August 2005 Archives

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photojunkie Responds To My Open Letter

Toronto SkylineA couple of days ago, I wrote an open letter to Toronto bloggers. I felt the T-Dot was capable of better and that entry was my response to the frustration I felt trying to arrive at a top ten list of local blogs.

I ended up listing ten Toronto blogs I frequent, and that list included photojunkie. Rannie Turingan, the man behind photojunkie.ca, actually wrote An Open Letter to Mike Boon. In this entry, Rannie lists 38 Toronto blogs he deems worthy of this great city. I'll be sure to check out the ones I'm not yet familiar with.

Rannie also points out the two typical blog features missing from this website; the lack of "proper" permalinks and comments. When you choose to hand code your site with no underlying content management system, permalinks and comments are casualties of sorts. I give every entry a unique id which allows me to hyperlink to a specific one, but this isn't "proper" permalinking. Over the years I've strongly considered making the move to Movable Type (like SLS) or Wordpress (like Rannie) but have thus far resisted. I've compensated for the lack of comments by encouraging Guest Blogs which I'll post in its entirety with full credit to the author.

I'm just glad my open letter sparked a little discussion about this. I'll check out the links Rannie posted and hopefully find some gems that had eluded me. If anyone wants to comment on anything I've said, write a Guest Blog and your words will be published here. Hand coder at work!

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Maybe it's time for "The Bushman" to pull his troops out of Iraq to help his own people??

      Anonymous

It took the largest disaster the United States has seen in contemporary history to get Dubya to cut short his vacation at his Crawford, Texas, ranch and return to Washington a full two days ahead of schedule. I think the man has done enough.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Sinead O'Connor - I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
  • Skid Row - Skid Row
  • Sloan - Twice Removed
  • Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggy Style
  • Soul Asylum - Grave Dancers Union
  • Soundgarden - Superunknown
  • Spin Doctors - Pocket Full Of Kryptonite
  • Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
  • Sting - Nothing Like the Sun
  • Stone Temple Pilots - Purple

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Weekly MP3

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.

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Hallelujah
A couple of weeks ago I shared Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and last week I shared K-OS' similar "Hallelujah". This week, I'm sharing another homage to Cohen's gem, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' excellent "Hallelujah".

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Q107 has indeed pulled 'New Orleans is Sinking' from their playlist for the time being. They've also done the same for Led Zeppelin's 'When the Levee Breaks'.

      Mike H.

A sensible and sensitive move, I suppose. Not unlike the weeks following 9/11 when stations stopped playing popular new songs like "Bleed American" and "Bodies".

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New Orleans is Sinking and I Don't Want To Swim

The Tragically HipAsk one hundred random Canadian music fans to name their favourite song from The Tragically Hip and over 80 will tell you it's "New Orleans is Sinking". While we watch the flooding in New Orleans this week, many of us subconsciously hear this bluesy rocker from Up To Here in our heads. I know I do.

Ottawa's rock radio stations The Bear 106.9 and CHEZ 106.1 have both decided to pull The Tragically Hip classic from their playlists at least until Hurricane Katrina abates and the Louisiana city gets back on its feet. I wonder if local Hip-playing stations Q107, HTZ 97.7, CFNY Edge 102, Y108 and 94.9 The Rock have followed suit.

Why does the cynical bastard in me think they'll play it more while New Orleans is actually sinking?

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Going the Distance

A Movie ReelGoing the Distance: 5.5 out of 10.

"Going the Distance" is brought to you by the good people behind MuchMusic. There's no way you could miss that fact because it's all centered around a road trip to the MuchMusic Video Music Awards. Hell, it's practically an infomercial for the station.

Despite this fact, it's actually far better than I thought it would be. It's not quite "Road Trip", but it's not far off the mark. It's jam packed with CanCon too, with appearances by Avril Lavigne, GOB, The Swollen Members and the dude from Theory of a Deadman. As for the soundtrack, there's Thornley, Pilate, The Trews, Jersey and Nickelback. Watch this flick with really low expectation like I had and you're bound to be satisfied.

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Stupid Headline

NewspaperI keep coming across the headline "Our Tsunami" with regards to Hurricane Katrina. There are always quotes around this phase, as it's attributed to the mayor of Biloxi, but that doesn't make the headline any less stupid.

250,000 people died in the Boxing Day Tsunami while 68 people have thus far perished as a result of Katrina. Still, this isn't what makes the comparison ridiculous. Citizens of Mississippi and Louisiana saw Katrina coming days in advance. There was literally a count down to her arrival and many were able to seek refuge, either by leaving town or finding appropriate shelter. Nobody saw the tsunami coming. It's was a devastating surprise that erased a quarter of a million people from this planet. There's no comparing the two natural disasters.

It's a stupid statement that the press is jumping all over, no doubt desperate for a red, white and blue tsunami. With the Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson trials over and done with, there's a great void to fill. The Darfur genocide won't do the trick.

Update (19:52 EST): I certainly wasn't trying to make light of what's happening in Mississippi and Louisiana. If my love of The Hip's music has taught me anything it's that New Orleans is sinking. No doubt, the death toll will rise and there is a very real fear of widespread disease. It's horrible, but describing the hurricane as "our tsunami" is still ridiculous.

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Katrina's Coming

HurricaneAccording to this CBC article, tropical storm Katrina will reach Canada tonight.

The last time Toronto braced for the impact of a former hurricane, her name was Isabel and the effect on Toronto was underwhelming. As I wrote that September 2003 day, "it's dark, rainy and extremely windy...up to 76 km/h they say. Other than about 10,000 people losing power, it's nothing to fear from where I'm sitting. Isabel has clearly run out of steam."

Welcome Katrina, we appreciate your wet and breezy nature. I'll take the appropriate precautions and ensure the windows on my car are fully closed.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayA CNN weatherman loses his cool while covering Hurricane Katrina - Funny stuff.

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More Uncovered Gems

VaultI recently uncovered some gems from my past and I've been sharing excerpts from the documents I found. Below are thoughts I jotted down on December 15, 1996.

A couple of days ago, my beloved Blue Jays signed another significant free agent. Did I say significant? I meant monumental. Mister Rocket Roger Clemens is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Our rotation is starting to scare me. Lets see, Pat Hentgen (last year's ERA leader, twenty game winner and Cy Young award winner), Juan Guzman (second best ERA last year), Roger Clemens (fifth in ERA last season and a two time Cy Young award winner and future hall of famer), and Erik Hansen (sixteen game winner two years ago). That is a great foursome and there are a number of possible youngsters that could excel in the fifth spot. They say pitching wins World Series and we now have the best rotation i in the American League. Our offense is greatly improved and our bullpen was our strength last season. In my opinion, the Jays merely stopped to take a breather after being a contender for ten years straight. We're back, baby!

The Leafs unfortunately are not. After being dismal for over a decade, the Leafs decided to take a breather and be competitive for a couple of years. Now it's time to take a serious crack at breaking our record for most losses in a season. We lost to Phoenix 5-3 last night. The Raptors are on their way up. An expansion team last year, we have improved this season and are on track to fight for a playoff spot in a couple of years. With Stoudamire and Camby the future looks bright ahead.

The Argos are Grey Cup champions! What more can be said about them. The sports scene in Toronto looks promising, except for those damn Leafs who have no bright young stars to carry them except for Sundin and Potvin. Their future looks pathetic. I hate studying. Screw the system, just give me my bloody degree.

I had a good laugh reading that optimistic forecast I had for the Jays and Raptors. Nine years later and the Jays haven't been back to the playoffs and the Raptors couldn't be much worse. The Argonauts, however, are still Grey Cup champions!

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • R.E.M. - Out Of Time
  • Radiohead - OK Computer
  • Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
  • Run DMC - Raising Hell
  • Rush - Moving Pictures
  • Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
  • Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
  • Shabba Ranks - As Raw As Ever
  • Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends

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Lisa On Ice

HomerFrom the moment I sat down at the age of fifteen to watch a Christmas special starring The Simpsons, I was hooked. I started taping each episode on VHS, even going so far as to edit out the commercials. These tapes were gold, allowing my brothers and I to watch the exceptional episodes from the first half dozen seasons over and over again.

During the sixth season, I simultaneously taped and watched the episode entitled Lisa On Ice. In this episode, Lisa and Bart compete head to head in a big hockey game. You would think the merging of hockey and The Simpsons would delight me, but this episode had the opposite effect. Compared to previous episodes, I found Lisa On Ice to be a huge disappointment. I didn't find it funny enough, I didn't deem it Simpsons-worthy and I was ever so angered by the fact the game clock ticked down during a penalty shot. I was so upset by this massive decline in quality that I immediately stopped taping episodes. These tapes I created stopped with Lisa On Ice.

Over the past few days, I've been revisiting season six on DVD. Moments ago, I completed Lisa On Ice and I laughed hysterically. Sure, I was still bothered by the clock ticking down during Bart's penalty shot, but I was pleased with the comedy and general Simpson-esque quality.

Ten years ago I saw The Simpsons decline begin, but I never stopped watching. I watched every episode of season sixteen and I can't wait for season seventeen. The Simpsons helped me survive high school, shaped the adult I became and is responsible for the vast majority of my parenting techniques. I am now 31 years old and for more than half of that time period I've had a family from Springfield to lean on, to laugh with and to show me the way.

