Wednesday, June 30, 2010

AN HONEST-TO-GOODNESS FEMME FATALE SPY

We close out the month of June at THE CAIRNS BLOG with a spy story. About a real spy. Yes, surely by now you may have heard on the news about Anna Chapman, a 28-year-old divorced New York hottie who could pass for one of these femme fatales in one of these spy movies. Based on this photo here, lifted from her Facebook page, she could easily hook up with a guy like James Bond. No doubt the movie about her story is coming soon from Hollywood.

Anyway, Chapman was one of 11 people busted by the FBI the other day for spying on behalf of the Russians. I thought this Cold War stuff ended years ago.

Anyway, the story is here from the New York Post. As well, Wicked Chops Poker has more on this lady. Apparently she wanted to get into the online poker world and start an online poker site. You gotta watch out for these Russian sympathizers.

THE LAST WORD ON THE G20 RIOTS

I give my final thoughts about the G20 riots in Toronto at this blog post here. And that is about all I have to say about the G20 riots.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

LARRY KING IS FINALLY LEAVING HIS SHOW ON CNN

Well, after several years of rumors about the supposedly impending departure of Larry King, it's finally going to happen. Larry King is leaving this fall, ending 25 years of hosting in prime time on CNN. And as someone who has followed Larry for years on the radio and TV I gotta say it is a sad day.

As for CNN, it's the end of an era. Lou Dobbs, Christiane Amanpour and now Larry King. I know Larry says he'll be back to do specials and so on, but still -- this is yet another departure of a CNN veteran. The only one still in the building seems to be Wolf Blitzer.

I sure hope this was Larry's decision. As for the ratings, I know they aren't that great these days, but if CNN truly believes anyone else in the time slot can do better than Larry then they are on drugs.

Monday, June 28, 2010

THE LIST OF WORLD CUP LOSERS GROWS EVER LONGER

Well, today, Slovakia and Chile joined the long and illustrious list of losers at the World Cup -- and an illustrious list of losing nations it is.

The other day, England was eliminated 4-1 by Germany and the team came home to humbling headlines such as this one in the Sun. So the English team goes home in disgrace, just like France and Italy before it.

Honestly, though, it shouldn't be the English team who should be ashamed. No, it ought to be the referees who disallowed that goal that would have tied it at 2-2. Honestly, I've seen more goals called back by officials in this World Cup than ever before. I'm also embarrassed by the showmanship and play-acting we are getting from all these players, faking their injuries to draw penalties and the like.

The refereeing is so bad that I honestly wonder whether these guys are being paid off by gamblers! Hey, we had NBA officials throwing games in that league, too. That's how bad the officiating has been -- bad enough to call the integrity of the officials into question. We also had that goal called back against the USA in the round robin, and an Argentine goal against Mexico was called good even though a player was in the offside position! 

I hope something is done to bring in instant replay in time for the next World Cup, because this current setup has been a disgrace. Too many games are being decided by the blown calls of referees..Anyway, it's the refs who should be embarrassed at this World Cup -- not these teams that have been eliminated. England didn't let their country down -- it's the OFFICIALS who let the country down.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WSOP STILL GOING STRONG

Well, the World Series of Poker is still going on in Las Vegas and I have been following the action, all in hopes of finally getting good at poker and learning all the rules of this crazy game.

The complete list of winners and events going on can be found here. So far the tournament has featured victories by a lot of no-names, with the notable exception of Phil Ivey (pictured) who won the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event for his eighth World Series bracelet.

Also, we've seen a big tournament so far for CANADA! Canadian poker pro and former Main Event "November Niner" final tabler Scott Montgomery won the $1,000 No-Limit event, and just last night Gavin Smith won the Mixed Hold-'Em event for his first bracelet. So the tournament has been good for Canucks so far. Way to go.

