April 2006 Archives

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Plenty Of Games To Blame

LeafsWhile I was converting the November 2005 entries into MT, I came across this Leafs recap of our November 11 game against the Sabres. It was yet another game we lost by a goal but should have won handidly. We slipped to 8-7-2 but we could have easily won 12 by that point.

In the recap, I wrote "In April, when we miss the playoffs by 2 points, we'll have plenty of games to blame." We missed the playoffs by two points, and I'm blaming this November 11 game in Buffalo... and Aki Berg.

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 8 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • The Strokes - First Impressions Of Earth
  • Green Day - Bullet In A Bible (Live)
  • Linkin Park - Live in Texas
  • OST - Six Feet Under: Everything Ends
  • The Living End - The Living End
  • Staind - Chapter V
  • OST - Walk The Line
  • OST - Team America

That's 1190 complete albums, 17,896 songs and 47.5 days of tunage. Check it out.

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
      - Abraham Lincoln

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Playoff Pool: Day Nine

PuckEnzo lost three players yesterday when Tampa Bay bowed out, but he lives and dies by the play of the Calgary Flames. He has five Flames who have combined to give him 24 points and a share of the lead.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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My Bad Ass Rap

RewindOn Easter Sunday, I hooked up with the usual suspects to break bread and celebrate. Steve dropped the opening line from my bad ass rap song and Vanessa chuckled. You see, when I was a silly teenager in the late 80s, I wrote a rap song.

Originally it was just four lines, but I would drop this science with defiance and it wasn't long before those around me had it memorized. To this day I have those words tattooed in my brain. "I'm back, no sucker MC task, dope lyrics and a beat to blast. When I'm on the mic, the others are dead last. Take caution, I'm starting to kick ass."

When I discovered an old scrap book I kept, I discovered a hand written lyric sheet for this bad ass rap that contains many more than four lines. I'm posting this song I wrote in all its glory. Keep in mind when reading that I was fairly young and anything cheesy you did in the 80s is exempt from ridicule. Here it is.

I'm back, no sucker MC task
Dope lyrics and a beat to blast
When I'm on the mic, the others are dead last
take caution, I'm starting to kick ass
My only monkey come as in brass
Down with the dogs, you got no class
Like a frog you'll croak with pain
tough like a ninja, crack with a cane
No homeboy, I'm not pain
I'm top notch, go home black-eyed Jane
Call me the braun, next the brain
Over and over I'm going insane
Pull over jack rabbit, I'm leaving fast
So quit it...

I'm no longer ashamed of my 80s rap past. Looking back, they were indeed dope lyrics.

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Explain Yourself!

ConstructionIt started innocently enough. Last night, at about 10:00 pm with the kids asleep and a little time on my hands, I decided to muck around with the css for this site. By 11:00 pm I was modifying templates and completely redesigning the side bar options. This afternoon, I tweaked a little more here and there and threw an image in the top left corner. The results are before you, unless I've gone and messed things up a little more between the writing of this entry and the time you read it.

My objective was to create a little more white space and clean things up somewhat. I felt a colour change was in order, so I ran with TTC rocket red. In order to make things a little more user friendly, you can search the archives from every page and jump to any month since I started the blog back in November 2002. I'm still migrating old entries over to Movable Type, so you won't find November and December 2005 quite yet.

I've received a couple of notes from people who miss the old look. My mom, however, likes the new one. Of course, she's my mom and might be telling me what I want to hear, so I need you to give me honest feedback in the comments.

In the words of the immortal Dr. Johnny Fever, give it to me straight doctor I can take it.

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Playoff Pool: Day Eight

PuckThere's been a see-saw battle between Marc and Enzo all week. Meanwhile, Steve crept out of the basement on the back of Peter Forsberg. I watched a good chunk of that game last night and Forsberg is just an unbelievable playoff performer.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"I can't believe it! Reading and writing actually paid off!"

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSteve Howe was 48. He was a former major league pitcher whose career took a downward spiral due to substance abuse.

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Guest Blog

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

I just read an article about former star pitcher Steve Howe of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He dies today in a traffic accident.

I remember when he was a star pitcher in 1981 when his Dodgers put an end to the Expo's hopes of going to the World Series. What a great Montreal team. Howe was certainly a talent however drugs was his downfall and his career derailed.

What a tragic end to a talented baseball player. he was 48.

      Mark from Ottawa

I hadn't heard this sad news. I don't remember his glorious first couple of years, but I do remember his struggles with cocaine and alcohol abuse that continually disrupted his career.

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Powers of Ten

OttawaWith Ken Dryden's announcement earlier today, there are now ten candidates in the Liberal party leadership race. Eight of them happen to hail from Toronto, a city near and dear to this blogger's heart. The ten hopefuls, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Maurizio Bevilacqua
  • Carolyn Bennett
  • Scott Brison
  • Stephan Dion
  • Ken Dryden
  • Martha Hall Findlay
  • Gerard Kennedy
  • Michael Ignatieff
  • Bob Rae
  • Joe Volpe

I don't have a vote, but I do have a favourite. A few months ago I wrote an entry entitled "Prime Minister Ken Dryden" in which I discussed the fact Ken Dryden could be our next Prime Minister. Afterwards, a number of people cracked jokes about the possibilty. Many thought I was kidding. The fact of the matter is, I was completely serious.

Yes, hearing him speak is going to bore us to tears, but he's an intelligent, compassionate thinker who I trust at the helm. When he speaks about loving this country and wanting the best for his country, there's a sincerity in his tone that cannot be faked. Most importantly, he's a man of integrity, exactly what the doctor ordered for the Liberal party at this juncture.

If not Dryden, then Gerard Kennedy. You can't go wrong with a left-leaning Torontonian. If you're a betting man, throw a loonie down on Michael Ignatieff. I'm sticking with Dryden's record. Eight seasons and four Stanley Cups. The other nine combined haven't won a single one.

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Guest Blog

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

An amazing sight driving to & home from work today. The sight of a plane crash with pieces of fuselage, etc, clothing, baggage, destroyed cars, etc. strewn all over Goreway Dr. between Derry Rd. & Zahavy Way (behind Woodbine racetrack). Working by the airport we were informed of what was happening but for those driving to the airport have no idea. So realistic my heart shuttered -so EEEERRRRIE. Tomorrow & Sunday the film is shooting. From Shaftesbury Services Inc. - a Film by the BBC.

I couldn't invision the real thing. The road will be closed tomorrow & Sunday as actors will be present (a gruesome sight). The PROBLEM I have with this situation is that there is not 1 sign saying this is a MOVIE - just the road will be closed for the weekend. 680 news has told listeners every 10-15 minutes for the last 2 days that this sight is a movie shoot.

      dale

Visiting my offiical resource for such things, it seems to be a mini-series entitled "The State Within". I was hoping it was "Snakes on a Plane 2".

I just got back from the airport, had I seen that wreakage it would have freaked me out. You'd think they'd have a clear sign indicating it was staged. If anybody has a picture of this scene, let me know.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite "war" songs

  1. War At 33 1/3 - Public Enemy
  2. Masters of War - Pearl Jam
  3. Civil War - Guns N' Roses
  4. War - Edwin Starr
  5. War Pigs - Ozzy Osbourne

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Link: Neil Young - Living With War

LinkNeil Young - Living With War - Neil Young is streaming his new political disc over the web for free. Very cool.

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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.

Now that the Leafs have fired Pat Quinn, I have a few suggestions for trading/acquiring players:
1.Todd Bertuzzi - will do fine in Toronto
2.Marc Savard
3.Sean Avery
4.Rob Blake - if u can get him
5.Adrian Aucoin

Just 5 guys I think who could use a move and who Toronto could use well. But I don't think that the Maple Leafs should let go of Eric Lindros.

      Roshan

I don't want Todd Bertuzzi or Sean Avery. I'd sign Patrik Elias, Brad Richards, Zdeno Chara or Ed Jovanovski. II would try and keep Lindros as well. He played very well while Sundin was hurt early in the year and the injury he sustained had nothing to do with his noggin. Assuming he comes at a reasonable price, I think he can help this team.

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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 WISH STEPHEN COLBERT WOULD REALIZE HE IS JOHN STUART'S PUPPET NOT HIS AUDIUANCES'. I WAS AT A TAPING AND I FOUND HIM INCREDIBLY INSULTING (hateful even) TO HIS VIEWERS. If he's going to believe his false sincerity I hope he doesn't expect us to!

Oh and Hey! Leave the Bears alone!

      Coach

Stephen Colbert is funny, but Jon Stewart is funnier.

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Playoff Pool: Day Seven

PuckIn 2004, Marc won this pool with 88 points. In 2003, Pops won with 91. This year, goals are being scored at a record pace and already Enzo has 40. It's the new NHL, folks.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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Link: Brent Runyon’s folk cover of Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”

LinkBrent Runyon’s folk cover of Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” - Those who know me know I know every word to this song and will rap it on command. This is a nice little folksy cover of the classic Public Enemy tune.

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By Gorge, Sasquatch!

MusicThe annual Sasquatch! Music Festival at The Gorge Amphitheatre in the state of Washington has an absolutely killer line up. It's frighteningly good, actually, with all the bands you want to see and more. There's some fantastic Cancon too.

Here's the line up:

NINE INCH NAILS, BEN HARPER, THE FLAMING LIPS, BECK, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. Other top name artists scheduled to perform are MATISYAHU, IRON AND WINE, THE DECEMBERISTS, NEKO CASE, SUFJAN STEVENS, PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH, and THE SHINS. THE SASQUATCH! MUSIC FESTIVAL LINE-UP IS AS FOLLOWS: FRIDAY, MAY 26 • ONE STAGE 4PM START / GATES AT 1PM NINE INCH NAILS, SURPRISE BAND TBA AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF THE DEAD, HIM, WOLFMOTHER SATURDAY, MAY 27 • 3 STAGES / GATES AT 11AM BEN HARPER & THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS, THE FLAMING LIPS, THE SHINS, THE TRAGICALLY HIP, NEKO CASE, IRON & WINE, SUFJAN STEVENS, GOMEZ, ROGUE WAVE, ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI, SAM ROBERTS, CONSTANTINES, THE BRUNETTES, MATT COSTA, BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH, TIM SEELY, KORBY LENKER, COMMON MARKET SUNDAY, MAY 28 • 3 STAGES / GATES AT 11AM BECK, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, MATISYAHU, THE DECEMBERISTS, NADA SURF, PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, BLUE SCHOLARS, CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH, ARCTIC MONKEYS, WE ARE SCIENTISTS, CHAD VANGAALEN, THE HEAVENLY STATES, ROCKY VOTOLATO, LAURA VEIRS, THE VILLAGE GREEN, MERCIR

That, my friends, is a rock n' roll show.

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Why I like Wii

NintendoWhat we once called Revolution is now Wii. That's the name Nintendo is going with for its new console. From what I've read on the Interwebs this afternoon, people don't like the name Wii.

I instantly liked it. For one thing, it looks good in print. the two i's side by side creates a cool effect. Check it out on the official page and you'll see what I mean. I could stare at that double i all night. In addition to looking good, it's damn fun to say. Try it... you can't help but have a good time saying Wii. It's pronounced "we", but I prefer trailing off with the final syllable and giving it a solid "wheeeeeee!"

