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December 29, 2014

Mirvish donates Robin Hood tickets to the Toronto Archery Club

Mirvish Productions has donated two tickets to "The Heart of Robin Hood" to the Toronto Archery Club in an effort to help the archery club raise money for new archery equipment.

The two tickets are 'plum' orchestra tickets together worth $210 and the Toronto Archery Club is auctioning off the tickets in an effort to raise money for new equipment. The funds will be used for buying beginner bows, arrows, and finger gloves that beginners can use at club events.

The Toronto Archery Club is also accepting donations. Contact archery club president Charles Moffat for details if you wish to either bid on the tickets or simply want to donate to the Toronto Archery Club.

"The Heart of Robin Hood" has been touring Canada and is in Toronto from December 23rd 2014 to March 1st 2015. Ticket prices start at $45 and go up to $105 each.




November 28, 2014

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Retrospective

ENTERTAINMENT

Less than 3 weeks from now the last of the 3 Hobbit films will be released, bringing to end an era of Tolkien-based films... and opening the door for other filmmakers to make their own Tolkien-esque films.

Warner Brothers knows this is the end of an era and thus have released the video below, a retrospective on all 6 films - and incidentally a promo for the last of the 6 films.



The good news however is that these films have made fans hungry for more.

But there are no more Tolkien books worth making. So out of necessity, we should turn to other books that are worthy of note. Here is a list of fantasy books that should be made into films:

The Icewind Dale Trilogy
The Crystal Shard (1988)
Streams of Silver (1989)
The Halfling's Gem (1990)

The Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy
Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984)
Dragons of Winter Night (1985)
Dragons of Spring Dawning (1985)

The Earthsea Cycle
A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
The Tombs of Atuan (1971)
The Farthest Shore (1972)
Tehanu (1990)
The Other Wind (2001)

The Wheel of Time
(Although to be fair, this would make a better TV series - similar to Game of Thrones. The Wheel of Time has 14+ books and it would make more sense if it was a TV series.)

The Dark Sun: Prism Pentad
The Verdant Passage (1991)
The Crimson Legion (1992)
The Amber Enchantress (1992)
The Obsidian Oracle (1993)
The Cerulean Storm (1993)

Now if you recognize the books from Icewind Dale, Dragonlance and Dark Sun as being books associated with Dungeons and Dragons and are thinking "Wait, don't D&D movies suck?!" then you are missing the point. Don't base the movies off the game. Base the movies off the books (which are awesome) and ignore the existence of the game entirely. The problem with movies based off video games or RPGs is that they are too closely based off the games when they should be based off the best-selling books. The books are ridiculously popular.

The problem with the D&D film series is that they based the films off the game, and developed pretty lame plots that had not been tested as a book series first. They ignored the first rule of movie making: Only make a movie that is based on a successful book series. If it doesn't have the books to back it up as being already successful, then it is not worth making.

Google the name Drizzt Do'Urden (one of the main characters from The Icewind Dale Trilogy) and Google spits out 370,000 results (that is just slightly less than "Conan the Barbarian", which has 398,000 results). That shows Drizzt Do'Urden has brand name appeal when it comes to marketing the films and has a measurement of pre-existing success. Conan already has 3 films out there, and yet Drizzt isn't that far behind in popularity and has zero films.

Lastly, there are also some sequels that should be made sometime. Namely:

Buttercup's Baby - the long awaited sequel to The Princess Bride - sadly, one of the actors is dead so this will probably never happen.

Conan the Conqueror - with Arnold Schwarzenegger as King Conan, based off the book "The Hour of the Dragon".

The Subtle Knife + The Amber Spyglass - The two remaining books after film The Golden Compass (the book is called The Northern Lights), a film that brought in $372 million at the box office and yet oddly enough the series was cancelled. Why? Because in the 3rd book "god" dies of old age. Apparently the idea of 'god dying due to old age' was too controversial for Christians and they boycotted the film. However the film still managed to bring in $372 million at the box office, meaning it was hugely profitable. So why not make the 2nd and 3rd films if it is profitable??? Finish the trilogy.

Avatar 2, 3 and 4 - They are coming. That much is certain. They are slated for release in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Filming begins just a few days from now in December 2014.

October 1, 2014

Veganism and Protein-based Bodybuilding

Vegan Bodybuilder Joel Kirkilis
Can A Vegan Diet Give You Muscles?

This is the question most people who consider going vegan or vegetarian ask before they decide to change their diets. Will I lose a major source of protein if I give up meat. The answer is ultimately yes, but there are some other things to consider before you make up your mind about veganism.

Yes, meat is a great source of protein and if you give it up you will lose that major source, but you can replace that great source of protein with another source of protein that can give you just as much protein as you had before and maybe a little more.

Indeed there is a whole movement within the bodybuilding community of vegan bodybuilders, like Joel Kirkilis above.

Now before you think it is more difficult to become a vegan bodybuilder vs an omnivore bodybuilder, remember:

Gorillas Do It

Gorillas are a close evolutionary relative to humans and they live off a strictly plant based diet. I don't think anyone would accuse a gorilla of lack an adequate source of protein as they are often very strong, powerful and muscle animals. So how do they do it? Well, gorillas spend all day eating plants as the plants do not allow them to gain enough energy to sustain them the entire day, but the plants that they do eat provide them with enough protein to help them build the muscles they need.

Humans have an advantage when it comes to a vegan diet because unlike gorillas humans eat starchy foods which will provide extra protein and a vast amount of carbohydrates. I know what you are thinking, gorillas are similar to us but they are not the same, they must have different genes and body structures that allows them to process plants differently than humans do. The answer to that is no, not really. Gorillas have the same DNA and the same digestive systems as humans and are 99% identical to humans in terms of DNA. That 1% difference is really minor.

Gorillas also do not have an extra special means of digesting food to get more protein out of it. The protein is already there in the plant based food, we humans just need to start realizing that meat is not the only source of protein out there.

