July 2006 Archives

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Blogging Is Social

mouseAlthough this blog has been around for almost four years, I only started accepting comments in early February. That's almost six months ago, but today a single entry received more legitimate comments than any other entry in the history of this site.

Throughout the day, well over a thousand fans of Humble Howard hit my "Humble Howard, Are You Okay?" entry from July 14. Today was the day he was expected back from vacation but instead it was announced that Mad Dog and Billie were taking over Mix 99.9 in the mornings. This prompted thousands to Google Humble Howard which led people in massive waves to that entry. We're at 56 comments and counting, blowing away all previous records.

It truly makes you appreciate this brave new world we live in. People from all over the GTA (and a few from Buffalo) awaken to realize a radio pal was off the air and one by one they hit Google in search of further details. Without a doubt, a quick entry I wrote on July 14th because of a spike in hits from people wondering if Humble Howard Glassman had left 99.9 has become the de-facto Humble Howard tribute page where people are sharing their feelings about the man, offering him and his family support and expressing to Mix 99.9 management that they are not happy. Humble himself has chimed in.

Blogging is social. There's dynamic interaction. A topic is introduced and a virtual discussion open to anyone with internet access is encouraged. Voices are heard, in hours fans conglomerate and all principles involved can follow the discourse. Aware of the relevance, more are able to find this discussion thanks to extremely high rankings in Google, such as this #1 ranking for a search on Humble Howard Glassman. In a very real sense, geography ceases to inhibit interaction and instead fuels it. Nothing is more social.

Humble Howard never got to say thanks and farewell to his audience, but now something more spectacular is possible. His audience can say thanks and farewell to him. And don't think for a moment he won't be reading every word of praise.

Now that's cool.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumAl Balding was 82. He became the first Canadian to win a PGA Tour event when he won the Mayfair Open in 1955.

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When Music Television Mattered

musicI don't know where Bradenton is, but the Bradenton Herald ran an interesting editorial piece entitled "Back when it mattered: From 1991 to '95". In this piece Wade Tatangelo ehoes a sentiment I shared in my very first blog entry back in 2002. The early to mid-1990s was the last time a genuine music lover might actually agree with the ancient ad slogan "I want my MTV", or MuchMusic as the case may be.

Here's a quote from the article.

MTV's greatest era was from 1991 to 1995. For that five-year period, the network played gritty art videos by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Radiohead, Metallica and Green Day. These were rock acts that explored real emotions and were not afriad to challenge the status quo.

As I sit here, preaching about the good old days and shaking my head at today's youth and their empty, hallow music and brainless reality television, I realize something. I am truly an adult and there will never be music as good as the music from my teens. Now excuse me as I go hunting for my nose hair trimmer and yell at the neighbour's kid for playing that damn Nelly too loud. Argh.

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When Celebrities Implode

lightningI've always sort of liked Mel Gibson. The Lethal Weapons were fun, Braveheart was fantastic and even movies like Ransom, Payback and Signs were pretty good. Then, Mel went all Passion of the Christ on me and I crept away frightened and worried.

On Friday, Gibson was arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies in Malibu. He allegedly flew into an anti-Semetic tirade, making the following statements. Remember, these words in the blue are quotes attributed to Mel and bear no resemblance to my personal opinions.

My life is fucked... You mother fucker. I'm going to fuck you... Fucking Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?

Whoa. When "The Passion of the Christ" was released, I remember hearing about the underlying anti-Semetic tone and how Gibson's father denied the Holocaust. After Friday's outburst, can Mel ever again be that universally beloved actor who brings in the box office while appealing to both male and female fans? This wasn't an implosion, it was career suicide.

Of course, Tom Cruise is nuts and he's still opening movies. With tearful public apologies and references to his battle with alcohol addiction, there may be hope for Mel yet. Look for him to cry on Oprah in early September.

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Link: The Simpsons Maker

LinkThe Simpsons Maker - Build yourself a Simpsons character in your own image. Here's me. It's not quite as accurate as my South Park image. Doh!

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Not Carl Lewis, But...

needleAll Canadians of a certain age remember that sky high feeling in 1988 followed shortly by that disappointing plummet. I wrote about it last June. Ben Johnson went to Seoul and beat Carl Lewis, won the Gold medal in the 100m and set a new world record time of 9.79. The euphoria didn't last long as Big Ben tested positive for steroids and lost both the medal and the record.

Eighteen years later and an American sprint champion and record holder may suffer a similar fall from grace. Justin Gatlin, the world and Olympic 100m champion who shares the world record of 9.77 seconds with Asafa Powell, will appear before a United States Anti-Doping Agency hearing after failing a drugs test for testosterone. He'll get a lifetime ban if he's found guilty of doping.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have little doubt everyone in that 100m final in Seoul was cheating, but Ben got caught and he deserved what he got. Lewis somehow fooled the testers and managed to elude a similar fate. Lewis either got lucky or had smarter friends in higher places with lower morals.

It's not Carl Lewis, but another American 100m champion is going down, and there's a shallow, symbolic victory in there somewhere for Ben and each and every one of us. Sweet schadenfreude.

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Quote of the Week

Quotes"It's designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything is new again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains comes, it stops, and leaves you to face the fall alone."
      - A. Bartlett Giamatti

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She's Two!

birthdayHow can it be that my little girl turns two years old today. I remember watching her birth so recently. I remember those exciting days when she started to walk, began to talk and actually grew hair. She started off so small, a little lump you could literally hold in the palm of your hand. Her growth was so gradual, I hardly realized the transformation until I revisited those precious photos I took of her first months on this earth. Today, my Michelle is two, whether I believe it or not.

birthThis was Michelle on July 29, 2004. Throughout your life, there are days that you never forget. Some are bad, some are good. This was a very good day that I can recount with delicate precision as if it was yesterday.

Here's a crash course on what transpired during those crazy beautiful days in July 2004.

1st BirthdayThis is Michelle days after her first birthday. She was always ahead of the curve. Referencing this update, I can tell you she was walking and talking, well on her way to becoming an actual person. In the weeks before her first birthday, she even grew some hair.

In the coming months she'd start questioning things, taught me a thing or two and forced me to look up the meaning of the word "joy". It was a very good year, full of exciting milestones and without a single dull moment.

birthdayThis is Michelle last weekend. Today, she's an energetic, courageous little spark plug. When we go to the park, she heads straight for the big slide and doesn't need any help climbing up or sliding down. She strings together complete sentences and can converse on the phone. She has a great sense of humour, loves life and her big brother who's always looking out for her. In a word, she's amazing.

And now she's two. Happy Birthday sweetie. Thank you for curing all that ails with a flash of those big blue eyes, a big hug and a kiss. Daddy's very proud of his little girl. Daddy's very lucky.

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A Sweet Sweep

RSAre you interested in a challenge? Try and go the day without using your left thumb. Late in the second game of our double header sweep last night at Diamond Beach, I jammed the thumb in my catching hand into the shoulder of a charging base runner at second base. I figure it just needs some time, but last night I couldn't unbutton my jersey with the hand and today I couldn't open a zip lock bag. You should have seen me trying to change my daughter's diaper this morning. If there are any medical professionals out there, please advise. Do I just wait it out? Could it be broken? Will I ever have the use of my thumb again?

As for the games, it was a unique double header because we faced two different opponents. In game one, we absolutely dominated. It was 18-2 but we could have won by more. In game two, the first three opposing batters to the plate scored, and we knew we were in for a game. Our defense was awesome and some timely hitting bailed us out. A sweet sweep is worth a sore thumb.

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

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Good bye, Lisa. Remember me as I am: Filled with murderous rage!"

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Pretty in Pink

leafsIt's official. Nothing is sacred.

I just read that Reebok will be launching "predominantly pink, female-friendly sweaters for each of the NHL's 30 teams". For the Leafs, that means a white sweater with pink striping patterns, logo, numbers and letters. No, there won't be a stich of blue in there.

Lord, have mercy.

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The New Dream Team?

basketballThe world basketball championships take place next month in Japan. USA Today decided to compare the American team with the Dream Team from 1992. If we're to believe USA Today, USA basketball is in great shape, because the roster is just about as good as the team that was untouchable in Barcelona.

Dwyane Wade? Sure he's as good as Michael Jordan. LeBron James? He's Magic Johnson, no doubt about it. Gilbert Arenas? Without hesitation, he's your Clyde Drexler. Chris Paul? He's John Stockton, didn't you know that? Joe Johnson? Why, he's as good as Larry Bird. Heck, even our very own Chris Bosh is labelled the new David Robinson. That's awesome!

I'm old enough to remember the 1992 Dream Team, but apparently USA Today isn't. Except for Christian Laettner and maybe Chris Mullin, every member of that team is a Hall of Famer. As amazing as Wade is, he's not Jordan. As promising as James is, he's not yet Magic. The other comparisons are just plain silly.

I love good comedic writing.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Samuel L. Jackson movies

  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. Goodfellas
  3. Do the Right Thing
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

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Who's On First?

starwarsI've mentioned Dr. Demento before. I used to listen to his radio show on Sunday nights, and one of my favourite bits was "Who's On First?" from Abbott and Costello.

The entire skit is now on YouTube. It's as good as ever. Here's the transcript if you'd rather read than watch. If you want a fresh spin, check out the version I showed my son. They call it, "Who's On Force?".

In a piece of useless information that fascinates me for some reason, Canada's first ever all comedy radio channel CFHA in Saint John, New Brunswick chose this routine as the first sketch aired on their station. Now ya know.

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Sometimes, Elton John Lies

tvIn Elton John's "The One", he sings: "And all I ever needed was the one". Sometimes, Elton John lies. ABC has mercifully cancelled "The One", the George Stroumboulopoulos reality show that was the lowest rated series debut in network history.

No doubt, this is one call George wishes he didn't answer. You can also bet CBC will alter plans to air a Canadian edition of this flop. I guess that's why they call it the blues.

There's enough junk in the world. We don't need another "One".

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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.

Have you ever had a situation whereby you thought you had a close friend(s) & when you needed him or her they weren't there.

