June 2007 Archives

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Shows I Watched: The Facts of Life

tvEdna Garrett left Diff'rent Strokes to become a housemother to seven young girls at the Eastland Academy in Peekskill, New York. The rest, is Facts of Life history.

One of those seven girls was Molly Ringwald, but after season one, they trimmed the roster down to Natialie, Blair and Tootie and introduced a new girl, the street wise Jo. Here's the opening from that initial season.

Edna Garrett couldn't stick with one career. She went from Drummond housekeeper to Eastland Academy housemother to owner of Edna's Edibles and then Over Our Heads. Along the way, some guy named George Clooney joined the cast to give the girls something to look at. Here's an intro featuring Mr. Clooney.

Mindy Cohn's voice is in our house a lot these days. She's the voice of Velma on the new Scooby-Doo DVDs my kids devour like candy.


My Offline Challenge: Week Sixteen

runningI'm a few days late on this week sixteen running update, so my apologies to those of you who see this as the highlight of your week.

Week sixteen started strong, with 8k on Sunday morning, but I only did 3k on a very hot Wednesday night and a late Thursday run/walk hybrid that was probably only about 4k.

I just registered for the Whitby 5000, a 5k race at the end of July. It will be my second race and I'm aiming to run it in under 25 minutes. Meanwhile, I think it's time to pick up the pace.


O Canada at Live 8

canadaOne of my YouTube favourites is the closing footage from Live 8 in Barrie back in the summer of 2005. Neil Young closed and Gord, Gordon, Bruce, Steven, Ed, Greg, Jim and other Canadian musicians joined him for Rockin' In The Free World.

As amazing as that was, it got better. Steven Page started to sing O Canada and everyone joined in. It's totally chilling and patriotic and I love it. If this doesn't warm you up for tomorrow, nothing will.



Link: Airline Complaint re: Seat 29E

LinkAirline Complaint re: Seat 29E - This thoroughly entertained me. There are even handy illustrations.


Wall Ball

baseballJust about every weekend growing up, we played wall ball. Some called it box, but we always called it wall ball. Wall ball was usually two against two and you pitched to the batter who stood in front of a box painted on a wall. The box was the strike zone, whether you were 5 feet tall or 6 foot 3.

We played wall ball until some point in the mid 90s when we all got busy with marriages or jobs or university or whatever. There were two contingents: the Irish and the Maltese. The Maltese were Joe, Harold, Frank and Charles while the Irish were usually me and my two brothers. Occasionally someone else would come for a game, but the core duo was Joe and I.

When wall ball stopped happening every weekend, I remember really missing it. I loved throwing that fast ball down the middle and getting the good part of the bat on the ball and driving it over the fence. A post wall ball slurpee was the icing on the cake.

I visited one of our old wall ball fields earlier today and took this picture. It's King George, and it had a great big field for circus style Shaker Mo snags.

King George

Here's an old photo of a wall ball game that probably took place in 1995 or 1996.

Joe and I

I miss wall ball.


SLS17 Is Almost Here

Smells Like SourHere's an update as to where we're at with SLS17.

I've put together a list of the 20 songs I think should comprise SLS17. They're now with Mark who will either bless the collection or counter offer with a modified playlist. Then, the negotiations begin.

Hang on SLS fans. The official lineup should be unveiled soon.


For The Right People

raptorsI got an interesting email from Medea Kalantar yesterday.

Hi Mike,

I am sending you the logo my son has created, his name is Jean-Diar Kalantar and he is 13 years old. Can you please make sure the right people see his design.

Thanks,
Medea

Medea knows MLSE visits this site. Right people, here's Jean-Diar's design.

raptors logo


Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"I don't want to go out like Elmo; hanging himself in his cell."


Mika Brzezinski Rips Paris

newspaperI must confess, I had never heard of MSNBC reporter Mika Brzezinski, but this footage of her refusing to open with a story on Paris Hilton is pretty damn cool.


Shows I Watched: Danger Bay

tvNext to The Beachcombers, Danger Bay was CanCon at its finest. Doc worked at The Vancouver Aquarium and he and his kids were always saving the world from one ecological disaster or another.

I wonder what has become of Christopher Crabb. Ocean Hellman was a cutie, where's she at these days? Danger Bay was most definitely a Donnelly Rhodes vehicle, and he made it sing. Cue the opening theme song!


Joel Siegel, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJoel Siegel was 63. He was best known as the resident movie critic on ABC's "Good Morning America" for 25 years.


Chris Benoit's Wikipedia Page Mystery

wikipediaPrior to his suicide last weekend, I had never heard of Chris Benoit. I was a big WWF fan in the 80s, and I knew the big names that have come since like The Rock and Steve Austin, but I'm so far removed from the silliness now I completely missed Benoit's career.

As details emerge, it all becomes that much more puzzling. I'd like to know who updated Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page. The AP article has the details.

Investigators had not yet discovered the bodies of pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and their 7-year-old son when someone altered Benoit's Wikipedia entry to mention his wife's death, authorities said.

Authorities said Thursday they are trying to determine who altered the entry on the collaborative reference site 14 hours before authorities discovered the bodies of the couple and their son.

Benoit's Wikipedia entry was altered early Monday to say the wrestler had missed a match two days earlier because of his wife's death.

The entry was made by someone using an IP addy in Stamford, Conn. That's where the WWE is based. Did Chris Benoit kill his wife and text message someone at the WWE about it? If so, why would someone at the WWE add this detail to Benoit's Wikipedia page but not call the police?

Here's what's written about the incident on the Wikipedia page itself.

The phrase "stemming from the death of his wife Nancy" was added to the English Wikipedia's "Chris Benoit" article at 12:01 a.m. EDT on June 25,[98][1] whereas the Fayette County police reportedly discovered the bodies of the Benoit family at 2:30 p.m. EDT (14 hours, 29 minutes later).

In this cyber age of instant publishing, this Wikipedia mystery is but another wrinkle in a mind boggling episode.


The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Canadian female singers

  1. Joni Mitchell
  2. Sarah McLachlan
  3. Emily Haines
  4. Sarah Harmer
  5. Leslie Feist


Frank Thomas Hits #500

bluejaysLoyal reader Stephanie is at the Jays game this afternoon in Minnesota. She just sent this message from her Blackberry.

Just saw frank hit #500!!!!

4-0. Top of first

Go Jays Go!!!

Frank Thomas becomes the 21st major leaguer to reach this milestone and the first player to do it wearing a Blue Jays uniform. Very cool.


Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own Video

videoIn case you missed it, here's Amy Winehouse's latest video. It's for "Tears Dry On Their Own" and was directed by David La Chapelle. Yes, there is a "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" sample in there.


TorontoMike.com and MikeBoon.com Value Comparison

moneyLeapFish offers a free domain appraisal service. For fun, I decided to pit the two domain names that resolve at this site against eachother. TorontoMike.com vs. MikeBoon.com.

It wasn't even close. The estimated domain value of TorontoMike.com is $21.00 while the estimated domain value of MikeBoon.com is $42,486.00. This, of course, is because MikeBoon.com had an 8 year head start on TorontoMike.com.

torontomike.com Appraised mikeboon.com Appraised

By the way, I won't sell MikeBoon.com for a dime under $50,000.00.


Speak Out On Operation CanCon Excellence

megaphoneDon't forget, drop your two cents here before I publish the definitive one hundred Canadian songs in the history of the world.

If you don't speak up, I'll speak for you and throw loads of Organized Rhyme, Dream Warriors, Kish and Maestro in the mix. Consider yourselves warned.

Drop The Needle


Shows I Watched: Pee Wee's Playhouse

tvI was a pre-teen when Pee Wee's Playhouse started airing, but I was instantly drawn to this show. It was supposedly aimed at kids, but there was a hilarious subtext to it all that slayed me. I watched Pee Wee's Playhouse every Saturday, waiting for the secret word, awaiting visits from Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the Mail Lady and The King of Cartoons.

Those characters were played by some big time talent. Laurence Fishburne was Cowboy Curtis, Phil Hartman was Captain Carl and S. Epatha Merkerson was Reba the Mail Lady.

When Paul Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure in a movie theatre in 1991, this show quickly bit the dust. It's a damn shame because it was totally quirky, irreverent and smart, with eye candy that would give your retinas cavities. Here's the awesome introduction. Yes, that's Cyndi Lauper doing the singing.


MLSE is a Joke in Yo Town

leafsMLSE president Richard Peddie confirmed yesterday that they're looking to hire a senior adviser to work with Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson. JFJ apparently needs some help, a mentor of sorts, as he's still learning the job after four years as GM of Canada's team.

That's hilarious. Only at MLSE do things shake down like this. They're actively looking to hire a hockey guy to be JFJ's boss. JFJ is the lamest of ducks, and one wonders why he still has the job. Scotty Bowman, the sensible guy that he is, has already turned this mentor gig down. I'm hearing rumours that they're now looking at John Muckler.

If JFJ is still learning the job after four years at the helm, why did we hire him? Why does MLSE make it so blatantly obvious that the Maple Leafs are just one part of a big money making machine where making money is the primary goal? Now that Jim Balsillie is left without a team, why can't he buy everybody out at MLSE and clean up the head office so there is one capable hockey mind calling the shot with regards to personnel?

So get up get, get get down, MLSE is a joke in yo town.


Liz Claiborne, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumLiz Claiborne was 78. She was the fashion designer whose styles became a cornerstone of career women's wardrobes in the 1970s and 1980s.


Vote For Our New Name

voteI received a lot of great suggestions as to what we should name our slo-pitch team next season, and now it's time for the big vote.

Please only vote once and vote for your favourite. Sign your name or I'm not counting the vote, and use your real name - I'll know if you're lying. I know all. Voting ends at the strike of midnight June 30, 2007. I'll post the final results on Tuesday.



The Baseball Team
The Zit Remedy
Whatever
Teenage Angst
Captain Strikeout and the Foul Balls
The Zack Attack
Foul Balls
Menudo
The Mikes
Raging Storm


Here's How You Can Celebrate My Birthday

birthdayToday is my birthday, and if you're in a giving mood, there's something you can do. I'm running in the Terry Fox Run this September. Donate and boost my amount collected from the current $33 closer to my target $500.

Here's where I'm collecting pledges. It's safe and secure, just whip out the credit card and throw a few bucks at my run for my 33rd birthday.

Thanks!

Me at 5 Months Old


Shows I Watched: Dukes of Hazzard

tvProbably my favourite television show as a young dude was The Dukes of Hazzard. Daisy was my first crush, and I thought Bo and Luke Duke were the coolest. And as cars go, there was no cooler a car than the General Lee. Here's a great montage of General Lee action set to Johnny Cash's sweet, sweet voice.