Professional Athletes Do It Too

David Haye is a professional boxer and became vegan while competing professionally. At first he was concerned about what becoming vegan could negatively effect his ability to participate in professional boxing. He was concerned that without meat he would not be able to maintain his muscle mass. It was not until he did some research on the protein value of plant based foods that he realized that he could get what he needs from plants.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson also became a vegan after dealing with depression, weight gain, drug abuse and alcoholism. He became a vegan as part of a process that was intended to help him get his life back on track. After becoming a vegan Mike Tyson was able to get back into a physique that rivaled that of his heavy weight fighting days.

What If You Just Want To Try It Out First

Protein is easily accessed through plant foods such as beans, seeds and grains. If you are not yet ready to take the plunge just yet, why not try out a vegan restaurant first to see if plant based protein is right for you. A great place to try is Rawlicious, a Toronto raw vegan restaurant, which provides several different smoothie options that can be fortified with Hemp Protein and SunWarrior Brown Rice Protein.

September 2, 2014

The Future of Toronto's Subway System - TTC Map

Below is a rendering of what the new Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension will look like on the TTC system map when the new subway extension opens in the Autumn of 2016.


That is assuming that Rob Ford doesn't start an epidemic of "lying and cheating crack zombies" between now and then. It would totally suck if the "crack zombie apocalypse" happened before the subway extension was completed. Just think of how many more people would be trapped underground thanks to the subway extension when the zombie epidemic spreads to the TTC.

In other news, the 2014 Toronto Mayoral Election will take place on October 27, 2014. Four days before Halloween.

March 31, 2014

How to Dress like a Manly Man

By Monique Bellamont - March 2014

Ack!

It is that word many "manly men" shy away from - metrosexual.

Which we women find silly because it reveals that many men are so homophobic that they refuse to deal with anything that is remotely "gay".

As such men's high fashion has suffered over the decades to the point that men really can only wear suits and uniforms. Anything too risque and they feel they are being emasculated

However done right, men's high fashion doesn't have to look metrosexual.

What it should look like however is:

Rugged.
Cool.
Capable.

And a touch of James Bond doesn't hurt.

As such high end clothing for men really needs to flatter a man - building a bridge between "uniform / suit" and "rugged casual wear".

Check out the image below to see what I mean. The men in the photo below, all wearing clothes from Toronto-based company Kish Wear, look rugged yet sophisticated. And this is what men want when it comes to high fashion. They want to look professional, yes, but they also want to look like they could doff a cowboy hat and ride off into the sunset at the same time looking heroic while they do it.


 Now as a single woman who dates a lot I have to imagine waiting in a coffee shop for the guy I met off POF to show up.

And then he shows up wearing a black bow tie, wearing a white shirt, suspenders, a black jacket with fur collar (I am describing the photo on the right here) then I am going to be instantly impressed and have the following first impressions.

#1. This man is intelligent. He is smartly dressed.

#2. This man knows how to dress properly and takes care of himself. He probably bathes daily, does his laundry regularly, and might even wear cologne on special occasions.

#3. This man probably knows how to treat a lady. If he treats himself well, then he probably treats others well too.

#4. This man has a job / career. He wouldn't be able to afford this quality of clothes if he is still living in his parents' basement.

#5. He looks like Viggo Mortensen. Part of that is just the hair and beard, but the clothes completes the package.

#6. Retro. And anything retro is cool. So that is automatically a bonus.

Thus, first impressions, I would be very happy to meet a man dressed like that. Whether his personality matches mine, that is another topic, but the first impressions means that I will be taking this man seriously and he will be having my undivided attention while I sip my latte and contemplate a second date.

Below are some photos from Kish Wear's 2014 Winter Collection.





March 27, 2014

Hey Toronto, need a hobby? Join a Meetup or Facebook group!

Toronto has literally hundreds of different Meetup.com and Facebook groups that meet regularly to explore whatever topics or hobbies they find interesting.

Thus regardless of your interests, there are lots of hobbies out there for Torontonians (or any other city dweller) for you to try and learn more about.

Take for example

The Toronto Poetry Club operates a Meetup group, a Facebook page, and a poetry website. The poetry club has poetry circle readings and anyone who is a Toronto poet (or even non Toronto residents) can join in.

The Toronto Poetry Club on Meetup.com

The Toronto Poetry Club on Facebook.com

The Toronto Poetry Club official website


The Toronto Feminist Meetup is a group which promotes feminism, equal rights for women and has feminist talks about books, entertainment, politics, legal matters and more.


Toronto Survivalists is a group which enjoys camping, hunting, fishing, and explores a variety of woodcraft skills.


The Toronto Vegan Meetup Group is a group for vegans and vegetarians and veggie-curious people to share recipes, get together for making food together and various vegan friendly social events.


And yes, I realize the hunting/fishing group and the vegan group basically covers everyone who eats food.

But what if you just want to hang out with new friends and play board games? Well there is a group for that too.

The Toronto Area Gamers group is for people who love boardgames, roleplaying games, card games, and even video games. Want to meet other gamers? "TAG" is the place to join.

So if you are bored and browsing the internet - well then you really have no excuse. Go join a club! Get into a new sport like archery or boxing! Hang out with other people with similar interests!

March 17, 2014

Stealing Words at the University of Toronto

By Ai Lung Nguyen

I plagiarized this article about plagiarism. Just kidding, I only partly plagiarized it. I plagiarized part of the title.

Not the whole title. Just part of it. Technically just the word "Words" is still the same, along with the concept that words have been stolen. Everything else is original. Except the statistics, which I found.

Call it the beauty of the internet. Plagiarism is so easy now that you can steal the title of someone else's work, change the title in some way, and claim it as your own witty way of writing an idea.

It is a bit like taking a song like "War" and making a new song called "War, huh? What is that good for?"

And now I have an excuse to include the following video...



Anywho, back to my main topic.

Let us pretend that you are an university professor or TA at the University of Toronto, and you are certain one of your students submitted an essay that they did not write.

