June 2006 Archives

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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.

glad to visit your blog.

Have you listened to the song "Upside Down" by Jack Johnson? I'm now searching a similar song beginning "but it's over..."

Have you noticed any song similar to that?

      Jay

Although I have four Jack Johnson albums in my collection, I'm actually not a fan. In fact, his music puts me to sleep, which might just be the point considering he put "Lullabies" in the title of his latest effort.

I see "Upside Down" is on that very album. I'm listening to it right now... The song you're thinking of is called "When It's Over" by Sugar Ray. There's a definite similarity.

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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.

So long Tie & Eddie. It will be tough to know you both aren't going to be around anymore in the blue & white.

The game has changed & Mr. Domi your required services aren't the same as previous & EDDIE - see you in the HALL.

MLSE should do something early next year for both.

      dale

In my farewell to Tie I forgot to mention that the Leafs also declined to pick up the option on Ed Belfour's contract today. When Cujo headed to Motown to win his cup, Eddie was immediately snatched up and he gave us a couple of great years. There were incredible highs and gut wrenching lows. He'll be in the Hall.

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The Tie Domi Era Closes

leafsThe Tie Domi era has come to an end after twelve seasons. The Toronto Maple Leafs bought out his contract today in an effort to create a little more cap room. He is our all-time leader in penalty minutes and ranks third in NHL history. More importantly, he's the only member of the Maple Leafs I've had a lengthy conversation with. These photos are from that afternoon we discussed our gold medal in Salt Lake City, his ascent to first in penalty minutes and my life-long adoration of the franchise.

Tie Domi actually made his NHL debut as a Leaf back in 1989-90. He was then traded with Mark LaForest to the New York Rangers for Greg Johnston before coming back on April 7, 1995. We sent Mike Eastwood to the Winnipeg Jets to bring back #28 and he's been a fan favourite ever since.

The game has changed and the Tie Domi's of the NHL have less of a role to play. So long Tie, thanks for the memories, thanks for the effort, thanks for twelve entertaining years and a dream come true.

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Deconstructing SLS15

SLSNow that SLS15 is in the bag, it's time to deconstruct the 22 tunes that made the final cut. How much of SLS15 is CanCon? How many artists are making their first appearance on SLS? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.

  • Canadian Content - 8 (The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Billy Talent, Death From Above 1979, Metric, Wolf Parade, Elliott Brood & The Miniatures)
  • Making Their SLS Debut - 11 (The New Pornographers, The Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Gnarls Barkley, The Subways, Elliott Brood, Hard-Fi & The Miniatures)
  • Artists That Also Appeared On SLS14 - 7 (Metric, Death Cab For Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, Death From Above 1979, System of a Down & Foo Fighters)
  • Providing a Female Voice - 2 (Metric & Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
  • Longest Current SLS Streak - 5 (Franz Ferdinand)
  • Longest SLS Drought Ended - 6 (Pearl Jam)

By the way, here's the cover of SLS15. If you want a high resolution one with the song list that's ripe for printing, go here. Yes, it was subconsciously Vs. inspired

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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.

World Cup fever is upon us. Germany just upset Argentina in the 1/4 finals. Italy is going to play Ukraine (I'm a 2nd generation Ukranian)later today & the flag will be flyin high if they beat the Italians. Spent the morning looking for a Ukranian flag as 1 of my kids wanted it. None to be seen. Italy, Argentina (sorry - their now done), Portugal but no Ukraine flag. See what happens later today - his loyalties may change. I can see paying double for a damn flag tomorrow if they beat the Italians.

I do have a Canadian flag as well & it will be flying as well.

      twins from bolton

I was just chatting with my bud Alexi who took the day off to root for Ukraine. As you know, there's a nice little Ukraine community in the Bloor and Runnymede area. I'm rooting for them too, because they're the underdog.

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SLS15 Unveiled

slsIt is with great privilege and honour that I unveil to you the final song list for SLS15. For an SLS primer, go here and to see what appeared on SLS14, go here.

We listened to hours and hours of new rock before deciding upon these 22 tracks totalling more than 75 minutes. Without further adieu, I give you SLS15.

  1. Use It - The New Pornographers
  2. 7/4 (Shoreline) - Broken Social Scene
  3. Steady As She Goes - The Raconteurs
  4. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor - Arctic Monkeys
  5. Devil in a Midnight Mass - Billy Talent
  6. Banquet - Bloc Party
  7. Poster of a Girl - Metric
  8. Crooked Teeth - Death Cab For Cutie
  9. The Fallen - Franz Ferdinand
  10. I'll Believe In Anything - Wolf Parade
  11. Woman - Wolfmother
  12. Gold Lion - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  13. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
  14. You Only Live Once - The Strokes
  15. Rock and Roll Queen - The Subways
  16. Blood On Our Hands - Death From Above 1979
  17. The Bridge - Elliott Brood
  18. Cash Machine - Hard-Fi
  19. Dead Flowers - The Miniatures
  20. World Wide Suicide - Pearl Jam
  21. Lonely Day - System of a Down
  22. Miracle - Foo Fighters

I just updated The Complete SLS Database. Look for SLS16 in late December, 2006.

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The Comment Delay

constructionYes, I'm aware it's taking a couple of minutes form the time you add a comment to the time it's processed. Some of you get impatient and abandon ship. Others assume it didn't go through and submit it again, resulting in double entries. Until I resolve this issue, you're going to have to leave things alone for a minute or two after you click "Post". I'll manually clean up the double entries.

I'm pretty sure the problem isn't with MT but the server that's hosting this site. My theory is I'm sharing a server with a high traffic site that's hogging CPU. I'm either sharing space with YouTube or MySpace, one or the other.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Owen Wilson movies

  1. The Royal Tenenbaums
  2. Rushmore
  3. Bottle Rocket
  4. The Cable Guy
  5. Zoolander

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Superman Songs

supermanYou can't go anywhere or do anything without stumbling across a Superman reference this week. "Superman Returns" is in theatres and it's received fairly good reviews.

When I think of Superman, a number of pretty good tunes immediately spring to mind. As I think about it, Superman is a popular theme in today's music and there are a bunch of tunes with Superman in the title. In my collection alone there is...

  • Superman - Goldfinger
  • Superman's Song - Crash Test Dummies
  • Waitin' For A Superman - The Flaming Lips
  • Silvergun Superman - Stone Temple Pilots
  • Superman's Dead - Our Lady Peace
  • Superman - Eminem
  • Superman - Bush

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40-1 To Bring It Home

stanleycupOnline sportsbook and casino sites are already posting odds as to who will win the Stanley Cup in 2007. Ottawa and Detroit are the favourites, currently 6-1. Of the six Canadian teams in the NHL, my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs have been given the smallest chance to win it all. The blue and white are listed at 40-1.

40-1? I've gotta throw a few bucks down on the home team. You see, I keep having this recurring dream in which we win this thing and there's this most amazing parade and I'm there, wearing my Bill Barilko jersey and shedding a bucket of tears of joy. As I see it, this dream is bound to come true one day. Heck, June 2007 is as good a time as ever.

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Wedding Crashers

A Movie ReelWedding Crashers: 5 out of 10.

Sigh. Where have all the good comedies gone? "Wedding Crashers" was too long, too predictable, and not particularly funny. Sure, I chuckled a few times, but there were no belly laughs. When I saw "There's Something About Mary", I remember belly laughs. Where the hell are my belly laughs?

I realize this movie was from last summer, but I'm usually about a year behind on my flicks. Over the past year, I kept seeing references to "Wedding Crashers" which actually tricked me into expecting a fairly funny movie. I just saw it clean up at the recent MTV Movie Awards, although I guess I should have known better than to have attached expectations to that. This was weak, no stronger than "Dodgeball", which actually got a higher rating from me. I want belly laughs!

Tomorrow I'll run down my five favourite Owen Wilson movies. I can think of at least three hysterical flicks the dude has starred in. This wasn't one.

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Denham Brown

raptorsDuring the 2003 NBA entry drafts, the Raptors had the 52nd pick overall and Carl English from Patrick's Cove, Newfoundland was available. I thought it was a no-brainer. Glen Grunwald disagreed and decided to go with Remon Van de Hare instead. If you haven't heard of Remon Van de Hare, you're not alone. He was a grade-A bust.

Last night, after ordering Italian, the Raptors had the 35th pick and Toronto native Denham Brown was still available. Some projected Brown would go even higher, and he definitely wanted to play in his home town. Without a doubt, Raptor fans wanted him here. Once again, faced with a no-brainer, the Raptors went with North Carolina native P.J. Tucker.

Bryan Colangelo will suggest it wouldn't have been good for Brown to play in Toronto, he'd have too much pressure here. Brown's mother will tell you he has too many friends here and it's better for him to get away. I say if you have the chance to draft a home town boy at a point in the draft when it makes sense, you do it. The Raptors have never drafted a Canadian.

Brown ended up going to Seattle only five picks later. It would have been sweet to watch the 6-foot-5 shooting guard who grew up near Jane and Finch try and make the Raptors this season. I know 4,558,800 who would have been rooting for him.

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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.

Mr. Bertuzzi has some splainin' to do if you read the latest about putting his $1.2 million home in his wife's name just before the civil suit from Steve Moore's parents. The home has been priced at $2MM. Money not countable against Todd, all of a sudden! Do I detect fraud here?

Todd is a great hockey player but I truly beleive his playing days are over. He will MELT in Florida. How unfortunate - ability but NO MIND.

      dale

Yeah, I've turned a little sour on Bert myself. I used to be a big fan, but now I think Vancouver's move was genius. I don't believe he'll ever be the player he was and I haven't forgiven him for that cheap shot.

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Bands From Toronto

musicI was just checking out Wikipedia's list of bands from Canada. They even break it down by province and city, which means I can tell you the following bands are from Toronto.

  • Andrew Cash
  • Armed and Hammered
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • The Battered Wives
  • The Birthday Massacre
  • The Black Maria
  • Blue Peter
  • Broken Social Scene
  • By Divine Right
  • Cancer Bats
  • controller.controller
  • Cowboy Junkies
  • The Deadly Snakes
  • Death from Above 1979
  • Do Make Say Think
  • Exovedate
  • Femme Fatale
  • Fifth Column
  • Final Fantasy
  • The Government
  • I Mother Earth
  • I am Robot and Proud
  • The Lowest of the Low
  • Magneta Lane
  • Metric
  • MSTRKRFT
  • Nash the Slash
  • Our Lady Peace
  • Pilate
  • Rheostatics
  • Rush
  • Stars
  • Thornley

There are some awesome bands there, and if we look beyond the 416 at the rest of Ontario, there's...

  • 13 Engines
  • Alexisonfire
  • Bedouin Soundclash
  • Billy Talent
  • City and Colour
  • Finger Eleven
  • Five Man Electrical Band
  • High Holy Days
  • Jersey
  • k-os
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Sum 41
  • Teenage Head
  • The Headstones
  • The Gandharvas
  • The Tea Party
  • The Tragically Hip
  • Three Days Grace
  • Shania Twain

That's not bad, eh?

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Weekly MP3: Eternal Fatalist

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

The Lowest of the Low - Eternal Fatalist
Because Shakespeare My Butt still sounds as sweet as it ever did, here's one of my favourite cuts from the album. There's a reason this was once the best-selling independent release in Canadian history.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Re// Recent comments by reader Chris that are related to violence in Toronto. I find it interesting that he gives a birds eye view of the situation of escalating gun violence in Toronto and his solution he puts forward is to change geographic locations. I think it is easy to watch the news from Toronto and see it as a very scary and violent place. There’s also the issue of media sensationalism. The violence in Toronto is played up because people will watch it. Perspective is important. Violence does pose a serious challenge, but it weighs heavier on selected parts of the city, and selected communities, rather than Toronto as a whole. Overall I believe, Toronto remains a beacon of acceptance, dignity, and hope to people who are still persecuted throughout the world.

