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Copyright Frustration In A YouTube Age

VideosSomebody took video of their television airing that A-Rod play last night at the ballpark formerly known as Skydome. I embedded the video here, because in this instance a video speaks more than a thousand words. About a half an hour after I embedded the video it was pulled by YouTube due to a copyright violation.

Yes, MLB owns that broadcast that was illegally shared via YouTube. It's called copyright, and it's becoming increasingly frustrating in this YouTube age. Last July I put all of my favourite YouTube videos in one entry. I actually spent quite a bit of time on the entry, but in the year that has followed I've seen my list erode. Today, only 9 out of 18 videos are still online.

  • The Sweater (NFB short) - No longer available
  • The Log Driver's Waltz (NFB short) - No longer available
  • Touch 'Em All, Joe (MLB footage) - No longer available
  • Jays Win 1992 World Series (MLB footage) - No longer available
  • The Anthems in Edmonton (NHL footage) - No longer available
  • Hockey Night in Canada Opening (CBC footage) - No longer available
  • Terry Fox Documentary - Still online!
  • Gold in Salt Lake City (CBC footage) - Still online!
  • Live 8 Barrie Footage (CTV footage) - Still online!
  • A Tribute to Doug Gilmour (CBC footage) - Still online!
  • Gretzky Highlight Video (Fan made)- Still online!
  • A Tribute to Mario Lemieux (Fan made)- Still online!
  • Wayne Gretzky Legends of Hockey Segment - No longer available
  • The Simpsons in Canada (Fox footage) - Still Online!
  • New Orleans is Sinking (Fan made) - Still Online!
  • Great White North (SCTV footage) - No longer available
  • Joey and Caitlin (Degrassi footage) - No longer available
  • O Canada! (Station sign-off) - Still Online!

The Most Hated Family in America got pulled, Mark Mallory's Cincinnati Heat got pulled and A Waste of a Perfectly Good Slice of Pizza got pulled.

The best YouTube clips are shared illegally and embedding such a clip here is always a gamble. You never know if it will play ten minutes later. It's a brave new world, but we've got a lot of work to do before I'm happy with it.

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A-Rod's Totally Bush Trip to Toronto

mlbI don't care if A-Rod comes to Toronto and cavorts around with a buxom blonde while his wife and kid are home in New York. That's his business, not mine. Alex Rodriguez gets a free pass from Toronto Mike on that count, but what he did last night really boils my potatoes.

If you missed it, Howie Clark was about to put the squeeze on a Jorge Posada pop fly when A-Rod ran by and yelled "mine". Naturally, Clark thought it was shortstop John McDonald calling him off. The ball fell in and the Yankees increased their lead.

Firstly, it's against the rules. That's interference, plain and simple. More importantly, it's a totally shitty bush-league move and indefensible. I'll bet every Yankee player on that bench cringed. I know A-Rod's having a bad week, but this is pure garbage and his blatant lies about it make it even more reprehensible. See, and hear, for yourself.

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You've Never Heard of Benny Hinn?

exclamationpointAbout a decade ago, T and I were dining at the Golden Griddle across the street from Maple Leaf Gardens. On this particular morning the Grid was full of hungry Americans. They were very nice hungry Americans and they kept trying to converse with us.

In their hungry American accents they were telling us that they were in town to see Benny Hinn. At the time, I didn't know that name, in fact, I thought they might have meant Benny Hill. When they learnt that I didn't know Benny Hinn they were shocked. I still remember one lady in her hungry American accent loudly repeating this fact in the form of a question. "You've never heard of Benny Hinn?"

As I chowed down on my French Toast that morning, I was force fed numerous wonderful and miraculous things about Benny Hinn. They all loved him, obviously, and promised I wouldn't regret seeing him, for seeing him would certainly change my life for the better and I would be eternally grateful.

I went home and fondly remembered the life altering acts and words of the immortal and divine Benny Hill.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Fifty

PuckDavid Miller just doesn't get it. I had very high hopes for him as mayor when he beat John Tory for the job, but over the years he's left me underwhelmed. There's lots of good talk about most of the right things, but he seems rather out of touch and there's little action at the end of the day. He won his second term by default, and yesterday he signed some silly petition to support the Sens and drilled the final nail into his coffin.

I'm sick of reading crap like this and that we should root for a team simply because it's based in a Canadian city. I've been rooting for ABO since the start, since well before we called it ABO, and that's certainly not going to change now.

Please God, Ducks in four.

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

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The White Stripes Video For Icky Thump

The White Stripes Video For Icky ThumpWhen I wrote about "Icky Thump" a couple of weeks back, I embedded a fan-made video for the tune. Now I can share the real video.

It's an awesome tune. It's organized chaos and it rocks. Truer words have never been spoken than "You can't be a pimp and a prostitute, too."

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CanCon Song Dump #7

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is creating more buzz in NYC than A-Rod and his Brass Rail babe. I've never been inside the Brass Rail (it's true, I swear) but I watched her glowing lights from my balcony for two years in my early 20s.

Here's the seventh dump of Canadian gems. Be relentless!

  • Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
  • Joni Mitchell - Help, Me
  • Joni Mitchell - Woodstock
  • Joni Mitchell - Both Sides, Now
  • Joni Mitchell - The Circle Game
  • k-os - Heaven Only Knows
  • k-os - Man I Used To Be
  • k.d. lang - Constant Craving
  • Kim Mitchell - Patio Lanterns
  • Kim Mitchell - Go For Soda

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Watch Aaron Hill Steal Home

bluejaysI know I covered this topic earlier today, but here's video of Aaron Hill stealing home last night.

I like this video because the call ain't in English.

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Weekly MP3: All Apologies

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.

Nirvana - All Apologies
I chose to share this song from In Utero for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I heard it this morning on the radio and remembered how awesome it is. Secondly, I bought this album on its first date of release at Sam the Record Man at 347 Yonge and I'm feeling nostalgic. And finally, it's Nirvana, and that's really the only excuse you need.

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Aaron Hill Steals Home (And My Heart)

bluejaysExactly one week ago today I asked a simple question. Where Have You Gone, Dave Collins?. I was missing small ball, the days when players actually stole bases and didn't just play for the three run homer.

In the seventh inning last night, with the Jays and Yanks tied, Aaron Hill stole home off of Andy Pettitte. That exciting piece of small ball won us the ball game.

The straight steal of home was the Jays' first since Raul Mondesi accomplished the feat on April 17, 2001. It was far more exciting than any home run we've hit this season, and it verifies something I've suspected for quite some time. Brian Butterfield reads this blog.

Ontario Science Centre

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Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street to Close

Sam the Record ManIt's the end of an era in Toronto. Sam the Record Man at 347 Yonge Street is closing its doors for good.

I haven't read about this in the press and I haven't heard this news on the radio or television, but I have friends on the inside who have provided me with enough proof that I'm comfortable calling this a sad certainty. Earlier today, Sam the Record Man sent out letters to all their suppliers saying that they wanted all orders cancelled because they will be closing their store June 30th. Employees are actively looking for new work and are aware the flagship Sam the Record Man location in downtown Toronto is about to enter its final month after 46 years at Yonge and Dundas.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but it's still very sad for this long time fan of the store. Unlike HMV at 333 Yonge, Sam's had character. You could read the history written on the walls in the words of the many artists who had visited. The official site stopped selling music online a month ago and is now a static store hour information page. A good indicator a business is about to go under is a barebones or offline website.

Sam the Record Man will most definitely be missed. Here are entries in which I remember better days at Sam's.

Is there any chance we can preserve those two neon records that have become a Yonge Street fixture?

Sam the Record Man

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The Commander Tom Show

rewindAs a kid growing up in Toronto, there was always plenty of cartoon action on Saturday mornings, but Sunday mornings were a completely different story. The stations were littered with church programming and news talk and the pickings for a kid were pretty slim. As a result, Commander Tom was always a sight for sore eyes.

The Commander Tom Show aired on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York and starred WKBW-TV weatherman Tom Jolls as Commander Tom. He'd host the show which featured kids shows, and although they were the runts of the kid show litter, they were fairly watchable. I don't remember the names of the shows except for David and Goliath, a Christian-themed show about a boy and his talking dog. "I don't know, Daaaaaveeey..."

I understand The Commander Tom Show aired for 26 years at various times and in various formats, but I'll aways remember him for airing cartoons on Sunday mornings. Here's some footage of Commander Tom visiting a school in North Tonawanda.


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2007 Grey Cup Headliner

cflWe're hosting the 2007 Grey Cup in November, and I hear tickets for the big game are almost sold out. That's good news because nothing would be more embarrassing than a chunk of empty seats for the Grey Cup at the venue formerly known as SkyDome.

They announced a pretty strong lineup of concerts for the occasion. Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea, Spirit of the West and Lowest of the Low sounds pretty sweet to these ears. BNL won't be the headliners as they haven't announced the halftime show yet. The big question of the day is, who's it going to be?

I would hope it's a Canadian band with a local flavour and more cache than BNL, and that only leaves us with a few options. It could be Rush, a local favourite and worthy headliner. I'd suggest the Hip, but they performed the halftime show at a Grey Cup quite recently. They may go poppy and hit us with Avril Lavigne, or perhaps they'll go old school and throw us a Band reunion or Gordon Lightfoot.

Who do you think will be performing during halftime of our Grey Cup this fall?

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Forty Eight

PuckIn the history of this pool, I don't recall a layoff that long. It felt strange updating the standings this morning, as if we had just begun the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs.

I watched the third period of this game and liked what I saw. The Ducks came back and took game one, bringing a great smile to my face. ABO leads and a nation sighs in relief.

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

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The Monday Shuffle

iTunesEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today with a personal story about one of them.

  1. I'm Looking Through You - The Beatles
  2. Shuckin' Sugar Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
  3. Black Day in July - Gordon Lightfoot
  4. Deep - Danzig
  5. The Way We Swing (Remix) - Digital Underground
  6. Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel
  7. Leather Jacket - Ben Folds Five
  8. What A Good Boy - Barenaked Ladies
  9. Got Me Wrong - Alice in Chains
  10. Guns in the Sky - INXS

There's a great story behind "Black Day in July" from Gordon Lightfoot. The song was banned in the USA following the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. The song was about the 12th Street Riot in Detroit and the fear was it would incite riots. The lyrics aren't exactly rebel rousing, as it asks "Why can't we all be brothers? Why can't we live in peace?"

Lightfoot is a tremendous singer/song writer, probably right there after Young, Mitchell and Cohen.

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Everything is Good Guys vs. Bad Guys

familyFive year old boys are all about good guys vs. bad guys. That's everything to them. Good fights evil in every facet of life, from TMNT to Spider-Man and Star Wars and even sports. Especially sports.

Daddy: James, you're on the Red Sox.
James: No way, they're the bad guys. I won't play for the bad guys.
Daddy: It's not the Boston Red Sox. It's the Toronto Red Sox.
James: Yay! That's the good guys. I won't play for Boston.
Daddy: You are wise, James. You are wise.

Tonight he told me he could only root for one hockey team, and no, I didn't brainwash him with those thoughts. He just realizes that the Leafs are the good guys and every other team is the bad guys, so when the Ducks play the Sens it's a battle of two evil forces.

I miss the days when everything was that black and white. You had heroes and villains and it was easy to choose a side. Today, our heroes can be awfully villainous and our villains are often victims. Everything is grey. Five year old boys don't see grey, and I sincerely envy that.

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My Offline Challenge: Week Twelve

runningTonight I began my twelfth week of running with week one of the 5k clinic. There were 25 others in the clinic but not one other face I recognized. It's as if my parents moved away and I'm starting at a new school and missing my old friends.

Jennifer, our instructor, wanted us to run 2k, recording our times at the 1k and 2k marks. She wanted this information so she could plan our runs, likely creating an A team, B team and C team, which naturally happened during my Learn to Run clinic. My times were 5:20 and 11:14, making me a close second in the group. In all honesty I held back during the first km because I was out in front by my lonesome, but I was legitimately caught during the second km by some dude who looked like John Elway.

I've been running three 10 and 1s for a while now. In fact, on Sunday morning Maja and I ran three 10 and 1s with ease, which made today's 2k almost laughable. I think I'm going to stick with this group and supplement these runs with longer runs throughout the week. At least that's the plan.

Whereas the Brit was not quite a girl, not yet a woman, I'm not quite a 5k-er but not yet a 10k-er.

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CanCon Song Dump #6

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is the most exciting thing to happen to this country since Gaétan Boucher won silver at the Lake Placid Olympic games in 1980. I'll be dumping ten tracks every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and then we'll see where we're at before the final list appears on July 1st.

Here's the sixth dump of Canadian gems.

