Thursday, April 26, 2012

You Don't Say... April 26, 2012

I'm not saying that the provincial budget passed this week in Ontario is perfect, but it is much better after a few NDP ammendments. Collecting $470 million from the 23, 000 Ontarians that make over $500,000 a year will help pay down the province's debt and will allow it to spend more on child care, rural hospitals in the north, welfare and disability benefits (the last 2 will go up by 1% each). The deal that was reached also saves Ontario from another election that would have likely ended up in another minority government. The link below is to a Toronto Star story on the budget.

Don't be fooled, though. The budget is still quite an austerity proclaimation. There is a war brewing with the public sector and I am terrified that a Liberal government is leading the charge. Here is a report from Global News on the document and highlights from Dwight Duncan's budget reading at Queen's Park.

Global News Budget Report \

Dwight Duncan Reads Budget Highlights

I'm not saying Warhorse was a bad movie, but it was way over the top and I think I got cavities from the incredibly sugary, sappy story. Sure, the film gave an excellent, accurate look at what the trenches were like in World War I, the plot weaved together well, the acting was ok and there was enough drama and emotion to satisfy most viewers; but, there were many moments that were lightyears from realistic or possible and many scenes became melodramatic when they didn't need to. It was the best of films, it was the worst of films - all rolled into one neat package.
I'm not saying I am on cloud 9 because the Tories defeated the upstart Wild Rose Party in the recent Alberta election, but I am ok with the fact that the oil-rich province didn't shift futher to the right than it already has. These are days where we must rejoice in small joys, my friends!

I'm not saying that it will have an overnight impact, but I am pleased that labour groups and unions held a mass protest at Queen's Park this week. The war on the public sector is going to be long and costly to all sides and the workers of Ontario need to step and battle to the death over hard-earned wages and benefits that make this the best place in the world to work. We can't engage in this race to the bottom that corporations and governments are trying to sell as the only way in their doom-and-gloom prognostications.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Music Break...Turisas and Alestorm

Hello again. After a short hiatus I'm back and I've brought with me some some enjoyable European metal with a sense of humour. First up is is Finland's folk/battle metal heavyweights Turisas. They do an inspired cover of Boney M's 'Rasputin'. I have also included videos for hits 'Stand Up and Fight' and 'Battle Metal 2008'.

Turisas 'Rasputin'

Turisas 'Stand Up and Fight'

Turisas 'Battle Metal 2008'

Yo ho ho! Next up is Scotland's own Alestorm, one of the very first Pirate Metal bands. They sing sea shanties about gold dubloons and the terrors of the sea in the style of a folk metal band. Sounds fun? It sure is! The accordian will get your toes tapping and the lyrics will make you want to buy a sword and grow a scruffy beard. Here I present the videos for 'Shipwrecked' and 'Keelhauled'. Check em' out if you like what you hear. Cheers!

Alestorm 'Shipwrecked'

Alestorm 'Keelhauled'

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You Don't Say... April 15, 2012

I'm not saying the Daulton McGuinty and his minority Liberal government should pack up and go home right now, but he can kiss his long-term political future goodbye if he picks a fight with teachers and doctors. These two groups have strong, militant unions and don't like being threatened with, for example 10,000 elementary school teachers and staff being fired unless their union accepts a pay freeze for the next 2 yeras. That is not good-faith bargaining, it won't get a deal done any faster in either case, and it doesn't help students or patients in the long run. As I have stated before, I am not entirely opposed to a pay freeze for both groups as long as the grid system for teachers is not frozen as well; however, the strong-arm tactics are not going to work and Ontario teacher unions have been known to mobilize their thousands-strong forces to make life, shall we say, turbulant for any party that treats them unfairly. This is especially a bad time to go after them considering the Liberal budget may fall and an election might just be around the corner...