Happening today was the much-hyped Tournament of Champions and I don't know what to make of this event. This was one of these things where 27 of these top "all-stars" were selected or voted into playing at these tables, and it's all the usual big-mouths (Phil Hellmuth), legends (Doyle Brunson) and the usual other poker celebrities (Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Chris Ferguson, Annie Duke etc.) who we normally see on TV poker shows like Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker or that new FOX show The Big Game that premiered not too long ago. Honestly, I don't see the point of a Tournament of Champions. They may be "champions", but if you look at who has been winning at the tables at the WSOP this year it has been everyone except these guys. This isn't so much a "Tournament of Champions" as it is a "Tournament of Late-Night TV Poker Celebrities."  

The other thing a little frustrating about the coverage I'm seeing of the WSOP is that there's way too much focus on these "deep runs" by these "big names" from the poker world. So you'd see all these reports about a guy like Phil Hellmuth that everyone knows about, making a deep run at some tournament, while the actual chip leaders at the event don't nearly get the same kinds of headlines or coverage. In fact, the vast majority of winners this year at the World Series of Poker have been guys who haven't appeared even once on any of these poker TV shows.

Try as it might, the stars of the "sport" of poker (I use the term loosely) don't dominate the events nearly as much as you would think they should, given all the hype these people get. These tournaments are ones that basically anyone can qualify for and win, and that's the charm behind it all. Everyone's looking to be the next Chris Moneymaker.

You can follow what is going on with the Tournament of Champions here. Coming up in another week starting July 5: the Main Event.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

VIOLENCE AT THE G20

I was happily tuned in to the live coverage on CBC of the big World Cup game between Ghana and the USA, an exciting game that was eventually decided in Ghana's favor 2-1 in extra time, and I noticed CBC News scrolled at the bottom of the screen a news update about all the violence that had erupted in Toronto at the G20.

So I switched to the news channels and there it was -- police cars on fire, protesters in the streets, damage being done to buildings -- a lot of criminality. Based on what I saw on TV I'm not surprised the security forces ended up bringing out the tear gas for the first time in the city's history.

This violence was going on downtown, and over at Queen's Park as well. That tells you a good deal about the scale of this mayhem going on there. 

It really was a scary situation and it could have been even worse today than what it was. Mayor David Miller held a press conference calling these thugs "criminals" and saying what these rioters are doing isn't protest activity but criminal activity.

Well, I guess this explains why they had to spend $1 billion on security for this summit -- they were worried something crazy like this would happen. Well, that's what happens when you get a bunch of world leaders in one place; the anti-globalism crowd comes out in force and a few rioters decide to join them. I sure hope this is the end of the rioting over there, but I have my doubts. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 NHL DRAFT IS ON

And to answer the question about Taylor or Tyler -- it was Taylor Hall selected first by the Edmonton Oilers.

Draft coverage is live now on TSN.

I LOVE SASHA GREY, AND SO DOES VINCE CHASE

One of my favorite shows returns to the air this weekend. Entourage will be back for a seventh season and word is it will be back for one more after that before going the movie route.

We are expecting more of the same mindless escapism that guys have come to expect from the series the past few years. This is a bit of a crisis sort of year for Vincent Chase if all indications are correct, with quite a bit of personal drama (not to be confused with Johnny Drama, who is his usual self, apparently).

Apparently Vince has a new love interest this year and it is none other than adult film actress Sasha Grey, who crossed into the mainstream with her role in The Girlfriend Experience, in which she played a call girl. She apparently is playing an Entourage version of herself in the show.  And I hate to bring up our friend Charlie Sheen yet again, but this Vince-dating-an-adult-film-star storyline is apparently based on Sheen's former love life dating an adult film actress.

Personally, I like Sasha Grey and think she is sooooo cool -- as cool as she is scorching hot. Sasha is shown interviewed here about her starring role in Entourage, and based on this interview it's pretty obvious why she's been able to cross over to mainstream entertainment -- she's well-spoken and comes across as drop-dead adorable, not to mention gorgeous.

WHAT THE F***, CNN?!

How do you get a job working for CNN? Easy --  f*ck a prostitute.

