July 2004 Archives

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Open Letter To Mike Tyson

Open Letter To Mike TysonHi Mike, it's another Mike here. Unheralded British heavyweight Danny Williams knocked you out in the fourth round last night. Your professional record is now 50-5-2, but this is your first ever loss in a non-title fight. I'm begging you to hang up the gloves for good before you've completely erased any memory of your glory years.

I realize this latest comeback was for purely financial reasons and that you're $38 million in debt, but losing badly to a no-name has further tarnished your already tarnished career. I'm old enough to remember when you were unbeatable. I remember when you were the baddest man on the planet and punished all challengers. I remember playing your Punch Out video game on the old 8-bit Nintendo console and having a heck of a time beating you. I remember you wasting your first 37 opponents, usually in the first or second round by knockout. Your 38th fight was against Buster Douglas and that was the begining of a splippery slope in the wrong direction. Now you're 38 years old and a pathetic shadow of your former self. End your career before it's too late!

It's been sad watching your tragic fall from grace. You could have gone down in history as one of the best but instead you're known now for your soap operatic lifestyle that's littered with prison time, court appearances and massive debt. End your career at 50-5-2 while I still have memories of the youngest-ever heavyweight champion of the world.

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Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!I want to wish my mom a very happy birthday today. Today, she turns 39 years old. I know that's hard to believe considering I'm 30, but that's what she tells me!

Mom, we hope you're satisfied with the gift of two new grandchildren. Ryan and I came up with the idea about nine months ago. Getting the timing perfect was tough, but we managed to pull it off. Suddenly this little family of our is chock full of Leos like yourself. I don't know what that means other than the end of July is going to be a very expensive and celebratory period around here.

I sincerely hope you have a great day and know that I love you. See you soon...

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"I won't lie to you, fatherhood isn't easy like motherhood."

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MSG in TO

MSG in TOI was driving along Bay Street at about 03:30 in the morning on Thursday when I was stopped at Richmond Street West. A movie crew was shooting a scene and there were automobiles from the 1930s driving along Richmond Street while people walked about dressed in outfits from that era. When I looked East from this vantage point, I saw something I never expected to see in Toronto. I saw Madison Square Gardens.

The complete exterior of Madison Square Gardens has been duplicated, complete with a marquee that indicates there's a scheduled hockey game between the New York Americans and Ottawa Senators. I've investigated further to see what's being filmed there and it turns out it's no small potatoes. It's a major motion picture starring A-list celebrities. Ron Howard is directing Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger in The Cinderella Man, the story of Depression-era fighter and folk hero Jim Braddock, who defeated heavyweight champ Max Baer in a 15-round slugfest in 1935.

I'm rooting for this flick to be great. Not just because it's being filmed in my fair city, but because it brought me back to 1935 in the wee hours following the birth of my daughter. Start spreading the news...

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceEugene Roche was 75. He played the kitchen-cleaning "Ajax man" in TV commercials and had memorable roles in the TV shows "All in the Family," "Magnum P.I.," "Webster" and "Soap."

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite movie adaptations of comic books

  1. Spider-Man 2
  2. Spider-Man
  3. Batman
  4. Ghost World
  5. X-Men

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New Pictures

New PicturesThere's an unprecedented demand for new pictures and with good reason. If you wander over to Pictures right now, you'll find a couple of shots of Michelle I took this afternoon, a shot of James' first encounter with his baby sister and a very cool shot of my new nephew Zander.

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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.

Two in one day, who would have thought? Way to synchronize, guys!!!

I just want to congratulate Mike and Taryn and Ryan and Kara on the arrivals of their adorable babies! Enjoy them!

     "Aunty" Vanessa

Is sychronized birthing an Olympic sport yet?

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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.

On behalf of the people at ADP, and of course of www.itsatie.com, Congratulations to you both!

     Sebastien

Are you using the birth of my daughter as a way to slip in a shameless plug for your product? Buy advertising!!!...and thanks.

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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.

WOW!!!! she is a keeper. Congrats on your new arrival. Your Mom called me with all the excitement at the Boon household. What are the chances are having two family members sharing a birthday on the same day...perhaps a lottery ticket should be played but then again I guess with such a good looking family you have already won. The best to all of you and hope to see more pictures soon.

     Kathy Baillargeon

There will be no shortage of pictures. I finally have a new subject! Thanks for the congrats.

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Updated Stats

Slo-Pitch ResultsStats have finally been updated on our Raging Storm home page.

We're currently ranked 3rd out of 7 teams in our division.

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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.

It has been quite the eventful day for the Boon family. Today, I have had the honour of holding both my second nephew and my first niece for the first time. It is a blessing to become an uncle and I have been lucky enough to experience this twice in one day. I just want to congratulate Michael, Ryan, Taryn, and Kara on their additions to the family.

     Uncle Steve

I'm just glad someone has validated my story. It's so surreal, it sounds made up.

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New Pictures

New PicturesSince I was at two hospitals this evening, first visiting my daughter and then my nephew, I have a few new pictures to share. There are four new shots now posted in Pictures.

I've also added a new clip of Michelle I took moments after her birth to Videos.

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My Nephew

My NephewWhat were the odds Ryan and I would have children born on the exact same day? I'm not talking about sharing a birthday with a close family member, but an actual birth date. Michelle was born at 12:55 this morning and Kara gave birth to my nephew Zander at 3:01 this afternoon. Zander weighed in at five pounds and five ounces and is a sharp looking dude.

What a day. I was actually at the hospital visiting my newborn and Taryn when I got the good news about Zander. After our visit, James, Grandma, Steve and I made the trip to visit Ryan, Kara and their new bundle of joy.

This is completely bizzarre and in defiance of all odds. Forever and ever, these cousins will celebrate their respective birthdays in unison. They'll both turn 1 on the same day, 16 on the same day, and 50 on the same day. It's quite the bond for Michelle and Zander. I'm a proud father and uncle today and completely and utterly exhausted.

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Famous Birthdays

Others CelebratingToday is Michelle's birthday, so I thought it would be interesting to see which famous people celebrate July 29th as their birthday as well.

  • Geddy Lee
  • Peter Jennings
  • Ted Lindsay
  • Rachel Miner
  • Wil Wheaton
  • Vida Blue
  • Tony Sirico
  • Peter O'Toole
  • Grigori Rasputin
  • Benito Mussolini

Geddy Lee...cool!

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The Story Of...

The Story Of...Taryn and I watched Canadian Idol last night. I know, it's cheesy, but we all need a guilty pleasure or two. Ben Mulroney made one final corny joke and it was 21:00 EST. All was well...

At some point between 21:00 EST and 21:30 EST, Taryn started having contractions. She had contractions the other night, so I figured this was another round of false labour. The doctor told us to come in when they were five minutes apart so I began recording their frequency and length. By 22:00 EST, it was clear that was most likely the real deal and that's when I wrote this entry.

Babysitting had to be arranged for James and we drove off to the hospital with contractions between four and five minutes apart. We parked the car and began the short walk to the emergency entrance and that's when Taryn's water broke. This was a surreal moment, buckets of liquid were spilling out of my wife and we were just laughing. I was trying to hurry her up and she was worried about her soaked clothes.

In the Triage room, Taryn was assessed and it was noted Michelle was breeched. An emergency c-section was in order and it was deja-vu all over again. James came into this world under similar circumstances two and a half years ago.

It was show time. I put on my smock and watched the entire procedure while holding Taryn's hand. Michelle had the cutest little cry and I got to cut the cord. While they stitched Taryn back up I held my girl and felt all too blessed. We weren't expecting her until Tuesday, but we're damn glad she's here. It's all good.

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My Michelle

My MichelleAt 12:55 this morning, Taryn gave birth to a beautiful baby girl we've named Michelle.

She's 7 pounds and 5 ounces and the sweetest thing you ever did see. I've just returned home from the hospital where I spent the last three hours admiring her. She's definitely going to be daddy's little girl.

James is asleep and not yet aware that he's a big brother. This all happened rather quickly. At 21:00 last night, we didn't have a clue. I'll share more details about this night to remember tomorrow after I've caught a few Zzzz's.

There are four pictures of Michelle I took tonight currently being shared in Pictures. Get over there and have a look at my baby girl!

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Baby Update

Baby UpdateTaryn's contractions are only seven minutes apart right now so if this keeps up we'll be heading to the hospital. The bag is packed, we're ready to rock.

Ryan's baby hasn't arrived yet and we're expecting him tomorrow at the latest. It would be completely wild if Michelle and Zander were born on the same day.

This is papa bear signing off for the night. Things are starting to get interesting.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThings Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age - I'm 30 years old. I don't think I've accomplished an extraordinary amount in this time, but I'm sure there are those who have accomplished less. Here are some things other people had accomplished by my age.

  • Mark Twain published his first short story, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog."
  • Danish novelist Hans Christian Andersen published his book of fairy tales.
  • Nat Turner led a slave rebellion.
  • U.S. mariner Moses Rogers made the first ocean steamboat voyage.
  • Donald Trump persuaded bankers to lend him $80 million so he could buy the Commodore Hotel.
  • Samuel Morse's assistant, Alfred Lewis Vail, devised Morse code.
  • Physicist Armand H. L. Fizeau measured the speed of light.
  • Dr. Narinder Kapany invented fiber optics and designed a glass gastroscope which can be snaked down the throat for a detailed view of the stomach.
  • Hank Williams overdosed on drugs and alcohol.
  • Bill Gates was the first person ever to become a billionaire by age 30.
  • Earl Vickers started the Dollar Project, in which dollar bills were rubber-stamped as being lost, with a reward offered for their safe return.

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Lack of Stats

Slo-Pitch ResultsIf you're a member of Raging Storm who is wondering why the statistics on our homepage haven't been updated yet, I have an explanation. Andge was supposed to get the details to Steph who was to send me the figures on Tuesday morning. Steph got sick and although she's better now, Andge is detained as today is her moving day. So, I can't update the statistics until Andge gets the raw data to Steph who will perform the necessary calculations and email me the results.

They have finally announced the details regarding our next game, however. We're playing the Etobicoke Sharks on Tuesday, August 3rd @ 18:30 EST. The game is at West Deane Park.

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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. A couple of days late and more than a few dollars short, here are the ten I heard today.

  1. Marcy Playground - The Vampires of New York
  2. Guns N' Roses - Pretty Tied Up
  3. Nirvana - Sappy
  4. Jet - Radio Song
  5. Collective Soul - Breathe
  6. White Zombie - Thurst!
  7. The White Stripes - Why Can't You Be Nicer To Me?
  8. Let's Get A Taco - Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth
  9. The Runaways - Cherry Bomb
  10. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues

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Three in a Week

Three in a WeekDecent movies are so few and far between it's amazing that I've managed to watch three great movies in under a week. I've already written about Spider-Man 2 which I saw on Sunday but I've since seen two more movies I thought were fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing" and "Big Fish".

I watched "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing" on TMN and was entranced by the pacing and dialogue. It's a well made film that relies strictly on story telling and good acting. I was impressed with the end result and I'd recommend it to a friend.

I saw "Big Fish" last night on DVD and it really touched me. It's exceptional. The film engulfs you and invokes a tonne of emotion at the conclusion. The less said about it the better for those who haven't yet seen it, but the ending of this film is absolutely perfect. As I said, it really got to me. *sniff* I need to be alone right now...