I'm not saying that I'm going to dance naked in the street or anything, but I am thrilled beyond words taht the Los Angeles Kings are up 2-0 on the Vancouver Canucks in their Western Conference Quarter Final series.  I have been a Kings fan since Wayne Gretzky landed there in 1988 and this is their first real chance at playoff success since their trip to the finals in 1993. Furthermore, Vancouver is the most hated team in the NHL for a reason. They have the likes of Max Lapierre, Alex Burrows and a plethora of others who dive and embellish any little bump to the highest degree. They yap, they whine and they try to get away with every shortcut in the book. L.A. hasn't eliminated the Canucks yet, but winning tonight at home to make it 3-0 would put a stranglehold on the series. Below is highlights from game 2:

I'm not saying that Kim Jong-Un is a carbon copy of his old man, but his first official speech as leader of North Korea sounded a lot like what his daddy would have said. He would be a proud papa, indeed. Un beat the drums of war and what he sees as a modern nuclear arms race, for which he would rather spend his country's puny resources than on feeding his own people or bringing them things like, oh I don't know, heat and electricity. Chip of the old block indeed. Let's hope he uses that foreign-educated noggin of his to blaze a better trail and one can pray that he works with the international community to stop this insanity and bring prosperity back to his people. Below is an HD5 news report about the speech:

I'm not saying that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was acting deliberately and maliciously when he gave out his office phone number today to any youth who want to know about minor football programs, which is against the code of conduct for city councillors. I just think he is forgetful, ignorant of the rules and simply doesn't give a damn. He says he meant to give his private number, not his office number, though this is the second time something like this has happened. Do we really want a man with such bad "memory problems" and who obviously doesn't think the code of conduct applies to him running Toronto?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Making the Grade: Monday Night Raw, April 9, 2012

It's time for the weekly Raw review and opinions, but I have decided to change the title and the format. I have discovered that other blogs use the "Good, Bad and Meh" idea, so I'm going for the title "Making the Grade". Other blogs also use letter and number grades, so I'm going to use words. From now on a match or segment can be "Excellent", "Good", "Ordinary", "Bad" or "Terrible" and added  word length means that that item is more extremely in that category. Let's try it out. And we're offfffff:

Brock Lesnar/John Cena Brawl
I really liked this segment. It was mostly action and very little talking. And it was a proper Donnybrook in the ring, which got the crowd roaring. This passion and violence is what was missing in the Cena/Rock buildup before Wrestlemania. Cena's slap to Lesnar was audacious and unexpected, but an understandable response to the unprovoked F-5 Brock gave Johnny last week. This was an Attitude-Era brawl and Cena took a legit. shot to the face from big ol' Brock. Cena smiling afterwards like he enjoyed the battle also fits his character. I call that starting the show with a bang! The locker room emptying added some excitement to the conflict, although it raises the question: why don't the superstars all come out to stop every brawl or attack that happens in the ring?
Rating: Excellent

John Laurinaitis takes out his rage on Teddy Long and uses Teddy as his patsy backstage
This is an expected reaction from the heel GM and furthers the Laurinaitis/Long rivalry that I'm sure will come to a head again months down the line.
Rating: Good

Brodus "Funkasaurus" Clay/Santino Marella (faces) vs. Jack Swagger/Dolph Ziggler (heels)
It's nice to see Clay in a proper match with real competition, but I don't like how he is being sold as a beast of a wrestler. Brodus no-sold Ziggler's attacks on several occassions and Brodus ultimately pinned Dolph, making the "Show-off" look weak. That is not how to build someone who has championship-ready skills up. Funkasaurus is never going to be WWE champ, but Ziggler should be and he didn't look as strong as he should have in this match. The contest was fine otherwise and it was nice to see Jack Swagger take Clay down and get a few moves against him in, but, again, that should have been Ziggler. Furthermore, Santino was his entertaining self and the performers were given enough time to tell a good story in the ring.
Rating: Good but lacking in logic

John Cena confronts John Laurinaitis Backstage
Cena showed his ruthless, aggressive side for once and demanded a match. For some reason, the GM decided to throw his best bud David Otunga to the wolves, saying that he would face Cena in a match later on in the night. If that's how he treats his friends...
Rating: Good

R-Truth (face) vs. Cody Rhodes (heel)
This was short match because the Big Show came out, distracted Cody Rhodes and allowed R-Truth to hit the "Little Jimmy" for the pin. I like that this rivalry is continuing and this is a logical step in that direction, but they could have given these 2 charismatic workers more time before the interruption to show their wrestling skills. The match was barely 2 minutes long!
Rating: Ordinary

