December 2004 Archives

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I don't mean to be redundant. This has been addressed all ready on this site, but I can't for one moment understand why more is not being done by those countries who are more fortunate.

I am infuriated with the U.S. but that is no surprise as I feel this way about 3 times a week. They do very little in comparison to what they have. Can they not think back to 911 the feeling of a country in dissaray? Would that not make them understand that these countries affected by the Tsunami would feel - amplified by 100?

But as a proud Canadian the lack of action with DART when it would be responsible for saving so many lives sickens me. I continue to be baffled by this lack of action. Employ the DART, help out a country in need. Let's help as many people as we can survive in to 2005 and the future!!!

I am not a believer in resolutions for the New Year, but I hope the Government of the U.S, Canada and other countries are. Bush, help out with more than a measly few million dollars. Martin, deploy the DART!!! Stop making this proud Canadian feel ashamed!

PS GOOD CHARLOTTE SUCKS! But I bet those losers would still send the DART.

      Irate North American

You raise an interesting question. Would Good Charlotte have deployed the DART to south and east Asia if Good Charlotte had such power? I'd like to think they would as the DART is ideal for a horrific event of this nature. It makes good sense to offer the services of the DART where there is a desperate need for water purification, but would the idiots from Good Charlotte do the right thing? Don't count on it.

Here's another question for you to ponder. If this didn't get Paul Martin to cut his Morocco Christmas vacation short, what would? Returning to Canada at once would have been the act of a great leader. Martin is no great leader.

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The Friday Five Ten

Friday FiveMy favourite blog entries of 2004

  1. My Michelle
  2. My New Year
  3. The Story Of...
  4. My Nephew
  5. James' First Game
  6. Canada 3, Finland 2
  7. Seein' Conan
  8. Champions
  9. O Canada
  10. Kurt Cobain

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As Holidays Go

As Holidays GoAs holidays go, New Years is pretty weak. I can't get excited about celebrating a change from one calendar year to the next. Today is 2004 and tomorrow will be 2005...whoopie!

To me, the changing of the calendar year is merely a convenient excuse to write and read various "best of" lists. I'll probably go to sleep around 23:00 EST tonight and skip that silly countdown crap. I'm just not into this holiday of convenience.

Enjoy tonight but please try and keep it down. I need my beauty sleep.

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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.

UR ING-LISH IZ SO DAY-UM GOOD. IZNT DIS 1 OV YO PET PEEVS? p.S> GOOD CHARLOTTE RULES!

      random internet user

Over a year ago, I wrote this entry in which I complained that our Smells Like Sour page had become a cesspool for cyber-kitties and their IM-speak. Good Charlotte fans stumbling upon the SLS "Hold On" page still like to give me a hard time about my controversial comments.

What's scary is that my comments on that page were #3 and today there are 298. I said it before and I'll say it again: As horrible as they are, Good Charlotte is remarkably popular.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 5, Syracuse Crunch 3

Go Leafs Go!Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped a franchise record 63 shots giving the Leafs their fourth straight victory at home. Aubin is proving to be quite the signing, stopping 144 shots in his last three games and entering last night's game with a 1.56 goals against average and .958 save percentage.

Current Record  Recent Games Season Leaders
20-11-0-1
41 points
5-3 Win vs. Syracuse
4-1 Win vs. Syracuse
1-0 Win vs. Binghamton
David Ling - 36 pts
Kyle Wellwood - 34 pts
Harold Druken - 23 pts

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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.

This world is becoming an absolute joke. Our so called gov't won't send DART to the Tsunami victims because they haven't asked & the U.S. has sent minimal coin to aid the relief effort. My twins ask each day what the toll is as of now. 13 year old boys care more about this catastrophe than our superiors. Both Chris & Andrew ask what they can do to help & they are both willing to give up their Xmas gifts of cash to help. Tomorrow I am going to donate their Xmas & Birthday gifts of cash to the Red Cross. PLEASE, anyone reading this message consider donating anything to help.

      A Family Who Cares.

If anyone's looking for a link to the Canadian Red Cross and their secure online donation page, please read this entry from earlier in the week.

I just read that our federal government will match the generosity of Canadians dollar-for-dollar until January 11th. This includes money donated to the Canadian Red Cross. Furthermore, in addition to the $40 million in aid announced so far, we're freezing debt repayment for the hardest-hit countries. I'm still ticked off over the DART delay, but at least a 17-member reconnaissance is on their way to Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Is it all enough? It's not even close, and that where you and I and the commercial sector come in to play.

Give what you can.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceArtie Shaw was 94. He was the clarinetist and bandleader whose recording of "Begin the Beguine" epitomized the Big Band era.

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Canada 8, Finland 1

Go Canada Go!Canada completely dominated the World Junior Hockey Championship round robin. Over four games Canada out scored their opponents 32-5, setting a record for most goals scored by one team while coasting to an easy 4-0 record.

Of course, we've yet to face Russia, the United States or the Czech Republic, so it's only going to be tougher from here. Our next game is the semifinal on Sunday. Go Canada Go!

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Throw The Damn DART

Throw The Darn DARTThe Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART for short, is a specialized team of about 200 Canadian Forces soldiers that flies into disaster areas around the world to provide drinking water and medical treatment until long-term aid arrives. The military created DART in 1996 because of its experience in Rwanda two years earlier, when international relief organizations arrived too late to save thousands of people from a cholera epidemic. The DART was last used five years ago when a massive earthquake hit Turkey.

Hmmm, let me think for a moment. Is there anywhere in the world right now that would benefit from the presence of such a team? Has there been a recent disaster resulting in a desperate need for water purification before disease sets in killing thousands? Oh yes, that's right, there was that tsunami disaster that has so far killed over 120,000 people from Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Maldives and Somalia. When Defence Minister Bill Graham was asked why the DART hadn't been sent to south Asia he originally said it was because it had not yet been requested. He's since backtracked on those statements and said we're looking at whether we should deploy the DART.

It upsets me as a Canadian that we have this 200-member rapid response unit, which can operate a mobile command centre, a medical facility, and water purification equipment capable of producing 100,000 litres of clean drinking water and it's here on hold while those who desperately need it die. While Graham fiddles his thumbs our fearless Prime Minister Paul Martin continues to vacation in Morocco. Send the damn DART. There is a disaster and we need to respond. Time is of the essence.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures, all taken on Boxing Day. There are some great pictures of James frolicking in the freshly fallen snow.

Toronto weather is funny. Four days ago it was a wintry, snowy day and tomorrow it will be 9°C. Don't look now, but they're calling for 16°C on Wednesday. Who's up for beach volleyball?

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St. John's Maple Leafs 4, Syracuse Crunch 1

Go Leafs Go!The AHL Leafs sure know how to take some time off over the holidays. They hadn't played since December 18. David Ling continues to be the offensive leader scoring another two goals while Jean Sebastien Aubin recorded 47 saves to lead St. John's to a 4-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch at Mile One Stadium in front of 3,864 fans.

Current Record  Recent Games Season Leaders
19-11-0-1
39 points
4-1 Win vs. Syracuse
1-0 Win vs. Binghamton
3-2 Loss vs. Rochester
David Ling - 34 pts
Kyle Wellwood - 33 pts
Harold Druken - 23 pts

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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Confessions of a Dangerous MindConfessions of a Dangerous Mind: 6.5 out of 10.

This wasn't a bad movie at all, but it wasn't particularly believable. It's all about Chuck Barris and is based on his book which contains some fairly absurd revelations. There's a great deal of fact intertwined with a healthy dose of hogwash and that's the problem. It's all laid out with nothing insightful to say about any of it. This flick is missing something.

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Remembering Detective Lennie Briscoe

Remembering Detective Lennie BriscoeLaw & Order: Artistic Intent is a great collection of artwork inspired by "Law & Order" and its spinoffs. Below are four wonderful paintings in memory of Detective Lennie Briscoe.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceJerry Orbach was 69. He played Detective Lennie Briscoe for twelve seasons on "Law & Order" and was a star on Broadway as a song-and-dance man.

He was set to star in "Law & Order: Trial By Jury" and I was looking forward to that series because Lennie Briscoe was in it. I think I've seen every episode of "Law & Order", many several times, and my favourites were when Detective's Mike Logan and Lennie Briscoe teamed up. It was a tremendous role and he was awesome in it. Jerry Orbach will be missed.

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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.

Papa Roach - Scars
Colin James - Five Long Years
Yesterday I wrote an entry in which I confessed to hearing Colin James' "Five Long Years" about two thirds of the way through Papa Roach's "Scars". In an effort to prove I haven't completely lost it, I'm sharing both songs today.

Dare to compare!

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I have seen many blogs regarding my Uncle Doug but not that have been so distateful. This is a man with a family and this is a horrible time for them. Please remember that all of the players are just human and deal with life struggles just like we all do. Sometimes the struggles feel like more than we can handle. Hopefully no one will choose the same way out of their troubles Doug did but please be thoughtful of those of us left behind to deal with the outcome.

      Tracey

Tracey, I've been a Blue Jays fan for as long as I can remember and every Blue Jays fan is a fan of Doug Ault. His two homers on opening day made him a legend around here. When I read of his passing, I wrote this entry. I was extremely complimentary and respectful and I meant every word of it.

Yesterday, I posted a Guest Blog submitted by an anonymous person via this form. I'll post just about anything, including this entry in which the author cracked a joke about your uncle's suicide being the result of the Blue Jays' poor performance of late. I personally don't think there's anything funny about suicide and would never have written such an entry myself. Remember, any text that's blocked off with the blue background is not written by me. I'm sorry if it offended your family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I remember it well. I wasn't old enough to understand at the time but it wil always be a large part of Blue Jay past. Ault hit the first home run in Blue Jays History off the White Sox Ken Brett. Ault hit another home run in the game and Toronto won the game 9-5.

What are the current Jays doing to compete? Not much. Do you blame them when they have to take out The Yankees or The Red Sox each year to make the playoffs? Not sure... Either way, a solution is needed as I am in desperate need of some playoff baseball in the great white north.

But If I was affiliated with the Jays in any way, I'd probably off myself as well. So can you blame Doug Ault?? Not really. In fact, let's get some security watching over Jessee Barfield and Willie Upshaw.... and I'll be damned if anything were to happen to Cliff Johnson. In fact, let's bring these guys back for the 2005 season. It will be more fun to watch, and we'll end up behind the Yanks and Sox just like we would have anyhow!!!

I'm a fan of black humour, but won't the karma police nab us for joking about Doug Ault's suicide? You're right though, we don't have a prayer of ever making the playoffs again so long as we share a division with the Yankees and Red Sox.

I love your idea about bringing back the golden oldies for next season. We'll still finish last, but it will be damn fun. At first we'll put Willie Upshaw, at second we'll put Damaso Garcia, Alfredo Griffin and Tony Fernandez can platoon at shortstop as can Rance Mullineks and Garth Iorg at third. Our outfield, of course, will be George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield. Cliff Johnson will be the DH, Ernie Whitt will catch and our starting rotation will be Dave Stieb, Jim Clancy, Jimmy Key, Luis Leal and Mike Flanagan. Out of the bullpen we'll have Dennis Lamp, Roy Lee Jackson, Mark Eichorn and Tom "Terminator" Henke. I'm excited already.

