Friday 13 July 2012


And now for something completely different (I mean it)

The Crimson Crimes (A Vampire Revenge)

Patricia McCarthy writes salty with humour

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective
Patricia McCarthy of Ottawa, Canada, began writing vampire tales before Hollywood aimed the current collection at the mainstream. We know that some of our readers will find Ms McCarthy's erotic work unsettling but we offer one of them (out of five she has written, so far) — The Crimson Crimes (A Vampire Revenge) — in the spirit of True North Perspective's mandate in support of freedom of expression. Here is Ms McCarthy (uncensored) in her own words.
'If anyone had told me years ago that someday I would write vampire fiction, I would have thought them bonkers. Yet, here I find myself firmly ensconced in the genre and enjoying the liberties it affords to the full extent of my uncensored imagination. My Crimson series goes out on a ledge and heartily embraces salty language; each novel can be read on its own, in sequential order, or however your heart desires. Please note the critical opinions expressed by my characters are logical to the story and do not reflect my own. I am presently crafting the sixth in my series, The Crimson Dream. I encourage you to experience my Crimson world. Enjoy the free chapters on this page by clicking below. My Crimson novels are available as e-books – visit the Order Page to purchase your ePub or PDF download for tablet or e-reader.'
Here following is an excerpt from Chapter One, The Crimson Crimes (A Vampire Revenge)
Samuel Crimson, slick with sweat, dreamt of his late father, Sir William Simon Hennessy as he had lived in the year of One Thousand and Seventy-Nine. He was disgusted by his father’s murderous lechery — loving women before draining them. Samuel felt the thrill of his father’s charisma but as the dreamer, he could only watch and do nothing. The precious gemstones of emerald, ruby, and sapphire, bequeathed to Samuel by his father, allowed him to travel back and forth in time. It was a rare opportunity for Samuel to witness first-hand how his father had operated. Sir William Simon Hennessy had never asked to be made into a vampire. After fighting for years and barely surviving the First Crusade, he wanted only to return to his Scottish homeland and find a redheaded village girl to marry.
Click here for a PDF file of the first chapter, visit the author's website.
(Please note that when you click on PDF file the first thing you may see is a blank page. Don't be alarmed. Just scroll down to the next page et voila! the story will begin to appear.)



All-round loyal Canadian woman calls

Harper a traitor who should resign now

Voices long list of betrayals of Canada

Please spend six minutes to hear her
brilliant presentation of the evidence


From the Desk of Dennis Carr Sustainable Development Editor

Stephen Harper faces revolt by scientists against cutbacks

Scientists marched through Ottawa on Tuesday, June 10, in white lab coats in protest at cuts to research and environmental damage

By Susanne Goldenberg

13 July 2012 OTTAWA Canada — Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, faces a widening revolt by the country's leading scientists against sweeping cuts to government research labs and broadly pro-industry policies.
The scientists marched through Ottawa in white lab coats on Tuesday in the second big protest in a month against the Harper government's science and environmental agenda.
Harper is accused of pushing through a slew of policies weakening or abolishing environmental protections — with an aim of expanding development of natural resources such as the Alberta tar sands.
His government is also accused of jeopardising Canada's scientific reputation by shutting down the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a research station that produced critical evidence to help stop acid rain. (More)

Western media and politicians froth over a nuclear bomb

 that doesn't exist while ignoring thousands ready to fire

'Now, on a planet still overstocked with city-busting, world-ending weaponry, in which almost 67 years have passed since a nuclear weapon was last used, the only nuke that Americans regularly hear about is one that doesn’t exist: Iran’s. The nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons on missiles, planes, and submarines possessed by Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China, Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea are barely mentioned in what passes for press coverage of the nuclear issue.'