Such is the case with myself with 2 very close friends & their families the last year with deaths in my Immediate family & they weren't their for support. Feeble excuses.

I heard Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan) on the way home from work & it hit the nail on the head. The lyrics opened my eyes.

Listen to the words - Do I forward these lyrics to these people.

I'm debating. My heart or my head?

      dale

It's funny, but I've been thinking similar thoughts lately. You won't know who's a real friend until you're in trouble. Fair-weather friends are a dime a dozen. A true friend through the rough patches is a far rarer gem.

In regards to your question, the lyrics are spot on, but I wouldn't send them. They've done you a favour. Now you let sleeping dogs lie.

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Weekly MP3: The Good In Everyone

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

Sloan - The Good In Everyone
At 2:17, this is one of those tunes you hear heading into a news update. There's only a couple of minutes to burn and you've only got a few options.

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The Day I Stopped Trusting Siskel and Ebert

movies"Grosse Pointe Blank" was released in 1997. It was a very cool John Cusack vehicle that had him attending his ten-year high school reunion party and had us revisiting some great 80s tunes. "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" was also released in 1997. It too had a couple of women going to their high school reunion where 80s songs rule the day. For obvious reasons, I've always associated these movies with one another. Oh yeah, one of these movies I consider brilliant while the other I consider brain dead. Watch these two back-to back and you'll truly see the difference between great and hate.

In 1997, my go to guys for movie reviews were Siskel and Ebert. I'd watch their little syndicated show that always aired at a strange time, and I'd always be interested in whether the thumbs were up or down. I trusted these two and usually agreed with them. In 1997, that ended.

Siskel and Ebert gave "Grosse Pointe Blank" two thumbs down and then gave "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" two thumbs up. I couldn't believe it then and I still don't believe it, but I saw it with my own two eyes and know this to be fact. I was shocked by the fact they didn't like "Grosse Pointe Blank" but I was flabbergasted by the fact they actually liked "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion".

In 1997 I learned even the great Siskel and Ebert could get it way wrong. In 1997 they totally blew it. Like, gag me with a spoon!

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Proof

A Movie ReelProof: 7 out of 10.

When Taryn asked me if I was interested in watching "Proof" with her, I had no recollection of the film ever being released. I guess I just missed it. I popped over to IMDB.com to make sure it was a worthwhile way to spend 90 minutes. I saw it was directed by John Madden, so I gave it a go.

It was a neat little flick. I wasn't bored and that's pretty much all I ask. Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis and Jake Gyllenhaal are all good in it and there's a little of "A Brilliant Mind" and "Good Will Hunting" thrown in the mix to keep things interesting.

Bonus points: The title reminds me of this quote!

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBill Long was 88. He was one of the Ontario Hockey League's legendary coaches, coaching the London Knights for 12 years and compiling a 275-214-50 record.

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In Case You Missed It

radioThis morning I heard from Humble Howard Glassman. He visited this entry in which I asked if he was okay. You'll find his comments on that page, including a sneak peak of a column he just wrote for the National Post.

Just in case you missed it...

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Chick Flicks

moviesChicks love chick flicks. This is a fact. If there's a guy and a girl and a romantic story of love's triumpth over adversity, my wife and her girlfriends are so there. I'm not a chick, so it's no surprise I don't get the allure. Sure, there are some good chick flicks, but for the most part they're sappy, boring fluff pieces.

According to O Magazine, purveyor of all things chick, here are the ten greatest chick flicks of all time.

  • Morocco (1930)
  • Camille (1936)
  • Notorious (1946)
  • The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
  • The English Patient (1996)
  • The Women (1939)
  • Julia (1977)
  • Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
  • The Truth About Cats & Dogs
  • Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)

From Queen Oprah herself, there's your top ten. Six of those movies I've never seen, one of those movies I really, really liked (The English Patient), one of those movies was okay (Desperately Seeking Susan), one of those movies bored me to tears (The Truth About Cats & Dogs) and another was just horrible (Romy and Michele's High School Reunion). Heck, I have an entire entry brewing in me about "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion".

I'm so glad I'm not a chick.

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Dmitri Mendeleev's Ruining My Scrabble

questionmarkAs I just learned from Wikipedia, the periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular method of displaying the chemical elements, first devised in 1869 by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev. That's fine and dandy, but should these symbols be permitted in Scrabble?

Taryn says yes. In fact, she used bi the other day, the symbol for bismuth. I challenged because prefixes and abbreviations aren't allowed, but there it was, labelled a symbol. It just isn't right. The official rules don't say anything about symbols of the periodic table being illegal.

Can someone point me to something that says such symbols aren't allowed in Scrabble? I won that game anyways, but I'm still angry about it.

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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. Heart In A Cage - The Strokes
  2. Evil Deeds - Eminem
  3. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
  4. Sunday Morning Coming Down - Johnny Cash
  5. Psychedelic Bee - Sugar Ray
  6. 4U - Korn
  7. ABC - The Jackson 5
  8. You Look So Fine - Garbage
  9. Hello City - Barenaked Ladies
  10. Wish (The Lads Were Here) - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

You'll never guess who wrote Sugar Ray's "Psychedelic Bee". Howard Stern penned the track when he was eleven years old. I remember when Mark McGrath was in the studio last year he mentioned "Psychedelic Bee" was going on the Greatest Hits as a thank-you to the king of all media. Howard stood to earn about a hundred thousand bucks in royalties.

When Howard first left terrestrial radio, I had a secret way to keep listening each morning. That crack in the system was recently plugged and I find myself losing touch with the gang. What's Robin up to? What's Artie weighing in at? What does Howard think of the whole Star Jones fiasco?

As songs go, "Psychedelic Bee" isn't very good. What did you expect from an eleven year old?

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The 40 Year Old Virgin

A Movie ReelThe 40 Year Old Virgin: 6.5 out of 10.

Not bad... It was kinda cute. Steve Carell has been funnier, and it's sort of a one-trick pony. And if you ask me, that chest hair removal scene goes on way too long. C'mon guys, we got the joke in 30 seconds. It hurts a lot, right?

On the "summer of 2005 comedy scale", I'd put it slightly ahead of "Wedding Crashers".

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Link: Mysteries of Ontario

LinkMysteries of Ontario - Actually, this site, which looks like it was made in 1997, is entitled "Mysteries of Canada", but I'm focusing on the Ontario section. From Robertson screws to the Diefenbunker, there are 31 tales here about our province.

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A Bust

argosReality bites. It was May 19 when I first wrote about the prospects of Ricky Williams becoming an Argo. As both a CFL and Ricky Williams fan, I thought it was the coolest. On May 26, with it looking more and more likely this was actually going to happen, I started to dream in technicolour. Then, he finally signed and I got swept away in unparrelled Argo buzz. I attended his first game in an Argo uniform and was on top of the world when I actually got to meet Ricky after the game. I took plenty of pictures and looked fondly towards this magical season.

In the first game of the regular season, he ran for a pretty decent 96 yards but followed that up with only 14 yards against the Blue Bombers before running for 97 against the Lions. Then, things went from mediocre to worse. There was that six yard game against Winnipeg while I camped and yesterday, Ricky officially became a bust when he bust his arm against the Riders. That might be it for Ricky Williams in double blue.

Things don't always work out as drawn on the board. The buzz in this city was electric, but today we're left shaking our heads. He's a cool cat who's proven himself in the NFL, but this season in Toronto will be looked back upon with dissapointment.

I was an Argos fan before Ricky and I'll be an Argos fan after Ricky. I don't think I'll be picking up that #27 jersey, though. Maybe I'll get a #7 Eric Crouch...

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Quote of the Week

Quotes"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
      - William Shakespeare

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I'm Curious, George

tvWhen my Mr. Bergstrom took the gig at ABC to host "The One", I wondered if it was the beginning of the end of George Stroumboulopoulos' career in Canada. It may, in fact, have the opposite effect.

In the United States, Tuesday night's broadcast of "The One: Making a Music Star" was the lowest rated series debut in ABC history and the lowest ranked premiere of any reality show on any major U.S. network ever. I just read that in today's Globe & Mail, so you know it's true. Wednesday's broadcast was reportedly worse. It's clearly a dog with fleas and should keep George around a little longer. My question for Mr. Stroumboulopoulos is why? Why would an intelligent, interesting guy who hosts a cool show like "The Hour" want to host an "American Idol" clone? Does he really want to be Ryan Seacrest? Wouldn't he rather be Jon Stewart or Walter Kronkite?

Funnily enough, these craptacular ratings have forced ABC to stop repeating the two-hour Tuesday night show which means they can move back the one hour Wednesday night show to 8pm, meaning the great controversy over the moving of "The National" is over. "The National" is back, baby... and soon Georgie boy will be back, too.

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Bitchin' 80s CanCon Videos

musicCBC Radio 3 just posted a blog entry entitled Bitchin’ 1980's Canadian Music Videos. Any product of the 80s who grew up watching Video Hits, Toronto Rocks and MuchMusic will appreciate the 24 YouTube videos linked to. Platinum Blonde is there, Lee Aaron is there, Martha and the Muffins are there... twice. It's a nice collection of 80s CanCon video staples.

This also gives me another opportunity to promote my YouTube favourites, a collection of videos soaked in Canadiana. CBC Radio 3 has me thinking I should add a section for Canadian music videos, in addition to Tears Are Not Enough, already on my list. Get over there and leave any suggestions in the comments.

Now that I think of it, black cars do look better in the shade.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJack Warden was 85. He was an Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated actor who played gruff cops, coaches and soldiers in a career that spanned five decades.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Good things don't end in -eum; they end in -mania or -teria."

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Pauly Shore Is Dead

A Movie ReelPauly Shore Is Dead: 4.5 out of 10.

I have a theory. I call it my theory of relativity. I hope that title isn't taken.

My theory is that the enjoyment you get from a movie is directly related to your expectation level going into a flick. If you're not expecting much of anything but you get a bit of something, you look back upon the movie watching experience favourably. If you have lofty expectations and the movie doesn't measure up, you're dissapointed and harsh in your review.