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Blogging The Game

Go Canada Go!Canada faces Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championship in minutes. I've settled in my basement to watch the game, only I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to blog the game.

I have no idea how this will turn out, so consider yourself witness to an experiment. Here goes nothing.

20:08 - The puck has dropped. TSN has just shown that we're 8-0 against Germany all-time having outscored them something like a million to three. I'm not too worried. Canada 0, Germany 0

20:14 - It's still scoreless, but Sidney Crosby just feathered a great little pass in front for Corey Perry. I love watching Crosby play. He's something special and I've been writing about him since October 2003. The future of Canadian hockey is very, very bright. Canada 0, Germany 0

20:24 - German goaltender Youri Ziffzer must be a Gerry Cheevers fan. I see a few stitches on his mask. Canada 0, Germany 0

20:28 - That's one two. Andrew Ladd finished a nice play by Mike Richards giving Pierre McGuire another chance to jump on his "no redline" soapbox before Clarke Macarthur followed that up less than a minute later. It begins. Canada 2, Germany 0

20:38 - Crosby was just high sticked which means we'll be up two men. We've got four powerplay goals thus far in the tournament and all four have been scored by Crosby. Canada 2, Germany 0

20:39 - Speaking of the devil... Sidney Crosby has his fifth powerplay goal of the tournament and we're up by three. Canada 3, Germany 0

20:41 - It's not really fair, is it? Every player on our team has been drafted by an NHL team or will be. Only one player on the German squad has been drafted. Cam Barker just scored the first powerplay goal by a Canadian not named Sidney. Canada 4, Germany 0

20:43 - The first period has come to a close and we're up by four. Lets hope Mike Richards isn't too badly hurt. I just did some quick math and see we've outscored our opponents 19-4 after seven periods of play. Canada 4, Germany 0

21:10 - That was a nifty little goal by Ryan Getzlaf. With the assist, Patrice Bergeron extends his point lead. Rejean Beauchemin is having an easy night, isn't he? Canada 5, Germany 0

21:21 - Anthony Stewart scores through the five hole as the onslaught continues. We're outshooting Germany 35-8 and I half expect them to start waving a white flag from the bench at any moment now. Canada 6, Germany 0

21:57 - Gord Miller just mentioned it and it's been on my mind as well. Considering how untested we are through two exhibition games and now three first round games, how do we know how we'll perform against a decent team like Russia or the USA? I've watched every minute of the past two games, and I'm still not sure how good either goalie is. Squashing our opponents with ease is a good thing, but I want the gold and I'm not interested in being surprised by one of the other contenders. Canada 6, Germany 0

22:05 - Anthony Stewart just scored his second goal of the game on a nice pass in front by Ryan Getzlaf. The offense has clearly shown up again, lets secure the shutout. Canada 7, Germany 0

22:18 - Another goal for Sidney Crosby has Canada up by eight. It's actually his first even strength goal of the tournament, believe it or not. Hey boys, save some goals for Finland on Thursday! Canada 8, Germany 0

22:24 - Colin Fraser just used Sidney Crosby as a nice decoy before scoring on our 51st shot of the game. Canada 9, Germany 0

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Canada 9, Germany 0

Go Canada Go!I enjoyed Game Bloggin' this lop-sided 9-0 victory over Germany. Everybody did their part and played a very disciplined game. In three games thus far, we're out scoring our opponents 24-4. Next up is Finland, Thursday at 16:35 EST.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayAmateur Tsunami Video Footage - I was discussing the recent tsunami disaster over lunch with my brother when he asked where he could find amateur video of the events of December 26th. I had seen clips here and there, but wanted one centralized portal to all such amateur tsunami video footage circulating on the world wide web. This chap is doing just that, going so far as to even host the clips.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceSusan Sontag was 71. She was the author, activist and self-defined "zealot of seriousness" whose voracious mind and provocative prose made her a leading intellectual of the past half century.

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Scars vs. Five Long Years

S vs. 5LYOn Christmas Day I told my brothers "Scars" would do for Papa Roach what "The Reason" did for Hoobastank. "Scars" is a hook-laden pop-rock single that's destined to be a big hit. It's just starting to break on CFNY Edge 102 and I suspect it will eventually chart on Chum FM, Mix 99.9 and the rest of the MOR stations.

"Scars" isn't a bad song, in fact, I kind of like it, but it's so catchy and obviously generated for mass appeal I'm fairly certain I'll be sick of it by the New Year. I'm so personally undecided about this song, I've yet to submit it for SLS13 consideration.

Whenever I hear "Scars" on the radio or on the new Papa Roach album I have, I clearly hear Colin James' "Five Long Years" about two thirds of the way through it. Perhaps it's my CanCon upbringing, but I'm sure it's there. I'm so certain, I welcome you to download this MP3 of Colin James' "Five Long Years" to hear for yourself.

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Bend It Like Beckham

Bend It Like BeckhamBend It Like Beckham: 6.75 out of 10.

This was a cute and charming little flick about soccer. It's not half bad...and it's appropriate for the whole family. Of course, it's a little too safe and it is about soccer, so that explains why I didn't rank it higher.

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Canada 8, Sweden 1

Go Canada Go!James and I thoroughly enjoyed cheering Canada's junior team on this afternoon. We overwhelmed Sweden, outshooting them 45-17 on the way to an 8-1 walloping. Sidney Crosby scored another two goals and now has four for the tournament. Next up is Germany, tomorrow night at 20:00 EST.

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23,000+

23,000+Yesterday, while many of us returned Christmas gifts, hunted for Boxing Day bargains and relaxed after a day of celebration and heavy eating, there was a violent earthquake under the sea near northern Indonesia. The resulting tsunami was absolutely devastating, sending huge waves crashing into coastal resorts across south and east Asia.

When I first read about this natural disaster yesterday, they were reporting 3,000 dead. Throughout the day and over night this total grew and now stands at 23,000. 23,000 from Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Maldives and Somalia are dead. I fear this total will only continue to grow before all is said and done as mass graves are dug and people hunt for the missing.

The Canadian Red Cross is appealing for cash donations for earthquake and tidal wave relief in South East Asia. Follow my lead and Donate Online. The Canadian Red Cross will process your credit card information securely in real time using the latest available encryption technology...give that $40 you received from Great Aunt Judy or that $50 you were going to use to buy that DVD you'll never watch.

Our world is smaller than you think and fellow citizens dealt a brutal blow by mother nature need our help. Help.

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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. The Tragically Hip - Another Midnight
  2. Pearl Jam - I Got Shit
  3. Scott Weiland - Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down
  4. Trust Company - Deeper Into You
  5. AC-DC - Have A Drink On Me
  6. Neil Young - Crime In The City
  7. Sloan - Iggy And Angus
  8. Nirvana - Even In His Youth
  9. The Beatles - Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  10. Cracker - Kerosene Hat

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James' Bath

James' BathJames doesn't bathe alone. Joining him in his nightly bath are four ducks, four frogs, four dinosaurs a boat and two identical rubber Bob the Builder and Muck toys.

They all get in before he does and they all go back in the bin before he gets out. When dropping them into the bin beside the tub, he says goodnight to each individually, addressing them by name and colour. "Goodnight blue dinosaur, goodnight purple dinosaur, goodnight yellow ducky, etc..."

It's awfully cute.

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Marge's Christmas Message

Marge's Christmas MessageIn addition to the Queen's traditional address to the nation, Channel 4 in the United Kingdom aired an exclusive animated piece for English viewers.

If you're a diehard fan like me, you'll want to see this 2:40 of original, Brit-centric Simpsons gold. Download it here. Like I did earlier in the day, Homer even asked the audience what the heck Boxing Day was all about. Enjoy.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceReggie White was 43. He was the NFL's former all-time sack leader who put together a Hall of Fame career as a defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers from 1985-1998. He also played for the Carolina Panthers in 2000.

It's been a rough week for deaths in the sports world. In The Dead Pool, the past four entries are sports personalities. I was a big fan of Reggie White's Packers teams of the late 90s. He was larger than life.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceDoug Ault was 54. He hit .245 with 11 homers and 64 RBIs during the Toronto Blue Jays' inaugural season but he's best known for hitting two home runs in a 9-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on opening day.

As a big fan of baseball trivia and Blue Jays trivia in particular, I grew up well aware of the legend of Doug Ault. On that snowy April 7th day in 1977 when Major League Baseball debuted in Toronto, Ault became an instant fan favourite by going deep twice. A common trivia question between my brothers and I was "Who hit the first home run in Blue Jays history?" The answer, of course, is Doug Ault who warmed up 44,649 freezing fans back in '77.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures, all taken Christmas Day. Not only was it Michelle's first Christmas, but it was the first Christmas James really "got". Sweet Baby James was replaced long ago by this smart, sensitive, wonderful young boy. I'm the luckiest son of bitch in the world.

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Boxing Day

Boxing DayHere in Canada we celebrate Boxing Day today, but what the hell does it mean? I asked Taryn to explain the origins of this holiday and she told me it was because the day after Christmas you traditionally return all the boxes your gifts came in. She meant well, but Taryn was wrong.

Consulting my favourite source for such matters, I learned the holiday's roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen's Day. "Its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after."

Today we remember those occupying an even lower rung on the class ladder. This shouldn't take me very long.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."
      - John Lennon

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Reciprocation

ReciprocationExchanging gifts with my family this afternoon provided a precious moment of reciprocation that had to be shared.

Steve unwrapped his gift from me and was happy to learn he had received The Simpsons Season Five on DVD. I then unwrapped my gift from him to learn I too had received The Simpsons Season Five on DVD. We gave each other the identical gift and neither of us could be happier.

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Canada 7, Slovakia 3

Go Canada Go!Canada overwhelmed Slovakia in today's opening match up of the World Junior Championships. It was The Crosby Show as Sidney Crosby scored two and added an assist. Next up is Sweden, Monday at 16:00 EST.

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Merry Christmas

Merry ChristmasFrom my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!" - Charles Dickens

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Let us celebrate this agreement with the adding of chocolate to milk."

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I'm Cancelling The Season

I'm Cancelling The SeasonDriving the snow lined streets of Toronto this afternoon, I started thinking about hockey. I realized it was Christmas Eve and the 2004/2005 NHL hockey season has yet to begin. With the NHL and NHLPA deeply entrenched in a pissing contest, everybody is looking at January 14th, 2005, the day the NHL board of governors are set to meet, as the day the season is likely cancelled.

This hockey fan has no interest in waiting three weeks for the NHL to confirm the worst. I'm taking action today. I'm cancelling the entire 2004/2005 NHL season.

