September 2004 Archives

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Rescue Me

Rescue MeI spend a great deal of time and energy trashing television. Most of what emits from the boob tube sucks. There are so few shows I can actually stomach. If the networks launch 20 new programs, it's most likely I'll reject all 20. Maybe, just maybe, one will capture my interest and should that one be something special I'll add it to my short list of must-see television shows.

Last night I watched the pilot for a new drama starring Denis Leary called "Rescue Me" and it was great. Here in Canada, Showcase is carrying it Tuesday nights @ 22:00. I'll be tuning in for the second episode next Tuesday and I love the promise this series is showing thus far. It feels like another great HBO drama but it actually airs in the States on the FX network.

Below are the shows I actually make an effort to watch. Damn I'm going to miss NHL hockey.

  • Six Feet Under
  • The Sopranos
  • The Simpsons
  • Arrested Development
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Rescue Me

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Who's Coming Out

Who's Coming OutBack in late July I wrote about the fact a character on The Simpsons is coming out of the closet next season. I speculated as to who it may be and now I know the answer to this question that has been plaguing me all summer.

I don't want to spoil this for those who want to be surprised, but if you're curious, simply highlight the following text. Patty is coming out. I was right!

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Goodbye

GoodbyeIn front of 31,395 at Olympic Stadium last night, the Montreal Expos played their last ever home game. They got killed 9-1 by the Florida Marlins, but the final score didn't matter. 36 years of Major League Baseball in Montreal has come to a final halt. Here are scenes from last night's finale.

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Name That Team

Name That TeamWith the St. John's Maple Leafs moving to Toronto next season, they're holding a name the team contest. There are three names I'd be okay with and they're listed below in order of preference.

  1. St. Pats - I love the idea of bringing back this nickname. Prior to being called the Maple Leafs, Toronto's NHL franchise was known as the Toronto St. Patricks. With a cool retro jersey like this even I'd have to pick one up.
  2. Baby Leafs - This is how Leaf fans refer to the club anyways and I'm certain the players and coaching staff would have enough of a sense of humour to appreciate the joke. I don't believe this would ever happen, but the Toronto Baby Leafs is the second best route to take.
  3. Buds - Before a leaf can be, it must first be a bud. You can't argue with mother nature and you can't argue with this logic. The Toronto Buds is my third choice as the new name for the St. John's Maple Leafs.

Lets hope the Toronto St. Pats are back in town come this time next year. If I have any pull, it will be so. Of course, I have absolutely no pull whatsoever. How is that fair?

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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.

The Strokes - Last Nite
I was thinking about which MP3 I should share today when I decided to share a straight up killer rock song. The Strokes' "Last Night" is nothing fancy, just a good 'ol rock tune that's very difficult to dislike. Go ahead and try it. I dare you not to dig it.

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Adieu, les Expos

Adieu, les ExposTonight the Montreal Expos play their last ever home game. Next season there will be no Montreal franchise in Major League Baseball. The team will play out of Washington, DC under a new name.

For as long as I can remember there has always been two teams in Canada. As a die hard fan of one of them, I've always been fairly indifferent about the other. Sure, I liked the fact they were Canadian-based and they were always my favourite National League team, but I'm hardly a big Expos fan. For me, I was always way too focused on the Blue Jays to allow another team into my heart.

I'm sort of sad to see the Expos go but I won't be shedding a tear. What does concern me is the very real possibility that this scenario repeats itself one day in the future and it's my Blue Jays that relocate. If that were to happen, I wouldn't shed a tear, I'd fill a bucket.

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Run for the Cure Update

Run for the CureTonight I pick up my run kit for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. The run is this Sunday. As of this moment, my offline donations total $225 and my online donations total $70 for a combined contribution of $295.

The online donation process is totally secure and darn slick. Donate $20 or more and you have a tax receipt sitting in your inbox right away. I think it's very, very cool that visitors to this page chipped in $70 for this excellent cause. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The aforementioned thank you's are intended for those who gave. If you want one of two of them for yourself, visit this page and sponsor me in this run. It's still not too late.

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I Can't Vote

I Can't VoteI keep having to remind myself that I can't cast a vote for President of the United States of America on November 2nd, 2004. I'm reading daily about the American federal election and following it very closely. Throw in the fact I've been voting a lot lately and it only seemed natural I'd be voting again. Within the past year I've voted in our provincial, municipal and federal elections. Why should my citizenship prevent me from casting another vote for John Kerry?

My American friends can register to vote here or visit Howard Stern's official site for his "Clip The Bush" message.

Below are a few other links for excellent coverage of November's big vote in the USA.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. If you're wondering what My Michelle looks like today, wonder no longer.

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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.

Hi I have been debating with my husband for some time now about a piece of sports memorabillia. My husband has a hockey stick from 1973 with Darryl Sittler's original signature on it along with all of his team members at the time. My husband polishes it regularly as he has mounted into a glass case to keep the signatures in MINT CONDITION. He loves that thing more than life itself and he says that he is sitting on a gold mine lol. RIGHT SURE I BELIEVE HIM (Not!!!!!).

So now I am asking you. Give me the digs on what you think the actual price tag would be on his precious stick.

     Kim (The wife who is completely out to lunch when it comes to knowing the worth of sports memorabilia)

That's a very cool collectable. The '73 Leafs not only had Darryl Sittler, but also Dave Keon, Norm Ullman, Ron Ellis and Bob Baun. Oh yeah, and the '73 Leafs had Mr. 32-Years-Ago-Today himself Paul Henderson.

I don't really follow the world of sports collectables, so I couldn't give you an accurate estimation myself, but I'm thinking such a stick would be worth around $400. If someone out there has a more educated guess, please write Kim or tell us all.

I wonder what my Eddie Olcyk autograph is worth today. Hmmmm.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayMr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions on Iraq: "A flip and a flop and now just a flop." - Michael Moore has written an open letter to Dubya in which he reviews the 10 positions that he, his family and his cabinet have taken over the years regarding Saddam Hussein and Iraq. It's another solid piece from the keyboard of Moore.

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It Was 32 Years Ago Today

Henderson Scores For Canada32 years ago today, on September 28, 1972, "The Goal" was scored. There was only 34 seconds left in the eighth and final game of the Summit Series, and only a win would allow Canada to lay claim to victory in the series against the USSR. 32 years ago today, Paul Henderson scored for Canada.

Bless the CBC Archives. It really is an awesome resource. If you want chills, watch this. If you didn't get chills, you're not human...or you're a communist.

Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here's a shot - Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here's another shot! Right in front - THEY SCORE!!! Henderson has scored for Canada!

     Foster Hewitt

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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.

HeyYa Mike. I've sparked quite the controversy around the water cooler here at work. You (much like I) was a child of the 80's. Think back to the day where Mom took you to McDonalds for some eats. You got your little happy meal, and all was good in the world. Some 20 years later, you remember the old days, but some things slip from your memory. Thus, my quandry. Everybody remembers the "A List" characters of McDonald-land. We had Ronald, Grimmace, Hamburglar and the ever hated Birdie. But what about the lesser known "B List"? What about the Cop who had a Quarter Pounder for a head? Also, there was the Pirate! What the heck was his name?

Keep up the good work,

     Mark Sarookanian

I remember the McDonaldland characters well. The "A List" was made up of head mucky-muck Ronald McDonald, Barbapapa wannabee Grimace, the sinister Hamburglar, Birdie the Early Bird and the Fry Guys. The "B List" characters seem to have disappeared over the years. They consisted of Mayor McCheese, Big Mac, The Professor and Captain Crook. The cop you're talking about with a Quarter Pounder for a head was actually Big Mac and his head, appropriately enough, was a Big Mac and not a Quarter Pounder.

Back in the day, McDonaldland was a fully functioning community. Mayor McCheese was their political leader and his chief of police, Big Mac, was kept busy by the criminal duo of Hamburglar and Captain Crook. Of those four, only the Hamburglar has survived and he doesn't seem nearly as sinister these days. The Fry Guys have also been victimized by the PC-90s. They're now called the Fry Kids and include female members! Is nothing sacred?

By the way, I have a story about Ronald McDonald I'll share one day soon. Don't let me forget.

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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 tunes I heard today.

  1. Rush - New World Man
  2. Korn - Clown
  3. Fatboy Slim - Right Here, Right Now
  4. Hound Dog Taylor - Give Me Back My Wig
  5. Dream Warriors - Wash Your Face In My Sink
  6. Wu Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck
  7. Foo Fighters - Everlong (Unplugged from the Howard Stern Show)
  8. Led Zeppelin - Black Dog
  9. Godsmack - Immune
  10. Pearl Jam - Aye Davanita

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The Mike Hunt

The Mike HuntThe mediocre CFNY Edge 102 morning show is holding another annoying contest this week they call The Hunt for Mikes. The objective is to come to their store front studio with more Mikes than anyone else. As I see it, it's a lame, one-note joke that's already boring me to tears. Saying "mike hunt" out loud stops being funny when you're in grade 7. Go ahead and say it. Was it funny? Of course not.

