October 2007 Archives

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2007-08 NBA Predictions Deny Raptors

raptorsTonight, at 7pm, the Raptors host Philadelphia in our season opener. If you bounce around and check out the American media's predictions for this season, our Raps aren't getting much respect.

  • The NBA GM survey doesn't mention the Raptors at all. Their picks to win the Atlantic Division are Boston, New Jersey and New York.
  • The SI Power Rankings don't even have us in the top ten.
  • This Fox Sports blog doesn't even care enough to mention us. It likes the Bulls.
  • Somehow Associated Content has the Nets, Celtics and 76ers ahead of us in the division. Yikes!
  • Hollinger at ESPN has us finishing 8th in the conference.
  • The Sports Watchers don't even have us making the playoffs.
  • ESPN, at least, have us tied with New Jersey as the 2nd most likely to win our division. They're picking Boston.

You get the idea. Nobody thinks we're going to win the division again and few give us a hope and a prayer of coming out of the conference. Listen to me now and hear me later, we're a better team than we were last year and we were pretty damn good last year. It's possible the Nets win the division, but this year we actually win a playoff round, maybe two.

Bargnani will be greatly improved, Bosh is still awesome and Kapono can shoot the lights out. The fun starts tonight. Go Raptors Go!

Happy Birthday

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What Humble and Fred Are Up To

radioWhen people learn I'm friends with both Humble and Fred, I'm almost always asked what they're up to. The fact is anything I'd be allowed to share would probably already be on their respective blogs, but it's a fair question and I do my best to answer it. Humble and Fred were the morning guys throughout the 90s on the radio station of choice for most of us born in the 70s, so there's naturally a great fondness for them and a genuine interest in their whereabouts.

Humble, who I'm hanging with on Saturday, will be appearing on an episode of the CBC radio comedy show "The Debaters". He'll be taping that in Saskatchewan and he'll be debating Judy Croon who worked with him on Mix 99.9. Fred will host the Bill Watters Show on AM 640 tomorrow and Friday. That starts at 4pm and runs until 7pm.

Another question I'm often asked by fellow fans of The Humble and Fred Show is whether there will be another podcast. Humble and Fred recorded three podcasts following their departure from radio, starting with last year's awesome Christmas show. I was lucky enough to be in the room while two of the three were recorded at Dan Duran's house and I was responsible for making sure you guys could hear it online. I don't know if the guys know I did this, but I grabbed a copy of the old humbleandfred.com and archived it at http://www.torontomike.com/humbleandfred/. You can actually go there and hear all three hilarious podcasts and then you can wonder why the hell these two no longer have their own show.

My answer to this podcast question isn't really an answer but a suggestion they ask Howard or Fred. If it were up to me, there would most definitely be an 18th Annual Humble & Fred Christmas Show. Unfortunately, it's not up to me.

Now get over to http://www.torontomike.com/humbleandfred/ and enjoy some great Humble and Fred from the past year. It's uncensored, cocked and loaded. And it's hilarious, dammit!

The Gang

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The White Stripes - Little Ghost

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

The White Stripes - Little Ghost
Here's a nice little ditty from The White Stripes on a day full of little ghosts.

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Robert Goulet, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRobert Goulet was 73. He was the singer whose rich baritone voice and classic tall, dark, dashing good looks made him a star on stage and television.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 34

runningThe neat thing about adding a km to my Sunday run every week is that I'm setting a new personal best for distance run every week. My new record, which will stand until Sunday, is 15k.

For the first Wednesday in quite some time, I won't be running. Darth Vader and a baby butterfly are going door to door begging for chocolate and I don't want to miss that. The more loot they score, the more there is to raid when they fall asleep.

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

  • Sunday - 15k run
  • Tuesday - 10k run

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The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational '80s Songs

musicCracked.com has published a list that's right up my alley. They call it The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational '80s Songs and here it is.

  1. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
  2. "You’re the Best" by Joe Esposito
  3. "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins
  4. "Jukebox Hero" by Foreigner
  5. "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey
  6. "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler
  7. "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar
  8. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen
  9. "Wanted (Dead or Alive)" by Bon Jovi
  10. "The Final Countdown" by Europe

I think it's a very strong list. It's very hard to argue against that top three, in fact, check out this Friday Five I did back in 2005. It's pretty similar, only I actually put "You're the Best" ahead of "Eye of the Tiger", but that's just me.

Where the hell is Mark Safan's "Win in the End? Now, that was inspirational.

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WTF?

swearsI've caught myself saying WTF lately in my offline life. Funnily enough, I don't use WTF online, but around the house I'm spouting those three letters all the time.

When I tell you I say "WTF", I literally mean I say "Dubya Tee Eff". It's a great way to express yourselves with kids in the room. It's swearing without the swear.

I've actively fought against IM-speak, but I think there's something quite hilarious about using IM-speak in daily off-line conversation.

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Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 7

LeafsThis anonymous note came through my contact form late last night. "Can't wait for your TML update tomorrow. Absolute SHIT in all respects, pardon my lingo. Go Raptors Go". That about sums it up.

It was humiliating. If our job was to make the Capitals look good, we succeeded, as five of them got their first goal of the season in this pathetic excuse for an NHL-calibre effort. When Alexander Ovechkin scored the goal to put the Caps up 6-1, I turned the game off. I simply couldn't stomach anymore. When the Leafs come home, things get bleak.

  • We've won only three times in nine games at home
  • This was our second 7-1 loss at home
  • We've allowed an NHL-high 51 goals this season
  • We can't blame this one on Bryan McCabe

And yes, I wrote "we". Deal with it.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
5-5-3
13 points
3rd in Northeast
7-1 Loss vs. Washington
4-1 Win vs. NY Rangers
6-2 Win vs. Pittsburgh
M. Sundin - 19
N. Antropov - 15
J. Blake - 13

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Trinity vs. Millsap

footballOn Saturday there was a little NCAA Division III game between Trinity and Millsap in Mississippi.

I just have three letters to add to this video. W.O.W.

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The Evil Sith Lord Is Not Alone

Star WarsJames wanted to be Darth Vader for Halloween. He's not alone. I just dropped him off at a Halloween party for his Beavers lodge and I counted three Evil Sith Lords formerly known as Anakin.

The dark side is making a comeback.

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Everyday Is Hallowe'en

HalloweenWith Wednesday being Halloween, it would be pretty easy to make Ministry's "Everyday Is Hallowe'en" my weekly MP3, but I did that last year.

If Halloween had carols, this would be a modern classic. You never hear it anymore outside of October but it's actually pretty strong. It's Ministry when they were more dancy and less angry.

There's no official video, but here's the tune set to some stills. Play this along with "Devil Inside", "Monster Mash", "Welcome to My Nightmare" and anything by Frozen Ghost.

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In Toronto, There's a Market For Everything

CoffeeIn this city, there's a market for just about everything. Let's take coffee, as an example. There's your Starbucks crowd, your Second Cup crowd, your Tim Hortons crowd and your $15 a cup crowd.

Manic Coffee on College Street West brews Esmerelda Especial and sells it for $15 per cup. They sold 30 cups in less than 3 hours on Saturday. Apparently this Esmerelda Especial is rare stuff and it's got to be pretty darn tasty if people are willing to fork over $15 for a taste.

For $15 that coffee would have to do a hell of a lot more for me than taste good.

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Porter Wagoner, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumPorter Wagoner was 80. He was a a Grand Ole Opry institution and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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Volver

A Movie ReelVolver: 7.5 out of 10.

Pedro Almodovar has a winner here in Volver, and Penelope Cruz is fantastic in the lead. It's easy viewing for two hours even though you have to read the whole thing.

I highly recommend it.

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Spill the Beans, Cox

newspaperPssst, can you keep a secret? The Leafs are desperately trying to move defencemen Pavel Kubina, Bryan McCabe and Hal Gil. Shocking, isn't it?

I can hear you laughing right now because McCabe is making $7.15 million to go along with a no-movement clause, Kubina's pulling down $4.25 million and Gill's at a lofty $2.075 million. Who would take them?

Three days ago, while reading Damien Cox's article about the silly Tavares thing, I nearly fell off my chair when I read this:

For starters, don't believe yesterday was the first day the Tavares camp ever heard of the Marlies scenario. That's not true, just as the suggestion that there isn't another NHL team out there interested in Bryan McCabe and his contract isn't true.

Spill the beans, Cox. Which NHL team is interested in Bryan McCabe and his contract? If you won't tell me, at least tell John Ferguson Jr.

It sounds too good to be true.

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A Ghost Commercial That Was Never Broadcast

carThis is a car advertisment from Australia. It was never broadcast.

After filming the ad, the editor noticed something moving along the side of the car - a ghostly mist.

They found out that a person had been killed a year earlier in that exact same spot.

Watch the front end of the car as it clears the trees in the middle of the screen and you'll see the white mist crossing in front of the car then following it along the road....Spooky!

Is it a ghost, or is it simply mist?

You decide. Turn your speakers up a little, you'll even hear the cameraman whispering in the background about it near the end of the commercial.

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Reznikoff Haunts

halloweenThis is really the only time of year you can justify sharing a good ghost story, so for the second year in a row I'm going to share my favourite ghost story of them all. This one is about a ghost named Reznikoff who haunts University College at the University of Toronto. Here's the tale as told over here.

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

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

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

As legend has it, a gash in the door that leads to University College was the result of an axe swung by Reznikoff as he pursued Diabolos. Last year I revisited my old "haunting" grounds and took a couple of photos.

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

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Measuring Michelle's Maturation

familyWhen it comes to my Flickr account, I'm very organized. Every image I upload is tagged appropriately so it's very easy to quickly view all pictures of Michelle with a Jack O'Lantern. I realized this afternoon that the annual pumpkin carving made for a great little benchmark to see how the kids have changed from year to year.

Let's take my daughter Michelle, for example. This is the fourth year of Michelle's life that we've carved a pumpkin. Therefore, I have pictures of Michelle and the completed Jack O'Lantern in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Here's a year-by-year measurement of Michelle's maturation momentum.

Our 2004 Jack O' Lantern Michelle, James and Jack Loungin' PA286326

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The Family Jack O'Lantern: 2007 Edition

halloweenAbout three years ago I wrote about Halloween being one of those things you're forced to care about when you have kids. If I hadn't procreated, I wouldn't think twice about this silly holiday. The kids, however, love everything Halloween, and the next thing you know you're hanging up little ghosts outside, putting cobwebs in the tree, sticking a skeleton on the door and, every year, you're carving a pumpkin.

Last year I confessed that I'm not the world's best pumpkin carver. All my Jack O'Lanterns follow a similar pattern, and this year is no different. We just finished carving up this year's pumpkin only this year I gave the kids more say in the finished product. They insisted Jack have a rectangle nose, even though I always go with a triangle nose. Looking at the finished product, I should have trusted my instincts, but the kids are happy and that's all that matters.

Here's our pumpkin carving photoset and below is the finished Jack O'Lantern, rectangle nose and all.

PA286333

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Maple Leafs 4, Rangers 1

LeafsIt's possible we caught both the Pens and Rangers flat-footed these past two games, but it's also possible we're witnessing the benefit of having defensive liability Bryan McCabe out of the lineup. Our D has looked great, Vesa Toskala has asserted himself as our #1 and we've enjoyed two efficient and effective victories on the road.

The Leafs play so much better away from the ACC. Perhaps Maurice should try a "stay in a hotel at home" stunt. Or, and this is an even better idea, it's time to shelve McCabe indefinitely with a "lower body ailment" and keep this current squad in front of Toskala. I could get used to efforts like this.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
5-4-3
13 points
3rd in Northeast
4-1 Win vs. NY Rangers
6-2 Win vs. Pittsburgh
5-4 Loss vs. Atlanta
M. Sundin - 18
N. Antropov - 15
J. Blake - 12

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Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

movieThe kids and I just watched Beetlejuice. It brought back a ton on memories for me as I remember seeing it at the Runnymede Theatre back in 1988 and absolutely loving it. It's still a lot of fun and ideal for the season.

My favourite scene might be the dinner scene where they begin dancing around the table and sing "The Banana Boat Song." Here it is, as great as you remember it.

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A Couple Of Sick Goals

hockeyA couple of goals this past week really got my attention. These goals are both drenched in skill and quite creative, and neither were scored by Leafs.

Rick Nash Between The Legs

Jonathan Toews' Dekerama

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Hockey Songs: The Best Music About Our Game

Greatest Hockey SongsThere is nothing more Canadian than hockey. It's a little past noon on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I'm already thinking about Hockey Night in Canada tonight as my Leafs take on the Rangers. Hockey is life and pretty sweet.

Alison, who refers to herself as a stranger-friend because she drops by daily, wrote me to ask if I had ever posted a hockey playlist. She was looking for songs that would pump up a young hockey team in the dressing room, but my mind instantly turned to songs about our national game. I started thinking about hockey songs and decided to post the top ten hockey songs.

Here are the best ten hockey songs, in no particular order, and with apologies to Hayden because the amazing "Skates" isn't about hockey.

Hockey - Jane Siberry - Before she changed her name to Issa, Torontonian Jane Siberry was best known around these parts for "Mimi on the Beach", but my favourite Jane Siberry track is "Hockey" from her 1989 album Bound By the Beauty. Check out these pretty lyrics.

