Pictures From Our Reader's Gardens



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Pictures From Our Reader's Vacations


I wondered if you might be interested in some pictures that my brother Bob took while
Quadding in the Mercoal, Alberta area Monday and Tuesday?


Jim Starko
St. Albert


We sure are Jim. When people go on vacation it is always great to be able to share it with our readers. Have YOU got a vacation photo to share? If so, please send it along to

Mercoal 4

Mercoal 1

Mercoal 2

Mercoal 3


Squirrel Is Surprise Star Of Holiday Photo


Melissa Brandts and her husband were surprised to find a squirrel posing with them in a photo taken on holiday.
The couple had set the timer on their camera while posing at a lakeside in a national park in Canada.
Just as they were about to be captured on camera the cheeky squirrel popped up in the foreground and stole the show.
The picture was taken at the side of the stunning Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park.

Mrs Brandts said: "We had our camera set up on some rocks and were getting ready to take the picture when this curious little ground squirrel appeared, became intrigued with the sound of the focusing camera and popped right into our shot."


I dunno what all the fuss is about with this picture. It was an accident pure and simple.


The World’s Most Expensive Foods


The current record for the most expensive tea is held by a rare Chinese green tea called The world's most expensive tea bag for the PG company, to celebrate their 75th anniversary. Manually decorated with 280 diamonds, the bag made to remind people just how much they love the great British cup of tea is worth £7,500.


The most expensive champagne in the world is Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Blanc de Blanc, made of specially selected grapes, sold in manually painted bottles and with a price tag of around $1,500.


Have You Ever Been This Tired?




Jeanne Ad 4 St Albert's Place

Ducky's Shoes Look Quackers


Stroke of luck ... duckling with sandal fitted

THIS little ducky has had a stroke of luck — after being saved by a cobbler's fancy footwear.

The duckling — called Lucky — faced being put down after breaking a leg in an accident in South Wales.

One foot was left pointing in the wrong direction when it healed, and the future looked beak, er bleak.

Undeterred, owner Allison Morgan, 44, from the Lliswerry, Newport, decided to get a second opinion.

And in the meantime, she enlisted the services of a local cobbler Kelvin Reddicliffe to aid the bird's recovery.

He fitted a specially-made sandal to the little duck's foot so he could walk, and he has now been given a new lease of life.

Alison added: "The boot was a really lucky break."


This story really quacked me up.

Diane Banner for Don

Looking At Boobs




Amazing Shots




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Hall's Men Hang In There

Emphasis on tenacity reaps reward

"Never quit."

That's the mantra head coach Richie Hall has been preaching to the Eskimos.

And so what if that means he scores higher in sincerity than originality?

Rarely will a team translate the coach's simple message into spectacular action the way the Eskimos did in their thrilling 38-35 comeback victory over the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday night.

"Like, honestly, coach Richie, every day, tells us, 'Never give up,' " said wide receiver Fred Stamps, whose diving catch of a 23-yard pass in the back of the end zone gave the Eskimos the victory with nine seconds left on the clock.

"We can't ever give up.

"I don't care if it's one second on the clock.

"We came up short last week against Hamilton, but we can't ever give up on plays on special teams, on offence, whatever.

"The defence gave up a touchdown at the end of the game. Most teams would lay down, maybe, like the game is over.

"But not over here. Not with coach Richie."

Calgary quarterback Henry Burris hit receiver Jeremaine Copeland with a 20-yard TD pass at the other end of the field to make it 35-31 Calgary with 38 seconds left.

Which might have been a logical place to emotionally concede victory for a lot of teams. Just not Edmonton.

But in a back-and-forth game that started slowly and swiftly built to an old-fashioned barnburner, Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray and his teammates accepted this as one more chance to strike back.

And, after a 35-yard Tristan Jackson runback on the kickoff and a pair of tough catches in traffic by Kamau Peterson, there was Ray, finding Stamps and lifting the Commonwealth Stadium crowd of 33,065.

"Coach(Rick)Worman, he called a perfect play and Ricky, he threw a perfect ball, where only I could get it," Stamps said.

"Me and Jason (backup quarterback Maas) work on something like that almost every day after practice, and tonight, it worked out," Stamps continued.

All kinds of things worked out offensively for both the Eskimos and Stampeders in this one, but the tops of the waves are these:

Burris completed 30 of 45 passes for 479 yards and three TDs; Ray was good on 38 of 37 for 342 and three TDs.

The teams combined for 1,030 yards total offence.

For the Eskimos, 174 of their net offence of 511 yards came on the ground, and rookie scatback Arkee Whitlock ran for 106 yards on nine carries, a nifty 11.8-yard average.

Early in the third quarter, Whitlock was leading the Eskimos on what appeared to be a TD drive, when Calgary's Dwaine Grootegoed punched the ball out of his grasp, turning a 34-yard Eskimos gain to the Calgary six-yard line into Stampeders ball at the Edmonton 52.

True to Hall's mantra, the Eskimos regrouped. Down 22-21 at halftime, this reversal led to Calgary adding points on a two Sandro DeAngelis field goals to make it 28-21 after three quarters.

That merely set up the wild show in the fourth quarter.

"We've done a good job this year of not getting too down on ourselves out there," Ray said. "It's a game of momentum and when you turn the ball over, you're losing some momentum, so it's easy to get down on yourself.

"But, we just hung together and went out there and continued to make some plays."

There were lots of those, but none was bigger than the one made by Stamps.

"They were giving us some zone defences where they weren't really covering the middle of the field," Ray said.

"We were able to get there a couple of times throughout the game, but we just called a play where Fred was going to take a post through the middle and they gave us the coverage that we thought they were going to give us.

"We got the result we wanted." In the end, the result came despite the fact that Eskimos somewhat banged-up defence didn't exactly shut Burris and Co. down.

But this was no defensive classic for either side.

Few thrillers are.

"I'm a little disappointed defensively, just because we let them score at the end when we had it," said defensive tackle Dario Romero, who recorded one of two Eskimos QB sacks.

"But, that's why we have offence.

"It was awesome. I haven't loved an offence as much in the past as I love this one."

On Thursday night at Commonwealth Stadium, what was not to love?


As I've said many times before, folks, Danny Maciocia really lucked in when he was hiring a new head coach for the Eskimos, because I think Richie Hall is just one helluva coach.

Arkee Marquee In Esks Win

Rookie running back breaks loose in second half for Edmonton's first 100-yard game

At halftime, it didn't look like the Edmonton Eskimos were going to make a concerted effort at running the football against the worst team in the league at defending it.

The Eskimos' leading rusher was not-so-fleet-of-foot quarterback Ricky Ray, with 48 yards on three carries, most of it off his scintillating 27-yard touchdown scramble.

But an adjustment was made at the break and it made a huge difference in the Eskimos' thrilling 38-35 win over the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday at Commonwealth Stadium.

In the end, it was running back Arkee Whitlock who dazzled along the ground, rushing nine times for 106 yards, the first time this season an Edmonton back cracked the magical 100-yard mark.

The Eskimos rookie also added five catches for 69 yards in a complete effort.

"We started to get the running game going and, once we did, we didn't pull back at all," said Esks centre Aaron Fiacconi, who admitted the team made a conscious effort to get the ground game going in the second half.

"Coach (Jeff) Bleamer said we're going to push further on the run and the onus was on us to get yards. We came out in the second half and broke a few nice ones all the way down the field. It gives you confidence, and once you do, you just keep it moving."

The Eskimos started dominating the line of scrimmage, finishing with 174 net yards of rushing to Calgary's 59.

"You have to make a conscious effort and you have to be committed to running the football," said head coach Richie Hall. "We came out in the second half, that opening drive, even though we turned the ball over, I think we established and dominated the line of scrimmage and that dictated the flow for us offensively in the second half."

On the opening drive of the third quarter, Whitlock ran consecutively for 15, 13 and 34 yards, but he turned the ball over on the last scamper at the Calgary six-yard-line.

In what is becoming a fabulous story, the University of Southern Illinois product bounced back like he did after a catastrophic debut in Montreal on Week 2.

"I'm a fighter, man. Things happen. It's how you respond. I'm never one to get down. I'm going to show up," said Whitlock, who finished with 175 yards of total offence.

"Unfortunately, I did fumble, but I never did get down on myself. I knew we were gong to fight and I knew I was going to fight.

"As a team, we were able to control the line of scrimmage up front and execute plays. We all bounced back and kept fighting till the end."

On the next series following the fumble, Whitlock rattled off a 31-yard run.

"He's bounced back," a smiling Hall said of Whitlock. "We were all sitting here about six weeks ago after the Montreal game ... he didn't fare too well, but he kept fighting for himself.

"We had faith in him. He had faith in himself and we're starting to just scratch the surface in what he's doing," added Hall.

"Right now, I'm pretty confident in running the ball, catching the ball," said Whitlock, who dropped two sure touchdowns in Montreal.

"I feel like I can do anything to help my teammates.

"It was a decent night, pretty good night," he said with an understatement.


After an extremely shaky start to the season, it looks like the Esks may have finally found a legitimate running back in Whitlock. He still has to learn to secure the ball better, though.


Woods Holds Four Stroke Lead At PGA Championship

CHASKA, Minn. -- Tiger Woods watched the last of his three straight birdies take one last turn and drop into the cup. Walking toward the hole, he nodded his head and dangled his tongue out of the side of his mouth, a swagger that spoke volumes.

He is on top of his game at the PGA Championship, and he knows it.

In blustery conditions and on bumpy greens, Woods made key par putts early in his round and big birdies toward the end for a 2-under 70 that gave him a four-shot lead in the final major of the year.

The late string of birdies came in the final hour Friday at Hazeltine, and it changed everything. The final birdie putt gave this major that look of inevitability, with some frightening figures to back it up.

Woods is 8-0 in the majors when leading after 36 holes. He has never lost any tournament when leading by four shots going into the weekend. Of the top 16 players going into the second round, he was the only player to break par.

"In order to have a lead in a major championship, you can't be playing poorly," said Woods, who was at 7-under 137. "And all the times that I've been in this position, I have played well. And I'm playing well now."

Padraig Harrington, who tried to keep pace and hit one shot that Woods called one of the best he had ever seen, was asked after staggering to a 73 whether a four-shot lead was different when it belonged to the world's No. 1 player.

"What do you think?" the Irishman said, grinning. "That's self-evident. We're all well aware of his ability to lead in the front. He gets better from the front. I think he likes that position."

Woods was four shots clear of five players who have their work cut out for them.

Vijay Singh (72), U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (70) and Brendan Jones (70), the Australian whom Woods beat in his return to competition in February at Match Play, all played in the morning. Harrington and Ross Fisher, who closed with two bogeys for a 68 to become the third player to fall out of the lead, had to cope with the fierce conditions of the afternoon.

Stephen Ames of Calgary carded a 1-under 71 and was at 1 over after two rounds, above the cut line of 4 over.

Mike Weir of Bright's Grove, Ont., struggled to a round of 9 over Friday and finished well below the cut at 11-over 155.

It was Woods' largest 36-hole lead in a major since he led by five in the 2005 British Open at St. Andrews.

"I mean, yes, Tiger is the greatest golf I think we've ever seen," Fisher said. "But at the end of the day, he's just like me and you. He's just a human being. He just happens to be damn good at golf. So we've got to work really, really hard to try and compete with him and catch him."

Woods has not lost a 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour in five years, dating to the Byron Nelson when he was revamping his swing. He came to Hazeltine having won his last two tournaments, however, and appears to be hitting his stride.

His finishing kick Friday was particularly impressive.

He avoided his second bogey in three holes with a 12-foot par save at No. 12, missed a birdie opportunity to take the lead on the 13th, then poured it on. The tees on the 352-yard 14th hole were moved up, giving players the option of trying to drive the green. At only 299 with the wind in their favor, it wasn't much of a choice.

Woods flushed his three-wood onto the green and just onto the fringe, nearly holing the eagle putt. On the par-5 15th, he hit three-wood through the green and chipped to tap-in range to widen the lead. Then came the 16th, and a 20-foot birdie that allowed Woods to seize control as he goes for a record-tying fifth title at the PGA Championship.

"His game looked solid again today," Harrington said after playing with Woods for the third straight round, dating to Sunday at Firestone when Woods overcame a three-shot deficit to beat him. "I think he's in a good position. The reason he's a good front-runner is he can pick and choose his shots, and he's not been pushed into shots that he doesn't have to hit. And he's very good at that."

Harrington faced one of those shots, and it was a dandy.

Trying to get back into the game at the 15th, his ball on a slope in the bunker, Harrington thought the slope would help him reach the green, and he pounded a three-wood that was perfect. It stopped 15 feet from the cup.

Woods called it one of the best shots he had ever seen, "worth the price of admission."

"He did say to me actually he would have paid to have seen it," Harrington said. "So I asked him for 50 bucks."

Woods gave nothing to anyone at Hazeltine -- not even himself.

"There's a long way to go," he said.

Still, it was the first time Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds under par since the 2006 PGA at Medinah.

