February 2006 Archives

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Murderball Tonight

TVI keep a mental list of flicks I really want to see. At the top of my list right now is "Murderball", the documentary that got rave reviews last year and has been rewarded with a nomination for best doc at the Academy Awards. "Murderball" looks great and is right up my alley.

At 22:00 EST tonight, A&E is airing "Murderball" under its IndieFilms banner. This is awesome news, I won't have to rent it or wait for it to hit TMN. Here's the description:

This film will shatter every stereotype you've ever had about what it's like to be handicapped. It's the story of three quadriplegics who get into armored wheelchairs to play the no-holds-barred, violent game of wheelchair rugby. The three are Joe Soares, who was crippled by childhood polio; Mark Zupan, who was disabled after a drunken driving accident; and Keith Cavill, who was injured in a motocross mishap. Cameras follow the men into the locker rooms, arenas, bedrooms, hospitals, and hotels where they live and play and show how they rebuilt their lives and refused to give into self-pity even after their bodies had been crushed.

We Canucks are the arch rivals. Giddy-up!

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A Rare Raptor Coup

RaptorsPhoenix Suns president and general manager Bryan Colangelo resigned yesterday and joined the Toronto Raptors as president and general manager today. For the first time in the history of the Raptors, there's experience and proven success running the show.

Colangelo was the NBA's 2005 executive of the year after the Suns won a league-high 62 games. The Suns were 29 game winners before he retooled the line up and brought them to the conference final. He's only 40 but he's already spent 17 years with the Suns, the past 11 as general manager.

I'll bet this guy has a vision. I'll bet this guy has a plan. The hiring of Colangelo is indeed a rare Raptors coup.

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Four Years Ago

RewindThings were different four years ago. Only a couple of days after our men's hockey team won the gold medal in Salt Lake City, I hooked up with Tie Domi.

I asked him about Pat Quinn's mood and if they had practiced since his return from Utah. Quinn had returned to a heroes welcome and everything was upbeat. Tie was quiet but accomodating, entertaining my rambles with shy-like, humble replies. I was surprised by how unlike his on ice persona he seemed. Here are photos taken during my meeting with Tie Domi.

Four years later it's our captain returning with the gold medal and nothing seems upbeat. We're in ninth place with only 25 games left to qualify for the playoffs. It's show time or tee time.

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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.

We've lost 3 great actors in the last 3 days. Don Knotts as Barney Fife was 1 one of the best watching him on the Andy Griffith show, Darren MacGavin - the Night Stalker series & the narrator for A Christmas Story a great flick (I want a BB gun)& Dennis Weaver - McCloud, Gentle Ben (the father) & Gunsmoke. A threesome sorely missed. I grew up watching all 3 of these actors & feel part of my life is lost.

      Anonymous

Darren McGavin as "The Old Man" was priceless in a true holiday classic. I'll never forget how proud he was of that leg lamp he won. As for the BB gun, I too want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDennis Weaver was 81. He was the slow-witted deputy Chester Goode in the TV classic western "Gunsmoke" and the New Mexico deputy solving New York crime in "McCloud."

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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. American Jesus - Bad Religion
  2. Bachelorette - Bjork
  3. I Would Die 4 You - Prince
  4. Little By Little - Oasis
  5. When I Grow Up - Garbage
  6. 74th Highlanders' - Ashley MacIsaac
  7. Lively Up Yourself - Bob Marley & the Wailers
  8. Rape Me (Live) - Nirvana
  9. Go and Say Goodbye - Buffalo Springfield
  10. Optimistic - Radiohead

When Nirvana released In Utero, I got myself to 333 Yonge Street that morning to buy a copy. I remember walking from HMV to Brennan Hall at St. Mike's College at the University of Toronto and soaking in the liner notes. To say I was heavily anticipating this release would be an understatement.

The entire disc was a litle more than 41 minutes but it was awesome. Upon first listen, I thought "Rape Me" borrowed a little too much from "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Over time "Rape Me" became an anthem unto itself and a mosh fixture at The Phoenix. Thirteen years later and it still sounds great.

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Get your 2006 Oscar Picks In!

An Academy AwardMy little 2006 Oscar Prediction Contest wraps up this Friday night. If you haven't made your picks yet, submit 'em here. At 20:00 EST this Friday I stop accepting submissions.

If you're one of the 66 who have entered thus far, check back here on Saturday to scope out the competition.

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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.

Watching the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics I couldn't help but surf to NBC where Bode Miller was to be the be all & end all for the USA team. He was supposed to capture 3 or 4 medals & came up empty much like our Men's Cdn. Hockey team. We cam in 3rd overall with our medal count & can't wait till 2010 in Vancouver. All of our competitors did very well & if only a few of our 11 4th place finishers stepped up we could be Golden.

      dwr

Bode who?

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Canada In Turin: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

OlympicsIn many respects, I prefer the winter Olympics to the summer games. There's a charm to these games you lose with the larger spectacle of the summer Olympics. Turin 2006 has come and gone and all that remains are the memories.

In good ol' spaghetti western style, here are the good, the bad and the ugly according to me, myself and I.

The Good
Canadian Olympians took home 24 medals, third overall in the world standings. Only Germany with 29 and the United States with 25 surpassed us. Throw in the fact 13 Canadians posted fourth-place finishes with eight others coming fifth and you've got yourselves an amazing display on the world's biggest stage. I'm damn proud.

Cindy Klassen won an unbelievable five medals, a Canadian Olympic record. She also won one in 2002 giving her six overall, also a Canadian record. In a word, she was spectacular. The humility all our athletes displayed complemented by a true sense of patriotism and teamwork is to be admired and emulated. Klassen and all our Olympians were not only good, they were great.

My life-line throughout the games was CBC.ca/Olympics and it was impressive. It was so good I had little need for another source. From hockey game blogs to instant perspectives and results, it was awesome. The display was crisp and easy to navigate and the tones were calming, even when I was nervously checking in on my hockey team.

The Bad
The time zone the games took part in meant I saw very few events live. That sucked, because I much prefer watching my sporting events live and there were some fantastic moments. This was the beauty of 2002 and the one negative in 2006. Prime time on tape isn't quite the same.

The Ugly
There was one medal Canadians wanted more than any other. We all looked to our men's hockey team to play the role of world beaters once more and show the world that this is still our game. Instead, we witnessed a lacklustre and mediocre display. It was ugly, but in Turin, it was the only spot of ugly during an otherwise awesome games.

Go Canada Go in 2010 in Vancouver. I'll be watching.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. All were taken on Friday or Saturday.

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Strawberry Shortcake Threatens Toddlers

SpookyA new DVD found its way into our home this weekend. It's called "Strawberry Shortcake Dress Up Days" and it's 44 minutes of Strawberry Shortcake action. There's also dress up and dance games and a berry special places tour. I'd say it's aimed at the 1-4 year old demographic, which is the primary demo in my house these days.

When you first start playing this DVD, you're hit with a pretty scary anti-piracy ad. It's got frightening images asking the viewer if he or she would steal a car or a hand-bag and then asking them why they think it's okay to steal movies via the Internet. You can't jump past this threatening piece, your one and four year olds have to sit through it waiting for Strawberry Shortcake.

These accusatory ads they force upon you while you watch a DVD you paid for suck bad enough. When they stick them on DVDs intended for the littlest of tikes, that totally blows. Perhaps I should explore alternative means of obtaining these films...

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"There is a natural hootchy-kootchy motion to a goldfish."
      - Walt Disney

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDarren McGavin was 83. He was "The Old Man," the narrator's father, in the classic Christmas movie "A Christmas Story".

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TTC The Bitter Way?

TTCEarlier in the week, RobotJohnny.com posted this Anagram TTC Map. I saw it and smiled. It's a cute spin on a Toronto institution. What Torontonian hasn't seen that map a billion times?

The TTC didn't find it nearly as harmless and funny. They've sent the creator a cease and desist letter. They just don't get it and that's a shame. Former Torontonian Cory Doctorow puts it best on Boing Boing:

It's part of every Torontonian's experience of the city, a part of the cultural fabric. Culture gets remixed -- that's what happens with it. Trademark is supposed to protect rightsholders from competitors who use their marks to confuse the public in the course of commerce. No one who saw RobotJohnny's genius map would have confused it for a second with a real TTC map and sent him a subway token. The TTC's legal bullying here is completely needless -- they face no risk and no loss from letting their riders make turn the map into their own personal remix.

How can the TTC not be amused at the fact Bathurst is an anagram of Butt Rash or Ossington is Gino's Snot?

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FCR5t2 in VMware Player Issue

MouseI'm not sure how many geeks stuble upon these pages, but I'm hoping there's one or two out there who can help me with an issue I'm encountering.

On my pc, I run Fedora Core release 5 test 2 in a VMware Player. When I'm in FCR5t2 all is well and I have internet connectivity but should I return to my Windows XP computer I'm offline. I'm still online in my VMware Player, but I won't be able to access the internet on the Windows side until I restart my computer.

My Local Area Connection stays connected throughout, if that helps. On my work computer, using the same virtual machine, I'm able to toggle back and forth from Windows to Linux while enjoying internet connectivity in both realms.

I've been messing with my Local Area Connection settings, disabling the firewall and trying the obvious, but I'm not having any luck. Pocket protector peeps, you're my only hope.

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Welcome Nemo

FamilyToday, we welcomed a new member to the family. James is now the proud owner of a goldfish he's named Nemo.

Nemo was a gift from Grandma and is currently swimming circles around a plastic tree in a fishbowl I've had stored away for over a decade in the hopes that this day would arrive. Here are some photos of the Carassius auratus.

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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.

An awesome display the last 2 weeks from OUR Canadian women & men at the 2006 olympics in Turino. It's too bad the 1 medal we all were counting on didn't even come close. Cdn. hockey (Men's) must take a different perspective next time in Vancouver in 2010. Congrats to all competitors on a job well done - I'm proud to be a Canadian. More will be expected in 2010 - we have to step it up.

      twins from bolton

You're absolutely right. Before these games began, the COC went public with a goal of 25 medals. With another big day today, we're at a Canadian record 24. We should all be very proud of the men and women representing us in Turin. They did one hell of a job.

2010 should be something special. It's the year we make contact, and lead the world in Olympic medals.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDon Knotts was 81. He was the the skinny, lovable nerd who kept generations of television audiences laughing as bumbling Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show".

I, like many others of my generation, first got to know Knotts as Ralph Furley, the landlord on "Three's Company".

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Men's Relay Wins Silver

SilverCanada has earned its twenty-fourth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Eric Bedard, Francois-Louis Tremblay, Charles Hamelin and Mathieu Turcotte won silver in the men's 5,000-metre relay speed skating event.

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Francois-Louis Tremblay Wins Silver

SilverCanada has earned its twenty-third medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Francois-Louis Tremblay won silver in the men's 500-metre short-track speed skating event.