It's a damn shame, but life will go on. We have the junior tournament kicking off tomorrow and I'll continue to follow the AHL Maple Leafs. There's NFL playoff action right around the corner, hopefully improved play from the Raptors and, before you know it, spring training will open in Dunedin.

The last thing I wanted to do when I awoke this morning was cancel this season, but it's a virtual inevitability and I've grown sick and tired of this entire selfish debacle. I've cut the cord enabling us to make other plans to get us deep into the spring. I will not suffer another week with the Sword of Damocles dangling above. We, the fans, are taking the power back.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceJohnny Oates was 58. He managed the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, compiling a regular season record of 797-746.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayPulp Xmas - A beautiful mash-up of my favourite flick with that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer claymation special that runs every year. Nothing says Happy Christmas Eve like Pulp Xmas.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite songs released in 2004

  1. Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
  2. The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon
  3. Modest Mouse - Float On
  4. The Tragically Hip - Vaccination Scar
  5. The Killers - Mr. Brightside

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures, including a shot of the junior team: James, Michelle and Zander.

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As Good As Ever

As Good As EverIn the late 80s I was watching Rap City on MuchMusic when I first saw the video for Public Enemy's "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos". My ears instantly liked what they were hearing and my mind was immediately stimulated by the weight of Chuck D's words. Here was a hard core sound blended perfectly with intelligent, political rhymes. Soon after I was off to Yonge street to pick up "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back".

Hot damn that's a killer disc. It was by far the greatest rap album I had ever heard. When Public Enemy released "Fear Of A Black Planet" in 1990, it was another amazing collection of tremendously heavy tracks. For months in 1990 I didn't take the "Fear Of A Black Planet" cassette out of my Sony Walkman.

These tunes from Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff and Terminator X sound as fresh today as they did then. A glance at my Audioscrobbler page shows I only listened to four artists more often on my PC this year. These awesome, thought provoking songs stand the test of time.

This is hype you can believe.

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National Junior Team

National Junior TeamEvery year around this time I get excited about the World Junior Championship tournament. It's fantastic hockey and great fun watching future stars play for national pride.

This year I'll be focused on our National Junior Team like never before. Without the NHL, this is the first chance we've had to get up about a hockey game since Our team looks awesome this year with phenom Sidney Crosby leading the charge. It gets under way for real Christmas Day in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Go Canada Go! I'm ever so sick of silver.

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Happy Festivus 2004!

FestivusHappy Festivus everyone! For those who don't know what Festivus is, I've summarized it below in three easy to follow steps:

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

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Racism Defined

Racism DefinedI'm intrigued by a story out of Nova Scotia about a Mi'kmaq woman who filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission back in 1999. Dorothy Kateri Moore was working at a sports store in Sydney when her boss referred to her as "kemosabe". Apparently this boss, who knew the term from 1950s television because it's what Tonto called the Lone Ranger, believed it meant friend.

It's safe to say Moore's boss acted with a certain lack of sensitivity and should have known better than to apply the term "kemosabe" to a woman merely because of her race, but is it a racial slur? Personally, I don't think so. Whenever it was used on that television series, it was used in a friendly, respectful manner. A racial slur is derogatory and meant to cause hurt.

I'm a white, Catholic male of Irish descent. If a boss, in a friendly manner, began calling me "magically delicious" because a leprechaun used that phrase on television, I might find it annoying and perhaps a little creepy, but I wouldn't see it as a slur. Calling me a drunkin', fightin' potato eatin' bum, however, would be a different story, although I'd be cool with it so long as I wasn't called late for dinner.

I couldn't tell you exactly where the line is, but I know it when I hear 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.

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York
We're only three sleeps from Christmas Day and I've been sharing songs from my definitive Christmas mix the past couple of Wednesdays. Today, I share my final Christmas song of the season and it's my favourite tune of the bunch.

"Fairytale Of New York" actually didn't appear on my definitive Christmas mix because I didn't feel the tone was right. What I like about this tune is it doesn't look at the holidays with rose tinted glasses. For many, Christmas kind of sucks. This tune doesn't sugar coat that fact.

Merry Christmas and grab this great tune while you can!

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Happy Birthday Ryan!

Happy Birthday RyanWhen Ryan was a young lad, he used to tell me he was going to be a football player when he grew up. Sure he was a scrawny 70 lb boy at the time, but that didn't matter. He had this dream and nothing was going to stop him.

Unfortunately, Ryan didn't have the necessary talent or drive for this pursuit, and by the age of eight he had all but abandoned it. I often look back and wonder how good he could have been had he not given up on his dream. I believe he would have been exceptional. I believe he would have been the best.

Today, my little brother Ryan turns 28 and I'd like to wish him all the best. Happy Birthday Ryan!

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a song via the Smells Like Sour website for SLS13 consideration. For an SLS primer, go here.

I submitted "Nothing To Lose" by Billy Talent. I've actually been really digging this tune for a while but we have a rule at SLS that an artist can only represented once on each edition. Billy Talent's "The River Below" was going to appear on SLS12 so I waited until it was in the can before submitting this tune for SLS13.

I know I've said this before, but Billy Talent's debut disc is awesome. They're now four killer singles deep with more on the way. I've been playing the hell out of "Nothing To Lose" and I'm still not sick of it.

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Movies on DVD

Movies on DVDI own a few movies on DVD but I never watch them. In fact, of my collection of approximately twenty, the only discs I actually put in the DVD player and view are seasons of The Simpsons. That's it.

I enjoy movies, and own some that I totally dig, but on the rare occurence that I actually have a free block of time to myself, there are so many other things I'd rather do. Perhaps I'll watch a flick for the first time or something I've taped off television, there's always work to do on this site or another personal project, there's work I could do around the house, there are kids to play with, business to catch up on, classic Simpsons episodes to watch, you get the idea.

This is where movies are so different from music. I constantly immerse myself in music. It's playing when I'm on the computer, it's on when we're eating dinner, it's always around me, but it doesn't require I stop what I'm doing and focus upon it. It's just there. With movies, you have to put life on hold while you sit in front of the television for about two hours concentrating on the story. Furthermore, if you're chilling with your girl, you have to agree on the flick. I think Taryn is pretty sick of Fight Club.

It's been years since I've purchased a DVD other than a season of The Simpsons. I don't expect that streak to end any time soon. That's just the way I'm wired these days.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the Daydj BC presents The Beastles - I'm digging all the mash-ups I'm hearing lately. Grab these Beastie Boys meets The Beatles mash-ups while you can!

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Sportsnet Choice Obvious

Sportsnet Choice ObviousRogers Sportsnet's play-by-play and analyst tandem took a sad hit last October when John Cerutti passed away and yesterday they announced Rob Foulds won't be back either. That means we'll have an entirely new duo calling Jay games on the television next year.

To me, the ideal team is rather obvious. They've been working together for as long as I can remember and nobody calls a better game. I often turn the sound down on my television just to hear them. They represent all that is glorious about Blue Jays baseball and hearing their voices harkens one back to the good ol' days. I'm speaking, of course, about Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth.

The only downside to this is that putting Tom and Jerry on Sportsnet would take them off the radio. That's why I think this is the one time simulcasting the same call on both mediums makes sense. Nobody calls a game as well as these two do.

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Sweet Victory

Sweet VictoryIt took fifteen weeks of NFL action, but I've finally won a week in our football pool. There are 32 people in this pool, so winning ain't easy.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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My MP3s Updated

My Entire MP3 CollectionI've added 21 new CDs to my MP3 collection. The new additions are Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", "Meddle", "The Division Bell" and "Dark Side of the Moon", Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain: 25 Years" four disc box set, Bruce Cockburn's "Anything Anytime Anywhere", Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" and "60 Minutes With...", Ray Charles' "16 Greatest Hits" and "His Greatest Hits, Volume 2", the Oh What A Feeling 2 four CD box set, "The Wired CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share.", "No Alternative" The Rankin Family's "Fare Thee Well Love" and "It's Christmas Time" featuring seasonal tunes from Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.

That's 579 complete albums and 8729 songs. Check it out.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayMake A Deal You Dicks - A letter from the fans to the NHL and NHLPA. "Shut up. Sit down. Make a deal.".

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28% Are Geniuses

28% Are GeniusesI've never heard a doctor suggest there's little value in getting a flu shot. In fact, every doctor I've ever spoken to about it or heard speak on the subject has extolled the benefits of the flu shot. When James came down with pneumonia last year, we were all but ordered to get him the flu shot every autumn. I got mine last month.

A Decima Reseach poll shows that two out of three Canadians didn't get their flu shot this year. In fact, a whopping 28% don't believe it's worthwhile. That means 28% of Canadians behold more medical knowledge and insight than every doctor in the land. This is indeed a nation of geniuses.

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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. Bobby "Blue" Bland - Stormy Monday Blues
  2. Save Ferris - Come On Eileen
  3. Korn - Bottled Up Inside
  4. Gordon Lightfoot - Softly
  5. Sublime - What I Got
  6. Papa Roach - Getting Away With Murder
  7. Shabba Ranks - Where Does Slackness Come From
  8. Treble Charger - How She Died
  9. Beastie Boys - Transit Cop (Demo)
  10. Weezer - Crab

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New Video

New VideoI'm often asked why I rarely share video clips anymore, going so far as to remove My Videos from the main navigation menu. The fact of the matter is, I prefer snapping photos over shooting video so I've decided to share more photos and less video.

Having said all that, I am sharing a brief clip of James I took Saturday night. We were at the Woodbine Centre and we had just got off a little roller coaster they have there when James spotted the kiddie boats. I put the little dude in a boat and pushed him into the open water. I've never seen him so happy. While he was in heaven I snapped a bunch of photos and a 20 second video clip I'm now sharing in My Videos.

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In America

In AmericaIn America: 8 out of 10.

This is a very well acted beauty of a film. Dubliner Jim Sheridan brought us "My Left Foot", "In The Name Of The Father" and "The Boxer" before he brought us this gem about an Irish Catholic family emigrating to New York.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures, including the always popular "Michelle with Santa" shot. I'd have posted a "James with Santa" picture as well, but James wasn't the least bit interested in playing along.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 1, Binghamton Senators 0

Go Leafs Go!Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped all 34 shots he faced and Nathan Barrett scored the game's lone goal as the St. John's Maple Leafs blanked the Binghamton Senators 1-0 in American Hockey League play Saturday night in Binghamton.

Current Record  Recent Games Season Leaders
18-11-0-1
37 points
1-0 Win vs. Binghamton
3-2 Loss vs. Rochester
4-2 Loss vs. Cleveland
David Ling - 32 pts
Kyle Wellwood - 31 pts
Matt Stajan - 21 pts

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Caught, now in court 'cause I stole a beat
This is a sampling sport
But I'm giving it a new name
What you hear is mine."
      - Public Enemy, Caught, Can I Get A Witness

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The Lowest Of The Low

The Lowest Of The LowI can pin point a moment in October 1993 when the Toronto sports scene was euphoric. Joe Carter went deep in game six against the Phillies and we had our second World Series title in a row. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs were reeling off ten victories in a row to start the season. It was the apex of Toronto sports satisfaction for this fan.