He will be paired in the final group Saturday with Singh, one of his many rivals. They have not played together since the opening two rounds at the Deutsche Bank Classic in 2007, and not in a major since the first two rounds of the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which Singh won for his third major.

"Tomorrow, you position yourself," Woods said. "You have to make sure you're there and in position, and I know Vijay isn't going to make a lot of mistakes. He doesn't. He's going to be very consistent."

A dozen players from nine countries remained under par going into the weekend, five of them major champions. The group included Ernie Els, who rebounded with a 68 despite again missing a half-dozen birdie chances inside eight feet.

Woods built his lead with birdies at the end. Equally important were pars throughout his round.

He made back-to-back six-foot par putts, the latter after hitting into the bunker on the par-3 fourth, and regained control with a birdie from 20 feet on the sixth and a chip to four feet for birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Then came the struggle. After a three-putt bogey from 70 feet on the 10th, he had to scramble for par on the 11th by making a tricky four-footer, then followed that by going from the right rough through the 12th green, an average chip and a 12-foot par that felt just as good as some of his birdies.

"I could have easily shot a couple over par," he said. "But I turned it into an under par round."

Not so for Phil Mickelson, playing his first major since the U.S. Open while missing most of the summer as his wife and mother battle breast cancer. Lefty again struggled on the greens, particularly the short putts that could have kept his round going.

He wound up with a 74 for the second straight day, the first time he has failed to shoot par or better in the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship. Only late in the day, as the greens turned bumpy, did he make the cut on the number at 4-over 148.

"I'm not going to beat many people putting the way I am," Mickelson said. "I've got to get this thing turned around."

For Woods, he again is headed in the right direction.


I’m sorry, but it’s all over except for the crying, folks. Tiger is not going to blow a four stroke lead - even over 36 holes.

Wendy’s Kick For A Million Returns To TSN

Canadians from coast to coast are dusting off their cleats, as TSN's international award-winning million dollar giveaway, Wendy's Kick for a Million is back.

For the fifth year in a row, one lucky fan will get the chance to kick a 50-yard field goal for $1 million.

The big event will air live nationally on October 23 during halftime of the CFL ON TSN: WENDY'S FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL broadcast featuring the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts (game starts at 7pm et/4pm pt).

Both the game and the halftime event will air in High Definition.

The highly-anticipated promotion returns with brand-new formats to its quarter-final, semifinal and final events.

For the first time, total points awarded for successful field goals kicked during the regional quarter-finals in Toronto and Calgary and during the semifinal in Toronto will now determine which one of the four randomly selected participants from Eastern and Western Canada will have the chance to turn a 50-yard field goal into a $1 million payday on October 23.

This marks the first time that a regional quarter-final event is being held at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

In addition, the final event in Toronto will now give the participant the chance to score big from 50 yards even without splitting the uprights, as he/she will receive $1,000 for every yard kicked in the air. Similar to last year, the participants are allowed to practice prior to all events (see Contest Format below).

The contest begins today and runs through September 27. Fans are invited to enter online at, with bonus entries being awarded for playing the Wendy's Field Goal Challenge game and referring friends.

Fans can also upsize their combo at any participating Wendy's restaurant to receive a Game Card for 50 bonus entries and a 1-in-9 chance to win instant prizes such as Wendy's food prizes and gift cards, JVC home electronics, ESQ watches or a 2009 Nissan Rogue.

Lucrative prizes for this year's Wendy's Kick for a Million final event are bigger and better than ever leading up to the $1 million reward. The prizes are as follows:

- 20 yards - $20,000 JVC Family Electronics Package
- 30 yards - 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

- 40 yards - $100,000 cash
- 50 yards - $1,000,000 in a one-time payout
- if the 50-yard kick falls short, the participant will receive $1,000 for every yard kicked in the air

In 2005, the first year of the contest, 25-year old mechanical engineer Brian Diesbourg of Belle River, ON, became an overnight sensation by splitting the uprights at 50 yards and winning the $1 million grand prize.

Contest Format

On October 2, four randomly chosen participants will be drawn from the pool of entries - two from Eastern Canada (Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island) and two from Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut).

On October 16, the Eastern Canada participants will practice together at Rogers Centre in Toronto with Argonauts kicker Lance Chomyk, while the Western Canada participants will receive a practice session at McMahon Stadium in Calgary with Stampeders kicker Sandro DeAngelis. Later that evening, the Eastern Canada participants will go head-to-head in a quarter-final event at halftime during the Edmonton @ Toronto game.

Similarly, the Western Canada participants will face off the following afternoon (October 17) at halftime during the Saskatchewan @ Calgary match-up. The winner of the Eastern and Western Canada quarter-final events will move on to the Wendy's Kick for a Million semifinal in Toronto.

In both quarter-final events, each participant will receive three kicks from distances of their choice, ranging from 15 to 50 yards. The participant will receive points equal to the distance (i.e.: 15 yards = 15 points) for each successful field goal, with their final kick being a Wendy's Classic Double and worth double the points.

The participant with the most points after three kicks moves on to the semifinal. Highlights and results from the quarter-finals in Toronto and Calgary will be seen during the 4th quarter of the Argos and Stampeders games, respectively.

On October 22 (one day prior to the televised event), the winners of the Eastern and Western Canada quarter-finals will receive a second practice session with Chomyk at Rogers Centre. The two will then compete against each other in the Wendy's Kick for a Million semifinal.

The semifinal event will have the same format and scoring system as the quarter-finals; however, each participant will now receive a total of six kicks from distances (15 to 50 yards) of their choice. The participant with the most points after six kicks will advance to the main event the following day.

On October 23, the one remaining participant will attempt to win outstanding prizes by kicking field goals from 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-yards, live on TSN, during the CFL ON TSN halftime show.


I think 'Wendy’s Kick For A Million' is just a great contest. I’m glad to see it’s back, folks.

Birdies Fly The Coop

alison birds

This bird house is right outside my window and I was fortunate enough to watch all four babies as they left the nest.

It was priceless all four behaved differently so even birds who probably weigh no more than 35 grams have "personality".

Alison Glass


Thanks for sharing that Alison. Very Interesting observations.

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Woman Allegedly Assaults Man With Horse

A 53-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon -- a horse.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that Cathy Marie Williams of Badger and three other people were horseback riding Friday near the 4700 block of Todd Eymann Road, about 10 miles east of Squaw Valley.

The group approached a 65-year-old man and his friend who were hiking and started arguing with the hikers about a property dispute, the Sheriff's Office said. At some point, Williams knocked the man to the ground with her horse. She then had her horse trample the man's feet as he lay on the ground, authorities said.

Williams reportedly got off her horse, kicked the victim and struck him several times with a stick. The Sheriff's Office said Williams got back on her horse and left. She was found in a nearby house and arrested.

Emergency medical personnel found the victim lying on the ground. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital. His condition is not known.


Her name should have been Winnie.


Awesome Photographs

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Volunteers Chasing Birds From Downtown

Mexico, Mo. - They're baaack.

Grackles have once again invaded Mexico's downtown square, roosting in trees and leaving behind piles of unsightly matter.

But this year, the natives are armed and ready.

What may have sounded like a Fourth of July fireworks display Monday and Tuesday nights was the county's latest attempt to rid the area – especially the Audrain County Courthouse lawn – of the unwanted feathered fowl.

County Commissioner Tom Groves said the birds are arriving a little early this year. They normally fly in around the first of September – in droves. Using noisemakers, he said, is a "tried and true" method – introduced a few years ago by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources – that disrupts the birds' nesting habits, and subsequently sends them elsewhere.

"You have to start (shooting) about an hour before sunset, and do it for three nights in a row, to be effective," Groves said. The goal is to frustrate them into leaving.

The team of volunteers shooting Bird Bangers and Screamer Sirens fireworks will be positioned one more night on the east and west sides of the courthouse, discharging an array of missiles, screamers and bombers, starting around 7 p.m. Anyone walking in the area should beware of the droppings.

Groves hopes the three-day process will be enough to last through the fall season, because this year's flock seems larger than usual.


You know, they ought to hire a guy to shoot them all with a shotgun. Oh wait, we only do that in St. Albert.

Diane Banner for Don

Sand Sculptures




Jeanne Ad 4 St Albert's Place

Rabbis Charter Plane To Fight Swine Flu

Mystical Jewish rabbis have attempted to save Israel from swine flu - through a special airborne prayer.

The Rabbis chanted and used ram's horns to ward off swine flu

The Kabbalah rabbis chartered a small passenger plane for only the fourth prayer flight in history in an attempt to ward off the disease.

Chanting, bearded, clad in black and playing on a ram's horn, the mystics hoped to protect their motherland.
"We believe this is a remedy to stop negative energies from entering the Holy Land," organiser Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri told Sky News after the flight.

He said the flying rabbis would be prepared to repeat their flight in British airspace if called upon to do so.

But he said: "We only leave the Holy Land for very good reasons."

He added that if the British Government invited the rabbis to conduct a flight for the UK, then they would do it to "save the lives of gentiles too".

Two thousand Israelis have contracted swine flu and five people have died from the disease.

The first Kabbalah prayer flight took place during World War II in a British plane, over what was then Palestine.

Rabbi Batzri's grandfather, Rabbi Yehuda Ftayah, flew and prayed against the threat of Nazi invasion.

Another more famous Kabbalah adherent flies here in September too.

Madonna will tour Israel and play a number of concerts.
Unfortunately her brand of Kabbalah has been disowned by purists - including the flying rabbis.

"Madonna is not dealing with the real practical Kabbalah," Rabbi Batzri told Sky News.

"We deal with spiritual issues of the soul.

"Whereas Madonna is dealing with issues of the body as well. Her teaching of Kabbalah is erroneous."


How is it that when you become a celebrity, you gain so much wisdom? Not.


Photos To Wow You




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Esks Coaching Staff Bursting At Seams

They know how it looks.

Which is to say, best case, it looks like Rick Worman should not invest in Edmonton real estate. Worst case, he ought to think twice about green bananas.

Because from the outside it looks like Kevin Strasser was hired to take over Worman's job as the Eskimos offensive co-ordinator. Not today or next week. But eventually.

"I don't disagree that from the outside looking in it could look that way," said Worman.

"I do understand the perception," added Strasser. "A lot of times people don't understand the full story."

In this case there is the Eskimos story of Strasser's oddly timed, mid-season hiring as senior offensive consultant, the fuller story and the untold story. The Eskimos story goes that Strasser was hired because he brings a wealth of experience to a relatively young offensive staff and another set of eyes to the process of game-planning Edmonton's attack.

Newly retired slotback Jason Tucker's inexperience as receivers coach seems a factor, since Strasser's specialty is the passing game and he has worked mostly with Eskimos receivers on their pre-snap stances, motion and releases since he arrived. They also need an eye in the sky during games, to identify coverage, and Strasser is more than capable. And they were already the Canadian Football League's biggest coaching staff before Strasser arrived, so the more the merrier.

The fuller story is that Strasser was approached last off-season by the Eskimos to interview for the position of offensive co-ordinator, turned down that chance because of family concerns and his expected move up the coaching ranks at Portland State, and Worman eventually got the Edmonton job.

Then Portland threw a curve at Strasser by splitting the co-ordinator's job into two pieces and he got the passing game, not quite what he had been promised, which made him amenable to another offer from the Eskimos.

And the untold story, naturally the juiciest of the three, is how this unfolds. How can Worman possibly keep his job, given Strasser's presence, his CFL experience, success and career aspirations and the Eskimos' obvious desire to have him on staff?In other words, isn't it likely that Strasser will be the co-ordinator in two seasons?

"I don't even know where I'm going to be in two years," said GM Danny Maciocia. "You know the life we live. We're week to week. It's extremely hard to answer. Everything we do we do for now. We thought it would make us a better football team right now. If we wanted to make a move we would have made a move. We wouldn't have kept somebody we didn't want to keep. Maybe Kevin will be happy here or maybe he'll want to go back down south. Maybe Rick will be a head coach somewhere in two years.

"These are two quality individuals. Whether they are Eskimos past this year or not, they're going to land on their feet. We're just fortunate to have them both with us right now."

Both are professional enough to make this rather unusual situation work. Worman didn't sense an ulterior motive so he didn't balk at the idea of another set of experienced eyes and Strasser didn't come in like he owned the joint.

"When it did happen we had won two games," said Maciocia. "Kevin didn't come in and start flexing his muscles. He sat down and said, 'I'm another set of eyes, this is what I see and you need to determine if you use it or not.' "

A winning room is a happy room, so a bigger test of this new dynamic might come if they fall on hard times. But if their combined offensive savvy helps them get on a roll, then it could be smooth sailing through November and there is no telling what happens in any given off-season. Nobody wanted to look that far down the road. There is a game to play tonight, then 11 more.

"I have experience with four different teams and I have been in the league for eight or nine years as a player and a coach and scout, so you see things from one perspective," said Worman.

"He comes in with a different perspective and it leads to greater depth of discussion. So far we have put a lot of ideas together and that will continue to evolve."

Both men are working under the terms of similar two-year contracts.