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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 Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Janis Joplin - Cry Baby
That's right, it's the return of the Weekly MP3. At this moment, Kara is in labour and about to give birth to my nephew. Ryan is by her side and as nervous as a turkey at Christmas. At some point today, I'll become an uncle for the first time and that's awesome.

With Ryan's baby coming today and my baby only days away today's MP3 is the tremendous "Cry Baby" from the one and only Janis Joplin. Cry baby, cry baby, cry baby. Honey, welcome back home.

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My MP3s Updated

My Entire MP3 CollectionI've added four new CDs to my MP3 collection. The new additions are Velvet Revolver's Contraband, The Tragically Hip's In Between Evolution and the two new acoustic Pearl Jam CDs, Live At Benaroya Hall, October 22, 2003. All four are awesome.

That's 503 complete albums and 7766 songs. Check it out.

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Who's Coming Out?

Who's Coming Out?A character on The Simpsons is coming out of the closet next season. Matt Groening himself dropped this bombshell but gave no clues as to which character it will be.

The obvious guess is Waylon Smithers who is as queer as a three dollar bill, but that's too easy, right? Assuming it's not Smithers, I'm guessing it's Aunt Patti as they've been dropping hints she's lesbian for a while now. Of course, it could easily be Skinner who has always triggered my gaydar.

I'm just happy to hear Springfield is going to legalize same-sex marriages. What a progressive city it is.

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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.

Woo-Hoo!!!!! Play that funky music, white boy!!!!!

     -Rico-

Consider it played.

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Hollywood 13, Raging Storm 11

Slo-Pitch ResultsI know I'm a little late with this one, but we in Raging Storm lost another close ball game last night to Hollywood by a score of 13-11.

I actually bought a new glove yesterday but it wasn't worked in enough by game time to use it. The less said about this game the better as it left a bad taste in my mouth. It was a game we should have won but didn't. Sometimes I think it feels better to get blown out of the water than to lose a tight one like this.

I'll update the statistics as soon as I get them. When I do, you'll find them on the Raging Storm home page.

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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 love Jim (and you too, Mike)

     Sabrina

I appreciate that. The world needs more Sabrinas.

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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 late last night.

Hi again, Mike.

Just thought I'd put in my vote for the return of the weekly MP3. I have used it to try out System of a Down and Hayden, and I would like it if you pushed you continued to push your eclectic taste in music on us. Cheers to ya.

     Jim

I'm nothing if not a man of my word. I promised I'd bring back the Weekly MP3 if I got three Guest Blog submissions asking me to. Jim's entry above makes three, and therefore, the weekly MP3 returns!

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Baby Update

Baby UpdateJames arrived five weeks early by emergency c-section, so I missed some of the grosser aspects of childbirth. Last night, Taryn was having slight contractions. This morning, they're still there and she's feeling awfully crampy. This past weekend, she lost her mucous plug, and yes, I'm aware of how disgusting that sounds.

What this all means is Michelle may be closer to joining the party than we think. We're not expecting her for another week, but she may have other plans. I'm ready for action. The battery in the digital camera is recharged and I've got 256 MB of space hungry for shots of my little girl. I can't wait to see what she looks like. This is very, very cool.

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Pearl Jam Live

Pearl Jam LiveCFNY Edge 102 didn't air Mike McCready's preview of tracks from "Live at Benaroya Hall" last night but if I heard correctly they'll be airing it tonight at 22:00 EDT.

If you don't live in the GTA, you can listen online.

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Paul Molitor

Paul MolitorAnother Blue Jay is in Cooperstown. When Paul Molitor was inducted into the baseball hall of fame yesterday, he became the third Blue Jay to enter the hall joining Phil Neikro and Dave Winfield.

Molitor played 21 seasons: 15 with the Milwaukee Brewers and three each with the Jays and Minnesota Twins. He was one of three players to register 3,000 hits, 600 doubles and steal 500 bases, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner. In '93 with the Jays, Molitor became the oldest to hit 20 homers and drive in 100 runs for the first time.

I'll never forget his performance in the '93 World Series against Philadelphia. He was simply awesome. We were sitting a .363 hitter to get his bat in the line-up. That '93 squad delivered in dramatic fashion and we're still living off that high eleven years later. Mitch Williams was called in to preserve the lead in that memorable game 6. He started by walking Rickey Henderson and forcing Devon White to fly out to left. Eventual Series MVP Molitor then rapped out his third hit of the game, raising his average to .500. Joe Carter came to the plate and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Bye Bye Bell

Bell UpdateIn Bush League Bell I wrote about how my home phone service was abruptly cancelled on Friday afternoon and on Saturday I gave you an update which was basically that Bell can but won't do anything until I call their customer service this morning. I just got off the phone with them and the results are revealed below.

They admitted I went without service for the entire weekend because of a typo on their end and they've promised my service will be restored within the hour. At the end of learning this, I was given the "we're sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused". That was going to be it. There was going to be no offer of a credit for my troubles. All I was going to get was a credit for the three days I was without service which amounts to about $3.

No way, Jose. My wife is nine months pregnant, I've got lots of stuff going on and I've been unable to send or receive calls the entire weekend because of a Bell CSR's typo. $3 isn't going to cut the mustard. I was fed line after line about CRTC regulations and audits and how they really only have to credit me the $3 and at the end she agreed I was royally screwed and deserved a little more. So, my account has been credited a whopping $25.

I'll take the $25 but I'm still switching to Sprint Canada. Once I do, I'll finally be free of Bell Canada and won't have a single service with them for the first time in my life. We'll see how it goes.

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Reinstalling XP

Reinstalling XPI formatted my C: drive yesterday and reinstalled Windows XP. I felt it was time for a clean slate. I had the installation files for all the applications I use ready on my D: drive so getting things to the way I like it was fairly painless.

The first application I installed was Mozilla Firefox. I never even opened Internet Explorer. Firefox is so quick on it's feet, adheres to standards I respect and makes surfing the web much more convenient with their tabbing. There is no way I will ever return to Internet Explorer.

From what I can tell, this past month has been a big one for Firefox in terms of converting IE users. Several colleagues at work have made the switch and I've successfully converted a number of friends. I have no doubt IE still has a vast majority of the browser market under their wing, but I'm certain it's a substantially smaller figure today than it was six months ago. Firefox is only gaining momentum and as web users become more educated and wisen up to the facts, Firefox will get a bigger slice of the browser pie.

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Pearl Jam Live

Pearl Jam LiveRemember when I told you about Pearl Jam's first ever full-length, mostly acoustic live show being released on a double disc CD entitled "Live at Benaroya Hall". It's due July 27th and Mike McCready will preview tracks from the double album via a live, one-hour radio broadcast beginning 20:00 EST tonight.

This is the kind of thing CFNY Edge 102 typically carries so I'll tune in tonight and see. It sounds awfully cool.

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The Transformers

The TransformersFresh from seeing a childhood hero on the big screen I've learned another fictional cartoon world I loved is being made into a movie. DreamWorks film company, co-founded by Steven Spielberg, will oversee the live-action movie, scheduled for release in summer 2006.

I was a big fan of The Transformers and even have the first several issues of their comic book in a box somewhere. I'm intrigued by the idea of making it a live-action movie instead of a cartoon. With DreamWorks behind it, I'm sure it will look good.

Who will play Sparkplug? I'd love to see James Gandolfini in the role.

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Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2Sam Raimi, I salute you. I've just returned from the theatre where I saw Spider-Man 2 and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Of all the comic book super heroes, Spider-Man has always been my favourite. A couple of summers ago I thoroughly enjoyed Spider-Man but never did I dream the sequel would be even better. It would have been so easy for Sam Raimi and the gang to go through the motions, rely heavily on special effects and print money at the box office. Instead, they crafted a tremendous story with exceptional character development that stays true to the vision. I loved everything from the comic book style recap during the opening credit through the hilarious pizza delivery and J. Jonah Jameson sequences, the "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" montage and build up for Spider-Man 3.

Speaking of which, I can't wait for Spider-Man 3. I'll be able to take James who has taken a liking to the character and even proudly sports his Spider-Man underwear while singing the Spider-Man theme song. The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time."
      - Alfred E. Wiggam

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Pat Hentgen

Pat HentgenPat Hentgen announced his retirement earlier today. He retires 131-112 with a 4.32 ERA in 344 career games, 306 career starts, with Toronto, St. Louis and Baltimore. He's fourth in wins (107) starts (238), inning pitched (1,636), strikeouts (1,028) and shutouts (nine) on the Blue Jays' all-time lists.

His first tour of duty with Toronto began in 1991 and lasted until 1999. Hentgen won the 1996 Cy Young Award as the top pitcher in the American League, the first Blue Jay so honoured. He was also a key member of the Jays team that won the 1993 World Series.

I was a big Hentgen booster, but I'm glad he's calling it quits. 2-9 with a 6.95 ERA, it's time to let a youngster assume his roster spot. He was a classy guy who served us well and he'll be fondly remembered in Toronto for years and years to come.

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Kool Thing

Kool ThingWhere's my head at? Yesterday's Friday Five was completely inaccurate. My favourite all-time song with a female on lead vocals is "Kool Thing" from Sonic Youth.

From Sonic Youth's 1990 album Goo, "Kool Thing" was indeed a cool thing. You can't understate Sonic Youth's influence on the scene that would bless us with Nirvana. In fact, Sonic Youth was instrumental in getting Nirvana signed to Geffen. Having said that, Sonic Youth rocked in their own right.

Great riffs, a grungy sound and a wicked cameo by my man Chuck D. Yeh. Tell em bout it. Hit em where it hurts. Tell it like it is.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayTV Show Intros - Take a trip down memory lane and watch the intros to your old favourite TV shows. I just got back from my trip where I saw my old friends "The Dukes of Hazzard", "Transformers", "The Muppet Show", "Saved By The Bell", "He-Man", "Growing Pains", "Fraggle Rock", "Family Ties", and "The A Team".

Can you guess which decade I grew up in?

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Bell Update

Bell UpdateFor whom the Bell tolls, I dunno, but it's not tolling for me, that's for sure. If you read Bush League Bell from yesterday, you know my home phone service was abruptly cancelled yesterday. I was steaming mad because they wouldn't even look at the issue until this morning. Now, I'm boiling mad.

The department I dealt with today claims they simply completed a work order generated by Bell's customer service department. The nice lady I spoke with earlier yesterday must have had other things on her mind when she typed out the work order because according to what she sent to the people I spoke with today, my phone was to have been deactivated yesterday.

Mistakes happen I know, that's why pencils have erasers, but when a mistake is made by a vendor the first step is to correct it. Bell wouldn't reconnect my phone today. In fact, they won't reconnect my phone tomorrow. They claim they can't do a thing until another work order is generated by customer service and customer service won't be working again until Monday morning at 08:00 EST. That's three days without home phone service because a CSR at Bell made a typo.

I ensured my call was escalated and made it clear how unacceptable it is that they made an error yesterday that can be fixed today but won't be fixed until Monday at the earliest, but there wasn't much more I could do. On Monday I'll call Bell again, speak with customer service and demand it be fixed and I be compensated. I'm dead serious about my threat to kick Bell Canada to the curb and move my service to Sprint Canada.

Don't bother calling me this weekend. I'm not in service and shit outta luck.

