Yay! TheStar has the AutoBlog back! 
They tried this once a while back, and I was excited about contributing. Then it disappeared.

Now it's back.

There's nothing really notable there yet, but I look forward to what Mr. Kenzie has to say in such an interactive medium. Here's hoping it lasts longer than the last one did.


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More info on Ontario Energy Scams 
I just saw a link to the energyshop.com site from a news article, and remembered a previous post here.

Someone anonymously replied linking to that same site.

I went and checked it out, and can't help but to feel like they're trying to pull a fast one on me.

They list a bunch of the energy retailers (scammers) and their prices. Then, toward the bottom, they list quite separately the "Regulated Residential Rates", which is what you pay Enbridge.

The chart for the scammers shows only the gas supply rates. The cheapest (and I assume the one this site is associated with) is Canadian RiteRate Energy, at 35.8 /m3 for a 5 year contract or 38.8 /m3 for 3 years.

The very different chart, for the market supplier, has completely different headings. I'll describe it here:

First it says the gas supply is 30.36 /m3. Then it mentions a -3.96 /m3 adjustment. They don't do the math, but that tells me the supply rate is actually 26.4 /m3, a number not mentioned at all on the chart.

Note, at this point, that the very cheapest rate offered from a retailer is a full 36% higher than this market rate.

Next on the chart is the 14 /m3 delivery charge that you have to pay no matter who you're paying for your gas. That's not mentioned anywhere on the previous chart for the retailers, but you have to pay that when you're buying from them as well. Finally, it lists a "Total /m3" of 40.39, which has every indication of being more money than you'll pay a retailer, even though it's far less. That's followed up with some mention of a monthly fee and an estimated bill amount of nearly $1400.

Is there an estimated bill amount listed for the retailers? Nope.

Are you feeling like they're trying to deceive you? You should, because they are.

For what it's worth, I'm going to do the math for you and toss out my own estimated billing number here.

Based on 31,000 m / year, at the very best rate they're offering I estimate you'll pay $15,449.95. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!

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Stay at home moms are worth WHAT?? 
Salary.com has done some sort of study and determined that based on the work they do, a stay at home parent, if compensated as though it were their job, would make $117,000 USD a year.

See the story here: http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_22526.aspx

Now I'm sure they put great effort into coming up with that, but let's put a little perspective on it.

Let's say you were given a $117k cheque each year to hire someone to take care of your kids. Would you hire your mom, or do you think you could probably do better?

This isn't a slight against anyone's mom. Just puttin' it out there to chew on.

Of course, they could probably do even better if they unionized, and wouldn't have to work nearly as hard.

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Toronto City Council are Idiots! 
For all the talk we hear about how society is getting fatter, and we're collectively not getting enough exercise, it would appear that Toronto has responded to the call by making it illegal to get some friends together and throw a ball around in a public park.

I play softball in a recreational league. We have permits to use the diamonds we play on, which start next week and ensure that we have exclusive use of them to play our games.

Obviously a system like this is needed or nobody would ever be able to run a league.

What happens though, when nobody has a permit for the diamonds at any given time? You'd think it would work on a first-come, first-served basis and the public would be free to go out there and throw some balls around just for fun. Apparently this isn't the case.

Though our schedule doesn't officially start until next week, a bunch of players got coordinated and decided to play a practice game just for kicks last night. An email then got sent out saying the following:

The teams from the 5pm games were met by permit checkers on the field just now. If a team plays without a permit, it is a $300 fine per team. We all knew that in past years we could sneak past the system and play a week early but today that has come to an end. For next week's game, copies of our permit will be handed to each captain to retain with their roster and other game paperwork.

So, as I understand it, unless you pay to use them, public ball diamonds are off limits. Forget about getting some friends together for a pick-up game. If the city isn't taking money from you, they'd rather the diamonds be empty and unused.

How very nice of them. Rat bastards.

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If you're not a NASCAR fan, don't write about NASCAR! 
Reading this article in the Star just made me shake my head.

If there's one quote that proves the writer doesn't know NASCAR, it's this one:

So NASCAR finally got what it wanted 43 to 50 drivers who pretty much all look the same, talk the same, behave the same and well are the same. (I really mean that. Kyle Busch won the Aarons 499 at Talladaga yesterday and the first thing he said, the very first words out of his mouth when he got out of the car were: "I really want to thank M&Ms." What is with those guys?)

Everyone knows that the first thing you do in NASCAR is thank your sponsors. They're paying the bills, and you want to make them happy. That doesn't mean you're just like everyone else.

Anyone who's paid any attention to NASCAR over the past couple years knows that Kyle Busch is about as different from everyone else as he could possibly be without growing a new limb and wearing a clown nose.

My only complaint about the race coverage wasn't speculation on when the Big One would happen, but, rather, the commentators need to explain a number of times why the race wasn't boring.

If you don't know NASCAR, then perhaps it didn't seem all that interesting but that's not their fault. It takes time to understand what's going on and you can't just become a fan overnight. The fact that there were more lead changes and more leaders than in any other race this season should have been proof enough that something interesting was going on.

Just about every lap had some sort of excitement in it involving who was on the move forward or who'd been shuffled to the back. You could see the strategy developing and see people testing out what their cars could do in different spots. Hell, watching Denny Hamlin push just about everyone up to the front of the pack at any given time was great entertainment! You just knew he had a plan for the end. It was just a shame that we didn't get to see what it was.

Having Tony and Jr. playing at the front for half the race was great fun, and you couldn't help but cringe when they got together not once, but twice toward the end, ultimately ruining both their days. Knowing that they're friends and what a bad stroke of luck it was added to the drama of the race. I was hoping either one or the other would win it, but it wasn't to be.

Finally, having the Wild Thing go a lap down but hold his place at the front until he could pick up the Lucky Dog was great fun, and you just knew the last lap was going to be incredible. It was just too bad the Big One didn't happen a lap earlier so as not to ruin the finish. That was a shame, but in the end a worthy driver took the checkers so I suppose not all was lost.

All in all, I thought it was a great race from start to finish and expect most other fans thought the same, despite what some clueless writers might think.

Congrats Kyle! You drove a great race!

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