June 2008 Archives

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Hairspray

A Movie ReelHairspray: 6.5 out of 10.

I don't think Hairspray was made for dudes like me. They sing an awful lot, and I'm not really a musical kind of guy. By the time Travolta and Walken were singing to each other, I had had enough. Don't get me wrong, some of the songs are okay and it's a pretty likable flick, but my favourite thing about Hairspray had nothing to do with the story.

Hairspray has awesome shots of West Toronto. That opening sequence showing a Baltimore neighbourhood gave us a great glance at Roncesvalles. We played a great Baltimore.

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5th Paper Champions Award Winner

MouseI read an article at NowPublic.com this afternoon that really spoke to me. It was entitled "Mike Boon blogs his way to the 5th Paper Champions Award" and it was about an entry I wrote about George Bell hitting 3 homers on opening day in Kansas City.

Here's a taste of what I read at NowPublic.com this afternoon...

This weeks paper champion comes from way out in left-field at the old Exhibition Stadium on the CNE ground along the Toronto lakeshore. Toronto Mike has been "blogging up a storm since 2002" and managed to help squelch a heated office debate regarding the performance of a certain Blue Jay’s left-fielder, George Bell, who swore he would not forego fielding to be the team’s Designated Hitter. These facts were not up for debate, three completely different generations of Blue Jay’s fans made up the debaters but one thing was unanimous, George Bell didn’t want to be a DH.

I don't know what a Paper Champions Award is, but it's an honour to receive such recognition.

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Homosexual Runs Wind-Aided 9.68 Seconds

newspaperThe American Family Association’s OneNewsNow site uses auto-replace when running AP stories. For example, they automatically replace the word "gay" with the word "homosexual".

As you'll see below, that can produce unintentionally hilarious results.

OneNewsNowGay

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Helping Fukuoka, Japan Celebrate Canada Day

CanadaThe Google universe effects us all in different ways. I feel a great responsibility to be an authority on subject matter I rank #1 for in Google. Tomorrow is Canada's 141st birthday, so many are Googling best Canadian songs and finding my Top 100 Canadian Songs List. That makes me a key ambassador of Canadian music, whether I like it or not.

Nick publishes a free paper in Fukuoka, Japan which he calls Fukuoka Now. He's been organizing Canada Day parties in Fukuoka City, which has a pop of 1.5 million, and is in southern Japan, for the last 6 years. Although Nick has been there for 18 years, he's originally from right here in Toronto.

So Nick did that search so he could play Canada's finest music at his Canada Day party in Fukuoka, Japan, and he came across my list and liked what he saw. I spent some time this weekend setting Fukuoka, Japan up with this supreme Canadian playlist so they have a super fantastic Canada Day.

If you're in Fukuoka tomorrow, drop by and say hi to Nick. He's got some great tunes for ya.

Fukuoka

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Jay-Z Sings Wonderwall for Noel

music"99 Problems" is my favourite Jay-Z song. I hear Jay-Z stole the show at Glastonbury this year and prior to busting into a "Back In Black" backed "99 Problems" he covered a little Oasis tune you might be familiar with.

You see, guys like Noel Gallagher didn't think an American rapper belonged at England's most famous rock festival, especially as the headliner. It was a ballsy move, but it seems to have paid off.

Here's that great moment at Glastonbury.

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Why The Hell Not Cujo?

leafsIt looks like Andrew Raycroft has played his last game as a Toronto Maple Leaf. So has Scott Clemmensen. That leaves Vesa Toskala as the only goaltender in the organization with NHL experience.

We're all still hoping Justin Pogge will become a bonafide NHL goalie, but it looks like he'll need another year in the AHL playing for the Marlies. That means the Leafs need a backup to Tosky. Tosky will likely play about 60 games, but who will start the other 22?

I'm endorsing Curtis Joseph to fill that role. Why the hell not? He won't break the bank, he'd love to come back and retire a Maple Leaf and he's still got 22 games left in his 41-year old body.

It's already going to be a long and painful season, at least having Cujo back will give us something to get excited about.

Speaking of next season, http://www.torontomike.com/countdown.html is once again online and counting down the seconds. There are only 102 days, 4 hours, 1 minutes, and 22 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener against Detroit.

cujo

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How The Blogosphere Works

MouseYesterday afternoon, before heading over to East Side Mario's to celebrate a couple of birthdays, I asked for help finding three Canadian songs in MP3 format. These are three songs I adore but have never had in my collection. That fact alone tells you're they're a little obscure.

By the time I got home, I saw a comment from Jason on that entry required my approval before being published. To combat comment spammers, I moderate all comments with 3 or more links in them. Jason was linking to his blog and two music blogs that he thought might be able to help me in my search.

I manually approved Jason's comment and, as people clicked through my site to the music blogs he linked, those blog owners saw traffic to their blogs from TorontoMike.com. As any good webmaster would do, they clicked over to see who was linking to them. I do this as well when I check my referral logs.

Miss Parker from Rave and Roll saw what I was looking for and was able to share with me the Demics and Diodes tracks. Shortly thereafter, at about 12:19am, the 3rd and final track came through thanks to Brian. In less than 12 hours I had the three songs I was unable to find on my own.

This is a great example of how the blogosphere works. It takes a great big world and connects it digitally via search engines and referral logs. It's much clearer in the chart below I just threw together.

Shared-MP3-Path

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I'm Glad These Guys Are Still Doing Their Thing

thumbsupIn no particular order, here's a list of guys I'm glad are still doing their thing.

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Neil Young
  • Roger Ebert
  • Pete Seeger
  • Gary Roberts
  • Andy Rooney
  • Bob Cole
  • Andy Barrie
  • Stan Lee
  • Mike Wallace

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Pete Seeger Still Plucking Away At 89

MusicPete Seeger will be playing Hugh'S Room here in Toronto on July 6 and 7. I'm very happy to see Pete Seeger still plucking away at the age of 89.

I'm a documentary fan and a music fan, so I've seen a number of extensive interviews with Seeger in docs about Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and protest music in general. He's always very insightful and positive. For those of us too young to remember folk protests over Vietnam, Seeger is best known as the author of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?", "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)", and "Turn, Turn, Turn!".

The anthem of the US civil rights movement was "We Shall Overcome", which Seeger popularized by folk-ifying the gospel song. In my humble opinion, this very well may be Seeger's greatest contribution to the world we live in today.

Here's Joan Baez singing "We Shall Overcome".

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Shrek the Third

A Movie ReelShrek the Third: 6.5 out of 10.

Shrek has followed the lead of Spider-Man, producing third installments unworthy of the previous two.

As you might have guessed, I watched this one with the kids, and they loved it. I didn't mind it, I've seen many worse cartoon movies, but it's by far the weakest link in the Shrek chain. Throw this one to the shorties.

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I Need These Three MP3s

MP3sI'm looking for a few MP3s. It's a little project I'm working on to spread my love of Canada to Fukuoka, Japan. I'll explain more on Monday, but for now I need...

  • The Diodes - Tired of Waking Up Tired
  • The Demics - New York City
  • Rheostatics - Record Body Count

Yeah, I'm surprised I don't have that Rheostatics track too. The other two are sorta obscure, but I'm sure somebody out there has them digitized.

Let me know if you can help a brother out.

Update: You guys are awesome. Thanks to Jason for dropping the links and Miss Parker for checking her referral log and clicking over to see where the hits were coming from. In less than 12 hours I received the Diodes and Demics tracks form Miss Parker and the Rheostatics track from Brian. Rob had the Diodes track, too. Miss Parker's great blog can be found here.

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Johnny 5 Returns

moviesI haven't thought much about Johnny 5 lately. I was 12 years old when I first saw "Short Circuit" and I loved it. The Stonecutters were right to make Steve Guttenberg a star.

The best part of "Short Circuit" was Johnny 5. Johnny 5 was number 5 of a group of experimental robots in a lab who was electrocuted, suddenly became intelligent, and escaped.

There was a sequel, which wasn't as good even though it was shot in Toronto, but it's been about 20 years since I spent any time with Johnny 5. Thanks to Pixar, that's all changing this summer.

Johnny 5 is everywhere, only now they're calling him WALL-E. Trust me, "WALL-E" is simply a cleverly marketed "Short Circuit 3". Here's Johnny 5...

Johnny 5

And here's WALL-E...

WALL-E

Johnny 5 is alive!

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Don't Blame Bryan McCabe, Blame JFJ and MLSE

LeafsBryan McCabe was great on the powerplay during the first half of the 2005 season. His play during that period earned him a spot on the 2006 Olympic team, made him a Norris trophy candidate and had many Leafs fans touting him as the next Al MacInnis or Scott Niedermayer. That play also earned him a massive five-year, US$28.75-million contract with a no-move clause from John Ferguson, Jr.

These past few days we've been reading about how Bryan McCabe will never play another game for the Leafs. The Leafs desperately want to trade him, but he won't waive his no-trade clause. He might live on Long Island, but he knows the Leafs are screwed and have to buy him out to get rid of him. The Leafs would have to pay McCabe two-thirds of what he is owed - almost $3-million per season - plus a reported $2-million bonus due on September 15. Uncle Cliffy and the gang don't like the sounds of that.

As a result, it looks like we're in for some hardball. Some reports suggest Uncle Cliffy will order McCabe to stay away from training camp. In essence we'll be paying McCabe not to play in the hopes he'll agree to a trade in the best interest of his career. All of this has Leafs fans burning their McCabe jerseys and begging him to accept a trade. McCabe must be selfish because he's actually asking MLSE to own up to the contract they approved in good faith. JFJ dug this hole but MLSE blessed the transaction. A deal is a deal, right?

As this gets uglier with a guy who covered his defensive lapses with a scoring touch for half a season the blogosphere and fan base will label McCabe a selfish jerk who shouldn't want to play where he's not wanted. This might be true, but we can't blame McCabe. This is the doing of JFJ and MLSE.

Bryan McCabe

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Best Birthday Songs

The Number FiveMy all-time favourite songs with "birthday" in the title

  1. Birthday - The Beatles
  2. Happy Birthday, Lisa - Michael Jackson and Bart
  3. 7th Birthday - The Lowest of the Low
  4. Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday) - Moby
  5. Happy Birthday Mr. Burns - The Ramones

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Jim's Child Of The '60s

podcastJim's Child of the '60s is a podcast of 60s tunes you don't hear that often. He recently asked me for a digital copy of Jayson King's "Heartaches", Bobby Kris & the Imperials' "Walk On By" and Grant Smith & the Power's "Her Own Life". I was happy to share.

He put that Grant Smith and the Power tune in his 85th podcast. You can download it at the links below. Thanks Jim for mentioning the site!

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It's My Birthday

birthdayIf bloggage is a little slow today it's because I'm busy accepting well wishes. It started when my wife brought me a steaming hot cup of coffee in bed, continued when the kids buried me in kisses and hugs and then I logged on to find this email from my mom in my inbox.

Just wanted to be the first outside of the household to wish you a very Happy Birthday. I love you very much. If I could go back to 10 o'clock on Thurs. June 27th 1974 I would in a heartbeat. Just a young girl who had virtually never held a newborn before. It changed my whole world. You were beautiful and so much fun and never ever cried. Dorothy said you were the happiest baby she had ever taken care of when she helped me out the following summer so I could take a course at U of T.

Happy Birthday to me!

Mike Baby2

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Ball Girl Catch of the Century

baseballI just got back from the Piranhas first win in franchise history. That's right, my horrible recreational softball team won 24-15 tonight. I went 6 for 6 with 6 runs scored, but who's counting...

This isn't about me and it isn't about the Piranhas'. This is about a ball girl who made the best damn catch this side of Reed Johnson. You have to see this to believe it. It's awesome.

Update: She's a fake. A viral marketing nugget that slipped past the radar.

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One Post Wonders

Note PadMost bloggers give up on their blogs after a handful of entries. This is my 7815th entry, making me a rare example of a blogger who stuck with it. I enjoy it immensely, and while it's fun I don't intend to quit.

One Post Wonder is a blog about the blogs that will never make it to #7815. In fact, these blogs don't make it to #7. For example, there's ron.blogspot.com with one post back in 2000.

Sunday, November 12, 2000
Just a meandering series of observations by a guy living in San Francisco. Most of the posts will probably come after each Sunday afternoon, since that's my big social thing for the week - beer bust at the Eagle and Lone Star, south of market. The Lone Star, especially, is a really cool bar. Easy to get laid there.....
posted by Ron at 12:59 PM

Ron had a good thing going there and he started before everyone and his grandma had heard of blogs. I really enjoyed his description of The Lone Star. If I'm ever in San Francisco and looking to get laid, I now know where to go.

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Bad As It Seems

LeafsLet's see. My name is Mike, I discovered the Toronto Maple Leafs in the very early 80s and by the time Wendel was leading us to a first round sweep of the Blackhawks in 1986, I was infatuated. I survived the Ballard years, was rewarded with a competitive team in the early 90s before living through another dip and a few more good years under Pat Quinn. I've been through a lot with this team over the past three decades.

I've seen some horrible teams, I remember finishing last in the Norris Division, I remember when Tom Fergus was our best player. I believe the worst is yet to come. I believe our 2008/2009 season is as bad as it seems. I think we're about to witness the worst Maple Leafs season in franchise history.

Let's assume Mats Sundin moves on and Cliff Fletcher continues to trim the fat. Everything is aligned to give us maximum ping pong balls in the John Tavares lottery. Our best centres will be Antropov and Stajan. That's all you need to know about this team. Nik freakin' Antropov and Matt flippin' Stajan. That, my friends, is a last place team.

And get this! I'm okay with sucking large for one more year. Having endured decades without playing in a cup final, I'm happy just knowing competitive seasons lie ahead, even if it means tasting pain in 2008/2009.

Fellow Leaf fans, it's as bad as it seems.

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Global Graffiti and Street Art Documentary Tix From GelaSkins

moviesThe gang at GelaSkins are sending Toronto Mike to BOMB IT!, the explosive new International graffiti documentary. GelaSkins, who make and sell removable vinyl skins for protecting and customizing portable devices, is putting on the Toronto premiere of Bomb It on Friday, July 11th at 7:00pm at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor St. W.)

I ain't no hipster, so I had to Google this graffiti doc before deciding whether I wanted to see it. I found this review from Culture Now.