A perfect example is my perception of "Pauly Shore Is Dead" compared to my review of "Wedding Crashers". I gave "Wedding Crashers" 5 out of 10 and here I am giving "Pauly Shore Is Dead" 4.5 out of 10. Is it really that close? The answer is no. I had high expectations for "Wedding Crashers" and felt it didn't measure up. I had no expectations for "Pauly Shore Is Dead", but found it surprisingly edible. In reality, "Wedding Crashers" was a far better and funnier movie than "Pauly Shore Is Dead", but my theory of relativity (patent pending) cannot be denied.

Besides, there was a Michael Madsen cameo, and that's pretty cool.

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Link: The fucking short version of The Big Lebowski

LinkThe fucking short version of The Big Lebowski - The F bomb x 281 = Dude.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveDream jobs

  1. That guy who guards the Stanley Cup
  2. That guy who The Hip having recording all their shows
  3. Video game tester
  4. Movie reviewer
  5. Professional blogger extraordinaire

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Dave Stieb's No-Hitter

bluejaysI've been sharing my memories of the Toronto Blue Jays, absorbed during the fanatical years of 1983-1993. Here's where I've been thus far:

Sir David was originally a prospective outfielder in the Blue Jays organization, but his future was on the mound. He remains the Blue Jays leader in all-time wins with 175 despite having pitched on some pretty bad teams in the late 70s and early 80s. He appeared in seven all-star games, getting the win in 1983 as the starter. It was the first American League victory since 1971. He also struck out 1658 batters for the Blue Jays, also a team record. I can easily argue that he was the best Blue Jays starter ever, but this tale is about his pursuit of perfection.

In 1988, no Blue Jay had ever pitched a no-hitter. On September 24, 1988, Dave Stieb had a no-hitter going for 8 2/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians. One out away from the no-hitter, Julio Franco ripped a single to deny Stieb. His next start was September 30, 1988, against the Baltimore Orioles. Remarkably, he once again had a no-hitter going for 8 2/3 innings before Jim Traber singled past Fred McGriff to break it up. The very next season, on August 4, 1989, Stieb had a perfect game going for 8 2/3 innings against the New York Yankees. This time, Roberto Kelly hit the single and appeared Stieb would never get his no-hitter. He had been remarkably close three times, and each time he ended up with a one-hit gem.

On September 2, 1990, I was working at the CNE as a Games Booth Attendant. The Jays were in Cleveland taking on the Indians at Cleveland Stadium. Checking into the office that afternoon, I asked the owner's wife for the final score. I hadn't been able to watch or hear a stitch of the game but we were in a pennant race and I was hoping to hear we'd pulled off another victory. When she told me Stieb threw a no-hitter, I smiled. He finally got it.

It remains the only no-hitter in Jays history, but it has extra value because it came after he was a mere out away three different times and he was Sir David, our first ace. He managed to play through 1992, helping us secure that first World Series title. None of it would have been possible without his scowl and slider.

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Lord Of War

A Movie ReelLord of War: 6.5 out of 10.

Let's just say, I expected worse. It was kind of neat before it sort of lost its way. There was one scene, however, that was unintentionally hilarious because it was the most forced line I've heard in a while.

Nicholas Cage is an arms dealer who brags about selling to the worst of the worst. He'll sell to anybody, it doesn't matter who they're killing. He'll sell bombs, guns and grenades to anyone except Osama Bin Laden. Selling to Bin Laden wouldn't sit right with the American theatre goers. Here's the line Yuri Orlov throws at us early in the flick. "Back then, I didn't sell to Osama Bin Laden. Not because of moral reasons, but because he was always bouncing checks."

See, Orlov is still bad, but OBL kept bouncin' them cheques. Now it's okay to like Orlov for being so bad. I feel better, do you?

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Since you like Homer Simpson's quotes so much, I have one for you which they show here on the ad for the show and cracks me up everytime I hear it. This is Homer after getting stuck in the dog enterance of their door : "Oh Why must I be so volouptous?". Haha haha, just writing it makes me laugh!

      Roshan

Homer is wise.

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This Is A Sinking Ship

bluejaysThere were fireworks before yesterday's Jays game, and that was just in the clubhouse. Apparently, Shea Hillenbrand was a "cancer" who will never play for the Blue Jays again due to "irreconcilable differences". The last straw was when Hillenbrand wrote "This is a sinking ship" on the chalkboard where batting practice times are written.

Bob Elliott's article on the situation references an incident that happened on Canada Day when Hillenbrand was taken out of the game in the seventh inning. In anger, he ripped the Canadian flag crest off the Canada Day hat the Jays wore that day. That's right, he tore off our flag, our most precious of Canadian symbols. Don't that tickle your pickle.

Hillenbrand has been designated for assignment and the Jays have 10 days to trade him or release him. John Gibbons might have got upset over the "sinking ship" statement, but it's the Canada Day incident that has me upset. Forget about releasing him, I say we ban him from the country.

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A Bunch Of Stuff

documentationI didn't have a chance to write today with work and ball, so here are a few thoughts on a Wednesday night.

  • When I moved this site to Movable Type, I introduced a sweet little plugin that displays the last seven photos I uploaded to my Flickr account in the sidebar. A good friend wrote the thing and it's great, except for one thing. When Flickr is down, as it has been all night, you can't update my site. I deleted the reference to the plugin to post this.
  • I had been wondering why a Cayman Islands radio station was so heavily promoting the fact they play The Tragically Hip. The guy who runs the station just left a comment that explains "The Cayman Islands is home to a HUGE population of Canadian ex-pats". Of course...
  • Every day dozens of people find their way to this entry about Harold Hosein. Many of the comments being left are quite sincere and heartfelt. You get the impression Hosein gave all and was let go in the most disrespectful manner. With the hits this entry about Humble Howard is getting, I wonder if there will be a similar collection of farewells and good wishes.
  • Tonight's Raging Storm slo-pitch game was awesome. We played wicked D and hit like crazy to win 17-5. I made my triumphant return to shortstop and played one hulleva game in the field. I also went 4 for 5 at the plate, but the main thing is it was damn fun. The thrill of the grass!

We will now return to our regular blogging schedule.

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Weekly MP3: Possum Kingdom

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.

Toadies - Possum Kingdom
Over on Smells Like Sour, the page for Possum Kingdom has been home to a thoroughly entertaining debate as to the meaning of the lyrics. Some swear the song is about vampires, others say it's just a ghost story, either way it's a killer tune.

No wonder it made my head banging playlist a couple of years back.

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A Game Of Inches

lightningI just read about Cristina Clayton. Camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park near Picton when a 4-month-old boy was struck by a falling tree, she moved on to another camp site northeast of Peterborough where she was killed by a falling tree during yesterday's storm. Reading about her reminded me of an incident that happend to me a couple of weekends ago.

Packing up our camp site in the pouring rain, I was taking down the tent when I heard a crash. I quickly looked over my shoulder to ensure James was okay when I saw a massive piece of tree had fallen a mere two feet from where my four-year-old son was gathering his toys. There was a few moments when I connected the dots and thought to myself "that didn't just happen, did it?" A night of heavy rain must have softened the branches in the trees above. James was oblivious to it all except he found it cool that a big branch had crash landed so close by.

They say baseball is a game of inches. Life is also a game of inches, where a couple of feet here and there can make a lifetime of difference. Ya just never know...

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumMickey Spillane was 88. He was the creator of the hardboiled detective Mike Hammer.

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Leafs Sign Mike Peca

leafsReports indicate that the Maple Leafs have signed centre Mike Peca to a one-year contract worth $2.5 million. With $42.8 million now committed to salaries, our free agent spending spree has come to an end.

It's tough to argue against this addition. He's a home town boy who has twice won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward. At a great discount based on his last year's salary, it's a nominal risk, and should we make the playoffs, he's a consistent and proven playoff work horse. It will be interesting to see how he plays with his former nemisis Darcy Tucker.

Another positive is the fact we once again have a Mike on the team. Mikael Tellqvist was never a Mike. The Leafs badly needed a Mike. Here is every Mike to suit up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Arenas or Toronto St. Patricks.

  • Mike Allison
  • Mike Blaisdell
  • Mike Bullard
  • Mike Byers
  • Mike Craig
  • Mike Eastwood
  • Mike Foligno
  • Mike Gartner
  • Mike Hudson
  • Mike Johnson
  • Mike Kaszycki
  • Mike Kennedy
  • Mike Krushelnyski
  • Mike Millar
  • Mike Neville
  • Mike Nykoluk
  • Mike Palmateer
  • Mike Pelyk
  • Mike Ridley
  • Mike Stevens
  • Mike Stothers
  • Mike Walton

From one Toronto Mike to another, welcome!

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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.

Scary stuff happening here with HEAVY rain & HIGH winds at 10:00pm. The power went out for 15 minutes 1 hour ago. Garbage day is tomorrow & recycle box's items & garbage is strewn all over our street. "Dad come in the house & don't worry about the garbage". I was almost knocked off my feet - that's how bad the winds were. The rain was worse than when freezing rain hits your face in winter. This was serious $H!+.

The lights are flickering again & the winds are picking up.

I've never seen anything like this in my 40 or so years as things were sunny & calm to lightning & thunder & HEAVY rain in less than 5 minutes.

Too much heat & humidity - things will only get worse as its only the middle of July.

As i'm writing this, the Caledon detachment of the OPP are saying through their speakers in their cars to stay indoors as they are driving through our streets now.

GTGo.

      twins from bolton

Last night at about 10:30 we lost power for about ten seconds and then it came back only to leave us again five minutes later for about twenty minutes. Looking out the window I remember noting how ominous the sky looked and enjoying nature's little light show. It sounds like Bolton got it worse than west Toronto.

'Cause it's the new mother nature taking over. It's the new splendid lady come to call. It's the new mother nature taking over. She's getting us all, she's getting us all.

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George Bell Hits Three Home Runs on Opening Day 1988

bluejaysI've been sharing my memories of the Toronto Blue Jays, absorbed during the fanatical years of 1983-1993. I started by writing about the ten home run attack in September of 1987, then recalled the day we clinched in 1985 and followed that up with memories of Roberto Alomar's playoff game tying homer against Eckersley. This time, I'm revisiting opening day, 1988.