They rioted in the streets of Montreal when they benched Rocket Richard,
And that is true bona fide Canadian history, that's what really counts
That's what we're all about

Don't let those Sunday afternoons
Get away get away get away get away
Break away break away break away break away

You use your rubber boots for goal-posts
And you're so proud of that, cause they're your boots that they're usin'

Have a listen here and if you're not touched by the beauty you didn't grow up around here.

The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors - This song is simple, but has rightfully become a national anthem of sorts. Of all of Stompin' Tom's songs, this is the one we'll still be singing nightly in fifty years. I know you know the lyrics, but here's a taste anyway.

Where players dash with skates aflash the home team trails behind
But they grab the puck and go bursting up and they're down across the line
They storm the crease like bumble bees they travel like a burning flame
We see them slide the puck inside - it's a 1-1 hockey game!

I was lucky enough to see Connors perform "The Hockey Song" live when I saw Conan O'Brien back in 2004. Here's awesome footage of Connors doing it up with some great vintage footage of our game.

Hockey Night In Canada Theme - The Shuffle Demons - Speaking of unofficial Canadian national anthems, the opening theme for Hockey Night In Canada is right up there. It was written in 1968 by Dolores Claman and it only takes one note to prepare for puck droppage in Pavlov's dog-style. I threw The Shuffle Demons' cover on this list because it's chock full of bop rap goodness. Note to self: share "Spadina Bus" this weekend.

The Ballad of Wendel Clark, Parts I and II - Rheostatics - I recently wrote about this song as the video contains glimpses of the now defunct Old Mill Donuts on Dundas Street West. It's a great hockey song with a Toronto slant and mandatory listening for those of us who suffered through the 1980s Norris division follies. Check out the lyrics.

Well I heard Wendel talking to Dave Hodge last night
he said that he was confident and keen
he said that Jacques Plante didn't die
so all of us could glide
he said that hard work is the ethic of the free.

And here's that video I mentioned with classic Etobicokery.

50 Mission Cap - The Tragically Hip - The Hip's classic homage to my favourite legend, Bill Barilko, needs no introduction. It's everything that's great about this country rolled into one inspiring package. Here's the lyrics.

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored won the Leafs the cup
They didn't win another until 1962 the year he was discovered
I stole this from a hockey card I keep tucked up under
My fifty mission cap I worked it in to look like that

Here are the Hip playing "50 Mission Cap" back in '93 on The Another Roadside Attraction Tour.

Hockey Skates - Kathleen Edwards - This song isn't really about hockey, but it's called "Hockey Skates" and it's really good, so I'm throwing it on this list. I fell upon it while listening to the Men With Brooms soundtrack and it instantly captured my fancy. Here's a taste of the lyrics.

Going down in the same old town down the same street to the same bar
And the same old people saying hi and I don't care
Going down in the same old bar and I don't even order anymore
I am so sick of consequence and the look on your face
I am tired of playing defense
I don't even have hockey skates

While looking for Kathleen singing "Hockey Skates" I found another song of hers opening Hockey Night in Canada. This seems appropriate for this entry.

Gretzky Rocks - The Pursuit of Happiness - I remember the video for this song getting airplay on MuchMusic. It was well after Love Junk, and not TPOH at their best, but Gretzky does in fact rock and that needed to be said in song. Here's how it starts...

Walter Gretzky had a son,
he grew up to be the great one
He came from Brantford, Ontario;
he liked Gordie Howe you know.

Americans don't understand,
the national sport of the northland
The worlds best game they're always dissin'
but they don't know what they are missin'

Unfortunately, I can only see this video in my mind because there's no trace of it online. Moe Berg was in the penalty box for a while, I believe.

Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song) - Warren Zevon - 2002's My Ride's Here is the second last album of Warren Zevon's career and the cover shows him sitting in a hearse. For this album, he recorded "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)". Mitch Albom, a sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, helped write the tune while David Letterman chipped in by yelling "Hit Somebody!"

There were Swedes to the left of him
Russians to the right
A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
Brains over brawn--that might work for you
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?

Hit somebody! was what the crowd roared
When Buddy the goon came over the boards
"Coach," he'd say, "I wanna score goals"
The coach said, "Buddy, remember your role,
The fast guys get paid, they shoot, and they score
Protect them, Buddy, that's what you're here for.

The Zamboni Song - Gear Daddies - This song is probably best known from MasterCard commercials and from The Mighty Ducks soundtracks. It's pretty popular at arenas throughout this country and the kids dig it. It's safe to say this is the only Gear Daddies song you'll ever hear.

Now ever since I was young it's been my dream
That I might drive a Zamboni machine
I'd get the ice just as slick as could be
And all the kids would look up to me

Here's the song from this Austin, Minnesota band.

The Lonely End of the Rink - The Tragically Hip - I couldn't resist putting a second Tragically Hip song on this list. They litter hockey references all over the place and I could easily justify including "Fireworks" because of the references to The Summit Series and Bobby Orr. "The Lonely End of the Rink" is drenched in a romantic hockey sentiment we can all relate to. It's explained briliantly by Gord Downie in the clip below.

At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
Oh to join the rush
As the season builds

I hear your voice 'cross a frozen lake
a voice from the end of a leaf
saying, 'you won't die of a thousand fakes
or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes'

This song opened the first Hockey Night in Canada telecast last year and it was perfect. Enjoy the unofficial video for another great hockey song.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"I hope he tells us to burn our pants, these things are driving me nuts."

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Steve Rodehutskors, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSteve Rodehutskors was 43. He was a CFL offensive lineman who won two Grey Cups with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

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Blackberried

phoneIf you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know I've been sort of proud of the fact I've never owned a mobile phone. I was almost given a phone just for blogging about it, but I turned it down. The iPhone piqued my interest, but it's not yet available in Canada and I'm not ready to spend that kind of money on something I've lived comfortably without for 33 years.

For 33 years I've been without a cell phone, but today my streak ends. My employer just handed me a Blackberry. This is the perfect phone for me, it's a phone I won't have to pay for. The ramifications of this event cannot be overstated.

I'm now reachable just about everywhere, when I'm used to being completely uncontactable during times I'm in the car, walking the streets, shopping, or whatever. Even if I turn it off, it's got voicemail, and I'm going to be expected to check a voicemail within a reasonable amount of time. It's a virtual leash I've never desired, and now it's strapped on and ready to vibrate.

I've been Blackberried. Mark the date. I think I did quite well making it deep into 2007 before going mobile.

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Highest-Grossing Scary Movies Of All Time

The Number FiveHere are the highest-grossing horror movies of all-time

  1. Jaws
  2. The Exorcist
  3. The Sixth Sense
  4. House of Wax
  5. Psycho

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Maple Leafs 5, Penguins 2

LeafsHe may not be John Tavares, but unlike John Taveres, Jiri Tlusty is a Toronto Maple Leaf in the here and now and last night the teenager scored a pair in his NHL debut. I won't blow your mind with how his stats will look when he finishes his twenty year career at this scoring pace.

It was a tight 1-1 game in the third when Tlusty did his thing to put us up for good. His goals were only 35 seconds apart, and we added another pair later in the period 32 seconds apart. Vesa Toskala was sharp, making 23 saves, and Mats Sundin got an assist to tie him for the league lead in points.

We're still a mediocre team, but these victories are a hell of a lot more fun to watch then those bloody losses.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
4-4-3
11 points
3rd in Northeast
6-2 Win vs. Pittsburgh
5-4 Loss vs. Atlanta
6-4 Loss vs. Chicago
M. Sundin - 18
N. Antropov - 14
J. Blake - 11

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Diaper Free Household

babyFor the first time in almost six years, we recently became a diaper-free household. Michelle is all about the underwear now and that means no more Huggies or Pampers or whatever on our weekly grocery list.

If all goes according to plan, the next time I buy diapers they'll be for me.

Michelle

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Will Paris Fall In Love With Me?

binocularsSpeaking of Repo! The Genetic Opera!, here's the trailer for the film which will hit theatres April 25, 2008.

I wonder if HH can score me tix to the premiere. It might be my last best chance to hook up with a heiress to the Hilton millions.

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Jiri Tlusty and John Tavares

LeafsJiri Tlusty, the only teenager in the Maple Leafs farm system, will make his NHL debut tonight against the Penguins. He was selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and, other than Justin Pogge, is the only half-decent prospect we have. This fact leads to a rant.

Why does every team in the league have promising youngsters except our Leafs? Tlusty is hardly tearing things up in the AHL, but here he is because he's the closest thing we have to a future star. I'm willing to bet my bottom dollar that he ends up being closer to an Alex Steen than a Jonathan Toews, and Toews isn't even a Patrick Kane. I don't mean to pick on the Blackhawks, but they're a good example of a team that had to get sucky before there was a chance for hope. When will we bite that bullet and hit the bottom so we can bounce our way back to competitiveness?

Remember a week ago when I went off on stupid Facebook groups demanding the Leafs get John Tavares? I'll bet John Ferguson, Jr. is a member of that group. The Globe has a piece of fantasy today. Dave Shoalts is suggesting Ferguson has offered up-and-coming superstar John Tavares the opportunity to play for the Marlies. Oh, boy...

The entire article upset me. There is no magic pill that will cure what ills us. If Fergie thinks there's some secret door that will take Tavares to Leafland, he's dumber than I thought. The fact is, Tavares will enter the entry draft like every one else and the team with the first pick will grab him. Our only hope is that Tavares pulls a Lindros and refuses to play for any team but the Leafs, and I can't see that happening. Besides, it's not like we're a John Tavares away from winning the cup, but it would give us something we haven't had in years. It would give us hope.

Right now all we have is Tlusty.

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Before You Buy, Check the Blogosphere

mouseIf you Google prima television, an entry I wrote about my Prima telvision nightmare is ranked on the first results page. Click on over, read the entry and the 24 responses and tell me if you'd buy a Prima television.

Matt conducted this exact Google search earlier today and then left this comment:

My girlfriend just bought a 32" Prima LCD. I was suspicious not being familiar with the brand, but we got it anyway due to the attractive price. Thanks to these reviews it's going back to Bestbuy. I hope somebody from Prima reads this page. It's pathetic.

There is great power on the web, and that's why I won't trash a company's product or service unless I've given them a fair chance to make things right. Prima's customer service was virtually non-existent for months, and their product was clearly flawed, and now anyone who takes a moment to search the web can be fairly warned.

I believe tapping into the blogosphere before one makes a significant purchase is an excellent idea. You can't believe everything you read, but you'll quickly gauge the sincerity and legitimacy of such a discussion and you'll rarely find such honesty in so-called review sites with ulterior motives.

Think of it as an early warning system for lemons. The news might not be sweet, but it's good for you.

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Repo! The Genetic Opera! A Toronto Mike Exclusive!

moviesHumble Howard Glassman and I were just chatting, and he spilt a few more beans about his role in Repo! The Genetic Opera!.

Repo! The Genetic Opera! is currently filming here in Toronto and is some sort of a funky horror/musical hybrid. The plot outline on the IMDB page is as follows: "A worldwide epidemic encourages a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause is a killer, however."

It stars Paul Sorvino and Paris Hilton and earlier this week Humble Howard blogged about his day on the set. It seems he's got a part in this film, so I hit him up for additional details.

Toronto Mike: why don't you give me an exclusive on this paris hilton movie role - are you playing a newsman or dj?
Humble Howard: neither. I'm playing a Talking head that floats around a giant blimp-like structure and lords over all the plebes below... sort of a play by play of the Opera
i think!
Toronto Mike: who are the other talking heads? John Gallagher is one, right?
Humble Howard: just john and I and we're the only speaking roles in the thing. everyone else sings, for the most part...
I think John is great in it and I know he'll be at the wrap party..
Toronto Mike: we're talking about the same John Gallagher, right?
Humble Howard: he couldn't ask enough people where/when it was going to be!
Yeah, Spike Loud Guy Gallagher. this part is perfect for him...anyways I know a lot of people don't like him but he was always good to me.
Toronto Mike: I don't mind him, I only know him from his CityTV sports days - he is what he is
Humble Howard: true true.
Toronto Mike: anything else before I make ya famous?
Humble Howard: sure I met with a media giant at his house yesterday...i can't say who it is but his name sounds like Closes Miner!

So there you have it, Humble Howard and Spike Gallagher are floating heads who narrate this genetic opera. Chicago was a musical filmed in this city that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Will Repo! The Genetic Opera! be as successful?

Only time will tell...

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Out Of This World: Grade A Crapola

tvI don't know Lori, but she seems to have me all figured out. She likes it when I delve into the dusty corners of my 33 year old mind to come up with old shows I remember. That stuff really appeals to Ontarians born in the mid-70s, I've noticed.

Lori sent me a YouTube video and asked if I remembered the show. Unfortunately, I remember it all too well. In fact, I've seen several episodes of "Out Of This World" and would get that damn theme song stuck in my head on a continuous loop.

Out Of This World was just about as bad as a sitcom can get. The principle character was half alien which gave her the ability to freeze time, Zack Morris style. When everyone was frozen, Evie could still chat with her alien father, Troy Garland of Anterias, who was voiced by none other than Burt Reynolds.