Remember when Uncle Jesse lost his sight and there was a chance he'd never see again? They removed his blindfold and there was that moment of sadness when it appeared he hadn't regained his vision. Then, the sly fox asked for an apple on that table across the room. Uncle Jesse could see!

And of course, The Dukes of Hazzard was blessed with a tremendous theme song sung by Waylon Jennings. Just'a good ol' boys...


Weekly MP3: Cowgirl in the Sand

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.

Neil Young - Cowgirl In The Sand
I mentioned yesterday that I was digging Neil Young Live at Massey Hall 1971. This is one of the songs he performed that night, and it's a personal favourite. This one goes out to my cowgirl in the sand...


Shows I Watched: Saved By The Bell

tvI watched this show every Saturday morning growing up. Zack was a cool cat and it was a light and fluffy half hour. At least it was light and fluffy until Jessie Spano started doing drugs. No, it wasn't smack, it was the dreaded caffeine pills.

My favourite episode was probably the documentary style ep featuring The Zack Attack. Who will ever forget their big hit, Friends Forever?

And of course, the series had a memorable opening theme song and we all know the words by heart.


Heaven in Audio Form

musicPete, I don't know if you're reading this, but your bro "borrowed" your copy of Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 and lent it to me. I've been spinning it all morning, and it's heaven.

Young was 25 and on his game. It sounds brilliant, and his words and tone resonate in a way that confirms what I've suspected for years. Neil Young is god.

It's heaven in audio form.


What I Was Bitching About Four Years Ago

rewindThroughout the summer, I'm going to step into the Toronto Mike time machine and see what I was bitching or raving about in years past. The blog started in 2002, so I've got over 6000 entries in the archives waiting to be rediscovered.

Four years ago today, I was upset with Jim Wilson.

Ontario's environment minister Jim Wilson wants us to stop BBQing to reduce smog. Excuse me? Stop BBQing? As if.

We've been through some pretty crappy stuff of late. 9/11, the West Nile Virus, the death of Layne Staley, terrorist threats, a way cold winter, the war in Iraq, SARS, Mad Cow Disease, SARS II... If I want to BBQ in my backyard every day of the week, I dare you to try and stop me.

There's nothing finer than firing up the Q and chillin' in the backyard. If you're looking to pin the blame for these smog days on someone, look no further. I am the rebel with the courage to look Jim Wilson in the eye and say, "how do you like your burgers?"

You'll note we haven't heard any requests to stop BBQing since.


Chris Benoit, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumChris Benoit was 40. He was a Canadian wrestling star in the WWE known as the "Canadian Crippler".


The Potential Unranked Top 100

canadaIt started with a quest. I was to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes. Over the past month I've dumped CanCon classics which you can read here and now I've pruned those songs down to 100.

Guys and gals, I need you now more than ever. Tell me if there's a tune on this list that doesn't belong or if I've missed a sure thing. On Canada Day, I'll post the definitive list in order. You'll want to cancel your long weekend plans for this one, it's a biggie.

  • 54-40 - I Go Blind
  • Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
  • Alexisonfire - This Could Be Anywhere In The World
  • Arcade Fire - Wake Up
  • Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
  • Ashley MacIsaac - Sleepy Maggie
  • Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson
  • Billy Talent - Nothing To Lose
  • Blue Rodeo - Try
  • Blue Rodeo - Diamond Mine
  • Blue Rodeo - Lost Together
  • Bachman Turner Overdrive - Takin' Care Of Business
  • The Band - The Weight
  • Blood, Sweat and Tears - Spinning Wheel
  • Bruce Cockburn - Lovers in a Dangerous Time
  • Bryan Adams - Summer of '69
  • Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night
  • Cowboy Junkies - Misguided Angel
  • Crash Test Dummies - Superman's Song
  • Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights
  • Dream Warriors - My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style
  • Feist - Mushaboom
  • Five Man Electical Band - Signs
  • The Gandharvas - The First Day of Spring
  • 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
  • Hayden - Bad As They Seem
  • Hot Hot Heat - Bandages
  • I Mother Earth - So Gently We Go
  • Ian and Sylvia - Four Strong Winds
  • Jeff Healey - Angel Eyes
  • Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
  • Joni Mitchell - Woodstock
  • Joni Mitchell - Both Sides, Now
  • Joni Mitchell - The Circle Game
  • k-os - Heaven Only Knows
  • k.d. lang - Constant Craving
  • Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
  • Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
  • The Lowest of the Low - Henry Needs A New Pair of Shoes
  • Maestro Fresh-Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide
  • Men Without Hats - Safety Dance
  • Metric - Combat Baby
  • Moist - Push
  • Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl
  • Neil Young - Helpless
  • Neil Young - Old Man
  • Neil Young - Heart of Gold
  • Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World
  • The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
  • The New Pornographers - Use It
  • Northern Lights - Tears Are Not Enough
  • The Northern Pikes - Teenland
  • Odds - Heterosexual Man
  • Our Lady Peace - 4am
  • Our Lady Peace - Naveed
  • Our Lady Peace - Clumsy
  • The Pursuit of Happiness - I'm An Adult Now
  • Rascalz, Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust and Choclair - Northern Touch
  • Rheostatics - Record Body Count
  • Robbie Robertson - Showdown At Big Sky
  • Rough Trade - High School Confidential
  • Rush - Closer to the Heart
  • Rush - The Spirit of Radio
  • Rush - Tom Sawyer
  • Rusty - Wake Me
  • Rusty - Misogyny
  • Sam Roberts - Brother Down
  • Sarah Harmer - Basement Apartment
  • Sarah Harmer - Silver Road
  • Sarah McLachlan - Hold On
  • Sarah McLachlan - Angel
  • Skydiggers - I Will Give You Everything
  • Sloan - Underwhelmed
  • Sloan - Coax Me
  • Sloan - The Good In Everyone
  • Spirit of the West - Home For A Rest
  • Stan Rogers - Northwest Passage
  • Stars - Ageless Beauty
  • Stars - Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
  • Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild
  • Stompin' Tom Conners - Hockey Song
  • Tokyo Police Club - Nature Of The Experiment
  • Tom Cochrane - Boy Inside The Man
  • Tom Cochrane - Big League
  • The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking
  • The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon
  • The Tragically Hip - Wheat Kings
  • The Tragically Hip - Ahead By A Century
  • The Tragically Hip - Courage
  • Treble Charger - Red
  • The Watchmen - All Uncovered


The Insult That Didn't Insult

baseballI played ball tonight with Raging Storm and once again we were down early before clawing back and taking the lead. This time though, we ended up on the losing end of a tight one.

For the second week in a row, tempers flared. Last week there was the incident with Chris from RobArts Rage and tonight I took exception to some bitching and moaning from certain members of the opposition. One guy threatened to beat me like a red headed step child, but when I got in his face and urged him to follow through, another guy shoved me away and mumbled something about me being "Mr. 1984".

I returned the field and stared this chap down, and he came back with the same "Mr. 1984" reference. Suddenly it hit me. I only play ball wearing the retro Blue Jays logo I know and love from our glory days. His Mr. 1984 insult was in regards to the fact the logo on my hat was from that era.

Did he think this fact would humiliate me or embarrass me? It was the best thing I heard all day and I was honoured. Every once in a while I'll get hit with an insult that isn't insulting at all. You can carve Mr. 1984 on my tombstone and I won't mind a bit. Well, except for the being dead part. That would suck.


Food For Social Networking Thought

documentationViewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace is an essay by Danah Boyd that's worth reading. She breaks down the socio-economic divisions she's detected, and it's quite interesting.

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

In my ethnocentric mind I had the split based on age. Kids and teens were MySpace and then they matured and moved to Facebook. I didn't consider socio-economic factors.

The class system, it seems, even permeates our online meeting space.


Co-Ed Slo-Pitch in Etobicoke Area

baseballI'm researching slo-pitch leagues in the Etobicoke / West Toronto / Mississauga area. I play in the RSPA, so I know all about that league, and I'm familiar with the Centennial Slo-Pitch League (CSPL).

Does anyone out there know of any others?


Shows I Watched: Diff'rent Strokes

tvI loved Diff'rent Strokes. Us kids looked up to Gary Coleman. Not literally, we were all taller than the little dude, but he was a mentor of sorts. Who wasn't upset when Mr. Drummond was told he couldn't BBQ on the balcony? Who didn't fear for Arnold Jackson when he was alone with that pedophile? And when Mrs. Garrett left to run an all girls school, who didn't tag along for the fun?

Here's your CanCon connection. Alan Thicke co-wrote the catchy theme song.


The Day I Saw A Near No-Hitter

bluejaysDustin McGowan pitching a no-hitter into the ninth yesterday reminded me of the final regular season game of the season, September 27, 1998.

I was sitting in aisle 120, row 20, seat 4, and the Jays were facing the Detroit Tigers. A young Roy Halladay was on the mound and he was pitching a gem. He entered the ninth inning with a no-hitter and retired the first two batters he faced. I was going to witness the second no-hitter in franchise history.

I didn't. In fact, there's yet to be a second no-hitter after Dave Stieb's in 1990. Still, whenever I see a pitcher lose his no-hit bid in the ninth, I think about that September day at SkyDome when we were oh so close.


HTML Hand Coding 2 Da X-Treme

webI hand code all my XHTML and CSS. I do it in Dreamweaver, but I can do it in any text editor. I just go, and I thought I was pretty skilled, until I watched this.


My Summer Ham

familyI've written about my little blooming comedienne before. As Michelle ages, she's becoming more and more of a ham. She'll be three next month, but already she's got some pretty solid material.

Whereas James is far more serious and deep, Michelle prefers to ham it up. I pulled out my camera and shot a few video clips. This is Michelle raw, my cute little summer ham.



Rod Beck, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRod Beck was 38. He was a relief pitcher who wore a bushy mustache while earning 286 career saves, primarily for the San Francisco Giants.


What's My Blog Rated?

swearsI entered torontomike.com at this site to find out what it was rated. The options are G, PG, PG-13 and R.

pg

I missed the G rating because of one instance of the F-bomb in my Custom update.


Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

A Movie ReelTalladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby: 6 out of 10.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby isn't bad, but it's no Knocked Up, which I saw earlier in the day. It's really saved by Gary Cole who plays Ricky Bobby's father, Reece. The middle scenes with Ricky and his daddy really are funny.

If you're keeping score at home, this one isn't quite as funny as Anchorman, but probably just as funny as Dodgeball. Of course, anyone who would see Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby already has, but just in case...


