Friday, July 31, 2009

The Scope Today

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

You don't need to go very far forward or back. You simply need to stay where you are. Much to your surprise, you will discover that you are in exactly the right spot.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

There is nothing inherently wrong with the situation you face or the decisions you have made. The bumpy path you're on will, ultimately, deliver you to the right place at the right time.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

Skimping on something that requires a high standard could result in false economy. Rather than applying a rickety patch, it would be wiser now to do a full repair.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

It's hard to find enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done. So use your time properly and profitably. You can do something to make a world of difference to a difficult situation.

Barry Shell, 45, has bought a "modest house" but is still working as a labourer for a carpentry company after winning nearly $4.4 million. (July 30, 2009)

Man who won 6/49 says life hasn't changed as he awaits next court date for criminal charges
Jul 31, 2009 04:30 AM

Staff reporter

Barry Shell insists he's still the same man despite winning nearly $4.4 million in a Lotto 6/49 game.

He is still working as a labourer for a carpentry company. He also has no intention of buying a car, visiting exotic locales or going on a wild spending spree with his loot.

Oh yes – he's still got those pesky criminal charges from 2003 to deal with.

Shell, 45, spent a night in jail last week after collecting his winnings when a police check turned up the fact he's been wanted since Sept. 16, 2003, by Peel police. The Brampton man failed to appear in court for his charges of theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen property under $5,000.

He thought he would deal with his legal troubles yesterday but his lawyer was in Toronto for another matter so his case was adjourned until Sept. 3 in a Brampton courtroom. After spending a night in jail last week, he was released on $1,500 bail with a promise to return to court yesterday.

"I just want to get it over with," Shell said after leaving the courthouse. "And it will be the next time."

According to court documents, Shell was charged in 2003 for allegedly stealing cameras, global positioning systems, memory cards and watches belonging to Kuehne + Nagel, an international transport and logistics company, and for having the items in his possession knowing they were obtained by crime.

Other than having no financial worries, Shell said his life hasn't changed since he collected his big cheque on July 20 at the Ontario Lottery Corporation office in Toronto.

He bought a "modest house" and kept a bit of fun money but invested the rest.

"You have to invest your money, otherwise it will be all gone in a couple of years," Shell said. He also bought a round at a local Brampton pub and spent a few days up north to get away from the media spotlight.

He didn't buy a car because he doesn't drive and the only trip in his immediate future will be to the East Coast.

"I'm going to see Canada," he said. "I've been to Europe but I've never been to Nova Scotia."

He will also continue to work for Lee Cook Carpentry in Brampton.

"I just work there," he said when asked if he was going to buy part of the operation with his financial windfall. "I'd go nuts if I didn't do something."

He purchased his winning ticket at a local Petro-Canada kiosk on Kennedy Rd. in Brampton near the apartment he rented. "I bought three quick picks, a pack of smokes and a Gatorade," he said.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Purpose brings joy

Purpose brings joy

"Our purpose is hidden in our joy, our inspiration, our excitement. As we act on what shows up in our life our purpose shows up."

-- James King

For many of us, our joy is truly activated when we get a bigger picture of who we are and why we are here.

Most of us need to enlarge our self-concept. We may see ourselves as a bag of bones but, in truth, we are eternal, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s time to think of ourselves as much larger and grander than just a physical and emotional being confined in a body.

"There is no more important step you can take than to define your life's purpose. It develops your sense of belonging to our universe."

-- Arnold Patent

Why are you here? Open to more meaning and fulfillment by exploring your life purpose.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fourtune Hunters CBC

The Facebook Factor Trend - 14 Feb 09

Log on, sign in, and cash out. That seems to be the business model for the multitude of social networking sites that have taken over cyberspace in the past few years.

Sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter dominate the dot com world. More than that, a recent study shows they dominate our free time as well. Canadians spend an average of 43 hours per month online and with Facebook and MySpace amongst the top ten most visited sites in the country, you can bet a good part of those 43 hours are spent tagging friends and updating their status.

The founders of these sites can make a pile – MySpace sold to NewsCorp (you know, the Fox People) for a whopping $580 million back in 2005. Facebook’s has a couple of mega-million offers, but rather than sell, they’re happy to sit back and cash in off the marketing revenue they make selling ads on their uber-popular site.
And most of the people running social networks and interactive sites aren’t going to sell their site for millions – they’re following the ads for cash business model. Just think - the first online ad was purchased in 1994 – and by 2008, the online ad industry topped $653.9 billion US.

Not every online venture is making money, but with growth like that, it’s no wonder that entrepreneurs are looking to cash in.

Photos of Ken Bautista and Jason Suriano, and Jason Richard

We scoured the country looking for Canadians with exciting ways to bring people together.

In Edmonton, Alberta - we met Ken Bautista and Jason Suriano, and their company HotRocket. They're running an online community where kids play together, exploring science and history.

In Saint John, New Brunswick we discovered Jason Richard and prop-2-go. That's prop as in property - his website connects real estate buyers and sellers.

And in Vancouver, we're downloading the whole story of Mike Tan and his website TeamPages. He wants it to be - you guessed it - the Facebook of amateur sports.


* Last year, 87 per cent of Canadians who went online visited a social networking site. That’s the highest visit rate of any country in the world.
* Canada’s digital media universe topped 23 million users in 2007.
* More than one-tenth of the world’s population has shopped online.
* Eleven per cent of Canadians who use the Internet have tried the online dating scene.

