December 2009 Archives
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I came very close to ending SLS at #21. 2009 has seemed like a abnormally weak year for music. I read the "too cool for school" blogs, sampled Merriweather Post Pavilion and other such "it" albums, and was left underwhelmed. Every other year of this decade produced an album that got me jazzed, but this year the closest I came to getting really excited about an album was Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
But I decided to keep SLS going. 2010 may be a better year for music, and I'd like the franchise to be alive to reap the benefits. Here's the final song list for SLS22. For an SLS primer, go here.
- Foo Fighters - Wheels
- The Rural Alberta Advantage - Don't Haunt This Place
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll
- Them Crooked Vultures - New Fang
- Phoenix - 1901
- Metric - Sick Muse
- Death Cab For Cutie - Meet Me On The Equinox
- Weezer - (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
- Silversun Pickups - Substitution
- Alice in Chains - Check My Brain
- Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker - Anti-Venom
- Billy Talent - Devil On My Shoulder
- Kings of Leon - Notion
- Pearl Jam - The Fixer
- Arkells - The Ballad of Hugo Chavez
- Alexisonfire - Young Cardinals
- Arctic Monkeys - Crying Lightning
- The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother
- The Stills - I'm With You
- Green Day - 21 Guns
I just updated The Complete SLS Database. Look for SLS23 in late June, 2010.
I blogged less in 2009 than I did in any calendar year since 2003. I know this because I just crunched the numbers.
Blog Entries by Year
- 2009 - 1230
- 2008 - 1433
- 2007 - 1659
- 2006 - 1598
- 2005 - 1640
- 2004 - 1722
- 2003 - 369
- 2002 - 3
In 2009, I took laser-focused aim at quality over quantity. I'm not suggesting there were 1230 quality entries in 2009, but I definitely paused before I published.
This is entry number 9655 overall. In 2010, if all goes well, I'll publish something truly spectacular for entry 10000.
My brother works with a guy who raps as K-Dot-O-Dot. He sent me this guy's latest album, produced by The Arkeologists, and called The Life & Times of Lucha Lonely.
My brother is friends with K-Dot-O-Dot, but that alone wouldn't get me to share these tracks. I listened to the album and sincerely dug the tunes. It's a moody, plodding style that belongs on the iPod for long walks and dark days.
Download the entire album for free right here
This was game #41. That means we're halfway done. It was tough to watch, another awful effort we deserved to lose, by why should game #41 be any different?
The fact we're still sort of in a pseudo playoff race is more a fluke of mathematics than anything. We can't even beat the Oilers, one of two teams lower than us in the standings. In fact, it seems a game against the Leafs is the perfect remedy for a losing streak. It's just a shame we can't play ourselves.
I love my hockey team, but we're not very good. We've got one very good forward, a half-decent defensive corp that's starting to gel and a goaltender we'd trade for a bag of pucks in a heartbeat.
Go Leafs Go!
My how time flies. Has it really been over 12 months since I made prorogue the word of the day?
tr.v., -rogued, -rogu·ing, -rogues.
- To discontinue a session of (a parliament, for example).
- To postpone; defer.
Back then, Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean granted a request from Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament so he could avoid a confidence vote that would have toppled his minority government. We've just learnt Prime Minister Stephen Harper will prorogue Parliament once more, this time for a two-month break.
The House of Commons and the Senate will come back in March, after the Vancouver Olympics, for a Speech from the Throne and a budget. The move will have the effect of stalling all bills currently in Parliament, including crime bills that the government had said were being delayed by the opposition.
A post-Olympic return would also shut down government committees, which would stop MPs from pursuing the Afghan detainee controversy until Parliament returned.
Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale says “if the government attempts this manoeuvre, it's a shocking insult to democracy" while NDP House Leader Libby Davies says there's no legitimate reason to prorogue Parliament and to do so would be a “political scam.” They're both absolutely right.
I rarely write about Stephen Harper anymore. Truth be told, he's not our prime minister. We've never given him a single seat here in Toronto, and he's not interested in our future support. The man has been PM for almost four years without an ounce of assistance from Canada's biggest city. That's worth something, I suppose, but it's resulted in great political malaise from those of us in the 416.
When did my country become a dictatorship? How is it that so many of my fellow Canadians continue to support this man and his government, when he continuously makes moves to curtail transparency, prohibit journalistic access and limit democracy. This request to prorogue Parliament is the last straw and completely inexcusable.
Is it too much for me to expect my prime minister to be accountable for the Afghan detainees affair? But is this a cowardly move to avoid the scrutiny of a House committee into the treatment of Afghan detainees or is this merely a ploy to gain a majority on Senate committees? Either way, it's not particularly democratic and it reeks of arrogance and politics over governance. It's vintage Harper.
To Mr. Harper: Good luck winning a majority without a seat in this city. The rest of the nation can thank us later for restricting you to minority status.
To Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean: You're where the buck stops. You have the true power here. When Mr. Harper makes his formal request to prorogue Parliament for two-months, just say no. Do it for Canada, do it for democracy, do it for me.
I understood why I was left off the Olympic men's hockey roster in 1998, 2002 and 2006. I wasn't playing hockey. In fact, I didn't play ice hockey after 1987 until last year.
But that's just it. I've been playing hard every week during the past two winters. I've improved my game to the point where I'm good for two goals a week. Furthermore, and most importantly, I've shown a knack for elevating my play come crunch time, in the spirit of Doug Gilmour and Michael Jordan. I've got all the intangibles you want in a hockey player.
This afternoon, as I drove to play hockey, I heard the members of Team Canada unveiled. There were some great players named, and some great players left off the team. That's where I'll be. Off the team.
I honestly thought I had a shot this year. I'm not sure what more I can do. In Stevie Y we trust, I guess.
Here's our Canadian men's hockey team for the Vancouver Olympic games.
- Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
- Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (alternate captain)
- Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
- Dany Heatley, San Jose Sharks
- Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames (alternate captain)
- Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
- Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars
- Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
- Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
- Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
- Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
- Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
- Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
- Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks
- Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
- Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
- Scott Niedermayer, Ducks (captain)
- Chris Pronger, Flyers (alternate captain)
- Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
- Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
- Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
- Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
I've now got my sights set on 2014.
For those Torontonians planning their New Year's Eve festivities, don't forget that the TTC is offering free service from midnight to 4am.
I'm pretty sure other transit systems in the GTA have free service as well. GO Transit, for example, is free from 7pm on December 31 until 2:10am on New Year's Day, and Mississauga Transit is free from 7pm to 4am.
Note how the TTC makes you pay to get to the party whereas everyone else is taking you to and fro free of charge...
In our first three games of this tournament, we've outscored our opponents 30-2. That's a serious goal differential margin, but goal differential isn't going to matter. It's all going to come down to whether we beat the USA tomorrow night as to whether we get a bye to the semi-finals or not.
Last year's New Year's Eve game against the USA was epic. Here's hoping this one is just as good with Canada advancing to the semis.
As 2009 draws to a close, you'll likely be seeing a lot of celebrity death lists, remembering those who died throughout the year. For as long as I've had a personal home page on the interweb, I've marked celebrity passings. You can read them all at http://www.torontomike.com/rest_in_peace/.
Here are twenty celebrities of note who passed away in 2009.
The Death of Childhood Memories
Here are ten deaths that in one way or another represented my fleeting youth. The older we get, the more icons from our childhood loves we lose. Still, we lost most of the following far too early.
- Captain Lou Albano, Dead at 76
- Patrick Swayze, Dead at 57
- John Hughes, Dead at 59
- Martin Streek, Dead at 45
- Steve "Air" McNair, Dead at 36
- Michael Jackson, Dead at 50
- Farrah Fawcett, Dead at 62
- Billy Red Lyons, Dead at 77
- Peter Zezel, Dead at 44
- Walt Poddubny, Dead at 49
Other Significant Celebrity Passings
There were a number of significant celebrity deaths in 2009. Here are ten more who left us in 2009.
- Brittany Murphy, Dead at 32
- Haydain Neale of Jacksoul, Dead at 39
- Jim Carroll, Dead at 60
- Ted Kennedy, Dead at 77
- Ted "Teeder" Kennedy, Dead at 83
- Walter Cronkite, Dead at 92
- Ed McMahon, Dead at 86
- David Carradine, Dead at 72
- Dom DeLuise, Dead at 75
- Bea Arthur, Dead at 86
Abe Vigoda, however, is alive.
If there's a face that symbolizes the Toronto sports scene, it's Jim McKenny's. I don't remember a time when Jim McKenny wasn't doing sports for CityTV. You can see him in this promo for CityTV's CityPulse sports back in 1984.
Jim McKenny, a.k.a. Howie, spent ten years in the NHL as a defenceman and winger with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Minnesota North Stars before joining Citytv in 1984 as Sports Anchor/Reporter on "CityNews Tonight" and he's been there ever since.
I've been told Jim McKenny closed his Sunday night's broadcast with an announcement that it would be his last broadcast with CityTV. He said he'll be moving on to different opportunities.
25 years at the same gig is a pretty amazing run for a sports broadcaster in this city. You couldn't help but like Jim McKenny - I wish him well in his next venture.
Star Trek: 8 out of 10.
If I had written this review a year ago, it would actually be relevant. As it stands, the vast majority of people who will ever see Star Trek have already done so. As a result, I'm strictly writing this for the non-Trekkie hold-outs.
Last May, I wrote that I felt I was missing out as a non-Trekker. As a youngster, I saw Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan at the Runnymede Theatre and it damaged me, turning me off everything Star Trek for almost 30 years. Yes, the slug in the ear did it to me.
Last night, I decided to give J.J. Abrams' Star Trek a whirl. It was fantastic. Honestly, even if you don't like Star Trek or are completely unfamiliar with Star Trek, you'll enjoy this movie. Speaking as a non-Trekkie, it was great. By far the best Star Trek anything I have ever seen.
And yes, those mind control slugs showed up again, but when I caught wind of what was about to happen, I covered my son's eyes. Lightning wasn't about to strike twice.
It took me a while to get used to the fact the red and white team was the enemy and we were wearing green. Once I successfully overcame my natural instinct to cheer on the red and white, I enjoyed another overwhelming victory for Team Canada as we remained unbeaten and untested.
Sure, it's against Latvia and Switzerland, but our powerplay is currently clicking along at a 67% success rate. You don't want to take a penalty against this team.
Our first real test comes tomorrow against Slovakia.
DJ Earworm did this last year. He calls it "United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop)". It's a mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2009, according to Billboard.
Pop sure does rule the day in the USA. Except for the Kings of Leon track, it's all dancy pop. Here are the tunes you'll hear in the video.
The Black Eyed Peas - BOOM BOOM POW
Lady Gaga - POKER FACE
Lady Gaga Featuring Colby O'Donis - JUST DANCE
The Black Eyed Peas - I GOTTA FEELING
Taylor Swift - LOVE STORY
Flo Rida - RIGHT ROUND
Jason Mraz - I'M YOURS
Beyonce - SINGLE LADIES (PUT A RING ON IT)
Kanye West - HEARTLESS
The All-American Rejects - GIVES YOU HELL
Taylor Swift - YOU BELONG WITH ME
T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake - DEAD AND GONE
The Fray - YOU FOUND ME
Kings Of Leon - USE SOMEBODY
Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo - KNOCK YOU DOWN
Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain - BLAME IT
Pitbull - I KNOW YOU WANT ME (CALLE OCHO)
T.I. Featuring Rihanna - LIVE YOUR LIFE
Soulja Boy Tell 'em Featuring Sammie - KISS ME THRU THE PHONE
Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne - DOWN
Miley Cyrus - THE CLIMB
Drake - BEST I EVER HAD
Kelly Clarkson - MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU
Beyonce - HALO
Katy Perry - HOT N COLD
Download the MP3 here.
