May 2009 Archives

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The Problem With Jack: CJAQ's Rock N' Roll Failure

RadioMy shower radio is tuned to 92.5. That's Jack-FM, "Toronto's Best Rock Variety", and I listen to it in the shower because it just so happens my shower is perfectly timed with an ad-free block of old and new rock tunes on Jack. It's just a series of tunes, anything from Honeymoon Suite to Coldplay to Bruce Springsteen, and it starts my day nicely.

I don't expect Jack-FM to last much longer in its current incarnation. Nobody's listening, it seems. The recent BBM results give Jack-FM a 1.8 market share, which supposedly and unscientifically translates into 180,000 listeners. Q107, if you're looking for a comparison, scored a 6.3. 1.8 is brutal, which means I expect changes by Labour Day.

How did Jack fail so miserably? Why can't a station playing a great mix of rock n' roll gain any traction? As Jules Winnfield says in Pulp Fiction, personality goes a long way. And Jack doesn't have personality.

Their bland morning duo seems to double as their afternoon hosts. A station that once threatened to go without djs has instead decided to employ djs that fail to hold a listener's interest. There's certainly no compelling reason to tune in again to hear what he or she will say next. It's really all about the music, but if you're betting all your money on the shuffle, how can you possibly expect to win against iPods? Five years ago, when the Jack PD at the time said the station was just like listening to your iPod on shuffle, I asked whose iPod he was talking about? Radio can never, ever be the same experience as listening to your own iPod on shuffle. That's why you've gotta have personality.

In my recent interview with long time local radio duo Humble and Fred, I closed by asking the guys a simple question that was on my mind. Why the heck aren't Humble and Fred, as a duo, still on Toronto radio? Humble's answer hits Jack's nail on the head.

No idea... why not ask the PD at Jack FM, who's also the afternoon drive guy and janitor.

Things could have been different for Jack, but instead the sounds of Aerosmith and White Stripes have drifted well below the radar to a dismal 1.8 share. I'll bet nobody reads this closing sentence because I'll bet nobody cares.

jack2

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Blue Springs Scout Reserve near Acton

CampingIt takes more than a little rain and a couple of cool nights to dampen the spirits of a bunch of Beavers and their bewildered daddies. Even though I arrived at the camp grounds in a torrential downpour, got lost twice on the Scout grounds trying to find Radial Lodge and got my car stuck in the mud, it was a fantastic weekend at Blue Springs Scout Reserve near Acton, Ontario.

Most of Saturday was sunny and warm for the Beaveree itself, and after a brief shower in the evening, Dan Duran turned on his inner caveman and ensured we didn't miss out on the highlight of any camping trip, a kick-ass campfire and marshmallow roast.

Here's a photoset with some pics.

Camping Trip

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First Camping Trip of the Year

campingThe first camping trip of 2009 is planned for this weekend. My son and I are heading to the local Beaveree tonight where we'll pitch a tent and spend a couple of nights under the stars and away from the laptop.

Typically, I don't schedule camping trips for May, because it's so hit and miss. But, this is a Scouts Canada thing, so here's hoping the rain goes away and we get some sunshine.

I'll be back Sunday. Hit up the archives if you're missing me. There's almost 9000 entries there to catch up on.

The Tent

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Does He Look Like A Bitch?

questionmarkIf Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction played Guess Who?

jules

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Ask Toronto Mike - Who Did John Gibbons Fight?

emailEvery once in a while, I get asked a question via the form at TorontoMike.com/contact.html. Here's a question I just received.

Who was the third baseman that nearly came to blow with John Gibbons a few seasons ago and where is he now?

Ah yes, John Gibbons, super scrapper. I remember two physical fights between Gibbons and his players.

The first altercation, and the one I believe you're referring to, was between Gibbons and Shea Hillenbrand after the infielder wrote on the clubhouse bulletin board "This is a sinking ship." Hillenbrand last played in the majors back in 2007 while with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He last played pro ball for the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League in 2008.

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Up

A Movie ReelUp: 9 out of 10.

When I saw WALL-E last summer, I called it my favourite film from Pixar, and that was really sayin' something. All the Pixar films are pretty damn good. Last night, I saw Up in 3D and I'm ready to declare it my new favourite Pixar movie.

It's totally hilarous, tender and sweet and it looked great. I saw Bolt in 3D and left feeling it was okay, but there's Pixar and there's Pixaren't. This is Pixar, and there's a world of difference. A great movie like this doesn't need 3D, but that extra depth was pretty cool as we drifted through the clouds.

Not only did I absolutely adore Up, but the opening short, Partly Cloudy, was tremendous as well. Funny, sweet and great looking.

I didn't think Pixar could top Wall-E but they did. I smell a best picture nomination, unless that's my post-viewing buzz talkin'.

up

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Advanced Screening of Pixar's Up

filmsTonight I get to see Pixar's Up before most of you. Nah nah nah nah nah.

Here's the promo blurb I got from Disney Canada.

From Disney•Pixar comes UP, a comedy adventure about 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. From the Academy Award®-nominated director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”), Disney•Pixar’s UP invites you on a hilarious journey into a lost world, with the least likely duo on Earth. UP will be presented in Disney Digital 3-D in select theatres.

Every parent should be grateful for Pixar. They consistently turn out gold that's equally enjoyable for the kids and adults. That's no easy feat. Tonight, I'm taking my son who's pretty psyched about the 3-D aspect.

So am I...

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Kerry Fraser Day

Kerry Fraser Is BlindA glove tap to Down Goes Brown for this one. It was 16 years ago tonight that Kerry Fraser blew the call that cost us Leaf fans a berth in the Stanley Cup finals. I wrote about it over six years ago (man, I've been blogging a long time) in an open letter to God.

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.

Here's that non-call we'll never forget.

DGB has a great picture we can print and hang on our cubicle walls today. Happy Kerry Fraser Day!

fraser

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The Killjoys - Rave + Drool

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 Killjoys - Rave + Drool
Listening to Canadian new rock radio in the 1990s meant hearing a lot of The Killjoys' "Today I Hate Everyone" and "Dana". I still throw those two tunes on the odd playlist.

Their third big Canadian radio single was "Rave + Drool". Would anyone outside of Canada be familiar with The Killjoys?

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Peter Zezel, Dead at 44

In MemoriumPeter Zezel was 44. He was a key contributor to Toronto's dramatic playoff runs in 1993 and 1994, during which time he embraced the role of checking centre, relentless penalty killer and face off specialist alongside linemates Bill Berg and Mark Osborne.

For more of my thoughts on Peter Zezel, go here.

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Peter Zezel Provided Energy, Changed Momentum

leafsThere are reports today Peter Zezel will be taken off life support today after a long battle with a blood disorder. He's only 44 years old.

I first got to know Zezel as a member of a rather likable Flyers team that included guys like Tim Kerr, Brian Propp, Dave Poulin, Pelle Ekland and Rick Tocchet. I've grown to hate the Flyers, but in '86-'87, I rooted for them, and Zezel was a big reason why.

We traded long-time Maple Leaf Al Iafrate to Washington to bring Peter Zezel to Toronto, his second time playing here after suiting up for the Toronto Marlboros before beginning his NHL career. Heck, Zezel could have played for the Toronto Blizzard, as they drafted him into the North American Soccer League. Peter Zezel ended up playing here from 1991 to 1994, potting 50 goals and adding 78 assists in 207 games. I'll always remember Zezel for one play against the Minnesota Stars in 1993.

The details are sketchy, as they're off the top of my head, but here's what I remember. It was an important game for the Leafs, led by Pat Burns with Felix Potvin between the pipes and Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk and Wendel Clark leading the offense. We were down by a goal against Minnesota when Zezel refused to lose possession of the puck. With sheer force and intensity, he fought off a few Stars and kept the puck on the boards. This went on for what seemed like forever but was probably closer to 10 seconds. Then, Zezel found a teammate with a great pass and the game was tied. We went on to win in overtime and I always saw this play as the season's momentum changer. We were a different team after that win, and we'd eventually get within a win of the Stanley Cup final.

Zezel never gave up. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family today.

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I Need a PHD in NHL 2K9

NintendoI play NHL 2K9 on the Nintendo Wii with my son. We've been playing for a few months now, and I'm still struggling with the controls. There's just too much to learn.

When I was a kid, I played Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel on the NES and our control pad was simple. You could pass and shoot, slap shots or wrist shots, there were one-timers and player movement, but that's about it. Below are the controller instructions for NHL 2K9 on the Wii.

control1

control2

No wonder I'm struggling, that's hardcore. You know what I miss? I miss this work of art...

nes-controler

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Mother Mother - Body of Years

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Body of Years" by Mother Mother.

This sweet indie band is based in Vancouver. They released O My Heart in late 2008 and this is their first big radio single off the album, at least in this neck of the woods. I dig it.

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Money Music or Songs With Music in the Title

MoneyNow that I've discovered money ruins everything, it's time to discover songs in my MP3 collection with the word "money" in the title.

For added enjoyment, you'll find my favourite five are bold.

