December 2008 Archives

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Bestest Game Evah!

Canada HockeyWe're only through two periods and I'm already exhausted.

Tonight's Canada-USA hockey game has included a furious comeback by the good guys, amazing saves, tremendous action and glimpses of greatness from The Next One.

This is gonna be one helluva finish...

Hockey Canada

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Free TTC Tonight

ttcDon't forget Torontonians, the TTC is completely free tonight from midnight to 4 am. Go ahead, get drunk and stupid as you ring in the new year, then leave your car and TTC it home.

The free ride tonight is thanks to Liberty Entertainment Group. They've formed a coalition called the Toronto Entertainment Alliance which I don't fully understand but you can read more about here.

I'm glad the TTC is free tonight, but I think it would be wiser to start the free period at about 8pm tonight instead of at midnight. That way you could TTC to the party and back home, and you don't have to worry about leaving your car. Think of it as a two for one promotion and leave your car at home, k?

Have fun tonight, kids.

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Diana Krall - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

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.

Diana Krall - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
I shared the Ella Fitzgerald version of What Are You Doing New Year's Eve last year, but I understand I need to fulfil my 2008 CanCon quotient.

This is Diana Krall asking the question. To answer Diana, I'm going to watch Canada take on the United States in junior hockey action and then watch a movie with my wife. Aren't you glad you asked, Diana?

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Are Zunes Committing Suicide?

calendarMy personal MP3 player of choice is the iPod Touch. iPods don't commit suicide, at least they don't en masse.

There's word at this hour that 30GB Zunes are killing themselves in droves.

The internet is awash with reports that the 30GB Zune is committing suicide across the planet. Not just one of them, either. It seems that some weird bug is simultaneously killing the music players, like lemmings leaping from a cliff.

Speculation is of course centered around the timing. It is New Year's Eve, after all, and the conspiracy nuts are calling this Z2K (with or without a +9 at the end). Our own NYC Bureau Chief John C Abell prefers the idea that it is "Brilliant Microsoft DRM Technology", which would be the most hilarious explanation.

Let me get this straight. Apple owns this marketplace, but it's a big marketplace, and competition is good for everyone. I myself own an iRiver which still works great while getting FM stations and recording voice to MP3. Microsoft, however, would have to give me a Zune to get me to use one, and even a free Zune that freezes up for no good reason without explanation isn't worth the frustration.

Does anyone out there actually own a Zune?

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The Best Album of 2008

cdI first wrote about Feed the Animals, the fourth album by Girl Talk, back in September. Feed the Animals is one massive mash-up of dozens and dozens of sampled songs, an orgy of tunes you know and love.

As you can imagine, this isn't an album that could ever be released legally. Think of it as illegal art and go to http://74.124.198.47/illegal-art.net/__girl__talk___feed__the__anima.ls___/ to pay what you want for the 14 songs. I suggest you grab it right away, because it's by far the best album I heard in 2008 and it's got a permanent spot on my iPod.

There are 322 samples in all. Here's the list courtesy of Waxy.

Here's the Wikipedia page for Feed the Animals which breaks it all down for ya. I've been spinning this thing for four months and I still love it. When a song features Roy Orbison, Nirvana, Deee-Lite, INXS and the Beach Boys side-by-side, you really can't lose.

Best album of 2008.

Feed_the_Animals

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Maple Leafs 4, Thrashers 3

LeafsCurtis Joseph finally has his 450th career NHL victory. He actually looked pretty sharp after allowing two quick goals and we came back to improve his record this season to 1-4-1.

Cujo will be rewarded for his efforts with another start tomorrow night when the Maple Leafs host the Buffalo Sabres.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
15-16-6
36 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-3 Win vs. Atlanta
4-1 Loss vs. Washington
4-1 Loss vs. New York Islanders
N. Antropov - 30
M. Stajan - 30
A. Ponikarovsky- 27

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1995-96 Toronto Raptors Roster

raptorsFor no particularly good reason, I wanted to revisit the Toronto Raptors' inaugural season. Alvin Robertson scored the first basket in franchise history and we went on to beat the New Jersey Nets 94-78 at SkyDome that magical opening night. I remember tuning in and realizing I was going to witness the birth of a Toronto professional sports franchise, something I didn't get to do with the Leafs or Jays.

Here's that inaugural Raptors team that went 21–61 in 1995-96

3 Zan Tabak
4 Vicenzo Esposito
7 Alvin Robertson
9 Tony Massenburg
9 Sharone Wright
13 Doug Christie
20 Damon Stoudamire
22 John Salley
23 DeWayne Whitfield
24 Jimmy King
30 Oliver Miller
32 Herb Williams
33 Carlos Rogers
35 Tracy Murray
40 Willie Anderson
44 Martin Lewis
52 Victor Alexander
54 Ed Pinckney
55 Acie Earl

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Less is More?

notepadI blogged less in 2008 than I did in any calendar year since 2003. I know this because I just crunched the numbers.

Blog Entries by Year

  • 2008 - 1433
  • 2007 - 1659
  • 2006 - 1598
  • 2005 - 1640
  • 2004 - 1722
  • 2003 - 369
  • 2002 - 3

My calculator tells me that even during a slow blogging year I managed to post four entries a day. Maybe less is more?

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Accepting and Embracing the Grey

thumbsupI started noticing grey hairs in my head when I was 21. By the time I was 30, I had a definite salt and pepper thing happening. I'm not one to dye my hair, so I let nature take its course and hoped for the best.

I'm now 34, and I fully accept and embrace my grey. I've got lots of grey on both sides and a nice patch of white in the top front. Heck, I even have grey in my beard now, and I dig it. I see it as natural highlighting, a feature that practically makes me seem mature and wise.

And besides, I've still got a full head of thick hair. That's the main thing...

I took this pic during an awesome walk through Etienne Brule Park yesterday.

Mr. Handsome

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Filling the Void: TV in 2008

TVA lot of my favourite television shows weren't seen in 2008. The Sopranos finished up in 2007 while Curb Your Enthusiasm and Flight of the Conchords took the year off. In 2008 I watched less traditional television than ever before, spending more time with documentaries and movies.

I was about to throw down my ten favourite television shows of 2008, but I didn't follow ten shows in 2008. Well, if I count my Sunday night Fox block, we just hit ten.

Here are the ten shows I watched in 2008, in order of preference.

  1. 30 Rock
  2. True Blood
  3. The Office
  4. Family Guy
  5. Dexter
  6. The Simpsons
  7. The Life and Times of Tim
  8. Great Britain USA
  9. American Dad
  10. Californication

I got excited about very little of the above in 2008, but I do want to spend a moment on True Blood. We watched HBO's True Blood "On Demand" and loved it. I'm not really a vampire guy, but this thing sets a sexy tone and keeps you interested throughout the 12 episodes. It also sets up season two nicely, and I'll be back for more.

Canadian Anna Paquin is super good as Sookie Stackhouse and it's created by Alan Ball, the dude who created my favourite television drama of all time. If you subscribe to TMN and get channel 308, do yourself a favour and check out True Blood.

True Blood

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Canada 5, Germany 1

Canada HockeyThere are 5-1 games and then there are 5-1 games. I watched this entire contest, and it was far closer than the score would make it appear. German goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 44 saves on 49 shots.

Wednesday's final game between Canada and the U.S. is a biggie, with the winner getting the bye to the semis. I know what I'm doing New Year's Eve.

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Racist DVD Player?

Question MarkOne of the gifts exchanged this Christmas was a specific Pioneer DVD player my brother Ryan wanted.

The DVD box noted the player was black, but in addition to black used the term "Negro". I know enough French to know black in French is noir. Since negro is an ethnic slur, is this DVD player racist?

PC258440

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My Ten Favourite Songs of 2008

musicOh 2008, where have you gone? It seems like only a year ago you showed up, all fresh and new. Now, it's time to say goodbye.

Here's my 10 favourite songs of 2008 complete with videos, when possible.

10. "Oblivion" by Wintersleep

9. "Wild International" by One Day as a Lion

8. "Sex On Fire" by Kings of Leon

7. "Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole" by USS

6. "Salute Your Solution" by The Raconteurs

5. "Strange Times" by The Black Keys

4. "Time to Pretend" by MGMT

3. "Paper Planes" by M.I.A.

2. "Inside the Cinema" by Culture Reject

1. "Sleeping Sickness" by City and Colour with Gord Downie

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Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 4

LeafsThe Maple Leafs have lost three games in a row, getting outscored 16-4. We're in danger of becoming the Kazakhstan of the NHL, and that might just be what the doctor ordered.

Brian Burke, listen up. Outside of our young Jedi, trade anyone who will bring you a draft pick. It's time to get serious about Tavares or Hedman. I'm not getting any younger, I can't afford to lose another season.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
14-16-6
34 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-1 Loss vs. Washington
4-1 Loss vs. New York Islanders
8-2 Loss vs. Dallas
M. Stajan - 30
N. Antropov - 29
A. Ponikarovsky- 26

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Canada 15, Kazakhstan 0

Canada HockeyThere's no glory in crushing a lesser-light. It's the easiest shutout Chet Pickard will ever record.

Looking ahead, we have a tougher task with the United States on New Years' Eve, with the winner securing a bye to the semi-finals. We'll consider today's game a light practice in preparation for a little competition Wednesday.

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Stuck in a Moment of Collective Elation

RewindMy buddy and slo-pitch teammate Kic put up a Facebook profile pic that took me back to the moment before it all changed. It's a moment we Toronto sports fans are still stuck in, a moment of collective elation that will likely never be topped.

Before I continue, here's the pic of that moment.

Joe

I shouldn't have to tell you what happened next. My Toronto Blue Jays led the series 3 games to 2, but trailed in the game 6-5. With Mitch Williams on the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies and Ricky Henderson and Paul Molitor on base, Joe Carter hit a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall at SkyDome to give the Blue Jays their second World Series in a row.

That moment was so extraordinary for this life-long Jays fan, I can't accurately put into words how it felt when that ball cleared the left field fence. It's our moment, a moment we share, a moment we're stuck in.

Heck, things are so shitty in Toronto sports right now, we should be glad we had a moment. Let's hear that call one more time and forget it's the middle of winter, neither the Leafs nor Raptors will make the playoffs and next season is already over for our Blue Jays.

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Deconstructing SLS20

SLSNow that SLS20 is in the bag, it's time to deconstruct the 20 tunes that made the final cut. How much of SLS20 is CanCon? How many artists are making their first appearance on SLS? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.

  • Canadian Content - 8 (Billy Talent, Brendan Canning, Metric, Sam Roberts, Stars, Tokyo Police Club, USS, Wintersleep)
  • Making Their SLS Debut - 6 (Brendan Canning, Kings of Leon, M.I.A., One Day as a Lion, The Verve, Wintersleep)
  • Artists That Also Appeared On SLS19 - 7 (Death Cab For Cutie, Foo Fighters, MGMT, Sam Roberts, Tokyo Police Club, USS, Weezer)
  • Providing a Female Voice - 3 (M.I.A., Metric, Stars)
  • Longest Current SLS Streak - 3 (Foo Fighters)
  • Longest SLS Drought Ended - 12 (Coldplay)

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Slumdog Millionaire

A Movie ReelSlumdog Millionaire: 9 out of 10.

