April 2007 Archives

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My 3 Cent Refund
Published by Toronto Mike on April 30, 2007 @ 18:58 in Miscellaneous

moneyI recently bought a domain name through GoDaddy.com. Bob Parsons from GoDaddy.com just sent me an email with the subject line "Your refund for ICANN Fee overpayment". I love refunds.

Before I got my hopes up, I read the opening sentence. "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN(R)) recently agreed to reduce their Registrar Transaction Fee from $.25 to $.22. What does this mean for you?" I started to do the math.

That's right, GoDaddy.com is giving me an in-store credit for 3¢. I know you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but this is a 3¢ gift horse and sometimes a 3¢ gift horse is more trouble than it's worth.

That's my two cents...er, three cents.

Toronto FC
Published by Toronto Mike on April 30, 2007 @ 16:18 in Sports

soccerAdmittedly, I've been asleep at the MLS switch. Although I did write about our new Major League Soccer team once, I tend to zone out during Toronto FC updates because I quite simply don't care.

I don't care, but that doesn't mean I can't complain about them. Today's complaint is at least a year late, but it's better late than never. I don't understand why our nickname is Toronto FC.

I understand FC stands for Football Club, and it's a popular nickname in parts of the world where soccer is known as football, but here in Toronto we don't call soccer football. We call football football, and it's a very different sport.

Is MLSE just trying to appeal to those who left their hearts overseas or are they pretending the other football doesn't exist? Can there possibly be a market for professional soccer in this city? Could I care any less?

I miss the Blizzard.

Tony Plays Monopoly
Published by Toronto Mike on April 30, 2007 @ 09:43 in Television, The Sopranos

sopranosThe Sopranos is half way done their final season. It's the home stretch with but four episodes remaining. As a long time fan, I must say I've been disappointed thus far this season.

Everything that transpires seems to be a set-up or a red herring. There's little excitement, just build up to what better be one helluva final episode. The inactivity has gotten so bad, I give the episodes Dick and Jane type names after each airing.

These aren't really spoilers, but if you're sensitive about such things you might want to abort. There was "Tony Plays Monopoly", "Tony Watches a Movie", "Tony Goes Fishing" and last night's ep, "Tony Gambles on Sports and Loses". It's a whole lotta nothing from what used to be the best show on television.

There isn't much time. This had better end with a significant corpse, or two. I'm not a violent man, but if Tony, Christopher, Silvio and Paulie Walnuts are all breathing when this thing ends, I'm gonna be pissed.

Not Ready To Make Nice
Published by Toronto Mike on April 30, 2007 @ 09:21 in Toronto Raptors

raptorsThe writing's on the wall, and it's a pretty crappy read for Raptor fans. For the second straight game we got creamed and there's no way we're coming back in this series. Teams rarely come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs. Sure, the Suns did it last year, but these Raptors are not the Phoenix Suns.

I bailed on yesterday's game pretty early. It was making me miserable and it was frightening James. Kidd and Carter were just too much, but I'm not ready to make nice. I don't even think the player formerly known as Air Carter read my letter. He may win this battle, but the war continues. The Raps will be champions before Vince Carter ever hoists that trophy. Mark my words.

Toronto Mike Header

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Nineteen
Published by Toronto Mike on April 30, 2007 @ 08:46 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckMuch like Tony Soprano, I need good earners. Solid producers on my team make all the difference, and a lot of my guys have stopped producing. My Canucks stick, my Duck doesn't score, my Sabre stinks and my Red Wing isn't helping. If the Devils don't play, I lose ground.

Gary and Marc had good weekends and Ryan kept his lead. This is gonna be close.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Josh Hancock, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 29, 2007 @ 20:28 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumJosh Hancock was 29. He was a relief pitcher who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series last season.

Something Different
Published by Toronto Mike on April 29, 2007 @ 19:42 in Ch-ch-changes

constructionOriginally I was just going to tweak the way I post an entry time stamp and the category an entry belongs to. Then, once I started tweaking the templates and massaging the CSS, I thought more radical surgery was in order. I wanted something different.

It was a beautiful day during which I ran, went for a long walk with the family and BBQ'd, but I found time to finish phase one of the overhaul. Most of phase two will happen under the covers as I do away with all tables in favour of purely CSS alignment.

If I missed anything, or if you think something should be done differently, let me know in the comments. And to the two people who have written to tell me they hate the change, deal with it.

Coffee Is For Closers Only
Published by Toronto Mike on April 29, 2007 @ 10:41 in Movies

moviesTaryn and I have had many interesting discussions lately about Alec Baldwin and the voice mail he left for his daughter. This isn't new news, and unless you're living under a rock you've heard the message, but here it is if you've yet to hear Baldwin's rant.

We recently watched his apology on The View which can be seen here in part #1 and here in part #2. It triggered a cool debate about parental alienation and Alec Baldwin's current familial situation.

That's all good, but hearing all this Baldwin just gets me thinking of the greatest Alec Baldwin monologue in the history of motion pictures. In Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin's character Blake speaks to the salesmen. Coffee is for closers only.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Eighteen
Published by Toronto Mike on April 29, 2007 @ 09:53 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckRyan had a good day and has taken the lead. I got a few points myself and am a close second, and more importantly, the Sens lost.

My favourite stat these days is the fact the Senators have never been up 2-0 in a playoff series. That's awesome.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Hair Songs
Published by Toronto Mike on April 28, 2007 @ 16:49 in Lists

scissorsI sense it's time. If not this afternoon, tomorrow... or Monday at the latest.

These ten hair songs from my collection will prepare me for the event.

  • Devils Haircut - Beck
  • Get a Haircut - George Thorogood & the Destroyers
  • Hairspray Queen - Nirvana
  • Hair of the Dog - Nazareth
  • Hair - The Cowsills
  • Long Brown Hair - Regina Spektor
  • Good Hair - OutKast
  • Black Hair - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
  • I Cut Off My Hair - Regina Spektor
  • Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair - Nina Simone
Stuff From Humble Howard's House
Published by Toronto Mike on April 28, 2007 @ 15:22 in Edge 102 ~ CFNY, Humble and Fred

picturesWhen I was last at Freddie P's house, I took some pictures of the cool CFNY stuff he had on his wall.

This morning, I was hanging with Humble Howard at his place and I decided to snap a few pics of his stuff. Here's the photoset, if you're curious.

The dude makes a good cup of coffee and Mrs. Humble lays out a mean breakfast spread. There's good tunage, too, as Humble plays Cohen's Hallelujah on piano and his daughter Spencer sings like an angel. There's a major chill factor there, no foolin'.

The Buried Alive Promo Box Buried Alive Promo Certified Radio Gold The Wall of Fame

Looking For CDs
Published by Toronto Mike on April 28, 2007 @ 08:55 in Miscellaneous

cdHey Raging Stormers, running peeps, neighbours, family and other acquaintances, I'm looking for a few CDs.

You know the drill. I want to get my mitts on the actual CD, not just the digital files. And yes, I'm aware many of these haven't been "released" yet.

  • Neil Young - Live at Massey Hall 1971
  • Incubus - Light Grenades
  • The Fratellis - Costello Music
  • Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  • LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
  • Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
  • Feist - The Reminder
  • Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight
  • Velvet Revolver - Libertad
  • Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
  • The White Stripes - Icky Thump

Lemme know if you can help a brother out.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Seventeen
Published by Toronto Mike on April 28, 2007 @ 08:27 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThere weren't a lot of points to go around last night. For all the Ducks and Canucks we drafted, only two points were shared by the nine poolies.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on April 28, 2007 @ 08:26 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!"

Don't Give Up
Published by Toronto Mike on April 27, 2007 @ 19:22 in Toronto Raptors

raptorsIt's early, but the Raps are getting hammered in the swamp. It's 26-13 Nets as I type this.

Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush have a message for the Raptors. Don't Give Up. There's still time...

Album Promotion 101
Published by Toronto Mike on April 27, 2007 @ 12:12 in Music

musicWe're living in a YouTube world, even when we're embedding ifilm vids. We're wired and starving for quick hits, two minute video clips and sneak peeks.

Here's how you promote your new album in 2007. This is from Queens of the Stone Age, a band I already like, and they're promoting Era Vulgaris, an album I'm eagerly anticipating.

The Friday Five
Published by Toronto Mike on April 27, 2007 @ 11:07 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy favourite Jeffrey Tambor roles

  1. Hank Kingsley in The Larry Sanders Show
  2. George Bluth Sr. in Arrested Development
  3. Jeffrey Brookes in Three's Company & The Ropers
  4. Sully in There's Something About Mary
  5. King Neptune in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
2007 Playoff Pool: Day Sixteen
Published by Toronto Mike on April 27, 2007 @ 08:44 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThose with Sens and Devils got some points last night. Even without Elias in the lineup, I got five from my Devils and assumed sole possession of first place. Now that Sens just need to tank on queue.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Flick Off
Published by Toronto Mike on April 26, 2007 @ 19:21 in My 2 Cents

infoThey launched http://www.flickoff.org yesterday, with the backing of the Ontario government, environmental organizations, Virgin Mobile and MuchMusic. Environment Minister Laurel Broten and British billionaire Richard Branson launched the campaign aimed at encouraging people to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Flick OffIt's sort of tough to discuss the controversy this campaign is causing without showing you first the font they used. As you can see, it intentionally looks like "Fuck Off". The site also uses such phrases as "Go flick yourself," and "Are we flicked?" On the homepage, a call to action says: "We need you to FLICK OFF, and tell everyone you know to FLICK OFF. The more you do it, the cooler it gets. The planet, that is."

I'm not offended by this campaign. In fact, I dig it. It's kinda neat in an "FCUK" sort of way. At the very least it's got us talking about it and will appeal to the younger crowd it's aimed at.

Every kid who will be exposed to this campaign has seen and heard the F bomb many, many times. I've watched episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm with the kids around and they know there are just some words you don't repeat because they will offend some people. It's time we give our kids some credit and trust them to know the difference between vulgarity and this humourous approach to helping them reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Grow the flick up and take a flickin' chill pill. It's no worse than shiatsu for your shitz tsu.

Bobby "Boris" Pickett, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 26, 2007 @ 16:14 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumBobby "Boris" Pickett was 69. He was best known for singing and co-writing the 1962 hit novelty song, "Monster Mash".

The Simpsons Judge Simon Cowell
Published by Toronto Mike on April 26, 2007 @ 13:21 in American Idol, The Simpsons

homerDuring the Idol Gives Back special last night, The Simpsons made an appearance. Homer, Marge and Lisa were judging Simon Cowell's rendition of the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha". Bart shows up at the end to steal the sequence with his Brian Dunkleman jab.

Surreal Ripples From the Blogosphere
Published by Toronto Mike on April 26, 2007 @ 09:36 in Humble and Fred

diceChecking my RSS feeds this morning, I saw a new entry on Humble Howard's blog that really spoke to me. The title, "Ripping Mike Boon off, Again!", had me highly intrigued.

In this entry Humble Howard admits to reading this blog throughout the day, borrowing from it and appreciating my help with his blog. This is where it gets rather surreal. In the blogosphere, Humble Howard is a Toronto Mike fan. I am a blogging mentor of sorts. Humble rips material off of me.

For all of the 1990s, I only listened to one morning show on the radio. I was a Humble & Fred fan, tuning into CFNY for both the music and the banter. I was a Humble Howard fan, borrowing material from him and checking in with him daily.

I'm still a Humble fan, but now it's a nice mutual love-in that exists both on-line and off. I'm hanging with the dude on Saturday and he's promised to brew me some of that New Orleans gold. Yo Humble! You can rip me off any time.

CFNY Sticker

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Fifteen
Published by Toronto Mike on April 26, 2007 @ 09:01 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckBig nights were had by the Anaheim drafters, mainly Gary, Alvin and Marc. Ryan and I, the co-leaders, got zero points.

Tonight, those unlikeable choke artists from Ottawa take on the Devils. ABO my friends.... ABO.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Link: Cool Optical Illusion
Published by Toronto Mike on April 25, 2007 @ 20:58 in Links to External Web Sites

LinkCool Optical Illusion - This is not an animated gif. It's not animated at all. Cool, eh?

Yahoo! A Legitimate Lyrics Database
Published by Toronto Mike on April 25, 2007 @ 20:04 in Music

yahooYahoo! has launched a free lyrics service. They have the official lyrics for 400,000 songs and they're sharing them all legally.

I've often wondered why there's been no decent lyrics database but I'm guessing the reason has to do with copyright. Yahoo! will share with copyright holders the revenue from the ads that will be displayed alongside the lyrics. They have the blessing of nearly 100 music publishers.

I searched for Hip lyrics and found them, then I searched for Pearl Jam lyrics and found them, but when I searched for lyrics from my pal Custom, I came up empty. Not to worry, I've taken care of it.

Even with the Custom oversight, the database is clean, safe and trustworthy. It's about freakin' time.

From CHCH to CH to E!
Published by Toronto Mike on April 25, 2007 @ 13:51 in Television

tvHamilton's CHCH television, now known as simply CH, will soon be rebranded E!. I'll always be grateful to CHCH for bringing us The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

Rebranding today's CH as E! is a kin to putting lipstick on a pig. It's a pig that airs Mad TV, but a pig nonetheless.