I'm sharing this classic video by Neil Young and the Bluenotes because it includes the line "ain't singing for Pepsi". When I record a cover about my battle against Pepsi, I'll change that to "ain't chanting for Pepsi".
This video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video of the Year for 1989.
I spoke with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix yesterday regarding Pepsi's Cheer Nation. I previously wrote about Cheer Nation in an entry entitled Cheer Nation? I'm Not Chanting "Eh! O' Canada Go!" For Pepsi.
It must be a slow news day in Saskatoon. The article in which I'm quoted is currently the lead story.
Here's the article in which I do my very best Neil Young impersonation.
Give a cheer
Professional fan teaches 'Eh! O' Canada Go'
By Wendy Gillis, For The StarPhoenix
Having thousands of cheering sports fans watch his every exuberant move is just another day at the office for Cameron Hughes. But one excited woman gave the professional sports entertainer a career first on Saturday during Team Canada's premier game of the 2010 IIHF world junior hockey championship.
"She just grabbed me, took my head firmly between her hands and planted a kiss right on my lips," said Hughes. "I knew people in Saskatchewan were friendly, but not that friendly."
For 13 years, the Ottawa native has travelled throughout Canada and the United States living every sports fan's dream. At games, he yells at the top of his lungs, leads cheers, throws T-shirts into the crowd and dances up and down the stairs -- and gets paid to do it.
His flair for fanaticism has him perform at dozens of professional baseball, hockey, basketball and football games, including last year's Grey Cup game in Montreal. Now, Hughes brings his infectious energy and self-described awkward dance moves to Saskatchewan for his first gig at the world junior tournament.
"This is a dream come true," said Hughes, who always watched the tournament as a boy.
Though the job title of professional fan may sound cushy, Hughes has to suit up and prepare like any athlete he cheers on. He does vocal exercises and drinks special tea to protect his voice, and non-stop moving forces him to tape his ankles prior to each performance.
Despite his preparation, Hughes still has battle scars: Constant clapping has left him with chapped and cut hands, and he has been sent to the hospital eight times during the course of his career.
Hired to cheer by PepsiCo Beverages Canada, Hughes' task at the world juniors is to promote the company's national hockey program Cheer Nation. According to Pepsi, the goal of Cheer Nation is to give Canadian hockey fans their own cheer for Team Canada.
The company ran a contest for a national hockey cheer, and the result was debuted during Team Canada's game against Latvia Saturday. Penned by Ontario high school teacher Joan Buma, the simple "Eh! O' Canada Go!" was the contest winner, beating out 1,000 other submissions.
"I'm an encourager by nature, and I'm a die-hard hockey fan," Buma said Sunday from her home in Grimsby.
Buma wrote the cheer a mere two days before the contest closed, and got her students to participate in the video submission at the last minute. She receives a four-day trip to Saskatoon for the championship, and a vacation to Germany for the 2010 IIHF World Championship in May.
Hughes said hockey fans embraced the cheer when he taught it to the 12,469 people at Credit Union Centre on Saturday. He said fans were singing along with him and then chanting it on their own.
But Cheer Nation has come under fire from those who think Pepsi is turning Canada's love affair with hockey into a marketing gimmick.
On the Internet, some blogs and comment boards are questioning Pepsi's motives, with one blogger saying cheers must be "organically spread."
"Such cheers can't be forced upon us by a multinational corporation," Mike Boon, a Toronto-based blogger at torontomike.com, said in an e-mail.
But Dale Hooper, vice-president of marketing at PepsiCo, says the cheer is only meant create a "legacy for Canadian hockey."
"We've been partners with Hockey Canada for 10 years, and we look to build on that partnership," Hooper said. "This is not a marketing ploy as much as a chance for (Buma) to share this with Canadians."
Hughes will be in Saskatchewan for the duration of the tournament or, as he says, "until Canada wins gold."
This article is like a big ad for Pepsi, with the two men on PepsiCo's payroll getting 95% of the ink. I suppose my quote was in there to give it a little "balance". They could have used a few of my other points against the campaign.
When I read the vice-president of marketing at PepsiCo saying "this is not a marketing ploy" I choked on my Shreddies.
Ian White broke a tie with 1:22 to play with his third goal in four games and the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 4-3 victory over the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Of course, I missed the whole game. I was forced by my wife to socialize with neighbours. I now remember why I hate leaving the house.
The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History.
This new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.
We never did come up with a decent name for this decade. Some call it the ohs, or the zeros, and others kick it old school and call it the aughts. The most popular name for this decade is probably "the 2000s", which is also the name of this century. Go figure.
I blogged here for most of the decade. I missed the first couple of years, but caught the last 7+. I thought I'd dive into the archives and pick ten entries of particular relevance to this city in the 2000s.
9/11 - 9/11 didn't happen in Toronto, in fact, it didn't happen in this country, but the effects crossed the border and was felt by all of us. This list had to start with 9/11, the most significant happening of the decade.
SARS - There were two waves of SARS in Toronto, and the bad press made us a global pariah. In this entry, I gave the straight goods from the eye of the storm.
SARSstock - When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. SARSstock was our lemonade.
Blackout - Everyone remembers where they were when the lights went out. I had a 1-year old who wanted milk, but we made the most of our 24-hours without electricity. I remember BBQing everything I could find in the near-empty freezer.
Plane Crash at Pearson - Nobody died when Air France Flight 358 crash landed at Pearson, but my game was cancelled regardless.
Sam the Record Man Closing - When Sam the Record Man at Yonge and Dundas closed, it was the end of an era.
Propane Explosion - The propane gas plant explosion at Keele and Wilson gave photographers an awesome subject. Click through for the local pic of the decade.
City of Losers - At some point this list had to reference the brutal decade sports-wise for Toronto. The Leafs haven't played a playoff game since 2004, the Raptors couldn't win more than one round and the Blue Jays didn't play any meaningful baseball in September.
FUN Guide - Toronto's latest edition of its summer Fun Guide had a black guy Photoshopped in... badly. I'm not joking.
The Death of Martin Streek - There was a lot of rough news on the Toronto radio front, but none as difficult to swallow as the suicide of beloved CFNY deejay Martin Streek. When he was let go a couple of months earlier, it seemed like a final nail in the coffin.
I remember watching Jaroslav Halak when he was a member of the Hamilton Bulldogs. I'd be sitting in the front row at Richoh, right behind Halak, and he was always sharp against us.
That hasn't changed. He was pretty awesome again last night as he made 47 saves before we lost in overtime.
It seems we're awfully good at falling behind 2-0 and we're not half bad at battling back. We should have won this one in regulation, because we suck in extra time.
If we're looking for a silver lining, I suppose it's that we held Montreal to 19,999 franchise goals. They can get #20,000 against someone else.
Watching this afternoon's 16-0 Team Canada victory over Latvia, I had a déjà vu moment. At about this time last year, I sat down and watched Canada defeat Kazakhstan 15-0. In my recap of the game, I wrote "there's no glory in crushing a lesser-light".
I'm going to copy and paste that same sentiment here. This was our first meeting against Latvia and the result was never in doubt. It was men playing against boys as we dominated every aspect of the game, making for a pretty darn boring game.
Gabriel Bourque tied a team record with three goals and four assists. The game also tied the long-standing mark for biggest winning margin ever at the worlds for Canada, and set a new one for largest shutout victory, eclipsing that 15-0 defeat of Kazakhstan in last year's championships.
I understand goal differential in the preliminary round can be a key tie-breaker, so Canada can't let up when up 8-0 in the second period, but this doesn't seem right to me. It doesn't seem Canadian. It doesn't seem fair to Latvia.
Tauta cries miljons asaras.
When I was playing house league hockey at Rennie Park in the Swansea Hockey Association, you could always tell the best players. They wore Cooperalls.
The SHA gave all players jerseys and socks, but the highly skilled forwards all played in other leagues as well, and in those leagues they often wore Cooperalls. Cooperalls were long hockey pants that were worn in place of hockey shorts and did not require socks. If you played hockey in the early and mid 80s, you likely saw them in action.
The Cooperalls became a dead giveaway that the opposing player was a potential game-changer. It was nice of the all-stars to identify themselves in this manner. As you might have guessed, I never wore Cooperalls.
But the 1981-1982 Philadelphia Flyers did!
As promised, EZ Rock is now Boom 97.3, playing "Toronto's Greatest Hits". Humble and Colleen are still doing mornings, Maie Pauts takes it from there and KJ still takes you home.
Yes, that ad does start with the song that's absolutely everywhere, the same song they played right after flipping formats. Here are the first twenty songs played on the new boom 97.3.
|Play Time||Artist Name||Track Name|
|Sat 10:24AM||THE B-52S||LOVE SHACK|
|Sat 10:20AM||BRYAN ADAMS||LONELY NIGHTS|
|Sat 10:15AM||THE BEE GEES||STAYIN' ALIVE|
|Sat 10:12AM||JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS||I LOVE ROCK AND ROLL|
|Sat 10:08AM||SPIRIT OF THE WEST||HOME FOR A REST|
|Sat 10:04AM||MAX WEBSTER||LET GO THE LINE|
|Sat 10:01AM||FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD||RELAX|
|Sat 09:56AM||THE POLICE||MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE|
|Sat 09:50AM||THE NEVILLE BROTHERS||BIRD ON A WIRE|
|Sat 09:46AM||BOSTON||MORE THAN A FEELING|
|Sat 09:42AM||MEN AT WORK||DOWN UNDER|
|Sat 09:38AM||BARENAKED LADIES||LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME|
|Sat 09:35AM||MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS||ECHO BEACH|
|Sat 09:31AM||BLONDIE||HEART OF GLASS|
|Sat 09:27AM||MICHAEL JACKSON||THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL|
|Sat 09:24AM||THE CLASH||SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD|
|Sat 09:19AM||QUEEN||SOMEBODY TO LOVE|
|Sat 09:15AM||THE PARACHUTE CLUB||RISE UP|
|Sat 09:11AM||THE STRAY CATS||ROCK THIS TOWN|
|Sat 09:07AM||CHIC||LE FREAK|
|Sat 09:03AM||JOURNEY||DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'|
It's really a great improvement over the playlist for the old EZ Rock. Sure, I could do without that Neville Brothers tune but we got Martha and the Muffins, the Clash, Max Webster, Spirit of the West and they just played the B-52s. It's definitely classic hits with a strong focus on the 80s and a little 70s and 90s on the side.
Sample boom 97.3 for yourself at http://cjez.player.myastralmediaradio.com/ and let me know what you think of the new format in the comments. It might not be exactly what we're looking for, but it's a great improvement.
Vic Chesnutt was 45. He was the acclaimed singer-songwriter who built a devoted following with his folk-rock songs, many of which dealt eloquently with themes of pain and mortality.
I have a bone to pick with you. You brought my daughter this great wooden kitchen, which she absolutely adores, but you brought it in a hundred pieces. I spent most of the morning building it. Couldn't you have delivered it already made? I'm sure you could have put a junior elf on the job without missing a beat.
Look at me looking a gift horse in the mouth. Santa, I apologize. After all, you brought my son the Nintendo DS he so desperately wanted, Michelle got her guitar and we've got a sweet new Scrabble board. I've already broken it in, beating my wife by 120 points. It's been that great a day.
Here are the kids in piping hot fresh shots.
And here's Michelle doing a happy dance about getting fake food for her fake kitchen. Well played...