  • Money, Money, Money - ABBA
  • What Do You Do For Money Honey - AC-DC
  • Moneytalks - AC-DC
  • Money Can't Buy It - Annie Lennox
  • Money Jane - Baby Blue
  • Gimme Your Money Please - Bachman - Turner - Overdrive
  • You Never Give Me Your Money - The Beatles
  • Money (That's What I Want) - The Beatles
  • Money Worries ft. Vernon Maytone - Bedouin Soundclash
  • Easy Money - Billy Joel
  • Things We Be Doin' For Money Part 1 - Busta Rhymes
  • Things We Be Doin' For Money Part 2 feat. Rampage, Anthony Hamilton and The Chosen Generation - Busta Rhymes
  • When The Money's Gone - Cher
  • Money Changes Everything - Cyndi Lauper
  • Money - Cypress Hill
  • Money In The Bank - David Wilcox
  • Blood Money - David Wilcox
  • Money for Nothing - Dire Straits
  • Shake Your Money Maker - Elmore James
  • Money (Dollar Bill) - Everlast
  • Money (In God We Trust) - Extreme
  • Money Back Guarantee - Five Man Electrical Banc
  • Money (That's What I Want) - Flying Lizards
  • Money - Flying Lizards, The
  • Easy Money - Foghat
  • Milk And Money - The Fratellis
  • Face Off (featuring Sauce Money) - Jay-Z
  • Money, Cash, Hoes - Jay-Z
  • Money Ain't A Thang - Jay-Z
  • I Need Some Easy Money - Jimmy Johnson
  • Get Your Money Up [Ft. Keyshia, Trina] - Keri Hilson
  • They Want Money - Kool Moe Dee
  • Money Honey - Lady GaGa
  • Got Money - Lil Wayne
  • Money, Power and Respect - Lox
  • Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back - Meat Loaf
  • Cash Money (Insert) - N.W.A.
  • 1 For The Money - Nas
  • Money Over Bullshit - Nas
  • Money Is My B*tch - Nas
  • Money Bought - Nickelback
  • Mo Money Mo Problems (ft. Mase and Puff Daddy) - The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Got Your Money - Ol' Dirty Bastard
  • Free Money - Patti Smith
  • Shake Your Money Maker - The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • You Never Give Me Your Money - Paul Nicholas, Dianne Steinberg
  • Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money) - Pet Shop Boys
  • Money - Pink Floyd
  • Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand - Primitive Radio Gods
  • All That Money Wants - The Psychedelic Furs
  • Spendin' Money - R. Kelly
  • Money Makes The World Go Round (Featuring Nas) - R. Kelly
  • It's Money That I Love - Randy Newman
  • It's Money That Matters - Randy Newman
  • The Big Money - Rush
  • Money and the Power - Scarface
  • Money City Maniacs - Sloan
  • Get Dis Money - Slum Village
  • Take The Money And Run - The Steve Miller Band
  • Money Maker - A Tribe Called Quest
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money - Warren Zevon
  • Money For Nothing / Beverly Hillbillies - Weird Al Yankovic
  • If You've Got The Money, I've Got The Time - Willie Nelson
  • Cash Still Rules/Scary Hours (Still Don't Nothing Move But the Money) - Wu-Tang Clan
  • I'm Gettin Money - 2Pac

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Things Are Awesome Until You Discover Money

moneyThings were better before I figured out they were businesses. Specifically, I'm thinking of sports and radio.

I remember a time when I knew every player on the Blue Jays roster and I didn't have a clue what any of them made. It didn't make a difference what the terms were for Dave Collins vs. George Bell. I knew Collins had lightning speed and Bell had power, and that was enough. Baseball, and sports in general, is best before you realize it's a business.

Radio is the same. As a kid, I'd surf the dial on my transistor radio and tune in stations from as far away as Cleveland. I loved radio, but at some point I figured out it too was a business. That's when radio lost a great deal of its charm.

This last realization ties in nicely with some of the sentiment expressed in the comments of my Martin Streek Out At Edge 102 / CFNY entry. Stations, like sports teams, are out to make a buck. The value of "winning", "integrity", "loyalty" and such is only existent when tied to economic metrics. Edge 102 doesn't care that there are 20 or so of us hankering for a return to the good 'ol days. Edge 102 wants as many ears in their targeted demo listening as possible so they can extract more money from advertisers. That's their bottom line.

Sports and radio were better before I figured that out.

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The Incredible Hulk

A Movie ReelThe Incredible Hulk: 6 out of 10.

Only five years after Ang Lee's Hulk, we get Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk starring Ed Norton as Bruce Banner and the University of Toronto as Culver University.

Torontonians will enjoy spotting parts of our city with lots of scenes of Convocation Hall and University College at U of T and the climatic scene taking place on Yonge Street. It's fun to see the Zanzibar Tavern marquee and THE BIG SLICE so prominent, and It's now the only place you'll see the old Sam the Record Man neon sign still spinning away.

As far as the movie goes, it was okay. The highlight might just be the Tony Stark cameo.

Next up: The Dark Knight.

the-incredible-hulk-1562

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1:28 That Spoke To Me

PodcastHere's 1:28 from the 2-hour Humble and Fred podcast that really spoke to me.

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Buzzer Beater: Who Do You Want With The Ball?

BasketballWith a second left on the clock and down by two, who do you want to take that buzzer beating shot? If I had a time machine, I'd want Michael Jordan with the ball. If no time machine is available, give me Lebron James.

Last night, Lebron James got the ball with a second left and his Cavs down by 2 in crucial semi-final playoff game against the Magic in Cleveland.

Click below to see what Lebron did.


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Pizza Pizza University

SchoolI always thought Toronto was home to three universities, until I stumbled upon Pizza PIzza University during a walk through an industrial part of Etobicoke this afternoon.

You can add Pizza Pizza University to U of T, York and Ryerson as one of our four unis.

Pizza Pizza U

Find more information of pizza Toronto

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Catch the Taste with Roberto Alomar

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.

Fear not, Jays fans. We'll come out of this funk. And just to make sure we do, here's Robbie Alomar's 1994 cult classic ad for McCain's Punch.

Catch the taste!


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Ranking The Wire Theme Songs

wireThe Greatest Show On Television, Ever™ used Tom Waits' "Down In A Hole" as its theme song. Each season featured a different artist singing the song.

Here's how I rank the five versions of "Down In A Hole" that accompanied the opening credits for each season of The Wire.

5. Season 3, The Neville Brothers

4. Season 4, DoMaJe

3. Season 5, Steve Earle

2. Season 2, Tom Waits

1. Season 1, The Blind Boys of Alabama


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The Fratelli's Chelsea Dagger

MusicI'm hearing it played over the loudspeakers in Chicago when the Blackhawks score and I just heard it in a beer commercial during the Jays game.

The Fratelli's Chelsea Dagger is the song of the night.

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Doc Gets New Interns

bluejaysThere's a problem when it's Roy and four guys you don't know. The bubble is always at risk of bursting. Following a three game sweep by the Red Sox in Boston, reinforcements are here from Cybertron.

Brett Cecil and Bobby Ray were sent down to Las Vegas (I'll never get used to saying that) to make room for Casey Janssen and Ricky Romero. Janssen posted a combined ERA of 0.76 in five starts between Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire and Romero was off to a 2-0 start, with a 1.71 ERA, before getting hurt.

Doc has a couple of new interns. Speaking of Roy Halladay, he gets the start tonight in Atlanta. He's 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA in four starts on the road this year. We'll call this Guaranteed Win Night.

I'll bet Halladay gets a complete game shutout while batting 1.000.

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Comments Pot Pourri

Comments Here are recent comments left on this site you may have missed. All of these comments were left within the past few weeks.

If you guys don't like the show so much why are you still watching it? There's BT and Canada AM to choose from. Ann Rohmer and the new cast of CP24 Breakfast don't suck. What sucks is the fact that both BT and CP24 Breakfast are being produced at 299 Queen St and there is tension between the two groups. You want to blame someone? Blame Ivan Fecan.

~ Mad Hatter, CP24 Breakfast Is Not Breakfast Television

I do agree that the new cast needs to go. My biggest problem is with that new guy. Not only is he quite often inappropriately dressed to be on the news, but he also speaks out of turn, often trampling over his female co-host. He speaks too much and too loudly. Moreover, his discussion pieces and responses are rather inappropriate. Don't tell me on a morning news show, you're talking about your younger sister wanting to buy a g-string! Like really? As a 'professional' I would have hoped he knew when professionalism was warranted!

Generally, I support change, but only when it's for the good. This show has not been improved upon; in fact it has lost its shine.

~ Disappointed, CP24 Breakfast Is Not Breakfast Television

John, I too loved the closing themes from Sportsline. The two primary ones were: "Together in Electric Dreams Extended Mix" from the movie Electric Dreams and "The Escape" from the movie The Electric Horseman. Everytime I hear either one I see a slow-motion clip of someone jumping over the outfield fence while making a snowcone catch at Exhibition Stadium. I don't think that I'm the only one that has the same reaction. They didn't play the music as much after Hebscher left I seem to recall, I guess he took his LPs with him.

~ James, Sportsline with Mark Hebscher and Jim Tatti

This is a real sad day for Canadian music and it's cultural roots.

Excuse me, but are you on crack or something? Toronto needs an oldies station like I need a hole in my head. I'm glad that it's gone, and hopefully Bob & June Baby Boom can get off of their asses and go and buy classic rock at the record store like they used to before some asshole on Madison Avenue decided that everybody had to hear the Beatles five times a day on radio. Good riddance.

I only wish that this organization, which started in the 1980's, was still around:

For the fledgling American Association for the Advancement of Time, this may be the finest hour. Yet its members - all three of them - vow never to look back longingly on these early days since their purpose is to make nostalgia a thing of the past.

Right now they are basking in the sunlight of publicity, three men in their 20's who are sick of 60's.

There is Eugene Dillenburg, the registrar of a small college in Chicago, who unwittingly triggered the publicity by handing out humorous fliers at a performance of a theater group called the Neofuturists. There is Bruce Elliott, a Los Angeles social worker, who suspects he became the organization's president ''because I'm the only one who has met the other two.'' And there is John Kinney, a bartender in Flushing, Queens, who discovered his parents' Beatles records at the age of 12 and has been playing them ever since.

Yes, paradoxically, the anti-nostalgia trio belongs to a Beatles fan club.

Even as they listen to ''Yesterday,'' though, they speak as ''the unofficial voice of a forgotten generation'' that finds itself trapped in another generation's nostalgia, 1980's style: ''classic rock'' radio, Vietnam retro television series, tie-dyed fashions, ''The Wonder Years,'' the California Raisins dancing to ''I Heard It Through The Grapevine.''

If the 1960's generation wants to live in a warped version of its past, fine, Mr. Dillenburg said, ''but their sheer numbers are forcing me to live in their past.''

Mr. Kinney said, ''The 80's pop culture is so firmly entrenched in the 60's, that kids who would otherwise be discovering the world around them are wishing they had gone to Woodstock.'' Crushing Creativity

The reason their generation is criticized as one without a culture, they said, is that the weight of baby-boom demographics or ''the media nostalgia complex'' is crushing creativity or driving it underground.

