August 2007 Archives

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The Heart of the Game
Published by Toronto Mike on August 31, 2007 @ 19:29 in Reviews

A Movie ReelThe Heart of the Game: 7 out of 10.

I hadn't heard much about this documentary about a Seattle high school girls' basketball team, but when it showed up on TMN I decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.

The story unravels in such a way that you'd swear it was fiction, although if it was fiction I'd be complaining about how convenient it all was. It's quite remarkable what happens with the Roosevelt Roughriders. Like the very fine Hoop Dreams, it's a story that deserves to be told. It's pretty damn awesome.

Michael Jackson, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 31, 2007 @ 16:59 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumMichael Jackson was 65. He was a leading world beer critic who praised the brews of Belgium and was known as The Beer Hunter.

Diana Dead Ten Years
Published by Toronto Mike on August 31, 2007 @ 16:18 in Memories

newspaperIt's hard to believe an entire decade has elapsed since Princess Diana's death. I remember that night well.

Taryn and I were watching the coverage of her car crash on tv in the bachelor apartment we were renting at Charles Street and Yonge. I fully appreciated the significance of the event, but I wasn't much of a royal family fan, or a Diana fan for that matter. Taryn, however, was, and she had to leave for a midnight shift working security for a chocolate factory. It's true, for a couple of years while I was working at Food City as a grocery clerk Taryn worked two 12-hour midnight shifts each weekend monitoring a Nestle plant on Sterling Road. But I digress...

I stayed tuned to the coverage as the reporters speculated as to whether Diana had survived or not. I remember hearing the announcement that she had passed at which time I called Taryn to tell her the sad news. I remember Taryn being really upset and then moments later my mom calling to share her shock.

Without a doubt, it was an iconic event. I may not have been a Di watcher, but I recognized her as the most photographed woman in the world and I was sure to keep a copy of the next morning's paper.

Lady Dies

My Favourite John C. Reilly Movies
Published by Toronto Mike on August 31, 2007 @ 11:59 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy favourite John C. Reilly movies

  1. Magnolia
  2. Boogie Nights
  3. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
  4. The Perfect Storm
  5. The Hours
Eddie Vedder's Big Hard Sun
Published by Toronto Mike on August 31, 2007 @ 08:55 in Pearl Jam

pearl jamCoach Carter made sure I had the MP3 of Eddie Vedder's solo song from the Into The Wild soundtrack. As I was listening to it for the first time, I realized it wasn't an Eddie original but a song I had heard many times on local radio stations. It was a cover, but for the life of me I couldn't name the original artist.

The song is called "Big Hard Sun" and a local band called Indio released it on their 1989 LP Big Harvest. Indio isn't really a "them" but a guy named Gordon Peterson who hasn't been heard from since. If you were listening to Toronto radio in the late 80s and early 90s, you'll recognize this tune.

Eddie does a nice job with it. Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker fills in for Joni Mitchell on this version. Listen to Ed Vedder's "Big Hard Sun" below.

Note: I've been told the player above disappears in IE. It works fine with my Firefox. If you can't see the player above, Teddy Vedder left a link in the comments that will let you stream the song.

The Simpsons Star Wars
Published by Toronto Mike on August 30, 2007 @ 20:55 in The Simpsons

star warsI love Star Wars. I love The Simpsons. Therefore, I love this fan-made mash-up of The Simpsons Star Wars.

It's Logic 101.

The Office Summer Vacation
Published by Toronto Mike on August 30, 2007 @ 20:49 in Television

tvThe people who market The Office seem to get it. They know how to please their target audience, and that's with little tid bit videos on YouTube.

There's nothing ground breaking in this promo, but it's still fun to hear from the characters and get a little bonus insight into where they're at. And hey, it's got me talking about the new season. As I said, these guys know their market.

I Did It Without The If
Published by Toronto Mike on August 30, 2007 @ 20:37 in News

bookWe all remember the crap storm that brewed last November when O.J. Simpson was set to release his book "If I Did It". HarperCollins pulled the book and over the summer a federal bankruptcy judge awarded rights to the book to Ronald Goldman's family to help satisfy a $38 million wrongful death judgement against Simpson.

That means Goldman's family now controls the book and they're having it published by Beaufort Books. Check out the cover and see if you can spot the "If" in "If I Did It".

If a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map is there any prayer they'll see this as anything other than a confession by The Juice?

Books Simpson

The Swedish MAP Line?
Published by Toronto Mike on August 30, 2007 @ 14:08 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsLeafs GM John Ferguson Jr. is making waves with this quote.

"We could be interested in Peter Forsberg if conditions are right."

If Peter Forsberg becomes a Leafs, and that's still a pretty big "if", he could be a part of the new Swedish MAP Line: Mats Sundin, Alex Steen and Peter Forsberg.

Start planning that parade...

Watching The Simpsons Movie With James and Michelle
Published by Toronto Mike on August 30, 2007 @ 08:47 in Family, The Simpsons

homerI saw The Simpsons Movie again, this time with my kids. Although only five and three, they were dying to see this movie, and I was dying to see it with them.

You actually appreciate this movie more the second time through. For starters, it's a perfect family film. The only questionable scene involved Otto and a bong, and as far as the kids know he was blowing bubbles. Otherwise, it's good wholesome fun.

They loved the pig scenes, and a gag near the end when they trick Russ Cargill into saying "I'm a wiener". They also love the physical humour, usually involving Homer and a hammer or a rock and a hard place. Here are the parts I thought were ultra special. Warning, there be spoilers below!

  • Biting the Hand That Feeds You - The opening scene with Homer calling us out for spending money to watch something that comes on our television every week for free is pure Simpsons gold. We love to be roasted, and we'll pay for that.
  • The Nude Scene - This entire montage was fantastic, especially the reveal. I remember the Austin Powers scene that inspired this, but Austin didn't have the gonads to show wang.
  • Spider-Pig - Although his scenes are brief, the entire Spider-Pig subplot is pretty damn sharp. The song, of course, steals the show. The choral version of the song reached #24 on the British singles chart. At 64 seconds, it is the shortest track to ever reach the British top 40.
  • The Scroll - The Fox promotional scroll was too funny. It might be my favourite part of the film.
  • Bart and Ned - The subplot revolving around Bart's hunger for a supportive and nurturing father figure was handled with great poise and sensitivity. The scenes with Bart and Ned, juxtaposed with the hilarious scene of Bart and Homer fishing, is The Simpsons at its best. It's never just been about the laughs.
  • Maggie's First Word - During the credits, Maggie utters her first word. Actually, it's not her first word, but it's her first word in front of the rest of the family. It was a great word, too... and I'm already looking forward to it.

There were many other great scenes, from Green Day to Alaska, but those were my favourites. The kids are still laughing at the "I'm a wiener" line. I must admit, I laughed at that one, too.

Feist on Letterman
Published by Toronto Mike on August 29, 2007 @ 21:18 in Music

videoI'm just catching up on my YouTubery. This is a sweet performance of "1234" by Feist on Letterman the other night. Check out those back up singers. You'll see members of Broken Social Scene, the New Pornographers, Grizzly Bear and The National.

Richard Jewell, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 29, 2007 @ 21:11 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumRichard Jewell was 44. He was the former security guard who was wrongly linked to the 1996 Olympic bombing and then waged a decade-long battle with news organizations to defend his reputation.

I'm Not Sure I Care, But I Want To Win
Published by Toronto Mike on August 29, 2007 @ 20:55 in Hockey Canada

Canada HockeyWe're already up 2-0 in the Super Series and I've yet to blog about this tournament. This 8 game series commemorates the 1972 Summit Series we all know and love, only this time, it's our juniors against their juniors.

I'm not really into this series yet. It just doesn't feel as important as the Junior Championships each December. I'm not sure if I care, but I know I want to win.

Go Canada Go! Destroy those Ruskies 8-0!

My Offline Challenge: Week 25
Published by Toronto Mike on August 29, 2007 @ 20:17 in Running

runningI officially registered for the Oasis 10k ZooRun at the Toronto Zoo. I've got 44 days to train. In a couple of weeks I'll be running The Terry Fox Run. Don't forget to contribute to my run. Kick in $5, I swear you won't notice it on the Visa bill.

Here are the runs/walks I fit in over the past seven days:

  • Thursday - 6k walk
  • Saturday - 8k run
  • Sunday - 6k run
  • Monday - 4k walk
  • Tuesday - 6k walk
  • Wednesday - 6k run

Tonight's 6k run was super sweaty. Cotton is the enemy.

Hilly Kristal, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 29, 2007 @ 16:57 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumHilly Kristal was 75. He was the founder and owner of the New York rock club CBGB, a launching pad for bands like the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads.

Mapping Miss South Carolina's Answer
Published by Toronto Mike on August 29, 2007 @ 13:06 in Miscellaneous

Magnifying GlassThe other day I shared video of Miss South Carolina Teen USA Lauren Caitlin Upton answering A.C. Slater's tough question. The Tube Map of her answer, displayed below, was taken from here. I found it quite helpful.

Some think the fun we're having at Lauren Caitin Upton's expense is mean spirited. I say it's permitted based on the fact she's pretty and will be forgiven by all on account of her attractiveness. There's a formula in there somewhere, but my brain still hurts from Mr. Rocca's grade 11 math class.

missmap

Sonic Youth - Kool Thing
Published by Toronto Mike on August 29, 2007 @ 08:58 in Weekly MP3s

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

Sonic Youth - Kool Thing
Sonic Youth is a pretty solid band, but this is probably my favourite Sonic Youth song of all time. It was a pretty cool video which, of course, featured Chuck D of Public Enemy.

Come on, come on, come on, come on let everybody know.

Jean-Sebastien Aubin A King
Published by Toronto Mike on August 28, 2007 @ 19:50 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsThe Los Angeles Kings signed veteran goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin to a one-year, $525,000 US contract today, officially ending the J.S. Aubin era here in Toronto.

If we step into my little time machine we'll recall that Aubin was unbeatable to close out the 2006 season. In ten games he helped us secure 18 points and didn't lose a single game in regulation. He single handedly put us back in the playoff race after a certain Swede blew a tire against Montreal in a crucial home-at-home series.

Last season with the mediocre Andrew Raycroft doing the heavy lifting I had to ask aloud "What did Jean-Sebastien Aubin ever do to piss off Paul Maurice so royally?" Aubin was clearly in the dog house and wasn't going to get a fair shake in this town. Rumours suggest a number of key players, including Bryan McCabe, had issues with Aubin's personality, and Raycroft was worked like a dog. He played like one, too.

Aubin is now a King and there's a new saviour in town. Vesa Toskala, lead us to the promised land.

Before and After

Elwy Yost at the Movies
Published by Toronto Mike on August 28, 2007 @ 15:18 in Memories, Television

moviesToday I thought about someone I hadn't thought of in years. I thought about Elwy Yost.

Elwy Yost hosted Magic Shadows and Saturday Night at the Movies on TVOntario for most of my life. He focused on classic films, and I was too young to appreciate it, but he was a regular face I'd see as I surfed channels. He was always there, hosting these shows from 1974 to 1999, and he always seemed to love what he did.

Wikipedia tells me he's retired and living in West Vancouver, British Columbia. I'll bet he's seated in a comfy chair right now, enjoying a movie.

Californication and Saving Grace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 28, 2007 @ 14:06 in Television

tvThis past week I checked out a couple of new television series. I sampled the first two episodes of Californication, starring David Duchovny, and the pilot of Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter.

Californication reminded me of Dream On, an HBO series I used to watch. Californication is actually a Showtime series, but it's still a dude who easily scores with ultra hot babes who always end up showing us the goods. Dream On was a comedy while Californication is sort of a dark comedy with dramatic aspirations. I watched the first two episodes and I'll be back for the third. It's even got geek appeal with Duchovny's character getting paid to blog.