Jon Reiss’ global graffiti documentary hard hits a vital contemporary nerve. Where is the public space? Who owns it? And why do advertisers have the right to control our visual landscape with images that are often vulgar and disturbing? A consumer culture (that we all very readily accept) tells us that money buys these rights of control and access. Bomb It challenges this. The film suggests that there is nothing natural, neutral, or normal about this relationship. I’m not saying this is a Socialist film; it’s a beautifully shot and edited documentary that asks us to re-think the borders of public space and art. Interviews with graffiti artists and writers from Los Angeles, New York, Sao Paulo, Paris, Barcelona, London, Capetown, and Tokyo re-situate graffiti outside the prison gates and inside a riveting dialogue about how we as humans negotiate a place for ourselves in controlled environments. Chaz Bojorquez, Cornbread, Revs, Os Gemeos, KRS One, Blek Le Rat, and Shepard Fairey deconstruct commonplace notions that graffiti is thoughtless and ugly and always gang-related. The film gives graffiti back its history and philosophical and social virility as an outsider art movement. The international perspective reveals graffiti culture as something innately human, dating back to the earliest days in caves - a mixed drive to say: “Hello world, I’m here,” and to use art as a weapon to fight and express the alienation and ugliness of modern cities.

It sounds kinda cool. I'll post a review here after the T.Dot premiere.

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Jermaine O'Neal Joins Raptors

raptorsThe rumours are true. We're shipping off T. J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, our 17th pick in tonight's NBA draft and a player to be named later to Indiana for Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal.

O'Neal is a six time all-star who will greatly improve our frontcourt as he plays alongside Chris Bosh. Of course, he has to stay healthy, which is something he hasn't been able to do the past two seasons. We all know Ford had to go anyway, and although Nesterovic had a decent year last season, we need to get better at center and O'Neal should still have some gas in the tank.

The deal will be final as soon as O'Neal passes his physical. Although there are risks, it's a good move for the Raps.

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The Offspring - Hammerhead

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Hammerhead" by The Offspring.

I used to have a lot of respect for The Offspring. I must have spun their disc "Smash" a billion times. "Ixnay On The Hombre" was pretty good too, and then they released the song that killed The Offspring in my eyes. "Pretty Fly For A White Guy". Argh, thinking about that sell-out of a garbage tune makes me want to puke.

This latest track from The Offspring is actually pretty good. It's on ultra high rotation on all rock stations so if you want to hear it just tune in for 20 minutes and you might hear it twice!

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Hamlet 2

A Movie ReelHamlet 2: 7 out of 10.

We were invited to a special advance screening of this new comedy film by the co-writer of South Park and Team America: World Police. I loved Team America: World Police, so I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate T's birthday.

I knew nothing about the film going in, except that it starred Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, Amy Poehler and Elisabeth Shue. All I knew Steve Coogan as was as Larry David's therapist in Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he was charming as all hell in this flick, and super funny. I can't tell if I was just in a good mood and enjoying a night out at a free flick, but I laughed my ass off.

The deal with these test screenings is that you have to complete a survey after the film. I suggested they tighten up the first third which tended to lag a little and pad the actual production which included some great musical numbers. It will be interesting to see how much editing happens between now and the film's release.

Oh yeah, I recommended one more change. The Shakespearian title is libel to scare away their target South Parkian demo. Trust me, this film is more Borat than Shakespeare.

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Happy Birthday Taryn!

birthdayMy sweets is celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday, Taryn!

This woman is a saint. She's lived and breathed me for 13 years now. Heck, that ain't sainthood, that's a miracle unto itself! I love ya, babe.

That Look

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Ed the Sock Leaves CITY-TV

Ed the SockRogers Cable has told Ed the Sock creator Steven Kerzner that his last show on CITY-TV will air August 31. Ed the Sock joins Amber Mac, Silverman Helps and Speakers Corner in the Rogers CITY-TV graveyard.

My brothers and I used to watch Ed the Sock on Cable 10 before CITY-TV picked up the broadcast rights. At the time, it was co-hosted by Harland Williams and we thought he was pretty damn funny. A couple of hosts later, on CITY-TV, my good friend Humble Howard Glassman co-hosted with Ed.

In an interview I did with Humble Howard a couple of years ago I asked him about working with Ed the Sock. Here's what he had to say about Ed.

Q: I hear things didn't end well with you and the sock on Ed's Night Party? Care to dish the deets?

A: I don't want to say anything about ED or the midget that has his hand up his ass that hasn't already been said by just about everyone that's met him.

Karma can sometimes be a bitch.

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When Your Jersey Player Leaves Your Team

clothesWhen you wear your favourite team's jersey with the name and number of a current player on the back, you risk seeing that player traded, signed elsewhere, or worse, bought out. My brother Steve owns a Darcy Tucker #16 Leafs jersey. Darcy Tucker has been bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When Steve IM'd me to let me know Tucker was gonzo, he opened with "anyone wanna buy a Tucker jersey?" I proudly wore a Doug Gilmour #93 in the early 90s and I remember when he was traded to New Jersey. It's tough when your jersey player leaves your team.

After the Gilmour incident, I got smart. My new jersey is a Bill Barilko #5. By going classic I don't run the risk that my player will leave. Barilko is a legend. Barilko is forever.

Steve has learnt a valuable lesson. My other brother owns a Bryan McCabe #24. Let's hope he learns a similar lesson.

Bill Barilko

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The Wellwood and Raycroft Eras End

leafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs placed Kyle Wellwood and Andrew Raycroft on waivers today. One of these moves was a no-brainer and the other is a little surprising but probably a good thing. Let's start with the no-brainer.

Two years ago tomorrow, I wrote about the trading of Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft. Here's what I wrote that day in 2006.

When I first read about the deal, I hated it. Rask is only twenty years old and was named the top goaltender of last year's World Junior Championship. Raycroft, on the other hand, had a dismal .879 save percentage last year with a 3.71 goals against average and just eight wins in 30 starts. Yuck.

Can we call a mulligan and get Rask back? Although Raycroft set a franchise record with 37 wins in 72 games two seasons ago, I never felt comfortable with him between the pipes and pleaded with Maurice to start Vesa Toskala on opening night last October. Raycroft had a brutal year, going 2-9-5 the past season with a 3.92 goal-against average and .876 save percentage, last winning a game in November. He had to go and now he's gone.

Wellwood, on the other hand, was supposed to be one of the few bright young lights on this team. He actually had a little skill and showed a great deal of promise, but then his stock plummeted quickly. There were plenty of injuries and a lack of desire on his part. I thought they'd give him another year to turn things around but Uncle Cliffy must be getting emails from Bryan Burke because this is a bold move that actually makes sense.

We need to shake things up around, make drastic changes, and it's nice to see we're not coming back with the same pathetic players. We'll come back with different pathetic players and make a serious run at Tavares.

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The Worst Song I've Ever Heard

musicVanilla Ice's To The Extreme is not a very good album. It was released in 1990 and was the most successful rap album by a white artist since The Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill in 1987.

Thanks to the monster hit "Ice Ice Baby", based on the baseline from Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure," a lot of well meaning people like me ended up with To The Extreme in their CD collections. I don't know how it happened but it did. You had to be there in 1990... it was a strange time.

The final single from To The Extreme was a song called "I Love You" and I believe it's the worst song I've ever heard in my life. I remember it being cringe-worthy bad in 1990 and revisiting it now it's even worse than I thought. "I Love You" is the worst song I've ever heard and it somehow managed to reach #52 on The Billboard Hot 100. It's the worst, hear for yourself.

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Rick Hodge Escapes Roger, Rick and Marilyn

radioI've never listened to Roger, Rick & Marilyn on 104.5 CHUM-FM, but my mom loves that show. That's her morning show. While I was waking up to Humble & Fred on CFNY, she was waking up to Roger, Rick & Marilyn on 104.5 CHUM-FM.

My mom will be upset when I tell her there is no Roger, Rick & Marilyn anymore. Rick Hodge, host of "Sunday Night Funnies", has left CHUM-FM. Roger, Rick and Marilyn have been a morning team here in Toronto for over twenty years and they've been quite successful. If, like me, you've ever asked yourself who the heck is listening to such stuff, it's people like my mom.

I sense there will be more significant Toronto radio changes in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...

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Right Back Atcha

BaseballWe lost our second game of the season 17-0. I believe that's the worst defeat in the history of this team we now call Storm. We sure didn't forget it.

Tonight we had our rematch and we brought it. We mercied them 19-2. Now we're even.

For more on our first slo-pitch season in comp, visit http://www.torontomike.com/softball.html.

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Canadian Thinker on CHCH News

CanadaFred Patterson frequently appears on CHCH News to discuss issues of the day. Today, for example, he debated whether there's anything wrong with Crime Stoppers in Toronto handing out condoms at the Gay Pride Parade. You can see that appearance here.

Not only did he mention the Humble & Fred condoms, but when he's on the air they reference him as Fred Patterson from CanadianThinker.com. I thought that was pretty cool, and here's why.

ct

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Dody Goodman, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDody Goodman was 93. She was the delightfully daffy comedian known for her television appearances on Jack Paar's late-night talk show and as the mother on the soap-opera parody "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman."

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Keep Celine Away From the AC/DC

musicI love a good cover. I also despise a bad cover. A Total Guitar magazine survey has named the best and worst covers of all time, and Celine Dion's cover of the AC/DC track "You Shook Me All Night Long" finished at the bottom of the heap as the worst of the worst.

Here are their worst five:

  1. Celine Dion - You Shook Me All Night Long
  2. Sugababes and Girls Aloud - Walk This Way
  3. Westlife - More Than Words
  4. Will Young - Light My Fire
  5. The Mike Flowers Pops - Wonderwall

Here are their best five:

  1. Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower
  2. The Beatles - Twist and Shout
  3. Guns N' Roses - Live and Let Die
  4. Nirvana - The Man Who Sold the World
  5. Muse - Feeling Good

In defense of The Mike Flowers Pops, I think we know it was a tongue in cheek cover and a pretty damn good one at that. It shouldn't be on this list. And in Celine Dion's defense, she had the wisdom not to release the song as a single. She performed it once at a Las Vegas concert six years ago.

How bad was it? Hear for yourself. Sacrebleu!

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From Rufus to Mr. Conductor

moviesLet's pretend for a moment that you never saw George Carlin perform stand up. Even if you never saw one of his HBO specials or never heard his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television," it's highly likely you know George Carlin. My son knows George Carlin, only he knows him as Mr. Conductor. From Rufus to Cardinal Ignatius Glick, here are some Carlin characters beyond the stand up.

Rufus in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

I loved "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" and George Carlin played Rufus in both films. Rufus was the guitar-playing guru who guided Bill and Ted and he was great.

Mr. Conductor in Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends

If you have kids, you know Thomas the Tank Engine. George Carlin played Mr. Conductor who narrated these stories. Other narrators include Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin, but Carlin was the best.

Munchie in The Simpsons

In D'oh-in in the Wind, George Carlin and Martin Mull played a couple of hippies who knew Homer's mom back in the '60s. This is the episode where we learn Homer's middle name. It was great Carlin who was previous lampooned by The Simpsons in The Last Temptation of Krust.

Cardinal Ignatius Glick in Dogma

The Buddy Christ is hilarious. Carlin is also great as the hitchhiker in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back". Here's the text of Carlin's Dogma speech for those who can't watch the video below.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now we all know how the majority and the media in this country view the Catholic church. They think of us as a passe, archaic institution. People find the Bible obtuse... even hokey. Now in an effort to disprove all that the church has appointed this year as a time of renewal... both of faith and of style. For example, the crucifix. While it has been a time honored symbol of our faith, Holy Mother Church has decided to retire this highly recognizable, yet wholly depressing image of our Lord crucified. Christ didn't come to Earth to give us the willies... He came to help us out. He was a booster. And it is with that take on our Lord in mind that we've come up with a new, more inspiring sigil. So it is with great pleasure that I present you with the first of many revamps the "Catholicism WOW. " campaign will unveil over the next year. I give you... The Buddy Christ. Now that's not the sanctioned term we're using for the symbol, just something we've been kicking around the office, but look at it. Doesn't it... pop? Buddy Christ...

Carlin was smart and funny and he had that great voice. Even if you've never seen him perform, you knew George Carlin.

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George Carlin's Best Bits

humourI awoke to hear the news that George Carlin is gone. He was one funny sonofabitch. His edgy humour always struck a chord with me and he'll be missed.

I could bury you in YouTubery but I thought I'd stick with three Carlin gems. He really was more than just "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television," but you can't ignore that slice of brilliance. You have to hear his thoughts on religion and the planet to truly appreciate him.

Seven Words

Religion is Bullshit

Saving the Planet

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George Carlin, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumGeorge Carlin was 71. He was a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity.

I'll have more from one of my favourite comedians throughout the day.

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I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

A Movie ReelI Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry: 5 out of 10.

I now pronounce you mediocre. And get this... you were way better than I thought you'd be. That should give you an idea of what I've come to accept from Adam Sandler comedies.

To be fair, one line made me smile.

Well, then, by the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of Canada and the Province of Ontario, which has always been very pro-gay, unlike that uptight country to the south, it's my pleasure to now pronounce you husband and husband, partners for life.

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Completely Different From Other Caulks

memoryYouTube user Retrontario frequently uploads fantastic retro-Toronto-centric gems. These clips never fail to bring back a ton of memories for me, so I feature them from time to time.

I'm sharing this Geocel Caulking ad because it includes one of the most unintentionally hilarious lines in Toronto advertising history. Perhaps you could get away with saying it's "completely different from other caulks" back in 1984, but I doubt it.

For additional giggles, there's a rebate at Beaver Home Centres.


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My Favourite 1993 Movies

MoviesI'm pitching a tent and sleeping outside tonight, but before I log off I thought it might be appropriate to list my favourite movies from 1993.

  1. Schindler's List
  2. Jurassic Park
  3. True Romance
  4. In The Name Of The Father
  5. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
  6. Dazed & Confused
  7. Philadelphia
  8. In The Line Of Fire
  9. Rudy
  10. Menace II Society

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Best Damn Sports Show Period

TVI don't watch much tv. We're currently going through season 3 of Lost on DVD, and I check out This American Life on TMN On Demand, and if a decent movie shows up there, we'll check it out, but otherwise it's all about live sporting events.