Airdate: February 14, 2009

Laid-off single mom wins $20M,

Staff Reporter

Many lottery players see the big jackpot as a way to escape the workforce. For Toronto resident Lydia Nono, however, it's a ticket back in.

The 49-year-old mother of three grown children was laid off 16 months ago from a factory job, where she made paper cups for Tim Hortons.

She won $20 million in Friday's Lotto Super 7 draw, and she says she might spend some of the money to open her own business.

"A coffee shop, a little one, something I can run myself," she said yesterday at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation prize centre in Toronto.

Nono, a single mother with three grown children, has been playing the Super 7 for 20 years.

She copied down the numbers from the Internet but didn't check them right away. On Monday morning, she was riding the bus when she matched her ticket against the numbers.

She started shaking.

From a friend's house, she called her son, Jeff, at work to double check the numbers. "I didn't believe her at first," he said. But the numbers matched up. "I couldn't concentrate afterwards."

She alerted her daughters, Jen and Jacky, and the family met for a celebratory dinner. So far, they say, they haven't been able to sleep.

Nono, who's never won anything more than $500 in the lottery before, doesn't have any extravagant spending plans just yet.

"Right now, (I'll) just pay off my debts, pay off my mortgage and go on vacation," she said. She said she has been discussing a family holiday with her kids, but they haven't decided on where to go.

And there's the coffee shop. When asked why she would return to work, when so many other lottery winners would gladly take the money and leave their jobs behind, she just shrugged.

"You have to do something," she said. "Or you'll get bored."

The Scope Today

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

You are now bound to be keenly aware of certain factors that you'd prefer to ignore. But you are about to recognize certain truths that will be most welcome. In the midst of all this lies a hidden opportunity, so near that it is palpable.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

A change is at least as good as a rest. A lot depends on whether the change is for the better. But even change that at first seems unwelcome can, with time, become something for which you are grateful – as you'll soon learn.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

Nothing in this world lasts forever. Sad as it seems, this notion is deeply comforting when you consider that a certain disturbing situation in your life is, thankfully, destined to come to an end. The stars indicate better times ahead.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

It would be nice to wash troubles out of your future. Of course, there is always another problem ahead. At least now, after what you've been through, you have gained some valuable insight into how to handle it when it comes.


3 collectors charged in TTC fare scam

Up to $20,000 stolen at subway stations
Jul 29, 2009 04:30 AM

Staff Reporter

Three TTC employees are accused of stealing as much as $20,000 in fares over the course of a year – less than three dollars at a time.

In the past week, three ticket collectors at some of the city's busiest subway stops – Union, Queen and Eglinton, all on the Yonge line – have been charged with theft under $5,000, as well as multiple counts of failing to collect a fare.

Toronto Transit Commission officials were alerted to the alleged fraud by a concerned rider, who noticed that after paying cash, they were simply waved through the turnstile by the collector. The employee is supposed to pass the fare back through the booth's window for the customer to deposit in the collection box.

"There's a couple of scenarios," said Toronto police Det. Rob Ermacora. "Someone will come up and give $5, but instead of breaking the bill, what happens is they'll give back the two and a quarter and keep the $2.75 (cash fare)."

Similarly, he continued, if someone bought four tokens, the suspect would pass the rider three, then pocket the fourth instead of putting it in the fare box.

The TTC's special constables launched an investigation with the assistance of Toronto police using surveillance cameras – there are two pointed at every collection booth – and undercover officers.

Yesterday morning, Toilane Fountain, 57, of Toronto, was arrested at the Queen station. Anthony Alfano, 65, of Whitby, and Kiran Sachdev, 56, of Toronto, were charged last Wednesday.

Each has been suspended without pay and will be fired if convicted, an official said.

Sachdev made more than $125,000 last year, earning a spot on the Ontario government's so-called sunshine list of public-sector salaries published annually.

He is to appear in court Sept. 3. The other two accused are scheduled to appear Aug. 31.

The transit commission estimates tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen, said TTC chair Adam Giambrone, who added the agency collects $900 million a year in fares.

With files from Tess Kalinowski

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Scope Today And The Canary In a Coalmine

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

It's perfectly permissible to just enjoy the moment we find ourselves in. So get away from all the pressure. A lot of what's bothering you is less threatening than it seems.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

Venus is forming a harmonious aspect to Jupiter and Neptune, but is challenged by Uranus. This is deeply encouraging and hopeful. You do not need to feel hemmed in. You can overcome barriers.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

You don't need a loud, strong voice to get your point across. It's your actions, not your words that really matter. Demonstrate by your conduct that you mean business. Others will understand that you remain committed to a key plan.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

The astrological indications for exhaustion and exasperation are similar. The two are, in fact, closely related. Often, when we reach the end of our tether, nothing heals and helps like indulging in some extra sleep. So make time to get your rest.


With this report, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Watson returns to the Star and launches a challenging new beat

Watson becomes the world's first multimedia journalist covering the planet's new frontier, the Arctic, at a time when nations rush to stake their claims there and Ottawa aggressively fights back to protect our land

Arctic Bureau

ABOARD THE CCGS LOUIS S. ST-LAURENT–Without a microscope, most plankton are easy to miss. And when the tiny marine creatures do come into focus, they aren't much to look at.

Until you peer closer, and listen to what they have to say.

Way down near the bottom of the oceans' food chain, animals known as zooplankton drift on the currents, feeding on each other, eating still lower life forms such as bacteria and viruses, or in most cases, grazing on microscopic plant life, called phytoplankton.

