June 2004 Archives

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Leafs Re-sign Trio

Leafs Resign TrioThe Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed goaltender Ed Belfour and forwards Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts.

I consider these three to be a very important part of the Leafs nucleus. Losing any of these three, particularly Ed Belfour, would have been a step in the wrong direction. Adding some speed and youth to compliment this gritty experience would be a wise next move for John Ferguson Jr.

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Weekly MP3

Weekly MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon
In honour of Canada Day and The Tragically Hip, I bring you Bobcaygeon from the great album Phantom Power. Nothing is better on a summer night than staring up at the stars and hearing Gord exclaim "It was in Bobcaygeon I saw the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time."

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Sad But True

Sad But TrueTaryn is really pregnant. I mean, she's bursting at the seams in her eighth month and it's getting tougher and tougher for her to look after her flock. As a result, I've been trying to prepare more meals for us three.

Basically, that means we have much more BBQ than usual. Tonight, however, I decided to prepare a frozen Dellissio pizza in the oven. It sounded simple enough.

It turns out the cardboard beneath the pizza wasn't obvious enough and I accidentally baked it along with the pizza. When I discovered my error I managed the remove the cardboard and didn't think it would make much of a difference. I was wrong as the bottom crust was doughy and not edible. Immediately, I put the slices back on the oven rack and waited. Sure, the tops were borderline burnt, but at least the bottoms were baked. Unfortunately, most of the cheese melted off and fell to the bottom of the oven where there is now a huge mess to clean up.

I'm going to stick to BBQing.

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Spidey Senses Tingling

Spidey SensesStop the presses! It's only June 30th and already a third movie has snuck into my "must see" pile in 2004. Kill Bill: Volume 2 was the first movie I made an effort to see and Fahrenheit 9/11 was the second. Now, Spider-Man 2 has got my spidey senses tingling.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, it's pretty awesome with a 96% freshness rating. The New York Times reviewer wrote "Spider-Man 2 is full of bright colors, emphatic noises and elaborate special effects. That much is to be expected. But its distinguishing features, I'm happy to report, are strong characters and honest feelings."

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Spider-Man movie and I've always admired the comic book character. Of all the super heroes, he's my favourite. Spider-Man 2 is destined to become the third movie I see in theatres this year.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesFahrenheit 9/11 Transcript Part 1, Fahrenheit 9/11 Transcript Part 2 - There was so much to absorb during Fahrenheit 9/11, I was thinking I might have to see it again. With the aid of these transcripts, that's no longer necessary. If you won't see this documentary, please read it. Neighbours to the South, vote Kerry in 2004.

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Hip Countdown

Hip CountdownIt's the eve of The Tragically Hip concert at the Molson Amphitheatre. I last saw the Hip in concert back on September 6, 2003. Prior to that, I saw them on December 30, 2002, October 16, 2002, August 1, 2002, December 23, 2000 and December 31, 1999.

I can't wait to see Canada's greatest contribution to the world of music once more. I heard a number of tunes off the new album yesterday on CFNY Edge 102 and they sounded great. Reviews of the new disc have been nothing but positive.

Canada Day with The Tragically Hip. I can't wait.

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$99 Burger Anyone?

$99 Burger Anyone?The DB Bistro Moderne in Manhattan will sell you a hamburger, but it'll cost you. The double truffle version will set you back $99 USD.

Of course, the idea of a hamburger that sets you back over a hundred dollars is absurd, but isn't that the point? The only reason to have the world's most expensive burger is to lay claim to the world's most expensive burger. The Guinness Book of World Records has already made it official.

I'd love to know who has ordered one. I envision filthy rich people ordering the $99 burger so they can tell their equally filthy rich friends about it. Bill Gates, the Sultan of Brunei and the guy from the Monopoly box are probably chowing down on these burgers right now.

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Belfour's Exit Imminent?

Belfour's Exit Imminent?SportsNet.ca is reporting that the Leafs and goaltender Ed Belfour have broken off contract talks. The 39-year-old Belfour becomes an unrestricted free agent, and according to the report, is ready to test the market.

This is not good. The Leafs need a dominant goaltender. Belfour is the primary reason we managed to eliminate Ottawa in the first round of last season's playoffs. When he's in the zone, he's as good as any goalie on the planet.

If Belfour signs with another team after July 1, who exactly tends goal for the blue and white? Ottawa has all but signed Dominik Hasek and that leaves us with Sean Burke and Byron Dafoe as the best remaining free agents. Trevor Kidd has proven he can't take the reigns and I suspect it's still too early for Mikael Tellqvist. Leaf management has to reach an agreement with Belfour. I don't see any other viable option.

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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 just want to thank my fellow Canadians for making a wise choice last night. It is nice to know that I still live in a country that reflects my morals and values. Oh Canada!

     Stephen

Amen my brother. Amen.

It seems like only two weeks ago the polls were predicting a Conservative minority. Around that time, I wrote this entry in which I expressed my fears that the Conservatives could actually win this election. Shortly thereafter, Stephen Harper confidentally proclaimed his party would in fact win a majority. It was then that I wrote this entry and pleaded with my fellow Canadians to do the right thing. Then, just a week ago, I wrote this entry in which I wrote "Recent Liberal scandals and mismanagement have many looking at the Conservative Party as a way to send a message and teach the Liberal Party a lesson. I fully understand this unwillingness to give the Liberals another vote, but the alternative is frightening. We can't cut off our nose to spite our face."

In the end, we did the right thing. One of my favourite things about Canada is the fact that we're an open minded progressive nation. I've always considered us to be proactive rather than reactive and our liberalism a trait admired by the free world. O Canada!

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Liberal Minority

Liberal MinorityIt looks like Paul Martin's Liberals are headed for a minority government tonight. A surprisingly strong showing in Ontario and Atlantic Canada has kept the Grits in power. As I said, it was all up to us and we did the right thing.

Phew! That was too close for comfort.

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Raging Storm 22, Attack 18

Slo-Pitch ResultsWe in Raging Storm defeated Attack tonight to win the season series two games to one. The big bats came out to win this one for the good guys.

Following Greg's clutch two out two run homer that brought me in late in the game, I told him he was getting his props in this space. His next at bat, Greg struck out. As a result, tonight's shout out goes to Stella for her quadrant of RBIs.

I'll update the Raging Storm home page tomorrow morning because I'm watching coverage of our election tonight. You have ten minutes to vote.

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The Monday Shuffle

Monday ShuffleEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in Winamp and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten I heard today.

  1. The Tragically Hip - The Luxury
  2. Das EFX - Mic Checka
  3. B. B. King - Three O'Clock Blues
  4. Cypress Hill - Break It Up
  5. Limp Bizkit - Creamer (Radio Is Dead)
  6. 3rd Bass - The Gas Face
  7. Trust Company - Running From Me
  8. Ice-T - Street Killer
  9. Pearl Jam - W.M.A.
  10. Nirvana - Negative Creep

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Vote Today

Vote TodayWhen you don't vote, you let others speak for you.

We are fortunate to have fair and democratic methods in place for the selecting of political representation. To not take part in the process or to feel like our opinion doesn't matter, would be to waste the incredible power that we possess.

The power of a single vote is staggering. It is our right to stand up and be counted. And the way we do that is by casting our ballot. Don't forget to vote in today's Federal Election.

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Firefox 0.9

Get Firefox - Web Browsing RedefinedI've finally given Internet Explorer the boot. I installed Firefox 0.9 and gave it a good work out to see if it fit and it does. It's Firefox 0.9 only for me now.

What I like best about Firefox 0.9, besides the convenient tabbing and security, is that it keeps us developers honest. Internet Explorer allows HTML and XHTML programmers to get away with murder because it doesn't insist upon W3C standards compliance. Firefox does and that's good for everybody. I only wish more people will kick IE to the curb and give Firefox 0.9 a spin.

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Fahrenheit 9/11

Fahrenheit 9/11I've just returned from seeing Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11".

Michael Moore has an opinion, but he backs up everything he believes with compelling facts. It would be easy to say I loved this documentary because it validated much of what I've already suspected, but that wouldn't be doing this picture justice. Personal politics aside, this is entertaining, provoking work that should be viewed by every voting American.

Why did Dubya sit with that kids book in his hands for several minutes after being told his nation was under attack? What did Iraq have to do with Osama Bin Laden? How the hell does Dubya's administration keep getting away with such blatantly compromised loyalties? Why are poor young Americans still being sacrificed for big money oil interests?

Dubya was unprepared for 9/11, exploited the attack and lied to his people to justify a war in Iraq and pass the Patriot act yet he remains a threat to win a second term. Fellow Canadians, when you go behind that cardboard voting booth tomorrow please cast your vote for a party that isn't carved from the same petrified shit. Vote Liberal.

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Birthdays Today

BirthdaysThe following people are celebrating a birthday today.

  • Chris Woodward - 28
  • Tobey Maguire - 29
  • Mike Boon - 30
  • Julia Duffy - 53
  • Ross Perot - 74

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Don't trust anyone over thirty."
      - Jack Weinberg

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesPaul's Boutique Samples and References List - I'm a fan of the Beastie Boys and particularly their 1989 effort Paul's Boutique. This is the ultimate resource for Paul's Boutique and it stands to document the samples and references included on the album. If you enjoy Paul's Boutique, you'll love this site.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI warned you that I'd be posting more pictures now that I'm the proud owner of a digital camera. I posted a couple from last night earlier today and now I've posted eight more from a little BBQ we had at the house this afternoon.

Visit Pictures now to check out all the exciting action.

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The Netherlands

The NetherlandsOnce again the guy who doesn't watch soccer and barely cares about Euro 2004 has got his good eye on the scoreboard. Sweden and The Netherlands are currently tied at zero. The reason I'm watching the scoreboard is because I have a slight rooting interest in one of the teams participating.

I'm always getting emails from people in Holland asking me if my family is from there and telling me how popular my name is in The Netherlands. Boon, apparently, derives from there. As a result, I'm hoping they win this tournament.

It's as good a reason as any.

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New Pictures

New PicturesTo celebrate Taryn's birthday yesterday, we went to East Side Mario's. James was concentrating so intently on his colouring, I had to snap a couple of pictures for the Pictures page.

Visit Pictures now to check it out.