The effects were cheesy, the plot was hokey and the show ran at strange times. I think it ran Saturday or Sunday afternoons on CFMT here in Toronto, but I could be mistaken. Here's that catchy reworking of Bing Crosby's "Swinging on a Star".


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More On My 1992 Blue Jays

Blue JaysOn the fifteenth anniversary of our first World Series title, I'm feeling awfully nostalgic. I just shared the story of how I spent that night, and now it's time to share some audio and video from a historic night in Toronto baseball history.

First, we must never forget the call nobody heard. Here's Tom Cheek calling the Otis Nixon bunt to Mike Timlin, who is actually participating in another World Series as I type. "Pitch on the way ... and it's a bunted ball, first base side, Timlin to Carter ... and the Blue Jays win it! The Blue Jays win it! The Blue Jays are World Series Champions!"

This video montage came from the video cassette we all owned. It's the cheesiest music you'll ever hear, but you see Devo's catch, Robbie's tomahawk chop, Winfield's double and the historic final out.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 33

runningWe're still a small group, but we're growing. You can join in if you like. We're running 6k every Tuesday, 10k every Wednesday and a long distance every Sunday that will increase by a km each week. Got that? There will be a quiz.

The clinics are good, but I'm clinic-less right now and having a blast. You just need a plan and some peeps and you can diy while saving $70. Roll your own, dig?

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

  • Sunday - 14k run
  • Tuesday - 6k run
  • Wednesday - 10k run

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15 Years Ago Today

Blue JaysI can't believe it's been fifteen years. I also can't believe I've written 6678 entries but I've never written about that October 24, 1992 night... until now.

I prayed at the alter of Blue Jays baseball. I watched or listened to every game, I celebrated the first pennant in 1985 and, in 1992, I followed my team into their first World Series against the Atlanta Braves. This was the pinnacle, and I wanted that title in Toronto. Game six took place at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium with the Jays up three games to two in the series. David Cone started against Steve Avery and we had a 2-1 lead heading into the ninth inning. The Terminator Tom Henke would take the mound to seal the deal, or so I hoped.

In the bottom of that ninth inning, the Braves had a player at second base and Otis Nixon was down to his last strike with two outs. One more strike would secure us our first World Series title. I'll never forget that sinking feeling when Nixon doubled to tie the game. My brothers and I just stared at the television in disbelief.

Believe it or not, I don't remember much of the tenth inning. My cousin came over, and we took to the dark streets for a period of time throwing a ball back and forth to cut the thick tension. I often wonder what would have happened if the game ended in ten innings. I very well could have missed the clinching moment from our first World Series championship.

We were back in front of the television for the eleventh inning when Dave Winfield hit his first extra-base hit in the series to bring home Devon White and Roberto Alomar. Then, in the bottom of the eleventh, with the lead down to 4-3 and John Smoltz on third base, Nixon was at the plate again to face Mike Timlin who came in to relieve Jimmy Key. We all remember what happened next. Nixon bunted the ball, Timlin fielded it and threw it to Joe Carter at first base for the final out. We were World Series champions.

After an emotional pile-on in the family room, I grabbed the large Canadian flag that was hanging on my bedroom wall and we made our way to Bloor Street to join in the celebration. I was 18, waving the flag and cheering like a mofo amongst the masses who had collected. Everyone was ecstatic, and many were a little toasty. One such inebriated fellow approached me in the middle of Bloor Street at Jane and demanded I hand over my Canadian flag. I refused, and he promptly kicked me in the family jewels and tore the flag from my tight grip. I'll never forget that moment. This jerk had my flag, and he delivered the cheapest of shots, right when I least expected it.

A cop was sitting in his cruiser nearby and I remember asking him to scare this asshole a little so he'd give me back my flag. The cop shrugged his shoulders and I decided to let it go and re-join the celebration. I lost my flag and got kicked in the nads, but my Jays were champions after fifteen seasons of existance.

I'll never forget that night Winfield drove in two in the top of the eleventh. The next year we'd win again, but this time I'd leave my paraphernalia at home.

Canada's Team

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Kraft Dinner Consumer Alert

Kraft DinnerI just got back from Walmart. I was there to buy a kettle, but on my way to the small appliances I passed a wall of Kraft Dinner. I was hit with sticker shot because Walmart now wants $1.16 for a box of regular Kraft Dinner.

I previously issued a Kraft Dinner Consumer Alert when the price hit 97¢. When I was in the grocery business regular price was about 49¢ a box and the flyer sales put them at 3/99¢.

$1.16?!?!?! Where's the outcry?

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Sarah Polley - Courage

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.

Sarah Polley- Courage
Ten days ago I a wrote about Sarah Polley's haunting cover of The Tragically Hip's "Courage". It's from The Sweet Hereafter and Doug was kind enough to share an MP3 of this tune. Today, I'm sharing it with all of you.

Enjoy.

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Maple Leafs 4, Thrashers 5

LeafsI'm actually relieved we salvaged a point at home against the worst team in the conference. That fact tells you all you need to know about this edition of our Toronto Maple Leafs. We're not very good.

In our division, we're only ahead of the Sabres who have played three fewer games. We won three of our first ten games and most were at home against the weaker thans. I fear it's going to get a great deal uglier.

Suddenly fans are awakening to the fact there is little hope and they're demanding John Ferguson Jr. turn in his badge. Friends, this team is doing exactly what we thought they'd do. this isn't a shocking start, in fact, nine points in ten games is pretty much according to spec. Of course JFJ should go, we're in a horrible place. There are no blue chip prospects in the pipeline, our best player is about to turn 38 years old and our defensemen are huge, unmovable liabilities that have us completely handcuffed in this salary cap world.

We should have blown this team up before the lock out.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
3-4-3
9 points
4th in Northeast
5-4 Loss vs. Atlanta
6-4 Loss vs. Chicago
3-2 Win vs. Florida
M. Sundin - 17
N. Antropov - 12
J. Blake - 11

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The 25 Greatest Moments from "The Office"

LinkThe 25 Greatest Moments from "The Office" - All the best scenes, from Dwight's Mussolini speech to "green is whorish". I was very pleased to see this great little scene come in at #2.

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Pope Benny's Secret Orders

crossI have an important message for my Roman Catholic friends, especially my Roman Catholic friends across Latin America. I just got off the phone with Pope Benny, and he told me something I have to share with you all. He says it's okay to use condoms.

I realize the official stance out of the Vatican is that all forms of contraception are bad, but that's a rule meant to be broken. Benny realizes abstinence isn't realistic and that 1.7 million people across Latin America are infected with the HIV virus or full-blown AIDS, and he thinks that sucks. Condoms protect against the HIV virus and if used in all relationships will fix this epidemic good. Benny wants that for you. He just told me so.

You won't read this in the mainstream press, as this was an exclusive Toronto Mike chat with the Popester, but you can trust me. Condoms are A-OK. Use them, screw like rabbits and enjoy life. You're still a good Catholic.

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We'll Kick This Running Thing Off Old School

runningI've been running since March and I'd like to keep going. There's a Chilly 1/2 Marathon in Burlington on March 2nd I've got my eye on and I'd like to train for that. If you think you may want to join in the training fun and run with me in the west end of Toronto, keep reading...

I'm going to start by doing this old school. This isn't going to be a Facebook group or a web site (yet), but it's going to start as a good ol' email distribution list. I will communicate when we're running, what route we're doing, and how far it is via email, and if you can join in you just have to reply and let me know. I just need to know if you're interested so I can add your address to this distribution list and BCC you on such correspondence.

If you want to be on the list, simply leave a comment below or write me and tell me. We'll do this like it's 1999 until I find some time to flesh out a nice interactive forum.

I will be running every Wednesday night, Sunday morning and one other time period, depending on other factors. I'll actually be running tonight. The Wednesday run will always be about 10k, the Sunday run will be the long run and will get progressively longer. We ran 14k last Sunday, we'll be running 15k next Sunday and we'll keep adding a km until we get to 21. The third run will be an easy 6k, which is the plan for tonight.

Who wants on the disty list? Good times are guaranteed and when you're not laughing hysterically at my jokes or enjoying my singing you might just get in shape.

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Everyone's Hero

A Movie ReelEveryone's Hero: 5 out of 10.

Tonight I was looking for a flick to watch with the kids when I rolled the dice and went with "Everyone's Hero". If you've never heard of it, and I certainly hadn't, it's about a kid who has to get Babe Ruth back his lucky bat so the Yankees can beat the Cubs in the World Series.

Even though it featured Babe Ruth and World Series action, I couldn't get into it. I awarded no sympathy points because Christopher Reeve was directing it when he passed away and Dana Reeve was the executive producer. It wasn't very good and the ending was just silly, although I noticed James loved it. When it was all over, he proudly told me it wasn't the bat that made a hitter great, it was the batter.

Save 90 minutes and track down Tiger Town.

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My Windows History

mouseI've had an interesting relationship with Microsoft. Whenever possible, I've actively seeked Microsoft alternatives, but when it comes to the OS I've always ended up with a version of Windows. I love the spirit of Ubuntu Linux, but I'm still running Windows as my primary operating system.

Here's my personal Windows history, the OS I love to hate.

  • Windows 3.1 - Taryn bought our first PC when we were dating. She bought it from the University of Toronto computer shop without consulting me and she paid for it monthly. It was running Windows 3.1, took years to pay off and probably ended up costing her us a milllion dollars when all was said and done.
  • Windows 95 - I upgraded the aforementioned PC to Windows 95 in 1998. I should have done it a lot sooner as Windows 95 was a big jump from Windows 3.1.
  • Windows ME - In 2000, Boris helped me build a new computer and we installed Windows ME. People would tell me how horrible ME was, but I didn't have any more issues with it than I did with Windows 95.
  • Windows XP - In 2002, I moved to XP. I've since bought another new desktop PC and run Windows XP on that machine as well. I just got a new laptop and demanded XP for fear it would arrive with Vista installed on it. You see, I don't want to be a Windows guy, but so long as I'm a windows guy I'll stick with XP. I know it, it's stable enough and everything I need works with it.

Here's a great video making the rounds with all the Windows start up screens and sounds.

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Tucker's Knee and Mississauga Mike's Analysis

LeafsBrace yourselves fellow Leafs fans, there's word at this hour that Darcy Tucker will be sidelined for an undetermined period of time with a knee injury. In typical Maple Leaf fashion, that's all the information we have right now. We don't know when Tucker hurt the knee, whether it's the reason he's been mediocre all season or which knee it is.

Wellwood's still not back, Tucker's out and the Leafs are blowing leads left, right and centre. Mississauga Mike cracked open Exel and crunched some numbers and here's what he shared with me yesterday.

The Leafs are currently the 13th place team for the total amount of points in the NHL. I wanted to explore further how many of those points they EARNED versus how many points they received for losing:

- TML tied for 13th place in the NHL for total points (8pts)
- TML is ranked 17th place in the NHL for total wins (3 wins)
- TML is tied for 27th place in the NHL with TOTAL losses (4 regulation, 2 OTL) OR more bluntly stated, they have the 2nd most losses in the NHL with 6 total losses.

And the kicker? The Leafs are tied for 6th place in the Eastern Conference, although they are bumped down to 9th on the rankings, still tied. So if there were no points awarded for losing in overtime, the Leafs would be ALOT worse at this stage and then maybe some red flags would go up in Leaf land.

Firstly Mississauga Mike, the red flags are fully erect. Swiss cheese defense will do that. Three teams in our division have played two less games, all but two of our games thus far have been at home, and we've only won 1/3 of 'em. We are definitely a worse team than our 9th place conference standing reveals.

We need a healthy Tucker, a healthy Wellwood and the hockey equivalent of Bryan Colangelo. We also need Sundin to become ten years younger, Pogge to blossom into a young Eddie Belfour and a reversal of the Kordic for Courtnall deal that haunts me to this day.

Where have you gone, Miroslav Frycer?

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The Bachelor Life

airplaneLast Saturday, while I ran with the giraffes, my wife and kids boarded a plane to spend a week at my mother-in-law's boyfriend's son's condo in Scottsdale, Arizona. I picked them up at the airport last night, thus ending 8 days of bachelorhood.

Here's a collection of thoughts and observations culled from a week by myself.

  • I produced very little garbage. I filled about 1/3rd of a single little bag during the week. I didn't produce a whole lot of recyclables, either. I found the reduction in waste fascinating.
  • I forget to eat. Every night I had to remind myself to wolf down a meal, and bachelor Mike eats crap. I'm so glad the family is home because I'm starving.
  • When I'm home alone, I work too much. The house is so quiet I ended up turning on the laptop and working until it was time to sleep. The bulk of both weekends were spent working, and all work and no play makes Mike a dull boy.
  • I'm not messy. Living alone for a week, it was so easy to keep a clean and tidy home. I now know who to blame for messes, and it ain't me.
  • I listened to a great deal more radio. At night I would put the radio on a timer and fall asleep to it, and in the morning I would let it play while I got ready to leave for work. I used to do the same thing before I got married.
  • I suck at bachelorhood. It was too quiet, I missed my wife, I missed my kids, I missed the noise and I missed the demise of the dull moment. I've never lived alone, and it might be best that I never do.