And one last thing, Santa. My son heard your bells last night. He told me all about it this morning. Maybe next year you can be a little quieter so he doesn't wake up and catch you in the act. Just a thought.. take it as constructive criticism. All-in-all you did a great job and the kids are as happy as can be.
Until next year,
A welcome new addition to the Barilkosphere is Bloge Salming.
Here's Bloge Salming's Carol of the Bells as performed by Damien Cox of the Toronto Star with backup vocals by Howard Berger of the Fan 590. Merry Christmas!
Norad Tracks Santa - For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), has tracked Santa’s Christmas Eve flight.
Santa is currently delivering gifts to Victoria, Seychelles. I honestly didn't know there was a Seychelles until I saw that.
Go Santa, Go! Daddy needs some sugar free bubble gum!
George Michael was 70. He was a veteran Washington sportscaster who gained national recognition with his syndicated "The George Michael Sports Machine" highlights show.
I used to watch The George Michael Sports Machine in the late 80s and early 90s. Here's a clip:
In the spirit of the season, I've kept all the MP3s I've shared this month online, so if you visit the Weekly MP3 category page you can help yourself.
Yesterday, I shared my favourite Christmas song of all. It's Fairytale of New York by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl. Howard left a comment about that song and Tom Waits' Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis, another under-appreciated holiday gem.
Here's Tom Waits performing Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis with a sweet Silent Night intro. Merry Christmas, all.
Merry Christmas Leafs fans, I hope you like crap!
We really should be beating the Islanders at this point, but Dwayne Roloson shut the door again and we never could get the equalizer. That's four losses in five games if you're counting along at home.
Prior to Avatar, the theatre I was at aired a Toyota ad. I quite liked it. Here it is.
Avatar: 9 out of 10.
We'll keep this review brief.
Avatar is as good as you've heard, if not better. You're essentially drawn into an alien world and you're not released for 162 minutes. And then you're sorry you have to leave.
I tried to see it in IMAX 3D, but it's sold out until May. Just see it in regular 3D. It's sensory overload as it is, IMAX might kill you.
As a fan of the old Humble and Fred show that aired on CFNY throughout the 90s, Humble's role on the 97.3 EZ Rock morning show has been bittersweet. On the one hand, he's back doing mornings on Toronto radio. On the other hand, it's EZ Rock, home of Celine Dion, John Tesh and a soccer mom music paradise.
Thankfully for us old Humble and Fred fans, and fans of the old CFNY, EZ Rock is changing formats on Boxing Day and will become BOOM FM playing classic hits. No more "light favourites of yesterday and today" or whatever that music was supposed to be. It will become sort of an adult alternative station with a focus on classic hits. At least that's the buzz on the street.
It makes sense. Humble and Colleen in the mornings and then Maie Pauts. Goodbye Celine, hello Thompson Twins. Goodbye John Tesh, hello Tears For Fears. Goodbye EZ Rock, hello BOOM FM.
I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.
The Pogues - Fairytale of New York
This is my favourite Christmas song.
I love this story out of the UK.
A Simon Cowell act has topped the United Kingdom pop chart at Christmas four years in a row. X-Factor artist Joe McElderry's Christmas song "The Climb" was a virtual shoe-in to top the charts this year, which would give Cowell an impressive five year win streak.
A grass-roots campaign started on Facebook sought to make a statement by getting Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" to the top of the UK chart this Christmas. "Killing in the Name" has that awesome line "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."
Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello took note, joined the cause and pledged to donate all proceeds to charity.
I'm happy to report that "Killing in the Name" sold more than 500,000 copies this past week, while McElderry's song fell short of the top spot, with 450,000.
It is indeed the anarchy Christmas miracle of 2009!
I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.
Johnny Bower - Honky The Christmas Goose
Sung with Little John and the Rinky Dinks, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Johnny Bower's "Honky the Christmas Goose" was released in 1965 and enjoyed a significant amount of airplay, making it to number 29 on our Canadian music charts.
This is #2 of the Holiday three-pack. The final holiday MP3, and the greatest Christmas song of them all, is up next.
I 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.
Freddie P - Snow Removal Machine
It's hard to believe this parody of The Cult's "Love Removal Machine" is over twenty years old.
I'm sharing this old CFNY nugget as part of a Holiday three-pack. Two more MP3s are on the way...
I want to wish each and every one of you a very happy Festivus. For those who don't know what Festivus is, there are three easy to follow steps:
- "Get the pole out of the crawl space". Or go out and buy one. Remember, it should be aluminium, due to the "very high strength-to-weight ratio". Remember, "it requires no decoration". Tinsel is "distracting".
- "The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances... At the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year."
- After dinner, it is time for the "Feats of Strength". Remember, Festivus is not over until someone is pinned.
The origin of Festivus was explained nicely by Frank Costanza in the Seinfeld episode "The Strike". Here's his exchange with Cosmo Kramer.
Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born . . . a Festivus for the rest of us!
Cosmo Kramer: That must've been some kind of doll.
Frank Costanza: She was.
Here's everything you need to know. Happy Festivus everyone!
Toronto weather is currently Hoth-like. See for yourself.
Alaina Reed-Amini was 63. She was the actress best known for her long-running roles on "Sesame Street" and "227."
I knew her best as Gordon's sister Olivia on the show that helped raise me.
Roy Halladay took out an ad in today's Toronto Sun, thanking Blue Jays fans.
Some will be quick to point out that he forced this trade, and could have easily negotiated an extension. If Halladay liked us so much, why isn't he retiring a Blue Jay?
Those people are cynical bastards. Halladay is both the best pitcher in Blue Jays history and the classiest player we've ever had. We were lucky to have him.
Here's the ad.
And here's the transcript.
My wife Brandy, sons Braden and Ryan, and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, its incredible fans, and the city of Toronto.
I feel blessed to have been part of the Blue Jays since 1995 and am extremely thankful for the opportunities it has provided. Throughout the past 15 years, there have been so many people within the organization that have made a wonderful and significant impact in my life, it would be impossible to name them all.
I am sincerely grateful for the incredible support and compassion the Blue Jays fans have shown me. I am in awe of your overwhelming passion and devotion.
Toronto will forever have a special place in my heart.
The memories will last a lifetime and so will my gratitude.
Phillies fans will soon discover how lucky they are. Thanks to @dlbrows on Twitter for the pic.
Earlier in the month, I wrote about Dana in Seattle who was selling a glove I loved throughout the 90s. He (or she) wanted $150 USD + shipping for the glove, a price I thought was grossly inflated and likely inspired by this entry I wrote previously.
Dana wrote me again. Apparently, the listing on Craigslist didn't get any action at $150. It's now down to $35.
Sure, I'd like the glove, but I'm still ticked Seattle Dana offered it to me at such a high price once it was discovered that glove had nostalgic value to me. If Seattle Dana had started at $35 USD + shipping, we'd have likely struck a deal then and there. Instead, Seattle Dana went for the kill and I've gone cold.
I've always got the memories...
Leafs fans, here's your fun fact of the day. If we remove games against Buffalo and Boston, we're 9-1-0 in our last ten games. Unfortunately, that's only good enough for 12th spot in the Eastern Conference.
We shoulda had this one. It was ours. We had the lead with seven minutes to play before coughing it up to the Sabres. I hate playing Buffalo.
It seems there's at least one guy who's figured out how to use Google Wave. His name is Joe Sabia and he used Google Wave to put together this goodbye to 2009.
I was barely able to share a map.
Shortly after 8:30 this morning, Humble and Fred were on the radio, together for the first time since 2005. It was an EZ Rock promo for their 5th podcast.
Their Fifth Podcast is ready, but it's so racy and raw, it needs to be cleared by an army of lawyers and Humble's wife. We'll have it online soon and you'll be able to read all about it here.
This is my little brother Steve and I at Christmastime in 1978.
My sweater says "CANADA" in anticipation of an Olympic gold medal that would be won 32 years later by our men's hockey team.
I'm bumping into embedded Hulu clips more often in the blogosphere. Hulu is a website that offers ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, FOX and many other networks and studios. The quality is great, and because it's a legal channel, you never have to worry that the SNL skit you embedded in your blog might be pulled by the end of the day thanks to a copyright claim by NBC.
When Brittany Murphy died yesterday, several American bloggers posted a recent parody of her that aired on Saturday Night Live. Here in Canada, this is what we see:
That's right, Hulu isn't available in Canada. Apparently, the licensing issues were so complex they couldn't get a deal done. So we're out of the loop.
I see ad-supported high quality tv show and news streaming as the future of television. Hulu seems to be getting it right. I just wish I could see what all the fuss is about.
Knowing: 6 out of 10.
Some reviewers I know and trust loved this film, so my expectations were a little higher than they'd normally be for a Nick Cage sci fi movie. It's not a bad movie. In fact, it's kind of neat in spots, and practically thought provoking, but it's still a six. A six dressed as a nine, perhaps, but still a six.
I'd like to make a list of films in which we witness the destruction of New York City. Off the top of my head, I can think of about a dozen.
I'm completely addicted to this online basketball game. I played it throughout the Raptors victory this afternoon. If you try it, you'll like it, and you'll keep on trying it.
A big part of the allure is that you compete with several hundred other players throughout the world in real-time. You're essentially representing your country, as it gives you a flag based on your IP address.
My high score is 149 points, but I didn't get a screen cap. Here's my most recent game. I'm definitely getting better, consistently scoring over 100 points and getting every closer to that elusive top ten.
Brittany Murphy was 32. She was the actress known for her roles in such films as "Clueless," "8 Mile" and "Girl Interrupted".
My kids knew her best as the voice of Gloria in Happy Feet.
The CBC aired this tribute to Maple Leaf Gardens during their Battle of The Blades series.
The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™ a.k.a. The Wire is never far from my mind. Thanks to all who have sent me links to the 100 Greatest Quotes from The Wire on YouTube. I tweeted about it in November, but I never gave it the spotlight it deserves.
There's actually a sequel now, so we have the 200 Greatest Quotes from The Wire. I must warn you, there will be some spoilers in these quotes, so don't watch unless you've already enjoyed the 60 episodes of The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™. And if you haven't, what the hell are you waiting for?
THE WIRE - 100 Greatest Quotes
Let's a spend a moment talking about THE MONSTER. Yes, he recorded his first career shutout over a team that had beaten us seven games in a row, but that's not what I'm talking about.
THE MONSTER was making his first start in 17 days since undergoing a second surgical procedure to correct an abnormal rhythm in his heart. Sure, it's minor surgery as far as surgeries go, but we're talking about his heart here. THE MONSTER seems to take it all in stride, refusing to use such hardships as an excuse and making it very clear that he's honoured to be a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Toskala, as far as I'm concerned, is done here in Toronto. He won't finish the season here. This is THE MONSTER's team, and with him at the helm we will battle for a playoff spot.
In THE MONSTER we trust.
St. Matthew-in-the-city is a progressive Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand. They recently created some controversy by erecting the following billboard.
The Vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City, Glynn Cardy, said the billboard was "attacked by a knife-wielding Christian fanatic". That was actually the fourth attack on the billboard in two days.
Archdeacon Cardy earlier said the billboard was designed to let people outside the church realise that many Christians and church leaders did not believe in the literal virgin birth, and did not believe that was the true meaning of Christmas.
"We're out to critique the idea of a male god impregnating Mary and the literalism of the virgin birth.
"The topic is ... something the church has talked about for centuries, but what is new is that we have the audacity to laugh at something quite so ridiculous as a male god sending sperm down to impregnate Mary," he said.
At the risk of becoming rather unpopular during this Christmas season, I've got to ask. Does anyone actually believe that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin?
Check out my Gemini Award.
For you Americans, think of a Gemini as a Canadian Emmy Award.
