December 2003 Archives

« November 2003 January 2004 »

My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesAuld Lang Syne From Wikipedia - Tonight, many of you will be singing 'Auld Lang Syne'. How many of you know what the hell you're singing when you're bellowing "Should auld acquaintance be forgot" shortly after midnight? This site relates the origins of the universally-popular "song that nobody knows" and explains the song's meaning. Impress your friends!

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


Best Songs of 2003

Best Songs of 2003In 2003, much like the previous 12 years, most of the music I listened to was recorded in the early 90s. I listened to a lot of Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, The Tragically Hip and Soundgarden. That's not to say I didn't listen to any current music. I spent a great deal of time with Queens of the Stone Age, The White Stripes, System of a Down, Audioslave and Disturbed. So, as you can see, the last few years are well represented.

With less than 12 hours remaining in the calendar year, the one question everyone's asking is "What are your five favourite songs of 2003?" Immediately, five great songs came to mind, then I realized many of them were actually released in 2002. The following are my five favourite songs that were released in the year 2003.

  1. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
  2. The Distillers - Drain The Blood
  3. The Strokes - 12:51
  4. Stone Temple Pilots - All In The Suit That You Wear
  5. Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl

Discuss "Best Songs of 2003" (0 comments so far)


Canadian Hockey

Canadian HockeyIt's not quite noon, but already it's been a pretty good day for Canadian hockey. Canada dominated its crucial final roundrobin game against the Czech Republic at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Finland, earning a 5-2 victory and a bye into the semifinals. We're now two wins away from Gold.

Meanwhile, over in Davos, Switzerland, the Canadian team defeated HC Davos 7-4 to win the Spengler Cup. The Spengler Cup doesn't get a lot of coverage, but I always enjoy watching the collection of Canadians playing in Switzerland and AHL players. It's fun to see familiar faces like Lonny Bohonos, Paul DiPietro, Jamie Heward, Dixon Ward and Mike Craig. On the other side, there was good ol' #14 Jonas Hoglund playing for HC Davos. Sometimes I wonder if the absence of Hoglund on the Leafs this season isn't the biggest reason we're leading the league.

The Canadian Juniors play their semi-final on Saturday morning at 7:30 EST. Go Canada Go!

Discuss "Canadian Hockey" (0 comments so far)


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!Enjoy tonight everyone. 2004 is the Chinese Year of the Monkey, so it could very well be my year. Have a blast and feel free to use the following Irish toast when you're tipping your glass at midnight.

As we start the New Year,
Let's get down on our knees
to thank God we're on our feet.

Discuss "Happy New Year!" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

A couple of Christmas' back I purchased a Maple Leaf jersey for both brothers. Mike was given the late great jersey of Bill Barilko, and it was given with confidence that his legend would live on and the value of the authentic leaf jersey would never devalue. However I took quite a risk when I grabbed a Darcy Tucker jersey for Steve. Last year I believe he used the jersey to clean up the mess Mike left behind after the Leafs took an exit in the playoffs. This year, however, that Tucker jersey must be worn proudly. Every Boo Tucker takes from every fan in every rink we play at makes me ecstatic!! He not only distracts players and gets them off their game, but he is scoring goals and getting to the right spot on the ice. Tucker is a boon to the Leafs, and I truly believe that every Stanley Cup contender needs a "Tucker" on their team. So continue yapping your yap Tucker... I, for one, love every word you say.. or cry....

Go Leafs Go!!!!

     Ryan Boon

Ryan, I believe your Guest Blog Entry was inspired by last night's Leafs Recap in which I referred to the jersey jinx and the resurgence of Darcy Tucker this season. Tucker has been doing all the things you mentioned. He's playing hard, getting the opposition off their game and scoring goals. He's doing it all and he's a big reason the Leafs are where they are at this point in the season. Steve should be wearing his #16 with pride. There's nothing wrong with your #24 either as he's having one hell of a season also. Of course, I'll always be partial to your raggedy ol' #17. Wendel Clark was the Leafs of my youth. Post-Vaive of course.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Great Scenes

Cool ScenesThere are a couple of wicked scenes in a couple of movies I've seen lately. I thought both of these scenes were so cool I watched them over and over again.

25th Hour is a Spike Lee movie starring Ed Norton. I'm a big Ed Norton fan, so I was looking forward to this one in a big way. I thought it was quite good, but there's one scene in particular that killed.

I'm referring to the scene where Ed Norton's character Monty looks in the mirror and gives everyone a big F-You. It's an extremely powerful monologue delivered effectively by Norton. I found a transcript of his reflection here. I've seen the movie twice, but this scene a dozen times. It's that good.

Another movie I saw recently with an amazing scene wasn't nearly as good as The 25th Hour, but the scene was worth the price of admission. The movie was The Rules of Attraction and the scene was a character's high-speed travelogue of his drug-and-sex-infused trek through Europe. Speed kills, and this fast-forward tour of Europe kills. The rest of the movie is sort of a mess, but I had to watch this one scene a few times I enjoyed it so much.

Sometimes a great scene can bounce around in your head for weeks, months or even years. I'm thinking of Travis Bickle's "You talkin' to me?" scene or Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield's "Royale with cheese" scene. The monologue from 25th Hour and the high-speed travelogue from The Rules of Attraction are right up there.

Discuss "Great Scenes" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today as a follow up to the submission I received yesterday and the submission from earlier today.

Ouch, do I detect the foul stench of sarcasm? Attacking my intelligence will only prove futile, as I am quite confident in my intellectual abilities.

Honestly, it was not my intention to offend you with my guest blog. It was written in jest and I thought you of all people would find it amusing. However, if I have offended you I truly apologize.

     Vanessa

Vanessa, must we fight like this in such a public forum? Where is your dignity? Where is your pride? You know how sensitive I can be when people call me evil. I accept your apology. Lets stop our cussin' and a fuedin'.

Added December 30, 2003 / 16:04 EST : "I had no idea that we were fighting, but consider this bud nipped!" - Vanessa

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceEarl Hindman was 61. He played Wilson, the neighbor of Tim Allen's character on the long-running sitcom "Home Improvement".

Discuss "Rest in Peace" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today as a follow up to the submission I received yesterday.

First of all, I did know that the Vice President was Dick Cheney, I just tend to get a little flustered when I have people firing questions at me. Anyway, my guest blog entry was not intended to be taken seriously. I do not think Mike Boon is evil.

     Vanessa

Vanessa, I'm honoured that you don't really think I'm evil. I didn't sleep a wink last night after reading your previous submission. You made me do a lot of soul searching, and for that I thank you.

Of course you knew the Vice President of the United States is Dick Cheney. I'm sure you merely froze like a deer in the headlights upon being peppered with this particularly tricky question. It happens.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Anti-Software

Spam ... its the latest scurge of the computer age in the form of unwanted electronic junk mail. I'm getting tired of viagra ads and offers to increase the size of my ... well you know (the wife swears she's not sending them). Anyway ... there's got to be a better way to block these $^#$@$!!!! than defining mail rules to try to recognize and delete messages with ever-changing e-mail addresses and spellings of words.

It makes me wonder if this is just another example of "evil" forces creating a need for their Anti-software. Make something appear dangerous (e.g. viruses) or irritating enough (e.g. pop-ups and spam) and you create a demand for your Anti-software. I wonder what's next? Maybe Anti-Anti software.

     Tim

Tim, I feel your pain. As I wrote back in October, I fondly recall a time when having four new messages in my inbox meant receiving four pieces of communiqué I actually wanted. Those were the days. By the way, I just spoke with your wife. Apparently she is sending you the penile enlargement messages. My condolences.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 4, Panthers 4

Go Leafs Go!Sometimes a tie feels more like a win. With Eddie Belfour having a rare less-than-spectacular night, it would have been very easy for the Leafs to roll over when trailing 4-2 in the third. They've had a great run and a couple of losses to close out the calendar year would be excused. Owen Nolan, however, refused to accept defeat. He scored two third-period goals to help the Leafs rally for a 4-4 tie with the Florida Panthers and salvage a point on the road.

Darcy Tucker is quietly having an excellent season. His first period goal made it goals in three consecutive games for Tucker and four in his last five. As the last remaining member of the Tucker-Corson-Green trifecta, it seems Tucker has realized he must play to his full potential or he too could be booted out of town. Last season Tucker and Bryan McCabe had terrible seasons, leading my brothers and I to believe in the jersey jinx. Thankfully, both have returned to form and the jersey jinx has been dismissed as nothing more than speculation and hearsay.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
21-7-7-3
50 points
4-4 Tie vs. Florida Panthers M. Sundin - 37
O. Nolan - 28
G. Roberts - 24

Discuss "Maple Leafs 4, Panthers 4" (0 comments so far)


NFL Pool Update

NFL Pool256 games later only three of the thirty-three NFL poolies can claim a piece of the pie. Among the top three finishers is my very own mother. Congratulations Mom!

I had a rather disappointing year, but still tied my brother Steve and beat my brother Ryan. Of course, all three of us were outclassed by dear old Mom who sure can pick 'em. At least Ryan won a week. Steve and I won diddly squat. I will exact my revenge during the 2004 NHL Playoff Pool. It's an annual event.

Discuss "NFL Pool Update" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Mike Boon is evil. I would say he is pure evil, but I know his mother and she is a quite a lovely person. I have only spent a handful of hours with him in my lifetime and yet, he has still managed to make me cry on more than one occasion. Need I say more?

     Vanessa

For those who don't know who Vanessa is, she's dating my little brother Steve. It's true, I've made her cry on two occasions, and I remember the details well.

  1. The first time I made Vanessa cry started innocently enough. We were tossing around trivia questions and I asked her if she knew who the Vice President of the United States was. Vanessa is a university educated young woman, and I thought the question was easy enough. I considered it a soft warm-up question. Vanessa didn't have a clue the answer was Dick Cheney. It's possible Steve and I joked about her ignorance for a minute or two, but that's the extent of it. Unbeknownst to me, Vanessa was balling her eyes out on the bed in the next room following my vicious assault on her intelligence.
  2. The second time I made Vanessa cry was this past spring during the NHL playoffs. I was over watching the Leafs-Flyers game with my brother and some friends, when things started to go wrong. It was April 11th and the Leafs were getting creamed. It was ugly. I take my Leaf playoff hockey very seriously, and watching this atrocity was too much to handle. I snapped and began screaming at her for no particular reason. I had a lot of pent up rage and she was a convenient target. My words this infamous evening caused Vanessa to once more ball her eyes out.

Do these two incidents make me evil? Hardly. I regret the second instance in particular, because I took out my feelings of rage on a fairly innocent victim. I don't go around trying to make young girls cry. I don't want to be regarded as "evil" by those in my little circle. I'd suggest I'm a misunderstood chap who is so chalk full of passion, some are accidentally caught up in the intense emotion I constantly emit. I'm sorry some don't see me for the truly sweet person I am. Vanessa, I apologize.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Pack Attack

NFL PlayoffsIt's playoff time in the NFL, and once again my Bills will be watching the games on TV. With the Bills out of the playoffs, who will I root for. I find it extremely difficult to enjoy a sporting event without a rooting interest. This has always been the case. If no home team is present, I have to find an angle I can get behind so I care about the outcome. When I don't care who wins or loses, I lose interest altogether. Who am I rooting for in the NFL playoffs? The Green Bay Packers.

There are several reasons why I'll be backing the Pack...

  • Brett Favre is the man. I've always loved the way he plays the game. It's incredibly easy to root for Favre, and this year there's even more reason to do so. His beloved father dies suddenly, and Favre starts the Monday nighter and destroys the Oakland Raiders in a must-win game 41-7. Following a hectic week including his father's funeral, he goes out and destroys playoff-bound Denver Broncos 31-3 in another must-win game. Favre is the man. Enough said.
  • It took a miracle for the Packers to slip into the playoffs. Despite beating Denver yesterday, they needed the horrible Arizona Cardinals to defeat the Minnesota Vikings in order to qualify for post season play. Minnesota led Arizona 17-6 with two minutes left and the Cardinals cut the lead to 17-12 on Josh McCown's fourth-down 2-yard pass to Steve Bush with 1:54 to play. Damien Anderson recovered the onside kick for Arizona, and a 30-yard pass-interference call against Denard Walker put the Cardinals in scoring position. A final game winning play was reviewed several times before being allowed. Now that's drama.
  • The Packers are a cool franchise. Green Bay is the smallest city to host a team in the four largest North American leagues, and the team is owned by fans, not a single owner or corporation. Lambeau Field is the coolest...literally.
  • I've rooted for them before. During Favre's glory days in the mid to late 90s, I was a big fan. I've celebrated a Packers Super Bowl victory before and I can celebrate a Packers Super Bowl victory again.

So, as you can see, I have a team to root for despite the absence of my all-time favourite franchise. Go Pack Go!

Discuss "Pack Attack" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

I'm sick to death of the overuse of the word "up" as in: wash up, fix up, cook up. I'm also about to ban the word "guys" as in the person who called us "you guys" three times in a restaurant on Saturday. Thank you for the rant. My mom was a book editor-I think it's in my blood? Same reason I fix signs that are spelled incorrectly.

     Suzy Smith

Rants are always welcome. They're good for the soul.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceIvan Calderon was 41. He played 10 seasons in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, finishing his big league career in 1993 with a .272 batting average, 104 homers and 444 RBIs.

Discuss "Rest in Peace" (0 comments so far)


The Watchmen

The WatchmenI was just catching up on my ChartAttack news when I stumbled across an item dated November 17th that somehow eluded me. The Watchmen have broken up following their final gig at The Horseshoe in Toronto last night.

I was always a big fan of The Watchmen and constantly wondered aloud why they weren't bigger than they were. I remember fondly picking up "In The Trees" at my local Sam The Record Man after totally digging "Boneyard Tree". One spin of this disc and I was in love with "All Uncovered", one of the finest musical compositions in Canadian recording history. Daniel Greaves' voice and the power punch of the melodies made The Watchmen underdogs you rooted for. Under the stars at the Molson Amphitheatre, I watched them open for The Tragically Hip and their performance was nothing short of spectacular. They even threw in a cover of James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James" for good measure.

Coincidentally, I wrote about the breakup of another band I enjoy on November 17th, the very same day ChartAttack posted the article about The Watchmen calling it quits. On that day it was announced the Stone Temple Pilots were no more. The Watchmen and STP will both be missed.

Discuss "The Watchmen" (0 comments so far)


Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceSir Alan Bates was 69. He starred in films such as "Zorba the Greek", "Far From The Madding Crowd" and "Women in Love".

Discuss "Rest in Peace" (0 comments so far)


Another Change

ChangeWith 2003 coming to a close, I'm making another minor change to this site. Yesterday I announced that my "Quote of the Week" will be posted here every Sunday and the "Homer's Quote of the Week" will be posted here every Saturday. I'm also making a change to the way I handle additions to the Dead Pool list.

Every time there is a death in the celebrity world, I record it on my Dead Pool page. I'll continue to do so, but I'll also add a note about the death here on this front page.

When the passing is one I feel is very significant and affects me in a personal way, I'll write a few thoughts about the deceased like I did for Johnny Cash. Otherwise, I'll just add a single line explaining who they were and their age at the time of death. I just added a name to the Dead Pool list, so I'll be adding his name here in a moment.

Discuss "Another Change" (0 comments so far)


Roma

RomaListening to the Nirvana bootleg classic "Roma" really brings it home. The sound quality is spectacular and the setlist astounding. The show took place in Rome on February 22nd, 1994, the location where weeks later Kurt would attempt suicide. Less than two months later he'd be dead.

Listen to "Serve the Servants". Listen to "Sliver". Listen to "About A Girl". Listen to "Heart Shaped Box". Listen to all 23 songs from this magnificent bootleg. The band sounds great...and then they were no more.