Because my team won the company softball tournament last summer, I won two free passes to a movie at any Empire Theatre location. The thing is, there really is no Empire Theatre near my home, but when I saw Slumdog Millionaire was playing at the Square One location, I knew a little trip west was in order.

This film received some wicked free marketing back in September when it debuted at our film festival. As I wrote back then, Roger Ebert, who can't speak after battling thyroid and salivary gland cancer, tapped New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick on the shoulder asking him to move over so he could see the screen. Without knowing it was Ebert doing the tapping, Lumenick turned around and whacked Ebert on the head with a big festival binder.

Ebert and I agree that Jamal Malik's story of suspense is full of energy, a compelling story and a great soundtrack. The scenes of "the real India" are eye opening and difficult to watch, but it all adds to Jamal's personal triumph. I loved Slumdog Millionaire.

slumdog_millionaire

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The Best Power Ballads

MusicYeah, I listened to hair bands in the 80s. I admit it. I liked Motley Crue, Poison, Skid Row, Cinderella and, the best of the bunch, Guns N' Roses.

Hair bands all followed the same strategy. Hard rocker singles were followed by a power ballad. Def Leppard would release "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and follow that up with "Love Bites". Power Ballads are like guilty pleasures... tasty cheese that isn't good for you, but thoroughly enjoyable.

With apologies to Mr. Big, here are my ten favourite power ballads. Rock on!

"Every Rose Has its Thorn" by Poison

"Patience" by Guns N' Roses

"I Remember You" by Skid Row

"Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue

"I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner

"More Than Words" by Extreme

"Heaven" by Warrant

"When the Children Cry" by White Lion

"Sister Christian" by Night Ranger

"Is This Love" by Whitesnake

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The Devil's Tools

ConstructionIdle hands are the devil's tools. Whenever I find myself with a little free time, I get overwhelmed with an urge to blow-up and recreate this site. Not the content, but the layout and design.

I just completely re-wrote the xhtml and css and realized I actually like the current layout and code. I'm just bored of it. That's when I got my header idea...

I've got a masthead header image on the top of every page of this site. For the past year it looked like this:

header-standard

Now, it's more malleable. I'm going to change the image and bi-line frequently, with whatever pops in my head. For example, new visitors would be surprised to learn that I haven't yet seen The Dark Knight. It's a fact.

header

Speaking of movies, if you had to choose between Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which would you see?

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Canada 8, Czech Republic 1

Canada HockeySure, the Leafs lost to the last place Islanders, but did you see John "The Next One" Tavares lead the charge for Canada with two goals and an assist? Even more telling, did you see how he opted to pass the puck to Angelo Esposito instead of scoring a natural hat trick?

Leafs fans, John Tavares grew up rooting for the blue and white, and he's the real deal. As difficult as it is for me personally to root against our team, my subconscious regards J.T. as the shiny silver lining when this season inevitably goes to shit.

Let's go for broke.

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Maple Leafs 1, Islanders 4

LeafsI don't know about you, but I've already started emotionally distancing myself from Tosky. Clearly he's not long for the blue and white and he's not who I thought he was. He had another rough start last night.

We lost badly to the worst team in the league, but when I'm feeling down about this season, I just look down in the Northeast Division standings and see the Ottawa Senators five points beneath us. And remember, we can blame lack of talent for sucking. The Sens just suck.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
14-15-6
34 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-1 Loss vs. New York Islanders
8-2 Loss vs. Dallas
6-2 Win vs. Atlanta
M. Stajan - 30
N. Antropov - 29
A. Ponikarovsky- 26

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Mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2008

tunesDJ Earworm put together a video for what he called "United State of Pop 2008 (Viva La Pop)". It's a very slick mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2008, according to Billboard.

There's lots of the typical R&B pop in there, Coldplay aside, with one glaring exception. Here's the top 25 tunes in the video below... see if you can spot the sore thumb.

  • Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain - Low
  • Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
  • Alicia Keys - No One
  • Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major - Lollipop
  • Timbaland Featuring OneRepublic - Apologize
  • Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown - No Air
  • Sara Bareilles - Love Song
  • Usher Featuring Young Jeezy - Love in This Club
  • Chris Brown - With You
  • Chris Brown - Forever
  • Ray J & Yung Berg - Sexy Can I
  • Rihanna - Take a Bow
  • Coldplay - Viva La Vida
  • Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl
  • T.I. - Whatever You Like
  • Rihanna - Disturbia
  • Rihanna - Don't Stop the Music
  • Natasha Bedingfield - Pocketful of Sunshine
  • Chris Brown Featuring T-Pain - Kiss Kiss
  • Ne-Yo - Closer
  • Colbie Caillat - Bubbly
  • Mariah Carey - Touch My Body
  • Madonna Featuring Justin Timberlake - 4 Minutes
  • Pink - So What
  • Finger Eleven - Paralyzer

Did you spot 'em there at the very end? Burlington, Ontario's Rainbow Butt Monkeys are right there with Rihanna, T.I. and Chris Brown. Rainbow Butt Monkeys, of course, became Finger Eleven and I remember rocking out to "Above" and "First Time" back in '99 and 2000.

About five years ago I heard from Finger Eleven's lead singer, Scott Anderson when our SLS site started ranking number one for their breakthrough single "One Thing". Here's what Scott Anderson had to say back in January 2004.

Rick told me I should have a read of this page.

First, thanks for taking such an interest in this song.

Second, Dans Post from November 30th hit the nail on the head. I met a girl in High School in Burlington ON. Rather then come forward with my feelings at the time I put it off. Rather than face the proverbial "one thing" I stalled, not afraid of rejection par se, but instead scared of the thought of not being able to have this person next to me. I won't get too deep just know that this is what the song means.

Third, the problem with writing music is that you always know the meaning and don't necessarily realize that the fans will have a difficult time grasping it.

Thanks for those of you that like our music! Keep listening!

Scott

Now they have one of the top US hits of 2008. Here's DJ Earworm's mashup that inspired this entry.

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Remembering Those Who Passed in 2008

fiveWe lost some cool cats in 2008. Here are the five most significant celebrity passings of 2008, in this guy's humble opinion.

  1. Jeff Healey
  2. George Carlin
  3. Paul Newman
  4. Isaac Hayes
  5. Heath Ledger

And since this is all about me, my family lost someone far too soon in 2008. Very early in the year, Uncle Bruce passed away quite suddenly. I know it's been a super tough year for my aunt and cousins without Big Bruce around.

When I was 19, I wanted a car. My budget for this purchase was about $500, and I called Uncle Bruce about it, because Uncle Bruce knew cars and I didn't. Uncle Bruce put me in touch with his friend who fixed up and sold used cars in Port Credit and I ended up buying a 1985 Ford Escort hatchback for $200.

It was my first car and I loved it. I remember driving it to Uncle Bruce's house in Mississauga so he could show me a thing or two about maintaining a car, especially a car worth $200. When he took her for a spin and blessed the purchase, I trusted him. He was caring, honest and would tell it like it is.

Uncle Bruce is missed.

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Wolves, Hawks and Kites 2008 Mix Tapes

cassetteListen up music fans. Wolves, Hawks and Kites, maintained and written by Paul Watson, is sharing his favourite Canadian songs of 2008 as sweet MP3s.

He's broken up his 30 top Canadian tunes of the last 12 months into two parts. I've downloaded the tunes, most of which I haven't heard, and they're fantastic. Seriously music fans, this is a tremendous service that delivers solid gold.

My favourite is still that amazing Culture Reject tune, but the others are strong as well. Makes a nice playlist for the iPod.

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I ♥ the IIHF Under-20 World Junior Hockey Championship

hockey canadaIt doesn't get any better than this. The IIHF Under-20 world junior hockey championship is a tournament I look forward to every year and it never fails to deliver. It all starts tonight at 7:30 when Canada takes on the Czech Republic in Ottawa.

We went 3-0 in pre-competition play, outscored opponents 18-5, and will be led by young phenom John Tavares. Depending on who you talk to, Tavares will be going 1st or 2nd overall in the entry draft this June, with Swede Victor Hedman taking the other spot. Here's hoping for a strong tourney from #19.

Here's Tavares scoring an amazing goal just the other day in pre-competition play. Tune in tonight for the sequel.

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Eartha Kitt, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumEartha Kitt was 81. She was the sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality.

It's fitting she passed on a day many of us were playing her best known tune, "Santa Baby."

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Merry Christmas!

XmasSanta came last night. He was very good to my kids, so he'll be in my good books in 2009. Here's hoping he was good to you, too.

The rest of this fine day promises to be a blur, so we'll call it a single entry day. Michelle's favourite gift thus far is her American Girl doll. I don't know why Santa didn't make her a Canadian Girl doll... James is loving his two new Wii games. The faces below say it all.

PC258417 PC258415

Merry Christmas!

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NORAD Tracks Santa 2008

Mike's FavouritesNorad Tracks Santa - For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s Christmas Eve flight.

Daddy needs a new pair of socks!

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Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping

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.

Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
If you're curious how an obscure 80s punk band created a Christmas classic, here's the story.

If you need some decent Christmas tunes for tomorrow, take note. I normally take down MP3s I share after 7 days, but this holiday I'm keeping all the Christmas-themed tracks online through the month of December. Your best way to grab the ones you've messed is to click over to http://www.torontomike.com/weekly_mp3s/.

Merry Christmas, music fans!

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Maple Leafs 2, Stars 8

LeafsTosky recovered quickly and got the start in place of my choice, Justin Pogge. Tosky then allowed 7 goals before getting pulled for Cujo. Admittedly, Tosky's not having the year I predicted he'd have, but I watched this game and these really weren't bad goals. I think our D broke for Christmas a tad too early.

We got skunked. It happens. Merry Christmas, Leaf fans!

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
14-14-6
34 points
4th in Northeast Division
8-2 Loss vs. Dallas
6-2 Win vs. Atlanta
7-3 Win vs. Pittsburgh
M. Stajan - 29
N. Antropov - 29
A. Ponikarovsky- 26

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Sunday Night CBC in 1985

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 a random clip of CBC television on December 22, 1985. I was ten years old and my brother Ryan was turning eight that very day. We watched Disney on Sunday nights and then stayed tuned for Fraggle Rock, so it's quite possible I saw this 4.5 minute clip live back in '85.

One of the ads is for Chuck E. Cheese. My son has officially requested his seventh birthday party be held there.

Another promo is for Anne of Green Gables. There's a CBC drama that gripped this nation. It was all Anne, all the time back then. Seeing Richard Farnsworth, may he rest in peace, always brings a smile to my face.

