March 2010 Archives

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David Mills, Dead at 48
Published by Toronto Mike on March 31, 2010 @ 19:38 in Celebrity Deaths, The Wire

In MemoriumDavid Mills was 48. He was the award-winning TV writer and producer whose credits included celebrated series such as The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Street and ER.

I will be eternally grateful for his collaborations with David Simon, especially The Wire, The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™.

Watch Out, Ladies
Published by Toronto Mike on March 31, 2010 @ 11:23 in Miscellaneous

giftThe folks at AXE have sent me shampoo, conditioner and something called "shine pomade". I'm not sure what that is or what I'm to do with it, but AXE claims it will attract the ladies. Consider yourselves warned.

This is on the heels of the package Dove sent me with a bunch of shower stuff I'm actually using. I think I'm smelling pretty good.

axe

But I am starting to develop a complex. Do I stink? Do I look dirty? Do I look like I need a bath?

Social Media 101 for Rick Hodge
Published by Toronto Mike on March 30, 2010 @ 16:17 in Radio

facebookI don't think I heard a single minute of Roger, Rick & Marilyn when the team ruled mornings on 104.5 CHUM-FM. That was my mom's station, not mine. Rick Hodge, the Rick in Roger, Rick & Marilyn, was a guy I knew better from The Sunday Funnies, a comedy clip show that introduced me to a great deal of funny during my formative years.

The first time I met Rick, he was having what I would best describe as a hissy fit. I wrote about that episode in this entry, and then did something I hadn't done in 9525 entries. I removed the entire paragraph. After I wrote that entry, Rick and I exchanged several emails and it didn't take long for me to realize I had simply caught him on a bad day. In fact, it's entirely possible he had his worst moment with an embedded journalist in the room.

Life really is funny. You never know who you'll work with next. I was pleasantly surprised when Rick came to me for blogosphere consulting and I helped set him up with a new home for his editorializing. He's been doing a great job for weeks now at http://www.thehodgeblog.com.

Fast forward to this week. Rick Hodge and I are shooting the shit over coffee, talking about everything from Scott Norwood to the old Team 1050 (sorry Romy). It was an effortless convo that eventually turned to social networking. "I'm told I need to be on Facebook", he said.

I'll never forget how surprised Rick was to learn Facebook was free. In hindsight, I should have told him it there was a new account fee and charged him for it. I set Rick up on Facebook, handed over the keys and set him loose. He's learning... very, very slowly.

Rick's also on Twitter and you can follow him at http://twitter.com/thehodgeblog. He's got the keys to the Twitter account, too... but I'll bet he never tweets. Well, he'll tweet, because I've used Twitterfeed to auto-tweet his blog entries, but he won't know he's tweeting.

Former radio star Rick Hodge is now living in an alien world of blogging, Facebook and Twitter. He's forgiven if he feels compelled to throw another hissy fit.

The Stigma of Mental Illness and Clinical Depression
Published by Toronto Mike on March 30, 2010 @ 14:49 in My 2 Cents

healthI don't suffer from clinical depression. Because I don't suffer from clinical depression, I can't imagine what it would feel like. There is clinical depression in my family, however, and I've seen loved ones suffering, so I'm naturally sympathetic to those who carry this weight.

I've heard clinical depression described as a debilitating black cloud that can't be shaken. We're not talking the blues here, or environmental depression following the loss of a job or loved one or the demise of a relationship or a blow to your dreams and aspirations, we're talking about mental illness.

There's a stigma associated with clinical depression that sincerely irks me. I recently wrote about Dani Stover, former producer of the Dean Blundell Show on 102.1 The Edge. She opened up about her battles with clinical depression.

The reason I feel the need to be open about this condition is because, with clinical depression comes a lot of stigma. And there's no need for it. One in five people suffer from some sort of depression. And I'm not talking about occasional sadness or periods of feeling distressed or miserable. I'm talking about feeling day-to-day sadness, anxiety, pessimism and helplessness.

One in five is a lot of people. Lately I've been wrestling with a domain name squatter, reseller agent and registrar over the ownership of martinstreek.com. Throughout this ordeal, Martin's naturally been on my mind. It was only last July when Martin took his own life. Martin quietly struggled with clinical depression and came to the conclusion he was better off dead. That's a jolting conclusion from someone so beloved and talented.

Just this weekend, another public figure passed away far too young. Eric Tunney was a talented comedian, who according to the Windsor Star, had been deeply depressed.

He began as a teenage comic in Windsor, Ont., performed in Toronto clubs and wound up in Los Angeles as a writer for the Fox Network.

But after his career bottomed out and his marriage failed, he returned to Windsor, doing the occasional show and working briefly as a telemarketer.

On Sunday, the 45-year-old was found dead in his Windsor apartment. Friends say he has suffered from deep depression the last couple of years.

"We were all really worried about him," said longtime friend Kelly Hoppe of Windsor.

There's no confirmation that Eric took his own life. Windsor police haven't disclosed that detail, but even before that Windsor Star article was published, I had emails from people purporting to have known him and anonymous comments left on this blog claiming Eric had commit suicide.

There's still an unfortunate stigma associated with mental illness and the resulting suicide. I've been receiving several anonymous messages via my contact form and unsigned comments on my entry about Eric's death that chastise me for "inaccurately" reporting Eric killed himself. The implication is that suicide as a cause of death tarnishes Eric's legacy and somehow detracts from the life he lived. I have a serious problem with that.

Eric Tunney died at 45 years old. To me, whether he died at his own hand or of natural causes changes nothing. It bothers me that the mere suggestion that Eric may have chosen to take his own life is suggested to add to the grief and anger currently afflicting Eric's loved ones.

It all comes back to the stigma of mental illness, and it's time we get over it. 20% of us suffer from depression. Dani suffers, Martin suffered and Eric suffered. If we talk about it and stop treating it like a personal defect or character flaw, we can reduce the stigma and make it easier for those like Dani and Martin and Eric to get the help they need.

To everyone who has lost a loved one to this disease, my sincere condolences. To those living with depression, I want you to know there's no shame in talking about it. You're not alone.

In Pursuit of Volleyball Excellence
Published by Toronto Mike on March 30, 2010 @ 14:12 in Volleyball

volleyballI play in a corporate volleyball league. We play every Tuesday night, and tonight we're in the semi-finals. If we win, we're in the finals, and that'll take place even later tonight.

"Corporate" is a funny category in sports. It implies "recreational", but the spirit is far more "intermediate" and sometimes "competitive". To me, "corporate" means "you can expense the cost".

We take our volleyball very seriously. We've already got our game faces on. Tonight, I'll be in my lucky black shorts and WWWD tee shirt pursuing volleyball excellence.

Nothing drops.

A Quick Word About Google Adsense
Published by Toronto Mike on March 29, 2010 @ 21:44 in SEO: Search Engine Optimization

GoogleGoogle AdSense just sent me an email.

We’re writing to let you know that we’ve identified an issue with the Canadian dollar electronic funds transfer (EFT) payment issued to you on Friday, March 26, 2010. We used an inaccurate exchange rate, but we’re currently working on a solution and will have more information for you in the next few days.

Will their exchange rate correction work in my favour or against me? I could take a peek inside my Adsense account and figure it out, but I think I'd rather be surprised.

People with blogs often ask me if they should have advertising on their sites. I always give them the same advice. First get the traffic, then worry about monetization. Without the eyeballs, it's a moot point.

I waited years before I introduced ads on this blog. Google doesn't pay you until the amount they owe you exceeds $100, so it wasn't uncommon for me back in the day to go 4 or 5 months without seeing a dime. I won't tell you how that broke down in terms of daily revenue, but we're only talking a Timbit or two.

Two things happened that took me from a Timbit or two to a coffee and donut a day: traffic increased substantially and I redesigned the site with Adsense in mind. In addition to the sidebar of ads, I added a banner ad to the bottom of every entry on the permalink pages.

I now get money from Google each and every month. It's not enough to quit my day job, but it fills the gas tank and leaves me with a little walking around money.

And a coffee and donut a day. After all, here in Canada, we measure revenue in terms of what it will buy us at Tim Hortons, eh?

RBI Baseball Was My Favourite
Published by Toronto Mike on March 29, 2010 @ 17:52 in Lists

ListsI've always made lists. Top 10 this, Top 5 that... I've been making lists for as long as I can remember.

Back in 1989, I made a list of my top ten video games at the time. I know this because I still have this list in a box collecting dust in my basement.

Here's that exact list, as I wrote it out that day over twenty years ago. RBI Baseball led the way. I played it on the old 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System.

  1. RBI Baseball
  2. Blades of Steel
  3. Super Mario Bros 3
  4. Ice Hockey
  5. Sprint
  6. Tetris
  7. Punch Out
  8. Zelda
  9. Wonderboy
  10. Motocross Maniacs
Eric Tunney, Dead at 45
Published by Toronto Mike on March 28, 2010 @ 21:08 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumEric Tunney was 45. He was the comedian best known as Ed the Sock's co-host following the departure of Harland Williams and prior to the arrival of Humble Howard Glassman.

I couldn't find any video of Eric Tunney hosting Ed the Sock, but I did find this clip of him hosting Switchback back in 1987. Switchback was a CBC music show that, coincidentally enough, was also hosted by Humble Howard at one point. The Eric Tunney I remember was a little older than this guy and always dressed in a suit and tie.

Although Eric's death has not yet been reported by the MSM, tweets from reliable sources assure me this sad news is true. Watch Eric Tunney's Comedy Now special here.

What If Kerry Fraser Wasn't Blind?
Published by Toronto Mike on March 28, 2010 @ 20:44 in Toronto Maple Leafs

stanleycupIf you follow me on Twitter, you know I love those new NHL ads for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The two I've been seeing lately ask What if Bobby didn't fly? and What if Mario wasn't super?

Here they are. I never get tired of watching them.

What If Bobby Didn't Fly?

What If Mario Wasn't Super?

About three hours ago, after watching the Bobby Orr ad again, I tweeted my prediction as to what will be the third in the series. I predicted it would ask "What if Kerry Fraser wasn't blind?"

fraser

It seems fellow Barilkospherian General Borschevsky had the same idea, tossed it over the wall to Bloge Salming, who made that third ad for the NHL.


Great minds think alike...

65 Red Roses' Eva Markvoort Has Passed Away
Published by Toronto Mike on March 28, 2010 @ 18:28 in News

candleIt was about six months ago that my wife and I watched 65_RedRoses as part of CBC Newsworld's Passionate Eye documentary series. 65_RedRoses featured the courageous and inspiring Eva Markvoort who was living with Cystic Fibrosis and needed a lung transplant to survive.

Here's the trailer for this excellent documentary.

