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Canada's New Banknotes Strike Some as Loonie

TORONTO—When Nicholos Billard's employer at an Ontario construction company gave him eight newly printed Canadian $100 bills as a Christmas bonus in 2011, he tossed them in an empty coffee can. The next morning, they were shriveled—by the heat of a nearby radiator, says his mother, who made local headlines when she tried to get the bills replaced. Canada started rolling out new, polymer-based $100 bills two years ago, followed by 50s and then, last November, 20s. The money—slick like a sheet of plastic, hard to fold and partly transparent—is more difficult to counterfeit than Canada's old paper-and-cotton bills. Australia and New Zealand have used similar, plasticized notes for years. The U.S. has no plans to introduce them. They've been a hard sell here so far, forcing the central bank to defend them against a growing list of allegations: They don't work in vending machines; they clump together; they melt. "I avoid getting those bills if I can," says Mr. Billard's mother, Mona. While the serial numbers on her son's bills were still legible, several banks refused to replace them, she said. Finally, last summer, the Bank of Canada, the central bank, exchanged them.

Canada's Yukon Has a Dare: Drink Garnished With ... Toe

Olives, limes, maraschino cherries, and pickled toes? That's right: In the Yukon Territory, one Dawson City saloon serves a drink garnished with a human toe. The tradition began in 1973, after a riverboat captain found a toe preserved in a pickle jar and decided it would be a good idea to drop the digit into a big glass of champagne then take a drink. Since then, more than 100,000 people are estimated to have taken part in the Sourtoe Cocktail ritual at the Downtown Hotel's Sourdough Saloon. The one rule: "The lips have gotta touch the toe." LINK: http://www.newser.com/story/157017/canadas-yukon-has-a-dare-drink-garnished-with-toe.html ORIGINAL STORY: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052970204349404578098803097975398.html

Canadians Bust Cheese-Smuggling Cops: Trio Made $165K Selling Cheap Cross-Border Cheese

First the great maple syrup heist, now this: Police in Canada have sniffed out a large-scale cheese-smuggling ring involving a serving police officer, an officer who resigned this summer, and an American accomplice. Cheese is a lot cheaper in the US than it is in Canada, and officials believe the trio bought at least $200,000 worth of the American stuff and sold it to Canadian pizzerias and other restaurants for a profit of $165,000, the Toronto Sun reports. The men have been charged with conspiracy, smuggling, and other violations of customs law. Smugglers bringing cases of cheese across the border can make up to $2,000 a trip if they can find a buyer, reports the CBC. "We get all our stuff legit," says one pizzeria owner who was questioned by police. "We thought it was a joke at first. Who is going to go around trying to sell smuggled cheese?" http://www.newser.com/story/154864/canadians-bust-cheese-smuggling-cops.html

Lovestruck Canadian puts life on hold to search for Irish woman he met for just two minutes

Dentist Sandy Crocker (28), from the Pacific coast province of British Columbia, flew more than 8,000 miles to track down the Irish woman. He is determined to find her and is criss-crossing Ireland searching for a woman in her mid to late- 20s with freckles and reddish brown hair. His unusual odyssey began last summer when the avid surfer and rugby player popped into An Teach Bia cafe in Ennistymon, Co Clare, on his way to visit the Cliffs of Moher. After the chance encounter on July 9, he realised that the woman had captured his heart. "She was eating and I didn't want to interrupt her meal so I waited until she was leaving and I asked her for directions to the Cliffs of Moher," he said. "I was leaving Ireland a day later so, at first, I didn't see the point in pursuing things -- but after she left I decided I had to. "Maybe it's a shot in dark but if it is meant to be, if it's fate, then who knows what might happen?" He is prepared for the worst if she turns out to be married or otherwise involved, or simply not interested, he added. He will be travelling around Clare for the next few days before heading to Cork. If he hasn't found his mystery woman by then, he plans to return to Co Clare before going to Belfast. In the meantime, he is hoping the woman will learn of his search and contact him via dating site www.pof.com under the username Travel-bug-4u. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/lovestruck-canadian-puts-life-on-hold-to-search-for-irish-woman-he-met-for-just-two-minutes-3234097.html

