Spring Has Sprung, the Grass Has Riz, I Wonder Where the Birdies Is?!?


Ahh, spring.

Ahhh Spring…

Ah-chooooooooo… Damn.  It’s spring.

 

Spring time is finally appearing here in Southern Ontario and aside from the increasing temperatures, here are the 13 most obvious ways to tell that Spring has Sprung.

  1. Sports cars in need of muffler repair and convertible cars are zooming around, blasting their horrid music and looking for attention

  2. A.L.L.E.R.G.I.E.S

  3. People are wearing colours again!  Yay.  Winter is dreary enough and everyone in black makes it that much more bland and blah.

  4. People begin to stink.  Not from sweat, at least not yet, but now is the time of year when they think a little bit of cologne or perfume might be a good idea but it’s not.  It’s horrid if I can smell it over a super-stuffy nose. (See 12)

9.  TAXES!!!  It’s tax time!!  Don’t forget to file, even if you think you don’t owe.  File, file, file!  If you need help anywhere in Canada, search up and hit up inTAXicating.

8.  Flips flops and PJ’s make their returns to coffee shops.  In the winter it’s just too darn cold to roll out of bed and drive or walk to the local coffee shop, but not in the spring!

7.  Exposed skin everywhere on everyone, male, female, young, old… If it’s in combination with leggings or yoga pants, it’s a bonus!

6.  I see neighbours!  Seriously, I cannot believe how little we get out in the winter – especially with kids programs keeping us out and around – I found out this morning that our neighbour had a baby and we didn’t even know she was pregnant.  So hard to tell covered in a giant Canada Goose jacket.

5.  Bikes everywhere!  And I’ve mellowed over the years, so I want bikes and bike lanes everywhere.  I also want safe and clean public transit and I want better roads and more parking for cars.  I want everyone to commute and be happy and healthy and safe.  Hey, City of Toronto… If you want business owners to thrive and survive, back off the parking tickets for people who park in actual spots.  If they park illegally, or block traffic, tag and tow them, but let businesses earn money!

4.  Joggers abound!  I’ve always said that out-of-shape joggers (like myself) run at night when no one can see them shaking and bouncing around or hear them gasping for air.  The fit joggers run during the day where everyone can see them.  Whatever your motivation, just run!

3.  My lawn kicks ass!  My front lawn is very green and soft.  I put the snow on it in the winter before the City salts the street or sidewalk and in the spring, and it makes a difference.  It’s so nice, and I have a neighbour who doesn’t talk to anyone but I catch him walking across the street and touching my grass in awe.  Love it!

2.  Change!  Changes come in spring.  People clean their houses, change their jobs, their clothes, their demeanor, and even the homeless-looking guy who visits the Starbucks I frequent cut off his ridiculously long white beard.  Wouldn’t have recognized him – looks somewhat respectable now – except for the same army fatigue pants he wears every day and the shmatta (towel?) he covers his head with.

1.Spring means an end to winter programs for my kids, so say goodbye to hockey, but it also means saying hello to baseball (call me “coach”) and to being able to throw a ball around and walk to park and shoot hoops, or go for a bike ride, and work at losing the winter gut and getting back into a shape that doesn’t resemble a pear.

3 cheers to spring!

Hip hip, hooray

Hip hip hooray.

Hip… Hip… Achhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooo

 

Geez, I hate spring!

 

 

 

The “Sir” David Beckham Controversy: Knighthood, Tax Evasion, What Canada Should Do?


This story is of great interest to me because it covers many areas which I feel passionate about. Taxes, Sports, Canada, and Social Media.

In this case, David Beckham, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, and husband to former Spice Girl Victoria was denied knighthood for his involvement in a tax avoidance scheme, however the presence of some leaked emails have really stirred the pot recently and caused damage to the Beckham brand.

A Unicef goodwill ambassador since 2005 – Beckham is furious that the leaked emails appear to show him as cynically using his charity work to curry favour with the honours committee and identifies his frustration with having to kiss up to the Queen in order to achieve his knighthood.

He is also furious that they depict him as demanding money from the United Nations children’s charity to pay for flights and hotels to visit its projects with children in places such as the Philippines and in one email he apparently complained about being asked to match the highest bidders at a Unicef auction in New York, stating: “Chloe asked me an outright which I was p***** . . . I don’t want to do it and won’t do it with my own money.”

He comes across as a petulant child.

The hacked emails were obtained by website Football Leaks which had, up to now, focused on exposing players’ contracts and third-party ownership arrangements considered illegal by FIFA.

Beckham and his advisors knew about the existence of these emails last year, and had obtained an injunction preventing a major British newspaper and others from publishing the information. Beckham was also the subject of blackmail, with the perpetrator asking for $1-million dollars from “Becks” in order to prevent the emails from becoming public.

The email hack is believed that have been executed on a server associated with Simon Oliveira – Beckham’s communications spokesperson – in 2015. The 2 had worked together for more than a decade.

Oliveira was also the spokesperson for another tax cheat, former Tennis player Boris Becker, which might be a coincidence, or might not.