I'll never forget the scene when Eva's pager went off, telling her she was getting her transplant. The documentary ended on a positive note. Eva got her transplant, and seemed to be doing better. Sadly, her body rejected it and she passed away yesterday morning.

She blogged about her experience living with CF at http://65redroses.livejournal.com/ and left this heartbreaking message on Thursday. She called this entry "i can't breathe".

i'm at that point now
i'm done with the poetics
asking for help
my sister is helping me write
actually helping me write

the medications have been piling up
they are taking their toll
i am supersaturated with medications
i've been medically missing in action for two days
the docs started taking me off some of them to see how i would manage

and i am not managing
not managing at all

i'm drowning in the medications

i can't breathe

every hour
once an hour

i can't breathe

something has to change

Here she is receiving the 2010 Summerhayes Award in room 450 at Vancouver General Hospital. She was only 25 years old.

This story breaks my heart. I don't know how I'm going to tell my wife.

The Toronto Star Hedges Their Bets re: Earth Hour
Published by Toronto Mike on March 28, 2010 @ 10:20 in News, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

newspaperBack in the old days, a lazy Sunday morning meant reading the newspaper. Today it means checking Google Reader and reading your RSS feeds. That's what I'm doing, and it's interesting to see how the Toronto Star hedges their bets with regards to Earth Hour.

Firstly, there's this article, entitled Toronto goes dark for Earth hour.

dark

Then, there's this article, entitled Toronto stays bright for Earth Hour.

bright

Same authors, same newspaper, same photo, same publication date. Earth Day supporters, click link one. Earth Day haters, click link two. Everybody's happy.

Why Earth Hour Isn't A Joke
Published by Toronto Mike on March 27, 2010 @ 23:17 in My 2 Cents

earthPeople love to hate Earth Hour. As with last year and the year before, I found myself in several heated debates tonight with people who think it's a big joke and enjoy flaunting their refusal to participate in my face. You know the type... from 8:30 to 9:30 they ensure every light in the house is on and that they're running their dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and vacuum.

It's not about the energy consumed during Earth Hour. One hour with the lights off won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. It's a symbolic gesture meant to educate and promote conservation. It's an awareness campaign.

My kids come home from school talking about Earth Hour, because they discuss it in class. I make a big deal about Earth Hour for my kids and use it as a tool to discuss other things we can do to reduce the strain on mother earth's natural resources. It's a great excuse to spark the conversation, and that's more than enough reason to celebrate it year after year.

It's not a joke. Stop fighting it and turn off your damn lights!

Video Creation and Upload to YouTube Quality Test
Published by Toronto Mike on March 27, 2010 @ 19:25 in Family

videoThis entry serves no purpose other than to test video production settings for YouTube.

This video was produced using Camtasia Studio version 6.0.3 with settings optimized for an upload to YouTube. The pretty little ditty you hear is the last track from Big Star's #1 Record and I've already received an email from YouTube telling me Warner Music Group owns the rights.

Test 2

This video was produced using Camtasia Studio with settings optimized for an upload to YouTube, but the moving pictures came from the avi file my Canon PowerShot produces. A few Camtasia titles and callouts have been added to narrate the story.

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3.

Toronto Has Islands - Did You Know That?
Published by Toronto Mike on March 27, 2010 @ 10:32 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

torontoWhile sipping my Saturday morning coffee (a.k.a. the best coffee of the week), I was checking out the new videos from Retrontario, my favourite YouTube account holder in the galaxy.

I've been sharing Retrontario nuggets of gold since he was posting under the moniker WNED17. A couple of years ago, for example, I shared this classic 1984 Zoodles ad that features a song I'm still singing today. If you're over 30, you know the tune and, although you're unlikely to admit it, you love the tune.

Retrontario just uploaded a 1986 ad for The Toronto Islands. I used to plan day long bike rides on the Toronto Islands and it remains one of my favourite destinations in the city, but how many out-of-towners know we have islands? It's possible our islands are our best kept secret.

Here's the ad that sparked this query.

Hey out-of-towners, yes... I'm taking to you both. Did you know Toronto had these awesome islands?

Dani Stover on the Air in Peterborough
Published by Toronto Mike on March 26, 2010 @ 12:47 in Edge 102 ~ CFNY, Radio

radioDani Stover is no longer producer of the Dean Blundell Show on 102.1 The Edge. She's still on the air, however, on The Wolf 101.5 in Peterborough, another Corus owned station.

You're likely familiar with The Wolf 101.5's program director. He's a fellow we call Freddie P from the Humble and Fred show who blogs at Canadian Thinker. Just last year, he wrote about Dani's courage. Dani spoke openly and eloquently about her battles with depression. Here's a bit of what Dani had to say.

The reason I feel the need to be open about this condition is because, with clinical depression comes a lot of stigma. And there's no need for it. One in five people suffer from some sort of depression. And I'm not talking about occasional sadness or periods of feeling distressed or miserable. I'm talking about feeling day-to-day sadness, anxiety, pessimism and helplessness.

I'm glad Dani wrote about her condition. She wanted to "reduce the stigma behind depression" and I'm all for that. Clinical depression is not a defect, it's an illness, and deserves the same sympathy and support that we give those with other diseases.

In her Wolf bio she states that she always "wanted to be a radio star". That journey has now taken her to Peterborough where I'll be rooting for her.

dani

The Habs Bet With Metric Julie: The Terms
Published by Toronto Mike on March 26, 2010 @ 09:09 in Habs Suck, Toronto Maple Leafs

puckLast Sunday, I appeared on The Team 990 in Montreal. If you haven't heard my 8-minute segment yet, click on over and give it a listen.

I made a statement that's ruffled a few Habs fans feathers. I confidently predicted that my Toronto Maple Leafs and their Montreal Canadiens would win the exact same number of playoff games this season. In other words, the Habs will be swept in four games in their opening round.

Metric Julie was on The Team 990 at that time, and she proposed a bet to make things interesting. I agreed, and now we've settled on the terms.

If the Habs fail to win a playoff game this year, Metric Julie will sing "The Leafs Are The Best" on Montreal sports radio. If you haven't heard this epic song, hear it below.

This is going to be fun. If the Habs win a game, I have to... nahhhh, it's not going to happen. No need to worry about it.

Go Leaf Go!

American Idol Claptrap and Crystal Bowersox
Published by Toronto Mike on March 25, 2010 @ 20:14 in American Idol

idolI just tweeted that I'm part Don Draper, part Omar Little. I wish. Those are two of the most fascinating characters I've seen on television and their respective shows are fantastic.

You know what show is far less cool than Mad Men or The Wire? American Idol. I've taken more abuse from friends and family for watching American Idol than for anything else this past decade.

Today when people discover I watch American Idol, I melt their hearts by telling them how much my kids love it and how we watch it as a family and play along with the judges. This is true, my kids adore this show, but the devil is in the details. I was watching before my oldest could talk. Shhhh, that's a carefully guarded secret.

We're in season 9 and it feels like this will be the last. In my opinion, this is also the worst. There's only one contestant I believe actually has the goods. The crystal clear #1 is far and away the cream of this crop, and I don't even know who's second best. I'm referring to Crystal Bowersox.

Laugh at my guilty pleasure if you will, but Crystal Bowersox can sing. Unfortunately for viewers, she's the only one.

Our Magic Number is 163
Published by Toronto Mike on March 25, 2010 @ 12:10 in Toronto Blue Jays

Magic NumbersNothing brings me back to the innocence of childhood the way baseball does. Throughout the 1980s, I was as big a Blue Jays fan as I was a Maple Leafs fan. In fact, because we had such a competitive baseball team starting in 1983 while our hockey team was always a threat to finish dead last, I followed baseball and particularly Blue Jays statistics closer than any other sport or team.

My fondest memories are of the Magic Number. The Magic Number is simply the number of games that the team leading a division needs to win to ensure winning the division. If you're leading the division with ten games remaining and your Magic Number is three, you only need to win three of those ten games to ensure winning the division. Each time you win, your Magic Number goes down by one. Each time your nearest divisional competitor loses, your Magic Number also goes down by one. When your Magic Number hits zero, you've clinched the division.

During the home stretch of late August and September, I would anxiously attack our delivery of the Toronto Star and head straight for the Sports section. If the Blue Jays were leading the American League East division, and we usually were during the 1980s, there would always be a Magic Number feature. Counting that number down to zero and another Blue Jays pennant is something I fondly recall, especially that first one in 1985.

It's been a very long time since I've been aware of our Magic Number. We haven't been in the playoffs since 1993, and it doesn't look like that streak is going to end any time soon.

Oh yeah, our Magic Number right now is 163. Go Jays Go!

The Torn Jacket: Difficulty Letting Go
Published by Toronto Mike on March 25, 2010 @ 09:09 in Miscellaneous

hangerI like to think I'm a pretty simple guy. Not simple in a bad way, but in a good way. I own one winter jacket, one pair of dress shoes, one pair of running shoes, one baseball glove, one digital camera, you get the idea. Once I have one item for each necessary function, I find it very difficult to swap it out for a new one. I don't know if it's a sense of loyalty or a mental defect, but if it ain't broken, I refuse to fix it, and even when it is broken, I find it awfully tough.

My winter jacket is a black leather jacket that I bought 12 years ago. Two and a half years ago I wrote about my jacket dilemma. The zipper broke and the pockets and liner have completely deteriorated. I'm pleased I squeezed an extra two winters out of it, but I'm hating the fact winter's winding down and I know this jacket has seen the end of the road. Next winter, I'll need a new one.

It's not because I'm cheap. I don't wear the same jacket for 12 winters to save a buck. I do it because I like it and it's functional. I hate the thought of throwing it out, and I hate the thought of keeping it and not wearing it even more.

This is par for the course with me. I've been driving the same car for eleven years. I'm about to hit 222,222 km and I'm planning to pull over and take a pic. We watch Mad Men on the 27 inch Sony Trinitron CRT television I bought 13 years ago, because it refuses to break. That's also why the stereo sound comes from the stereo I bought with the money I made working at Ex when I was 16. I've been carrying around the same Adidas bag for 25 years now. We've had the same dog for 14 years because she refuses to die!

I need a new jacket, and I don't want a new jacket. I want my old jacket.

torontomike5

Robert Culp, Dead at 79
Published by Toronto Mike on March 24, 2010 @ 18:57 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumRobert Culp was 79. He was the actor best known as Kelly Robinson in the '60s TV show I Spy and more recently as Warren Whelan on Everybody Loves Raymond.

I knew him best as Bill Maxwell on The Greatest American Hero.

Television on DVD
Published by Toronto Mike on March 24, 2010 @ 14:13 in Television

cdMy preferred way to view quality television is on DVD. I'm willing to wait a little in order to bang off a good series unedited without commercials and without waiting a week for a new episode.