What other explanation do you have for Eliot Spitzer being hired to host a lively debate show alongside Kathleen Parker to replace Campbell Brown at CNN? For that news operation this has to rank as a new low.

Speaking of which -- why are they bringing back a lively debate show? I thought Crossfire was lively debate, and that they were getting rid of shows like that to focus on news -- that "news was the star". Well, it's obvious that strategy is a thing of the past.

What else is next for the prime time lineup? Is CNN going to go ahead with that goofy plan being talked about to replace Larry King with Piers Morgan? Given their other hire, maybe they should forget Piers and go with Charlie Sheen. He's more of a fit.

ON THE BIG BLOWOUT AT THE FAN 590

As a lot of sports fans in Toronto know by now, there was a big housecleaning at the FAN 590 yesterday. At least five on-air people were fired and a number of shows cancelled. The biggest change came in the morning, as Gord Stellick and Don Landry were not only removed from the morning show -- they were out-and-out fired. That's a huge shock -- these two have been at the FAN basically forever.

Also fired was mid-morning host Mike Hogan, although rumor is he could come back to do the Argos games. Hogan is a real loss for football fans who listen to the station, because he was the one guy you could count on for football coverage. Maybe the FAN is planning to get out of football in the future, as the station always bumps the Argos games anyway to make room for the Blue Jays.

Their regular newscaster Rick Ralph was also fired, as was Brian Angus. Also gone is The Game Plan hosted by Jack Armstrong and Eric Smith -- although both will remain at the station to do the Raptors coverage.

The only show not affected, yet, is Bob McCown's effort Prime Time Sports, although word is the show could be shifted from its current slot to the 3-to-6 spot. I think that's a mistake -- the show is getting decent ratings right where it is.

Bob was on the air yesterday and talked about the moves a little bit, calling it one of those days in radio. On Jack and Eric's show, they alluded to the bloodbath by playing a song from Goodfellas -- the one that accompanied those scenes near the end of the movie where they were showing all those dead bodies that were being found all over New York.

We don't know much yet about what is coming next. All we know is that this comes on the heels of the departure of Leafs Lunch from rival AM 640 a few days ago, along with the departure of Greg Brady. Brady moves from AM 640 to now work for the FAN. As a totally irrelevant aside -- I was at CHRW at the University of Western Ontario at the same time he was there. Just an interesting observation.

As for the morning time slot vacated by Landry and Stellick, Doug Farraway and Jeff Lumby will helm the morning show until the bosses figure out what the heck they were going to do with it and who the new host is. There have been all kinds of rumblings swirling for days that something big was going to happen, and there has been talk about George Stromboulopoulos possibly coming in, about possibly bringing Andrew Krystal back to Toronto, and all kinds of speculation. There's even stories floating about possibly getting former TEAM 1050 morning host Mike Richards back to Toronto. Right now he's at Calgary's Fan 960 and from all accounts doing very well in that slot. We'll have to wait and see.

At least the good news now for Stellick and Landry is the uncertainty is over. This shakeup speculation was out there for days, and it was like hearing trade speculation or rumors about coaches being fired. At least now they can get on with looking for their next job. Maybe satellite radio is their next stop, as it seems to be for everyone else.

News accounts of what happened are here, here, and here. A rundown of the day at the FAN can be found at Toronto Sports Media here.

This is by no means the biggest bloodbath in Toronto radio history -- the infamous TEAM 1050 closedown has to take its spot, and there are bound to be a few others. Certainly 640 has had their fair share of bloodbaths and changeovers (remember when they were MOJO Talk Radio for Guys?), and CFRB has gone through some serious bloodletting as of late. In fact, they fired a few more people a few days ago, too. I'll say this for the FAN: this is certainly the biggest changeover of personnel the FAN has seen since the launch of the all-sports format, which was tumultuous in itself because it threw a lot of deejays out of work.

I am not exactly sure why management felt they needed to make the changes they needed to make - the moves yesterday seemed really drastic to me for a station that has been as stable as the FAN has been over the years. I know for a fact that the station has been worried for some time about how old the audience is getting and have been looking for ways to seek a younger audience. Another concern I've read is that they want to broaden the morning show just a bit so that it's not all about sports all the time.

