March 2009 Archives

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Star Wars With a Dallas Opening

starwarsI enjoyed this.


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Down Goes Fake Brian Burke on Twitter

twitterThe fake Brian Burke on Twitter is dead. Down Goes Brown just made the announcement.

I first wrote about the fake Brian Burke on Twitter back in January. At the time, it was a joke shared by a few that struck my funny bone.

Since that entry, I've read about the fake Brian Burke on Twitter all over the place. Just the other day Damien Cox wrote about it and quoted Brian Burke as saying he might sue. It's no longer our little secret, and now the fun is over.

Rest in peace, fake Brian Burke on Twitter. I, for one, will never forget you.

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Juno Awards: City and Colour with Gord Downie

musicI didn't watch a minute of the Juno Awards. Does that make me a bad Canadian? The artists receiving the big hype weren't my cup of tea and I cringe at the thought that Canadian music is now synonymous with Nickelback.

Because I didn't watch the Junos, I missed City and Colour with Gord Downie performing one of my favourite tracks of 2008. This is "Sleeping Sickness."

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Earth Hour 2009 - The Big Picture

CN TowerEarth Hour 2009 made for some nice photos at The Big Picture.

Here's the skyline of downtown Toronto before and after Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28, 2009.

Before

before

After

after

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Indie-Mainstream Blogs Never Scaled in Toronto

MouseI enjoy following Scroll on Twitter because he's always thinking aloud about the new media and traditional media and how the two should coexist. Earlier today, he made the following tweet:

I will peg the current number of active Twittererers in the Greater Toronto Area at 8,000; too high/low/what?

I actually think 8,000 is a pretty good guess. I took Scroll's opening and threw him a question I've been pondering since September. How many active blogs are there in the GTA? Scroll responded:

@torontomike no way the number in Toronto who actively maintained a decent hobby blog ever passed 500; trumped by Facebook; now must be <100

Scroll thinks there are less than a 100 active bloggers in the GTA. Why so few?

@torontomike always lots of fiddling or niches but the # doing it as an indie-mainstream "broadcast" never scaled here; maybe mommy bloggers

I'm glad I hedged my bets by picking up TorontoMommy.com.

It's time for a census. GTA bloggers, post your links below!

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2009 NHL Playoff Pool

Lord Stanley's CupMy favourite time of year is quickly approaching. The NHL playoffs are mere weeks away. That also means it's time for our annual playoff pool.

Draft day is April 13. Here are the official rules. Here's a peek at previous drafts:

If you know me in the real world, and you're interested in participating in this year's draft, please contact me and I'll give you specifics. This year's pool promises to be the best yet.

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Is This Heaven?

questionmarkMy 7-year old may have found heaven this afternoon.

With nobody between him and a table full of ice cream bars, popcorn, pretzels, fresh pizza and cold drinks, James made his move...

P3298749

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Marlies Playoff Picture Dims

MarliesToronto is a playoff-free zone. This is true for the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Argos, TFC and Blue Jays. I've referred to the Marlies as an anomaly is this town, because I expect them to actually make the playoffs.

This afternoon, I watched our Marlies fall to the Syracuse Crunch in a shootout. That tied the Crunch with us for the final playoff berth in the AHL's North Division. If we're not careful, my plans to watch playoff hockey in this city from the first row could go down the drain.

Otherwise, it was another great afternoon for the kids and I at the Ricoh Coliseum. We got Duke the Dog bobblehead dolls, great seats, feisty action, a close game and some Rogers TV face time. We PVR'd the game just in case we made the telecast, and late in the first period when Derek MacKenzie hit Ryan Hollweg from behind, we made the boob tube.

The final regular season game is here in Toronto on Saturday, April 11, against the Montreal Canadien affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs. That game could be huge.

P3298746

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Maple Leafs 5, Bruins 7

LeafsThe joke you'll be hearing today is that the Maple Leafs turned off their goaltending for Earth Hour last night. After allowing six goals in 33 minutes before getting pulled, Justin Pogge's goals against average was sitting at a frightening .832.

My buddy Pogge isn't ready for prime time. It's as simple as that.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
31-32-13
73 points
4th in Northeast Division
7-5 Loss vs. Boston
5-3 Loss vs. Buffalo
3-2 Win vs. Washington
J. Blake - 60
Ponikarovsky - 58
M. Stajan - 51

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Roll Up the Rim Win!

CoffeeIt's coffee rim rolling season. In Canada, this is a big deal. We're all rolling up our rims to win.

Well, at Tim Hortons we Roll Up the Rim. At Coffee Time, you Flip To Win and at Country Style you Turn Up a Winner. Any way you slice it, I've never known anyone who has won more than a free coffee or donut.... until today.

My mom won a $100 gift card this morning when she Rolled up the Rim to Win. That more than makes up for my nine "Please play again" failures this season.

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Maple Leafs 3, Sabres 5

LeafsWe were down 4-0 3 1/2 minutes into the second period. That's when Cujo got pulled and Pogge came in. That's also when this game changed.

Pogge was great and the Leafs stormed back. It was 4-3 after Kulemin scored with over eleven minutes to play in the third, but that's where the comeback stalled. Still, a dog of a game was salvaged for us diehards.

It's worth noting Cujo is now tied for second in career losses with Gilles Meloche.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
31-31-13
73 points
4th in Northeast Division
5-3 Loss vs. Buffalo
3-2 Win vs. Washington
5-2 Win vs. Montreal
J. Blake - 58
Ponikarovsky - 55
M. Stajan - 51

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Mysterious Message

emailI often get messages via the form at http://www.torontomike.com/contact.html. Here's an interesting one I received moments ago.

Dear TM,

I am a strictly anonymous person who wonders why fred's site isn't blocked by my work filter yet a certain other blog is...

I wish to remainameless.

Yours Truly,

Remainameless.

Remainameless, I need more detail. I'm betting the Fred you refer to is Fred Patterson, author of canadianthinker.com, a blog I technically support. Whose site is blocked by your work?

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CP24 Breakfast Is Not Breakfast Television

SunI don't watch television in the morning. I never have. Even though I don't watch morning TV, I know Breakfast Television.

BT debuted on September 6, 1989, with host Ann Rohmer and news anchor David Onley. When CablePulse 24 launched in 1998, Breakfast Television was simulcast on both Citytv and CablePulse 24. This was true until yesterday. Yesterday morning, CablePulse 24, now CP24, debuted a BT clone called CP24 Breakfast.

You see, CTVglobemedia bought CHUM Limited back in 2006, and CHUM Limited owned Citytv and CablePulse 24, but the CRTC told CTVglobemedia that they had to sell Citytv. Rogers picked it up in 2007. If you're still with me, that made CablePulse 24 and Citytv rivals working in the same building. I envision body checks in the hallways.

That brings us to yesterday. CP24 was launched, featuring faces familiar to viewers of Breakfast Television, including original host Ann Rohmer. They're even simulcasting on 1050, another pick-up from 2006. That enables CTV to go after Rogers' Breakfast Television and 680 News with the same 299 Queen Street West stone.

But make no mistake about it. CP24 Breakfast is not Breakfast Television, even if CTV doesn't want you to notice.

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8.5 Hours of Screen Time a Day

tvWe spend a lot of time looking at screens. According to the New York Times "adults are exposed to screens – TVs, cellphones, even G.P.S. devices – for about 8.5 hours on any given day."

I actually think that might be low. I'm in e-marketing, and that means the bulk of my work day is spent looking at a computer screen. At home, I enjoy surfing the web, reading my RSS feeds, tweeting and maintaining this site. That's another couple of hours, easy. Then, there's TV time. I'm guessing that's another two hours, sometimes more. Heck, a hockey game is a three hour block... and I'm addicted to The Wire on DVD.

Yeah, I'd say 8.5 hours is low for me. On weekdays, anyway.

On average, how many hours a day do you spend staring at a computer screen, TV, or cellphone?

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Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker - Laces Out

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Laces Out" by Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker.

I've already confessed that I love the sound of USS. I really do. It's right up my alley.

I've seen them live a couple of times and I've enjoyed everything I've heard from them. "Laces Out" is the latest single and a shoe-in for SLS21.

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The Real Shaq on Twitter Gives Back

TwitterI follow THE_REAL_SHAQ on Twitter. He's one of the few celebrities I follow and I only follow him because of his fun Tweets. You can tell he loves Twitter.

I often see Shaq giving away tickets to his games via Twitter. Here's the Tweet from Shaquille O'Neal moments ago.

shaq

Pretty cool, eh? We're one degree of separation from Shaq. Soon thereafter, Shaq updated us.

shaq2

I forgive him for the typos. He's working the Blackberry with the fingers of a seven footer.

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CPU Usage 100%

mouseMy work issued laptop, a.k.a. The One Running Windows, is having a CPU usage issue.

While I work, the CPU usage climbs until it can't climb no more. It then sticks around 100%, making it very difficult to work. Try working without any spare CPU... it's very little fun.

Naturally, I've been trouble-shooting this sunofabitch like crazy. At first I blamed my beloved Firefox, but a switch to Chrome didn't help matters. Then, I thought it might be Songbird, but a move to iTunes spelled no relief. Eventually, I detected a correlation between the use of my mouse and spikes in CPU. Not just the external mouse though, but also the touch pad.

After troubleshooting this damn mouse - CPU thing for a few hours, I remembered it's not my laptop. I don't own it, I just use it. So, I did what I should have done long ago.

I'm getting a new laptop. Here's what I've been seeing all day...

cpu

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Dan Seals, Dead at 61

In MemoriumDan Seals was 61. He was England Dan in the pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley and later had a successful country career.

Here's the Dan Seals song I'm most familiar with, "Bop."

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A New Hope for Pogge

leafsI blame myself. Everything seems to have gone south for Justin Pogge since my interview with him last month. Since then, I've seen him pulled during a Marlies game and trashed by both Burke and Wilson. Pogge rues the day he met me.

Thanks to Martin Gerber's suspension, Pogge is back with the big club. Cujo will likely start tonight, but we can expect to see Pogge play on Saturday night. It's a new hope for Justin Pogge.

I'm probably rooting harder for Pogge than any other Leaf fan. I couldn't stand the guilt in knowing I ruined his promising career.

Me with Justin Pogge

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Arcade Fire in Where the Wild Things Are Trailer

MoviesAt the end of 2005, I ranked my 10 favourite songs of the calendar year. At the top of that list was "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire.

Here's what I wrote about the tune back then:

1. Arcade Fire's Wake Up
I'm not sure this song qualifies for this list, but it's my site and I'll do as I please! From an album that was released in 2004, this was my favourite song of 2005. I've rambled on about it before. It's a perfect single and still a delight to hear. I see it's finally cracked the top ten of the Thursday 30 at CFNY Edge 102. Reaching #1 is only a matter of time.

I just watched the trailer for Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are, based on the Maurice Sendak children's book of the same name. I was pleased to hear a slowed down version of Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" playing overtop the scenes.

Here's the Where the Wild Things Are trailer, featuring Arcade Fire's "Wake Up."

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CHUM Charts Plea to CTVglobemedia

MouseWhen I wrote about 1050 CHUM being re-branded as CP24 Radio 1050, I wondered aloud what would happen to all the CHUM Charts archived online at the CHUM web site. I grabbed the chart from the day I was born because when a station is re-branded this way, the old site is usually taken offline.

At some point this afternoon, that's exactly what happened. Visiting 1050chum.com now gets you redirected to cp24.com. The Google cache of the old 1050chum.com doesn't give you the old charts. They're no longer accessible, and that's a shame.

I love music, I love this city, and I love archiving. CTVglobemedia, if you're reading this, I would love to host the old CHUM Charts so they can be accessible to anyone who wants to peruse these historical artifacts of Toronto's radio history.

CTVglobemedia... free the CHUM Charts!

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1050 CHUM Now CP24 Radio 1050

RadioMy mom often talks about listening to 1050 CHUM back in the day. It sounds like it was quite the station, I'm sorry I missed the glory days of CHUM AM.

From the CTVglobemedia press release:

CTV also announced today that CP24 will further extend its well-established brand within the GTA with the launch of CP24 Radio 1050, going live tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. CP24 Radio 1050 will broaden the reach of CP24’s local news coverage even further by offering 24-hour news content on a whole new platform. Following the mantra "we’re always with you," viewers can watch CP24 on television, listen on the radio, and follow along online at cp24.com – no matter where they may be, at home, at work, or in the car.

It seems as if CTVglobemedia is going after more of Rogers' pie by pitting CP24 Radio 1050 against 680News. We'll see if this is another Team1050 in time, but for now I want to know what will happen with the awesome CHUM Charts archived at 1050chum.com.

Here's the chart from the day I was born. Grab the chart from the day you were born while you can.

chart.19740622A

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The Wire Season Two: A Review

The WireLast night, I wrapped up episode 12 from Season Two of HBO's The Wire. That was the season finale and the 25th episode overall.

Season One was all about the Barksdale Organization and we spent those first 12 episodes on the streets of Baltimore and in the pit with Avon's crew. Season Two started very different. I don't remember a series with a season as different from the previous one... all that bright colour at the port, targets with white skin, a completely different part of Baltimore...

We still followed Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell and their crew, but the heart of this season was the Baltimore port and an international smuggling organization known as "The Greeks". We spent hours with Frank Sobotka, his son Ziggy and his nephew Nick. It was very different, and very similar all at once. The way it all folds together is nothing short of brilliant. As my buddy Kic warned me, season two is different, but still good.

I'd share some of my favourite scenes, but as I collect them I realize they're all spoilers and if you haven't watched this series I'm hoping you'll hunt it down and give it a spin. It's worth it for Frank Sobotka alone. It's fantastic and I can't wait to start season three tonight.

Here's the great title opening for season two, where you can hear Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" and see the Baltimore port.

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Nena - 99 Luftballons

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.

Nena - 99 Luftballons
When I make an 80s mix, this song is a staple. It still sounds surprisingly fresh.

When making an 80s mix with Nena, one must use the German version and not the English version. Using the English version will expose you as the wanker you are.