Last year, I watched the entire series of The Wire on DVD. The Wire had such an effect on me, I've just bought all five seasons on DVD so I can watch it again and again. Yes, it's that good.

Last week, I decided I wanted to watch Mad Men. One tweet later, I was meeting Elvis to pick up season one on DVD. We're six episodes deep and digging it. It's not The Wire, but it's great television.

Prior to my purchase of The Wire on DVD, the only television show I've ever bought on DVD has been The Simpsons. What shows do you own on DVD?

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Enola Gay
Published by Toronto Mike on March 24, 2010 @ 09:25 in Weekly MP3s

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

play Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Enola Gay
I always liked this song from OMD.

The song is named after the USAAF B-29 Superfortress which dropped "Little Boy", the first atomic bomb to be used in an act of War, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the end of WWII.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Published by Toronto Mike on March 23, 2010 @ 21:30 in Humour

humourI haven't seen something this good in a while. It's a trailer for the upcoming Weird Al Yankovic biopic.

Five years ago this month, I wrote about Doctor Demento.

If IE Ignores it, Does it Exist?
Published by Toronto Mike on March 23, 2010 @ 13:15 in Technology

MouseI was just checking out a great little HTML5 and CSS3 checklist by findmebyip.com. They've looked at the top five browsers, both PC and Mac, and looked at whether it supported CSS3 Properties, CSS3 Selectors, HTML5 Web Applications, HTML5 Embedded Content, HTML5 Audio Codecs, HTML5 Video Codecs, HTML5 Forms Inputs and HTML5 Forms Attributes.

I make my living in this world. Web-based work pays my mortgage and feeds my kids. This matters to me.

You don't have to know a stitch about HTML5 or CSS3 to see in this chart that IE6, IE7 and IE8 fare very poorly. This begs the question: if IE ignores it, does it exist?

And yes, I'm being serious. We don't develop web sites for ourselves or our web-savvy brethren, we do it for the masses, and that means we do it for IE.

How much time and energy would you commit to something that couldn't be seen or appreciated in Internet Explorer?

The Story of Bottled Water
Published by Toronto Mike on March 22, 2010 @ 19:14 in Miscellaneous

dripA few years ago, I shared The Story of Stuff. Here's another story from the same folks. This is the story of bottled water.

I drink tap water.

Clickety Click Barba Trick!
Published by Toronto Mike on March 22, 2010 @ 15:51 in Television

rewindAllow me a moment to explain the current header. In case you're reading this long after it's gone, here's what was at the top of this site at the time of this writing.

header

That's Barbapapa and Barbamama, and if you were a kid in the late 70s and early 80s watching TVO, you know them from Barbapapa. I loved that show, even more than Jeremy the Bear and almost as much as I loved Fables of the Green Forest.

Clickety Click Barba Trick!

My Appearance on Team 990 - Pissing Off Habs Fans
Published by Toronto Mike on March 21, 2010 @ 20:30 in Habs Suck, Press Recognition, Radio, The Best of Toronto Mike, Toronto Maple Leafs

RadioI appeared on Montreal's only English sports radio station tonight, The Team 990. The show is called Game Points and they had me on following their discussion about my blog last week.

It's not easy being cocky when your team hasn't played a playoff game in five years but I think I pulled it off. Have a listen and tell me what you think.

Gorillaz featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def - Stylo
Published by Toronto Mike on March 21, 2010 @ 12:00 in Videos

videoThe first video I want to share in the post-SLS era is this gem from the Gorillaz. The song features Mos Def and Bobby Womack while the video features Bruce Willis.

Smells Like Sour: 1999-2010
Published by Toronto Mike on March 21, 2010 @ 11:14 in SLS ~ Smells Like Sour

sls11 years is a very long time for anything web-based. That's why it's with a great deal of sadness that I announce the Smells Like Sour (SLS) franchise has died a natural death.

SLS was a "hypothetical" collection of new tunes that we "released" twice a calendar year. All editions of SLS consisted of 20 songs the SLS committee deemed to be the best new music since the previous instalment of SLS. We "released" new editions of SLS around Canada Day and Christmas Day. The last one, #22, came out New Year's Eve 2009. The last song nominated was Metric's "Gold Gun Girls" back on February 8, 2010.

SLS was a labour of love. In the beginning, I'd come up with the 20 songs I liked, my buddy Mark would come up with the 20 songs he liked, and we'd meet at a Tim Hortons and negotiate. I won a few battles, and I lost a few battles. I still hate that Andy Stochansky song!

Back in the day, fantastic discussions took place at http://www.smellslikesour.com/, but then life and work and other priorities got in the way. That site's been badly neglected for years, my buddy dropped out of the SLS process a while ago and I haven't been feeling it since my favourite radio station turned me off.

22 editions over 11 years is a pretty good run. I'm going to keep the SLS Song Database online and, from now on when I hear a tune I dig, I'll just blog about it.

Smells Like Sour: 1999-2010.

I Know I Was Born and I Know That I'll Die
Published by Toronto Mike on March 20, 2010 @ 13:08 in Miscellaneous

treeThe in between is mine.

Eddie Vedder wrote that lyric for "I Am Mine", a song from Riot Act. "I Am Mine" tops my list of 20 songs for my funeral, I like it that much. When all is said and done, you're born and you'll die. It's the in between that belongs to you.

I don't spend a great deal of time thinking about my death. It's inevitable, but I'm hopeful it's many decades down the road. I do know, however, that I'm not immortal. I will die.

I was just reading about the turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish. It may just be the world's only immortal animal.

Since it is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again, there may be no natural limit to its life span. Scientists say the hydrozoan jellyfish is the only known animal that can repeatedly turn back the hands of time and revert to its polyp state (its first stage of life).

jellyfish

I'm no jellyfish. I know I was born and I know that I'll die. The in between is mine.

5 Years Ago Today, I Wrote About My Game
Published by Toronto Mike on March 20, 2010 @ 10:39 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsThink back upon all the Leafs games you've attended over the years. Which was your favourite?

Five years ago today, I wrote about My Game. This game took place over twenty years ago, but it remains my personal fave.

I attended the last Toronto Maple Leafs game of the 1980s. I have the ticket stub to prove it. I attended the game on December 30, 1989 with my buddy Joe and it remains to this day the most entertaining game I've ever seen live. This is the story of my game.

The first 37:09 of play was dismal. In fact, we had brought a megaphone and began heckling our beloved Leafs. After one defensive lapse, we anointed a particular blueliner "Al I-Afraid-Of-The-Puck". The Leafs trailed the Boston Bruins 6-1 at this point and with only a few minutes left in the second we were literally playing the funeral march. We knew our limitations and overcoming a deficit of this nature against a far better team wasn't going to happen. Furthermore, prior to this game, the Leafs were 1-16-1 when trailing after 40 minutes. Conversely, the Bruins were 12-1-1 when leading after two periods. To make matters even worse, the Bruins had won six in a row against us.

This is when my game becomes legendary. After Vincent Damphousse scored to bring us within four, Gary Leeman began the unpredictable rally at 4:59 of the third. Only a couple of minutes later, Luke Richardson scored to make it 6-4. It was at this point that we began to believe in the unbelievable. Could we? Would we? Ed Olczyk brought us closer to this realization when he banked the puck in off Stephane Quintal behind Andy Moog. It was 6-5 and the blue and white express was in full effect.

I think it would have been extremely painful to have lost this game 6-5 after trailing 6-1 so late in the contest. Thankfully, I knew we'd complete this unprecedented comeback. I knew we had a couple more rabbits in the hat. Eddie O came through again on a break away to send my game into overtime. The Leafs could actually win this game they had no business being in. I was ecstatic, beside myself, in complete disbelief. I didn't want to tie the Bruins in this final game of the 1980s, I wanted to beat them.

With 1:41 remaining in the extra period and after Al Iafrate made a great play to keep the puck inside the blueline, Wendel Clark whacked home the winner. The Toronto Maple Leafs had defeated the Boston Bruins after trailing 6-1 late in the second. My voice is still sore from screaming after Clark's goal. It felt as if we had just won the Stanley Cup.

There were 16,382 of us there that night, but nobody left Maple Leaf Gardens happier than I. I had just witnessed a miracle that I'd never forget.

December 30, 1989 - Maple Leafs

Find the Sleeping Schedule of Your Twitter Friends
Published by Toronto Mike on March 19, 2010 @ 19:44 in Twitter

twitterYes, there's an actual website that promises to tell you the sleeping schedule of your Twitter friends. You can try it now at http://www.sleepingtime.org/.

Their algorithm "will determine the approximate sleeping schedule based on the time when he or she stays least active on Twitter".

Naturally, I put in my Twitter username to see when it thinks I sleep.

sleep

Not bad... I'm more of an 11pm to 7:30am guy, but midnight to 6 are definitely my core sleeping hours.

10 Post-Olympic Break Leafs Games
Published by Toronto Mike on March 19, 2010 @ 17:35 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsI had quite the iron man streak of Maple Leaf recaps going. I had written a recap of every Leafs game since the start of the 2003/2004 season until Brendan Burke passed away. I couldn't find it in me to recap that night's game.

Post Olympics, I had another problem. There's now been ten games since the Olympics and I haven't written a single recap. I think I'm done with recapping Leafs games this season.

I've been watching, though, and following. The past ten games have actually been quite entertaining, and we've won six of them, including two against those hateful Sens. It's clear to me that my recaps have been holding us back, even though we did win one playoff series during my recap era, although that was against the Senators and probably shouldn't count.

We've got the team I love to hate, the Habs, on Saturday night, and I might be talking about it on Montreal sports radio Sunday night. We'll see if they can meet my hefty salary demands.

I'll just close this recap of my lack of recaps by saying Phil Kessel can score. He's at 27 and counting. Brian Burke's no dummy.

And oh yeah... Go Leafs Go!

2010 NHL Playoff Pool
Published by Toronto Mike on March 19, 2010 @ 17:02 in Hockey Playoff Pool

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

Draft day is April 12. Here are the official rules. Here's a peek at previous drafts:

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

In Praise of Unseasonable Warmth
Published by Toronto Mike on March 18, 2010 @ 16:39 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

SunThe kids are off school this week, enjoying their March Break. I thought that would make this the ideal week to avoid the office. I took a week off to sleep in and chill with the family.

It's the middle of March, and I haven't worn pants all week. That's right, I'm enjoying an unprecedented pants-less week in March.

It hit 19° today. They're expecting a high of 18° tomorrow. I can do this. I can make it the entire week without pulling on a pair of pants once.

weather

Make no mistake about it, this is indeed epic.

Fess Parker, Dead at 85
Published by Toronto Mike on March 18, 2010 @ 15:51 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumFess Parker was 85. He was the actor who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.