There has been some talk out there that the station needed some sort of jolt, that it wasn't as lively to listen to as it once was. The thing is --  there have been other changes to the FAN recently that have really sent the station reeling,.They got rid of the ESPN Radio programming overnight, for example, and they also got rid of the Late Night Vampire Norm Rumack a while ago, too. Now they just run repeats of the FAN's earlier shows late at night. I think the station really went downhill with those moves, frankly, and the loss of even more familiar voices is going to really hurt this station even more. I worry the FAN will soon be forced into doing what all-sports stations throughout North America have been forced to do -- turn their entire lineups over to syndicated sports-talk.

There was also a big controversy involving the FAN about Mike Wilner being suspended for challenging Cito Gaston too much in an interview he did, which hurt the FAN from a purely PR standpoint and gave the impression to a lot of people that the company wasn't backing its employees. I guess they value the baseball employees more than the radio ones.

I believe another larger issue is the state of the sports scene in Toronto. The FAN has been hurt for a number of years by the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs own the town and air their games over on the archrivals AM 640, but the station was able to compete by airing a lot of talk shows to talk about hockey and the Leafs. But with the Leafs in the toilet, there's far less interest in the Leafs than there used to be. In fact all the sports teams are in the tank in Toronto, and that has got to hurt the FAN. If interest in sports is down or the teams are all losing, fewer people will tune in to games on the radio or call in to rant and rave. Football in Toronto is in particular trouble with the sorry state of the Argonauts. Baseball interest is in even worse shape. The Blue Jays are at an all-time low point for fan interest thanks to years of non-contention, and that's the FAN's biggest sports property. No one wants to call in and talk about the Blue Jays or baseball.   

I think the shakeup at the FAN sort of reflects the interest level of the fans in Toronto as far as sports is concerned at the moment. People are losing interest in sports in Toronto and it is because all these teams in Toronto are losing! That's the honest truth.And that sports malaise is bound to affect the FAN 590's bottom line in some way. They wouldn't have made these moves over there if things were rosy. All in all, I'm not sure I like seeing so many people lose their jobs in one day. Turmoil at radio stations is never good for listeners.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WORLD CUP IS STILL GOING ON, BUT WITHOUT FRANCE OR ITALY

Well, I wonder how the fans in Canada feel about the World Cup today. Italy lost to Slovakia today 3-2, which sends the Italians, the defending world champs, to world chump status.

They're taking it real hard in Italy, but also in Toronto where the city's favorite World Cup team is now toast. So a lot of soccer fans in Toronto are going to be walking around the city in shock in the days ahead with no team to cheer for. I guess it's up to Brazil or Portugal to win now, or else Toronto fans will have no representation in the Cup final.

Also gone home in disgrace earlier this week was France, losing their last two games -- first, it was 2-0 to Mexico, and then they were struggling just to keep the team from imploding just so they could play and lose to South Africa. It was such a debacle that these poor guys went back to France in total disgrace, with Thierry Henry going so far as to meet the President to discuss the collapse.

That's what happens if your country is soccer-mad and you lose out -- you come home as bums. Especially if you won a World Cup in recent times.

As for South Africa, they become the first host team in history never to advance beyond the first round of the World Cup. But the tournament itself has been a big success from an organizational standpoint.

So far it has been the South Americans' tournament, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay all advancing and with Chile needing a win or draw to make it a clean sweep to advance. A win by Chile would send defending Euro champs Spain home to Europe, joining France and Italy in disgrace.

For all the results and news so far check out the BBC website. So far this tournament has seen some pretty bad refereeing and some shoddy, unsportsmanlike conduct. I can't believe all the showboating and fake-injuries we are seeing from these great actors who call themselves soccer players. They should all go work on Broadway, these guys. 