Sometimes I view my Top 10 Bands as listed in HyperLists and wonder who's fooling who? I don't even believe my own list. How can I have Nirvana listed at #3? When 17 year old Mike heard the opening chords to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" back in '91, music as he knew it changed forever. I haven't been able to listen to my Motley Crue or Poison CDs since. I still crave that sound the media labelled as "grunge" constantly I need a daily dose of grunge almost 13 years after the fact. My ears crave it, my mind begs for it and my heart demands it. "Very Ape" from the Roma bootleg is on right now and I'm delighted. It's perfect.

Discuss "Roma" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 1, Islanders 3

Go Leafs Go!I can't remember the last time I wrote up a Leafs Recap and didn't amend the point total. Actually, it was November 21st following a 3-2 loss to the Oilers. Seventeen games and almost six weeks ago.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this streak, but it's over and we will remain stalled at 49 points for another couple of nights. A new streak begins Monday night in Miami.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
21-7-6-3
49 points
3-1 Loss vs. New York Islanders M. Sundin - 37
O. Nolan - 25
G. Roberts - 24

Discuss "Maple Leafs 1, Islanders 3" (0 comments so far)


Bills 0, Patriots 31

Go Bills Go!The Bills defeated the Patriots 31-0 in week one, and today the Patriots returned the favour. It was a fitting end to another disappointing campaign for Buffalo as they finish 6-10 and miss the playoffs for the third straight year. I don't want to talk about it any further.

Discuss "Bills 0, Patriots 31" (0 comments so far)


Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"It's not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day."

Discuss "Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week" (0 comments so far)


A Couple of Changes

ChangesI'm making a few minor changes to a couple of weekly features of this site. In the past, I've posted "Mike's Quote of the Week" every Saturday morning. You'll see this morning's quote right below this entry. Starting next weekend, I'm going to be posting "Mike's Quote of the Week" on Sunday mornings instead.

The reason for this minor change is because of what I intend to do with the ever-popular "Homer's Quote of the Week". For those who aren't aware, every Saturday morning I post a quote from Homer Simpson on the "Homer's Quote of the Week" page. I'll still do so every Saturday morning, but I'll also post the same quote on this page. So, if you want one stop shopping to access the current quote as well previous quotes from Homer Jay Simpson, "Homer's Quote" is still accessible from the left navigation menu. If you're a lazy bastard and you just want to check this front page for the latest, you can do that too. It's up to you. I'm posting today's Homer quote here in a moment.

Discuss "A Couple of Changes" (0 comments so far)


My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down."
      - Jimmy Durante

Discuss "My Quote of the Week" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 6, Rangers 5

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs gave this one away before taking it back. When Joe Nieuwendyk scored in the second period to put the Leafs up 5-2, I figured the Rangers were as good as dead. A couple of bad Wade Belak penalties after a defensive lapse by Mr. Belak led to a goal and next thing you know we're in overtime. No one in the history of the NHL has more overtime goals to his credit than Mats Sundin after his winner tonight at the tail end of some extremely exciting four on four action.

That's sixteen games in a row registering at least one point, extending the franchise record. That's also 30 of the last 32 available points on the board. Unbelievable.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
21-6-6-3
49 points
6-5 Win vs. New York Rangers M. Sundin - 37
O. Nolan - 24
G. Roberts - 24

Discuss "Maple Leafs 6, Rangers 5" (0 comments so far)


The Friday Five

Friday FiveMost Popular Blog Entries of 2003

  1. Hello God
  2. O Canada!
  3. Backstreet's Back!
  4. The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: 1, 2, 3, 4
  5. Bands I Hate

Discuss "The Friday Five" (0 comments so far)


The Friday Five

Friday FiveSignificant Events of 2003

  1. SARS!
  2. Blackout!
  3. Knee Blowout!
  4. Farewell Molson Park
  5. Saddam's Capture

Discuss "The Friday Five" (0 comments so far)


The Friday Five

Friday FiveSad Passings of 2003

  1. Johnny Cash
  2. Roger Neilson
  3. Bob Hope
  4. Miss Elizabeth
  5. Charles Bronson

Discuss "The Friday Five" (0 comments so far)


New Videos

New VideosAs promised, some footage from today's festivities is now available in Videos.

One of James' favourite gifts today was a Little People farm he received from Grandma. Three of the four videos posted are of James opening and playing with this present. The other is James hamming it up for the camera at Mommy's request.

Discuss "New Videos" (0 comments so far)


A Great Day

Merry ChristmasI'm spinning Pearl Jam's Lost Dogs right now (thanks Mom!), bringing to a close a very good day. Actually, it wasn't a good day. It was a great day.

James was spoiled rotten and video evidence will be available here just as soon as I get around to it. I too was spoiled, getting everything I asked for as well as a few pleasant surprises like a ticket to the Islanders-Leafs game in January (thanks Steve!), a very cool Simpsons trivia calendar (thanks Poops!) and a gift certificate for Radio Shack (thanks Ry!).

Looking back on the day, the gifts were gravy. Getting together with loved ones to chat, eat and laugh is really what made it so wonderful. This was a very Merry Christmas. I hope your day was just as swell.

Discuss "A Great Day" (0 comments so far)


Merry Christmas

Merry ChristmasFrom my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

"It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, 'God Bless Us, Every One!'" - Charles Dickens

Discuss "Merry Christmas" (0 comments so far)


It's A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful LifeI just watched It's A Wonderful Life for the first time. Believe it or not, I never saw this Christmas classic once during my previous 29 years. On the 30th Christmas Eve of my life, I finally sat down and watched the entire movie. I'm glad I did. It was good.

Discuss "It's A Wonderful Life" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesNorad Tracks Santa - With help from Norad, we can track Santa's whereabouts this Christmas Eve as he embarks on his annual journey delivering presents to good little boys and girls. What I want to know is how he's going to put gifts under our tree when we have no chimney? I'm more than a little concerned. Happy Christmas Eve!

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


Number One With A Bullet

Go Leafs Go!My friend Scott just gave me the best Christmas present in the world. He reminded me to check out the Sports Illustrated NHL Power Rankings for this week. Lo and behold, my Leafs are number one!

SI had us at #20 earlier in the season, but now we're at the top of the heap. According to Sports Illustrated, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the best team in the entire league right now. To quote the article, "With a .929 winning percentage over the past month, the Leafs have announced themselves as contenders to end the 36-year Stanley Cup drought in T.O."

Discuss "Number One With A Bullet" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

"I was too mean to Mark and now he doesn't visit my site anymore" was posted by the proprietor of this super duper website, Mike Boon. I presume that this information was leaked out by Ryan Boon. Concidence? I'll leave it up to the good readers of torontomike.com to decide. But, after all remember the "presumed" source. Good 'ol Ryan has many things in common with my special pal, Ned Flanders.
1) He loves purple drapes.
2) He's part of the church choir.
3) He's honest on his tax returns...(sucker!)
4) He screams like a girl.
5) He knows Stan "The Boy" Taylor
6) He's all heffed up on goofballs.

So, by using my superior probing and sleuthing skills I have acquired by watching every "Law and Order" episode probably 5 times, it is my opinion that Ryan is the instigator of this horrible rumour. By far and large, I also take into consideration the sixth similarity between both him and Ned......Hmmm, Ryan, eh?

So, really in all actuality, the boycott of torontomike.com was not implemented. It's just a point where sooner or later, you have to learn to tolerate the demeaning attitude of Torontonians who feel they really are the centre of the universe. But, between you and I, Ryan has told me on more than one occasion that he is actually a Tiger Cats Fan. It's True!

     Mark

True, one of the things I learned the other night was that my response to your previous Guest Blog Entry wasn't taken particularly well. I cannot tell a lie, Ryan gave you up.

For the record, Toronto really is the centre of the universe. You didn't think it was Hamilton, did you?

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 5, Panthers 2

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs are playing spectacular hockey right now. Gary Roberts looked more like Wayne Gretzky with a couple of nifty goals for the blue and white who stretched their streak to 15 games registering at least a point.

We're back in first overall in the NHL standings and looking like an elite team. Keep it going boys.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
20-6-6-3
47 points
5-2 Win vs. Florida Panthers M. Sundin - 35
O. Nolan - 23
G. Roberts - 23

Discuss "Maple Leafs 5, Panthers 2" (0 comments so far)


New Pictures of James in a Tie

New PicturesPreviously I posted a picture of James wearing a tie from his photo shoot for It's a Tie.com. Well, I have a few more and you'll find them in Pictures.

Remember, James refused to wear a tie so the tie you see around his neck was added digitally in post-production

Discuss "New Pictures of James in a Tie" (0 comments so far)


The Pause

The PauseSometimes my favourite part of a song is the silence. Well, not the silence exactly, but the silent pause followed by a return of the tune.

You know what I'm talking about, right? The song is clicking along fine when suddenly it stops. There is a period of about three seconds of complete silence before the song kicks back in with a vengeance. I love the anticipation of the song's return and the re emergence of the song you're rocking out to.

Two songs I've been listening to a lot lately utilize this tactic and I love the effect in both. I'm referring to "Drain The Blood" by The Distillers and "You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire" by Queens of the Stone Age. They're both great tunes, but that pause makes them even better. I love the pause.

Discuss "The Pause" (0 comments so far)


Supreme Court Ruling

Decriminalizing PotThe Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that Parliament has the constitutional right to criminalize marijuana possession. Of course, decriminalizing small amounts of pot is well within the rights of Parliament as well.

Prime Minister Paul Martin says he will reintroduce a bill proposed by Jean Chretien that would wipe out criminal penalties for those caught with small amounts of marijuana. The proposed bill will make possession of less than 15 grams of pot a minor offence punishable by fines of $100 to $400.

I don't indulge in the habit of marijuana smoking, but I believe we should decriminalize it. They estimate about 100,000 Canadians use the drug daily, but I suspect the true number is "high"er. It's a victimless act and typically the worst result is a case of bronchitis, unless the user is pregnant or schizophrenic. Somebody carrying around a criminal record because they got caught with a joint is wrong. As Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said today, "It is open to Parliament to decriminalize or otherwise modify any aspect of the marijuana laws that it no longer considers to be good public policy." Mr. Martin, the ball is in your court.

Discuss "Supreme Court Ruling" (1 comment so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

I would like to say that Mike is being ridiculous in his review of "Something's Gotta Give" and rather then singing music in his head if he had taken the time to actually watch the movie he might have gotten something out of it. It was a very touching portrayal of a relationship between two middle aged boomers who let their vulnerabilities go to find true love. It was done with touching humor and the dialogue was quite witty and honest. Mike is being mean in his review and I would encourage people who are open to love to check it out. Violence and anger are not the only themes for a good movie. And I would like to point out that I never dragged Mike to the movie - I am always happy to go to a movie with a friend or even by myself then "drag" my husband. He wanted to go.

     Taryn Boon

I wrote my review of Something's Gotta Give straight from the heart. I tried very hard to get into it. Do you think I wanted to spend two hours wishing I was dead? I am open to love (I love you, don't I?) but this particular love story was aimed at a very different demographic than the one I belong to. I'm not seeing another movie with you until Kill Bill Volume 2. You won't have to drag me to that one.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Hello to everyone on this wild ride of a website that we refer to as www.torontomike.com. Today, as I try to keep my eyes pryed open at work, I think of the wonderful gifts that my family gave me on my birthday, and a smile creeps to my face.

I am using this public forum to say thanks to all of those who made yesterday possible... You are all good people, and I am not sure how we are all related, but I am glad we are!!!

     Ryan Boon

You're very welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed your gifts.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

yah! it dood be ah lyon. Heddoo!! I is Ryan's friend, ah dood be and ah dood says heddo! Nu-body dood unnerstan ah lyon, cuz i is ah BB, but yah...annah lykes it!

     Mr. Lyon

Ok, now you're abusing the privilege. I'll post just about anything submitted via the Guest Blog page, but this is just silly. Where are the observations? Where are the opinions? Where are the rants? Where is the clever insight? Mr. Lyon (if that is your real name), you've disappointed me.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Re:Ryan's Birthday!

Definitely! One of the most nicest people I have ever met...a little on the peculiar side, but we all are one way or the other..HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, Ryan...and many more to come...

     Vash

Ryan week continues here on torontomike.com. Vash, I agree with you on both counts. He's very nice, and very peculiar.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


So, This is Winter...

Winter?I don't believe it's supposed to be 5 Degrees Celsius on December 23rd in Toronto. Is this winter or spring? It looks like it's going to be unseasonably warm for the next week. Who needs a white Christmas?

Happy Festivus Everyone!

Discuss "So, This is Winter..." (0 comments so far)


Things I learned...

Things I learnedI learned the following things at my brother's birthday dinner tonight.

Discuss "Things I learned..." (0 comments so far)


Tunage or Advertisement?

Tunage or AdA very interesting site entitled American Brandstand 2003 presents some startling statistics. They tracked all the mentions of brands in the Billboard Top 20 singles chart in order "to demonstrate to our clients that pop culture relevance is a key dynamic in modern brand strategy".

The results are staggering. There were 82 different brands mentioned in the Billboard Top 20 in 2003 and of the 111 songs in the Billboard Top 20, 43 had brands in the lyrics. 43 out of 111 songs mentioned brand names in their lyrics. I still can't believe it. The genres of Hip Hop and R&B are to blame. 42 of the 43 songs mentioning brand names belong to these genres. Dropping names like Mercedez Benz, Lexus, Gucci and Cadillac is commonplace.

I never did understand the entire "bling bling" thing that has taken over the Hip Hop community, and this is proof it's become nearly impossible to differentiate between tunage and advertisements. 50 Cent on his own dropped the names of 31 brands in his Billboard hits of 2003. It's all about status. It's the car you drive, the shoes you wear and the name on the tag of your shirt that matters. Bling bling has all but ruined Hip Hop for me. Hip Hop has become way too commercialized.

Before you chalk this up to another middle-class white male who doesn't get the message, please be advised that I own a great deal of Hip Hop. My brothers will vouch for the fact I spent a great part of my teenage years listening to Public Enemy. I'll recite you a Public Enemy song from their first four albums on demand if you like. I was a huge Hip Hop fan and I still listen to Public Enemy, Ice-T, Ice Cube, NWA and the Beastie Boys on a regular basis.

Here's how Hip Hop lost me. It used to be about politically charged messages. Public Enemy was thought provoking hard core rhymes over hard core drum beats. Chuck D had a message, and music was his medium to deliver these words. They were the prophets of rage. Today, Hip Hop is the new pop. It's all about moving units and other than the odd exception (Outkast for example), there is no message beyond getting laid, stoned and the latest pair of Air Jordan's. I miss Hip Hop when it meant something. I miss the good ol' days when PE was in full effect. Today, it's all about Nelly and his pair of Air Force One's.

Discuss "Tunage or Advertisement?" (0 comments so far)


John A. Macdonald Action Figure

J.A.M. Action FigureIt's about time. For years I've wondered why there was no John A. Macdonald action figure, and now there is. It's the dream of every child to have a John A. Macdonald action figure of their very own, isn't it?

Canadian Legends is offering this figure to help us start learning about our Canadian Legends. "Every Action Figure comes with its own 20 Page Bilingual Book telling that figure's story in full colour!".

I can't wait for the release of the wacky William Lyon Mackenzie King action figure and the animated John Diefenbaker figure. Collect them all!

Discuss "John A. Macdonald Action Figure" (1 comment so far)


Hooray For Everything Votes

Hooray For EverythingI've received six votes thus far from fellow Hooray For Everything slo-pitch teammates. Coincidentally, all six have voted for the same name. It seems Andrea can be rather influential when she wants to be.

If you're a member of the team and haven't yet voted, please visit our voting page to have a say in what our new name becomes. I voted for "The Homers" with this as our logo.

Discuss "Hooray For Everything Votes" (0 comments so far)


First Overall

Go Leafs Go!When the Philadelphia Flyers lost yesterday 4-1 to the Atlanta Thrashers, it moved the Toronto Maple Leafs into first place overall. Prior to the Flyer's loss, the Leafs were technically in second place despite have the same number of points as the Flyers. At this exact moment, the Leafs and Flyers have played the same number of games and have the same number of points but the additional win by the blue and white gives us the true distinction of first overall in the NHL standings.