I hated Saving Grace. I hated everything about it. It aired on Showcase last night and I expected a great deal better. It's awfully contrived with a boring as all hell subplot and a corny Touched By An Angel premise. The best part of Saving Grace was the theme music by Everlast. I'd avoid this one like the plague and wait for the far better Dexter to start up its second season.

And while we're discussing television, we finally get the new season of Rescue Me tonight at 10p on Showcase. As Red would say, dont'cha dare miss it.

That Back To School Sensation
Published by Toronto Mike on August 28, 2007 @ 11:53 in Miscellaneous

schoolI haven't attended school full time since early 1998. I'm almost a decade removed from school yet I still get that "back to school" feeling at this time of year.

I don't know if it's the cooler nights or the end the CNE or my awareness Labour Day is right around the corner, but I keep fighting this sensation to buy new binders and three hole lined paper. I could probably use a new knapsack, too.

I'm practically excited about going back and starting a new school year with a clean slate. I'm pretty sure I'd kick serious ass in grade seven if I was given another crack at it.

Too Good To Be True
Published by Toronto Mike on August 27, 2007 @ 19:32 in Miscellaneous

microphoneIt may seem too good to be true, but it really did happen. This young lady is from South Carolina and she got asked a pretty tricky question by A. C. Slater. Her answer is one for the ages.

Her name is Lauren Caitlin Upton, she's Miss South Carolina Teen USA, and I'll bet that answer makes her a star.

The Taste of Sick
Published by Toronto Mike on August 27, 2007 @ 15:11 in Miscellaneous

medicalFellow parents of young children likely have apple juice in stock. We buy it in bulk because milk and apple juice are the two beverages of choice in my house. There's always apple juice in the refrigerator, but I never drink the stuff. To be precise, I usually don't drink the stuff, but this past weekend I had my first sip in years.

I was thirsty, it was cold and wet, so I had a small glass. After one sip I was done. The taste of apple juice will forever be the taste of sick as far as I'm concerned.

As a kid, I must have been served apple juice when sick, because even the smell of the stuff reminds me of illness. I won't be back for more, unless I'm feverish.

I Have Nothing To Say
Published by Toronto Mike on August 27, 2007 @ 11:46 in Miscellaneous

pad and penI found this cartoon at HumbleHoward.com. It got a chuckle out of me, because it's pretty accurate.

Best Bands That Have Survived 20 Years
Published by Toronto Mike on August 26, 2007 @ 11:39 in Lists, Music

musicThe Ongoing History of New Music is discussing bands that were around in the 70s and continue to make music to this day. That got me thinking about my favourite bands that were making music twenty years ago and are still making new music today.

To qualify for this list, the band must have released material in 1987 or earlier and must be still recording new music today. Here's my top ten.

  1. The Tragically Hip
  2. Public Enemy
  3. R.E.M.
  4. Beastie Boys
  5. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  6. U2
  7. Blue Rodeo
  8. The Flaming Lips
  9. 54-40
  10. The Cure
Toronto FC Record Breakers
Published by Toronto Mike on August 26, 2007 @ 10:17 in Sports

soccerI haven't caught any Toronto FC action yet, but I'm always proud when a Toronto-based professional sports franchise sets a league record. In their inaugural season, Toronto FC has already set a new standard for Major League Soccer.

Our 1-0 loss to D.C. United last night gives us the MLS record for longest stretch without a goal. We're at 642 minutes and counting.

Add this esteemed record to our previous MLS record for longest goalless spell to open a season. Feel the pride, Toronto.

Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on August 26, 2007 @ 10:09 in Quotes

Quotes"We are like yeast in a vat - mindlessly multiplying as we greedily devour a finite world. If we do not change our ways, we will perish as the yeasts perish - having exhausted our sustenance and poisoned ourselves in the lethal brew of our own wastes."
      - Farley Mowat

The Simpsons Movie
Published by Toronto Mike on August 25, 2007 @ 17:44 in Reviews, The Simpsons

A Movie ReelThe Simpsons Movie: 8 out of 10.

This is the hardest movie review I've ever sat down to write. I just ended a 17 year wait to see a film featuring the Simpsons. Since they announced this project had been green lighted, I went from heavy anticipation through a thick fear it would be mediocre to a recent optimism based on positive reviews. You can follow that roller coaster ride of emotions here, but I've got a review to get to.

I'm torn. On the one hand, it's good, which is good. My biggest fear was that it would stink, and it certainly doesn't stink. In fact, it looks great and feels quite good for 87 minutes. As good as it is, it's not exceptional. In fact, I would never label this film "great". It's good, and that pleases me, but this isn't just any movie. This is The Simpsons Movie.

I'm not necessarily disappointed, I smiled often and laughed quite a bit, but it did tail off in the second half and it didn't ever advance beyond the scope of a pretty good 87 minute episode. I guess I just set the bar too high. I guess I've spent 17 years hoping this movie wouldn't just be good, but would be ex-cel-lent. I remain hopeful that will be truer of the sequel.

When it comes to The Simpsons Movie, good isn't good enough.

James Loves Homer

The Next Revolution in Canadian Comics?
Published by Toronto Mike on August 25, 2007 @ 17:35 in Miscellaneous

paintingKal from Zeros 2 Heroes Media contacted me and asked me to put out a call to all Canadian novelists, playwrights, screenwriters and journalists. I told him he could write a guest blog and I'd paste it down. He outsourced that strenuous task to Morgan. Here's what Morgan sent me.

Zeros 2 Heroes? Canada: Comic Creation Nation? What are these things I speak of? Well sit down and grab hold of something because you are about to be hit by a giant wave of awesome.

The new initiative from the Vancouver based Zeros 2 Heroes is all about creating a market for creators whose voices have not yet been heard. A creative community built on a foundation of fans of genre entertainment and comic books. A place where pitches for new properties are chosen by fans and then put into production. This is great because as the community grows,so does the fan base of the winning pitches. Essentially right out of the gates these comics will have built in fanbase to support them.

So we're calling on all writers and artists to join us at www.zeros2heroes.com and become part of the next revolution in Canadian comics. All creators, start refining those ideas you've always had but never felt that the outlet was available for you to tell them. With Canada: Comic Creation Nation we have the chance to become the next Image, to do things in a new and exciting way. We can be the pioneers of the next phase of comics' growth.

You may very well be the next Kirby, Eisner or Lee. This could be your chance to break into the comics scene and make a name for yourself. Let the revolution begin!!

Z2H

You say you want a revolution, well, you know, we all want to change the world.

Dean Blundell's Eye Weekly Honesty
Published by Toronto Mike on August 25, 2007 @ 14:37 in Edge 102 ~ CFNY, Radio

radioAs a long time fan of the Humble & Fred morning show, I was poised to dislike their replacement on my favourite radio station. A quick search of this blog for the term "blundell" gives you an idea as to what I think of The Dean Blundell Show. I've never liked it.

I'm not a fan of his radio show, but Dean Blundell also writes a column for Eye Weekly that I do enjoy. I find his radio persona moronic and insulting yet I find his columns bold and titillating. Earlier this month, he wrote about his wife, and I actually read it out loud to my wife because I couldn't believe the honesty he committed to print. His most recent column for Eye Weekly calls out Toronto radio personalities. He doesn't name names, but most of the identities can be guessed fairly easily. It makes for one hell of an interesting article.

My friend Fred Patterson, one half of the aforementioned Humble & Fred Show, posted Blundell's article on his blog and invited readers to guess who's "the paranoid ageing huckster who's ego is the bruised by years of abuse" and "the guy who tells you how awesome he is before he tells you who he is" and the "guy and gal with fake names who's radio careers have more miles on them than Pamela Anderson's knees". It was a highly entertaining entry, but Fred unpublished it. You'll no longer find it on his site. Apparently, Blundell's article is causing some trouble for Alan Cross and The Edge and Fred didn't want to get in the middle of a shit storm.

As it turns out, Dean Blundell makes a great columnist. There's a guy who seriously needs a blog. I know I'd check in daily to read what he's got to say.

Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on August 25, 2007 @ 08:48 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"Son, a woman is like a beer. They smell good, they look good, you’d step over your own mother just to get one! But you can’t stop at one. You wanna drink another woman!"

A Sure Sign Of The Apocalypse
Published by Toronto Mike on August 24, 2007 @ 20:38 in My 2 Cents

Cross BonesAs I surf the web tonight reading the latest news I'm seeing articles from legitimate news outlets suggesting Fidel Castro may be dead. These legitimate news outlets are crediting Perez Hilton as their source.

Perez Hilton, a blogger with just a little more traffic than me, is claiming to have an exclusive here and the mainstream media is biting. Fidel Castro very well may be dead, it's no secret his health has been deteriorating, but when your only source is celebrity blogger Perez Hilton should you really be running with the story?

I'm sure this is a sign of an impending apocalypse. Have mercy on us all.

Confession Time
Published by Toronto Mike on August 24, 2007 @ 20:19 in Television

tvBrace yourselves, I'm about to reveal something pretty shocking. I have never found "Royal Canadian Air Farce" funny.

Is that wrong? Does that somehow make me a bad Canadian? "Royal Canadian Air Farce" has been on for over a decade and I've caught bits and pieces here and there but I've never laughed. Not once. I just don't find it particularly funny.

One minute of "The Kids in the Hall" contains more pure hilarity than an entire season of "Royal Canadian Air Farce". Does anyone out there actually enjoy RCAF?

The Love Guru Features Maple Leafs
Published by Toronto Mike on August 24, 2007 @ 19:53 in Toronto Maple Leafs

moviesAjax Mike just sent me this link. It's about a Mike Myers comedy entitled "The Love Guru" that begins shooting next month in Toronto. A June 20th 2008 release is planned.

Ajax Mike knew I'd be interested in "The Love Guru" because the plot revolves around a star hockey player with the Toronto Maple Leafs played by Romany Malco who I know best as Conrad Shepard on "Weeds". The casting only gets funkier from there. Justin Timberlake plays an LA King, Jessica Alba is the Toronto Maple Leafs team owner and Verne Troyer is the Leafs head coach.

That's right, Mike Myers' buddy Mini-Me is playing the head coach of our beloved Maple Leafs. "Breakfast With Scot", the other Maple Leafs movie, should hit theatres first. Motion pictures featuring the Leafs is one of the hottest trends in Hollywood right now. Go Leafs Go!

Tom Cheek's Greatest Hits
Published by Toronto Mike on August 24, 2007 @ 11:27 in Tom Cheek Remembered, Toronto Blue Jays

Blue JaysAt this time of year I always get nostalgic for the days when Blue Jays baseball in late August actually meant something. There's an entire generation of ball fans growing up in this city who barely recall playoff baseball in Toronto. That's so sad.

When I get nostalgic about pennant races from yesteryear, I start thinking about Tom Cheek. I've written so much about Tom Cheek I've got an entire category in his honour. Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth were the voices of Blue Jays baseball when I would listen to every game possible on the radio. In honour of Tom Cheek, I'd like to share his greatest calls with you all.

The First Home Run in Blue Jays History
I was two years old when Doug Ault hit the first home run in franchise history on April 7, 1977, so I don't have a memory of the moment. You can relive the Jays debut in the CBC archives and hear Tom Cheek's call of Ault's first dinger below. "A tremendous shot."

Our First AL East Pennant
I've got great memories of this fantastic day and I shared those memories in this entry. You never forget your first, whether it be home run, no-hitter, cycle, World Series or pennant. Here's Tom Cheek's call of that final out on October 5, 1985. "Bell is there... he's got it!"