  • The Headstones - Unsound
  • hHead - Happy
  • Holly McNarland - Numb
  • Hot Hot Heat - Bandages
  • Honeymoon Suite - New Girl Now
  • I Mother Earth - So Gently We Go
  • Ian and Sylvia - Four Strong Winds
  • Jann Arden - Could I Be Your Girl
  • Jann Arden - Insensitive
  • Jeff Healey - Angel Eyes

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The Da Vinci Code

A Movie ReelThe Da Vinci Code: 7 out of 10.

I hear this was based on some book I've never read. There was a little buzz about it last year.

Before watching this film over the past couple of nights, everything I knew about The Da Vinci code was through osmosis. I may have read something in an article here or caught something on A&E there or overheard people discussing Dan Brown's book and these theories in a crowded room. I knew a little, but I didn't know everything.

Perhaps coming in so cold explains why I liked it. Sure, it was a little long, but overall I found it very interesting. I dug it.

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Charles Nelson Reilly, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumCharles Nelson Reilly was 76. He was the Tony Award winner who later became known for his ribald appearances on the "Tonight Show" and various game shows.

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Link: passive-aggressive notes from roommates, neighbors, coworkers and strangers

Linkpassive-aggressive notes from roommates, neighbors, coworkers and strangers - I just stumbled upon this blog and I found it quite entertaining. It reminded me of my cup.

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Layne Staley and Mad Season's River of Deceit

videoOne of my all-time favourite bands is Alice In Chains. I love that moody, grinding, grungy melody and Layne Staley's vocals still send shivers down my spine.

I was listening to Alan Cross' Ongoing History of New Music episode on Layne Staley and he reminded me of Mad Season. Mad Season was a Seattle supergroup that released a single album back in 1995. Mad Season featured Layne Staley on vocals, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready on guitar, as well as members of the Screaming Trees and other Seattle bands.

I only really know one Mad Season song, but it's awesome. For a trip back to the mid-90s and a reminder of just how good Layne Staley was, here's the video for "River of Deceit".


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Shooting Creationists in a Barrel

bibleBuffalo Boy sent me a link to a story about a creationism museum opening in Petersburg, Kentucky. The 60,000 square foot facility was designed to refute evolution. It shows humans and dinosaurs co-existing and explains that earth was created by God only 6,000 years ago.

I've written about creationism before and I could write a lengthy diatribe about how silly and unfounded it all is, but I won't. You see, it's too easy. Picking on creationists and pointing out that the bible can still be relevant to believers even if not taken completely literally isn't much of a challenge.

It really is like shooting fish in a barrel, and there's not much fun in that.

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2007 Stanley Cup Tension

Stanley CupThis cartoon from Patrick Corrigan was in today's Toronto Star.

The opinions expressed in this cartoon may or may not be representative of Torontonians and Toronto Maple Leaf fans.

Tension

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Kelly Clarkson's Never Again: An Analysis

musicHow does Kelly Clarkson top "Since U Been Gone"? First, she gets royally pissed at a dude, then she swallows a jagged little pill and lets this poor dude have it with "Never Again". I wrote briefly about this new single from Kelly Clarkson when I wrote about the recent American Idol finale. She performed "Never Again" and I thought it rocked. Several viewings of the video since then have confirmed that she does in fact rock on this new single.

In case you can't tell, I'm an out of the closet Clarkson fan. Even though she won a reality show to gain her fame, I find her far more real than the other plastic pop stars on the market. Clarkson has a real body, a real face and a real cool voice. There's a serious lack of angry rocker chicks on the radio these days now that Avril is all grown up and Alanis has visited India. "Never Again" is just as catchy as "Since U Been Gone", only angrier. You've gotta love that.

Speaking of Alanis, Clarkson's lyrics on "Never Again" sound like they were borrowed from Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know" notebook. Listen to that first verse and recall Alanis' words to her ex-lover. Clarkson skips the oral aspects, but it's the same vibe on an AA level.

And finally, an entry about Kelly Clarkson's "Never Again" wouldn't be complete without acknowledging it may borrow more than a title from Nickelback's "Never Again". In Clarkson's defence, there's probably only a few different ways to yell "Never Again".

This is already my not-so-guilty pleasure of 2007. The video is pretty cool, too. Check it out.

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Yellow Ledbetter Lyrics Exposed

pearljamWe all love Pearl Jam's Yellow Ledbetter. Even those who hate Pearl Jam like this tune, because it's so damn pretty. It even found its way into the Friends series finale, and that couldn't ruin the song for me. It's the perfect concert closer, too.

But what the hell is Eddie saying? The lyrics are indecipherable in that "Louie Louie" and WKRP closing credit mode. The lyrics have remained a mystery until now. When you watch this and realized what Ed's singing, it will seem all too obvious.

Make me fries.

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Call Me Grey Beard

fastforwardAs a lousy beard grower, I rarely let it grow more than a couple of days. Prior to shaving this morning I had three days growth, and I noticed something new.

There's now a tinge of grey to parts of my beard. I shouldn't be surprised, I've had some grey hair for over a decade, but I was still surprised to see the light reflecting off the silver this morning.

I'm concerned about where the next patch of grey might show up. It seems to be working its way south.

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Doors Open Toronto: Lambton House

Toronto SkylineLast weekend I checked out Lambton House at 4066 Old Dundas Street, but never got inside. Today, thanks to Doors Open Toronto, me and the kids checked the old girl out and took plenty of pictures.

Lambton House Flag Balcony Doors Open Toronto

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"There's so much I don't know about astrophysics! I wish I read that book by "that wheelchair guy"."

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Those Faucet Nosed Raccoons

tvIn the mid-80s, CBC aired a cartoon called "The Raccoons". Bert Raccoon was the hero and Cyril Sneer was the bad guy. I loved the fact Bert and Cyril had these faucet-like noses.

The raccoon named Lisa, introduced late in the series, was actually voiced by Lisa Lougheed who also sang the song "Run With Us" that appeared as the theme song. Lisa Lougheed was a fixture on MuchMusic for a brief period in the late 80s and she attended the Etobicoke School of the Arts. Fellow Canadians with a good memory might remember "Love Vibe".

Here's a Raccoons flashback. Enjoy your return to Evergreen Forest.


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CanCon Song Dump #5

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is rolling right along, gathering steam as it bowls over everything in its path. Today I'm tackling a couple of greats in Gordon Lightfoot and The Guess Who.

Here's the fifth dump of Canadian gems.

  • Glass Tiger - Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
  • Gordon Lightfoot - Early Morning Rain
  • Gordon Lightfoot - Canadian Railroad Trilogy
  • Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
  • Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown
  • Gowan - A Criminal Mind
  • Great Big Sea - Ordinary Day
  • The Guess Who - American Woman
  • The Guess Who - Share the Land
  • The Guess Who - These Eyes
  • The Guess Who - No Time
  • Hayden - Bad As They Seem

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Mah Nà Mah Nà

wikipediaIt started with Scott. I caught him singing "Mah Nà Mah Nà", a song I know and love from The Muppets.

I started singing it too, and I've been singing it all day. I remembered a version of the song recorded by Cake, and I went straight to the Wikipedia Mah Nà Mah Nà entry to validate my memory. It was there I learnt the song was written by Piero Umiliani and was a hit before The Muppets first sang it on The Ed Sullivan Show. All of this awesome information was right there, on demand.

I've asked this before, but I'll ask it again. What would we have done twenty years ago? Scott and I would be singing this song, talking about our Muppets-centric memories of the tune, and that would be that. I wouldn't know the name Piero Umiliani, I wouldn't know about the pre-Muppets history of this tune and I wouldn't know about the The Muppets performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Life must have sucked before the Interweb.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Mike Myers movies, on his 44th birthday

  1. Wayne's World
  2. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
  3. Shrek
  4. Mystery, Alaska
  5. So I Married an Axe Murderer

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The Cambridge Predators

hockeyJim Balsillie, former CEO of Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion, is buying the Nashville Predators. Let's follow the logic.

Balsillie loves hockey and loves the Waterloo area. He has an out in Nashville if the attendance doesn't average 14,000 next season. Craig Leipold, the man selling the franchise to Balsillie, has clearly stated that hockey doesn't sell in Nashville. Balsillie will move the franchise out of Nashville.

Meanwhile, the Cambridge Times reports that Research in Motion "purchased a 25.7-acre parcel of land from Mattamy (Galt) Ltd. for $3.7 million through a numbered Ontario company. The land purchased by RIM sits between Pinebush Road and Saginaw Parkway, west of Townline Road and east of Bishop Street."

Let's recap. Balsillie, a rich guy who loves hockey and the Waterloo area, owns a failed franchise and will likely move it as soon as possible. RIM just bought a chunk of land off the 401 in Cambridge, very close to Waterloo, in an area just outside the sphere of influence the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres have.

Is a third team headed for Ontario? My Spidey-senses say yes.

cambridge

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Uncle Bobby, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBobby "Uncle Bobby" Ash was 82. He was a popular Canadian children's entertainer during the 1960s and '70s.

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A Milestone Missed

constructionI just realized a couple of things.

This is my 6005th entry. That means I missed a milestone entry yesterday. Instead of making a big deal out if it I treated my 6000th entry the way MLB will treat Barry Bonds' 756th home run.

Moments ago, I was going to add this link as a comment to my Doors Open Toronto entry. Movable Type had other ideas and told me the entry I was commenting on didn't exist. I'll have to figure that out, and until I do your comments will be rejected.

6005th entry.... out!

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Link: Doors Open Toronto

LinkDoors Open Toronto - This coming weekend is Doors Open Toronto, the one weekend of the year when up to 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration.

This link is to a great Toronto Star Google Maps page showing all the buildings taking part in Doors Open Toronto 2007. I see the Lambton House is on that list...

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Red Fever? Not On My Watch!

nhlThe CBC's ratings for the NHL playoffs are down. BBM Nielsen figures show that no playoff game cracked the top 25 in the Toronto area during the week of May 7-13. Apparently, this ratings slide is all our fault, and we should be proud.

"We hope that red fever catches on," CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore said. "The only thing that has held back the ratings is Toronto-area fans not necessarily jumping on the Ottawa bandwagon."

Moore is mystified by Torontonians' lack of interest in watching their rival. "I was in Edmonton last year and Calgary fans got behind the Oilers," he said. "I don't know why that's not happening here."

Mr. Moore, we're proudly rooting for ABO, but there's not enough passion in the belly to actually tune in. I'm proud of the fact we've managed to drag the television ratings down by not rooting for the Sens. Besides, the Senators don't have national appeal. This is Leafs country.

Not only is red fever not catching on, I'm hearing more about Toronto FC than the Sens. That's a very, very bad sign.

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Sparks Flies High, Beat Boxer Battered

idolI completely missed the final American Idol performances on Tuesday night, because I was busy sweeping a double header. Since I missed that, I didn't bother watching last night, but I taped the finale just to browse at a later time.

At 10pm I flipped on the telly and saw AI was in overtime, so I watched to see who won this thing. Originally I liked Sundance Head, but he fizzled early. Then I backed LaKisha, but she finished fourth. All the while Jordin was getting better and better and I started to think she could win this thing. She did.

After watching this most important announcement, we hit the tape and started watching the two hours that preceded this moment. That's when I watched my favourite guilty pleasure rock out with "Never Again". That's when I realized, I no longer have to feel guilty about this. Enough with this Catholic guilt! There's absolutely nothing wrong with me enjoying Kelly Clarkson, is there?

If "Never Again" was sung by Bif Naked, Edge 102 would be playing it ad nauseam.

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Doc Martens and Kurt Cobain

nirvanaI've been reading online that Doc Marten has unveiled new ads featuring Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, Joey Ramone, and Joe Strummer. I've seen these ads, but I don't believe it. A quick search for a solid source was a failure, so there's still hope this is bullshit.

It had better be bullshit. I've been wearing Doc Martens since the ninth grade, and when my pair of black, three-hole, yellow-stiched Docs wear out, I just go out and buy the exact same pair again. I've covered this topic before, and if you read that entry followed by this one about Kurt Cobain, you'll realize why I hope this is some kind of Photoshop humour.

Dr. Marten makes a great pair of shoes, but they don't last forever. Just ask Kurt.

Kurt's Docs

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My Offline Challenge: Week Eleven

runningI'm still in between clinics with the next clinic not starting until Monday, but I ran a few 10 and 1s tonight with the old crew and now I'm concerned.

Eleven weeks in, 10 and 1s for 32 minutes feel pretty good. I'm sure I can handle more, and I usually take off during the last set just to make sure I can feel it later. My body is ready to jump to the 10k clinic, but I've prepaid for the 5k clinic and I've committed myself to finishing that first.