I'm only mentioning this hunt for Mikes because I happen to be a Mike. I've always been one, since birth actually. It's not easy being a Mike. Please permit me to share my pain.

During a typical year in school, it was not uncommon for me to be one of three, four or even five Mikes. It was such a common name that I stopped responding to it altogether. Someone would call for a Mike and I wouldn't even glance over to see if it's for me. The odds were heavily against it.

Take for example my slo-pitch team, Raging Storm. There are eight men on the team and three of them are named Mike. 37.5% of the guys on my team share the name Mike. Fellow Mikes will know this story because it belongs to them as well. There's no challenge in a Mike hunt.

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Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show

Conan O'BrienThe good news: NBC chose the 50th anniversary of the "Tonight" show tonight to announce that Jay Leno will be succeeded by "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien.

The bad news: The very unfunny Jay Leno will not step down until 2009.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DaySarah McLachlan - World On Fire - I find it awfully easy to like Sarah McLachlan. She's Canadian, she's smart, she's funny and she's talented. This video for "World On Fire" is very powerful. This video costs $150,000. What's wrong with this video? Well, it only cost $15. $150,000 could make a difference to over 1,000,000 people. Watch this video!

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Mike Kic Reports from Ecuador

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

Hey Booner,

Just to let you know that we are well in Ecuador. We are currently in a city called Otavalo where they have a huge market each Saturday and the items they sell are incredible. The comparison of Charlie Rich and Pat Quinn is rather close but I still feel that Mr. Quinn resembles my doctor, Dr. Stachula, I just wish I had a picture for you to compare.

     Mike Kic

You've got to snap a pic of the good doctor to send to me. We'll have our own little Pat Quinn look-alike contest. I'm sure it will be very popular.

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Charlie Rich & Pat Quinn

Charlie Rich & Pat QuinnEarlier this morning I found myself watching an infomercial for a series of albums from Time Life. This set was a "collection of the most timeless love songs from the '50s, '60s, and '70s" called Lifetime Of Romance.

It's not a style of music I'd ever hear anywhere else so I thought I'd get my fill during this infomercial. One of the songs featured was "The Most Beautiful Girl" by Charlie Rich and they showed him crooning to the tune. The footage of Charlie Rich singing tripped me up good because I could have sworn that was Maple Leaf head coach Pat Quinn on the stage. Charlie Rich and Pat Quinn could have very easily been separated at birth.

Want to compare? Take a gander at Charlie Rich and then take a look at Pat Quinn.

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Monster

MonsterMonster: 8 out of 10.

If I didn't know that was Charlize Theron playing the role of Aileen Carol Wuornos I wouldn't have guessed it in a million years. This is a seriously awesome performance by Theron and it makes the movie. Her Oscar was well deserved, I'm surprised they didn't give her two.

This isn't a feel good movie, in fact, it's downright depressing. As difficult to watch as it is, it's also a very good flick and those are few and far between.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"You know, we're not the only ones destroying trees. What about beavers? You call yourself an environmentalist, why don't you go club a few beavers?"
      - Lindsay Funke, Arrested Development

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Pitiable

AlI've written about Al before. You can read what I wrote about him to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day here. Also, I posted this picture of Al here.

When I worked at McDonald's as a teenager, he was a regular customer. He was often sporting medals from the second world war and telling stories about it. He was our token local war hero and he had a leg missing to prove it.

Today's Globe and Mail has an article about Al. I'd link to it, but I can't find it online. Apparently, Al's stories are rather suspect. Military experts say the Black Watch uniform he wears to Remembrance Day parades is not authentic. They also say it's not possible he participated in all the Second World War campaigns he claims to have participated in. The Black Watch unit he claims to have belonged to never took part in D-Day.

Al lied to us. His stories no longer have credibility. The Al Bloor West Village thought they knew does not exist. I'm not angry about this fact but saddened. Al is 84 years old, living in a garage with no running water and confined to a wheel chair. He did serve in World War II and he did lose a limb. He defined himself as a veteran and made up stories about where he served and who he served with in order to validate his existence. The fact Al felt he had to do this is not deplorable but pitiable.

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Willard

WillardWillard: 5.5 out of 10.

This is a dark, creepy little flick about a man and his rats. The man is played by the highly under-rated Crispin Glover and the rats are played by...well...a bunch of rats.

If the sight of a bunch of rats is too much for you, I strongly advise you never watch this movie about a bunch of rats. If you're a fan of rats, by all means buy this one on DVD. It stars a bunch of rats. Did I mention the rats? There are a bunch of them in this flick.

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Mike Kic's Testimonial

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

Mr. Boon,

Not only are you a valued asset to your community, you are also close to my heart. Our love is unconditional and I surely hope that it stays that way. Keep up the good work on your website, other than hotmail.com it is the only site I check while I stay here in Ecuador for two weeks. Hasta luego!

     Mike Kic

Mike Kic is a member of Raging Storm and batted .541 while driving in 35 runs this season. Any love he feels for me is strictly platonic, I assure you. He is in Ecuador though so he's not completely full of it.

Hey Mike! Kick Hotmail to the curb and give Gmail a spin. If you want an invite, it's yours.

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New Ticket Stubs

A Perfect MatchI have added two new stubs to my collection of Ticket Stubs.

My ticket from the Kid Rock show on September 11th and the ticket from James' first Blue Jay game on September 5th are now on display in Ticket Stubs.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"You never know when an old calendar might come in handy! Sure, it's not 1985 right now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?"

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayA Dark Day - Nike sums everything up perfectly in 30 seconds and three small words.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite Eminem songs

  1. Lose Yourself
  2. The Way I Am
  3. Stan
  4. Kill You
  5. Guilty Conscience

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Lining Up Is Hard To Do

Lining Up Is Hard To DoIn order to deposit the cash and cheques donated towards my run for the cure, I lined up at a CIBC branch during lunch. It was excruciating. After five minutes I started feeling agitated and I believe I stood in that line for a good half hour before reaching the teller.

I don't know how people do it but they do. I certainly wasn't alone in that line. It moved so slowly and engulfed so much of my precious time. It was hell.

Except for rare exceptions like this, I never line up at the bank. Everything is done either via the Internet or an ATM. Lining up is for suckers. I never want to do that again. Please, I beg of you, make your donation online and don't make me go back there.

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Pea Soup Fog

Pea Soup FogI don't think I've ever seen fog as thick as it was this morning around these parts. It was a very cool effect and I snapped a few pictures. Check this one out.

Spooky shite.

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Leave Your Address

Leave Your AddressI've been sent a number of messages via the Contact Mike form lately. Several Hip fans wanted the pre-sale password, others wants a Gmail invite and some had questions or comments to share. Unfortunately, a hand full of you never typed your email address before submitting the form. Without you providing your email address, I have no way of getting back to you.

So, if you wrote for the Hip pre-sale password and didn't hear back, that's why. If you wrote for a Gmail invite and never got one, that's why. To those of you who shared comments or asked questions and never heard back from me, that's why.

Write your addy and everything will be raddy.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceBilly Reay was 86. He was a legendary NHL head coach who is sixth all-time with 542 wins in 1,102 games behind the bench. He also won two Stanley Cups as a player.

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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.

Today I ate an ant...and it tasted like lemon. We went to the Botanical Orchid Garden in Puyo and saw orchids as small as your pinky toe nail. We ate leaves that tasted like cinnamon, licorice and onions and saw bees that don't sting. I had a boa constrictor around my neck and saw thousands of termites flee out of a tree. It was a great day in Ecuador today.

     Jordy

Jordy is a member of Raging Storm and batted .413 while driving in 23 runs this season. Although her description of today's events sounds like a typical day in Scarborough, she is in fact in Ecuador for a good while. Jordy, feel free to use this space as a forum to share tid bits about life way down there.

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Epidemic

My Name IsI don't mean to beat this horse to death, but on my drive home this afternoon I heard Eminem's "My Name Is" on CFNY Edge 102. That's twice in a span of three days and I haven't had much time for radio listening. This is officially an epidemic.

"My Name Is" was released five years ago. It was Eminem's first hit and he's released several better songs since. I can appreciate Alan Cross' comments but I'm stunned that this is the Eminem song they've suddenly decided to showcase. Is there something I'm missing? Has it been re-released? How is it that I've never heard this song once in the past five years but have now heard it twice in a span of three days?

I don't get it...

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Alan Cross Sez

Alan Cross SezJust yesterday I wrote a blog entry hearing Eminem's "My Name Is" on CFNY Edge 102. It seemed strange to me that this particular Eminem song was played and I wrote Edge 102's program director Alan Cross about it. Alan and I have exchanged emails in the past, you may recall.

My email to Alan reiterated what I wrote here. Below is Alan Cross' reply.

Thanks for taking the time to fire off an email. The least I can do is reply, right?

The weird thing about running a radio station is that you have to try and please hundreds of thousands of people at the same time. That's obviously impossible. So what can we do?

For one thing, we can spend a ton of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars, actually) on audience research. Every two weeks, we conduct some very scientific research into the wants/needs/demands/desires/wishes of a statistically relevant sample of the people who listen to the Edge. We do it so often because we recognize that music-especially the area of new rock-is always changing and mutating. It's our job to keep bobbing and weaving with the times.

