October 2006 Archives

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P.W. Botha, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumP.W. Botha was 90. He was the apartheid-era president who led South Africa through its worst racial violence and deepest international isolation.

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Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip

tvThis fall I started watching two new shows. One is "Dexter", a great cable show about a serial killer that stars David from "Six Feet Under". The other is the doomed "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip", Aaron Sorkin's new series for NBC about the production of an SNL-like show. "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" was fatally flawed, but I kept coming back for more.

I haven't yet read that "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" is cancelled, but from what I've read that's imminent. In fact, word may come down today. I decided to watch the pilot based on a review I read in the Globe & Mail. That pilot was awesome. Judd Hirsch delivered a killer rant about the decline of the show and television in general and I was hooked. Unfortunately, every episode since that pilot has paled by comparison.

I loved "Sports Night" and the first couple of seasons of "West Wing", but "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" isn't nearly as clever as either. It all seems so forced, so contrived. Let's listen to the guy who was blacklisted tell us about the old days.. let's hire the urban comic who has the smarts and doesn't resort to stereotyping. It's difficult to watch, but somehow I haven't missed an episode. I think I just like catching a glimpse of what it might be like behind the scenes of an SNL-type show.

Now it doesn't matter. "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" didn't air last night and it might not air again. At least I've still got "Dexter". If you haven't seen it and you get it, check it out. Michael C. Hall deserves an Emmy.

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Top Ten Searches of October 2006

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site last month. You know it's hockey season when Bill Barilko leads the pack and Toronto Maple Leafs make the cut.

  1. bill barilko
  2. concert tickets
  3. humble howard
  4. wedding playlist
  5. big shiny tunes 2
  6. toronto maple leafs
  7. big shiny tunes 3
  8. sweet victoria
  9. big shiny tunes 8
  10. concert ticket

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Great Videos: Thriller

tvToday is Halloween. Since I'm sharing great videos from the hey day of MuchMusic and MTV, I thought this would be an appropriate day to revisit a classic video that scared the bejeezus out of my brother Steve.

But first, here's where we've been thus far.

Michael Jackson's video for Thriller was a video that seemed too good to be just a music video. At fourteen minutes and with credits that rolled at the end, it seemed more like a short film. It was even directed by John Landis.

Whenever this video would come on, we'd have to whisk Steve out of the room. The video literally gave him nightmares. To this day, I'm not sure he's ever seen the entire video. Go ahead Steve, click play and face your worst fears! I assure you, it's not nearly as scary as you think. Or is it? Ha ha ha ha haaaa!

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Maple Leafs 4, Thrashers 2

LeafsI'm a winner again. With a powerplay flurry in the first ten minutes we took the lead and never looked back. 86 seconds of strength to secure our longest winning streak of the season.

Ok, I was there, and I want to talk about #80, Nik Antropov. I've asked this before, but I'll ask it again. Why is Nik Antropov still on this team?

During 3:23 of action he was horrible. He looked hopelessly lost and confused. When his stick did touch the puck, it was only to turn it over. It's time to cut our losses with this guy. He really sucks.

Here's a photoset of pix I took at the game.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
6-4-3
15 points
2nd in Northeast
4-2 Win vs. Atlanta
5-4 Win vs. Montreal
7-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
D. Tucker - 15
M. Sundin - 13
K. Wellwood - 11

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Time To End My Bad Luck Streak

leafsMy bad luck streak when it comes to attending live professional sporting events in Toronto comes to an end tonight. At least, I hope it does.

Here's how it's gone over the past couple of weeks.

Tonight I'll be at the ACC to watch the Leafs vs. Thrashers. This is the second time this season I've attended a game at the ACC following a hat trick from a Maple Leaf. Last time it was after Sundin's trick and this time it's after Kaberle's.

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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Confessions of a Bad Pumpkin Carver

halloweenI've carved four pumpkins into Jack O'Lanterns during my lifetime. Not coincidentally, this is my son's fourth Halloween. The OB/GYN won't mention it, but an additional change in your life when you become a parent for the first time is the requirement that every October you carve a pumpkin.

I can hand code you a valid XHTML 1.0 Strict web site fully utilizing valid CSS with pretty images manufactured in Photoshop, but when it comes to arts and crafts I'm all thumbs. Carving a pumpkin is essentially an arts and crafts exercise with a knife and vegetable instead of markers, paper and scissors. Not wanting to look like a pathetic carver in front of the kids, I always play it safe. The eyes and nose always end up as triangles and the mouth is usually a big smile with some sharp triangle teeth.

I got my first digital camera in 2004 which means I have photographs of my last three Jack O'Lanterns. When I display them side by side it confirms my suspicion. I follow the same tried and true formula and take no risks. See for yourself. Below is my work from 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Our 2004 Jack O' Lantern My Favourite Shot of 2005 Jack Our 2006 Jack O' Lantern

They say acknowledging you need help is half the battle. This is an important first step in my pumpkin carving recovery program.

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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.

Good Afternoon Canada & and Toronto Residents Specially,

As I watch the day approach when hopefully the Bush Gang in Washington D.C. will get its comeuppance in the upcoming mid term American election. As of late I have been reminded, ever so horribly, that we Canadians live in the greatest country in the world. We have one of our citizens now living, as an American citizen named Mr. Michael J. Fox in the U.S.A. Mr. Fox, has publicly supported a Democrat Candidate in the State of Missouri. Of late Mr.Fox has been viciously attacked by a Republican mouth piece named Rush Limbaugh. I'm sure this is all common knowledge, but I think the recent attack from a pill popping hypocrite launched on a man with Parkinson's Disease is way over the line.

It pleases me to think the actions of a Canadian is in effect, the last nail in the coffin for republican hopes to win key ridings in November. Mr. Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton, Canada and lived in Burnaby B.C. I know the area of Burnaby quite well; but I never thought much of Burnaby outside of the fact that a great hockey player "Burnaby Joe" [Sakic] is also from Burnaby. I so wished he played for the Leafs.

All of the Coulters. Limbaughs, & O' Rielly's can't (I hope) save this one. When I see a man with a terrible disease being kicked by a republication fanatic I can only thank my lucky stars I'm a Canadian. It's wonderful how a Canadian will play so much into the republican downfall come the first week of November. The system works.

Drew C. The Leaf fan in B.C.

In case you've been living under a rock, here's Michael J. Fox's endorsement ad and here's Limbaugh's disgusting retort. The entire episode turned my stomach. I almost wrote about it a few times, but I figured there were enough people throwing their two cents in that bucket.

Another Canadian said it best. Let's impeach the President.

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Not Ready To Make Nice

musicOver the years, I've been rather harsh on The Dixie Chicks. Both my wife and mom are big fans and that's how their albums found their way into my collection. I've had a little fun with this musical interest of theirs, I just don't dig their sound.

Although I still don't dig their sound, I now root for the band since Natalie Maines' public criticism of Dubya got them boycotted in Jesusland. They're still paying the price for uttering "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." An ad for the documentary film "Shut Up and Sing" was recently turned down by NBC for being too controversial.

Tonight, the Dixie Chicks play the ACC and both my wife and mother will be there thanks to one generous and thoughtful husband and son. They may not be my cup of tea, but these Chicks have got guts and they've paid the price for not backing down.

Here's the "Shut Up and Sing" trailer NBC won't air.

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Nobody Told Michelle

clockSo we rolled back the clocks last night. With a bonus hour appearing out of thin air, we decided to watch a movie after the Leafs game. When you roll back the clocks, you don't mind going to sleep a little later than usual.

The problem, of course, is that nobody told Michelle about the time change. There's no snooze on her little internal alarm. At 6am, she was up and at it, and that meant Daddy was up and at it.

So much for an extra hour of sleep. As the Hip say on their new album, the kids don't get it.

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North Country

A Movie ReelNorth Country: 7.5 out of 10.

Sure she's pretty, but the girl can act. Charlize Theron is excellent yet again in this fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States.

Theron is great, but my man Richard Jenkins is sharp yet again as well. Jenkins works a great deal and he's always fantastic. I'd bet this guy could carry a film if they'd let him.

I'd like to wrap up this mini-review with a shout out to the soundtrack. There are some fantastic Bob Dylan songs that fit the Minnesota mood perfectly as well as a little Warren Zevon and Molly Hatchet to top things off nicely. She is a girl of the North Country, after all.

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Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 4

LeafsThis was the one that almost got away. We were clearly the better team but our two goal lead evaporated in the last seven minutes and it ended up going seven rounds deep in the shootout before Kyle Wellwood deked the pants off of David Aebischer to win it for the good guys.

Tomas Kaberle was unreal. He got his first career hat trick and scored to open the shootout. When you outshoot a team 51-22, it shouldn't ever get to a shootout. I can't blame this one on Raycroft. My guy Aubin was between the pipes.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
5-4-3
13 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
5-4 Win vs. Montreal
7-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
6-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
D. Tucker - 13
K. Wellwood - 10
M. Sundin - 10

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Quote of the Week

Quotes"I like Toronto; the people are really chill."
      - Rihanna

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Red Auerbach, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRed Auerbach was 89. He coached the Boston Celtics to nine NBA championships in the 1950s and 1960s.

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The Repeated Daylight Saving Time Rant

clockI was about to go on a rant about how we have to roll our clocks back an hour tonight. Before I published my rant, I checked to make sure I wasn't repeating myself. Of course, I was. Three years ago today I wrote pretty much the same thing.