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A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Snow FlakeElvis just reminded me today is Festivus. I want to wish each and every one of you a very happy Festivus. For those who don't know what Festivus is, there are three easy to follow steps:

  1. "Get the pole out of the crawl space". Or go out and buy one. Remember, it should be aluminium, due to the "very high strength-to-weight ratio". Remember, "it requires no decoration". Tinsel is "distracting".
  2. "The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances...At the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year."
  3. After dinner, it is time for the "Feats of Strength". Remember, Festivus is not over until someone is pinned.

The origin of Festivus was explained nicely by Frank Costanza in the Seinfeld episode "The Strike". Here's his exchange with Cosmo Kramer.

Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born . . . a Festivus for the rest of us!
Cosmo Kramer: That must've been some kind of doll.
Frank Costanza: She was.

Here's everything you need to know. Happy Festivus everyone!

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Rock Climbing at Rock Oasis

EverestI went indoor rock climbing last night at the Rock Oasis at Bathurst Street and Front Street.

It was my first time, so I had to take a lesson. Once they taught me how to put on my harness, tie into the safety rope and belay, I was ready to climb. It's intense exercise and pretty tough. I'm either carrying too much weight or as weak as a little girl, because half-way up some of the higher walls my arms were ready to fall off. Luckily they didn't, and I survived to climb another day.

I must warn you of one thing, though. The people climbing at the Rock Oasis are in very good shape and all appear to be pretty damn cool. It was like a room full of Fonzies.

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Maple Leafs 6, Thrashers 2

LeafsJustin Pogge made 19 saves to earn his first NHL victory in his first NHL game. Jeremy Williams scored again, giving him goals in five of six games this season.

I'd like to see them put Pogge back in net tonight against Dallas. Cujo can back-up Pogge until T'osky's healed. Let's see what this kid's made of.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
14-13-6
34 points
4th in Northeast Division
6-2 Win vs. Atlanta
7-3 Win vs. Pittsburgh
8-5 Loss vs. Boston
M. Stajan - 29
N. Antropov - 29
A. Ponikarovsky- 26

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SLS20 Unveiled

slsIt is with great privilege and honour that I unveil to you the final song list for SLS20. For an SLS primer, go here and to see what appeared on SLS19, go here.

We listened to hours and hours of new rock before deciding upon these 20 tracks. Without further ado, I give you SLS20.

  1. MGMT - Kids
  2. Brendan Canning - Churches Under the Stairs
  3. Metric - Help, I'm Alive
  4. Death Cab for Cutie - Cath...
  5. Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire
  6. Weezer - Troublemaker
  7. Toyko Police Club - Graves
  8. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
  9. Billy Talent & Anti-Flag - Turn Your Back
  10. Sam Roberts - Detroit '67
  11. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
  12. Disturbed - Inside the Fire
  13. Linkin Park - Given Up
  14. One Day as a Lion - Wild International
  15. Beck - Gamma Ray
  16. Wintersleep - Oblivion
  17. Foo Fighters - Let It Die
  18. The Verve - Love Is Noise
  19. USS - 2 and 15/16ths
  20. Stars - Bitches In Tokyo

I just updated The Complete SLS Database. Look for SLS21 in late June, 2009.

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Justin Pogge Gets His Shot

leafsIt's finally happening. Tosky hurt his groin and Justin Pogge has been called up to the NHL form the Marlies. We'll likely see Pogge make his NHL debut tonight.

The entry I want to write was already written last January. But it was written by me, and cleverly entitled "Nothing Left to Burn", so I'm going to re-post it here.

leafs"When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire".
~ Stars, Your Ex-Lover is Dead

Rumour has it Vesa Toskala may have re-injured himself last night. He came in to relieve Raycroft. Why they risked Toskala is beyond me. I would have let Andrew Raycroft finish what he started.

If Tosky can't dress, and Raycroft can't stop a puck, it might be time for Justin Pogge's debut. Here's a little Pogge primer.

January 6, 2006 - "I have seen the future of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey, and his name is Justin Pogge. Pogge posted a .952 save percentage for the tournament, his 1.00 goals-against average ties him for best in tournament history and Canada's six goals against set a record. He recorded three shutouts and went 150 minutes and 50 seconds without giving up a goal to close out last night's game."

It was that tournament that introduced the country to Jusin Pogge. He was outstanding and a Maple Leafs prospect. Those two statements rarely collide.

October 21, 2006 - "For the third time in four nights, I was in the building to watch a professional Toronto sports franchise lose. It was my first Marlies game and a great deal of fun. The kids were probably more entertained by the dog mascot than the hockey, but they had a blast and I got to watch #1 Justin Pogge."

This was the first time I watched Pogge play in person. He didn't win, but he was sharp.

September 19, 2007 - "It was Justin Pogge's first NHL game, and I really wanted him to play well. I so badly want this prospect to pan out and develop into a great goalie I actually got butterflies every time he handled an Oiler shot. I just didn't want him to look out of place."

That was Pogge's only game in a Leafs uniform to date. Rumour has it they're thinking of calling him up for tomorrow night's game in San Jose. My spidey senses tell me that's a horrible idea.

That's right, I wanted Pogge to finish the season with the Marlies so he could make his debut in the 2008/2009 season. That's now. This is the perfect time to see what this kid is made of.

It's Pogge time.

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Disturbia

A Movie ReelDisturbia: 5 out of 10.

This is a modern spin on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. A better spin on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window was that episode of The Simpsons when Bart breaks his leg and starts to believe Ned Flanders has committed murder.

Disturbia isn't terrible, it's just not particularly good. It made good money, and they'll likely make a sequel, but I hope they don't bother. When your favourite part is the use of a System of a Down song, you know you're not watching Hitchcock.

Disburbia

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Robert Mulligan, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRobert Mulligan was 83. He was known best for directing the1962 movie "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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Maple Leafs 7, Penguins 3

LeafsKic, you picked the right night to drive to Pittsburgh. We annihilated 'em in a laugher.

In a super fun Saturday night game, Jeremy Williams scored yet again. That's goals in four of five games this season.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
13-13-6
32 points
4th in Northeast Division
7-3 Win vs. Pittsburgh
8-5 Loss vs. Boston
2-1 Win vs. New Jersey
M. Stajan - 26
N. Antropov - 26
A. Ponikarovsky- 23

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Your Public Enemy Primer

PEI'm writing this Public Enemy primer off the top of my head, because I was there and I remember.

You thought I was strictly a rock guy, didn't you? The fact is that I've spent a pretty good percentage of my music listening life focusing on the rap and hip-hop genre. I thoroughly enjoy a lot of hip-hop, but no act can match the overwhelming excellence of Public Enemy, without a doubt the greatest hip-hop group of all-time.

If you hate rap, I've already lost you, and that's okay. As a teenager I had a Public Enemy poster on my wall next to Nirvana. I know every line Chuck D rhymes on both It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet. In fact, for six months in 1990, the only artist in my Sony Walkman was Public Enemy. Here's your PE primer, if you're still here...

Watching Rap City on MuchMusic one afternoon, I saw the video for "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos." Wow. A wonderful hardcore beat complemented by the best rapping voice I had ever heard and it wasn't about scoring chicks, getting high or boastful, it was saying something. There was substance, thought-provoking rhymes over glorious samples and scratching. Here's the track that introduced me to Public Enemy.

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is a play-through, but it was the second release from Public Enemy. I had some catching up to do, so I bought 1987's Yo! Bum Rush the Show which had this little gem called "Timebomb." I still drop lyrics from this sucker all the time.

Returning to the amazing It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, every tune is jammed with wicked samples, usually complemented by a whack of intelligence. One of my favourite songs on the album is "Night of the Living Baseheads".

How do you follow-up the greatest album in hip-hop history? With another play-through gem, that's how. Fear of a Black Planet had "Brothers Gonna Work It Out", "Welcome to the Terrordome" and arguably the greatest hip-hop song in history, "Fight the Power". Here's the extended version of the "Fight the Power" video.

Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black was another excellent album, and it included a new version of "Bring the Noise" with Anthrax. I first heard this version of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back's "Bring the Noise" on Anthrax's Attack of the Killer B's. I love it when rock and rap merge, and that likely explains why this tune still makes my iPod's head banger mix.

I love so much of Public Enemy's extensive catalogue, I'm not sure how to close. I'm going out with "Rebel Without a Pause", another track from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. This song shows off Terminator X's scratching and the Bomb Squad's samples and beats. It's also chock full of awesome lyrics I can drop on command. This is the essence of Public Enemy, voicing their opinions with volume.

Others in this series:

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The Humble and Fred Mobile

carFred Patterson was reminiscing about the good 'ol days of the Humble and Fred morning show, and he posted a picture of "The Humble and Fred Mobile".

I had never seen it, but thought it was great, so I asked Fred for a higher res version I could share with y'all. Humble! Fred! Do you have any more details about this classic?

Humble and Fred Mobile

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Dock Ellis, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDock Ellis was 63. He infamously claimed he pitched a no-hitter for Pittsburgh under the influence of LSD and later fiercely spoke out against drug and alcohol addiction.

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Who Gets Paid What?

moneyTorontoist, a Toronto blog that is closing up shop at the end of the year, is owned and operated by Gothamist LLC. From the Gothamist LLC "about us" page:

Gothamist LLC owns and operates the most popular network of city blogs on the Internet today. Founded in 2003 and led by our NYC flagship site Gothamist.com , the network has includes thirteen websites in four countries, each covering local news, events, food, and entertainment for an avid audience of young urbanites. Driven entirely by word-of-mouth, the network has grown year-over-year by more than 100%, to 11.2MM monthly page views in November, 2008.

If there was money in Torontoist, it wouldn't be shutting down. Torontoist is, and always has been, about making money, and there's nothing wrong with that. I recently broke down local blogs, differentiating between what I call "one-man-shows" and "commercial enterprises". That prompted an email from my very own Deep Throat, whose identity I shall protect while I quote him word for word.

as for my guess on who gets paid what:
I think Torontoist moved its core contributors up from $4/post to $10 (but the less frequent still get less)
BlogTO seems to be financed by what became a side business with the printed city maps--I'm imagining something as simple as going to the advertisers they wrote nice things about on the site and asking them to buy an advert
Spacing is obviously not being run without money coming in, if not a whole lot

I should point out that Deep Throat is someone who would likely know or have an educated guess on such matters. A member of the mainstream media and local blogosphere, his perspective is unique and appreciated.

Does anyone else know who's getting paid wait in the ever-commercialized blog landscape?

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Mats Sundin Will Not Retire A Maple Leaf

Leafs323 entries on this blog contain the word Sundin. He's been the best player on our team since the 1994/1995 season. Even casual hockey fans know Mats Sundin plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs. At least he did—he now plays for the Vancouver Canucks.

On June 28, 1994, I was driving to King George to play a game of wall ball when I heard the news on the radio. Cliff Fletcher had sent Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a 1994 first round pick to Quebec for Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner, and a 1994 first round draft pick. Sundin was drafted 1st overall in 1989 and led the Nordiques with 114 points in 1992-93. I thought it was a great move, and over the next 14 years, I remained a Mats Sundin fan, a Mats Sundin defender, and a Mats Sundin believer. That, sadly, is no longer the fact.

