Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Long Term Weather, DNA and Celebrities Behaving Badly - Oh yeah Super Tuscans too

Just a few quick riffs on things that caught my eye lately.

Experts at Simon Fraser University are warning the BC government that billions of dollars will be needed to combat the disasters which will befall the province in the upcoming decades due to extreme weather conditions.

Now I'm not going to disparage these experts but seeing as the weather experts in BC can't seem to get more than about a 50% success rate on a 14 day forecast I think maybe those billions of dollars can be earmarked for more immediate needs. I'm thinking health care, education and housing to start with.

In this age of high tech one thing we know for sure is that DNA testing is the "one true piece of evidence", if your DNA is there you did it - no doubt close the book.

Not so fast, an article in the science section of the New York Times shows that not only can DNA evidence be fabricated but that they don't even need access to blood or tissue to do it. Simply having your DNA profile recorded, which all convicted felons in the USA do, is enough to create a DNA sample. I can see a couple of interesting episodes of CSI coming out of this, plus of course havoc in the court system.

It was a bad weekend for a couple of high profile celebrities in the US, first off Serena Williams had a hissy fit over a "foot fault" call in her semi-final match of the US Open and then Kanye West decided that Taylor Swift should be the line he draws on racial inequality.

Serena Williams just lost it after a linesman called a foot fault against her, now granted foot faults in tennis are called about as much as travelling on Kobe Bryant or high sticking on Wayne Gretzky (when he cuts a guy in the playoffs and then scores the game winning goal, in a game he should've been tossed out of, in a game that would've sent the Leafs to the Stanley Cup Final against the Habs and made everything right in the universe...............) but I digress: so Serena had a reason to get upset, However when you threaten to "kill" the linesman I think you've crossed the line.

Serena's publicity machine got involved rather quickly and Serena issued an apologetic letter however Ms. Williams refuses to apologize in person or even identify the person she threatened to kill by name in her letter. Shame on Serena.

Sunday night on the MTV music awards, don't ask my soon to be 14 year old god daughter was over for dinner so the awards were on in the living room, Kanye West burst on stage to decry racism as the reason for young country singer Taylor Swift's victory over Beyonce.

Now I can understand Kanye thinking Beyonce's video was better, really who cares, but he certainly picked an odd battle to fight in my mind. Racism and double standards certainly still exist in our society but, outside of professional sports not played on ice or involving cars, I can think of no industry where blacks are more visible in their success than the music industry.

At least Kanye had the stones to apologize publicly. Of course since Kanye was a guest on the opening night of Jay Leno's new show and chose that venue to apologize, and since his appearance just after "the incident" was a ratings bonanza for Leno the whole things smells rather contrived.

I had the opportunity to taste 1997 and 1998 bottlings of both Sassicaia and Tignanello on Saturday night. This was no contest, all four wines were lovely, although the '98 Tignanello was nothing special, but the Sassicaia was clearly superior in both vintages.

I know most of my readers cellar vast quantities of Super Tuscans so I thought I'd just pass on the caution that the '98 Tig should really be consumed quickly.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Best Favre story ever and some political Math

For those of you who do not follow NFL football the travails of Brett Favre may be a mystery. Favre was the long time stellar quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Favre had a storied career and lead the Packers to a Super Bowl Victory before a tearful retirement after the 2007 season. End of story, wait a couple of years, induct Favre into the NFL Hall of Fame and that's it right ?

Not quite, you see the NFL is Brett's "Brokeback Mountain" and he just doesn't know how to quit it. Favre came back out of retirement forcing a nasty split up with the Packers, who still owned his rights, and a trade to New York where Brett proved, to many but not all, that he is done.

After New York collapsed down the stretch, causing their coach to be fired, Favre retired again. This time it was for real..............NOT. In August of Favre announced his unretirement and joined the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay's main divisional rival.

As illustrated in this new's story not everyone in Minnesota is pleased to have Brett "unretiring" in Minneapolis.

As a side note, as G Man pointed out, this may very well be the best Brett Favre story but is unlikely to be the best goat story we've heard.

In an unrelated story the BC Liberals announced yesterday that they would be going back on another election promise. This one involves giving $20 million in gaming revenue to the Arts Council of BC, oops sorry we've changed our minds.

First off I think that every member of the Liberal Party should have to go to the library, assuming that the library still has funding to stay open, and look of the meaning of the word promise...........maybe have them write it out a few times.

Secondly, in an economy where the government is struggling to raise capital this decision is patently stupid. The Liberal Party's own study shows that for every $1 invested in the Arts the government receives back $1.38 in tax revenue. If I meet somebody who gives me back $1.38 every time I give him $1 I'm going to try and find justification to give that guy more money, not less.

But "The Arts" are an easy target and reducing funding to them plays well in the heartland where the Liberals draw much of their uncontested support so it's a no-brainer as far as the government is concerned.

Sadly much of what this government does seems to fall into the category of "no brainer".