We've essentially taken an hour of sunlight we'd experience in the evening and moved it to the morning. Wouldn't it be more beneficial for our society to keep that hour of sunlight in the evening where it can be enjoyed? Does anyone really care if there's light at 7am?

We first introduced Daylight Saving Time during wartime as an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. It's time we stay there. The average citizen is no longer a farmer who follows the sun's lead in determining an appropriate hour to wake up and go to sleep. Typically, we're working from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and Standard Time is no longer our best option.

I still feel the same way. When we spring forward in April 07, we should stay there.

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Joe's Nail File

baseballThe recent controversy surrounding Kenny Rogers and this recent email about Dennis Eckersley cheating in the 1989 ALCS got me thinking about Joe Niekro. He played 22 season in the Major Leagues, but I only remember him for one incident in 1987. On August 3, 1987, he was ejected for having a nail file on the mound.

Niekro claimed he had been filing his nails in the dugout and stuck the file in his back pocket when the inning started and had not been doctoring baseballs. I remember this contorversy well and that he was suspended for ten days.

Niekro suffered a brain aneurysm on Thursday and passed away yesterday at the age of 61. It's strange, but I don't think Joe Niekro crossed my mind once since the 80s until I thought about pitchers caught trying to cheat after Kenny Rogers was ordered to wash his hands.

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Trevor Berbick, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTrevor Berbick was 52. He ended the career of Muhammad Ali when he defeated the legendary boxer in 1981 and he went on to become the world heavyweight champion in 1986 before losing the title to Mike Tyson that same year.

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Joe Niekro, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJoe Niekro was 61. He was a former major league pitcher who twice won twenty games in a season and is Houston's career victory leader.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"When a woman says nothing's wrong, that means everything's wrong. And when a woman says everything's wrong, that means everything's wrong! And when a woman says something's not funny, you'd better not laugh your ass off!"

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To Those Who Have Already Subscribed

rssI'm a big fan of RSS feeds. Using the Firefox add-on Sage, a lightweight RSS and Atom feed aggregator, I stay up to date with my favourite blogs and news pages throughout the day.

I have a favour to ask those of you who have already subscribed to my RSS feed at http://www.torontomike.com/index.xml. Could you please unsubscribe to that feed and subscribe to http://feeds2.feedburner.com/TorontoMike instead? It's the same content, but it makes my life easier. I appreciate it.

For the rest of you, if you want to add my feed, it's easy to do at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/TorontoMike.

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Great Videos: Cry

tvYep, I'm sharing great videos from back in the day. Music videos came of age in the 1980s and that's when they first won me over. If you're just joining us, here's where I've been thus far.

Today I'm sharing "Cry" from Godley & Creme. For its time, this seemed like such cool effects and whenever I'd catch it on Toronto Rocks or Video Hits it would resonate with me for hours.

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We're Gonna Be Winners

moviesI love that scene in "Hoosiers" when Gene Hackman's character is trying to motivate his team before the Indiana state finals.

Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here. Focus on the fundamentals that we've gone over time and time again. And most important, don't get caught up thinking about winning or losing this game. If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game. In my book, we're gonna be winners!

I feel better just reading that speech.

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The CD Is Dead

cdAlain Levy, chairman and CEO of EMI Music, says the music CD is dead. He notes that the majority of people just use CDs to rip their music on their computers to transfer the songs to digital music players.

Back in September 2003 I first wrote about the demise of the traditional music CD. Later that year, I had an epiphany. I didn't want to see my CD collection anymore. I had no use for it. I started ripping every CD in my collection and never looked back. The CD has been dead to me for three years except for a few minutes when I'm ripping the files to high quality DRM-free MP3 files. Once they're digitized, I'm in charge. They're playing off my computers or they're playing on my iRiver. I'm at 1214 complete albums and I can't imagine going back.

So yes Mr. Levy, the CD is dead. It has been for quite some time.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Christopher Walken movies

  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. The Deer Hunter
  3. Annie Hall
  4. True Romance
  5. Catch Me If You Can

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Maple Leafs 2, Senators 7

LeafsOttawa has won 10 of 12 games between the teams since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, outscoring the Maple Leafs 57-30 overall. I acknowledge this regular season dominance. I also recall defeating the Sens in four playoff series during a five year span from 2000-2004.

You can keep your regular season dominance Sens! We'll keep our playoff series dominance.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
4-4-3
11 points
3rd in Northeast
7-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
6-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
5-4 SOL vs. New York
D. Tucker - 11
K. Wellwood - 10
M. Sundin - 10

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My Favourite Ghost Story

halloweenA couple of Halloweens ago, I mentioned how much I disliked the holiday. I was too shy to get into it. On October 31, I'd find something to do and wait for the whole silly event to wrap up. Now, I look forward to it again. I've got a two year old and a four year old who can't wait until Tuesday. They're already wearing their costumes at night, dreaming about the mountains of candy they'll score.

In the Halloween spirit, the timing it right to revisit my favourite ghost story. It's about a ghost named Reznikoff who haunts University College at the University of Toronto. Part of my love for this story derives from the fact the events took place in buildings I frequented during my sentence at UofT. There's a good explanation of the legend here.

According to accounts, the ghost, "a heavy, thickset figure, with black curly hair and a beard," typically appears on the road in front of UC's main entrance or near the Roundhouse on the western side of the building. His appearances are said to indicate approaching disaster, such as a Fenian raid in 1866, and the death of two faculty members in 1892. The so-called phantom was often "seen" flitting about around Valentine's Day and Halloween.

Ivan Reznikoff and Paul Diabolos were sculptors who worked on the construction of UC. Reznikoff, a muscle-bound Russian from Poland, had been saving his money and planned to marry his long-time girlfriend, but then discovered that she had been conducting a secret affair with Diabolos. A good-looking Greek from Corinth, Diabolos had somehow convinced her to steal Reznikoff's hard-earned cash and run away with him out West.

Furious, Reznikoff confronted and attacked his co-worker on the UC construction site. But Diabolos, armed with a knife, killed him and dumped his body down a well. Denied a proper burial and ticked off about the whole betrayal/murder episode, Reznikoff began a long career of haunting the historic college.

As legend has it, a gash in the door that leads to University College was the result of an axe swung by Reznikoff as he pursued Diabolos. I recently revisited this door and took a couple of photos.

Ivan Reznikoff Vs. Paul Diabolos Ivan Reznikoff Vs. Paul Diabolos

Spooky, eh?

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Draper, Utah's Mike Weir

easportsIn this country, we're very proud of Mike Weir. The man won the 2003 Masters and he hails from Bright's Grove, Ontario. He's Canadian and we don't want you to forget it!

Those who play EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 will hear Weir announced as being from Draper, Utah. You see, they don't care about where you're from, only where you primarily reside.

Well that sucks!

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Choose Life

moviesI love that scene in "Trainspotting" when Ewan McGregor's character delivers that killer monologue about choosing life.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life...But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?

I chose not to choose life. That's gold.

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The Floating Toilet

picturesYou had to be there to believe it. There was a floating toilet, I swear.

Since you weren't there, I've got the pictures to prove it.

The Floating Toilet The Floating Toilet

Oh yeah, there's video too.


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Weekly MP3: Everyday Is Hallowe'en

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.

Ministry - Everyday Is Hallowe'en
Who wants to guess why I'm sharing this song today?

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Link: Creative commercials that you'll never forget

LinkCreative commercials that you'll never forget - This is a nice collection of some great commercials, including the Toronto-produced Dove ad that's been receiving a lot of press lately.

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State of the Blogosphere

webAn interesting Canadian study on blogs and blogging was released yesterday by the Environics Research Group. Here are their findings.

  • 7% have written their own blog
  • 9% have left a comment on a blog
  • 32% have read a blog in the last three months

The study points out that 51% of Canadians aged 18-24 read blogs regularly which is substantially higher than the 32% national average. The conclusion arrived at in articles and the Environics press release is that these figures are higher than expected and blogs are "taking Canada by storm". Keeping in mind that these surveys were conducted with "active Internet users", I find these figures astoundingly low.

Only a third of active Internet users have read a blog in the past three months? Considering every media outlet and most companies now use blogging as a marketing tool, how could an active Internet user avoid them? I started regularly reading blogs in early 2002 and I can't imagine the web without them. Of course, I'm one of the 7% of active Internet users who has their own blog, so maybe I'm the wrong guy to ask.

At first I was also quite surprised that only 7% of active Internet users wrote a blog, but then I thought about it and realized that no one else in my family blogs, none of my friends blog except this guy and this guy and I don't think anyone I've worked with over the past eight years has one.

Blogging isn't for everybody. It's a big commitment, a lot of work and not everybody wants to write for hobby. Maybe 7% is pretty good. It's the 32% figure I don't understand.

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Maple Leafs 2, Senators 6

LeafsThe Leafs and Sens are taking turns stinking up their respective home arenas. On opening night, we were shell-shocked at the ACC only to win 6-0 in Ottawa the next night. Now, we've taken another beating at home and should return the favour tomorrow night in Ottawa.

That can't come soon enough. Last night's effort has left a rather bad taste in my mouth.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
4-3-3
11 points
2nd in Northeast
6-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
5-4 SOL vs. New York
4-2 Win vs. Columbus
D. Tucker - 11
K. Wellwood - 10
M. Sundin - 10

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Great Videos: The Goonies 'R' Good Enough

tvThe other day I decided to share great videos from my youth. Thanks to GooTube, it's easy. First up was A-Ha's "Take On Me" and today I'm sharing Cyndi Lauper's "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough".