Eminem is a perfect example. Three years ago, our research results were clear: Do NOT play Eminem-ever! However, since then, the attitude of the majority of our listeners has changed. In our most recent in-depth study, we found that there has been a 180-degree change. There's now an incredible demand for this guy and a surprising amount of acceptance for his music (and other hip-hip influenced material) in the whole new rock universe.

And it's not just here. Eminem has become a staple artist on new rock radio stations across North America. Go figure. (For the record, I'm not a huge fan, but majority rules.)

As for Avril Lavigne, I wouldn't worry about it. Really.

That's a short explanation for what's really a rather complicated thing.

Hope it helps.

--Alan C

Alan Cross is a very decent dude and he always gets back to me when I write him. His reply basically tells me they now play Eminem's "My Name Is" because there's suddenly a demand for Eminem on Edge 102. I actually like Eminem and have every CD he's ever released in my collection and I've even seen him live in concert but I don't believe "My Name Is" is the kind of Eminem tune that the core Edge 102 audience is demanding. There is a handful of heavier, edgier tunes from Eminem that better fit the bill.

I think it's time for me to accept the fact I've left Edge 102's target demographic. Alas, 'tis true. Edge 102 is targeting the teens and early 20s crowd and quite possibly this crowd wants to hear "My Name Is" along side their Billy Talent, Sum41 and Linkin Park in the morning. Alan Cross assures us that we won't be hearing the latest Avril Lavigne tomorrow morning, but what if this "research" they're conducting concludes that Avril's "My Happy Ending" is suddenly in demand. Why not? It's a catchy tune with guitar supporting our fellow Canadian's vocals. As you've just read, this research is very "scentific".

I'm not even going to play the race card here, but I think it's safe to say that there would not be an "incredible demand for this guy and a surprising amount of acceptance for his music" if Eminem were not white. Sad, but true.

My final thought is this. What's Edge 102 doing spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on audience research when I'll tell them what to play for free concert tickets? I'd keep Eminem on the play list, but it would be "Lose Yourself", "The Way I Am" and maybe "Stan". Of course, I'm 30 and way too old to have an opinion about such matters.

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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.

Pearl Jam - Wishlist
The moment I wrote my sports wishlist Pearl Jam's "Wishlist" starting banging around inside my cranium. It's still there and I can't get it out, not that I'd want to. It's a sweet tune with cool lyrics and now I'm sharing it with you.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceRuss Meyer was 82. He produced, directed, wrote, edited and shot over 20 films, including the 1965 cult hit "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!".

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures including what may be the first picture to include James, Michelle and Zander.

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My Name Is

My Name IsThis morning I heard Eminem's "My Name Is" on CFNY Edge 102. When "My Name Is" was introducing the world to a white rapper from Detroit by hitting the top of every top 40 chart on the continent, Edge 102 wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. You can bet they didn't play it once. Why would they? It was a poppy rap song that didn't fit Edge 102's new rock format.

Hearing "My Name Is" this morning seemed a little off. How is it that many years later it somehow found its way into Edge 102's rotation during morning rush hour? The first time an Eminem tune got multiple spins was "Lose Yourself" and that was completely justifiable. "Lose Yourself" is a heavy tune with a rock style backdrop. Without "Lose Yourself", there's no way I hear "My Name Is" this morning. There's a definite correlation.

What's next? The latest from Avril Lavigne? Don't bet against it.

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Run for the Cure Update

Run for the CureI will be participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, on Sunday, October 3, 2004. Many of you have already supported me by making a donation and I appreciate it. Including my offline donations, I've currently raised $265.

Every penny counts so if you can spare a few bucks for this excellent cause, I'd appreciate it if you'd visit this page and sponsor me in this run. It's not too late.

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My Sports Wishlist

My Sports WishlistThe following are my current sports wishes in no particular order.

  1. I wish Vince Carter would stop being such a suck. He just signed a long-term, big-money contract to play in this city and now he wants to be traded. I wish he'd rescind that request, play his ass off, stay healthy and lead us back to the playoffs.
  2. I wish the Blue Jays could afford to re-sign Carlos Delgado. He's an awesome player, a great person and a our biggest offensive threat. I'd love to see the Jays keep him.
  3. I wish the Buffalo Bills were a better football team. Drew Bledsoe is awfully disappointing and these 13-10 losses are hard to watch. It's going to be a long season.
  4. I wish the NHL season would resume. James had a great time wearing his hockey jersey and chanting Ca-na-da! Ca-na-da! during the World Cup. I think he'd really enjoy watching Leaf games with Daddy this season. It's a damn shame these millionaires can't figure this out for the fans. Without us fans, they're playing nothing more than a game of shinny on a pond.
  5. I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me.

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Tragically Hip Presale

My Tragically Hip PageAt noon today a pre-sale started for The Tragically Hip's upcoming Canadian tour. This pre-sale continues until Thursday at 17:00 EST.

I just picked up pretty good floors for the Toronto show on November 26. I've got the required password for this pre-sale, so if you want it contact me. You can buy tickets here.

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The Globe and Bail

The Globe and BailWelcome to When Good Newspapers Go Bad. The Globe and Mail's website has launched Insider Edition, a desperate attempt to force a new revenue stream. A great deal of their online content now requires a paid subscription. I've checked it out, and it appears most of their content now demands that you fork over $14.95 a month. Even those who get the Globe and Mail delivered to their front door now have to pay $6.95 for full access to their website.

I've now removed this site from the news section of Links and I shant return to it. I'll get my online news from another source...another free source.

This trend bites and I hope it doesn't continue. It's irritating enough navigating through subscription sites like the New York Times and Toronto Star that are free. I hate it when good newspapers go bad.

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Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni PizzaAs I sit here at my desk enjoying a cold slice of pepperoni pizza for lunch, my mind is flooded with glorious memories of slices past. If it's possible to love a food, I've been having a passionate love affair with pepperoni pizza for over two decades. So many positive moments, so many celebrations have been centered around the devouring of this food. So much commemoration, so many laughs, so many smiles.

Pepperoni pizza...thank you, from the bottom of my pleasured gut.

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HBO Wins Big

HBO Wins BigTake a look at my 10 favourite tv shows. Four of the top five originate from HBO. Their programming has been heads and tails above the competition for years and years now. I've been singing their praises for quite some time despite the fact it is illegal for me to subscribe to this station. When HBO creates another Sopranos or Six Feet Under I have to hope a station I can receive cares enough to carry it.

Yesterday's Emmy telecast validated my belief that HBO kicks NBC/ABC/CBS/Fox' ass. The numbers don't lie. Here's the total number of wins secured by each of the aforementioned networks.

  1. HBO - 16
  2. Fox - 3
  3. NBC - 3
  4. ABC - 2
  5. CBS - 1

Not even close.

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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 tunes I heard today.

  1. Meat Loaf - All Revved Up With No Place To Go
  2. Oasis - Morning Glory
  3. Pigeonhed - Fire's Coming Down
  4. The Beatles - For You Blue
  5. Green Day - Christy Road
  6. Cypress Hill - Hits From The Bong
  7. Sonic Youth - 100%
  8. Guns N' Roses - Anything Goes
  9. Nirvana - Heart Shaped Box
  10. Rage Against The Machine - War Within A Breath

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The Emmys

The EmmysI would like to thank the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for getting it right last night. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I agreed with their choices for both Best Drama and Best Comedy. The Sopranos won for Best Drama and Arrested Development won for Best Comedy.

As much as I enjoy Six Feet Under, The Sopranos is probably the best drama on tv today. As for Arrested Development, it is such a diamond in the rough. Just when I was about to give up on network television I discovered this show and it's hilarious. I'm a big fan of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I can't argue with where the Emmy went last night. It is without a doubt the best thing Fox has done since The Simpsons...and that's including When Animals Attack IV.

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Watching Sidney

Watching SidneyI first wrote about Sidney Crosby last year after Wayne Gretzky stated that Crosby was the best hockey player he'd seen since Mario Lemieux. He went on to lead the CHL in scoring.

This season he's already got two games under his belt with the Rimouski Oceanic and he's recorded seven points. That's a tidy average of 3.5 points a game. We'll check in on Sidney Crosby's statistics periodically as we witness the blossoming of the next great one. There was the Great Gretzky followed by Magnificent Mario, and now, Sensational Sidney. We'll be watching.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe Kleptones - A Night At The Hip-Hopera - I'm totally digging some of the cool mash ups being shared on the web these days. Imagine for a moment if you took Queen and mashed their work with hip hop. The results are stunning. I've downloaded all 23 tracks and have been listening to them for the past hour and I love 'em. The hip hop samples are great touching upon everything from Public Enemy to Eminem and the underlying Queen blends in perfectly. Throw in some awesome sound bites from movies like The Great Lebowski and Ferris Bueller's Day Off and you've got A Night at the Hip-Hopera. You have to hear this to believe it.

Hey! If you download these tracks and have a listen, I'd love to hear what you think. I really like it, but I can't tell if it's just me of if others dig this kind of thing as well. Write me privately or compose a Guest Blog.