Throughout most of the 80s, George Bell was my favourite Blue Jay. 1987 was his best season when he hit 47 homers and drove in 134 runs, becoming the first and only Blue Jay to win American League MVP honours. His 47 home runs is still a franchise record and he became the first Jay elected to start an all-star game. Who will ever forget that series at Comiskey Park when he hit two over the left field roof?

Unfortunately for this fan of #11, Bell and manager Jimy Williams never quite got along. Following his MVP season, Williams let Bell know he would primarily play DH in '88. Bell wanted to play left field, and on March 17th he refused to bat against the Red Sox in protest. Part of what I liked about Bell was his overwhelming passion, which often got the better of him. He wasn't interested in the part time duties that come with being the designated hitter. Bell was a full-time player.

Opening day was April 4th and the Jays were in Kansas City to kick things off. April 4th was Easter Monday which meant a four day weekend and no school. Our family went to Gilford, Ontario to visit my grandparents and that's where we watched this game. As was our ritual at the time, we each assumed the persona of three batters and lived precariously through them throughout the game. I, of course, had dibs on George Bell.

In four at bats Bell went deep three times off of Royals ace Bret Saberhagen. I couldn't believe the first, I was extremely excited about the second and when the third left the park I was beside myself. It was (and I believe still is) an opening day record and it was done from the DH spot. In typical George Bell fashion, his statement following the 5-3 win was "I got too many things on my mind to be happy right now". He went 5 for 5 in game two.

Bell hit 202 career home runs as a Blue Jay, but I'll never forget those three on opening day 1988. I almost overloaded the calculator realizing he was on pace for 486 homers that season. Now that woulda been something.

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Soundtrack Gems

musicA well placed piece of music in a film can alter the meaning of that song for all eternity. Try and listen to Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now" without envisioning Rocky Balboa's run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Some will think of Gord Martineau, but most will think of Rocky. Here are my favourite film songs from a life time of movie watching.

The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" from Fight Club - Shortly after that memorable scene when the building collapses, Fight Club bursts into "Where Is My Mind?" and the combination is perfectly haunting.

The Crystals' "Then he Kissed Me" from Goodfellas - One of my favourite scences in cinema is that one when Henry enters the restaurant from the kitchen and the entire scene is done in one take. This is the song that plays during this fantastic scene.

The Geto Boyz' "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster" from Office Space - This song juxtaposed with the white collar life of a cubicle warrior made my day when I first saw it. It's become the feel-good anthem of Dilberts everywhere.

-M-'s "Belleville Rendez-Vous" from Les Triplettes de Belleville - This is a great animated flick with an opening sequence set to this tune. It's catchy, jazzy fun that you'll be singing for weeks.

Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" from Saint Ralph - I've probably said enough about this one already.

Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" from Trainspotting - I could have gone with Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" or Underworld's "Born Slippy", but "Lust For Life" almost seemed to have been written for this flick. Hearing it always reminds me of what a great movie Trainspotting is.

Pearl Jam's "State Of Love And Trust" from Singles - This is another movie with several notable songs on the soundtrack, but this was a song from one of my favourite bands that seemed way too good not to appear on a studio album. How much better would Vs. have been with this sucker on it?

Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" from Almost Famous - I had never heard this song until I saw Almost Famous, an almost perfect little movie. Now, whenever I hear "Tiny Dancer", I'm back on that bus singing right along.

Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" from Do The Right Thing - This song and movie made a statement, and it's difficult to imagine one without the other. Always do the right thing.

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from Wayne's World - Aurora, Illinois was a thinly veiled Toronto, right? The sing-a-long in Wayne's shitty hatchback to this classic is classic in its own right. Let me go!

Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" from Grosse Pointe Blank - This cool flick also had a number of great tunes on the soundtrack, but none suited it better than "Blister in the Sun".

Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" from Apocalypse Now - I don't really need to explain this one, do I?

Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" from Closer - I liked the movie, but when it was over I kept hearing this song in my head. It's chilling and perfect for one of the closing scenes of "Closer".

Michael Andrews' "Mad World" from Donnie Darko - Sometimes a cover of a song is more enjoyable than the original. That's the case for me and this Tears For Fears song. Donnie Darko was a dark gem of a movie and "Mad World" sums it all up perfectly.

The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." from Teen Wolf - Okay, this is a guilty pleasure from my youth. We had Teen Wolf on tape and practically wore it out playing that last basketball game over and over again. "Surfin' U.S.A." plays while Scott as a werewolf surfs on the van and I always thought that was a pretty cool stunt to pull.

Stealers Wheels' "Stuck In The Middle" from Reservoir Dogs - This is a seriously sadistic scene that seems all the more sadistic when contrasted with this silly little Dylan-esque ditty. Try imagining this song without this scene and vice versa.

Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" from Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Sure, this list is a little heavy on the Tarantino, but for my money there is no better director. Kill Bill Vol. 1 opens with this song and Kill Bill Vol. 2 wraps up shorty after The Bride's baby guns her down. Bang bang.

Eddie Vedder's "Man Of The Hour" from Big Fish - I promised myself I wouldn't cry. This song about that man... damn, I can't do this.

Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" from Pump Up The Volume - For a fifteen year old kid, Pump Up The Volume seemed pretty cool. The guy ran a pirate radio station and said cool stuff like "All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks" and "eat your cereal with a fork and do your homework in the dark". After seeing this movie at the Humber Odeon, I felt like a changed man and Cohen's "Everybody Knows" was my theme song. Of course, all the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.

The Soggy Bottom Boys' "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother, Where Are Thou? - I don't think this movie would have been as effective without a tune you'd believe was a hit. I believe in "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" and it made a great movie greater.

Dusty Springfield's "Son Of A Preacher Man" from Pulp Fiction - We'll finish things off with a song used brilliantly in my favourite movie of all time. It's one of my ten tracks and I first heard it in this flick. I'm going to spin it right now.

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The Eric Lindros Era Ends

leafsI want to believe John Ferguson, Jr. has a plan. I really, really do. The more I see this guy in action and hear what he has to say, the less I believe that to be true. At times Ferguson seems clueless, entirely in over his head.

Let's talk about #88 for a moment, shall we? Admittedly, I've always been an Eric Lindros fan. This has been the case since he was an Oshawa General. When Mats Sundin was out with his eye injury early last season, I felt Lindros really stepped it up and carried us until his return. Unfortunately, a wrist injury limited him to just 33 games in which he scored eleven goals and added eleven assists. Lindros has always wanted to play for the Leafs and last year he took less money to do so. He wanted to re-sign with us but Ferguson did everything possible to tell Lindros he wasn't welcome back. He stayed firm on a $1 million dollar contract with zero incentives while Dallas, Los Angeles and Edmonton wooed the Big E with more money and performance bonuses under the CBA exception noted in Section 50.2 b C(2)(iii) for 400-game NHL players who'd spent at least 100 days on IR the previous season. Before agreeing to terms with the Stars, Lindros couldn't even get Ferguson to return his call. Lindros had no option but to go some place where he was actually desired.

Has Ferguson seen a list of our forwards for next season? Does he realize how far things fall at centre ice after Sundin? At $1.5 million, Lindros would have been a great bargain. Apparently, his deal with Dallas is for $1.55 million and another million in incentives. I think he's worth it. Now it's too late.

The Lindros era in Toronto is over and it was all too brief. It shouldn't have ended this way and the blame rests on the shoulders of our rudderless GM. Lord, give me faith.

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Things That Make You go Hmmmm...

mlbIt's been 28 years since this happened. Yesterday, with 15 games on the schedule, not one save was recorded.

There were ten blow out wins, a couple of ninth inning rallies, six blown saves and a couple of extra inning games, including our 7-6 win over the Mariners in 14 innings on a run-scoring single by Bengie Molina.

To put things in perspective, there were eight saves recorded Friday. It's these things that make you go hmmmm...

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Link: South Park Studio

LinkSouth Park Studio - Build yourself a South Park character in your own image. Here's me. The stubble is because I've been off work all week.

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Quote of the Week

Quotes"If you play more than two chords, you're showing off."
      - Woody Guthrie

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The Heat Is On

sunYeah, it's hot. It'll be even hotter tomorrow. This is the hottest Canadian year on record.

If you can't beat the heat, create a playlist of songs with "heat" in the title. The following songs were culled from my collection.

  • Canned Heat Blues - Sloppy Henry
  • Heat - 50 Cent
  • Heat - DMX
  • Heat of the Night - Aqua
  • In The Heat of the Night - Ray Charles
  • The Heat Is On - Glenn Frey
  • The Rhythm of the Heat - Peter Gabriel
  • White Light / White Heat - Lou Reed

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Link: Dark Side of the Rainbow

LinkDark Side of the Rainbow - For your reference, here's a cheat sheet of the coincidental events when you synchronize PInk Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon with "The Wizard of Oz". Personally, I think it's much ado about nothing, except for 19:37 in when it's a pretty cool jive.

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Link: National Film Board of Canada

LinkNational Film Board of Canada: Play films - "Fifty NFB animated shorts, including several animation classics, can be accessed directly from this section. You can search them by title, director and year of production." There are so many classics here: "Neighbours/Voisins", "The Cat Came Back", "The Sweater", "The Big Snit"...

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Alomar's Epic Homer Off Dennis Eckersley

bluejaysI've been sharing my memories of the Toronto Blue Jays, absorbed during the fanatical years of 1983-1993. I started by writing about the ten home run attack in September of 1987 and followed that up by recalling the day we clinched in 1985. This time, I'm revisiting Thanksgiving, 1992.

It wasn't really Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was Monday but my family was celebrating on Sunday, October 11th, the day game four of the ALCS was played between the Jays and Oakland Athletics. We were up two games to one in the series, but the A's jumped on us early and often in game four, and by the eighth inning we were down 6-1. We kept the television tuned into the game in the family room while our extended family carved up a turkey in the dining room. I chose the seat with the best view of the action, just in case.