"The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" isn't a particularly good song, but as a kid I loved this video. You see, it starred a number of WWF stars of the time, like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Captain Lou Albano, the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. That was more than enough for me. I should also mention that I loved the movie "Goonies". Enjoy 7:20 of wonderful cheese that will take you right back to 1985.

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Did Eckersley Cheat?

emailI got an interesting email from David today. He's a Tigers fan who lives in St. Louis. He wrote the following.

I am trying to find some historical information from when Toronto and Oakland played each other in the League Championship Series. Specifically – I’m trying to track down some info or newspaper articles from when Dennis Eckersley had a foreign object either in his mouth or that he dropped down his jersey.

I’m in St. Louis and I’m a Tigers fan. I think Kenny Rogers cheated but the point of view of my co-workers revolves around how both the Cardinals and Tony LaRussa are above ‘pushing the envelope’ when it comes to gaining an advantage. I’m not trying to condone what Rogers did I’m just trying to point out that most teams/players/managers have had run-ins like this in the past.

I immediately assumed for some reason he was talking about '92 and wrote him to tell him I have a vivid recollection of that series and I don't recall any controversy about Eckersley cheating. In a follow up email from David, he told me the controversy was during the '89 series. Bob Elliott writes about it here. In the ninth innining of Game 5 of the 1989 ALCS, Cito Gaston asked umpire Rick Reed to check Eckersley's glove. Nothing was found but Gaston claimed he put an emery board down his pants.

The closing remarks in Elliott's column sum it up best. "It's only cheating if you get caught."

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Another Roadside Attraction

tragicallyhipAll morning I've been fielding emails from Hip fans wanting to know the password for this morning's presale. This happens every time The Tragically Hip announce a new tour. If you Google tragically hip presale password, I'm #1 with a bullet, making me a prime target for such queries.

When I bought tickets this morning for the February show at the ACC, the presale password was "rink". I hope that helps.

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Great Videos: Take On Me

tvI used to be all about the music video. Before MuchMusic came down to our level of cable I would watch Toronto Rocks and Video Hits after school. On weekends, there was the CHUM 30 countdown. When MuchMusic started delivering videos 24x7, I was in heaven.

I rarely see videos anymore. When I flip by MuchMusic, they're usually airing some stupid reality show or a moronic program aimed at kids fifteen years my junior. Do they even play music videos anymore?

Enough griping about the good ol' days. Periodically, I'm going to share a great video from my past. I doubt there's a better way to kick things off than with A-Ha. Here's "Take On Me", a great video from yesteryear.

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IE7 and CSS Support

firefoxI see IE7 is available for download. I don't dare download it myself, but I've seen it in action and there are honest to goodness tabs at work. This IEBlog entry is from August, but if Microsoft delivered what they promised, many of those horrible CSS interpretation bugs from IE6 have been fixed. This is good news.

I can't tell you how often I'd use valid CSS for an effect that worked perfect in Firefox but was completely ignored in Internet Explorer. Of course, IE6 is still out there so we still have to code for those poor souls, but there is now a little light at the end of the tunnel.

I mentioned I haven't installed IE7 myself. At some point, I'll have to install it for development purposes, but as far as my personal use, I have no interest in leaving Firefox. There are many extensions I now rely on to get through my browsing day. I can't imagine life without Adblock. Firefox + Adblock = An ad-free torontomike.com.

Those of you running XP SP2 who refuse to ditch IE, I urge you to try IE7. The rest of you should get Firefox and try a few of my favourite Firefox Extensions.

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Go Habs Go?

nhlI hate to admit it, but I'm rooting for the Habs tonight. They're hosting the Sabres who are 8-0-0 out of the gate. Back in 1993-1994 the Toronto Maple Leafs set the NHL record by going 10-0-0 to start the season. If your memory of that tenth win is a little hazy, you're forgiven. Something else happened that night.

If the Sabres beat Montreal tonight and the Islanders Thursday, they'll tie our record. Of course, we had to win ten outright without a shootout to fall back on. The Sabres have won a few games in the shootout, games that would have been ties back in 1993. The NHL won't put an asterisk next to the record, so we're stuck cheering for the Canadiens.

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Jane Wyatt, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJane Wyatt was 96. She was the lovely, serene actress who for six years on "Father Knows Best" was one of TV's favorite moms.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer

newpaperThe Philadelphia Inquirer blog has a very interesting entry today regarding Bob Clarke. I highly recommend reading The Bobby Clarke Era as it contains an insightful quote from some guy named Toronto Mike.

City of brotherly love, welcome.

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Bobby Clarke and Sweet Schadenfreude

thumbsupSchadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. It's a fairly obscure term, but I've used it twice before when writing about Lenny Wilkens' horrible performance in New York and Justin Gatlin getting caught using steroids. Now, I'm using it again.

Bob Clarke is out as General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers. They're off to a horrid 1-6-1 start and have the fewest points in the NHL. After resigning, Clarke said, "I deeply regret not being able to bring a Stanley Cup here. I didn't deliver."

This isn't about Clarke as a player. Although I've only seen clips of him on tape, I'm sure he was a great little player and I know he led the Flyers to two Stanley Cups in the 70s. Although I've never been comfortable with what he did to Valeri Kharlamov in the Summit Series, I'm sure I would have liked Bobby Clarke the player. It's Bob Clarke the General Manager of the Flyers that I couldn't stand.

In the late 90s, he was ruthless with Eric Lindros and continually toyed with Pat Quinn throughout 2001. He's always been a grade A jerk from a previous era who didn't deserve any success as GM. Thankfully, the Flyers never won it all and now they're in the basement and Clarke is burned out.

Germans invented the term schadenfreude for incidents like this. Feel free to use it regularly, but always use it with caution.

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Hip Sunday With Strombo

tv"The Hour", George Stroumboulopoulos' show on CBC Newsworld and CBC, is dedicating tonight's episode to a performance by The Tragically Hip.

It airs on Newsword at 8pm and CBC proper at 11pm.

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Maple Leafs 4, Rangers 5

LeafsOn the bright side, the Leafs applied some awesome pressure late in the third to force overtime. That cheer you heard was me when Jeff O'Neill scored with three minutes left to tie it at 4.

This shootout loss ended our longest winning streak of the season. That's right, we've yet to win more than one game in a row. Eleven points in nine games isn't bad when you consider that little factoid.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
4-2-3
11 points
2nd in Northeast
5-4 SOL vs. New York
4-2 Win vs. Columbus
4-1 Loss vs. Colorado
K. Wellwood - 10
D. Tucker - 10
M. Sundin - 9

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Quote of the Week

Quotes"I threw the opening pitch at a Blue Jays game, and after the pitch, the mascot asked me if I wanted him to sign the game ball, which I thought was funny. What would he write? "Best Wishes, Some Guy in a Bird Suit"?"
      - Ken Jennings

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A Comments RSS Feed

rssBefore I forget and while there's a pause in the overtime action, there is now an RSS feed for comments made on this site. A request was made and I thought it was a pretty good idea. This new comments feed is at http://www.torontomike.com/comments.xml.

The regular ol' entry feed remains at http://www.torontomike.com/index.xml. If you're wondering what the heck this RSS thing is, read this.

Back to overtime...

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The Marlies and My Bad Luck Streak

hockeyAt Ricoh Coliseum this afternoon, I watched the Marlies absolutely dominate. We outshot the Rochester Americans 55-24 and led after only 2:18 of the first period. Did I mention we lost 3-1?

For the third time in four nights, I was in the building to watch a professional Toronto sports franchise lose. It was my first Marlies game and a great deal of fun. The kids were probably more entertained by the dog mascot than the hockey, but they had a blast and I got to watch #1 Justin Pogge.

Here's a photoset of pix from the game . What you won't see in the pictures is how cold it is at the Ricoh Coliseum. The ACC on Wednesday night felt like a sauna by comparison.

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A Dangerous Trend

thumbsdownI'm a little concerned. On Wednesday, I attended the Leafs game at the ACC and witnessed an uninspired performance by the blue and white. The Avs creamed us 4-1. Last night I was at Skydome to watch the Argos host the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Again, the home team put in an inept offensive performance. We didn't manage a single touchdown, getting our points with field goals, a touchback and a single.

It's quite possible that I'm the common denominator here. It's probably best that I avoid attending games for a while. I apologize to fellow Leaf and Argos fans.

The game left a lot to be desired, but I did see linebacker Mike O'Shea register his 1,000th career tackle. He's the first Canadian to reach that plateau and third player overall, joining Willie Pless and Alondra Johnson. The other highlight came during halftime when Bill Szijarto tried to kick a field goal from the 50-yard line for a cool mill. He was good from 20 and 30, but he was short from 40 and 50. I'm telling you, the place was electric.

Here are pictures from the game. If you're a betting man, bet every penny you have that the Marlies will be shut out this afternoon. I'll be at the Ricoh Coliseum and I sense this dangerous trend will continue. Sigh.

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Maple Leafs 4, Blue Jackets 2

LeafsI missed this game because I was at the stadium formerly known as Skydome watching the Argos flounder. From what I've read, it sounds like our special teams stepped up and we played a pretty good home game. Kyle Wellwood stayed hot adding a goal and assist to lead the team with ten points in 8 games.

