November 2007 Archives

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2 Girls and 1 Cup of Chocolate Rain

thumbsdownSometimes an Internet meme spirals out of control and becomes so pervasive I intentionally won't reference it. This has happened a couple of times over the past several months so I'm going to combine the two in one quick and dirty entry.

Tay Zonday's "Chocolate Rain" was everywhere all summer long and was one of my guilty pleasures. There's something about his delivery that kept me coming back for more. It cheesy fun in the best way.

I'm writing about "Chocolate Rain" now because his Internet celebrity has been purchased to promote Dr. Pepper. "Cherry Chocolate Rain", which you can see here, is an excellent example of what happens when something viral is co-opted by marketing executives. It went from hit to shit, which is a perfect segue to the world of "2 Girls 1 Cup".

"2 Girls 1 Cup" only recently broke and now it's absolutely everywhere. The latest web fad is sharing videos of people reacting to watching this video. I'm hesitant to link to "2 Girls 1 Cup" for fear you might click over and watch it. It shouldn't be seen. This one has a gross factor of 10 and includes acts you shouldn't even think about let alone watch, but if that's your thing, watch at your own risk, just don't hold me responsible if you're offended.

To cleanse you from that unfortunate experience, here's Tay Zonday's original Internet hit, "Chocolate Rain". Better late than never...


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November 2007 Search Engine Refferals

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in November of 2007. What's with the surge in people looking for Ralph Wiggums' Valentine's Day card? Did they move Valentine's Day up this year?

  1. wedding playlists
  2. wedding playlist
  3. barry bonds
  4. bill barilko
  5. big shiny tunes 2
  6. tie domi
  7. i choo choo choose you
  8. big shiny tunes 4
  9. jiri tlusty
  10. big shiny tunes 3

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Evel Knievel, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumEvel Knievel was 69. He was the red-white-and-blue-spangled motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over crazy obstacles including Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho's Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s.

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Vintage Unis on Flashback Fridays

blue jaysMy buddy Mike Kic sent me this link with the subject line "You got your wish sir!". You see, I recently begged for a return to the old logo and the Blue Jays have announced they'll wear vintage uniforms as part of their Flashback Fridays promotion.

It's close Kic, but no cigar. I need more than this. I need the old uniforms and logo back full time, not just for some Friday home games.

I know, I know... baby steps.

George Bell

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My Favourite Kate Winslet Movies

The Number FiveMy favourite movies featuring Kate Winslet

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  2. Finding Neverland
  3. Titanic
  4. Heavenly Creatures
  5. Little Children

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Happy Birthday Bloggy McBlog-Blog

balloonsI alluded to a certain blog's birthday yesterday. It was five years ago today I wrote the first blog entry on this site. You can read that initial stab at this blog thing right here.

When I started blogging, it was merely a writing exercise to keep me sharp. I do a lot of writing in my professional life and I was picking up a number of webby e-marketing skills so a blog seemed like ideal soil to practice upon. I never imagined I'd be blogging daily five years later and now I can't imagine stopping. It's just too much fun.

This is the 6849th entry over the past five years. That works out to an average of 3.75 entries every day. That, my friends, is prolific.

Happy birthday blog! You're growing up right before my eyes.

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torontomike.com Status Update

constructionSome of you are here wondering what happened to Fred Patterson's blog www.torontomike.com. At this moment in time, it's tagged with a lovely "This Account Has Been Suspended" notice.

The outage is temporary. We're in the midst of negotiations with Fred's host and hope to have this resolved sooner rather than later. Freddie's not behind in his payments or doing anything illegal with the site, there's just a misunderstanding between us sensible people and a certain BC-based hosting company.

We're working on it. He'll be back. Stephen Harper's making sure of it.

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Maple Leafs 4, Thrashers 2

LeafsThe season is saved, everybody can keep their jobs, if it ain't broken, don't fix it. Right?

In all seriousness, it was a tidy little victory last night in Atlanta, but it was Atlanta and we'll need to stockpile these suckers if we're going to take a run at a playoff spot. Guys we haven't heard from in forever chipped in, guys named Steen and Stajan. One day, maybe guys named Blake, Bell and Tucker will even score.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
9-11-6
24 points
4th in Northeast
4-2 Win vs. Atlanta
4-3 SOL vs. Montreal
5-1 Loss vs. Phoenix
M. Sundin - 31
N. Antropov - 23
J. Blake - 18

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Is Europe A Country?

idolI remember Kellie Pickler from American Idol, and she didn't come across as the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I assumed she was playing dumb. After watching this clip of her on some game show, I'm sure it's no act.

She sincerely thought Europe was a country and clearly never heard of the country we call Hungary. I went to my five year old son's parent-teacher interview tonight and I saw the work he's doing on geography. He already knows Europe isn't a country.

Watch this and cringe.

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Cowboys and Packers on TSN

nflI hear there's an interesting match up tonight in the NFL. Something about two 10-1 teams hooking up... there's controversy too, because in the USA it's only airing on the NFL Network. The NFL Network has been in a dispute with large cable providers who don't carry the network on a basic tier. The network is available in only about 35 million of the nation's more than 111 million homes with televisions.

Here in Canada, there's no such controversy. You can watch the Dallas Cowboys take on the Green Bay Packers by tuning in TSN. That's right, this NFL Network-only debacle only applies to our neighbours to the South.

NFL fans rejoice. I'll pop over and see how my bud Brett Favre is doing, right after the Leafs game.

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Elmer the Safety Elephant

rewindAs this year's Santa Claus Parade got rolling, I was happy to see Elmer the Safety Elephant leading the way. Along with Blinky the Police Car, Elmer the Safety Elephant was a character I remember well from my primary school days. He'd pay us a visit and teach us not to run on the streets and important things like that.

Elmer the Safety Elephant isn't just marching in parades, he's online. You can even email Elmer at fun@elmer.ca. I might drop him a line to thank him for the bike, train and traffic safety lessons. The Internet saftety tips, however, weren't required.

Here's a picture I snapped of the big guy.

Elmer

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Do You Buy Blogs Birthday Gifts?

questionmarkI'm not sure what you do in this situation. A certain blog I know and love is having a birthday tomorrow. What's the proper etiquette in this situation? Do you buy blogs birthday gifts?

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Streetband - Toast

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.

Streetband - Toast
Remember this one? They used to play this on CFNY back in the day. That's none other than Paul Young on vocals.

The next three Weekly MP3s will be Christmas themed you lucky ducks.

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A PSA You Won't Ever Forget

tvThe other day I caught a public service announcement on television for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. If you've seen this spot, you haven't forgotten. It's the most disturbing ad I've ever seen.

As freaked out as it made me, I can vouch for its effectiveness. I'm now scared to boil eggs for fear I could slip into the boiling water. I won't even consider making tea.

Warning, this isn't for the squeamish.


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Unfriendly Giant Puppet Withdrawal From CBC

cbcI loved "The Friendly Giant". It was a childhood staple, along with "Polka Dot Door", "The Electric Company", "Jeremy", "Sesame Street" and "Mr. Dressup". Rusty and Jerome were like childhood friends.

Rusty and Jerome appeared in a satirical skit last month during the Gemini Awards broadcast from Regina on October 28th and now the family of Bob Homme is pissed. Homme's son Richard and daughter Ann picked up the puppets Tuesday from a display at the public broadcaster's downtown Toronto headquarters that also included The Friendly Giant's tunic, boots, castle set and mini furniture.

I found the offending skit on YouTube and it's great. It's just good to see some old friends, ya know? Yes, the CBC should have got permission before using Rusty and Jerome but their appearance stole the show. Watch the skit below.

Now Rusty, here's one little chair for you, and a bigger chair for Jerome to curl up in, and for the Homme family who can't handle a harmless joke, a rocking chair in the middle.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 38

runningAfter hurting my leg, I attempted a comeback last night. I took my sore right leg out for a 6k run after 8 days of rest. Things didn't go very well.

After a couple of kilometres my right leg felt so tender with this strange bruising sensation that it ached immensely every time I lifted my leg for a stride. Eventually the pain became too much to bear and I went into a light jog / walk hybrid. Since I couldn't make it 6k, my 10k tonight is out and my planned 18k for Sunday is out of the question.

I'm going to rest it for another week. It feels fine when I walk on it, and only nine days ago I couldn't walk 10 feet. I think it's getting better, whatever it is, and I'll test it again next Tuesday with a nice and easy 6k. If it's still hurting like hell, I'll dive into physio therapy.

Here are the distances I ran over the past seven days:

  • Tuesday - 6k run

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Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 4

LeafsWhen I came into the bedroom after the shootout loss last night, my wife asked me who won. I told her we lost again and she asked why I still watch. She didn't see the point in watching a team that had no hope. It reminded me of a day in grade 11 math when Mr. Rocca's math class united against me for wearing a Maple Leafs ball cap to bed. I suffer because it's my cross to bear.

The game itself last night wasn't bad. O Captain, My Captain nearly saved the day by scoring with 17.6 seconds left in the third period. Then, for the 17th time in 24 opportunities, we lost in the shootout.

My wife wasn't the only one asking good questions last night. Here's what my PC asked me.

rp

jfj

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
8-11-6
22 points
5th in Northeast
4-3 SOL vs. Montreal
5-1 Loss vs. Phoenix
3-1 Loss vs. Dallas
M. Sundin - 30
N. Antropov - 21
T. Kaberle - 17

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Fourth Most Desirable

canadaThe United Nations has published its human development index which ranks its 175 members plus Hong Kong and the Palestinian territories. Canada is listed as the fourth most desirable country to live in.

We used to dominate this list, finishing first nine times between 1990 and 2000. Here's the new top ten.

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Ireland
  6. Sweden
  7. Switzerland
  8. Japan
  9. Netherlands
  10. France

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Richard Peddie Should Go First

thumbs downThe first sign your team is in disarray is when the most exciting action is off the ice. When I think about the Maple Leafs these days, my thoughts aren't off Toskala glove saves or Wellwood dekes. They're of the dysfunctional upper management, the inexperienced general manager and the coaching failures. I should be focused on our under achieving wingers, swiss cheese defense and lack of good prospects.

Freddie P stole a bit of my thunder by beating me to the punch, but I'm blown away by Richard Peddie's admission to the Sun. Here's what Peddie said to Mike Zeisberger.

To be honest, it was a mistake on my part for not fully understanding at the time what the job of being (the Leafs GM) in this market fully entailed. Let's face it. It probably was the wrong place for a rookie general manager to start. I mean, all GMs make mistakes, but they are not under the constant microscope and scrutiny that you have in Toronto, which is, in our opinion, the top hockey market there is.

That is all hindsight now. John has had time to learn a lot since then.

Now read that quote a second time to ensure you've got the full flavour. Richard Peddie, President of MLSE, has admitted he didn't know what he was doing and hired the wrong guy. If we're going to make significant changes here, and we'd better be heading in that direction, I'd start with the removal of Peddie as President.

I still think JFJ should go, but let's start at the top. Peddie should be the first to go.

And please, God, if you're reading this, buried at the bottom of this Globe & Mail article about the Grey Cup ratings is a rumour John Ferguson, Jr. would be replaced by a committee made up of Mark Messier, Glenn Healy and Tie Domi. Have mercy on us, we've suffered enough.

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I Don't Like the Optics

cityhallIf you Google the name Rob Ford, my collection of Rob Ford quotes is on the first page of results. Rob Ford, for those of you who don't follow the exciting world of Toronto municipal politics, is a city councillor who represents Ward 2 in Etobicoke North.