With our Consertive government I worry that they may also have an agenda and are promoting fear mongering. I would like to challenge Chris, and the youth of today.......How about working for change within our cities? I have made it known before that I feel the motivating factors for the gang violence are related to disaffected youth - people who feel that there is no place in this city or society for them. With the recent arrests related to the December 26 shooting death of Jane Creba, I read details about the suspects that illustrated the cause/effect patterns that lead to criminal behaviour.........no father in the home, mother works multiple jobs, previous episodes with the law that were dismissed as trivial, etc. We collectively need to demand our government bring relief to these troubled areas of the city.

      Jill

If nothing else, Chris has been persistent and consistent. His comments appear on this entry about Toronto being the most pricey city in Canada and this one about the "I Am Not Afraid" day. We have agreed to disagree.

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180° in Six Days

customOnly six days ago I went off on MySpace. I believe I called them facist bastards and worse. They cancelled my myspace.com/teamcustom account without indicating why or giving me a chance to appeal. I was pissed.

Custom and I chatted about it that night and he, like many in the biz, knew somebody. This somebody knew somebody on the inside, and in less than a week not only was the account reactivated with the old friends and comments but we were given the URI we always coveted, myspace.com/custom. I'm guessing they just turfed the guy who's had it forever. That, my friends, is rock n' roll.

To recap, I went from cursing the SOBs out to appreciating their help in less than a week. We went from nothing and no chance of anything to what we had and a whole lot more. myspace.com/custom is now live and to celebrate we're sharing two gems from Fast, "Beat Me" and "Hey Mister". Two new tracks will be online soon. Thanks Rupert!

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Filed Under "D" for Duh

cntowerAccording to a Global Cost of Living Survey released Monday, Toronto is the most expensive city in Canada. The survey of 250 cities around the world was conducted between March 2005 and March 2006 by Mercer Human Resource Consulting and looked at the price of food, transportation, accomodation, entertainment and education. Here's how the Canadian cities on the list measured up.

  1. Toronto
  2. Vancouver
  3. Calgary
  4. Montreal
  5. Ottawa

We may be first in Canada, but we're only #47 overall. Moscow led the way and New York took top honours amongst North American cities.

Brother, can you spare a dime? I'm livin' in the 416 and things are as pricey as they are spicey.

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Smuggling Contraband Past Security

gunThere were quite a few shootings in Toronto last weekend. There were even a couple of homicides, so it's no wonder large gatherings like rock concerts hire security. When my top secret guest and I entered Fort York on Saturday, we were patted down to ensure we weren't bringing contraband onto the premises.

My guest had her purse searched, and that's when she was busted. They detected an illegal substance and refused to let her proceed. Was it a bag of coke? Was it a few ounces of pot? No and no, it was a Kit Kat and Aero.

Always quick on my feet, I asked if we could eat the chocolate bars at the gate before the scanning of our tickets. The security guard agreed that would be acceptable and I began chowing down the Kit Kat. Meanwhile, we slipped the Aero bar back in the purse. When I was throwing out the wrapper the security guard double checked that we had in fact devoured both bars and I mumbled a yep, joked that I was full and threw a wink to my guest.

From what I hear, a chocolate bar never tasted so good. The forbidden fruit tastes sweetest and the illegal contraband you smuggle into Fort York is the top of the food chain.

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The Raptors Choose...

raptorsThere is much speculation as to whom the Raptors will draft tomorrow with the first overall pick. I'm not a smart man, but I know who the Raptors will take. They will draft Italian forward Andrea Bargnani, making him the first European to go first overall.

Andrea Bargnani played last season for the Benetton Treviso. Who was the Executive Director for the Bentton Treviso last season? The answer to that question is Maurizio Gherardini, the newly hired vice-president and assistant general manager with the Toronto Raptors.

Sometimes 1 + 1 does in fact equal 2. Welcome aboard Andrea.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I was looking for a venue to write a "Happy Birthday" message to my brother Mike when I stumbled upon this website. For some reason, this site really speaks to me.

Happy Birthday, Mike! I hope you have a good one!

      Steve

You could have saved keystrokes and thrown me here!

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13 for 38

tragicallyhipA couple of days removed from heaven at Fort York, it's time for a little perspective. Up To Here was, without a doubt, The Tragically Hip's breakout in this country. It got plenty of airplay, sold plenty of copies (1,250,000 at last count) and blew me away. Along with stellar tracks like "Blow At High Dough" and "New Orleans Is Sinking", there was a bittersweet little number called "38 Years Old".

When I would listen to Up To Here, which I did hundreds and hundreds of times, "38 Years Old" always rang out as one of my favourites. Sometimes I'd rank it as high as #1. When I wrote Gord in November of 2004 prior to a show at the ACC, I begged him to play "38 Years Old", unaware that it hadn't been played in over a decade but well aware that I had never heard it live. Amongst diehards, "38 Years Old" is the holy grail.

On Saturday night, Gord blessed 6000 of us with the Hip's first performance of "38 Years Old" since July 24, 1993. That's almost thirteen years ago. That's incredible.

It's amazing what a little perspective does to an occurrence like this. Some feel the band presented this particular setlist to their loyal fans as a gift of appreciation. The band would have been well aware the bulk of the tickets were sold during the club member pre-sale and in tune with what their true fans want, the Hip delivered. I like this theory and I choose to believe it. How else can you explain "38 Years Old"?

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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. Brother - Pearl Jam
  2. Mr. Soul - Buffalo Springfield
  3. Holiday (Live) - Green Day
  4. Deeper Into You - Trust Company
  5. Ren's Pecs - Stimpy
  6. The Merchant of Grooves - 3rd Bass
  7. What If - Coldplay
  8. You Wouldn't Believe - 311
  9. I Don't Need No Doctor - Ray Charles
  10. Think - James Brown

Do you have any music in your collection that you never listen to? Of course you do. Do you have anything in your collection that you simply don't like and have never liked? I do.

A friend hooked me up with some great music I had my ear on but he threw in a few discs he thought I'd like. One album he highly recommended was Trust Company's Deeper Into You. I ripped it, gave it a listen and didn't like it at all. When I shuffle my collection it pops up now and then and I'm quick to blow by it, but in my collection it remains. Perhaps it's because I have the space for it, or perhaps it's because I fear I'll one day start liking the band and I'll wish I had Deeper Into You in my collection.

Unlikely.

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Link: Free Web photo editor

LinkFree Web photo editor - This is a handy web-based app for resizing, cropping, rotating and touching up your photos. I gave it a quick test drive and other than the annoying 2MB size limit which will prevent me from actually using it, it was pretty slick.

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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.

Quite surprised was I, when I was switching channels and caught the live performances of the 2006 Juno Awards - the first of my lifetime - shown on VH1, albeit a few weeks late. I enjoyed the show and found the sets & stage quite wonderful. Besides Pam Anderson was hosting and who does not admire her big...er eyes. I watched it from the performance of "Saving Me" by one of my favs Nickelback. I must say Mike, that I was looking forward to Broken Scocial Scene, having heard & read a lot about them on the net and in your site. But I did not really like it. I felt that there were too many guitarists on stage and way too many musicians as well to really appeal to me. They had a kinda, I dunno bohemian look to them. Also, I felt that the band members especially the women, looked very British (all pale & pasty skin) and did not strike me as being from Canada at all. The two drummers did rock though, I was totally into it. Didn't like the song and was kinda dissapointed. Enjoyed Bryan Adams & Michael Buble and although the Hedley song is cool, I couldn't stand the antics of their singer(they are new to me as well)! It was a nice show and devoid of over the top showmanship we get at the Grammys.

      Roshan

Let me get this straight. You love Nickelback but felt BSS was too "bohemian". I think it's safe to say BSS isn't your cup of tea, and that's cool. I don't like the Dave Matthews Band, so I know what it's like not to like something you think you're supposed to like.

Might I suggest giving BSS another shot. Judging a band on a single performance of one song on live television isn't fair. Have you heard their albums? Did you download "Cause = Time" and "7-4 (Shoreline)" when I shared the MP3s?

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Link: Beware the Rogue Helicopter Pilot

LinkPsycho complains to city about "rogue helicopter pilot" - This is too good to be true. I could watch it over and over and over again and never get bored. If our city council meetings were like the ones in Charlotte, I'd be glued to Cable 10.

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Leafs Trade Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft

LeafsI didn't get the news until midnight last night, but during yesterday's NHL entry draft the Toronto Maple Leafs traded last year's #1 pick Tuukka Rask for Boston's Andrew Raycroft. When I first read about the deal, I hated it. Rask is only twenty years old and was named the top goaltender of last year's World Junior Championship. Raycroft, on the other hand, had a dismal .879 save percentage last year with a 3.71 goals against average and just eight wins in 30 starts. Yuck.

Today, I don't hate the deal nearly as much. Having both Rask and Justin Pogge was going to be a difficult balancing act and there's little doubt which goaltending prospect I want starting for the blue and white. The choice is now clear. Furthermore, Raycroft was solid in 2003/2004 and is only 26 years old. If he and Jean-Sebastien Aubin can get us through next season, Pogge may be ready in 2007/2008. Besides, Raycroft comes nice and cheap, meaning we have a little coin for the blue line.

The Ed Belfour era is officially over, at least it will be when we buy out his contract next week. As for Mikael Tellqvist, I see him as the odd man out. Aubin and Raycroft will be doing the heavy lifting, making Telly an extra part. We can't send him to the Marlies as Pogge will be the man there. I suspect we'll trade him for a draft pick.

I've gone from hating this trade to accepting the potential benefits in one night. Perhaps tomorrow I'll love it.

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time."
      - Jean Paul Richter

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The Tragically Hip at Fort York

tragicallyhipHaving now seen The Tragically Hip live nine times, I can vouch for their consistency. They're nine for nine in terms of putting on an energetic, fulfilling, quality rock show. Because they never have an off day, ranking the nine shows relies on other factors, mainly ambience, venue, playlist and vibe. This is what made last night so special.

It was my first concert at Historic Fort York and I'm forever smitten. On a crystal clear, warm night, the location was ultra convenient to get in and out of and the stage was magically framed by the city around us. The CN Tower and skyline was the back drop and the old stone fort walls rustically kept us in check. I easily found a free parking spot on Niagara Street, just West of Bathurst which had us into the Fort and out in minutes. The only shame, which Gord Downie referenced in his farewell, was the presence of the Gardiner Expressway to the South. Half way through The Sadies' set I was ready to dismantle it myself. In an orgy of visual delight, she was the pig begging to be slaughtered.

Both The Sadies and The Weakerthans were a lot of fun while I waited in the sweet sun for Das Hip. The audio was as crystal clear as the evening sky. Gord and the boys hit the stage at about 9:00pm, opening with "Don't Wake Daddy". For the next hour and forty minutes, it was pure Hip magic. Highlights were "Courage", "It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken", "38 Years Old" "At The Hundredth Meridian" and "Greasy Jungle". "At The Hundredth Meridian", already my favourite Hip song live, has never been better. Gord delivered his microphone stand monologue half way through before stepping into the vanity velocity verse. There wasn't a weak number in the set and all of Gord's rants were clearly decipherable.

All in all, I heard five songs live for the first time. "Oceans" and "The Drop Off" were great new tunes that will be on the new album, "No Threat" was just released last year, "We'll Go Too", "Sherpa", and "Don't Wake Daddy" are gems I've just missed and then there was "38 Years Old". Not only is "38 Years Old" a personal favourite from the first Hip album I ever bought, but it's the rarest of the rare in concert. According to a good source at Hipbase, it hasn't been played since 1994 1993. That's freakin' incredible! The price of admission was worth it for this song alone. We were all lucky bastards last night.

The setlist has been posted to my Tragically Hip page and I'll be updating my song statistics in a bit. I took a bunch of pictures too, and they're in this photoset. Taking into account the ambience, venue, playlist and vibe, last night's show might just rank as the greatest Hip performance I've ever attended. Wow... it was fantastic.