Here's the problem. I'm enjoying the 10 and 1s but on Monday we're going to drop back down to 5 and 1s. That's a pretty big drop at this stage of the game. I think I'm going to have to supplement my 5k clinic with something a little more challenging because 5 and 1s on Monday should be a breeze.

Stay the course, Neddy. Stay the course...

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CanCon Song Dump #4

canadaI'll bet you're pretty damn excited about my quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time. There's more right here.

Here's the fourth dump of Canadian gems. Comment away my CanCon brothers and sisters.

  • Crowbar - Oh What A Feeling
  • Custom - Hey Mister
  • The Dears - Lost in the Plot
  • Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights
  • Doug and the Slugs - Too Bad
  • Dream Warriors - My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style
  • Econoline Crush - You Don't Know What It's Like
  • Elliot Brood - The Bridge
  • Feist - Mushaboom
  • Five Man Electical Band - Signs
  • The Gandharvas - The First Day of Spring

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Where Have You Gone, Dave Collins?

bluejaysWe're living in the age of the three run homer. Fans love it, but I miss small ball. In particular, I miss the stolen base.

I grew up watching Ricky Henderson steal over a hundred bases a season. Speedsters like Vince Coleman mastered the art of thievery, put pitchers off their game and made something out of a single, walk or error. I remember well when Dave Collins stole 60 for the Jays in '84, the same season Damaso Garcia stole 46. Those days are long gone.

Take a look at the best base stealing seasons on record for Blue Jays. Since Shannon Stewart stole 51 in '98, no Jay has exceeded 30 in a season. Vernon Wells currently leads the team with 5. Nobody has 4.

  1. Dave Collins - 60 (1984)
  2. Roberto Alomar - 55 (1993)
  3. Damaso Garcia - 54 (1982)
  4. Otis Nixon - 54 (1996)
  5. Roberto Alomar - 53 (1991)
  6. Shannon Stewart - 51 (1998)
  7. Roberto Alomar - 49 (1992)
  8. Otis Nixon - 47 (1997)
  9. Damaso Garcia - 46 (1984)
  10. Lloyd Moseby - 39 (1984 & 1987)

You can keep your three run homer. I want to see a guy beat out an infield hit, steal a couple of bases and score on a squeeze play. Where have you gone, Dave Collins?

1988 Blue Jays

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Weekly MP3: Flathead

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

The Fratellis - Flathead
I love The Fratellis album Costello Music. Every song is great, but the best tune on the album might just be "Flathead", which I wrote about here. You'll see the video for "Flathead" on that page, too.

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Humble Humbled By Technical Crisis

clockIf you're a Humble Howard fan wondering why he hasn't updated HumbleHoward.com since Friday, it's because of a server-side technical issue the hosting company is working on as we speak.

When he's back in publishing mode we'll see if he responds to this embarrassment.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Forty Two

PuckThe next hockey game is almost a week away. I think that's insane. Other than Sens and Ducks fans, and there aren't many of them, who's going to remember to care?

If Scott Niedermayer scores at least ten unassisted goals in the finals, I have a shot at climbing back into second place on our pool.

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

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Awesome Comeback

baseballWe in Raging Storm played a double header tonight and won both games. We killed in the first game and came all the way back from a 13-6 deficit in the second game.

We had one too many players, so I split the second game with Patino. That meant I sat and watched the first three innings in which we surrendered 13 runs. That also meant I played the last four innings in which we surrendered only 1 run while scoring 11. I'm just saying...

It was awesome. I love games like this. Cito is very, very proud tonight.

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Alexander Suglobov, We Hardly Knew Thee

leafsAlexander Suglobov has left us for SKA-St. Petersburg of the Russian Elite League.

After a nice little preseason in which I saw him finish a couple of sweet end-to-end rushes, I wrote this plea to give him a shot. In hindsight, I was dead wrong and there will be little to miss.

SKA-St. Petersburg, consider yourselves warned.

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Learning to Lose

familyMy five year old son and I often play one-on-one basketball in the backyard. It's not a regulation height net, and we permit travelling, and we play up to 21 with every basket worth a point. Until yesterday, I've always let him win.

During our game yesterday, he seemed a little cocky, as if he would beat me fair and square. I realized that I always let him win, and I wondered how he'd react if he lost. Yesterday I beat him and quickly learnt James doesn't yet know how to lose.

He lost it. In the history of poor losers, James was the poorest I've ever seen. He was furious at me for having the audacity to beat him and headed full steam into tantrum mode. I wasn't having any of it.

After a time out period in his bedroom, we talked about it. I asked him what he saw me do after he witnessed my ball team lose last week. He realized that we not only didn't cry and pout, but we actually lined up and congratulated the opposition. I told him how important it is to be a good loser and that there's absolutely no shame in losing. I learnt this early, thanks to my 0-15 season on the CN Towers, and now it was James' turn to learn how to lose.

Late last night, just before bed, James thanked me for the game and congratulated me on my win. Just to make sure he gets it now, I'm going to beat him again. Then, if he takes it like a man, I'll let him taste victory once more.

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Two More Nights of Paulie Walnuts

sopranosWe were treated to another strong episode last night, which leaves us with two more in the series. I have no idea how this is going to end, but I'd bet it ends badly for Tony. I'll miss Tony, but not like I'll miss Peter Paul Gualtieri.

Peter Paul Gualtieri, or Paulie Walnuts as we know him, is my favourite character on The Sopranos. Ask Taryn how much I cherish every word he utters. That delivery, those words, that persona - it's perfect. It's a shame I only get to spend two more nights with the man, assuming he survives for the finale on June 10.

A fan put together a little "Best of Paulie Walnuts" video, which seems appropriate at this time. He's one hell of a good Waste Management Executive.


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Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks

slsI'm submitting a new song for SLS17 consideration. I'm submitting "Young Folks" from Peter, Bjorn & John.

I'm not going to lie to you, this one took a while to win me over. At first I didn't think the style would suit SLS and I thought the opening whistling thing was just silly, but after a few listens it won me over. I'm now totally digging the vibe, chilling out to it on beautiful spring nights.

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Documenting Blinky's History

documentationJames Bow has asked if anyone remembers Blinky, the police car used by the Metropolitan Toronto Police to promote child safety. He remembers Blinky, as do I, and when he hit the web to learn what Blinky's up to now he stumbled upon my first Blinky entry and my follow up a year later.

At the conclusion of his entry, James Bow issues a challenge of sorts.

Also, judging from the picture, I’m almost sure that Blinky has undergone a few incarnations since the 1970s, if this picture is any indication, but looking through the Net, there is unfortunately no history page available chronicling this Toronto character. Mike, I’m looking at you. Care to take the challenge?

I agree with James, it's a damn shame there is no definitive history of Blinky on the web. I remember him well, even if I misremembered him driving himself. I sure remember him talking though, and I can even remember his voice which seems to have been silenced. I'm surprised the Metropolitan Toronto Police don't have a page dedicated to Blinky and his history in this city. It's really their bag, and I suspect digging for historical Blinky nuggets would require time I simply don't have right now.

What do you remember about Blinky?

Toronto Santa Claus Parade 2005

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State v. Greg Chao and Toronto Mike

justiceThe Deputy District Attorney for Clark County in Las Vegas left me a voice mail and email yesterday regarding the State v. Greg Chao. He wanted to speak with me about a high profile trial starting up in Las Vegas this week. Greg Chao, a Canadian poker player, has been charged with murdering Donald Idiens, another Canadian poker player.

I've never heard of Greg Chao or Donald Idiens, I've never been to Las Vegas and I don't really play much poker. A little Googling quickly revealed how sensational a case this is. Here's an article about the case from CNN.com.

Chao is charged with robbery and murder with a deadly weapon in the brutal slaying of fellow Canadian and avid poker player Donald Idiens, 53, on the night of December 8, 1997.

Prosecutors say Chao went to Vegas on a desperate bid to win enough money to pay back Canadian loan sharks, to whom he owed tens of thousands of dollars. Chao borrowed $1,000 from Idiens, lured him back to his hotel room to ask for more, then killed the land developer for his bankroll when he refused to lend any more money, prosecutors have said.

Idiens' battered and nearly naked body was found in a stairwell one floor below room 18136, where Chao was staying. Police also found Idiens' blood in the room.

A DNA analyst said Monday that a blood sample taken from a strip of carpet was identified as belonging to Idiens. The chance of the sample coming from someone else, a police DNA analyst told jurors, is 1 in 600 billion.

Chao's public defender, Timothy O'Brien, has said that his client merely lent Idiens his hotel room for a meeting with the person or persons who must have killed him. When Chao returned to his room, O'Brien claims, nothing was astray, save for some liquor bottles on a dresser.

Why did the DA want to talk with me? How could I possibly be connected to this 1997 crime? All day yesterday I was trying to figure out where I fit in.

I just heard back from the Deputy District Attorney and it turns out the case has a reference to "Toronto Mike". They have questions for Toronto Mike, and in a desperate attempt to find Toronto Mike they Googled the name, found TorontoMike.com and took a shot in the dark.

They're now pretty sure they're looking for a different Toronto Mike, and I'm positive they are. The 1997 Toronto Mike was a pretty good poker player. At the time, my game was euchre.

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The Holiday Monday Shuffle

iTunesI haven't done this since December, but it used to be a weekly feature. I'd shuffle my entire MP3 collection and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today with a personal story about one of them.

  1. Annihilation - A Perfect Circle
  2. Rebirth - Public Enemy
  3. She Says What She Means - Sloan
  4. Joey - Concrete Blonde
  5. Taste It - INXS
  6. I Could Never Be That Man - Blue Rodeo
  7. So Hard Done By - The Tragically Hip
  8. It's Only Me (The Wizard of Magicland) - Barenaked Ladies
  9. Ride Like Hell - Big Sugar
  10. Bourgeois Blues - Leadbelly

Who didn't like INXS? I practically wore out the Kick cassette tape because it was a tremendous play-through. INXS peaked with 1987's Kick and ten years later Michael Hutchence would be dead.

Just before his death, Hutchence filmed a role in the movie "Limp", directed by my bud Duane Lavold, better known as Custom. When I interviewed Custom a couple of years ago, I asked him about Hutchence. What he told me was quite revealing.

Q: I consider INXS's "Kick" to be one of the finest pop-rock albums ever. You directed Michael Hutchence in "Limp" just before his tragic death in 1997. What kind of guy was he? Did you notice anything out of the ordinary with Michael in late '97?
A: Michael was an amazing guy. He was incredibly dedicated, charismatic, creative, fun to be around and down to earth. He was really a 'rock star'. That may sound like a weird thing to say, but there are lots of famous musicians and then there are 'stars'. He had that. Magnetism. Like even people who didn't know him, would feel something, look up when he entered a room.

Q: Speaking of "Limp", why was it never released and how does one get access to it in order to actually view it?
A: Michael passed away shortly after principle photography. That led to a myriad of complications, obviously, that are too vast and complicated to discuss here. There are no plans for release at this point.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Forty

PuckI ♥ Scott Niedermayer. He's an awesome player, and he's always been a key component of successful, victorious teams. Last night, I was watching the clock tick down as Detroit looked to go up 3-2 in the series, when Scott Niedermayer somehow dove and fluttered the puck behind Hasek. You know the rest of the story...

I'm hoping the Ducks win this series because I'll be rooting for ABO and I'd rather root for the Ducks than Red Wings. Go Ducks Go!

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

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Jays To The Top

musicOn Friday night, I heard "Jays To The Top" for the first time. This was a song that appeared on the new and improved Blue Jays compilation that was released in 1991. "Jays To The Top" was performed by my buddy Humble Howard Glassman back when he was at CFNY.

After a couple of listens, I was cringing at how bad this song was. I started to think it might be a way for me to make a quick buck. I left Humble Howard a voice mail in which I threatened to share this song with the world if he didn't pay me $10,000 in cash. If he didn't cough up the coin, I'd release "Jays To The Top" to the masses and destroy any credibility he has left.

Humble called me this afternoon refusing to pay and daring me to share it. He thinks it's pretty good, or at least not bad. He informed me it was based on a 1974 hit by Reunion called "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" and he did the same sort of spoof for the Habs when he was working on the radio in Montreal.

Because Humble refused to pay, here's "Jays To The Top". Maybe it's not as bad as I think it is...

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Toronto Mike Visitor Types: An Analysis

infoI've been doing this for almost five years now, and I monitor the site statistics fairly closely. I think I've got a pretty good idea as to who reads this content and the raison d'etre. People typically fall into one of six groups.

1. Family, Friends and Acquaintances
These are people who know me in the non-virtual world. Family will visit to see what I'm up to, see pictures of the kids, etc. Friends and acquaintances will do the same, because they play ball with me, run with me, are fellow playoff poolies, work with me or are just buds or buds of a bud. This type of visitor is almost always a repeat visitor, often dropping by at least once a day.