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Maple Leafs 3, Capitals 2

LeafsWhen Martin Gerber got ejected for pushing referee Mike Leggo, Cujo came in and stopped eight shots in overtime and Washington’s three shootout chances as the Leafs moved within a point of tenth place in the conference.

C'mon Leafers, let's gun for ninth!

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
31-30-13
73 points
4th in Northeast Division
3-2 Win vs. Washington
5-2 Win vs. Montreal
3-1 Loss vs. Florida
J. Blake - 58
Ponikarovsky - 54
M. Stajan - 49

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Epic Battle Tonight in Volleyball

VolleyballTonight is my sixth week of volleyball, a sport I hadn't played since primary school. It's damn fun, and we're pretty good. In fact, we're 10-0 heading into tonight's match-up.

Tonight we play the only other 10-0 team. It's a battle for first overall in this 12 team league, and in true Gilmour-lke fashion, I'm ready to kick it up a notch and elevate my game to match the occasion.

It's gut-check time. You can cut the intensity with a knife.

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TwitterFox vs. TweetDeck vs. Twhirl

TwitterIf you tweet and / or follow people of Twitter, you're likely not doing it at twitter.com. Few power users ever see their own Twitter backgrounds because it's far more convenient to tweet and follow people on Twitter via 3rd party apps.

I've tried three such methods: Twhirl, TweetDeck and TwitterFox. The first two are stand alone applications that you install on your PC while the last one is an add-on for Firefox. For my purposes, it's TwitterFox that has won this battle royale.

Just about everything I do for work and play happens in the browser. Until Chrome has all the add-ons I've become dependent on, I'm a hardcore Firefox user, and have been for five years now. TwitterFox lives in Firefox and enables me to follow and tweet without disrupting my normal processes. It's ubiquitous. Twhirl and TweetDeck are both great apps, but I'm happiest with TwitterFox.

Here's a cap of my TwitterFox in action.

twitterfox

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George Kell, Dead at 86

In MemoriumGeorge Kell was 86. He was a Hall of Fame third baseman who outdueled Ted Williams for the 1949 American League batting title and became a Detroit Tigers broadcaster for nearly 40 years.

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Ease His Pain

BereavementI loved my Maple Leafs in the 1980s, in spite of their losing ways. In a sense, nothing has really changed on that front. We root for our team, through thick and thin, and cheer on all players (almost all players) who don the blue and white jersey.

I remember Walt Poddubny. I remember his as a Maple Leaf forward, for scoring a big goal in the 1986 playoffs and for the many goals he scored after he was moved to the Rangers. When Walt Poddubny passed aways suddenly on the weekend, I did what I always do. I wrote about it.

I started ranking highly for Walt Poddubny Google searches, and 34-minutes after I published the entry, Walt's brother Peter had left a comment.

I am Walt's brother and have that game on VHS. I am going to have to review it and will post later. I am a little bummed out now and looking thru some of his memorabilia. I'm gonna miss the big oaf. Any other memories of Walt would be great to hear.

What followed was pretty special. Comment after comment was left, and not from Leaf fans who remember him as I did, but from friends and family who remembered the man and knew him personally.

It sounds like Walt was a lot of fun, and that he'll be greatly missed. Here's Justin Linebaugh's comment.

There I was just logging on to NHL.com to check the standings and to my shock I saw the headline, "Walt Poddubny has died." My heart dropped when I saw this. I met Walt back in 2007 as I knew his daughter Jamie quite well. I did not know what to think before I met him, but Jamie was like, "you're gonna love him, he's a big bear and kind of looks like Shrek (this made me scared now)!" But once I met the guy, I thought he was fantastic! We talked about his career, football, women and the 2 things that made him most proud, his daughters Jamie and Jordan (Jo Jo who he referred to her as). I spent many Sunday's watching some football with him and even went on one of his 4'bying adventures with him and Jamie in his back yard in that big ol' red Ford! What a blast! Walt had even taken me to a Leafs game where we sat in the alumni box and after he took me in the dressing room to show me what it was all about there. He hurt his knee that night and Jamie had bought him a cane to help him walk and he would use it to clear the way..you had to be there, what a mess..LOL! The next day I took him to Niagara Falls, what a night that was. It's so great watching that guy in action, the women were just drawn to his great presence, sense of humour and personality (maybe because we took him to Hooters!). What a great guy! I have spent Thnaksgiving with his family and once meeting his mom I could see where he got all his energy from! He has a beautiful family and they all made me feel at home when I was with them! I haven't spoken to Walt in about a year now since I left Thunder Bay but he is definately someone I will never forget. One of the last times I was with him we were actually wrestling in his living room while his daughters watched and laughed away! I wish all my deepest condolences to his family, especially Jamie and Jordan as I knew how special that bond was which they had shared with their father. Walt gave me a jersy which I will have forever to help me remember what a great man I had the pleasure of knowing! Justin Linebaugh

Karl Szugalew would soon follow with this touching comment about Walt.

Walt was like my brother. My best friend from age 3 right through school. He was a loyal friend through thick and thin. That goal "rollin rollin rollin" - that was just like his life. He kept rollin. We started watching the Stooges in kindergarden and never looked back. Mike Martin (I remember you well - you were the other guy in public school we wouldn't fight)- you nailed it. He liked to beat us at everything. He was the best at all sports. He won most of the time at board games. He even won at ramdom stuff like cards and dice games. He was a winner. His first game of organized junior peewee hockey he held the puck on a string and scored 6 easy goals. That was his last game of "junior" peewee as well. He was the first to "roof" one playing baseball at Algonquin school and to dunk on those 8 foot hoops. He loved a good time and knew what one was and a great friend to many. RIP buddy

Just yesterday, Peter Poddubny returned to read these remarks. They seem to have eased his pain.

Thanks for all your great comments friends. They really help in this tough time. Colin, Hany, Karl its great to here from you guys. My family loves to here that you guys are thinking of us at this difficult time. RIP Walt. Too Young Too Soon. I love you man.

Walt Poddubny may have played for our favourite hockey team, but he was also a brother, a son, a father and a friend to many. Sometimes, when the Google ranking and stars align, you find yourself hosting messages far deeper than "he was a great player" or "he scored a huge goal."

Sometimes, this silly hobby actually means something.

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In These Tough Economic Times

MoneyEvery other ad I hear on the radio these days opens with "in these tough economic times" or something in that vein.

I'm as guilty as anyone. Targeting CFOs with HTML email copy, I recently opened with "new economic conditions are driving companies to become increasingly cautious about the near future."

We know you're hurting, but we still need your money, because we're hurting as well. We feel your pain, now help alleviate ours.

In these tough economic times, our opening line writes itself.

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Dear Aunt Agnes, Dear Aunt Agnes

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 used to watch Dear Aunt Agnes on TVOntario in the mid-80s. It was about as low budget as you can get, but we didn't care. I don't think you could get kids to watch Dear Aunt Agnes in 2009.

After this clip, I'll hit you up with the lyrics to the memorable theme songs. If you're my age, you already know them by heart.

Dear Aunt Agnes, remember
You said you'd help me out if you could
Well my job is taking me far away
To leave the children just wouldn't be good
If you would say you would come and stay
You'd be the best aunt a girl ever had
Dear Aunt Agnes, Dear Aunt Agnes
Won't you come and stay?

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Peter MacKay and Greg Gutfeld

newsAs expected, the epic Fox News FAIL I wrote about yesterday has ignited a shitstorm of controversy.

Canada’s defence minister, Peter MacKay, . said officials planned to contact Fox News to inquire about demanding an apology

I believe that it should be requested and these individuals who have made the remarks are the ones that should be held responsible, and they should be apologizing.

Meanwhile, Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld's very own Greg Gutfeld issued this apology of sorts via Twitter.

My apologies to the Canadian military, they probably could at least beat the Belgians.

Stay classy, Fox News.

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A Man Needs A Maid

MusicA maid. A man needs a maid.

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Your Nirvana Primer

NirvanaI'm writing this Nirvana primer off the top of my head, because I was there and I remember.

I wish I could tell you I was all over Bleach in 1989 and that I was through with it before you knew what to do with it. Instead, I got my first taste of Nirvana when I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on CFNY 102.1 here in Toronto. It was a Saturday in 1991 and I remember where I was when I first heard it. Half way through my first listen, I knew I had to hear more.

MuchMusic played the crap out of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and the video was as cool as the tune. It was the perfect storm, me being 16 years old and those damn cheerleaders encouraging anarchy.

Here's the video for the song that introduced me to my favourite band.

Nevermind, which I picked up at Yonge Street's Sam the Record Man asap, was a play-through, with every song, including the hidden track, a winner. I must have spun this disc a thousand times. When pressed to name a favourite track, I usually went with "Lithium," but I just as easily could have gone with "In Bloom," "Come As You Are," "Drain You" or "On a Plain."

Here's "Lithium" which included lyrics I recite in casual conversations to this day. "I'm so happy 'cause today I found my friends, they're in my head."

Once I heard Nevermind, I had to go back and hear what I missed. I picked up Bleach, which was moody and grungy and as raw as all hell. I loved it. It sat perfectly alongside my other favourite albums of the time, Badmotorfinger, Ten and Dirt.

Here's the first cut from Bleach, "Blew."

In late 1992, Incesticide was released. Incesticide was a compilation of demos, outtakes, and radio broadcast recordings that was as good as any studio album I bought that year. It was the third Nirvana album I bought, but I probably spun it the second most, after Nevermind.

MuchMusic played the shite out of this video for "Silver."

In 1993, I started University. In Utero was released on September 21, 1993, about a week after I started classes. I remember walking from class to HMV at 333 Yonge Street to pick up my copy that In Utero that day, and I vividly remember reading the liner notes at Brennan Hall.

In Utero was the third Nirvana album, but I couldn't have imagined at the time that it would be the last. In Utero was another play-through, and my only complaint is that it was too short. It clocked in at 41 minutes with most of the tunes under four minutes.

The first words we hear sung by Kurt Cobain on In Utero are "teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old." Here's that great first track, "Serve the Servants."

At the Phoenix on Monday nights, we preferred "Rape Me."

We all know what happened next. I was 19-years old at the time. On the tenth annivary of Kurt Cobain's suicide, I wrote this. Here's a snippet:

What I remember the most in those days and weeks following Kurt's suicide is listening to nothing but Nirvana. It's how I fed my sorrow. All Nirvana, all the time. Shortly thereafter, Alan Cross did an "Ongoing History of New Music" on Nirvana and Kurt's suicide and I still have that episode on tape. Unplugged in New York and From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah would follow, and both were as awesome as I expected them to be.

It was ten years ago today. The music Kurt Cobain produced during the short career of Nirvana is as relevant to me today as it was then. He was pained, vulnerable, screaming for help. He was ours and I miss him.

I am now 29 years old. That's two years older than Kurt was at the time of his death. I often wonder how he was able to look his daughter in the eyes and still want to end it all. Clearly, he felt his daughter would be better off without him. That, in a nutshell, is the saddest note in his final, tragic song.

MTV Unplugged in New York was indeed released later that year, and one single seemed to serve as a bittersweet farewell to the voice of my generation. I must have played this song a million times that year. This is "All Apologies."

From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, excellent in its own right, would follow. As would many bootlegs that found their way into my collection. Six years ago, however, we heard the last Nirvana song. That was "You Know You're Right" from the self-titled greatest hits album, Nirvana.

"You Know You're Right" at the top of CFNY's Thursday 30 on November 30, 2002, prompted the very first entry on this blog. This primer is number 8740.

Since then, we got the box set, further evidence of Kurt's genius. Five years ago, I summed up that genius as follows:

He wasn't just good, he was scary good. Over the past week I've spun every Nirvana CD in my collection. I've listened to Bleach, Nevermind, Incesticide, In Utero and MTV Unplugged in New York (Live) several times each. Every note reminded me of how talented a musician Kurt Cobain was and this entry will never be able to do his talent justice.

Perhaps this will. On November 18, 1993, Nirvana performed an acoustic show at Sony Music Studios in New York for MTV. The performance was taped and posthumously released on CD as the aforementioned MTV Unplugged in New York (Live). Everything was done in one take, as live, with absolutely no re-takes. There was minimal rehearsal and not a single run through of the actual play list Kurt would settle on. Kurt was also going through withdrawal and needed periodic hits of valium to keep him from falling to pieces.

Nirvana wasn't long for this world, but their impact on my ears can't be overstated. There was just something in the way...

Others in this series:

Discuss "Your Nirvana Primer" (8 comments so far)


End Pieces in Loaf of Bread Belong to Me

FoodThe kids go through a lot of bread. During this March Break, I'm pretty sure they went through three loaves.

We keep the active loaf in the fridge, and when it's winding down, I spring into action. My job is to eat the two end pieces. If I don't, they get tossed, and I hate the idea of chucking two pieces from every loaf just because they're end pieces.

I usually throw them in the toaster, add a little butter and take 'em down. I've come to prefer the end pieces. That's my job.

Discuss "End Pieces in Loaf of Bread Belong to Me" (4 comments so far)


Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2

LeafsHeck, if our victory last night over the Habs helps them finish 9th in the conference, you can practically call this season a success. Yes, it's the new Leafs math, where logic takes a backseat to epikhairekakia.

It was a fun game to watch. Here's to helping ruin a certain franchises 100th season. Hip, hip, hooray!

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
30-30-13
73 points
4th in Northeast Division
5-2 Win vs. Montreal
3-1 Loss vs. Florida
4-3 Win vs. Tampa Bay
J. Blake - 57
Ponikarovsky - 53
M. Stajan - 49

Discuss "Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2" (7 comments so far)


Walt Poddubny, Dead at 49

In MemoriumWalt Poddubny was 49. He played 11 NHL seasons for the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, Quebec Nordiques and New Jersey Devils. He had 184 goals and 238 assists in 468 games and topped the 30-goal mark three times.

