Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Just a friendly reminder that Tom Brokaw is leaving tomorrow and I understand the Today Show has some sort of tribute to him, too.

In local Toronto TV, I fell out of my chair when I saw Zuraidah Alman reporting for Citytv! Last time I saw her she was doing the weather over on Global, and that was a week ago. Dunno why she left- maybe she wanted to do news. And maybe there's a job opening at Global TV. Hmm...

The move to City reunites the former Rogers TV and Weather Network alumnus with another refugee from the Rogers Mississauga operation, anchorman Francis D'Souza. I thought I'd mention that news because I happen to know Zuraidah from way back. Heck, I also know Francis D'Souza. In fact I've met lots of famous, important TV people... I've even met Sharyl Attkisson(!). (scroll down)

Maybe one of these days I'll get around to meeting Tom Brokaw--- just a matter of time.


The spies say he goes down tonight.

After 75 shows and 2.5 million dollars worth of winnings, this is it.

And also apparently Nightline is doing a story on Ken Jennings, and Letterman is going to actually interview Jennings, and A&E will have a biography of the show Jeopardy.

( Of course, it could all be a ratings stunt. )


I have got to say. the people over at Rogers made the greatest deal ever by buying the SKYDOME for 25 million dollars. WOW, what a sale. What a steal of a deal. Personally, the people at the other end of this transaction gave the fort away. What were they thinking, selling for 25 mil?! I know some people are saying the 'Dome was sold at a bargain basement, white-elephant type of price, but really, they should have asked for more money. This was a RIDICULOUSLY low price for the stadium.

I think this is great deal for the Blue Jays. They'll be able to concentrate now on making the concrete jungle more fan friendly for baseball. Now that Rogers controls the entire show they'll be able to spend some revenues on new players and win more games. This is a great deal for Rogers and the Blue Jays- a real steal.


Today in an address before the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Gary Bettman once again said no way to a luxury tax. Read the CBC account here.

The players are supposed to be presenting a new proposal, soon, which the owners are sure to reject. Here's what I'm wondering: when are they going to call in a federal mediator or somebody to try and settle this mess? That's what baseball did in 1994- they called in a mediator. Of course it didn't work, but they TRIED. Curious.


In other news George W. Bush visits Ottawa today... lots of protesters. Boo hoo.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Well it has been eight days since that big Ukrainian sham presidential election and I cannot sit on the sidelines on this issue any longer- despite my recent proclamation of being fed up with politics.

This election was a disgrace. Now, they're showing images on TV of ballots being burned and of goons at the voting stations beating up opposition supporters and preventing them from voting. And all the observers say there was all sorts of skullduggery- invisible ink, etc. So it's clear to me that this vote was a fraud and that the election result ought to be thrown out, and they should hold a new vote. As for all the Viktor Yushchenko supporters all camped out in the square, I hope they stay there and stay put until they get a new and fair election. They cannot allow this travesty of democracy to stand.

For those wanting a thorough look at the Ukrainian election mess you might as well go to J. Kelly Nestruck's blogsite and follow the links. I've added a few Ukrainian links of my own here.

A lot of the links out there don't seem to know what's going on. Some are really predicting total doom and say this is Russia versus the West, and say the Ukraine is going to fall into total civil war, and that the tanks will roll into the square and kill the Yushchenko supporters. They also say the current Ukrainian President is a roadblock to a resolution of the crisis and is likely to hand over power to the pro-Russian candidate- and if that doesn't happen the Russians will likely try and force a referendum to split the country up. And on and on and on- all pessimism. And all speculation as far as I'm concerned.

You know, I get the impression these foreign correspondents over there are all pessimists by nature and that it's coloring their thinking on this issue. From what I'm gleaning there's a lot of sentiment for resolving the crisis peacefully- I'm inclined to think the Supreme Court is going to step in and throw out the election, and that the Parliament is inclined to vote to hold a new one. But I'm not there, I don't have the facts. I'm only going by what I'm seeing on TV and from what I'm hearing from these pessimistic foreign correspondents who are trying to justify their existence.

In any event, it is Day 8, it's still a mess over there, and the Ukraine looks more and more like a banana republic with each passing day. Having said that, I don't think the political will is there for a repeat of Tiananmen Square. I'm inclined to think that we're not going to see the tanks roll in to shoot people- especially not with all these DV cams out there. But the supporters of Viktor Yanukovych have shown every sign of playing dirty and acting like thugs. Now the latest talk is that the Russian Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine want to get a referendum going to break up the country. I wouldn't be surprised if these Yanukovych supporters are behind this, and that these folks will try and raise hell and attempt to split the country up after they lose the election.

This is a big, big mess and I imagine the network news in this country will be on this story for days to come. Why haven't the Americans gotten onto this story? They should be sending Rather and Brokaw over there. Oh, I forgot; they're retiring soon. I guess it would cost too much. Maybe Americans don't care. Who knows.

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Well, here's an article I found over at Lost Remote on the continuing speculation re: the replacement for Dan Rather over at the CBS Evening News.

The report is that Matt Lauer and Tim Russert were considered for the job, but apparently they are moving on to other candidates- I guess those two are tied to long term contracts. The other name I heard mentioned was Diane Sawyer, but apparently they're now saying that reports about her being approached are bogus. They even mentioned Ted Koppel's name. There's only one problem- all these people are not at CBS News.

Part of the reason these non-in-house names are floating out there has to do with CBS president Les Moonves and his desire to turn around the mess at CBS News. CBS News is the biggest drag on the whole network at the moment and a major housecleaning seems to be in order. There are major rumblings out there among the TV blogs and columnists that the head of the news division, Andrew Heyward, could get the boot.

The two leading candidates for the anchor chair seem to be CBS White House correspondent John Roberts and 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley. There also continues to be a lot of debate regarding the issue of whether Rather quit or was pushed, in the wake of Memogate and all that. Maybe there was a bit of both; after all, the guy is 73 years old. He had to go sometime. Another rumor out there has Rather bolting for CNN (!).

Since there's a lot of speculation out there as to who should be the new CBS anchor, and since no women seem to be under consideration for this job, I thought I'd throw out a female name: why not Sharyl Attkisson?! She has reporting and anchoring experience and has been with CBS for years. Besides, I met her during 1998 when I did TV news reporter training down in Washington D.C.; she even gave me her business card. If they gave her the anchor job I'd be able to sell her business card for big bucks over on eBay. Yes, I'm joking, I'm completely kidding about the eBay crack. But she probably would make a good anchor and I'd be able to say I met the anchor of the CBS Evening News. My friends might be impressed; then again, maybe not. Anyway Sharyl would do a decent job and would be an in-house hire. Hey, beats Lara Logan.

And Tom Brokaw retires this week over on NBC. Be sure to tune in.

Here's a thought: maybe CBS is banking on Brokaw getting antsy after a few weeks of retirement and wanting to be an anchor again. Then they'll offer him the anchor job and he'll join CBS and kick NBC's rear end. That would be wild. He wouldn't even need to retire again for another decade at least. Hey, boxers come out of retirement all the time. Why not anchors? ( Come to think of it Walter Cronkite's available, too! )


In other TV news some big cast member dies on Desperate Housewives. Yes, one of those babes dies tonight. Big ratings stunt. Teri Hatcher will probably wake up in a couple of weeks and announce she dreamed it all up. This show is making every attempt to jump the shark way early.

UPDATE- Turned out it wasn't one of those babes who died after all- it was the nosy next door neighbour who died. So the show wasn't so hot after all- not that I care much, anyway.

Saturday, November 27, 2004



Welcome to the weekly rant about no NHL hockey.

Well, the lockout has allowed me to catch up on all sorts of things, like cartoon watching. Yes, today I have been watching cartoons on TV--- because there's nothing else on! I was watching the Simpsons over on Global- they had something like 2 and a half hours of Simpsons tonight- plus Movie Night in Canada had Tarzan. So there's been lots of cartoons to watch on TV tonight. But no live NHL hockey. I tuned into a live AHL game from Hamilton, so I got a hockey fix tonight in spite of the NHL.

Why am I watching cartoons anyway, you ask?! Well, I was getting nostalgic about the Saturdays that I used to know years ago when I was a kid, when I used to get up early in the morning and watch favorites like Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo. Of course, you can't really do that anymore because the American networks have basically handed over their morning schedules to cable nets like Nick and Disney, and the rest of the time they show news programs like Good Morning America and the Saturday Early Show. I gotta say, the few cartoons they show on Saturdays these days are dismal- most of it from Japan! I'm sorry, I don't see the appeal of any of these shows. Pokemon?! Yecch! The old Hanna-Barbera shows were much better. I understand there's some kind of requirement that the networks show some type of educational TV to kids now. Well, the kids today have to be sleeping in on Saturdays, these shows are terrible!