As tiny, and as hard to love, as plankton are, scientists studying them say that if global warming makes things go bad for these organisms, the pain will run all the way up the food chain to humans.

"So in one way, the plankton are a type of canary in a coal mine," says John Nelson, a Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist examining plankton at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C. "They will be affected by, and respond to, environmental change and we can detect this by studying them."

At first glance, zooplankton seem more likely to model for horror movie special effects than a "Save the World" poster.

The Arrow worm, known as the tiger of the zooplankton, is shaped like a torpedo. Its minuscule head has a halo of spines that the creature uses to swallow its prey whole.

Copepods, usually less than 8 millimetres long, are parasites with long antenna and a pair of leg-like limbs that the animal uses to push its hard-shelled body through the water in quick, jerking bursts of speed. Fish larvae love to eat them.

Other species of zooplankton look like microscopic shrimps, or jellyfish with sticky tentacles to trap food and cram it into their mouths. Some glow green – bright green – when bothered.

Kelly Young, 28, is a seagoing technician collecting millions of plankton in sample jars for study later in Nelson's lab, as CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, pride of Canada's icebreaker fleet, steams through the Northwest Passage.

She has a soft spot for plankton.

"They're actually very pretty to look at," she said, after filling more jars with mushy sludges of sea life that looked like frozen margaritas.

Young is on a team of six Canadian scientists and students aboard the ship they affectionately call The Louis, which set sail for the Arctic's Northwest Passage from St. John's, Nfld., on July 20.

Twice each day, in the morning and evening, The Louis's crew slows the 5,300-tonne ship to a stop in the ocean so the scientists can go to work on the rolling deck. Young runs a piece of equipment called bongo nets because they look like two pairs of drums lashed together.

Little propellers mounted at the top measure the flow of water through long, fine-meshed conical nets. They dance in the frigid wind like Japanese kites when the equipment is winched over the side of the ship to be lowered 100 metres into the ocean.

The nets are quickly hauled back in, at 1 metre per second, so that fish and most other sea animals bigger than plankton escape. Young then washes her catch into small buckets, called cod ends, on each end of the four nets.

She bottles some of the concentrated samples in ethanol to preserve the plankton for DNA analysis. Others end up in formalin, a kind of embalming fluid, so different species of zooplankton can be catalogued, and the number in each group counted.

She kept one of her captives alive long enough to explain the attraction of animals few people ever see, let alone care about.

The pteropod, or "winged snail," was shaped like a manatee, but was as small and delicate as a fly fishing lure, an opaque organism with an orange tail, beating its appendages like wings against the swirling currents in a gently tilted sample jar.

So far, scientists haven't seen any plankton species go extinct, Nelson said from Barrow, Alaska, after a separate, two-week research voyage. But they are closely watching Pacific Ocean plankton found in the Arctic to see if they begin reproducing as sea temperatures rise.

"If a Pacific species was established in the Arctic, this would really be news," he says. "But we have not detected this yet. What could happen in this scenario is that, if the invader out-competes the native species, this could lead to fundamental changes in ecosystem function."

For instance, a smaller, invading species of plankton might replace a larger one, denying fish that used to eat the bigger plankton a key source of food, Nelson says.

Another instrument scientists use aboard the icebreaker is known as a rosette, from the circle of 24 tubes that capture water samples. They are analyzed for their salt content, various chemicals and nutrients, including oxygen content, all to assess the effects of global warming on the northern oceans.

The Arctic is one of the most unforgiving places to learn about Earth and the state of her health. It is also a very expensive place for scientists to work, so it has long been neglected by field researchers.

As concern builds over rising temperatures, the once ice-bound Northwest Passage is opening up to scientists eager to get a better look at what is happening to a region thought to be most vulnerable to early damage from climate change.

Vast areas of the Arctic are still scientific black holes, where researchers have yet to gather hard data, says Jane Eert, science coordinator of the Three Oceans Project, a federal study of Canada's Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

For years, scientists trying to figure out what is happening to Arctic ice have relied on measurements recorded by pings from U.S. navy nuclear submarines cruising stealthily under the ice cap from Alaska to the North Pole, during the Cold War, says Eert, 49.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, and relations between Washington and Moscow warmed, the U.S. military was less worried about potential enemies knowing where its subs had been and declassified the ice data. It seemed to show the ice was thinning dramatically.

"Nobody really quite noticed the submarines were running across the outside edges of the Canadian archipelago," the islands scattered across Canada's Far North, "where for all we know, the ice was getting thicker," Eert says.

"The ice doesn't stay constantly thick over the whole area. It moves around. So if you take measurements only in one spot, and make global conclusions from that, you might be going wrong."

A physical oceanographer, Eert leads the scientific team aboard The Louis. It's her 10th voyage on the ship since 1999. Between 10 and 15 per cent of the Arctic Ocean is what Eert calls a data hole. It will take years' more research to fill it in with solid information, she adds.

After years of reports that vast areas of Arctic ice are melting as the seawater below, and air above, warm up, scientists have discovered that dramatic changes in the past three years are the result of shifting winds, perhaps caused by climate change.

Enormous amounts of ice have "been exported from the Arctic," driven by winds that are shifting as the climate changes, which pushed the ice into ocean currents that delivered it to the North Atlantic, Eert says.

"The multi-year ice in the polar pack didn't melt in the Arctic Ocean,'' she says. "It moved out and what's left in the Arctic is thinner than it was."

That doesn't mean some Arctic ice isn't disappearing altogether, just that the process is not as simple as some reports suggest, Eert says.