By William D. Hartung
08 July 2012 — I can still remember sneaking with two friends into the balcony of some Broadway movie palace to see the world end. The year was 1959, the film was On the Beach, and I was 15.  It was the movie version of Neville Shute’s still eerie 1957 novel about an Australia awaiting its death sentence from radioactive fallout from World War III, which had already happened in the northern hemisphere.  We three were jacked by the thrill of the illicit and then, to our undying surprise, bored by the quiet, grownup way the movie imagined human life winding down on this planet.  (“We're all doomed, you know. The whole, silly, drunken, pathetic lot of us. Doomed by the air we're about to breathe.”)

It couldn’t hold a candle to giant, radioactive, mutant ants heading for L.A. (Them!), or planets exploding as alien civilizations nuclearized themselves (This Island Earth), or a monstrous prehistoric reptile tearing up Tokyo after being awakened from its sleep by atomic tests (Godzilla), or for that matter the sort of post-nuclear, post-apocalyptic survivalist novels that were common enough in that era.

It’s true that anything can be transformed into entertainment, even versions of our own demise -- and that there’s something strangely reassuring about then leaving a theater or turning the last page of a book and having life go on.  Still, we teenagers didn’t doubt that something serious and dangerous was afoot in that Cold War era, not when we “ducked and covered” under our school desks while (test) sirens screamed outside and the CONELRAD announcer on the radio on the teacher’s desk offered chilling warnings.

Nor did we doubt it when we dreamed about the bomb, as I did reasonably regularly in those years, or when we wondered how our “victory weapon” in the Pacific in World War II might, in the hands of the Reds, obliterate us and the rest of what in those days we called the Free World (with the obligatory caps).  We sensed that, for the first time since peasants climbed into their coffins at the millennium to await the last days, we were potentially already in our coffins in everyday life, that our world could actually vanish in a few moments in a paroxysm of superpower destruction. (More)


Libyans vote but will the new rulers curb violent militias?

Amnesty reveals dishonest media coverage of Libya conflict

The armed groups who helped depose Gaddafi are now committing human rights abuses of their own, Amnesty warns

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent

08 July 2012 Libyans voted in their first democratic election yesterday to choose an interim national assembly to rule the country after the overthrow of Mu'ammer Gaddafi. International interest in this crucial election has been sparse compared to the wall-to-wall coverage by the foreign media during the eight-month war.
Throughout the Libyan crisis, human rights organisations have on the whole performed better than television, radio and print press in describing what was happening in Libya. Too many journalists and media outlets decided early on that Gaddafi's forces were the black hats and the insurgents the white hats. They pumped out anti-Gaddafi atrocity stories, often without checking the facts, such as a supposed campaign of mass rape by government troops. Investigations by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a United Nations team discovered no evidence for this, but their findings were largely ignored by the media. The insurgents claimed that they had found the bodies of government troops executed by their own side when they tried to defect, but Amnesty uncovered a video of the same men alive and being aggressively interrogated by the rebels, who most likely shot the soldiers themselves.

Last week Amnesty produced a devastating report – "Libya: Rule of law or rule of militias?" – based on meticulous and lengthy investigations, portraying Libya as a country where violent and predatory militia gangs have become the real power in the land. They jail, torture and kill individuals and persecute whole communities that oppose them now, did so in the past, or simply get in their way. A few actions by these out-of control militiamen have gained publicity, such as taking over Tripoli airport, shooting up the convoy of the British ambassador in Benghazi, and arresting staff members of the International Criminal Court. (More)

True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please read
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 7, No. 24 (326)
Friday 13 July 2012

Guest  Editorial 

Stephen Harper is blind to science

By Christopher Hume
The Toronto Star
13 July 2012 TORONTO Ontario — Ottawa has seen countless demonstrations over the decades, none more poignant or disturbing than what unfolded Tuesday when hundreds of scientists took to the street to protest what they call “the Death of Evidence.”

Though the global media covered the event — complete with images of lab-coated geeks wandering the capital wide-eyed in shock and disbelief — it could only hint at the full import of the event.