We scored three runs in the eighth to give us hope. Roberto Alomar was the catalyst, leading off with a double before stealing third and coming home on Joe Carter's single. Down by two heading into the ninth, things looked bleak. Dennis Eckersley was on the mound to close things out and he was money in the bank. At least, he was money in the bank.

With all the eating and chatting going on, I was following the action with one eye, already having dealt with the liklihood we'd be tied in the series 2-2. It was a 6-1 game when we sat down to eat and the fact it was 6-4 in the ninth was just a little Thanksgiving tease. It didn't take long for the Jays to make a statement in the ninth, however, as Devon White led off with a single and took third on a Ricky Henderson error. That brought Alomar to the plate with a chance to tie things up at six. What happened next lifted our spirits but destroyed our dinner. Alomar took Eckersley deep.

I saw Alomar's hit from the dinner table. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who did, because I was the only one who reacted. I let out a loud cheer and left my seat for a spot in front of the television. I was quickly met there by my brothers and cousins who just realized that 6-1 hopeless game was now tied. There was a major pile-on as we celebrated the mortality of Eckersley and watched replay after replay of Alomar raising his arms when he realized it was out and showing Ecks up for his earlier fist pumping action.

We finally won this game on a sacrifice fly in the eleventh before losing game five in Oakland and winning large in the clinching game six at SkyDome. Prior to 1992 the Jays had played three ALCS' and lost them all. Alomar's home run brought us back from the brink and showed us we could win these series. We would never lose another.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Did you know that in Massachusetts it's legal to marry your son?"

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Humble Howard, Are You Okay?

radioAll day long I've been getting hits from people Googling Humble Howard leaves mix and other similar searches. I rank rather highly for these searches, thanks to this entry about Fred Patterson getting the boot last September. I listened to Humble & Fred every morning for years when they were on CFNY Edge 102 but I lost touch with the geeks that groove when they signed on with Mix 99.9.

All of these Google searches got me wondering if Humble Howard had jumped or was pushed from his morning slot at the station that loves Dixie Chicks and Coldplay. There is nothing on the subject at Google News Canada but a quick visit to the Mix 99.9 program schedule reveals that Steve Anthony is penciled in the 5:00 am spot. Is this simply a vacation for Humble Howard Glassman or is there a little fire amidst this smoke?

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite movies featuring George Clooney

  1. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  2. Out of Sight
  3. The Perfect Storm
  4. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut
  5. Three Kings

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Loose Change - 2nd Edition

A Movie ReelLoose Change: 7 out of 10.

I've shared my thoughts on just about every movie I've seen over the past few years. Usually it's a movie I've seen on DVD or our local movie network and once in a blue moon I actually get to a theatre to watch a flick. "Loose Change - 2nd Edition" is the first film I've ever watched solely on the world wide web.

"Loose Change" is a documentary by Dylan Avery that's been available since November 2005, but I only learned about it when I picked up Taryn's latest issue of Vanity Fair. I don't normally read Vanity Fair, but I was intrigued by the promise of "9/11 Conspiracies". The entire 81 minute doc is being shared via Google Video and can be seen at http://www.loosechange911.com/.

It's an interesting perspective on 9/11 and quite riviting. I wasn't bored for a second. Without a doubt, there's more than meets the eye when we look back on September 11, 2001. At the very least, Avery's film gets you thinking about things and questioning that which doesn't make sense.

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Turnover With A Capital "T"

raptorsWhether the Raps are headed in the right direction or not, will be decided on the court. No matter how they fare this season, nobody will be able to accuse Bryan Colangelo of sitting on his hands and fiddling while Rome burned. The man has been active with a capital "A" and we're seeing some heavy duty turnover with a capital "T".

With Anthony Parker and John Salmons joining the club and Uros Slokar, Jorge Garbajosa and P.J. Tucker expected to sign, the Raptors 15 man roster will include eight new players. Here's the possible 15:

  • Andrea Bargnani - New
  • Chris Bosh - Old
  • Jose Calderon - Old
  • T.J. Ford - New
  • Jorge Garbajosa - New
  • Joey Graham - Old
  • Kris Humphries - New
  • Darrick Martin - Old
  • Rasho Nesterovic - New
  • Anthony Parker - New
  • Morris Peterson - Old
  • P.J. Tucker - New
  • Uros Slokar - New
  • Pape Sow - Old
  • Alvin Williams - Old

When you go 27-55, change is a good thing. Even change with a capital "C".

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Speaking of Waterfall...

tvI'm not sure why, but this morning I woke up and thought of Tom Vu. Tom Vu ran informercials in the early 90s recruiting people to attend his free 90-minute seminar where he'd share the secrets he used to make millions. I loved these informercials because they always showed Vu in front of The Tom Vu Mansion or on a yacht surrounded by bikini clad babes. Here's one of his most memorable informercials.

A little googling reveals that Vu ran into legal trouble and may have spent some time behind bars. Today, he's "Tommy" Tuan Vu, professional poker player. In fact, he finished 22nd in last year's World Series of Poker.

If you're interested in his poker secrets, I'm certain he's holding a "free" seminar somewhere.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRed Buttons was 87. He was the the carrot-topped burlesque comedian who became a top star in early television and then in a dramatic role won the 1957 Oscar as supporting actor in "Sayonara."

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SLS Submission: Heaters

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS15 consideration. I submitted "Heaters" from illScarlett.

I liked "Heaters" the first time I heard it. Of course, one of my favourite discs of all time is Sublime's self-titled disc and "Heaters" sounds as if it came from that disc, so there's no wonder why I dig it. There's a definite ska influence in the rocky punk sound and it's ideal for a hot summer's day. As an added bonus, illScarlett is a local band.

Sounding like Sublime isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've been singing this tune all week.

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Blue Jays Clinch AL East Pennant in 1985

bluejaysI've been sharing my memories of the Toronto Blue Jays, absorbed during the fanatical years of 1983-1993. I started by writing about the ten home run attack in September of 1987 and this time I'm tackling the clinching win in 1985.

I thought we were going to clinch on October 4th. With our magic number at 1 for the first time ever, we were tied with the Yankees and the Terminator Tom Henke was on the mound in the ninth. I was listening to the radio in my bedroom, clinging to every pitch called by Tom and Jerry. Butch Wynegar burned Henke for a home run with two out and our celebration was postponed a day.

October 5th was a Saturday and we were off to my Grandmother's house, just outside of Midland, Ontario. We listened to the first half of the game in the car and then watched the rest on television. By the end of the third inning we were up 4-0 and Doyle Alexander was on cruise control. Ernie Whitt, Lloyd Moseby and Willie Upshaw went deep, Alexander pitched a complete game 5-hitter and with two outs in the ninth at Exhibition Stadium, Ron Hassey was at the plate. In only my third year of die-hard devotion, we were about to enjoy our first taste of celebration. Hassey hit a fly ball that George Bell easily caught for the final out. I remember him down on his knees rejoicing, receiving a high five from Tony Fernandez. We had clinched the AL Eastern division pennant.

I carved up the next day's Star to add to my scrap book. Here's the Exhibition scoreboard following the 5-1 win, George Bell's celebration after the catch and the cover of the sports section declaring us "The Champs". I was elated. Kansas City was up next, but we had the big bats and starting pitching behind Alexander, Dave Stieb, Jim Clancy and young Jimmy Key. Up three to one in the ALCS, I was dreaming of a World Series championship. Here's "The Drive of '85" section reminding us there's "only 1 to go". What happened next is another story for another time.

Although I didn't hear it live, here's Tom Cheek's call of that Hassey fly out to Bell on October 5, 1985. For this eleven year old, it was a defining moment, and assurance that my commitment to these birds of summer would be rewarded.

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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.

Driving home tonight I happened to accidently turn on CHUM AM & one of the the most influential songs from the late 60's came on & it brought back memories. Abraham, Martin & John by Dion. Give a listen to the words.

Part of my time capsule for the mid-late 60's. My era.

"I read the news today oh boy" & it looks like CHUM will be bought by another investor.

      dale

'Tis true, Bell Globemedia is offering to buy CHUM Ltd. in a blockbuster deal valued at $1.4 billion. Bell Globemedia already owns CTV and that would mean more media outlets in the hands of fewer large corporate entities. That ain't good.

It has to get by the Competition Bureau and the CRTC, so it will be a while before it's finalized. Here in Toronto the deal would put the following outlets into one big happy family:

  • The Globe and Mail
  • CFTO
  • Citytv
  • TSN
  • MuchMusic
  • Bravo
  • CTV
  • Newsnet
  • The Comedy Network
  • Discovery Channel
  • Outdoor Life Network
  • Report on Business Television
  • CablePulse24
  • Star!
  • MuchMusic
  • Drive-In Classics
  • CourtTV Canada
  • CLT
  • BookTelevision
  • Bravo! NewStyleArtsChannel
  • MuchVibe
  • Razer
  • SexTV: The Channel
  • SPACE: The Imagination Station
  • TV Land Canada
  • Animal Planet
  • CTV Travel
  • Discovery Civilization
  • Discovery HD Theatre
  • ESPN Classic
  • NHL Network
  • MuchMoreMusic
  • MuchLOUD
  • FashionTelevisionChannel
  • CHUM FM
  • 1050 Chum

I'm sure I missed something. That's a lot of media under one umbrella. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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The Countdown: 2006 Edition

leafsToday, the National Hockey League released its 2006-07 schedule. The Leafs open their season at home against the Sens on October 4th. In honour of the occasion, I've re-launched my little countdown page, an annual tradition.

A visit to that page confirms there's only 83 days, 23 hours, 3 minutes, and 14 seconds left until the puck drops. Go Leafs Go!

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Weekly MP3: Rain-O

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.

Chiliwack - Rain-O
I was first introduced to Chiliwack's "Rain-O" fairly recently during a CBC documentary on Canadian music. They showed Chiliwack performing the song on some variety show and I was instantly hooked. This song had been right under my nose for decades but I was only discovering it now.

Whenever it rains, I find myself playing this song. Today seemed like a good day to share it.