2. The Locals
As you may have noticed, there's a rather Toronto-centric quality to this blog. Fellow Torontonians enjoy reading about other Torontonians and keeping up with local happenings. The "Toronto Blog" crowd drops by for a second opinion on Toronto topics and usually returns on a regular basis.

3. The Former Locals
There's a group of visitors that used to live in Toronto, and enjoy checking in on what's happening back home. Some of these people now live elsewhere in Canada, have moved to the States or are now living overseas, but they're naturally curious as to what people are talking about in their former city. Again, these visitors either subscribe to the RSS feed or drop by regularly.

4. Those With A Specific Overlapping Interest
Because it's all about me, there are certain topics I cover more frequently than others, because they're personal passions. Someone who is a die hard Toronto sports fan may keep their eyes on the category pages for the Leafs, Raptors, Jays or Argos. Fellow Hip fans watch related entries and my Hip page. Simpsons fans enjoy Homer's Quote of the Week and related entries. You get the idea...

5. Toronto Mike Fans
This is my favourite group, because these people don't know me in the non-virtual world but somehow stumbled upon this blog and liked it enough to bookmark it and return regularly. Some leave comments, most don't, and some have became friends in the non-virtual world by way of this virtual world. Often these people discover the site via a Google search or a link from another blog, but the fact they return means there's something here they enjoy, and that's pretty cool. Interestingly enough, I find people in this category are far more likely to leave a comment then those in the first category.

6. The One Offs
These are people who come here via a Google search, get the information they seek, and disappear into that good night never to be heard from again. This is the majority of traffic on this site, people hunting for wedding playlists, a particular Homer Simpson quote, information on whatever happened to Humble Howard and Freddie P, an MP3 of Gord Downie's Hallelujah, a celebrity death watch or the Alphagetti Gobbler. Sometimes these visitors fall into the 5th type and become fans of the site, but more often than not they stay in #6. That's okay, I've usually got the information they're looking for, and if I can help just one person learn a little bit about Bill Barilko, I sleep well at night.

There you have it, the six types of Toronto Mike visitors. Some fall into more than one category, but typically you're in one of these six. Which one are you?

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Miller's Country Fare Bait and Switch

foodI'm a brunch guy. I can go for brunch any time of the day. It can be 8pm and I'll be more than happy to do brunch. For my money, nothing beats a cup of coffee, French toast and good conversation.

It was a week late, but today we took my mom out for brunch at Miller's, which is located at 5140 Dundas Street West, across the street from where my high school was, before they tore it down to put up condos. I chose Miller's for brunch based on their website (warning, annoying music will play). In particular, they post a weekend brunch menu (no music on this page) which promises "Two slices of French toast, homemade maple butter and syrup. Served with bacon and sausage, home-fried potatoes, choice of tea or coffee. $6.95". Sold!

The waiter gave us menus this morning that didn't look anything like the menus online. I actually asked him for the weekend brunch menu and got a confused look. I mentioned millerscountryfare.ca and what's currently featured there, but all I got was a blank look. The waiter and cooks had no idea what I was talking about.

The Miller's Country Fare website is definitely for 5140 Dundas Street West, but where's the disconnect. My best guess is this restaurant is under new management, now has a completely new menu, but the old "official" site lives on in cyberspace. Am I the first guy to question why their menu is so different from the one online? What happens when establishments change owners but old corporate sites live on, likely prepaid for a number of years?

Sadly, there was no French toast on the menu, and I ended up with good ol' bacon and eggs. Next time, I'm going back to the Dundas Street Grille where there is no bait and switch.

P5205640

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty Nine

PuckWas there some sort of hockey game yesterday afternoon? I didn't even notice. Funny, eh?

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

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A Break From The Ceeb

constructionI love that retro CBC logo with the orange, yellow and red colour scheme. You may have noticed I played off of it for the header image I threw on this site after FUVC went bust. After a few weeks of the Ceeb, I felt it was time for something a little more summery.

Toronto Mike Header

The new header was inspired by a picture I took this afternoon at James Gardens. As you will see, all I changed was the text.

James Gardens

And finally, I added a neat little widget to the Contact Mike page. If I'm online, you can chat with me in real-time. It's pretty slick, go ahead and give it a whirl.

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Lambton House

torontoLambton House is located at 4066 Old Dundas Street, just west of the intersection of Scarlett Road and Dundas Street West, on the east side of the Humber River. It was a hotel and tavern for 140 years until it's vacancy in 1988 and it's a building I've often passed and wondered about.

Today, on a beautiful Saturday in the city, I convinced my brother Ryan to join me for a walk to James Gardens. We left the path briefly to visit Lambton House and snap a few pictures. With the game heading to overtime, I'm now doing a little research on this historical site.

From LambtonHouse.org:

During the prosperous period of Lambton Mills (1850 - 1915), Lambton House was surrounded by large grist mills, saw mills, woolen mills and the local Post Office. The Lambton House was the centre of social activity for the area as well as serving as a station on the stagecoach route on Southern Ontario's main east-west highway. During the early part of the 20th century, Lambton House was a favourite destination for city residents looking for a place to picnic and enjoy a trip to the "country". Lambton House survived the devastating fire of 1915 that destroyed the surrounding buildings, saved by the fact that it was the sole brick building in the area. During Hurricane Hazel, Lambton House served as a staging point for rescue efforts.

The building was designated as an historical site by the City of York in 1985 and the plaque dedicated during the York Bicentennial celebrations in 1993. Restoration began in 1991, with funding from the Province, the City and Heritage York. The exterior was completed in early 1994. Phase II, the main floor interior, was completed in 1998. Phase III, the second floor, was completed in 2002.

Lambton House Lambton House

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Sal Fasano, 2007 MLB All-Star?

mlbSal Fasano is 35, has a lifetime batting average of .222 and one helluva cool moustache. The Blue Jays catcher also has fans who are trying to get him written in as an all-star this season. You may recall the campaign to make Rory Fitzpatrick an NHL all-star last year.

The game is in San Francisco on July 10, 2007, but will Sal be there? With a Fu Manchu stache like this, we can only hope.

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Joe Carter Ruined My Childhood

bluejaysDid you see that sign the Phillies fan held at the Jays game last night? It read "Joe Carter Ruined My Childhood". I caught it last night during the game highlights but I've yet to find a picture of it online. If you find it, let me know.

It's funny, but I empathize with this young Philadelphia Phillies fan who was crushed by Joe Carter's three run World Series clinching homer in '93. In a very different way, Joe Carter Ruined my childhood, too. I wrote all about it back in 2003, when we were but a decade removed from that home run.

As crushed as that Phillies fan was, I was just as high after Joe touched 'em all. It's a high I fear we'll never feel again. It simply doesn't get much higher, and that is almost as much a curse as a blessing.

Joe Carter ruined my childhood, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Another World

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"It is better to watch people do stuff than to do stuff."

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Queens of the Stone Age - Sick, Sick, Sick

slsI'm submitting a new song for SLS17 consideration. I'm submitting "Sick, Sick, Sick" from Queens of the Stone Age.

You might remember this song from the QotSA promo video I shared previously. This awesome track also has Julian Casablancas of The Strokes on backing vocals and guitar.

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Colin James' Why'd You Lie Video

tvMy third CanCon song dump led to a discussion about Colin James. In particular, Al and I were chatting about the song "Why'd You Lie", which is actually a cover of a Morgan Davis tune.

It's a cool track from 1988, and if you can handle Colin James' hair, you'll love revisiting this video.

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Happy Terry Fox Day Long Weekend

victoriaIt's been about four years since I complained about this, and in the blogging world four years is an eternity. My complaint has to do with this holiday weekend.

Once again we're taking Monday off in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. Queen Vicky's full title was By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, but that would take too long to type. The bottom line is, we should celebrate a more Canadian persona and rebrand this holiday.

In the past I've made suggestions, but now I'm thinking it's time we take this long weekend in the name of Terry Fox. Wouldn't it be great if Monday was Terry Fox day?

Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams...

Speaking of Terry, I'm running The Terry Fox Run in September and it's never too early to cough up a little coin. Make your donation here. And happy Terry Fox Day.

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My Offline Challenge: Week Ten

runningMy "Learn to Run" clinic wrapped up last Tuesday, and I ran my first race on Saturday. The tenth week of my offline challenge was a different one.

I'm between clinics as the 5k clinic doesn't kick off until the 28th. Still, I got out with the guys and gals last night to run a little over 4k and it felt good. I'll run again tomorrow so I don't miss a beat, although I think I'm going in the wrong direction.

I'm starting a 5k clinic, which is supposed to train me for a 5k run, but I've already ran a 5k race. Furthermore, the goal of the 5k clinic is to get us to run the 5k in 30 minutes, but my time was 27:50, which means I've already exceeded the goal of this clinic before it begins.

Nevertheless, it's all about establishing a fitness base and turning an out of shape bum into a physically fit specimen. If you want to run next week, let me know.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Canadian Prime Ministers

  1. Sir John A. Macdonald - The Mac Daddy
  2. William Lyon Mackenzie King - The Krazy Kingpin
  3. Jean Chrétien - Da Proof Seeka
  4. Pierre Trudeau - Fuddle-duddle Feist
  5. Louis St. Laurent - Uncle Louie

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty Seven

PuckSteve looks like a solid bet to finish 2nd now, with Ryan all but clinching 1st. The good news is it's looking like Marc will lose, and we love it when Marc loses.

It's worth noting that the three oldest poolies are currently holding down the last three spots. In 2007, youth will be served.

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

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100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers

moviesThis is fun. How many of these 100 movies can you name?

When you're ready to cheat, here are the answers.

My favourite is #36.

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CanCon Song Dump #3

canadaYou've no doubt heard about my quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time. There's more right here. Let's get down to business, shall we?

Here's the third dump of ten Canadian gems.

  • Bruce Cockburn - Lovers in a Dangerous Time
  • Bryan Adams - Summer of '69
  • Change of Heart - Herstory
  • Chantal Kreviazuk - Surrounded
  • Chilliwack - Fly At Night
  • Rascalz, Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust and Choclair - Northern Touch
  • City and Colour - Comin' Home
  • Colin James - Why'd You Lie
  • Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night
  • Cowboy Junkies - Misguided Angel
  • Crash Test Dummies - Superman's Song

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Jolt Was Our School Yard Crack

rewindIn 1985, Jolt Cola was all the buzz in the school yard of St. Pius X at Jane and Bloor. When it was launched, we would discuss it secretly as if it was crack cocaine.

The marketing push was based on the fact Jolt Cola was "All the sugar and twice the caffeine." To a collection of ten year olds, that was liquid gold. We would talk about buying a can at the local variety store and getting high on this stuff. Legend had it two sips would have you bouncing off the walls. Anything this bad for you had to be really, really good.

I had one can, found it too sweet, and never had another taste of Jolt Cola. The build up was better than the reality, as is often the case. Today, school yards probably have talk of scoring real crack cocaine. In 1985, we were all about the Jolt.

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Sometimes 100 and 100 Equals 2000

familyIt's been a while since I've thrown something in the Kids Say the Darndest Things pot. Here's an exchange James and I shared last night.

James: Daddy, what's 100 + 100?
Daddy: 200!
James: Nope... it's 2000.
Daddy: 100 + 100 is 200.
James: Actually, you're wrong. It's 2000.
Daddy: Who told you that?
James: Nobody, I just know it. 100 + 100 is 2000. I figured it out myself.
Daddy: What colour is the sky in your world?
James: Blue!

I think this is the new math they're now teaching.

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Ren and Stimpy and Me

tvI loved the first two seasons of The Ren and Stimpy show that aired on MuchMusic back in the early 90s. I used to record the episodes and watch them over and over and over again. Space Madness, Ren's Toothache, Rubber Nipple Salesman and Sven Hoek were classics from Canadian animator John Kricfalusi.

In OAC (which was code for grade 13), I took Family Studies. I took Family Studies because it was as close as you could get to an OAC bird course, and I was just padding the average for University. I owned the class, and I even started to bring in my tape of Ren and Stimpy episodes for "study". Stimpy's First Fart was a classroom favourite.

If you've never seen Ren and Stimpy, join me in the TV Time Machine as we revisit 1991 and 1992 when Ren and Stimpy were relevant and I ruled Family Studies at Michael Power high school. This is Sven Hoek.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty Six

PuckBuffalo won last night, just to give ABO a little sliver of hope. After they win the next two I'll start to believe again. Let me know, k?

As for this ridiculous chatter about Ottawa being Canada's team, that's the biggest load of bologna I've heard in quite some time. The only people I know who like the Senators are people who live in Ottawa or have lived in Ottawa. How many Leafs jerseys do you think there are hanging in Canadian closets throughout this fine country? Canada only has one team, and that team wears blue and white.