Leaf fans, I need some help with a vague memory I have. I remember listening to a Leafs game in the early or mid-80s and a huge goal was scored by Walt Poddubny. As I recall the goal, it slowly rolled over the goal line. In fact, I can hear the call of the goal as "rolling... rolling... rolling... the puck is in the net" or something like that.

I'm pretty sure that it was Poddubny's goal and if this wasn't a playoff game, it was a crucial late-season game, possibly in overtime.

Does anyone remember this Walt Poddubny goal for the Maple Leafs?

Walt Poddubny

Discuss "Walt Poddubny, Dead at 49" (43 comments so far)


Fox News FAIL

TVHead over to Elvis' blog to see pictures of Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli, Cpl. Tyler Crooks, Trooper Jack Bouthillier and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes before you watch the Fox News clip below. Go ahead... I'll wait for ya.

Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli, Cpl. Tyler Crooks, Trooper Jack Bouthillier and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes gave their lives yesterday while serving in our military. A total of 116 members of the Canadian Forces have died in Afghanistan or in support of the Afghan operation between February 2002 and March 20, 2009.

With that in mind, watch this epic Fox News FAIL.

That there's some grade A ignorance. With friends like that...

Discuss "Fox News FAIL" (18 comments so far)


Worst Norm MacDonald Fear Realized

MicIt happened. I suspected as much. Norm MacDonald will be forever linked with that damn beaver.

Reading the Globe & Mail this morning, here's their description of Norm.

NORM MACDONALD He's the muttering comedic actor and the voice of Bell Mobility's Frank the Beaver April 17 and 18. Yuk Yuk's, 416-967-6425

I've got a lot of time for Norm, as few comedians strike my funny bone as hard and consistently as he does, but is he destined to forever be referred to as "the voice of Bell Mobility's Frank the Beaver"?

Here's one of my favourite Norm moments, from the pre-beaver era. He turns a Conan O'Brien Courtney Thorne-Smith interview into solid gold.

Discuss "Worst Norm MacDonald Fear Realized" (4 comments so far)


Let's Win This One

LeafsI realize this is now Tank Nation, but let's win this one. Let's play spoilers with our arch rivals and help push the Montreal Canadiens out of the NHL playoffs.

Let's take a look at the current NHL standings...

standings

Montreal is sitting in 8th place. The Panthers are only a point back. It's important we do our part to return Bryan McCabe to the dance!

Let's kick it old school. Let's cheer on our team tonight.

Discuss "Let's Win This One" (1 comment so far)


Goal Celebration Idea or What I'll Try Tonight

PuckI've got a hockey game tonight and I plan to score. Thanks to Alexander Ovechkin, I now know what I'm going to do after I pot my first of the night.

I'll call it "Too Hot to Handle" and it'll look a little something like this...

Discuss "Goal Celebration Idea or What I'll Try Tonight" (10 comments so far)


Betsy Blair, Dead at 85

In MemoriumBetsy Blair was 85. She was the Oscar-nominated actress and teenage bride of Gene Kelly whose enthusiasm for leftist causes landed her on Hollywood's blacklist.

Discuss "Betsy Blair, Dead at 85" (1 comment so far)


City and Colour - The Girl

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "The Girl" by City and Colour.

My wife doesn't understand how I can enjoy Slipknot and a tune like this, back-to-back. I can head bang with the best of them, and turn on a dime to chill to the sweet sound of Dallas Green. Hell, that's what he does, switching from Alexisonfire to City and Colour and back.

I'm digging this track. Half way through, it speeds up just a little, but it stays sweet. If this makes SLS, it will be City and Colour's third appearance. Alexisonfire has made it twice.

Discuss "City and Colour - The Girl" (0 comments so far)


The History of This Site in Pictures

MouseI should have taken a screen cap of every design this site has had. I now do that, but from 1999 through 2007, all I have is what was archived by the Wayback Machine.

I just visited the Wayback Machine in an attempt to salvage screen caps of the evolution of this site. Here's what I came up with, for better or worse. Vote for your favourite in the comments.

1999-2001

The earliest instance of torontomike.com I could find in the Wayback Machine was early 2001, when this was a personal homepage as opposed to a blog. It would become a blog in 2002.

The Wayback Machine didn't properly copy the images, so this looks a little off. Note, the tributes to Bill Barilko and Pearl Jam in Toronto are already online. Those pages have survived to this day.

Hazzard County, however, was taken out back and shot about a year later. Yee haw!

2001

2002

The Wayback Machine really mucked this one up. None of the images came through, and the CSS seems AWOL. Still, you can see the structure as it once was.

The familiar Leafs table is already in play. The Canadiana page, however, has disappeared.

A link to the blog is now in the navigation menu, but it's not yet the home page. In 2003 I wisened up and made the blog index.html.

2002

2003

I really liked this design. You'll see in the main navigation menu that I've introduced the Homer Simpson Quote of the Week. I updated that page every weekend for years. I've also introduced the Links page, which you'll find in the main nav menu today. Every time I try to remove it so it's only accessible from the site map, somebody complains, so I put it back.

The dot missing above the "i" in that torontomike.com image was a red maple leaf that blinked. Animated gifs, people!!! You had to have an animated gif in 2003!

The little image that appears in every entry was something I did from the start, after seeing something similar on Slashdot. By this point, every piece of markup is done with CSS. Note, this is the blog, but there is no server-side software managing it. This was an HTML file I manually edited and uploaded via FTP. Hence, you can't comment and there are no permalinks.... yet.

2003

2004

It looks like I took a rest from Verdana and tried Georgia for a while. I also moved the nav from vertical to horizontal across the top... although I see the Wayback Machine isn't showing the proper markup. I assure you, the menu looked better than this.

Otherwise, this is pretty similar to how it looked in 2003. I have, however, introduced the MP3 page, where I listed every album in my collection. This wasn't a manual process as I found a script that would auto-generate the HTML based on the TXT file produced by Audiograbber after I ripped each CD.

2004

2005

What's with that creepy eye? What was I thinking?

This design looks like 2003 and 2004 mated. Before I implemented Movable Type, there was one HTML page for every month, so the page would get awfully long. I think this particular page went on for a million pixels.

2005

2006

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Movable Type. The blog is now a true blog, with RSS, comments, permalinks, searchability, category archives, monthly archives and more. Again, I went with a "less is more" design, and I like it.

By the way, after I introduced Movable Type in early 2006, I had to manually put all the old entries into the database. That was one time consuming copy and paste job.

2006

2007

The Wayback Machine lost my header image here... maybe because it came from the CSS. I kind of like the sidebar here in the pre-Adsense era.

I eventually blew away that weather widget because when that service went down, the loading of this page would go on forever.

I'm also experimenting with social networking chicklets... I eventually shot them dead and went with the Feedflare from FeedBurner instead.

2007

2008 Part 1

This was the last major redesign before the one this week. I really liked it.

The header image was inspired by Spacing. I actually asked them for permission before I used it.

2008a

2008 Part 2

This is how this site looked on St. Patrick's Day 2009. Heck, that was only a few days ago.

I was happy with this design, but I needed a third column for Tweets. Since I was mucking with the HTML, I decided to blow it up and start from scratch. Truth be known, I took the March break off to chill with the family, and while they were at playdates, my idle hands became the devil's playthings. This site didn't stand a chance.

2008

2009

Here's where I'm at as of the time of this entry. You guys gave some good feedback, which resulted in some tweaks I believe improved things. That Twitter sidebar needed a background colour so the eyes didn't blend it with the main content, and the header needed an image for a splash of colour and something less boring.

I'm now happy with this. This should stick until my next week off, sometime in July.

2009

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Maple Leafs 1, Panthers 3

LeafsThe Sens won't make the playoffs, so if we can get the Habs to finish out of the playoff picture, we'll call this a decent season for the Leafs. With this goal in mind, I knew we had to lose to the Panthers last night. It's all about sacrifices here in Tank Nation.

The Sens beat the Canadiens last night, so Montreal is now only a point ahead of the 9th place Panthers. Sweet schudenfreude.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
28-29-13
69 points
4th in Northeast Division
3-1 Loss vs. Florida
4-3 Win vs. Tampa Bay
8-6 Win vs. Calgary
J. Blake - 56
M. Stajan - 49
Ponikarovsky - 48

Discuss "Maple Leafs 1, Panthers 3" (3 comments so far)


The Twitter Song

twitterAwwwww, Jason from Get Your OJ Dot Com wrote me a song!

Sing this one to the tune of "Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Roberta Flack. Actually, upon further review, the "(one time, one time)" suggests you should sing this to The Fugees cover "Killing Me Softly”.

tweeting my pain with their twitters
Singin my life through status updates
twitter me softly with this blog
twitter my whole life with this blog
twitter me softly with his song
Yea yea yea do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do

I heard they blogged a good blog,
I heard they had that style,
And so I came to view them and comment for a while
And there he was this young twitter
Stranger to my eyes

Chorus:
tweeting my pain with their twitters (one time, one time)
Singin my life through status updates (two times, two times)
twitter me softly with this blog
twitter my whole life with this blog
twitter me softly with his song

I felt all flushed with fever
Embarrased by the way Toronto Mike cluttered his website,
I hope he found my comments and read each one out loud,
I pray that he would change it back
But he just kept right on

Repeat chorus:
tweeting my pain with their twitters
Singin my life through status updates
twitter me softly with this blog
twitter my whole life with this blog
twitter me softly with his song

Wooooooaaaa ohhhhhhhhhh laaaa la la la la la la ohhh la laaa woaaa laa
Aaaalaaaaaa

Discuss "The Twitter Song" (2 comments so far)


Tragically Hip - Love is a First

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Love is a First" by The Tragically Hip.

I wasn't sure I liked "Morning Moon", the first song I heard from the new Tragically Hip album. This tune, however, sounds great. I can't get enough of it. It's a great choice for the first single from We Are The Same.

If fellow Hip fans recognize the lyrics, you heard them in Gord's rant in the middle of the song "Fully Completely" on the DVD That Night in Toronto. I was there at the ACC that night, and coincidentally named my review "That Night in Toronto".

Discuss "Tragically Hip - Love is a First" (3 comments so far)


Earth Hour 2009 is March 28 @ 8:30pm

earthI enjoyed Earth Hour 2008. Here's how I spent my first Earth Hour, on March 29, 2008.

The people behind Earth Hour 2009 want to kick it up a notch this year.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

I'm not naive enough to think one hour with the lights off will make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but I think this is a huge opportunity to educate and promote conservation. I make it a big deal for my kids and use it as a tool to discuss other things we can do to reduce the strain on mother earth's natural resources.

Discuss "Earth Hour 2009 is March 28 @ 8:30pm" (16 comments so far)


Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette

newspaperWhen driving home from the office, I'll often listen to Prime Time Sports, hosted by Bob McCown on THEFAN590. Like any die hard Leaf fan, I love it when they explore the glorious fall of the Montreal Canadiens. The go-to guy lately, for such discussions, is Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette.

Naturally, my ears always prick up when I hear McCown announced that Michael Boone or Mike Boone will be on. Not only do we share a name, but I'm fascinated by the topic. In their 100th season, Habs fans expected their team to win another cup. Instead, they're clinging to a playoff spot. Their beloved coach was just canned, their beloved goaltender with ice in his veins has stumbled back to earth and even us Leaf fans are taking delight in the free-fall.

Mike Boone has a blog, if you want to read his take on the Habs. Unfortunately, he likes to post garbage like this.

Who knew an extra "e" could make such a difference?

The Passion That Unites Us All

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Twitter's Premium Accounts and the Fail Whale Tuxedo

TwitterNow that Twitter has all these eyeballs, how are they going to make money? One way is by introducing premium accounts.

Williams stressed that free accounts will still be available to all users, and that only those wanting more services would pay.   Premium accounts will come in four tiers: Sparrow, Dove, Owl and Eagle.

The details of the accounts are as follows:

  • Sparrow ($5/month) – Users get 145 character limit, 5 extra random followers.
  • Dove ($15/month) – Users get 160 character limit, 25 extra random followers, 1 random celebrity follower, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" T-shirt.
  • Owl ($50/month) – Users get 250 character limit, 100 extra random followers, 2 random celebrity followers, 30 minutes on recommended list, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" hoodie.
  • Eagle ($250/month) – Users get 500 character limit, 1000 extra random followers, 3 celebrity followers of their choice, 5 hours on recommended list each month, Twitter Concierge for Tweeting while user is asleep or busy (and more), auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" tuxedo, custom "Fail Whale" page when service is down.

A Fail Whale tuxedo... I love it! :-)

failwhaletux

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Natasha Richardson, Dead at 45

In MemoriumNatasha Richardson was 45. She was the actress who won a Tony for her performance as Sally Bowles in the 1998 revival of "Cabaret" and earned raves for her Blanche DuBois in a 2005 production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."

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That Dream About School That Never Goes Away

schoolI saw an xkcd web comic today that reminded me of a recurring nightmare that pops up now and then. I actually wrote about this dream about four years ago.

I too suffer from the popular "I have an exam I completely forgot about and I'm in big trouble" dream. I began having this dream during my University of Toronto days, but it has occasionally popped up throughout the seven years since. In this dream, I remember that I'm enrolled in university classes that I never attend. I haven't submitted any essays and now there is a final exam that I'm completely ill prepared for. It's too late to drop the class and it appears I will fail. In this nightmare, I try to understand how it is I've enrolled in classes I totally forgot about. You see, it's not that I decided to skip these classes intentionally, it's that it completely slipped my mind somehow.

These damn dreams show up now and then and they seem so real I'm always delighted when I awake and realize it didn't really happen. I've read that these types of dreams are common, but I'm not sure what brings them on. Although I haven't had one in a while, I remember having the dream at least once in the past three years.

I haven't had that one in a while, but I still remember that overwhelming feeling of relief when I awaken and realize I've graduated and it's all just a bad dream.

Here's the xkcd web comic that inspired this entry.

students

mechanical engineering colleges

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The Bat Boys - OK Blue Jays

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 Bat Boys - OK Blue Jays
It's the time of year again. The Blue Jays start their season April 6th against the Tigers. Here's the song fellow Jays fans are hearing in their heads.