I'm not a Rob Ford fan, as you might have gathered from that entry, but I dislike the optics of what's happening to him at City Hall. Ford makes a lot of noise about not spending a penny of his allotted $53,000 office budget. That's his schtick. He pays his office expenses out of his own pocket and that goes against the city's ethics rules. "You don't spend private money, or developers' money, or anybody else's money on things like your newsletters. You spend the public money because there's an audit trail, it's accountable," said Mayor David Miller.

Ford was formally reprimanded by the city's executive committee and they'll decide on his punishment December 12. I totally get why Ford is in the wrong here, and as a human being, I'm not eager to defend him, but the optics here stink. It just makes Miller and his cronies appear petty and brings more attention to Ford and his hot air.

They're playing into Ford's hands and he's loving every minute of it. Of all the battles that need to be fought, this is one Miller should have taken a pass on.

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More Cowbell

musicI watched Christopher Walken demand more cowbell in an SNL skit over on Humble's blog and it got me thinking about songs that feature a cowbell.

Here are my ten favourite songs with cowbell. I need more cowbell!

  1. Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name
  2. Guns N' Roses - Mr. Brownstone
  3. Beastie Boys - Hey Ladies
  4. AC~DC - You Shook Me (All Night Long)
  5. Radiohead - Creep
  6. Queens of the Stone Age - Little Sister
  7. Mountain - Mississippi Queen
  8. War - Low Rider
  9. Tone Loc - Funky Cold Medina
  10. Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come

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Everyday Normal Guy Rap Song

videoI can totally relate to this guy.

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Cum on Feel the Noize Remembered

musicAre you sitting down? I'm about to drop a factoid on your ass that could shake the very foundation of your being. "Cum on Feel the Noize" was not a Quiet Riot original. It was originally released by Slade in 1973 a full decade before Quiet Riot released their cover in 1983. Ask any 33 year old which version they know best and the answer is guaranteed to be Quiet Riot's.

With Kevin DuBrow's passing, Quiet Riot's "Cum on Feel the Noize" is bouncing around my head. In 1983 I was nine years old and there was no MuchMusic. Our music videos came from shows like Video Hits and Toronto Rocks, or the CHUM Chart show City-TV aired every Saturday afternoon. One of the staples in 1984 was this song. With few videos to choose from, it got plenty of airplay and we all knew it by heart.

In the school yard, the lyrics were always altered. This could very well be my introduction to the f-word. In the playground of St. Pius X we sang "Cum on feel the noise, girls f**k the boys". I often wonder if this was a very localized bastardization of the lyrics or if it was wide spread. Did anyone else alter the lyrics so?

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Listen to the Bass Go BOOM

runningEight days ago, I pulled up lame during a 17k run. My IT band was giving me fits and I've now missed four scheduled runs in a row. Tomorrow, I'm planning on testing things out with an easy 6k.

I've really missed it. For 37 weeks I got out for at least three runs a week, and then, all of a sudden, nothing. You don't realize how much you enjoy something until you cut it out. I miss the feeling of accomplishment, the comradery, the health benefits and the sense I was slowing building toward an ultimate goal. I'm looking forward to trying things out tomorrow but if the pain returns I'm prepared to shut things down for a much longer period. That would suck, but this IT band is a tricky bastard.

Just don't call it a comeback...

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Kevin DuBrow, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumKevin DuBrow was 52. He was lead singer of the popular 1980s heavy metal band Quiet Riot.

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The Frantic Search

clockI apologize for the inactivity here today. As you might have guessed, with JFJ's dismissal imminent, I am frantically searching for Ferguson's replacement.

My next interview is Dougie at 3pm...

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Sadness Part 41

leafsGetting slammed by the Phoenix Coyotes last night has me feeling sad. There's no other word to describe it. It was only one game, but it seemed to symbolize a great deal more. My hockey team, the franchise I've rooted for my entire life, sucks.

This morning, when I sat down to recap last night's game, something I've done after every game since the 2002 season, it ended up a eulogy. I eulogized the Maple Leafs' 2007/2008 season, because I no longer have hope we can squeak into the playoffs this year. We're not just bad, we're pretty awful. Here's proof:

  • No team in the NHL has less wins
  • No team in the NHL has played more games
  • No team in the NHL has allowed more goals against
  • Jason Blake is on pace for 7 goals
  • Only Mats Sundin appears to be better than average
  • There are no blue chip prospects in the system
  • There are two back-up goaltenders and no bona fide proven starter
  • Wellwood has no assists, Tucker has only two goals, Bell is still looking for his first, Steen and Stajan appear to be regressing, etc.

If that described your team, wouldn't you feel sad? I fear things will get worse before they get better, and I fear I'll start hoping the losses pile up until dramatic changes are made. John Ferguson wasn't a proven GM when we hired him, and all he's proven in Toronto is that he doesn't deserve the title he's currently holding. He has to go.

I don't remember the last time I felt this down on this team. I'm hoping we trade Mats before the deadline, for his sake and ours. I'm hoping we have other assets we can dish unto others and that we're able to lure the hockey equivalent of Bryan Colangelo. I'm hopeful we give this new GM autonomy and this sadness subsides.

These are dark days in Leafs nation. Lord, give me strength.

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The Last King of Scotland

A Movie ReelThe Last King of Scotland: 8 out of 10.

I'm on a roll with movies lately. This was another good one with a killer performance by Forest Whitaker. The dude is damn good as Idi Amin. From Charles Jefferson in "Fast Times at Ridgement High" to this in 24 years.... nice.

For those keeping score at home, I've now rated three movies in a row a score of 8 or greater. In fact, four of the past five films I watched got such a score. You can read every review I've thrown on this site at http://www.torontomike.com/reviews/.

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Maple Leafs 1, Coyotes 5

LeafsThe Maple Leafs are in heaven now and we are here on their funeral. This is not the time for us to grieve the death of our 2007/2008 season but it's our time to celebrate the good times, like that 3-0 win over Ottawa and that 8-1 win over the Islanders.

Don't ever forget our Toronto Maple Leafs. They never wanted to see people cry. They wanted to make everyone happy. So at this moment when we are about to lay their body to rest, let's all think back and remember how the Leafs once touched our lives. How they gave us hope and how good they were for a period in the early 90s and before expansion in '68. This is not the moment for us to shed our tears but we should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have witnessed the Gilmour years and Borchevsky's goal in game seven.

The Leafs will forever be missed but I know in the right time, we will be contenders again. We will all meet the Leafs again and they'll make us cheer in tears again.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
8-11-5
21 points
Tied in 4th in Northeast
5-1 Loss vs. Phoenix
3-1 Loss vs. Dallas
4-2 Loss vs. Boston
M. Sundin - 29
N. Antropov - 20
T. Kaberle - 17

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Little Children

A Movie ReelLittle Children: 8 out of 10.

I'm catching up on flicks and I've seen a few good ones in a row. Last night I finished "Little Children" which stars Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson. It's very interesting with a super creepy performance by Jackie Earle Haley.

It's simply a well crafted film by Todd Field who also directed the excellent "In The Bedroom". In fact, "Little Children" reminded me of the pacing and writing in "In The Bedroom" and both films left me thinking about it all hours after I watched. That, in a nutshell, is all I hope for in a movie.

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I'm On The Cover of the Rolling Stone

musicHere's a grand ol' time. Upload a pic and create your own magazine cover. Here I am on the cover of the Rolling Stone.

ROLLINGSTONE

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Surf the Web in Word

linksI'm sure I've linked to this before, but it's worth another visit. If you work in an office where people can see your screen, and you want to surf the web without being obvious about it, try workfriendly.net.

It disguises your browser as Microsoft Word, suppresses images and spits the content out as plain text. Here's the link for this site: http://workfriendly.net/browse/Office2003Blue/torontomike.com.

word

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"What's keeping Joan Rivers alive?"

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Maple Leafs 1, Stars 3

LeafsHaving just killed a four minute penalty and up 1-0 in the first, I thought to myself, they're playing well tonight.

As usual, the lead slipped away and we lost our 14th game in 23. We're 12th in a 15 team conference. Just behind us are the Penguins and Sabres, and you can bet they'll eventually pass us. If/when the Leafs miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year, there had better be a bludgeoning. If we blow this up and try again, James could see playoff hockey before he's a teenager. I might see us contend again before I die of old age. That would be sweet.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
8-10-5
21 points
4th in Northeast
3-1 Loss vs. Dallas
4-2 Loss vs. Boston
3-0 Win vs. Ottawa
M. Sundin - 29
N. Antropov - 20
T. Kaberle - 17

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Big Shiny Dominance

cdIf you're Canadian, and between 25 and 35 years old, you likely know Big Shiny Tunes. Big Shiny Tunes is a compilation MuchMusic started putting out in 1996. It was full of popular rock songs of the year and I used to collect 'em. Because the many editions of Big Shiny Tunes found their way into my collection, they've each got pages on this site.

My Big Shiny Tunes pages rule the Big Shiny universe. I really am the top web dog when it comes to Big Shiny Google ranking. Check this out.

Big Shiny Tunes is the best-selling album series in Canadian history.

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A Day Late...

SnowflakeIt snowed yesterday. Yes, I'm a little late on this one. I saw the snow, and I was almost happy to see it. Last year it took a great deal longer before we had our first snowfall.

On December 15, 2006, I wrote an entry I titled "Remember Snow?". We went over a year without a decent snowfall in this city. That was one messed up winter. I wrote this on January 4, 2007, when it was 11° outside. I don't recall a decent snowfall before January 26.

This is your Toronto Mike snow report: a day late and a dollar short.

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Joe Kennedy, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJoe Kennedy was 28. He compiled a 43-61 record in seven major league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays.

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My Favourite Denzel Washington Movies

The Number FiveMy favourite movies featuring Denzel Washington

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Glory
  3. Training Day
  4. The Hurricane
  5. He Got Game

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The History Boys

A Movie ReelThe History Boys: 8.5 out of 10.

"The History Boys" flew under the radar, so it's quite possible you've never heard of this British film about boys trying to get into Oxford and Cambridge. It's my job to tell you it's awesome. It's funny, different, well acted and fulfilling.

Whenever I see Richard Griffiths I think about his role in "Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear". I'm sure he'd cringe if he knew that's the role I remember him in. He's amazing in "The History Boys" as Hector and he gets to deliver most excellent lines of dialogue, like this:

The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.

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NES Punch-Out Tyson TKO in 1st Round

nintendoThinking about Punch-Out, I searched YouTube for some footage of the NES classic game from my youth. I found this clip of someone knocking out Mike Tyson in the first round. That's something I never did..

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I Am Who I Am

moneyTonight I went to HMV at Yorkdale to help Santa cross the Wii off his list. I paid with my Visa card, but it wouldn't go through. The system told the clerk to call Visa. I knew I had room on the card, so I just waited patiently while the woman behind the counter chatted with the bank rep.

Meanwhile, my Blackberry vibrated and it was Taryn telling me Visa had just called my house asking for me. I, of course, wasn't home. I was at HMV, trying to use my card. At this time, the HMV clerk passed me the phone. Visa wanted to speak with me.

I spent the next ten minutes trying to convince the gentleman I was in fact who I am. We went through several of my previous addresses until I successfully convinced him I was Mike Boon. Only then would he clear my card to make this purchase.