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My Tragically Hip Page Enhanced

My Tragically Hip PageYesterday I brought to your attention my new Tragically Hip page. Today, I added a new section to this page I call "Song Statistics".

I've analyzed the setlists for every Hip concert I've been to in an effort to determine which songs I've heard live the most frequently. My findings are now maintained in a handy dandy table on this page. As it turns out, there are four different songs I've heard live in concert seven times each. We'll see if I hear all four again in November.

Check out my Tragically Hip page for complete details.

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Eight Crazy Nights

Eight Crazy NightsEight Crazy Nights: 3.5 out of 10.

James and I were in a cartoon mood last night and decided to give this Adam Sandler flick a try. The main reason I hadn't yet seen this 2002 release was because of the negative buzz surrounding it. I heard it stunk and I don't watch stinky movies...usually.

It seemed a little forced and uneven, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. So long as you don't take it seriously, this won't be the least funny film you see all year. Heck, in the right mood on Saturday night with the kid, "Smell ya later, Poopsicle!" even got a giggle out of me.

Having said all of that, do yourself a favour and avoid this movie at all costs.

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Prodigy

ProdigyJames has always enjoyed watching The Simpsons with his daddy. It's been something we've shared since his birth. At an extremely early age he was able to recognize Homer and identify him on sight. He's become a big fan in his own right.

What freaks me out these days is his ability to name the characters from Springfield. He's been able to do this for Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie for quite some time, but recently he's begun doing this for the secondary characters. Show him a photo of Simpsons charactes and he'll point to them one by one and tell you their respective names. Krusty the Clown, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Edna Krabappel, Groundskeeper Willie, Chief Wiggum, Apu, Barney, Moe, Milhouse, Nelson, Ralph, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Grandpa Simpson, Sideshow Bob, Comic Book Guy, Lenny, Carl, Snake, Otto and so on. It's quite impressive.

As much as that freaks me out, what really gets me is his knowledge of the more obscure characters from The Simpsons. I'm referring to people like Disco Stu, Kearny, Dolph, Uter and Hans Moleman. This boy truly is a prodigy.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"These days come and go, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away."
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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My Tragically Hip Page

My Tragically Hip PageI've built a new page that's now part of this web site. This new page is simply called The Tragically Hip and acts as an archive for ticket stubs and set lists from the Tragically Hip concerts I've enjoyed.

I doubt it has any public appeal as I've mainly built it to keep track of this passionate pasttime of mine. I think it may be interesting my brothers who attended several of these shows with me, but otherwise only die hard Hip fans and stalkers will care.

My personal Tragically Hip page can be found at http://torontomike.com/tragicallyhip.html.

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Half Way There

Half Way ThereSeptember is winding down and that means we're just about half way through the period of SLS12 submissions. We'll choose the final playlist for SLS12 just before Christmas.

Thus far it's shaping up to be a pretty weak edition. Typically, better material shows up in the final three months of an SLS cycle, but I'm a little concerned with what we've got at this point.

There's only a few tunes out there I really dig. My favourite songs of 2004 all appeared on SLS11. Where are the killer tracks? Where are the SLS-worthy releases? For the record, here's what I like so far.

  • The Hives - Walk Idiot Walk
  • Billy Talent - River Below
  • Green Day - American Idiot
  • Beastie Boys - Triple Trouble
  • Velvet Revolver - Fall To Pieces
  • Marble Index - I Believe

We can do better.

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The 700 Club

The 700 ClubThe 700 Club in baseball is the penthouse for the home run hitting elite. Prior to last night, only two legends were members: Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. As a kid I had a book about the 500 Club that listed every member while paying respects to the sole member of the 600 Club, Willie Mays, and the aforementioned members of the 700 Club.

Last night, Barry Bonds stepped to the plate in the third inning and hit a 392-foot solo shot to left-centre, his 42nd homer of the season and the 700th homer of his awesome career. Never in my wildest dreams as a kid obsessed with baseball trivia did I envision I'd be alive to see a third player join the 700 Club. At the time, players who reached 500 were few and far between. Bonds' feat here cannot be understated. Bonds had only three 40 home run seasons under his belt before 2001. At the age of 36 he hadn't yet cracked the top 15 in career homers. What he's done over the past four seasons, considering he rarely sees a decent pitch, boggles the mind.

Despite the fact he's an abrasive asshole, I root for him. He's that good.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Dear Lord, the gods have been good to me. As an offering, I present these milk and cookies. If you wish me to eat them instead, please give me no sign whatsoever...thy will be done."

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveThings you should know about SLS

  1. SLS stands for Smells Like Sour
  2. It's a "hypothetical" compilation of the best 80 minutes of music from the previous six months
  3. It's "released" around Christmas and Canada Day each year
  4. There is an SLS Blog I maintain here
  5. Submissions can be made here

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How To Please Your Audience 101

How To Please Your Audience 101As we learned from Spinal Tap's performance in Springfield, one way to ensure your audience screams in excitement is to mention the name of the city you're performing in. I've been to many concerts in my life time, but nobody went to this well as often as Kid Rock did when I saw him last weekend.

Kid Rock shouted out the names "Toronto" and "Canada" several times. When chatting with the audience, he'd talk about his tremendous Toronto friends or how much he loves Canada. He even went so far as to alter lyrics to his songs so the word "Toronto" replaced the name of an American city. I'd guesstimate he shouted out the name of our fair city at least a dozen times on the night.

The thing is it worked. Every time he said the word "Toronto" the crowd erupted in cheer. You can't help it, it's an automatic response a'la Pavlov's dogs. At Hip shows, when Gord refers to "that night in Toronto" during "Bobcaygeon", there is always a huge cheer. Kid Rock knows it and isn't afraid to go to that well over and over again. Who can blame him?

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No Dinosaurs

DinosaursI had to have a serious heart-to-heart discussion with James about dinosaurs this week. You see, James is a big fan of dinosaurs. He has a dinosaur puppet, dinosaur toys and speaks of them often. The kid loves dinosaurs.

Sometimes he'll rhyme off a list of animals that live in the jungle. All the usual suspects are there; lions, tigers, monkeys, zebras, giraffes and so on. He also throws dinosaurs in the mix. He's been talking about the dinosaurs living side by side in the jungle with the lions and tigers for a while now, but this week I felt it was time Daddy and James had a little chat about this.

I gently explained that the dinosaurs were real, but weren't around any more. I glossed over a few theories as to why they aren't around any more, my favourite being the ice age, and I told him they won't be found in the jungle. He took this news well and today if you ask him what animals are in the jungle he leads with "no dinosaurs" before telling me about the monkeys, zebras and giraffes.

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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.

Although I do not currently enjoy watching Hockey, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I miss the golden days of hockey with Gretzky & Kurri .... back when physically ravaging your opponent was not considered entertainment. Back when we Winnipeggers had our Jets. This strike, painful as it may be, may serve to ground the NHL and help them come to the realization that just because American cities are bigger, it does not necessarily mean better markets. There are serious talks going on here that a group of investors are trying to bring back our Jets. Daydream? Maybe, but for the NHL to be successful again they have to take it back to where it all started. Canada.

And hey, while the strike is on, you can always watch NBA!!! Now that it's become official that Vince Carter has demanded a trade, things around the L could get very interesting. And with all the roster moves and the unfirndly split between Kobe & Shaq, this season looks to be chock full of entertainment goodness. Who knows, heads might even roll.

     Rico

I suppose I could always spend more quality time with the family. Perish the thought.

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI submitted a song via the Smells Like Sour website for SLS12 consideration.

I submitted "I Believe" by The Marble Index. I've actually been digging this tune for a while now but only got around to submitting it earlier today. I believe it's an SLS-worthy sound and should make the cut at Christmas.

These guys are actually from Hamilton but I wasn't going to hold that against them.

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Canadian Idol

Canadian IdolYeah, I watched Canadian Idol last night. What's it to you? Does it make me less of a man because I tuned in to the finale of this schlock-fest? Possibly...but everyone needs a guilty pleasure or two, right?

I always pity the two finalists when they have to sing the first single the winner will eventually have to release. It's the only original song they sing throughout the entire competition and it's always terrible. We heard poor Kalan and Theresa belt out "Awake In A Dream" and prayed for it to end. Thankfully, they each sang a couple of covers too but the style of both of these singers bore me to tears. I can tolerate Theresa more than I can tolerate that hobbit Kalan, but neither are anything I'd ever want to hear again.

For the record, I think Kalan will win easily even though Theresa was the better of the two last night. I'm thinking most of the votes are coming from pre-teen females and Kalan's girlish, boy-band looks are custom made for them. He had this won before the top ten were even selected.

Even picky eaters enjoy a big fat slice of cheese now and then. Please don't hold it against me.

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Raging Storm Home Page

Raging Storm Home PageFellow members of Raging Storm are probably wondering how to get to our home page now that the permanent link has been removed from the top of this page. Rest assured, the official Raging Storm home page is still being maintained and can be found here. You can permanently book mark the page at http://torontomike.com/softball.html.