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Clara Hughes Wins Gold

GoldCanada has earned its twenty-second medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Clara Hughes won gold in the women''s 5,000 metre speed skating event. She is the first multiple-medallist in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

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Cindy Klassen Wins Bronze

BronzeCanada has earned its twenty-first medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Cindy Klassen won bronze in the women''s 5,000 metre speed skating event. It was her fifth medal of these games.

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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.

Re: Two Minutes For Cheese

MR. Andy Frost is an ICON & does a lot of voluntary appearances etc. on behalf of Q107 & the Leafson his own behalf. Did Maple Leaf Sports & Ent. promote this ad? I think so. Do you think Mr. Cherry has to promote Cold FX after doing all his other duties-he doesn't need the coin either. There are many others doing the same thing. Mr Frost may need the money as the LAFFS will probably not even make the playoffs & he will miss his paycheck come late April. He took another opportunity to make something after realizing his job will done in April at the ACC. Paul Morris was good - But it was time to move on. Mr. Psychedlic Psunday rules. Andy Frost is the best, 2nd to NONE.

      Dale

I'm not trying to trash Andy Frost here, I too have many good memories of the man as he hosted Monday night's Strange Paradise at the Phoenix, a club event I attended with regularity as a teen. He's got a great voice and I'm sure he's a great guy but he's also the public-address announcer for Leaf games at the ACC. When a kids attends his first game, Frost's tone with his announcements is part of the experience. To this day if I hear Paul Morris' voice I'm that kid sitting in the greys watching his heroes at Maple Leaf Gardens. Those words "two minutes for" in that voice and tone should be special.

I have no problem with the man making money, he can do voice over work and ads like crazy if he wants, I'm just not comfortable with him using that phrase in ads. And yes, MLSE is on on the condo ads and perhaps they should shoulder the greater responsibility here. Shame on MLSE for messing with our oratory recall to shill a few condos.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer's Quote of the Week"Everyone knows rock n' roll attained perfection in 1974. It's a scientific fact."

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Two Minutes For Cheese

RadioIf you've listened to any Toronto AM radio lately, you've probably heard the Joe Bowen ads for the new ACC condominiums. Maple Leaf Square is a two condominium tower that's being built next to the Air Canada Centre where our Maple Leafs and Raptors play their home games. The ads are aimed at Leaf fans and are pretty cheesy, equating condo ownership with going to a hockey game, but Bowen's done cheese before so no sacred cow is slaughtered in the process.

There's a point near the end of these advertisements when the booming voice of Andy Frost announces "two minutes for too many features in a condo". This is the part that bothers me. Andy Frost is the official public-address announcer for Maple Leaf games, announcing goal scorers, penalties and the like. He took over for Paul Morris, a personal favourite who would never tarnish the role by announcing "two minutes" for anything in a cheesy radio ad. Morris had enough class to realize he was the voice of Leaf games and his tone and delivery was synonymous with the thrill of watching the blue and white live. Frost, apparently, will announce two minutes for anything so long as there's a pay cheque on the other side.

Some things are sacred.

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My Link of the Day

LinkGuided by (Many, Many) Voices - This is a way cool article from The New York Times Magazine by Alissa Quart. It's about BSS and the T.Dot and contains such killer quotes as "Musically, you could say that Toronto has become a nicer but less aesthetically coherent version of Seattle in the early days of grunge" and "Toronto's alternative-rock scene is a place where the sweetly familial and weirdly collective rub up against the traditional markers of stardom".

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite R.E.M. songs

  1. Follow Me
  2. Drive
  3. Everybody Hurts
  4. Man On The Moon
  5. It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

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Brad Gushue Wins Gold

GoldCanada has earned its twentieth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Brad Gushue won gold in men's curling.

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There Oughta Be A Law

JusticeOntario Progressive Conservative MPP John O'Toole has re-introduced a private member’s bill to ban drivers from using cell phones in this province. That's fine, but I'm hoping for the introduction of another private member's bill. I'd like to make it illegal to keep your Christmas lights up after January 31.

I think this is a good and sensible law. For most of us, it's unnecessary as we sensibly take down our Christmas lights after the holiday season. For some, and I'm thinking of one house in particular, this is not as obvious. February 24 is simply too far removed from the holidays to justify the existence of lit christmas lights adorning ones porch.

I'm not sure if this is a federal thing, a provincial thing or a municiple thing. I'll start with my Toronto City Councillor and take it from there.

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Suicide Songs

MusicThe title of Pearl Jam's new song got me thinking aboout other suicide songs. There are five songs in my collection with the word "suicide" in the title.

  • Shampoo Suicide - Broken Social Scene
  • Suicide Blonde - INXS
  • One More Suicide - Marcy Playground
  • Like Suicide - Soundgarden
  • Pop's Love Suicide - Stone Temple Pilots

To be or not to be...

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My Link of the Day

Link Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy Leaks - Former Gunner Axl Rose has been teasing us with Chinese Democracy for about a billion years now, but apparently it's actually getting released this summer. I'll believe it when I hear it. Actually, there are a few leaked tracks available from this link! I just gave them a spin and they aren't terrible. I'm rooting for the dude who helped give me Appetite for Destruction and wore the coolest jersey in L.A.

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World Wide Suicide

Pearl JamAccording to sources, Pearl Jam will release a new single called World Wide Suicide on May 2nd but it'll hit radio on March 14th. What does Eddie Vedder have to say about the new record? It's "easily the best stuff we've done but also some of the hardest stuff. It's very aggressive, because again, it's kind of a product of what it's like to be an American these days. It's pretty aggressive, especially when you turn it loud”.

Mr. Vedder, you had me at hello.

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The Last Word, Or The Problem With Pat Quinn

HockeyI feel as if I've let my country down. All day today I've been dealing with snickers and sneers because my team failed to deliver when it mattered most. Everyone wants to discuss where we went wrong and why our play was so mediocre.

Reading the Toronto Sun this morning, I almost choked on my toast upon reading a quote from our very own Pat Quinn. Speaking about his team that got shut out in three of six games, Quinn said the following: "They have not a thing to be embarrassed about. I know they feel they let a lot of people down, including themselves... This was their best game overall."

That statement tells you exactly what's wrong with Pat Quinn as a hockey coach. A gross lack of results doesn't embarrass him in the least. Falling well short of expectations gets a shrug of the shoulders and a weak reassurance that it was their "best game". Clearly, our best wasn't good enough in this tournament. Quinn is not a bad coach, he's got our Maple Leafs to the final four a couple of times, but he's loyal to a fault and insistent upon rolling four lines when one or two are struggling and another has the hot hand. With everyone looking for blame, Quinn is a good start. He makes the lines that failed to deliver, he failed to instill discipline when bad penalties at inopportune times were killing us, he's the head coach of a team that disappointed millions and should be held accountable.

I previously alluded to the fact that a Team Canada failure might benefit the Leafs because it would make releasing Quinn of his duties that much easier. It's difficult to fire a national hero, but it's easy to fire a national goat. Quinn's effectiveness as head coach of the Leafs has expired and we're in need of a fresh perspective and better understanding as to how the game is now played in the new NHL.

There were many good times, but nothing lasts forever. Farewell Quinn, we're better off without you.

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Shannon Kleibrink Wins Bronze

BronzeCanada has earned its nineteenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Shannon Kleibrink won bronze in women's curling.

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Canada 0, Russia 2

HockeyI remember February 20, 1998 vividly. On that date I watched Canada play the Czech Republic in the Nagano Olympics semi-final. I watched the game from Taryn's grandmother's condo in White Rock, British Columbia and I'll never forget that sinking feeling I had when Brenden Shanahan failed to score against Dominik Hasek in the shootout. Team Canada's best players were out and wouldn't be playing for gold. I was devastated.

Losing 2-0 to Russia yesterday has resulted in a very different feeling. This time, we were clearly not up for the challenge. In six games we were shutout three times. Other than brief spurts here and there, our best seemed totally uninspired. As soon as we lost 2-0 to the Swiss I knew in my heart of hearts that we weren't going to repeat as Olympic champions. A miraculous recovery was not to be.

For the next four years we'll be wondering what went wrong and working to ensure we don't embarrass ourselves at the 2010 games on home ice. As soon as the team was picked I questioned the ommissions of Eric Staal, Jason Spezza, Brendan Shanahan and Dion Phaneuf. What I failed to predict was the absolute ineffectiveness of dependable stars like Joe Thornton, Simon Gagne, Jerome Iginla, Danny Heatley and Rick Nash. When guys like this appear mediocre on ice, it's difficult to surmise precisely what went wrong.

The whole thing has me totally bummed. The crush of this premature defeat even brought this site down for a few hours last night, forcing me to sleep on this entry. The only cure for this hangover is improved play from my Maple Leafs and a birth in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sadly, that too may be a miraculous recovery that's not meant to be.

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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.

Blue Rodeo - Lost Together
My expectations were sky high and now I'm left feeling disappointed, angry and sad. There's a comfort in knowing I'm not alone, there are others sharing my pain. We lost today, but at least we lost together.

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Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

CrossIt's 1-0 Russia late in the third period. Lord, please use your omnipotent power to guide us to victory. This sport defines us as a nation, and should we lose in the quarter-finals, I fear we will be crushed.

Amen.

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Canada's Speed-Skating Relay Wins Silver

SilverCanada has earned its eighteenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Alanna Kraus, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, Amanda Overland, Kalyna Roberge and Tania Vincent have won silver in the women's 3,000 metre short-track speed-skating relay.

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Cindy Klassen Wins Gold

GoldCanada has earned its seventeenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Cindy Klassen won gold in the women's 1,500 metre long-track speed skating event.

Klassen has won a Canadian record four medals at Turin - gold in the 1,500, silvers in the 1,000 and team pursuit, and bronze in the 3,000 - with the 5,000 still to come on Saturday. Amazing.

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Kristina Groves Wins Silver

SilverCanada has earned its sixteenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Kristina Groves won silver in the women's 1,500 metre long-track speed skating event.

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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.

Re: Amanda's Guest Blog

As a nurse, I am fascinated by hearing patients' perspectives. Their realities are so very different from mine while they are in the hospital. I need to keep hearing what it's like for them, so that I don't take my position as RN for granted. Sometimes patients are just a "Gall Bladder Attack in room 2" because it's easier that way. Our health care system has gaping holes and there is no doubt room for improvement on the ER line. Nurses are constantly forced to shuffle the needs of the sick and injured using a Triage system. Triage is a brief clinical assessment that determines the time and sequence in which patients should be seen in the ER. These decisions generally are based on a short evaluation of the patient and an assessment of vital signs. The patient's overall appearance, history of illness and/or injury, and mental status also are important in the triage decision. Triage in the ER lacks sensitivity and specificity and is high risk. Triage nurses may feel the pressure from long lines of patients, which may cause them to perform triage too quickly and minimize or dismiss subtle signs of high-risk disease. Triage nurses should be urged to error on the side of caution by assigning patients to more severe triage categories. Ideally, Emergency room nurses would typically have four or five patients per shift. Realistically, now on an average day they have 10 to 12 patients.