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Bill Maher the Bouncer

tvThis is a neat little clip from Real Time with Bill Maher. What I find fascinating is that there's this group of people out there who believe so strongly that 9/11 was staged they're willing to protest.

Of course, there are Holocaust deniers and people who think the moon landing was staged, so maybe it's not that surprising.

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RSPA Banquet Recap

goldLast night, I attended our slo-pitch league's annual banquet. My team, Raging Storm, plays in the RSPA and I joined five teammates in representing the division one champs.

Here's a little recap of the event, which included lots of music, drink, dinner and awards at the Westwood Banquet Hall in good 'ol Rexdale.

A Brief History Lesson
The RSPA is an Etobicoke / Mississauga slo-pitch league with several divisions for recreational ball and intermediate ball, and one division for the best of the best they call Competitive. The teams are placed in divisions according to their on-field ability. In Intermediate, for example, there are several divisions, with Int-1 being the best of the teams not in Comp and then there's Int-2, Int-3, etc. We just won Int-1, making us the best team not in the single Competitive division.

The RSPA has gotten so big, there are now two nights for this annual banquet. The weaker divisions were supposed to attend last night and the higher divisions were to attend next Saturday. We got an exception and attended last night with the less talented teams.

My Flashback
We all agreed to show up at 8pm, just before dinner. I joked I'd be there at 7:53, and that's exactly when I showed up. A half hour later I was still the only person at the Raging Storm table, nursing my cranberry juice and listening to AC~DC's "Back in Black" blaring out of the speakers. It was just like the high school dances I attended!

The Boos
I gave that little history lesson so you had some perspective. We were by far the best division champion in attendance, so when it was time to acknowledge the champions and distribute the awards, we were called first. Marc and I were actually scoring some pastries when they announced the Int-1 champion Raging Storm, but nobody could miss what happened next. The entire hall booed us. They booed us heavily, even though we had never played a team there.

You may assume, as we did, that every divisional champion would be booed. This didn't happen. All other divisional champs were cheered. Why did they boo us? Did our reputation precede us? Was it because we were announced as champions of the strongest Intermediate division?

The Tower
At one point, with people hitting the dance floor, I decided to build a tower. I got cocky, and introduced a platter to the tower, and the tower fell, knocking a full glass of cranberry juice onto Jordy's lap.

It was perfect.

The Sweater
As predicted, they gave us sweaters. This was our grand prize for winning the division. They're nice sweaters, but they're sweaters.

Oh yeah, they also bumped us up to the esteemed Comp division, which may be more of a curse than a blessing. Still, I'd rather go 0-16 in the toughest division than 16-0 in the 2nd toughest division. It was a great year, and even the cheesy banquet didn't totally suck. Here's the obligatory photoset.

PA206311 PA216313 PA206307

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Maple Leafs 4, Blackhawks 6

LeafsWell, whattyaknow? Another two goal lead blown by our Leafers. This is a nasty habit.

I had to attend a banquet (more on that later) and left this game when we were up 2-1. I've read about the 3rd period collapse, however, and I'm actually glad I didn't have to witness that first hand. At home, up by three in the third period, and facing Chicago, we have to finish it. Sweep the leg, Johnny. Sweep the leg.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
3-4-2
8 points
Tied for 3rd in Northeast
6-4 Loss vs. Chicago
3-2 Win vs. Florida
5-4 Loss vs. Buffalo
M. Sundin - 14
N. Antropov - 11
J. Blake - 8

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In The Air Tonight No Monkey Business

musicInspired by this blog entry, I feel compelled to share another ad with you all. This one is for Cadbury's Dairy Milk and apparently never aired.

Stay with it... This gorilla looks like he knows the truth about Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight". Could that man have helped the drowning victim? Did he eventually commit suicide after Phil sang this song to him that tense night? The gorilla seems to know...


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Swearing in the Office

swearsYou likely caught wind of the story that went around this week suggesting that swearing in the office boosts morale and decreases anxiety. The research was done by the British University of East Anglia and I forwarded the study to my boss suggesting we let the expletives fly in marketing. Why the fuck not?

Here's a hilarious ad someone listed in their top 5 commericials that very well could be our future. These guys are doing it for Bud Light, but I'd do it for sport. Anything to boost morale and reduce stress.

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Rockies Never Lose, But Rarely Play

mlbI love baseball. I always have. There's something so damn romantic about this timeless game, the thrill of the grass, the crack of the bat, young Mike sending his vibes to Exhibition Stadium in the hopes that George Bell would get a hit. It's a beautiful sport to play and watch.

The Colorado Rockies, my adopted team for this playoff drive, have won 21 of their past 22 games. They're white hot, but now they sit and wait. The layoff is a record 8 games as they await the winner of the Cleveland ~ Boston series. I'm struggling with the lack of games.

All this waiting is killing my baseball spirit. The Rockies are ultra hot, led by a Canadian pitcher, and they sit about three times as often as they play. They beat the San Diego Padres in a one-game playoff for the National League wild-card berth before they swept the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

When they do eventually get back to playing ball, Jeff Francis will become the fifth Canadian pitcher to set foot in a World Series. The four other Canadian pitchers to taste Series action are Toronto's Ron Taylor, Johnny Rutherford of Belleville, Ont., John Hiller of Scarborough, Ont., and Reggie Cleveland of Swift Current, Sask.

Francis will be the first to open a World Series, and the first to win a game.

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Prepared for Lauding

BaseballShower me with your love. Tonight, we of Raging Storm, RSPA Int-1 division champions, will be recognized for our outstanding achievement at the league banquet. I normally don't attend these things, but this year I'm going. We're champions, dammit!

The award itself will likely be a sweater or something craptacular like that, and the open bar is completely wasted on a teetotaler like me, but I want to be lauded. Who doesn't enjoy a good lauding?

I'll snap a few pictures and report back here tomorrow.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Don't you think you're overreacting, talking gum-ball machine?"

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My Ten Favourite Canadian Albums

cdEarlier today, I wrote about my inherent disadvantage when compiling a list of this nature. Below are my ten favourite Canadian albums of all-time, but you won't find Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Rush or The Guess Who. You also won't find The Band, Leonard Cohen or Gordon Lightfoot. I kept this list to actual albums I enjoyed and banned all greatest hits collections.

I'm listing these here in no particular order. You may commence judging my ten favourite Canadian albums..... now. If you're interested, I also recently listed the top 100 Canadian songs of all-time, and that list has lots of Neil, Joni, Leonard and Gordon.

Fully CompletelyThe Tragically Hip - Fully Completely

Favourite Tracks:
"At the Hundredth Meridian"
"Wheat Kings"
"Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)"


SmearedSloan - Smeared

Favourite Tracks:
"Underwhelmed"
"Take It In"
"500 Up"


gordonBarenaked Ladies - Gordon

Favourite Tracks:
"Brian Wilson"
"If I Had $1000000"
"Be My Yoko Ono"


Love JunkThe Pursuit of Happiness - Love Junk

Favourite Tracks:
"I'm an Adult Now"
"She's So Young"
"Hard to Laugh"


Everything I Long ForHayden - Everything I Long For

Favourite Tracks:
"Bad As They Seem"
"In September"
"Tragedy"


Shakespeare My ButtThe Lowest of the Low - Shakespeare My Butt

Favourite Tracks:
"Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes"
"Eternal Fatalist"
"Bleed a Little While Tonight"


Symphony in EffectMaestro Fresh-Wes - Symphony in Effect

Favourite Tracks:
"Let Your Backbone Slide"
"Drop the Needle"
"Tear it Up"


FlukeRusty - Fluke

Favourite Tracks:
"Groovy Dead"
"Wake Me"
"Misogyny"


Up To HereThe Tragically Hip - Up to Here

Favourite Tracks:
"Blow at High Dough"
"New Orleans Is Sinking"
"38 Years Old"


FuneralArcade Fire - Funeral

Favourite Tracks:
"Wake Up"
"Rebellion (Lies)"
"Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)"

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The Little House In the Big City

houseEarlier in the week I complained about house prices in Toronto. I've just discovered that you can in fact still buy a house in Toronto for under $200,000. In fact, a charming little home near St. Clair and Dufferin is going for only $179,900.

It's the smallest house in the city, built on a driveway. For many young families, this is the only affordable piece of real estate in the city.

Little Toronto House

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My Favourite Lenny Kravitz Songs

The Number FiveMy favourite Lenny Kravitz songs, as promised

  1. Let Love Rule
  2. Mr. Cab Driver
  3. Always on the Run
  4. It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over
  5. Stand by My Woman

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My Inherent Disadvantage

cdI heard from a few sources yesterday that Bob Mersereau was promoting his book The Top 100 Canadian Albums which ranks the top Canadian albums of all time. Freddie P wrote about this on his blog and gave his top five. I was surprised to realize that I've never ranked my favourite Canadian albums of all time. I've ranked the top 100 Canadian songs and my favourite albums, but not my favourite Canadian albums.

As I started forming my list I quickly realized I'm at quite the disadvantage. Let's take Neil Young, for example, my favourite Canadian singer of all time. The first Neil Young album I bought was Freedom which I purchased after falling in love with "Rockin' in the Free World". Then, I bought Decade, a double album of his biggest hits from 1966 and 1976. So you see, I can't really speak to the wonders of Harvest or After the Gold Rush, two albums that would rank very high on my list if you checked out my top 100 Canadian songs list.

The same is true for The Guess Who, a band I really only know from Greatest Hits collections. Still, I'm going to give this a shot. It's supposed to be subjective, and when I leave After the Gold Rush off my list, you'll now know why.

I'm too young to appreciate albums released ahead of the '80s. That's my inherent disadvantage.

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Maple Leafs 3, Panthers 2

LeafsNik Antropov, All-Star?!?!? If he keeps playing like this, it's entirely possible he's playing in Atlanta. I despised this guy's crap effort for years and so far this young season he's totally impressive. Prior to scoring the winning goal last night, he made a strong move to the net and almost potted the winner. The man is playing like an all-star and I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.

This was a big win as we came back from a 2-0 deficit and got great goaltending from Vesa Toskala. I was about to say that we've scratched and clawed our way back to .500, but with these damn overtime losses getting you a point, there really is no .500 anymore. 3-3-2 is not .500, in fact, it's five losses to three wins. I hate the point you get for losing in overtime.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
3-3-2
8 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
3-2 Win vs. Florida
5-4 Loss vs. Buffalo
6-4 Loss vs. Pittsburgh
M. Sundin - 12
N. Antropov - 11
M. Stajan - 7

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Ridiculous Facebook Groups

NHLA Facebook friend just joined a group called "John Tavares must play for the Leafs". I'm watching the Leafs right now, currently tied at 2 with the Panthers, and of all the ridiculous Facebook groups I think this may be the most ludicrous.

It's not that I wouldn't like John Tavares in Toronto, in fact, it's quite the contrary. Tavares is going to be awesome, right up there in Crosby-land, and he's already a lock to go first overall in 2009. He will not be a Maple Leaf, unfortunately, no matter how many people join this Facebook group. There is no hope.

We'll never suck enough to get the first draft pick that year, because we like to wallow in that 7-10th spot in the conference. That won't get you John Tavares. The only other option is a trade with the team that ends up with the first pick in 2009, and we don't have close to enough desirable assets to pull that off. The only hope of trading for the Tavares pick is a large collection of draft picks, solid prospects and good, inexpensive commodities. So you see, John Tavares will never be a Maple Leaf.

Besides, the Leafs don't draft great players. It's true, you can look it up.

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Joey Bishop, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJoey Bishop was 89. He was the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack.

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The Toronto Bills

billsThe Buffalo Bills are seeking approval to play a preseason and at least one regular season game in Toronto. When I followed the NFL, the Bills were my favourite team. If anything can bring me back to the NFL, it's the relocation of the Bills to Toronto.

Yes, this is only one preseason game and a single regular season game, and it has to get both county and state approval, but this could be the beginning. Ralph Wilson is 89 years old and won't live forever, and I have no doubt a Toronto NFL franchise would be wildly successful, and I don't believe such an occurrence would kill the Argonauts. The Toronto Bills would be fantastic.

And it all starts with a regular season game in 2009.

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Lenny Kravitz and the Grey Cup

cflLenny Kravitz will perform during the halftime show at the Grey Cup in Toronto next month. The 95th annual Grey Cup is November 25 at the domed stadium formerly known as Skydome.

I think Kravitz is an ideal headliner. People of all ages like the guy, and he attracts interest in multiple genres. He's rock, but he's also funky soul. He's a poorer man's Prince. Who doesn't like Lenny?

If the man plays four songs, I predict they will be the following:

  • Always on the Run
  • Are You Gonna Go My Way
  • Fly Away
  • American Woman

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Alejandra Navarro-Allende Devalues High Five

thumbs upIt's well documented I'm a fan of the high five, but as a fan, I feel it's my duty to protect the integrity of the high five. The high five should mean something, and when I see someone grossly overusing it, I grow concerned.

