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Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 5 (Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye)

LeafsI normally don't recap Leafs games until the morning after, to gain a little perspective, but I need to write this recap tonight.

I hate the Montreal Canadiens. I hate the franchise, but mostly I hate the fans. With the Habs leading 4-2 late in the third period, the fans started singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye". This wasn't the clinching game of a playoff series, this was a early regular season game and they were up by two. But they started singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" anyway.

While they were singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye", Alexei Ponikarovsky scored to bring us within one. DGB tweeted that it should count double. It may as well have, because the Leafs weren't done yet.

With less than a minute to play, and Toskala on the bench for the extra attacker, Tomas Kaberle tied it up. We got our point, and if there was such a thing as karma, we'd have got another. Habs fans and their stupid premature and inappropriate "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" suck.

And you know what else sucks? Those butt ugly retro Montreal jerseys I had to stare at all night. Are they barber shop poles? Is it Where's Waldo on ice? It's tough to look at them, that's for sure. I'm still feeling dizzy. Those are the worst jerseys I've ever seen.

And one more thing that really sucks is shootouts. I hate them. Let's get rid of them. Tonight's game should have ended in a tie.

This song is dedicated to Habs fans everywhere who sing it while up by two in the third period of a regular season game in October. I hope you choke on it.



Some Photos from Halloween 2009

halloweenThe pumpkin is carved. Here's what our 2009 Jack O' Lantern looks like.

Halloween 2009

The kids are happy, so I'm giving myself an A+.

Here are a few other photos from a walk we took earlier today. There are some pretty cool Halloween displays in the neighbourhood this year.

Halloween 2009 Halloween 2009 Halloween 2009 Halloween 2009 Halloween 2009 Halloween 2009


Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings

googleA great site for reading about reported ghosts and hauntings in Toronto (and the rest of Ontario) is Toronto Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society.

In their Toronto public buildings section you can read ghost stories about the Mackenzie House, Casa Loma, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Lower Bay Station, the Old Don Jail and about 40 more.

Speaking of Toronto ghost stories, this seems like the perfect day to refer you all to my favourite Toronto ghost story of all. Will Ivan Reznikoff strike again?

Ivan Reznikoff Vs. Paul Diabolos

Happy Halloween!


Maple Leafs 2, Sabres 3

leafsI had a game myself, so I only caught the first period of the Leafs - Sabres game last night. I scored a goal, thanks for asking. The Leafs, meanwhile, lost a close one in overtime.

From what I've read, it sounds like Ryan Miller stole this one. We outshot Buffalo 16-5 in the third period. At least we salvaged a point, giving us 5 in our first 11 games.

Speaking of great goaltending, hasn't The Monster been wonderful? We're a different team with him in the net. We're actually competitive. Unfortunately, all signs point to Vesa Toskala getting the start in Montreal tonight.

Now that's spooky.


Betcha Can't Name That Leaf!

leafsBelow is a picture of a Toronto Maple Leaf. I'll bet you have no idea who this is.

whoami

If you give up, you can find out who this Maple Leaf is right here. Shocking, isn't it?


Halloween Day Carving

halloweenI just realized tomorrow is Halloween. It's been that kind of week.

I've got my pumpkin, but it's uncarved. I do believe this is the first time I'll be doing the carving on Halloween Day. The pressure is on... there's no room for error.

Dare I cheat and download a pumpkin stencil? Nah... I'm going to kick it old school.


When Leafs Programs Were Only $2

Leafs ProgramsI've saved a lot of stuff. I've got scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, baseball sticker books, ticketstubs and a bunch of old Maple Leaf programs stored away in boxes. They're sitting in my basement right now.

Here's a ticket stub from a game I attended at Maple Leaf Gardens on November 29, 1986. You'll see I sat in the grey section, the worst section, but I sat in the front row of the greys, which was the best of the worst. I was just happy to be in the building to watch my Leafs take on the Minnesota North Stars.

I got a Maple Leaf program that day. It was only $2. That seemed like a lot back then, but today Maple Leafs programs probably sell for closer to $10. I'm honestly not sure what they're charging these days, as I haven't bought one since the early 90s.

Maple Leafs Program

Gary Leeman, who graces the cover above, scored over a quarter of his NHL goal total during the 1989–90 season. Then, we packaged him in a bundle that scored us a certain centre who wore #93. Best. Leafs. Trade. Ever.


More Invitations to Google Wave

googleGoogle just gave me a bunch more invitations to Google Wave

Last time I had invitations, I gave them all out to people who requested one in the comments. I'm happy to do that again.

If you want to use Google Wave, leave a comment and I'll hook you up.


National Post Could Close

postThe National Post could close after tomorrow.

Creditors of the company have indicated they are no longer prepared to fund continuing losses at the Post, which employs 277 people, Canwest said.

The creditor group “will not continue to support funding the National Post Company in the long or short term past Oct. 30, 2009,” Canwest said in a court report released Thursday.

I don't read the National Post, but I'll be sorry to see it go because it was always the paper most likely to write about me. There was this time this time and this time and this time.

By the way, The New York Times calls The National Post "Canada's cheeky conservative paper". I think "cheeky" is being kind. It was more like Canada's Fox News paper.


H1N1 Flu Shot Myths Infuriate Me (or Why Your Ignorance Makes Me Feel Superior To You)

H1N1If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I come out yearly and encourage you all to get your flu shots. Here's the 2003 plea and here's my 2004 plea. I get the flu shot every year, as does my entire family, including my two young children.

This year, with the H1N1 influenza virus creating the need for an H1N1 vaccination, there's been more chatter than usual. Everybody, it seems, has an opinion on the H1N1 vaccine. Old myths reserved for the regular ol' flu shot have been resurrected and are flying around the office at full steam. One lady is convinced the H1N1 vaccine will give her "the swine flu", another thinks it's a pharmaceutical industry conspiracy and another has found a quote from a retired quack American doctor who advises against the shot. Of all the great and respected doctors on this continent, that quack doctor got her to send an email to all of her contacts urging us to say no to the H1N1 vaccine.

I am not a doctor. It's highly likely that you're not a doctor either. When it comes to decisions for me and my family regarding vaccinations, I speak to medical doctors I trust. Every single one I've spoken to or heard from say, without hesitation, that we should all get immunized as soon as possible. The scientific evidence is overwhelming. As a responsible parent, I'll ensure my kids receive the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible. As a responsible member of society, I'll ensure I get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible.

That's right. I think those who reject science and prefer to buy into silly conspiracy theories and urban legends and reject the free H1N1 flu shot are selfish. They're selfish because getting immunized means a person does not spread the illness to others. That's one less carrier walking around, shaking hands, touching public door knobs and TTC poles and spreading the virus.

I'm going to close with what I wrote back in 2003.

If you could avoid getting the flu, wouldn't you? Getting a flu vaccination makes good sense, right? You'd be surprised at the conspiracy theories I heard when talking with coworkers. Some think it's a cash-grab for the pharmaceutical industry. Others think it will leave them defenseless when the "super flu" arrives. Some even think the contents of the vaccination aren't to be trusted and that it could cause the flu or even worse. Someone even claimed their friend told her it contained radiator coolant. I've heard it all.

If you believe in such conspiracies, then you believe that every single medical doctor in the country is in on the deal. I challenge you to find one doctor who will tell you the flu vaccination is a bad idea. You won't because it isn't.

Get a damn flu shot. This isn't The X Files.

Other relevant links:


Maple Leafs 3, Stars 4

leafsWe came so damn close to a bona fide winning streak. Nikolai Kulemin gave us the lead at 13:11 of the third period but we couldn't hold on. The winning streak is over, but the point streak continues.

We outplayed Dallas and deserved the win, but one thing is becoming apparent. We're not going to score many even strength goals. Unless we have a number of power plays, including a few 5-on-3s, we're going to struggle.

We've got the Sabres tomorrow. It's time to start another winning streak.


Schwarzenegger Gives Subliminal Finger to Lawmakers

swearsWhen I first read this story earlier this afternoon, I thought it was a joke. I read it in Wired which isn't Onion-like in its reporting, outside of April 1. So I checked into it and learned this is in fact true.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote a veto message regarding a bill from Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. The first letters of sequential lines in the left-hand margin spelled out the words "Fuck You".

Here's the letter.

schwarzgif

Ammiano had strongly criticized the governor in early October and reportedly told Schwarzenegger at the time to “kiss my gay ass.”

One good turn deserves another. Well played, Governator.


Headstones - Cubically Contained

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.

play Headstones - Cubically Contained
When I wrote about songs with swears that got played on the radio, I forgot about the Headstones' "Cubically Contained".

There's a powerful little line about "those paranoid little fuckers" that used to air unedited during the day. I don't know if they're censoring it now or not. I hope not.


Who Wants a Yardworks Lawn Vacuum? ($199.99 Value)

Canadian TireThe good people at Canadian Tire want to give one of you a Yardwords Lawn Vacuum. They tell me this thing retails for $199.99 in Canadian Tire stores.

Last time we did this with a grass trimmer, Rob S. was randomly selected from the comments and shipped the trimmer / edger for his Dad. This time, the winner could be you.

To win this Yardworks Lawn Vacuum, you just have to leave a comment telling me one other site you frequent on a regular basis. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a random draw. Please leave your email address in the Email Address field (it won't get published on the site) so I can secure your mailing address should you win. Canadian Tire will only ship the prize to addresses in Canada or the United States. I'll pick the winner on November 5.

Here's the marketing spiel about the lawn vacuum.

Your outdoor vaccum! Just plug it in and let its powerful suction quickly sweep your carpet of leaves.

  • 14A motor, 16” vacuuming path
  • 604 cfm air volume is 25% more powerful than standard electric blower/vacuums
  • Folds to store under a bench or on the wall
  • 6-position wheel height adjustment accommodates different terrain
  • 45L washable leaf collection bag
  • 6” metal impeller can mulch 16 bags of leaves down to 1
  • Wall bracket included so that the unit can be stored up out of the way against a garage wall

Here's a picture.

0603877NC_09_06806


My Favourite Dead Simpsons Characters

The Number FiveI used to do this every Friday, but I've only done it once this year. This isn't a Friday, but I'm doing this anyway. Who's going to stop me? You? Ha ha ha ha ha.