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

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CanCon Song Dump #2

canadaIn case you're new to the party, I'm on a quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time. To make our lives easier, I've created a new category to collect these entries.

I've also made another minor adjustment. I'm now pulling ten songs each day from my collection sorted by artist. I had to revisit the "A's" just to make sure I didn't miss any diamonds in the rough. As always, comments are desired.

Here's the second dump of ten Canadian gems.

  • The Age of Electric - Remote Control
  • Alexisonfire - The Could Be Anywhere In The World
  • Anne Murray - Snowbird
  • April Wine - You Could Have Been A Lady
  • Bachman Turner Overdrive - Takin' Care Of Business
  • The Band - The Weight
  • Bif Naked - Chotee
  • Big Wreck - That Song
  • Blood, Sweat and Tears - Spinning Wheel
  • Broken Social Scene - Cause=Time

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The White Stripes - Icky Thump

slsI'm submitting a new song for SLS17 consideration. I'm submitting "Icky Thump" from The White Stripes.

It's such a funky track you've got to give this a couple of listens before you judge it. This is some fan made vid, but it's all about the audio anyway.

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Weekly MP3: Ballad of Tom Henke

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.

Ballad of Tom Henke
I recently wrote about Terminator Tom Henke, and Stephanie was nice enough to email me an MP3 of the Ballad of Tom Henke. This was on a 1991 Blue Jays compilation and it's pretty sweet.

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Goalies in Maple Leafs History

leafsThanks to The Goalie Archive, I am pleased to provide you with a list of every goaltender in Toronto Maple Leafs history.

Here are all 75 players to play net for the Leafs, in alphabetical order.

  • Jean-Sebastien Aubin
  • Tom Barrasso
  • Baz Bastien
  • Don Beaupre
  • Ed Belfour
  • Gord Bell
  • Tim Bernhardt
  • Allan Bester
  • Paul-Emile Bibeault
  • Johnny Bower
  • Turk Broda
  • Sebastien Centomo
  • Lorne Chabot
  • Ed Chadwick
  • Gerry Cheevers
  • King Clancy
  • Charlie Conacher
  • Marcel Cousineau
  • Jiri Crha
  • Bruce Dowie
  • Don Edwards
  • Marv Edwards
  • Doug Favell
  • Grant Fuhr
  • Bruce Gamble
  • Benny Grant
  • George Hainsworth
  • Pierre Hamel
  • Paul Harrison
  • Glenn Healy
  • Red Horner
  • Peter Ing
  • Joe Ironstone
  • Ed Johnston
  • Curtis Joseph
  • Trevor Kidd
  • Mark Laforest
  • Michel Larocque
  • Alex Levinsky
  • Ron Low
  • Harry Lumley
  • Cesare Maniago
  • Jean Marois
  • Gilles Mayer
  • Frank McCool
  • Murray McLachlan
  • Gerry McNamara
  • Gord McRae
  • Mike Palmateer
  • Bernard Parent
  • Bob Parent
  • Jacques Plante
  • Felix Potvin
  • Daren Puppa
  • Andrew Raycroft
  • Jeff Reese
  • Damian Rhodes
  • Curt Ridley
  • John Ross Roach
  • Al Rollins
  • Jim Rutherford
  • Terry Sawchuk
  • Corey Schwab
  • Don Simmons
  • Al Smith
  • Gary Smith
  • Rick St.Croix
  • Phil Stein
  • Mikhael Tellqvist
  • Wayne Thomas
  • Vincent Tremblay
  • Rick Wamsley
  • Dunc Wilson
  • Ross Wilson
  • Ken Wregget

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Where Was LaKisha?

IdolLast Tuesday, I went out after my run to celebrate the conclusion of my Learn to Run clinic. At about 11pm that night, I decided to record the West coast feed of American Idol to watch when I had an hour of chill time. That's right kids, I own something called a VCR and I record programs onto a VHS cassette tape. Maybe I'll take a picture and show you this relic from a previous age, but I digress...

It was a busy week, and this free hour never materialized. Finally, on Monday night, I decided to throw in last week's AI. What I saw was some TLC show about a family with 12 kids. Taryn, it seems, recorded over LaKisha, Melinda, Jordin and Blake and I never got to see the Bee Gees ep. Please, save your tears for LaKisha, I noticed she was no longer with us last night. Why, America? Was she really so bad?

Each contestant sang three songs last night, and I think I've got all three finalists figured out. Blake is the cool, current dude who would probably have the most commercial appeal of the three. I thought he was pretty cool, even though I was jealous that I could never pull off wearing a vest like that. Or could I? Hmmm....

Melinda is always good, but I've yet to sip the Melinda kool-aid. I dunno, I can't help but think of how much cooler Tina Turner was than Melinda is. Still, Melinda deserves to be in the finals and if she's voted out there could be riots in Necklessville.

Finally, we have young Jordin, who looks like she could play for the Argos. She can also sing, which probably makes this the tightest final three I can recall. Based on Jordin's songs last night, I think it's time for her to depart to give us a neat little Blake ~ Melinda smack down next week.

I miss LaKisha.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty Five

PuckI was in the money until some point last night when Holmstrom put his third point of the night on the board for Detroit and my little brother Steve caught me. It wasn't going to be much money, Ryan's taking home the big cheque, but it's still a tank of gas.

Who am I kidding, you can't fill up a 40 litre tank with $30 at these prices.

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

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CanCon Song Dump #1

canadaI'm on a quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time. Every couple of days I'm dumping ten great Canadian songs and inviting you to suggest Canadian classics in the comments.

On July 1, I'll unveil the top 100. Here's the first dump of ten Canadian gems.

  • 54-40 - I Go Blind
  • Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
  • Alannah Myles - Black Velvet
  • Arcade Fire - Wake Up
  • Ashley MacIsaac - Sleepy Maggie
  • Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson
  • Billy Talent - Nothing To Lose
  • Blue Rodeo - Try
  • Blue Rodeo - Diamond Mine
  • Bran Van 3000 - Drinking in L.A.

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A Canadian Quest

canadaIt all started with an email from Jim.

Canada Day is coming up fast. I have never heard of a radio station collecting votes for the best Canadian songs of all time. And of course most of them would be restricted by their own formats (e.g. The Edge doesn't play BTO or Neil Young; Q107 can't play Billy Talent or Sam Roberts). So I got to thinking that your blog might be a good place to collect people's votes for the top 100 Canadian songs of all time.

I put together my own top ten list here, if this inspires others to make their own.

  1. New Orleans is Sinking - the Hip
  2. Heart of Gold - Neil Young
  3. Nothing to Lose - Billy Talent
  4. American Woman - The Guess Who
  5. Takin' Care of Business - BTO
  6. Nautical Disaster - the Hip
  7. Hasn't Hit me Yet - Blue Rodeo
  8. Old Man - Neil Young
  9. 4 am - Our Lady Peace
  10. Tom Sawyer- Rush

Jim

Jim, I now know why God placed me on this earth. I'm supposed to put together the definitive list of the best 100 Canadian tunes. I once wrote about my Ten Canadian Tracks, but this is different. This is the top 100 Canadian tunes of all-time.

Here's how we'll do this. Every couple of days I'll post ten great Canadian tracks in no particular order. Your job is to leave songs you think belong on the list in the comments of these entries, starting with this one. By July 1, I'll have a nice list of 100 to unveil.

It's nice to have a purpose in life.

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Arctic Monkeys - Brianstorm

slsI'm submitting a new song for SLS17 consideration. I'm submitting the Arctic Monkey's "Brianstorm".

It's a cool track. Here's the vid so you can hear for yourself.

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Jerry Falwell Dies

In MemoriumJerry Falwell was 73. He was the leader of the religious right who battled in the political arena against abortion and homosexuality.

He was also a evil bigot who preached hateful things and uttered disgusting phrases like this gem: "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

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Sophie's Choice 2007

thumbsdownThis past week, I've had an internal debate about which event would be more upsetting: an NBA championship for Vince Carter's Nets or a Stanley Cup championship for the Ottawa Senators. These are two events that I'm passionately rooting against, but if I had to pick my poison, I'd rather the Sens win than Vince Carter.

With Carter, it's far more personal. You can read my letter to Vince for a taste of my venom. He disappointed me in a way the Senator never have.

The Senators have been nothing more than playoff fodder for my Leafs. In 2000, the Maple Leafs beat the Sens in six games. In 2001, we swept them in four. In 2002, we beat them in seven and in 2004 we beat them in seven once more. I love the Sens for bending over four times in five years, but I want them to lose for strictly geographic reasons. Ontario is Leafs Nation, and if the cup is coming back to this province, the parade should be in the T.Dot.

Hopefully, neither will happen, but if one has to occur, I'd let the babies have their bottle. And I hope they choke on it.

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Pulling Boners

baseballRaging Storm, listen up. This is Cito talking.

We pulled more than a few boners last night. The fact we were tied in the bottom of the last inning is rather flattering. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

We're the only team that's going to beat us this year. Last night I saw routine fly balls misplayed, throws to first grossly under thrown and wild, playable ground balls missed, and more than a few mental gaffes. If we eliminate these boners, we won't be beat.

  • Be aware of who's where and where you should be
  • Stay focused
  • Don't be afraid of fucking up

If our boners go down, we'll be in fine shape. Lineups and positions for Tuesday night's game are on our page. I'll see you on the field.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty Four

PuckWith ABO down 3 games to 0, I've come up with a great new outlook that will make us all happy here in Leafsland. Let the babies have their bottle.

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

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My New Favourite Picture

picturesI took this photo at the Dundas Street Grill on Saturday during a Mother's Day brunch for Taryn. This is my new favourite picture in the entire world.

Damn, this picture is killing me. It's my Kryptonite. If you ever need to calm me down, show me this and I'll melt.

Love

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There's Something Happening Here

Tony SopranoI recently wrote about the lack of action thus far in the final season of The Sopranos. I was giving episodes titles like "Tony Plays Monopoly" and "Tony Goes Fishing", because not much more happened.

I'm happy to report that something finally happened last night. There's only a few episodes left, so you had to figure something significant would occur sooner rather than later. I won't reveal the "something" that happened, but it happened early and I suspect something else will happen next Sunday.

Madone!

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Stranger Than Fiction

A Movie ReelStranger Than Fiction: 5.5 out of 10.

It's quite possible this movie went right over my head. It wouldn't be the first time I didn't get a movie others have raved about. Throughout this film, I kept thinking about the similar but far superior "Adaptation," and wished I was watching that again instead of this.

Dustin Hoffman is pretty good, but everything else just sort of annoyed or frustrated me. Feel free to tell me how off base I am in the comments.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty Three

PuckRyan, I humbly apologize for the delay in updating this site. I experienced server issues this morning that threw Toronto Mike off course. Yes, you're still winning, you're going to win by a mile and you're very handsome.

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

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Link: 101 Greatest George Carlin Quotes

Link101 Greatest George Carlin Quotes - Because the world needs Carlin, here are 101 of his best quotes.

Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money.

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Canada Wins Gold at IIHF World Hockey Championships

hockeycanadaI caught my first game of this tournament this afternoon, and we looked great. We beat Finland 4-2 to win our third gold at the event in the past five years.

With Finland clawing back with a couple of goals in the third, Rick Nash scored a fantastic goal on a partial breakaway that sealed the deal. Nash was named the tournament's most valuable player and earned a spot on its all-star team.

This victory was particularly sweet in light of the political bullshit stirred up at home. Shane Doan helped us run the table and we won our ninth straight. O Canada!

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The Hazel 5k in 27:50

runningI ran Biovail's "The Hazel" 5K yesterday, my first race of any kind since primary school. It was the first notch in my marathon belt as I seek to transform an out of shape me into an in shape dude who can finish a marathon.

It was a blast. I threw a bunch of my fellow "Learn to Run" clinic graduates into the party wagon and we drove to Port Credit for an inspirational speech by Hazel McCallion herself before Sportsnet "celebrity" Brad Fay announced the start of the race.

This Mississauga Marathon was my first race, so everything was new to me. I had to pin my tag to my shirt and put a chip on my shoe so my time could be accurately measured. This chip records the time you cross the starting line and the time you cross the finish line and feeds that info to this website. My time was 27:50.6 which was quite a bit faster than I ran on Thursday and not bad for a guy who just started to run ten weeks ago. I'm sure I can break 25 minutes later in the summer, but my next goal is a 10k.

Following the race you're awarded a medal just for finishing and the juiciest orange you'll ever have in your life awaits you. That banana was awesome too and the water tasted like nectar from the gods. Throw in a post-race BBQ and you've got yourself one helluva great day.

