly marketed to teenagers and jackasses going through a mid life crisis. The Trans Am was the official model for rockers and mullet wearers in the 1980’s. Unfortunately too often Pontiac was a home to slightly altered versions of Chevrolet's and Buick's and had become known and had lost that identity. Its only use was to offer Buick dealers lower priced vehicles to fill out their product lines. While many mourned the earlier loss of Oldsmobile it has quickly been forgotten and so will Pontiac.

While the death of Pontiac can be seen as a positive step, the sale of Opel is a ridiculously short sighted decision. With one stroke of a pen GM is writing off a market of 350 million people. The sale would mean that it is giving up on an entire continent. If it wanted to continue to sell cars in Europe it would have to build up an entirely new dealer network and a brand. Fiat is simply using this as a ploy to get a better deal out of Chrysler and the UAW. It offers Fiat market share, economies of scale and a workforce as highly paid and unionized as its own. Fiat shows ambitions to be a world player not seen in Italy since Mussolini. Hey Il Duce teamed up with the Germans too and he ended up hanged in a public square. That is a great omen.

The sale of Opel means little to North American drivers. Some Opel models end up here rebadged as a Saturn and that’s one of the many errors GM has made. For decades the term German engineering has stood for quality in car making. GM had cars that were actually German engineered and made in Germany. You would think they would maximize the value of that association but instead of bringing the cars over they set up plants in Tennessee. It is a state best known for Elvis, country music and marrying your cousin. While my cousin is cute I don’t want to buy a car associated and made by the inbred offspring of one of the poorest states in America. Take a look at Volkswagen if you doubt the iconic power of German engineering. They charge a premium for cars assembled in Mexico. The only thing worth a damn assembled in Mexico is tacos.

It is incredible to think there was a time when the term Made in America evoked the same sense of quality as German engineering.

The Toronto FC Hooligan Menace Continues

We thought we were safe. It only happened in Europe and on terrible pseudo documentaries on The Score. We laughed when Frodo played one in a British movie that was replayed endlessly on The Movie Network. Well the laughing has stopped because the scourge of soccer hooligans has landed on North American shores and ground zero is Toronto.

After rampaging through the sleepy Ohio town of Columbus and terrorizing the Crew, the massed Carlsberg fuelled army of Toronto FC fans has turned on their own. On a cold night in Toronto playing MLS powerhouse Chivas, FC was able to overcome injuries and their usual last minute ineptitude to triumph with a one goal advantage. The celebrating of this victory was all fun and games until somebody lost an eye. Well no eyes were lost but a thigh was burned and $2000 damage was done to the turf.

Two teenagers have been charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and mischief under $5,000. They should be charged with having terrible aim, weak arms and being douchebags. How a stadium full of people can light flares with no injuries while a couple of idiots here hit a woman and the carpet that is the turf at BMO Field is a disgrace. There are only two reasons that flares should be lit during a soccer match. That is to either celebrate a goal or to intentionally injure an opposing player when you’re losing. It works especially if they’re a rival and you ping the teams best player in the eye. Revenge is a dish best served with an eye patch.

The soccer fans in Toronto have developed a reputation of being the best fans in North America. That is if you don’t count Mexico as part of North America and no one does. They have done so by actually showing up and caring about what is happening on the field. It’s the first time that fans on this continent have come close to achieving what occurs every weekend in Europe. That it has happened in a city with a historically poor fan culture like Toronto is an even bigger shock. Toronto will only become a world class haven for hooligans when fans can toss a flare and burn a cornea rather then a woman’s pants. So until the glorious day when a player is rolled off the field because of a flare we remain second class.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What the Hell are Old Dutch Chips?

A recent fake survey shows that that after death and prison rape, change is the most Canadians greatest fear. There has been a recent disturbing change in the break room at my current employer. The regular national brand potato chips, such as Lay’s have been replaced by a brand named Old Dutch. As I knew Old Dutch as a brand of bleach this frightened me but aroused my curiosity. I had to learn more.