Here are my favourite Simpsons characters that were killed off.

  1. Bleeding Gums Murphy
  2. Beatrice "Bea" Simmons
  3. Frank Grimes
  4. Maude Flanders
  5. Poochie


2009/2010 Raptors Analysis and Prediction

raptorsThe Toronto Raptors kick off their NBA regular season tomorrow night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. I enjoy following the Raptors, and have been doing so since day one, but I don't know Raptors basketball the way Kic knows Raptors basketball.

Throughout this season, I've asked the Kicster to submit guest blog entries about the Raps. This is the first. Btw, at the time Kic wrote this, the Leafs were in fact winless.

To be a sports fan in Toronto these days seems to be a joke. The Blue Jays teased the city with a potential playoff appearance early in the MLB season but reality kicked in and they ended up finishing 4th (yet again) in the American League East. The Argos (I think some people in this city follow them) have been absolutely horrendous this season and even our rivals to the west have been better than us. The TFC were the one team where many Toronto sports fans thought they could root for and had potential to make their first playoff appearance, but low and behold they ended up choking in an embarrassing loss to the Red Bulls. Do I even have to mention the winless Toronto Maple Leafs? Nope, I've heard all of the jokes so let's move on.

Enter the 2009-2010 Toronto Raptors. In a city where many forget what it's like to watch playoff sports, the Toronto Raptors definitely have high expectations and maybe even some new fans because of the lack of winning in Toronto. A lot of new faces have been brought into the Red and Black Raps, in case you forgot they are:

- DeMar DeRozan
- Reggie Evans
- Jarrett Jack
- Amir Johnson
- Rasho Nesterovic (yup he's back)
- Hedo Turkoglu
- Sonny Weems
- Antoine Wright

The first thing many people look at is the pre-season record for the Raps, yes they went 2-6 and their rivals (see Vince and the Magic) were unbeaten, but, if we went by pre-season records the Leafs would have more than 1 point by now. People have to remember, Colangelo added 8 new players to the Raps lineup and it takes more than just 8 games to gel. Expect, Chris Bosh to have a monster season, he added 15 lbs, is in his contract year and continues to be the other guy in the class of 2010. Not only did the Raps address their bench issues, they now have a bona fide clutch play with Turkoglu, this guys is as clutch as it gets. Rebounding is still an issue that many Raps fans have and with Reggie Evans still nursing a foot injury, many feel that this is Toronto's Achilles heel. Many American as well as Canadian sports paper's have the Raptors finishing no better than 6th, but in a weak East things can change, quickly.

The Raps do however, have a tough schedule to begin the season, that and the combination of 8 new players may lead to a same old losing mentality in Toronto. However, I think CB4 is a man on a mission, Bargs is going to continue last year's late season success and a healthy Jose is going get things done.

The test for the 09-10 Raps begins this week when they face that Lebron guy with his new big man, and Dwight and Wince this week. But Toronto fans fear not, as I am predicting this will be the only Toronto team playing in late April next year. And that's one thing I am certain of.


Old Blue or You Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Around

musicBack in '92, I was listening to the debut album from House of Pain. Snicker if you will, but I dug that album, and I still spin it now and then.

One of the songs I enjoyed was "Put on Your Shit Kickers" and it included this folksy verse that stuck in my head. Here's that part of "Put on Your Shit Kickers".

Every time I go to town
People start kickin' my dog around
It makes no difference if my dog's a hound (hound)
You better stop kickin' my dog around

I've always loved that part of "Put on Your Shit Kickers", which I later came to understand was an old bluesy folk tune called "Old Blue". I heard it recently at the beginning of Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project when I heard Harry Dean Stanton singing it. That reminded me of how much I love the tune, so I hit the web to learn more about it.

Firstly, I don't think it's called "Old Blue". Google searches seem to suggest the song is called "You Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Around" or variations on that theme. Here's the Skillet Lickers singing it in 1926.

Can anyone tell me about the song I thought was called "Old Blue"?

Update: I found some info here. Some seem to call it "The Hound Dog Song" or "You Gotta Quit Kicking My Dawg Around".


Maple Leafs 6, Ducks 3

LeafsThe Leafs win a game! The Leafs win a game!

And of course, sleepy old man Mike fell asleep when it was 3-1 and missed the celebration. It's worth noting the only period of Leafs hockey I've missed this season is the third period of our only victory. Coincidence?

Tomas Kaberle had five points, Lee Stempniak had four points, Matt Stajan had three points and Niklas Hagman scored three of our five power-play goals. Meanwhile, The Monster got the start and the big win.

1-7-1 folks! Let's plan that parade...


Streets of Ontario, Chalk Circle Love and More Nick Charles on CFNY

radioI like this vintage CFNY Spirit of Radio clip because it opens with a great deal of Chalk Circle love. Chalk Circle, celebrated in this clip for winning a CASBY in 1985, was the first band I ever saw live.

This Nick Charles clip closes with a promo for Streets of Ontario, a show that aired on CFNY every Sunday afternoon between 4 and 5. Streets of Ontario previewed "some of the best of the non-recording-big-time tours and all massive things like that but right down to earth independent releases".





If you're now hankering for more Chalk Circle, I've got your "April Fool" right here.


A Flowchart to Determine What Religion You Should Follow

crossThis handy flowchart will help you determine what religion you should follow.

Religion-Flowchart_1

[via Holy Taco]


WUTV Buffalo 29 Says Happy Halloween

WUTV Buffalo 29 Says Happy HalloweenIt's almost Halloween. I've got pumpkins to carve, dammit!

Here's a special, seasonal message from WUTV Buffalo 29 circa 1984.



Sherola Wins the Marlies Tickets

ticketsSherola has won the two Marlies tickets for November 1. He/she was randomly selected from the comments left on this entry.

Here's who Sherola named as his/her favourite favourite Maple Leaf of all-time.

Captain Clutch, Mats Sundin! Mats always gave his all and was a great leader. He will always be #1 in my books :) We miss you Mats!

Sherola, I've sent you an email to get further details. I'll see you at the game.


You Still Have 5 Hours to Enter & Win Marlies Tickets

marliesIt's not yet 7pm. That means you still have over 5 hours to enter my little Win Free Marlies Tickets contest.

If you're interested in a couple of free tickets to catch the Marlies next Sunday, click on over to http://www.torontomike.com/2009/10/free_marlies_tickets_available.html and tell me your favourite Maple Leaf of all-time in the comments.

I see 36 comments thus far. One will be randomly chosen as the winner. It might as well be you.


H1N1 Flu Vaccination Clinics in Toronto: Where and When

H1N1 Vaccination Clinics in TorontoThe City of Toronto has revealed 10 locations where residents will be able to get H1N1 influenza vaccinations. They are:

Location
Address
Metro Hall - Rotunda 55 John Street
East York Civic Centre - Lower Level 850 Coxwell Avenue
North York Civic Centre - Members Lounge 5100 Yonge Street
North Toronto Memorial Community Centre 200 Eglinton Avenue West
Etobicoke Civic Centre - Committee rooms 1, 2, 3 399 The West Mall
Melody Public School - Gym (closed school) 24 Strathburn Blvd. (closed school)
Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre 220 Cowan Avenue
Scarborough Civic Centre - Rotunda 150 Borough Drive
North Kipling Community Centre 2 Rowntree Road
Timothy Eaton Business and Technical Institute - Cafeteria (closed school) 1251 Bridletowne Circle (closed school)

These locations open to the general public on November 2 for six weeks. The vaccination hours for the first two weeks are:

Week 1 Hours of operation
Monday, November 2 -
Friday, November 6
1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 7 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Week 2  
Tuesday, November 10 -
Friday, November 13
1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 14 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

If you're over six months old, you should get this H1N1 vaccine, or so says every doctor I've heard from, including the two I trust and have spoken to directly. For the latest information on H1N1 and the city of Toronto, visit http://www.toronto.ca/health/cdc/h1n1/public.htm.

Here's a handy Google Map look at where the 10 vaccination clinics in Toronto can be found.


View Toronto flu clinics in a larger map

[Map via Map of the Week]


They Lied To Us Through Song. I HATE When People Do That!

Leafs are the bestThey lied to us through song. I hate when people do that!

[via The Leafs Are The Best: Song + Video = AWESOME!]


Maple Leafs 1, Canucks 3

leafsThe worst start in franchise history has us winless after 8 games. Last night, we stormed out of the gate, outshooting Vancouver 8-1. Then, we decided to play the rest of the period on the PK.

Five penalties in a row for a team that sucks at killing penalties. We're lucky we escaped the period down by only two goals. If you're still keeping track at home, it's now 13-2 in first periods this season, for the bad guys.

Joey Mac wasn't bad, but he's clearly not the answer. The poor guy only has 17 career wins. Our answer is a guy with zero career wins. The Monster will end this streak of futility tomorrow night in Anaheim.

The Passion That Torments Us All

I need a W.


Ontario Flu Trend Shows Intense Activity

medicalIs there anything Google can't do? They claim they're able to estimate current flu activity in real-time.

Here's what they're saying about Ontario. It's intense, alright.

flu

Here's evidence that they might know what they're talking about.

flu2

I'm on a pretty good flu-free streak. I'd like to keep the streak going. And no, I'm not about to knock on wood. That superstition stuff is just plain silly.

Explore flu trends here. And here's The Difference Between Cold and H1N1 Flu Symptoms.


A Texan Reviews The Tragically Hip

HipThe Tragically Hip are playing the House of Blues tonight in Houston, Texas at 8:00pm. That prompted Nicholas L. Hall from the Houston Press to preview the show.

Here's what Hall wrote. After the blockquote, I'll respond as The Tragically Hip's biggest fan in the blogosphere. The emphasis below belongs to me.

Perhaps Canadian rockers The Tragically Hip should have thought up a different name. Despite considerable popularity and critical acclaim in America's 51st state, the rootsy group failed to find a widely accepting audience in the lower 48. Staunchly traditional and unflinchingly resolute in its aim to avoid label corruptions, the band never really played to either side of the American musical divide. Straightforward rock and roll with a slight Southern twist was just not edgy enough to find a comfortable home on college-radio dials, yet the band's refusal to pander to wider audiences by dumbing down singer-songwriter Gord Downie's philosophically inclined lyrics and poetic delivery has kept the Hip largely out of the mainstream. Its most recent release, this year's We Are the Same, comes as a bit of an aptly titled surprise. The Hip has shrugged away most of its raw rock-and-roll persona, swathing most tracks in an overpoweringly radio-friendly blandness that reeks of pandering. It's really a shame, especially considering the fact that the raw, rootsy paradigm the band has employed thus far is actually experiencing a bit of a renaissance. If the Hip would only return to its roots, it might just live up to its name.