Still, every once in a while I'll flip on the telly to chill for a little bit between projects and happenings. This afternoon I was flipping around when I stumbled upon Best Damn Sports Show Period. Every time I spot this show, I'm stuck. I just love their lists... it's fantastic programming.

This afternoon I caught Best Damn's most memorable baseball plays. It's 50 of the greatest baseball clips ever, who could resist? The Shot Heard 'Round the World was listed at #1 and Kirk Gibson finished 2nd and this little play finished 7th.

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Things the Web Replaced

webMy kids will never know a time before the World Wide Web. I was already in university when the web arrived, so I have many memories of doing things that I no longer do as a result of this communications revolution. Here are some things that the web has replaced.

Encyclopedias - I think everyone over the age of 30 remembers the encyclopedia as the definitive reference point. It's where I'd start when doing an assignment or writing an essay. The thing about encyclopedias was that they were heavy and expensive and out of date so quickly. Furthermore, you could read them at the library, but you couldn't take them out. The web means I don't even think about encyclopedias any more.

Maps - I remember those big maps that were impossible to fold. You had to have one to plan your route, and you needed a Perly's or MapBook for driving directions. Now, it's all Google Maps for me and the paper map you buy in stores may rest in peace.

Letters - Remember when you had to write a letter, put it in an envelope, slap an address and stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox? My friend spent a year in Sweden and we communicated in this archaic fashion. That wouldn't happen today, we'd keep in touch via email.

Reference Books - It's not just encyclopedias. I used to have one book with info on movies, another with info on rock bands and others with baseball statistics, hockey players, not to mention the good ol' dictionary. IMDB killed the movie book, AllMusic killed my rock band anthology and BaseballReference and HockeyDB killed my sports stats books.

I'm sure there's more, but these are a few things that the web has replaced. Oh yeah, throw the fax machine in there. Who's faxing anymore?

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Meet Luke Schenn, Future Grand Master of the New Jedi Order

LeafsIt can't all be about 1993. Sure, Cito's back managing the Jays and Cliff is back managing the Leafs but at some point we have to move on. Part of the future will be Luke Schenn, drafted last night by the Maple Leafs.

Most of you probably don't know much about Luke Schenn. Here's a nice little introduction to a guy who's about to feel just a little bit of pressure. Meet Luke Schenn, future Grand Master of the New Jedi Order.

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Requiem For A Day Off

Requiem For A Day OffWe interrupt our 24 hour sports coverage to bring you something very cool. This is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off mashed with Requiem for a Dream by the Kronos Quartet.


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Luke Schenn a Maple Leaf

leafsWhat a day! The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired the #5 pick overall in a trade with the New York Islanders and we've drafted defenseman Luke Schenn.

From Wikipedia:

Schenn started his career with the Kelowna Rockets in 2005–06. He was Kelowna's first pick in the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft. Schenn made his WHL debut on September 23, 2005 against the Vancouver Giants. Later in his first season (October 11), he notched his first WHL goal in his hometown against the Saskatoon Blades. He has been an alternate captain for the Rockets for two seasons.

In his brief junior career, Schenn has had the opportunity to play for Canada on several occasions. He was a member of Team Canada at the 2007 Super Series, where he helped Canada go undefeated for eight games against Russia. He also wore the maple leaf at Under 18 World Cup Tournament, where Canada won gold. During the 2007–08 season, Schenn was named to the WHL's roster for its part in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge.

Says Central Scouting: "Luke can play a mean game and he plays a tough NHL-style defence that is guaranteed to get him a long hard look and career in the National Hockey League."

Toronto Mikie likes it! Use the force, Luke.

Luke-Schenn

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Sundin a Hab? A Strange Day in Toronto Sports

leafsAm I living in the bizarro world? This is turning out to be one heck of a strange sports news day in Toronto.

First Cito returns, sending us straight back to the glory days in the early 90s, and now comes word from the Maple Leafs that the Montreal Canadiens have been given permission to talk to Toronto captain Mats Sundin. If the Habs work out a deal with Sundin before July 1, we would receive some form of compensation.

Now, I still think Sundin will sign with the Leafs for next season, but let's examine the ramifications if Sundin plays for Montreal in 2008/2009. Remember when Sundin refused to waive his no-trade clause? While many were calling Sundin selfish and demanding he accept a trade to better our future I called him Loyalty Personified. I assumed that loyalty meant Sundin would retire a Leaf.

Mats, if you're reading this, and I'll bet you are, you have two choices: retire or sign for one more year with Toronto. If you're a Hab next season you will not be forgiven for refusing to waive your no-trade clause in February. What I once labelled Loyalty Personified will be rebranded Disloyalty Incarnate.

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Cito Gaston Returns!

JaysCito Gaston is back, baby!

Our Toronto Blue Jays have fired manager John Gibbons, coaches Marty Pevey, Ernie Whitt and Gary Denbo. Cito Gaston has returned as the manager for the remainder of the season. Nick Leyva will coach at third base and Gene Tenace returns as the hitting coach. It's 1993 all over again.

Something had to give, and I'm glad to see Cito back. He coached this team from 1989 through 1997 finishing with a .518 winning percentage guiding us to the post season four times and winning the World Series twice. Every Jays fan loved Cito, and I was happy to adopt his name when I became manager of my slo-pitch team.

That's right, I'm known as Cito when I manage both my comp team and my rec team. When I send the team emails, I sign them as Cito. The spirit of Cito has been alive twice a week for me the past two summers and now it's more than a feeling. It's 1993, baby, and all we're missing is Robbie, Devo, Joe, Dave, Molly and Johnny O.

Go Jays!

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The Best Michael Keaton Films

The Number FiveMy favourite Michael Keaton movies

  1. Jackie Brown
  2. Batman
  3. Beetle Juice
  4. Out of Sight
  5. Mr. Mom

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Jamal Mayers Joins Maple Leafs in Trade

leafsUncle Cliffy has pulled of a trade on the eve of the 2008 NHL draft. We've given up a third round pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Jamal Mayers, a 33-year old who scored 12 goals and added 15 assists with 91 penalty minutes in 80 games last season.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Uncle Cliffy supposed to avoid players in their 30s? Wouldn't we be better off building with our 3rd rounder in this deep draft?

I hear nice things about Torontonian Jamal Mayers, but he's on the downside of a lengthy career. Let's get serious about rebuilding here, Cliffy. Don't you dare trade our #7 overall for a guy with one eye on his Muskoka cottage!

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Learning How To Lose

baseballI'm a competitive guy. I hate to lose. I really hate to lose.

Over the years I've become a better loser, but the teams I've played for have won far more often then they've lost. I've played for the same slo-pitch team for about 8 years or so and we've won several championships. I joined a dodgeball team this past winter and we ended up winning our division. I've never really been on a horrible team, which is good, because I really hate to lose.

This year, on Thursday nights, I'm playing for and managing a recreational softball team and we're pretty damn bad. We're off to a 0-5 start, and even though I'm playing my ass off and trying to be Cito, we stink. I'm clearly being tested here. Even though I know it's a beer league and "just for fun", I'd like to win once in a while, dammit!

This is the summer I learn how to lose.

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My Thoughts On The Anti-Spanking Bill

CanadaAn anti-spanking bill has passed third reading in the Senate and is heading to the House of Commons.

Bill S-209, which needs House approval to be made into law, proposes to eliminate Section 43 of Canada's Criminal Code, which allows parents, teachers and caregivers to use reasonable force to discipline a child and correct their behaviour.

Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette first introduced the bill in December 2004, shortly after the Supreme Court denied a challenge to Section 43 and upheld the right of adults to physically discipline children between the ages of two and 12.

Back in 2004, after our Supreme Court upheld the spanking law, I shared my thoughts on spanking. Before becoming a father, I believed a spanking on the behind was an appropriate form of discipline. My wife and I discussed it and agreed on this, as both of us were spanked as children. Then, five minutes after I became a father, I pulled a 180° and realized how barbaric the practice is.

James is almost 6 and a half years old and Michelle will be four this summer, and I've never come close to administering either of them a spanking. In fact, I can't imagine striking either of them, even if it's on the bottom and in response to something totally rude. Instead, I quickly mastered the art of the time-out. Both kids are totally sweet and well-behaved and almost never require the time-out now, and I've so very glad I changed my entire philosophy on spanking.

I don't understand why so many think corporal punishment should be allowed? If you need to strike your kids to correct their behaviour, you need a nice long time-out so you can think about what you're doing wrong. Bill S-209 is a good thing for Canada.

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The Clock Has Run Out On JP Ricciardi

bluejaysI remember when everyone was calling for Gord Ash's head. Gord had the misfortune of following a very successful and beloved GM in Pat Gillick. The clock just ran out on Ash and we all knew it was time for a change. We demanded more from our ball team.

For reasons I don't quite understand, we've given JP Ricciardi an extraordinary amount of time to field a playoff contender. Note, I didn't say World Series champion, nor did I say pennant or wild card winner, we really just want to be playing meaningful baseball in September.

Ricciardi was hired on November 14, 2001. That's an eternity when it comes to unsuccessful general managers. Today, our Blue Jays have the second least number of homers in the majors and simply can't score runs. With such an impotent offense, Ricciardi was asked about acquiring Adam Dunn, the Cincinnati Red who has hit 40 or more home runs each of the past four years. Ricciardi responded by claiming Dunn "doesn't have a passion to play the game that much."

Needless to say, there's another free agent who won't be coming here. I still remember Ricciardi's claims that BJ Ryan had a bad back last spring. That "bad back" was actually a severe elbow injury that required season ending Tommy John surgery, but as JP said, “They're not lies if we know the truth".

The clock has run out on this clown. He's taking a franchise drenched in integrity and soiling it and, even worse, he's given us a team that's fading fast in the American League. Enough is enough.

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Willie Upshaw: First to 100 RBIs

blue jaysI'm featuring 1988 Topps Cards featuring members of my beloved Blue Jays that are featured on this blog.

Willie Upshaw was part of our string of dominance at first base. Not only did his name sound great coming out of Murray Eldon's mouth but he's the answer to a great Blue Jays trivia question. Name the first Blue Jay to record 100 RBIs in a season...

The answer, of course, is Willie Upshaw with 104 RBIs in 1983. Upshaw tailed off near the end of his career, just in time for Fred McGriff to take over, but he was a key part of our first competitive teams. I'll never forget that 1984 June night I saw him hit a grand slam at Exhibition Stadium. That same night, Dave Winfield hit two grand salamis. It wasn't a good night for pitchers ERAs.

Willie Upshaw

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Final Thoughts From SES 2008

binocularsYesterday, I attended sessions entitled "What's Different About B2B?", "SEM Toolkit", and "Web 2.0 and Search Engines". Here are some final thoughts from the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo Toronto 2008.

Measure Everything, But Don't Forget to Act - Bryan Eisenberg referred to the abundance of data we record as data diarrhea in his keynote presentation. It sure can seem that way. We're measuring everything, as we should, and we're trying to analyze all this data, but if there's not action to improve matters, it's all one huge waste of time. We should measure, analyze, report and act, in that order. Acting upon analysis is the entire raison d'être, and we shouldn't forget it.

Blog! - Starting a blog will do wonders for your search engine rankings. The long tail is fed by your entries, and whether you're selling books, software, widgets or simply passionate about a hobby, if you don't have one you're missing the boat. Blog!

Web 2.0 Means Something - Many will argue it's a bullshit term. In a sense, these people are exactly right. Just try and define Web 2.0 without stumbling, it means different things to different people. It might be a bullshit buzzword, but it means something. The web is now collaborative. There's interaction, and real change will come from online discussions. If Prima sells you a crap television and provides abhorrent customer service, you have a voice.

SEO 2.0? - One of my favourite speakers yesterday was Ambles from Yahoo!. Ambles spoke about Yahoo!'s Search Monkey, their new opt-in search strategy that allows web authors to give their content context. That's the essence of the semantic web, and Ambles believes it's the future of search. In a nutshell, this involves those who write for the web, like me, adding microformats to my content, which actually gives my words meanings when they're indexed by search bots and non-human devices. This may be the future, but it's not here now. So long as it's an opt-in function of Yahoo! search I doubt many web authors will bother implementing this new code.

They gave us all a hardcover copy of Seth Godin's Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync? and the Search Monkey guys were handing out bananas. Nothing beats a meatball sundae with bananas.

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Six Feet Surface

newspaperLew lives in British Columbia and he sent me a note this morning.

Another foot today in Campbell River - this makes 6 in all. There are also 8 young men; in the same time frame gone missing???

Cheers
Lew

Lew knows I'm following the severed foot watch in BC. My last update was May 26 when a fourth right foot washed ashore near Nanaimo. Now, in the span of a week, two more sneakered feet have been found in Campbell River. That's six feet in less than a year.

The Times Columnist does a good recap of this mystery.

The first foot was found in a size-12 sneaker last Aug. 20 on Jedediah Island, between Lasqueti and Texada islands.

The second foot, in a size-12 Reebok, was found on Gabriola Island, off Nanaimo, six days later.

The third foot was found on Valdes Island, south of Gabriola, on Feb. 8.

The fourth was found on May 22 on Kirkland Island, off Richmond.

The fifth was found off Westham Island in Ladner on Monday.

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Walking With The Dinosaurs Great Fun

ticketstubsWalking With Dinosaurs is fantastic. I just returned form opening night at the ACC and it was better than I expected. And no, I'm not just saying that because I saw it for free, although free tickets totally rule for two reasons. 1) They're primo seats - we were in the 2nd row. 2) They're free.

If you don't know what Walking With the Dinosaurs is about, it's essentially the history of dinosaurs as told by a paleontologist who takes us back 170 million years or so. While he tells the story of dinosaurs, they walk the floor of the ACC in very realistic fashion. They look great, move wonderfully and tell a great story. I loved it and my three year old absolutely adored every minute.

It kept her up past her bedtime and she fell asleep in my arms between Union and St. George stations meaning I got to carry her all the way home. Like I said, it was an awesome night, but I'm glad to be back in 2008.

Here's a little video I took. And yes, that is my daughter yelling at the dinosaurs. She was warning them of impending danger all night.

