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Canada Wins Gold in Hockey, My Heart Bursts With Pride

goldIncredible.

What a fantastic finish. I'm only now coming up for air, having flown above cloud 9 since Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to beat the USA and win Canada's record-breaking 14th gold medal. That scream you heard when Crosby potted the winner was mine.

I watched this game with the people I love the most in the world, and as we headed into overtime, I openly hoped Crosby would get the winner. I'm a big fan, a big believer, and I knew nothing would shut up his detractors faster than a gold medal winning goal. Now, we have a moment like this stitched into our cultural fabric, and there is no undo button. Nothing can take this away from us. This is our moment.

gisidneycrosbyfinalscore

gisidneycrosbycelebrategoal

When I'm on my deathbed, hopefully many decades from now, I'm going to remember this day. I'm going to remember it starting at 8am when I woke up my son for his championship game, a game he'd win, and ending with this euphoric feeling of national pride because we're #1. This is our game, on our ice, and now it's our gold and our podium.

I've never been so happy to be so right. Thanks, Canada.

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One Championship Down, One To Go...

puckI awoke this morning with an eerily calm feeling. When I woke up James, I told him about my feeling. I just felt good about the day ahead... as if good things were going to happen.

James was playing for the Swansea Hockey Association Novice Division Championship of the world. Before the game, the ISP dressing room was a mad house. The jams were pumping, the speeches were flowing and everyone was sugaring up with Timbits. James, as displayed in this pre-game video I took, shared my eerie calmness.

ISP won the hard fought game 3-1 and the party began. First, in the great tradition started by the 1980s Edmonton Oilers, there was the team photo on the ice with the trophy.

SHA Champions

James loves being a champion, and was pleased his mom, sister and grandmother made it out for his big moment.

SHA Champions champion 036 SHA Champions SHA Champions

In the dressing room, it was a scene of sweet relief and celebration. Queen's We Are The Champions bellowed from a boombox, the trophy was passed around, pucks were signed, beer (of the root variety) was guzzled and Coach Gerry was presented with a #4 Bobby Orr jersey. He had to leave the room to cry.

If you were to ask me which game I wanted more, this one or the one at 3pm today, I'd have to go with this one. There's nothing more awesome than watching 7 and 8 year old kids play hard all season and win it all, and I know my son will never forget this feeling. They're playing for pride and a trophy, and today they're true champions.

Still, my eerie calm remains. I sense we'll go 2-for-2 today. I've got a feeling...

Champion - congrats, James!

Congrats, James... ISP are SHA Novice Division champs!

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Canada Wins Gold in Curling

goldCanada has earned its 25th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Kevin Martin and his team of Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert and John Morris won gold in men's curling.

This is the most medals Canada has ever won at an Olympics, summer or winter. It also ties the record for most gold medals by any country at any winter games. I'm damn proud.

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Canada Wins Bronze in Four-Man Bobsleigh

bronzeCanada has earned its 24th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Lyndon Rush, David Bissett, Lascelles Brown and Chris Le Bihan won bronze in four-man bobsleigh.

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Jasey-Jay Anderson Wins Gold in Giant Slalom Snowboarding

goldCanada has earned its 23rd medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Jasey-Jay Anderson won gold in men's parallel giant slalom snowboarding.

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Canada Wins Gold in Men's Speed Skating Pursuit

goldCanada has earned its 22nd medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, Denny Morrison won gold in the men's speed skating pursuit.

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My Revenge Fantasy Will Come True

hockeyJanuary 5, 2010 left a bad taste in my mouth. I wrote about it here. It was the first time in six years the Canadian junior team didn't win the gold medal. That day, we fell to the United States 6-5.

Fast forward to last Sunday. In a non-elimination game at these 2010 Olympics, Canada met the United States and this entire nation watched. I watched my team lose again to the Americans, and then came the gloating. It came in tweets, on blogs, in person, fast and furious. Americans came into our house and beat us at our game. This, too, left a bad taste in my mouth.

That's when I started having a revenge fantasy. I wanted the women's hockey gold medal game to be Canada vs. USA with Canada prevailing, and I wanted the exact same scenario to unfold on the men's side. Tomorrow afternoon, I get my wish.

Our women have done their part. They disposed of the Americans 2-0 to secure gold. Tomorrow at 3pm ET, my revenge fantasy comes true. Canada faces the Americans and Canada will prevail.

I'm confident, but I've been pretty cocky this whole tournament. After we narrowly squeaked by Switzerland, I planned a gold medal game party at my house. Tomorrow night I'll get to have my cake, and eat it too.

It's deja vu all over again.

canada

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Charles Hamelin = Bret McKenzie

questionCanadian speed skater Charles Hamelin had a very good day today. He won two gold medals.

Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords was nowhere to be seen. In fact, there is no recorded instance of Charles Hamelin and Bret McKenzie ever being in the same room at the same time.

bret-vs-charles

Hmmmmm....

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Canada Wins Gold in 5000m Speed Skating Relay

goldCanada has earned its 21st medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Charles Hamelin, Francois-Louis Tremblay, Francois Hamelin and Olivier Jean won gold in the 5000m speed skating relay.

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Canada Wins Gold and Bronze in 500m Speed Skating

goldCanada has earned its 19th and 20th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Charles Hamelin won gold in men's 500m short-track speed skating.

bronzeFrancois-Louis Tremblay won bronze in men's 500m short-track speed skating.

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Cheryl Bernard Wins Silver in Curling

silverCanada has earned its 18th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Cheryl Bernard and her rink of Carolyn Darbyshire, Cori Bartel and Susan O'Connor won silver in women's curling.

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Meeting Il Duce

angerIt's been a crazy day, and soon I'll be playing hockey and watching hockey. But before I logoff for a bit, I've got to share an interesting story about Il Duce.

The story of Il Duce started at the old HumbleHoward.com, a blog that's no longer active but still online so I can link to old entries like this. If you click on over and read the comments, you'll see how I first encountered Il Duce.

Here's his first comment over there regarding the old Humble and Fred 20th anniversary podcast.

Gee sounds like fun!! Getting together on a Saturday and listening to two old farts whose best radio days have passed them by. Reminiscing about the good old days surrounded by a bunch of Trekkie losers who never get out of their houses.

Speaking of fools who is Mike to have his own blog... Toronto Mike, give me a break. He's nothing more than a radio host wanabee whose latched himself on to two other former morning host losers.

Ya I'll be there and then head over to the Bloor Viaduct and do the swan dive.

Il Duce came back a couple of hours later with this comment.

Better yet why don't you have that technical genius Wyle E. Coyote, I mean Toronto 'with no' Mike, replay your podcast on loud speakers every day at the Bloor Viaduct.

I'm sure the Communist Toronto Councillors would love this, so they can remove those beautiful glass barriers. And any jumper that would hear your old screeching voices would run for their lives.

Il Duce's comments became a humourous reference point for Humble and I, and it even made it into the 20th anniversary podcast. Humble read the comment aloud.

Last month, Il Duce returned on this blog as "Mississauga". You can read his comment in this entry.

@T.O. Mike

I see you're making lots of friends Mike.

And tell that hack HumHow he ruined my bit when he mispronounced my name during the Anniversary Podacast in May. It's not 'Il Deuce' but rather 'Il Duce(DO-che)' as in Mussolini.

What is he Bania from Seinfeld? I give him gold and he chopped it up.

Tell him The Boom sounds great but he needs Freddie with him. Loving you.

Today at lunch, I decided to try a nice looking Italian restaurant for the first time. I walk in and 10 seconds later a gentleman introduces himself. It's Il Duce.