Cho Seung Hui's Motivation?
Published by Toronto Mike on April 25, 2007 @ 11:42 in Miscellaneous

emailI just received the following email.

Mr. Boon.

I am the owner and administrator of a website that caters specifically to writers, it has recently come to my attention that a play has been uploaded previous to the VA university shooting that notes the author as "Seung Cho".

I am aware there are other works on the internet that bear his name, such as the Brownstone and Mcbeef plays, the one in my possession is almost 60 pages long and is equally disturbing and violent.

In addition, I believe I can give an accurate definition to the words 'Ax Ismail' because I used a similar phrase to title a philosophical treatise on future morality and I can prove "Seung Cho" did indeed read it because he has left a comment on my work which has been logged. Although it was based in science-fiction, I strongly believe it may have motivated Cho Seung Hui to do what he did on April 16.

If you feel this information is worthy of broadcast, you may do so on condition that my website receive due reference as the origin of these documents and I will release the pertinent information to you when I'm assured you will agree to these conditions.

Thankyou.

Luis Vega. swarm@*******.net.au

Am I to believe this Vega fellow is the only person with this 60 page screenplay allegedly written by Cho Seung Hui? Does Luis Vega really have such insight, and if he did, is this how he shares it with the world?

If this material exists, it's undoubtedly worthy of broadcast and it would appear elsewhere before Toronto Mike shared it. And what's with the "I will release the pertinent information to you when I'm assured you will agree to these conditions"? That's not very Web 2.0 of Mr. Vega, is it?

RSS in Plain English
Published by Toronto Mike on April 25, 2007 @ 11:32 in Technology

rssI'm tired of explaining RSS. Previously I've professed my love for the format while admitting many simply don't get it. I know people don't get it because I'm constantly having to explain it to others.

Here's a little video that tries to explain it in plain English. I just posted this on the intranet of a software company, because even at a software development company there are many who haven't grasped the concept and embraced the spirit.

So I never have to explain it again, here's RSS in Plain English.


Give Til it Hurts
Published by Toronto Mike on April 25, 2007 @ 10:56 in American Idol

IdolAfter several successful seasons which have enabled Fox to essentially print money, American Idol has decided to use their power to raise awareness about poverty in Africa and at home in the United States. This is all good but why do I feel so cynical about it? When Seacrest celebrates the big $5 million dollar donation from News Corp, why do I scream at the TV that $5 mill from them is like me throwing a homeless guy a toonie. Why am I so jaded?

Oh yeah, the final six sang on AI last night, too. They sang songs from the masters of our time, everyone from John Lennon to Fantasia. Here's how I've ranked them.

Here are my three favourites from last night:

  1. Jordin Sparks
  2. Melinda Doolittle
  3. LaKisha Jones

Here are my three least favourite from last night:

  1. Phil Stacey
  2. Chris Richardson
  3. Blake Lewis
The Good Guys Win
Published by Toronto Mike on April 24, 2007 @ 21:43 in Toronto Raptors

raptorsAt the time I was supposed to put James to bed, the Raptors game was in the fourth quarter. James is only five, but he's showing a sincere interest in the Raps. He knows Chris Bosh, the story of Vince Carter and that the camera will sometimes show a big red dinosaur after a big Raptors basket. Naturally, I let him stay up late and watch the game.

And what a game! James watched the good guys win and was thrilled by the post game celebration on the court. There was the red confetti-like paper falling from the rafters, the flags and a whole lot of cheering and hugging. We were hugging, too, celebrating the first non-Argo Toronto playoff win in quite some time.

It's 1-1 heading back to Jersey, and the Raps haven't come close to playing their best ball. I'm feeling good. James will have plenty of late nights ahead, if we're lucky.

My Offline Challenge: Week Seven
Published by Toronto Mike on April 24, 2007 @ 19:53 in Running

runningWe just ran for seven minutes followed by one minute of walking. At least I think they were seven and ones. All I know is they yell run or walk and I do what I'm told.

I've been complementing these thrice a week runs with about four 5k walks a week. The gradual running increase has been so subtle I haven't felt any pain. I'm still feeling good and the Hazel 5k is only a few weeks away.

We in this group suck at song agreement. Today there was some Corey Hart, GNR, Lennon and a little Foreigner. Next Tuesday I'm picking my song before the run and I'm sticking with it. Enough is enough.

Remember SARS?
Published by Toronto Mike on April 24, 2007 @ 14:26 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

maskOnly four years ago, SARS and Toronto were synonymous. Everyone knew of someone who was quarantined and people were avoiding the city for fear of becoming afflicted. I know this was four years ago because I wrote the following entry exactly four years ago today.

SARS Update: From the eye of the storm

The World Health Organization has just issued a warning against travelling to Toronto. Don't travel to Toronto unless it's essential, they say. Major League Baseball is issuing warnings to teams visiting Toronto. They're asking that contact with fans at SkyDome be kept to a minimum. Headlines all over the world are painting Toronto as a dangerous place to be right now. A global pariah!

I live in Toronto. I spend every day in Toronto. I've never put on a mask and my day-to-day living hasn't changed a bit. The only thing that's even slightly different, as far as I can tell, is that we're all sanitizing our hands throughout the day at work.

Last time I checked the stats, 16 people in Canada had died of SARS. All 16 people had a pre-existing diabetic condition or heart disease. If SARS kills, it gets plenty of help.

Life goes on in the big T.O. The Leafs are out of the playoffs, the Jays have slipped to last in the AL East and the Raptors haven't been seen in weeks. Sounds like a typical spring to me.

I just hope I don't accidentally cough. They'll have me locked up for 10 days without human contact. On the other hand, I am feeling a little warm...

Memories...

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirteen
Published by Toronto Mike on April 24, 2007 @ 08:57 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckRound one has ended with the Canucks sending Dallas home. It's time to take a snapshot of where we're at in the pool. Here are the standings after one round.

T1. Ryan - 46
T1. Mike - 46
T3. Alvin - 35
T3. Joe - 35
T3. Gary - 35
T6. Marc - 34
7. Pops - 32
T8. Alexi - 30
T8. Steve - 30

If I look at things objectively, I like my chances. 9 of my 10 players have advanced to the second round whereas Ryan is down to 6. Ryan's big guns are Senators and my big guns are Devils, so that series will likely determine the champion. Go Devils Go!

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

The Fratellis Flathead Video
Published by Toronto Mike on April 23, 2007 @ 19:20 in Videos

videoI just lamented about the fact Jill beat me to the punch by submitting The Fratellis' "Flathead" for SLS17 consideration. It's a catchy as all hell sorta tune and I'm totally digging it.

Here are some things I just learnt about The Fratellis.

  • They formed in Glasgow, Scotland
  • They go by the names Barry, Mince and Jon Fratelli, but this is a Ramones kind of thing and they aren't really brothers or Fratelli's
  • This tune was featured in an iPod ad earlier this year, although I don't recall the ad
  • My favourite theory as to how they got their name is the Goonies theory - the Fratelli's were the bad guys in The Goonies
  • On March 23 they performed this song on Conan, but of course I was sound asleep and missed yet another "I remember when" moment

Did I mention there's a really-cool-yet-smoking-hot video for "Flathead", too? Here it is...

Rock 'n' Roll Is Just Melodious Air
Published by Toronto Mike on April 23, 2007 @ 18:28 in The Tragically Hip

tragicallyhipNew York Press has a neat article about The Tragically Hip entitled "Hip Check: The biggest band in Canada is not from Montreal".

The article includes a great quote from Gord Downie regarding the effect downloading has had on the music business.

I’ve always felt that rock ’n’ roll is just melodious air. I get perplexed when music gets blunted at the border by some artificial demarcation line—whether a corporate border or a technological one. Music, or any kind of art, is like water, and it needs to be able to find its way. Fifteen years ago, we would have needed a licensing deal, some kind of emissary to chaperone our music into the same kinds of places that it’s getting to naturally these days. It’s fluid; it’s just doing what it should be doing.

Amen.

Boris Yeltsin, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 23, 2007 @ 10:36 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumBoris Yeltsin was 76. As president he engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy.

Blame It On The Software
Published by Toronto Mike on April 23, 2007 @ 09:37 in My 2 Cents

infoThere's a new catch-all excuse that's a kin to a "Get out of jail free" card in Monopoly. Blame it on the software. Go ahead, everybody's doing it, and it works.

When Toronto residents Doris and Douglas Moore got their new couch from Vanaik Furniture, they were offended by the label that described the colour as "nigger-brown". Vanaik Furniture blamed Cosmos Furniture in Scarborough who blamed the Chinese company that manufactured the couch. The Chinese company blamed it all on Kingsoft Corporation's translation software. Kingsoft says the Chinese-English dictionary they use with their software lists nigger as a synonym for dark brown.

So you see, nobody is actually at fault here. It's not Vanaik Furniture's fault for selling it to the Moore's this way, it's not Cosmos Furniture's fault for selling it through Vanaik Furniture, and it's not the Chinese manufacturer's fault for applying the offensive label. It's the software's fault, and that means nobody here is accountable.

They're all sorry, but being sorry and being accountable are two very different things. When in doubt, blame it on the software. It never fails.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twelve
Published by Toronto Mike on April 23, 2007 @ 09:24 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckMy New Jersey player advanced and earned me a solid 7 points yesterday, tying me for the lead until Ryan squeaked a couple of points out of his Red Wings. Ryan had a huge Saturday, so we've started to pull away from the pack.

Calgary's demise really only hurt Gary while Tampa Bay's exit nicked Ryan, Alvin and Pops. Steve has the only team of ten who are all still playing. So long as you've got players playing, you can't be counted out.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Songs With My Kids' Names in the Title
Published by Toronto Mike on April 22, 2007 @ 19:50 in Family, Lists, Music

musicThere are some good songs with "James" in the title, and there are some good songs with "Michelle" in the title. What are my ten favourite songs with either "James" or "Michelle" in the title?

  1. Sweet Baby James - James Taylor
  2. My Michelle - Guns N' Roses
  3. Jimmy James - Beastie Boys
  4. Michelle - The Beatles
  5. Reuben James - Kenny Rogers
  6. St. James Infirmary Blues - The White Stripes
  7. James Brown Is Dead - LA Style
  8. Meet James Ensor - They Might Be Giants
  9. Sinking of the Reuben James - Woody Guthrie
  10. Michelle's Farm - Beastie Boys

James and Michelle

740 and Counting
Published by Toronto Mike on April 22, 2007 @ 19:27 in Sports

mlbWhen I was a kid, enamoured by baseball statistics, I thought Hank Aaron's 755 career homer record was untouchable. This was a time when 27 dingers could lead the Jays and nobody seemed to be touching 50 in a single season. Reggie Jackson was the man, and he retired with 563 home runs. How would anyone approach 755?

Barry Bonds hit his 740th homer today. He has fifteen to go, and at this pace, it won't be long until he passes Aaron. Barring a catastrophic injury, it's inevitible. That untouchable 755 will be surpassed this summer.

For more on Barry Bonds and his tainted assault on Aaron's record, check out:

Click
Published by Toronto Mike on April 22, 2007 @ 16:52 in Reviews

A Movie ReelClick: 5 out of 10.

When the best thing about a movie is the soundtrack, you're in trouble. There was some Cars and Kinks, a number of old school guilty pleasures, a Cranberries gem and a fantastic cut from The Strokes. The movie itself was formulaic and boring. You could spot the ending from a mile away and the gigantic leaps of logic you're asked to take are just too extreme.

I remember when Adam Sandler was one funny mofo. Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer were all fun, but now his comedies are anything but funny. I think the guy should give up trying to recapture that genie in a bottle and abandon comedy altogether. He's now a better serious actor, believe it or not.

They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Published by Toronto Mike on April 22, 2007 @ 15:14 in Videos

tvAn old favourite video of mine was They Might Be Giants' "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)". It's actually a fairly old song, dating back to the 1920s, but the They Might Be Giants version is the only one I know.

In 1990, MuchMusic began airing this very cool video for the song. Accept no substitutes.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Eleven
Published by Toronto Mike on April 22, 2007 @ 08:07 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckRyan had a helluva day yesterday and stormed into a five point lead. A couple of his Detroit players combined for seven points and he picked up another from Dallas.

I suspect there are a lot of nervous people in Vancouver right now. They've let this series slip away. Reminds me of the Jays and Royals in '85, and that's a very bad memory.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

The Last Goal He Ever Scored
Published by Toronto Mike on April 21, 2007 @ 21:08 in Bill Barilko, Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsIt's April 21, the day Bill Barilko scored his final goal. I celebrated the occasion by posting my first FPP at Metafilter, although I've just learnt it was covered four years ago, which got it deleted.

Here's what I wrote:

The legend of Bill Barilko grows each year. It was April 21st, 1951, game 5 of the Stanley Cup final between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. At the 2:53 mark of the first overtime period, Bill Barilko scored the last goal of his life winning the Stanley Cup for the Leafs.

The 24 year old defenseman perished in a light plane crash that summer while on a fishing trip to Northern Ontario. Not until his body was recovered 11 years later in the bush near Cochrane, Ontario, did the Leafs win another championship.

How do you salute a Canadian legend of this magnitude? The Tragically Hip sing his praises, of course.