As much as I appreciate Mats' effort over the years, his awesome skill and his overall class, signing with Vancouver hurts. It doesn't hurt because Sundin is no longer a Leaf, it hurts because Mats screwed us over and sold us out.

Back in February, I wrote It's Ok, You Know I Love You Anyway. Here's a taste.

I said this late last year in Mats, We Love You, Now Go!, but on this night it needs to be said again. Mats, it's ok. A loyal captain, I sense you're prepared to go down with the ship. This is a great quality, but this is one instance when we won't judge your loyalty should you agree to play elsewhere. In fact, as a life-long Leafs fan who has written 684 entries filed under Toronto Maple Leafs, I believe permitting Uncle Cliffy to move you to a contender will be viewed by Leafs Nation as a martyr-like sacrifice.

Only two days later, I wrote Loyalty Personified, an entry that, in hindsight, stings today. Here's a taste of that one.

It saddens me that so many see Mats' refusal to waive his no-trade clause as a sign of disloyalty or worse. I commend Mats for what he's done, and although the fan in me would love to see him traded for youth and draft picks, the human in me is glad there are still people like Mats Sundin in professional sports.

Sometimes, it's not about business, and thank heavens for that.

I saw Mats' decision to stay with the Leafs as honourable. I saw it as classy. I saw it as selfless. But, there was a caveat... he had to retire after last season, or sign on again with the blue and white. If Mats signed with another team, especially in December without going through training camp with his new teammates, then everything changed. Then Mats' decision is completely selfish and hurtful to his loyal fans and fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mats screwed us over. Mats sold us out.

I don't know why I thought Mats was different. I don't know how I can still be surprised that professional athletes look out for themselves, saying the right things and doing what makes good business sense at the end of the day. I guess I thought Mats was different. I guess I was wrong.

Mats Sundin and his Vancouver Canucks play at the ACC on February 21. I'll be watching, and I'll be cheering for #13. He's not who I thought he was, but he gave his all to this franchise for 14 years, and that's worth something.

It's ok, it's ok, you know I love you anyway. I'm just sorry it had to end like this. I thought you were different.

Mats-Sundin

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Mark Felt, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumMark Felt was 95. He was the former FBI second-in-command who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" 30 years after he tipped off reporters to the Watergate scandal that toppled a president.

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Maple Leafs 5, Bruins 8

LeafsOn the bright side, we were down 5-1 before storming back to within one. We even chased Tim Thomas after two periods with the Bruins leading 6-5.

Until we blew it in the third, this game was practically reminiscent of the greatest Leafs game I ever saw live. In that game, also against the Bruins, we were down 6-1 before winning in overtime. That game was way better than this one.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
12-13-6
30 points
4th in Northeast Division
8-5 Loss vs. Boston
2-1 Win vs. New Jersey
2-1 Win vs. Buffalo Sabres
M. Stajan - 24
N. Antropov - 23
A. Ponikarovsky- 21

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Bedtime Stories for Mats Sundin

moviesThanks to the peeps at Disney, I got to take my son tonight to a media preview of the new Adam Sandler movie, Bedtime Stories. It was better than Bolt and pretty perfect for my six-year old, but I'm not supposed to review it until it's released on Christmas Day.

On my way to the flick, I learned about Mats. Mats Sundin has signed with the Vancouver Canucks. Mats Sundin will not retire a Maple Leaf. I have so much to say - but I'll throw it all down after I shovel tomorrow morning.

Good night, Toronto. Snow-Mageddon awaits.

snow

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Torontoist to Close

NotesOne of the little games I play with Google involves search results for toronto blog. I'm in the top three, but I have my hands full with a couple of multiple authored professional blogs. One of those blogs is Torontoist, owned by Gothamist. Gothamist has decided to close Torontoist on January 1, 2009 and concentrate on their more lucrative American sites.

When a local blog relies on money to stay online, closing up shop is always possible during recessionary times. Apparently, it's not just newspapers that are hurting. All forms of media are hurting as advertising money dries up.

I'm sorry to see Torontoist go. We need more local blogs, not less. I enjoyed the organic search competition and referenced the site at least seven times over the years.

I kept my day job, so Toronto Mike will stay online through 2009. Farewell, Torontoist...

torontoblog

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Snow-Mageddon?

snowflakeEnvironment Canada is calling it Snow-Mageddon. Tomorrow morning Toronto will get 15cm and they're calling for another snow storm on Sunday.

Isn't "Snowmageddon" a little dramatic? 15cm tomorrow and a bunch more on Sunday makes for crappy driving conditions, but we've been through so much worse. Last winter, for example..

If we're calling this Snow-Mageddon, where do we go from here? Snowpocalypse? Snowocaust? Snow-Hope?

We should have saved Snow-Mageddon for a bigger storm...

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Joe Krol, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumJoe Krol was 89. He won six Grey Cups, five with the Toronto Argonauts, as a Canadian Football League quarterback, running back, and placekicker/punter from 1942-1953 and 1955.

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Mats and Vince

rewindTomorrow Mats Sundin will likely announce which team he's playing for this season. I have something to say about that, but I'm saving it until after it's all official.

Coincidentally, it was four years ago today that I wrote down my conflicted feelings about Vince Carter. I'm not comparing Mats to Vince, Vince is half the man Mats is, but both ruled this city and left under controversial circumstances.

Here's what I wrote four years ago today about Vincent Lamar Carter.

Now that it's happened, I thought I'd delve into the vault and reexamine the entries I wrote about Vince Carter. They say a great deal about my conflicted feelings about him and what he brings brought to my Toronto Raptors. Lets take a look, shall we? Fittingly, there are fifteen.

  1. The EA Sports Jinx - October 2, 2003 / 12:53 EST: I'm concerned that Carter is on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. There is that jinx and I want Carter to stay healthy.
  2. Mike's Mailbag - October 29, 2003 / 15:03 EST: I inaccurately predict the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2003/2004. I add a caveat that Carter must remain healthy for this to happen.
  3. Vintage Vincent - November 27, 2003 / 08:04 EST: I'm gushing over the great Vince Carter after he scores 43 and carries the Raps on his back. I also reminisce about the 51 point game of his I attended.
  4. Not In-Vince-able - January 17, 2004 / 14:00 EST: Carter injures himself once again and I brace for the worst. I even compare him to Wendel Clark.
  5. Mr. Popular - January 30, 2003 / 11:09 EST: Carter leads the league in all-star votes for the fourth time and I try to figure out why he's so damn popular.
  6. Guest Blog Entry - January 30, 2004 / 15:45 EST: For the first time, I publicly admit in this space that Vince could be traded. I also admit that he's not the second coming of Michael Jordon. "If you had brought up the subject of trading Vince Carter a couple of years ago, I would have laughed in your face."
  7. It. Is. Over. - March 27, 2004 / 11:04 EST: I was pissed when I wrote this entry. The Raptors were going to miss the playoffs yet again and I knew something had to give.
  8. Vin-sane - July 2, 2004 / 09:04 EST: ESPN reports that Carter wants to be traded and I try to digest the news. "Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team."
  9. The End of an Era? - July 14, 2004 / 10:55 EST: Rumours were swirling that Carter was on his way out and I thought we were in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto. "The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it."
  10. Carlos and Vince - July 16, 2004 / 21:37 EST: I found it interesting that it was becoming incredibly likely that both Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter would be leaving Toronto. Still, I held on to a semblance of hope that Carter could stay. "It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between."
  11. Guest Blog Entry - July 20, 2004 / 14:48 EST: I admit I'm completely torn about the whole Vince Carter saga. "I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage."
  12. My Sports Wishlist - September 22, 2004 / 08:23 EST: Carter makes my sports wishlist as I wish he'd stop being such a suck, rescind his trade demand and play his ass off.
  13. 41 Reasons to Kick Ass - November 3, 2004 / 13:11 EST: The Sporting News ranks Carter the 41st best player in the NBA and I see this as a positive, potentially lighting a much needed fire under Carter's butt. "This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season."
  14. More Than 41 - November 23, 2004 / 07:56 EST: It didn't take long to realize that Vince Carter wasn't going to perform for the Raptors the way Vince Carter can. "When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team."
  15. The Vince Carter Era Ends - December 17, 2004 / 17:36 EST: Vince Carter is traded to the New Jersey Nets. "It's time to move on my friends."

That last line of #14 says it all. I have no doubt that Carter will be awesome for the Nets. He lost all motivation here in Toronto and put it in auto pilot a long, long time ago. It's a damn shame because he had so much upside and could have been the man to lead us to the championship. Could have been, should have been, would have been...

Farewell #15. Thanks for the memories. 51 against the Suns, baby.

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XMP3 Offer

XMThe folks at XM Radio were kind enough to give me an XMP3, and I'm having a lot of fun with it, so the least I can do is tell you about this Christmas promotion they're running.

For starters, the XMp3 portable satellite radio is now on sale for $199. And, if you click that link above, you can get a free MicroSD card. There are other incentives too, so click here if you're interested.

xmp3

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I Believe In Father Christmas - Greg Lake

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.

I Believe In Father Christmas - Greg Lake
This is another Christmas song I dig. It's by Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake & Palmer and it's pretty sweet.

By the way, I normally take down MP3s I share after 7 days, but this holiday I'm keeping all the Christmas-themed tracks online through the month of December. Your best way to grab the ones you've messed is to click over to http://www.torontomike.com/weekly_mp3s/.

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Newspapers are Hurting, Because We Won't Pay

newsHere's a good article from the New Yorker on why newspapers are hurting. Here's a paragraph that makes a nice follow-up to my recent Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy entry.

The peculiar fact about the current crisis is that even as big papers have become less profitable they’ve arguably become more popular. The blogosphere, much of which piggybacks on traditional journalism’s content, has magnified the reach of newspapers, and although papers now face far more scrutiny, this is a kind of backhanded compliment to their continued relevance. Usually, when an industry runs into the kind of trouble that Levitt was talking about, it’s because people are abandoning its products. But people don’t use the Times less than they did a decade ago. They use it more. The difference is that today they don’t have to pay for it. The real problem for newspapers, in other words, isn’t the Internet; it’s us. We want access to everything, we want it now, and we want it for free. That’s a consumer’s dream, but eventually it’s going to collide with reality: if newspapers’ profits vanish, so will their product.

Over five years ago I wrote about newspapers referring to it as "a dying medium".

We want instant access to a vast number of news sources and we want this news to be fresh and available on demand. Only one medium offers this capability and you're using it right now. What will we line our bird cages with in 2010?

I think the New Yorker is right: it's not the Internet that's killing the newspaper industry, it's us. We want access to everything, we want it now, and we want it for free.

But we don't want to get what we pay for.

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Maple Leafs 3, Devils 2

LeafsIt seems we've finally found a team we can beat in a shootout. And Blake is officially back in the good books with a pretty little spin-o-rama to win this one.