I received this Gemini for Best Performance by an Independent Blogger on the Movable Type Platform in a Major Urban Area.
Truth be known, it was an honour just to be nominated.
I've been writing a recap of every Maple Leafs game the since 2002. Six years ago today, I wrote about the 2-2 tie between the Leafs and Capitals.
Sure, the Leafs extended their franchise record for consecutive games registering at least a point to 13, but a tie against the craptacular Capitals is disappointing. This was certainly a game we should have won, even with backup goaltender Trevor Kidd making only his second start of the season and regular defensemen Tomas Kaberle and Aki Berg out the lineup. A win tonight against the Habs will make everything alright again.
Note the peculiarity? No, I'm not referring to the fact the Capitals sucked in the pre-Ovechkin era or I thought the absence of Aki Berg might actually hurt us, I'm referring to the score. This game ended in a tie.
Yes kids, there used to be ties in the NHL. I swear, it's true. Only six years ago there were ties, and we still loved the sport.
Let's bring back the tie. I've had enough of shootouts and 3-point games. In an effort to have less ties, let's play 4-on-4 for ten minutes of sudden death overtime, but if it's still even after that, let's give each team a point and call it a tie.
What say you? Do you agree it's time to bring back the regular season tie?
What the hell happened? It was 1-0 Leafs when I left for my hockey game. Then I'm driving home and hearing it was 5-2 for the Sabres? Weren't we dominating?
I guess it's tough to win on the road when your goalie lets in goals like this:
In The Monster we trust.
You can blame it on The Sopranos. When it came time to end that most popular series, creator David Chase opted to do it to "Don't Stop Believin'", the 1981 hit for Journey. The ending was rather controversial, so it put a whole new focus on the contagious sing-along single.
That was 2007. Since then, it seems "Don't Stop Believin'" is everywhere. You might have caught it in the most recent finale of American Idol.
Or perhaps you've heard the Glee cover version on the radio, or seen it performed on Glee itself?
Or maybe you've caught the many ads for Rock of Ages, coming to the Royal Alexandra Theatre this April?
Personally, I'll stick with the original, as chosen by Tony himself.
As 2009 draws to a close, it's time to reflect upon the past twelve months. Here are 12 blog entries of 2009 worthy of another visit.
Scientology, Autism and the Death of Jett Travolta
January 2, 2009
Early in the year, I decided to set my sights a little higher. I decided to bring down Scientology.
It's a work in progress, but the comments in this entry still make for a fantastic read. Amber and El Diablo had this blog peaking early in 2009.
Details are still emerging about Jett's death, but it sounds as if his affliction was acknowledged by everyone who knew him, except his parents. It would be difficult to believe devout followers of Scientology would do all they could do for someone suffering from a neurological disorder.
My Interview with Justin Pogge
February 13, 2009
In hindsight, this interview was the kiss of death for poor Justin in Toronto. But what the hell, it was a lot of fun.
Justin Pogge was drafted in the third round, 90th overall, by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He's currently a Toronto Marlie who gets called up to play for the Maple Leafs now and then. I had a few questions for him, as did you, and the Marlies were nice enough to let me into today's practice at the Ricoh Coliseum so I could pepper young Pogge.
I Want to Watch The Wire
March 7, 2009
One day I woke up and decided I wanted to watch every episode of The Wire. I wrote this entry and thanks to regular reader McNulty, I had all 60 episodes in my posession by the end of the month. The Wire changed the way I see everything and has most definitely made me a better person.
I want to watch The Wire. I understand there are five seasons and 60 episodes in total. From everything I've read, The Wire is right up my ally and I'm certain I'll love it.
Swansea Hockey Plays the ACC
March 8, 2009
I still can't believe my son played hockey at the ACC in front of 18,000. It happened, and it was a thrill for this very proud papa.
Last night was one of those once in a lifetime experiences you never forget. It's a story I'll be telling for some time. Last night, I was a very proud papa watching my son play on ACC ice in front of 18,000 spectators.
I was honoured to be a part of Humble and Fred's 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories. We took a trip down memory lane with a number of special guests and it was a blast.
Back on May 2, 2009, a bunch of us old time Humble and Fred fans got together at a Toronto pub to witness the recording of the 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories.
Martin Streek Dead
July 6, 2009
On July 6th, long-time CFNY DJ Martin Streek, who was let go two months earlier, took his own life. I would learn in the following weeks that many of Martin's friends and former colleagues learned this news from this entry.
I'm not sure how to write this one, so I'm just going to tell you what I know.
The Ballad of Martin Streek and Me
July 25, 2009
Following Martin Streek's dismissal and subsequent suicide, Bert Archer wrote a great piece for the Globe and Mail around the demise of the Spirit of Radio. I was quoted.
Over the past week or so, I've been communicating with Bert Archer who's been writing an article for the Globe and Mail on CFNY / Edge 102. Bert and I had a nice phone conversation and exchanged several emails and Gtalk messages. He was interested in where CFNY was going following the dismissal and subsequent death of Martin Streek.
The Top 200 Songs Of The 90's According to 102.1 the Edge
September 12, 2009
When the Edge aired their Top 200 songs of the 90s, it sparked quite the discussion in the comments. The absence of such 90s staples as "Jesus Built My Hotrod" and "Cannonball" should have told me this list wasn't for me.
Here's their list. Actually, they're claiming this list was compiled from listener votes. It's a pretty good top 10, actually, but I am surprised we got three Nirvana songs and Pearl Jam doesn't appear until 22. Then again, Alice in Chains doesn't debut until 75. Go figure.
Mr. Sub Produces Worst Ad of All-Time Contender
September 28, 2009
I saw an ad for Mr. Sub on YouTube and I hated it so much I had to write about it. That prompted a mother of one of the kids in the ad to feed me inside info on the entire clusterfuck and resulted in cease and desist orders from the advertisting agency.
Mr. Sub's new "Dinner" ad might just be the worst ad I've ever seen. Granted, that's a pretty subjective analysis, so I'm wondering if I'm alone.
H1N1 Flu Shot Myths Infuriate Me (or Why Your Ignorance Makes Me Feel Superior To You)
October 29, 2009
This entry, more than just about any other, buried me with hate mail. Good fun!
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.
This is a Blog. This is My Blog.
November 27, 2009
In case anyone had forgotten...
I started blogging here exactly 7 years ago this week. It was a place to sharpen my writing skills and a chance to test various SEO practices and web development techniques. In the beginning, the number of daily unique visitors was often less than ten, and I knew them all in "the real world".
Barilkosphere Call to Arms: Our Time is Now
December 16, 2009
After my visit to the ACC press box to catch a Leafs game, I wrote the Barilkosphere manifesto. Our time is now.
Are you a passionate Toronto Maple Leafs fan? Are you intelligent? Are you active in digital spaces, either blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other? If you answered "yes" to all three questions, this entry is for you. All others can pick apart my 40 favourite Christmas songs over here.
No, I don't have Humble and Fred's Fifth Podcast online yet. It'll be here before the big day, don't you worry.
In the meantime, Buffalo Boy has some great audio to tide us over.
I posted the audio from the BNL portion of the 1998 Christmas Spectacular, finally got it off my cassette, been waiting for Christmas time to do it, it sounds great considering its been on a cassette for 10 plus years, and its funny as hell, its one of my Christmas time listening delights.
From Buffalo Boy's dusty old cassette to your ears, here's Humble and Fred's BNL Christmas Spectacular from 1998.
The National Film Board of Canada's animated short based on Roch Carrier's short story "The Hockey Sweater" is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
I always loved this short, and I assumed it was much older than 30. I remember seeing it for the first time as a little kid so I figured it was already part of our cultural fabric. It turns out I was seeing a new film.
It's late-1940s in rural Quebec and a mother sends away to Eaton's for a Canadiens hockey sweater for her Maurice Richard-idolizing son. To the boy's horror, he receives the hated blue and white jersey of the arch-rival Toronto Maple Leafs instead. Problems on the ice ensue, and only a desperate plea to God himself can remedy the situation.
Enjoy The Sweater from NFB.
Chris Henry was 26. He was a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.
His best season with the Bengals was in 2006, when the wide receiver tallied 36 catches for 605 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games.
If you've watched any hockey lately, you've likely seen the ads for Cheer Nation. Pepsi seems to think the voices of Hockey Canada's fans need to be united with an official cheer. They've unveiled this new cheer under the marketing banner "Cheer Nation".
I've got several issues with this. Let's see... where should I begin...
The Premise is Faulty
Team Canada hockey fans don't need to be united. We are united. It's not broken and certainly doesn't need fixing. As my Twitter buddy @vinaymenon said, Cheer Nation reminds us all of New Coke and other forced marketing gimmicks.
The Cheer is Shitty
The cheer, in case you've missed it, is Eh! O' Canada Go!. That's awful. I'd be embarrassed to be caught saying that in public. I think I'll stick with the tried and true. Ca-Na-Da! Ca-Na-Da!
We Aren't Owned by a Multinational Corporation
PepsiCo, Incorporated is in the business of selling carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. There's nothing wrong with that, but this "Cheer Nation" moniker and the cheer itself is theirs. Hockey Canada fans are not sheep. We'll be cheering for Team Canada, but not for Pepsi.
And one more thing before I leave this topic for good. Pepsi promises the names of the first million fans to join 'Cheer Nation' in support of the cheer will be displayed in Hockey Hall of Fame. Thank you, PepsiCo for devaluing that hallowed hockey shrine with one fell swoop. I can't imagine anything minimizing the accomplishing of being displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame quite like that.
You can keep your Cheer Nation. I'm not chanting for Pepsi.
It was a rough night at the office for the Leafers. Ron Wilson blamed it on fatigue. "We're a little run-down and tired, we've been busy with the schedule we had and that kind of showed the first 30 minutes or so of the game".
I hate it when teams blame losses on fatigue. The Raptors will throw you the same excuse for their loss against the Magic last night. Professional athletes are well compensated to be in top physical condition so they can put in a complete effort each game. The Leafs hadn't played since Monday night, it wasn't even a back-to-back.
Get in shape!
There are some pretty awesome people behind Second Harvest. When I want to give back to my community and volunteer my time, I contact Second Harvest.
Second Harvest needs your help this weekend. This is not a drill. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday Sobeys grocery stores in downtown Toronto are holding a Fresh Food Drive campaign. With Sobeys matching dollar per dollar raised, customers who donate $5 to the campaign help provide a full bag of fresh food to feed the hungry this holiday season.
Now here's where you come in. We need you to give up a few hours of your weekend to hand out flyers and promote the donation of fresh food bag vouchers. It's easy, and very necessary.
If you are interested in helping out or would like more details, please contact Nicole Light, Volunteer Program Coordinator at 416.408.2594. Just do it... you can give up a few hours this weekend to help provide a full bag of fresh food to feed the hungry this holiday season. If you're following my lead and trying a "no buy, no receive" Christmas, volunteering makes an ideal gift for someone you love.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Are you a passionate Toronto Maple Leafs fan? Are you intelligent? Are you active in digital spaces, either blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other? If you answered "yes" to all three questions, this entry is for you. All others can pick apart my 40 favourite Christmas songs over here.
Following the Leafs game on Monday night, I had a lengthy discussion with Jonathan Sinden from MLSE. Jonathan is a recent hire who's tasked with improving the interactive component of MLSE's teams, which include the Maple Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Marlies. For the first time in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, they're making an effort to encourage online dialogue, good and bad, amongst folks like us.
As Jonathan and I spoke, a vision began to emerge. We can both see it. It's a consortium of passionate, intelligent Maple Leaf fans who are unofficially empowered by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Allow me to explain...