I stole this from a hockey card...

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Published by Toronto Mike on April 21, 2007 @ 17:06 in Family

boxThis Saturday morning full of sunshine and warmth was spent renting a truck at Uhaul and moving my brother's family. You see, there's a familial code when it comes to moving, and you don't go against the code. If a family member is moving, you offer your services, even on beautiful Saturday mornings with an early afternoon playoff game.

I was home in time to see the second half and that creative "Keep Toronto beautiful. Send our trash to New Jersey." sign in the ACC. The move itself was smooth and after the Raps loss there was plenty of time for wagon and bike rides and moments like this.

James Michelle

He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

Vince Carter Writhing in Pain
Published by Toronto Mike on April 21, 2007 @ 08:40 in Toronto Raptors

medicalOn January 9, 2007, the Raptors faced the Nets in New Jersey.

The basketball player formerly known as Vince Carter goes down like he's shot. This is my new favourite Vince Carter highlight reel. It's the Vince we knew and loved.

FUVC!

I hate everything about you. Why do I love you?

FUVC. You SOB, Rookie of the Year, Dunkaholic, talented freak... you owned this city, you were Toronto basketball. You wanted out, you demanded a trade from the T.Dot, then you started to tank it and you had the gonads to admit it. No effort, phony injuries, that entire "I don't wanna dunk anymore" bullshit. We traded you to the Nets and got pure shite in return. You almost ruined this franchise, but post-trade you miraculously remembered how to play. You were an all-star again, you SOB. FUVC. We're getting the last laugh here. It's game time.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Ten
Published by Toronto Mike on April 21, 2007 @ 08:28 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckA big win by the Devils gave me lots of points last night. Throw in a big night from Afinogenov during Buffalo's big win and I'm back in first overall.

The fall of the New York Islanders didn't have a big impact in our pool as only Ryan Smyth was drafted but there were a few Predators sprinkled about. Alvin and Joe have each lost five thus far, making them pretenders as opposed to contenders. Thanks for the donation, boys.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on April 21, 2007 @ 08:18 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"I can't believe that someone I've never heard of wants to hang out with a guy like me."

The Fratellis and Linkin Park
Published by Toronto Mike on April 20, 2007 @ 19:40 in SLS ~ Smells Like Sour

slsThere's only a couple of months to go before SLS17 is unveiled. I've been busy, and SLS has been a little neglected.

Proof of this neglect is the fact Jill beat me to the nomination of The Fratellis' "Flathead". It's a cool, catchy little tune, ain't it?

I also nominated Linkin Park's "What I've Done".

Has Spring Sprung?
Published by Toronto Mike on April 20, 2007 @ 19:19 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

sunIt's 22° right now in Toronto. It was nice yesterday, but it's fantastic today, and the weekend looks like it's going to be awesome. Has spring sprung?

It's about friggin' time. We had that abnormally warm January followed by a freezing February and a snowy March. Late last month we were teased with a taste of a potential spring, but only yesterday was I able to leave my jacket in the closet. Can it stay in the closet or is this another psyche out?

I love this time of year. Everyone seems happier, things just seem better and brighter. That damn Toronto cold is gonzo... we hope.

The Friday Five
Published by Toronto Mike on April 20, 2007 @ 16:17 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy favourite John Candy movies

  1. Uncle Buck
  2. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  3. Summer Rental
  4. JFK
  5. Vacation
FUVC Tee Shirts
Published by Toronto Mike on April 20, 2007 @ 15:42 in Toronto Raptors

mouseSomeone is marketing FUVC tee shirts for the Raptors ~ Nets series.

I've got to admit, I like the design and the message.

FUVC

Link: The Top 15 Most Embarrassing Photos of George W. Bush
Published by Toronto Mike on April 20, 2007 @ 13:46 in Links to External Web Sites

LinkThe Top 15 Most Embarrassing Photos of George W. Bush - I used to write about my pal Dubya all the time, but now that he's won his second term I don't see the point in it. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, he's an easy target and that's no fun.

Still, as he enters winds down his reign it's fun to view these classic photos. Below is my favourite of the bunch.

Mission Accomplished

Two Comments, Two Extremes
Published by Toronto Mike on April 20, 2007 @ 09:27 in Miscellaneous

documentationI enjoy the interactive nature of this blog. If I write my opinion on a subject, anyone can add their two cents and we can have an actual discussion. This interactivity is what separates a blog from a journal.

Over the past twelve hours, two comments have been left on this site that resulted in two very different reactions from me. Humble Howard left a comment on my "An Open Letter to Vince Carter" entry that had me in stitches. Less than two hours later, kam left a comment on my "Cho Seung-Hui & Mr. Brownstone" entry that so disturbed me I'm still concerned about his / her mindset.

Here's the 20:17 entry from Humble that made me smile.

Dear Toronto Mike.
Get help.
Call SportsNerds Anonymous.
Call them now. They can help.
Vince Carter doesn't care what you think.
I do.
You're making too much of this, it's only a game meant to be a pleasant diversion and not a substitute for real life.
I'd like to write more but it's Thursday and that's the night I polish my Tiger Woods bobble-head and dust off my Lucky TW Wheaties and lucky US open golf balls.
Sincerely your pal,
howard.
PS. Go to www.humblehoward.com I need the visits!

Here's the 22:34 entry from kam that gave me chills.

i think what that cho guy did was good, he killed many innocent people, but the teachers will be afraid to abuse the student in future. i read what he wrote, he said he is sacrificing himself for all the weak and helpless guys. and its true. first i thought he was a monster but after i read what he wrote i can see the benefit of what he did. you see in our world people only respect one thing -- strength. if you are big and tall everyone respect you, if you are small everyone treats you like shit. cho showed that small guys can turn nasty if pushed too far, and that will make people afraid to pick on small guys, especially students. innocent people died, that's unfortunate. but the same thing happens in a war, innocent die in order to correct some other evil. cho was kicked out of poetry and literature class for his writing, he was a shy guy so when he tried to hit on a couple girls in a somewhat clumsy way they ratted on him. girls don’t have the guts to say “i am not interested, but thank you for asking” to guys they find unattractive, instead they pretend they like them, flirt with them, than behind their back they rat on them and backstab them. and misandrist men are all to happy carrying out their dirty duties falsely accusing a guy of harassment. sex discriminates against the ugly. they don’t realize that ugly guys are people too who also deserve to have fun and be happy. taking a kinder and gentler attitude towards all humankind might serve these pampered women with low self-esteem well. its easy to ridicule men, to blame men, to ignore men. but it is not easy to be a man. especially an ugly short man like cho. society prepares the crime the criminal commits it.

feminists and men who support gender biased, sexist, anti-male laws including the school system, police, justice system, and government are responsible for emasculation of men, which is the cause of the social anxiety among young men like cho. feminists would rather nitpick and close down a corporation which is supporting thousands of women who feed their babies because some guy hang a victoria’s secret angel over the time clock.

as for the media, its common sense that by rewarding cho with what he was aiming for – publicity they are sending the message that whoever kills a lot of people will be rewarded with publicity. why stop there? announce a bloody reward for the families of dead serial killers so you can get your bloody ratings. what do you expect from a society which is so utterly lacking in integrity? you are worse than the cho dude, you may be snug and secure behind your desks, but you are encouraging murder.

If you have an opinion about Vince Carter, join the discussion. If you have a thought about the Virginia Tech shooting, we're discussing that here.

All opinions are welcome and encouraged, from either extreme.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Nine
Published by Toronto Mike on April 20, 2007 @ 08:52 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckOnly one Wild player was drafted, so their demise doesn't really effect things. Joe, however, drafted four Penguins, so he's in a whole lotta trouble.

Gary had a fantastic night with big points from his Flames and Ducks. He suddenly finds himself a point out of first. Five points separate the top eight poolies. You can cut the tension with a knife.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

20 Years of The Simpsons
Published by Toronto Mike on April 19, 2007 @ 21:29 in The Simpsons

homerTwenty years ago tonight, The Simpsons made their first appearance on television. On April 19, 1987, The Tracey Ullman Show aired a two-minute animated short by Matt Groening that introduced the world to Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The rest, is history.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate 20 years of The Simpsons than be revisiting their trip to Toronto during season 13. "I'm a ten year old boy in Toronto, I should be the happiest kid in the world." Damn straight.

An Open Letter To Vince Carter
Published by Toronto Mike on April 19, 2007 @ 15:00 in Toronto Raptors

Vince CarterHey Vince, remember me!

I loved you, man. You were our Rookie of the Year, Air Carter, you were our Michael Jordan. I was at your 51 point game against the Suns. I cheered the loudest when you won the slam dunk competition. I busted a television when you missed the buzzer-beating three in game seven against the 76ers and I constantly defended you when others called you lazy, fragile or worse. You remember Toronto Mike now, don't you?

Here are a few entries I wrote about you. As you'll see, there were peaks, followed by a rather deep valley. I'll let you catch up on our tumultuous history before I get to the point of this letter.

  1. The EA Sports Jinx - October 2, 2003 @ 12:53: I'm concerned that Carter is on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. There is that jinx and I want Carter to stay healthy.
  2. Mike's Mailbag - October 29, 2003 @ 15:03: I inaccurately predict the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2003/2004. I add a caveat that Carter must remain healthy for this to happen.
  3. Vintage Vincent - November 27, 2003 @ 08:04: I'm gushing over the great Vince Carter after he scores 43 and carries the Raps on his back. I also reminisce about the 51 point game of his I attended.
  4. Not In-Vince-able - January 17, 2004 @ 14:00: Carter injures himself once again and I brace for the worst. I even compare him to Wendel Clark.
  5. Mr. Popular - January 30, 2003 @ 11:09: Carter leads the league in all-star votes for the fourth time and I try to figure out why he's so damn popular.
  6. Guest Blog Entry - January 30, 2004 @ 15:45: For the first time, I publicly admit in this space that Vince could be traded. I also admit that he's not the second coming of Michael Jordon. "If you had brought up the subject of trading Vince Carter a couple of years ago, I would have laughed in your face."
  7. It. Is. Over. - March 27, 2004 @ 11:04: I was pissed when I wrote this entry. The Raptors were going to miss the playoffs yet again and I knew something had to give.
  8. Vin-sane - July 2, 2004 @ 09:04: ESPN reports that Carter wants to be traded and I try to digest the news. "Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team."
  9. The End of an Era? - July 14, 2004 @ 10:55: Rumours were swirling that Carter was on his way out and I thought we were in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto. "The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it."
  10. Carlos and Vince - July 16, 2004 @ 21:37: I found it interesting that it was becoming incredibly likely that both Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter would be leaving Toronto. Still, I held on to a semblance of hope that Carter could stay. "It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between."
  11. Guest Blog Entry - July 20, 2004 @ 14:48: I admit I'm completely torn about the whole Vince Carter saga. "I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage."
  12. My Sports Wishlist - September 22, 2004 @ 08:23: Carter makes my sports wishlist as I wish he'd stop being such a suck, rescind his trade demand and play his ass off.
  13. 41 Reasons to Kick Ass - November 3, 2004 @ 13:11: The Sporting News ranks Carter the 41st best player in the NBA and I see this as a positive, potentially lighting a much needed fire under Carter's butt. "This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season."
  14. More Than 41 - November 23, 2004 @ 07:56: It didn't take long to realize that Vince Carter wasn't going to perform for the Raptors the way Vince Carter can. "When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team."
  15. The Vince Carter Era Ends - December 17, 2004 @ 17:36: Vince Carter is traded to the New Jersey Nets. "It's time to move on my friends."
  16. Vince Carter Is A Dick - January 7, 2005 @ 15:36: What a surprise... Carter actually tries for the Nets and admits he didn't give his all for the Raps. "I used to defend Vince Carter when others wanted to get rid of him. Now, I wish him nothing but the worst. F him"
  17. Formerly Known As Air Canada - February 22, 2005 @ 12:02: The Raptors first game in New Jersey against Vince. "#15 quit on us and started lighting it up the moment he was out of here. Lets humiliate the bastard."
  18. NBA Championship Tonight - April 15, 2005 @ 07:52: Vince's first game in Toronto since the big trade. "Go Raps! Beat Vince!"

Vince, it's Raptors vs. Nets in round one. You'll be here for game one Saturday afternoon and I'll be watching closely. I just want you to know that I'm over you. I've moved on and I've learnt to love a different Raptors team, a team led by #4 with more character and grit than you'll ever know. We don't need you any more, in fact, we're better without you.

With every vibe in my body and every ounce of my soul I'm hoping karma is a total bitch to you. I don't just want the Raptors to beat your team in this series, I want you personally humiliated. I want justice. I want this bad.

I'm looking forward to your long slow walk off the court as we celebrate your just desserts.

Sincerely,
Toronto Mike

Words To Dream By
Published by Toronto Mike on April 19, 2007 @ 11:46 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsIn an interview with George Gross of the Toronto Sun, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin drops a tremendous quote.

"But I will tell you one thing," he said emphatically. "The Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup while I'm still with the team.

That's quite the statement. Mats Sundin is 36 years old, and will probably play one or two more seasons with the blue and white. Sundin is promising a Stanley Cup in 2008 or 2009.