My buddy Mike took some fantastic photos of the experience with my camera, and here's the Flickr photoset you're dying to see. I'd also like to thank Ale for not crashing my car as she sweetly drove it from the starting line to the finish line. And finally, I'd like to thank Hazel for not running her race and kicking my ass.

P5125590 P5125618

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Happy Mother's Day, Mom

flowersQuick, name the people who would drop everything to do whatever they could to help you if you needed them. That's a short list. Now name the people who love you unconditionally and always will. That's an even shorter list. Moms rule.

Here's my mom during the Elyse Keaton years. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Mom

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty Two

PuckThe top three spots in our annual playoff pool are currently held by me and my two brothers. Ryan has the lead, I'm in second and Steve is in third. Welcome to Boon country.

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

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Kicking Hazel's Butt

runningI can't remember a time when Hazel McCallion wasn't mayor of Mississauga. For you out-of-towners, Mississauga is a city on our west side where a downtown Toronto worker might reside. Our population spill over has made it the sixth largest city in Canada, but I digress. I'm thinking about 86 year old Hazel this morning because she's the namesake for the Mississauga Marathon 5k race I'm participating in later today.

Throughout primary school I was part of a very good 4x100m relay team, and participated in many a race at various track meets. I used to get awfully nervous the morning of races because we were always favoured to win. Our anchor, Larry, was one of the fastest guys his age in the entire 416, and it was my job not to drop that baton so he could do his thing. My feeling this morning, is quite different.

This is my first race longer than 100m, and I'm not in the Hazel 5k to win. It really is all about the experience and having some fun. I ran this same distance on Thursday night and felt pretty good, so I know I'll be okay. I'll probably run it in about 30 minutes.

I'd still like to kick Hazel's butt, but I wouldn't bet on that happening. She's one feisty broad.

Hazel_McCallion

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty One

PuckNormally he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but Greg left a comment on this entry a month ago calling a Detroit ~ Sens final. Sure, he went with a couple of favourites and hardly went out on a limb, but it's still upsetting to think he could be right.

Go ABO Go!

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

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"It's not whether you win or lose. It's how drunk you get."

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Piper's Pit With Captain Lou Albano and Cyndi Lauper

rewindFrom about 1984 to 1987, I was a big fan of WWF wrestling. My favourite wrestler was Rowdy Roddy Piper who used to host a little segment called Piper's Pit.

Here's a classic clip of Cyndi Lauper on Piper's Pit. Captain Lou Albano comes in to claim he's the reason for Lauper's success and she gets royally ticked. Somehow, against all odds, little Cyndi successfully takes on both Albano and Piper.

As a ten year old, this was my Coronation Street.


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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite U2 songs

  1. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Rattle & Hum version)
  2. One
  3. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  4. I Will Follow
  5. With or Without You

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So Many Questions...

questionmarkI can't get her out of my mind, so this afternoon I returned to her side. I just wrote about her yesterday, but I didn't share my many questions.

I'm hoping you can help me. Here are my main questions, accompanied by photos I just took. Please help me solve her riddle.

What was this before it collapsed?

P5115496 P5115506

What uprooted this massive tree?

P5115498 P5115501

What's the deal with this tarp?

P5115509 P5115510

What lies beneath?

P5115513 P5115514

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Ricky Returns to Wacky Tobaccy?

argosRicky Williams had me convinced he would never smoke again. I actually don't personally care if he enjoys a little grass on his days off, but I bought into his "natural high" mantra nonetheless.

I attended Ricky William's first ever game in an Argos uniform and waited on the field with James to meet him afterwards. After his stint with the Argos, he taught yoga in California. Last month, he was quoted as saying his interest in eastern philosophy had overcome his desire for mind-altering substances.

He's tested positive again for marijuana, putting his future in the NFL in doubt once more. I suspect nobody will be surprised, yet I find myself shocked.

Ricky Williams

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Tom Rivers on CFTR

radioA couple of years ago, I wrote about my Toronto morning radio show history. I've listened to a few different morning shows throughout the years, but it all started with Tom Rivers and the Rivers Air Force on 680 CFTR.

Tom Rivers passed away a few years ago, but I'll never forget my first favourite DJ. Checking my RSS feeds this morning, I found a great entry from Shane Alexander sharing a clip of Tom Rivers doing his show back in 1988. I might have left Rivers for Jesse and Gene on Q107 by this time, but it's that same show I loved complete with Rusty and the Unfriendly Giant. If you remember Toronto radio in the 1980s, you'll love this clip.

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A Team Needs A Closer

bluejaysI've been following the Blue Jays since 1983. That was a pretty exciting year for this young franchise. We had a good, young team, but we wouldn't win our first pennant until 1985, the year Terminator Tom Henke arrived.

In addition to the obvious on-field benefits to having a solid closer, there is a great psychological team benefit to having a closer you can rely on. As the closer goes, so go the Jays. All Blue Jay success, which is essentially the years between 1983 and 1993, was anchored by the dynamic duo of Tom Henke and Duane Ward.

The Jays haven't won a pennant since 1993, the last season Duane Ward was healthy. In 1994 he was struck with bicep tendonitis and when he was shelved, so was the Jays pursuit of back-to-back-to-back.

This is why the signing of B.J. Ryan was so vital to our future success. For the first time in a long time, there was a dominant, dependable closer, and with that came hope. Without Ryan, who is out for at least a year, we're pitiful, losers of 9 in a row and counting. Sure, we miss Ryan's arm, but most devastating is the psychological effect. Without Ryan, the Jays simply can't compete. There is no hope. This season is over, and it's early May.

The Jays only squeezed one year out of both Duane Ward and B.J. Ryan as closers for this team, but Tom Henke gave us seven strong seasons, saving many a game as we won four AL East pennants and a World Series. We need another Henke, someone dominant and built to last. Until we find the next Terminator, we'll never win again.

Tom Henke's Autograph

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty

PuckAt this point there are probably only a few people following the daily updates in our playoff pool. Ryan is checking to watch his lead grow, Marc and Steve are checking in to see how close they are to the money and Alexi probably takes a peek now and then because this is his second home. The rest of the poolies have long given up and reviewing the standings just depresses the crap out of them.

Ottawa's inability to win the second game of a series assures us ABO will be 1-1 with the Sens. Go ABO Go!

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

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Music to Run By

runningI've pruned the original running playlist down to 20 songs. The prerequisite was having the word "run" or "running" in the title.

I'll burn these 20 to an audio CD for the carpool on Saturday.

  1. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
  2. On The Run - Sam Roberts
  3. Born To Run - k-os
  4. Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty
  5. Run To You - Bryan Adams
  6. Run - Collective Soul
  7. Run Runaway - Great Big Sea
  8. Runnin' Back to Saskatoon - The Guess Who
  9. No Distance Left To Run - Blur
  10. Runaway - Linkin Park
  11. Run Through The Jungle - Creedance Clearwater Revival
  12. Always On The Run - Lenny Kravitz
  13. Run - Snow Patrol
  14. Long May You Run - Neil Young
  15. Take the Money and Run - Steve Miller Band
  16. Time Running - Tegan and Sara
  17. Long Time Running - The Tragically Hip
  18. Runnin' With The Devil - Van Halen
  19. Run and Hide - The Watchmen
  20. Run To The Hills - Iron Maiden

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A Dilapidated Shack Surrounded by Concrete

picturesI go for a 45-60 minute walk every lunch hour. One of my routes takes me by a patch of rustic wilderness in the middle of a concrete jungle. There's this dilapidated shack that always catches my eye.

Today I decided to bring along my camera to shoot this collapsed house. It's been begging me to be photographed and I finally complied with her demands. Here she is.

Collapsed

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My Issue With iTunes

itunesMy PC music playing history goes like this: Winamp forever, Quintessential Player for a while and then iTunes. What I liked best about iTunes was the enhanced searchability and sortability. As my collection grew, I realized there was a high price to pay for this indexing.

I have my collection organized like so: Artist Name Directory > Album Name Directory > .mp3 files. The album cover is embedded in the meta data of the .mp3 file. I've organized it all to my liking so I don't need my music player to handle this task. When I close iTunes, it requires some time to save my settings. It's not backing up my files, it's saving my library settings so it can tell me how often I've heard what song and all that jazz. These back-up files are large and this adds a great deal of time to my shut down process.

Furthermore, when I add music to my collection, it's a serious pain in the ass to add the new stuff to my iTunes library. Why do I have to have an iTunes library? Why can't iTunes just play the files I have residing on my hard drive?

Long story short, I'm thinking about going back to Winamp which was so sweet and light on its feet. I'm pretty sure it has improved searchability and sortability, and I don't require iTunes to sync my iPod.

What do you use as your music player and why?

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Matthew Lombardi's Coming Out Party

canadahockeyAdmittedly, I don't see a lot of Calgary Flames games, so I don't know a whole lot about Matthew Lombardi. His profile tells me he was born in 1982, plays center and he scored 20 goals in 81 games this season.

Although I haven't seen a game yet, I follow the world hockey championships in Russia fairly closely. I keep reading about Matthew Lombardi and wondering why I know so little about him. He scored two goals in our 5-1 win over Switzerland today in the quarter-finals giving him five goals in his last six games. He leads all Team Canada players in scoring and this team includes Rick Nash, Eric Staal and some guy named Shane Doan.

This is Matthew Lombardi's coming out party.

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Weekly MP3: Runnin' Down A Dream

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.

Tom Petty - Runnin' Down A Dream
I'm a day late with this week's MP3, but it's been crazy. Tonight I'm running my first ever 5k as I prepare for a 5k race on Saturday. This is not just a cool tune, but it's rather appropriate on this day.

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The Kooks - Naive

slsThere's not much time to go before SLS17 is unveiled. I've been digging a few new tunes late, but we'll start with The Kook's "Naive".

It's a cool track, but damn it sounds like Hot Hot Heat to me. These guys are from Brighton, which means they're definitely not Hot Hot Heat under a different name, but if Steve Bays had an English accent, this is how he'd sound.

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Michelle's 15 Minutes According to Alek

videoI play ball with Alek and tonight I saw him for the first time since last season. I was first to arrive at the diamond and he was second, and he quickly asked me if I had a daughter who sang k-os' "Sunday Morning".

He went on to tell me a story about k-os being in the Edge 102.1 Yonge Street studio with Dave "Bookie" Bookman and Bookie mentioning Michelle's rendition of "Sunday Morning" on the air, which he saw on YouTube.

At this point, Alek had no idea Michelle was my two year old daughter, and he searched for the the video and ended up on this page. He saw the video was posted by mikeboon and wondered if it was me.

Its a small freakin' world and I'm just glad to see Michelle getting some props. Not many two year olds are belting out k-os tunes. Here's the original entry from January. I'm a very proud papa.

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The Last WWI Vet

poppyDwight Wilson passed away today. He was 106 years old and he was a veteran of the Great War. That leaves us with one World War 1 veteran, John Babcock.

The First World War ended in 1918. That was 89 years ago. That means Dwight Wilson was 17 when the war ended. John Babcock alone now carries the torch and shoulders a nation's appreciation by his lonesome.

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Dear Mr. Dork

bluejaysVernon Wells was getting heckled by Cleveland's Jacobs Field Bleacher Creatures on May 2nd, so how did Wells respond? He wrote a note on a ball and tossed it to the key heckler, Jeff Raycher.

Here's what Wells wrote on the ball.

Dear Mr. Dork,
Here is your ball! Can you please tell me what gas station you work at, so when you are pumping my gas, I can yell at you!!! Now sit down, shut up and enjoy the game.
- Your favorite centrefielder

I love that response. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode "The Fire" in which Jerry showed up at a heckler's office and shouted insults at her.

Like Ronnie said, "Jerry, you're like Rosa Parks. You opened the door for all of us. I can't wait till the next time someone heckles me."

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My Offline Challenge: Week Nine

runningThis is the final week of my "Learn to Run" clinic. Following our final in-store clinic last night, we ran a couple of 10 and 1s and made a bee line for the Swan and Firkin to celebrate.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this offline project, but it's really been a lot of fun. I'm getting fit, hanging with some neat peeps and at the end of the month I'll start the next clinic as I inch my way toward a marathon.

I'm playing ball tonight, running a mock 5k tomorrow and then the 5k race is Saturday in Mississauga. From zero to 5k in nine weeks... not bad.

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Leafs TV Chunk Continues to Grow

leafsI openly acknowledged my weakness back in 2005. Some Leaf games only air on Leafs TV and I didn't want to miss them, so I ponied up the coin and subscribed to channel 414. There was instant gratification.

According to globesports.com, Leafs TV will air about 25 games next season. That's a pretty big chunk of the season, but Rogers will bump Leafs TV to a basic digital tier, whatever that means. Not surprisingly, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most expensive regional property in Canadian television.