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Saturday Night in the City

cntowerIt's a beautiful Saturday night in the city and check out what's happening.

  • Broken Social Scene, Bloc Party and Feist are at Olympic Island.
  • Nine Inch Nails is at the Molson Amphitheatre
  • The Tragically Hip, The Weakerthans and The Sadies are at Fort York

That reminds me... I've gotta jet.

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Aaron Spelling's Greatest Hits

tvLove him or hate him, you can't deny the fact Aaron Spelling was one busy mofo. In fact, he holds the Guiness Word Record for most prolific television producer. Here are my ten favourite Aaron Spelling productions.

  1. Beverly Hills, 90210
  2. 7th Heaven
  3. Melrose Place

Ok, that's three. I reviewed the entire list of Spelling shows and those are the only three I've actually seen. I feel like I've seen Fantasy Island, Charlie's Angels and The Love Boat but I don't actually recall seeing a single episode of any of them. Somehow, I don't feel I've missed much.

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Argos 9, Blue Bombers 16

argosWe may have secured one win with Wynn, but I have no confidence we can accomplish that feat consistently with him at the helm. This season lives and dies at the right arm of Damon Allen.

Ricky Williams was a non-factor, running for 14 yards on only 8 carries. His longest run of the day was a whopping 8 yards. Let's hope games like this are the exception and not the norm for #27.

Season Record: 1-1

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Internet! Is that thing still around?"

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumAaron Spelling was 83. He was one of TV's most prolific producers, bringing "Charlie's Angels," "Dynasty," "Love Boat," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Melrose Place," "Starsky and Hutch," and "Fantasy Island" to the small screen.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveToronto nicknames

  1. The T.Dot
  2. T.O.
  3. The Big Smoke
  4. The City of Trees
  5. Trawna

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Fort York

torontoFort York, located just North of the Gardiner Expressway between Bathurst and Strachan, is probably our most famous fort. I remember first learning about Fort York in primary school during lessons about The War of 1812. Those damn Yankees overran the place during The Battle of York in 1813 but later that year we got her back and held off the Americans in 1814.

In addition to supplying Toronto students with a good field trip destination, Fort York is gaining quite the reputation as a splendid concert location. Tomorrow, I'll be seeing my first show at Historic Fort York where The Tragically Hip are playing a couple of shows. It's my 9th Hip show and I'll post a thorough review of both the band and venue Sunday morning.

Tragically Hip playlist selected... commence catalogue shuffle.

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A.J., the Sweep and the Braves

bluejaysAfter my ball game last night, I tuned in the Jays game. Three things pleased me.

A.J. Burnett not only started a major league game for us, but he pitched quite well. He gave up only five hits and two runs in six innings, striking out seven. He's good at chess, too.

The Jays finally swept a series. It was our tenth crack at the can, but we did it. The is the second latest in the season we've swept our first series, and we're still only three games back of the Red Sox.

The Atlanta Braves have lost ten in a row, putting them last in the NL East, 15.5 games behind the Mets. This season will mark the end of a remarkable streak. They had won a record 14 consecutive division championships from 1991 to 2005. Their success always pissed me off. No franchise deserves to be that consistently great, except perhaps Toronto-based franchises. At least the Jays won more World Series titles during the past 14 years.

It was a good day all around in Jaystown.

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Link: LIVE TV ONLINE TV

LinkLIVE TV ONLINE TV - This link is almost too good to be true. Here you can stream 120 television stations live. It uses an ActiveX Control to embed Windows Media into a web page, so Firefox won't play it without a plugin and even then you'll have to make sure that the setting for OBJ-TABS is disabled in your Adblock extension. This might be the one time it makes sense to use IE.

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Harold Hosein Hosed

citytvAsk a Torontonian to name a weatherman and he'll likely say Harold Hosein. Ask me about the weather and I'm likely to slip into a Harold Hosein accent and tell you to bring an umbrella or sweater. For seventeen years Hosein's been on City-TV, standing on that roof or street telling us what the weather will be like, but that chapter's been slammed shut. Hosein has been canned.

Is Harold Hosein the fall guy for City-TV's inept news ratings? City-TV currently ranks a distant third when it comes to local Toronto news, behind CTV and Global. Are they really pinning that on the weather guy? It surely can't have anything to do with Gordo and that bint (his term, not mine) who have anchored that desk for the past trillion years or so.

So long, Harold. Don't forget a hat and sunscreen, it's going to be sunny.

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Those Facist MySpace Bastards

customPersonally, I hate MySpace. The pages are ugly as sin, the users are perpetual pre-teens completely void of depth and the network is a cesspool of scams, abuse and danger. For these reasons, I don't have a MySpace page, but as the third most visited page on the web, you've got to respect the power MySpace beholds. That's why I created a page for Custom and started streaming his new tunes there last year.

I checked email tonight after a game of Trivial Pursuit in the backyard and I found this gem sitting in my inbox from hjyn___hjynxffw.rfh@message.myspace.com.

Hello,

MySpace has deleted your profile because we received a credible complaint of your violation of the MySpace Terms of Services.

Prohibited activity includes, but is not limited to:
-Any automated use of the system, such as using scripts and/or bots to add friends, send messages, etc.
-For band and filmmaker profiles, MySpace prohibits sexually suggestive imagery or any other unfair, misleading or deceptive content intended to draw traffic to the profile.
-MySpace also investigates credible complaints of copyright/trademark infringement and will delete any materials that infringe upon the intellectual property rights of third parties.

For a more thorough list of prohibited content/activity, please refer to the MySpace Terms of Service located at the bottom of MySpace.com.

If we delete your account, it cannot be reinstated.

Thank you,
MySpace.com

At first, I thought it was a piece of spam. Just in case there was some weight to it, I tabbed over to http://www.myspace.com/teamcustom where I was greeted with a cold "The account has been deleted" message. This was the real deal. Everything was wiped away, the hundreds of friends, the comments, the emails... it was as if it had never happened. The was no opportunity to appeal, nowhere to turn, no chance of getting the old account back... the account was gone for good.

We never used an illegal script or bot, Custom owns the copyright to the tunes we shared and, in my opinion, nothing on the page was overtly sexual except a few of the lyrics to "Hey Mister", which we only added eleven days ago. Check out the lyrics to "Hey Mister". Did someone complain about the F-bomb in that song? Would someone on MySpace really be offended by that? What else could it be?

I created a new account and secured that same URI, so http://www.myspace.com/teamcustom is back but we're starting from scratch. Damn MySpace and their fascist policies without recourse. To kick off the second go round for Custom's MySpace page, we're sharing one song. Wanna guess which one?

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Link: 100 Awesome Music Videos

Link100 Awesome Music Videos - I've linked to a lot of music video portals lately, but this is the king. This is a killer collection complete with reasoning and the video itself. Take on me!

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Weekly MP3: Heroin

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.

Velvet Underground - Heroin
As promised, here's the highly underrated Velvet Underground with one of the greatest songs in the history of music.

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Whitney's Fuckin' Right!

tvI mentioned I watched the post-game celebration the other day as Hurricane after Hurricane took their turn with the Stanley Cup. I watched the CBC feed and took note of the "Fuckin' Right" Ray Whitney yelled when he hoisted the mug. It was raw emotion upon reaching a difficult goal and it somehow seemed appropriate. Fuckin' right indeed.

NBC aired the comment as well and you can watch it here. As discussed in the blue, Dubya recently signed legistlation that would increase the maximum fine dropping the F-bomb to $325,000 per station. That's about a $30 million buck fine to NBC for Whitney's remarks.

I think it's hilarious they come down so hard on dirty words in the States. A couple of years ago I wrote about the punishment doled out to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for saying It don't mean shit right now. Daddy's won here 10 times." Aren't there bigger fish to fry? Isn't it time we loosen up on the these seven words everybody knows?

If you can't exclaim "fuckin' right!" in the moments following a Stanley Cup victory, the terrorists have already won.

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The Enemy Is Us

RSLast night we played our first game since my precious declaration. I feared the raw numbers had begun to consume us and the only way I was going to play ball again was if I manually removed the focus on these figures. For what it's worth, I went 3-4 with an RBI triple off the wall in left center field. I was looser at the plate and more focused on the task at hand. I felt good up there, completely liberated. Thus far, I'm quite pleased with my little revolution.

We lost the game 14-11 on a base-running error, which is precisely how we lost last week. We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.

For more on Raging Storm, visit http://www.torontomike.com/softball.html.

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Link: Mozilla Firefox Cheat Sheet

LinkMozilla Firefox Cheat Sheet - My goal is to memorize every keyboard shortcut listed so I never have to touch my mouse again.

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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.

Well its finally over the hockey season has ended with the stanly cup staying south of the 49th.

Now maybe it will be quiet around Mike's desk for a while NO HOCKEY talk.

But I am sure in a couple of months Mike will once again be planning the parade route for the leafs

      grinch

I'll plan it, as I do every year, but my feet are firmly on the ground.

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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.

A group of CBC documentarians are trying to come to grips with one of the ties that bind most of us together, a hatred of Toronto. Filmmaker Albert Nerenberg, has a blog chronicling his trip across Canada to assess whether Toronto-hating is real or mere urban legend.

Nerenberg, who plans to turn the whole adventure into a movie called Let's All Hate Toronto, started his journey on May 23 in Vancouver with Mr. Toronto (aka his co-director, Rob Spence). The pair have been holding "Toronto Appreciation Day" rallies to gauge the level of ire and so far have been punched, embraced and ignored.

You can follow Mr. Toronto's journey at http://mrtoronto.blogspot.com/

      Jill

Yes, I stumbled upon Mr. Toronto's blog a few days ago. He was in Edmonton taunting people there with a #99 Gretzky Leafs jersey. If done right, "Let's All Hate Toronto" could be pretty damn funny.

I'm well aware the rest of Canada hates us, but I take that as a compliment. As the centre of not only Canada but the entire planet, it's expected others would envy us. Their jealousy is a constant reminder that we're on top.

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Playoff Pool: Day Sixty

PuckMarc has won the pool, taking home all of our hard earned money. Well, he doesn't get it all, Ryan gets to keep his for finishing a strong second. It's worth noting that Marc won in 2004 when he actually accumulated 22 less points. It's the new NHL, baby!

We'll all get together in April 2007 to draft another playoff pool as this annual tradition promises to continue. If you'd like to be a part of it, drop me a line. As Red would say, dontcha dare miss it!

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

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Reflecting on Stanley

stanleycupI'm a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I always have been and I always will be. I last watched my team play on April 18 when we beat the Penguins 5-3. That was over two months ago.

The next night, eleven of us got together to draft our annual playoff pool. It wasn't until the second last round that someone decided to gamble on an Oiler. In total, 110 players were chosen that night and only four played for Edmonton. To a tee, we all considered them first round fodder for the Detroit Red Wings. Their chances were slim to none and slim was in a cab heading out of Motown.

Damn this Oiler team was likable. A bunch of red-bearded warriors exceeding all expectations and playing a Whyte mile over their heads. It didn't take long for me to adopt this team as my rooting interest for the tournament. They weren't playing for Edmonton and they weren't playing for Alberta, they were playing for Canada and for the dreams of every Canadian boy, aged 4 to 104. They were playing for me.

Last night's game seven was thrilling. I was rooting for overtime because I didn't want it to end. Until Williams' empty netter I continued to believe Edmonton would come back again. Why wouldn't they? They were a team of destiny, but in sport, things don't always unravel as scripted. Carolina won the cup and I watched as they passed around Lord Stanley's glorious mug for a kiss, a hoist and another kiss. I've dreamt that dream a million times. In my mind, I've hoisted that cup high in the air, pulled it towards my lips for a big ol' wet kiss and hoisted it once more. In all of sport, that's my favourite moment. That's the pinnacle.

As a Leafs fan, year after year I sit and watch another team share that moment. It's fans of other teams that reap the benefits and spill into the streets in celebration. I want that... just once. I want the cup.