In spite of shoddy refereeing that cost them a win against Slovenia, the USA still advanced with a Landon Donovan goal against Algeria in injury time. There to watch was none other than big soccer fan Bill Clinton himself.

And the England team (pictured) is going through as well, which should delight the blokes over there. The one thing I always find amusing about the English coverage of the World Cup is that it is always a big excuse for them to show off all the gorgeous Page Three glamour models wearing their favorite skimpy soccer uniforms in the NSFW lads magazines. Pretty typical is this  photo of Jo Hicks from Maxim. Check out Nuts and Zoo and Loaded for both their World Cup soccer and World Cup babes coverage.

And of course there are people who are following with interest the gorgeous footballers wives who put to shame every one of these hot Page 3 girls in editorial spreads like this one.

It's all this other nuttiness surrounding the World Cup -- the nationalism, the fans' reactions, the scandals, the World Cup babes, the wives -- that make the Cup so interesting.

UPDATE: For more about the WAGS check out the 30 Hottest WAGS of the World Cup. And for a look at more World Cup babes check out SoccerLens.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SPORTS NEWS FROM NOWHERE

Well, it has been a busy week in the world of sports, going all the way back to last Wednesday when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. It was an uncertain, chaotic end to the game, what with nobody except Patrick Kane knowing he scored the goal to win the Cup. But then again, it was a chaotic and uncertain series to the very end.

I think it's great the Hawks won the Cup. Among other things, it ends a 49-year drought and embarrasses two other franchises that now have the longest standing droughts in their sports: the Toronto Maple Leafs (1967) and Chicago Cubs (1908). The Cubs are baseball's version of the Leafs: they never win a thing, yet the fans still show up.

Apparently this was the highest rated finals in 36 years in the USA, and well it should be. The excitement in the arenas and the close, dramatic games had the NBA all beat, what with the Lakers and Celtics meeting for the umpteenth time and sleepwalking through their series in front of these celebrities. Tonight was Game Six and it was a total blowout. So we'll have the Game Seven on Friday.

And in free agency news, we still don't know where Chris Bosh and LeBron James are going yet.

The World Cup is also now on and the big controversy is over these horns these fans are blowing in the stadiums, causing all the fans to go deaf. Apparently FIFA the other day allowed the horns to stay, so fans at the World Cup games in South Africa are doomed to lose all their hearing now. People at soccer matches seem more interested in blowing horns than watching the freaking games, it seems.

In other news, the big story in college sports in the USA was all this NCAA conference realignment talk, with the possibility that the Big 12 would collapse completely amid Nebraska's departure to the Big 10 and Colorado's departure to the Pac 10. Well, a new TV deal has kept the remaining programs in what is left of the Big 12, so that ends that.

Also, Boise State has bolted the Western Athletic Conference for the Mountain West, a good move for them with what should be more quality opponents on their football schedule.

And I also heard the NCAA threw the book at USC's football program, although AP is letting the Trojans keep their NCAA football title that they won, despite the sanctions.

They're even throwing the book at Canadian football programs as Waterloo's team has been suspended due to steroids!

And it was a big weekend in Canada for major sporting events, as Vancouver hosted UFC 115, and Montreal hosted the return of the Grand Prix, and the CFL kicked off its preseason. Fans where I am are mighty excited (and a lot crazy) about the coming season.

That's all for now.

Friday, June 11, 2010

TOO MUCH SPORTS ON TV RIGHT NOW

Well, I plan to be back soon with my next post, which should be titled "Sports News from Nowhere" because there's a lot of sports I want to talk about. I don't feel like posting it tonight, though. I've had a long and very busy week at work, and while I've had a chance to watch some hockey games this week I have not had a chance to watch as much sports as I would like. Now, though I have some time freed up to be able to watch some sports -- so I am doing just that.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

NOBODY IS INTERESTED IN BASEBALL IN TORONTO

Well, I had meant to mention this a while back, but I have been quite busy the last few days and it promises to get worse as the week goes on. Anyhow, I want to talk about the lousy attendance and lack of interest in the Toronto Blue Jays.

