Blog Posts by John Size

  • The building was 'completely destroyed' after firefighters arrived with 'boots on the ground' to find it 'fully engulfed in flames' that's believed to be the work of a 'bomb-throwing anarchist'.

    We've all read stories in newspapers, or magazines and online that contain words and phrases that make us either seethe with anger or wonder where the art of plain, concise writing was lost.

    Several of the phrases at the top of this story raised the 'ilk' of readers of The New York Times magazine, which asked readers to submit their opinions after a blog post about an old editing document titled "Words We Don't Say" surfaced in the newsroom, written by bestselling author Kurt Andersen when he was an editor.

    Readers had no qualms about 'weighing in' on the issue, clearing up a lot of cliches, corporate lingo and poor grammar.

    "Don't ever, ever, ever say 'utilize.' Say 'use'. Would you say software is 'utilizer-friendly?'," one reader wrote.

    Another said, "Cyber, Viral, Epic. Never the first

    Read More »from What’s in a word? Apparently, there are a lot of angry readers ‘arguably’ upset in the world
  • Canadian families paid more in taxes than necessities of life in 2010: study

    Canadians are now paying more money in taxes than for food, clothing and shelter combined, a new study suggests.

    The Fraser Institute, a right-wing policy think-tank, released a report Tuesday that concludes the average family's largest expenditure was the government in 2010.

    "The average Canadian family has seen its total tax bill increase by an astounding 1,686 per cent over the past 49 years. As a result, taxes have become the most significant item in family budgets," said Niels Veldhuis, senior economist and co-author of the Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2011.

    The tax index tracks the price of goods and services government buys on behalf of Canadians and is similar to the Consumer Price Index compiled by Statistics Canada.

    Taxes include those paid to municipal, provincial and federal governments such as income tax, sales tax, Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, as well as 'hidden' taxes like import duties, excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, amusement taxes and gasoline.

    Read More »from Canadian families paid more in taxes than necessities of life in 2010: study
  • ‘Earth Day’ trademark owned by Canadian charitable organization

    Not many people may know this but the term 'Earth Day' is actually owned by a charitable organization that enforces its use.

    The company, Earth Day Canada, argues such protection is necessary to prevent corporations and groups from "shamelessly" exploiting it for profit while doing little for the environment.

    "Our goal is to make sure corporations don't use it to boost their bottom line," says the Toronto-based company's spokesman Keith Treffry.

    Ownership of such a well-used term doesn't come without controversy and in some cases legal action. He declined to say if the company is embroiled in any current trademark disputes.

    But Earth Day Canada has tussled with department store Zellers and others in the past. It's owned the trademarked name since the early 1990s.

    "We're a pretty lean organization  . . . we have to choose our battles," says Treffy."I wish I could say it's black and white but it's really a case-by-case scenario."

    The company employs about 15 to 20 full-time staff. It

    Read More »from ‘Earth Day’ trademark owned by Canadian charitable organization
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left to right, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, exchange hand shakes as they arrive to the English language federal election debate in Ottawa Ont., on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldPrime Minister Stephen Harper, left to right, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, exchange hand shakes as they arrive to the English language federal election debate in Ottawa Ont., on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
    The highly anticipated debate between leaders of the three main federal parties, plus the Bloc, didn't disappoint as they jabbed and sparred on issues such as ethics, crime, immigration and leadership.

    Thousands of Yahoo! Canada News readers joined the debate online with a live chat during the two-hour televised event Tuesday night and offered their opinions through comments and responses to a number of polls.

    Political analysts noted there was no knockout punch, and that rarely happens anyway, but there were a number of good zingers on the plate from all the leaders, including a classic water-cooler line from NDP Leader Jack Layton when he told Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff if he wants a promotion, he should show up for work.

    Of course, he was referring to the fact Ignatieff has the lowest attendance for votes among the party leaders.

    Midway through the live chat, we asked participants who they thought was the strongest performer so far. The results: Stephen Harper at 54 per cent

    Read More »from Harper edges out Ignatieff, Layton in debate according to Yahoo! Canada live chat readers
  • Vancouver voted the best airport in North America to take a nap

    If you're going to get stuck at an airport because of a flight delay or layover, you had better hope it's in Vancouver, at least that's what many travellers believe.

    Vancouver International Airport was rated by visitors to a travel website dedicated to sleeping in airports as the best place to catch a nap while waiting for a flight in North America.

    The website collected travellers' opinions and votes about where the best airports for sleeping are located.

    The responses were collected between March and September last year.

    "I work at YVR and can say from experience that there are very few airports that are this nice to crash in," one reviewer wrote on the website.

    "I've slept in many airports, and Vancouver has to be at the top. Take the advice of others and head for the very end of the U.S. departures area, it's dead silent at night and they often dim the lights down there."