Il Duce was very nice, seemed sincerely happy to see me, complimented the blog and ensured a permanent place in my heart by presenting me with a complimentary homemade meat lasagna for me to take home.

If there are no entries tomorrow, the lasagna was poisoned and you should probably alert the authorities.

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Joannie Rochette Wins Bronze in Figure Skating

bronzeCanada has earned its 17th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Joannie Rochette won bronze in women's figure skating.

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Canada Wins Gold in Women's Hockey

goldCanada has earned its 16th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice as Canada defeated the USA 2-0 to win gold in women's hockey.

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Andrew Koenig, Dead at 41

In MemoriumAndrew Koenig was 41. He played the role of Richard "Boner" Stabone in Growing Pains.

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Nunc Mattis Rhoncus

chromeI just wanted to test my new Lorem Ipsum Generator extension for Google Chrome.

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Dictumst augue nec amet. Massa, egestas enim aenean a, in turpis, sit, turpis porta purus et platea vel odio hac proin? Magna et, enim in eu, montes. Tortor urna augue proin magna augue pulvinar nunc. Vel pellentesque in a. Eros lorem amet lorem, auctor a amet sed! Parturient porttitor. Lectus, nunc turpis penatibus scelerisque habitasse. Dapibus natoque, a et quis turpis, a integer. Parturient turpis! Duis non, magna, etiam dapibus vel odio cursus, a sagittis? Et enim. Pellentesque augue eu! Magnis a, quis, dignissim sed, velit etiam? Pellentesque tincidunt! Rhoncus platea. Turpis porta ut tempor, amet in, integer risus mid natoque augue tempor in a a platea. Lorem, elementum eu? Amet auctor porttitor in ut, enim proin ac in.

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Canada Wins Gold and Silver in Women's Bobsled

goldCanada has earned its 14th and 15th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Heather Moyse and Kaillie Humphries in Canada 1 won gold in women's two-man bobsleigh.

silverHelen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown in Canada 2 won silver in women's two-man bobsleigh.

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Kicking Russian Ass

canadaO ye of little faith, you didn't think we'd have a chance against Russia in the quarter-finals, did you? On Monday, I wrote Poor Russia after connecting the dots and seeing Russia in our sight-lines after a gimme against Germany.

I'll bet the last team Russia wanted to face in the quarters is Canada. Tomorrow night, we'll get another tune-up against Germany, another chance to warm up Roberto Luongo and reset our lines and focus.

It was far better than I dared dream. We dominated the Russians, all but making Ovechkin disappear. The final was 7-3, a true ass-whooping, as we easily earned a berth in the semi-finals against either Sweden or Slovakia. We're but a single win away from the gold medal final.

Never, ever bet against Canada in our game.

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Canada Wins Silver in Short-Track Relay

silverCanada has earned its 13th medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Tania Vicent, Kalyna Roberge, Marianne St-Gelais and Jessica Gregg won silver in the women's 3,000-metre short-track speedskating relay.

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Coco on Twitter

conanLook who's on Twitter.

coco

Yes, it's really him. You can follow Conan O'Brien at http://twitter.com/ConanOBrien.

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Clara Hughes Wins Bronze in 5,000m Speedskating

bronzeCanada has earned its twelfth medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Clara Hughes won bronze in women's 5,000m speedskating.

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Ashleigh McIvor Wins Gold in Skicross

goldCanada has earned its eleventh medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Ashleigh McIvor won gold in the inaugural women's skicross competition.

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Own The Podium Should Have Under Promised and Over Delivered

olympicsOwn the Podium was ambitious. From the official Own the Podium site, here's the primary goal of Own the Podium for the 2010 Olympic games.

Place first in the total medal count at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

Heading into these Olympic games, we heard often from the Own the Podium people. Our goal was to finish first. Canadians started to believe the hype and collectively, we raised our expectations. Own the Podium over promised, and they will under deliver.

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

medals

There are four nations ahead of us, and two of them, United States and Germany, are more than doubling us. Even though Canada will have several great medal opportunities this week, we will not own the podium. We will miss our lofty goal, and this has many Canadians down on our efforts this month in Vancouver.

Canada won 24 medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. That was the best we ever did. A wiser goal for VANOC would have been to top that mark, even though that's looking less and less likely with each passing day.

With ten medals, every other article and news story about these games is centered around our failure to finish first in the medal count. This disappointment is the direct result of Own the Podium's fatal error. They over promised and raised expectations to an unrealistic level. And now that we're under delivering, everyone's in a huff.

Don't blame Canada, blame Own the Podium.

underpromise

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Run Fatboy Run Review

Movie ReviewRun Fatboy Run: 6.5 out of 10.

We actually sat down to watch Crank: High Voltage. I liked Crank enough to give it 6.5 out of 10, so I figured the sequel might be worth a shot. I was wrong.

We couldn't get through 20 minutes of Crank: High Voltage before switching things up and giving Run Fatboy Run a shot. Run Fatboy Run loses steam about half way through, but it's decent enough. It was precisely the 6.5 out of 10 I was looking for!

run-fatboy-posterbig

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Virtue and Moir Win Gold in Ice Dancing

goldCanada has earned its tenth medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won gold in the Olympic ice dance competition.

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Twitter vs. RSS - That Battle That Never Should Have Been

Twitter vs. RSSBack in November 2008, I created a Twitter account to test Twitter as an alternative to RSS. Would the masses use Twitter as a real-time push to blog entries over my RSS feed?

Here are the total number of subscribers right now:

1519 Twitter followers
272 RSS subscribers

I swear by my RSS feeds, but I've noted the hesitancy of the "average joe" in adopting this form of syndication. Twitter, on the other hand, seems to be more user friendly... less intimidating.

My friend and colleague Daniel makes an excellent point I believe is worth revisiting. He wrote this comment on this blog exactly one year ago this month.

Here's something that works just fine (RSS), it's a standard supported all over the place and it's essentially universal.

Twitter depends on one closed source company that still pretty much has no idea how to monetize their service (read: unstable), and it's restricted only to people using Twitter, obviously.

It just seems redundant to me: "Hey, RSS blows, I'm going to hook my RSS feed up to Twitter so that people can access my content in the trendiest, most roundabout and restrictive way possible". It's totally inefficient.

Wow I must really hate Twitter hahah....

Daniel did hate Twitter, but today he's happily tweeting at http://twitter.com/dtorreblanca/. After all, if you can't beat 'em...

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Poor Russia

puckPoor Russia. They won a hard fought game against the Czech Republic yesterday to win their Group B and advance straight to the quarter-finals. Their reward? A probable quarter-final game against Canada.

I'll bet the last team Russia wanted to face in the quarters is Canada. Tomorrow night, we'll get another tune-up against Germany, another chance to warm up Roberto Luongo and reset our lines and focus.

Then, it's Canada vs. Russia for a chance to play in the semi-finals. That's going to be awesome.

Poor Russia.

The Goal by Paul Henderson

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Kristina Groves Wins Silver in 1500m Speedskating

silverCanada has earned its ninth medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Kristina Groves won silver in women's 1500m long-track speedskating.

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Tom Brokaw Explains Canada to Americans

canadaI'm willing to bet the vast majority of people reading this entry will be watching Canada face the United States tonight in Olympic hockey action. The puck drops at 7:35pm ET and I can't wait.

In this clip from NBC, Tom Brokaw explains the relationship between Canada and the USA, in a pre-recorded short film that aired prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Americans should watch this before their pummeling tonight, so it hurts just a little less.