Firstly, that whole 51st state thing isn't funny. Maybe in Texas it's cool to think of Canada that way, but it sure isn't based in reality, and it's offensive to the 30 million plus living in the independent nation of Canada.

Describing the Hip as "straightforward rock and roll with a slight Southern twist" makes me think this guy hasn't heard a Hip album since Up to Here. Actually, I'll bet he hasn't heard anything beyond "New Orleans is Sinking".

I'm sure he hasn't heard the new album, We Are the Same. His suggestion they've "shrugged away most of (their) raw rock-and-roll persona" with "overpoweringly radio-friendly blandness that reeks of pandering" is so off-base. I actually don't think We Are the Same is particularly radio-friendly at all, and it's still Hip rock and excellent. In my humble opinion, the previous album was far more radio-friendly. Songs like "In View" seemed hooked to be singles, but We Are the Same manages to be amazing without the radio-ready melodies.

And finally, this guy clearly wants more "New Orleans is Sinking". He's practically begging for it. NOIS is "their roots" that will finally allow this poor band from the 51st state to live up to it's name. Another NOIS would make them Hip, even thought the original NOIS didn't.

My Leafs rant yesterday made me feel a whole lot better, and nothing is more Canadian than following up a hockey rant with a Hip one. I have one thing to say to Nicholas L. Hall and others like him. It's better for us that you don't understand.

I think you either get it, or you don't. If you get it, you get it large and you're hooked. If you don't, you don't, and that's just the way it is.

I just get it, and there's little in this world that feels as good as being bathed in the poetic ramblings of Gord and being surrounded by those songs I know and love. Here's Your Tragically Hip Primer, if you're interested in more.

Cool Hip Poster


Joe Touched 'Em All 16 Years Ago Today

JaysIt's hard to believe it's already been 16 years since Joe Carter went deep in game 6 of the Blue Jays ~ Phillies World Series. The Jays led the series 3 games to 2, but trailed in the game 6-5. With Mitch Williams on the mound for Philadelphia and Ricky Henderson and Paul Molitor on base, Carter hit a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall at SkyDome to give the Blue Jays their second World Series in a row.

For the tenth anniversary of the biggest hit in Blue Jays history, I wrote an entry that remains a personal favourite. Here's Touch 'em all Joe!

My mother recently asked me why it takes so much for my brothers and I to get excited about something. I paused to ponder the question and realized that men in their 20s and early 30s rarely appear particularly jovial. Immediately I thought of Bart and Lisa's response to a similar question: "We're the MTV generation, we feel neither highs nor lows". When I thought about it further, I managed to localize this reaction (or lack thereof) and came up with another theory.

Just to clarify, we do get excited about things and feel positively about certain events and occurences, it's just that to an observer, we appear to shrug everything off as pure happenstance. Why are we so jaded? Blame Joe Carter.

Ten years ago Thursday, Joe Carter came to the plate in the ninth inning of game six of the World Series. My Toronto Blue Jays led the series 3 games to 2, but trailed in the game 6-5. With Mitch Williams on the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies and Ricky Henderson and Paul Molitor on base, Joe hit a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall at SkyDome to give the Blue Jays their second World Series in a row. Earlier this month, I posted Tom Cheek's call of this moment as my quote of the week.

I can't accurately describe how my brothers and I reacted to this moment. When that ball cleared the fence, the feeling was ecstatic. The joy was overwhelming and we all shed tears. Heck, just thinking about that moment is causing my eyes to swell.

Joe Carter's World Series ending home run for the team I had worshipped since the summer of '83 is the reason it takes so much to get a rise out my brothers and I. The bar was raised to such an extreme height, that feeling may never be felt again. Many of you reading this are probably thinking I should have had a similar reaction watching my wife give birth to my son. I was extremely happy when I first met James, but it's different. Although we had hoped and prayed Carter would pull through, he could have struck out on that pitch and we could have lost the series in seven. Instead, he created a moment in time of unmatchable intoxication. When my son was born, I saw it coming. There was joy and relief, but not a split second of "Yah!!!". My brothers visited James at the hospital that night, but there was no pile-on as there was that night of October 23rd, 1993 when Joe "touched them all".

Thanks Joe for providing an entire city with a moment of collective elation. Until the Leafs win a Stanley Cup with an overtime goal, I fear it may never happen again.

And here it is, one of Tom Cheek's greatest calls.

16 years ago? Really? Damn, I'm old.


My Leafs Rant: October 2009 Version

LeafsIt's never been easy being a Leafs fan. I discovered the team in the early 80s and endured some painful seasons when I was too young to expect any better. One of my best early memories of the team was a first round sweep of the Chicago Black Hawks. We were forced to make a lot out of very little.

Six and half years ago, I was using this blog to ask God "Why?".

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.

I follow my Leafs today as closely as I ever did. You could argue I follow them closer than ever, because I now follow their AHL affiliate quite closely. I don't miss a game, I blog about every significant Leaf-related event and not a day goes by that I don't read about my team and think about my team. It's never been particularly easy to be a Leafs fan, but I don't think it's ever been harder than it is right now.

My daughter is just about five and a half years old. The Leafs haven't played a playoff game in her lifetime. This is an unprecedented streak of failure for a team that hasn't won the Stanley Cup in 42 years.

When Brian Burke came on board, we were given something we haven't had in quite some time. We had hope. I'll never forget his quote following the 2008/2009 campaign. "We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence." During the off-season, Burke made several moves to increase our levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. During the pre-season, I'm sure we led the league in fights. We were told that we may not win the Stanley Cup this season, but teams weren't going to look forward to playing us.

I'd argue that teams are looking forward to playing us. It's the surest thing to a guaranteed two points there is in today's NHL. In seven games, every team we've face has earned their two points, and most of them have done it rather easily. We've been outscored 11-2 by opponents in first periods and the average score in our games has been 4.57 - 2.

We're 0-6-1, our goaltending has been brutal, our lack of offensive skill has been exposed and our abundance of tough defensemen have failed to gel. There's talk of making our greatest prospect a healthy scratch, our coach is unfireable and we've traded away our next two first round picks. Don't ya see! In any other season, we'd get behind a "Let's Finish Last" campaign in the hopes we'd score our first first over all selection since Wendel Clark. But in Leafs Nation, we don't figure out how to lose properly until it benefits a division rival.

I've been a massive fan for about 30 years, but now I'm stuck watching a terrible team with little hope. With a healthy Monster and Phil Kessel, our best hope is that we actually win a handful of games, maybe make our Saturday nights a little brighter by being somewhat competitive. After 30 years of investing blood, sweat and tears, I think I deserve better. I think we deserve better.

Brian Burke, this is your team. I don't believe pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence is enough. We're going to need some skill. We're going to need true leadership. We're going to need real hope.

Fix this mess before we jump ship and raise our kids to be Penguins fans.


Soupy Sales, Dead at 83

In MemoriumSoupy Sales was 83. He was a pioneer of slapstick television comedy who once estimated he had taken 20,000 pies in the face.


Internet for Kidz

digitalThis is priceless.

[via Everything is Terrible!]


Toronto Blog Challenge Update

googleIt's been awhile since I updated you all on my Toronto Blog Google Challenge. I want to rank #1 in Google for Toronto Blog searches. I want to be the definitive Toronto blog, according to Google.

What makes this challenge particularly tough are two multi-authored and financed blogs. As I've said before, I am but one man doing this for shits and giggles during coffee breaks, intermissions and commercials.

I am currently ranking 2nd overall when you search for toronto blog in Google. That's out of 44,900,000 indexed sites, by the way.

seo

Toronto Mike: Independently owned and operated by one guy since 1999.


I Already Search Twitter on Google (And You Can Too)

google twitterThere's big news from Google that they've reached an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in Google's search results.

We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months. That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you'll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information.

As I mentioned in April, my buddy wrote a great Firefox Greasemonkey script that puts real-time Twitter search results in Google. You can download it here.

Here's what I see when I google Toronto Blog.

google


Paul Blart: Mall Cop Review

Movie ReviewPaul Blart: Mall Cop: 2.5 out of 10.

Wow. That was bad. It wasn't so bad it's good bad. It was the bad bad. The comedy without a single laugh or compelling moment bad.

I'm giving it a 2.5 because my 7-year old seemed to really enjoy the climatic scene. I'm not surprised. It seemed ripped from the Disney Channel line-up plots he devours daily.

Don't see this movie. Its blows and sucks all at once.

paul_blart_mall_cop


CBC Newsworld Renamed CBC News Network (CBC NN)

cbcI've already admitted I'm a CBC Newsworld fan. It's actually where I get my television news. I have several sources online, but when I'm looking for a news update on television, I get it from CBC Newsworld.

CBC Newsworld now has a new name. It's now CBC News Network (CBC NN).

That's right, they've named it CBCNN. Not CNN or BNN but CBCNN. Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

I think I'll keep calling it CBC Newsworld.


Another Body Murdered - Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.

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.

play Another Body Murdered - Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
One of my favourite albums of the 1990s was the Judgment Night soundtrack. The premise was simple and awesome. Rock bands joined rap acts to create hybrid tunes. As a rock fan and a rap fan, I loved the results.

This is one of my favourite cuts from the album.


Free Marlies Tickets Available Here Right Now

marliesIf you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I've frequented a number of Toronto Marlies games the past two years. The Marlies are the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate and they play their home games at the Ricoh Coliseum, on the grounds of the CNE.

The Marlies have given me two tickets to give away to a reader of this blog. These tickets are for the game on Sunday, November 1st at 4pm.

Current Marlies include Tyler Bozak, Christian Hanson, Phil Oreskovic, Ben Ondrus, Andre Deveaux and Carl Gunnarsson. It's a great building, a great product and there isn't a bad seat in the house.

If you're interested in these two free Marlies tickets, simply leave a comment below telling me your favourite Maple Leaf of all-time and why. Put your email in the email field. I'll randomly pick a winner Monday morning, so this contest ends Sunday at midnight.