May I never have to write about the series finale and may Homer never, ever change. As for Lisa On Ice, I highly recommend it. It's damn funny and definitely VHS worthy.

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An Open Letter To Toronto Bloggers

Toronto SkylineI frequent a number of blogs on a regular basis. A frequently updated and interesting blog beats a mainstream media site every day of the week. This weekend, I decided I would write an entry about the top ten blogs in Toronto.

I first referenced my bookmarks, identifying those written by a Torontonian actually living in Toronto. I then asked other blog readers as to which Toronto blogs were their favourites, and I checked those out. I quickly came to realize the sad truth. Toronto has few great blogs.

This is a huge city and home to great communicators, numerous intelligent and educated people as well as many creative artistic types. Throw in our diversity and the e-savvy nature of our citizens and we should have the ideal breeding ground for tremendous blogs. Where's the commitment? Where's the interest? Where's the passion?

This is an open letter to Toronto bloggers. Lets put this city on the blogging map. Lets do something here, something special, something groundbreaking. The best city in the world should not accept mediocrity in any form.

Instead of the ten best blogs in Toronto, here are ten Toronto blogs I check out now and then, in alphabetical order.

BlogTO - interesting and fun local blog that's updated frequently. Sweet.

daily dose of imagery - If you love photography and Toronto, this is your utopia. It's a photoblog, and the author posts one picture a day.

Eye Weekly Blog - I've always loved the paper and the blog ain't bad either.

torontomike.com - This blog really speaks to me.

photojunkie - Another decent site for the Toronto photographer.

Raymi the Minx - I'm quite conflicted when it comes to Raymi. I like the "I just don't care" quality, but I often wonder how much of that is contrived. I check in now and then, but it's sort of like peering at a car crash. You know you shouldn't, but you do anyways. I should also point out that Raymi gets naked...a lot. Would a fully dressed Raymi be as popular? Not a chance. Clearly, I should devote an entire entry to Raymi, there is much I have to say. If you want more, check out my interview with Raymi.

The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century - The Accordian Guy might be the anti-Raymi. Luckily for us, he never gets naked. There are frequent interesting posts, many with a Toronto flavour.

Torontoist - Like BlogTO, this is an interesting and fun local blog that's updated frequently. In a nutshell, this is all I'm asking for.

Wholesome Goodness - I stumbled upon this blog one day while checking out the website of my alma mater U of T. It's just a regular blog by a regular guy, one of thousands, but there's solid effort, a little passion and frequent updates. I'll pop in and see what he's linking to, just to make sure I'm not missing anything cool.

Zoilus - Carl Wilson writes about music for the Globe and Mail and he maintains this blog. As a huge fan of music and pop culture, I read it daily.

If I missed an awesome Toronto blog, let me know. I love this damn city and I just want our bloggers to effectively reflect the awe I observe daily walking these streets. Ladies and gentlemen, punch the keys!

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Our Lady Peace - Clumsy
  • Outkast - Stankonia
  • Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz
  • Paul Simon - Graceland
  • Pearl Jam - Ten
  • Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
  • Prince - Purple Rain
  • Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
  • Pulp - Different Class
  • Queen - A Night at the Opera

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The Monday Shuffle

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

  1. I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide - ZZ Top
  2. Where I End and You Begin (The Sky Is Falling In) - Radiohead
  3. Johnny, Kick A Hole In The Sky - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  4. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
  5. Cassandra Geminni p5 - The Mars Volta
  6. No Distance Left To Run - Blur
  7. Crossroads - Homesick James
  8. Bonus Track - K-OS
  9. Killing Time - The Tragically Hip
  10. Serve The Servants (Solo acoustic, 1993) - Nirvana

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T-Dot Pimpin'

MTVEarlier tonight, the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards had a T-Dot moment. Ludacris was performing "Pimpin' All Over The World" which has this tremendous lyric.

I used to think that it was way too cold,
til I went to Canada and saw some beautiful hoes
now I hit the Caribana every year in Toronto.

A definite highlight. Before I return to the boob tube, let me leave with this. Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em.

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Four Subtle Changes

ConstructionI made four changes to the presentation of this website. There's no way you'll be able to spot all four. Sure, you might get a couple, but all four? No way.

The four subtle changes are:

  • That's my left eye up there on top. Now, while you're checking up on me, I'll be keeping my good eye on you. Raging Storm players will be happy to know that my eye on this home page still hyperlinks to our Raging Storm page. It's fun to poke me in the eye, try it and see!
  • The dark blue that has been a fixture on these pages for about two years is now a teal sort of greenish blue. This is indeed a change for change sake.
  • The dotted grey line that separates these entries from the bookmarks to the right is now a solid line. It's also that teal sort of greenish blue, just to make things interesting.
  • The favicon associated with this site has changed. Don't know what a favicon is? This explains all. Basically, in Firefox it's the icon you see next to the URI and in the tab. It's also the icon associated with this page when you bookmark it. You have bookmarked www.torontomike.com, right? Do it now and see my new favicon!

I'm currently fighting an urge to blow up this whole thing and try a completely different look and feel. It will all be hand coded, of course, and will be valid XHTML 1.0 Strict with valid CSS. Accept no substitutes.

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The 2005 MTV Video Music Awards

MTVAlthough it's not what it once was, it's still the best music awards show of the year and I'll be watching tonight. The 2005 MTV Video Music Awards airs at 20:00 EST on Muchmusic.

Judging from the nominees it looks like it's going to be a big night for Green Day and Kanye West. Don't expect a lot of Cancon, there's just a single nomination for Sarah McLachlan and a couple for Simple Plan representing the Great White North.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Moby - Play
  • Moist - Silver
  • Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood
  • Naughty By Nature - Naughty By Nature
  • Neil Young - Harvest
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call
  • Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
  • Nirvana - Nevermind
  • No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom
  • Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"The ideas that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty and truth."
      - Albert Einstein

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Live - Throwing Copper
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd
  • Maestro Fresh-Wes - Symphony in Effect
  • Marcy Playground - Marcy Playground
  • Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar
  • Matthew Good Band - Underdogs
  • Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell
  • Metallica - ...And Justice For All
  • Michael Jackson - Thriller
  • Ministry - Psalm 69

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Where Are You?

MusicFor the past few weeks, every time I turn on the radio or Muchmusic I'm hit with "Where Are You?" from Our Lady Peace. It's on extreme high rotation, forcing me to sing along every hour on the hour.

Yeah, it's catchy. Really catchy. I first heart "Where Are You?" at Live 8 and thought it sounded pretty catchy then. It took me a few more listens to warm up to it, but now it's a definite sing-along. Good on the local boys from OLP.

Before I leave this topic, I'll share a little humorous anecdote from my relationship with this song. At first, I misheard the lyric "Did punk rock get it right? Is there no future in sight?" as "Did Cronkite get it right? Is there no future in sight?". I know...that's just pathetic.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayFinch & Sentinel Flooding - Last Friday, I wrote about one helluva storm that hit Toronto that afternoon. Here are nine time-lapsed photos of the damage the storm inflicted at Finch amn Sentinel.

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Imminent Avian

MaskAs if there isn't enough to worry about in this big bad world, the avian flu virus is making its way to North America. We've been hearing about a global pandemic being an imminent happening, and this could be it. With a whopping 50% mortality rate and no vaccine for this mutating virus, all we can do is try to contain it, produce a vaccine and distribute it.

Some say the avian flu will hit Canada later this year. Others predict it will arrive next year. Just about all experts agree it will hit and it will be deadly.

Have a great weekend!

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Homer no function beer well without."

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1991 Weekend

RadioCFNY Edge 102 is having a 1991 weekend, playing the best tracks from that year. As fully disclosed in my first blog entry, I'm partial to the years 1991-1994, the days between the release of Nirvana's Nevermind and the moment a self-inflicted gunshot pierced Kurt Cobain's brain. Of course, it helps that I was sixteen when 1991 rolled around and twenty when we said goodbye to 1994.

Without allowing a band to place twice, below are my five favourite songs from this era.

  • Lithium - Nirvana
  • Bring the Noise - Anthrax/Public Enemy
  • Hunger Strike - Temple of the Dog
  • Black - Pearl Jam
  • One - U2

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveFive popular things I dislike

  1. Star Trek everything
  2. Lord of the Rings movies
  3. Desperate Housewives
  4. Nascar
  5. Kraftwerk

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Kid 'N Play - Funhouse
  • Kid Rock - Devil Without A Cause
  • Kish - Order From Chaos
  • Kool Moe Dee - Knowledge is King
  • Korn - Follow the Leader
  • L.L. Cool J. - Radio
  • Led Zeppelin - IV
  • Limp Bizkit - Significant Other

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DaySix Feet Under Obituary: Episode 63 "Everyone's Waiting" - I mentioned how Six Feet Under concluded on Sunday. I loved the ending and have been thinking about it ever since. Here's the obituaries for all who passed away that episode, and that's everybody.

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54 Years Ago Today

LeafsOn this date in 1951, Bill Barilko perished in a light plane crash while on a fishing trip to Northern Ontario.