Old ice that has shifted south from Greenland may have a counter-effect on the climate, which is just one of the many pieces of a very complex jigsaw puzzle that scientists are trying to piece together as they attempt to predict the effects of global warming.

"The guys who are running the long-term climate models have a tough problem," Eert says. "They're looking at really long time scales, and as result they can't look at a lot of details for each year.

"In order to get the results before you die, you have to fudge some things. And what they fudge is the small-scale stuff. But it turns out that probably the small-scale stuff is important and fudging it gives you wrong answers."

Ordinary people may help answer some of the Arctic scientists' most vexing questions. Eert's team brought along 200 new beer bottles, donated by Sleeman and Molson, which they are tossing overboard in the Davis Strait, Baffin Bay and other parts of the Arctic.

Inside each sealed beer bottle is a printed message asking anyone who finds it to contact the research team. Most have extra messages written by schoolchildren, with their own appeals for help for a project that's a cheap way to map ocean currents.

Up on the ship's bridge, Andre Pelland uses binoculars and his long experience to read icebergs birthed in Greenland, pack ice that the ship breaks through in the Arctic, and other ice conditions.

Pelland works aboard The Louis for the Canadian Ice Service, a federal agency that uses observations from radar satellites that can see through clouds, along with reports from monitors in aircraft and on ships, to produce detailed reports.

The shipping industry relies on them to steer vessels clear of icebergs and other hazards.

Pelland, 49, is The Louis's Ice Man. He started out as a weather observer in Resolute Bay 25 years ago, when he filed reports by a clunky Teletype machine.

Now he uses a digital tablet to log the ice, and files updates to headquarters by satellite Internet link.

The latest maps show above-normal concentrations of ice across a huge region in western Hudson Bay and James Bay, while some areas farther north have less ice than usual. Deciding what that all means is above Pelland's pay grade.

But he knows this for sure: the frozen North that captivates him is far too precious to lose.

"It's the last frontier," he says wistfully, the ship's rumbling diesel engines propelling her steadily north.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Words that give one pause to ponder life

Embrace your life

"If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life, as in hoping for another life, and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."

-- Albert Camus

Have you taken ownership of your life?

When we own our lives, we accept what we’ve inherited and the experiences we hold in our memories. We also lay claim to our right to create new conditions if we’re not happy with what’s come before. We assume responsibility for changing what does not suit us. We acknowledge our own special talents and skills, and truly comprehend our right to enjoy the journey. In short, we embrace the meaning and purpose, the mystery and the beauty of our lives.

"Recognize that life is what you get when you’re born ... living is what you do with it."

-- Jim Allen

"It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between."

-- Diane Ackerman

Friday, July 24, 2009

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22) Keep your faith,,,

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

When things are going our way, we tend to believe in a compassionate cosmos. When times are bad, we lose faith – yet that is precisely when we must place more trust in a benevolent universe. Keep your faith. Your success depends on it.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

A thirst for conflict is not in your character. You prefer to deal with honest, fair and reasonable people. Wrong though a certain situation or arrangement is, avoid being drawn in deeper than you have to be.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

We often become powerless at the moment we most require strength. With Mars in your sign you won't have to worry about that. Take bold action on a certain notion you've been quietly contemplating .

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

Often, when we state the obvious, we ignore it because it sounds too obvious. Something is becoming obvious to you now. Trust your insights and ideas. Act on your ideas now, as fast and as decisively as you can, or you may regret it.

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and
is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will
be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight
from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its
habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life
in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt,
painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw
itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there
until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at
the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely
destroys itself.

In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We
struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem! Just look up.

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, But faith looks up!

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly and trust in our
Creator who loves us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jailed lotto winner out on bail- Opp wrecked Happy Dance!

staff reporter

Not even the OPP officer who arrested a $4.4 million lottery winner wanted to wreck the man's moment of glory.

"He seemed like a decent guy," said Det.-Const. Kevin Finley, who was on duty at Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. headquarters Monday afternoon.

"I hate to wreck your happy dance," Finley told Barry Shell of Brampton as the officer discreetly grabbed his arm and arrested him on an outstanding warrant for several charges from 2003.

Finley recalled Shell telling him: "I'm still kind of in shock that I won this money so it's not a big deal that I have to spend the night in jail."

Shell spent the night in a Brampton jail, appeared in court on Tuesday and was released on $1,500 bail with a promise to return to court on July 30.

Dressed in a black suit and blue tie, his arresting officer waited patiently in the wings while a smiling Shell collected his cheque and posed for an OLG publicity photo.

Before Finley walked Shell to a police cruiser, Shell handed his cheque to his brother-in-law.

Until now, Shell has lived in a basement apartment in Brampton, the city where he grew up as the youngest sibling of two older brothers and an older sister. He attended Glendale Public School and Brampton Centennial Secondary School.

Every morning, he either took his 10-speed bike or transit to meet a friend who would take him to a job site where he worked as a carpenter building decks and doing renovations, often working in Muskoka cottage country or the GTA, said his older brother, Brian.

Shell now plans to move out of his basement apartment and buy a bigger home with property near Mississauga Rd.

Shell showed up at a Petro-Canada kiosk on Sunday with 50 cents in his pocket.

"He wanted to buy a pack of smokes," said his brother.

While there, he checked his ticket. The man in the booth was jumping up and down when he found he had a winner.

"It's a legitimate win," said OPP Staff Sgt. Bill Price, who is in charge of the unit that looks after OLG investigations.

Current photo ID is a requirement before collecting a lottery prize, said OLG spokesman Don Fister. If that ID does not match up, then the OPP officer on duty is notified.