If you don't want to download the Blue Jays song but still want to hear it, click here and start singing along.

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Lance Reddick: You Know the Man

XXXIf you read this blog, you know I've recently become addicted to The Wire. Many years ago, I had a similar addiction to the show Oz, and currently I'm a keen follower of the show Lost.

The Wire, Oz and Lost have one other thing in common. That's the man you know, even if you don't know his name. I'm talking about Lance Reddick.

I first saw Lance Reddick on television as Detective Johnny Basil, an undercover narcotics officer working under the false identity of Desmond Mobay and trying to bust the drug trade in Oz. I used to do a pretty good imitation of Mobay.

I then saw Reddick in Lost as Matthew Abaddon, a man who works for Widmore by "helping people get to where they're supposed to be". It was nice to see him again.

Then, I started watching season one of The Wire. Reddick has a juicy role in this HBO drama, playing Cedric Daniels, commander of the Barksdale Detail in the first season. Reddick is great.

I hear he now has a prominent role in Fringe. With his track record, I'll bet Fringe is a winner.

lancereddic

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Get a Clue, Pope Benny

questionmarkI hate the Roman Catholic stance on birth control. It's irresponsible and incredibly dangerous. Back in the day, when I'd go off on Pope John Paul II for forcing me away from the church, it was the church's views on birth control that really exposed the institution as irrelevant and without a clue.

With Pope Benedict XVI, it's much of the same. Pope Benny is in Africa where the AIDS epidemic has orphaned 11.6 million children. Over 5% of adults there live with HIV/AIDS, and with many converting to Catholicism, Pope Benny could have made a difference. He could have promoted condoms as the best way for the sexually active to prevent spreading of this deadly disease. Instead, he did his best to dissuade Africans from using condoms.

The pope began his first visit as pontiff to the AIDS-ravaged continent on Tuesday, telling reporters that AIDS was a tragedy "that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."

The solution lies in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer," he added.

This is tantamount to manslaughter. The idea that distributing condoms in Africa will make the epidemic worse is entirely outdated and out of touch with reality. Newsflash Benny, people are having sex. Abstinence doesn't fly. Teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent AIDs is as misdirected as teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancy.

Toronto Mike sez use a condom.

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God Still Hates Us

HateI was just testing the monthly drop-down menu and randomly chose to visit March of 2003. That's when I found a letter I wrote to God on behalf of all Maple Leaf fans.

Here's what I wrote on March 15, 2003.

Hello God, it's me Mike.

What exactly do you have against my Toronto Maple Leafs? Why to you use your omnipotent power to crush us at every opportunity? You tortured us with the Harold Ballard regime, forcing me to grow up in a decade almost completely void of playoff victories. Then, when everything lined up perfectly for a Habs-Leafs Stanley Cup Final in '93, you gave The Great One yet another break and used your mighty power to blind the refs as Gretzky clearly high-sticked Gilmour. We deserved to win that night. You made sure it didn't happen.

Now, in 2003, that very same Gilmour came home. On Thursday night, I watched #93 play for four minutes and fifty-one seconds. Everything seemed right again. Everything seemed perfectly in place for a serious run at the cup. Leaf fans were happy. We were oh so happy Lord! Then, as quickly as you giveth, you taketh away.

Dougie was laying on the ice, clearly in pain. The war horse couldn't stand, but this warrior was going to get to the bench on his own. As I watched him crawl twenty feet to the bench, I looked up and asked you one simple question. "Why?"

On behalf of all Torontonians, I apologize for whatever it is you don't like about us. Perhaps it's our arrogance? We are the self-proclaimed capital of Canada, you know. Perhaps it's the fact that many Leaf fans spill on to Yonge Street to celebrate a single playoff victory. Is it that we're satisfied with so little from our hockey team? Should we expect more? Tell us oh Lord, tell us what we can do to earn your favour? If we change now, maybe Dougie is back for the playoffs? Please see what you can do...

Your biggest fan,
Mike

What gets me is that I wrote that six years ago, and we've only won one playoff series since... and that was against our traditional whipping boys, the Ottawa Senators. Since I wrote that letter to God, we've only qualified for the playoffs twice, and the last time was in 2004. There was the lockout and now four successive years of failure, the longest streak in franchise history.

This story has a moral. Don't dump your problems on God. He'll just get pissed and double the dosage of failure. He'll turn it all to shit faster than you can say Jonas Hoglund, but he'll still give us that seven game victory over the Sens.

My sweet Lord!

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Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3

LeafsOur Maple Leafs avoided a four-game, season-series sweep by the Lightning with a sweet come-from-behind victory in front of many Canadian tourists and Snowbirds in Tampa Bay.

Here's your useless piece of trivia for the day. The Leafs lead the NHL in overtime games, with 22.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
28-29-13
69 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-3 Win vs. Tampa Bay
8-6 Win vs. Calgary
4-1 Loss vs. Tampa Bay
J. Blake - 56
M. Stajan - 49
Ponikarovsky - 48

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'Splainin' to Do

mouseThis morning, I blew up this website. I run this site with Movable Type, so all the entries, pages, comments, categories, etc. reside in a MySQL database. That gives me a lot of flexibility when it comes to site redesigns. Once I write the new CSS and XHTML, I just have to paste them into the right templates and publish the site.

If you hate the changes, blame Twitter. My old design was from the pre-Twitter era when I needed one column for navigation and Adsense and another for content. Now, as I Tweet more and more, I needed a third column for my most recent Tweets. That's the spark that set this site ablaze.

While I was mucking around, I finally fixed my pagination issue. The pagination within categories now displays 10 at a time and actually adds up. I also killed the ad at the top of the category pages, because I thought it looked awful.

I also got rid of the popular header status message feature, because I don't have time to create a new image every day. Throw in a new favicon and a few other tweaks, and it's all new. Whether it's all good or not, that's yet to be seen.

Please share constructive criticism below. I'd love to see some change requests. Whattyathink?

Discuss "'Splainin' to Do" (43 comments so far)


St. Patrick's Magic Phone Booth

shamrockToday I get to share a picture of St. Patrick I took myself during Toronto's St. Patrick's Day Parade. St. Patrick died in 461, which makes this a very special pic.

It's the magic phone booth they stick him in as he's driven around in the back of a pick up that made this possible. That magic phone booth preserves the patron saint of Ireland and allows this generation to upload him to our Flickr accounts.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

2006 St. Patrick's Day Parade

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It's Perfect! Let's Blow 'er Up!

ConstructionThe design of this site has been evolving since 1999. Over the past decade I've introduced a few different looks and feels, but none I liked as much as the one in place at the time of this entry.

Even though I'm a big fan of this design, today I will blow it up and start again. I can't help myself.

For the rest of the day, things might look a little hairy over here while the work is in progress. Mind the mess, as they say. So I can remember the way it was, here's one last picture.

tm

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The Wire Season One: A Review

The WireLast night, I wrapped up episode 13 from Season One of HBO's The Wire. That was the season finale. I'm going to throw down some thoughts after each season, but I'm not going to include spoilers. Nothing would piss me off more, so I'm going to treat you the way I'd like to be treated.

It's not surprising that The Wire didn't get the Nielson ratings that Six Feet Under or The Sopranos got. The Wire makes you work. The characters speak in the language of their streets, and if you miss one line you very well may have missed a great deal. Part of the fun is listening closely, learning the characters nicknames and following the money. Ii you follow the drugs, all you find are drug users and drug dealers, but if you follow the money, you don't know what you'll find.

Spending a week in Baltimore following Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell and their crew quickly makes you realize why Jimmy McNulty drinks. Here are a few of my favourite scenes from season three, but there were many. As I said, I'm addicted and can't wait to start Season Two tonight.

McNuggets

I always enjoy the scenes with D'Angelo Barksdale in the pit with the young dealers. In this scene, D'Angelo sets them straight about the guy who invented Chicken McNuggets for McDonald's.

The King Stay The King

Again, here's D'Angelo chatting up the young dealers who are playing checkers with chess pieces because they don't know how to play chess. Chess, as we learn, is just like the street.

I Got One More High Left In Me...

It's supply and demand, and there's great demand for the drugs Avon Barksdale sells in the towers. One extremely likable junkie is Bubs, and here's Bubs at an court-orderd NA meeting listening to Waylon. Waylon, played by Steve Earle (Copperhead Road!), sums it up perfectly.


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The Facebook Fiends vs. the Twitter Followers

TwitterIn the beginning, there was MySpace. Back in 2005, I created a MySpace page for my buddy Custom because they had a music player and all the bands had pages. MySpace was (and is) a cesspool of poor design, trolls and annoying teens. I never created a MySpace account for myself.

Then, after a great deal of resistance, I succumbed and got myself a Facebook account in the summer of 2007. I was in a running group that started scheduling runs via a Facebook group, so I really had to play the game or step aside.

Facebook was kind of neat for a week or so, but quickly became stale. I figured my lack of passion for Facebook had something to do with the fact I already had a web presence where I could share notes, pictures and links. Still, Facebook was a great deal more pleasurable than MySpace, and many of my friends were passionate users.

Just last year, I started to tweet via Twitter. It's been about five months, and I'm enjoying this social networking tool more today than ever. It's micro-blogging with a mobile slant, an ideal complement to my blog. The real-time buzz detection via those select few I follow enriches the content over here, and keeps my ear to the ground. I enjoy Twitter about ten times as much as I enjoyed Facebook. I now find myself recruiting Facebook friends to the Twitter fold.

I find there are three types of people in the Social Networking kingdom. The Facebook Fiends, the Twitter Followers and the Twitbook Teeter-Totters.

Facebook Fiends - You know these guys... They embraced Facebook in 2006 or 2007 and haven't looked back. As die-hard Facebook fiends, this community hogs the bulk of their online life and they wouldn't consider leaving. They're too invested in Facebook to switch to Twitter.

Twitter Followers - These are people like me, who tried Facebook but prefer Twitter. The promotional potential of Twitter brought us over, but the value-add of those we follow keep us there. We've essentially said goodbye to Facebook and are now loyal Tweeters in the Twitter kingdom.

Twitbook Teeter-Totters - These are Facebook fans who get the attraction of Twitter. Twitbook Teeter-Totters haven't switched but maintain both. How many people do you know that dupe their Tweets as Facebook status messages? That's who I'm referring to here. They couldn't pick a community, so they manage both.

Which one are you?

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Seattle P-I Now Entirely Digital News

newspaperThe Seattle Post-Intelligencer goes to print for the last time tomorrow morning.

The Hearst Corp. announced Monday that it would stop publishing the 146-year old newspaper, Seattle's oldest business, and cease delivery to more than 117,600 weekday readers.

The company, however, said it would maintain seattlepi.com, making it the nation's largest daily newspaper to shift to an entirely digital news product.

It's an "entirely digital news product", but it's not the same product they were printing. It's now a slimmed down source of local news and opinion.

It's a tough time for newspapers.

Seattle follows Denver in losing a daily newspaper this year, after the Rocky Mountain news closed.

And in Arizona, Gannett's Tucson Citizen is set to close on Saturday, leaving one newspaper in that city.

Last month the San Francisco Chronicle said it plans to cut a "significant" number of jobs to meet cost-cutting targets, and that if the targets are not met, then the paper could be sold or closed down.

The New York Times is struggling to service debts of some $400m, amid dwindling cash reserves and plunging revenue.

Last year it had to mortgage its gleaming new headquarters (built in 2007 with much fanfare) to bolster its cash flow.

The Tribune Company, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun and many other titles, filed for bankruptcy in December, and although its newspapers remain in publication, the repercussions of the bankruptcy filing are likely to lead to restructuring.

Three other newspaper companies have also filed for bankruptcy in recent months.

They are Star Tribune Holding Corporation (which owns the Minneapolis Star-Tribune), the Journal Register Company (which owns the New Haven Register and a number of other titles in the North East), and Philadelphia Newspapers LLC (which owns Philadelphia's two top newspapers, the Inquirer and the Daily News).

In this city, we've got the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, the Globe & Mail and the National Post, as well as a couple of local papers, Eye Weekly and Now. And I'm not even getting into the free papers. Can they all survive?

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Ron Silver, Dead at 62

In MemoriumRon Silver was 62. He was the award-winning actor and activist who was Emmy-nominated for his role on the hit U.S. television drama "The West Wing."

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Ice Age Cometh to Etienne Brule Park

Humber RiverI finally got around to visiting the scene of the apocalypse that was Etienne Brule Park with my camera. My son and I made the walk by the Humber River near the Old Mill where recent flooding has created an ice age of sorts.

The massive chunks of ice make for a very cool obstacle course. It's quite the challenge and just dangerous enough to make it super fun. I think glacier hopping should be considered as a non-medal sport in Vancouver next winter.

Here's a photoset from our visit to Etienne Brule Park. If glacier hopping intrigues you, get down there before it all melts away.

P3158695 P3158699 P3158700 P3158712

Related:

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Addicted to The Wire

TVI finished the eighth episode of Season One of The Wire late last night. I've been working through this series since I picked up all 60 episodes from Andrew last week.

This show is so compelling, so wonderfully written and so brilliantly paced that I simply can't get enough. Like the drugs portrayed on the screen, I just want my next hit. It's sort of the best of The Sopranos blended with the best of Homicide: Life on the Street. Every word has weight, so you're forced to pay very close attention. I'm addicted.

I'll write a review after I wrap up each season. If it wasn't for work, sleep and these damn kids, I'd have the whole series done by next weekend.

the wire

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Maple Leafs 8, Flames 6

LeafsIt was our greatest offensive output of the season. I just checked the archives and failed to find another game with 8 Leaf goals this season.

It's also Calgary's ninth straight loss in Toronto dating back to December of 2000. In related news, I understand Brian Burke is lobbying the NHL to include more Toronto home games against the Flames next season.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
27-29-13
67 points
4th in Northeast Division
8-6 Win vs. Calgary
4-1 Loss vs. Tampa Bay
3-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
J. Blake - 54
M. Stajan - 48
Ponikarovsky - 48

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Andrew Martin, Dead at 33

In MemoriumAndrew Martin was 33. He was the professional wrestler best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Entertainment) under the ring name Test.