I can pin point this exact moment in December 2004 as the lowest of the low moments in Toronto sports. The entire Maple Leafs season is in serious jeopardy, the last place Toronto Blue Jays have lost their best offensive player in Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter was dealt yesterday from the 8-17 Raptors.

Serenity now.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 2, Rochester Americans 3

Go Leafs Go!Mikael Tellqvist was outplayed by the Rochester Americans goalie Ryan Miller as the Leafs lost their second in a row. Nathan Perrott and David Ling scored for the blue and white.

Current Record  Recent Games Season Leaders
17-11-0-1
35 points
3-2 Loss vs. Rochester
4-2 Loss vs. Cleveland
2-1 Win vs. Portland
David Ling - 32 pts
Kyle Wellwood - 31 pts
Matt Stajan - 21 pts

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power...like God must feel when he's holding a gun."

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceBobby Mattick was 89. He was one of the Toronto Blue Jays' original employees, managing the team in 1980 and 1981. He played a key administrative role in scouting and developing the talent that carried the Blue Jays to five AL East titles and two World Series championships.

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Looking Back At Vince and I

Looking Back At Vince and INow that it's happened, I thought I'd delve into the vault and reexamine the entries I wrote about Vince Carter. They say a great deal about my conflicted feelings about him and what he brings brought to my Toronto Raptors. Lets take a look, shall we? Fittingly, there are fifteen.

  1. The EA Sports Jinx - October 2, 2003 / 12:53 EST: I'm concerned that Carter is on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. There is that jinx and I want Carter to stay healthy.
  2. Mike's Mailbag - October 29, 2003 / 15:03 EST: I inaccurately predict the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2003/2004. I add a caveat that Carter must remain healthy for this to happen.
  3. Vintage Vincent - November 27, 2003 / 08:04 EST: I'm gushing over the great Vince Carter after he scores 43 and carries the Raps on his back. I also reminisce about the 51 point game of his I attended.
  4. Not In-Vince-able - January 17, 2004 / 14:00 EST: Carter injures himself once again and I brace for the worst. I even compare him to Wendel Clark.
  5. Mr. Popular - January 30, 2003 / 11:09 EST: Carter leads the league in all-star votes for the fourth time and I try to figure out why he's so damn popular.
  6. Guest Blog Entry - January 30, 2004 / 15:45 EST: For the first time, I publicly admit in this space that Vince could be traded. I also admit that he's not the second coming of Michael Jordon. "If you had brought up the subject of trading Vince Carter a couple of years ago, I would have laughed in your face."
  7. It. Is. Over. - March 27, 2004 / 11:04 EST: I was pissed when I wrote this entry. The Raptors were going to miss the playoffs yet again and I knew something had to give.
  8. Vin-sane - July 2, 2004 / 09:04 EST: ESPN reports that Carter wants to be traded and I try to digest the news. "Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team."
  9. The End of an Era? - July 14, 2004 / 10:55 EST: Rumours were swirling that Carter was on his way out and I thought we were in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto. "The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it."
  10. Carlos and Vince - July 16, 2004 / 21:37 EST: I found it interesting that it was becoming incredibly likely that both Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter would be leaving Toronto. Still, I held on to a semblance of hope that Carter could stay. "It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between."
  11. Guest Blog Entry - July 20, 2004 / 14:48 EST: I admit I'm completely torn about the whole Vince Carter saga. "I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage."
  12. My Sports Wishlist - September 22, 2004 / 08:23 EST: Carter makes my sports wishlist as I wish he'd stop being such a suck, rescind his trade demand and play his ass off.
  13. 41 Reasons to Kick Ass - November 3, 2004 / 13:11 EST: The Sporting News ranks Carter the 41st best player in the NBA and I see this as a positive, potentially lighting a much needed fire under Carter's butt. "This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season."
  14. More Than 41 - November 23, 2004 / 07:56 EST: It didn't take long to realize that Vince Carter wasn't going to perform for the Raptors the way Vince Carter can. "When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team."
  15. The Vince Carter Era Ends - December 17, 2004 / 17:36 EST: Vince Carter is traded to the New Jersey Nets. "It's time to move on my friends."

That last line of #14 says it all. I have no doubt that Carter will be awesome for the Nets. He lost all motivation here in Toronto and put it in auto pilot a long, long time ago. It's a damn shame because he had so much upside and could have been the man to lead us to the championship. Could have been, should have been, would have been...

Farewell #15. Thanks for the memories. 51 against the Suns, baby.

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The Vince Carter Era Ends

Vince Carter Era EndsI'm flooded with mixed emotions now that it's finally happened. The Toronto Raptors have traded Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for center Alonzo Mourning, forward Eric Williams, center/forward Aaron Williams and two conditional first-round draft picks.

It wasn't that long ago that Carter owned this city. He was the rookie of the year, the slam dunk king and the next Michael Jordon. He had us within a 3-point shot of the Eastern Finals and the best was yet to come. He was Air Canada and the best show in town.

I'll never forget the day I spent at the ACC watching him pour in 51. The Raptor victory was broadcast nationally in the USA and the 51 was and still is a Raptor record. There wasn't a basketball fan in this city who didn't think Carter was awesome and only going to get better.

As quickly as he rose to prominence in the big smoke, he plummetted back to the soil at Bay and York. Frequently injured, no longer as consistent and one hell of a whiner, almost everybody wanted him out of town. Personally, I swung up and down on this issue like a yo-yo, wishing he'd stay and return to his form of old one day and wishing we'd trade him and build for the future the next. This season, the writing was on the wall and I knew it was only a matter of time. Now that it's happened, I'm sad to see our perrenial all-star go but I realize it's for the best.

It's time to move on my friends. We have our closure, let the healing begin.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeaceArthur "Bo" Agee Sr. was 52. He was the father of Arthur Agee Jr., chronicled in the acclaimed documentary "Hoop Dreams".

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveCelebrity deaths of 2004 that most affected me

  1. Ray Charles
  2. Rodney Dangerfield
  3. Captain Kangaroo
  4. John Cerutti
  5. Pat Tillman

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Thursday 30 Mistakes

Thursday 30 MistakesI closely monitor the rise and fall of songs on CFNY Edge 102's Thursday 30. About a month or so ago, they began putting a little Canadian flag next to the Canadian artists on their chart. I liked this little feature because it lets me know right away whether a new band is a fellow Canuck or not. Unfortunately, I've found it's rather unreliable.

The first week they had this, I noticed no Canadian flag next to The Marble Index. Mistakes happen, so I simply wrote their web guy and they added a flag beside the band from Hamilton. Every week since I've notice a mistake or two with these Canadian flags so I've all but given up letting them no about it. Today is Thursday, and a new countdown will be unveiled soon, but if you hurry over to their current Thursday 30 chart, you'll see they've got a little Canadian flag next to America's own Collective Soul while Norwood, Ontario's Three Days Grace and Montreal, Quebec's Simple Plan goes without.

Maybe I'm being a little snarky, but our flag means something to me and I believe it should be used properly. I don't want to see American bands getting tagged with the Maple Leaf while Canadian bands aren't tagged at all. How hard can it be to get this right?

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Free Porn and Candy

Free Porn and CandyI love articles like this one from the San Francisco Chronicle.

It's a great read with a great headline that immediately caught my attention. Canada Goes To Hell: Legal pot? Legal gay marriage? Universal health care? What's next, free porn and candy?

I won't ruin it for you. Set aside a few minutes of your busy day to give it a read.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayKiddie Records Weekly Classics From The Golden Age - In 2005, Basic Hip Digital Oddio will feature an entire year of albums from the golden age of kiddie records, lovingly transferred from the original 78s and encoded to 192kbps MP3 format. That's one a week for 52 weeks!

This project is right up my ally. It's nostalgic, entertaining and just plain fun.

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Steve Nash For MVP

Steve Nash For MVPWe should all get behind the campaign to have Steve Nash named MVP of the NBA this season. Eric Neel's "A Candidate We Can All Root For" says it best. "If Steve Nash is the MVP, we're not about wars of attrition, muscle-bound match-ups, and watch-the-paint-dry isolations. We're about pace, about play, about players, and about the game we know and love from the schoolyards and those grainy Showtime games on NBA TV.".

The Suns won 29 games all last year but they're going to win that many by mid-January this season and it's all because of Steve Nash. When the Canadian basketball team failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, I wrote this entry in which I trashed Canadian basketball stars for refusing to give up their summer to play for the red and white. Steve Nash did give up his summer for the cause and deserved every word of praise I wrote for him. "We won't be in Athens, but don't place the blame on Steve Nash. This man is a Canadian basketball god and single handedly carried our team into the final four. This product of Victoria, BC is far and away the greatest basketball player our nation has ever produced. We're not worthy."

I actually think more highly of him now than I did back then. The Phoenix Suns are 18-3 with Nash averaging 11 assists a game and 15.6 points a game thanks to a .533 field-goal percentage and .414 shooting from behind the 3 point line. More importantly, Nash has the Suns scoring 109 points a night, 14 points above the league average. Nash is the Canadian at the helm of the NBA's best team and a worthy MVP.

Steve Nash for MVP! Steve Nash for MVP! Steve Nash for MVP!

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Deconstructing SLS12

Deconstructing SLS12Now that SLS12 is in the bag, it's time to deconstruct the 21 tunes that made the final cut. How much of SLS12 is CanCon? How many artists are making their first appearance on SLS? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.

  • Canadian Content - 5 (Billy Talent, The Marble Index, Auf der Maur, Jakalope and Sum 41)
  • Making Their SLS Debut - 6 (The Von Bondies, The Marble Index, Muse, Auf der Maur, Jakalope and Sum 41)
  • Artists That Also Appeared On SLS11 - 9 (The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, Billy Talent, Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Velvet Revolver, Incubus and Jet)
  • Providing a Female Voice - 2 (Auf der Maur and Jakalope)
  • Artists I've Seen Live - 4 (Eminem, Papa Roach, Auf der Maur and Green Day)
  • Songs In My MP3 Collection - 16 (The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, Billy Talent, The Hives, Eminem, Papa Roach, Jimmy Eat World, Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Sum 41, Marilyn Manson, Velvet Revolver, Incubus, Green Day and Jet)

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the Day"It's a Wonderful Life" in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies - I saw this holiday classic for the first time last Christmas eve and thought it was pretty good. It's even good edited down to 30 seconds and re-enacted by bunnies.

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Chicken and Stuffing and Pie, Oh My!

Chicken and Stuffing and Pie, Oh My!Debuting on Global tonight is "The Jane Show", a Canadian sitcom starring Teresa Pavlinek.

Check out this picture of Teresa Pavlinek looking her best. Does she look at all familiar to you? Around these parts, she will forever be known as Swiss Chalet's "Chicken and stuffing and pie, oh my!" girl.