Last week the Jays drew a measly 11,000 against the Tampa Bay Rays. This, even though the team had been winning and is in contention for the wild-card.

I just don't get it. I know that it is still Stanley Cup season and all, but there are no teams from Toronto or even Canada in the Cup finals. And in fact Toronto didn't even put a team into the NHL playoffs! But fans in Toronto would rather follow a couple of American teams in the Cup finals than follow their winning local team at home. It boggles the mind.

You would think that fans in Toronto might be at least tempted to take in the old ball game. But they haven't for most of this season. In fact, the only two teams with worse attendance overall than the Jays right now are Florida and Cleveland. 

The usual littany of excuses is being dredged up by fans for this situation. "The ticket prices are too high", they say -- yet the cheapest Leaf seats cost a King's ransom compared to the Blue Jays, and the Leafs always sell out.

There's whining about how there's not enough teams in the baseball playoffs, ignoring the fact that baseball is all about meaningful pennant races, not this every-team-in-the-playoffs nonsense. There's people in Toronto who go on the radio and say there ought to be as many teams in the baseball playoffs as there are in the hockey playoffs! People complain that there's no hope of the Blue Jays winning in a division with the Yankees and the Red Sox, so "why not expand the playoffs?"

But the Toronto Maple Leafs have been even more hopeless for years and haven't made the playoffs, either, period. Even with so many teams making it to the NHL Playoffs, the Leafs never had a hope of making it this season. Yet these fans still pay the big bucks to go see the Leafs, anyway!

I don't think changing the playoff format will help. Increasing the number of baseball playoff teams to 16, like the fans in Toronto seem to want, would just lead to people complaining about the "meaningless regular season", and the fans will just end up all staying home while waiting for the playoffs.

People also whine about how the 1994 strike and commissioner Bud Selig have ruined baseball, and claim that's the reason they don't go to games . Yet these same whining fans will show up to NHL games in spite of that hated commissioner Gary Bettman and the 2004-05 lockout that wiped out the Stanley Cup.

Others say that Toronto is a "trend" city and that people will support the trendy sports. Right now the big trendy sport is Toronto FC soccer. A few years ago, it was the Raptors. There's also tons of interest in the UFC, even though Ontario still has not allowed the sport in. But it hasn't stopped people from paying to watch the fights on TV. The Jays used to be trendy, but that was back in their World Series years in the Nineties. Now, the fans have mainly moved on to the next sport.

The only team in town never subject to the "trendy" fan fickleness has been the Leafs. For no good reason, either.

Then you have the folks who whine over the loss of Roy Halladay from the team. That's fine, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have given the boot to a lot of people over the last while, too, yet fans still show up for them.

Even the freaking teams in Chicago are doing better than the Jays are, and they have direct competition from the Blackhawks in the finals! Up against the Hawks and Flyers, the White Sox drew 19,000 last Wednesday -- not great, but still better than the 13,000 home crowd the Jays got. Then on Friday they drew 20,000 at home against the stinking Indians, while the Blackhawks were getting beat by Philadelphia on TV.  

I noticed attendance for the Jays picked up considerably when the Yankees went in to town. Still, it's depressing that the only teams that draw a decent Toronto audience are the big teams like the Yankees or Red Sox. Worse yet, the attendances were in the 30,000 range. That's terrible! For a team like the Yankees, the Jays should be absolutely packing the joint and getting crowds of 40,000 plus!

I don't know what can be done to revive the Jays fortunes at the gate. People complain about the ballpark but I never had any problems with it. I have a feeling people in Toronto just don't care about the game. I think they really did support the Jays for the heck of it in the Nineties -- to be trendy and to show up the Americans at their own sport, and so on. But there's really no passion for the Jays out of Toronto anymore. And there really is too much other stuff to do for Toronto fans -- the competition fron FC has really hurt. I think soccer really has taken over as "the" summer sport there.

Just you watch -- the World Cup is coming up and Toronto will go nuts over that. So that'll be another month down the drain for the Blue Jays where the locals will again be obsessing over a sport other than baseball.