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The Dinosaurs Are Calling

clockI've just wrapped up day two at the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo Toronto 2008. I'll have more to say later about B2B search engine marketing and the semantic web, but I just realized today is the opening night of Walking With the Dinosaurs.

I've been comped as a member of the new media. The new media is a term that means unpaid journalist with smaller circulation. They give me tickets, I take my daughter and blog about it. Everybody wins.

Gotta jet... it's one of those weeks.

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Cyd Charisse, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumCyd Charisse was 86. She was the long-legged Texas beauty who danced with the Ballet Russe as a teenager and starred in MGM musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.

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The Best Firefox Yet

firefoxWith more than 15,000 improvements, Firefox 3 is faster, safer and smarter than ever before. I've been using Release Candidate 2 of Firefox 3 for a couple of weeks now and I'm loving it. It's faster, that memory leak seems to have dried up and there are neat enhancements all over the place.

It's been four years since I gave Internet Explorer the boot for Firefox 0.9 and I've been converting family, friends and colleagues ever since. Try it for two days and you'll never go back. After all, it is Download Day.

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Notes From SES Toronto 2008: Day One

SESI mentioned I'm attending the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo Toronto 2008 today and tomorrow, and that's where I've been all day. I'm throwing down a quick entry with some thoughts about search engine marketing and e-marketing in general, and then we in Raging Storm have a double header to play.

They call this expo Search Engine Strategies, but it may as well be Google Strategies. Even though a primary sponsor is Yahoo! Canada and their logo appears on the main banner, it's all about The Google. Almost 70% of all North American searches now happen in Google. Overseas, that figure rises dramatically. Google's slice of the search pie is only increasing as more and more of us pad their coffers with AdWord accounts and try to get a little back with AdSense. Yahoo! and MSN are becoming less and less significant in the search marketing game.

Today I attended four sessions. Here are some quick thoughts on each one.

Opening Keynote: Fredrick Marckini - Fredrick's a great speaker who mixes in just the right amount of humour. He emphasized the ubiquitous nature of search - it's everywhere. We're searching YouTube, blogs, IMDB.com, BestBuy.com, Flickr, our PVRs, MySpace, Facebook, and a bunch of different search engines. It's all about the search, and if you're not in the first three pages of results, you're invisible. It's truly akin to putting up a billboard behind a very large and dense bush. It's there, but nobody will see it. SEO must be administered to everything you place online.

Universal and Blended Search with Mike Grehan, Mitch Joel, Dustin Rideout and Andy Renieris - I'm old enough to remember a time when SEO was all about text. HTML text that was indexed, and if you put the right keywords in the right place and carried some weight with the Google bots, you ranked highly for those targeted keywords. This session suggested that SEO was being replaced by DAO: Digital Asset Optimization.

The consensus was that, as Google integrates it's image search results, it's YouTube video results, it's maps and it's news results into the main search results feed, it's becoming just as important to target these Google databases as well as the universal search. I've long believed in leaning on the power of YouTube and Flickr for emarketing purposes, but I haven't drank the Kool-Aid yet that suggests on-site textual optimization no longer matters. Google SES Toronto and see what I mean.

Orion Panel: Measuring Success in a 2.0 World with Kevin Ryan, Andrew Goodman, Heather Dougherty, Bret Grinslade, Adam S. Goldberg and Mike Grehan - Our 2.0 World seems to be all about social media sites and blogs, and it's what we don't know that's most alarming. Kevin Ryan did a great job as moderator pressing the panel to specifically site a Web 2.0 marketing campaign that worked and explain why it worked. This is all so new, it seems few marketers are really sure why Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube matter. There was an entire session today devoted to Twitter and whether it's a great marketing tool or a gigantic waste of time. If I took anything away from this session it's validation that everything that can be measured should be measured and numbers don't mean shit if you can't apply what you know to your marketing strategy.

Paid Search: Advanced Issues in PPC with Kevin Ryan, Mona Elesseily, Jeff Lancaster, Bill Tighe and Adam Muscott - Bill Tighe was the Google guy, so we peppered him with Adwords questions. I won't tell you exactly what I spend on Adwords each day (not for this site, I assure you), but it's a lot. Test your ad copy, ensure you're bidding on the right keywords and optimize your landing page. Those three tips are free, but the next one will cost ya.

I'm looking forward to day two. The search marketing world changes at a rapid pace and one company is controlling our universe. Thankfully, that company isn't Microsoft, but it's still scary to think one significant change to the Google algorithm could change everything.

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Photos of the Rogers Centre Roof Closing

RainYesterday, on our way to the ballpark formerly known as SkyDome, I referred to our dome as SkyDome. My six-year old corrected me, letting me know it's called the Rogers Centre now. I told him he can call it what he wants, but it will always be SkyDome to me.

Although yesterday afternoon's game began with the roof open and the sun spilling in, the forecast turned sour and they closed the dome. I've been in the dome several times when they've closed it, usually for rain but once to get rid of a bunch of bugs, so I've seen it close before, but it never ceases to amaze me. In about 20 minutes the dome goes from an outdoor stadium to an indoor facility.

Here's a play-by-play review of the roof closure as told through my camera yesterday.

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Tony Soprano Is Dead

Tony SopranoYou know, I still think about it. Every once in a while I'll revisit the final diner scene from The Sopranos finale in my head. As I wrote when it first aired, at first the episode angered me, then I accepted it and quickly saw its beauty.

I had to watch it a few times to be sure, but I believe Tony Soprano is dead. He was killed by the man in the Member‘s Only Jacket. Coming to this conclusion gave me closure and this definitive explanation of "the end" validates my theory. I highly recommend fellow Sopranos fans give that page a glance.

Bell rings, We cut to a shot of Tony’s face looking up to see who is coming through the door (this shot is about 2 seconds). According to the pattern, we should then see who is coming into the diner from Tony’s POV (this should be Meadow as we see her about to enter the diner a few seconds before the bell rings). Instead, the screen cuts abruptly to black mid-scene (at the exact spot where we should see Meadow from Tony’s POV) and the audio cuts off. All the viewer sees is “blackness” where Tony’s POV should be. This isTony’s POV because he is dead. We no longer hear Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” because Tony no longer hears it. If this was a normal ending we would see a fade to black followed immediately by the credits and we would probably still hear the music. Instead, the blackness and silence lingers for 10 seconds before we see the credits. This emphasizes the blackness, nothingness and eternal nature of death. Chase originally wanted no credits at all and the blackness to last all the way to the HBO logo (this was revealed by David Chase in the Ultimate Sopranos HBO book released in October of 2007). This would further emphasize the eternal nature of death. Tony is dead. He was shot from behind in the right side of his head. How do we know this?

You'll have to read that entry for more. If you want to read more of what I've written about The Sopranos over the years, visit my Sopranos category page.

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Hockey Hall of Fame 2008 Inductee Opening

hockeyWith no newcomers eligible this year, the Hockey Hall of Fame could induct some previously overlooked players tomorrow. There are a couple of former Maple Leafs that should be considered.

Doug Gilmour owned this city for a few years in the early 90s. I had to have a #93 jersey, he was my favourite Leaf. He scored 450 goals, 1,414 points, won one Stanley Cup and a Selke Trophy, but most importantly, he gave the center of the hockey universe great hope for a short period of time. That alone should put him in the hall tomorrow.

The other former Leaf who should be considered is Glenn Anderson. He scored 498 goals and won six Stanley Cups. It seems poor Glenn is being punished for playing alongside such stellar players as Gretzky, Kurri, Messier and Coffey.

Former Leafs aside, shouldn't Adam Oates be in the HHOF? He recorded 1,420 points and is sixth in NHL history with 1,079 assists. Those are Hall of Fame numbers.

We'll see tomorrow if Killer gets in. I'd love to see it happen.

1967

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My Thoughts On Tiger Woods

golfI'm not the world's biggest golf fan, but I pay close attention to the major tournaments. For example, I made sure I was in front of a television to watch the last few holes of this weekend's US Open. Why was I interested in watching? Because Tiger Woods was in contention.

People seem to love or hate Tiger Woods. Nobody is indifferent. Freddie P recently wrote about ABT. ABT stands for Anybody But Tiger. Freddie P is rooting for anybody but Tiger the way many of us cheer for anybody but Ottawa during the Stanley Cup playoffs when Toronto isn't there. On the other end of the spectrum is Fred's former on-air partner Humble Howard who is just about the biggest Tiger Woods fan I know. Humble's probably on cloud 9 right now after Tiger birdied the 18th hole to force a playoff. It was a thrilling putt that had this casual fan on the edge of his seat.

You're probably wondering what I think of Tiger and what I was rooting for when Tiger made that putt on 18. Without a doubt, I wanted Tiger to sink it. I hope Tiger finishes the job tomorrow and puts another notch in his belt. If a Canadian isn't going to win a PGA major, I want Tiger to win.

I love the idea that someone we watched, someone during our lifetime is the best there ever was. I rooted for Michael Jordan and I rooted for Wayne Gretzky. Athletes like Tiger come around once in a lifetime and it seems foolish and unnatural to root against them unless they're complete jerks, Barry Bonds style. Hell, for a while I even rooted for him.

Major #14 comes tomorrow. We're closing in on Jack Nicklaus' 18.

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Michelle's First Blue Jays Game

Jays LogoJames had the better first game. Back in 2004 I took him to his first Blue Jays game. We won big that day, I caught a foul ball and future Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke was sitting only two rows in front of us. Today Michelle got to her first game and she had to endure another power outage as we lost 7-4.

There were some good things that happened at the ballpark formerly known as SkyDome this afternoon. The kids got to watch the roof close, I got a BBQ apron, we almost caught a foul ball (off the bat of Gregg Zaun) and I bought a new retro Jays logo ball cap. Watch out, world.

Here are a few bonus notes from my afternoon at the dome.

  • Reed Johnson is an energy player who took it to us all weekend. He had a couple more hits today and scored a couple of runs in the leadoff spot. He'd make a great Jay.
  • Fukudome's name made me giggle all game. We're in a dome and all I read was fuk-u-dome.
  • They still sing our song during the 7th inning stretch, but it's a super short version so they can get to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame". It's a shame, my kids were really looking forward to more "OK Blue Jays". (Whoa, check this out.)
  • What happened to Diamond? When they gave BJ Birdy the boot for no good reason, they crammed Ace and Diamond down our throats. Now, it's just Ace. Is Diamond okay? Has anyone heard from her?

The best part of the game, of course, was hanging with the kids on Father's Day and seeing the game through their eyes and answering their 101 questions. Here's the photoset from our day, including plenty of shots of the roof closing.

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My Father's Day

Father's Day My Father's Day gift this year is three tickets to the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Chicago Cubs at the ballpark formerly known as SkyDome. I honestly can't think of a better way to spend a day than at the diamond with the two greatest kids in the world watching my team and welcoming back Reeder.

I just delivered a super sappy speech to my kids, and here's the crux of it. I'm frighteningly blessed because every moment I spend with my son and daughter makes life considerably better. No matter what's happening in the world, one glance of either of them or one syllable from their lips cleans the slate and makes everything okay. They're genuinely sweet, considerate, thoughtful and fun and I'm left wondering what the hell I did so right.

This is my seventh Father's Day and each one has been better than the previous one. I'm the luckiest sonofabitch in the world. Go Jays Go!

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The Battle To Be Our Other Anthem

CanadaAjax Mike wrote me a note today calling me out for referring to the Hockey Night in Canada theme as our second national anthem. The song, recently bought by CTV, was referred to as "our second national anthem" by yours truly in this recent entry.

Ajax Mike has a good memory, and he remembers this entry I wrote almost three years ago. In that entry I argued that Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" is our other national anthem, or our second national anthem, if you will.

On July 2nd of this year, Canada's Live 8 concert took place in Barrie, Ontario. Neil Young closed the show with three fantastic songs, ending with "Rockin' In The Free World". Joining him for this song were the other performers from the Barenaked Ladies to Blue Rodeo and The Tragically Hip. Here's a photo of Neil Young and Gord Downie singing this tune.

On September 19th of this year, Pearl Jam sang Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" during their second and final encore of that night in Toronto, Ontario. Joining him on stage was none other than Bono of U2, creating a moment for the ages. Here's a photo of Eddie Vedder and Bono singing this tune.

Something has to give. Which one of these tunes is our second national anthem? Is it "The Hockey Theme" or "Rockin' In The Free World"?

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HMS Ontario Found 228 Years Later

Binoculars228 years ago, during the War of Independence, a British warship sank in Lake Ontario. The 22-gun brig-sloop HMS Ontario was a few hours into a voyage from Fort Niagara on Oct. 31, 1780 when it went down, killing about 120 people.

For 228 years, the HMS Ontario lay in deep water between Niagara and Rochester, undiscovered, until now.

Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville have discovered the warship, the "Holy Grail of Great Lakes wrecks". It sounds like it's in pretty good condition, considering it sank 228 years ago.

The ship's wreck is sitting in mud at a 45-degree angle, he says. "It's a beautiful ship. There are two crow's nests on each of the masts. One even has some of the railing left around it. None of the spars are attached; they've fallen on the deck. There are a couple of anchors, one still on the ship.

"Eight of the 22 guns were on the deck. Some are still in place. You can't see the others because the gun ports are closed. It's hard even to see the ports because the hull has a lot of mussels on it. The most prominent parts of the ship are the quarter galleries, a sort of windowed balcony, one at each side of the stern. That was the captain's quarters."

Kennard isn't sure why HMS Ontario wasn't more severely damaged. "Who knows what happened? It was a pretty bad storm. Perhaps they were trying to get the ship turned around ... it goes on its side, takes in water, the hatches come off and it fills... It doesn't look as if it went down bow or stern first. It probably settled upright. There could have been trapped air between decks that would have helped the buoyancy. It probably went down quite gently."

There are an estimated 4,700 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, including about 500 on Lake Ontario.

HMS Ontario

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Soccer Dad: The Early Years

soccerI talk to fathers of older kids and they're constantly at soccer tournaments or soccer practices. It seems they spend most their weekends during the summer driving their kids to soccer and watching them play.

Here's a glimpse into my introduction to soccerpalooza. This morning I woke up early to take the kids to James' soccer tournament at Rennie Park. He played four games, a good time was had by all and he scored a trophy and some pizza at the end. I'm not sure which reward was more cherished.