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The Danforth

The DanforthYesterday afternoon, Greece upset France in Euro 2004 quarter final play and Toronto's Greek community went nuts much like our Portuguese community did on Thursday. Toronto's largest Greek community is along The Danforth, where much of the highly overrated "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was filmed.

When the soccer match ended at around 16:30 EST yesterday, the call went out to Toronto commuters to avoid The Danforth at all costs. I didn't need to alter my day one iota because you'll never find me on The Danforth. You see, The Danfoth is East of Yonge, or EoY as I refer to it.

I wrote about EoY in the past, but it's worth repeating. I have never lived EoY. In fact, whenever possible, I avoid EoY completely. This has been the case my entire life. Whether it's going to school, a movie theatre, out to dinner, shopping, for a bike ride or even to a concert or sporting event, I am least comfortable when I'm EoY.

Yonge Street is the longest street in the world and it effectively divides Toronto into two distinct realms. I am familiar with just about every nook and cranny in the western realm, but once I break the invisible plane and venture EoY, nothing is certain. Furthermore, nothing is desireable. Quite frankly, I can't think of very many desinations EoY that are worth this risk. Everything I could possibly want to see or do can be done avoiding EoY.

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Knee Update

Knee UpdateAlmost eleven months ago, I messed up my knee playing ball. Although originally diagnosed with a torn meniscus, the MRI revealed I had actually fractured my leg and torn my ACL.

The end result was six months of physiotherapy during which time I was not allowed to put strain on my left knee. It was extremely frustrating but I had to be careful not to completely tear it and I didn't want to lose another summer.

Now I'm back to playing ball a couple of times a week and some of you have been asking how the knee is. I'm actually surprised at how stable it feels now. Up until January of this year it would buckle on me and it didn't feel like I'd ever be able to run full out again. Now I find myself rounding first full out and sliding into second without pain.

This is not to say it's as good as new. It feels very different than it did before the injury and there's always a subtle, dull ache. Even when I exert myself, I'm always conscious of the possiblity I could reinjure it. All in all, I'm just glad I can play sports without pain. You don't realize how important a knee is until you lose it.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Oh, I'm sick of doing Japanese stuff! In jail we had to be in this dumb kabuki play about the 47 Ronin, and I wanted to be Oshi, but they made me Ori!"

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It's Up To Us

It's Up To UsWhoa nelly, it's gonna be close. The Liberals and Conservatives are neck and neck with the federal election only a couple of days away. It's anyone's ballgame.

As I see it, it's all up to us. By us, I mean Ontarians. Out west all I hear about are Conservative loving yahoos, in Quebec it's a mess and there aren't enough bodies to make a difference down east. That means it will be us in Ontario who choose the Prime Minister of Canada.

I shared this theory with a house guest from Winnipeg and she said it was typical Toronto arrogance. It's not, it's simply the way the numbers add up. With a representation by population system, Ontario is far more important than any other Canadian province. Lets face it, if Ontario turns blue, Stephen Harper will win. If Ontario stays even a slight shade of red, Paul Martin will remain in power. It won't matter what they thought in Alberta, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

So, it's all up to us. I've done my part and voted Liberal. Now it's your turn.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite Murray Eldon announcements (to be read in your best Murray Eldon)

  1. #7, Damaso Garcia
  2. #1, Tony Fernandez
  3. #12, Roberto Alomar
  4. #26, Willie Upshaw
  5. #29, Jesse Barfield

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Carbs

CarbsHey everyone, I'm still eating and enjoying carbs.

What do you think of that?

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Fahrenheit 9/11

Fahrenheit 9/11I am really looking forward to watching Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" in theatres. I have become so particular with the movies I'll pay to see, very few make the cut. The last three movies to join this exclusive club where the two Kill Bills and now this.

I just read Geoff Pevere's review from today's Toronto Star and "Fahrenheit 9/11" sounds as good as I had hoped.

Unlike Bowling For Columbine, which editorially often seemed something less than the sum of its sketch-comedy parts, Fahrenheit 9/11 makes its case carefully and clearly: The Bush family is politically compromised because of its oil interests, the current war in Iraq is the result of that compromise, and Sept. 11 provided the excuse to secure and protect those interests.

It may not be an argument one agrees with, and it may be unbalanced and propagandistic, but it is both convincingly argued and sincerely motivated. You don't doubt for a minute the movie was made by somebody who believes deeply what he's saying.

And he brings it home. Fahrenheit may begin in the rarefied atmospheres of politics and economics where the Houses of Saud and Bush meet and profitably commingle, and it may work its way down through the White House and Congress (where one representative admits that nobody ever reads new laws - like the Patriot Act - before they're passed) to cops, border patrols, secret service agents and Marine recruiting reps (who cruise the poor side of town for potential enlistees), but he winds up right on the doorstep of average Americans.

Does anybody want to babysit a very cute two year old this Sunday? I have a movie to watch.

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Happy Birthday Baby!

Happy Birthday Baby!I want to wish my girl a very happy birthday today.

I used to joke with her that she was good as my wife so long as she stayed in her 20s. Now that she's running out of years before the big 3-0, I'm seriously considering renaging on my pledge to exchange her for a younger model.

The rest of this corny entry is for Taryn's eyes only so I kindly ask that everyone else refrain from reading what lies beneath.

I love ya baby. In August you'll give birth to our second wonderful child and I couldn't be happier with where we're at. I hope your birthday is something special. Enjoy the 365 days remaining in your 20s!

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New Pictures

New PicturesI added two new pictures to my Pictures page. Both are of a pond a friend has in his Toronto backyard.

I'm telling you, there are dozens and dozens of fish in this stunning pond. It's the coolest thing. I could sit there and watch them for hours and hours. There's something incredibly soothing about them. Visit Pictures now to check it out.

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Weekly MP3

Weekly MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. I know it's Thursday, but you still have six days to grab this weeks MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Audioslave - Chochise
This was the first single off the awesome self-titled debut from this super group, and it rocks. That's more than enough reason to share this track. Awesome tune.

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K9 Saviour

K9 SaviourA heavily armed man says he called off plans for an east-end shooting spree Wednesday afternoon following a chance encounter with a friendly dog. After parking his gun-packed car near Queen Street East and Victoria Park Avenue, he stepped into a nearby park to load his weapons. There, he said, a playful dog approached him. That encounter apparently changed his mind.

Thank heavens it was a friendly dog this disturbed 43 year old man encountered. I don't know what this dog said or did to save the day, but the tragedy he averted cannot be understated. I'm not the world's biggest dog lover, despite the fact I live with Booner, but if I could have one moment with this K9 saviour I'd certainly smell his butt and let him smell mine.

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Open Letter To Alan Cross

Open Letter To Alan CrossDear Alan,

How are things at CFNY Edge 102? You may recall I wrote you back in late March regarding the line up for Edgefest 2004. I wrote "Good Charlotte represents everything your station isn't. They have absolutely no edge. They wear black and make up and try to act "punk" when they're as popified as Matchbox 20. Their target audience is pre-teen girls who think they're cute and deep. I listen to a great deal of "modern rock", and I find the weak Good Charlotte sounds completely unlistenable.... I'm sure you stopped playing them because you realized your listeners don't like them and they are merely pop dressed in black. Promoting them as headliners for your Edgefest concert is just pathetic. You won't even play their music for heaven's sake." Amongst other things...

I appreciated your prompt reply. You wrote "Good Charlotte was part of the playlist until sometime last year and, believe it or not, they were insanely popular with a significant portion of our audience. We stopped playing them because the album had run its course and we moved on to other things. That being said, the band can still sell a ton of tickets--something that we need to do if we were going to make the thing profitable and thus worthwhile (again, it's FAR more complicated than just booking a bunch of cool bands. Trust me.) The drawing power of Good Charlotte is enough to help us pay for Something Corporate, Jet, Jersey, Billy Talent and the rest of the lineup...And if we manage to sell out the show this week (which is something we think we'll do), we'll have enough cash to maybe do something else this summer."

Alan, I couldn't help but notice you're heavily promoting Edgefest 2004 this week in a last ditch effort to sell the many remaining tickets. Lawn seats are suddenly available for $10.21. You certainly didn't sell out in a week as you hoped you would. In fact, you didn't sell out at all, did you?

I'm not trying to gloat here, but I saw this coming a mile away. Your listeners don't like Good Charlotte. In fact, the majority of them despise their weak-ass sound. You could not have selected a worse headlining act and I sincerely hope you take a bath on this one. With all due respect, you deserve it.

Your faithful listener,
Mike

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesRivers Cuomo's Blog - It's the real deal folks. He shares MP3s, including this cool Rivers remake of "Tomorrow". As a kid, I loved that damn movie. I knew Daddy Warbucks was a softy inside...

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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 also heard the rumours of a fix between Denmark and Sweden while I was attentively watching the soccer scoreboards. So, when Sweden scored in the last couple of minutes of play, it did sound very convenient. However, anyone who actually watched the game between Denmark and Sweden would have to admit there was no fix involved. Both teams played hard throughout the game. With Denmark leading 2-1, there were several good scoring opportunities for the Danes to go up 3-1. If there was a fix involved, someone forgot to tell the Denmark squad. It also took a last minute goal from Sweden, with some admittedly shaky goaltending, to equal the score. It wasn't as if the game was 2-2 after 30 minutes and the teams coasted from there. Furthermore, why would Denmark want to tie Sweden and face a tougher quarterfinal opponent. They don't love their neighbours that much! I don't buy this controversy for one second!

     Stephen

I've heard commentary from those who actually watched this game instead of the scoreboard like me, and they all say both teams played hard. Still, you must admit a last minute goal with shaky goaltending is awfully convenient. What percentage of games actually end 2-2? Even if this wasn't fixed, it's still controversial because many think it was, and that alone satisfies my lust for such scandals.

There's a tear, in my Brio...

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Expensive Aging

Expensive AgingWith a birthday quickly approaching, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has been benefitting. By my birthday I'm to renew my driver's license, renew my vehicle plates and get my car an emissions test. If I fail to do these three things, I'm not legally allowed to drive.

Lets see... Renewing my driver's license is $50, soon to be $100 thanks to Dalton McGuinty. Renewing my vehicle plates is another $74 a year and the emissions test is about $30. So, my birthday is costing me over $150 dollars this year!