When They Swore on the Radio

swearsIs it me, or did they used to air more tunes with swear words on the radio than they do now? I'm not talking about late night live-to-airs, I'm talking about middle of the day F bombs.

From memory, here are songs with swears I heard completely uncensored on CFNY / Edge 102 back in the day. I always took a mental note when terrestrial radio aired swear words so these have been tattooed in my memory for a while now.

Green Day - Longview
They smell like shit and say you're fucking lazy

The Tragically Hip - Fireworks
They said you didn't give a fuck about hockey

Radiohead - Creep
They say you're so fuckin' special

Matthew Good - Hello Time Bomb
He's turning shit into solid gold

Nine Inch Nails - Closer
He wants to fuck you like an animal

The Violent Femmes - Add It Up
They wonder why they can't get just one fuck

Alanis Morrisette - You Oughta Know
She wonders if you're thinking of her when you fuck her

The Tragically Hip - At The Hundredth Meridian
They remember every single fucking thing they know

Maybe it's just that I listen to less radio now, but I could swear I used to hear more swears on the radio.


What Browser Do You Use and Why?

questionmarkJudging from the comments and email I've received in response to my declaration that I actually like thestar.com's redesign, it seems a bunch of you have issues loading the site in Internet Explorer.

Below are visitors to this site over the past 30 days, broken out by web browser. As you'll see, about half of you are using Internet Explorer. That's less than the global average, but I suspect there's a correlation between those who use Firefox, Safari and Chrome and those who frequent blogs.

browsers

I have three web browsers installed on the laptop I'm writing this entry on. IE, Google Chrome and Firefox. I find Chrome to be super fast, but my go-to browser remains Firefox because I rely so heavily on the add-ons. I only use IE, and I use it via a Firefox add-on, when I absolutely have to.

What web browser do you use and why?


Pixar Intro Parody

pixarIf you've got kids, you've likely seen the Pixar lamp introduction a million times.

But you've never seen the Pixar intro like this. Beware of adorable, homicidal lamps.


I Like thestar.com Redesign

newspaperThe Toronto Star recently redesigned their website. Here's a screen cap of their current Sports page.

thestar

I like it. It's clean and simple, and content is king. I like their use of white space and padding. It's definitely an improved site.

It's tough going for the newspaper industry. Their web presence is so vital and none of us want to register to see the content let alone pay for it. Monetizing online content isn't easy. Sure, if you get eyeballs you can sell ads, but imagine trying to support an entire news organization like the Toronto Star with online ads.

Then there's guys like me who never see the ads. The reason you see no ads in the screen cap above is because I surf the web with Adblock Plus added on to my Firefox web browser. I haven't seen an ad online in years.

Still, you've got to have a good web presence, and this redesign is a good one.


Maple Leafs 1, Rangers 4

leafs0-6-1. Hell, that's flattering, it's 7 games, 7 losses.

We've been outscored 11-2 by opponents in first periods this season. Overall, we're averaging 2 goals a game while opponents are scoring an average of 4.57 goals against us.

It's so bad, I'm running out of adequate adjectives. We didn't look half bad coming out of the gate last night, and we still lost 4-1 on home ice.

We can't even make lemonade from these lemons by starting a fun "let's finish last" campaign, because we don't own our own first round pick. And we don't play again until next Saturday, so we've got a whole week to endure pot shot from Leaf haters who love to kick us when we're down.

The Monster remains our only hope.

monster


102.1 The Edge's Top 200 of All Time Ignores Decades Prior to 1990s

radioI finally mustered up the courage to check out CFNY / 102.1 The Edge's "Top 200 Songs of All Time". This is the list they played last weekend.

I immediately noticed the complete absence of new rock pioneer bands like The Clash, The Ramones, The Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure and New Order. Until very recently, these bands were still receiving plenty of airplay on CFNY, and only ten years ago The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" ranked #2 on their "Top 1002 Songs of All Time" list.

In a mere ten years, that which CFNY deems to be "the top songs of all time" has changed quite a bit, and not for the better. In addition to The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?", other songs that cracked their top 10 on New Year's Eve in 1999 but failed to crack their top 200 this past Thanksgiving weekend are "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2, "New Orleans is Sinking" by The Tragically Hip, "She Sells Sanctuary" by The Cult, and "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. 50% of what was Top 10 a mere decade ago is no longer deemed list-worthy.

It seems that "all time" now actually means "the past twenty years". There are only four songs on this list released before the 1990s: "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in 1983, "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" in 1986, "With or Without You" in 1987 and "Blow At High Dough" in 1989.

Here's CFNY / 102.1 The Edge's "Top 200 Songs of All Time", as aired last weekend. And before you leave a comment telling me this list was chosen by Edge listeners, read about how the station chose the songs and simply had voters choose the order.

Top200Alltime_header_545x140_v2

1 - Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
2 - Oasis - Wonderwall
3 - Tragically Hip - Ahead By A Century
4 - Smashing Pumpkins - 1979
5 - Nine Inch Nails - Closer
6 - Offspring - Self Esteem
7 - Sublime - What I Got
8 - Our Lady Peace - Superman's Dead
9 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
10 - Green Day - When I Come Around
11 - Nirvana - Come As You Are
12 - Radiohead - Creep
13 - Billy Talent - Try Honesty
14 - Beck - Loser
15 - Killers - Somebody Told Me
16 - Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings
17 - Sublime - Santeria
18 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away
19 - Tragically Hip - Locked In The Trunk Of A Car
20 - Stone Temple Pilots - Plush
21 - Nirvana - All Apologies
22 - Three Days Grace - I Hate Everything About You
23 - Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name
24 - Green Day - Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)
25 - Our Lady Peace - Starseed
26 - Nirvana - Lithium
27 - White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
28 - Billy Talent - Fallen Leaves
29 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California
30 - Nirvana - In Bloom
31 - Pearl Jam - Jeremy
32 - Foo Fighters - My Hero
33 - Tragically Hip - Poets
34 - Sum 41 - Fat Lip
35 - Linkin Park - Given Up
36 - Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box
37 - Three Days Grace - Animal I Have Become
38 - Weezer - Say It Ain't So
39 - Our Lady Peace - One Man Army
40 - Green Day - Brain Stew
41 - Foo Fighters - Everlong
42 - Pearl Jam - Even Flow
43 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tell Me Baby
44 - Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
45 - Blur - Song 2
46 - Tragically Hip - At The Hundredth Meridian
47 - Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
48 - Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun
49 - Weezer - Beverly Hills
50 - Three Days Grace - Never Too Late
51 - Green Day - Basketcase
52 - Foo Fighters - Best Of You
53 - Beastie Boys - Fight For Your Right
54 - Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
55 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Scar Tissue
56 - Our Lady Peace - Naveed
57 - Smashing Pumpkins - Today
58 - Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song
59 - Verve - Bittersweet Symphony
60 - Finger Eleven - One Thing
61 - Foo Fighters - The Pretender
62 - Queens Of The Stone Age - No One Knows
63 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Soul To Squeeze
64 - Tragically Hip - Courage
65 - Green Day - Longview
66 - White Stripes - Icky Thump
67 - Offspring - Hammerhead
68 - Pearl Jam - Alive
69 - Blind Melon - No Rain
70 - Our Lady Peace - Clumsy
71 - Alice In Chains - Man In The Box
72 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Around The World
73 - Green Day - American Idiot
74 - Modest Mouse - Float On
75 - Killers - Mr. Brightside
76 - Sum 41 - Still Waiting
77 - Rise Against - The Good Left Undone
78 - Tragically Hip - Looking For A Place To Happen
79 - Offspring - Come Out And Play
80 - Coldplay - Violet Hill
81 - Rise Against - Ready To Fall
82 - Linkin Park - In The End
83 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Can't Stop
84 - Green Day - Holiday
85 - Billy Talent - The River Below
86 - Weezer - Buddy Holly
87 - Killers - All These Things That I've Done
88 - Bush - Glycerine
89 - Finger Eleven - Paralyzer
90 - Tragically Hip - Fifty-Mission Cap
91 - Pearl Jam - Better Man
92 - Three Days Grace - Just Like You
93 - Oasis - Champagne Supernova
94 - Foo Fighters - Learn To Fly
95 - Rise Against - Prayer Of The Refugee
96 - Tool - The Pot
97 - Nine Inch Nails - The Hand That Feeds
98 - Weezer - Undone (The Sweater Song)
99 - Green Day - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
100 - Coldplay - Speed Of Sound
101 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
102 - Tragically Hip - Blow At High Dough
103 - Pearl Jam - Black
104 - Blink-182 - All The Small Things
105 - Billy Talent - Devil In A Midnight Mass
106 - Pearl Jam - Daughter
107 - Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
108 - Finger Eleven - Good Times
109 - Bush - Comedown
110 - Radiohead - Karma Police
111 - Tragically Hip - Grace, Too
112 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way
113 - Nirvana - The Man Who Sold The World
114 - Beastie Boys - Sabotage
115 - Sum 41 - In Too Deep
116 - Everlast - What It's Like
117 - Coldplay - Clocks
118 - Three Days Grace - Pain
119 - Bush - Machinehead
120 - Matthew Good Band - Load Me Up
121 - House Of Pain - Jump Around
122 - Tragically Hip - Nautical Disaster
123 - Linkin Park - Numb
124 - K-OS - Crabbuckit
125 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside
126 - Big Wreck - The Oaf
127 - Social Distortion - Far Behind
128 - Sam Roberts - Brother Down
129 - Nirvana - Rape Me
130 - Sloan - Money City Maniacs
131 - Soundgarden - Fell On Black Days
132 - Tea Party - Temptation
133 - Nirvana - About A Girl
134 - Alexisonfire - This Could Be Anywhere In The World
135 - Alice In Chains - Would?
136 - Sum 41 - Hell Song
137 - Stone Temple Pilots - Big Empty
138 - Arcade Fire - Rebellion
139 - Incubus - Pardon Me
140 - Nickelback - How Your Remind Me
141 - U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday
142 - Finger Eleven - First Time
143 - Sublime - Smoke Two Joints
144 - Arcade Fire - Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
145 - Incubus - Drive
146 - Big Wreck - That Song
147 - Metallica - Enter Sandman
148 - Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon
149 - Stone Temple Pilots - Vasoline
150 - I Mother Earth - One More Astronaut
151 - Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight Tonight
152 - Sam Roberts - Where Have All The Good People Gone
153 - Weezer - Perfect Situation
154 - Matthew Good Band - Hello Time Bomb
155 - Audioslave - Like A Stone
156 - Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running
157 - U2 - Beautiful Day
158 - Coldplay - Yellow
159 - Bedouin Soundclash - When The Night Feels My Song
160 - Beastie Boys - So What'cha Want
161 - Sam Roberts - Don't Walk Away Eileen
162 - Metallica - The Unforgiven
163 - Tragically Hip - 700 Ft. Ceiling
164 - Jane's Addiction - Jane Says
165 - Matthew Good Band - Everything Is Automatic
166 - Green Day - Welcome To Paradise
167 - Sloan - The Good In Everyone
168 - Stone Temple Pilots - Creep
169 - I Mother Earth - Used To Be Alright
170 - Bif Naked - I Love Myself Today
171 - Filter - Hey Man Nice Shot
172 - Big Wreck - Blown Wide Open
173 - Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade
174 - Billy Talent - The Ex
175 - City And Colour - Save Your Scissors
176 - Offspring - Gone Away
177 - Nirvana - Polly
178 - Econoline Crush - All That You Are
179 - Soundgarden - Spoonman
180 - U2 - With Or Without You
181 - Headstones - Cubically Contained
182 - Sloan - Coax Me
183 - Alice In Chains - Rooster
184 - R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
185 - Billy Talent - Red Flag
186 - Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing
187 - Gob - I Hear You Calling
188 - Faith No More - Epic
189 - Doughboys - Shine
190 - Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter
191 - Sam Roberts - Them Kids
192 - Sloan - Underwhelmed
193 - Killers - When You Were Young
194 - Headstones - Smile and Wave
195 - Tea Party - Heaven Coming Down
196 - Foo Fighters - Times LIke These
197 - Billy Talent - Surrender
198 - I Mother Earth - Another Sunday
199 - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Snow (Hey Oh)
200 - Rage Against The Machine - Guerrilla Radio