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New Pictures

New PicturesThere are four new shots now posted in Pictures. Two were taken yesterday and two were taken last weekend at Perkins. Some members of Taryn's family were in town for a reunion brunch.

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Feeling Nick's Pain

Feeling Nick's PainIt was a little over a year ago that I played ball with Nick. The date was July 1, 2003 to be exact, and I know that because I just went to the archives and read what I wrote about it the next day. That's right ladies, I played ball with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys.

My buddy Nick's back in the news today, and I'm feeling his pain. He and Paris Hilton have broken up.

Nick, if you're reading this and you want to talk about it, contact me. I know breaking up is hard to do. Paris was a great girl, but there are other fish in the sea. You're heading back into the studio with the other Backstreet Boys and you'll be touring so you've got to soldier on. I'm here for you if you need me.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Remember as far as anyone knows, we're a nice normal family."

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Bush League Bell

Bush League BellI'm steaming mad at Bell Canada right now. Tonight, my home phone is out of service. I can't place calls and I can't receive calls. Coincidentally enough, I placed a call to Bell earlier in the day regarding another matter. Hmmm...

Somehow, Bell got their wires crossed and dropped my home service. I certainly didn't make such a request, but it sure happened. I first realized we were without phone service at 18:00 at which point I immediately called 310-BELL. I figured the customer service lady I spoke with earlier in the day had inadvertently got my service cancelled and I assumed someone would be able to turn a swich or whatever to return things to the way it was when I awoke this morning. How hard would it be for Bell to undo their mistake?

After battling an automated answering service by the name of Emily for a half hour, I finally managed to swindle my way to an actual living, breathing human being. Unfortunately, this human being wasn't able to fix Bell's error. In fact, he kept telling me I might have to pay big bucks if the problem with my service was due to bad lines in the house. As if there's any chance this incident is unrelated to the call I made to Bell earlier in the day. I wanted their error reversed and fast because important calls were expected. No worries, my issue will be looked at first thing tomorrow morning. That's right, there's nobody at Bell who can help me after 18:00 with an issue this severe and this obvious.

To recap, Bell screwed up majorly and at 18:00 on a Friday night I'm SOL until some time Saturday morning. The CSR tried to feign sympathy but I wasn't buying it. At the end of the call, he had the audacity to try and sell me a monthly insurance plan so I don't have to incur the huge expense of having a Bell technician visit my home if my wires crap out on me. I reminded him that this was their screw up and I had no intention of giving them another dime of my money. I think it totally bites that they shut off my service in the first place but having to wait twelve hours for the issue to get looked is ludacris.

I'm looking at other options for my home phone service. Sprint Canada's plans start at $29.95 but I think that's the only viable alternative out there. Once this issue is resolved I'm going to call Bell and give them a chance to make things alright again. They better pony up a little cash to ease my pain or Sprint will be hearing from me next.

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2006?

2006?Hot damn I'm going to have to wait a long time until the next new episode of The Sopranos. Season Five finished strong and I can't wait for the sixth and final season, but HBO has confirmed that won't be until some time in 2006.

Ouch. That really, really sucks.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayWilliam Shatner's "Common People" - "Common People" is a great tune from Pulp. Taryn's a bigger Pulp fan than I as I only like this one song but I really like it. Now, William Shatner has covered it and it's a crapload of fun. Have a listen.

Does this qualify as CanCon?

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Leafs Countdown

Leafs CountdownAccording to the torontomike.com Maple Leafs Countdown Clock, at this precise second there are 84 days, 6 hours, 6 minutes, and 12 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener...assuming of course that labour strife does not interfere.

Who am I kidding? Labour strife appears imminent.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite songs with a female on lead vocals

  1. Tracy Bonham - Mother Mother
  2. The Breeders - Cannonball
  3. The Distillers - Drain the Blood
  4. The Cranberries - Zombie
  5. L7 - Pretend That We're Dead

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Happy Birthday Steve!

Happy Birthday Steve!I want to wish my brother Stephen a very happy birthday today.

Steve, I know just how you feel. You've got a great little girl and the world's your oyster. This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a... car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.

Enjoy the day bro. I leave you with these two words: loan forgiveness.

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9/11 Commision

9/11 CommisionThe 575-page report from the 9/11 Commission was released earlier today. You can read the 9/11 Commission Report in it's entirety here.

According to the report, some of the failings of U.S. intelligence and domestic security are that the FBI was not set up to collect intelligence domestically, the intelligence agencies failed to share information, they missed opportunities to possibly prevent the attack, and they failed in "connecting the dots" in the intelligence community.

The final document reportedly illustrates 10 missed opportunities by both the Dubya and Clinton administrations to halt the suicide hijacking plot, six of which are attributed to the Bush administration, four to the Clinton administration.

If I go 0 for 10 in slo-pitch, I have one hell of a restless night. Dubya and Clinton went 0 for 10 and 3025 lost their lives. Almost three years later, it's still hard to imagine.

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Rocker Chicks on SLS

Rocker Chicks on SLSA few days ago I wrote an entry I entitled The Female Voice in Rock. I applauded the presence of three songs on SLS11 sung by women.

This raises the question as to how many songs with a woman providing the lead vocals have made an edition of SLS. Below is the complete list in chronological order.

  • Veruca Salt - Volcano Girls (SLS1)
  • Garbage - I Think I'm Paranoid (SLS1)
  • Hole - Celebrity Skin (SLS1)
  • Tracy Bonham - Mother Mother (SLS5)
  • Garbage - Shut Your Mouth (SLS6)
  • Bif Naked - I Love Myself Today (SLS6
  • Holly McNarland - Do You Get High? (SLS7)
  • The Distillers - Drain The Blood (SLS10)
  • The Distillers - Beat Your Heart Out (SLS11)
  • Metric - Combat Baby (SLS11)
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps (SLS11)

So you see, only eleven songs in all of SLS have a female voice singing lead vocals. Still, with three of them appearing on the most recent edition, this could be a turning point for women in rock.

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Red's Dead

Red's DeadMy brother Ryan keeps a couple of rats as pets. To be accurate, he kept a couple of rats as pets. The one we called Red is dead.

I learned of Red's passing late last night. Hearing my that rat-faced nephew had bought the farm at the young age of two left me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, he was the beloved pet of Ryan and Kara. On the other hand, he was a rat.

Red, I'm sorry I didn't spend more time with you and I'm sorry you'll never meet your little brother Zander, due to arrive later next month. You were only with us for a short while, but like a comet you shone bright in this dark, dark world. Rest little rat. Rest.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Favourites2+2=5 (The Lukewarm) - This is strictly an experiment, not an official music video.

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Logo Blows

Logo BlowsInspired by Carlos Delgado's protest of what he disagrees with, please consider this entry my official protest regarding the Blue Jays logo.

When it was first unveiled on September 2, 2003, I wrote this entry admitting I actually liked it. You can see the new logo next to Carlos' Stand right below this entry. I've now lived with the new logo for over half a season and I'd like to restate my feelings about it.

I hate it. I miss the red maple leaf and the true shade of blue. I really miss the logo that took us from our inception to the mid-90s. That logo was good enough to win us two World Series titles. This new logo has us last in the AL East with a 40-53 record.

In protest, I'm not using that logo any more. I switched to it the day they unveiled it, but I'm switching back to the one to the left of this entry with the prominent red maple leaf. Bring back the old logo!

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Carlos' Stand

Carlos' StandDuring the seventh inning stretch in Major League Baseball, "God Bless America" is played. This practice began following 9/11 and has continued in some ball parks. Toronto has stopped playing it but you'll still hear it at Yankee Stadium where the Blue Jays play tonight. During the playing of "God Bless America" it's customary for those in attendance, including the players, to stand. For all of the 2004 season, Carlos Delgado has remained seated in the dugout during this ritual.

This is Delgado's silent protest of the United States' invasion of Iraq. Now, he's getting a great deal of flack for expressing his own political view. As the New York Times points out, Delgado's protest is consistent with his earlier opposition to the Navy's use of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a weapons testing ground. In many ways, the United States military waged a form of war for 60 years on the tiny island, using a 900-acre site for bombing exercises.

The Blue Jays are supporting Delgado's decision to sit in the dugout while "God Bless America" is played and that's a good thing. Too often athletes refuse to take a political stand for fear of alienating a potential customer. Can you imagine Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods having the balls to take a stand like this? Delgado is a rarity in professional sports. He's a well-informed, intelligent soul who isn't afraid to silently protest a war he doesn't believe in. I've got a great deal of respect for him both as a player on my favourite team and a human being. To those who will condemn him to hell for this action I only have pity.

For the record, my support of Delgado's protest has nothing to do with my personal political views. If an American hockey player wants to sit during the Canadian national anthem because we didn't join the coalition that invaded Iraq, I'd respect that as well. It's important we create an environment that doesn't judge people for peacefully voicing their opinions on such matters. It's what makes this country great.

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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 think I almost peed myself reading the "Good Charlotte" comments on this site.

"Good charlotte is the best punk act of all time. You can't say they aren't punk, they have the peircings and tattooes to prove it!" - Tina, November 2003

I don't know about you, but I don't think tattoos and piercings mean that you are punk. That's like saying that because you eat pizza you are Italian. Let me educate the teeny-boppers on what being 'punk' is:

I don't know about you, but I don't think tattoos and piercings mean that you are punk. That's like saying that because you eat pizza you are Italian. Let me educate the teeny-boppers on what being 'punk' is:

Punk = Piercing & tattoos. Simple.

I know plenty of middle aged, middle class men that certainly are not punk, yet they have tattoos and piercings. And for that matter I know a bunch of guys that have both piercing and tattoos and instead of being 'punk' they are goths, or hip-hoppers.

Why this morning on my drive to work, I saw a balding wrinkly old man (he must have found a way to mix his blood with embalming fluid) with a tattoo of a serpent and a big diamond earring. He was driving a Dodge Caravan. not a Harley or a Good Charlottemobile. A Caravan. This guy was not punk. This guy was the anti-punk!

Last time I checked, your physical appearance & the way you dress does not determine how "hardcore" you are towards something. Just because a middle class white teenager listens to rap & hip-hop does not mean that he understands what the culture is all about. All that means is that he is a lemming. A blind follower. This person has no idea of what struggles the people who have come before him (i.e.: Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali) have had to suffer to get to the point where we are at today as a society. Being 'punk' or being 'down with hip-hop' is not a fashion statement, it's a way of life. People who dig music and a certain culture because of appearances (Oooh, I'm a badass, I have orange hair!!) or because of a perceived "cool" factor are nothing but posers. P-O-S-E-R-S. These people set back the forward momentum that the real people behind the culture are trying to achieve back about a decade by being nothing than a bunch of commercial, consumerisitc whores. By following the new trends.

Why, I remember some older trends in music .... Vanilla Ice, Milli Vanilli, New Kids On The Block, Snow, MC Hammer, Billy Ray Cyrus ... But try telling someone back then that "Achy Breaky Heart" blew monkey dong ...

And you know what? Once the new trend stops being Good Charlotte, they'll be what they were before: Nothing but a bunch of guys playing crappy music wanting to score with chicks. Hell half the guys I know in College do that. The difference is that they don't have a record contract and don't have their music in the 'punk' section at HMV or Sam Goody. I'll admit that they must be somewhat decent to GET a record contract but on a scale of 1 - 10 they are (at best) a 2 or a 3, in my opinion. Either that or they whored themselves out.