Thanks MTO!

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Azzurri Out

Azzurri OutAdmittedly, I'm not a very big fan of soccer. In fact, I rarely pay attention to the sport unless it's during the World Cup or big ass tournaments like the one taking place right now in Portugal. Yesterday I actually paid close attention to the results from Euro 2004 because I had heard rumours of a possible fix. If Sweden and Denmark tied at two, it wouldn't matter if the Italian team beat Bulgaria, both Sweden and Denmark would advance and Italy would be done.

I have no rooting interest in the Euro 2004, but if Italy advances or even wins a game, it means Toronto's large Italian community will take to the streets in celebration and that means traffic jams for yours truly. So, if Sweden and Denmark wanted to tie at two to boot Italy, I wasn't going to complain. Our Swedish and Danish communities are far less enthusiastic about such things.

As everyone knows by now, Italy defeated Bulgaria but was eliminated when Sweden and Denmark tied at two. Since I don't care about soccer, I was rooting for controversy and I got exactly what I wanted. Did Sweden and Denmark set this up? Ask someone of Italian descent that question today, and they'll passionately explain that the Azzuri were screwed. Historically speaking, Sweden and Denmark aren't exactly chums, but they are neighbours and every once in a while you cut a good deal with a neighbour, even if you don't particularly like them. I don't know if the fix was in, but the mere possibility has suddenly piqued my interest in Euro 2004.

Go controversy go!

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T-Mac

T-MacT-Mac isn't happy and has been begging for a trade from the Orlando Magic. Executives from several NBA teams have said Orlando and the Houston Rockets are close to a deal sending McGrady to the Rockets for a package including Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley. It looks like T-Mac is getting his wish.

What exactly is the deal with T-Mac? He was drafted out of high school by my Raptors where he played his first three professional seasons. During his final year hear, we saw him emerge into a potential superstar. Vince Carter and T-Mac were an awesome 1-2 punch but T-Mac wasn't happy. He wanted to be the star and he jumped to the Magic upon becoming a free agent. I remember fellow Raptor fans pleading with T-Mac to stay in Toronto and resign with the Raptors. I remember how he teased us by insinuating he might stay when he had already made up his mind he was returning to his Florida home.

After four years with the Magic T-Mac wants out again and there's no doubt he'll be wearing another uniform come the fall. He's an awesome talent, but never happy. I'm sure in another few years I'll be writing about how T-Mac wants a trade from the Rockets.

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Raging Storm 10, Booty Pirates 8

Slo-Pitch ResultsWe in Raging Storm played the Booty Pirates last night and won a close one.

It never should have been as close as it was. We were up 10-5 going into the final inning. If the defense tightens up, this could be a competitive team.

The statistics will be updated soon on our Raging Storm home page.

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Rewind

RewindOne year ago today I wrote an entry about Canada bashing I entitled "O Canada". Since it's election season and many have lost site of what this nation is all about, I'm pressing rewind and reprinting what I wrote on June 21, 2003 below. I still believe every word.

Canada bashing has become a popular sport of late. With no defense to speak of and an unwillingness to follow our giant neighbours to the south on their way into Iraq, we've been labeled as traitors and worse.

As I see it, we were right. Sure our Prime Minister comes across as an arrogant buffoon at times, but he wanted to see "da proof" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and he wasn't buying what Powell was selling. "Da proof" wasn't there. It turns out Chretien was right. If Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, rest assured they'd have been discovered by now. Canada's conscious is clear.

Furthermore, the wheels are in motion to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The US doesn't like it, but we don't care. Smoking a little weed won't get you a criminal record and this is a good, sensible thing. Canada progresses and leaves America in it's smoke trails.

Finally, Chretien said last week that he wouldn't challenge the ruling from Ontario's Supreme Court that same-sex marriages were legal. Here, here. Homosexuality is not a crime. It's time a gay person is granted the same rights as a straight person. Canada becomes the third nation in the world to allow same-sex marriages and I've never been so proud.

2003 is almost half over and in my opinion it's been a landmark year for Canadian independence and pride. In a previous blog entry on Victoria Day, I mentioned it's time we stop acting like Britain's bitch. Well, from what this Canadian sees, we're no longer going to be America's bitch either.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. With what, we're not sure, but if I want to marry a dude and smoke a fatty to celebrate, it's all good.

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The Monday Shuffle

Monday ShuffleEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in Winamp and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten I heard today.

  1. Ice Cube - It Was a Good Day
  2. Adam Sandler - The Excited Southerner Gets Pulled Over
  3. Disturbed - Devour
  4. Blink 182 - Satan
  5. Kish - Jim Class
  6. Stone Temple Pilots - Wicked Garden
  7. Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe
  8. Limp Bizkit - Rolin' (Urban Assault Vehicle)
  9. Our Lady Peace - Let You Down
  10. Johnny Cash - The Rebel Johnny Yuma

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Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission this past weekend.

Hey Mike,

Gotta' like summer.

Sitting on the front step on a nice day with the wife, while sipping margaritas, watchin' the the kids ride their bikes and competing for our attention ... "Hey Dad" look at me.

Barbequed steaks, cole slaw, and watermelon. A sprinker and pool in the backyard. Checking on how the tomatoes are growing and taking pride in a well manicured lawn.

Yup ... summer life is good!

     Tim

Summer life is good...and today is the official first day of summer. Gotta' like summer.

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U.S. Open Pool Results

U.S. OpenI finished third in my U.S. Open pool this weekend. That's not too bad out of sixteen entries. Of course, it doesn't make me a dime either.

My selection of Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els lost to a team of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. In other words, Woods beat Singh and that's why I lost.

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The 500 Club

The 500 ClubBarry Bonds is working his way towards the very exclusive 700 Club and now stands at 676. Bonds is also one of four active players currently in the 500 Club now that Ken Griffey Jr. has joined. Griffey hit a 2-2 fastball from Matt Morris into the right-field stands to lead off the sixth inning Sunday, securing a spot in the record books as the 20th player with 500 homers.

The other active players with at least 500 homers are Sammy Sosa with 549 and Rafael Palmeiro with 538. Former Jay Fred McGriff only needs seven homers to become the 21st player to hit 500.

Until his past three injury plagued seasons, Griffey Jr. looked like a threat to join the 700 Club. It's still quite possible, but he'll have to stay healthy and carry a big stick.

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Pearl Jam Pre-Sale

Pearl Jam Pre-SaleAs readers of this site already know, Pearl Jam is releasing "Live at Benaroya Hall October 22, 2003" on July 27th. If you don't want to wait that long, there is another option fellow Jammers may want to consider.

The double disc set will be available for a special pre-order on pearljam.com beginning tomorrow. Remember, this set captures a special night of rare, mostly acoustic performances from the acoustically awesome Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony.

Buying it this way not only gets it to you well before the street date but you also get a limited edition poster of the performance. Cool!

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New Videos

New VideosThe last time I added new videos to Videos was Mother's Day, so it was only fair I add new videos today.

Three new videos of James are now being shared in Videos. One controversial clip shows him shooting up while another shows James making some interesting breakfast requests and another shows him wishing me a Happy Father's Day. They're all pretty damn cute.

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Conservative Vote

Conservative VoteI find myself awaking in a cold sweat for fear the Conservatives may actually win our federal election. Recent Liberal scandals and mismanagement have many looking at the Conservative Party as a way to send a message and teach the Liberal Party a lesson. I fully understand this unwillingness to give the Liberals another vote, but the alternative is frightening. We can't cut off our nose to spite our face.

This morning, perusing the Toronto Star, I came across a letter to the editor from a Robin Wood entitled "Vote for Conservatives and you can expect this". It's pretty simple and straight forward and I fear it's also rather accurate.

A vote for the Conservatives is (ultimately, whatever Stephen Harper may say) in all probability a vote for the following:

1. An increase in pollution, destruction of the environment, and global warming (in the interests of corporate capitalism), which, according to many distinguished international scientists, could end with our planet becoming uninhabitable.

2. An increase in support for the U.S., in its transparent striving (under the current administration) for world domination.

3. An increase in homelessness and poverty (including child poverty).

4. The further demolition of our health care system, including our hospital services.

5. The parallel undermining of educational funding, from kindergarten to university.

6. The probable loss of abortion rights for women.

7. The probable blocking of same-sex marriage.

This is, of course, a free country and the choice is yours. I just wanted to make sure you know what you are voting for. And heaven help the rest of us.

Do the right thing. Please.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"It is a wise father that know his own child."
      - William Shakespeare

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My Civic Duty

My DutyI voted tonight. The election is actually June 28th, but tonight was an advance voting night. I'm not sure what my slo-pitch schedule will look like on June 28th and I wanted to fulfill my civic duty.

Sitting behind that cardboard barrier with by ballot in hand I knew what I had to do for my country. I cast my vote for my local Liberal MP in the hopes we can avoid the Stephen Harper regime. The more I hear and read about Mr. Harper, the more I get a Dubya vibe from him and that scares the shit out of me.

Fellow Canadians can vote on Monday from noon to 20:00 if they want to avoid the June 28th rush. Monday is the last advance voting day. Go here to find out where to go on Monday to keep the Liberal party in power. Trust me, it's for the best.

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New Picture Page

New PicturesI threatened to change the Pictures page now that I have a digital camera and I've just delivered as promised.

The Pictures page now has a caption beside each image. I've also added a picture taken last night and another taken moments ago. What are you waiting for? Get to it!

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Let us all bask in television's warm glowing warming glow."

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Alternative?

Alternative?The alternative charts are anything but alternative these days.

When is the top 50 selling alternative albums in Canada compiled from a national sample of retail store and mass merchants' reports collected, compiled, and provided by Nielsen SoundScan not really the top 50 selling alternative albums in Canada compiled from a national sample of retail store and mass merchants' reports collected, compiled, and provided by Nielsen SoundScan?

When Avril Lavigne's "Under My Skin" comes in at #2.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite Stone Temple Pilots songs

  1. Plush
  2. Big Empty
  3. Interstate Love Song
  4. Vasoline
  5. Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart

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New Pictures

New PicturesI took a few shots with my new Olympus Stylus 410 I'm now sharing in Pictures.