Dave Stieb's No-Hitter
I was working at the CNE on this day, but that didn't stop me from sharing my memories of Sir David's no-hitter. You don't want to miss Tom Cheek's call of the first no-hitter in Blue Jays history from September 3, 1990. "He's done it! He's done it!"

The First World Series Championship
I don't believe I've ever written about that fantastic night the Blue Jays clinched their first World Series title. It was quite the surreal night that was capped by Dave Winfield's clutch RBI and the sudden disappearance of my Canadian flag. Listen to Tom Cheek's historic call of Otis Nixon's bunt to Mike Timlin. "The Blue Jays win it!"

Joe Carter's 1993 World Series Ending Blast
I've saved the best for last. This is, without a doubt, the best call of Tom Cheek's career. Here's an extensive write up about Joe's three run homer off Mitch Williams. You'll want to play this one over and over and over again. "Touch 'em all, Joe!"

If you want more Blue Jays memories, thoughts, observations and rants, check out my Toronto Blue Jays category page. Enjoy these audio gems I consider to be Tom Cheek's greatest hits.

New Update (posted December 5, 2012 in honour of this):
1993 World Series Game 6 Bottom of the 9th, as called by Tom Cheek.

The World's Most Livable Cities
Published by Toronto Mike on August 24, 2007 @ 09:48 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveAccording to The Economist magazine, the world's most livable cities

  1. Vancouver
  2. Melbourne
  3. Vienna
  4. Perth
  5. Toronto
We're All Mikes
Published by Toronto Mike on August 23, 2007 @ 20:34 in Miscellaneous

thumbs upSometimes I wonder if every dude is named Mike. I realize not every dude is actually named Mike, but sometimes it seems that way.

Fact #1: In my 10k clinic there are exactly three guys. All three of us are named "Mike".

Fact #2: On Raging Storm, my slo-pitch team, there are also three guys named "Mike".

Fact #3: The comments from this recent entry were dominated by a Buffalo Mike, Lowville Mike and Ajax Mike. That's four dudes named "Mike" in one virtual space.

I rest my case. We're all Mike's.

The Night We Scored 24
Published by Toronto Mike on August 23, 2007 @ 13:31 in Toronto Blue Jays

blue jaysAll baseball fans are aware by now of what happened last night in Baltimore. The Texas Rangers put 30 runs on the board to win 30-3. It's been 110 years since a team scored 30 runs in a single game.

Blue Jays fans are likely wondering what our team record is for runs in a game. I'm here to provide you with the answer. On June 26, 1978, the Toronto Blue Jays beat up on those same Baltimore Orioles 24-10 at Exhibition Stadium. Tom Underwood got the win and future Jay Mike Flanagan got saddled with the loss. John Mayberry led the way going 3 for 3 with 7 RBIs.

Were you one of the 16,184 at Exhibition Stadium that night?

Exhibition Stadium Seating

FBOFW Update
Published by Toronto Mike on August 23, 2007 @ 10:25 in For Better or for Worse

fbofwWe have a For Better Of For Worse update.

The strip isn't going away, but Johnston is scaling back. Next month, she will start running older material, which will occasionally be interspersed with new strips. She eases into it beginning today as older daughter Elizabeth, just reunited with her old high-school flame Anthony, reminisces with a friend in flashbacks about how Anthony went through a bad marriage and now is divorced.

"I'm looking at this as a real challenge so that I can have some time," Johnston said from her studio in Corbeil, Ontario. " ... I'm 60 and I want to travel and there's other things I want to do."

As a result, the characters, who have aged in real time over the past three decades -- a rarity in the comic-strip world - will put the brakes on the advancing years. They all will stay the same age they are now.

So that's it, the Pattersons will no longer age. For as long as I can remember, they've been ageing as I've aged, and now they'll be frozen in time. I'm surprised at how this little thing saddens me.

What maddens me is the recent focus on Elizabeth and Anthony. We saw this coming a mile away and now Lynn Johnston is driving this syrupy drivel home full throttle in every panel.

It's still the best damn comic strip out there.

My Offline Challenge: Week 24
Published by Toronto Mike on August 22, 2007 @ 21:08 in Running

runningEventually I'll probably stop recounting my weekly running schedule, but I find it handy to have one place where I can monitor my progress. If it bores you to tears, you shouldn't be reading this. Why are you reading this? Stop reading.... I knew you couldn't do it.

It's week 24 and I ran a straight 6k on Saturday morning, a great little 8k on Sunday morning that snaked along the Lakeshore and tonight I ran another straight 6k. I've complemented these three runs with three 6k walks as I train for a 10k race.

I'm being told I look thinner, but I don't think I've lost any weight. That's okay because it's all about optics and I'm feeling great. Baby I've been here before, I've seen this room and I've walked this floor...

Same Name
Published by Toronto Mike on August 22, 2007 @ 18:06 in News

newspaperA couple of sports headlines caught my attention this week because I knew the names, but I knew the names as they belonged to completely different people.

First there was news that Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson completed a 25-day hold out. I know Larry Johnson, but I knew him as a basketball player who starred for the Charlotte Hornets. He and Alonzo Mourning were awesome for that squad.

Earlier today I read about Eddie Griffin, who played five seasons in the NBA. He died last week when the sports-utility vehicle he was driving collided with a moving train in Houston. I know Eddie Griffin, but I know him as the comedian who starred in Deuce Bigalow. That Eddie Griffin, I believe, is still with us, which is good, because the world needs laughter.

In related news, there is a Wikipedia page for Mike Boon, but he's a stand-up comedian from New Zealand and definitely not this Mike Boon. I wonder if he knows those dudes from Flight of the Conchords...

Content With Not Contending
Published by Toronto Mike on August 22, 2007 @ 11:16 in Sports

Basketball CanadaWhen you compare and contrast the way we view our national basketball team with the way we view our national hockey teams, it's more than a little shocking. The FIBA Americas Olympic Qualification tournament starts today for our men's basketball team as we try and qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Have a look at our roster.

You won't find Steve Nash on that list, by far the greatest player this country has ever produced. You also won't find Jamaal Magloire, the other Canadian NBA veteran. There are recent college stars like Denham Brown, Carl English and Juan Mendez, and NBAer Sam Dalembert, but our best team won't be on the court in Las Vegas, and we're okay with that. Canadians are content with not contending when it comes to international basketball tournaments.

If one great NHLer bowed out of a major international tournament, we'd try him for treason. Every blogger in this country would call him out and claim it was his duty to represent Canada. We care about contending in hockey. It's too bad we don't care about contending in basketball, too.

Steve Nash, where are you?

R.E.M. - Drive
Published by Toronto Mike on August 22, 2007 @ 09:21 in Weekly MP3s

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

R.E.M. - Drive
Earlier this year I complained about the exclusion of "Drive" from the R.E.M. greatest hits album. "Drive" may not have made the cut for In Time - The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 but it is good enough to be my Weekly MP3.

If You're Just Joining Us
Published by Toronto Mike on August 21, 2007 @ 19:24 in Miscellaneous

webThe stats tell me there are a bunch of Johnny-come-lately's checking out this space on a daily basis. There are a few things you newbies are likely unaware of, so here's a list of things you might not know.

  • This site has a sitemap. From there you can see the pages that didn't make the main navigation menu up top. There's a link to the sitemap on the bottom of every single page.
  • There's an RSS feed just for comments left on this blog. Sometimes the best stuff gets lost in the comments.
  • I often forget to update my pictures page. The best way to see my latest photos is to visit my Flickr page.
  • If you're new to these parts and you want to catch up on what you've missed, a great place to start is the archives page. From there you can jump to any month or category.
  • I go heavy on the Leafs, Jays, Simpsons, Hip and I love lists. You see, it's all about me, I'm just letting you peek in on the action.

And now, in a completely unrelated vein, here are a couple of bills I'm hanging on to so I can impress the kids when they're older.

Old $1 and $2 Canadian Bills

Pink and Blue
Published by Toronto Mike on August 21, 2007 @ 13:47 in Family

babySome study is suggesting the fact females prefer pink and males prefer blue is innate.

Boys like blue, girls like pink and there isn't much anybody can do about it, researchers said on Monday in one of the first studies to show scientifically that there are gender-based colour preferences.

Researchers said these differences may have a basis in evolution in which females developed a preference for reddish colours associated with riper fruit and healthier faces.

Recent studies have suggested there is a universal preference for "blue", and there has not been much previous evidence to support the idea of sex differences when picking colours, said Anya Hurlbert, a neuroscientist at Newcastle University who led the study.

"We speculate that this sex difference arose from sex-specific functional specialization in the evolutionary division of labour," she wrote in Current Biology. "There are biological reasons for liking reddish things."

I have both a son and a daughter, so I've conducted a little study of my own. James does in fact prefer blue and Michelle prefers pink, but it has nothing to do with science. It has everything to do with the fact we consciously crammed these colours down their throats since birth. From the moment we saw a penis on the ultrasound, everything for Sweet Baby James was blue. From the millisecond we were told our second child was going to be a girl, Michelle was drenched in pink. We created this pink loving monster. My Michelle didn't have a chance.

God shmod, I want my monkey-man! And I want him wearing blue, dammit!

Cito Coaches Team To Round Two Series Sweep
Published by Toronto Mike on August 20, 2007 @ 21:47 in Raging Storm

baseballThis subject is just here to get a chuckle out of the boys and girls from Raging Storm. Can you keep a secret? Between you and I, a slo-pitch manager doesn't really have much to do with the outcome. Sure, I put together the lineup and the defensive positions, but after that we just sorta play ball and hope for the best.

We took out The Misfits two games to none and advance to the divisional semi-finals. As I suspected, we were unbeatable with our pitcher on the mound. Game two was a breeze.

Managers may not have much influence over an outcome, but I'm taking full credit for my first two playoff victories.

No Rain
Published by Toronto Mike on August 20, 2007 @ 14:09 in Raging Storm, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

rainfallIn the past, playoff games in our slo-pitch league have always taken place in September. Tonight's playoff game, on August 20, is by far the earliest date on record. It just seems too early to potentially play our last games, but there's a reason we're already this far in the schedule. There's been no rain.

In a typical season, you're in for two or three rain outs. It's actually not the rain that cancels the game, unless the field is flooded in a torrential downpour, it's the lightning. Aluminum bats and lightning don't mix. This season, for the first time in history, we didn't lose a single game due to rain, thus there was no games to make up at the end of the regular season. The same is true for my other league. Toronto has had a rain-less summer.

A little Googling confirms my suspicions. This summer has been the driest in Toronto in almost 50 years. It's also been exceptionally sunny. Of course, as I type this, light rain is falling.

Damn Murphy.

Leona Helmsley, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 20, 2007 @ 13:42 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumLeona Helmsley was 87. She helped her husband run a $5 billion hotel and real estate empire but sealed her reputation as the "queen of mean" during her 1989 trial for tax evasion.

The Best TV Theme Songs
Published by Toronto Mike on August 19, 2007 @ 18:57 in Links to External Web Sites, Television

tv musicWhen John From Cincinnati got canned earlier this week, I shared the opening credits of that show because it featured a very cool tune by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros. That got me thinking about television theme songs that are too cool to be confined to the small screen and are good enough to stand alone.

Sometimes a song is a created for a tv show and sometimes it's simply licensed, as is the case with most of the songs below. However you slice it, here are my favourite television theme songs.