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Music Companies Cut Off Nose to Spite Face

videosDamian Kulash Jr. of the band Ok Go has contributed a great opinion piece to the New York Times.

You may recall Ok Go's treadmill video for "Here It Goes Again". That clever, homemade video made Ok Go a huge success. They posted it to YouTube in violation of their record contract with EMI but it was viewed tens of millions of times, brought big crowds to their concerts on five continents, and made them and EMI a great deal of money.

Forever I've been baffled by record companies disabling the embed feature on official music videos. They're preventing publishers like me from giving them free advertising, and it forces us to find a poorer quality upload or to share the song set to a picture of the album cover or something much less impressive. It makes no sense to me, and it makes no sense to Kulash.

Embedded videos - those hosted by YouTube but streamed on blogs and other Web sites - don’t generate any revenue for record companies, so EMI disabled the embedding feature. Now we can’t post the YouTube versions of our videos on our own site, nor can our fans post them on theirs. If you want to watch them, you have to do so on YouTube.

But this isn’t how the Internet works. Viral content doesn’t spread just from primary sources like YouTube or Flickr. Blogs, Web sites and video aggregators serve as cultural curators, daily collecting the items that will interest their audiences the most. By ignoring the power of these tastemakers, our record company is cutting off its nose to spite its face.

EMI essentially prohibits the band's video from going viral, from being shared throughout the world, and the results speak for themselves.

The numbers are shocking: When EMI disabled the embedding feature, views of our treadmill video dropped 90 percent, from about 10,000 per day to just over 1,000. Our last royalty statement from the label, which covered six months of streams, shows a whopping $27.77 credit to our account.

Clearly the embedding restriction is bad news for our band, but is it worth it for EMI? The terms of YouTube’s deals with record companies aren’t public, but news reports say that the labels receive $.004 to $.008 per stream, so the most EMI could have grossed for the streams in question is a little over $5,400.

Normally I'd embed the video here, but EMI doesn't want me doing that. Cutting off its nose to spite its face indeed.

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Municipality of Tigre Hero

supermanThere is a hero in Argentina. In the animated gif below, you'll see a white van stalled on the train tracks. With no time to spare, the passenger on the motorcycle pushes the van to safety and narrowly escapes being hit by the train himself.

superman

When I stumbled across this gif, I didn't believe it. A little Googling reveals it's true. Here's the full length video from the Municipality of Tigre camera.

More than 330 cameras monitor the different points of Tigre which allow police to stop criminals, detect fires and accidents or take pictures of reckless drivers and heroes.

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My Daughter's Learn To Play Hockey Progress

familyBack in November, my daughter didn't know how to skate let alone play hockey. When she hit the ice, she'd attempt to stay on her feet by taking little steps. That's not skating, that's walking on ice.

We enrolled in the Swansea Hockey Association's Learn To Play Hockey program. I say "we" because a parent can accompany the child on the ice in this program. This was my third year in a row skating at Rennie Park each Saturday morning, having participated in the program the last two years with my son who has since graduated to House League.

For one hour every Saturday, my daughter not only worked on her skating, but learnt the fundamentals of hockey; everything from receiving a pass and skating backwards, to stick handling and crossovers. Three months in and the improvement is extraordinary. Here's video of her skating this morning in warmups.

I absolutely love this rink at Rennie Park, home to the largest outdoor hockey league in the world. The only downside to playing outdoors is that the seasons are a little shorter, so my son's team played their final regular season game today and my daughter and I only have one more week of Learn To Play Hockey.

I hate to see these Learn To Play Hockey seasons end because nothing's better than skating alongside your child while he or she learns this fabulous sport. Luckily, I get one more year of this before being permanently relegated to the sidelines.

SHA Learn to Play Hockey

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Hey Mister Not Enjoyed by missingt00th

musicI uploaded Custom's Hey Mister to my YouTube account back in 2006.

Custom and I have been buds for the better part of the past decade, so I actually had his permission to upload the vid. It's his one hit and sort of notorious because it was banned by MTV.

Because I'm hosting the video, I get an email every time someone comments on it. It's always amusing to read people's take on this song - it seems people either love it or hate it.

missingt00th hates it. Here's what he just wrote.

Who cares about the derogatory lyrics? The comments that should be lining this page are ones about how shit of a song it is. It's a song that a 7 year-old could write, both musically and lyrically. A fucking useless sack of shit. Bad songwriting - constant refrain of that annoying chorus, over and over again. This is music for pornstars to listen to while their doing lines of coke off of their mothers' asses. Weak shit for tasteless morons. Trying to sound all foo fighters on top of it.

Here's Custom's big hit from 2002. Do you love it or hate it?


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Vaughan Panthers Fight Club

boxingHave you heard about the GHTL fight club? Before games, members of the Vaughan Panthers blow off steam and warm up by boxing in the dressing room.

I was once an adolescent male, so this outrage makes me laugh. The Star has "disturbing video" of this "uniquely dangerous pre-game workout". Watch it now.

These kids are actually wearing helmets and hockey gloves, which makes it a great deal more safe than the crap we used to do. Kids today can't get away with anything, because there's always someone in the room ready to take video that can be instantly posted online or shared via email.

These Vaughan Panthers should be ashamed of themselves. There's no room for helmets in a true fight club.

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Hat Trick Hero

PuckI'm playing out the tail end of my second season of hockey after a 21 year hiatus.

I'm on the ice every Friday night, working my ass off and having a blast. Although my skating needs work, I'm pretty decent with the puck and I'm usually good for two goals a game. Only once, however, have I recorded a hat trick, and shortly after potting that third goal I left for the hospital with a separated shoulder.

Yesterday, it all came together. A hat trick and not a cheapy in the bunch. And no injury to speak of.

Hat Trick Hero

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Jon Montgomery Wins Gold in Men's Skeleton

goldCanada has earned its eighth medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Jon Montgomery won gold in the men's skeleton final.

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New Broken Social Scene Single - Free MP3

bssNew BSS is coming. It's been awhile since we had a new record from Toronto's Broken Social Scene collective.

The first song from Forgiveness Rock Record is World Sick and it's a free MP3 download from http://www.brokensocialscene.ca/ right now.

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Justifying DVD Thievery

cdThis graphic is making the rounds. It reminds me of a rant I threw down in 2004.

My friend lent me his Hulk DVD which I watched this morning. When I started the DVD three or four coming attractions began to play. Immediately I pressed the MENU button but this function was disabled. There was also no way to advance or fast forward to escape these commercials. Essentially, I had to sit through almost five minutes of crap I had no interest in before I could advance to the main menu to play the movie. It was extremely irritating and had me cursing Universal Studios before the 137 minute movie even began.

If you're buying or downloading pirated movies, this will make you feel better.

pirate
Click here to enlarge

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Canada's Last WWI Veteran Dies

canadaJohn Babcock, Canada’s last known First World War veteran, has died. John Babcock was 109 years old.

John Babcock was ready to fight in the Great War so we can live in a country where the great national stress is a shootout victory over Switzerland in Olympic men's hockey.

Thanks, John, for being one of the 650,000 men and women Canada recruited to serve in the “war to end all wars.”

babcock

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Christine Nesbitt Wins Gold in 1000m Speedskating

goldCanada has earned its seventh medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Christine Nesbitt won gold in 1000m long track speedskating.

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WWWD Tee Shirt Arrives

hangerMy WWWD tee shirt has arrived!