The digital space belongs to us. It's our blogs, our forums, our podcasts and our content. MLSE would have no editorial privilege and no veto power. MLSE would give us access normally reserved for the traditional mainstream media, and would empower us with tools, funds and some degree of promotion, but we would be the stars of this show. This is where our biased but realistic voices would be heard.
I just described the Barilkosphere. The Barilkosphere already exists in a sense. There are a core group of us who create good blog content and collaborate and communicate on Twitter each day. We love our Leafs, and we express this with others online. That's the Barilkosphere, a term I've been using for years but one that was completely unknown to Jonathan. In this new vision, MLSE treats the Barilkosphere the way it treats the reporter for the Toronto Sun or Fan 590. We're invited to games, given media access (like I was on Monday), given access to multimedia traditionally reserved for television and mapleleafs.com and empowered. But unlike MLSE interactive properties like mapleleafs.com and official Maple Leafs Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, there is no spin. It's raw, it's organic and it's from the hearts and minds of an independent body: The Barilkosphere.
I know Jonathan shares this vision, and having someone on the inside of MLSE with the mandate Jonathan has is a huge step in the right direction. Inviting bloggers to sit in press row is also a huge step for MLSE, so I'm optimistic. With the right pitch, buy-in from MLSE management is entirely possible.
The fact is, young people today are unlikely to read newspapers or listen to the radio. The next generation of fans is immersed in the pervasive web, with omnipresent internet access. This digital space is MLSE's final frontier and they can't permeate it by controlling the content found on their official channels. We're too smart to buy what they're selling over there.
Members of the Barilkosphere, this is a call to arms. I'll keep you abreast of developments as I continue to work with Jonathan on what I hope will be a long term, mutually beneficial collaboration. Our time is now.
Tipitina's Foundation - O Holy Night
A long time ago, there were two NBC series that took place behind the scenes of an SNL-like variety show. We all know and love "30 Rock", but do you remember Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"?
I watched "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", and three years later a song that aired on that series still makes my holiday playlist. There was a Christmas episode in which band members called in sick to create work for New Orleans musicians in need of cash. These musicians were given a spot on the show and they performed this fantastic rendition of "O Holy Night".
I love the world junior hockey championship. This year, it's in Regina, and it all gets underway December 26.
We've won five in a row, and we're still hungry for more.
I'll be focusing on a certain forward named Nazem Kadri. Here's the 22-man roster.
|Jake Allen||19||6'1||180||Montreal (QMJHL)|
|Martin Jones||19||6'4||193||Calgary (WHL)|
|Jared Cowan||18||6'5||220||Spokane (WHL)|
|Calvin de Haan||18||6'0||184||Oshawa (OHL)|
|Ryan Ellis*||18||5'9||176||Windsor (OHL)|
|Travis Hamonic||19||6'0||202||Moose Jaw (WHL)|
|Alex Pietrangelo*||19||6'2||204||Niagara (OHL)|
|Marco Scandella||19||6'3||217||Val d'Or (QMJHL)|
|Colten Teubert*||19||6'3||189||Regina (WHL)|
|Luke Adam||19||6'1||210||Cape Breton (QMJHL)|
|Gabriel Bourque||19||5'9||186||Baie Comeau (QMJHL)|
|Jordan Caron||19||6'2||206||Rimouski (QMJHL)|
|Patrice Cormier*||19||6'1||201||Rimouski (QMJHL)|
|Stefan Della Rovere*||19||5'11||200||Barrie (OHL)|
|Jordan Eberle*||19||5'10||181||Regina (WHL)|
|Taylor Hall||18||6'1||185||Windsor (OHL)|
|Adam Henrique||19||6'0||196||Windsor (OHL)|
|Nazem Kadri||19||6'0||177||London (OHL)|
|Brandon Kozoun||19||5'7||156||Calgary (WHL)|
|Brandon McMillan||19||5'11||190||Kelowna (WHL)|
|Greg Nemisz||19||6'4||200||Windsor (OHL)|
|Brayden Schenn||18||6'0||192||Brandon (WHL)|
*denotes returning player
Chris Bosh is a fantastic Toronto Raptor, and for a while he was fun to follow on Twitter as well. He used to give us an interesting insider perspective, a glance behind the curtain of NBA stardom. He was one of the few celebrities worthy of being followed.
Lately, Chris Bosh is all about selling his DVD. It's tweet after tweet about where to get his DVD, RTs of people who claim they've got it and instructions on how to order this DVD. Chris Bosh has gone into inventory sales hyperdrive and it's forced me to unfollow him.
It's likely for the best. After saying goodbye to Roy Halladay this week, I'm thinking it might be smart to emotionally distance myself from CB4 now...
And Chris, if you're reading this, I'm glad you made a DVD and can make some extra scratch from it, but I understand you have another gig that pays fairly well. I'd focus my energies there.
Oral Roberts was 91. He was a pioneer in televangelism who founded a multimillion-dollar ministry and a university that bears his name.
Here's a cut from 1989 that I dug. It's MC 900 Ft. Jesus with "Truth is Out of Style".
There are several wireless networks inside the Air Canada Centre. Yesterday, while in the media press box, I was given the username and password for the connection known as ACCWifi.
Here are the connections my laptop detected.
Prior to my visit, Elliotte Friedman warned me that the ACC wifi was a little wonky.
I'm happy to report my connection didn't drop once and ACCWifi was as fast as an Al Iafrate slap shot.
The Creation of Adam is a section of Michelangelo's fresco Sistine Chapel ceiling painted circa 1511. I don't mean to question the work of Michelangelo, but I've always felt something was missing.
Finally, they've fixed it. Here's a pic of The Creation of Adam after the edits.
Breaking News: They've gone and made another edit. I finally understand The Creation of Adam.
Imagine if this team didn't start 1-7-5. I'll give you a moment to close your eyes and envision such a scenario.
Don't look now, but after a win against the Sens last night, we're tied in 10th place in the conference, only 2 points behind the Habs who sit in the last playoff spot. And oh yeah, we have a game in hand over Montreal.
I caught the game from the press box last night, in case I forgot to mention it. For an insider account, revisit that live blogging event.
I'm sitting in media seat #67. No foolin'. Of all the numbers I could have got, I got #67.
I've already had a tour of the Rogers Sportsnet broadcast truck, seen Cliff Fletcher chowing down on a pre-game meal and I've been ice level to soak in some pre-game ambiance.
I'll be updating this entry throughout the game, so keep pressing F5. I'll also add some pics once I find my USB cable.
6:55 - All the popcorn and pretzels you want here... and just passed Mike Murphy and JFJ in the hallway. Does JFJ ever leave?
Having a good chat with Jonathan about MLSE and guys like me who blog and tweet about the Leafs ad nauseum. His vision is a suite where 20 or so bloggers / twitterers watch each game. He's working on getting buy-in from management, but my presence here in seat #67 is a baby step in the right direction.
7:03 - Andy Frost is yelling at me! He just announced that the young jedi Luke Schenn won't be playing tonight. That's his 2nd healthy scratch in a row...
Just my luck that the night I get access to the media box at the ACC is the night the biggest news in the building involves the Toronto Blue Jays.
7:09 - Fun fact: The last time I saw a Leafs game from the ACC, Jim Cuddy sang the national anthem. Today, Jim Cuddy sang the national anthem. Spooky!
Game just started...go Leafs go!
7:19 - Leafs PP fizzled... On a TV timeout. Sitting right in front of Dennis Beyak and the AM 640 crew calling tonight's game on radio. You can hear him when the crowd isn't booing Alfredsson.
7:24 - Do the Leafs and Sens know this game started at 7? C'mon guys, Toronto Mike is in da house!
7:28 - Here's the media seating chart.
7:34 - The ACC loudspeaker just played the 3rd Metallica song of the night. And the Leafs are shorthanded. Here's a view to my left in "The Foster Hewitt Media Gondola".
7:40 - The Leafs are being outshot 10-6 but Tosky's looked solid. Now it's time for the Metro Food Frenzy! See what you're missing!!!!
7:48 - Got another tour of the media rooms. Guess who I bumped into (literally) while going for a vanilla fudge Drumstick? Joe Bowen. True story.
Had a chat with Mike Ullmer re: Luke Schenn and whether he should be in the press box here to my left or with the Marlies. I say he's better off with the Marlies than he is being a healthy scratch. Mike agrees with me.
I'm diving into my ice cream now. Back in a bit...
8:02 - I just sent Jonathan to get me a coffee. Meanwhile, I'm making a total mess of myself trying to eat this Drumstick.
Jason Blake just scored! That's got this place jumping. Nice backhand from #55. Leafs 1, Sens 0.
8:08 - #67
8:20 - Mike Fisher just scored to tie things up. Having a great convo with Jonathan, my brother from another mother.
And Phil Kessel scores to put the Kessel Vessel back up by a goal. What a shot!
8:29 - 4th Metallica song of the night...
Free stuff I've consumed: pretzels, popcorn, bottled water, coffee, ice cream.
# of media info papers I've had delivered to me: 5434.
8:42 - Here's some video I took of the intros.
8:51 - Third period is underway. We just chatted about Hanson's blog, the awesome TFC atmosphere and censoring the word "vagina" on the official Maple Leafs Facebook page. Yes folks, I saw him do it. Stop using the V word over there.
8:53 - Crap. Sens tied it up. Btw, we get a special announcement with interesting facts re: penalties and goals, etc. Did you know Poni likes long walks in the rain and mangos?
8:59 - Grabs scores with 13:58 to play in the third! The crowd is chanting "Go Leafs Go" and watch out in section 102 because I just dropped my bagel.
9:05 - Has anyone seen Grabovski and Berezin in the same room at the same time? Just wondering...
9:09 - Luke's Troops gets the biggest cheer of the night. A standing O.
9:16 - I'm having a blast. Great convo, great view, awesome evening.
4:09 to play. Leafs up by a goal. I'm staring at the banner for retired #5 Bill Barilko. And Borje Salming is on the brand new scoreboard as the Leafs all-time highest scoring defenceman.
9:23 - C'mon Leafers, hang on... Sens goalie pulled. Sens scored, but the ref calls it off! Under review... the drama!
9:26 - No goal! The crowd loves the call. Screw you, Sens!
9:39 - Leafs win! Leafs win!
Komi was just announced as the first star and Poni was star #3. Shots were 24-24.
I'm going to talk this guy into an independent Leaf fan consortium that has total access to MLSE without MLSE having any editorial say or veto power. It's me and a few other intelligent Leaf fans who get the digital space and MLSE feeds us multimedia, access to players and ACC passes. I'm serious.
From the ACC where God's team just beat the Sens, I'm signing off.
Roy Halladay isn't just the best pitcher in the game, he's a throwback to a time when starters demanded the ball in the ninth inning. He never complains, he just goes about his business. When he's on the mound, you know there's a chance for a 2 hour game. He's efficient, he's effective and he's been ours for his entire 11-year major league career.
Now, if reports from ESPN are correct, he's a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. He's part of a three-team trade that likely also involves Cliff Lee, who would end up with Seattle. We'd get prospects for the greatest Blue Jay of all time.
Halladay, 32, is 148-76 lifetime with a 3.43 ERA. He won the 2003 Cy Young Award and finished in the top five in the Cy Young voting four other times. I'm not ashamed to admit that I heart him. Roy Halladay
is was the Blue Jays. He is was the heart and soul of this team, consistently awesome. I heart Roy Halladay and I don't care who knows it.
Farewell, Roy, and good luck with Philadelphia. Next season, I'll be rooting for the Phillies to win it all. Although I knew this day was imminent, I still find myself unprepared... this is the part of professional sports I like least.