But enough about Blake, let's talk about Jeremy Williams. This guy scored again last night, and potted another in the shootout, giving him goals in each of his three games since being called up. He's got a nose for the net, and we need more guys like that.

Here's Blake's goal, in case you missed it.


Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
12-12-6
30 points
4th in Northeast Division
2-1 Win vs. New Jersey
2-1 Win vs. Buffalo Sabres
4-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
M. Stajan - 24
N. Antropov - 21
N. Hagman- 19

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Head's Up

LeafsIt's looking like this is the week Mats makes his decision. I'm hearing Thursday.

Not surprisingly, I have something to say on the subject, but I need to find time to put these passionate thoughts to HTML.

This is just a head's up that my open message to Sundin is coming very, very soon.

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Toronto Radio Stations of Choice

RadioI've always loved radio. Although I have ten stations preset in my car stereo, there are only a few I actually visit.

This is an update to something I wrote over five years ago. Also, if you're interested, here's my Toronto morning show history, written before I had ever exchanged a word with Humble or Fred.

102.1 the Edge

Love it or hate it, my ideal music list plays on CFNY. It's actually been that way for as long as I can remember. I just wish they'd play more tunes in the morning, because it's the music that keeps me coming back.

CBC Radio One

It might sound corny, but I feel smarter when listening to good 'ol CBC Radio One at 99.1. Andy Barrie does a fantastic job in the morning, but the programming is pretty interesting all day long.

CBC Radio Two

I've been tuning in CBC Radio Two at 94.1 during mornings and afternoons because there are no ads and you never know what tune you're going to hear. This change might have pissed off the classical music folks, but it's made me happy. The hosts share interesting tid-bits too, and talk just enough.

92.5 JACK FM

I've also been sampling 92.5 since they became rock focused, and it's pretty good if you just want a rock variety. This morning I heard them come out of old school Bryan Adams and dive into Nirvana. Needless to say, I was singing along.

97.3 EZRock

I drop by 97.3 for one reason and one reason only. I like to check in on my pal Humble.

THE FAN 590

A man needs sports scores and updates and a little Bobcat now and then.

AM640

Leaf games and the best talk radio host in the city (Mike Stafford) get me going to 640 now and then.

That's about it. Once in a blue moon I pop over to 680 and I used to check out Q107 now and then, but I now prefer 92.5 to 107.1. What are your Toronto stations of choice?

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torontomike.com is CanadianThinker.com

MouseI've received a few emails from people wondering why torontomike.com is offline. It's not.

My buddy Fred was late renewing his torontomike.com domain name, so they suspended it for a bit. He's ironing that out with the registrar. Meanwhile, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that torontomike.com is canadianthinker.com. That means you can always visit Fred's blog by shooting over directly to www.canadianthinker.com.

This is also a good time to remind you domain name owners not to let your renewal date slip by without payment.

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Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy

Exclamation MarkTwenty years ago, most of my music was on cassette tapes. When I wanted to take my music with me, I'd actually put the tape in a dual cassette deck boombox, cue it up, place a cued up blank cassette in the other deck and simultaneously press play and record. Then, when my song was finished, I'd pause the blank tape and cue up another song in the other deck. It was a lengthy procedure, and the end result was maybe 60 minutes of music I could throw in my Walkman. I then had to listen to the music in the order I put them, because fast-forwarding was such a pain in the ass.

Today we have it awesome. I've got hundreds and hundreds of complete albums digitized and one click away. I can throw together playlists in seconds, play them in whatever order I want, or shuffle 'em. I can jump around the song, see the album cover and I can have thousands of songs on a device a great deal smaller than my Walkman ever was. It's amazing.

I can share similar tales about phones, the Internet, email, television and banking. Everything is amazing, but nobody's happy. The more we have, the more we want. The quicker we get it, the more demanding we become.

Louis CK says it below, way better than I ever could.

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Who Throws a Shoe?

videoNot to make light of the shoe attack on Dubya yesterday, but you can't watch this...

Without following it up with this...

Austin Powers: That really hurt! I'm gonna have a lump there, you idiot! Who throws a shoe? Honestly! You fight like a woman!

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Mosh Anthems - Remember the Pit

musicI was listening to the Strombo show tonight and I caught a few seconds of "Thunder Kiss '65" by White Zombie. That's all it took. I was back at 410 Sherbourne Street in the big room moshing as if nobody was watching.

For a period in the early-to-mid-90s, Monday nights meant Strange Paradise at The Phoenix. PJ Fresh Phil was there, Andy Frost was the voice and it always opened with The Beatles' "A Day In The Life." Then, it was one alternative rocker after another into the wee hours of the night. My buddies and I had mosh anthems we'd wait for before creating a pit. The trick was enjoying the pit without getting tossed by one of the trigger happy bouncers.

As I think about these Monday nights at the Phoenix, I itch to hear those moshing anthems again. Here are ten tracks that were guaranteed to feed the pit, back in the day.

Body Count - Body Count's in the House

White Zombie - Thunder Kiss '65

Nirvana - Rape Me

Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name

The Offspring - Bad Habit

Green Day - Longview

Cypress Hill - Insane in the Brain

Stone Temple Pilots - Plush

Public Enemy & Anthrax - Bring the Noise

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Honourary mentions: Beastie Boys' Sobotage, Pearl Jam's Alive or Evenflow, Offspring's Self Esteem, Ministry's New World Order, Whale's Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe, Soundgarden's Jesus Christ Post, Nirvana's Lithium, and everything else on Rage Against the Machine.

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Jesus Saves

CrossFound here.

Jesus Saves

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Control

A Movie ReelControl: 7 out of 10.

I watched the Joy Division documentary a couple of weeks ago, and this was a great follow-up. It's an Ian Curtis biopic and it's an ideal feel-good flick for this holiday season.

I kid, I kid. This black and white Anton Corbijn film will make you want to slit your wrists, but it's good. Great music, on point with what you see in the doc and well acted. I recommend it.

control

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MGMT - Kids

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS20 consideration. I'm submitting "Kids" by MGMT.

This is not the official video, it's some fan made vid, but it's good enough to be the official video. Although the guy and girl aren't actually MGMT... but the devil is in the details.

Have you heard MGMT's Oracular Spectacular yet? It's good, as is this single. If you like this, check out the Soulwax remix of "Kids" and The Kooks' most excellent acoustic cover.

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Inspirational Speeches

MoviesNeed a little inspiration? Take a couple of minutes to take this in. Now excuse me, I have to go out and kick some ass.


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Toronto Managers and Head Coaches Gassed in '08

thumbsdownI recently wrote about these tough times we're experiencing in Toronto professional sports. It seems to get worse every day. Now that A. J. Burnett has flown the coop for big bucks with the Yankees, I don't know how the Jays will crack the top three in our division for the next few years.

In the comments for that entry, someone mentioned that just about every Toronto manager / coach got fired in 2008. Except for the Rock, a team I always forget exists, the Leafs, Raptors, Argos, Toronto FC and Jays all saw a managerial / head coach change this year.

Maple Leafs - Fired both GM John Ferguson, Jr. and head coach Paul Maurice in 2008. Cliff Fletcher was replaced by Brian Burke as GM later in 2008.

Blue Jays - Fired manager John Gibbons in 2008. Somehow, J.P. Ricciardi held on to his job as GM.

Raptors - Fired head coach Sam Mitchell in 2008.

Argos - Fired head coach Rich Stubler in 2008. Don Matthews resigned as head coach later in the year.

Toronto FC - Mo Johnson stepped down as coach in 2008.

I'd hope 2009 is a better year for Toronto sports franchises, but as a realist, I'm already looking at 2010. Sigh.

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Maple Leafs 2, Sabres 1

LeafsJeremy Williams scored another goal as we took out the Sabres in Buffalo. We all know Williams has scored a goal in his first game after being called up, each of the past four seasons, but is that an NHL record?

It depends how you look at it. In terms of scoring a goal in your first game of a season, Sergei Fedorov turned in a seven-season streak from his rookie year in 1990-91 to the 1996-97 season. But Fedorov did that in his team's first game of the season, as impressive as it is. I think Williams' streak is an even better one.

And what's up with the lack of game tonight? I build my Saturday nights around Leaf games. Now I have a gaping hole to fill...

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
11-12-6
28 points
4th in Northeast Division
2-1 Win vs. Buffalo Sabres
4-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
2-1 Loss vs. Washington
M. Stajan - 23
N. Antropov - 20
N. Hagman- 19

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Winnipeg Jets Mulligan

NHLI sometimes wonder what the poor Winnipeg Jets might have done had they not shared a division with the mighty Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s. The Jets were always an exciting team, and very likable. In 1996, Jets fans were dealt the worst blow imaginable when they saw their team pack up and head south for Phoenix.

Every day it seems there's another article about how bad things are in Phoenix for the Coyotes. Here's one such article from David Shoalts in the Globe and Mail.

"I don't know how they can sustain the losses," one former governor said."The team loses so much money you can't sell it. If I were offered the team for a dollar, I'd say no because you can't fix it."

Let's face it, hockey doesn't work in Phoenix. It's also not working in Florida, Nashville or Atlanta. It worked in Winnipeg, however, where we're born and bred to worship the sport. The fact Phoenix has Winnipeg's franchise is sinful, and this wrong needs to be righted.

Let's call a mulligan and move the Coyotes back to Winnipeg where they belong. Bring back the Jets.

Winnipeg Jets

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The NewMusic

The NewMusicThe NewMusic first aired on CityTV back in 1979. As I mentioned yesterday, this show has been cancelled.

The NewMusic was smart. I watched this show weekly as a younger man, as it was the only music show that was both cool and smart. MuchMusic is now for the brain dead and pop addicts, but it wasn't always this way. I remember this CityTV show eventually started airing on Much, back when they actually played videos. Remember that?

I'm very sorry to see a show like The NewMusic can't survive in this day and age. I wonder if we're now dumbing everything down to the point it's a cut from Jackass and a one-liner from Larry the Cable Guy. I'm going to miss knowing The NewMusic is out there, covering popular music in a broad social, political and economic context.

Here are some of the big names who hosted The NewMusic.

  • Jeanne Beker (1979 - 1985)
  • J. D. Roberts (1979 - 1985)
  • Daniel Richler (1985 - 1987)
  • Laurie Brown (1985 - 1990)
  • Denise Donlon (1986 - 1993)
  • Jana Lynne White (1990 - 1996)
  • Avi Lewis (1996 - 1999)
  • Byron Wong (1999 - 2000)
  • George Stroumboulopoulos (2000 - 2004)
  • Hannah Sung (2004 - 2006)
  • Hannah Simone (2006 - 2008)

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Bettie Page, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBettie Page was 85. She was the brunet pinup queen with a shoulder-length pageboy hairdo and kitschy bangs whose saucy photos helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

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Doing Away With Moses Znaimer

citytvAt Queen and John Streets, you'll now find Moses Znaimer Way. The CITY-TV founder has been honoured by city hall with a street sign bearing his name.