No, it wasn't a freebie, I paid actual hard earned cash for this sucker, and I love it. It is now my official Tuesday night volleyball shirt.

wwwd 001

What would Wendel do? I like to think he'd be rather proud of my selection. Get your funny hockey tee shirt today at http://www.puckinghilarious.com/.

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Payroll to be Shed at CTV, Olympic Rights Swap and Lloyd Robertson

tvIt's no wonder this CTV / Rogers consortium forked over major dough in order to broadcast these Olympic games. In this age of the PVR / DVR, advertisements are virtually invisible, with one exception: live sports.

The only time I see ads on television are during live sporting events, and since Friday night, 99% of my television viewing has been these 2010 Olympics on a CTV or Rogers station. And I have to watch them live, which means catching more ads this month than I have in the previous year. The Olympics is an event worth investing in, you'd think.

CBC got outbid by CTV to broadcast these games, and for the past few weeks I've been hearing various rumours from insiders at CTV and other media companies regarding two subjects: imminent headcount reduction at CTV and possible selling of future Olympic rights by CTV to CBC.

Let's take a look at that first topic I've been hearing all over the place lately. Speculation is that immediately following these Olympics CTV will announce a substantial round of firings/layoffs. I hope I'm wrong, I don't want anyone to lose their job, but there's a lot of smoke here.

As for the Olympics, this CTV/Rogers consortium has the rights to 2012 in London. It's possible these rights could be flipped back to CBC for the right price. Personally, I hope this does happen. I preferred the CBC Olympic coverage to the coverage I've been watching this past week from Vancouver.

Oh... and look for Lloyd Robertson to assume a reduced role in the not to distant future. CTV would never can the living legend, but they're ready for him to step aside now.

If you'd like to join in on this Canadian media speculation, please feel free to do so in the comments. If you're an insider with details, contact me and we can play Woodward and Bernstein.

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Marianne St-Gelais Wins Silver in Women's 500m Speed Skating

silverCanada has earned its sixth medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Marianne St-Gelais won silver in 500m short track speed skating.

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David Weathers: Last Champion Standing

Blue JaysI'm addicted to the winter Olympics these days and totally psyched about our men's hockey team. Of course, that means an entry about the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays.

The B-R Blog & Stat of the Day has pointed out that David Weathers remains as the last active player to play on a World Series winning team from 1992 or earlier. David Weathers made 2 insignificant August appearances for the Jays back in '92 in order to qualify for this esteemed honour.

Assuming he doesn't retire, Carlos Delgado is the only active player from our 1993 World Series championship team, but Delgado has just a slightly higher profile than David Weathers, who I had no idea was still active.

39-year old David Weathers appeared in 25 games for the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers. He's the last champion standing.


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Neil Young - Heart of Gold

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Neil Young - Heart of Gold
CTV is playing their Olympic anthem ad nauseum. It's called "I Believe" and it's sung by Nikki Yanofsky and CTV likes to set montages to it every time a Canadian reaches the podium. Essentially, CTV takes these inspiring, amazing Canadian moments of triumph and tarnishes them by tying them to this awful tune.

When a Canadian wins gold at these Olympic games, I'd much rather hear Neil Young's "Heart of Gold". CTV, this one's for you.

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Maelle Ricker Wins Gold in Women's Snowboard Cross

goldCanada has earned its fifth medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Maelle Ricker won gold in the women's snowboard cross final.

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Chrome is Ready for Prime Time

ChromeThe challenge was simple. Take a longtime Firefox user who is reliant on his FF extensions and get him to switch to Google Chrome.

On February 7th, I updated Chrome and installed a series of extensions that would perform the work of my old Firefox add-ons. If you're curious as to which extensions I installed, all the deets are in this entry.

Google Chrome is now ready for prime time. The extensions available are many and awesome. Here's my extension toolbar as it looks right now.

extensions

I still plan to keep my portable version of Firefox up to date, and when I need a second browser instance it will get the call, but I'm going to stick with Chrome as my default browser. It's come a long way, baby.

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Zamboni to the Rescue!

PuckI was pretty psyched about the 500-metre speedskating event last night. Like all of you, I was rooting heavily for Jeremy Wotherspoon.

My anticipation quickly turned to embarrassment when the Olympia ice-resurfacing machines couldn't cut the mustard. It was a comedy of errors. The first Olympia machine dumped snow and water about 20 metres from the inner lane's finish line Sunday and the second Olympia did the same thing yesterday during a scheduled resurfacing.

That caused a major delay while the third unit was hauled out for an emergency flood. I understand these ice-resurfacing machines were chosen because they run on electricity, but this is no time to be carbon-neutral. This is the time for a Zamboni.

Maybe, Canadian Kyle Parrott suggested, they should have gone with a Zamboni.

"Zambonis work," Parrott told The Canadian Press.

Indeed, in a late-day announcement Monday, the Vancouver organizing committee known as VANOC declared they would be doing exactly that. A Zamboni ice resurfacer from Calgary was to be on the ice by Tuesday, they said.

Zamboni to the rescue!

Zamboni

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Mike Robertson Wins Silver in Men's Snowboard Cross

silverCanada has earned its fourth medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Mike Robertson won silver in the men's snowboard cross final.

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Team Canada's Welcome Message to Other Olympic Hockey Nations

canadaGlove tap to Down Goes Brown and Bloge Salming for this chunk of solid gold.

Mike Babcock and Steve Yzerman decided that as host nation, it would be fun to have the team record a friendly welcome message to the other teams. This is the stellar resulting video.

Yes, I do believe Iggy said "higher than Kordic".

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Michael J. Fox's Marathon of Hope

Terry FoxThis one is a few days old now, but it's worth an entry. Meredith Vieira, who was on NBC talking about Betty Fox, speculated that as mother of "Michael Fox…who suffered from cancer, he started that marathon of hope" she might actually be the person who would light the Olympic cauldron.

I can almost accept the slip of the tongue, but the kicker is when NBC throws up a picture of Michael J. Fox to ensure Americans know exactly who Meredith Vieira is talking about.

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Alexandre Bilodeau Wins Gold in Men's Moguls

goldCanada has earned its third medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Alexandre Bilodeau won gold in the men's moguls event.

And we never have to hear another word about being the only country to host an Olympics and not win gold. Thank you, Alexandre, on behalf of all Canadians!

Vancouver Olympics Freestyle Skiing

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Kristina Groves Wins Bronze in 3,000m Speedskating

bronzeCanada has earned its second medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Speedskater Kristina Groves won bronze in the 3,000m speedskating event.

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Doug Fieger from The Knack, Dead at 57

In MemoriumDoug Fieger was 57. He was the lead singer of the rock band The Knack who had a hit in 1979 with "My Sharona".

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Maestro's Message of Love

heartFrom my hugely unsuccessful Toronto-Centric Valentine's Day Cards collection, here's Maestro Fresh-Wes's message of love to y'all.

Maestro

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The Youngest Now Has Email

EmailMy youngest child just got her first email account. She now knows how to login to her Gmail account and send emails and gchats to her parents, brother, grandmother and uncles.

My oldest child got his first account when he was five, and it really helped him learn to type, spell and successfully navigate web apps. Today, it was Michelle's turn to enter the digital fray. We fleshed out her contacts (the only people she's allowed to email are those I bless in her contacts), gave her a cool profile picture, changed her Gmail theme to "tea party" and taught her how to compose emails and send instant messages.

Nothing's cooler than getting an email from your 5-year old daughter, even when it's just a heart icon. Especially when it's just a heart icon.

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I Choo-Choo-Choose You

HeartHappy Valentine's Day. I choo-choo-choose you.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

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Jennifer Heil Wins Silver in Women's Moguls

Jennifer HeilCanada has earned its first medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Jennifer Heil won silver in women's moguls.