The future doesn't look any brighter. Studies show that by 2010, 40 percent of all registered nurses will be over 50. By 2020 there will be an estimated shortfall of 808,400 nurses, partly because many will have retired or become so dissatisfied that they've quit, but also because fewer people are entering the profession.

Yet our population is aging and those over the age of 65 will double in number over the next 2 decades. The elderly are often visitng our ER's due to heart attacks, strokes and falls, I see trouble ahead. I have seen some of the hardest-working and most professional nurses you will find. But when you're given 12 patients when you should have six, well, you're only so good. Nurses are being steamrolled, stretched thin and beaten down, and the best of us are frustrated.

      Jill

I appreciate reading your perspective. 10-12 emergency room patients per nurse makes me a little queasy.

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My Link of the Day

LinkNeil Young :: Perfect Echo Vol. I, '67-'71 - An amazing collection of Neil Young MP3s from stunning live performances recorded between 1967 and 1971. Young fans will definitely want to give these a listen.

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Chandra Crawford Wins Gold

GoldCanada has earned its fifteenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Chandra Crawford won gold in the women's 1.1-kilometre sprint.

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My Ten Favourite Episodes of The Simpsons

HomerI've spent a great deal of my life in Springfield, living precariously through my favourite tv family. I was fifteen when "The Simpsons" debuted and I was on it like Troy McClure on a trout from the beginning. I even remember them from "The Tracey Ullman Show" in the late 80s.

Well over 300 episodes later, coming up with a top ten list is most difficult for a mega-fan like myself. There are just too many gems to choose from. How do you whittle it down to a mere ten?

Here are my current top ten episodes of all time:

  1. Last Exit to Springfield
  2. Homer the Heretic
  3. A Streetcar Named Marge
  4. Marge vs. The Monorail
  5. Rosebud
  6. Bart vs. Thanksgiving
  7. Lisa's Substitute
  8. The Telltale Head
  9. Itchy and Scratchy Land
  10. Behind the Laughter

Agree or disagree, just keep in mind how completely subjective this practice is. If you're a fan of "The Simpsons", don't forget to check out Homer's quote of the week, lovingly updated every Saturday morning.

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Canada 3, Czech Republic 2

HockeyFor 128 minutes and 11 seconds of Olympic hockey action, Team Canada was held scoreless. Then Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and Chris Pronger found the net to put us up 3-0 early and we held on for the 3-2 victory.

From what I understand, Martin Brodeur played amazingly well making 31 stops. Our quarter-final game is tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. against either Slovakia, Russia or Sweden. It's must-win time, baby.

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A Massive and Collective Sigh Of Relief

HockeyTeam Canada has scored a goal! In fact, they've scored three in the first period and lead the Czech Republic 3-0 in the first intermission.

I was starting to fear we'd never score again. When Brad Richards scored at the 7:37 mark you may have heard a massive and collective sigh of relief from approximately 32,805,041 concerned souls.

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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 was waiting in the energancy room in owen sound hospital waiting to see a doctor because i was having gull bladder attacks and an asthma attack. I have been waiting for about 8 hourse know and i can't breath and my heart was melting because i though i was going to die. I thought i was going to loose my fiance, frineds and mother. My mother went and talked to a nurse and she told them my daughter can't breath and she is suffering in really bad pain to the point that she can't even stand on her own two feet. The nurse told her that their was a bunch of other poeple infront of me. My mother looked around and didn't see anything much wrong with them. So we waited and waited and waited and they called and elderly lady for her turn and she turned to the nurse and said look at the poor girl she can't breath and she can barley stand on her own, so i think that you should get her in right away. The nurse said but it is your turn and they lady said i don't care i can wait. My mother and my fiance thanked her a lot for her kindness and we still talk to her until this day. I was waiting in the emergancy waiting room for 11 hours before they saw me. I think that the hospitals should be more on top of things and they should get more nurses and doctors soon.

      Amanda

I hate hearing stories like yours, but I'm glad you're sharing. Emergency rooms shouldn't operate in first come, first serve fashion. I'd like to think struggling for oxygen would move you to the front of the line.

Thankfully, I don't have a lot of emergency room experience, but when I brought James there a couple of years ago he was seeing a doctor in seconds and was wearing oxygen in minutes. When I showed up with a partially torn ACL and broken leg a couple of years ago, I had a helluva wait. I expected more serious issues to bump me down on the priority list.

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Women's Two-Man?

OlympicsHelen Upperton is competing today in the women's two-man bobsleigh Olympic event.

That's quite the misnomer. Shouldn't it be called the women's two-woman bobsleigh event?

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My Link of the Day

Link#1 Song on This Date in History - What was the #1 song in the USA on the day you were born? For me, it was "Sundown" by Gordon Lightfoot. A rare Cancon numero uno... how appropriate.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumCurt Gowdy was 86. He was the smooth voice of sports history, a welcome companion who brought listeners Ted Williams' last home run, the first Super Bowl and dozens of other dramatic moments.

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Women's Hockey Team Wins Gold

GoldCanada has earned its fourteenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Our women's hockey team has won gold with a 4-1 victory over Sweden this afternoon.

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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. Minus - Beck
  2. Baby It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles
  3. Highway Star - Deep Purple
  4. New Slang - The Shins
  5. Four Horsemen - The Clash
  6. Ten Years Gone - Led Zeppelin
  7. Hard To Handle - The Commitments
  8. Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix
  9. Gangsta Story - Smokin' Suckaz Wit Logic
  10. Children Of The Revolution - T-Rex

I've got a friend who is obsessed with T-Rex. In his defense, he was born and raised in Great Britain where T-Rex are a far bigger deal, but I'm still puzzled by this worship. He's got dozens of T-Rex cds he's trying to push on me but I'm quite satisfied with what's on the Billy Elliot soundtrack.

Watching Live 8 this past summer, I saw Elton John perform "Children of the Revolution". It was actually quite good and far better than Boland's version, in my humble opinion. As I've told him countless times, to really appreciate T-Rex you had to be there. I certainly wasn't.

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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.

Totally disgusting. Where is the leadership on this team? NOBODY has stepped up their game. We're playing like a B or C divsion team. So what, we make the next round & play teams that will annialate us if we don't suck it up. Quinn, Gretzky - time to do your thing before its too late.

Personally it's already late enough. Bertuzzi - WHY? Playing selfish & for himself.

      twins from bolton

After the second period, one of the players was asked who took the lead in the dressing room to shake things up. The response spoke volumes. The player, Rob Blake I believe, said it wasn't one guy in particular but everyone. Somebody needs to assume a leadership position on this team and make sure everyone knows they're accountable for their lack of effort. This is why I said back in December that Brenden Shanahan belonged on Team Canada. Shanny could do and Shanny would do it.

I wonder if we'll salvage a preliminary round win against the Czechs? I wonder if it matters? Who would have guessed that a team with Nash, Thornton, Iginla, St. Louis, Lecavalier, Gagne, Sakic and others would have such difficultly scoring a single goal?

Two extremely frustrating games... Our expectations are sky high and our guys are in the dirt.

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Canada 0, Finland 2

HockeyThe good news: I got to watch our Canadian hockey team play two games this weekend. The bad news: I watched our team get shut out twice and fall to 2-2.

The loss to Switzerland shocked me while this loss to Finland merely suprised me. Unlike years past, there are few weak goaltenders at this level. You can no longer depend on accumulating goals due to goaltender error. You have to make the most of your opportunities and finish plays when attacking. Today we fell behind early and couldn't recover.

The fortunate thing is, Team Canada is still guaranteed a spot in the Olympic quarter-finals, even if we lose to the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Strange but true. If we can somehow turn this around, we can all look back at this lost weekend and laugh.

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What's Going On Here?

HockeySomething is definitely wrong with our mens Olympic hockey team. How can a team of this calibre fail to create any semblance of offense?

It's 2-0 for Finland after one and that score is flattering to us. I don't recall seeing any crisp passes, no odd man rushes and almost no decent shots. Most of the play took place in our own end with Roberto Luongo coming up big.

Methinks this team isn't as good as we thought it was. On the bright side, a total collapse in Turin betters our chances of giving Pat Quinn the heave-ho. It's always tough to fire a national hero, but firing a goat is easy.

For the second day in a row I'm hoping for a come back and fairly certain I won't see one. 40 minutes to play. C'mon guys, play our game!

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Pierre Lueders Wins Silver

SilverCanada has earned its thirteenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Pierre Lueders won silver with Lascelles Brown in the two-man bobsleigh competition.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBilly Cowsill was 58. He was the lead singer of the 1960s family band The Cowsills.

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Cindy Klassen Wins Silver

SilverCanada has earned its twelth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Winnipeg's Cindy Klassen won silver in the women's 1,000 metres speed skating event.

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My Ten Favourite TV Shows of All-Time

TVTelevision shows seemed better when I was a kid. After school, I could become immersed in crap like "The Facts of Life", "Who's The Boss?", "Growing Pains" or "Silver Spoons". Then, there were old-school favourites like "The Dukes of Hazzard", "WKRP in Cincinnati", "Three's Company", "Night Court" and "The A-Team".

Over time, as one ages and matures, sit-coms lose their allure and formulaic dramas lose their zest. Shows you really, really like grow fewer and far between. Your newly defined list of your ten favourite television programs rarely changes.

Here is my current top ten:

  1. The Simpsons
  2. Six Feet Under
  3. The Sopranos
  4. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  5. Oz
  6. Seinfeld
  7. The Larry Sanders Show
  8. Kids in the Hall
  9. Arrested Development
  10. The Family Guy

Agree or disagree, just keep in mind how completely subjective this practice is.

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IIHF Idiocity

HockeyDuring the round robin of this year's Olympic games in Turin, our Canadian women beat host Italy 16-0, Russia 12-0 and Sweden 8-1. We then took out Finland 6-0 in the semi-final. That's a cumulative score of 42-1 which drew a great deal of criticism from Don Cherry and others. I didn't mind Canada running up the score because I knew home ice advantage would go to the team with the greater goal differential.

When Sweden upset the USA the other day, all that went out the window. The Swedes will get last change during the gold medal game tomorrow because when we met them previously in the tournament we had the last change. Silly IIHF rules like this infuriate me. The whole point of pounding our first three opponents 36-1 was to secure home ice advantage for the final and suddenly that's not true.

First of all, that goal differential rule should be thrown out the window. It encourages 16-0 scores which reminds everyone about the talent gap in women's hockey and upsets loud, old-school pundits like Donald S. Cherry. Secondly, they should just flip a coin in the final for home ice advantage unless the two teams have met previously. If they've met previously, which is the case here, the winner of that game should be rewarded with home ice.