I find it ironic that they're resurrecting a sign to honour Moses while Rogers dismantles every stitch of ingenuity he brought to CITY-TV. Earlier this month, CTVglobemedia announced cuts that included the demise of The NewMusic, a show that was a legend for its part in launching new bands and the careers of a score of TV hosts and presenters. That's right Toronto music fans, The NewMusic is dead.

The NewMusic joins Ed the Sock, Amber Mac, Silverman Helps and Speakers Corner in the Rogers CITY-TV graveyard.

It's no longer Moses Znaimer's way.

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Charlie Wilson's War

A Movie ReelCharlie Wilson's War: 7 out of 10.

I liked Charlie Wilson's War. Tom Hanks was very good and Philip Seymour Hoffman stole the show, but everything that damn Julia Roberts showed up, it started to piss me off. I just don't like Julia Roberts.

But Philip Seymour Hoffman... damn, this guy is worth his weight in gold.

Charlie Wilson's War

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TTC Rap: I Get On The TTC

TTCI'm a few days late on this one, but "I Get On (the TTC)" is a parody of Young Jeezy and Kanye West's "Put On" by Humber College student Syrus Watson and Centennial College student Randal Medford.

It's gone viral in the 416. If you're outside the 416, I suppose you can still watch.


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Brendan Canning - Churches Under the Stairs

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS20 consideration. I'm submitting "Churches Under the Stairs" by Brendan Canning.

Broken Social Scene, the Toronto indie rock supergroup collective, has this "Broken Social Scene Presents" series that features solo work by BSS members. Brendan Canning is the second member to be featured and "Churches Under the Stairs" is his new single.

Canning, by the way, was in hHead. I loved the hHead tune "Happy" back in the day, and still stick it on playlists for the iPod. And get this, Brendan Canning is the subject of an upcoming Bruce McDonald documentary. That should be cool.

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Meet Mr. Mugs

bookMr. Mugs is a sheep dog who was featured in these readers I used when learning how to read. Mr. Mugs taught me to read, and since he's no longer part of the Canadian school curriculum, I preserved him for all of eternity.

Ranking #2 in Google for Mr. Mugs results in lots of interesting emails like the one below from Patrick.

I am not from Canada (from the states) and am assuming that Mr. Mugs was a Canada specific series of books. I found your site because I googled " mr. Mugs" as I have a button with his name on it that my grandparents had in the bottom of an auction box they purchased maybe 15 years ago.. it has been stuck in a bulletin board in my classroom (I teach) for years now, and I have been trying to find out what on earth Mr Mugs is!

Here's the button Patrick found. If you remember Mr. Mugs, you'll get a kick out of this.

mugs

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Tough Times in Toronto Sports

CN TowerThe high point in Toronto Sports probably happened in 1993. There was a week there when Joe Carter touched 'em all to secure the Blue Jays' second consecutive World Series and the Leafs won 10 in a row to open their season. If that was the high, this might just be the low.

The Leafs are bad. They won't make the playoffs. They're rebuilding and the expectations are as low as they get.

The Raptors have lost five in a row. They don't seem interested in making the playoffs this season. High hopes are quickly being doused.

The Blue Jays haven't played a playoff game in fifteen years, and here's betting they don't play one in 2009.

Toronto FC isn't a playoff team, the Argos are in the dumpster, heck, even the Toronto Bills can't score a touchdown.

The Toronto sports fan has little hope, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. These are tough times, my friends.

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The Pogues - Fairytale of New York

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 Pogues - Fairytale of New York
This is my favourite Christmas song.

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Outgrowing Tom

Teddy BearI'm bummed out because I just realized my son doesn't need Tom anymore. Tom is James' teddy bear and James wouldn't go to bed without him... but now he doesn't need Tom at all.

He's outgrown Tom. Here he is with Tom four years ago. Excuse me, I need a moment...

january6-2005-james

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Maple Leafs 4, Islanders 2

LeafsWho was that wearing Jason Blake's #55 last night? With six points in his last three games, including three last night, Blake is threatening to become an asset.

One of those assists came on Jeremy Williams' first goal of the season after getting called up from the Marlies. Williams has now been called up the NHL four times, and has always scored in his first game. That's incredible - four different call-ups, and a goal in each of his first NHL games. I was equally excited when he did this for the third time in February.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
10-12-6
26 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
2-1 Loss vs. Washington
6-3 Loss vs. Phoenix
M. Stajan - 23
N. Antropov - 20
N. Hagman- 19

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Satellite Radio Faces Mega Competition

XMI've had my XMP3 player with XM Satellite Radio for a few weeks now. I thought it might be a good time to share what I like about it and what I dislike about my latest toy.

Today I wanted to take a walk at lunch, and instead of grabbing my beloved iPod Touch, I grabbed my XMP3 player. I chose satellite today because sometimes I like not knowing what could be around the corner. There's something sweet about having no idea what's on the playlist - you don't know what you're going to hear until you hear it.

Another satellite radio feature that's grown on me lately is the comedy stations. It's damn fun walking while listening to good comedy. There's a few comedy stations on XM to choose from, so there's always something funny. A good comedian delivering a good routine can make you totally forget you're walking in freezing temps.

On the negative side of the ledger, there are places where the reception isn't perfect. Nothing is more annoying than grooving to a song and experiencing a second of dad air while the signal is lost. In most places the reception is fine, but when you encounter these rough spots, it can ruin everything. Thankfully, if things get too hairy, the XMP3 player will play my MP3s, but it's still a pain in the ass.

Otherwise, the only negative with XM radio is that I can't listen to Howard Stern. I know the merger is taking place, but it's not complete. XM is still Stern-less, and for a fan like me that's a shame.

I'm having a lot of fun with this gadget. Satellite radio faces mega competition, from MP3s, HD radio, WiMax, and good ol' terrestrial radio, which still rules in my car. It will be interesting to see where satellite stands in another five years.

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Toronto Plays Itself in Toronto Stories

moviesIt's not uncommon to see Toronto on the big screen, but usually we're playing Chicago or New York or some other American city. Toronto Stories is an indie film that premiered at the 2008 TIFF and now has a one-week run at the Royal Cinema starting on December 12th. The premise is very cool: four chapters bound together by one interwoven narrative and set in Toronto.

I'm lucky enough to have this film on DVD and I plan to watch it before its one-week run at the Royal. The directors are Sook Yin Lee, Sudz Sutherland, David Weaver and Aaron Woodley and Toronto Stories was shot in the four corners of the city, from the Don Valley and Cabbagetown to Kensington Market, from St. Clair and Vaughan to the back-alleys of the downtown core and majestic Union Station.

It also features a cool Toronto-made soundtrack, including tunes by Final Fantasy, Riverdale Farm, Broken Social Scene, Jason Collett, Glissandro 70 and Ohbijou.

I'll let you know how it is.

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Top Ten Christmas Songs

christmasWhile listening to yet another rendition of Silent Night this morning, I thought it might be a good time to update my list of ten favourite Christmas songs.

Here's an initial stab at it.

  • The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
  • 2000 Miles - The Pretenders
  • Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
  • Baby It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles and Betty Carter
  • Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby and David Bowie
  • Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam
  • Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
  • John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War is Over)
  • Band Aid - Do They Know it's Christmas?
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas - Coldplay

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Decorating the Christmas Tree

treePerhaps my favourite day of the year is decorate-the-house-for-Christmas day. Today was that day.

The kids love it. We put up the tree, decorate it, unbox all the Christmasy things and put them up around the house, put up the Christmas lights outside and hang the stockings. Now I'm in the spirit.

This is why kids were invented.

PC078398 PC078386 PC078396

PC078389

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NFL Regular Season Debut in Toronto

billsTen years ago, this would have been a huge day for me. My favourite NFL team is calling the stadium formerly known as SkyDome home for a game that actually counts in the standings. At 4pm today it's the Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins, live from the Rogers Centre.

I'll probably tune in for a bit, a novelty first in my own backyard, but I don't really care. It's not like it's the Toronto Bills... we're just borrowing Buffalo's team to make a bunch of rich guys richer and officially extend the boundaries of Bills Country. I'm not even sure I want the Toronto Bills for fear that would be the final blow to our CFL. If it comes down to the CFL vs. NFL, my heart's decided.

Maybe I'm just bitter because I felt mislead by the so-called ticket lottery. Maybe I'm still upset that Flutie didn't start the Music City Miracle game. Maybe this game just makes me, as a Torontonian, feel a little used. After all, this ain't Buffalo.

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Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 2

LeafsDuring a write-off season like this, I enjoy focusing on the few bright spots, especially our young jedi Luke Schenn. It was tough to see him go down last night with a lower-body injury, and he'll be out for at least two weeks.

Remember when we outshot the opponent in every game this season? That streak came to a grinding halt, and we've now been outshot in five of our last six games.

Our Maple Leafs have won just four times in 13 home games this season, but one of those home wins was a dismantling of the Habs I saw first hand from the bestest seats ever. I got lucky.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
9-12-6
24 points
Tied for 4th in Northeast Division
2-1 Loss vs. Washington
6-3 Loss vs. Phoenix
5-2 Loss vs. San Jose
M. Stajan - 22
N. Antropov - 20
N. Hagman- 19

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Your Tragically Hip Primer

The TragI'm writing this Tragically Hip primer off the top of my head, because I was there and I remember.

In 1989, I heard "Blow at High Dough" on Q107. The bluesy rock sound so captivated me, my buddy Joe and I headed downtown the next weekend so I could buy The Tragically Hip's Up To Here at Sam the Record Man. He picked up Alice Cooper's Welcome to my Nightmare, but I digress. I came home and played my first Hip album and I was smitten.

"New Orleans Is Sinking" and "Boots or Hearts" would also make Q107's Top Ten at 10, but I'm going to share another track from this magnificent slice of Cancon. "38 Years Old" wasn't sung live since 1993 until one magic night at Fort York in 2006. I was there and here's that performance that gave me goosebumps.

Again, in a ritual I was loyal to when it involved "my bands", I eagerly anticipated Road Apples and couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on it in 1991. "Little Bones" exploded on the charts, but there were other gems, including this song which would have been my wedding song had I had a real wedding with music and all. This is "Long Time Running."

Then, when you thought things couldn't get any better with this amazing Kingston, Ontario band, they released "Fully Completely." Are you kidding me? This album had amazing rock numbers like "Courage," "Looking for a Place to Happen," "At the Hundredth Meridian" and "Locked in the Trunk of a Car," a Toronto Maple Leafs anthem that introduced me to Bill Barilko in "Fifty Mission Cap" and perhaps the sweetest song I've ever heard, drenched in Canadiana and opening with a call from a loon. Yes, a friggin' loon! Here's "Wheat Kings."

Hip fans get it. If you don't, it's probably better for us that you don't understand. If I had to name my favourite band of all-time, my answer would be The Tragically Hip. They offer me an ideal blend of great bluesy rock numbers, tender ballads, amazing live performances while weaving a uniquely Canadian tapestry that evokes both pride and the satisfaction that they belong to us. No, they never made it big in the United States, but that hasn't stopped me from seeing them ten times.