My tribute to Bill Barilko remains one of my most popular pages, no doubt due to Google searches on the subject. In March I interviewed Kevin Shea, author of "Barilko: Without a Trace". Bill Barilko is our Buddy Holly and we shouldn't ever forget him.

Tonight, I'll don my #5 and remember his goal at the 2:53 mark of the first overtime period of game 5 of the Stanley Cup final between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Hey Mike, lets hope your Raging Storm does not peter out to a little wind with a bunch of old leafs blowing in the wind.

Good luck in the playoffs.

      The Grinch

The forecast is calling for a harsh storm, tearing up everything in its path. Batten down the hatches!

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Tales From The Ex Revisited

CNELast year, during the 125th Canadian National Exhibition, I shared some stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant. With the 126th CNE in full effect, the timing is right to revisit these tales.

They were truly great times.

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Playoff Time

BaseballAn 11-5 season has earned us in Raging Storm a first round bye in the playoffs, and now we play the waiting game. We'll face the winner of the game between Hollywoods and the Misfits. We didn't get a crack at the Misfits this season, but we pounded Hollywoods 12-2 earlier in the year.

If I were able to grow a half decent beard, I'd be growing one right now. It's playoff time and a Raging Storm is brewin'!

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Ice Cube - The Predator
  • Ice T - O.G. - Original Gangster
  • James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
  • Janis Joplin - Pearl
  • Jimmy Hendrix - Are You Experienced?
  • John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
  • John Mellancamp - American Fool
  • Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison

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The Aviator

A Movie ReelThe Aviator: 7 out of 10.

"The Aviator" could have been exceptional, but it's too long and drags in spots. It tells an interesting story with good acting, but it fails to kick it into that extra gear.

Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn is a scene stealer and Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin and Leonardo DiCaprio are all great. If they just tighten this 170 minute sucker up a bit, we've got ourselves a show stopper.

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Pearl Jam Goes Digital

Pearl JamOn September 19, I'll be at the ACC seeing Pearl Jam for the fourth time. Mere hours after the last encore, the band will release 192 bitrate non-DRM digital downloads of their live shows exclusively at www.pearljam.com for $9.99 USD.

First of all, I'm most delighted by their decision to release these files free of any DRM. It's consistent with their spirit and part of the reason I dig them so much. I'm also pleased to see the files will be 192 kbps, consistent with my ripping process.

Another progressive move by one of the greatest bands of all time. I plan to shake Ed's hand on the 19th and thank him personally.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Hello. I live in Poland.I have found your page accedently.My english is not so good, so im sorry for mistakes.I write to you because i have a bussines to you.i was looking for some mp3-leonard cohen -hallelujah, and i coiuldnt found it anywhere, and now i have found it on your page,i will be very gratefull if you will put it in a weekly mp3 or send me some how.In exxhange i will send you some polish songs.

      Ania

Ania, you caught me in the middle of a "Hallelujah"-themed weekly MP3 spurt. Last week was Jeff Buckley, this week is K-OS and soon we'll hear the original from Leonard Cohen. If you can't wait for it, give me your email address and I'll email it to ya.

With all due respect, I'll pass on the Polish songs.

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Weekly MP3

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.

K-OS - Hallelujah
Last week I shared Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". This week, I'm sharing K-OS' excellent "Hallelujah" which apparently is not a cover. We'll be nice to K-OS and call this one a homage. It's a sweet tune.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
  • Green Day - Dookie
  • Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
  • Hayden - Everything I Long For
  • Hole - Live Through This
  • House Of Pain - House Of Pain
  • Huey Lewis & The News - Sports
  • INXS - Kick

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBrock Peters was 78. He played one of the main roles in the film "To Kill A Mockingbird".

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Youv'e missed the most important bands of All time for your definitive albums - Where's The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Alice Cooper - can't wait too see who else you've missed!!

      Twins From Bolton

First of all, my informal list of definitive albums is coming off the top of my head and is based on the alphabetical order you see here. That explains why you won't see The Beatles or The Beach Boys until "T". As for Alice Cooper, I'm actually a big fan and had I not missed him I'd have listed "Killer" as his definitive album.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayBeastie Boys A Cappella Download Page - These A Cappellas are for your own personal use to make your own remixes...at least that's what the page says. I think it's a very cool idea.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Counting Crows - August and Everything After
  • Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
  • Cypress Hill - Black Sunday
  • Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
  • Everlast - Whitey Ford Sings the Blues
  • Fleetwood Mac - Rumors
  • Foo Fighters - The Colour and the Shape
  • Godsmack - Godsmack

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRobert Moog was 71. His name became synonymous with electronic music in the 1960s and '70s through the invention of his self-named synthesizers.

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The Monday Shuffle

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

  1. In A Little While - U2
  2. Question - The Moody Blues
  3. Rastaman Chant - Bob Marley
  4. Death Letter - The White Stripes
  5. Missing The War - Ben Folds Five
  6. I Am Mine - Pearl Jam
  7. Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
  8. I Am A Child - Neil Young
  9. Come Back - Foo Fighters
  10. Heaven Coming Down - The Tea Party

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Hey Mike,

Lucky you, paying 97 cents a liter of gas. Here in Montreal, we're paying 1.16$ ! (Regular). We're not that far away, but for some reason, we get the chance to pay 20 cents extra each liter. Woohoo..

Oh yeah, BTW, GO HABS GO ! :) Can't wait for the season to start.

      Louis

Let me see if I have this straight. You're being forced to pay an extra 20 cents for gas and you root for the Habs. Sounds perfectly fair to me!

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Beastie Boys - Check Your Head
  • Beck - Odelay
  • Big Daddy Kane - Taste Of Chocolate
  • Blink 182 - Enema Of The State
  • Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
  • Bush - Sixteen Stone
  • Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Collective Soul - Collective Soul

Not all of the above were no-brainers, but I stand behind the full weight of my intricate analysis.

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Six Feet Under: RIP

TVLast night's season finale of "Six Feet Under" was a surprisingly fulfilling affair. After sixty minutes, there was a natural ending point and the screen faded to white, but the show wasn't over. There was a remarkable ten minutes at the conclusion.

During this ten minute manic sequence we see the fate of all the principle characters. We see them wed, who's at their weddings, we watch them die and see the customary fade to white as their age at the time of death is revealed. The music, the style and the delivery of this detail was just awesome. It was the perfect ending to a tremendous show that made one fact abundantly clear. We're all going to die someday.

I suppose The Flaming Lips say it best in "Do You Realize?" Everyone you know someday will die. It's non-negotiable.

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The Manuel

FoodI just can't go downtown without buying a Manuel. It's part of the ritual and something I've been doing for almost twenty years. Whether it's going to SkyDome, the ACC or just checking out the strip, at some point a Manuel becomes part of the experience.

The Manuel is a BBQ'd hot dog from a street vendor. The term was coined one summer, I believe it was 1988 but it could have been 1989, when a Shopsy's television commercial aired for a brief period of time celebrating these street vendors and their tasty wares. In this commercial, the vendor's name was Manuel and my friends and I adopted this term to describe any street vendor hot dog in the city of Toronto.

Many cities have a flagship food, the Philly cheese steak comes to mind, and Toronto is no exception. Here it's the Manuel that defines us. The Manuel is our beacon of light that guides us, protects us and shows us the way.

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Definitive Albums

CDEvery artist has a definitive album. That's not to say a band can't have more than one exceptional record, it's just that every band has one album you can point to and say "that's the one". This would be their magnus opus.

With the exception of a few artists, the definitive album is usually a no-brainer. Ask ten people to name it and they'll nail it. Starting tonight, while I await the "Six Feet Under" finale, I'll start naming artists and their definitive albums in blocks of ten, in alphabetical order. This should be fun.

  • 2pac - All Eyez on Me
  • 3rd Bass - The Cactus Album
  • A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
  • AC-DC - Back In Black
  • Aerosmith - Pump
  • Alanis Morrisette - Jagged Little Pill
  • Alice In Chains - Dirt
  • Barenaked Ladies - Gordon

Feel free to disagree with my choices. That's what makes this so fun. More tomorrow...

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Little Black Book

A Movie ReelLittle Black Book: 2 out of 10.

I'm giving this movie a two because they had the good sense to cast Ron Livingston and make him a scout for the New Jersey Devils. There's a little hockey talk and they even mention former members of the blue and white Joe Nieuwendyk and Pat Burns. All this could have raised "Little Black Book" to 3 out of 10 except they lost a point for claiming a game was the Stanley Cup Championship even though the two teams competing were the Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning. Two teams from the Eastern Conference will never make the finals, despite what Stompin' Tom Conners thinks.

Everything else in the movie sucked. It was boring, brutal and embarrassing. Kathy Bates must have really needed the pay cheque. Avoid at all costs and don't let your spouse talk you into it because "it can't be that bad".

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Baby Update

BabyMichelle is almost 13 months old and has officially mastered the art of walking. She started walking just before her first birthday and in no time abandoned crawling for good.

She's drinking homo milk now. Americans reading this will have had a good chuckle at that one, but it's true. Homo milk and just about any food we eat. She's not the biggest girl, but she's healthy.