I came within a Y chromosome have having a son named Daniel Boon.

martinstreek.com: Help Me Get It Back Online
Published by Toronto Mike on March 18, 2010 @ 13:17 in Martin Streek Remembered ~ A Tribute to Martin Streek

mouseMartin Streek took his own life last July. As you'll see from the 214 comments over there and the many other entries in my Martin Streek Remembered category, Martin was a wildly popular radio deejay in this city, enjoyed by all who heard him and beloved by everyone who met him.

With the one year anniversary of his death coming this summer, I'm disappointed www.martinstreek.com is parked by the host. That typically means the domain name owner hasn't paid and instead of making the domain name available to anyone, the host eNom is holding on to it, hoping the owner will wisen up and pay up. Here's what martinstreek.com looks like right now.

martinstreek

It's possible Martin was the only one with the login details that would ensure we keep his site online, or it's possible someone reading this entry knows who can help with this. If you can help me get Martin's domain name, I'd love to put up a tribute to him at martinstreek.com. Please contact me.

Help me get it back online.

When Symbols Change Meaning: The Swastika
Published by Toronto Mike on March 18, 2010 @ 12:12 in Miscellaneous

puckToday, the swastika is primarily seen as the symbol of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany. The connotation is incredibly negative, and rightly so... under the flag of the swastika, a racist belief in the superiority of the Aryan race took hold and resulted in the death of 11 million people. This symbol has power.

Until the Nazis used this symbol, the swastika was actually used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck. The connotation was so positive, it even made its way onto a hockey jersey. Here's the Edmonton Swastikas hockey team from 1916.

swastikas

[Photo via Birthplace of Ice Hockey]

Alex Chilton, Dead at 59
Published by Toronto Mike on March 18, 2010 @ 11:18 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumAlex Chilton was 59. He was the singer and guitarist who rose to prominence in Big Star and The Box Tops.

The White Stripes - Black Math Live in Canada
Published by Toronto Mike on March 17, 2010 @ 18:27 in Weekly MP3s

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

play The White Stripes - Black Math Live
The White Stripes have released a documentary film and accompanying live album entitled "Under Great White Northern Lights" which documents their 2007 tour across Canada.

I'm enjoying the live album and I'm sharing "Black Math" because it's one of my favourite White Stripes tunes.

410px-UGWNL_film

The White Stripes: The best band of the past decade. Agree or disagree?

Dan Achen, Dead at 51
Published by Toronto Mike on March 17, 2010 @ 14:30 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumDan Achen was 51. He was lead guitarist for the Hamilton rock band Junkhouse.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Grandma
Published by Toronto Mike on March 17, 2010 @ 11:16 in Family

Happy St. Patrick's DayI was always very close to my grandmother. I remember a pre-teen version of myself timidly approaching the elderly woman behind the counter of the Irish Store and asking if she had a print of the Doors of Dublin. My younger brother Ryan was there too and our plan was to buy this print and have it framed for our Grandmother who spoke often about the old country. She spoke with such fondness of Dublin and Gaelic sayings and Irish legends and we knew she'd love the Doors of Dublin on the wall of her Gilford, Ontario home.

For many, St. Patrick's Day has become an excuse to party and drink to excess. For me, it's a reason to remember good times with my Grandma. We were told she wouldn't be with us by Thanksgiving Day 2009, but she's still with us today. Grandma, may the Lord keep you in His hand and never close His fist too tight.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Mike and Grandma

Airchecker Steals Content, Gives No Credit, Ticks Me Off
Published by Toronto Mike on March 16, 2010 @ 15:58 in My 2 Cents

aircheckerAirchecker has a blog and a Twitter account. The official Airchecker bio states they're based in Vancouver and "Canada's number one source for the Canadian Radio Industry. The first social networking news provider. Radio insiders, powered by YOU.".

When they say "powered by YOU", they really mean "stolen from YOU". Here's the sequence of events that ticked me off, in chronological order.

1. I Post An Exclusive Interview on My Blog
I conducted an interview with Rick Hodge, using questions I wrote, and with Rick's explicit permission, I posted this interview on my blog.

That's my content, licensed under a Creative Commons License that permits anyone to "copy, distribute and transmit the work" so long as it's noncommercial and I'm attributed as the source with a link back to my site.

2. Airchecker Posts My Content On Their Blog
Airchecker takes my entry, likely from my RSS feed, and reproduces it on their blog. They don't credit the source, they reproduce almost the entire Rick Hodge interview with "Posted by Airchecker" in the footer. Here's a screen cap of how my entry looks on their Blogger blog.

A

3. Airchecker Tweets About Their Interview With Rick Hodge, Linking to Their Blog
Now that Airchecker has my exclusive content on their site as if it's theirs, they may as well promote it via Twitter. Their tweet, of course, doesn't include @torontomike or a link back to my blog. Here's their tweet:

B

I'm aware there are thousands of scraper blogs out there, stealing content from RSS feeds for SEO fodder, but this is different. This Airchecker is an attempt to provide a Canadian radio news aggregation service, and that's why this practice of theirs has me peeved. It's just wrong. It's stealing.

Airchecker, I'm sentencing you to five minutes in the sin bin for unethical blogging and tweeting practices. If you need good content, write it yourself. If you want to borrow some of mine, at least mention that it's mine and link back to the appropriate permalink, or put me on the Airchecker payroll. Play by the rules or Colin Campbell will suspend you... or not.

McDonald's Shamrock Milkshake
Published by Toronto Mike on March 16, 2010 @ 15:27 in Miscellaneous

shamrockI used to look forward to McDonald's shamrock milkshakes at this time of year. Shamrock shakes were only available around St. Patrick's Day and had a minty sweet taste that would appeal to a 10 year old.

At some point, McDonald's stopped selling them. I'm guessing they weren't selling enough to make it worthwhile. It's too bad, I think the kids would dig them.

Here's an old ad for the shamrock milkshake, circa 1986.


Rob Ford For Mayor? Not On My Watch...
Published by Toronto Mike on March 16, 2010 @ 10:59 in Politics, Rob Ford Watch, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Rob FordOn March 26, Rob Ford will announce something. Speculation is he'll announce he's running for mayor of Toronto. I hope he's announcing he's quitting politics for an on-air gig at AM640.

Four years ago, after having enough of Rob Ford's Neanderthal comments, I wrote a definitive list of Rob Ford quotes. Here are a few of my favourites:

"This is an insult to my constituents to even think about having a shelter in my ward!" - April, 2002

"I don't understand. Number one, I don't understand a transgender, I don't understand, is it a guy dressed up like a girl or a girl dressed up like a guy? And we're funding this for, I don't know, what does it say here? We're giving them $3,210?" - June 2005

"People do not want government housing built in the city of Toronto. They want roads fixed, more police presence, but they don't want more government housing that will depreciate the value of their property." - July, 2005

A year after I wrote that entry, he chimed in with a beaut about bike lanes.

I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day.

Rob Ford, they seem to like you in Ward 2, Etobicoke North. Please run there. Toronto's next mayor won't be a bike lane hating, Transit City killing social conservative who promises to "cut everything but police spending to tame the city budget. Libraries, parks, whatever."

Surely we can bring accountability to city hall spending without this extra baggage and complete lack of big city vision.


Rick Hodge Interview - Why He Left CHUM, the Sunday Funnies and More
Published by Toronto Mike on March 15, 2010 @ 16:46 in Interviews, Radio

MicrophoneI recently worked with Rick Hodge. Rick and I had a rocky start to our relationship, but as is often the case, the guy you most want to stab in the eye quickly becomes a solid bud.

Rick Hodge is no longer on the air, having been booted from the radio by Astral, but he's now writing very interesting prose on his blog. All bias aside, it's a very interesting perspective and he occasionally tells some pretty cool Toronto radio stories over there. I strongly urge you to check it out.

Here's an interview I conducted with Toronto radio legend Rick Hodge earlier today.

Q: I can't tell you how many Sunday nights I spent listening to you host the Sunday Night Funnies on CHUM-FM. How did that program come to be? Are you aware of how awesome it was?
A: I inherited the Sunday Funnies after the original host left. It was kind of make shift at the time so I thought it would be a good idea to get it organized. Because of content and language a lot of the material couldn't be used and it would take the producer hours to find all the edits. So I catalogued the entire library. Then I made a point of going to the big record stores downtown and bought up anything new I found. I remember coming across Jeff Foxworthy for the first time. I bought him, loved him and played him. After a couple of weeks I got a call from Sam the Record Man. The guy said "what the hell are you doing?" They were getting a non stop stream of people coming into the store asking for Jeff Foxworthy or that southern guy I heard on the Funnies. I also made runs to Buffalo about every 3 months because they had material that wasn't available in Canada. Don Ferguson from the Air Farce told me I had the largest comedy collection he had ever seen.

One thing I took pride in was promoting as much Canadian talent as I could. The 2 comics I got to know the best were Gerry D who cut a name for himself on "Last Comic Standing" in the US and Frank Spadone. I just happened to pick up Frank's cd one day and started playing it. I used it on the Funnies and he called to ask if he could do a ticket giveaway on the morning show. He did and the venue, which was only half sold, sold out. And he did it on Super Bowl Sunday.

The program director at the time wanted me to start cutting back on the older comics. He wanted the young comics I told him the problem with the young comics is that most of them live and die with "F" bomb. If he'd allow me let that word go in their bits it would open things up for all sorts of new material. He did and we only got one complaint.

To answer the question, no I never did realize how awesome it was.

Q: I used to catch you on television hosting Rinkside, a weekly AHL highlight show. How did you score that gig?
A: Actually they came to me. It was just after I won a sportscaster of the year award. I'm not a television guy so thank God it was pre-taped. The most fun I had was with the co-hosts. Brian Kilrea of the Ottawa 67's did regular bits one year and he was a hoot. Brad Smith (Motor City Smitty) was fun to work with. We discovered Jim Ralph when he was a goaltender with the Newmarket Saints. I knew from the start he had a career in sports casting. I also got to know Gord Stellick. Truly one of the nicest people I have ever met and another former non broadcaster who's done very well on hard work and talent as a talk show host.

Q: "Roger, Rick & Marilyn" was my mom's favourite radio show. The CHUM-FM morning show was tops in this city. Why did you leave?
A: Roger Rick and Marilyn was, and remains, the highlight of my broadcasting career. I was honoured to be asked to be part of Roger Ashby's induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. So, why did I leave? The station was evolving. My commentaries had been dropped, the Funnies were dropped and finally the sports casts in the morning were dropped. I disagreed at the time but in an industry that had become specialized I understand why they did what they did. I wanted to get back to doing sports and commentaries and I wanted to get involved with talk radio. There's more to the decision but basically when I was presented with the opportunity, I took it.