A little research on the corporate website shows that Old Dutch is a company that claims to have been founded in Western Canada in 1954. The brand is well known in the prairies and in 2006 bought the Humpty Dumpty Company to enter the rest of Canada. The chips bring back nostalgia to those originally from the prairies. As the chips are terrible I can only assume living in the prairies resembles hell. I needed some of the Old Dutch bleach to wash the taste out of my mouth and thankfully the bleach actually tasted better.

The Old Dutch chip displays at supermarkets are always in perfect condition. This either means that the employees visit everyday or absolutely no one is buying them. The vending machine has become a lonely place as most employees choose hunger or fig newtons for their snack needs.

The Dutch are known for things as varied as loose morales, artistic soccer, canals and windmills. While a windmill adorns the chip bags I was not aware that the Dutch are known for their culinary ability with a tater. If that was ever the case the Netherlands should sue for defamation of character as these chips destroy that with a single bite.

The company claims to have been the little company that grew from humble beginning in Winnipeg in 1954. This transforms to 1934 and Minnesota when you click on the US link. So while their Jalopeno & Cheese flavour (sorry flavor) is abysmal, only phony nostalgia and fake patriotism can leave a worse taste in your mouth.

Canadian Villain : Shoppers Drug Mart

A company can spend millions on marketing but many times the best marketing is done by good salespeople. An ad can get people in the door, but it’s the salesperson that can fill a bag with products. Generally I believed a good closer combines confidence, attractiveness and a certain je ne sais quoi. A trip to the Shoppers Drug Mart cosmetic counter always puts doubt into that stereotype of a success.

Shoppers Drug Mart is Canada’s successful pharmaceutical chain. In recent years their stores have grown into pseudo supermarkets but its success has been built on lipstick and pills. Its offers clean, well lit stores with long hours and promises convenience at the highest possible price. Some experience in extortion must be a necessity for whoever does their pricing as their slogan should be “Where else are you going to find razors and tampons at 2 am sucker”.

A visit to the cosmetics counter at an SDM resembles a trip to the theatre for the ancient Japanese art of Kabuki. Many people think their sales force resembles clowns, but clowns have a purpose for looking like complete idiots. They are clowns! The employees behind the cosmetics counter seem to think that they should have every product they sell on their face. The problem is that the women of Canada go to these people for advice, which is akin to going to Britney Spears for parental advice. The victims of this aren’t women, but the men who are forced to lie to the women in their lives.

It’s not all bad for SDM. They always open, the lines are always short and the Life Brand is usually good for saving a buck or two. That is if you like short expiry dates and the worst bottled water in the country.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pony Vs Nike : Who Will Get The V For Victory?

The footwear business is a competitive field for all the companies involved. The competition for your shoe dollar is as fierce as the games the shoes are used for. Each campaign uses the best marketing minds available to entice you to part with your hard earned dollar for a product that costs $5 to make in an Asian sweatshop.

Pony is not one of the companies that regularly compete for your dollar and haven’t since the 80’s. The last time the general public was aware of the shoes may have been when the Teen Wolf wore them to take the Beacontown Beavers to the state championship. My recall may be off and he may have been wearing Adidas. I think they are big in wrestling, skate boarding and discount stores. As a last gasp at attention they have decided to take Nike to court to protect their copyright.

The basis of this lawsuit is the difference between the letter V and the Pony Chevron logo. V is a famous letter known for sponsoring today’s episode of Sesame Street, an 80’s sci-fi miniseries and for signifying victory. Nike introduced the “V For Victory” campaign starring such luminaries as Sergio Aguero and Cesc Fabregas flashing the famous two fingered salute. Pony is suing as this resembles their logo. They should also consider suing Winston Churchill and the Ancient Greek philosopher Alphabeterus who created the alphabet.

Pony feels the use by Nike of the V will confuse consumers. The real confusion would be going to a shoe store and seeing Pony sneakers on sale as most people think that they went out of business years ago. I’m pretty sure being compared to Pony is the last thing that Nike would want to get out of this campaign. The only winner are the lawyers for Nike who will be defending the case. I doubt Pony has any petty cash to pay their legal team and their copyright is worth the $39.95 selling price of their top shoe.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Battle of the Blades : The CBC Hockey Figure Skating Show

Between Hockey and news the CBC has a lot of empty slots on its TV schedule. A variety of programming fills up the non hockey hours on our public broadcaster. It’s a showcase for East Coast comedians, sexless dramas about oil families, more East Coast Comedians and documentaries about Pierre Trudeau or the royal family. If only there was a way to feature hockey more then once a week.