When Shell went to the OLG, he produced a driver's licence from 1994 and the photo showed a much slimmer person. Since he had no other photo ID, Finley ran a police check and found the outstanding warrants.

According to court documents, Shell was charged in 2003 for allegedly stealing cameras, global positioning systems, memory cards and watches belonging to Kuehne + Nagel, an international transport and logistics company, and for having the items in his possession knowing they were obtained by crime.

When Shell picked up his lottery winnings, he didn't do the traditional happy dance. Still, Finley allowed him one luxury before escorting him away.

"He had a happy cigarette."

With files from Nicole Baute and Jim Wilkes


1990 — Mark Green of Kingston defrauds a gas bar where he worked of $23,000, 10 years after winning $1 million. 1998 – When Bernard and Krista Nauss win $22.5 million in the Super 7, their criminal past resurfaces: charges of drug possession, stolen property and weapons offences after a raid on a Parkhill, Ont., area home.

2003 – Raymond Sobeski of Princeton, Ont., wins $30 million in the Super 7 lottery and goes into hiding after his ex-wives try to make claims on his money.

Compiled by Astrid Lange/Toronto Star library and Nicole Baute

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

$4.4 M lotto winner jailed

Barry Shell, seen with his lottery winnings, was arrested immediately after picking up his cheque for $4.4 million.
July 22, 2009


Some guys have all the luck.

That's what Barry Shell of Brampton likely thought Monday when he went to pick up his nearly $4.4 million jackpot at Ontario Lottery and Gaming headquarters on Dundas St. W.

But after a smiling Shell, 45, had posed for an OLG photo holding his cheque for $4,377,298, he was arrested outside the building on outstanding criminal charges and taken into police custody.

Instead of escaping to a five-star getaway, he was kept overnight and appeared in a Brampton courtroom yesterday on charges of failing to appear, theft under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.

A warrant for his arrest was issued after Shell failed to show up for a 2003 court date.

Const. Adam Minnion of Peel police said: "The OPP contacted Peel police and said, 'This person is wanted on an outstanding warrant, would you like to return for him?' "

Peel police said they'd go and get him, Minnion said.

Asked how a lottery win could result in the discovery of outstanding warrants, Rui Brum from OLG said last night: "A rigorous investigation process is followed any time a prize is claimed.

"Any flags that are raised are immediately forwarded to the OPP Bureau attached to the AGCO (the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) for further investigation."

In an OLG press release announcing Shell's win, he is quoted as saying: "I went to the store and checked my ticket on the self-serve ticket checker.

"As soon as I saw how much I had won, I grabbed a pen and signed my ticket."

He had bought the winning ticket at a Petro Canada on Kennedy Rd. N. in Brampton.

The OLG press release concludes: "The 45-year-old has no immediate plans for the windfall."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Illusion Paintings - Octavio Ocampo

Octavio Ocampo was born on 28 February 1943 in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico. He grew up in a family of designers, and studied art from early childhood.

At art school, Ocampo constructed papier mache figures for floats, altars, and ornaments that were used during carnival parades and other festivals. In high school, Ocampo painted murals for the Preparatory School and the City Hall of Celaya.

Ruth Rivera, daughter of artist and muralist Diego Rivera, and Maria Luisa Mendoza encouraged him to attend the School of Painting and Sculpture of the National Fine Art Institute.

The talents of Octavio Ocampo are not limited to painting and sculpture, but also extended to acting and dancing. At the Art Institute of San Francisco, he studied all these disciplines and pursued both a film and theater career. In 1976, he began to devote himself solely to painting and sculpture.He now works primarily in the metamorphic style – using a technique of superimposing and juxtaposing realistic and figurative details within the images that he creates.

"I am fascinated by the forces of Good and Evil and the Sun (male) and the Moon (female). I live in Tepoztlan, which is a mountainous region southwest of Mexico City, and is considered to be one of the most magical places on earth. Like the Bermuda triangle, there is a strange and unexplained, but extremely powerful, confluence of magnetic forces seemingly concentrated in the Tepozteco Mountain."

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I won the email lottery in Nigeria- Wow Check Your Mail For Notice

Lottery E-mails and Lottery Scams

Lottery e-mail scams include sending unsolicited (spam) e-mails that say that you've won millions of dollars for a variety of reasons other than the purchase of a lottery ticket. Generally, these e-mails originate somewhere outside the US, where the criminals can safely scam you, with virtually no chance of getting arrested or prosecuted. At some point, they will ask you to pay some fee or fees to claim your prize. Once you are onto their scam, they will disappear and your chance of any type of recovery is essentially none. We have included several recent examples. website source

In my email box today-
Do People Still Fall For This Crap?
They must, fraudsters keep spamming email!

It's not your imagination. Summer really has been a bust.

Cool weather has some feeling the heat
July 18, 2009


It's not your imagination. Summer really has been a bust.

If July were to end today, it would be the coldest in the GTA since 1992. We also had the coldest June since 1993.

Whether that's a good thing depends on whom you ask.

As far as Ontario's farmers are concerned, the answer is obvious. Horticultural crops – mainly berries at this time of year – have been decimated. And other crops aren't faring much better.

"We're two weeks behind season on sweet corn," said Bette Jean Crews, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "And we still get those early frosts, so (a late summer) doesn't lengthen the season, it just shortens it."

Field crops, including wheat and soy, have also seen lower yields, she said. And it gets worse: "If we continue to get cold, damp weather at harvest, we get mould, and then it's all rejected," she said.