Santino hunts for and finds the 3 Stooges in a gigantic box
Obvious movie promo, but it was mildly funny. I can't believe I am writing this, but the actors chosen to play this generation of the iconic slapstick comedians actually do an admirable job, especially Chris Diamantopoulos in his Moe makeup.
Rating: Good for what it was

Lord "Albert" Tensai (heel) vs. Yoshi Tatsu (face)
Tatsu, a Japanese wrestler, challenges Tensai because he isn't "real Japanese". Ok. Tensai comes out and squashes Tatsu, who gets no offence in whatsoever. Ok. The ref stops the match because he thinks Yoshi is getting brutalized, even though everyone watching has seen a worse beatdown in the past where the ref at least allowed th match to end with a pinfall. Ok. Tensai attacks Tatsu after the bell again because he is this dominant monster guy, or something. Ok. I know WWE is trying to use the Brodus Clay method to build the Lord up in his current WWE run, but it just doesn't make sense and it just isn't entertaining. I did like the crowd chants of "Albert", though.
Rating: Bad

CM Punk (face) vs. Mark Henry (heel) for the WWE Championship with interruptions by Chris Jericho
Punk showed a suitable amount of anger in his albeit long speech to start the segment, as he said he will use the anger he has from Jericho's actions last week to kick Jericho's ass. Then Jericho appeared on the Titantron and did what he does so well: he taunted the champ about pouring alcohol on his body last week with such venom and hatred that it's impossible for anyone not to hate him. That caused Punk to react by attacking Mark Henry with a TV monitor when the match started, effectively getting himself disqualified. And I liked how Jericho and Henry then teamed up to take Punk out, which was followed by beer being poured on the Straight Edge Superstar by Y2J, giving the feud an incredible amount of emotion and heat.The build before Wrestlemania was good, but now it's getting really personal and nasty. Nice!! My only complaints are that Punk and Henry didn't get to have any sort of match before the craziness ensued and that this segment was buried in the middle of the show. It should take priority over Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus.
Rating: Gooood, almost excellent

Zack Ryder (face) vs. Alberto Del Rio (heel)
This match had so much potential, as both guys are charismatic wrestlers with lots of in-ring skill. Too bad the company keeps using Ryder as a jobber, as he tapped out to Del Rio's cross armbreaker in under 2 minutes. No real match or offense for Ryder, just a way to get Alberto over so he can look like a legit. contender to Sheamus' World Championship. Ryder deserves better and the audience deserves to see a proper match once in a while. I hate squash jobs like this when there is potential for a great match.
Rating: Baaaaad

The Three Stooges Promo
The actor playing Curly came out dressed as Hulk Hogan? TNA's Hulk Hogan? Really? REALLY? I admit it was a good imitation, but I am glad that Kane came out and chokeslammed him, cutting the segment mercifully short. On the other hand, they took away time from Ryder/Del Rio to run this waste of time! Arggh
Rating: Terrible

Mark Henry Interview Backstage
Henry claimed that Punk intentionally got disqualified  because he knows he can't beat the World's Strongest Man. Makes sense. He also said that next week he will beat Punk to take his title. Fair enough. This was an interview that kept their rivalry, which includes Chris Jericho interludes and interference, going, which is a good thing in my book. Henry isn't great on the mic, but this segment did its job.
Rating: Good

Brock Lesnar Interview
Lesner is so terrible on the mic. He never looks at the camera and his voice doesn't sound intimidating at all. Luckily, this interview was short. Brock needs to do his talking in the ring, where he can unleash the beast.
Rating: Ordinary

John Cena (face) vs. David Otunga (heel) with John Laurinaitis at ringside in the main event
The match was short, but Otunga showed some personality, flexing and posing in the ring when Cena was down on the mat. The world knew that Cena would win, which he did with the STF hold. The world wasn't necessarily expecting Brock Lesnar to come out and drop Cena with another F-5, though, considering they brawled to start the broadcast. Well, they are establishing Brock has a top heel and John Laurinaitis' go-to guy, which is alright. Their feud is much more 1-dimensional than Punk/Jericho, but Cena and Lesnar are mega stars and the WWE needs to take advantage of the heat from Lesnar's recent return for as long as possible.
Rating: Good