In what is a programming masterstroke the CBC has decided to combine three television favourites into one stirring hour of television each week. “Battle of the Blades” will combine figure skating, hockey and judged reality shows in a fairly brilliant move for the Ceeb. All of Canada will be glued in to watch their favourite hockey stars clumsily learn a double axel, but most importantly learn about themselves. Both the hockey players and figure skaters will pursue a journey of self discovery and maybe they’ll get it on. They’ll have to overcome their fear of a triple lutz and of looking like a klutz.

This idea may remind people of the 1992 movie “The Cutting Edge” which featured an ex hockey player teaming with a figure skater to go for the gold and fall in love. Others may remember the 2006 Fox reality show “Skating With Celebrities” . This show featured ex celebrities team up with skating greats to go for the win and break up marriages. Most probably don’t remember as those two projects were utter failures. Hopefully they use the 2007 hit “Blades of Glory” as inspiration. Two dudes in sparkly costumes is comedy genius.

That looks better then the other offerings coming to the CBC this year. These include “Canada's Super Speller,"18 to Life," a comedy about a couple that gets married at 18, and "The Republic of Doyle," set in Newfoundland about a private investigator team who are father and son. Is every case going to be about who stole the welfare cheque? Also returning are other shows you feel guilty about not watching while you watch American TV.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

No Groping :Taking the Fun Out of Riding the Subway

Taking the subway is a dreary experience. You are stuck in a metal can, far beneath the surface of the city. It’s either too busy during rush hour or too scary at all other hours of the day. It smells of urine and body odor. There are only two benefits to riding the subway if you’re not some sort of environmental kook without the money for a Prius. Playing spot the rats in the station and groping unsuspecting passengers in a cramped train.

The subway offers unparalleled groping opportunities giving you a choice of shapes, sizes, colours and creeds. Our founding fathers could only dream of such variety when creating this fine nation. It is an outrage that the transit authority in Boston has found it necessary to start a campaign against this. It encourages riders to report incidents of inappropriate touching and/or rubbing and take pictures of the offender. Way to keep my rubbing anonymous Boston!

The campaign is being hailed as a success as complaints have risen 74% over last year, from 48 to 65. That’s an additional 17 people who have been made aware. I hereby nominate the MBTA for the Captain Obvious Hall of Fame. I realize this is a serious issue and people can get seriously violated through some sickos on a train. People also get killed and we don’t have “Murder Is Bad” posters throughout the city. The two reasons someone is rubbing up against you on the subway is if it’s packed or if they’re mentally freaking ill. A poster isn’t gonna stop a sicko from grabbing some ass but it will probably make someone feel guilty in a crowded train.

I Might Be Too Old : Lady GaGa

So here is a clip of current singing superstar Lady GaGa singing "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. Her reimagining of the song takes it to new heights. With the artistry of an apprentice butcher she takes a decent Coldplay song and makes it into the song that should be chosen by the devil to usher us into the apocalypse.

I don't get Lady GaGa and it makes me feel old. Like people of a similar age when Madonna or Britney Spears, I wonder if the kids have lost their way. Sure her debut single "Just Dance" was a cute little number for the clubs. Her subsequent songs have me switching the station or at the very least praying for deafness.

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta to an affluent family, GaGa has been able to use her family connections to become famous. With a complete lack of talent, looks or personality she rose to prominence as a protege of Akon. While there is a special spot in hell awaiting Akon for his role in the rise of Toronto (c)rapper Kardinal Offishall, I propose justice at The Hague. He must be tried for crimes against humanity. Kids love GaGa because of her keen fashion sense and her catchy tunes. If she has anything close to the career of the similarly talented Italian American Madonna we are in for 20 years of bad dancing and the occasional catchy song.