She'll look at something and say "What's that?". Her hair is slowly creeping in too, and it seems to be dirty blonde. She enjoys watching Sesame Street with her brother, horse play and playing with her doll and Little People.

And she's cute. Did I mention the cuteness? It's almost too much to bear.

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The Streak Survives...For Now

CarDamn the oil companies to Hades. Today I saw gasoline going for 97 cents a litre and I thought it was a good deal. That's just pathetic.

I am proud to say my lifetime streak of never paying more than 99.9 cents a litre for gas is still in tact. I've yet to blow through that buck a litre threshold.

At 97 cents I realize we're getting awfully close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumThomas Herrion was 23. He was an offensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers.

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Publicity 101

SchoolLet's say you're a singer/song writer who had a big hit in 1991. The success of this song won you a Grammy for Best New Artist but a second hit never followed. For the past 14 years you've been all but forgotten, left in the trivial pile of one-hit-wonders alongside Mr. Big, Right Said Fred, EMF and the Divinyls.

How do you get your name back into the headlines? How do you generate new interest in your art and get people talking about you again, both around the water cooler and in the media? The answer: get shot.

Marc Cohn of "Walking in Memphis" fame did exactly that and is now reaping the benefits. Getting shot in an attempted carjacking is the best thing that has happened to Cohn in over a decade. That sound you hear is "Walking in Memphis" being added to playlists across the country. Well played Cohn. Well played...

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"I don't like my hockey sticks touching other sticks, and I don't like them crossing one another, and I kind of have them hidden in the corner. I put baby powder on the ends. I think it's essentially a matter of taking care of what takes care of you."
      - Wayne Gretzky

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My 94.3

iRiverI just bought an iRiver AFT-100 FM Transmitter to complement my new favourite toy. I had heard bad things about FM transmitters in big cities, but so far I'm having a great deal of success playing my MP3 player on 94.3.

Many moons ago I dreamt about a day when I could hear virtually anything I wanted to in my car with the press of a button. Today, I have 5 GB of my favourite high quality MP3s at my disposal while I commute. I'm a very, very happy man.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DaySpin - A great little short film you'll enjoy.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. Two are from last Sunday and two are from moments ago.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"If you're gonna get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'll just have to stop doing stupid things."

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveHighest numbers worn by a Toronto Maple Leaf

  1. #99 - Wilf Paiement
  2. #96 - Phil Housley
  3. #94 - Sergei Berezin
  4. #93 - Doug Gilmour & Alex Godynyuk
  5. #89 - Alex Mogilny

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A Storm and a Half

LightningFor the last half hour, it's been absolutely pouring here with gusting winds and flooded streets. Mother Nature is putting on quite the show. It's just scary.

I just took a quick picture. It's seems I'm stuck here for a while and tonight's ball game won't have a chance of getting played.

Toronto tornado? Maybe...

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Help a Brother Out

Help WantedGord Downie covered Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the film "Saint Ralph". I recently wrote about this tune and I've been searching / begging / praying for an MP3 of it ever since.

If anyone out there can help a brother out, I'd appreciate it and return the favour. My email address is posted on the contact page. I love the song, I love Downie and I've heard great things. Yet, it's nowhere to be found!

Much appreciated.

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Catching Up With SLS

SLSIt's hard to believe, but SLS14 will be "released" at the end of this year. If you're wondering what this SLS thing is, read the guide, check out my SLS database and visit the official site.

I try and write an entry here every time I submit a song there, but I've been neglectful of late. To catch up, here's what I've submitted for SLS14 thus far...

  • Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
  • Beck - Girl
  • Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me
  • Stars - Ageless Beauty
  • Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights
  • Our Lady Peace - Where Are You
  • The White Stripes - My Doorbell

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A Chronological History of My Ten Tracks

CalendarIn ascending order, here are My Ten Tracks by release date.

  • Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World (1968)
  • Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (1968)
  • Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man (1969)
  • James Taylor - Sweet Baby James (1969)
  • Neil Young - Helpless (1970)
  • Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary (1994)
  • Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (1994)
  • Nirvana - All Apologies (Unplugged) (1994)
  • Hayden - Bad As They Seem (1995)
  • Pearl Jam - Throw Your Arms Around Me (2003)

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Come As You Are

NirvanaYou've probably heard "Remedy" from South Africa's Seether on your local rock radio station. CFNY Edge 102 here in the Big Smoke plays it all the time.

It's not a bad tune, in fact I sort of dig it, but it sounds an awful lot like Kurt Cobain. Shaun Morgan almost comes across like he's mimicking Kurt and the style of the song is Nirvana-esque. In fact, Seether might be doing the best Nirvana impersonation since Puddle of Mudd.

As I said, it's a fine tune, but hearing it just makes me miss Nirvana.

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The Lone Ring Leader

Stanley CupIf you review the current roster of the Toronto Maple Leafs and count the total number of Stanley Cups won, you arrive at the loneliest number. One single Stanley Cup was been won, and that was Ed Belfour with the Stars.

According to The Official torontomike.com Maple Leaf Countdown Clock, there is exactly 49 days, 4 hours, 34 minutes, and 12 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener.

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Weekly MP3

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.

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
As promised, this week I'm sharing Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".

Last week I wrote about this song and several covers/tributes and just yesterday it appeared on my ten tracks. Interestingly enough, news has surfaced this week that Cohen is broke. When you create hauntingly beautiful art like this, you're never poor. Instead of me rambling on about this song, I'll let the music do the talking...

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My Ten Tracks

MusicI've taken dozens of notes and mulled the options for months but I've finally done it. I've managed to arrive at a list of ten songs that might just be my ten favourite tracks of all-time.

This was no easy feat. I started with a short list of about fifty songs and slowly whittled them down. There was much internal debate with some amazing personal favourites being relegated to the cutting room floor. All the heavy "hard rock" tunes seemed to bite the dust before the top ten with System of a Down's "Chop Suey!" being the last of that genre to go at the bitter end. Shockingly, no song from The Tragically Hip appears on this list, although a few were close. Without a doubt, this list is subject to change and will no doubt change before the month is through. Some days The Five Stairsteps is a slam dunk, some days it's barely a top fifty. Sometimes Radiohead is well represented, this time they're not. Sometimes all ten songs are from Arcade Fire's "Funeral", this time, not a single one.

Without further delay, I present to you my favourite songs of all-time. I call this entry, my ten tracks.

Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World
This one was a no-brainer for me. Its place in the soundtrack of my life was solidified sixteen summers ago when it was played on the Polar Express every night during the CNE after closing. It became the thought provoking anthem of my summer of '89 and I can't hear it without drifting back.

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
Tragically dead at the age of 30, Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" lives on as a haunting tribute. It's a special song, covered by many artists, but no one did it as well as Buckley. I'm sharing this track tomorrow.

Hayden - Bad As They Seem
I think I was hooked on Hayden immediately following the first time I heard the first three chords of this song. It's a simple and sweet folksy tune about a guy who digs a chick he can't have. I simply can't tire of this one.

Nirvana - All Apologies (Unplugged)
Following Kurt Cobain's suicide, the unplugged version of this song was my mourning anthem. The In Utero version was great, but this stripped down rendition was Cobain's swan song. It was a farewell to a generation that came of age to his poetry. That was my generation, and this was my farewell.

Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary
It's unbelievable that a band that has produced so much brilliant original material would appear on this list twice with two covers. This time, it's Victoria Williams getting the golden treatment by Ed and the gang and it's spectacular. To me, this song is my first year at U of T and riding the subway with my walkman.

Pearl Jam - Throw Your Arms Around Me
Pearl Jam took this song from Hunters and Collectors and made it their own. It's ultra romantic without being sappy and custom-made for weddings. A tasteful love song that truly will echo through the ages.

Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
If things are hectic and I need to chill, I listen to this song and all is well. Enough said.

Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man
This songs inclusion on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack instantly tattooed this gorgeous tune into my psyche. Lyrically and musically it's a gem.

James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
Always a favourite of mine, "Sweet Baby James" guaranteed itself a spot in my ten tracks when it came time for Taryn and I to name our son. We were having some difficulty finding common ground when I thought of this song. The rest is history and I can't hear this song without thinking about my sweet baby James.

Neil Young - Helpless
He's the godfather of grunge and a Canadian hero. One note from this man and my ears are ecstatic. Is "Helpless" his best? That all depends upon what day you're asking the question. Today, it's one of my ten tracks.

I'm emotionally exhausted from this exercise. With over 13000 songs in my collection, there are hundreds and hundreds that I absolutely love. When I embarked on this quest, I never imagined it would be as difficult as this. If you're up for the challenge, Share your ten with me and I'll post them. G'night all, I'm beat.

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Welcome Complainers

Simpsons DVDPersonally, I love the new packaging for The Complete Sixth Season of The Simpsons. The people behind The Simpsons, however, are ready for the complainers.

They have set up this website for "all those who fear change, and greedy people who like free stuff." You see, the new packages which are shaped like the heads of various characters, starting with Homer, won't fit perfectly beside the cases for the first five seasons. Some anal retentive people will have an issue with this, so anyone who buys season six can order a regular case to fit in with the rest of the collection. The new case is free with proof of purchase and a small shipping and handling charge.

Woo hoo!

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AF + 6FU = !!!