The real reason I'm nostalgic is because the movie Spider-Man was on TV. I watched that movie this week, and I remembered all those Saturdays watching Spidey's cartoon show on TV. You know, the cartoon Spider-Man was actually a Canadian production with actors like Paul Soles doing the voices. So the show counted as a Canadian show, and it was replayed and replayed and replayed on Saturday mornings in Canada forever--- because it counted towards CRTC Canadian content requirements! So everyone who ever had access to a TV set in Canada over the last 30 years got to see Spider-Man at least 30 million times. Well, there you go, my rant on Saturday morning cartoons. I'm still a big animation fan, but I've developed a more refined taste in cartoons as an adult: I only watch GOOD cartoons. And I can only watch about one Simpsons episode a day. Good grief, that show's on every channel! It's on morning, noon, and night!


Well, I've settled on the Raptors as a worthy replacement for hockey. They're keeping my interest, anyway, that's all I say for them. Boy, they are a soap opera over there.

You have Vince Carter donating parks to the kids of Toronto with trade rumors swirling in the air. Then he announces he's not going to dunk anymore, and then he shows up at the arena and dunks all the time! And then comes word there were threats made against Vince and that the police presence has been stepped up at Raptor games. I suppose they're afraid of another Detroit, with fans throwing beer at players and causing another incident. And they still haven't made a deal for Carter. Rats! Geez, get it over with already. I hear that Seattle's another team that might be interested in Carter, but who knows when they're gonna ship Vince out of here.

With all the goons and enforcers locked out of the NHL these days, I've noticed a lot of the other sports have stepped up and picked up the slack. Last week, football players in the Clemson-South Carolina game got into a huge, huge fight. It embarrassed both universities and both teams said they'd refuse bowl invitations because of what happened. Only thing missing was Don Cherry.

In other football news, the Argos had a big parade in downtown Toronto and their Grey Cup victory dominated the news on TV.


This week the locked-out players started getting their checks from the union. That was about the only news to report. There's no talks on the horizon and I really have little to say this week. I do notice the fans are really crying on the radio about the lack of hockey now that the CFL is finished. None of the other sports - the NFL, the NBA- are any substitute. The fans are going on the air and complaining "basketball just isn't hockey!" Well, boo hoo, you're darned right, it ain't hockey!

MOLSON has been running ads with crying hockey fans moaning about the lack of hockey, with the tag line: "hockey, please come back!"

I can't believe it. You know, I think these gullible fans will come back to the NHL even if this crummy sport kills the whole season and returns with replacement players next season! I can't believe fans will stand for this terrible treatment but I guess Canadians can't help it, they love their beloved hockey too much so they'll put up with all kinds of punishment.

Hockey players in Russia are putting up with all kinds of punishment, apparently. I heard on the radio that the hockey players who sold their souls for the big money just hate it over there- living conditions are terrible and the food is awful, and crime is completely out of control. The ones who went to Sweden and Switzerland aren't making the big dough like those folks in Russia, but still, life is better in those countries; lots to do, plus the arenas they play in are pretty modern.

There was also something in The Hockey News about how hockey's failing in the United States. Well, here's my answer to that: three work stoppages in twelve years. Is it any wonder Americans are turning to NASCAR?! Canadians don't seem to relate because, well, they're willing to put up with all kinds of nonsense.

All I gotta say is: hockey, please come back. Cartoons just don't cut it on Saturday nights.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Well here we go again a week after the big mass firing at MOSAIC- a firing triggered by the move of Kelly to APEX. Why doesn't Trump simply fire everyone and get it over with? This week these people will get to design a new bottle for Pepsi- according to TV Guide anyway. They also probably will have to even up the teams again after what Trump did to MOSAIC.

These final six are a pathetic looking group. Half these people should have been fired a long time ago. Kevin is exempt this week as the winning project manager.

APEX and Jennifer M. are really on the outs. Ivana wanted to be PM but so did Jennifer. Ivana is mad because Jen ruined her shot at being project manager by asking for a draw. Then Kelly got into the act asking for a draw, so the result is that Kelly becomes project manager at APEX, Andy becomes project manager at MOSAIC, and Jennifer gets sent to MOSAIC to be with Andy and Sandy. I say Andy has to win or else this week, because he's been barely getting through the last couple of weeks and Trump and Carolyn said last week that Andy "really has to step up". If MOSAIC wins he's in the final 4. If he loses he's probably fired for sure. As for APEX, Kevin is exempt so either Kelly or Ivana could get fired. Personally, I think it's either Andy or Ivana in the deepest trouble this week.

Message of the week is FORM YOUR OWN OPINIONS. The leader that wants to be popular and loved isn't gonna make it.

Andy's freaking DOOMED. He's handing out hundred dollar bills to the design team. And APEX has just designed a bottle that has a hole through it so you could look through it. So APEX is gonna win and MOSAIC is gonna get smashed. MOSAIC came up with a goofy-looking bottle with two globes on it. Well, that was SANDY's idea again, so she looks bad. And Sandy gave a terrible presentation- really bad. The MOSAIC bottle was being RIDICULED by everyone at PEPSI.

APEX is the winner. Kelly is into the final 4. And Andy, Sandy and Jennifer are on the block.

Sandy vs. Andy tonight. Jennifer looks like she will squeak through again. Sandy looked bad in that presentation and that goofy-looking bottle thing- she originally wanted a globe-look.


Andy's taken responsibility for the "best of both world ideas" idea and got ridiculed for it. Andy went after Sandy over creativity. Sandy calls Andy immature, talking about the five boxes of pizza that were piled up in the hallway etc. Sandy got trashed by Jennifer and Sandy's fought to defend herself.

I think Andy's doomed here. That bottle idea was ridiculed by Pepsi and he took responsibility for the idea behind the bottle. But I suspect this boardroom is not very impressed by Jennifer always getting by doing nothing etc, and they may fire Andy for trying to blame Sandy for the defeat when they should be blaming Jennifer for doing nothing.

Coming up next on NBC- the Seinfeld reunion. And now back to the boardroom. Andy is freaking DOOMED here. Wow, big FIGHT in the boardroom and Donald uses it against Andy, says "you're the debating champion and you're getting KILLED by these two! You're FIRED!!!!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


The US political blogs have really gone down the tubes since the election ended. Wonkette had lots of coverage of Clinton opening his big presidential library and all that. Meanwhile Keith Olbermann has been on a CRUSADE about voting irregularities and mayhem across America. Now he's on a crusade about Ohio and claims there's going to be a recount there, and how this thing isn't over and that Bush hasn't really won the election. This ongoing rant by Olbermann about voting irregularities is making this guy look like a windbag and a wingnut.

Give it up, Keith. Bush won OHIO by something like 3%, around 137,000 last time I looked. You can complain all you want, but it's OVER. Bush won the election! It's finished! They can count the votes again and again and recount them and haul people into court, but it won't change this result. This is simply a case of a bunch of sore loser Democrats and their fellow bloggers beating a dead horse into the ground. Word of advice to Keith: go back to covering sports, you were better at THAT.

And you wonder why I'm fed up with politics.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Big news today is the shocking news(?) (!) (?) that Dan Rather is finally stepping down in March. It's the big news over on TVNewser which has tons of news about Rather; about the timing of the announcement, whether this has something to do with Memogate, what the deal is.

This is the second of the "big 3" to retire. Tom Brokaw retires end of this month. The pressure will now be on Peter Jennings but I suspect he isn't going anywhere.

What's interesting is nobody knows who the heck CBS is gonna get as a replacement for Rather. They basically have no one. One name that has been bandied about for years is former MuchMusic deejay John Roberts, who had a lot of visibility during the Gulf War and on election night, but there's a feeling out there that he just isn't going to be able to cut it in the anchor chair. Other in-house possibilities include Scott Pelley and Russ Mitchell. TVNewser is even saying Mitchell, an African-American, could even be the preferred candidate over at CBS. But nobody really knows him, either.

I haven't heard of any women being mentioned for the job- CBS would really have to look outside if they wanted to go that route. Could CBS be looking to an outsider for this job?

As for Rather, all I will say is boy, was he ever a controversial news anchor. That's all I gotta say about him- understatement, I know.

Monday, November 22, 2004


In this article, written for The Politix Group, Hollywood gets the blame for Kerry's election defeat.

I agree with this article because, well, I wrote the thing. This is actually my first article for these guys in a few months and I've been a regular columnist for them for close to two years now.


I actually don't know how much longer I'm going to be the Canadian columnist. I don't even know if I'll keep writing about politics in the CAIRNS BLOG, or whether or not to gas the blog altogether. Look at how quickly this blog has gone in the tank as far as politics is concerned. In June and July the posts were basically all politics. Now it's all NHL lockout, Donald Trump, and Nicollette Sheridan.

I don't even know if I want to stay in politics. I'm fed up for a number of reasons, the negative tone of political life being the main one. I just realized that I worked on something like five campaigns in a row since last fall and each successive one felt like sheer, utter futility. At least the last campaign I worked on ended on a good note.

One thing I've decided. I'm definitely not moving to Ottawa. I had put in an application months ago to get in as a political aide there but I've concluded that I simply do not have the connections or the right ideology to get a foothold with the Harper loyalists/Canadian Alliance people who run the show. But what tips the balance now is my belief that going to Ottawa is a(nother) suicidal career move for me. In the last few months I've seen the dark fates of political aides who got turfed out onto the street when their party lost- not a happy group. If they do have jobs, they're bored silly. It's also apparent that most of the places I really want to pursue careers with look down on political involvement in general and the Conservative party in particular. I'd be sabotaging myself. I'm not even seeing eye to eye with my own federal party at the moment, so much so that I cannot in good conscience go work as a political aide over there anyway, for anyone. Most of those elected Conservative MPs are completely, ridiculously right wing- and like heck will I work for the Liberals. I'm far better off taking my political experience and applying it to another field. So I'm not going to Ottawa; besides, it's too cold.