James enjoys his soccer. Boy is he going to be disappointed when I tell him soccer is for girls and it's time to focus his energies on perfecting the art of shortstop. Just kidding.... sort of...

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Urban Design Ideas Competition

emailAfter my most recent redesign of this blog, I borrowed the style of the header image from Spacing.ca. But, before I did that, I asked Matthew Hague from Spacing if it was cool with him. It was, in fact, he told me exactly what font and colour they use.

Matthew is also one of the co-ordinators of thinkTORONTO, an urban design ideas competition. He really wants to encourage students, recent graduates, and young professionals to take part in this competition, so he asked me to share this with you. Since he was cool about my new redesign, I'm happy to help spread the word. Here are the pertinent deets.

DEADLINE: Monday, September 22, 2008
WEB SITE: http://spacing.ca/thinktoronto
FACEBOOK: http://spacing.ca/thinktoronto-facebook/
PDF of POSTER: http://spacing.ca/thinktoronto/poster/thinktoronto-poster-schools.pdf

thinkTORONTO invites people — 35 years old or younger — with creative ideas on how to improve Toronto’s public spaces. The competition that will help celebrate the magazine’s 5th anniversary in December 2008. Architects, urban planners, landscape architects, designers, artists of all disciplines, students, and the urban curious are all encouraged to submit their plans to tweak, improve, or redesign streetscape elements and specific areas of Toronto.

thinkTORONTO seeks ideas from the next generation of city builders who want to challenge how we view Toronto’s public realm. The competition gives participants a platform to explore and experiment with Toronto’s urban landscape and generate a dialogue among Torontonians about creative and sustainable solutions in our shared common spaces.

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Tim Russert, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTim Russert was 58. He was the host of NBC's "Meet the Press" and the network's Washington bureau chief.

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Miroslav Dvorak, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumMiroslav Dvorak was 56. He was a key defenceman for the Philadelphia Flyers for three seasons in the 1980s.

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The Best Sports Rivalries

The Number FiveThe best sports rivalries

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens
  2. Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Toronto Argonauts vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
  4. Canada vs. Russia
  5. New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox

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Citytv Axes Speakers Corner

City TVCitytv has axed Speakers Corner, the long-running program featuring clips from the automated video booth at the intersection of Queen Street West and John Street.

I remember when they opened that Speakers Corner booth in the late 80s and it was a big deal. The show was fun viewin' as local celebrities were born, including the Barenaked Ladies who sang "Be My Yoko Ono" when only CFNY was playing it. I too have a Speakers Corner story...

In 1992 I was taking dramatic arts as a bird course OAC in order to jack up the average. One of the skits I wrote for that class was the funeral of Socrates, and I had a eulogy for the man that opened with "Socrates was a good man...". It was a good eulogy and I went down to Speakers Corner to deliver it for the camera. It only cost a loonie and I was sure I'd make the weekly broadcast. Unfortunately, I don't think I did.

Things seem to be changing at Citytv now that Rogers is running the show. We said goodbye to Amber Mac, Silverman Helps and now Speakers Corner.

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$20,000 Fine For Ripping Your CD to MP3

cdIndustry Minister Jim Prentice introduced new copyright legislation that is meant to deal with "iPod Nation". There's a component of this new legislation that really has me concerned. It's has to do with the ripping of store-bought CDs to MP3.

I'm a ripping machine. For the past five years I've been digitizing music from legally purchased store-bought CDs. I personally place the CD in my drive and rip each track to MP3 as per my preferred specifications using a piece of software called Audiograbber. I even have a script that automatically updates this web page with the names and tracks from every disc I rip. If you want to read more about this passion of mine, check out my MP3 collection category.

This new legislation being introduced by our Conservative government will make it illegal to copy a compact disc or DVD to a personal digital device such as an iPod - even if a consumer has already paid for the CD or DVD – if it involves breaking a so-called digital lock to make the copy. People caught hacking digital locks would face penalties of up to $20,000.

$20,000 because you took the new Foo Fighters CD you bought at HMV and ripped it to MP3 for use on your iPod. That's some scary shit.

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Brian Budd, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBrian Budd was 56. He was the Canadian soccer player best known for winning ABC's World Superstars championship three years in a row from 1978 to 1980.

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Leafs Win! Leafs Win!

leafsToronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey tonight at the NHL Awards. The Blakester was diagnosed with leukemia prior to the season, but he didn't miss a single game.

This is a big win for my beloved franchise. Who wants to meet me on Yonge street for an impromptu parade?

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Never Surrender

musicMy comp slo-pitch team, Raging Storm, is doing okay. We just split a double header and we're 5-4 on the season.

The struggles are with my other team, my beer league team. How do I put this nicely... we're not a very good offensively and we're horrible defensively. We're 0-3 on the season and we're playing a team tonight that trounced us in week #2. These Piranhas of mine don't live up to their moniker. We're more like minnows right now.

I'm thinking we need a fight song. A number of guys on this team and all the girls are playing organized baseball for the first time. I'm doing an awful lot of coaching 101, teaching them about tagging up and overrunning first and fundamental stuff like that. The problem is we get down early and lose hope. We need a song that will inspire and teach us to believe in ourselves. I think we need The Corey.

The Corey is Corey Hart, the Montrealer who first struck it big with "Sunglasses at Night". His second album, Boy in the Box, was one of my favourite cassette tapes back in 1985. The big hit was "Never Surrender", and in my humble opinion, it's a highly underrated songs of inspiration and hope. We need "Never Surrender".

And when the night is cold and dark
You can see, you can see light
Cause no-one can take away your right
To fight and never surrender, to never surrender

I'm ready. It's time for franchise win #1.

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A Closer Look at the Edge 102 Playlist

Radio We've been having an interesting discussion about 102.1 in the comments for this entry about Alan Cross's exit as Program Director for CFNY, now better known as Edge 102. The primary complaint is Edge 102's small playlist. They seem to play the same 12-15 songs over and over and over again.

Earlier today, I grabbed the names of every song Edge 102 had played up to that minute. By 10:30am today they had played 110 songs. I looked at each song and assigned it a label: New, Recent or Classic Alternative.

New: I labelled a song new if it was new to the playlist in 2008. The new Coldplay and Offspring songs are obviously new, but I also considered the Raconteurs' "Salute Your Salution" to be new, even though it's not exactly fresh at this point.

Recent: I created this category to cover songs that aren't exactly Classic Alternative but also aren't new. "Try Honesty" by Billy Talent is a good example of a fairly recent song that's well past its hey day.

Classic Alternative: This covers the "golden oldies" CFNY likes to play. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, U2, Beastie Boys, STP, etc.

Here are the songs with their assigned labels. After the chart, I'll hit you up with some stats.

10:25 AM"HAMMERHEAD" - OFFSPRING NEW
10:22 AM"MADE OF STONE" - SPIRAL BEACH NEW
10:15 AM"BELIEVE" - BRAVERYNEW
10:14 AM"WANDER FAR AWAY" - REBEL EMERGENCYNEW
10:11 AM"DUMB" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
10:04 AM"THEM KIDS" - SAM ROBERTSNEW
9:59 AM"EVEN FLOW" - PEARL JAMCLASSIC ALT
9:55 AM"COMIN' HOME" - CITY AND COLOURRECENT
9:47 AM"PORK AND BEANS" - WEEZERNEW
9:39 AM"MONSTER HOSPITAL" - METRICRECENT
9:36 AM"MAKE IT WIT CHU" - QUEENS OF THE STONE AGENEW
9:14 AM"BEST OF YOU" - FOO FIGHTERSRECENT
9:11 AM"TESSELLATE" - TOKYO POLICE CLUBNEW
9:02 AM"HANDLEBARS" - FLOBOTSNEW
8:56 AM"SALUTE YOUR SOLUTION" - RACONTEURSNEW
8:45 AM"GOOD TIMES" - FINGER ELEVENCLASSIC ALT
8:28 AM"PLUSH" - STONE TEMPLE PILOTSCLASSIC ALT
8:11 AM"THIS RESPIRATOR" - FLATLINERSNEW
7:57 AM"VIOLET HILL" - COLDPLAYNEW
7:45 AM"RIVER BELOW" - BILLY TALENTRECENT
7:31 AM"LITHIUM" - NIRVANACLASSIC ALT
7:10 AM"HAMMERHEAD" - OFFSPRING NEW (R)
6:47 AM"NO ONE KNOWS" - QUEENS OF THE STONE AGECLASSIC ALT
6:17 AM"BELIEVE" - BRAVERY NEW (R)
6:13 AM"ONE THING" - FINGER ELEVENCLASSIC ALT
6:00 AM"PORK AND BEANS" - WEEZERNEW (R)
5:57 AM"SABOTAGE" - BEASTIE BOYSCLASSIC ALT
5:42 AM"SONG 2" - BLURCLASSIC ALT
5:39 AM"TESSELLATE" - TOKYO POLICE CLUBNEW (R)
5:27 AM"MY HERO" - FOO FIGHTERSCLASSIC ALT
5:24 AM"ALWAYS WHERE I NEED TO BE" - KOOKS NEW
5:16 AM"SOMEWHERE OUT THERE" - OUR LADY PEACECLASSIC ALT
5:13 AM"THE GOOD LEFT UNDONE" - RISE AGAINST NEW
5:05 AM"JUST" - RADIOHEADCLASSIC ALT
5:02 AM"SALUTE YOUR SOLUTION" - RACONTEURSNEW (R)
4:58 AM"UNDER THE BRIDGE" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERSCLASSIC ALT
4:55 AM"TIME BOMB" - RANCIDCLASSIC ALT
4:51 AM"I WILL POSSESS YOUR HEART" - DEATH CAB FOR CUTIENEW (R)
4:47 AM"TRY HONESTY" - BILLY TALENTRECENT
4:44 AM"WHAT I GOT" - SUBLIMECLASSIC ALT
4:36 AM"WE'RE ALL TO BLAME" - SUM 41RECENT
4:33 AM"2 & 15/16THS" - USS NEW
4:26 AM"FIRESTARTER" - PRODIGYCLASSIC ALT
4:23 AM"THIS RESPIRATOR" - FLATLINERSNEW (R)
4:20 AM"BRAIN STEW" - GREEN DAYCLASSIC ALT
4:16 AM"TALKING TO THE WALLS" - FINGER ELEVEN NEW
4:10 AM"DISCIPLINE" - NINE INCH NAILS NEW
4:05 AM"FLY AWAY" - LENNY KRAVITZCLASSIC ALT
4:01 AM"VIOLET HILL" - COLDPLAYNEW (R)
3:56 AM"SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE" - AUDIOSLAVERECENT
3:54 AM"SONS OF HOSTAGE LIFE" - HOSTAGE LIFERECENT
3:49 AM"JEREMY" - PEARL JAMCLASSIC ALT
3:41 AM"(I HATE) EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU" - THREE DAYS GRACERECENT
3:37 AM"SLEEPING SICKNESS" - CITY AND COLOUR NEW
3:31 AM"FAINT" - LINKIN PARKRECENT
3:27 AM"HAMMERHEAD" - OFFSPRINGNEW (R)
3:24 AM"SABOTAGE" - BEASTIE BOYS CLASSIC ALT (R)
3:21 AM"MADE OF STONE" - SPIRAL BEACHNEW (R)
3:10 AM"BODYSNATCHERS" - RADIOHEAD NEW
3:06 AM"LAST NITE" - STROKESCLASSIC ALT
3:02 AM"THEM KIDS" - SAM ROBERTSNEW (R)
2:59 AM"STOP" - AGAINST ME! NEW
2:55 AM"SURRENDER" - BILLY TALENTRECENT
2:47 AM"CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA" - OASISCLASSIC ALT
2:39 AM"WAKE UP" - ARCADE FIRERECENT
2:37 AM"BITCHES IN TOKYO" - STARS NEW
2:29 AM"THE HAND THAT FEEDS" - NINE INCH NAILSRECENT
2:26 AM"PORK AND BEANS" - WEEZERNEW (R)
2:24 AM"TIME OF YOUR LIFE (GOOD RIDDANCE)" - GREEN DAYCLASSIC ALT
2:19 AM"OBLIVION" - WINTERSLEEP NEW
2:11 AM"BELIEVE" - BRAVERYNEW (R)
2:05 AM"BIG EMPTY" - STONE TEMPLE PILOTSCLASSIC ALT
2:02 AM"TESSELLATE" - TOKYO POLICE CLUBNEW (R)
1:59 AM"PAIN" - THREE DAYS GRACERECENT
1:55 AM"BY THE WAY" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERSCLASSIC ALT
1:47 AM"AMERICAN WOMAN" - LENNY KRAVITZCLASSIC ALT
1:43 AM"WANDER FAR AWAY" - REBEL EMERGENCY NEW (R)
1:35 AM"MS. JACKSON" - OUTKAST CLASSIC ALT
1:32 AM"SALUTE YOUR SOLUTION" - RACONTEURSNEW (R)
1:30 AM"HANDLEBARS" - FLOBOTSNEW (R)
1:25 AM"ONE" - U2 CLASSIC ALT
1:22 AM"TO A FRIEND" - ALEXISONFIRERECENT
1:13 AM"LONG ROAD TO RUIN" - FOO FIGHTERS NEW
1:08 AM"ANEURYSM" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
1:03 AM"THIS RESPIRATOR" - FLATLINERSNEW (R)
1:00 AM"STRANGE TIMES" - BLACK KEYS NEW
12:55 AM"SAYONARA" - OPERATION MD NEW
12:51 AM"NUMB/ENCORE" - JAY-Z/LINKIN PARKRECENT
12:44 AM"MAN IN THE BOX" - ALICE IN CHAINSCLASSIC ALT
12:40 AM"UNTIL WE BURN IN THE SUN (THE KIDS JUST WANT A LOVE SONG)" - BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH NEW
12:34 AM"LAST RESORT" - PAPA ROACHCLASSIC ALT
12:31 AM"VIOLET HILL" - COLDPLAYNEW (R)
12:25 AM"PRAISE YOU" - FATBOY SLIMCLASSIC ALT
12:20 AM"WHERE WE ARE" - NEVERENDING WHITE LIGHTS NEW
12:14 AM"MAKE IT WIT CHU" - QUEENS OF THE STONE AGENEW (R)
12:10 AM"RED FLAG" - BILLY TALENT RECENT
12:08 AM"HANDLEBARS" - FLOBOTSNEW (R)
12:03 AM"HAMMERHEAD" - OFFSPRINGNEW (R)

Here's what we learn from this random spot check of Edge 102's playlist.