  1. Von Bondies' "C'mon C'mon" from Rescue Me
  2. Joe Cocker's "A Little Help From My Friends" from The Wonder Years
  3. Foo Fighters' "Next Year" from Ed
  4. Waylon Jennings' "Good Ol' Boys" from The Dukes of Hazzard
  5. Steve Carlisle's "WKRP in Cincinnati" from WKRP in Cincinnati
  6. Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros' "Johnny Appleseed" from John From Cincinnati
  7. John Sebastian's "Welcome Back" from Welcome Back, Kotter
  8. Alabama 3's "Woke Up This Morning" from The Sopranos
  9. Gary Portnoy's "Everybody Knows Your Name" from Cheers
  10. Joey Scarbury's "Believe It Or Not" from The Greatest American Hero

An honourable mention goes to the three Who songs used for various CSI shows. The Who songs are great but having not seen a minute of the shows that use them, I felt weird putting them on this list. All ten shows above are actually shows I watched and enjoyed.

Fuck
Published by Toronto Mike on August 19, 2007 @ 13:38 in Reviews

A Movie ReelFuck: 6.5 out of 10.

This documentary is all about the F-bomb. There is an interesting collection of people speaking up on this controversial word, with Bill Maher, Billy Connolly, Ice-T, Drew Carey, Kevin Smith and others on one end of the spectrum and a bunch of stiffs and Pat Boone on the other. Pat Boone even shared with us the word he uses instead of the F-word when he needs a hard core expletive. The dude says "Boon!".

I find myself fascinated by how offended some people are by certain words. Words are words, and even the bad ones have therapeutic qualities. "Fuck" has a weight to it no other word has and in certain situations you can accept no substitute.

I've been known to swear here and there, and I'm as liberal as they come when it comes to such things, but I still try and catch myself when around the kids. It's not that I think the word will corrupt them or hurt their spiritual growth, it's that they copy everything I say and I worry they'll accidentally say it in inappropriate places.

Maybe I should follow Pat Boone's lead and yell out a "Boon!" when I stub my toe, a Jay hits into a double play or somebody pisses me off. Consider yourselves warned.

The White Stripes' You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)
Published by Toronto Mike on August 19, 2007 @ 11:46 in SLS ~ Smells Like Sour

slsI just submitted a song for SLS18 consideration. I submitted The White Stripes' "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)".

This was a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. I recently referred to The White Stripes as the best band of the past decade. This is yet another bluesy romp to hit heaven and most definitely SLS worthy.

Here's the video.

From That to This in Two Years Flat
Published by Toronto Mike on August 19, 2007 @ 11:01 in Gord Downie's Hallelujah, Running

rewindTwo years ago today, I asked you to help a brother out. Here's my entry from that day.

Help a Brother Out
Published August 19, 2005 @ 08:42 in Gord Downie's Hallelujah

Help WantedGord Downie covered Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the film "Saint Ralph". I recently wrote about this tune and I've been searching / begging / praying for an MP3 of it ever since.

If anyone out there can help a brother out, I'd appreciate it and return the favour. My email address is posted on the contact page. I love the song, I love Downie and I've heard great things. Yet, it's nowhere to be found!

Much appreciated.

By that point I had only been hunting for Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" for a few weeks and I was falsely optimistic someone on the Hip community would throw this dog a bone. It wasn't until February of this year I scored the non-existent soundtrack. I had my "Hallelujah", and I knew it was time for my own personal hallelujah, so I started running.

I hadn't run since the 4x100m relay in primary school but I knew I had to run a marathon. I signed up for five Running Room clinics, beginning with the Learn to Run and concluding with the Marathon Clinic, and I'm currently in the 10k Clinic. Yesterday I ran 8k and this morning 6k and I'm loving it.

Wednesday's update will show I've been running for 24 weeks, but it all started two years ago.

Some VR, FF and QotSA for SLS18
Published by Toronto Mike on August 18, 2007 @ 15:44 in SLS ~ Smells Like Sour

slsWith great power comes great responsibility and I don't want to let down the esteemed SLS franchise. The 18th instalment of SLS is being put together over the next four months and I've got a backlog of songs that demand consideration. Here are three:

  • Velvet Revolver - The Last Fight
  • Foo Fighters - The Pretender
  • Queens of the Stone Age - 3's & 7's

I'm going to share "The Last Fight" from Velvet Revolver because I can't get enough of it these days. This is what Velvet Revolver should be, and if they were more like this, I'd stop slagging them.

OK Blue Jays (Let’s Play Ball!)
Published by Toronto Mike on August 18, 2007 @ 14:55 in Blue Jays Songs, The Best of Toronto Mike, Toronto Blue Jays

bluejaysAbout a year ago I asked you good people for an MP3 of the Toronto Blue Jays' official song, "OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball!)". Hours later I had it, and I meant to share it with everyone but somehow forgot.

Listening to today's Jays game against the Orioles I heard John McDonald put down a perfect bunt with players on the corners. Everyone was safe and I was just happy to hear the suicide squeeze was still a part of the game. That got me singing this song and finally, 15 months after the fact, I'm sharing it with you all.

Sing it loud, sing it proud. The lyrics are below the player, as if you'll need them...

You've got a diamond
You've got nine men
You've got a hat and a bat
And that's not all
You've got the bleachers
Got 'em from spring 'til fall
You got a dog and a drink
And the umpire's call
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

Is that a fly ball
Or is it a seagull
Coming in from the lake
Just to catch the game?
It's the last inning
Our guys are winning
Dave's put down a smoker
A strike
And you've got no doubt
(You're out!)
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

It's a beautiful evenin', fans
At the ballpark
When the game starts
Warm summer breezes
Sun's goin' down
And it's all dark
At the ballpark
But that's okay…it's a night game

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Bring on the White Sox
Bring on the BoSox
Bring on the Brewers
The Rangers and the Yankees too
We'll beat the Indians
We'll beat the Tigers
We'll beat the A's so bad it'll make
Billy blue
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Not The Last Igloo In Canada
Published by Toronto Mike on August 18, 2007 @ 14:37 in O Canada

snowflakeAFP has released an article with a title that immediate caught my attention. "Canada's last igloo to be flattened amid Arctic boom" it read, so I read it. I've now read it twice, but my feeble brain is awfully confused.

The gyst of the article is that our far north is suddenly developing, and a good example is the fact our last igloo is being demolished to make room for offices. I'm a city guy, and I don't know much about igloos, but I don't think "our last igloo" is an igloo at all. Here's a quote from the article.

The eatery at the main "Four Corners" intersection of Iqaluit, just 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, is the only extant example of modern igloo architecture, inspired by the igloo shape and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, in the North.

It was actually built in 1980 by two schoolteachers with the help of local townsfolk out of normal building materials. The couple was fascinated by the "igloo shape," said Suzie Michael, a former student who pitched in, hammering nails and painting the exterior.

Sure, it's shaped like an igloo, but it's not actually made out of snow and ice. It's made out of "normal building materials". The Wikipedia entry on igloo calls it "a shelter constructed from blocks of snow, generally in the form of a dome". Mimicking the igloo shape does not an igloo make!

I'm sure the Kamotiq Inn restaurant will be missed by locals, but it's not "Canada's last igloo", despite what the AFP would have you believe.

The Last Igloo

Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on August 18, 2007 @ 08:32 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"A woman is a lot like a refrigerator. Six feet tall, 300 pounds…it makes ice."

The Mark Bell Bet
Published by Toronto Mike on August 17, 2007 @ 21:30 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsEarlier in the year, my brother predicted Mark Bell would score 40 goals for the Leafs. I said he would likely score closer to 13. Now that Bell is going to jail after this season, I'm feeling pretty good about my prediction.

Tonight, Ryan and I made our bet official, only we lowered the lofty expectations. If Mark Bell scores 20 or more goals in the upcoming Leafs season, I owe Ryan $50. If Mark Bell scores 19 or less goals, he owes me $50.

It's like taking candy from a baby...

The Playoffs Approach
Published by Toronto Mike on August 17, 2007 @ 13:22 in Raging Storm

baseballIt's been a strange season for Raging Storm, the slo-pitch team I play for and manage. The regular season has come to an end, and the Raging Storm page shows our record as 8-7-1, but it's not as simple as that. As with The Transformers, there's more than meets the eye.

On the surface, 8-7-1 is the worst record this team has ever had. We finished fourth in a division we used to dominate. We didn't just lose two of our last three games, but we got killed in both, losing by an average of 14.5 runs. It sounds bad, doesn't it? As I said, there's more than meets the eye...

Pitching Issues
In the RSPL, you can't win without good pitching. If a pitcher shows an inability to throw consistent strikes, teams stop swinging. Every team plays this strategy and it can be awfully successful. Teams will walk themselves to huge innings and if you walk a male batter before facing a female batter, she's automatically offered first base. You can see how control issues will bury you.

We have an effective pitcher who won't give teams an opportunity to play the walking game. When Mofo pitches, teams have to swing away, and our team is blessed with outstanding defense. As a result, we're 8-1-1 when Mofo pitches. That's right, when our regular pitcher plays, we're an unbelievable 8-1-1 and when he doesn't play, we're 0-6. I told you there was more than meets the eye.

I'm not the type of manager who's going to call out a player in this space unless I feel it's necessary, so when I called out Mofo earlier in the year, you can understand why. We need the opposition to swing their bats if we're going to win and we need our pitcher to commit himself to the cause.

The GF Factor
Game 8 in 2006 was the last game GF ever played for this team. He was on our inaugural squad when we were Hooray For Everything and he was our best offensive and defensive player. It wasn't my fight with him that caused him to quit the team, but he did leave and we'd be foolish to think his absence hasn't had some effect on our performance. I know GF's gonna read this and smile large, but we do miss his bat... and I miss his CD collection.

The Best Team Yet
Our record says this is our worst season yet, and we even got mercied for the first time in history, but I'd swear this is the best team we've ever fielded. Sure, it's my first year as team manager, and that guarantees some bias, but look back to that 8-1-1 record with our regular pitcher for proof.

Without a doubt, it's been the most fun season on record. It's a great collection of personalities, and for the first time in this team's history, there's no tension on the diamond. We're out there having fun, and trying to win while we're at it. It's the best team we've ever fielded, regardless of how things go on Monday night.

Raging Storm, I'll see you on the field. I can't wait.

Toronto in 1977 Compared With Today
Published by Toronto Mike on August 17, 2007 @ 11:47 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

CN TowerI love to walk and sometimes I'll just walk the streets of Toronto. There's so much character to this place, the buildings, the people, the parks and the sounds all add texture to the fabric of our city.

I discovered Damon Schreiber's most recent photo project here and I'm so glad I did. Damon found a collection of Toronto photos online originally taken by Shige Sakamoto, a Japanese man who spent a week in the city in June of 1977, and set out to take the exact same photos today. The result is a wonderful trip back in time for those of us who remember Toronto in the late 70s.

You start here and click "Next Photo" to advance. The series is still going, so I'll be back again tomorrow. It's right up my alley.

Update: The site is currently down - no doubt choking under the strain of this MetaFilter mention. It'll be back...

The Friday Five
Published by Toronto Mike on August 17, 2007 @ 09:00 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy all-time favourite Toronto Argonauts

  1. Pinball Clemons
  2. Doug Flutie
  3. Paul Masotti
  4. Gil Fenerty
  5. Adrion Smith
Max Roach, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 17, 2007 @ 07:49 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumMax Roach was 83. He was the master percussionist whose rhythmic innovations and improvisations defined bebop jazz during a wide-ranging career where he collaborated with artists from Duke Ellington to rapper Fab Five Freddy.

92.5 Jack FM Morning Guys Fired
Published by Toronto Mike on August 16, 2007 @ 16:13 in Radio

radioHere's a Toronto Mike exclusive for ya. One of my radio friends just told me the morning guys at 92.5 JackFM have been let go. I checked around and nobody else has this massive news bomb. Ben and Kerry are best known for those ads with the two grown men slipping out of a giant egg, which you'll see below.