"As far as dollar figures are concerned, they're very close," said Maciocia.

But their duties and authority are indeed different and that's important to note and maintain.

More from the Edmonton Journal.


After 38 years as an Eskimo season ticket holder, I’m so sick and tired of “Eskie-speak,” folks, I could scream. What this means is that Kevin Strasser has been brought in by the Eskimos to take over the job of offensive coordinator, which he will do next year, and Rick Worman will be gone. Period.

Randy Ferbey Working Hard For Vancouver

It's just after 8 am and curler Randy Ferbey is already hard at work, feeling the pain.

Three times a week, the now 50 year old skip spins the wheels, works the quad, suffers through crunches, gets light on his feet and pounds the gloves. All with one goal in mind.

"When I walk around that Olympic oval at the opening ceremony, I want to look the part and feel the part," said Ferbey. "That was my motivation right there."

Ferbey and his Edmonton foursome are one of four rinks who have already qualified for the Roar of the Rings, the Canadian Olympic curling trials which will be held this December in Edmonton.

Ferbey knows he will have to be on top of his game - both mentally and physically - if he hopes to represent Canada in Vancouver.

"I had a trainer a few years ago but I just didn't take it seriously, not back then."

Now, three months after working side-by-side with personal trainer Darren Ross, the once hefty four-time world champion has shed more than 20 pounds.

"The wife likes it, people I haven't seen in a while have been impressed. I'd like to drop another 15-20 (pounds)."

Ross says this time around Ferbey is committed.

"He had a hard time getting up and down the stairs four or five times. Now we do that no problem."

Ferbey is older than every other Olympic-calibre skip in Canada, so it's very possible no curler has to work harder to get his body tuned for the trials.

"If this helps us make one shot or two shots in some crucial game, then its worth it," he said.

Especially since on the other side of Edmonton his biggest rivals are doing the exact same.

"I'm sure they are. At least they tell everybody they are. We still don't have proof that they actually are," Ferbey says with a chuckle.

"That's one of the things we talk about as a team, end of the day when its all over and we don't win, hypothetically, we left no stone unturned, we tried everything... hopefully it will pay off in the end."


Good for Randy Ferbey. Last time I saw him, he could afford to lose some weight. Even with the weight loss, Team Ferbey will not beat Team Kevin Martin to represent Canada in men’s Olympic curling at the Vancouver 2010 games.


Chain Symbolizes Team Unity

Hall uses prop to get point across

The single length of chain, about four feet long, hangs near the middle of the Edmonton Eskimos dressing room.

It goes mostly unnoticed by visitors, but carries significant meaning to the players and coaches who wander the room each day.

Head coach Richie Hall had the chain put up prior to the season and told the players, "This is a chain and this represents our football team."

Each player was given a link "and I said this is you as a player and what connects us is the chain. Our chain isn't possible without these individuals. The reality is we're all going to need each other to get to where we want to be."

Every chain is only as strong as its weakest link and Hall, who came to the Eskimos this year from the Saskatchewan Roughriders, said "when our weak link needs support, it's important that we come together and keep the chain intact.

"We're not about standing alone," he said. "When we go to a visiting park, we come together as a team, we play as a team and we leave as a team because that's who we are, that's the Edmonton Eskimos of 2009."

When injuries arise, as they have this week to middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd and defensive back Lenny Williams, their links on the chain are replaced by others waiting to attach themselves.

"When a soldier falls down, another soldier replaces him and that's what we are," added Hall. "We're going to face injuries and someone else is going to step up and play. We're not just those 42 players (on the roster each game), we're the 50 or 60 players in that locker-room."

That locker-room has been noisy this week, even though the club is coming off a difficult, last-minute loss in Hamilton last weekend.

There was Bobby Keyes doing his latest rap song-and-dance routine in one area, the usually loud Patrick Kabongo holding court in another spot, the music blaring away and players behaving like they haven't lost a game all season.

"That's what you want," said Hall. "You want to be relaxed. You want to have an environment where they're having fun, they feel positive and I think that's the feeling they have right now.

"They're not cocky, they're not overconfident. They know we're coming off a loss ... but it's important we go into the(next) game feeling confident and having a sense of energy and urgency.

"The reality is we're doing what? We're playing a kid's game, so you want them to have that youthful attitude because when you're happy, you set off positive vibes and you feel good about yourself.

"To me that means you're ready to play, you're relaxed to play and you're looking to have fun."


I really like this idea and I think Richie Hall is one heck of a head coach.

Neighbors Fed Up With Sports Field Drunks

Critics say Grand Trunk recreation facilities draw steady stream of players who bring booze, behave badly

Tempers have reignited this summer at a north-side district park, where some residents say the constant presence of sports groups has become a major irritation.

The controversy between the two competing interests first flared last year, prompting the city to temporarily close half the fields at the site to re-evaluate the situation.

But after raising hopes residents' concerns would addressed, the city has instead allowed the teams to come back "full bore" this summer --bringing noise, litter, traffic and other inappropriate behavior along with them, homeowner Tim Hayduk said. "If anything, it's worse this year because they have packed the park even more," Hayduk said.

"I've taken pictures of the stuff going on. I've seen naked people changing their clothes outside, big parties, coolers full of beer, public drunkenness, public urination, drinking and driving, dogs off leash.

"I could probably call the police for something every other day."

Hayduk lives at 109th Street and 129th Avenue, across the road from Grand Trunk district park, a 30-hectare site that contains a number of athletic facilities, including baseball and soccer fields, an indoor pool and an arena. Some of the outdoor playing surfaces are considered "premier" fields, meaning they are well maintained and in high demand, particularly among adult groups.

Hayduk said he knows recreational groups have to play somewhere, but he believes the city is not doing enough to respect the right of homeowners.

His biggest complaint is that the most heavily used ball diamond and soccer pitch have been built right beside 109th Street rather than in the middle of the park. This location allows noise to easily carry across the street into his house, he said. Players, parents and coaches also leave their cars on 109th Street instead of parking in Grand Trunk's lot, meaning residents can't park in front of their homes.

Ultimately, he wants the city to reorient the fields away from his street and reduce the hours they are used. "The fields are going pretty much every day from 6 to 10 p. m. and then on weekends," Hayduk said.

The city's director of parks planning, Bob Priebe, said controversies among residents, field users and other groups can be common at district parks, which are designed to serve large numbers of people.

Grand Trunk was made to be a busy sports venue, although Priebe noted the site has become busier in the past two or three years when the city started doing more "double-booking."

Double-booking is the practice of squeezing in two games on the playing surfaces each night.

"We closed the fields last year to enable us to have more discussions with the community, but this year we opened them up...and quite frankly, we're not going to take away the double-bookings," Priebe said.

"People want to play and we feel these are good activities for people to be involved in. The field-sport season is short, and we need the fields."

The city is also resisting the idea of rebuilding the fields in a spot farther away from 109th Street, a project that would cost up to $400,000, Priebe said.

Such a move might be feasible in the future, but for now park planners have to await other development decisions, he said. In particular, a new northern leg of the LRT might pass through the area, and there is a possibility the Grand Trunk arena could be twinned. It wouldn't make sense to spend the money to reorient the fields now, only to find it has to be done again later to accommodate the LRT or arena, Priebe said.

However, the city has started to do more enforcement, education and monitoring to reduce bad behavior, he said.

Leagues are told about the residents' concerns when they book the fields, and city staff and park rangers go to the site to check on the players' behavior. For next year, the city will look at booking more youth groups, and will also encourage adult leagues to play the same teams at the site each week.

"When you get some regulars there, they get to know the site and they get to know the issues with the residents," Priebe said. "We're trying to ensure the groups who use the fields are responsible, and by and large we believe they are."

Hayduk, however, believes the city's efforts are insufficient, and feels it's unfair to make homeowners wait for LRT plans to be finalized before dealing with the problem. He said he sees other fields in the area not being used, so some games should be moved to those.

"But it's very hard to find large shale diamonds like the one at (Grand Trunk)," said Brayden Gallotti, president of the Edmonton Area Mixed Slo-Pitch Association. "That why our members want to play on it."

Gallotti said his league has been clear with teams to respect the neighborhood. There is no tolerance for alcohol and users are encouraged to park in the lot rather than the street. Noise is tougher to control, but Gallotti said he doesn't understand what residents expected when they moved into homes next to the park.

"How do you play sports quietly?" he asked.


Ah, yes, this brings back many fond memories of district or community league “sports.”

Pictures From Our Reader's Gardens



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Reader Needs Help Finding Lost iPod

Dear Don,

May I please ask a favour of you? If possible, could a note be posted as a lost item within the Saint City News column?

Our son, Daniel, age 14, lost his Apple 16 GB iPod Touch yesterday between 7 - 8:00 pm within the range of McDonalds Restaurant located at Tudor Glen, 10 Galarneau Place and the Superstore on St. Albert Trail directly across the street. He has left contact information at both locations.

The iPod is in a black and grey silicone case with headphones and a photograph of Megan Fox in a white background as its screensaver. The iPod has a internal lock; meaning it is password protected.

(The serial number is: 9C85264Y203).

Daniel had purchased this item with earnings that he had worked hard for. If found, please, return to Daniel: 780 418-5598. He is offering a reward for its return; much appreciated!

Thank you,

Velvet Martin
St. Albert


I sure hope your son finds his lost item Velvet. And for the record, SCN fired me via e-mail just about two years ago now so you will have to ask them directly to run your query.

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Pictures From My Library

The view out the front window of the motor home camped on the banks of the Moose Jaw river.




Today's Smile


Housework was a woman's job, but one evening, Janice arrived home from work to find the children bathed, one load of laundry in the washer and another in the dryer Dinner was on the stove, and the table set. She was astonished!

It turns out that Chuck had read an article that said, 'Wives who work full-time and had to do their own housework were too tired to have sex'.

The night went very well. The next day, Janice told her Red Hat friends all about it. 'We had a great dinner. Chuck even cleaned up the kitchen. He helped the kids do their homework, folded all the laundry and put it away. I really enjoyed the evening.'

'But what about afterward?' asked her friends.

'Oh, that, Chuck was too tired.'

Diane Banner for Don

Retired Cop Loves His Replica Cruiser



This is a replica of a police car that roamed around George Patak’s boyhood neighborhood on Detroit’s west side. Patak wanted to be just like the police. He ended up joining their ranks, and last year, restored this 1963 Plymouth Savoy station wagon he found on eBay.


I had a 1963 Dodge at one time and I remember those buttons to shift gears so well.

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When Cars Were Cars . . .

Each one was a thing of beauty and a work of art.

1959 Chevrolet Impala 4-Door Hardtop

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

1949 Hudson Commodore Six Sedan


Simply Stunning Shots





Boffins Unveil 'Perfect' Pet

HE may be more Frankenstein's monster than beloved pooch - but barmy boffins claim this picture shows Britain's perfect pet.

Scientists quizzed 2,000 animal lovers and asked them to list their ideal traits - before designing a computer profile of the creature.

The freakish results included the ears of a rabbit, face of a cat, body of a golden retriever and tail of a horse.

The monstrous mammal - named Max - has high energy levels, loves daily walks and sleeps for an average of nine hours 27 minutes a day.

Pete Markey, who helped conduct the research for insurance firm More Than, said: "This experiment has provided great insight into exactly what it is about their animals people love, both in terms of looks and personality.

''It goes to show what a pet-obsessed nation we are."


One word Uuuuuuuuuuuggggggggglllllllyyyyyyyyyy


1935 - 1939 - The Great Depression

The Good Old Days                         
Sometimes we do grieve for that which is forever lost. These pictures were particularly moving to me. Can the youth of today with all of the trapings of technology, the ease of living and the carefree take on life ever appreciate the struggle of these very special folks? From this era came the Greatest Generation.                     
Most of these are so sad but beautiful.                           



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A Year Of The Almost Great Story In Golf’s Majors

CHASKA, Minn. - If the PGA Championship follows suit, look for a scenario like this to unfold at Hazeltine.

John Daly, with only two rounds under par this year on the PGA Tour and coming off an 88 in the Buick Open, finds that "grip it and rip it" magic and opens with a 67. Everyone waits for him to collapse, but it doesn't happen. There he is on the back nine, leading comfortably, on the verge of winning his third major, as many as Ernie Els.

Then comes a tee shot into the water on the 16th. A three-putt on the 17th. Two shots to get out of a bunker on the 18th.

He goes into a playoff and loses to Brian Gay.

If that sounds crazy, it is. If that sounds familiar, it should.

The script from this bizarre year of major championships has been a little science fiction, some fantasy, a chapter or two of mystery, never lacking in drama, always full of surprises.

In short, the wrong guy keeps winning.

"I hadn't really thought about that, to be honest, but it's really true," British Open champion Stewart Cink said Tuesday. "It's a good point that 'what could have been' would have been a heck of a story to be written for the majors this year."

Start with the Masters.