But you can't prove it because you cannot find an identical essay online or at any other source.

It might even be blatantly obvious that the student did not write the essay - and when asked might say something like "Oh my boyfriend helped me edit it." Which is technically nothing wrong with that. Asking a friend to edit your essay is perfectly legit and even recommended.

And you might ask "How much of the essay did your boyfriend write for you?"

"None. He just corrected the spelling errors and grammar."

Spelling errors and grammar. Services that are easily provided by software these days, making such editing and proofreading services obsolete.

I know this because years ago when my aunt and uncle moved to Canada they were having problems with their son learning how to read and they ended up buying a better version of MS Word that had grammar and spellcheck software that would help him in school. They bought it and his grades went up dramatically.

What that proves is access to quality software can improve a student's grades very easily.

Likewise having access to friends and family that know how to edit, proofread and provide suggestions on how to fix your essay would also be valuable.

There are a plethora of essay writing companies in Toronto, many of which even have offices within walking distance of the University of Toronto campus. One such company is MastersEssay.com, which provides a long list of services from writing Masters and Ph.D. dissertations / thesis essays, doing your math homework for you, resume writing, CV and cover letter writing, editing and proofreading, heck they would probably even do creative writing / poetry assignments for you...

None of which I need, I just find it amusing that people would hire other people to write their poetry for them.

And then the professor reads your essay, thesis, poetry, etc. and thinks to themselves "This is way too well written - it has to be plagiarized!"

Which begs the question, if you are going to hire someone to write an essay for you... maybe you should ask them to deliberately make mistakes while writing the essay so it isn't "too good".

Another factor to take into account is students who don't hire someone else to write their essay for them, but instead just steal someone else's essay that they find online.

Which is often the professor's first guess, I imagine. So they go scouring the internet and either find something that shows the essay was ripped off, or they come away empty handed.

If they cannot prove the essay was plagiarized (without a doubt) then they cannot accuse the student of wrongdoing without undeniable proof.

Instances where students get caught committing academic dishonesty are rare at the University of Toronto - but there are about a dozen companies operating solely on selling essays to University of Toronto students, to say nothing of individuals who are selling their essay writing skills on Craigslist.

So we KNOW there are literally hundreds of students at the University of Toronto who are cheating on essays and other class projects, but they are not getting caught for whatever reason. To say nothing of students who are plagiarizing their essays off the internet from various sources.

Some classes might even have a very high percentage of plagiarized essays (purchased or found online), to the point that half the class or more might be using plagiarized material.

At which point the professors really are guessing as to which essays are faked because half of them might be plagiarized and they don't have a clue.

What I find funny is how students really don't need to plagiarize at all. One of the things I loved doing during university was quoted things. I would quote large chunks of other people's work, state who made the comments, and include everything in the references / bibliography. All perfectly legit and it takes up a large part of the essay in a hurry when you are trying to get all the extra "words" in a 3,000 word essay.

I could basically write the essay introduction, find 5 examples of quotes by other people (noted historians/etc), explain why their view was valid and important, and then conclusions at the end of the essay. Then add the books or websites where I found the quotes in the bibliography and done! Easy peasy!

Note - I Googled "easy peasy" to make sure it was spelled correctly.

So yes, the internet does make it very easy for students to cut and paste and plagiarize sources for their essay... but if they just put quotes around the parts they are cutting and pasting, add footnotes and a bibliography then what they are doing is perfectly legit.

My essays back in university were literally covered in footnotes. I would even stick funny little anecdotes into my footnotes, thinks I thought were ironic, pop culture references, making fun of politicians, whatever added extra body to the essay. My essays had PERSONALITY!!!

Another trick I loved to do during my essays in university was to contact and interview someone who was still alive. Then I could use the interview and lots of quotes during the essay. It would definitely be original then - and in the case of a phone interview I might even record it over speaker phone and hand in a recording with the essay.

Another one I loved doing is statistics. I would put them in larger letters for added emphasis. See further below.

Thus I was never accused of plagiarism myself. My professor knew my essays were original because I was just so darn awesome that there was no doubt I wrote it.

But let us pretend for a moment you have a nitwit in your class room who submits a high quality essay worthy of someone applying to become a Ph.D. student. You KNOW they did not write it because it has none of their personality in it, uses big words they probably don't even know how to spell, and is so well written it deserves a Pulitzer prize. Their boyfriend/girlfriend wrote it, they hired someone to write it, or they stole it from a source online.

Some people also like to blame a variety of reasons (other than the internet) as to why plagiarism is so prevalent these days. Reasons like:

Getting rid of Grade 13 in high schools.
Destreaming Advanced, General and Basic level classes in high schools.
Dumbing down the projects assigned in high schools.
High school teachers not teaching essay writing any more.
Universities not requiring students to write an essay to get into university.
TV and internet is making students dumber and dumber.

But is cheating really any more common than in the past? Or are people just getting better at catching cheaters?

According to a 2006 University of Guelph study of more than 13,000 undergraduates at Canadian universities, a little more than half of students admitted to having cheated on written work.

So that is pretty common if roughly 51% of students have cheated at some point.

Back at the University of Toronto, the number of official cases of plagiarism (people caught cheating) climbed to 403 in 2005-06 from 92 twelve years earlier. The increase also coincides with an almost 50 per cent increase in enrolment - which means that U of T is enrolling more students that are less intelligent and possibly have never even written a single essay in their life because teachers in high schools don't teach essay writing any more and don't assign essays either.

Obviously more research needs to be done to determine exactly how many people are cheating.

Or better yet, U of T should hire graduates to go undercover and work for essay writing companies - and report back to U of T as to which essays are purchased. An expensive solution to the problem, but it would open an eye into the world of buying and selling essays.

A proactive approach to catching cheaters would get far more results than professors having to do the leg work themselves - which is pretty hit and miss and a bit like trying to prove rape in a sexual assault trial (rape trials have very low conviction rates).