Q: Astral never seemed to know what to do with you once they landed you. You were on the EZ-Rock morning show, while running down the hall to be on CFRB. Then, without giving you a fair shot, they kicked you off the air. What the hell went wrong?
A: Good question.

Q: Do you have any resentment towards Astral?
A: No. Sometimes you forget it's a business and the people running that business will do what they feel is best for the company. I understand that. That doesn't mean it doesn't sting when it happens but at least you understand.

Q: What's next for Rick Hodge?
A: Well, I have to check the kitty litter, I have to fill out my NCAA brackets for the pool, Pardon the Interruption is on in about an hour (best show on TV), then I'll read some of the new book I just picked up. Lord I've got cabin fever. Actually I want to stay in radio. It's the old Joni Mitchell line "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone." Getting up at some ridiculous hour never really bothered me. I love the early, early mornings and the drive to work at 2:30 am with virtually no traffic on the road. Where I'll end up I don't know and who knows, I may not end up anywhere.

The Great One and The Greatest One
Published by Toronto Mike on March 15, 2010 @ 15:06 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsI love this photo of The Great One and The Greatest One.

The Great One and The Greatest One

[via Vintage Leafs]

Your 2010 Raging Storm Slo-Pitch Superstars
Published by Toronto Mike on March 15, 2010 @ 11:57 in Raging Storm

slo-pitchIn the comp division of the RSPA, there's a slo-pitch team called Raging Storm. The core group has remained pretty much intact for about a decade now, but there's usually a little turnover.

This season, we added a couple of new guys and a new girl. Here's your 2010 Raging Storm slo-pitch superstars.

Men
Booner
Engell
Kicster
Mofo
Pats
Gregger
Andy Mac
Will The Thrill

Women
Kitchenette
Colleen The Dream
Mighty Mouse
The Sakker

Mr. T

The Lonely Island with Julian Casablancas - Boombox
Published by Toronto Mike on March 15, 2010 @ 11:14 in Humour

humourI record SNL because I'm too old to watch it live. On Saturday, I caught up on the Zach Galifianakis show (he's a funny mofo) and last night I got to see one of my favourite bands of all-time (Pearl Jam!).

SNL is pretty hit and miss these days, but the Digital Shorts from The Lonely Island are consistently good. The Pearl Jam ep featured a Lonely Island tune called "Boombox" featuring the vocal styling of The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, and well... I really liked it.

Here it is until NBC pulls it.

Peter Graves, Dead at 83
Published by Toronto Mike on March 14, 2010 @ 20:49 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumPeter Graves was 83. He was the actor best known for his starring role in the television series Mission: Impossible from 1967 to 1973, and its revival, from 1988 to 1990.

I'll always remember him as Captain Clarence Oveur from Airplane!

Audio of Team 990 in Montreal Discussing My Blog
Published by Toronto Mike on March 14, 2010 @ 20:08 in Habs Suck, Press Recognition, Radio

RadioGame Points with Matthew Ross is a sports radio show that airs on The Team 990 in Montreal. Minutes ago they spent an entire segment discussing my Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Way to Offend entry from Friday afternoon.

I wasn't just listening, I was recording the web stream with Audacity so I could share all 11:30 with you. Here's Metric Julie talking about Toronto Mike on Game Points.

I'm glad they laughed off this Leafs conspiracy angle that's gaining steam. This topic runs a little deeper than your run of the mill team rivalry.

Great job, Metric Julie!

The Show I'm Most Stoked About: Treme
Published by Toronto Mike on March 14, 2010 @ 11:51 in Television, The Wire

tvIt's pretty rare these days that I get excited about a new television series. Sure, I'm up for tonight's premiere of The Pacific, but that's not the show I'm most heavily anticipating in 2010. The show I'm most stoked about is Treme.

I stand by my claim that The Wire is The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™. I've opined openly on the subject at http://www.torontomike.com/the_wire/. Treme is from the makers of The Wire, and here's the description from Wikipedia.

Treme is an upcoming American drama television series created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer. The series takes place three months after Hurricane Katrina where the residents of New Orleans, including musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians and ordinary New Orleanian try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane. The series is scheduled to premiere April 11, 2010, on HBO. The first season will consist of 10 episodes, including an 80-minute pilot episode.

Note: I originally embedded the trailer below, but it was inexplicably pulled from YouTube. Instead, here's the less exciting teaser.

Welcome back, Bunk! I'll be watching on HBO Canada... there's no way I'd miss this.

Our Haiti Relief Song is Better Than Yours
Published by Toronto Mike on March 14, 2010 @ 10:50 in O Canada

musicAmerican musicians re-recorded We Are The World to raise money for Haiti and now we have a Canadian response. The collective is called Young Artists for Haiti and they've recorded K'naan's Wavin' Flag.

Here are the soloists:

  • K'naan
  • Nelly Furtado
  • Sam Roberts
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Pierre Bouvier
  • Tyler Connolly
  • Kardinal Offishall
  • Jully Black
  • LIGHTS
  • Deryck Whibley
  • Serena Ryder
  • Jacob Hoggard
  • Emily Haines
  • Hawksley Workman
  • Drake
  • Chin Injeti
  • Ima
  • Pierre Lapointe
  • Elisapie Isaac
  • Esthero
  • Corb Lund
  • Fefe Dobson
  • Nikki Yanofsky
  • Matt Mays
  • Justin Nozuka
  • Justin Bieber

In the chorus my eagle eye caught old friends Jim Cuddy, Tom Cochrane, Colin James and Jim Creeggan.

Buy it here. All proceeds go to designated charities World Vision, Free The Children and War Child.

Blackface Condemnation Strikes a Nerve
Published by Toronto Mike on March 13, 2010 @ 20:14 in Habs Suck

notepadHow was your Saturday? I had a solid day, doing my mom's taxes, playing euchre, watching a pretty good Mike Tyson documentary and my Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. And oh yeah, defending myself for condemning the wearing of blackface and staving off threats from blackface wearers and sympathizers.

It all started when I saw a photo of two Habs fans wearing blackface and afro wigs on Deadspin. That prompted me to write Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Way to Offend. I couldn't believe these guys were allowed in the building, nor could I believe they were actually shown on television. Of course I had to write about it.

While I slept, friends of the two guys who wore the blackface and afro wigs found my entry. In addition to justifying the behaviour and ridiculing me for buying the media's lies and writing for hits, xmod threatened to bring down this entire site.

I have connections... ddos... ever heard of that..

A DDoS is a distributed denial-of-service attack and is usually carried out by consuming a web server's computational resources, such as bandwidth, disk space, or processor time. Somehow, despite xmod's threats, this site stayed online all day.

Then, the flood gates opened. All day long, comments poured in. Eventually I heard from one of the two men in the offending picture who went by the name "wantthis1488". He's the guy on the left and throughout the day we communicated both in the comments of that entry and via email.

wantthis1488 argued long and hard in defense of his blackface and afro wig. The arguments got more and more absurd, ranging from the movies "White Girls" and "Tropic Thunder" to the fact many Habs fans wanted pictures with the two and "we have now a black president". He closed with one final baffling threat.

wow man i am done with this forum u r going to be stupid and say that i am saying its ok to use th n word .. then it is no point to talk to you dumb ignorant douchbags thats how you said it.... what i was is that we are moving on and moving foward and u can now be proud .. and u can let go and stop trying to be the publics fan... and i have not even been contacted about this whole slander so i will be getting a hold of my lawyer .... ill see you soon mike

Assuming I survive his friend's DDoS attack, I'll be hearing from his lawyer. I'm more concerned with the several people who came to his defense and this promise wantthis1488 made in the comments.

ill do it again and again sweetheart ... and i dont have to tuck anything between my legs i am proud of what i did.... anyways everyone here is one minded theres no talking to you guys bye and toronto mike you said u were not doing this for promotion or to make yourself popular then stop twittering it and stop promoting it

That was my 9907th entry. In 9907 entries, I don't believe I've ever been as dismayed and disappointed in the general content of the comments. Still, amidst the ignorance, insensitivity, racism and generally offensiveness oozing from the majority of comments, a few sensible voices gave me hope.

Thank you Jim and Ajax Mike, for having my back and fighting the good fight, but I'll close this entry with the words of diehard Habs fan metricjulie.

Oh dear. Oh god. Oh, the humanity.

I am SO sorry, you guys. I, myself, am a Habs fan. I love Subban just as much as anyone and want him to develop in the AHL as long as he can before Montreal calls him up and ruins his career like we have seen happen so often (Latendresse, Price).

But man. Like Roy said, "The logic being used by the black face defenders is hurting my brain."

It hurts my brain too, and it hurts my pride and hurts to show my face as a Hab fan when these things happen.

Not to plug myself or anything, but I have written an entry on my blog called Your Guide To Being A Habs Fan: http://tinyurl.com/yzrm6fc

It's bad enough we are known for booing the US national anthem. I never thought I'd have to go and edit it to add a #6: Be blatantly racist, then defend your actions to the death.

It is so shameful that people are not only doing this, but that others are defending them and saying that they either "didn't know", "didn't mean to be offensive", "were supporting them, hence weren't trying to trash him so it makes it better", etc. Shame on all of you.

It is embarrassing enough to be a Habs fan without the people of Montreal looking like complete racists and senseless morons.

So for everyone on this thread who either wore blackface, defended blackface or was not completely appalled by blackface, I apologize. I apologize to the world for subjecting you to such blatant ignorance, insensitivity and hatred. And don't give me the "oh but they love Subban and were supporting him." DUDES PAINTED THEIR FACE BLACK. That is some aggressive perpetuation of racism. So don't even. Don't even.

Mike, you said "But thank you for validating my life-long hatred of Habs fans. Really... that's the fire you've truly fuelled here today."

and I don't blame you. I just hope that like me, you believe that 92% of the population ANYWHERE is stupid, and that somewhere in the shallows of Montreal are the 8% who are opposed to their behavior and are truly embarrassed and saddened that in TWENTY-TEN these events are still happening.

Because we exist, and we are so sorry for what happened.

A gentle reminder that there are reasonable, intelligent people who cheer for the Habs.

Tyson Review
Published by Toronto Mike on March 13, 2010 @ 19:56 in Reviews

Movie ReviewTyson: 7 out of 10.

In 1993, I recorded a Tyson documentary entitled "Fallen Champ". I can't tell you how many times I watched that doc. Before the Buster Douglas fight, I thought Tyson was invincible. That was his 38th fight.

We all know what happened next. Buster Douglas, a rape conviction, jail time, the Holyfield fights and this sour conclusion. Through all the drama and mayhem, Tyson always came across as a rather sympathetic figure. This documentary would be exhibit A, and it's mainly just Mike Tyson speaking to the camera.