''The boomers are a big market so advertisers want to reach them,'' Mr. Dillenburg said. ''Radio wants advertisers so they pander to the boomers. Here in Chicago we have eight or nine oldie stations, which leaves little room for what we call the 80's culture.''

What exactly is the 80's culture? Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, MTV will be among the mass memories, but not necessarily the particular memories of these three men. They can cite obscure post-punk bands and avant-garde theater groups. They are thinking of writing a primer on contemporary culture. Sudden Fame

Like this culture, they, too, have been underground. But suddenly, a week or so ago, the members of the Association for the Advancement of Time found themselves in journalism's glare. It seems one of the fliers given to the Neofuturists inspired an article in a weekly newspaper, The Chicago Reader, which touched off an Associated Press story, then a story on page 1 of USA Today. The headline read, ''Boom lowered on baby boomer 'culture.' '' Fame. It felt good. In New York, The Daily News ran an editorial accusing the group of sour grapes and speculating that what they will look back on are fax machines and oat bran. There were radio and television interviews.

What began almost as a lark had taken a serious turn, too serious in their view. But there have been comic moments such as the call from a Minnesota television station. Would one of them care to fly out for a Vietnam debate with an actor on the television series ''China Beach''?

In Los Angeles, Mr. Elliott roared. ''This was not a real Vietnam vet, but a guy who only plays a vet on TV,'' he said. ''It was beyond satire.''

Since falling into the mainstream news, they say they have received more than 200 letters. Some were of the ''You brats, how dare you?'' variety, but most were requests for information on membership, goals and programs.

As a result, the trio has been conferring at least once a day by phone (not very 80's, but their computer systems are incompatible). They are thinking of setting up an anti-nostalgists' electronic bulletin board and they already have a few goals.

One is to understand the past and put it in perspective. ''What's happening is people are remembering Woodstock and forgetting Altamont, remembering the Monkees and forgetting the women's movement,'' Mr. Kinney said.

He added that another is to keep a vision of the future, saying, ''What made the 60's a vibrant time was the idea of walking on the moon, looking forward.''

For the group's Boycott-the-Past campaign, Mr. Kinney is passing out fliers this weekend at the site of the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing, next to the Unisphere. Why?

''Well,'' Mr. Elliott said, ''they're celebrating the 25th anniversary of the '64 World's Fair, which in itself was the 25th anniversary of the '39 World's Fair. So it's the 50th anniversary of World of Tomorrow.

''But the ultimate statement is that 25, 50 years later, we're not doing anything like that. All we're doing is remembering the future as seen in the past, which is pretty weird.''

~ Anonymous, 1050 CHUM Now CP24 Radio 1050

I love music, I love this city

Then, if you truly do, you'll buy or download your favorite music instead of just expecting CTV Globemedia to keep on subsidizing a station who listeners were dying off anyway (if it were me, I would have got rid of the oldies format, and replaced it with a new music format in AM stereo, and hire the New Musical Express to run the station, playing current Canadian and British rock and roll/dance/pop.) That's what Toronto really needs.

For all it's worth, I hope that you get to save the CHUM charts, but to be brutally frank, it's time for you nostalgia addicts to join the 21st century-either that, or give up rock music and listen to something else.

As for losing a radio station, you think that you have it bad? The listeners and DJ's at CKLN radio have had their formats and shows forcibly pulled off of the air by the unelected student body at Ryerson, and that station was a 1000 times better that 1050 CHUM.

~ Neville A. Ross, CHUM Charts Plea to CTVglobemedia

I happen to like Christmas music! Its my favourite holiday and its only once a year! It helps me get into the Christmas spirit and I listen to those stations that play 100% Christmas music! GO CHRISTMAS

~ x, Holiday Music

Jason, you keep bringing it brother!

Funny thing is I don't think you're drinking or smoking too much. This is a real mental illness you have.

Get Yer OJ is becoming our own little joke and I'm loving it. Don't forget to wipe your ass front to back.

Kids need to know that.

~ Stafford, Squeeze - Tempted

Honestly, I don't understand why everyone must complain so much. The original show isn't even off the air, just on a new channel! No one is forcing you to watch the new show. Matte and Melissa may not be the best but I think you people fail to realize that things do change. If you don't like it then don't watch. Everyone doesn't have to be so rude and say they're a bunch of idiots who don't know what they're doing because that's just immature of you to say.

~ Karl Szugalew, CP24 Breakfast Is Not Breakfast Television

Okay, here's the deal on H&F. I'm 25 and I probably first started listening to them when I was around 12-13. I loved them and grew up loving them. In fact if someone announced to me today that H&F were returning to the airwaves I'd probably get excited just enough to nail my wife.

But let's look objectively at what the Edge is... It is a young station aimed at YOUNG PEOPLE. Right now there are probably hordes of 12-20 yearolds loving Blundell who have never even heard of H&F or only have vague memories of them. What do H&F mean to these people? Nothing. So in 10 years, hell in 5 years when these people are buying cars, cell phones and beer (which are all major sponsors for the Edge) and H&F are pushing 50 will they still be able to relate to these kids? Does a 16 year old who is a future key demographic for the Edge really care to listen to H&F reminisce about things that happened before they were born? How much longer could H&F be successful on the Edge?

Having said that, this is not a bad thing. Everybody turns 40, everybody turns 50. To be honest I think Humble sounds great at his new gig on EZ Rock. I think, it suits him at this stage in his life a little more then the Edge does. Personally I'd love hear H&F together again on a station like Q or Jack FM, where they could still be edgy and even lament about the old days. Somebody mentioned the idea of a Classic Alternative station, wouldn't that be a much better fit for an H&F reunion? A station that focuses on the rock of the 90's lead by the two guys who dominated rock radio in the 90's?? It maybe a little niche right now but give'er another 5-10 years and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody tries it.

~ Stumpy, Martin Streek Out At Edge 102.1 / CFNY

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Fight the Power Turns Twenty

publicenemyHas it really been twenty years since Public Enemy's "Fight the Power"? I must be getting old, because I remember wearing out my Public Enemy mix tapes on my Sony Walkman as a teen.

Twenty damn years... Here's your PE primer if you need one.

Here's the awesome Spike Lee produced video for what might just be Public Enemy's definitive song anthem.

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The Correlation Between Beer Consumption and Softball Success

BaseballIt's going to be 27°C and mostly sunny today, perfect softball weather. My Beer League team makes its season debut at 6pm. It's called the Beer League because every other team in this league consumes vast amounts of beer throughout each game.

I've noted a correlation between beer consumption and success on the ball field in this league. One team in particular, the Cintas team (yes, the uniform people), always starts slow. It's not uncommon for us to jump out to an 8-0 lead. But, as the game progresses, and they delve deeper into their beer coolers, they almost always storm back to beat us in the end. The more they drink, the better they get. Think Dr. Johnny Fever in that episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. The more he drank, the better his reflexes got.

As the only team in the Beer League without a cooler, it's no surprise we finished last in 2008. There's a correlation, and I've seen proof.

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The Watchmen - Stereo

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 Watchmen - Stereo
I'm sharing this great tune from Winnipeg's The Watchmen because their drummer, Sammy Kohn, wrote me about this song earlier today.

One of a million, one of a million...

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Humble and Fred's 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories

PodcastBack on May 2, 2009, a bunch of us old time Humble and Fred fans got together at a Toronto pub to witness the recording of the 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories.

And lo and behold, here it is! It's a couple of hours long, and over 100MB, so be gentle. The home page for this podcast, should you want to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or stream the MP3, is http://www.torontomike.com/humbleandfred/.

Enjoy!

Thanks to Acme Pictures for donating the web space and Dan Duran for producing the audio. Oh yeah, and thanks to Humble and Fred for two hours of great radio audio.

If you have any questions or issues playing this audio, leave a comment below and I'll get on it.

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2010 Vancouver Olympic Torch = The Olympic Toke

olympicsI just saw the torch for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and, well, it's a joint. Seriously, you can see it for yourself below this entry if you doubt me.

Composed of stainless steel, aluminum and sheet moulding, the torch was designed to evoke snow, ice, skiing and skating, but to many, the metre-long white torch looks suspiciously like a marijuana joint, especially when lit.

The observation has become so common in this city that it's hard to know who was the first to say, "Hey, doesn't that look like ..."

But the torch's resemblance to British Columbia's biggest cash crop was evident right away to Jodie Emery, editor of Cannabis Culture magazine.

"A lot of people come to Vancouver because it's marijuana-friendly, so I think people who already enjoy a joint themselves will feel a little more kinship to the Olympics," said Emery, who ran as a Green party candidate in the provincial election this month.

"I'm sure the organizers didn't intend for it to look like a joint, but that's what a lot of people are seeing."

I'm okay with the Olympic Toke. The London 2012 Olympic Games have a guy getting a hummer as their official logo. Click thru if you don't believe me.

Don't Bogart that torch, man.

van-joint

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Yet Another Humble and Fred Podcast Teaser

podcastI know I'm sounding like a broken record, but the 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories is coming very, very soon. It really is. Trust me.

In the meantime... here's the 55 seconds we heard right after the podcast concluded. This bonus audio won't be found in the podcast itself, coming really, really soon!

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Interview With Andrew Goodman About SEO, PPC, Twitter and Jays

MicrophoneNext month, I'll be attending the Search Engines Strategies 2009 Conference and Expo here in Toronto June 8-10. Now in its 6th year, the event is organized and programmed by Andrew Goodman, the SES Advisory Board and SearchEngineWatch.com, the leading authority on Search Engine Marketing (SEM), including SEO and PPC. That very same Andrew Goodman, founder of Page Zero Media, was nice enough to answer a few questions for me.

Toronto Mike (TM): In my 9-5 job, I spend a small fortune with Google Adwords. What changes would you like to see from Adwords to improve the tool as a lead generator?