I can't support what's going on in that town on either side of the aisle. Carolyn Parrish and Judy Sgro are embarrassing, and Alfonso Gagliano really seems to be a scary individual. But the Conservatives are blowing it with their policies. Who runs the show over there anyway? That idea they floated of looking at Belgium as an example of how to run Canada was bewildering. That idea hasn't gained this party a single vote!

We ought to be getting a real vision from the Conservatives of how they'd be more responsible managers of this country and how they'd be nation-builders and the like, but instead we're getting the same brain-dead, reform-the-federation type of nonsense that has dominated Canadian politics for years. And the Tories aren't even being populists about it, these policies seems to be totally made up by policy guys behind closed doors. It's all top-down. By the way, I won't be at that policy convention in Montreal to complain about the direction of the party because you need Belinda Stronach's money to be able to go. Someone else can complain about it. Maybe Belinda will complain. Who really knows right now.

Ironically, while I feel down about politics in general, I actually feel really good about the provincial party. I think they're headed in the right direction and the people around John Tory are a solid group of people. I have a lot more confidence in them than I have with the bunch over in our nation's capital at the moment.

I guess I'm simply burned out and need a change.


Here's the link to results from the CBC.

My comment on the election consists of two words: who cares!?

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Welcome to my weekly NHL lockout update for this Saturday. I thought I'd try and write up these things to coincide with Hockey Night in Canada--- er, excuse me, Movie Night in Canada-- as sort of a replacement for the real thing.

Well, this sport continues to lurch. Bob Goodenow had his big meeting with the agents to try and sway them all over, and well, anyway, it seems to have worked. A lot of media monkeys (I call them monkeys because their job seems to consist of eating bananas and swinging from trees) were suggesting that some of these agents were rebels who wanted to see a deal done and were threatening to raise a big stink. So get your hopes up again, fans, the agents will help save the day!

Well, the agents are now on the same wavelength now. They were told in detail what the union is doing, and though they'd like a deal done, these agents don't want a salary cap either. And the message seemed to be the usual from Goodenow. So now the agents are just going to wait it out along with everyone else.

Still, the agents are getting killed. They stand to emerge from this whole mess as big losers. Right now they are losing tons of money and are doing the best they can by placing players in gigs in Europe. Some of the gigs pay well but most of them pay CFL-type salaries. A lot of these player agents are having to take pay cuts to stay in business.

For fans around here, it looks as if the initial shock has worn off, and fans have definitely moved on with their lives and are following other sports. Even the sportscasts have started to reflect this mood as they are basically ignoring the NHL. Basketball highlights now dominate every sportscast in this market, and on weekends it's basically all football. If we hear about hockey, it's about how the OHL's London Knights have won yet again, or someone else signed with a European club, or that a former player has died or something like that. Basically it's back-of-the-sportscast type stuff, second-tier sports news. Really, who cares about the NHL. That's one less sport to follow for me. So I'll devote my time to following other sports.

Regarding TV and radio, some media outlets have been affected more than others by the lockout. TSN's lineup has been completely decimated. Their whole lineup was basically hockey, curling and football with three downs. Well, their CFL coverage is over, they've lost the curling rights to the CBC, and as for hockey, they're now stuck showing reruns of classic games. And the lockout has wiped out Sportscentre's bread and butter: trade news. Their news department has nothing to cover in the way of deals, other than to announce player signings in Europe and the state of the labor negotiations. They have no rumors to report. It's really sad.

Just think about the carnage that will happen if these numbskulls scap the season: TSN will need to cancel the big trade deadline special and have to figure out what to replace the whole freaking Stanley Cup playoffs with. Billiards? Cheerleading competitions?! Bodybuilding!! Man, TSN is a MESS.

Sportsnet's getting by on hoops and junior hockey right now, but their staff of NHL hockey guys also have little to say or do these days. And Leafs TV/Mojo 640 have been completely decimated. All they do these days is talk about the lockout.

But fortunately the Raptors and the CFL have been bailing the other sportscasts out, especially in Toronto. In the Toronto market, Global TV's sportscasts with Jim Tatti and Don Martin have gone on, business as usual, covering the other sports. It's almost as if they don't care: no NHL? No problem! Here's the NBA highlights!

Same with the FAN 590, which also has a policy these days of completely ignoring the NHL labor situation. Tune in to the FAN, and talk about other sports predominates these days. And they have lots of play-by-play basketball and football on the station. You know, it's not so bad after all. There's lot of sports going on out there to follow, and a lot of craziness and zaniness to follow.


The NHL isn't the only league with problems. The NBA has problems of its own: namely, its primadonna star athletes who like to get into fights with fans in the stands and stuff like that.

Uh, someone should tell the NBA that we already have one sport where players routinely get into fights. We don't need the same thing happening in the NBA. And can I say one word about Indiana's Ron Artest? The guy is a headcase. And that's being polite. The NBA should kick him out of the league after what happened last night in Detroit. Enough said.

And the Raptors have returned to their prehistoric ways, they're now on a five-game losing streak. And with the rumors flying about a potential deal on the table with Portland, the Raptors fans are hoping Vince Carter and his crybaby ways will be gone from the scene fairly soon. We still don't know where and when Carter will be shipped off- there are stories now that other teams may want into the act. Maybe Indiana has called up and said "here's a deal idea for you: Vince Carter straight-up for Ron Artest."

Anyway Carter was booed several times during that game at the Air Canada Centre against Seattle last night. The sooner Carter goes, the better for basketball in Toronto. He needs to be shipped, pronto, to anyone who'll take a fat salary off of Toronto's hands.


Tomorrow, the BC Lions take on the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL Grey Cup game in Ottawa, a game expected to draw big numbers on CBC TV.

I think the reason the game will draw big numbers is partly because it's a good matchup, and partly because fans in Canada are a little bit starved for some decent Canadian sports action. Right now all they've got is the CFL. That's the only league out there providing good news at the moment. This week Vancouver officially lost its Molson Indy race and next week the Montreal Expos formally announce their name change to become the Washington Nationals. (Montreal fans were buffeted again when Vladimir Guerrero won the AL MVP- another great player who got away) . So sports fans need a shot of some good news, and they want to see a big game on Canadian soil, for once, for a change. The CFL is bound to provide that excitement.

Toronto fans have been excited all week. The Argos have been dominating the sportscasts in town and if they win the Grey Cup I would imagine the city will go nuts, more so than even in 1997.

Last night on TVO they were talking about the Grey Cup game in Ottawa and they interviewed Tony Gabriel- who only beat the Sask. Riders in 1976 with that touchdown catch. What a barrel of laughs that was for me to see those old '76 highlights; I wanted to throw a shoe at the television set. (Still bitter, etc.)

After this week it'll be back to watching the NFL for me. And hopefully Global will give up on showing us the crummy Buffalo Bills and show us some games involving real teams. The Bills stink.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Well the Apprentice tonight is supposed to be a real howler, a real good one. The boardroom tonight is going to be dynamite. Tonight, the task will have something to do with selling jeans, another stupid product-placement task.

You know, I am really disappointed with this edition of the Donald's show. I used to think I was tuning in to learn about how to make it in business. Instead what I'm learning is that you have to work hard and shut your trap. Moreover, I'm really not impressed with the people who are left. There are certain people in that group who've basically done nothing (Kelly and Jennifer M.), but are shutting their traps and letting everyone else work hard and get blamed for all the problems. Sorry, but that's no way to get ahead in business. (You can also accuse Wes of this tactic, but at least he worked hard when he was project manager and busted his rear end, even though they lost. Last week, Kelly let Sandy do all the work and rode her coattails to an exemption). As for the rest, what a mediocre group. Maria can't handle a negotiation to save her life. Ivana is a backstabber who's worked for one losing team after another. Kevin works hard and has lots of ideas but too many of them are blowing up in his face. Andy's worked hard, has been a team player , and has bailed his team out on one occasion after another, but it's clear to me, he is the resident klutz with the respect of no one. He clearly doesn't look like a confident individual right now- which is too bad because he's really done a good job. That leaves Sandy, who I think has really worked hard to distinguish herself and who has the respect of her teammates- she's also avoided being hauled into the boardroom with the project managers- but I get the impression Trump and Carolyn are not high on her one bit. And she hasn't got an exemption this week either. You know, Kevin and Sandy both seem to be working the hardest but they are also putting their necks on the line in a big fashion. And I don't think it's helping them one bit. I think they're both going to be screwed in the end.

I think there will be a shakeup and that APEX will get a member at MOSAIC's expense, because APEX is now down to 3 people- they're a mess. And the project manager of the losers this week will be fired again, probably.