So please, stop your crying. Good Charlotte sucks, they make terrible music and you ladies are teeny-bopping posers.

     -Rico-

Ranking Good Charlotte as a 2 out of 10 is extremely generous.

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In Between Evolution

In Between EvolutionI finally got a hold of a copy of The Tragically Hip's new album, In Between Evolution. It's ripped to MP3 and I've been spinning it all morning.

In a word, it's awesome. I had heard several of the songs live on Canada Day and they felt right that night, but now that's I've been through the disc a few times I feel I can give a more thorough review.

It's solid from start to finish. There's really no weak link. When I first heard "Summer's Killing Us" about six weeks ago I was concerned it wasn't up to snuff, but hearing it under the stars on July 1st and hearing it several times today has me all turned around on the subject. It's a catchy little tune that just needs a little time to seep under your skin. I've been singing it all morning.

"Heaven Is A Better Place Today" and "It Can't Be Nashville Every Night" are just stunning compositions and "As Makeshift As We Are" and "The Heart of the Melt" just rock. "One Night In Copenhagen" contains some rare Gordie swears and it's already pretty obvious to readers of this site that I love "Vaccination Scar".

I had read a number of reviews of this album that remark it's a return to the Road Apples days. I see it differently. I see it as a wonderful extension of In Violet Light, a highly underrated disc in my opinion. In Violet Light was everything Music@Work wasn't. In other words, it was wicked good and In Between Evolution doesn't drop off a bit.

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Double Header Split

Slo-Pitch ResultsRaging Storm, our slo-pitch team, played two games last night against two different teams and lost the first while winning the second. Both games came down to the wire in Hollywood ending style. In fact, I don't remember two game quite as exciting.

Following last week's game, I came to the realization that my ancient ball glove was becoming a detriment to my play at shortstop. I vowed to purchase a new glove, but I didn't get around to it before last night's games. So, at the 11th hour, I borrowed my brother Steve's glove and my performance was much improved. Does anyone know where I can get a good bargain on a decent glove?

In the first game, we came to the plate in the bottom half of the last inning trailing the Etobicoke Sharks by four. A two out rally put two on with us trailing by only two and yours truly coming to the plate. It was crunch time, a true test of one's mettle. I stepped into the batter's box, stared down the opposing pitcher and promptly ripped a solid line drive single over second base. With two outs, the runner on second was waved home. Unfortunately, in a dramatic play at the plate she was called out and we lost. It was a bitter pill to swallow.

The second game was almost as exciting. This time, we were holding on to a lead in the final inning with the Sidewinders batting. A little luck and some timely hitting put them right back in the game. With two outs, it looked as if they were going to come all the way back. Then, I climbed the ladder to snag a flailing blooper that just cleared the infield to end the game.

This final game against the Sidewinders was filled with tension. Verbal assualts were exchanged throughout and at the end it looked like it might come to blows. In previous seasons, this kind of blow up was commonplace. I remember during the playoffs one season our ball game became a good ol' fashioned rumble but it looked as though those days were behind us because cooler heads had prevailed all season...until yesterday. I sort of missed it so yesterday wasn't all bad.

I'll update the statistics later today and you'll find them on the Raging Storm home page.

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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.

Yo Mike,

This is the first time I've visited your site and I must say that i already lament the loss of your weekly MP3. I've bookmarked the site and will be visiting on a daily basis if I can help it in hopes of catching its return.

On a side note, I have to say that I'm glad to see Vince Carter on the way out (if indeed all the rumors are true). He's done nothing for the Raptors for a couple of years now except for all his bitching and moaning. Every little bump he gets, he misses 2 games. It's embarrassing to see a grown ass man acting like a pre-schooler every time he takes the rock to the rack!

I remember when he first came into the league and would play through almost anything.(for that matter, this can be said about most superstars with the exception of Big Ben, JYD & Tim Duncan - Those guys are blue collar!!)

I remember when he played great and didn't expect a parade in his honor every time he made a layup. What a baby!

Let's get some players in here who have the cojones to play through charliehorses!!!

Let's get some blue collar, prime time players in here! As long as he's a primadonna about everything to do with the game of basketball, the game is gonna own his little whiny ass!

I dig the site tho'. Bring back the MP3!!!!!!!!

     -Rico-

Ok, that's two Guest Blog entries requesting a return of the Weekly MP3. Sabrina wrote one last week and I promised if I got two more I'd bring it back.

I must admit I'm torn over the whole Vince thing. I totally get what you're saying about his inability to play through pain and his recent whinyness, but when he's on he's a superstar and who are we going to get for him? I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage. If he drains that three-ball against the Sixers four years ago, we're in the Conference Finals for heaven's sake. Have faith my brother...

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I'm Too Busy!

I'm Too Busy!James has picked up a new expression he's using quite frequently these days. I heard it a half dozen times yesterday and a few more times this morning.

He usually brings out this blanket statement when you ask him to do something like brush his teeth or go to bed. It's become a catch-all excuse I myself have used numerous times. In fact, I'm pretty sure the little dude stole it from me. His response when asked to do something that he doesn't want to do is...

"I'm Too Busy!"

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Frank Whaley is 41?!?!

Frank Whaley is 41?I get Google News Alerts emailed to me when there's news about my favourite bands. One of the bands I get news about is Pearl Jam. This is how I learned that Stone Gossard turns 38 today.

Among the list of celebrities celebrating a birthday today was Frank Whaley who is turns 41. Excuse me? How the f*ck did Frank Whaley get to be 41 years old? Did I fall asleep for a decade and just awaken?

Frank Whaley has appeared in a number of cool movies over the years, including Pulp Fiction. My favourite Frank Whaley performance, however, was 1994's "Swimming With Sharks". It's a very cool little revenge flick with Kevin Spacey at his wicked best. Apparently, Whaley wasn't as young as I thought he was back then. I can't believe he's already 41. That's really messing with my head this morning.

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The Female Voice in Rock

The Female Voice in RockI never believed women could rock. I know that sounds sexist, so please allow me to elaborate.

My musical preference is hard rock. I enjoy an edgy guitar sound with angst-riddled lyrics delivered in a baritone voice. For the most part, I prefer my music rough and that means I've mainly feasted on music sung by a male. There have been exceptions to this rule, but 99% of the music I listen to is delivered by a guy. It's not that I believe men to be the more talented musicians, it's just that my ears prefer the male voice in rock.

Listening to SLS11, I hear a number of female voices. Now, more than ever, I'm hearing a female voice in rock and my ears are digging it. There's the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps", Metric's "Combat Baby" and The Distillers' "Beat Your Heart Out". Although that's only three out of twenty-three, it's still a significant development as far as I'm concerned. Previous SLS-worthy songs song by women were few and far between. Tracy Bonham's "Mother Mother" was 8 years ago, dammit!

I'd like to hear more of the female voice in rock. If the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Metric are the sign of a trend, it looks like I'm going to get my wish. So long as it's not Courtney, I'm happy.

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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. Pearl Jam - I Am Mine
  2. Helmet - The Silver Hawaiian
  3. James - Laid
  4. Bush - Greedy Fly
  5. Green Day - Jaded
  6. The Living End - Roll On
  7. Blink 182 - Stockholm Syndrome
  8. System of a Down - Bounce
  9. The Guess Who - Share The Land
  10. Prodigy - Firestarter

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Arrested Development

Arrested DevelopmentMost television sucks. What's rarer than a decent sitcom? It might be the hardest art to master.

There are some decent programs but they all seem to originate from the HBO network. If you don't count HBO shows, I'm pretty well left with "The Simpsons" on my must-see list. Nothing else interested me...until I started watching another Fox show called "Arrested Development".

To make my life easier, Fox and Global are airing "Arrested Development" right after "The Simpsons" at 20:30 EST on Sunday nights. This is ideal for me because I watch "Six Feet Under" at 21:00 that night. "Arrested Development" is very well written, very well acted and entirely addictive. It's hilarious. Clearly, the three funniest shows on television are "The Simpsons", "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Arrested Development". Try it once and you'll be hooked. Quality like this doesn't rear it's pretty face very often and rarely sticks around.

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Baby Update

Baby UpdateTaryn and I were at the ObGyn this morning for a weekly check up as we count down the days before the arrival of Michelle.

All is well, in fact, the Doc seems to think Michelle will be a big girl. He guesses she's already 7.5 to 8 lbs. My official guess for her birth weight is 8 lbs 9 oz. We'll see how accurate I am.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesThe Incredibly Evil Machine - There's not much more to say about it. This is an incredibly evil machine.

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A Captive Audience

CarSmack dab in the middle of my Something's Gotta Give miniseries, I started bitching about all the commercials and coming attractions you get before a movie these days. I asked if there was a more captive audience. Today I learned there is a more captive audience, and it's no longer an ad-free zone.

Driving home from the ballpark tonight, I pulled into a nearby Esso station to fill up the tank. There I was standing there, squeezing the pump when an advertisement began showing on the video screen above. They would show an ad, follow it up with the weather as if this somehow justified the ad, and then they would hit you with another ad. I stood there filling my gas tank and being pummeled with advertisements.

Sure, you can refuse to look at the screen, but how do you escape the audio? I considered plugging both ears and singing to myself, but I needed one hand to squeeze the pump. The bastards had me, and they knew it.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz and I'm fine."
      - Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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9/11 Typo

9/11 TypoEvery once in a while I'll be perusing the archives of my site and I'll stumble upon a typo. I'm always a little upset with myself when I do, but typos happen, especially when you're writing entries like this on the fly with little time to proof.

There are typos and there are typos. An official tribute sign erected on the fence surrounding Ground Zero actually misstated the date of the 9/11 terror attacks. The sign, which memorialized victims killed in the Pentagon attack, noted that "September 11, 2002" was a pivotal day for the country and the world. You can see for yourself here.

How is it possible they could get the date of 9/11 wrong on a memorial of this nature? Before the characters were carved you'd think it would have been proof read a couple of dozen times by more than a few pairs of eyes. Typos happen, but unlike my site The Port Authority can't edit a little source code and hope nobody noticed.

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Four on the Floor

Four on the FloorFour on the Floor was a sketch comedy series which aired on CBC back in 1986. Only 13 episodes made it to air before it was cancelled, but I think I watched all 13 of them. As a 12 year old, I thought it was insanely funny. A few years later I would watch the birth of another sketch comedy series on the CBC that made me forget all about Four on the Floor, but I digress...

One skit from Four on the Floor in particular really struck my funny bone and has stuck with me ever since. In this skit, the four members of the comedy troupe were in a car that was stopped at a red light. In the car next to them was a guy who appeared to be singing along to the radio. The four decide to cruise their radio dial in search of the song the other guy is singing along to so enthusiastically.

They're surfing the dial when they come across the news. That's right, a baritone voice delivering dry news in typical talk radio fashion. This is the dialogue being mouthed simultaneous by the gentleman in the car next to them.

That's comedy genius. I can still see it in my head as I describe it. Without the Four on the Floor, there may never have been The Kids in the Hall.

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New Pictures

New PicturesIt's been about a week since I shared some new pictures, so I figured I was due. There are four new shots now posted in Pictures.

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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.