  • # of unique new songs: 27 / 24.54%
  • # of unique recent songs: 17 / 15.45%
  • # of unique classic alternative songs: 31 / 28.18%
  • # of unique songs overall: 77 / 70%
  • # of repeated songs: 23 / 20.90%

If you're looking to hear a variety of new music, you'd likely be disappointed that less than a quarter of these 110 songs are unique new songs. Overall, however, if you're okay with older tracks, over two thirds of the songs played are different.

This does prove that the playlist is larger than 12-15 songs. 70% of the songs played were different, and when you're digging a hot new track, hearing it more often isn't so bad, is it?

Note: I'm not trying to defend Edge 102's song selection nor am I trying to trash them. I don't know anyone who currently works at CFNY personally, it's just a station I periodically enjoy even though it used to be way better. Draw your own conclusions from these metrics and please share them in the comments!

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My Morning Jacket - I'm Amazed

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "I'm Amazed" by My Morning Jacket.

A couple of years ago I saw My Morning Jacket open for Pearl Jam on back-to-back nights. By the end of their second show, I was totally digging their sound. I dove into It Still Moves and Z and loved them both.

This is their new single from their new album, Evil Urges.

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Maple Leafs GM to Manage Anaheim Ducks Next Season

LeafsDoes anyone else out there find it strange that our General Manager is going to work for the Anaheim Ducks next season? I might be wrong, but I believe this is first time an NHL GM has actually overseen another franchise.

Brian Burke, we'll see you here next summer. Uncle Cliffy will keep your seat warm until then. Ron Wilson will keep you up to date on what's happening behind closed doors. Now might be a good time to pull the trigger on that Pronger for Raycroft deal.

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Jessica Alba Names Daughter After My Imaginary Friend

babyIf you were one of the 18 people reading this blog in 2003, you remember I wrote about my three imaginary friends. Their names were Honour, Grrr and Lion and I spent a great deal of time with them as a child. I swear I thought they were real, just ask my mom.

I am honoured (pun intended) that Jessica Alba would pay tribute to one of my imaginary friends by naming her daughter after Honour. Sure, she Americanized the spelling so it's actually Honor, but it's still very cool.

Thanks, Jessica!

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The Kooks - Young Folks

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

The Kooks - Young Folks
You remember "Young Folks" as the Peter Bjorn and John hit from a couple of years ago. Victoria Bergsman was the highlight of this catchy track, but I digress...

I'm sharing The Kooks' cover because as we discuss CFNY and Alan Cross' departure I commented that they don't care about the old folks.

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Visits by Country

globe 65.23% of visits to this site come from Canada. This isn't surprising, I write about what I know and care about, and I'm Canadian, so it's natural that fellow Canucks will relate best.

Google Analytics makes it easy to see where else in the world visitors to this site are coming from. It's called Map Overlay, and here are the top 10 countries sorted by visits.

  1. Canada
  2. United States
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. France
  6. Germany
  7. Sweden
  8. Ireland
  9. India
  10. Mexico

By the way, in the past week this site has been visited by 77 different countries. The Republic of Maldives is at the bottom of that list accounting for a single visit.

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Tyrone Jones, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTyrone Jones was 46. He was the colourful and outspoken linebacker who helped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers capture two Grey Cup titles during his eight-year tenure with the CFL club.

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Major Hoople's Boarding House's Gail Selkirk

PhoneI recently shared the list of early Canadian rock songs that made up volume two of a homemade mix of such songs from the 1960s and 1970s. On that mix is "I'm Running After You" by Major Hoople's Boarding House.

Admittedly, I don't know much about Major Hoople's Boarding House. This canoe.ca page has a bio of the Cambridge band.

In November 1967 they received permission from the makers of the Major Hoople comic strip to use the name and became Major Hoople's Boarding House. In 1968 they added female keyboardist and vocalist Gail Selkirk. They worked the southern Ontario bar circuit from Kitchener to Kingston which helped solidify their first label signing to MUCH Records in 1970 where they released the non-charting "Lady" single.

Wasn't I surprised to get a voice mail today from that very same Gail Selkirk. You can hear Gail's message for me below.

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Alan Cross Out As Program Director at Edge 102

radio The message was short but clear. "alan cross fired? :O" Originally it was sent anonymously, but then a follow up message made sure I knew it was coming from "mr. oj - chq sowny!".

I know SOWNY. It's The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum and the posting there led with "Alan Cross is out as the Program Director of 102.1 the Edge." I know some stuff I can't write about, and I know people who know a whole lot more, but I don't know what happened to Alan Cross at CFNY. I'll know very soon, and then I'll update this post with a comment, but right now I know as much as I did when I wrote "Humble Howard, Are You Okay?".

For more on CFNY ~ Edge 102, including a series of email exchanges between me and Alan Cross, visit my CFNY ~ Edge 102 page.

More on the ongoing history of Alan Cross soon...

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Search Engine Strategies (SES) Toronto

CN Tower I'll be attending the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo Toronto 2008 event next week from June 16-18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It's a good event for those looking to learn:

  • How search engines list Web sites for free and through paid placements;
  • How to get free "organic" traffic by building a site that pleases search engines and your visitors;
  • How to efficiently purchase listings guaranteed to rank your company at the top of search engine results;
  • How to calculate the ROI of your search marketing efforts by tracking your visitors from the time they hit your site until they buy? and get tips on improving conversion if they don't;
  • How to build links that generate traffic to your Web site, and how to avoid the penalties of "spamming" the search engines;
  • What's coming next in the constantly evolving world of Web search, and how you can profit from those changes.

I'm in the process of picking my tracks for what will be a couple of busy days next week. I'll go heavy on the advanced sessions, which includes topics like "Universal and Blended Search", "Paid Search: Advanced Issues in PPC", "Beyond Linkbait: Getting Authoritative Online Mentions", "Search User Behavior", "Web 2.0 & Search Engines" and, what should be most beneficial, "Giving Credit Where It's Due: Which Campaign Sold What?"

I'll blog about this event because that's what I do. Let me know if you're going to the show and I'll say hi. I'll be the guy wearing the #5 Bill Barilko jersey.

Discuss "Search Engine Strategies (SES) Toronto" (11 comments so far)


Ken Griffey Jr. Gets Screwed by Bonds and Sosa

MLBKen Griffey Jr. should sue Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Griffey just joined the 600 club and it's barely registered as buzz-worthy. Griffey is the sixth player in baseball history to join the exclusive club, but he's the third in recent years. There's one big difference between Griffey, Bonds and Sosa, however. Griffey did it clean.

No, I don't know for a fact that Griffey did it clean, but I believe he did. His body type didn't change over the past twenty years and he's never mentioned in allegations or reports on the matter. I'm comfortable saying Griffey is the first clean member of the 600 club since Hank Aaron became the third player to hit the mark. That deserves more attention than this.

When I was a kid, I knew every player in the 500 club. The 600 club, however, was something special, as only one man belonged to it. Willie Mays at 660 stood alone, third overall.

I'm just sorry Griffey was slowed so by injuries these past several seasons. It would be sweet to see him supplant Bonds at #1.

Discuss "Ken Griffey Jr. Gets Screwed by Bonds and Sosa" (4 comments so far)


CTV White Knights Beloved Hockey Theme

hockey The saga of our second national anthem, formerly known as the theme to Hockey Night in Canada, has come to a surprising end today. CTV has acquired the rights to the theme song that has played on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada for 40 years. "Beginning this fall, the song will now be heard in NHL broadcasts on TSN and RDS. CTV will also air the song as part of its hockey coverage during the 2010 Olympic winter games."

Until I heard this twist in the story, I just assumed the CBC would get a clue and strike a deal with Copyright Music & Visuals. As I expressed here yesterday, here in Canada we're heavily taxed, we endure long, cold, snowy winters and, here in Toronto at least, we spend the entire winter watching and rooting for a team that hasn't won in over 40 years. We just want our damn song.

This begs the question, was the song all about Saturday nights on CBC or was it about hockey. I think it was about watching your hockey team on the tube with friends and family. In that vein, our song has been saved. The CBC has made CTV look pretty darn good here. I'll take our song on TSN and I'll enjoy it prior to Team Canada games in Vancouver as an added bonus.

And CBC, you can take your contest and shove it. You've got three good options when it comes to opening your Hockey Night in Canada telecast next year.

  • 50 Mission Cap - The Tragically Hip
  • The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors
  • The Lonely End of the Rink - The Tragically Hip

Hell, here's your opening right here. Just update the imagery a little and you're good to go. It won't be the same, but we've still got our second national anthem. It'll just be a little higher up the dial.

Discuss "CTV White Knights Beloved Hockey Theme" (11 comments so far)


Fair and Balanced Fathering

family As my kids grow older, I find myself becoming more conscious of the unwritten equal time law. I've got a son and a daughter, and when I find myself spending a significantly greater amount of time with one over the other, I make an effort to balance it out.

This past weekend, due to a variety of coincidental happenings, I found myself spending a lot of time with my son. Big chunks of both Saturday and Sunday were spent together while my daughter and wife did their thing. I now seek to compensate, to ensure Michelle has similar daddy time. What I'd like to avoid is that dynamic I see in other families where the father takes the boy and the mother takes the girl.

I know who I'm taking to see Walking With Dinosaurs next week. How could I ever resist a face like this?

june9-2008 (2)

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The Monday Shuffle

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

  1. Backed Out On The... - Kevin Drew
  2. Do You Love Me - Kiss
  3. The Spirit of Radio - Rush
  4. Bitches & Sisters - Jay-Z
  5. Sultans Of Swing - Dire Straits
  6. The Sorrowful Wife - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  7. My Hero - Foo Fighters
  8. Ain't My Bitch - Metallica
  9. Ain't Wasting Time No More - Allman Brothers Band
  10. Crossing A Canyon - 54-40

You know what I love about the Foo Fighters' The Colour and the Shape? It's a play-through from a time when such things actually mattered. You threw that disc on and let her go from track 1 through track 13. It was all good.

In 2008, the value of the play-through album has been totally lost. It's all MP3 playlists and singles and shuffling. I'm as guilty as anyone as I almost never play an album through anymore, but if I were going to play an album through, it might just be The Colour and the Shape.

My brother Ryan and I were talking about this disc on Saturday. "February Stars" is his favourite Foo Fighters song of all-time, and although I love that track, is it better than "Everlong"? I don't believe so, but you can discuss that amongst yourselves, I've got something to say about "My Hero".

I loved Wayne Gretzky. Most guys my age did. The man had eyes in the back of his head for goodness sake! When Gretzky was on his unofficial farewell tour in 1999 he played his last NHL game in Canada at the Corel Centre in Ottawa. After that game, which I watched, "My Hero" came on in the arena and Wayne skated a couple of laps around the ice as the game's first star.

Call me a suck, but it was an emotional moment for me, and I can't hear "My Hero" any more without thinking about Gretzky's last game on Canadian ice. There went my hero...

Discuss "The Monday Shuffle" (11 comments so far)


Walking With Dinosaurs

Thumbs Up The company promoting Walking With Dinosaurs at the Air Canada Centre is sending me and one of my kids to opening night. "Walking with Dinosaurs - The Live Experience" as it's billed is a live theatrical adaptation of the six-part television series produced by the BBC. I'm told 15 life-size mechanical dinosaurs will roam the ACC during this event and that sounds pretty damn cool.

In exchange for the tickets, I promised to write about the event and share with you all this $5 discount.

Walking With Dinosaurs runs from Wednesday, June 18 through Sunday, June 22. 2008.

WWD

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Imagine

Thumbs Up Click on over to this spoof of Google News and imagine.

It's easy if you try.

Google News

Discuss "Imagine" (1 comment so far)


MGMT - Time To Pretend

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Time To Pretend" by MGMT.

There is an official video for this song and it's all over YouTube, but each instance of the vid has embedding disabled by request. I've never understood "embedding disabled by request". Isn't the objective to have people watch your video? If you let blogs like this embed your video, doesn't that ensure more people see what is essentially an ad for the album and band?

I couldn't embed the official "ad" so here's a fan-made clip of the song over nice BBC footage of nature. Take that, MGMT's management.

Discuss "MGMT - Time To Pretend" (2 comments so far)


Turtle Power

BikeThe girls had plans today so James and I scored some guy time. We started our hot Sunday with an intense morning bike ride. With my bike fully operational and James making up for lost time now that he's finally shed his training wheels, we go on these super fun jaunts along the Humber river trail in Etienne Brule Park and by the Old Mill. It was great, sweaty fun.

We chilled after the bike ride with some lunch and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles circa 1990. Then, after Splinter made his funny, it was a mega baseball tournament on the Wii. I love baseball on the Wii, but it can be frustrating. If I've got a guy on third and I fly out deep to right, why can't I tag up and score? Or even worse, why won't my lead-off triple score when I hit that dribbler down the first base line?

My favourite TMNT anything is that 1990 movie. It's charming fun, from Casey Jones to Splinter himself. And that soundtrack, don't get me started...

Believe it or not, this was a massive worldwide hit for Partners in Kryme reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Rap Singles and #1 on the UK singles chart for four weeks in July 1990. Here's "Turtle Power".


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Promoting my $75 HNIC Pledge

cbcSometimes things happen in the comments and people miss it. Most visitors pop in, scan the latest entries and skedaddle. Even though I link to an RSS feed for comments in the top right corner, I see only a handful have subscribed.

Four days ago I wrote about the Hockey Night in Canada theme song getting dropped by the CBC. You can hear our second national anthem on that entry. Since I wrote that, it's become official. Kathleen broke the news in the comments of that entry and I made a pledge that I'm going to revisit right now.

From everything I've read, the CBC is complaining that the cost of airing the Hockey Night in Canada theme song is rising $75 a shot. For the first two years of the agreement, the terms were to be "virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade." Then, after "the first two years of a new agreement, the rates would rise about 15 per cent". All this bullshit and aggrevation is over an extra $75.

