October 2005 Archives

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What It's All About

HalloweenIf I could summarize this evening in one picture, this would be the one.

If you want more, I'm now sharing four pictures from tonight's festivities in Pictures. I also created a Halloween 2005 photoset with Flickr.

Happy Samhain!

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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 with a personal story about one of them.

  1. Wooden Ships - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  2. Man Overboard - Blink 182
  3. Philadelphia Freedom - Elton John
  4. Orinoco Flow - Enya
  5. I Want To Spend The Night - Bill Withers
  6. Given To Fly - Pearl Jam
  7. Sweet Revenge - John Prine
  8. Blue Orchid - The White Stripes
  9. A Flower Grows in Brooklyn - Positive K
  10. American Jesus - Bad Religion

"Given To Fly" was the first single released from Pearl Jam's Yield. It's a splendidly catchy number that played well on the radio and has become a staple of their live performances. I love the tune, but that opening just before it starts to kick is virtually identical to Led Zeppelin's "Going To California". You can't hear "Given To Fly" without hearing "Going To California".

It's not surprising that "Given To Fly" played this afternoon. The song appears on eight different albums in my collection: Yield, Live On Two Legs, Rearviewmirror, and five official bootlegs, including the most recent three Toronto concerts I attended. That boosts the odds somewhat.

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I Could Win The Pool

NFLIf Baltimore beats the spread tonight, I win this week's NFL football pool. The Steelers are favoured by 10.5 but I feel good about my pick. On Halloween one must never go against the team that was named after Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven".

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary...

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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.

This might be unpopular, and it's definitly touchy. Why are reservations in such horrible shape? How is it that most other communities in this nation are able to maintain their public services? Could it be that all of the services that we take for granted take money to pay for, money that we all pay in taxes?

Yes, the aboriginal peoples of Canada were here first. Yes, the European colonists and their progeny abused the natives horribly, marginalized their culture, did just about anything else that you can think of that today would result in charges of genocide and massive human rights violations.

I hate to be totally insensitive about this but...it's over. Canada is a country of a thousand cultures. I don't see why the native culture couldn't survive if the reservations were dissolved, the treaties scrapped, and all these people just become citizens of Canada like the rest of us.

I admit, I'm ignorant. I don't understand. Someone please educate me why this culture cannot seem to survive without our help, but refuses to be a part of our culture as well.

      Mike H.

You're right, that is a touchy subject.

John Stackhouse wrote an excellent series of articles where he investigated our "quiet apartheid that segregates, and thus weakens, native and non-native society". Not surprisingly, his final installment in the series is entitled "End the segregation". Integration seems to be the only sensible course of action on 2005. In my humble opinion, segregation promotes racism.

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Toronto Ghosts

CN TowerWhen looking for information about ghosts and hauntings in the GTA, the definitive resource seems to be The Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society.

My favourite story is that of Ivan Reznikoff and Paul Diablos who engaged in a deadly fight over a woman at University College at the University of Toronto. The full story and pictures are here. As a student there, tales of the hauntings Reznikoff were legendary and many a day I'd visit the door and see the mark where Reznikoff's axe missed Diablos. As the legend goes, this axe battle continued atop the Soldier's Memorial Tower where Reznikoff fell to his death.

And yes, the Diablos who buried Reznikoff's body in the foundations of the building and vanished from Toronto is the namesake for the Diablos Coffee Bar where many an undergrad can still be found to this day skipping class.

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The Ghosts That Haunt Me

SpookyTwas the night before Halloween, and all through the house, all the creatures were stirring, except for the mouse. The monsters had gathered to plan and prepare, for the trick-or-treaters who soon would be there.

Sick to death of "Monster Mash", these monsters played a frightening playlist of ten "ghost" songs...

  1. Ghost Riders in the Sky - Johnny Cash
  2. The Ghosts That Haunt Me - Crash Test Dummies
  3. The Ghost of Tom Joad - Rage Against The Machine
  4. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore - The Mars Volta
  5. Little Ghost - The White Stripes
  6. Ghost - Pearl Jam
  7. Born As Ghosts - Rage Against The Machine
  8. Ghost - 2Pac
  9. Headful of Ghosts - Bush
  10. Ghost Dance - Patti Smith

Boo!

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 5 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather
  • Neil Young - Prairie Wind
  • Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Neil Young - Neil Young
  • Neil Young - Life

That's 1034 complete albums, 15,219 songs and 40.8 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 were taken yesterday and the other two were taken earlier today.

The few of you who aren't bored by my pictures will be pleased to learn I've gone pro with my Flickr account and am now sharing many more pictures there in their original high resolution state. I'll continue to post a few of my favourites every week or so in Pictures, but Flickr is where I'm storing everything that's fit for public consumption.

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Maple Leafs 0, Senators 8

Go Leafs Go!After their touchdown, the Sens opted to go for two instead of kicking for the extra point.

Oh my momma told me there'll be days like this.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
5-4-2
12 points
Last in Northeast
8-0 Loss vs. Ottawa
2-1 Loss vs. Boston
5-4 Win vs. Boston
B. McCabe - 15
E. Lindros - 11
J. Allison - 10

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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.

I guess you must have missed it or did not have chance to post it yet - but my Ottawa Senators just thrashed your Maple Leafs 8-0. EIGHT to NOTHING. SENS 8 LEAFS 0. :)

Not to brag, cause I really like the Maple Leafs. If they win the Stanley Cup, I will be among the first non-Toronto residents (or lower Ontario for that matter) to give them a big hand.

Still, the Sens thrashed you 8-0. Dany Heatley Zindabad.

      Roshan

Unfortunately, I didn't miss it. The day I miss Hockey Night in Canada is the day you can bury my soul-less body because I've passed on. I was there for the the drop of the puck and quickly realized it was going to be one of those nights. I post my recaps the next morning so I can get a more accurate picture as to where we are in the divisional standings following the game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Zindabad!

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"I don't even know what street Canada is on."
      - Al Capone

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Hipeponymous Trailer

The HipThe Hip show I attended last November was filmed for the DVD "That Night in Toronto", which coincidentally was exactly what I named my review of that show. "That Night in Toronto" will be available soon by its lonesome or as part of Hipeponymous.

Fellow Hip fans will definitely want to check out this awesome trailer for the DVD.

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Carving Jack

HalloweenIt was warm and sunny all day today, ideal conditions for carving the pumpkin. Once again, James assisted with the design while Michelle offered inspiration.

It was tough to follow up last year's gem, but I think we did okay. You can judge for yourself by viewing the following pix.

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Joyous Headline

NewspaperThe headline of the Toronto Sun article reads "Aki, Czerkawski, iffy".

That's sensational news!

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayMonster ModRen 3 - Frankenstein meets DaVinci indeed. Monsters and classic art mashed up just in time for Halloween.

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The Third World in Ontario

Aboriginal peoples in CanadaFollowing the story out of the Kashechewan Reserve this past week has been a painful practice. It seems I'm quick to criticize other nations when there are third world conditions in my own province.

The water treatment plant for the Kashechewan Reserve was built on the cheap in 1996, downstream from a large sewage lagoon, which is thought to have leeched dangerous bacteria, including the potentially deadly E. coli, into its water system. The plant was managed by unqualified personnel with an emergency back-up system that was never connected and no emergency paging system that warns operators when something is wrong. The chlorine system, essential for killing E. coli, malfunctioned earlier this month. Kashechewan has been under a boil-water order for two years and an estimated 1,000 people suffer from skin problems due to the high level of chlorination needed to disinfect the water.

How long have these people been left with water that causes impetigo, scabies, various other skin conditions and flu-like symptoms? "A lot of people don't know what really goes on in our communities ... they think they have to go to Africa or South America to see the Third World. I say to them you don't have to go far for the Third World - (just) come to my riding," NDP MPP Gilles Bisson said yesterday. In that statement, Bisson told the startling truth that no Canadian wants to hear. The province has known about E. coli problems for two years and federal officials delayed telling the community for 48 hours that the deadly bacteria was in their drinking water again. Nowhere else in this country would we allow our citizens to be treated in this dreadful manner. Aboriginal peoples in Canada are living under third world conditions and that's absolutely unacceptable.

The Aboriginal peoples were the first people to live in Canada. The way we treat them is a damn shame.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Marge, I'm going to miss you so much. And it's not just the sex! It's also the food preparation."

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Under The Radar

RaptorsThe NBA season tips off Tuesday night and the Toronto Raptors host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. In the ten seasons prior I don't recall a Raptor season approaching so quietly and so far under the radar.

With the NHL back in full force, no Vince Carter in camp and a team that is being predicted to finish either 14th or 15th in the Conference, it's no wonder there's little buzz about the Raptors. It's going to be a long, painful season.

Lets take this opportunity to flash back to opening night in Toronto ten years ago. Before 33,306 fans at SkyDome, Alvin Robertson led the way with 39 points as we beat the New Jersey Nets 94-79. I clipped the write up in the next morning's Toronto Star and you'll find it on the right side of this page from my old scrapbook. It's there along with #45 Michael Jordan's first return, the death of Blind Melon's Shannon Hoon, a big Leafs playoff victory over the San Jose Sharks and Cal Ripkens 2,131st game.

That 1995/96 Raptor team finished the season 21-61. I fear this year's squad will do even worse.

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I'm Repeating Myself I'm Repeating Myself

SwearsEarlier today I listed my five favourite Ewan McGregor movies. Someone just advised me that I've already listed my five favourite Ewan McGregor movies. Sure enough, on May 20, 2005 I did just that.

This repetition was a complete accident, but it's interesting to note that the list of five was identical in both instances except for the placement of numbers four and five on the list. I now prefer "Shallow Grave" to "Black Hawk Down".

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Ewan McGregor movies

  1. Big Fish
  2. Trainspotting
  3. Moulin Rouge!
  4. Shallow Grave
  5. Black Hawk Down

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Maple Leafs 1, Bruins 2

Go Leafs Go!Following the awesome excitement at the conclusion of Tuesday's game, this one was a bit of a let down. Except for the third period against Philadelphia, every game has been extremely exciting but last night the Leafs seemed to lack the necessary oomph to escape with the home-at-home sweep.

On the positive side, Mikael Tellqvist played another fine game and Eric Lindros scored his eighth of the season. I didn't know who Hannu Toivonen was until last night and now I'm wishing we had never met.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
5-3-2
12 points
Tied for 3rd in Northeast
2-1 Loss vs. Boston
5-4 Win vs. Boston
5-2 Loss vs. Philadelphia
B. McCabe - 15
E. Lindros - 11
J. Allison - 10

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The Record Stands

Maple LeafsThe 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs started the season 10-0. That set a new NHL record that was being threatened by the Nashville Predators this season. Thankfully, the Predators lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 last night, ending their eight game winning streak to start this season. The Leafs record lives!

That was a most exciting time in Toronto sports. Hmmm, something overshadowed that Maple Leafs ten game winning streak... what was it again? I seem to recall missing that entire ninth win because something else occurred that night... Oh yeah, this.

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Bitter? Bit Him Too

Howard SternThe other day Infinity Broadcasting Corporation's chairman and CEO Joel Hollander hosted a conference call in which he announced who or what would be replacing Howard Stern in the mornings in their 27 markets. I've been listening to Howard Stern since his show first launched on Q107 and when they dumped him for John Derringer I found Howard on Buffalo's 92.9.

During this conference call, Hollander made the following statement about Stern's replacements on Infinity. "Twenty-four hours of farting and mental illness, you won't get that here." Somebody is either bitter or simply doesn't get it.

I don't listen to Stern to hear farting or to laugh at someone's mental illness. I'm not there every morning to hear lesbians or strippers either. Those who haven't listened or simply wish to denounce his show as immoral trash are quick to harp on these points as proof his show is guttural when in reality it's quite the opposite. I don't have the interest, time or patience to listen to a show like that, and Howard Stern's morning show isn't a show like that.