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Alan W. Livingston, Dead at 91

In MemoriumAlan W. Livingston was 91. He was the music executive who created Bozo the Clown and signed the Beatles during his tenure as president of Capitol Records.

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Fast Company Links to My Digital Newspaper Entry

NewspaperSince this blog is all about me, I'm going to create a category to track references and links to TorontoMike.com from the mainstream press.

Fast Company's article, UK's Guardian Newspaper Embraces Future With Free Digital Content , by Kit Eaton, links to my How Should Newspapers Make Money Online? entry from last month.

Video killed the radio star and the web is just about done with the newspaper.

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Jon Stewart vs Jim Cramer: For Americans Only?

Stewart vs. CramerI watched The Daily Show on Thursday night. That's right, I stayed up past my normal 11pm bedtime and watched the Jon Stewart ~ Jim Cramer Smack Down. It was great television, so I wanted to share the episode here. TheDailyShow.com made the full episode available online, so I went over to grab the embeddable code.

Here's the link, but if you're in Canada, don't bother clicking. In Canada, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is available on the CTV Broadband Network.

I clicked the link for the CTV Broadband Network, and sure enough, there's a link to watch episodes. That's when they throw you at the CTV Video Library. The CTV Video Library did indeed have the clips I was looking for, but CTV doesn't do what every other video clip service does in 2009. CTV doesn't give web authors HTML for embedding the video into his or her site. I could watch the episode, but I couldn't drop the video here. CTV needs to get an e-clue.

Buffalo Boy lives in Buffalo (surprise!), and he didn't have this problem. He got to go to The Daily Show's site where the clips were easily embeddable. Heck, Buffalo Boy did it, proof that it's not rocket surgery.

Here's Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer. Of course, only 21.27% of you will see it. Pity...

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's Unedited Jim Cramer Interview Pt. 1

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's Unedited Jim Cramer Interview Pt. 2

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's Unedited Jim Cramer Interview Pt. 3

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Norris Division Action from the Greys

Ticket StubIn the mid-80s, my parents made sure we kids each got to at least one Leafs game a year at Maple Leaf Gardens. A teacher my mom worked with had season's tickets and he would sell a few pairs to us each year.

They were seats 11 and 12 of Section 94, Row A. That's in the Greys, if you remember Maple Leaf Gardens. The Greys were the worst seats in the house, but we got to sit in the first row of the Greys, which was the best of the worst.

The ticket owner, naturally, kept all the good games for himself. He wouldn't sell Saturday night games, or games against good teams. That meant we saw a lot of the Norris Division growing up. Just about every game I saw from 1985 through 1989 involved the Black Hawks, North Stars, Blues or Red Wings.

The most cherished tickets at the time were games against Wayne Gretzky's Oilers and our arch rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. In a sweet coincidence, I've only seen two Leaf games at the ACC this season. They were against the Canadiens and Oilers.

mlg-seats

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A Week of Headers

typewriterThose of you who kick it old school and visit TorontoMike.com or torontomike.com will have noticed a different header image every day. Every Friday, I post all the header images from the previous week. Here are the awesomely hilarious and insightful header images you may have missed this past week.

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The Last 300 Game Winner

BaseballAs an impressionable young baseball fan, someone game me a book entitled "The 500 Club". It had a page devoted to every player in Major League Baseball history who had hit 500 or more home runs in their career.

This was the early 80s when there was two members of the 700 club, one member of the 600 club and far fewer members of the 500 club than we have today. The 500 Club used to be a much bigger deal.

This was the start of my fascination with baseball statistics. I had to know who held the Blue Jays single season and career records for every offensive, defensive and pitching category. This was before the Interweb, so gathering this data wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

The great milestone for starting pitchers was 300 wins. That was the magic mark. Only 23 players have ever done it, but Randy Johnson is sitting on 295 career wins. Randy Johnson will join The 300 Club this season, and Randy Johnson will be the very last player to reach this mark. There will never again be a 300 game winner in Major League baseball.

Our greatest pitcher this past decade has been Roy Halladay, who I consider to be the 2nd greatest starter in Blue Jays history. Halladay is a throwback, finishing games and winning at about a .700 clip. Roy Halladay only has 131 wins to date and won't get close to 300 in his career.

There are relief specialists, five man rotations and pitch counts to blame, but the 300 game winner will go the way of the do-do bird. After former Expo Randy Johnson gets there, that is.

Randy Johnson

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Maple Leafs 1, Lightning 4

LeafsTampa Bay is 3-0 against us this season. Tampa Bay has the NHL’s second-worst record, but we can't beat 'em. We caught them the night after they went to overtime against the Sens and we still couldn't come close.

Changing the topic somewhat, I'm starting to think about our annual NHL playoff pool. Save the evening of Monday, April 13 in your calendars if you're coming by to draft.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
26-29-13
65 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-1 Loss vs. Tampa Bay
3-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
2-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
J. Blake - 53
M. Stajan - 46
Ponikarovsky - 44

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I Left When Dr. Mark Greene Died

TVI find it strange that ER is only wrapping up now. ER was appointment viewing for me until 2002 when Dr. Mark Greene died. After eight years of viewing, and with many of the regulars now gone, that seemed like a good time to say goodbye.

Seven years later, that damn show is still airing new episodes. It turns out I barely caught half the series. I understand a bunch of the old cast is showing up in these final few episodes, so I'm recording the show on my new PVR.

I'd like to see how this old favourite ends.

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The Raconteurs - Consoler Of The Lonely

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Consoler Of The Lonely" by The Raconteurs.

Jack White is the hardest working man in showbiz today. There's The White Stripes, all that Jack White stuff, The Raconteurs and now, the Dead Weather. The Dead Weather is Jack White on vocals/drums, Allison Mosshart from The Kills (vocals), Jack Lawrence from The Raconteurs (bass) and Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age (guitar).

This song, however, is from The Rac. Thanks to Mississauga Mike for finding this audio on YouTube. Everything else I found was live.

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City of Losers

torontoMy city is a city of losers. At least when it comes to our primary professional sports teams. We suck.

Our Maple Leafs of the NHL are 27-28-13, which puts us 11th in the conference and well outside the playoffs.

Our Raptors of the NBA are 23-42, which puts us 14th in the conference and well outside the playoffs.

Our Blue Jays of MLB were 86-76, which put us 4th in the division and well outside the playoffs.

Our Argos of the CFL were 4-14, which put us 3rd in the division and well outside the playoffs.

Our Bills of the NFL were 7-9, which put us 4th in the division and well outside the playoffs.

There is little hope for any of the above. In fact, I'm willing to bet all miss the playoffs again next season.

Welcome to Loserville.

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Hold Your Laughter: I Now Have A PVR

TVYou guys can stop laughing at me now. Toronto Mike has entered the 21st century. I now have a PVR.

I made the decision two weeks ago, but only hooked it up last night. I've got it recording a few of my favourite shows, a couple for my wife and a few for the kids.

I can already see it's going to dramatically change the way we watch television. This fun new television toy comes at a time when I'm watching less "television" than ever before. I'm 4 episodes into the 60 episode arc of The Wire and I'm hooked. Every episode is like a really good movie. It might be some time before I actually reap the benefits of this PVR, but at least I'll feel current.

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CBC Radio 2 Likes My Hockey Music

CBCI know when a web site links to mine when it shows up in the referral logs. Still, I somehow missed this CBC Radio 2 blog entry about hockey music which references my hockey music entry.

This morning while Tom Allen was talking about "blow drying geese," the headline Introducing Hockey (in a BBC RSS feed of music news) jumped out at me. (So did Tom saying "blow drying geese." Never did catch the rest of that story.) Anyway, the Hockey that BBC was talking about is a band from Portland, Oregon.

But such is the nature of the web that one thing surfs to another, and so this "introducing hockey" post is for those who love the game...and its related music.

There are The Zambonis, from Connecticut, who claim to be "North America's Favourite ALL-HOCKEY Band!"

For a hockey music clearing house, you'll want to look at the Canadian website, Hockey Music. Among other things, there you will find forums about Hockey Music. You may freely discuss your computer set-up for sound at the rink; which teams use live organ music, and so on.

But the greatest find has to be "Toronto Mike's" list of best songs about hockey, illustrated with video examples. To have a look and listen, go to Hockey Songs: The Best Music About Our Game.

The entry is dated January 6, 2009, but I only caught traffic flowing through that page this morning. It doesn't seem my Crocs goldrush will repeat here.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers - Knock Me Down

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.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Knock Me Down
During volleyball last night, I heard "By the Way" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That got me thinking about Mother's Milk, which is still my favourite Chili Peppers album.

One of the many cool tracks on Mother's Milk is "Knock Me Down", which is sort of a cool song to spin during my Wire days.

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The Cadillac Fairview Gift Card Scam

Cadillac Fairview Gift CardMy mom received a Cadillac Fairview Gift Card as a birthday gift a couple of years ago. You can use these gift cards as cash at any Cadillac Fairview Shopping Centre. Last weekend, my mom tried to use her gift card at Sherway Gardens.

I say she tried to use her Cadillac Fairview Gift Card because she was actually unable to use it. When the cashier entered it in the system to learn the balance, it came up as $0. Assuming there was some kind of mistake, I took it to the information desk at Sherway Gardens to restore the funds.

We were told that Cadillac Fairview deducts $2 a month for every month the card is not used, after the initial 16 months. If you buy your friend or loved one a $20 Cadillac Fairview Gift Card, and your friend or loved one fails to use it for a couple of years, Cadillac Fairview essentially keeps your money and won't accept the gift card.

I say gift cards are the same as cash. A $20 gift card should always be worth $20, even if it sits in your wallet for a couple of years. What's the incentive to buy a gift card with "use it or lose it" small print?

Do your friend or loved one a favour. Give them cash instead.

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Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 2

LeafsRemember Grabs? Mikhail Grabovski was that speedy little centre we plucked out of Montreal, but you're forgiven if you forgot about him. He hadn't scored in a while, but he notched his first OT goal last night to help the Leafs secure two points against the lowly Islanders.

We have another softy tomorrow against the Lightning.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
26-28-13
65 points
4th in Northeast Division
3-2 Win vs. New York Islanders
2-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
4-1 Loss vs. Edmonton
J. Blake - 52
M. Stajan - 46
Ponikarovsky - 44

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Reusing Water Bottles

waterI like to take my 1.5 litre water bottle, fill it with spring water and freeze it. I freeze it for about 8 hours until it's freezing cold with chunks of ice that will fit through the mouth of the bottle. Then, I take it down.

Many people have told me I'm killing myself by reusing the plastic container that bottled water comes in. I've been told it causes cancer, and that freezing water over and over again releases some kind of cancer-causing chemical agent. I'm not looking for trouble, so I did what anyone would do in this day and age. I Googled it.

According to snopes.com, a source I've come to trust for facts when it comes to such heresy, this isn't true. I can reuse my PET-based bottles in this fashion without fear such carcinogens are being leached into my ice water.

I know it's a strange quirk, but it's my strange quirk, and I'm just glad it's not killing me.

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Maple Leafs 1, Senators 2

LeafsCurtis Joseph reached quite the milestone last night. He's the sixth goalie in league history to allow 2,500 goals. Congratulations, Cujo!

In other news, Jason Spezza was caught cheating. Dude was using an illegal stick. The Sens have to cheat to win, spread the news.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
25-28-13
63 points
4th in Northeast Division
2-1 Loss vs. Ottawa
4-1 Loss vs. Edmonton
2-1 Win vs. Washington
J. Blake - 51
M. Stajan - 46
Ponikarovsky - 42

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Losing to Italy in Baseball?

BaseballI can understand Canada losing to Italy in soccer. In fact, I'd expect that. I'd also expect to lose to Italy in pizza dough throwing. As I type, however, Canada is losing to Italy in the World Baseball Classic at the ballpark formerly known as Skydome. That's unacceptable.

It's the bottom of the sixth, so there's still time. We have to come back and take this. We're not losing to Italy in baseball...

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Tonight: The Wire Pilot

TVI mentioned that I wanted to see The Wire. I had always heard good things, but I've read a couple of articles recently that made me realize this was my kind of show.

Thanks to Andrew, who some of you may know from the comments, I have borrowed all five seasons on DVD. I can't wait to dive in, starting tonight. In fact, I haven't been this psyched about starting a new show since I joined The Sopranos ruckus a couple of seasons in.

I've got 60 episodes to burn through, so periodically I'll post my progress and thoughts on this blog. Tonight: The Pilot.

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Mark the Date: May 2nd for Humble & Fred

podcastI've already spilt a few beans about the 20th anniversary Humble and Fred podcast at Dominion on Queen, but now I'm able to spill another bean.

Revealed for the first time, I'm going to tell you the date of this open recording you're all invited to attend. The date will be May 2nd, 2009. Mark it on your calendar... it will likely be an early afternoon thing, but that details not yet etched in stone.

Humble and Fred fans, I'll see you May 2nd. We'll have more details in a few weeks.

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Work Your Way Through the Recession

MoneyI took an economics class in high school, but all I remember from that course is the relationship between supply and demand. When it comes to personal finances, I let my wife handle it. I have many passions, but the economy and money don't make the list.

I do, however, read the news on a daily basis, and it seems news about the economy goes from bad to worse with every read. It's all doom and gloom, with predictions it will get worse before it gets better and that this will be the longest recession since WWII.

My one and only strategy for dealing with this recession is to work. I'm going to do my best to work my way through this recession. I'm working harder and smarter than ever before, developing new skills and improving old ones.

I'm no economist, but this appears to be the best strategy and it's the only one I really know how to implement. Work, work, work, work... until it's over and we're all living high on the hog once more.

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Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Use Somebody" by Kings Of Leon.