February 26, 2014

Bob Barker fails to convince Ontario to ban the Spring bear hunt

Bob Barker (TV host from The Price is Right) has tried and failed to convince the Ontario government not to bring back the Spring bear hunt, which the province cancelled in 1999 during declining bear numbers.

But now the bears are back and they're becoming a nuisance.

It costs the province time and money to hire game wardens to shoot and kill nuisance bears that are threatening the human population and thus Fall and Spring bear hunts allows Ontario hunters to kill bears and keep the bear population at a manageable level.

It is normally rare for black bears to attack humans (80% of bear attacks in North America are from grizzlies), but since bears fight for territory and when the population of bears explodes they end up encroaching on towns and city suburbs more - wandering in to find food in the same manner that raccoons do.

In the past the city has made new laws and spent $35-million on alternative approaches to nuisance bears, encouraging people to avoid leaving food or garbage in places where bears can get at it, but such approaches have had no success in lowering bear attacks on humans.

Currently northern Ontario has a bear hunting season that runs from mid-August into October, but with rising bear numbers and increasing bear attacks on humans it is clear that the bear population needs to be culled.

Fatal bear attacks in Ontario have been on the rise since the 1980s due to the careful balance between human populations and fluctuating bear populations.

Since the Spring bear hunt was cancelled in 1999 the black bear population in Northern Ontario has grown so numerous that the bears are now migrating south into more populated regions - and bear attacks have risen significantly because of this.

Bringing back the Spring bear hunt will allow hunters to kill more bears preemptively - which will ultimately save the province time and money by not having to send police officers or game wardens to deal with problem bears - and it will save human lives. It was really only a matter of time before the Spring bear hunt had to be brought back to safeguard territorial bears from traveling too far south.

But saving human lives is not enough for vegetarians and animal rights groups like PETA who want all hunting abolished (which would cost the province millions by having to hire people full time to kill nuisance bears on a constant basis). PETA is promoting the abolition of hunting (not just bears, but all animals), and also eliminating the farming of livestock (cows, chickens, pigs, etc)... as such their views are considered to be very controversial since most people in North America enjoy bacon and eggs on a regular basis.

"I feel deep concern about any animal mistreatment any place in the world, and this is in one of my favourite places, Canada, and I want to try to do something about it to protect these bear cubs," says Bob Barker in an interview from his home in Hollywood, California.

Barker says it is "barbaric" to let bear cubs starve to death after their mothers are lured from the den by bait and then killed by bear hunters. "You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize you’re murdering every cub," says Bob Barker. "I urge every Canadian who knows anything about this to step up to the plate and take a swing for the cubs."

But what Barker fails to understand is that hunting in Ontario is governed by hunting tags - which are released for males and females of the species - and stiff fines for killing the wrong type of bear. This means the government can release X amount of male bear tags and X amount of female bear tags. And while sometimes a female might be killed instead of a male (for whatever reason), it allows the ministry to more accurately control the culling of bears.

And while that is true that bear cubs will starve during the Spring bear hunt, it is also true that reducing the population of bear cubs will sharply reduce bear populations in a hurry. Thus Ontario may only need 1 or 2 years of Spring bear hunts before the bear population has reached more manageable levels.

The good news is that most hunters also eat their kills - including bears, which tastes very gamey but is very high in protein. Ethical hunters believe in always eating their kills and feel very strongly about it.

There is even a huge variety of black bear cooking videos on YouTube. Like the two videos below:






Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti has disputed Bob Barker’s claims about cubs being left to starve to death during a spring bear hunt. "I have a ton of respect for Mr. Bob Barker, but I’m not sure where he’s getting his facts on this issue, and that’s not in fact the case at all," he said.

As mentioned above, the ministry releases way more hunting tags for male bears than for females. Furthermore the new Spring bear hunt will be limited to only 8 of 95 wildlife areas this Spring in a pilot project to see if the province can curb bear populations in regions that are closest to civilization - and therefore reducing the number of emergency calls and instances where police are forced to shoot nuisance bears.

"I’m not sure if Mr. Barker is aware that eight other provinces in Canada and all territories have full province-wide or territory-wide spring bear hunts," says Orazietti. "This is a much smaller, targeted approach to deal with really what’s become a public safety issue."

Furthermore the Ontario bear hunt will be non-profit and limited to local hunters only. That means no trophy hunters coming in from the USA or overseas to hunt bears. It will be limited only to local bear hunters.

Barker called the Spring bear hunt "unethical" and "legislated cruelty" and said it doesn’t matter that Ontario is trying only a small scale pilot project. To him all hunting is wrong and unethical.

"Whether it’s an experiment or it’s going to last for 30 years, it is just totally unacceptable in today’s society," he said. "I just can’t understand how they can possibly do this."

Could it be because it is the most effective way of curbing the bear population?

That is line of thought being promoted by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, which has urged the public to make sure "big city animal rights extremists" don’t derail the pilot project for a Spring bear hunt.

"While the partial reinstatement of a hunt is a positive step, we believe that all of bear country deserves to experience the benefits of a spring hunt," says the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters in a statement.

Hunting is also a tricky activity to get into. It is usually passed from father to son (most hunters are male, despite what you might see on the Hunger Games). To become a hunter in Ontario you must first complete the Ontario Hunter Education Course plus get either your H1 (firearms) or H2 (bowhunting) Outdoors Card, plus enter a lottery to get hunting tags (of which there is a limited number and randomly distributed). As such hunting is an activity that in recent decades has been on the decline as the population shifts to a more urban society.

Last year a black bear wandered into a Northern Ontario town on Halloween, a night when small children were walking around with bags full of candy. Fortunately police responded before anyone was injured or killed.

"We’ve had over 50 resolutions from municipalities wanting to opt in to this pilot program, and that certainly speaks to the sense of urgency that communities have in northern Ontario in terms of dealing with this," says Orazietti.

"We have young kids in schools who can’t go out for recess because bears are in their playground," he said. "Teachers are wearing bear whistles to call the students back into the safety of the school."