Howard is the great communicator of our time. The way he relates to his audience and tells stories drenched in honesty and full of integrity is unmatched. A great deal is quite funny, but the show is at its best when it's simply Howard riffing, spontaneously talking with us. It's absolutely compelling and it has nothing to do with "farting and mental illness".

They can fill his morning time slots with the likes of Adam Carolla and David Lee Roth, but they can't replace Howard Stern. I've never heard anyone like him and I strongly doubt there's another Howard Stern out there. With Stern's 27 Infinity stations expected to lose $100 million in revenue without him and with only five per cent of his estimated 12 million listeners planning to stick with his ex-stations once he leaves for Sirius, I suppose you can't blame Hollander for being bitter.

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Rest in Peace Peas

In MemoriumElmer Dresslar, Jr. was 80. He was the voice of the Jolly Green Giant.

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James' Songs

MusicThere's no doubt which two songs have been James' favourites so far in 2004.

Earlier in the year, he was all about "Goodnight, Goodnight" from Hot Hot Heat. He immediately declared it was his song and quickly taught himself many of the lyrics. To this day if I hear it I think of it as his song.

At some point late in the summer, James' adopted a new song. He chose "All These Things That I've Done" from The Killers. By far his favourite part of this song is the "I got soul but I'm not a soldier" refrain. He's always singing it and requesting Daddy play it.

Both songs appeared on SLS13, James' favourite edition to date.

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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.

Weezer - El Scorcho
Fans of Weezer already adore this song. Those who don't know what a Weezer is will listen and declare this tune exceptional. Trust me, it's a goodie.

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The Last 25 Search Terms

GoogleFor no particular reason at all, here are the last 25 search terms that referred people to this site.

  1. slipknot duality .mp3 blog
  2. mike boon
  3. fred patterson leaves mix 99 fm
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Ever since Fred Patterson was relieved from his duties at Mix 99.9, I've noticed an influx of visitors seeking to find out where he's gone and what happened. I wrote this entry on September 6 when I first heard Humble was sans Fred and now I rank very highly for searches like this.

Fred, if you're out there, drop me a line and I'll gladly post your statement. Many have spent thousands of mornings waking up to your voice and want to know how you're doing. It would be an honour to play the role of lynch pin between you and your fans.

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The Mississauga Blob

SpookyWith Halloween quickly approaching, I was curious to read about Toronto's rich history of paranormal activity. I started Googling various combinations of the words toronto, ghosts, haunted and paranormal. This is how I learned about The Mississauga Blob.

On June 16, 1979, a "perfectly" cylindrical, glowing, flaming object fell on a back-yard picnic table in Mississauga, Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment sent an inspector to investigate the remains of this flat, "pock-marked" object that was named The Mississauga Blob by The Toronto Sun. What was this unidentified flying object?

It was a frisbee.

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A Streetcar Named Marge

HomerFollowing the Katrina disaster in New Orleans, a great deal was made about fact The Tragically Hip's "New Orleans is Sinking" was removed from playlists out of respect for those victimized by Katrina's wrath. It was a sensible move and I remember thinking at the time that "A Streetcar Named Marge" should temporarily be removed from syndication as well. This episode of The Simpsons contains the lyric "New Orleans, stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile" as well as several other nasty swipes at the city of New Orleans.

It turns out that Channel 4 in the United Kingdom aired "A Streetcar Named Marge" on September 7th and has just apologized for doing so. I wonder when local stations will feel comfortable airing that excellent episode again? I wonder when radio stations will pick up "New Orleans Is Sinking" again?

Time will tell...

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Smells Like Sour Update

SLSI haven't written about Smells Like Sour in quite a while, so it's time for an update. SLS13 was unveiled on Canada Day and SLS14 will be "released" by Christmas which is a mere two months away.

It hasn't been a particularly good period of music thus far, but there's a bunch of new material hitting the airwaves these days and I suspect we'll have numerous quality submissions over the next month or so. As it stands today, the following tracks are looking good...

  • Hypnotize - System of a Down
  • Wake Up - Arcade Fire
  • My Doorbell - The White Stripes
  • DOA - Foo Fighters
  • Doesn't Remind Me - Audioslave
  • Girl - Beck
  • Middle of Nowhere - Hot Hot Heat
  • Ageless Beauty - Stars
  • Romantic Rights - Death From Above 1979
  • Only - Nine Inch Nails
  • Soul Meets Body - Death Cab For Cutie
  • Custom - Love Letter
  • Jesus of Suburbia - Green Day

We've got 80 minutes to fill, so you know the final list will look quite different when unveiled in late December. If you're a newcomer to SLS, or simply in need of a refresher course, you'll find the following links useful.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRosa Parks was 92. When a white man demanded she give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, Rosa Parks said no. This simple decision that sparked a revolution.

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Maple Leafs 5, Bruins 4

Go Leafs Go!This game was an emotional rollercoaster. Up by two after the first period with Ed Belfour playing well, things were looking fantastic. Then, Belfour faltered as the Leafs quickly coughed up the lead. Alexei Ponikarovsky's short handed goal tied it up and we had to overcome a two man disadvantage to force overtime. Securing that one point felt pretty damn good at that point.

What an overtime! Ed Belfour came up huge as we killed off the four minute penalty to Alexander Steen and found ourselves in yet another shootout. Our previous two shootouts were against Dominic Hasek and no Leaf got a single puck past him, but Eric Lindros scored on a nifty backhand and Belfour made it hold up in a thrilling victory.

We've got to stop blowing two goal leads. My heart can't take many games like this.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
5-2-2
12 points
Tied for 1st in Northeast
5-4 Win vs. Boston
5-2 Loss vs. Philadelphia
5-4 Win vs. Carolina
B. McCabe - 15
E. Lindros - 10
J. Allison - 10

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Week 21 of Star Ball '90

NewspaperEvery summer the Toronto Star hosts a contest called Star Ball. In the days before the World Wide Web we registered our team by mail, picking a player from each position and earning a point for every run, RBI, home run and stolen base. Needless to say, my team was always heavy with Blue Jays.

For one glorious week during the summer of 1990, week 21 of the contest to be precise, I was in second. I still remember my brother Ryan running down the stairs to excitedly tell me I was in the newspaper with 1649 points. That was only eight points behind the weekly winner of a $100 cash prize. The winner at the end of the year won an IBM Personal System/2 Model 50 Z-031 computer, 14-inch colour display model 8512 with PS/2 mouse, LaserPrinter E and DOS 4.0 software. The approximate retail value was $7,500.

Seeing my name in second caused me to save that paper for posterity. It was validation, of sorts, that I really did know my baseball. Here's a scan of the week 21 standings of Star Ball '90.

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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 with a personal story about one of them.

  1. Don't Be Afraid To Sing - Stars
  2. Hey Man, Nice Shot - Filter
  3. Welcome To This World - Primus
  4. Sweet Soul Sister - The Cult
  5. Helpless - Neil Young
  6. Warning Sign - Coldplay
  7. Springfield Soul Stew - The Simpsons
  8. Peace Out - Boogie Down Productions
  9. Death Letter - Son House
  10. Trouble - Coldplay

I've always really liked Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot". When it first came out, I used to sing it in my head every time I took a shot at the basketball net. The song because associated in my head with basketball, until I stumbled upon the truth.

In actuality, "Hey Man, Nice Shot" is a reaction to the public suicide of Budd Dwyer, a politician who shot himself on live television. I haven't associated "Hey Man, Nice Shot" with basketball since.

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Nine Hours Of Nothing

ClockFact: Monday is the day of the week this site receives the most unique visitors.

Fact: From 05:00 EDT to 14:00 EDT today, this site was offline.

Result: Noticeable increase in attempted suicides and boredom at work.

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Definitive Songs

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

  • Weezer - Undone (The Sweater Song)
  • Whale - Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe
  • White Zombie - Thunder Kiss '65
  • Willie Nelson - On The Road Again
  • Wu-Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck
  • Wreckx-N-Effect - Rump Shaker
  • Wyclef Jean - Gone Till November
  • ZZ Top - Legs

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What A Champion Wears

BaseballHave you ever wondered what a champion wears? Wonder no more. During last night's league banquet, which I was far too cool to attend, members of Raging Storm were presented with 2005 championship shirts.

You're jealous, aren't you?

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumShirley Horn was 71. She was a jazz singer and pianist who drew audiences close with a powerfully confidential, vibratoless delivery.

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The Worst Team I Ever Played For

HockeyIn 1985 I was a member of the CN Towers, a team that went 0-15 playing at Swansea's Rennie Park. I just dug up this team photo.

Our coaches used to joke that we were watching too many Leafs games. They too were at the bottom of the standings but at least they tasted victory now and then. We were never in a game and rarely scored a goal the entire season. I remember finishing the season with zero goals and two assists.

We sucked royally, but it was a lot of fun. Three members of the team were in my class at school and every Monday morning we'd hang our heads low and sheepishly exchange glances of shame.

The CN Towers

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The Demise of the Dull Moment

FamilyWith James completely full of beans and Michelle fully morphed into an actual person with a personality and curiosity of her very own there truly is never a dull moment around these parts. Dull moments have disappeared completely from our lives.

One moment James is a full fledged pirate complete with sword, pirate-speak and a parrot on the shoulder. The next moment he's an independent contractor roaming the home for projects and things to fix. When he's James the Fixer, he's decked out in overalls and a yellow hard hat Grandma got for him. Sometimes he's a boxer ready to go twelve rounds with Daddy or Buzz Lightyear preparing to go to infinity and beyond. When he's not in character, he's a typical boisterous and mischievous three year old which helps explain the lack of dull moments. The fantasy worlds he concocts are impassioned.

Then, there's fourteen month old Michelle and a boisterous curiosity of a different nature. She's not as full of beans but she's awfully inquisitive and a virtual sponge absorbing the world around her. She's jetting up and down the stairs with ease and investigating every nook and cranny of the home. She'll pick up the DVD she wants to see and bring it to you, then she'll proceed to the DVD player and point to it. The orders are clear. She'll sing along to the alphabet song and nail great chunks of it, impressing the crap out of her old man. If she sees a dog, she'll point and say "doggie" and if you ask her what a doggie says, she'll give you a bark.

Both kids are awfully happy and good to each other. They're clearly bright, interesting, addictive personalities that I can't get my fill of. The dull moment is officially dead and I couldn't be happier.

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Maple Leafs 2, Flyers 5

Go Leafs Go!For the first time all season, the Leafs didn't have a third period lead last night. We did find ourselves tied early in the third thanks to yet another Eric Lindros goal, but then the wheels fell off.

It wasn't a pretty game to watch. There was a disallowed goal scored by the blue and white, a giveaway by Jeff O'Neill when we were two men up which led to a short handed goal by Philly and plenty of turn overs. The four game win streak is over and we find find ourselves looking up at Montreal, Ottawa and Buffalo in the Northeast. Ouch.

A home-at-home against the Bruins starts Monday night.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
4-2-2
10 points
4th in Northeast
5-2 Loss vs. Philadelphia
5-4 Win vs. Carolina
3-2 Win vs. Montreal
B. McCabe - 13
E. Lindros - 9
J. Allison - 9

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything."
      - John Kenneth Galbraith

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Say It Ain't So, Joe

BaseballAs a youngster I was always fascinated with the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds, and this group included the great Shoeless Joe Jackson. Ever since he was banished for life from professional baseball there has been debate as to whether he actually tried to throw that World Series.

During the series, Jackson maintained excellent statistics. 12-for-32; .375 batting average; 5-for-12 with men in scoring position; 5 runs; 3 doubles; 1 home run and 6 RBIs. Those numbers suggest he was trying, although some suggest he intentionally hit poorly at points when he could have most helped his team. Of course, if this was the case, he would have to have hit incredibly in other situations to maintain that .375 average.