MOSAIC decides to lose Kelly- he goes to APEX. Kelly also has an exemption, likely that's the factor. It's all evened up. Wes is the MOSAIC project manager and Kevin is project manager at APEX. The task is a marketing campaign to sell jeans- create a catalogue prototype.

IVANA is trashing Jennifer, accusing her of not being able to think outside the box. And MARIA wants to completely own the task over at MOSAIC because she has this big marketing background.

YOU SHOULD NEVER LOSE YOUR COOL! That is the lesson of this task. Hoo hoo hoo!

Wes is letting Maria run wild- Maria allowed to "fly in on her broomstick" and smash the living daylights out of the models' shoot. You know what, Maria absolutely has to go. She's got a grating, dictatorial personality and her skills ain't that good. She should have been fired WEEKS ago. I think Wes and Maria are both in trouble. Now SANDY is losing her nut and she and MARIA are in a big CATFIGHT. They were fighting for 20 minutes! And Wes is letting it get out of hand. I think MOSAIC could be heading to the boardroom this week. They are DYING!

KEVIN is calling Jennifer USELESS! Kevin says everyone else is doing real work. But you know what I think, I think APEX may win this thing and Jennifer will escape yet again. Jennifer says Kevin and Ivana are the weakest people on the team and Ivana is holding a grudge because Jennifer always escapes the chopping block.

MOSAIC's gotten killed in their presentation- didn't clearly express their plan. APEX is the winner and the judges said Jennifer did the best job, even though she did nothing all task. So Kevin is safe for next week and Jennifer is smelling like a rose, and Kelly looks like a big winner because he moved over from the other team. And poor Ivana looks like she's totally doomed no matter what she does. She might as well just quit. Reward is they get to meet Billy Joel.

Who knows what will happen with MOSAIC? I think you have to blame Maria for this one, but they could accuse Andy of sitting back and doing nothing, and this is the second time Wes has led his team to a defeat, and it was Sandy who got into that fight with Maria to begin with. So this whole team is going to get themselves absolutely crucified. They will be KILLED in there.


This is a really animated boardroom- Maria killed Wes, Andy's had to defend himself, and Sandy seems as if she's getting off lightly. Now Wes is saying I'm bringing in all 3. Good grief, Wes is gonna get REAMED OUT for bringing all three of them back. And Maria's got a really big mouth.

Honestly, the rest of the team will be getting hosed is Maria isn't fired tonight. I think Wes is really in a lot of trouble and could get the gate because of the fighting by everyone else. Now here comes the final battle.

WOW! MASS FIRING! Both Maria and Wes are fired. I knew something big was going to happen tonight; this was it.


In the US you cause a big scandal by doffing a towel on TV. In Canada, you cause a big scandal by stepping all over a doll replica of George W. Bush on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

And pulling off that stunt on TV is the final straw that broke the camel's back for Carolyn Parrish; she's been tossed out of the Liberal caucus.

The one-woman wrecking-crew of Canada-US relations is gone. About time.


There's a big article in the Toronto Sun today about all the problems facing Hollywood North: the motion picture industry in Toronto. I know Global TV has done pieces on this, too. Toronto is losing tons of productions to the US and they're also getting squeezed by Vancouver and Montreal. They are even losing productions to the Czech Republic and Romania! ( No wonder I keep seeing so many movies set in the Czech Republic ). Plus, you have a California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who is on record for wanting to keep motion picture work in California.

I'm surprised at how bad Toronto is doing these days. Not too long ago everyone from Jackie Chan to Peta Wilson to Catherine Zeta-Jones was in Toronto. I remember when I was working downtown at Headline Sports- after my shift ended I walked down the street and they were shooting Driven- a big Sylvester Stallone movie- on the streets of TO. Earlier this year they dressed up The Bay department store to look like the old Madison Square Garden for a movie.

I would have thought Toronto would have been able to weather a downturn in the movie industry a lot better than Vancouver because Vancouver relies on work from all these Hollywood producers, while Toronto does a lot of stuff with Canadian producers and Canadian actors. And I would have thought there would always be a steady need for that type of work in this town, because of CRTC requirements for Cancon and the like. My understanding is that Vancouver is offering a better tax break scheme at the moment, so as a result, Vancouver is stealing some work away from Toronto. Even Winnipeg is stealing away work because of better tax credits. So everyone in Toronto is now starving to death.

The problem is that Toronto has yet to realize that in order to go out and get business they are going to have to fight for it with tax incentives and the like. They keep on blaming SARS for their problems, but the fact is they are simply not keeping up with everyone else with tax breaks. Plus, the cost of doing movies has gone up, people are really getting hosed by the locals who are putting their prices up. And the hassle factor with bureaucrats is way up. I read in the Sun that one movie in particular, 3000 Degrees, a movie about firefighting, was run out of town because the local firefighters picketed the movie. Way to go, Toronto Fire Department. That's a bunch of jobs up in smoke, thanks to you. No wonder people don't want to come here. It's difficult enough for people to get movies financed and made these days to have to put up with stuff like that.

Adding to the hassle factor is that there are Hollywood actors and actresses like Sharon Gless who've lived here for five years, would like to open a production company up here and employ people and stay here- and all they are getting is bureaucracy from Ottawa and applications stuck in a pile of papers. So that's more work not happening, thanks to your friendly neighbourhood government. See, this is the type of thing that just drives people nuts.

But you know, it's tough all the way around in the film and TV business. Now you have these religious fanatics going nuts over Desperate Housewives promos on TV and getting ads pulled from that silly show, plus you have the reality TV craze. Reality TV has been a disaster for most everyone who works in series television. You don't need real actors or fancy sets, you don't even need writers or scripts! These networks feel they can get away with programming absolutely the cheapest junk imaginable. I don't mind some reality TV, but too many of these shows are really awful (Nanny 911, Paris Hilton, etcetera). By the way, I hear that tonight's boardroom on The Apprentice is going to be really wild, one of the wildest ever, and not to be missed. That I look forward to.

I'm glad I've gotten to write about the movie industry. I had been looking at ways to possibly get into the business myself as a business affairs person or a talent manager or something like that. In fact, I sort of ended up pursuing journalism and politics by default, because I couldn't get into the movie/TV industry. Ironically I probably have better qualifications now to get in the door, but I've encountered hassles of my own.

BREAKING NEWS- Apparently Vince Carter's about to be traded, finally. Rumor is it's to Portland.


The CRTC has finally approved Fox News Channel AND the NFL Network for digital cable and satellite distribution in Canada. Heck, they had to do this since they allowed in al-Jazeera.

Good, I no longer need to move to the States. Now when are they going to bring in the Cartoon Network?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


As you may have heard America is in an uproar today because of a big cross-promotion of the hit show Desperate Housewives on Monday Night Football.

It featured Nicollette Sheridan dropping her towel and leaping into the arms of Eagles star Terrell Owens. Apparently bored viewers in middle America complained about this nonsense and the folks at ABC and at the NFL have all issued an apology. And now even the FCC is looking at this nonsense.

My complaint is that Nicollette Sheridan didn't show enough! Man, what is America coming to? I didn't think this was inappropriate. Stupid, maybe, but she didn't show anything! Since when have the Taliban taken over the United States of America?!

By the way, I think Desperate Housewives is a really stupid show, and that the women on that show are losers. I don't get why people think the show's so scandalous. It's not scandalous, just silly. The reason ABC ought to apologize is for putting those silly women on Monday Night Football and blighting our football games! That's why they should apologize!

(I know I know, I'm not sounding like much of a conservative today. Well, so what!)

Monday, November 15, 2004


All of us fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders are in agony today, again, because our team lost a really tough, heartbreaking OT CFL playoff game in BC to the Lions. Had the Riders won, they would have gone to the Grey Cup game. Instead, they went home.

My family is miserable over this defeat. Apparently my brother was actually at the game, too, witnessing this debacle live. Truly, truly a dark day for Rider Nation.

But as bad as it is to be a Riders fan today, it is even worse to be Paul McCallum. McCallum missed a lousy 17-yard field goal in OT, then BC kicked a field goal and won the game.

Now the fans in Regina have reacted the way you expect these people to; with no class at all. A few total losers went over to McCallum's house in Regina and threw eggs at his house. Then another guy dumped a pile of manure on the poor guy's front lawn. Way to go, bud, for dumping manure on his front lawn; you've confirmed every stereotype about Saskatchewan that people back east have about the place--- about it being Hicksville, full of farmers and cattle and tumbleweeds and the like. Full of no-lives types who have nothing to do but cheer on the 'Riders and dump manure on peoples' houses when they lose. Charges are being laid for what's gone on.

Really, these idiots in Regina didn't need to react this way. They should have reacted with more couth. The truth is that McCallum's in enough agony already. He couldn't even go into the locker room to face his teammates after the game. He also knows another thing: he's gonna lose his job. Let's face it, Paul McCallum had a terrible season. You can bet that the first priority for general manager Roy Shivers will be to find a replacement for this chump, and boot McCallum out. Poor Paul McCallum will be lucky to get a job in the Arena League next year. So give him a break, eh?