TVThe second last episode of "Six Feet Under" aired last night. It was yet another gem, setting up this Sunday's finale nicely. Damn I'm going to miss this show.

The climatic, closing scene last night was set to Arcade Fire's "Cold Wind". "Six Feet Under" has used the sweet sounds of Arcade Fire effectively in the past, and there's little question why. The theme of death is prominent in Arcade Fire music, and with an album called "Funeral", there's no other artist up to the "Six Feet Under" challenge. "Six Feet Under" and Arcade Fire on their own are amazing entities but are enriched together.

AF + 6FU = !!!

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2 Years Ago Today

RewindIt was two years ago today. I was on vacation and had stopped at my mom's to help her with her computer when the lights went off. There was some construction taking place a block away, so I assumed it was localized and a result of something happening at that site. I got in my car and drove towards home.

This blackout wasn't localized. I found a talk radio station that had managed to stay on the air and they were taking calls from as far away from New York from people experiencing the same blackout. Immediately, I began thinking it could be an act of terrorism. I remember fearing what could be next.

We were without power for a little over 24 hours and it wasn't easy. James was only a year old and without milk and finding food for everyone was becoming quite the challenge. It also coincided with quite the heat wave and relief from the heat was difficult without the juice. Just when boredom was setting in I remember Steve, Vanessa and Marc walking over to shoot the shit with a cooler of pop. It was a welcome distraction.

Below is my entry from August 15, 2003 at 16:58 EST in it's entirety.

24 hours and 12 minutes. That's how long the power was off at my humble abode.

Of course, the worst black out in North American history had to strike just when our food supply was at its lowest. Already due for a trip to the grocery store, it was quite the challenge putting together enough sustenance to satisfy a growing 18 month old and his two hungry parents. Barbecued fish sticks anyone? The bright side is we had very little to throw away when the power finally returned at 4:23 this afternoon.

I did learn a valuable lessen throughout this ordeal. I learned that we're entirely too dependent on electricity for our day to day lives. Heck, my phone wouldn't even work because it's a cordless. No air conditioning, no stove, no microwave, no street lights, no gas station, no lights, no refrigerator, no tv and no computer. How did we survive over 24 hours? Gotta jet...The Simpsons is starting.

It wasn't terrorism, we survived to fight another day and it's one hell of a story from the summer of '03. Who's complaining now?

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Playing What They Want

CBCMove over Jack. There's a new station in town playing what they want, and you can bet their playlist is waaaay bigger than yours. Tuning into CBC Radio One this afternoon, 99.1 on my FM dial, I was hit with an eclectic mix of tunes. They were playing a little classical, some Dylan, a taste of the blues, Arcade Fire, rap, you name it.

You see, the broadcasters at the CBC are locked out and they're filling the day with songs. Other than an hourly national news and weather forecast, it's all tunes all the time. You never know what you'll hear next.

Now this is a Jack I could get into.

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The Monday Shuffle

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

  1. Nirvana - Downer
  2. The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??
  3. 2Pac - Let Em Have It (Remix)
  4. Our Lady Peace - Life
  5. Pearl Jam - Nothing Man (Live)
  6. Van Halen - Ice Cream Man
  7. The Pogues - Fairytale of New York
  8. Foo Fighters - Up In Arms
  9. Queen - Radio Ga Ga
  10. 311 - How Do You Feel?

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Clever Bastards at Sesame Workshop

Teddy BearLike his father before him, James has grown quite fond of Sesame Street. He even owns a few Sesame Street DVDs which he loves playing.

The clever bastards at Sesame Workshop know exactly what they're doing. In between new skits and bits on these DVDs they've sprinkled vintage segments from the late 70s and early 80s. James will be watching his show when I'll suddenly hear "The Ladybug Picnic" echoing down the hall. I'll run to the television only to be delighted by the sight of that old animation I watched as a toddler. Then there's Ernie singing about his rubber ducky and Bert going on about his pigeons. This retro flashback is there for one reason, to appeal to the parents who grew up watching Sesame Street.

It works like a charm and they know it. James is happy, Daddy is happy and more DVDs show up in the collection. Sure, James thinks it's his show and I'm watching to spend time with him, but the truth of the matter is I'm getting my late 70s Sesame Street fix and I'm loving it. Clever bastards...

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Downie's Hallelujah

Thumbs UpUnbeknownst to me, The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie recorded a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the movie "Saint Ralph". It sounds like Downie does the tune justice, adding to the incredible covers and almost-covers of this amazing song.

I can't wait to hear Downie's version. As for the other covers and pseudo covers by Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, K-OS, K.D. Lang and others, I plan to share these with you all as part of my weekly Wednesday MP3. This Wednesday, we'll start with the best of the bunch, and that means Buckley.

Hallelujah.

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March of the Penguins

A Movie ReelMarch of the Penguins: 8 out of 10.

As mentioned, I ended up at the Cumberland watching "March of the Penguins" because it's rated G. Of all the movies rated G now playing in the GTA, I didn't think there was another I could stomach.

It worked out nicely as both James and I had a great time. James loved watching the penguins and celebrating the arrival of their babies while I was entranced by the nature of their ways. You should see what this species endures to procreate. Their annual march, the brutal cold, the natural predators, all part of a journey they've been taking for centuries. Morgan Freeman's voice tells the tale and we watch while they march, mate and attempt to survive.

In the harshest place on earth, love finds a way.

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Dudes on the Loose

TorontoI realized the other day that James is now three and I've yet to take him to the movies. He's been to special kid showings of flicks, but he's never been to a real theatre to watch a real movie. I hit the net and searched for a movie we'd both enjoy. This was no easy task.

I myself haven't been to a movie in a very long time because I refuse to sit through something mediocre. When it comes to scouting out G rated flicks that I can get into, the picking is ultra thin. Thankfully, I discovered "March of the Penguins". A review will follow this entry, but I can tell you it turned out to be the ideal father-son movie. It was playing at the Cumberland so James and I jumped on the bus and took the subway East to Bay.

Following the movie, we partook in an age old ritual and grabbed a hot dog, or Manuel as I call it (an entry about the origin of this term is coming too) from a street vendor. Here you can see James enjoying himself on the steps at Yonge and Bloor. Following our Manuels, we made our way South on Yonge passing my old apartment, the shrine and other such attractions.

Walking from Bloor to Dundas along Yonge is a path I used to follow daily, but now only rarely. What struck me was how little things have changed. Sure, the Uptown is gone and there's now a Yonge-Dundas square, but it's pretty much the same as it ever was. Probably the biggest difference was walking the strip and seeing it all again for the first time, through the eyes of my son.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills."
      - Voltaire

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A-Channel Atrocity

TVThe New VR was new for over a decade, and then it was gone. Now, it's A-Channel, although it appears the only change is the brand.

Earlier in the week I was watching some Dateline-ish program that was simulcast on A-Channel and I was incredibly annoyed by a large and obtrusive "A" they stick in the bottom corner of the screen. I'm now used to stations doing this, but usually it's fairly small and translucent so the annoyance level is minimal. A-Channel's logo is clunky, distracting and infuriating.

I didn't think it was possible, but I miss The New VR.

Update: Someone at A-Channel must read this page. If you go there now, their once opaque logo is translucent. It's still too big though...

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayRedneck Paradise - A perfect montage set to the sweet sounds of duelling banjos. If you've got a house that's mobile and five cars that aren't, you might relate to this movie.

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Bonus Eight

TVDavid Chase has more to say than he can fit into 12 episodes. The result is a bonus eight pack for fans of "The Sopranos". In March we'll get a season of twelve and then the final eight in January 2007.

With "Six Feet Under" a couple of episodes from the grave, it's great to squeeze another eight out of Tony and the gang. Ba-da-bing!

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Getting out of jury duty is easy. The trick is to say you're prejudiced against all races."

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Hallelujah

MusicI mentioned I had been listening quite a bit to K-OS' "Joyful Rebellion" lately. There's a pretty little acoustic track on this disc called "Hallelujah" that I really dig. It somewhat resembles Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", but not quite enough to label it a cover. Lets just say it was clearly inspired by the Canadian classic.

Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" happens to be one of my favourite songs of all time, but Cohen's version isn't my preference. The greatest version of the hauntingly beautiful "Hallelujah" belongs to the late Jeff Buckley. Buckley sings this tune the way Cohen wrote it. Of course, it's such a stunningly beautiful song, just about anyone can sing it and give it punch. Another excellent version I heard recently belongs to K.D. Lang who sang it for Neil Young at the last Juno Awards.

K-OS can take credit for "Hallelujah", but it echoes Cohen's gem in much the same way Nick Cave's awesome "Hallelujah" does. When you write a song this utterly exquisite, imitation truly is the highest form of flattery.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Pearl Jam ballads

  1. Black
  2. Immortality
  3. Indifference
  4. Nothingman
  5. Yellow Ledbetter

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80s Dan

CassetteThere's no way he'll ever stumble upon this entry, so I'm going to write about 80s Dan. 80s Dan plays on my Thursday night softball team. I played with him last night in another thrilling come from behind victory. 80s Dan is worth writing about, because he's the real deal. He's vintage 80s and completely disinterested in leaving the decade he loves.