I like to believe that he agreed to participate in the fix but changed his mind. I choose to believe that he gave it his all against the Reds in 1919 and tried to return the $5000 he took at the onset. There's a reason the story of Shoeless Joe translated so well in print and on the screen. Adding to the mystique is the fact the White Sox haven't won the World Series since.

The Chicago White Sox have some demons to exorcise. They'll get their opportunity starting tonight. I'll be rooting for them.

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Remember The 80s?

CarI just filled up the gas tank for 85.9¢ a litre. That's a far cry from the 122.4¢ I paid on September 7.

Sooo, like, this is totally awesome. Grody to the max!

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayStar Wars As An Animated Gif - This is something even the dial-uppers can enjoy. All the important scenes in Star Wars are represented in this 168k animated gif.

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Rumours In The Chain

CDMoments ago I cross referenced the top ten selling albums of all time with those in my collection. I learned that I owned eight of ten but was missing Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and the soundtrack for The Bodyguard.

I have no interest in owning the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, but I do enjoy a number of the tracks on Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. The thing is, I have a four disc box set from the band that has just about every song you'd want from them. I just cross referenced the songs on Rumours with the songs on The Chain box set and confirmed my suspicions. 9 of the 11 tracks on Rumours made it's way onto The Chain. The only two songs missing are "I Don't Want To Know" and "Oh Daddy".

Apparently, you can go your own way.

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The Best Sellers Revisited

CDExactly one year ago today, I checked to see how many of the top 10 selling albums of all time I had in my collection. At the time, I had three: Led Zeppelin IV, AC~DC's Back In Black and Taryn's Shania Twain's Come On Over.

If we revisit this today, things have changed. Here's where we're at right now.

  1. The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits - Despite the fact the Eagles somewhat bore me, I now have this album. I'm still surprised this mega-selling disc does not have "Hotel California" on it. Over the past year I added that album as well.
  2. Michael Jackson: Thriller - The disc is mine.
  3. Pink Floyd: The Wall - I added a great deal of Pink Floyd over the past year, including this double album.
  4. Led Zeppelin: Untitled (IV) - I've had this one for quite some time. Is there a high school student out there who doesn't own IV?
  5. Billy Joel: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 & 2 - I added a two CD collection from Billy Joel called The Essential Billy Joel. I don't know if it's the same set, but it's got all the hits you'll find on the greatest hits. I say it counts!
  6. AC~DC: Back In Black - Another high school staple, I've had this album since grade nine.
  7. Shania Twain: Come On Over - As I said a year ago, Taryn bought this one. She's the fan, I'm just a casual observer.
  8. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours - I don't have it but I now have the Fleetwood Mac box set "The Chain" which is four CDs full of the good stuff. A great deal of Rumours is represented, obviously.
  9. The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album) - I finally added this classic to my collection recently. I'm still missing Rubber Soul though...
  10. Whitney Houston & Various Artists: The Bodyguard - I don't own it this one and I likely never will. I only collect music I'm certain I may actually want to hear some day.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"I wonder where Bart is, his dinner's getting all cold... and eaten."

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Larry Walker

MLBThe greatest position player this nation has ever produced may have played his last game. I'm speaking, of course, about Maple Ridge, BC native Larry Walker.

If he has indeed played his last game, and he hasn't made that fact official yet, here are his career statistics. 2,160 hits, a .313 average, 383 home runs, 7 Gold Gloves, 230 stolen bases and one MVP honour.

Our greatest player once made the following statement. "I don't mind saying hockey is the greatest game in the world." Thanks for a great career Larry. Thanks for leading the way with a maple leaf on your chest and a hockey stick in your hand.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumGordon Lee was 71. He was the chubby child actor who played Spanky McFarland's little brother Porky in the "Little Rascals" comedies.

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Closer

A Movie ReelCloser: 8 out of 10.

I'm about to pay this movie the highest compliment I'm capable of. It made Julia Roberts completely bearable for 104 minutes.

Actually, all four of the main actors are quite good in this Mike Nichols film, particularly Clive Owen. It's well paced, well written and nicely bookended by Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter". And no, the Nine Inch Nails tune doesn't appear on the soundtrack although the theme is prevalent.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayTop 100 Toys of Yesteryear - I owned a bunch of these. Connect Four was our PlayStation. Wicked nostalgia for products of the 70s and 80s.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite songs entitled "Wake Up"

  1. Arcade Fire - Wake Up
  2. Rage Against The Machine - Wake Up
  3. Korn - Wake Up
  4. Alanis Morissette - Wake Up
  5. Bob Marley & the Wailers - Wake Up (and Live)

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Maple Leafs 5, Hurricanes 4

Go Leafs Go!Despite twice blowing a two goal lead, the Leafs won their fourth in a row last night when Ken Klee scored a power-play goal 4:44 into overtime. Eric Lindros scored his sixth goal of the season, all the more impressive considering the quality of his linemates. Lindros is part of a new Crazy 8's line with Tie Domi and Chad Kilger, hardly a list of intimidating offensive superstars.

Other than the blown leads, there was a number of positives last night. Alexander Steen continues to improve with each game, Darcy Tucker seems to have renewed skills, Ed Belfour made big stops including one in overtime that saved the day and the Leafs managed to grab the two points without embarrassing themselves in another shootout.

Four in a row... whodathunk it? Oh yeah, I did.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
4-1-2
10 points
Tied for 1st in Northeast
5-4 Win vs. Carolina
3-2 Win vs. Montreal
9-1 Win vs. Atlanta
B. McCabe - 11
D. Tucker - 9
E. Lindros - 8

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The Hockey Sweater

The Hockey SweaterA good friend of mine shares a story from his youth that revolves around a hockey sweater and results in a great deal of trauma. During the 1940s in Eastern Ontario, a young boy receives a hockey sweater sporting the logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs. With money extremely tight, this is an awesome gift. A white jersey with that blue maple leaf crest, a symbol every Ontario boy in the 1940s aspires to wear. What happens next eternally scarred my friend and still torments him to this day.

During the first wash of his new Maple Leafs sweater, the blue colour of the maple leaf ran. The white became awash in blue as it bled down. My friend's heart bled in unity. At that precise moment, the innocence of youth was lost and his worship of the blue and white dissolved. Throughout the following sixty year it became physically impossible for my friend to have more than a passing interest in the Maple Leafs franchise, despite living down the street from Maple Leaf Gardens during those Stanley Cup season in the 1960s. One bad sweater with a colour that ran changed the course of this young man's sporting future.

I'm fascinated with this story and it always reminds me of "The Sweater", the National Film Board of Canada's animated short based on Roch Carrier's short story "The Hockey Sweater". It's late-1940s in rural Quebec and a mother sends away to Eaton's for a Canadiens hockey sweater for her Maurice Richard-idolizing son. To the boy's horror, he receives the hated blue and white jersey of the arch-rival Toronto Maple Leafs instead. Problems on the ice ensue, and only a desperate plea to God himself can remedy the situation. You can hear Roch Carrier reading his story in the CBC Archives.

Had that sweater not have ran that day would my friend be a die hard supporter of the Toronto Maple Leafs today? I'm sure of it. The devil doesn't live in Toronto, as Carrier suggests. The devil is in the dye.

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Definitive Songs

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

  • The Watchmen - All Uncovered
  • The White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl
  • The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
  • Tom Cochrane - Life Is A Highway
  • Tom Petty - Free Fallin'
  • Tori Amos - Cornflake Girl
  • U2 - One
  • Van Halen - Jump
  • Van Morrison - Moondance
  • Violent Femmes - Add It Up

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81 Hopefuls

Canada HockeyEarlier today I wrote about Bryan McCabe being one of 60 players on Team Canada's preliminary roster for the Olympic hockey tournament next February in Turin, Italy. In fact, The Great One has announced a list of 81 hopefuls which includes five Leafs: McCabe, Ed Belfour, Jason Allison, Jeff O'Neill and Eric Lindros.

Here's all 81...

Goaltenders
Ed Belfour, Toronto; Martin Brodeur, New Jersey; Dan Cloutier, Vancouver; Curtis Joseph, Phoenix Coyotes; Roberto Luongo, Florida; Andrew Raycroft, Boston Bruins; Jose Theodore, Montreal; Marty Turco, Dallas; Cam Ward, Carolina.

Defencemen
Adrian Aucoin, Chicago; Rob Blake, Colorado; Jay Bouwmeester, Florida; Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay; Nick Boynton, Boston; Eric Brewer, St. Louis; Eric Desjardins, Philadelphia; Adam Foote, Columbus; Scott Hannan, San Jose, Barret Jackman, St. Louis; Ed Jovanovski, Vancouver; Bryan McCabe, Toronto; Kyle McLaren, San Jose Sharks; Derek Morris, Phoenix; Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim; Dion Phaneuf, Calgary; Chris Phillips, Ottawa; Chris Pronger, Edmonton; Wade Redden, Ottawa; Robyn Regehr, Calgary; Sheldon Souray, Montreal; Steve Staios, Edmonton; Brad Stuart, San Jose.

Forwards
Jason Allison, Toronto; Jason Arnott, Dallas; Patrice Bergeron, Boston; Todd Bertuzzi, Vancouver; Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Minnesota; Daniel Briere, Buffalo; Jeff Carter, Philadelphia; Marc Chouinard, Minnesota; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh; Shane Doan, Phoenix; Kris Draper, Detroit; Simon Gagne, Philadelphia; Dany Heatley, Ottawa; Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton; Jarome Iginla, Calgary; Paul Kariya, Nashville; Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay; Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh; Eric Lindros, Toronto; Joffrey Lupul, Anaheim; John Madden, New Jersey; Kirk Maltby, Detroit; Patrick Marleau, San Jose; Brendan Morrison, Vancouver; Brenden Morrow, Dallas; Glen Murray, Boston; Rick Nash, Columbus; Rob Niedermayer, Anaheim; Joe Nieuwendyk, Florida; Jeff O'Neill, Toronto; Michael Peca, Edmonton; Keith Primeau, Philadelphia; Mark Recchi, Pittsburgh; Brad Richards, Tampa Bay; Michael Richards, Philadelphia; Michael Ryder, Montreal; Joe Sakic, Colorado; Marc Savard, Atlanta; Brendan Shanahan, Brendan, Detroit; Ryan Smyth, Edmonton; Jason Spezza, Ottawa; Eric Staal, Carolina; Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay; Steve Sullivan, Nashville; Alex Tanguay, Colorado; Joe Thornton, Boston; Scott Walker, Nashville; Wes Walz, Minnesota; Steve Yzerman, Detroit.

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Wake Up!

MusicIt took one spin of Arcade Fire's Funeral to hook me. "Wake Up" quickly became my favourite cut on the disc and I couldn't wait to share it with my brothers and buddies. I shared it with all of you on August 3.

This afternoon I heard "Wake Up" on CFNY Edge 102. No longer merely an album track, "Wake Up" is about to be unleashed upon an unexpecting public. Minds will be blown and ears will be delighted.

Here's to 40 consecutive mornings of "Wake Up", God please.

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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.

Kenny Rogers - Lady
For my mom who would play this record over and over again while we danced.

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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.

My jaw remains fully dropped over your comments on the Tea Party. Truly one of the top 10 Canadian BANDS of all time. Although I am saddened by the end of this chapter of the boy's career, I would consent that their latest offering was their weakest. The River was only the start of the many killer tunes that would follow, The Bazaar, The whole Transmission CD, Sister awake etc... I would take The Tea Party over OLP at any Edgefest, (and have). They were always a fun band to watch live, and the comparison to Morrison is so 1995 they proved their music chops many times over.

R.I.P. Tea Party, we await further incarnations...

Thanks For All The Music.