This season I've limited my blog entries about the Leafs to my Leaf Recaps following each game. We didn't play yesterday, but the significance of being first overall this late in the season shouldn't be understated. The last time we held this position after this many games was the 1962-63 season. That's a damn long time coming.

We should enjoy this while it lasts. The Detroit Red Wings play tonight and are only a point behind, so should they win they will assume top spot. Still, at this exact moment in time, we're number one and nobody can take that away from us. Go Leafs Go!

Discuss "First Overall" (0 comments so far)


Happy Birthday Ryan!

Happy Birthday RyanToday is my little brother's birthday. I can't believe the little guy (who has been much bigger than I for a very long time) is 27 years old.

Sure, he's my brother and I'm a tad bit biased, but I honestly believe there isn't a kinder, more generous spirit on God's green earth than Ryan Boon. This is a boy who would give up his gloves if a boy in the school yard didn't have a pair. Happy Birthday Ryan! For the 27th time, I'm sorry your birthday is so close to Christmas and so many people try to pass off their Christmas gifts to you as a combination Christmas-birthday present. See you tonight!

Discuss "Happy Birthday Ryan!" (0 comments so far)


Bills 3, Dolphins 20

Go Bills Go!This season started so promising for the Bills. They won their first two games in convincing fashion, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 69-17. I was just about ready for a serious run at the Super Bowl that has eluded Buffalo over the years. Then, everything fell apart.

Drew Bledsoe was once again ineffective and coach Gregg Williams is a walking corpse. Following last season's respectable 8-8 season, the year is a serious letdown. I'm a very disappointed fan.

Discuss "Bills 3, Dolphins 20" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesWhat a Crappy Present - If you're an out of touch parent, you should visit this site before it's too late. If you have an out of touch parent, you should visit this site before it's too late and use the handy form to warn them. As the site says, "CDs make bad gifts for kids!" I was going to use it to warn my loved ones, but I already did.

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


Saddam's Capture: The Truth?

The Truth?One of the feel good stories of 2003 has got to be the capture of Saddam Hussein. We've all heard the story of heroic U.S. troops capturing Hussein thanks to some brilliant U.S. intelligence work. This is the story told by the American government so it has to be the truth, right?

Stories today tell a different tale. According to the Sunday Express, Hussein was captured by U.S. troops only after he had been taken prisoner by Kurdish forces, drugged and abandoned ready for American soldiers to recover him. "Saddam came into the hands of the Kurdish Patriotic Front after being betrayed to the group by a member of the al-Jabour tribe, whose daughter had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, leading to a blood feud", this British Sunday paper claims.

This is a very different story from the one we've been told this Christmas. Sure, the typical left-leaning crowd has been sharing their conspiracy theories since the moment CNN broke with the story, but I took those with a grain of salt. This is the same crowd that makes a big deal out of the fact the turkey Dubya held during his Thanksgiving trip to Iraq was fake. I must admit, the timing of this capture was rather convenient for Dubya and this new account of what happened is an intriguing one. It will have to be substantiated further though, because I understand the Sunday Express isn't the most credible of sources.

While we're questioning the honesty of US reports about the capture of Hussein, it's worth noting the date theory. I'm not taking credit for what some are calling "Date Gate", I read it here first. There's a photo of soldiers at Hussein's spider hole was supposedly taken on December 15th, 2003. In the background, you can clearly see yellow fruit on the date palm behind the soldiers. Date fruit grows from March to August in Iraq, and is yellow in August, not December.

We have Saddam Hussein, now we want the truth!

Discuss "Saddam's Capture: The Truth?" (0 comments so far)


A Brilliant Sleeper

FerberizedLast month I wrote about the Ferberization of James. At the time we had just begun teaching him how to fall asleep and stay in his own bed until morning. We were following the methods of Dr. Richard Ferber, and they were working wonderfully.

Now, James is an amazing sleeper. He doesn't see a bottle all day, but he has a small one at around 8:00 at night. At 8:15, it's time to brush his teeth with his fancy schmancy new race car battery operated tooth brush. At 8:30, Mommy or Daddy tucks him in, kisses him good night and leaves the room. James typically says "good night" and sometimes adds "shut the door". He loves bedtime and he never, ever gets up in the middle of the night to join us in the next room.

I've grown to appreciate the time after James goes to bed and before I do. It's my time to surf the web while listening to music or work on my project of the moment. On nights when the Leafs are playing, I'm glued to the tv until the final horn blows, but other nights are mine to do whatever I want. In Ferber we trust.

Discuss "A Brilliant Sleeper" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Go Leafs Go!Is there anything better than the Leafs and Habs on Hockey Night in Canada? The answer is yes, a Leafs victory over the Habs on Hockey Night in Canada. With about a half a minute remaining in regulation, Mats Sundin carried the puck into the offensive zone along the right wing boards and I could sense something positive was about to happen. I knew we were winning this game without the aid of overtime. A streak like the one the blue and white are currently on can have this kind of effect on ones sense of optimism. Sundin took a shot that was redirected by a Montreal defender over the shoulder of Jose Theodore for his league-leading fifth game-winning goal of the season.

The exciting victory further extended their franchise record for consecutive games registering at least a point to 14. To put this into perspective, the Leafs have secured 26 of a possible 28 points during this streak. It's been a month since they lost in regulation. Our lead in the North East division is a hefty 9 points. Imagine what will happen when our most talented player returns?

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
19-6-6-3
47 points
4-2 Win vs. Montreal Canadiens M. Sundin - 34
O. Nolan - 22
G. Roberts - 21

Discuss "Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2" (0 comments so far)


The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 4

Something's Gotta Give 3The finale of the Something's Gotta Give miniseries...

I'd like to discuss the actual movie I saw this afternoon. If you're just joining the discussion, you may want to scroll down and read the previous four entries.

Something's Gotta Give has received quite a few positive reviews. The lead actor and actress are nominated for Golden Globes and there is Oscar buzz for both. I knew going in this wasn't my cup of tea, and typically I avoid this genre of film, but as you've read, I did this for Taryn. Never again.

I was literally bored to tears. There were times during this movie when my eyes actually swelled up and leaked a salty substance because I was so uncomfortably numb. There were other periods during this movie when I think I actually dozed off. A noise emanating from the movie would jolt my eyes open from what can best be described as a state of comatose. This was some seriously boring stuff. There wasn't a second of this movie I found endearing, funny or even interesting. Something's Gotta Give is a horrible, horrible movie and if you think you have similar tastes in movies as I, avoid this one like the plague.

Because I see so few movies in theatres and because I'm so careful not to see something I think I might not enjoy, I can't remember the last time I had such a horrific experience at the movies. I started writing "to do" lists in my head, I recited Public Enemy lyrics and even mentally wrote these blog entries to pass the time. For a while I considered leaving the theatre, but I could tell Taryn was enjoying this incredibly slow-paced and predictable love story. I stuck it out and started analyzing items in the background of shots to prevent myself from snoring and disturbing the other three people in the theatre. I also figured I could distract myself from the minding-numbing garbage in front of my eyes by punching my hand into the chair to my left. A little pain presented a more entertaining alternative.

When Something's Gotta Give finally crawled to a conclusion, I was an angry, angry man. Taryn said something like "Wasn't that good?" to which I simply gave her a "no comment". Unless she's read this blog entry, she still doesn't know how I truly felt about Something's Gotta Give. This movie was made for her sensibilities. If ever there was a chick flick, this is it. It also seemed to be written for the "over 50" crowd. So, if you're a female over the age of 50, you may actually enjoy this film. If you're a male in your 20s, like me, take my advice and chew glass instead. You'll have a better time.

I will never allow Taryn to drag me to a movie like this again. I will never go to a movie unless the reviews indicate it is likely a movie I will thoroughly enjoy. I will never again allow that many hours of my precious weekend to disappear into the vacuum that is "romantic comedy". I had an absolutely horrible time and I'm not at all happy about it. They advertised a 117 minute flick, but it felt more like 117 hours. Never again.

Discuss "The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 4" (0 comments so far)


The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 3

Something's Gotta Give 3Yet another installment in the Something's Gotta Give miniseries...

I've officially become that guy. You know that guy...the one who's always talking about his kid, always thinking about his kid, constantly missing his kid and being reminded of his kid. You feel sorry for that guy because he no longer has a life of his own now that he's tied down with offspring. Before I became a daddy, I promised myself I would never become that guy. I wasn't going to be all about the boy. I was going to stay the same cool guy only with a son who I would love and care for.

During the pre-movie advertisements this afternoon, there was a commercial for milk featuring Santa Claus. All I could think of when I saw Santa on the big screen was how much James would enjoy seeing this. I even imagined him turning to me and saying "Santa Daddy!...Ho, Ho, Ho!" Imagining James saying this melted my heart. Just the thought of it brought a big smile to my face.

I know, that's a pathetic story. Everything everywhere ceases to exist without a James angle. There is always a way to work it back to James, and it always ends up getting worked back to him. That's the guy I promised I wouldn't become yet that's the guy I now am. If you're reading this and telling yourself you'll never be that guy, you obviously don't have children. If you have children, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's all about the boy.

Discuss "The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 3" (0 comments so far)


The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 2

Something's Gotta Give 2And so continues the Something's Gotta Give miniseries...

This afternoon's movie was scheduled to start at 12:10. As if. Advertisers must love movie goers. Is there a more captive audience? You've paid big bucks for the flick so you've got your over priced food and you're comfy in your seat when the lights dim and...the commercials begin. You can't leave, you can't read and you can't talk to the person beside you. You really have no choice but to watch the ads. And ads there are many...

I counted a solid half dozen commercials before the coming attractions which are essentially commercials for other flicks. Sometimes the coming attraction can be entertaining when it's a movie you're looking forward to or even one you're just curious about. When the coming attraction is for a dog with fleas you care nothing about, it can be deadly. I don't think this movie actually began until after 12:30. I was forced to watch at least 20 minutes of damn advertisements.

When did the pre-movie adverts become so bloody preachy? We were hit with one ordering us to quit smoking, another ordering us not to buy smokes for kids and another I can't remember preaching at me about something or other. I'm here to see a movie...stop preaching at me!!!

Discuss "The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 2" (0 comments so far)


The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 1

Something's Gotta Give 1And so begins the Something's Gotta Give miniseries...

I remember the days we would go out to see a movie and there was a small concession stand on your way to your seat. Popcorn and pop were the staples but you could also buy an assortment of candy treats. Nothing topped off a movie experience like a bag of buttered popcorn and a Coke with just a little ice.

This afternoon I witnessed what can only be described as a large food court. I would better expect to see this number of food options at the world's largest mall or Disney World. There was a Starbucks, Burger King, Baskin Robbins, New York Fries and Taco Bell. Oh yeah, there were a few popcorn vendors too. Just in case you want to get nostalgic and relive the olden days.

Discuss "The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries: Part 1" (0 comments so far)


The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries

Something's Gotta GiveTaryn had a free pass to a Famous Players theatre, so we shipped James off to Grandma's house and ventured northbound to the Colossus Theatre. I picked Kill Bill Volume 1 for our last freebie, so this time it was Taryn's choice.

A couple of years ago I made a personal decision not to see movies in theatres that I wasn't 95% sure I'd enjoy. I'm simply unable to sit still in a theatre that long unless I'm thoroughly entertained by the story on the screen. If the movie looks iffy, I won't give it my time. For a while I thought I was borderline OCD because of my inability to focus on anything for 2 hours straight, but then I realized I only felt constricted and enclosed when the movie was bad. Good movies could be four hours long and I could sit there and feel perfectly wonderful the entire time.

Despite making this promise to myself, I let Taryn pick any movies she wanted. It was her free pass after all and I decided to be a sweetie instead of forcing her to watch Big Fish, my personal choice. Taryn chose Something's Gotta Give starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton amongst others. I have four topics I'd like to address this afternoon regarding our trip to the theatre to watch Something's Gotta Give, but it's way too much for one blog entry. The following four entries tell the tale...

Discuss "The Something's Gotta Give Miniseries" (0 comments so far)


My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
      - The Narrator, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Discuss "My Quote of the Week" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 2, Capitals 2

Go Leafs Go!Sure, the Leafs extended their franchise record for consecutive games registering at least a point to 13, but a tie against the craptacular Capitals is disappointing. This was certainly a game we should have won, even with backup goaltender Trevor Kidd making only his second start of the season and regular defensemen Tomas Kaberle and Aki Berg out the lineup. A win tonight against the Habs will make everything alright again.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
18-6-6-3
45 points
2-2 Tie vs. Washington Capitals M. Sundin - 33
O. Nolan - 21
G. Roberts - 21

Discuss "Maple Leafs 2, Capitals 2" (0 comments so far)


Multimedia Hard Drive

Hard DriveI just finished installing my new 80 GB hard drive that I'm using strictly for multimedia. My digitalization project consumed over a third of my hard drive so I've made my original 30 GB hard drive the master and added the new slave drive to host my MP3s, pictures and some video.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone I may have offended by my use of the terms "master" and "slave". Back in November Los Angeles County asked suppliers to stop using the IT jargon 'master/slave' deeming the terms politically incorrect. Snopes has posted the transcript of an e-mail sent by the County to its manufacturers, suppliers and contractors. The email singles out "master" and "slave" as expressions portraying an image that may be construed as offensive or defamatory in nature.

In an effort to be more politically correct, I would like to restate the above. I now have a 30 GB primary drive hosting my operating system and other software and an 80 GB secondary drive for multimedia. Happy now?

Discuss "Multimedia Hard Drive" (0 comments so far)


Hooray For Everything

Hooray For EverythingThis message is for fellow members of the Hooray For Everything slo-pitch team. For reasons I don't fully understand, we're changing our name. This has something to do with our new uniforms and our new sponsors.

If you're a member of the team, please visit our voting page to have a say in what our new name becomes. Vote!

Discuss "Hooray For Everything" (0 comments so far)


Downloader's Victory?

Downloaders VictoryKeeping up to date with the ongoing battle between P2P downloaders and the RIAA/CRIA is a dizzying practice. Last week there was the high of the the CRIA's announcement they were going to file lawsuits against those who share copyrighted files on the Internet.

Today comes word of a victory for downloaders in the U.S. courts. A federal appeals court rejected efforts by the recording industry to compel the nation's Internet providers to identify subscribers accused of illegally distributing music online.

The appeals ruling throws into question at least 382 civil lawsuits the recording industry filed since it announced its legal campaign nearly six months ago. An interesting article in the Financial Post discusses the current music industry conundrum. The Copyright Board of Canada gave Canadians the green light to download away but is it worth risking a lawsuit from the Canadian Recording Industry Association who have threatened to file suit against heavy uploaders? And, if today's decision from America is any indication, will the CRIA be able to acquire personal information about alleged uploader from the uploader's ISP? The laws are so vague it's almost impossible to decipher exactly what is legal and what is illegal in regards to P2P downloading. The next six months will be very telling. When significant developments occur, I'll write about them here.

Discuss "Downloader's Victory?" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesLaw & Order Colouring Book - If you're a fellow Law & Order fan, you might find this as amusing as I did. It's a Law & Order colouring book some chap put together and it's brilliant. Law & Order fans are ordered to visit and enjoy.

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


Eddie Vedder's Golden Globe Nomination

Eddie VedderThe Golden Globe nominations came out today. I was going to write about this fact and list the nominees for the major awards, but it was a bunch of movies I hadn't seen and a bunch of television shows I don't watch. Sure, there's the odd exception like "Six Feet Under", but for the most part there's little there I care about.

When I first read the news releases about these nominations, I completely missed the one nomination that excites me. It's really only detectable by going through the complete list of nominees line by line. I'm referring to Eddie Vedder's nomination for best original song for "Man of the Hour" from Big Fish.