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Stellar Photos From the Opening Ceremonies for Vancouver 2010

PhotosHere are a few stunning images from last night's opening ceremonies for Vancouver 2010. We've been discussing the ceremonies over here.

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[via The Big Picture]

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Underwhelmed Original Hear and Now Version is a Kool Thing

sloanSloan just quietly released a collection of b-sides and rarities they're selling at http://www.sloanmusic.com/ for $9.99. It's 26 tunes, and the first is the original version of Underwhelmed.

If Sloan's embeddable player worked, you can hear this version of Underwhelmed above. I've never heard it before, even though the song we all know and love made my Ten Canadian Tracks list.

Is it me, or did Underwhelmed sound an awful lot like Sonic Youth's Kool Thing before they changed it up?

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My Thoughts on the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver

olympicsI thought I'd miss the cauldron lighting as they opened the 2010 Vancouver Olympics because I was playing hockey. It turns out I got home just in time to see k.d. lang sing one of my all-time favourite songs. The final torchbearers were hockey great Wayne Gretzky, wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen, NBA All-Star Steve Nash, skier Nancy Greene and speedskater Catriona LeMay Doan, who was stuck posing and holding her torch because one of the cauldron lights didn't work.

Then, in an absolutely surreal sequence, The Great One jumped in the back of a pickup with the torch and drove around town. Rumour has it he stoped at Tim Hortons for a double-double.

There was no Terry Fox hologram, as I had hoped. I should have blogged about that six years ago to give them more time to design it.

Here is some of my real-time Twitter reaction as I watched this unfold. Tell me what you thought of the ceremony in the comments.

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Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/torontomike.

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Olympics Updates on Web, Mobile and Twitter

olympicsHere are some good sites for following these XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

On the Web

CBC's Vancouver Now - historically, I've always preferred CBC's online coverage of the games. I've even installed the CBC News extension for Google Chrome.

CTV Olympics - If you haven't heard, CTV is broadcasting the Olympics this year. This is their official site.

2010 Olympics on Yahoo! Sports - Yahoo! typically does a good job covering the Olympics games, even though I lost out in my quest to be their official Vancouver 2010 blogger.

Vancouver 2010 Official Site - This is a great site for schedules time checks.

On the Blackberry / other mobile

2010 Olympics on Yahoo! Sports Mobile - I've bookmarked this site on my Blackberry so I'll know the medal count and top stories in real time wherever I may be.

On Twitter

@CDNOlympicTeam - I suspect this might be the way I first get all results I don't watch live on television. If you're on Twitter, I strongly suggest you follow @CDNOlympicTeam.

And don't forget...

Toronto Mike will be blogging every medal Canada wins, as I have for the past three Olympics games. All Olympics entries will be conveniently archived at http://www.torontomike.com/olympics/.

Let the games.... begin. Go Canada Go!

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Raptor Mascot Devours Cheerleader Whole

raptorsWarning: This is not for the faint of heart. Please do not watch this if you're at all squeamish.

Our Toronto Raptors mascot was caught on camera devouring a cheerleader whole. Unbelievable.

[via b3ta]

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Terry Fox Should Carry the Torch and Light the Olympic Cauldron

olympicsJust yesterday we were discussing who will be the final torchbearer tonight as the Olympics kick off in Vancouver.

Since I wrote that entry, we've been told it won't be Wayne Gretzky. I'm sure we'll see Wayne tonight, but he won't be the person lighting the Olympic cauldron inside BC Place.

It's safe to say it will be one of these nine people.

  • Terry Fox
  • Betty Fox
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Nancy Greene Raine
  • Rick Hansen
  • Barbara Ann Scott
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Joe Sakic
  • Gaetan Boucher

Yes, I've included Terry Fox on that list. Terry passed away in 1981, but he's the reason I raise money and run in the Terry Fox Run every year. He continues to inspire my kids, and I sincerely consider him the greatest Canadian.

A hologram of Terry Fox, perhaps with his mother, lighting the Olympic cauldron, makes the most sense. No living Canadian epitomizes the spirit of amateur athletics the way Terry does.

Terry Fox

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A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything

earthI enjoyed this. It's a brief history of pretty much everything.


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Canada's Final Torchbearer

olympicsHave you heard we're hosting the winter Olympics this month? It's true, Vancouver narrowly beat out PyeongChang to win the IOC vote almost 7 years ago.

I'll miss most of the opening ceremony due to hockey commitments, but I am naturally curious as to who will be our final torchbearer. Who will take the Olympic toke and light the Olympic cauldron inside BC Place?

van-joint

Wayne Gretzky or Betty Fox? Vote below.

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Don't Forget Canada, Google

canadaGoogle has announced they're going to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States.

We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

1 gigabit per second... take a moment to absorb that. Remember how excited we were when we could get 5mbps at home?

Google's experimental fiber network is meant as a strong message to the FCC that American's deserve better broadband. I hope this message isn't lost on the CRTC here in Canada, a true digital ghetto.

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Bush League CFL

CFLDavid Braley has been announced as the new owner of the Toronto Argonauts. David Braley already owns a CFL team, the British Columbia Lions. David Braley gets to keep both the Lions and the Argos.

In an eight team league, one man owns 25% of the teams. The fact that one man can own more than one team in the same league amazes me. I'm sure there's no other league on the planet that would allow such a thing. Can you imagine MLSE buying a second NHL team, or Rogers owning a second MLB team?

It can't happen because there are strict rules against it. And for good reason. The integrity of the game must be preserved and even the implication of impropriety is unacceptable.

No wonder my family and friends think the CFL is bush league.

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No More Excuses for Stinking Like a Man

flowersDove thinks I stink. At least I assume so, because they just sent me a whole bunch of their new Dove Men+Care products.

Here's what came with the nice smelling beauty products.

Dove MEN+CARE is a campaign about the lives of real men. Research commissioned by Dove MEN+CARE found that 80% of Canadian men said that they think they are stereotyped and falsely portrayed in advertising. Dove MEN+CARE is a campaign and new line of products designed to recognize that through a man's journey and life experiences, he reaches a point where he is comfortable in his own skin.

And here I was thinking they were just trying to sell soap!

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I must confess, the only beauty care product that touches my skin is a bar of soap in the shower. I'm not even sure what to do with all of this...

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Cinderella - Bad Seamstress Blues (Fallin' Apart At The Seams)

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Cinderella - Bad Seamstress Blues (Fallin' Apart At The Seams)
While I'm stuck in the late 80s, I thought I'd share a tune I loved back in 1988.

This song was the opening track from Long Cold Winter, Cinderella's second album. "Gypsy Road" was the bigger hit, but this was my favourite. It's got a great bluesy feel for a glam metal band.

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The 1989 Skid Row Trifecta

musicI'll admit it, I was digging the hair bands in the late 80s. One band I enjoyed in 1989 was Skid Row, fronted by Torontonian Sebastian Bach.

Skid Row's self titled debut spawned a trifecta of mega hits that received a wealth of radio play in this city. It was only in the days before Nevermind and Ten that such a trifecta was even possible.

Today, for no particularly good reason, we revisit these three hit singles from Skid Row. It's '89 y'all, not Beethoven's fifth or sixth.

18 and Life

I Remember You

Youth Gone Wild

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Countries That Are Not Using the Metric System

USAMetric is more than a band. It's a whole system. Canada converted to the metric system in 1970 and today only a few countries haven't adopted this system.