It's officially true. All of the good readers of torontomike.com have heard the worst opinion of music of all time! I came across the blog which stated "...Good Charlotte is the best punk act of all time..." HA! is all I can say to that. Evidently, our young and naive reader Tina has never heard of four British fellows named Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Steve Jones and Paul Cook.....The Pistols! While they had only launched one official album, they emulated the true punk feeling, and were one of the integral bands to really bring the music to the mainstream. While the quintesental punk album "Never mind the bollocks" is approaching 30 years old, it can not change the fact that this album is the precise definiation of the term "Punk Music". Good Charlotte are not even in the same ball park as The Pistols. Evidentally Tina is not really up on her music. But, if I was a betting man, (which, I am) I would guess she's about 16. Not exactly full of musical knowledge. While you or I can not argue her liking to GC (seein With that, I have one parting thought....

"God save the Queen, we really mean it, Man!"

     Mark Sarookanian

Like I said, that post was the funniest thing I'd read in a long, long time. In an entry I entitled The Walkman I reminisced about the first time I really and truly heard The Sex Pistols. As I recall, they didn't sound anything like Good Charlotte and that was the point, dammit! Once day Tina will have a moment like this. One day, Tina will be saved too.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine."

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Carlos and Vince

Carlos and VinceHere in the capital of the world (Toronto, in case you didn't know), all the sports talk has been about the "imminent" trade of our two biggest stars. If you excuse Mats, Ed and the gang on skates, Toronto's biggest sports stars are Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter.

Already this month I've written two entries essentially saying goodbye to Vince. The rumour mill was working overtime and it looked like he was on his way to Dallas. Now, nobody is sure of anything. It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between.

Then, there's Carlos Delgado of my Toronto Blue Jays. Unlike Vince, there's no rumblings about how Carlos would like a trade and isn't happy. The problem here is strict economics. Delgado makes about 40% of the Blue Jays payroll and with our current budget we'll likely never compete with the Yankees and Red Sox of the world. Trading Carlos will free up some cash for some badly needed starting pitching. Still, I don't want him to go either as he's a fantastic ball player.

Here's my proposal to Rob Babcock and J.P. Ricciardi. Lets keep superstars like Vince Carter and Carlos Delgado in Toronto. Both have a number of good years ahead of them and both are assets to their respective clubs. Why would we want to see them play anywhere else? Keep 'em and sign Delgado again when his contract expires at the end of the season.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite Guns 'N Roses songs

  1. Mr. Brownstone
  2. Don't Cry
  3. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
  4. Patience
  5. Sweet Child O' Mine

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Christina Replies

Christina RepliesYesterday morning I received a Guest Blog submission from a Christina who called me bad names but didn't tell me why. You can read her entry here.

She left her email address, so I wrote her to ask her why she thought I was stupid, a loser and a jerk. It's not an inaccurate description of me, but without context I can't know for certain. I got a reply from Christina last night, and here's what she had to say.

tina said something about GC saying they are so punk. and u said it was the stupidest thing u have heard and your goingto send it to everybody u know!

why do u have to be so mean to someone 4 what band they like! thats really stupid!

Oh yes, I remember now. Way back in November 2003, Tina posted a comment to the Good Charlotte - Girls and Boys discussion on our SLS page. She said, and this is an exact quote...

You all suck! You don't know what your talking about!!!! Good charlotte is the best punk act of all time. You can't say they aren't punk, they have the peircings and tattooes to prove it! Your all stupid and jelous that they have so much talent and are soooooo awesome. And what would you know about punk you probably just like the critics and trust fund kids they sing about. Your living in the past.

I remember reading her comments and replying with the following comment that upset Christina enough to write a Guest Blog about it yesterday. I wrote the following...

Tina, your post is the funniest thing I've read in a long, long time. Your line that "Good Charlotte is the best punk act of all time" is pure gold. I'm copying your post and sending it to everyone I know. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The only thing funnier than your post is your email addy. tina_is_hardcore@hotmail.com. I'm scared!!!! Tina is hardcore!!! Tina called me stupid and jealous!!!!

Tina...one day you're going to turn 16 and become quite embarassed at your proclamation above. Don't worry. A long, long time ago, I thought Duran Duran was cool. We're none of us perfect. Thanks again for the laugh.

Christina, I want to thank you for bringing me back to that fateful day in November so I could have myself a much needed laugh. I've been rather busy lately dealing with the many stresses life throws our way, and I've forgotten how important it is to stop, smell the roses and have a good chuckle now and then. I'd also like to thank Tina once again for writing what I still believe to be the funniest thing I've ever read. "Good Charlotte is the best punk act of all time" is pure gold and I'm going to once again send it to everyone I know. You two have made my day...hell, you've made my year.

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Apple Boon?

Apple Boon?We're expecting the birth of our daughter within the next four weeks and we've been set on a name for quite some time now. She'll be named Michelle Boon, or will she?

Sure, I've already secured the top spot on Google searches for her name, but maybe I should follow the lead of recent celebrities who have given birth and go with something funkier...

Apple Boon perhaps? Coco Boon? Moon Unit Boon? Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Boon? We'll see...

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesGord Downie's "O Canada" - Fox didn't air it, but you can hear the MP3 of Gord Downie singing "O Canada" prior to the 75th All-Star game from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas at this link. I love Gordie, but I don't think "O Canada" suits his vocal style. We need a zippier anthem, dammit!

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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.

Mike, I will miss the weekly mp3's, but thanks for the ones you have already shared with us! You rock...a lot.

     Sabrina

Thank you Sabrina. I do rock a lot, don't I? Ok people, if two other people submit a Guest Blog Entry telling me they enjoyed the Weekly MP3 and want it back I'll resurrect it. Sabrina can't be the only one....or can she?

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceArthur Kane was 55. He was the bassist for the New York Dolls, the pioneering '70s glam rock group.

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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.

Best Intentions

I've always been a cynic. I even slapped my own ass the day I was born because I didn't trust the doctor. My inclination to believe that all people are motivated by selfishness has served me well. Cynicism provides a grassy-green buffer of neutrality between truth and falsehood, just wide enough in which to graze whilst sizing up the intentions and motives of other human beings.

Speaking of grazing on the green stuff, I went to see 'Fahrenheit 9/11' yesterday. The documentary was well made - really well made in fact - and some of the content raised my eyebrows more than once. However, as impressed as I was by his artful collage of disturbing images, I have never been a huge fan of Michael Moore the huge person. My distaste for him has nothing to do with political leanings, as I do not necessarily espouse with either the Left or Right. My distaste has to do with motives.

I watched as Michael Moore was interviewed on a news magazine program several weeks ago. During the first part of the interview, the host graciously allowed Moore to dispense his political views and promote his film. Once the formal niceties had been exhausted, Moore was then asked some of the tougher questions pertaining to his motives for producing this overtly lopsided political film during an election year; suggesting of course that he was simply an opportunistic hypocrite and/or a paid propagandist for the Left. Moore appeared to be blindsided by some of the questioning as he blushed and giggled like a child that had been caught cheating at a Monopoly game.

Yesterday, as I sat enlightened through his excellent film, the irony of it all was not lost; "The love of money is the root of all evil." - even with the best intentions.

     Marty

Michael Moore is an opinionated fellow, but he's never tried to hide this fact. He does support every opinion with a fact though, and he's done a very good job of backing up the validity of these facts.

I suspect Moore's motivations are more political than commercial. Moore was recently asked if he minded that people are downloading and sharing his documentary on the internet. Below was his response.

I don't agree with copyright laws and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it...as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labor...

I make these movies and books and TV shows because I want things to change, and so the more people who get to see them, the better.

Call me a naive twit if you must, but I believe the guy.

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No Anthem

No AnthemEarlier in the week I wrote about how Gord Downie was singing "O Canada" prior to the 75th All-Star game from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

I had a ball game myself that night, so I missed the opening ceremonies. I've been trying to find video or audio from the Fox telecast so I can hear Downie's rendition.

It turns out Fox went to commercial during Downie's rendition of O Canada. When the show resumed, American Idol Fantasia Barrino was getting ready to sing The Star-Spangled Banner. Talk about disrespectful! There are only the two national anthems during the pre-game ceremonies and Fox' decision to effectively edit out ours is a giant slap in the face. We all know how ultra-conservative and Dubya-loving Fox News is and that anti-Americanism is prevalent in all foreign countries, even Canada, so is there any doubt that the timing of this commercial break was politically motivated? How am I going to score a decent MP3 of Gord Downie's performance now?

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Leafs Countdown

Leafs CountdownThe 2004 Maple Leafs schedule was unveiled yesterday and that means it's once again time for the torontomike.com Maple Leafs Countdown Clock.

At this precise second, there are 92 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes, and 46 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener! Check here throughout the summer as we count down the seconds...assuming of course that labour strife does not interfere.

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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.

omg! your so stupid! your going to send all your friends 4 what tina said! omg what a loser! and jerk!

     Christina

Thank you Christina for putting your comments in context. Calling me stupid, a loser and a jerk is nothing new, but please tell me why you're assigning me such harsh labels. My best guess is you were on our Smells Like Sour page and were offended by some comment I made regarding Good Charlotte. Judging from your entry, you're most likely a huge Good Charlotte supporter.

Luckily enough, you submitted your email address riotgirl122003@yahoo.com. I'm going to write you requesting a little more details as to what it is about me you so dislike and I'll post your reply in this space. Inquiring minds want to know. Inquiring minds deserve to know.

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Weekly MP3

Weekly MP3For the past few months, I've been sharing an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. For seven days I host an MP3 for visitors to grab and enjoy and then I host another and another and so on... Judging from the statistics, very few people are taking advantage of this service. As a result, I'm killing the Weekly MP3.

If anyone wants a tune from my collection, contact me and give me your email address and I'll hook you up.

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This Note's For You

This Note's For YouAnybody is welcome to write a Guest Blog which I'm more than happy to post in this space. I'll post just about anything, whether I agree or not. I'll publish Guest Blog entries supporting Dubya, spreading hate or bashing my Leafs.

I just got a Guest Blog entry from a gentleman named Ted who is hocking an adult personals website. "At only $9.95 per month or $24.95 quartile you cant go wrong." If you want to advertise, contact me and we'll negotiate a price. The Guest Blog service is not for pimping your wares.

This note's for you.

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The British Open

The British OpenTomorrow the British Open tees off. Once again, I've entered the office pool and my fate is tied to the performance of these three golfers: Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington.

Follow the British Open and my progress here.

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New Pictures

New PicturesAndge and Stella from Raging Storm took some pictures last night and I've posted them on the Raging Storm home page.

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The End of an Era?

The End of an Era?Is the Vince Carter era in Toronto coming to an end? The Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks are involved in serious discussions on a three-way trade that would see Carter end up with the Mavericks, Antoine Walker move from Dallas to New York and at least two players go from the Knicks to the Raptors, according to a league source.

Earlier this month I shared my thoughts on the imminent trading of our one and only star player. The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it. Unfortunately, we won't get anything in return worth of Carter's up-side, but we haven't made the playoffs the past two seasons and it doesn't get much worse than that.

Stay tuned because I think we're in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto.

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The Streak

The StreakKen Jennings won his 30th consecutive game yesterday on Jeopardy and has now won $1,004,960 USD. The question is, how long can he go without losing?

Jeopardy has finished taping for the year, which explains why Jennings is back home in Utah. Tapings will resume in August and I suspect Jennings will return as the champion. This guy has Jeopardy down to a fine art. He's full of general knowledge, he's quick on his feet and he's mastered the rhythm of the buzzer.