As soon as I have a little spare time I'm redesigning the Pictures page since I'll be sharing a great deal more now. You'll probably find I share less video and more pictures. And yes, I'm aware it's been far too long since I shared a new video. That's on the agenda for this weekend as well.

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Random Sports Thoughts

Random Sports ThoughtsI have a few random sports thoughts to share this morning.

  • The Dominator is heading out of Detroit and will be looking for a new home next season. It's looking like he might end up a Senator. This doesn't scare me in the least. As awesome a goalie as Dominik Hasek is, he seems awfully flakey to me. Sure, he won the cup a couple of years ago with the Red Wings, but I don't think he can keep him mind and body together long enough to bring the cup to Ottawa. Besides, there won't be a next season, right?
  • Ken Klee has agreed to a new two-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth about $2.5 million per year. This is good news. So few players are actually under contract with the Leafs right now. I'm not concerned because I know how many free agents are out there, but at some point you've got to tie up your core group. Klee is someone I'm happy is back.
  • Euro 2004 may be a huge tournament, but I couldn't care less. I enjoy the World Cup and if I had a rooting interest in this tournament I could get into it but the Irish aren't there and that's the only European team I can get behind. Without the green, I'm not keen.
  • After round one at the U.S. Open I'm winning my pool. Ernie, Vijay and Phil combined to shoot 205 yesterday. Only three rounds to go!
  • The Blue Jays are dead last in the AL East and it sucks. All we've got right now is baseball and it's pitiful. The injury bug has not only hit our best players but my favourite commentator is out too. Things are not good in Blue Jay land. Things are just as bad in Raptor land. Go Argos Go!

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Hip Club Show

Hip Club ShowThe Tragically Hip are playing a club show June 29th at The Mod Club in Toronto. As a Hip Club member, I have the password and link to purchase tickets tomorrow morning at 10:00 EST.

Since The Hip asked me nicely not to share this information with you non Hip Club members, I won't post it here. However, if you're a Hip fan and you'd like a chance to see Canada's best band in an intimate setting, contact me and I'll email you the confidential details.

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Disappearing Entries

Disappearing EntriesDaily visitors should be aware that three entries from last night magically disappeared this morning before reappearing tonight. If you just read down to the last entry you read previously, you may miss all the excitement.

The disappearing/reappearing entries were this one about our false alarm last night, this guest blog entry from Ahmad! and the ever popular MP3 of the week.

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Nail Biter

Nail BiterStephen Harper is publicly saying his Conservative Party will win a majority government on June 28. I'd call that wishful thinking. Everything I've read regarding polls and predictions tell me it's neck and neck. Folks, we have a nail biter on our hands.

Harper's Conservative Party and Paul Martin's Liberal Party each have an equal shot at winning this thing, but it's so close either government will be short lived. It's expected we'll be back in the voting booth within 18 months. For 25 years there's been political stability in Canada but that's all changing now. No minority administration since World War Two has lasted more than two years and the last minority government, that of Conservative Joe Clark, collapsed in 1980 after nine months when parliament voted against his budget.

Harper may garner a slim victory even without my support, but he won't win a majority. If he does, I may seek refuge in Iceland.

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Make Poop Not War

Make Poop Not WarIt seems like just yesterday all of Canada was in a huff about Triumph the Comic Insult Dog's appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Triumph did what he does and roasted French-Canadians in his typical blunt and vulgar fashion. I attended the taping of this infamous episode, and was quite surprised at the attention this "attack" received in the press.

Triumph is returning to Quebec and will appear in his one-dog show, Make Poop Not War, on July 22 as part of the Just for Laughs comedy festival. Just for Laughs said in a news release yesterday that Triumph will "extend his paw in a demonstration of conciliation and understanding" and will show the unbroadcast excerpts of his last trip to Quebec that Steve and I saw back in February.

As I suspected, French-Canadians got the joke. It's English Canada that needs to lighten up a little.

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Arrrggooooos!!!

Arrrggooooos!!!The CFL season has kicked off and the Toronto Argonauts are already 1-0 after beating the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders 21-10. I'm not the world's biggest CFL fan but I'm glad the league exists and I wish our Argos well each season. I'll even watch an Argos game on television if the timing's right and I always check them out come playoff time. I would be very sad if the CFL ever shut its doors for good.

There was one thing about the CFL that always baffled me growing up. In a league as small as our football league, how is it possible that two franchises had the same nickname? There were the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which we beat on Tuesday, and the Ottawa Rough Riders, which folded a few years back. Eight teams and two with the same obscure name. Can you imagine a new franchise in Major League Baseball being allowed to take the nickname Bluejays? Would a Hamilton NHL franchise be permitted to call itself the Hamilton Mapleleafs? Of course not. The Roughrider/Rough Rider clash always made me think of the CFL as an amatuer league. I still don't know how it ever came to be, I'm just glad it's no longer the case.

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Weekly MP3

Weekly MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have one week to grab this weeks MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Metric - Combat Baby
There's a method to my madness this week. I feel I've got a very good handle on what tunes will be represented on SLS11. I've got 80 minutes of rock qued up and all is well, except for one thing. Part of me thinks "Combat Baby" from Metric deserves to be on SLS11. Part of me believes "Combat Baby" belongs on SLS11. I find myself singing it all the time and I love spinning it.

This is where you come in. Download this track, have a listen and let me know if I'm alone in digging this tune and whether you think I should clear room for it on SLS11.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Ok Mike I would expect better from you, Your Simpsons expose has the wrong picture for the Simpsons season 3 and the price your quote, "Nobody has that (price), Not even Mexico". Come on now. Keep it current and Up To date!

     Ahmad!

Again with the exclamation mark after the name. Who do you think you are? Yahoo!?

I'm aware the picture next to my entry about Season Four is really the DVD cover for Season Three, but I already had the image and didn't realize Ahmad! would be paying such attention to detail. It's nice to see you've got some time on your hands though. Good for you.

As for the price I quoted, a credible online source swears that's the retail price. A guy on my slo-pitch team who also works for HMV has mentioned they're selling Season Four for $44.99. Eat my shorts.

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False Alarm

False AlarmI was looking forward to a relaxing night at home. We had Italian sausages ready for the BBQ and it was my first open night in a while. Nothing was going to ruin this night of peace, right? Wrong.

Very pregnant Taryn started feeling a tightening in her stomach that wouldn't budge. Breathing became difficult and slight contraction-like hiccups started. A call to Telehealth Ontario confirmed what we already knew. It could be premature labour and we had to go to the hospital.

Instead of relaxing in the backyard with a BBQ we took a family trip to the hospital where they gave Taryn a bed and began monitoring Michelle and the contractions. Eventually, a very nice doctor gave us her diagnosis. The baby is perfectly fine and the mild contractions are most likely being caused by the same tightness in the stomach which itself was most likely severe gas. That's right, we spent hours in the hospital tonight because Taryn was bloated with bad gas.

We still had the BBQ...

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Johnny Ramone

Johnny RamoneIt's tragic what is happening to The Ramones. Within the past few years Joey Ramone died of lymphatic cancer and Dee Dee Ramone died from a drug overdose. Now Johnny Ramone is losing his battle with cancer.

In the 1970s, The Ramones were punk pioneers, paving the way for bands like the Sex Pistols and Clash. Much of what I listen to today would not have existed if it were not for this New York quartet. Soon we will lose Johnny and only Tommy Ramone will remain. How is it that three quarters of this band has died prematurely? I fear The Ramones are cursed. It's all so sad.

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Live At Benaroya Hall

Live At Benaroya HallThere has never been an official Pearl Jam acoustic release. Every Pearl Jam fan has a bootleg of their awesome MTV Unplugged performance from 12 years ago, but for whatever reason it was never released as an album. Eddie and the boys unplugged produced a simply awesome sound.

Pearl Jam is releasing their first ever full-length, mostly acoustic live show on a double disc CD entitled "Live at Benaroya Hall October 22, 2003". It's due July 27th and it should be awesome.

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U.S. Open

U.S. OpenThe 104th U.S. Open tees off tomorrow from Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southhampton, New York. I've entered a pool at work in which I own a group of three golfers. If my group of three all make the cut and shoot the lowest combined score, I win.

Much like I did in our Masters pool, I consulted with Steve before selecting my three. As a direct result of this consultation, I selected Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Not bad...

Visit the leaderboard to follow my progress.

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Yahoo! Strikes Back

Yahoo! Strikes BackGmail's 1GB of space is pretty awesome and sure beats the snot out of Hotmail's 2MB and Yahoo!'s 4MB. Today, Yahoo! struck back.

They're boosting their free account size from 4MB to 100MB effective today. The hope is 100MB will be enough to stop Yahoo! users from making the jump to Gmail when it becomes available to the general public.

I've been beta testing Gmail all week and it's not just the 1GB that impresses me. Handling emails back and forth as conversations makes email management simplier and using labels instead of folders as a means to group together a variety of messages is genius. Also, the web interface is super slick. The reasons to make the switch are many and not just because you get an entire GB of space. I'm very impressed by what I've seen thus far.

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Season Four

Season FourSeason Four of The Simpsons very well may be the best season of all. How can you argue against the season that brought us "A Streetcar Named Marge", "Homer The Heretic", "Homer's Triple Bypass" and "Last Exit to Springfield". Not to mention "Marge vs. The Monorail", "Lisa The Beauty Queen" and "Mr. Plow". Who am I kidding? There isn't a weak episode in the bunch.

The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season is available today on DVD. It's a little pricey at $69.98 CAD but a must have for my collection. In fact, I find seasons of The Simpsons are the only DVDs I actually watch. I no longer buy any DVDs outside of The Simpsons because they just end up sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

This time around we'll be hearing episode commentaries from Conan O'Brien, and deleted scenes from episodes such as "The Front" and "Homer's Triple Bypass". It's all very, very good.

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Going Digital

Going DigitalMy days of scanning pictures developed from 35mm film are over. I'm going digital.

I feel like I've finally emerged from the dark ages. I've wanted a digital camera for a number of years now, but the quality of camera I wanted was never in the budget. Now, thanks to a milestone birthday and donations from loved ones, my dream has become a reality. I'm the proud owner of a brand new Olympus Stylus 410 and I couldn't be happier.