      Carter

I've been hearing from the small contingent of Tea Party fans all day because of what I said. Granted, they had a few tunes that didn't cause me to dive for the radio dial but I've never felt an urge to add them to my collection of 1029 discs.

"Temptation", "Heaven Coming Down" and "Walking Wounded" are in my collection though, thanks to Big Shiny Tunes. "Heaven Coming Down", in fact, appeared on an edition of SLS. It must have been a pretty damn weak half-year.

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Bryan McCabe Named to Preliminary Olympic Roster

Canada HockeyHey Ry, break out the jersey. Bryan McCabe will be one of 60 players on Team Canada's preliminary roster for the Olympic hockey tournament next February in Turin, Italy.

The complete list of 60 will be unveiled Monday and the 23 man roster will be announced in late December. McCabe, fresh off an eight-point week in which he earned defensive player of the week honours, leads the Leafs in scoring.

And we thought he was all about the "can opener" check.

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Hitching A Ride

CanadaI believe in the DART. The Disaster Assistance Response Team is something Canada can contribute to countries devastated by disaster, such as the Boxing Day Tsunami or the recent earthquake in Pakistan. I wanted to throw the damn DART back in December and we discussed it quite a bit.

The team consists of a group of engineers, a medical party, logistics people and a security detail. Its water-purification units are capable of producing 50,000 litres of clean, drinkable water a day even from heavily polluted sources. The medical team can handle up to 200 out-patients a day. The engineers can help open roads, clear debris and repair infrastructure. We should all be proud of the DART.

I've been reading a great deal this week about the DART's deployment to Islamabad. There's one piece of the puzzle that always makes me cringe. We have this team and equipment, but we have no means of getting everything to Pakistan. Unless the disaster is in Eastern Ontario, we literally have to hitch a ride.

This time we chartered a six-engine Antonov AN-225 from Ukraine. The cost of renting this massive air taxi is millions of dollars. I'm not suggesting the positive effect the DART will have on victims of this disaster isn't worth the coin, I just wish the DART was completely self sufficient and Canada didn't have to charter planes from foreign countries in order to provide the service.

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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.

It's 9:15pm Tuesday Oct. 18/05 - a FULL MOON. I'm standing out in my backyard & see an interesting phenomenon. As the clouds (thin cirrus) travel in front of the moon they disappear directly in their path in front of the moon. A line of no clouds with clouds everywhere else. Why?

      twins in bolton

The Moon never gets enough respect. It's up there all the time and it's a part of every night of our lives yet we rarely talk about her. She's the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun, and only about 384,403 kilometers away, yet the Sun hogs all the attention.

I mean, check her out. She's absolutely gorgeous. Why wouldn't the clouds part for her?

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The Writing's On The Wall

MusicJeff Martin, frontman for Canadian rock trio The Tea Party, has quit the band. Fifteen years after they formed in Windsor, Ontario, The Tea Party are no more.

I never liked The Tea Party. At best they were an okay Doors cover band. This band hogged valuable stage time at way too many Edgefests for my liking. Looking back at their career, my favourite Tea Party song was their first hit "The River" and I don't think I have a second favourite.

A toast to the most overrated Canadian band of the past fifteen years.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe Daily Show on The Avian Flu - It seems every night I see, hear or read about the imminent pandemic that may or may not be the virus currently known as Avian. Hell, even I'm guilty of fear mongering. Leave it to Jon Stewart to put his sensible stamp on the whole thing.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumAl Widmar was 80. He was the Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach from 1980 to 1989 and helped in the development of Dave Stieb, Jim Clancy, Jimmy Key and David Wells under managers Bobby Cox, Jimy Williams and Cito Gaston.

Just yesterday I paid tribute to The Drive of '85. During that season, Widmar guided a blue-chip rotation that featured Dave Stieb, Doyle Alexander, Jim Clancy and Jimmy Key as the Jays won their first division title.

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Definitive Songs

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

  • The Fugees - Killing Me Softly
  • The Guess Who - American Woman
  • The Offspring - Self Esteem
  • The Police - Every Breath You Take
  • The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket
  • The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction
  • The Smashing Pumpkins - Today
  • The Steve Miller Band - Fly Like an Eagle
  • The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking
  • The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayASME's Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Past 40 Years - A great collection that includes hi-res images of all 40 covers.

Update: It looks like we blew their bandwidth. Top five and list here. When good links go bad...

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It Is Toronto, Not Montreal

NewspaperA recent article in the Toronto Star by Douglas Bell alerted me to the fact last Monday's New York Times contained an erroneous review of the new Broken Social Scene album. Much of the review seems to focus on Broken Social Scene as a Montreal-based band. Broken Social Scene, of course, is a Toronto-based band. Here's the New York Times review in its entirety.

There's a thick haze - part experimentation, part pretension, part perversity - over the songs on "Broken Social Scene." It's the third album by Broken Social Scene, a Canadian band that doesn't want to make its music too easy.

Broken Social Scene is an alliance loosely led by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning; its members, now about a dozen, are also active in other Montreal bands. The sound of 21st-century Montreal is coalescing as upbeat anthems overstuffed with instruments and eccentricities. That style was as much a part of Broken Social Scene's beloved 2002 album, "You Forgot It in People" (Arts & Crafts), as of the Arcade Fire's more immediately celebrated 2004 album, "Funeral."

But "Broken Social Scene" refuses to ride on Montreal's momentum. The production is defiantly cluttered, with multiple drum tracks, stray horn sections, instruments run backward and voices and effects arriving out of nowhere. Lead vocals are buried in the mix, and many lyrics are slurred and swallowed.

The album looks back fondly to Pavement, which made its substantial guitar hooks and melodies sound rickety and distracted. One song is titled "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)." Broken Social Scene doesn't tamp down its Montreal exuberance; guitar lines leap out of songs like "7/4 (Shoreline)," "Fire Eye'd Boy" and "Superconnected," and so do refrains like "Give 'em all the slip," and "I really don't want to think about those things anymore." The murk clears for the album's finale, "It's All Gonna Break," but that song carries the album's least broadcastable lyrics.

It's easy to sympathize with a band that doesn't want to sell out. But Broken Social Scene confuses integrity with indulgence, burying good songs under way too much studio tomfoolery. JON PARELES

As you see, it's not that Jon Pareles references their home town incorrectly, it's that his analysis is interwoven with "Montreal's momentum" and "its Montreal exuberance".

A retraction was printed last Thursday and reads, "A CD review on Monday about the band Broken Social Scene and the album bearing its name misidentified its home city. It is Toronto, not Montreal." This, as Bells says, makes the entire review bullshit.

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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,

What goes into your 'intricate analysis' for all of these definitive songs? Might I suggest some alternatives?

      Anthony

I meditate on each artist for approximately 30 seconds and await the playing of their definitive song in my id. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes there's room for a great deal of debate. It's far from a totally objective exercise.

Once I post a block of ten, I usually hear it from a bunch of people telling me I'm wrong about this choice or that. Yesterday I was told I got Radiohead and Sarah McLachlan wrong but I still believe I got them right. Anyone can submit a Guest Blog Entry and make a case for an alternative tune. Looking at the block of ten I listed yesterday, for example, I'm well aware that ten people would reference ten different Beatles song as their definitive track. My favourite Beatles song is "A Day In The Life" and their most popular song is probably "Hey Jude" yet I went went with what was behind door #3. Go figure.

At the end of the day, the purpose of these lists is to ignite debate and thought on the subject. If I got you thinking about what The Flaming Lips' definitive song is, I've accomplished my goal.

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Definitive Songs

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

  • Stray Cats - Rock This Town
  • Supertramp - The Logical Song
  • System of a Down - Chop Suey
  • The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
  • The Beatles - Yesterday
  • The Clash - London Calling
  • The Cranberries - Zombie
  • The Doors - Light My Fire
  • The Eagles - Hotel California
  • The Flaming Lips - She Don't Use Jelly

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe Monster Name Decoder - M.I.K.E.B.O.O.N.: Maiden-Injuring Kitten-Eating Beast from the Ominous Onyx Necropolis.

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The Drive of '85

Blue JaysI don't want to let the 2005 baseball season end without paying tribute to The Drive of '85. Twenty years ago, our Blue Jays won their first divisional pennant and got their first taste of post-season play. Can you believe that was twenty years ago?

In 1983, my first full season as a die hard Jays fan, we had a good young team that made some noise in the American League East. In 1984 the Detroit Tigers got off to a torrid start and practically buried all others in the East but the Jays clawed back to make it interesting, only finishing four games back. Then it was 1985 and our turn to shine. The Toronto Star, my primary source for sports news as a ten and eleven year old, referred to it as The Drive of '85. It was a magical season.

When I went through a couple of old boxes on the weekend, I found a few memories stashed away. Between my stamp collection and old Maple Leafs programs were a series of newspaper clippings from The Drive of '85...

I still can't believe that was twenty years ago. I remember that entire season as if it was last year. We were one win away from the World Series before the Royals beat us three straight to win it in seven. George Brett found an extra gear and the rest is history.

There's only one fitting way for me to end this entry recalling The Drive of '85. Here's Tom Cheek calling the final out in the clinching game.

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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 with a personal story about one of them.

  1. Floyd the Barber - Nirvana
  2. Until the End of the World - U2
  3. Woody - Hayden
  4. Bells On - Sloan
  5. Get Up Stand Up - Bob Marley & the Wailers
  6. The Big Money - Rush
  7. Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John & Yoko and the Harlem Community Choir
  8. Red Barchetta - Rush
  9. Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
  10. Idioteque - Radiohead

I've been listening to Dear Heather, the latest release from Leonard Cohen. I've also been listening to Prairie Wind, the latest release from Neil Young. A friend of mine who is not from these parts but from across the pond recently called these two men the best singer-song writers in the world. They're definitely right up there, no doubt about it.

"Suzanne" from Leonard Cohen contains one of my favourite lyrics. "For you've touched her perfect body with your mind." I always thought that line was really, really cool. It's a great song and Cohen is a tremendous talent. He's no Neil Young, but he's special nonetheless.

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It's Early, But...

HockeyWe're only six games into the 2005/06 NHL season, but it's fun to see all those leafs amongst the top ten in scoring. Three different Leafs have assumed a lofty perch in three different key offensive categories.

  • Eric Lindros is second amongst goal scorers. He has five while Simon Gagne leads with seven.
  • Tomas Kaberle is second amongst leaders in assists. He has eight while Peter Forsberg leads with ten. Bryan McCabe is third with seven.
  • McCabe is second amongst leaders in points. He has nine and three lead with ten. Jason Allison and Kaberle and right there with eight points each.

As a team, the Toronto Maple Leafs' 27 goals leads the league. Thanks Atlanta!

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. Two were taken Friday, the other two were taken yesterday.

If you're interested, I just opened the vault and snapped a number of pictures of stuff I saved. Here's the Flickr photoset.

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Introducing the TeamCustom.com RSS Feed

RSSI blabbed about RSS when I implemented a feed for this blog on September 17. If you want to know more about RSS, here's the Wikipedia page. It's evolution, baby.

Earlier today, I launched an RSS feed for Custom's official web site blog. If want an alert when things start to cook over there, you'll want to add this feed.

The feed for the latest Custom news can be found at http://www.teamcustom.com/rss.xml.

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Definitive Songs

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

  • Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares To You
  • Skid Row - 18 And Life
  • Sloan - Underwhelmed
  • Snoop Doggy Dogg - Who Am I (What's My Name)?
  • Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
  • Soundgarden - Jesus Christ Pose
  • Spin Doctors - Two Princes
  • Stevie Wonder - Superstition
  • Sting - If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  • Stone Temple Pilots - Plush

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Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Go Leafs Go!Suddenly our beloved Maple Leafs are on a three game winning streak. Eric Lindros provided the offense with a couple of goals and Ed Belfour made the lead hold up as we downed our arch rivals in Montreal.