Andrew Goodman (AG): Changes? The tool itself has very few glaring shortcomings. It's been a direct marketing tool serving the custom needs of a million customers who collectively spend over $20 billion a year on the channel, with good reason. We'd all love clicks to be cheaper and we'd all love more customers to buy from us, but AdWords features are of course robust, especially the reporting.

As companies increasingly get leads from their "brand" keywords (though some companies debate that), it's important to see full attribution so that mega-high-intent keywords share some of the credit with earlier research keywords and even other digital campaigns. That's gotta be a priority for the AdWords team (crediting assists, etc.).

TM: In the PPC universe, can one live on Google alone? How important are the other other search engines in terms of securing eyeballs?

AG: Easy question. For now, the others have weak market share, and are not very important. We'd all love it if they could improve.

In a general sense it's not healthy to be dependent on any one marketing channel or any one vendor. But in most markets and most verticals, if you're talking strictly about paid search, then 85%+ of your spend ought to be with Google. Anything else flies in the face of measurable search market share and measurable campaign performance.

TM: I love Twitter as a broadcasting system to the masses. I'm trying to see how the corporate world can harness the power of Twitter. How do you see Twitter helping the corporate marketing world?

AG: Yes, for the same reasons that email or RSS can be a great extension of corporate communications if the purveyors of the message or conversation understand the opt-in, permission-based, respectful requirements of the medium.

That's going to be an interesting, ongoing conversation. Mark Evans will dig into this a bit at SES Toronto. Do you want to be following some lame corporate logo (Whole Foods Says X) or a personality (Juanita at Whole Foods says Y)? Not an easy one. I'll leave it to Mark to elaborate.

I've always been amused by Steve Rubel's take on corporate identities in social media. He had this funny line about how cartoon characters shouldn't blog, and no one REALLY desires to follow the Michelin Man. And if Mickey Mouse were to blog, the requirements of authenticity would require the "real" Mickey working at Disneyland to moan: "I'm schvitzing in this suit and these kids are punching me! This sucks!"

TM: How do you stay on top of the highly guarded Google algorithm when it comes to organic rankings? SEO techniques seem to change on a regular basis. How does a web author stay ahead of the curve?

AG: On one hand, you take the wisdom of crowds (even if that means collected expertise of the top SEO people), but then, it's kind of interesting to try to distinguish between uneducated ramblings and mob mentality on forums, and real, principled expertise.

Is it good to be an independent thinker? Sure, to a degree. And then again, siloed thinkers inside IT depts. may ignore the collected expertise of top SEO people. It's important to be plugged in, to understand where we have strong consensus, and where we have reasonable grounds for debate. And where certain assertions are 100% based on superstition.

A good friend, Mike Grehan, author and expert on all things search technology, takes the tack of listening very closely to what search scientists say.

I've always sort of leaned in that direction. You want to understand the principles underlying search, and take into account some combination of the principles search engines want to pursue, and your judgment of what the economics of the situation and the adversarial game nature of the situation will create in the real world. Everyone in this game is in there trying to "read the tea leaves," and I'm not sure why it is that some are better than others at continuing to read them reasonably correctly.

Remember back to the infamous Florida update. That and subsequent Google algorithmic "crackdowns" caught a lot of clever SEO's off guard. They grew accustomed to their warmed-over linking tactics working, etc., and then as Google inevitably got better at evaluating the true worth of certain sites and pages in the consumer's eyes, wham! a bunch of "optimized" sites got hit. But to not see that coming was to assume that short-term tactics would last forever, in the absence of sound, integrated digital marketing strategy. It's not long ago that people thought hidden white-on-white text, text hidden in CSS layers or in comment tags, etc., was a "clever" SEO strategy. Maybe if you're setting up throwaway microsites for poker gaming, but not for the rest of us. Sigh.

Believing what Google says flat-out (that is, they say X, they mean X) is also a pretty good idea. On the paid search side, you can point to a few publishing business models that were earning $20+mm a year for their small owners just buying and selling clicks in 2004-2006. In the more recent period 2008-2009, the same businesses earn 95% less than they did before. If Google explicitly states something is against their rules, and the CEO is telling the national press why that is the case, they mean it.

On the paid search side you can go on Google's Inside AdWords blog and discover that Google actually has a hate-on for certain business models. Needless to say that poses a major challenge if you run one of those kinds of sites: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/09/websites-that-may-merit-low-landing.html -- and amazingly, some people are dismissive, and conduct their affairs like that's just an opinion. (Google's opinion is never "just an opinion," unless perhaps in a court of law.) When the "tea leaves" are actually there in black and white and in English, they don't need a whole lot of interpretation. Call it a Google Slap and Tickle or Quality Score Madness, call it what you will, but they're not kidding around.

Back to SEO. While I wouldn't exactly suggest you can learn everything you need to know about SEO from Google's "Webmaster Guidelines" page, it is the case that there are solid principles underlying great SEO... with micro-tactics being only slightly important in the mix. Information architecture and site performance tuning, for example, are part of a solid SEO foundation, but how many companies even know what those are? We have a session on this at SES Toronto anchored by the popular Shari Thurow.

TM: How about a hot PPC and SEO tip for the readers of TorontoMike.com?

AG: User experience issues - if you take care of them - can indirectly lead to better search rankings and PPC efficiency. On the SEO side, clean up code weight and make pages load faster and you may see a nice improvement in rankings. On the paid search side, similar basic fixes can lead to higher conversion rates.

That's the thing that companies don't want you to tell them: the magic isn't magic, and there's real navigation, marketing, and testing that goes on. You don't fire all your SEO effort into a silo called metatags (very little or none of it, arguably) or keyword "stuffing", and you don't get 100% success with PPC by building long keyword tests or some other one-dimensional philosophy. They both require a full effort, involving many moving parts.

TM: You're a Toronto guy. Are the Blue Jays for real this season?

AG: Dude: they are totally for real. I've been to the ballpark three times already and I expect to be back to quite a few more before season's end. We can talk about individual player performances and the amazing patchwork pitching staff, of course... but what strikes me as giving them that slight edge is Cito's and the coaching staff's leadership. Showing confidence in players and giving them philosophies to work with pays off, but so does firm control, being pretty ruthless with personnel at times. You'll notice they haven't given Brandon League many innings because he hurts the team with his wildness even though he can throw 100mph. Overrated BJ Ryan gets sent down to AA with an "injury" but the real reason is: he's sucking canal water and there are no special rules for high paid busts. Gotta love Cito. Go Jays!

I'd like to see Alex Rios become more disciplined at the plate. Currently, he is shining mostly on pure talent. Imagine if he combined that with focus and discipline.

Thanks, Mike, for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

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Martin Streek Out At Edge 102.1 / CFNY

radioI listened to CFNY (Edge 102) throughout the 90s. It was my favourite radio station, not just for the tunes but for the personalities. I can't remember a time at 102 before Martin Streek.

Martin Streek always seemed to be there, hosting the Thursday 30 and live-to-air broadcasts from various Toronto clubs. Now I've learnt from @scroll on Twitter that he's been fired.

The first thing I did when I heard the news was visit his profile page on EDGE.ca. It's been removed. Here's the cached version from Google.

Streek

I then shot over to the Wikipedia write-up about Streek, and there's no word there on the firing. Here's what I did find:

Martin Streek is another of the three remaining personalities from the "Spirit of Radio" era. He currently hosts the Thursday 30, a four hour long show that counts down the top 30 songs of the past week (collected via record sales and listener voting), as well as introduces new music (a segment called the "Groundbreakers"), and flashes back to a previous year's countdown, as Streek recalls the top five songs of that week in a certain previous year.

Streek also hosts two live-to-air broadcasts from nightclubs: Saturday nights at the Phoenix and Sunday nights at Velvet Underground, both in downtown Toronto. Both shows run from 9:00 PM until 2:00 AM, and are broadcast without interruption (i.e., commercial-free), except for live ads imploring people to visit the club, after about 10:00 p.m.. Martin is also a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Depeche Mode and The Clash.

Martin has been voted DJ of the year a few times in Now Magazine's year-end public ballot.

Just recently he had to have his appendix removed surgically; he has recovered and is doing well.

Martin Streek, if you're out there, let us know where you're at. You've been a familiar voice over Toronto airwaves for about 20 years and you'll be missed.

Update: I see another name missing from the personalities line-up. Barry Taylor is also missing and his page at Edge.ca has been removed. Can someone shed some light on the disappearance of Barry Taylor and lifelong CFNYer Martin Streek?

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If Chicago Wins: A Worst Case Scenario Reviewed for Leafs Fans

leafsI'm not going to sugar coat this. The Chicago Blackhawks are 8 wins away from winning the Stanley Cup. That result would be devastating for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Allow me to explain...

Leaf fans are often taunted with the year 1967. That's the last time we (yeah, I wrote "we") won the Stanley Cup. Only one NHL team can claim a worse drought, and that's the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks haven't won since 1961. Sure, they've made it to the Stanley Cup finals since then, but they haven't hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup in 48 years. That somehow comforts Leaf diehards who have only suffered for 42 years.

But, those Blackhawks (who used to be Black Hawks), are 8 wins away. If they win it this year, we'll be in an unmatched stretch of futility.

And if that's not depressing enough, below are the active teams who haven't played in a Stanley Cup final since 1967. One of these teams is not like the others.

  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Atlanta Thrashers
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Nashville Predators
  • Phoenix Coyotes
  • San Jose Sharks

Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery. Go Leafs Go!

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

A Movie ReelIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 6 out of 10.

The whole family watched "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" last night. It was strange at first to see Indy as an old dude, and I found it opened a little slow, but once it started rolling it actually exceeded my expectations.

I should preface that statement by telling you my expectations were pretty low. This was a movie I didn't think needed to be made in the first place. And all because it exceeded my expectations, doesn't mean it's a great movie. It's just a sliver better than half decent.

Next up: The Dark Knight.

indiana_jones_and_the_kingdom_of_the_crystal_skull

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Top 10 One Hit Wonders of the 1980s

musicI caught the end of one of those VH1 list shows. This one was counting down the top 10 one hit wonders of the 1980s. Naturally, I started compiling my own list.