This show wasn't terrible overall and the main rivalries between Punk and Jericho and Lesnar and Cena took steps forward. As usual, most of the matches could have been longer and better planned and the WWE needs to stop having 3 or 4 squash segments on every show. In fact, there were only 2 contests I would dare to call proper matches. The crowd wasn't bad, but not nearly as hot as last week. To me, a better show would have less movie promos and less-but-longer-and-better matches in the ring. Maybe next week...                

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On Abortion

After reading the post entitled "Why the Abortion Debate is Polarized" on The Scott Ross's blog ( ) and reading the subsequent comments, I got to thinking about my own views on abortion. I consider myself a pro-choice person for the most part and a progressive and I want to contribute some food for thought to this discussion. Here goes:

1. I believe that abortions should be legal at any point in a pregnancy if there are serious health concerns for the mother and/or the baby. There are problems that can be discovered well into trimester 3 that fully justify, in my opinion, an abortion. And let me also add that there also needs to be room in the law to take into account sexual assault and the denial, fear and shame that come with it as well not having access to an abortion clinic. To me, there are a number of circumstances in which a woman should be able to get an abortion late in their pregnancy.

2. I believe that, in a healthy pregnancy, abortions should be limited to the period before a vast majority of babies would survive outside the womb. If 75% of babies, for example, could survive after 25 weeks, then 25 weeks should be the cut off for abortions. Once a pregnancy is well into the third trimester, why can't a woman have a C-section (if a doctor is willing to perform it and he/she thinks the baby will develop properly and be healthy) or carry the birth until full term and then give it up for adoption? That way the kid can still have a life and the mother doesn't have to be responsible for it.

3. why would a woman need to wait till the third trimester to have an abortion? It doesn't take 20+ weeks for anyone to realize that they can't afford or care for a youngin' properly. I understand that it's a big decision that should be considered carefully over some time, but surely this can be done in less than 20 weeks?

4. I will concede a couple of things: I know that this "conversation" the Conservatives want to have is probably the first step in an attempt to outlaw all abortions, so they shouldn't be trusted or taken at face value. Stephen Woodworth et. al. no doubt believe that if they can start limiting abortions now, they can make them altogether illegal in the future, which can NOT be permitted to happen. On the other hand, there is some logic in the thought a baby's life has value and it stands to reason that the rights of the soon-to-be-infant should be considered in this debate.

I will also admit that women should have the final say about what happens to their body; however, it's selfish not to consider the wishes of the father and the baby when deciding to have/not have an abortion. It took 2 people to get pregnant and now there is a baby in the womb, so all 3 need to be part of the final decision. I think the debate gets framed in the wrong way and people often will say "a bureaucrat in Ottawa has no right to intrude on my privacy and can't tell me what I can/can't do with my body" but I don't think it's that simple. The government has a responsibility to keep all people healthy and safe and already has many laws about what men, women and children can do with their bodies. And I think the government would be walking that fine line between giving women control of their bodies and making laws to keep people healthy and safe by allowing women to have abortions up until the 25th ish week and allowing them later if there are extenuating circumstances that justify it.

This is an issue that I would love to have a discussion with everyone about. Please feel free to leave comments below and don't worry if you are pro-life, pro-choice or somewhere in between. There is room for everyone here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You Don't Say... April 10, 2012

I'm not saying that Peter MacKay is a weasel-faced weasel, but if the shoe fits...he admitted over the weekend that he KNEW about the extra $10 billion that the F-35 fighter jets would cost Canadians 2 YEARS AGO!! His excuse? That the extra 10 bill is the fuel/maintanance/crew costs associated with the planes. So why didn't you tell us, Peter, about the real lifetime costs of these jets when you had the chance instead of insisting it would be $15 billion instead of $25 billion? Your lies and excuses are not good enough for the Auditor General or for the general public. Time to resign maybe?? Yes sir! And by the way, saying that this is how all military spending is reported raises tons of red flags for me. I think an audit of all of our military purchases is needed so that Canadians can finally have an honest picture of what we are spending on the trappings of war.