This means I will be sharing a great deal more pictures on this site. In fact, I'll probably redesign the Pictures page and create a frequently updated gallery. James is getting cuter by the day and Michelle will be here before you know it. I'll never be short of a subject to photograph.

To the loved ones who chipped in, I truly am appreciative. This is a gift I will enjoy using. Thank you!

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Tom Cheek

Blue JaysBack in September, I reminisced about listening to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth call Blue Jays games. In October, I revisted the subject when remembering Joe's homer. Nobody does it better than Tom Cheek. In fact, nobody has done it as often either. Until his father's death on June 3rd, Tom Cheek had called 4,306 consecutive regular-season games plus 41 post-season games spanning 27 years. That's every game in the history of the Blue Jays franchise.

Sadly, Cheek underwent surgery this past Sunday, his 65th birthday, to remove a brain tumour. He still requires further treatment because some of the tumour on his frontal lobe was not extracted.

I hope I'll be able to turn on the radio and hear Cheek's brilliant call of a Jays game again soon. It certainly won't be the same without him. His voice is one I heard daily as a wide-eyed youth and he's by far my favourite baseball commentator. As I said earlier, nobody does it better and he's already missed.

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A Double-Header Split

Slo-Pitch ResultsWe in Raging Storm played another double-header last night, this time against Attack, splitting the games winning the opener 17-2 and losing the closer 12-9. We'll call this a tale of two games.

In game one, we absolutely dominated. For a while, it looked like we would shut out the opposition. This game was eventually called due to the mercy rule. We attacked Attack with solid hitting, aggressive base running and near perfect defense.

In the second game, the hitting wasn't nearly as solid, the base running wasn't nearly as agressive and the defense was a lot further from perfect. It was a game we should have won but didn't. The "L", although deserved, was indeed a bitter pill for us to swallow.

This recap is dedicated to Andrea Vucko. Andrea was psyched and ready to play two but had to shut it down for the night after skinning her knee on a slide into second following her very first at bat of the night. Andrea, I empathize. Read all about it.

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The Monday Shuffle

Monday ShuffleEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in Winamp and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten I heard today.

  1. Method Man & Redman - Rockwilder
  2. Violent Femmes - American Music
  3. Nirvana - Here I Am
  4. The Statler Brothers - New York City
  5. Hayden - Tragedy
  6. Shabba Ranks - Housecall (Featuring Maxi Priest)
  7. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dosed
  8. Eminem - Bitch
  9. Otis Redding - Home In Your Heart
  10. Our Lady Peace - Not Enough

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Stadium Naming Rights

Stadium naming rightsI remember the day I learned Candlestick Park in San Francisco was changing its name to 3 Com Park. At the time, I thought it was sacreligious. How could they just change the name like that all because some company paid them for the rights? Little did I know it was merely the start of a trend that would engulf almost all stadiums and arenas in the major sports.

ESPN lists the names, sponsor and cost per year for every stadium and arena named after a corporation. Here in Toronto we hardly even notice that Maple Leaf and Raptor games are played in the Air Canada Centre. I always refer to it as the ACC and I'll bet Air Canada isn't happy about that considering they shell out $1.5 per year for the naming rights. This is relatively cheap though when you consider Reliant Energy pays $10 a year for the naming rights for Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

SkyDome is actually one of the few professional stadiums left without a corporately sponsored name. I suspect this isn't so much because they don't want to sell out but because they can't sell out. Who would want their good name associated with that hunk of concrete?

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Google It

Google ItI get questions all the time that take me approximately 2.2 seconds to answer with the help of Google. What are the lyrics for song X? What time zone is country X in? How do you get rid of the X virus? Where can I download application X? Who won the AL MVP award in 197X? You get the idea...

The next time someone asks me a question that can easily be answered with the aid of Google, I'm sending that person to this site. My reply will simply be the following URL: http://www.fuckinggoogleit.com/

Enough is enough.

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Six Feet Under

Six Feet UnderSpeaking of HBO, the fourth season of the awesome HBO show Six Feet Under premieres tonight. The timing is perfect because The Sopranos just wrapped up last Sunday and I'm still in "quality tv mode" every Sunday at 9.

I often waffle between Six Feet Under and The Sopranos as my favourite drama. It's definitely one or the other. They're both great and I can't wait for a new season of the former starting tonight.

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Sanitized

SanitizedTBS has purchased syndication rights for HBO's Sex in the City and will begin airing episodes next week.

As anyone who's watched a movie on TBS knows, they censor the hell out of whatever they're showing to ensure not a naughty word or image makes it to air. As anyone who's watched Sex in the City knows, it's full of naughty words and images. As a result, "Sex in the City" has had to undergo major surgery to become clean enough for TBS.

Instead of Mr. Big's famous phrase "Abso-fucking-lutely" you'll simply hear "Absolutely". I would imagine we'll be hearing a lot less from Samantha and a lot more from Charlotte. All the crude references will be gone and all the graphic sex scenes will disappear.

In my opinion, Sex in the City is all about the blunt verbiage and open sexuality. If you sanitize it for TBS, you're killing it. Anyone who's ever seen an episode on HBO will be turned off and anyone else will be far better off getting a hold of the DVD. I don't see the point. Am I missing the point?

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Terrorism Report

Terrorism ReportDo you remember that report on terrorism released by the State Department in the USA back in April? It said attacks had declined last year to 190, down from 198 in 2002 and 346 in 2001. The 2003 figure would have been the lowest level in 34 years and a 45 percent drop since 2001, Bush's first year as president. That report concluded that terrorism was on the decline and was used to boost Dubya's chief foreign policy claims, success in countering terror.

As Secretary of State Colin Powell said earlier today, it was a "big mistake". Bad figures, bad information, bad conclusion. It turns out terrorism isn't on the decline at all. Quite the opposite in fact...

When April's report came out, I read about it in disbelief but who am I to contradict a report that the CIA helped compile the data for? My question is, was the Dubya camp cooking the books as part of the re-election campaign? Hmmmm...

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Payola 2004

PayolaThere's a growing trend in the United States that sound an awful lot like payola. As you'll read in this Reuters article, many record labels are shelling out thousands of dollars per week to have songs played between midnight and 06:00.

You see, they have these songs aired as 30 second commercials. What makes this "legal" is the fact the clip is preceded by a voice over letting listeners know it's a paid advertisement. This happens dozens of times between midnight and 06:00 when the only people listening are truck drivers, those working the night shift and a few slackers with insomnia.

The end result of these paid spins is entry into the elite top 10 on Billboard magazine's national pop radio chart. Radio program directors across the country use this chart to spot hot new tunes so entering the top 10 there guarantees you more exposure throughout the country which inevitably results in more record sales. All of this is because record labels are paying to have songs played a' la the payola scandal of the 1950s.

Is it just me or is this incredibly unethical? How is it that songs played as commercials can count towards the Billboard top 10? This system has to change, even though it's been aiding our very own Avril Lavigne. "In all, sources said, WQZQ aired Don't Tell Me as an ad at least 40 times the week ending May 23, accounting for more than one-third of the song's airplay on the station." Say it ain't so, Avril. Say it ain't so.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Music's been around a long time, and there's going to be music long after Ray Charles is dead. I just want to make my mark, leave something musically good behind. If it's a big record, that's the frosting on the cake, but music's the main meal."
      - Ray Charles

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Billy Talent

Billy TalentA few weeks back I got a hold of the debut album from a local band by the name of Billy Talent. I've been spinning this disc like crazy since because it might just be the best new CD I've heard since Queens of the Stone Age and Audioslave.

Billy Talent's self titled album is awesome. Every tune rocks hard and pleases the ears. Even though I was already a fan of their first two singles before I got my mitts on this CD I'm still surprised at how good it is.

To top it all off, an old friend recently contacted me to let me know I used to work with one of the guys in this band. We apparently crossed paths in Mississauga and I didn't even realize it. Now he's in a band that's got me writing about how much I dig them. The world needs more Billy Talent's.

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My Gmail Account

My Gmail AccountBack on April 1st, I wrote about Gmail, the new email service from Google. At the time, I thought it might be an April Fool's Day joke because Gmail promised to offer its users 1 GB of space and all the excellent search capabilities we've come to expect from Google. I can now vouch first hand that it's definitely not a joke.

I now have a Gmail account. I opened it today thanks to an invite from a friend. The invite was necessary because Gmail is not yet available to the common man but beta testers are permitted to invite a new user once in a while. I've been playing around with my Gmail account this afternoon and thus far I'm very impressed. In fact, I'm so impressed I'm considering making it my primary email account. Hit me with your best shot.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Oh, honey, you're not the world's worst mother. What about that freezer lady in Georgia?"

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Fear

FearI fear the Conservative Party will win the election on June 28th and Stephen Harper will be my new Prime Minister.

Harper's Conservative Party is starting to show its stripes. Comments are being made by Conservative Party candidates that suggest they are homophobic and anti-abortion. Anti-abortion is itself a misnomer because nobody is actually pro-abortion, but pro-choice. I believe it's essential that a woman in Canada retain the legal right to abortion. Furthermore, I believe homosexuality is a characteristic one is born with and not a lifestyle or choice. As such, we must protect the rights of homosexuals in much the same manner we must protect the rights of minorities or women.

Harper has vowed to reverse the decision made by Quebec, Ontario and B.C. courts of appeal to give gays and lesbians the right to get married. In the latest remark, Frank Luellau, the Conservative candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga, told The Globe and Mail that homosexuality "is not a natural kind of relationship" and that it is the "constitutional right to freedom of religion and freedom of association" for a religious group to fire or refuse to hire gays and lesbians. Leullau's comments follow those of Cheryl Gallant, the Ottawa-area MP who last week said the Conservative caucus wants to repeal legislation that places sexual orientation in Canada's anti-hate law. Later, she was quoted at an anti-abortion rally equating abortion to the beheading of American contractor Nicholas Berg.

On top of all of this, Harper promises Canada will pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. He claims it's irrelevant and unworkable. Everything I've read about Kyoto suggests it's not only relevant but necessary. Kyoto calls for a 6 percent cut in the emission of greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by 2012. The environment is the lowest of priorities for this party.