Eddie Vedder could sing the phone book and I'd love it. I've been a huge fan since the beginning and I absolutely love his voice. His passion and integrity create additional layers that elevate my enjoyment of his music to another plain. As part of torontomike.com, I maintain a Pearl Jam in Toronto tribute page. I've seen Pearl Jam the last three times they played Toronto...or Barrie in one instance. I've heard "Man of the Hour" and it's another heart wrenching melody from one of the world's greatest singer-songwriters. Congratulations Mr. Vedder.

Discuss "Eddie Vedder's Golden Globe Nomination" (0 comments so far)


Final SLS10 Selections

SLS10It wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't unveil the songs for SLS10. The following songs comprise the best 80 minutes of music from the last six months of 2003 as determined by the Smells Like Sour committee.

  1. Queens of the Stone Age - You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
  2. The White Stripes - The Hardest Button to Button
  3. The Strokes - 12:51
  4. The Distillers - Drain the Blood
  5. Disturbed - Liberate
  6. Linkin Park - Faint
  7. Puddle of Mudd - Away From Me
  8. Outkast - Hey Ya
  9. Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl
  10. Godsmack - Straight Out Of Line
  11. The Salads - The Roth Kung Fu
  12. Stone Temple Pilots - All In The Suit That You Wear
  13. Blink 182 - Feeling This
  14. Hoobastank - Out Of Control
  15. Hot Hot Heat - No, Not Now
  16. Trapt - Stillframe
  17. Foo Fighters - Darling Nikki
  18. Billy Talent - Try Honesty
  19. Staind - So Far Away
  20. Nickelback - Someday
  21. Three Days Grace - Just Like You
  22. P.O.D. - Will You
  23. Finger Eleven - One Thing

So that closes another chapter in SLS history and opens the book on SLS11. Anyone can submit a song for SLS11 consideration here and SLS11 will be finalized just before Canada Day. If you want to sound off on the tunes above you hate or the ones you think we missed, write a Guest Blog entry. If you're curious, there was a serious split between Blink 182's "Feeling This" and Pilate's "Into Your Hideout". I suggested "Feeling This" while Mark lobbied for "Into Your Hideout". Guess who won?

Discuss "Final SLS10 Selections" (0 comments so far)


James' Take on Christmas

James and SantaI'm frequently asked if James is looking forward to Christmas. Back in October when I was constantly asked if James was excited about going trick or treating, I set the record straight. I'm going to do the same thing now with James in regards to Christmas 2003.

James is well aware of what Santa Claus looks like and what his favourite catch phrases are. When an image of Santa appears on the television or in a book, James' eyes grow wide and he proudly exclaims "Santa!" This is usually followed by "Ho, Ho, Ho!" James is certainly able to pick jolly ol' St. Nick out of a line-up and identify him by his "ho's".

Is James looking forward to December 25th when he'll awaken to toys under the tree left by Santa himself? Not really. You see, he hasn't quite grasped the concept that the guy with white hair and a beard who says "Ho, Ho, Ho" all the time is bringing him toys and such for Christmas. When you think about it, it is a rather complex premise. James will be more than happy to rip open some gifts next week, but he won't see it coming.

Discuss "James' Take on Christmas" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

I was just checking out your website. Could you find out, or do you know where abouts, or the name of the cemetary Bill Barilko was buried. I am visiting relatives in the summer and would like to pay respects to my Favorite Player.

I see somebody was visiting my tribute to Bill Barilko! Searches for Bill Barilko via MSN Search have me listed as numero uno. With Google, I'm only listed 8th. I love the legend of Bill Barilko and wear my #5 Leafs jersey with pride.

I'm hosting a picture of Barilko's grave, but my page doesn't specify what cemetery he's buried in. A quick visit to FindaGrave.com led me to a page about Barilko and the information you wanted. He's buried at Timmins Cemetery.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


The Lou Marsh Trophy

BaseballOn Tuesday, the Lou Marsh Trophy was awarded to golfer Mike Weir. For those who aren't familiar with the Lou Marsh Trophy, it is given annually to Canada's outstanding athlete.

Mike Weir had a great year. He finished fifth on the PGA Tour money list, won three events and most importantly, he became the first Canadian to win a PGA Tour major when he captured the Masters in April. Having said that, Mike Weir did not deserve to win the Lou Marsh Trophy for 2003. Another Canadian athlete had a better year.

The award should have gone to Eric Gagne. Gagne didn't only have a good year, he had a perfect year. He had a season for the ages. He saved all 55 games he entered. You can't perform better than that. He is the first pitcher ever to record more than 50 saves in two different seasons and he holds the major league record with 63 consecutive saves dating back to last season. He won the National League Cy Young award becoming only the second Canadian to do so and the first relief pitcher to do so in 11 years.

Weir is far from an embarrassing choice but he is the wrong choice. This year belonged to Gagne. At least he won the Tip O'Neill Award...whatever that is.

Discuss "The Lou Marsh Trophy" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

With Christmas upon us once again it is necessary for us to reflect on the year gone by. It is not uncommon to wake up one morning and to learn of a stabbing, shooting or murder/suicide. It frightens one to realize there are so many mixed up and hurting people out there. What has gone wrong? How did this happen and can we as a society help those who are so confused and angry? What would be a first step in trying to correct the violence which begins firsthand in the home and then seems to filter outside and onto the streets of our society? Any suggestions on how we the simple man\woman can correct this could certainly be time well spent in the future of our children and grandchildren alike. (FOOD FOR THOUGHT)

These are some deep questions. Luckily, I have all the answers. Do you know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society.

Seriously, I'm not used to such serious Guest Blog Submissions. I'm used to less deep subjects like the validity of The Bachelor or the acceptability of Blink 182 on SLS10. You're asking where we as a society went wrong and what we can do to correct this. Right off the top I disagree with your premise. For all of eternity there have been people in society who are confused and angry. This is not a new phenomena. People have been hurting others for no particularly good reason since before fire was discovered. Our society did not invent stabbings, murder-suicides or violence as a plague.

I do, however, agree with your suggestion that such actions can be prevented or at the very least minimized by instilling solid values in our children. If we raise our children to respect others and appreciate the reciprocal nature of this courtesy, we take the greatest step towards raising a child that won't turn to violence as a solution. Respect is of utmost important. Most violent acts occur because of a blatant disrespect for the victim or oneself. If we raise our children in an environment where no topic is taboo and no judgment will follow, we take a further step towards raising a child who won't react to confusion and anger in an unhealthy manner. Anger and confusion are inevitable emotions, but feeling comfortable enough to discuss these feelings and work them out with loved ones is a healthy way to decompress them. Respect for other people and a comfort to communicate anything and everything to one's parents are integral ingredients for a solid citizen. I'm working on both with James.

That's the best I've got. If anyone else has any suggestions as to how we can encourage a more peaceful society, I'm ready when you are. I also welcome rants about poor service from airlines and the over exposure of Beniffer.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Courtney Love

Courtney LoveI heard the new Courtney Love song this afternoon. It's called Mono and it's okay, but I prefer the new Courtney Love, Brody Armstrong of The Distillers.

My relationship with Courtney Love throughout the years can best be described as tumultuous. When Live Through This from Hole came out, I fell in love with the entire record. It was awesome from track one to track twelve. When rumours circulated that Kurt Cobain was the true genius behind Live Through This, I dismissed them as such. I was such a big fan of Hole, I saw them at Edgefest '99, waiting though hours of steady rain on a cool day with absolutely no shelter to seek refuge under.

Then, through the years following the release of Celebrity Skin, I grew to despise her. I blame her lawsuit against remaining Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. The plan was for Novoselic and Grohl to release a Nirvana box set in the fall of 2001 and this box set was to have included "Your Know You're Right". To quote her lawsuit, "The parties have fundamentally different concepts of how to manage the musical and artistic legacy of Kurt Cobain, resulting in a stalemate of decision making that threatens existing recordings, has stopped new releases from the Nirvana catalog ... and prevented the creation of a movie about Kurt Cobain's life." The biggest losers were Nirvana fans like myself who would unanimously agree that the musical and artistic legacy of Nirvana is best handled by the surviving members of the band in question. I'm still waiting for that box set she single-handedly brought to a halt.

Now, when I come across a Hole song on the radio, I turn the station. I don't even like reading about her ongoing legal problems regarding possession of a controlled substance and custody of poor ol' Frances Bean.

So, I've heard Mono once and satisfied my slight curiosity. My boycott off all things Courtney continues. I'm no longer a fan.

Discuss "Courtney Love" (1 comment so far)


Email Address

EmailI just received a message from my Contact Mike page that I'd like to reply to, but this person who contacted me didn't leave her email address.

I'm not sure you want your name printed here, so if you're the person who wrote me this way earlier today (and you know who you are) please write me again but include your email address so I can reply. I will reply.

Love
Mike

Discuss "Email Address" (0 comments so far)


AFI Movies of the Year

AFI Movies of the YearI just read the AFI Movies of the Year Official Selections. I haven't seen a single movie on their list. Has my life deteriorated to this point? Despite my disinterest in "Lord of the Rings", how did I manage to miss all nine of the others on their list? I even own one of the others on DVD but haven't got around to seeing it. "Finding Nemo" is in our collection for a certain 22 month old I know. And where is Kill Bill Volume 1? Was there too much blood for the AFI?

Here's their list in its entirety:

  • American Splendor
  • Finding Nemo
  • The Human Stain
  • In America
  • The Last Samurai
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lost in Translation
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Monster
  • Mystic River

Discuss "AFI Movies of the Year" (0 comments so far)


Lord of the Rings

LoRI have a confession to make. I don't really dig this whole Lord of the Rings thing. I saw the first movie of the trilogy and found it rather long and boring. Hell, there wasn't even an ending. The experience pissed me off so much that I refused to see the second installment. The final movie is now in theatres and geeks everywhere are celebrating. I just don't care.

Sometimes I think I'm the only one who isn't into this Lord of the Rings craze. My wife is a big fan of the movies and has even read the books more than once. I know my brother Steve is anticipating this release. Many people I work with have Lord of the Rings screen savers in full effect. One fan was even noticably absent yesterday and my suspicion is he came down with a case of "Trilogy Tuesday". Now that I really don't get. Hundreds of people paid $50 to sit in a movie theatre for 12 and a half hours to watch two movies they've seen dozens of times and own on DVD and one new movie that is now playing everywhere, all day long. That's exactly how I want to spend my day. Can I line up for five hours beforehand too? Oh joy.

Discuss "Lord of the Rings" (0 comments so far)


The Down Side

The Down SideBelieve it or not, there is a down side to having arrested Saddam Hussein the other day. This result will inevitably have a positive effect on Dubya's popularity at home. It was just the jolt of integrity he needed to ensure his reelection next November. Of course, with eleven months to go there's plenty of time for Dubya to mess things up for himself giving Howard Dean the window of opportunity he needs, only now it's much less likely I'm afraid.

Still, I'm glad they caught the bastard. Bag us Osama Bin Laden and Dean will definitely get Bush-whacked.

Discuss "The Down Side" (1 comment so far)


The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy Favourite Christmas Specials

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  2. The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
  3. A Christmas Story
  4. A Charlie Brown Christmas
  5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Discuss "The Friday Five" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 3, Lightning 0

Go Leafs Go!With this win the Leafs set a franchise record for consecutive games registering at least a point with twelve. We're also tied for the overall league lead with Philadelphia. The Leafs are kicking ass, it's as simple as that.

The line of Mats Sundin, Gary Roberts and Mikael Renberg played another great game. Sundin hit a milestone by recording his 600th career assist. When amassing a streak of this nature, you have to be solid between the pipes. Eddie Belfour continued his great season recording his fourth shutout of the year and third in his past six games. If you haven't done so already, you may want to consider jumping on this bandwagon. It's shaping up to be a dream season and dare I suggest we're only going to get better before the playoffs commence.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
18-6-5-3
44 points
3-0 Win vs. Tampa Bay Lightning M. Sundin - 32
O. Nolan - 21
G. Roberts - 20

Discuss "Maple Leafs 3, Lightning 0" (1 comment so far)


Monetary Figures

MoneyLets do something crazy. Lets do something radical. Lets be bold. Lets redesign our Canadian money.

We've all seen those same faces dozens of times. Quite frankly, I'm getting bored of it. The five dollar bill features Wilfred Laurier, the ten dollar bill features John A. MacDonald, the twenty dollar bill features Queen Elizabeth II, the fifty features William Lyon Mackenzie King and the one hundred dollar bill (which I almost never see) features Robert Borden. I propose the following new faces in place of these tired standards.

$5 - Leslie Nielsen
$10 - The Group of Seven (yes, all of them)
$20 - Margaret Atwood
$50 - Gord Downie (50 Mission Cap, get it?)
$100 - Wayne Gretzky (#99 + Great 1 = 100)

Write your federal MP and support this endeavour. Lets do this thang.

Discuss "Monetary Figures" (0 comments so far)


Law Suits?

Law Suits?Despite last week's ruling from the Copyright Board of Canada, word is the Canadian Recording Industry Association will follow the RIAA's lead and file lawsuits against those who share copyrighted files on the Internet.

This report from the Globe and Mail site asks the question we're all wondering. Can a legal challenge even succeed, given the significant differences between Canadian copyright law and U.S. copyright law? As Matthew Ingram writes, "The wording of the Copyright Act and several Copyright Board rulings suggest that Canadians are legally allowed to download music for their own use, because of the copyright levy."

Presumably, the CRIA will only target those sharing more than a certain number of copyrighted songs. In the United States, this number was 1,000. Most should be safe from persecution.

It will be very interesting to see how this all unfolds. Stay tuned, I'll keep you updated...

Discuss "Law Suits?" (0 comments so far)


World Junior Hockey Championships

World Junior HockeyOne of my favourite tournaments in any sport is the World Junior Hockey Championships. Boxing Day isn't Boxing Day without the Canadian Junior team on the tube. It's always a thrilling tournament with an opportunity to watch future stars on the path to NHL glory, or in the case of Marc-Andre Fleury, current stars who haven't yet turned 19.

Earlier today I watched Team Canada easily handle the host team from Finland. Sunday morning I'll be watching more first round action as Canada takes on the Swiss. Unfortunately, no Leaf prospects are on the Canadian team this year (there were five last year), but with Fluery back between the pipes and 16 year old phenom Sidney Crosby up front, we should be in the Gold Medal game yet again this January. This is great hockey.

Discuss "World Junior Hockey Championships" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesSpider-Man 2 Trailer - I've always been a Spider-Man fan. Of all the super heroes, he was my favourite. His story seemed the most interesting...the most relatable. I don't get out to the theatre to catch many movies these days, but I did go and see Spider-Man and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I'm hoping Spider-Man 2 doesn't disappoint. Here's the trailer to get your Spidey-senses tingling.

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


Conan

ConanHave you heard the news? Conan O'Brien is bringing his Late Night talk show to Toronto for a week in February.

I have nothing but positive feelings about Conan O'Brien. I knew him first as a writer and producer of some of the funniest Simpsons episodes ever. He wrote Homer Goes to College and Marge vs. the Monorail, two of my personal favourites. As a late night talk show host, he's certainly one of the best. My brother Steve and I made it a point to stay up and watch Conan during his first few seasons. This was a time when it was perfectly reasonable for me to go to bed at 1:30 in the morning. Conan O'Brien is directly responsible for a great deal of the laughter I have expunged thoughout the past decade.

Late Night will be taping at the Elgin Theatre. Maybe I should go. Geography is no longer an obstacle.

Discuss "Conan" (0 comments so far)


The Champ

The ChampI stumbled across The Champ this morning. The Champ is a radio bit I used to listen to every morning before jetting off to high school. It was part of Brother Jake Edward's Q Morning Zoo on Q107 for years.

It's back. Q107 plays The Champ at approximately 7:45 each morning, and judging from the voice, Brother Jake Edwards is back at the helm.