Until I run in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, on Sunday, October 3, 2004, I'm keeping a pink ribbon on the top of this page to the right of the torontomike.com logo. Clicking this pink ribbon will take you to my donation page. You can sponsor my run until the end of the month by clicking that link. Donations from $1 to $100 and beyond are most appreciated.

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Johnny Ramone

Johnny RamoneExactly three months ago today I wrote about the curse of The Ramones. News had surfaced that Johnny Ramone was losing his battle with cancer and this morning we learned he had passed away at his Los Angeles home surrounded by friends and family. It's indeed tragic what is happening to The Ramones.

Within the past few years Joey Ramone died of lymphatic cancer and Dee Dee Ramone died from a drug overdose. Drummer Tommy Ramone is now the only surviving member of the original band. As I wrote three months ago, in the 1970s, The Ramones were punk pioneers, paving the way for bands like the Sex Pistols and Clash. Much of what I listen to today would not have existed if it were not for this New York quartet. How is it that three quarters of this band has died prematurely? It's all so sad.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceJohnny Ramone was 55. He was the guitarist and co-founder of the seminal punk band "The Ramones" that influenced a generation of rockers.

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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.

Queen - We Are The Champions
Do I really need to explain this selection?

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Contingency Plan

Contingency PlanThe National Hockey League will lock out its players Thursday, starting a work stoppage that threatens to keep the sport off the ice for the entire 2004-05 season. As a die hard Leafs fan who follows his team religiously, watches every game and writes an synopsis entry on this site following every game, I'm about to experience a serious void in my life. Some thing I thoroughly enjoy is being taken away from me for an unknown period of time. In an effort to fill this void, I've come up with a contingency plan I'm now putting into action.

Effective immediately, I'm going to adopt the St. John's Maple Leafs as my team. They're moving to Toronto after this season anyways and they're the AHL affiliate for my NHL team so this was a natural selection. I won't be able to watch all the games, but I'll check the stats and read the analysis each day. I'll even post a few lines about each game on this site like so the lack of NHL hockey isn't as unbearable as it could be.

Go Leafs Go! The puck drops October 15th.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayDNC Video: Fortunate Son - This is a clear and concise video about Dubya and his supposed service in the National Guard that has been put out by the DNC. It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son.

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI submitted a song via the Smells Like Sour website for SLS12 consideration.

I submitted "Fall To Pieces" by Velvet Revolver. I dig this track but my brother Steve doesn't. We discussed this difference of opinion and realized that this sound, which is a Guns N' Roses sound circa 1990, is a sound I grew up with. He, being four years younger, missed the entire scene. It's true, this song does bring me back to 1990 and does sound more Guns N' Roses than Stone Temple Pilots, but my ears find pleasure in the melody.

Every time I hear it, I too fall to pieces.

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Canada 3, Finland 2

World CupThe World Cup has returned to Canada after 13 long years. This marks four straight national championship wins for Canada as we were victorious at the 2002 Olympics and captured two consecutive IIHF world titles. There is no doubt as to which nation rules the hockey universe.

It was a great game and a great night but this morning I awoke to the realization we're all getting screwed. It was an awesome tournament and the good guys ran the gamut going 6-0 and winning it all but now the ACC is hockey-less for Lord knows how long. James and I donned our Leafs jerseys last night and gathered with the family to watch our game and it felt so right...it felt so Canadian. A strip of our cultural fabric is being torn away from us and there's absolutely nothing we can do.

I do have a contingency plan though and I'll write more about that later this afternoon. For now, I'm going to savour our big win and enjoy the fact that we are the champions of the world.

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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.

Hey Mike! Just a quick thank you for your interest in helping out the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation! So many women are stricken with this horrible disease and we need more awareness and good folks like you to help in finding a cure. My wife was diagnosed in December 2003 and it has been very difficult to say the least. After enduring many surgeries including a masectomy and reconstruction, she is now on the road to recovery. Chemo has been tough and the emotional distress has been overwhelming. We have plans to do the 60 km walk next year but this year she is just not physically able to do so. Unless there is support from people like you, there will be no tomorrow for many of these women.

God bless you and best of luck with your fund raising!

     Bruce and Nancy Bird

Thanks for the encouragement Bruce. I'm glad Nancy is doing better. The big "C" is a negative creep and nothing would make me happier than beating the snot out of it. Lets cure this thang.

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Donations

Run for the CureYesterday I wrote that I'm running in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, on Sunday, October 3, 2004 and I asked you to support me by making a donation online. 24 hours later and I've raised $25 thanks to your help.

When making your donation online, you decide whether you want me to know who you are or not. You can choose to donate anonymously if that's your preference. As for the amount of your donation, you can give any amount. Every little bit helps.

My goal is to raise $125 above and beyond the money I'll be donating myself. I have $100 to go. If you want to anonymously give $5 to this excellent cause, visit this page and sponsor me in this run. If you want to give more and make sure I know it's from you, that's cool too. I appreciate all y'all.

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Tonight's The Night

World CupTo borrow a phrase from fellow Torontonian Neil Young, tonight's the night. It all comes down to this. One game will settle the score and determine who is the supreme hockey nation. Canada faces off against Finland at the ACC.

I'm quite looking forward to this game, but it's bitter sweet. After a hockey-less summer we've been blessed with this great hockey tournament and my biological clock is telling me NHL training camp is right around the corner. My Leafs Countdown page confirms this by indicating there is exactly 31 days, 7 hours, 26 minutes, and 26 seconds left until the Maple Leafs 2004/2005 season opener. It confirms this, yet I know I won't be sitting down with James to watch the blue and white 32 days from today. I'm not that naive. It's not going to happen and that bites.

So, I'll get together with my brothers and watch Canada win the World Cup of Hockey tonight but I'll do so knowing it may be my last taste of NHL-calibre hockey for a long time. The puck won't drop in 32 days. The puck may not drop in twelve months. It may be 2006 before the NHL resumes and while owners and players squabble over millions the only victims are you and I, the hockey fans.

Savour tonight. It's going to have to hold us a while. Go Canada Go!

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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.

Hey Mike...by some unprecedented stroke of luck I discovered that CBC radio (99.1 I think) was covering the game on Saturday night.

     Paul C.

D'oh! I never left the AM dial. I see now that CBC Radio One broadcast the semi-finals and will broadcast tomorrow's final too. I won't need them tomorrow, it's all about Bob Cole and Harry Neale from 19:00 EST on.

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 tunes I heard today.

  1. Alice In Chains - Man In The Box
  2. Willie Nelson - On The Road Again
  3. Buddy Holly - Blue Days
  4. Live - Stage
  5. Neil Young - Tired Eyes
  6. Pearl Jam - No Way
  7. Otis Redding - Just One More Day
  8. Pearl Jam - Dead Man
  9. Pulp - Monday Morning
  10. Public Enemy - Who Stole The Soul? (Sir Jinx Stolen Souled Out Reparation Mixx)

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Hip Alert

Hip AlertThe Tragically Hip are set to play a gig at the Air Canada Centre on November 26th, 2004. That's all the detail I have right now. For Toronto fans looking to catch other shows in the area, they'll also be playing Hamilton on November 28 and London on November 27.

I last saw the Hip on July 1 and I was wondering when they'd announce their Canadian tour. I can't wait to catch them on November 26 at the ACC.

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Run for the Cure

Run for the CureI will be participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, on Sunday, October 3, 2004. It would be very cool if you'd support me by making a donation online, Payments can be made using VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. It's quick, easy and secure!

For any donation over $20, within 30 minutes after your payment has been successfully received, an electronic tax receipt will automatically be sent to your email inbox. If you can spare a few bucks this this excellent cause, I'd appreciate it if you'd visit this page and sponsor me in this run. It's only 5km so I may have to run it twice.

Thank you!

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Season Leaders

RSWe in Raging Storm are done for the season and here are the final leaders in the main offensive categories.

Highest Batting Average - Greg Fay, .710
Most Hits - Mike Boon, 51
Most RBIs - Greg Fay, 43
Most Home Runs - Greg Fay, 8
Most Walks - Dave, 11

I'm still ticked at how it all ended, but at least we made it to the finals before self destructing.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Yeah, I'm hot, because I'm tired of people taking shots at Canadian hockey. It sickens my stomach to turn the TV on. It makes me ill to hear what's being said. . . . I know the whole world wants us to lose, except for Canada and Canada fans and our players. We'll be there. We'll be standing."
      - Wayne Gretzky

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Kid Rock

Kid RockWhen you're treating your mom to a concert, it's probably going to be an artist like Rod Stewart, Simon & Garfunkle or Cher. Someone safe and bland, right? Last night, I treated my mom to Kid Rock.

I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this show. For one night I forgave Kid Rock for his blind support of Dubya and recent slide into country music territory and allowed myself to be entertained. He put on a high energy show filled with his hits, some good covers and even some rap from a ghost. Below are the details of my night with the Nascar crowd.