Scott Moore, executive director of CBC Sports, prick up your friggin' ears. I'm not a wealthy man, but I promise to pay the CBC $75 every Saturday night so that my kids can hear that song open our Saturday night ritual. Yes, it means that much to me. I will cover the increase.

Please contact me to arrange payment. I'm very, very serious about this offer. I can't believe this is actually happening and I despise your idea to have a contest to replace a song that's so beloved by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

It will be the best $75 I've ever spent.

Discuss "Promoting my $75 HNIC Pledge" (11 comments so far)


The Carpenters

MusicI was 9 years old when Karen Carpenter died at the age of 32. That means I completely missed The Carpenters, a vocal and instrumental duo, consisting of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter.

I primarily know The Carpenters for two things. They had a hit with "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and I know that song well as the song we hear in the wonderful Simpsons episode "The Way We Was". And, they also had a hit with "Superstar", a song covered by Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth's "Superstar" absolutely haunts me and makes it onto just about every MP3 playlist I create.

Those are my two brushes with the career of The Carpenters, but you'd have to be living under a rock not to be familiar with "We've Only Just Begun", "Sing" (from Sesame Street!), "Top of the World" and "Rainy Days and Mondays" as well.

I don't know if it's because Karen died at such a young age or if it's the squeaky clean easy listening shiny toothed vibe these siblings gave off, but I always found their singles to be rather creepy. I heard "We've Only Just Begun" recently in the John Cusack film 1408 and it was used to personify a chilling moment. The Carpenters' catalogue is truly chilling stuff from where I'm sitting.

Here they are with "We've Only Just Begun". Watch and listen, if you dare...

And here's the haunting cover of "Superstar" by Sonic Youth.

Discuss "The Carpenters" (0 comments so far)


T-Shirt Prognosis: Alexander Ovechkin 2007-08 Hart Trophy Winner

nhlThe t-shirt has spoken.

The NHL's official online store briefly featured a blue Alexander Ovechkin T-shirt with the phrase "2007-08 Hart Trophy winner" displayed along the bottom. The NHL claims it don't mean a thang.

"In an effort to offer our fans the merchandise they want in a timely manner following an event such as the NHL awards, our licensees prepare product for all possible outcomes," spokesman Frank Brown said in a statement. "In this situation, the link for one of the possible products became live early through an error by our e-commerce provider. We regret the error and have since taken steps to amend."

With 65 goals and 47 assists in 82 games, I knew Ovechkin was going to win before this gaffe.

Ovechkin

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Jim McKay, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJim McKay was 86. He elegantly covered competitions from badminton to barrel jumping. Yet he may best be remembered for that grim day at the Munich Olympics when he broke the news with three simple words: "They're all gone."

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1408

A Movie Reel1408: 6 out of 10.

I'll start this little review by telling you that I've seen many ghost stories that were much, much worse than this one. In fact, 1408 isn't that bad, and it's kind of creepy, it's just not scary enough.

That's the problem with movies like this. They're one trick ponies with a single purpose. They're supposed to be really scary, and that's not easy. The scariest part of 1408 was probably the use of the Carpenters' hit "We've Only Just Begun".

Now that's scary.

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Dwight White, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDwight White was 58. He was the Steel Curtain defensive end known as "Mad Dog" who helped lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s.

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Mesmerizing Fan Remix of Radiohead's Nude

VideoRadiohead fans called it "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)", but Radiohead calls it "Nude". The song was at least a decade old when Radiohead finally slapped it on an album. It's the third cut from the awesome In Rainbows.

To promote the release of the single, the band began a competition for fans to create their own remixes of the song, from the individual tracks of guitar, drums, bass, vocals and strings. This is what James Houston did with it. There's a long intro, but be patient. It's well worth the wait.

Discuss "Mesmerizing Fan Remix of Radiohead's Nude" (5 comments so far)


Toronto, It's Time to Bitch About the Heat

SunIt's Friday. The weekend is upon us, Toronto. It's time to bitch about the heat!

weather

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The Longest Neil Young Songs

The Number FiveLongest Neil Young songs in my collection

  1. Change Your Mind - 14:40
  2. Natural Beauty - 10:23
  3. Cowgirl in the Sand - 10:09
  4. The Last Trip to Tulsa - 9:27
  5. Down By The River - 9:20

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Early Canadian Rock: The 60s and 70s, Volume 2

canada flag I recently shared the track listing for "Early Canadian Rock: The 60s and 70s". That homemade mix served as a crash course in early Canadian rock, and now my bud has put together a sequel.

Here are the 27 tracks from volume two.

  1. Big Time Operator - Keith Hampshire
  2. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
  3. Classmate - The Beau-Marks
  4. Cornflakes and Ice Cream - The Lords of London
  5. Does Your Mama Know About Me - Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers
  6. Fannie Mae - Robbie Lane & The Disciples
  7. Goin' To The Country - Young
  8. If You Don't Want My Love - Lack London & The Sparrows
  9. I'm Running After You - Major Hoople's Boarding House
  10. In My Heart - Diane Brooks
  11. In My Tenament - Jackie Shane
  12. Just As Bad As You - Shawne Jackson
  13. Keep On Runnin' - Grant Smith & The Power
  14. Laughing - The Guess Who
  15. Lovedrops - Barry Allen
  16. Loveitis - Mandala
  17. Me and You - The Regents With Dunc & Judy
  18. My Girl Sloopy - Little Caeser & The Consols
  19. Nothin' - Ugly Duckings
  20. One Fine Morning - Lighthouse
  21. Out Of The Sunshine - David Clayton Thomas
  22. Private Property - Shirley Matthews
  23. Signs - The Five Man Electric Band
  24. Sitting On A Poor Man's Thone - Copperpenny
  25. Sun Goes By - Dr. Music
  26. Sweet City Woman - The Stampeders
  27. You, Me And Mexico - Edward Bear

Discuss "Early Canadian Rock: The 60s and 70s, Volume 2" (6 comments so far)


One Shouldn't Sit During a Concert

Music A colleague was just telling me about her night at the Alicia Keys concert. Alicia Keys played the ACC and I'm told it was a fun show. My colleague was particularly pleased that she was able to sit for 90% of the concert.

I don't know how many concerts I've attended, maybe 40 or so, and I stood for all of 'em. In fact, I've always seen standing as the sign of a good show. Heck, at the soccer game on Saturday we stood the entire 90 minutes. Although I think all my concerts have been guitar-based acts, and maybe Alicia Keys falls into a different category, I like to think that had I attended the Keys show last night, I'd have stood throughout.

Does anyone out there sit during rock or pop concerts?

Discuss "One Shouldn't Sit During a Concert" (14 comments so far)


Beta Testing the New TTC.ca

ttcHas it really been two years since I complained on this site about how totally crappy the official TTC website was? Here's what I wrote that fine May 2006 morning.

Finally, if you want to see how out of touch TTC marketing is in this new age of viral communique, one needs to look no further than their official web site. It's one of the worst commercial sites I've ever come across and a complete embarrassment. If you're interested in a challenge, try and learn from ttc.ca what a single adult fare would cost you today. Good luck! The official TTC site looks especially horrible when compared to Transit Toronto, a fan site that's vastly superior to the TTC sanctioned site.

Today I give you the beta version of the new ttc.ca. I remember being completely baffled by the old site just trying to figure out how much damn tickets cost and here's that information clearly listed on the home page. Wow.

And wait... is that what I think it is? It can't be... but it is! An RSS feed for service alerts... I think I'm going to cry.

TTC, welcome to 2000s.

Discuss "Beta Testing the New TTC.ca" (3 comments so far)


Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song Dropped?

cbcHave we heard our second national anthem for the last time during the opening of Hockey Night in Canada? The Star is reporting that's entirely possible.

The licence agreement to use the song expired with the final game of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, according to statements posted this week on the website hockeytheme.com.

On the website, Copyright Music and Visuals president John Ciccone says CBC has advised his company, which controls use of the song, and composer Dolores Claman that it is not prepared to sign a new agreement.

As a loyal Hockey Night in Canada viewer for over twenty years, there are three constants I'd like to see continue for as long as possible.

  1. Bob Cole calling Leafs games
  2. Don Cherry hosting Coach's Corner
  3. Dolores Claman's Hockey Night in Canada song opening the broadcast

Call me a nostalgia addict who rejects change, but the removal of any of the above three elements will prompt me to pull out my typewriter and write angry letters to the CBC.

It's upsetting just thinking about it. Cue that tune...

Discuss "Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song Dropped?" (14 comments so far)


2008 Playoff Pool: Day Fifty-Five

PuckIt's official. The Detroit Red Wings have now won four Stanley Cups since we last won it all. To borrow the most used pun of the day, it was a very Swede victory for the team, with Lidstrom becoming the first European captain to hoist the cup and Zetterberg winning the Conn Smythe trophy.

With a big day yesterday, Alexi finished second in the pool. Drew had first locked up long ago, but the race for second was super tight until Alexi finished with a flurry last night. I'll be delivering some cold, hard cash to Drew and Alexi. We'll draft again next April as the tradition continues.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2008hockeypool.html.

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Mark Gowan's Greatest Teammates

hockeyIt looks like Daniel Cleary might be winning his first Stanley Cup tonight. When I think of Daniel Cleary, I think of the 15 year old kid from Carbonear, Newfoundland who played with my cousin Mark Gowan on the Belleville Bulls in the OHL.

While I watch and root for a Pittsburgh comeback, I started poking around Mark Gowan's profile at hockeydb.com to see which of his former OHL teammates have made the biggest impact in the NHL.

Here are the top five.

  1. Steve Staios
  2. Daniel Cleary
  3. Richard Park
  4. Sean Brown
  5. Jamie Rivers

Discuss "Mark Gowan's Greatest Teammates" (4 comments so far)


Blue Jays Dominance at First Base

Jays Mick Doherty thinks the greatest single franchise position in baseball history is left field for the Boston Red Sox. "Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski you know about. Before them came Duffy Lewis -- who would have made a bushel of All-Star Games had there been such a thing back then -- and after them came Jim Rice, Mike Greenwell and now Manny Ramirez, the latter who is also headed to the HOF".

Naturally, this question got me thinking about the strongest position in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays. I believe it's first base, and commenter Magpie agrees. From 1977 through 2007, here's how our first basemen stacked up against the league average for OPS.

Jays-1b

Willie Upshaw, Fred McGriff, John Olerud and Carlos Delgado made for a nice run at 1B. We've been blessed.

Discuss "Blue Jays Dominance at First Base" (4 comments so far)


Silverman to No Longer Helpful

City TV Peter Silverman from CityNews' "Silverman Helps" will have to find a new way to help us because "Silverman Helps" has been cancelled.

From the official Peter Silverman page at citynews.ca.

"Silverman Helps" has garnered two Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Feature and Best Investigative program. Competing against CNN, CBC, CTV, Fox and BBC at The New York Festivals, Peter and his team won the World Gold and Grand Prize for their series Stolen Dreams in 2005 and a World Bronze a series of stories on Fabry's Disease in 2006.

Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) also awarded "Silverman Helps" with the Dan McArthur Award for 'Best In-Depth/Investigative Story' (Central Region) for the series on Fabry's Drug Funding. Peter was also honoured in May 2006 for his effort against fraud at the 12th Annual Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (Toronto Chapter) and selected 2006 "Man of the Year" at the Consumers' Choice Awards' Gala. Along with his producer, Terry O'Keefe, Peter was nominated for a 2006 Gemini Award for his series on King West Opticians, which received international acclaim and was featured on CNN.

From a memo distributed by to staff at Citytv.

Today we informed the group that works in "Silverman Helps" that this segment of the news will discontinue in its current format. For nearly two decades, Peter Silverman and Terry O'Keefe's unit have brought closure to many viewer complaints. We feel however that the marketplace for investigative journalism is evolving and CityNews will reformat the consumer beat in the fall. Effective immediately, the "Silverman Helps" stories will be discontinued. We thank Peter, Terry and Cristina for their contribution to the newscast.

"Silverman Helps" had some great moments, from "Watch it, buddy" to this wicked altercation with an "angry optician".

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Props to our Neighbours to the South

USA Barack Obama made history last night when he became the first African-American to win a major party nomination in the United States of America. Regardless of what you think of the man's politics, you have to be impressed with the significance of this happening.

Up to now, the only time an American President is anything other than a white man is in movies and television shows. President David Palmer on 24, only a few years ago, seemed to symbolize some enlightened future that could only exist in fiction. Yet here we are in June 2008.

As a Canadian looking down upon my neighbours to the South, I think it's pretty awesome.

Obama Logo

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Ticketmaster Couldn't Find Tickets That Matched My Request

billsArmed with a secret password, today I tried to buy tickets to see the Buffalo Bills play at the stadium formerly known as SkyDome. You may recall I wrote all about this decision here.

I was unsuccessful. I didn't have a chance. I was set up ahead of time and started hammering away but Ticketmaster couldn't satisfy my demands.

I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

ticketmaster

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Cinderella - Bad Seamstress Blues / Fallin' Apart at the Seams

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.

Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin' Apart at the Seams
Cinderella's Last Cold Winter came out in 1988 and, at the time, I was a big fan. The big hits were "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" and "Gypsy Road", but my favourite track was the unheralded "Bad Seamstress Blues / Fallin' Apart at the Seams". I still love that song. Have a listen and tell me what you think.

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Bo, You Don't Know Diddley

rewindWhen Bo Diddley passed away yesterday at the age of 79, it reminded me of the Bo Knows ad campaign for Nike in the late 80s and early 90s.

The first Bo Knows ad featured Bo Jackson and cameos from Kirk Gibson, Jim Everett, Michael Jordan, John McEnroe and Wayne Gretzky. It ended with Jackson trying to play the guitar, whereupon blues legend Bo Diddley says, "Bo, you don't know diddley."

I'll bet there are a whole bunch of people out there who only know Bo Diddley from this ad.


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Mel Ferrer, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumMel Ferrer was 90. He was the tall, darkly handsome star of such classic films as "Lili," "War and Peace" and "The Sun Also Rises," as well as producer and director of movies starring his wife, Audrey Hepburn.