I've enjoyed every release since Fully Completely, the album that broke them for the masses. Every release has a wonderful gem or two or three. Here's one of my most recent favourites, "It's a Good Life if you Don't Weaken" from their 2002 CD In Violet Light. If you want to see more official Hip videos, I once compiled them all on one convenient page.

Now how to end my Tragically Hip primer... I know! Here's what should have become the new opening for Hockey Night in Canada. This one is "Lonely End of the Rink" from their most recent album, World Container.

If you're still interested, check out my Tragically Hip page and my tribute to Bill Barilko.

Others in this series:

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Big Pimpin'

thumbsupFreddie P did a pretty good job pimping my services earlier today, so I thought I'd follow that up with a little pimpin' of my own.

I've got an entire page dedicated to what I call web presence management services, but in a nutshell, if you're looking for a personal site or blog or a web presence for your business or community, I can hold your hand and handle everything from A to Z. Here's what I can do for you.

  1. Secure your domain name
  2. Acquire an appropriate web hosting package
  3. Install and configure Movable Type (your CMS)
  4. Design and develop your new web site
  5. Map an ideal navigational structure
  6. Migrate site design to Movable Type templates
  7. Write effective content for your audience
  8. Create / modify images
  9. Publish approved web site to web
  10. Optimize content and XHTML for search engines (SEO)
  11. Education transfer to ensure the less technically savvy can manage their own blog / site
  12. Site maintenance
  13. Strategize complementary web marketing, from RSS feeds to newsletters and beyond

Everyone's situation is unique, but I've been told I'm super easy to work with, extremely flexible, and very reasonably priced. Contact me if you want to chat about your emarketing / web presence management needs, whether you have $300 or $3000 in your budget.

We now return to our regular blogging schedule.

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Tipitina's Foundation - O Holy Night

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.

Tipitina's Foundation - O Holy Night
No, it's not Wednesday, but I've received a few requests for this song and I thought I'd share it sooner rather than later.

"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is long gone, but there's one gift this show gave us that keeps on giving. Their Christmas show featured an awesome jazz rendition of "O Holy Night" by musicians from New Orleans. You've really got to hear this version which has become a holiday staple for me. Enjoy.

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Coldplay vs. Joe Satriani

musicJoe Satriani has filed a lawsuit against Coldplay, accusing the popular British band of plagiarizing one of his songs on their latest hit album, according to court documents published on Thursday.

Satriani recorded "If I Could Fly" back in 2004 and it sounds a lot like Coldplay's "Viva la Vida". In fact, after you watch the youtubery below, you'll hear the similarities. My sweet Lord!

I picked up Joe Satriani's Flying in a Blue Dream back in 1989 when Q107 was playing the crap out of "Big Bad Moon".

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Not Elwy, But Close Enough

EmailI got an email from Ed today. Here's what he wrote.

Hi Mike: My name is Ed and my e-mail address is *****@cogeco.ca

The reason I am sending this e-mail is that for years I have been trying to track down a movie which I used to watch growing up.

I am 61 years old and the movie I am thinking of used to air on the late movies on CBC every Christmas from I'm guessing about 1953 to at least late 1960's, probably before videos became popular.

I don't know the title or the actors but I can tell you what the story was about. I think about this flic every Christmas and would like to obtain a copy if at all possible. Anyway here goes:

It was about a rural family circa 1940's or so very happy until illness struck and both parents passed away leaving the oldest boy to care for the siblings. This task became too much for him and by the end ov the movie on Christmas eve he had to take his brothers and sisters and give them away to neighbours leaving him all alone.

This a very haunting ending but a great movie I would like to share with my family. If you can help me out I would appreciate it very much. Originally I was trying to contact Elwy Yost thinking that with his knowledge of movies he could help me.

Thanks for your attention

Firstly, that's the saddest premise for a Christmas movie, ever. I'd be liable to slit my wrists after viewing a flick like that. Man, that's a holiday bummer and a half.

I did some strategic Googling, and I think I know the movie you're looking for. I believe it's called "Climax!: The Day They Gave Babies Away". There's not much on the IMDB page but I found an unmarked up summary here.

The Christmas, 1955 presentation of the CBS anthology Climax! was based on a true story in the lives of the ancestors of co-scenarists Dale and Katherine Eunson. Set in rural Wisconsin in the 1860s, the story begins on a somber note, as both parents of 12-year-old Robbie Eunson (Brandon De Wilde die within a few months of each other. Now the man of the family, Robbie sets about to honor his mother's dying wish, that proper homes be provided for Robbie and his five younger siblings. Thus it is that on Christmas eve, Robbie visits several of his neighbors, offering to give away his brothers and sisters. Joan Evans, actress daugher of the Eunsons, serves as narrator. Adapted from the authors' Cosmopolitan magazine article, "The Day They Gave Babies Away" was later transformed into a theatrical feature film, All Mine to Give (1957); of the TV play's cast, only Stephan Woolton repeated his role (as Jimmie Eunson) in the movie, though Allen Reisner directed both versions. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

And in closing, let me nominate "The Day They Gave Babies Away" as the greatest title of a Christmas movie possible. "The Day They Gave Babies Away" promises fun for the entire family this holiday season, get your copy today!

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Harper / Hitler Downfall (Der Untergang) Remix

ottawaSince we've been prorogued, somebody remixed a scene from the movie "Downfall" with Adolf Hitler as the voice of Stephen Harper.

Remixing this scene from "Downfall" has been all the rage in 2008 so it's nice to see the Prime Minister doesn't escape unscathed.


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Maple Leafs 3, Coyotes 6

LeafsLet's talk about Tomas Kaberle. He's still got that baby face, but can you believe this guy is now 30-years old? He's been a Leaf since 1996, and is consistently one of our top performers. Until this season, I don't recall any complaints about Kaberle. He's just been solid.

Now Kaberle is firmly situated in Ron Wilson's doghouse. Wilson has certain players he just doesn't dig. Maybe he expects more from them or maybe he thinks they're dogging it, whatever the reason Wilson isn't shy about sending messages in clear daylight. In fact, Wilson benched Kaberle for the first period last night and Kaberle responded with perhaps his worst game ever.

When asked if he was sending a message to Kaberle, Wilson said, "Yeah, and I guess he sent a message back with a minus [three]."

Expect to see Kaberle traded as soon as Burke can get it done. I just hope we're not tossing the baby with the bathwater here.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
9-11-6
24 points
4th in Northeast Division
6-3 Loss vs. Phoenix
5-2 Loss vs. San Jose
3-1 Win vs. Los Angeles
M. Stajan - 21
N. Antropov - 19
N. Hagman- 19

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Your Pearl Jam Primer

pearljamI'm writing this Pearl Jam primer off the top of my head, because I was there and I remember.

For me, Pearl Jam flew in under a cloud of Nirvana dust. My ear buds were freaking out over Nirvana's Nevermind when our local alt rock station, CFNY, started playing Pearl Jam. The media lumped them together as part of Seattle's grunge scene. I didn't care what they called it, so long as they played it. Ten, released in the summer of 1991, was a play-through I played through about 4 zillion times. You can hear Alive, Evenflow, Black and Jeremy on any rock station on any day, but I preferred Porch, particularly this version from their Unplugged performance for MTV.

While waiting for Vs., we got a couple of great Pearl Jam tracks on the Singles soundtrack. State of Love and Trust was one of those soundtrack tunes that was way too good not to appear on a studio album.

Pearl Jam could rock out with Eddie's wail, but those ballads could carry the night. One moment you're yelling until your throat hurts and the next moment you've got the lighter out and you're swaying back and forth staring at the stars. Here's Eddie and his pal Ben Harper singing one such song.

On the morning of my first day of university, I awoke to one of my favourite covers of all-time. This is Pearl Jam singing Victoria Williams' Crazy Mary for the Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams LP and I still love it.

Studio album #3 was Vitalogy, another Pearl Jam album I got on its first day of release. Do kids even do that anymore? Did the internet kill that feeling you get when you'd peel off the plastic on day one and throw that disc you've anticipated for months into the player?

When I first spun Vitalogy, I couldn't get over one track that just got my heart racing. It's even better live. It's Corduroy.

I could go on forever about Pearl Jam, a band I've seen live six times. I've got lots more on my little Pearl Jam in Toronto page, if you're interested. The weight of the Pearl Jam catalogue is impressive, even without delving too deep into the rarities and b-sides. For my money, nothing beats Daughter with the extended It's Ok tag.

Let me just leave you with another cover... this one a recent cover of Hunters and Collectors' Throw Your Arms Around Me.

Ok, I lied. There's only one fitting way to close out a Pearl Jam show, and that's with Yellow Ledbetter. G'night, all.

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I Was There and I Remember

musicI was 15 when the 1990s arrived and 24 when the decade ended. I don't care who you are, it's unlikely you'll ever again love music the way you loved music between the ages of 15 and 24. Between the ages of 15 and 24, music is everything.

It's no wonder I look back at music from the 90s, particularly the first half of that decade, which such adoration. I loved so many bands, played so much air guitar, hung posters on my bedroom wall. I was there and I remember it like it was yesterday.

That's why I'm going to do something different over the next few weeks. I'm going to take a 90s band I loved and present a sort of band primer. I'm not going to copy stuff from Wikipedia or worry too much about facts, I'm just going to share my love for a band and how I remember it unfolding, complete with YouTubery for additional context.

I think I know just the band for my first primer. I'll write that later tonight.

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Prorogue - Your Word of the Day

OttawaHey kids, today's word of the day is prorogue. It's quite possible you've never heard this word before, so you'll want to read on so you don't feel dumb while watching CBC Newsworld tonight.

Prorogue:

tr.v., -rogued, -rogu·ing, -rogues.

  1. To discontinue a session of (a parliament, for example).
  2. To postpone; defer.

Prorogation:

A prorogation is the period between two sessions of a legislative body. When a legislature or parliament is prorogued, it is still constituted (that is, all members remain as members and a general election is not necessary), but all orders of the body (bills, motions, etc.) are expunged. (In the British parliament, this has now changed somewhat in that Public Bills can be carried over from one session to another.)

In the British and Canadian parliamentary systems, this is usually due to the completion of the agenda set forth in the Speech from the Throne (in the UK, called the legislative programme, and also "the Queen's Speech"). Legislatures and parliaments, once prorogued, remain in recess until summoned again by the Queen, Governor General, or Lieutenant Governor, and a new session is begun with the State Opening of Parliament and the Speech from the Throne.

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean has granted a request from Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament until late next month, a move that avoids a confidence vote set for Monday that could would have toppled his minority government.

We got prorogued.

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Cloverfield

A Movie ReelCloverfield: 6.5 out of 10.

My Mayhem in Manhattan week continues. I caught I Am Legend earlier in the week and last night I watched Cloverfield, yet another "anarchy in Manhattan, God help us all" flick.