The OFA is lobbying the provincial government for weather insurance. Meanwhile, said Crews, all farmers can do is hope.

But a cool summer is not without benefits. Energy consumption province-wide dropped 10 per cent in June compared with last year. About a third of the drop is attributable to the weather, the rest to a slumping manufacturing sector.

The biggest drop has been during peak afternoon hours, when air conditioner use tends to climb with the temperature.

"If we were to get extreme weather, the (energy demand) peaks could be 20 to 40 per cent higher," said Alexandra Campbell, spokeswoman for Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator.

With fewer, less drastic peaks, she said, the need to use fossil fuels for power is reduced. Instead, the province is able to rely on its baseload source of nuclear energy. Compared with this time last year, Ontario's energy producers are burning 45 per cent less fossil fuels.

And that means less smog.

This time last year, the city had seen eight smog days. In 2005, the smoggiest summer on record, we had 35. The current total for 2009: one.

Another benefit? As the city strike continues, temporary garbage dump sites are not nearly as putrid as they would be in hotter weather.

That luck could soon run out. Environment Canada weather models show a return to seasonal temperatures toward the end of the month.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Paul McCartney returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater Wednesday 45 years after

NEW YORK — Paul McCartney returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater Wednesday 45 years after the Beatles made their U.S. television debut there.

This time, McCartney put on an outdoor show atop the theatre’s marquee for thousands of fans.

The performance was shown during the former Beatle’s first appearance on the “Late Show With David Letterman.”

The Beatles made their American television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964.

During his appearance with Letterman, McCartney recalled that it was “kind of scary” the first time the Beatles appeared on Sullivan’s show.

However, he didn’t acknowledge it when a floor manager asked “you nervous?” when the curtain was about to be raised for McCartney to perform “Yesterday” alone without his bandmates.

“You should be,” McCartney said the manager told him. “There’s 73 million people watching.”

Letterman said that his impression of the Beatles was that it was four guys on a long spring break, having a great time. The Beatles went briefly to Miami the first time they came to the United States.

“The British car firm loaned us an MG each and, you know, there was a beach and sand and girls and, come on!” McCartney said.

Letterman and McCartney talked about the ex-Beatle’s friendship with the late Michael Jackson. The two men recorded the duet “The Girl Is Mine” on Jackson’s “Thriller” album.

McCartney advised Jackson to think about music publishing as an investment. Jackson bought rights to many of the Beatles’ songs, and McCartney’s hopes of getting a better deal with the new owner were in vain.

“We kind of drifted apart after that,” McCartney said. “But he was a lovely man, massively talented and we miss him.”

McCartney opens a U.S. tour Friday at Citi Field, which is the New York Mets stadium that opened this year. Their previous home, Shea Stadium, was also where the Beatles performed for a sold-out crowd of screaming fans in 1965.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Made To Stick - Great Book That Will Inspire The Genius In You

Here's An Idea That Sticks...

Into Excerpt:

"A friend of a friend of ours is a frequent business traveler. Let's call him Dave. Dave was recently in Atlantic City for an important meeting with clients. Afterward, he had some time to kill before his flight, so he went to a local bar for a drink. He'd just finished one drink when an attractive woman approached and asked if she could buy him another. He was surprised but flattered. Sure, he said. The woman walked to the bar and brought back two more drinks — one for her and one for him. He thanked her and took a sip.

And that was the last thing he remembered.

Rather, that was the last thing he remembered until he woke up, disoriented, lying in a hotel bathtub, his body submerged in ice. He looked around frantically, trying to figure out where he was and how he got there. Then he spotted the note: don't move. call 911.

A cell phone rested on a small table beside the bathtub. He picked it up and called 911, his fingers numb and clumsy from the ice. The operator seemed oddly familiar with his situation. She said, "Sir, I want you to reach behind you, slowly and carefully. Is there a tube protruding from your lower back?"

Anxious, he felt around behind him. Sure enough, there was a tube. The operator said, "Sir, don't panic, but one of your kidneys has been harvested. There's a ring of organ thieves operating in this city, and they got to you. Paramedics are on their way. Don't move until they arrive."

You've just read one of the most successful urban legends of the past fifteen years. The first clue is the classic urban-legend opening: "A friend of a friend . . ." Have you ever noticed that our friends' friends have much more interesting lives than our friends themselves?

You've probably heard the Kidney Heist tale before. There are hundreds of versions in circulation, and all of them share a core of three elements: (1) the drugged drink, (2) the ice-filled bathtub, and (3) the kidney-theft punch line. One version features a married man who receives the drugged drink from a prostitute he has invited to his room in Las Vegas. It's a morality play with kidneys.

Imagine that you closed the book right now, took an hourlong break, then called a friend and told the story, without rereading it. Chances are you could tell it almost perfectly. You might forget that the traveler was in Atlantic City for "an important meeting with clients" — who cares about that? But you'd remember all the important stuff.

The Kidney Heist is a story that sticks. We understand it, we remember it, and we can retell it later. And if we believe it's true, it might change our behavior permanently — at least in terms of accepting drinks from attractive strangers."

This is an amzing book of ideas that can help your business, investments, and life check it out!

"United Breaks Guitars." You Tube Sensation

Halifax band overnight web sensation

Halifax's Dave Carroll is one of YouTube's newest stars thanks to a song he wrote called "United Breaks Guitars." Carroll wrote the song with his band in response to his experience with United Airlines last year, when his $3,500 custom-made guitar was severely damaged during a trip. (July 9, 2009)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


86-year Old Lady's Letter to Bank

Shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86 year old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month.
By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in plac e for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, --- when I try to contact you,

I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become..