For some reason, a sensitive fraud alarm got tripped by my purchase. I suppose it's a good thing they're making sure it's an authorized purchase, but it was a pain in the ass waiting ten minutes for Visa to converse with HMV and then another ten minutes proving my identity. I know credit card fraud is a problem, but isn't it possible their alarms are a little too sensitive?

Jordy, thanks for reserving me a Wii. You've earned yourself an extra inning at 2nd base. I won't even blame you for the whole Visa debacle.

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Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

nintendoAll this talk about the Nintendo Wii has me hearkening back to the prime of my gaming console life. It was the good 'ol 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System and one of my favourite games was Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. That second exclamation point is key.

First you took on Glass Joe who was so bad, you wonder how the hell he ever got a bout in the first place. Nobody lost to Glass Joe. Glass Joe was followed by Von Kaiser and Piston Honda in the Minor Circuit.

The Major Circuit meant taking on Don Flamenco, King Hippo, Great Tiger and Bald Bull. Who will ever forget discovering each boxer's weakness. King Hippo, for example, had only one weakness. If you punch him in the belly, you'll knock him out, and once he's down, he ain't getting back up.

The World Circuit meant a re-match with the much improved Piston Honda followed by Soda Popinski, the return of Bald Bull, another bout with Don Flamenco, Mr. Sandman and Super Macho Man. If you got through these cats, you got to face Mike Tyson.

Mike Tyson was tough to beat, but with plenty of practice, you figured him out. Beating him felt great. I miss the NES.

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Tom Johnson, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTom Johnson was 79. He spent 15 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 37

runningI made it 36 weeks without pain. On Sunday, something happened to my right leg. I've shut things down since then but it's still sore when I walk and it just doesn't feel right. From what I've read, it sounds like Iliotibial band syndrome.

This has me totally bummed. I've got a great running schedule in place but now I've got an injury to deal with. I've made the decision to shut it down for a week, but should I be shutting it down longer? I'm guessing the answer to that question is "see a damn doctor!"

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

  • Sunday - 17k run

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Rush - The Spirit of Radio

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.

Rush - The Spirit of Radio
Today I'm playing a song that was inspired by a little radio station that broadcast from a house in Brampton. CFNY was the spirit of radio, and that catchphrase inspired the name of this most excellent Rush song.

The spirit of radio years at CFNY started when David Marsden joined as program director in 1978 and lasted a decade until an ill-advised format change in 1988. Thankfully, this format change didn't last long and CFNY started playing alternative again in 1989. No, it wasn't as alternative as it was from '78 to '88, but it was still great music with a focus on cool Canadian bands like BNL, Sloan and Lowest of the Low and complementing that sound with the grungy goodness of Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and other alternative rock monsters while continuing to play R.E.M., Smashing Pumpkins and Beck by the barrel full.

The spirit of radio may have changed in the late 80s, but it was my station throughout the 90s and it's still the best of the lot. This song is for CFNY... my station of choice.

The Spirit of Radio

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Maple Leafs 2, Bruins 4

LeafsWelcome to the NHL, Tuukka Rask. The better Rask played, the hotter JFJ's seat got. It's only a matter of time now...

Only moments after the final whistle blew on another blown opportunity I received an email from Mississauga Mike. He was crunching numbers and shared a spreadsheet that showed we've already left 10 attainable points on the table. It also shows we're winning games at a dismal 36.36% clip while our provincial rivals are doing so at a 84.21% rate.

Let's face it, Saturday night's 3-0 victory over the Sens was our Stanley Cup. No, it doesn't come with a parade or an actual Stanley Cup, but it's the best we're going to get this season. Chew on that Sens fans!

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
8-9-4
21 points
4th in Northeast
4-2 Loss vs. Boston
3-0 Win vs. Ottawa
5-2 Loss vs. Boston
M. Sundin - 28
N. Antropov - 20
T. Kaberle - 17

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A Place to Stand, A Place to Grow

A Place to Stand, A Place to GrowA Place to Stand, A Place to Grow (Ontari-ari-ari-o!) is the unofficial anthem of Ontario. It was featured at the Expo 67 Ontario pavilion, so Ontarians my age and younger know it best from Jim Carrey's appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien when he came to Toronto for four episodes.

It's cheese, but it's beautiful Canadian cheese, and it was written by Dolores Claman who wrote another Canadian classic, the theme to Hockey Night in Canada. Here it is, but consider yourselves warned. It's very, very catchy.


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Help Mii Find a Wii

NintendoI mentioned the child formerly known as Sweet Baby James is looking forward to a Nintendo Wii from Santa this Christmas. I haven't actually been able to find a Wii, so I'm hoping someone out there has a suggestion.

Does anyone know anyone on the inside? I know stores are getting small shipments of Wii's periodically, so if I knew when they were hitting the floor, and if I had some help on the inside, maybe I could actually score one. Does anyone know of a store in the GTA that actually has a Wii in stock right now?

Soccer Mom thinks I'm SOL. Stephanie, another sweet reader of this blog, is actually in Missouri right now checking things out for me. She passed by Boonville earlier today, no foolin'.

Help me help Santa bring a sweet young boy great joy this Christmas.

Boonville

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Tuukka Rask Debuts Against Leafs

leafsI fear Tuukka Rask won't just be a good NHL goaltender, he'll be great. Rask, you'll recall, was traded to Boston by the Leafs for Andrew Raycroft. I suspect we'll look back at that trade and cringe the way we cringe when we think about giving up Russ Courtnall for John Kordic or Scott Niedermayer for Tom Kurvers.

Tonight, against our very own Toronto Maple Leafs, Tuukka Rask makes his NHL debut. In nine American Hockey League appearances, Rask had a 7-2 record and a 2.10 goals-against average. We drafted him 21st overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft but decided Justin Pogge was the one to bet on.

I hope we're right, but history tells me Rask will more likely be the next Patrick Roy and Pogge will probably be more of a Peter Ing.

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RHCP Sue Showtime Over Californication

justiceMy favourite news story of the day comes out of Los Angeles. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have sued Showtime Networks over the name of the television series "Californication," which is also the name of the band's 1999 album and a single on it.

I've written quite a bit about this David Duchovny show we get on TMN. It's a love/hate thing in that I love to hate it. I caught every episode and tore it to shreds with running commentary that my wife will confirm was funnier than the show.

When I first learnt they were calling the show "Californication", I thought it was an homage to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I didn't think it infringed on copyright. I also noted a character was named Dani California, so they didn't try very hard to hide the name's inspiration. I hit Wikipedia to find out if RHCP invented this term, and there I learnt "Californication is a portmanteau of California and fornication, written about in Time on August 21, 1972 and seen on bumper stickers in the U.S. states of Colorado, Oregon and Idaho."

I can see why RHCP are pissed. If a show is going to bum your name, you want it to be a great deal better than this one.

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Phil Dawson Hits Post But Breaks the Plane

nflI don't remember seeing this before. Phil Dawson had to make a 51 yard field goal to force overtime in the Cleveland Browns - Baltimore Ravens game yesterday. At first, they ruled it was no good, having hit a couple of posts before bouncing out. Then, they reviewed the play and reversed the decision.

Check out this crazy bounce.

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The Kids' Christmas Wishlists

giftI just spent some one-on-one time with each of the kids. I played the role of Santa and asked them, if they could only receive three gifts this Christmas, which three they'd want the most.

Michelle was up first. Here are her preferred gifts, in order.

  1. Baby Alive
  2. A Cinderella suitcase
  3. A big Cinderella doll

James followed and asked for these three items.

  1. Optimus Prime
  2. A Transformers mask
  3. A Nintendo Wii

The only item that had me Googling was this Baby Alive Michelle wants so badly. This is from Hasbro's Baby Alive page.

Originally introduced in 1973, the much-loved BABY ALIVE doll is back to play with a whole new generation of little girls.

She still "eats" and "poops", and now she's more "life-like" than ever. Best of all, your little girl is sure to love playing "mommy” to this special doll as much as you did years ago.

Let me get this straight. Michelle has to feed this doll and change this doll's diapers? Sounds like a lot of work to me.

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An Imminent Saskatchewaner Invasion

cflLess than a million people live in Saskatchewan. That's incredible when you consider the Greater Toronto Area has about 6 million residents. It's even more incredible when I think about all the Saskatchewaners (or is it Saskatchewanites?) I've met who now call the GTA home.

I married a girl from Saskatoon, where Joni Mitchell was born, Wendel Clark is from Kelvington, Leslie Nielsen is from Regina and Humble is from Moose Jaw. Saskatchewaners are everywhere, and they'll be coming out of the closet wearing green next week when the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers hook up in the 95th Grey Cup game, right here in the Big Smoke.

The last time Saskatchewan invaded the Grey Cup party was 1997 in Edmonton, where they lost 47-23 to the Toronto Argonauts. Their last Grey Cup win came in Toronto in 1989, when Saskatchewan won a thrilling 43-40 game over Hamilton on Dave Ridgway's last-play field goal. Current head coach Kent Austin quarterbacked that Riders team.

The Prairie invasion is imminent.

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Freedom Writers

A Movie ReelFreedom Writers: 5 out of 10.

I really didn't like this Hillary Swank vehicle based on the true story of Wilson High. I didn't like the similar "Dangerous Minds" either, and I think I know why. It's Morgan Freeman's fault.

Morgan Freeman starred in "Lean on Me" back in '89 and all of these movies pale by comparison. Save the time you'd commit to watching "Freedom Writers" and give "Lean on Me" another spin.

Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm.

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Charting Rap

musicMetafilter linked to a site that's right up my alley. It's called rap represented in mathematical charts and graphs and if you're a fan of the genre, you'll find it pretty self explanatory and very funny.

Here's one of my favourites, based on Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day", not only one of my favourite rap songs, but one of my favourite songs... period.

Good Day

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Running Injury: What Did I Do?

medicalI need your help. I'm lying in bed, just like Brian Wilson did, and I'm here because of something that happened at the end of my 17k run yesterday afternoon. Here are the details. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what happened to me and when this pain will go away.

We ran a good 12k before breaking very briefly for a bathroom break and water. Then, we ran another 5k. With about 2k to go, my right leg started cramping up. It was along the right side and back and every step was painful. I wanted to finish the run, so we just cut the speed and I managed my way through the discomfort.

Last night at home, it felt bruised, but I was able to limp through it. I was hoping a good night's sleep would cure what ailed me, but at 3am this morning the pain was excruciating. My right leg felt severely bruised and a walk down the hall to the bathroom almost caused me to black out. I popped Advils, had a hot bath and managed to sleep through the night.

This morning, I feel better than I did at 3am, but I'm still operating on one good leg and one crap leg. It hurts to bend, the stairs are a bitch and it's tender as all hell. Revisiting the run yesterday, I have a few theories as to what I did wrong.

  1. It was cold outside, especially along the Lakeshore, but I still wore shorts. Did cold legs cause this seizing and cramping?
  2. I had spent about five hours on my feet before this run, and I was already tired when we began. Did I simply do too much at this stage in the training game?
  3. I mentioned the break after 12k. This was a nature break and a chance to drink some H2O. It only lasted a few minutes, but did I inadvertently cool down causing issues during the last 5k?
  4. I didn't fuel properly. I violated all the rules when it comes to long runs. I didn't ensure I was properly energized before the run and I didn't eat during the run. Did my body simply run out of energy?
  5. Prior to yesterday, my long runs (>10k) have all taken place at 8:30am. Yesterday's run took place at 3:30pm. Did this change play a role?

