Thursday, January 31, 2008

Racing News: Team signings

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) announced today that British driver Justin Wilson will team with American Graham Rahal for the 2008 Champ Car World Series season.
"I am extremely pleased and proud to be joining Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing," said Wilson, 29. "For the entire time I have been competing in Champ Car, they have been the strongest team. Sebastien (Bourdais) has left pretty big shoes to fill, but I have big feet! Joking aside, I am excited to have the opportunity to add to the results Sebastien and other drivers before me have achieved for the team. I am hoping to learn my environment quickly and let the results take care of themselves. I am confident that with having a team like this behind me, we can be championship contenders for 2008."
Pacific Coast Motorsports, a two-car team in the Champ Car World Series, announced tonight that they will expand their racing team with a two-car entry in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. PCM also announced their all-American driver lineup, Carl Skerlong and Frankie Muniz.
Muniz, 22, of Los Angeles, will drive the #29 PCM/Mazda/Swift in his sophomore season of Atlantic competition. Most people will recognize Frankie as an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor, but 2008 will mark his third season as a professional racecar driver.
"Joining PCM is a huge step forward for me in my racing career," said Muniz. "In the three tests I have already completed, I have learned so much and really developed my skills as a racing driver. Tim Lewis, my race engineer, has a championship-winning record behind him and we have gelled really well. I just can't wait for the season to start in April at the Long Beach Grand Prix and I am thrilled to represent a professional racing team like Pacific Coast Motorsports."
I took thes shots right after the race last Year. Muniz finished dead last, but I give him credit. The race was run under a heavy down pour and Muniz was one of the few that didn't crash out. He actually finished the race. These pictures show the former Malcolm in the Middle star, trying to contain his excitment as he replays the race to his crew. The guy in the ClickAway fire suit is his team mate who crashed out durning the race. Good job Frankie!
info courtesy of, pictures courtesy of me!

Like a fly on the wall...

The wife and I took in the new U2 concert movie the other day.
It was filmed entirely in IMAX format and in 3-D to boot! The experience of sight and sound that this movie provides was undeniably breathtaking. And from a fan's perspective, it was an experience like no other.
One minute you are on stage with Bono and the boys, looking out into a sea of screaming faces, the next you are in the crowd swaying together with your lighters and cell phone lights held high, then you are floating over it all watching it all unfold below you in high definition 3-D wonder.
The 3-D experience was surreal. You could see the sweat drip from Bono's brow, and the grey hair up close. And then someone in the crowd throws some water your way and you duck, before you realize, hey wait a minute, I'm not actually at the concert, I'm sitting here in a theatre watching it.
I can't think of any other band that could of pulled this off better. The only real complaint I had about this movie, was that it wasn't loud enough. I give U23D two thumbs up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Trouble on 501 Queen line

There has been alot of talk about the 24.8 km 501 Queen streetcar line in the news lately. It is the TTC's longest surface route, the longest streetcar route operating in Canada, and one of the longest in North America. It stretches from the Long Branch GO Station (just west of Browns Line) at the western edge of the city in the west to Neville Park loop (just west of Victoria Park Avenue) in the east, running on Lake Shore Boulevard, in a reserved right-of-way at the median of The Queensway, and on Queen Street.

The route was named by National Geographic Society as one of the 10 Great Streetcar routes in the world. Among others were the Berlin StraBenbahn Tram 68, Lisbon's Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (Carris) 28 Tram, Seattle's Metro Transit Geroge Benson Waterfront Streetcar, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority St. Charles Streetcar Tour, Hong Kong Tramways and San Francisco Municipal Railway Streetcar F.