Kenny Perry thought his storybook career had ended at the Ryder Cup when he helped the Americans win in his home state of Kentucky. Then came Augusta National, where he had a two-shot lead with two holes to play and at 48, was on the verge of becoming the oldest man in a green jacket. Then came bogeys on the last two holes. A mud ball on the second playoff hole. A family in tears.

Angel Cabrera won the Masters, a deserving champion. Perry's popularity soared, and he has been asked more about losing the Masters during the last four months than Cabrera has about winning (the language barrier plays a role, to be sure).

Act II came at Bethpage Black and the emotional return of Phil Mickelson, who only a month earlier learned that his wife, Amy, had breast cancer. Mickelson wasn't even sure how much he could play the rest of the year, much less whether he had the desire. She got encouraging reports from the doctor that allowed surgery to be delayed until after the U.S. Open.

Her husband said she left him a number of notes, texts, cards and one powerful message: "She would like to have a silver trophy in her hospital room, so I'm going to try to accommodate that."

Lefty was the only player who shot par or better over five soggy days on Long Island. Then came the final-round charge, a 35-foot birdie on the tough 12th, followed by an approach that stopped 4 feet away for eagle on the 13th. He was tied for the lead, with momentum and half of New York on his side.

Could this really happen?


He three-putted from the fringe for bogey at No. 15. He missed the green and missed his par on the 17th. He set a record by finishing second for the fifth time in the U.S. Open.

The trophy went home with Lucas Glover, who captured his first major by making one birdie in the final round, a clutch 8-iron into 6 feet on the 16th hole and two more pars.

No feeling was more empty, however, than Turnberry.

"The Watson story blows them all away," Cink said.

Tom Watson, the oldest player in the British Open at 59, made a couple of birdies early in his round Thursday to get his name on the leaderboard, and then it stayed there - on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

There was the text message from the wife of Jack Nicklaus, the feel-good story everyone figured would ultimately be more about nostalgia than history. But he took the lead after 54 holes, gave it back early in the final round, then roared ahead with a birdie on the 17th hole that led Peter Alliss to blurt out on the BBC, "By God, can it really happen?"

But after missing an eight-foot par putt on the final hole, then losing energy, hope and a four-hole playoff to Cink, perhaps Dan Jenkins summed it up best in a Twitter post from his 201st major.

"In the press room, we had a suspicion we weren't good enough people to deserve Watson winning."

What shouldn't get lost in this remarkable year is that Cabrera, Glover and Cink were deserving of their major championships. And while many paying customers didn't get the winner they wanted, they got their money's worth.

More from Canadian Press.

All eyes on Tiger as man to beat at Hazeltine.


Now wouldn’t that be quite the story if ‘Big’ John Daly were to take the PGA Championship? You know what, folks, I wouldn’t bet against Tiger Woods.

All Eyes On Kelly Campbell

Eskimos brass vow to grab clutch receiver if NFL's Bucs set him free

Kelly Campbell is gone, but certainly not forgotten.

In fact, the Edmonton Eskimos are keeping very close tabs on their former speed receiver, who is trying to catch on with the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Having signed with the Bucs, Campbell is currently in training camp and fighting, along with a few others, for what will probably be the final receiving spot or two on the roster.

Esks assistant general manager and director of player personnel Paul Jones was in Miami scouting camp late last week and heading towards Tampa. General manager and director of football operations Danny Maciocia is scheduled to be in Tampa for the Bucs' third of four exhibition games against the Dolphins on Aug. 27.The Bucs'first one goes Saturday at the Tennessee Titans.

By the third exhibition game, the Esks should have a better idea of where they stand as far as possibly getting the speedster--who led the CFL in yards per catch(22.6) in 2008 --back north of the 49th parallel, should he be let go by the Bucs.

Antonio Bryant, Michael Clayton, John Gilmore, Jerramy Stevens and Kellen Winslow are projected as locks to make the Bucs. Reports say Campbell and Sammie Stroughter have both looked impressive at and could sew up the last two spots.

"He's in camp, it's quite competitive right now," said Maciocia, who still holds Campbell's CFL rights. "They've brought some guys in who they're quite high on. Having said that, Kelly's had a pretty good camp. We're constantly in contact with the Buccaneers. Reports have been quite favourable for him, but they've got numbers, too. They have a salary cap, too, and those are all things that will come into play."

Just like the CFL, final positions are likely to be won and lost in exhibition games.

"It's no different than when we break camp here, where you have one more spot and you have to pick between three guys," said Maciocia. "That's a scenario that we understand, but those pre-season games will be crucial and that's why we'll be in constant contact.

"Hopefully, when I go down I'll be able to have a conversation with their GM, Mark Dominik, and see exactly where it's at and how they view things."

The word is Campbell didn't get any signing money up front, which could ultimately determine the level of commitment that Dominik and new head coach Raheem Morris (formerly the defensive backs coach) have.

"It doesn't necessarily mean that he's not going to make their club, it just makes it harder," suggested Maciocia. "If they front you 75 or 100 or 125 (thousand dollars), then they'll be a little more hard-pressed to let you go and be a little more receptive to having an off day or off game, which might not be the case right now."

Not that Maciocia is wishing any bad luck on the five-foot-10, 175-pounder, who stands to earn roughly $600,000 US a season, if he makes the team. Far from it.

"There is no question we would love to have him back. At the same time, he's a good guy and we wish him the best. The message I gave him was, 'You go up there, you do well and we'll be happy for you,' " said Maciocia.

"It will be no different for Rashad Jeanty (a former Eskimo now in Cincinnati with the Bengals). He was up here making$40,000 to$45,000, now he's making $1.5 million. So we wish him the best. If it doesn't work out, we think Kelly knows he has a home here in Edmonton."

The same goes for linebacker Kenny Onatolu who is in a similar situation in Minnesota, where he joined the NFL's Vikings from Edmonton.

"He's having a decent camp and his situation is no different," said Maciocia. "It will be touch and go with him from day-to-day and from one pre-season game to another."

The bottom line is, the Esks are doing their due diligence in scouting potential returnees from NFL camps, as well as any new recruits.

"Obviously we're always concerned about winning today, but we have to address everything, whether it's the second half of the season or even next year.

"Our scouting department is trying to forecast what we will look like in 2010, as far as players are concerned and as far as salaries are concerned and making sure we field a competitive team from one year to the other," stressed Maciocia.

Lloyd, Williams out for Edmonton-Calgary game.

Get serious already.


Kelly Campbell may well be the final piece of the puzzle that pushes this Eskimo team over the top to legitimate Grey Cup contenders this year. Not to wish you any bad luck at all, Kelly, but I certainly hope you’re back in the Esks fold soon.


Mike Danton’s Parole Hearing Postponed

The National Parole Board has postponed its high-profile hearing for Mike Danton, the ex-NHLer sentenced to prison in 2004 for trying to hire a hitman to kill his sports agent.

Danton, 28, has been eligible for parole since March and had hoped to get out of prison later this month to make a longshot comeback to professional hockey, starting with tryouts at training camps this fall. But his Aug. 28 hearing was postponed because the parole board has called for a fresh psychological assessment--a request the parole board itself acknowledges as "extraordinary."

Details of the request and the postponement of the hearing are found in an internal prison file obtained by Canwest News Service.

In 2004, the former St. Louis Blues forward was sentenced to seven years in a U. S. prison for plotting to kill his mentor-turned hockey agent, Dave Frost. Danton was transferred to Canada on March 19 to serve the rest of his sentence at a minimum-security prison about 20 kilometres northeast of Kingston, Ont.


Why shouldn’t this surprise us, folks? The Mike Danton-David Frost saga is one of the most bizarre stories I’ve followed in a long time.

Former CFLer, Phillips, Guilty In California

SAN DIEGO -- Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been convicted of assault and other felony charges in San Diego.

A Superior Court jury found Phillips guilty Tuesday of seven counts. Phillips had been accused of choking his girlfriend on two occasions in August 2005, once into unconsciousness.

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he's sentenced next month. Phillips already is serving a 10-year sentence for hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. The St. Louis Rams released him for insubordination in 1997. He went on to play for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, and spent time in NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League.


The malcontent, Lawrence Phillips, deserves to be locked up forever and have the keys thrown away.

Photos From My Library

If You Travel To Saskatchewan, expect a few 'Hoppers folks . . .


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Pictures From Our Readers Gardens




"Nurse Betty" Plays Pretend

She claimed to be “Nurse of the Year” and even threw a party for herself.

But it turns out, 56-year-old Betty Lichtenstein wasn’t even a nurse, police said.

Lichtenstein worked as a registered nurse at Dr. Gerald Weiss’ practice in Norwalk, but she wasn’t licensed with the state, police said. According to an arrest warrant, Lichtenstein gave patients intramuscular injections, medical care and advice.

Police launched an investigation earlier this year after a patient complained that Lichtenstein injected medication too quickly, causing pain.

"I knew about the investigation several months ago. I'm shocked and dismayed, but at the advice of my lawyer I can make no further comment," Dr. Weiss said.

According to the warrant, Dr. Weiss and his staff believe Lichtenstein was a registered nurse but couldn’t find her license for police. The doctor was further convinced after the Connecticut Nursing Association named Lichtenstein as the “2008 Nurse of the Year.”

Apparently, there’s no such thing as the Connecticut Nursing Association, but the warrant says Lichtenstein paid for a celebration dinner in which Dr. Weiss was a guest speaker.

Lichtenstein was arrested earlier this year in an unrelated case, accused of using a forged prescription to try and get 96 Oxycodone pills.

She’s charged with illegal use of the title “registered nurse,” reckless endangerment and criminal impersonation.

Lichtenstein could face up to five years in prison if convicted. She’s due back in court later this month.


Sorry folks, but I couldn’t help nursing this story along.


A Macro Look At Water




Diane Banner for Don

Naked Drunk Crashes In Wrong Room

An Australian man's night on the town ended with him being escorted from a Queenstown hotel in a dressing gown after he crashed out naked in the wrong room.

A woman hid in her hotel bathroom after the drunk 29-year-old wandered into her and her husband's room and fell asleep on their bed on Saturday morning.

Sergeant Steve Watt, of Queenstown police, said the man was escorted home in a dressing gown after being woken by the hotel concierge
"He was a bit surprised that there were two people in his room and he was butt naked," Mr Watt told the Southland Times.

The man told police he been brought back to the hotel from town by a woman but at some point wandered out of her room into the hallway stark naked.

He then wandered into another room, occupied by a husband and wife, and had curled up and gone to sleep, he said.

The couple called the hotel reception, with the wife hiding in the bathroom waiting for staff to arrive.

The man was not charged, Mr Watt said. "It was far too funny."


What is it about guys who strip when they’re loaded?


Sensational Sand Sculptures





Woman Stripped Then Leapt To Her Death

A "SHY, modest" woman who jumped naked from a Sydney office building yelled "I love you" before lunging off a window sill in a psychotic state, a coronial inquest has heard.

Counsel assisting the inquest Robert Bromwich said the manner of Rebekah Lawrence's death wasn't in question, but the contentious point was the reason for her state of mind.

A colleague of Ms Lawrence, who plunged to her death in December 2005, described how the 34-year-old was "quite unstable in a manner in which I had never seen before".

Royal Australian College of Physicians executive officer Fairlie Clifton said Ms Lawrence began swearing and then said "I love you, I love you" before backing out onto a ledge of the Macquarie Street Tower.

Ms Clifton told the NSW Coroner's Court at Glebe she did not know who the comments were directed at.
The inquest heard the usually cheerful and good-natured woman arrived late for work on December 20, 2005, telling a colleague she had attended an "amazing" self-development course called Turning Point.

But the colleague, Christine Ernst, said Ms Lawrence later became agitated as she repeatedly tried to phone someone but was unable to get through.

She gazed at her computer screen and appeared to do no work at all, Ms Ernst said.

The phone number she had been trying to dial was later revealed to be the Turning Point office, the inquest was told.

Full story here.


Well, I guess this is nudie day on, isn't it?

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Pictures To Wow You



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Eunice Kennedy, Special Olympics Founder, Dies

BOSTON - President John F. Kennedy's sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who carried on the family's public service tradition by founding the Special Olympics and championing the rights of the mentally disabled, died early Tuesday surrounded by relatives at a Hyannis hospital. She was 88.

Shriver had suffered a series of strokes in recent years and died at Cape Cod Hospital, her family said in a statement. Her husband, her five children and all 19 of her grandchildren were by her side, the statement said.

"She was the light of our lives, a mother, wife, grandmother, sister and aunt who taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others," the family said.

The hospital is near the Kennedy family compound, where her sole surviving brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy, has been battling a brain tumour.

Sen. Kennedy said his earliest memory of his sister was as a young girl "with great humour, sharp wit, and a boundless passion to make a difference."

"She understood deeply the lesson our mother and father taught us - much is expected of those to whom much has been given," he said in a statement. "Throughout her extraordinary life, she touched the lives of millions, and for Eunice that was never enough."

President Barack Obama said Shriver will be remembered as "as a champion for people with intellectual disabilities, and as an extraordinary woman who, as much as anyone, taught our nation - and our world - that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit."