42-1 and a load of bad press and it was all for naught.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"What do I think about when I strike out? I think about hitting home runs."
      - Babe Ruth

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My Ten Favourite Bands Of All-Time

CDTracking ones favourite bands used to be a far easier practice. As a teen, I could ring off my ten favourite bands of all-time without hesitation or doubt. In my 30s, it seems to change by the hour or mood.

Here is my current top ten:

  1. The Tragically Hip
  2. Pearl Jam
  3. Nirvana
  4. Public Enemy
  5. Alice in Chains
  6. System of a Down
  7. Soundgarden
  8. Foo Fighters
  9. The White Stripes
  10. Arcade Fire

Agree or disagree, just keep in mind how completely subjective this practice is.

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Canada 0, Switzerland 2

HockeyI don't know what to say...

In 1924, we beat the Swiss 33-0 in the Olympics. This, my friends, is a long way from 1924. Today, we hit a hot goaltender Martin Gerber who stood on his head and made 49 saves on 49 shots from Team Canada. What should have been a fairly easy win became a most difficult game to watch as our guys failed to deliver and one of our former guys, Paul DiPietro, potted two for the wrong team. As tough as this was to digest, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't an elimination game. We've had our taste of defeat, let's hope we heed this dire warning and take out our frustrations on Finland tomorrow afternoon.

Where did I go in disgust after watching our boys get humiliated by the Swiss? Swiss Chalet, naturally. The only way to eliminate a bad Swiss taste in your mouth is to supplant it with a good one.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"I thought I had an appetite for destruction, but all I wanted was a club sandwich."

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Swiss Cheesin' Me

HockeyAfter one period, we're actually losing to Switzerland. Former St. John's Maple Leaf Paul di Pietro, who I just assumed was as Canadian as maple syrup and bagged milk, scored on Martin Brodeur while Martin Gerber has been stoning us at the other end.

I'm not sounding any alarm bells yet, but I was hoping this one would be a little easier. How will we fare against Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic and USA if we're tooth and nail to beat the Swiss?

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My Link of the Day

LinkToronto Fire Services: Active Incidents - I thought this was a handy link to have so I thought I'd post it where I'll never lose it. It's a list of active incidents that are dispatched from the Toronto Fire Services Communication Centre.

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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.

How come nobody has written about the VP's hunting accident. A typical Dubya coverup! Imagine if this was you or me in good ole Canada - EH.

       dwr - a new reader on your site

It's funny because I almost wrote about Dick Cheney and the massive cover-up surrounding the ordeal a few times, but I didn't because it's too easy. If it's too easy, it's less fun.

I just read and reviewed this link which claims to have "scientifically proven with an engineer and a police officer on-site conducting the test that the American people are being lied to and a cover-up is in progress."

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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Duff Gibson Wins Gold

GoldCanada has earned its eleventh medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Duff Gibson won gold in the men's skeleton event .

Don't look now, but we're currently tied in second in the medal standings, only two behind the leader Norway. O Canada!

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Jeff Pain Wins Silver

SilverCanada has earned its tenth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Jeff Pain won silver in the men's skeleton event .

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My Ten Favourite Movies Of All-Time

MoviesI've seen a lot of bad movies in my life, but I've also been lucky enough to see a lot of great ones. I've always maintained a list of my ten favourite flicks of all-time, which is a surprisingly difficult challenge. For short periods of time I might be completely into one movie or another, boosting them into the top ten, but over time the same core of movies seem to persevere.

Here is my current top ten:

  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. Goodfellas
  3. Reservoir Dogs
  4. The Shawshank Redemption
  5. Fight Club
  6. Kill Bill - Volumes 1&2
  7. The Usual Suspects
  8. Office Space
  9. The Godfather: Part II
  10. Big Fish

Agree or disagree, just keep in mind how completely subjective this practice 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.

U didn't get to watch the Canada games? I saw them both (surprising that there were 9 Canadians in the Italian team) and also a bit of the Czechs thumping Sweden (wow) and the US women beating Finland. The Canadian team has an Indian cheering at the top of his voice (actually it is quiteb feeble, I am just recovering from a cold, cough & fever). The Can vs Germany match got over at almost 2:45 am this morning and I had to get up at 7 am to get ready to go for work. They do seem a bit jet-lagged and tired.

      Roshan

With the games starting at 7 am and 2 pm, it's tough to watch them while holding down a 9-5 gig. I'll be watching tomorrow, though.

It's tough to gage how ready we are based on games against Italy and Germany. In 2002 I remember getting creamed by Sweden in the opening game and still cruising to gold. I'm not certain the Russian and Czech losses mean a thing at this point.

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Hip Ticket Trilogy Concludes Positively

The HipIn part one, I learned there would be a Tragically Hip concert in Toronto on June 24, 2006. In part two, I shared my frustration at being unable to get tickets. We'll conclude this trilogy on a happy note.

I wrote MapleMusic.com about my troubles this morning, and Josie wrote me back:

Hello Mike,

As far as I am aware, the Hip site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. However, if your problem is specific to your username and password, you should contact the webmasters at the Hip site.

No sooner did I get her reply than did the site actually accept my username and allow me to buy tix. Done and done... I'll be at my ninth Hip show in June!

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Registered User Issue

The HipFor the past 30 minutes I've been trying to secure "front of the line tickets" for The Tragically Hip show in Toronto on June 24, 2006. It's not going well.

My destination is http://www.thehip.com/Store-Tickets.html but it's not liking my username and password. I've definitely registered, in fact, it's greeting me by name on the front page, but everytime I'm prompted for a username and password it denies me the privilege of buying tickets.

This is frustrating. I'm itching for a summer Hip concert in Toronto. Any ideas Hip fans? Is anyone else having this issue?

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Teri Polo Is Alive

InfoFor the record, as of this moment, Teri Polo is not dead.

I thought I'd make this declaration as a public service. Every day, without failure, I get a referral or two from Google searches for teri+polo+dead. Many believe the 36 year actress has passed on.

It was easy to detect the origin of this misconception. The following update appears on my Dead Pool page. "March 10, 2005 - Nicole DeHuff was 30. She was an actress best known for playing Teri Polo's sister in "Meet the Parents"." The premature death of the actress playing Polo's sister in her biggest hit created a cyber version of broken telephone.

Also, for the record, Abe Vigoda is still not dead.

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Dominique Maltais Wins Bronze

BronzeCanada has earned its ninth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Petite Riviere, Quebec's Dominique Maltais won bronze in the female snowboard cross event.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Willem Dafoe movies

  1. Spider-Man
  2. Platoon
  3. The English Patient
  4. Mississippi Burning
  5. The Boondock Saints

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Overnight

A Movie ReelOvernight: 7 out of 10.

This is a documentary about Troy Duffy, the man who wrote and directed "Boondock Saints". It's absolutely compelling as we watch the rise and fall of Duffy, a man who suffers from extreme delusions of grandeur. His massive ego is a byproduct of insecurity as he alienates himself from all who supported him, even Miramax's Harvey Weinstein.

I saw "Boondock Saints" and I quite liked it. With a different attitidude Duffy could have been a household name today. Instead, we root for his failure.

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The Hip in Toronto June 24

The HipThe Tragically Hip are playing a show in Toronto at the beautiful downtown setting of Historic Fort York on Saturday June 24, 2006. Joining The Hip for the show will be The Weakerthans and The Sadies.

I'll be trying to score tickets tomorrow morning to make it nine. For setlists, ticket stubs and song statistics from my first eight Hip shows, visit my Tragically Hip page.

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Jeff Buttle Wins Bronze

BronzeCanada has earned its eighth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario's Jeff Buttle won bronze in figure skating.

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Canada 5, Germany 1

HockeyI sure wish I could watch these games. Canada is 2-0 with two decisive wins and I've been unable to watch or listen to a second of live action.

Five different players scored for Canada as we outshot Germany 40-12. Tomorrow is a day off before returning on Saturday to take on the Swiss, who somehow managed to defeat the Czech Republic today.

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Womens Speed Skaters Win Silver

SilverCanada has earned its seventh medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Our women speed skaters won silver in team pursuit. The team consisted of Ottawa's Kristina Groves, Winnipeg's Clara Hughes and London, Ontario's Christine Nesbitt.

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Mens Speed Skaters Win Silver

SilverCanada has earned its sixth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Our men speed skaters won silver in team pursuit. The team consisted of Calgary's Arne Dankers, Red Deer's Steven Elm and Regina's Justin Warsylewicz.

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Mellisa Hollingsworth-Richards Wins Bronze

BronzeCanada has earned its fifth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Alberta's Mellisa Hollingsworth-Richards won bronze in the women's skeleton.

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My Link of the Day

LinkSurnames in US - If you're curious how popular your surname is in the United States, this link will tell you instantly and break it down by state. In some states there are no Boons and in most there are less than 50.

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Juno What?

CanadaAs recently as December I was all jazzed up about the awesome new music coming out of this country. I wrote this entry about the amazing home grown talent I enjoyed in 2005 in which I gave props to The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Metric, Feist, Hot Hot Heat and Stars. Since then, I've sang the praises of Death From Above 1979 and Wolf Parade as well. The maple music revolution is the real deal and it's well underway, but you wouldn't know it from the 2006 Juno award nominees.

Who decides the Juno nominees and why are they so unaware and un-hip? It's painful to read the same old names popping up and the nominations for Canadian group of the year are the most telling. In a year of The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Metric, Hot Hot Heat, Death From Above 1979 and Wolf Parade, I bring you the 2006 nominees for Group of the Year:

  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Blue Rodeo
  • Nickelback
  • Our Lady Peace
  • Theory Of A Deadman

Whoa. How out of touch are these guys? BNL, OLP and Blue Rodeo were good picks at one point in time, but in 2006? Nickelback's 2005 claim to fame is that damn song and Theory of a Deadman is theory of a Deadman. WTF?

Sure, there are a few decent picks sprinkled here and there, but with the exception of the Alternative Album of the Year nominees, it's a gigantic pile of NicketBubleKrall. In typical Canadian fashion, we won't recognize our own excellence until other nations bury these cutting edge superstars in accolades.

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Anouk Leblanc-Boucher Wins Bronze

BronzeCanada has earned its fourth medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Prevost, Quebec's Anouk Leblanc-Boucher won bronze in the women's 500-metre short-track final.

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Canada 7, Italy 2

HockeyThe Italian hockey team should be proud. They made a game of it for over a period, even tying the game early in the second period before the World's greatest hockey team took over. Jarome Iginla led the way with two goals as we outshot Italy 50-20.

Of course, it's worth noting both goals by Italy were actually scored by Canadians. Nine members of team Italy were born and raised in Canada.

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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.

Sloan - Take It In
Lets go back to Smeared for some classic Sloan and this cool little ditty that was bouncing around in my head yesterday for no particularly good reason.

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Red Alert! Red Alert!

Hockey CanadaGiulio Scandella just scored in the second period to tie the Canada-Italy hockey game at one. This is not a test....