Shows I Watched: Family Ties

tvFamily Ties was a key part of the NBC Thursday night lineup, and can't miss television for a period in the 80s. It launched the career of Michael J. Fox but in our house the focus was on Meredith Baxter-Birney who many thought looked like my mom.

My favourite episode of all time was "My Name is Alex" which was a rather trippy two parter revolving around the death of Alex' friend. Here's the heavy conclusion of that episode, which actually holds up really well.

Here's the opening theme.


My Kind of Music

radioCFNY Edge 102 is playing 90s music all weekend. I've been listening here and there throughout the day, and it's got me wishing they'd keep it going long term. I was 15 when the 90s arrived and 26 when they left. Those are everyone's core music adoration years and the songs you love during this period never leave you.

Bring on the Nirvana, bring on Alice in Chains, bring on Oasis, bring on Beck. Another from Pinkerton, something from Naveed and a gem from Ten. This is my music, turn it up.


Knocked Up

A Movie ReelKnocked Up: 8.5 out of 10.

Charming, sweet and very funny, Knocked Up is fantastic. I found it far funnier than The 40 Year Old Virgin. There was a great deal I could relate to and there were an awful lot of maple leafs to give it some nice CanCon appeal.

And yes, Izzy is great. All of the characters are great. Even the tunes are great. See the damn flick already!


Hank Medress, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumHank Medress was 68. His vocals with the doo wop group the Tokens helped propel their irrepressible single "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" to the top of the charts.


Shows I Watched: WKRP in Cincinnati

tvI loved WKRP in Cincinnati. It was a great collection of characters and it made radio seem so cool. I frequently recall moments from those four seasons and smile.

If anyone has the closing theme song in MP3 form, throw it my way. Here's the extended opening theme from season one, my all-time favourite.

Update: Here's the gibberish driven closing theme song. Awesome.


Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Oh, everything looks bad if you remember it."


Shows I Watched: Growing Pains

tvFor no other reason other than I feel like it, I'm going to start sharing the opening theme songs from shows I used to watch. This will likely be a little heavy on nostalgia and therefore full of 80s sitcoms.

We'll start with Growing Pains, a show I used to watch. It starred Canadian Alan Thicke and Jesus freak Kirk Cameron. It's still one helluva good theme song.


The Final Simpsons Movie Trailer

homerJuly 27th is fast approaching.

Please be good, please be good, please be good, please be good, please be good, please be good, please be good...


Hamilton Jerked Around Once More

nhlNow I'm confused. There are reports at this hour that Craig Leipold has withdrawn his offer to sell the Nashville Predators to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie. This is a rather shocking development. I had the team in Southern Ontario for the 2008/2009 season.

Once again Hamilton got their hopes up only to see them dashed. I too was getting excited about having another NHL team down the road. It all made so much sense. Balsillie was offering $240 million and you'd think Craig Leipold would jump at the chance to salvage that kind of dough out of a loser franchise.

I'll let the dust settle on this one and see where we're at. The team can't succeed in Nashville... maybe Leipold got a better offer from the Kansas City or Las Vegas folks?


CanCon Song Dump #17

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes is down to the last dump. On Monday I'll throw down a solid shortlist and you peeps can leave your top ten in the comments.

Here's the seventeenth dump of Canadian gems.

  • The Waltons - The Naked Rain
  • The Watchmen - All Uncovered
  • The Watchmen - Stereo
  • The Weakerthans - The Reasons
  • Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything
  • Barenaked Ladies - If I Had $100000000
  • Blue Rodeo - Lost Together
  • Barney Bentall - Something to Live For
  • Anne Murray - Danny's Song
  • The Band - Up On Cripple Creek


Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell Are Leafs

leafsThe Leafs have acquired Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell in a draft day deal with the San Jose Sharks. This trade isn't about Mark Bell, it's all about Vesa Toskala. Actually, it's all about Andrew Raycroft.

If you've read my Leafs ramblings over the past year, you'll know I'm not a Raycroft fan. I have a theory as to why he got so much playing time last season, but it still boggles the mind. Raycroft is mediocre, and this teams needs something better.

Vesa Toskala is potentially a great deal better. I'm already rooting for the guy to start. Toskala's record was 26-10-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .908 save percentage last season. In a deal that only cost us draft picks, I'm digging it. It's not like the Leafs can draft anyway.


Omayra Sanchez

XXXYesterday I shared a collection of images that changed the world. There was one picture I had never seen before. It was of Omayra Sanchez and I visited Wikipedia to learn about her. She was a 13-year old victim of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano which erupted on November 14, 1985 in Armero, Colombia. She was trapped in water for three days before she died.

The picture below, which I don't recall ever seeing before, was taken shortly before she passed. She was trapped in such a fashion that they couldn't help her, and efforts to drain the water around her failed. This image is absolutely haunting.

Omayra Sanchez


Donald Idiens' Son on Greg Chao

justiceI recently wrote about being contacted by the Deputy District Attorney for Clark County in Las Vegas regarding the State v. Greg Chao. You can click that link for information on the sensational case. They wanted to talk to Toronto Mike and that's how I got involved. I was subsequently contacted by the defence who advised me my name was on the witness list.

Bob Idiens, Donald's youngest son, left the following comment early this morning.

As you may guess by my last name, I'm Don's youngest son. In case you don't already know, Greg Chao was convicted, and sentenced to life in prison without parole. My mom was at the trial, and said something about the possibility of him applying to serve his sentence in Canada. If this went through, Canada's life sentence comes with chance of parole after 20 years. Since he's already served 9 years (7 while waiting to be extradited and another 2 awaiting trial) he would be elligible for parole in just 11 years. Here's for hoping he rots in prison for the rest of his life, after which he can rot in hell.


The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite songs from The Strokes

  1. Last Nite
  2. Hard to Explain
  3. 12:51
  4. Juicebox
  5. Reptilia


My Izzy Crush

humourI'll be seeing Izzy again this weekend. I like seeing Izzy, but as I tried to explain to Taryn, it's not just because she's pretty. I enjoy her character.

Taryn crushes on Matthew McConaughey, so I feel I'm entitled to my Izzy crush.


Link: Images That Changed the World

LinkImages That Changed the World - These are powerful.


Firstborns Have An Edge

documentationThere's a study out of Norway that makes a great deal of sense.

Firstborn sons have higher IQs than their younger brothers, and their social status within the family may explain why, researchers reported on Thursday.

A study that used military draft records for more than 240,000 Norwegian men found that firstborns had an edge of 2.3 IQ points on their next oldest brothers, who in turn beat brothers born third by 1.1 points on average.

The proof is in the Norwegian pudding. You just can't argue with the obvious.


Custom Update

customI spoke with Custom today. Custom is a great guy who has had a few bad breaks over the past few years trying to get his music back on store shelves. His 2002 release Fast is solid.

It sounds like I might be able to make a very cool Custom announcement soon. That's all I can really write on the subject right now. I'm pretty close to his new tracks, having had a lot of them for three years now, so he asked me to rank the pure-Custom tracks as he prunes them down for his next release. Here's what I sent him.

  1. Goodbye
  2. Beautiful
  3. Funny How
  4. Catch Me
  5. I Believe
  6. Whatever
  7. Love Letter
  8. Field
  9. USA
  10. Shoot First
  11. Yes Dear
  12. Fuck Off
  13. Broken Sky
  14. Fogg
  15. Wurley
  16. Truth
  17. Television
  18. Warriors

Stay tuned, Custom fans.


Effect and Cause vs. Summertime Blues

MusicI've been enjoying the new White Stripes album all morning. It's better with every spin, full of different sounds and that awesome blues influence we've come to expect from White Stripes albums.

There's a catchy little track on the album called "Effect and Cause", and every time I hear it I hear "Summertime Blues" from Eddie Cochran. Jack White is so prolific, he's excused for borrowing a riff here and there.


When 3Com Killed Candlestick

baseballAs a kid, I was enamoured by baseball statistics and trivia. In the 80s I knew the name of every major league ballpark. I considered it my duty to know where each team played their home games.

I remember that jarring moment I learnt Candlestick Park in San Francisco was being renamed 3com Park. I wasn't blogging back then, but if I was you can bet I'd have gone off about this one. This park was named after the candlestick bird and to think we were suddenly expected to call it 3com Park was blasphemous.

We all know what's happened since. Just about every park has sold the naming rights to a corporation and these names often change when the deal expires. Today, I don't know the name of every ballpark. There's still Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium, but I haven't cared to learn most of the others. It's all so soulless.

Minute Maid Park? Ugh. AT&T Park? Yuck. U.S. Cellular Field? I think I'm going to be sick.


My Offline Challenge: Week Fifteen

runningYou're excused for not reading my weekly running updates. I'm actually writing these for myself so I can look back and check out the progress.

Week fifteen was pretty good. I had a good run on Sunday morning (4k), an awesome run on Tuesday (7k) and a nice little run last night (3k). They sure don't push us very hard in the 5k clinic. I really should have skipped on over to the 10k clinic, but I pre-paid for this one and decided to plod along as planned. That 7k run was outside the clinic and was my favourite run of the week by a long shot.

I'm noticing several benefits of this new hobby. I have more energy, feel zippier, and, I've been told, have lost a little weight and look rather "chiseled". I'm okay with that.


CanCon Song Dump #16

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes is going all the way with Stephanie Kaye.

Here's the sixteenth dump of Canadian gems.

  • Tom Cochrane - Boy Inside The Man
  • Tom Cochrane - Big League
  • Tom Cochrane - Victory Day
  • The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking
  • The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon
  • The Tragically Hip - Wheat Kings
  • The Tragically Hip - Ahead By A Century
  • The Tragically Hip - Courage
  • Treble Charger - Red
  • Trooper - Raise A Little Hell


My First Possum

zooOn Monday night, I was out sort of late. It coulda been the Willie Nelson, coulda been the wine... all I know is I saw something I had never seen in this city. It was the size of a big cat, and it looked like a hairy aardvark.

A little Googling tells me I probably saw my first possum. It was a rather surreal moment, actually. I hope I see the little dude again.

My First Possum


Blue Sky Project

sunJuan, my buddy from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, knows I want this blog to be used for good, not evil. I'm enjoying quite the streak of happiness with bright blue skies above, but Juan tells me 1.35 million people in Canada are suffering from depression.

A new study led by Queen’s University scientist Dr. Kate Harkness, in collaboration with scientists at CAMH, seeks to examine the factors that cause the very first onset of depression in young adulthood. This study is called Blue Sky Project. It is the first study to focus specifically on the very first episode of the illness to uncover its initial causes. This study is vital because if scientists can understand what causes the disorder in the first place, this will help in the early identification and treatment of young people at risk. Unfortunately the vast majority of young people on their first onset of depression do not receive treatment of any kind.