The geeks can hate Wii all they want, but I'm inspired by it. I'm seriously considering changing my name to Miike.

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A Whipping Boy No More

LeafsToronto Maple Leaf defenseman Aki Berg has signed with TPS Turku of Finland's SM-liiga. I, for one, am really going to miss having him around. I'm not going to miss him because he was particularly valuable or skilled, but because he was always there when blame needed to be applied.

Every time he handled the puck I was on turn-over alert, watching every Aki Berg play under a microscope. When we lost, it was easy to blame it on Berg. Berg was our official whipping boy and he excelled at the role.

With Berg gone, who will I blame for our losses, the lousy weather, my car troubles and the rising property taxes?

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Playoff Pool: Day Six

PuckDallas' loss means I'm most likely done. Although I'm currently in fourth, I banked on a long run from the Stars and without them I'm toast. Speaking of toast, I'm going to make some right now.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumPat Marsden was 69. He was the former sportscaster best known for his play-by-play coverage of the Canadian Football League telecasts in the 1970s and 1980s.

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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.

Alright Boon,

So now it´s April 26 and yesterday we have arrived in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We have officially one week left on our adventure, yup we will touch down Wed. May 3 in lovely Buffalo. It´s really different here, way too many tourists, but we knew that when we came here. We are not use to seeing this, we've had our share of backpacker, but not so many tourists. Not since Costa Rica that is. As we waste away our last week, I just wanted to thank you Booner for letting me rant on your guest blog. Oh and that the softball season starts up real soon, see you on the field.

      Mike Kic

We had our first practice today. For what it's worth, I'm already in mid-season form. Tracking down fly balls, fielding grounders, swinging the bat... it's Raging Storm time. See ya next week.

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Steve Nash Country

CanadaWow x 2.

Victoria, British Columbia native Steve Nash will be named the Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association for the second year in a row. You may recall he won it last year, and I suggested he run for Prime Minister.

He is only the 10th player to repeat as MVP of the NBA. Magic Johnson is the only other point guard to win it twice and he's the only other point guard to win it in the past 40 years. And my favourite stat of all, Steve Nash is now the only non-American to win it twice.

Welcome to Canada. This is Nash country.

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My Last.fm 10

MusicIt's been about two years since I installed the Audioscrobbler plug-in to track the tunes I play on my computer. This thing operates so far under the radar I totally forget about it. My personal Last.fm page has been keeping track of every song I've played since then (42952 total) and it tells an interesting tale.

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

  1. Nirvana - 1916 spins
  2. Pearl Jam - 1908 spins
  3. The Tragically Hip - 1613 spins
  4. Public Enemy - 1031 spins
  5. Beastie Boys - 852 spins
  6. Neil Young - 625 spins
  7. Custom - 600 spins
  8. The White Stripes - 586 spins
  9. Radiohead - 485 spins
  10. System of a Down - 458 spins

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Weekly MP3: Mind Games

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.

John Lennon - Mind Games
This one is dedicated to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, unemotionally committed to playing those mind games.

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Playoff Pool: Day Five

PuckEnzo and Marc keep racking up points and now lead with a whopping 31. Ryan isn't far behind with 27. Everyone else is at least ten points back and Steve trails by twenty, despite having a pretty good day at the office.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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Harper's Dubya Handbook

OttawaIt's been three months since I've written about Stephen Harper and his Conservative crew. I wanted to take some time to let the dust settle and see whether my fears he'd be a Dubya Jr. were justified. He's been Prime Minister of Canada for three months and what I've seen frightens this proud Canuck.

I'm sure I remember Harper promising a more transparent, open government. I first raised a Spockian eyebrow when the press wasn't advised of a Cabinet meeting earlier in the month. Reporters were restricted to the foyer of hte House of Commons, a flight below their usual perch outside the room. Then, I read in Time a couple of weeks ago that offiicals decide which reporters get to ask questions at Harper's press conferences and "sometimes pass over those they suspect have questions they don't want to deal with". These tactics reke of Dubya and appear anything but transparent, but it was something I read today that prompted this entry.

Harper's government barred the media from covering the return of the flag-draped coffins of our four soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Corporal Matthew Dinning, Bombardier Myles Mansell, Corporal Randy Payne and Lieutenant William Turner were slain in a roadside bomb blast Saturday in southern Afghanistan in the deadliest attack against Canadian forces since we deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. Banning media coverage of the coffins of our slain service men and women is a page directly out of George Bush's handbook. It's clearly an attempt to minimize the growing casualites in Afghanistan. Harper has also decided we won't lower the flag on Parliament Hill in honour of our fallen heroes. We'll do that but once a year, on Remembrance Day. That's not only wrong, it's disrespectful.

If Harper believes he can continue in this direction without suffering the consequences at the polls, he's underestimated the Canadian public. He won a minority goverment not so much because people were drawn to him but because people were dismayed with the Liberal Party. With this kind of leadership, the plan won't be denied.

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SLS Submission: Blood On Our Hands

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Blood On Our Hands" from Death From Above 1979.

There's more to You're A Woman, I'm A Machine than "Romantic Rights". For example, there's this tune, which is worthy of SLS15 consideration.

I've already got a solid 1:04 of material for the next installment. As you know from the guide, we cut it off at 80 minutes. With more submissions expected over the next two months, something's gonna haveta give.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJane Jacobs was 89. She was the Toronto urban expert and social activist who wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

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Serve The Servants

NirvanaOne of my favourite Nirvana songs is "Serve The Servants". It opens with the splendid lyric "Teenage angst has paid off well, now I’m bored and old" and broods along nicely after that. It's a great tune, but I've always been troubled by the line "I tried hard to have a father, but instead I had a dad."

I believe Kurt has it backwards. He tried hard to have a dad, but instead he had a father. Father is a term that can be applied to anyone who fathers a child. He doesn't need to be anything more than a sperm donor. Fathering a child is easy. A dad is a father who guides their child lovingly through life. Every dad is also a father, but not every father is truly a dad. A dad cares and nurtures his child, and I believe that's what Kurt was looking for.

Trying hard to have a father but instead having a dad doesn't make much sense to me. Kurt got a lot of things right, but he blew a tire on this one.

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Welcome Breakfast Televisioners

BTYou know you're a somebody when they mention you on Breakfast Television. In the small world of Toronto media, BT is a comfortable grilled cheese sandwich. I didn't see the piece that aired earlier this morning, but apparently they were discussing local blogs and my sister-in-law-but-not-really Kara suggested this site. I've had a few messages from people who caught the bit, and it sounds as if they may have noted my list of "rain" songs referring to it as "information you need to know". Damn right!

There are a few links Breakfast Televisioners should check out before they quickly depart.

I, for one, welcome our new Breakfast Television overlord.

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Playoff Pool: Day Four

PuckA huge day for Buffalo empowered Ryan to a strong second place position with 21 points. He trails Enzo and Marc by a single point. I had a pretty good day, but when Dallas lost in overtime my squad went on life support. Without Dallas I'm destined to continue my playoff pool losing streak. It's in the Stars.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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Link: 195 Free Online Programming Books

Link195 Free Online Programming Books - From Ada to XML. But first, know the practical theory.

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No Toronto For OLP

TorontoI just got an email from ourladypeace.com regarding their Canadian Tour Ticket Giveaway! Our Lady Peace's Canadian tour starts in two days and they're giving away a pair of front row tickets to every seated show.

For fun, I scanned the fifteen dates of their Canadian tour for the stop in Toronto. Shockingly, there isn't one. All the usual suspects are there, including three dates in Vancouver, but the closest the tour bus will get to Toronto is May 8th in Kitchener.

I don't really care, but I find it curious that a local band the size of Our Lady Peace would tour the country from Victoria to Moncton and not pause in the T.Dot.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSteve Stavro was 78. He was the owner of Knob Hill Farms whose sports holdings once included his beloved Maple Leafs.

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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. The Spark That Bled - The Flaming Lips
  2. Deja Vu - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  3. Gift Shop (Live) - The Tragically Hip
  4. Burn Hollywood Burn - Public Enemy
  5. Luv - Travis
  6. Lips - Whale
  7. James - Ring The Bells
  8. 1-900-Hustler - Jay-Z
  9. Rock and Roll - Led Zeppelin
  10. Getchoo - Weezer

It's no secret I burned through both It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and Fear Of A Black Planet hundreds and hundreds of times as a teenager. Public Enemy wasn't just making a statement, but they were doing it with tremendous rhymes over hard core drum beats and the smartest samples this side of James Brown. "Burn Hollywood Burn" was an awesome cut from Fear and it helped acquaint me with Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane. Kane had the effortless, smooth as silk delivery and Ice Cube came hard with his gangsta angst. I went out and picked up discs from both artists based solely on their contribution to this PE classic.

Check out the official lyrics. Rap just doesn't sound like this anymore and that's a damn shame.

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Link: GTA Bike Retailers

LinkGTA Bike Retailers - This is an awesome and thorough list of Greater Toronto Area bike shops.

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Pool Update: Day Three

PuckEnzo's Calgary contingent and a three point night from Brad Richards helped propel him to a solid twenty points after only three days of action. Whenever I start to pity myself for only accumulating seven points I just look down at Steve's paltry three.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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Rain

RainAll week long while we worked it was warm and sunny. All weekend long it has been rainy and cool. Here are my favourite "rain" songs. Not "rainy" songs, "raining" songs or "raindrop" songs, but "rain" songs.

  • Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot
  • Rain When I Die - Alice In Chains
  • November Rain - Guns N' Roses
  • Fire and Rain - James Taylor
  • No Rain - Blind Melon
  • The Naked Rain - The Waltons
  • Rain-O - Chiliwack
  • Rain - The Cult
  • Who'll Stop The Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Have You Ever Seen The Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Standing In The Rain - Billy Talent
  • Here Comes The Rain Again - Eurythmics
  • Rain Will Fall - I Mother Earth
  • Purple Rain - Prince and the Revolution
  • Come Rain or Shine - Ray Charles
  • Naked in the Rain - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Rain Street - The Pogues
  • Red Rain - The White Stripes
  • Why Does It Always Rain On Me? - Travis
  • Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain - Willie Nelson
  • Tears In Rain - James Blunt
  • Box of Rain - The Grateful Dead
  • Red Rain - Peter Gabriel
  • Rain King - Counting Crows
  • Robin in the Rain - Raffi
  • A Walk in the Irish Rain - The Irish Descendants
  • I Wish It Would Rain Down - Phil Collins
  • Rain Man - Eminem
  • Rain - Bob Geldof & the Boomtown Rats

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Art For Art Sake

PaintingChristine Turcot is a local Toronto artist I've worked with in the past. There will be an exhibit of her art June 1 at The Unicorn which you'll find at 175 Eglinton Avenue. That's right by Young and Eligible.

Here's the poster for "Art For Art Sake". The show gets underway at 6:00 pm.

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Saint Ralph

A Movie ReelSaint Ralph: 8 out of 10.

Last night, I finally watched "Saint Ralph". I first wrote about this movie last August when I learned The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie recorded a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the movie. Jeff Buckley's cover of Cohen's "Hallelujah" is one of my ten tracks and The Hip is my favourite band, so it's natural I'd be interested in this tune.