It's good, but it's not as good as I remember "Fallen Champ" being. I actually think I still have the old VHS cassette that's hosting "Fallen Champ". I'm going to go see if I can dig it up.

tyson_movie

Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Way to Offend
Published by Toronto Mike on March 12, 2010 @ 16:55 in Habs Suck

puckHabs fans are offensive at the best of times, but this is a whole different class of offensiveness.

A couple of Montreal Canadiens fans painted their faces black with shoe polish and adorned afro wigs in support of P.K. Subban, who happens to be black.

subbanator

Wow. If you clicked that first link you know how much I hate the Montreal Canadiens. I hate the franchise, but mostly I hate the fans. As much as I hate Habs fans, these two idiots in Subbanator shirts have found a brand new low.

Break Songs (Or Music to March Break By)
Published by Toronto Mike on March 12, 2010 @ 15:49 in Lists, Music

MusicIt's March break.

Here are songs in my collection that have the word "march" in the title.

  • 19th Nervous Breakdown - The Rolling Stones
  • 21st Century Breakdown - Green Day
  • A Room At Heartbreak Hotel - U2
  • Achy Breaky Song - Weird Al Yankovic
  • Alone I Break - Korn
  • Ballbreaker - AC-DC
  • Bend and Break - Keane
  • Big Stuff (Previously Unissued Breakdown And Chatter) - Billie Holiday
  • Break - The Kleptones
  • Break - Three Days Grace
  • Break Down Doors - Default
  • Break Down The Walls - Chris Jericho - RA The Rugged Man
  • Break 'Em Off Some - Cypress Hill
  • Break 'Em On Down - Big Joe Williams
  • Break Her Down - Moist
  • Break It To Them Gently - Burton Cummings
  • Break It Up - Foreigner
  • Break It Up - Cypress Hill
  • Break My Body - Pixies
  • Break My Stride - Unique II
  • Break My Stride - Mathiew Wilder
  • Break of Dawn - Michael Jackson
  • Break On Through (The Doors) - Pearl Jam
  • Break on Through (To the Other Side) - The Doors
  • Break Out (Insert) - N.W.A.
  • Break Some Off - Korn
  • Break Stuff - Limp Bizkit
  • Break The Bed - Odds
  • Break the Grip of Shame - Paris
  • Break The Ice - Britney Spears
  • Break The Spell - The Rolling Stones
  • Break Ups 2 Make Ups - Method Man/Method Man
  • Break You Off - The Roots
  • Break Your Heart - Barenaked Ladies
  • Break Your Heart - Natalie Merchant
  • Breakadown - De La Soul
  • Breakaway - Ratatat
  • Breakaway - Sass Jordan
  • Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson
  • Breakdown - Guns N' Roses
  • Breakdown - Handsome Boy Modeling School
  • Breakdown - Jack Johnson
  • Breakdown - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Breakdown - Tantric
  • Breakerfall - Pearl Jam
  • Breakfast At The Circus - David Wilcox
  • Breakfast In America - Supertramp
  • Breakfast In Bed - The Pretenders
  • Breakin' Dishes - Rihanna
  • Breakin' the Law - The New Pornographers
  • Breaking All The Rules - Ozzy Osbourne
  • Breaking Free - High School Musical
  • Breaking In - Means
  • Breaking My Own Heart - Duffy
  • Breaking The Girl - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Breaking The Habit - Linkin Park
  • Breakout - Foo Fighters
  • Breakout - Swing Out Sister
  • Breakthrough - Big Wreck
  • Bringin' On The Heartbreak - Def Leppard
  • Calypso Breakdown - Ralph McDonald
  • Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin
  • Communications Breakdown - Chilliwack
  • Daybreak - Barry Manilow
  • Disciplined Breakdown - Collective Soul
  • Don't Break My Heart - UB40
  • Don't Confess (This Thing That Breaks My Heart) - Tegan and Sara
  • Don't Go Breaking My Heart [With Kiki Dee] - Elton John
  • Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) - The Rolling Stones
  • Finish Your Collapse and Stay for Breakfast - Broken Social Scene
  • Guilty (Previously Unissued Breakdown And Chatter) - Billie Holiday
  • Hard Habit To Break - Chicago
  • He Don't Love You (And He'll Break Your Heart) - Levon & The Hawks
  • Heartbreak Beat - The Psychedelic Furs
  • Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley
  • Heartbreak Hotel - Billy Joel
  • Heartbreak Hotel - Whitney Houston
  • Heartbreak Radio - Delbert McClinton
  • Heartbreaker - Led Zeppelin
  • Heartbreaker (Live, 1987) - Nirvana
  • How Could An Angel Break My Heart - Kenny G
  • I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home Tonight - Ann Peebles
  • I Want to Break Free - Queen
  • It's All Gonna Break - Broken Social Scene
  • Jailbreak - Thin Lizzy
  • Nookie, Break Stuff - Richard Cheese
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart - Neil Young
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart - Psychic TV
  • Orange Juice Blues (Blues For Breakfast) - The Band
  • Rude Boy Abroad [Lazare breakdub] - Bedouin Soundclash
  • So He Won't Break - The Black Keys
  • Spybreak! (Short One) - Propellerheads
  • Stop Breakin Down Blues - Robert Johnson
  • Stop Breaking Down - The White Stripes
  • Super Disco Breakin' - Beastie Boys
  • The Break - Soul Asylum
  • Time To Break Up - blink-182
  • To Da Break Of Dawn - L.L. Cool J.
  • Unbreak my Heart - Johnny Mathis
  • Up for Breakfast - Van Halen
  • Welcome To Heartbreak [Ft. Kid Cudi] - Kanye West
  • When Love Breaks Down - Prefab Sprout
  • When the Levee Breaks - A Perfect Circle
  • When The Levee Breaks - Dread Zeppelin
  • When the Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin
  • When Your Lonely Heart Breaks - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
  • You're Breaking His Heart - Mark Mothersbaugh

Supporters Link:

Merlin Olsen, Dead at 69
Published by Toronto Mike on March 12, 2010 @ 07:57 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumMerlin Olsen was 69. He was a member of the Los Angeles Rams' "Fearsome Foursome" in the 1960s, along with Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier. He later starred on NFL broadcasts, commercials, and the TV series "Little House on the Prairie" and "Father Murphy."

Toronto Blog Stars (Or Kids Today and Their Pangs for Fame)
Published by Toronto Mike on March 11, 2010 @ 21:45 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

TicketstubsA few Toronto bloggers are hosting an event they're calling The Guide to Social Media Success: The Ultimate How-To with the Toronto Blog Stars. As you'll see in the promo YouTube video below, it's featuring "the top three bloggers" in this city.

I must admit, I hadn't heard heard of Sean Ward before I saw that clip, and I only first heard of Casie Stewart earlier this year when I caught a Raymi tweet about her. Raymi I've known for years, having interviewed her not once, but twice. In 10 seconds, this Sean Ward guy comes across as such a pretentious douche bag I just broke my laptop screen trying to punch him in the face, but I digress...

What do you get from these Toronto Blog Stars for your $20? According to the Toronto Blog Stars registration page, you will learn everything you need to know about living the Blog Star lifestyle using blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and social networking, including:

  • how to get - and keep - the attention of movers and shakers in your industry
  • how to turn your everyday life into compelling content
  • how to brand yourself online
  • what programs and applications to use to host your site, keep track of your statistics, and promote yourself & your blog

Full props to these three Toronto bloggers for trying to make a little coin from kids today, desperately panging for some semblance of celebrity. If they can get a bunch of local blogger star wannabes to cough up $20 a pop for this content, good on 'em.

I invented compelling content. I have the attention of movers and shakers. I've branded myself online. If you want to learn all these things and more, I'll sing like a canary for $15, and I promise you'll never feel compelled to kick my ass.

The Monster Under the Bed North American Premiere
Published by Toronto Mike on March 11, 2010 @ 21:19 in Reviews

FamilyThe Young People's Theatre, or Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (LKTYP) as it's now known, hosted the North American premiere tonight of The Monster Under the Bed. I was lucky enough to catch it from the first row with my kids, who wore their pyjamas to this giant PJ party.

Performances at the LKTYP are consistently great, and it's always a big bang for the buck. The way I judge these plays is I watch my kids' faces. Tonight they were wide eyed and thoroughly entertained by The Monster Under the Bed, and that makes this another winner.

If you've got kids between the ages of 5 and 12 and you're looking for something to do this March break, you might want to click here and order tix to this thing. It features a giant bed and tonnes of fun.

Big bed

Relax? You Relax! The Star on Crosby's Gear
Published by Toronto Mike on March 11, 2010 @ 11:22 in My 2 Cents

NewspaperMaybe I shouldn't check my RSS feeds when I'm in a fighting mood. The headline in my Google Reader ticked me off. From The Star's hockey feed, "Relax, Canada: Crosby's Gear Found".

relax-canada

It's the "Relax, Canada" part that really boiled my potatoes. This whole anxiety over the whereabouts of Sidney Crosby's missing stick and glove was completely manufactured. I skipped every article on the subject and never once felt inclined to write about it. Crosby scored the golden goal, giving this nation a moment we'll never forget, and I don't believe one Canadian gives one iota what happened to the gloves and stick her threw into the air. I sure didn't.

I clicked through the "Relax, Canada" headline and noticed the actual article on The Star's site was changed. "Relax, Canada" was preserved in the page's url, and cached in my Google Reader, but gone from sight on the actual page.

relax2

Relax, Star... we could give a shit about the gloves and stick. It's your condescending tone that's got me all riled up.

Most Popular Social Networking Websites
Published by Toronto Mike on March 10, 2010 @ 19:47 in Lists

MouseAccording to Wikipedia, these are the biggest social networking websites you'd know about in North America, sorted alphabetically.

  • Classmates.com
  • Facebook
  • Flixster
  • Flickr
  • Last.fm
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Twitter
  • Windows Live Spaces

I currently have accounts with Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and Twitter. Which ones do you use?

Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night
Published by Toronto Mike on March 10, 2010 @ 16:15 in Weekly MP3s

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

play Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night
In a decade ruled by Coreys, this was my favourite of all the Corey songs.

26 years after it's initial release, it still sounds great.

Corey Haim, Dead at 38
Published by Toronto Mike on March 10, 2010 @ 08:44 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumCorey Haim was 38. He was the Toronto actor who starred in such films as "Lucas", "The Lost Boys" and "License to Drive". Locals will remember him as Larry on "The Edison Twins" before he shot to fame in the mid-to-late 80s.

Growing up in this city, it seemed like everyone had a Corey Haim connection. Every one of us was two degrees of separation from him or closer, and we all heard the stories. Here's a little something I wrote about Corey Haim back in 2006.

haim-ad

To Corey's friends and family in this city, I'm deeply sorry for your loss. I always liked the guy and rooted for him to slay his demons.