If you've never heard The Champ, it's basically a hot-headed former boxer who misinterprets things said to him by other people causing him to fly off the handle. Perhaps someone was asking his wife to pass the tea bag, and The Champ would hear it as a request to pass the tea, bag. One time he snapped when he was told his wife was a thespian following her performance in a play. You get the idea.

You can listen to bits from The Champ online here, here and here.

Of course, part of the fun of The Champ was the way they would get around saying things on the radio you simply didn't hear back then. Double innuendo was their loop hole. Today, you hear just about everything on morning radio, so it's lost it's allure somewhat. Still, it's surreal hearing The Champ again. Throughout the past decade I would occasionally slip into my Champ imitation and "lose it". It's not quite as much fun as it was 12 years ago, but it sure conjures up a lot of good memories.

Discuss "The Champ" (52 comments so far)


Legalized Downloading

Legal P2P Downloading?The Copyright Board of Canada has ruled that it's completely legal for Canadians to download MP3s via P2P networks like Kazaa, Grokste or eMule. That's right, in Canada you can download all the tunes you can find completely free of charge and well within the law. The RIAA can't touch you.

A fee is being levied on MP3 players as a way to pay musicians and songwriters for revenues lost from this action. Depending on the size of the MP3 player, this fee ranges from $2 - $25. Also, it should be noted, uploading files is illegal, even if downloading them is not.

The timing of this report that was released Friday is grand. As I've written a couple of times over the past week, I've just completed my digitalization project. I've ripped all my CDs into MP3s. Now I can expand my collection with a clear conscious without abusing the Visa. I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is a great country.

Discuss "Legalized Downloading" (0 comments so far)


Even More New Pictures of James

New PicturesEarlier today I posted a new picture of James. The tie he's wearing was added in post-production because James refused to wear one. Like father, like son. I got ahold of a bunch more photos from this session, so I've posted five of them in Pictures in their original state prior to being digitally enhanced.

Discuss "Even More New Pictures of James" (0 comments so far)


Digitalization Update

DigitalizationLast week I wrote about my efforts to digitalize my entire CD collection. Here's your update on the status of this project.

It consumed hours and hours of my week, but I managed to rip every CD I care about into 128kbps MP3s. Once I finished ripping the CDs I enjoy, I went through the remainder of my collection ripping the songs I enjoy. There were many late nights, but I have successfully converted my collection to 11 GBs of MP3s. Just last night I backed up these 11 GBs onto 15 CDs, just in case.

My next step is getting a second hard drive that will be used strictly for storing multimedia files. My 11 GBs of music will only grow, and I'm already pretty much out of room. Perhaps I'll save any money I get this Christmas and put it towards a 120 GB hard drive for this purpose.

So, the hard part is done. I only wonder why I didn't do this sooner. When I'm sitting at my PC, I have every song I've ever cared about at my fingertips. I think of a song, and two seconds later I'm hearing it. We're not just talking about a track from Nirvana's "Nevermind" or something else I always have close by, but the more obscure Mike specials like Paris' "The Devil Made Me Do It", Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome" X-Games remix or Hayden's "Take". Everything is organized within my music folder with a directory for each artist and within the directory a folder for each CD by that artist. Almost 30 years of love for music compressed into 11 GBs. Who says love of music is immeasurable?

Discuss "Digitalization Update" (0 comments so far)


New Picture of James

New PicturesOn the weekend, James went to his first modelling gig. Seriously. A friend has started a tie business and James was recruited to model the wares.

A number of ultra cute pix were taken of James wearing an assortment of ties, but so far I've only got one and you can see it in Pictures. I'll post more as they become available.

Oh yeah, if you're looking for ties, visit It's a Tie.com. I feel so cheap!

Discuss "New Picture of James" (0 comments so far)


Christmas Shopping

Christmas ShoppingDamn, it's only ten days until Christmas. I haven't even thought about what I'm getting most people. I'm going to have to find some time to figure this all out.

My mom and brother are pretty much done their Christmas shopping I hear. Taryn's been to the stores a few times, so I think she's in good shape too. Every year I think about what a good idea it would be to get all my shopping done in November so I wouldn't have to think about it in December. This strategy would eliminate most of the holiday stress and allow me to enjoy it. Every year I consider this plan and every year I fail to implement it.

I simply can't buy without the deadline. I need to know there's no tomorrow before I can make a purchase. It's like University when you're told on the first day of class that you have this major essay due on December 6th and you're given a list of potential topics. Sensible people would begin working on this in September or October and have it all wrapped up in November. I would start it exactly one week before it was due and I'd be typing it up on that final weekend. I need a deadline or nothing gets done.

Discuss "Christmas Shopping" (0 comments so far)


Loonie

LoonieI just found a loonie in the bottom of our washing machine after doing a load. It must have been in the pocket of one of Taryn's pairs of pants.

Finders, keepers.

Discuss "Loonie" (0 comments so far)


Bills 26, Titans 28

Go Bills Go!Despite the fact Steve McNair's 43-game consecutive start streak came to an end, first-time starter Billy Volek threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Tennessee handed the Bills their eighth loss of the season.

The Bills had a chance to tie this one and perhaps win in overtime to even out their record at 7-7, but Drew Bledsoe's pass to Bobby Shaw on a 2-point conversion attempt failed. Gregg Williams, it was nice knowin' ya.

Discuss "Bills 26, Titans 28" (0 comments so far)


The Smart Simpsons

HomerAn interesting article appears today in The Baltimore Sun.

This article touches on the fact you get a far smarter take on current events by watching cartoons like The Simpsons than you do watching political debates and such. Jesse Walker writes, "Ever since The Simpsons launched the current boom in adult animation, we've been more likely to hear pointed social commentary from animated cells than from anyone running for office."

Part of the reason I adore The Simpsons so is the fact it's intelligent. No institution is safe. Everyone and everything is a potential target for a comedic jab or satire. If you're not following current events, you're missing a third of the jokes. It's not necessarily a liberal or a conservative agenda either, as this article points out, the show's fans range from the conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg to the leftist linguist Noam Chomsky.

Is this show I've watched religiously since I was 15 the reason for my obvious genius? Perhaps.

Discuss "The Smart Simpsons" (0 comments so far)


Saddam's Capture

Saddam's CaptureI awoke to images of a captured Saddam Hussein this morning. This brought a smile to my face. Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator who must be held accountable for his crimes against humanity.

It was summarized best by a former Iraqi diplomat living in exile, "Saddam is a dictator who is ready to sacrifice his country, just so long as he can remain on his throne in Baghdad." We know Hussein proudly tortured and/or killed opponents of his regime. The BBC profile of Hussein states the following, "In attempts to suppress the Kurds, for example, he has systematically used chemical weapons. And in putting down a rebellion of Shi'ia in the south he has razed towns to the ground and drained marshland."

This is one evil bastard who thought nothing of killing his own people. There was joy when his regime came to an end, and now that he's captured, there will be joy knowing he will never rise up from these ashes. U.S. soldiers lit up cigars after hearing the news of Saddam's capture. I'm thinking of lighting one up myself.

Discuss "Saddam's Capture" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 3, Rangers 1

Go Leafs Go!I love watching Leafs - Rangers games. The Leafs always seem to play well and you're always in for a couple of fights. Every once in a while you hear or read about how there's no place in our game for fisticuffs, but damn is it entertaining.

Mikael Renberg played an awesome offensive game alongside Gary Roberts and Eddie Belfour was once again sharp. The Leafs have tied their franchise record for consecutive games with a point at eleven and (don't look now) are only a point behind the Flyers for the conference lead. In their division, the Leafs have a nice five point cushion between themselves and Boston and a solid ten point advantage over the Senators. Awesome.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
17-6-5-3
42 points
3-1 Win vs. New York Rangers M. Sundin - 30
O. Nolan - 21
G. Roberts - 18

Discuss "Maple Leafs 3, Rangers 1" (0 comments so far)


Boastful Canadians

Boastful CanadiansWhen I saw the headline "Canadian flag causes flap in the U.S.", I had to click on in and read the rest of the story. This article quotes a recent federal report as suggesting Canadians be careful not to appear "boastful" to Americans, who are insecure because of the war in Iraq and admit they are annoyed by northerners showing off the red maple leaf on their luggage when they travel.

This report pretty much reiterates what I commented on regarding the recent article that appeared in the New York Times stating Canada's stance on social issues is opening rifts with the U.S. The best part of this article is a quote from an American that goes exactly like this, "What bugs me about Canadians, if I may, is that they wear that damn patch on their bags, the Canadian flag patch. That way, they differentiate themselves from us."

Yes, Canadian's who are backpacking their way through Europe do tend to wear that damn Canadian flag on their backpack as a way of alerting citizens to the fact they are Canadian and not American. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable so long as the backpacker is Canadian and not American. What bugs me is the large number of Americans who now wear the maple leaf on their backpacks so they will be treated with the same courtesy and respect as the Canadians. This is simply deceptive and dishonest and an insult to the 137 years it took us to earn that kind of respect.

I love America and Americans, but to call us boastful because we don our nation's flag in pride is more than a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

Discuss "Boastful Canadians" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesMad Cover Site - As a kid, I loved Mad magazine. I enjoyed their satires of the current hit movies, tv show or fads and even those snappy answers to stupid questions. Of course, the highlight was folding the back page to see what hilarity awaited me. Now, with this site, you can peruse every cover in the history of Mad Magazine. I'm still recovering from Bleak for the Future, their roasting of one of my favourite movies at the time. Neuman!

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know."
      - Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defense

Discuss "My Quote of the Week" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Hey torontomike.com, I actually work with your brother Ryan, and he's turned me on to your fantabolous website, for amongst other things, Homer's Quote of the Week. A few things here. One previous blog you had posted was about 'wrasslin, and how it was good as a lad. I concur, to relive those days, checkout www.wrestlecrap.com. It's a hoot!

But, on for my blog. As mentioned I work with your brother in 'The Saug, and living in Hamilton. It really makes me wonder how Mississauga/Toronto people sleep at night. Does nobody east of Oakville hold doors open for others, or for that matter, thank other people when a door is held open for them? Someone who lives in Toronto rationalized it to me something like this...."Toronto is so busy and populated that we don't have enough time in the day to thank all the people who hold doors open for us" Do GTA'ers go through more doors in a day than anyone else? Conceited perhaps? Just because you live in the BIG CITY, it doesn't mean that you have to have the BIG ATTITUDE either. A little common courtesy goes a long way Toronto!

Great Job Mike, keep it up!

     Mark

On behalf of all Torontonians, I would like to thank you for broadly stroking us with that big ol' Hamiltonian brush of yours. I hold doors for people all the time and they almost always thank me. At the very least I get a smile and wave, and that's really all I'm looking for. Since we're generalizing here, might I suggest that you're suffering from a form of penis envy. This is a common trait among people who live in smaller cities in close proximity to a megacity such as Toronto. You feel a need to criticize us as a whole in order to make yourself and your little city feel bigger and better. It's textbook.

I don't blame you, Mark. You've said some nice things about my site and I appreciate it. Just remember what Blur says, "There must be more to life than stereotypes".

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

yeah i was on the SLS forum and read a post about radiohead from a while back. i've been getting into their music lately... you mentioned the song "go to sleep" ... what album is on, do u know?? i have ok computer, pablo honey and hail to the theif.. but yeah i can definitely relate when u say radiohead fans have this aura about them that they think they are so much better than other music fans. ive gotten that same impression from someone before. but i do credit them with good taste. they just dont need to rub it in so much. its called humility. but anyways... just felt like commenting.

     amy

For those unfamiliar with my comments about Radiohead, I was writing about my brother's girlfriend Vanessa who claims to be a big Radiohead fan. I have a theory about diehard Radiohead fans which I've shared with her. They think they are somehow on an elevated plain and far superior to the rest of us. Basically, they believe they are better than us.

I'm glad you agree with me, Amy. It's about time somebody agreed with me about something. I like Radiohead, and even saw them in concert. As for your question about "Go To Sleep", it's track #5 on Hail to the Thief which you conveniently own. Perhaps you should play it past song #4.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Pet Peeve

Pet PeeveWhen Mark Carey and I took Smells Like Sour to the web back in June, we thought it would be a great way to create a forum to discuss potential SLS songs and such. Lately, it's become a cesspool for cyber-kitties and their IM-speak.

Earlier today, someone by the name of Lisa posted her comments on the SLS page for Good Charlotte's "Hold On", a God awful tune, but that's not the point. I'll post her comment in its entirety below so you'll quickly get my point.

hi its me agen, n e 1 hu's really close 2 commitin suicide really needs 2 watch this every1 goes threw its jus whether u admit it or not theres always sum1 out there just hold on life will get betta no matter wot u say ive been really close 2 commitin suicide and this vid really helps ppl do understand even me! n e 1 want 2 tlk bout the vid or n e thin else jus reply!

Upon reading this post, I immediately responded with the following.

I can't stand the way you and the other cyber-kitties spell your words. I don't know when this became the thing to do, but I detest it with all my heart and soul. I can't even read your post because it's such a bastardized version of what the rest of us refer to as English.

You wrote, "n e 1 want 2 tlk bout the vid or n e thin else jus reply!" That's horrible. Are you stupid or just ignorant. Your post makes me want to commit suicide. I'd try and save myself as you suggested, but watching a Good Charlotte video is bound to make me want to slit my wrists anyway.

There's more, but you get the gist. Am I off base here? I understand shortening words when using an Instant Messenger, hell, I even shorten words when speaking to save a few seconds, but when you're posting comments on a site as serious as Smells Like Sour, is it too much to ask that it be legible? The Internet is being held hostage by an army of teenage girls with no respect for others travelling along this information superhighway.

Discuss "Pet Peeve" (0 comments so far)


Changing of the Guard

CanadaPaul Martin became the new Prime Minister of Canada this morning when Jean Chretien officially resigned. He marked the occasion by naming a new cabinet and launching a new official website. For a resident of Toronto like myself, it's been quite a period of political turnover.

In the past two months, my country has a new Prime Minister, my province has a new Premier and my city has a new Mayor. What's next..a new mail carrier and refuse collector? Time will tell whether change really is a healthy thing.

Discuss "Changing of the Guard" (0 comments so far)


The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy Favourite Christmas Pop Songs

  1. John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Happy Xmas (War is over)
  2. Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas?
  3. Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song
  4. Bing Crosby - White Christmas
  5. Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus is coming to town

Discuss "The Friday Five" (0 comments so far)


The Dead Pool

DeadpoolI just did something I've never done before. I just added a celebrity to the list of celebrity deaths I maintain within Dead Pool over three weeks after I first learned about his untimely demise.

Back in late November, I read about Jonathan Brandis' apparent suicide. I semi-recalled the name as one that was bantered about as a teen idol of sorts a decade ago, but his list of credits were less than impressive. In the end, I decided that he wasn't enough of a celebrity to make my list.

Apparently, my brother Steve is just catching up on a month's worth of celebrity deaths (of which there were eerily few) because he wrote me last night to chastise me for this omission. I'm used to being chastised, and this action on its own isn't nearly enough to get me to go back and add a death for the first time in history, but he reminded me of a story that made me change my mind.

Back in 1993, the Toronto Maple Leafs advanced to game seven of what would be the last ever Norris division final against the St. Louis Blues. As was the norm, my brothers and I gather to watch such games, only one brother was noticeably absent from what would be a 6-0 blow out in favour of our team. My brother Ryan somehow thought it was okay to miss a game seven in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs featuring our beloved Maple Leafs. You're probably thinking he had a good reason for his absence. Maybe he watched it with friends? Maybe he was trapped in an elevator? Maybe he was performing CPR on a drowning victim? Nope. He went to the movies to see Chuck Norris and the recently deceased Jonathan Brandis star in the forgettable Sidekicks. To this day we joke that Ryan did see a Norris final that night.