Again, I just don't get it. There is no team from Canada in the World Cup, yet these fans would rather watch Italy, Portugal, Brazil -- anyone but the local Blue Jays.   

It's sad. Even when I lived in Toronto I was lamenting the fact that fans weren't as revved-up about baseball as fans in New York or Chicago or St.Louis. The baseball scene there is just plain dead.

Friday, June 04, 2010

CONAN ON THE AIR IN CANADA

First, the good news from Upfront Week here in frozen Canada:

Conan O'Brien's new TBS show was picked up this week in Canada by CTV!

And now the bad news...

The show will air at 1 AM.

Ahem, some of us work for a living, you know? This makes it hard for us working stiffs to be awake the next day if we have to stay up until 2 AM to watch a full hour of Conan O'Brien.

I guess we'll have to rely on our DVRs, then, up here in frozen Canuckistan. As usual, Canadian TV viewers get hosed. Also, no word yet if Conan plans to shave off his ridiculous-looking new beard for the new show.

WSOP IS ON!

Well, the World Series of Poker is on right now at the Rio in Las Vegas!

That's been taking up some of my time at the moment -- following the news about that. We are still a long way away from the Main Event, but we are deep into several of the events that have been going on for all the big-name poker players down there.

Already Michael Mizrachi won his first WSOP bracelet in the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship event, and we've had winners like Michael Chow, Joshua Tieman, Peter Gelencser and so on. So far, though, none of the megastars of the poker world who are mainstays of these poker shows you on TV have won a darned thing. But that is part of the event's charm -- the WSOP always plucks some poker player from obscurity and makes that player a big name, like Chris Moneymaker or Peter Eastgate, or Joe Cada.

Here are some sites to go to to follow the action: the WSOP site, live updates at Poker News, the rights-holders ESPN Poker, and poker blogs Tao of Poker, Pokerati and the girl-obsessed Wicked Chops Poker site. How girl-obsessed are they over there? Well, they seem highly amused by video of Victory Poker megahottie Sara Jean Underwood's yoga exercises with Joe Sebok.

Hey, I could follow this, or I could follow that steroid-infested sport with the bad umpiring that costs pitchers perfect games! Poker seems less of a gong show to me.

ALL MARRIED COUPLES MIGHT AS WELL GIVE UP

Well, the news broke this week that Al Gore and Tipper Gore are calling it quits after 40 years of marriage, and I gotta say, this is discouraging news for all single people and all married people. In this day and age when marriages get thrown in a trashcan on a whim, what hope is there for most people if these two can't make it last for a lifetime?

Depressing.

NEWS ABOUT GIRLS: ROSIE GETS TRANFORMERS 3 GIG, AND KELLY BROOK IS ON A ROLL

THE CAIRNS BLOG continues its live continuing coverage of news about girls with some news that has broken in the past few weeks about some of the hottest babes of the moment. Actually, I am just posting this for my own amusement.

The biggest news of the past month, I guess, is casting news from famed director Michael Bay. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is officially now in the cast of the new Transformers 3, replacing the booted Megan Fox. I think this is great news for the male fans out there. Rosie is a Victoria's Secret model who is really popular with guys. I dunno if she can act, though.

There had been stories that Bond girl Gemma Arterton might get the gig, but no dice. Anyway, Gemma's career is still red-hot, even though The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time isn't doing so hot at the theaters.

And there's lots of Kelly Brook news. Who is Kelly Brook, you folks are asking? She is one of the hottest British  models and actresses in the world, and she's just accepted a half-million dollar offer to pose for Playboy! Guys who can't wait for that, though, can check her out in the July issue of Loaded, where she also has her clothes off. Kelly Brook just can't keep her clothes on to save her life.

She's also going to be on the cover of the upcoming FHM and also did this steamy Reebok TV commercial where she shows off how great-looking she is. Man, what the British are able to get away with on TV, eh? I gotta say, I like Kelly Brook.