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check,addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete.

I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Let me level the playing field even further.
When you call me, press buttons as follows:


#1. To make an appointment to see me

#2. To query a missing payment.

#3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

#4 To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping

#5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.

#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home

#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.

#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.

#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

#10. This is a second reminder to press* for English. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?
Your Humble Client

(Remember: This was written by an 86 year old woman -'YA JUST GOTTA LOVE " US SENIORS" !!!!! )

And remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to set us off.

Even the brighest bulb in the room is dim occasionally

Here are a list of our favourite gaffes by the best and brightest among us!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Today's date provides yet another 'once in a lifetime' moment

Numbers aligned for a second today


If you missed it, you can try again Aug. 7.

You don't know what we're talking about? It was a moment none of us knew we were supposed to be waiting for.

Precisely 56 seconds into the thirty-fourth minute of today's twelfth hour, the time and date aligned in perfect numerical order. That's 12:34:56, 07/08/09.

Possible outcomes included your computer becoming self-aware, surgically timed alien invasion, and nothing whatsoever.

One way or another, the tweetosphere was abuzz.

"Let's get drunk on 123456789 day bahaha," opined vjizzy.

"Should we buy lottery tix?" asked sunshinetricia.

"Crazy! Once in a millennium I guess!" remarked decaydance.

Not exactly.

If an ill-timed blink happened to spoil the historic occasion, you'll have another - some might say more correct - chance to celebrate at 12:34:56 on August 7 (the seventh day of the eighth month of '09).

Let the countdown begin.

Happy 12345678...09!

Twice today, but only twice in a lifetime... the clock strikes 12:34.56 on 7/8/09.

Wishing You a Happy 12345678..09 Day!

Today, roughly four seconds before 12:35, the digital date will be 12:34:56 07/08/09. According to various social-networking sites and pseudo-news blogs, this is a momentous event that will come only once in human history.

Well, only once unless one happened to be up at 12:35 AM this morning, in which case it will come twice.

Other sites are pointing out that, at 4:56 this afternoon, the time will be 4:56 07/08/09. This, of course, will be another momentous, once-in-a-lifetime event that will only come once in human history and, much like December 31, 1999 or the famed "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month," it is something that humanity must celebrate together.

Of course, these "once in a lifetime moments" aren't really all that uncommon. For example, at 1:23 AM on April 5, 2006, the sequence was 1:23 04/05/06. That is, of course, unless one lives in a country in which the year comes first, in which case it was 1:23 06/04/05. Then again, in Britain, one puts the day before the month, thus: 1:23 05/04/06.

Then again, as the more philosophical among us might be inclined to point out, every moment occurs only once in a lifetime. In that context, anything that can inspire a few people to recognize the significance of one of the many seconds in their lives can't be all bad.

I can't claim to be immune to these attractions. For example, I remember being incredibly excited about August 8, 1988: when transcribed in Roman numerals, that date had more digits than any other day in the twentieth century. On that date -- VIII VIII MCMLXXXVIII -- I was doing some work in my high school, and decided to write the digits on a chalk board. A few weeks later, when the school year began, they were still there.

In retrospect, this seems almost insanely antiquated. I shared the moment with a couple of friends who happened to be in the school building and experienced a slight thrill when I later saw the numbers on the chalkboard. However, the system that gave August 8 such significance had been largely out of use for centuries, and our method of conveying the information -- a chalkboard -- was painfully old fashioned.

By comparison, today's event is based in digital clocks, a solidly 20th century technology, and is being promulgated through social networking media, arguably the premier communication tool of the 21st century. The internet makes it possible for people who are interested in such things to share the moment with hundreds of other time trivia fans. One could almost certainly find a live feed of a huge digital clock somewhere; alternately, it's always possible to visit the national clock. For the craftier among us, the Industrious Clock has handwritten days, months, hours, and minutes that give a certain old fashioned thrill to the moment.

As social networking makes it easier to enjoy historical moments with others, it gets harder to differentiate between real events and pseudo-events. In a larger context, however, that may be beside the point: whether 12:34 this afternoon will be a momentous instant in the annals of human history or simply an opportunity for a few time geeks to share a laugh, the fact that a few number fans are able to coalesce and promote this message shows just how far human media has come. In a larger context, today shows us one key thing: social networking is rapidly transforming from a tool for living life into the raw stuff of life itself.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Deception bundled in contracts sold door-to-door

Deception bundled in contracts sold door-to-door
July 04, 2009

I've been deluged with complaints about misleading sales of energy contracts.

Here are stories of consumers I've helped that show door-to-door sellers going after people living in low-income housing or in short-term rental accommodations.

Paraniga Rajeswaran lives in Regent Park, a subsidized housing development in Toronto. Electricity is included in his rent, but not gas.

A Summitt Energy agent came to his door, asking to see his gas bills and saying he could offer a lower price of $12.99 a month.

Rajeswaran agreed to enrol. He didn't realize that he was buying Summitt's EverGreen program of carbon-offset credits to reduce his emissions.

"Now my bill is higher than it should have been.

"My family is low-income and definitely cannot afford that extra burden on our budget for the next five years," he said.

Gaetana Girardi, compliance director for Summitt Energy, agreed to cancel the environmental plan without penalty after I brought the case to her attention.

Cindy Vance acts as trustee for a mentally challenged daughter-in-law, who lives on an Ontario disability pension.