My 9-0 prediction is looking less likely by the second. Red Alert! Red Alert! Red Alert! Red Alert!

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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

A Movie ReelDodgeball: A True Underdog Story: 5.5 out of 10.

5.5 out of 10 suggests I didn't particularly like this flick. Sometimes my patented rating system can be deceiving. I expected so little from this movie that I actually enjoyed all 92 minutes.

The key to happiness is low expectations.

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The Grace vs. I'm Not In Love

MusicI wrote about "The Grace" from Neverending White Light just the other day. With CFNY Edge 102 playing it once an hour throughout the day, I've had ample opportunity to detect allusions in the melody.

Call me crazy, but I hear more than a little "I'm Not In Love" by 10 CC in "The Grace". In fact, sometimes I'll be listening to "The Grace" and I'll subconsiously slip into "I'm Not In Love".

Spooky.

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The Big If, Raptors Style

RaptorsImagine if the Raptors didn't start the season 1-15. If you discard those first sixteen games, we're a respectable 19-17 and comfortably in a playoff position.

Against all odds, the Raps are actually playing some entertaining basketball these days. Chris Bosh has been rewarded for his effort by being only the third Raptor ever selected to play in an all-star game. Mike James has been everything I hoped he would be and Charlie Villanueva doesn't appear to be that bad a pick after all.

Can we call a mulligan on those first sixteen?

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I Choo-Choo-Choose You

HeartLast Valentine's Day, I spouted off about how contrived I think this artificial Hallmark holiday is. This year, I'm going to celebrate one exceptional thing that has come from this date on the calendar: I Love Lisa.

Originally airing on February 11, 1993, The Simpsons episode "I Love Lisa" is a true gem. There are classic lines from Ralph, his very public humiliation at the Krusty the Clown anniversary special, his exceptional performance as George Washington in his school's Presidents Day show and Groundskeeper Willie's famous proclamation, "I didn't cry when me own father was hung for stealing a pig, but I'll cry now."

To my Valentines, and you know who you are, I Choo-Choo-Choose You.

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Beckie Scott and Sara Renner Win Silver

SilverCanada has earned its third medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Alberta's Beckie Scott and Sara Renner won silver in the women's team sprint cross-country skiing competition.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. All were taken between February 4 and 12.

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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. She's Leaving Home - The Beatles
  2. Tell Me - Beenie Man
  3. The Brother's Cup - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  4. (Putting Up With) The Joneses - Spirit of the West
  5. Vancouver Divorce - Gordon Downie
  6. Bitches - Ice-T
  7. Down - 311
  8. Highway Girl - The Tragically Hip
  9. Are You Happy - Iron Butterfly
  10. Smash It Up - The Offspring

Is there a better way to kill 17:02 than to spin "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly? From a very young age, I was a sucker for this song. I bought the album "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" for the one tune.

In 1995 with "The Simpsons" still in its prime, I sat down to watch episode 3F02, "Bart Sells His Soul". The opening scene featured Mrs. Feesh playing "In the Garden of Eden," by I. Ron Butterfly "fresh from God's brain to your mouth". I subsequently purchased "Songs in the Key of Springfield" which features the song and it remains one of my favourite Springfield parodies to date.

"I want you to clean every one of these organ pipes that you have befouled with your popular music."

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Name That Band

Question MarkEarlier today, my brother Ryan sent me this picture which is said to contain 72 musical artists. Without cheating, I challenged myself to find all 72. As you'll see from clicking that link, I've so far only named 62, and I'm pretty sure a few of my guesses are wrong.

Have a gander and leave me a comment if you can name one I haven't got yet or if you've found an error. To see my 62 guesses just hover your mouse over the notes.

Go!

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The Grace

SLS"The Grace" from Neverending White Light is one of those tunes that just sort of seeps into your blood over time. It's a slow burn, but a long one. In ultra high rotation on your local alt-rock station, it's probably reaching its apex right about... now.

I wandered over to our official SLS site to submit it for SLS15 consideration when I saw Carter had beat me to the punch. The nature of "The Grace" is such that it may have a rather lengthy shelf life, and that's not such a bad thing. It plods along, sweet and haunting at the same time. Dallas Green never sounded so good. It's not as MOR as Finger Eleven's "One Thing" and it's not as cheesy as Hoobastank's "The Reason". It's actually got soul and spirit.

This disc intrigues the hell out of me and I can't wait to get my grubby mitts on it. "Act 1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies" features, in addition to Green, Nick Hexum, Raine Maida, Scott Anderson, Marco DiFelice and Danny Greaves. Windsor's Daniel Victor is the brainchild behind the Cancon mega-project.

I've got other "Grace" songs in my collection. Here's a sample:

  • Grace, Too - The Tragically Hip
  • Grace - Ministry
  • Grace - Jeff Buckley
  • Grace - U2
  • Grace - Jethro Tull
  • Grace - Chantal Kreviazuk
  • Full of Grace - Sarah McLachlan
  • Amazing Grace - Elvis Presley
  • If I Should Fall From Grace With God - The Pogues
  • Graceland - Paul Simon

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe Beastles - Let It Beast - I first wrote about The Beastles on December 21, 2004 when dj BC revealed The Beastles. Now he's back with Let It Beast and I'm totally digging it. If you like the Beastie Boys and The Beatles you'll love The Beastles.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumPeter Benchley was 65. His novel Jaws terrorized millions of swimmers even as the author himself became an advocate for the conservation of sharks.

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2006 Oscar Prediction Contest Reminder

An Academy AwardIt's been a couple of weeks since I launched the 2006 Oscar Prediction Contest so it's probably a good time for a friendly reminder.

If you haven't yet made your picks, and only 33 of you have, submit your predictions here. You have until 20:00 EST on Friday, March 3 to submit your picks, but you may as well make them now before it totally slips your mind.

The next reminder won't be nearly as friendly.

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Mike Kic Reports from Panama

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

I'm glad that I'm the first to write in the guest blog since Jordy missed out. Things here are excellent in Panama, the weather is amazing. I still can't believe I'm suntanning in February.... but hey I'm not trying to rub it in... ha ha ha! Right now we are staying in a small town called El Valle which is close to the mountains so the air here is rather cool, which is a lot different from Panama City. It's nice to get out of the big city (Panama City) and venture into these small towns. The people here are incredible everyone really wants to help the travellers out, and there are quite a bit of tourists in this town. We plan on doing more beaching and suntanning, and trying not to get burnt this time. Hope all is well in Canada, I see the Leafs still suck... oh well there's always next year. Go Jays Go! (I never thought I'd say that and actually think they had a chance.)

Later Booner,

      Mike Kic

Mike and Jordy are on a fifteen week adventure through Central America and they'll be checking in periodically to let us know how it's going. My personal email from Jordy told of a mishap where her passport was accidentally left behind in Paris. Upon further investigation I learned she was referring to Paris, Ontario and not Paris, France. The omission of this necessary clarification speaks volumes.

Remind me to share stories of my crazy and wonderful visit to London.

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Norm MacDonald vs. Frank the Beaver

TelephoneFew comedians make me laugh as consistently as Norm MacDonald. From his work on "Saturday Night Live" to his priceless appearances on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien", his role as Death on "Family Guy" and his work in many an Adam Sandler comedy, he's one funny mofo. The fact he's Canadian is a total bonus.

If you've been watching any Olympic coverage on CBC this weekend, you've probably heard Norm MacDonald's voice dozens and dozens of times. He's currently "starring" as the voice of Frank the beaver in those Bell ads their airing ad nauseum. I suppose a pay cheque is a pay cheque and Norm must have needed one pretty bad. It's not so much that the ads are horrible, it's just that they're beneath him. Hocking wares for Bell Canada in a national advertising campaign is more in Mike Bullard or Colin Mochrie's territory.

Here's hoping Norm lands on his feet with roles more suited for a man of his hilarity. Here's hoping Frank the beaver doesn't dillute the talent of Frank from "Billy Madison".

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayIf Canadians Ruled - Did you ever wonder what the world would be like if it were ruled by Canadians? This links gives you a pretty good idea as to what you can expect.

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My Weekend With Michelle

FamilyWith Taryn and James in Ottawa for the weekend, it's been just Michelle and I in the T.Dot these past few days. This was Michelle's first weekend away from Mommy and, naturally, my first weekend alone with my eighteen month old daughter. Needless to say, I learned a great deal.

  • Dressing her is easy. Throw on a onesie, a pair of overalls and socks and you're done. It's that simple.
  • When in doubt, go to Elmo. Elmo is her hero.
  • Don't worry about cleaning up after her, she'll clean up after you. Following a bath with toys she'll shake off all the water and gently deposit each toy in the basket before she'll let you dry her off. After a meal, she'll bring the plate to the kitchen. If you go to Tim Hortons, she'll make sure every piece of trash makes its way to the bin.
  • She's not a big eater. Make sure she has access to healthy snacks throughout the day because she's a big grazer.
  • Like her brother before her, she really likes it when Homer says "doh!".
  • She's easily pleased. She just wants you to throw her a funny face, sing the alphabet song with her or bury her in kisses/hugs/tickles.
  • She easily pleases. She'll make you feel like the most important person on the face of the earth when you throw her a funny face, sing the alphabet song with her or bury her in kisses/hugs/tickles.

My Michelle weekend was nothing short of marvelous.

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Cindy Klassen Wins Bronze

BronzeCanada has earned its second medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Winnipeg's Cindy Klassen won bronze in the 3,000-metre long track speed skate.

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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.

Re: Operation Slapshot. The bottom line on the whole thing is who cares, don't we all do illegal gambling of some sort? From office pools, to bets with friends & so on. If it would be some one else besides Wayne Gretzky do you think we would really even be talking about this? This too shall pass. Whether Gretzky is innocent or guilty, the game will go on. Fans of the game will not stop being fans because Gretzky was (maybe) gambling on games? We returned to the arenas after the lock-out because we love the game and wanted to see pro hockey played at its best level and we still will. There's been blackeyes given in all pro sports. Pete Rose & his gambling, Several NBA players assaulting fans in the past few years....... Pro football & basketball players accused of (expletive)..... There's a list, and sports fans will continue to go to games regardless of a scandal here and there. It's unfortunate that this happened, but it's not the end of the world.

      Jill

Yes, the game is bigger than any one person, but there is one person who is the game for many across the globe. In Canada, we're spoon fed this game from birth. It's a part of our cultural fabric, what defines us, it's interweaved with our identity as Canadians. Nothing can destroy this game in this country.

For many around the world, however, Wayne Gretzky is the face of the sport. I'll bet there's a large percentage of Americans who can only name one hockey player, and that's #99. This is what makes this such an intriguing story. Wayne Gretzky is by far the biggest name this sport has ever had and now his name is appearing in headlines alongside allegations of an illegal betting ring, gambling on sports and a New Jersey corrupt cop and crime family. It's all too close for comfort.