If it seems like I'm beating a dead horse, it's because I am. Hey, it's my blog, and if I want to beat dead horses, I will.

Here's some more dead horse beatings worth reading again:


Frankenberry Cereal

Frankenberry CerealYouTube 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.

When I was a kid, a few cereals we were never allowed to have were Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry. The ads and names of these cereals made them sound more like dessert than breakfast, and that's precisely why they never got into our home.

Although Count Chocula is still around, it's tough to find Franken Berry and Boo Berry in these parts. It's strange, but I find myself nostalgic for a cereal I've never tried.

Here's an ad for Franken Berry cereal that aired in 1985, just in time for Halloween.



The Difference Between Cold and H1N1 Flu Symptoms

medicalRemember when we were all calling H1N1 the swine flu? We've come a long way since then. Nobody's calling it swine flu anymore and pigs throughout the world are grateful.

We're being bombarded with H1N1 awareness campaigns, and we're all being told to stay home if we have H1N1 flu symptoms, but if what I'm overhearing in the hallways at work is any indication, everyone with a stuffed nose, cough or headache thinks they've got H1N1. It's time to take a closer look at the symptoms of H1N1 vs. the symptoms of the common cold.

I decided it might be wise to share the differences between cold and H1N1 flu symptoms after getting an email from Mike from Lowville. Here it is.

Symptom Cold H1N1 Flu
Fever Fever is rare with a cold. Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.
Coughing A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).
Aches Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.
Stuffy Nose Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.
Chills Chills are uncommon with a cold. 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.
Tiredness Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
Sneezing Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden Symptoms Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.
Headache A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore Throat Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.
Chest Discomfort Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.

And here's your swine flu playlist, or as I call it, music to pandemic by.


Now I Get Google Wave...

googleI've had a few days with Google Wave and it's not the most intuitive tool. It's actually pretty complex.

To be honest, I'm still trying to wrap my feeble brain around the possiblities. The key to Google Wave's success is going to be widespread adoption, as its true power is best felt via mass collaboration.

As I struggle to break it in without many friends or colleagues using it, I'm grateful for this video that does an exceptional job of demonstrating Google Waves true potential.

If you liked this video, you may also like:


Visor / Cage Combo Implemented, No More Full Cage

PuckI play hockey every Friday night. This is my second season of adult rec hockey and I absolutely love it. For 75 minutes every Friday, I'm playing in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Until last week, I played with a full cage. I always felt it blocked my peripheral vision and held me back. I decided to open the wallet and buy a new visor cage combo from iTech.

I only have one game under my belt with the new visor, but it was a completely different game. I could actually see everything. It was as if somebody turned a light on and gave me full vision without sacrificing safety.

I blew the budget, but if I'm going to be playing in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals every Friday night, I'd better bring my A game.

visor


Balloon Boy "Did This For A Show", Angered Kanye

baloonsI was busy yesterday afternoon and missed the entire Balloon Boy episode. You've heard it all by now. Six-year-old Falcon Heene from Fort Collins, Colorado was thought to be travelling in a home-made helium balloon resembling a UFO. There was a lot of media attention, a big search and little Falcon was eventually found hiding in a cardboard box in his parent's attic over the garage.

The parents have been revealed as possible media whores. They've been on a reality show, they chase storms and the dad submits content to CNN in which he claims there's life on mars. This has led many to suggest this whole episode was a hoax and a ploy to give Falcon's parents more TV time. The hoax believers, and I'm one of them, will often refer to when Falcon and his family were being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on Larry King Live. He asked Falcon "Why did you not come out of the garage?" After his parents repeated the question, Falcon responded by saying "You guys said that, um [pause] we did this for the show".

I'm just sorry I missed this all in real-time when the memes were littering Twitter and the blogosphere. Hoax or not, the balloon boy gave us this:

balloon-boy

And for that I'll forever be grateful.


Nobody Listens to CP24 Simulcast on 1050 CHUM

radioIn March, CTVglobemedia pulled the plug on 1050 CHUM and introduced CP24 Radio 1050, a simulcast of CP24 television. It sounded like an awful idea then, and now that we have Portable People Meter (PPM) technology, we know nobody's listening.

Over on the SOWNY forum, there's a glance at Toronto morning radio numbers, as they appeared in a Toronto Sun article. The CBC is noticeably absent, for some reason, but we have the numbers for 1050.

CHUM-FM..........17.5
Q107...............12.2
CHFI................11.7
680 NEWS.........9.1
The Edge.........6.7
Virgin..............6.0
EZ Rock...........5.6
AM 640...........4.3
FAN 590..........3.4
CFRB.............3.2
Z 103.............2.4
FLOW.............1.6
KISS 92..........1.2
Classical 96.....0.9
Country 95......0.6
JAZZ 91..........0.5
AM 740...........0.4
CP24 1050.......0.0

That's not a typo. CP24 Radio 1050 scored a 0.0. There is nobody listening to that station. Nobody.

Has anyone out there tuned in 1050 for any period of time in the past two weeks?


Free SaaS I Use Daily

SAASIt's a busy Thursday, but I've got a couple of minutes so I'm going to tell you about a few web-based services I use on a daily basis. All of these can be used for free.

I'm going to skip services like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Linked In and stick with more SaaS-type services.

Google Analytics
I manage several websites, and track metrics for each of them. Google opened up GA to the public in the summer of 2006 and now I'm wondering how I ever survived without it. I used to pay actual money for sites that did a worse job than GA and GA is complete free.

If you manage web sites, or even a single site, you've got to implement GA.

Flickr
Flickr is the only site I pay for that is strictly for personal use. I host all my photos on Flickr, and even a bunch of videos. Flickr is free but you're limited, so power users will want to get the pro version. It's worth it.

bit.ly
On Twitter, I use shortened URLs, due to the 140 character tweet limit. bit.ly enables me to track click-thrus via Twitter. I can see which tweets get the most traction and which go viral. Conversely, you learn pretty quickly which tweets nobody gives a shit about.

meebo
Instant messaging is the new email. Haven't you heard? I use meebo.com to do all my instant messaging in the browser. You simultaneously login to Yahoo!, Gchat, MSN, Facebook and more.


Captian Lou Albano - Captain Lou's History of Music

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.

play Captian Lou Albano - Captain Lou's History of Music
Picking this week's MP3 was easy. A slam dunk, really.

Earlier today, we lost Captain Lou Albano. In 1985, I worshipped The Wrestling Album. I had it on cassette and played it all the time. I loved the tunes and the banter by Vince McMahon, Mean Gene Okerlund and Jesse "The Body" Ventura between songs. One of the best songs was "Captain Lou's History of Music" by Captain Lou Albano and George "The Animal" Steele. It was also produced by Cyndi Lauper under the pseudonym "Mona Flambé".

It's hard to believe this is what I was listening to 25 years ago...


Captain Lou Albano, Dead at 76

In MemoriumCaptain Lou Albano was 76. He was a professional wrestler, actor and all-around legend.

If you don't know Captain Lou Albano as a manager in the WWF, and I personally loved his persona, you probably know him from his many cameos in Cyndi Lauper videos. Here he is in her "Goonies R Good Enough" video.


Al Martino, Dead at 82

In MemoriumAl Martino was 82. He played the Frank Sinatra-type role of Johnny Fontane in "The Godfather" and recorded hits including "Spanish Eyes" and the Italian ballad "Volare" in a 50-year musical career.


Leafs 1, Avalanche 4

Leafs BlogI'm not sure what to say. The Maple Leafs (0-5-1) have yet to score first this season, rank last in the NHL on the penalty kill with 10 power-play goals surrendered, and have held the lead for exactly six minutes 41 seconds through the first six games - all losses.

I think I'll let my tweet from last night do the rest of the talking .

tweet


Hazel McCallion's Third Arm Revealed in Shocking Photo

HazelMississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has a third arm. That must be the case or this picture of her and her son Peter was Photoshopped, and the Toronto Star wouldn't do such a thing.

Hazel's extra arm

If you click over to that same article now, you'll see the Toronto Star has cropped the photo of Hazel and Peter so as to remove McCallion's third arm.

The plot thickens... Thanks to PhotoshopDisasters for the tip.