The goal of Blue Sky Project is to raise awareness of depression among young people and to provide expert pharmacological treatment with close individual monitoring by a psychiatrist. Participants will receive a methodologically rigorous assessment and may also receive close follow-up care for at least 18 months. A detailed write-up of the assessment results can also be provided for the participant.

If you’re between the ages of 18-29, live within the Greater Toronto Area, and think you may be depressed, you can see if you’re eligible to partake in Blue Sky Project. There’s no wait list and appropriate costs will be covered. They will do what they can to assist in some way every person who contacts them.

Call 416.979.4294 or email blueskyproject@camh.net. Tell them Toronto Mike sent ya.


Hillary in 2008

politicsI don't get a vote, but if I did I'd vote for Hillary in 2008.

If you want to know why, watch this...


Weekly MP3: Bush's Come Down

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.

Bush - Come Down (Acoustic)
Bush has always had questionable lyrics, but dammit if I didn't love Sixteen Stone. Come Down had a slow burn before soaring, and I always felt it made for a sweet sing along tune. This is the acoustic version that appeared on the No Boundaries Benefit Album for Kosovo Refugees. I dig it.

Cause I don't want to come back down from this cloud, it's taken me all this time to find out what I need.


Degrassi Junior High

tvIt's funny, but I find I drop at least one Degrassi Junior High reference every week. Lately, it's been a great deal more frequent with thoughts of purchasing a Joey Jerimiah hat and changing the name of our ball team to The Zit Remedy. Then, there was my retelling of near fight over Shane. Degrassi Junior High remains a key part of my day to day thoughts and speech.

I've written about Degrassi before. I loved that damn show. The principle characters were my age so we sort of went through primary school together. When they went to Degrassi High, I went to Michael Power. I rooted for Joey, watched Wheels self destruct, saw Snake deal with his gay brother and Spike get knocked up by the aforementioned Shane. These were my peeps, and I miss them.


A Pox On Chris From RobArts Rage

baseballWhen Raging Storm plays, sometimes it's just not blog-worthy. Last night we played a late night double header in Mississauga and it was indeed blog-worthy.

We smoked RobArts Rage in the opening game, 14-5. Solid defence, timely hitting, you know the drill. It was otherwise uneventful, but the main event was yet to come.

In the second game, RobArts Rage put up five in the 1st and four in the 2nd and had a commanding lead before we started to claw back. I sincerely like this year's Raging Storm team, it's full of character and talent and we're never out of a ball game. In the sixth inning, we completed the comeback, and as Kic rounded third to score, he shot up an arm in celebration. This is when things turned nasty.

Chris, the RobArts Rage third baseman, totally lost his cool and did the unthinkable. He wound up and drilled the ball into Kic's back as he scored. Chris was headhunting, and our bench emptied. I've played in this league for years and I've seen people lose their cool (including yours truly). Sometimes there's a little shoving or a push, but this was the first time I saw someone deliberately intend to injure. The ball could have hit Kic in the head.

Chris was kicked out the game. I think he should be kicked out of the league. We scored a few more after the incident and won the game 19-15, but a pox has been placed on Chris of RobArts Rage.

If there's a rematch later in the season, you might want to get your tickets early. This time, it's personal.


CanCon Song Dump #15

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes is juiced to get loose. This is the final week of song dumps. On Monday I'll throw down the shortlist so we can discuss this like mature adults..

Here's the fifteenth dump of Canadian gems.

  • Stars - Ageless Beauty
  • Stars - Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
  • Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild
  • Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride
  • Stompin' Tom Conners - Hockey Song
  • Swollen Members - Fuel Injected
  • Tal Bachman - She's So High
  • The Tea Party - The River
  • Three Days Grace - I Hate Everything About You
  • Tokyo Police Club - Nature Of The Experiment


Win in the End, Teen Wolf Style

thumbsupI remember seeing "Teen Wolf" at the old Humber Odeon theatre. I loved it, and when they aired "Teen Wolf" during a free preview of First Choice we recorded it to VHS and played it ad nauseum.

If you need inspiration, you can always turn to "Rocky" or "The Natural", but I'd turn to "Teen Wolf". The final scene where Scott plays as himself to the tune "Win In the End" by Mark Safan is still awesome. Watch it in its entirety right here and then go out there and kick some ass.


One Hell of a Journey

tvMy favourite movies and television shows stick with me. Days after I've seen it, I'm still thinking about it. That's a sure sign I enjoyed myself. Once something I've seen bounces around in my head for a while, I'm a happy guy.

On Saturday night I watched The Sopranos series finale again. It's been eight days now since I first saw it, and I'm still thinking about it, formulating theories and gaining new perspective. It's been one hell of a journey.

Immediately after the episode originally aired, I wrote this. I initially felt screwed over, and then I warmed up to the ending. A couple of days later, I wrote this lengthy analysis in which I pronounced my love for the ending. I saw Tony and his family together, I had closure. Then, three days after I wrote that entry, I wrote this entry in which I wondered aloud if Tony was dead. That's a 180° turn on my part, further evidence of David Chase's genius.

After watching the episode again on Saturday, I'm certain Tony is dead. If you've been surfing around and reading analysis, you'll know why. Here's a great write up on the finale I strongly recommend you read, assuming you've seen the episode.

Tony Soprano, rest in peace. Now I have closure.

Cut To Black


The Wonderful Future

cassetteAs I loaded up my new iPod shuffle last night, I couldn't get over how small it was. This thing is barely bigger than a postage stamp and when it's clipped to my shirt I don't even realize I'm wearing it. As I gazed down upon this tiny music player with over 150 of my favourite songs on it, I thought about young Toronto Mike walking along Jane Street to school wearing a slightly different music player.

I loved my Sony Walkman personal cassette player. Through the years I burnt through many, and I loved them all. I'd dub 90 minute mix tapes and play them in this bulky, heavy device, but at the time it all seemed so awesome.

I wouldn't have believed it if someone had told me then that one day my Walkman would be replaced by a player that:

  • Was smaller than a matchbook and weighed about the same
  • Held substantially more songs than a 90 minute tape
  • Allowed shuffling and skipping of songs without waiting for a fast forward or rewind
  • Could be rewritten with new songs in less time than it used to take to dub a single tune

It blows my mind when I think of where we've come in the past 15 years with regards to personal music players. I can't wait to see what I'll be wearing in 2020.

My New iPod Shuffle


Michael Moore's Sicko

LinkMichael Moore's Sicko on Google Video - Get it while you can.

Update: It's now here.


Garden Songs

houseHave you noticed that all homeowners want to talk about these days is their garden? People are working on their garden, weeding their garden, watering their garden, it's all about their garden. Whenever someone asks me about my garden I break into Stone Temple Pilots' "Wicked Garden".

"Wicked Garden" is a cool tune, but I find "garden" songs are pound for pound amongst the best in the biz. Here's a sampling of garden songs from my collection.

  • Octopus's Garden - The Beatles
  • Secret Garden - Bruce Springsteen
  • The Sky Is A Poisonous Garden - Concrete Blonde
  • In The Garden - Elvis Presley
  • The Garden - Guns N' Roses
  • Garden of Eden - Guns N' Roses
  • I Build This Garden For Us - Lenny Kravitz
  • Water Your Garden - Luscious Jackson
  • Safe In My Garden - The Mama's and the Papa's
  • Gates to the Garden - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Garden - Pearl Jam
  • Garden of Serenity - Ramones
  • Wicked Garden - Stone Temple Pilots
  • Garden Grove - Sublime


Say It Ain't So

calendarIn spite of years of silence.


My Day

familyToday is my day. James and Michelle gave me an cute little iPod shuffle for when I go running and they each made me a little something. I'm told the iPod shuffle is a joint Father's Day and birthday gift, but I'm just glad to see my less-than-subtle hints weren't missed.

I spent the day playing with the kids, taking them to the park and enjoying a sweet little BBQ. Here's a photoset from earlier today.

This picture below was taken moments before I first became a dad. It's the last picture of a fatherless me. It was January 20, 2002, and everything was about to change forever. I may look happy in this picture, but I was yet to discover what true happiness is really all about.

Mike in Surgery


It's Not A Stereotype If It's True

diceIn primary school, I was in the gifted program. Apparently I scored high in some standardized test and that led to further tests and the label "gifted". They may as well have labelled me "underachiever and proud of it".

Being in the gifted program meant going to a different school one day a week for special studies with a collection of nerds. Imagine if you took all the smartest kids out of every school in the city and threw them together. It was a total geekfest with (ahem) a few exceptions.

The game of choice among these brainiacs was Dungeons and Dragons. They took it all very seriously, playing roles and blurring the line between fantasy and reality. I laughed at them then, but I just know they're all driving way better cars and raking in the cash today. Damn nerds.


Economically Challenged Swimming Pool

sunLiving in the 416, we don't have the largest backyard, but we make the most out of the space we have. The backyard is our summertime oasis, and it's essentially divided into two halfs. One half houses the BBQ and patio table, for the adults, and the other half has a slide, basketball net and swimming pool for the kiddies.

We don't just have any swimming pool, we have the poor man's swimming pool. You rich guys with your outdoor pools have nothing on us. You blow this sucker up and you can literally swim laps in it. The kids just love it, and once the sun heats it up, Daddy loves it too.

Here are a few pics from this morning. Here's the entire photoset.

The Pool The Pool The Pool

The Pool


Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"How could you do this to me, Moe?! This bar was going under and it was my drink that saved it! If there was any justice, my face would be on a bunch of crappy merchandise!"


"Sensational" Sherri Martel, Rest in Peace

In Memorium"Sensational" Sherri Martel was 49. She was a professional wrestler who defeated The Fabulous Moolah for the WWF Women's Title.


Is Tony Dead?

sopranosI had found peace with The Sopranos finale. I had closure. Tony and his family would live on without me, and I was okay with that. Now, I'm wondering if Tony in fact perished in the finale.

Web sites like this are popping up all over the place. There's a growing belief that it wasn't the lady Tony saw before it all went black, but the beast who would take his life. Many suspect it was the guy wearing the "Members Only" jacket. He went in the bathroom before Meadow entered, and we all know what happens when shifty looking characters come out of the bathroom. The biggest clue, in my opinion, is the flashback to Tony's discussion with Bobby Bacala. "You probably don't even hear it when it happens," Bobby said.

And neither did we.


07/07/07

weddingThere's a whack of people psyched about getting hitched on July 7, 2007. They're all excited about being wed on the 7th day of the 7th month of 2007. 7/7/7, if you will.