It's no wonder Jeopardy's ratings have shot up since his streak began. I haven't had much time for Jeopardy lately, but I try to tune in these days to watch the master. I'll bet Jennings hits 50 before he's beat. He's the Cal Ripken of geeks.

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Raging Storm 17, Etobicoke Sharks 4

Slo-Pitch ResultsIt was no contest for us in Raging Storm tonight as we blew out the opposition. Truth be known, we would have won via the mercy rule if the ump didn't give the Sharks a gift force out at second in the bottom of the sixth.

Personally speaking, I'm very disappointed with my defensive effort. Playing short stop, there was more than one ball I should have come up with but didn't. I can go 5 for 5 with 5 homers and have a restless night if my D was sub-par. I expect so much better of myself and I'm certain I'm capable of better.

The question that is plaguing me is "Why?". Why aren't I coming up with balls I normally field without a problem? I fear I know the answer but am afraid to admit it. I think it's time to part with the ball glove I've worn since I was fifteen.

I can still see Fernando Valenzuela's signature fading on the palm. This glove and I have been through so much...through peaks and valleys. It's always been there for me, but now I see it's literally falling apart at the seams. It's a mere shadow of its former glory. The insides have deterioriated and it no longer tightens so I'm able to field effectively. It's become a detriment to my play at short stop and that's unacceptable.

Saying goodbye is never easy. This is going to be tough, but my days with my glove are now numbered. Forgive me for shedding a tear. It's the first of many I'm afraid.

For current statistics, visit the Raging Storm home page.

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When Worlds Collide

When Worlds CollideI love baseball. I love The Tragically Hip. I also love it when these worlds collide.

Tonight is the 75th All-Star game from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Prior to the game, Gord Downie will be singing our national anthem. It will be very interesting to see and hear Gordie delivering "O Canada". Will he bust into an anti-Dubya stream of consciousness rant in the middle? Lets hope so.

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Reinventing History?

Reinventing History?Is the gang at CFNY Edge 102 reinventing history? I believe they are.

Edgefest 2004 took place on July 2nd and was closed by Good Charlotte. I think I've said all I have to say about Good Charlotte. In a nutshell, they didn't belong on this bill and I thought having them there devalued the entire experience. You can read my initial reaction, my letters to Alan Cross about it and my gloating upon reading the reviews. I found the following today when I visited the Edge 102 home page.

Check out the pictures from Edgefest! There were so many great performances by Billy Talent, Finger Eleven, Alexisonfire and more!

No mention of Good Charlotte at all. Hmmmm, very interesting. A glance at the pictures reveals many of Billy Talent and Finger Eleven but none of the brats in Good Charlotte. It's as if they've been erased from the line up after the fact.

I can't say I blame them for trying to reinvent history, but it's too little too late. The stink Good Charlotte has left behind will linger for many Edgefests to come.

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All Music's Site Sucks

All Music's Site SucksAll Music has always been a great website for music fans. It's essentially IMDB for music. Every band has a biography, discography, etc. The content was good and yesterday they launched their new website.

Their new site sucks. It's awful. When I visit it with Firefox, I get the following message within a big yellow banner at the top of the page.

Notice: You are accessing allmusic.com with a browser that is not currently supported. The appearance and functionality of the site could be impacted. allmusic.com is optimized for Internet Explorer 5.5 and above for Windows.

Within Firefox is looks horrible. The image on the front page is blocking text, the list of albums on the right-hand side are overlapping each other, nothing is working as it should... A great site is virtually unvisitable because of this very poor design.

All Music, get a clue.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesFahrenheit 9/11 Facts -- Notes + Sources - This link is to Michael Moore's War Room and his extensive factchecking notes on Fahrenheit 9/11. It's quite impressive. He makes it difficult to dispute a single fact.

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Athens 2004

Athens 2004The Olympics are only a month away. That is, if Athens can handle it. Yesterday, Greece experienced their worst power failure in decades, which crippled the southern half of the country for hours.

The Summer Olympic Games take place from August 13 to August 29. Assuming everything runs according to plan, I'll be keeping my good eye on the Canadian athletes taking part and writing about each medal we earn. Visiting this site with give you an instant indication as to how we're doing as I'll have unique icons for gold, silver and bronze as well as a cummulative tally.

Go Canada Go!

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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 Simpsons - The Monorail Song
  2. Korn - Beat It Upright
  3. ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man
  4. Pearl Jam - Thin Air
  5. Public Enemy - Welcome To The Terrordome
  6. Korn - Alone I Break
  7. Sean MacDonald - God
  8. 3rd Bass - Portrait of the Artist As a Hood
  9. Cracker - Low
  10. Blind Melon - Vernie

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Home Run Derby

Home Run DerbyI've always been a big fan of the Home Run Derby. I try and watch every year and I even saw it live at Skydome back in 1992 when Cal Ripken Jr. took the crown.

When there wasn't a Blue Jay competing I always looked to the big sluggers to put on a clinic. Mark McGwire rarely disappointed and Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. were and are always good for a show. With the 2004 Home Run Derby taking place tonight, my money is on Barry Bonds. He's the strongest, and if he tries even a little bit, he'll hit the most homers.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceIsabel Sanford was 86. She was best known as "Weezie", Louise Jefferson on the television sitcom "The Jeffersons".

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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.

The Blues are still required.

Something that concert reviews seem to pay little attention to is the surface on which concertgoers stand. Sometimes seating is a matter of discussion, and for the record, I have sat in or on stadium seating (Springsteen 1985), arena seating (Rush, 1988), very comfy concert hall seating (The Waterboys, Massey Hall, 1989), folding chairs (U2-1988), and concrete benches (the old Concert Hall, Toronto, The Waterboys, 1989). Seating is seating, really; ideally, people are not supposed to be sitting at a concert, if you ask me; this worked OK for the Celtic-bent of the Waterboys and Van Morrison, but for a real rock concert, let me stand, please. People who brought folding chairs to the Watershed Festival (2002) ought to be thrown into the old folks home where they belong.

If I think of concerts I've enjoyed less, it seems to me that it might have had something to do with what I was standing on. Dried packed mud is depressing. The fact that I most enjoyed seeing the Hip in 1992 and 1993 might have less to do with the fact that they (and I) were younger and more energetic than with the fact that I saw them at Molson Park in Barrie, standing in lush green grass. I've seen them three times since, everytime standing on hard mud or gravel-1996: Cayuga Race Track, 2002: Ottawa Blues Fest and Walkerton Watershed (as mentioned above). Part of my memories of each of these concerts is the dirt I was standing in, the way it really made litter obvious, its hardness and, well, its dirtiness. Standing on an unyielding surface seems to me to be somehow contrary to the spirit of music (kind of like sitting, I guess).

I was thinking of this as I looked forward to seeing the Hip at The Wasaga Beach Blues Festival. The tickets from Ticketmaster promised that the concert would be "on the beach." And that was exactly the way it was, and it was awesome. One of Gord's repeated rants was, "How can you have the blues at Wasaga Beach?" He was right. The concert was fantastic, and I honestly think it's one of the best times I've ever had at a concert. The crowd was young, there was pot everywhere and about halfway through, Gord looked out at the crowd and rambled, "This is when the tits come out" (they already were).

They played a lot of new stuff and a lot of old stuff. The highlights were "New Orleans is Sinking" and "Blow at High Dough" of course, but "Springtime in Vienna" is always a live favourite for me. A neat surprise was the revival of "We'll Go Too"-- a song whose chorus is so easy to sing along to. Of the new songs, "It Can't Be Nashville Every Night", "You are Everywhere" and "One Night in Copenhagen" all kicked serious ass. In all, my love for this great Canadian band-- one of the great live bands of all time-- was renewed mightily. With the smell of pot in the air and people all around me freeing themselves; looking out over gorgeous Georgian bay, with its series of points fading into the misty air; Gord rambling, "There's only one rule here-- that you can't lie to yourself, that's what happened with that one guy there (pointing leftward, off stage), so we had to show him the door"; my bare feet digging into the cool, wonderfully soft Wasaga sand-- with all of this, I must say, I felt fine, and I'm really sure it was genuine.

     Jim Huinink

Dude, I wish I was there. The Tragically Hip are my favourite band to see live. I'm glad to hear your love for them has been renewed.

I want to comment on something you wrote about standing for a concert. I have never spent a second sitting for a rock concert and I hope I never will. From the opening note through the final encore, you've got to be on your feet. This is particularly true for Hip shows. I remember attending the Hip show on New Year's Eve 1999 with My wife and another couple and being shocked to see the other couple was sitting for part of the concert. They were actually using the seat they had purchased! I was flabbergasted. Whatever the venue, if Gord is on stage doing his thing, you've got to stand and share the love.

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Big Wheels

Big WheelsI finally found some time to enjoy The Simpsons Season Four on DVD this weekend. I always watch every episode first with the commentary so I can learn all the interesting "behind the scenes" stories from my favourite show.

Among the several episodes I watched yesterday was "Lisa's First Word" in which we see Bart as a toddler. There is a scene in which Bart is riding his Big Wheel. When my brothers and I were growing up in the 80s, it was all about the Big Wheel. Everybody had one of these big plastic tricycle-type toys. My brother Stephen seemed permanently attached to his.

What happened to the Big Wheel? I suppose kids today have more exciting things to do with their leisure time. We sure didn't. I'm going to scour the earth and hunt down a big ol' colourful Big Wheel for James. Screw the X-Box, the Big Wheel is the way to go.

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Less CanCon

Less CanConWhile I'm on the topic of SLS11, it's worth noting there is less Canadian content on SLS11 than on any previous edition. This is unfortunate but the way it worked out. I'm a big fan of Canadian rock, but there simply wasn't enough quality tunage from Canada these past six months.

Mississauga's Billy Talent is represented with "The Ex" and Kingston's Tragically Hip are there with "Vaccination Scar" but that's it unless we label Metric as Canadian. Metric is at least part Canadian, so we'll put the number of Canadian acts on SLS11 at three.

Three out of 23 is pathetic. Where are the killer Canadian tracks? As recently as SLS10 there were six Canadian bands represented. SLS9 has six Canadian acts as well as did SLS8. What gives?

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SLS: From 11 to 12

SLS: From 11 to 12There is now an SLS11 home page as part of our SLS site. You'll find all 23 tunes that made the SLS11 cut there.

All tunes that were submitted for SLS11 consideration but didn't make the cut have been relegated to the Cutting Room Floor. Four tunes which will be considered for SLS12, being "released" in December, remain on the home page. Already there are a few tunes that look like strong contenders. Incubus' "Talk Shows On Mute", Billy Talent's "River Below" and The Hives' "Walk Idiot Walk" to name a few.

Your mission is simple, the next time you hear that tune on CD, in MP3, on the radio, MTV or MuchMusic that you think is SLS-worthy, go here and submit it for consideration. It might just make the cut.

You have your orders. Make me proud.

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Careless Whisper

Careless WhisperThis morning I was cruising the dial of my Freeplay Ranger when I stumbled upon Wham's "Careless Whisper". I was immediately flooded with a ton of memories.