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Link: Music Videos From the 80's

LinkMusic Videos From the 80's :: Over 1,400 Videos - This is a pretty cool collection. The more I revisit the 80s the more I fear it was a solid decade of crap. At least 99% of it was crap. "So Alive" from Love and Rockets was pretty good though, and you can watch the video at this link.

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Link: Extortr

LinkExtortr - This is an amazing idea. Unfortunately, the most efficient way to blackmail in the world is only a joke... so far.

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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. Ton of Joy - Otis Redding
  2. I Stand Alone - Godsmack
  3. Crying - Roy Orbison
  4. New York Town - Woody Guthrie
  5. I Believe In Miracles - Pearl Jam
  6. Figure 8 - Trust Company
  7. The Hazards of Sitting Beneath Palm Trees - Hayden
  8. Love In An Elevator - Aerosmith
  9. Face Pollution - Soundgarden
  10. I Know You Got Soul - Eric B. & Rakim

Public Enemy, in my humble opinion, took sampling to a higher plain. They could transform a James Brown grunt into a killer loop, ideally suited to match Chuck D's rage. Although P.E. sampled from all over the R&B map, James Brown was their favourite target.

Public Enemy is so known for their James Brown samples you'd be forgiven for thinking they started the whole obsession. In fact, it was Eric B. & Rakim who kicked off the James Brown sampling sport with "I Know You Got Soul", a cut from their critically acclaimed Paid in Full. I'm listening to the disc right now and like a fine wine, it's only got better with age.

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Friday Night Lights

A Movie ReelFriday Night Lights: 9 out of 10.

I attended several high school football games, usually my Michael Power Trojans taking on our arch rivals, the St. Michael's College Kerry Blues. What I saw then and what you see in "Friday Night Lights" are two completely different animals. In Texas, high school football is a great deal more than just a game.

This movie is shot at a frenetic pace that makes the entire experience that much more real and tense. I absolutely loved this flick - everything from the Public Enemy soundtrack to the gritty realism to the football itself. I haven't liked a movie this much in quite some time. Judging from my recent reviews, it was "Capturing the Friedmans" back in October.

Fantastic.

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The 1942 Maple Leafs

stanleycupDuring the 1941-42 NHL regular season, the Toronto Maple Leafs went 27-18-3, finishing second to the New York Rangers. Because things were done quite a bit differently back then, we actually faced the Rangers in the semi-finals, beating them 4 games to 2. That put is in the finals against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings won the first three games of that series, putting us down 3-0. Game four was in Detroit and we squeaked out a 4-3 win to force a fifth game in Toronto. This time, we tripled the Red Wings 9-3 and went back to Detroit for game six where a 3-0 shut out forced a game seven at Maple Leaf Gardens. Game seven was a thrilling 3-1 victory for the home team making the Maple Leafs the only team to overcome a 3 games to nothing deficit in the Stanley Cup finals. That feat hasn't been accomplished in the NBA Championship or World Series either. In fact, no NHL team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals either, but tonight the Edmonton Oilers are attempting to become the second.

History sides with Carolina. 11 of 13 NHL finals to go seven games have been won by the home team. The last team to win a game seven on the road was the 1971 Canadiens. In the past 14 Game 7's in championship series in the NHL, NBA and MLB, the home team has won every one.

Will the 2006 Edmonton Oilers join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as comeback kings? I, like you, will be watching tonight.

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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.

God Bless America! Good Monday to everyone.

Watch it!

What a great song/video.

      Carter

Let me guess. You're a big RHCP fan, right?

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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.

Well I thought it might be time for a reminder that the MuchMusicVideoAwards came and went again without much of a Bang!. Sure I like an awards show as much as the next guy, if its music even better. But Much Music really gave me no incentive to even notice it's event again this year. Being a member of the "Touch Much" concile sure does a hell'a bean. Can't say I tuned in for the Show so don't think I witnessed what I referring to. I just knew it wasn't something I would be interested in. That said I'll probably take in 5-10 concerts this summer. wassup? NotMuch

      Coach Carter

There were enough promos to ensure we knew it was on, but I still didn't feel compelled to tune in. I played Trivial Pursuit outside on a glorious hot night and then I watched one helluva movie.

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The Velvet Underground

MusicAs a teen, I was too dumb and too ignorant to appreciate The Velvet Underground and subsequent work by Lou Reed. In 1996 I watched "Trainspotting", one of the few movies that ever made it into my DVD collection, and based on a single viewing of this great flick, I ran out and bought the soundtrack. On the soundtrack was Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" and at the age of twenty-two, I finally got it.

Today, I totally appreciate the work of The Velvet Underground and can hear their influence in much of the modern music I enjoy. On Wednesday I'll share the MP3 of "Heroin" and you'll hear what I mean.

On a related note, I was recently introduced to John Cale's version of "Hallelujah" which is just splendid and was clearly an inspiration to Jeff Buckley. Here's a nice little timeline of members' time with the band. That's Lou Reed, Doug Yule, Sterling Morrison, Willie Alexander, John Cale, Walter Powers III, Angus MacLise and Maureen Tucker. V.U. was never commercially successful, but that doesn't mean they weren't great. I wish I had figured that out earlier.

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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 want to wish my sons, Michael and Ryan a very Happy Father's Day. They have taken on the role of fathers in a very responsible way. When they speak of their children it is with an excitement and pride known to most of us who are parents. Their children are very lucky. Happy Father's Day boys. Enjoy your day. You deserve it.

      Love, Mom

Happy Father's Day Ry!

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Father's Day

familyFather's Day is completely redundant and unnecessary in my house. As corny as this is going to sound, every day is Father's Day. James and Michelle make me feel like a billion dollars each and every day with a big hug and kiss and the sincerest "I love you Daddy" on the planet.

I've almost got 4.5 years of parenting experience under my belt and I'm learning something new every day. I find it interesting to compare and contrast my parenting techniques with Taryn's. She's a fantastic mother who is always reading books about parenting. Recently she read one about raising boys and now she's reading one about letting go as your children grow older. She's forever seeking professional opinion and shaping her parental style based on what she's read. This is quite the opposite of what I do.

For 4.5 years, I've been fathering on instinct and basing a great deal of my style on my own experiences as a child. With James, this has worked perfectly thus far. I know where he's been and what he needs and I give that to him as lovingly as possible. Talking the same language, I'm there to support him, feeding him both intellectually and emotionally, giving him his best chance to be a far greater person than I ever was. No book can show me the way. It's equal parts empathy, common sense, logic and impassioned love.

With Michelle, I can already tell it won't be quite as easy, but there's a bond so strong it empowers me as I attempt to give the same to her. Not quite twenty-two months old, it's too early to tell if we'll be on the same wave length, communicating on that exclusive plain reserved for children and their daddies, but I'm very confident we will.

Don't worry about the cards, kids. Daddy knows you love him a lot and I already feel so blessed it hurts.

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Argos 27, Tiger-Cats 17

argosWatching that first pre-season game, Damon Allen looked like our only hope for success and Spergon Wynn looked horrible. Apparently, Wynn's got some win in him because he threw two touchdown passes in a big Argonaut win when it matters. When it didn't matter in the pre-season, Hamilton beat us to a pulp in two games.

Ricky Williams ran for 96 yards on 18 carries and added two catches for 24 yards. His longest run of the day was for 35 yards.

Season Record: 1-0

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Playoff Pool: Day Fifty-Eight

PuckFifty-eight days later, it all comes down to one game. Tomorrow night, an entire nation will tune in CBC and root for the Oil to come all the way back from a 3-1 game deficit.

Edmonton scored four goals last night, but Pronger didn't get a single point. That's bad news for Ryan who now needs a miracle to make up six points on the last night of action. Hot damn, it's been fun though.

Go Oilers Go!

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

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is "soap-on-a-rope."
      - Bill Cosby

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Link: You're Pitiful

LinkYou're Pitiful - Weird Al Yankovich - Weird Al takes on James Blunt's overplayed "You're Beautiful". This link is directly to the MP3, so you might want to save the link to your PC and play it from there. Of course, if you're not a Weird Al guy, you're gonna hate this so fuggetaboutit completely and move on.

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My MP3s Updated

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

  • The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
  • Ministry - Rio Grande Blood
  • Revolting Cocks - Cocked and Loaded
  • Jack Johnson - Sing-A-Longs And Lullabies For The Film Curious George

That's 1194 complete albums, 17,973 songs and 47.7 days of tunage. Check it out.

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McCabe's Reluctance

leafsRemember a few weeks ago when we all read and heard about the Bryan McCabe signing? I interpreted it as a done deal as it was widely reported as a done deal. There may have been a gentleman's agreement between McCabe and Feguson, but nothing has been signed.

In today's Globe, David Shoalts has a suggestion I agree with. I'd link to the article, but the Globe has this one under lock and key. Here's what he wrote.

What Feguson should do now is turn McCabe's reluctance - and what else can his silence be interpreted as? - against him and withdraw the contract offer. Then, he can turn his attention to signing one of the big three pending free agent defencemen - Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara of the Ottawa Senators and Ed Jovanovski of the Vancouver Canucks.

Let's face it Leaf fans, McCabe ain't worth $29 million over five years. His second half last year was a major let down and he's nothing more than a power point specialist. That's worth something, but $29 million? I'll take Redden and Jay McKee instead. Clearly McCabe doesn't want to play here.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. There's one from the Argo game, one of Michelle at a Tim Horton's and a couple from the Jays game. And Patino, if you're reading this, here's the difference between Spike and Mike.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"As long as he has eight fingers and eight toes, he's my son."

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Pat Borders, 1992 World Series MVP

bluejaysPat Borders has finally retired at the age of 43. That means Mike Timlin is the only active player to have played in a World Series game for the Toronto Blue Jays. Timlin is 40 years old and 3-0 for the Boston Red Sox thus far in 2006.

Borders was always a personal favourite. I remember listening to his first career at-bat on the radio which was either a double, triple or home run, I can't recall. I do recall Jerry Howarth referring to him as the future with enormous potential. Always a decent contributor, Borders had a series for the ages against the Atlanta Braves in 1992, batting .450 and earning a permanent spot in the hearts of every Jays fan by winning the MVP award.

And then, there was one.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveDaves I know

  1. That guy who played on my slo-pitch team for a couple of years before dropping out and making me the oldest player on the team
  2. Dave Stieb, our first ace and pitcher of our only no-hitter
  3. That Christian kid who talked to his dog on Sunday mornings during The Commander Tom Show
  4. Speedy Winfield - yes Steve, I said speedy
  5. Super Dave Osbourne, striking the same note over and over again until the laughter turns to pain

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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.

Senator Jerry Grafstein, MP Dennis Mills & conultant Warren Kinsella plan another "Sarstock 2006" to let tourists know that T.O. is still vibrant & a place to visit regardless of the 17 "terrorists" charged last week.

June 25th is the day during the Toronto Blue Jays game with MANY Cdn. celebrities already willing to participate (including Mike Weir). Plans are in the early stages.

They have 18 days to plan the event & should be no problem as oringinal Sarstock 2003 was done in 14 days. Hopefully this comes to fruition. "I'm not afraid" is the name & reason.

      dale

Here's Kinsella's I Am Not Afraid page. We'll see which celebrities participate. I smell another Blues Brothers performance... yawn. I'm not sure what Weir can do that would actually be entertaining. Is he going to play nine holes during the seventh inning stretch?

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Louie, Louie

rewindIn 1990 I saw "Coupe de Ville", a charming as hell story about three brothers forced to take a road trip together. As one of three brothers, I especially liked this flick and consider it one of the more under appreciated films of the 90s. A classic scene in the movie revolved around the song "Louie, Louie" and its meaning.