Here's a map showing countries using the metric system and those not.

metric

Makes you wonder what the hold up is with our neighbours to the south.

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Giamboner Beats Boner

GiambonerAdam Giambrone, member of Toronto City Council and chair of the TTC, wants to be mayor of Toronto. Now that his affair with 19-year old university student Kristen Lucas has been revealed, he's got some heat to deal with first.

With a name like Giambrone, the fist natural reaction is to nickname him Giamboner. It's just too easy, and this is a pain I know all too well. In grade six, my teacher anointed me "Boner".

That nickname stuck for a while, until I successfully morphed it into "Booner". But still, Boner creeps up now and then.

Giamboner beats Boner. And don't worry Adam, this too shall pass.

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Maple Leafs 2, Sharks 3

LeafsJ.S. Giguere's perfect Maple Leaf career is over. I honestly thought he could do it, but it was not to be. J.S. Giguere is not the impenetrable fortress of doom.

It was fun to see Future Stanley Cup Winner Nazem Kadri making his NHL debut ahead of schedule. I thought he looked pretty good.

And Phil Kessel got his 21st. We'll be happy with 30 from Phil this season. Next season, we're looking for 40.

It was Giguere's first loss as a Leaf, but will it be his last? Only time will tell.

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Metric - Gold Guns Girls

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS23 consideration. I'm submitting "Gold Guns Girls" by Metric.

Another great single from Fantasies...

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Farewell Odeo, iMeem and Houndbite, Hello SoundCloud

soundcloudI've been searching for the YouTube of audio for years. I'm just looking for a place where I can upload an MP3 and embed the player on my site. I used to like Odeo for this, and then Odeo dropped the ability to upload. Then I started using iMeem, until iMeem was bought by MySpace and disappeared completely. Then, I discovered Houndbite, but it too has bit the dust.

Once more, I was on the hunt for the YouTube of audio. That's when I discovered SoundCloud. SoundCloud only gives you two hours of space for free, but it's exactly what I need to share old Blue Jays songs and Tom Cheek calls.

To demonstrate this new discovery, here's Lloyd Moseby's Shaker's Rap.

Here's hoping SoundCloud sticks around for a while. And if you liked the sample above, you'd love this page.

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Simpsons Coke Commercial We Didn't See

HomerWe in Canada don't get to see all the new Super Bowl ads. CTV paid for the rights to broadcast the game, and if Coke didn't want to pay CTV to air their Simpsons ad, then we don't get to see it.

But wait... we do get to see it. In fact, I'm going to share it with you all right now, and it won't cost Coke a dime.

Here's the Simpsons Coke advertisement that aired last night.

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You Have to Root for the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV

Super Bowl XLIVUnless you live in Indianapolis, or are related to a member of the Indianapolis Colts, you must root for the New Orleans Saints in today's Super Bowl XLIV.

Four and a half years ago, I wondered how they'd ever play football again in the Louisiana Superdome.

How will they return to playing football in the Louisiana Superdome? The official site of the New Orleans Saints only just put up a reference to the disaster plaguing their home city and tickets are available to see the Giants come to town on September 18. The Superdome, currently a hellhole, will soon return to its normal function, but how can it ever be the same? How can one go there to witness something as frivolous as a football game when is has become home to such unspeakable horrors?

The day I wrote that entry, The Seattle Times ran an article describing the hell that had become of the Louisiana Superdome.

At least two people, including a child, have been raped as the arena darkened at night. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for.

There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming. The city's water supply, which had held up since Sunday, gave out early yesterday, and toilets in the Dome became inoperable and began to overflow. "There is feces on the walls," said Bryan Hebert, 43, who arrived at the dome Monday. "There is feces all over the place."

This city needs a break. Go Saints.

WhoDat

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Herb Tarlek with Don Daynard and Erin Davis on CHFI

RadioYouTube 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.

As a kid, I loved WKRP. I think that's how I first fell in love with radio. One of the many great characters on WKRP was Herb Tarlek, the plaid suit wearing advertising account executive who couldn't score a big account or with Jennifer Marlowe.

Back in 1997, the character Herb Tarlek was resurrected for a television ad campaign promoting the CHFI morning show with Don Daynard and Erin Davis.


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The Google Chrome Extensions Challenge

ChromeYesterday, I wrote about web browsers. I've been a Firefox user for as long as the Mozilla browser has had that name, and part of the reason I've resisted the switch to Google Chrome is my reliance on the Firefox add-ons. The fact is, Chrome extensions have come a long way over the past six months, and Elvis convinced me it was time to give Chrome another shot.

This entry is about how I configured Chrome to give it a fair shot against my trusty ol' Firefox. I'll concede that Chrome is faster, and that's what has me rooting for this test to be successful.

The most important extension as far as I'm concerned is Adblock+. I simply can't search the web without it. Thankfully, Adblock+ is available in Chrome, so the test may begin.

The other significant change I had to make is how I manage my Twitter account. I love Twitter, and I've been reading and tweeting from a Firefox extension from Echofon. Echofon doesn't make this extension for Chrome, and I hated every Twitter extension for Chrome I tried last night. As a result, I'm giving TweetDeck another shot.

Now let's look at the Google Chrome extensions I installed and why.

AdBlock+ Element Hiding Helper - This is a must have extension. Use it for one day and you won't be able to live without out.

Bit.ly (shorten, share, and track your links) - When I tweet URLS, I shorten them with Bit.ly. It lets me measure clicks.

Copy Without Formatting - Sometimes I need to copy text from the web, but I just want plain text without markup. This extension does the trick.

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) - I hate it when I click a link on the web to a PDF and it opens in the browser.

Facebook for Google Chrome - Just a nice way to check my FB news feed and wall without going to Facebook.

Forecastfox Weather - I liked this extension in Firefox and I'm glad it's available in Chrome.

Google Calendar Checker (by Google) - I live by my Google Calendar.

Google Mail Checker - This is the heartbeat of my digital world.

Google Reader Checker - Like Calendar and Gmail above, I read all my RSS feeds in Google Reader.

IE Tab - Some sites require IE. It's nice to be able to see them without changing browsers.

Pendule - This was my find of the day. I love this extension. It does a number of the things the developer toolbar in Firefox would do, and more. It handles pixel measurement, colour picking, CSS viewing and so much more. Many of the Firefox add-ons I needed for work are satisfied by this single Chrome extension. If you're in web development or management, you have to try Pendule.

Picnik Extension for Chrome - A nice extension for taking and editing screen caps.

Now I just need a way to better handle my bookmarks. I've exported them from Firefox and imported them into Chrome, but I don't love the way Chrome handles them. There's gotta be an extension that'll make me happy.

The great Google Chrome extensions challenge begins!

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Maple Leafs 5, Senators 0

leafsChatting with Mississauga Blogger earlier today, we agreed that the Leafs fans love to hate the Habs but just simply hate the Sens. There's no love to hate about it. I just despise that franchise and wish them nothing but failure.

This 5-0 shellacking reminded me of the four playoff series we had against the Senators over the past 15 years. All four ended with justice prevailing. Tonight, the same justice was evident in spades.

There were several things to get excited about. Jean-Sebastien Giguere became the first goaltender in franchise history to open his debut season with back-to-back shutouts, both Phil Kessel and Luke Schenn had three-point nights, and, most importantly, we ended Ottawa's 11 game winning streak.

Sens suck.

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What Your Web Browser Says About You

firefoxUsing data in Google Analytics, here are the browsers visitors to this site are using. This data was collected over the past 30 days.