We'll revisit this emphatic statement at this time next year and again in two years. Sundin is either a dreamer or a prophet. I'm praying it's the latter.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Eight
Published by Toronto Mike on April 19, 2007 @ 09:10 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThe Atlanta Thrashers have been eliminated, and that hurts Alexi the most. He drafted three Thrashers who combined to give him a whopping three points.

Zhitnik and Kozlov go in the books as the first two drafted playoffs to go scoreless. New Jersey's win has given me hope.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Killing The Dead Pool
Published by Toronto Mike on April 18, 2007 @ 20:44 in Ch-ch-changes

crossbonesThe Dead Pool began in September of 2000, a full year before the first blog entry. It wasn't really planned, I just thought it might be a fun little competition for me and my brothers. That page has been a part of the main navigation menu for this site ever since.

Lately I've been less comfortable with the premise of The Dead Pool. Maybe it's being a parent or part of the natural maturation process as I age, but I find myself a little embarrassed by it these days. Sure, it's been around for as long as I've been regularly updating this site, but that doesn't mean it has a preordained right to such valuable real estate. Tonight, in the shadow of the Virginia Tech massacre, I removed The Dead Pool link from the main navigation menu.

I'll still maintain the page and you can find it, as well as all other Toronto Mike links, from the sitemap. A link to the sitemap can be found at the bottom of every single page.

Who says you can't teach an old blog new tricks?

This American Life
Published by Toronto Mike on April 18, 2007 @ 20:05 in Television

tvTaryn and I have been watching this show called "This American Life" on TMN. It's a Showtime series based on the excellent radio show of the same name. If you've never heard the radio program before, do yourself a favour and download the most recent episode here. Each radio episode is a free MP3 for one week after its airing.

The television program is remarkably good. TMN has aired three episodes thus far, and each one has lingered with me well after the initial viewing. To steal a description from the TMN web site, "each episode will explore a single theme or topic through the unique juxtaposition of first-person storytelling and whimsical narrative, allowing for the show’s distinct and original voice."

I can't wait for the next episode. The only thing that pisses me off is that a program of this quality came out of the USA. Where's my "This Canadian Life"?

Kitty Carlisle Hart, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 18, 2007 @ 20:02 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumKitty Carlisle Hart was 96. Her long career spanned Broadway, opera, television and film, including the classic Marx Brothers movie "A Night at the Opera."

Welcome to GWorld
Published by Toronto Mike on April 18, 2007 @ 13:12 in Technology

googleGoogle and I have kissed and made up following our little tiff the other day. Now that we're buddies again, I'm back singing their praises.

The tutorial below from Google shows how you can increase productivity by adopting Google Apps for your business or organization. The package they're selling isn't free, but just about everything included in the package is.

The seamless integration of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs & Spreadsheets and GTalk is all free of charge. Since Gmail allows you to fetch mail from other accounts and send mail from other accounts, there's no reason why you can't remain bob@company.com. The collaboration features with the calendar, docs and spreadsheet apps are awesome, as you'll see below. You won't have to worry about version control, security or drive space.

So long as you avoid sector 6, it's a better world.. for work and play.

Country Crock
Published by Toronto Mike on April 18, 2007 @ 10:35 in American Idol

IdolI really don't know these country artists that were featured on AI last night. I had to ask Taryn who the heck Martina McBride was and why she deserved to follow in the footsteps of the great Kenny Rogers. Other than the Bonnie Raitt tune, I was out of my element.

Although I missed Latin week, I'm guessing country week was an upgrade. The usual suspects were solid and the weakerthans were weaker.

Here are my three favourites from last night:

  1. Melinda Doolittle
  2. Jordin Sparks
  3. LaKisha Jones

Here are my three least favourite from last night:

  1. Sanjaya Malakar
  2. Chris Richardson
  3. Phil Stacey

I have a great idea. I'm almost afraid to write about it because someone might steal it. Why don't you Americans vote for the worst. Think about it, you could vote for Sanjaya Malakar because it will be fun to keep him around. Heck, he might even win this thing, and then Simon and the gang will just look silly. Spread the word!

Weekly MP3: Stuck in the 90's
Published by Toronto Mike on April 18, 2007 @ 09:41 in Weekly MP3s

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.

Moxy Fruvous - Stuck in the 90s
It's funny how some bands make it and some don't. There was a time when Moxy Fruvous and the Barenaked Ladies were in the same ball park. They were two local, funny and interesting bands with songs on CFNY. Then, BNL blew up in the States and Moxy Fruvous all but disappeared.

This was a nice little Moxy Fruvous song from Bargainville, a disc I added to my collection this past weekend.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Seven
Published by Toronto Mike on April 18, 2007 @ 08:40 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckJoe and Pops had huge nights thanks to four points from Jagr and Nylander in the Rangers 7-0 win. The Thrashers season could end tonight which will cause Alexi some pain.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

A Waste of a Perfectly Good Slice of Pizza
Published by Toronto Mike on April 17, 2007 @ 21:33 in Sports

baseballCheck out this footage from the Red Sox and Angels game. You'll see a poor bastard getting hit by a slice of pizza thrown at him by an angry fan. It's graphic, so consider yourself warned.

I could write a killer entry about the time I had a slice of pizza thrown at me, but it didn't penetrate my "fit for public consumption" filter. My brothers know the story and are probably enjoying a good chuckle right now.

I don't mind having objects thrown at me, but wasting a good slice of pizza is so wrong on so many levels.

My Offline Challenge: Week Six
Published by Toronto Mike on April 17, 2007 @ 19:44 in Running

runningWe just ran for five minutes followed by one minute of walking. We did this for about 3km. This week six synopsis is about gear and tunes.

Gear: You can tell the semi-pro runners by their gear. They have those running pants and the proper attire, but it looks worn. They've done this before, and why they're in the "Learn to Run" clinic is beyond me.

Then there's the noobs who just want to look the part. They are learning to run, and they've got the gear to make sure they look like runners. They're wearing those running pants and proper attire, but it looks brand new like it just came off the shelf. It looks that way, because that's the way it is.

As for me, I throw on the same pair of jogging pants I paint in and a tee shirt, pilled fleece and my new Winners-bought wind breaker. The only appropriate gear I wear are my new Brooks running shoes. I don't look as salty as the vets or as trendy as the noobs, but I'll be kicking Hazel's ass next month nonetheless.

Tunes: As I wrote last week, the secret to running is singing. I've been doing this all week and it's fantastic. The singing has respiratory benefits, but it also distracts you from the fact you're running and the time just flies by.

The hard part is agreeing on what tune you'll be singing with the group. Last week we settled on Blue Rodeo and on Sunday we went with Kelly Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone", my guilty pleasure of 2005. Today we wavered between Bryan Adams, GNR and Poison.

I've suggested we debate the song options via email before our runs. It all goes a great deal smoother when you're in sync with the song selection. I'm pushing for Pearl Jam, but I'll settle for less. When you run in a group, it's all about compromise.

Cho Seung-Hui & Mr. Brownstone
Published by Toronto Mike on April 17, 2007 @ 16:52 in News

angryLet the armchair psychoanalysis begin. The Virginia Tech shooter has a name and factoids about Cho Seung-Hui are starting to filter in.

We're learning he was quiet and disturbed. Evidence of his disturbed nature comes from accusations he set fire to his dorm, stalked women on campus and wrote alarming one-act plays for his playwriting class. He quoted lyrics from my favourite Guns N' Roses song in one such story in which a group of teenagers plot to kill a teacher who is ruining their lives.

These acts are typically performed by angry young men. Cho Seung-Hui was quiet, disturbed, a loner and very, very angry. I remember teenage anger. I remember that burning rage within and the rush that seemed to thrive off it. If you've never been a young man, you can't know this anger. It festers, it swells, and in the case of Cho Seung-hui, it erupted.

Many years removed from such angst, I can honestly say I'm no longer angry. The fury dissipated long ago. Many of us can harness the rage, channel it elsewhere and maintain total control. Some, cannot.

Cho Seung-hui was 23 years old. The talk shows and infotainment outlets will debate why a student in the final year of an English degree would murder so many before taking his own life. He was angry, yes, but many angry young men survive their rage without touching a weapon. What made Cho Seung-hui different?

Top Grossing Comic Book Films
Published by Toronto Mike on April 17, 2007 @ 16:25 in Lists, Movies

moneyHere are the top grossing films based on comic books:

  1. Spider-Man - $403,706,375
  2. Spider-Man 2 - $373,585,825
  3. Batman - $251,188,924
  4. X-Men: The Last Stand - $234,362,462
  5. X2: X-Men United - $214,949,694
  6. Batman Begins - $205,343,774
  7. Superman Returns - $200,081,192
  8. Batman Forever - $184,031,112
  9. Batman Returns - $162,831,698
  10. X-Men - $157,299,717
  11. Fantastic Four - $154,696,080
2007 Playoff Pool: Day Six
Published by Toronto Mike on April 17, 2007 @ 09:27 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThose who drafted members of the dynamic Tampa Bay Lightning trio did well for themselves last night. Alvin's got the lead but Ryan's nipping at his heels. I'm tied in third with Joe who was my best friend in Junior Kindergarten. This time, it's war.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Sometimes A Snack Is Not A Snack
Published by Toronto Mike on April 16, 2007 @ 20:26 in Family

familyMichelle likes me to read her the same Bear in the Big Blue House book every night before she goes to sleep. It's a book about going sleep and I've added an interactive element to the story. I ask her a question after reading each page.

  • Did you have a snack tonight?
  • Did you have a bath tonight with lots of soap and bubbles?
  • Did you put your pyjamas on?
  • Did you brush your teeth?
  • Did you read a bedtime story?
  • Did you fluff your pillow?
  • Did you pull up your covers to your chin?
  • Did you turn out the lights and say goodnight?

That's all good, but we always stumble with the first question. Bear and the gang like to have a bedtime snack, so I ask Michelle if she had a snack tonight. She usually answers in the negative because treats and snacks, in her two year old mind, are two very different things. Snacks are crackers, cheese, apples and bananas. After dinner, she usually gets a cookie. Cookies are not snacks, they're treats.

I might alter the question so it includes treats because sometimes a snack is not a snack.

Michelle's Hat

The Virginia Tech Emails of April 16, 2007
Published by Toronto Mike on April 16, 2007 @ 18:55 in News

emailIn 2007, the ideal form of communication with university students is email. People of that generation are always connected, even when out and about they're receiving email on their cell phone, Blackberry or other PDA. If you need to share time sensitive email with a large group of students, send a mass email.

Virginia Tech sent several mass emails to students this morning during their horrific school shooting. Here are the emails they sent:

From: Virginia Tech
Date: Apr 16, 2007 9:26 AM
Subject: Shooting on campus.
To: All Students

A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating.

The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech Police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case. Contact Virginia Tech Police at 231-6411

Stay attuned to the http://www.vt.edu. We will post as soon as we have more information.


From: Virginia Tech
Date: Apr 16, 2007 9:50 AM
Subject: PLease stay put
To: All Students

A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows


From: Virginia Tech
Date: Apr 16, 2007 10:17 AM
Subject: All Classes Canceled; Stay where you are
To: All Students

Virginia Tech has canceled all classes. Those on campus are asked to remain where there are, lock their doors and stay away from windows. Persons off campus are asked not to come to campus.


From: Virginia Tech
Date: Apr 16, 2007 10:53 AM
Subject: Second Shooting Reported; Police have one gunman in custody
To: All Students

In addition to an earlier shooting today in West Ambler Johnston, there has been a multiple shooting with multiple victims in Norris Hall.

Police and EMS are on the scene.

Police have one shooter in custody and as part of routine police procedure, they continue to search for a second shooter.

All people in university buildings are required to stay inside until further notice.

All entrances to campus are closed.

In my humble opinion, your best source for news regarding the Virginia Tech shootings is this Wikipedia page.

Virginia Tech School Attacked
Published by Toronto Mike on April 16, 2007 @ 14:40 in News

gunThe deadliest school attack in U.S. history took place this morning at Virginia Tech. At the time of this writing 22 are dead, but it sounds like that number will rise.

We don't yet know the name of the shooter, but I'm going to jump to the conclusion it's a male and he left digital clues as to his mindset. When Kimveer Gill opened fire on students at Montreal's Dawson College last September, he left clues all over his online Vampire Freaks page. I'm guessing we'll learn something similar about today's shooter.

In 2007, when a young person feels the hate and bitterness required to plan something of this nature, it always spills onto the web before blood is spilt in the hallways. There's likely a blog, bulletin board postings or some form of online discussion that will reveal his state of mind. We'll likely wonder why we missed the clues when he was digitally screaming for help.

This is all speculation at this point and I only know the scant details available at CNN.com, but I'm fairly certain he left cyber bread crumbs on his road to infamy.

A Raptors Record
Published by Toronto Mike on April 16, 2007 @ 13:25 in Toronto Raptors

raptorsThe Toronto Raptors are the only franchise I care about that I've followed since game one. I don't remember the first few Blue Jays seasons and the Leafs and Argos have been around since well before I was born. The Raptors, however, played their first game in 1995 and I've been following ever since.

The turnaround from last season to this one is incredible. Last season they were a dismal 27-55 and right now they're 47-33, tying the franchise record for wins with two to play. With wins the only statistic that matters, this is our best season ever.