I'm pleased to report that I haven't received a single invitation to any wedding being held on that day. I've actually only been to a small handful of weddings in my life, so this is no surprise. I won't have to get dressed up, join in phony baloney pomp and circumstance and fork over coin I don't have so I can enjoy a half decent meal. Thank you, I'll pass.

7/7/7 is okay, but will it really compare to 1/15/96?


CanCon Song Dump #14

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all time is winding down. The final list will be unveiled on July 1.

Here's the fourteenth dump of Canadian gems.

  • Skydiggers - I Will Give You Everything
  • Sloan - Underwhelmed
  • Sloan - Coax Me
  • Sloan - The Good In Everyone
  • Sloan - Everything You've Done Wrong
  • Snow - Informer
  • Spirit of the West - Home For A Rest
  • The Spoons - Nova Heart
  • Stagerred Crossing - Furher Again
  • Stan Rogers - Northwest Passage


The Best Band From The Last Ten Years

musicI heard "Icky Thump" on the way to work this morning. I turned up the volume and funked out. It was so raw, so catchy, and those lyrics are super cool. It's a tremendous single.

Then I started to think about other radio singles from The White Stripes. They're all amazing. The album cuts are ultra cool, too. I was chatting with a bud about today's music when I heard myself say it. The White Stripes are the best band from the past ten years.

Who's better?


Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill

videoDid somebody mention Cypress Hill? How about some Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill performing "So What'cha Want", for Kic and anyone else out there with a soul.

Awesome.


The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Cypress Hill songs

  1. How I Could Just Kill A Man
  2. Insane in the Brain
  3. Rock Superstar
  4. I Wanna Get High
  5. The Phunky Feel One


SLS17 Is Almost Here

slsHoly crap, June is almost half over. That means SLS17 is almost due.

Mark and I were talking about SLS yesterday and we realized it will celebrate its ten year anniversary next year. Don't know what SLS is? Start by reading the guide then check out this list of every SLS song, ever.

Here are the tunes that will get heavy consideration for SLS17.

  • Velvet Revolver - She Builds Quick Machines
  • Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula
  • Chris Cornell - Billy Jean
  • Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks
  • Queens of the Stone Age - Sick, Sick, Sick
  • The White Stripes - Icky Thump
  • Arctic Monkeys - Brianstorm
  • The Kooks - Naive
  • The Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
  • Linkin Park - What I've Done
  • The Fratellis - Flathead
  • Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running
  • Tokyo Police Club - Nature Of The Experiment
  • Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
  • The Shins - Phantom Limb
  • Sam Roberts - With A Bullet
  • Modest Mouse - Dashboard
  • Incubus - Anna Molly
  • The Tragically Hip - Lonely End of the Rink
  • Billy Talent - Fallen Leaves
  • illScarlett - OneA

It's not too late to submit a tune for consideration. This compilation is the 20 best new rock tunes from the previous six months, according to the esteemed SLS committee.


Coming To Blows Over Shane From Degrassi

boxingThis story is about eighteen months old now, but I don't think I shared it. I was reminded of it when Degrassi-themed nicknames started popping up in this entry about our slo-pitch team's search for a new moniker.

I'm not the most social guy (although I'm getting better), so I usually took a pass when our ball team would meet up in the off season for drinks, bowling or whatever. When Mike and Jen invited us over to watch a Leafs game and devour pizza, I decided to shock the team and show up.

During Hockey Night in Canada, they aired a CIBC commercial. Patino decided to tell us all that the dude by the ATM was Shane from Degrassi. I simply couldn't stay quiet after that. Toronto Mike knows his Degrassi and Toronto Mike knows Shane. That was not Shane at the ATM but Patino wouldn't hear it. The rest of the evening was spent arguing about whether that was Shane or not.

At first I think we were having fun with it, but it quickly became personal. I'd blame it on the flow of alcohol, but I don't drink. We were in no mood to agree to disagree and we weren't going to let this go. This subject was far too serious, far too important.

Eventually, we were literally in each other's faces. As God is my witness, I was going to hit Patino, and it was a fight I was likely to lose. There was a little shoving, I remember some finger poking thing that was clearly a precursor to blows, then I disappeared.

That's right, I snuck away and went home, remembering why I'm slightly anti-social to begin with and why I typically avoid these things. I was royally pissed, not because Patino was being such an ass, but because the dummy truly believed that was Shane in that CIBC commercial.

I sometimes wonder if Patino pretended to think that was Shane, just to piss me off. It worked, you Machiavellian genius. I'm upset all over again, 18 months later.


Canadian Rap MP3 Blog

musicChecking my feeds this morning, I saw that FameWrites had linked to a new MP3 blog. Sure, there's are lots of MP3 blogs out there, but this one specializes in Canadian hip-hop and rap.

living underwater starts strong by sharing a compilation of Canadian rap artists from 1991. In the mix are such favourites as Maestro Fresh-Wes, Kish and the Dream Warriors. They're also taking requests, and I chimed in immediately.

I'm still looking for Maestro Fresh-Wes' "Louie Louie" rap from the Young MC remixed 12" single released to promote "Coupe de Ville". If these guys can't help me, I'm in big trouble.

This is a throw down...


My Offline Challenge: Week Fourteen

runningI started this running thing fourteen weeks ago. It started with 1:2s, which means we ran for one minute and then walked for two minutes. Last night, I joined my 5k clinic for 10:1s. In fourteen weeks the difference in my fitness level has been amazing. I remember feeling it after 1:1s and now I'm not feeling it after 10:1s. It's time to lose the 1s!

I'm supposed to run three times a week, but that hasn't been happening. I keep playing ball on Monday nights which means I've been running on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I've got to figure out a way to jam another run into my week. I'm thinking it's time I learnt to run alone.


Jill

documentationJill is someone I only know in the virtual world. She's been a daily visitor to this blog for a while now and she frequently leaves comments. She just left one on my entry about "Crank", in fact.

Jill blogs as jewlelgurl, and since she was reading everything I wrote, I subscribed to her RSS feed. It often had fun links to celebrity stories and other pop culture happenings. Recently, the material has become more real.

Here's an entry Jill just wrote. As I read it, I was temporarily pulled into Jill's world and it was awfully intense. She works in the medical field so she sometimes forgets to dumb it down for the rest of us, but it's clear Jill faces a great deal of uncertainty as doctors aggressively treat her "Squamous Cell Carcinoma with a T2 tumour".

One more thing, I once met Jill. When I was interviewed by blogTO I alluded to the person who approached me during Ricky Williams' first game in an Argos uniform. That was Jill.

Jill, since I know you'll read this, stay strong and positive, even if that seems impossible, and please keep writing about it. We're rooting for ya, and reading about your battle.


James and I Are Ripping Friends

tvI don't think TV is evil. That doesn't mean we let James park himself in front of the boob tube for hours at a time, but I'm very cool with him watching a little tv at night before bedtime.

I've been working with James to get him into shows I can watch with him. I simply can't do the Treehouse thing anymore, and James is five now and ready for older fare. Teletoon is our saving grace in this regard and there is where we found a show that keeps us both riveted.

It's called The Ripping Friends, and I instantly recognized the animation as that of John Kricfalusi, creator of my old favourite Ren and Stimpy. The next thing I noticed was that the voice of Crag belongs to none other than Mark Dailey of Citytv. When I watched Porky's on Citytv in the late 80s, it was Mark Dailey who narrated the bumpers and reminded me I was watching late great movies on Citytv. It's a local production, even the new generation Degrassi girl Miriam McDonald does voices.

The Ripping Friends give James and I a chance to chill together before bedtime and I have only John K. to thank.


CanCon Song Dump #13

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is as effective as a gang sweep in Toronto that puts 60 suspects in custody, seizes $1 million worth of street drugs and scores of weapons.

Here's the thirteenth dump of Canadian gems.

  • Saga - On The Loose
  • The Salads - Get Loose
  • Sam Roberts - Brother Down
  • Sam Roberts - Where Have All The Good People Gone
  • Sarah Harmer - Basement Apartment
  • Sarah Harmer - Silver Road
  • Sarah McLachlan - Hold On
  • Sarah McLachlan - Into The Fire
  • Sarah McLachlan - Angel
  • Skid Row - I Remember You


Crank

A Movie ReelCrank: 6.5 out of 10.

It's only 87 minutes long and time is of the essence. A slick vehicle for the very cool Jason Statham, "Crank" was made for the MTV crowd with frenetic editing and manic pacing.

It's no Pulp Fiction, but it ain't boring. Watch it for Statham and because it'll eat up less than an hour and a half of your precious life.


We Need A New Name, You Can Help

baseballNow that I'm managing my slo-pitch team and in full control, it's time to right a wrong. I wrote about this wrong over a year ago and it continues to haunt me. Our nickname was Hooray For Everything and before the 2004 season it was changed to Raging Storm, a very unfunny, uncool and non-creative name for our slo-pitch team. An evil force named Stella spear-headed this decision and somehow got to then captain Andge. The rest is sad and ugly history.

We'll finish this season as Raging Storm, but I want a new nickname for the 2008 season. I'm also envisioning slick new black uniforms, but first we need to choose a new name.

Please suggest new nicknames in the comments of this entry. I'll start with the first few possibilities.

  • Crazy Diamonds
  • Ball and Biscuit
  • Triple Trouble
  • Cubically Contained
  • More Distortion
  • Teenage Angst


I Like Progess, I Just Don't Like Change

citytvSomeone once told me they disliked people, but loved crowds. I always thought that was quite the paradox, but I have a better one. I like progress, but I don't really like change.

The Star reports that if Rogers Media Inc. gets approval to buy five Citytv television stations from CTVglobemedia Inc., they'll move the flagship Citytv station out of the storied CHUM-City building at Queen and John streets. On first glance, this is precisely the kind of change I dislike. Citytv has been at Queen and John for as long as I can remember and it's a part of our city's fabric, like the Sam the Record Man sign on Yonge. There are some things I'd like to remain constant, if for no other reason than because that's the way it's always been. That's not a good reason.

Upon further review, MuchMusic and the other speciality stations will still rock from the CHUM-City building, so who really cares if Citytv airs from elsewhere? I can live with that.

I like progress, I just don't particularly like change. It's a paradox that will plague me until the end of time.


Weekly MP3: Don't Stop Believin' by Journey

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.

Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
Prior to Sunday night, I didn't think much of Journey's sappy power ballad "Don't Stop Believin'". The song wasn't in my collection, I had never gone out of my way to hear it and I would never share it as my weekly mp3.

Its prominence in the pivotal closing scene on The Sopranos changed everything for me. Now, when I hear the song, I can see every detail from that scene in my mind. The vibe is now purely positive, and I suspect I'll be a fan of this song forever as a result.