Discuss "The Dead Pool" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 1, Wild 0

Go Leafs Go!If there's a problem with hockey, it's the trapping style employed by teams like the Minnesota Wild. Jacques Lemaire subscribes to the school of thought that if you clog up the neutral zone you can manage a goal or two to steal a win against far more talented teams. This style can be rather hard on fans of this great game. The Leafs did what they had to do to secure a road victory thanks to another terrific performance by Ed Belfour and some grit from Tom Fitzgerald who scored the lone goal, had a glorious chance on a break-away in the third and blocked a shot in the last minute of play.

I heard an analyst this morning claim the Leafs were unbeaten in 10 games. This is simply not true. They do grant you a single point for losing in overtime, but it's still a loss. We're actually unbeaten in one. If we must streakify this run, you can say we've registered a point in 10 successive games. Any way you slice it, I am pleased.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
16-6-5-3
40 points
1-0 Win vs. Minnesota M. Sundin - 29
O. Nolan - 21
B. McCabe - 16

Discuss "Maple Leafs 1, Wild 0" (0 comments so far)


Jesse Palmer

Jesse PalmerToronto-born Jesse Palmer will become the first Canadian-born and trained quarterback to start a game in the NFL when he starts for the New York Giants on Sunday.

It's been a long time coming. Mark Rypien may have been born in Calgary, but his formative years were spent south of the border. Palmer is making history and all of Canada will be rooting for him.

Rooting for the Giants won't be easy. I still get queasy envisioning Scotty Norwood's field goal attempt from the 47-yard line drifting wide right. It's a painful memory for all Bills fans, but it won't stop me from hoping Palmer beats the snot out of the New Orleans Saints this weekend.

Discuss "Jesse Palmer" (0 comments so far)


Mail-In Rebates

Mail-in RebatesI'm getting used to mail-in rebates. You know what I'm talking about. You buy a product from Best Buy or Future Shop or some other electronic goods store and you pay one price but with the manufacturer's mail-in rebate you can save $15, $40, $70 or whatever.

I now have the process down pat. I cut out the proof of purchase from the box, photo copy my bill and complete the mail-in rebate form I got from the store. Then, I throw this all in an envelope, add a stamp and wait 6-8 weeks for a cheque to arrive in the mail.

This is the only time I ever find myself sending something via snail mail. Sure, I send Taryn's grandmother the odd Blue Jays update this way, but that's about it. When I'm dropping my mail-in rebate envelope into the mailbox, I'm always a little weary.

For example, lets say the mail-in rebate is for $70. $70 is a substantial chunk of change for a poor bastard like me. They demand the original proof of purchase, so I've got one shot at this. I have to drop this package in the mail and hope it goes through the entire process without being misplaced or destroyed along the way. I have to trust that everything works out and in a little under two months there will be a cheque in my mailbox. It always seems like a gamble to me. There has to be a better way to handle these manufacture rebates. Ideally, they wouldn't make you fork over this coin in the first place just to make you jump through hoops to get it back. Can't this process be handled on the Internet? These are software or hardware manufacturers. I would think their organizations would be technically savvy enough to find a way.

For now, when I drop that envelope in the mail box I say three Our Father's and three Hail Mary's that everything will work out okay. As Lisa said to Bart, "Prayer...the last refuge of a scoundrel".

Discuss "Mail-In Rebates" (0 comments so far)


Party Crashers

HumourAt last night's Billboard Music Awards, Sixx got on stage to accept the last award of the evening for Fifty Cent who was absent. He gave presenter Celine Dion a kiss, received the award, made his acceptance speech and went backstage to meet the press. Who is Sixx and how does he know Fifty Cent. He's an impostor who doesn't know Fifty Cent better than you or I.

Sixx has been doing this for awhile. He's gained quite a bit of notoriety lately for his uncanny ability to crash award shows like last night's Billboard Music Awards and the Grammy's. He acts like he belongs and security is usually hesitant to question his presence. Who's to say he's not a member of Fifty Cent's posse?

This story reminds me of the recent uproar over the presence of Shawn Majumder of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" in the photo of Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens alumni players following last month's Heritage Classic. This incident really riled organizers. I thought it was funny and I think Sixx stepping to the mic to give a bunch of shout-outs is funny. Am I nuts? Wait, don't answer that.

Discuss "Party Crashers" (0 comments so far)


Killerwhaletank

KillerwhaletankOne of my favourite tunes to kick back and listen to is The Tragically Hip's live version of "New Orleans is Sinking" with the Killerwhaletank monologue.

Hip fans will instantly know what I'm talking about. Others won't care. In the middle of the most excellently bluesy "New Orleans is Sinking", Hip singer Gord Downie begins a rant about working at a killer whale tank. It's a great story that sounds perfect stuck in the middle of their most popular song. This version was a B-side to the radio-only promo of "Long Time Running", and has been shared amongst Hip fans ever since. I'm a fan of the Double Suicide version of "Highway Girl" as well, but nothing beats the Killerwhaletank.

I heard it this afternoon on 97.7 HTZ-FM and I'm playing the MP3 right now. I did a search for the lyrics, and I found them on this guy's site. Here they are for your enjoyment:

I had job before this, I had a job before this. Ultimately, it was that job that drove me into this. I worked at an aquarium, an aquarium with lots of money from the government so it was HUUUGGEE! I uh I was a clean n' scrub man we called each other in the C n' S union. I scrubbed the inside of the killerwhaletank. The, and after a while the boys in the C n' S or clean n' scrub we just sort of made it one word: the killerwhaletank, the killerwhaletank uh, the killerwhaletank uh. I'm going into the killerwhaletank UH yeah. I got along with these two big beasts so well, it was like they knew me they looked at me with their hundred year old eyes and it was like they knew me. High, I'd put on my SCUBA gear, my mask, my regulator, {breath} and I'd fall into the tank with nary a sound maybe a pfftt. And then I was underwater. Sometimes, I'd jump out, right in front of the window when people are expecting a killerwhale and they see a human, they get spooked. Spooked. Anyway I'd do that. But I was in the water this particular day, unbeknownst to me, Shamu and Bartholomew, their relationship had grown stale, seems I was going in there so much and looking so good, Shamu took a shining to me, and they're so smart those things ya know they've got all these human emotions, love, lust, GREED, hundred year old eye jealousy. Bartholomew was LIVID. Unbeknownst to me I can't hear a goddamn thing underwater. He came up he was bumping up against me a lot. The stale, killerwhale, bumping up against someone so pale and frail. How was I to know the killerwhale whose relationship had gone stale, well, he brushes up against me sometimes, skin's like sandpaper I say "Hey man, Bartholomew what's up? What's up? What's going on big fella? What is it? What is it? I, I don't wanna steal your mommy, and I sure don't want to take the place of your daddy, I only want to be your friend." And he circled around and I thought we were all patched up and I was scrubbing and he took my- he came up, he came up, he came up, he ripped my left arm off. I mean the killerwhale they're beasts of the deep they're I mean they're quite dossile and friendly in captivity but somewhere along the line, the thousands of years of breeding just snapped and he took my left arm, man he took my left arm, took my fucking left arm. "Wha-What is it Bartholomew?" I spoke to him in a language he could understand, as I came back.

Discuss "Killerwhaletank" (3 comments so far)


Digitalizing My CD Collection

DigitalizationI'm in the process of digitalizing my entire CD collection. Since I left behind good ol' cassette tapes for CDs back in the 80s, I've amassed hundreds of discs and kept them in various CD racks to I could easily access whatever I was in the mood for. Some time last week I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized I needed to digitalize my entire collection.

This is no small task. There was much to consider. What format did I want my songs stored in? Where would I store them? What's an acceptable bit rate? What software would I use to rip my CDs? I decided to rip them as MP3s with a bit rate of 128kbps. I'm using Audiograbber and BladeEnc's MP3 DLL to up the bit rate. I've decided not to rip every CD I own, merely the ones I may actually listen to from time to time. When it comes down to that CD with only one song I like, I'm only ripping the one song. I'm storing the MP3s on my home PC's 40GB hard drive until I save up enough to buy a 2nd hard drive of at least 120 GB that will be used for all my multimedia. If I run out of room before then, I'm going to archive my less frequently listened to tunes on CDRs. Once I've got every CD I care about ripped into MP3 and organized nicely on my new hard drive, I will be finished. With my entire collection digitalized, I can grab what I want for whatever purpose. I envision one day owning a portable MP3 player and even an MP3 player in my car. Until then, it's simple to create an audio CD with the songs I want. As I've written before, the compact disc as a medium is quickly becoming obsolete.

I've been ripping steadily for a few days now and I've only scratched the surface. It's going to be weeks before I'm finished this phase of the project. I've already taken all the CDs off the CD racks in the living room and moved them to the basement. When I'm complete, they will be stored away some place in case I ever require the source material again.

I should have done this long ago. The freedom this gives me is rather liberating. Hey, I want to hear Liberate from Disturbed. It's only a click away...

Discuss "Digitalizing My CD Collection" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesPaul Martin's Blog - If nothing else, there will be increased communication from Canada's new Prime Minister. Paul Martin has a blog. As Martin writes, this blog is "an opportunity to express my thoughts publicly without having to go through all the sturm und drang that is a major speech or even a media scrum". I applaud the effort, but I'm more than a little concerned that his last entry is dated October 19th, 2003. Here's hoping our Prime Minister gives us more frequent insight into his thoughts, observations and beliefs. I'll be reading.

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


I Hate Julia Roberts

MoviesI hate Julia Roberts. In my humble opinion, she's the most over rated actress in motion picture history.

She was fairly likable in Pretty Woman, and she did a half decent job in Erin Brokovich, but that's it. Want to talk dogs? Lets talk I Love Trouble, Mary Reilly, Runaway Bride or The Mexican. Why this woman is so adored and highly paid is beyond me. She's made a career out of playing that hooker who stole Richard Gere's heart.

Every time I see an advertisement for Mona Lisa Smile I am bombarded by several shots of that gigantic grin of hers. I wish she'd just go away.

Discuss "I Hate Julia Roberts" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 2, Blues 3

Go Leafs Go!When Joe Nieuwendyk scored at 19:43 of the third to force overtime, Leaf commentator Joe Bowen and I screamed "Holy Mackinaw" in unison. The never-say-die Leafs had overcome a 4 minute penalty to tie the score at 2. Unfortunately this penalty carried over into the overtime period and the Blues scored quickly during the 4 on 3 action.

All good things come to an end I suppose. It was a wonderful streak while it lasted. St. Louis is a very good team and we did earn a point stretching our lead to four points over Boston for the Northeast Division lead. A new streak begins Thursday in Minnesota.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
15-6-5-3
38 points
3-2 OTL vs. St. Louis M. Sundin - 29
O. Nolan - 21
B. McCabe - 16

Discuss "Maple Leafs 2, Blues 3" (0 comments so far)


Internet Killed the TV Talkback Star

TV TalkbackThe Internet has ruined "TV Talkback". "TV Talkback" is a feature that appears in the Star Week television listings that come with the Saturday Star here in Toronto. Growing up with the Toronto Star, "TV Talkback" was a great place to go every Saturday morning to learn where you recognized that face from or what the name of that old show was. The format was question and answer with a television expert supplying the answers to various tv-related questions. Who played so and so or what's the name of that short-lived sitcom starring Mr. X were typical questions. It took a real expert to answer them back in the 80s and early 90s.

Now, an average Joe like myself is a television expert. The answers to any question of this nature are at my fingertips. If I want to see an actor's entire portfolio, no problem. If I want to see the entire cast of Dallas, I only need a few seconds. Is that actress dead or alive? I'll have the answer in a jiffy. With the Internet, there are no longer those questions you have to wait months and months to learn the answer to. Bar bets and the like can be settled with a visit to the Internet Movie Database or a quick Google search.

Yes, "TV Talkback" is a victim of the information superhighway. It's as relevant today as the Yellow Pages collecting dust in the closet or those unused stamps from '98. We're all experts now.

Discuss "Internet Killed the TV Talkback Star" (2 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

I looked up Michael Power on a websearch and found your sight. My husband and I were students from 1980-1985...and after hearing of my sister's horrendous reunion of her high school, I thought I'd look up Power to reminice.

You have a nice site, and your writing made me smile. (I bet you were in the new Ikea in Vaughan, try it with three kids in tow - a Maze for Mommies!!) Best wishes to you and your lovely family.

P.S. I watched the Red Wings' players jumping on their bus from the Four Season's Hotel, on Saturday....You weren't one of the guys running after them in jerseys and autograph book, were you? Don't be embarrassed if you were (smile) it could be worse, you could have been at the stage door for Donny Osmond's Technicolour thing!

     Tracey

Where do I begin... Firstly, I noticed too that if you Google Michael Power High School, my site is the first one listed. I'm ahead of the official site of Michael Power. Go figure. The Ikea was in Etobicoke. I've driven by the one in Vaughn, and it is newer, but the Etobicoke one is pretty new too...and definitely a labyrinth. I take offense to your snipe about Donny Osmond, however. One Bad Apple was much more than a Jackson 5 rip off! It's a classic. And besides, nobody who appeared on The Larry Sanders Show can be all that bad.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Happy Festivus 2003!

FestivusMy friend Mark reminded me that December 23rd is Festivus. For those who don't know what Festivus is, he summarized it in three easy to follow steps:

  1. "Get the pole out of the crawl space". Or go out and buy one. Remember, it should be aluminum, due to the "very high strength-to-weight ratio". Remember, "it requires no decoration". Tinsel is "distracting".
  2. "The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances...At the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year."
  3. After dinner, it is time for the "Feats of Strength". Remember, Festivus is not over until someone is pinned.

Festivus, of course, was first referred to in the Seinfeld episode "The Strike" from their final season. I'm starting to believe it's a viable replacement for our overly-commercialized Christmas. It's all about Old Navy ads, wish lists and overplayed Christmas music now. I'm not being a Grinch, I just wish there was more of an emphasis on family and friends getting together (like Festivus) and less on whether or not I get Kurt's Journals. Besides, I do find tinsel rather distracting.

Discuss "Happy Festivus 2003!" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today as a follow up to the submission from even earlier today.

I just saw your reply, well maturity presents itself in all forms. Like handling ignorance from close minded individuals with dignity and grace. Maybe you should talk to your wife. I doubt she would have married anyone with the maturity level of a two year old who throws a temper tantrum when people disagree with them.

     Jeunevie

Jeunevie, I stand corrected. I am mature. Thank you for helping me learn about myself. From this moment forward I vow to stop making fart jokes, laughing out loud every time Homer belches on The Simpsons and becoming giddy when our silly little hockey team wins eight in a row. And if you or anyone else tries to stop me, I'm gonna hold my breathe and bang my head against this desk until I pass out.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Gee, I miss T.O. I moved to Peterborough to go to uni, and I'm just not a small town girl. Anyhow the reason why I'm writing is because I found your writings on http://www.smellslikesour.com/discuss-finger-eleven-one-thing.html. I work a night job, and the only rock station in town must play One Thing by Finger Eleven about one or two times every hour. I think the song sounds great, but when I listened to the words, they didn't seem to make any sense. What you said was very mature and insightful. I saw that your name was a link to a webpage so I thought I would try to get to know more about you. I was surprised and thrilled to find out that not only are you Canadian, but you are from my hometown too! Well actually, I was born in T.O. but raised in Mississauga. Close enough.

     Jeunevie

Jeunevie, I believe you are the first person ever to call me "mature and insightful". Already your credibility is out the window. Occasionally I can display a spark of insightfulness, but maturity? I certainly hope not.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Honour, Grrr and Lion

Honour, Grrr and LionI used to have three imaginary friends. They were named Honour, Grrr and Lion and I had no clue they were anything but real. I spent hours with them as a young child.

Apparently this is quite normal and even healthy. It's part of a child's imagination that is just developing. The fantasy world inside a child's head is nothing that shouldn't be encouraged. In fact, these invisible pals provide a source of comfort and companionship.

Honour, Grrr and Lion left me when I began to distinguish between fantasy and reality. For just one night, I wish I could set the dinner table for three more. Good friends like them come around once in a lifetime. They left me high and dry when I needed them most. Reality bites.