As celebrity, social worker and activist, Shriver was credited with transforming America's view of the mentally disabled from institutionalized patients to friends, neighbours and athletes. Her efforts were inspired in part by the struggles of her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary.

Peter Collier, author of "The Kennedys, an American Drama," called Eunice Shriver the "moral force" of the Kennedy family.

"We have always been honoured to share our mother with people of good will the world over who believe, as she did, that there is no limit to the human spirit," her family members said in the statement.

Shriver was also the sister of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the wife of 1972 vice-presidential candidate and former Peace Corps director R. Sargent Shriver, and the mother of former NBC newswoman Maria Shriver, who is married to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. With Eunice Shriver's death, Jean Kennedy Smith becomes the last surviving Kennedy daughter.

Schwarzenegger said his mother-in-law "changed my life by raising such a fantastic daughter, and by putting me on the path to service, starting with drafting me as a coach for the Special Olympics."

A 1960 Chicago Tribune profile of the women in then-candidate JFK's family said Shriver was "generally credited with being the most intellectual and politically minded of all the Kennedy women."

When her brother was in the White House, she pressed for efforts to help troubled young people and the mentally disabled. And in 1968, she started what would become the world's largest athletic competition for mentally disabled children and adults. Now, more than 1 million athletes in more than 160 countries participate in Special Olympics meets each year.

"When the full judgment on the Kennedy legacy is made - including JFK's Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress, Robert Kennedy's passion for civil rights and Ted Kennedy's efforts on health care, work place reform and refugees - the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential," Harrison Rainie, author of "Growing Up Kennedy," wrote in U.S. News&World Report in 1993.

It was Shriver who revealed the condition of her sister Rosemary to the nation during her brother's presidency.

"Early in life Rosemary was different," she wrote in a 1962 article for the Saturday Evening Post. "She was slower to crawl, slower to walk and speak. ... Rosemary was mentally retarded." Rosemary Kennedy underwent a lobotomy when she was 23, though that wasn't mentioned in the article. She lived most of her life in an institution in Wisconsin and died in 2005 at age 86.

The roots of the Special Olympics go back to a summer camp Shriver ran in Maryland in 1963. Shriver would "get right in the pool with the kids; she'd toss the ball," said a niece, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who volunteered at the camp as a teen. "It's that hands-on, gritty approach that awakened her to the kids' needs."

More from Canadian Press.


The world has lost a truly great and selfless pioneer and leader. Special Olympics has lost its heart and soul.

Tiger Gets Set To Prowl At Hazeltine

Woods hungry for 15th major title after two straight tour triumphs

Tiger Woods arrived at Hazeltine on Monday to began final preparations for the 91st PGA Championship, coming off an impressive 70th career triumph and hungry for a 15th major title.

Woods, chasing the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, captured the milestone title at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational in a Sunday duel with reigning PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington.

World No. 1 Woods moved just three shy of Nicklaus's all-time victory total and only 12 off Sam Snead's career record with his 13th title in 23 starts and fifth of the year, including all his final tuneups for majors.

"It helps you get into the mode of playing this type of golf," Woods said of playing against top rivals the week before a major.

Woods also won the Buick Open the week before and will play three weeks in a row for the 21st time, but the first with a major at the end of that span.

Woods seeks his fifth PGA Championship crown, which would match the record shared by Nicklaus and 1920s star Walter Hagen.

If he does not win this week, this will be the first year since 2004 that Woods has not claimed a major title. But after back-to-back titles since missing the cut at the British Open, Woods is making no changes to his routine.

"I'm just going to keep working on things I'm working on. I think they are doing all right," Woods said.

"I'm going to do my normal routine, play Monday and Tuesday, then do nothing on Wednesday, just practice. Wednesday will be my rest day. Get to know the golf course a little bit on Monday and Tuesday, then shut it down."

Irishman Harrington will be paired with Woods again Thursday morning and Friday afternoon and joining them will be Rich Beem, who has not won since edging Woods by a stroke for the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

"Being here brings back wonderful memories. It's nothing but great for my psyche," Beem said. "I can't wait to play."

Woods has won 41 titles since he birdied the last four holes at Hazeltine, but came up one stroke short against Beem and settled for his first runner-up showing at a major.

A late-round disaster cost Harrington last week, but the effort he made for most of the event gave him confidence that the stroke-change woes which have kept him winless for a year are nearly over.

"Most things I did were pretty positive," Harrington said. "I certainly did a lot of things you need to do right when you want to play good tournaments.

"My short game was sharp. Definitely see a bit of a weakness in my wedge play. That needs a bit of improvement. The long game was sufficient anyway."

More from the Edmonton Journal.


After what has happened the last couple of weeks on the PGA Tour, are you going to bet against Woods this week at the PGA Championship? I’m not.


Patrick Kabongo 'Holds' His Ground

Offensive lineman insists he only deserved one of his three penalties in Saturday's game

Just for a little variety, Patrick Kabongo held his own on Monday.

The mammoth Edmonton Eskimos offensive lineman, who was flagged not once or twice but thrice for clutching and grabbing Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday, sauntered into the dressing room, threw down the delicious, meaty Italian Centre Shop sandwich he had been clutching in his left hand and turned to face an even hungrier media scrum.

He held our gaze. He began to hold court. Because he holds Canadian Football League officials in such high regard, he occasionally held his tongue.

Throughout the minor grilling, he maintained a firm grip on the seriousness of the subject.

Holding all manner of things apparently comes naturally to the big fella.

"It was hard for me to take," he said, holding his head high. "I compete. I always feel I have to play my best out there and that wasn't my best."

On some game days, there are few CFL offensive linemen who can hold a candle to this genial giant. He's a clutch player. At six-foot-six and 315 pounds, he is an increasingly mobile mountain who helps anchor an offensive line that usually affords quarterback Ricky Ray enough time to do his job.

The Eskimos have given up a paltry 11 sacks through one-third of the 18-game season, trailing only the Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers in that important category.

But Kabongo received a painful lesson in humility, discipline and technique on Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium, and he will be all the wiser for it.

At least he ought to be.

"It was one of those things that happens," said CFL director of officiating Tom Higgins. "I know he'll make sure it doesn't happen again.

"If you keep your hands where they are supposed to be and your feet moving and knees bent, nine times out of 10 they won't make the call because there is no reason to."

Kabongo clings to the notion that there was no reason for any official to make two of the three calls against him on Saturday. He fessed up to only the first one, which negated a nine-yard run by Arkee Whitlock in the opening quarter.

That said, Kabongo wasn't about to hold anybody else responsible for his actions.

"The refs are the refs. They make their calls. I respect that. I wasn't mad at them. You've got to look at yourself first. The refs are pretty good in this league."

The officials are getting better, but holding calls will always spark debate with coaches, players and fans because of their nature and prevalence.

"There has been a little leeway to allow the hands to be different," said Higgins.

"They don't have to be inside the frame (essentially the torso). They can be on the shoulders. It almost looks like you are bear-hugging the defensive lineman. Where you can see cloth, where you can see the back turning unnaturally, those are indicators."

The old adage goes that referees could call holding on every play, but fans don't pay to see zebras throw flags, so discretion is paramount. Referees and umpires, who combine to make 90 per cent of the holding calls in a given game, have to identify the foul while deciding whether or not it affected the play in a significant enough manner to warrant a flag.

Higgins readily admits that his crews miss calls every game, but they strive to be fair and accurate.

After taking three of the Eskimos' seven penalties for half of the 60 yards they surrendered on Saturday, Kabongo might well have felt unfairly targeted.

"As offensive linemen, it's going to happen," said Calvin Armstrong. of the Eskimos. "They watch us closely. Any one of us could have gotten three holding calls. After you get the first call, they'll watch you a bit closer."

Whether or not that's the case, and Higgins said officials do not target anybody in particular on any play, the flags kept flying in Kabongo's direction. As you might expect, one of them hurt more than the others.

More from the Edmonton Journal.


If I were an Edmonton football reporter, looking at the size of the guy, I don’t know that I’d be quizzing ‘Mongo’ too vigorously about the three crucial holding penalties he took in Saturday night’s loss to Hamilton.

Tiger: No Fine Coming For Criticizing Rules Official

Chaska, MN (Sports Network) - Tiger Woods said that he will not be fined by the PGA Tour for comments he made criticizing a rules official after winning the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.

"I've heard from the tour. There's no fine," Woods said during a press conference Tuesday ahead of this week's PGA Championship.

Woods beat Padraig Harrington in a head-to-head battle in the final pairing at Firestone, coming from three shots back for his 70th tour win and seventh title at the World Golf Championships event.

The turning point came on the 16th hole, where Woods knocked his approach close to set up a birdie and Harrington hit three sloppy shots, including one into the water, and made triple-bogey.

Woods went from a one-shot deficit to a three-shot lead, but he was upset with European Tour referee John Paramor for placing the twosome on the clock on the 16th tee for being too far out of position. Woods said Harrington was forced to rush his shots because of the decision.

He said he told Harrington afterward: "I'm sorry that John got in the way of a great battle."

Woods on Tuesday called the report that said he would be fined "erroneous" and also defended his decision to not only criticize the ruling to put himself and Harrington on the clock, but to name Paramor as the official who did so.

"I thought they would have used better judgment on that considering we were the ones trying to win the golf tournament," Woods said.


If this is true and contrary to earlier reports, it is indeed interesting . . . very, very interesting. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost be tempted to say the PGA Tour is scared of fining its 'poster boy' and greatest star, Tiger Woods.

The Photography Of Al Popil

Hi Don,

Caught some critters chowing down at Cardiff Park. A Godwit eats a minnow, a Loon is ready for a crayfish and a baby Muskrat finds some lake plants.

Al Popil
St. Albert


You never cease to amaze our readers with your talent Al, and thanks for sharing it with us.




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Gang Attacks Lad With 4 Foot Python

A BOY was recovering yesterday after being held down by a gang of yobs and bitten by a terrifying new weapon - a SNAKE.

The 4ft-long green reptile sank its fangs into the 14-year-old's right arm, leaving two deep puncture marks.

The helpless lad had been pinned to the ground in a park by his tormentors, who also made racist comments. They then ran off, leaving him shaking with fear.

Police were called and an officer showed the boy internet pictures of snakes on his mobile so he could identify the kind that bit him.

Cops checked with zoo experts who said it sounded like a python - which is not venomous.

An ambulance rushed the lad to Bristol's Frenchay Hospital where he was treated for the injury, shock and breathing problems.


I always knew gang members were snakes in the grass.


There, I Fixed It!





Dingo Attacks Four-Year-Old Boy

A DINGO attacked a four-year-old boy on Fraser Island, knocking him over and biting him on the legs as he walked on the beach with his family.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones revealed the "serious" attack today, saying rangers were warning island visitors to be vigilant after Wednesday's reported attack.

She said the four-year-old required medical attention after the attack at Hook Point on Fraser's southern end.

"We would regard the attack as serious and the individual dingo as dangerous," she said.

"The boy's parents and witnesses in a car were able to ward the dingo off but it took a while before the dingo stopped being a threat to the family - it appeared to have lost all wariness of humans."

She said the family would fly out of Australia today.
Ms Jones said that based on witness descriptions, rangers believed the animal was part of a well-known pack that had become habituated and accustomed to human contact.

She said the dingoes "were believed to have been regularly fed by an individual who frequents the island".


When will people learn never to feed wild animals? That would be like feeding a coyote here in Alberta.


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False Plane Crash Report Costs Man 30k

Edward Pretzer called 911 in La Plata County, Colorado, to report that he had just been in a plane crash and that he was bleeding profusely from a severed arm.

He also advised dispatchers that as many as 12 fellow passengers had been killed. Naturally, a throng of emergency workers, volunteers, and reporters descended on the reported crash site, with as many as 50 people and 18 vehicles responding.

But when rescue teams arrived on the scene they found no wreckage, so police used GSP coordinates provided by the 911 dispatcher to locate Pretzer, who had made five separate 911 calls. Deputies discovered a visibly intoxicated Pretzer in a nearby house, and arrested him for false reporting.

It gets worse for Pretzer. On Saturday the county advised that it will seek to recover $30,000 from him—the estimated total cost of the resources and fuel expended.


Let’s face it, this guy is just plane bonkers.

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Kamau Peterson Adjusts To Making Short Gains

Mastering fundamentals of chipping builds confidence to go for the hole

Third and one.

Short-yardage situation.

On the football field, chances are remote that the ball is going to Edmonton Eskimos slotback Kamau Peterson. But on the golf course, short-yard situations are where matches are won and lost and make all the difference between shooting 85 or 105.

Working with Windermere assistant head pro Cam Martens all summer, Peterson has been working on his short-yardage situations for the last several weeks.

Our last Kamau Peterson video was on putting.

Before that it was the pitch shot. Today it's on chipping.

"There's not a lot different from the pitch shot and the chip shot," said Martens.

"With the pitch shot, we want to control the angle of the club face and keep it consistent by rotating the club around his body without using his wrists or elbows.

"The chip is the same. No wrist action. No elbows. Just the shoulders and the core muscles."

