Favourite Superman Look?

Superman Costumes

I like the 1970’s Neal Adams look best. Classic Superman, still jacked but not weird looking, and still supporting his classic underwear.




Comic Review: Star Wars – Dark Empire

Dark EmpireThis is one of the first Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse around 1991 and 1992. The Dark Empire storyline is told through two 6-issue miniseries titled Dark Empire I & Dark Empire II, and wraps up in a two issue series called Empire’s End. The Dark Empire story is set after the Thrawn Trilogy, which I also reviewed and enjoyed immensely. Dark Empire however, was actually pretty terrible.

The story has Emperor Palpatine (Darth Vader’s Master) returning from the dead as a clone, and he wants to destroy the Republic. Whenever you bring back a character from the dead, you always open yourself to harsh criticism, if the story was good, it could have worked, but unfortunately it wasn’t good. Luke Skywalker than precedes to partner with the Emperor rather quickly and join the dark side, claiming it’s the only way he can destroy them. This action by Luke seeming very out-of-character. At the end of Dark Empire I, Empire Palpatine is killed, and Luke joins the good guys once again.

Dark Empire II and Empire’s End II, has the Emperor returning from the dead..AGAIN, by jumping into another clone body and continuing his takeover. The Emperor also has access to a weapon that has the ability much like the Death Star to destroy planets. This is silly though, because the Death Star was such a huge endeavour that took years to build, and the Emperor should in no way have that technological ability.

In the Thrawn Trilogy we are under the impression that Luke, Leia, and Jorus C’baoth were the only Jedi left in the universe, and in Dark Empire it seems like everyone is a Jedi! There are maybe 10-20 Jedi characters introduced. Also in the Thrawn Trilogy, we are introduced to Mara Jade, who has a long rich history with the Emperor, and Mara Jade is not even present in this story. Luke is also given a new love interest (who also happens to be a Jedi) who he kisses, but there was no real build-up between these two characters, and it never went anywhere, and the whole thing seemed out-of-place.

The colouring inside this book is atrocious. It seems like only one or two colours are chosen per page, and no matter what is drawn, everything is done in that colour. It really drags the book down. Empire’s End (the final two issues) got a new artist and it did improve a bit, but not by much.

Overall this series was a real disappointment.


Book Review: Star Wars – The Thrawn Trilogy

Thrawn TrilogyWith the announcement of Disney buying Star Wars from LucasFilm, and that we are going to start seeing a slew of new Star Wars movies coming out, I’ve decided to start getting into Star Wars comics and books. I’ve always been interested in venturing outside of the movie universe, and finding out what happens once Return of the Jedi ends. In order to start exploring the Star Wars expanded universe I Googled around, and the first thing Star Wars nerds everywhere recommend reading is a trilogy of books by Timothy Zahn called the Thrawn Trilogy. These books were published from 1991-1993, and they are set 5 years after the movies end, and many consider them to be the unofficial Episode 7, 8 and 9.

In the book the New Republic is setting up a government and controls most of the galaxy, but remnants of the Empire are still out there. Han Solo and Princess Leia are now married, with Leia being pregnant with twins. They live on the New Republic capital planet “Coruscant” with Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C3PO.


Grand Admiral Thrawn

The major villain in the series is Grand Admiral Thrawn, of which the trilogy is named after. He’s a blue alien with a highly intelligent and strategic military genius, who had a high ranking important postion during the war, but was kind of forgotten about during the Empire’s collapse. With Darth Vader, the Emperor, and most of the other high ranking Imperial military figures wiped out, Thrawn is now the leader of the Empire, and he wishes to restore the Empire back to their former glory. What makes Thrawn such an interesting villain, is that he does not have special powers, he is not a jedi, he could not win in a one-on-one fight with Luke Skywalker, but his intelligence and ability to outthink everyone makes him such a dangerous threat.

Jorus C'baoth

Jorus C’baoth

In addition to Thrawn, other new character Jorus C’baoth, is supposed to be the only other Jedi in the universe now outside of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. In addition to being a Jedi, and looking like a jacked version of Gandolf, he is also insane! Thrawn goads C’baoth into working with him, but it is always an uneasy alliance, that makes for a very interesting dynamic throughout the trilogy.