You hear 80s Dan coming before you see him arrive. The windows of his black late-80s Monte Carlo are always rolled down with 80s metal blaring through the speakers. This 80s metal is played in a cassette deck, most likely on the same cassettes he bought in the mid-80s. 80s Dan sports long, 80s style hair and is often seen wearing an 80s metal tee shirt and talking about the upcoming Rush/Motley Crue/Ozzy Osbourne concert coming to town. In everything he does, 80s Dan is stuck in the 80s, and that's where he's most comfortable.

I like 80s Dan. All because the calendar changed 15 years ago doesn't mean we all have to follow suit.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week Turns Two

A picture of Homer Jay SimpsonOn August 8, 2003, I posted the first quote on my Homer Jay Simpson's Quote of the Week page. That means Monday marked the page's second birthday. That's over a hundred quotes and counting.

Here's the first quote I shared. "Well, crying isn't gonna bring him back...unless your tears smell like dog food. So you can either sit there crying and eating can after can of dog food until your tears smell enough like dog food to make your dog come back or you can go out there and find your dog."

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The Canadian Invasion

CanadaAdmittedly, I tend to gravitate towards a Canadian artist simply because they are Canadian. I seek out Canadian artists, give their material additional spins if I don't instantly like it and promote good Canadian artists more heavily than artists from other nations.

Now that's I've fully disclosed the above, I feel comfortable sharing the fact my five favourite discs these days are all by Canadian artists. I didn't consciously pursue this, it just sort of happened. Perhaps my subconscious made it so, but I didn't actually realize it until moments ago. The five discs I'm totally digging these days are:

  • Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
  • Stars - Set Yourself On Fire
  • Arcade Fire - Funeral
  • K-OS - Joyful Rebellion
  • Hot Hot Heat - Elevator

Canuck rock is as strong as ever.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumGene Mauch was 79. He was a Major League Baseball player and manager who holds the record for most seasons managed without winning a pennant.

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The Leafs Sign Eric Lindros

LeafsAs expected, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Eric Lindros to a $1.55-million one year contract earlier today.

I love this deal. I still can't believe how low the price tag is for a player who, when healthy, is one of the best in the league and only 32 years old. Sure, with eight concussions under his belt, he's a gamble, but he's a gamble I'd take in a heartbeat. He was the fifth-fastest in NHL history to reach 500 points, trailing only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Peter Stastny and Mike Bossy. I've loved his deadly combination of size and skill since he was an Oshawa General.

Suddenly, I'm excited about our team. If Lindros, Allison and Belfour stay healthy, ya never know...

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Audioscrobbler Changes

MusicI started using an Audioscrobbler plug-in with my pc music player back on May 3, 2004, and I'm still a fan. This thing works so quietly in the background, tracking the tunes you play, you don't ever realize it's there. It takes the artist and song title details and populates this web page with wicked stats.

Audioscrobbler was down for a few days earlier this week but relaunched a couple of days ago as last.fm powered by Audioscrobbler. They've actually improved an already awesome free service. It's a sweeter interface, better complementary resources and even streaming tunage.

I'm at http://www.last.fm/user/mikeboon.

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Weekly MP3

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 - Man of the Hour
For Karl the Giant, here's "Man of the Hour". Pure Vedder gold.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBarbara Bel Geddes was 82. She was the winsome actress who rose to stage and movie stardom but reached her greatest fame as Miss Ellie Ewing in the long-running TV series "Dallas."

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The PGA Championship

The PGA ChampionshipTomorrow the PGA Championship tees off. Once again, I've entered the office pool and my fate is tied to the performance of these three golfers: Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.

Steve feels Tiger is a mistake and I should have gone with Vijay Singh. I don't feel I can go wrong riding the horse that has won two of the previous three majors and finished second in the other. Ryan, on the other hand, has an unhealthy obsession with Luke Donald. He speaks of Donald as if he is Tiger Woods and assures me every major that it's his time to break out. Here's hoping he's right, finally.

Follow the PGA Championship and my progress here.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumMatthew McGrory was 32. He was the deep-voiced 7-foot-plus actor who moved from appearances on Howard Stern's radio show to a high-profile role as a gentle giant in the movie "Big Fish."

As a fan of Stern's morning show, I was well aware of Big Foot, but "Big Fish" earned him a special place in my heart. That movie really struck a nerve with me, in a very, very good way. I can watch it over and over again and be deeply affected each and every time. Big Foot was Karl the Giant, and he was befriended by a young Ed Bloom. It was an exceptional performance and one that I will never forget.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Finally our baseball season including playoffs are done - it's been a long 6 months (gym workouts, practices & games) throghout Southern Ont. We could have played this coming weekend (Tecumseh), near Windsor but we would not have had enough players & I decided not to participate as we would have probably lost our 1st 2 games anyway playing AAA teams & we are an A team.

Eric Lindros - listen to your heart & not your head. You have always wanted to play for Toronto & now is your chance. John F.jr., take a chance for the Minimum + bonuses as he still has the ability. Put Tie Domi on his line & nobody will touch Eric - just like Dave Semenko & 99.

What have we else to look forward to - NOTHING (who else of noteriety has signed with Toronto). Eric L still has a name & he is still young. Take a chance.

      Twins From Bolton

I'm with you re: #88. There's a great upside there if he can stay healthy. Even though his stock has fallen in recent years, I'm still a big fan of the way he plays the game. If he plays well, and Belfour stays healthy, we'll be playoff bound I'm certain.

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NFL Pool

NFL PoolWhen the Raiders visit New England on September 8th, the 2005 NFL season will officially be underway. That means it's time for our annual NFL Football Pool. If you are interested in joining our pool, contact me.

This pool is nice and simple. You make your picks on-line against the spread each week, and there are weekly winners and overall winners. It's only $45 and a lot of fun. Let me know if you're interested or want more details.

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In Praise of Six Feet Under

TVI watched the third-last episode of "Six Feet Under" last night. It was another exceptional hour, the perfect choice of music and ideal combination of dialogue and dramatic action.

This series started off amazing and hasn't missed a beat. In fact, it seems to be picking up steam. The last three episodes have been hours that far surpass the vast majority of movies I see. Following last night's ep, while mourning the loss of a significant character, I realized we were also mourning the loss of a television show that has been entirely too good for tv. Quality the likes of "Six Feet Under", so very rare, is truly something to cherish.

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Raging Storm 3, Booty Pirates 8

BaseballShhhhhh! You'll wake our bats. They're enjoying a lengthy nap right now and I fear if you awake them they'll be awfully cranky.

Sweet dreams batty-bat-bats. Daddy loves you.

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An Interview With the Hey Mister Girl

MicrophoneI maintain the official Custom web site and by far the most popular piece of multimedia over there is Custom's "Hey Mister" video. The star of this video is a sweet girl named Caitlin and she was nice enough to agree to an interview. Here it is for your enjoyment.

Q: How did you become the "Hey Mister" girl?
A: To make a long story short Custom and I had mutual friends so I started hanging out at the house in Malibu where he was finishing up the album. I had a major crush, but never did anything about it because I thought he liked my friend until after about two weeks he asked me to do the video. The rest is history.

Q: Even three years later, the "Hey Mister" video remains extremely popular and I have the bandwidth statistics to prove it. I love it because it seems so organic and raw. Did you work from a script, a rough outline or did you just grab a camera and improvise?
A: The video originally had a script, a huge budget, special effects and me flying through the air, but then 9/11 happened and Custom didn't feel right making a huge video with all the crazy and more important things going on in the world. So with the help of friends Chris and TJ, two very talented guys, we conceptualized the more raw organic version of Hey Mister. We sort of had a plan, but the video really took on a life of its own and we just started shooting. Three weeks later we had this awesome video which was really the story of us actually going to Vegas being crazy almost getting married, and falling in love.

Q: "Hey Mister" was banned from MTV. According to Custom, their standards and practices people felt you looked prebubescent. What was your reaction to all this controversy?
A: It was all absurd. At the time I was 22 years old and a college grad. It was so stupid, me on the beach in my underwear with a tank top on can barely be called provocative, come on, look what's on MTV. Jessica Simpson in the 'Boots" video for "Dukes." Hello!

Q: There's a rumor on the web that the original concept for the "Hey Mister" video was Custom going to The White House and trying to pick up Bush's twin daughters. Is there any truth to this?
A: Yes. In cartoon form. The guys who made napster bad metallic good were to do it. After 9/11 it did not seem appropriate to make fun of the president and his family.

Q: Custom's in-home studio, which has been dubbed "120", is a growing legend among Custom fans. He's not reading this, tell us about all the crazy stuff that happens at 120. We won't tell a soul.
A: There is way too much crazy stuff that goes on here to tell all. Its basically one big party with tons of friends hanging out all of the time. More than anything though it is a creative haven for all sorts of crazy artists to come do their thing be it music, painting or whatever. There is rarely a dull moment at Hotel 120 as we call it here.

Q: Any chance you'll appear in a future Custom video? Have you had any discussions of this nature?
A: Who knows, you will have to ask Custom that one. I would always love to though if he ever offered.

Q: Other than starring in every Custom fan's favorite 3:26 of video, what else have you been up to?
A: Lots of stuff but mainly working on my TV show with Custom. Its called MMMgirls, its this crazy cool cooking show with hot girls. Ask Custom to send you the trailer.....