When the National Hockey League club's new TV agreements are announced in two weeks, the fee that a network will pay to televise a single game will be more than $500,000, according to sources.

That's almost twice the amount paid to the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens by Rogers Sportsnet and Reseau des Sports, respectively.

We don't actually win anything, but we're beloved. I'd rather be despised winners than lovable losers, but I'm not about to give up my Leafs TV subscription any time soon. That Leafs TV chunk is only going to grow.

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The Simpsons vs. Family Guy

homerI thought this was pretty sweet.

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Is Blastball Necessary?

baseballI played tee ball as a kid, primarily at Rennie Park by Swansea. We started with tee ball and graduated to softball. I always assumed tee ball was the first step in baseball evolution, but it turns out there's a precursor.

James is playing blastball this summer. If you don't know what blastball is, you'll want to read this official explanation we parents received.

Blastball is a simplified version of baseball, designed to reduce waiting time and increase movement. Teams are kept small in number to allow supervision, reduce waiting times and increase repetitions of the fun stuff. A game has 3 teams. One team hits, one team fields and a third team works with instructors on skill development. The batting team takes turns hitting the ball off of a “T”. The batter runs to first base after hitting the ball. The base honks when it is stepped on. After hitting, running to the base and making it honk, the player lines up for another turn. After the hitting team has had 2 (ish) turns at bat, the teams rotate. The batting team goes to the instructors. The fielding team bats and the instructor team fields.

Players who master skills early are encouraged to join the Tballers, a level up.

I don't think blastball existed in my day. It seems a little unnecessary. How did tee ball becomes something you graduated into? When the heck did this happen?

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty Seven

PuckOnce again, the Sharks have fizzled in the playoffs. The Dominator is dominating again, go figure. I'm calling a Ducks ~ Sabres final.

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

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My Bad Feeling About This

homerTake a gander at all these Simpsons-related entries. And lest we forget the Homer Simpson Quotes of the Week I've been managing for almost four years. Yep, I've loved The Simpsons since day one.

We're a couple of months away from the long awaited Simpsons movie. The closer we get to the release date, the more concerns I have. I desperately want it to be good, but I have a bad feeling about this.

When you love a franchise this much for this long, the expectations soar pretty high. I'm not interested in a "pretty good" Simpsons movie or a "kinda neat" Simpsons movie, I want "wow" or nothing at all.

Is there any chance this movie will be "wow"? I don't think so either...

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United 93

A Movie ReelUnited 93: 8 out of 10.

Wow. For 111 minutes you don't feel like you're watching a movie, but a documentary. The acting by unrecognizable actors is so natural you feel you're there on September 11 as United 93 prepares to take off.

Even though we all know how this movie ends, it's so effectively pieced together you can't help but feel the affect of this tragedy we all know too well. Even though I remember that day like it was yesterday, we're all fairly desensitized from seeing that plane crash into the WTC over and over again. "United 93" humanizes the loss without being preachy, overtly patriotic or overly dramatic.

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Link: Attractions Ontario E-coupons

LinkAttractions Ontario E-coupons - This link I found on jewelgurl's blog will come in handy this summer.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty Six

PuckWith the New York Rangers eliminated, poor Pops becomes the first poolie to lose every single one of his ten players. This guarantees Pops will finish dead last.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ryan is looking uncatchable. In fact, I've giving Ryan the coin right now.

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

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Running Music

runningMy 5k race is next Saturday, but I'm running a mock 5k race as soon as Thursday. It's time I start thinking about a strong running playlist.

I'll make the mix twenty songs long, and I'll pick the twenty tunes from this list of songs in my collection featuring the word "run" or "running" in the title. There are more songs than this with those terms, but I'll prune my list from these finalists.

Look for the final 20 song running megamix later in the week. The final 20 have to refer to running and have to be good.

  • Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
  • Run To You - Bryan Adams
  • No Distance Left To Run - Blur
  • Run - Collective Soul
  • Run For Your Life - The Beatles
  • Run Through The Jungle - Creedance Clearwater Revival
  • Runaway - Del Shannon
  • It Keeps You Runnin' - The Doobie Brothers
  • Run Runaway - Great Big Sea
  • Runnin' Back to Saskatoon - The Guess Who
  • Running Out of Time - Hot Hot Heat
  • Running - Information Society
  • Run To The Hills - Iron Maiden
  • 8 Miles and Running - Jay-Z
  • Born To Run - k-os
  • Running Away - Bob Marley
  • Can I Run - L7
  • Always On The Run - Lenny Kravitz
  • Runaway - Linkin Park
  • Running For Home - Matthew Good Band
  • Run On - Moby
  • Run Thru - My Morning Jacket
  • Run To The Sun - N.E.R.D.
  • 100 Miles and Runnin' - N.W.A.
  • Long May You Run - Neil Young
  • Running - No Doubt
  • On The Run - Pink Floyd
  • Run Like Hell - Pink Floyd
  • Tie Goes To The Runner - Public Enemy
  • Running Scared - Roy Orbison
  • On The Run - Sam Roberts
  • Run, Baby, Run - Sheryl Crow
  • Runnin' Away - Sly & the Family Stone
  • Run - Snow Patrol
  • Run Away - Staind
  • Take the Money and Run - Steve Miller Band
  • Time Running - Tegan and Sara
  • Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty
  • Run, Run, Baby, Run - Tommy James & the Shondells
  • Long Time Running - The Tragically Hip
  • Running From Me - Trust Company
  • Running To Stand Still - U2
  • Runnin' With The Devil - Van Halen
  • Run and Hide - The Watchmen
  • You Are A Runner and I Am My Father's Son - Wolf Parade

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Zoodles Uncensored

XXXIn response to this entry about Alpha-Getti and Zoodles, Kara commented that she had a can of Zoodles with a palm tree on the label that resembled a penis.

She was nice enough to scan it and share it. Without a doubt, that palm tree is both twig and berries. Libby's marketing department knew their desperate housewife target market, I suppose.

Uncensored Zoodles

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty Five

PuckOttawa is in the final four. One more series win, and they're playing for the cup. Not only does this kill my chance of winning the pool, but it greatly upsets me personally as a life long Leafs fan.

The Sabres should beat the Rangers and they'll give the Sens a solid run for the money. Guess who I'm rooting for...

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

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Call Me Cito

ragingstormAnother slo-pitch season is upon us, but this time things are different on Raging Storm. This time, I'm managing the team.

Raging Storm, you know the drill. I'm a Web 2.0 manager. Everything is communicated via email and all pertinent information is shared at http://www.torontomike.com/softball.html. I've made this page easy to find by adding a "Raging Storm" link to the main navigation menu at the top of every page.

Our first exhibition game is this Wednesday night against The Misfits. Kic tells me that former Raging Stormer Greg Fay now plays for The Misfits. Fay was our best player but he quit half way through last season. Our paths, it seems, will cross again. We'll see if FUGF catches on...

Raging Storm, as often as possible, you're going to play the positions you enjoy playing. All I ask is that you show up on time and do your best. If you can't make a game, let me know asap via email. I'll post lineups and positions at least 24 hours in advance on our team page.

See you Wednesday, and please, call me Cito.

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Barry Bonds @ 744

baseballBarry Bonds hit his 744th career home run today, moving within 11 of Hank Aaron's record of 755.

Just for fun, let's take a look at Barry Bonds circa 1986.

Barry Bonds in 1986

Now, as an interesting comparative study, let's look at Barry Bonds circa 2001.

Barry Bonds in 2001

Discuss amongst yourselves...

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Alpha-Getti and Zoodles

foodHeinz bought Libby's about a decade ago, which means Heinz owns both the Alpha-Getti brand of canned pasta and Zoodles.

I used to work in a grocery store, and I used to do all the grocery shopping. At some point about five or six years ago, Taryn became the primary grocery shopper and she's been doing it all on her own ever since. I never see the inside of a grocery store anymore, and I'm not complaining one bit.

Today I found myself in a Hy & Zel's that's going out of business, and I saw how they market the Alpha-Getti and Zoodles. They're side by side and look nearly identical. I'm sure the only difference now is the shape of the pasta and the name. I had my camera with me so I took a pic.

Alpha-Getti & Zoodles!

See also:

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Budding Artist

paintingThis is Michelle's latest masterpiece. I'm incredibly biased and incredibly impressed. It's the best thing I've seen since this.

Michelle's Art

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty Four

PuckThe Sabres stunned the Rangers, which is good, and allow me to explain why. Ottawa will likely beat the Devils and advance to the conference finals. We're rooting for ABO, and that means we need the best team in the conference to be the opposition.

Buffalo is now my team for the remainder of the playoffs. For years I rooted for the Bills, I've watched their television stations all of my life and they've never won anything and need this boost worse than you can imagine.

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

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Extended warranty? How could I lose?"

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Built Ford Tough

raptorsIt's half time, and the Raptors are up 46-43 in New Jersey. Not only is T.J. Ford playing, but he's 6-7 for 13 points in nine minutes. That's awesome.

James and I watched the first half together, but I just put him to bed, so I'm going to have to finish this thing on my own. Here's hoping VC continues his shitty shooting, Bosh gets pissed and takes it hard to the hoop and Ford continues to run right through this News D.

FUVC! 158-8 my ass. Yippee-ki-yay Mofo! The writing's on the blog.

November 3, 1995 - Raptors

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Say It Ain't So, Yahoo!

yahooWith mighty Microsoft badly losing the online search and services battle to Google, they're pursuing Yahoo!. Although I've pretty well migrated all my Yahoo! stuff to Google, I have fond memories of Yahoo! I shared in this entry. Yahoo! was Google before Google was Google, and we shouldn't forget that.

Microsoft isn't Google or Yahoo!, so they're looking to buy up Yahoo! in an effort to purchase their way back in the race. So long as they don't get their grubby little mitts on Google, I'm cool, but there is one Yahoo! owned service I use on a daily basis.

Mr. Gates, leave Flickr alone. Just leave it be. It was developed by Ludicorp, a good Canadian based company, and it gets photo sharing right. You're welcome to screw up everything else in Yahoo! land, just don't touch a hair on Flickr's pretty head. Don't even think about it.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite movies featuring Eric Stolz

  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  3. Some Kind of Wonderful
  4. Jerry Maguire
  5. Mask

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Wally Schirra, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumWally Schirra was 84. He was was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts chosen for the Project Mercury, America's first effort to put men in space.

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Let's Go Raptors, VC Sucks!

raptorsAs we prepare for game #6 in the swamp, let's listen in on a moment from Tuesday night's big win. I'm giving this a chill factor of 8.1.

Thanks to Kic for bringing this to my attention. Kic, I'll see you on the field. Don't forget those discs.

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Gtalkin' With Howie G

gaimNow that Humble Howard has discovered Gtalk, we've had some deep, intellectual discussions via this progressive communications tool.

Last night, we chatted. Here's the transcript. It's pretty raw, and quite revealing, so consider yourselves warned.

8:00 PM Toronto Mike: you got gill deacon cancelled!
8:16 PM Howard: eat me nerdlinger
8:16 PM Toronto Mike: and it's Gill, not Gil!
8:18 PM Howard: boon, where'd ya go?
8:18 PM Toronto Mike: you logged off for a second
8:18 PM Howard: I did'n't mean too. ya ass.
8:18 PM Toronto Mike: did you get my "it's Gill, not Gil"?
8:19 PM Howard: no. but then your humour is not all access.
8:18 PM Toronto Mike: no wonder she got cancelled, even her guests don't know her name
8:18 PM Toronto Mike: did you fly today?
8:18 PM Howard: yes. very bumpy. at one point we had 1000fpm updrafts.
8:20 PM Howard: fmp means feet per minute
8:20 PM Toronto Mike: oh, b/c I thought they might have cancelled your flight
8:20 PM Howard: hahahahahah your funny even though your not a jew
8:20 PM Toronto Mike: you're not a jew
8:20 PM Toronto Mike: see - show that to Randee - it's proof!
8:20 PM Howard: your not a jew either!
8:21 PM Howard: okay i'm stumped. what the fuck are you talking about?
8:21 PM Toronto Mike: your vs. you're
8:21 PM Howard: ahh. eat jew-ass.
8:21 PM Toronto Mike: I'm partially jewish, they cut my wiener
8:22 PM Toronto Mike: I feel your people's pain
8:22 PM Howard: Lack of Foreskin does not a jewy make. your pretty funny thoug.
8:22 PM Howard: and you have suffered ..what with the leafs...40 years-40 years
8:22 PM Toronto Mike: you're right, we don't invite family to watch it
8:22 PM Howard: okay im bored now with typing ..
8:23 PM Toronto Mike: you did it again
8:23 PM Howard: okay i'm back.
8:23 PM Howard: i was refreshing something.
8:23 PM Toronto Mike: you have much to learn young jedi
8:23 PM Toronto Mike: your google fu is weak
8:23 PM Howard: btw on webalizer I had over two thousand visits today...cool huh.
8:23 PM Howard: your google fu suck donkey dick
8:23 PM Toronto Mike: go to torontomike.com and watch pulp muppets
8:24 PM Howard: okay. I'm going to go now. your a good lad. btw how bout the pictures (Flickr) of tucker boning the slipper. GOLD!
8:25 PM Toronto Mike: that was good stuff
8:25 PM Toronto Mike: btw, according to webalizer I had 5214 visits yesterday
8:25 PM Howard: i'm watching the muppet htin
8:25 PM Howard: thing
8:26 PM Howard: you had 5214 but my visits were quality.
8:26 PM Toronto Mike: maybe
8:26 PM Howard: maybe my ass. my people love me, yours are just a quirk of google ranking. yes I used google ranking in a sentence. you have taught me much master
8:27 PM Toronto Mike: ok, your 17 years on the radio might have given you a slight edge over Toronto Mike...
8:28 PM Howard: nahhh .dude your the best and we all just bask in your shadow.
8:28 PM Howard: raptors win friday night?
8:28 PM Toronto Mike: it feels good to finally hear the truth
8:28 PM Toronto Mike: raptors will win
8:28 PM Howard: okay douche. I gotta go. I have grown up bizness to attend to.
8:28 PM Howard: later,
8:29 PM Toronto Mike: later

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty Three

PuckVancouver never seemed to find their groove. I didn't see a lot of their games, but from what I saw they were lucky to make it this far. Everyone picked the Ducks to blow them out, and that's eventually what happened.