I'll be watching tonight as Shanny and the Rangers come to town. First though, I've got to scout out the Marlies and see what tomorrow might bring.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
4-2-2
10 points
2nd in Northeast
4-2 Win vs. Columbus
4-1 Loss vs. Colorado
5-4 Win vs. Calgary
K. Wellwood - 10
M. Sundin - 9
D. Tucker - 8

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Check and mate. Now king me!"

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite movies set in Toronto

  1. Exotica
  2. Last Night
  3. Crash
  4. Strange Brew
  5. Canadian Bacon

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Shanny's Red Rocket to Power

hockeyBrendan Shanahan is off to a great start with the Rangers. He's got 7 goals and 2 assists in his first seven games in New York. In Shanahan takes Manhattan, a Damien Cox piece in today's Toronto Star, Shanny offers up this delicious quote.

Hey, growing up I got used to taking the GO train. Or taking the Red Rocket to Michael Power High School.

I may be 605 NHL goals behind Shanahan, but we do have something else in common. I too TTC'd it to Michael Power High School growing up. The Shanahan family was everywhere, teaching at St. Cecilia's, a primary school I attended for a few years, and teaching at Michael Power, the high school where I hung my hat for five years in the late 80s and early 90s. For a while I thought they might rename Michael Power High School. I was practically a graduate of Brendan Shanahan High.

605 to go to catch my former classmate. I'd better get crackin'.

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Abandoning the NFL for the CFL

argosMy brothers still ridicule me for abandoning the NFL for the CFL. When I mentioned I was going to the Argonaut game tonight, they sort of yawned. To them, watching a a preseason Titans~Texans game on television is infinitely more exciting. I respect their preference, one shared by many in this city, but I stand soundly by my decision.

Let's review the sequence of events that led to this radical epiphany.

  • Buffalo chooses Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie - This was the spark.
  • Argos Win 2004 Grey Cup - In this entry I come clean about the Flutie-Johnson controversy and my decision to "screw the NFL".
  • Doug Flutie Announces His Retirement - The Magic Flutie calls it a career.
  • Unparalleled Argo Buzz - Ricky Williams signs with the Argos.
  • James' First Game - James and I watch Ricky's Argonaut debut and meet him after the game.
  • Paul Stops the Pool - For years I participated in an NFL pool but this year Paul didn't run it. No pool meant no reason to read analysis, follow trends or even check schedules.

I'll be there tonight as we play to clinch the division title. Argoooos!!!

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Am I Fanatical?

tvPeace Point Entertainment Group is producing a brand new Canadian television series called “Fanatical” about obsessive fans of television shows. It's going to air on TVtropolis and one episode will be based on "The Simpsons". I know this because I've been in discussions with the producers about being one of the three featured fans in this episode.

Jennifer found me via Google and we began exchanging emails and phone calls. I've actually been trying to convince her that there are bigger fans out there for her camera crew to exploit but they've already got their collector and Math prof and now they're looking for the father who encourages his kids to watch and gets all trivial about the show with his bros. Apparently, I'm that guy.

They've asked for a day when they'll film a day in the life. That sounds awfully boring to me. I'll have to do lots of interesting things that day. "After my morning run, I like to serve breakfast at the mission. Then, it's another run, Simpsons and philosophy debates with the kids and the building of new deck / garage / treehouse." Yeah, that sounds plausible. I'm sticking with that as my typical day in the life.

There's no guarantees yet that I'm the "Fanatical" guy, but it's looking quite promising. 18 years of worship and lessons from the master are finally starting to pay dividends.

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The Web-Based MP

ottawaWhen I started this blog, I lay down ground rules for myself. One rule was and is "never write about work". Writing about work is asking for trouble.

Garth Turner, the MP for Halton, also writes a blog. Turner writes about his job. In fact, that's the refreshing allure. He uses his blog to communicate with his constituents, giving them a peek at the daily life of an MP and sharing his views on various subjects, even if it puts his own party in a negative light. The Conservative Party didn't like this very much and suspended him from the caucus.

His blog gets 1.5 million hits a month and that figure will only grow with this news. Read his entries, it's like taking a cool shower on a hot, sweltering day. It's damn refreshing and something I wish all MPs did.

He's been kicked out of caucus, but the web-based MP has solidified his role as the voice that doesn't tow the company line. No matter what you think of his politics, this is a very good thing.

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SLS Submission: Nausea

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS16 consideration. I submitted "Nausea" from Beck.

Sure, he's a Scientologist, but he's also Beck, and that makes it okay.

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Maple Leafs 1, Avalanche 4

LeafsI blame myself. I haven't been to a game since the '03 - '04 season and when I finally score tix my team lays an egg. Actually, the first five minutes or so were pretty good with the Leafs controlling the play and taking the lead, but after that it was a lackadaisical effort from the blue and white.

Here are pictures from the night. I'll be back on the 30th. If it's another stinker, you can blame me.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
3-2-2
8 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
4-1 Loss vs. Colorado
5-4 Win vs. Calgary
7-6 SOL vs. New Jersey
M. Sundin - 8
K. Wellwood - 8
D. Tucker - 7

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Getting The Call

phoneOk, it wasn't exactly a phone call. It was more of a request to call, and it was sent via the net. Right after I wrote this entry I received a note via my contact form. It read "Mikey, Give me a call .... very important! Tim 555-555-5555". I immediately dialed the ten digits to find out what was so important.

"What are you doing tomorrow night?", Tim asked.
"Nuthin'", I replied. My big plan for Wednesday night was watching the Leafs honour Mats Sundin with a ceremony prior to our game against the Colorado Avalanche.
"Want to go to the Leafs game?"

I'm pretty sure I answered with a positive because I'm wearing my #5 Bill Barilko jersey right now. When your captain scores his 500th goal in overtime to complete the hat trick, watching his ceremony on television just doesn't cut the mustard. I'll be there at the ACC to cover the event. I hear there's a little game with the Avs right afterwards, too.

Go Leafs Go!

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Weekly MP3: Do You Realize??

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

The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??
I'm sharing this one by request. It recently showed up on 20 Songs For My Funeral and it helped form a quote of the week back in June 2005. It's also an awesome tune.

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Damien Cox, Why Don't You Just Say It?

newspaper"Praise for a trailblazer" is the title of today's column by Damien Cox in The Toronto Star. I'd link to the article, but that damn Star URI has so many ampersands I'd have to edit, I couldn't be bothered. I'm boycotting links to thestar.com until they clean up their URI structure. "Praise for a trailblazer" is a nice little piece about Mats Sundin in which he asks a question we all know the answer to.

Getting his just due has been heavy sledding for Mats Sundin. Don't know why that is, exactly. Don't know why Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark were both far more celebrated as Maple Leaf captains, or why fans saved their affections for Curtis Joseph and Tie Domi but seemed to always withhold them from Sundin.

Does Damien Cox expect us to believe for one second that he doesn't know why Leaf fans were quicker to embrace Gilmour, Clark, Joseph and Domi? You're thinking it, I'm thinking it and Cox was thinking it. Gilmour, Clark, Joseph and Domi are all Canadians, born and raised in Canada. Mats Sundin was born and raised in Sweden. For better or worse, Toronto Maple Leaf fans prefer the home grown talent, the native son eligible to suit up for Canada in an Olympic games or World Cup. It's widespread preference for ones own, not based on colour or creed but an undeniable allegiance to the Maple Leaf, both blue and red.

I own both a Gilmour #93 and a Bill Barilko #5. My brother Ryan owns a Clark #17 and a Bryan McCabe #24 and my brother Steve owns a Tucker #16. All five are Canadian born players who played or play for the Leafs. We've never seriously considered owning a Sundin #13, a Mogilny #89 or a Tomas Kaberle #15. If Sundin was Matt Sutton from Moose Jaw you can bet in a heartbeat one of us would own his #13.

Heck, if Sundin were a bonafide Canuck, he'd have owned this city long ago. You know it, I know it and Damien Cox knows it. He'd just prefer to wonder why.

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Link: World Container World Album Premiere

LinkWorld Container World Album Premiere - Since today is national Hip day, I thought this was a cool link to share with fellow fans of Canada's band. This is Gord and the boys discussing the new album while they play each song. There's great insight and another opportunity to hear this fantastic new album that hits stores today.

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Why I Hope The Mets Win

mlbI can sum up my reasons for rooting for the Mets in the NLCS in two words. Carlos Delgado.

Delgado waited 1,711 regular-season games to make his playoff debut and now he's making up for lost time. He's batting .414 with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs in seven playoff games. His slugging percentage is a whopping .931. He's kicking ass when it matters most, something he never had the chance to do in a Blue Jays uniform.

I'll always look upon Delgado fondly. He gave us 12 great years, setting Blue Jay career records for slugging percentage (.556), runs (889), total bases (2,786), doubles (343), home runs (336), RBIs (1,058), walks (827) and more. Furthermore, he's a man of substance who always has a smile on his face and gave his all for the good guys.

Lets hope Delgado wins a much deserved World Series title. It's just too bad it couldn't have happened with the Jays.

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The New Law I Thought Was The Old Law

carTransportation Minister Donna Cansfield yesterday introduced an amendment to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act that would require one seat belt for every person in a vehicle that travels on Ontario's roads.

I've always thought that was the law. I had no idea you could legally have more passengers in your car than seat belts. Is this news to anyone else?