There's your 411 and a few potential causes that are rattling around in my head. Firstly, I'd like to know what I did wrong so I can prevent it from ever happening again. Secondly, I'd like to know what I can do to recover as soon as possible. And finally, I'd like to know what the hell this is because I'm not a big fan of rehabilitating pain.

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Parade Float 2.0

Yahoo!In my write up about this year's Santa Claus Parade I mentioned a new float from Yahoo! Canada. I'm pretty sure this is the first time a web-only company sponsored a float in the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, so it's worth discussing it further.

The float, which you'll see below in photos I took from two different angles, is a young girl enjoying the world of Alice in Wonderland she discovered via a Yahoo! Canada search. For extra webby effect, there are emoticons alongside the trailer.

It's worth noting Yahoo! beat Google and Microsoft to the float sponsoring punch. Today there were still floats sponsored by the old standards Canadian Tire, The Bay, Sears, Walmart, Mattel, Dominion and McDonalds. One day we'll see other clicks-only companies joining Yahoo! until such an event isn't even blog-worthy.

Here's the Yahoo! float as the parade goes 2.0

Yahoo! Yahoo!

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The 2007 Santa Claus Parade

santaEarlier today, I took the kids to the 2007 Santa Claus Parade. We got there two hours early and secured a nice spot on the South side of Bloor Street just East of Christie. For those who don't know, the 5.5k parade route begins at Bloor and Christie, so we were one of the first to see Santa and I was able to get home in time for my 17k run.

The day was perfect. The kids were so well behaved and watching Michelle's face as the Island Princess Barbie float went by made it all worth while. James' favourite float was the animals playing hockey. On a pop culture mental note, there was a Yahoo! float this year that featured a young girl surfing the web. They didn't have that float when I was a kid.

I took 79 photos you'll find here. We'll be back next year when I expect an iPhone and Facebook float in the mix.

PB186383 Clifford PB186403 Santa

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Maple Leafs 3, Senators 0

LeafsWhere did that come from? What an efficient, well played game against the best team in the league. Vesa Toskala posted his first shutout as a Leaf as we handed the Sens only their third loss of the season.

Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle looked good on the blueline, now we just need some consistency out of this reunited pair. We'll go for two in a row against the Bruins on Tuesday.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
8-8-4
21 points
3rd in Northeast
3-0 Win vs. Ottawa
5-2 Loss vs. Boston
4-3 OTL vs. Montreal
M. Sundin - 27
N. Antropov - 19
T. Kaberle - 15

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Out of the Facebook Closet

facebookAt first, I resisted. Then, I surrendered. Then, I was finished with Facebook where it's nothing as it seems, or was I?

The Toronto Mike Facebook account is still being updated, usually on a daily basis. Facebook makes it easy with their awesome interface and I've recently discovered their slick mobile page. And now, after almost six months, I've come out of the Facebook closet, removing Chris O'Donnell as my profile pic and replacing it with the image below. Baby steps...

Mike

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Parade Songs

musicWe're all set for tomorrow's Santa Claus parade. As mentioned, this will be my fourth year in a row attending the world's largest Santa Claus parade, and I'll bring my camera to try and snap each float as it rolls by.

Here are my entries and photosets from the last three parades.

Here are "parade" songs found in my collection.

  • The Street Parade - The Clash
  • The Soft Parade - The Doors
  • Macy's Day Parade - Green Day
  • Hit Parade of Love - Jimmy Martin
  • Parade - Luscious Jackson
  • Bulls on Parade - Rage Against the Machine
  • Soft Parade - The Watchmen

Toronto Santa Clause Parade 2004

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Don Metz, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDon Metz was 91. He was the right winger who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win five Stanley Cups in the 1940s.

Don Metz played a significant role in our 1942 comeback from a 3-0 deficit against the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals. In Game Five, he scored three goals and two assists to lead the Leafs to a 9-3 victory. He also scored the game-winning goal in Game Six. What makes his accomplishment more successful is that he was not put in the lineup until the Leafs were down 3-0; the Leafs won all four games in which he was dressed.

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The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen

canadaThe great show Ren & Stimpy aired an episode in season 2 entitled "The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen". The song from this episode was frequently aired on MuchMusic in the early 90s as a stand-alone video. Here's the video...

If you know the song, you likely found yourself singing along. Here are the memorable lyrics that fill every Canadian with pride.

Our country reeks of trees
Our Yaks are really large
And they smell like rotting beef carcasses
And we have to clean up after them
And our saddle sores are the best
We proudly wear women's clothing
As searing sand blows up our skirts

And the buzzards, they soar overhead
And poisonous snakes will devour us whole
Our bones will bleach in the sun
And we will probably go to (loud farting noise)
And that is our great reward
For being the-uh Ro-oy-al Canadian Kilted Yaksmen!

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Pinball for Mayor

argosStephen Brunt has a great column in today's Globe & Mail entitled "A Higher Calling". It's about Michael "Pinball" Clemons, easily the most likable athlete to play in this city. Pinball is asked daily when he's going to run for Mayor of Toronto. I decided long ago this was both inevitable and a very good thing for my city.

In September 2000, Pinball was set to play his final game of professional football. His last run would take place at SkyDome against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and I knew I had to be there. I bought two tickets and took my wife to say farewell to a player who didn't just excite you with a big play, but inspired you with character. Pinball was never just a running back or kick and punt returner, he was a motivator, a leader and a hero, on and off the field. After the game he addressed the crowd with a wonderful speech drenched in class and sincerity. I'm glad I was there.

On Sunday he coaches in the conference final, and hopefully he'll be coaching in this year's Grey Cup. Then, I hope he steps down as Argonaut head coach. It's time he enters the political arena and takes the first step toward being our next mayor. He does have a higher calling, and we're the beneficiaries.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"I'm not a genius, or are I?"

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Arcade Fire PLUG'd

cdI just read that Montreal's Arcade Fire trail only Of Montreal and Battles in nominations for the 2008 PLUG Independent Music Awards, which recognize the best indie acts from around the world. Canadians Emily Haines, Sunset Rubdown, The New Pornographers, Caribou, Chromeo, A-Trak and the profanely named Toronto acts Fucked Up and Holy Fuck received one nomination each.

That's great, because I really like Neon Bible and Arcade Fire in general, but what does indie really mean these days? Neon Bible was released by Merge Records here in North America, and Merge Records is an independent record label. According to Wikipedia, "an independent record label (or indie record label) is a record label operating without the funding of or outside the organizations of the major record labels". Maybe I'm a little dim, but I'm not sure I fully grasp the difference between an indie record label and a major record label, but maybe you can help me.

Here are the nominations for best album.

  • Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
  • Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin
  • Battles - Mirrored
  • Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
  • El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
  • Justice - †
  • Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
  • Panda Bear - Person Pitch
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
  • Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  • The National - Boxer

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Joe Nuxhall, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJoe Nuxhall was 78. He was the youngest player in major league history and the beloved "old left-hander" on Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasts.

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Maple Leafs 2, Bruins 5

LeafsIf we're going to allow the most goals in the NHL, we're not going be playing past the first week of April. It sure didn't take long to go down 1-0 last night with Marc Savard scoring 19 seconds in. Rayzor finally heard the crowd chanting his name, even if it was in mocking fashion.

In all seriousness, is anyone else sick of this crap we're fed each year. Post-lockout, this team has been the epitome of mediocrity, and I don't see any hope for the future. I sometimes wonder why I bother watching each game and passing on this affection to my children. Is any franchise less deserving of such loyalty?

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
7-8-4
19 points
4th in Northeast
5-2 Loss vs. Boston
4-3 OTL vs. Montreal
3-2 SOL vs. New York Rangers
M. Sundin - 26
N. Antropov - 18
J. Blake - 14

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Innocence Indicted

baseballWhat I loved about baseball was how timeless and romantic it was. Baseball might be America's sport, but I developed a love for the game as a young boy and cheering the boys of summer quickly became a cherished summer ritual.

When they cancelled the World Series, we fans were screwed by the business of sport. It wasn't all about the crack of the bat, the hustle from first to second and the play at the plate. It was about big business and elite athletes demanding their fair share. I was hopeful 1994 was the low point. The cancellation of the World Series was my generations Black Sox scandal, and things could only get better, or so I thought.

Barry Bonds has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. "During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes," the indictment reads. This is a sad day for baseball.

In December 2004, when we learnt that Bonds admitted using steroids, I wondered what was next. How would we treat his records? How does it effect his accolades and imminent hall of fame entry?

Those seemingly innocent days of my youth are long gone. Everything is stained. I find myself longing for the days it was all about money.

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Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Finale

humourEarlier this week, I toasted "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and shared one of my favourite exchanges from this season, Get In That Ass, Larry. I've just watched the season finale, and damn, that was awesome.

I'm issuing a very serious spoiler alert here. If you haven't seen the season final of "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and you plan to, don't watch this clip. It's the final two minutes and there's a rather significant twisty turn.

This is the funniest show on television.

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TheSantaClausParade.com Stays Sucky

santaThis year's Santa Claus Parade will be hitting out streets on Sunday. I'll be there, for the fourth year in a row.

I just hit up the official parade site to see if they updated it. Even though they added an iPhone to the home page to give it a 2007 flavour, it's still a laughably bad site with one of the worst designed FAQ pages in the history of the World Wide Web.

At least they got rid of that scary elf. It always gave me the creeps.

santa

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Thirsty for Tlusty

mouseHow many Torontonians went hunting for a nude picture of Jiri Tlusty this week? Yesterday, with some high Google rankings and a link from a site called Wikio to this entry, my unique visitors doubled the normal number. The extra visitors were all looking for pics of Tlusty. I chatted with Freddie P. who experienced the exact same spike.

It hasn't really calmed down since yesterday. I'm wondering what percentage of adult Torontonians with unmonitored Internet access have made an effort to see Jiri Tlusty's wang. I know it's far higher than the percentage of Torontonians who knew the name Jiri Tlusty prior to yesterday.

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, and that's likely true. Tlusty went from a little known Leafs rookie to the most Googled name in Toronto sports. Everyone is thirsty for Tlusty.

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The Great NHL Deception

nhlSome of you are being duped. I'd say some of us are being duped, but I've caught on. Your favourite team's record is not what it seems.

standings

7-7-5
If you check out this morning's NHL standings, that's our current record. It doesn't look so bad, does it? Heck, it sorta looks like a .500 record.

7-12
Now things don't look so good. Ouch, a 7-12 record would have fans terribly angry, demanding big changes and perhaps the head of both the GM and coach. In reality, this is the Leafs' current record. We've won seven games while losing twelve. This is your reality check.

I hate the point for an overtime loss. It's throwing everything out of whack. If a team loses, let's give them zero points. To the victor go the spoils. As painful as it is, I'd rather check the standings and see we're 7-12 than 7-7-5.

She ain't pretty she just looks that way.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 36

runningMy 17k run Sunday was changed to a 10k run at the last moment. No worries, I'll hit the 17k mark Sunday after the Santa Claus Parade.

It's been a warmer week which has made running a great deal easier. Heck, tonight was damn hot. I could get used to that.

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

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

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Odds - Eat My Brain

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.

Odds - Eat My Brain
Not only was this a fun single from Vancouver-based The Odds but the song's video featured a chase sequence starring members of The Pursuit of Happiness and Junkhouse. That's CanCon gold, my friends.

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Sunrise Records and Ticketmaster

ticketstubsWith Music World closing, there will be no more Canadian-owned national music chains. CQ just left a comment on that entry in which he dropped the name Sunrise Records. Sunrise Records is still around, but it's not a national chain as all their stores are in Ontario.