The thing is that it wasn't all McCallum's fault that they lost. The Riders fumbled the ball away at the BC 5-yard line, and the Lions went right back down the field and scored a touchdown. The whole team gave this game away. But McCallum is the one who qualifies as the number one chump on the team for blowing that field goal in overtime.

McCallum goes down as the Scott Norwood/Bill Buckner of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and he really didn't deserve getting his house pelted, just as Ron Lancaster didn't deserve to get booed by Rider fans in his last game in 1978. But that is actually par for the course in Regina, the dark side of playing in Riderville. Rider fans can be the most merciless in the Canadian Football League to their teams, because Rider fans have had to put up with lots of losing and blown Grey Cup games, especially 1972 and 1976. Because the Riders are the only game in town and because the fans have to put up with a lot- including long drives from miles away to get to the games- the fans can certainly turn on the team when it lets them down. That's the price you pay if you play in a place where football is king, where it's part of the prairie landscape and the number one sport. Saskatchewan fans have had their heart fed to the cat on far too many occasions.

So I feel for the fans, and I feel bad for McCallum. I really feel sorry for him and feel bad he got his house pelted by ungrateful fans. But I don't feel bad enough for him to want him back on the Riders next year. Get rid of him! I want this Rider team to win a freaking Grey Cup again in my lifetime! Sorry, Paul McCallum, but that's life in football-- the dark side of it.

Friday, November 12, 2004



Well it's been an eventful day in the NHL lockout. Forbes Magazine has now weighed in with a story on the NHL lockout situation, with a story insinuating that the NHL losses amount to some 96 million dollars--- far short of the 273 million claimed in Arthur Levitt's audit of the league. So the union has been having a cow today over the article because they say the league is lying about their losses, and the owners are having a cow because they claim the numbers in the article are BS. Ted Saskin of the NHLPA said Forbes' integrity was "unquestionable", whereas Bill Daly of the NHL called the article "irresponsible journalism."

PR-wise, this is the first piece of good news for the NHL players in a long time. The players have been taking a beating all through the lockout on the PR side, but now this Forbes article gives them something to crow about and a bit of leverage. I think it's good. Maybe Gary Bettman will feel compelled to negotiate with these people. Or maybe not.

So that's basically the controversy of the day in the NHL. Beyond that, the league's woes continue. More players are taking off for Russia, and to the Swedish Elite League. So life is good in Russia and Sweden for those hockey fans. They're all getting to see all-stars. But North American fans are the ones getting hosed. And the way things are going, they could be getting hosed for the entire season. I'm really worried about this. It's getting to the point where these players are increasingly in a position to say to heck with the NHL. The players are missing NHL paychecks, but they are finding other jobs. Some of these European teams are paying big bucks to these guys. So these players are in a position to stand up to the NHL and force the NHL to capitulate to their demands to forget about a salary cap. The NHL, on the other hand, says it'll cancel the whole season unless they get their salary cap. This looks increasingly grim. But I don't think there is going to be any movement until December at the earliest. This is a standoff at the OK corral, and no one will move from their entrenched positions before Drop Dead time. So we'll see what happens in December. No use worrying about it.

We'll see if people buckle under to the pressure in December to get a deal done. They'd better. Right now, Saturday nights are a pathetic joke in this country, TV-wise. And what's with the mid-week programming on TSN? It's a joke! Showing "classic" hockey games like old Canada Cup matchups gets, ahem, really old. Really old in a hurry. Thank goodness the Raptors are back- otherwise there would be no decent sports to follow during the week.


The American Hockey League has positioned itself nicely as the "replacement league" providing the only top-notch pro hockey out there right now. They are now going into NHL cities and holding games. Last week the Rochester Americans had a game at HSBC Arena that drew 12,000 people, and then in San Jose, the Sharks' affiliate Cleveland Barons hosted the Edmonton Roadrunners. Again, a big crowd in five figures- not bad for the farm league.

In December the AHL will be celebrating its "return" to Toronto with two games involving the St. John's Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Leafs host the star-studded Binghamton Senators (Jason Spezza and all) on December 1st and 3rd. I am expecting a big crowd for both nights as well. Next season, the baby Leafs are moving permanently to the Ricoh Coliseum; had they moved this season they could have cleaned up and played a ton of dates to huge crowds. They are thinking of calling the new team the St. Pat's or the Arenas, two former names for the NHL Maple Leafs.

In other news, the major networks in this country still haven't decided whether to show any European hockey games. The problem is that nobody in Canada cares about hockey in Sweden. Looks like they won't show any European games unless the whole season goes belly up. And speaking of belly up, there are rumors that the Original Stars Hockey League may finally, at last, be near the end. What, you thought they folded? You're not alone. Forgotten but not gone, that's the OSHL right now. That 4-on-4 league is still in business- last I heard they were playing games in the Maritimes- but this league has been ravaged by small crowds and by players defecting to Europe. There was a report in the Toronto Sun saying the league may finally be out of money. So they could be toast, finally.


In other sports news the Toronto Raptors have shocked the world and are off to a 4-1 start. The Raptors are right now on a West Coast swing, hoping to keep their winning ways going. Tonight they face the Seattle Sonics. As a side effect, the winning means that Vince Carter is no longer yapping about wanting to be traded. For now.

The arrival of the NBA again has done wonders for the sportscasts in this country, which now has a bunch of hilites to show again in lieu of NHL goals and fights. In fact, sportscasts in this country are looking more and more like American sportscasts. You have NBA hoops during the week, and lots of football on the weekends. This weekend the CIS and the CFL have tons of playoff action going on, so sports fans in Canada will be happy watching football on TV. And basketball fans ought to be happy. The Raptors have a golden opportunity to establish themselves for all time in Toronto during this lockout and if I were them, I'd make the most of the opportunity. So far, so good.


Yasser Arafat was laid to rest in Ramallah today. Just thought I would mention that.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Welcome to another death-defying edition of The Apprentice 2 Live Blog. But before we get to the live blog for this evening I'm going to start off by letting you know about some of the other happenings going on in the TV world.

First of all, reality TV heated up this week with the launch of two new shows that sort of rip off The Apprentice. First, FOX debuted Richard Branson's effort The Rebel Billionaire.

I checked it out and honestly, it's not bad. Not bad at all. It actually takes a number of elements from a number of reality shows: it looks for an employee for Branson, just like with Trump; but the business challenges take place all over the world ( just like in The Amazing Race ). And the losers have to perform dangerous, crazy stunts to stay in the game, a la Fear Factor. It makes for a watchable hour of television. On the downside the show rips off every other reality show on TV. But other than that, compared to most of the boring junk that passes for reality TV, these guys actually make an effort. And Richard Branson seems like a genuinely good guy, unlike that trigger-happy jerk Donald Trump, or the crazed and demented Mark Cuban. I predict this show will be in reruns on the Travel Channel for years to come.

The other big news is that My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss debuted on Fox this week, and it's basically a big parody of the Trump show and totally hilarious. All Apprentice fans should watch that show, it's a riot. By the way, it's set in Chicago, and I gotta say, compared to New York, Chicago looks like a bit of a dump. Dunno why any of those Ivy League hotshots would want to live THERE.

There's controversy tonight in TV land, folks, as tonight over on ABC they are trying to run Saving Private Ryan. The problem is that a lot of ABC stations aren't going to run the movie. they're worried that the movie is going to run afoul of the FCC and that they'll be hit with millions of dollars in FCC fines. Good grief. Censorship from the FCC of a movie, all to protect those boring people in middle America who can't handle that kind of programming.


Someone please put APEX out of business. This corporation was bad enough when it was all female. Now even with a 50-50 split this gang can't shoot straight. This is still the worst, back-stabbing, dysfunctional group of idiots ever assembled, and the ranks were really depleted when friendly Mr. Trump fired one of its best performers last week in Raj. Now they're totally screwed.

Tonight we all know what will happen on Trump's show. Chris will get his head blown off. Last week Chris had a cow in the boardroom and yelled about how dysfunctional his APEX team was and how Trump ought to shake the teams up because that was why they were losing. He's right! But instead the board said, don't come to us: that's your problem, you solve it! And Chris was accused by Trump of disloyalty to his team. And now he's the APEX project manager, which is the kiss of death to everyone whose ever been APEX project manager. Well, that indicates one thing to me: his head is on the block bigtime. It is put up or shut up, and if APEX loses again he's a goner.

As for Mosaic, I think the project manager could also get his or her head blown off yet again. Sandy is completely exempt, and it almost seems as if Andy will never be fired, even though he has the respect of no one. Kelly or Maria are due to lead this team this week and I have a feeling it'll be Kelly at the helm because he hasn't led for a long time. I suspect he'll really luck out and lead the team to a victory, because APEX is in chaos.

The APEX team still has major human resource issues with people on there who should have been fired ages ago. They still have Ivana, who has plotted against every project manager ever and has been part of one losing challenge after another. You have Kevin, whose stock has gone down because of his direct role in at least three of his team's defeats. On two occasions he almost got fired. And then there is Jennifer M., who is winning at this game because she is flying completely under the radar. I don't get it: Jennifer had a big say in APEX's current human resources problems because she was the one who decided that Elizabeth and Ivana should stay on: the more talented members of APEX went over to MOSAIC and helped them win. But no one is reaming her out for that decision, at least not yet. Maybe, not ever. So far, Jennifer's the personification of what's wrong with this game: to get ahead with Trump, you have to shut up and do your job, and let everyone else blow themselves up. If you put your neck on the line or really make an effort in this game, it won't be rewarded. Look at Raj as a fine example of that last week: the project manager gets fired again, just for being the project manager of a group of losers.