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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 Can't Quit Her - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  2. The Ghost of Tom Joad - Rage Against The Machine
  3. Thin Air - Pearl Jam
  4. Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
  5. Would? - Alice in Chains
  6. By Myself - Linkin Park
  7. Burritos - Sublime
  8. Pretend We're Dead - L7
  9. The Bends - Mr. Bungle
  10. Freewill - Rush

Before I fell in love with Alice in Chains' Dirt, I heard "Would?" on the Singles soundtrack. That was a fantastic soundtrack, wasn't it? It is, after all, the album that gave us Pearl Jam's "State Of Love And Trust".

"Would?" was written about Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone who died of a heroin overdose in 1990. It was a perfect little grunge song. I'm glad I heard it again today.

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Martin Scorsese

movies"The Departed" is the first movie in a long time I've actually wanted to see in theatres. In fact, if I can score babysitting, I'm totally there.

Martin Scorsese, the director of "The Departed", has somehow never won an Oscar, despite being nominated seven times. "Goodfellas", which ranks #2 on my ten favourite movies of all-time list, lost out to "Dances With Wolves". I kid you not. "Raging Bull" somehow lost to "Ordinary People". Scorsese gets no respect, no respect at all.

The man is a true talent and a rarity in the biz. Here's hoping "The Departed" is as good as I hope it is and that Oscar is paying attention.

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Lister Sinclair, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumLister Sinclair was 85. He had a storied career at the CBC, working as a host, playwright and panellist.

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5000 Entries

documentationMuch like Mats Sundin last night, I reached a milestone today. A couple of posts ago, I hit 5000 entries.

That's a nice and juicy round number. 5000 entries. Wow. Although I started blogging in November 2002, entries were few and far between until the following summer and they didn't become daily until September 2003.

Quality trumps quantity, but I'm still a little stunned at this number. Where did I find the time? What the heck did I have to yak about? What percentage was interesting and what percentage was pure shite? Do I have another 5000 in me?

This is entry 5002 signing off.

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Tucker Loves Dubya

hangerSteve, if you're reading this, I think it's time you change Leafs jerseys. You've been wearing that #16 Tucker jersey for a while now, and he's off to a great start to the season, but did you read the sports section in yesterday's Star?

You couldn't skip past that headline: "Leaf big on Dubya". Then, there's that devastating quote from Darcy Tucker when asked by ESPN why he chose George W. Bush as the one person he'd like to meet. Tucker replied:

I would like to pick his brain. I think his political views are on the same line as my own... So I really back what he is trying to do.

Dude, I dare you to wear that #16 at our next Leaf game get together. Might I suggest a #42 Kyle Wellwood or a #1 Justin Pogge?

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Freddy Fender, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumFreddy Fender was 69. He was the singer best known for his country hit Before The Next Teardrop Falls.

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Sid Adilman, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSid Adilman was 68. He was the long-time Toronto Star entertainment writer widely regarded as one of the greatest champions of Canadian movies, music, books and television.

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Gino Empry, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumGino Empry was 83. He was a long-time Toronto entertainment promoter and an icon in the international artistic community who represented some of the biggest names in show business, including Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Bob Hope and Ella Fitzgerald.

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Maple Leafs 5, Calgary Flames 4

LeafsO Captain! My Captain! Shorthanded in overtime, Sundin beat Miikka Kiprusoff with a long blast to complete the hat trick and reach the 500 goal milestone. It was also his 15th career overtime goal, an NHL record.

We're getting our money's worth out of Leaf games this season. Six games into the season, the past four have gone into overtime. We haven't lost in regulation since that terrible home opener against the Sens.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
3-1-2
8 points
2nd in Northeast
5-4 Win vs. Calgary
7-6 SOL vs. New Jersey
2-1 Win vs. Florida
M. Sundin - 8
K. Wellwood - 8
D. Tucker - 7

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Quote of the Week

Quotes"I used to go to Maple Leaf games all the time when Nic shot To Die For here in Toronto. This is a great city. I love it here."
      - Tom Cruise

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The Lonely End of the Rink Hockey Montage

cbcLast Saturday, Hockey Night in Canada opened with "The Lonely End of the Rink" playing over top some great footage. It was a match made in heaven and many have been looking to revisit this opening montage.

YouTube has it, but it's much clearer in this clip from iFilm.

If you don't dig that, surrender your Canadian passport immediately.

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20 Songs For My Funeral

bereavementA couple of weeks ago I wrote about a survey conducted in Britain to learn what the most requested funeral songs are. Naturally, this got me wondering what songs I'd choose for my funeral.

I'm really hoping my funeral is so far in the distance that I'll have plenty of time to revise this list over the years, but after a couple of weeks of thought, here are twenty songs for my funeral.

I Am Mine - Pearl Jam
"I know I was born
And I know that I'll die
The in between is mine
I am mine."

Fiddler's Green - The Tragically Hip
"He doesn't know a soul
And there's nowhere that he's really been
But he won't travel long alone
No, not in Fiddler's Green."

So Gently We Go - I Mother Earth
"I've heard the sound
That silence makes
And I realize the world
Can break
From the inside out
Or outside in
On a breath of wind."

Danny Boy - Johnny Cash
"Oh Danny boy
the pipes the pipes are calling
from glen to glen and down the mountain side
the summer's gone and all the roses falling
it's you it's you must go and I must bide."

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
"I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah."

O Death - Ralph Stanley
"O, Death
Won't you spare me over til another year
Well what is this that I can't see
With ice cold hands takin' hold of me
Well I am death, none can excel
I'll open the door to heaven or hell."

In My Life - The Beatles
"Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more."

The Circle Game - Joni Mitchell
"And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down.
We're captive on a carousel of time.
We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game."

Fire and Rain - James Taylor
"Thought I'd see you one more time again
There's just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you fire and rain, now."

Mad Word - Michael Andrews f/ Gary Jules
"And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow."

All Apologies - Nirvana
"All in all is all we all are
All in all is all we all are
All in all is all we all are
All in all is all we all are."

Angel - Jimi Hendrix
"And I said "fly on my sweet angel,
fly on through the sky,
fly on my sweet angel,
forever I will be by your side"."

Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
"So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?"

Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Guns N' Roses
"Momma take this badge off of me
I can't use it anymore
It's getting dark, too dark to see
I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door."

Always On My Mind - Willie Nelson
"Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind."

Everything In Its Right Place - Radiohead
"Everything, everything, everything, everything...
In its right place
In its right place
In its right place
Right place."

The End - The Doors
"This is the end, Beautiful friend
This is the end, My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me."

Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips
"And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round."

The Long Road - Eddie Vedder with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
"Will I walk the long road?
I cannot stay
There's no need to say goodbye
Oh, the friends and family...
All the memories going round
Round, round round..."

Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
"If I leave here tomorrow,
would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now.
'Cause there's too many places I've gotta see."

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Don't let Krusty's death get you down, boy. People die all the time, just like that. Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow. Well, good night!"

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Pretend, The Haunting Song in the "In View" Video

thehipWhen I first watched the video for The Tragically Hip's "In View", I was taken aback by a snippet of a song that interrupts "In View" at about the 32 second mark. We're bouncing around to "In View" when suddenly Gord is looking solemnly into the mirror as about 15 seconds of this hauntingly beautiful song is played. What was that song?

With The Hip streaming all of World Container ahead of its release date, I had a chance to hear the entire album. Seven tracks in, I heard that song. It's called "Pretend" and it's stunning. I've been through the album a dozen times now and a number of tracks stand out as winners, but "Pretend" has seeped deep under my skin. If you're streaming, it starts at the 23:26 mark.

In addition to "Pretend", I can't get enough of "The Lonely End Of The Rink" which just gets better and better with every listen. The lead track "Yer Not The Ocean" is very strong as is "The Drop Off" and "Fly". As for "In View", you already know what I think.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveAthletes killed in air crashes

  1. Bill Barilko
  2. Roberto Clemente
  3. Thurman Munson
  4. Payne Stewart
  5. Rocky Marciano

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Looking Up Underwhelmed

bookThe second Friday Five I ever threw on this site was My Favourite Sloan Songs. At the top of that list was "Underwhelmed" from Smeared. When I composed Ten Canadian Tracks that I felt collectively epitomize the spirit of Canadian music, "Underwhelmed" was on that short list. Clearly, I dig the tune.

If you need a refresher, here's a line from the song that discusses the word "underwhelmed".

She was underwhelmed
If that's a word
I know it's not
'Cause I looked it up
That's one of those skills
That I learned in my school
I was overwhelmed
And I'm sure of that one
'Cause I learned it
Back in grade school
When I was young

He looked it up, learned it wasn't a word and that was that. I never questioned it for a second. Then, someone looked it up. It is a word! It means "To fail to excite, stimulate, or impress".

All these years and I thought "underwhelmed" was a made up word because Sloan told me so. Not once did I think to check it out. I was lied to through song. I hate it when that happens.

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TTC Swag Suggestions

ttcArtur wants me to mention the TTC swag suggestions made by Torontoist. I've checked it out and it's no doubt hipper stuff than what the TTC sells. I've been complaining about the TTC marketing effort for a while now. It's sadly out of touch.

A tee shirt with the "Mind the Gap" graphic or "Please Move Back..." would be very cool. Instead we just get "Ride the Rocket". I'm getting tired of beating a dead horse. This time, it's Artur's fault.

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Maple Leafs 6, Devils 7

LeafsIt was tough to watch that third period last night. Up 6-3, the Leafs stopped attacking and sat back, hoping to hold on for the two points. With Aubin playing his worst game as a Leaf, Brian Gionta scored three unanswered third period goals to bring New Jersey all the way back.