I never heard a second of the Ben and Kerry morning show, but maybe you did, so this exclusive report is all about you.

A Great Tradition at the Exhibition
Published by Toronto Mike on August 16, 2007 @ 08:43 in The CNE ~ Canadian National Exhibition

CNEWhat the heck happened to our summer? Can the CNE really be starting up tomorrow? In the words of the great Cinderford, Gloucestershire band EMF, that's unbelievable.

If you want to revisit my many Canadian National Exhibition memories with me, visit my CNE page where I've shared stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant.

Here are some of the highlights:

You'll never look at a carnie the same way again.

Sam Pollock, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 16, 2007 @ 07:39 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumSam Pollock was 81. He was the architect of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty of the 1960s and 1970s.

My Offline Challenge: Week 23
Published by Toronto Mike on August 15, 2007 @ 21:03 in Running

runningThis week's update could have been a copy and paste job from last week's update. I ran 6k three times: Saturday, Sunday and tonight.

After 23 weeks of running, I'm pleased to report I'm feeling no pain or discomfort. A straight 6k at a good pace leaves me wanting more. I'm ready to kick some giraffe ass at the Oasis ZooRun 10k Run.

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros' Johnny Appleseed
Published by Toronto Mike on August 15, 2007 @ 18:04 in Music, Television

tvOne of the best things about John From Cincinnati was the opening credits. It was cool grainy surfer imagery with Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros' "Johnny Appleseed" playing overtop. I had never heard "Johnny Appleseed" before but I'm now a big fan.

Download the song in MP3 here and watch the opening credits from the recently cancelled John From Cincinnati below.


The Premature Death of John From Cincinnati
Published by Toronto Mike on August 15, 2007 @ 13:01 in Television

tvApparently, I was the only one watching John From Cincinnati. I knew early on the ratings were poor, so I was prepared for what happened this week. HBO has cancelled John From Cincinnati.

Without a doubt, it was out there. Some weeks I didn't know what the hell was going on, but I knew I liked it. I haven't seen the final episode yet, but I'm certain it won't explain everything so I'm destined to live out life never knowing what was up with John.

I still think he was Jesus Christ.

Alice in Chains - Angry Chair
Published by Toronto Mike on August 15, 2007 @ 07:53 in Weekly MP3s

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

Alice in Chains - Angry Chair
This one is for Layne, often imitated, but never duplicated.

Holy Cow, I Think He's Gonna Make It!
Published by Toronto Mike on August 14, 2007 @ 20:33 in Videos

baseballHere's everyone's favourite guilty pleasure. On this day, you want to skip on over to the 3:37 mark.

Holy cow!

Foo Fighters vs. Guns N' Roses
Published by Toronto Mike on August 14, 2007 @ 19:36 in Similar Songs

musicIt's Foo Fighter's "Times Like These" vs. Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child 'O Mine".

I love crap like this.

Phil Rizzuto, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 14, 2007 @ 13:45 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumPhil "The Scooter" Rizzuto was 89. He was the Hall of Fame shortstop during the New York Yankees' dynasty years and was beloved by a generation of fans who delighted in hearing him exclaim "Holy cow!" as a broadcaster.

Non-sports fans know him best as the announcer who provides the play-by-play commentary during the long spoken bridge in Meat Loaf's 1977 song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."

The Blackout! Turns Four
Published by Toronto Mike on August 14, 2007 @ 08:40 in Miscellaneous

lightningFour years ago today, the power went out. I look back at that blackout and remember it as if we were powerless for days and days. No computer, no phone, no refrigerator or stove, it was tough.

As I wrote in that entry of August 15, 2003, we were only down for 24 hours and 12 minutes, but I swear time has made it feel a great deal longer than that. You'd think you could live without anything for 24 hours.

Happy blackout anniversary Toronto!

The Fred Patterson Interview
Published by Toronto Mike on August 13, 2007 @ 15:51 in Humble and Fred, Interviews, Radio

microphoneFred Patterson, or Freddie P as he's often called, is best known as one half of the Humble & Fred morning show. I met him through Humble Howard and helped him with his popular blog, torontomike.com.

Making His PointFred's a gracious guy, and he was nice enough to grant me an interview. Here's my interview with Freddie P.

Q: How did Fred Patterson get his start in radio? Tell us about breaking into the biz and that little yellow house in Brampton.
A: After leaving Seneca College in 1978 I took a job at CKFH (now the Fan) writing traffic reports for the morning man who at the time was Brian Barker.

I worked three hours a day for $2.50 an hour. I had to walk half a mile from my house in Scaborough to the bus stop at Birchmount and Eglinton at 4:30 in the morning. CKFH was basically at Yonge and College.

I went all that way to earn $7.50 a day but it was worth it because it put me in the environment of a radio station that leaned heavily towards sports.

Before long I was working the board for Blue Jays baseball and helping out on Bob McCown's original sports talk show, "Talking of Sports."

It was great but I wanted to be "on air" at the folks at FH thought I was too young and green, so at McCowns urging I started to look around and that's how I ended up in Brampton at CHIC 790 - a disco station that needed a news and sports announcer.

It wasn't long before David Marsden hired me to do sports on CFNY (CHIC's sister station) and that's where I stayed for 22 glorious years.

Q: We're missing your voice on Toronto radio. What's next for Freddie P?
A: I have no idea. I'd love to get back into radio but I'm a realist. It's a different business today with less competition and way more interest in bottom line. Ideally I dream of having my own talk show in Toronto, but so do four thousand other people.

I miss the radio station environment and the interaction with people. I'd love to get up each day and have a show to create and present in my own way.

People might laugh at the comparison, but my website has been great therapy for me and in a way constructing it is much like you would a radio talk show. Take a subject, analyze it, give your opinion, piss off a few people, and then wait for the response.

Q: People my age are particularly fond of Mr. Goohead. I want to know the origin of Mr. Goohead and when we can expect a major motion picture featuring the character.
A: When someone makes me an offer. Fat chance.

Mr. Goohead was a real spring board for me. It was his creation that led to my move from sportscaster to morning show co-host. It showed that there was another side to me.

The first episode happened in 1987 with the "Time Change" episode on the Steve Anthony morning show. The clocks and just changed and something inspired me to call a Chinese restaurant and screw with the guy. The voice just came out and the name came from my brother in law who used to call people gooheads.

It got such a great reaction I just kept thinking of concepts and doing them.

At the same time, it was one of those things that after 15 years I grew tired of. Morning shows changed and so did the Humble and Fred Show and prank calls simply didn't inspire me any more.

I still have over a hundred episodes and feature them on my website. torontomike.com

Q: What happened to that BBQ show you hosted on television? Admittedly, my memory is a little hazy, but I remember you giving grilling tips. Was that a cool gig?
A: The money and the experience were fantastic. The product wasn't so great.

I was hired with the understanding that CTV wanted Fred Patterson, the down to earth every day guy who worked on CFNY. I was going to do a relaxed presentation, very casual and off the cuff.

But then the sponsor got involved.

Chinette plates decided they didn't want that image. They made high class paper plates so you couldn't have a guy sloppin' stuff on and off the barbeque. You know, reality.

Instead it turned into a formal and stiff segment that I wasn't especially proud of.

Q: You've done quite a bit of podcasting since you left radio. There's the work you do at beer.com and those awesome Humble & Fred podcasts we did from Dan Duran's house. Will there be another Humble & Fred podcast this Christmas?
A: They were well received so It would be a shame to let the tradition die. But who knows what will be happening by Labour Day let alone Christmas.

Q: What's your favourite movie?
A: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Call it timing. The right movie at the right time for me and nothing has surpassed it.

Q: I've noticed a conservative slant at torontomike.com. When did you sell your soul to the devil?
A: How does the saying go. NDP at 20, Liberal at 30, then you grow up and become Conservative at 40. And I know of what I speak because I've voted for all three parties over the years.

Believe it or not, I'm not partisan. Just give me good honest government. Like that rat Mike Harris who did nothing but do what he said he was going to do. Some of it backfired, but nobody can say he lied to them.

It absolutely amazes me that after 13 years of corrupt Liberal government at the federal level, and four years of Liberal deceit at the provincial level that anyone could even dream of voting for that party.

But people seem to be so anti-conservative they're willing to forgive and forget anything.

Q: I'm a little young to remember Pete 'n Geets, but I hear amazing things. What was it like being a part of that genius?
A: Pete and Geets were fantastic. They were Canada's pioneer FM morning show, and here's what I mean by that. In the early days of CHUM-FM they changed the way morning radio was done.

Less music, more talk, irreverent instead of corny and they didn't yell at you like the am morning shows did. When they came to CFNY in 1980, it got even better.

I often find it amusing how much credit Howard Stern gets for bringing a different style of morning show to radio, but his "style" was being established by Pete and Geets before Stern was even out of college. But without the tits and ass.

And of course, Pete and Geets never got the credit they deserved, mainly because they never had huge ratings. But as we've learned over the years, ratings doesn't mean quality.

The current ratings system is a joke and has robbed Toronto of a lot of good radio over the years.

Q: Is there anything else you want to share with the Toronto Mike crowd?
A: Yea. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't be sad it's over, be glad it happened. Eat lots of fibre and teach your children well.

Alice in Chains at the Molson Amphitheatre
Published by Toronto Mike on August 13, 2007 @ 07:00 in Music

musicLast night's concert at the Molson Amphitheatre opened with Kill Hannah and closed with Velvet Revolver but for me it was all about Alice in Chains.

I spin the crap out of Dirt regularly and find the Alice in Chains sound appeals to my sensibilities like very few band do. When Layne Staley passed away, I assumed I had missed my chance to hear these songs live. I'm very happy to report that new lead singer William DuVall is spot on and when I closed my eyes during "Angry Chair", "Them Bones" and "Man in the Box", I couldn't tell the difference. The band was tight, the vocals strong and the entire set was vintage AiC.

It was cool seeing Slash, Duff and Scott on stage as the headliners, but I think they got that backward. Velvet Revolver should have been opening for Alice in Chains. I'm actually surprised Velvet Revolver could carry a show like that. They're okay, with a couple of singles I like, but I don't go to concerts to see a band perform a couple of singles I like. Dare I suggest Velvet Revolver is overrated? I think I just did...

Thanks to ShowClix for sending me to the amp to see one of my favourite bands of all time. I can now cross another item off my "things to do before I die" list.

Merv Griffin, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 12, 2007 @ 11:51 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumMerv Griffin was 82. He was the host of the "Merv Griffin Show" who created "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune."

Louis CK Animation Short
Published by Toronto Mike on August 12, 2007 @ 11:09 in Miscellaneous

humourThis made me laugh.


You Can Go Home Again
Published by Toronto Mike on August 12, 2007 @ 09:47 in Toronto Blue Jays

bluejaysOff the top of my head, I can name several athletes that have had at least two tours of duty with a Toronto-based sports franchise.

In recent years, Doug Gilmour and Tie Domi came back to play for the Leafs, as did Mike Palmateer, Steve Thomas and Travis Green. Wendel Clark and Yanic Perreault each served three tours of duty with the Leafs.

Pat Borders, Rob Ducey, Alfredo Griffin, Pat Hentgen, Cliff Johnson, Dave Stieb and David Wells returned to Toronto during their careers. Mark Eichhorn even served three tours of duty with the Jays, but to my knowledge, only one player had four tours of duty with a Toronto-based franchise, and that was Tony Fernandez.