Mr. Sub's Gay Dad Ad: The Exclusive Untold True Story

microphoneEarlier this month, there was a shitstorm swirling around Mr. Sub's Gay Dad Dinner ad. I got an email from the ad agency, BOS Toronto, asking me to remove the YouTube video of the ad I embedded in my original entry about the ad.

Shortly after I wrote about this, I heard from the mother of one of the children at the table in the ad. We've been corresponding, and she's had some interesting inside information she wasn't willing to let me share. Until now.

Before we delve into the details, here's the ad in question.

I still hate that ad... but I digress. The quoted content below belongs to my source, who I will not name, as per her request. She has fully agreed to let me share this. She feels she has nowhere else to turn.

Here is the deal with this ad (and I know your feelings on the ad itself). The CAW obviously took exception to it. If you have been following the progresson of this thing you know it's all over the gay bloggers sites now and most of them are all saying it's pretty tame and aren't taking alot of exception to it.

Mr. Sub is denying culpability. BOS has been fired, and basically none of the actors involved in this ad have or will be paid for any usage (no residuals, no internet usage etc). BOS is denying it leaked it to the web even though it was on their website and was included in all of the press releases when the series of ads went live. They feel because they have put forth "an effort" to have any traces of it removed from the web that these kids (and adults) don't deserve any payment.

I have been on the phone with ACTRA for the last two weeks advocating on behalf of my son (and the other actors as a result) for some kind of compensation for usage. Based on a conversation I had earlier today I have been told it will be nearly impossible to see any payments coming through for the reasons outlined above.

Here is the full story now. There is another version of this ad. The ad is equally lame but instead of announcing he is gay, he announces he is selling the kids off as scientific experiments. They (both BOS and Mr. Sub) knew full well the Gay ad would raise eyebrows and filmed the other as a backup. (BTW...the actors were only paid for filming of one spot, not two, so they have been screwed twice now). I believe they had every intention of airing the gay ad. It was leaked to the web at the same time as the other ads to "test the waters" so to speak before going live on the tele. I believe they had every intention of it going viral, which it did with great success. Due to the controversy and the complaints from the CAW everyone wants to step very far away form it and try to bury the whole thing. In the process these kids are getting screwed. Note that the residuals for internet usage are miniscule compared to television residuals so we are in reality only talking a couple hundred dollars per actor. I am angry at all of the shenanigans and the principle behind it all.

They very easily could have aired the second version filmed and avoided all of it. They wanted the controversy, they wanted the exposure (there is no such thing as bad exposure right?), and now that it has seemingly backfired on them from many different levels, they all want to deny culpability. BOS has been made a scapegoat, but is still responsible for not paying the actors, Mr. Sub looks like they have no backbone, and are getting called wimps by even gay bloggers, and the whole thing is a giant cluster$#$%.

Your blog has a lot of readers and I'd love to get the word out on this one. If it had never been released we would have cut our son's losses and said... sometimes that happens (been there done that), but it is out there and these kids deserve what is due to them. My own son does this for two reasons, he loves it, and it is putting away money for University for himself. I know in the end we are only talking a couple hundred dollars but Mr. Sub has basically gotten worldwide exposure at the actor's expense.

Given the seemingly lack of power of ACTRA to be able to resolve this whole situation I'm actually thinking of writing to the CAW chapter that spearheaded this whole thing, union to union...LOL (even though they hate the fact that it was made to begin with).

I would like it mentioned that we vetted this ad past members of the gay community before agreeing to film it. (I'm betting I'm not going to have too many friends over at ACTRA when this is all said and done...rocking the boat and all).

Unpaid actors, denial of accountability by a now fired advertising agency, a claim of complete (and impossible) ignorance by Mr. Sub, the filming of a second non-gay ad, and an actor's union deeming the gay dad version homophobic.

A true clusterfuck.


My Invitation to Google Wave

googleGoogle sent me my invitation to preview Google Wave. Wave is Google's shot at what email would look like today if it hadn't been invented yet.

Here's Stephanie and Greg explaining the features of Google Wave.

Google Wave looks cool and all, but it's a bit boring if you have no contacts. I need some Google Wave contacts.

If you're using Google Wave, let me know.


Maple Leafs 2, Rangers 7

leafsAdmit it, you're surprised we're this bad. I know I am. I've learnt to lower the bar for this team, but I didn't see this new bottom coming.

This is our 5th loss to start the season. The loss kicks off the worst start for the Leafs, since 1917's 0-3-1 record as the Toronto Arena's. That's right folks, I'm talking about the 1917 Toronto Arena's. That's some newfound futility, y'all.

The toughest part of all this is the fact we can't find a shred of satisfaction in the high draft pick this awfulness will gain us. That belongs to the Bruins, which makes this extra painful.


Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project Review

Movie ReviewMr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project: 7.5 out of 10.

Full disclosure: I've always loved Rickles. He's the best of the insult comics, and I love insult comics. Rickles is damn funny, and I love funny.

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project is a great little documentary by John Landis. You know you're going to have a good time when the doc opens with a Harry Dean Stanton singing "Old Blue". We then hear from Clint Eastwood, Robert DeNiro, Richard Lewis, Sarah Silverman, Bob Newhart, Christopher Guest, Sidney Poitier, Martin Scorsese, Bob Saget and countless others, but the real star is Mr. Warmth, Don Rickles.

There's lots of Rickles at The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and on The Tonight Show and on stage in Vegas. He's insulting, cruel and obnoxious. As Chris Rock puts it, "Being funny is like being a pretty girl - you get away with a lot of shit."

key_art_mr_warmth_the_don_rickles_project


Nordiques and Jets: Bring Them Back

NHLOn this Thanksgiving Monday, I'm thankful that I've never had to see I team I love move away. My Leafs are still here, my Jays are still here, my Raptors are still here... I've never had to experience what fans of the Vancouver Grizzlies, Montreal Expos, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets have. I've never had to have my heart ripped from my body. I can't imagine what that would feel like.

In the mid-90s, the NHL's Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets left their cities for Colorado and Phoenix. Now there's chatter that the NHL will consider returning teams to Quebec and Winnipeg, with a second team for southern Ontario also under consideration.

"We do have an interest in returning teams to Canadian cities that have hosted and supported NHL teams historically," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Toronto Star in an email.

"Both Winnipeg and Quebec City have done that, so we'll see how things transpire. That doesn't mean southern Ontario won't or can't be considered. It will be."

On behalf of all Nordiques and Jets fans across this country, I sincerely hope the NHL does whatever it can to bring them back.

bring-them-back


Happy Thanksgiving

horror


The Bills Belong to Toronto (Gulp!)

BillsThe Buffalo/Toronto Bills faced a winless team this afternoon, managed to hold the opposing QB to a mere two completions for 23 yards and zero TDs, yet still managed to lose. That's unbelievably brutal.

A full week before this epic FAIL, the Bills were busy losing to another winless team. That's when I wrote the following tweet.

twitter

That prompted several Buffalonians to pounce on me for claiming ownership of the Bills. As I see it, any team that regularly plays regular season games in a second city is a shared team. The Bills still belong to Buffalo, but they're also ours. At least that's my humble opinion.

Our new Google Street View will help me show my friends in Buffalo how the Bills are marketed to us here in Toronto. Sandwiched between two Blue Jays on the outer wall of the Rogers Centre is Bills QB Trent Edwards.

Buffalo, we're now sharing this brutal franchise. With the dismal Bills in tow, joining the lifeless Blue Jays, Argos and Leafs, and playoff-less Toronto FC and Raptors, I do believe you won't find a city of equal or greater futility.


Songs of Thanks: Your Thanksgiving Playlist

thanksgivingHere in Canada, we're smack in the middle of our Thanksgiving long weekend. My family carved the turkey yesterday, but most are doing that today and some are doing that tomorrow. If you need a Thanksgiving playlist, here are songs from my collection with "thank" in the title.

  • Give Thanks and Praises - Bad Brains
  • Give Thanks and Praises - Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • I Thank You - Sam & Dave
  • I Thank You - The Commitments
  • I Wanna Thank You - Sloan
  • I Wanna Thank You Baby - Delbert McClinton
  • Thank God I'm A Country Boy - John Denver
  • Thank God It's Christmas - Queen
  • Thank God It's Monday - NOFX
  • Thank Jah - Bad Brains
  • Thank The Lord For The Night Time - Neil Diamond
  • Thank U - Alanis Morissette
  • Thank You - Led Zeppelin
  • Thank You - Boyz II Men
  • Thank You - Dido
  • Thank You - Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
  • Thank You - Jay-Z
  • Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again) - Sly & The Family Stone
  • Thank You Baby! (For Makin' Someday Come So Soon) - Shania Twain
  • Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa - Sly & the Family Stone
  • Thank You for the Music - ABBA
  • Thank You Girl - The Beatles
  • Thank You Jack White (For The Fiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me) - The Flaming Lips
  • Thank You Mr. Poobah - The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Thank You Too! - My Morning Jacket
  • Thank You World - The Statler Brothers
  • Thanks Bro - Filter
  • Thanks for the Pepperoni - George Harrison
  • Thanks That Was Fun - Barenaked Ladies
  • The Thanksgiving Song - Adam Sandler

If I missed a song of thanks, leave the song in the comments.


Metric - Sick Muse

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS22 consideration. I'm submitting "Sick Muse" by Metric.

"Sick Muse" would be Metric's 7th song to make it onto an edition of SLS. I like this tune, and because Metric gets it, I'm able to embed a high quality version of the official video without fear it will be removed from YouTube. As a result, more people will see this ad for Metric's excellent Fantasies album and their live gigs. I saw them this summer and they're great, check them out.


Boyzone Singer Stephen Gately, Dead at 33

In MemoriumStephen Gately was 33. He was a singer with the Irish boy band Boyzone.

I must admit, I can't name a single Boyzone song. I'm told they're a great deal more popular across the ocean than they are here in Canada. If you'd like a taste of what we're missing, here's their single "So Good".

Clearly they're the Irish Backstreet Boys.


Maple Leafs 2, Penguins 5

leafsI've been recapping Leaf games on this site for six years. Here's the first one from October 11, 2003. You'll see that prior to this year I kept track of our current record, past three games and team scoring leaders in each recap. This season, I think I can do without the constant reminder of our placement in the Eastern Conference.