Not only was the protest unprecedented, even extraordinary, it struck at the dark heart of the New Canada, a nation more interested in hiding the truth than understanding it, exploiting resources than conserving them.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to search-and-destroy the environmental movement has now been ratcheted up to the next phase; his government has launched a war against science itself, an attack on the collection and analysis of the very data that enable us to comprehend the world of which we are part and on which we depend. (More)

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
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Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This week in ...

The Binkley Report

We publish a Binkley Report Classic because Mr. Binkley is on a well-earned holiday.

Feds, Air Canada caught in Aveos turbulence

Harper MPs use majority to hide committee conclusions from parliament

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

30 March 2012 — The Harper government and Air Canada are scrambling to deal with opposition and union charges that the airline has broken federal law by shipping aircraft maintenance out of Canada.

The question they should answer is why the bankruptcy at Aveos that shuttered aircraft maintenance operations in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg caught the government and airline apparently by surprise? (More)

Spirit Quest

A fellow traveller is found within the pages of a book

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

13 July 2012 — It has often been remarked by wiser cynics than I that “there are lies, damn lies and statistics.” It has also been averred that “statistics don’t lie but you can sure as hell lie with statistics.”
I know ministers of governments that do that. My Spirit Quest today is about Prof. John Meisel who as the Sir Edward Peacock Professor of Political Science, spent much of his career questing the myths, maths and mysteries of Canadian election statistics.
John and I are old friends. Born in Czechoslovakia we are of course great admirers of Tomas Guarrique Masaryk, the philosopher king and founding president of the republic, the subject of John’s master’s thesis. We came to Queens about the same time, the early fifties, having arrived there via  nonlinear routes, he by way of Casablanca and Haiti and me by Scotland and Saskatchewan. I vaguely recall meeting him for the first time  shortly after his arrival at Batawa, Ontario, home of the Bata Shoe Company where both our fathers were employed. But what does a 13 year old have in common with an 18 year old, not much at the time, but that would change. (More)
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
By Geneviève Hone
True North Perspective

Geneviève Hone is a grandmother, family therapist and social worker.  With her husband, Julien Mercure (also a family therapist), she has co-authored three books on couples and family life. Her home on the web is

13 July 2012 — “And where are you off to this morning?” asks my husband as he sees me assemble what has become this summer’s walking kit which includes mainly the necessary “sunfighters”: hat, glasses, 30 SPF lotion, bottle of water, etc.
“Oh just the usual, around the neighbourhood and park”, I reply.
Truth be told, I’m reluctant to put down even for a short time the fascinating and humorous book by philosopher Mark Kingwell that I’ve been reading for the past two hours*. In a chapter entitled “Tables, Chairs, and Other Machines for Thinking”, Kingwell deplores the absence of a “philosophy of furniture”. After all, he remarks, most philosophers “spend at least as much time sitting and lying and lounging as the rest of the populace – maybe more so when it comes to lying and lounging, actually.”
However I am in danger of becoming too much of an armchair philosopher at this point and my bones and muscles will one day punish me if I don’t take leave of my furniture and go walking. But just to be safe, I bring the book and my reading glasses. One never knows: a lovely park bench under a large tree might extend an invitation to sit down and reflect upon one’s life, aided by a great book. (More.)
Beating the Drum

A vibrational universe

By Beverly Blanchard
True North Perspective
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario.  She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.

13 July 2012  There was an article last week on the internet entitled, When life hands you lemons: the new science of positive thinking, which discussed the relationship of positive thinking and happiness. It also discussed the creation of a new psychology association and implied that this was a revolutionary and new approach to living since science was discovering that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Is this really a new way of looking at things? I have been involved in the field of positive thinking for more than twenty years. I have studied various techniques and researched a variety of spiritual disciplines. Money not buying happiness is not a new thought process and neither is the power of positive thinking. There has been quite a vast body of work written about how someone’s thoughts create their reality. Most of this research has not been done by academics. (More)

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

Winston Churchill

Give us the tools and we'll finish the job

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval.688 words.