This list is from a Canadian perspective. I don't care what they say in the USA, Bruce Cockburn had more than one hit on this side of the border. Furthermore, I'm protecting the term "1-hit" with hardcore veracity. Twisted Sister are not one hit wonders, and neither is Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock.

Here's my personal top ten. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments.

10. a-ha - Take On Me

9. Big Country - In a Big Country

8. When in Rome - The Promise

7. Modern English - I Melt With You

6. Wall of Voodoo - Mexican Radio

5. Devo - Whip It

4. Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science

3. Soft Cell - Tainted Love

2. Nena - 99 Luftballons

1. Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen

With apologies to Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round", The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, who are not one hit wonders in my books.

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TSN2 and Rogers: You Knew This Was Coming

TVJust last night I was checking in on the Blue Jays television coverage when I saw next week's Boston Red Sox games were to be broadcast on TSN2, a station not currently carried by Rogers Cable. That prompted me to write this tweet:

Speaking of not watching the Jays on TV, I'll bet the farm we Rogers customers suddenly get TSN2 next Tuesday.

There was no way the Rogers-owned Toronto Blue Jays would have key divisional games broadcast on TSN2, a station Rogers customers don't get. Last October I wrote about the 25 Toronto Raptors games we Rogers customers were going to miss. Missing Jays games would have been absolutely humiliating for Rogers, so you knew an agreement between TSN and Rogers was imminent.

This from Fadoo.ca:

A person familiar with the discussions told fadoo that an announcement of the agreement should be expected this weekend, likely on Sunday. No specifics of the deal were revealed, however it is believed that, as a result of the agreement, Rogers Cable customers with the VIP package will begin receiving TSN2 almost immediately and automatically.

Rogers has shown some keen business sense here, allowing their own customers to view their own baseball team. Now that's synergy.

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World Series, Here We Come - The Kokomo Beach Band

jaysTake a moment to soak in the current MLB standings. Yes, it's early, and you don't win anything in May, but it's been 16 damn years so I'm going to savour this. Guys named Robby Ray are pitching gems and reinforcements are on the way. It's happening, folks.

mlb-standings

In honour of this premature jubilation, here's "World Series, Here We Come" by The Kokomo Beach Band, now a great deal more than just wishful thinking.

Other awesome Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

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Moms in Toronto Need to Check This Out

mouseBack in January, I started my search for a Toronto mother willing to blog as Toronto Mommy at TorontoMommy.com. I found a Toronto Mom interested in writing and she's been blogging away over there ever since.

This morning, I gave TorontoMommy.com a little facelift. If you're a Mom in the GTA or know one, let her know about Toronto Mommy. And yes, even TorontoMommy.com includes awesome insight from Argie in the comments.

Now if I could only add Argie to my network of blogs... Whattyasay, Argie?

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2009 Playoff Pool Update

Playoff PoolIt's Saturday and I'd love to watch the NHL playoffs tonight, but the NHL in their infinite wisdom has decided to make us wait another day. Of course, Saturday night hockey is only a cherished tradition in Canada, so the NHL's decision makes sense.

While we wait for round three to get underway, it's time to check in on my annual NHL playoff pool. I banked on Sharks and Devils, so I've been out of it for weeks, but Jason banked on Blackhawks so he's looking pretty good. Pops and his protege Marc still have shots with their Red Wings, and you can't count out Alexi or Patino with their army of Penguins, but I'd like to give a special thanks to another poolie.

Lamster, I thank you. Although you diversified your portfolio by drafting players from four different teams, all four team bowed out in the first round and your 22 point total sets a new standard for futility. Thank you for beating my record and saving me from such humiliation.

For the current standings go here.

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My Dusty Old Rawlings Fernando Valenzuela Glove

baseballI got my first baseball glove when I was six or seven years old. I played with that plastic Canadian Tire brand glove for years until I received a Black Diamond glove made by Cooper.

That Black Diamond glove was used every day of every summer for years until I received the glove that would see me into adulthood. That glove, which I absolutely adored, was a Rawlings mitt with Fernando Valenzuela's autograph printed in the palm. I've had several gloves since, and it now seems like I go through a glove every 18-months, but I've never had one I've liked as much.

I liked it so much, I couldn't throw it out. The insides were completely eroded when I found her stored in my basement last weekend. Here are my final photos of my old Rawlings Fernando Valenzuela glove before I chucked her.

P5098905 P5098906

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Sam Roberts - Fixed to Ruin

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Fixed to Ruin" by Sam Roberts.

I've seen Sam Roberts perform three times, and he's always great. I read a quote from him several years ago in which he says his greatest love was "dirty fuckin’ rock ‘n’ roll." I've always loved that quote.

This is his latest single as he keeps on rockin'.

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Humble and Fred Podcast Teaser

podcastI assure you all, the 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories is coming very, very soon. You can't rush perfection. Look for it to hit cyberspace early next week.

In the meantime... here's the 9 seconds we heard before the podcast began.

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Rogers Stops Paying For My Flickr Pro Account

thumbs downI give Rogers a good chunk of my hard earned cash every month. I've got Internet, home phone, digital cable and my wife's mobile phone with them. That's a lot of cabbage!

At least Rogers was paying for my Flickr pro account. I'm a heavy Flickr user who used to pay for the Pro account before Rogers started doing that for me. In fact, I think Flickr was the only web service I actually paid for, I liked it that much.

Rogers is no longer giving us Rogers customers a Flickr Pro account for free. I only got the notice yesterday. Rates increase every other month it seems while I keep adding services and I'm rewarded with this news. Thanks, Rogers!

flickr-pro

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The Leafs Are The Best: Song + Video = AWESOME!

LeafsI'm toggling between both game sevens. Carolina is leading Boston and Detroit just beat Anaheim. The Leafs haven't been seen in over a month, so naturally I'm singing along to "The Leafs Are The Best".

In the early 90s, when Pat Burns was behind the bench, Wendel Clark was wearing the C and Doug Gilmour was setting up Dave Andreychuk, the Leafs recorded this novelty song and filmed this awesome video. I rediscovered it today when @DownGoesBrown dropped the link in a tweet.

He says it's the greatest thing in the history of the Internet. I'd take that one step further. I'd say this is the greatest thing in the history of the world.

The Leafs Are The Best!!!!1!!1!

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From the Blueberry to the Curve

phoneGreat laughter results when I pull out my BlackBerry 6230 in front of my brothers. Affectionately known as the Blueberry, this brick was durable, but not very fresh.

Today my employers took back their Blueberry and gave me a Blackberry Curve. The Curve has such modern conveniences as a camera and has a high res LCD screen.

It's not the newest Blackberry on the market, but it's new to me, and it should evoke less laughter from the peanut gallery.

BlackBerry 6230 blue blackberry-curve

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TFC Beat Impact, Italian Swear Banned by Security

TFCI attended the TFC match last night at BMO Field against the Montreal Impact. Everything I wrote after my first TFC game remains true. There's really no other Toronto sporting event that's comparable to the ritualistic, fan-driven enthusiasm I've seen at BMO Field. It's 90 minutes of chanting, singing, cheering, flag waving and streamer throwing.

Fans spend a great deal of time creating and building these giant flags. One of my favourites last night was a mock-up of a Quebec license plate reading USL 4 EVR. You can see a shot from behind here. The USL is the league Montreal plays in, and there were mocking cheers all night long.

I was also impressed with the time it must have taken to create the largest banner I've ever seen at a sporting event. I still don't know what this banner said, because I was beneath it. The paint fumes were intense and the view lousy, but I was just happy to be a part of the process. here's my shot from beneath The Banner of the Century.

USL 4 EVR

And finally, there were the guys behind Elvis and I in the Supporters Section who raised their banner only to be told by security to remove it or else. Apparently, "merda" means something profane in Italian...

Montreal Merda

Here's the rest of my photos from last night's 1-0 TFC victory. Thanks, Elvis!

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Drunk Dad Can't Fix General Lee, Sends Kid to Bed

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.

This Ontario Health public service announcement from 1984 really struck a chord with me. Maybe it's because I was 10 years old at the time and my favourite show was the Dukes of Hazzard. I also had a haircut like the kid in this PSA.

Everything's coming full circle, because now I'm working on a hairdo like the Dad in this ad. I'm almost there...

Go to bed.... NOW!


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Tom Waits - I Don't Wanna Grow Up

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.

Tom Waits - I Don't Wanna Grow Up
My favourite Tom Waits era was his Island years which began with Swordfishtrombones in 1983. In 1992, his Island years gave us "I Don't Wanna Grow Up", a song you likely know best as a Ramones tune.

Like most of Waits' best songs, the cover gained more prominence than the original. I'll take the crunchy, gruff and rough original, thank you very much.

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Following the Jays on Twitter, Tweeting TFC Tonight

twitterI was playing a double header last night, which meant I was at the ballpark from about 7pm until 11pm. That meant I missed the entire Jays game, a game I was highly anticipating. Thank goodness for Twitter.

A few people I was following were at the game, and every so often between innings of my game I'd check in to get a flavour of the game. @steffwilkinson gave me awesome updates, telling me the score, what the crowd was chanting and what signs were being held by the Blue Jay faithful.

I didn't watch the game or listen to an inning of the action, but I didn't miss out on Roy Halladay's gem and the Jays first big win against a supposed AL East contender. This is precisely what I like about Twitter. It's the pulse of a city, a nation and a planet in real-time.

Speaking of tweeting at Toronto sporting events, Elvis is taking me to the Toronto FC match tonight. He's warned me against tweeting at BMO Field, but I'm going to do it anyway. If it's good enough for the Mayor, it's good enough for me.

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Andre the Giant Glass Beer Mug

vaultIn addition to finding floppies, I stumbled upon my old Andre the Giant glass beer mug this past weekend.

Back in 1985, when I was a big fan of the WWF and Andre the Giant in particular, somebody bought this for me and I've had it ever since.

The funny thing is, I never used it as a mug. I've stored everything in it from pens to tools, but I've never used it to store liquid.