For the record, the playoff pool I run every year (except last year) and the NFL pool I join every fall are not illegal. If every dollar in is doled out to the players it's a perfectly legal operation. Bets with friends are legal too!

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Maple Leafs 2, Rangers 4

Go Leafs Go!It's deja vu all over again. Didn't Jagr just score two goals to lead his Rangers to a 4-2 win?

When you win just three of their last 15 games, you deserve to get booed off the ice. The Olympic break couldn't come at a better time for this team. We need to break out of this awful funk before it's well too late.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
27-25-5
59 points
4th in Northeast
4-2 Loss vs. New York
4-2 Loss vs. New York
4-1 Win vs. Atlanta
B. McCabe - 52
J. Allison - 48
T. Kaberle - 45

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care."
      - Jimmy Buffett

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Jennifer Heil Wins Gold

GoldCanada has earned its first medal at the Turin Olympic games.

Alberta's Jennifer Heil won gold in the women's freestyle skiing moguls. Great start!

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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've turned off the game (AGAIN). This is brutal. The #1 hockey city in the world & what do we get. SOOOOOO Long Fergie & Mr. Quinn. Times are a changin' & they don't see it. An early summer - AGAIN. We are free fallin' fast to 10th or 11th place. Dreamers never die. Go Carolina - at least they have Mgt. & coach's who know hockey in today's world.

      Maple Leaf fan for 30 years

This is going from bad to worse. We're not good enough. It's frustrating as all hell. We're too close to a playoff position to write us off, but if we don't come back from the break playing like we give a shit it's hasta la vista, baby.

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The CBC and the Six O'Clock Game

CBCFor the second time in as many days, the CBC has messed me up with their scheduling. First they threw that extra zero in the mix and now I tuned in the Leafs game at 18:40 only to find out it's in the first intermission.

Let me get this straight, for a billion Saturdays in a row "Hockey Night In Canada" begins at 19:00 but tonight it starts at 18:00. Nobody told me. Luckily, the only goal I missed was scored by Jaromir Jagr.

I managed to catch Don Cherry on Coach's Corner and he gave an impassioned speech chastising all who have condemned The Great One. Listening to him pontificate reminded me a great deal of my entry from earlier today. Grapes and I agree on this one. The way we've treated Wayne Gretzky this week is a crying shame.

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Reconstructing The Past

ConstructionNow that I've made the move to Movable Type, I've got years of hand-coded archives I want to migrate over. This has to be done manually, one entry at a time. There thousands and thousands, dating back to November 2002.

My intent is to bring over one month's worth of entries every week. While this construction is ongoing, you might find an interesting discrepancy between the MT-generated archives and my old hand-coded archives. If you want to view a previous month, my old hand-coded archives will be your best bet until everything's converted.

So far, I've got all of 2006 moved over. Now, I've decided to start with November 2002 and work forwards until I eventually hit December 31, 2005. I suspect that will happen some time in the fall.

Tedious: (adj.) Tiresome by reason of length, slowness, or dullness; boring.

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Gretzky Wiretap Only Days Old

JusticeFor the past couple of days, all anyone wants to talk about in this city is The Great One and his alleged ties to Rick Tocchet's illegal gambling ring which may or may not have ties to the Bruno-Scarfo crime family. Just the other day I wrote about the wiretaps that caught The Great Wayne Gretzky discussing this multimillion-dollar gambling operation. I mentioned how this contradicted what Gretzky told us Tuesday night when he claimed he had no knowledge of any gambling allegations until Tocchet called him Monday night.

New reports suggest this wiretap is only days old. In fact, it may have been recorded as recently as Monday. For 48 hours I've heard colleagues and friends suggest Gretzky's dark side had finally emerged and that he should avoid Turin, step down as coach of the Coyotes and assume his role as the Pete Rose of the NHL. For 48 hours I've been defending The Great One, reminding others that he's earned the benefit of the doubt and asking others to wait for evidence slightly more solid than vague leaks from unnamed insiders on the New Jersey police force before passing judgement.

I'm certain Gretzky never bet on hockey, I'm very sure Gretzky never bet with Tocchet and I'm reasonably certain Gretzky will be absolved of any wrong doings and will escape "Operation Slap Shot" reasonably unscarred.

Why is it that so many get such a rush from knocking heroes off of their pedastals? Wayne Gretzky is the most famous and well respected Canadian in the world. He has assumed his role as hockey's greatest ambassador with vigor, making every Canadian proud. Recently, he's suffered two great personal losses and now must learn his wife has been caught making substantial bets on sports in an illegal gambling ring. He doesn't need this. He doesn't deserve this.

Bring us back another gold Wayne and make us all proud once more. That would be Great.

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Maple Leafs 2, Rangers 4

Go Leafs Go!With another loss last night, we're officially ninth in the conference. Boston, the tenth place team, is merely a single point behind.

Following the game, Bryan McCabe told reporters "Jagr put on a clinic out there." Good! We needed to attend such a clinic, I only hope we learned a thing or two.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
27-24-5
59 points
4th in Northeast
4-2 Loss vs. New York
4-1 Win vs. Atlanta
4-2 Win vs. New Jersey
B. McCabe - 51
J. Allison - 47
T. Kaberle - 43

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Now for the easiest job for any coach... the cuts."

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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 gut feel - Mr. 99 has more splainin' to do. If I were in is his shoes I'd be at home with my wife who has been implicated (so she made a few bets). A molehill has become a MOUNTAIN & it's getting larger. The media circus in Turin are salivating. Canada has enough mgt. there to look after things & I beleive this will affect the play of OUR players. Do I smell another Pete Rose? I hope not, but I think there is more to this than we all think. Wayne's persona is TOO clean - we all have dirty laundry.

      Dale

As it stands, no charges have been laid on Janet Gretzky, no charges have been laid on Wayne Gretzky and there's no evidence any alleged bets were placed on hockey games. I'm glad Wayne is going to Turin. Besides, Janet will be in Turin as well. I hope our boys win it for #99.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayWinners Gallery 2006 - World Press Photo - Here are the top photos from the 49th annual World Press Photo competition. The winner was taken by Finbarr O'Reilly, a proud Canadian.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumFranklin Cover was 77. He became a familiar face as George and Louise Jefferson's white neighbor in the long-running TV sitcom "The Jeffersons."

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite "Gold" songs

  1. Heart Of Gold - Neil Young
  2. After The Gold Rush - Neil Young
  3. Silver and Gold - U2
  4. Gold Digger - Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
  5. Black Gold - Soul Asylum

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24 Hour Confusion

ClockPrior to writing this entry regarding the Olympic games in Turin, I checked out CBC's broadcast schedule to learn when the opening ceremonies would be taking place. It's clearly marked Feb 10 01:00 which I immediately interpreted as one in the morning. Only this morning did I see "pm" on the second line.

What's the purpose of the opening "0" in 01:00? It indicates twenty four hour time, right? 01:00 should never be used for 1:00 pm. The CBC has either got to go with the 24 hour clock or the am/pm thing, but this hybrid has got to go.

I'm glad I didn't stay up for the ceremony.

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Turin 2006

OlympicsAt 13:00 our time tomorrow, the opening ceremony of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games will be held in Turin, Italy. As I did during the 2004 games in Athens, I'll be following our fellow Canadians and writing an entry celebrating every medal we earn.

I'm most excited, obviously, about our Men's hockey team. Our first game is February 15 at 07:00 EST. I'm hoping Gamblor releases our national heroes from his neon claws and that The Great One is given the benefit of the doubt he has earned and decides to accompany his team to Turin. Another gold medal would be sweet as well.

There are a few sites in particular I'll be keeping my good eye on throughout the games.

Go Canada Go!

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Cartoons Conquer Competition

GrammyHas a fictional group of cartoon characters ever won a Grammy? They have now.

"Feel Good Inc." by the Gorillaz and featuring De La Soul won last night for best pop collaboration with vocals. The Gorillaz are a fictional band comprised of virtual beings 2D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel. I've got two Gorillaz albums in my collection and they're great.

Although I missed it, this virtual band actually performed live at the Grammys last night with none other than Madonna. It's worth watching for the Gorrillaz element and you can check it out from this Yahoo! Music page. It didn't like my browser so I was forced to open IE for the first time in months, but it's worth it.

Damon Albarn was nowhere to be seen.

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The Great Wayne Gretzky Tapped?

Justice"Operation Slap Shot" isn't going away any time soon. According to this article from The Star-Ledger out of New Jersey, wiretaps caught The Great Wayne Gretzky discussing the multimillion-dollar gambling operation run by his friend Rick Tocchet before the ring was dismantled Monday. This contradicts what Gretzky told us Tuesday night when he claimed he had no knowledge of any gambling allegations until Tocchet called him Monday night.

This Star-Ledger article makes the following claim about Janet Gretzky, f.k.a. Janet Jones, wife of The Great One.

Jones was among the gamblers who placed more than $1.7 million in wagers in the past six weeks with the ring allegedly run by Tocchet and a New Jersey state trooper. Jones put down $500,000 on games during that period, including $75,000 on last weekend's Super Bowl, sources said. She even wagered on which team would win the opening coin toss -- winning $5,000 with that bet.

Apparently, investigators are looking into whether The Great Wayne Gretzky placed any wagers through his wife. My admiration for Gretzky has been well documented in these pages. There isn't a blemish on his record, he's the best to have ever played the game, the greatest ambassador the sport has ever had and the architect of our 2002 Olympic and 2004 World Cup champion teams. In 1982 I secured a copy of The Great Gretzky by Terry Jones that I read to pieces. There's a reason we refer to him as The Great One. He's Canadian royalty.

When this was a story about Rick Tocchet and a few NHL players like Jeremy Roenick and Travis Green throwing a few bucks on football and basketball, I was filing it under "live and learn". Now that it's seeped into #99's realm, I'm raising the threat level to Elevated.

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Songbird Proof of Concept

MusicSongbird, the highly anticipated open-source media player from Rob Lord and the gang, built on the same platform as Firefox, was released today as a "proof of concept". The official site was impossible to access, but I managed to download the installation file from a mirror.

Songbird crashed the first time I opened it, and the second time, and the third time. I uninstalled and reinstalled, but this pattern continued. Eventually, I learned the secret. If I let it hang for about five minutes in the task bar, she'd perk up and actually open. As frustrating as this was, I knew it was merely a proof of concept and I wanted to give this open source iTunes killer a whirl.

Songbird looks cool, all decked out in a mettalic black. It also looks a lot like iTunes, which is a good thing. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I excitedly added my music folder to my new Songbird library. This was a mistake. 1141 complete albums and 17,024 MP3s was a lot for this preview release to digest and while using over 90% of my CPU it spent the next hour digesting this grandiose meal until I finally pulled the plug. Oink oink, baby.

With about 15% of my collection indexed, I started shuffling, making playlists and giving it a thorough test drive. Not bad... The concept has been effectivey proven. With the bugs ironed out, especially that damn xulrunner.exe error I kept getting, and a diet, because right now it's a bloated resource hog, I see great potential.