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Ontario Science Centre

familyWith the day off work and the rain coming down, we decided to postpone our trip to Ontario Place and try and trick the kids into learning something at the Ontario Science Centre.

I suppose when you decide to have kids you also agree to give up a small piece of your soul for their betterment. Proof of this is the fact I spent most of the day in a section they call KidSpark. For James and Michelle, this was heaven on earth, an orgy of air guitar, house building, simulated shopping, water play area and even side-by-side ball racetracks. It was an ankle biter's paradise. Thankfully, there was a fantastic new exhibition that we could all dig.

Animal Grossology promised "some of the slimiest, stinkiest and downright yuckiest creatures on earth". This appealled to the one year old, the four year old and the two 30-somethings in our crowd. If it was gross it was there and it was all as interesting as hell. When James made the cow belch, he lit up like a Christmas tree. I've never been prouder of the boy.

It was a great way to spend a rainy day. The kids had their KidSpark, we all had our Grossology and I've got a new photoset.

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How We Fared

mlbFour Blue Jays saw action last night in Pittsburgh during the 77th All-Star Game. Here's how they fared.

  • Vernon Wells - He threw out Alfonso Soriano at the plate and hit a single to go 1-2
  • Roy Halladay - He threw 22 pitches but coughed up a run during two innings of work
  • Troy Glaus - He hit a crucial ninth inning double and scored the winning run, finishing the day 1-2
  • B.J. Ryan - He pitched a perfect eighth inning to get the win for the American League

The American League is now undefeated in the past ten all-star games.

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When America Calls, George Answers

usaI once referred to him as Mr. Bergstrom, the substitute teacher from the great Simpsons episode "Lisa's Substitute". Being stifled by the regular cast of the CFNY Edge102 morning show, George Stroumboulopoulos subbed for a week and helped restore my passion for the genre. Then, when I was hooked, he was gone once more.

I mentioned at the time he just went national, getting a gig at MuchMusic. Since then, he's moved on to CBC where he now hosts the very cool show "The Hour". Now, America's calling and George is heading south for the summer. He's signed on to host the new ABC reality show "The ONE: Making a Music Star". He vows to return to CBC in the fall.

Who are we kidding? This is the beginning of the end of Stroumboulopoulos' career in Canada. Our brightest entertainment lights always end up working south of the border. I have no doubt that Mr. Bergstrom is off to Capital City. That's the problem with being middle-class. Anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more.

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Wiarton Willie Dies Yet Again

groundhogWhen I learned today Wiarton Willie had passed away I was a little sad, then I remembered Willie-gate. Wiarton Willie had actually passed away in 1999, but when they rolled out poor Willie laid out in a coffin in his tuxedo, it wasn't him. They actually tried to pass off another dead groundhog as Willie because Willie had badly decomposed.

The Willie who died today was yet another albino groundhog that replaced the original Willie. Rumour has it, there is already another lined up. Mourn the death of Willie II if you like, but don't believe the hype. Willies are like Rockys. They'll keep churning them out so long as there's enough people who give a damn.

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Blue Jays Ten Home Runs in One Game

bluejaysDuring the summer of 1983, I spent a few days at my uncle's cottage which I think was near Penetanguishene, Ontario. My memories of where it was located are hazy, but I vividly recall the voices of Tom and Jerry. The Blue Jays were in the midst of an 89-73 breakout season with Dave Stieb, Willie Upshaw, Damaso Garcia and Jesse Barfield leading the charge. I was in love.

For the next decade, Blue Jays baseball was my escape. I listened and/or watched as often as possible, I read the box scores daily and I worshipped at the alter of Tom and Jerry. George Bell was my favourite, but guys like Jim Clancy, Lloyd Moseby and Rance Mullineks were my unsung heroes. During that decade of Blue Jays baseball we won five division pennants and back-to-back World Series titles. I have a ton of sparkling memories, and throughout this month I'll be sharing them on this page. Here's my first crack at it.

The summer of 1987 was a particularly rough period in my personal life. My parents had split and on September 14th my little brothers and I found ourselves visiting our father in a motel just outside the city. The Orioles were in town and that meant catching the action on the little motel television. It was as if our ball team knew the personal stress and sadness of the day, because they helped us cheer up and get comfortable in a hurry. On September 14, 1987, lightning struck ten times at Exhibition Stadium, and a major league record that remains unbroken was set for our benefit.

Ernie Whitt started things off with a long ball in the second inning and he'd add two more before the day was through. Only Otto Velez had ever hit three home runs in a single game for the Jays, but Whitt wasn't the only one swinging a hot bat. George Bell and Rance Mullineks hit two apiece, Lloyd Moseby hit his 23rd of the season, Canadian Rob Ducey went deep for the first time all year and Fred McGriff hit our tenth of the day to give Clancy an easy 18-3 win. Ten home runs, ten reasons to cheer, ten reasons to forget where we were and why we were there.

In 1999, Cincinnatti hit nine out against the Phillies, but they didn't hit ten. Nineteen years later, this record remains ours. Here's hoping that never changes.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSyd Barrett was 60. He was the troubled Pink Floyd co-founder who spent his last years in reclusive anonymity.

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Link: Zidane simulator

LinkZidane simulator - Ohhh, so this is what I missed.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJune Allyson was 88. She was the sunny, cracked-voiced "perfect wife" of James Stewart, Van Johnson and other movie heroes.

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Good Time Had By All

campingWe're back. Did we miss anything? I heard there was a big soccer game yesterday. I'm sure I'll find something about it online.

Last year, James and I went to my favourite camping spot. This time, we went somewhere more suitable for four year olds. We headed 45 minutes west to Bronte Creek.

The rain didn't hit until we were nicely tucked away in our tent last night, so we were blessed with a couple of days of fantastic weather. In addition to traditional camping rituals like having a campfire and roasting marshmallows, Bronte Creek has a petting zoo, killer kids playgrounds, some surprisingly extensive trails and a cool old farmhouse that has been maintained in its 1899 state. I won't even mention the mammoth swimming pool, which was about as natural as a three legged dog.

On the bright side, it was only a forty-five minute drive, it was geared towards families and there was never any danger we'd be mauled by a bear. On the negative side, it was only a forty-five minute drive, it was geared towards families and there was never any danger we'd be mauled by a bear. Next year I'm eyeing Pinery, where I haven't been in fifteen years.

It was a muddy Monday morning pack up, but we had a blast. Here's the obligatory photoset.

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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. Sway - Dean Martin
  2. Perfect - Smashing Pumpkins
  3. Legalize It - Cypress Hill
  4. Bust A Move - Young M.C.
  5. Missionary Man - Eurythmics
  6. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
  7. Get Up (Happy Jack Mix) - Technotronic
  8. Crumbs From Your Table - U2
  9. Who Needs Ya? - Steppenwolf
  10. The Vanishing - Stars

"Crumbs From Your Table" appears on U2's eleventh studio album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Taryn's dad bought her this disc shortly after its release and it sat on a shelf collecting dust for months. I never felt an urge to spin it or even rip it. Lord knows I've ripped far worse, but there was something symbolic about my willingness to let it rot. It was my own silent protest, my way of telling my Irish brothers that I no longer care. I no longer yearn to hear new music from U2.

Eventually I did rip the album, which is how "Crumbs From Your Table" showed up during the shuffle, but I didn't rip that copy we were given. That copy is still collecting dust somewhere. Where? I don't know. I've stopped caring.

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Gone Fishing

campingOk, I'm going to unplug for a few days. Consider this an excellent opportunity to peruse the archives and catch up on what you've missed. Feel free to leave comments, they'll go live as soon as I return and confirm you're not a nasty ol' comment spammer. If you have a few minutes to burn, I'd check out My YouTube Favourites which I just updated to include even more Canadian goodness.

Before I depart, I should probably review the checklist:

  • tent
  • air mattress
  • propane stove
  • sleeping bags
  • cooler full of food and drink
  • insect repellant
  • sunscreen
  • bathing suit
  • radio
  • camera
  • toiletries

Ok, we're ready. Take care of yourself, and each other.

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Cinderella Man

A Movie ReelCinderella Man: 8.5 out of 10.

Fantastic. Let's see... This is a well acted, feel-good story with exceptional camera work, particularly during the mesmerizing fight scenes. Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti... they're all great, but boxing and the human spirit are the true stars of this flick. Damn, I liked it so much I'm going to watch it again.

Of course, I loved this movie before I pressed play. The opening scene is an exterior shot of Madison Square Gardens in the late 20s and that scene was filmed hours after Michelle was born. How do I know that? I was there. I get chills just thinking about it. Other scenes were filmed in areas very familiar to me. The church scenes, including the interior shots, were of St. Cecilia on Annette Street at Pacific Avenue, a church I used to attend. The MSG interior shots were of good ol' Maple Leafs Gardens. Watching "Cinderella Man" is akin to enjoying a smorgusborg of Toronto locales.

Irregardless of the Toronto shots and memories of my daughter's birth, this is a fantastic movie. See it.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"

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Link: Johnny Cash, American V: A Hundred Highways

LinkJohnny Cash, American V: A Hundred Highways - AOL is streaming this entire new release from the Man in Black. If you're a fellow Firefox user, you'll have to install the ActiveX Plug-in or use IE. You've got to hear this disc, especially his cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind".

I think Cash could have sang the alphabet song and I've have dug it. As I wrote upon his death, the Man in Black really struck a chord with me. He sang for the working man and downtrodden. He sang for the prisoners and the hurt.

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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 can't belive all the changes already made in the rosters. Chris Pronger I hate you for leaving the Oilers. But is that a big problem now? Are many top Canadian players having American wives who force them from sticking to Canadian teams? In recent moves I found out that both goalie Roberto Luongo & defenceman Ed Jovanovski have Florida women as wives (although Luongo moved to Vancouver) and now Pronger. Is that's what keeping some hi-profile Canadian players from joining Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver & Montreal? A shame.