I loved Tony Fernandez. He was on the team when I started paying attention back in 1983 and he was a key part of our first pennant winning team in 1985. He was awesome with the glove, but he could hit for average as well. Always a fan favourite, he enjoyed his first stint from 1983-1990, came back to help us win a World Series in 1993, played his third stint from 1998-1999 and made one last stop in Toronto in 2001 before retiring.

Tony Fernandez also had a great name for Murry Eldon speak over the Exhibition Stadium loud speaker. I can hear it now... Toe-neeeeee Fer-NAN-dezzzzzzz.

My Scrap Book

Mother's Pizza Pasta Made Perfect
Published by Toronto Mike on August 11, 2007 @ 19:34 in Memories

foodI miss Mother's Pizza. As a kid, that was the local family pizzeria we'd visit and memories of the restaurant are hot and fresh. I remember the location on Dundas Street and The East Mall where the Bert & Ernies is and how disappointed I was when the franchise went under.

What's the Mother's Pizza equivalent today? It's not Pizza Hut, is it? If a family wants to go out for pizza, do they have to go to a Boston Pizza or is there a new Mother's-style restaurant in Toronto I haven't discovered yet?

Here's an old ad for Mother's featuring Dennis Weaver. Mother's really was pizza pasta made perfect.

Find local restaurants here.

Find local pizza places here.

Shut Up & Sing
Published by Toronto Mike on August 11, 2007 @ 17:20 in Reviews

A Movie ReelShut Up & Sing: 7 out of 10.

For a long time, I didn't like the Dixie Chicks. Actually, I should rephrase that. It's their music I didn't like. Somehow I don't think I was their target audience when they were singing about being ready to run and some bumpkin named Earl.

I first sat up and took notice of this band when the controversy hit. Suddenly, I was interested. Nothing gives a band more integrity in my eyes than an all country music station removing them from their playlist. Especially if they're being removed for uttering an anti-Dubya statement, that's just icing on the cake.

This is a great little doc and I recommend it to all, even those who don't particularly dig the Dixie Chicks format. Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers appears for a bit and there's a scene later in the film when concert sales are tanking except for Toronto which sold out a show quickly and rolled out into a second night right away. I remember hitting the web when those tickets went on sale to buy a pair for my wife and mom, two bona fide fans

The Dixie Chicks now have street cred and it looks awfully good on 'em. Not Ready To Make Nice isn't just a great country song, it's a great song. Period.

Tragically Hip Videos
Published by Toronto Mike on August 11, 2007 @ 12:00 in The Tragically Hip, Videos

Tragically Hip VideosI'm all about one-stop shopping. The sole purpose of this entry is to give me easy access to every Tragically Hip video from one convenient page.

Here, in chronological order, is every Tragically Hip video. For more on The Hip, visit my Tragically Hip page.

Last American Exit

Small Town Bringdown

Blow At High Dough

New Orleans Is Sinking

Little Bones

Locked In The Trunk Of A Car

Courage

At The Hundredth Meridian

Grace, Too

Nautical Disaster

Thugs

Greasy Jungle

Ahead By a Century

Gift Shop

Poets

Something On

Bobcaygeon

My Music @ Work

It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken

Silver Jet

The Darkest One

Vaccination Scar

It Can't Be Nashville Every Night

In View

Yer Not The Ocean

Let me know in the comments if the order is wrong. I did it from memory. Also, if I missed a video, let me know that as well.

Link: The Top 100 Reasons it's Great to Be a Guy
Published by Toronto Mike on August 11, 2007 @ 08:43 in Links to External Web Sites

LinkThe top 100 reasons it's great to be a guy - It's funny because it's true. I can vouch for the following:

  • Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat
  • A five day vacation requires only one suitcase
  • Old friends don't give you crap if you've lost or gained weight
  • You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness
  • You can be showered and ready in 10 minutes
Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on August 11, 2007 @ 08:32 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"You know, the one with all the well meaning rules that don’t work out in real life, uh, Christianity."

Centre of Universe Cuts Services
Published by Toronto Mike on August 10, 2007 @ 21:54 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Toronto City HallI love this city. They don't call me Toronto Mike for nothing. I was born in the 416, I've lived every second of my life in the 416 and I very well may die in the 416, although I'm hoping not for a very long time.

The City of Toronto has announced a series of cost-cutting measures to save $34 million by the end of the year. City Manager Shirley Hoy outlined the measures today as part of a package she says will save the city $83 million in a full year. Here are some of the low-lights.

  • City Community centres close Mondays from mid-September until the end of the year
  • Reduced library hours
  • Delayed opening of outdoor artificial ice rinks
  • Reduced pickup of yard waste and leaves
  • Cancellation of door-to-door waste pickup at townhouses
  • Less snow removal and litter pickup
  • Reduced maintenance of parks and trees
  • Less bylaw enforcement and fewer building inspections
  • Early closure of municipal golf courses

From a selfish perspective, nothing there will really change my life. Hopefully the reduction in snow removal won't effect my running. Still, they're cutting a bunch of services in this city and that's a slippery slope.

Toronto deserves better.

My Life Is A Stereo
Published by Toronto Mike on August 10, 2007 @ 14:35 in Memories, Public Enemy

speaker"My life is a stereo, turn me on and let's go. Turn me up louder, I'll scream as loud and clear as I can scream. And if you like what you're hearing, please hang on to me."
~ The Watchmen - Stereo

Different periods of my life have been defined by certain albums or bands or genres of music. I can trace this back almost 30 years. Let's start at the beginning...

The Golden Oldies - This period of my life started when I was about 6 or 7 and just discovering the joy of putting a cassette in the stereo and rocking out. I had a number of golden oldies cassette tapes, featuring songs from the '50s and '60s. My favourite song was probably The Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace" which was the first song on one such golden oldie cassette. I wish I could remember the name of this compilation...

The Stray Cats, Built For Speed - By 1982, when I was 8 years old, I was listening to AM radio. One song that I thoroughly enjoyed was The Stray Cats' "Rock This Town". It was a modernized take on those 50s songs I loved and I excitedly requested and received Built For Speed on cassette. The Stray Cats transitioned me from golden oldies to current rock.

Duran Duran - Another band I started to dig on the radio was Duran Duran. "Rio" and "Hungry Like The Wolf" sounded awesome to my 9 year old ears. I remember going to a used record shop on Bloor Street near Runnymede and buying Rio on vinyl. Rio was my favourite album, but I was equally into Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Needless to say, Duran Duran was my favourite band and in no time I was choreographing break dance routines to the song "Reflex".

Billy Idol - By the time I was 11 and 12, I was hungry for something a little edgier than Duran Duran. Friends in grade 5 introduced me to Billy Idol. When Vital Idol came out in 1987, I had a new favourite album. Billy Idol transitioned me from the pop of Duran Duran to the heavier rock that would follow.

Guns N' Roses, Appetite For Destruction - By the time I was 13, I was listening to a lot of Q107, tuning in nightly for the top ten at ten. That's where I first heard "Welcome to the Jungle" and I was hooked. I bought the cassette of Appetite For Destruction and played that thing until the tape eroded. My early teenage years included a lot of hard rock, everything from Alice Cooper to Cinderella, but it was always dominated by GNR.

Public Enemy - At the end of the 80s, my rock was losing its edge. Poison, Motley Crue and Extreme seemed too much like the popified hairspray music of Duran Duran. As a moody, angry white teenager, I was naturally drawn to Public Enemy. Public Enemy's first three albums supplied the bulk of music that would get me to and from high school. I could tap into what Chuck D was saying. His hard core rhymes over hard core drum beats kicked more ass than any hair band on the planet. PE was #1 in my books, and it stayed that way until a certain explosion in Seattle.

Grunge - In 1991 I was 16, going on 17. By this time, I was purely listening to CFNY, and that's where I first heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten become the staple albums, but they were nicely complemented by gems I'd discover from Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. They called it Grunge, and I loved it. That organic energy kept me riding high for years.

When Kurt Cobain died in 1994, I was almost 20 years old. I've been listening to music ever since, both new and old, but at this point the soundtrack map diversifies completely. The past ten years have been dominated by bands like Green Day, STP, The Offspring, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, The White Stripes, The Strokes, System of a Down and whatever else floats my boat.

You'll note The Tragically Hip is conspicuously absent. They've always just been there. From the first time I heard "Blow at High Dough on Q107 through the recent World Container, I've enjoyed every note and seen them live ten times. The Hip are one constant that's been there since the 80s and has never faded or disappeared.

Life ends in a stereo, pack me up and let's go. Put me anywhere, please don't think of leaving me behind. Whatever happens to you, I'll get on just fine.

My 15+ Year Old Stereo

The Friday Five
Published by Toronto Mike on August 10, 2007 @ 13:00 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy favourite Bill Murray movies

  1. The Royal Tenenbaums
  2. Rushmore
  3. Ghost Busters
  4. Meatballs
  5. Lost in Translation
Pearl Jam - Daughter: The AT&T Edit
Published by Toronto Mike on August 10, 2007 @ 08:31 in Pearl Jam

PJAT&T's webcast of Lollapalooza is making the news this week because Eddie Vedder's anti-Bush rant was censored during Pearl Jam's performance of "Daughter". Pearl Jam, my favourite non-Canadian band, always tags on another song at the end of "Daughter". On this night, they tagged on Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall". The censored lyrics were "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush, find yourself another home."

From Pearl Jam's web site:

What happened to us this weekend was a wake up call, and it's about something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band. AT&T's actions strike at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.

Pearl Jam is hitting the nail on the head with that comment. As big corporations swallow up smaller media and cow tow to political leaders there's an ever increasing danger of this kind of censorship becoming more prevalent. Here's the AT&T edit vs. the uncut version.


Curin' Cancer
Published by Toronto Mike on August 9, 2007 @ 15:33 in Running, Terry Fox | Terry Fox Run

terryfoxI'm running in the Terry Fox Run on September 16. I'd like to raise $500. So far, I've raised $96.

There's a link on the left to place a secure online donation or you can just click here. Every buck counts, are you really going to notice an extra $5 charge on your Visa bill?

Kic pledged $25 to my run so I returned the favour yesterday. Who else wants to help me cure this cancer crap?

Terry Fox

Napoleon Dynamite Wallpaper
Published by Toronto Mike on August 9, 2007 @ 13:54 in Miscellaneous

humourIf you're bored, you might have some fun with this Napoleon Dynamite wallpaper generator.

I was wrong about Napoleon Dynamite. When I first saw the film, I was underwhelmed and gave it 6 out of 10. Since that day I've seen Napoleon Dynamite several times, liking it more and more each time. If I were to review this film today, I'd give it an 8.

Napoleon Dynamite

Mr. Freeze
Published by Toronto Mike on August 9, 2007 @ 11:32 in Miscellaneous

foodTaryn bought this huge box of Mr. Freeze jumbo freezies for the kids. There were about 50 in this box, and I'm pretty sure I devoured 45 of them.

I remember as a kid these jumbo freezies were 25¢ at the local variety store. For 10¢ you could buy a small freezie and for 50¢ you could get this two sided bohemeth sucker with a built in straw.

I always went with the 25¢ model. I still love 'em, obviously. I wonder what the 25¢ jumbo freezie sells for these days...

Little Bones
Published by Toronto Mike on August 8, 2007 @ 20:41 in The Tragically Hip

The HipFor no particularly good reason other than the fact I feel like hearing the tune, here's The Tragically Hip's "Little Bones".

My Offline Challenge: Week 22
Published by Toronto Mike on August 8, 2007 @ 19:54 in Running

runningI ran three times last week, each time the same route. It's a nice route through High Park that includes the always fun Spring Road hill. Today they were even filming a movie they called "Mom" by Grenadier Pond. There was no sign of Fergie Olver, so I'm guessing they haven't decided to make the long awaited Just Like Mom movie.