And Michael Richards complains about being type cast...

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Stuck On You

Stuck On YouStuck On You: 4.5 out of 10.

The first 45 minutes of this flick was kind of funny, but that was mainly because of the sight gags. It's a one joke movie and once you're tired of it there's not much to stick around for. This was no "There's Something About Mary". Heck, this wasn't even "Shallow Hal".

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Hey Mister

Hey MisterWhile listening to tunes earlier today, I realized there are some songs I can no longer sing aloud to. A good example is "Hey Mister" from Custom, a song I liked enough to put on SLS7.

I was singing along with Custom when I heard it today until the closing line he repeats over and over again. "I hope I never have a daughter...I hope I never have a daughter".

It's a good tune so I'll still listen, but I'm done singing along to this one.

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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.

Coldplay - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
'Tis the season for Christmas music and in that spirit I'm sharing a tune from my definitive Christmas mix every Wednesday from now until the big day.

"Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas" appeared on the NOW Christmas Contemporary CD. It's a cool rendition of this Christmas classic from Chris Martin and his piano and great background music while you're sipping on your egg nog by a roaring fire.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 2, Cleveland Barons 4

Go Leafs Go!The last place Cleveland Barons scored three times in less than three minutes late in the third period to beat the St. John's Maple Leafs 4-2 in American Hockey League action last night. Jason MacDonald and Matt Stajan scored for the good guys.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
17-10-0-1
35 points
4-2 Loss vs. Cleveland
2-1 Win vs. Portland
2-0 Win vs. Portland
Kyle Wellwood - 31 pts
David Ling - 31 pts
Matt Stajan - 21 pts

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Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission late last night.

Today was the 1st day of my tenure for "jury duty". Even though the Prez. of the Co. I work for tried to get me excluded I was denied. This is the 3rd time I have been summoned to be a possible juror in the last 12 years & ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. You must sit in a room full of potential jurors (approx 200 people) waiting for your number to be drawn. No TV, no newspapers, no cell phones,etc. I feel this is almost the same as being convicted of some terrible crime.

Today we were dismissed after 2 hours & told to come back tomorrow at 9:30 am. Our seclusion is for 3-4 days where we were told not to watch the news or try not to read newspapers. This is Bullshit. Am I the one on trial? Our justice system & jury selection sucks. I have sat on 1 major trial already which was emotionally & physically challenging 9 years ago & it was an experience I will never forget where you hold the cards to be played for the accused - Guilty or not. (They were). They received 5 years in prison (after pleading guilty to a lesser charge). The trial lasted 4 long days - 9:00 am till 5:00pm with a 1 hour break.

The positive about today was that I got most of my XMAS shopping done after being dismissed after 1 1/2 hrs. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I can't wait to get to get back to work. The jury selection process SUCKS - I can't wait to get selected again. Panel # %# - juror # ^&%$#@&*(.

You're one unlucky dude. According to the Juries Act, a person is eligible to serve on jury duty once every three years. Otherwise, it's a completely random draw within each county or district. Remember though, it's your civic duty to serve as a juror. Besides, Homer Simpson says getting out of jury duty is easy. The trick is to say you're prejudiced against all races.

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Best Blogs?

Best Blogs?While catching up on the news of the day, I just learned the 2004 Weblog Award Winners were announced today. I didn't win an award, but I did visit the blogs of those who did win. I'm less than impressed.

For example, the Best Canadian Blog went to a site called small dead animals. I had never been there before so I was anxious to read the best blog in the land. It's okay, I guess. Not particularly entertaining or enlightening and a rather poor design. I peaked at the source code too and it's miles away from being valid. There is no way small dead animals is the best we've got.

Best Blog Overall went to a site called Power Line. I tried to read this blog, but I found it rather dry and boring. Once again the design left a great deal to be desired and the source code was far from valid, but I might be the only one who thinks that's relevant. The bottom line is, I didn't bookmark it and won't be back.

Looking for a well designed, aesthetically appealing blog, I decided to visit the site named Best Blog Design, Cold Fury. I was underwhelmed, if that's a word. It looks like a hundred other blogs I've come across in my travels. I ask you, what is particularly well designed about this site. Furthermore, would you even say for certain that Cold Fury, the site that was named the Best Blog Design in the world, is any more appealing to the eye than the one you're reading right now?

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Unanimous Conclusion

Unanimous ConclusionI was in the car when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held his news conference this afternoon. His words, "the unanimous conclusion was the union's proposal does not work", pierced my heart and soul like a series of poisonous daggers.

Buckle up boys and girls, this is going to be a long, sad affair with far more pain to absorb. Sigh.

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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.

Can you please tell me how/where I can find the single 'Have It All' with Darling Nikki on it. I have looked everywhere.

Thank you.

    Julie

Julie, you're asking the right dude. Foo Fighter's cover of Prince's "Darling Nikki" appeared on SLS10 and resides on my computer in MP3 format. Contact me with your email addy and an early Christmas gift might appear in your inbox.

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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.

Let me preface this question by stating that I enjoy Jet's music. But, have you ever heard a Jet song that didn't immediately remind you of another band or tune? From Iggy Pop to The Beatles, I can't think of another band that borrows more rhythm!

    Steve

Hey, you've stolen my blog entry from November 4, 2004 in which I said pretty much the same thing. Every Jet single thus far has reminded me of another tune. From Iggy Pop to The Beatles to BTO and Mötley Crüe.

By the way, congrats on winning this week's football pool. Lucky bastard.

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SLS12 Unveiled

SLS12 UnveiledIt is with great privilege and honour that I unveil to you the final song list for SLS12. For an SLS primer, go here and to see what appeared on SLS11, go here.

It is the opinion of the SLS committee that this has been a less than stellar six month period for tunage. We listened to hours and hours of new rock before deciding upon these 21 tracks totalling more than 78 minutes. There are songs that were left on the cutting room floor during the selection period for SLS11 that would easily make this edition.

We've played the cards we were dealt and below is SLS12.

  1. The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon
  2. The Killers - Mr. Brightside
  3. Franz Ferdinand - This Fire
  4. Modest Mouse - Ocean Breathes Salty
  5. Billy Talent - River Below
  6. Marble Index - I Believe
  7. Muse - Hysteria
  8. The Hives - Walk Idiot Walk
  9. Eminem - Mosh
  10. Papa Roach - Getting Away With Murder
  11. Jimmy Eat World - Pain
  12. Beastie Boys - Triple Trouble
  13. Linkin Park - Breaking the Habit
  14. Auf der Maur - Followed The Waves
  15. Jakalope - Pretty Life
  16. Sum 41 - We're All To Blame
  17. Marilyn Manson - Personal Jesus
  18. Velvet Revolver - Fall To Pieces
  19. Incubus - Talk Shows On Mute
  20. Green Day - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
  21. Jet - Look What You've Done

Check out the hypothetical cover for this hypothetical mix. Look for SLS13 in late June, 2005.

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The Fake Tree

The Fake TreeFollowing James' bout with the big P last year, he was diagnosed with asthma. As a result, the good doctor asked us not to have a real tree this year. For the first time since our marriage nine years ago, Taryn and I will be celebrating Christmas with a fake tree.

I got one of those pre-lit trees and just finished setting it up. It looks pretty darn good considering. Furthermore, there are no prickly little needles around the house and in the car. When Christmas 2004 is but a memory I'll pack her up and store her away until next December. We should have gone this route a long, long time ago.

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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. Coldplay - Daylight
  2. Nirvana - Lithium
  3. Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees
  4. Positive K - I Got A Man
  5. Pearl Jam - Brother
  6. Korn - Wake Up
  7. The Fugees - The Mask
  8. Pearl Jam - Daughter
  9. Iggy Pop - Lust For Life
  10. Supertramp - Breakfast In America

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Golden Globe Nominations

Golden Globe NominationsThe Golden Globe nominations were announced earlier today. You can view the full list of nominees here.

Once again, I'm in the dark. I haven't seen any of the Dramas nominated for best picture and I've only seen one of the Musical Or Comedy nominees. It's nice to see Uma Thurman and David Carradine nominated for Kill Bill: Volume 2 though.

Below are the nominees for Best Picture, Drama and Musical Or Comedy respectively. The only one of the bunch I've actually seen is The Incredibles.

  • The Aviator
  • Closer
  • Finding Neverland
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • Kinsey
  • Million Dollar Baby

  • Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind
  • The Incredibles
  • The Phantom Of the Opera
  • Ray
  • Sideways

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Corey Koskie

Corey KoskieThe Toronto Blue Jays are expected to announce the signing of Canadian third-baseman Corey Koskie later today. Koskie, 31, was born in Anola, Manitoba.

I'm always happy when a Canadian player comes home to play, and Koskie is a pretty good hitter, but he's no Carlos Delgado and he can't pitch. If the Jays want to contend, and I don't believe they'll ever contend with the Yankees and Red Sox in their division, they need to vastly improve their pitching. Koskie playing third and batting in front of Vernon Wells sounds great to this fan, but we desperately need some solid arms on the mound.

By the way, I've got some things to get off my chest regarding Carlos Delgado and I'll share them once it's announced he's signed with another team.

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Barilko - Without a Trace

Kevin SheaI received a nice email from Kevin Shea regarding our mutual interest in Bill Barilko and The Tragically Hip.

Kevin Shea has written "Barilko - Without a Trace", a book about the legend of Bashin' Bill Barilko "from his childhood in Timmins to his days playing for the Hollywood Wolves of the Pacific Coast Hockey League prior to suiting up for five seasons with the Leafs". Even cooler, Shea's book has been sold to producer George Mendeluk and will be made into a movie. Sure, I mentioned this back in October, but that was before I heard from the author himself so I'm mentioning it again.

If you don't know who the heck this Bill Barilko character is, educate yourself. If you're Canadian and don't know who he is, educate yourself and be ashamed. Very ashamed.

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Tupac: Resurrection

Tupac: ResurrectionTupac: Resurrection: 6.5 out of 10.

Tupac Shakur stuffed a lot into his twenty five years of life. Of course, he's been even busier since being gunned down, releasing more albums since his death than while he was alive and narrating this pretty good documentary on his life.

I'm a fan of Tupac's music and acting so I was primed and ready to enjoy this documentary. I became a Digital Underground fan following their Sex Packets release in 1990, thanks to the ultra long remix of "Doowutchyalike", a tune I still dig. As a fan, I picked up This is an E.P. Release the next year which contained the semi-hit single "Same Song". On that track, Shock G uttered the famous words "Tupac go ahead and rock this" and the rest is history. While watching "Tupac: Resurrection" they showed Tupac's contribution to this tune and realized I've still got every word memorized. Below is the humble beginnings of what would be a tremendous career cut way too short.