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Kardinal Offishall is Dangerous

Music It's not really my cup of tea, but Toronto's hip-hop ambassador might have a big summer hit on his hands. Featuring Akon, "Dangerous" is Kardinal Offishall's second single from his new album Not 4 Sale.

Kardinal Offishall, of course, is a Toronto boy who's just about the biggest name this country has ever produced in the world of hip-hop. Sure, old fogeys like me will tell you it's Maestro Fresh-Wes, but the kids say it's K.O.

Again, it's not really my cup of tea, too much poppy danciness and not enough hip-hop, but it's catchy as all hell and the man represents the T.Dot.

Discuss "Kardinal Offishall is Dangerous" (2 comments so far)


Comment Pot Pourri

Comments I'm going to try something new this afternoon. Here are recent comments left on this site you may have missed. All of these comments were left within the past week.

I had to play this song for my grade 6 class. We were going to watch a baseball game as a school and no one in my class even heard this song before. Thanks for giving my class the opportunity to hear this song.

~ Ms Allen, OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball!)

Okay, why haven't I found your page sooner. Saw Saint Ralph pre-distribution at the Seattle Film Festival and have been trying to find a copy of the movie version of song ever since. If you are still sending these, I would much appreciate a copy.

~ ES Livingston, A Homemade Hallelujah!

rob ford tells it like it is...he might say stupid sh@t some times but he has a good heart and big balls...and mayor Miller is starting to look more and more like the pricipal in that movie Feris Bueller's Day off...what a jerk off

~ jack, My Last Rob Ford Quote

I'm flattered that you would include our tune on Volume 1.

Thanks,
Robbie Lane

~ Robbie Lane, Early Canadian Rock: The 60s and 70s

This was weird reading all of these frustrated people's stories regarding Prima. What they say is true. I bought a Prima 30" TV in Jan 2005 for $ 1500.00 from MDG (by the way MDG Computers was useless), since then I have recieved 2 new replacements from Prima and now I am looking for a third replacment in just over 3 years. I have placed 100's of calls into them and to get these results but expect to have to do the same again to get yet another TV replacement, but I dare them not to do so. Its really not about the money any more. I believe the former Employees story above spells the truth about this company. The senior management really doesn't care about the customer.

~ Gordon, My Prima Television Nightmare

I think there were 52-54 episodes. I went to the TVO website and found descriptions of all the episodes and then posted it on Matthew Broszkowski's website forum. I'm also the one that provided him with all the videos :).

On a side note... The show "You can do it" lyrics.

Did you ever dream about the stanley cup and scored the winning goal? You got a 100 hugs from all those lugs while your parents cheered at home. You can do it, yes, yes, Yes your friends can do it. and you can to.

or something like that.

Cheers

~ Marco, The Fables of the Green Forest

I was watching the last season of Gilmore Girls the other night and they made reference to Tokyo Police Club. Here is the script:

ZACK: I was in the frozen foods aisle when I get this call from Graham. You remember Graham.

LANE: From Vapor Rub? Yeah. We saw them play last year at the Mercury Lounge.

ZACK: Yeah, well, great news... They need a new guitarist, and they called me... They're going on a two-month tour this summer, and they want me to join them... and they're totally cool with you and the boys coming along... Just wait. When we're in Philly and D.C., we're going to be opening for Tokyo Police Club.

Just cause I know you would want to know that.......ha,ha.

~ Jill, Tokyo Police Club - Tessellate

I've been listening to Darryl for 28 years now I'm sure, and have always had a desire to see what he sees. I was wondering if there's any possibility that I could co-pilot one of his flights over the GTA, to see how he does what he does so well?

~ Russ King, Russ Holden and Darryl Dahmer

I just had this verse pop into my head out of the blue today. I hadn't thought of it in over 25 years, and even when I was young I didn't know where it originated. I googled it and found this article, and I'm glad you told of the origins. You've solved a mystery for me.

BTW, one other verse I remember goes something like this: My name is Cindy, I found a penny, I found a penny all shiny and new. I'm gonna buy me all sorts of candy, that's what I'm gonna do.

~ michigander, My Name is Michael, I Got a Nickel

Mike, you make Dr. Basrur sound like Winston Churchill during the blitz.

Yeah, she was a calming voice only for people who were completely freaked by the Toronto Sun's pictures of women in facemasks in Beijing.

SARS was and remains an event in Toronto history as overhyped and played by the politicians as the Mississauga Train derailment of 1979.

RIP Dr. Basrur but get a freaking grip on how she calmed us during a "crisis" that existed only in less than one percent of the GTA demographic.

~ Stafford, The Calming Voice During the SARS Storm

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The Calming Voice During the SARS Storm

Bereavement In April I wrote about SARS, five years later. The spring of 2003 was a frightening one for me. My son was only a year old and in daycare and there was so much we didn't know about this near pandemic that was taking lives in this city.

My wife, a worrier by nature, was particularly scared during this time. Every night we'd turn on the television and look for updates delivered by Toronto's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Sheela Basrur.

Dr. Sheela Basrur was our calm voice during a difficult time in this city. She spoke clearly, giving instructions and updating us in a comforting fashion that always made us feel better. We understood who should be quarantined and why, what measures were being taken to contain the outbreak and where it was safe to go. She seemed trustworthy and caring and she guided us through the SARS storm.

Yesterday, we lost Dr. Sheela Basrur far too early to a rare form of cancer. Dr. Sheela Basrur, thank you.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Fifty-Three

PuckI played a late night double header last night for Raging Storm and the hockey game was already in overtime when I got in my car and turned on the radio. There's nothing better than a potential Stanley Cup clinching game in OT. It was riveting radio.

When the second overtime concluded, I hit the hay. I just couldn't last any longer. We had just won two hard fought ball games and no matter how you sliced it, the Pens weren't going to be hoisting the cup. I awoke to learn the good guys had prevailed and we get a game six in Pittsburgh. Awesome.

In the pool, the fight for 2nd is super tight with Alexi clinging to a one point lead over Patino. The tie breaker is whoever has the most players from the cup winning team. We might need it this year.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2008hockeypool.html.

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Cheering For Laundry: The Hiring of Ron Wilson

LeafsThere was a Seinfeld episode with that phrase, cheering for laundry, used by Jerry to describe what people were really doing when they cheered their favourite sports team. They were cheering for the jerseys. For all of my life, I've been cheering for the blue and white uniform donned by my Toronto Maple Leafs.

I've been trying to show restraint lately when it comes to Maple Leaf-related entries. I'm evolving (devolving?) into a self-loathing Leafs fan. I friggin' love this team yet I hate the way it's being managed by MLSE. I love laundry.

This entire GM search is being handled in typical MLSE fashion. The GM we clearly desire is under contract with another team for next season, so we're interviewing and hiring his buddies while we wait for him to become available. Today we signed Ron Wilson up to coach this team. Wilson is a long-time pal of Brian Burke.

You don't hire the coach before the GM, so this is a clear indication that Burke is our next GM. How can there be a GM in Anaheim who is all but certain to be coaching another team next season, if not earlier? Only in Leafs Nation is this kind of chaos possible.

Welcome aboard, Ron. There's no Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau or Jonathan Cheechoo on this team. I hope you're a good chef, because we need you to turn chicken shit into chicken salad.

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Sheela Basrur, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSheela Basrur was 51. Her calm demeanour in the face of a terrifying crisis made her a trusted public figure during the deadly SARS outbreak in Toronto five years ago.

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Bo Diddley, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBo Diddley was 79. He was a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians.

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Lessons Learned From TFC Fanatics

Note Pad Attending the Toronto FC match on Saturday was a bit like observing a foreign culture in their natural habitat. I found myself observing their rituals and customs as I quickly adapted. What I saw and experienced has me questioning everything I know when it comes to sporting events.

The professional team I've seen most often live in this city is the Toronto Blue Jays, first at Exhibition Stadium and now at SkyDome. I can only think of one fan-driven ritual, and that's the wave. The wave was fantastic from 1983 through the two World Series wins, but the wave has lost a great deal of steam since the mid-90s and it's all there was. Sure, every so often a group would jump on a chant to belittle an opposing player, and there are always random calls and cheers when the home team makes a great play, but for the most part you sit there and watch.

Don't get me started on Maple Leaf games. There are no fan-driven rituals, you simply do what the scoreboard tells you to do. For the most part you sit down and watch, reacting to the play. The older fanbase, primarily made up of corporate seat-holders, would probably sic an usher on you if you dared try to start a sing-along or chant. And unless we've just scored or there's a fight, don't you dare stand. That would be considered rude.

Raptors games, although full of a great deal more enthusiasm with younger, passionate fans, don't capture that same ambiance I witnessed at BMO Field on Saturday. You sit down and react to the plays on the court. Every so often the public address announcer and scoreboard will order you to sing a certain song or clap in rhythm, but it's totally contrived.

Why can't we take what we have learnt from TFC fanatics and apply it to other sporting events in this city? Is it too late to teach an old dog new tricks and shed our reputation as fans who sit on their hands?

I don't know where to start and how to copy and paste what I experienced, but there must be a way. If it can be done at BMO Field, it can be done at the ACC and SkyDome.

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StatCounter Datacenter Explosion

mouseIf you use StatCounter to monitor traffic to your website, you likely noticed it was inaccessible all weekend. I'm a big fan of StatCounter and typically pop in once a day to see what's happening on this site. It's rarely offline, so when it disappeared for a few days, I knew something must have gone horribly wrong.

Here's what happend to The Planet datacenter in Houston.

Houston, TX (AHN) -- An explosion Saturday evening at a Texas-based, privately held server hosting provider has caused server outages effecting 9,000 servers and 7,500 customers.

According to The Planet's website, at about 5 p.m. Saturday electrical gear shorted, creating an explosion and fire that knocked down three walls surrounding their electrical equipment room.

No injuries were reported and no servers were damaged or lost.

The Houston company, which provides servers for small and medium sized companies, said it has its entire support team working around the clock to get the servers back on line.

For StatCounter users, the news is bad. 24 to 30 hours of stats have been lost. We'll never know how many unique visitors we had this weekend. And they say there were no injuries...

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Yves Saint-Laurent, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumYves Saint-Laurent was 71. He was the iconic French designer who revolutionized fashion by putting women in pants without sacrificing their femininity.

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Ne pas Lien

Don't Hotlink When I was grabbing that list of search strings for May 2008, I noticed a surge in hits coming from Forum de la LHSNHLQ, a French Canadian hockey forum of some sort. It didn't take long for me to see they were hotlinking to one of my images, a hockey puck to be exact.

Last year another forum was hotlinking to an image I was hosting and I had some fun with them. Instead of just blocking the hotlink, I replaced the picture of a hockey with an image that reads "Toronto Mike sez Don't Hotlink!"

I just did the same thing with Forum de la LHSNHLQ and took a screen cap. Click the picture below to see it full sized. They got off lucky. Next time, they're getting Goatsed.

Do Not Hotlink

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May 2008 Search Engine Referrals

Search Strings These are the top searches that referred people to this site in May of 2008. I don't understand the Tie Domi resurgence either. Maybe he's in line for the Leafs GM gig?

  1. ticket stubs
  2. big shiny tunes 3
  3. tie domi
  4. big shiny tunes 2
  5. ticket stub
  6. big shiny tunes 4
  7. big shiny tunes 5
  8. toronto blog
  9. bill barilko
  10. big shiny tunes 7

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Transformers

A Movie ReelTransformers: 6.5 out of 10.

I was worried about Michael Bay's "Transformers", but it was actually better than I anticipated. I watched it with fellow 1986 Transformers movie fan James, and we both thought it was pretty good.

Good: Bay was smart enough to hire Peter Cullen to voice Optimus Prime. I didn't want to hear any other voice in that role. It's perfect.

Bad: Bumblebee is a a Volkswagen Beetle, not a Chevrolet Camaro. This switcheroo pissed me off throughout.

Good: Bumblebee communicating via his radio was fun. The tunes, the soundbites, it was a nice move.

Bad: Where was the theme song? They could have closed with it instead of Linkin Park. Sure, it's a little cheesy, but a modern spin on it would have been cool.

Good: Two words: Megan Fox.

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Toronto Bills Tickets and Argonaut Guilt

bills Thanks to Ajax Mike, I've won the Toronto Bills lottery. On June 4th I'll try and buy a couple of cheap seats to the 8 Buffalo Bills games at Rogers Centre SkyDome. I'd love to be there on December 7th when the Toronto Bills squish the fish.

As I crunch the numbers and see who's willing to buy some of the tickets off of me, especially for the August 14th game against the Steelers I can't make, I'm feeling a tad guilty. You see, I actually like the CFL and our Toronto Argonauts. I have tickets to our season opener and I'm pretty psyched about the arrival of Kerry Joseph and the return of Mike Vanderjagt. Even though I believe myself to be more of a CFL fan than an NFL fan, I'm about to buy 16 tickets to see NFL games here in Toronto. How do I explain that?

The fact is, I'm a homer. I prefer the CFL and the Argos because they're based in Toronto. If the Bills were based in Toronto, I'd be a huge NFL fan. I'm buying Bills in Toronto tickets because it's going to be a big-time event and I want to be a part of it and because I know I'll be able to sell the tickets I don't want.

Speaking of that, if you're interested in buying Toronto Bills tickets from Toronto Mike, leave a comment on this entry and you might just get that chance. Non-family members may have to pay a moderate Toronto Mike service fee.

Oh yeah, about that guilt... My penance will be the purchase of more Argo tickets and a promise to raise my children as CFL fans.

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Amy Winehouse Needs Help

Exclamation Point Amy Winehouse needs help. I realize this isn't breaking news, but as a civilized society can we just watch her self destruct in plain sight and treat it as tabloid fodder?

Let's help the poor girl. She needs it, whether she knows it or not. Here she is at the recent Rock in Rio concert.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Fifty-One

PuckThe emotionless Red Army will win the Stanley Cup. They're on the cusp, and they'll likely seal the deal at home Monday night. I have little interest in watching Lidstrom and the boys pass around the cup.

Still, as I look for a silver lining, at least it's yet another victory for ABO. Remember the Sens? It's been a while since they've played... they only got in four more games than our Leafs. A win for ABO is a win for all of us.

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontomike.com/2008hockeypool.html.

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