From the Desk of Darren Jerome

A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency

Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.

WikiLeaks claims court victory against Visa

Icelandic court rules that payment processor broke contract laws

by blocking credit card donations to whistleblowing site

By Charles Arthur
12 July 2012 — WikiLeaks has claimed a "significant victory" in its struggle with the US government to allow people to make donations to it through the Visa payment scheme, after an Icelandic court ruled that a payment processor there had broken contract laws by blocking credit card donations to Julian Assange's whistleblowing site.
But Visa International said that the ruling, against a Reykjavik-based company called Valitor – formerly Visa Iceland – might not have any broader application and may not change the current position, in which payments cannot be made to WikiLeaks using Visa cards and other US-owned credit cards. That has choked off the vast majority of donations to WikiLeaks, which said it had lost about $20m in funding as a result.
US financial institutions including Visa, Bank of America, Mastercard, PayPal and Western Union, stopped accepting or handling payments intended for WikiLeaks in December 2010, after the site began leaking US diplomatic cables from a cache of nearly 250,000 it had acquired. (More.)

Common sense rules at Supreme Court of Canada

By Michael Geist
12 July 2012 — The Supreme Court of Canada issued its much anticipated rulings in the five copyright cases it heard last December (my coverage of the two days of hearings here and here). It will obviously take some time to digest these decisions, but the clear takeaway is that the court has delivered an undisputed win for fair dealing that has positive implications for education and innovation, while striking a serious blow to copyright collectives such as Access Copyright. 

Led by Justice Abella, the court has reaffirmed that fair dealing is a user's right that must be interpreted in a broad and liberal manner. In fact, the court provides further guidance on interpreting fair dealing with an emphasis on the need for a flexible, technology-neutral approach. In reading the decisions in the Access Copyright and song previews cases, it is hard to imagine a bigger victory for education, Internet users, and innovative companies. This post will provide some quick key points in the Access Copyright and song previews decisions. 

The Access Copyright case has enormous implications for education and copyright in Canada. With the court's strong endorsement of fair dealing in the classroom, it completely eviscerates much of Access Copyright's business model and calls into question the value of the model licence signed by many Canadian universities. (More.)

While Hilary Clinton and Mitt Romney froth at the mouth about democracy in Venezuela's October 7 election campaign, it is important to keep in mind that more than 90% of the Venezuelan media — television, radio, and print — is privately owned and hostile to President Hugo Chavez. At least one of the media tycoons was involved in a failed coup to unseat Chavez and even yet runs around loose and mean. Meanwhile, for your information here is the truth of what's happening on the ground.

Some violence and media bias as campaigning

By Tamara Pearson
11 July 2012 MERIDA Venezuela — After the first week of electoral campaigning for the 7 October presidential elections, the National Electoral Council (CNE) has reported some media bias in relation to the campaigns.
The national assembly has condemned two acts of violence by the opposition, and President Hugo Chavez has reported that his health is no impediment to his campaign.
CNE president Tibisay Lucena gave her first report on the electoral campaigns, after they were formally allowed from 1 July.  She pointed to some abnormalities, but said that “in general the electoral campaigning has started off well”. (More)
HAVANA, Cuba, 12 July 2012 — Cuba has reached social and demographic indicators that compare to those in developed nations thanks to the implementation by the Cuban government of advanced social programs over the past 50 years.
The statement was given by the international coordinator in Cuba of the UN Population Fund, Jesus Robles, during a ceremony held Wednesday at Havana’s National Public Health School to mark World Population Day. (More)
Occupy Border groups on both sides of the Washington/British Columbia border won a 24-hour confrontation with US custom officials who first denied entry to the caravan
By Tamara Hansen
BC Aid Netwwork for Cuba

09 July 2012 VANCOUVER BC US and Canadian activists with the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba, organized by the (IFCO) Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace and local groups and individuals, joined together to break the US blockade against Cuba — a truck of humanitarian aid previously denied and rejected by US customs officials is now on its way to Cuba!