To promote this movie, Young MC remixed the song "Louie, Louie" for the soundtrack. This was 1990 and Toronto's own Maestro Fresh-Wes was dominating the local rap scene, and he contributed a "Louie, Louie" rap to the 12 inch of this Young MC produced single. My friend Ed bought the vinyl which I dubbed to cassette. I remember Maestro's rap over "Louie, Louie" vividly but the web doesn't seem to acknoledge this recording at all. A search for lyrics came up empty. Details on this album are scarce with only a couple of sites referencing the fact Maestro recorded this song. Trying to score an MP3 of this song as been impossible. All I have left are the memories, which I delicately sprinkled over top the conclusion of this recent entry.

I haven't heard it in about 15 years but to the best of my memory, here's Maestro Fresh-Wes' rap on Young MC's "Louie, Louie" 12 inch single.

Louie, Louis is fact
Not bull about a brother who rapped and got paid in full
He stayed true to the trade,
Made the grade,
And in the clubs and the pubs his records were played
He pumped up parties, rocked hotties,
State to state he rocked everybody
He was as hyped as hype could get cuz
Louie, Louie was still in effect.

He went land to land
Mic stand to mic stand
Stage to stage, he was a one man band
Crowds would cram
Lou rammed the jams
I'm telling you
He made people say hot damn!

Crowds would scream out, Louie, Louie!
We love you we want you, do me, do me!
He was as hyped as hype could get cuz
Louie, Louie was still in effect.

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The US Open

golfThe 106th US Open teed off at Winged Foot in New York yesterday. As I do with every major, I purchased a trio of golfers in an attempt to win our little golf pool.

As usual, I consulted my brothers before making my selection. They're much bigger golf fans than I. I feel optimistic about this trio because it doesn't include Luke Donald who my brother Ryan has an unhealthy obsession with. My three are:

  • Phil Mickelson
  • Jim Furyk
  • Adam Scott

So far, so good. Both Mickelson and Furyk are even after round one and Scott is +2, only three strokes off the lead. Donald, for the record, was +8. Phew!

Follow the action at http://www.golfweb.com/tournaments/usopen/leaderboard

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Trinidad and Tobago

soccerWhen Canada and Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup this year, I was left without a rooting interest. I contemplated rooting for The Netherlands because I'm always hearing from other Boons in that part of the world and my surname apparently originated there. I'm not much of a soccer fan and only pay attention once every four years, but I need a rooting interest.

After checking out the action over the past week, I've decided my team is Trinidad and Tobago. They're an underdog, I watched them tie Sweden and loved their goaltender and the joy their fans expressed and I heard a very cool interview this morning with a Torontonian from Trinidad and Tobago that pushed me over the edge.

As I write this, they're tied 0-0 with England after the first half. Trini to the bone!

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A Homemade Hallelujah!

musicEven before I saw "Saint Ralph" I was hunting for an MP3 of Gord Downie's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".

Last month I linked to a site that was sharing several covers of this Cohen classic. I left a comment on that site telling everyone about my search for Downie's version and asking for help. It's not on an album, it's not available for sale online and not even The Tragically Hip faithful seem to have a bootleg copy.

There seemed to be only one way to get this version of the song in MP3 and that's to create an MP3 from the audio output of "Saint Ralph". Sophie, a Hip fan from Germany, saw my comment on the site sharing the Downie covers and offerred to help. She rented the DVD, created an MP3 and emailed it to me early this morning. Hallelujah!

This will tide me over nicely until Downie releases something official. I know a lot of people have been trying to locate this song as I've heard your empathetic pleas since I first wrote about the cover last August. If that's you, leave a comment and I'll email you the MP3 Sophie shared with me this morning.

Pay it forward. Thanks Sophie!

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Live! Jays vs. Orioles

bluejaysJames and I were at the dome last night to catch the Jays and Orioles in the third of a four game series. It was our first game of year and it was bizarre to say the least.

The Ball: It pays to be a four year old kid. We were seated in the second row above the Jays bullpen and the warm-up catcher caught cute little James in the corner of his eye and threw him a ball. He was quite pleased with himself and promptly put the ball in his Nemo backpack for safe keeping. Note to self: They don't throw thirty year old guys balls. Always bring the kid.

Back-to-Back Jacks: I've never attended a game when the first two Jays to the plate in the bottom of the first went deep. It was a hell of a way to kick things off when Alex Rios and Frank Catalanotto started things off with a blast. Apparently, it's been done before. On August 18, 1991 in Detroit, Devon White and Roberto Alomar did the deed against the Tigers.

Vernon Wells Right To Us: In the bottom of the third, with Vernon Wells at the plate, I told my buddy beside me (who coincidentally has the name Buddy) to get ready because it was coming our way. I hadn't said that the entire game, but no sooner were the words out of my mouth than he hit it only two feet out of our reach, just to the left of us and a row back. I was ready to pounce on the bounce but some snot nosed kid beat me to it. It was close!

The Rainbow: There was an awful lot of rain coming down for a domed stadium. We were sheltered in the outfield, but others were holding umbrellas and we could see the rain coming down on the Jumbotron. Thankfully, they didn't close the roof because we were treated to the most amazing rainbow. It formed across the top of the sky above the dome and was so surreal you would have thought it was the magic of special effects.

Greg Zaun’s Fluke Double: In the fourth, Greg Zaun hit a fly ball that Luis Matos never saw. He must have lost it in that funky sky because he just put up his hands and waited for it to land somewhere. It was a stand-up double for speedy Zaun.

B.J.’s Sixtet: Like many Jays fans, I'm a big fan of B.J. Ryan. We got bonus Ryan as he pitched the last two innings retiring the final six outs for his 16th save. The jury remains out on A.J., but B.J. is a definite stud.

The Law: The game didn't end until after ten, but in Toronto there is a law. You must buy a manuel following a Jays game before you jump on the subway. With extra mustard, it was the perfect ending on a fantastic night.

A great effort out of the pen and the long ball guided us to victory. A good time was indeed had by all. My next game is July 2. Here's my photoset from last night.

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Playoff Pool: Day Fifty-Five

PuckIt will be hockey night in Canada on Saturday night. Edmonton, the team that refuses to die, has forced a sixth game in these Stanley Cup finals. I'm beginning to wonder if this hockey season will ever end.

Both Marc and Ryan got two points and remain separated by six. Time is running out on poor Ry.

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

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Revolution Songs

musicWhen you're trying to lead a revolution, you need the right tunes. These songs are all in my collection and collectively comprise my "revolution" playlist.

  • Raining Revolution - Arrested Development
  • Beastie Revolution - Beastie Boys
  • Revolution - The Beatles
  • Revolution 1 - The Beatles
  • Revolutin 9 - The Beatles
  • Revolution Rock - The Clash
  • Revolution - The Cult
  • Revolution - Grandaddy
  • The Old Revolution - Leonard Cohen
  • Revolution Regained - The Living End
  • Revolution - Nina Simone
  • Revolution - P.O.D.
  • The Day After The Revolution - Pulp
  • Soft Revolution - Stars
  • Children of the Revolution - T-Rex
  • Talkin' Bout A Revolution - Tracy Chapman

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Weekly MP3: Revolution

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

The Beatles - Revolution
This is one of my favourite Beatles tunes. These Beatles... they're pretty good!

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I Am Not A Number, I Am A Ballplayer

baseballI love playing ball. I always have. From the moment I played my first game of tee ball at Lessard Park I was hooked. What I lacked in natural God-given talent I made up for in heart and soul. Baseball has always been my favourite participation sport and I've given 100% in every inning I've played.

I've been playing with Raging Storm for about five years now and we've had quite a bit of success and plenty of good times along the way. We've played in a few different leagues in the GTA, currently climbing the ranks of the RSPA. A few years ago, we started keeping stats.

As a fan of Major League Baseball, I'm obsessed with stats. Ask me who was the first Jay to hit .300, smack 30 homers and drive in 100 RBIs in a season and I have the answers. I can tell you who recorded the first 20 win season, who hit our first all-star game hit and who pitched our first no-hitter, hit for the cycle or won the AL MVP award. Major League Baseball and statistics are a marriage made in heaven. When it comes to your summertime slo-pitch team, I've always been a great deal less sure.

I opened this matter up to debate at the beginning of the year, and the general consensus was that keeping stats was a good thing. Agreeing to satisfy the general will, I've been happily recording our batting statistics on our official page and I'll continue to do so. Following our fifth game of the season, however, I had an epiphany.

We are not professional ball players. In fact, we pay to play in this league. When you pay to play there is only one objective. We're playing to have fun. That's not to say we're not playing to win, we're definitely playing to win as winning enhances the fun, but we're certainly not playing for our stats, or are we? I had myself down as 2-4 in the game but when the official stats came in I was listed as 1-4. The mistake was mine, when I reached base the second time it was recorded as a fielder's choice. Suddenly, the difference between a fielder's choice and a single in a game of slo-pitch on a Monday night meant something more than it ever should. It meant a significant drop in the batting average.

I played Monday in a great deal of pain, playing first for all seven innings because it hurt to move and even calling for a courtesy runner for the first time in my career when I reached base in the last inning. I'm glad I played, because it was a lot of fun, and that's exactly why I play. I play for love of the game. I play to be part of a team, ideally a winning team, and I play because I've loved playing since that first game of tee-ball. I don't play to ensure my batting average stays above .500 and I've removed my stats from our page to ensure I never lose sight of this fact. If other members of Raging Storm wish to follow my lead, I'll gladly remove their stats as well.

It's time to start a revolution. I am not a number. I am a ballplayer.

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The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

A Movie ReelThe SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: 7 out of 10.

In actuality, this movie is a 5, but because it entertained me, my four year old and my one year old tonight, it's earned a bonus deuce.

I was introduced to SpongeBob in the hospital of all places. At the close of 2003, James got pneumonia and I spent five nights sleeping in a cot at St. Joseph's Health Centre. There was a little television in our room and video tapes that could be borrowed from the main nurse station. There wasn't anything decent available, but there was a few episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and when I wasn't catching a Leafs game or Canada's Junior team we watched SpongeBob. After watching these episodes a dozen times, the little SOB grew on me.

The movie is pretty much an extended episode of the show. By the hour mark, it starts to lose steam and sort of stumbles to the 90 minute mark by milking a David Hasselhoff cameo and an homage to Twisted Sister. Still, we all enjoyed all 90 minutes and that's saying something.

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The NHL is the Pearl Jam of Sports

nhlThis June 1st article by Greg Wyshynski makes the following statement.

Eddie Vedder and the boys were on top of the world in the early 1990s, and then suffered public indifference and critical blasting for the next decade. But they kept making the albums they wanted to make, and touring around in sold-out shows their true fans. Now, despite not having appeared in an MTV video since the "Ten” album, PJ has become a cult sensation on the road – "Entertainment Weekly" just did a piece on the band's massive touring success – and its latest album was well-received both critically and financially.

By being the band they want to be, Pearl Jam is relevant again. And by finally ignoring what others think it should be and where it should be seen, the NHL is starting to build that same kind of street cred.

I'm a big-time fan of both Pearl Jam and the NHL and I've never cared one iota what the public and media thought of either. My love of both is strictly based on an appreciation for the product. When Pearl Jam's sales began to fall over the past decade, I was still there spinning the discs and buying tickets to the shows. When the United States all but abandoned our national sport, I was there not giving a shit.

Pearl Jam and the NHL are indeed a lot alike. They stayed true to the trade, made the grade and in the clubs and the pubs their records were played. In the end, that has made all the difference. Spin the black circle... both of you forever more.

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SLS Submission: You Only Live Once

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "You Only Live Once" from The Strokes.

I was itching to submit the B-side unheard, but that violates a cardinal SLS rule. No song can be submitted until it's actually listened to at least once. "You Only Live Once" is another great tune from The Strokes and it will fit SLS15 like a glove.

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The Four Sisters Toppled

lightningThe four landmark smokestacks of the Lakeview Generating Station came crashing down yesterday. Known as the four sisters and located just east of Port Credit in Mississauga, these smokestacks were instantly recognizable landmarks just west of our fair city.

Watch video of their demolition and check out this Flickr photoset. Farewell, sisters.