I hearby invoke the Murtaugh List, coined by the writers of How I Met Your Mother in honor of Danny Glover's character in Lethal Weapon. The list is for things you are too old to do or get after a certain age.

Therefore Lady GaGa, I am too old for your shit.

The True Cost of Free Coffee At McDonalds

For the next two weeks Canadian streets will be eerily empty of old people in the morning. The malls will have no walkers. Is it because the plot of Cocoon is actually taking place? Has an evil supervillain concocted a scheme to harvest their body parts. Well of course not. McDonalds is introducing a new Coffee brew and to celebrate are giving away a free small coffee between 5am-1030am.

This latest promotion is part of McDonalds global push into the lucrative coffee game. The coffee served at Mickey D's used to be hot brown water served in a flimsy styrofoam cup. It's only use was as a means to spill on yourself and sew the bejeezus out of the company. As it watched companies like Starbucks and Tim Hortons cut into their market it was forced into action. This latest attempt follows on a coffee relaunch a couple of years ago. In many countries they have introduced McCafes and include cappucinos and espresso on their vast menu.

The coffee isn't bad and is certainly better then what is served at Tim Hortons or Dunkin' Donuts. I think what makes the coffee better is the sweat and blood of the child workers who pick the 100% Arabica beans that make up this Premium Roast Coffee. While it makes me feel better to buy a fair trade coffee, it just doesn't have the extra oomph added through the desperation of an exploited third world worker.

Cheapskates can also go to Starbucks with a travel mug on Earth Day and receive a free Pikes Place Roast. That's coffee with the added taste of smug liberal self importance. Yummy!

Clinton Vs. Bush : One Night Only In Toronto

As the biggest city in Canada Toronto has been witness to some major events. Only a few can be deemed earth shattering. An event planned for May 29, 2009 is being billed by no one but me as the biggest event to hit Toronto since the Ultimate Warrior battled Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania 6 in 1990.

In one corner will be the 42nd President of the United States,William Jefferson Clinton. In the other corner will be the 43rd President of the United States, George Walker Bush. In the middle will be a moderator to keep what is billed as "a conversation" civil. Oh please let it be Peter Mansbridge.

While ticket prices haven't been set for this rumble this historic event is priceless. The stage is the historic Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This presidential rumble joins auto shows, trade shows, NHL Award Shows and Canadian Idol in the storied facility. Imagine being able to hear Clinton drone on for 45 minutes about foreign affairs, while gingerly avoiding talking about getting a blow job in the oval office. Think of listening to W. mispronounce words while he avoids talking about torture or how he screwed up the economy, the war, the constitution and everything but Monica Lewinsky. Watch as these two titans of American History completely avoid debating each other on issues they fundamentally disagree on. All the while you will be listening and thinking about how much you or your company paid for the ticket and the tax write off you will receive.

Just being near the facility while the Secret Service jams up traffic and tramples on the civil liberties of Torontonians heading to work will make this event one that will be talked about for hours. How can you miss this event?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Screw You Susan Boyle : Greeks Also Have Talent

The interwebs have been abuzz since the debut of Susan Boyle of Britains Got Talent. That horrible song is stuck in the head of everyone who has heard it. She showed us that you don't have to be beautiful to have a decent voice. She has received offers worldwide including one to lose her virginity on film.

Well a father and son dancing duo want a bit of the attention as well. Well hopefully not the porn. The Greek Cypriot Duo known as Stavros Flatley were a hit on the talent/freak show that is a British TV hit and a worldwide phenomenom. While also showing off their "funky" dance moves the duo is also publicizing the plight of the divided island of Cyprus. They are also probably the victim of millions of Big and /or fat and/or Greek jokes.

Is this the British version of the Biggest Loser?

Attempted Hijacking in Jamaica : This is no time for a 420 joke!

An attempted hijacking on the tarmac in Jamaica was thwarted by the actions of the countries defence force. A troubled young man had forced his way past unarmed security and on to the Canjet flight destined for Halifax. I guess the security was unready seeing as it's 420 and you know how those Jamaicans love the ganja!