I'm a little behind with my SLS duties. All of Only by the Night is pretty awesome, but this is one of my favourite tracks.

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City Lights with Brian Linehan

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.

Brian Linehan passed away almost five years ago. He hosted City Lights, a show I would watch because I found Linehan's interviewing style to be so detailed and unique. You may recall Martin Short's send up of Linehan on SCTV, Brock Linehan.

This is the City Lights opening from 1989. Hearing that theme song takes me back. It was the only theme song the show ever had.


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Maple Leafs 1, Oilers 4

LeafsI was at this game, and I can tell you the Oiler fans were as loud, if not louder than the Leaf fans. It's only the second Oilers visit to the ACC since the lockout, and I think every transplanted Edmontonian in the city made it out last night.

The game itself wasn't particularly exciting from where I sat. I only caught the last two periods, and we seemed to lack a certain intensity. That, and skill. The Timbits game was far more exciting.

At least I witnessed Martin Gerber's home ice debut as a Maple Leaf. That's something else I can tell my grandkids about.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
25-27-13
63 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-1 Loss vs. Edmonton
2-1 Win vs. Washington
4-3 Win vs. Ottawa
J. Blake - 51
M. Stajan - 46
Ponikarovsky - 41

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Swansea Hockey Plays the ACC

PuckLast night was one of those once in a lifetime experiences you never forget. It's a story I'll be telling for some time. Last night, I was a very proud papa watching my son play on ACC ice in front of 18,000 spectators.

I'm going to document everything here, because that's what I do. When I'm an old man I suspect I'll get a kick out of revisiting these archives, so this entry is for Old Toronto Mike.

We boarded the Tim Hortons bus at Rennie Park at about 5:30pm. It was rainy, but warm. James' stick and hockey bag was placed under the bus and he found a seat next to his buddy Cam where they could watch the on-bus movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks.

From Rennie Park to the ACC isn't a particularly long journey, so they didn't get through much of the flick. We drove into the ACC via a ramp on the south side of the building. We parked next to the bus that brought the Oilers to the game. We waited in this area while security checked every bag and then we waited a little more for our reps from Tim Hortons. The Tim Hortons people would take us the rest of the way.

We were taken to our dressing room via the back of the ACC, where we saw all the extra seats used for the Raptors basketball configuration, as well as several basketball nets and hockey nets. I'm not sure, but I think I also saw Oliver Miller stored away back there.

Our dressing room was next to the Raptors' room, and down a hall from the ACC ice. They put the game on television and asked that the kids be in full uniform with 8-minutes left in the first period. We were divided into a blue team and a white team and the kids got new Timbits uniforms. James got #10.

With 8-minutes left in the period, and the game tied at zero, the players lined up, goalies first and then toggling between blue and white. While waiting to take the ice, Carlton the Bear showed up, as he would drop the puck. Then, I heard our team announced by Andy Frost and the game began.

The game itself is a blur to me. It happens very quickly, and you're trying to pick out your #10 from the glass. Others took video, so I'll be able to see it soon. I can tell you that the game ended in a 1-1 tie, the crowd went nuts for the entire 4-minutes, James thinks he touched the puck, but isn't sure, and the intensity I witnessed far surpassed what I'd see the remainder of the Leafs game.

It was a job well done, and the reward was another box of Timbits, another bottled water and a couple of tickets for us to watch the last two periods of the Leafs game. Oh yeah, and a Carlton the Bear puck and temporary tattoos.

After the Leafs loss, we made our way back to our old dressing room and returned to the bus. There, well past their bedtimes, our Timbits (the players, not the donuts) watched more of Alvin and the Chipmunks before reaching our destination, Rennie Park.

I hope the 18 kids who got to participate in this amazing experience never forget the night they played at the ACC. I know I never will. I've got a bunch of pictures in this Flickr photoset in case my memory starts to fade.

P3078641 P3078653 P3078669

Here's video evidence of Team Blue's goal I captured with my good 'ol digicam.

Update: Another Timbit dad put together a video recap of the evening. At the 3:18 mark, you can see me high five James. Check this out:

And Gail captured some awesome raw footage from her centre ice seat. Check out her handywork:

Update: Here's the official ACC video that was shown on the scoreboard.


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Vicarious Living

puckMy son takes to the ice during tonight's Maple Leaf game at the ACC and I'm more nervous than he is. I don't think he fully comprehends how very cool this is. Not only will he see his first Leafs game, but he'll actually play a mini-game during the first intermission. He's psyched, but I'm ecstatic.

We'll board the bus in about an hour and drive into the ACC via the players entrance. During period one, we'll be in a change room getting the Timbits ready to play. The Leafs game will be on the TV, and after the period ends, they'll announce the Swansea Hockey Association Timbits and my boy will take the ice.

I'll take a whole bunch of pictures by the boards. After the game, which is about five minutes long, we get Timbits (the donuts, not the players) and water and seats from which we'll watch the rest of the Leafs ~ Oilers game.

I'll write all about it tonight or tomorrow, depending on my mood. During the event, I'll Tweet. If you don't know what a Tweet is, it's essentially a micro-blog entry via Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/torontomike and/or read my real-time Tweets from the ACC at http://www.torontomike.com/twitter.html.

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WBC and Google Chrome Logos Separated @ Birth?

BaseballI'm watching the Netherlands trying to upset the Dominican Republic in World Baseball Classic action. Every time I see the World Baseball Classic logo, it reminds me of the Google Chrome logo.

The World Baseball Classic started in 2006 while Chrome didn't get released until 2008. I put the logos side-by-side so you can see the similarities for yourself.

logos

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I Want to Watch The Wire

TVI want to watch The Wire. I understand there are five seasons and 60 episodes in total. From everything I've read, The Wire is right up my ally and I'm certain I'll love it.

Here's a shot in the dark, but what the hell. Can anyone out there lend me The Wire on DVD? Maybe we can work out a fair trade...

I know someone out there has all five seasons on DVD sitting on a shelf somewhere.

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Do It Again Blue Jays

jaysYou can smell spring in the air. Today, Canada takes on the USA in WBC baseball action at the ballpark formerly known as SkyDome. The Blue Jays are playing spring training games in Florida and I'm getting excited about another season of slo-pitch.

In this spirit on this fine Saturday in March, here's a great Blue Jays song featuring the voices of Blue Jays baseball, Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. Hearing Tom on this track talking about Devo leading off and Robbie and Joe following him in the line-up makes me miss those glory days of Blue Jays baseball. Yes, I'm old enough to remember playoff baseball in this city.

Turn it up, get your groove on and Go Jays Go!

Other awesome Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

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20th Anniversary Humble and Fred Podcast Details Leaked

MicRemember when I told you the 20th Anniversary Humble and Fred Podcast was 99% for sure? It's now 100%.

I'll tell you some of what I know, and I'll keep the rest of what I know a little closer to my chest.

We'll record the podcast at Dominion on Queen, a great little club at 500 Queen Street East at Sumach. Everyone is invited to join in the fun. On April 1st, more details, including the date, will be revealed.

While you wait, you can read more about Humble and Fred or listen to previous Humble and Fred podcasts.

Who's joining me at Dominion on Queen for a heavy dose of Humble and Fred nostalgia?

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5 Years Later, I'm Still Stunned @ Hootie and the Blowfish

CDI should just get over it and move on. It's been five years. Why do these things bother me so?.

Five years ago today, I wrote about the Best of Hootie and the Blowfish.

Watching this painful Leaf game, I needed a good laugh. I just got one.

It seems long forgotten bland bar band Hootie & the Blowfish released Best of Hootie and the Blowfish (1993 Thru 2003) this week. That's right, Hootie & the Blowfish have released a greatest hits compilation in an effort to squeeze every last cent out of 1994.

A glance at the track listing for Best of Hootie and the Blowfish (1993 Thru 2003) confirms my suspicions. The only tunes I recognize appeared on their mega-selling debut Cracked Rear View, except for their faithful cover of 54*40's "I Go Blind" which they recorded for the crap-com Friends. In other words, if you're one of the millions who already owns Cracked Rear View, you already own the best of Hootie & the Blowfish.

Time doesn't heal all wounds.

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A Week of Headers

typewriterThose of you who kick it old school and visit TorontoMike.com or torontomike.com will have noticed a different header image every day. Every Friday, I post all the header images from the previous week. Here are the awesomely hilarious and insightful header images you may have missed this past week.

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Colleen Howe, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumColleen Howe was 73. She was the wife of hockey great Gordie Howe and one of the first female sports agents. Known as "Mrs. Hockey," Colleen Howe promoted the sport in her own right and stood outside her husband's shadow through her charitable work and success as a businesswoman and author.

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My First Composite Stick

PuckWhen I returned to playing hockey after a 21-year absence, I bought myself a wooden stick for $9.99 at Canadian Tire. That stick lasted me until last Friday when it finally broke.

When a wood stick lasts you almost five months, it's a good indication you don't have much of a slap shot and it's a rec league. Both are true, but it was $9.99 well spent. I got fifteen goals out of that sucker, but some things aren't built to last.

Today, I bought my first composite stick. I found a good two-for-$99.99 deal and found a buddy to go in with me. I'm told it's worth the fifty bucks... we'll see tonight when I break it in.

It's a Nike Bauer Hockey Vapor XII Senior Composite Ice Hockey Stick- 87 Flex with an Eric Lindros curve, in case you want to tell me now that I just threw away $50.

vapor

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416 000 Mobile Phone Spam

phoneOver the past six weeks or so, I've been receiving spam calls on my Blackberry. These calls come from a number of phone numbers, all starting with 415-000. When I answer, the recording tells me the warranty on my car is about to expire.

I know I'm not the only one getting these, because my wife gets the same call on her cell. The last two numbers I received this spam call from are 416-000-9763 and 416-000-5579.

I have two questions:

  1. Are you getting these mobile phone spam calls?
  2. Is there any way to block inbound calls from the number 416-000-xxxx?

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Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

A Movie ReelPete Seeger: The Power of Song: 8 out of 10.

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song is one of three amazing music docs I've seen over the past six months. first there was Joy Division, then there was Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten and now there's Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.

Pete Seeger is the genuine article, and I've got a lot of time for him. He reeks of sincerity and integrity and even at the age of 89, he's as sharp as a tack. If you're at all curious about the man or interested in music as means of protest and a vehicle for change, this is a must-see documentary.

pete-seeger

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Maple Leafs 2, Capitals 1

LeafsI admit it. I'm wrong about a couple of things.

Firstly, this is not the worst Leafs team in the history of the franchise. The Maple Leafs are 5-0-3 in their last eight, which won't get them into the playoffs, but will likely take them out of the John Tavares lottery.

Secondly, Martin Gerber was great yesterday. I didn't see that coming.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
25-26-13
63 points
4th in Northeast Division
2-1 Win vs. Washington
4-3 Win vs. Ottawa
5-4 Win vs. New York
J. Blake - 51
M. Stajan - 45
Ponikarovsky - 40

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Martin Gerber's New Crest

leafsIt's all making sense now. I was baffled when the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up Martin Gerber, but I see now there's a method of Brian Burke's madness.

Take a look at the custom crest they have Martin Gerber wearing here in Toronto.

gerber

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175 Reasons to Love Toronto

TorontoIn 1984, I played for a tee-ball team called the Sesquis. Swansea's Rennie Park created the team for that one summer only to commemorate Toronto's 150th birthday, or sesquicentennial if you will.

It was March 6, 1834 that York was incorporated as the City of Toronto. That's 175 years ago tomorrow. They call this the demisemiseptcentennial, but I don't know if Swansea will field a team this summer called the demisemisepts or not.

I do know The Toronto Star has published 175 reasons to love Toronto. Here's their list:

1. It is the centre of the (Canadian) universe.

2. Jane Jacobs called it home.

3. Our first mayor led a rebellion.

4. We can finally buy a decent burrito.

5. We can hang up our laundry without stirring up gossip.

6. We have independent bookstores in every neighbourhood – and new ones are still opening.

7. Our sports teams wear blue and purple, and we look damn good in blue and purple.

8. We have a Little Malta.

9. And a Little Azores.

10. There are so many Chinatowns, we've lost count.

11. There's a festival for every neighbourhood and ethnic group in the city – and about a dozen crammed into every summer weekend.

12. A million people can crowd the streets during one of these festivals and nobody gets mugged.

13. Gays and lesbians can marry here.

14. There's a perfect, tiny old church in the courtyard of the Eaton Centre.

15. And a prayer labyrinth.

16. North America's most stable banks are based here.

17. The elegant footbridge at the mouth of the Humber that has inspired thousands of photographs.

18. The surreal spectacle of Church Street on Halloween.

19. Long before wi-fi, we could predict the weather by looking at the beacon atop the Canada Life building.

20. Violent crime is actually going down.

21. The downtown population is actually going up.

22. Admit it: A couple of the seemingly thousands of new condo dwellings are actually rather nice.

23. One of the city's best golf courses runs underneath its busiest highway.

24. We can watch (and cringe at) young daredevils at Cummer Skateboard Park.

25. The newspaper reading room at the Toronto Reference Library.

26. We have a restaurant devoted to poutine.

27. Those streetcar drivers who assert themselves over the automated voice system with their own personal shout-outs for various intersections and attractions along their routes.