Such unsafe conditions has parents up in arms, demanding that the province deal with the nuisance bears.

A Spring bear hunt to cull the number of bears is the logical solution.

If the number of nuisance bear reports drops dramatically in those 8 regions it will be a sign that the Spring bear hunt is working.

"I think the most important thing we need to do now is to ensure that the proposed pilot project has the desired effect, including a reduced number of 911 calls," says Orazietti.

February 20, 2014

Canadian women's hockey - why is it not televised more often???

This post has been moved to CardioTrek.ca:

Canadian women's hockey - Why is it not televised more often???

Russia loses the Olympics

Russia has lost the Olympics.

Why?

Let us count the ways.

#1. Russia lost a key hockey game against Finland and won't even get a single men's medal in hockey. By Russian standards if you don't get gold in men's hockey then you LOSE THE OLYMPICS. That is Russia's own measurement of success.

#2. Pussy Riot has embarrassed the Russian government by pointing out Russia's many human rights violations. (And to make matters worse the Russians sent cossacks to attack Pussy Riot in the street, and it was all caught on video.)



#3. The Russian gay community has embarrassed the Russian government due to Russia's crackdown against gay rights.

#4. Toilets. Apparently Russians don't know how to install a toilet in many of the unfinished hotels built in Sochi.

#5. Russia hasn't been winning as many medals as they want to. They aren't even in the top 3.

#6. Terrorist threats that never materialized has scared away many of the would-be tourists. The Sochi Olympics is a financial boondoggle.

#7. Russian construction companies owned by the Russian mafia pocketed a lot of the money that was to be used for building hotels/etc. As a result this financial boondoggle has embarrassed Vladimir Putin with the lack of financial oversight.

#8. A French newspaper accused the Russian and American judges on colluding together to keep other countries out of the gold and silver couples figure skating competition. The allegation was not proven, but it had a ring of truth to it.

#9. Political unrest in Ukraine is overshadowing the Olympics. The unrest is due to Russis trying to put economic pressure on Ukraine to not form stronger ties countries in the European Union.

Conclusions

The 2014 Sochi Olympics has shone a bright light on Russia's government corruption and Vladimir Putin's despotism.

Oh and Russians apparently suck at hockey.

February 18, 2014

Harper government asks for help rewriting Canada's prostitution laws

The Harper government wants to hear from the Canadian public about how to rewrite the nation's prostitution laws that were struck down by the Supreme Court late last year - why? Because they don't know how to write a new law to replace the old laws which were struck down, a new law which would not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and not be struck down immediately for violating the charter.

In a December 20th 2013 ruling, the high court unanimously struck down laws against street soliciting, living on the avails of prostitution and keeping a brothel.

Since then the Harper government has been searching for a solution that will make his government look good on paper, but won't violate civil rights.

So instead they are turning to the Canadian public for their ideas and holding a month-long, online consultation period on the Justice Canada website. The consultation began yesterday (Monday February the 17th) and runs to March 17th 2014 (St Patrick's Day).

What is funny is the percentage of male Conservative MPs in the Harper government who regularly use prostitutes as sexual aides, both when they are on the road and lonely, and also when they are closer to home and having marital problems.

In other words we are talking about the kind of people who cheat on their spouses, but because they are politicians and don't want to have any messy affair they use prostitutes because they are more discreet. (It is a well known fact politicians use prostitutes more than the average person.)

A 1998 poll suggested 7% of Canadian men have paid for sex at least once in their life. The % for male politicians is unknown, but we know it is significantly higher - likely around 25% - because politicians value discreetness.

But at the same time, because it is the Harper government, they have to at least pretend that they are against prostitution even though they and many of their colleagues use prostitutes regularly. It is all about optics and what the public sees.

“Our government is concerned about the significant harms that flow from prostitution to communities, those engaged in prostitution and other vulnerable persons,” said Justice Minister Peter MacKay in a release.

Oh really? What harms would that be? Husbands that stray from the marriage bed would still stray from the marriage bed even if they could not find a prostitute. They would find a mistress, a servant, a willing woman of somekind - and that would cause more messy affairs in the media.

If MacKay is referring to STDs we should remind him that prostitutes are more paranoid about STDs than any other profession. They are not taking risks in that respect.

Or maybe MacKay is referring to the "moral decay of society" by the mere presence of prostitutes? (As if they are to blame for society's woes, as opposed to being a product of those woes.)

"Doing nothing is not an option," says MacKay. "We are therefore asking Canadians right across the country to provide their input through an online consultation to ensure a legislative response to prostitution that reflects our country’s values."

So here is a solution for Peter MacKay.

TEACH FEMINISM + GENDER STUDIES IN HIGH SCHOOLS.

Don't bother with trying to eradicate prostitution, governments have been trying to do that for millenia with absolutely no success.

But if you teach feminism + gender studies in high schools, make it part of the curriculum, then you will be raising young women who see themselves as more valuable to society than a $300 per hour mistress for wealthy men.

But lets face it, asking the Conservative government to promote feminism is like asking a Republican to promote gay rights. It just isn't going to happen.

Another solution would be to make Johns (the men who go to prostitutes) illegal (as opposed to solicitation, which is still illegal). But that would probably get half the Conservative Party arrested in police sting operations, along with many of their big donors.

Prostitution is a whole big can of worms. It has religious issues, feminist issues, legal issues, public health issues, civil rights issues, economic issues. The government is not going to solve this with any quick fix.

Long term promotion of feminism in schools, designed to bolster the self-esteems of young women, would over time eventually eradicate much of domestic prostitution - which leads us to the problem of imports, women who are brought into Canada for the sole purpose of working in Canada's sex trade in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. Calgary and Edmonton are apparently the two biggest importers of sex workers, because of all the oil company executives there who want exotic women.


February 6, 2014

Deco Labels - Rob Ford and Doug Ford's Inherited Business Empire

Last year, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford raised quite a few eyebrows last year by declaring on the radio that the best gift to get a woman is money.