In the middle of one tune, Kid Rock broke into Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" and everyone broke out their lighters for a sing-along. It was that kind of night. Later, he actually covered the Dukes of Hazzard theme and had the back of the stage draped in the confederate flag. During another tune they played from tape the part sung by the late Joe C while a large picture of dimunitive rapper hung in tribute. This kind of kitchy fun was worth the price of admission alone, which for me was zilch. I often wondered how Kid Rock balanced his hip-hop turntable scratching with his southern rock and country base. Isn't the country crowd upset with the rapping? Isn't the rock crowd upset with the rapping and country? Wouldn't my mother be upset with the prevalent use of the term "mother f*cker"? So many questions...

I mentioned I enjoyed the show and I sincerely did. It was a hell of a lot of fun. We got the hits like "Only God Knows Why", "Cowboy", "American Badass", "You Never Met A Motherf*cker Quite Like Me", "Picture", "Feel Like Makin' Love" and, of course, the crowd favourite "Bawitdaba", his home run closer.

As for mom, she loved it too. I always suspected there was more than a little Harley Davidson flowing through those veins of hers. On the way home, she asked me what "Bawitdaba" means. That's a very good sign.

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Canada 4, Czech Republic 3

World CupBring on the Finns! Canada was outworked, outplayed for long stretches and outshot 40-24, but Vincent Lecavalier scored 3:45 into overtime to earn us a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday night.

I left a tie game when I entered the Molson Amphitheatre last night but word quickly spread that we were going into overtime. I literally felt butterflies in my stomach until Kid Rock announced that Canada prevailed. After that, the entire stadium erupted in cheer and Rock had to alter his playlist. There was no way we were going to settle down for a slow tune at that point. He ended up breaking into Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and the party was really underway.

We survived the Czech Republic and play for the gold on Tuesday night at 19:00 EST. I won't miss a minute of this one.

Before I leave this topic, I have a couple of notes to scrawl down. Where is the radio coverage of this event? Last night I was in the car for a period of time during the second period. It was a scoreless game when I left the television but I was forced to listen for updates because there was no play-by-play. 640 Toronto has the rights to Maple Leafs games, so you'd think they might have this event as well. The fact is it's tv or nothing if you're following the World Cup of Hockey. As for the web, I can't say enough about the highlights provided on the official site here. They're lengthy, include all goals and scoring chances, and are just Bob Cole's call over the play. I'd love the NHL to provide the same feature for NHL games. It's awesome.

Go Canada Go!

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Three Years Ago Today

Three Years Ago TodayAsk anyone where they were three years ago today and they'll tell you. 2,749 people were killed in Manhattan, 184 people died in Washington and 40 died in Pennsylvania as a result of the worst act of terrorism ever to take place on North American soil.

I remember that day vividly. I had been working away in front of my PC in the office since 8:30am and the day seemed typical. I had a glass of ice water beside me and I had just finished reading and replying to my email. Walter arrived and shared some news he had just heard on his car radio. This is when the day stopped being typical. A plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York City.

At that moment, I had no idea it was a large commercial passenger plane that was flown into the tower intentionally. I immediately assumed it was a Cessna that had perhaps flown off course. Still, I found it intriguing and jumped on the web for further details. Soon thereafter, the reality of the situation became apparent. A second plane struck the second tower and this was no accident. About a half hour later a third plane struck the Pentagon and then a fourth plane went down in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The United States of America, our geographical neighbour, was under attack.

Fear. That was the primary emotion throughout the remainder of that day. We had no idea what was going to happen next and nothing felt as secure as it did when I awoke that morning. Nothing would ever again. I made contact with my wife who was pregnant with James at the time and heard through my mom that she and my brothers were okay and that gave me some personal relief. The large news websites were choking on the traffic that morning but I managed to stream a live news feed from CP24 which I stayed glued to. The occurrences and disposition of the day was surreal. So many dead, such devastation, so inhumane, so pointless.

I remember driving home that evening, looking towards the sky and realizing everything was different. I got home and wondered what world would be awaiting our son when he arrived. I felt such sympathy for those who lost loved ones that day and simultaneously felt relief that I wasn't one of them. I wondered if we would ever be able to laugh again and enjoy our freedoms and liberties once more.

We are now three years removed from that fateful day. We're laughing again, we're enjoying life, this nation is abuzz about a semi-final hockey game tonight at the ACC. I'm planning to enjoy a BBQ with my beautiful family who I adore with all my heart and then I'm going to watch the game and see Kid Rock at the Amp. We, as a society, have not only survived but have returned to enjoying this precious life. You can't kill spirit. You can't destroy hope. We've proved this. I can vouch for it.

"That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not." - James K. Feibleman

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Hey Brent!

GmailFellow Hip fan Brent Carter wants a Gmail invite but when he contacted me he failed to provide an email address I could send the invite to.

Brent, if you're out there, contact me again with your email address and I'll hook you up. That goes for anyone else too. I've got four left...

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"It's BTO. They're Canada's answer to ELP. Their big hit was TCB. That's how we talked in the 70's. We didn't have a moment to spare."

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Gmail Invites

GmailA couple of days ago, I put out the call that I'm unloading all of my Gmail invites and a few piped up and were rewarded. I still have a few more so if you want Gmail contact me with the email address you want the Gmail invite sent to. First come, first serve. Don't be shy.

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Taste of the Kingsway

Taste of the KingswayI totally get the whole "Taste of the Danforth" thing because it's a primarily Greek district and their street festival is all about souvlaki and baklava. I get it.

What exactly is the deal with this weekend's "Taste of the Kingsway"? How exactly does the Kingsway taste?

It seems awfully forced to me.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite comic strips

  1. For Better Or For Worse
  2. The Far Side
  3. Herman
  4. Dilbert
  5. Sherman's Lagoon

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Nirvana Box Set

Nirvana Box SetThe definitive band of my generation, Nirvana, is set to release a three-CD boxed set in November. Limited editions of the project will include a DVD, which boasts footage of the Kurt Cobain-led band playing at a 1987 house party.

We were supposed to get this gift for Christmas 2001, the 10-year anniversary of "Nevermind", but Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic were thwarted by lawsuits from Courtney Love, who objected to their planned use of the previously unreleased track "You Know You're Right" in the set.

I don't have any further details, but when I learn the track listing I'll share the info. Nirvana ranks in my top three bands of all time alongside The Tragically Hip and Pearl Jam. We Nirvana fans need closure. This box set may just give us that.

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Another Mike Boon

Another Mike BoonI got an email from another Mike Boon earlier today. Occasionally I hear from someone who shares my name when they Google their name or visit their name dot com.

This Mike Boon lives in England as a Construction Manager for this company, is 44 years old and has three children. It's always strange to consider there are others out there with the same name. I wonder how the Mike Smith's of the world feel.

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London Calling

London CallingTo mark the 25th anniversary of the Clash's third album, Sony will reissue a special edition of London Calling on September 21, 2004.

I remember the winter I discovered London Calling. That cassette secured a permanent home in my Walkman for months. It got me from Jane to Islington station and back every day of that stark, cold winter. I thought it was the greatest rock album I had ever heard. It sounded good, these guys were saying something and they were passionate about it. In the years before grunge, it gave me a reason to believe in rock.

Happy birthday London Calling and thank you. Thank you for everything.

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A Dick

A DickI've spent a great deal of time writing about my dislike for Dubya and his politics but I never intended to give Dick Cheney a free pass. I don't know a whole lot about him, but I just read The Curse of Dick Cheney in Rolling Stone and it's pretty clear Dick is a dick.

It's a very interesting read if you have five minutes. Here's an excerpt.

As vice president, Cheney has been the decisive force pushing America into war. In the inner councils of the administration, it was he who emasculated Colin Powell, cut the State Department out of effective policymaking, foisted fake reports on the intelligence agencies and supplanted the National Security Council. It was also Cheney who placed appointees personally loyal to him, including Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, in charge of the Pentagon and speckled the warmaking bureaucracy with desk officers culled from neoconservative Washington think tanks -- ideologues with no military experience...

...As the disaster has unfolded in Iraq, he has continued to insist against all evidence that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, that the dictator was aiding Al Qaeda, that nothing the Bush administration has done was a mistake. Those who have known him over the years remain astounded by what they describe as his almost autistic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others. "He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met," says John Perry Barlow, his former supporter. Cheney's freshman-year roommate, Steve Billings, agrees: "If I could ask Dick one question, I'd ask him how he could be so unempathetic."

I pray this administration will not be reelected but I fear it will be. The S factor is at full strength. Four more years of this garbage is a frightening thought.

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Canada 5, Slovakia 0

World CupIt's been tough catching all the games in this great tournament. I missed the entire quarterfinals last night because I was playing a ball game. From what I've seen Jarome Iginla had a great game with two goals and an assist while Martin Brodeur recorded the easy shutout.

So far we have dominated the tournament, going 4-0 while outscoring our opponents 15-3. Next up is the Czech Republic at the ACC on Saturday night. Just my luck, I'm catching Kid Rock at the Amp that night. As God is my witness, nothing will prevent me from watching the finals and another Canadian victory on Tuesday.

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Raging Storm Lose

RSFollowing the high of last week, we in Raging Storm came crashing down to earth and lost the championship series last night.

It would be easy to blame this loss on the inclement weather or the bad calls that kept going against us, but in the end we lost because we were out played. I hate losing, but we deserved to lose last night.