She did not know – until the collection letters started coming – that her daughter-in-law had signed multiple energy contracts at her door.

Universal Energy had sold her gas and electricity in 2007.

That didn't stop another UE agent from making another sales pitch this spring.

He told her he was from the local utility and needed to see her bills to be sure she was receiving the proper credits, Vance says.

He said if she combined her gas and electricity with a new program, she could save money. And she would receive $50 in rebate cheques as a signing bonus.

In fact, the daughter-in-law had agreed to a higher rate for her energy.

Before long, she was in arrears and facing a disconnection notice from the utility.

Universal agreed to let her out after getting proof that she was on an Ontario disability pension.

Then, Direct Energy tried to collect $800 on another contract she had signed. I asked for her release since she was already with a competitor when she enrolled.

"We've cancelled the contract, waived associated fees, removed her account from collections and apologized for the frustration this has caused," said DE spokeswoman Lisa Dornan.

Ben Altman was living in a rented townhouse with his girlfriend when a Universal Energy salesperson came to his door last April.

"I said my lease was ending in June and we were about to move away," he says.

"But the sales rep said it didn't matter and not to worry about it."

After signing, he received the required reaffirmation call while he was at work (against his instructions) and stepped out of a meeting to take it.

He says UE failed to give him a contract that showed the terms and conditions and failed to notify him of termination penalties.

Spokeswoman Vanessa Anesetti said his electricity contract would be cancelled since the supply had not yet started.

But his natural gas contract was deemed to be valid.

"If the consumer agrees to transfer the contract to the new residence, the termination charge will not apply," she said.

Since Altman wanted to get out, Universal agreed to a lower cancellation fee as a goodwill gesture.

Ontario should never have allowed door-to-door energy sales without enacting strong safeguards against deception.

Let's hope the government brings in new rules this fall, as promised, to end the exploitation of vulnerable people.

The Scope Today

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

You are on an important mission that may mean risking a little unpopularity in certain quarters to achieve your aims. An element of confusion will soon be cleared up and before long, you'll be able to relax and enjoy the ride.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

An option you are considering hinges on an unresolved drama. You may be keen to break a deadlock, but the stars have other plans in store. Freedom will come thanks to a random occurrence.

Source Of All Scopes

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gamer robs virtual bank to get real-world cash

Eve Online is an online video game where players mine and trade resources to build customizable spaceships such as the one shown here. A player robbed a bank within the game and converted the currency into real-world dollars recently. (CCP Games)

An Australian video gamer has stolen thousands of dollars from a bank inside an online game and converted them into real-world money.

The bank heist happened in Eve Online, where players mine in-game resources to build colonies and space ships in a futuristic space-themed online world. The game has hundreds of thousands of players who pay for access to the world. An in-game economy, complete with its own currency known as interstellar kredits, has emerged to enable trading transactions within the game. Numerous banks have even sprung up.

The gamer, a 27-year old Australian, was an executive with EBank, one of the larger player-run banks within the game, with thousands of depositors. He used the online name of Ricdic.

"Basically this character was one of the people that [had] been running EBank for a while," Ned Coker of CCP, the real-world Icelandic company that developed the game, told Reuters News Agency. "He took a bunch of (virtual) money out of the bank, and traded it away for real money."

The player made off with about 200 billion interstellar credits, CCP says, and traded the currency to players who preferred to purchase credits (as opposed to earning them by accomplishing tasks in the game) for the equivalent of about $5,800 Canadian.

The heist represents about 8 per cent of the total deposits EBank holds, CCP says.
Cash used to pay medical expenses

In an interview with Reuters, Ricdic said an email from a black market website that traded online money for real cash popped up on his screen, prompting him to exchange the virtual cash for real money to cover a deposit on his house and expenses related to his son's medical problems.

"I saw that as an avenue that could be taken, and I decided to skim off the top, you could say, to overcome real-life (difficulties)," he told Reuters.

News of the theft quickly spread within the game, prompting runs on the bank where players withdrew their credits to safeguard them against the apparent security breach.

The Eve world is one where piracy, racketeering and ransom are permitted within the game, so ironically, had the player merely robbed the bank within the game he would have escaped punishment. But exchanging in-game credits for real-world currency breaks the rules of the game, so Ricdic has his account frozen by the game's developers.

'If I had to do it again, I probably would've chosen the same path.'— Eve Online player Ricdic

Asked if he regretted his action, Ricdic expressed remorse for letting down fellow EBank staffers, whom he considered friends.

"I'm not proud of it at all, that's why I didn't brag about it," he told Reuters. "But you know, if I had to do it again, I probably would've chosen the same path based on the same situation."

Shadowy financial transactions are nothing new to the online gaming world. Several websites have sprung up to facilitate trading of real-world dollars for online currencies in a variety of games, but the practice is fraught with peril due to anonymity and lack of accountability.

The practice is so prevalent that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce moved on Friday to ban the trade of real-world money for online currencies. It's been estimated that so-called "credit factories" — where Asia-based players accumulate in-game credits and sell them to users in the real economy — is worth more as much as $1-billion (U.S.) annually.

"Virtual currency … will only be allowed to trade in virtual goods and services provided by its issuer, not real goods and services," the ministry said in a release.

In 2004, Indiana University professor Edward Castronova published the seminal work on online economies, in which he found that players in a game called EverQuest had an average "minimum wage" of $3.42 per hour, giving the world a per-capita gross domestic product greater than that of Russia, with a currency of greater value than the Japanese yen.

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