It turns out it doesn't just have a cool soundtrack but it's a fantastic little Canadian film. Adam Butcher as Ralph Walker is charming as all hell, the visuals of 1950s Hamilton are great and the story is sweet and inspiring all at once. I loved it and highly recommend it.

Now, back to the soundtrack. The use of Downie's vocals during the climatic scene are chilling. It's perfect, as if that song had been written to be sung by that man during that race. There are other great contributions from Canadian artists as well. "Dark Angel", performed by Blue Rodeo and featuring Sarah McLachlan works perfectly, "You Came Along" by Joel Plaskett Emergency is great and "Up The Road" from Ron Sexsmith is haunting. A tremendous non-Canadian contribution is "Goodnight Moon" by little known Will Kimbrough. With great tunes like these from great artists, why is the "Saint Ralph" soundtrack non-existent?

In typical Canadian fashion, a sweet Canadian movie with an exceptional soundtrack comprised of mainly Canadian acts doesn't see the light of day. It's a damn shame, but in the meantime, my Hallelujah hunt continues...

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Pool Update: Day Two

PuckEvery team has one game under their belt and we've already got four poolies in double digits. Patrik Elias' six points propelled Marc into a first place tie with Enzo. Jomp also rode the Devils train to success and he and Stefan sit only one point back of the lead. I'm tied in eighth hoping the Stars don't exit in the first round leaving dead and bloated.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"'In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
      - Margaret Atwood

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Babar's 75th Brings Back Chilling Memories

RewindI just read in the paper that Babar is turning 75. An encounter with a Babar book at a young age really affected me.

I can still remember the illustrations of the King of the Elephants stopping to eat mushrooms that caused his death. It was bad enough that Babar's mother had been killed by hunters, but to think that a guy could die because the tasty mushrooms he just enjoyed were poisonous was chilling. These were supposedly childrens books but this sequence was so cold, so traumatizing.

To this day I blame Babar for the fact I don't like mushrooms on my pizza. Who could enjoy mushrooms after that? One bad shroom and you're a goner.

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Pool Update: Day One

PuckEnzo had a monster start, thanks in large part to Paul Kariya's four points. He's got twice as many points as Ryan's second place team. I, sadly, didn't earn a single point and sit in dead last with only a couple of other poolies to keep me warm at night.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"We're gonna get a new TV. Twenty-one inch screen, realistic flesh tones, and a little cart so we can wheel it into the dining room on holidays!"

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Six Nations Caledonia Standoff

Aboriginal PeopleNobody wants an Ipperwash sequel. In 1995 Dudley George was shot dead during a standoff in Ipperwash, Ontario. Today, a standoff between native protesters and police at a construction site in Caledonia, Ontario, continues and sympathy demonstrations are disrupting freight train and Via Rail service.

The demonstrators are attempting to stop construction by Henco Industries on land they say was stolen from the Six Nations in 1841. Here's a PDF that illustrates the history of the land claim. More demonstrators are arriving each day and sympathy demonstations will likely multiply.

You can sense the tensions escalating. One spark could set off a hellish conflagration. Nobody wants that. Nobody wants another Ipperwash.

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My Date With Drew

A Movie ReelMy Date With Drew: 7 out of 10.

It's funny, but last week I watched "Fever Pitch" and mentioned in my little review that I was quietly rooting for Drew Barrymore's failure. Irregardless of this fact, this is a cute little doc. I enjoyed it.

Even Drew herself comes off pretty good in this. I suspect she was well briefed.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveThe all-time NHL playoff point leaders

  1. Wayne Gretzky
  2. Mark Messier
  3. Jari Kurri
  4. Glenn Anderson
  5. Paul Coffey

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CFNY's Dirty Little Secret

RadioI thought my campaign to weed out safe pop-rock completely void of any soul or integrity was going well, until I heard All-American Rejects' "Dirty Little Secret" on CFNY Edge 102 the other day.

Way back in August of 2003, I called for a complete ban of sound-alike, wanna-be-punk, nauseatingly mediocre bands that were starting to secure way too much valuable radio air time, forcing me to dive for the next station preset all too frequently. Leading my hate list were Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Not By Choice and All-American Rejects. In the ensuing three years I was pleased to hear less and less of this slop, but "Dirty Little Secret" is precisely the kind of song I can't stand. It's W.E.A.K.

As shown in the recent Toronto radio ratings, Edge 102's bread and butter are males aged 18-34. Nobody in that demo likes "Dirty Little Secret". Trust me.

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Barfield's Gun

BaseballIn a game in which Julio Franco became the oldest player to hit a home run at the age of 47, Kazuo Matsui was accomplishing a different rare feat. His inside-the-park homer leading off the third made this the third straight year he's homered in his first at-bat of the season. Making the throw to the plate was young infielder Josh Barfield.

I heard the call of the Matsui homer on the radio and hearing that call reminded my of when our Blue Jays had the best outfield in the game. Josh's father, Jesse played right field, Lloyd Moseby played center and George Bell played in left. Jesse Barfield threw many a ball home, and rarely would the runner beat it. He had a cannon for an arm, the best gun in the game. In fact, I haven't seen a better throw home since. He could throw a strike from deep right field and he led American League outfielders in assists three times, a tough feat considering few would run on him.

It's too bad Josh played second base. It would be interesting to see if lightning strikes twice.

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Link: The Worst President in History?

LinkThe Worst President in History? - Here's an excerpt from this Rolling Stone cover story.

The president came to office calling himself "a uniter, not a divider" and promising to soften the acrimonious tone in Washington. He has had two enormous opportunities to fulfill those pledges: first, in the noisy aftermath of his controversial election in 2000, and, even more, after the attacks of September 11th, when the nation pulled behind him as it has supported no other president in living memory. Yet under both sets of historically unprecedented circumstances, Bush has chosen to act in ways that have left the country less united and more divided, less conciliatory and more acrimonious -- much like James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Herbert Hoover before him. And, like those three predecessors, Bush has done so in the service of a rigid ideology that permits no deviation and refuses to adjust to changing realities. Buchanan failed the test of Southern secession, Johnson failed in the face of Reconstruction, and Hoover failed in the face of the Great Depression. Bush has failed to confront his own failures in both domestic and international affairs, above all in his ill-conceived responses to radical Islamic terrorism. Having confused steely resolve with what Ralph Waldo Emerson called "a foolish consistency . . . adored by little statesmen," Bush has become entangled in tragedies of his own making, compounding those visited upon the country by outside forces.

I'm not gonna say I told you so.

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Pat Quinn, June 1998 - April 2006

LeafsPat Quinn has been fired as head coach of our Toronto Maple Leafs. He went 300-222-52 with 26 shootout and overtime losses as Leafs coach, twice leading Toronto to the Eastern Conference final, losing to Buffalo in 1998-99 and Carolina 2001-02.

I sincerely believe every head coach has an expiration date. Eight years is more than enough. I've been calling for the axing of Quinn for a while, considering it a necessary step in gutting the pig.

It's time for Paul Maurice to step into the hot seat so the healing can begin. It's clear who won this power struggle.

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Our Hockey Pool Picks

HockeyLast night, we drafted our 2006 NHL playoff pool. There were lots of laughs, hot pizza and a wallop of good ol' hockey talk.

Everyone's teams can seen at http://www.torontomike.com/2006hockeypool.html where I'll be updating the scores each day. I went heavy on Stars.

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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.

Quick note of possible interest for you. I was watching CSI:NY tonight and Pearl Jam's "World Wide Suicide" was played over a scene of CSI's digging up the end zone in Giants Stadium.

      Mike H.

Very cool. Did they find Jimmy Hoffa?

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Dysfunction Junction, What's Your Function?

LeafsPart of the pain that comes with being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs is the overwhelming sense that MLSE is completely dysfunctional. There's a GM, a coach who was GM, a president, a chairman, board members, Bell Globemedia, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and more. It's a complete mess with no singular ruling presence to make the final call.

There's a story in the Star today about a power struggle taking place between John Ferguson and Pat Quinn. Quinn apparently has the support of Kenneth Thomson while Ferguson has the support of Larry Tanenbaum and Richard Peddie.

The sensible move, in my humble opinion, is to replace Quinn with Paul Maurice as soon as possible. Ferguson deserves at least one more year to let this all play out. Thomson, who seems to not only want Quinn to remain as head coach but possibly gain more power, has controlling interest in Bell Globemedia who might buy the 13 per cent owned by Tanenbaum.

With this kind of political strife ocurring upstairs, is it any wonder the on ice product is so mediocre? With the salary cap, it's a level playing field. Your best advantage is having the right GM and coach with well defined responsibilities and power for both. At MLSE, that's not gonna happen any time soon.

The life of a Leafs fan is a painful one indeed.

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A Sign of the Times

?Yesterday, while playing frisbee with a couple of people approximately eight years my junior, I made the following comment. "In the immortal words of Corey Hart, we must never surrender!"

Not only was this reference completely lost on them, but they had absolutely no idea who Corey Hart was. This was a real eye opener for me. Is there really a generation of adult people who haven't heard of Corey Hart? Do people in their early 20s avoid 80s Cancon like the plague? Wasn't "Never Surrender" our national anthem for a brief period of time in the mid-80s?

It's official. I'm getting old.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumScott Brazil was 50. He was an Emmy-winning producer-director whose television shows included "The Shield" and "Hill Street Blues."

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It's Not Too Late

HockeyA couple of poolies just dropped out, meaning we have a couple of spots to fill for tonight's 2006 NHL Playoff pool draft.

If you live in the GTA, it's not to late to join. Contact me and I'll give you the address of the place we're all meeting tonight at 6:30. Show up, throw down $20, pick ten hockey players and follow along at home.

It's not too late. You can get to Etobicoke by 6:30 and you know it.

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Maple Leafs 5, Penguins 3

LeafsWell folks, this here is our last Leafs recap for the season. Mats Sundin continued his late season excellence with another four points giving him 78 points for the season, his highest total since 2002. Don't forget, the dude missed a dozen games with that eye injury he suffered in game #1.

Jeremy Williams deserves mention for scoring his first NHL goal last night and Darcy Tucker added his 28th of the season, a career high. It was a good game in a not-so-good season. Next year I'd better be writing about our first round match up.

Tonight we draft our playoff pool. I'll be working on my strategy this afternoon. I always avoided drafting players that faced us in the first round for fear I'd be happy when we were scored upon. This year, the only thing I fear, is fear itself.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
42-33-8
90 points
4th in Northeast
5-3 Win vs. Pittsburgh
6-0 Loss vs. Buffalo
5-1 Win vs. Ottawa
M. Sundin - 78
B. McCabe - 68
T. Kaberle - 67

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100 Wedding Songs

WeddingI mentioned I was putting together a wedding playlist for my brother's wedding next month. I wanted 100 songs that were decent, wouldn't offend and had an appropriate theme for such an occasion. This wasn't as easy as it sounds, and to make things a little trickier, I capped the number of songs per artist at two.

Here's my initial stab at it. I've got a bit of time to perfect this before I cut the disc. If there's a song on this list you passionately disagree with, let me know in the comments. Conversely, if there's a song missing that you believe absolutely has to be there, chime in.

Without further ado, here are the Wedding 100, sorted alphabetically by artist.