Here are some of my dotted observations six games into the new season. The gamble additions of Lindros, Jason Allison and Jeff O'Neill seems to be paying off nicely thus far. O'Neill and Allison have really been clicking lately and Lindros has been fantastic as well. It's early yet, but I'm loving these three... Aki Berg is a huge liability and frequently coughs up the puck leading to great scoring chances by the opposition. The lone goal on Friday night was Berg's fault and he almost caused a couple more last night... I feel very confident when the Tomas Kaberle-Bryan McCabe tandem is on the blue line. Not only are they playing good defense but they're racking up the points as well... Mariusz Czerkawski does absolutely nothing for me. He plays a style I can't stand and I wouldn't have signed him for $100,000. Why not just bring Jonus Hoglund back instead?... We're in the toughest division and just the other day we were tied for last in it. Now, we're tied for second.

The Leafs look to make it four on Thursday night. Enjoy the break.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
3-1-2
8 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
3-2 Win vs. Montreal
9-1 Win vs. Atlanta
4-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
B. McCabe - 9
J. Allison - 8
T. Kaberle - 8

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Hockey captures the essence of Canadian experience in the New World. In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive."
      - Stephen Leacock

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJason Collier was 28. He was a five-year NBA player who spent his first three seasons with Houston before joining Atlanta in 2003, averaging 5.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in his career.

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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 & torontomike.com readers. I just wanted to say a quick hello, as I hadn't been online for 5 days due to a hectic work schedule. I wanted to share this cool pic I found while surfing the net today. It's truly great!

      Roshan

I like! I like!

I took a cool shot of our flag last weekend. Here it is.

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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.

I sense a little bit of dissention with your future sister in law - hopefully all is in fun!! If not things will get worse when they gets married. I've been there after living common law for 7 years & decided to get married. Things will change once the ring is on the finger.

If the last entries are TRUE feelings between you both - mend things now.

      Anonymous

No worries...

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Maple Leafs 9, Thrashers 1

Go Leafs Go!At about 18:55 EDT yesterday, I hit Rogers.com and forked over $2.49 to get Leafs TV. I then wrote this entry and made my way to the television with the digital receiver to see if channel 414 had been activated yet. Mere seconds before the puck dropped, Leafs TV came to life and I settled in to watch what would be a tremendously entertaining game for Leafs fans.

It was utter and complete dominance. The trio of Jeff O'Neill, Jason Allison and Darcy Tucker had their way with the Thrashers, seemingly scoring at will. O'Neill had a hat trick and added an assist while Allison and Tucker added four points each. Lets not forget offensive superstar Bryan McCabe and his five point night. Up 6-1 in the third, things got even more interesting....

Eric Boulton took a run at Lindros which resulted in a pile up of sorts and a series of squirmishes. Niclas Havelid tried to draw Lindros into a fight but #88 wasn't particularly interested. Then, Andy Sutton infuriated me with a real cheap shot on Tucker resulting in 20 stitches and a pool of blood that could be seen behind the net for the remainder of the game. Then, more fights including one that had me a little nervous. I'm not sure Allison should be taking haymakers to the head considering past injuries. To rub a little more salt in Hartley's wounds, the Leafs went on to score a few more. In this instance, it was completely justified.

It was the best $2.49 I ever spent.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
2-1-2
6 points
Tied for 4th in Northeast
9-1 Win vs. Atlanta
4-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
6-5 Shootout Loss vs. Ottawa
B. McCabe - 9
J. Allison - 7
T. Kaberle - 7

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."

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I'm So Damn Weak, I Sicken Myself

TVAll week long I've been ticked off that tonight's Leafs game was only on Leafs TV which is only available to subscribers. After dinner tonight I started to feel the shakes like a drug addict in need of his fix. In a great moment of weakness, I ordered Leafs TV.

I was so upset with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment for keeping 13 games for themselves, I was planning on punishing them by not subscribing to their damn channel. Then, I looked into it and learned Leafs TV would cost me a whopping $2.49 a month. I'm a poor bastard, but $2.49 a month is a couple of double doubles at Tim's. Even I can handle that. I'm so damn weak.

MLSE has this city by the balls and they know it.

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Definitive Songs

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

  • R.E.M. - It's the End of the World as We Know It
  • Radiohead - Creep
  • Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name Of
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
  • Run DMC - Walk This Way
  • Rush - Tom Sawyer
  • Sarah McLachlan - Hold On
  • Sex Pistols - Anarchy In The UK
  • Shabba Ranks - Trailer Load A Girls
  • Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

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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.

First of all, my statement regarding politicians was meant to be a joke and second of all, you're a jerk. I rest my case, be-atch.

      Vanessa

Welcome to the family...

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveGreat Canadian Gords

  1. Gord Downie
  2. Gordon Lightfoot
  3. Gordie Howe
  4. Gordon Sinclair
  5. Gordon Korman

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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.

I feel the need to defend myself here. I did know that the Vice President was (and still is) Dick Cheney, but when someone fires questions at me, in the obvious attempt to make me feel stupid, I tend to get a little flustered. Besides, who really cares? Politicians are all pretty much the same anyway.

      Vanessa

I rest my case.

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Shamrocks And Shenanigans

ShamrockI don't watch or follow soccer unless it's the World Cup. With Canada unable to qualify, I've adopted Ireland as my team to root for. During World Cup action I'm more than a descendant, I'm the prodigal son.

A draw against Switzerland the other day means The Republic of Ireland will not qualify for next year's World Cup in Germany. Without Canada or Ireland, I'm left without a rooting interest. It's times like these that we turn to Monty Python...

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

  And...always look on the bright side of life...
  Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

  And...always look on the bright side of life...
  Always look on the light side of life...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

  So always look on the bright side of death
  Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

  And always look on the bright side of life...
  Always look on the right side of life...
  (Come on guys, cheer up!)
  Always look on the bright side of life...
  Always look on the bright side of life...
  (Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
  Always look on the bright side of life...
  (I mean - what have you got to lose?)
  (You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
  What have you lost? Nothing!)
  Always look on the right side of life...

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayNHL Academy - "I would rather rip my ears off with a stapler than lose to the Red Wings". If you care even a little bit about our national game, get your diploma right here. Damn I found this entertaining.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayMade-up words in The Simpsons - The Simpsons has coined some new words and phrases, popularized some existing words and phrases, and also used some existing words and phrases in new ways. This page lists all three.

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Mike Smith's Tragically Hip Mask

The HipIowa Stars goaltender Mike Smith's mask is emblazoned with The Tragically Hip. Here's a picture of his mask featuring The Hip in concert.

Tres cool.

Mike Smith's Hip Mask

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Definitive Songs

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

  • Our Lady Peace - Clumsy
  • Outkast - Bombs Over Bagdhad
  • Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
  • Paul Simon - Graceland
  • Pearl Jam - Alive
  • Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
  • Prince - Purple Rain
  • Public Enemy - Fight The Power
  • Pulp - Common People
  • Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

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Weeds

CannabisEarlier in the month, I wrote about the six shows I watch. Based on a number of positive reviews and a premise I dig, I decided to take the plunge and watch a new series last night. I tuned into "Weeds", airing on Showcase here in Canada.

I really liked what I saw and I'll be back for more next Wednesday. Today, I decided to visit the official show site to see if they have interesting supplementary information. The official "Six Feet Under" page from HBO was ideal for this purpose, giving great detail regarding the songs that were played, posting detailed obituaries for those who died in the episode and including video clips. Showtime, the creators of "Weeds", won't even let me see the "Weeds" home page. The official "Weeds" page on Showtime's web site displays the following message when I visit it: "We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States."

What exactly is Showtime afraid of? Are they trying to preserve bandwidth by saving it for potential subscribers only? What about those of us watching their programs on other stations? Isn't there a benefit to providing this extra content to those outside the United States when their shows become available on DVD? Restricting the home page for a television show to those who live in one country makes absolutely no sense to me and directly contradicts the borderless spirit of the world wide web.

Shame on Showtime.

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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.

Great news Mike!

Congratulations to Steve and Vanessa.

Does this mean you'll be nicer to your future sister-in-law and stop making her cry?

      Anonymous

I remember the situation as if it was yesterday. I merely asked her who the Vice President of the United States was. She didn't know and Steve and I had a little fun with her ignorance. C'mon! How the hell could she not know who's the VP of our big bad neighbours? If I can't pick on her a little for that, the terrorists have already won.

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The Last.fm 10

MusicIt's been about seventeen months now since I installed the Audioscrobbler plug-in to track the tunes I play on my computer. This thing operates so far under the radar I totally forgot about it. My personal Last.fm page has been keeping track of every song I've played since then (22550 total) and it tells an interesting tale.

Below, in order, are the bands I've played on my PC the most often since May 13th, 2004.

  1. Nirvana - 1669 spins
  2. Pearl Jam - 1457 spins
  3. The Tragically Hip - 1224 spins
  4. Public Enemy - 762 spins
  5. Beastie Boys - 733 spins
  6. Neil Young - 487 spins
  7. Custom - 477 spins
  8. The White Stripes - 397 spins
  9. Radiohead - 395 spins
  10. Alice in Chains - 370 spins

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Toronto's Most Eligible Bachelor Spoken For

WeddingSorry ladies but Steve is spoken for. My little brother is getting hitched.

I first heard this news on Saturday but it barely registered. Steve and Vanessa have been living in sin for so long it was as if they were already married. Now they'll just have a piece of paper with potential tax benefits.

Might I suggest Radiohead's "A Punchup at a Wedding" as the first song. Better yet, let big brother Mike deejay the big event!

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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.

Childrens Story - Slick Rick
A friend of mine recently captured the old school rap station in the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" to MP3 for me. Chuck D is the deejay and he drops a bunch of old school rap traxx, including Slick Rick's "Childrens Story". This is a classic that my bros and I enjoyed numerous times in our youth. Hell, I'm enjoying it right now. Here we go...

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It's About Friggin' Time

MouseMicrosoft and Yahoo are set to announce they will connect their IM networks. The agreement marks the first time major players in the highly-competitive IM industry have officially partnered up to enable cross-network communication.

I've been using the Yahoo! Instant Messenger since it was launched and last summer I was persuaded to use the MSN Instant Messenger as well. Refusing to use two clients, I discovered Trillian which nicely enabled me to log in to both networks simultaneously with a single client. Of course, I needed to log in with both a Yahoo! and MSN username and you can't conference in two people that are each using a different one, so it's far from an ideal solution. I've never understood why interoperability didn't exist for instant messengers. Why the hell couldn't I chat with an MSN user via my Yahoo! IM? Soon, it seems, I can.

It's about friggin' time.

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Maple Leafs 4, Flyers 2

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs win a game! The Leafs win a game!

With Eddie Belfour taking a breather, Mikael Tellqvist shone bright in his first game of the season. I sense a changing of the guards here. Belfour has looked awfully regular those first three games and Telly was standing on his head during the second period last night. I'm hoping Eddie still has a season in him, but if he doesn't it's nice to see there's potential in the backup. Good on Eric Lindros for scoring a goal against Bob Clarke's Flyers and good on Jeff O'Neill for scoring his first in the blue and white. It all came together nicely last night, didn't it? We actually held a lead.

What really irks me is the fact I won't be watching Friday night's game against Atlanta. It's on LeafsTV and I'm not a subscriber. The first four games have been so thoroughly entertaining I hate the idea of missing a single minute of action. It'll be me, my radio and Sportscentre highlights on Friday night. Just win, baby.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
1-1-2
4 points
Tied for 4th in Northeast
4-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
6-5 Shootout Loss vs. Ottawa
5-4 Loss vs. Montreal
T. Kaberle - 5
B. McCabe - 5
E. Lindros - 4

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1917

BaseballWe in Toronto like to complain about the fact we haven't brought the Stanley Cup home where it belongs since 1967. Many of us weren't alive back then and this drought feels like an eternity. We forget that some die hard fans have it even harder.