Alejandra Navarro-Allende and I run together, and I'm only referring to her by her full name because it's a pretty cool name and I told her I'd secure the #1 position in Google for her name. Alejandra Navarro-Allende overuses the high five. She wants to high five the entire group every ten minutes or so. These aren't high fives to celebrate an accomplishment or completion of the run, they're just high fives to celebrate the fact we haven't stopped running or given up.

Such gross over usage of the high five seriously devalues the high five. When we're done, it's time for yet another high five but it's underwhelming after six or so were already dispersed. I love high fives, and I'd like them to remain special. I want them to mean something.

Alejandra Navarro-Allende, please stop devaluing the high five. One high five can say hello and one can be reserved for the finish of the run, but that's it.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 32

runningI just went for an amazing run. There was actually a warm breeze along the lake shore and as we ran through High Park in the dark there was this eerie fog hovering about us. It was great.

For the first time since I started running 32 weeks ago, I'm not in a running clinic. My 10k clinic wrapped up with the ZooRun on Sunday and I'm officially a free agent. I've decided to continue doing the High Park Running Room club runs on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, but I'm open to suggestions otherwise. Should I start a little west end Toronto Mike running club?

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

  • Saturday - 10k ZooRun
  • Sunday - 5k run
  • Wednesday - 8k run

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Leafs Cough Up Four Points After 7

LeafsAfter the Leafs blew a two goal lead in the third period against the Sabres on Monday night, I thought we should track the points we blew so we had a number to point to when we end up missing the playoffs by a point or two. Mississauga Mike agrees, and he emailed me a little spreadsheet.

Ottawa owes us a point, Pittsburgh owes us two and Buffalo owes us one from Monday night. That's four points we've coughed up already, and this season's just begun.

Mississauga Mike will continue to track this and he'll give me updates I'll pass along throughout the season.

Leafs Blown Points

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Steve Earle - Copperhead Road

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.

Steve Earle - Copperhead Road.mp3
I'm sharing Steve Earle's Copperhead Road today because it's almost 20 years later and I still friggin' love this song.

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Hayley Sanderson's Something In The Air

XXXI caught this Talk Talk ad after jewelgurl linked to it. It's a cool ad, very effective, but I was interested in who was covering Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air".

I Googled the heck out of it, and the consensus is it's a young UK singer named Hayley Sanderson, but I disagree. You can hear this song and more on her MySpace page, and if you compare her cover with the version in the video below, you'll quickly realize that this version is a male's voice and not Hayley Sanderson. It sounds a lot like Thunderclap Newman, but more Flaming Lips-ish.

Do you know who's singing in this cool ad?

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In Toronto Many Of Us Can't Afford Our Own Homes

homeAt this rate, Toronto will soon be a playground for the very rich. Home prices in the 416 area code continue to rise and now Torontonians like myself are experiencing a very interesting phenomenon. We can't afford to buy our own homes.

When I originally bought my house, I was able to afford it. This may seem like a redundant statement, because if I was able to buy I must have been able to buy it, but I can no longer afford to buy it. The value of my home right now is more than I can afford at this point in my life.

I wonder how many Torontonians are in this same position? Some see this as a good thing, because it means you've made money on your house should you decide to sell it. But what next? I would want a home in the same neighbourhood, and I'd want something a little bigger, so I can't afford to sell, even if the value has increased 25% in the past three years. I'm just lucky I got in when I did because I don't know where I'd end up if I were just now entering the housing market for the first time.

At some point in the not too distant future, a modest earner will be forced to buy in the 905. Toronto will be for multi-millionaire's only, and that's bad news for poor bastards like me.

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The Original Mr. Metro

videoWhile riding the subway today, I called myself "Mr. Metro". The dialogue in my head was about eco-friendly modes of transportation and with metro being the French word for subway, the term Mr. Metro came naturally. (Note to self: check yourself into a mental institution for observation).

So I'm calling myself Mr. Metro, when all of a sudden I catch myself singing a local rap song from back in the day. Devon was a Toronto rapper who recorded "Mr. Metro", a song about Toronto police racism allegations. MuchMusic would play the video now and then and I always thought it had a raw, gritty charm.

I found the video on YouTube. There are some Toronto street scenes in there for good measure. On an interesting side note, I just learnt from Devon's Wikipedia page that he's now a police officer for the RCMP. Go figure.


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Make the Logo Bigger!!!

humourI finally got to send someone to the greatest design song, ever. Earlier today, before I sent an ad to the publishers to print, I threw it at the beehive. The beehive is a small collection of colleagues that I'll throw something at for final feedback. It's like a last line of defence in case what I believe is good isn't as good as I think it is. The beehive is a safety precaution, of sorts.

Today, a member of the hive had one suggestion. It was a suggestion I've been hoping, waiting and wishing for. She asked if I could make the logo bigger.

This request made me so happy. I sent her here to play the song loud and proud.


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Bowlerama

tvI used to bowl a lot. In high school, we would visit O'Connor Bowl on Islington Avenue during lunch. That's long gone, if you're looking for it, but it used to be between Bloor and Norseman. I think they built townhouses there.

The primary bowling spot, however, was Bowlerama on Dundas Street West near Highway 427. That was sort of our home alley, if you will. Here's an ad for the chain that aired in these parts in the early 80s. Yes, that voice is Mark Daley, who is in fact Everywhere.

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Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 5

LeafsI should keep track of points this team blows. I'll bet we can point to this bucket of missed opportunities at the end of the year when we finish 9th, a point or two out of 8th.

Last night we had this game. I was digging the effort after two periods so much, I wrote this entry praising my favourite whipping boys. Maybe that's what did them in because the third period became a shootout and the Sabres caught us from behind in overtime. That's one more point we had in our hand but failed to grasp.

It was damn exciting though. When Kilger scored those two goals, I leaped out of my seat. Unfortunately, Bryan McCabe is lobbying to become my new whipping boy. He might just get the gig.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
2-3-2
6 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
5-4 Loss vs. Buffalo
6-4 Loss vs. Pittsburgh
8-1 Win vs. New York Islanders
M. Sundin - 10
N. Antropov - 9
M. Stajan - 7

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Big Moe, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumKenneth "Big Moe" Moore was 33. He was a Houston rapper whose 2002 album Purple World reached number 3 on Billboard's hip hop charts.

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Messrs. Antropov and Raycroft

LeafsI write a great deal about my team, and not all of it is hero worship. In fact, I pride myself on being a realist. I root heavily for one team, but I don't wear blinders.

Those who have read my Maple Leafs rants and recaps will have noticed the two active Leafs to get the most lashes from me are Nik Antropov and Andrew Raycroft. I'm not a fan of either and I simply don't think they're good enough for my team. Both are my whipping boys of sorts as I hope and pray for better results.

As we lead the Sabres 2-0 after two, I'm going to write something shocking here. Nik Antropov and Andrew Raycroft are playing well, and they've both looked surprisingly good this season. Antropov, in particular, is performing far better than I ever thought possible. Sure, it's early, but if he can keep this up, I'll take back all those nasty things I wrote. I won't delete them, but I'll recant them on my death bed.

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World's Tallest Midgets

The HipJohnny Fay, drummer for my favourite band of all-time, once famously quipped that being the biggest band in Canada is "like being the world's tallest midgets." I always liked the quote, and I was pleased to see it in an Aspen Times News headline today.

The Tragically Hip are in Colorado playing small clubs with Joel Plaskett Emergency opening and here's the little write up they got.

Tonight: 'world's tallest midgets'

By Aspen Times Staff
Aspen, CO Colorado
October 15, 2007

ASPEN -- It's a big-name rock band headlining at Belly Up Aspen on Monday. Tragically, The Hip probably doesn't ring a bell.

The Tragically Hip, better known simply as The Hip to their fans, are hugely popular north of the border, but the Canadian quintet has never hit mainstream success in the States. Consequently, a band that plays sold-out arena shows at home, judging from several web bios, appears in smaller venues and clubs below the boarder. The band heads from Aspen to the Boulder Theatre on Tuesday before turning south for dates in Texas and New Orleans.

Drummer Johnny Fay reportedly once quipped that being the biggest band in Canada is "like being the world's tallest midgets."

The heights of their U.S. success not withstanding, these guys were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They've got some 10 studio albums, a couple of compilations and a box set to their credit since emerging from Kingston, Ontario in 1983.

Their latest, "World Container" was released in Canada late last year and in March in the United States. The third track "In View" quickly charted in Canada -- the latest in a long string of homeland hits for the band.

When the group played Halifax, Nova Scotia last month, reviewer Stephen Cooke of The Chronicle Herald in Halifax, wrote: "Few Canadian bands thrive in the bloodstreams of their listeners like The Tragically Hip."

The band's current lineup features Rob Baker on lead guitar, Gordon Downie on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, drummer Fay, Paul Langlois handling rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Gord Sinclair on bass and backing vocals.

Opening for The Hip is up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett and his band, Emergency, touring in support of their 2007 release, "Ashtray Rock."

The band is dubbed Joel Plaskett Emergency; Plaskett has several East Coast Music Awards to his credit in Canada, including male artist of the year, single of the year and songwriter of the year.

Tickets to Monday's Belly Up show are $40. The music starts at 10 p.m., after Monday Night Football (the Giants at Atlanta) on the club's big screen. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the football (no cover until the music). 450 S. Galena St.

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Can Anyone Help Steve Out?

emailHey Toronto, can anyone help Steve out? He sent me this message earlier today...

HEY MIKE MY NAME IS STEVE FELMAN I WAS THE SINGER FOR IRON BUTTERFLY FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS, ANY WAY, WE DID A SHOW AT MOLSON PARK IN 1989 WITH STEPPENWOLF ,BUDDY MILLS ETC. LOOKING FOR ANY PIX, FOOTAGE ANYTHING xxxx@SBCGLOBAL.NET please... GO LEAFS

If you can help him out, drop me a line and I'll give you his email address.

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The Pursuit of Happyness

A Movie ReelThe Pursuit of Happyness: 8.5 out of 10.

I must confess, I'm not a big Will Smith fan. I liked him in Six Degrees of Separation and thought he was pretty good in Ali, but that's about it. In The Pursuit of Happyness, however, he's fantastic.

The entire film is damn good. It's a great story that's well paced, never boring and includes a great Will Smith performance that makes you forget he was ever the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I almost gave this one a nine.

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Let's Go To Prison

A Movie ReelLet's Go To Prison: 5.5 out of 10.

Ok, there are better comedies out there, but I didn't mind "Let's Go To Prison". Maybe it was the fact I liked seeing Will Arnett because he reminded me of Arrested Development, or maybe it's because it was directed by Bob Odenkirk which reminded me of "Mr. Show" or maybe it's because it's only 84 minutes.

I've seen plenty worse.

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Sarah Polley's Haunting Cover of Courage

musicThe Sweet Hereafter, a great Atom Egoyan film, features a cover of The Tragically Hip's "Courage" sung by Sarah Polley.

I've always liked this haunting reworking of the tune and meant to share this video some time ago.

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Maple Leafs 4, Penguins 6

LeafsHow many of these are there going to be this season. This was a game I thought we should have won. We were up 3-1 in the second when some guy named Sidney Crosby woke up and scored his first two goals of the season, including the winner with 4:22 to play.

Vesa Toskala got the start and was very good, despite allowing 5 goals. Pittsburgh was given an all-access pass to the guy all night and peppered him with 52 shots. Jason Blake got his first goal as a Leaf and Mats Sundin continued to put points on the board and now has ten in our first six games. He's tied for 2nd overall in that department.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
2-3-1
5 points
Tied for 3rd in Northeast
6-4 Loss vs. Pittsburgh
8-1 Win vs. New York Islanders
7-1 Loss vs. Carolina
M. Sundin - 10
N. Antropov - 7
M. Stajan - 6

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A Message From President Gore

USAHere's a message from the President of the United States of America, Al Gore.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"God can't be everywhere, right?"

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Michael Bishop 8-1 as Argo Starting QB

ArgosAs I prepare for Sid the Kid, it's time to give some love to my Toronto Argonauts Football Club. Not that long ago, the double blue were 2-6 and all hopes we'd play in the Grey Cup game we're hosting were spilling down the drain. We won 35-17 victory over the Montreal Alouettes last night to improve to 7-7.

We might finish second in the division, in fact a win next week clinches that possibility, but a certain fact about Michael Bishop at quarterback is what has me intrigued. With Michael Bishop starting at quarterback, the Toronto Argonauts are 8-1.

Imagine if he hadn't broken his wrist and missed five games. We lost every one of them.

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The 10km ZooRun in 53:51

runningThis morning, at precisely 9:30, I ran the 10km Oasis ZooRun through the Metro Toronto Zoo. You can see the course here, which started in the Zoo parking lot and snaked around the perimeter for a couple of kilometres before heading into the zoo and finishing up near the kangaroos.

Before I get into my time and thoughts about the race itself, I'll answer the main question I've been getting. Yes, you see the animals, but not nearly as many as you think. I remember the elephants, the cheetahs and the giraffes, but not a heck of a lot more. Of course, they were probably freezing, but more on that later.

