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RIP Canada Post home delivery — 3 things we won’t miss

There is nothing sweeter at this time of year than opening your mailbox to find a red and green envelope waiting for you. Ah, Christmas cards, a sweet slice of the holiday spirit sent directly to your door.

And then the mail keeps coming the rest of the year.

The constant flow was enough to drive Kramer (slightly more) crazy in the 1997 Seinfeld episode The Junk Mail, and like Kramer we all felt a little mixed upon learning that Canada Post will be phasing out urban home delivery over the next five years.

Here are three things we won’t miss:

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1. The Junk

The junk comes, and comes, and comes. Like Sisyphus pushing his rock back up that hill in Hades every day, the emptying of the junk mail from the mailbox is a thankless, never-ending task. Hot dogs are on for 99 cents at No Frills. There is a rollback Christmas lights at Walmart. Capital One has pre-approved me for a credit card. Every day I come home to my mailbox overflowing with deals, so many deals that I could never appreciate them all in one lifetime. Every day the stack of of letters which know my name only to be “Resident” is larger than the last.Every. Day. There. Is. More.

Except now there won’t be. Finally, some extra space in the mailbox for all of the personal correspondence mail I receive to leave my keys for when the electrician comes and I’m not home.

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2. Other people’s mail

For some reason I cannot fathom there is a nonstop deluge of mail for people I don’t know that comes to my mailbox that gives me an almost eerie vision into their lives with none of the pleasure of being able to open them up. Mr Hun-Tso looked to be behind on his phone bill, with letters coming with increasingly scarier words like “IMPORTANT” “PAST DUE” and “FINAL NOTICE” stamped on the front. Mr Rados’ citizenship information came through, which I’m sure would have been a happy day for him if he’d actually received the package. I still get the magazine subscriptions for a beauty salon that was once apparently in my house.

Okay, I’ll concede that I would probably actually enjoy this aspect of mail home delivery if it wasn’t for the precious space in my mailbox that was being taken up by five letters a day addressed to people who hadn’t lived there for years.

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3. The slow speed

With today’s technology junk mail and bills seem to be the only stuff that really serves a purpose in the mailbox — and even bills can be sent online. Everything else is just a click, tap, or touch away on our computers, tablets, and smartphones. Even telephones can do most of what mail can accomplish. Even fax machines, themselves a completely outdated form of technology, can do everything mail can do at a fraction of the time.

There’s a reason people call it snail mail.

 

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Chicago’s gay hockey team sings ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’

Prepare to drool all over you keyboard as you watch Chicago’s gayest goons sing Christmas carols on the ice.

While none of these scruffy fellas can carry a tune (like, at all) it just adds to the appeal. Note to Toronto’s Gay Hockey Association: we will be expecting something similar from you soon. If you can manage to incorporate some shirtlessness then you’ve got these guys beat, but as it stands all we want for Christmas now is to hang out rinkside in Chicago.\

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

RECIPE: Applesauce cranberry cake

Anne Lindsay, author of Lighthearted at Home, shares a recipe for a scrumptious and health conscious Applesauce Cranberry Cake. At only 159 calories a slice, it’s the perfect holiday treat. The recipe is also certified by the Heart & Stroke Health Check program, meaning it’s nutritionally sound and totally good for you!

Applesauce Cranberry Cake

Makes 24 slices

Full of flavor, this delicious moist cake looks attractive when made in a Bundt or tube pan. It’s easy to make and keeps well. Serve with fresh fruit desserts, poached pears or sorbets.

¾ cups granulated sugar (425 mL)
¼ cup      soft margarine, at room temperature (50 mL)
1             egg
½ cup      low-fat plain yogurt (25 mL)
2 cups     applesauce (500 mL)
1 tsp       pure vanilla extract (5 mL)
1             Grated rind of 1 medium orange
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (375 mL)
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour (300 mL)
1 cup       dried cranberries or raisins (250 mL)
¼ cup      wheat bran (50 mL)
4 tsp        cinnamon (20 mL)
2 tsp        baking soda (10 mL)
½ tsp       ground nutmeg (2 mL)

Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch (25 cm) Bundt pan.