This year’s 20th Anniversary Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba has begun and is riding on the victory of a successful struggle against the US. government at the West Coast’s Canada/US border crossing.

After more thsn 24 hours of continuous protest and resistance by Caravanistas and their supporters, without the imposed payment of a bond for any part of the humanitarian aid, the previously denied truck full of medical and sports equipment destined for Cuba crossed successfully into the US in the afternoon of Monday July 2. This truck is part of the 23rd Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba, which openly challenges the US trade and travel blockade that has been imposed on Cuba for over 50 years.

This important victory for the Caravan was the result of a short but intense confrontation beginning with the unsuccessful attempt to send the humanitarian aid into the US on Sunday July 1 at the Peace Arch Border Crossing, the border of Vancouver and Washington State.

Denied entry there, supporters followed the truck over to the commercial Pacific Highway Truck Crossing, just a few miles away, where the second unsuccessful attempt to cross was made later in the evening. At this time, Caravanistas were told that the aid would not be let through without a bond and that negotiations were closed for the night. Caravanistas and Cuba solidarity activists immediately decided to occupy the border until their demands for entry of the humanitarian aid to the United States were met. (More)

Young Pierre Trudeau

And the creeping decay of Canadian democracy

By Michael Den Tandt
Postmedia News

08 July 2012 — Pierre Elliott Trudeau, it has often been noted, was indifferent to economics. How did he manage to get away with this, let alone govern Canada for the better part of 16 years, becoming in the process a "modern father of Confederation"? The pragmatic necessities of the marketplace, we take for granted now, rule our political choices. Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks of economics incessantly. Have things changed so much?

It seems a worthwhile question to ask, with the elder Trudeau's legacy front and centre in the emerging Liberal leadership race. Is Justin Trudeau in any way his father's son, apart from their mutual charisma? Is anyone in the Liberal fold, constitutional lawyer Deborah Coyne perhaps, the intellectual heir of Trudeau the elder? (More)

Destroying communities, abusing workers:

What's (Still) The Matter With Wal-Mart

The company that has shaped the modern economy turned 50 this week, but is a growing wave of protest enough to start forcing Wal-Mart to change?
By Sarah Jaffe
5 July 2012 — This past week marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first Wal-Mart store. From Rogers, Arkansas, Wal-Mart has sprawled across the globe, opening some 10,000 stores and becoming the world's second-largest corporation—amassing a fortune for the Walton family, and gutting the American middle class.
With all their money and power, it might seem that Wal-Mart's hold on the country is unshakeable. Yet the retail giant is facing a bit of a perfect storm in terms of its reputation right now. Revelations of horrific abuses at one of its U.S. suppliers and of bribes the company paid in Mexico, as well as communities fighting fiercely against Wal-Marts in their neighborhoods, are pushing the big-box giant into damage control mode.
Workers at C.J.'s Seafood, a Wal-Mart vendor in Louisiana, have made headlines with a strike against the company—and they're taking their complaints straight to the top, asking Wal-Mart officials and board members to meet with them to discuss their conditions. They're guestworkers from Mexico, brought in on H-2B visas to work temporarily in the U.S. preparing crawfish for distribution in Wal-Mart stores. (More.)


President of China's Xinhua urges world media

to make historical choices amid challenges, reshuffles

06 July 2012 — MOSCOW (Xinhua)  — Facing severe challenges in the media industry and the fast-changing world as a whole, major international news organizations should make historical choices, President of China's Xinhua news agency Li Congjun said here today.

Speaking at the second World Media Summit (WMS), Li, as WMS executive president, called on world media colleagues to make "historical choices" amidst changes, competition, integration and reshuffles in the industry that will reshape the future media landscape. (More)


Health Watch

Cuba-Venezuela eye surgery program results in more than

one million South Americans saved from blindness in 8 years

By ACN Cuban News Agency
13 July 2012 — Operation Miracle, a humanitarian social program created by the  governments of Cuba and Venezuela, has made it possible to carry out more than one million eye surgeries in the South American nation over the last eight years.