  1. 311 - Love Song
  2. 54-40 - Nice to Luv You
  3. Al Green - Let's Get Married
  4. Alice Cooper - Be My Lover
  5. Alice in Chains - No Excuses
  6. Arcade Fire - Crown of Love
  7. Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance
  8. Audioslave - Show Me How To Live
  9. B-52s - Love Shack
  10. Barenaked Ladies - Be My Yoko Ono
  11. Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts - Something to Live For
  12. Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
  13. The Beatles - In My Life
  14. The Beatles - All You Need Is Love
  15. Ben E. King - Stand By Me
  16. Bif Naked - Lucky
  17. Bill Withers - Lean on Me
  18. Billy Idol - White Wedding
  19. Bloc Party - Banquet
  20. Blue Rodeo - Try
  21. Blue Rodeo - Lost Together
  22. Bob Segar & The Silver Bullet Band - Night Moves
  23. Bruce Cockburn - Lovers In A Dangerous Time
  24. Bush - Comedown
  25. The Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be
  26. City and Colour - Save Your Scissors
  27. The Clash - Lover's Rock
  28. Collective Soul - Shine
  29. Crowded House - Something So Strong
  30. Custom - Beautiful
  31. Damien Rice - The Blower's Daughter
  32. David Gray - This Year's Love
  33. The Dears - Lost in the Plot
  34. Death Cab For Cutie - Soul Meets Body
  35. Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough
  36. Dido - Thank You
  37. Elton John - Tiny Dancer
  38. Fatboy Slim - Praise You
  39. Feist - Mushaboom
  40. The Flys - Got You (Where I Want You)
  41. Foo Fighters - Walking After You (X-Files Version)
  42. Frank Sinatra - Love and Marriage
  43. Goo Goo Dolls - Iris
  44. Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
  45. Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
  46. Harry Connick Jr. - We Are In Love
  47. INXS - Never Tear Us Apart
  48. Jack Johnson - Better Together
  49. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
  50. Jive Bunny - Lover's Mix
  51. Johnny Cash - Bridge Over Troubled Water
  52. Keane - Somewhere Only We Know
  53. Kenny Rogers - She Believes In Me
  54. The La's - There She Goes
  55. Lenny Kravitz - Let Love Rule
  56. Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World
  57. Lou Reed - Perfect Day
  58. Moist - Breathe
  59. Neil Young - Love is a Rose
  60. Neil Young - Act of Love
  61. New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
  62. Nirvana - About A Girl
  63. Oasis - Let There Be Love
  64. Odds - Love Is The Subject
  65. Pearl Jam - State of Love and Trust
  66. Pearl Jam - Throw Your Arms Around Me
  67. The Pretenders - I'll Stand By You
  68. Queen - Somebody to Love
  69. Radiohead - A Punchup at a Wedding
  70. Radiohead - True Love Waits
  71. Ray Charles - You Are My Sunshine
  72. R.E.M. - The One I Love
  73. Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody
  74. Sarah Harmer - Open Window (The Wedding Song)
  75. Sarah McLachlan - Hold On
  76. Sinaid O'Connor - Nothing Compares To You
  77. Skydiggers - I Will Give You Everything
  78. Smashing Pumpkins - Today
  79. Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
  80. Sonic Youth - Superstar
  81. Stars - What the Snowman Learned About Love
  82. Stars - Ageless Beauty (The Most Serene Republic Remix)
  83. Stone Roses - Love Spreads
  84. Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song
  85. Switchfoot - Meant To Live
  86. Tears For Fears - Sowing The Seeds Of Love
  87. Three Dog Night - Joy To The World
  88. The Tragically Hip - Long Time Running
  89. Travis - Sing
  90. Treble Charger - Red
  91. The Turtles - Happy Together
  92. U2 - One
  93. U2 - All I Want Is You
  94. Van Morrison - Have I Told You Lately
  95. Van Morrison - Into The Mystic
  96. The Verve - Lucky Man
  97. The Watchmen - All Uncovered
  98. Weezer - Perfect Situation
  99. The White Stripes - Fell in Love With A Girl
  100. Willie Nelson - Always On My Mind

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The Beach vs. The Beaches

CN TowerAfter weeks of voting, 2,200 residents have chosen to adopt the name The Beach over The Beaches. The final score was 58% to 42% in favour of the singular title.

Personally, I don't have a preference. I've always known it as The Beaches but I can easily adapt. Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it I can't say. People just liked it better that way.

Truth be known, I rarely visit the east-end lakeshore neighbourhood. I've written about my west Toronto bias before. If I can do it west of Yonge, I won't do it east of Yonge.

WoY rulez.

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Songs For A Wedding

MusicLate next month, my little brother Stephen is getting married. I have been given the most important role in any celebration. I'm in charge of the music.

I am responsible for putting together a wedding playlist that will not offend those with more MOR tastes but retains a certain element of coolness. It's gotta be smooth with an edge, a delicate balance for sure, but a challenge I'm totally up for.

As I assumble this mega-MP3-mix, I'll post my selections here. Some songs are obvious, The Hip's "Long Time Running" and Pearl Jam's cover of "Throw Your Arms Around Me" spring to mind, but I'm going for 100 tunes. My wedding 100 is coming soon. Feel free to throw suggestings in the comments.

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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.

The Leafs have fallen - but this time of year they should be blooming as in the past years. Changes have to be made -so long Belfour, Domi, Allison, Berg, Khavanov. Hello White, Harrison, Aubin. There's no excuse for the Hockey capital of the WORLD & their team not even making the playoffs. The laughing stock of the league - Vancouver a close 2nd.

With the salary cap - Fergie didn't use his head as he used his heart paying older players too much with little coin to go around for the balance of the team. Quinn only had the personnel he was given - totally not his fault, but partial to blame going too long with EDDIE & his other favourites.

We need a GM who knows how to manipulate & get the best for the least. Where are you Scotty Bowman - 1 last chance. Go for it.

      dwr

It will be strange not having good ol' Aki Berg around to blame. When blame needed to be assigned, he always came in handy. I agree we're a laughing stock, but I disagree with our #1 ranking. We're definitely #2, firmly behind the Canucks who were supposedly a threat to win it all. We're majorly disappointed, but their fans must be devastated.

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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. One - U2
  2. Don't Go Off Wandering - Limp Bizkit
  3. Commotion - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. Faith Collapsing - Ministry
  5. The Thanksgiving Song - Adam Sandler
  6. Journey On - Dream Warriors
  7. One Big Crunch - White Zombie
  8. Say It Ain't So - Weezer
  9. Stellar - Incubus
  10. Lullaby - Hayden

King Lou and Capital Q were (are?) the Dream Warriors, a hip-hop duo from the Jane & Finch area of Toronto. I picked up And Now, the Legacy Begins upon hearing thier breakout lead single, "Wash Your Face In My Sink". Other hits followed, most notably "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style".

And Now, the Legacy Begins was fresh and fun, but that was the last I heard of these guy. I remember they signed Tom Green's hip hop band Organized Rhyme back in the day and made a cameo appearance in their "Check the O.R." video filmed at the Food City at Jane & Finch.

They were good, but where did they go?

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Replying to The Grinch

emailI received the following message from the grinch moments ago. The grinch is in Texas but I don't know what email addy he's checking so I'm replying to him here..

hey mike just checking in but could not remember the site where I can get to yahoo im. hope all is well in toronto. Way too hot here 97 degrees. and same tomorrow when I leave. see ya on Wednesday

The site you're looking for is Meebo.com. I taped "The Sopranos" for ya.

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A Boon on the Montreal Crystals?

emailI received the following message via my contact form earlier today. There was no reply-to address, so I'm replying here.

Hi Mike. I am researching the 1890's hockey Cups and had to ask since I see your interest in hockey. I have 3 Boon's that played for the Montreal Crystals between 1893 and 1896.

G. Boon, H. Boon, and S. Boon and none of them are Hall of Famer Dickie Boon. There may be only 2 and one was a misprint but I know there were at least 2. Would any of these be your ancestor?

As far as I know, they weren't my ancestors. I suspect they're not related to me because no Boon would ever suit up for Montreal.

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SLS Submission: Lonely Day

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Lonely Day" from System of a Down.

I love the band and it's a nice enough song, but I submit it for SLS15 under protest. Too much Daron and not enough Serj!

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The Winter of Discontent

RewindIn hindsight, the Leafs finished exactly where they deserved to finish. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. What about foresight? Did I have the foresight to see the writing on the wall last summer? I wrote the following entry last August, just prior to the signing of Eric Lindros.

The Summer Of Discontent

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

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

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

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

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

Seeing it coming doesn't mean it hurts any less on impact.

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Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 6

LeafsYesterday I wrote that the Leafs were finished with Mikael Tellqvist. Confidence in the back up was lost, confidence in Jean-Sebastien Aubin has soared and it's highly unlikely the Leafs will head into next season with both Tellqvist and Aubin.

Tellqvist got his first start in ten games yesterday and allowed six goals on 40 shots. He's 10-11-2 on the season with a 3.13 GAA and .895 save %. Those numbers are pretty darn similar to Ed Belfours who is 22-22-4 with a 3.29 GGA and .892 save %. Aubin, on the other hand, is 8-0-2 with a 2.14 GGA and .926 save %. Farewell Telly, you've played your last game as a Leaf.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
41-33-8
88 points
4th in Northeast
6-0 Loss vs. Buffalo
5-1 Win vs. Ottawa
4-3 Win vs. New York Islanders
M. Sundin - 74
B. McCabe - 68
T. Kaberle - 66

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Link: LINUX Guide for newbies

LinkLINUX Guide for newbies - This guy put together a neat little guide for those making the jump from Windows to Linux. I've been running Fedora Core 5 in a virtual machine with the intention of blowing Windows XP out of the water for good. If one more family member calls me because their PC is choking on viruses, spyware or XP's excessive weight, I'm dropping by with an FC5 disc in hand. I will never purchase a Microsoft license again, so help me God.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted eight new pictures in Pictures. A couple are from today, a few are from yesterday, a couple are from Friday and one is of Michelle donning some Custom gear.

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Happy Easter

Happy EasterIt's been a great Easter morning in our household and I hope it's the same in yours. James and Michelle thoroughly enjoyed hunting for Easter eggs and here's the photographic evidence.

Happy Easter!

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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.

The Leafs

The boys tried. No loses in their last 10. Too bad we couldn't have started this trend a week earlier.

Guess I'll just have to cheer for the Flames!

      Tim

True, no regulation losses in our past ten games. When all hope seemed lost after back-to-back losses in Montreal we were blessed with ten enjoyable games. That's nice, but the reality is we didn't get to see a Leafs playoff game last year and we won't get to see one this year. That blows chunks.

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Maple Leafs 5, Senators 1

LeafsOn the bright side, we beat the Sens for the first time all season. Following the game, CBC showed the Tampa Bay-Carolina game, which went to overtime. When Martin St. Louis scored with 10.7 seconds left, the Leafs were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time in eight years.

It's important we don't allow this late season excellence to cloud our judgement as we look back at this failed campaign. The fact of the matter is, we played so poorly in the second half of the season that even securing eighteen of our last twenty possible points isn't good enough to put us in the top eight of fifteen teams in the East. Actually, it wasn't enough to put us in the top nine. It was a sweet finish, but the season as a whole was extremely disapointing and great changes are necessary to ensure we're in the dance again next year.