It's looking bad. Much like the game against Washington last week, we were out-classed and looked lost. I haven't seen a team look that disorganized since I suited up for the CN Towers in the Swansea Hockey Association back in the mid-80s. I watch, hoping for sparks of hope and signs of what I witnessed in the pre-season to resurface, but it's not happening. This is a bad hockey club and this is going to be a long season.

Don Cherry spoke of Joey MacDonald as a guy who will turn this team around. I'm not sure what Don is smoking, but I'll try some. I'll try anything. Joey Mac can have a start and I'll just sit back and hope the team in front of him plays like an NHL team. That would be a good start.

Leafs Motivation


Miley Cyrus Deletes Twitter Account, Raps About it on YouTube

twitterI've been out of the house most of the day, so I completely missed the big news. Miley Cyrus, hero to young females everywhere thanks to her Hannah Montana persona, has deleted her Twitter account. She had over two million followers, but decided she didn't need the PR tool.

Of course, when one goes private and decides to delete a powerful social networking account, it's only natural that they rap about it on YouTube. That's exactly what Miley did. Here's her "Goodbye Twitter" homemade rap video.

If I were trying to make a living as a public figure, promoting movies, albums, tours and merchandise, I wouldn't go deleting my Twitter account with over two million followers. Last time I checked, it was the Twitter account owner who controlled what they tweeted. It's a tremendous PR channel.

And if I did have an epiphany and wanted to live life privately, which would require a career change for poor ol' popular Miley, I probably wouldn't record an awful rap song about it and put it on YouTube. That's likely to draw a little attention methinks.

Kids these days...


It's Official, I'm Losing It

appleAll week I've been telling my daughter today is Apple Day. On Apple Day, members of Scouts Canada sell apples to raise funds that pay for activities throughout the year. When I was young, I participated in Apple Day, and the past two years I've helped my son. This year, I'm helping my daughter.

She decorated her basket on Monday night and I signed her up for the 11am shift. From 11 to noon, she'd be stationed at our local Loblaws seeking donations for Scouts Canada in exchange for an apple. This morning, she got on her gear, grabbed her basket and we walked to our post. On the way, we practised her pitch. "Would you like to make a donation to Scouts Canada?" I encouraged her to make eye contact knowing how hard it would be to turn down a five year old girl. She was pretty psyched.

There were no Beavers to relieve at Loblaws. There were no apples awaiting us in the lobby. I searched my email for the term "apple day" and discovered our shift is for Saturday, October 17. We were exactly one week early.

It's official, I'm losing it.

apples


TFC Gets Grass

tfcToronto FC is getting natural grass. Toronto's BMO field, home to TFC, will replace its artificial turf with a grass playing surface by the time the club begins its 2010 season.

Toronto council approved the switch last week, but the project needed the approval of both the federal and Ontario governments, which have paid for part of the construction of the $74-million stadium in 2007.

Mayor David Miller announced Friday that both governments have now given the project the green light.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns Toronto FC and manages the city-owned field, is investing $3.5 million to replace the turf.

I like this because:

  1. Sports should be played on natural grass whenever possible
  2. We're not paying for this, MLSE is, and that's the way it should be


The Least for the Most

leafsTickets to a Leafs game are the most expensive in the NHL. It's not even close.

According to Chicago-based Team Marketing Report's annual survey released this week, Maple Leafs games at the Air Canada Centre carry an average ticket of $117.49 this season (all figures U.S.), more than double the league's standard of $51.41.

With only 11 of the NHL's 30 teams raising ticket prices this season, according to TMR, the Leafs' 10 per cent increase over last year's number is the league's highest, with the New York Rangers and their 7.1 per cent increase to a $58.57 average ticket cost next in line as far as increase (Montreal, at an average $72.18, is the second-priciest seat in the league).

$117.49 on average for one ticket. Take your kid and it's $250 before you've parked and bought a hot dog. That's serious cabbage for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in five years.

That's also why I haven't paid for a Leafs ticket in about seven years. Do you pay for Leafs tickets?


Best Toronto Google Street View Thus Far: Burning Van

googleA couple of days ago, Google's Street View for the GTA went live. Horonymous left a comment on that entry with a link to the burning van.

This is definitely the best Toronto street view I've seen. If you can link to a better one, drop it in the comments.


The Dog-Eat-Dog World of the Toronto Twittersphere

twitterIt's a jungle out there. You need thick skin to tweet in the ever-vicious Twittersphere, especially when representing the T.Dot.

Yesterday evening, as I checked the news in my RSS feeds, I learnt Ho-Lee-Chow had gone out of business. I deemed the subject matter blog-worthy, so I blogged about it. Every blog entry automatically becomes a tweet, so I also tweeted about it.

That's when she struck. @TorontoViewer shot me down with this deadly tweet.

twitter

That's right, folks. CP24 beat me to Ho Lee Chow punch by a whole two hours. By the time my silly little tweet hit hit the Twittersphere, it was 120 minute old news.

Umm... thanks, @TorontoViewer, for the shame spiral.


Archie Andrews Dumps Veronica Lodge for Betty Cooper?!!!

weddingI warned you not to fall for the Veronica trap. The mad geniuses behind Archie Comics have decided to go completely crazy.

Despite the tide of public opinion, Archie proposed to Veronica in ARCHIE #600 and she accepted! Fans hoped that something would ruin the wedding plans and Archie would end up with Betty. In ARCHIE #601, not only did Archie and Veronica get married, but Archie joined Lodge Enterprises! Despite all of that, fans everywhere still agreed - Archie made the wrong choice. They didn't care that Archie and Veronica are happily married, that he has a good job and that they have twins. It didn't matter what Archie wants, the fans want Archie to choose Betty!

Now Archie Comics will listen to the cry of fans around the world and in ARCHIE #603, Archie Andrews will propose to Betty Cooper!

Wait a minute... Archie has twins with Veronica? And now he's changing his mind?

I'll bet Archie wakes up from this crazy dream in ARCHIE #602.

archie


My Rogers Phone Doesn't Work in an Elevator

phoneFor the past couple of years I've seen that Rogers ad where the guy is able to continue a conversation on his cell while riding the elevator. The one schlub's call gets dropped while the cool guy keeps talking... You know the ad.

I have a Blackberry with service from Rogers and my calls don't survive elevator rides. Those Rogers ads are big fat lies.


Ho-Lee-Chow! Toronto Chinese Food Franchise Closes

foodHo-Lee-Chow has locked their doors, taken their website offline and left this message on their answering machine.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, one of which is the poor economic climate, another of which is a refusal to compromise on the quality and service you have come to appreciate, Ho-Lee-Chow has closed down operation.

If you've craved cheap Chinese food with no MSG the past two decades, you likely know Ho-Lee-Chow. I must confess, I never once ate food from Ho-Lee-Chow, and now it seems I never will.

holeechow

What did I miss?


Doug and the Slugs - Making it Work

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.

Doug and the Slugs - Making it Work
Listening to Canadian Top 40 radio in the early 80s means hearing a lot of Doug and the Slugs.

Doug and the Slugs were a Vancouver based group, which meant they were CanCon. They had a string of hits, including "Too Bad", "Day By Day" and this catchy little number, "Making it Work".


Google Street View Now Available in Toronto

googleTorontonians can now check out their streets, homes and neighbourhoods on Google Street View. Yes folks, all that footage we saw being taken by the Google cars has gone live.

I've been to Google Maps this morning just to check this out. It's pretty slick. Below is the northeast corner of Windermere and Bloor.


Maple Leafs 1, Senators 2

Maple LeafsThis was a tough game to watch. We were pretty brutal, and the fact we almost forced overtime just tells you how awful the Senators are as well.

The Monster made his first start, and he was pretty good. It's tough to fault a guy for allowing a goal on a penalty shot. If the team in front of him doesn't start to gel and figure this out, we'll be in for another long, brutal season.

You'd think we'd be used to this by now.


Death Cab For Cutie - Meet Me On The Equinox

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS22 consideration. I'm submitting "Meet Me On The Equinox" by Death Cab For Cutie.

DCFC wrote this song for New Moon, the second fim in the Twilight series. I won't hold that against them.

Sure that means DCFC is about to get discovered by every girl between the ages of 12 and 14, girls between the ages of 12 and 14 love the Twilight series and everything the Twilight series touches, but this is a good tune, and even girls between the ages of 12 and 14 are allowed to dig a good tune now and then.


The Blog is Dead: Humble Howard Chooses Twitter

twitterA little over three years ago, I gave Toronto morning radio host Humble Howard his own blog. 1263 entries later, we've decided to kill it. The Humble Howard blog is dead.

I spent a whole 4 minutes designing the new HumbleHoward.com. Click on over and check out the new digs. The new site has a single call to action, and that is...

Follow @HumHow on Twitter. He love tweeting, and he really is quite funny on that thing. I think 140 characters is his sweet spot.

And since I mentioned Twitter, follow @torontomike, will ya?


Sid the Kid First Cited 6 Years Ago Today

rewindThe first instance of the name "Sidney Crosby" to appear on this site showed up six years ago today.

Sidney Crosby. Are you familiar with that name? You will be.

Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic is the CHL Player of the Week. Crosby scored five goals and added four assists for nine points in four games last week. This 16-year-old native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia is being touted as "The Next One". Wayne Gretzky himself has stated that Crosby was the best player he'd seen since Mario Lemieux. Not eligible for the NHL entry draft until 2005, the legend of Sidney Crosby is already approaching epic proportions.

No pressure...

Six years later, Crosby has already had a pretty spectacular career. He became the only teenager to win a scoring title in any major North American sports league, he won the Hart Memorial Trophy as MVP and he's got a Stanley Cup ring.

I love it when "can't miss" kids don't miss.


FTC: Bloggers Must Disclose Freebies or Payments (Which Begs the Question...)

MoneyAmerican bloggers are busy blogging about a decision by the Federal Trade Commission to require that bloggers clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

As a Canadian, the FTC ruling doesn't apply to me, but I'm still left with one lingering question....

Why haven't I ever received money in exchange for a positive review? Not once have I been offered one red cent to write something on my blog. I fear I've been missing out on a tremendous source of income, and with my wife at home with my two kids and the cost of living in Toronto rising each year, I can't afford to miss out on potential revenue streams.