"We’re operating some 5,000 patients a week, the same amount of patients who benefited annually in Venezuela before the beginning of the program", said national coordinator Manuel Pacheco, cited by the Venezuelan News Agency. (More)

By Eric W. Dolan
11 July 2012 — While cognitive performance is negatively affected by cannabis use, the negative effects appear to completely wear off within a month, according to research published in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology in late June.
“With the number of cannabis users both illicitly and licitly increasing, the question of any potential lasting impact from cannabis use is increasingly important,” Amy M. Schreiner and Michael E. Dunn of the University of Central Florida wrote in their study.
Numerous studies have found that cannabis use affects memory, attention, perceptual-motor tasks, and other cognitive processes, but studies on how long these effects last has been inconsistent. The studies were complicated by the fact that psychoactive compounds in marijuana can linger in the body for days. (More.)

The Glass Teat (One)

Girls gone funny

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online


9 July 9 2012, OTTAWA — The older I get, the less patience I have for ideologues of any description, whether of the right or of the left.
No matter what their intentions — whether it is to combat racism or to combat other races — anyone who believes there is but One True Way to do things, or think about things, has the soul of a fascist.
And so, rather than just recommending you rent or otherwise get a-hold of the now-completed first season of Lena Dunham's Girls, I found myself struggling with people who seem to seriously believe that cliquish exclusion and nepotism is worse than the Holocaust.
My essay is a long one, so I'll put it plainly here. I enjoyed Girls an awful lot and eagerly await its second season. Dunham is an excellent young writer and her show is an excellent professional debut — even if its principals are all privileged white people.
Am I blind to my own privilege as a white guy? As I said, my review is a long one, but I welcome your comments. Also, please note: it is not safe for work! You've been warned. Click here for Privilege and prejudice: The unbearable whiteness of being Lena Dunham.

The Glass Teat (Two)

The Newsroom very good but too topical by half

Aaron Sorkin's new show quick-witted and intelligent but would do itself a favour by using fiction rather than fact to tell its stories

By Sigrid Macdonald
Special to True North Perspective
Monday night, June 25, I eagerly anticipated the season premiere of The Newsroom, an HBO series by Aaron Sorkin.
Sorkin has always delivered high quality material from the acclaimed West Wing to the smash hit movie about Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network.
Like his previous works, The Newsroom was sharp, quick witted, and intelligent. (More.)
How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell
Top ten real estate deals in the United States
Would you pay $150,000 per month to rent Cole Porter's former apartment in New York? This week's Top 10 homes spotlight at includes a look at homes that rent in the six figures. How about $195,000 to rent a Beverly Hills home with a disco and tennis court? Or a Malibu beach house also available at $150,000 every month? Even including February? According to USA Today, six figure home rentals are becoming quite common. According to USA Today, there are seven to 10 rentals in New York City that are priced $100,000 per month or higher.
In other home news:

Tech billionaire Larry Ellison shook things up again in the real estate world when he purchased almost all of Hawaii's sixth largest island. Governor's Mistress was the title of a fictional 1950's romance novel by Warren Desmond that has become reality with governors such as South Carolina's Mark Sanford. With homes in Beverly Hills, New York City, Montecito CA, Colorado, Los Angeles and Italy, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are two of the world's largest celebrity collectors of real estate. Business Insider has the details

While the real estate market in the U.S. seems to be warming up a bit, the Canadian market has not missed a beat. Prices and demand continue to go up. Toronto might be the hottest real estate city in the world. Toronto has had extensive construction since 2000 and, according to The Real Deal, is number one in North America for construction of high-rise buildings with 132 currently being built. Mexico City is in second place with 88 and New York City in third place with 86 high-rise buildings currently under construction.