This is not a party I could ever support. One of my favourite things about Canada is the fact that we're an open minded progressive nation. I've always considered us to be proactive rather than reactive and our liberalism a trait admired by the free world. I wrote this almost one year ago and it says a lot about what I want my Canada to be. I fear the Conservative Party will win and I see that as one giant step backwards.

For all their faults, the Liberal Party is indeed the best option for Canada. Please put aside your issues with Dalton McGuinty or your anger at the sponsorship scandal and envision a Canada with Harper at the helm. Better yet, look down and check out Dubya. Their politics are eerily similar.

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The Royal York

The Royal YorkThe Royal York hotel was opened on June 11, 1929 by Lord Willingdon, Canada's governor-general. That means she turned 75 years old today.

At the time, The Royal York was the largest hotel and tallest building in the British Empire. That's hard to believe considering how dwarfed she is now by dozens of skyscrapers. Still, she's a gem in our skyline and I want to wish her a most happy birthday.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite Simpsons Characters (Outside the Family)

  1. Moe Syzlak
  2. C. Montgomery Burns
  3. Groundskeeper Willie
  4. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
  5. Clancy Wiggums

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Hitchhiking

HitchhikingI saw something this morning I haven't seen in a long time. Someone was on the shoulder of a 400 series highway with his thumb extended trying to hitchhike.

People don't hitchhike any more. In fact, people haven't really hitchhiked since the 70s. With all the sickos and weirdos about, it's simply not worth the risk. I don't think I'd pick up a hitchhiker for fear they'd steal my car, wallet or slaughter me for sport.

I hitchhiked on exactly two occasions in my life. I was camping just outside of Grand Bend, Ontario with a couple of friends Ed and Chris and we were too young to be licensed drivers. To get back to the camp ground from Grand Bend we hitchhiked on the highway. Eventually a guy did stop to give us a ride which we appreciated. This was probably the summer of 1990 and I haven't hitchhiked since.

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Hotmail Sucks

Hotmail SucksI'm always surprised by the number of people who use Hotmail addresses as their primary email account. I'm at the point now where I'm basically going to refuse to email someone if all I have for them is a Hotmail address. A guy on our slo-pitch team just sent an email to everyone requesting that we reply back letting him know if we'll be at the Monday night double header. This guy, who otherwise is a fine chap, sent this email from a Hotmail account. Can you guess where I'm going with this?

Sure enough, I replied with an "I'll be there" and promptly received an email from my buddy Mailer Daemon letting me know my message couldn't be delivered. In 2004, 2 MB is laughably small for storage capacity. A friend of mine just emailed me images of a mutual friend's pond and each picture was about 2 MB. It certainly wouldn't take much to fill such an account at which point you stop receiving email. The email I sent this guy about Monday's double header bounced back and I'm way too busy and lazy to try again later. It's a one shot deal and thanks to Hotmail he's SOL.

If you want a free email account and you don't want to wait for Gmail, go with Yahoo!. Stable, secure and I'm getting 6 MB. F-Microsoft.

By the way, Kic, I'll be there on Monday night.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceRay Charles was 73. He was the Grammy-winning crooner who blended gospel and blues in such crowd-pleasers as "What'd I Say" and ballads like "Georgia on My Mind".

A friend of mine recently gave me his record player and a few records. I hooked this record player up in my basement and began spinning Ray Charles. The man had a gift and will be missed.

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Election Countdown

Federal ElectionTonight I received telephone calls from both the Conservative Party of Canada and the Liberal Party. I must be on some list because Taryn isn't getting these calls, just me.

Earlier this month I wrote that I was seriously considering casting my vote for the NDP. My politics clash with those of Stephen Harper but I'm not as eager to support the Liberal Party as I usually am. A vote for the NDP would allow me to stay true to my political beliefs.

Taryn tells me if I vote for the NDP I'm essentially voting for the Conservative Party because I'd be depriving the Liberals of a vote. The NDP party will not win our riding so I'd be doing the Conservative Party a huge favour by going orange. I certainly see her point. I remember following the American federal election of 2000 many pointed out that Ralph Nader won Dubya the presidency. Had the Ralph Nader supporters voted for Gore, I wouldn't have Dubya to kick around right now. I don't want Jack Layton to be our Ralph Nader. I certainly don't want Stephen Harper to be our Dubya.

It looks like I'll be voting red...again.

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Hockey Hall of Fame

Hockey Hall of FameRay Bourque, Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy have been elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. All three were defensemen and all three are now 43 years old.

Bourque and Coffey were no brainers but did Larry Murphy deserve to get in? I suppose he does if you look at some of the others in the Hall but I've long believed the bar should be raised. Players like Bernie Federko were great but not worthy of this esteemed honour. Larry Murphy was a gifted offensive defenseman who finished his career with 929 assists and only a dozen others can claim that feat. Still, his years in Toronto were so underwhelming I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to Murphy. At least another Leaf is in the Hall of Fame!

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Weekly MP3

Weekly MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have one week to grab this weeks MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Sublime - What I Got
This MP3 rekes of summer. It's from Sublime's self titled album released in 1996. It's one of my favourite songs of all time and never fails to put a smile on my face and an extra jump in my step.

Brad Nowell, rest in peace.

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No Time

No TimeNo time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why
There's no time left for you
No time left for you

No time, no time, no time, no time
No time, no time, no time, no time
I got, got, got, got no time
I got, got, got, got no time
I got, got, got, got no time
No-no-no, no-no-no, no time
No-no-no, no-no-no, no time
I got, got, got, got no time
No-no-no, no-no-no, no-no-no,
no-no-no, no-no-no, no-no-no, no time
I got no time, got no time, got no time, got no time, got no time
Got no time, got no time

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Roger Clemens

Roger ClemensRoger Clemens is an arrogant SOB but he's the best damn pitcher I've ever seen.

In 1997 and 1998 Toronto Blue Jays fans like myself saw first hand how good he really is. All he did was go out and lead the American League in wins, strike outs and ERA winning back to back Cy Young Awards. I'll give you a moment to comprehend what I just wrote. This is as dominant as a pitcher can get.

Yesterday, Clemens allowed three hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings to lead the Houston Astros over the Seattle Mariners 1-0. The victory made him the oldest pitcher to win his first nine decisions at the age of 41. He currently leads the National League in wins, strike outs and ERA.

Say what you will about the man, but there's no denying he's the best pitcher of his generation. He may be the best pitcher of all time.

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Good Charlotte is Very Popular

Good Charlotte is Very PopularI was looking over the statistics for our Smells Like Sour website when I noticed a disturbing trend I had to write about on the Smells Like Sour Blog. Good Charlotte is very popular.

Quick, name the song that has generated the most interest on this site. If you answered Good Charlotte - Girls And Boys, you're absolutely right. That tune has been discussed 376 at the time of this entry.

Quick, name the song that has generated the second most interest on this site. If you answered Good Charlotte - Bloody Valentine, you're on quite the roll. This tune has been discussed 230 times thus far.

And finally, name the song that has generated the third most interest on this site. If you answered Good Charlotte - Hold On, you're right yet again. That tune has been discussed 226 times as of seconds ago.

Do you notice the trend? Good Charlotte is remarkably popular. This is all the more surprising considering they're simply awful.

In my most humble opinion, Good Charlotte is a wanna-be-punk, nauseatingly mediocre band that can't possibly appeal to anyone over the age of 16. It's safe pop-rock completely void of any soul or integrity. It's horrible.

Horrible, but very popular!

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The Monday Shuffle

Monday ShuffleEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in Winamp and list the first ten songs that play. Yesterday I was so busy, I didn't get a chance to do it. I got your angry emails, so one day late here are the ten I heard today.

  1. Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
  2. Alice in Chains - Frogs
  3. Jayhawks - Lights
  4. Tori Amos - Father Lucifer
  5. Nirvana - Negative Creep
  6. The Offspring - Never Gonna Find Me
  7. Mississippi John Hurt - Big Leg Blues
  8. Chantal Kreviazuk - God Made Me
  9. Ian Thomas - Painted Ladies
  10. Stone Temple Pilots - Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart

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Pool Update: Day Sixty Two

Playoff PoolIt. Is. Over.

Congratulations to Marc Felice for winning our 2004 playoff pool. Alexi gave him a good run for the money but will have to settle for second. I finished fourth out of ten. If the hockey gods shine upon us, we'll all do this again next April.

For the final standings go here.

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D-A-Day

D-A-DayDave Andreychuk has his Stanley Cup. Moments ago I saw #25 hoist the cup over his head, the culmination of 22 great seasons in the NHL. I'm not ashamed to admit I shed a tear.

Andreychuk deserves it. Great guy, great player, great year.

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A Double-Header Sweep

Slo-Pitch ResultsWe in Raging Storm swept our double-header with the Dragons by scores of 16-12 and 19-4. Once we shook off some jitters early in the first game, our defense was absolutely stellar and we finally found the offensive groove we've been missing our last two games.

We actually came back from a 5-0 deficit in the first game to win it in extra innings but we simply destroyed the Dragons in game #2 in a contest that was never even close. I'm looking at the stat sheets right now and I see Neil managed to go 9 for 10 tonight. That's just awesome. Mike Kic drove in seven runs to lead in that department. I went 6 for 10 driving in three and played solid at shortstop. In fact, my great defensive play in the first game forced extra innings and gave us a chance to win, if I don't mind saying so myself.

I'll update all the stats on the Raging Storm homepage as soon as I find some time. Right now I have a hockey game to watch.

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Winner Takes All

Winner Take AllTonight is game seven of the Stanley Cup final. It all comes down to this. One game to determine a champion.

If Calgary prevails, the entire country will go nuts. I know I held my breath during Saturday night's overtime hoping the red would win. They're such underdogs and had to beat three division champions to get to where they are. Now, they're but one win away.

I've always admired Dave Andreychuk and if Tampa Bay wins tonight I'll be very pleased when he finally gets to hoist Lord Stanley's mug. I remember getting weepy a couple of years ago when Ray Bourque finally won with the Colorado Avalanche but Ray Bourque never played for my Toronto Maple Leafs. Dave Andreychuk was a fixture on those highly entertaining Leaf teams of the early 90s and one of a few to score 50 goals in a season for the blue and white. It would be great to see him win his first cup after over two decades in the NHL.

Despite the Dave Andreychuk factor, I'll be rooting for Calgary. Go Flames Go!