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The Storm Lose A Game... The Storm Lose A Game

baseballIt was close, but Smoke & Mirrors came up with two runs in the last half of the last inning to squeak by us 8-7. 4-0 out of the gate, it's good to get this first loss out of the way. How's that for positive thinking?

For more on Raging Storm, visit http://www.torontomike.com/softball.html.

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Playoff Pool: Day Fifty-Three

PuckIt doesn't look good for Edmonton. It also doesn't look good for Ryan in our annual playoff pool spectacular. Stillman earned another two points and Recchi scored the big goal to put Marc up by six with three or less games to play.

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

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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. All Uncovered - The Watchmen
  2. The Beautiful American - Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington
  3. Ring of Fire - Joaquin Phoenix
  4. Breath - Pearl Jam
  5. Triad - Tool
  6. Mr. Jack - System of a Down
  7. Human Behaviour - Bjork
  8. Unexplainable Hunger - Classified
  9. Guantanamera - Wyclef Jean
  10. Dear Diary - Travis

One of my favourite songs of all time played during this shuffle. I bought The Watchmen's In The Trees because it was on sale during the Sam the Record Man clearance sale at their Jane and Bloor location and I was digging the heavily played lead single "Boneyard Tree". One spin at home and I had a new favourite cut on the album, "All Uncovered".

I still remember first catching the video for "All Uncovered" on MuchMusic. It struck the perfect tone for the song and to this day if I'm making a mix I try and sneak it on. It even found its way onto the 100 song wedding playlist I put together last month. I shared the MP3 last year but if you want to hear it drop me a line. Satisfaction guaranteed.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumKen Thomson was 82. He transformed the media empire founded by his father and became the richest person in Canada.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumMoe Drabowsky was 70. He was the prankster pitcher who delighted in putting pythons in teammates' shoes and wound up as a World Series star for the Baltimore Orioles when they won their first championship in 1966.

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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.

Canada Day is 3 weeks away & I all see is Italy, Portugal, Brazil, England, etc. flags on cars driving through T.O. Nowhere to be seen A CDN flag. to buy a Cdn. Our country has no clue about celebrating our heritage. I was in the U.S. 2-3 years ago during July 4th weekend & THEY were so proud of the Red, White & Blue. Every house was PROUD to display their flag. Canadians be proud & SHOW IT.
I guess Italy & Portugal rule for now.
Go Netherlands Go.
My CDN. flag ripples within the wind.

      anonymous

If our damn country would qualify for this damn tournament I'd be flying my damn Canadian flag on my damn car. Why can't we figure this soccer thing out? Toga is there, where the hell are we?

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Link: Musicovery

LinkMusicovery - I should warn you before you click this link that you'll likely spend a great deal of time at Musicovery sampling tunes and playing with the settings. It's a very cool interface.

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Dani California vs. Mary Jane's Last Dance

MusicI stumbled upon a discussion regarding the new Red Hot Chili Pepper song "Dani California". I don't know how I missed this, but the tune is identical to Tom Petty's "Mary Jane’s Last Dance".

Go ahead and play the two songs in your head. Or better yet, listen to this MP3. I'm sure the Peppers weren't ripping off Petty intentionally, but it's a definite copy. It's like Crazy Town's "Butterfly" vs. "Pretty Little Ditty" without the credit.

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Jesus Christ Pose

crossWhen I listed my five favourite comic strips a couple of years back, coming up with number one was easy. Lynn Johnston's "For Better Or For Worse" is the only strip I read on a daily basis and I've been doing so for as long as I can remember. A couple of times I didn't get it, but it's been consistently funny, moving and thought provoking for almost thirty years.

The oldest son, Michael, has been a character I've paid special attention to. We have the same name, are about the same age, live in the same city with a wife and two kids and both love to write. Over the past few years I've noticed a disturbing trend with Michael's character. I call it the Christification of Michael. Sure, he's a good guy, but Lynn has him evolving into a Christ-like figure of glorious holiness. Occasionally they give him a flaw, but it's always something positive such as the fact he works too hard. Usually he's acting as a saint and being worshipped by others.

Today's strip, which happens to be yesterday's stip if you read it in The Star and not online, shows Michael committing yet another grandiose act of kindness. Take a look at the second last frame. Thorns and shroud like it's the coming of the Lord. Cue the choir of angels singing Hallelujah!

I want to like Michael, but isn't one saint per family enough? Of course, it's not Michael's fault, he's just drawn that way.

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Chewbacca On Drums

mtvSure, I'm in my thirties now but I still make an effort to catch the MTV Movie Awards every year. This is the first year I actually taped it off of MTV and not MuchMusic. There's an MTV Canada now, did you know that?

I watched the first half last night and I'm still buzzed about Gnarls Barkley's performance. Yes, I like the song "Crazy" and it will be part of the SLS15 launch later this month, but that's not the reason for my natural high. Cee-Lo came out as Darth Vader, complete with mask. That's not all, there was Stormtroopers, Jedis, Imperial Officers, and, brace yourself, Chewbacca on drums. This wasn't new school Star Wars action, this was old school!

Chewbacca on drums... I ain't kidding. You can watch it here.

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"Wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me any more. At least I'm not the same me I was."
      - Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, Diarios de motocicleta

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Diarios de motocicleta

A Movie ReelDiarios de motocicleta: 8 out of 10.

Known as "The Motorcycle Diaries" in this part of the world, "Diarios de motocicleta" tells the story of Che Guevara as a young man. It's well acted, funny, charming, stunning to look at and a great story about how a student travels South America and is transformed from Ernesto Guevara de la Serna to the Che we all know from those cool tee shirts.

I wasn't bored once and I was left wanting more. That's a very good sign.

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Playoff Pool: Day Fifty-One

PuckWhoa baby, Edmonton may have just saved their season. I can't spell Markkanen but I appreciate grace under pressure when I see it. In our pool a longer series gives Ryan a better chance to come back, but he now trails by four. Marc's still-the-man with Stillman.

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

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Link: Big Spanish Castle

LinkBig Spanish Castle - Stare at the dot for 30 seconds then, without moving your eyes, move the mouse over the image.

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Mercy Mercy Me

musicOne of my favourite tunes on the new Strokes disc is "You Only Live Once". It's the next single from First Impressions of Earth and it has a B side that's intriguing the hell out of me.

The Strokes have covered Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me" with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Queens Of The Stone Age's Josh Homme. Homme will join Fabrizio Moretti on drums while Vedder and Julian Casablancas share vocals.

Mercy mercy me. I can't wait to hear this thing.

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Giving People What They Want

customEver since I started Custom's MySpace page we've stuck to sharing new, unreleased tunes. People seem to dig the new stuff, but requests for one older song have been flooding in ever since. Today, we decided to give the people what they want.

Now streaming at http://www.myspace.com/teamcustom is Custom's one and only hit thus far, "Hey Mister". Even if you haven't heard of Custom, you've probably heard this tune and might enjoy hearing it again. As someone who maintains Custom's official site and MySpace page, I can vouch for the fact "Hey Mister" continues to be a very popular song that's constantly in demand.

Enjoy "Hey Mister". The people want what the people want.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Oh Maude, the human wang is a beautiful thing."

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Mad Hot Ballroom

A Movie ReelMad Hot Ballroom: 6 out of 10.

This wasn't a bad little doc about several New York City elementary schools learning ballroom dancing and competing in a city wide dance competition, it's just that I was expecting more from it. I think I've seen so many good documentaries in the past few years that I expect each one to be life altering. Sometimes it's just a cute story about kids who learn the merengue.

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Tom Cochrane's Vocal Stunt Double

microphoneBecause it plays at the beginning of the "Toy Story 2" DVD my kids love, I've seen the trailer for the new Pixar movie "Cars" about a hundred times over the past twelve months. I was always happy to hear the song that played over top the trailer, Tom Cochrane's "Life Is A Highway". It was good to hear his voice associated with such a major project.

It turns out I was never hearing Cochrane's voice. It was his song alright, but the vocals were by a country band called Rascal Flatts. I'm sure Pixar had their reasons for going with a cover, but the Rascal Flatts version sounds exactly like Cochrane's original. They didn't change a thing, in fact, they sound like they're doing a Cochrane impersonation.

The American media constantly refers to Cochrane as a one-hit wonder. In the USA, this may be true as only "Life is a Highway" cracked the top 40, but in Canada this guy had a string of hits, both with Red Rider and as a solo artist. Off the top of my head, here are the Cochrane hits that spring to mind.

  • Lunatic Fringe
  • Boy Inside the Man
  • Victory Day
  • Big League
  • Good Times
  • Life Is a Highway
  • No Regrets
  • Sinking Like A Sunset

I'm sure I'm missing a Canadian hit or two from his earlier years and maybe a hit or two post-Mad Mad World, but these are all I can recall.

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Name That T35A08

ttcThe TTC is ordering 234 new subway cars and they're having a contest to name them. To enter, send an email to namethetrain@ttc.ca with the train name, your name, a daytime telephone number, your address, city and postal code.

I've suggested "veloCiTy" with the stylized TTC "T". Don't steal my idea!

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy most viewed Flickr photos

  1. Virgin Digital Game: Exercise your music muscle
  2. Toronto Santa Clause Parade 2004
  3. Zanta @ the 2006 St. Patrick's Day Parade
  4. Part of my life - From Google Maps - Toronto
  5. Gord and Neil

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Explain This Kiss Thing, Please

musicRock band Kiss is introducing a his-and-hers fragrance line. They've also recently launched a premium denim line and have announced plans to open the world's first KISS Coffeehouse on my birthday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "Every army needs food and drink and the KISS Army is no exception!" said Gene Simmons. "Even the non-enlisted will find our treats and java rockin' good!"

I know I've played this song before, but I don't get it at all. Will someone please explain this Kiss thing to me.

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When In Rome

soccerI was just reading about the World Cup and which teams are favoured to win, when I realized something. I’ve never played a soccer match. That’s right, I’ve never participated in a single match, not in school, not in a league and not as an adult.

Soccer is the number one participation sport in Canada and both my brothers played in recreational leagues, but I somehow missed out completely. I played tee-ball, hockey and softball, but not soccer. It's hard to believe but it's the absolute truth.

No wonder I don’t care for the sport. It’s as foreign to me as cricket and my home and native land is just as competitive in it Internationally. I don’t love the sport, but for the next few weeks I’m going to be immersed in it as it swamps Toronto. I can fight it and refuse to acknowledge it or I can dive in and enjoy.

When in Rome… Go team go!

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Re: A Homophobic Agenda

Why does this continue to be an issue that just won't go away????? Let Prime Minister Harper use some of the precious little time he has left to debate this issue.I believe that this is a no win situation for Harper if he reopens this debate. Voters will dislike it and it gives the Liberal leadership candidates a made-to-order campaign issue next election.

I read this thought provoking article the other day that that echos some of your same thoughts: Read it.

      Jill

I know Harper opened his campaign with that promise he'd introduce a free vote on the issue in Parliament. I'm guessing that was to appease the right wing bigots in his party, but I don't want my Prime Minister appeasing the right wing bigots. It's an embarrassment on the international stage. I don't get it...

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Playoff Pool: Day Forty-Eight

PuckEdmonton got shut out, but both Ryan and Marc got two and remain seperated by a mere three points. All the nation is abuzz with wonderment as to who will be victorious. Will Marc repeat? Will Ryan ride the Pronger express to a comeback victory? Stay tuned...

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

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The Cal Ripken of the RSPA

baseballI sat out last night's slo-pitch game with an injury. I pride myself on playing through anything. With the exception of a torn ACL and broken leg I suffered in a game back in 2003, I haven't missed a beat.

They sure didn't need me. We romped Zep 13-3. Kic apparently went ballistic, probably venting pent up rage from this. He hit a grand salami and a three-run blast to lead the charge. I'm hoping to play next week.

For more on Raging Storm, visit http://www.torontomike.com/softball.html.