As pathetic as it sounds, Wham was a big part of music when I was an impressionable pre-teen. I owned Make It Big on cassette which contained the sappy ballad "Careless Whisper". In grade school, we began having class dances in grade five. No grade school dance was complete without the airing of "Careless Whisper". I hadn't heard that song in years prior to hearing it this morning, but when the first note pierced my ear I was once again a nervous twelve year old at the grade six dance.

We could have been so good together...

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
      - Yoda, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

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New Pictures

New PicturesThere was a BBQ today to celebrate Ryan's graduation from Ryerson and the birth of his son who is due in August. I took some shots and have posted them in Pictures.

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Disable AutoRun!

Disable AutoRun!Way back in October, I wrote about new anticopying technology from SunnComm Technologies. The objective here is to restrict PC users from ripping CDs into MP3s. At the time, I thought the whole thing sucked and my entry was to remind people that they can suppress the AutoRun feature in Windows by holding down the SHIFT key.

RCA has released "Contraband", the debut from Velvet Revolver, with this anticopy technology installed. When you run the CD on your computer, Windows will automatically look for a file called Autorun.inf on the CD. This is the default setting in Windows. It will then automatically run the application.

Do yourself a favour and disable AutoRun. Not just so companies like RCA can't force you to install their shitty software so you can't listen to the music you purchased in your own way, but because AutoRun is dangerous. There are a lot of spyware and viruses distributed on CDs, it makes sense to disable such a security flaw. Besides, if you're like me, you'll want to rip "Contraband" to enjoy this fine compact disc. My buddy Greg was nice enough to give me this album, unfortunately it's edited and I need my swears.

Go here and follow the instructions so you too can disable AutoRun.

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SLS11 Rocks!

SLS11 Rocks!I must say, SLS11 rocks! I've been listening to it all morning and it's really solid. I believe these really are the best tunes from the first half of 2004.

The song order for SLS11 has changed, so those who need to know the new order take note. The deck has been shuffled and below you'll find the final track listing for SLS11.

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

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Resident Evil

Resident EvilI was well aware "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" was filmed here in Toronto because a friend of mine worked security on the set all last summer. Many movies are filmed here in Toronto, so this is no big deal, it's just that they typically disguise the fact it's Toronto by avoiding all Toronto landmarks.

I just watched the trailer for "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" and fellow Torontonians will want to follow suit because our very own City Hall plays a prominent role. City Hall gets blown up good!

Is it wrong that I feel so proud right now?

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that."

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceJeff Smith was 65. He was public television's popular "Frugal Gourmet" before a sex scandal ruined his career.

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False Info

False InfoThe key U.S. assertions leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq - that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was working to make nuclear weapons - were wrong and based on false or overstated CIA analyses, a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report asserted today.

Is anyone shocked by this? I only wish this report had gone all the way and stated what we all know to be true. Dubya twisted the evidence to back his call for war against Iraq. If you don't believe that to be true, I have some swamp land for sale in beautiful Florida.

Speaking of Dubya, the Pentagon has said that military payroll records that could more fully document his whereabouts during his service in the Texas Air National Guard were inadvertently destroyed.

Does Dubya have horse shoes up his ass or what? What a wonderful coincidence this is. I wonder who ordered that his military payrool records be "inadvertently" destroyed...

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveFive reasons to stop the Friday Five

  1. It's tough coming up with topics
  2. Fridays are very busy
  3. Conformity is restricting
  4. Nobody reads them
  5. Nobody cares

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesMike's Blog - It was bound to happen. Michael Moore has followed my lead and is now blogging. This link is to his blog which he has aptly named Mike's Blog.

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Police Academy

Police AcademyAfter a decade's absence from the big screen, Police Academy is returning for an eighth installment.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I used to love the Police Academy movies. When you're fourteen years old this is some seriously funny shit. The Steve Guttenberg era was the best when you had Hightower, Tackleberry and Jones. I think the first installment came out when I was ten, the perfect age for such hijinks. Now I'm thirty and will probably never see Police Academy 8, but I'm still glad there's room in theatres for good ol' crap like this.

Nostalgia has no taste.

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New Ticket Stub

A Perfect MatchI have added a new stub to my collection of Ticket Stubs.

My ticket from The Tragically Hip show on July 1st is now on display in Ticket Stubs.

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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.

Hayden - Bad as They Seem
This tune appears on Hayden's awesome Everything I Long For album. It's a great disc and this was a brilliant lead single. Give it a spin and discover one of Canada's best kept secrets.

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A Perfect Match

A Perfect MatchHere in Toronto much has been made this week about the release of "incurable psychopath" Martin Ferrier from prison. Ferrier is back in the pen for another two years when he'll once again be freed and we'll once again be reading in the press about what a danger he is to society.

Meanwhile, we're exactly one year away from the release of another notorious psychopath, Karla Homolka. Next July the media will be all over this story speculating on where she'll go and how society will accept her as a free woman.

I have a great idea. In a couple of years, when Ferrier is once again free, lets somehow get the two in the same room. Once they lock eyes, true love is destined to follow. With these two madly in love and paired up, they'll stay out of trouble and leave their criminal pasts behind.

Two birds with one stone. It's brilliant.

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It's Not Working!

It's Not WorkingJames is now well on his way to being fully potty trained. When it's time to go to the potty, we go to the bathroom where he stands there and waits.

The other day, he had stood there for well over five minutes waiting for action when he looked at me with a very serious and frustrated look on his face and said...

"Daddy, it's not working!"

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Raging Storm 10, Flatliners 11

Slo-Pitch ResultsWe in Raging Storm lost a close one tonight and it hurts. Down by one in the top of the last inning, we managed to load the bases with nobody out. The runner on third stayed there as our next three batters failed to deliver.

It wasted a pretty spectacular offensive night for Greg Fay who hit two over the fence in left finishing 3 for 3 with 7 RBIs. This more than makes up for his strike out last week.

For current statistics, visit the Raging Storm home page.

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The End of Free?

The End of Free?A popular news destination for me on the web is the Toronto Star's site. It's the newspaper I'm most familiar with and I peruse it online daily.

If you've visited their site recently, you've noticed they're asking you to register. Soon a great deal of their online content will only be accessible if you login first. This is similar to the New York Times website which requires you to register and sign in before you can view the article.

Currently, registration for the Toronto Star site is free. My question is, is this the end of free? I no longer read the National Post online because they have much of their content reserved for subscribers. Will the Toronto Star eventually follow suit?

There are enough good news sources publishing their articles online that I'm not yet willing to pay a penny for such content. If the Star decides to follow the National Post's Electronic Edition model and charge $10 or so a month, I'll simply have to get my fill from the CBC, BBC, Reuters, AP, Globe and Mail, Canoe and the many other news sites still free.

I hope this isn't the end of free. I'm a big fan of free.

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Gagne's Streak Stopped

Gagne's Streak StoppedCanadian closer Eric Gagne had his streak of 84 consecutive saves end when he allowed two runs in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks last night.

Gagne went almost two years between blown saves. That's incredible...and a major league record.

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Under the 80s Influence

Under the 80s InfluenceTwo of my favourite songs these days are Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" and Modest Mouse's "Float On". There's a clear 80s influence in both. It's undeniable. Both are a modern spin on an 80s sound and both are great.

Other cool recent tunes that are appearing on SLS11 are also heavily influenced by that unmistakable 80s sound. The Stroke's "Reptilia" and The Killers' "Somebody Told Me" for example. Then, there are great new tunes from bands that made their mark in the 80s. The Beastie Boys' "Ch-Check It Out" and Velvet Revolver's "Slither" are prime examples, Velvet Revolver being made up of my favourite 80s band, Guns N' Roses. Although I'm not a fan, I must point out the new releases by Morrissey and The Cure.

Love it or hate it, the 80s is well represented in new rock these days. "Take Me Out" and "Float On" are leading the charge, but they're not alone. Even if things get heavy we'll all float on alright...

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesStop Bush Project - This site is a documentation of anti-Bush sentiment from around the world expressed through graffiti, placards, flyers and other spontaneous, 'guerilla' means.

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Great Reviews

Great ReviewsThe Tragically Hip concert I attended on Canada Day got positive reviews from those who wrote about it for major publications. Here are the reviews I read...

They all remark on the perfect storm of Canada Day, The Hip, a beautiful summer night and fireworks. The excerpt below from the Chart Attack review says it all.

A Tragically Hip show on Canada Day. It's right up there with watching a hockey game while eating a back bacon sandwich and drinking a large Tim Horton's double-double. It's hard to think of a more Canadian way to celebrate the nation's anniversary.

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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 Commitments - Slip Away
  2. Green Day - Burnout
  3. Nirvana - Sliver
  4. Don McLean - American Pie
  5. Blind Lemon Jefferson - Lock Step Blues
  6. Linkin Park - Breaking the Habit
  7. Pearl Jam - Brain of J.
  8. DJ Danger Mouse - December 4th
  9. Nirvana - The Man Who Sold the World.
  10. Ray Charles - Wha'd I Say (Part 1)

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John's Job

John's JobHoward Stern held a contest to see who would get Stuttering John's job. Several John-wannabees tried out and fans voted for their preferred replacement. Richard Christy, a part-time drummer and part-time electrician got the gig.

Just when it looked like Howard's days were numbered with Infinity following Clear Channel's decision to drop Howard in six markets, his show has begun to thrive under the scrutiny and now appears stronger than ever. Just last week Infinity announced it would add nine markets on July 19th. He returns to the air in Rochester, N.Y., Orlando, San Diego, and Pittsburgh; new markets are Houston and Austin, Tampa and West Palm Beach, Fla., and Fresno.

John Kerry will never publicly admit it, but Howard Stern is right up there with Michael Moore as far as allies are concerned. Howard has been very out spoken with his anti-Dubya views and that's only made his show that much more compelling. So long as he's on in Buffalo, I'll be listening.

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Preferred Apps

Preferred AppsWith Six Feet Under on hiatus for a week due to the Independence Day holiday in the States, I find myself with a little free time this Sunday night. For whatever reason, colleagues, friends and family often ask me about my preferred applications for doing everything from ripping CDs to browsing the web. Below is a list of my preferred apps for various tasks you may or may not find useful.

Winamp - I use Winamp for playing my MP3 collection. It's light on it's feet and far superior to Windows Media Player.

Audiograbber - Audiograbber is the application I use to rip my CDs to MP3s so I can enjoy them in Winamp. It's good and it's free.

Nero Express - The CD burning capability built into Windows XP just frustrates me. I far prefer using Nero Express to create audio and data CDs.

Firefox - Firefox is my preferred browser for searching the web. It's secure, fast, handy with the tabbing and it's got a pop-up blocker built into it. Boot Internet Explorer to the curb and use Firefox instead.

Yahoo! Messenger - Everyone needs an Instant Messenger and I've been using Yahoo!'s for several years. I'm happy and have never felt pressure to use the others from Microsoft, AOL and ICQ. If you want an instant chat with me, you'll need the YIM.

WS_FTP - I've tried several FTP clients, and this one is the simplest and most effective. It does the job nicely.

1st Page 2000 - Although I'm content with Notepad, sometimes I work in an HTML editor because of the colour differentiation. It's easier on the eyes and makes me more efficient. This free editor is my preffered app for such purposes.

AVG - Everyone needs a good anti-virus software application and if you want one for free there's no better than the free edition from AVG.

Spybot and Ad Aware - I use both of these tools to scan and rid my PC of spyware. Both are effective and I find one often picks up something the other didn't. Together, they rule and they're both free.