State Department: No secret plan to invade Canada

The U.S. and Mexico are not secretly planning to invade Canada, a State Department spokeswoman confirmed to laughter during a daily press briefing. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was taking questions from journalists about its activities Tuesday, which included a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mexico Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. She was asked about "a signing ceremony" with Espinosa – what was being signed and why was the ceremony not open to the press. The journalist asked, "This isn’t some secret thing … to invade Canada or something like that?" The U.S. did draw up a secret plan to invade Canada in 1935, codenamed "War Plan Red," some of which was accidentally published by mistake and reported by The New York Times. There is also a website called www.invadecanada.us, which lists reasons such as connecting the mainland U.S. with Alaska, "they’re just a little too proud," and "they stole our basketball teams."

Canadian Art: Painting of PM in the Nude Causes a Stir

It takes political transparency to a whole new level. Canadians got an eyeful Friday as images of a painting depicting the prime minister in the nude went viral. The large oil on canvas, which Stephen Harper did not pose for, is by Kingston, Ont.,-based artist Margaret Sutherland. It shows the prime minister reclining on a chaise lounge wearing nothing but a subtle smile, surrounded by people in suits, whose faces can't be seen. A dog rests at his feet as a woman in business attire offers him what looks like a Tim Hortons cup on a silver platter. The piece appeared to draw out the art critic in many Canucks. STORY: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/baring-painting-prime-minister-nude-causes-stir-161037709.html VIDEO: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/video/canews-22424922/nude-harper-portrait-makes-a-stir-29342442.html

Canadians Make a Racket Over Mysterious "Windsor Hum"

Unexplained Noise Spurs Diplomatic Fracas At Detroit Border; Americans Can't Hear It WINDSOR, Ontario—Last month, Bob Dechert, a senior aide to Canada's foreign minister, was dispatched to Detroit with an important diplomatic mission: To stop a highly annoying noise. The so-called Windsor hum, described as a low-frequency rumbling sound, has rattled windows and knocked objects off shelves in this border community just across the Detroit River from the Motor City. Locals have said it sounds like a large diesel truck idling, a loud boom box or the bass vocals of Barry White. Windsor residents have blamed the hum for causing illness, whipping dogs into frenzies, keeping cats housebound and sending goldfish to the surface in backyard ponds. Many have resorted to switching on their furnace fan all season to drown out the noise. Even weirder, Americans can't seem to hear it. Canadians find that suspicious—especially since their research suggests the hum is coming from the Yankees' side—and accuse U.S. officials of staying silent over the noise. "The government of Canada takes this issue seriously," Mr. Dechert said after his recent fact-finding trip, which included a visit to a heavily industrialized area on the American side of the river that some Canadian scientists believe is to blame for the hum. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303990604577370182557339816.html

Poor coaching decisions have derailed the Pistons

Looking at the way the Detroit Pistons have performed during their last 7 games ... it should now be relatively easy for others to see that the main reason this team has wallowed in the bottom third of the Eastern Conference Standings, to this point this season, has been the relatively poor job done by John Kuester and the Lack of Team Cohesion his personnel decisions have fostered. The stark reality for the Pistons this year is that … There has always been more than enough legitimate NBA talent on-hand for Detroit to compete effectively for a lower tier playoff position in the Eastern Conference … as long as their head coach doesn’t muck it up by: I. Refusing to settle on one of many different possible solid 8-9 player rotations; and, II. Creating a series of needless internal conflicts with the best players on the team. … in contrast to what you may have been told by certain ’stats gurus’ who think that the Pistons’ main problem has been rooted elsewhere.

— American idiom

Self-proclaimed "authentic genius" khandor is still short on self-awareness: ‘Parody is the most sincere form of flattery’ … according to the operators of this web site … whether or not the practicioner actually realizes it. Imitation and parody are not the same, khandor. You can ask Hubie Brown.

Pistons could now be heading towards the basement under Kuester

"He was cramping up and didn’t want to come out. I was so proud of the way he competed the whole time."
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