"Women love money. Give ‘em a couple thousand bucks and they are happy," he said on radio in December 2013.

Councillor Doug Ford concurred with his brother. "Well, all my girls love money. So do men. Everyone loves money," Doug said with a laugh.

The Ford brothers, who consistently like to portray themselves as "regular folks" and "working class" to voters, are actually worth millions from their company, Deco Labels, which they inherited from their wealthy father. Their exact worth is unknown, since Deco Labels is a privately-owned company and isn't on the stock market, but the Fords own many different properties (multiple homes in the GTA, Florida condos, Muskoka cottages, etc) and the company has annual revenues in the $20 to $40 million range.

Deco Labels was founded in 1962 by Douglas B. Ford and was originally a small label and tag manufacturing company. It is now one of North America’s leading label and tag manufacturing and sales companies - which makes it one of the biggest in the industry globally.

The company doesn't just operate in Canada any more either, it also has factories in Chicago USA.

And it is a very long list of companies that Deco Labels provides labels and tags for. Chances are likely you have multiple products in your home that have a label from Deco Labels on it.


However we should also note that Rob Ford and Doug Ford have never had a hand in running the company, but they also love to toot their own horns when it comes to claiming that they are successful businessmen.

When in truth neither one of them has ever started and owned a successful business (unless you count Doug Ford's drug dealing business during the 1980s), they have been riding on their father's coattails and the wealth generated from a business they don't even manage themselves. Rob Ford did try to start a business years ago, but it was a financial flop so he quit and decided to become a city councillor.

And it is a good thing too. In the world of business, Rob Ford and Doug Ford would have offended a potential big client and lost their business thanks to their "foot-in-mouth syndrome".

Take this comment from Doug Ford he made yesterday:

"I don’t agree with his comments. Since he’s part of the 1%, and he’s part of the establishment and he’s part of the elites, and the 1%, that’s his theory of being successful."

He is talking about former Ontario PC leader John Tory, but he might as well be talking about himself. Doug Ford is a 1 percenter himself. He is "part of the establishment". He has never worked a "working class" job in his entire life.

And then there is Rob Ford and Doug Ford's insistence they are trying to make things better for working class Torontonians. But in reality what they have done is make things better for 1 percenters like themselves, while raising taxes on everyone else through their own fiscal incompetence.

It is no wonder the Ford brothers went into politics. They are trying to be bigger than their father, who was a hugely successful businessman, and thus try to promote themselves as such. But neither of them has so much as a diploma in business, let alone a business degree or MBA. Neither of them has managed a successful business themselves. They keep trying to live up to their father's greatness, but they're both incompetent when it comes to managing money. They just waste it.

And now Doug Ford wants to run for leader of the Ontario PC party (which is why he is bashing everything John Tory says, who is also considering running for mayor of Toronto). He will be an even bigger financial wreck than his brother is. He might not stick his foot in his mouth as much as Rob Ford does, but he is no more competent when it comes to money.


Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion releases video on Gays in Sochi

The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion has released a video promoting LGBT rights with respect to Olympic athletes, a public condemnation of Russia's anti gay laws.

Gay and lesbian rights have become centre stage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics - largely because of Russia's new draconian communist era laws which have brought gay bashing back to the forefront of Russian politics.

Russia's new laws include:

1. Prohibiting pro gay demonstrations in the streets, such as gay pride parades, public protests, etc.

2. Anyone who shares / publicly promotes "homosexual propaganda" will suffer a fine of roughly $17,000 USD - which is so loosely written it includes men or women kissing in public.

3. Promoting "homosexual propaganda" in any manner which could be seen by children. (Because according to Putin, children might become gay if they see, hear or read anything removely gay.)


The video by the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion is making waves across Canadian and international media, making it clear that while Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to take Russia back into the dark ages by limiting freedom of speech, freedom of expression and even the freedom to love.


January 31, 2014

Rob Ford's proposed budget cuts unrealistic and voted down

For the last month Rob Ford has been boasting that he had found at least $50 million in waste in the city budget, but in the end they were deemed too ridiculous and unrealistic. Instead only $726,000 worth of cuts went through council yesterday.

Ford's 18 motions for Toronto's 2014 Budget included:

- eliminating $7 million to plant 97,000 trees - trees that clean up Toronto's air quality, reduce smog, beautify the city, and indirectly boost tourism to Toronto. (Because nobody wants to visit a smoggy city.)

 - $2.5 million in savings by charging $14 for to register for the Welcome Policy, which subsidizes recreation programs for low income families. (Apparently Rob Ford doesn't understand the concept of "low income" families.)

- reversing $600,000 in increases to the student nutrition program. (Something parents of school age children campaigned for in the first place.)

- eliminating security guards at libraries to save $1.6 million. (Because book theft costs the Toronto Library even more to replace stolen books, to say nothing of keeping crime out of the city's libraries.)

- reversing a $390,000 increase to community grant. (Grants that help a variety of special needs.)

- axing council's $3.1-million general expense fund and its $60,000 travel budget, and cutting each councillor's staff salary budget by about 10 per cent. (Ha, like they would ever do that. Why doesn't the mayor axe his own salary first if he wants to halt the gravy train?)

The only two motions that had any impact on the 2014 budget: eliminating the city's employment engagement survey for savings of $250,000, and scrapping two city newsletters worth $476,000.

Total savings = $726,000.

This is Rob Ford's problem when it comes to budget cuts - he doesn't seem to understand that city services are designed to HELP people. Where he sees "gravy" everyone else sees things that are beneficial and needed. eg. If Rob Ford was in charge of an apartment building he would cut off the heat and the hot water, cutback on maintenance to a bare minimum, and fire all the security guards / cleaning / gardening staff, because he would see those things as unnecessary. This is not the kind of guy you want running a city.

Ford's two other successful motions were to request reports on finding $19.1 million in corporate sponsorships for the Pan Am Games and accelerating an effort to streamline city services (which Ford thinks will save $15 million, but might only save $1 or $2 million - or nothing).