There was enough pay-for-positive-review action south of the border for the FTC to get involved. 9354 entries and I'm still waiting for my first indecent proposal...


Strombo Show Now On CBC Radio 2

radioThe Strombo Show is now on CBC Radio 2. George Stroumboulopoulos will get four hours every Sunday night starting November 8th.

Bear with me as I pat myself on the back for calling this back on July 12.

I've got CFNY on the radio, trying to listen to Strombo to hear what he'd say about Martin, but I'm not hearing The Strombo Show. I'm hearing a guy named Jeff Leake playing the typical music 102.1 plays these days, and there's no mention of George Stroumboulopoulos or The Strombo Show. The "S" word hasn't been uttered once.

Did Strombo quit Corus?

One week later, there was more evidence that Strombo and Corus had split ways. By the end of the month, I was calling the death of The Strombo Show on Corus, including 102.1 the Edge / CFNY. Then, I got the call.

George Stroumboulopoulos called my Blackberry and we discussed his ideas for an "independent FM". It was clear from our convo that The Strombo Show was going to resurface somewhere. I think CBC Radio 2 is an ideal home for the show and I can't wait to check it out.


Yes Man Review

Movie ReviewYes Man: 6 out of 10.

I think Jim Carrey is now making the same movie over and over again. They have these silly and simple premises, such as "Jim Carrey can't tell a lie" or "Jim Carrey says yes to everything", and then hilarity ensues.

Ok, it's not quite hilarity, but there is this guy:

Murray

That's Murray Hewitt from Flight of the Conchords, a character I just adore. In Yes Man, Murray Hewitt goes by the name Norman but it's pretty much the same character. It's also the funniest character in this thing. If you see it, see it for Murray.

yes_man


Leafs Eliminated From Playoffs by Toronto Star After 2 Games

newspaperHoronymous' eagle eye spotted a potentially predictive error in the NHL standings posted on the Toronto Star's website.

Their 2009-10 NHL stadings show our beloved Maple Leafs have already been eliminated from playoff contention. There's always next year...

nhl-standings

Click here to see it in its original size.


How to Convert an NFL Fan into a CFL Fan in 4 Minutes

cflIt's Sunday. I know what my brothers will be doing all day today. In fact, I'm willing to bet most of you have the same plans. It's NFL game day.

I used to be the same way. I spent many a Sunday afternoon watching the Bills until Wade Phillips went with Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie in the Music City Miracle game. Today, I rank football 4th amongst the four major sports, but when I go football, I go CFL.

If you have 4 minutes to spare, watch this CFL promo entitled "This is Our League". The song is "Always" by the Neverending White Lights. Down Goes Brown introduced me to this video a few months ago and I've been loving it ever since.

If that didn't turn you, there's no hope for you. Enjoy your Sunday.


Maple Leafs 4, Capitals 6

leafsI watched this entire game, and let me tell you this final score was very flattering. What I saw for two periods was a team with skill exposing us as for the hacks we are. Ovechkin looked like a man playing against boys and there was nothing we could do to stop him.

Where was the pugnacity? Where was the testosterone? Where was the truculence and belligerence? And when the highly skilled opposition lacks a player interested in dropping the gloves, how helpful are those traits without a single player with 2/3rds the talent of Washington's #8?

Although I'm not willing to necessarily blame Vesa Toskala for last night's loss, one thing is clear. It's time to try The Monster in the #1 slot. Tosky's .800 save percentage this season aside, we all know there's no playoff hope with him as the starter. We don't yet know that's the case with The Monster.

Let's find out.


The Only Existing Film Images of Anne Frank

XXXThere is now an official Anne Frank channel on YouTube. Amongst the videos you'll find there is the only existing film footage of Anne Frank.

July 22 1941. The girl next door is getting married. Anne Frank is leaning out of the window of her house in Amsterdam to get a good look at the bride and groom. It is the only time Anne Frank has ever been captured on film. At the time of her wedding, the bride lived on the second floor at Merwedeplein 39. The Frank family lived at number 37, also on the second floor. The Anne Frank House can offer you this film footage thanks to the cooperation of the couple.

Here's the video of Anne.

You can learn more about Anne Frank at the official Anne Frank House website.


J.P. Ricciardi Fired

Jays NewsAn inside source sent me this email I received while sitting in Tim Hortons this morning.

Subject: Jays just fired JP

In Baltimore. Jays just turfed him immediately.

Then, an hour later, this update from the same source.

Well... There he goes.

JP just walked past me, suitcases in hand, with the Jays brass trailing behind him getting into a cab.

The Toronto Blue Jays have indeed fired general manager J.P. Ricciardi, ending his eight-year tenure. On June 19, 2008, I called for the firing of J.P. Ricciardi.

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

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

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

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

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

In August 2008, I was certain his dismissal was imminent. He released Reed Johnson and went with Shannon Stewart. Remember that gem? I predicted he'd be gone the day after the 2008 season concluded.

Better late than never. J.P. Ricciardi was just fired.


Vote for the Shitstorm of the Week

VoteThis week closed with a flurry of shitstorms. Here are the most recent four. Review them and pick your favourite.

Shitstorm 1: Mr. Sub's Gay Dad Ad Gets Ad Agency Canned, ACTRA Pissed and Me Threatened
Read about it here.

Shitstorm 2: Blue Jays Won't Play For Cito
Read about it here

Shitstorm 3: David Letterman Amits to a Series of Affairs with Female Staff
Read about it here

Shitstorm 4: 102.1 The Edge Top 200 Of All Time Countdown Voting Rigged
Read about it here

Vote for your favourite in the comments.


September 2009 Organic Keywords

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

  1. sandra rinomato breasts
  2. toronto mike
  3. darcy allan sheppard
  4. party playlist 2009
  5. prima tv
  6. party playlist
  7. martin streek
  8. big shiny tunes 2
  9. fearless fred
  10. toronto mike blog

No, I don't have pictures of Sandra Rinomato's breasts. She's the host of a show called Property Virgins I once wrote about, and I rank very highly for her name. I also rank very highly for searches for her breasts. That's solely because someone wrote about her breasts in the comments.

A lot of people are awfully disappointed when they click through to that entry...


Cito and Letterman

newspaperA couple of items caught my eye this morning as I caught up on the news. They involved a couple of people I admire: David Letterman and Cito Gaston.

Letterman admitted to a series of affairs with female staff as he explained he was being blackmailed for $2 million.

Here he is confessing his sins to his Late Show audience.

In local news, it's come to light that several members of our Toronto Blue Jays want manager Cito Gaston fired. Speaking off the record, Gaston's style was deemed too "old school" and negative by "nine or ten" players.

I've always liked Cito, but it looks like his days on the bench have come to an end. I heard Mike Wilner on The Fan 590 say it was unanimous. The players want Cito to go, and it's easier to replace one manager than 20 players.

Now you're up to date.


Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 4 (OT)

LeafsGame one is in the books and it was a lot of fun. It doesn't get much closer than this. Komi had a rough first game in blue and white, helping his former team squeeze one out.

Matt Stajan had two goals, and Alexei Ponikarovsky added the other one for the Leafers. My kid says Tosky played okay and we should all give him a chance. He also told me The Monster doesn't look nearly as scary with his helmet off.

I disagree. That bad-ass Cliff Claven beard The Monster is sporting is pretty damn frightening.


Mr. Sub's Ad Agency Holds My Site Liable For Embedding YouTube Video?

EmailOn Monday I suggested that Mr. Sub's "Dinner" ad in which a father comes out as gay to his family might just be the worst ad I'd ever seen. It sparked quite the discussion in the comments.

Earlier today, someone from the ad agency BOS Toronto wrote me a stern email about my entry.

Hi Mike,

I am writing on behalf of Bos advertising in Toronto, the creative agency for Mr. Sub. Please remove the spot you have titled Dinner (Gay) from your website immediately. We are in breach of contract with ACTRA (the union for these actors) http://www.actra.ca/actra/control/main and may have to hold your site liable for any fines incurred if the spot is not removed today.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

The spot entitled "Dinner (Gay)" was never hosted by me, it was hosted by YouTube. I was never actually at risk to be held "liable for any fines incurred" if the spot wasn't removed today.

I do see that the clip has now been pulled from YouTube, so I'm guessing Maddie read my reply to her email in which I explained how YouTube works and the difference between hosting and embedding a video.

For those who missed the Mr. Sub ad first time around, here it is again. Yes, I found another instance of it on YouTube. Maddie, this one's for you.

I still hate this ad.


102.1 The Edge Top 200 Of All Time Countdown Voting Rigged

radioRemember Labour Day weekend when 102.1 the Edge counted down the Top 200 songs of the 90's? In this neck of the woods, we had plenty of issues with how they came up with those 200 songs. I ended up posting the list I thought CFNY / 102.1 the Edge should have come up with.

102.1 the Edge is at it again, putting together the Top 200 songs of all-time. Once again they're letting fans vote, but there's a not-so-small detail you should know. Here's @mondoville tweeting about it.

mondoville

That's right, 102.1 the Edge actually lists 200 songs and let's you vote for your favourites. AT the very, very end, there's an option called "other" with a small text field beside it. If you want to vote outside their top 200, you can submit one song at a time. In other words, they've picked the top 200 and are just looking for the final order.

cfny

I'm just fascinated they've deemed Oasis' "Live Forever" worthy of Top 200 of all-time recognition, when it wasn't worthy of Top 200 of the 90s recognition.


Maple Leafs Roster and Prediction

leafsThe Leafs open the 2009-10 regular season tonight against those hateful Habs. I can't wait.

Here's our opening night roster.

Forwards
Jason Blake
Mikhail Grabovski
Niklas Hagman
Phil Kessel*
Jamal Mayers
John Mitchell
Colton Orr
Alexei Ponikarovsky
Wayne Primeau
Jay Rosehill
Viktor Stalberg
Matt Stajan
Lee Stempniak
Rickard Wallin

Defence
Francois Beauchemin
Garnet Exelby
Jeff Finger
Tomas Kaberle
Mike Komisarek
Luke Schenn
Mike Van Ryn*
Ian White

Goalies
Vesa Toskala
Jonas Gustavsson

* Injured non-roster players

And now, without further ado, Toronto Mike's prediction for the 2009 / 2010 Toronto Maple Leafs....

7th place in the Eastern Conference and a return to the playoffs!



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