      Roshan

Luckily for all of us, I've come up with a brilliant solution. Along with teaching our young hockey players the fundamentals of skating, passing, checking and shooting, we'll strongly encourage them to marry young. If our talented young hockey players marry at the age of eighteen, nineteen or twenty, it's highly likely they'll be marrying a Canadian girl. You see, our players usually play in Canada until drafted by an American team. Then, they move south and it becomes likely they'll meet and marry a local girl. If our players are married before they move to play in America, they'll seek to return home when they become a free agent.

It's worth noting that a number of players have recently publicized their desire to play in Toronto. Carter said it, Roberts demands it, Lindros has said it, Allison has said it and, most recently, Mike Peca has said it. As Peca said, "it would be a dream come true".

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Link: Family Guy's Greatest Hits

LinkFamily Guy's Greatest Hits - Somebody pieced together the best scenes from "Family Guy". The Kool Aid man is here, Peter's fight with the chicken, and that priceless scene when the doctor tells him he's fat.

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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.

Andrew Smith a 20 year old charged with manslaughter in the Jane Creba case was let out on bail today. WHY?????? He was the person caught on tape escorting another person to a hospital after they were shot during the melee. He even acknowledged it what himself on the tape.

Within 1 year (since July/05) he has been let on bail 2 other times on charges for assault & major drug offenses.

He had no comment when released. BUT I DO. LOOK OUT TORONTO he's out AGAIN much like many others due to technicalty's or no room at the T.DOT. INN.

David Miller OPEN YOUR EYES.

I don't want to hear about innocent until proven guilty - that's a cop out. Maybe the count on him is 2 strikes & 3 balls & he's wating for a walk. Next pitch!!!!!!!!!

      chris

No other event since I started this blog in 2002 has struck a nerve the way the shooting of Jane Creba on Boxing Day did. Here's a quick glance at the guest blogs written on the subject and my initial response the day after. The location, the time of day, the holiday, it truly got people talking about our city, the increase in gun-related crime and hopeful solutions to the problem at hand.

Nine are facing murder and manslaughter charges and 25 people in total have been charged following Creba's murder. I'm not about to share your outrage that this one of the 25 got bail. All are innocent until proven guilty and all 25 deserve a fair trial. May justice prevail.

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Farewell, FootieFox

soccerWhen the World Cup kicked off on June 9th, I learned about a neat little extension for Firefox called FootieFox. Most games were taking place while I worked and this little guy put the current score in my status bar and played a "Scores!" soundbite whenever a goal was scored.

It was great. I'd work and do my thing and every once in a while I'd hear that sound over my tunes and I'd check the score to see what happened. FootieFox has kept me up to date and entertained this past month but today it's time to say farewell. I've just uninstalled the extension. You see, I only give a rat's ass about soccer every four years during this little tournament, and since I won't be at the computer during the final, I don't need FootieFox anymore.

Farewell, FootieFox. It's been a blast.

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That Guy

angryYou know that guy. He's always gotta do something outrageous, stupid actually, and more than a little dangerous. He does this stuff because he didn't get enough attention as a child and now he's feeling neglected. Look at me! Look at me! He's so desperate for attention he'll be a jerk and proud of it. We all know that guy and as much as we'd like to ignore him and shake our heads in embarassment, his outrageous actions could actually hurt somebody and that's just not cool.

Kim Jong Il is that guy. Don't you just wanna kick his ass?

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Where Are The Jelly Filled Doughnuts?

questionmarkI met a client at Tim Hortons and realized the shocking truth. They no longer make jelly filled doughnuts at Tim Hortons.

I always considered the jelly filled doughnut to be a staple. How could they just discontinue it like that and when exactly did this happen? Is this true for all locations or just certain ones?

Jelly filled doughnuts were so sweet and left that wicked residue of white powder on your lips. Now, they're sadly extinct. Like so much else in life, you take them for granted while they're here but miss them like hell the moment they disappear.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

No horns honkin' tonight as last night was a nightmare driving to the baseball diamonds (5 minutes awa) & the drive took 1/2 hr with the Italian revellers.

My 1 son actually wanted a Ukraine flag but the store didn't have one so he changed his alegiance to France & bought a flag on Saturday before they played Brazil.

Heaven forbid if Italy wins Sunday.

Go France Go!!

      twins from bolton

Toronto would have gone totally bonkers on Sunday if we were having an Italy ~ Portugal final. As I drive around the city I rank those flags as 1a and 1b in terms of popularity. When the final goes down on Sunday, I'll be far, far away from any television or computer. Still, I hope those cheese eating surrender monkeys win.

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The Polaris Music Prize

musicWe finally have our Mercury Prize. On September 18, the Polaris Music Prize will award $20,000 for the best Canadian album released between June 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006, regardless of genre. The inaugural nominees are:

  • Broken Social Scene for Broken Social Scene
  • Cadence Weapon, Breaking Kayfabe
  • The Deadly Snakes, Porcella
  • Final Fantasy, He Poos Clouds
  • Sarah Harmer, I'm A Mountain
  • K'naan, The Dusty Foot Philosopher
  • Malajube, Trompe L'oeil
  • Metric, Live It Out
  • The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
  • Wolf Parade, Apologies To The Queen Mary

There's a lot of Toronto represented there and a lot of great music. This addresses my issue with how out of touch the Junos seem when compared to what's truly happening in our musical landscape. Long live the Polaris!

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Camping in Canada

campingIn the early 80s, I thoroughly enjoyed "Camping in Canada". "Camping in Canada" was a Sesame Street album that was released in 1981 and featured Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch as they attended a summer camp right here in Toronto, Canada.

It was great fun with plenty of sing-a-long songs and local references thrown in the mix. We knew all the words and I've still got plenty of the songs memorized. A few years ago, I searched high and low for this rare album that was discontinued long ago and was only released in Canada. I found a vinyl copy in a little shop in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and dubbed it to cassette to share with my brothers. The next step is digitizing these files.

Here's the track listing for "Camping in Canada".

  1. Aerodynamic
  2. Holiday in Canada
  3. Busy Bee
  4. Going On a Picnic
  5. Soup Song
  6. Nature's Family
  7. Pitch In and Help
  8. What Do You Do On a Rainy Day
  9. The Three Bears
  10. Creatures in the Pond
  11. Sleeping Under the Stars
  12. J'ai Sommeil
  13. Start the Day Off Right
  14. Ham and Eggs
  15. We're Having a Wonderful Time
  16. Homesick
  17. I've Got the Lonesome, Wanna Be Back on Sesame Street, Blues
  18. Sad, Mad, Glad
  19. The Treasure Hunt
  20. Campfire
  21. I Can Do It
  22. Need a Friend
  23. Happy Place

Speaking of camping in Canada, that's the plan this weekend. It would be sweet to have those 23 tracks along for the ride. Does anyone wanna help me convert an album or cassette to MP3?

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumKenneth Lay was 64. He was the founder of Enron who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history.

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Weekly MP3: Both Sides, Now

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.

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides, Now
The Star's panel deemed it essentially Canadian and who are we to disagree? She's a pretty good painter, too.

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Essentially Canadian

canadaThe weekend was such a blur, I'm only getting to Saturday's paper now. In honour of Canada Day, the Star listed ten essential Canadian songs. I did something similar last September, listing what I thought were ten essential Canadian tracks.

Here's the Toronto Star's list:

  • Huron Carol - Jean de Brebeuf (1643)
  • Hymn To Freedom - Oscar Peterson (1962)
  • Four Strong Winds - Ian Tyson (1964)
  • Mon Pays - Gilles Vigneault (1964)
  • Suzanne - Leonard Cohen (1966)
  • Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot (1967)
  • Both Sides, Now - Joni Mitchell (1968)
  • American Woman - The Guess Who (1970)
  • Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell (1970)
  • Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen (1985)

When it comes to Canadian music, you can't go wrong with the holy trinity of Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. It's a shame Young didn't make the Star's list, I don't know how he could have been completely excluded. As for Gordon Lightfoot and the Guess Who, you'll never catch me saying a bad word about either.

Did the Star's panel stop listening to music in 1985?

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The New SLS Guide

SLSPop quiz, hot shot. What is SLS? If you don't know, you're new to these parts, and that's perfectly alright. This entry is going to bring you up to speed lickety-split.

Consider this an updated sequel to the original SLS101 guide. We'll call this SLS 2.0.

What does SLS stand for?
SLS stands for Smells Like Sour. The phrase was coined before I got involved with SLS, but I hear it has something to do with a road trip, a Nirvana song and an aroma.

What exactly is SLS?
SLS is a "hypothetical" collection of new tunes that we "release" twice a calendar year. Henceforth, all editions of SLS will consist of 20 songs the SLS committee deems to be the best new music since the previous installment of SLS. We "release" new editions of SLS around Canada Day and Christmas Day.

How did you get involved in SLS?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I worked with this guy. It turned out we had similar taste in music, so he lent me a copy of the second installment of SLS. It was simply another mix of new rock tunes for the car and not intended to be much more than that. We began collaborating on the playlists of the next couple of installments, which were "released" periodically, at non-specific intervals. It occurred to me that we should normalize the "release" dates so that they were every six months. Independently we'd come up with our choices for the next edition, we'd meet up and we'd negotiate until we arrived at a consensus.

Does SLS have a home on the web?
Absolutely. There's the Smells Like Sour home page which I've been maintaining since September 16, 2003. From this page you can access the songs that have appeared on the previous installments and suggest a song for the next edition. It's also become a popular destination for those who wish to discuss the latest releases and such. Although we only went public with the SLS site a few years ago, we had been using the web as a way to track tunes we each thought was SLS worthy for a couple of years prior, only it was our little secret.

What makes a song SLS-worthy? This is a tough question to answer. If a song is going to qualify as part of the best 80 minutes of music from the previous six months, it's gotta be good. We know an SLS-worthy tune when we hear it, but it's difficult to quantify. There's a spirit to an SLS tune that makes you want to turn it up and get lost in it's aura. System of a Down's "Chop Suey" was SLS-worthy. Simple Plan's "Perfect" was not.