Tonight, the Chicago White Sox take on the Los Angeles Angels in game one of the American League Championship Series. Much like the Boston Red Sox last year, the pale hose have a chance to end their championship drought and win their first World Series since 1917. That's right, 1917 - fifty years before the Leafs last won it all.

Chicago Cubs fans have it even worse and don't have a chance to end their winless streak this season. The Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908. That's almost a century ago. Speaking of Chicago, they're home to the one NHL team that has gone longer than us without sipping from Lord Stanley's mug. The Chicago Blackhawks last won in 1961.

Feel better? I don't.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayRhythm of Life - A clever and fun Guiness ad.

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Tears Are Not Enough

TeardropThe earthquake that hit South Asia on Saturday may kill 35,000 people. As horribly as I feel for these victims, I haven't shed a single tear for them. Taryn has.

I didn't cry for the victims of the recent natural disasters in Louisiana or Southeast Asia either. It's not that I didn't care about their plight, it's just the casualties were so many and I felt so removed I was unable to conjure up the necessary emotions to produce tears. Last night, Taryn asked me why I couldn't shed a tear for a possible 35,000 people who may die in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan when I cried after learning of Tom Cheek's death. I also cried when writing Thinking About Tom and listening to his final broadcast. How could I, a man who very rarely cries, weep for a broadcaster I've never met and not for massive death tolls across the globe? It's a fair question, and I chalk it up to natural emotional defense mechanisms.

If I were to personally feel the pain for 35,000 victims, I'd break down. It would be impossible to persevere and live life if every sad event and every crisis or catastrophe affected me in that manner. A number like 35,000 is so large our natural defense mechanisms simply can't digest it on such a level. They are 35,000 people I didn't know and the sadness I feel in my heart doesn't touch the nerve that may actually result in tears.

I mentioned I rarely cry, and this is true. Looking back over the past five years I remember having tears in my eyes exactly six times. Watching images of people jumping out of the World Trade Center following 9/11, watching a documentary about a man who saved hundreds of children during the Holocaust, watching "Big Fish" and previously mentioned moments revolving around Tom Cheek. Specifically when he called that half inning on April 4, when I recently spent some time thinking about those glorious summers listening to his comforting voice and Sunday when I learned he was gone. Taryn will cry following a sentimental Hallmark ad on television. I won't can't don't.

We all have buttons that when pressed result in either tears of joy or sadness. I am so aware as to where these buttons are, I know exactly what thoughts to avoid if I don't want to cry. I know what scenes in which movies strike this nerve and what memories or thoughts hit this button. I am in mad love with my two kids, and watching their arrival into this world was absolutely thrilling, but I was way too excited to cry. If I want to cry, I could conjure up the necessary emotion by re-reading this entry. As a matter of self perseverance, I can't feel those emotions for the 35,000 victims of the earthquake in South Asia.

To do so would render me completely useless.

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Maple Leafs 5, Senators 6

Go Leafs Go!After three games, a frightening trend has developed. In every game the Leafs owned a third period lead before getting caught from behind. Last night, we scored three unanswered goals in the third to overcome a two goal deficit before Jason Spezza's goal tied it up and sent it into overtime.

For the second time in three games, overtime solved nothing and we went to a shootout. I predict the Leafs will go winless in shootouts this season. In fact, we might go goal-less. Can anybody on this damn team score on a breakaway or is this just part of the deal when Hasek is between the pipes?

Much like Saturday's game, last night's contest was truly exciting. End to end rushes, wide open play, lots of scoring opportunities and goals, lead changes, you name it. Last year if the Leafs were down by two heading into the third there was no chance of a comeback. Last night, we roared back against a better opponent in their building. A nice W against the Flyers tonight and we might start planning that parade again.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
0-1-2
2 points
5th in Northeast
6-5 Shootout Loss vs. Ottawa
5-4 Loss vs. Montreal
3-2 Shootout Loss vs. Ottawa
T. Kaberle - 5
B. McCabe - 4
E. Lindros - 3

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Kim Phuc and This Small World

GlobeWe all know Kim Phuc from when she was a nine year old girl. This is her fleeing in terror an American attack in her Viet Nam neighbourhood. It's one of the more memorable images from that conflict.

Today, Kim Phuc lives down the 401 in Ajax, Ontario. For those unfamiliar with the GTA, Ajax is just a little East of Toronto.

It's a damn small world.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week Turns Two

A picture of Homer Jay SimpsonI just realized the date of the first quote posted on my Homer Jay Simpson's Quote of the Week page is October 8, 2003. That means I've been posting a quote from my cartoon hero every Saturday morning for over two years.

Back in the days before the blog I would post a quote from Homer each week but I wouldn't archive the quote. So, every week I simply overwrote what was there until I got smart about it a couple of years ago. I gave Homer his own page, archived and date stamped older quotes and moved the blog to the home page.

Here was the very first quote posted on October 8, 2003: "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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Finding Neverland

A Movie ReelI really enjoyed the inherent charm of this movie. It's well paced, completely interesting and anchored by yet another exceptional performance from Johnny Depp. Who could ask for anything more?

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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 with a personal story about one of them.

  1. Runaround - James
  2. Piggies - The Beatles
  3. Limo Wreck - Soundgarden
  4. Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band
  5. Tourette's (Live) - Nirvana
  6. Real Niggaz - N.W.A.
  7. Closer - Nine Inch Nails
  8. Fair Xchange Remix - 2Pac
  9. The Brothers Cup - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  10. Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone) - Glass Tiger

In the early-to-mid-80s, I'd come home from school and watch "Video Hits" on CBC or "Toronto Rocks" on City-TV. Canadian rock always received preferential treatment, and that meant lots of Corey Hart, Bryan Adams, Platinum Blonde and Glass Tiger. "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" was Glass Tiger's big hit, and that video got plenty of airplay. Listening to some 680 CFTR at the time meant hearing more of this Cancon juggernaut which won Single of the Year at the Junos that year.

It may have been cheesy, but it was pure Canadian cheese, and that almost made it taste good.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!When it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving, we Canadians got it right. We celebrate Thanksgiving each year on the second Monday in October whereas Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. I'd much rather have the holiday in October when the fall weather allows you to venture outside for a nice walk or game of football. Late November is bound to be freezing and it's way too close to the Christmas and New Years Day holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tom Cheek's Definitive Moment

MP3Checking my referral log I see many of you are here with the same heavy heart I carry. Tom Cheek has passed on and we're all looking to relive those glorious memories he provided.

There's no debate as to which call was his definitive masterpiece. It was the bottom of the ninth inning at Skydome, game six of the World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. Mitch Williams is on the mound, Joe Carter is at the plate, there are two on and the Jays trail by one. Without further adieu, enjoy Tom Cheek's definitive moment...

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. All our from our trip to Chudleigh's Farm this morning to pick apples.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTom Cheek was 66. He was the beloved broadcaster who became the voice of baseball in Canada and called an incredible 4,306 consecutive Blue Jays games from Bill Singer's first pitch on April 7, 1977 until last June 3, when he skipped a game in Oakland because of his father's death.

I understand this page is highly ranked for many Google searches regarding Tom. He meant a great deal to so many of us and already I see a multitude of hits from people seeking more information about the voice of Blue Jays baseball and his extraordinary career in broadcasting. Over the past couple of years I've spent a great deal of time thinking about what he meant to me and why he was so special. Please take some time to read the following nine entries which nicely surmise the tremendous effect his voice had on my life.

This one hurts. We'll miss you Tom and we will never, ever forget you.

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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.

No DEFENSE when the going gets tough. It's time to step up & play beyond your ability. The Leafs can't do this when holding a lead as is evident the last 2 games. Eric & Eddie cannot keep the team close all year without the supporting cast. Proabably 1 of the best signings (Eric Lindros) the Leafs made, even though I'm not a fan of Eric's, but my mind is changing with his play the last 2 games as he was the best player during both of these games. Defense wins games in any sport & the Leafs have none. At least I saw them win the cup in 1967-this is Not their year. What happened with the Owen Nolan situation? Are the Leafs stuck with his contract this year or not?

      Dale

Nolan's contract won't count against the salary cap, which is really all I care about. I agree with you regarding The Big E. He's been our best offensive player and he's getting little help. Things looked rough before Sundin's injury, now things look particularly bleak.

Having said all that, we've only played 2 of 82 games and we've secured 1 of a possible 4 points. We had leads late in both games, so we haven't been getting our butts handed to us. Eventually we're going to win 1 or 2 of these suckers. I hope...

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I Heart Huckabees

A Movie ReelI Heart Huckabees: 6 out of 10.

This is a difficult movie to review. To be completely honest, I'm not sure if I liked it or not. I was never bored and there were definitely parts I liked, but if I were to take a quiz on what exactly it was about I'm sure I'd fail. You may need a degree in Existentialism in order to fully appreciate this weird and potentially wonderful film. Unfortunately, I've just got a 101 course on logic in philosophy under by belt and if a then b, a therefore six.

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Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 5

Go Leafs Go!Two games played, two third period leads blown. This is a frightening trend. Last night, defensemen Aki Berg and Wade Belak were on the ice for the tying and winning goals and both finished the game -3. Conversely, Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe finished the game +2. Methinks our thin and weak blue line shall be our demise.

Losing back to back games to the hated Sens and Habs hurts, but at least the games have been entertaining. Last night's affair had nine goals in the final two periods with lots of lead changes and exciting action. Eric Lindros once again looked solid, which is a good sign, and Alexander Steen scored his first career goal.

Unfortunately, with Berg and Belak getting fourteen minutes a game manning the blue line, we're in store for a few more of these frustrating suckers before the season ends.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
0-1-1
1 point
5th in Northeast
5-4 Loss vs. Montreal
3-2 Shootout Loss vs. Ottawa
E. Lindros - 3
T. Kaberle - 2
B. McCabe - 1

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence."
      - Erma Bombeck

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. A few are from our Thanksgiving get together today and one is from last weekend.

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Definitive Songs

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

  • Moby - Natural Blues
  • Moist - Push
  • Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home
  • Naughty By Nature - O.P.P.
  • Neil Young - Heart of Gold
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat
  • Nine Inch Nails - Closer
  • Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • No Doubt - Just A Girl
  • Oasis - Wonderwall

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Who is Fonzy!?! Don't they teach you anything at school?"

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Random Stat Check

MouseThere was a time when a web page had to be optimized for a screen resolution of 800x600 and Internet Explorer because virtually all your visitors had such a configuration. Those days are long gone. The 800x600 crowd is disappearing and IE no longer controls 99% of the browser market. Based on the last 100 unique visitors to this web site, here's a peek at the stats.

Resolution Stats

  1. 1024x768 - 49%
  2. 800x600 - 25%
  3. 1280x1024 - 18%
  4. Unknown - 7%
  5. 640x480 - 1%

Browser Stats

  1. Internet Explorer - 75%
  2. Firefox - 17%
  3. Mozilla - 3%
  4. Safari - 3%
  5. Opera - 2%

If you're curious, I'm 1280x1024 and happily using Firefox 1.07.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite pasta shapes

  1. Lasagna
  2. Spaghetti
  3. Rigatoni
  4. Rotini
  5. Penne

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Definitive Songs

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

  • Live - Lightning Crashes
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
  • Maestro Fresh-Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide
  • Marcy Playground - Sex and Candy
  • Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
  • Matthew Good Band - Apparitions
  • Meat Loaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light
  • Metallica - One
  • Michael Jackson - Billy Jean
  • Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod

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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, If you've forgotten Liisa LaDouceur used your quote of the week in describing the Hip, "It's not the band I hate, it's their fans."

She has ruined a perfectly good verse from a Sloan song.

For Shame...