I'm looking forward to the next release. Until then, it's back to the proprietary and evil iTunes.

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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.

Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon
This was my second favourite song released in 2004. I still love it, and of all the songs released that year, it's the one I return to most often. Play it loud, play it proud.

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Tony Soprano and the NHL

JusticeI'm not sure what to think of "Operation Slap Shot". For the unaware, "Operation Slap Shot" is the name of the New Jersey state police investigation into an illegal gambling ring with ties to organized crime allegedly run by Rick Tocchet. Tocchet is a former NHL player who is now an assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Thus far, there's no evidence a single bet was placed on a hockey game. If this gambling ring didn't touch Tocchet's sport, it's far less dishonourable. It's not right and shouldn't be condoned, but the sanctity of the NHL game is left in tact and we're out of the Black Sox and Pete Rose jurisdiction. The process will run its course and we'll move on.

Having said all that, the implication of impropriety alone is enough to tarnish the purity of our game. Tocchet is Toronto-grown, a hard-nosed all-star who put in some great seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and other teams at the end of his tremendous career. Who's to say where his influence in the world of sports ends? Who's to say he can't get to an NBA ref, use his millions to persuade an NFL ref or use his connections to both the professional sports world and mob to collide two worlds which must remain mutually exclusive?

Rick Tocchet is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, but the damage is already done. Newspaper headlines this morning are linking the NHL with serious gambling charges and Janet Gretzky's name is in the mix for additional sex appeal. We'll see how this plays out, but if no bets were placed on hockey games we'll file this one under "live and learn". No harm, no foul.

Bet on it.

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Maple Leafs 4, Thrashers 1

Go Leafs Go!Just when I was about to stick a fork in Ed Belfour and declare him done like dinner, he's put together two fantastic outings in a row. It couldn't come at a better time with our arch rivals breathing down our necks.

Prior to the game, former Leafs captain Darryl Sittler received a standing ovation on the 30th anniversary of his NHL record 10-point game. He scored six goals and assisted on four during an 11-4 victory over Boston in 1976. Today, we get awfully excited if a Leaf puts together a four point night.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
27-23-5
59 points
3rd in Northeast
4-1 Win vs. Atlanta
4-2 Win vs. New Jersey
4-1 Loss vs. Washington
B. McCabe - 51
J. Allison - 47
T. Kaberle - 43

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Gimmie Shelter

StonesChecking the milk calendar on the wall, this is 2006, not 1966. During the Super Bowl half time show, the audio failed to pick up one of Mick's lyrics in "Start Me Up". Children everywhere were spared from having to hear a geriatric exclaim "you make a dead man come".

Who would be offended by this lyric? Who the hell would even be able to make it out? One damn nipple and American regressed four decades. In the 60s, these same Stones were asked to change the lyric "let's spend the night together" to "let's spend some time together" for "The Ed Sullivan Show".

In the 60s we could chalk up this ludicrous fear to ignorance. In 2006, it's just embarrassing. Let the dead man come, already!

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Hooray For Everything

BaseballTwo years ago today I was part of a decision that haunts me to this day. We in Raging Storm voted to change our name from Hooray For Everything.

Hooray For Everything was not only a fantastic name for a slo-pitch team, but it was a successful one. We won three championships in four seasons. I previously discussed the origin of the name, a handle given to a group of "well-groomed young go-getters" on "The Simpsons". It was a good name, a solid name, an ironic name, and two years ago today we voted to change it to the soulless Raging Storm.

Not a day goes by that I don't regret that decision. Hooray For Everything, you're deeply missed.

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New RSS Feed

RSSAnother benefit of moving to Movable Type is an automated RSS feed. I was manually maintaining the old one.

The new RSS feed for this site is at http://www.torontomike.com/index.xml. Now we're cooking with gas.

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Take Five

Blue JaysWith the signing of free-agent catcher Bengie Molina to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million US with a mutual option for 2007 worth $7.5 million or a $500,000 buyout, Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has now made five significant upgrades to the roster. Right-handed starter A.J. Burnett, closer B.J. Ryan, third baseman Troy Glaus and first baseman Lyle Overbay are the other four.

Last season, Molina posted career-bests with a .295 batting average, .336 on-base percentage and 15 homers with the Los Angeles Angels. He also hit 17 doubles with 69 RBIs in 119 games. He's also one of the best defensive catchers in the game and pitching and defense still win championships, right?

I'm psyched about our '06 season. I smell an honest to goodness pennant race. I can't wait to watch our magic number again and play games that matter in September.

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Movable Typed

ConstructionI warned you more changes were coming. This is the biggie.

For years I fought the push to implement a CMS solution. I derived a great deal of pride from hand-coding this entire site and ensuring it successfully validated as XHTML 1.0 Strict. Even the CSS and RSS feeds were hand-coded and validated by the W3C. I wrote about my CMS resistance here, here, here and here.

Today marks a new era for this blog, powered by Movable Type. New entries will have Permalinks, Comments, TrackBacks and all that bloggy goodness. Big props to my pal Mark for giving me the final push I needed. I recreated February's entries in MT, but I've left everything previous in its old school state. If I ever find some free time I'll start recreating older entries as well. There are thousands, so it hurts to think about it.

Although I implemented the Guest Blog because I didn't allow comments, I've decided to keep it. Anyone can write one and I'll post it as I always do. On the right I'm using a neat little plug-in that displays the last ten pictures I uploaded to my Flickr account. Let me know what you think of the changes in the comments.

It's evolution, baby.

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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. Running Scared - Roy Orbison
  2. Go To Sleep - Sarah Harmer
  3. Beaton's Delight - Ashley MacIsaac
  4. Death - Ice Cube
  5. Canary Bird - Muddy Waters
  6. Rooster - Alice In Chains
  7. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
  8. I Want A New Drug - Huey Lewis and the News
  9. Kamp Krusty (Medley) - The Simpsons
  10. Nugget - Cake

There's a great story that goes along with Huey Lewis and the News' "I Want A New Drug". The producers of "Ghostbusters" wanted to use "I Want A New Drug" as their theme song. Lewis said so so they asked Ray Parker Jr. to write a similar song. It sure was similar and Lewis ended up suing Parker.

Speaking of "Ghostbusters", Ivan Reitman, the director of the movie, was the keynote speaker at my convocation. Top that!

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My Link of the Day

LinkSuper Bowl XL Commercials - Global TV watchers can see what they missed here.

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Super Bowl XL: Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10

NFLIn my adult life, I've never watched so little NFL action as I did during this past season. I saw the Colts blow their undefeated season, I saw the Colts lose in the playoffs and I watched yesterday's Super Bowl.

My interest in the NFL began to wane when my Buffalo Bills cut Doug Flutie. Then, there was this epiphany. I watch every Leafs game, a number of Jays games and a Raptor game here and there. Football, always number four on my depth chart, took the biggest hit when I began to procreate.

Yesterday's game wasn't a particularly good one. There were a few big plays, including a 43-yard chuck for a touchdown from wideout Antwaan Randle El, but for the most part Ben Roethlisberger and the gang were underwhelming. I'd say Pittsburgh didn't win their fifth Super Bowl but Seattle lost their first.

Once again us Canucks missed out on most of the best ads, but that's why Al Gore invented the Internets. Ever since Janet exposed her nipple jewelry the half time shows have been ultra safe. Now we have the Rolling Stones boring us to death and going so far as to remove the line "you make a dead man come" from "Start Me Up". Who's on tap for next year, dc Talk?

The Bus has made his last stop a successful one, winning it all in his home town. Jerome Bettis is the reason I was rooting for the Steelers. Satisfaction.

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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.

Accessing Jacob D. Robida's page is what Toronto seems to becoming. A CHILD with no future. 18 yrs. is still a child no matter how much they think they are grown up. Tragedies like this are becoming more common. A waste of a life - NO MENTION OF PARENTS. Parents sculpt the life of their children. Fortunately my kids are typical 14 year olds & we still love them.

      twins from bolton

I don't know enough about Jacob's family life to pass judgment, but I will concede this was a child screaming out for help. Having said that, this child was old enough to understand the ramifications of his hateful actions. Including his own life, three have died as a result of his uncontrollable anger.

It's just all so sad. A waste of life indeed.

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There's So Much Anger In The World

AngryYou may have read about Jacob D. Robida, the 18 year old suspected of a hatchet-and-gun attack in a Massachusetts gay bar and in the killing of two people in Arkansas, including a policeman. He died earlier today of wounds suffered in a gun battle with officers.

Like many 18 year olds, Robida had a MySpace page. Reading his page now reveals so much anger, so much hate. He even bore a swastika tattoo.

The writing was on the wall, or the MySpace page as the case may be.

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It's Too Big

ConstructionJust last night I unveiled some changes to these pages. Judging from the immediate response, 12 point is just too big for you guys. Perhaps the jump from 10 to 12 was just too dramatic.

I've dropped her back down to 11 point. It's still larger than it was yesterday morning, but smaller than it was last night. I'll let it ride a little in this current state but you can continue to share your opinion with me.

More dramatic changes are currently in development. More on that, later...

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Maple Leafs 4, Devils 2

Go Leafs Go!For a while, this game looked a lot like this one. We jumped out to a 3-0 lead and sat back while the opposition made a run. This time, Ed Belfour shone bright and we held on for a badly needed two points.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
26-23-5
57 points
3rd in Northeast
4-2 Win vs. New Jersey
4-1 Loss vs. Washington
3-2 Loss vs. Tampa Bay
B. McCabe - 50
J. Allison - 46
T. Kaberle - 43

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music."
      - Marcus Brigstocke

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Web 2.0!

ConstructionNo, I haven't thrown a bunch of Ajax in the mix, but I did follow the lead of many so-called Web 2.0 sites and made a couple of changes to the aesthetics.

For starters, I changed the font family from Verdana to Arial. That seems to be the way the wind is blowing these days. More significantly, I've upped the main font size from 10 point to 12. Most of you are reading this on a 17" screen or larger and just about all of you are 1024x768 or greater. You've got the room for 12 and I'm sure you'll find it an easier read once you get used to it.

If you hate the changes, don't worry. I'm bound to get bored and change it up again soon.

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Jyllands-Posten vs. Muhammad

PaintingThis Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy has grown way out of hand. The Toronto Star is reporting that protests have escalated today with "aggrieved believers calling for executions, storming European buildings and setting European flags afire".

Thousands of outraged Syrian demonstrators stormed the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus, setting fire to both buildings. As thick black smoke rose into the air, police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, who shouted, "Allahu Akbar!" which is Arabic for "God is great!"

Remember, this is all because the Danish newspaper Jyllandes-Posten published twelve cartoon caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad last September. These cartoons were reprinted in European publications this week. You can see the cartoons in question here. For a good breakdown as to what he cartoons mean, read this.