Sunrise Records is an authorized Ticketmaster outlet and when I think of Sunrise Records I think about the good old days of buying concert tickets. Today we all buy our concert tickets over the web, but it wasn't always that way...

When a big show was coming to town, like Pearl Jam or The Tragically Hip or whoever, I'd physically get my butt to a Ticketmaster outlet to secure a wristband. Then, I'd wear this wristband until the morning the tickets went on sale when I'd have to get myself back to that same Ticketmaster outlet and hope I'd win the lottery. They'd randomly select the number that would assume the first spot in line and then we'd all check our wristbands and line up accordingly.

It wasn't a bad system, and it was always a lot of fun. I rarely used Sunrise Records for this purpose because I preferred the lesser-known VoiceOne location on Bloor Street near Islington. This place was an answering service provider and nobody knew they were an authorized Ticketmaster outlet, so we had a better shot with less wristbands to compete against. VoiceOne is no longer in the Ticketmaster game, but I've moved on. My wristband days are behind me.

Today, it's point and click and pray.

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Jiri Tlusty Has Breakfast With Scot

picturesUntil news broke that nude photos of Maple Leafs forward Jiri Tlusty were flying around the interweb, this entry of mine was ranked in the top five when you Googled his name. Today, young Jiri Tlusty belongs to us all. He's gone from being the only teenager in the Maple Leafs system to becoming a hero in the gay community, overnight.

Jiri Tlusty, while playing in the OHL for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, took naked shots of himself in a mirror and sent them to someone via email. I won't link to the pictures, which include pics of Tlusty touching tongues with another man, but you can find them with just a little effort.

If you google Breakfast With Scot right now, I'm still holding down the 8th spot thanks to this entry I wrote last November. Breakfast With Scot is a movie starring Tom Cavanaugh as an ex-Toronto Maple Leaf who happens to be gay and it opens this week. This coincidence is uncanny.

Is Jiri Tlusty gay? I honestly don't know, but I hope so. And if he's gay, I'd love for him to come out of the closet as a Toronto Maple Leaf and blow this caveman perception of NHLers to Kingdom Come. Someone has to make the first move, play the role of Rosa Parks, and force professional sports into this accepting and tolerant age. I hope it's a Leaf and I hope I'm proven right and the reaction is nothing but positive.

It's long overdue.

Go Leafs Go

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Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 4

LeafsWell, well.. what do we have here? Another game we should have won? Did Bryan McCabe pull another boner in overtime to gift wrap the game for a division rival?

I know you all just want to read about Jiri Tlusty, so I'll get to that in a bit. I have a unique perspective on the story...

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
7-7-4
19 points
3rd in Northeast
4-3 OTL vs. Montreal
3-2 SOL vs. New York Rangers
3-0 Win vs. Buffalo
M. Sundin - 25
N. Antropov - 17
J. Blake - 14

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Ira Levin, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumIra Levin was 78. He was the author of bestsellers such as Rosemary's Baby, The Boys from Brazil and The Stepford Wives.

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Last Canadian Music Chain Closes

cdDid you know Music World was the last Canadian-owned national music store chain? Neither did I until today when I read Music World is under bankruptcy protection and will close its stores.

That makes HMV the last chain standing in an age of digitized music collections and downloads. There was a time in the early 90s when I would head downtown and hit HMV, Sam the Record Man, Music World and A&A Records. I'd usually go home with two or three CDs, too. Times have certainly changed.

How many CDs each month do you now buy in a non-digital format?

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Magnificent Marlies

hockeyCrap, it's been a busy day. I'm just coming up for air now.

The Toronto Marlies have played 12 games thus far this season, winning 10 and losing two in a shootout. That's pretty awesome, and perhaps a little hope on the horizon in Leafsville.

Scott Clemmensen is 7-0 with a 2.29 GAA and he'll be backing up Raycroft tonight. I wonder how long we'll have the three NHL calibre goalies in town?

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City and Colour's Cowgirl in the Sand

musicNeil Young rules. It's as simple as that. The man is a living legend.

Borrowed Tunes II: A Tribute To Neil Young was released last month, but I haven't heard it yet. I have heard City and Colour's cover of "Cowgirl In The Sand" and I dig it. That's one of my favourite Neil Young songs, but I like what Dallas Green has done with it. It's completely stripped down, and if you just listen to the guitar, it sounds like a Hayden song.

I'm sure Neil Young purists will blow a gasket when they hear this tune. Neil Young is so unique, he's difficult to cover. With Bob Dylan you get a great song writer that other singers cover to create great songs. With Neil Young, you get a great song writer where the cover is rarely as good as the original. In fact, other than a couple from Pearl Jam, I can't think of a Neil Young cover that really does him justice.

You can hear City and Colour's version of "Cowgirl In The Sand" here or you can watch the live performance below.

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My Desert Island Show

tvWe've all played the desert island game. If you're going to a desert island, which ten CDs would you bring? If you were going to a desert island, and could only bring one food, which food would you bring? Heck, I think I've written a desert island entry or two over the years.

I was just thinking about which show I'd choose if I could only watch one show's new episodes while on a desert island. Got that? The show has to be active and while on this desert island I'll be somehow receiving the new episodes. Which show would I choose?

I'd choose "Curb Your Enthusiasm". While on this desert island, I'm going to want to laugh, and no show makes me life like Larry David's CYE. This season, Larry has adopted the Black family, and it's been damn funny.

I wanted to share a clip from season six, and there are plenty of great ones to choose from, but I wanted one with Leon Black, played by J.B. Smoove. This clip, entitled Get In That Ass, Larry, is NSFW. If you want to keep your job, wait until you get home or put on the headphones.

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Vince Sprains Ankle... Stop the Presses

basketballVince Carter of the New Jersey Nets will be sidelined indefinitely with a sprained right ankle.

I don't mean to make light of another man's pain, but this image is deja vu all over again. I'm trying to heal, but there's always something there to remind me of the pain.

How do you spell karma? F-U-V-C.

Vince Sprains Ankle

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Official Spice City!

torontoI don't know how I missed this news, but Toronto was voted the official Spice City. It's true, read this from The Return of the Spice Girls Wikipedia page.

Toronto was voted the official Spice City. Toronto received more votes than Rio de Janeiro - which came close in second place, Baghdad, and the Australian city of Alice Springs. The Toronto date was set for February 3 and 4, 2008. Tickets sold out in under a minute.

I am one proud Torontonian.

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Toronto Mike Junior High

schoolWhat a difference a few days make. On Friday, this blog readability test said this site's reading level was elementary school. Today, it's junior high.

junior_high

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Property Virgins With Sandra Rinomato

homeYesterday, Taryn went to some renovation showcase thing for charity. At one of the homes she met Sandra Rinomato, host of HGTV's "Property Virgins". Both my mom and my wife love this show, and because it usually features Toronto neighbourhoods, I've caught my fair share of episodes.

If you haven't seen it, here's a typical episode of "Property Virgins".

  1. A young, sporty, childless couple wants to by a home
  2. This couple wants a home with space to store their biking, camping, skiing and kayaking gear
  3. Starting in a lovely High Park neighbourhood, this couple points out their ideal home to Sandra
  4. Sandra learns this couple can't afford more than $350,000 and asks them to guess what this High Park home will go for
  5. The couple guesses way low and seems surprised to learn their dream house will sell for approximately $750,000
  6. Sandra takes the couple to Mimico where they might actually find a home for $350,000

Some of the details may change, but that's every episode of "Property Virgins" in a nutshell.

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Unable To Contact Rogers On Demand

tvI haven't been keeping up with "Weeds". I've also dropped "Rescue Me" and rarely catch "The Office". My non-sports television these days is primarily focused on programs I can access via Rogers On Demand.

Rogers On Demand, channel 308 at my house, comes with TMN and is how I watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Dexter" and "Tell Me You Love Me". It's also how I catch movies, because it's so damn convenient. The movie starts when I'm ready to watch and I can pause, rewind and all of that good stuff. I'm aware of the PVR option, but I'm hesitant to increase my cable bill any further. Rogers On Demand is currently my television life blood.

Unfortunately, every once in a while, Rogers On Demand goes AWOL. That's what's happening right now. When I visit channel 308, it tells me to "please wait..." and then states it's "unable to contact Rogers On Demand17". Did it try Rogers On Demand 1-16 first?

I'm precisely the kind of guy who would love a PVR. When I'm ready, I want to be able to watch my Sunday night cartoons, "The Office", "30 Rock" or whatever. Until I take the plunge, 308 will have to do.

Maybe it will actually start working again soon...

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Lest We Forget

poppyI don't have a personal story to relate about war. My grandparents didn't serve and I don't have an uncle or a cousin in the armed forces. I once heard about my grandfather's brother serving in WWII, but the details are sketchy.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, there are 205,533 living Canadians who served in WWII. There is only one living Canadian who served in The Great War. You don't need to have a personal story about Canada's participation in war to appreciate the sacrifice made by these brave men and women. Lest we forget.


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Humble And I Storm The ACC

leafsThe tickets actually belong to former Toronto Maple Leaf Stew Gavin, but he gave them to Gavin Management Group client Humble Howard who took me along for the ride. I wasn't just going to a Leafs game, I was getting a chance to hang in the Alumni Lounge.

Donning my #5 Bill Barilko jersey, we got there nice and early to watch the pre-game skate. Actually, it was more like the pre-ceremony skate. Mark Messier, Al MacInnis, Ron Francis, Scott Stevens and Jim Gregory were introduced before the game and then there was a solemn Remembrance Day ceremony before the puck actually dropped. The first period wasn't particularly noteworthy, but then we made our way to the Alumni Lounge.

Stew Gavin greeted us there and he was with his buddy Jim Peplinski. Peplinski played for the Flames and co-captained the Calgary team that won the Stanley Cup in 1989. It was very cool to hang with both Gavin and Peplinski, but once in the lounge, it was Nick Kypreos who made a bee-line for us. Apparently Kypreos, a genuinely engaging and swell fellow based on our brief convo last night, is rather grateful for the broadcasting experience he gained on the Humble and Fred show. Now that Kypreos seems to be everywhere, hosting a radio show and appearing regularly on Sportsnet, this earned Humble a big hug from the big guy. I was distracted the entire time by his massive Stanley Cup ring.

Although he wasn't a part of our little circle, I couldn't help but notice that Eric Bana was hanging in the Alumni Lounge as well. I'm pretty sure he never suited up for the Leafs, but I suppose he knows people. Maybe he knew Gavin?

While we were walking from the Alumni Lounge to our seats, the Rangers scored two to go up 2-0. We came back thanks to a pair of Poni goals and I got to witness my first ever shootout live. Shootouts are exciting as all hell, but there should be five shooters instead of three. It was over in seconds...

It was a great night. Humble was fantastic company, even buying me a hot dog and Coke, and I got to meet a couple of former Leafs and a former Flame. Here's a photoset of pics I took during the night. Thanks HH!

Toronto Mike Meets Hockey Heroes

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Maple Leafs 2, Rangers 3

LeafsDespite the shootout loss, I had a great time at this game, but I'll elaborate on my ACC adventure with Humble in my next entry.

There was a lot of action before the puck even dropped. There was a stare down at centre ice after Tucker and Avery started jawing at each other, there was a ceremony to honour this year's hall of fame inductees and then a Remembrance Day ceremony. Toskala wasn't bad, but I'm a little surprised we didn't start the guy with the shutout last night. Toskala, it seems has trouble with shootouts.