Mara Jade

Mara Jade

Mara Jade is another character introduced in the book, who is a love interest for Luke Skywalker, and after the Thrawn Trilogy she goes onto eventually marrying Luke. However in the Thrawn books, she mainly just wants to kill Luke Skywalker, and her obsession with wanting to kill Luke, is a plot point that is revisited and restated hundreds of times throughout the trilogy, before finally being resolved near the end. It get a little repetitive and annoying after a while.

Another staple in the Thrawn Triolgy are these creatures called the Ysalamiri, which are lizards that are capable of blocking the force, and when these creatures are around Jedi, a Jedi will not have any power. I found the creatures to be a really cool idea, and it became amusing how Thrawn would keep them scattered around his ship, and draped on his shoulder whenever dealing with C’baoth.

Timothy Zahn has created some great new characters, and introduced some interesting new concepts to the Star Wars universe, as well as capturing the voice of all the familiar Star Wars characters well. When Han Solo says something, he sounds like Han Solo. These are great introductory books to the Star Wars expanded universe, and a series I highly recommend.


Minor annoyances that don’t really matter: Zahn likes to use the word “sardonically” a lot, and his characters frequently just say “point” when they agree with someone, as oppose to saying “you’ve got a point there” or “I agree”. It gets kind of annoying after a while!

How Celebrity Branding Has Let Dre Beats Inferior Headphones Successfully Sell At A High Premium

The New York Times had an article about Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones. What’s interesting about this product is that the reviews are really bad, one review saying:

“In terms of sound performance, they are among the worst you can buy…They are absolutely, extraordinarily bad.” – Tyll Hertsens, editor in chief of InnerFidelity.com

But because these headphones look sharp and are branded by Dr Dre, they sell for $300 nearly 10 times the price of ear buds that come with iPods ($35) and people buy them. Even with the ridiculously higher price and poor reviews, Dre Beats have annual sales  approaching $500 million dollars. All of this showcasing the power of how celebrity endorsement and image can mask the quality of a product and enhances their ability to be sold at a higher price point, even though cheaper alternatives of better quality are available.

These headphones are more so a fashion accessory, some people buy them do so for the image associated with them, not really for quality. If people are satisfied with paying more for headphones to make a fashion statement then I don’t have a problem with that. But I do feel sorry for the majority of people that don’t know any better, want high quality headphones, see the price and image of Dre Beats thinking they are the best, buy them, and end up suffering, being ripped off paying way more than they should have.

Dre Beets

Guy Who Loves The Movie Speed 2: Cruise Control Way Too Much

Who can’t forget the highly successful 1994 blockbuster movie Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock? In the movie Keanu and Sandra are both trapped on a bus that has been rigged to explode by a terrorist if the speed of the vehicle falls below 50 mph or if anyone attempts to get off the bus. Well in 1997 a sequel came out entitled Speed 2: Cruise Control. Sandra Bullock was back to reprise her role but Keanu Reeves couldn’t reach an agreement with the studio and was replaced with relative unknown actor Jason Patric. The sequel taking place this time on a boat that couldn’t stop, was needless to say terrible and the source of plenty of mockery over the years.

But not everyone hated Speed 2, in the hilarious video below you will meet Speed 2’s number one fan who can’t stop talking about the movie, and will defend it to anyone who dare questions him.

Chipotle Ad “Back To The Start”

This Chipotle ad was picked as the second best ad of 2011 by Adweek losing out to Volkswagon’s The Force Ad. However Chipotle has my pick for favourite ad of the year. It’s so beautifully crafted conveying Chipotle’s green efforts to support sustainable farming. The ad gets it’s message across through clever animation and the use of Willie Nelson’s emotional cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” which fits the ad perfectly.

Why The LCBO Should Be Privatized

I wrote the below paper in the Fall of 2011, in the first year of my MBA at McMaster University. I thought I did a good job on the paper, so i figured I’d post it here. My hope is that future students who have this professor will get the same assignment, and will plagiarize the hell out of my work.