This one was in the bag. I still can't believe it got out.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
2-1-2
6 points
Tied for 1st in Northeast
7-6 SOL vs. New Jersey
2-1 Win vs. Florida
3-2 SOL vs. Montreal
K. Wellwood - 7
D. Tucker - 5
M. Stajan - 4

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Snow Patrol

snowflakeAt around 4pm this afternoon, I looked out the window and saw snow. Note to self, date of first snow spotting: October 12.

We didn't have snow flurries in the 416 last year until November 17. The year before, it was November 8. Today's snowfall only lasted a few minutes and it sure didn't stick around, but it's only October 12.

Freaky.

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The Cirrus SR-20 Parachute System

airplaneWhen I first heard about Cory Lidle's tragic accident yesterday afternoon, I had no idea it involved the former Blue Jays pitcher. I knew it was a small aircraft and my thoughts immediately went back three days when I was in such a plane flying around Southern Ontario.

Prior to take off in this C-GSIN I asked my pilot, Humble Howard, if there was some sort of parachute or escape hatch should something go horribly wrong. I learned there was no such thing, but he pointed to a Cirrus and explained that the Cirrus had a parachute system. Cory Lidle's plane was a Cirrus SR-20, that very plane Howard pointed out to me.

As Howard says on his blog, "GA pilots do all we can to be safe. We make sure the plane is in working order, fueled correctly and fit before every flight. Pilot error is the cause of the majority of small plane crashes and we all try and minimize that to the best of our ability."

He swears you're in more danger driving on the 401 and I trust him. I went up last weekend and I'd go up next weekend if the forecast was agreeable. We may never know what happened with Lidle's flight yesterday and it's extremely sad, but I doubt it will deter the avid pilots I saw at Buttonville Airport the other day.

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Link: World Container

LinkWorld Container streamed - If you're patient and let this thing load, you can listen to World Container, the new album from The Tragically Hip.

If you just want to check out the first four songs, "Yer Not The Ocean", "The Lonely End of the Rink", "In View" and "Fly", you can hear them on the Hip's MySpace page.

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Weekly MP3: Everybody Knows

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.

Leonard Cohen - Everybody Knows
Remember "Pump Up The Volume"? It was a 1990 movie starring Christian Slater and I thought it was the coolest. It had a fantastic soundtrack too and this Cohen tune was pivotal. All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.

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Everything I Long For

cdDriving home from Chudleigh's Farm the other day, I had the MP3 player on shuffle. Back to back we heard Neil Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand" and Hayden's "Bad As They Seem". Hearing these two Canadian artists back to back reminded me of a prediction I made upon hearing Hayden's album Everything I Long For for the first time in '95.

I was calling Hayden out as the next Neil Young. I realize now those expectations were way out of whack, but Hayden was the complete package. His songs had a grungy, folksy flavour, he was a singer-song writer performing locally and his stuff was amazing. He was can't miss, a bonafide super star in the making. He was the second coming of Neil.

Eleven years later, I now regard Hayden as the greatest under achiever in Canadian music history. And it's quite possible he's proud of it. I hit up his Wikipedia page to find out what he's up to. He's apparently working on another album, which will probably be quite good and quite underwhelming, if that's a word. I know it's not because I looked it up.

When I spin Everything I Long For today, I still can't believe he isn't a bigger deal than he is. Sure I'm repeating myself, but the whole thing has me mild and hazy.

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Cory Lidle, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumCory Lidle was 34. He pitched for the New York Mets, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinatti Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees going 12-15 for the Jays in 2003.

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Porky's Reign Ends

movieA perfect Friday night as a thirteen year old was discovering "Porky's" being aired on CityTV. City never censored the flick which meant plenty of Cancon T&A.

For almost 25 years, "Porky's" has been the most popular Canadian film in Canadian box office history. It made $11.2 million back in '82, which held up as the record until now. "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" has just surpassed it, taking the title.

"Bon Cop, Bad Cop" can have the title, but "Porky's" provided the thrills.

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Link: Slang of the 1920s

LinkSlang of the 1920s - Have you ever wanted to talk like Mr. Burns? I know I have, and now I can. This list is the bee's knees.

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Ed Benedict, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumEd Benedict was 94. He was the legendary animator who put life, love and laughter in TV cartoon characters like Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Yogi Bear.

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Jane Station Enters the 21st Century

ttcI recently wrote about the pathetic news ticker at the Jane TTC subway station. The clock was 40 minutes fast, the ticker didn't actually deliver news and other subway stations had been outfitted with modernized information screens long ago.

Late last week, those modern screens were indeed installed at Jane station. They haven't been turned on yet, but they're there. I'm not foolish enough to think my entry had anything to do with this, but the coincidence delights me.

Jane station, you are loved.

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Ian Scott, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumIan Scott was 72. He was the former Ontario attorney general who helped orchestrate the end of the Conservative party’s 40-year-rule in the Ontario legislature.

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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.

Many things to tell you - the first is that I bought a new computer finally! I have waited more than three years since my very very old but faithful (bought in Dec 1996) Pentium 100 died on me. I had had three hard disk drives crash on me and the last straw was the SMPS & mother board dieing. Now that I can afford to get a new one, I got an AMD Cempron, 80 GB HD, spanking new pc that I got assembled. And for the first time in my life, I am now online from home!!! I am so excited about it.

Excited about the new NHL season although my Sens have not started well. I hope Toronto & Vancouver does well so that we can have all 6 Canadian teams in the playoffs and perhaps even an all-Canadian Western & Eastern finals with an all-Canadian Stanley Cup finals (with Ottawa winning ofcourse). And what's this I hear, Jim Ballsile has bought the Penguins? Is it adios Pittsburgh and hello Hamilton? I can imagine the Copps Coliseum rocking with a full capacity crowd egging on the team. What do u think the new team should be called if they move to Hamilton? The Hamilton Hammers, Hamilton Heroes, Hamilton Beavers?????

      Roshan

I hate to burst Hamilton's bubble, but this is yet another tease. Hamilton isn't getting an NHL team. I'd watch for the Las Vegas Penguins, although Hamilton Beavers has a nice ring to it.

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Shows I Watch: Rescue Me

tvI've always liked Denis Leary. I loved "Asshole", I thought he was great in "The Ref" and his stand up still makes me laugh. The fact he's a major NHL hockey fan earned him plenty of bonus points, too.

A couple of years ago I started watching his new series "Rescue Me" about a New York City fire fighter who lost his best friend on 9/11. It literally had me at hello by opening to the Von Bondies' "C'mon C'mon" and I've watched every episode since.

It's not as good as the Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Brotherhood's of the world, but I'll be back again tonight to see what Tommy Gavin's up to. I don't watch a lot of television, but I watch "Rescue Me".

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A Memo To Google

googleNow that Google has bought YouTube for $1.65 billion, they're likely looking to acquire a Toronto blog next. I believe that would be the next logical step. Capture the online-video audience first and then go after the Toronto market.

In the spirit of this assumption, I would like to assure Google that I'm only looking for a fraction of the YouTube price tag. In fact, I'm willing to sell for a mere 10% of what Google paid for YouTube.

Larry, Sergey... contact me.

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Maple Leafs 2, Florida Panthers 1

LeafsUntil Darcy Tucker scored the shootout goal that secured us the two points, I was sure we were snake bitten. We absolutely dominated, peppering Alex Auld with 48 shots, many of them quality chances. If Belfour was in net for the Panthers, this would have been a cake walk.

We're now 1-1 in shootouts, a promising sign. Our power play, however, has started to tank. We were 0 for 6 with the man advantage last night. Still, a win is a win, and we earned this sucker.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
2-1-1
5 points
2nd in Northeast
2-1 Win vs. Florida
3-2 SOL vs. Montreal
6-0 Win vs. Ottawa
K. Wellwood - 6
M. Sundin - 4
D. Tucker - 4

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Songbird's Second Shot

musicIt's been eight months since I first downloaded and tried Songbird. Back then it was a "proof of concept" and it kept crashing on me. I ended up going back to iTunes for my MP3 playing needs.

I want to use Songbird. It's open source and seems to get it. I'm itching to kick iTunes to the curb and fly solo with Songbird. The version I played with today is Songbird 0.2 Developer Preview RC2 and it's much better. It was stable and the features have come a long way. You're not only playing files in your personal library but you can easily scrape media files from the web and play them as if they're local. You use the thing as a web browser, click a link to an MP3 and play. You can add the song to your playlist, download it to your library grab the lyrics or whatever. It's easy to search the web for media too. Again, you're not just playing your files, you're playing the web.

It's not quite as fast as I'd like it to be and it still has a ways to go before I'll ridicule people who haven't made the switch, but things are looking up. I'm going to use it throughout the week to see if it sticks. Maybe I'll get lucky and FoxyTunes will release an update that works with it.

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Thanksgiving Redux

thanksgivingDuring a Thanksgiving long weekend, you're either in the Sunday celebration camp or the Monday celebration camp. Some probably fall in both camps. We had our turkey yesterday.

When you've been blogging for four years, you get a few Thanksgiving entries under your belt. Like a flashback episode of your favourite sitcom, here are my Thanksgiving entries through the ages.

Happy Thankgiving and Go Leafs Go!

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Transamerica

A Movie ReelTransamerica: 7.5 out of 10.