Man, this game is all luck.

Confirmed: Kelly is project manager at Mosaic. Andy wanted a draw for the exemption because every exemption is huge. It went to Kelly.

Task is: create a bridal sale! Guess what, this is Sandy's business. MOSAIC is going to win and APEX is screwed again. And now Chris is melting down. "This is impossible", he's saying. He can't get a darn thing accomplished right now. And the team is doing @#$%-all for him. If he pulls off a victory tonight I'll be very surprised. And now Trump's message is "Believe in Yourself", which further indicates to me that Chris is finished. And Sandy is bailing out her team and making team leader Kelly the luckiest person alive right now.

Chris looks like a totally beaten man. He looks like he knows he's dead on his feet and is going through the motions. Trump completely hung him at the last boardroom meeting and he really looks like his spirit is broken. His team is working overtime to bail him out. He just isn't into bridal sales, it shows bigtime.

Problems are engulfing MOSAIC.

ANDY is on the block. Made a stupid comment when they were looking at bridal gowns. Clearly not in his element.
WES and MARIA are on the block. Big mistake at MOSAIC: marketing didn't put on the phone number for themselves! Maria and Wes are doing marketing and Kelly has someone to blame for this stupid gaffe! Now Wes almost gets into an accident driving a truck! Wes is looking so DEAD as well. Even Sandy has a bad feeling about this task, is seeing Marketing blow this opportunity.

Maria got caught in a bold-faced lie re: the emails being sent out. Doesn't matter. They have lots of business. MOSAIC's gonna win anyway. Maria dodges a bullet yet again.

APEX is DOOMED. No customers. They spent the day handing out fliers to everyone. They are DYING. Chris is totally DOOMED unless he pins the blame on whoever is responsible for the marketing plan for APEX. Whose idea was it for just handing out fliers?

The winners are MOSAIC. Chris might as well hand in his resignation. They sold only 2 dresses. Kelly is exempt, again, thanks to Sandy. Big reward: 50 grand in jewellry! They are living it up.



The Donald is letting everyone have it, again. Kevin, Chris and Ivana are going to the final battle. It looks pretty obvious to me that Chris is a dead man. Given a bridal sales task with a team of losers. Unless George, Carolyn and the Donald surprise me, he's finished, unless they somehow decide Kevin and Ivana are to blame.

The Donald and the gang say this group has no fire and no spark.

CHRIS IS FIRED. I saw this coming a mile away.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


The big story regarding the big lockout is that The Great Wayne Gretzky has spoken.

And Gretzky basically confirmed what everyone ought to know by now: this lockout is not about saving Canada's teams. More to the point, it's about saving Gretzky's team, the Phoenix Coyotes. And there's very little Gretzky can do to get these folks back to the bargaining table, other than say how sad it all is.

Word of advice to Gretzky: do something! The sport needs you to do something to save this league from itself.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Thought I would just mention that I'm still alive and taking a breather from blogging after all the election stuff that I wrote about. And I probably won't be blogging much the next week or two.

Among other things, I have been trying to refocus my efforts to move into something TV or even entertainment related. I guess that's putting it broadly. I've applied to a bunch of places that do TV stuff, generally speaking. Not specifically TV stations, the search is much broader than that. The search also includes entertainment companies that do stuff that isn't news related, stuff for which my background would be appropriate. That's all I'll say about it.

My biggest problem is that I am not seen as a preferred candidate by any of these places I am applying to. And another problem is that the media and entertainment industries are really cut-throat. One wrong move and you can easily get your head blown off and your career is ruined. I'm well aware of that. So that's why I'm not completely sure about which direction I want to take my career, because I don't want to get my head blown off. So the karma needs to be perfect, otherwise, the job will be a flop and do nothing for my advancement.

I wouldn't mind keeping my hand in politics in some way, whether as a participant or courtside observer, and all of these options would allow me to do that. So I've been sending out stuff to places. The jobs are located in a variety of places: British Columbia, New York, Georgia, even Vermont. One of the places I applied to was in Los Angeles. Why Los Angeles? Because I would like to live somewhere close to the ocean where the temperature is warm. Deep down, I prefer to be a warm weather, big city creature. (Then you ask me why I bothered applying to Vermont? Well it looked like a good opportunity and a great fit. That's all I'll share with you.)

Actually, I applied for that LA job to get away from the cold and the snow. I've been cursed with having to live in cold climates all my miserable life. Today in Toronto we had flurries. And Barrie, just north of here, got snowed under. Ain't Canada great.

See, if any of you folks I applied to are reading this I say simply, get me away from this lousy weather! Imagine that, I could be leaving the ice and snow, while all these left-leaning Americans want to come north to enjoy ski country. And it's difficult for all of us to do. It's so frustrating, this North America. Someone's got to figure out a way to renegotiate NAFTA to make it easier for people to cross the border and do business. Because that's what my problem really is right now, all the red tape, because the opportunities are available down there in the 'States for me to go after, otherwise.

See you Thursday for the Apprentice blog, again.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Here's what's happening on the Apprentice tonight. Four people who got fired on this show are coming back to haunt these people tonight! I don't know what the heck is going to happen but that's apparently what's happening. Well, well.

On new MOSAIC Sandy is going to be the project manager because it's her turn at last. And if she loses her head will get blown off because the Donald and the gang are definitely not impressed with her at all. She needs to win to turn her fortunes around or she'll be in big trouble. The man who lucked out big time is Andy, who won the exemption as winning project manager and will not get fired. So after weeks of mediocrity, he's here for two more weeks at least.

I think anyone could get the gate on APEX but Ivana's stock has not gone up for weeks. Actually, any of them could go. The coup plotting and zaniness of last week could sink everyone on that team. Any more chaos and they're DEAD. And I really feel bad for Elizabeth; she was fired in the most humiliating way imaginable last week. Humiliated on national television, the whole team plotting a coup against her, and she is fired on the spot. And the sad truth is she was right to say that her team's idea for an ad campaign sucked. It did suck. I just hope Elizabeth didn't get fired from her real job ( a la Jennifer C.).

Raj is definitely worried about his own future after last week's debacle, and he's project manager this week for APEX, on the hot seat. I think he could be near the end.

Here's the twist- they're bringing back the first four people they fired, for one week only, as assistants! Bradford and Stacie with APEX, Rob and Jennifer C. with MOSAIC. The task is REAL ESTATE- renovating houses. The fired people are all bitter: Jennifer is mad that Ivana is still here. And Stacie is back wreaking havoc criticizing Ivana for calling her crazy. Well well. Shaping up already to being a bad week for Ivana. Raj's team is in chaos already, so it looks like it's a bad week for him, too.

Raj is in trouble. The contractors are screwing around with him and the bathroom turned out to be sort of half-done. The team is ticked at him. Right now it looks like Raj is doomed. Luck seems to have saved Sandy's team at MOSAIC- their contractors were also good for nothing but intrepid Andy found another group of contractors who would get the work done.

MOSAIC wins because the bathroom wasn't finished with APEX, and Raj is going home. And that's too bad for him because the contractor he had SUCKED. This is SAD. The guy's a capable guy and he's going to be fired while the rest of these mediocrities get to stay. Frustrating. See you in the boardroom.

Raj could be saved- Jennifer M. is backing Raj 100%.


People are speaking up for Raj to try and save him and Raj said the buck stopped with him re: the contractor.

Ivana- uh oh, she's opened her mouth to criticize Stacie. Kevin is getting smashed for backing the contractor. Raj chooses Kevin and Ivana and now Chris opens his big mouth and said the team chemistry is a mess and if the team stays the way it is they'll lose next week. Thanks very much, Chris. And Trump says okay your neck is on the line next week I'm making you project manager. Then he leaves.

You know, I'm impressed by Raj here- he's been totally accountable for the screwup that lost the challenge, and hampered by a team in turmoil for weeks. If he's fired he will be getting hosed bigtime. But I think he could be about to be hosed.

It'll be a tough decision. Uh oh, Kevin's just opened his mouth and denied he picked the contractor. Now Raj is getting yelled at for too many mistakes.



While the US election was going on the NHL player reps had a powwow with NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow, who gave the reps a rundown of where things stood and put to rest a lot of the talk about players accepting a salary cap and the like. Later he's going to meet with player agents to keep them in line, too.

Afterwards the meetings broke up with the union back on the same page and fully united, crushing the hopes of miserable fans who thought these guys were about to cave in to a salary cap.

Gary Bettman then made an announcement that the season was now in jeopardy and the league cancelled the All-Star Game in Atlanta, scheduled for early next year.