In mixing bowl, beat sugar with margarine until well mixed. Beat in egg until light in colour. Beat in yogurt until mixed. Beat in applesauce, vanilla and orange rind.

In separate bowl, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, cranberries, bran, cinnamon, baking soda and nutmeg; stir to mix. Pour over applesauce mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool completely.

MAKE AHEAD: Wrap well and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

PER SLICE: 159 calories, 2 g protein, 3 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 138 mg sodium, 81 mg potassium
Excerpted from Lighthearted at Home. Copyright © 2010 by Anne Lindsay and Associates. Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.

 

WATCH: This video will change the way you think about marriage

The video, entitled simple “It’s Time.” was created by Australian marriage equity group Get Up! to help show those who may not know a lot about gay relationships, marriage, and love what a love story looks like through the eyes of a gay man and forces the viewer to confront their prejudices about the gender of the camera when the couple does a lot of very normal things like laughing, kissing, and even fighting.

Take a look and let us know what you think, is it time for everyone to have the right to marry the people they love?

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Jennifer Lawrence, Martha Stewart & more celebrities recite Ford’s crack admission

Ivor Tossell was right, Rob Ford has transcended the realm of politics and become a fixture in the world of celebrity. Through his appearances (and the frequent discussion of him) on American cable news and late night talks shows — a medium which has no understanding or reason to understand Canadian politics at any level, least of all municipal — Ford has landed somewhere between OJ Simpson and Charlie Sheen with a dash of Amanda Bynes in the American (and by extension, global) cultural landscape.

On a week where comparatively little has gone down in the Ford saga, except some anticipation for the release of more documents related to Ford associate Sandro Lisi’s arrest, the Mayor has still found himself on David Letterman being paraphrased by celebrities.

Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughan, Martha Stewart, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson all take part in the mock documentary in which they recite Ford’s admission of crack use during his term as mayor and his assertion that he would like to be Prime Minister of Canada someday.

Toronto, it looks like we’re going to have to settle into this for quite a while to come.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

13 reasons why Cher’s new video ‘Take it Like a Man’ is the gayest thing ever

Queer car wash, underwear models, lifeguards, and a twerking dance off. Yup, gayest thing ever.

As if Cher could get any gayer, her new video for Take it Like a Man has proven that the Queen of the Queers not only still has it, but has set the standard of gay for another generation. Here’s why:

 

13. The video opens with a group of men wandering around the hood in nothing but underwear.

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12. There is a big gay car wash where most of the soap and water ends up on the boys.

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11. There is a rival group of guys, also in their underwear, who are scandalized in the gayest way possible: sassy lollipop removal from mouth.

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10. One of the guys gets picked up and used to scrub a car.

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9. The boys somehow get shipwrecked, also in their underwear.

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8. Only to be saved by a group of hunky lifegueards wearing the tightest bathing suits imaginable

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7. There are so many lingering crotch shots.

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6. Back at the car wash the boys are actually just washing each other.

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5. There is a dance off

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4. Between guys in their underwear.

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3. They are twerking.

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2. One of the teams is called the Hot Bottoms.

1. It’s Cher for God’s sake.

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Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Ste. Anne’s Spa is the perfect escape to relaxation

What is the cure to our modern, hectic world?

This autumn, take a trip to Grafton and check out Ste. Anne’s Spa, Canada’s favourite spa. A quick jaunt from Toronto, you can treat yourself to mud wraps, massages and facials, among other relaxing options.

The estate features both a eucalyptus steam room and a fieldstone grotto, where you can hang out in the hot tub before cooling off in the plunge pool.

For the ladies, the change room offers a unique surprise: colour therapy hot tubs. Yes, you can soak your weary bones in a fuchsia sea.

The special treat for the season? Mocha fusion. Using coffee as a natural exfoliant, this spa treatment will replenish your skin from toes to scalp and clear your mind. The ultimate full-body experience.