Now I clown around when I hang around with the Underground
Girls use to frown, say I'm down, when I come around
gas me and when they pass me they use to diss me
harrass me, but now they ask me if they can kiss me
Get some fame, people change, wanna live they life high
same song, can't go wrong, if I play the nice guy
(clamin that they must have changed, just because we came strong)
I remain, still the same (why Tu'?) cause it's the same song

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St. John's Maple Leafs 2, Portland Pirates 1

Go Leafs Go!Brad Leeb scored his fifth goal in three games late in the third to force overtime and Kyle Wellwood scored at 4:05 of the extra frame to win it for the Leafs.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
17-9-0-1
35 points
2-1 Win vs. Portland
2-0 Win vs. Portland
5-4 Loss vs. Grand Rapids
Kyle Wellwood - 31 pts
David Ling - 30 pts
Matt Stajan - 20 pts

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"I hate Christmas. The mall is full of nothing but women and children. All you hear is "I want this.", "Get me this.", "I have to have this."... and then there's the children. And they're all by my store 'cause they stuck the mall Santa right outside ringing his stupid bell. As if you need a bell to notice a 300-pound alcoholic in a red suit. "Ho, ho, ho," all day long. So, nice as can be, I go outside, ask him to shut the hell up. He takes a swing at me. So I lay a hook into his fat belly and he goes down. Beard comes off, all the kids start crying and I'm the bad guy."
      - Al Bundy, Married...With Children

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Appointment Viewing

Appointment ViewingRemember appointment viewing? That's when you actually work your schedules around being in front of the television at a certain time on a certain day of the week to watch a particular program. For me, there's only one hour of the week I consider appointment viewing and that's Sunday nights from 20:00 EST to 21:00 EST.

The first half hour is easy to justify because I've been watching "The Simpsons" for half my life. The second half hour is committed to "Arrested Development", a show I only started watching in the spring and raved about here.

"Arrested Development" is hilariously written, well acted and extremely smart. It's the funniest new show since "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the first time I've been excited about a network show since "The Family Guy". It's such a pleasure to watch, I'm always totally bummed when the half hour ends and I know it's another week before I get to enjoy the Bluth family again. I'm not the only one who thinks this show is something special. Critics are constantly raving about it and it won the Emmy for best comedy series this year.

Unfortunately, nobody is watching "Arrested Development" and it may not be around next season as a result. This article from the San Francisco Chronicle asks the question "Why, in a television world where viewers are forever decrying a lack of quality choices, do the innovative, risk-taking, aggressively brilliant shows go unwatched?" His conclusion? Most Americans have no taste. They prefer "According to Jim" to "Arrested Development". The ratings make this clear.

Watch "Arrested Development" while you still can. It's intelligent and hilarious...even more so than "According to Jim".

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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.

Re: Your "U2 & SLS" Blog Entry

No, you are not alone Mike! I feel the same way about U2 now. I have a copy of "All That You Can't Leave Behind" and I got their "Best Of 1990-2000 & B-Sides" as a birthday present in 2002. It's funny, I'm Irish and I lived in Belfast for 5 years from ages 8-13, but I never had a real interest in U2 or saw them in concert because I was young and wasn't exposed to them enough, even though some of my cousins were fans.

As I was expressing to someone else on this very topic not too long ago, I didn't even get a chance to like "Vertigo" before that iPod commercial made me sick of it. Now it's just overplayed & annoying. I feel that U2 have sold out and that it's just time for Bono & the boys to hang up their hats & have a few pints. Yeah, they're a great band, but I think they've run their course with me.

Does this make me a traitor?

    Annemarie

Bono was born in Dublin and his old man is Catholic and since Belfast is the center of Protestantism in Northern Ireland, you probably won't be labelled a traitor. My descendants are from Dublin, so I'm likely the bigger traitor.

Bíonn dhá insint ar scéal agus dhá leagan déag ar amhrán!

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures, including another masterpiece from a budding artist.

The following message is mainly for friends and family who get a kick out of these pictures. For the past week, I've been playing around with a very cool free service from Flickr. It's been working out rather well, so I'm now maintaining a page on Flickr. I'm still going to put my favourite pictures in Pictures, I'm just going to upload some B-list shots to my Flickr page once in a while. I've added a permanent link to this page to the bottom of Pictures.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 2, Portland Pirates 0

Go Leafs Go!Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 28 saves for his first shutout in a St. John's jersey as the Maple Leafs blanked the Portland Pirates 2-0 last night. Brendan Bell's goal with 26 seconds left in the first period stood as the winner and Brad Leeb added an insurance marker for the Leafs.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
16-9-0-1
33 points
2-0 Win vs. Portland
5-4 Loss vs. Grand Rapids
3-2 Win vs. Grand Rapids
Kyle Wellwood - 30 pts
David Ling - 29 pts
Harold Druken - 19 pts

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"I know what you're saying, Bart. When I was young, I wanted an electric football machine more than anything else in the world, and my parents bought it for me, and it was the happiest day of my life. Well, goodnight!"

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayWhat's That Song? - Best. Game. Ever. I could easily spend all day on this site. I went 10/10 with the Pearl Jam edition and 10/10 with the Tragically Hip edition and now I'm going to try some artists I'm less familiar with. Wicked web-based fun for everyone...I swear it!

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U2 & SLS

U2This weekend we're putting the finishing touches on SLS12. For an SLS primer, go here.

A number of people have written me or approached me about U2's "Vertigo". People seem to really dig the tune and consider it one of the top singles of the year. In reality, "Vertigo" never had a prayer of making SLS12. It's an okay tune, but I feel completely indifferent towards it, and SLS is all about passion and spirit. I would never intentionally listen to "Vertigo", in fact, I'm completely tired of the whole U2 sound.

I used to really like U2. I liked them through their mega-selling "The Joshua Tree" and I even liked "Rattle and Hum". When "Achtung Baby" came out, I bought it as a reflex action because I liked the band. Although people raved about it and it spawned several hits, I almost never listened to it and haven't really liked a U2 song since. I was actually offered "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb", their new album, and turned it down. I have no interest in this boring U2 sound the past fifteen years have brought us.

Is it just me?

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite CDs released in 2004

  1. Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
  2. The Tragically Hip - In Between Evolution
  3. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
  4. Beastie Boys - To The 5 Boroughs
  5. The Killers - Hot Fuss

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Right Wing Yankee Rubbish

Right Wing Yankee RubbishA website entitled Media Matters for Americans is sharing video clips from right wing commentators Ann Coulter on Fox News and Tucker Carlson on CNN in which they ridicule Canada. Watch the video or read the transcript.

I know these buffoons don't speak for America, but some of the ignorant garbage they're spewing on the US cable news networks is downright dispicable. My fear is that their audience will trust their opinions and assume "the average Canadian is busy dogsledding" and should be grateful they're "allowed to exist on the same continent of the United States of America".

Jon Stewart said it best when he asked Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala of CNN's Crossfire to "Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America...You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably". Coulter and Carlson contribute to networks that claim to have integrity providing "fair and balanced" news coverage. When you watch the video or read the transcript and see the bullshit they're spreading, you'll see they truly are hurting America, at Canada's expense.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayName Popularity By Decade - I put in my first name, Michael, and it's off the chart. My name was the most popular male first name in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. If you're wondering what the most popular male name was in the 1940s, I learned that when I looked up James' name.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 4, Grand Rapids Griffins 5

Go Leafs Go!Despite getting a hat trick from Brad Leeb, the Baby Leafs last the rematch against Grand Rapids last night and a chance at first place in the American Hockey League's North Division and first overall in the Western Conference.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
15-9-0-1
31 points
5-4 Loss vs. Grand Rapids
3-2 Win vs. Grand Rapids
6-2 Loss vs. Syracuse
Kyle Wellwood - 29 pts
David Ling - 28 pts
Harold Druken - 19 pts

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Reason Number 32

Reason Number 32Reason number 32 why I live in the most enlightened nation in the world...

The Supreme Court of Canada says today that the federal government can change the definition of marriage, giving gays and lesbians the legal right to marry. The court rejected the argument that the traditional definition of marriage is rooted in history, saying times have changed.

Now these opinions from our Supreme Court are non-binding so this bill will now go to Parliament for a vote by MPs. I'm optimistic this bill will pass and Canada will join Belgium and the Netherlands in making gay marriage legal nationwide.

The proposed change to the definition of marriage is having it read "lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others" rather than the "lawful union of one man and one woman." It makes perfect sense to me. It's time we stop excluding people based on race, religion or sexual preference.

O Canada!

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Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was 38. He was one of metal's top guitarists and an original member of Grammy-nominated thrash rock pioneers Pantera.

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Last Chance

Last ChanceLater today, right here in Toronto, the NHL Players' Association will meet with the NHL armed with a new proposal. The two sides haven't met since September and it's fairly clear these meetings will be the last opportunity to salvage this season.

Every stitch of logic and business intelligence in my body tells me no deal will be struck. The NHLPA's offer won't connect player costs to league revenues and without a cap it's unlikely the NHL will get on board. It's most likely a big tease, giving hockey fans just a little bit of hope so the inevitable cancellation of the season hurts just a little bit more.

I miss hockey. I miss watching the Toronto Maple Leafs, I miss reading about the Toronto Maple Leafs, I miss following every minute statistics about the Toronto Maple Leafs and I miss writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's my religion, my passion, my game. I miss that rush after a big Leafs win. I miss that buzz after a three game winning streak. I miss settling in every Saturday night a bit before 19:00 to watch my team on Hockey Night in Canada. I miss telling James the names of the players and a little about each one. I miss hearing his little voice chant "Go Leafs Go!" while he watches the first period with his Daddy. I miss explaining to my mom why this year is our year. I miss the passionate discussions with my brothers about how Belfour is playing, the progression of Matt Stajan or the sheer talent of Alexander Mogilny. I don't want to miss the exhilarating march to the playoffs, our playoff pool, gathering for each playoff game, the Maple Leaf flag on my car, the pure joy after each Leaf win, the ecstasy after each playoff round victory and the twinkle of hope each spring that Stanley is coming home where he belongs.

Mr. Goodenow, Mr. Bettman, I implore each of you to salvage this season. To cancel the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring would be to break the collective heart of a nation. Save the season and bring hockey back, please.

I miss it.

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John Lennon

John LennonIt was twenty-four years ago today that John Lennon was shot four times in the back by Mark Chapman.

I was quite young at the time, but I remember a brief discussion in grade one that one of the Beatles had died. I knew the Beatles were famous and that this was a significant event, but only years later would I realize how significant it was.

A brilliant, peaceful man, it's terribly tragic that he'd be murdered at the young age of 40. Without a doubt my favourite Beatle, his songs had the most depth and sounded cooler than any of Paul's. His solo work was awesome as well and he always had a special relationship with the city of Toronto and Canada. He came here in May 1969 promoting world peace, praised Canada as the first nation to embrace his campaign for peace, played his first live performance outside of the Beatles at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival at Varsity Stadium and wrote and recorded "Give Peace A Chance" in Montreal.

Chapman has thus far cheated us of twenty-four years of John Lennon's music. That really, really sucks.