This one was better than I expected. Felicity Huffman is great as a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual and there are great cameos from our very own Graham Greene and Fionnula Flanagan.

A great deal of this film reminded me of "Southern Comfort", a documentary I watched in the summer about pre-op female-to-male transsexual living with the good ol' boys. I'd link to my review of the flick, but it appears I didn't write one. Shame on me...

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The Video For In View

videoI like the video for The Tragically Hip's "In View". I recently made a controversial statement about this tune.

Here's the vid.


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Harvest Moon

moonCheck out that full moon tonight. It's absolutely enormous.

The Moon is near perigee, the point on its slightly out-of-round orbit that is closest to Earth. That means tonight's full Moon will be almost 12 percent bigger than your typical full moon.

Seriously, get outside and check this sucker out. It's massive.

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My Flight With Humble Howard

airplaneHumble Howard Glassman is not only the morning radio personality I awoke to throughout high school and university, but he's also a very decent chap. 392 comments on this entry confirm I wasn't the only one enjoying his sense of humour and folksy charm with Fred Patterson on The Humble & Fred Show. Since writing that entry, I've set him up with a blog of his own and crashed at his palatial Oakville estate. Today, he took me flying.

That's right, comedian Humble Howard is a fully licensed pilot who owns his own airplane. He picked me up bright and early this morning and took me to Buttonville Airport where we flew by the CN Tower and around Niagara Falls on an amazingly clear day. I say "we" because he frequently gave me control of the wheel, giving me a taste of how it feels to fly. There was a limited scope as to what I could do, but there was no doubt I was ascending, descending and turning the plane with a couple of fingers on my left hand. Awesome.

When I wasn't controlling the aircraft, I was snapping pictures and absorbing all that goes into a flight like this. Howard frequently checks in with various flight services from Buttonville to Toronto and St. Catherines. There's a cool lingo to their chatter that makes you feel like they're part of an exclusive club you didn't even know existed. I learned Howard's plane is a 1974 model, but the engine is quite new. I also learned that I lucked out with the weather today because the entire flight was smooth as silk. Apparently skies this sweet are few and far between.

It was one hell of an experience and now I just want to do it again. In the meantime, I've got 46 pictures in a photoset for you to check out. Thanks Howard!

Check out the shades

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Maple Leafs 2, Montreal Canadiens 3

LeafsIn shocking news, the Leafs lost another shootout. Of all the games not to play Suglobov...

To make things worse, I had to watch our loss from a Bowlerama with a Habs fan amongst the members of Raging Storm. Habs fans are the most irritating and annoying creatures on the planet. When Michael Ryder scored and I heard that scream of joy, I wanted to slit my wrists.

By the way, after the Hockey Night in Canada "Lonely End of the Rink" opening, Ron McLean told us that would appear on the new Hip album, Container World. Hearing the slip, all I could think about was Spatula City from "UHF".

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
1-1-1
3 points
2nd in Northeast
3-2 SOL vs. Montreal
6-0 Win vs. Ottawa
4-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
K. Wellwood - 5
M. Sundin - 4
D. Tucker - 3

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Skyclear

thermometerI just got the latest forecast report from HG. Here it is:

Hamilton's forecast: TAF CYHM 071739Z 071818 VRB03KT P6SM SKC

Toronto's forecast: TAF CYYZ 072039Z 072118 VRB03KT P6SM SKC

SKC means skyclear which means all systems go. I'll bring my camera and file a full report upon my return.

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How Ya Like Them Apples?

appleThe annual tradition continues as we spent the day at Chudleigh's Farm in Milton. Chudleigh's Farm is known for its apples so we made sure we picked a whole bunch of McIntosh, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. They've also got these killer apple pies which cost $9 each. At that price, they'd better be damn good.

With the sun shining and the temperature rising, it couldn't have been a nicer day. Here's a photoset of pictures I took at Chudleigh's. I'll save a slice of $9 pie for ya.

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Making Your Way In The World Today

binocularsI made a few modifications to this site to help people find what they're looking for.

Some people like to track recent comments to see who's discussing what and where it's all going down. I've added a new column to the archives page that lists the fifteen most recent comments, who made them and what entry they were made on. http://www.torontomike.com/archives.html is the page to go to quickly browse the 40 most recent entries, the 10 most recent comments, every category and monthly archive. A link to this page can be found on the right of every page, just above the link to my Flickr page.

I've also freshened up the sitemap so it's sorted by theme and all-inclusive. If it's a page I maintain, you can link to it from there. A link to this sitemap is on the bottom of every page in the copyright footer.

Finally, I've installed a sweet Movable Type plugin for faster search results. Results are now instant when you search via the search field you'll find on every page. Go ahead and try and break it. Remember though, it's only searching blog entries, not static pages.

That is all.

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Gordon Lightfoot Cover Songs

musicI stumbled upon this list of the top ten Gordon Lightfoot cover songs by David Schmeichel of the Winnipeg Sun.

  1. For Lovin' Me - Peter, Paul & Mary
  2. Ribbon of Darkness - Marty Robbins
  3. Early Morning Rain - Bob Dylan
  4. Cotton Jenny - Anne Murray
  5. Early Morning Rain - Elvis Presley
  6. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Rheostatics
  7. Song For a Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
  8. Black Day In July - Tragically Hip
  9. Sundown - Ron Sexsmith
  10. If You Could Read My Mind - Johnny Cash

By the way, "Sundown" by Gordon Lightfoot was the number one song in the U.S.A. on the day I was born. It's a fact.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Mmmmmm - 52 slices of American cheese."

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A Message For Bluemlein

emailBluemlein, I don't have an email address for you and your blog doesn't allow me to comment or contact you without logging in with a blogger account. I'm guessing this is the best way to communicate with you.

This Guest Blog form is open to anyone who needs/wants a forum to share their thoughts on something I haven't yet written about. I'll post anything so long as it isn't something that would be more appropriate as a comment in an entry I've already written and it's an original thought composed for visitors to my site. Your guest blog entries are always a very lengthy copy and paste job from your blog. If you write a little synopsis for my site with a link to your entry, that's cool, but regurgitating the entire thing word for word is a no-no.

Cool?

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveEasily forgotten Canadian Prime Ministers

  1. Sir John Abbott
  2. Sir John Thompson
  3. Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  4. Joe Clark
  5. John Turner

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SLS Submission: Red Flag

SLS SubmissionI just submitted a tune for SLS16 consideration. I submitted "Red Flag" from Billy Talent.

Admittedly, I'm a little late on this one. It took a while to hit me, but now I see the light. For a band with only a couple of albums under their belt, they've done well with SLS. The SLS Database reveals that they appeared on SLS10, SLS11, SLS12, SLS13 and SLS15. Probably a home town bias, eh?

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Harpergate: A Closer Look

ottawaStephen Harper won't admit to rooting for a particular NHL team. He was born in Toronto, lived in Calgary and rules Ottawa. In typical political style, he realizes that deciding on a favourite will upset a large portion of voters. He's happily assumed his perch on the fence.

On Wednesday night, he and his son attended the Leafs ~ Sens game at the ACC. As James mentioned, he was caught wildly (for him, it was wild) celebrating Mats Sundin's goal on a penalty shot. In that moment, we caught a glimpse of an unguarded Prime Minister, reacting with his gut and not at the mercy of his spin doctors.

It's known that Harper's son is a Leafs fan. It's not a far stretch to assume pops feels the same way. The fact is, there was no blue in the T.Dot following the last federal election. Twenty Toronto seats when to the Liberals and the three others went to the NDP. Perhaps Harper feels rooting for the Leafs will help him gain some ground in the GTA and the rest of Southern Ontario?

Of course, there's a dangerous flip-side to that strategy. Many out west root for the Flames, Oilers or Canucks. If Harper is revealed as a Leafs fan, he may be alienating his base. If they think he's gone Toronto, he's in big trouble. The rest of Canada hates Toronto, or so I've been told.

I choose to believe that we caught our very first glimpse of the man in a natural state. He was very happy to see the blue and white pot a goal against the Sens and he pumped his fist in delight. I can dislike the man's politics, but I've gotta respect that passion for Canada's team.

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Lonely End of the Rink

tragicallyhipFellow Hip fans should be aware that tomorrow night's Hockey Night In Canada telecast will open with The Tragically Hip's "Lonely End Of The Rink".

"Lonely End Of The Rink" is a new song from the upcoming World Container disc that I first heard at Fort York on June 24th. It's a sweet ditty that's ideal for Hockey Night in Canada.

This is where I'd tell you to tune into CBC at 7pm tomorrow night, but I know you'll be doing that anyways.

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Maple Leafs 6, Ottawa Senators 0

LeafsWhere the hell did that come from? I saw glimpses of yesterday's effort in the preseason, but I sure wasn't betting on seeing it last night. That was a helluva lot of fun, wasn't it?

Kyle Wellwood had a career-high four assists for the Maple Leafs as we successfully ruined Ottawa's home opener as they did ours. It turns out, those not named Mats can score. Darcy Tucker and Chad Kilger each potted two goals. Good times, good times...

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
1-1-0
2 points
1st in Northeast
6-0 Win vs. Ottawa
4-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
K. Wellwood - 4
M. Sundin - 3
C. Kilger - 2

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Link: How To Make Roses From Maple Leafs

LinkHow To Make Roses From Maple Leafs - This link is in honour of a most glorious game. Right now, everything smells like roses.