The purpose of this briefing note is to discuss the major implications and provide a recommendation about whether or not the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) should be privatized or remain a Crown Corporation.


The LCBO was created in 1927 at the end of prohibition in Ontario and was created to be a government run company that would control the sale, transportation and delivery of alcohol in Ontario.[1] Today the LCBO’s main concerns are protecting society from alcohol abuse; generating revenue for government; and supporting Ontario wine.[2] The LCBO is a provincial government enterprise reporting to the Minister of Finance and has 11 board members appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor.[3] Members are appointed for a term of up to five years and there are regular monthly Board meetings. [4] The LCBO has 618 stores across Ontario and 3,547 full time employees.[5] The LCBO’s monopoly on the alcohol business in Ontario makes them very profitable, and because the LCBO is a Crown Corporation its profits go back to the province. However, there are many that feel the government has no reason to be in the alcohol business, that the LCBO is inefficient and people would be better off with a privatized system.[6] They also argue that since Ontario has a reported budget deficit of about $24.7 billion dollars, the Ontario government could privatize the sale of alcohol and sell off the LCBO for what could be worth over $10-billion dollars.[7] There are many stakeholders that would be affected by the privatization of alcohol, and it is important to measure the positive and negative impact privatization would have on each group appropriately before making a decision.

Implications for Ontario Government

With the Ontario deficit at around $24.7 billion, privatizing alcohol sales, and selling off the LCBO’s assets could bring in an estimated $10 billion or more, this could greatly help boost the Ontario economy. However, the LCBO is currently very profitable, seeing a rise in profits consistently for the last 15 years and in 2008 bringing in $1.4-billion in profits, all of which was handed over to the government.[8] Some would argue that if Ontario where to sell off the LCBO they would lose this yearly billion dollar revenue, just for what would be a one-time only cash infusion. To counter the argument that privatizing Ontario’s liquor sales would greatly decrease provincial revenue, one can look at the Canadian Taxpayers Association 2002 study on the effects of privatizing liquor sales in Alberta. That study found that the Alberta government suffered no revenue loss from the privatization of liquor, because they still made money by collecting sales tax from privatized alcohol retail outlets.[9] Therefore when looking at the Alberta example, it would appear that the revenue Ontario could generate from privatized liquor sales would still be ample, and on top of that the Ontario government would still get the cash infusion it desires from selling off the LCBO.

Implications for Business

Ontario’s wine industry desperately wants to see the LCBO privatized.[10] They claim that it is hard to get shelf space, and with only one outlet in Ontario, that being the LCBO, customers do not have access to their product.[11] Grocery, variety and retail stores would love to see privatization, as it would allow them to start selling alcohol and bring in an entire new market to their stores.[12] The amount of new businesses and jobs privatizing alcohol would create would also receive a significant boost. When Alberta privatized alcohol in 1993 the amount of full-time jobs in the liquor retailing business jumped from 1,300 to 3,500.[13]

Implications for Consumers

Consumers will be happy with the convenience LCBO privatization will create, because they now will be able to buy groceries and alcoholic beverages in the same store, as well as enjoy increased selection.[14] [15]

One negative to consumers, is that under privatization they may actually face higher prices. The LCBO having a monopoly institutes uniform pricing when it comes to alcohol. Meaning, alcohol prices stay the same whichever LCBO you buy from.[16] Generally a monopoly means higher prices, but the LCBO’s prices are fairly low, so if the LCBO were to be privatized, than that would mean more competition leading to uneven pricing.[17] So certain stores may sell particular alcoholic beverages for more money trying to increase their profit margin.

An Ontario Legislative Library Research study entitled The Social Consequences Of Privatizing Liquor And Beer Stores, found that increased availability did not mean an increase in consumption of alcohol.[18] Consumption behavior in the long run is dictated more so by price and income rather than availability.[19] The same study also found that privatizing alcohol did not lead to any increases in social problems such as alcohol-related crime.[20] However privatization would most likely lead to increased underage drinking as the LCBO is very strict when it comes to selling to minors, and by increasing amount of liquor outlets selling alcohol under privatization, this would lead to less efficient policing.[21]

Implications for Special Interest Groups

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents LCBO employees, does not want to see privatization.[22] Since the LCBO is government owned, LCBO employees are considered “government employees” and therefore receive much higher wages than they would in the private sector if they were selling alcohol. Therefore if the LCBO was privatized current LCBO employees would be negatively affected and probably be forced to get a new job, or face a lower salary, which the OPSEU does not want to see.