The Raps are also peaking at the right time. We've won six in a row overall, seven in a row at home. We've clinched our first division title and have locked up third overall in the conference. Our first round series will either be against the very beatable Wizards or Vince Carter and the Nets. I'd love to beat Carter, but I'm rooting for an easier match up with the Wizards.

The Raptors have a real shot of making the NBA Finals. When you consider our expectations heading into this season, that's not only impressive, that's miraculous.

Gaetan Duchesne, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 16, 2007 @ 13:19 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumGaetan Duchesne was 44. He played 1028 NHL games for the Washington Capitals, Quebec Nordiques, Minnesota North Stars, San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Five
Published by Toronto Mike on April 16, 2007 @ 10:17 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThose damn Sens won last night. C'mon Pens, kick it up a notch. I'm hoping this series goes seven and the Senators choke in typical Ottawa fashion.

In the pool, I've been surpassed by Alvin and Ryan, the only two poolies who drafted ahead of me. Coincidence? Of course it is...

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

The Elusive Wrestling Album
Published by Toronto Mike on April 15, 2007 @ 20:21 in Memories, Music

cdIn the mid-80s, I loved WWF wrestling. Rowdy Roddy Piper was my favourite and I watched weekly. I even went to a couple of live events, including Hulkamania at Exhibition Stadium. As a fan, I loved The Wrestling Album, which I owned on cassette.

That cassette tape bit the dust long ago and I've been looking to get my mitts on a CD copy for quite some time. Every song evokes memories and takes me right back to 1985 when the Blue Jays were winning their first division pennant and "Back to the Future" was ruling the box office.

I mentioned I added 348 albums to my MP3 collection yesterday. One of those was The Wrestling Album and I'm loving it. "Land of a Thousand Dances?!!?" is as good as I remember, "For Everybody" is still the best cut on the album and "Grab Them Cakes" is still funky.

Eat your heart out, Rick Springfield. The Wrestling Album is back where it belongs.

The Middle Name Surprise
Published by Toronto Mike on April 15, 2007 @ 17:59 in Family

familyI've known my younger brother Steve for all of his life, but until very recently, I didn't know his name. I'm not alone, our own mother didn't know his name either. In fact, Steve didn't know his own name.

It turns out Steve's middle name is not what we thought it was. For most of his life, he's been using the wrong middle name and we've been misinformed as to what actually appears on his birth certificate. The name we thought he had and the name he actually has aren't even similar.

Strange but true.

The Eh Myth Busted
Published by Toronto Mike on April 15, 2007 @ 15:28 in O Canada

canadaThanks to Bob and Doug McKenzie, we Canadians have always been associated with the expression "eh?". Truth be told, I never say "eh" unless I'm intentionally saying it to fulfil the expectations of the stereotype. We're supposed to say it, so I'll say it for effect. I never say it as a natural part of speech.

A study by University of Toronto sociolinguist Sali Tagliamonte suggests "eh" is leaving Canadian language.

Tagliamonte and her team interviewed 165 native-born, English-speaking Torontonians of all ages to find out how local – and perhaps, by extension, Canadian – English is changing.

The interviews yielded a grand total of 2,272,392 word uses, of which the most common was "I," spoken 114,100 times, followed by "and" at 90,861. The word "like" ranked fifth, at 67,183.

"Eh," however, was used a scant 519 times, accounting for a piddly .02 per cent of the total.

Younger Canadians simply don't say "eh", and I'm guessing that's because they haven't seen Bob and Doug McKenzie and they don't realize they're supposed to. I know Bob and Doug, but do teenagers and those in their early 20s know them? Without Bob and Doug leading the way, it's no wonder we're losing our "eh".

As a result of this study, I'm going to sprinkle more "eh's" into conversations. I'm bringing the Canadian Eh back, eh?

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Four
Published by Toronto Mike on April 15, 2007 @ 09:32 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckNobody is running away with the pool this year, at least not yet. I'm tied in first with Alvin but we're only a couple of points ahead of Ry.

My New Jersey players have been stellar thus far, but they have to advance for me to have shot. A Canucks win would be nice too, and 1-0 finals in all other games.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

My MP3 Collection Updated
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2007 @ 21:55 in My MP3 Collection

CDI've added 348 new CDs to my MP3 collection. That's no typo. You can understand why I'm not about to list the new additions.

That's 1623 complete albums, 24605 individual songs and 66 days worth of uninterrupted tunes. Check it out.

Don Ho, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2007 @ 21:19 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumDon Ho was 76. He entertained tourists for decades wearing raspberry-tinted sunglasses and singing the catchy signature tune "Tiny Bubbles."

ABO: Anyone But Ottawa
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2007 @ 21:08 in Sports

stanley cupFor the second straight year, I'm watching the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs without an emotional interest. My team isn't there, so it's relaxed viewing. I usually root for teams with players I drafted in the pool.

This afternoon I caught the last two periods of the Ottawa - Pittsburgh game, and I realized I do have an emotional interest. I passionately want the Ottawa Senators to lose. In fact, when it comes to rooting for a champion, it's ABO. ABO stands for "Anyone But Ottawa" and I stole it from Freddie P.

Go Pens Go!

June Callwood, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2007 @ 17:52 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumJune Callwood was 82. She was a social activist, journalist, broadcaster and writer who was often described as Canada's social conscience.

Barry Nelson, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2007 @ 10:27 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumBarry Nelson was 89. He was an MGM contract player during the 1940s who later had a prolific theatre career and was the first actor to play James Bond on screen.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Three
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2007 @ 09:44 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThere wasn't a whole lot of scoring last night, but those with Predators made a move on my leading total. My only point came from my lone Predator and that point has me slightly ahead of Alvin and Marc.

Cheechoo didn't just play for Steve, he also recorded his first point of these playoffs. J. P. Dumont leads all drafted players with four points.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2007 @ 08:31 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"Oh, those jazz guys are just making that stuff up!"

Feist's 1 2 3 4 Video
Published by Toronto Mike on April 13, 2007 @ 19:30 in Videos

videosBecause I dig her, and this is her new single, I thought I'd share Feist's video for "1 2 3 4".

C'mon get happy...

Zoodles Are Animal Noodles
Published by Toronto Mike on April 13, 2007 @ 19:13 in Memories

rewindWhen that Alphagetti Gobbler commercial entered my mind, it was the first time I thought about that ad in about 25 years. An ad for a similar product, however, never really left my memory bank. Who could forget the Zoodles song?

Zoodles, like Alphagetti, was canned pasta that we kids loved. The Zoodles television commercials had a catchy jingle that's impossible to forget. Here are the lyrics.

Elephants, Lions, Zebras, Giraffes
Zoodles are animal noodles
Come on tell all your friends
Tell a whole bunch
I just had a hippopotomus for lunch
Have you ever gone hunting with a bowl and spoon?
Get hunting, with Libby's Zoodles!

As I recall, that song was sung by a narrator with the "I just had a hippopotamus for lunch" line being uttered by a kid chowing down on his delicious can of Libby's Zoodles.

In our house, Steve was the biggest canned pasta fan. It wouldn't surprise me to learn he's still going hunting with a bowl and spoon.

Move Aside, Mark Leslie
Published by Toronto Mike on April 13, 2007 @ 18:57 in SEO: Search Engine Optimization

googleLast week I wrote about my memories of The Alphagetti Gobbler. That entry is now #1 when you Google alphaghetti gobbler, which means it's attracted some interesting comments from others looking for pictures or video of the elusive Gobbler.

It's a smaller world wide web than you think. When I became #1, Mark Leslie got bumped to #2. Mark Leslie is a big Humble & Fred fan and I got to know him when I got involved in the Humble & Fred podcasts. He's left comments on this site, we exchanged emails and I subscribed to the RSS feed for his blog.

I almost feel bad for bumping him aside in my quest to be the de facto stop for Alphagetti Gobbler hunters. Almost, but not quite. It's a dog-eat-dog world and I'm wearing Alphagetti underwear.

The Friday Five
Published by Toronto Mike on April 13, 2007 @ 16:49 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy favourite Jason Lee movies

  1. Almost Famous
  2. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  3. Chasing Amy
  4. Dogma
  5. Vanilla Sky
Let's All Hate Toronto
Published by Toronto Mike on April 13, 2007 @ 11:25 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

torontoEvery morning I check in on the most read news items at Yahoo! News. It gives you a good idea of what the masses are interested in, which is usually Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears. Today, however, the people are sharing a Reuters story about the centre of the universe.

TORONTO (Reuters) - The dislike of Canada's biggest city, Toronto, in the rest of the country runs so deep that a filmmaker has made a documentary about it.

"People in Toronto are soulless, one-eyed corporate zombies," Joey Keithley, of the Vancouver punk band D.O.A., says in the film, "Let's All Hate Toronto."

The 73-minute film, which premieres at Toronto's Hot Docs documentary festival next week, follows a character called Mister Toronto, who embarks on a cross-Canada trip brandishing a sign that reads "Toronto Appreciation Day" and steels himself for the onslaught.

His tour leads from Newfoundland on the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific city of Vancouver, where feelings against Toronto -- usually acknowledged as the country's financial center and the cultural capital of English Canada -- run deepest of all.

"There is something different (about hating Toronto). People are more passionate about it," filmmaker and co-director Albert Neremberghe said in an interview.

"People have a grudging respect for New York outside of the city, and have a grudging respect for London. But people outside of Toronto don't have that for Toronto, they really don't."

Neremberg, who is from Montreal, got the idea for the film from a 1956 publication with the same name as the movie.

He said collective dislike of a city is not unique to Canada, and said he might like to make similar films on other countries' love-hate relationships with major cities.

It's nice to see we evoke so much passion. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. The rest of Canada is anything but indifferent about Toronto, and I see that as a positive thing.

I like the Joey Keithley quote so much, I might make it the tag line for this blog. "Soulless, one-eyed corporate zombies" has a certain charm to it. As for Neremberghe's suggestion there is no grudging respect for Toronto from the rest of Canada, that's bullshit and everyone knows it. The hate for Toronto is clearly the result of deep seeded jealousy.

I don't blame the rest of Canada for hating us. There but for the grace of God go I.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day Two
Published by Toronto Mike on April 13, 2007 @ 08:14 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThat Devils win was awesome, wasn't it? The four Devils I drafted combined for 9 points. Throw in a Schneider deuce and I'm first overall with 14 points.

Steve's in last, but you've got to assume his Sabre contingent will start to score. And he's got Gionta, who plays on such a wonderful line!

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Mitch Hedberg Was Funny
Published by Toronto Mike on April 12, 2007 @ 19:57 in Television

humourMitch Hedberg died in 2005 at the age of 37. Here he is on Comedy Central Presents in 1999. As you'll see, he was damn funny.

No Más! No Más!
Published by Toronto Mike on April 12, 2007 @ 18:46 in American Idol

AII completely missed American Idol on Tuesday night because of another commitment. I forgot to tape it but I caught enough during the results show last night to understand this was for the best.

I've never been a Latin music fan. Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony are two of my least favourite musicians. If the entire genre fell off the face of the earth I'd be a happier dude.

If I'm going to miss a week, I'm glad it was this one. There's only one other genre I don't dig, and that's country. I wonder what next week's theme is...

An Imus Mess and Stern's Schadenfreude
Published by Toronto Mike on April 12, 2007 @ 14:44 in Howard Stern

SternWhen radio host Don Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos", his face got plastered all over the media. There are Imus articles on every site, he's on CNN and everyone's got an opinion on whether he should be canned or not.

Everything I know about Don Imus I learnt from Howard Stern. Stern hates Imus and this hate on goes back to his NBC radio days when they worked together. The Imus character shows up in "Private Parts" and when I listened to Stern it was a frequent rant. If it wasn't for Howard Stern, I'd have had no idea who Imus was before this controversy exploded.

I no longer hear Howard Stern's radio show, but I was naturally curious what he's been saying about this Imus mess. This article gave me a taste and even included some quotes from the king of all media. If you're curious about Stern's current state of schadenfreude, read on.

  • "He does nothing. He mumbles, he can't speak English, he can't be understood. He was never funny. You listen to the show, I defy you to laugh."
  • "He's completely insane."
  • "Go away. Really. It's time."
  • "There's probably a 70 percent chance [CBS Radio and MSNBC are] going to have to fire this guy.... He's in for a shitstorm because the girl's basketball team is going to have a press conference, and that's going to look real bad."
  • "I guarantee you the wife leaves him. If he loses his job, she leaves him within a year. [And if that happens,] I will leave Beth to fuck her."
  • "If it was me and I did something stupid like that I would just go on and say, 'I'm not going on Al Sharpton's show. Al Sharpton is a piece of shit. He's just a human being that is bankrupt, and he should pay his bills.... I would rather just leave the radio than apologize to that man.... I like Al Sharpton, by the way."
  • "I mean, come on, Al Sharpton. Imus, get some fucking dignity."
  • "I've never seen a 67-year-old guy look that bad."
  • "Imus is a moron."
  • "Imus had a perfectly nice life, he had no listeners. No one ever bothered him. Now all of a sudden he's getting all this attention, he's cracking. He handled that like shit."
  • "How is Imus on the radio? Do you understand a word he says?"
  • "He looks awful. How old is Imus for real? Doesn't he look 80?"
My Thoughts on O'Reilly's Code of Conduct for Bloggers
Published by Toronto Mike on April 12, 2007 @ 12:05 in My 2 Cents

documentationTim O'Reilly, a fellow blogger, has shared a draft of his Blogger's Code of Conduct. This is a response to the Kathy Sierra affair. Sierra suspended her blog in March because of death threats on her blog and threats of violence posted on other websites. Here are the six parts of O'Reilly's code.