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Internet Explorer is used by the majority of you, Firefox is a strong second and Safari is a decent third place with a little over 10%. Chrome is the new kid on the block and comes in fourth. No other browser is used by 1% of you.

Here's what your browser says about you.

Chrome - You're a speed freak, looking to get from A to B in as few parsecs as possible. Add-ons be damned, faster is better.

Safari - You're a Mac user and that makes you feel superior to the other 90% of us. Your arrogance is astounding.

Firefox - You hate IE, and that led you to discover Firefox back in 2004. By now you're so dependent on Firefox add-ons you'll never switch, no matter how fast Chrome gets. Your web standards sensibilities and loyalty to the Mozilla Foundation makes you rather endearing.

Internet Explorer - You use the browser that came by default with Windows, and you don't try another browser because you're lazy, disinterested in excellence and without a soul. Yes, I just called 52.39% of you soulless.

The other 1.78% of you using browsers like Camino or Blazer, you're anti-establishment and you frighten me. CSIS has already been notified.

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Brendan Burke, Dead at 21

Brendan BurkeThe news hit me tonight like a tonne of bricks. Brian Burke's son, Brendan, had succumbed to injuries he suffered in an auto accident. Brendan was only 21-years old.

The first thing I thought of was my James. I'm sure all fathers can relate to this reaction. I felt the extraordinary love I have for my son, and realized that's how Brian felt about Brendan. Even thinking about losing my son hurt so much I cannot fathom the sadness Brian is feeling. My thoughts are with the Burke family at this hour.

In November, there was quite a bit of coverage here in Toronto about Brian Burke coming out in support of his openly gay son Brendan. I purposely didn't write about that story. Instead, I wrote about the Leafs win over the Lightning. In the comments of that entry, someone asked me why I didn't write about Brian and Brendan. Here's what I wrote.

Brian Burke's son is gay. Brian Burke supports and loves his son regardless. That's how it should be. There's no story there.

As a father, I was seeing it from Brian's vantage point. I didn't want Brian's love and support of Brendan to be a story. I didn't want that to be newsworthy. I wanted that to be commonplace, unexceptional and completely expected.

In retrospect, I should have seen it from Brendan's vantage point. There was in fact a story there. Brendan showed a great deal of courage, coming out as a homosexual male while pursuing a hockey career as the son of a hard nosed "tough guy". Brendan was the inspiring story, not Brian. I was wrong.

That day, I recapped the hockey game instead of giving Brendan the credit he deserved. Tonight, for the first time in almost a decade, I'm not recapping a Leafs game. Instead, I honour Brendan's memory.

Rest in peace, Brendan.

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13-Year Old QB Commits to USC

schoolDavid Sills of Bear, Delaware made a verbal commitment to Lane Kiffin to play his college football at USC. Sills can't play until 2015, however. You see, Sills is only 13.

When I was 13, I was just figuring out how to throw a spiral. Sills is slightly better than I was. Check out this video.


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Jean-Sebastien Giguere Just Ducky

LeafsPart of the fun in catching Jean-Sebastien Giguere's first game as a Maple Leaf is seeing him suit up for the blue and white while wearing his Ducks mask.

Leafs vs. Devils

I don't know if he'll be wearing his Ducks mask tonight or if he'll be breaking in a new paint job, but I hope it's the latter. That duck theme doesn't intimidate anyone.

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Great Innovations in Ketchup Packets

ketchupEvery year in grade school we had to make and present a science project. One year, I did my project on ketchup. I'm an authority on the subject.

There's major news from the ketchup packet industry at this hour. Heinz has revamped their packets.

The redesigned ketchup pack, unveiled Thursday by H.J. Heinz Co., is shaped like a shallow cup. The top can be peeled back for dipping, or the end can be torn off for squeezing. It holds three times as much ketchup as a traditional packet.

dip-squeeze

40 years in the making... What the hell took them so long?

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Alfred Hitchcock's Cameo Appearances

alfred hitchcockAlfred Hitchcock made a cameo appearance in 39 of his 52 major films. Here are most of them.

[via @ebertchicago]

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Kendel Carson

musicIn my review of the Blue Rodeo concert at Massey Hall, I mentioned the opening act Dustin Bentall. He was great, but he was best when joined by Kendel Carson. This entry is about Kendel.

I'm not really a country music fan, but I like folksy country rock and ol' bluegrass stuff, like you heard in O Brother Where Art Thou?. I like Blue Rodeo, I hate Keith Urban. I like Johnny Cash, I hate Kenny Chesney. You get the idea...

I loved Kendel Carson last night. Maybe it's because I've always had a thing for the fiddle, but I couldn't get over how good she was. He she was earlier in this tour performing "Oh Baby Lie Down".

Her fiddle solos were outstanding, and she complemented the country rock tones of Dustin Bentall perfectly. You can see her here that same night helping out with "Draft Dodger".

I really knew nothing about Kendel, so I'm catching up.

Although classically trained (and eventually a performer in the National Youth Orchestra and a featured soloist with the Victoria Symphony), Carson’s musical passion lied in the folk, country and rock scenes – especially after her family moved out West. “There’s an amazing roots scene out in Victoria,” she says. “That became my primary influence. It’s a really community-minded spirit out there. It’s inspiring.”

Give this chick a fiddle and a little room, and the world's her oyster.

kendel

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Grace Hospital Not Dying

thumbsupI was pleased to read that the Salvation Army has saved Toronto Grace hospital. The charity has run the Toronto Grace since 1889.

I've had a soft spot in my heart for Toronto Grace since watching Allan King's excellent documentary "Dying at Grace". It's about five patients dying in the Palliative Care Unit of the Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre. We meet them, spend time with them and then we watch them die. It's terribly chilling, totally effective, and in many ways, absolutely reassuring.

If you ever get a chance to see Dying at Grace, I strongly urge you to do so.


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Blue Rodeo at Massey Hall

musicLast night, I was at Massey Hall to see Blue Rodeo. I've been a Blue Rodeo fan since 1987 when the DJ we hired for our grade school dance told us he was going to spin us a new one and I heard "Try" for the first time. And if you're going to see a band you like, there really is no better forum in the city of Toronto than Massey Hall. The acoustics are perfect.

br 005

I was having a blast before Blue Rodeo even hit the stage. Dustin Bentall opened, and he was joined by Kendel Carson. I wasn't familiar with either artist before I heard them last night, but together they were absolutely amazing. I'm giving Kendel an entry all to herself because she blew my little mind. Stay tuned for that one.

Here's a little of Dustin Bentall and Kendel Carson (she's the blond playing the violin) warming us up last night.

When it comes to Blue Rodeo, you're either a Cuddy or a Keelor guy. Sure, many love both, but everyone has a preference. I've always been a Keelor guy, and last night reminded me why. This is no knock against Cuddy, who has sang the national anthem at 2 out of the last 3 Leafs games I've seen live, but Keelor's worth the price of admission on his own. He's got the cool voice and the cool parts, and if he wants to extend "Diamond Mine" another 20 minutes, I'm perfectly okay with that.

Here he is instructing the Massey Hall crowd before Cuddy came in to order us on our feet.

That leads nicely to my only criticism of the night. This is the first concert I've attended where we all sat on our seats until the encore, and I've been to many, many concerts. Was it because it's Massey Hall? Was it because it's Blue Rodeo? I'm not sure, but nobody stood and it didn't feel natural. I believe I've ranted on this subject before...

Here's the finale, Blue Rodeo joined by Dustin Bentall and Kendel Carson for "Lost Together".