It turns out that Farrah and Michael and Jimmy and Madonna are not that much different than the rest of us. Or, at least they weren't when they were kids. Zillow has rounded up pictures of the childhood homes that are or were recently for sale for some of the country's top celebrities. And the homes are very ordinary. Some are even tiny, have been demolished or look like they should be put out of their misery.

In real estate, it's all about location, and this AOL rundown of the most expensive homes in each of the U.S. states is a good example. The biggest price tag is the Fleur de Lys Mansion in Los Angeles at $125 million (update: the Versace Mansion in Miami Beach recently came on the market also priced at $125 million) while North Dakota's #1 priced home comes in at just $895,000.

It might just be real estate talk, but it is a story we are hearing over and over from South Florida. Real estate is hot in the Gold Coast again. The leftover new condo hangover is almost gone, and new buildings are starting to sprout. Barefoot Villas is a new project of 34 town homes two blocks from the Atlantic in Pompano Beach. They started construction a few months ago with units priced $300,000 to $400,000, and are almost sold out. A bit further up the coast, Kolter Group just announced plans to build two 74 unit condo buildings on the Intracoastal in North Palm Beach that will be priced in the $500,000 to $1.2 million range. Even the very expensive homes are selling. According to the New York Times, a Miami penthouse recently sold for a record $25 million and an Indian Creek Island estate listed at $52 million has gone under contract.

It might just be real estate talk, but it is a story we are hearing over and over from South Florida. Real estate is hot in the Gold Coast again. The leftover new condo hangover is almost gone, and new buildings are starting to sprout. Barefoot Villas is a new project of 34 town homes two blocks from the Atlantic in Pompano Beach. They started construction a few months ago with units priced $300,000 to $400,000, and are almost sold out. A bit further up the coast, Kolter Group just announced plans to build two 74 unit condo buildings on the Intracoastal in North Palm Beach that will be priced in the $500,000 to $1.2 million range. Even the very expensive homes are selling. According to the New York Times, a Miami penthouse recently sold for a record $25 million and an Indian Creek Island estate listed at $52 million has gone under contract.

Perhaps Ozzy is faking it, or maybe it is the “Sharon” factor. His home is for sale and photos show that it is quite conservative, pretty, and even a bit romantic. No headless bats or bloody chickens anywhere in the place. The late Jerry Garcia's California home is also for sale and it too is the type of home you would expect to see in Better Homes & Gardens. What's the deal?

Add Sheryl Crow, Ricky Van Shelton, Eddie George and George Jones to the long list of celebrities who are singing the real estate blues. Sheryl has been trying to sell her Tennessee horse farm for three years, Ricky took a 50% price bath on his place, Eddie received a surprise foreclosure notice, and Mr. Jones has given up on selling his southern mansion through a real estate agent, and is taking it to auction.

The Old Man's Last Sauna

(To read the stories just click on the italic titles. Please tell us what you think.)
An eclectic collection of short stories by Carl Dow that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story. The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

The pair will fight for the world title in Las Vegas on July 7, almost two years after Sonnen's fifth-round loss to the Brazilian in their only previous meeting.

"I feel sorry for him. He is a frustrated man," Silva told TV Globo on Sunday night. "He has never won anything in his life. The fight is going to be something else."

During a press conference to promote the event in Rio last month, the American said Silva's championship belt was "a fake" and belittled his humble upbringing in Brazil.

Silva, who has not lost a bout since January 2006, said his family had taken offence at Sonnen's remarks.

The pair will fight for the world title in Las Vegas on July 7, almost two years after Sonnen's fifth-round loss to the Brazilian in their only previous meeting.

"I feel sorry for him. He is a frustrated man," Silva told TV Globo on Sunday night. "He has never won anything in his life. The fight is going to be something else."

During a press conference to promote the event in Rio last month, the American said Silva's championship belt was "a fake" and belittled his humble upbringing in Brazil.

Silva, who has not lost a bout since January 2006, said his family had taken offence at Sonnen's remarks.

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