And yet I still hate the streetcar. Here is reason #592. Stopped in their tracks due to an accident at Spadina and Queen, six "world famous" streetcars sit and wait and wait and wait. Hope you don't have to be anywhere in a hurry....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sam in Japan Update

Received a phone call from Sam this morning. She said she is doing well and is enjoying herself so far. She said everyone is very friendly and helpful. Her week of training in Osaka was hard. It ended with her having to practice teach English to two kids, which she said went really well. Everyone went out for dinner and karaoke to celebrate.
Sam said she took the train to Kobe by herself this weekend and had a blast.
She also moved into her apartment last night and is all set up and ready to start her new job tomorrow. Sam is the only foreign teacher in her school, but all the other teachers and her manager speak English and have been helping her out with getting set up in her new home.
Sam has also been hanging with the teacher she is replacing and has met all of her friends, who are all foreign language teachers.
Sam just got set up with a cell phone. Call me for her new number. She says she hasn't found an Internet cafe yet, but as soon say she does, she will check her e-mail and start blogging. She says to say hi to everyone, and to not worry, she is doing fine and having fun.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meet Titan!

Congratulations to Demitrius, Tina, Vienna and Zeus! They are the proud owners of a new puppy named Titan. Welcome to the family Titan!

Go Rock Go!

The wife and I went to the Toronto Rock Lacrosse game last night. The wife loves this stuff, me not so much. I go for the atmosphere and the $13 beers. I'm pretty sure she goes for the fighting. In fact, I was amazed at the amount of females that were in attendance without men. And every time the Rock scored they went crazy. Single guys, take note.Wasn't much of a game in the first half. The New York Titans walked all over the Rock. I think the score was 8 to 3 at the half.Then the Rock went to work. And when the Rock scores the crowd goes nuts. Especially the crazy red hairs.The Rock ended up winning, in an amazing come from behind victory.I even splurged and bought another high priced beer! All in all, I would have to say a good time was had by all.

Saturday morning shots

As my wife reminded me yesterday, this is Canada and we are in the middle of winter, so what did I expect. Stop your bitching already! OK, OK, I get the point. I dropped her off at work this morning and of course I brought my camera with me. She was right, even in the middle of winter, there is still alot of beauty in this city.
I love this shot of downtown. Can you spot the CN Tower in the reflection?
The new cop shop at Parliment and King. Its a building within a building. They kept the original historic building on the outside and build another building inside of it. Very cool.The BMW dealership all lit up, from the Easter Ave. bridge.Sunrise along the beach.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Summer, summer, summer time...

Just because its -10 degrees outside and -28 degrees with the wind chill, doesn't mean that there isn't warm places left in the world. I give you today's warm thought, brought to you by my brother all the way from South Africa. They are in the middle of their summer right now. He sent me a couple of pictures to warm us all up. Enjoy, only four more months to May!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Racing News: A merger between Champ Car and the IRL?

Jan 23/08 - Has Tony George sent out an olive branch that could finally see Champ Car and the IRL Unite? According to Speed TV's Robin Miller, George, at a meeting recently with Champ Car owners Kevin Kalkhoven, Dan Pettit, Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi, told them that he would give out free cars and engines to Champ Car teams and add Long Beach, Toronto, Edmonton, Mexico City and Australia to the IRL schedule, to unify the two series for 2008. Yes, this year! Although it's probably too late for that could this be the starting point for unity in "09? Let's hope. For more read Robin's article at;
courtesy of John Basset, Champ Car Gossip.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thinking warm thoughts

Winter has returned to Toronto with a vengeance. Its cold out there and the snow is back (and when I say cold, I mean @$%#ing cold!) This past Monday was considered the most depressing day of the year, it even had a name: Blue Monday. The stock market took a hit, so much for freedom 55. Its looking more like freedom 75! Whats a guy to do except think warm thoughts. Warm, happy thoughts. Only a few more months until spring!What screams summer more than a drive in a convertible in the desert?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sam in Japan Update

Just got word that Sam has made it safely to Osaka, Japan. She met up with 12 other "teachers" in her group at her stop over in Vancouver all headed to the same place for training. She says she is rooming with a girl from Boston for her first week of training, she is enjoying it so far, and not too worry, Osaka seemed very safe.
Don't forget to check Sam's blog regularly for further updates of her adventures in Japan. Here is the address:

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to "The Adventures of Mad Mal and Hobbes (and Calvin too!!).
Just a little blog that has been around for a year today!
I can't believe I have actually stuck with this for as long as I have. What can I say? Its been fun, and as long as it remains so, I will continue to post stories that interest me, injected with random images from my life.
I know I have some regular readers out there, and to you I say thank you. Because without you, all I really would be doing is talking to myself.
So I hope you have enjoyed the ride so far. I promise to keep posting and will try to keep it interesting as long as you promise to keep coming back for more.

All the best in 2008!

Mad Mal and Hobbes (and Calvin too!)

Top 10 Travel Destinations

Top 10 travel destinations according to Lonely Planet's 2008 Bluelist.

10. France
09. Spain
08. Australia
07. China
06. India
05. Canada
04. Japan
03. Argentina
02. Mexico
01. U.S.A.

I've been to 5 of these places on the list. France, Spain, Canada (it still counts!), Mexico and the US. How many have you been to?
courtesy of the Toronto Sun Travel section

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Racing News: Champ Car releases 2008 TV schedule

INDIANAPOLIS (January 17, 2008) - The Champ Car World Series will appear exclusively on the ESPN networks in 2008 with a 14-race schedule combining live and same-day telecasts.
The schedule includes four races on both ABC and ESPN and six on ESPN2.
The season begins Sunday, Apr. 20, with same-day coverage of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The 2.5-hour telecast will include a season preview special.
"We're thrilled to have all of our races this season on the ESPN/ABC networks in the second year of our renewed relationship," said Champ Car President & CEO Steve Johnson. "We worked closely with ESPN to create a schedule that we believe serves both existing and future fans of Champ Car racing."
"Our arrangement with ESPN will allow us to be more fully integrated into the ESPN global network of properties," said Johnson. "This will not simply be television broadcasts of our races. We will also be in ESPN's digital media, radio, mobile, magazines and events, to name a few.
Some of the races will be broadcast in later than normal time slots.
"While the time-slot opportunities present us with some challenges, they also provide us with opportunities to see if we can grow our ratings and fan base by showcasing our races during different time periods and/or using different formats," Johnson explained. "For example, we are set to appear during prime time (at some point in all time zones) on ESPN2 for three races, with events scheduled at 10 p.m. ET.
"These slots place us immediately after NHRA events on ESPN2, which should provide us with an interesting lead-in with the ability to promote our upcoming show to a motorsports audience."
The four ABC-aired races will be shown in a one-hour format.
"The one-hour slots allow us to maintain a presence on the network, so we will utilize the programs to experiment with some new presentation formats," Johnson added.

Champ Car World Series 2008 TV Schedule*
April 20 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach, California
5:00 - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN2 - Same-day tape
April 27 Grand Prix of Houston at JAGFlo Speedway, Houston, Texas
10:00 p.m. - Midnight - ESPN2 - Same-day tape
May 18 Champ Car Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, California
4:00 - 6:00 p.m. - ESPN - LIVE
June 1 Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix at Circuit Zolder, Zolder, Belgium
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. - ABC - Same-day tape
June 8 Gran Premio Champ Car de EspaƱa, Jerez, Spain
4:00 - 5:00 p.m. - ABC - Same-day tape
June 22 Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - ABC - Same-day tape
June 29 Champ Car Mont-Tremblant, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
1:00 - 3:00 p.m. - ESPN - LIVE
July 6 Champ Car Grand Prix of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. - ESPN - LIVE
July 20 Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. - ESPN - LIVE
July 27 Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, Portland, Oregon
10:00 p.m. - Midnight - ESPN2 - Same-day tape
August 10 Champ Car Grand Prix at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. - ABC - Same-day tape
September 14 Dutch Champ Car Grand Prix at TT Circuit Assen, Assen, Holland
10:00 p.m. - Midnight - ESPN2 - Same-day tape
October 26 Gold Coast Indy 300, Surfers Paradise, Australia
11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. - ESPN2 - Same-day tape
November 9 Gran Premio de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. ESPN2 - LIVE

CHAMP CAR WOES: With the release of Champ Car's U.S. television schedule, only four races would be seen here (on ABC) unless a Canadian carrier signs on. At this point, there is no deal and no guarantee The Score will renew and Global may not be back as carrier of the Canadian races. That might may leave an opening for CBC, which won't have the CFL next summer.