I'm sorry. That seems uncalled for. Wait a second didn't Canjet go bankrupt?

The attempted hijacker was upset due to a failed relationship. There is no news if this was his dealer or the marijuana itself.

I'm sorry. There is no need to joke about a drug dealer. They are usually very efficient and the dope in Jamaica is quite good.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his jet to some of the stranded passengers. He was too wasted to come back anyway.

I'm sorry. Harper suffers from glaucoma and it is medicinal.

Seriously though congratulations on the well run operation. All the crew and passengers were safe and the hijacker was arrested.

Juventus : Say Yes to Razzismo

100% Italian

Nothing competes with the excitement of top flight European Football. When you enter a stadium you are confronted with a symphony of banners, fireworks, flares, chants and sometimes if you are lucky, racists. The fans in Europe will confront an African player with bananas and gorilla noises. It's all in good fun if you are completely retarded or a fascist.

Juventus is one of the most famous teams in the world. Based in Turin and owned by the Agnelli family as a way to spread their political influence and cover up defects in their Fiat Cars. The "old lady" has "won" their way to 27 Scudettos (Italian Championships). While employing some of the best footballers in the world many of their championships have been tainted due to bribing of officials.

A recent match against rival Inter Milan,was especially heated. Pre match egg throwing was followed by taunts against Inter player Mario Balotelli. While born to Ghanian parents, Balotelli was born in Italy and adopted by an Italian family at 3. He had a chance to play for Ghana but waited until he had the proper papers to play for Italy. The kid has done everything right but still isn't considered Italian by the fans. This from a country which embraced Mauro Camoranesi, a man who doesn't know the words of the national anthem and said after winning the World Cup "I feel Argentine. But I have defended the colors of Italy with dignity." It seems an Italian name has to be matched with Italian skin.

This isn't the first time Balotelli has been the focus of racism. Earlier in the year Roma was fined 7000 Euros for similar inaction by the team after racist actions by the fans. It's nice to know that in Italy the cost of racism is a brand new Fiat Cinquecento. Pending appeal, which Juve will probably win, the fine is one home game played without fans.

When Stupid People Attack! Jackie Chan And Miss California

There was a time in the distant past when people in the public eye weren't allowed to speak what was on their mind. Baseball players talked about baseball, politicians talked about politics and so on. It was a great time when stupidity was kept in the closet. Developing technology has allowed stupidity to reign supreme. A moronic comment, which may have been suppressed 20 years ago is now heard instantly around the world.

Jackie Chan is one of the biggest box office stars in the world. At a young age he learned the art of wacky karate and has entertained millions the world over. At a recent forum, where Chan was a featured participant, he was asked about censorship in Chinese cinema. His answer would have been perfect coming out of the mouth of a racist or a member of the Communist Party. The beloved film star said "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not" and added "I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic." The cherry on top of the idiot sundae was "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled, If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want." Did you know that he's done all of his stunts and may suffer from Brain Damage? Well it's comforting for a racist to know that Mr. Chan agrees that the Chinese, or Chinamen if you will, can not be controlled.

Carrie Prejean is Miss California USA and was one of the top five finalists for Miss USA. As Miss USA you are expected to look hot in a bikini, smile, and laugh at Donald Trumps comments about your body. There has been a recent spell of pageant contestants answering questions badly or falling on their ass, so they should be aware to be careful when walking or opening their mouth. When asked her feeling about gay marriage by judge Perez Hilton, Ms Prejean let loose a series of words that resembled a sentence in name only. Her response was "We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage, And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised." I know that it is hard to want a nuanced answer from a beauty contestant but what the hell is an opposite marriage? The better question is why was that a question? The question should be about world peace, or pets. While Ms Prejean goes on to starring appearances on Fox News and the 700 Club, the winner Miss North Carolina will now get to spend a year doing charity work and getting drooled on by Donald Trump.

The opinions expressed by karate stars and hot women wearing sashes should not be of any consequence of all. I want my wacky karate stars to comically fall down a flight of stairs and my pageant contestants to walk competently in high heels and a bikini and not fall down a flight of stairs. When you ask stupid people to think and talk, expect stupid shit to come out of their mouth.