P5098910

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Roy Halladay: He Deserves More Credit

JaysI have a man crush on Roy Halladay. Yeah, I'd have a bromance with him. Every once in a while I get overwhelmed by this crush and I write about Roy. Here's one such example from last summer.

Tonight, Roy Halladay is on the mound as we face A. J. Burnett and the big bad Yankees. I'll miss the game, playing a couple of games of my own, but I'll be there in spirit. I'd love to see Halladay school A.J. once more.

I like to think we know what we have here in Toronto with Roy Halladay. He still deserves more local credit for what he's done and what he is, and I know he deserves a whole lot more credit in the rest of the majors. Imagine if Roy played for the pinstripes.

Here's a great entry about Roy from the Stat of the Day blog. It came across my RSS reader yesterday and I had to share it. Go Jays Go!

Roy Halladay doesn’t get half the credit he deserves as one of the best active pitchers.

Among active pitchers, he’s got the 3rd-best career winning percentage, behind just Johan Santana and the (sort of still active) Pedro Martinez.

He’s one of just 8 active pitchers with multiple 20-win seasons, or 6 such pitchers if you dont’ count Tom Glavine or Pedro.

And get this: he ranks only 28th among active pitchers in games started, and yet ranks 6th in shutouts, 6th in complete games, and 15th in wins.

What hurts Halladay (no pun intended) are his injuries and playing for a lower-profile Canadian team. The Blue Jays haven’t made the post-season since 1993, well before Halladay’s time, and he’s made more than 21 starts in a season only 6 times in 12 seasons, although he’s made more than 30 each of the last 3 full years.

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Your Starting Third Baseman...

baseballI've got a double header tonight with Raging Storm, my comp division slo-pitch team. This year, I'm just play ball for Storm. Engell is wearing the Cito hat, and he's got me starting at third base tonight.

I grew up in love with playing shortstop. The SS is the quarterback of the infield and, in my opinion, the sexiest position in baseball. I played SS for Storm until I gracefully moved to 1B. Kids with better range and stronger arms should play SS, not old farts like me.

I have never played an inning at 3B, except for maybe a few in the beer league when someone else demanded a turn at SS. I'm excited about fielding some sharp grounders, I'm just worried about my arm.

In honour of my first game at 3B, here are the starting third basemen in Toronto Blue Jays history.

  • Roy Howell (1977-80)
  • Danny Ainge (1981)
  • Garth Iorg (1982)
  • Rance Mulliniks (1983-86)
  • Kelly Gruber (1987-92)
  • Ed Sprague (1993-98)
  • Tony Fernández (1999)
  • Tony Batista (2000-01)
  • Eric Hinske (2002-04)
  • Corey Koskie (2005)
  • Troy Glaus (2006-07)
  • Scott Rolen (2008–present)

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2-Minutes for Inappropriate Use of Song

NHLI'm awarding TSN a 2-minute penalty for the inappropriate use of a song during one of their promos. Just before this third period of the Penguins / Capitals game, I sat through yet another promo for their 2009 NHL playoff coverage. The visuals were set to Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot."

Why the penalty? Because the shot in "Hey Man, Nice Shot" wasn't a puck on net but a bullet to Budd Dwyer's brain. From Wikipedia:

The song became notorious, as it was believed to be honoring the January 22, 1987, public suicide of Pennsylvania state treasurer Budd Dwyer, who shot himself during a press conference with a .357 Magnum. A May 1996 interview with Filter in Addicted to Noise magazine and an official statement by the band confirmed this. Filter later gave the following statement:

The song 'Hey Man Nice Shot' is a reaction to a well-documented public suicide. It is not a celebration or glorification of taking one's own life. The phrase 'hey man, nice shot' is a reference to the final act itself, an expression of guts and determination of a person standing up for what they believe is right. We are extremely sensitive and respectful to the family and friends of Mr. Dwyer. We have both lost friends to suicide and felt nothing but sympathy and loss for the victims, and those involved in such a tragedy.

You can read more about Budd Dwyer here.

Still a great tune, though.

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Inefficient, Socially Awkward, and Least User-Friendly Award

phoneI hate voice mail. My voice mail at work tells the caller not to leave me a voice mail because I don't check voice mail. If it's important, send me an email. I'll check that, likely within the hour, but I'll leave that red light on my phone glowing for weeks and weeks.

I just read a Slate article that agrees with me.

The bill of particulars is damning. Unlike your e-mail inbox, voice mail is impossible to skim: If your phone tells you that you've got five new messages, you've got no choice but to listen to at least a bit of each one before you can decide what to do with it. In a user-interface decision that I suspect might violate some subclause of the Geneva Conventions, your voice-mail system insists on making you listen to the same instructional prompts between each message. But wait, is it 9 to archive and 7 to skip, or is that the way the work phone does it? I couldn't tell you, because every voice-mail system seems to have settled on different numbers to activate its main functions. It's an absurdly backward mode of human-computer interaction.

My biggest complaint about voice mail is that it forces me to leave my natural process. I have to leave the PC and focus on recorded speech, which I find to be very inefficient and not at all user-friendly. I'll take an Email or IM, thank you very much.

Voice mail is dead.

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Michelle Grabs the Mic

podcastWhile we patiently await the Humble and Fred 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories, here's something almost as good.

When I was a kid, I used to play DJ and record song intros on a cassette recorder. Using Audacity, a great little free audio editor and recorder, my kids play a similar game. They like to make MP3s.

Last night Michelle wanted a couple of minutes of mic time and here's what go uploaded to my imeem account.

That should hold ya over until Dan gets me the file.

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The Return of Punch Out

NintendoWhen Santa brought my kids a Nintendo Wii for Christmas back in 2007, it reminded me of all the fun I had on my old 8-bit Nintendo back in the day. One of my favourite games was Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!.

The characters are returning to the Wii in Punch-Out!!. Here's a great ad for Punch-Out!! featuring The Wire's Sen. Clay Davis as Little Mac's trainer.

Shieeeeeeeeeet!

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Funniest. President. Ever.

USAI really hated George Dubya Bush but I still really like this guy. Here's the funniest president ever at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Part 1

Part 2

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Betting on Cito

JaysA couple of years go, my brother and I made "The Mark Bell Bet". When we shook on that bet, I felt like I was taking candy from a baby. I was absolutely positive Mark Bell wouldn't score 20 goals in a season as a Toronto Maple Leaf.

Up $50, today I gave my little brother a chance to make it back. I bet him that the Blue Jays would finish ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East this season. The Rays opened the season with 10/1 odds of winning it all while our beloved Jays were at 35/1.

It sure looks like my brother is now the one taking candy from a baby, but don't be so sure. I learnt long ago you can look awfully stupid betting against Cito.

In Cito I trust.

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Iron Man

A Movie ReelIron Man: 8 out of 10.

Like the rest of you, I thought I'd see Iron Man before I saw The Dark Knight.

I didn't know Jon Favreau had it in him. This is quite a step up from Elf. Iron Man is precisely the kind of action movie I like. It's smart enough to be interesting, funny enough to induce a few chuckles and not so inside that non-comic book fans can't enjoy the ride. You can rank this up there with Spider-Man II and X-Men II as a great comic book adaptation.

Next up: The Dark Knight.

iron man

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Happy Mother's Day

flowersMoms rule. No matter what, I know my mom is there if I need her. That's pretty sweet.

Here's a picture of my mother shortly after she first became a mom, almost 35 years ago.

More Me as a Baby

I have to give mad props to another mom I know and love. My kids have a fantastic mom, and here she is minutes after first becoming a mom, over 7 years ago.

James Meets Mommy

Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there in the blogosphere, Twittersphere and biosphere.

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Cleaning Out The Basement, Finding Floppies

picturesI spent 7 straight hours today cleaning out the basement. I purged a lot of stuff collecting dust down there, including some old relics from years past.

For example, I found a bunch of old 3 1/2 inch floppy disks. Back in the day, I backed up all my digital pictures on floppies. Today, that almost seems laughable. In an age where 160GB external hard drives go for $50 and flash drives are practically free, the floppy reeks of the 1990s.

The floppy disk may be dead, but it's still the de facto save icon.

Floppy Disks

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Michelle Suits Up for High Park Toronto FC

familyMy daughter has taken ballet, gymnastics and swimming, but this week she participates in her first organized competitive sport.

She's a proud member of the High Park Toronto FC and gets to sport a most excellent shade of green. Even though she's swimming in the extra small shorts, she promises me she'll be super aggressive on the pitch.

She happily posed for some shots this morning between rainstorms. Here she is smiling for the camera.

Michelle

And here she is after I told her to look mean.

Michelle Angry

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Humble and Fred Podcast Update

calendarRemember this?. We all got together downtown last weekend and recorded the Humble and Fred 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories. I'm guessing we got two hours of awesome material.

Before I can do my thing and get this thing online so everyone can hear it, Dan Duran needs to do his thing to clean up the audio file. On Tuesday I hit up Dan for a status update and here's what he wrote me on Wednesday.

Was up north til just now fixin the trailer…anyway next couple of days I guess.

We then talked about a Monday release, but yesterday I received another message from Dan.

I’m going long on this one. I worked on it yesterday and am 40 minutes into the 2 hours. Long story but I won’t have too much time to work on it til next week. So I’m guessing Tuesday or Wednesday. ….earlier if I can get to it.

There's your H+F Podcast update. Trust me, it's worth the wait. We'll try to release it into the wild Tuesday.

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Chuck Daly, Dead at 78

In MemoriumChuck Daly was 78. He coached the original Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992 after winning back-to-back NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons.

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Cage the Elephant - Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" by Cage the Elephant.

Cage the Elephant sound a little White Stripish on this track, but I dig it. Maybe I dig it because it's White Stripish?

In Indian religious philosophies the elephant is a symbol of strength and wisdom, representing good energy rather than negativity. Hence, this band wanted to cage the elephant. Now you know the rest of the story.

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The Dark Knight Still Eludes Me

MoviesIt's May 2009. Right now. That calendar thingy in the corner of my laptop says it's May 8, 2009.