While Peterson said that chipping had never been a big problem area for him, the lessons have changed his attitude in one large fundamental area.

"Instead of just trying not to skull the chip or even just get it close, I'm getting confident enough that under Cam's tutelage he has me thinking of sinking my chip shots," said Peterson.

The other thing Martens is doing --as he has been with every lesson, whether it's off the tee, from the fairway or on the green--is developing a sound pre-shot routine.

"We want to visualize the shot beforehand," said Martens, echoing what golf psychologists like Bob Rotella have talked about for ages: seeing the shot in your mind, picking the target, setting up and letting it go.

Martens has had Peterson take a couple of practice swings before pulling the trigger--noting how far he wants to take the club back, picking out the target and then letting gravity take the club down and hitting it at the right pace.

Martens said the other important aspects of the chip are:

-Consistent ball position, just off the back instep;

-Having the shaft intersect the left leg in the same position;

-Keeping the hands ahead of the ball (which you can clearly see in the video);

-Ensuring that the hands lead the club face through impact, rotating the club around the body, and then striking down on the ball.

"Setup, shaft angle and ball position all remain the same all the time. Then it's just about developing feel," said Martens.


From what I saw of Kamau Peterson on Saturday night, he should stick strictly to playing football this year. His timing with quarterback Ricky Ray was ridiculously bad for the sixth game of the season, folks. It needs to be fixed pronto.

With Win, Woods In Usual Fine Form For Major

AKRON, Ohio — With a mixture of his customary excellence and some unexpected help from unusual sources, Tiger Woods captured the 70th PGA Tour victory of his career Sunday, coming from three strokes behind to win the W.G.C.-Bridgestone Invitational by four shots.

Woods’s closing 65 gave him a total of 12-under-par 278, four strokes better than Padraig Harrington, the third-round leader, who shot a 72, and Robert Allenby, who shot a 66.

Woods is riding a hot streak going into the season’s final major, the P.G.A. Championship, which begins Thursday at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Instead of just one victory the week before a major, as he had in the three previous majors this year, he has two — and is on form to improve on his ties for sixth at the Masters and the United States Open, and a missed cut at the British Open.

The victory was Woods’s fifth of the year and a record seventh in this event at Firestone Country Club. It was also his 16th win in a World Golf Championship event in 30 tries and quite possibly his strangest as a professional.

Until No. 16, when Woods and Harrington were told to increase their pace, it had been a classic. They went back and forth in one of the best final-round head-to-head battles of the season, with Woods erasing Harrington’s three-stroke lead by eagling the second hole and birdieing the fourth, then taking the lead with a birdie at the fifth and another at the ninth.

An eagle and three birdies for a 30 on the front nine is a standard display of Woods’s prowess, but Harrington hung in by parring the first 10 holes, then birdieing the 11th hole to cut Woods’s lead to a stroke. After Woods bogeyed two in a row to give the lead back to Harrington — who has become one of the most tenacious golfers in the game when he has the lead — it seemed as if he might have reversed the tide again.

But then it all went sideways for Harrington. Rushed out of his rhythm by an official who put him and Woods on the clock, Harrington made a triple bogey at the 16th, and Woods sealed his win with a sensational birdie.

On their way to the tee at the par-5 16th, Woods and Harrington were informed by the European Tour’s chief referee, John Paramor, that they were 17 minutes behind schedule and were being timed. Both golfers then hit poor tee shots, with Woods in the left rough and Harrington in the right. Woods hit a mediocre pitch out, leaving himself a shot of 178 yards over water to a very hard green.

Harrington rushed his second shot, a 5-iron that he had hoped to punch out into the fairway, sending it across the fairway and onto the upslope of a bunker, 159 yards from the green.

Woods then hit the shot of the year, a towering 8-iron that pitched beyond the hole and backed down to a foot away, setting up a kick-in birdie.

“I had a situation where the wind was in my favor, and I hit a good shot in,” Woods said. “It carried far enough I was surprised it spun back that much considering it was downwind.”

Harrington’s third shot flew into the greenside rough, 15 yards from the hole, sitting down on a slight downslope. He quickly decided he was going to try a full-swing flop shot, a dangerous choice with the water beyond the hole.

He caught too much of the ball and it flew past the pin, bounced twice and went into the water. He then had to drop back in the fairway and took three more to get down for a triple-bogey 8 to Woods’s 4.

“I had an awkward fourth shot,” said Harrington, who is a deliberate player. “I had to go after it and probably rushed that a bit as well. That was the end of that.”

Woods, who picks his battles carefully, saw it differently. He believed he and Harrington should not have been put on the clock, saying the group in front of them was approaching the 18th tee after playing the 17th hole by the time that Harrington had finished making triple bogey and they were walking to the 17th tee.

“I don’t think that Paddy would have hit the pitch shot that way if he was able to take his time,” Woods said. “Look at it, analyze it, but he was on the clock, had to get up there quickly and hit it. I think being on the clock influenced him. I’m sure he would have taken a lot more time on his third shot to try to figure out how to play it, where to place the next one.

“Then as I said, on the flop shot, he had to get in there quickly and hit it. That was a shot you don’t want to get in there quickly and hit it, you want to take your time and figure out exactly what you want to do. And I think by rushing like he had to that it forced him to make a couple mistakes.”

Harrington blamed himself for hitting the shots poorly. When he walked off the green, disappointed, he said to Woods, “We’ll do battle many times again.”

Woods — whose final putt fell in at 6:03 p.m., three minutes past the event’s scheduled end — agreed with that, but with one caveat.

“Like I was telling him out there, I’m sorry that John got in the way of a great battle because it was such a great battle for 16 holes, and we’re going at it head to head, and unfortunately that happened,” Woods said.

“You know, Paddy and I will definitely do it again.”


Are you going to bet against Woods this week at the PGA Championship, folks? I’m not.


Cabbie’s Lawyer – Kane Assault ‘Out Of Proportion’

CHICAGO -- The lawyer for a cab driver who says he was beaten up by Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane and his cousin over pocket change said Monday that the incident had been blown out of proportion.

Lawyer Andrew LoTempio told WGN radio in Chicago he thinks both sides "should be able to work things out."

Kane and his cousin were charged with felony robbery and misdemeanour counts of theft and criminal mischief. Patrick Kane pleaded not guilty on Sunday, the same day of the alleged attack.

LoTempio says it is customary for some Buffalo cab drivers to lock the doors of their vehicles with the passengers inside. He says they do that if they think they might be stiffed on their fare.

The lawyer did not return a call seeking additional comment. Kane's agent had no comment Monday.

Kane is scheduled for a court hearing next week to answer charges, it is the same day U.S. Olympic Men's Hockey orientation camp starts in suburban Chicago. USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said Monday that Kane is still expected to participate in the three-day camp.

A court spokeswoman said Kane and his cousin, James Kane, are scheduled to appear before a judge next Monday.

Police say a cab driver was beaten early Sunday because he did not have 20 cents in change to give Kane, the 2008 NHL Rookie of the Year, and his cousin.

Both men were charged with felony robbery and misdemeanour counts of theft and criminal mischief.


Sounds like the Cabbie’s lawyer found out who Kane is and is looking for an out-of-court settlement. Amazing how life works, isn’t it folks?

Nothing's Changed - Argos Reeling So Far In 2009

It's probably too early in this young CFL season for the Toronto Argonauts to go into complete panic mode, but to say things haven't been going well for the double blue so far would be a gross understatement.

On Friday night, the Argos suffered a humiliating 25-0 loss at the hands of the Montreal Alouettes, giving them all of the following dubious distinctions in one fell swoop:

- first team to be shut out in a CFL game since 2005
- first Argos squad to get blanked since September 13, 1992 (a 31-0 loss to the Calgary Stampeders)
- first team to be goose-egged by the Alouettes in 33 years (September 5, 1976 - interestingly, a 28-0 victory over none other than the Argonauts)
- a 2-4 record on the season, with just two touchdowns and 40 points total in their last four games, as well as a league-worst 106 points

Hogtown's offensive lineman Rob Murphy probably summed it up best after the game.

"To get shut out in the CFL is virtually unheard of," Murphy said. "It's embarrassing, especially the way the defence played. It's a shame."

Oh, and all this comes right on the heels of the whole Arland Bruce melodrama, which saw the team trade arguably its best offensive player to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats following a very messy (and very public) falling out. The 31-year-old wide receiver had feuded with first-year head coach Bart Andrus, their rocky relationship peaking when Andrus called out Bruce for being "unprofessional" and "a bad teammate." Bruce had been fined by the team four times for missing meetings and losing his playbook, and was also dinged by the league for a bizarre tribute to Michael Jackson during a touchdown celebration in Week 1.

While the Argos may have felt like they finally unloaded a troublemaker in trading Bruce, the results have certainly not been what they were looking for. Since the outspoken receiver's departure from Toronto on July 30, the Argos have dropped two straight games while the Ticats, normally a lock as the CFL's cellar-dwellers in recent years, have benefitted from Bruce's solid play and sit at a respectable 4-2 mark after beating the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday night.

So what gives in Toronto? Now five years removed from their last Grey Cup, and having not made it past the Divisional Final since then, the team seems to be stuck in mire. It's a trend that has followed them around as of late.

In September of 2008, the Argos fired then-head coach Rich Stubler after a disappointing 4-6 start to the season, replacing him with veteran Don Matthews. In addition to being the winningest coach in CFL history, Matthews had been at the helm when the Argos won back-to-back Grey Cups in 1996 and 1997. It looked like a recipe for success, as though the team was about to turn around its bad fortunes. The result? Matthews and the Argos promptly went 0-8 to finish the campaign, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2001, and he resigned the next day.

This season hasn't been much of an improvement thus far. As for Friday's 25-0 blowout loss to Montreal, Argos' quarterback and the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in 2007, Kerry Joseph, was unable to recall ever being shut out in a football game at any level, let alone during his time in the Canadian Football League.

"It's frustrating," Joseph said afterwards. "We have too much talent to be getting beat like we are."

More from TSN.


Well, folks, same old, same old in Argo-land in 2009, and it wouldn’t appear that new head coach Bart Andrus is the answer, either. As I said in my CFL picks for the week, last week, "These Argos are starting to look a lot like the old Argos."

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Hunt For Acid-Spitting Mongolian Death Worm

ARMED with explosives, two men are heading to Mongolia's Gobi Desert to find the fabled acid-spitting and lightning-throwing Mongolian death worm.

The worm has never been documented but some Mongolians are convinced it exists. They call it Allghoi Khorkhoi, or "intestine worm" because it resembles a cow's intestine and is about 1.5m long.

The worm apparently jumps out of the sand and kills people by spitting concentrated acid or shooting lightning from its rectum over long distances, NZPA reports. (Seriously.)

New Zealand journalist David Farrier, who is organising the expedition, and cameraman Christie Douglas, leave this week to spend two weeks in the Gobi, trying to verify the worm's existence and making a documentary about it.

Farrier said he had always been fascinated by cryptozoology, or the search for hidden creatures.

The expedition and documentary would take a serious look at the worm and what it was, Farrier said.

He said he was interested in the death worm because it was one of the most outrageous creatures that were rumoured to exist.

However, it was also one of the mythical creatures that had a better chance of being real.

Full story here.


Shucks, I don’t know what all the excitement is about. I’ve got a camping buddy that’s been “shooting lightning from his rectum” for years now. Winking


Sayings To Ponder




The Indecent Act Of Spitting

While on an OC Transpo bus to his Kanata home, Jim Taggart saw a teen spit on a seat.

A fellow passenger notified the driver, who spoke to the offender but allowed him to return to his spot.

When Taggart reached his stop, he asked why security had not been summoned. "Well, he's gone now," the driver replied.

"Great," Taggart wrote. "So OC Transpo is pasting signage all over the interior of the fleet, informing passengers about the need for respect and no foul language, etc. But as for spitting on a seat, well, that teen got away with a disgusting act."

OC Transpo's bylaws forbid expectorating on buses, trains and property. The $150 fine, though, is levied fewer than 10 times a year in part because transit enforcement officers must actually see the act. "They have to witness the spit," explains OC Transpo's chief special constable Kim Weston-Martin.

"But it happens," she adds, noting that a man was fined following KISS's recent Bluesfest performance. "This intoxicated individual found it humorous to hork all over the bus, over and over again. It just so happened we had a couple of officers riding that bus."


Well, there you have it folks. Spit happens.

Diane Banner for Don

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Man Struck By Airplane Piece

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A Michigan man said he was struck on the shoulder by a piece of an airplane while he was talking to his wife in front of his home.

Wissam Beydoun, 41, of Dearborn, said he initially thought his wife had thrown something at him when he felt the impact on his shoulder, which he said left only a bump, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

"I actually thought my wife threw something at me," he said. "Then I thought it was part of a chimney lining covering, so I started looking at my roof, my neighbor's roof. Before I looked at the piece, I was going to throw it out."