I believe Mikael Tellqvist is finished as a Leaf. I believe we'll bring in a potential number one goaltender to fight Aubin for the job. I believe we'll re-sign Bryan McCabe, bring in another proven defender and go with at least two youngsters as regulars on the blue line next season. I believe we'll bring in a few new forwards, at least two of which are proven players who will nicely complement Mats Sundin. Patrik Elias, are you reading this? Pat Quinn will not be fired, but will be relieved of his head coaching duties in favour of Paul Maurice. Ferguson, Jr. will be given one more year. At the very least, he's improved the scouting and drafting, something we've sucked at for far too long.

I have one final prediction. I believe this rebuilding process will be swift and we'll be an elite team again in a few years. In fact, I believe we'll win the Stanley Cup in 2010 with young phenom Justin Pogge between the pipes. 2010: The year we make contact.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
41-32-8
88 points
4th in Northeast
5-1 Win vs. Ottawa
4-3 Win vs. New York Islanders
6-5 Win vs. Florida
M. Sundin - 74
B. McCabe - 68
T. Kaberle - 66

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"'Twas Easter Sunday. The full-blossomed trees filled all the air with fragrance and with joy."
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Frustrated, Incorporated

AngerThis is frustrating. The Leafs are blowing out the Sens, a team we haven't been able to beat all season. It's 5-0 and we're smoking them after two. This is our tenth game since we lost in Montreal and we'll be collecting our eighteenth point over that span.

It's frustrating because our last ten games have been such a treat to watch. We've played thrilling hockey, beating the crap out of many teams higher in the standing. We've had great goaltending, good defense and tremendous offence. It's been wonderful, but it will most likely all be for naught, which is why I'm so frustrated. Why did we have to suck so bad in January? We did we have to dig ourselves into such an insurmountable hole? Why did Quinn keep going to Belfour when he so clearly didn't have it? Why did McCabe have to get hurt? Why couldn't we have discovered Aubin earlier in the season?

With Carolina losing to Tampa Bay right now, the odds are still stacked heavily against us. It's been a fantastic run here, but it's still just one enormous tease.

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Mike Kic Reports from Guatemala

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

It's been a while. Well, we have completed another country on our Central American tour, tomorrow we dip into Belize. I have quite enjoyed our little stay in Guatemala, actually I really like the Mayan Ruins in Tikal the best. The Mayan people were quite an incredible people and now Mr. Gibson will tell you all about them.

http://apocalypto.movies.go.com/

We are looking forward to Belize, because it's like little Jamaica. After that we will hit Mexico before coming home, the tour is almost up... I better stop waisting my time on you Boon!

Later.

      Mike Kic

Cool Kic, here's your update. The Leafs are up 1-0 on Ottawa but Tampa Bay is leading Carolina by that same score. Unfortunately, Atlanta has already won today. Our chance of making the playoffs is currently steady at 12.342%.

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Taryn's Secret Shame

FamilySince we started hauling out the Scrabble board again, Taryn and I have competed in six epic battles.

I'm 6-0. It's killing her.

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The Kortright Centre

OntarioMother Nature came through today with a gorgeous day so we spent it at The Kortright Centre, a conservation park in in Woodbridge, Ontario.

It's only minutes from the city, but while you're hiking the trails you feel as though you're away from it all. Everyone had a blast and I've got the Flickr photoset to prove it. The Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival was wrapping up and there were syrup making demonstrations and activities galore. There was also a wagon ride, picnic, frog and turtle sightings and enough fresh air to successfully knock all four of us into submission.

Oh yeah, and don't forget to conserve.... to the extreme!

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Fever Pitch

A Movie ReelFever Pitch: 5 out of 10.

It might shock you to know I'm not a Drew Barrymore fan. Something about her has always rubbed me the wrong way and I quietly root for her failure. "Fever Pitch" earns a passing grade not because I bought into her and Jimmy Fallon but because I bought into Jimmy Fallon's love affair with the Boston Red Sox.

I totally envied his life. He had season's tickets at Fenway Park where he worshipped his team. He attends the exhibition games in Florida, has every piece of memorabilia imaginable in his apartment and gets to see a lifetime of disappointent evaporate in front of his eyes when his team breaks the curse and wins it all.

I wanna be Jimmy Fallon. I want my team to end a lifetime of disappointment and deliver to me Lord Stanley's Cup. I want what he got.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"If something goes wrong at the plant, blame the guy who can't speak English."

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayLog Driver's Waltz - Wow, does watching this bring back memories. This song used to bounce around in my head as a kid. Purely beautiful Canadian nostalgia makes me smile.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveThe top grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation

  1. Gone With The Wind
  2. Star Wars
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
  5. The Ten Commandments

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Cash Machine" from the Hard-Fi.

When I first heard this tune I thought it sounded like the Stereo MC's. I liked it though, and when I heard it on the radio the other morning I found myself groovin' to it. I think there's room on SLS15 for a little Hard-Fi.

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Farewell, Nemo

BereavementNemo died April 13, 2006.

Arriving February 25, 2006, Nemo was only in our lives for a short time, but he touched each and every one of us. Named for the subject of the recent Pixar film "Finding Nemo", his enthusiastic spirit and love for aquatics was an inspiration to us all.

Nemo is survived by his tank-mate Goldie, who has pledged to bravely swim forward while never forgetting his brief but powerful friendship with Nemo.

James, proud owner of both Nemo and Goldie, said goodbye to his first pet in a lovely toilet flushing ceremony last night. He misses his friend, but understands he's in a better place like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker before him.

Farewell, Nemo. You will be missed.

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Don't Forget Your Email Addy

HockeyYesterday I announced the date of our annual hockey pool draft and invited interested participants to contact me. I got a message via my contact form at 23:27 last night, but there was no contact info included. If that's you, or you're another GTA guy or gal who wants to draft with a bunch of us harmless, sweet guys, contact me but make sure I have an email address to reply to.

See ya April 19th.

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Maple Leafs 4, Islanders 3

LeafsWow, that was another thriller as we continue to live this glorious pipe dream. When Matt Stajan scored that goal with 1:08 left in overtime you should have heard the scream I let out. Hell, you probably did.

Although I usually defend Mats Sundin when people talk about cutting him loose, every once in a while I questioned his leadership. Scrap that crap, the dude's a stud and we're way lucky to have him. And Jean-Sebastien Aubin, where have you been all my life? Nine games and not a single regular season loss... If we somehow slip into the playoffs, this guy will be immortalized and worshipped as a god in this city for all of eternity.

Let's take a look at the cold, hard facts, shall we? Our hopes and dreams rely on the games involving the Tampa Bay Lightning, Atlanta Thrashers and our Toronto Maple Leafs. With three games to play, Tampa Bay holds down the last playoff spot with 89 points, Atlanta is next with 87 and we have 86. Tampa Bay is in Carolina tonight and I'll be rooting hard for the Hurricanes. Carolina is only two points behind the Sens for first in the conference, so they have something to play for. Go Canes Go!

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
40-32-8
86 points
4th in Northeast
4-3 Win vs. New York Islanders
6-5 Win vs. Florida
5-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
M. Sundin - 72
B. McCabe - 67
T. Kaberle - 63

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayGoogle Calendar - I've been playing with this new feature from Google all day. I'm dropping Sunbird and switching to this one. It's very easy to maintain, full of Googly Ajax-ness and standards compliant. If you're currently using Outlook, Yahoo! or another calendar app, learn how to import your data into Google.

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Mark April 19th On Your Calendars

HockeyWe'll all get together the evening of April 19th to draft our official 2006 NHL playoff pool teams. The top secret location will be revealed to those attending via email.

Spots are open, so if you're interested in participating and can attend a draft in Toronto's west end, please let me know asap. The fee is nominal, names are drawn from a hat and we go up and down the ladder each drafting one player at a time until we all have ten. No player can be drafted twice. At the end of the season, the person with the highest number of combined points wins large. In some special circumstances, we will allow drafting via YIM, MSN or GTalk instant messenger.

If you're interested in reading more about annual playoff pool tradition, visit http://www.torontomike.com/playoff_pool/. Judging from the early 1-0 lead for the Leafs, there may in fact be a homer bias at play, ripe for exploitation. See you next Wednesday!

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Mario Deserves A Star

NintendoWinnie the Pooh just got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It's pretty rare that they honour fictional characters in this manner. Check out all these names and count the number of non-humans. There are ten: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Bugs Bunny, Godzilla, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, The Simpsons, and The Rugrats.

There is a petition to get Mario his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. No, not that guy from "Saved By The Bell", I'm talking about the guy we first met in Donkey Kong before he and Luigi stole our hearts in Super Mario Bros. I support this initiative. I believe Mario deserves such recognition. Why should the Pooh get all the glory?

It's time Mario had his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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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 just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Mystified, Heavy" from Sammy Roberts.

Who else is really diggin this CD? I think this is a very strong follow up to the band's first offering. This tune will have you humming along and tappin your tootsies.! It's "as delicate as a dragonfly's wings." Enjoy

      Coach Carter

I haven't heard the new disc yet, except for "The Gate" which is currently #1 on the Thursday 30. You'll notice I never submitted "The Gate" for SLS15 consideration...

I like Sam Roberts though. It's funny, but before he blew up large I saw him open for The Tragically Hip twice. His performance at the Hummingbird Centre was great and that's when I became a fan. I'm hoping the new Sam Roberts is as goos as We Were Born in a Flame.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayDana Porter all lit up for Exams - During exams at the University of Waterloo, students pulled a neat prank at the Dana Porter Library.

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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.

Kathleen Edwards - Hockey Skates
This is a sweet little song from Kathleen Edwards that I pulled from the "Men With Brooms" soundtrack. I'm sharing this song because they're doing it again. Bastards.

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Toronto S1 2006 Radio Ratings

RadioBBM Canada has released its Top-Line Radio Statistics for January 9 - March 5, 2006. Here's the order of finish for Toronto stations, also known as the 5199ers.

  1. 98.1 CHFI-FM
  2. 104.5 CHUM-FM
  3. News Talk 1010 CFRB
  4. CBC Radio One
  5. 97.3 EZ Rock
  6. Q107
  7. 680 News
  8. Classical 96.3 FM
  9. Z103.5
  10. 102.1 The Edge
  11. AM740/Prime Radio
  12. Mix 99.9
  13. Flow 93.5
  14. CBC Radio Two
  15. 92.5 Jack-FM
  16. The FAN590
  17. Jazz FM 91
  18. AM 640 Toronto
  19. Country 95.3
  20. Foxy 88.5
  21. 1050 CHUM

Fellow fans of CFNY Edge102 shouldn't fret. They remained number one with dudes aged 18-34.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJune Pointer was 52. She was the youngest of the singing Pointer Sisters known for the 1970s and 1980s hits "I'm So Excited," "Fire," and "Slow Hand."

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There's Nothing New Under The Sun

slsSomeone who goes by the name freiherrin wrote an interesting piece about plagiarism in the Sour Talk forum. He/she stumbled upon the SLS page for Neverending White Light's "The Grace" and caught Carter and I discussing the songs "The Grace" reminded us of. In response, freiherrin went off about the fact there's nothing new under the sun and it's all been done. It was a pretty interesting rant and here's an excerpt.