A year ago, I was anticipating the release of The Dark Knight. Here's my entry in which I get all excited about it. The buzz was off the hizzle, I was already a Batman fan and it was Heath Ledger's final film. The movie was set to open in July and I was ready.

I planned to see it in August. I didn't feel like dealing with the massive July crowds. I'd score babysitting for a night in August and we'd catch the film of the year on the big screen.

It's May 2009, and I still haven't seen The Dark Knight. Amazing reviews, assurances from everyone I trust that I'll love it and a rise to #2 on the all-time box office chart wasn't enough to make it happen.

I really want to see it.

Discuss "The Dark Knight Still Eludes Me" (4 comments so far)


Omar Listenin'

thewireIt's come to my attention that I haven't blogged about The Wire all week. It's time to correct that oversight.

This is my favourite character on The Wire, Omar Little, and Brother Mouzone. The scene opens with Omar whistling "A Huntin' We Will Go" and closes with "Omar listenin'". Stafford, have you started watching yet?


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Dom DiMaggio, Dead at 92

In MemoriumDom DiMaggio was 92. He was the bespectacled Boston Red Sox center fielder whose career was overshadowed by his older brother Joe's Hall of Fame career with the New York Yankees. He was a seven-time All Star who still holds the record for the longest consecutive game hitting streak in Boston Red Sox history.

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Making a List of Greatest Canadian Song Lists

canadaA blog called "like a muffin or a beet" has listed greatest Canadian song lists. I'm pleased to see my Top 100 Canadian Songs list made the list. I also like how it sees my work as the work of many.

TorontoMike posted their Top 100 Canadian Songs: The Definitive List in 2007 (#1: The Tragically Hip – New Orleans Is Sinking)

This Toronto Mike site is so amazing, so thorough and so complex, it couldn't possibly be the work of one man.

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You're Not As Anonymous As You Think You Are

mouseI recently shared an illustration of the prototypical blog troll. If you give a guy an audience and perceived anonymity, the end result can be super dickish.

Earlier today, an incredibly stupid comment was left on a hockey forum site. Here's that message.

I'm killing Ovechkin. I'm going to jail. I don't care anymore.

This is an important message to all the trolls out there. You're not as anonymous as you think you are. Posting on a message board that you're going to kill someone will put you in a mountain of trouble.

Police didn't identify the accused, but local Pittsburgh news outlets are reporting that the post allegedly came from a 17-year-old residing in central Pennsylvania.

Sidney Crosby is 21, so there goes that theory.

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Circle Square Christian TV on Global

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.

Circle Square was a Canadian children's television series that ran from 1974 to 1986. The series was produced by Crossroads Christian Communications in cooperation with the Circle Square network of summer camps for children of Christian parents.

I don't know how I completely missed this show. 1974 through 1986 covers the first 12 years of my life. This show must have aired at some ungodly hour because I didn't stumble upon it even once.

Judging from this creepy clip, it looks like I missed a beaut.


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Slo-Pitch Season 2009 Edition Begins

softballI play for two different slo-pitch teams, and they couldn't be more different. Tonight's my first practice of the season and I've got a couple of games Tuesday night. Once more, it begins...

The Comp Team

I've played for Raging Storm since the 90s. We started out as Hooray For Everything before changing names at some point. We're currently playing in the Competitive division in the RSPA. I managed this team the past two seasons and have passed the reigns to another Mike for 2009.

We in Raging Storm have probably been too competitive for our own good. At least three of us are hot heads out there and ready to battle, literally. Our dust ups are legendary, and sometimes the best fights have been teammate vs. teammate. Hi Fay!

Here's the Raging Storm home page.

The Beer League Team

I've played in this small Etobicoke beer league for about the same period of time. Last season I left my team and started up a new team in the league. We call ourselves the Piranhas and we suck. When I'm the best offensive and defensive player on the team, you'd better be playing in a recreational beer league.

But damn it's fun. You want to win, but it doesn't really matter if you lose. I manage the team and host practices in which we work on our fundamentals. Tonight is practice #1 of 2009.

The thrill of the grass...

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Maple Leafs Facebook Feed (Top Secret!)

FBDown Goes Brown wrote the entry of the day on his blog.

He discovered that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been operating a Facebook page for almost a year now -- but for some reason it's closed to the general public. He hacked in and secured a screen cap.

Well done, DGB. I'm just sorry I didn't think of this first.

leafsfacebooks

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A TFC Newbie Figures Out This Multiple Trophy Thing

tfcI mentioned Elvis is taking me to the TFC match next week. This match is part of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, otherwise known as the Voyageur’s Cup. As an NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, CFL guy, I'm used to there being a single trophy presented to the winner of the playoffs. Apparently soccer is quite different.

Elvis did me a favour and broke down this multiple trophy thing for me. He did a great job so I recommend all TFC newbies click through for the 411. He explains that there's the Supporter’s Shield, MLS Cup, Trillium Cup, Voyageur’s Cup, Superliga, Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. Wow.

There sure are a lot of trophies in soccer. If at first you don't succeed, wait a couple of weeks and win another one.

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Google Car in the GTA

GoogleHoronymous just snapped a pick of the Google car making its way through his South East Mississauga neighbourhood. The Google car provides footage used for Google Street View, a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that provides for many streets in the world 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic views from a height of about two meters.

Here's his pic.

googlecar

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Jim Balsillie and the Phoenix Coyotes

NHLJim Balsillie has lots of money, wants to own an NHL team and wants to move it to southern Ontario. That same Jim Balsillie confirmed Tuesday that he has offered to pay $212.5 million US to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes on the condition that the bankrupt team relocate to southern Ontario. That's deserving of another entry alongside this one about his team in Cambridge and this one about his team in Hamilton.

I was listening to The Fan 590 when Bob McCown broke the news, and that prompted this tweet. The Coyotes moving to southern Ontario makes so much sense I can't see it happening. Maybe it's the natural once bitten (in this case, twice bitten), twice shy reaction.

Balsillie's not naming specific city names, so I'm going to guess he's looking at Vaughn, the city above Toronto. Can this happen?

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The Remake Of A Remake (All I Need) - Wale f. Tawiah

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 Remake Of A Remake (All I Need) - Wale f. Tawiah
I was reading a list of the best albums of 2008 the other day, and it mentioned an album entitled "The Mixtape About Nothing" by a rapper named Wale. "The Mixtape About Nothing" included samples from Seinfeld. That's all I needed to hear...

It turns out I really dig "The Mixtape About Nothing", and amidst all the rapping and Seinfeld samples is this tune with Tawiah called "The Remake Of A Remake".

Let's quickly review the original, remake and remake of a remake in question. "You're All I Need to Get By" is a song recorded by the American R&B/soul duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. It was the basis for the 1995 single "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" by Method Man and Mary J. Blige, a song I still adore to this day. Then, we have this... still sweet and on my iPod right now.

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Hang On Blue Jays - Paul Husiak

jaysI wrote all about this song yesterday, so click here for the totally awesome story of "Hang On Blue Jays".

Paul Husiak and a bunch of folks at CHFI put this song together in 1982 or 1983. I remember it well from the early 80s, but completely forgot about it for 25 years or so. This song was literally no where to be found and this copy is a dub of the only physical copy in existance - an old crappy cassette dub Paul Husiak has stored away somewhere.

Here's "Hang On Blue Jays" by the folks at CHFI. The audio of Howard Cosell talking about Blue Jays baseball in the early 80s is solid gold.

Other awesome Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

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I Feel Like I'm Missing Out As A Non-Trekker

VideoI'm not in the club, but it's times like these that I wish I was. All around me there's a buzz amongst the Trekkers. They're talking about the new J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movie opening this weekend.

I tried, but I could never get into it. I'm sure I'm missing out, but what's a guy to do? You either dig something or you don't. You can't force it.

You're not in the club, but you wish you were, because they all look so damn happy.

I felt the same way when the Lord of the Rings films were coming out. I also felt this way on Easter weekend.

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Dom DeLuise, Dead at 75

In MemoriumDom DeLuise was 75. He starred in such comedies as "The Cannonball Run" and "Blazing Saddles" and was the voice of Pizza the Hutt in "Spaceballs".

Here's Dom DeLuise and Burt Reynolds as the voices of Itchy and Charlie in "All Dogs Go To Heaven", a movie that makes my kids cry.

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There's a Voyageurs Cup? And I'll Be There?

tfcChecking my RSS feed moments ago, I learnt I was going to the TFC's second Voyageurs Cup.

That's right people - Toronto Mike is going to the TFC's second Voyageurs Cup home game with yours truly on Wednesday, May 13th.

We'll be taking in the match against the defending champion Montreal Impact. He'll likely want to Twitter but he'll do so at his own peril as we'll be in Section 113, Row 17 - smack in the middle of the Supporter section in the south end.

I'm preparing notes for TMike so he'll know all the background on this important match - hopefully he can then sound somewhat smart on Twitter...if that's possible...

Elvis, the guy behind My Morning Expresso, took me to my first TFC game last summer and I loved it. Not only am I really not a soccer guy, but I've yet to play a single soccer match in my lifetime, something my son can't even claim. Even my four year old daughter will be playing soccer later this month. I just missed the soccer boat.

But I loved the crowd and TFC ambiance. I can't wait to go back next week. I'll just read up on this Voyageurs Cup thing and try and remember what to chant and when to chant it. If you're at the game, I'll be the guy in red.

Me

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How I Scored a Copy of the Elusive Hang On Blue Jays Song

JaysWhether you're an old school Toronto Blue Jays fan or not, I think this makes for a pretty cool story. In other words, you're all ordered to read this entry, whether you give a lick about baseball or not.

It started when I wrote a tweet via Twitter about Ok Blue Jays. That tweet became my Facebook status, thanks to a recent change I made to my Facebook account. Here's that initial tweet.

@ShineBrightBear Ha, you're tweeting #1 in Google for 'Ok Blue Jays'!