    It was also noted the airport has an adjoining hotel where for a fee you can take a shower and enjoy other

    Read More »from Vancouver voted the best airport in North America to take a nap
  • Thousands of people have lined the streets for the funeral procession of fallen Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell, who was killed Jan. 12 while attempting to stop a stolen snowplow.

    12:30 p.m. York and Halton police nearing the convention centre. There are still hundreds of officers at the tail of the procession. The crowds on the sidewalk are starting to thin. - Toronto Star

    12:26 p.m. #rip7686 "You went too soon. Thank you for giving your life to give me a better one. You will always be missed. R.I.P Ryan Russell" @StayStrongDL

    12:21 p.m. From @CorySilver on Twitter: "A sea of red as RCMP Officers march, followed by the (Toronto?) K9 unit. Really shows the unity within all Police forces."

    12:19 p.m. John Lancaster reports on CBC: "There's just no end in sight to the lines of officers marching. The people lining the streets are standing quietly as they pass, some taking pictures."

    12:11 p.m. Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley, Vaughan MP Julian Fantino, police Chief Bill Blair and Russell's

    Read More »from Live blog: Thousands mourn fallen Toronto police officer
  • A U.K. man with no heartbeat for three and a half hours was literally brought back from the dead in  what he hails as a medical miracle.

    Arun Bhasin, 53, was found unconscious in cold weather in December and taken to Croydon University Hospital in London where he suffered heart failure.

    Two leading resuscitation doctors hooked him up to a remarkable new tool called the Zoll AutoPulse pump that replaces the need for traditional cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

    The battery-operated machine covers the chest and is able to perform 100 compressions per minute more efficiently than what can be provided by manual compression.

    In the case of Bhasin, his condition required the machine to perform more than 20,000 chest compressions (four full batteries) to keep blood moving throughout his body while medics attempted to stabilize his condition.

    A lead consultant who treated Bhasin said in a Daily Mail story he had never seen such an amazing case during his 15 years in emergency care, while

    Read More »from U.K. man brought back from the dead after three hours without heartbeat
  • On the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in the middle of the Second World War, German bureaucrats weren't obsessed with Joseph Stalin, but instead put their energies toward a dog.

    The mutt was owned by Finnish businessman Tor Borg and the its claim to fame was the fact it raised its paw similar to a Nazi salute when it was called 'Hitler', according to newly discovered documents.

    When the story made its way back to the Fatherland, it caused great strife in the German Foreign Office and pawed its way to the German Chancellory, where dictator Adolf Hitler ran the government.

    German officials were so angry they attempted to destroy Borg's pharmaceutical business in Finland, then a Nazi-friendly country that disliked the Russians as much as Hitler.

    The dog's real name was 'Jackie' but Borg's wife, Josephine, known for her distaste of the Nazi cause, called the dog 'Hitler' because of the way it raised its paw high in the air like Germans greeting the real Fuehrer with a hearty

    Read More »from Nazis obsessed with Finnish dog that saluted when called ‘Hitler’: documents
  • Christmas and family gatherings can present a dilemma for those challenged in the art of conversation, or those people who simply can't remember names.

    Then, there's a few who just don't like the concept of small talk and would rather throw a few conversation-ending barbs in someone's direction to baffle the recipient into saying something like, "I think I'll check on the caviar."

    You guessed it. There's an app for that now that works with your iPhone or iPod Touch.

    Tierney Communications' new app titled "Conversation Starters" is available as a free download just in time for the holidays.

    It offers five categories to choose from, including "To avoid getting kissed." A handy app when someone approaching you thinks mistletoe is ubiquitous.

    "I forgot to brush my teeth this morning" is always a good way to avoid Aunt Molly's red lipstick all over your face. "I think we're cousins" shuts things down quite nicely.

    But, other than onions and dip, "I wonder if there are any more pimento

    Read More »from Terrible at holiday small talk, or hate mistletoe smooches? There’s an app for that
  • CC Helicopters president Trevor Moore, left, in this March 31, 2009 file photo.When a British Columbia businessman got a call from Homeland Security in the United States he had no idea two helicopters his company had leased belonged to a Mexican drug lord.

    Trevor Moore, owner of CC Helicopters in Kamloops, was shocked and said he had no idea the two Bell helicopters he had leased for his business, which includes air ambulance services, were owned by drug kingpin Osiel Cardenas Guillen.

    The 43-year-old Cardenas Guillen is the former head of the Gulf Cartel and is serving a 25-year jail sentence in a U.S. penitentiary for trafficking, money laundering and threatening to kill U.S. federal agents. He was ordered to turn over $50 million in assets.

    "They asked us to deliver them to the U.S.," Moore told The Vancouver Sun about the Homeland Security request.

    A third helicopter linked to the former drug lord and offered for sale by another one  of Moore's businesses was seized in Spokane, Wash. The Eurocopter was worth around $1.3 million.

    Moore said he was caught off

    Read More »from B.C. businessman learns his helicopters owned by former head of Mexican drug cartel

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