Some Toronto Star articles based on this story:

I'm not saying it's going to stay like this all season, but it was brilliant to see a full house for the Jays home opener last night. There were so many people walking around in the new/retro awesome Jays jerseys and shirts before the game as well. There is a buzz for the Toronto Blue Jays like there hasn't been in years in this city! That is 2 parts optimism over a solid team on the field and 1 part excellent new team merchandise. Too bad the sellout crowd saw Closer Sergio Santos fall apart in the 9th and cause the team to lose 4-2 to the Boston Red Sox, one of the Jays' biggest rivals. The team needs to win the next 2 games in the series to get off to a good start and to keep the good will and optimism alive among fickel, cynical baseball fans in Toronto.

Here's a short Toronto Star video filmed outside the Dome before the game:

I'm not saying I told you it was a good idea, but a new survey conducted by Environics Research for the (albeit left-wing) Broadbent Institute has found that 64 % of the 2,000 people surveyed are willing to pay at least "slightly higher taxes" in order to battle the growing gap between the rich, middle class and poor in Canada. The study even found that Conservatives were on board: 58 % would pay more to save social programs and 62% of Tories would accept raising corporate taxes back to 19.5%, the 2008 rate, which is much higher than the 15% they pay now.

The income gap is a growing problem that everyone realizes can't be ignored and it appears that Canadians are appealing for the government to step in and do something about it. Harper and Co. may ignore these results from a "Leftist Group", but if other polls show similar numbers (and I am willing to wager they will), then it's time for the provincial and federal governments to give the people what they want: tax fairness to bring this great country closer to the equality of yesteryear.

Here is the Toronto Star's report on the survey:

I'm not saying that the provincial budget's fate now being in the hands of the NDP will miraculously fix all the wrongs in the legislation, but I am hopeful that it will push it further left than the Liberals would have taken it. Maybe they will force Premier McGuinty to raise the corporate tax rate, provide more money for education, healthcare and culture or spend more creating social, infrastructure and job programs for Ontarians. NDP leader Andrea Horwath has the ability to make the Premier dance and here's hoping she plays the right tune.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

On Recent Conservative Blunders and a good week for the Liberal Party

So, in the last week the Harper Gover...nope, can't do it...the deceitful big C Conservatives have taken two massive missteps. And after all the bad press over Robogate, these blunders couldn't have come at a worse time.
First of all, it was leaked recently, by Conservative government offices no less, that the F-35 the federal government want to purchase will cost 10 billion more dollars than they claim they were led to believe. This claim is obviously nonsense, as many experts warned the government that they were grossly underestimating the lifetime cost of these high-flying war machines and it is clear now that Harper's numbers were just part of their election strategy before winning a majority government last May. Man, even the Auditor-General is saying Harper's people knew they were lying and misleading the country. Who would have thought that the Prime Minister of all people could tightly control and manipulate information and lie outright to the people of Canada just to win his precious majority in the House of Commons?

Well, the previously spineless Liberals are actually ready to act and are raking Harper over the coals for this outrage. Interim leader Bob Rae is showing surprising testicular fortitude and is calling for the Prime Minister's head...I mean resignation, stating that a CEO of a business would be forced to resign if he misled his company and cost them $10 billion more than they bargained for. Video of Rae's speech is below.

Bob Rae calls for Stephen Harper to resign

The other mistake was talking a big game and then not being able to deliver. Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau talked smack about Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, who is of course the son of famed Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and agreed to a boxing match against the young Liberal for charity. Well, the fight was on March 31st and was carried on Sun News, a show claiming to be legitimate news but in reality is nothing more than a conservative-slanted sounding board. That was evident throughout the fight, as Trudeau was called "Justine" and "Shiny Pony" throughout the fight until he KO'ed Brazeau in the second round! The Sunshine Boys didn't expect or like the outcome so much and I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face watching Justin Trudeau take apart Senator Brazeau. Video of the Sun News fight coverage is below.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau knocks out Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau

So, the Liberal party scored 2 victories this week: one in parliament and one in the squared circle. Hopefully the NDP and John Q. Public will join in the call for Harper's head and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Tories get knocked out just as hard in the next federal election. Keep it up boys, you are making the Federal Conservative Party and all their minions look goooooooooood!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Meh on WRESTLEMANIA XXVIII

Wrestlemania 28 Highlights Wrestlemania is the granddaddy of all WWE pay-per-views, so I am going to give it proper treatment. I am going to review each segment and match in order and give it a rating of 'Good', 'Bad' or 'Meh'. At the end of my review I will give it an overall score and final comments. Right, let's snap into it:

Daniel Bryan (Heel) vs. Sheamus (face)for the Heavyweight Title
What?!?!?! A 16-second match for the title? Daniel Bryan gets a good luck kiss from his GF AJ, turns around and gets knocked out with a brogue kick? Are they trying to bury Bryan, like they have done with many other young stars, to see how he handles it? Or is this a double-switch? Daniel is the bad guy, yet the crowd was cheering like mad for him. Maybe they want to build some sympathy for him and turn him face again? Either way, they risk making Daniel Bryan and the World Title less prominent by booking a short squash match, and to do it at Wrestlemania takes testicular fortitude.
Rating: Meh

Kane (Heel) vs. Randy Orton (Face)
This was a very good mid-card match. There was a story here and good back-and-forth action. Kane's chokeslam from the second rope was surprising, as was how he got up and chokeslammed Orton when Randy was going for the punt kick. It was nice to see Kane win clean, making him look a little bit like the monster he returned as. He needed a win after getting vanquished by John Cena months back and I am thanking the heavens that Orton didn't hit an RKO out of nowhere after getting dominated, which happens too often with him.
Rating: Good 

Deadliest Catch Promo
I don't like these promos in general, but there were a few humourous moments. Attacking the crab with the Cobra and Mr. Socko was pretty funny and having Ron Simmons come in and say "Damn" was a fitting end, especially since he just inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. I'm going to give it a mixed rating, as it was funny but still a promo for a TV show and taking away time from quality matches...cough Daniel Bryan and Sheamus cough...
Rating: Meh

Cody Rhodes (Heel) vs. The Big Show (Face) for the Intercontinental Championship
The build up to this match excellent, what with Cody playing a lot of videos showing Big Show's embarassing moments to get him flustered. Rhodes is ready for superstardom. This was a charisma and power moves match full of power slams, but definately lacking technical maneouvers. Cody did get a couple leg locks in and worked the crowd well. Show used a couple nice counters near the end and knocked out Cody with a big right hand to win the belt. Ok mid-card match and now Rhodes is free to compete for the WWE title, but the crowd seemed disinterested till the end.
Rating: Meh

Maria Menounos/Kelly Kelly (faces) vs. Eve/Beth Phoenix (heels) in a Divas Tag Team match Maria Menounos of Extra was this year's celebrity involvement at Wrestlemania. She held her own for someone with fractured ribs and very little wrestling training and the ladies were actually given a few minutes to tell their story in the ring. Shocking. Menouncos actually took a lot of punishment in there and Kelly's flip off the top rope was well executed. Maria scored the pin on a roll-up of Beth Phoenix. It was obvious that the celebrity would get the win, but a roll-up is not enough to take down the divas champ; however, with Maria's limited skill set, what else could they do?
Rating: Meh