  1. We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.
  2. We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person.
  3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.
  4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.
  5. We do not allow anonymous comments.
  6. We ignore the trolls.

I don't want the blogosphere to become a police state. I blog according to two simple rules.

  1. Everything I publish must pass through my "acceptable for the public domain" filter.
  2. Comments that cross the line will be deleted.

These two rules are intentionally vague. The "acceptable for the public domain" filter prevents me from revealing anything too personal, sharing something about another that shouldn't be shared and posting anything that could jeopardize a job, safety or anything else that matters more than this hobby. There's a line, and I know it when I see it.

I believe O'Reilly's Code of Conduct for Bloggers could have stopped after the first item. "We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog."

That says it all.

Roscoe Lee Browne, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 12, 2007 @ 12:00 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumRoscoe Lee Browne was 81. His rich voice and dignified bearing brought him an Emmy Award and a Tony nomination.

I knew him best as the narrator in "Babe".

Kurt Vonnegut, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 12, 2007 @ 09:43 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumKurt Vonnegut was 84. He captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle."

I wrote about Kurt Vonnegut in this entry from February 2006. He will be missed.

2007 Playoff Pool: Day One
Published by Toronto Mike on April 12, 2007 @ 09:08 in Hockey Playoff Pool

PuckThat Vancouver game against Dallas ended at 3:32am Toronto time. If you're an East coaster who watched it through, step up for acknowledgement. You truly are a king amongst men.

As for the pool, Steve got bad news regarding Cheechoo and finds himself in last. Marc, the perennial winner of our annual pool, finds himself in his usual spot thanks to big nights from Recchi, Marleau and Morrow. I'm in the middle of the pack hoping for a big night from New Jersey tonight. That's right, I'm relying on high scoring from the Devils.

For the current standings, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

Tasting Blood on the Run
Published by Toronto Mike on April 11, 2007 @ 19:46 in Running

runningRunning in this Learn to Run clinic three times a week has turned out to be rather entertaining. The nature of the class is such that you get a collection of complete beginners who really aren't sure how this running thing works.

Tonight, a member of the group who shall remain nameless became alarmed during the first rep because she could taste blood in her mouth. She was convinced something terrible was happening and decided to cut the run short.

That blood she tasted in her mouth, that was the taste of iron from the energy bar she ate before heading out. I advised her to hock a lugie next time and see if it's red before bailing. It's a rookie mistake.

Weekly MP3: Down The Line
Published by Toronto Mike on April 11, 2007 @ 16:56 in Weekly MP3s

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.

Big Daddy Kane - Down The Line
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about this song. There was a trend in the late 80s and early 90s where almost every hip-hop album contained a track that featured all the MCs taking turns. One by one they'd drop their rhymes in their style and they'd go down the line. This is a good example from Big Daddy Kane's Taste of Chocolate disc.

Okay, okay, okay, okay, attention to the whole crew.

56 in a 40 Zone
Published by Toronto Mike on April 11, 2007 @ 14:27 in Miscellaneous

carIt's been years since I've received a traffic ticket, but I got one this morning. I was driving a stretch of road with a speed limit of 40km and I got caught going 16km over.

Here's what ticks me off. The copper tells me if I go to court I won't lose any points and I'll just have to pay a $45 fine. That's a hassle, but what kills me is that in 2007 I have to go to court to schedule a court date. That's right, I have to get time off work to physically go down to the court just so I can schedule the date I'll return to get my fine and point deduction reduced.

Why can't I schedule a court date online or over the phone? Why couldn't the cop eliminate this whole process by writing me a $45 ticket with no points deducted in the first place?

The whole freakin' system is out of order!

My Offline Challenge: Week Five
Published by Toronto Mike on April 11, 2007 @ 09:27 in Running

runningLast night we ran for four minutes and walked for one minute. We did this for about 3km. By the end I was feeling great and could have easily ran a couple of additional reps. I think I've discovered the trick to this running thing. You have to sing.

It's true, I've started singing during these runs and it not only makes the time go by faster but you actually forget you're running. Yesterday I tackled Blue Rodeo's "Try". I wasn't singing solo, I found a few other members of the group willing to join along. It made all the difference in the world.

And how did we celebrate our 3km run/walk? We blitzed over to Shakey's for wings. This is how you run Toronto Mike style.

Sector 6 Lockdown in Gmail
Published by Toronto Mike on April 10, 2007 @ 10:24 in Technology

googleMy friends and family often joke that I'm on the Google payroll because of how often I sing their praises. That might be changing. All day I've been limited in Gmail. I get messages, but I can't send attachments or open attachments. If I attempt to do so I get an error message that says there's a lockdown in sector 6. It's extremely frustrating.

Apparently you get this lockdown in sector 6 when you violate the Gmail rules. I haven't violated a single one. Not even close. Yet here I am locked down and there's nothing much I can do about it. I contacted support, but I just received a boiler plated reply telling me to check the Gmail rules again.

I'm not alone. Many are experiencing the same thing. What frightens me is that some have their accounts completely disabled which actually has me pleased I'm merely limited. Isn't that pathetic?

The service has been awesome for years, but this kind of a screw up is unacceptable. I'm not sure why I haven't read about this in the news considering how wide spread it appears to be, and the silence from Google is alarming. If you've written me and you're wondering why I haven't replied, this is why.

Google, you're officially on notice.

Draft Day: 2007
Published by Toronto Mike on April 9, 2007 @ 20:31 in Hockey Playoff Pool

hockeyThe draft is done. Newcomer Alvin got the first pick overall and picked Daniel Briere from the Buffalo Sabres. I drafted third and found myself picking Devils.

You can follow the action daily at http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html. Head on over there to how it all unfolded tonight. Here's the obligatory photoset.

Draft Day 2007 Draft Day 2007 Draft Day 2007

Remember Vimy Ridge and Rejoice
Published by Toronto Mike on April 9, 2007 @ 13:10 in O Canada

canadaIn the past, I've written twice about Vimy Ridge. Today, on the 90th anniversary of this victory, I'd like to re-post both entries.

On December 14, 2002, I wrote the following.

If Vimy Ridge was an American success story, Hollywood would be churning out big budget epics on the subject on a regular basis. Vimy Ridge happens to be draped in red and white, and as a result, it's never received the celluloid documentation it so richly deserves. As Canadians, we're almost embarrassed of our successes. Why is that? Americans spin every event into a patriotic landmark of their history while we push the spotlight away from these proud accomplishments. The exception to this is hockey, but hockey is the exception to just about everything North of the 49th parallel.

I just read an article in the Saturday Star that claims our schools are now teaching that the War of 1812 resulted in a draw. Canadian youth are being taught that the United States of America had no choice but to attack, and although we held them off, we certainly were not victorious. The War of 1812 is full of excellent examples of Canadian pride, from Laura Secord to Tecumseh. Why can't we take a page out of the book of Americana and celebrate moments when Canada and Canadians shine brightest? Why aren't I hearing that great Canadian actors are currently filming a movie directed by Norman Jewison or Atom Egoyan based on that day in April 1917 when we as Canadians worked together and captured Vimy Ridge? The story of Vimy Ridge is begging to become a film in the vein of Saving Private Ryan. C'mon Canada. Celebrate the red and white. Make a movie about Vimy Ridge.

On November 11, 2004, I wrote this.

Canadian forces played a very significant role in one of the key massive offensives launched by the Allies in WWI. On Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, the Canadian Corps, four divisions strong and fighting together for the first time, attacked the German army posted on the gently rising slope of land that dominated the Douai plains in the Arras sector of northern France. It was known as Vimy Ridge.

This victory was the seedbed of Canadian identity. We were asked to capture Vimy Ridge, and we did. We did it by working together, Canadian heart can never be over estimated. It was this moment that solidified a very young country.

Visit the Veterans Affairs Canada page on the capture of Vimy Ridge and view photos and video footage. Lest we forget.

Today, I'd just like to say thanks.

I Need A Better Strategy
Published by Toronto Mike on April 9, 2007 @ 10:58 in Hockey Playoff Pool

hockeyTonight we're drafting our playoff pool teams and I need a better strategy. I've never won, despite having competed every year for over a decade. Well, every year there was a playoffs, anyway.

Which teams should I bank on this year? I always end up loading up on players from good teams that bow out after a round or two. I want my core players playing into the third round. Which teams look good for a long run?

All suggestions are appreciated. You've got six hours. By the way, if you can be at a West Toronto location by 6pm tonight, you're welcome to draft with us. I have bad news for the out-of-towners who wanted to draft remotely. We're going old school and cutting the e-feed this year. Get your ass to the T-Dot and join in the fun... and bring $20.

Okay, This Is The End, Eh?
Published by Toronto Mike on April 8, 2007 @ 19:58 in Toronto Maple Leafs

swearsWe won't dwell on the obvious. Yes, it was close. Yes, John Madden's goal at 19:59 of the third to tie things up was unbelievable. Yes, Sergei Brylin's pathetic attempt to force another round of shooters in the shootout will not soon be forgotten. In the end, we finished a point out of the playoffs, even closer than last year when we finished two points back.

It's over. This is the end. We have another summer to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic and hope a decent goalie falls off the vine and into our lineup. This team needs so much work but with large, cumbersome contracts and a salary cap there isn't much hope.

I had a new masthead ready to go had the Islanders lost this afternoon. I almost got to use it, but almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Here it is. Go Raptors Go!

Toronto Mike Header

Johnny Hart, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 8, 2007 @ 19:45 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumJohnny Hart was 76. He was the creator of the comic strip B.C. and co-creator of the strip The Wizard of Id.

The Old Mill For Easter Brunch
Published by Toronto Mike on April 8, 2007 @ 16:31 in Family

easterI've probably walked, driven or biked past the Old Mill a thousand times in my life, but I've never been inside until today.

This Easter Sunday, we went for brunch at the Old Mill. James and Michelle were fed for free and the Easter Bunny himself (or is it a she?) was there handing out chocolate eggs. The buffet was plentiful with all the brunch staples and some killer desserts. Here's a photoset from the day. I'm still full.

Michelle's Hat James Meets the Easter Bunny Kisses 4 Me The Old Mill

Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 5
Published by Toronto Mike on April 8, 2007 @ 09:00 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsA regular season game has never felt more like the playoffs, and the sad thing is we may not even get there this year. In a must win game, a game that had to be won in regulation, we outscored Montreal 2-0 in the third and held on. That was tense.

It was also thrilling. Imagine if we had beat New York on Thursday and this win put us through? I can't imagine how that would have felt. I know this win felt great and now the 3:30 Islanders ~ Devils game decides all. A game that won't have Martin Brodeur in net for the Devils but a chap named Scott Clemmensen. That's right, our playoff aspirations depend on the success of Scott Clemmensen.

C'mon Clemmensen. Go Devils Go! On the holiest of days, I want the Devils to succeed.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
40-31-10
91 points
8th in Eastern Conference
6-5 Win vs. Montreal
5-2 Loss vs. New York Islanders
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
M. Sundin - 76
T. Kaberle - 58
B. McCabe - 57
Twenty Minutes Remain
Published by Toronto Mike on April 7, 2007 @ 20:46 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsAt the end of two periods, the Leafs trail Montreal 5-4. There are twenty minutes to play and the Leafs need to win this in regulation to have a chance.

We came out gang busters, playing awesome hockey when it matters most. The Michael Ryder Show in the second period was unfortunate and has likely ended our season. Don Cherry and the other Andrew Raycroft apologists will tell you Razor didn't have a chance on that fourth Montreal goal, but that's bullshit. It was a bad goal that he should have gloved easily, especially at that point in a game of this magnitude. I'm just sorry Jean-Sebastien Aubin wasn't given a fair chance all season. We'll see what he's got in the third.

It's five on three to start things off and overtime is not an option. Let's tie it up early and take it from there. Mats, if you're reading this between periods, now would be a fine time to break out of that goal scoring slump. In fact, score two and you'll have the franchise record all to yourself.

I'm logging off and watching this one from bed. Good luck and God Speed.

TMNT
Published by Toronto Mike on April 7, 2007 @ 17:37 in Reviews

A Movie ReelTMNT: 3.5 out of 10.

In sports, you're often asked to take one for the team. Lean in to that inside pitch to get the base, dive in front of that cannonading slap shot from the point, sacrifice yourself for the benefit of the team.

Parenthood isn't much different. Today, I took one for the team. I fulfilled a promise I made to my five year old son and took him to see TMNT.

It was only 87 minutes, which is good, but it still managed to drag in parts and although it looked cool, the funny bits weren't funny enough and the action bits weren't exciting enough. My TMNT was definitely funnier and had better action sequences but I don't want to become one of those "things were better in my day" dads.

If you enjoyed the 1990 movie, I'll save you some coin and spell out the differences.