They say music is the soundtrack of our lives. For me, this is especially true. Songs take me back to a different time or place. I'll remember a song that reminds me of a special moment or a traumatic moment or a scene in a good movie or, in this case, my final moments with Tony. It's magic, and it's awesome.


Don Herbert, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDon Herbert was 89. He explained the wonderful world of science on television as "Mr. Wizard."


Thundercats

rewindFor years I had a favourite after school routine. My best friend and I would go to his grandparents house and watch Thundercats.

Hearing the intro theme song for the first time in years brings back a ton of memories. It's a pretty cool tune, too, with some killer guitar. How long before they modernize these felines and give a new generation a dose of Thundercats action?



History For Sale

sam'sSam the Record Man is closing at the end of the month, so it should come as no surprise that everything is for sale on June 27. That happens to be my birthday, but as gifts go this one is awfully bitter.

One of a kind memorabilia, Antiques, and Collectables (sic) including: Outdoor neon records, unique neon signage, Olde English Shoe shine stations, Antique English Pub Bars, Store Fixtures, Marquee Signs, Pos and Security systems, Musical Instruments, Plus much more!

The auction pics page shows some pretty cool stuff up for grabs. It's history for sale to the higest bidder. Every memory has a price.


MLSE on TorontoMike.com

mouseSomeone at MLSE was reading my entry this morning about Bryan McCabe. Is that you John Ferguson, Jr.?

MLSE @ TorontoMike.com


The Sopranos Series Finale

sopranosI intentionally waited a couple of days before writing this entry. Immediately following The Sopranos series finale on Sunday night I posted this entry which featured the song that played during the pivotal closing scene. In the comments, there was a discussion about the episode and I revealed some of my thoughts. Two days removed, I'm ready to go on the record.

Anger
When the episode cut to black suddenly, with Meadow walking in the door and the word "stop" heard in Jorney's "Don't Stop Believin'", I was ready for the credits to roll, but I wasn't happy about it. I was angry at David Chase, royally ticked that he would do this to us. There was no resolution, no closure, no sense of finality. It was total SNAFU and it will all continue to unravel, only I won't be able to watch. I was disappointed.

Acceptance
About twenty minutes later, I started to come around. To quote a comment I left on that entry at 10:17, "It's not what I was looking for, but it's probably what I needed." Part of what I liked about the Sopranos was that it didn't do things just to do things. It's a well acted, well written show and very difficult to predict. I never knew where we were headed, and I could accept that I'd never know.

Beauty
Two days later, I love the ending. I intend to watch that episode again in its entirety and I'll probably watch that closing scene a half dozen times on demand. Every shifty looking character in that diner had me on the edge of my seat. Every time Meadow hit the curb parking her car, my heart rate increased. This series had me riveted and that final scene was no different. The fact nothing happened is brilliant. Tony never paid for his chosen lifestyle. My boy Paulie Walnuts is still kicking. It is what it is, and why should it be anything else?

I've read theories as to what really happened in that diner. Some claim it's the Lady or the Tiger conclusion. Did Tony look up because he saw Meadow or did he see his killer? I have no doubt he saw Meadow. Tony, his wife and his two children were united for a typical family dinner out. Paulie Walnuts is probably breaking someone's gonads right now. I'm just sorry I can't hear the crack.

The Sopranos, it turns out, was never about mobsters and violence and organized crime. That's the family business, but this show was about Tony and his family. Tony's prime concern was keeping his family together and safe and at the end they're in tact and unified, for better or for worse. Perhaps that is closure...


Somebody Wants McCabe!

leafsI subscribe to a Toronto Maple Leafs news feed from Yahoo!, and this morning's headline instantly grabbed my attention. "Redden, McCabe could be available".

Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Bryan McCabe still has four years left on his deal, but the New York Islanders might make a pitch for him if they are unable to resign Ryan Smyth or Jason Blake.

If the New York Islanders are willing to take this massive, cumbersome contract off our hands, MSLE shouldn't hesitate for one second. I want to like Bryan McCabe, but he's a defensive liability on a team that needs to be very strong in front of a mediocre goaltender. I figured McCabe's contract would be impossible to unload, but maybe not...

Hope springs eternal in the human breast.


Best Canadian Movies

moviesHumble Howard says "Bon Cop Bad Cop" is the best Canadian movie he's ever seen. He openly admits that he hasn't seem a lot of Canadian films, but who amongst us has? I can only think of a handful of Canadian movies that I've truly loved.

The first couple of great Canadian flicks that pop into my head are "The Barbarian Invasions" and "The Sweet Hereafter". Then there's "Exotica", "Jesus of Montreal" and "C.R.A.Z.Y." After five whole minutes of deliberation, here are my ten favourite Canadian films of all time.

  1. The Barbarian Invasions
  2. The Sweet Hereafter
  3. Hard Core Logo
  4. Exotica
  5. Saint Ralph
  6. Jesus of Montreal
  7. C.R.A.Z.Y.
  8. Meatballs
  9. The Triplets of Belleville
  10. Sunshine


CanCon Song Dump #12

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is into the R's and heading full steam into the S's.

Here's the twelfth dump of Canadian gems.

  • Rheostatics - Record Body Count
  • Rheostatics - Claire
  • Robbie Robertson - Showdown At Big Sky
  • Rough Trade - High School Confidential
  • Rush - Closer to the Heart
  • Rush - Fly By Night
  • Rush - The Spirit of Radio
  • Rush - Tom Sawyer
  • Rusty - Wake Me
  • Rusty - Misogyny


Not A Honker

carDriving home from my ball game tonight, I saw my brother and his family crossing the street. I wanted to get his attention, so I honked my horn.

No big deal, right? Actually, it was. It was the first time I had heard my horn in years. In the eight years I've been driving this car, I'd guess I've hit the horn less than a dozen times in total.

Once in a while I'll get in the car with someone who will use their car horn a dozen times in one trip. They're honking because this guy is too slow or that guy cut them off or someone was a second late accelerating from a stop at a red light.

That's not me. I'm just not a honker.


Ontario's Emissions Scam

carI recently bought a new car. It's actually not a new car, but it's new to me, and when I bought it it came with a certificate proving it had recently passed an emissions test. If you look at the test results, you'll see it wasn't even close.

This morning I visited the MTO because these emissions tests are only good for one year and this one expires tomorrow. My birthday is later in the month, and I figured I'd get my sticker early so I didn't have to get this car tested again. Because the emissions test will be over a year old by the time my birthday rolls around in a couple of weeks, the MTO wouldn't renew my plates.

Now I have to fork over another $40 to get another emissions test that this automobile will pass easily. If I don't do this, I can't renew my plates. I have to do this every two years, as most of you know.

This, my friends, is a scam. The old time stinkers are already off the road. Failing this test is a great deal more difficult than passing it.


Stink My Butts

familyMichelle, my comedically inclined two year old daughter, has her own catch phrase. To induce pure hilarity, she proudly exclaims "Stink My Butts".

I don't know where this came from. It didn't come from her older brother who would never have adopted such a catch phrase for fear "butts" is on the long list of swear words. Michelle started dropping "Stink My Butts" a couple of weeks ago and my laughter only encouraged her. Now she uses it as a comedy crutch for instant laughs.

Michelle really is funny. She's a super ham, has pretty good timing and a wonderful sense of humour. Stink My Butts indeed...

Michelle


Don't Stop Believin'

musicHere's Journey performing "Don't Stop Believin'".

Those who know, know. Those who don't, don't.

Don't stop.


It's Official, I'm a Cool White Guy

thumbsupA.T., a local blogger in the East end of the city, has officially named me a cool white guy.

A.T. read entries in which I praised Martin Scorsese's "The Departed", and he actually sent me a DVD copy of "Infernal Affairs", the Hong Kong film upon which "The Departed" is based. A.T., I suspect, is of Asian descent, and he's pretty happy that this here cracker has agreed to watch a movie entitled "Mou gaan dou".

A.T., I'm looking forward to it. I've heard good things, and I really did enjoy "The Departed". As soon as I've got a free 101 minutes I'll become the coolest white guy on the planet.


Pam and Jim

tvAs I hope tonight's series finale of "The Sopranos" is great, my mind has drifted to Pam and Jim.

If you watch "The Office", you know the Pam and Jim relationship is key to the storyline. We all root for Pam and Jim and hope their timing syncs up. The season three finale that aired last month was pretty sweet for us Pam and Jim fans. Pam's reaction is the money shot.

Here it is.


How To End A Beloved Series

tvJune 10th has been circled on my calendar for a while and now that date has arrived. Tonight I'll be watching the series finale of "The Sopranos".

Series finales can be tricky. Expectations are often pretty high and everyone's looking for some type of closure. The last time I said goodbye to a show I loved, it was "Six Feet Under" and their final 6:48 left me feeling totally fulfilled. Click that link to watch it.

I hope David Chase was up to the challenge. I hope I'm not left bitter and disappointed after tonight's episode. I hope it's great.

Everyone's waiting...


Do I Look Like Matt Roloff?

questionmarkBetween games two and three at this afternoon's slo-pitch tournament, we all went out to lunch and Jordy said I look like the guy from "Little People, Big World". Matt Roloff is the guy from "Little People, Big World", and he's a little person. Engell's girlfriend totally agreed with Jordy, and then Matty joined in.

I'm opening this important question up to the masses. Do I look like Matt Roloff from "Little People, Big World"?

Matt Roloff Me


SPN Qualifier Tournament Update

baseballThey bill it as "the largest co-ed SPN qualifier tournament in the west end". Some call it the "16th Annual RSPA/Stripes Slo-Pitch Tournament". I call it "how I spent my entire Saturday".

I checked in at Diamond Beach headquarters at 8am and spent the day playing ball at Max Ward Park and Diamond Beach, which is the fancy name for Centennial Park. We won the opener, lost our second game and won our closer to qualify for the playoffs. Our first round robin playoff game is tomorrow morning.

It really was a perfect day for ball. It was warm, but not too hot. There was a pleasant breeze and lots of sun. Here's hoping tomorrow is just as perfect and the day concludes with a tournament victory for Raging Storm.


Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Once you go Vatican, you never go back again."


Why Are You Poking Me?

mouseOnly five days ago I caved and succumbed to the pressures of Facebook. I didn't dive in, I didn't use my full name nor did I post my alma maters. I'm even using a fake picture.

After five days I can see why people get addicted to this tool. It's pretty awesome. I just have one question. What's the deal with the poke?

People have been poking me. I'm never quite sure what to do. Sometimes I ignore it, other times I poke back. I'm unsure what the poking etiquette dictates and I don't understand the purpose.