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Fifth Disease

Fifth DiseaseUntil this year, I had never heard of Fifth Disease. I'm sure most of the people reading this right now don't have a clue what Fifth Disease is. From the CDC website, "Fifth disease is a mild rash illness that occurs most commonly in children. The ill child typically has a "slapped-cheek" rash on the face and a lacy red rash on the trunk and limbs. Occasionally, the rash may itch. An ill child may have a low-grade fever, malaise, or a "cold" a few days before the rash breaks out. The child is usually not very ill, and the rash resolves in 7 to 10 days."

James got Fifth Disease but now he's fine. James isn't the concern. The concern is Mommy also got Fifth Disease. Mommy, of course, is carrying my Michelle.

The CDC maintains a special page regarding the effects of Fifth Disease on unborn babies when pregnant women come down with the illness. "Sometimes, however, parvovirus B19 infection will cause the unborn baby to have severe anemia and the woman may have a miscarriage. This occurs in less than 5% of all pregnant women who are infected with parvovirus B19 and occurs more commonly during the first half of pregnancy. There is no evidence that parvovirus B19 infection causes birth defects or mental retardation."

I'm not going to panic about anything that occurs less than 5% of the time, but the doctor is concerned enough that he wants frequent ultrasounds to ensure Michelle does not get anemia from this. I never heard of Fifth Disease before this year and now I'm wishing I was still in the dark.

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The Sopranos

The SopranosI just finished watching the season five finale of The Sopranos. Another brilliant episode of one of my favourite television programs and things are set up very nicely for their final season.

I know a lot of people who read this site haven't seen the finale yet and don't want me to spoil it for them so I'll just say a couple of lingering issues were tied up tonight. It was once again television that's far too good for tv.

What frustrates me the most is the length of time I now must wait before I can view another new episode. The delay between season 4 and 5 was well over a year and it looks like we're in for a similar delay before season 6. Hell, Michelle will be walking before I see Tony again. Marron!

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D-Day: Sixty Years Later

D-DayToday we pay tribute to the 150,000 Allied troops who took part in the biggest military invasion in history, the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

The story of the Canadians is particularly touching. At the time of the war, Canada was a nation of only 11 million people with more than a million of its citizens in uniform. While the United States had the most D-Day casualties, Canadian forces suffered the highest percentage of losses. Roaring off of Juno Beach, Canadians made the deepest Allied penetration June 6, 1944.

We can never forget that efforts such as this is why we have such freedoms and opportunities in Canada today. I am so thankful it's impossible to accurately convey my gratitude.

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Pool Update: Day Sixty

Playoff PoolI'm sleepy this morning because I was up until midnight last night hoping the Flames would score in overtime bringing the cup back to Canada where it belongs. Instead Martin St. Louis scored early in the second extra period forcing a game seven. Go Flames Go!

For the current standings go here.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge - and pray God we have not lost it - that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest."
      - Ronald Reagan

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Smarty Jones Loses

The Triple CrownThat was one exciting race. Smarty Jones is an easy horse to like and an even easier horse to root for. We all gathered around the television for today's running of the Belmont Stakes in the hopes we'd see our first Triple Crown.

If you watched the race, you saw the heart breaking loss for Smarty Jones. In the lead for the home stretch and looking like he was ready to open up like he did in The Preakness, Smarty Jones was caught by Birdstone.

Smarty Jones is the third straight Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, and sixth in the past eight years, to fall short in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. That's 27 years and counting without a Triple Crown winner.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceRonald Reagan was 93. He was the 40th President of the United States of America.

Back in September of 2000, my brothers and I drafted our Dead Pool. We each selected 15 living celebrities and we receive points every time the celebrity we drafted passes away. The points awarded for each death is 100 minus the age of the celebrity when they die. All three of us had Ronald Reagan and we each got seven points today.

Admittedly, this is a morbid contest, but it's the reason for the rather popular Dead Pool page. If you're curious, only two people were selected by all three of us; Reagan and Pope John Paul II.

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The Triple Crown

The Triple CrownThe undefeated Smarty Jones can become racing's first Triple Crown winner in 26 years with a victory today in the Belmost Stakes. The Triple Crown is one of the most elusive prizes in all of sports, a feat reached by just 11 horses.

It's on NBC at 18:38 EST. You don't want to miss history being made, do you?

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I'm around."

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Creed Is Dead

Creed Is DeadI'm sure this is old news to everyone who would care, but I just wrote about it on the Smells Like Sour Blog. Music fans, Creed has called it quits.

Despite being nothing more than a fairly good Pearl Jam cover band, Creed managed to release hit after hit for almost a decade. In the post-grunge era following the death of Kurt Cobain, Creed managed to fill a void in the world of rock. As souless as they were, at least they were playing guitar-based rock n' roll and there wasn't much of that on the radio. We tried to avoid putting Creed on SLS as much as possible, but "Higher" did manage to sneak on to SLS3. For this, we apologize.

In fairness to Creed, I should point out that my opinion of them changed dramatically for the better after seeing them live at Edgefest a few years ago. They gave a solid performance under a crystal clear sky and my ears didn't complain one bit. I hate to say it, but they were good. Not Pearl Jam good, but good.

Creed will be missed. Not by me, but by somebody I'm sure.

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Stadium Ranking

Stadium RankingThe NHL season must be coming to a close because this is my second baseball entry of the day. ESPN has ranked the stadiums in Major League Baseball. SkyDome finished 23rd out of 30.

I'm actually surprised we fared as well as we did. It's hard to believe there are seven ballparks ESPN deems worse than our dome. Of course, Montreal's dome finished dead last and I knew we'd beat them.

I've seen dozens and dozens of games at SkyDome and I've grown to hate it. The game is great and I love it while I'm there because in the end it's the game that matters, but I know how wonderful an experience it could be going to a Blue Jays game. Firstly, we should lose the dome. I understand there might be a few rain outs but baseball should be played outside. Sure, our dome retracts, but it's still a dome. We need an open air stadium. Furthermore, SkyDome is way too cavernous. I know we used to draw 50,000 a game, but those days are long gone. A charming outdoor 30,000 - 35,000 seat stadium would be ideal. Finally, baseball should be played on grass. I hate astroturf.

SkyDome is an ugly concrete mess. I'm not even going to get into the cost of SkyDome to build, I just care about the park my team plays their home games in. Leaves of grass under the sun with 30,000 fellow fans. That's my dream for Toronto.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite Stanley Cup celebratory moments (in anticipation of #12 hoisting it Saturday)

  1. Wayne Gretzky hoisting the cup for the first time (1984)
  2. Joe Sakic handing the cup to Ray Bourque to hoist for the first time in his glorious career (2001)
  3. Lanny McDonald finally winning the big one (1989)
  4. Vladimir Konstantinov hoisting the cup in his wheel chair (2002)
  5. Mario Lemieux hoisting the cup for the first time (1991)

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceBrian Linehan was 58. He was the puckish, always-confident TV personality and interviewer of both Canadian and Hollywood stars.

A fixture on Canadian television, I remember him well both from his City-TV show City Lights and Martin Short's satire of him on SCTV. In the very early 90s I saw him in a park near Runnymede and Bloor and exchanged nods with him.

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Dr. K

KI've mentioned several times the joy baseball brought me as a young man. I followed my Blue Jays religiously and could ring off their stats on demand. I also followed the other Major League teams and, like many my age, became enamoured with a young pitcher they called Dr. K.

Dwight Gooden was Dr. K and he burst on the scene with the New York Mets finishing 17-6 in his rookie season as a 19 year old. His major league-leading 276 strikeouts set a rookie record. I remember watching Mets games on TV when Dr. K was pitching as the fans brought out the big "K" after each Gooden strike out.

I always wondered why we score the strike out as a "K" but at the time I was so curious about it there was no Internet to surf so I could quickly find an answer. Going to a library and trying to find information of that nature was such a pain in the ass I never bothered. Now, with the world wide web at my fingertips, learning why a strike out is scored as a "K" is simple.

So, twenty years after I first pondered this question, I learned that we owe the "K" to an early sportswriter named Henry Chadwick. Chadwick already had "S" slated for "sacrifice." So a strikeout became a "K", after the last letter of the word "struck." The reason a strikeout isn't a "T" is because "struck" was the preferred term of the day.

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What is The Reason?

What is The Reason?I wrote another entry on the Smells Like Sour Blog last night. After hearing Hoobastank's "The Reason" for the six billionth time on CFNY Edge102 I needed to vent.

When "The Reason" comes on, I dive to the tuner faster than you can say Hoobastank. In that brief moment this song enters my ears I find solace in the fact soccer moms everywhere are buying this disc, putting it on in their SUVs and getting shocked by the far better and far heavier "Out of Control".

"The Reason" is not SLS11 bound. The reason? Because it sucks.

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Pool Update: Day Fifty Eight

Playoff PoolThe top two competitors in our 2004 playoff pool seem to be the only two collecting points these days. Alexi got a couple but Marc trumped him with a three spot. A five point lead at this point in the season is virtually insurmountable. Alexi is praying for a miracle.

I'm heavily rooting for Calgary to win this series. It's a very likable team in a small Canadian market with a fearless leader I truly respect. Go Flames Go!

For the current standings go here.

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Policy Change

Policy ChangeThe company that provides my homeowner insurance just sent me an amendment to my house insurance policy. It reads as follows.

Your policy no longer covers any damages to the buildings, structures or contents if used for cultivating/selling marijuana or any other illegal substance.

Talk about strict. If I've got a major grow operation in my house and one of my hydroponic lights explodes causing a fire in which I lose all my pot, I'm not covered for the loss?!?! That blows.

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And So It Begins...

And So It Begins...I just received this press release from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

John Shannon, vice-president of programming and executive producer of Leafs TV and Raptors/NBA TV, announced Thursday that Leafs TV will exclusively broadcast 12 Maple Leafs games on the club-owned digital channel during the 2004-05 regular season.

Leafs TV is a digital station that you must pay an additional monthly fee to receive. Despite the fact I'm a huge Leafs fan, I've never been interested in Leafs TV because it's just biased commentary by people on the Maple Leafs payroll. Now, they'll be exclusively broadcasting 12 regular season games meaning it will be impossible for a diehard like me to catch every game next season without subscribing.