Triple H (Face) vs. Undertaker (face) with Shawn Michaels (face) as special referee in a Hell-in-a-Cell-End-of-an-Era match
It was a classy move to have Jim Ross call this match, as he was the voice of the WWE during the late 90's, the heyday of these three superstars. I loved HHH's entrance and Undertaker's Shredder costume and short haircut. I was waiting to see his nearly bald head and it was shocking to see it on him after years of having long locks. It was also fitting that the match was in the Satanic structure, as this match became synonymous with the Dead Man. One question for JR, though: can an inanimate structure (the cell) be morally corrupt? Anyway, there was so much emotion and drama in this contest and Michaels' face sold it so well. I thought it made sense that HHH and the Showstopper teamed up in attempt to finish off the Undertaker, which ultimately failed, especially since Taker has beaten both of them in Wrestlemania's past. There were chair shots, sledgehammer shots, steel step blows and a flurry of finishing moves. The Undertaker's back was the colour of a lobster by the conclusion of the contest. A great story was also told, which included lots of near-falls and changes in momentum. The correct man won in the end, as The Dead Man hit a final Tombstone Piledriver after a sledgehammer shot, running his Mania record to 20-0. This match was even better than their clash at last year's Showcase of the Immortals and was easily match of the night. The aftermath was also highly emotional, as Taker and Shawn Michaels helped drag Triple H out of the ring and the three shared a hug on the stage, signalling that all 3 careers may now be over.
Rating: Gooooooooooood

Hall of Famers presented on stage
This is a nice moment every year. It was great to see Edge, Ron Simmons and the 4 Horsemen among the HOF inductees. I remember being amazed at seeing Edge get put through 2 tables during a match with John Cena once. It was a bit odd to see Ric Flair on that stage, though, given that he is still an employee of TNA.
Rating: Good

Flo Rida knocks out Heath Slater Backstage
It was just a way to get Heath on the show and to hype Flo Rida.
Rating: Somewhere between Bad and Meh

Team Johnny (The Miz, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre and David Otunga, Heels) vs. Team Teddy (Santino Marella, Booker T, Kofi Kingston, Great Khali, Zack Ryder and R-Truth, faces) for control of Raw and Smackdown
There were some nice spots, such as a triple suicide dive from Team Teddy, but the end was unsatisfactory. Not everyone had gotten into the match and the Miz, the guy who kept getting beat in squash matches before Mania, scored the pin over Zack Ryder. Then Ryder, who has been jobbed enough lately, took a low blow from Eve. WWE needs to start building Zack back up, not tear him down even more. They also should have found someone else to get the win, not a bigtime loser in recent months. Looks like the rollercoaster for the Awesome One continues: awesome 2010 and early 2011, horrendous 2011 and early 2012 and now a turnaround again? This was a Raw match at best.
Rating: Almost Meh

GM John Laurinaitis tells CM Punk that if he gets disqualified in his match, he will lose his title
This move cements Johnny Ace as a heel GM and adds more intrigue to his match with Chris Jericho. It's the icing on the cake of the awesome buildup to this match and fits the storyline really well, as Jericho has been bashing Punk's family and taunting his foe and Punk has started to lose control as a result.
Rating: Good

Chris Jericho (Heel) vs. CM Punk (Face) for the WWE Championship
Now this is what I'm talking about!!! It was by far the best "wrestling" match on the card and featured more counters in the last 5 minutes than in all the homes in China combined. Both wrestlers also kicked got out of each other's finishing manouevers several times. Brilliant match. It was just like the buildup of the rivalry: No frills, no grand entrances, no interference, just superb wrestling. they let their skills in the ring do the talking and Punk pulled off the victory with the Anaconda Vice, which works for me. He needs to be champ for a long time to give his reign and the belt some meaning again. The crowd seemed to enjoy this contest, too, as they were chanting and into the match from the getgo. Chris Jericho did a wonderful job trying to goad Punk into hitting him with a chair so that Punk would be disqualified, thus making Jericho the new champion. Great use of psychology by the ultimate villain. The suplex to the floor by Y2J was another match highlight. This rivalry and match is what every Wrestlemania contest aspires to be.
Rating: Goooood

Brodus Clay Dances with his Mama
This was just a short filler to give fans a breather between the Punk/Jericho and Rock/Cena match. It was also a way to put distance between the matches so that Rock/Cena didn't look slow and sloppy in the ring. Many people find Funkasaurus amusing, but I'm not on the bandwagon. This skit also took time away from the Sheamus/Daniel Bryan and Big Show/Cody Rhodes matches, making it a fail in my book.
Rating: Bad