The fans are now freaking out. They are beginning to realize that hey, these hockey players aren't all that sentimental about the NHL or its fans. They're not playing in the NHL for the love of the game or any of that. People still think that these players would play NHL hockey just for the love of the game, that they're good Canadian boys. That's proving to be baloney. They love the game, all right, but not enough to stick around Canada. They are taking the money and hopping on the next flight out of North America via Lufthansa and Aeroflot.

More and more of these guys are going to Europe: now, Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards are apparently signing contracts to go play in Russia. You know, good for them that they love the game of hockey so much that they'd be willing to move halfway round the world to play it. They love the game of hockey, but they don't love the NHL right now and are telling these owners to go stick it in their faces. And frankly, I don't love the NHL either right now. I've always been more of a fan of the international game anyway- that's where the best hockey is being played.

But that's cold comfort for the fans who are now totally turned off by these players and ready to boycott the sport if the season wipes out. And they're also browned off with Gary Bettman, too. A lot of fans had this belief that this lockout would save the Canadian teams, kill off a few Sunbelt franchises that don't deserve hockey to begin with, help put NHL franchises in Winnipeg and Hamilton, solve all the sport's problems, and bring the Stanley Cup a step closer to a permanent return to Canadian soil.

Well, now they are hearing from Gary Bettman that the league wants to preserve all its franchises- every one of them, including all those anonymous teams in the Sunbelt. So fans are browned off because they now are beginning to realize this lockout is about saving the Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes, and that the Stanley Cup will probably continue to dangle from trees in Florida. Edmonton and Calgary would probably survive regardless of whether there was a lockout or salary cap or not.

So reality is biting hard. And it sure looks as if Bettman and the gang are fighting to preserve the same crummy league with all its problems that we had before. That's why the fans are so upset. They are totally against the players, but they are slowly seeing that this lockout may not solve all of the league's problems and may threaten to create some new ones.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004



Well the United States has four more years of President George W. Bush and the rest of the world is stuck with him, whether they want him or not.

The last thing Bush needed was another election result that ended up in court. I am convinced that some of the problems Bush had on the world stage had a lot to do with the fact that his first election was won in such controversial fashion. So you had foreign leaders looking down at Bush and basically treating him in a condescending fashion from the get-go- all these Socialist leaders abroad, for example, who weren't at all interested in a leader who was looking out for America's interests. It made for a rocky first term compared to that other great conservative, Ronald Reagan. Reagan not only had a big mandate from the American people thanks to two landslide victories, but he had like-minded conservatives like Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl and Brian Mulroney to deal with on the world stage. Bush had... Jean Chretien.

No wonder Bush has had lousy relations with all these world leaders who felt he was illegitimate, a dim bulb, a cowboy, and so on. As a result, the feeling of disrespect became mutual. Few of these leaders had Bush's ear when Bush really needed to be convinced on something. They might have even convinced Bush and the rest of his administration to forget the idea of an Iraq invasion, if they had some personal credibility with the American president. Never underestimate the importance of personal relationships in politics and in diplomacy- it counts for a lot.

Now that Bush is in for the next four years, the world is going to have to get used to it. The rest of the world will have to get over whatever hangups and objections it has about Bush and the way America conducts its affairs and so on, and find a way to work constructively with him and somehow develop a better relationship with the United States. Canada, too, is just going to have to get over him. Part of the reason Bush is so hated in Canada is because of all the trade disputes that have been going on, along with the general feeling that Bush totally ignores our country. But I think our federal government deserves part of the blame for the bad relationship, and quite frankly, John Kerry would have been no improvement as far as trade was concerned. Protectionism would probably have gotten a big boost with Kerry as leader and trade relations could well have gotten even worse.

I am an optimist. I think that during Bush's second term, international relations will improve. The United States looks like it is no mood to start wars with any more countries, and will probably be looking to improve both trade relationships and the world economic situation over the next four years. It's questionable whether Bush will improve America's reputation in the world or the general feeling of disgust with the United States that is out there right now, but he does have a mandate for what he is doing. So people around the world are going to have to suck it all up and respect that, whether they like it or not.


By and large I thought the media did a good job yesterday. They were completely responsible and didn't rely heavily on the exit polls to make their projections- and a good thing too. In fact the early exit polls turned out to be junk. The numbers Wonkette posted yesterday also largely proved to be junk, and so were the numbers that came out late in the day that had Kerry up 2 in Florida and tied in Ohio. These poll numbers caused an uproar in the blogosphere and produced a lot of panic among Bush supporters, and phony confidence among Kerry supporters. Fortunately by late in the afternoon the bloggers were putting up posts telling people to calm down, that the samples were skewed, that everyone knows these exit polls were garbage, that exit polls had Elizabeth Dole losing her Senate race when she ran way back when.- and so on. So in the end the bloggers were able to get some semblance of truth out there.

There was a lot of controversy over the networks making projections and so on. Fox News and NBC both called Ohio for Bush and gave him the checkmark, but then CNN and the rest of them held off over Kerry's claim that the provisional ballots (votes by people who they couldn't find on the lists etc.) had to all be counted. I know people are going to yell at Fox News for jumping the gun again for being the first to call one of these critical states. Turned out, though, that Fox News and NBC were right to call it- Ohio was a lead of some 100,000 votes for Bush and it soon expanded to close to 150,000, and frankly Kerry wasn't going to catch up anyway because the margin was too big. It was a close race but not that close. I appreciate, though, people holding off on Ohio because nobody wanted to make any mistakes and they all wanted to get it right, and especially since Kerry wasn't conceding the race.

Me, I was convinced Bush had Ohio pretty much in the bag by 3 in the morning. So I was convinced it was over and as far as I was concerned they could have all called this race by then, regardless of what Kerry's campaign thought. I know the Kerry camp was huffing and puffing about how they thought they were going to win with the provisional votes in Ohio. A lot of these news organizations immediately got cold feet on Ohio when they got wind of that news, but by 2:00 AM it was obvious to me that Ohio was going to go to Bush and I was getting pretty frustrated. I thought they could have shown some courage and gone ahead and made a projection in Ohio, because it sure looked like it was over to me. Besides, if you're a news organization you don't make projections based on whether politicians want to concede or not- you call it as soon as you know who won, and to heck with what these campaigns think. If Kerry has lost, and that's the truth, then report it.


As for exit polls, well, their reliability is now blown to smithereens. The way I see it is: exit polling is useful when it comes to determining whether the race is a blowout, but they are no good in close races. In those races, you have to wait for the votes to come in because those are real votes, and real votes count. Interestingly, though, these polls are pretty good when it comes to measuring stuff like "what was the biggest issue in the election?" Turns out in Ohio that a large number of people cast their votes based on things like "moral values" (!).

Man, is the United States ever different from Canada on social issues. They wouldn't put up with gay marriages down there, or marijuana smoking, or women having abortions, or Janet Jackson having wardrobe malfunctions on TV, or any of that nonsense. In Ohio they not only voted to ban gay marriages, they also banned civil unions(!). And this coming from a state that I usually think of as being pretty mainstream by American standards. This must have been Cincinnati and environs: that part of the state is Bible Belt territory and even more lunatic about social issues than Kentucky, right next door.

Finally a word about young people and the election. You know, we had heard all the stories about how voter registration was way up this election, and that young people were all motivated to get out and vote because they wanted to defeat Bush, and so on. And Kerry and Edwards were all saying that young people were going to come out in record numbers and put the Democratic ticket in. Well, guess what. I watched NBC and they say that the turnout of young people was the same as last time. So much for all these young people, and for initiatives like Rock the Vote, and Vote or Die!, and all the rest. John Edwards said "if you see lots of young people standing in long lineups, we're going to win!" Well, we know what went down: they LOST.

That's enough about politics for me. Tomorrow, I'll make sure I talk about that election-day NHLPA meeting of the player reps in the hockey lockout. Those greedy head-in-the-sand hockey players seem more determined than ever. People thought these guys actually care about the game and would be willing to come back- in your dreams.


It's FINALLY SETTLED, this election, no 36-day hanging chad counts to worry about, no lawyers.

I'm watching John Kerry's concession speech on Fox News right now. ( I kid you not, we're getting Fox News on the main Fox network today.) Bush will give his victory speech later.


What a mess. I didn't think I'd live to see an election like 2000 again, but this one comes pretty darn close. Back-to-back cliffhangers. At least the nets didn't totally screw up the coverage this time.

It is 249 Bush and 242 Kerry. Bush leads in Nevada, Iowa and New Mexico but none of those states are being called. Bush is also ahead by over 130,000 in Ohio but there's the matter of those provisional ballots and Kerry's campaign is refusing to concede at all. Absolutely refusing to concede at all. And it takes 11 days until they count these provisional votes! And John Roberts on CBS is saying it could get so tight with the provisional votes counted that we could see a RECOUNT in OHIO! As for Iowa the counting equipment apparently broke down so they are going to resume counting later. Wisconsin is absolutely razor-tight with Kerry ahead. But it is too close to call.

So that's where we stand at roughly 3:23 in the morning and I've seen enough, I am calling a halt to the election coverage for now, and going to bed. This is too ridiculous.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Bush supporters have been celebrating the win in Florida- Karen Hughes basically stood in front of the crowd in Washington D.C. and declared victory there.