Music has been a part of mankind's existence from the beginning and whilst it is marvellously plastic in its tonality, composition, instrumentation, the fact remains that at a certain point one cannot help but imitate, apporximate or copy - unconsciously or otherwise - from those who have gone before, and the music they created.

In fact, music is taught, much as painting is, by imitation and permutation and improvisation. In order to create, one must know not only what has gone before but also how music is structured. One learns that by practical experience.

When I hear a new song, I always hear echoes of songs I've heard before. Often I'll write about songs that sound alike, daring to compare "Pieces" and "The Scientist" or "Walk Idiot Walk" and "I Can't Explain." It's a sport of sorts. Name that tune!

As the great freiherrin says, "Music is another language. It has grammar and syntax and rules and a body of common knowledge about how notes can be put together. Eventually someone will copy a song that has gone before, even if he has had no conscious knowledge of the song imitated."

Amen.

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Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 5

LeafsIt's still too little, too late, but Mats Sundin is on fire. Last night, he had four goals and two assists. I don't remember ever seeing him play better than he played last night.

Tampa Bay lost, and with three games remaining they have 89 points. We've got four to play and 84 points. If Tampa Bay loses their home-at-home with Carolina and their regular season finale against Washington, we only need to win three of our last four games. Even if Tampa Bay goes 1-2 in their last three we can make the playoffs by going 4-0 down the stretch. Of course, Atlanta will have to stumble as well, and they have a nice and easy sked. Still, stranger things have happened.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
39-32-8
84 points
4th in Northeast
6-5 Win vs. Florida
5-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
3-2 Loss vs. Boston
M. Sundin - 71
B. McCabe - 67
T. Kaberle - 62

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 15 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
  • The Little Willies - The Little Willies
  • Bob & Doug McKenzie - Great White North
  • Tori Amos - Under The Pink
  • The Beatles - 1962 - 1966 (Discs 1 & 2)
  • The Beatles - 1967-1970 (Discs 1 & 2)
  • OST - Akeelah and the Bee
  • OST - Footloose
  • OST - Dirty Dancing
  • OST - Cocktail
  • Beach Boys - Endless Summer
  • Harry Connick, Jr. - When Harry Met Sally...
  • Il Divo - Ancora

That's 1182 complete albums, 17,773 songs and 47.2 days of tunage. Check it out.

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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.

Your link of the day - I didn't see any FEMALE'S getting walked intentionally. There were a lot of wussies on those teams & they didn't walk. WHY?

      Anonymous

Very funny.

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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 CANNOT beleive what I just read. Females walking after a Male's hit. That rule sucks. Some females are better than male players (much as I disagree) but SOME are.

That is not ball, be it baseball of softball. You agree with letting females walk intentionally after a male hits -what is the reason to have a strong male come up & knock them all home? A FIXED LEAGUE with CRAP rules. Do your male players have gloves in the field or just the females?

Do the batters hit off TEES? Probably. I cannot beleive you agree with this rule. If I was any female I would not play in YOUR league. It's for WIMPS (YOU included - Mike).

DUBYA must make the rules for your league (with your input) - total BULL$%!+.

Have fun this year. Is Madonna your coach? Probably not as she is female & would get to 1st base everytime.

      dale

Methinks you're misunderstanding the rule and the reason for the rule. The female can choose to walk or hit only if the batter immediately before her was male and walked. Thanks to the wonders of the Interweb, you can read the official RSPA Slo-Pitch rules. The rule in question is 5-13.

I wouldn't say I agree with the rule, I just understand why it's there. The official slo-pitch rules followed by the Slo-Pitch National has a rule I far prefer and suggested to the RSPA commissioner. They give the male second base and force the female to hit.

This discussion has struck a nerve, so please leave your comments on this original entry. And please, don't call me a wimp. It's not nice.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the Day1986 World Series Game Six Re-enacted in RBI Baseball - This is my favourite link in quite some time. It's a classic ball game recreated in an old favourite. Sweet.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDeshaun "Proof" Holton was 32. He was a member of rap group D12 and a close friend of Eminem.

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The Great Female Walk Debate

BaseballIn our slo-pitch league, there is a rule regarding female batters which has caused quite a bit of controversy. The rule is applied when a female batter bats after a male batter is walked. The female batter in this instance would have to choose between batting and taking an automatic walk.

I've always believed our female batters should take the walk if it's offerred to them. Swinging away gives you a 30% chance of reaching first but taking the walk gives you a 100% chance of reaching first. To me, it's a no brainer. Take the base, advance the guy ahead of you and help your team accumulate runs. That's the objective, right?

An unnamed member of Raging Storm, my slo-pitch team in this league, took the offer of a walk as a slight against her gender. Game after game I'd watch the opposition take the walk each and every time, yet when I encouraged our women to do the same, an unnamed teammate would snarl at me and accuse me of being a he-man woman hater. This became such a sticky subject that a league-wide vote was recently cast to determine whether the rule should be scrapped. The results showed the majority wanted to keep the rule so we'll have it again this season. Personally, I think it's a necessary evil. In a big game, who would pitch to a larger, stronger male batter when they can walk him and look for a double-play grounder from the female batting next?

If you're wondering what my unnamed teammate thought of the vote results, it doesn't matter. She quit the team this winter. She's gone, but the great female walk debate will most likely continue.

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A Busted Move

MusicI thought I could trust Young MC. Marvin Young, who went by the name Young MC, had a monster hit in 1989 with "Bust a Move". Don't even pretend you didn't like it. Everyone, including yours truly, enjoyed "Bust a Move".

Like many others, I memorized the lyrics to "Bust a Move". It wasn't difficult, in fact, the memorization of the lyrics wasn't even intentional. "Your best friend Harry / has a brother Larry / in five days from now he's gonna marry / he's hopin' you can make it there if you can / 'cause in the ceremony you'll be the best man." See? It's tough not to remember lyrics like that.

Enjoying this read earlier today, I realized that although I had heard "Bust a Move" hundreds of times, I had never really listened. Had I stopped grooving for a moment and actually focused, I would have realized that Young MC was full of shit. If Larry is Harry's brother, why the hell is Larry making Young MC the best man? The truth is, he's probably not. It's more likely that Larry would be Harry's best man. Furthermore, why would Larry only mention this fact five days before the wedding? Something here stinks.

I'm not upset with Young MC, I pity him. His lies are obviously a shallow attempt to inflate his fragile ego. He's not the best man and that's okay. I just wish he didn't lie to us through song. I hate when that happens.

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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. Lisa Likes Rock N' Roll - Ian Hunter
  2. Rat Trap - Bob Geldof & The Boomtown Rats
  3. Daughter - Pearl Jam
  4. Astronomy - Metallica
  5. Don't Start Me To Talkin' - Sonny Boy Williamson
  6. The Update - Beastie Boys
  7. It's Summertime - The Flaming Lips
  8. The Righteous & The Wicked - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  9. D-7 - Nirvana
  10. The New Maybe - The Tragically Hip

We just passed the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death and the anniversary of the day we all learned about it. I had a couple of emails asking me why I hadn't acknowledged the day with a Nirvana-themed entry. There was the ten year anniversary entry in 2004 and the eleven year anniversary entry last year.

Truth be told, I didn't feel inspired to match what I wrote two years ago. Instead, I marked the day with a single lined entry on the SLS page for "You Know You're Right". I managed to sum everything up in three little words: "It still sucks."

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The GTA I Never Knew

JusticeThis Shedden, Ontario massacre is getting more and more interesting. From the discovery of the bodies on Saturday morning until now I've learned a great deal about our city I didn't know. The biggest news to me is the fact tow truck drivers dominate the retail end of the coke trade on behalf of the biker gangs. Whoa, that's pretty heavy. Are these guys working alongside our coppers during the day and distributing snow for biker gangs during the night?

First we had Tocchet-gate with ties to the mob and now we have this, the biggest mass murder in Ontario history. Apparently, everybody except me knows about the Bandidos and Hells Angels and their Ontario turf war. Does everybody know about the tow truck drivers and their drug runs too? Is Wayne (note that name) Kellestine a household name in other homes? I'm in the dark here!

Don't alert Hollywood, we'll keep this story for ourselves.

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The Longest Yard

A Movie ReelThe Longest Yard: 2.5 out of 10.

This remake was so horribly boring and uninspired I could not finish it. What a waste of time.

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"I guess there is nothing that will get your mind off everything like golf. I have never been depressed enough to take up the game, but they say you get so sore at yourself you forget to hate your enemies."
      - Will Rogers

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Dead Flowers" from the The Miniatures.

Sometimes a song will grow on me, and other times I'll instantly like it. I immediately really liked "Dead Flowers" from The Minatures.

I had to Google these guys to learn who they were, and lo and behold they're practically local. The six-piece band is from Kitchener, Ontario. Bonus points!

Yes, there's a David Bowie / Elvis Costello feel to the tune, but it's tres cool. This tune will make SLS15.

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Number Six With A Bullet

CanadaBy now you've heard about the eight men found dead yesterday inside four vehicles left on a tract of farmland about 30 kilometres southwest of London near St. Thomas. The OPP are tight lipped, but I've seen enough episodes of "The Sopraonos" to smell a gang hit. We're probably not talking about the mob here, several motorcycle clubs have been known to populate the area including the Loners, the Bandidos and the Hells Angels.

Eight men out puts the deadly event at number six in Canada's worst single mass-murder countdown. Here are the top ten, courtesy of The Star.

  1. Fourteen women were killed by anti-feminist Marc Lepine at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique engineering school in December 1989. Lepine wounded another nine women and four men and fatally shot himself.
  2. Thirteen people died after being herded into a storage room in Montreal's Gargantua nightclub in 1975. Some were shot, but most suffocated when the building was set on fire in what was believed to be an underworld contract hit.
  3. Nine people gunned down by Mark Chahal, a spurned son-in-law in Vernon, B.C., who killed his estranged wife, her bride-to-be-sister and seven other relatives before killing himself in April 1996.
  4. Nine people slain in 1967 in Shell Lake, Sask., by Robert Hoffman, later sent to a mental institution.
  5. Nine miners killed by deliberately set blast in Yellowknife's Giant Mine in September 1992. Roger Warren, a striking miner, sentenced to life in prison for setting the bomb during a bitter strike-lockout.
  6. The bodies of eight men found yesterday in southwestern Ontario.
  7. Seven people, including six children, killed in 1965 by ex-Vancouver police constable Leonard Hogue, who then killed himself.
  8. Bodies of six campers found in burned-out car in Wells Gray Provincial Park north of Kamloops, B.C., in 1982. David Shearing of Clearwater, B.C., confesses.
  9. Bodies of four adults and a baby associated with the doomsday cult Order of the Solar Temple found in the burned-out remains of a chalet in Morin Heights, Que., in 1994. The couple believed responsible fled to Switzerland where they were among 53 cultists who were killed or committed suicide.
  10. Five people found dead on a farm in Abbotsford, B.C., in September 1996. Police believed the killings were related to the drug trade.

There's a 10:00 news conference today. Hopefully the OPP will shed a little more light on this dark discover then.