This is for you, Roy.
More on Roy Halladay:
- Roy Halladay Becomes G.O.A.T.
- On Roy Halladay
- Roy Halladay: He Deserves More Credit
- Halladay vs. Stieb: It's Getting Closer
- I Heart Roy Halladay
- Halladay Wins the Cy Young Award
- The Day I Saw A Near No-Hitter
There's a link going around that lists the 100 best band names of all time.
Here's their top 10:
1. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (Leave it to The Muppets to come up with the BEST BAND NAME OF ALL TIME.)
2. Guided By Voices (This always seemed like the secret to Robert Pollard’s prolific and bizarre output.)
3. Joy Division (The name came from the 1955 novel House of Dolls in which a Nazi concentration camp had a prostitution arm.)
4. Led Zeppelin
5. A Tribe Called Quest
6. 13th Floor Elevators
7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Like Lemmy and the umlaut, we’d have retired random punctuation after these post-rock legends used it best.)
8. Public Enemy
9. Man… or Astro-Man? (After seeing them live, you still wonder.)
10. We Were Promised Jetpacks! (Yes, Scottish frontman Adam Thompson, we sure were.)
I like #3, #4, #5 and #8, but I'm not sure of the others. I don't even think #1 should count.
Without giving it a great deal of thought, here are my ten favourite band names.
- Joy Division
- Velvet Underground
- A Tribe Called Quest
- The Flaming Lips
- Revolting Cocks
- Rage Against the Machine
- Sex Pistols
- Sonic Youth
- The Psychedelic Furs
If you're a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, or if you're just naturally curious about what it would be like to watch an NHL game from the press box, you'll want to check back here tonight around 7pm. I'll be live blogging the game from the press box, giving you a little insight as to how they set up members of the media and what kind of access we get.
I'll start a new entry as soon as I'm connected to the ACC wifi and then I'll just update that one entry throughout the game, so click on over and press F5 every few minutes.
This should be fun.
When Odeo stopped allowing audio uploads, I started looking for a replacement. Essentially, I was looking for the YouTube of audio.
I discovered imeem would pretty much do what I wanted. I could upload an audio clip, usually one of Tom Cheek's calls of Blue Jays baseball or a Humble and Fred bumper, and embed the player on this site. Although not perfect (sometimes it would only play 30 seconds on the site and would force a click to imeem.com to hear the rest), imeem did the job nicely and all was well.
Last week, all imeem players embedded on this site disappeared. Literally. Maybe Humble and Fred bits and sports calls are AWOL. MySpace bought imeem and is redirecting imeem.com to music.myspace.com. It would be easy to say MySpace killed imeem, but I understand imeem was dead before the ship even sank. MySpace gets a free pass on this one...
But now I'm looking for the YouTube of audio again. It might be Hound Bite, but maybe it's something else? Maybe it's YouTube, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Do I need to roll my own or is there a decent free audio sharing service a'la YouTube?
I'm submitting a song for SLS22 consideration. I'm submitting "Wheels" by Foo Fighters.
I've been hearing "Wheels" all over the place for months. I'd hear it, I'd think "that's not a bad tune", and then I'd forget about it.
Today I heard "Wheels" and thought "why the hell haven't I thrown that on the SLS22 shortlist?". So I did.
I've never been a golf fan. I don't play the sport at all and I don't follow the PGA. Having admitted that, I've been a big Tiger Woods fan since he was an amateur.
I just revisited every entry on this blog that includes the keyword "Tiger Woods". There were 25. That's a lot of entries to be written by a guy who doesn't golf and doesn't give a rat's ass about golf. Heck, in the pre-YouTube era, I was sharing that shot Tiger made on the 16th hole of The Masters in 2005 as a WMV file. That's right, Tiger got me to share a WMV file.
In 2006, I wondered if Tiger Woods might be the greatest athlete of all-time. Not the greatest golfer, but the greatest athlete in any sport. Yes, I spoke of Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky with the same honoured tone.
A couple of summers ago, I actually threw all of my Tiger Woods thoughts into an entry I entitled "My Thoughts on Tiger Woods".
I love the idea that someone we watched, someone during our lifetime is the best there ever was. I rooted for Michael Jordan and I rooted for Wayne Gretzky. Athletes like Tiger come around once in a lifetime and it seems foolish and unnatural to root against them unless they're complete jerks, Barry Bonds style. Hell, for a while I even rooted for him.
And hell, I'm still rooting for Tiger Woods. And no, I never bought that car crash story where Elin drags him from the vehicle. Not for a second. And I'm aware of his chronic infidelity and love of the ladies. The man's a dog, but he's the best damn golfer in the history of the world and the only guy who could get me to write 25 entries about a sport I don't care about. Ask me how many entries I've written about rugby or cricket or polo?
Tiger's fall from grace is unprecedented. A month ago, he was a god. Today, his sponsors are dropping like flies and his career is officially on-hold. This is crazy.
Tiger, ya dirty dog, work on that marriage, fix it for your wife and kids, but for heaven's sake, keep golfing. There are records to break, there's history to make, legions of fans to please and me, a Tiger Woods fan who doesn't give a shit about golf.
Ovechkin got his three points early, and then disappeared. That's when the Kessel and Stajan show began as we doubled the league's top team.
Now on to the important stuff. I heard former Leafs captain Darryl Sittler watched the game from press row. That's exactly where I'll be tomorrow night to take in the Leafs ~ Sens game at the ACC.
I've been told by MLSE that it's business casual, so I've got to leave my #5 Bill Barilko jersey at home. I've also been told I have wifi, so I'm bringing my laptop. That means I should be able to live blog the game from the press box, which will be pretty cool.
I promise to let you know exactly what it's like to cover this team with a press pass, and if any former Leafs captains are on press row, I promise a picture or two.
So dial up this blog during Monday night's game and press F5 every few minutes for real-time updates. Cool, eh?
A homeless guy named Mustard told Opie and Anthony that he used to be a musician, so they gave him a guitar.
He then covered Radiohead's "Creep".
My current ringtone is a homemade cut of Metallica's "Hero of the Day". It's a sweet 15 seconds that reminds me of the Wendel Clark All Heart montage on YouTube.
My kids love All Heart and I sincerely believe it should be mandatory viewing for all primary school students in Canada. My Twitter crush Down Goes Brown once wrote the definitive guide to the Wendel Clark "All Heart" video, and I highly recommend it.
If you want to enjoy that feeling All Heart gives you every time you receive a phone call, here's the ringtone I created for myself. Save it down to your PC and throw it on your mobile phone. Merry Christmas.
As I type, Humble and Fred are recording Humble and Fred's Fifth Podcast. The top secret location can now be revealed. It's the home of PROUD FM at Church and Wellesley, the first gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender focused station in the country.
And here's a pic of Humble and Fred's arrival. In the background, you'll see Dan Duran and Bingo Bob.
As soon as Dan punts me the MP3, I'll make it easy for you to hear the magic for yourself. In the meantime, keep reaching for that rainbow!
PPM Top-line Radio Data for Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal has been released by bbm.
Below are the ratings for Toronto, covering August 31, 2009 through November 29, 2009. This is our first full ratings period since they switched to Portable People Meter (PPM) technology.
|Call Letters||Also Known As||Share %||Cume (000)||Daily Cume (000)|
|CBLFM||CBC Radio 2||1.7||1,935.50||148.4|
|CBLAFM||CBC Radio One||9.3||2,163.40||484.3|
|CFNYFM||102.1 The Edge||5.4||3,771.40||521.7|
|CFZM||Zoomer Radio AM740||2.5||1,523.70||143.5|
|CHUMFM||104.5 - CHUM FM||12.1||5,038.40||1,046.30|
|CJBC||La Première Chaîne||0.1||745.4||20.4|
|CJCL||The Fan 590||2.9||1,911.10||289.1|
|CJEZFM||97.3 EZ Rock||6.5||5,139.80||702|
|CKDXFM||88.5 The Jewel||1.4||1,457.10||105.7|
|CKFMFM||Virgin Radio 999||6.5||5,100.20||825.6|
CHFI and CHUM-FM are hammering it out for top spot and there's still nobody listening to the old 1050 CHUM spot, now simulcasting CP24. All in all, very few surprises...
Tis the season we're inundated by Christmas music. Like any music, some Christmas songs are great, while others are pretty dreadful. This year, I decided to wade through my collection and produce the top 40 Christmas songs.
Yes, music playlists are totally subjective, so I'm sure I've missed a few of your personal favourites, or perhaps I included a Christmas song or two you despise. That's what the comments are for! Let me know where I messed up as we collaborate to mould the ideal Christmas playlist for 2009.
- Christmas Don't Be Late - Alvin and the Chipmunks
- Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
- Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
- Green Christmas - Barenaked Ladies
- White Christmas - Bing Crosby
- Mary Had A Baby - Bruce Cockburn
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
- Merry Christmas Baby - Chuck Berry
- Joy To The World - Clem Snide
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay
- First Noel - Crash Test Dummies
- Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie and Bing Crosby
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab For Cutie
- Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
- I Believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake
- Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown
- Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir
- Honky The Christmas Goose - Johnny Bower
- I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas
- Christmas Night in Harlem - Louis Armstrong & His All Stars
- Carol Of The Bells - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
- Merry Christmas, Baby - Otis Redding
- Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam
- Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
- 2000 Miles - The Pretenders
- Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
- The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes
- Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles
- Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
- Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
- What Christmas Means To Me - Stevie Wonder
- You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
- O Holy Night - Tipitina's Foundation
- Baby Please Come Home - U2
- Christmas Time Is Here ( Instrumental) - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Greensleeves - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
- Welcome Christmas - The Who's of Whoville
Don't look at the score. It's not too late, is it? It's just that the score in this game is misleading. 5-2 implies an overwhelming win by the home team, but we were down 3-2 in the third and pressing hard to tie this one up.
Here's a sobering fact. The Leafs have only one win in nine games against Northeast division rivals. It's good to soak in a sobering factoid like that when we start to fantasize about playoff races and such.
Here's the entire show. And here's my Tragically Hip page.
New Orleans is Sinking
The Depression Suite
Ahead By A Century
It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken
Yer Not The Ocean
At the Hundredth Meridian
Love Is A First
Springtime in Vienna
The Last Recluse
Courage (For Hugh Maclennan)
Music at Work
Blow at High Dough
Frozen In My Tracks
Buck Martinez's kid went to the same primary school as me, at the same time. He was younger, but we all knew who his dad was.
Martinez, in the twilight of his career, was a solid back up to Ernie Whitt who was enjoying some all-star seasons behind the plate for our Toronto Blue Jays. I remember that year Martinez got run over blocking the plate but still managed to fire a bullet to
second third base. He was out for the year and the strip in the top right corner of the following page in my scrapbook shows BJ Birdy protecting Whitt from the same fate.
Why am I writing about Buck Martinez today, a popular back up catcher for the Jays in the 80s? It's because he calls a great ball game, and his years doing Blue Jays broadcasts with Dan Shulman were pretty special.
Wouldn't it be great having Buck Martinez back calling Jays games on television? Perhaps on Sportsnet? In place of Jamie Campbell?
It's true, Jays fans.
My son and I are spending our Sunday at the Queens Quay Loblaws at 10 Lower Jarvis Street. We're volunteering with Second Harvest, asking Loblaws customers to purchase and donate a turkey to Second Harvest.
Second Harvest is a charity that picks up fresh food, which would have gone to waste, and delivers that food to social service agencies. The turkeys are going to be delivered – in time for the holidays – to shelters, drop-in centres, and community centres throughout the GTA. We're aiming to collect 6000 turkeys, because that's how many we need.