In time I'll post our final statistics and list the winners in each category. You'll find it all on our Raging Storm home page.

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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.

Beck - Loser
This selection will make more sense after I write an update on our championship slo-pitch series we played tonight. It was either going to be this tune or "We Are The Champions" by Queen.

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Gmail

GmailGmail invites for everyone!

If you want Gmail, contact me with the email address you want the Gmail invite sent to. I'm in a giving mood.

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Ken Jennings

Ken JenningsSo Ken Jennings won Jeopardy! again last night. Have you ever wondered how long his streak continues for? Jeopardy is taped quite a bit in advance and there's an apparent leak as to how many he wins in succession and how much he wins in total.

I don't want to spoil this for those who are enjoying watching his streak continue night after night but if you're curious as to where this might be going you can read it here.

If he really does win 74 in row that's awesome.

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Hurricane Frances

Hurricane FrancesThe remnants of Hurricane Frances are expected to hit Toronto later this afternoon. That means rain, rain and more rain. Beginning some time this afternoon it's supposed to start raining and it's not going to stop until some time tomorrow.

Frances is one selfish bee-atch. Tonight we in Raging Storm play the Clippers for the slo-pitch championship of the world. It's quite possible mother nature will beat us both.

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Rollover DJ vs. Taking Care Of Business

WOTW vs. STT"Rollover DJ" is the latest hook-laden single from Jet. It's destined to become the third hit off their debut album Get Born. I've got Get Born and I've been hearing "Rollover DJ" on CFNY Edge 102 and there's a part of this tune that's identical to Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care Of Business".

Jet seems to have mastered the art of sounding like other bands and tunes while producing mega hits. "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" is, for all intents and purposes, built upon Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life". Their second single, "Stone Cold Bitch", has parts that are very Oasis-ish and other parts that are AC-DC-ish.

Taking care of business and working overtime. Work out.

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Championship Game

RSTomorrow night, we in Raging Storm play for the championship. Our best of three series, beginning at 18:30 EST, will be played at Centennial Park, diamond #2.

It's time for the cream to rise my friends. Leave nothing in the tank. Just win, baby!!!

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CBC & Microsoft

CBC & MicrosoftThe CBC has put a rather creative spin on changes they've made to their live radio streaming. If you were to believe their hype, one of several live CBC Radio streaming improvements is a decision to move to one standard media player for live streaming - Windows Media Player.

As of August 30, 2004, CBC.ca visitors who previously listened to live CBC Radio through Real Media or QuickTime players can still connect to our live radio streaming, but will need to use Windows Media Player to access the service. Download Windows Media Player 9.

Being able to stream live CBC radio is great for Canadians from coast to coast but this decision to force Windows Media Player down our collective throats sucks. It may be the most popular player but that's only because it's bundled with our OS which in itself is unfair. We all own the CBC and I hate seeing the CBC helping Microsoft in its pursuit of a monopoly. We want choice, particularly non-Microsoft options. I should be able to listen to CBC radio without requiring big fat Windows Media Player. This is dissapointing to say the least.

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Bawitaba

BawitdabaThrough my cable provider, I randomly won a draw for two tickets to the Molson Amphitheatre. I'll be seeing Kid Rock this coming Saturday night.

Kid Rock isn't an artist I'd ever pay money to see, but hand me a couple of free tickets and I'm there for the party. There's nothing wrong with a little trailer park rock with some hip-hop, folk, country and Skynyrd sprinkled in for good measure. Ryan will be joining me and I'll report back on what the mullet-headed beer and weed crowd was up to.

My name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiddddd!!!!!

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Black Monday Swarm - Tales From The Ex

Tales From The ExThroughout the 125th Canadian National Exhibition I've shared stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant. Below is my final tale for 2004. I have many others, so we'll pick this up again next August.

Today is Labour Day and the final day of the twenty day CNE. I don't know how things are today, but in the late 80s we called this day Black Monday. I wrote a little about Black Monday last week.

There's one Black Monday I'll never forget. Rumours were circulating throughout the afternoon that a large collection of wannabee-thug teens were planning to swarm the midway on a looting spree. We were on high-alert for such activity and when night fell and sunlight dissapated we got word that this swarming had begun. Apparently it had started around the Dufferin Gates and was working it's way towards the Princes Gates. We didn't have more than a minute or two before they'd be at our booth.

The game booth I was working was a trailer that opened and closed on each side. We jumped in and I hit the button for the hydraulics to close the doors. In complete darkness we held the doors closed and in seconds all we heard was a continuous thunderous pounding. This swarm of people was banging on the walls as they advanced. It lasted less than a minute but it was surreal. When we opened the doors to take a peak outside there was no sign of trouble. The swarm had advanced and we were no worse for wear.

The worst part of Black Monday was the fact I'd be back at Michael Power High School the next day for another semester of boredom. One day I'm taking out petty thugs and locking myself in a trailer to avoid an angry mob and the next day I'm in home room. It was never an easy transition.

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Swimming Pool

Swimming PoolSwimming Pool: 6.5 out of 10.

This is another example of a movie with a tiny budget and no special effects that works because of thoughtful direction and pacing. In much the same way Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson carried Lost In Translation, Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier carry Swimming Pool.

If you're looking for a intriguing little flick that's both erotic and challenging, you could do far worse than this.

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Pulp Prequel

Pulp PrequelOnce again, rumours of a Pulp Fiction prequel are making the rounds. This time, John Travolta lit the spark by telling the press Quentin Tarantino calls him every six months to discuss a movie about the Vega brothers.

I loved Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs and I'd love to see a Tarantino movie about the Vega brothers. We would have to suspend belief somewhat though. I just saw Michael Madsen in Kill Bill: Volume 2 and he's looking more than a little rough around the edges. I suppose if he and Travolta go on a serious weight loss regimen and they use soft lighting and the right lens we could somewhat buy the fact it's a Pulp Fiction prequel.

I'm willing to do just that to see the Vega brothers in another Tarantino gem. Now is Quentin just going to talk about this movie forever or is there a plan to actually make it? Lets do this while the two principles are still alive. Remember, Travolta flies his own planes...

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This is Jeopardy

This is JeopardyJeopardy returns today after a summer break. Normally this wouldn't warrant a blog entry, but Ken Jennings has made me interested in Jeopardy again.

He's won 38 games straight and $1.3 million USD. He's given 1,336 correct answers out of 1,446 attempts which is a 92% success rate and he's swept 45 categories. How good is Ken Jennings at Jeopardy? In 33 of his 38 victories, Final Jeopardy has been meaningless because he had already clinched victory.

I've always fancied myself somewhat of a Jeopardy whiz but I'm certainly no Ken Jennings. We'll see if he wins #39 tonight at 19:30 EST on CTV.

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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 tunes I heard today.

  1. Pearl Jam & Cypress Hill - Real Thing
  2. Nirvana - School (Live)
  3. Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day
  4. Default - Made To Lie
  5. Guns N' Roses - The Garden
  6. John Lennon - Dear Yoko
  7. Moxy Früvous - Bittersweet
  8. The Tragically Hip - Nautical Disaster (Live)
  9. Beastie Boys - I Don't Know
  10. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama

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New Video

New VideoI've posted a video clip in Videos of James at today's Blue Jays game. Dial-uppers beware because it's almost 5 MBs. It's a .mov so if you don't already have the free Apple QuickTime player you'll need to download it first.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. No, this is not a recording. These four are in addition to the four I posted yesterday. Enjoy!

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James' First Jays Game

James' First GameToday I had the pleasure of bringing James to his very first Blue Jays game at Skydome. I'm not sure when I saw my first game, but I recall the first game in my memory and I can still see Damaso Garcia hitting that long bases loaded triple in a big win at Exhibition Stadium. Today I was passing the torch to the next generation.

It was a perfect afternoon for a ball game, Skydome was open and James was excited. A most amazing thing happened before we even had a chance to get to our seats. On our way to section 124, the first batter of the game, Mark Kotsay of the Oakland Athletics, hit a foul ball that careemed off the stairs and somehow found it's way to us. I came up with it and secured my first ever game ball from a major league baseball game. I had caught a couple of batting practice balls before, but never an actual ball from a game. One batter at the plate and it was shaping up to be a fantastic day.

James must be a good luck charm because the Blue Jays bats were alive and kicking. Rookie Gabe Gross hit a grand slam, rookie Russ Adams hit his first career home run and Carlos Delgado went deep in a 12-5 victory. The seats were amazing and Brian Burke himself was sitting only a couple of rows ahead of us. As first games go this was a keeper.

The game went a little over three hours and James was great the whole time. He got up and cheered at the right time, periodically hollered at the ball players and sat contently in his seat the entire time except for one potty break in the 8th. Today couldn't have gone any better than it did. I think we have another Jays fan on our hands.

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Lost In Translation

Lost In TranslationLost In Translation: 8 out of 10.