Who decides the final playlist for SLS? Anyone can submit a song for SLS consideration via the Smells Like Sour home page, but the final decision is made by Mark and I. Since I maintain the page and have my ear closer to the ground, I usually come up with a 20 song mix of music and give Mark an opportunity to veto a track or suggest another. We typically come to an agreement pretty quickly.

What edition are you on? We are currently accepting submissions for SLS16 which will be "released" in late December. SLS15 just came out last week. SLS17 will be out in June 2007, SLS18 in December 2007, and so on, and so on, and so on...

Isn't this illegal? There is nothing illegal about compiling hypothetical mixes. Any resemblance to a compilation we share with friends and family is completely coincidental.

What tunes are looking good for SLS16? The best way to catch hints about what the next edition of SLS might look like is to monitor this site. When I submit a tune for SLS consideration, I'll mention it here. I also periodically write about potential track lists and tunes that look good for inclusion. All my SLS-related entries are conveniently located on one page.

That about does it. You now know what SLS is, what it stands for, how it came to be and where you can go to learn more. SLS 2.0: all the tunage and twice the love.

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Link: City of Toronto Archives

LinkCity of Toronto Archives - "Every generation lives in a different Toronto. Someone lived in your home before you—who were they? What did a city street look like before cars and electric lights?" If you've ever lived in Toronto, you'll find yourself getting lost here. I recommend starting with these virtual exhibits.

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My YouTube Favourites

videoHave you noticed yourself visiting YouTube more and more often these past few months? I've certainly been watching more videos over there, and if you look hard enough, you're bound to find some gems.

Below are some of my favourite videos currently available at YouTube. As I review my selection, I see there's an awful lot of Canadiana here, so it's fitting I share this on a long Canada Day weekend.

Unable to find a single reference to Bill Barilko, I took it upon myself to upload a few clips I've collected from other sites. He's our Buddy Holly, immortalized by the Hip's "Fifty Mission Cap", and scorer of the 1951 Stanley Cup winner for my beloved Maple Leafs. Every year, his legend grows. Here is Bill Barilko's last goal.

Update: Here are a few more gems that either came to me later or were suggested in the comments.

These are a few of my favourites. Please share yours in the comments below.

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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.

Steve Yzerman has announced his retirement playing his whole career in the Motor City. A true professional in all respects. A Hall of Famer for sure (without waiting the designated time). Good luck Stevie Y.

Chris Pronger reportadly going to Anaheim for players & high end draft picks. I thought he wanted to play in Eastern Cda. I guess $$ talks. Chris your a whiner & complainer & fortunatley not coming to T.O.

Five BJays selected to the all star game & all deserved so.

      dale

Stevie Y
I have nothing but the utmost respect for Stevie Y. The man was a class act throughout his entire career and I'm just sorry he didn't give it one more year so we could let him now how appreciated he is. I always hated the Red Wings but that became harder and harder to do with Yzerman in the fold and guys like Brenden Shanahan suiting up in red and white. Yzerman has been captain of that team for twenty years, an amazing feat, and with 692 goals, 1,063 assists and 1,755 points in 1,514 NHL games he's a lock for the HHOF.

Chris Pronger
I think it's a damn shame he didn't realize he couldn't play in Edmonton before he signed the long term deal there. As I understand it, his wife is a St. Louis native who wants to live in the States. I was surprised by the rumours he might come to Toronto because last time I checked this was still a Canadian city. I feel bad for Edmonton fans who fell in love with this guy only to be dumped so harshly and quickly. The Anaheim Ducks just traded Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, a first-round choice in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and a second-round pick in 2008 to the Oilers to get him.

Jays All-Stars
There haven't been this many Blue Jays at the mid season classic since 1993 when we sent seven. Roy Halladay, B.J. Ryan, Troy Glaus, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios will join manager John Gibbons at the 77th all-star game next Tuesday at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. That's awesome and well deserved.

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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. I'm Still Your Fag - Broken Social Scene
  2. Ask Me No Questions - B. B. King
  3. Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
  4. Broken Box - Queens of the Stone Age
  5. Kill - Jimmy Eat World
  6. Agoraphobia - Incubus
  7. High On A Mountain Top - Lorretta Lynn
  8. Ride Across The River - Dire Straits
  9. People Are People - Depeche Mode
  10. What's My Age Again? - Blink 182

I'm not really a Loretta Lynn kind of guy, but when I learned her latest album was produced by Jack White, I added it to my collection. White actually wrote one tune on Van Lear Rose, entiteld "Little Red Shoes", and it's pretty cool. His voice is all over "This Old House" and "Portland Oregon" is a bonafide duet. As an album, it's very White Stripish and probably the coolest country album I've ever heard.

The song that played during this shuffle, "High On A Mountain Top", actually plays all the time on CFNY Edge 102, our local "new rock" station. They've taken a ten second sample that they play all the time coming out of commercials on their morning show. If you've been digging that sample and wondering where the hell it was from, wonder no more.

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Not So Good, Al

bluejaysI spent the afternoon at the ballpark formerly known as Skydome watching the Jays attempt to sweep the Phillies. I brought my broom but couldn't use it. The Blue Jays got slaughtered 11-6.

Things got ugly fast, but that first inning was fantastic! We were up 2-0 and A.J. Burnett had three strike outs. The debate amongst my brothers and I were wether he'd strike out 14 or 18. He finished with six.

All was not lost, however, as there was one play that might have been worth the price of admission alone. John McDonald attempted to score on a Frank Catalanotto sacrifice fly to right center and did this wild dance to allude Sal Fasano's tag. I could have watched replay of that run all night. It definitely would have been easier on the eyes than watching the 17 hit assualt unleashed by the Phillies, revenge for a certain home run hit about thirteen years ago this October.

Here are pictures from the outing.

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Leafs Sign Pavel Kubina and Hal Gill

leafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs were busy yesterday, signing Pavel Kubina to a four-year $20 million deal and Hal Gill to a three-year deal at $2.075 million per season.

I like the Kubina signing. He didn't come cheap, but he'll be a great addition to the big three who can shut down the opposition's best player and take care of his own end of the rink. He's only 29 and already has a good history of success playing with fellow countryman Tomas Kaberle. I'm less positive about the Gill signing because he's a bit slow for the new NHL but he's still a huge upgrade from Aki Berg. The kids can fill the fifth and sixth defensive positions and they showed a great deal of promise last season. Staffan Kronwall, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jay Harrison, Brendan Bell, Ian White and Andy Wozniewski provide some decent young depth.

We didn't score a Wade Redden, Ed Jovonovski or Zdeno Chara, but we did shore up a pathetic blue line. Now we need to add a few forwards with speed and a finishing touch. With little money remaining to spend, this won't be easy and we can fuggetabout a proven stud like Patrik Elias.

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My Quote of the Week

Quotes"We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven."
      - Henry David Thoreau

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Link: Andre's NES Emulator

LinkAndre's NES Emulator - The screen's a little small and the sound isn't very good, but it's still a wonderful trip down memory lane playing these old Nintendo games. I have fond memories of the simpler, 8-bit NES days when my favourite game was probably Ice Hockey. Sadly, Ice Hockey isn't on Andre's list of emulated NES games.

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Oh The Humanity

soccerI just watched the Portugal ~ England quarter-final decided by penalty kicks. I followed the Argentina ~ Germany match yesterday which was decided in the same torturous way. This is cruel and unusual punishment.

Let them play! End these games naturally, not with a stunt. Stop the insanity! I don't care if it takes five hours, someone will eventually score. These penalty kicks have to go.

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Happy Canada Day!

canadaOn March 29, 1867, Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act. This beauty came into effect on July 1 of that year, creating "one dominion under the name of Canada". That was 139 years ago today.

Initially there was just Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The Red River Rebellion led to the creation of Manitoba in 1870, British Columbia joined a year later and Prince Edward Island joined in 1873. Alberta and Saskatchewan were formed in 1905 and in 1949 Newfoundland joined Confederation as Canada's tenth province. Ten provinces from ocean to ocean and each unique yet unified under a single flag. No other country on this planet is as diverse. 23.2% of Canadians consider French their mother language, and 85% of this francophone population lives in one province. There's also a great cultural difference from province to province with English, French, Irish, Scottish and Aboriginal cultures comprising the fabric of this nation.

From British Columbia to Newfoundland, we're so damn different but there's a definite bond. We're Canadian and we're proud of it. I've written about it before, but it's worth mentioning again. We've fought valiantly for just causes in the world, we're proudly progressive, the envy of others and just plain cool. There was Vimy Ridge, Terry Fox and The Maple Music Revolution. There's been 139 brilliant years from sea to sea and I'd bet the next 139 will be even better.

Sing it loud, sing it proud. O Canada!

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New Pictures

New PicturesThis will be my last entry indicating that I've posted new pictures on my Pictures page. The ten of you who care about these pictures will be happy to know I'm keeping that page updated and I'm still adding just about every picture I take to my Flickr account.

You'll no longer be warned when there's something new over there, so if you're wondering if there's something new, you'll have to click on over and find out.

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I'm On A Cayman Islands Radio

radioI stumbled upon this news article about the launch of a new radio station on the Cayman Islands. Cayrock 96.5 FM began broadcasting yesterday but what gets me is the list of bands they're promising to play. Here's a direct quote.

Cayrock promises old classics to the most popular hits of today including Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Aerosmith, Collective Soul, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nickelback, Rolling Stones, Tragically Hip and U2.

Yep, in the Caribbean Sea, when they want to rock, they don't only crave the standards like Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nickelback, Rolling Stones and U2, but they also want their Hip. Are the Hip so well known to Cayman Island locals and international tourists that they warranted a mention in the CaymanNetNews?

Impossibilium...

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Argos 19, Lions 26

argosBritish Columbia built a 23-0 lead in this one before the Argonaut offense woke up, but it was too little, too late. With less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Robert Baker took a pass from Spergon Wynn but fumbled on the 20 yards short of a tie game.

Ricky Williams fared pretty well, running the ball 18 times for 97 yards, including a 31-yard rush and his first CFL touchdown.

Season Record: 1-2

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"I'm trying to fix your mother's camera. Easy, easy - Hmmm. I think I need a bigger drill."

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