Beydoun said he examined the piece and found "Aircraft weight on wheels inflation chart" printed near a serial number on the aluminum scrap. He said he reported his find to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"My main concern is to pinpoint this airplane, because it poses a danger if it's getting ready to fly," he said. "From what this part indicates, it has to do with a cover of the wheel mechanism, you know, how the wheels drop down."


I thought this would make a wheely good story.

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Woods Wins Seventh Bridgestone Title, 70th Tour Win

Akron, OH (Sports Network) - Tiger Woods did it again.

The world's best fired a final-round, five-under 65 on Sunday to come from behind and win his seventh WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title. He finished at 12-under 268 and won by four at Firestone.

The victory was significant for several reasons.

Woods became the first player in PGA Tour history to win seven times on the same course. He is one away from joining Sam Snead as the only golfers to ever win the same championship eight times.

This was Woods' 70th PGA Tour victory and he is only three behind Jack Nicklaus for second place all time.

"I'm happy with seven here and 70 total," said Woods, who collected his fifth win of the year.

Overnight-leader Padraig Harrington got tripped up by one hole. He struggled to a two-over 72 and fell into a second place tie with Robert Allenby, who posted a 66, at minus-eight.

The pivotal hole became the par-five 16th.

Harrington was one shot ahead of Woods and both hit tee shots that required lay ups. Woods hit his second into the fairway and Harrington played a bad second that was on a hill near a bunker.

Woods hit an eight-iron from 182 yards out right at the flag. The ball spun back inches from going in and the pressure was firmly on Harrington for his third.

From an awkward stance, Harrington's shot sailed into the right rough. As soon as he hit his pitch, one could hear Harrington groan. He hammered his pitch and the ball went directly into the pond.

Harrington took a long, lonely walk back to the other side of the water and hit his sixth shot to the back fringe. He chipped to three feet and holed out for the triple-bogey.

Now three ahead, Woods parred 17 and hit a great approach to five feet at the last. He converted that one for a final birdie, a great punctuation to a historic victory.

"It was a great battle all day," said Woods.

Woods wasted very little time in trimming his three-stroke deficit entering the round. He knocked his second shot to 24 feet at the par-five second and rolled in the eagle effort. That got him within one of Harrington, but that changed quickly.

At the par-four fourth, Woods played his approach to 13 feet and converted the birdie putt. Harrington hit a spectacular shot from the rough to 20 feet, but wasn't able to make the birdie.

Four holes in and the two were already tied.

Even the tie didn't last very long.

Woods made a long birdie putt at the par-three fifth. That put him at 11-under par and gave him a one-shot cushion over Harrington, who kept plodding along with pars.

Five holes in and Woods was in the lead.

Both players parred the sixth, seventh and eighth holes and Woods appeared to be in trouble at nine. He drove into the right rough, but hit a sensational approach to seven feet. Woods drained that putt for birdie and it appeared to be a seventh title.

Nine holes in and Woods had a two-shot lead.

But Harrington showed the mettle that made him a two-time major champion last year. He rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt at the 11th and Woods did well to make par after a terrible drive in the left rough. Harrington cut the deficit to one and took some momentum.

Woods missed the green at the par-three 12th, but saved par. He once again missed the short grass from the fairway at 13 and his chip came up well short. Woods had 14 feet for par, but his putt died to the right and two were tied atop the leaderboard at minus-11.

Woods drove into the left bunker at 14 and his second went right of the greenside trap. He duffed his third into the trap, took almost no time at all and nearly holed his bunker shot. Woods settled for a bogey, while Harrington ran home a gutsy 15-footer for par to move one clear of Woods.

Then the 16th happened to Harrington and it was later revealed the duo was put on the clock for slow play.

For Woods, it was yet another spectacular win.

More from TSN.


Let’s see . . . Sam Snead got his 70th Tour win at age 41 and Jack Nicklaus won his 70th at age 40. Tiger Woods is only 33 years of age, folks.

Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane Arrested In Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane was charged with attacking a cab driver in his home town Sunday, a beating police said was triggered when the driver did not have 20 cents in change to give the player and his cousin.

Buffalo police said the 20-year-old Kane and his 21-year-old cousin, James Kane, had apparently caught a cab from the city's downtown nightclub district at about 4 a.m. ET. The cab driver suffered cuts to his face and his glasses were damaged, police spokesman Michael DeGeorge said.

Both men were charged with felony robbery and misdemeanour counts of theft of services and criminal mischief. Patrick Kane, who earned US$875,000 last season, pleaded not guilty in local court Sunday, WIVB-TV reported. It was not immediately clear when James Kane will appear in court.

The driver said he was punched and hit by both men because he did not have 20 cents in change to give them, according to the police report.

A message left at the home of Patrick Kane's parents was not immediately returned Sunday afternoon. Relatives who answered his grandfather's phone and his mother's cell phone declined to comment and could not say whether either Kane had a lawyer.

A Blackhawks spokesman said the team is aware of the allegations against Kane.

"He is a big part of our organization and a team leader and we stand behind him," spokesman Brandon Faber said. "As we are still collecting all the facts, it would be premature to comment further at this time."

On Thursday, Patrick Kane was at a Buffalo ice rink where he played hockey as a child to help Mayor Byron Brown announce funding for improvements.

He said at the time he was happy to have time "to hang out back home in Buffalo."

"The best thing about it is my friends treat me like I'm a regular kid," said Kane, the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft. "They don't treat me like a celebrity or whatever they might treat me like in Chicago."

Kane played his first two NHL seasons with the Blackhawks and had 46 goals and 96 assists. He won the Calder Trophy, given to the league's best rookie, in 2008.


C’mon, Patrick. The cabbie didn’t have 20 cents in change to give you and your cousin? And, you earned $875,000 (U.S.) in salary as a professional hockey player last year? Booze makes people do some awfully strange things, doesn’t it folks?


Smith, Woodson Among 2009 Pro Football HOF Class

Canton, OH (Sports Network) - Bruce Smith, who spent most of his career chasing quarterbacks as an All-Pro defensive end with the Buffalo Bills, and longtime Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Rod Woodson were among the six new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted Saturday.

Smith and Woodson, eligible for the first time, were inducted along with linebacker Derrick Thomas, guard Randall McDaniel, wide receiver Bob Hayes and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. Thomas and Hayes were inducted posthumously.

The 2009 class increases the number of all-time greats permanently honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame to 253.

Smith, the first overall pick in the 1985 draft by the Buffalo Bills, is the NFL's all-time sack leader with 200. A member of both the NFL's All-Decade Teams of the 1980s and 1990s, Smith was named first-team All-Pro nine times and voted to 11 Pro Bowls.

"I have come full circle," Smith said. "By the grace of God I stand before you today. This induction into the Hall of Fame marks my passage into football's immortality."

The Virginia Tech product also played for the Washington Redskins in a career that spanned 1985-2003. He recorded 10 or more sacks in a record 13 seasons and helped the Bills reach four consecutive Super Bowls.

Woodson played for four different teams in 17 NFL seasons, but spent the majority of his career with Pittsburgh. The Steelers selected him with the 10th overall pick of the 1987 draft and he played 10 seasons with Pittsburgh before moving on to San Francisco, Baltimore and Oakland.

"It's an honor. I thought about what I was going to say, but to be on this stage, it's a whirlwind," Woodson said. "It's more than putting on the jacket -- it's being part of the elite team of pro football. I'm very humbled."

Woodson was a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994 and was selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. He intercepted 71 passes, which he returned for an NFL record 1,483 yards and a record 12 touchdowns, and was named All-Pro six times and voted to 11 Pro Bowls.

Both Smith and Woodson earned Defensive Player of the Year awards during their careers. Smith was chosen in 1990 and 1996, while Woodson captured the honor in 1993.

Thomas, who spent all 11 of his seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, amassed more sacks during the 1990s than any other player. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls, named All-NFL three times, and was All-AFC seven times in an eight-year stretch.

"The characteristics that set him apart on the football field were his endurance, his determination and his sportsmanship," said his mother, Edith Morgan. "Derrick would just come through and change the course of the game because the quarterback never knew where he was coming from."

The Chiefs selected Thomas with the fourth overall pick of the 1989 draft and the Alabama product finished his career with 126 1/2 sacks. He had 20 alone in 1990, including an NFL record seven in a game against Seattle.

Thomas was a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. He tragically died from injuries sustained in a car accident in 2000 at the age of 33.

McDaniel was named All-Pro nine straight seasons and voted to a record 12 consecutive AFC-NFC Pro Bowls during his 14-season career with the Minnesota Vikings (1988-1999) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2000-01).

"Wow. It's impossible to imagine a moment like this. It really defies words," McDaniel said. "In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine standing here today. To me, this moment (allows me to) have an opportunity to celebrate everyone who helped make this journey."

Hayes, a gold medalist track star in the 1964 Summer Olympics, combined his world class speed with great hands to change the game during his 11 seasons with Dallas and San Francisco. "Bullet Bob," a three-time All-Pro pick, caught 371 career passes for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns.

"He had another speed," said former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, who spoke on Hayes' behalf. "When I thought I overthrew him, I ended up underthrowing him. When Bob Hayes was running a route, you had to get the ball out in a quick manner. Thank you (to the selection committee) for making sure this great athlete is part of the Hall of Fame."

Known as the World's Fastest Human for his two gold medals in the 1964 Olympics, Hayes stretched the field with his speed. His 71 career TD catches remain a Cowboys club record. He died in 2002 at the age of 59.

Wilson founded the Buffalo Bills in 1959 and watched his team win back-to-back AFL titles in the mid-1960s. The Bills also became the only team ever to advance to four consecutive Super Bowls.

"(I had a choice of five different cities) of where I could place my franchise (in the AFL), and I picked Buffalo," Wilson said. "It was a lucky pick because over the years, they have supported the team in Buffalo beyond our fondest dreams. And without the support, I wouldn't be on this platform tonight."

Wilson was an integral part of the AFL's success and its merger with the NFL, and has also served on a number of important NFL committees over the years.

"There was a lot of animosity between the leagues at that time," Wilson said. "We would pool all the television money, which of course would help the smaller markets, and I was in favor of that. We would have a common ground, so we weren't bidding against each other for players. My talks didn't finalize the merger, it just set the parameters of how one would take place."

The Selection Committee made the choices from a list of 15 modern-era finalists and two Senior Committee finalists. A positive vote of 80 percent was necessary for election.

There were two reduction votes in the process. Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed, Bob Kuechenberg and Paul Tagliabue were the first five names cut from the list. Cris Carter, Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Russ Grimm and John Randle were then trimmed after the second vote, and only Senior finalist Claude Humphrey did not make the final cut.


Congrats to Pro Football’s ‘Class of 2009’ – Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, linebacker Derrick Thomas, guard Randall McDaniel, wide receiver Bob Hayes and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. Thomas and Hayes were inducted posthumously.

Violinist Plays U. S. National Anthem On Bat

A violinist for the National Symphony Orchestra made his major league debut Saturday night, playing the national anthem on a baseball bat before the game between the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Glenn Donnellan used an electric violin that he hand-crafted from a regulation bat--a Derek Jeter model--he bought at a local sporting goods store.

A dedicated musician and a baseball fan, the 39-year-old Donnellan was primed to put his two loves together.

Donnellan who's played with the NSO since 1997, said he met Robert Tanenbaum, one of the Nationals' owners, at an orchestra concert and told him he'd like to play the game-opening music on his bat-fiddle. After seeing a YouTube video of Donnellan's spirited, solo performance, Tanenbaum thought it would be a novel pre-game idea.

The YouTube post has already made Donnellan something of a cyberspace star--it's had more than 155,000 hits since he posted it last month.


To see Glenn Donnellan play the anthem on a bat, click below.

Pictures From Our Reader's Gardens



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The Things That People Send Me


A redneck fire alarm:



Deer Force Sydney School Lockdown

A HERD of mischievous deer sent a Sydney school into lockdown when they were caught wagging in the playground.

Police, RSPCA officers and Sutherland Shire Council workers attended Sylvania Heights Public school on Lisbon St this morning where the three animals were on the loose in the playground.

Police said the school went into lock down.

"Kids were all kept in their classrooms out of harm's way," a police spokesman said.

RSPCA spokeswoman Michelle Minehan said inspectors shot the animals with tranquilisers and were then handed over to the council.

Ms Minehan said the deer were likely to have wandered into the playground from the nearby Royal National Park.
"They're always out and about everywhere," she said.


Oh deer, what can the matter be?


Sensational Sand Sculptures





Tipple Top Of The World's Whisky

A WHISKY distilled more than 80 years ago has become the most expensive spirit of its type to be sold at auction.

The bottle of 50-year-old Macallan Anniversary sold for £11,750, including the auction house's charge of 17.5 per cent, at McTear's Auctioneers' rare and collectible whisky sale in Glasgow.

The whisky, which is a combination of three casks distilled between 1926 and 1928, was bottled in 1978 and is accompanied with a letter of authenticity dated July 4, 1983.

It was bought by a private collector based in California.

The whisky sale sold a total of 574 lots yesterday, making it the "largest sale of its kind in the world", a spokesman for the auctioneers said.