I'll wrap up this recap and get to the good stuff.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
7-7-4
18 points
Tied for 3rd in Northeast
3-2 SOL vs. New York Rangers
3-0 Win vs. Buffalo
5-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
M. Sundin - 24
N. Antropov - 17
J. Blake - 14

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Norman Mailer, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumNorman Mailer was 84. He was the macho prince of American letters who for decades reigned as the country's literary conscience and provocateur with such books as "The Naked and the Dead" and "The Executioner's Song".

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Michelle's Toothpaste

slsWhile in Arizona, my wife bought our three year old daughter Michelle a new tube of Hello Kitty toothpaste. It was sort of minty, and Michelle hated it. When it comes to toothpaste, she prefers a bubblegum flavour.

Here in Toronto, my wife bought her a new tube of Dora toothpaste. This was a fruity bubblegum flavour, but Michelle won't use it. Every night is a battle as she begs and pleads for a plain bubblegum flavour, but not just any plain bubblegum flavour. She wants the plain bubblegum flavour with Cinderella on the cover.

Before giving up, we tried to get her to use James' toothpaste, which is a fruity bubblegum flavour with Sponge Bob Squarepants on the cover. That didn't go over very well. Michelle, in so many words, demanded a plain bubblegum flavoured toothpaste with Cinderella on the tube. So today we went to Shopper's Drug Mart and got her the toothpaste she demanded.

Now we have two kids and four different tubes of toothpaste, all either full or nearly full. If you need kids toothpaste, give me a shout and we'll make a deal.

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Maple Leafs 3, Sabres 0

LeafsMr. Raycroft, you were impressive last night. I'm not your biggest fan, and I've been publicly rooting for Mr. Toskala to prove his worth and assume the role of #1 goalie, but I've got to call a spade a spade. You were great and earned the shutout on hostile ice.

Who do the Leafs start tonight on home ice? This is of particular importance since Toronto Mike will be at the ACC to enjoy the Hall of Fame game against the Rangers. Does Maurice go back to Toskala or does he give Raycroft another spin coming off a shutout?

Humble doesn't believe a grown man should wear a jersey with another man's name on the back. I disagree. I'll be wearing my Bill Barilko #5 with pride. That's how I roll...

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
7-7-3
17 points
3rd in Northeast
3-0 Win vs. Buffalo
5-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
3-2 Win vs. Montreal
M. Sundin - 23
N. Antropov - 16
J. Blake - 14

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"If God didn't want us to eat cows, why are they made out of meat?"

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Arctic Monkeys' Teddy Picker

slsI just submitted a song for SLS18 consideration. I submitted "Teddy Picker" by Arctic Monkeys.

I've been neglecting my SLS duties lately. I apologize. I'll be giving SLS TLC ASAP, K?

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WGA Propaganda Worth Watching

tvThe Writers Guild of America is on strike, as you may have heard. There are enough new television episodes in the can to get the networks into January, but at some point, if this strike continues, they'll run out. That will mean lots of re-runs, reality tv and news magazine shows.

It's easy to take the writers' side on this one. Here are two pieces of propaganda that explain why they fight.

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24 in 1994 Brings Me Back

rewindWe've come a long way, baby. I just revisited 1994 thanks to this slice of funny from Collegehumor. It's the pilot for 24, filmed in 1994 and never aired.

Those early years of the web seemed so advanced at the time, and so dated in retrospect. I remember paying for Internet access by the hour, losing my connection because someone picked up the phone, receiving AOL floppy discs in the mail and building a Geocities web page. Geocities was the original Blogger, AltaVista was our Google and Netscape was our Firefox.

Speaking of flashbacks, here's a cringe-worthy peek at how things looked around here back in the day.

Update: I'm told the embedded video above disappears in IE. If you're using IE, and want to see this vid, go here.

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Big With the Elementary School Crowd

schoolJewelgurl took this blog readability test and learnt her blog's reading level is junior high school. I just took it and learnt my blog's reading level is elementary school.

On the bright side, it don't make ya feel dumb!

elementary_school

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Autumn Songs

The Number FiveMy favourite "Autumn" songs

  1. My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion - The Flaming Lips
  2. Autumn Shade - The Vines
  3. Autumn's Here - Hawksley Workman
  4. Autumn Leaves - Nat King Cole
  5. Autumn - The Edgar Winter Group

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Pan's Labyrinth

A Movie ReelPan's Labyrinth: 8.5 out of 10.

Holy crap, that was cool. I'm not even sure how to review Guillermo del Toro's fantasy. It's visually unlike anything I've ever seen before.

It's just very cool.

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Run Granny Run

A Movie ReelRun Granny Run: 7 out of 10.

This is an HBO documentary about Doris "Granny D" Haddock's run for the US Senate. Granny D joined the race late, had a shoestring budget, faced a popular incumbent and was 94 years old.

It's a charming doc that juxtaposes Granny's sincerity and unpolished finish with the smug and swarmy Judd Gregg. Earlier today I heard Hazel McCallion on the radio going off on Stephen Harper's Conservative Party for their selfish attempt to buy our votes while municipalities go without. Hazel and Granny share the same gumption, the same spirit and the same denture cream.

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Most Used Film Lines

moviesAccording to some British survey, here are the top ten lines from a film most commonly used in everyday conversation.

  1. "I'll be back." ("The Terminator")
  2. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." ("Gone With The Wind")
  3. "Beam me up, Scotty." ("Star Trek")
  4. "May the force be with you." ("Star Wars")
  5. "Life is like a box of chocolates." ("Forrest Gump")
  6. "You talking to me?" ("Taxi Driver")
  7. "Show me the money." ("Jerry Maguire")
  8. "Do you feel lucky, punk?" ("Dirty Harry")
  9. "Here's looking at you, kid." ("Casablanca")
  10. "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." ("Dirty Dancing")

Interestingly enough, "Beam me up, Scotty" and "Do you feel lucky, punk?" are mis-quotes.

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The Hall of Fame Game

nhlSpeaking of the Hockey Hall of Fame, this year's crop of inductees is pretty awesome. Entering the hall on Monday are:

  • Mark Messier
  • Al MacInnis
  • Scott Stevens
  • Ron Francis

All four could suit up for the Leafs on Saturday night in the Hall of Fame game against the New York Rangers. I'll be at that game, taking pictures and notes and reporting back here on Sunday.

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The Lindros Debate

nhlEric Lindros is announcing his retirement today. This begins the debate as to whether The Big E is Hall of Fame worthy. Damien Cox says he is, I say he isn't.

I was always a big Lindros fan. During a mid-90s draft of our annual playoff pool, I had quite the heated exchange with Jomp who didn't think Lindros was anything special. Lindros was special. He was big and strong but had the hands of a smaller, skilled player. He could feather a perfect pass and check an opposing player through the boards, all on the same shift. He wasn't just good, for a period in the 90s, he was the best.

Even though I loved the way he played and his insane talent level, I don't think he'll get into the Hall of Fame. Quite simply, he didn't play enough to put up the numbers that should be required. During his NHL career, he missed 438 games, including two complete seasons. He never played a full campaign, scored 100 points or more just once and didn't register a 50-goal season. He also never won a Stanley Cup, often a barometer of a successful leader.

Many will agree with me and many will agree with Cox, because you can make a case either way. At the end of the day, Lindros just didn't have the legs. He changed the game, and for a short period of time was scary good, but his 865 points in 760 games leaves him on the outside looking in.

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Smashing Pumpkins - Today

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.

Smashing Pumpkins - Today
I heard "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" in the shower today. That got me diving into Siamese Dream and now I'm sharing my favourite cut from that album.

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Feist on SNL

MusicLeslie Feist recorded one of my favourite albums of 2005 and Saturday night she was kicking ass on SNL. I'm asleep before Saturday Night Live hits the air, but thanks to YouTube, I can enjoy these performances over and over and over again. What an age we live in!

Here's "1234" and "I Feel It All", live from New York.

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My Offline Challenge: Week 35

runningIt's getting colder outside, but I'm still running in shorts. Running along the Lake Shore tonight I thought it might snow, but it was still shorts weather as far as I'm concerned. At some point I'll have to run in pants, but I'm not sure where that point is.

My Sunday morning runs are approaching a distance that might require I carry water, and eventually gels. A friend is going to let me try her Batman utility belt with a water bottle so I'll give that a whirl during our 17k run on Sunday.

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

  • Sunday - 16k run
  • Tuesday - 6k run
  • Wednesday - 10k run

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A Little Birdie On Downie's Hallelujah

cdIf you're a fan of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" or a fan of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip, I implore you to read the entries in my Gord Downie's Hallelujah page. Not only is it a great story about an elusive song and successful search, but it's also the reason I'm running 10k tonight.

A little birdie in the know about such things wrote me an email today. In Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein fashion, my very own Deep Throat has revealed that the Saint Ralph Soundtrack will likely get released in the near future. Here's the top secret correspondence I received with one paragraph removed for reasons that will soon become obvious.

What I'm about to tell you I ask that you keep to yourself and not divulge, not even say it's from an anonymous source.

*** content removed ***

Now here's what you can divulge from an anonymous source, it is likely that the soundtrack will get a release or at least a download release in the near future.

If all goes smoothly, you'll be the first to know.

This answers a question I get quite often. When I know more, I'll share it here.

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Thank You, Browsershots

webA couple of days ago I was buried in the wonderful world of browser compatibility. A redesign of this site was working in Firefox but not in IE6. The struggle, of course, is testing my code in various flavours of different browsers on different platforms. This is where Browsershots is a life saver.

Browsershots makes screenshots of your web design in different browsers. It is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl. When you submit your web address, it will be added to the job queue. A number of distributed computers will open your website in their browser. Then they make screenshots and upload them to their central server.

On Linux, I saw this site behaving properly in Epiphany 2.20, Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2.0, Konqueror 3.5 and Opera 9.24. In Windows, I saw this site behaving properly in Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2.0, MSIE 6.0, MSIE 7.0, Opera 9.24 and Safari 3.0. In the Mac OS I saw everything looking great in Firefox 2.0 and Safari 2.0. I also saw that there are issues in Windows in MSIE 5 and MSIE 5.5. If you're still using a version of Internet Explorer that pre-dates 6, you'll see the left sidebar overlaps the main content. You're also out of luck because I've decided not to care about you. Upgrade your browser!

I highly recommend Browsershots for web authors. It's a fantastic service and you can't beat the price.

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Maddux and Schilling Keep Me Young

calendarThis week both Greg Maddux and Curt Schilling signed deals to continue their baseball careers with their current teams. I was glad to hear it.

Both players started their long careers in the 80s: Maddux in 1986 with the Cubs and Schilling in 1988 with the Orioles. I'm now of an age when players are wrapping up long careers and I was a teenager when these careers began. In the case of Maddux I was twelve when he debuted, but the point is still the same. 20+ year careers are coming and going under my watch.

Next thing you know, youngsters like Chris Chelios will be hanging up their skates.

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This is Getting Loonie

LoonieOn September 20th I wrote about our Canadian dollar reaching parity with the American dollar. That hadn't happened since 1976 and I thought it was kind of neat but wouldn't last.

Today our Loonie passed $1.10 U.S. This is getting loonie. How high will it go?

My 9-5 gig, the one that pays my mortgage, bleeds money every time our dollar goes up against the American dollar. It's the same old story, the majority of the customers pay in U.S. dollars while the expenses are paid in Canadian dollars.