Q: Why haven't you chimed in on the official Custom bulletin board? The username "heymistergirl" is being reserved for you.
A: I will have to start won't I.

Q: What music are you listening to these days?
A: I have a little bit of everything on my ipod, i listen to a lot of the new Custom stuff, to The Police (my all time favorite), Johnny Cash and Green Day.

Q: Custom is a fellow Canuck. Have you ever been to his home and native land? What do you think of Canada, eh?
A: Love Canada!!! I have only been to Montreal one of my favorite cities, and skiing in Mt Tremblant. I think we are planning to visit some friends in Vancouver later this year and I can't wait I have heard great things.

Q: Is there anything else you want to share with the torontomike.com faithful?
A: All I can say is that the new stuff you guys haven't heard is amazing. This album rocks!! P.S. Because i have the super vip inside track Custom has this amazing side project called CDLX a mix of excellent Custom rock and real cool hip-hop, that will be coming out sooner than later.

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The Monday Shuffle

The Quintessential PlayerEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today.

  1. Crowded House - Pineapple Head
  2. Marcy Playground - Vampires of New York
  3. Goldfinger - Vintage Queen
  4. Public Enemy - Countdown to Armageddon
  5. Beastie Boys - 3 the Hard Way
  6. Linkin Park - Papercut
  7. Alice in Chains - Grind
  8. Ice-T - O.G. Original Gangster
  9. Green Day - FOD
  10. Johnny Cash - Personal Jesus

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Rocket Man

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

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

Yesterday, Clemens earned his 339th career win and lowered the majors' tiniest ERA to 1.38 with seven outstanding innings in the first appearance of his career in San Francisco. He allowed an unearned run in the first, but didn't let another runner reach third base while improving to 7-1 with a 1.19 ERA in his last 11 starts.

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

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The Canadian Conspiracy

CanadaThe passing of Peter Jennings got me thinking about The Canadian Conspiracy. The Canadian Conspiracy was a mockumentary from the mid 80s I caught on CityTV a couple of times. In a nutshell, we Canadians are infiltrating the United States of America, assuming control from within.

The main players were...

  • Lorne Greene, the leader
  • Lorne Michaels, the protege
  • Leslie Nielsen, the Canadian government connection as brother to Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Erik Nielsen
  • Peter Jennings, propaganda and disinformation
  • Morley Safer, propaganda and disinformation
  • William Shatner
  • John Candy, the henchman
  • Eugene Levy, the insider who risks his life to bring the conspiracy to light

Sadly, Jennings is the third player to pass away, following Lorne Greene and John Candy. I still miss John Candy.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

From CNN: "Justice: 'Serious flaws' in death penalty" (http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/08/07/death.penalty/index.html)

According to the anti-capital punishment Death Penalty Information Center, more than three dozen death row inmates have been exonerated since 2000.

Said [Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a pro-death penalty group], "I wouldn't say that 20 or 30 cases out of 8,000 constitutes a broken system."

Really? So it's okay to murder, as long as it's only 1 out of every 400? What a maroon.

      Anonymous

This is one of the reasons I've never been comfortable with the notion capital punishment. It seems rather barbaric, unethical and unproductive. Studies continuously show the death penalty doesn't act as the deterrent you'd expect.

Mr. Scheidegger is spouting typical lawyer rhetoric. Those 30 of 8,000 wrongfully on death row are merely those who have actually been exonerated. It's safe to assume many more innocent men have been sentenced to death, but Mr. Scheidegger would by okay with that as well. It pleases me that we don't practice this cruel and unusual punishment here in Canada.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumPeter Jennings was 67. He was the Canadian-born broadcaster who delivered the news to Americans each night in five separate decades.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumIbrahim Ferrer was 78. He was a leading voice with the hugely popular Buena Vista Social Club of vintage Cuban performers.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"For those regarded as warriors, when engaged in combat the vanquishing of thine enemy can be the warrior's only concern. Suppress all human emotion and compassion. Kill whoever stands in thy way, even if that be Lord God, or Buddha himself. This truth lies at the heart of the art of combat."
      - Hattori Hanzo, Kill Bill: Vol. 1

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 26 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are, divided into two convenient categories.

My stuff...

  • Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
  • Arcade Fire - The Arcade Fire
  • Stars - Set Yourself On Fire
  • NOFX - The Greatest Songs Ever Written
  • K-OS - Exit
  • Dr. Dre - 2001
  • Dr. Dre - The Chronic
  • Jakalope - It Dreams
  • Van Halen - The Best Of Both Worlds (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Various Artists - Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath
  • Lo Fidelity Allstars - Don't Be Afraid of Love
  • Dire Straits - The Very Best of Dire Straits
  • Tony Bennett - The Essential Tony Bennett (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Dean Martin - The Very Best Of Dean Martin
  • The Jackson 5 - Anthology (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Harry Belafonte - Very Best of Harry Belafonte
  • Nina Simone - Anthology (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Café Del Mar - The Best Of (Discs 1 & 2)

Taryn's stuff...

  • Avril Lavigne - Let Go
  • Avril Lavigne - Under My Skin
  • Pink - Missundaztood

That's 905 complete albums, 13,244 songs and 35.4 days of tunage. Check it out.

If you want to peak behind the curtain and see how I do it, read this detailed account as to how you can rip your CD collection to MP3 like me.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. Two are from Michelle's 1st birthday party last Sunday and two are from Marc's wedding on Saturday.

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The Manchurian Candidate

A Movie ReelThe Manchurian Candidate: 6 out of 10.

Jonathan Demme has done much better work than this. This remake is really far-fetched and confused, but surprisingly better than I expected. That's not to say it's good, only that I was expecting another "The Stepford Wives".

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The Leafs Sign Jason Allison

LeafsWhen you've mismanaged yourself into a corner, you're forced to take a few gambles. Jason Allison is one such gamble.

Although only 30 years old, Allison last played in 2002-2003 when a series of knocks to the noggin' put him on the sidelines. At one time, Allison was a premier centre in this league, scoring 95 points in 2000-2001. This deal can go either way. It will either be a complete bust with Allison unable to stay healthy or a steal at 1.5 million with Allison returning to the all-star he once was. Allison is our first free agent signing who wasn't already a Maple Leaf. That alone is something.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"I believe children are the future...which is why they must be stopped now!"

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Raging Storm 14, ASC Tailgaters 13

BaseballThere was much drama at Fleetwood Park tonight. Down by four in the bottom half of the last inning, we clawed our way to an awesome come-from-behind victory. I hit the game tying triple and scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly. There's nothing like winning a good game of baseball, even when it's slo-pitch.

It was one of those games. Shaky defense put us in an early hole and it appeared we would implode. There was in-fighting, finger pointing, and finally, a call to arms. As quickly as it let us down, the defense bailed us out, but it's the bats that get credit for this win. Good times...

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Tie and I

LeafsSince the Leafers made a huge splash in the free agent market yesterday signing Tie Domi, I deem this the perfect opportunity to revisit this moment, this moment and this moment.

Hell, lets just revisit the entire "Tie and I" page.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveFive shows that made/make me laugh my ass off (excluding The Simpsons)

  1. Chappelle's Show
  2. Mr. Show
  3. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  4. Arrested Development
  5. Family Guy

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Mike, come on, get your head on straight. If you're a Leafs fan you should be used to supreme disappointment. Its all part of the Leafs annual fall.

      The Grinch

Of course I'm used to this, I was a fan in the 80s, but that doesn't make it any easier. What's really bugging me is the way Ferguson claims he's got a plan and things are going okay. I read a quote from him in which he said he have a top line centre, a star goalie and experienced defense. Can we please fire this guy?

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Holy cow, Boonman!! The Leafs lose both Gary Roberts & Joe Nieuwendyk in the same day. Wow, I mean granted that they aren't young, but still. I guess I would have expected Roberts to leave and not Joe. The other fantastic transfer is Chris Pronger going to the Oilers, oh man fantastic but they should have tried to keep Eric Brewer. He is a talent. And I turned 29 yesterday.

      Roshan

Yes, I'm well aware quality hockey players are happily joining new franchises that don't play their home games in Toronto. Have no fear though, I've heard we might coax Gretzky out of retirement to suit up for the blue and white. Unfortunately, it's Brent.

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The Summer Of Discontent

LeafsAre you a Leafs fan? Are you in the mood for supreme disappointment? If you answered yes to these two questions, tab on over to this 2005 Transaction Log.

Big names were signed today. Forsberg is with Philadelphia, Edmonton traded for Peca, the Islanders scored Satan, Vancouver held on to Naslund and our very own Brian Leetch signed with Boston. Lots of teams are improving while Toronto watches from the sidelines. As previously discussed, there's no room under the cap for anyone decent. It's clear we're content to assemble a mediocre team this season in the hopes that more cap room next summer will allure big name players. Twenty years ago, this type of behavior was expected from the Maple Leafs, but in 2005 it's not acceptable. We demand a Stanley Cup contender and not a team that would require some luck to make the playoffs.

I'm angry. Our 39 year drought is destined to continue. Our dreams of a parade in June rest firmly on the shoulders of Jeff O'Neill and Jason Allison. I think I'm going to be sick.