There is much for me to learn. People even tagged me in photos of pizza and The Simpsons and got offended when I removed the tag. It's a whole self sustained eco-system and I'm suffering from culture shock.


CanCon Song Dump #11

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is powerful enough to make Paris Hilton cry.

Here's the eleventh dump of Canadian gems. Make me proud.

  • Odds - Heterosexual Man
  • Our Lady Peace - 4am
  • Our Lady Peace - Naveed
  • Our Lady Peace - Clumsy
  • Payolas - Eyes of a Stranger
  • Platinum Blonde - Crying Over You
  • The Pursuit of Happiness - I'm An Adult Now
  • The Pursuit of Happiness - She's So Young
  • Randy Bachman - Prairie Town
  • BTO - You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet


Not Built For IE6?

binocularsThe body of this site is a good old fashioned HTML table. It's simply two columns, but I've always intended to blow away this table and create the same effect with pure CSS.

In my spare time I've been hacking away at this CSS solution, and boy does it look sweet and behave perfectly. It's lean and mean and there's no table required. There's only one problem. When I view the new page in IE6, it's wonky.

According to these guys, 50% of web surfers are using IE6. That's a pretty big chunk of the pie. In order to accommodate this 50% slice I'd have to throw in a whack of work-arounds and hacks and it still won't look and behave quite the way it should. There is, however, another solution. I could build this site for Firefox and other modern browsers and not care about IE6 users.

It would negatively impact traffic, but since it's all about me, do I really care? I'm thinking about it...


The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Chris O'Donnell movies (because a girl on the ball team we played last night said I looked like him)

  1. Scent of a Woman
  2. Kinsey
  3. School Ties
  4. Mad Love
  5. Batman Forever


I Don't Care About About Paris Hilton

binocularsI see Paris Hilton is dominating the news again this morning. She was released from jail after three days and now there's word she might go back to the pen. Every time Paris Hilton hits the news I have to remind myself why this is news.

She was born rich, she's attractive and she appeared quite bored and disinterested in a popular sex tape a few years back. She managed to parlay this "fame" into a reality series, an album and a successful career appearing at parties as Paris Hilton. Let me know if I missed anything.

I don't care about whether Paris Hilton serves three days or 300 days. I don't care about Paris Hilton. I do, however, care about Sarah Silverman, and I loved her little jab at Paris during the recent MTV Video Awards.


The Great Wait For Tony S.

sopranosFor fun, I just read all the entries I wrote three years ago. What caught my eye was this entry about The Sopranos I wrote on June 6, 2004.

The Sopranos
Published June 6, 2004 @ 21:58 in Television

The SopranosI just finished watching the season five finale of The Sopranos. Another brilliant episode of one of my favourite television programs and things are set up very nicely for their final season.

I know a lot of people who read this site haven't seen the finale yet and don't want me to spoil it for them so I'll just say a couple of lingering issues were tied up tonight. It was once again television that's far too good for tv.

What frustrates me the most is the length of time I now must wait before I can view another new episode. The delay between season 4 and 5 was well over a year and it looks like we're in for a similar delay before season 6. Hell, Michelle will be walking before I see Tony again. Marron!

Go ahead and read it again, I'll pause for effect. Three years ago I was writing about how there was one season to go on The Sopranos. I jokingly stated that Michelle would be walking by the time this was settled. At the time, she wasn't even born yet. And walking? She's practically driving.

They managed to wait a couple of years to air this final season, and then they broke this season up so we're only finishing it this week. That's three whole years between season finales.

I've been thoroughly enjoying the series for years, but the waits were long, brutal and inhumane. After Sunday I'll never have to face another two year wait. Tony Soprano will either be wearing cement shoes, in the witness relocation program or laying low in Woodbridge. I'm done waiting. Three more sleeps...


My Offline Challenge: Week Thirteen

runningEventually, something had to give. My new 5k clinic meets every Monday night, but my slo-pitch team often plays on Monday nights as well. The two collided this week, and slo-pitch won. The two are scheduled to collide again next week and the result will be the same.

I ran last night though, but only a couple of 7:1s. The plan is to run again on Sunday morning, but my slo-pitch team is entered in some tournament at Centennial Park and there very well could be another conflict.

Can't we all just get along?


Can Weed Get Into My System From Blowing a Brainer?

questionmarkMoments ago, someone went to Ask.com and posed this question. Can weed get into my system from blowing a brainer?

I'm the #1 result from Ask.com when you ask that particular question, but I don't have the answer. As I reflect upon the question, I find it profound in its absurdity. Does anyone have the answer?


2007 Playoff Pool: Day Fifty Seven

PuckABO won and ABF won, making it a wonderful conclusion to our 2007 Playoff Pool. ABF stands for Anyone But Felice. Marc Felice has won our pool more often than not, and it's nice to see him finish in the back of the pack for a change.

Ryan won easily, and Steve picks up the second place money. If I couldn't win, I'm just glad my two brothers finished 1-2 in the final standings. Here's how it all fell after 57 nights of NHL playoffs.

  1. Ryan - 108
  2. Steve - 82
  3. Gary - 79
  4. Mike - 73
  5. Alexi - 72
  6. Marc - 68
  7. Alvin - 61
  8. Joe - 60
  9. Pops - 47

For the final results, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2007hockeypool.html.

ABO Wins!


The Great Canadian Dream

stanleycupEver since I was a little kid I've loved seeing the Stanley Cup get awarded and paraded around by the winning team. Players hoist the cup, kiss it, lift it high to the heavens, celebrate and pass it along. It's magic.

With a period to play in Anaheim, it looks like I'll get to watch that scene tonight. What Canadian boy doesn't dream of winning the Stanley Cup?

I know I did.


CanCon Song Dump #10

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is soaring higher than our dollar.

Here's the tenth dump of Canadian gems. Take no prisoners.

  • Neil Young - Heart of Gold
  • Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World
  • Nelly Furtado - I'm Like A Bird
  • Neverending White Lights - The Grace
  • The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
  • The New Pornographers - Use It
  • Nickelback - How You Remind Me
  • Northern Lights - Tears Are Not Enough
  • The Northern Pikes - Teenland
  • Odds - Someone Who's Cool


Who Needs A Cup When You Can Have Antropov?

leafsWho the hell needs a Stanley Cup when we could have Nik Antropov instead? The Maple Leafs have reached agreement with Antropov on a two-year contract extension.

Clearly Leafs management had a decision to make. Do we try and build a team capable of winning it all or do we keep re-signing the same mediocre players over and over and over again? We've made our choice, and now we have our favourite whipping boy for another couple of seasons.

Luckily he'll be spending most of that time on the DL.

Maple Leafs Program


Faith No More's Epic

videoThe other day, right after Raging Storm's second loss in four nights, both of which can be pinned on a certain pitcher who bailed on us, I turned on the car and heard the opening of Faith No More's "Epic".

It's been a few years since I've heard "Epic", but it's as good as I remember it. It is, for all intents and purposes, epic. It helped kick off that hip-hop meets hard rock blend I've always loved.

It had a cool video as well, and no, the fish doesn't actually die at the end. They returned it to its tank.


Weekly MP3: Seasons from Chris Cornell

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.

Chris Cornell - Seasons
Teddy Vedder is a dude I play ball with on Thursday nights. I like Teddy Vedder because our musical interests overlap all over the place. Last Thursday, we were talking about Chris Cornell and his solo stuff.

I mentioned "Seasons", a nice little song Cornell added to the Singles soundtrack. Teddy Vedder was sure "Seasons" was a Soundgarden song and threatened to whip out his iPod (which had the song on it) to prove it. I didn't need proof, I knew I was right. Teddy Vedder, this one's for you. It's "Seasons", a great little solo track from Chris Cornell.


Why I Can't Watch Canadian Idol

idolA little birdy told me Canadian Idol was airing tonight. I followed American Idol and I love this country, so naturally I'd follow Canadian Idol, right?

Wrong again. I can't watch Canadian Idol. I can't stand Ben Mulroney and seeing and hearing him drives me bonkers. He's my Mary Hart with the delivery that strikes every nerve in my body. If there's a show with him on it, I'm not watching.

Ben Mulroney makes Ryan Seacrest seem like Laurence Olivier. He's a horrible broadcaster, so bad I don't even like writing about it. Watching Canadian Idol simply isn't an option for me.


The TTC Student Card Caper

ttcIf you grew up in Toronto, you remember the TTC Student Cards. You had to show this card when you paid student fare to ride the TTC. Every fall the TTC would come to our school and take our picture. That's where the trouble began.

In typical dumb ass teenage fashion, I couldn't just sign my card "Mike Boon". I had to be some sort of misfit rebel and use a fake name. Did I write in Mike Tyson or Michael Jordon or I.P. Frehley? No, I went ahead and used the name of our Minister of Finance, Michael Wilson. That's right, I used the name of a Brian Mulroney appointed Federal minister.

The most pathetic part of this story is the fact I got busted and had to go to Sherbourne station to get a new card. As pathetic as this all sounds, there is a good moral for you kids at home. If you're going to use a fake name, don't geek out and go political. Stick to the staples and make the risk worthwhile. That's one to grow on.

Old Student Cards for TTC


London's 2012 Olympic Logo

olympicsLondon has the Olympics in 2012, and they've just unveiled their logo and the critics are not impressed.

No, it's not as nice as our inukshuk, but is it really so offensive?

London Olympics Logo

(Boldly stolen from here.)


I Haven't Napped Since The 70s

moonPrior to our ball game last night, Kic was telling me he napped. For a period of time between work and our 8p game he actually went to sleep. Jordy tells me Kic frequently naps.

I must confess, I've never been a napper. Once I'm awake, why would I want to drift away into a nice sleep when there's a day to finish? Where does one find time to sleep before nightfall? Who are these nappers and what's their real agenda?

In all seriousness, I've read quotes from successful leaders who praise the nap and I'm sure there are many benefits, but I can't do it. Once I awaken, I'm sticking it out in the conscious would until it's time to crash again.

I haven't napped since the 70s.


2007 Playoff Pool: Day Fifty Five

PuckMikey likes it! Mikey likes it very much!

Those Sens had me worried for a while. They were really on a roll, and I started to wonder if they'd ever choke. Still, I kept the faith, and here we are one game away from an ABO victory. How sweet it is...

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


CanCon Song Dump #9

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time has the momentum of a Phil Leotardo led assault on our favourite New Jersey crime family.

Here's the ninth dump of Canadian gems. Take no prisoners.