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Maple Leafs 5, Flyers 2

LeafsThe Leafs wined and dined on the power play last night going 5-for-8 with the man advantage. Believe it or not, the Leafs had never before beaten the Flyers twice on the road in the same season until now. Jean-Sebastien Aubin remains unbeaten in regulation in seven starts.

Following the implosion in Montreal, we knew two things had to happen for us to sneak into the playoffs. We would have to win the vast majority of our remaining games and either Montreal, Tampa Bay or New Jersey would have to falter. In their past ten games, Montreal is 8-2-0, Tampa Bay is 7-2-1 and New Jersey is 7-2-1. Ouch.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
37-32-8
82 points
4th in Northeast
5-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
3-2 Loss vs. Boston
3-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
M. Sundin - 65
B. McCabe - 64
J. Allison - 60

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Gold Lion" from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

At first I wasn't sure I liked this highly anticipated first single from the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs disc, but I threw in on a playlist of new tunes and before ya knew it I was diggin' it.

It's not Maps, but it's a catchy little ditty that's worthy of some serious SLS15 consideration.

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My Firefox Extensions

FirefoxThere are many things I love about Firefox, but a big part of the allure are the many extensions I use daily to enrich my web experience. I can't imagine life without many of the sixteen extensions I currently have installed.

Here are my sweet sixteen:

  • DOM Inspector - Inspect the DOM of HTML, XUL, and XML pages
  • Adblock - Filters ads from web pages
  • Adblock Filterset.G Updater - Synchronizes Adblock with Filterset.G
  • Tabbrowser Preferences - Enhances control over some aspects of tabbed browsing
  • Download Statusbar - View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar
  • Web Developer - Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools
  • IE View - Open pages in IE via Firefox menus
  • Forecastfox - Get weather forecasts and display it in any toolbar or statusbar
  • LinkChecker - Check the validity of links on any webpage
  • Gmail Notifier - A notifier for Gmail accounts
  • PDF Download - Allows you to choose what you want to do with a PDF file
  • del.icio.us - Keep, share and discover all your favourite things
  • Copy Plain Text - Copies text without formatting
  • Wizz RSS News Reader - A handy RSS reader
  • Image Zoom - Adds zoom funcitonality for images
  • Google Toolbar for Firefox - Take the power of Google with you anywhere on the web

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The Hip's First Ever Television Special!

TTHThat's how PBS is billing "That Night In Toronto", airing Friday night at midnight. "That Night in Toronto", of course, was captured live at the November 2004 Air Canada Centre concert in Toronto by filmmakes Pierre and Francois Lamoureux, and I was there.

It was a great show and if you haven't seen the DVD that hit stores last year, you'll want to catch this PBS airing. Set your PVR, VCR or whatever the hell you kids are using to tape stuff off the boob tube.

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Statement To Morrissey

DocumentTo protest our seal murdering policies, Morrissey is taking a stand by refusing to take his tour to Canada. He's also asking all his fans to boycott Canadian goods. In his statement, he compares the act to the Nazi's construction of gas chambers and pins us alongside China as "the cruelest and most self-serving nation".

I'm not about to defend the clubbing of seals, I too am uncomfortable with the practice, but I am also uncomfortable with Morrissey's statment. On a global scale, Canada is, for the most part, a culturally diverse and peaceful nation, with equal rights for all. There's this less-than-ideal seal issue on the East coast that's being permitted because it provides jobs for local communities that desperately need them. Now, a rich rock star is refusing to play Canada and urging a boycott of all things Canadian. The Nazi and China comparisons are just over the top. If Morrissey will only play countries that are completely without questionable practices, it will be a very, very short tour.

Is the United States without sin? Is Turkey a utopian state? Do they not wear leather in England?

I've never liked Morrissey anyway, and his refusal to play a Toronto date on his tour doesn't effect me in the least, but his dramatic statement deserved a reply. We're not a nation without flaws, and whether this seal cull is economically and environmentally justified is debatable, but putting us alongside China as twin human/animal rights abusers in this big, bad world is a little more than I can stomach this morning.

I don't owe you anything.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"You know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like women. You just have to read the manual and press the right button."

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Why Kids Are So Damn Happy

FamilyHave you ever noticed how kids are always happy? They're forever running around with boundless energy and huge smiles on their faces, laughing and playing with reckless abandon. They're so damn happy because they're sufficiently unjaded enough to receive tremendous joy from the simplest of things.

Tonight I took the kids to Walmart to pick up some cheese, bread, yogurt and cereal. Cruising the aisles of this particular Walmart at this particular time was the Easter Bunny. As part of a Cadbury promotion, he was walking around looking for youngsters to meet and greet and distribute samples of his creme eggs. James saw him before I did, but I knew he was witnessing something grand by the look in his eye. He froze, dropped his jaw and stared in admiration. He was about to meet the Easter Bunny.

Watching James gingerly approach him was amazing. It was as if he was meeting Nelson Mandela or Muhammad Ali. He gave the big bunny a high five, took the egg he was offerred from his basket, and smiled. He was in disbelief and couldn't believe he got to meet the real Easter Bunny. He knew it was the real Easter Bunny because he couldn't see any shoes. Shoes, apparently, are a dead giveaway to four year olds.

When I got home, I realized something. Meeting the Easter Bunny made James awfully happy tonight, but there's no possible way he was any happier than I was witnessing his sheer delight. Perhaps we're not so jaded afterall. We just need to borrow the eyes of a four year old now and then.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite cable 10 shows of all time

  1. Ed's Night Party
  2. The Tom Green Show
  3. Buzz
  4. Let's Talk Sports
  5. Reel to Real

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Maple Leafs 2, Bruins 3

LeafsI was actually hoping we'd pull Jean-Sebastien Aubin in overtime and go for the win. Once it got to a shootout, I had little hope for victory. We're 3-7 in shootouts this year and we've yet to score a shootout goal on the road.

It's been a rough season, but there have been a couple of bright spots. Alexei Ponikarovsky is one. He scored his 21st goal last night.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
36-32-8
80 points
4th in Northeast
3-2 Loss vs. Boston
3-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
3-2 Loss vs. Buffalo
M. Sundin - 64
B. McCabe - 64
J. Allison - 60

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That Cheetah Ad Makes Me Cringe

Thumbs DownI'm sitting here hoping the Leafs can score in the final eight minutes to force overtime, when that Ben Johnson Cheetah ad comes on. This ad makes me cringe. I hate it so damn much, it makes my skin crawl and my blood boil. Yuck.

If you haven't seen it, it's former sprinter Ben Johnson admitting he "Cheetahs". Cheetah is some beverage I'll never buy that has a name that sounds like cheat. The absolute exploitation of poor ol' Ben is pathetic. I know the dude needs a pay cheque, but who would ever find this ad endearing or funny?

I'm one of those guys who believes every runner in that Olympic 100m final was doping. Ben got caught because morally superior Canada didn't ensure that didn't happen and hung him out to dry and Ben lacked the sufficient marbles to avoid his fate. Yes, his 9.79 was steroid assisted and yes, he suffered a tremendous fall from grace and dissapointed the entire country, but that doesn't mean we should stick him on tv, get him to say he Cheetah'd, point and laugh at the fool's expense.

I despise that damn ad.

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The Unseen Red Green Show

tvI have to confess something which very well may result is the loss of my Canadian citizenship. Despite the fact it's been on the air for fifteen years and is a bonafide cult Canadian success story, I have never watched an episode of "The Red Green Show".

It's not like I watched some of this show and it disagreed with me. I simply have never, ever seen it. I've read a great deal about the show, and everything I've read I've liked, yet it's somehow wrapping up an impressive fifteen year run and I missed every second of it.

What makes this fact all the more remarkable is that I fondly remember Steve Smith's Red Green from "Smith & Smith" and "Me and Max". I was quite the fan of both series and truly appreciated the good ol' dry Canadian humour. I bet I would have liked "The Red Green Show".

Thanks for fifteen great years Red. I'm sorry I missed them.

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April Songs

MusicIt's April, but you probably already knew that. Here's something you didn't know. There are four songs in my collection with the word "April" in the title.

  • April 29, 1992 - Sublime
  • April Fool - Soul Asylum
  • April in Paris - Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald
  • Pieces of April - Three Dog Night

Now ya know.

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Weekly MP3

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday (yes, I'm a day late). You have six 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.

Jive Bunny - Do You Wanna Rock
Does anyone remember the Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers album? It's was sort of a precursor to todays mash-ups. "Do You Wanna Rock" contains excerpts from "Do You Wanna Dance", "Do You Wanna Touch Me", "Get It On", "Teenage Rampage", "Hot Love", "Devil Gate Drive" and "I'm The Leader Of The Gang."

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Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 2

LeafsThe have to feel for Mikael Tellqvist. He's a solid backup all year to an underperforming Ed Belfour, Belfour finally bows out and Telly is annointed numero uno and our hopeful savoir then, there are two make-or-break games in Montreal to decide our fate. The rest, is history. Tellqvist hasn't seen the net since as Jean-Sebastien Aubin has started the past five games, earning nine points.

It's too late, of course. Perhaps if they'd extend the regular season by about ten games we'd have a shot, but being six points out with seven to play makes the chances of sneaking into the playoffs ultra slim.

Ultra slim, but not zilch...

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
36-32-7
79 points
4th in Northeast
3-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
3-2 Loss vs. Buffalo
7-0 Win vs. Buffalo
B. McCabe - 64
M. Sundin - 62
J. Allison - 60

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Poster of a Girl" from Metric.

My love for Emily Haines' voice is no secret. I frequently enjoy both Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? and Live It Out and it's all because of that voice. Yummy.

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The Masters

The MastersThis weekend is The Masters golf tournament from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Once again, I've entered a Masters pool.

I had to select three golfers and the objective is to have the lowest combined score. Every member of the threesome chosen have to make the cut or you're disqualified. Only one member of "the big five" is permitted. I selected Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald and David Toms. The Luke Donald pick was for my bro who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with the guy.

Visit The Masters Leader Board to follow the action beginning Thursday.

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It Won't Be The Same

JaysSo far, so good for our Blue Jays. The newbies came through and Roy Halladay pitched another gem as we beat the Twinkies 6-3 in front of 50,449 at the ballpark fomerly known as SkyDome.

All was perfect, but something was missing. For the first time in the history of the franchise, Tom Cheek was not in the booth to call a Jays opener. I tuned into the radio broadcast prior to the game to hear Jerry Howarth talk about his former partner and when I heard about Tom's wife Shirley making it to the booth but not being able to step inside, I almost lost it. Cheek called 4,306 consecutive regular-season games, plus 41 more in the postseason, and passed away last season. Here he is calling Joe Carter's World Series winning homer. Here are some other entries I've written about the man over the years.

It won't be the same without Tom Cheek calling Blue Jays baseball.

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PJ on SNL

PJPearl Jam will be the musical guests when Lindsay Lohan hosts "Saturday Night Live" on April 15. It's a rare television appearance for Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron.

Speaking of PJ, they'll be soon in town for a couple of Toronto gigs at the ACC. If all goes according to plan, I'll be at both shows. If I speak any further on the subject, I'll have to kill each and every one of you.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumGene Pitney was 65. He was a singer best known for his 1963 hit "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa."

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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.