  • It's all CGI now
  • Splinter's accent is different and he looks like the Cheetos dude
  • April is a totally different character, no longer working as a reporter but looking and acting like Lara Croft
  • Michaelangelo's been dumbed down, Rafael's been angered up, Donatello is smarter than he was and Leonardo has morphed into the definite leader of the pack

Oh yeah, before I forget, you hear some Billy Talent early on when Michaelangelo performs at a birthday party. James, when you're old enough to read this, you owe your old man... big time.

Inside Man
Published by Toronto Mike on April 7, 2007 @ 12:24 in Reviews

A Movie ReelInside Man: 6.5 out of 10.

My Clive Owen movie marathon continued with "Inside Man", a Spike Lee joint that also stars Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe and Torontonian Christopher Plummer.

It's not your typical Spike Lee film, but it's not a bad little heist film. If you ignore the gaping plot holes and convenient revelations and sloppy police work, it's not a bad two hours.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...
Published by Toronto Mike on April 7, 2007 @ 12:16 in Toronto Raptors

raptorsWhile this city crunches the numbers and prays for an Islander loss this afternoon coupled with a Leafs win tonight, our forgotten basketball team beat the 76ers last night to clinch our first division title.

The Atlantic Division crown is ours with six games remaining, quite an improvement from last year when we went 27-55. Bryan Colangelo came in and did what had to be done. Imagine if the other MLSE team sharing the ACC bit the bullet and did the same.

When we tell our grandkids about our first division title, we'll leave out the fact New Jersey is second and currently five games below .500. The devil is in the details.

Go Philly
Published by Toronto Mike on April 7, 2007 @ 11:59 in Toronto Maple Leafs

nhlI don't say this very often, and I don't think I've said it since Propp, Zezel and Sinisalo wore orange, but I'm saying it today.

Go Flyers Go!

The Most Hated Family in America
Published by Toronto Mike on April 7, 2007 @ 11:52 in Television

tvI watched this yesterday. It's a BBC documentary about an American family fuelled by hate. You can watch it here in seven parts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

The Friday Five
Published by Toronto Mike on April 6, 2007 @ 20:51 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy favourite former Montreal Canadiens

  1. Doug Gilmour
  2. Frank Mahovlich
  3. Russ Courtnall
  4. Gary Leeman
  5. Vincent Damphousse
10 Firefox Add-Ons I Can't Live Without
Published by Toronto Mike on April 6, 2007 @ 16:47 in Technology

firefoxWhat we once referred to as Firefox Extensions are now known as Firefox Add-ons. Call them what you want, I love them regardless. Many of them, in fact, play a key role in my day-to-day life.

Here are 10 Firefox Add-ons I simply can't live without.

Adblock Plus - You know those ads you see all over the place when surfing the web? I don't. I haven't seen them in years and I don't miss 'em at all.

ColorZilla - If I need to quickly know the hexidecimal code for any colour on any web page I visit, this tool tells all. It's awesome.

Google Browser Sync - Manage one set of bookmarks and see them from any computer in the world.

Greasemonkey - What can I say about this one? There are many great scripts that customize the way a webpage displays.

IE Tab - Need to test a page in IE? This add-on lets you do that in a Firefox tab. It's also useful for those sites that just don't work in Firefox.

MeasureIt - Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage.

Sage - This is my RSS reader.

Screengrab! - This is an old favourite that didn't work in Firefox 2 but was recently updated. It's nice to have it back as it lets me easily save or copy screen caps.

Tabbrowser Preferences - This gives you more control over Firefox's tab behaviour. For example, I have it automatically open _blank targeted links in a new tab.

Web Developer - An absolute must for any author of web pages, this add-on lets me easily resize the browser, view the CSS, edit the CSS and HTML in Firefox and a billion other web author tasks. Irreplaceable.

Honourable mentions go to Copy Plain Text, Download Statusbar, Firebug, Fission, Forecastfox, FoxyTunes, Google Toolbar, LinkChecker, Make Link, PDF Download and UnPlug.

The Alphagetti Gobbler
Published by Toronto Mike on April 6, 2007 @ 09:28 in Memories, The Best of Toronto Mike

rewindYesterday Michelle was Wonder Woman and James was Spider-Man. They asked me to be the Green Goblin. Somehow, at that precise moment, "goblin" sounded like "gobbler" and I blurted out something I hadn't thought about in at least a couple of decades. I told them I was the Alphagetti Gobbler.

I remember these ads for Alphagetti, or is it Alpha Getti, Alphaghetti or perhaps Alpha-Ghetti? A kid would say to this flying spaghetti monster-like creature "You're the Alphagetti Gobbler!" I went to YouTube in the hopes I'd be able to see the Alphagetti Gobbler but came up empty. Googling this creature from my youth didn't help either.

Taryn remembers the ads, but I'm wondering if this was just a Canadian thing or perhaps even more localized than that. Do you remember the Alphagetti Gobbler?

Good Friday
Published by Toronto Mike on April 6, 2007 @ 09:15 in Losing My Religion

crossWhen losing your religion, they say you go through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This final stage is the best!

Maple Leafs 2, Islanders 5
Published by Toronto Mike on April 6, 2007 @ 08:49 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsWe were oh so close to making the Leafs~Habs game Saturday night the one that decides the 8th playoff spot in the East, but the Islanders blew it. Ok, the Leafs blew it, and we no longer control our own fate. Let me break this down for you dudes and dudettes.

The New York Islanders have a precious game in hand, so even if we beat Montreal on Saturday night, the Islanders can take the 8th spot by winning their last two against Philadelphia and New Jersey.

That Philadelphia game, however, is a 1pm start on Saturday. So it will be over well before the Leafs game at 7pm. Should Philadelphia manage to defeat Wade Dubielewicz and the Long Island boys we'll get the game we're hoping for. We'll just have to win to qualify for the post season.

If the Islanders beat Philly, we have to win and hope the Devils beat the Islanders on Sunday. Sadly, we're definitely toast if we don't beat the Habs tomorrow, and I have little faith we'll get that done. I've watched this team night after night and I've come to the realization that we're not very good and there's little hope for the future.

<rant>A good hockey team starts with solid goaltending, dependable defensemen forwards who can score and leaders who can motivate and lead by example. There are other important elements, like fore-checking and special teams, but those first four are vital. The Toronto Maple Leafs are hurting in each category.

Andrew Raycroft's glove hand cost us the game last night. Our defensive core of McCabe, Kubina and Gill is both overpaid and a major liability. Our forwards simply don't score, and that goes for the guy who seems hell bent on letting Sittler keep his franchise record. If Mats Sundin had found the net even a few times these past few weeks we'd have clinched a playoff berth long ago. As for leadership, Mats never had the fire in his belly and Tucker's the closest thing we have to a true captain. How is this team going to get any better next year or the year after?

I say we keep Kaberle and Carlo on D, Tucker, Wellwood and the inexpensive youngsters Steen and Stajan for the third line, and blow up the rest. It will never happen, but it's the kind of dramatic overhaul this team leads or we'll be praying for miracles each spring just to make the playoffs where we'll fizzle out in five or six to a better team with players who can put the puck in the net and a goalie who can keep it out.</rant>

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
39-31-10
89 points
9th in Eastern Conference
5-2 Loss vs. New York Islanders
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
7-2 Loss vs. New York Rangers
M. Sundin - 73
T. Kaberle - 56
B. McCabe - 56
Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on April 6, 2007 @ 08:45 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"Stealing? How could you?! Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain What’s-his-name?"

Wade Dubielewicz
Published by Toronto Mike on April 5, 2007 @ 19:00 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsRaise your hand if you know Wade Dubielewicz. After tonight, that may be a name we Leaf fans never forget.

I try not to think about it. Saturday night, Hockey Night in Canada, Leafs vs. Habs to decide the final playoff bound team in the East. We're so close to what would be the biggest regular season NHL spectacle in my lifetime. We're so close I can taste it, but Wade Dubielewicz stands in the way.

In his NHL career he's played 609 minutes. He's starting for the Islanders tonight when the puck drops in 30 minutes. If Wade Dubielewicz stones us and ends our season tonight, you can bet we won't soon forget that name.

Let's smoke this Dubie.

The Three Bob Clark's I Know
Published by Toronto Mike on April 5, 2007 @ 18:33 in Movies

moviesBob Clark and his son were killed by a drunk driver yesterday. In my lifetime I've seen three of his films, and they represent the three Bob Clark's I know.

The first Bob Clark movie I ever saw was "A Christmas Story", which he made in 1983. In 2003 I placed it in My Five Favourite Christmas Specials and a year later I put it high on My Ten Favourite Movies Filmed in Toronto list. I continue to enjoy that film each December, posting a clip from the movie last December and borrowing a quote for my blog header.

Bob Clark created a true classic that's both funny and endearing. A dare you to name a better Christmas movie.

The next Bob Clark movie I saw was "Porky's", which he made in 1982. As I recently confessed, I really enjoyed "Porky's". As a thirteen year old, there was nothing better than City-TV airing uncensored "Porky's" on a Friday night.

I once read an article that suggested the boys from "A Christmas Story" would grow up to become the teenagers in "Porky's". I could definitely see that. "Porky's" isn't just about gawking at nude females, it's about coming of age.

The last Bob Clark movie I saw was "The Karate Dog", which I reviewed last month. It was horrible without a stitch of what made "Porky's" likable and "A Christmas Story" charming. It was the new Bob Clark, the Bob Clark who made "Baby Geniuses" and "SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2". It was the Bob Clark who sold out.

Three very different movies and three very different memories. I'll remember him fondly for the first two and I'll forgive him for the latter.

Toronto Blue Jays Frank Thomas Commercial
Published by Toronto Mike on April 5, 2007 @ 12:20 in Toronto Blue Jays

bluejaysYou've probably caught wind of the controversy surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays commercial featuring Frank Thomas. Thomas uses his strength to annihilate a kid with a pillow. The Television Bureau of Canada, the watchdog that approves TV commercials for private broadcasters, found the ad too aggressive and demanded an edit.

I've seen the ad several times and I'm posting it at the end of this entry so you can see it too. We as a society need to take a collective chill pill. It's a funny spot that in no way appears to condone child abuse. As one who regularly beats his kids with a pillow, I feel I'm an authority on the subject.

This is currently the preferred Daddy activity in my home. Michelle and James beg me to "fight" them. This typically means a massive pillow fight on my bed and I, like Frank Thomas, have little mercy. We have well-defined rules of engagement that Thomas clearly followed in the ad. No hits to the head or nether regions. Everything else with the pillow is permitted.

If we can't beat our kids with pillows, the terrorists have already won.

Bob Clark, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 5, 2007 @ 10:50 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumBob Clark was 67. He was a film director best known for the holiday classic "A Christmas Story" and the Canadian sex comedy "Porky's".

Edward Scissorhands at the Hummingbird Centre
Published by Toronto Mike on April 5, 2007 @ 09:23 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

ticketstubsIt was quite the night at the Hummingbird Centre. I'm going to break this recap into two sections: the bloggers and the production.

The Bloggers
I picked up our tickets at the media desk where I met Julie, the woman who hunted me down and was nice enough to answer a few pertinent questions about this web 2.0 marketing blitz. She told me I was prolific, which means my blogging production is abundant. I'm still unsure if that's a compliment.

Taryn and I were given pretty sweet seats. It was a perfect distance from the stage in the lower level, although we were on the side to the right of the stage. We were actually in a blogging section with the other bloggers who were invited. I kept overhearing discussions between mommy bloggers complimenting each other's blogs. It was surreal. Other discussions were about the female lead's butt in those unflattering pants.

I asked Julie if I could snap some pictures of the production and was denied the request, but I noticed one blogger doing just that. Apparently all Toronto bloggers are not created equal. I blame myself, having interviewed her not just once, but twice. I've created a monster.

The Production
I mentioned yesterday I'm not much of a theatre guy. I'm even less of a dance guy. Edward Scissorhands doesn't have a single word of dialogue. There's not even a lyric in the music. It's completely wordless with the entire story told in dance. If I were a betting man, I'd have bet the house on the fact I'd hate this.

I loved it. The sets were amazing, the dances were awesome and the entire story unfolded brilliantly without the need for speech. You're never bored and you're left wanting more. It shocked me how enjoyable these two hours were.

I was invited to meet the cast afterwards but I had a babysitter to relieve and had to hit the road. Here's a photoset of pictures I took. If you're interested in checking out this show, here's how you save $15. If you want Toronto Mike to write about his experience at your play, concert or sporting event, you know what to do.

P4045286

Free Night of Theatre
Published by Toronto Mike on April 4, 2007 @ 13:46 in Miscellaneous

scissorsI'm not really a theatre guy. Despite having starred as the Wizard of Woe in The Canada Goose, I've only been to the theatre twice as an adult. I was dragged by my wife to see The Lion King and Mamma Mia.

Tonight we're going to the Hummingbird Centre to see Edward Scissorhands. I'm going as a member of the new media. This new media, you see, works for free, but we're rewarded for our Google-powered prominence with little perks like this. I have no idea what to expect, and I don't have a clue if I'm going to enjoy myself or not, but I'll be there and you'll read all about it here tomorrow.