I was certain I'd run this race in 50 minutes. I'm still surprised at my time but I was wearing an ankle chip, so it has to be accurate, right? It's right here on the interweb. It was a tough 10km. It was hilly, there was some questionable surfacing, there were a few unnaturally tight turns and even a spot where you had to run up six or so stairs. Then, there was the weather. At the zoo this morning, it was cold. I ran in shorts and a short sleeved shirt but few others did the same. They all sensibly bundled up. Last weekend I complained it was too hot and today I was complaining I was too cold. Go figure.

All in all it was a great day. I drove the party wagon with my 10k clinic peeps and after the race we headed to a Tim Hortons for coffee and convos. I'm not familiar with the area, but I was confident we'd find a Tim Hortons within five minutes of driving on Sheppard. I was right.

I don't have a next race scheduled, but if all goes well it might just be a half-marathon next spring. Here's the obligatory photoset from this morning's 10km ZooRun.

Zoo Running

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My Favourite Robert De Niro Movies

The Number FiveMy favourite Robert De Niro films

  1. Goodfellas
  2. The Godfather: Part II
  3. Jackie Brown
  4. Heat
  5. The Score

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$160,000 Worth of Good Vibes

torontoToronto Mayor David Miller recently initiated a series of cuts to city services, including delaying the opening of outdoor rinks until January. That meant our outdoor public skating rinks would be closed during the Christmas season. MasterCard has fixed that.

MasterCard is donating $160,000 to make sure city ice rinks open in December. They're not advertising at the rinks or anything like that, but they know they'll get their $160,000 worth and more. Every Toronto newspaper, radio station, television news show and blogger is telling this story today and it's custom made to give you the warm fuzzies for MasterCard just ahead of the busiest shopping period of the year.

Good on MasterCard. Hopefully more corporations will secure similar good vibes in the coming months while we wrestle with a $575-million shortfall at City Hall.

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Gearing Up For the ZooRun 10k

zooTomorrow morning I'm running my first ever 10k race. It's only my third race overall after a couple of 5k races this past summer. My packet is picked up, my 10k clinic is complete and there's nothing left but the runnin'.

This route looks pretty cool. I hear the stampede of runners scares the crap out of the animals and they go into hiding, but there's no way those giraffes are going anywhere. I'll pass them at the 6k mark and their long necks will inspire me to finish strong.

Luckily we're spared a visit to the Canadian Domain. As a frequent visitor of the Zoo, I can tell you that's one steep hill. Of course, now that I've conquered the Spring Road hill six times in a row, I'd be master of the Canadian Domain if given the chance. Maybe I'll take a detour...

zoo10kroute

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Why I'm Rooting For The Rockies

MLBWe're down to four teams in the chase for the World Series, and I know who I'm rooting for. I'm backing the Colorado Rockies.

When the Blue Jays are eliminated, picking a team usually forces me to examine three factors. Do the Jays have a history with the team, are there former Jays playing an integral role with the team and is there some serious CanCon going on. With the Rockies, it's all about CanCon.

Jeff Francis from North Delta, B.C. got the win last night as the Rockies beat the Diamondbacks. He's the only Canadian-born pitcher to win a post-season start and he's done it twice... and counting.

If it wasn't for Francis, I'd likely be backing the Indians, but CanCon trumps all.

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Maple Leafs 8, Islanders 1

LeafsAfter getting hammered by Carolina on Tuesday night, I was interested to see how the Leafs would rebound against the Islanders. Wouldn't you know it, we put a hurtin' on New York behind solid goaltending from Andrew Raycroft, Matt Stajan's four point night and Mats Sundin's assault on the Leafs record book.

While we bask in the glory of this exciting win, let's reflect upon this fact of the day. Over the last 10 seasons, Sundin ranks fourth among all NHL players in goals (334) and points (787).

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
2-2-1
5 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
8-1 Win vs. New York Islanders
7-1 Loss vs. Carolina
4-3 Win vs. Montreal
M. Sundin - 8
M. Stajan - 6
N. Antropov - 5

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Mats Sundin Sets Leafs Mark for Goals and Points

hockeyMats Sundin just scored in a wonderful hockey game our Leafs are dominating. It was his 917th point and 390th goal, becoming the all-time Maple Leafs leader in both categories.

I'm loving the fact it's now 7-1, but I'm especially pleased with how things unfolded for Sundin to set both marks with one shot. They originally gave him an assist on Tomas Kaberle's 2nd period goal, but during the intermission they shows us how he never touched the puck. Rightly so, they stripped him of the record-setting point and brought him back into a tie with Darryl Sittler. That allowed him to get the goal and point record simultaneously.

I like Mats. Every once in a while I wonder if he isn't lacking a certain fire in the belly that Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour used to have, but I never questioned his tremendous talent and team-first mentality. His attitude has always been awesome and he's given my team over a decade of sensational service. No, he hasn't carried us to the Cup, but neither did Darryl, Wendel or Dougie.

#13, I salute you.

January 19, 2002 - Maple Leafs

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My Doppelganger

binocularsThe woman who cut my hair tonight asked me about my brother Jason. I don't think I have a brother named Jason, but she insisted I did. Apparently, a guy named Jason could be my twin.

I was intrigued, so I started asking about Jason. I learnt he's a real estate agent, lives near Scarlett Road and Eglinton and has two young sons.

Does anyone out there know a handsome guy who lives in Etobicoke, works in real estate and is named Jason?

Anger

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Why Didn't You Vote?

voteExcluding the one-hit wonders, those who visit this site after Googling "running playlist" or "mp3 collection or whatever, the vast majority of people who visit this site live in Ontario. That's not surprising, I'm blabbing about very Toronto-centric stuff which loses its appeal the further you go from the GTA border. Most of you reading this right now are reading this from the province of Ontario.

I have a question for you. Why didn't you vote yesterday? Only 52.6 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, a record low. Almost half of those who could, voted, and I'm curious as to why you'd just skip the entire event.

I'm not trying to shame you, I'm honestly just curious. Feel free to leave a comment as anonymous if you like. Why didn't you vote?

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Losing My Wedding Ring

weddingIt's only a matter of time, but I'm going to lose my wedding ring. I don't know if my finger is slimmer or what, but it's been feeling awfully loose these past few weeks. Earlier today, while throwing something into the garbage, my wedding ring flew off my hand. Eventually this will happen and I won't notice it and my wedding ring will be lost forever.

Sure, I can get the ring refitted, but what if my finger goes back to its former size? Maybe this slimness is temporary and related to the weather? I don't want to resize my ring and then realize it's too tight and this looseness thing was temporary.

Until I decide what how to address this great ring dilemma I'm going to throw it on my right hand. Who's going to stop me?

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Ontario Election 2007 Final Thoughts

ontarioDalton McGuinty's Liberals just won the first back-to-back Liberal majority government since Mitch Hepburn won 70 years ago. The Liberals took 71 ridings, 17 more than the 54 needed for a majority in the 107-seat legislature, and left just 25 seats for John Torys' Progressive Conservatives.

Here are my final thoughts about the 2007 Ontario election.

The 416 Rejects the Right (Again)
Stephen Harper may be our Prime Minister, but he doesn't hold a single seat in Toronto, Canada's largest city. Federally, Toronto is a sea of Liberal red with a little NDP orange sprinkled in for good measure. The same is true provincially as every Toronto-based MPP this morning is a member of the Liberal party except for a few NDPers. Ever since we gave Mike Harris a majority in the mid-90s we've completely rejected every party right of the Liberals.

I Batted .500
In my riding, I batted .500. The MPP candidate I voted for won handidly as Cheri DiNovo got 18,186 votes to Sylvia Watson's 11,900. For the third election in a row, Parkdale-High Park has gone NDP orange and I'm stating to refer to the place as Orange County.

I only batted .500, however, because I was on the losing end of the referendum on electoral reform. My fellow Ontarians voted heavily for the existing first-past-the-post system over a proposed mixed member proportional (MMP) system. I saw that coming, though.

My Wife Ends a Lengthy Streak
For as long as I've known her, my wife has blindly voted Liberal in every single federal and provincial election. Last night, for the first time in her life, she voted for a member of a different party. I successfully sold her on the Radical Reverend.

How the Hell Did This Happen?
If you had told me two months ago Dalton McGuinty would win a big majority in this election, I would have laughed in your face. Does anybody actually like this guy? I can't remember a time when an administration was so disliked and so victorious. How many Ontarians went to the polls last night and held their nose as they voted?

John Tory couldn't even win his own seat and despite appearing to be a good leader on paper, never captured our fancy. He's missing that intangible quality that successful politicians seem to have. He may be a smart businessman but he just scored a key own-goal in crunch time. Dalton owes him a Coke.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 31

runningMy 10k clinic goal race, the Oasis Zoo 10k Run, is this Saturday. I'm ready. So long as I don't go out too fast in the first half I'll be fine.

Tonight's run was the shortest run I've done in a long time and at 5k it felt like a warm-up. It wasn't long ago that a straight 5k would feel like a marathon. Hitting the streets three times a week you hardly notice your fitness level improving and then you realize what once were long runs are now your short runs.

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

  • Saturday - 13k run
  • Sunday - 8k run
  • Wednesday - 5k run

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StarP.M. Cancelled by The Toronto Star

newspaperAbout a year ago, I test drove StarP.M., a free, downloadable afternoon daily newspaper in PDF format. Every weekday afternoon since I've enjoyed this little paper with up-to-date news. StarP.M. has been cancelled and will make their last issue available on October 17, 2007.

The email I got from the Star telling me this service was ending was a hilarious example of spin doctoring in the digital age. The subject line read "Web and mobile services replace StarP.M." but when I read further I learnt StarP.M. isn't actually being replaced by anything. They're just touting their existing web site and mobile version, optimized for small screens.

That's too bad, I'll miss StarP.M..

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Black Music for White People

musicWith apologies to Screamin' Jay Hawkins, I love this list of the top 10 rap songs white people love. It's a pretty strong collection of rap songs your average white person will get awfully excited about.

Here's their top ten:

  1. Sir Mix-A-Lot - Baby Got Back
  2. House of Pain - Jump Around
  3. Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby
  4. Tag Team - Whoomp (There It Is)
  5. Naughty By Nature - Hip Hop Hooray
  6. Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock - It Takes Two
  7. Young MC - Bust A Move
  8. Biz Markie - Just A Friend
  9. Digital Underground - The Humpty Dance
  10. Positive K - I Got A Man

That's pretty sad, isn't it? My favourite of the bunch? You guessed it. Pack it up, pack it in... Let me begin.

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My Personal IM Evolution

gaimI just realized I've been logging on to one instant messenger protocol or another for over a decade now. How I do so today is quite different than how I did so back then, and over the past ten years there's been an evolution of sorts.

Here, in chronological order, is my personal IM history.

The Early Years: Yahoo!
In the beginning, I was a Yahoo! user. Yahoo! wasn't just my search engine, it was my personal email, my news portal and my instant messenger. As Yahoo! Instant Messenger user mikeboon I installed the YIM client and logged onto that single protocol for years.

The Multi Protocol Revolution: Trillian
As more and more people were only logging on with the MSN Messenger, it soon become obvious I'd have to do the same or I'd be cutting myself off from some work-critical contacts. I refused to log in to more than one client at at a time, and I hated the thought of using a Microsoft client for chat, so I tried Trillian. Trillian was a single client that allowed me to simultaneously log into Yahoo! and MSN instant messengers and this worked well for years.

A New Discovery: Gaim
Searching for a good Jabber client for internal communication at work, I discovered Gaim (recently re-branded Pidgin). Gaim was like Trillian, only I liked the interface and behaviour better. There was even a portable version of Gaim I could stick on my memory stick so my settings could follow me everywhere I went. Gaim trumped Trillian.

Email Integration: Gtalk
Google became my new Yahoo!. That meant it was my search engine, my news portal, my email client and my instant messenger. What rocks about Gtalk is how integrated it is with Gmail. You were just online, but what about those YIM and MSN folks you left behind?

Life in the Browser: Meebo
Imagine if you could log into multiple IM protocols easily without having to download anything or install anything and your settings were the same on any internet-connected computer in the world running any modern browser and operating system? Try meebo.com. It's replaced Gaim for me and has become my YIM and MSN chat vehicle. As for Gtalk, I left him in Gmail where he belongs. Life is good when it's all in the browser.

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Alice Cooper - Elected

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 Cooper - Elected
Does anyone in Ontario want to guess why I'm sharing Alice Cooper's excellent Elected today as this week's MP3?

If browners like Dalton, John and Howard don't float your boat, we always have Alice. "I never lied to you, I've always been cool, I wanna be elected".

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Maple Leafs 1, Hurricanes 7

LeafsFirst the good news. Mats Sundin assisted on Bryan McCabe's goal last night to earn his 916th point with the Maple Leafs and moved into a tie with Darryl Sittler for the club record. As I type, Mats Sundin and Darryl Sittler have the exact same number of goals, assists and points. When it comes to assists, they're both behind Borje Salming who owns the club record with 620.

You don't need me to tell you the bad news. We were awful. I didn't even stick around for the 7th Carolina goal. I'm interested to see how this team plays Thursday night after laying an egg on Tuesday.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
1-2-1
3 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
7-1 Loss vs. Carolina
4-3 Win vs. Montreal
3-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
M. Sundin - 7
N. Antropov - 3
A. Ponikarovsky - 2

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Rescue Me Runs Its Course

tvI'm pretty much done with Rescue Me, the drama starring Denis Leary that airs here on Showcase. I've watched it since the beginning but this season seems so uninspired and boring I don't feel like watching anymore. That's it for me, I'm done.