      Carter

Oh yes, laughable Liisa LaDouceur. If my memory serves me correctly, before trashing "Courage" she first called The Hip "hoser rock" and claimed they were no better than other Canadian bands like Spirit of the West. Then, after being attacked by others on the 50 Tracks panel, she tried to bail out with that great "Coax Me" line. I was willing to let the whole thing slide until that awful Pearl Jam article that showed just how out of touch and unaware she actually is.

For the record, I wrote Liisa at her personal Sympatico account to give her a fair chance to respond but I never heard back. It's not the differing opinion I hate, it's the ignorance.

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Capturing the Friedmans

A Movie ReelCapturing the Friedmans: 9 out of 10.

I've long believed the best films don't feature actors and scripts but the stranger than fiction drama of reality. I challenge you to watch this documentary and argue otherwise.

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O Captain! My Captain!

LeafsMats Sundin's orbital bone was fractured last night meaning he's out four to six weeks.

Coming into this season, Sundin had two qualities going for him that were very rare in the Maple Leafs dressing room: he had a great deal of skill and he was healthy. That's right, he was both highly skilled and healthy, something no other Leaf could claim, and now he's out for over a month.

My Captain does not answer...

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The Weather and Gas

NotepadNow, for a limited time only, two entries in one!

First, the weather... I tossed around a frisbee during lunch and it was bloody hot out there. They're listing the temp at 25° but it feels more like 32°. Is it just me or is this awfully toasty for October 6?

Now, gas... The reprogramming of drivers across this country is complete. This morning I saw regular unleaded gasoline selling for 99.3¢ a litre and I filled up the tank with a smile on my face. Getting it for under a buck felt like a bargain, despite the fact less than a month ago I complained about having to break my life long streak of never paying more than a dollar for a litre. How the hell does 99.3¢ start feeling like a freakin' sale?

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayMikeBizzle - B-L-to-tha-izzog, fo'.

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Mike James

RaptorsIt goes without saying that James and I have a new favourite Toronto Raptor. Mike James was acquired earlier in the week from Houston in exchange for Rafer Alston.

Best name in the NBA!

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Boogie Songs

MusicHere's a list of every song in my collection with the word "boogie" in the title. For absolutely no particular reason whatsoever.

  • Boogie Man - Aerosmith
  • B. B. Boogie - B. B. King
  • Rockin' My Boogie - Big Walter Horton's Blues Harp Band with Memphis Charlie
  • The Hypnotizin' Boogie - David Wilcox
  • Boogie Wonderland - Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Rock n' Roll Boogie Woogie Blues - The Edgar Winter Group
  • Chateau Lafitte '59 Boogie - Foghat
  • Boogie Chillen - John Lee Hooker
  • Jungle Boogie - Kool & the Gang
  • Boogie Street - Leonard Cohen
  • Joogie Boogie - Memphis Slip and Willie Dixon
  • Boogie Woogie Santa Claus - Patti Page
  • Pine Top's Boogie Woogie - Pine Top Smith
  • Jungle Boogie - Ren & Stimpy
  • Boogie On Reggae Woman - Stevie Wonder
  • I Love To Boogie - T-Rex
  • Tube Snake Boogie - ZZ Top

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Maple Leafs 2, Senators 3

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs were a part of history last night when they went to the first shootout in National Hockey League history. We lost the shootout but salvaged a valuable point against a far superior division rival.

For most of the game it looked like Ottawa had no interest in winning. For a team many are predicting to win it all, they lacked any semblance of intensity and only seemed to awaken in the final six minutes. Bryan McCabe's goal early in the first period held up until the 14:12 mark of the third and Eric Lindros' wicked snap shot with 91 seconds remaining looked to be the story book winner until that damn Alfredsson tied it up in the final minute of play.

With players like Lindros and Jason Allison in the line up, I never stopped to consider the possibility Mats Sundin could be the one to leave the game injured. Seven minutes into the first the captain fell to the ice with an eye injury after being struck by the puck. After watching Bryan Berard fall to the ice in a similar fashion against this same team, you expect the worst, but reports today indicate he's okay and day-to-day. If the Leafs have any intention of being competitive, they're going to need Sundin healthy and at the top of his game. If Sundin had taken that first shot of the shootout last night instead of Allison, there may have been a different result.

It's great to have hockey back. We have Montreal next on Saturday night.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
0-0-1
1 point
3-2 Shootout Loss vs. Ottawa T. Kaberle - 2
E. Lindros - 1
B. McCabe - 1

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16 Months In Exile

StanleyTonight, all thirty teams in the NHL will see action. It's been sixteen long months since the Stanley Cup was won by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sixteen long, tumultuous months of nothing.

Looking back, it all seems so surreal. The players were locked out, there was a great deal of hope in February followed by the cancellation of the season and another last gasp effort that came up empty. Then, there was a deal with new rules and parity that hasn't been seen in many years. The following entries demonstrate the roller coaster-like peaks and valleys of the past sixteen months.

  • Sigh (October 7, 2004) - "The NHL is a multi-billion dollar business that can't figure out how to divide all that money. They don't even seem to be trying. When was the last time the two sides spoke? When is their next meeting? Don't they care? This is a bunch of extremely wealthy people playing chicken at our expense."
  • The Big Tease (December 2, 2004) - "I read about this meeting between the NHLPA and NHL and I see a slight glimmer of hope. I see the possibility of hockey this season and a Stanley Cup champion crowned in 2005. I see my brothers and I gathered around friends drafting our playoff pool and I see James and I wearing our jerseys and celebrating loudly when Roberts/Sundin/McCabe/Nolan scores for Toronto. I see it all potentially unfolding before my eyes and I smile. Then I shake my head and realize it's all just a big tease."
  • Last Chance (December 9, 2004) - "Mr. Goodenow, Mr. Bettman, I implore each of you to salvage this season. To cancel the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring would be to break the collective heart of a nation. Save the season and bring hockey back, please. I miss it."
  • I'm Cancelling The Season (December 24, 2004) - "Driving the snow lined streets of Toronto this afternoon, I started thinking about hockey. I realized it was Christmas Eve and the 2004/2005 NHL hockey season has yet to begin. With the NHL and NHLPA deeply entrenched in a pissing contest, everybody is looking at January 14th, 2005, the day the NHL board of governors are set to meet, as the day the season is likely cancelled. This hockey fan has no interest in waiting three weeks for the NHL to confirm the worst. I'm taking action today. I'm cancelling the entire 2004/2005 NHL season."
  • Repugnant Bettman (February 15, 2005) - "While I slept last night, the NHLPA agreed to accept a salary cap. This was a most significant concession on their part. The NHL offered to remove its demand for a link between league revenues and player costs, a most significant concession on their part. With this glorious, unexpected progress being made at the eleventh hour, the NHLPA offered to accept a cap at $52 million. Sounds good, doesn't it? Bettman said no and talks broke down. The NHL won't accept a cap at $52 million but wants $40 million. They're going for broke on this one, even if it destroys the game I love."
  • An Open Letter To Gary Bettman (February 16, 2005) - "Today you cancelled the 2004-2005 NHL hockey season. As a result, I will be deprived of one of my passions. I won't be celebrating a Maple Leaf goal, feeling that tingle the morning of a Maple Leaf playoff game and exchanging high fives with James and my brothers following a big win. For the first time in a decade we won't be drafting a playoff pool, seeing an always exciting game seven or discussing potential trades at the deadline. For only the second time in the history of the Stanley Cup and for the first time since 1919 that precious mug we dream about as children will go unawarded. We are left with nothing."
  • Hopes Up (February 18, 2005) - "The media is full of reports that there is a chance that 2004-05 regular season and playoffs could be saved. In fact, there is some speculation that a deal will be struck this weekend...Should this be a false alarm, I'm really going to be angry. My friend Nick Carter said it best. Bettman and Goodenow: Quit playing games with my heart."
  • Do You Believe In Miracles? (February 18, 2005) - "The NHL season is expected to be "un-canceled" Saturday in New York, according to The Hockey News. A nation holds its collective breath. I have 99 reasons to keep the faith."
  • Premature Ecstatication (February 20, 2005) - "When the phone rang it felt like the dead of night so I asked Taryn to answer it because it had to be an emergency. It turned out it was only ten o'clock and it was my brother Steve calling to share the great news he saw reported on TSN. The players and league had reached an agreement and the season would be saved Saturday."
  • They're Back! (July 13, 2005) - "I saw this moment coming, and now that it's here I'm even happier than I thought I'd be. The NHL and NHL Players' Association have finally reached an agreement on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement. Assuming this deal gets ratified, the NHL will start back up again on July 21."

A wide range of emotions escaped my fingertips over the past sixteen months, and those ten entries are just a taste. There was disappointment, anger, sadness, hope, more disappointment, more anger, indifference and finally elation. Tonight, I'm picking up Steve, buying a pepperoni pizza and heading to Ryan's place to watch our Toronto Maple Leafs battle the Ottawa Senators in regular season NHL action. I'll be wearing my #5 Bill Barilko jersey, my heart on my sleeve and a big smile. Hockey is back and all is forgiven.

Go Leafs Go!

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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.

Over the last couple of days I've become more convinced than ever that Dubya has gone right round the twist. First there's this:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/10/03/scotus.miers/index.html

And now:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/10/05/bush.reax/index.html

Nominating your own lawyer, who has no experience being a judge, to the highest bench in the land? Even putting aside her legal qualifications, it's a lousy political move right after the whole Mike Brown-FEMA thing.

Being aware of the possibility of an outbreak of bird-flu or any other disease is a good thing. Witness the relatively minor problem we had with SARS the other day. Suggesting that the military come in to be used for law enforcement? That's the start of a VERY slippery slope.

Still three more years to go...hoo-boy.

      Mike H.

None of this surprises me. Lets review the Dubya record:

  • As Governor of Texas, he presided over more executions than took place in the other 49 states combined during the same time period.
  • Bush is allied with the bigoted extreme right who want to deny equal rights to homosexuals.
  • He refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol agreement on global warming even though Canada and 177 other countries did.
  • When Bill Clinton left office, there was a surplus of $235 billion. Since Bush took over, the surplus has been depleted and his administration's 2003 reflected a $400 billion federal deficit.
  • Bush has no respect for the United Nations. When Bush couldn't secure the necessary votes on the Security Council, he subverted the process and invaded Iraq regardless.
  • George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, gets his news from Andrew Card and Condoleezza Rice. He doesn't watch the news on television, read newspapers or read the news online.
  • The man has taken far more vacation time than any previous President, which is probably a good thing.
  • His actions and inactions are directly to blame for the horribly inadequate response to Katrina.
  • Osama is still at large. Many believe it's because Dubya took his eye off the prize and prematurely invaded Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11.

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of stuff, but I have work to do and can't spend all day recounting Dubya's failures. This Harriet Miers instance is yet another example of Bush putting his pals and cronies in spots that should be reserved for the more qualified. She's another Brownie. The man is grossly incompetent but the greatest over achiever in the history of the world.

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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.

Stompin Tom Connors - The Hockey Game
No explanation required. Sing it loud, sing it proud.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe Game - The Toronto Star is throwing all their Leaf content on one handy dandy page this season. They're promising "game previews, stories, photos and more". Another consistently great Maple Leafs portal is TMLfans.ca. As with every season, I'll be including a Maple Leafs recap of every game on this site and sharing my two cents on the blue and white here and there. Lets drop the damn puck!

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Cure Vs. Kill

MusicThe other day, a friend and I were discussing Beck's "Loser". It is a slacker anthem of sorts and as such it comes up in conversations now and then. At some point during this chat, I recited the lyric "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?". My friend gently pointed out that the actual lyric was "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you cure me?". I begged to differ.

I've been singing that song for years and I had no doubt that it was "kill me" and not "cure me". We argued about this for a little while, each presenting our case, and then we hit Beck's official site for confirmation. I was right, it was in fact "kill me".