Discuss "Honour, Grrr and Lion" (0 comments so far)


Uptown Collapse

Uptown TheatreI was just checking the news and I read that the Uptown theatre had collapsed. Some students from a neighbouring downtown private school are trapped in the rubble and emergency crews are searching for them now.

For two years Taryn and I lived in an apartment complex at the corner of Charles Street and Yonge. Our balcony was almost directly above the Uptown Theatre so it's a landmark I'm rather familiar with. Just last month I wrote about this theatre as the location of my honeymoon almost eight years ago. Here's hoping everyone's okay.

Discuss "Uptown Collapse" (0 comments so far)


Radio Listening

Radio ListeningI listened to the radio from 06:20 EST to 08:00 EST this morning. I'm about to switch to MP3s (Pearl Jam's Merkinball, No Code and Live on Two Legs respectively), but before I do so I thought I'd share the details of what radio I actually listened to.

  • CFNY Edge 102 - I heard some Audioslave, White Stripes, Nickelback and the 6:30 news, sports, traffic and weather package. Blundell started yakking and I turned off the radio for a short while to do other more important stuff.
  • CBC Radio One - I caught the last third of the 7:00 news update.
  • Fan590 - I caught the 7:20 sports update and listened to Glenn Healy discuss our streaking Leafs until 7:40.
  • Mojo Radio - In the mood for more Leaf talk, I skipped over to 640 on the AM dial for some of the Leafs Breakfast with Michael Landsberg. Landsberg weaved a nonsensical tale about Quinn's coaching methods and why he deserves zero praise for the Leafs winning streak.
  • WBUF - Howard Stern was discussing Paris Hilton and he played a clip from a bit Hilton did with Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live this weekend. It was pretty damn funny.
  • Y108 - Hamilton's Best Rock was playing Rush, and I had to stop for a listen. It was New World Man.
  • CFNY Edge 102 - Back to my favourite station for a final tune or two. Unfortunately, I got advertisements.
  • Fan590 - Don Cherry's Grapeline with Brian Williams. He was going off on Sydney Crosby again for this lacrosse style goal the other day. He's got the message, lets move on. Sometimes 16 year olds forget they aren't allowed to score an extremely creative goal when their team has a sizable lead.

That was pretty much it. It's all about timing. Sometimes I spend more time with music and other times I spend more time with Howard Stern, depending on his topic of the moment. With the Leafs winning eight in a row, it seems I spent more time with sports radio this morning. And that's my answer to the question nobody asked.

Discuss "Radio Listening" (1 comment so far)


Bills 17, Jets 6

Go Bills Go!It's been a very long time since I've had to witness one of my teams on the losing end of a game. The Leafs have won eight in a row, the Raptors won their fourth in a row earlier today and the Bills won for the second week in a row. It was the Travis Henry show at Ralph Wilson Stadium as he ran for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown.

Following the Raptors victory I took my Freeplay Ranger outside where I was barbecuing some Italian sausages. I listened to Van Miller call the end of the Bills game on NEWSTALK CKTB out of St. Catherines. I have fond memories of listening to Miller call Bills games and I'm saddened by the fact he's retiring at the end of the season after 37 years. He's one of the best in the business and I'm going to miss him.

Discuss "Bills 17, Jets 6" (0 comments so far)


Ferberizing James

Ferberizing JamesAs near perfect as James is, until recently he wasn't the world's greatest sleeper. When bedtime approached, he wanted two things: a bottle of milk and daddy to lie with him while he drifted away. Then, at any time between 3 and 5 in the morning, he would get out of his bed and jump into mommy and daddy's bed. It was rare that he would sleep the entire night in his own room.

At twenty-two months of age, we decided that enough was enough. James should be able to go to sleep without the bottle and without daddy giving up 15 minutes of his night to lie with him. More importantly, it was time James learned how to stay in his own bed until morning. Taryn had read about the Ferber method, and about the philosophies of Dr. Richard Ferber on teaching your baby how to sleep. We bought his book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" and began "Ferberizing" James.

The gyst is this. At bedtime mommy or daddy puts James to bed, tell him in a loving, reassuring voice that it's bedtime and that we love him, and tuck him in. That's it. No bottle and no hanging around. At this point, we leave the room but leave his door ajar. When James inevitably got out of bed and tried to join the party, one of us picked him up, put him to bed again and closed the door for exactly one minute. While the door is closed, we reassure him that the door will open when he gets back into his bed. This continues with the minute growing to 2, 3, 4 and finally 5 minutes. Each day this time period expands exponentially until it reaches a half hour. The bottom line is James caught on pretty quick that he has to stay in his bed at bedtime. When James wakes up in the middle of the night, it's the same deal. We just started this stategy a couple of nights ago, and it's definitely working. Last night James only needed the door closed one time before he remembered the deal. When he woke up in the middle of the night, he hardly made a fuss when he was put back to bed and told to stay there until morning. Typically on weekends James would awake at any time between 7:30 and 8 but this morning I awoke at 9:30 to find him sitting in his bed. Now this is parenting!

There is some controversy attached to the Ferber method, but we're comfortable with it enough to stick it out. According to Ferber's book, in less than two weeks James will simply go to sleep in his bed when we tuck him in at bedtime and he'll stay there until the morning. After only two nights the difference in James' sleeping habits are dramatic. I only wish we had Ferberized him sooner.

Discuss "Ferberizing James" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Mike, I think you made a mistake. I may be mistaken, but I think I saw a Blink 182 song on your list...

     Mark Carey

Yes, it's true. Blink 182's "Feeling This" is one of the songs on my proposed list of tunes for SLS10. As I mentioned in my post on the SLS home page, this wasn't an easy decision. For some reason, I like this damn song...maybe it's the Beach Boys-style ending? My brother Steve assured me it was okay to like this particular Blink 182 song because the sound is more in line with that of Box Car Racer. This is not the first Blink 182 song I've liked, I enjoyed their breakthrough "What's My Age Again" and "Adam's Song", and I enjoyed Box Car Racer's "I Feel So". If "Feeling This" is any indication, Blink 182's sound has matured. Any way you slice it, I believe "Feeling This" is SLS-worthy hence it's on my list.

Besides, my infamous Bands I Hate entry in August never mentioned Blink 182. To quote that entry, "The bands on my personal hit list are: Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Not By Choice and All-American Rejects." I stand by my selection.

Does anyone else want to give me grief? Go ahead, make my day.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 5, Red Wings 2

Go Leafs Go!Ho hum, another win for the Maple Leafs. What is that...eight in a row? I haven't been keeping count.

Hot damn we're playing good hockey right now. The roll continues after another solid effort against a very good team. Who was that guy wearing Bryan Marchment's jersey who took it to the net for his 39th career goal and first as a Leaf? You know things are going your way when Marchment looks like Bobby Orr.

When the Leafs lost 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers back on November 21st, I suggested that Pat Quinn may have passed his expiration date. Since that post, the Leafs have played eight games and have 16 points to show for their efforts. I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and Quinn deserves some credit for this dramatic turn-around. The defense is dramatically improved and the offense is clicking on all cylinders. So long as the blue and white win, I can live with Quinn behind the bench.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
15-6-5-2
37 points
5-2 Win vs. Detroit M. Sundin - 27
O. Nolan - 21
B. McCabe - 16

Discuss "Maple Leafs 5, Red Wings 2" (0 comments so far)


SLS10 Countdown

SLS10It's December. That means we're approaching the deadline for SLS10. I'm going to assume readers of this blog are familiar with SLS, or Smells Like Sour if you prefer the elongated title. For those in need of a refresher course, here's the last update.

I've muddled through all the SLS submissions and come up with 80 minutes of what I deem to be the best tunage from the previous six months. If you're interested in what made SLS9, you'll find that detail here. Keep in mind, the following list of tunes for SLS10 is not final. I am but one member of the selection committee. The following is my favourite 80 minutes for the second half of 2003.

  1. Queens of the Stone Age - You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
  2. The White Stripes - The Hardest Button to Button
  3. The Strokes - 12:51
  4. The Distillers - Drain the Blood
  5. Disturbed - Liberate
  6. Linkin Park - Faint
  7. Puddle of Mudd - Away From Me
  8. Outkast - Hey Ya
  9. Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl
  10. Godsmack - Straight Out Of Line
  11. The Salads - The Roth Kung Fu
  12. Stone Temple Pilots - All In The Suit That You Wear
  13. Blink 182 - Feeling This
  14. Hoobastank - Out Of Control
  15. Hot Hot Heat - No, Not Now
  16. Trapt - Stillframe
  17. Foo Fighters - Darling Nikki
  18. Billy Talent - Try Honesty
  19. Staind - So Far Away
  20. Nickelback - Someday
  21. Three Days Grace - Just Like You
  22. P.O.D. - Will You
  23. Finger Eleven - One Thing

I'm very interested in what tunes you'd leave off this list and what songs you'd add. You can Contact Mike and let me know, or if you're passionate enough to want to write a Guest Blog entry, be my guest. I'll post the final SLS10 songlist just before Christmas.

Discuss "SLS10 Countdown" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesToronto's Skyline - This is a 5.07MB Quicktime movie of the Toronto skyline. Actually, it's a 24 hour time-lapse film of the Toronto skyline. Whether you're a Torontonian or not, do yourself a favour and click this link. It really is stunning.

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


Cannibal, Run!

The CannibalOne of the most disturbing stories I've ever followed in the news is that of Armin Meiwes. Meiwes has confessed in court to killing and eating a willing victim, a crime for which he's currently on trial.

"The Cannibal of Rotenburg" posted Internet ads using the pseudonym "Franky" to recruit men willing to be devoured by him. One such ad read: "If you are 18-25 you are my boy, Franky from Germany". Another read: "Come to me I'll eat your delicious flesh". What's disturbing is the fact 430 responded to his ads within a year and one 43 year old Berlin computer specialist gave Meiwes permission to kill, dismember and eat his flesh. How do we know this victim was a willing participant? The entire episode was video taped.

The questions this case raises are many. Since the victim was a willing participant and from all accounts not mentally disturbed, is this murder? It's certainly illegal, but when someone of sound mind and body asks you in all seriousness to kill him and eat his flesh that's not exactly murder. In Germany, there is a conviction of "killing on request", a form of illegal euthanasia which carries a far lower sentence of up to five years. That's what Meiwes' lawyer is seeking and he might just get it.

Following this case this past week has been especially disturbing for a few reasons. Firstly, Meiwes is so open and frank about what he did. He calmly communicates every detail while comparing the experience of eating another person's flesh to taking communion. It was clearly a religious experience for him. Secondly, this case has unveiled a fetish I was not aware existed. There are thousands of men who fantasize about witnessing the dismemberment of certain body parts and the devourment afterwards. Thankfully, few want to go as far as being slaughtered, but still, the fact websites such as "Cannibal Cafe," "Guy Cannibals" and "Torturenet" exist for this purpose is rather frightening. Finally, the most disturbing aspect of this case is the fact Sexual Cannibalism is a recognized psychosexual disorder. To quote this excellent article on the subject, "eating human flesh can cause an increase in levels of vitamin A and amino acids, which can cause a chemical effect on the blood and in the brain. This chemical reaction could possibly lead to the altered states that some cannibals have claimed to have experienced." Armin Meiwes is not the first cannibal to stand trial for his actions. Andrei Chikatilo, Edward Gein, Albert Fish and Jeffrey Dahmer are all notorious for their crimes. What makes Meiwes different is the willingness of his victim. In the end, that may be what saves him from a murder conviction.

Stay tuned. There's more to digest here.

Discuss "Cannibal, Run!" (0 comments so far)


My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
      - Albert Einstein

Discuss "My Quote of the Week" (0 comments so far)


Already Third

JaysBeing a Blue Jays fan is unfair. The Yankees and Red Sox have been trying to one-up each other since the baseball season ended. Boston signed Curt Schilling. The Yankees responded by signing Gary Sheffield (all but official), middle relievers Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon and traded for Javier Vasquez. Rumours are now floating about that the Red Sox will trade Manny Ramirez to the Rangers for Alex Rodriquez. Any way you look at it, the Yankees and Red Sox are involved in an arms race and the first casualty is the Toronto Blue Jays.

The American League East, a division of five teams, has finished in the exact same order for six consecutive seasons. The Yankees and Red Sox finishing one-two with the Blue Jays finishing third. With only the one wild card position available, it's virtually impossible for the Jays to advance to the playoffs. New York or Boston will win the pennant with the other likely securing the wildcard. We can't finish higher than third so long as we share a division with these two franchises. I suppose this is our cross to bear.

So, although I am still optimistic that the Jays can compete in 2004, realistically I know there's a seventh consecutive third place finish in our future. It could be worse. I could be an Orioles fan.

Discuss "Already Third" (0 comments so far)


A United Right

DemocracyThe Canadian Alliance Party of Canada voted overwhelming in favour of merging with the Progressive Conservatives earlier today. It's looking like the Progressive Conservative Party will also vote to ratify the merge. The two parties will form the new Conservative Party of Canada.

Although I don't like the politics of the Canadian Alliance Party, I'm in favour of this "unite the right" campaign. As it stands, Canada is essentially a single party country. With a divided right, there is no chance of another party winning more seats in parliament than Paul Martin's gang. How democratic is that? Every so often we'll march to the polls with the only question being whether the Liberals will win a majority or minority government. A second option keeps the Liberal Party honest. That benefits all Canadians.

Discuss "A United Right" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesHoliday Snowglobe - Get into the holiday spirit by shaking this virtual snowglobe. It's a good release of aggression shaking the sh*t out of these mini snow lovers. Listening to their little screams almost feels good. TGIF.

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


The Friday Five

Friday FiveThe Most Famous Celebrities I've Met

  1. Nick Carter
  2. Tie Domi
  3. Todd Stottlemyre
  4. Pat Mastrioanni (Joey Jerimiah from Degrassi)
  5. Mark McCoy

Discuss "The Friday Five" (2 comments so far)


Dean's Substitute

Edge 102 Morning ShowI realize I wrote about this yesterday morning, but I want to comment further on the CFNY Edge 102 morning show I heard this week. With George Stroumboulopoulos as host, it's the best show on the dial. The song selection has always been stellar, but the quick comments on each band or song from Stroumboulopoulos enhances the entire experience. It's not my intent to bash regular host Dean Blundell so much as it is to praise the efforts of Stroumboulopoulos who manages to entertain while educating. Perhaps I'm developing a man-crush on Stroumboulopoulos? Nah, I think it can be nicely explained by the following Simpsons reference.

In season two, there was a Simpsons episode entitled "Lisa's Substitute". The episode guide from The Simpsons Archive sums it up nicely: "Lisa's regular teacher falls sick, and gets replaced with a substitute teacher who changes the face of learning for Lisa." It was the presence of Mr. Bergstrom, a substitute teacher, that made Lisa fall in love with learning again. His passion inspired her, but like all substitute teachers, his position was temporary and the regular teacher returned. Lisa reacted to this news by rushing out of the classroom in tears. A great quote from Mr. Bergstrom as he's departing: "That's the problem with being middle-class. Anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more." Great episode.

George Stroumboulopoulos is my Mr. Bergstrom. I'm being stifled by the regular cast, but when they go on vacation and Stroumboulopoulos substitutes, I fall in love with the CFNY Edge 102 morning show again. Just this morning following Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit Stroumboulopoulos remarked "If you don't know what song that was you don't need to". When I turn on my shower radio on Monday and hear the absence of George Stroumboulopoulos's voice, I imagine I too will rush out of the shower in tears. I now know exactly how Lisa felt.

Discuss "Dean's Substitute" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 6, Bruins 0

Go Leafs Go!The Maple Leafs are playing superb hockey right now. They were by far the faster, more skilled team on the ice tonight in Beantown. The Leafs have won seven games in a row for the first time in a decade and have extended their lead atop the Northeast Division to 3 points. It's a treat watching this squad compete these days.