If you're interested, I can score you $15 off a ticket. Or, you can start a blog and after 6000 entries they might give you a ticket.

Old Standards Induce Snores
Published by Toronto Mike on April 4, 2007 @ 12:12 in American Idol

IdolWith Tony Bennett in the house, the Idol wannabes had to sing old American standards. Yawn.

Sanjaya Malakar still sucked, Haley Scarnato continued to disrobe, Phil Stacey remained disturbingly bald and LaKisha is still my fave.

Here are my three favourites from last night:

  1. LaKisha Jones
  2. Melinda Doolittle
  3. Jordin Sparks

Here are my three least favourite from last night:

  1. Sanjaya Malakar
  2. Haley Scarnato
  3. Phil Stacey
Eddie Robinson, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on April 4, 2007 @ 10:52 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumEddie Robinson was 88. He was the Grambling State University football coach who sent more than 200 players to the NFL and won 408 games during a 57-year career.

Maple Leafs 3, Flyers 2
Published by Toronto Mike on April 4, 2007 @ 10:32 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsThey're last in the East, but they almost killed our playoff hopes. These games are killing me. The Penguins scored with four seconds left before we pulled it off in overtime and last night the Flyers scored with four minutes to go to tie things up.

There are two games to go and we remain a point behind Montreal for that final playoff spot. If we beat the Islanders on Thursday night, it's all going to come down to Saturday. Imagine, Leafs and Habs on Hockey Night in Canada to decide 8th place in the East. I don't think my heart will be able to take it.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
39-30-10
89 points
9th in Eastern Conference
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
7-2 Loss vs. New York Rangers
5-4 Win vs. Pittsburgh
M. Sundin - 73
T. Kaberle - 56
B. McCabe - 56
Heart Attack Chat
Published by Toronto Mike on April 3, 2007 @ 22:15 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsMy brother Steve and I had a little Gtalk going during tonight's thriller at the ACC. The Leafs won, and here's our thrilling convo.

8:50 PM Mike: big pp coming up!
8:50 PM Steve: they have a great pk for some reason
8:50 PM Steve: only Raycroft can cost us this game
8:57 PM Mike: yay
8:57 PM Mike: ding ding
8:57 PM Mike: Gill the Thrill
8:57 PM Steve: should we really be sweating out Philly?
8:57 PM Steve: isn't that a bad sign?
8:57 PM Mike: Forget Todd, there's a new favourite Gill in town.
8:58 PM Mike: there are lots of bad signs everywhere
8:58 PM Steve: that makes up for a stinky season
8:58 PM Mike: but who cares, we're winning the cup!
8:58 PM Steve: ok
9:43 PM Mike: holy mackinaw
9:44 PM Steve: holy heart attack
9:46 PM Mike: ouch
9:46 PM Steve: down goes Stajan
9:46 PM Steve: down goes Stajan
9:53 PM Mike: omg
9:53 PM Steve: not Raycroft's fault this time
9:53 PM Steve: just the overpaid D
9:54 PM Steve: including the biggest and most overpaid in the league
9:54 PM Steve: McCabe
9:54 PM Mike: Antropov will score the winner
9:55 PM Steve: Biron is better than Raycroft
9:55 PM Steve: no SO
10:09 PM Mike: c'mon tucks
10:09 PM Steve: nothing fancy
10:09 PM Steve: shot from the point
10:09 PM Mike: shoot!!!
10:09 PM Mike: yes!
10:09 PM Steve: YEAH
10:09 PM Mike: holy mackinaw!!!
10:09 PM Steve: shot from the point
10:09 PM Mike: scratch my back with a hacksaw
10:10 PM Mike: mccabe has totally redeemed himself

Mark Mallory's Cincinnati Heat
Published by Toronto Mike on April 3, 2007 @ 21:27 in Sports

baseballI often wonder what I'd do if I was ever asked to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a Blue Jays game. Would I try and throw a hard strike? Would I just chuck it over the plate? What if I threw it in the dirt or offline?

This is Mark Mallory, Mayor of Cincinnati, throwing the worst ceremonial first pitch I've ever seen. It's brutal.

My Offline Challenge: Week Four
Published by Toronto Mike on April 3, 2007 @ 20:57 in Running

runningToday we ran for three minutes, walked for one, and repeated that couplet five times. Our group has naturally divided into three collectives. There's my group, which has decided running slow is for losers, and we form a pack way out ahead. There's another group of less fit noobs who hang back and often finish twenty minutes after us. Then there's a group that runs in the middle, not keeping pace with us keeners but blowing away Pink and the trailers.

All because I've joined the front running group doesn't mean I'm too fit for where we're at. By the last rep, I'm definitely feeling my cardio isn't quite marathon ready. It's not quite Hazel 5km race ready, either. Still, I'm not feeling sore and I'm sorry I won't be able to do it again tomorrow.

Snorting Dad
Published by Toronto Mike on April 3, 2007 @ 16:45 in Miscellaneous

rollingstonesI was just glancing at this afternoon's news items when I read what might just be the quote of the year. It's from Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

It takes a big man to admit he snorted his dad.

That Religious Time
Published by Toronto Mike on April 3, 2007 @ 12:33 in Humble and Fred

golfLast week Humble and I were trying to pick a day to hook up. Not that kind of hook up, but the old school hang out hook up. He advised me that this week would be tough because of his spiritual time.

I assumed he was talking about Passover and replied "oh that Jewish thing". He laughed. He wasn't talking about Passover. He was referring to a certain golf tournament taking place at the Augusta National Golf Club.

It was pretty funny but you probably had to be there.

Children of Men
Published by Toronto Mike on April 3, 2007 @ 08:53 in Reviews

A Movie ReelChildren of Men: 7 out of 10.

It's 2027 and no child has been born in 18 years. It's a very cool premise, a neat vision of our future and a great looking film.

It started strong but started to lag a little which is why I'm only giving this a 7. Still, Michael Caine and Clive Owen are very strong and it's so compelling because it's so plausible. 2027 is closer than you think.

We're Number 15?
Published by Toronto Mike on April 2, 2007 @ 18:34 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

cntowerAccording to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Toronto ranks 15th among cities around the world in overall quality of life. That would make us the second-best city in Canada to live in, after Vancouver.

Before Vancourites get all high and mighty you should know they only get ranked so high because of the one thing we can't control: climate. Vancouver's got that mild climate all year while we've got the hot summer days and some damn cold winter nights. Those hot summer days often come with air quality advisories, and that smokes us in the health and sanitation category.

Still, 15 isn't so bad. We finished well ahead of Honolulu which was the highest-ranked U.S. city at 27th and we beat the crap out of Baghdad.

The Canada Malting Company And Me
Published by Toronto Mike on April 2, 2007 @ 18:18 in Memories, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

binocularsThey're talking about building a city of Toronto museum and the Star is reporting they may build it by the giant Canada Malting Company silos.

I have a long and interesting history with the Canada Malting Company silos. For a couple of summers in the early 90s, by pal Ed and I would bike to the abandoned Canada Malting Company building on the lake shore, break in and explore. It was awesome. Once you adapted to the smell, there were so many levels and deserted rooms, it was fascinating. We went through a very interesting abandoned building investigation phase, but the Canada Malting Company silos remained our favourite destination of all.

The article suggests they're building this museum by the silos as opposed to tearing them down and building anew. I hope the facade of that old building is preserved so there's a constant reminder of my adventures with Ed as a sixteen and seventeen year old.

Canada Malting Company

The Boys of Summer
Published by Toronto Mike on April 2, 2007 @ 13:01 in Toronto Blue Jays

bluejaysNot to harp on the essence of time, but has it really been nineteen years since George Bell hit those three homers on opening day? He was my favourite Jay and coming off an MVP season and I was so friggin happy when that third homer cleared the fence.

The Jays are playing the Tigers right now. I love opening day when anything is possible and spring is in the air. My Blue Jay-related entries can be found at http://www.torontomike.com/toronto_blue_jays/ if you want to get back in the groove.

Go Jays Go! The boys of summer are back in town.

Maple Leafs 2, Rangers 7
Published by Toronto Mike on April 2, 2007 @ 08:41 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsWhat a crappy effort in a most important game. We're stuck in ninth but in typical Leafs fashion there's still a chance for 8th.

With three games to go we're one lousy point behind Montreal who currently hold down the last playoff spot in the East. As we all know, we play the Habs at the ACC to close out the regular season next Saturday. That means we still control our destiny and just have to win. It's that simple.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
38-30-10
87 points
9th in Eastern Conference
7-2 Loss vs. New York Rangers
5-4 Win vs. Pittsburgh
3-2 OTL vs. Atlanta
M. Sundin - 72
T. Kaberle - 55
B. McCabe - 54
An Electrified Fooling Machine
Published by Toronto Mike on April 1, 2007 @ 19:51 in Miscellaneous

calendarAll day I've noticed an influx of traffic from people searching for Chalk Circle's "April Fool" video. I'm #1 for chalk circle april fool video and proud of it.

We're not talking about massive traffic, but even ten such visits is ten more than usual. There was definitely an increase today, but why?

Then it hit me.

Born Under A Bad Sign With A Blue Moon In Your Eyes
Published by Toronto Mike on April 1, 2007 @ 17:17 in Television, The Sopranos

sopranosNext Sunday is the beginning of the end. Last March I wrote about the two year wait for new episodes of The Sopranos, but we only got 12 of the final 20. Next Sunday we start the last eight episodes of this fabulous series.

I recently ranked it #3 on my list of favourite television shows of all time. I've seen every episode that has aired, but many of you might need a refresher course before Sunday. If that's you, or if you just want to view a cool seven minute recap of the first six seasons, watch this.

Big Shiny Search Stats
Published by Toronto Mike on April 1, 2007 @ 13:51 in SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in March of 2007. One of the first signs of spring is the arrival of Blue Jays fans.

  1. richard jeni
  2. wedding playlist
  3. big shiny tunes 2
  4. toronto maple leafs
  5. concert tickets
  6. toronto blue jays
  7. big shiny tunes 3
  8. big shiny tunes 4
  9. big shiny tunes 6
  10. big shiny tunes 7
Big Daddy is Smooth Word to Muther
Published by Toronto Mike on April 1, 2007 @ 13:11 in Music, Public Enemy, Videos

musicThere was a trend in the late 80s and early 90s where every hip-hop album contained a track that featured all the MCs taking turns. One by one they'd drop their rhymes in their style and they'd go down the line. One of my favourites was "Down the Line" which appeared on Big Daddy Kane's Taste of Chocolate album and featured Big Daddy Kane, Scoob Lover, Scrap Lover, Mister Cee, Lil' Daddy Shane and Ant Live.

I still know every line in that song. Yesterday morning I went for a run by myself and needed to talk to myself to ensure I was keeping an appropriate pace. I opened my mouth and rapped everyone's part from "Down the Line". The album is 17 years old, but it's the first thing that came out when I started to run.

Big Daddy Kane was one of my favourite rappers because he had this seemingly effortless style and the smoothest delivery in the biz. It made my day when he joined Ice Cube on "Burn Hollywood Burn", a cut from Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet. It was a great song and Kane's contribution nicely complemented Chuck D and Ice Cube.

Here's the video which, unfortunately, had to be heavily censored to get any airtime.

The Strange Essence of Time
Published by Toronto Mike on April 1, 2007 @ 10:46 in Memories, The Best of Toronto Mike

clockAs I age, I find it harder to interpret the distance between the current time and a memory. For example, while reading the paper this morning I got lost in a synopsis of the Blue Jays' first 30 seasons. There was a blurb about Dave Stieb losing a no-hit bid with two out in the ninth against the Yankees. Roberto Kelly hit a two-out double in the left corner to ruin the perfect game.

I have vivid memories of Roberto Kelly getting that hit and Stieb coming oh so close once again. In my mind, that feels like ten years ago. It actually feels more recent than that, but even ten years is way off base. That game took place on August 4, 1989 which is almost 18 years ago. How is that possible?

It doesn't seem very long ago that my wife and I bought her a dog but in reality that was over a decade ago. There are ball players and hockey players I remember watching recently and then I'll learn they retired in '92. I could swear the Chris Webber NBA draft was just a few years ago but he's now a 13 year vet. What is it about memories that they always appear closer than they are?

I remember the Blue Jays tenth anniversary crests they wore on their uniforms like it was yesterday, and now the franchise has hit the big 3-0. It feels like I watched James enter this world for the first time but a month ago, but he's a big five year old boy now. I could go on, but this will only depress you.

James' Birth

Maple Leafs 5, Penguins 4
Published by Toronto Mike on April 1, 2007 @ 09:56 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsIt was a roller coaster ride at the ACC last night with the Leafs jumping up 4-1, getting caught with four seconds to play and winning it in overtime to keep pace with Montreal and the New York Rangers.

I live blogged the game if you're interested in more analysis. There's no rest for the wicked as we play in New York tonight. A win tonight would do wonders. Remember, we have a game in hand on the Habs and a win tonight ties us with the Rangers. Forget making the playoffs, this is the playoffs.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
38-29-10
87 points
9th in Eastern Conference
5-4 Win vs. Pittsburgh
3-2 OTL vs. Atlanta
6-1 Win vs. Carolina
M. Sundin - 71
B. McCabe - 54
T. Kaberle - 54
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