I sense the outrage in the Muslim world will only intensify over the coming days. The cartoons were published as part of a public debate on freedom of expressions, and they've well proved their point. This gross over-reaction by "aggrieved believers" has gone way too far. They're burning down the Danish Embassy because they disapprove of the content of cartoons. Whether in good taste or bad, freedom of expression is a right democratic nations cherish. I've read and seen some things I've fundamentally disagreed with, but I'll always voice my disapproval with words or at the ballot box. Violence is not an acceptable response.

I just hope blood won't spill because of a little ink.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayStar Wars Goes Gay - Yes, it's another "Brokeback Mountain" spoof.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBetty Friedan was 85. Her manifesto "The Feminine Mystique" became a best seller in the 1960s and laid the groundwork for the modern feminist movement.

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 4 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • K. D. Lang - Hymns Of The 49th Parallel
  • Robbie Robertson - Robbie Robertson
  • House of Pain - Same As It Ever Was
  • Culture Club - The Best of Culture Club

That's 1141 complete albums, 17,024 songs and 45.4 days of tunage. Check it out.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumAl Lewis was 82. He was the cigar-chomping patriarch of "The Munsters" whose work as a basketball scout, restaurateur and political candidate never eclipsed his role as Grandpa from the television sitcom.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayBrokeback To The Future - The touching story, of a love that could never be.


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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.

Ken Dryden for PM? Why not vote for Paul Gross? Although he plays a crooked PM with an agenda of his own in the mini-series 'H20', I think that Mr. Gross would make an excellent PM for any country.

Don't u think that the Maple Leafs need to trade for one or two top players? I keep thinking everyday I go through the game highlights from the NHL that the Leafs desperately need a high scorer or two. Names that come to mind (who would fit the team) are Brad Richards & Marc Savard. What do u think?

      Roshan

Why not Alexander Ovechkin and Joe Thornton? My issue with the Leafs is that they desperately need someone who can finish a play and score a goal or two, but they're also paper thin on defense and in desperate need of an upgrade or two there. In other words, this isn't a very good team and needs a great deal of help if we actually want to win four rounds in the Stanley Cup playoffs. As it stands right now, we might be good enough to finish eighth in the conference and, if everyone plays over their heads, we might be able to steal a round. The eternal questions are, who's available, how much of the future are we willing to give up and will we still come under the salary cap?

I don't think Mr. Gross is interested in the job. Rick Mercer, however, might give it a go.

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Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 4

Go Leafs Go!I thought the Leafs did a really good job neutralizing Alexander Ovechkin. He took a number of big hits, had an angry Bryan McCabe in his face all day and had little room to work his magic. Unfortunately, there were other Capitals on the ice who made us look like a team that's 1-8-2 in its last 11 games.

There was a neat little brawl in the first period when Ovechkin crashed into Ed Belfour. McCabe cross checked the intruder, Belfour slapped him upside the head a couple of times and Olie Kolzig stormed the length of the ice to take on our goalie. McCabe managed to get one last sucker punch on Ovechkin and somehow, against all odds, we ended up with a powerplay.

It was a chippy fair with another dismal result. Boston, of all teams, sits one point back of our final playoff spot. At some point, wins may be required to play in the second season.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
25-23-5
55 points
3rd in Northeast
4-1 Loss vs. Washington
3-2 Loss vs. Tampa Bay
4-2 Win vs. Florida
B. McCabe - 49
J. Allison - 44
T. Kaberle - 41

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Public transportation is for jerks and lesbians."

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Welcome Raymitheminxers

WelcomeEver since Raymi the Minx wrote this entry on her blog this afternoon, my site has been visited by one Raymitheminxer after another.

There are a few things Raymitheminxers should know before they quickly depart. Although I, like Raymi, am a young, attractive Torontonian, I don't post nude photos of myself on this site. Other than this one, I mean. Also, I don't hang out with a bunch of really cool people and I don't restrict myself to lower case characters. Otherwise, we have a lot in common.

I, for one, welcome our new Raymi overlord.

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Prime Minister Ken Dryden

OttawaAllan Rock has said no, Frank McKenna has said no, Brian Tobin has said no and John Manley has said no. Few seem interested in running for the Liberal party leadership.

Becoming the leader of the Liberal party almost guarantees you'll one day be Prime Minister. In the history of the Liberal party, only one leader failed to reach this goal. We know Belinda Stronach will likely run, but what about Ken Dryden? Could our next Prime Minister be the man who back stopped Canada to a victory at the 1972 Summit Series?

Dryden has a lot going for him. For starters, he's a hall of fame goaltender. He won four Stanley Cups and the most important hockey series in Canadian history. He'll secure the support of Canadiens fans for spending his entire NHL career with the Habs and he'll get some love from Leafs fans for his recent position as president of the hockey team. Once you get past the fact he's a slow talker, he's a well spoken, intelligent, educated guy. Why can't he be PM?

I think he can...

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite songs from The Lowest of the Low

  1. Henry Needs A New Pair Of Shoes
  2. Bleed a Little While Tonight
  3. Salesmen, Cheats and Liars
  4. Eternal Fatalist
  5. Pistol

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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.

CALGARY ROCKS!

Your post today got me thinking, who was that Canadian Disc Jockey whose catch phase and show was "Gooooood Rockin' Tonight"? I always loved that guy and he's not on T.V. anymore...

Thanks

      Coach

Dude, I totally remember "Good Rockin' Tonight". The host you're thinking of is Stu Jeffries. The reason neither of us have seen him in a while is because he went all country on us and now hosts a show on CMT. I blocked CMT on my television.

Update: Pete wrote me to tell me Stu is now hosting a morning show on Toronto's 97.3 EZ Rock. I just saw a billboard advertising the show on Eglinton just West of Scarlett Road.

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Best. Sleepers. Ever.

MoonJust about every parent thinks their kids are the best. You love them to pieces and you can't imagine another child in this world could be any smarter, sweeter or cuter. In this vein, I submit to you the fact that Michelle is the best sleeper ever.

James himself has always been a great sleeper. In December of 2003, when he was a little under the age of two, I wrote this entry about what an amazing sleeper he was. Michelle just turned eighteen months old and she's been in a similar routine for some time now. At about 19:00 she gets a little milk in a bottle until about 19:30 when she voluntarily gives up the bottle, gets her teeth brushed and marches over to her crib where she awaits a helping hand. All that's required from a parental unit is a hug and kiss, a lift into the crib and a "good night... I love you". To me, she sweetly says "bye Daddy" and goes to sleep. We won't hear another peep out of her until the morning.

James continues to be a great sleeper himself, going to bed by 20:30 every night and sleeping a solid twelve hours. These kids make bedtime easy... too easy.

Best. Sleepers. Ever.

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What Does Willie Know?

GroundhogToday, Wiarton Willie didn't see his shadow which tells us there will be an early spring. Screw Willie, this is spring. I spent 45 minutes tossing around a Frisbee this afternoon and it was damn warm. This is by far the mildest winter I can remember. When our snowman melted before Christmas, I promised James we'd build another as soon as the right snow fell. I'm not sure that will ever be possible this winter.

Willie should have stayed in bed.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the Day"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Valentines - With Valentine's Day less than two weeks away, you'll want to consult the Special Valentine Unit.

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Toronto Rocks!

CN TowerThere's surprisingly little about "Toronto Rocks" on the web. IMDB doesn't acknowledge its existence at all. I'm not referring to the 2003 AC~DC / Rolling Stones concert following SARS, there's a wealth of information about, I'm talking about my daily video show from the early 1980s.

My memories of "Toronto Rocks" are vivid. I can see the backdrop, I remember it was hosted by J.D. Roberts and I remember it aired every afternoon on City-TV. I wrote more about the program in November 2004.

J.D. Roberts, now known as John Roberts, has left CBS for CNN where he'll work as a senior national correspondent based in Washington. Should the CNN gig fail to work out, re-kindling the "Toronto Rocks" fires could be a natural next move. I'll be watching, hairspray in hand.

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Kurt Vonnegut

RadioTonight I heard the most refreshing interview with Kurt Vonnegut on CBC Radio One. His candor and honesty had be hanging on every syllable. Vonnegut is 83 now and sounds quite disappointed that he's lived this long. As he pointed out in the interview, he's been chain smoking filter-less Pall Mall cigarettes since he was twelve and should have expired long ago.

In the interview, Vonnegut voiced great displeasure at the direction his country has taken. He thinks Bush is an idiot, the USA is as disliked throughout the world as Nazis and the elderly should apologize to the youth for the mess they've left behind. He praises jazz and the blues as cures for depression and considers them America's one blessing upon the world. His insight into humour as a means of fighting horrible atrocities, from the Holocaust to war, was also enlightening. I found the entire piece riveting.

Listen to this man while he's still with us. His perspective on things isn't only refreshing, it's spot on.

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The Big D, Dion Phaneuf

Hockey CanadaTeam Canada's blue line has injury issues. Ed Jovanovski is a no-go and Scott Niedermayer may have to withdraw as well. When the team was announced back in December, I proposed adding another defenseman outright. I wanted Dion Phaneuf in Turin.

I hope The Great One realizes the time is now for this exceptional youngster. Team Canada will be a stronger force with Phaneuf than without him.

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Howard Stern Returns To Canada

Howard SternSirius Canada will add Howard Stern to its lineup starting next week. This is a reversal of an earlier decision. I don't understand why he was left off the Canadian lineup in the first place.

I was forced to find an alternative way of hearing Stern's show, and I've been enjoying it every morning for weeks now. That's all I'm going to say on the subject.

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The 2006 Oscar Prediction Contest

An Academy AwardAs I did last year and the year before, I'm hosting an Oscar prediction contest. Anyone can enter by completing this form. You have until 20:00 EST on Friday, March 3 to submit your picks. I'll post everyone's selections later that evening.

The winner of this contest will be announced and celebrated in this public space. What's better than public praise? If you're looking for coin, you're looking for another Oscar prediction contest.

Make your predictions. You can't win if you don't play.

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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.

Foo Fighters - February Stars
It's February 1st and we're all February Stars. This is one of my favourite tracks from The Color and the Shape.

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Maple Leafs 2, Lightning 3

Go Leafs Go!Despite having lost nine of their last ten games, the Leafs are still in decent shape to make the playoffs. We're currently sitting in the 8th and final spot with a three point lead over Montreal, Boston and Atlanta. Montreal actually has a couple of games in hand, but the way they're playing that's unlikely to make much of a difference.

The fact Carolina is going gang busters means Ottawa will probably not be the top dog in the East. This is good for Leaf fans. Should we finish 8th we'd have the Hurricanes in the first round and not the Sens. I'm not interested in tempting fate and would rather avoid a first round series against Hasek and the gang.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
25-22-5
55 points
3rd in Northeast
3-2 Loss vs. Tampa Bay
4-2 Win vs. Florida
4-3 Loss vs. Montreal
B. McCabe - 49
J. Allison - 44
T. Kaberle - 41

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