This weekend, come to Loblaws and donate a turkey. If you come to the Queens Quay Loblaws between 9am and 1:30pm, say hi to my son and I.
Warning! The Leafs are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is not a drill. The Leafs are creeping into the Eastern conference playoff picture.
Now let's get serious about what matters. The Wayne Primeau - Nikolai Kulemin - Lee Stempniak line needs a name. I'm open to suggestions...
After a two year hiatus, the annual Humble and Fred Christmas show is back!
Humble and Fred are reuniting for their fifth podcast this Saturday afternoon. Admittance is by invitation only, but I'll be sure to share the resulting audio with you all as soon as I get it from Dan Duran.
The last Humble and Fred Christmas podcast took place in 2006 and I've got it permanently archived at http://www.torontomike.com/humbleandfred/christmas2006/. The last podcast took place in May and recapped twenty years of Humble and Fred. You can hear that at http://www.torontomike.com/humbleandfred/20th-anniversary/.
Spread the word. The Humble and Fred Christmas show is back!
Remember when I wrote about being interviewed by The Canadian Press last week? The article about me is out there. So far I've seen it in the Winnipeg Free Press and Metro News.
Here's the article in its entirety. I'll share some thoughts at the end.
TORONTO - It took Mike Boon a few years of blogging until he finally beat the mainstream media to a story, an especially big accomplishment considering he lives in Toronto, with its hyper-competitive media market and four newspapers fighting for scoops.
And it wasn't just one lucky break, as he's had another two exclusives this year after carving out a niche for himself reporting on the comings and goings in Toronto radio, a subject he turned his attention to after finding little coverage in the daily papers.
After years of hype, online citizen journalism is starting to have a real impact on the mass media and is drawing readers who aren't getting all the news they want from the mainstream press, said Alfred Hermida, assistant professor with the University of British Columbia's journalism school.
"People are looking for news that's relevant to them . . . and perhaps that's not something that a mainstream publication will publish because it might be too narrow, too niche," Hermida said.
"But if you have, essentially, more media, there's the ability for more stories to be reported."
Canadians have been active in the citizen journalism field, launching sites like Orato.com, Digitaljournal.com and Nowpublic.com, which was acquired by the American site Examiner.com in September.
So-called hyperlocal blogs add to the mix and well-established sites, such as Torontoist.com and Blogto.com, have enough clout to see their content syndicated by the Globe and Mail and National Post, respectively.
NowPublic co-founder Len Brody said his site was launched a few years ago after recognizing the media was facing a challenging future and wouldn't be able to cover everything.
"You now have millions of people around the world that are out recording everything they see and we realized there was going to be a big market opportunity for the next generation (wire service), an organization that would have the ability to help news companies and media companies make sense of this rapid-fire news economy we were going to live in," Brody said.
Examiner.com has entered the Canadian market with local content for Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver but they're not setting out to compete directly with mainstream media, said Brody. Instead, they're hoping to empower local users to create content for their peers.
"Our focus was really on having people in their communities speaking to one another . . . it's about having people who are passionate about any particular subject in their locality writing on it."
In Boon's case, his early postings at Torontomike.com covered his love for "The Dukes of Hazzard" and The Tragically Hip. Over time, posts about local radio piled up and Google began to recognize his site as a main source of that content.
His first big story came in 2006 and involved the firing of local DJ Humble Howard. His web traffic logs suggested users were bombarding his site after searching for information about his on-air absence, which at that point hadn't hit the mainstream.
Boon noticed Howard's name had been scrubbed from the radio station's website and figured he'd write something about it, since there was an obvious appetite for that type of news.
"I had thousands and thousands and thousands of people trying to find out about his radio career, that was the first time I noticed there were suddenly people . . . reading what I have to say."
A couple days later the mainstream media caught up to the story, with Humble Howard - whose real name is Howard Glassman - confirming he was let go.
A little more than a week later, Glassman posted a message on the comments section of Boon's blog and readers continued to talk about that story for another two months. A story the mainstream media initially didn't care about had a lot of legs for Boon and Toronto readers.
Boon's biggest coup came this summer, when he was the first to report on the suicide of local DJ Martin Streek, based on a tip from one of his readers. At least one newspaper quoted his blog as a source and, while he was confident that what he was posting was true, Boon now says he's conflicted about his role as a news provider.
"It frightens me when people sort of take me as a definitive news source, I just think it's dangerous and I'll be the first to admit that," he said.
"Having the audience is very powerful and totally awesome at times but there are times where it is completely scary because, suddenly, people are actually listening to you and a lot of people start to confuse you with CNN or the The Canadian Press."
The questionable credibility of citizen journalism has been one of its biggest criticisms but online readers will quickly decide which sites are reliable and worth reading and which aren't, Hermida said.
"If you don't find a site useful you're never going to go to it again, so the credibility comes from the content rather than the credibility of the brand, and that's not necessarily a bad thing," he said.
"(Readers will question) is the content there valuable to me, does it help me live my life, does it tell me something I didn't know, because essentially, online you can switch at a click of a mouse."
Brody said it's an exciting time for citizen journalism, which is finally building steam and yet is still at an embryonic stage.
"We're really at the beginning of a journey, we're kind of in the 2nd inning of a nine inning game and I would argue we didn't even step onto the ball field until seven or eight months ago," he said.
I've had a few of these interviews lately with the mainstream media, and they're tougher than you'd think. They get you talking, sharing stories and opinions on the subject at hand, and then they take your 60-minute convo and boil it down to 1000 words and a couple of quotes.
For example, regarding my Humble Howard, Are You Okay? entry from 2006, I wrote that after several visitors arrived after searching "humble howard fired" and keywords of that nature. I wrote about it because I was a fan of the Humble and Fred morning show and I sincerely wanted to know if he was okay, because where there's smoke, there's often fire. I didn't write about it because "there was an obvious appetite for that type of news", even though there was.
And I assure everyone, I handled the Martin Streek topic with great sensitivity. Reading that part of the article, especially the reference to my "biggest coup", makes me look a bit like an ass. I wasn't an ass, I promise.
Looking back, it's tough for me to even read Martin Streek Dead. That's not a story I ever wanted to break.
But all in all, it's a pretty fair article and I think the point is valid. Citizen journalism is gaining steam, but everyone needs to check their sources when reading news. I'm not the Globe and Mail or BBC, but I have been blogging for 7 years and 10,000 entries, and over time you do earn trust and integrity. You can't buy cred, you have to put in the time and prove yourself worthy.
Mayor Miller will be in Copenhagen to represent Toronto as Chair of the C40 at the Climate Summit for Mayors. This video is being shown at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. This is what our city is doing to fight climate change.
Is it enough?
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab For Cutie
The most popular modern version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) belongs to U2, who recorded their version back in 1987. Well move over, Bono, Death Cab For Cutie has a pretty sweet version of the Phil Spector classic.
Add this to your holiday playlist.
It snowed last night. Not a lot, but enough to get the local media excited. 680 News, for example, opened their Storm Centre for the first time.
It was about six years ago that I first wondered aloud as to what opening their Storm Centre would entail.
I wonder what setting up the Storm Centre entails exactly. As far as I can tell, it's business as usual with more time devoted to the top story of the morning, our little snow storm. Media outlets like 680News thrive when their listeners in are in a state of fear. Listening to them you'd have thought we were all buried and trapped in our homes living off the food and drink we have stored away. In reality, it's not that bad. Really.
The Storm Centre guy back then was Scott Simpson. I had a chat with Scott Simpson and got an exclusive inside look at the 680 News Storm Centre. We'll call this "680 News Storm Centre Exposed", because that sounds a lot more exciting. The words below belong to Scott.
Setting up the storm centre basically entails somebody telling me, "Simpson, you're on standby for Storm Centre tomorrow." That means I try to get to bed early, but end up tossing and turning until 4:15am when I call the newsroom ... I say, "It's not even snowing. The Weather Network says we're only getting 5cm." They say "Well, it's hit Chicago and they've cancelled a ton of flights. Come on in, you're our man."
That's about it. I get in, I see if any schools are closed, I find out what's up at the airport, maybe call Gary Welsh from Toronto Transportation to see what gear they're sending out, load up the admin side of the web site, and climb on the news wheel ... There's no time to run back and forth into and out of the control room, so I sit at a desk (the proverbial "Storm Centre" which, internally, is dialed up as CHFINEWS, even though they haven't done CHFI news from the newsroom in ... erm ... well, I don't think they ever did. Legacy tech, natch.) and broadcast from there, getting up now and then for fluid management.
So I sit there at the desk, and every half hour they throw to me, I read a sponsor or two, and try to tell it like it is .... sometimes it's a brain-bending five-hour whirlwind of bus cancellations and school closures (how many Montessori schools *are* there in the GTA, and why can't they get their kids to class when it snows?!) though, thankfully, most days I end up saying "Well, there's no big storm here ... but if you're travelling by air, you're screwed." I would rather be the voice of "everything's fine, get out and live your lives!" than the voice of doom and gloom when there's nothing to freak out about. I don't want to get a reputation as Chicken Little. If anything, I downplay the severity of what's going on out of the fact that I don't drive.
I saw Bowling For Columbine and some other stuff that has convinced me that keeping listeners "in a state of fear" is a terrible thing to do. I also don't like "neighbourhoods in a state of shock" or "outraged residents" or such things. I have two rules: tell the truth, and never be boring. They rarely clash, because the truth well told is usually a really interesting story.
There you have it, a Toronto Mike exclusive. Since Scott's left, I think they've gone all "state of fear" on us. Now be afraid... very afraid. White substance has fallen from the heavens!
I'm submitting a song for SLS22 consideration. I'm submitting "My Love Was There" by The Junction.
When I first heard about The Junction, I assumed they were from the neighbourhood of that same name in west Toronto. You know, the neighbourhood the New York Times calls "hip".
In actuality, they're from Brampton. Although I liked them better when they were from the Junction, this is still a nice single from the indie trio.
I recently wrote about my dusty old Rawlings Fernando Valenzuela glove. It's the best baseball glove I've ever used and I used it for years and years until it eventually fell apart on me.
Dana in Seattle left a comment on that entry this past weekend. Here's what Dana wrote:
I have the same model glove for sale. I think I purchased it new in 1993, Found your site as I was searching for its value prior to placing it on Craigs List. I used it for one softball season and then stored it. In excellent condition. Can provide a photo if you are interested.
Naturally, I was interested. The photos proved it was in fact my beloved Rawlings Fernando Valenzuela glove and it was in great shape.
Next came the negotiation. How much was this old glove worth to me? After shipping, how much would Dana charge me? I wanted the glove, but at what cost?
The cheapest Dana would go, believe it or not, was $150 USD + shipping costs. Is that really the going rate for an old ball glove?
I love playing the Atlanta Thrashers. We're 11-4-1-2 at home against the Thrashers the past decade and Tosky is 6-0-2-1 against them in his career.
We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole. Despite going 6-2-1 in our past nine games, the Leafs are still stuck in 29th, ahead of only Carolina.
Still, hope springs eternal. We're only 5 points out of a playoff spot.
A long time ago, I listed my ten favourite television shows of all-time. Number 8 was "Kids in the Hall", a show that was guaranteed to leave me in stitched when I watched it weekly on CBC from 1988 to 1994. I just found Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson to be hilarious.
Here's the trailer for the Kids in the Hall's new 8-part limited series that will air on CBC early next year. "When Death gets off the Greyhound bus in small town Shuckton, Ontario, everyone in town is implicated when one of its most distinguished citizens is found murdered".
Is it too early to set my PVR?