The Rock (Face) vs. John Cena (Face) in the Main Event
Having MGK and Flo Rida sing before John Cena and the Rock, respectively, came to the ring gave this match the hype and main event feel that the year-long buildup to it failed to do. The crowd was insane for it as well. Cena good booed out of the building and the Rock received a hero's welcome from his hometown crowd. What a pop!
The beginning of the match was a bit slow and Rock looked tired quickly, but the combatants really picked it up and made the last 10 minutes special. THe moves were executed well and each man got huge crowd reactions when they kicked out of each other's finishing moves. A personal highlight was the Rock getting his arm up before the ref dropped it a third time while he was in the STF. If it had dropped again, the Rock would have lost the match. I'm a sucker for this oldschool crowd pleaser, what can I say? Additionally, I did enjoy it when Cena caught the Rock after his dive off the top rope and delivered an Attitude Adjustment.
I thought it was genius to have Cena mock the Rock by preparing to drop the People's Elbow, only to have the Rock get up and counter it with a Rock Bottom for the victory. Hopefully this will be the start of Cena having more edge and a chip on his shoulder, and hopefully the Rock will stick around for next year's Mania. It was a surprise to have the Rock, a part-timer, beat John Cena, the face of the company, but WWE does like to send Wrestlemania crowds home happy and something tells me this rivalry isn't dead.
Rating: Gooood

Overall: 80/100
3 matches made this a special, memorable Wrestlemania. Undertaker/HHH was an epic, legendary contest that won't be topped. Meanwhile, Punk/Jericho was a brilliant "wrestling" match and Rock/Cena had the excitement of a main event worthy of Wrestlemania. The rest of the card and the skits were good enough to keep the show interesting between big matches, but weren't all that great. I was really let down by Sheamus/Daniel Bryan and I hope their was a reason behind squashing Bryan. I've seen the show twice now and I liked it more the second time, which is a testament to the fact that it was a good show.

Monday, April 02, 2012

You Don't Say... On the Federal Budget 2012

I'm not saying that the federal government alone is responsible for stimulating Canada's economy, but putting the majority of the burden on businesses is economic suicide. How are companies who are quick to outsource jobs and to make employees "part time" so as to not have to pay them benefits going to save our economy? They pay less corporate taxes every year and now the Conservatives are taking away regulations left, right and centre. This is the same formula that led banks in Europe and the US to collapse and begin this brutal recession in the first place. Greedy businesses' main motive is to increase their profit margin and many have a long history of hording our money, therefore the government should add regulations to make sure they play fairly and give back. Also, the government needs to still invest in targeted stimulus, like infrastructure projects, to create jobs and help people get out of the deep holes they have fallen into.

I'm not saying that I'm afraid of working hard my whole life, but raising the age that Old Age Security kicks in to 67 is unfair to the generation before me, mine and the generations that will come after me. My generation is the first in HISTORY that is expected to live shorter lives than our predecessors and now it will be the first in a long time expected to work till a later age than our parents. We are now basically expected to work until we die. Some people are lucky enough to have pensions that will hopefully kick in before 67, but there are people who don't and almost soley rely on Old Age Security once they finish working. And those people, after 40 + years of work, deserve to enjoy their last 20 or 30 years without having to bust their backs. Leave the work to the young and allow those who have paid their dues already to relax and enjoy retirement at a reasonable age.

I'm not saying that its fantastic to hear that the penny will be pulled from circulation, but my pocket will certainly be glad about this news. The penny is practically worthless and it's value is much lower than the cost to produce it. The only possible downside, besides losing part of Canada's history, is that I can predict right now that most stores will adjust their prices in an upward direction so that the price for single goods will end in a '5' or '0'. This could end up costing us a few bucks each year.

I'm not saying that the budget will mean complete environmental devastation, but it does pave the way for more pipelines and less money for the environmental agencies and the ministry of the environment. The government is counting on a ton of money from Canadian exports and a large chunk of that is expected to come from tar sands oil. That spells doom for the air and land in Alberta around the sands and raises the spectre of a catastrophic leak somewhere along the pipeline. And now the ministry and agencies that would normally sound alarm bells about oil projects have been neutered so they can't tell Stephen Harper how his war on the environment is almost as bad as Mao and Hitler's against dissidents and intellectuals.