One hour formats and no Canadian coverage?! Come on, that sucks! Sometimes it tough being the only person that actually watches this sport and supports it.

She's leaving on a jet plane...

Today's the day. Today my niece leaves for Japan. She is going to be teaching English to children in a suburb of Osaka, Japan for the next year. Last night the family and some of Sam's friends gathered at my sister's house to say goodbye and wish her well on her journey.
Here's Sam, all packed and ready to go.
Clowning around for the camera!
Getting some last minute advice from the girls.
I set Sam up with a blog. She has promised to post about her adventures and keep us informed of her life in Japan. For those of you who may be interested, you too can follow her adventures at:

Best of luck Sam, we will miss you while you are gone!

And we can't forget, that it was also my mom's birthday yesterday as well. Here are some shots from the celebration, enjoy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is my mother's birthday. To the woman who gave me life, taught me right from wrong, and raised me right. I say thank you. Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Shave and a hair cut...

The boys went to be groomed today. Normally its an all day affair. Hobbes does not like to be groomed and he had a note on file with the last place we used. Today we tried another place called Beaches Pet Grooming Spa on Kingston road. I dropped them off at 10:30am and they were ready to go at about 12:15pm, in record time. And the biggest surprise of all? They weren't any trouble at all! In fact, when the lady called to say they were ready to go, she mentioned how well behaved they both were, especially Hobbes! I hand to make sure she was taking about my dogs, and she was. Imagine that!
I took a picture of each dog as proof they were clean, just in case it didn't last until my wife came home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

iPhone finally coming to Canada?

Developing: It is expected that Apple boss, Steve Jobs will announce that the iPhone will finally be headed north to Canada. Sources say an announcement by Jobs from the Apple Convention and Expo 2008, is expected today. Rogers Wireless is expected to be named as the sole Canadian wireless carrier of the iPhone.

Scarborough fighting for its good name.

Here's an interesting story making the rounds yesterday. Check it out:
It's huge -- and takes up about one-third of Toronto's land mass. Its borders are Victoria Park Ave. to the west, Rouge River and Pickering townline to the east, Lake Ontario to the south and Steeles Ave. to the north.
First settled in 1796, Scarborough evolved as its own township before joining Metropolitan Toronto in 1953.
It was swallowed by the new City of Toronto in the amalgamation of 1998.
Today about 607,000 people live in the giant suburb, with about 53% of those residents having been born in other countries.
The place has no shortage of celebrity alumni. Its most famous natives include Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, the Barenaked Ladies, Paul Tracy, Eric McCormack, and hockey players Rich Tocchet, Mike Ricci, Chris Stewart, Anson Carter and Kevin Weekess.
But just like Toronto enjoys a list of nicknames including T-dot, Hogtown, and The Big Smoke, Scarborough also has its own informal monickers -- Scarberia, Scarlem and Scartown.
And while some might see those names as affectionate or a badge of honour, others say they're disparaging and offensive.
Councillor Norm Kelly remarked as much yesterday, saying many Scarborough residents take those nicknames personally.
Journalist Don Gillmor, an eight-time National Magazine Award winner, appeared yesterday before the Scarborough Community Council to discuss and debate his profile of Scarborough in the December 2007 issue of Toronto Life.
Entitled "The Curse of Scarborough," and dubbed a "portrait of Toronto's unluckiest suburb," Gillmor's piece set off a wave of condemnation from the infuriated councillors, who in November invited him to appear before the council to discuss Scarborough's "media image."
"The notion that's written by reporters and so on that Scarborough's a bad place, it's a place infested with crime, is inaccurate, and it has to stop".
The councillors took turns lambasting the piece -- which Gillmor defended as fair and accurate.