Ste. Anne’s also offers wellness classes, giving guests the chance to participate in yoga, stretch or meditation classes. Under the tutelage of Jenn Hall, guests are taught the various poses involved in several branches of yoga. These classes are also occasionally offered as a special retreat, the best way to get the full Ste. Anne’s wellness experience.

If you want more than just a spa visit, there are numerous options. Guests can visit the Spa Bakery and catch one of the culinary demonstrations. Watch as Pastry Chef Khushroo guides you through the process of creating amazing desserts.

Or take a lovely guided walk (or snowshoe!) through the Northumberland Hills. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you visit nearby forests, creeks and even the local farm.

You can even arrange for an equine experience. Ste. Anne’s maintains stables and lets guests interact with the horses in various ways. Groups are kept small, to ensure guests feel comfortable and willing to ask questions.

Guests can choose several options: from watching the stablehands perform daily horse care, either morning muck or evening turn in; to grooming time, which gives visitors the chance to groom a horse; to the learn to ride program, a new program which offers visitors the chance to learn the eight horsemanship levels, from grooming and harnessing through to full diagonals.

“The learn to ride program has just kicked off and two guests that have signed up for the five day program both made it through to the trotting stage,” the stable caretaker, Kareylee White, says.

And if you have a fear of horses? “All of our horses are very friendly, almost too friendly sometimes,” White assures me.

Whether you want to run away for a day or a weekend, Ste. Anne’s Spa is the perfect escape from busy city life.

Want to experience the Ste. Anne’s experience for yourself?
Head over to our St. Anne’s Spa contest page to win a day spa for two!

Rob Ford’s personal trainer is an ex-con who dealt steroids

Rob Ford’s personal trainer is an ex-con who dealt drugs — specifically, anabolic steroids, adding a new drug to the crack and weed we have become accustomed to hearing about Ford’s involvement with.

For those of you reading this who reside outside of Toronto: that thing you are doing now, where you are just shaking your head at the computer screen wondering how one man could consistently have such poor judgement, that is what the rest of us here have been doing every day since about mid March.

The trainer, Valerio Moscariello, is currently banned from coaching in Canada and was picked up in Nevada and sentenced to five months in a federal prison for dealing steroids.

The trainer’s identity (he currently uses the alias Valerio Mosca) came to light after he posted an Instagram photo of a training session with the mayor that has since been removed. He also had a Twitter conversation about training Ford with porn star Nikki Benz where she invited the two to come party with her.

Check out the text of a press release about Moscariello’s conviction from the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Nevada below.

 

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Man Sentenced To Five Months In Prison For Distributing Steroids

November 1, 2005
Las Vegas, Nev. – A Canadian citizen residing in Henderson, Nevada, has been sentenced to five months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to possession with the intent to distribute anabolic steroids, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
VALERIO MOSCARIELLO, age 31, of Toronto, Canada, pleaded guilty in August to the felony offense. He admitted to unlawfully possessing 27 units (270 cc) of anabolic steroids, Schedule III controlled substances, and to operating a website at www.juiceworld.com, that was accessible to the general public for the purpose of distributing these anabolic steroids.
“Individuals who unlawfully distribute drugs, including anabolic steroids, over the Internet will be prosecuted and possibly sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Purchasing controlled substances from unlicensed persons without a valid prescription is unsafe and could threaten your life or the lives of others.”
The sentence was handed down on Monday, October 31, 2005, by U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt, and included an enhancement under the federal sentencing guidelines for distributing the substances through mass-marketing by means of an interactive computer service.
In February 2005, U.S. Postal Inspectors tracked a steroid distribution operation to the defendant’s residence in Henderson. In June 2005, law enforcement officers executed a search of the residence and seized a quantity of anabolic steroids, including Primobolon Depot, Deca Nadrolone Decanoate, and Trenbolone Acetate. They also seized “buy-owe” sheets, materials such as small bottles and syringes consistent with the repackaging of these substances, and approximately $16,000 in cash.
MOSCARIELLO must remove his website www.juiceworld.com from the internet and surrender the unlawful items seized from his home in June. He is presently in immigration custody awaiting a removal hearing.
The case was investigated by Inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Special Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Officers with the Henderson Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Crane M. Pomerantz.

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Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.