Here's the route. I ran it Saturday morning, Sunday morning and tonight.

David Wells: Rock Star
Published by Toronto Mike on August 8, 2007 @ 18:00 in Toronto Blue Jays

David Wells Retires?I see the San Diego Padres have cut David Wells. That might be the end of the road for Boomer. He's a Blue Jays draft pick from 1982 who had a couple of tours of duty here in Toronto. I was a fan and I'll always remember the night we spent together at the Molson Amphitheatre back in 2000.

I was there to see the Stone Temple Pilots and Red Hot Chili Peppers and we had really good seats. David Wells was sitting very close to us and he was like a rock star. The crowd loved him and he clearly loved these bands. Of course, what's not to like?

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a more rock star player to play in this city. We've had mega stars, and rebel rousers like Charles Oakley, but there was only one David Wells. He was larger than life.

Velvet Revolver - Fall To Pieces
Published by Toronto Mike on August 8, 2007 @ 09:34 in Weekly MP3s

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

Velvet Revolver - Fall To Pieces
Ya gotta love the power ballads.

756 for Barry Bonds
Published by Toronto Mike on August 8, 2007 @ 08:36 in Sports

mlbBarry Bonds sent a 3-and-2 pitch from Washington Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik last night 435 feet for homerun #756 passing Hank Aaron and becoming the new Major League Baseball home run king.

Hank Aaron's video congratulations was drenched in class.

I Need A Woman
Published by Toronto Mike on August 7, 2007 @ 16:06 in Raging Storm

slo-pitchThis entry is for the ladies in the crowd. Guys, you can skip on by. Ladies, I'm talking to you.

I'm actively hunting for female slo-pitch players to play with me next season. You don't have to be awesome, although that helps, you just have to be decent. Ideally, you can pitch, as a female pitcher remains the holy grail of slo-pitch.

We're a good group of people with a great sense of humour and we play in Etobicoke / Mississauga. If you're ready to commit to the cause, please contact me or leave a comment.

Whattyasay, ladies? Interested?

TV Sucks
Published by Toronto Mike on August 7, 2007 @ 14:12 in Television

tvFor the most part, TV sucks. I'm so tired of the Law & Orders and typical dramas and sitcoms. Right now I'm only following two series: John From Cincinnati and Flight of the Conchords.

There are, however, a few other series I follow that will be airing new episodes soon. Weeds, a Showtime series, is airing new episodes in the USA next week. Showcase, which carries the show on this side of the border, will start season three in the fall.

Another US cable series I follow is Rescue Me, which started airing season four a couple of months ago. Showcase will air these new episodes in the fall as well. Why Showcase chooses to make us wait is beyond me, but I'm sure there's a method to their madness.

Finally, Curb Your Enthusiasm is set to air season six in September as well. TMN will air this series simultaneous with HBO. Here's a very cool list of celebrities that have appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

There ya have it. Throw in The Simpsons and The Office and that's about it for me. As I said, for the most part, TV sucks.

Link: Today's Front Pages
Published by Toronto Mike on August 6, 2007 @ 19:38 in Links to External Web Sites

LinkToday's Front Pages - The Newseum displays these daily newspaper front pages in their original, unedited form.

The Monday Shuffle
Published by Toronto Mike on August 6, 2007 @ 19:01 in Monday Shuffles

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. The Great Satan - Ministry
  2. One Mint Julep - Ray Charles
  3. 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
  4. Bombtrack - Rage Against The Machine
  5. Five To One - The Doors
  6. Sweet Sunshine - Beck
  7. Rusty Cage - Soundgarden
  8. Cause I Can Do It Right - Big Daddy Kane
  9. Freak Magnet - L7
  10. Win the West - Emm Gryner

I always thought "1979" was the perfect second single from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. They led with the infectious rocker "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and followed that up with what would become their biggest hit.

It also had one of the cooler videos of 1996 when I was still young enough to relate.

Who the Hell Is This Simcoe Guy?
Published by Toronto Mike on August 6, 2007 @ 15:17 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Toronto, OntarioI didn't have to go into the office today because it's Simcoe Day. At least that's what we call this holiday here in Toronto. The question is, who the hell is this Simcoe guy?

In a nutshell, and shamelessly copied and pasted from Wikipedia, John Graves Simcoe (February 25, 1752 – October 26, 1806) was the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada (modern-day southern Ontario plus the watersheds of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior) from 1791-1796. He founded York (now Toronto) and was instrumental in introducing institutions such as the courts, trial by jury, English common law, freehold land tenure, and for abolishing slavery in Upper Canada long before it was abolished in the British Empire as a whole (it had disappeared from Upper Canada by 1810, but wasn't abolished throughout the Empire until 1834).

He sounds like a grand fellow, and worthy of a holiday. Simcoe named the T.Dot York after Frederick, Duke of York, George III's second son.

I think almost all Canadians get today off, but it's only Simcoe day in Toronto. Depending on where you live it's got a different name, with the default being Civic Day. I suggest we unify the country, make it a stat day and call it "Too Hot To Work Day".

The Passion That...
Published by Toronto Mike on August 6, 2007 @ 10:59 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsSpeaking of major league disappointment, I'm a passionate fan of a sports franchise that hasn't won a championship since 7 years before my birth. Every fall hope springs eternal and every spring I'm left feeling depressed and unsatisfied. I feel like Charlie Brown taking another run at the football Lucy is holding.

I don't have passion in the belly for soccer because I didn't play it as a kid and I only really see it once every four years. Conversely, I'm all about the Maple Leafs because I played the sport as a child and grew up watching the blue and white. I'm fully committed to the cause, it's too late for me, but that doesn't mean I can't have a little fun with my team.

The latest Toronto Maple Leafs slogan is "The Passion That Unites Us All". This is true, but glosses over the bitter fact of the matter. I've concocted some alternative slogans that are a little more honest. Vote for your favourite in the comments.

leafs_passion5 leafs_passion3 leafs_passion leafs_passion2 leafs_passion4

By the way, there is exactly 58 days, 7 hours, 58 minutes, and 54 seconds left until the puck drops. Go Leafs Go!

Observations From A Soccer Naysayer
Published by Toronto Mike on August 6, 2007 @ 10:29 in Sports

soccerI'm not fanatical about my disinterest in soccer. Some who dislike the sport are passionate about their hatred and exert a great deal of energy ripping into devotees. That's not me, I never played the sport and therefore never developed an interest. Now, I think it's just too late for me.

Although I'm not a fan, I don't live under a rock, so I'm well aware of the local hype surrounding last night's game between Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy. 20,522 filled BMO Field by the Ex in the hopes that David Beckham would make his Major League Soccer debut. 20,522 got a double dose of disappointment. Not only did Beckham sit on the bench for the entire game nursing an ankle injury, but no goals were scored in the match. 20,522 missed Beckham in a 0-0 final.

Toronto FC hasn't scored a goal in four games. The fact I don't dig the sport is a blessing. I'm missing out on some major league disappointment.

Lee Hazlewood, Rest in Peace
Published by Toronto Mike on August 6, 2007 @ 09:51 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumLee Hazlewood was 77. He was the singer-songwriter who wrote the Nancy Sinatra hit "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'".

I Almost Missed The Flight
Published by Toronto Mike on August 5, 2007 @ 17:16 in Television

tvI was asleep at the switch. How else can I explain the fact I'm only discovering the Flight of the Conchords now. This HBO series featuring New Zealand's Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement first hit TMN over a month ago but I only watched the pilot on Friday. Five episodes later, I'm in love.

It's bloody brilliant. Frighteningly witty and chock full of exceptionally hilarious songs covering a wide variety of genres. It's dryer than a show like Curb Your Enthusiasm, and you have to get used to the accents, but it's one of those shows you just don't want to end. At a half hour, if feels way too short and you're left wanting a whole lot more.

Here's a song from the pilot. If you get TMN, or have a friend who gets TMN, there are seven episodes sitting at channel 308 waiting to be watched or recorded or whatever. Don't miss this series.

The songs really need to be viewed as part of the episode to be fully appreciated, but that's not going to stop me from sharing one more. This one appeared in the 4th episode, "Yoko".

And, because I can't help myself, this song killed me. It's from the 3rd episode and features Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros.

That's all... for now. Watch the damn show. There's nothing remotely as funny on tv right now, trust me.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Published by Toronto Mike on August 5, 2007 @ 16:58 in Reviews

A Movie ReelThis Film Is Not Yet Rated: 7 out of 10.

I love docs, and this one about the MPAA is quite entertaining. The MPAA oversees a "voluntary" film rating system, but as Kevin Smith points out in the film, it's anything but voluntary if you want to promote your film and maximize revenue. For 35 years they've done their thing with no transparency or public accountability of the process.

In the documentary we actually learn about this film getting an NC-17 rating and losing the appeal by a 10-0 vote. This version, with this additional footage, was never rated, and that's why you can't rent it at Blockbuster.

Voluntary, indeed.

755
Published by Toronto Mike on August 5, 2007 @ 10:27 in Sports

baseballOff a 91 mph fastball from San Diego Padre pitcher Clay Hensley in the 2nd inning last night at Petco Park.

Is A-Rod The Next Home Run King?
Published by Toronto Mike on August 4, 2007 @ 19:56 in Sports

mlbBarry Bonds hasn't even caught Hank Aaron yet but baseball fans are already wondering if Alex Rodriquez will be the next home run king. A-Rod just hit his 500th earlier today and he just turned 32. That means he needs 255 to reach Aaron's mark and who knows how many to reach Bonds, assuming Bonds eventually sets a new mark.

Thanks to the bestest baseball stat blog on the planet I can tell you that only seven guys have ever hit 255 or more homers from age 32 onward. Even though A-Rod has come this far in record time, he still needs to accomplish a feat only accomplished 7 times in order to become the new career leader in dingers. Here are the 7 who have hit 255 or more homers after the age of 32.

  1. Barry Bonds - 420
  2. Babe Ruth - 358
  3. Hank Aaron - 357
  4. Rafael Palmeiro - 336
  5. Mark McGwire - 306
  6. Willie Mays - 292
  7. Andres Galarraga - 283

A-Rod is still pretty young, and in his prime. If he stays healthy, Bonds' reign will be very, very short.

Massive Plastic Orange Gun
Published by Toronto Mike on August 4, 2007 @ 18:32 in Family

familyI know parents who won't let their children play with any gun of any kind. All shooting devices are completely banned from the house.

I don't judge these people, I'm not a big gun fan myself, but I'll let James play with a gun, so long as it's a massive plastic orange gun.

James James James

July 2007 Search Engine Refferals
Published by Toronto Mike on August 4, 2007 @ 18:23 in SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in July of 2007. Those people searching for The Simpsons Hit and Run map were awfully disappointed when they clicked through to me.

  1. wedding playlist
  2. top new rock songs of 2007
  3. simpsons hit and run map
  4. celebrity death watch
  5. bill barilko
  6. rap traxx
  7. avril peaches
  8. sexy marge simpson
  9. big shiny tunes 2
  10. x games soundtrack
Before The Babe, Hank and Barry, There Was Roger Connor
Published by Toronto Mike on August 4, 2007 @ 11:06 in Sports

baseballAny day now, Barry Bonds will catch Hank Aaron and become the all-time home run king. Everybody knows that Hank Aaron caught Babe Ruth, but not many people know who held the record before The Babe.

It was Roger Connor who hit 138 home runs during his 18-year career. Think about that for a moment. Babe Ruth took a record of 138 and stretched it to 714. That's not breaking the record, that's obliterating the record.

For cool audio of Hank Aaron hitting 715 and an awesome quote from the New York Times, go here.

Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week
Published by Toronto Mike on August 4, 2007 @ 08:37 in Homer's Quote of the Week

Homer"Books are useless! I only ever read one book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds! Sure it taught me not to judge a man by the color of his skin…but what good does that do me?"

The More Things Change...
Published by Toronto Mike on August 3, 2007 @ 21:00 in Toronto Maple Leafs

rewindTwo years ago today, I was writing about our summer of discontent. I wasn't happy with a hockey team I felt would need a little luck to make the playoffs. We ended up missing the playoffs by two points. Here's what I wrote two years ago.

Are you a Leafs fan? Are you in the mood for supreme disappointment? If you answered yes to these two questions, tab on over to this 2005 Transaction Log.

Big names were signed today. Forsberg is with Philadelphia, Edmonton traded for Peca, the Islanders scored Satan, Vancouver held on to Naslund and our very own Brian Leetch signed with Boston. Lots of teams are improving while Toronto watches from the sidelines. As previously discussed, there's no room under the cap for anyone decent. It's clear we're content to assemble a mediocre team this season in the hopes that more cap room next summer will allure big name players. Twenty years ago, this type of behaviour was expected from the Maple Leafs, but in 2005 it's not acceptable. We demand a Stanley Cup contender and not a team that would require some luck to make the playoffs.

I'm angry. Our 39 year drought is destined to continue. Our dreams of a parade in June rest firmly on the shoulders of Jeff O'Neill and Jason Allison. I think I'm going to be sick.

Has anyone called Dougie? He could make this squad, even after being out of the game for a few years. Hell, the Bobby Orr of today could make this team. Other than damaged goods Allison and Lindros, is there any half-decent player headed our way? Is it time to sign Lonny Bohonos? I'm sorry Domi is on his way out because he could score 40 goals on this team. At least the AHL Marlies are close by, we're going to need that team to play at the ACC.

Lets face it, when you're concerned Antropov might play in Russia next year, you're in a shitload of trouble. Give me the number for Dimitri Yuskevich! Things are getting so bad, I'd be pleased to read Hoglund was on his way back. On second thought, things aren't quite that bad....yet.

Go Leafs Go!

I could have written the same thing last summer and this summer. Sure, we're holding on tight to our great Finnish hope, but is the unproven Vesa Toskala really going to compensate for what amounts to nothing more than a mediocre squad?

The more things change, the more they stay the same, especially in Leafs Nation where the elusive cup is always half full.

Mike Stafford Moved for The Bill Watters Show with Jeff Marek
Published by Toronto Mike on August 3, 2007 @ 18:58 in Radio

radioAM 640 is making some changes. Their Leafs Lunch show did well, so they're throwing The Bill Watters Show with Jeff Marek in the afternoon slot to try and steal some of Bob McCown's Prime Time Sports audience from the Fan 590.

I'm bummed about this move. I don't listen to much AM 640, but their current afternoon drive guy is top notch. When they move Mike Stafford to make way for The Bill Watters Show with Jeff Marek, they're moving him from the rare block of time I actually listen to AM radio. Others sing Stafford's praises, but there's a publicly declared bias that may mute the sentiment. That doesn't mean the praise isn't justified, because it is.

I've never met Mike Stafford, so when I tell you this guy is the best in show, I mean it. He knows a lot about a lot and tempers that with a good sense of humour and a sensitive touch, but not too sensitive. Also, his knowledge of Simpsons trivia is second to none, although the current format at AM 640 (whatever this current format is) doesn't give him much opportunity to flex that muscle.

If only the AM 640 nerds would give his blog an RSS feed...

Jake Brown: One Tough Mofo
Published by Toronto Mike on August 3, 2007 @ 18:32 in Miscellaneous

medicalJake Brown is an X Games skater guy from Australia. Check out this fall... I still can't believe the dude walked away.

Do not try this at home.

The Friday Five
Published by Toronto Mike on August 3, 2007 @ 11:45 in Friday Fives

The Number FiveMy favourite dog movies

  1. My Dog Skip
  2. Old Yeller
  3. Lady and the Tramp
  4. 101 Dalmatians
  5. The Shaggy Dog
How Doctor Who Scarred Me
Published by Toronto Mike on August 3, 2007 @ 10:33 in Memories, TV Time Machine

tvAs you might have noticed from my TV Time Machine, my childhood television diet was comprised of shows aired on TVOntario. TVO gave me Fables of the Green Forest, Jeremy, Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, Read All About It, Dr. Snuggles, Barbapapa and Polka Dot Door.

Immediately following one of my shows, TVO would kick into Doctor Who. The Doctor Who intro used to spook the crap out of me. That music, that vortex and that face... it seriously creeped me out. I remember the fear and I've never been able to sample anything Doctor Who related as a result.

Here's that intro. Even now, watching it is difficult. I'm four years old again, wondering where the hell Jeremy went and how to turn off this frightening song. Mommy!!!

We're Pirates, Arrrr
Published by Toronto Mike on August 3, 2007 @ 09:15 in Movies

videoCanadians have become the international scapegoats for movie piracy. As a result, anti-piracy campaigns and efforts are highly intense.

I don't attend many premiere screenings of films, but last night we attended the Toronto premiere for Underdog. First they wave their wand over your body searching for recording devices. If that wand beeps, you've got some explaining to do. Then, if you've got a bag of any kind, they search it looking for the same. They want anything camera-ish...

I actually had my 4mp Olympus with me and they wouldn't let me take it into the theatre. I know the guy was just doing his job, but this camera takes 30 second clips that totally suck. When nature called half way through the film, I couldn't get back inside without going through the whole ordeal again. I'll give them props for due diligence, that's for sure.

During the movie itself, I saw a security guy walking the aisles taking video of everyone in attendance. He was clearly shooting the crowd searching for Kramer and his camcorder.

Is all this effort because Canada is "a hotbed for film piracy" or is just because of all the hype surrounding the release of Underdog?

Underdog
Published by Toronto Mike on August 3, 2007 @ 08:56 in Reviews

A Movie ReelUnderdog: 3 out of 10.

The other day I wrote about the things we do for love. When I first became a father about 5.5 years ago, I was prepared for many of the sacrifices I'd have to make. I knew I'd have to change diapers and take them to swimming lessons and attend many a freezing Santa Claus parade, but I wasn't ready for the kind of sacrifice I made last night. This, in my humble opinion, is cruel and unusual punishment.

Underdog is bad. It's not quite Karate Dog bad, but it makes The Shaggy Dog feel like Pulp Fiction. If Underdog were a television show, I'd recommend flipping on by. Not even the presence of Puddy and the voice of Banky Edwards can save it. Bow. Wow.

It was also just about the best 80 minutes I've ever enjoyed. James was seated to the right of me and Michelle to the left, and I spent more time watching their reaction to this talking, flying mutt than watching the screen. At 3 and 5 years old, they were the target audience, and this movie nailed the target. There's a scene where Underdog belches loudly in another dogs face and Michelle thought it was the funniest scene ever captured on film. When Underdog was flying into outer space, James was literally at the edge of his seat, mesmerized. The kids absolutely loved Underdog, and that's why I was there. That's what last night was all about.

Unless you're accompanying someone under the age of ten, you have no business wasting a second of your life watching this brutal film. But if you are looking to kill 80 minutes with your four year old, I won't judge. I had a blast.

Theatre

Julio Franco
Published by Toronto Mike on August 2, 2007 @ 10:56 in Sports

mlbI'm fascinated by the career of Julio Franco. The Atlanta Braves released the 48 year old yesterday, but I'm hopeful he'll be back in the big leagues. This guy's longevity is astounding.

Thanks to my new favourite blog I can tell you that Julio Franco has faced 1167 different pitchers in his major league career. 857 of those pitchers have already retired, 8 are already in the hall of fame and 15 are dead.

Think about it. This guy is still playing and he's faced Steve Carlton, Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry and Tom Seaver. It just blows my mind that he had three seasons under his belt before our Jays won their first AL East pennant.

We'll close with this little tidbit from Franco's Wikipedia page. Julio Franco was the only active player to face a pitcher who pitched against Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who retired in 1960. The pitcher is Jim Kaat, who played in the majors from 1959 to 1983. Williams had batted against Kaat the final day of the 1959 season, Kaat's rookie year. Kaat walked Franco in the latter's rookie season in 1982.

The Last Kiss
Published by Toronto Mike on August 2, 2007 @ 09:48 in Reviews

A Movie ReelThe Last Kiss: 7 out of 10.

Is it possible I was in the mood for a relationship movie last night? That's doubtful, but it would explain why I enjoyed "The Last Kiss" so much.

There are a bunch of different couples and they're all trying to figure it all out and you're just sort of peering in and watching how the pieces fall. It's a solid cast and great fuel for deep discussions with your spouse, and Rachel Bilson is awfully cute, so what more are you looking for in a hot summer night flick?

The Things We Do For Love
Published by Toronto Mike on August 1, 2007 @ 20:35 in Family

heartIf you want to make a movie that will appeal to young kids, go with talking animals. It seems to be gold in my house. If the dog or cat or mouse or rat talks, the kids love it.

The kids have been enjoying ads for Underdog, a movie about a talking dog with superpowers. A friend passed on free tickets to the premiere tomorrow night and the kids are ecstatic. Underdog is their Godfather. It's 84 minutes of highly anticipated hilarity.

I normally play ball on Thursday nights, but James and Michelle want to see Underdog and that means I'll be watching this movie which can't possibly be any good. At the risk of using a joke worthy of the movie itself, it's a dog with fleas and everyone over the age of ten knows it.

It's going to be bad, but it's a talking dog, and that's all that's going to matter.

My Offline Challenge: Week 21
Published by Toronto Mike on August 1, 2007 @ 20:18 in Running

runningIt's hot out there. I just ran 5k and my shirt was soaking. I don't think I've ever sweat that much. Tomorrow will be even warmer.

Week 21 started with our first 10k clinic on Saturday morning which included an Amazing Grace 6k run. Sunday was my 5k race and tonight was another 5k run around Grenadier Pond.

Twenty one weeks into my offline challenge I'm feeling fine and easily running a solid 5k three times a week. It wasn't that long ago I'd be winded after a jog around the block.

Linkin Park's Bleed It Out
Published by Toronto Mike on August 1, 2007 @ 16:12 in SLS ~ Smells Like Sour

slsI just submitted a song for SLS18 consideration. I submitted Linkin Park's "Bleed It Out".

Linkin Park is a band I don't think I should like, but I always end up liking. Every album is good for two or three awesome singles and "Bleed It Out" is an awesome single.

The video hasn't yet been released, but here's an uncensored version of the song complete with subtitles. For better or for worse, my ears dig it.

The Best of Toronto Mike
Published by Toronto Mike on August 1, 2007 @ 15:18 in Ch-ch-changes

the best blog entriesNobody asked for it, but I'm giving it to you regardless. It's The Best of Toronto Mike.

I skimmed the last 6328 entries and tagged 79 that either touched a nerve, touched my soul or was simply significant in a sea of insignificance. You'll find those entries on one page at http://www.torontomike.com/the_best_of_toronto_mike/.

Sometimes you don't even have to ask to receive. Consider it Christmas in August... a really crappy Christmas in August.

My Morning Jacket - Wordless Chorus
Published by Toronto Mike on August 1, 2007 @ 08:52 in Weekly MP3s

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

My Morning Jacket - Wordless Chorus
Never underestimate the value of opening for a popular band. I caught My Morning Jacket twice when they opened for Pearl Jam and I dug their sounds enough to score Acoustic Citsuoca, It Still Moves and Z. This is one of my favourite MMJ tunes, "Wordless Chorus".

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