As someone who grew up in Scarborough I think I am qualified to answer this question. Anything good or bad that is reported about Scarborough, is labelled as in Scarborough. News stories written about other area's in Toronto are different. Jane and Finch is considered a high crime area, but Jane and Finch is a community within the former borough of North York. The point being is that other former boroughs of Toronto have many different communities within them. When something bad happens, those communities become the location of the crime, not North York. Scarborough doesn't have that luxury. Sure there are good parts of Scarborough and there are bad parts, just like any where else in the GTA. But no matter where the crime occurs within Scarborough, it occurs within Scarborough as a whole. And that is why Scarborough has the rep that it does. Don't get me wrong, there are many communities within Scarborough itself, such as Agincourt, West Hill and Wexford to name but a few. But for some reason, it is just never reported that way. Fair or not, that's just the way its been for as long as I can remember.

Monday, January 14, 2008

In the News: Auto wars

In honour of the Detroit Auto show which opened this weekend, here is the latest list of how the top auto makers shakes out. I have to say I was a little surprised....
(the percentage beside the auto maker is how well they did in sales last year)

1. GM -15.3 %
2. Toyota + 4.4 %
3. Honda +2.5 %
4. Ford -28.7 %
5. Nissan +20.5 %
6. Chrysler -2.8 %
Talk about a new world order!
information courtesy of Motoring 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

In the News: More wasted money at City Hall

The Golden Globe for the best performance at City Hall last week must go to our do-nothing mayor and his supporting cast of minions for successfully turning a potential political hot potato into the latest soap opera about the poor.
The drama unfolded around a proposal by Coun. Case Ootes -- one he's been pushing since last November -- to sell off some of the long list of single-family homes owned by the Toronto Community Housing Corp. (TCHC) which are either sitting vacant and in disrepair or have jumped in value since they were first purchased in the early '80s.
Ootes had asked that the TCHC submit a report to last Tuesday's executive committee concerning the sale of three specific properties on Ellerbeck St. -- all valued in 2006 at nearly $500,000 each -- as well as a vacant home at 140 Waverley Rd. assessed at $492,000. He'd also wanted the TCHC to provide a complete list of the single-family homes it owns and their assessed value.
The East York councillor had reasoned, quite rightly, that the cash-strapped city has a "responsibility" to sell off millions of dollars of "perfectly good homes" that have been allowed to deteriorate if they can't or don't have the money to maintain them.
But Mayor David Miller -- as has become his habit whenever he prefers not to do what he was elected to do (that is, lead) -- ruled that because the TCHC is an arm's-length agency with its own board, it would "not be in order" for council to even consider directing the agency to sell off the houses.
It was all such nonsense. Not only is the city the TCHC's sole shareholder, but last year the housing company got $310,977,314 in operating funding from the city. Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, who seconded Ootes' motion, said if the mayor sent a clear message to the TCHC board, they'd be required to act.
Still the TCHC -- which has become a fiefdom unto itself -- was only too happy to oblige His Blondness, providing only a letter to last week's committee.
In the letter, TCHC chairman Mitchell Kosny noted 50 homes are currently vacant because the company does not have the resources available to fix them.
"Over all there are more than 250 vacant units of housing waiting for major repairs (and a growing backlog of vacant units) ... further evidence of the impact of Toronto Community Housing's $300-million shortfall for repairs," he wrote.
The letter only further supported Ootes contentions, in my view. Nevertheless, Miller's ruling seemed to set socialist comrades Paula Fletcher, Pam McConnell and Janet Davis off on a feverish pitch.
They nodded with mock concern as a group of women living in some of the homes proposed for sale told the committee -- most cheekily I might add -- the city will not be taking back their houses and the whole issue "reeks of discrimination."
One woman renting one of the subsidized homes on Ellerbeck St. even had the nerve to say she was in the middle of redoing her kitchen but had to stop her remodeling job until she knows whether she'll be staying there.
The comrades leaped at the opportunity to add fuel to the fire. "One of the messages coming through to TCHC tenants is that they are not welcome in neighbourhoods when home prices are going up," said Fletcher.
McConnell insisted the idea to sell off some of the properties was "stigmatizing" people. "It is terrible, terrible discriminatory behaviour," she said. Added Davis: "I find it objectionable that such a motion would come forward."
Ootes, who wasn't surprised with the socialist response, said he's worried the city has allowed TCHC tenants to think the houses are theirs and believes the TCHC and the city have "abrogated" their responsibilities.
Nevertheless, he reiterated that the city should certainly be "alarmed" about the 50 single-family homes and 250 units sitting vacant and in too poor shape to rent out -- especially with the TCHC facing a $300-million-plus repair backlog.
"It's a total disregard for the people who pay the bills -- the taxpayer," he said.
Minnan-Wong added this is yet another example of how Miller and his crew are "incapable of managing" the city.
"Here's an opportunity where we could sell valuable assets and reinvest that money in more housing for families, and fix up the stuff we have now," he said. "We offered a very real alternative to a problem that David Miller can't seem to solve ... his response is to let the housing problem fester even more."