Has anyone called Dougie? He could make this squad, even after being out of the game for a few years. Hell, the Bobby Orr of today could make this team. Other than damaged goods Allison and Lindros, is there any half-decent player headed our way? Is it time to sign Lonny Bohonos? I'm sorry Domi is on his way out because he could score 40 goals on this team. At least the AHL Marlies are close by, we're going to need that team to play at the ACC.

Lets face it, when you're concerned Antropov might play in Russia next year, you're in a shitload of trouble. Give me the number for Dimitri Yuskevich! Things are getting so bad, I'd be pleased to read Hoglund was on his way back. On second thought, things aren't quite that bad....yet.

Go Leafs Go!

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Weekly MP3

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.

Arcade Fire - Wake Up
I listen to Arcade Fire's "Funeral" all the damn time. It's a play through, but my favourite cut on the disc is "Wake Up". This one's going to blow your mind.

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Hipeponymous

The HipBack in April I wrote about the poll being conducted by The Tragically Hip in celebration of their twentieth anniversary. We were asked to list our ten favourite Hip tunes so I did. Here's what I wrote that day, in alphabetical order.

  • Ahead By A Century
  • At The Hundredth Meridian
  • Blow At High Dough
  • Bobcaygeon
  • Courage
  • Grace, Too
  • It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken
  • Little Bones
  • New Orleans Is Sinking
  • Wheat Kings

On November 1st, the Hip have announced they're releasing "Hipeponymous", a limited edition box set consisting of two discs with 34 songs chosen by fans. The four disc package will also contain two brand new songs, a 48 page book, a live DVD called "That Night In Toronto", and a bonus DVD of all 23 Hip videos, plus 11 new video pieces. You don't have to buy the box set though because the two disc package, which they're calling "Yer Favourites", and the "That Night In Toronto" DVD will also be sold separately.

Remember when I complained about how bright it was during the November 2004 show at the ACC? It turns out those lights were there because they filmed "That Night In Toronto" that night. It was shot in High Definition and mixed in PCM Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound and should be great.

Hip fans voting for their top ten chose the following songs, listed here in alphabetical order. 8/10 appeared on my list as well.

  • Ahead By A Century
  • Blow At High Dough
  • Bobcaygeon
  • Courage
  • Grace, Too
  • Little Bones
  • Nautical Disaster
  • New Orleans Is Sinking
  • 38 Years Old
  • Wheat Kings

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Working approx. 1-2 km from the airport my perception of the distance to the airport has changed since 9/11. The weather this afternoon was terrible from 11:00am till 5:00pm with off & on lightning & thunderstorms. The lightning was so intense between 2-4 pm that I couldn't have my vitamin (nicotine fix) outside. It was approx. 4:15 with a lightning bolt & the sound of thunder seemed very close. It wasn't until 4:30 when I heard what had occured. Flight AF358 had overshot the runway on landing. The smell of jet fuel permeated our company within 15 minutes & by 5:00 pm our president sent all office personnel home due to the smell, irritating eyes & throats within our company as we have large air ducts atop our plant to dissipate the materials, inks, solvents, bronze material, etc. & after these agents go through filters, out into the atmosphere. With the heavy concentration of fuel from the plane crash the ducts brought into the company air from outside & caused eye & throat problems. My next challenge was the drive home - 1 hr & 45 minutes (usually 35-40 minutes). I will NEVER forget that smell at is was so intense. Fortunately all survived with 14 minor injuries as of 8:00pm.

      Twins From Bolton

The blessed smell of survival soaked the city and reminded us that sometimes things work out okay. As it turns out, today was a good day.

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The Blessed Smell of Survival

CN TowerWith a game scheduled for 18:30 by Pearson International Airport, I was keeping a close eye on the weather. Around 15:00 it started getting awfully dark outside. By 15:30, everyone in the office was at a window enjoying Mother Nature's little show as the lightning shot down from the blackened sky. By 16:00, I was worried my ball game would be cancelled. It was pouring out, it was still very dark with thunder and lightning and the wind was blowing so hard it appeared the trees lining the street below could snap in half.

Just as I was about to hit the road and make my way to Malton Valley Park off of Airport Road, a friend mentioned the plane crash at Pearson. I hit the web, read that Air France Flight 358 from Paris had indeed crashed during landing at 16:03, and hit the road. The radio kept me abreast of the situation, informing me that the 401 was closed and traffic near the airport was a nightmare. As I drove towards the eye of the storm, I could smell the Airbus A340 burning. It was a choking odour, reminiscent of burning rubber. It was around this time that Steve Shaw, a vice president of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, told the media that all 297 passengers and 12 crew members on board the flight had survived. That foul stench in the air was the blessed smell of survival.

I fought my way through horrible traffic only to learn that our game had been cancelled because the field was flooded. I had 309 awesome reasons not to be upset.

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Reality Check

LeafsFellow Leaf fans, it's time for a reality check. With Mats Sundin, Ed Belfour and Bryan McCabe eating a good chunk of the salary cap, there's little coin left to add skill or even replace the skill we're losing. As of this moment, here are the players under contract with our Toronto Maple Leafs, ranked by salary.

Goalies: Ed Belfour, Mikael Tellqvist

Defencemen: Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Ken Klee, Aki Berg, Karel Pilar

Forwards: Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Jeff O'Neill, Nik Antropov, Matt Stajan, Wade Belak, Chad Kilger, Alex Ponikarovsky, Nathan Perrott

It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see we're in some serious trouble here. The aforementioned players account for $28.7 million of our $39 million cap, and we'll probably aim for $36 million. That means we have a whopping $7 million to flesh out the rest of our team this season. Ouch.

I'm with the blue and white through thick and thin, but I think this is going to be a particularly painful season. There's a sad lack of skill here and no money to buy some help. Take a look at our forwards...Sundin makes five million more than our #2 Tucker and the craptacular Antropov is sitting pretty at number four. Double ouch. No Nolan, no Mogilny, no Roberts and no Nieuwendyk. The defense is no better with butt-check McCabe leading the way. Triple ouch.

Wanted: Great players willing to play in the capital of the universe for cheap. Apply today.

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2005 Transaction Log

NHLThis is going to be a busy week in the NHL. If you want one page you can visit for a good update on all the action, bookmark this 2005 Transaction Log from TSN.

The Leafs are in desperate need of some skilled players, preferably under the age of 35. I'll let this free agent signing period pass before pressing the panic button.

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Cellular

A Movie ReelCellular: 3.5 out of 10.

I tried to get into "Cellular", but I found it really boring and uninspired. It was predictable and one convenient occurrence after another. When you're stuck in traffic and in need of a battery charger, there's always a huge "Everything to do with Cell Phones" store right there. When you need a new car, there's always some dolt with a Porche begging you to take his. When you turn on the TV the news is always right at the part that concerns you personally and reveals who the bad guys are. It got so bad I started dozing off about an hour into it.

From "L.A. Confidential" to this in seven years. Ouch.

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So Long, Guys

LeafsJoe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts have signed with the Florida Panthers. The Maple Leafs lose a lot of grit and heart but get younger, which is a good thing.

Without Nieuwendyk, Roberts, Owen Nolan and Alexander Mogilny in our lineup next season, it's going to be a very different team. Rumours are Tie Domi and Brian Leetch may also sign elsewhere, taking yet two more veterans out of the mix. Here's hoping some good young players come on board during this free agent signing period. Forsberg and Niedermayer, come on down!

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The Monday Shuffle

The Quintessential PlayerEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today.

  1. Neil Young - Music Arcade
  2. The Vines - Evil Town
  3. Richard Cheese - Loser
  4. Eddie Vedder - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
  5. The Killers - Andy, You're A Star
  6. The Beatles - Dig A Pony
  7. Public Enemy - Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
  8. Sugar Ray - Chasin' You Around
  9. Mystikal - Shake Ya Ass
  10. Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out)

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Top Ten Search Strings

Top Ten Search StringsOn the first day of every month I post the top ten search strings from the previous month. These are the Google searches that referred people to this site. Below are the top ten search strings for July 2005.

  1. family guy
  2. birham woldu
  3. joe carter
  4. pearl jam
  5. amber frye nude
  6. big shiny 90's
  7. wayne's world soundtrack
  8. amber frye photos
  9. amber frye pictures
  10. bill barilko

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Synergy

FlickrI've changed the way I share pictures from this site. I've always had a Pictures page where I post pictures I want to share, and I'll continue to do just that, but henceforth these pictures will actually be hosted by Flickr.

This alone won't create a noticeable difference to visitors, but since every picture I share is actually hosted by Flickr, I thought I may as well link to my Flickr page where people can access any notes I've added and peruse the various tags. If you go to Pictures now you'll see a new reference above the date in the first row. Clicking that »Flickr« link takes you to the Flickr page for the picture, if you're interested. If not, just click the thumbnail as usual for a larger photo.

I'd post new pictures from Michelle's birthday party yesterday, but she just chewed my USB cable and broke it. That's the second one she's done that to, which means the pictures are stuck on the camera for one more day and I'm moving to an XD card reader.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumKing Fahd was 84. He was the long time ruler of Saudi Arabia.

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