I suspect the 12 games will be west coast games that begin at 22:00 EST. There's no way I'm subscribing for that, I'll simply listen to the blue and white on the radio. My fear is that this is only the beginning. What's next? 20 games? 30 games? All games?

And so it begins...

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesFahrenheit 9/11 Trailer - The trailer for the highly anticipated Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11 is finally available online. Traffic is extremely heavy today, so you'll have to be patient trying to view this one. It's well worth it. I can't wait to see it.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesClassic Movie Trailers - From this page, "Some trailers which are no longer (or never have been) available on the 'net, have been Re-encoded, in high resolution picture and sound, and made available for Movie-List users. These are Movie-List Classics, and new ones are added each week." This page has links to some very cool old trailers you may be interested in.

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CYE Freedom

CYE FreedomI read a great little news story the other day that revolved around the taping of one of my favourite shows. Curb Your Enthusiasm has freed Juan Catalan.

Catalan was arrested for murder but swore up and down that he was at Dodger Stadium with his 6-year-old daughter when he should have been committing the murder. He spent five and a half months in jail on murder charges before his attorney found video footage from the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode in which Larry picks up a prostitute so he can drive in the carpool lane on his way to the game. A close look at their footage from Dodger Stadium that day shows Catalan was indeed where he said he was.

Catalan, who could have faced the death penalty had he been convicted of murder, has been released. Another good deed from an exceptionally funny show.

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Sour Talk

Sour TalkYesterday I extolled the virtues of the Smells Like Sour Blog and today I'm going to share with you yet another enhancement to our Smells Like Sour site. We've just launched Sour Talk.

SLS has always been a great place to discuss a particular tune but every once in a while I've noticed visitors have had other subjects on your mind. Who could forget this discussion started by Living Doll 29? Then, the Blink 182 - Adam's Song and Good Charlotte - Hold On discussions became forums for those contemplating suicide. And the straw that broke the camel's back, Kelley started her very own I Hate Avril Lavigne page.

So, if anyone wants a place to discuss other matters, there's now Sour Talk, an open forum for all to discuss....whatever.

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The Smells Like Sour Blog

The Smells Like Sour BlogThe SLS Homepage was launched in September 2003 but earlier tonight we launched a new addition to this site, the Smells Like Sour Blog.

I will be maintaining this new Blog, the purpose of which is to share new rock news, comment on trends detected on the SLS site and keep people in the loop as far as the selection process for SLS is concerned. SLS11 is due at the end of the month so there will be much to say.

Visit the new Smells Like Sour Blog and post a comment or two to show your support. For readers of this site, I'll make your life easier by repeating posts I make over there here and if you're interested in reading or posting comments on the subject I'll post the link for you as well.

Aren't I generous?

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Pearl Jam's Greatest Hits

Pearl Jam's Greatest HitsSpeaking of the devils, Pearl Jam will release their first ever greatest hits album before Christmas. I'm not so interested in the disc itself because I already possess everything they've released and more, but I'm very curious as to what the tracklist will look like.

Assuming they go with a single disc, what songs will make the cut? The Pearl Jam catalogue is not only vast but it's also pretty damn sweet. Ten alone could be a Greatest Hits album, as could Vs. or Vitalogy for that matter.

I'm going to list the tunes I think will be represented on the Pearl Jam Greatest Hits CD later this year. I haven't heard a stitch about potential tracklists, so this is entirely based on my educated guess. The following songs as they appear on their respective studio albums come in at just under 80 minutes.

  1. Even Flow
  2. Alive
  3. Jeremy
  4. Black
  5. Daughter
  6. Go
  7. Animal
  8. Dissadent
  9. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
  10. Spin The Black Circle
  11. Better Man
  12. Nothingman
  13. Cordoroy
  14. Hail, Hail
  15. Who You Are
  16. Given To Fly
  17. Do The Evolution
  18. Nothing As It Seems
  19. I Am Mine

When the tracklist is released, we'll see how I did. If you think I missed a hit that will definitely make their Greatest Hits, Blog away.

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Weekly MP3

Weekly MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have one week to grab this weeks MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary
This MP3 is from Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams, a great little disc I picked up back in 1993. "Crazy Mary" is a Victoria Williams song that is hauntingly covered here by Pearl Jam. I'll never forget my first day of university, waking up to this song on CFNY. I still can't hear this tune without revisiting that morning and that feeling that things were more than a little different. Fantastic tune.

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Federal Election

Federal ElectionWe have a federal election on June 28th. The incumbent Liberal Party will be lucky to maintain a minority government. For the past decade the Liberal Party has seemed invincible, winning majority after majority. King Jean has given way to Paul Martin and poor Mr. Martin has witnessed the Liberal Party's popularity decline week after week since he took office.

There are a number of reasons for this. For one, the Liberals have been in power a very long time and sometimes people want change for change sake. Furthermore, the recent sponsorship scandal seriously dented their integrity and for the first time since the Mulroney days the right is united providing an option for more conservative minded voters. And finally, Dalton McGuinty recently broke another promise and raised taxes for Ontarians like myself leading to great resentment towards the Liberal Party provincially. This negativity has seeped into Federal politics causing Martin to be painted with the same red brush as McGuinty.

If you believe the polls, it's going to be close. Either the Conservative Party of Canada or the Liberal Party will win a minority government. I can't vote for the Conservative Party of Canada, but I don't want to vote for the Liberal Party either. I've been taking a long serious look at another option. I've been considering the possibility I might cast my vote for Jack Layton's NDP.

This is not a done deal and there's a lot of time to go so my mind may change a dozen times before June 28 but that's the way I'm leaning these days. I've never voted NDP federally before, but this time their platform and leadership is such that I'm comfortable enough to do just that. Closer to the election, I'll write further about the party that's lucky enough to receive my vital vote. It just may go to Jack.

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Raging Storm 8, The Etobicoke Sharks 9

Slo-Pitch ResultsAt 21:30 last night with the rain pouring down, we in Raging Storm took to the field for our third game of the season. This was an extremely close game with our opponents scoring the winning run in their last at bat.

This is a game we really should have won. As I see it, our greatest weakness is an inability to get on base. Too often we're swinging for the fences only to fly out. I'm as guilty of this as anyone. 2 for 2 in the game, I saw a pitch I liked during my third at bat and decided to give it a ride. The result was a nice long out as the left fielder was able to track it down. Quite simply, we need to hit it where they ain't. When we start doing that, we'll start winning again.

Visit the Raging Storm homepage for our batting statistics and to how we've fared thus far this season.

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New Cheques

New ChequesI'm sorry if I seem like I'm bitching about the cost of things these days and the hidden surcharges that seem to be hitting me left right and center, but it seems like I'm being hit up for an extraordinary amount of cash at every turn these days. Over the past few days I've complained about parking in Ottawa and Ticketmaster surcharges and there's an MTO entry in me yet to come.

The last time I ordered cheques was way back in 1993. I must have ordered a lot, because I just used my last one earlier today. I remember it cost me nothing to order these plain cheques in '93 and I remember laughing to myself every time I crossed out the address on those old cheques because I have moved exactly five times since then.

To make a long story short, I just ordered 50 new plain cheques and it cost me $17. $17 for something that used to be part of the service. For all I know people have been paying for cheques for the past decade but I feel like Rip Van Winkle who just woke up after a long, deep sleep only to learn everything costs more than it should. If that's the case, I'm going back to bed.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesThe Anti-Bush Online Adventure - I know I'm a little late on this one, but Dubya has Voltron on his side and Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, He-Man and R2D2 have joined forces to rid America of Bush and Voltron. How can you go wrong with a game like that?

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My Michelle

My MichelleTaryn had an ultrasound yesterday giving us another glimpse at Michelle. She's due to make her debut in early August.

I've been having an awesome time with James and we're clicking really well and I thought that might be because I understand what it's like to be a dude. I know how dudes think and how to relate to him. When I first learned Taryn was pregnant again, I was hoping for another little dude because I wasn't sure I'd be able to relate to a daughter. I was excited about having a little girl, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to click with her the way James and I have gelled.

We're getting closer and closer to her arrival and I've come around on the whole idea. I'm now totally psyched about having a girl because now I get to enjoy raising a son and daughter giving me the best of both worlds. Nothing could be better. I'm one happy pappy!

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SLS11 Shortlist

SLS11 ShortlistIt's June, and that means we'll soon be making the final decision on songs that will comprise SLS11. SLS stands for Smells Like Sour and every six months we "release" the latest version which consists of 80 minutes of what we deem to be the best music released in the previous six months. No artist can be represented more than once on each SLS and we "release" the compilation just before Christmas and Canada Day. We take SLS pretty seriously around here and Mark and I even created an SLS Homepage so the general public can submit and discuss potential songs. You can also peruse previous SLS "releases" and see what made the cut and what didn't.

With less than a month to go, here are the tunes that very well may make up SLS11, listed in alphabetical order. These songs, without a pause between the tracks, equal exactly 79:42. This morning, I realized I didn't include Metric's "Combat Baby" which is a tune that has grown on me quite a bit in recent weeks. As a result, something below will have to go to get us under 80:00.

  1. Audioslave - What You Are
  2. Beastie Boys - Ch-Check It Out
  3. Billy Talent - The Ex
  4. Brand New - Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades
  5. Broken Social Scene - Cause=Time
  6. Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
  7. Incubus - Megalomaniac
  8. Jet - Cold Hard Bitch
  9. Korn - Y'all Want a Single
  10. Linkin Park - Lying From You
  11. Modest Mouse - Float On
  12. Probot - Shake Your Blood
  13. Slipknot - Duality
  14. Switchfoot - Meant To Live
  15. The Distillers - Beat Your Heart Out
  16. The Killers - Somebody Told Me
  17. The Offspring - Can't Get My Head Around You
  18. The Strokes - Reptilia
  19. The Tragically Hip - Vaccination Scar
  20. The Vines - Ride
  21. The White Stripes - I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
  22. Velvet Revolver - Slither
  23. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

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Pool Update: Day Fifty Five

Playoff PoolThis exciting Stanley Cup final is now a best of three. Will Alexi be able to come back in our 2004 playoff pool? Only time will tell.

For the current standings go here.

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