Fox News has declared Ohio for Bush but the Democrats have refused to throw in the towel because of something called "provisional ballots"; I have no clue what they're talking about. And they are talking about wanting to wait to count the votes. OK, we'll see what happens. Bottom line is Bush had 249 electoral votes in the bag, is leading comfortably in Ohio and New Mexico and probably will win in Nevada and that will be enough to win the Presidency.

This is like waiting for a baseball team to clinch the division title.


Florida looks to be a BUSH WIN. CBS and ABC have projected Florida for the President. CNN has not called it for Bush yet but they just said on CNN that a top Kerry official has basically conceded the state. If true and I am inclined to believe it is true ( the margin is 5% in Florida for Bush), then Ohio's 20 electoral votes are the last hope for John Kerry. As it stands now Wisconsin and New Mexico are Bush leads and Iowa is still a possibility. If those 3 move solidly into the Bush column it's probably checkmate regardless of what happens in Ohio- assuming the numbers hold up in Florida. And in Ohio Bush still leads 52 to 48 per cent... and it's getting late there.

Minnesota and Michigan have moved back into the Kerry column as leads there but that won't help much without Ohio.

I imagine the mood over at the Corner has picked up considerably. Big losers of the election appear to be those exit pollsters.


But right now it's looking good for the President.

He has leads in Ohio AND Florida AND New Mexico AND Minnesota AND Wisconsin and was leading in Michigan last I checked- and he is still in the race in New Hampshire and even Pennsylvania. I don't know how they're doing in Iowa.

But it is not in the bank for Bush and these leads could start to melt; they did in 2000.

Canadian networks are even covering this vote. I didn't think CBC was going to have comprehensive coverage but they are, graphics and all. Interesting.

Back later- need to brew up some hot tea so I can stay up late watching TV.


Well the news from Florida, last time we looked, was that Bush had taken a 300,000 vote lead on Kerry and is said to be outperforming his 2000 performance in the Panhandle and elsewhere. But the race is far from over.

In Ohio, Bush has just taken the lead- by 2000 votes.

Too close, still.

BAD NEWS from Missouri for Bush- TRAILING.








Drudge exit poll numbers have it dead even in Ohio and Kerry up 2 in Florida as the polls close down there.

STREAMING VIDEO LINKS: WSVN Miami has live election coverage online from the critical state of Florida.


They're calling the early exit polls "very unreliable." Here are the numbers they have, lifted directly from the web site:

Kerry-Bush FL 50-49 OH 50-49 PA 54-45WI 51-46 MI 51-47 NH Kerry +3 NV 48-50 CO 46-53 NC 49-51 MO Bush +11

If these numbers hold up tonight Bush is going home to Crawford, Texas. That's why the folks over at the NRO are in complete denial right now. It looks like tonight will boil down to Florida and Ohio, as expected, and Bush must have both of them or else he's sunk.


With this being the most closely watched US election in years web sites are starting to run slow and even crash entirely. Lost Remote is reporting FoxNews.com is running slow and a lot of traffic is slowing down. So if my site crashes you'll know the reason: the web is under strain tonight.

Wonkette is still up and reporting good news for Kerry but Drudge is urging caution and so are the Bush supporters at NRO Online- the numbers from exit polls were apparently even worse for Bush in 2000, and the exit polls skewed towards women.

Bottom line: they will have to actually count the votes tonight.

In other news, reports on the blogosphere of John Kerry's apparent contention in battleground states helped sink the stock market earlier today.


Apparently, Wonkette has put up a bunch of positive looking numbers for Kerry, but be warned in advance that everyone thinks the numbers are phony. They have Kerry beating Bush to a pulp in Pennsylvania, 60-40, and NOBODY is convinced the race is that big a blowout in Pennsylvania. So nobody knows whether these numbers are even accurate. To make a long story short they all have the battleground states all falling to Kerry.

In other news the Bush supporters are now mentioning on the blog sites that their internal exit polls numbers show a much better picture for the President and they're actually leading in Ohio and Florida, bla bla bla. Then again that could be all spin and a pack of lies for all I know, just to keep morale up. And you know, it's probably the same thing over at Wonkette. Only exit polls I trust are the ones Drudge is able to publish.

In other news Drudge is reporting that John Thune could be about to put the boots to Sen. Tom Daschle in South Dakota tonight- leading by 4. And Castor is leading in Florida's Senate race.

UPDATE: Here's the link to NRO's The Corner, where Jonah Goldberg reports the Wonkette numbers from Pennsylvania DEFINITELY came from the Kerry campaign. So it definitely looks like that is all spin, designed to kill Republican morale, etc etc. He also says Florida looks OK for Bush and Ohio is too close to call. But I'm beginning to distrust everyone right now- except Drudge. More later.


Drudge is reporting that the Kerry campaign is "finding comfort" in early exit poll results that show the Democratic nominee competitive in key states.

Drudge had no specific numbers but NRO's The Corner (pro-Bush) is reporting numbers from multiple sources that have Kerry up 4 in Ohio and up 1 in Florida; they are urging Bush supporters to get out the vote.

We'll know much more by 5PM. Lots of people have to work, you know.

UPDATE- Drudge now is confirming that Kerry holds a small lead in Ohio and Florida in the first exit polls, and the people over at NRO are beginning to panic, they also have Bush trailing in Iowa, New Mexico and Michigan. But the margins are small so nothing is written in stone. But as of this hour the President has an uphill fight on his hands, it seems- just like in 2000.



Now that's it's election day in the United States, here is the link to the MOST IMPORTANT WEBSITE OF ELECTION DAY NEWS TODAY:


Drudge will publish all the exit poll news between now and the first poll closings and we should have a good idea whether it'll be over early ( like those Reagan elections ) or whether we'll be up all night and have to make plans to go to the Supreme Court. As soon as WE know we will give you the latest. Be sure to also click on our list of political blogs on the right hand side of the screen, and don't worry if you can't log onto Drudge; you'll be able to find out about the exit polls soon enough.

First polls begin to close at 6:30 PM EST with Indiana and Kentucky (two traditional Red States) expected to be the first to report in.

For the record, in 1960, 1968, 1976 and 2000, people were up until past 2 o'clock in the morning before we knew the full measure of what was going down, so expect to stay up late if it's as close as they say it is. But then they said 1980 was going to be close, and it turned out to be a blowout.


Tuned into the Imus show this morning and Imus voted in his polling location in New York City. He said the lines were the longest he had ever seen at that polling place.


There's been a big controversy as to whether representatives of the campaigns would be allowed to go into polling places to challenge any potential voters. Anyway, a lower court had ruled that these people wouldn't be allowed in, and that drew charges that Ohio would be a place of mass voting fraud etc.

Now a US federal court has overturned the lower court and is now allowing representatives of the campaigns to go in to challenge voters who are coming in to vote.

I'm actually surprised the lower court threw out these campaign scrutineer type people- the practise is commonplace in Canadian elections. You'd think with the notorious history of machine politics/dead people voting/hanging chads in the US, that you'd have to worry about all kinds of hijinx and allow some scrutineers in, to make sure the election isn't being stolen. These judges! See, that's why this election had better not end up in court again.

A good reason why this election had better not end up in court: Chief Justice Rehnquist has THYROID CANCER and is in CHEMO right now. Can you imagine if he had to be hauled out of bed to rule on yet another court case involving a recount mess?


For more last-minute election day events and streaming video log on to C-SPAN. When there's news, I'll let you know.

Monday, November 01, 2004





I can't believe the optimism of Hugh Hewitt on his website. He sure is more confident that I would be. I keep looking at the tracking polls and they're narrowing again. A couple even have Kerry ahead.

More and more newspaper endorsements have rolled in the past several days. Predictably the New York Times and Washington Post went for Kerry, but the NY Daily News surprised people by endorsing Bush. Kerry has also gotten surprising endorsements from the likes of bloggers like Andrew Sullivan (who is usually a Republican), from comedians like Jon Stewart and radio host Don Imus. Imus has gone on record on his radio show with his support, even though he thinks Kerry is a big phony. But he's still voting for him.

Bush got an endorsement from Pat Buchanan of all people which is surprising because Buchanan hates Bush's guts.

Meanwhile the NY Post has this editorial blasting the mainstream media. So much for the New York Times and CBS News and their claims to be objective: their bias has finally been exposed for all to see. And I still have to laugh when I see guys like Walter Cronkite blasting the bloggers. Hey, at least the bloggers are HONEST about having an axe to grind. And they're going to be the first to root out bias and wrong information in the media. It was the bloggers who called CBS News to account when CBS ran that hatchet job story on Bush based on documents of questionable authenticity. The good news about this election is that the truth about the media has been exposed to everyone, and that is: EVERYONE is BIASED. The best way to deal with it is to have plenty of truth-seeking types out there calling people to account and doing checks and balances. Frankly, the bloggers have provided a big public service. And Big Media would be wise to start making an attempt at objectivity if that is what they truly want to achieve.

For final-day streaming video of the campaign here's the link to C-SPAN right here.

Tonight, voters in New Hampshire once again have that big poll that goes ahead at midnight, and then they announce the results of that poll and it's the first official results of the election. We'll have that for you as soon as we get it.