My softball buddy Chuck, running the Mississauga Marathon next week, saw my Facebook status and threatened to load his iPod with old school Blue Jays songs. He reminded me of "Hang On Blue Jays", a Jays song I remember from the early 80s. It was to the tune of "Hang On Sloopy" and I used to hear it at Exhibition Stadium. I haven't heard it in over twenty years and I was aching to hear it once more. I needed to track down a copy.

Back to Twitter... I wrote the following tweet about 21 hours ago.

Actively searching for 80s Blue Jays parody song "Hang On Blue Jays" - the tune is "Hang On Sloopy", anyone have this MP3?

Iain Grant, Producer of The Bill Carroll Show on Newstalk 1010 CFRB, follows me on Twitter, and he quickly replied.

@torontomike it was the guys at CHFI that put "Hang on Blue Jays" together. Paul Husiak @ Astral may know, I'll ask tomorrow.

Then, this morning, an email from Iain Grant hit my inbox.

I'm pretty sure this is what you're looking for :). Paul Husiak, one of our engineers and I were at 'FI when it was recorded.

Here's the forwarded message from Paul Husiak that accompanied the MP3 I wanted.

Yes, I was at CHFI from 82 to 88.

I sang lead vocal, backing vocals, and played guitars and bass on it.

Fuzzy (John Howard) produced it and played keyboard.

Brian Master played drums

Bob Komsic, and Sharon Edwards and others sang backing vocals.

(attached is a dub of the only physical copy that I know exists - an old crappy cassette dub I still have somewhere.)

And that's how I scored the only copy of "Hang On Blue Jays", a Blue Jays novelty song from 1982 or 1983 that was never released and has absolutely no web presence to speak of... until now.

Yes, I will share this golden oldie soon. Over top the song is a great spoken piece by Howard Cosell and then introductions of our starting lineup... Willie Upshaw, Damaso Garcia, Alfredo Griffin, Garth Iorg, Cliff Johnson, Ernie Whitt, Dave Collins, Lloyd Moseby and Barry Bonnell. Yes, I said Barry Bonnell.

I love the interwebs.

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May The Fourth Be With You

starwarsIt's a shame I only get to pull this one out once a year. It's a classic.

May the Fourth be with you.

starwarsday

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Layer Cake

A Movie ReelLayer Cake: 7 out of 10.

Outside of revisiting some old Indiana Jones flicks with my son, Layer Cake is the first movie I've seen since The Love Guru exactly one month ago. That's partly because The Love Guru was so disappointing it took a month to get the taste out of my mouth, but it's also because I was so immersed in The Wire there was no room for other escapes.

During one of my Wire rants at work, a guy who hadn't seen The Wire suggested I watch Layer Cake. I had never heard of Layer Cake, but it had Daniel Craig and Colm Meaney in it, so I gave it a shot.

It's actually pretty good. It's got a good style, nice soundtrack and an interesting enough drug caper premise. It's directed by Matthew Vaughn who produced Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and this film reminded me of those.

Layer Cake is the kind of movie Guy Ritchie would have made if his talent wasn't devoured by that woman.

Layer Cake

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Things My Grandkids Will Never Understand

pointI found this comic on sticky comics.

grandkids_dont_understand

It reminded me of a question I asked a few years ago. What did we ever do before the Internet? My grandkids will never have to figure out how to fold a map. My grandkids won't know the yellow pages as anything other than a website.

Here's a list of things my grandchildren will never understand.

  • VCRs
  • Foldable Maps
  • Records, Cassettes and CDs
  • Cookbooks
  • Fax Machines
  • How to ask for directions
  • Encyclopedias
  • Waiting to see boxscores
  • Newspapers
  • Yellow, White and Blue Pages
  • Writing and mailing letters
  • Photo labs and film cameras
  • Dial-up Internet
  • Car keys
  • Libraries
  • Not instantly knowing who starred in what with whom
  • Dictionaries
  • Radio
  • Crank-open door windows
  • DVDs
  • Porno mags

Feel free to add items in the comments.

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Jack Kemp, Dead at 73

In MemoriumJack Kemp was 73. He championed supply-side economics in nine terms as a congressman after a career as the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.

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Pictures From Humble and Fred's 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories

micI spent the afternoon at the Dominion on Queen enjoying the live recording of the Humble and Fred 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories. I'll have complete audio and hopefully some video to share early next week.

It was a great crowd full of family, friends, fans and many who worked on the Humble and Fred morning show. The guys covered the entire history of the show, sharing great stories and many laughs. Special guests included Nick Kypreos, Tyler Stewart from the Barenaked Ladies, Psychic Nikki, Lou Schizas and Humble and Fred producers Dan Duran, Bingo Bob, Scary Pete, Chicken Shwarma and Andy Wilson.

It was great fun and a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Here are some shots I took. The rest are in this photoset. Stay tuned in the coming days for more audio, video and photographic evidence of the hilarity that ensued on Queen Street East this afternoon.

The Marquee Copy of P5028811 H+F Podcast of Memories Copy of P5028816 H+F Podcast of Memories Nick Kypreos H+F Podcast of Memories H+F Podcast of Memories H+F Podcast of Memories H+F Podcast of Memories H+F Podcast of Memories H+F Podcast of Memories Colleen Rusholme and Bingo Bob Copy of P5028808

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Radio Songs or Songs With "Radio" in the Title

radioA few years ago, my buddy Mark and I spoke of morning radio in Toronto. We're the same age, which means we'll be turning 35 this summer. We agreed on two points: Humble and Fred were the best morning crew we had ever heard and it made absolutely no sense that Humble and Fred were no longer on the radio together.

I've never worked in the radio industry, but I fell in love with good radio at a young age. The crap we're served up in the mornings in this city is shameful when I think about what I heard throughout the 90s on CFNY. Wouldn't the Humble and Fred show be perfect for Jack FM? It makes too much sense to happen, I suppose. That's the bizarro world we live in.

This afternoon I'll be reminded of what we're missing. At 2pm at The Dominon on Queen I'll watch Humble and Fred do their thing and it will be funny. It always is. But it won't be phony funny, it will be organically funny. They'll play off each other, as I've seen them do during the previous three podcasts, they'll make each other laugh and they'll be nice enough to let us listen in on their fun.

In honour of the radio I miss most, here are songs in my collection with the word "radio" in the title. See you all this afternoon.

  • Listenin' to the Radio - Adam Sandler
  • Radio - Beyonce
  • Radio Silence - Blue Peter
  • Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles
  • Capital Radio One - The Clash
  • This is Radio Clash - The Clash
  • Riot Radio - The Dead 60s
  • Heartbreak Radio - Delbert McClinton
  • The Radio - Dr. Hook
  • Radio Silence - Elvis Costello
  • AM Radio - Everclear
  • Boys on the Radio - Hole
  • Radio Song - Jet
  • Radio Fly - Joel Plaskett Emergency
  • You Turn Me On I'm a Radio - Joni Mitchell
  • Radio America - Libertines
  • I Can't Live Without My Radio - LL Cool J
  • ...On the Radio (Remember the Days) - Nelly Furtado
  • Radio Friendly Unit Shifter - Nirvana
  • Radios of Heaven - The Odds
  • Video Killed the Radio Star - The Presidents of the United States of America
  • How to Kill a Radio Consultant - Public Enemy
  • Listen to the Radio - Pukka Orchestra
  • Radio Ga Ga - Queen
  • God is in the Radio - Queens of the Stone Age
  • Guerrilla Radio - Rage Against the Machine
  • Do You Remember Rock N' Roll Radio? - The Ramones
  • On the Radio - Regina Spektor
  • Guerilla Radio - Richard Cheese
  • The Spirit of Radio - Rush
  • Radio/Video - System of a Down
  • Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo
  • Mohammed's Radio - Warren Zevon
  • Radio Luv Song - 54-40

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April 2009 Organic Keywords

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

  1. wedding songs 2008
  2. 2009 nhl playoff pool
  3. 1050 chum
  4. nhl playoff pool
  5. edgefest 2009 lineup
  6. toronto mike
  7. cp24 breakfast television
  8. big shiny tunes 2
  9. hockey songs
  10. cool wedding songs

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Bless Us and Save Us From the Fires of Hell

HellThere's buzz today about a Pew Research Center survey that suggests the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists. I'd file this one under D for "Duh!".

As others have pointed out, the concept of Hell is pretty much based on the threat of torture. Religious people are bred to accept torture as a way of life.... errr, I mean, death.

Growing up, my grandmother used to say "bless us and save us from the fires of Hell". That's some scary shit for a kid to hear. The entire concept of Hell is so frightful and hateful it's the absolute last thing I'd want to put in my kids' minds. To Hell with Hell!

top10_meatloaf_bat_out_of_hell

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Snoop Buys a Nail Gun at the Hardware Barn

thewireIt's come to my attention that I haven't blogged about The Wire all week. It's time to correct that oversight.

This is Snoop, one of Marlo's assisins, and she's buying a cordless nail gun from her neighbourhood Hardware Barn. It's a great scene and it was the opening in the first episode of the fourth season.


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The Plan For Tomorrow

podcastHere's how the 20th Anniversary Humble and Fred Podcast of Memories is going to go down tomorrow.

Humble and Fred will run the podcast, which will get underway around 2pm at Dominion on Queen. If you're dropping by to join in the fun, here's a map. It's at Queen and Sumach streets here in Toronto. I'd get there for 1:30pm.

Humble and Fred will do their thing, complete with special guests. It will be a romp through the history of the Humble and Fred morning show and should be a blast for those of us who woke up to CFNY throughout the 90s.

Dan Duran will produce the show, assuming his lap top can handle his audio recording software. He'll record it, clean it up, package it up and produce an MP3 file. That's where I come in...

Dan will get me that MP3 and I'll set it free into the wild. We've done this before. I'll host the MP3 somewhere (I'm still not sure where as Odeo won't let me upload anymore), update the XML file that you can subscribe to in iTunes or whatever (http://www.torontomike.com/humbleandfred/podcast.xml), create a streamable M3U file, let you download the MP3 to your desktop and make it playable online. Come back here for details as to when you can hear the podcast or follow me on Twitter.

See ya tomorrow. This will be fun.

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