Adidas : Nutcracker Sweet

Adidas is locked in a life or death struggle with Nike for athletic supremacy. Since Michael Jordan signed with the American shoemaker the Germans have been trying to catch up. Nothing they have done since the late 80's has managed to top the iconic "Just Do It" slogan or the image of the Jumpman. One of their latest campaigns has a variety of soccer stars showing off on the practice field. One of the ads features Steven Gerrard of Liverpool and "Oh you beauty" fame kicking a ball in clay pigeons. The one above featuring Michael Ballack shows him kicking someone in the balls.

Ballack is the captain of the German National Team and stars for English Premiership powerhouse Chelsea FC. He has lost both the Champions League Final and the World Cup Final. As this ad shows he has terrible aim when shooting the ball. This is not helped by the Adidas boots he is wearing, nor the Adidas ball he is using. A man either a coach or a local sado masochist is holding a massive hoop for him to shoot the ball through. It is not disclosed if the hoop is made by Adidas. Instead of shooting the ball through a hoop a few feet away from a standing position, Ballack manages to hit der hoden.

Watching someone get hit in the balls is funny. It's a classic bit that has enabled America's Funniest Home Videos to last 80 years and features in 75% of all youtube videos. Does this make me want to buy the shoes that Ballack is wearing in the ad? Do I even remember the shoes that he is weaing in the ad? Does Nike have anything to worry about?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Edible Ads : Would You Like Fries With That?

Newspapers are a useful resource for todays homeowners. The choices don't just stop at being read. They include lining the bottom of a birdcage to wrapping up glassware before a move. While versatile they are in trouble. Will making newspapers into a tasty treat save them from oblivion? A two week old article from the Economist reprinted in my Toronto Star hopes that eating your daily newspaper won't be for your local wino anymore.

The death of newspapers is a hot topic amongst media folks. The internet has taken away much of its business and relevancy without injecting papers with additional revenue. As they have not been able to monetize their popular websites, and with snarky bloggers stealing their work, newspapers are searching for new revenue.

First Flavor is a company that has already had success with their "Peel & Taste" flavor strips. Their strips have already been used for POS displays and for magazine inserts for companies like Welch's and Skyy Vodka. They want to move into newspapers and have partnered US Ink, the leading provider of newspaper ink to do so.

The idea is that advertisers would pay to have these taste strips inserted in your morning paper. The subscribers would then open up the paper and out would pop up a taste strip featuring tomato juice, soup or vodka. If they were smart the taste strips would include pancakes and coffee so readers could ignore breakfast flavored ads.

Who in their right minds would want to lick something that has been in a newspaper? I wash my hands after reading the paper. Who would lick something that tastes like a combination of glue, paper, the delivery guy and some chemical meant to taste like broccoli? The only people interested are desperate publishers and guys who wash up by rubbing magazine cologne ads before they go out.

Coming Soon - Scratch & Sniff Internet.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Why is 1888-556-5140 calling me?

On the first day it was available I registered for the Canadian Do Not Call List. The DNCL was an example of the government doing something right. After putting you phone number on the list telemarketers would be restricted from calling you. The exemptions are for registered charities, polling, newspapers, political parties and for companies you have bought or asked for services within the past 18 months.

With increasing frequency 1-888-556-5140 keeps popping up on my phone. A quick search finds that this number is registered to the ICT Group. The company has been in business since 1984 and their motto is "Outsourcing Expertise Beyond the Call". Companies outsource their customer service and marketing departments to ICT, who are professional telemarketers.

The companies using this service in Canada seem to be selling credit card insurance. They claim to be calling from the banks and ask for your information. Most of the major banks in Canada seem to be using this service. I never let them talk or pick up the phone but they continue to call daily. This seems like normal business practice for them.

Do the major banks in Canada really need more money? How many people does ICT have working for them that they can call little old me up to five times a day? Is it ethical to sell my information to a company who is doing business in some shady countries? If this has been going on since October is the Do Not Call List effective?

The only answer is STOP CALLING ME!