28. Going down the giant escalator at the Paramount – er, Scotiabank Theatre.

29. Working up a sweat on the old wooden indoor running track at Hart House, followed by lunch at the Gallery Grill.

30. Dining on pho at 2 in the morning.

31. The inspirational messages on the Inglis billboard keep Gardiner Expressway commuters uplifted.

32. Touring local history (and stopping for a game of chess) at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

33. The private viewing booths at the NFB's Mediatheque.

34. That guy – you know the one – who insists on wearing shorts in the dead of winter.

35. We proudly display our favourite of Spacing magazine's iconic buttons of TTC subway stations.

36. We dutifully separate our garbage into black, blue and green.

37. Learning to love theatre classics, thanks to Soulpepper.

38. Michael Snow's Canada geese sculpture in the Eaton Centre.

39. If you're bored by what you're watching at the Winter Garden Theatre, you can admire the faux greenery.

40. The artistic Utopia of the gorgeously restored 401 Richmond and the Wychwood Art Barns.

41. We've got more cyclists per capita than Vancouver.

42. The SkyDome (okay, Rogers Centre) when the roof is in the process of being opened or closed.

43. Basking in the sun at the Canada Master tennis tournament (okay, the Rogers Cup).

44. From the Humber Bay butterfly habitat, the city looks almost beautiful.

45. The dim sum is as good as the tapas. (And the antipasti are as good as the panchan. And ...)

46. We've got a sugar museum. And a shoe museum.

47. When you look up you can see hawks circling.

48. The double-decker Go trains flashing by cars gridlocked on the Gardiner.

49. We are a hockey city, baseball city, basketball city and now a soccer city.

50. We are sometimes also a cricket city.

51. Eating your way across the globe at St. Lawrence Market on a Saturday.

52. The Dakota Tavern, the west end's roots-music rec room.

53. Watching leaves turn at the Toronto Botanical Garden in the fall.

54. Stopping in your tracks as a bigger-than-you-remembered Porter plane descends over the harbour.

55. The flume log ride at Ontario Place.

56. Without us, where would they film movies set in American cities?

57. Honest Ed's shrine to kitsch even lets Toronto fill in for Vegas from time to time.

58. We never have to stop traffic for a Stanley Cup parade.

59. A family of beavers made a home for themselves at the Music Garden.

60. Yonge-Dundas Square was supposed to be Toronto's answer to Times Square. It's really no comparison, but don't you want to give the city a big condescending hug just for trying?

61. Colin Partridge's vivid tree carvings in High Park.

62. Getting to the Toronto City Centre Airport necessitates a ride on the world's shortest ferry route.

63. Bumping into a towel-clad celeb at Stillwater Spa.

64. Marvelling at the machines that churn out sweet walnut cakes in Little Korea.

65. Chilled-out revellers and circus performers at free summertime Promise parties put Cherry Beach on the map.

66. You can pay $5 for a cup of coffee at a growing number of specialty cafes – or still get your double-double for 90 cents.

67. For 10 star-struck days in September, Toronto is justified calling itself Hollywood North.

68. The raging fandom on display – for lacrosse! – at Toronto Rock games is inspiring.

69. Spotting a big, beautiful white-tailed deer nibbling greenery at G. Ross Lord Park.

70. Watching a big ugly amphibious Hippo bus taking a swim in the harbour.

71. The legendary white squirrel.

72. We've now got a deli and bagels that make trips to Montreal almost unnecessary.

73. The smiles on everyone's faces during the first warm spell of the year.

74. A hive of indie rock, from Apostle of Hustle to Woodhands.

Hip hop too: Kardi, K-os and K'Naan call it home.

76. Scouting for migrating birds at the Leslie Street Spit – but look out for the snakes.

77. Nuit Blanche, for letting us see the city with fresh eyes.

78. The gorilla compound at the Toronto Zoo.

79. The intimate zoos at High Park, Riverdale Park and Centre Island.

80. A huge festival that treats authors like real celebrities.

81. Exploring the cottagey, car-free Ward Island neighbourhood and wondering why we don't all live there.

82. The united nations of Baldwin Street.

83. Tai chi at Christie Pits.

84. The sad, poignant sculptures at Ireland Park.

85. Being able to overhear – and see – top-shelf jazz from a comfortable perch outside the Nathan Phillips mainstage tent during the jazz festival when you can't afford a ticket.

86. Getting back to nature, almost, in a meandering ravine.

87. Housing is getting more affordable by the month.

88. The view of the city as you drive south on the DVP.

89. Riding your bike along the DVP and Gardiner during the annual Ride for Heart.

90. Lively literati – from Michael Ondaatje to Bryan Lee O'Malley – helped make this a city of the imagination.

91. Enza, supermodel.

92. The glass staircase in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

93. The glass floor at the CN Tower.

94. The perfect blend of old and new in the Brookfield Place atrium.

95. Top-notch, small-scale comedy at Bad Dog, Comedy Bar, Second City – and a dozen other barroom stages.

96. Basking in verdant luxury in the backyards of the wealthy along the Belt Line trail.

97. Shirtless Zanta doing pushups in the cold.

98. Extensive back-alley graffiti, some of which is better than the stuff hanging in galleries.

99. Gehry, Libeskind, Alsopp: Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving us architecture worthy of debate.

100. Spotting the almost mystical garbage train on the TTC late at night.

101. Fig and molasses, chestnut and birch syrup ... and other exotic flavours from Kensington Market Organic Ice Cream.

102. The care that goes into irrepressibly quirky allotment gardens.

103. Winter? What winter? Eating, shopping and working in the PATH.

104. Rightfully beloved Massey Hall has welcomed too many big names to count.

105. Distillery delicacies: Mayan hot chocolate at Soma, organic beer at Mill Street Brewery, exotic fromage from A Taste of Quebec and a meat pie from Brick Street Bakery, enjoyed in the city's most cinematic setting.

106. The surprisingly vibrant beach volleyball scene at Ashbridge's Bay.

107. Helping a student by riding a rickshaw.

108. Listening to live music at the restored deco classic Carlu.

109. Eating brunch three times a day, every day, in Leslieville.

110. SARS made us stronger – and the resulting benefit concert found a use for the empty expanse of Downsview Park.

111. Ron Baird's landmark kinetic steel sculpture on Dufferin St. south of Steeles Ave.

112. The smell of baked goods at Bathurst and Eglinton subway stations.

113. The giant glowing pill-shaped classroom in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at U of T.

114. There's a downtown driving range that doubles as a drive-in theatre.

115. The CN Tower withstands some 50 lightning strikes a year.

116. We saw a guy take his Christmas tree home on the subway.

117. The Dufferin Grove organic farmers market is open every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. year round.

118. Going for mojitos at Julie's.

119. Then listening to live Cuban music at Lula Lounge.

120. Hopping from one you-call-that-art? gallery to another on Queen West for Thursday-night opening receptions.

121. Coming across a part of the city transformed for a movie shoot.

122. The impossibly ornate, painstakingly constructed Hindu temple that seems totally out of place alongside the 427.

123. Sipping from a green coconut and wishing Toronto had palm trees during Caribana.

124. Lining up for Hakka food in Scarborough.

125. Dancing to a band from a faraway land in the open air at Harbourfront.

126. Reading a book on the bizarre slab of granite on Yorkville Ave.

127. Feeling like you're the first to discover fresh pupusas on Augusta Ave.

128. Jackie Richardson, a one-woman musical treasure.

129. Dusk Dances and Shakespeare in the Park: keeping green space interesting.

130. Pillow fights, Zombie Walks, subway parties, Manhunt and Capture the Flag: keeping it weird.

131. Spectacular patios – the Madison, Quigley's and the Rectory, to name just three – filling up at the first sign of good weather.

132. The "secret" patios hiding at the back of dozens of restaurants.

133. Grazing among the cow statues in the TD Centre plaza.

134. Watching glass blowers performing their molten arts at York Quay Centre.

135. Lying on the grass for a concert at Molson Amphitheatre.

136. Determining your favourite pa'an-wallah – by sampling them all – on Gerrard Street.

137. Collecting your winnings – even if you're at a loss overall – at Woodbine Racetrack.

138. The fact that decades after Mies van der Rohe designed them, the TD towers look brand new.

139. The myriad and lovely stained glass windows on Annex-area homes.

140. Singing karaoke with the Gladstone Cowboy.

141. Doors Open proves that yes, we do give a damn about architecture.

142. And there's more to like here than just the Flatiron Building.

143. Neil Young and Glenn Gould were both born here.

144. The Rolling Stones surprise us with a secret concert once in a while.

145. Off-leash areas of parks, where dog owners sit on picnic tables and mingle while their furry charges roam free.

146. The harbour lit up with sails at sunset on a windy summer's eve.

147. Watching an extended streetcar accordion its way around a curve.

148. Winter DJ skating parties.

149. The overhead OMNIMAX screen and comfy chairs you can lay back on at the Ontario Science Centre.

150. Trying not to puke while riding the Zipper at the CNE.

151. Surviving the vomit comet.

152. The awe-inspiring R.C. Harris fortress of water filtration.

153. York University's ravine-shrouded Glendon campus.

154. The best movies you've never heard of at Cinematheque Ontario.

155. The best movies you missed the first time around – for a better price – at neighbourhood rep houses.

156. Ogling the old-money opulence of Rosedale.

157. And the nouveau opulence of the Bridle Path.

158. The sights and smells of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

159. Summertime drum circles at Trinity Bellwoods Park.

160. We have had two World Series championships when cities that have had franchises longer – that means you, Houston and San Diego – haven't had any.

161. Finding the perfectly musty tweed jacket in Kensington Market.

162. Watching a dance lesson through the expansive windows of the National Ballet School.

163. A taste of Dover at Bluffer's Park.

164. The historic outdoor pool at Sunnyside Park.

165. Helping the artisans make meals from scratch at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

166. Actual gold in the windows of the Royal Bank tower makes us almost nostalgic for days of excess.

167. Winterlicious and Summerlicious, when we can afford to dine amongst the expense-account set.

168. The city is finally realizing there's a waterfront.

169. The Mayor is your Twitter buddy.

170. Looking out from a rooftop lounge, you can see how much the city has changed in the last decade.

171. We're nicer than they say we are. We're just a little shy sometimes.

172. Big enough to be anonymous. Small enough to know your neighbours.

173. It's easy to leave.

174. It's just as easy to come back.

175. If we don't love it, who will?

I'd add a #176. It's the home of Toronto Mike.

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Lemonheads - Mrs. Robinson

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.

Lemonheads - Mrs. Robinson
I haven't heard the Lemonheads cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" in a while. They used to spin this all the time on CFNY back in '92.

Here it is, in case you haven't heard it in a while, either.

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Pre-PVR Creative Solutions to Complex TV Issues

TVPlease hold your laughter while I confess something. American Idol is appointment viewing in my household. In fact, it's the only show the entire family watches together. My kids absolutely adore this show, and it's a big deal to them that Mom and Dad watch it with them and critique the karaoke with Simon and the gang.

Last night, American Idol aired at 8pm. We had to watch it, but I had a television quandary. Last Wednesday I screwed up the VCR recording of Lost. I've actually ordered a PVR from Rogers since that error, but it's being shipped and hasn't arrived yet. So last night I had to think fast on my feet...

Last week's Lost was airing on Buffalo's ABC affiliate at 8pm. Victoria's A Channel was airing the new episode at 7pm their time, to accommodate some dancing reality show. 7pm Victoria time is 10pm Toronto time, so I could tape last week's episode at 8pm while watching American Idol with the family at 8pm, then Taryn and I could watch last week's episode at 9pm and this week's episode at 10pm.

Sounds like a plan, right? Well... my Rogers digital terminal won't let me record a station I'm not watching. If you have a digital terminal, you know what I mean. The television has to be on channel 3, hence this inconvenient limitation. That's when I rolled back the technology a few years to solve our dilemma.

I cut the digital terminal out of the loop and kicked it old school by connecting the cable directly into the VCR and then connecting the VCR to the back of the television. Now I could record Buffalo's ABC affiliate to VHS while watching American Idol on CTV. Then, at 9pm, we watched the enhanced airing of "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" before reconnecting the digital terminal so we could watch the Victoria A-Channel affiliate's feed of "LaFleur" at 10pm.

We're caught up with Lost and the Kids got to see AI. Hopefully the PVR arrives today.

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Olaf Kolzig, Jamie Heward and Andy Rogers are Maple Leafs

LeafsStop the presses, we're not quite done yet.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired G Olaf Kolzig, D Jamie Heward, D Andy Rogers and a fourth-round pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for prospect D Richard Petiot.

Where do I start... firstly, I've seen a bunch of Marlies games up close this year, and I know Richard Petiot. I like him, but I actually thought Staffan Kronwall was better, and we let Kronwall go for nothing.

As for the players coming to Toronto, Olaf Kolzig is the biggest name, but he's pushing 40. And didn't we just pick up Martin Gerber? And did we need more back-up goaltenders? We've already got Cujo and Pogge. We now have four back-ups and zero starters.

Jamie Heward is a former Leaf who recently played in Russia. Andy Rogers is a youngster who will likely suit up for the Marlies in place of Petiot. That gives us two Marlies named Rogers (Kyle Rogers is the other) making me wonder if Marlies sponsor Rogers is behind this wacky trade.

Will someone in front of a television explain this one for me? Please...

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Is That It? Are We Done?

LeafsDuring his first trade deadline day as Leafs GM, Brian Burke made two trades. That's it. And he traded the two guys we all knew were being moved. And both Nik Antropov and Moore scored us a combined two second round draft picks and one conditional pick. That's it.

Oh yeah, he also picked up Gerber and Reitz off waivers. Yes, that Gerber and no, I hadn't heard of Reitz either. Gerber and Reitz. That's it.

I can't believe I had all hands on deck for the entire day so we could pick up Gerber, Reitz and a few draft picks.

That's it. We're done.

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Dominic Moore Traded to Buffalo for Draft Pick

LeafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs have dealt centre Dominic Moore to the Buffalo Sabres for a second round draft pick.

Dominic Moore was a pleasant surprise for the blue and white, claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Wild just over a year ago. He's got 12 goals and 29 assists in 63 games so far this season.

Maybe we'll sign him in the summer as an unrestricted free agent...

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Nik Antropov Traded to Rangers for Draft Picks

LeafsNik "Bane of my Existance" Antropov has been traded to the New York Rangers for a 2nd round pick and a conditional pick.

Admittedly, Antropov had a pretty decent season last year, but he's still my appointed whipping boy in the absence of Aki Berg. The native of Kazakhstan played his entire nine-year career with the Leafs after being selected 10th overall by the club in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Back in 2006, I wrote this love letter to Nik Antropov.

Watching the first two periods of tonight's hockey game between the Leafs and Red Wings I kept having the same recurring thought. Why is Nik Antropov still on this team?