What's going right for the blue and white? Our forwards are all playing extremely well, despite the absence of Alexander Mogilny. Owen Nolan was the best player on the ice and Joe Nieuwendyk and Darcy Tucker had strong games as well. Heck, even guys like Harold Druken and Alexei Ponikarovsky are pitching in.

Our defense is playing sound, smart hockey. This winning streak is due in large part to the efforts of our blueliners. Karel Pilar has really stepped in while everyone else from Tomas Kaberle to Brian McCabe to Ken Klee has stepped it up a notch.

Our penalty killing has been dominant while our power play simultaneously began to click. There were three power play goals for Toronto tonight and not a single power play goal allowed. Special teams are more important than ever in this tight checking era and the Leafs have been capitalizing on both accounts.

Eddie Belfour has been great. He stopped 25 shots tonight for his second shutout of the season. He's making the big saves when the Leafs need them and he's been a huge factor during this streak. Off nights for Eddie are few and far between.

When you add up excellent play from your forwards, defensemen, special teams and goaltender you get a pretty good result. The Leafs go for eight in row Saturday night against the Red Wings. I'm feelin' pretty good about it.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
14-6-5-2
35 points
6-0 Win vs. Boston M. Sundin - 25
O. Nolan - 20
B. McCabe - 15

Discuss "Maple Leafs 6, Bruins 0" (0 comments so far)


A Bad Word?

NewspaperI'm still digesting the story out of Lafayette, Louisiana about the seven year old boy who was punished for using the word "gay" in school. Apparently, the boy was asked by a classmate about his parents. The boy is being raised by lesbian partners (not that there's anything wrong with that) so he told his classmate that his mother was gay and what gay meant.

Apparently, "gay" is a naughty word in Lafayette, even when the subject in question happens to be gay. This seven year old had to come to school early and repeatedly write "I will never use the word 'gay' in school again". The American Civil Liberties Union has rightfully filed a complaint.

What exactly is this world coming to? In the year 2003, all notions of the nuclear family are long gone. You've got kids being raised by Grandma, their big sister, their single dad, and yes, even homosexual couples. From where I'm sitting, there was absolutely nothing wrong with using the word "gay" to describe your gay mother when asked about your parents. I demand that this boy's teacher, principal and superintendent find a blackboard and a nice piece of chalk and start writing 200 times the following: "Happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction and to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demeanor themselves as good citizens." It's from President George Washington.

Discuss "A Bad Word?" (0 comments so far)


Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Hi Mike

I do have a little beef that I would like to bring to the table. Having watched the many Bachelor shows of late there is one thing that puzzles me about them. We all know that the process starts with 25 women who are paraded about and viewed by the many people who watch the show for the full purpose of attaining the attention of the bachelor. Slowly they are streamlined down to 15 and then 10 and then 8 or 6 depending on the style of the show. As the women become more involved with the bachelor they seemed to become quite dramatic with antics that are embarrassing to watch. "I did not expect to have to share him with these other women." This quote can be heard often and in each show. Then don't enter a reality show where the emphasis is on trying to compete with many beautiful people for the sole purpose of attaining the attention of the bachelor. What did they truly think they would be doing? The show would have been laid out to the participants long before it was taped.

     Patricia

I make it a point to avoid the Bachelor at all cost. If a man is caught watching the Bachelor, he should be forced to give up his penis. You do raise a good point though. How real is reality television? I'm starting to think it's as scripted as ER.

Discuss "Guest Blog Entry" (0 comments so far)


George Stroumboulopoulos

Edge 102 Morning ShowAs much as I enjoy the tunes I hear on CFNY Edge 102, I'm not a fan of their morning show. When Dean Blundell and his crew start one of their inane contests or other gimmicky radio bits, I tune out. In the mornings, I'm only there for the music.

It's not that I only enjoy music on the radio, I remain a Howard Stern fan and I'll listen to an interesting piece on CBC Radio One or the Fan590 regularly. It's just that I don't find the Dean Blundell show the least bit funny or interesting.

This past week they've been on vacation and replaced by George Stroumboulopoulos. I've been a Stroumboulopoulos fan going back to his previous carnation as a deejay on CFNY Edge 102 before he went national on MuchMusic. He's educated in all the important fields (music, sports, television, movies) with a quick wit that tells it like it is. It's refreshing to enjoy such sharp insight with a perfect blend of humour in the mornings surrounded by decent songs. In a perfect world, CFNY Edge 102 would secure the services of Stroumboulopoulos full-time for their very important morning slot. They'd secure a larger portion of my drive time in the process, that's for certain.

Discuss "George Stroumboulopoulos" (2 comments so far)


The Fab Five

The Fab FiveThe Raptors have won two in a row since the big trade. The Raptors showed an exciting offensively flare in both victories, something that's been sorely missing in these parts the past couple of seasons. From what I've read this is due in no small part to the presence of Jalen Rose who attracts attention freeing up others to put up the big numbers.

Jalen Rose was a member of the Fab Five. The Fab Five were a group of freshmen who all started for the Michigan Wolverines NCAA basketball team back in the '91-'92 season. They were Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwon Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. They would play together for one more year during the '92-'93 season before Webber turned pro.

This collection of freshmen started played above the rim and played an exhilarating brand of ball. My brothers and I would watch them every Saturday and adopted them as our team. Prior to the '91-'92 season, I wouldn't have considered myself a particularly huge NCAA basketball fan. That all changed when I happened to catch a Wolverines game on the tube early in the season. Selling my brothers on these five was easy once they saw their up tempo run and gun style of play. C-Webb was our favourite, but Rose and Howard weren't far behind.

The Fab Five never won an NCAA Championship, but both years they played together they reached the finals. With Rose's arrival in Toronto, he joins King as one of two members to have suited up for the Raptors. Webber has experienced the most success in the NBA, but both Howard and Rose are substantial contributors for their respective teams.

I've never been able to recapture that feeling watching NCAA basketball that I felt watching the Michigan Wolverines in the early '90s. Come March Madness I try to conjure up similar feelings for certain teams, but nothing comes close. The irony is that Michigan has forfeited all victories during this era after a federal investigation revealed that former booster Ed Martin had given a total of $616,000 to Chris Webber and three other ex-Michigan players. Michigan programs and media guides won't even mention the Fab Five by name. The banners celebrating the Final Fours have been taken down at Crisler Arena as if this never happened. It's as if a part of my history has been erased.

Discuss "The Fab Five" (0 comments so far)


Sender Unknown

MessageSomebody submitted the following message via the Contact Mike page.

Hello Mike, I was wondering if you could help me. I am looking for a used tragically hip ticket stub. I am entered in a scavanger hunt and could use your help. I would be willing to pay a reasonable price for this and would even return this after the contest. Please let me know either way. Thanks for your time.

Please note: If you don't include your email address or some way to contact you, you will never hear back from me. I only receive the text you enter in the field before you click "Submit". This poor bastard will never win his scavanger hunt now. And I've got Hip tickets stubs here, here, here, here, here and here.

Discuss "Sender Unknown" (0 comments so far)


Ikea

IkeaI just returned from our local Ikea. My wife had bought a table for James that was too short for him, so I got the job of returning it and picking up another model. I knew the exact product I was looking for and even that it could be found in aisle #25 of the marketplace. In and out in two minutes I figured. I was wrong.

Returning the table was easy enough. They credited my card and had me on my way in no time. As I walked towards the entrance, I could even see beyond the cash registers where I would be able to pick up the new table. It appeared to be about 30 feet away so I considered entering this way, but like a good Canadian I obeyed the sign that pointed towards the appropriate entrance. I wouldn't want to upset the Swedish.

No word of a lie, it took me twenty minutes of following stupid blue arrows on the floor before I could get back to that damn marketplace and my aisle #25. They had me trapped in a labyrinth passing baskets, towels and a million other goods I had no interest in. Every time I turned a corner I figured I'd be back to where I needed to be but this route went on for what seemed like forever.

Next time, I'm going to slip past the people checking out. I'm exhausted. And by the way, the table was out of stock.

Discuss "Ikea" (0 comments so far)


The Hulkster

Hulk Hogan's Rockin' Wrestling I was a pretty big fan of the WWF back in the early to mid 80s. I know it's now called the WWE, but when I was a fan, it was the WWF. I was the perfect age for that type of theatrics. I remember watching my heroes battle it out every weekend. My personal favourite was always Rowdy Roddy Piper, but there was also Macho Man Randy Savage, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant and, of course, Hulk Hogan. The Piper's Pit was my Tonight Show. Hogan's feud with Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff was my soap opera. Sargent Slaughter vs. Nikolai Volkoff was my international politics. The WWF was a big part of my life before puberty.

Last Friday, I listed my five favourite cartoons as a child. On this list was Hulk Hogan's Rockin' Wrestling. One of the best aspects of this cartoon was the live action shorts between them. Two segments in particular stick out in my mind to this day. At the time, I thought they were ever so clever.

  1. Andre the Giant buys a car - In this segment, Andre the Giant went to a car dealership because he needed an automobile. 7'5", 525 LB Andre was asked to see how the little compact number felt. The next image is Andre sitting in this little car with his giant head sticking out the sunroof and his massive arms dangling out the windows as he complains in that ultra deep voice of his that "It's too small!!!" Pure gold.
  2. Hulk goes out to dinner - In this clip the Hulkster goes to a fine restaurant. It's a classy joint and Hulk Hogan is wearing a cut-off tee shirt exposing his steroid-induced muscles. The waiter politely tells Hogan there is a dress code and he'll have to wear a jacket. Hogan refuses proclaiming "My pythons gotta breathe!" The next scene is Hulk Hogan enjoying his meal in a fine dinner jacket with the sleeves ripped off so his arms remain uncovered. Another gem.

I lost interest in Wrestling as I grew older and the theatrics lost their charm. Every once in a while though, I still envision Andre the Giant in that car or Hulk Hogan at that table and smile.

Discuss "The Hulkster" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 5, Rangers 4

Go Leafs Go!Six in a row... I'm smiling right now. I have a huge grin on my face. I am very, very happy. It's been almost three years since our Leafs have won six games in a row.

With a goal and an assist, Owen Nolan continued to be a leader for the surging Leafs. Mats Sundin continued to silence his critics with another strong game including a pretty game-winner, his 64th game winning goal to give him the all-time franchise lead ahead of Dave Keon. Besides the five goal outburst, we were treated to two Tie Domi - Matthew Barnaby battles, both times Domi dominated. This was a thoroughly entertaining game. I can't wait for Thursday when the blue and white go for seven against the Boston Bruins.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
13-6-5-2
33 points
5-4 Win vs. New York M. Sundin - 23
O. Nolan - 17
B. McCabe - 14

Discuss "Maple Leafs 5, Rangers 4" (0 comments so far)


Hand-Coding

Canadian IdentityAm I crazy to still be hand-coding this site? I edit every stitch of torontomike.com in a basic text editor (good ol' Notepad does the trick nicely) building and maintaining it character by character. I know the XHTML and CSS that make up this site intimately, but am I wasting my time? Sometimes I wonder.

A friend of mine swears by Movable Type. He uses MT to manage a number of sites and has been encouraging me to convert. Others maintain their blog with help from Blogger, Radio UserLand, LiveJournal or another weblog publishing tool. At the very least I should be using software to build this site, like Dreamweaver, Pagemill or Frontpag perhaps. Yet here I am hand-coding this very entry.

I know why I do it. I love the control, I take pride in the accomplishment and I find the entire process to be rather romantic. Allow me to explain. When you hand-code every aspect of a site you have absolute control over how it behaves. If there's an issue or something that needs repairs, you can make the desired change and achieve the desired effect in no time at all. Should you envision an enhancement, you know exactly how to make it so. It's your XHTML and your CSS and nobody will ever know it the way you do. This is where the romantic aspect comes in. You start to feel emotionally attached to the source code. You find yourself staring at it in Notepad and swooning. You're validating each page with the W3C MarkUp Validation Service and beaming with pride when the blue banner proclaims your page is valid XHTML 1.0. You're proud of your creation because nobody helped you. No software saved you time and cluttered up your code and no software managed your blog entries for you. Now if you don't mind, I'd like a moment alone with my code.

Discuss "Hand-Coding" (0 comments so far)


My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesSuper Mario Bros. 3 - I think video games lost something when they became as complex and detailed as they are today. I miss the innocence of the old 8 or 16 bit Nintendo systems. One of my favourite games was Super Mario Bros. 3, and I remember how proud I was the day I completed it for the first time. Now, somebody has beat it in eleven minutes and you can watch the whole thing in wide-eyed amazement. This video is an 18MB .wmv file, so dial-uppers may want to pass.

Discuss "My Link of the Day" (0 comments so far)


A Distinct Identity

Canadian IdentityToday's New York Times includes an article on the emergence of a more distinctive Canadian identity. The Times views this identity as being more in line with European sensibilities and one that is generating new frictions with the United States. "From gay marriage to drug use to church attendance, a chasm has opened up on social issues that go to the heart of fundamental values."

I couldn't agree more. Since 9/11, the fundamental differences between Canadians and Americans have become more and more evident. In the 80s it almost felt as if Canada was becoming the 51st state. Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney were Irish eyes a'smilin' and our cultures were barely different. Today, it barely registers as news that Canada decriminalized marijuana, Vancouver opened North America's first legal safe-injection site, and two provinces have legalized gay marriage. As I wrote back in June, it's been a landmark year for Canadian independence and pride. Canada is cooler.

Discuss "A Distinct Identity" (0 comments so far)


New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted three pictures from the birthday party we attended in Whitby on Saturday night. You'll find them in Pictures coincidentally enough. These shots are courtesy of Fred McGuirk.

Discuss "New Pictures" (0 comments so far)


About Nude Scenes

Unfortunate Nude Scene watched About Schmidt yesterday. I enjoyed the movie as a whole and was pleased to see Jack Nicholson effectively underplay a character for once. Kathy Bates was also very good, but then again Kathy Bates is always good. She really exposed herself for the role. I mean, she literally exposed herself. Suddenly, while Nicholson is in the hot tub about three quarters through the movie, Kathy Bates disrobes and joins him.

Typically, nude scenes in main stream movies are performed by young, attractive actresses. As good an actress as Kathy Bates is, she's not young and attractive. I wasn't sure how to react upon seeing her nude body on the television screen. I was shocked, sort of like a deer caught in the headlights. I'm still recovering from the image.

I have enjoyed some fantastic nude scenes though the years. Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Julianne Moore in Short Cuts and Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut are some of my personal favourites. Kathy Bates in About Schmidt was just disturbing. Poor James may never have a sibling now...

Discuss "About Nude Scenes" (0 comments so far)


Happy Birthday Tim!

Happy Birthday Tim!I want to wish Tim Legere a happy 40th birthday today.

You may have read Tim's Guest Blog submission a week ago on hockey cards and gum. Take a chapter from the book of Tim, speak out and be heard. It's good for the soul.

Discuss "Happy Birthday Tim!" (0 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 4, New York Rangers 2

Go Leafs Go!There's no more denying it. The Leafs are on quite the hot streak beating up on the Rangers last night for their fifth win in succession. Damn this feels good. This feels really good.

Once Trevor Kidd shook the rust off, he played a solid game between the pipes. This defensive squad that has every Leaf fan weary of what lies ahead has been playing quite well throughout this winning streak. They should hold the fort nicely until the trading deadline when John Ferguson, Jr. will have to upgrade one or two spots in order to make the Leafs serious Cup contenders. The Eastern Conference champion will most likely have to go through New Jersey or Philadelphia and we'll have to beef up to survive that battle. For now though, I'm enjoying this.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
12-6-5-2
31 points
4-2 Win vs. New York M. Sundin - 22
O. Nolan - 15
D. Tucker - 13

Discuss "Maple Leafs 4, New York Rangers 2" (0 comments so far)


« November 2003 January 2004 »

Want more Toronto Mike blog entries? Visit the archives.