Farrah Fawcett's Oscar Snub
Published by Toronto Mike on March 9, 2010 @ 22:13 in Television

oscarTen years ago, my brothers and I drafted a dead pool. At some point I deemed the contest grossly insensitive and stopped updating the page, but I didn't delete it. Instead, I changed "the dead pool" into the slightly less offensive Celebrity Death Watch.

When a famous person kicks the bucket, I write about it and add them to that page. When Farrah Fawcett passed away last year, she got an entry, even though her death was overshadowed a few hours later by another celebrity passing.

During the Oscar telecast Sunday night, they aired this "in memoriam" segment, as they do every year. It includes just about everyone in the world of film that passed away during the previous year. Michael Jackson was recognized, even though he's not primarily known for his film career, but Farrah Fawcett was snubbed.

I didn't notice the Farrah Fawcett snub on Sunday night, but thought it was awfully strange when Jill left a comment about it on this entry. Although best known as a television star, Farwcett did appear in 19 films, including The Apostle, Extremities, Cannonball Run, and Logan's Run. They recognize people for far, far less than that.

The Academy can't even claim it was an accident. Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences spokeswoman Leslie Unger says "every year, it's an unfortunate reality that we can't include everybody".

You'd think they'd have found a second or two for Farrah. As the kids are saying, this was a huge FAIL.

Sarah Palin Used to Cross the Border for Canadian Health Care
Published by Toronto Mike on March 9, 2010 @ 16:02 in Politics

XXXOur Canadian Health Care used to be acceptable to Sarah Palin. I'm guessing she didn't pay for the services she received in this country, either.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin - who has gone to great lengths to hype the supposed dangers of a big government takeover of American health care - admitted over the weekend that she used to get her treatment in Canada's single-payer system.

"We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada," Palin said in her first Canadian appearance since stepping down as governor of Alaska. "And I think now, isn't that ironic?"

The irony, one guesses, is that Palin now views Canada's health care system as revolting: with its government-run administration and 'death-panel'-like rationing. Clearly, however, she and her family once found it more alluring than, at the very least, the coverage available in rural Alaska. Up to the age of six, Palin lived in a remote town near the closest Canadian city, Whitehorse.

How does that old Alanis song go again? Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you..

Toronto Blog Watch
Published by Toronto Mike on March 8, 2010 @ 21:04 in Twitter

TwitterAs you can imagine, I try to keep my good eye on the Toronto blogosphere. That's why I raised a Spockian eyebrow when I saw @TOblogwatch pop up on Twitter.

Toronto Blog Watch promises "Observations and commentary about the Toronto blogosphere." Sounds good to me! It looks like whoever is behind Toronto Blog Watch has actually started tweeting, as a few new tweets hit my TweetDeck this afternoon.

toblogwatch

This blog, by the way, has temporary immunity.

immunity

Who's behind @TOblogwatch? Anyone have a clue? Does anyone care?

Humble and Fred's Podcast of Bronze
Published by Toronto Mike on March 8, 2010 @ 17:14 in Humble and Fred, Podcasting

podcastHumble and Fred recorded a podcast that would have been perfectly timed had it been released during the Olympics. Unfortunately, Dan just got me the MP3 today and the Olympics are looking pretty distant now in the rearview mirror.

Nevertheless, Humble and Fred have recorded this for you, and they're not charging you a dime. Enjoy...




Download the MP3

Back to Firefox
Published by Toronto Mike on March 8, 2010 @ 16:15 in Technology

firefoxLast month I openly declared I had switched default browsers from Firefox to Chrome. The new Chrome extensions were pretty sweet, and Chrome seemed to be faster. That was then....

...this is now. I'm back with Firefox. Google Chrome seemed hesitant after a short while, unresponsive. There was even buggy issues with Gmail where I'd click "Attach a file" or "Plain Text" and the option would disappear altogether. You'd think the Google browser would work best with Google email, but Gmail was far snappier in Firefox.

Since then I've returned to Firefox, my default browser for six years, and everything is awesome. It's a portable version of Firefox, by the way, with my favourite add-ons and everything customized to my liking. Just like the prodigal son I've returned.

firefox32

My Wife Won the Pool
Published by Toronto Mike on March 8, 2010 @ 09:32 in Movies

OscarI ran a little Oscar pool. I actually opened it up to anyone, by tweeting the link, and 16 people played along.

I got 13, which wasn't too shabby. My wife, however, won the pool with 15. She was smart enough to go with The Hurt Locker for both best picture and best director.

oscars
Click to enlarge

Mark Linkous, Dead at 47
Published by Toronto Mike on March 7, 2010 @ 14:33 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumMark Linkous was 47. He was the lead singer and multi-instrumentalist for the alternative rock band Sparklehorse.

Here's Sparklehorse's appropriately titled "Sick of Goodbyes".

Toros vs. Leafs: Toronto's Teams Battle at the Boxoffice
Published by Toronto Mike on March 7, 2010 @ 11:32 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsVintage Leafs is a blog that posts pictures from the Toronto Maple Leafs' past. Today Vintage Leafs posted this cover from the Toronto Star's Star Week in 1975.

StarWeek

If you're my age or younger, you don't remember the Toronto Toros. The Toronto Toros were a WHA team that played in Toronto from 1973 to 1976. The fun stuff happened when the Toros left Varsity Arena for Maple Leaf Gardens for the '74-'75 season, hence this cheeky Star Week cover.

From Wikipedia:

The Toros moved to the Gardens for the 1974–75 season. However, by this time Harold Ballard had regained control of the Gardens. Ballard was a violent opponent of the WHA; he never forgave the upstart league for nearly decimating the Leafs' roster in the early 1970s. He deliberately made the Toros' lease terms at the Gardens as onerous as possible. The Toros' lease with Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. called for them to pay $15,000 per game. However, much to Bassett's outrage, the arena was dim for the first game. It was then that Ballard demanded $3,500 for use of the lights. Ballard also denied the Toros access to the Leafs' locker room, forcing them to build their own at a cost of $55,000. He also removed the cushions from the home bench for Toros' games (he told an arena worker, "Let 'em buy their own cushions!"). It was obvious that Ballard was angered at the WHA being literally in his backyard, and took his frustration on the renegade league out on the Toros.

Oh, to have been blogging about Harold Ballard in those good 'ol days. In 1976, the Toros officially lost that "battle at the boxoffice" and flew the coop for Birmingham. It's hard to believe they failed with a fierce logo like this...

Toronto-Toros

My 2010 Oscar Picks
Published by Toronto Mike on March 7, 2010 @ 10:17 in Movies

oscarsNow that the deadline has passed for the little Oscar pool I run, I can safely unveil my predictions.

If you want to win your pool, don't copy me. Of the ten movies nominated for best picture, I only saw three of them.

Here's what I'm going with. I'll let you know if I won tomorrow.

Best Picture: Avatar
Best Director: James Cameron for Avatar
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Best Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker: Mark Boal
Best Adapted Screenplay: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire: Geoffrey Fletcher
Cinematography: Avatar: Mauro Fiore
Editing: Avatar: Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron
Art Direction: Avatar: Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair
Costume Design: Nine: Colleen Atwood
Original Score: Avatar: James Horner
Original Song: Crazy Heart: T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham("The Weary Kind")
Best Makeup: Star Trek: Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, Joel Harlow
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar: Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson
Best Sound Editing: Avatar: Christopher Boyes, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
Best Visual Effects: Avatar: Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andy Jones
Best Animated Feature Film: Up: Pete Docter
Best Foreign Language Film: Un prophète (France)
Best Documentary Feature: The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers: Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Best Documentary Short: Music by Prudence (2010): Roger Ross Williams, Elinor Burkett
Best Live Action Short: Miracle Fish: Luke Doolan, Drew Bailey
Best Animated Short: French Roast: Fabrice Joubert

The 1050 CHUM Morning Show in 1987
Published by Toronto Mike on March 7, 2010 @ 09:58 in Radio

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.

My mom lights up when she talks about 1050 CHUM. Her "Top 40" 1050 CHUM ended on June 6, 1986, and that 1050 CHUM, if you excuse a brief run as an all-sports station, ended on March 25, 2009.

This clip is of the morning show crew a year after leaving Top 40 for "Favourites of Yesterday and Today". Here we see Gerry Forbes, Brian Henderson, Mary Garofalo, Mike Cleaver and Robbie Evans doing their thing.

On a related note, I frequently get emails asking if I know where Brian Henderson can now be found. Does anyone know what Brian Henderson is up to these days?

Michelle's Girls
Published by Toronto Mike on March 6, 2010 @ 15:31 in Family

familyA year and a half ago, I posted Michelle's Fields of dolls. She's changed things up, and now has a row of her girls she tucks in each night.

Here she is, taking care of her girls.

Michelle and her girls

And here they are, all tucked in and ready for bed.

Michelle's girls

Stanley Cup vs. Gold Medal: The Choice is Clear
Published by Toronto Mike on March 6, 2010 @ 09:19 in Toronto Maple Leafs

img After my hockey game last night, I tuned in The Fan 590 for the drive home. They opened up the phone lines to play a little game of "would you rather". The question was "would you give up Canada's gold medal in men's hockey for a Toronto Maple Leaf Stanley Cup victory?"

It was almost midnight on a Friday night, and the host was clearly trying to stimulate a discussion, but for a Leafs fan this really isn't a difficult question to ponder. The choice is clear. Every fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs would very gladly give up Sidney Crosby's golden goal for another Stanley Cup. We'd do it in a heartbeat, and there's several reasons why...

Our Emotional Investment
I'm 35 years old, and I've been rooting for the blue and white with all my might since Peter Ihnacak and Miroslav Frycer were lighting the lamp. That's almost 30 years of Stanley Cup dreams unfulfilled. I want to enjoy the payoff. I need to enjoy the payoff.

A Boy's Dream
Playing ball hockey every Saturday afternoon throughout the 80s, I never once dreamed about scoring the gold medal winning goal. I always dreamed about scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal, for my Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Road to Glory is Gruelling
The Olympic gold was locked up after 7 games. We had to win 4 playoff games, against Germany, Russia, Slovakia and the USA. Compare that to what you have to do to win the cup. There is no tougher tournament than the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This City Would Go Nuts
I remember well how this city exploded in 1992 and 1993 after the Jays won their World Series titles. I was on the streets, screaming and hollering. If the Leafs were to win a Stanley Cup, this city would go absolutely ape shit. Take that World Series celebration and multiply it by 10.

J pointed out this cool video of Torontonians celebrating our gold medal on Yonge street last Sunday night. It looks like a fun party, but I've seen far bigger crowds when the Leafs advance past the first round of the playoffs.