He's done absolutely nothing this preseason to justify his existence. He's been invisible again tonight, getting less than seven minutes of ice time without recording a single shot on net. In my opinion, he's hogging a roster spot that would be better in the hands of Johnny Pohl. He doesn't even appear interested in playing and I've seen enough.

Antropov is the new Jonas Hoglund, only worse. With Aki Berg gone, he's also my new whipping boy.

Farewell, Nik. Don't let the ACC door hit you in the ass on the way out!

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The Day Martin Gerber Broke My Heart

LeafsIn a baffling move, Brian Burke picked up Martin Gerber earlier today. I'll never forget the name Martin Gerber. On February 18, 2006, he sent me to Swiss Chalet.

I don't know what to say...

In 1924, we beat the Swiss 33-0 in the Olympics. This, my friends, is a long way from 1924. Today, we hit a hot goaltender Martin Gerber who stood on his head and made 49 saves on 49 shots from Team Canada. What should have been a fairly easy win became a most difficult game to watch as our guys failed to deliver and one of our former guys, Paul DiPietro, potted two for the wrong team. As tough as this was to digest, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't an elimination game. We've had our taste of defeat, let's hope we heed this dire warning and take out our frustrations on Finland tomorrow afternoon.

Where did I go in disgust after watching our boys get humiliated by the Swiss? Swiss Chalet, naturally. The only way to eliminate a bad Swiss taste in your mouth is to supplant it with a good one.

Martin F**king Gerber.

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Eric Reitz a Maple Leaf

LeafsThe Leafs have made their second move of the day, picking up defenseman Erik Reitz off waivers from the New York Rangers.

I had to Google this guy to find out who the hell he is. Reitz has two points in 42 games with the Rangers and Minnesota Wild this season.

Who needs a Pronger or Jay Bouwmeester when you can have an Eric Reitz?

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Martin Gerber a Maple Leaf

LeafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs have picked up Martin Gerber off re-entery waivers from the Ottawa Senators.

Rumours on the Internets have Vesa Toskala getting shut down so he can have surgery. Even without Tosky, I don't see the need to add Gerber for the remainder of the season. Can't Cujo and Pogge carry the load for the next month or so?

I don't get it...

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Maple Leafs 2, Devils 3

LeafsIt's deadline day. Moore and Antropov are as good as gone. Does Burke have anything else up his sleeve? Stay tuned, it should be an interesting day for Leaf fans.

If you thought this instalment of the Maple Leafs would never make the record book, you were wrong. We just tied the 2003-04 Edmonton Oilers’ NHL record with our seventh consecutive overtime game.

Let the trades, begin...

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
24-26-13
61 points
4th in Northeast Division
3-2 OTL vs. New Jersey
4-3 Win vs. Ottawa
5-4 Win vs. New York
J. Blake - 51
N. Antropov - 46
M. Stajan - 44

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Pearl Jam - Brother

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Brother" by Pearl Jam.

I almost refused to submit "Brother" by Pearl Jam. A few weeks ago, while listening to 102.1 here in Toronto, the deejay teased us by saying they'd play new Pearl Jam after the break. I stuck around, pretty excited to hear new Pearl Jam, and then they played "Brother."

I'm a pretty big Pearl Jam fan. I've seen them live six times and I've been collection Pearl Jam bootlegs since Ten. You can read my Pearl Jam primer here.

"Brother" is not new Pearl Jam. Yes, it's getting an official release now that they're reissuing Ten, but "Brother" is almost twenty years old. I first got my grubby mitts on a version of "Brother" with lyrics in the late 90s and I've been spinning that in MP3 format for over five years now.

It's not new, but it's new to many of you, and it's an awesome tune. That's why I'm putting it on SLS21.... because it rocks.

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NHL Trade Deadline 2009: All Hands On Deck

NHLThe NHL trade deadline is tomorrow at 3pm. Rest assured, the entire staff at Toronto Mike is ready at the helm to report and comment on any trade involving the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I'll be surprised if Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Dominic Moore aren't moved by Brian Burke tomorrow. When Antropov is moved, I'll have something special to say about the player I've loathed all these years.

Stay tuned tomorrow. We're ready!

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Waving the White Flag: Unable to Part with Money

HipI almost titled this entry "Too Old for this Shit." I've been trying to give The Tragically Hip my hard-earned money since 10am this morning. I mentioned the pre-sale for tickets to see The Tragically Hip at Massey Hall started this morning at 10 and I wanted to see my favourite band again.

I made sure I was logged in to thehip.com at 9:30 and I started my F5ing at about 9:56 am. That's when I first got this:

hip2

That can't be good. A few reloads of Firefox later, and I was welcomed. Unfortunately, it wasn't the welcome I was hoping for.

hip

Eventually, I got this exciting new error message.

hip3

After fifteen minutes of this crap, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. An image loaded!

hip5

I was determined to see my band for an eleventh time. Now, the header was loading, so I felt optimistic.

hip4

Oh great.. a new challenge to overcome...

hip6

A half hour in, I had to bail. I have work to do... and a 12 o'clock meeting to prepare for. The real world beckons and I can't afford to play the F5 challenge with thehip.com all morning. I gave it one last shot...

hip7

I give up. Unless a fellow Hip fan or a member of the Hip team grants this fan his wish, I won't be updating http://www.torontomike.com/tragicallyhip.html again this May.

I know when I'm licked.

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Bobby Jindal May Be Kenneth From 30 Rock, But That's Not My Pet Peeve

MouseThe Republican Party in the USA has been singing the praises of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Some in that circle see Jindal as the Republican answer to Barack Obama. I first learned all about Jindal recently on 60 Minutes, and he sounds a great deal more George Dubya Bush than Barack Obama. Yikes!

Jindal delivered the GOP response to President Obama's address to Congress, and I was interested in reading what the pundits thought of his performance. They thought he was lousy, with a speaking pattern somewhere between Mr. Rogers and Kenneth from 30 Rock, but my beef isn't with Jindal. My beef is with news sites that break articles up into several pages.

That's my biggest web pet peeve. I wanted to read Howard Kurtz's article in the Washington Post and it was spread out over five pages. They do it to increase page visits and ad impressions, but it just pisses off the reader. At least it pisses me off. Throw it all on one page and let me scroll down, dammit!

wp

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The NEW 97.3 EZ Rock?

radioBillboards throughout the city are touting "the new 97.3 EZ Rock." 97.3 EZ Rock is the radio station that employs my pal Humble Howard in the mornings. I sat in and live-blogged that morning show back in October.

I've seen the billboards with the wallpaper and I've read the promo copy on the official EZ Rock web site, but I still can't figure out what exactly is new. Here's the site copy that's as clear as mud.

Welcome to the NEW 97.3 EZ Rock! No More Musical Wallpaper, and by that we mean... Fresh music, nothing too light or harsh that you can still enjoy at work or home. We now play the music that we all love and grew up with from the early 70's to today.

Start your day at 5:15am with The EZ Morning show: Humble, Kim, Colleen and Rick

Darryl Henry begins your Workday at 8:45am with 10 Great EZ Songs Every Hour, all day and brings back all your 80's memories with The 80's Lunch at noon.

KJ continues to be there for you At Work and on your drive home with My 3 Songs.

John Tesh has Intelligence for your life at 6 and Delilah takes over at 9pm with Love Songs and Dedications.

It's Only the Best Music on Today's New 97.3 EZ Rock.

Firstly, I think that's a typo in the second line. I think it's supposed to read "nothing too light or harsh that you can't still enjoy at work." Assuming that's true, what were they playing before? How has the playlist changed? Isn't the new EZ Rock exactly like the old one I sampled when Humble hit their airwaves last summer?

Here's the songs recently played on the new 97.3 EZ Rock. You'll see it's pretty much what you would have heard on EZ Rock when I was there four months ago.

Mar 02
07:15pm
CELINE DION HAVE A HEART
Mar 02
07:11pm
JASON MRAZ I M Yours
Mar 02
07:08pm
JOURNEY OPEN ARMS
Mar 02
07:02pm
JANN ARDEN IF YOU LOVED ME
Mar 02
06:59pm
SOUL II SOUL Back To Life
Mar 02
06:49pm
DAVID ARCHULETA CRUSH
Mar 02
06:44pm
PRINCE LITTLE RED CORVETTE
Mar 02
06:40pm
BURTON CUMMINGS I M SCARED
Mar 02
06:32pm
LEANN RIMES Can T Fight The Moonlight
Mar 02
06:28pm
One Republic (timbaland Pr Apologize
Mar 02
06:17pm
ALANNAH MYLES BLACK VELVET
Mar 02
06:14pm
DEBORAH COX BEAUTIFUL U R
Mar 02
06:08pm
Roxette Listen To Your Heart
Mar 02
06:04pm
NELLY FURTADO SAY IT RIGHT
Mar 02
05:56pm
Omd (orchestral Manouvers If You Leave
Mar 02
05:52pm
BEYONCE IF I WERE A BOY
Mar 02
05:46pm
Jesse Cook/the Bodeans Early On Tuesday
Mar 02
05:43pm
FAITH HILL THIS KISS
Mar 02
05:33pm
AMY SKY I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU
Mar 02
05:29pm
Uncle Kracker/dobie Gray Drift Away
Mar 02
05:19pm
LIGHTS Drive My Soul
Mar 02
05:15pm
ABBA KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU
Mar 02
05:11pm
COLDPLAY VIVA LA VIDA
Mar 02
05:07pm
STEVIE WONDER HIGHER GROUND
Mar 02
05:04pm
MICHAEL MCDONALD By Michael Mcdonald
Mar 02
05:00pm
STEVE WINWOOD HIGHER LOVE
Mar 02
04:56pm
ALANIS MORISSETTE EVERYTHING
Mar 02
04:53pm
DIDO THANK YOU
Mar 02
04:47pm
ZAPPACOSTA When I Fall In Love Again
Mar 02
04:44pm
WHITNEY HOUSTON I M Every Woman
Mar 02
04:33pm
BRYAN ADAMS INSIDE OUT
Mar 02
04:29pm
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE What Goes Around Comes Around
Mar 02
04:17pm
NATASHA BEDINGFIELD POCKETFUL OF SUNSHINE
Mar 02
04:13pm
BARENAKED LADIES LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME
Mar 02
04:09pm
Bob Seger/silver Bullet Ba We Ve Got Tonight
Mar 02
04:05pm
Carly Rae Jepsen Tug Of War
Mar 02
04:01pm
JANET JACKSON TOGETHER AGAIN
Mar 02
03:57pm
ROD STEWART SOUL ON SOUL
Mar 02
03:53pm
THE POLICE Every Little Thing She Does Is Magi
Mar 02
03:48pm
DAUGHTRY WHAT ABOUT NOW
Mar 02
03:45pm
KELLY CLARKSON A MOMENT LIKE THIS
Mar 02
03:41pm
CLUB NOUVEAU LEAN ON ME
Mar 02
03:29pm
NORAH JONES DON T KNOW WHY

In radio, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Especially with Spring Sweeps Season right around the corner.

ez-rock

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February 2009 Organic Keywords

Search Strings According to Google Analytics, here are the top ten keywords that brought people to this site in February 2009.

  1. andy barrie
  2. wedding songs 2008
  3. man up canada
  4. big shiny tunes 2
  5. george carlin quotes
  6. hockey songs
  7. jett travolta
  8. big shiny tunes 5
  9. cool wedding songs
  10. prima tv

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Tragically Hip at Massey Hall in May

HipThe Tragically Hip have announced We Are The Same - North American Tour dates. There are five Toronto dates, all at Massey Hall in May.

05/11/09: Toronto: Massey Hall
05/12/09: Toronto: Massey Hall
05/14/09: Toronto: Massey Hall
05/15/09: Toronto: Massey Hall
05/16/09: Toronto: Massey Hall

Ticket Pre-sales for the tour start on Tuesday, March 3rd at 10:00am for Registered Users of thehip.com.

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The Visitor

A Movie ReelThe Visitor: 8 out of 10.

I hadn't heard of this film until its star, Richard Jenkins, got nominated for Best Actor at last weekend's Academy Awards. I've always thought Jenkins was one helluva character actor, but I had never seen him carry a film or show on his own. I had to see this...

It's a charming film with something to saw about the way America treats immigrants. Jenkins is excellent as a professor who seems to have emotionally withdrawn from the world. The film is compelling with a shoe-string budget and the single recognizable face. Catch it if you can.

the visitor

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Paul Harvey, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumPaul Harvey was 90. He was a broadcaster who captivated millions of radio listeners daily with his staccato delivery, firmly set opinions and old-fashioned outlook.

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Pogge Pulled in Marlies Defeat

MarliesThe kids and I went to the Marlies game this afternoon. It was Vesa Toskala bobble head day and Justin Pogge got the start between the pipes. Pogge looked pretty bad and got pulled for Adam Munro early in the second period after allowing a super weak goal. The real Toskala has nothing to fear in Pogge, trust me on that one.

It ended up being super close, in fact, from my front row seat I'm pretty sure we tied it up with Munro on the bench in the final minute of play. The ref disagreed and we fell 5-4.

Anton Stralman and Andre Deveaux each scored a couple of goals and Jiri Tlusty contributed a pair of assists. Tlusty continues to be too good to be a member of the Marlies.

P3018605

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Maple Leafs 4, Senators 3

LeafsIs it that time already? Time for the annual Maple Leafs surge? I remember this tease happens at this time every season. At least I've noticed it since the lockout.

These four wins in a row put us within seven points of Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot. Meanwhile, Burkey's a seller and Wilson's telling everyone who will listen that we're not making the playoffs.

Only in Leafs nation does the coach reassure fans that the Leafs aren't in fact making a run at the post season. Phew!

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
24-26-12
60 points
4th in Northeast Division
4-3 Win vs. Ottawa
5-4 Win vs. New York
2-1 Win vs. New York
J. Blake - 50
N. Antropov - 46
M. Stajan - 43

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