Meanwhile, in other television news, I caught the last 15 minutes of Californication last night while I was flipping around. You may recall I decided I was done with this new David Duchovny vehicle. Well, for 15 minutes last night, I liked what I saw. Maybe it was the new Foo Fighters track they used so excellently, but I may give Californication another shot. Maybe...

And finally, a couple of shows I've previously enjoyed are starting up again this week. Tomorrow night Showcase is airing the new season of Weeds and Thursday night The Comedy Network is airing The Sarah Silverman Program. For those of you keeping track at home, here are the shows I'm currently following.

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Tell Me You Love Me
  • Dexter
  • The Simpsons
  • Family Guy
  • The Office
  • Weeds
  • The Sarah Silverman Program

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FPTP vs. MMP

voteWhen I first wrote about the Ontario referendum, I admitted I was undecided. Since then I've heard compelling arguments on both sides. The Star even did a nice job surmising the pros and cons of mixed-member proportional representation.

Q: What are the advantages of MMP?
A: Smaller parties like the Greens, the Family Coalition and the Freedom Party would have a chance at winning seats in the Legislature even if they cannot win a riding outright. Any party that wins at least 3 per cent of the popular vote would be awarded four "list" seats. It would mean the end of majority governments when a party has won less than half the vote and prevent scenarios like former NDP premier Bob Rae's landslide victory in 1990 with 37.6 per cent of the vote.

Q: What are the disadvantages of MMP?
A: Critics charge the 39 "list" MPPs would not be directly elected and the parties could use the lists as a sort of Senate to reward party apparatchiks, financial donors or others. As well, it would likely spell the end of decisive, majority governments since no party has won 50 per cent or more of the popular vote since 1937.

Although I'm concerned about how this list is determined and used, it's hard to argue against the more democratic nature of MMP. I've always wanted the ability to vote for the party I wanted in charge without having to vote for that party's candidate. MMP gives me that and gives a better shot to parties outside the big two.

Having now admitted I'm leaning toward voting for MMP in tomorrow's referendum, I don't think it has a snowball's chance in hell of passing. Too few know about this referendum and when you're faced with a question you're not prepared for, you're going to vote for the status quo. I predict FPTP will win by a landslide.

Oh yeah, and in that other things we're supposed to vote on tomorrow, the writing's on the wall. Political Science students can study the John Tory campaign as a perfect example of how to botch a breakaway slam dunk. McGuinty will be first past the post but only because the favoured horse decided to shoot himself in the hoof before the opening bell.

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Wi-Fi Detector Shirt

hangerNow that I do most of my work on a laptop, this wi-fi detector shirt sounds like a pretty good idea. Geeks think of everything, don't they?

Here at ThinkGeek we're pretty lazy when it comes to technology. We expect our gadgets to do all the busywork while we focus on the high level important tasks like reading blogs. That's why we hate to have to crack open our laptops just to see if there is any wi-fi internet access about... and keychain wi-fi detectors, we would have to actually remove them from our pockets to look at them. But now thanks to the ingenious ThinkGeek robot monkeys you can display the current wi-fi signal strength to yourself and everyone around you with this stylish Wi-Fi Detector Shirt. The glowing bars on the front of the shirt dynamically change as the surrounding wi-fi signal strength fluctuates. Finally you can get the attention you deserve as others bow to you as their reverential wi-fi god, while geeky chicks swoon at your presence. You can thank us later.

wifi_shirt_anim

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One Hot Thanksgiving

sunIt's October 8th and I'm sitting on the porch coming to the realization that's it's just too damn hot to be outside right now. What is it, 30°? It's stifling.

It hasn't been warmer on Thanksgiving Day since I hit the earth. Don't tell Suzuki, but I'm thinking of throwing on the air conditioner for a bit. It'll be our little secret. I doubt he reads this blog.

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Jason Blake Has Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

medicalThe Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that forward Jason Blake is battling a rare form of leukemia. This news just hit me like a ton of bricks.

On the surface, this seems very scary, but as you read on it appears to be highly treatable and will not affect his ability to perform at my highest level for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia is rare and is being controlled by a pill Blake takes daily. Just yesterday my brother and I were ripping into Blake for his slow start and wondering if we didn't overpay a guy coming off a fluky 40 goal season for the Islanders. Now, I'm set to give this guy a free pass.

If you're going to get cancer, this might be a good cancer to get, but it's still cancer and I'm willing to give him another week before we call him out on his five year, $20 million contract. Until then, let's focus our judgement efforts on Darcy Tucker who is also MIA and not battling any form of the big C.

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Thankful For Robbie Alomar

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving, everyone.

We did the turkey thing yesterday, so today is all about catching up on some work, enjoying the warm weather and thinking about Roberto Alomar. That's right, every Thanksgiving my mind turns to #12 and how he gave us all the best Thanksgiving Day ever in 1992 by going deep off of Dennis Eckersley.

I've written about this before, so instead of repeating myself, here's Thanksgiving Memories from 2004.

There is one Thanksgiving I will never forget. It was twelve years ago today and my beloved Blue Jays were battling the Oakland Athletics for the American League crown. Toronto was up in the series 2-1 with game four taking place at Oakland Coliseum.

Jack Morris started and stunk up the joint. We were down 6-1 when the turkey was served and we all joined the table in the dining room leaving the television on in the family room just in case. Throughout the meal, I would peak at the set just in case there was any sign of a big comeback. Entering the eighth inning down by five, it didn't look like a Thanksgiving miracle was possible.

A three run eighth gave us hope. Still, down by two in the ninth with Cy Young winner Dennis Eckersley on the mound, we weren't overly optimistic. When Roberto Alomar got to the plate with a runner on, my eyes remained focused on the television. Alomar didn't disappoint. He took Eckersley deep, tied the game and ignited a massive pile on in the family room as we literally lept from the dining room table in pure ecstacy. The come back was complete and we'd end up winning the game in twelve to take a commanding lead in the series we wouldn't give up. Alomar was named ALCS MVP and a couple of weeks later we'd win our first World Series title.

You couldn't have asked for a better Thanksgiving. Today, we pause to give thanks for our two world championships over a decade ago. Oh yeah, we're thankful for our good health, happiness and all that jazz too. Happy Thanksgiving.

Toronto Blue Jays World Series Tapes

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Record Body Count by Rheostatics

videoDuring Thanksgiving turkey at my mom's house, the conversation turned to The Rheostatics. Actually, the conversation turned to Old Mill Donuts and then The Rheostatics, but the devil is in the details.

I told Steve my favourite Rheostatics song was "Record Body Count" and promised to share the video in this space. He told me to do it up, and here it is done... and done.


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And That's One To Grow On

thumbs upWatching NBC on Saturday mornings in the 80s, I often caught the "One To Grow On" PSAs. Stars of NBC shows would basically tell us what we should and shouldn't do.

These PSAs taught me a great deal, such as...

Don't Smoke

Don't Have a Crap Attitude

Don't Answer The Door

Don't Trust Uncle George

Don't Lie

And that's one to grow on.

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CTV and Global Battle With American-Made Weapons

tvI recently read about a supposed gunfight at the tv ratings corral. It's a war of words between Canada's private TV networks, CTV and Global. Each is making grandiose claims about how they've got all the important eyeballs as they chase the mega advertising bucks.

CTV and Global are going at it hard with the American produced shows they've each purchased. CTV has Grey's Anatomy, Global has 24, CTV has Desperate Housewives, Global has Prison Break, CTV has American Idol, Global has Survivor. The Canadian networks only seem to get ratings when they air shows they've bought from American networks. There are very few exceptions.

Yes, I know Corner Gas airs on CTV, but can you name another Canadian show on either network in Prime Time, excluding the infotainment shlop and Canadian Idol-like remakes? CBC is pushing Little Mosque on the Prairie, but it's getting stomped by CTV's Private Practice and Global's Back To You, a couple of American shows imported to attract eyeballs and eat our young.

CTV and Global can brag about their success, it's just too bad they can't brag about their successful Canadian programs. We're good at a lot of things in this country, but producing a successful sitcom or drama isn't one of them.

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Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3

LeafsThat was fun. All three games have been entertaining so far this season, but last night's effort against the Habs finally gave us the result we were waiting for. Vesa Toskala made game-saving stops down the stretch, carrying us into overtime where Tomas Kaberle hit paydirt.

In Look at the Hate We're Breeding I begged Paul Maurice to start Toskala last night in the hopes he'd have a strong game and lead us to victory. That would earn him another start on Tuesday and clarify the goaltending situation. It's all about what's best for the blue and white and what gives us our best chance at victory. His name is Vesa, for better or for worse.

A tip of the cap to Alexei Ponikarovsky who potted a couple and the entire Leafs team for coming back in the NHL's first ever must-win game three of an 82 game season. Some of us don't want to Wait 'Til Next Year if we don't have to.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
1-1-1
3 points
Tied for 2nd in Northeast
4-3 Win vs. Montreal
3-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
4-3 Loss vs. Ottawa
M. Sundin - 6
N. Antropov - 3
A. Ponikarovsky - 2

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Great Ad Powered By Play Doh

tvIt's too bad all ads can't be as interesting as this one for Sony's Bravia. It doesn't make me want to buy a Sony Bravia television, but it does make me want to share the ad, which should be incentive enough for companies to sink a little more thought and money into their commercials.

The featured song, by the way, is the Rolling Stone’s "She's A Rainbow."

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Bobby

A Movie ReelBobby: 6 out of 10.

This is far from a bomb from writer and director Emilio Estevez, but I found myself playing "name that actor" for most of the film. There are so many known actors and actresses in "Bobby" you can spend a third of the film identifying the famous faces.

I had two issues with "Bobby". First of all, for a movie taking place in 1968 we're hit with a great deal of below average tunage. I may not have been around in 1968, but I'm familiar with the sensational songs that came out that year. The "Bobby" soundtrack should have been stronger. The best track was "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan, which should tell you something. Oh yeah, "The Sound of Silence" was in there, but I stand by my point. They cheaped out on tunes.

My other issue was with the silly subplot in which Ashton Kutcher got a couple of young campaigners high. It was embarrassing. Really, see this film for these ridiculous moments alone and the cringe induction will be well worth it.

Not bad Emilio, but it's no Young Guns.

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The Ballad of Wendel Clark

videoI've been helping Buffalo Boy start up his own blog. I just popped over to see how he's doing and I was delighted to find this entry in which he shares The Rheostatics' "The Ballad of Wendel Clark, Part 1&2".

If you remember Etobicoke in the mid-80s, watching this video is a trip down memory lane. My favourite part is the scenes of the Old Mill Donuts shop which I fondly recall. It was on Dundas Street West, between Islington Avenue and Burnhamthorpe Road, where the Second Cup is now. I hadn't thought about Old Mill Donuts in years.

There's more fantastic Etobicokery as well, and it's a pretty cool tune honouring a Leaf great who was all heart.

Well done, Buffalo Boy. Just remember what I told you about leaving the entry mark-up to the CSS...


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Look At The Hate We're Breeding

LeafsDuring a recent Leafs recap I made reference to the civil war that has erupted in Leafsland. Everyone, it seems, has an allegiance to either Andrew Raycroft or Vesa Toskala and that's pretty much all anyone wants to talk about with regards to this team.

Tonight we're hosting the Habs and it's going to be great, but who will be between the pipes? Paul Maurice went with Raycroft in game on and Toskala in game two. Since neither laid an egg, it's tough to predict who Maurice will go with tonight. In this civil war, I'm firmly on the side of Vesa Toskala, and the purpose of this entry is to state my reasoning so we can put aside our differences once and for all and become brothers in arms once more.

Raycroft infuriated me all of last season, his third in the NHL. Sure, he played a lot and won a number of games, but he truly seemed to be good for at least one weak goal a game and during the most important game of the season he had to be pulled in favour of Aubin. We ended up winning that game, and Leafs management rightly decided to upgrade at that position.

Toskala was a desired commodity and in the minds of most ready to be a #1. We gave up a lot but I believe it will prove to be a wise decision. Raycroft isn't good enough to be our go-to goalie if we want to contend and Toskala very well may be, it's as simple as knowing what's not working and giving a potential solution the opportunity to prove itself fruitful.

Maurice should start Toskala tonight, at home on Hockey Night in Canada against our historic rivals. Should Toskala play well, and I'd bet he will, they should start Toskala again on Tuesday against Carolina and if he does okay in that game they should start Toskala again on Thursday. I'm looking for Maurice to make it clear Toskala is our #1 and Raycroft is the backup, which is the scenario that gives us our best chance to succeed.

Once this is clear to all, this goaltending controversy and resulting civil war will end... Until Toskala lets in a softie and we do this all over again.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"Marge, you being a cop makes you the man! Which makes me the woman - and I have no interest in that, besides occasionally wearing the underwear, which as we discussed, is strictly a comfort thing."