This is getting scary.

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John Ross Cuthbert

bereavementI don't know John Ross Cuthbert. In November 1999 I was reading the Toronto Star when I found his death notice. I was so affected by what I read I clipped the notice and put it in the inside pocket of my winter jacket.

As you may have read, I took that same jacket to the cleaners yesterday. If the price was right, I would have left it there, so I emptied my pockets. That's when I rediscovered John Ross Cuthbert's death notice.

As I said, I didn't know John. I only know these words he wrote in November 1999. These words I've carried with me the past eight years.

CUTHBERT, JOHN ROSS

August 29, 1952 - November 24, 1999

My Friends

Forgive me for leaving the party early.

I have chosen not to have a standard funeral or a formal viewing because these would not be happy events - and I insist on leaving the world the same way I have tried to live in it - with smiles, joy and goodwill.

My death is sad but not tragic because I have had a rich life. I have laughed, cried, loved and been loved, enjoyed the company of friends and lived life to the fullest extent that I could.

I have lived longer than expected and survived against the odds to find romance, love and above all, to witness the birth and development of my two little miracles - Brittany and Yardley. Who would have believed it possible 30 years ago?

I have treasured the many and varied friends I have had at my side throughout my journey. There are no words to express my gratitude, to repay you all for the love and comradeship, the support given so freely - no words to even say a proper "thanks" just for being a friend.

I will miss you. But I have had yet another gift lately - the time to visit, call or talk to as many of my friends and family as possible. Let these happy contacts serve as my goodbyes to you all.

My family will be saying goodbye to me privately on the Scarborough Bluffs - one of our favourite places to be together, to walk and find peace.

Please remember me in a similar fashion. Remember the good times, the laughs we had, the special times we all shared. No greater tribute could I request.

I leave asking but one last favour.

Cathy, Brittany and Yardley will be beyond my protection and I will be unable to supply the hugs and kisses that they all need. Please remember them and love them as you would your own family - they will need good friends at every step of their life's journey.

My love to you all - may you walk life's journey in good health, with friends at your side and a smile on your face.

Ross Cuthbert
Nov. 1999

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Maple Leafs 1, Senators 5

LeafsI may not like the Ottawa Senators, but I'm accepting of the fact they're a far superior hockey team right now. Last night's game was a mis-match. A talented team took it to us and made us look like an AHL squad. It's painful to watch, but it's important we all recognize the widening gap between us and our provincial rivals.

The Raptors got skunked as well, making it one crappy night for Toronto professional sports teams. It's raining. I'm bummed. It's toast time.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
6-7-3
15 points
Tied in 3rd in Northeast
5-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
3-2 Win vs. Montreal
3-2 Loss vs. New Jersey
M. Sundin - 21
N. Antropov - 16
J. Blake - 14

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My '86 Taurus

carMy jacket dilemma has me thinking about my '86 Taurus. You see, when I like something, I really like it and I don't want to swap it out for a better model or a newer model. I once wrote that I like progress, I just don't like change. That about sums it up.

In 1998 I got a job in Mississauga and required a car. I picked up a beat up rusty 1986 Taurus for $100 and I loved this car. It just worked, dammit, and it never complained. She looked like hell, but she had those old bench seats you don't see anymore and she only cost me a $100! I didn't want to upgrade, I was happy.

I was literally forced to stop driving her when it was discovered she was in some unreported accident and wasn't safe for our roads. In 1999 I bought another car for a great deal more than $100 and I'm still driving that car today.

See what I mean about not liking change? I'll probably fix up my old leather jacket, too.

My '86 Taurus

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In Theory, Communism Works

cdLast month I wrote about how Radiohead was leaving it up to us. Buyers could name their own price when downloading "In Rainbows". At the time I wrote "As I understand it, there's no minimum, but by treating their loyal fans so nicely you can bet this will pay off."

The fact is, 62% of downloaders in a four-week period last month opted not to pay a cent. When asked to name their price, they went with 0. The remaining 38% voluntarily paid an average of $6.

I must admit, I'm surprised that many people refused to pay a dime. I'm guessing many of those 62% were casual fans or weren't fans at all and were just checking out some "free" music.

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My Jacket Dilemma

hangerI have a jacket dilemma. I have a favourite jacket, a black leather jacket I've worn for over a decade. The zipper just busted, and it needs a good cleaning, but otherwise this thing is as good as new.

I just took it in to my local dry cleaners and they tell me it's $45 for the zipper and about $45 for the cleaning. After taxes, I'm looking at $100+ to get this jacket back into game shape. I wasn't expecting that.

I'm now thinking I'd be wiser to buy a new jacket. What would a nice black leather jacket cost me on sale at Danier? Probably no more than twice what it would cost me to fix this zipper and clean up my current model.

My heart, however, would rather sink another $100 into the jacket that's already worn in to my liking. My jacket has character, and you can't buy character. You only get character from being worn every winter for over a decade.

It's quite the dilemma, isn't it? And I don't have much time to make a decision...

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Radiohead's Acoustic Creep Redux

MusicI first linked to the Flash video for Radiohead's acoustic version of "Creep" two years ago today. I'm sharing this video again today because it's a fantastic combination of a great performance and a great video.

If you haven't yet seen this, today's your lucky day.


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Sydney Blues, 1995 ABL Champs

bluejaysFans of the Jays all share great memories of "OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball)". I stream that song on this page and every once in a while someone leaves a comment about the great memories that song conjures up and the chills it induces. Without exception, those comments have come from Blue Jay fans, typically Torontonians, but today I learnt about another team that used that song.

David, from Sydney, Australia, left this comment early this morning.

I remember back in the mid-nineties this song was used for the Sydney Blues Baseball Club in the short-lived Australian Baseball League (especially in 1996 when we were Champions) as Sydney was affiliated with Toronto. Hearing it again gave me great memories. Can you all do us Aussies a favour and make some noise about starting a professional baseball league up in Australia again? I loved it first time I saw it.

According to Wikipedia, the Sydney Storm, originally Sydney Blues were a team in the now defunct Australian Baseball League. The franchise won one ABL championship under the former name, defeating the Melbourne Reds in the 1995 championship, also finishing runner-up twice - once (as the Blues) against the Brisbane Bandits in 1994, and in the final ABL season in 1999, defeated by the Gold Coast Cougars.

I had no idea. I'm fascinated by the fact another professional baseball team on the other side of the world was using our song for their seventh inning stretches. That whole verse about bringing on the White Sox and the BoSox and all lost its meaning, but that's okay... it's a night game. I searched for a Sydney Blues logo but all I could find was this low-res version.

Blues02

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When Dad Passed Away

Wonder YearsI used to do this little feature about shows I used to watch. One show I used to watch is "The Wonder Years".

Here's the closing scene from the series finale. The music you hear is from The Natural, and it never fails to get me all emotional. What man can resist the music from The Natural?

I liked the fact Kevin and Winnie didn't end up together but I always hated the four words that were only written to make you all misty eyed. It's so manipulative, but effective. Randy Newman's score from The Natural is bellowing and Daniel Stern says "when dad passed away".

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Seinfeld Cancelled?

TVWhen I named a recent entry I'm Telling You For The Last Time, it was a subtle tribute to Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry named his 1998 HBO special "I'm Telling You for the Last Time".

I still enjoy watching Seinfeld reruns when I stumble upon them. I can rarely stomach anything a second time, so the fact I can watch Seinfeld episodes over and over again is something special. I can really only do this with a handful of shows.

HH shared this earlier today and it's quite funny. If you ask me, Larry's been going through the motions for years. It's about time someone called him on it.

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Sundin to the Sens: A Jagged Little Pill

leafsIn his column for The Sporting News, Ken Campbell suggests the Sens pursue Mats Sundin. His points are valid. Sundin is having a great year, is a better gamble for the Sens than Forsberg and the Leafs could use some young talent from the Sens war chest as we rebuild. It would be a great, ballsy move, and I hope it never happens.

Seeing Mats Sundin win the cup this summer would make me very happy, even if he's not winning the cup with the Leafs. Seeing the Sens win the cup this summer would make me very unhappy, and this unhappiness trumps the aforementioned happiness. I would rather Mats go cup-less than witness Ottawa win it all.

Having said that, I hope we trade Sundin to a contender. I want to see him succeed and I'd like us to get some young talent and draft picks for him in case we do realize there's a need to rebuild here. I'd be okay with Mats winning the cup with another team so long as that team doesn't call Ottawa home.

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An Update On The Site Renovation

ConstructionWell, that was frustrating. Yesterday evening, while I watched the Colts and Patriots play a fairly entertaining football game, I decided to multi-task. I figured I could blow up and rebuild this site by the final whistle. This time, I'd go pure CSS.

Everything was going swimmingly. This site is still using Movable Type 3.31 which means there are templates for the permalink, monthly archive and category archive. I modularize the crap out of the code so there ends up being three template modules I pull into each template. A complete rebuild later and I saw what I expected to see... in Firefox.

IE6 has poor CSS support, and I quickly realized that the sidebar would start at the conclusion of the main body on the permalink pages. I started going through the CSS and HTML line by line, and I got everything working on the home page, but the permalink pages would no cooperate. I eventually gave up and started hacking away at it again this morning.

Right now, I believe the structure is sound and working in Firefox and IE. Let me know if I'm wrong. Now that the structure is stable, I'll start tweaking the actual appearance over the next few days. This look and feel is sort of temporary. The header image you see at the top was blatantly stolen from Spacing.ca. I "borrowed" the style because I like it. I'll call it a homage and temporary, which makes stealing A-OK on the web.

Since I can now focus on perfecting the navigation, display styles and formatting of what you see, now is a great time for you to tell me what you'd like to see and what's currently here that you can't stand. Getting a pure-CSS design to work properly in IE is more than half the battle. Now it's time for the fun part.

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I Passed On The Goat Cheese

foodI spent Saturday morning at Humble Howard's place where he showed me some cool Blackberry shortcuts, we discussed potential Internet ventures and I got to hear all about his top secret wheelings and dealings with Insight that very well could make him the next Simon Cowell. Unfortunately, I'm sworn to secrecy and he'll withdraw the Leafs tickets he's offered me for next Saturday if I even drop a hint as to what the show he's pitching is all about.

In his entry about my visit, Howard mentioned the fact I passed on the goat cheese. I was served a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, bread, coffee and goat cheese, and anyone who knows me could probably guess I'd pass on the goat cheese. I'm sure goat cheese is lovely, but I didn't feel a need to find out. As he says, when it comes to food, my tastes are old school.

So yes, I passed on the goat cheese. And I'd do it again, too.

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Mind the Mess

constructionYes, I blew up the site and rebuilt it. In Firefox, things look pretty good, although I have a little fine tuning to do here and there. In IE, things are quite wonky, as you might have noticed.

When I get a few minutes, I'm going to repair the damage for you IE lovers, because I know how damn many of you are out there. Can someone with IE7 please tell me if the left sidebar is at the top of the page or way down at the bottom?

Update: I need an IE7 and an IE6 user to email me a screen cap of this home page. There's a width issue I can't reproduce with my flavour of IE6 but with your help I'll know if it persists. My addy is on my contact page.

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Entering the Next Phase

nflFirst there was anger. I blame Wade Phillips. The Music City Miracle was only made possible because Rob Johnson started instead of Doug Flutie. Hurt by the NFL, I found comfort in the organic beauty of the CFL and fully embraced the Argos.