Neither of the two reports guarantees any additional money for the city.

The end result was a $9.6-billion budget which passed by a count of 35 to 9, with the mayor and his brother Councillor Doug Ford voting against. After the vote, Rob Ford called it "the worst budget that has ever been presented."

Well who's fault is that? We have a mayor who doesn't seem to comprehend the concept that city services are often necessary - including the ones that protect people, increase tourism and help Toronto's less fortunate.

In the past Rob Ford has made wild claims that his budgets have saved the city "a billion dollars" but there is no actual proof of that when you look at his budgets.

Not even close.

In the past Toronto mayors have always campaigned and wooed councillors to get through the budget cuts or increases a mayor is hoping to get approved. Rob Ford's response has been to try and bully city councillors, calling them childish names, heckling them, acting like a buffoon, etc - as if bullying people would get them to do what he wants.

Rob Ford is not a bridge builder.

Rob Ford is a wrecking ball.

January 30, 2014

Rob Ford had his brother-in-law beaten in prison

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is being sued by his sister's ex-husband who alleges the mayor conspired to have him attacked in jail to prevent Rob Ford's illicit behaviours from becoming known to the public.

Scott MacIntyre, the former common law husband of Rob Ford's sister, says in the statement of claim filed Wednesday that he has known about Rob Ford's crack smoking activities for some time.

MacIntyre was in prison in March 2013 after being charged with threatening Ford, when he was deliberately and brutally attacked by a football player who had been coached by Rob Ford during high school.

MacIntyre alleges Ford conspired with Payman Aboodowleh, who coached high school football with Ford, to have one of their former players, who was also in jail at the time, to beat MacIntyre up. It is unknown how much money Rob Ford promised the player, but it is safe to assume that money changed hands to arrange the beating.

The attack came two months before the Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker reported on the existence of a video showing Toronto's mayor smoking crack cocaine. The video is now in possession of Toronto police, who have confirmed the video is real, and that Toronto police have been keeping tabs on Toronto's crack smoking mayor.

Since then a video has come out with Rob Ford angry rant, during which he threatened to kill Toronto's chief of police.

"Ford's drug and alcohol abuse, and his association with criminals to facilitate his drug abuse...are longstanding," MacIntyre writes in his statement of claim. "Ford was anxious that these matters should remain undiscovered."

None of the allegations have been proven in court, but everyone now knows they are likely true due to Rob Ford's past history of lying, scheming, admitted crack smoking, and history of temper tantrums / drunken rages.

Rob Ford's own wife has called the police countless times due to Rob Ford's history of spousal abuse. But she never presses charges against him, always dropping the complaint out of fear of her husband's rages.

The lawsuit also names Ontario's Ministry of Correctional Services, which is responsible for the province's jails, Aboodowleh and Aedan Petros, the former football player who MacIntyre alleges attacked him.

MacIntyre is seeking $1 million in damages from all of the defendants, plus $100,000 from each of them for aggravated, punitive and penal damages. He is also seeking another $100,000 from the ministry, who he alleges breached his charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.

Archery and Bowhunting booming in popularity

By Charles Moffat

Archery and bowhunting are booming in popularity in North America - largely due to all the buzz about archery in movies like The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Brave, The Avengers, Hanna and also TV shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Arrow.

This newfound popularity of archery - and by extension, bowhunting - has boosted the number of people doing archery dramatically.

Bows are flying off the shelves of archery equipment stores. Waiting lists for hard-to-find bows are getting longer and longer.

One young woman reportedly waited 6 months to receive her new handcrafted bow because the company in question was so overwhelmed by the sudden demand for archery equipment.

And it has been persistant.

Ever since the release of the first Hunger Games movie more and more women (and men too) are getting into archery. The fad - if you can call it that - is not slowing down. It is speeding up according to people in the industry. Every month the demand just grows and grows.

Archery stores like Tent City in North York, Bass Pro in Vaughan and even traditional archery stores like "Basically Bows Archery" on Queen Street East in Toronto are doing rapid business and figuratively raking in the dough.

An archery display at Bass Pro in Vaughan.
Adjusting a compound bow at Bass Pro in Vaughan to make sure it is square.
One archery instructor in Toronto reports that people are already booking archery lessons for June and July - partially because he is booked up for most of March, April and May. And this is just January - what would be considered a slow season for archery lessons.

Furthermore there are now more archery clubs than ever before, including Facebook groups like The Canadian Toxophilite Society (Toxophilite is an old fancy word which means a lover of archery). There is also archery blogs, which are becoming a welcome source of information for people who are new to archery.


Many new archers are hesitant to get into bowhunting, but the thirst is still there. One of the reasons to do so is because many new archers believe in ethical hunting, which is actually nothing new. Most hunters believe in ethical hunting - and believe that hunting for trophies is just morally wrong.

Many non hunters have difficulty grasping the idea that hunters believe so strongly in "ethical hunting". We've been raised in a media rich society that has pushed the idea that all hunting is wrong - ignoring the reality that humans eat animals and have always eaten animals since the dawn of cro-magnon man.

But The Hunger Games has brought to attention the fact that regardless of whether you hunt your food yourself, or whether you buy it in a grocery store (a la the fictional people of "the capital"), it is still killing animals for your food regardless. That realization has made many young people to rethink hunting and fishing when it comes to how they choose to get their food.

For example, a single moose would provide a family of three with enough frozen meat in their freezer for a year (not so much that they are eating it every day, but enough that they can eat moose meat regularly without getting bored of it).

In the past I have gone a more traditional route with my own meat. Once per year I buy a pig, pay for the butchering and I get enough ham roasts, sausages, pork chops, butt chops, etc to fill a freezer. By the time the year is over my freezer is almost empty and it is time to order another pig. That single pig provides a good chunk of my protein needs for a year.

Now imagine for a moment if I took up moose hunting with a bow. Or deer. Or elk. Or black bear. Or grouse, goose, duck, wild turkey. I could take my traditional approach even further by hunting the animals I eat during the year, pay for butchering, and stock my freezer accordingly.