As an apathetic slacker anthem, "cure me" was far too hopeful. Beck was acknowledging he was a loser with no interest in being cured. With no hope in sight, he begged to be killed. There's no cure for what ails him. Soy un perdedor.

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A Custom Battle For Yahoo! Superiority

Yahoo!"Custom" is a rather popular term on the world wide web. There's custom everything, from tee shirts to software, not to mention customs, which opens an entirely new realm of data. I recently spoke to the people who own the domain custom.com only to learn they wanted a small fortune for it. The term "custom" is extremely important to a wide variety of industries.

I built and maintain the official web site for an extremely talented musician who goes by the name Custom. At one point this past weekend, a Yahoo! search for the term "custom" had that very site ranked #1. Yesterday we were #3 and today we're back to #2. Just ranking in the top three is no small feat and something I'm quite proud of. Our Yahoo! fu is strong.

Our next target is Google, but it's proving to be a little more difficult. The proliferation of "custom" content on the web means we need your help. Lets Google Bomb the hell out of the term "custom" by placing the following snippet of XHTML code on as many web pages as possible: <a href="http://www.teamcustom.com" title="Custom's Official Web Site">Custom</a>

We've come for what's ours.

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Season 7 Release Date

HomerSeason 7 of "The Simpsons" will be available December 13, just in time for Christmas. This is the season that brought us "Bart Sells His Soul", "Lisa the Vegetarian", "Fish Called Selma" and the ultra cool "Short Films About Springfield".

The only DVDs I collect are seasons of "The Simpsons". What a grand Christmas present this would be. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

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Appointment Viewing

TVThroughout this coming winter I plan to watch as much Maple Leaf hockey as possible, documentaries that air on CBC Newsworld, TVO or PBS that intrigue me and a bunch of movies. I don't plan to watch many sitcoms, dramas or reality shows. Each year it seems I schedule less and less appointment viewing. In fact, I've got it down to six shows, only three of which I've designated as "can't miss".

Sunday nights at 20:00 EDT I watch "The Simpsons". I've been watching this one for over half my life and I'm not about to stop now. Immediately following "The Simpsons", I'm off to TMN for "Curb Your Enthusiasm" at 20:30 EDT. It's no longer as painfully hilarious as it was those first few seasons, but it still makes me laugh. After CYE, I'm back to cartoons with "Family Guy" at 21:00 EDT and "American Dad" at 21:30 EDT. I enjoy both of these shows, but part of their allure is the nice block they form with "The Simpsons" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm", giving me an enjoyable two hours of fun before the work week begins. Clearly Sunday night is the big night of appointment viewing for me as I catch four of my six shows in a single two hour time slot.

Monday night at 20:00 EDT is the new time slot for "Arrested Development" and that's my third and final "can't miss" program of the week. The ratings suck and it's on life support on a crappy night and time but I cherish every minute with this show. Last night was hilarious but it will take a miracle to get AD into a fourth season. What a shame.

Tuesday night at 22:00 EDT I watch "Rescue Me" on Showcase. It's just a neat little drama starring Denis Leary that I enjoy and I'll be sure to check it out on a Tuesday night before I crash. From Wednesday through Saturday I don't watch a single sitcom, drama or reality show. I'm big on "The Passionate Eye", "Rough Cuts" and "American Masters" when there isn't a Leafs game to watch. Taryn, on the other hand, enjoys her "Gilmore Girls", "Seventh Heaven", "Desperate Housewives" and "The O.C.".

1 day, 10 hours, 21 minutes, and 50 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener... the best damn show in town.

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The Foul Stench of SARS

MedicalHad SARS not claimed 44 lives in Toronto from two outbreaks in early 2003, would the outbreak of an unknown respiratory illness in a Toronto nursing home be front page news? No way, Jose.

Six elderly patients at the Seven Oaks Home for the Aged in Scarborough are dead, and as tragic as this is, I don't believe it's particularly uncommon. I know first hand that nursing homes can be hit hard by a particular respiratory illness forcing them to close their doors to family members until everything is under control. The six that have died were all elderly and frail. Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, has ruled out SARS, avian flu, Legionnaires and influenza A and B. Did you read that world? This isn't SARS, dammit!

I suppose the foul stench of SARS will linger for a while yet while the world awaits the imminent pandemic. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss and the flu is just the flu. Somebody tell CNN...

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumNipsey Russell was 80. He was the actor known as "the poet laureate of television."

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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 with a personal story about one of them.

  1. Life Goes On - House Of Pain
  2. Takeover - Jay-Z
  3. Boys In The Trees - Carly Simon
  4. Mother Earth - Memphis Slim
  5. Sell My Soul - Our Lady Peace
  6. A Face In The Crowd - Tom Petty
  7. Panther Power - Paris
  8. Trampled Underfoot - Led Zeppelin
  9. Save Me - Aimee Mann
  10. Man's Best Friend - Ice Cube

While working at the CNE in 1989, I met a dude working at another booth who had similar musical interests. We were each enamored with different rap discs and would debate which was the definitive such album for hours and hours. I was all about "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" from Public Enemy and he was all about "The Devil Made Me Do It" from Paris. We exchanged these discs for a night and I spun Paris over and over again. It was awesome. It wasn't ITANOMTHUB awesome, but it was something special.

The next day we traded back our discs and were each converted by the other. I went downtown after my shift and found the Paris disc for $10.99 on Yonge Street. Even better.

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Just In Time

CBCCBC management and the Canadian Media Guild struck an agreement early this morning that is expected to end the lockout of 5,500 staff in the coming days.

Not coincidentally, the first airing of Hockey Night in Canada in over a year is scheduled to air this coming Saturday at 19:00 EDT. Was there ever any doubt that they'd figure this thing out before the bulk of Canadians would actually notice? Cue the music...

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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.

Q. What is the difference between the Toronto Maple Leafs and a cigarette machine?
A. You can get Players out of a cigarette machine

Q. What do the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays all have in common besides being based in Toronto?
A. None of them can play hockey

      The Grinch

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! You're frickin' hilarious.

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 18 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • The Distillers - Coral Fang
  • L7 - Bricks Are Heavy
  • L7 - Hungry For Stink
  • Depeche Mode - The Singles 81-85
  • Depeche Mode - The Singles 86-98 (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Slipknot - 870621345
  • Various Artists - WaxTrax! Black Box: The First 13 Years (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Digital Underground - No Nose Job
  • Matthew Good - White Light Rock & Roll Review
  • Billy Joel - The Essential Billy Joel (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Roy Orbison - The All-Time Greatest Hits Of Roy Orbison
  • Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits
  • Phil Collins - ...Hits
  • Various Artists - The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience
  • Various Artists - Reggae Anthems

That's 1029 complete albums, 15,142 songs and 40.6 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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Definitive Songs

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

  • Ice Cube - It Was a Good Day
  • Ice T - New Jack Hustler
  • James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
  • Janis Joplin - Me And Bobby McGee
  • Jimmy Hendrix - Purple Haze
  • John Lennon - Imagine
  • John Mellancamp - Jack and Diane
  • Johnny Cash - Walk The Line

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Cutting Stumpy For The Greater Good

LeafsI like Steve Thomas as much as the next guy, but I really didn't want him to make this team. I wanted a youngster or two to rise to the challenge and force us to say farewell to 42 year old Stumpy. Thankfully for all Leafs fans, I got my wish.

Alexander Steen is ready and will be in the line up Wednesday night. He's 21, full of skill and good lineage, plays both ways and kills penalties. He'll be playing with Matt Stajan and Jeff O'Neill on the third line. If he keeps this up, there will be many #10 Leafs jerseys under trees this Christmas.

How old is Stumpy? The man was traded for Al Secord. 'Nuff said...

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"It's not the band I hate, it's their fans."
      - Sloan, Coax Me

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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.

As I sit here listening to all the different versions of Halleluja (for the 100th+ time) you put up, I realize that no one could do it as well as Leonard Cohen. The others are good but my mind can be distracted when listening to the others but when Leonard sings it, I am drawn in to hear every word. I get chills listening. You can feel the passion in his voice. I just can't get enough of it! I find myself hitting repeat because you really don't want that feeling to go away after just 6 minutes and 55 seconds. I just wanted to share that with you and thank you for giving all the versions to me especially Leonard Cohen's!

      Cheryl of Texas

It's nearly impossible to argue against Leonard Cohen. I'm glad you're enjoying that Canadian gem, in all its glorious forms.

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Thinking About Tom

BluejaysThe excitement surrounding the pennant races in Major League Baseball this season has me thinking back to the good ol' days when our Toronto Blue Jays were perrenial contenders. For two October's in the early 90s they ruled these parts stealing our hearts with back-to-back World Series Championships. I lived and died with the Jays and that meant spending hours and hours with the soothing voice of Tom Cheek.

In 1983 I heard a Blue Jays radio broadcast at a cottage way up north and I was instantly hooked. The voices calling the game were Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth and they painted a romantic picture starring a young, up and coming team that was playing through five years of expansion pains. Tom Cheek, I would later learn, called the first Jays game on April 7, 1977 and didn't miss a single one until June 3, 2004 when he missed two games to attend his father's funeral. That was 4,306 consecutive regular season games and 41 post-season games, but Cheek wasn't about quantity. He was is all about quality. He combines a tremendous knowledge for the game with brilliant broadcasting instincts and a classy yet folksy demeanor. Jerry Howarth had the signature calls like "hooking...hooking..." and "there she goes..." but Cheek was Blue Jays baseball. He was my teacher, explaining the finer details such as when to hit and run and when to gamble by stretching a double into a triple. In Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, he called the biggest play in Blue Jays history with "Touch 'em all Joe! You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!" All a Jays fan has to do is close his or her eyes and hear Tom Cheek say that line and a smile is guaranteed.

This isn't my first entry celebrating Tom Cheek and what his role in the broadcast booth has meant to me. Every night, summer after summer for over a decade was spent either watching the Jays or listening to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. They were my eyes. Here are previous entries about the great Tom Cheek:

Tom isn't doing very well these days. His condition has deteriorated and some say he's in his final days. On April 4th I heard Tom call parts of the Jays' season opener, keeping alive a streak of 28 consecutive home openers he's called. I remember getting misty eyed when he exclaimed "How about that!" following Orlando Hudson's home run. Vernon Wells was next to the plate and promptly hit another out, putting the Jays ahead for good. It was as if the players knew Tom was calling that half inning, his last half inning.

I'm thinking about Tom today. I'm remembering the good times with a smile before shedding a tear at the thought I may never hear him again. I already miss him like crazy.

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New York-Boston Tie

MLBWhen the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox finish the regular season tied for first place in the American League East division, things could be awfully interesting. How interesting it gets depends upon how Cleveland does this weekend. If Cleveland loses another game, both the Yankees and Red Sox will make the post season, but if Cleveland wins their last two games and the Yankees and Red Sox tie, as I predict they will, we have a unique development on our hands.

Boston and New York will play Monday in New York for the AL East pennant. Then Tuesday, Cleveland will play the loser of the New York-Boston game Monday night for the wild card berth. I'm heavily rooting for this scenario because it would be awesome having the regular season go an additional two days just to figure things out.

Go Cleveland go!

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Definitive Songs

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

  • Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
  • Green Day - Longview
  • Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
  • Hayden - Bad As They Seem
  • Hole - Miss World
  • House Of Pain - Jump Around
  • Huey Lewis & The News - The Heart of Rock & Roll
  • INXS - Never Tear Us Apart

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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 September 2005.

  1. pearl jam
  2. family guy
  3. joe carter
  4. superdome curse
  5. nirvana
  6. auroras
  7. bill barilko
  8. ticket stubs
  9. hurricane
  10. justice

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"I may occasionally kill out of anger; or to illustrate a point, but I'm no Grim Reaper!"

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