The spokesman added: "We are not aware of a Macallan Anniversary 50-year-old being sold at this price before anywhere in the world."

McTear's whisky specialist Andrew Bell said: "We knew that out of almost 600 different lots the Macallan Anniversary 50-year-old was the stand-out bottle in the sale and it's quite clear that others agreed.

"Whisky collectors from across the world joined the sale by phone and through the internet and the price paid is a reflection of its importance to collectors and investors in whisky."

Total sales were more than 50 per cent higher than expected and reached almost £155,000, including the buyer's premium.

Lots included a 60-year-old Royal Brackla which sold for £3,800 and a limited edition 1965 bottle of Ardbeg, which sold for £3,000 complete with glass museum case, cleaning kit and white gloves to handle the bottle.


Gimme a beer any day. Who in their right mind would pay that much for a drink?


There, I Fixed it!



Diane Banner for Don

'Hero' Greek Woman Sets Fire To Drunks Genitals

A 26-year old Greek woman has become an overnight national hero after setting fire to the genitals of a 23-year old drunken Briton who allegedly tried to sexually assault her in a crowded bar.

The unidentified woman from the fiercely proud island of Crete won herself even more praise by doing the right legal thing – turning herself over to police and the courts to be put on trial for what she claimed was her "right to self-defence".

She will face a magistrate on Friday to see if the case will go to court.

She is currently facing an investigating magistrate on charges of causing bodily injuries to the Briton and of endangering private property.

The Briton himself, whose name is expected to be released later, is currently in a private clinic in Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, being treated for second degree burns to his testicles and penis.

According to a police statement issued last night the incident occurred at a club in the notorious coastal resort of Malia, which is dominated by young Britons seeking all-night revelry.

It alleged the Briton took down his trousers and started waving his genitals at a number of girls. He then specifically "forcefully fondled" the 26-year old Greek woman, asking her to take hold of his genitals.

After asking him to stop harassing her, the police said, she poured the alcoholic drink Sabucco on his genitals (an Italian brand type of Greek ouzo or French Pernod drink).
This again allegedly failed to stop his advances, so the woman seized a lighter and set fire to the alcohol-drenched genitals, local press reports said.


Sounds to me like the guy was being a bit of a dick and got what he deserved.

Jeanne Ad 4 St Albert's Place

Famous Caricatures



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Porter Scores Game-Winning TD As Ticats Beat Esks

HAMILTON - Hamilton quarterback Quinton Porter threw for a touchdown and ran another in for the winner with 46 seconds left as the Tiger-Cats overcame a 12-point first-quarter deficit to beat the Edmonton Eskimos 28-21 on Saturday night.

The win at a rainy night at Ivor Wynne Stadium is Hamilton's second in a row. The Ticats (4-2) scored a touchdown off a pass, a rush, an interception return and a quarterback sneak. Running back DeAndra' Cobb, defensive back Geoff Tisdale and receiver Chris Davis each scored for the Hamilton before Porter's clincher.

Edmonton receiver Kamau Peterson caught a TD for the visitors, his first of the season.

Noel Prefontaine hit all four of his field-goal attempts, from 25, 10, 38 and 20 yards out for the Eskimos (3-3).

Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray had a touchdown pass and two interceptions.

The Eskimos went to the locker-room at halftime up 18-14. Trailing 21-14 midway through the third quarter, the Ticats went on a 75-yard drive that culminated in a 21-yard TD pass from Porter to Davis.

With Edmonton threatening at the Hamilton 21-yard line in the fourth, Ray's to Peterson in the end zone was intercepted by Markeith Knowlton.

After keeping the Eskimos deep in their own end, the Ticats got the ball back on the Edmonton 43-yard line with 1:39 left.

A 40-yard run by Cobb took it to the one-yard line and was initially thought to have scored, but after a challenge it was ruled his knee touched down at the one-yard line.

It didn't matter, as Porter kept the ball on the next play and ran it in for the major with 46 seconds left.

In the first quarter, with kicker Nick Setta set to punt deep in his own end zone, he conceded a safety. It marked the first time all season Edmonton scored first in a game.

The Eskimos scored again on their next possession, when Ray drove the ball 69 yards on 10 plays including a 33-yard pass-and-run by Fred Stamps.

Ray's five-yard TD pass to a wide-open Peterson in the back corner of the end zone, made the score 9-0 to end the quarter.

A 25-yard field goal by Prefontaine, set up by a 50-yard pass-and-run by Stamps, made it 12-0 and it looked like the Ticats were on their heels.

But on Hamilton's next possession, Porter drove the team 93 yards on nine plays, handing the ball off to Cobb for a six-yard TD run.

The fans had barely settled back in their seats before Hamilton defensive back Chris Thompson intercepted a Ray pass at the Hamilton 41-yard line.

He ran 21 yards to midfield and flipped it back to Tisdale who ran it the remaining 48 yards for the major and a sudden 14-12 Ticat lead.

Edmonton answered with two back-to-back field goals in the final two minutes, a 10-yarder by Prefontaine after a 44-yard drive with 1:39 left on the clock, and a 38-yarder with time expired after a 40-yard drive in 41 seconds.

Midway through the third, a 26-yard touchdown pass to Graeme Bell from Ray was called back for holding and the Esks eventually settled for a 20-yard field goal despite working their way back to a first down on the 16-yard line.


Same old story, folks. The Eskimos’ defence couldn’t stop anything when they had to and their offence could score when they had to in the fourth quarter. You don’t win many games that way.

Papa Federer Rejoins Tour With New Twins In Tow

World No. 1, family off to Montreal for upcoming Rogers Cup

FEUSISBERG, Switzerland — It was a few hours before the Federers’ first flight as a family. The new father, Roger, was sounding surprisingly relaxed as he sat on a terrace with a panoramic view of Lake Zurich and talked about crossing a much more imposing body of water — the Atlantic — with his wife, Mirka, and their identical twins, Charlene and Myla.

The girls were born July 23 in Zurich; they were checked out of the hospital Tuesday. They already have traveling papers, and the first international stop of their very young, presumably peripatetic lives will be Montreal. Federer will return to competition earlier than he expected, for the Rogers Cup, after one of the best runs of his or any tennis player’s life.

“I was obviously only going to do this if everything was safe and good,” Federer said Friday morning, in his first interview since he won Wimbledon last month. “Mirka went through a check yesterday. The babies have been at the hospital for 10 days, and everything is perfect. So we’re doing it. Big family. Big trip. On the bandwagon. I’m really excited to see how we’re going to manage it.”

For most of the world’s new parents, the idea of taking infant twins on a long-haul journey before they were three weeks old would not be cause for rejoicing. Not with baby carriers, economy-class seating and dread-filled seatmates to manage.

But Federer, for all his down-to-earth appeal, does enjoy his privileges. Although he often crosses oceans on commercial airplanes, he made Friday’s trans-Atlantic flight in a private jet, with a baby nurse on board to help Mirka and Roger negotiate the trip and the jet-lagged nights to come.

“That’s a big help,” Federer said. “But Mirka is really hands-on. It’s great to have the help, but I think it’s all been working well since we came home for three or four days. Mirka doesn’t mind getting up in the night, doesn’t mind feeding the babies at whatever time, changing the nappies. For her, if she can’t do it, it’s like she’s missing out on something.”

More from the New York Times.


It would be really nice to see a renewal of the Federer-Nadal rivalry in the final at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.


Is Hockey Falling From Grace?

Hockey has gradually lost a bit of its hold on the Canadian psyche, says well-known Alberta sociologist Reginald Bibby. Since this is doubtless both true and inevitable, given the country's wise embrace of immigration and the timeless contrariness of youth about embracing the passions of their parents, we can only console ourselves that another sport--Hand-wringing about Hockey--goes from strength to strength.

Indeed, hockey fans should probably thank the University of Lethbridge academic for undermining the myth of King Hockey--it allows us to have a more intelligent and focused discussion about the game's future if we do not insist, as a special Canadian form of political correctness, that everyone knows hockey inside out. Even better, Bibby's work gives us a break from the tiresome debate about fighting on the ice, and new material to consider when we return to it.

Many of us who love the game will wish to argue with his findings, the way hockey people invariably resist the smallest change. But arguing won't change the facts, which show a dramatic fall across the country in teenage interest--with the notable exception of Quebec, which showed a slight increase. In Ontario, which is home to fully half of the country's immigrants, interest among the province's teenagers has dropped from 40 per cent to 28 per cent in 15 years, while in Alberta, the fall is 56 per cent to 39 per cent.

And while older Canadians may be surprised, anyone who has brought up children over the years covered by Bibby's work knows immigration is not the whole story. New sports such as soccer have helped make international soccer stars competitive with hockey players for poster room on bedroom walls. And new entertainment opportunities, not least those related to the computer, have changed the arena in which hockey competes for attention.

Who knows? Maybe understanding these changes will reduce the New York-based NHL's unhelpful tendency to take Canadian fans' passions and pocketbooks for granted.


As I said yesterday in this space, I definitely think hockey is falling from grace and a big part of it is Gary Bettman and the NHL’s insistence on completely ‘Americanizing’ our national game.

Balancing The Budget – VANOC’s Olympic Task

VANCOUVER - In mere days, Vancouver's turn in the Olympic spotlight will be just six months away. The 2010 Winter Games, which have seemed years away forever, are now hurtling towards the city like an express train.

Mostly, the Games are ready. Venues have long since been finished, tested and found to function well. Completion of the troubled Olympic Village, despite its financial ills, is on target. Leadership of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for 2010 (VANOC) has remained largely intact, and not a whiff of scandal has risen to darken the Games' image.

And yet, for practically the first time since Vancouver secured the bid to stage the Winter Olympics more than six long years ago, the question is being asked: has the bloom gone off the rose?

Just when everything seemed to be going so well, the world-wide recession hit last year like a thunderbolt, and nothing has seemed easy since.

Scrimping, saving, scrounging and cutting have been the order of the day as VANOC struggles to cut costs and balance its $1.76-billion operating budget in the face of stagnating revenues.

Few talk any more about these being the best Winter Games ever.

"My vision is gone. I live in damage control now," Lucia Montanarella, the frank head of VANOC press operations, told a reporter recently. All the ‘nice to have things,' you lose them. Going through budget cuts is not unusual, but it's hard."

As a result, according to Ms. Montanarella: "These will be good Games, not spectacular."

NDP Olympic critic Kathy Corrigan said diminished expectations may dampen public enthusiasm for the Games. "When you ramp up expectations and don't meet them, when things don't work financially, then people are going to start to get a bit cynical about the Olympics," Ms. Corrigan said.

In a sombre, reflective assessment Friday, VANOC head John Furlong acknowledged the Games' changed circumstances.

"We thought this year would be all about executing and delivering services the way they were planned. But it's not as simple as it used to be," said Mr. Furlong.

"We will probably not spend a day between now and the end of the Olympics when we are not evaluating a decision against the costs of delivery...and the ground is always moving. It's an element we really hadn't thought we'd be dealing with today."

Although VANOC keeps financial details close to its chest, the situation may be getting worse, not better.

Known budget shortfalls amount to as much as $42-million - an undelilvered $30-million contribution from the International Olympic Committee because of a shortage of global sponsors, and $12-million in as yet unsold billboard advertising space.

Corporate buying of luxury, $285,000 packages to the Games, including limousine service and admissions to all the elite Olympic events, has stalled, and some provinces have still not ponied up funds for marketing and other privileges at the Games.

The cash crunch has forced VANOC officials to seek new dollars south of the border, offering U.S. states a similar chance to buy into the Games, and, in a surprise move last week, asking local businesses to lend them up to 1,500 employees for short-term Olympic service to ease payroll costs.

An experienced Olympic source called such an ambitious plea so close to the Feb. 10 opening ceremonies "an enormous red flag" showing the extent of VANOC's budget difficulties. "Asking companies for that amount of expertise at this point feeds conventional wisdom that there is going to be a significant budget deficit."

Mr. Furlong, however, insisted the Games' operating budget will be balanced. "It's challenging, it really is. But we are not going to lose our focus for even five seconds, so that the money in and the money out is neutral."

He further rejected any suggestion the 2010 Olympics will be some sort of lacklustre, recession-marred affair. Individual venues are spectacular, and the convention centre, where the international media will be based, is gorgeous, said Mr. Furlong. "The field of play, the television pictures will be stunning. It's going to be great."

As for the fiscal hurdles ahead, overcoming them will make the Games even sweeter, the VANOC chief said. "We all like the victories that we fight the hardest for."

Never, in his wildest imaginings, did Mr. Furlong think that simply meeting its budget could be VANOC's greatest achievement.

"Yet managing one of the most complicated projects in the world against this kind of economic backdrop and pulling it off might be the one area where we earn most of our kudos," he said. "None of us ever thought that."

And, at the end of the day, there might even be a small surplus, Mr. Furlong said. He permitted himself a smile.


The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games are turning into one big black, money-sucking sinkhole. I think when the IOC chooses a host city for the Olympic Games, a big part of the selection process comes down to identifying a host city that can survive one helluva financial hit.