Is there a single Leaf fan who wouldn't give up this gold for a Stanley Cup?

Culture Shock (Or How Canada's Gold Ruined Leaf Games)
Published by Toronto Mike on March 5, 2010 @ 10:48 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsLast night, I sat down to watch my first hockey game since Sunday afternoon. This one felt a little different.

On Sunday, I capped off a couple of weeks of Olympic hockey by watching quality play from the world's best with the highest of stakes on the line. It simply doesn't get any better than that. My team won in overtime, sending my house and my country into a frenzy. It was the highest of highs, and I was top of the world.

Last night, reality sunk in. My other team, my NHL team, stinks. We're threatening to finish last overall, we don't own our first two picks and we're just playing out the string. Watching the Leafs right now is just about the polar opposite in terms of intensity, meaning and skill that we witnessed watching Team Canada win Gold in Vancouver.

I'm sure I'll get used to this, but for now I feel the way I felt returning to normal television after watching all five seasons of The Wire. It's culture shock.

omar

Ok Go Enjoy Embeddability Thanks to State Farm
Published by Toronto Mike on March 4, 2010 @ 21:02 in Videos

VideoDamian Kulash Jr. of the band Ok Go went off last month on EMI for cutting off its nose to spite its face.

Now they've gone viral again thanks to their amazing new video for This Too Shall Pass and the fact it's embeddable. It's embeddable, not thanks to EMI, but because the video has been sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

Here's This Too Shall Pass, a video you're watching now because embedding wasn't disabled in YouTube.

And yes, embaddability should be word.

Justifying Audio Book Thievery
Published by Toronto Mike on March 4, 2010 @ 19:03 in Technology

bookI've already helped you justify DVD thievery, now I'm here to help you justify audio book thievery.

This is from The Brads and it's entitled Why DRM Doesn't Work. It's a compelling argument.

drm

Popular Science 137-Year Archive Online
Published by Toronto Mike on March 4, 2010 @ 11:24 in Links to External Web Sites

MouseSomething pretty cool just popped up at http://www.popsci.com/archives.

We've partnered with Google to offer our entire 137-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements. It's an amazing resource that beautifully encapsulates our ongoing fascination with the future, and science and technology's incredible potential to improve our lives. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

You've got some reading to do.

threecovers_reflect

K'naan - Wavin' Flag
Published by Toronto Mike on March 4, 2010 @ 10:10 in Weekly MP3s

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday, but I forgot to do it yesterday so you get this on a Thursday. 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.

K'naan - Wavin' Flag
I didn't like this song for the longest time, and then I heard my son singing it. I then spun it again with an open mind, and suddenly I liked it.

This isn't the first time I disliked a slice of Cancon until it grew on me. The same thing happened with Bedouin Soundclash.

Leafs Trade Joey MacDonald to Anaheim
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 15:55 in Toronto Maple Leafs

maple leafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs have traded goaltender Joey MacDonald to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 7th round draft pick in 2011.

It was a weird day for the Ducks and Leafs and their goaltenders. Joey Mac came to town last summer to replace Justin Pogge who was traded to Anaheim. Then, earlier this year, Vesa Toskala was traded to the Ducks. And today, the Ducks traded both Pogge and Toskala and got Joey Mac from the Leafs. That means there will be four goaltenders who have played for both the Ducks and Leafs over the past twelve months: Jean-Sébastien Giguère, Vesa Toskala, Justin Pogge and Joey MacDonald.

Now where was Burke before he came to Toronto again?

Leafs Trade Lee Stempniak to the Phoenix Coyotes
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 15:46 in Toronto Maple Leafs

maple leafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs have traded forward Lee Stempniak to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a fourth and seventh round draft picks and defenseman Matt Jones.

I didn't mind Stempniak, but he was a UFA and had to go. The trade that really bugs me happened in 2008 when we shipped Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen to the St. Louis Blues for forward Lee Stempniak.

Leafs Trade Martin Skoula to New Jersey
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 11:22 in Toronto Maple Leafs

maple leafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Martin Skoula to New Jersey for a 5th round draft pick in 2010.

Say what you will about Martin Skoula, but he never faltered in a Leafs uniform. No Maple Leaf in history, outside of Olaf Kolzig, committed as few errors.

Farewell, Martin Skoula. You will be missed dearly by the Barilkosphere.

Leafs Trade Ponikarovsky to Penguins
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 07:59 in Toronto Maple Leafs

maple leafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Luca Caputi and defenceman Martin Skoula.

Poni was one of the longest serving Leafs, this being his ninth year with the blue and white. He recorded 114 goals and 257 points in 477 NHL games since he was drafted in the fourth round (87th overall) by Toronto in 1998.

Today is the NHL's trade deadline, so I'll be keeping my good eye on all deals involving the Leafs. And no, I'm not recapping that game against Carolina last night. I don't have the heart.

Nothing Unites This Country Like Hockey
Published by Toronto Mike on March 2, 2010 @ 14:46 in Television

tvYou know that hockey game that took place Sunday afternoon? 80 per cent of Canada's population watched some part of it. 80%!

That's 26.5 million Canadians. That easily makes it the most-watched broadcast in Canadian history. 26.5 million people in a country of 33,311,389. That's astounding.

Nothing unites this country like hockey. You can tell me it's just a game, but it's much more than that. It's unification from sea to sea and that transcends sport.

In this country, it's currency.

hockey

Rick Hodge's Blog is Now Live
Published by Toronto Mike on March 2, 2010 @ 12:18 in Radio

notepadFans of Rick Hodge will be happy to learn he's now blogging at http://www.thehodgeblog.com/.

I let the cat out of the bag a little prematurely, but we're now live. Those who follow blogs via RSS will want to subscribe to http://www.thehodgeblog.com/atom.xml.

In his second entry, he took a stab at yours truly.

First off I want to thank Mike Boon for helping me get this together. Mike and I didn't get off to a good start. He got me pretty good on his Toronto Mike Blog a while back just after I left Astral Media. Here's what happened. I had set up a comedy bit by Jimmy Fallon about 80's music. What I wanted to do was set up Colleen Rusholme who was starting an 80's show on EZ Rock the following weekend. I was new to all of this and what I didn't know was that all cuts had to be limited to 30 seconds. For the bit to work it had to run 90 seconds.

When the producer cut it at 30 the entire piece just died. I asked what the story was and when I was told I yelled that that was B-S and walked out of the studio. Honestly in my time at Astral that was the only time I lost my temper. Mike just happened to be there when it happened. I have to thank Humble Howard, Ian Grant and Bill Carroll for coming to my defence. I understand why Mike felt and wrote what he did and I don't blame him. I've been called a lot of things during my career but never a Diva. Compared to some folks I've worked with over the years I'm still in pre-school when it comes to meltdowns.

For hosting the Sunday Night Funnies and Rinkside with Gord Stellick, I'm giving Hodgie a free pass.

The Tee Shirt That Best Celebrates The Golden Goal
Published by Toronto Mike on March 2, 2010 @ 10:44 in Hockey Canada, Olympics

Gold!Now that a couple of days have passed since Sidney Crosby's golden goal, it's time to invest in a celebratory tee shirt.

I'm buying Puckman (Gold Edition). Here's the design.

PuckMan-Gold

The Pucking Hilarious guys are going to use shiny gold ink so it should look killer. It's definitely a limited edition type thing, click get it while you can.

Family Portraits in Toronto - Light Monkey Photography
Published by Toronto Mike on March 1, 2010 @ 21:05 in Family

family portraitsMy wife wanted family portraits done while the kids were still young and cute. If you want stale, uninspired, soul-less family portraits done, you can go to Wal*Mart or Sears. If you want cool, fun, amazing family portraits done by a couple of Toronto professionals who get it and work around your schedule and with your unique requests, you want Mark and Terri from Light Monkey Photography.

They made it so easy, had several great ideas and patiently captured shots that I believe captured our essence. It wasn't at all painful, in fact, it was fun. These are some of my favourites...

Family Portraits by LMP Family Portraits by LMP Family Portraits by LMP Family Portraits by LMP Family Portraits by LMP Family Portraits by LMP

If you live in the GTA and want to chat with Mark and Terry about how they can help you capture the perfect family portrait, write info@lightmonkey.ca or call 647-342-3603. Tell 'em Mike sent ya for a special deal!

Family Portraits by LMP

Canada Owns Podium in Vancouver
Published by Toronto Mike on March 1, 2010 @ 15:25 in O Canada, Olympics

CanadaIt's hard to believe it was less than a week ago that I wrote Own The Podium Should Have Under Promised and Over Delivered. It had become apparent that our total medal count was going to be much lower than the United States' and we were going to fall short on our pledge to "Own the Podium".

I felt our athletes were being unfairly blamed for under delivering on Own the Podium's overly ambitious promise to "place first in the total medal count at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games".

That was six days ago. Everything's different now. Canada finished so strong, delivering the most desired of medals when Crosby scored the golden goal. That was gold medal #14, the gold medal that set a winter Olympics record and sent this nation into a delightful frenzy.

Let's take a look at the final medal count for the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver.

medals

As mentioned, that 14 gold medals Canada won is the all-time record for a single nation at any winter Olympics. Of course, that also means we smashed the record for a host nation, despite never winning a gold medal during our previous two Olympics in 1976 and 1988. That 14 gold medals is 4 more than the 2nd place country, Germany, and 5 more than the country with the most total medals, the USA.

14 gold medals is, without a doubt in my heart and mind, evidence of podium ownership. Top rung, baby. OTP can define it however they like, I'm taking what's rightfully ours, on behalf of this awesome country.

otp

The last two weeks was one hell of a ride. I'm sorry to see it end, but if you're going out, you might as well go out with a bang.

crosby_2425675

February 2010 Organic Keywords
Published by Toronto Mike on March 1, 2010 @ 10:14 in SEO: Search Engine Optimization

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

  1. sandra rinomato breasts
  2. tom brokaw explains canada to americans
  3. toronto mike
  4. tom brokaw explains canada
  5. boom 97.3
  6. tom brokaw canada
  7. eh oh canada go
  8. country 95.3
  9. anne mroczkowski
  10. toronto mike blog

Searches for Tom Brokaw's NBC video about Canada started to spike after NBC had YouTube remove the video due to copyright violation. NBC.com hosted the video on their site, but due to IOC territory rights, you couldn't view the video from outside the USA.

Don't tell NBC, but you can see that awesome Tom Brokaw video right here.

CN Tower Goes Gold
Published by Toronto Mike on March 1, 2010 @ 10:09 in Olympics, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

cn towerIn honour of Canada's golden Olympics, culminating in Sidney Crosby's golden goal, the CN Tower went gold last night.

gold-cn-tower

[via photocentric]

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