When this movie came out, we were six years removed from 9/11. You can't help but think back to that day when you see things crashing into buildings, buildings falling down and people running for cover to escape blowing debris down the streets of New York. This movie couldn't have been released in 2002.. or 2003 or 2004. The fact we can watch these scenes and find fun in it is a good indication of how far we've come and how successfully we've returned to normalcy.

Cloverfield is fun... sort of Blair Witch Project meets Escape From New York. Watching I Am Legend and Cloverfield back-to-back is kinda cool, too.

Cloverfield

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Sam Mitchell Fired as Raptors Coach

Raptors BasketballNamed NBA's coach of the year a little over one season ago, Sam Mitchell has been fired as head coach of the Toronto Raptors. He's been replaced on an interim basis by Jay Triano, a Niagara Falls, Ontario native best known for coaching the Canadian men's team from 1998-2004.

I'm sorry to see Smitch go, but this team was in danger of being left for good in that wasteland between the contenders and horrible. On a positive note, Jay Triano is now the first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history.

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Bolt

A Movie ReelBolt: 4 out of 10.

I caught Bolt in 3D before it hit theatres and wrote about the 3D experience here. The 3D aspect, although a bit much, was distracting enough to make the first third of this film tolerable.

I brought my daughter along and she was thrilled to learn Miley Cyrus was one of the voice actors, but I sensed even she started getting bored as it dragged mid-way through. Elongated drags in animated features have this magic ability to make 90 minutes feel closer to four hours.

The pigeons are sort of interesting and the hamster is practically funny, but everything else gives weight to the old adage "there's Pixar and there's Pixaren't."

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Johnny Bower - Honky the Christmas Goose

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.

Johnny Bower - Honky the Christmas Goose
Sung with Little John and the Rinky Dinks, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Johnny Bower's "Honky the Christmas Goose" was released in 1965 and enjoyed a significant amount of airplay, making it to number 29 on our Canadian music charts.

1965 was just slightly ahead of my time, but I discovered this tune a while back and resurrect it every December. It's corny fun.

Here's more about The China Wall, Maple Leafs legend and singer of "Honkey the Christmas Goose".

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I Am Legend

A Movie ReelI Am Legend: 7 out of 10.

The less you know about this film going in, the better. I didn't know anything about it and I'm a solid year late in watching it.

I'm not giving anything away to suggest this movie is worth your time for the special effects alone. The scenes of a deserted Manhattan are pretty awesome.

Sure, there are a few plot holes, but ain't those Manhattan street shots cool!

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Stay Classy, Sean Avery

microphoneSean Avery never met a microphone he didn't like. As previously discussed, Toronto doesn't like Sean Avery, so nothing he says surprises or shocks any more. His act has grown old and stale and it's time for us to do our part and ignore his antics.

Stay classy, Sean Avery.

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Californication Does Nirvana and Pearl Jam

musicI call it the show I love to hate. Californication is a David Duchovny series my wife and I watch and it drives me batty. It's so damn contrived and cringe inducing. It's that guy you know who tries so bloody hard to be cool, he's anything but.

We just watched the latest episode and it was surprisingly decent. I'd say it's the most watchable of the 22 eps I've seen. It also included songs from two of my favourite bands of all time: Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

"Heart Shaped Box" played during a flashback scene to the day Kurt's body was discovered and "Nothingman" played during another flashback to later that same week in 1994. It wasn't long ago that tunes from these two bands were off limits for film, television and commercial licensing. That's obviously no longer the case.

The first time I remember hearing a Nirvana song used for such a purpose was a Six Feet Under episode from the last season when “All Apologies” played in a flashback scene in which Nate Fisher talked about Cobain’s death. Now that Courtney has sold out to Primary Wave it seems Nirvana is showing up in video games, television shows and, any day now, a shampoo or jeans commercial.

Here's that awesome scene from Six Feet Under, a series I miss more and more each time I watch Californication.


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Odetta, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumOdetta Holmes was 77. She was the deep-voiced folk singer whose ballads and songs became for many a soundtrack to the American civil rights movement. She was also a major influence on Bob Dylan.

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Maple Leafs 2, Sharks 5

LeafsSo that's how a good team plays... I hope the Leafs were taking notes. One day, we too can be the San Jose Sharks.

Did you know Matt Stajan leads the Leafs with 21 points but is only 47th overall in the NHL in that category? It's true, you can look it up.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
9-10-6
24 points
4th in Northeast Division
5-2 Loss vs. San Jose
3-1 Win vs. Los Angeles
4-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
M. Stajan - 21
N. Antropov - 19
N. Hagman- 19

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The Slippery Slope

notepadIn "This Note's For You," Neil Young sang about not selling out.

Ain't singin' for Pepsi
Ain't singin' for Coke
I don't sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note's for you.

It's easy for Neil to make these claims as he's a multi-millionaire with a popular back catalogue that still sells. On this blog I'm careful to fully disclose when I'm writing something because I've been paid to do so. When I write about XM Radio, I clearly state that it's because they gave me an MP3 player.

Toronto Mike is on Disney Canada's media list. That means Disney sets me up with free passes to advance screenings of their movies. I have two kids in the Disney demo and as the sole earner in a single income family, these entertainment perks are appreciated. My daughter and I saw Bolt before its release and my son and I going to see Bedtime Stories in a couple of weeks. The kids are happy, I'm happy and my bank account is happy. Except there's a problem...

I conveniently forgot to review Bolt. I knew my review was going to be harshly negative and I thought a Disney slam could get Toronto Mike stripped from Disney Canada's media list. The Toronto Star and CHUM-FM don't need to worry about such things, but my media claims are a little less sticky.

I've given it some thought, and here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to review Bolt as if I had paid $20 or whatever to see it. We'll then see if Bedtime Stories is my last Disney perk. It's a slippery slope and I feel as if I'm letting Neil down.

Neilyoung2

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Jack White's Coke Ad

tvI never watch non-sports or non-news television before 9pm, but in need of a little break from a project I'm working on I just caught a little of a show called Ad Persuasion airing on IFC.

They opened with a Coke commercial from 2006 that I completely missed. The jingle was composed and sung by Jack White and it's a visual treat.

Here it is in case you missed it too.


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November 2008 Organic Keywords

Search Strings According to Google Analytics, here are the top ten keywords that brought people to this site in November 2008.

Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was the young Somali Republic girl stoned to death, according to Amnesty International and Somalia media. I wrote about her and to this day I'm in the top five results for her name in Google.

This was an international story, and although visits from the United States still dominated this search, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Hong Kong SAR China and Spain each had significant slices of the pie. By comparison, 99% of visitors who Googled wedding songs live in Canada.

  1. aisha ibrahim duhulow
  2. wedding songs
  3. edmonton meteor
  4. christmas playlist
  5. big shiny tunes 5
  6. george carlin quotes
  7. hockey songs
  8. prima tv
  9. wedding songs 2008
  10. kenny maclean

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Maple Leafs 3, Kings 1

LeafsBrian Burke is 2-0 as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tosky was sharp and Grabs scored his 10th goal.

The Grabovski pick-up was a wise move by Fletch, but I still shake my head at the Jamal Mayers trade. We shouldn't be giving up draft picks for a guy like that. Mayers broke his hand last night and is likely gone for a month.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
9-9-6
24 points
4th in Northeast Division
3-1 Win vs. Los Angeles
4-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
2-1 OTL vs. Ottawa
M. Stajan - 21
N. Antropov - 18
N. Hagman- 17

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Ted Rogers, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumTed Rogers was 75. He was the founder and CEO of Rogers Communications, which owns the Toronto Blue Jays, five Citytv television stations across the country, as well as the Rogers cable TV, wireless, radio and magazine businesses, including Maclean's and Chatelaine.

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A Figurehead With Power

OttawaWhen they taught us in primary school about our Governor General, they always referred to the position as symbolic and merely a figurehead with no actual power. Canada is, after all, a democratic nation, and the Governor General is merely a tip of the hat to the Queen of England... a bow to our nation's royal roots.

This crazy coalition government proposal is gaining steam, and it's looking like Governor General Michaëlle Jean is now a figurehead with actual power. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc have reached a deal that would make Stephane Dion our Prime Minister and put members of the NDP in cabinet positions. The Bloc won't vote against this coalition for at least 18 months. This means Dion will become PM without an election, even though he himself is stepping down in May as the Liberals appoint a new leader, who would then become our new Prime Minister.

Of course, it's all going to be up to Michaëlle Jean. She has the power to agree to this proposal or deny it, sending us back to the polls for yet another election. It's her call, this symbolic nod to our old British ties has teeth.

And if this coalition chatter has you feeling dizzy, don't feel bad. We're in unchartered waters here. We have a parliamentary system that's quite a bit more malleable than that cut and dry electoral-college-vote-for-president thingy down south.

You won't find me joining Facebook protest groups or rallying against it with others who feel it's undemocratic. It's parliamentary pandemonium and it's crazy enough to work.

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Beta Forever?

emailI experienced a frustrating issue with Google Chat in Gmail today. It wouldn't log me in, telling me my system administrator had blocked me. I knew that wasn't true, so I started trouble shooting on my own.

It turns out I had enabled a feature in Google Labs, where Google tests things out before unleashing the enhancement upon the masses. I was enjoying Google Calendar in Gmail, but this apparently broke Google Chat today. Disabling the feature in Labs fixed things.

That's when I realized, Gmail is still beta. It's been 4.5 years since Gmail launched and it's still in beta.

Will Gmail be in beta forever and why exactly is that?

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Pit Martin, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumHubert "Pit" Martin was 64. He played in the NHL from 1961-79, posting 324 goals and 485 assists for 809 points in 1,101 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks.

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Rage Against the Machine

musicAlthough I listen to less and less terrestrial radio these days, with MP3s so accessible and my XM satellite radio subscription, my go-to station for tunes continues to be 102.1 The Edge.

Even before this past weekend's 90s Weekend theme I could sense a dramatic increase in the frequency CFNY would play Rage Against the Machine. It seemed like every time I tuned in the station I was greeted with a Rage Against the Machine track. If you're asking me, this is a good thing.

<Grampa Simpson-Like Story>

During my last year at Michael Power High School, I adored that self titled debut album from RATM. Already a rap and rock fan who preferred politically charged lyrics, that album blew my mind. I can't tell you how many times I spun that CD - it instantly found a home in my top ten albums of all-time list and it might still be there.

Every track was killer.

  1. "Bombtrack" - 4:05
  2. "Killing in the Name" - 5:14
  3. "Take the Power Back" - 5:37
  4. "Settle for Nothing" - 4:48
  5. "Bullet in the Head" - 5:09
  6. "Know Your Enemy" - 4:55
  7. "Wake Up" - 6:04
  8. "Fistful of Steel" - 5:31
  9. "Township Rebellion" - 5:24
  10. "Freedom" - 6:06

And these tunes hold up to this day, dammit!

</Grampa Simpson-Like Story>

ratm

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