I recently wrote about the Humble and Fred network cable special that aired on Rogers 10 back in 1993. Thanks to Ryan at Rogers 10, I now have in my possession the opening for "Humble and Fred's First Ever Network Cable Special".
It's got some great footage of the old CFNY studio and a very young Humble Howard, Fred Patterson and Dan Duran. Fans of the old Humble and Fred morning show and CFNY alike will want to check this out.
Nice ponytail, Humble! Nice moustache, Fred!
I'm submitting a song for SLS22 consideration. I'm submitting "Don't Haunt This Place" by The Rural Alberta Advantage.
Brian turned me on to this tune and I totally dig it. This is precisely the kind of tunage we should be hearing on CFNY / Edge 102.1. It's new rock, it's great and these guys are based in Toronto. Have a listen to a little RAA.
What Can You Get A Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb)
Until Christmas, you're getting two MP3s a week, every Monday and Wednesday. Don't say I never give you anything.
This is from Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album. In this Star Wars fan's opinion, "What Can You Get A Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb)" is the best cut on the album.
The tree is up. The kids did pretty much all the decorating, and I just stood around taking pictures.
We usually put up the Christmas tree the first weekend of December. If you put up a tree, when do you put it up?
Here are my ten favourite Christmas movies and specials. Feel free to add your favourites in the comments.
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas
9. It's A Wonderful Life
8. Love Actually
7. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
6. A Charlie Brown Christmas
5. The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
4. Bad Santa
3. The Polar Express
2. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
1. A Christmas Story
Sometimes, things work out for the best. I really wanted to watch last night's Leaf game, when Phil Kessel returned to Boston, but I was trapped at an office Christmas party without a television in sight.
As it turned out, I was saved from witnessing a dog of a game in which we were pummelled by the Bruins 7-2. I'm convinced Tuukka Rask will haunt us for all of eternity, so of course he got the win.
Ron Wilson said it best. We stunk and we'll move on.
YouTube 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.
One of the stranger flukes of fame in the 1980s belonged to an Aussie known as Jacko. You likely know Jacko best from his many Energizer battery commercials in which he'd pronounce "Get Energizer. It'll surprise you! Oi!". I remember thinking "Oi!" was a pretty cool expression back in Australia lovin' 1987.
I also remember being pretty excited about his 1988 television series, "The Highwayman". He was survival expert "Jetto", but the show didn't survive for long.
Jacko did pretty well for himself, considering how damn annoying these ads are now that I watch them with adult eyes.
On my way to hockey last night, I made a quick stop at the Purolator depot to pick up a package they've been trying to deliver to me. It was a textbook from Oxford University Press entitled "Perspectives on Ideology". For the life of me last night, I couldn't figure out who sent it to me or why.
This morning, my wife cracked the case. She found a letter on page 376 from Oxford University Press that explained I'm quoted in this text book. Here's the letter:
I guess I gave permission at some point and totally forgot about it. I quickly jumped to page 376 and found myself quoted between an MP and Ayn Rand. Not bad...
The actual entry they printed can be found right here.
As @vinaymenon just pointed out, being quoted in a text book entitled Perspectives on Ideology makes me sound like a freedom fighter, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I've written ad nauseum about my love for the music of Public Enemy. When I put on It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back or Fear of a Black Planet, I'm with Chuck and Flav word for word.
One of the more controversial and popular tracks from the aforementioned Fear of a Black Planet album was "911 is a Joke". "911 is a Joke" was a politically charged attack on the emergency phone number and had absolutely nothing to do with the events of September 11, 2001, a day that was more than eleven years into the future when Fear first dropped.
That wasn't so obvious to the Washington Post. In an article from November 26, they made the following statement.
Public Enemy has earned notoriety with more than 20 years of politically charged music about fighting the power, challenging racism and declaring that 9/11 was a joke. The group has joined forces with Virgin Mobile USA to combat youth homelessness as part of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.
The Washington Post has since put out the best correction I have ever seen.
A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.
And in case that correction disappears, here it is for all eternity.
And because I love the band, and this is as good an excuse as any, here's "911 is a Joke".
For the past couple of years, I've had media passes for Toronto Marlies games. This gets me in the door, gives me access to the press box and all the goodies in there, and let's me sit in whatever seat is empty. As much as I enjoy Marlies games, I've always dreamt of parlaying my AHL media credentials into a similar deal with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, a team I've loved for as long as I can remember. It looks like I'm getting my wish...
I've been called up to the big leagues! On Monday, December 14th, with the hateful Ottawa Senators in town, I'll be watching the game from Press Row at the ACC. That's right, Toronto Mike will be in the press box, tweeting and blogging all the action.
A big thanks to MLSE for setting this up. I was actually offered a spot in the press box this coming Monday, but my son's got a big game of his own and I couldn't let him down. The game against the Sens should be better, anyway.
Now this should be cool.
Tiger Woods and Jay Z both have problems, but the similarities end there.
At least we have Phil Kessel. He scored another two goals last night and even won a fight as the Leafs won easily in Columbus.
Kessel has four goals in four games and 10 in the past 13. No Boston Bruin has 10 goals this season. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
And lest we forget, it was another great outing by Joey Mac, who deserves the start on Saturday. And Jason Blake, a man who hadn't scored in his previous 12 games, managed to double his season total from two to four in just one game. Kessel would have needed 8 to do that, and he missed the first 13 games.
Stop me if you've heard this story before. The Maple Leafs have traded a player who was once the most promising prospect in the organization. Yes Leaf fans, it's happened again.
In October 2007, I wrote this about Jiri Tlusty.
Jiri Tlusty, the only teenager in the Maple Leafs farm system, will make his NHL debut tonight against the Penguins. He was selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and, other than Justin Pogge, is the only half-decent prospect we have.
In the end, Tlusty appeared in 74 career NHL games for Toronto over the past three seasons. I know him best as a pretty solid member of the Toronto Marlies. You know him best as the guy who emailed pictures of his wang to someone who posted the pics on the web.
And for a brief period of time in 2007, you all thought I had that picture on this site.
Brian Burke has traded Jiri Tlusty to the Carolina Hurricanes for prospect Philippe Paradis. I'm sure he'll tear up the NHL and become a star.
My kids each wrote a letter to Santa and gave them to the postal employees at the beginning of the Santa Claus Parade last month.
Today, they got Santa's reply. It blew little Michelle's mind that busy ol' Saint Nick took the time to write her back. Here she is showing off her letter.
I love this program and the volunteers behind it. Thanks...
Tom Cheek deserves to win the Ford C. Frick Award. The Ford C. Frick Award is the highest honour for baseball broadcasters and they're now accepting votes as they widdle the list of 200 down to three. Go to http://www.facebook.com/baseballhall?v=app_20678178440 now and vote for Tom Cheek.
This is the fifth year I've encouraged you to vote for Tom Cheek as a finalist for the Ford C. Frick Award, and I take it personally that he's not yet in Cooperstown. Removing my extremely biased perspective for a moment, Tom Cheek called Blue Jays games since day one, calling 4,306 of them in a row. During that time Toronto won two World Series championships and a few additional division pennants. He was the voice of my summers.
Here are previous entries I've written about Cheek's eligibility for the Ford C. Frick Award.
- Vote for Tom - 2005
- The Ford Frick Award - 2006
- Show Tom Some Frick'n Respect - 2007
- The Annual Ford C. Frick Award Plea - 2007
- Cheek's Ford C. Frick Award - 2008
And yes, I shall use this opportunity to remind you that I've archived all of Tom Cheek's Greatest Hits. Click over and remember the glory days of Blue Jays baseball. And don't forget to vote for Tom.
Rogers TV Toronto (channel 10) is producing a series called "Retro Rewind" featuring some of the classic, and not so classic, moments from the community channel's history.
Tomorrow night's episode features Humble and Fred when they did a cable show called "Humble and Fred's Dance Party" around
'91 1993. It mocked City-TV's popular Electric Circus and Humble and Fred had a bunch of people dancing badly to The Tragically Hip's "Courage".
It airs tomorrow at 9pm on good ol' Rogers TV. Here's a taste of the good stuff.
Does anyone out there remember Humble and Fred's Dance Party?
I got an email from a reporter with The Canadian Press. Here's a bit of what he had to say:
I'm working on a story about the state of and future of citizen journalism, including blogs and hyper-local sites, and would like to talk you. I'm interested in hearing from you about your blog's evolution from a small personal web site to a widely-read blog that's broken some stories before the mainstream press.
Now that's a subject that speaks to me. I conversed with the reporter this afternoon for about 45 minutes and I'm told the article will hit the streets some time next week.
We'll see how many of my fantastic quotes hit the cutting room floor this time...
Julian Casablancas - I Wish It Was Christmas Today
It's December, so it's time to share the cooler Christmas songs each Wednesday.
This is a cool cover of a song that originally aired on SNL of all places. Julian Casablancas is the most excellent lead singer of The Strokes. Throw this one on your holiday playlist.
Any Leaf fan will tell you, it's all about heart. The Leafs dominated last night in Montreal, shutting out the hateful Habs, but all was not well in Leafs Nation. THE MONSTER was taken to hospital after the first period when his heart started to race.
The hospital visit was precautionary, but when it comes to the heart, you can never be too careful. After all, it's all about heart. Here's what THE MONSTER's heart looked like when he arrived at the hospital.
Leafs win! Habs suck! THE MONSTER's heart overfloweth with awesomeness!
I've taken a few days to write about Tiger-gate because I've been waiting patiently for someone to break this story wide open. I mean, it's obvious, right? I certainly wasn't buying what Tiger Woods was selling. Not for a nanosecond.
Tiger's extramarital relations were discovered by his wife, who reacted violently. At some point during the heated exchange, she grabbed a golf club. To escape the tension, Tiger sped away while Elin Nordegren clubbed the car with the golf club.
It's all so obvious. There's even video evidence. Watch the video below, starting at the 55-second mark.
According to Google Analytics, here are the top ten keywords that brought people to this site in November 2009.
- country 95.3
- sandra rinomato breasts
- what happened to country 95.3
- toronto mike
- party playlist
- party playlist 2009
- wedding songs 2009
- big shiny tunes 5
- big shiny tunes 2
For a radio station I hadn't heard of until it went oldies, November's keywords were dominated by Country 95.3. I was a little surprised that demographic knew how to Google.
I have fantastic memories of attending Maple Leaf games at Maple Leaf Gardens. As a kid in the 1980s, I'd get to one or two games a year, usually against bottom-feeding Norris Division teams, where's I'd sit in the Greys and cheer like hell. I loved that old barn, so I'm glad they're bringing it back to life.
A $60-million partnership between Ryerson University, Loblaws and the federal government will bring Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto "back to life."
On Tuesday the federal government announced a $20-million contribution from its infrastructure fund to get construction started.
Another $20 million will come from Ryerson students, while the final $20 million will be raised in partnership with Loblaw Cos. Ltd.
"We're bringing Maple Leaf Gardens back to life," university president Sheldon Levy told a morning news conference announcing the renewal project.
The iconic building at the corner of Church and Carlton streets will become a multi-purpose facility. Part of the building will be a Loblaws supermarket, while other parts will be turned into an athletic centre for the university.
"This new centre will be a 150,000-square-foot space for Ryerson students and the public to use," said federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. "Once completed it will include an NHL-sized skating rink, a running track, basketball and volleyball courts, a fitness centre and more."
I can't wait to take my kids skating at MLG.
Do Leaf shooters simply make opposing goaltenders look good or do opposing goalies save their best stuff for the centre of the universe?
Ryan Miller was awesome last night, making 38 saves to register the first shutout against us this season.
25 games in, we've got 19 points and sit in 14th place in the East, 5 points out of 13th. I'm calling it...
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