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A Homophobic Agenda

usaI know those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but I don't really care if my house shatters and I've got a lot of stones weighing me down. Our man Harper has a rather hateful opinion of same-sex marriage but Dubya seems absolutely obsessed with it and has been desperately lobbying for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Of all the issues his country is facing these days, this is the one that gets his knickers in a knot.

Thankfully, the US Senate blocked the measure earlier today. Dubya, ever the persistent little shit, seems hell-bent on pursuing a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Why he would waste such energy on such a homophobic agenda when there's a quagmire in Iraq, an illegal immigration crisis at home and soaring energy costs is inexplicable to me.

In related news, Harper has promised to hold a free vote in Parliament this fall to learn whether MPs still support a law passed last year allowing same-sex marriages. The passing of C-38 was a moment of pride for this nation and Harper too ought to move on to more important issues. Harper and Dubya, cut from the same archaic cloth.

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Check Mate

bluejaysI still hear those ads on the radio. They feature a kid playing A.J. Burnett in chess. A.J. is ultra competitive, mentioning his no-hitter and fastball. The ad complements the numerous print ads I've seen featuring Burnett, the expensive free agent signed last December by the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was an exciting signing and worthy of such an agressive marketing campaign, but there is one small problem. A.J. doesn't play. Thus far in 2006 he's pitched 10 innings over two games, going 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA. Like every other Jays fan I'm hopeful he'll come off the disabled list and play well down the stretch, but I have that sinking feeling in my stomach that makes me recall Bill Caudill. We're paying this guy $55-million US over five-years and he doesn't play.

At least he can beat kids at chess. That's gotta count for something.

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Counting Down to SLS15

slsI blinked and we were a week into June. How the hell did that happen? As you know, we finalize each edition of SLS at the end of June and December. That means we're only a couple of weeks away from releasing the final track listing for SLS15.

In the olden days, each edition of SLS was a hypothetical audio CD, and that meant we were limited to 80 minutes per edition. We're no longer technically married to such a cap, having moved away from audio CDs some time ago, but old habits die hard and we continue to respect this 80 minute constraint. If nothing else, it keeps us honest and prevents things from spiralling out of control. Here's how our 80 minutes of the best new rock of the last six months looks thus far.

  • I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor - Arctic Monkeys
  • Banquet - Bloc Party
  • 7/4 (Shoreline) - Broken Social Scene
  • Crooked Teeth - Death Cab For Cutie
  • Blood On Our Hands - Death From Above 1979
  • The Bridge - Elliott Brood
  • The Fallen - Franz Ferdinand
  • Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
  • Cash Machine - Hard-Fi
  • Poster of a Girl - Metric
  • Dead Flowers - The Miniatures
  • Use It - The New Pornographers
  • World Wide Suicide - Pearl Jam
  • Steady As She Goes - The Raconteurs
  • Dani California - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Rock and Roll Queen - The Subways
  • Lonely Day - System of a Down
  • I'll Believe In Anything - Wolf Parade
  • Woman - Wolfmother
  • Gold Lion - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

There's still time to influence the outcome of SLS15 so submit a tune or comment on a previous submitted one. The SLS tradition continues.

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The Marks of the Beast

devilIn recognition of today's date, I thought it appropriate to review the ten best "devil" songs, ever! Remember, the Devil is in the details.

  1. Me and the Devil's Blues - Robert Johnson
    Could any other song be #1? This guy sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for guitar greatness. That, my friends, is commitment to your craft. As a bonus for that soul, RJ gets the #1 slot.
  2. Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones
    I'm not a Stones fan, but even I have to admit this is a great tune. Please allow me to introduce myself...
  3. The Devil Went Down to Georgia - The Charlie Daniels
    Satan himself goes to Georgia to challenge a cocky young fiddler. There's a show down and the Devil is out one solid gold fiddle. At least Daniels makes my top ten.
  4. Devil's Haircut - Beck
    Bloody groovy track, mate. Hell, Odelay just gets better with age. Maybe this dude sold his soul to Lucifer.
  5. Runnin' With the Devil - Van Halen
    No-brainer.
  6. The Devil's Workday - Modest Mouse
    With horns like this you know Beelzebub is involved. This song is good news for people who like bad news.
  7. The Devil in the Kitchen - Ashley MacIsaac
    I've always loved this track. It's manic fiddling. Hey, maybe this is the dude in Georgia who scored the gold fiddle. It suddenly all makes so much sense...
  8. Devil Inside - INXS
    You can thank me for the fact this tune will now be dancing around in your head for the remainder of the day.
  9. Lil' Devil - The Cult
    If you took a poll in my high school back in 1991 to learn the most popular band of the day, I'm confident The Cult would win. The grip these guys had on my wannabe hipster classmates was impressive. It's as if they enlisted the help of a stronger, darker power...
  10. Shout At the Devil - Motley Crue
    Not my favourite Crue tune, but with themes this Satanic they deserved to squeak into the top ten.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBilly Preston was 59. He was a soul musician who collaborated with some of the greatest names in the music industry, including The Beatles, Sam Cooke, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Clapton, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, George Harrison, The Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones.

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6.6.6

calendarWoah. Check out today's date. 06/06/06, or 6.6.6, as I prefer.

The Number of the Beast!

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Playoff Pool: Day Forty-Six

PuckI'm still shocked Edmonton blew that game. With Conklin between the pipes, I no longer think the Oilers will win this series. The turn of events last night were dramatic.

In our pool, both Ryan and Marc came away with two points so they're still separated by three. When a big trade goes down, you can usually determine the winner by identifying which team got the best player. In the Joe Thornton trade, it was an easy win for San Jose. In the Doug Gilmour trade, we got the better of Calgary. In the same vein, I feel Ryan will win the pool because he owns the best player of the four shared by himself and Marc. In fact, Chris Pronger is probably the best player on either team, and that gives Ry the edge.

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

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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. Crooked Nigga Too - 2Pac
  2. Ch-Check It Out - Beastie Boys
  3. Them Bones - Alice In Chains
  4. Coruroy - Pearl Jam
  5. Let It Grow - Eric Clapton
  6. Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
  7. Deep - Pearl Jam
  8. If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot
  9. Figure 8 - Trust Company
  10. Steppin' To The A.M. - 3rd Bass

I have a trustworthy friend who swears he was in the room when Gordon Lightfoot signed his first record contract. This event apperently took place at a downtown club after Lightfoot performed. I'm not sure I believe it, but I'm happy to give him the benefit of the doubt and it's a cool story regardless.

To my ears, nothing is more Canadian than that sweet tone of Lightfoot's voice telling a tale to music. My favourite Lightfoot tune is probably "Early Mornin' Rain", but when it comes to pure Canadiana, nothing beats "Canadian Railroad Trilogy". Is there a more Canadian song?

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Hurry Up And Wait

medicalAfter a restless night of the most severe back pain I've ever experienced, I decided at 5:00 this morning to visit St. Joseph's Health Centre. At the very least I figured they could rule out anything serious and prescribe some heavy duty pain killers. Even in the very early morning, a visit to the hospital is a series of waits.

Wait #1: Triage Nurse - Upon arrival, you've got to check in. I was third in line which made this wait bearable. If you show up with something clearly life threatening, you get to move to the front of this line!

Wait #2: Registration - After checking in with the triage nurse, you get to sit down for a while and wait to be called by the registration desk. This was only a half hour wait, but keep in mind it was really early on a Monday morning. On the bright side, they had a TV in this room and they were airing live action from the French Open.

Wait #3: Ambulatory - Here you leave your chart and sit down for an hour or two. Luckily, there's a TV in this area airing CBC Newsworld. 60% of the broadcast was about the terrorist bust this weekend and 35% was about the Stanley Cup final kicking off tonight. The other 5% was the weather forecast. This wait is to see a nurse, not an actual doctor.

Wait #4: The Doctor - After being reviewed by a nurse in a little room I was actually sent to a different little room to wait for a doctor. I'm now in my fifth waiting location and about three hours into my hospital stay.

Wait #5: Blood Work - After finally seeing a doctor I was asked to wait for another nurse who would take my blood. In the meantime, I'm asked to give a urine sample.

Wait #6: X-Ray - After giving up a couple of bodily fluids it was time for an x-ray. This wait takes place in the same place as wait #3 which means more news about the terror arrests, more shots of the CN Tower, TSX and Peace Tower and more discussions with police officers, RCMP and Muslim community leaders.

Wait #7: Results - This was supposed to be the last wait. I was back in front of CBC Newsworld awaiting word from the doctor regarding my urine, blood and x-ray. From what I could tell, they were looking for something related to my kidneys which could explain the back pain. The next time my name is called, I'd be done... or so I thought.

Wait #8: Results II - They called my name after wait #7 and told me they needed more blood. Did they lose the original vial? Were they double checking because I tested positive for something serious? Why were they tapping my poor veins for more juice? I was afraid to ask and just did what I was told like a good Canadian boy.

Wait #7 and #8 took a couple of hours combined but in the end, about five hours after I arrived and eight waits later, I was given a prescription for codeine and told to rest my back for a while and time would heal my wound. When I decided this morning to visit the hospital, that was really all I was hoping for. When they test your urine, blood and review your x-rays and find nothing out of the ordinary, that's a good thing. Sucking back codeine like it's candy reduces the sharp pain to a dull ache and a week without ball won't kill me.

This day had eight waits.

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Crazy Songs

musicIn addition to Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", there have been other "crazy" songs. Here are some in my collection.

  • Crazy - Aerosmith
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
  • Somewhere Down The Crazy River - Robbie Robertson
  • Crazy Tonight = Strong Teeth - The Kleptones
  • She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
  • The Return of the Crazy One - Digital Underground
  • Crazy He Calls Me - Billie Holiday
  • Crazy - Kenny Rogers
  • Crazy - Willie Nelson
  • Crazy Crazy Nights - Kiss
  • Crazy Mary - Pearl Jam
  • Stone Crazy - Buddy Guy
  • Crazy With The Blues - Peetie Wheatstraw
  • Crazy Love - Ray Charles
  • Let's Go Crazy - Prince
  • Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd
  • Crazy Love - Paul Simon
  • Crazy Babies- Ozzy Osbourne
  • Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
  • Stone Cold Crazy - Metallica
  • Gone Crazy - Marcy Playground
  • Am I Going Crazy - Korn
  • Crazy Heart - Hank Williams
  • You're Crazy - Guns 'N Roses
  • Crazy In Love - Eminem
  • My Dad's Gone Crazy - Eminem
  • Crazy Talk - Chiliwack
  • Crazy In Love - Beyonce
  • Crazy - Barenaked Ladies
  • Crazy Love - Adam Sandler

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SLS Submission: Crazy

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Crazy" from Gnarls Barkley.

I'm trying not to make snap decisions these days. In the past, I'd hear a tune I totally dug and I'd submit it for SLS consideration that day. Now, I try and sit on it for bit, giving tunes multiple listens before making such a decision.

After about 30 listens, I've decided "Crazy" is SLS worthy. It's different, funky and fun. There's room on SLS15 for different, funky and fun, right?

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Alfred Finley, 1919 - 2006

bereavementLast week, at the age of 86, Al passed away. I first shared my memories of Al on the 60th anniversary of D-Day. In the mid 90s, when I was putting in 1.5 years as a McEmployee at the Runnymede and Bloor location, Al came in daily for a coffee, burger and chat.

In July of 2004, I wrote about Al once more after reading about his horrid living conditions. He lived in a room less than 100 square feet and without running water. He cleaned himself with a sponge and a basin and used a ceramic bucket for a toilet. Later that year, the Globe and Mail ran an article questioning Al's World War II claims. This angered many who felt Al was living a lie. I didn't feel anger, as I wrote at the time, he did serve in World War II and he did lose a limb. He defined himself as a veteran and made up stories about where he served and who he served with in order to validate his existence. The fact Al felt he had to do this was not deplorable but pitiable.

Rest in peace, Al. We won't forget.

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To Sweep Or Not To Sweep?

bluejaysWhen Roy Halladay improved his Cy Young season's record to 7-1 yesterday, the Blue Jays put themselves in position to sweep the series against the Devil Rays today. Don't bet on it.