And its no wonder the city is in the sate that it is. The time for finger pointing and playing the blame game has long since past. It is time for this city to become fiscally responsible for its own problems. City Council can't keep taxing us to make up the difference. Its time they get off their collective asses and start looking into areas such as this for alternative solutions to this cash crunch problem.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Crazy weather

What a difference a week makes. Monday it hit 12 degrees C. It was hotter in Toronto on Monday then it was in Las Vegas! Tuesday we topped out at 14 degrees and today is much the same, only with extreme high winds between 50 and 90 kms/hr. Normal temp for this time of year is anything zero and below. Enjoy it while it lasts!As for the snow? Gone like it wasn't even there ... This is some crazy weather.
crushed car courtesy of

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Racing News: Tracy stays in Champ Car

Paul Tracy has signed on for another season in the Champ Car World Series, putting an end to what had all the earmarks of a bitter split between the star open-wheel racer and his long-time Forsythe Championship Racing team owner, Chicago industrialist Jerry Forsythe.
The renewed deal came after Tracy was offered a lucrative opportunity to drive a Target Ganassi Racing Honda in the rival Indy Racing League.
The 39-year-old Scarborough native was mulling the Ganassi deal after being told that Forsythe was going to reorganize his race team with the lead building block being a much-smaller pay cheque for Tracy.
In an exclusive interview with veteran racing writer Gordon Kirby on, Tracy said that in a meeting with Forsythe last week he brought all his concerns -- the team has had only one win since 2005 -- to the table.
And in return, Tracy said that Forsythe promised to beef up the No. 3 Panoz team with a new manager and new engineers, the former being Kenny Siwieck, the former assistant team manager and strategist for four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais.
"The result of the meeting is that Kenny Siwieck is now in charge of my car and everything is squared away with me and Jerry," Tracy told Kirby. "Everything is fine between us. I went into the meeting believing that Jerry was going to renegotiate my contract to a very low amount or I would leave. And the conversation never even went that way. It was never brought up."
Grand Prix of Toronto boss Charlie Johnstone had expressed alarm that Tracy might not be part of the annual speedfest by the lake this July.
The 2003 Champ Car champion and the series' leading active driver was a big draw not only in his hometown race but in races in Edmonton and the province of Quebec.
A source close to the Tracy camp told Sun Media yesterday that Ganassi had made a substantial offer to lure Tracy to the IRL, if he could not come to terms with Forsythe.

For the full Gordon Kirby interview with Paul Tracy, click here:
story courtesy of