The sale of liquor in Ontario should be privatized and the LCBO’s assets should be sold off to help reduce Ontario’s debt. The rationale for this recommendation comes from the following arguments:

  • The Ontario government no longer needs to be in the liquor retail business and the amount of revenue forgone from not owning the LCBO will still be generated from taxing the sale of liquor sold at new privatized retail outlets.
  • The Ontario Wine industry wants privatization as it gives them easier access to the market, and retail chains want privatization as it opens an entirely new profitable product line for them.
  • Consumers want privatization as it will be more convenient for them to buy alcohol and it will give them more selection.
  • The alleged negative societal downsides of alcohol privatization such as increased consumption and crime have proven too not be statistically significant.
  • While there are some negatives to privatization such as possibly increased price to consumers, an increase in underage drinking, and an unhappy Ontario Public Service Employees Union. The positives of privatization far outweigh the negatives.

[1] Jazairi, Nuri. “LCBO Privatization Study.” York University. http://www.yorku.ca/nuri/lcbo.htm (accessed October 7, 2011)

[2] Jazairi, Nuri. “LCBO Privatization Study.”

[3] “Corporate Structure.” LCBO. http://www.lcbo.com/aboutlcbo/media_centre/corporate_structure.shtml (accessed December 22, 2011).

[4] “Corporate Structure.” LCBO. http://www.lcbo.com/aboutlcbo/media_centre/corporate_structure.shtml (accessed December 22, 2011).

[5] “Quick Facts.” LCBO. http://www.lcbo.com/aboutlcbo/media_centre/quick_facts.shtml (accessed December 22, 2011).

[6] Milke, Mark. “Ending the Prohibition on Competition – The Case for Competitive Liquor Sales in British Columbia.” Canadian Tax Payers Federation. http://www.taxpayer.com/sites/default/files/downloadable/31.pdf (accessed October 7, 2011).

[7] Willis, Andrew, and Boyd Erman. “Ontario ponders sale of Crown corporations to beat down deficit.” The Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/ontario-ponders-sale-of-its-crown-corporations/article1401807/ (accessed October 7, 2011).

[8] Willis and Erman. “Ontario ponders sale of Crown corporations to beat down deficit.”

[9] Milke. “Ending the Prohibition on Competition” pg. 39

[10] Trichur, Rita. “In the vineyard, fermenting dissent.” The Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/in-the-vineyard-fermenting-dissent/article1998335/ (accessed October 7, 2011).

[11] Trichur. “In the vineyard, fermenting dissent.”

[12] Milke. “Ending the Prohibition on Competition” pg. 40

[13] Milke. “Ending the Prohibition on Competition” pg. 4

[14] Milke. “Ending the Prohibition on Competition” pg. 41

[15] Spurr. “Watering down our cocktails.” http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/news/story.cfm?content=181016 (accessed October 8, 2011).

[16] Milke. “Ending the Prohibition on Competition” pg. 3

[17] Milke. “Ending the Prohibition on Competition” pg. 3

[18] Glenn, Ted. “The Social Consequences Of Privatizing Liquor And Beer Stores.” Legislative Assembly of Ontario. http://www.ontla.on.ca/library/repository/mon/1000/10267288.htm (accessed October 7, 2011).

[19] Glenn. “The Social Consequences Of Privatizing Liquor And Beer Stores.”

[20] Glenn. “The Social Consequences Of Privatizing Liquor And Beer Stores.”

[21] Jazairi. “LCBO Privatization Study.”

[22] “Stop the talk about LCBO privatization, says OPSEU.” National Union of Public and General Employees. http://www.nupge.ca/node/2838 (accessed October 8, 2011).