It would, I realize, hurt farmers if everyone did what I am proposing. But not everyone is going to suddenly give up farm grown pork, beef, poultry, mutton, etc, so I think the farming industry will be perfectly fine.

I also want to note that you don't need a big expensive compound bow to get into hunting. You just need a bow that has the appropriate poundage (minimum 39.7 lbs for deer, minimum 48.5 lbs for elk, moose and black bear), a hunting license, and hunting tags.

That means that you can hunt with a traditional bow, like the Bear Grizzly bow in the video below.


January 28, 2014

Barack Obama's State of the Union 2014

The big emphasis this year in Barack Obama's State of the Union address was economics and raising the minimum wage of Americans - effectively giving every American a raise.



January 21, 2014

New Rob Ford video, Toronto mayor drunk

A new video of crack smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford has surfaced, this time showing a drunk (and possibly high) Rob Ford talking to some men in a fast food restaurant while speaking in a fake Jamaican accent.

The photo from the right and further below are from the new Rob Ford drunk video.

The video has reignited calls for Rob Ford to resign as mayor and seek rehab for his drug and alcohol addiction.

We must warn you, much of the language used by Rob Ford is considered offensive. The video below is uncensored.






January 17, 2014

The Parti Québécois has lost touch with reality

The first week of hearings into the Parti Québécois’ new "charter of values" concluded Thursday - and it is self evident that the Parti Québécois has lost touch with reality. Why? Because they are making up fictional scenarios to justify the implementation of the charter.

The charter is a proposed ban on public-sector workers in Quebec wearing religious symbols - specifically kippas, yamakas, burkas, niqabs, kufi hats, turbans, and any overly large crosses or other symbols. (No precise size has been determined for what is considered "overt".)

The ban would be a clear violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and also the Quebec Charter of Rights, and therefore would have very shaky legal standing if it ever became a law.

What is funny however is that whenever asked to provide evidence in support of the proposed ban the various members of the Parti Québécois come up with fictional (and high unlikely) stories to support the ban.

Here are some examples.

Yves Gauthier - "Even if we are open and all that, it is not always clear, because having your prostate checked by a digital rectal exam is a little disorienting, at least the first time. I could not see myself, on top of that, dealing with a veiled doctor, with a burka or chador … So yes, especially as a matter of principle, I totally agree that services should be given with the face uncovered."

Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville - "The young man can feel rejected because of the religious symbol worn by the person providing health service in this case. Can you understand that the religious symbol can sometimes be a message of rejection for those who see it?" [Speaking about a hypothetical situation in which a young Muslim homosexual who has been rejected by his family because of his sexual orientation seeks medical care and is greeted by a nurse wearing a hijab who doesn't even know him and knows nothing of his sexual orientation.]

Thoughts

Now it may be just me (and a lot of other people who listen to this BS in disbelief), but it seems to me that the Parti Québécois has had a long history of racism dating back to PQ leaders like Jacques Parizeau who blamed the loss of the 1995 Quebec Sovereignty Referendum on "money and the ethnic vote".

It is a well known fact that many members of the PQ doesn't like immigrants, outsiders and anyone who threatens the racial / religious purity of Quebec - in other words Jews (who wear kippas and yamakas), Muslims (who wear burkas, niqabs and kufi hats), and Sikhs (who wear turbans).

The additional banning of "overly large crosses" is just make it seem like Christianity is also being treated equally, but in reality nobody has defined what counts as an overly large cross so for all we know they might set it to 12 inches or something equally ridiculous. In which case it is safe to assume that 99% of Christians would be unaffected.

So what is next for the PQ? Well, I imagine they will pass a law prohibiting immigrants from riding pink unicorns, because only the Parti Québécois is allowed to ride around on fictional creatures and make up such ridiculous things.


See what I did?

I made up my own fictional bit of reasoning. Equally ridiculous.

The fact is that new laws are only supposed to come into being when there is an urgent demand for such a law and there is ample evidence to support the creation of such a new law. Basing a new law on fictional examples is pure poppycock.

January 4, 2014

The Toronto Escalator Rules

This is hilarious! It isn't really news, but it is worth sharing. It is proof positive that Torontonians get really annoyed when people don't follow their precious escalator rules.


THE TORONTO ESCALATOR RULES

Rule #1. If you don't know the rules, learn the rules.

Rule #2. These rules are not matters of etiquette. They are rules. Follow them or suffer the consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #3. Respect the elderly, pregnant women, and people who are disabled. They can break the rules as they see fit.

Rule #4. If standing on the escalator then stand to the right. Other people will be walking up or down the escalator on the left.

Rule #5. If there is an escalator available going in your direction the you MUST take the escalator. Do NOT take the stairs if other people are coming up or down the stairs from the opposite direction. Taking the stairs when you don't need to makes you subject to consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #6. Go with the flow of traffic instead of annoying people. Blocking the stairs with your stupidity instead of taking the escalator makes you subject to consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #7. No ignoring rules because you are in a hurry. Especially during rush hour times. Other people are in a hurry too so you being in a hurry and breaking the rules is just going to lead to consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #8. People are encouraged to step on the feet, verbally abuse, elbow and stand in the way of people blatantly ignoring The Toronto Escalator Rules. Do so with the understanding that you can get away with some things, but nothing blatantly illegal.

Rule #9. Remember that elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities are not to subject to Rule #8. Do not elbow them or step on their feet, etc. Remember Rule #3.

Rule #10. When there are no escalators then you must take the stairs. If there is traffic going both ways on the stairs then stick to your right. Don't pass people ahead of you unless you have ample room. Remember Rule #5. If there is an escalator going in your direction, then you MUST take the escalator. Taking the stairs when you don't need to makes you subject to consequences. See Rule #8.

FAILURE TO COMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE IN AN HURRY IS NOT AN EXCUSE. OBEY THE RULES AND YOU WON'T GET HURT.

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