  • Maestro Fresh-Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide
  • Mashmakhan - As Years Go By
  • Matthew Good Band - Apparitions
  • Men Without Hats - Safety Dance
  • Metric - Combat Baby
  • Moist - Push
  • Moxy Fruvous - King of Spain
  • Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl
  • Neil Young - Helpless
  • Neil Young - Old Man


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. blink-182 - Dammit
  2. Soundgarden - Nothing To Say
  3. Gowan - Out of a Deeper Hunger
  4. Radiohead - True Love Waits
  5. Smashing Pumpkins - Sweet Sweet
  6. Van Halen - Ice Cream Man
  7. Von Bondies - Crawl Through the Darkness
  8. The Band - Stage Fright
  9. Metallica - The Prince
  10. Radiohead - Dollars and Cents

"True Love Waits" is one of my favourite Radiohead songs, but it never appeared on a studio album. The version I have is from I Might Be Wrong, an official collection of live songs from back in 2001.

I liked "True Love Waits" so much I threw it on my 100 wedding song playlist for my brothers wedding. Last I checked, they were still together, which means this song works.


Royal Ontario Museum Crystal Unveiled

cntowerThe Michael Lee-Chin Crystal designed crystal expansion of the ROM was officially unveiled to the public this weekend. You've no doubt read and seen a great deal on this $270-million endeavour. I recently spent eight months watching it grow.

From August 2006 until quite recently I worked out of the Park Hyatt at Avenue Road and Bloor Street. My 11th floor window overlooked the Royal Ontario Museum construction and periodically I'd whip out my camera to capture the latest developments.

Renaissance ROM Snow Falls On Rom

And lest we forget, the floating toilet.



And Then, There Was One

sopranosAwesome Sopranos episode tonight... damn I'm going to miss this series.

Next Sunday at 9pm I'm unplugging all the phones and boarding up the windows. The end is here and there's no telling which way the wind is blowing.

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end.


Actual Google Searches by Actual Human Beings

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in May of 2007. The first search string more than doubled the second. It's also nice to see I'm getting more visits from stoners.

  1. wedding playlist
  2. toronto maple leafs
  3. big shiny tunes 2
  4. wedding playlists
  5. big shiny tunes 3
  6. stanley cup
  7. big shiny tunes 7
  8. cereal boxes
  9. marijuana leafs
  10. running music


Tony Thompson, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTony Thompson was 31. He sang on the 1990s R&B hits "I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)" and "She's Playing Hard to Get" as part of the group Hi-Five.


Is The Saturday Star Too Much To Digest?

newspaperThe Toronto Star has redesigned their Saturday Star. The Saturday Star is the biggie and has always had the most sections, but is it too big?

I counted 14 sections in yesterday's Star. The first thing I do is sort the paper into two piles. One pile I'll actually look at, the other pile I won't even open. The piles are usual of equal size. Here are the 14 sections from yesterday's Star and what I did with each of them.

  • The First Section - I actually read this section. It's the news, and if you don't read the news in your newspaper you're really just reading a paper.
  • World and Comment - I go through this section and read the articles that capture my fancy.
  • Entertainment - I read this section. I find it entertaining.
  • Classified - I don't read this section at all.
  • New in Homes - I used to check out this section but I haven't opened it in a while. I'm sure I'm missing out on many wonderful home maintenance and decoration tips.
  • Ideas - I enjoy this section.
  • Weekend Living - This is sort of the old Life section and I'll breeze through it and read the interesting stuff.
  • Sports - I have always loved this section.
  • Puzzles and Comics - I just read the For Better or For Worse on the front page and that's that.
  • Condos - I don't read this section at all.
  • Travel - I don't read this section at all.
  • Wheels - I don't read this section at all.
  • Wheels 2 - I don't read this section at all.
  • Business and Careers - I don't read this section unless there's a really interesting business article screaming at me on the front page.

It takes a while to wade through it all and I usually don't wrap it up until some time on Sunday. Luckily, the Sunday Star is far lighter fare.


Lions and Tigers

familyInspired by this awesome buffalo comeback, James and Michelle morphed into wild African felines.

There was a brief battle, but in the end there were only hugs. The animal kingdom can teach us a great deal, but a five year old and a two year old can teach us even more.

Battle Lion and Tiger
Michelle the Lion James the Tiger Lion and Tiger Kiss


The Great Facebook Surrender?

questionmarkA few months ago I wrote about my great Facebook and MySpace resistance. MySpace turned my stomach, and although I had no Facebook experience, I decided to lump the two social networking portals together and see how long I could resist them.

A group of people I run with decided all communication would be done through a Facebook group. This left me with two choices. I could continue my great Facebook resistance and be left in the dark and without running support or I could suck it up and join Facebook. I decided to join Facebook... sort of...

Toronto Mike joined Facebook, but he didn't use his actual name and he didn't share his high school, university or any other identification that would attract old friends, acquaintances and otherwise. Toronto Mike has been on Facebook for a solid half hour now and it's nothing like MySpace. It's actually got a pleasant interface, seems rather intuitive and there's no multimedia being shoved down my throat from parts unknown. It's like MySpace for sensible adults, and that's a very good thing.

This ends my great Facebook resistance. My great MySpace resistance, however, shows no sign of weakness.


2007 Playoff Pool: Day Fifty Three

PuckOttawa won a game. Oooooohhhh, I'm sooooo scared. I can barely type I'm shaking so much.

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


Buffalo Brawl With Lion, Pride Beats Pride

zooAs heroic as Lebron James' effort was the other night, it wasn't the best YouTube video I watched tonight. Against all odds, this 8:23 of footage from Africa kept me at the edge of my seat and ended up blowing my mind.

At first it's buffalo vs. lion, and a poor baby buffalo gets caught. Then, a crocodile shows up to battle the lions for the babe, but it gets better. The lions win that battle, but the herd of buffalo are coming back for revenge.

I won't ruin the ending for you. Invest eight minutes of your life on this video and you won't regret it. It's the biggest buffalo comeback since Frank Reich brought the Bills back against the Oilers in '93.



Jordanesque

basketballI know I'm late on this one, but I'm a busy dude. This awesome video from the NBA shows LeBron James single handedly winning a playoff game Thursday night against the Pistons. James scored 29 of his team's last 30 points. There was actually an hour and ten minutes at the end of this game when no Cavalier other than James scored. That's incredible.

That's Jordanesque.



Cito Makes His Decision

baseballDamn it's a nice day out. I've been out all day, but before my 4pm BBQ I wanted to share the lineup and positions for Raging Storm's Monday night game against the Booty Pirates. This isn't normally entry-worthy, but Cito did have a decision to make.

Cito thought about this long and hard, and after a great deal of deliberation, Cito has made his decision. Visit the Raging Storm home page and, if you disagree with what Cito did, spill it in the comments.


Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"I don't miss a thing. Whoa! We have a kitchen?!"


Freddie P's Goohead Jays Song

bluejaysI had a pretty good time sharing "Jays To The Top", a Humble Howard song from a Blue Jays compilation that might just be the worst song in the history of the world.

That same Blue Jays album contains a song from Freddie P, starting in the guise of Mr. Goohead. By comparison, this sounds like "Hey Jude".


What's A Cito To Do?

baseballCito screwed up. I thought it was an 8pm game tonight for Raging Storm but it was actually a 6:30pm start. I missed the first two innings and by the time I showed up we were down significantly. We actually made a game of it, battling back and loading the bases in the final inning before taking a 15-13 loss.

When I took over this team at the beginning of the season, I stated that anyone who showed up late would have to catch the entire next game. I was prepared to enforce this rule, but I never imagined it would be me who would be messing up the times. Now I have a decision to make.

The honourable thing to do is to put me at catcher on Monday night. That proves I don't play favourites and we're all equal under Cito's law, even Cito. Having said that, I don't want to play catcher on Monday night, and I'm Cito, dammit!

We'll have to wait and see what Cito does.


CanCon Song Dump #8

canadaMy quest to come up with a definitive list of the 100 best Canadian tunes of all-time is bigger than Jesus. You know Jesus Delgado, right? He's a Red Sox pitching prospect. This is even bigger than him.

Here's the eighth dump of Canadian gems. Take no prisoners.

  • Lee Aaron - Watcha Do To My Body
  • Len - Steal My Sunshine
  • Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
  • Leonard Cohen - Bird on a Wire
  • Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
  • Lighthouse - One Fine Morning
  • Lighthouse - Sunny Days
  • Loverboy - Turn Me Loose
  • The Lowest of the Low - Bleed A Little While Tonight
  • The Lowest of the Low - Henry Needs A New Pair of Shoes


Watching a Show Die

tvThe last couple of Thursday nights I've watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. NBC is burning off the final episodes of this cancelled show. I'm still watching, but I've been watching since the beginning.

Part of Studio 60's problem, other than that name I can never remember, is that it's overly dramatic to a point where everything seems so contrived. I now watch to joke with T about how overblown everything is. Suddenly, dude's on drugs, baby isn't kicking, ratings are falling, someone is suing someone or other and dude's brother is a hostage in Iraq.

I liked that pilot episode. I think I'm watching today because of that pilot episode. Watch this opening scene and you'll see what hooked me.


500 Blue Jays

bluejaysThe Toronto Star has a nice little write up about the Blue Jays milestone we hit Wednesday night. When right-handed reliever Brian Wolfe debuted in the ninth inning against the Yankees, he became the 500th player to get into at least one major-league game in a Blue Jays suit.

Here are the all-time home run leaders, A to Z.

A Roberto Alomar, 55
B George Bell, 202
C Joe Carter, 203
D Carlos Delgado, 336
E Sam Ewing, 6
F Darrin Fletcher, 61
G Shawn Green, 119
H Eric Hinske, 78
I Garth Iorg, 20
J Cliff Johnson, 54
K Randy Knorr, 15
L Manny Lee, 16
M Lloyd Moseby, 149
N Otis Nixon, 2
O John Olerud, 109
P Josh Phelps, 47
Q Three-way tie, 0
R Alex Rios, 40
S Ed Sprague, 113
T Frank Thomas, 7
U Willie Upshaw, 112
V Otto Velez, 72
W Vernon Wells, 146
X No such animal
Y No such animal
Z Gregg Zaun, 30

When I play ball, which is twice a week, I wear a ball cap with the old Blue Jays logo on it. Seeing the old logo gives me the warm fuzzies, and I like warm fuzzies. As a result, I try and only wear that old logo. If you're buying me Blue Jays stuff, go retro.

Tools of the Trade


The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite songs from The White Stripes

  1. Fell In Love With A Girl
  2. Dead Leaves On The Dirty Ground
  3. You're Pretty Good Looking
  4. Blue Orchid
  5. Ball and Biscuit



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