I had read good things about this movie, but hadn't found time to actually watch it. This morning I made time and I'm glad I did. It's a stunning, tender little flick that brilliantly features Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

I so prefer well written and well acted little charmers like this to the big budget blockbuster crapola Hollywood churns out each week. I've read that the entire budget for the film was only $4 million USD. If Sofia Coppola can make a wonderful film like this for that kind of scratch you have to wonder why so few quality movies get made each year. The world needs more Sofia Coppola's I suppose.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Sun's goin' down, and it's all dark at the ballpark, but that's okay...it's a night game."
      - "Ok Blue Jays Lets Play Ball", Blue Jays Team Song

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Canada 3, Russia 1

World CupSo far, so good. Canada is clearly the team to beat in this tournament and nothing short of winning it will be acceptable to hockey fans in this great nation.

Although this clearly isn't the Russian squad that gave us fits throughout the 70s and 80s, it still feels awfully good to beat them in a competition like this. I thought Kris Draper played one hell of a game and Martin Brodeur once again proved he's our best asset.

Keep it going boys...

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New Pictures

New PicturesI know, I know. I haven't shared new pictures of James and Michelle in over two weeks. In a weak effort to redeem myself, I snapped several new shots today and I've posted four new pix in Pictures.

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Observing the Conklin Carnies - Tales From The Ex

Tales From The ExDuring the 125th Canadian National Exhibition, I'm sharing stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant. Below is one of many.

The CNE's midway, full of rides and game booths, is mainly operated by Conklin and has been for decades. I didn't work for Conklin. As mentioned in previous tales, I worked for a smaller operation run by a man named Ardo. I did, however, have a unique opportunity to observe the lifestyle of the Conklin carnies.

Most of those I worked with, including myself, went to school the day after the Ex closed. Most of those working the many Conklin rides and games tore down and moved on to the next carnival. They were your stereotypical carnies and this was their year-round, full-time occupation. Today, Conklin's website actually hosts their employee handbook. Along with projecting a positive attitude and maintaining a professional attitude, there's no eating, drinking, or smoking while working. Fifteen years ago when I was observing the Conklin carnies on a daily basis, there was no such handbook.

These guys amazed me with their ability to work so consistently on so little sleep. They were up at dawn and partying hard well into the wee hours of the night. They slept in trailers on the site and you could always find them enjoying life outside the trailer with a smoke in one hand and a beer in the other. I think this was their official uniform at the time. We were always envious of their innate ability to have a great time at any hour of the day. They partied hard, but they worked hard too. As I previously wrote, they were there when I needed them and they've got my respect...even if they don't have all their teeth.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers..."

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite movies featuring Eugene Levy

  1. Best In Show
  2. Waiting For Guffman
  3. A Mighty Wind
  4. The Canadian Conspiracy
  5. Vacation

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Bring On The Clippers

RSHey Raging Storm! We don't yet have a date nailed down for our championship game, but we now have an opponent. The Clippers beat The Horny Thorns last night and will take us on for the title.

We took them in in the first game of the season and won a tight one 12-9. Lets do this thang.

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Bands at the Grandstand - Tales From The Ex

Tales From The ExDuring the 125th Canadian National Exhibition, I'm sharing stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant. Below is one of many.

Working at the CNE you could always expect a concert crowd before and after that night's show at Exhibition Stadium. The concert ticket got you into the Ex for free so concert goers would often arrive early to play games on the midway and would do the same on their way out.

These concerts produced much of the clientele for the evening. The sort of crowd we got depended upon the style of music being performed that night. When Motorhead and other metal acts played, it was a typical head banger crowd with lots of leather and those classic rock tee shirts with the white sleeves and black chest. When the Cure played it was a sea of black. A band like YES (or Emerson, Lake and Palmer as the case may be) brought out the middle aged crowd. For the record, the big spenders were the Rolling Stones fans there to catch the Steel Wheels tour. There were many, they were a variety of ages and they seemed to always have a lot of cash.

There was a spot I would visit when acts I liked were performing where I could comfortably chill and hear the concert. I couldn't see the stage, but I was close enough that it sounded great. I have fond memories of taking a couple of hours off on a busy night to hear the entire Alice Cooper set. I wasn't quite eighteen but I liked it.

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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.

Sloan - Underwhelmed
It's hard to believe I first heard this tune over a decade ago. It's from Sloan's wicked debut album Smeared and it's killer. You knew it was going to be a good day when you awakened to "Underwhelmed" playing on the radio. Remember fondly the short-lived Halifax scene.

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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.

Lady Bird Johnson is next!!!!!

     Matt

Whoa. I'm getting chills. Although your Guest Blog is rather cryptic, I'm guessing you're making a bold prediction as to whose name will next be added to my Dead Pool list. You've either had a premonition or you intend to murder the former First Lady.

Lady Bird Johnson is 91 years old and could take a dirt nap any time now. If she bites the dust in the next 48 hours I'm really going to be freaked out.

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For Love Of The Game

RSI am deliriously happy. All day long I've been walking on air with a song in my heart. All this is the result of a great night of baseball.

We didn't receive a bonus for the victory and my wicked stab at shortstop won't be shown on Sportscentre but none of that matters. Yesterday's heart-stopping come-from-behind victory is more intoxicating than any drug. I've heard from others on the team and I'm not the only one experiencing this natural buzz. My teammate Mike E. summed it up nicely in this email below he sent to the entire team.

I kept running around the house last night saying "I can't believe we just won that....that was an AWESOME series of battles!!" I felt like a kid in a candy store after that performance. You guys all played an amazing set of games. We battled back after a crushing defeat and never lost hope. In fact, the way that first game fired us up was incredible. That's the beauty of this team. No matter how bruised or battered we get, we NEVER give up and battle back as hard as we can.

Mike's right. We lost the first game 18-8 and looked to be down and out. That was three games against Hollywood and three defeats. We had to scratch and claw our way back in the second game and managed to pull out a hard fought 10-6 victory. With the momentum on our side, we picked up game three right where we left off and hammered 'em 18-9. We reached down and found that something extra that great teams have. Victory was ours and this brilliant buzz is our reward.

The updated stats are now on our Raging Storm home page. When we win the championship next week, we'll have memories that will last a lifetime. Today, I am deliriously happy.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayWorld Cup of Hockey Highlights - There are great video highlights from every game at the World Cup available from this page. I just watched a great 3:11 synopsis of the Canada - Slovakia game. I make it a point to watch the video highlights for every game of the tournament and you should too...if you know what's good for ya.

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Canada 5, Slovakia 1

World CupI missed this entire game last night because I had a few ball games to play. I have seen the replays and am pleased to see us back in red and white for the second game of the World Cup. Canada = red + white.

It sounds like it was a rather convincing victory and it has assured us of a home game in the quarter-finals September 8 right here in Toronto. On the drive to the ball game we were predicting the final score for this one and I came closest guessing we'd win 4-1.

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Raging Storm Advance to Finals

RSEvery so often in the wonderful world of sport, something magical happens. Last night, we in Raging Storm were lucky enough to be part of such a blessed event.

In a best of three semi-final against Hollywood, a team that had beat us two out of two times in the regular season, we went out and got pummelled in game one. Then, we fell behind 4-0 in game two. It was shaping up to be one of those nights with our offense limited to pop flies. Then, on a dime, the tide turned.

I don't yet have the box score and stats so I can't tell you the exact scores, but we won game number two handedly and forced a third and deciding game. Again, we sent Hollywood back to la la land and against all odds advanced to the finals next week. Marc's pitches were sharp, our offense was clutch and our defense was tight. It was such a wonderful night for baseball we had to play three.

When I get the scores and stats I'll update our Raging Storm home page.

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Canada 2, USA 1

World CupI will never again make fun of Americans for being unable to follow the puck on television. I had a difficult time last night following my team. I've seen Team Canada compete in dozens of tournaments throughout my life and the one constant has been the colours red and white with the occasional black thrown in for stylistic purposes. Yesterday, I kept having to remind myself that we're the team in yellow. Yellow? Yep, yellow.

I know it was a tribute to the Winnipeg Falcons, but I hated seeing Canada in yellow. The uniforms kept reminding me of the Boston Bruins or perhaps the Swedish team. Yellow? Ugh.

As for the game it was a solid effort and a win's a win. We certainly started strong and looked like we could have been up 4-0 easy early in the second. The fact it was only 2-1 is more than a little flattering to the Americans who got some awesome goaltending from Robert Esche. We're a young, fast team and I'd love to see us play like we did in the first period yesterday for an entire game. If we do, no other country can match that intensity.

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Humble and Fred

Humble and FredDriving the streets of Toronto the past few days I've noticed a new ad campaign for Humble and Fred's morning show. For over a decade the Humble and Fred Show, mornings on CFNY Edge 102, was the radio program I awoke to. I enjoyed their folksy charm, sense of humour and the tunes played in between. Throughout the 90s there was no better Toronto radio show in the mornings.

A few years back Humble and Fred were moved off of Edge 102 and on to Mojo Radio, a new sister station that was all talk. For a little while I still tuned in a little here and there but I often denied it for Howard Stern or tunes. Then, Humble and Fred moved to Mix 99.9 and I haven't heard a word out of them since. Still, I can see those ads plastered throughout the city and remember fondly the morning radio of my formative years.

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