In 2002, Becker became a convicted criminal after judges found him guilty of tax evasion. Becker was given a stiff punishment: a two-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, a 500,000 euro (£315,000) fine, and the entire cost of his trial after he pleaded guilty to evading about 1.7m euros tax by claiming to live in the “offshore” haven of Monte Carlo at a time when his main residence was really in Munich.

Beckham was nominated for knighthood by the head of the London 2012 Olympic Organizing Committee, Lord Sebastian Coe, however UK Tax authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, flagged Beckham’s involvement during a screening process and it seems that it was enough to block the proposal.

The couple got caught up in a £434million tax avoidance dispute.

Over a decade ago the Beckhams joined Inside Track Productions LLP, set up by notorious investment firm Ingenious.

David went on to invest in two further Ingenious tax schemes in 2005 and 2006. Along with 140 other Inside Track Productions investors, the couple have been hit with tax demands by HMRC.

Ingenious invested hundreds of millions of pounds through schemes aimed at backing the British film industry.

But the company claimed £1.6billion in losses – and clients, who were made partners of limited liability partnerships, were lawfully able to write off any losses from the schemes against their other income. Companies House records show Victoria and David are still listed as members of the LLP.

After a tax tribunal ruling last year, investors in Ingenious schemes have faced a bill for £434million in unpaid tax plus interest. Ingenious, of course, denies HMRC’s allegations and the sides are still in a legal dispute.

HMRC boss Jennie Granger said: “The schemes involved people claiming far more in tax than they invested.”

So what should Canada do, and how does this impact us?

Well, if the UK offers knighthood to their top political donators, and famous people around the world and it is viewed as an honour, its’ about time for Canada to step up to the plate and recognize our elites and respected Canadians.

Since “Sir” is already taken, we should consider another honour, maybe adding “Eh?” after someone’s name. So once the tax matters are resolved, someone like David Beckham could become David Beckham, eh?  That’s 100% Canadian!  And… If he gets his tax problems resolved, and his knighthood, he could become Sir David Beckham, eh?

Pretty awesome!

 

The moral of the story is this:

Pay your taxes, don’t slag people in emails, and be kind to everyone, all the time!

“Super”Bowl Thoughts from my Kids


We watched most of the Super Bowl yesterday which would represent a first for my middle and suddenly sporty son.  He has had zero interest in football prior to yesterday – and to be honest – he watched it because of the commercials and the Lady Gaga half-time show.

Here are his thoughts of the game;

  1. Why don’t they show the commercials here in Canada?  What a scam!
  2. If the NFL is worried about concussions, why do they allow players to hit someone head first.  If they were really concerned, they would toss all players who hit with their heads, or hit someone in the head.
  3. NFL does not stand for “No Farting League” as I told his sister.  I suggested “No Farting Ladies” but my wise 7-year-old countered with “No Farting Lads”!
  4. When asked who would win, he said “New Zealand”.
  5. When asked which state Boston is in, he said “New York”.
  6. After realizing that Ottawa was in Ontario, he wondered out loud if Canada consisted of Ontario and Quebec – to which I said; “And that is why Western Canada hates Toronto, my son!”  Plus we’ve all been to the East Coast of Canada.
  7. Why is Tom Brady’s wife cheering into her cell phone – taking selfies instead of celebrating with the rest of the people in the press box?
  8. Lady Gaga was incredible!  On the roof, jumping from the roof, singing, not singing, all in those high-heels.  She totally rocked and was a true highlight of the night.
  9. He felt because the game was played in a neutral location (Texas) the sounds from the stands sounded canned and phony.  He said they might as well have played the game in an empty stadium and played a cheering sound track along with the game.
  10. Why does the NFL need their championship trophy to be “Super”?  Why is the Stanley Cup not named the Super Cup and why does the winning team receive the Vince Lombardi trophy when they win???  Where is the bowl???
  11. Why isn’t there a team in Toronto?
  12. Since no team had even overcome a 10-point deficit and there had been no overtime games in the league’s 51-year history, and with New England (or New Zealand, New York) losing 28-3 at half-time – my kids assumed it was over for the Pats.  Upon learning of the Falcon loss, my son’s response was the always classic, “Whoa!”.
  13. Upon hearing that Tom Brady was being regarded as the best quarterback in the history of the NFL, my son quipped; “I think he is, because he’s the only quarterback I know, and he won the game.”
  14. Where are the damn commercials???

 

So I think this was a success, and even though he doesn’t know all the rules, or where the teams play, him, his sister and their older brother enjoyed the half-time show more than anything.

“Can you take me to a concert?” was the post-game cry from the kids…

… and sign me up for lacrosse.

Only in Canada, eh?

104th Grey Cup: Redblacks Vs. Stampeders… WOW.


The 104th Grey Cup was held here in Toronto yesterday, at BMO field, home of the TFC, and all I can say was WOW.

The CFL may not be on the radar for everyone but this league knows how to put on an event, and both the Ottawa Redblacks’ players and the Calgary Stampeders players put on quite the show.

The game ended with the Redblacks winning their first championship since 1976 after a thrilling 39-33 OT win.

Unlike that championship game held south of the boarder, the Grey Cup games are usually quite exciting and a great showcase for the league and it never gets enough press or fanfare, which is sad.

Congratulations to the Redblacks and to the CFL for putting on a great event and for building a fast, skilled, talented league!