Darcy tucker is a fucking pussy refering to the cheap hit he did on hecht. He can give a hit but he cant't fucking take a hit at least go after the person who hit u (with a clean hit) instead of going after the first person u see. he thinks he can go around doing with whatever he want because the nhl does no matter what he does he never gets in trouble for it.

      Luke

Let me guess, you're a Sabres fan. Sabres fans are the only ones in a huff about that hit. The reason Tucker didn't get disciplined for his actions is because it's a very pale shade of grey. Get over it.

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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 just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Dani Californian" from Red Hot Chili Peppers RHCP.

I can't ever remember being so excited for a single! to be released. Now if I can only make it to May 9th when the double album drops... if I don't first.

      Coach Carter

I like this spin, others writing guest blogs when they submit a tune for SLS consideration. I actually haven't heard "Dani Californian" yet, but I'm pretty sure it won't be long now. Although I miss the days of Mother's Milk, I still dig the RHCP.

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01-02-03-04-05-06

ClockVery early tomorrow morning, the time and date will be 01-02-03-04-05-06.

Now that's cool.

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Maple Leafs 2, Sabres 3

LeafsDamien Rhodes started his NHL career 6-0 for the Leafs. Jean-Sebastien Aubin will not match this feat, having lost his first game in four outings for the blue and white. I once attended a game in Ottawa at the Corel Centre and witnessed Rhodes record a shutout over the Devils and score a goal, but I digress.

Reality bites. I'd like to scratch my earlier statement from the record. We're done.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
35-32-7
77 points
4th in Northeast
3-2 Loss vs. Buffalo
7-0 Win vs. Buffalo
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
B. McCabe - 63
M. Sundin - 61
J. Allison - 60

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe Simpsons Movie Trailer - This is the teaser trailer you've read about. Ex-cel-lent.

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We're Not Done Yet

CalculatorI appreciate Jean-Sebastien Aubin's spirit, but I fear math is not his strong suit. Earlier today, our goaltender proclaimed to the press, "We're not done yet". He believes the Leafs can still make the playoffs.

The Leafs have nine games remaining, five at home and four on the road. The team currently holding down the final playoff spot is Tampa Bay who are seven points ahead of us. Of course, we're not the ninth place team, we're the eleventh place team, which means Atlanta and Florida sit between us and the Lightning.

For arguments sake, let's say we win seven of our final nine games. As ludicrous as that sounds, let's pretend for a moment. In this instance, we finish the season with a respectable 90 points. If Tampa Bay finishes off the season playing .500 hockey, which is below their winning percentage thus far this year, they finish with 91 points. Bear in mind, that's with the Leafs taking fourteen of a possible eighteen points.

Should Tampa Bay really go in the dumps and go 3-5 in their last eight games, they'll finish with 89 points and our fantasy 90 points would put us in, right? Well, sorta. We have to hope Atlanta slows down and doesn't earn more than twelve of their possible eighteen points.

I began this entry to point out how foolish Aubin's comments are, but I've gone and convinced myself we can do this. To be safe, we're going to have to win all nine of our remaining nine games to finish with 94 points. I believe 94 points will earn us a place in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Go Leafs Go!

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Welcome Goldie

FamilyI feel bad for Goldie. Nemo arrived with a great deal of fanfare back in February and when he was joined by Goldie a couple of weeks ago, it didn't even garner a casual mention.

Yes, there are now two fish swimming laps in James' tank. Goldie is a little smaller but he was also a little cheaper. Is his lower status in the goldfish pecking order to blame for my failure to acknowledge his arrival in the family? Probably.

Welcome, Goldie. I hope you and Nemo get along swimmingly.

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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. For No One - The Beatles
  2. Chinese Rock - The Ramones
  3. Hobo Blues - John Lee Hooker
  4. Be My Head - The Flaming Lips
  5. Ten Percenter - Frank Black
  6. Dammit, I Changed Again - The Offspring
  7. Got The Time - Anthrax
  8. Lucky Man - The Verve
  9. Sunshine - Keane
  10. Dear God - XTC

When you mention The Verve, everyone thinks of "Bittersweet Symphony". "Bittersweet Symphony" famously borrowed a loop from the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" and blew up into a monster hit. I love the tune too, but if I can only spin one song from Urban Hymns, I don't go for that one. I prefer "Lucky Man".

For one thing, it takes me back to lazy summers of part-time employment. More importantly, it's a very pretty ditty that soothes everything. "Bittersweet Sympohony" is good, but "Lucky Man" is even better. A gem from the hey days of Britpop.

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Toronto Tim Hortons Blast

Question MarkIn the battle of what we do know vs. what we don't, what we don't know has a solid lead right now. We do know that one person was killed when a device exploded this afternoon at a Tim Hortons on Yonge Street just north of Bloor. That's it for what we do know. We don't know who the victim was, whether he brought in the device, whether it was suicide or what the motive was. We also don't really know what the device was.

I'll be following this one closely. When you mess with our Tim's, you mess with all of us.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. Three are from today and one is from the St. Patrick's Day parade.

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Just The Facts Revisited

RewindA little over a year ago, I used iTunes to take note of some interesting facts about my MP3 collection. Sure, these facts were only interesting to me, but it was still interesting.

I thought I'd answer the same questions and see how things have changed. An (s) means it's the same as it was then while a (d) means it's different. Excited? Here we go...

  • First song when sorted alphabetically: '03 Bonnie & Clyde - Jay-Z w/ Beyonce Knowles (d)
  • Last song when sorted alphabetically: Zooropa - U2 (s)
  • First artist when sorted alphabetically: $10,000 Gold Chain (d)
  • Last artist when sorted alphabetically: ZZ Top (s)
  • Shortest song, excluding songs of silence: Jim Backus - 3rd Bass @ 0:04 (s)
  • Longest song, excluding songs with large periods of silence within: Echoes - Pink Floyd @ 23:27 (s)
  • First album when sorted alphabetically: (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis (s)
  • Last album when sorted alphabetically: Zooropa - U2 (s)
  • Total number of songs in my collection: 17678 (d)
  • Time required to play entire collection without repeating a song: 46.9 days (d)

The biggest difference is that my collection is twice the size it was then. I don't anticipate the same growth this year.

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Return of the Blue Jays

JaysThe Blue Jays open their 2006 season on Tuesday when the Twins come to town. For the first time in a while, there are very real expectations for this club. We're all thinking about the playoffs again. Here's our starting rotation, better than it's been in years.

  • Roy Halladay
  • A. J. Burnett
  • Ted Lilly
  • Gustavo Chacin
  • Josh Towers

I'm totally digging that rotation. Heck, I think Lilly can win 20 games if he stays healthy. Staying healthy will be the key, but if this core group manages to do that, B. J. Ryan is ready to close things out.

Looking at our starting nine gives me more reason to be optimistic. Here's how it's shaping up.

  • Bengie Molina - C
  • Lyle Overbay - 1
  • Aaron Hill - 2
  • Russ Adams - SS
  • Troy Glaus - 3
  • Frank Catalanotto - LF
  • Vernon Wells - CF
  • Eric Hinske - RF
  • Shea Hillenbrand - DH

That's solid. I'm excited. Will post-season play return to Toronto for the first time in twelve years? Bet on it.

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Maple Leafs 7, Sabres 0

LeafsJean-Sebastien Aubin made 24 saves for his first shutout of the season and is now 3-0 as a Leaf. Last January 15, on James' 3rd birthday, I wrote this entry about the St. John's Maple Leafs big win over the Grand Rapids Griffins. In that entry, I wrote the following.

Perhaps Mikael Tellqvist isn't our NHL goalie of the future. Perhaps it's Jean-Sebastien Aubin. Aubin has been awesome since coming over in a trade with Pittsburgh and last night he stopped 47 shots to lead the St. John's Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins.

How bad was it for Buffalo? Even the great under achiever of our time, Nik Antropov, managed to score a couple. Sadly, it's far too late.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
35-32-6
76 points
4th in Northeast
7-0 Win vs. Buffalo
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
4-3 Win vs. New Jersey
B. McCabe - 63
M. Sundin - 60
J. Allison - 60

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity."
      - Robertson Davies

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Blitzin' the Sabres Early and Often

LeafsFor a brief moment, I forgot the Leafs were all but elimnated from the playoffs. Less than seven minutes in it's 4-0 for the blue and white and all seems right with the world.

Go Leafs Go!

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Daylight Saving Time Rules

ClockHere we go again. The Man says we have to jack our clocks forward an hour. Right after the Leafs game, I'll be forced to do just that to the clock radio, the microwave, the VCR and the car radio.

A couple of years ago I pleaded with you to stay on Daylight Saving Time. Standard Time is for suckers. Almost three years ago, just before we rolled back the clocks, I asked if it wouldn't be more beneficial for our society to keep that hour of sunlight in the evening where it can be enjoyed? Does anyone really care if there's light at 7am?

The average citizen is no longer a farmer who follows the sun's lead in determining an appropriate hour to wake up and go to sleep. Typically, we're working from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and Standard Time is no longer our best option. We'll make the change tonight, but then that's at. Daylight Saving Time is the only time for me.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayUrgo's 2006 list of April Fool's Jokes on Websites - Today is the day sites pull pranks. You may read about the Google Browser, the retirement of Manny Ramirez or the Chef hoax. This site tracks them all.

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The 2006 NHL Playoff Pool

HockeyIt's April, and that means the Stanley Cup playoffs are less than three weeks away. Our Leafs won't be involved, but our annual playoff pool will be back after a forced year hiatus. If you're feeling nostalgic, you can view the results from 2003 and the results from 2004. We've been running this pool for over a decade. If you're interested in drafting a team with us, please contact me. Don't be shy.

The pool was originally run by my brother's friend and classmate. The first few drafts I attended were actually held at Bishop Allen High School near Royal York and the Queensway. The guy who used to run it completely dropped out once he bacame a legitimate Grade C celebrity. You can check out his Bite TV bio and see if you know him. If you don't know him from Bite TV, and I'm guessing you don't, you might know him as one of the hosts of Live Audio Wrestling.

Why Jason Agnew dropped our annual playoff pool like a hot potato is still unknown, but my guess is hanging out with big time mucky mucks at the Fan 590 like Roger Lajoie and Norm Rumack went to his head. What Agnew didn't know was that our playoff pool would persevere and thrive in his absence. This year's draft, to be held at a top secret Etobicoke location, promises to be our best one yet. There will be no inherent Leafs bias to cloud our judgement. Recaps will be posted here daily and the grand prize will be a pretty sweet pot. In this pool, we don't just play for pride, we play for cold, hard cash.

Again, we're looking for a few new participants to replace the scatterred Portelli clan. Drop me a line and I'll tell you the rules, location and date. Even Jay is invited. Some things are greater than the sum of their parts.

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A Message From The Hip?

EmailMoments ago, I received the following message via my contact form.

hey...just browsing around...gotta love your a hip fan .we love all our fans.

see ya at the show !

the hip.

Immediately, I referenced the IP addy. It came from an Ontario city (not Toronto) and belongs to Bell Sympatico. It's a first time visitor who came to the contact form from my Tragically Hip page. I'm fairly certain it came from The Tragically Hip camp, but did it come from a band member? If yes, which one?

Neat-o.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Canada? Why would I want to leave America just to visit America, Jr.?"

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