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Mötley Crüe Presale Password

Motley Crue Presale PasswordI was a casual fan of Mötley Crüe back in the 80s and I even spun their Dr. Feelgood disc from time to time, rockin' out to "Kickstart My Heart" and the title track while chillin' to "Without You" and "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)", but I have no idea what the presale password is for their 2005 tour. Not a frickin' clue.

You see, For the past few days I've been getting a great deal of traffic from Crüe fans who want to get kick ass seats for their reunion tour. That's right, the original line up is back and ready to hit the road. Crüe fans are Googling Motley Crue presale password and finding my site ranked #14. It seems that back in November I mentioned Mötley Crüe in an entry about Bowling For Soup's "1985" and wrote about having the Tragically Hip presale password for their New Year's Eve show in Hamilton.

I appreciate the extra visits, but I'm sure a number of Crüe fans are just leaving here disappointed.

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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 - Let Me Sleep
'Tis the season for Christmas music and in that spirit I'm sharing a tune from my definitive Christmas mix every Wednesday from now until the big day.

"Let Me Sleep" appeared on Pearl Jam's Lost Dogs, a collection of B-sides they put out last year. I've had it for a lot longer than that though, because it was also on their Acoustic Set bootleg. It reminds you of the days from your youth when it was ever so hard to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. That, my friends, is all part of the magic of Christmas.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 3, Grand Rapids Griffins 2

Go Leafs Go!The St. John's Maple Leafs handed the Grand Rapids Griffins their first road loss of the season last night. Rookie Matt Hubbauer of "Making the Cut" fame scored the winner midway through the third period.

The Leafs have now won eight straight home games and are 13-3 over their last 16 games.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
15-8-0-1
31 points
3-2 Win vs. Grand Rapids
6-2 Loss vs. Syracuse
3-2 Win vs. Binghamton
Kyle Wellwood - 29 pts
David Ling - 27 pts
Harold Druken - 19 pts

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Go Canadian

Go CanadianAre you an American who wants to travel Europe without being harassed about your country's politics? Go Canadian.

For $24.95, a New Mexico T-shirt company is selling a "Go Canadian" package. This package includes a Canadian flag T-shirt, a Canadian flag lapel pin and a Canadian patch for luggage or a backpack. There's also a quick reference guide on answering questions about Canada entitled "How to Speak Canadian, Eh?".

Not fair! It's taken me thirty years to master the art of speaking Canadian and now all our secrets are being sold for $24.95. This is our country, eh? Full of hosers and one helluva beauty.

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Celebrating a Year of Good Sleeping

Celebrating a Year of Good SleepingThis week we celebrate one full year of James sleeping soundly through the night. As I detailed in this entry, we Ferberized him and he's been the world's greatest sleeper for 365 days now.

The nightly routine is as follows. At about 19:00 he has a bath, at about 19:20 he gets out, brushes his teeth and take his puffer. Then, at about 19:30, he puts on his pajamas, crawls into bed and waits for Daddy to read him four stories. The stories he requests, in order and without exception, are The Simpsons 2004 Calendar, Goodnight Moon, The Bear In The Big Blue House's I Love Weather and The Bear In The Big Blue House's I Love Bedtime. Then it's a hug and kiss from Daddy and Mommy and lights out.

The little dude sleeps soundly all night long and awakes any time between 08:00 and 09:30. It's been a year of awesome sleep for him and for us until we blew it by having Michelle. She's worth a little less sleep, she's so damn cute!

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The Real McCoy

The Real McCoyDriving along the information super highway, I've encountered a number of ads for TD Waterhouse featuring my good friend Executive Assistant District Attorney John J. 'Jack' McCoy. In fact, you can see Sam Waterston's mug on this TD Waterhouse page.

I remember seeing another face online associated with this brokerage firm in years past. Prior to McCoy, it was District Attorney Adam Schiff in the spots. Steven Hill, who's 82 and was selected in our Dead Pool, has been supplanted by his former boss.

Who's next? I hope it's Executive Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Stone, a man who once attempted to enter Canadian politics by forming his own political party. Now that would be something.

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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. Oasis - Some Might Say
  2. Jack White - Wayfaring Stranger
  3. Aerosmith - Eat The Rich
  4. Kool Moe Dee - All Night Long
  5. Jimmy Johnson - I Need Some Easy Money
  6. Nirvana - Sappy
  7. Nirvana - Downer
  8. Silverchair - Undecided
  9. Doug and the Slugs - Day By Day
  10. Our Lady Peace - Big Dumb Rocket

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It's 19:22 EST

It's 19:22 ESTIt's 19:22 EST on December 6, 2004. As of this moment, Vince Carter is still a Toronto Raptor, Carlos Delgado is still an unrestricted free agent and Yasser Arafat is still dead.

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Lady

LadyThis note ain't for you, it's for the Gap. A month ago, our televisions were inundated with Gap commercials featuring Sarah Jessica Parker bopping to Lenny Kravitz' "Lady". "Lady" is a new tune of his from his new album "Baptism". This advertisement was the first time we all heard this tune, and that's the problem.

Now, CFNY Edge 102 has begun spinning this track. Every time I hear it, I only think of one thing: Sarah Jessica Parker bopping around in an ad for the Gap. It's no longer the new single from Lenny Kravitz but the theme for an advertising campaign. There is no separating the art from the product.

Spinning this tune is a form of payola, only it's not accepting cash to play a tune but playing a tune to advertise brand name clothing during the biggest consumer month of the calendar year. I dare anyone to hear this song on the radio and not think about the Gap. It's only possible if you don't own a television. Strike it from your playlist CFNY Edge 102, it's not a song but an advertisement.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures, all of the kids and all taken today.

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My Ten Favourite Covers

My Ten Favourite CoversCFNY Edge 102 has been playing a tonne of cover songs all weekend long. I'm a fan of the cover. I enjoy it when I band I like takes another tune I like and pays homage to it by performing it their way.

A few years ago, a friend and I compiled 80 minutes of our favourite covers we called "Cover Me Badd" but hearing covers all weekend long on the radio has me wondering what my ten favourite covers of all time might look like.

Here's my top ten, in order of preference.

  1. Pearl Jam - Throw Your Arms Around Me
  2. Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary
  3. Nirvana - The Man Who Sold The World
  4. Limp Bizkit - Faith
  5. Johnny Cash - Hurt
  6. Aaron Lewis - Black
  7. Aretha Franklin - Respect
  8. Ike & Tina Turner - Proud Mary
  9. Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower
  10. Tricky - Black Steel

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Scared Of Santa

Scared Of SantaGrandma took James to see Santa today. I wasn't there to bear witness, but did just receive my first report from the field. For the second year in succession, James was scared of Santa.

He enjoyed himself at the Christmas party, eating snacks, drinking chocolate milk and getting a present, but the sight of St. Nick freaked him out. James, it seems, prefers his Santa in pictures, on the television or several feet away.

I see this as a good thing. All we do is tell him to be weary of such situations. When an old dude invites James to sit on his lap, I want James to scream "No!" Good boy.

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The Definitive Christmas Mix: Done...and Done!

The Definitive Christmas MixI've finally fulfilled my pledge to put together the definitive Christmas mix. I've slightly tweaked my initial draft and decided to restrict each artist to one song. I made some slight exceptions by allowing Bing to fly solo and perform a duet with David Bowie, but the inclusion of Ziggy Stardust gave him a loop hole in this instance.

If you're wondering where the Pearl Jam tune "Let Me Sleep" came from, it's an obscure gem I've had on an Acoustic Set bootleg that was also part of their Lost Dogs collection of B-sides they released last year. "Oh please, let me sleep, it's Christmas time."

Remember, nobody is going to agree with all 23 tracks/80 minutes of music on this Christmas Mix. Some of these tracks were selected for nostalgic reasons, some of them were selected because I can't imagine a Christmas mix without them and some of them are here because my ears demanded it. There are three Wednesdays between now and Christmas, so I'll be sharing an MP3 from the list below as my Weekly MP3. And because I'm already in the Christmas spirit, I'll even take requests as to which three it will be.

And now, without further adieu, the definitive Christmas mix is...

  1. John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  2. Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)
  3. Bing Crosby - White Christmas
  4. Dean Martin - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  5. Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby
  6. Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
  7. Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas
  8. Coldplay - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  9. The Pretenders - 2000 Miles
  10. Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmastime
  11. Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  12. The Whos of Whoville - Welcome Christmas
  13. John McDermott - O Holy Night
  14. Louis Armstrong & His All Stars - Christmas Night in Harlem
  15. Pearl Jam - Let Me Sleep
  16. Sarah McLachlan - Song For A Winter's Night
  17. Trans-Siberian Orchestra & Metallica - Carol of the Bells
  18. Bruce Cockburn - Mary Had A Baby
  19. U2 - It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  20. Vince Guaraldi - O Tannenbaum
  21. Alvin and the Chipmunks - Christmas Don't Be Late
  22. Boris Karloff - You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
  23. David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Peace On Earth & Little Drummer Boy

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St. John's Maple Leafs 2, Syracuse Crunch 6

Go Leafs Go!Every once in a while, you're going to lay an egg. By all accounts, the Maple Leafs stunk last night in their tenth and final game of a lengthy road trip. Still, 7-3 during that road trip is pretty awesome.

Today's Toronto Star has an article that suggests these Leafs might become the Toronto Marlies when they come here next season. I previously endorsed St. Pats, Baby Leafs and Buds as my preferred names for the team, but I like the historical value of Marlies in much the same way I like the historical value of St. Pats. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has admitted the name is on their short list and has already registered http://www.torontomarlies.ca.

Go Marlies Go!

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
14-8-0-1
29 points
6-2 Loss vs. Syracuse
3-2 Win vs. Binghamton
4-2 Win vs. Binghamton
Kyle Wellwood - 28 pts
David Ling - 25 pts
Harold Druken - 18 pts

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"If you're part of a crew, nobody ever tells you that they're going to kill you, doesn't happen that way. There weren't any arguments or curses like in the movies. See, your murders come with smiles, they come as your friends, the people who've cared for you all of your life. And they always seem to come at a time that you're at your weakest and most in need of their help."
      - Henry Hill, Goodfellas

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Mike's Wish List

Mike's Wish ListChristmas Gifts I Would Enjoy

  1. The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season on DVD
  2. Blank DVD+Rs
  3. Mach III razor refills
  4. World peace

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An Awful, Awful Song

An Awful, Awful SongCFNY Edge 102 has been playing "Me Against The World" from Simple Plan on fairly heavy rotation. This tune has even been on their Thursday 30 chart for the past couple of weeks.

It's horrible. It's the whiney, poppy, pathetic sound I can't stand. Sure, they're from Montreal and they get points for being Canadian, but that didn't save them from being listed alongside Good Charlotte and Not By Choice in my Bands I Hate entry from August 2003. Hell, their own website defines them as a "power-pop band". Why is CFNY Edge 102 playing this tune? It's the kind of tune they typically ignore. Are they this desperate for CanCon?