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I Will Never Be King

VictoriaThis line of succession to the British Throne is so extensive, I was sure I'd make the list. When I couldn't find my name, I was pissed, until I learnt I'm ineligible. According to the Act of Settlement 1701, anyone who is Roman Catholic, becomes Roman Catholic, or marries a Roman Catholic is permanently excluded from the succession.

It sucks to be me.

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My Favourite Characters From HBO's Oz

The Number FiveMy favourite characters on Oz

  1. Ryan O'Reily
  2. Vernon 'Vern' Schillinger
  3. Christopher 'Chris' Keller
  4. Simon Adebisi
  5. Tobias 'Toby' Beecher

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Alomar At MLG: A Fictional Tale

thumbsdownIt's April 1993 and the Leafs are at Maple Leaf Gardens hosting the Detroit Red Wings in the Norris Division Semifinals. It's the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the entire city is on the Maple Leafs bandwagon.

Roberto Alomar, the best player on the 1992 World Series champion Blue Jays, is in attendance as the puck drops. The 16,000+ in attendance know the perennial all-star is there and the Hockey Night in Canada cameras find him and focus on him. Roberto Alomar is wearing a Detroit Red Wings cap and clearly rooting against the home town Leafs.

The above scenario never happened. If it had, this entire city would have freaked out. Alomar's face would be plastered on the front page of the Sun and we'd all be talking about how damn wrong it was for Robbie to wear a Red Wings cap to a Leafs home playoff game. Heck, we'd be burning his jersey in effigy and begging Gillick to ship his ass out of town. At the next Jays game, Roberto Alomar would be booed heavily, despite having led us to a World Series championship only months earlier.

If you haven't heard, LeBron James proudly wore a Yankees cap at the Indians game last night. In Jacob's Field, the star of the Cavs made it known he wants the home town ball team to lose. LeBron is either the world's biggest ass, brain dead or suicidal.

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The FOOBiverse

fbofwI'm a For Better or For Worse fan, and I recently discovered a great blog for fans of the strip. It's called The FOOBiverse! and every day the strip is discussed in a very snarky and hilarious manner. It's the kind of blog I wish I had started.

Speaking of For Better or For Worse, Grandpa Jim had another stroke and is in bad shape. Lynn Johnston is doing a hybrid of old and new strips these days, and it's working out well. We just revisited a younger Grandpa Jim from the days when Michael was a baby and then we came back to the current day to see him suffer another stroke. The juxtaposition of the younger, vibrant Jim with the unresponsive, elderly Jim was pretty jolting, and damn effective.

Note to Self: You may feel fit right now in your youth, as if you can take on the world and accomplish anything, but one day, if you're lucky, you will get very old and die.

TGIF everyone!

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Maple Leafs 2, Senators 3

LeafsWhat's so civil about war anyway? I ask this question, because I see brothers fighting brothers, a civil war is erupting in Leafs Nation. There are two camps: the Toskala boosters, of which I am one, and the Raycroft defenders.

Leafs Nation won't have reason to unite and celebrate until a clear winner emerges from this conflict. One of these netminders has to rise up and secure the starting job and we all have to get behind him. I just hope it's Toskala because from what I saw yesterday, he looks like the sharper knife in the MLSE drawer.

Note to NHL Scheduling Peeps: Stop with the season openers against the Sens. Enough is enough. We know they're the better regular season team, we're not disputing that. In the regular season, we don't match up particularly well against these asshats from the 613. Bring on the Habs!

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
0-1-1
1 point
3rd in Northeast
3-2 Loss vs. Ottawa
4-3 Loss vs. Ottawa
M. Sundin - 3
N. Antropov - 2
A. Wozniewski - 2

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Bonfire of the Beavers

rewindLike his father before him, James is a Beaver. Tonight the Beavers and Cubs united for a bonfire by the Humber River in Etienne Brule Park. This was the first time I saw a Cub since I was a Cub, and the uniforms have changed dramatically.

I still have my old Cubs uniform, so I can tell you it was a grey cotton shirt, not the button up dressy shirt I saw tonight. The Beavers uniforms look the same as they did 25 years ago but the Cub unis have been reborn.

Here's my old shirt. Note the sad lack of badges.

My Cub Scout Shirt

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Something to Discuss With Your Daughter

videoThis Dove ad is called Onslaught and it's pretty effective.

I know they're pushing soap products here, but the message is on point. I've got something to discuss with my daughter before the beauty industry does.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 30

runningAs these running weeks go by, I learn more and more about my body. For example, last night I learnt that my body doesn't want to run immediately after wolfing down a large spaghetti and sausage dinner. At the 4k mark I had to cut my speed and wait for my stitch to subside. When I run on an empty stomach I never have such issues, but the plate of pasta was so good and hot and sitting there when I got home at 6, I just had to wolf it down before my 6:30 run. I'm so weak!

Otherwise, I'm quite pleased with the three runs I put in this past week and I'm looking forward to running 13k on Saturday morning.

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

  • Saturday - 10k run
  • Sunday - 8k run
  • Wednesday - 8k run

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Neil Young - Mr. Soul (Unplugged)

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

Neil Young - Mr. Soul (Unplugged)
I forgot to share an MP3 yesterday. The past few weeks are a blur... Luckily for you, a reader reminded me I hadn't thrown down a weekly MP3 and a request was made for some Neil Young. This is from his Unplugged album and goes back to his Buffalo Springfield days.

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Maple Leafs 3, Senators 4

LeafsBy the end of the first period of our first game, the player I love to hate had two goals. That put him on pace for 492 goals this season. Even now he's on pace for a whopping 164 goals.

As for the game itself, should we be surprised the Sens caught us and beat us? When my brothers and I hook up to watch a game, you can bet the farm against a blue and white victory. When I get a free moment I'm going to delve into the archives and see if I can't attach a metric to this Boon Bros losing streak.

We'll get 'em tonight with Vesa between the pipes.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
0-0-1
1 point
3rd in Northeast
4-3 Loss vs. Ottawa N. Antropov - 2
M. Sundin - 2
A. Wozniewski - 2

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Puck Droppage

nhlOn his blog, Humble Howard accurately predicted what Mike Boon's up to. He enjoys goofing on my life-long love of a team that hasn't won a championship since well before I was born. Publicly, he roots for the Senators just to piss me off, but in secret conversations he admits to rooting for the Leafers. Don't believe the hype.

Truth be known, I'm excited. It's sort of like Christmas day with a clean slate and a full season of fun ahead. Already there's buzz about who will get the start between the pipes. It had better be Vesa...

As for me, my plans tonight are as follows. Run 8k with the clinic peeps, go home, shower, throw on my #93 Doug Gilmour jersey, grab James, head over to Ryan's house and watch the season opener.

Say it with me folks. Go Leafs Go!

The Passion That Tortures Us All

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How To Hate Your City

torontoAre you happy? Do you love the city you live in? Are you proud to be a Torontonian?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you might want to disable the AM band on your radio. I caught ten minutes of John Oakley this morning on AM640 and I wanted to move as far away from Toronto as possible. It's all doom and gloom with a horrible mayor, an incompetent council, no hope, no chance for a bright future, the city of Toronto is going downhill, getting too expensive and becoming a violent pit of despair where only the evil rich can wallow in this cesspool of greed and corruption. It's bad people, and if you live in the 416, you're not only an idiot but you're going to die very unhappy.

A pal of mine listens to CFRB 1010 and he hears pretty much the same thing over there. I think most talk radio on the AM dial thrives on bashing this city and getting listeners all riled up about how much better things used to be and how bleak the future of Toronto is with fools at the helm.

After ten minutes I started to wonder what's wrong with me that I'm actually happy, love my city and am proud to be a Torontonian. And if I disable the AM band on my radio, how the hell will I ever hear Leaf games when I'm stuck in my car?

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Ring the Alarm, I Don't Wanna Stay Calm

clockThis morning my alarm woke me up. That never happens. My good 'ol stereo is set to play 102.1 at 7:14 every morning, but I always wake up at 7:13 and turn off the alarm. Every night before bed I set it and every morning at 7:13 I preemptively strike and disable it. Like Kramer, I have a finely tuned internal alarm that almost never fails.

This morning I actually needed the alarm and I can't remember the last time I did. Like Kramer, I must have subconsciously hit the snooze button.

My 15+ Year Old Stereo

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Love Junk's Best Song

CDI know you'll find this hard to believe, but I'm not a particularly social guy. When I'm told we're expected to make an appearance at a social gathering, dinner party or any collection of peers, I dread it. Unless I'm ultra comfy I'm liable to find a corner and entertain myself.

On Saturday, we were invited over to another couple's house for conversation and dinner. Normally this is ranked in my books alongside getting a root canal and chewing glass, but on this particular Saturday afternoon the conversation drifted to Love Junk.

Love Junk was the debut album from The Pursuit of Happiness, and I bought it on cassette based on the absolute wickedness of the lead single, "I'm An Adult Now". I loved Love Junk but it rarely comes up in conversation these days. On this particular Saturday, a discussion arose over which song on Love Junk was the best of the bunch.

I still think it's "I'm An Adult Now", although Drew made a good case for "She's So Young". I think "She's So Young" and "Hard To Laugh" were sensational singles and incredibly strong, but "I'm An Adult Now" is one of my ten Canadian tracks and a Canadian classic.

Why can't more social gatherings erupt in such stimulating debate?


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Already Fifth

yahooWith a record of 0-0-0, Yahoo! Sports has extended a little editorial privilege whilst making their early season predictions known. They've got the Toronto Maple Leafs fifth in the NHL's Northeast division, as you'll see from this screen cap.

yahoo leafs prediction

Already fifth before the puck is dropped. It's going to be a long season.

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Harry Neale Replaced By Greg Millen

hockeyOn the eve of our season opener, let's talk about the action off the ice and in the booth. Harry Neale is leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs' regional broadcasts to join the Buffalo Sabres' announcing crew. Our loss is Buffalo's gain as Neale is my personal favourite in the role. At least we still have him on Saturday nights during Hockey Night in Canada telecasts and during our playoff run.

Replacing Neale as the Toronto Maple Leafs analyst on the team's regional broadcasts is Greg Millen. Millen's not bad and is one of my favourites, but he's filling some pretty big shoes. When the Leafs end this four decade long drought, I want Bob Cole and Harry Neale calling the final seconds... even if we have to prop up their carcasses and have impersonators mimic their voices.

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Crap I Find Interesting

moneyThe New York Times blog today tells me media buyers pay an average of $419,000 to place an ad on "Grey’s Anatomy," making it the most expensive fall show on network television. This kind of crap fascinates me.

Next is "Sunday Night Football" ($358,000), "The Simpsons" ($315,000), "Heroes" ($296,000), and "Desperate Housewives" ($270,000). Note how "The Simpsons" continues to print money even though many shows attract more eyeballs these days.

News magazine shows are the least expensive, so if you're going to start a new show you're far better off with McDreamy than McFadden. If you got that weak ass joke, you truly are a news magazine show junkie.

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Letterman Interviews Paris

tvI've covered the whole Leno vs. Letterman thing. As I so delicately stated, anyone who prefers Leno to Letterman is the soulless spawn of Satan himself.

Case in point, check out this interview Dave conducts with Paris Hilton. Can you imagine Leno doing anything as interesting?

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Can I Really Run A Marathon?

runningYesterday morning, I ran 8km and chose a route that winded through High Park and onto the Lakeshore so I could run along the Martin Goodman trail. It was a beautiful morning and as I approached the Lakeshore I noticed I wouldn't be running alone. Hundreds and hundreds of people were participating in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and I literally had to zip through the pack to get on the trail.

This part of the route, right by Sunnyside pool, was the 14km mark. A marathon is over 42km, which means this was the 1/3rd mark of the race. A distance which is about as long as I've ever run is only 1/3 of a marathon. This is a distance that is already 4km longer than the race I'm currently training for. This got me thinking...

Will I be able to run a marathon? I realize that's my goal here, but is it realistic? I know I can handle a half-marathon, as I see that as just a long run, but a full marathon is a different kettle of fish. After finishing the New York Marathon, Lance Armstrong said it was "the hardest physical thing I have ever done. Even the worst days in the tours, nothing was as hard as that and nothing left me feeling the way I feel now in terms of sheer fatigue and soreness."

That's Lance Armstrong, the guy who survived cancer and went on to win the Tour de France seven consecutive times. He's Mr. Super Fitness and he considers running a marathon the hardest physical thing he's ever done. What hope is there for a regular Joe like me? How the hell am I ever going to successfully train to run a 42km race?

I guess I'll proceed as I have been these past six months. I'll take it one day at a time...

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Radiohead Leaves It Up to Us

cdBoing Boing has a link to the Radiohead store where they're selling their new album, In Rainbows. Radiohead is doing something very cool here. Downloads of the album are name-your-own-price.

That's right, you decide how much you're willing to pay for the digital downloads of their hot and fresh material. As I understand it, there's no minimum, but by treating their loyal fans so nicely you can bet this will pay off. They might even sell some of the $80 box sets.

I can only think of one other band that would try something like this, and that's Pearl Jam. I see unsigned veteran bands with loyal fanbases like Radiohead and Pearl Jam as leading the digital revolution and taking the power back from those greedy fat cats in the record company.

Very cool indeed...

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