Last season I didn't watch a single NFL game. I didn't think you could be true to the CFL and be an NFL fan. The glitz and polish of the NFL turned me off and I thought I was done with the league for good. The NFL was dead to me. I call this the blackout period.

Lately, I've found myself following NFL developments online, in the newspaper and on the radio. My team is still the Toronto Argonauts, but I've found myself checking in on my good ol' NFL team, the Buffalo Bills, checking in on Brett Farve and the two AFC juggernauts who will play each other this afternoon. I've been warming up the fact that you can be a CFL and an NFL fan. I don't think you have to choose one or the other.

Right now, while I work, I've got the Bills / Bengals game on the television and I'm peeking at the action. The kids and I have a date to watch the Raptors in an hour, but after that I'm going to watch the NFL game of the century. It's impossible not to be intrigued by the fact the reigning Super Bowl champions are 7-0, playing at home and underdogs. As impossible as that sounds, everything I've read suggests it's true. The Patriots are the better team. Yes, for the first time in a long time, I'm going to watch some NFL football.

I think I'm entering the next phase here. I was hurt and angry, I blocked the offenders out, and now I'm willing to accept things for what they are and make room in my life for a little NFL. Let the healing begin.

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Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

LeafsThe trouble with being mediocre is the fact you don't blow chunks every night and every other game or so you actually pull off an exciting win. This Leafs team is just like our teams from the past couple of seasons. We'll get blown out one night, lose a tight one the next, win a tight one the next, wash, rinse, repeat.

I love beating the Habs in Montreal. Following the Argos big win in Saskatchewan, this was a pretty sweet Saturday. Once again, Vesa Toskala proved he's the clear #1 and Matt Stajan picked the ideal time to end his scoring slump.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
6-6-3
15 points
3rd in Northeast
3-2 Win vs. Montreal
3-2 Loss vs. New Jersey
7-1 Loss vs. Washington
M. Sundin - 21
N. Antropov - 15
J. Blake - 14

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I'm Telling You For The Last Time

clockIt's that time, folks. It's time for my annual rant against the move from Daylight Saving Time. Before we go to sleep tonight, we'll all move our clocks back an hour to Standard Time. It's dumb.

Anticipating my annual rant, Ajax Mike has sent me a little ammo.

One more bit of ammo for you in your fight for year-round Daylight Savings Time: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/11/03/time.change.ap/index.html

"The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of Arlington, Virginaia, in earlier studies found the switch from daylight saving time to standard time increased pedestrian deaths. Going to a year-round daylight saving time would save about 200 deaths a year, the institute calculated, said spokesman Russ Rader."

It's official, Standard Time kills!!! :)

I want my hour of sunlight in the evening, not in the morning. Let's skip this year's fall back.

Previous pro-DST rants:

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Lillian "The Fabulous Moolah" Ellison, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumLillian "The Fabulous Moolah" Ellison was 84. She was the most famous and recognized women's wrestler.

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Maple Leafs 2, Devils 3

LeafsLet's do a little compare and contrast... I have a television on each floor of my home, but only one of them is hooked up to a digital terminal. I watched the Leafs and Devils on a television that didn't have digital cable, and with five minutes remaining in the third period, I actually thought we were going to win another road game. Two Devils goals later, I ran upstairs to check in on the Raptors game.

We were up by 40 against FUVC and the Nets. That's not a typo, we were up by 40 damn points and we ended up winning 106-69. We were dominating, taking New Jersey to school in their own building. It was impressive, and a lot of fun.

The Leafs' current edition frustrates the hell out of me, but the Raps are clearly on the right track. Both franchises are owned by the same peeps, and the difference is obvious. They gave a proven, quality basketball guy autonomy and he's making good decisions and building a winner. Why the hell can't we do the same thing on the hockey side?

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
5-6-3
13 points
4th in Northeast
3-2 Loss vs. New Jersey
7-1 Loss vs. Washington
4-1 Win vs. NY Rangers
M. Sundin - 20
N. Antropov - 15
J. Blake - 14

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

Homer"It's about time trees were good for something, instead of just standing there like jerks!"

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The Dairy Board

FamilyThe following exchange is real. It took place between my wife and I about 90 minutes ago.

Me: I'm still upset about that $1.99 milk.
Me: I'm pretty sure that price is illegal. Remember, I worked five years in the grocery business. I know a thing or two about dairy.
Taryn: The 4 litre bags of 2% milk are $1.99 there. Helen always gets her milk there.
Me: I was so upset, I called the Dairy Board today to complain.
Taryn: Why'd you do that? Now we won't be able to get $1.99 milk!

I actually didn't call the Dairy Board to complain about Shoppers Drug Mart on The Queensway selling 4 litre bags of 2% milk for $1.99 and Taryn can't believe she actually believed me.

I still think it's illegal to sell milk at that price...

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Stephen Harper Is Not Our Prime Minister

OttawaI have a $50 bet with a friend regarding our next federal election. I say Stephen Harper's Conservative Party will be completely shut out in the 416. My friend says they'll win at least one seat in Toronto. I'm so confident they won't, I would have bet up to $500.

The fact is, Stephen Harper is not our Prime Minister. Following the 2006 federal election, I wrote about the lack of blue in the T-Dot. This city has 23 seats and 20 went to the Liberal Party while the other three went to the NDP. At the time, I wrote the following.

Stephen Harper's Conservative Party cannot win in Toronto because of how close to our hearts we cherish our socially liberal values. The mere suggestion of repealing our abortion laws or revisiting the same-sex marriage debate upsets the average 416er. Toronto, like Montreal and Vancouver, is a progressive, open-minded, accepting and sensible city that will not sacrifice these values at any cost. So long as the Conservatives can't make a dent in Canada's big cities they will never win a majority.

As Royson James points out in today's Star, Harper has already written Toronto off. He knows he can't win a seat here, and he's not even going to try. Royson believes Mark Warner was ousted as a Conservative candidate because "he kept talking about urban issues – things that mattered to the people of Toronto Centre - like housing, poverty, health and social services".

So Canada's Prime Minister does not represent us in Canada's largest city. We didn't vote for him, and he's not interested in our future support. He'll focus on the West and Quebec and leave the 23 Toronto seats for the red and orange to fight over.

It's a damn shame it's come to this. Torontonians are without a Prime Minister and there's nothing we can do about it.

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Oz: Where Are They Now?

tvFor years, Friday nights at my house meant Oz. I'm not talking about the Wizard of Oz with Dorothy and the gang, I'm talking about the HBO series that aired from 1997 until 2003. I loved that show, and every time I'm reminded of it, I get bummed that it's no longer airing.

I'm constantly reminded of Oz because so many of the actors I knew from Emerald City appear in shows today. The Law & Order series are littered with them, I see a couple on Dexter and Lost and Dean Winters seems to show up here and there.

Here's a little "where are they now" list I've put together for those actors we loved in Oz. Ryan O'Reily, by the way, is my third favourite television character of all time. Here are my five favourite characters from Oz. Now on to the list...

  • Harold Perrineau (Augustus Hill) - Lost
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Simon Adebisi) - Lost
  • Dean Winters (Ryan O'Reily) - Rescue Me, 30 Rock
  • Lauren Velez (Dr. Gloria Nathan) - Dexter
  • Christopher Meloni (Chris Keller) - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • J.K. Simmons (Vernon 'Vern' Schillinger) - The Closer
  • Kathryn Erbe (Shirley Bellinger) - Law & Order: Criminal Intent
  • David Zayas (Enrique Morales) - Dexter
  • Lee Tergesen (Tobias 'Toby' Beecher) - Desperate Housewives
  • Scott William Winters (Cyril O'Reily) - Dexter, 24
  • Ernie Hudson (Warden Leo Glynn) - Desperate Housewives
  • Eamonn Walker (Kareem Said) - ER, Justice
  • Otto Sanchez (Carmen 'Chico' Guerra) - Kidnapped
  • Kirk Acevedo (Miguel Alvarez) - Law & Order: Trial By Jury, The Black Donnellys
  • muMs da Schemer (Arnold 'Poet' Jackson) - Boston Legal
  • J.D. Williams (Kenny Wangler) - The Wire
  • B.D. Wong (Father Ray Mukada) - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • Luke Perry (Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier) - John From Cincinnati
  • Tom Mardirosian (Agamemnon 'The Mole' Busmalis) - Law & Order
  • Rita Moreno (Sister Peter Marie Reimondo) - Cane
  • Zeljko Ivanek (Governor James Devlin) - Law & Order
  • Robert Clohessy (Officer Sean Murphy) - Kidnapped
  • Edie Falco (Officer Diane Whittlesey) - The Sopranos
  • Seth Gilliam (Clayton Hughes) - The Wire
  • Luis Guzman (Raoul 'El Cid' Hernandez) - John From Cincinnati

That took longer than I thought it would. Phew.

oz

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Search Before You Sell

mouseJust a quick follow up to my suggestion you scour the blogosphere before you buy. It's probably also a good idea to search the blogosphere before you sell...

Prima Search

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Players I Wish Were Blue Jays

The Number FivePlayers I wish had played for my Jays

  1. George Brett
  2. Larry Walker
  3. Kirby Puckett
  4. Wade Boggs
  5. Ozzie Smith

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October 2007 Search Engine Refferals

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in October of 2007. Were there a lot of weddings in September? The hockey hits, I understand.

  1. wedding playlists
  2. wedding playlist
  3. toronto maple leafs
  4. bill barilko
  5. top new rock songs of 2007
  6. wedding song playlist
  7. barry bonds
  8. celebrity death watch
  9. marge simpson nude
  10. saint ralph soundtrack

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The Truth Is Out There

movies"Californication" has become a show I love to hate. I watched every episode of the first season and I cringed about a dozen times per ep. I started to look forward to this show just so I could yell smart-ass remarks at the screen and tell David Duchovny's character how damn cool he is.

Actually, the more I saw David Duchovny as too-cool-for-words Hank Moody, the more I missed Fox Mulder. The truth is still out there, but who the hell is going to discover it for us? Thankfully, Fox (the studio, not the character) has announced production will start December 10 on a brand spankin' new X-Files movie. It will be just like old times with Duchovny and Gillian Anderson playing Mulder and Scully, Chris Carter directing and writing and filming taking place in Vancouver.

This new X-Files film will be released July 25, 2008. Hank Moody, eat your heart out.

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Ranking the Nestle Treats

foodTaryn came home with a large box of assorted Nestle chocolates last week. They were for shelling out on Halloween, but I couldn't leave the kitchen without devouring one or two or five. As a result, I truly got to know the Nestle family of treats, which includes Coffee Crisp, Aero, KitKat and Smarties.

They're all good, but if I had to rank them, I'd put them in this order:

  1. Coffee Crisp
  2. Aero
  3. KitKat
  4. Smarties

How do you rank these four?

PB016358

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The Halloween 180

HalloweenMichelle was going to be a baby butterfly for Halloween. That's what she decided weeks ago, and that's how she was dressed minutes before we left last night to go trick or treating. Then, all of a sudden, she didn't want to be a baby butterfly anymore. She wanted to be Cinderella.

Luckily this was an easy change, because she got a Cinderella dress for her birthday in July. I still think this 180° about face in the finals seconds is unprecedented. The change made me dizzy, but she was sure she no longer wanted to be a baby butterfly. My Halloween photos show Michelle in both costumes while steady James stayed firm with his decision to go out as Darth Vader.

Here's a photoset from the night. The kids did well as the chocolate should last me until Christmas.

PA316344 PA316356 PA296338

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