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Tamara Dobson, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTamara Dobson was 59. She was the tall, stunning model-turned-actress who portrayed a strong female role as Cleopatra Jones in two "blaxploitation" films.

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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.

Could mister Harper be a Leafs fan? He won't say. But, there be speculation afoot, and his being all smiles when they scored last night is certainly fueling that fire. Can't say it'd surprise me, seeing as he *is* Toronto born, but... the irony of it is just too amusing. I wonder if this will spark the all too familiar Senators crowd's irritation level a little...

      James

I saw our Prime Minister favouring the blue and white. You're right, he's a native Torontonian. His good taste in hockey teams is one of his only admirable qualities.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Well well well, what do you think Mike the leaf's are off on their quest for the stanley cup. Most likley a version of Monty Python's quest for the Holly Grail, bumbling around like a bunch of morons.

Will the leafs average more than one goal per game this year? probalbly not who the hell is going to score other than Mats?

It's going to be a long year Mikey

      the grinch

When Paul Maurice realizes that Aubin is his best bet between the pipes and if someone other than Mats can figure out how to score, we'll win some games and an 8th place finish in the conference is not out of the question. Of course, a 12th place finish isn't out of the question either. Sigh.

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Maple Leafs 1, Ottawa Senators 4

LeafsDon't even pretend you're surprised by this lacklustre effort in the season opener. The Sens owned us last year, except for the third last game of the season when we salvaged a win. We've been outscored 44-20 in losing eight of our last nine games against Ottawa.

Borje Salming looked so good during the pre-game ceremony I wanted him in the line up. Sundin was clearly inspired by the great Swede's appearance as he scored the lone Leafs goal on a penalty shot.

An opportunity for revenge presents itself tonight. I wouldn't bet on it though, if I were you.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
0-1-0
0 points
5th in Northeast
4-1 Loss vs. Ottawa M. Sundin - 1

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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.

Clarington Coverage Of upcoming Municipal Election:

I have posted twice in this forum to share updates on the municipal election here in Clarington. During my initial post I was made aware of a website that specifically focuses on the happenings of Clarington: http://claringtonwatchdog.blogspot.com/

As noted in my posts there is certainly a lot of contraversy and interest from the community members of Clarington and this specific site has received alot of heat and has come under attack for some of their posts.

I too have made some blog entries on my website: http://jewelgurl.blogspot.com/2006_09_01_archive.html#8544744827624956196 related to the election and last night I received an anonymous warning posted on my comments.........hmmmmmmmmmm, things are definately heating up.

      Jill

This reminds me of a documentary I saw once about a mayoral race in New Jersey. Don't f with Clarington.

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R. W. Apple, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumR. W. Apple was 71. He was the colorful New York Times correspondent who charted the fall of Richard Nixon and covered wars from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf while having a parallel career as a food and travel writer.

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Widgets All Around

webI'm blaming MySpace. When MySpace exploded, everyone and their dog created their own web page. If you've ever been to a MySpace page, it's damn ugly, and there are widgets everywhere. There are slideshows, Flash games, maps, video, audio and more bling than you can shake a stick at. The kids love their widgets and jam their page with them.

Would you like Google gadgets for your webpage? Google's got 1220 of them, from the current moon phase to PacMan. Wait a minute, I used to love PacMan. Can I really add this delightful game to my site by simply pasting in a little JavaScript?

Aren't Widgets fun!

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Link: NPR 100

LinkNPR 100: Master List of top 300 Songs - This list of 300 songs was compiled by members of the NPR News and Cultural Programming staff and several distinguished music critics and scholars. "Loser", "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Jeremy" all made the list.

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Songs For A Funeral

musicThey did a survey in Britain to learn what the most requested funeral songs are these days. 51 percent of people ask for a specific song be played at their funeral and 79 percent have talked with family and friends about possible song choices. Here are the top choices in jolly ol' England.

  1. "Goodbye My Lover" - James Blunt
  2. "Angels" - Robbie Williams
  3. "I've Had The Time Of My Life" - Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley
  4. "Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler
  5. "Pie Jesu" - Requiem
  6. "Candle In The Wind" - Elton John
  7. "With Or Without You" - U2
  8. "Tears In Heaven" - Eric Clapton
  9. "Every Breath You Take - The Police
  10. "Unchained Melody" - Righteous Brothers

This, of course, has me wondering what song(s) I want played at my funeral. I recently came up with a great playlist for a wedding. It's time for my funeral playlist, which I promise will be much, much shorter.

Here's hoping my choices aren't contemporary when I bite the dust.

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The Ninth Season on DVD

simpsons3rdseasonIt looks like the ninth season of The Simpsons will be released on December 19. That makes it a virtual certainly that this annual tradition will continue.

Of course, I'm falling a little behind. Season 8 has been out for over a month now and it hasn't found its way into my collection yet. It's arrival is imminent, but I figure if I wait another couple of months I may find two seasons under the tree this year.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy whatever I can find at http://www.dailymotion.com/.

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The St. Joseph's Troubleshooters

medicalWhen Grand River Hospital in Kitchener-Waterloo shut down its emergency ward, Health Minister George Smitherman sent in a team of troubleshooters from St. Joseph's Health Centre. Apparently, St. Joseph's has one of the best emergency wards in the province. Only a few months ago I experienced the St. Joseph's emergency procedure first hand and wrote "Hurry Up and Wait" about the ordeal.

The lack of wait at St. Joe's is really an illusion of sorts. You're periodically shuffled from one wait to another as opposed to suffering through one long wait at the very beginning. The benefits are that you get to see a triage nurse right away and I only had to wait about two hours before I got to a point where they offered me pain killers. Here were the eight waits, totaling approximately five hours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, this is the best our province has. Other hospitals are actually worse. Some, like the Grand River Hospital, even lock their doors.

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It's Almost That Time

leafsTake a peek at this. That's the official Toronto Mike Maple Leafs Countdown Clock. There is but 1 day, 22 hours, 34 minutes, and 46 seconds left until the puck drops on the regular season.

Season-opening rosters must be set prior to a 24-hour period before a team's first regular season game. That means by this time tomorrow we'll know who the lucky 23 are. I noticed all three goalies are still in camp. Perhaps Paul Maurice is going to give them each a period like they do in the all-star games.

Rumour has it, Mats Sundin will make the team. Remember, you read it here first.

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Top Ten Searches of September 2006

Top Ten Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site last month. Number one is a result of this entry and number two is thanks to this entry.

  1. kimveer gill
  2. humble howard
  3. concert tickets
  4. concert ticket
  5. big shiny tunes 3
  6. big shiny tunes 2
  7. bill barilko
  8. new raptors uniforms
  9. big shiny tunes 8
  10. wedding playlist

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The Weather Man

A Movie ReelThe Weather Man: 6.5 out of 10.

Some will tell you "The Weather Man" is a deep, introspective look at a man's struggle with striking a balance between professional and personal success. Taryn, for example, totally dug it. I, however, found it somewhat lacking and kind of depressing.

The Michael Caine parts are great, but the rest seemed a little flat and misguided. Focus Mr. Verbinski, focus!

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Hoodwinked

A Movie ReelHoodwinked: 6 out of 10.

I think I awarded bonus points to "Hoodwinked" for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the wolf is voiced by Patrick Warburton, who's always fun to listen to. Secondly, Michelle and I watched this together and when your two year old is entertained, everything seems better than it actually is.

The fact is, I expected far worse. It wasn't half bad and it's only 80 minutes long.

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The Problem With YouTube

videoOn July 3rd, I decided to list and link to my favourite clips on YouTube. Three months later, many of the clips I linked to have been removed. This is the problem with YouTube, the best clips are posted without consent from the copyright holder.

The National Film Board of Canada had YouTube remove "The Sweater" and "The Log Driver's Waltz", Major League Baseball had Joe Carter's '93 homer and the final out in '92 removed and "The Great White North" was simply removed because of an unnamed violation. All CBC footage or hockey footage remains, thankfully. Either the CBC and NHL understand the marketing potential of these videos or their lawyers just haven't got around to mailing that cease and desist letter yet.

Last week, Mark Cuban made waves when he stated that only a moron would buy YouTube. "The only reason it hasn't been sued yet is because there is nobody with big money to sue", he said. Cuban has a point. If every stitch of copyrighted material was removed from YouTube today, I'd have little interest in returning. I'm there for the music videos, the old television theme songs, the episodes of "The Simpsons" and that goal / home run / slam dunk that everybody is talking about.

Lawyers screaming about copyright violations suck the fun out of everything, especially YouTube.

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Baseball's Lost Generation

baseballAs reported by the Los Angeles Times, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada were among the players that a former major league pitcher accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. It's just an allegation, but it's yet another one regarding the Rocket. I believe Rocket Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds to be the greatest pitcher and positional player of their generation. I wonder if history will look upon this generation of elite ballplayers as the lost generation.

My respect for the enormous talent of each has resulted in numerous entries. Regarding Bonds, there's this one, this one, this one and this one. Regarding Clemens, there's this one and this one both of which start with "Roger Clemens is an arrogant SOB but he's the best damn pitcher I've ever seen" by total coincidence.

If the career statistics of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are tainted by allegations and/or proof they used performance-enhancing drugs, what becomes of the Major League Baseball record book? How do we look back at the best of this generation? How do we recall the excellence we witnessed when telling tales to our children and grandchildren? What do we do?

There's no answer. Only time will tell. It's a damn shame.

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Quote of the Week

Quotes"I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place."
      - Steven Wright

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