A big thanks to my mom, who responded brilliantly to my request to receive no stuff this Christmas. She bought me the perfect gift, a ticket to see a great band at Massey Hall. This was the third concert I had ever seen with my mom, joining Kid Rock at the Molson Amp and The Tragically Hip at Fort York.

Thanks, Ma!

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Billie Jean: Literal Video Version

humourIf you liked the literal version of A-Ha's "Take On Me", the literal version of "Head Over Heels" by Tears For Fears and the literal version of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart", you'll love this.

It's the literal version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".

[via @nytimeshumor]

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Atmosphere - Joy Division

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Atmosphere - Joy Division
This might just be my favourite Joy Division song.

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Maple Leafs 3, Devils 0 - Witnessed from Row 3

LeafsI had horseshoes up my ass for this one. Ford invited me to sit in their super amazing 3rd row seats just beside the Leafs penalty box just as I was hating my favourite team, and then a miracle happened. This game became a big deal.

I kept a very close eye on the three newbies, and all three played a great game. Here's a shot I took of Dion Phaneuf.

Leafs vs. Devils

J.S. Giguère got a shutout, Dion Phaneuf had us chanting his name with big hits and a fight, and even Fredrik Sjostrom looked great, getting a point. You'd have thought this one was scripted.

Early in the first, Dion Phaneuf sat beside me for five minutes. That was pretty surreal.

Leafs vs. Devils

Lest we forget our new goaltender, who was just solid. The only other Leaf goalie to get a shutout in his first game was Eddie Belfour. Here's Giggy, still wearing his Ducks mask.

Leafs vs. Devils

There was an extraordinary energy in the ACC last night, and we were loud throughout. I thought we might all head to Yonge street after the final buzzer.

Leafs vs. Devils

A big thanks to Ford Canada for inviting me. They gave me the best seat I've ever had for a Leafs game, access to their luxury suite where I could eat and drink whatever I wanted, and... and this was the most surprising part to me... there was absolutely no sales pitch at any time. No speech about their new line of automobiles, no slideshow about their new promotion, nothing. They just wanted me to have a good time, and I had a great time. Thanks, Ford!

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Groundhog Day is Junk Science

Groundhog DayToday is Groundhog Day, and every morning radio or television show felt obliged to tell you whether Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania, Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia or Wiarton Willie saw their respective shadows.

I've peeled back the curtain to look at the science behind these supposed indicators, and I've come to the conclusion that it's nothing more than junk science. You cannot gauge the amount of winter remaining based on whether a rodent saw its shadow or not.

Don't believe the hype.

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Oscar Best Pictures Nominees

oscarsThe 2010 Oscar nominations have been revealed. They are:

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

Of the ten films up for the Academy Award, I've only seen Avatar, Up and Up in the Air. I'm very pleased to see Up nominated, it's absolutely worthy.

In my review of Up, I wrote "I smell a best picture nomination". Elvis asked me to clarify if I meant best animated feature or best movie overall. My reply on May 28?

Best Picture overall. You read it here first, folks... unless you read it somewhere else. I haven't read any Up reviews yet.

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That Horrible, Horrible Auto-Tune

grammyLike a sucker, I watched the Grammy Awards last night. I PVR'd the show and started it about 45 minutes in, so I could skip the commercials. I never like the Grammies, but I always feel compelled to watch them for some reason.

The music was once again mediocre. Actually, this year I felt the music was worse than usual, and that's saying something. As bad as the bulk of the performances were, nothing was as horrible as the performance by Jamie Foxx and T-Pain. The song, entitled "Blame It", was just about the most awful thing my ears have ever had the displeasure of hearing, and I like rap.

What did you think? I couldn't believe how bad it was (Slash's solo excepted - Slash performing the solo from November Rain almost saved this steaming pile of shite) and my second time through it, it's even worse than I remembered. I blame Auto-Tune.

Auto-Tune is horrible. It should be reserved for the news. I blame Cher for starting the Auto-Tune fad, and it's gotten completely out of control. Jamie Foxx and T-Pain (if that's his real name - I suspect it's not) should be ashamed. Auto-Tune isn't just cheating, it's killing popular music.

Death to Auto-Tune.

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January 2010 Organic Keywords

Search Strings According to Google Analytics, here are the top ten keywords that brought people to this site in January 2010.

  1. lara di battista
  2. eh oh canada go
  3. sandra rinomato breasts
  4. anne mroczkowski
  5. toronto mike
  6. rick hodge fired
  7. boom 97.3
  8. country 95.3
  9. teri polo died
  10. jim mckenny

This is the first time since I started sharing these monthly reports that an edition of Big Shiny Tunes did not appear in the top 10. It's the end of a Big Shiny Era.

And oh yeah, the search for Sandra Rinomato's breasts continues...

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Toronto Photographers Shoot Avatar / Profile Pics

PicturesLast Friday night, during what was the coldest night of the decade, I met Terri and Mark from Light Monkey Photography. We met at a very cool old brick building in the middle of a park in Liberty Village and they shot me (with a camera, not a gun).

Light Monkey Photography is diversifying their offerings, and now create photo avatars for use in social media profiles, like Twitter and Facebook. Here are some shots of me, taken outside in -35°C conditions.

Twitter Pic Twitter Mike

Terri and Mike were fantastic to work with and they're very accommodating and reasonably priced. Whether you need avatar pics, corporate head shots or just want to update the family pictorial, I urge you to contact them at info@lightmonkey.ca or 647 342 3603.

torontomike5

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Andy Barrie Announces Retirement From CBC

radioYou've got to love Andy Barrie. He's been hosting Toronto's CBC Radio One program Metro Morning since 1995 and is one of the finest broadcasters working in this city. His Metro Morning has always been a favourite of mine.

This morning, on his 65th birthday, he announced that he's retiring and that his last show will take place the morning of March 1. After 15 years he deserves a chance to sleep in past 4am.

In 2008, I wrote about Andy's leave of absense. He was caring for his wife Mary, who passed away last February.

Good for Andy, stepping down while still at the top of his game.

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Comment Spam Spike - How to Detect Blog Comment Spam

spamI've been running blogs on the Movable Type platform for years. Over that time, I've witnessed the ebb and flow of comment spam. Anyone who manages a blog is familiar with comment spam and has a strategy implemented to fight it.

I've detected a comment spam spike over the past two months. In my efforts to fight comment spam, I moderate any comment that contains a keyword on my blacklist, and I carefully maintain this list. Still, comment spam finds a way.

Thankfully, it's easy to detect comment spam.

1. Only comment spam compliments the design of your site. I can't tell you how often comment spam tells me "great design" or asks "how do I get that theme?". Comment spam is my biggest fan.

2. Only comment spam thanks you for writing the "article". Comment spam makes you feel like Ernest Hemingway for creating an abundance of genius prose.

3. Comment spam always agrees with your opinions, no matter how ridiculous. I just saw one that read "I do not generally comment on blog posts but I had to drop by and tell you thanks for writing this, I fully agree and hopefully folks will see where you are coming from." I think comment spam would make a great friend.

4. Regular people have names like Paul, Sam or Abigail, or handles like Big Bruce, Cynical T or Top Dawg. Comment spam comes from folks named "free pharmaceuticals", "double neck bass guitar" or "lost weight fast".

5. Comment span is usually left on completely irrelevant entries from years and years ago. That comment on why Paul Martin should send the DART to help with the tsunami relief is probably comment spam.

I hate comment spam, but it's nice to hear from those who like the design, agree with my thoughts and are grateful I took the time to write it. Even if they're named free-online-poker or enhancement pills. Beggars can't be choosers.

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