Shareaza - Looking for a good P2P app for finding a good MP3 of that killer tune you just heard on the radio? Try Shareaza. No spyware, no trouble finding tunes and far less psyche outs than you get with Kazzaa.

In order to gel with my fellow employees, I'm tied to Microsoft Outlook for email and Word for word processing. If funky formatting is not required, I'm happier in Notepad because it's far less of a pig than it's Word brother. That's about it for applications I use on a regular basis. Good night y'all.

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SLS11 Modified

SLS11 Unveiled!It seems like only days ago I unveiled the final songlist for SLS11. In an unprecedented occurance, there has been a last second switch. Switchfoot's "Meant To Live" is out and Metric's "Combat Baby" is in. I believe this makes SLS11 even stronger.

Below is the absolute final songlist for SLS11. I promise.

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

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Go F___ Yourself

Go F___ YourselfU.S. Vice President Dick Cheney recently told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to "Go fuck yourself". Strong words for the senate, and certainly news worthy. Only one U.S. daily newspaper spelled out the expletive in full when reporting this news, and that was the Washington Post.

Here's how other newspapers and wire services handled the vice president's words, according to the LA Weekly.

  • L.A. Times: "Go . . . yourself."
  • L.A. Daily News: The headline said Cheney cursed.
  • The story, by the Associated Press, said Cheney said, "F- off" or "F- you."
  • The Boston Globe: Referred to the expletive as a "vulgar directive" and provided no other clues.
  • Calgary Sun: "(Bleep) off" or "Go (bleep) yourself."
  • Daily News (New York): "Go f- yourself."
  • Greenwire: "Go (expletive) yourself."
  • The Guardian: "Fuck off."
  • The Weekend Australian: "F . . k off" or "Go f . . k yourself."
  • Miami Herald: "F- off" or "F- you."
  • The New York Times: "obscene phrase."
  • The New York Post: "F- yourself."
  • Newsday: " - yourself" or "Go - yourself."
  • CNN: the "F" word.

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The Forgotten Soldier

The Forgotten SoldierI just read an article from yesterday's Globe and Mail entitled "The Forgotten Soldier". Feel free to have a glance yourself.

The article is about the life of 84 year old Alfred Finley. In one of my D-Day entries, I shared a picture of Al and shared my memories of the man, a gentleman I used to chat with on a regular basis.

It's an extremely sad article. He lives in a room that is less than 100 square feet and without running water. He cleans himself with a sponge and a basin. His toilet is a ceramic bucket. All of this after surviving some of the great battles of the Second World War.

If this is how we as a society treat our heroes, what do we do with those who act cowardly?

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New Pictures

New PicturesIf you visit the Pictures page now you'll find four new posts. Three are from our trip to Lovesick Lake near Lakefield, Ontario on Saturday where James almost caught a fish, caught a frog and had a blast.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine."
      - George Washington

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Edgefest Aftermath

Edgefest AftermathI certainly wasn't there, but the Toronto Sun's Jason MacNeil was and he wrote this review.

The following excerpt says it all.

Although Good Charlotte headlined last night's Edgefest, even lead singer Joel Madden knew that most had come for the Canadian content, namely Billy Talent.

"You guys have a lot of great bands up here," Madden told the nearly sold-out Molson Amphitheatre crowd. "I think there's going to be a Canadian invasion soon."

Playing its first live gig in more than seven months, the Maryland power punk group played favourites such as The Story Of My Old Man and Hold On from 2002's The Young And The Hopeless. When not being pelted with empty water bottles, guitarists Benji Madden and Billy Martin occasionally faced their amps, turning their backs to the crowd of mainly teens and early 20-somethings.

Now I'm sorry I wasn't there. Pelting water bottles at the dumb asses from Good Charlotte would allow me to cross off yet another item on my "things to do before I die" list.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"My dad never believed in me. I'm not going to make the same mistake; I'm going to be nicer to my son and meaner to my dad."

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Cost of Living

Cost of LivingSometimes it seems like Toronto is one of the most expensive cities to live in, but that's not true. The latest annual cost-of-living survey released Monday by Mercer Human Resource Consulting has Toronto listed at #89.

Tokyo, London and Moscow are the three most expensive cities in the world. I can live with #89. In fact, I do.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveThe best things about a Tragically Hip concert

  1. Canadiana personified
  2. Unified butts wigglin'
  3. "That night in Toronto..."
  4. The sped up version of "At The Hundredth Meridian"
  5. Incoherent ramblings all night long

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceMarlon Brando was 80. He revolutionized American acting with his Method performances in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "On the Waterfront" and went on to create the iconic characterization of Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather".

"The Godfather" and "The Godfather: Part 2" are two of my favourite movies of all time. I own the trilogy on DVD and often return to the first two to revisit Don Vito Corleone and his family. Brando played the role perfectly.

It's also worth noting that Steve had Brando in our Dead Pool and scored a solid twenty points as a result. He's now in second and has bumped me to third.

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Vin-sane

Vin-saneESPN is reporting that Vince Carter wants out of Toronto.

I suppose we all saw this coming. Vince has been complaining about everything in Raptorland for quite some time now. According to a league source, Carter is not happy with the hiring of Rob Babcock as the Raptors' new general manager nor with the selection of Rafael Arajuo with in last week's NBA draft. Now, Carter has asked for a trade and has even presented several different trade proposals to the Raptors.

We'll probably comply with his wishes because nothing is worse than a star who doesn't want to be there. This is why Antonio Davis had to go. We'll never be able to get equal value back, but in the end this might be for the best. Still, Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team. This is Vin-sane.

Looking back at the Vince Carter era in Toronto, I'm proud to say I was there for his finest moment. His 51 points against the Suns in a come from behind victory remains a Raptors record and I was at the ACC to see it all unfold. It was awesome, Vince was awesome and like everything else, it too must end.

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The Hip Live in Concert

The Hip Live in ConcertThe Tragically Hip never fail to put on a killer show. Last night at the Molson Amphitheatre, this tradition continuted. The evening is best broken into the following three partitions.

The Line Up - I've seen the Hip several times and I've been to the Molson Amphitheatre several times but never have I seen a line up to get in like we saw last night. We had lawn tickets, and the line up for lawns seemed to go forever. Despite getting in line at 7:30, we didn't get in the Amp until seconds before Gord and the boys took the stage. We literally got in and heard the crowd cheering because the Hip had hit the stage. It was close...too close...

Three times I scouted ahead to ask security what the hold up was and why the line was moving so slowly. You pay good money to see your band and the last thing you want is to miss a note. I was told by a guy working security that the personal searches were holding things up and they didn't expect everybody to show up at once. Excuse me? Did we catch them off guard? Hire more people!

The Concert - It was an absolutely beautiful summer night in the city and the sky was as clear as could be. My brothers and I secured a great patch of grass at the front near the centre. The opening song was "Vaccination Scar" and the closing song was "Blow at High Dough". Everything in between was just as awesome. They went heavy on the new stuff, which they always do, but that was fine by me and there were enough classics to keep the sing along going.

If I have a complaint about the concert, it's that I saw it without giving the new album a spin first. Once I get my mitts on a new Hip CD, I play it and play it and familiarize myself with the new tunes. Then, when I see them live, the new tunes are familiar and I can get into them and scream along with Gordo. The new album was only released on June 29th and I had only heard three cuts before last night. Still, it's great fun hearing a tune for the first time sung live and critiquing it with your bros.

The Trip Home - The Molson Amphitheatre is at Ontario Place and with last night being Canada Day there was a major fireworks display. So, in addition to the 25,000 of us leaving the Hip concert, there were many more leaving the fireworks. We got out of the parking lot okay and onto Lakeshore, but that's where we hit the wall. We sat there, barely moving, for at least an hour and when we finally got off the Lakeshore at Jamieson it didn't get much better. By the time I dropped off the three others in the car, it was well after midnight.

Coppers were directing the traffic as thousands and thousands of cars tried to leave the same place at the same time. For some inexplicable reason, they were clearly favouring the other three streams of traffic over the one we were in. As this became painfully obvious, others in line with us began to protest. People were leaving their cars and encouraging others to honk. Everyone was honking, people were yelling at the cops and as this progressed the cops appeared hell bent on showing us who's boss. They waited and waited before waving us through the intersection. It was a pissing contest and we lost.

All in all it was a fantastic show surrounded by some lengthy waits. Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip!

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SLS11 Unveiled!

SLS11 Unveiled!It's official! SLS11 is in the can. SLS, of course, represents the finest 80 minutes of rock from the previous six months. Here are the tunes that made the final cut. These songs, without a pause between the tracks, equal exactly 79:42.

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

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Are the Browser Wars Back?

Get Firefox - Web Browsing RedefinedInternet Explorer users, there's an article you should read. Are the Browser Wars Back? by Paul Boutin appeared yesterday on Slate, a website owned by Microsoft. The author does an excellent job of explaining why Firefox 0.9 is the superior browser and why you should switch as soon as possible.

After two days of using it, you'll never go back. I promise.

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Cassini Spacecraft Arrives

Cassini Spacecraft ArrivesCassini has become the first space craft to enter Saturn's orbit. The images of Saturn now arriving are stunning. You've got to check out this gallery from NASA. This picture in particular blew my mind.

What an age we live in.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures on the Pictures page. In honour of Canada Day, I even included a shot I took the other day of some Canadian Geese.

Visit Pictures now to check them out.

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Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada DayHappy Birthday, Canada, you're 137 years young today.

I just read an interesting article by Matthew Mernagh. Below is an excerpt.

Only in Canada would burlesque dancers from Romania be granted work visas to take it off here. A few hundred no less! Apparently there is a stripper shortage, which means the government is issuing burlesque permits to those who can prove that they are qualified dancers. Most of the girls come from such sexy countries as Romania, Poland, Ukraine, earn a tidy sum and then pack it up when the visa expires. God bless Canada!

It's good to know there's a shortage of dancers here, because this possibly means that Gen X has continued to build and develop a knowledge based economy that has created this vacuum. Granted, the beginning of the knowledge base economy hasn't been the best for some Canadians, which has fueled a new Quiet Revolution that began with Canadians freely talking, accepting and permitting (to some extent) social faux pas that are making Republicans cringe. Gay marriage, recreational/medicinal marijuana, war resisters, no this ain't Haight Ashbury it's C-A-N-A-D-A!

The U.S. Constitution?! Bah! That ratty old thing is falling to pieces. Let's talk Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Still in its infancy this document has been the lightening rod to punching a social conscious into a government that avoided gay marriage, marijuana and the newly arrived war resisters. None of the aforementioned issues came about by mass protest, these battles were fought in the courtroom, not debated in the House of Commons.

With a large schism between the two countries from our objection to War for Oil, War on Drugs and War on Human Rights, Canadians should push to further distance ourselves from U.S.A. A testy minority government is the perfect time to debate and pass social policy laws that everyone can live with. American influence on Canadian policies has taken a hit by so many gaffs. Such as forgetting to thank us for taking in the bulk of the re-directed flights during 9/11, Condoleezza Rice claiming that U.S. does more trade with Mexico and the Drug Czar threatening to some how shut down the largest undisputed border in the world.

Canada must continue to be a guiding light, safe haven and peace-nic so that our wayward friend can find its way home.

Vive le Canada!

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