Simple Plan simply stinks and should be relegated to the pre-teen pop stations. "Me Against The World" is an awful, awful song.

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Brushing With Pooh

WeakUsually we buy a new tube of toothpaste well before the current tube expires, but yesterday, it was abundantly clear that we urgently needed more. It somehow slipped Taryn's mind yesterday because I awoke this morning to find there wasn't even enough for a brief brushing.

If you're going to skip a brushing, you don't want it to be in the morning. That's the most important brush of the day and without it you just feel dirty. As a result, I turned to James' Oral B Stages toothpaste with Winnie the Pooh on the label. Toothpaste is toothpaste, right?

Wrong. This toothpaste was W.E.A.K. I knew it was low fluoride for the kiddies, but this felt like no fluoride. It was so mild, if felt as if I was brushing my teeth with a tasty gel completely void of cleansing agents. I would have been just as well off brushing with water.

I won't be turning to Winnie the Pooh for dental care again.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 3, Binghamton Senators 2

Go Leafs Go!The Maple Leafs won another at the ACC in front of a Canadian AHL regular-season record 17,422 fans. It was a great game with Carlo Colaiacovo, Nathan Perrott and David Ling scoring for the Leafs and Mikael Tellqvist making the one goal lead stick.

That's ten wins in twelve games if you're keeping track at home.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
14-7-0-1
29 points
3-2 Win vs. Binghamton
4-2 Win vs. Binghamton
4-3 Loss vs. Rochester
Kyle Wellwood - 27 pts
David Ling - 24 pts
Harold Druken - 17 pts

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Who are you? Why am I here? I want answers now or I want them eventually!"

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayBeer Logos - I am Canadian and I don't drink beer. I know that sounds strange, but it's a fact. Despite the fact I don't drink beer, I was mighty impressed by this extensive page of beer logos. All logos are available in Adobe Illustrator format or EPS files and everything is packed with Winzip. The World Wide Web is a glorious place.

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Swimming

SwimmingSwimming: 6 out of 10.

After enjoying Lauren Ambrose's work on "Six Feet Under" the past few years, I decided to check out this low budget film she starred in back in 2000. It's a charming little movie about a couple of friends in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The movie isn't great, but Ambrose is very good in it and carries it to a respectable six on the Booner scale.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy favourite television characters

  1. Homer Jay Simpson (The Simpsons)
  2. Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)
  3. Ryan O'Reily (Oz)
  4. George Costanza (Seinfeld)
  5. Mike Logan (Law & Order)

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Greatest TV Characters

Greatest TV CharactersBravo has listed their 100 greatest TV characters. Here are their top ten.

  1. Archie Bunker
  2. Ralph Kramden
  3. Lucy Ricardo
  4. The Fonz
  5. Homer Simpson
  6. Seinfeld Cast
  7. Lt. Columbo
  8. Mary Richards
  9. Capt. James T. Kirk
  10. Tony Soprano

It's an okay list I suppose, but it's a cop out grouping the four primary Seinfeld characters together at #6. Make a choice! It's nice to see Homer in the top five. Hey, that gives me an idea...it's time for the Friday Five...

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Now What?

Now What?Yesterday we learned that Jason Giambi used steroids for at least three seasons and this morning we're learning that Barry Bonds has admitted to using steriods, although unknowingly. Bonds told a federal grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring but claims he thought they were flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis. Now what?

When Ben Johnson was caught with steriods in his body, he was stripped of his Gold medal and world record. What now becomes of these killer numbers Bonds has been producing over the past five years? I've written frequently about his assault on the record books, his entry into the 700 club and his standing as the best ball player I've ever seen.

Are those numbers sticken from the record? Is he and Giambi stripped of their MVP awards? What happens to his 75 home run season? Does an asterisk go beside that figure?

Bonds has a lot to lose here, as do baseball fans. We now know he took "the clear" and "the cream" and this inevitably bulked him up, made his stronger and allowed him to hit more homers. Now what?

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Guest Blog Entry

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

It's me again...The Grinch.

I saw Shrek 2 and was not impressed. I thought it was no where near as good as the original and was very disappointed. I did not like the Puss In Boots character at all. As for your Christmas Mix, it's about 50% good...the rest...well, you know...

Buy hey, what do you expect? I'm a Grinch.

In my review of Shrek 2 I said it was almost as good as the original. I enjoyed the original more, but wasn't disappointed with this sequel and I stand by my praise of the Puss In Boots character.

As for my Christmas Mix Grinchy boy, it's my Christmas Mix and I'll decide what belongs on it. Besides, you should be happy. There are two tunes there from your soundtrack.

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The Big Tease

The Big TeaseThe NHL has accepted an invitation from NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow to attend meetings right here in Toronto next Thursday and Friday. This will mark the first time the two sides have talked since September 9th in one last ditch effort to save this hockey season.

I'm not a casual hockey fan, I'm a rather passionate and devoted hockey fan. If possible, I'll tune in to all 82 regular season Maple Leaf games and every minute of every playoff game thereafter. One of my favourite nights of any year is the night I draft my NHL playoff pool. I recap every game on this site and follow the blue and white as if it were my religion. In a sense, it is.

As a diehard hockey fan, this current labour strife upsets me deeply. It upsets me so much I try to pretend as if I'm carrying on fine without the NHL. I recap St. John's Maple Leaf games, watch a lot of Raptors basketball and keep busy with inane projects. You know that Molson commercial with the grown men staring at a blank television set singing the Culture Club's "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me"? That's me. I'm that pathetic guy at the end on the brink of tears because his Saturday night no longer includes Hockey Night In Canada. I miss it and I miss it badly.

I read about this meeting between the NHLPA and NHL and I see a slight glimmer of hope. I see the possibility of hockey this season and a Stanley Cup champion crowned in 2005. I see my brothers and I gathered around friends drafting our playoff pool and I see James and I wearing our jerseys and celebrating loudly when Roberts/Sundin/McCabe/Nolan scores for Toronto. I see it all potentially unfolding before my eyes and I smile.

Then I shake my head and realize it's all just a big tease.

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St. John's Maple Leafs 4, Binghamton Senators 2

Go Leafs Go!The Maple Leafs won at the ACC last night, their ninth victory in 11 games. Unfortunately, these were the AHL Leafs and not our beloved NHL Leafs.

Announced attendance was 9,424, well short of the 19,000+ the NHL squad draws. The two teams will play another at the ACC Friday night. Go Leafs Go!

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
13-7-0-1
27 points
4-2 Win vs. Binghamton
4-3 Loss vs. Rochester
4-1 Win vs. Hamilton
Kyle Wellwood - 27 pts
David Ling - 22 pts
Matt Stajan - 17 pts

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures, all taken during the past couple of days.

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The Year of the Blog

The Year of the BlogMerriam-Webster said "blog" headed the list of most looked-up terms on its site during the last twelve months. Merriam-Webster defines a blog as: "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks".

I've always believed a blog was a tremendous method of communication with an awful, awful name. I suspect "blog" is the most looked-up term of 2004 notsomuch because of how popular they've become but because of how horrible the term sounds the first time you hear it. It's not an attractive handle for such a slick tool.

About a year ago, I tried to convince the Sales & Marketing department of a local software company that an industry blog was a progressive way to communicate to existing and potential clients, sharing beneficial information from the industry complete with commentary, hyperlinks to relevant articles and just the right sprinkle of marketing spin. My proposal was to be considered so long as it wasn't called a blog. Apparently, the decision maker in this case felt nobody knew what a blog was. I knew such an endeavour could only be called one thing and that by the end of the year anyone who surfs the web and reads even a little news would know what a blog was.

Not to brag, but I was bang on. As usual...

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Shrek 2

Shrek 2Shrek 2: 8 out of 10.

I can't get over how good some animated features are these days. Shrek was great and Shrek 2 was almost as good as the original. If a cartoon can have a scene stealer, it's Antonio Banderas as the voice of Puss In Boots. Puss In Boots was worth the price of admission alone.

The original Shrek won the first ever Best Animated Feature Oscar back in 2002, and you can bet your life this sequel will be nominated for that same award in 2005. This time, however, it won't win. As good as Shrek 2 is, "The Incredibles" was better.

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The Definitive Christmas Mix: An Initial Draft

The Definitive Christmas MixI've pledged to put together the definitive Christmas mix. I enjoy Christmas as much as the next guy, but I find the overwhelming majority of Christmas/Holiday songs you hear on the radio, at parties and around town suck. I'm working on an 80 minute mix of the least-sucky Christmas tunes.

For the past week, I've been making a list and checking it twice, and I think I've come up with 80 minutes of Christmas music that is at least half decent. I'll release the absolute final list next week, but right now the following 23 songs total 78:20.

  1. David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Peace On Earth & Little Drummer Boy
  2. John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  3. Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas
  4. Bing Crosby - White Christmas
  5. Dean Martin - Baby, It's Cold Outside
  6. Coldplay - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  7. Ertha Kitt - Santa Baby
  8. Louis Armstrong & His All Stars - Christmas Night in Harlem
  9. Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)
  10. Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmastime
  11. John McDermott - O Holy Night
  12. Dean Martin - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  13. The Pretenders - 2000 Miles
  14. Sarah McLachlan - Song For A Winter's Night
  15. Vince Guaraldi - O Tannenbaum
  16. Welcome Christmas - How The Grinch Stole Christmas Soundtrack
  17. Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  18. Trans-Siberian Orchestra & Metallica - Carol of the Bells
  19. U2 - It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  20. Bruce Cockburn - Mary Had A Baby
  21. Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
  22. Alvin and the Chipmunks - Christmas Don't Be Late
  23. Boris Karloff - You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Please let me know if I missed something or if I've included something you think should be trashed. Although this is a rather subjective project, I do appreciate feedback and it's quite possible I overlooked a gem or two.

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Father Abuse

Father AbuseLast night, between the reading of "Goodnight, Moon" and the Bear in the Big Blue House's "I Love Bedtime", James got a little excited and inadvertently head butted his daddy in the mouth. He split my lip good as blood started gushing out and I started to check if all my teeth were where they should be.

The little dude didn't mean it, but it hurt like hell. Is there some kind of support group I can go to for this sort of thing? Are other fathers being abused by their two year olds?

I feel so alone in this pain.

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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.

Treble Charger - Red
Last week I shared a Hayden tune so I thought I'd continue this CanCon kick with this beauty from Treble Charger. It's from their Maybe It's Me disc and it has to be their most requested song every time they play live. I've seen these guys a few times, and although they've added some hits to their repertoire, this is the tune that everyone waits for. It's purdy.

I just remembered another neat tie between Treble Charge and Hayden. In Treble Charger's video for "Even Grable", there's a very cool homage to indie god Hayden. They show Hayden preparing and posting flyers in downtown Toronto in what I still consider to be their best video to date.

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Rest in Peace

Rest in PeacePierre Berton was 84. He was a great Canadian broadcaster, writer and author of 50 books, including compelling histories like 1970's "The National Dream" and 1971's "The Last Spike".

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