It was an easy pool update. Except for a single point for my Scott Niedermayer, nobody got a thing.

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

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Gordon Scott, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumGordon Scott was 80. He was the "intelligent and nice" Tarzan in 1950s movies.

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Leading the Google Charge

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in April of 2007. It's nice to know "leafs suck" is number three. At least FUVC made the cut.

  1. toronto maple leafs
  2. wedding playlist
  3. leafs suck
  4. big shiny tunes 2
  5. fuvc
  6. big shiny tunes 7
  7. stanley cup
  8. 2007 nhl playoff pool
  9. wedding playlists
  10. bill barilko

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Pulp Muppets

humourSpeaking of Muppets, this is gold. Pure freakin' gold.

I ♥ Pulp Fiction, The Muppets and YouTube.


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When Cookie Monster Was Green

rewindThis clip has been making the rounds this week. It's old-school Sesame Street with Cookie Monster eating a computer.

It's funny and all, but this Cookie Monster is quite different from the Cookie Monster I grew up with. There are two significant differences:

  • This Cookie Monster has sharp lookin' teeth
  • This Cookie Monster is green!

When did our blue, toothless Cookie Monster make his first appearance?

Here are some cookie recipes.

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This Is Not An Entry About Shane Doan

hockeycanadaI'm not going to write about the whole Shane Doan controversy that has erupted in our esteemed House of Commons. A parliamentary committee has summoned Hockey Canada officials to explain their choice of Shane Doan as captain of the national team at the World Hockey Championship. At issue is an alleged derogatory remark by Doan toward a French-Canadian referee during a game in 2005.

Although I have a great deal to say about this, I've decided not to waste my time acknowledging this overreaction because apparently I don't have the time our members of parliament have. I'm not going to share the personal embarrassment I feel over this. I'm just going to let this one go...

Here's hoping Canada wins gold in Russia and Doan leads the charge. Maybe I'll write about that when it happens, but I'm not writing about this.

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty Two

PuckRyan is rolling right along, getting points from the Senators and Red Wings. More important for him, those two teams won last night. The smart money is on Ryan finishing first.

When Ryan wins, we all win. Dude needs the coin.

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

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Notes on a Scandal

A Movie ReelNotes on a Scandal: 7 out of 10.

Judi Dench is kinda creepy in this one, but it's an intriguing creep. You see, Cate Blanchett is part of a scandal, and Dench is taking notes. The fact it's 7/10 tells you both Dench and Blanchett are really good and the writing is great.

Dench delivers some good lines, like this one: "People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely. But of the drip, drip of the long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. What it's like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the launderette. Or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue. "

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Sincere Hysterical Laughter

familyYesterday I shared a couple of conversations I had with my kids recently. Since this is all about me, I'm going to share a couple more.

The kids love jokes, particularly knock-knock jokes, only two year old Michelle doesn't quite understand the need for a punch line.

James: Knock, knock.
Daddy: Who's there?
James: Banana.
Daddy: Banana who?
James: Banana.
Daddy: Banana who?
James: Banana.
Daddy: Banana who?
James: Banana.
Daddy: Banana who?
James: Orange.
Daddy: Orange who?
James; Oranga ya glad I didn't say banana?
Daddy: (Courtesy chuckle)
Michelle: My turn!
Daddy: Okay, your turn.
Michelle: Knock, knock.
Daddy: Who's there?
Michelle: Banana poo head!
Daddy, James and Michelle: (Sincere hysterical laughter)

Nothing beats sincere hysterical laughter, but I'm sharing another. This brief convo between James and I is pretty typical. We can't walk to my brother's house without it being a race. It's constant competition.

James: We're on Magic Tree House book #13, but Jack's only on #5.
Daddy: It's not a race.
James: It's not a race, but I'm winning.
Daddy: But it's not a race.
James: I know, but I'm winning.

It's not a race, but I'm winning. Ain't that the truth.

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Yes, I'm Aware It's Been 40 Years

calendarForty years ago tonight, on May 2, 1967, Jim Pappin scored the winning goal as the Leafs defeated the Canadiens 3-1 for their 13th Stanley Cup victory and fourth in the last six years. As you may have heard, the Leafs haven't won since.

Humble referenced the 40 year drought on his blog this morning, and followed that up with a call to rub it in. Freddie P. wrote about it as well. People are coming up to me in the office to throw it in my face. Yes, I'm aware it's been 40 years since the Leafs won the Stanley Cup and yes, I'm aware today is the anniversary.

I'm 32 years old. In my lifetime we haven't been to the finals, yet every fall I back this team and dream of a championship. I once wrote God and asked Him what He has against my Leafs. I never heard back. 40 years, 40 tears...

Toronto Mike Header

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Weekly MP3: Wheat Kings

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

The Tragically Hip - Wheat Kings
This week's MP3 was requested by Doug. I originally denied the request, thinking it's a little too obvious me sharing a tune from The Hip. Then, the loon made me reconsider.

Not only is this one of the prettiest songs to ever come out of this country, but it opens with the call of a loon. Nothing says summer in Canada like the call of a loon.

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Welcome Back, LaKisha

IdolWelcome back, LaKisha. You were missed. You were my favourite from the start, but you seemed to lose your way in recent weeks. Last night, your performance of Bon Jovi's "This Ain’t a Love Song” was the best of the bunch.

LaKisha, go get Blake and put him in front of the Idol PC. Blake, that reworked version of “You Give Love a Bad Name” required stones, but you pulled it off. It was so cool, I almost forgot I was watching AI. Now go get Jordin, if you don't mind.

Jordin, what happened? I though you might win this thing. Last week, I had you pegged as the best of the final six but last night you brutally murdered “Living On a Prayer”. Do you realize what that song means to me? Do you understand how many mix tapes I made with that song on it? You're young, you're fun, but you're going home.

Here are my three favourites from last night:

  1. LaKisha Jones
  2. Blake Lewis
  3. Melinda Doolittle

Here are my three least favourite from last night:

  1. Jordin Sparks
  2. Phil Stacey
  3. Chris Richardson

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty One

PuckRight on schedule, here comes the luckiest bastard ever to draft a hockey pool, Marc. Marc wins this annual pool more often than he loses, and he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer if you know what I mean. He's just really lucky.

And kudos to Joe who has four players left, but all recorded a point last night. That's pretty cool considering only four teams played and they were pretty low scoring affairs.

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

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158-8

raptorsI think my heart just stopped. We were up large, and then it dissipated. When the Nets hit that three with Calderon hurt on the floor, I almost cried. When the Nets missed that final three ball, I almost cried once more. We're going back to Jersey.

Teams with a 3-1 game lead in the NBA playoffs are 158-8. Now that I've discovered what was holding us back, you can be sure we'll be number nine. That damn Raptors masthead was clearly jinxing us, and now that it's gone, we can't lose.

Yippee-ki-yay Mother**cker!

Toronto Mike Header

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My Offline Challenge: Week Eight

runningPrior to tonight's 8 and 1s, we had an in-store clinic about cross training. Essentially, we learnt all runners at some point have knee issues. Hearing about the imminent knee issues got me thinking about my left knee. I don't like thinking about my left knee.

I'm less than two weeks away from the Hazel 5k and then it's the 5k clinic followed by the 10k clinic. If the knee doesn't hold up, I'll bike that marathon.

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Tom Poston, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTom Poston was 85. He was the tall, pasty-faced comic who found fame and fortune playing a clueless everyman on such hit television shows as "Newhart" and "Mork and Mindy."

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Yippee-ki-yay Mofo!

raptorsYou may be wondering what Sam Mitchell is doing to psyche up the Raptors prior to tonight's do-or-die game at the ACC. In a Toronto Mike exclusive, I've just learnt how MoPete and the boys are preparing themselves for Kidd and Carter.

Sam's got them watching Bruce Willis' "Yippee-ki-yay Mother**cker" on a continuous loop. Listen for it at the 1:01 mark.

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Conversations With My Kids

familyKids say the darndest things. I love conversing with my kids because they're so brutally honest and unintentionally funny it's always entertaining.

Periodically I'm going to share conversations I have with them. James is five and Michelle is two, and here's a discussion we had recently.

James: My allegiance is to the Republic! To Monoxacree!
Daddy: Monoxacree? I'm pretty sure that word is Democracy.
James: Dem-ox-acree.
Daddy: Democracy. (In my best Obi-Wan) My allegiance is to the Republic, to Democracy!
James: Democracy!
Michelle: Good job, James!

We talk an awful lot about the Star Wars universe and superheroes. Here's a related discussion we had on the weekend.

Daddy: If Spider-Man fought Darth Vader, who would win?
James: Nobody beats Spider-Man - Darth would lose!
Daddy: But what about his Sith powers? Surely his Sith powers would be too strong for Spider-Man.
James: Actually, Spider-Man is too strong. He'd beat Darth.
Michelle: I'm Wonder Woman...
James: Michelle, we're talking about Spider-Man and Darth Vader, not Wonder Woman.
Daddy: Wonder Woman would beat up Darth Vader and Spider-Man and would look good doing it.
Michelle: (To the tune from the theme song) Wonder Woooomaaaaan!

I'll share more, soon. There's an endless supply of content.

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I Believe in Miracles

raptorsIt could all end tonight. What the Raptors need now is a miracle.

Here are songs in my collection with "miracle" in the title.

  • No Miracle, No Dazzle - Blue Rodeo
  • The Miracle of Music - Bob & Doug McKenzie
  • Waiting For A Miracle - Bruce Cockburn
  • It's A Miracle - Culture Club
  • Miracle of Love - Eurythmics
  • Miracle - Foo Fighters
  • Miracle Man - Ozzy Osbourne
  • I Believe In Miracles - Ramones
  • The Miracle - Queen
  • Miracle Drug - U2
  • It's A Miracle - Barry Manilow

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Sundin's Surgery Surprise Says Simmons

leafsIt's do or die for the Raptors tonight, the Jays are second in the AL East and the Leafs haven't been seen in over twenty days, but the big sports story in this city today is the status of Mats Sundin's hip. According to this article by Steve Simmons, Sundin's future as a National Hockey League player is in question after it was learned yesterday that the Maple Leafs captain requires hip surgery.

John Ferguson Jr. is denying the story, as is Sundin's agent, but there's a lot of smoke here for there to be no fire at all. Sundin is no spring chicken, and hip surgery is pretty serious, so if this is true it's a pretty big story in Leaf Nation.

Sundin will turn 37 during next season. As good a player as he is, there's no support for him on the Leafs and he clearly can't carry us to the post season on his own. Maybe Sundin's hip is trying to tell us something. Maybe Sundin's hip is telling MLSE to let him go and to radically alter the persona of this mediocre team.

There will be some rough years ahead, but we've had rough patches before. By the time my son is ten we could have an exciting and competitive team with a legitimate chance to end a 45 year drought. It all starts with our captain's hip.

Leafs Nation, dont shed no tears. No Sundin, no cry.

Harold Ballard Lies

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2007 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty

PuckWith three points in two low scoring games, Ryan has asserted himself as the man to beat. He's six points up on me but I've been snake bitten these past few days.

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

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