This is the ninth time this season we've been in position to sweep a series and thus far we're 0-8. Despite a 5.11 ERA, Gustavo Chacin is 6-1 on the seaon and he has the ball this afternoon. We're 31-23, only two games behind the division-leading New York Yankees. It looks like we might have to win this division to make the post season because Detroit's having a monster year and they share a division with the White Sox.

Let's sweep this thing.

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different... Now... where was I?"
      - Leonard Shelby, Memento

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Too Close For Comfort

newspaperAll day long I've been digesting the news that 17 suspected terrorists were arrested here in Toronto accused of obtaining three times the amount of explosives used in the Oklahoma City bombing. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested the suspects on terrorism charges including plotting attacks with explosives on Canadian targets. According to today's Star, the suspects attended a terrorist training camp north of Toronto and had plotted to attack the Canadian spy agency's downtown Toronto office, among other targets in Ontario.

Yikes. Three tons of ammonium nitrate and "a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaida". I keep thinking back to that hit-list Osama bin Laden ran off. It included the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia and Canada. Of those five nations, only Canada has yet to be attacked. Many have said an attack against Canada is imminent. Toronto is the most likely target.

These 17 arrests were the result of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, federal agencies such as the Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and provincial and municipal police services working in unison. It's good to see these groups working together to prevent these attacks, forming an alliance to help defeat the dark side. Perhaps such synergy with sufficient preemptive intelligence and due dilligence will thwart future attacks, ensuring the inevitable never materializes? We can only hope and pray.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

An update on the hamster I found

I got home from work last night looking forward to going out to get my new little friend some things. I checked on him and he was sleeping which hamsters do a lot of. They’re also nocturnal, but he hadn't been that active at night. I cut up some carrot and apple and put it in a dish in his cage. I thought his mouth looked more open than usual and his skin more purple than pink. I woke him up and he started stumbling around his cage. I took him out and he started gasping for air. I tried to revive him but he just got worse. He started to get very limp and eventually expired in my hands.

R.I.P. little one.

      Annemarie

If I were writing this trilogy, I'd conclude the final chapter with you buying a healthy hamster and falling in love all over again. The joy this hamster brings you would mend the wounds from your lost dog and expired dumpster hamster. Then, I'd release the three movies over a period of ten years and watch the dough roll in. Stuffed hamster toys would make a great treat of the week at McD's!

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumVince Welnick was 55. He took over as the Grateful Dead's keyboard player in 1990 after a succession of predecessors met untimely deaths.

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A Simple Twist of Fate

mlbTime sure does fly. It was almost ten years ago that 12 year old Jeffrey Maier interfered with a deep fly ball hit by Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Had Maier not deflected the ball, Oriole outfielder Tony Tarasco would have made the catch and Baltimore would have won game one of the 1996 American League Championship Series. The rest, as they say, is history.

Oriole fans have cursed the name Jeffrey Maier ever since. In a very interesting twist of fate, Maier is now 22 years old and a first-team all-NESCAC selection at Wesleyan University. He's Wesleyan's career hits leader and hoping to be drafted in next week's Major League Baseball amateur draft. This is where things get interesting.

The Washington Post reports that Baltimore is considering drafting Maier. Orioles owner Peter Angelos said "I wouldn't be at all opposed to [drafting Maier]. In fact, I'd say it's a very interesting development. You can say the Orioles are very seriously considering him. I know this much: I was at that game, and he certainly did seem to be a heck of an outfielder. Sure, we'd take him. In fact, I like the idea more and more, the more I think about it."

What's next? The Cubs drafting Steve Bartman?

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"You can't keep blaming yourself, Marge. Just blame yourself once and get on with life."

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James' First Argos Game

argosThis game had nothing to do with the final score. It honestly didn't matter. This was James' first football game and the first time Ricky Williams touched the ball in a game as a Toronto Argonaut.

Williams only played one quarter and didn't have a single solid rush, but being there for his Argo debut was something special. The last Argo game I attended was Pinball's last game as a player so it's fitting I return to witness Williams' first. As games go, it was a dog with fleas, but that didn't matter. The real fun began after the game concluded.

Fans are invited onto the field after all home Argonaut games. James and I waited patiently for the go ahead and ran that field like we had just won the Grey Cup. James was literally rolling around on the turf as I snapped picture after picture. Soon, the players began taking the field to meet and greet fans and sign autographs. I said hi to Eric Crouch and others while keeping a look out for #27.

I honestly didn't think he'd come out to meet us, assuming he was too popular and it might be a security risk or something. Then, he appeared. Ricky Williams began making his way along the barricade signing everything presented to him. I stood six feet away from him for ten minutes, holding James and just taking in everything Williams' said and did. He was totally patient and way nicer than he had to be, and then I found myself side by side with him looking him in the eye. I wasn't even thinking about getting an autograph, I just wanted to snap a picture of him and say hi. I ended up saying three words to him. "Welcome to Toronto".

It was surreal. I saw Ricky Williams' first play as an Argo, his first quarter of action and I got to meet him. At St. George station, way past his bedtime, James fell asleep in my arms and I carried him the rest of the way home. We just got in and I'm still buzzed. Tonight, the score didn't matter one iota. This was about something better.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Conn Smythe Trophy winners

  1. Wayne Gretzky
  2. Steve Yzerman
  3. Mario Lemieux
  4. Bobby Orr
  5. Joe Nieuwendyk

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Link: Adtunes.com

LinkAdtunes.com - If you've ever heard a song in a television commercial, film trailer, movie, tv show or video games and wondered what it was, this is where you go. The answer you're looking for is probably in the forums.

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It's That Time Again

soccerIt's that time again when otherwise proud Canadians delve into their family tree until they hit a country represented in the World Cup. We all know the drill. Checking the schedule you know which areas in the GTA to avoid on which days. It all gets underway a week from today.

I delved into my family tree and smashed into Ireland, but they aren't there. Then, reaching as far as I can, I came up with The Netherlands. It's so far a reach, I don't have any passion for the orange, but I don't really have any passion for the sport so it probably doesn't matter.

I always wondered by The Netherlands was sometimes referred to as Holland, so I just looked it up. Holland only represents two of the country's twelve provinces and the fact I didn't know that is proof of how Dutch I am. I might just throw my support behind Côte d'Ivoire because their flag looks awfully similar to the Irish flag.

Who am I kidding? I'll be rooting for the teams that will cause the least amount of traffic headache in Toronto.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

This past Monday, May 29th, after a trip to the local Rogers Video store to return some movies my boyfriend and I had rented ("Big Fish" being one of them) by the 11:00 p.m. deadline, we returned shortly after and were about to go in my building when I saw something by the dumpster. I stood near the door while my boyfriend went to check it out and said it was a hamster cage. I said I guessed the hamster had died. My boyfriend asked me if I wanted the cage and I gave him a look that said 'what am I going to do with a hamster cage?'. Having not owned a hamster since I was a little girl and having experienced the passing of my adopted 10-year old American Cocker Spaniel not even 6 weeks ago, I intended my 10-year old Peachface Lovebird to be my only pet. My boyfriend and I were about to head back in the building when I decided to take a look at the hamster cage myself. I leaned down and thought I saw two baby hamsters inside, but it was only one adult hamster, which I assumed was dead. My boyfriend picked up the cage so we could get a closer look, the bottom dropped out and the hamster fell out onto the ground very much alive. It had been curled up sleeping. My boyfriend and I couldn't believe our eyes or comprehend how someone could leave such a defenseless animal out there like that, in the heat no less. I was amazed but relieved there was food and water for it. My boyfriend picked up the poor little guy, put him back in his cage and I carried him up to my apartment. I composed a note to post to the person(s) responsible. I said that there are animal rescue groups/shelters/humane societies for such things and they should be ashamed. It's hard to know some people don't care about animals, abandon their pets so easily and think they are disposable (literally). They don't understand the importance of responsible pet ownership and don't deserve to have them.

      Annmarie

Your glass is half empty. You scored a free hamster!

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Playoff Pool: Day Forty-Two

PuckThat was a pretty exciting game seven. When Buffalo scored at the end of the second period, I thought they were going to pull off the upset and overcome their injuries. If Edmonton is the city of Champions, Buffalo is the city of losers. The Bills are 0-4 in Super Bowls and the Sabres are 0-2 in Stanley Cup finals. I wanted them to take a third crack at the cup.

In our pool, this sets up an intriguing finish. Marc currently leads Ryan by three points and both have two players remaining. Ryan's two have thus far combined for 25 points while Marc's two have combined for 29 points. I'm forseeing a victory for the Oilers and Ryan has Chris Pronger so I'm predicting a photo finish in our pool.

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

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Stealing the 2004 Election

usaI just read a very interesting Rolling Stone article from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Here's an excerpt.

Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations. A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states, was discovered shredding Democratic registrations. In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes, malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots. Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

It's a compelling argument and well supported by trustworthy citations. The 350,000 voters in Ohio alone who were prevented from casting ballots or having their votes counted would have put John Kerry in the White House.

My prediction from that day was wrong, but maybe it was right? I had the Electoral College votes going to Kerry by a whisker. Little did I know Dubya and his Republican cronies were gonna steal the sucker. I hate the bastard.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Hey Booner I'm gonna need your help and the help of your readers on this one.

Earlier today at about 4:45pm at a Petro Canada gas station at Islington and Dixon I was assaulted. Another driver decided to pull up behind and wait for my pump, (while others were not in use). I was on a very important telephone call. As I signalled the driver to pull up to another station, he began verbally insulting me with use of profanity. This then led to a disagreement when I got out of my car to pump gas, he then went to pay for his gas and returned. After geting into his car he threw a Tim Horton's coffee and my dashboard and then hurrily drove off. I collected his license plate and thought that the police should get involved in this matter. To my surprise after I reported the incident to the police, they asked if I was injured to which I replied "no," then if the car was damaged, again "no." Then they said well there isn't anything we can do....I couldn't believe they said that! I replied with, "so I can throw anything at anyone just as long as they are not injured or if there is no damage then they get off just like that. She then told me that I can come down and file a report, but that they are really busy and it may take up to 3 hours. What are my tax dollars paying for???

So Boon, and all of your readers, if you ever see a White Dodge Chrysler with the license plate - ALAL 560 throw something at it, because as long as there is no damage, it's okay......unbelievable!

      Mike Kic

That sucks, dude. I know that Petro Canada and I'm in that area often. If I see ALAL 560 I'll totally throw something at the guy. I won't hurt him and I won't damage his Dodge, but I will exact revenge.

Remember, revenge is a dish best served cold. Maybe I'll throw a slurpee at him.

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Leaf Math

leafsOur beloved Toronto Maple Leafs agreed to a five-year deal with defenceman Bryan McCabe yesterday. The deal is worth between $5.5 million US and $6 million per year. The Star did some Leaf math for the 2006/2007 season, and the numbers don't equal a Stanley Cup parade on Yonge Street next June.

The Leafs have $26.1 million (all figures U.S.) tied up in 13 players for the 2006-07 season. Part of that is a $1.5 million buyout expected to be exercised on G Ed Belfour.

They have $16.05 million tied up on three players - Mats Sundin, Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle.

The expected payroll ceiling for next season is between $43 million and $45 million. Based on those figures, the Leafs could have as little as $17 million and as much as $19 million to spend on the remaining 10 players on their 23-man roster.

$17 million for 10 players means no blue chippers like Patrik Elias, Zdeno Chara or Wade Redden. I suppose you could throw $6 million at Elias, but that would mean your next nine guys will have to come in at a million or less. That means we'll have an awfully young blue line again that won't be much better than it was last year and that means another year of watching other teams compete for Lord Stanley's mug.

Upgrading the defense is essential. Jay McKee would be a nice complement to McCabe and Kaberle, but we'll need more depth than that. I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that next year will be worse than this one, and that's a frightening thought.

Go Leafs Go!

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