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Did G20 Toronto Black Block Get Green Light to Rampage?

question markThis video features Joe Wenkoff, a photo journalist who describes his experience following the black block as they rampaged through the streets of Toronto during the G20 Summit.

Watch it now, then meet me after the jump.

20,000 police and security officials and a $1 billion security budget were not enough to stop 75-100 black block anarchists from smashing windows and torching police cars during a 1.5 hour rampage. The Black Block were able to rampage through the street for 24 blocks until they reached the 'official protest zone' where they quickly changed clothes dispersed through the crowd of peaceful protesters and then left the site.

The police were fully aware of the rampage and watched the black block from a distance at a number of locations. It wasn't until they had dispersed into a crowd of peaceful protesters who thought that they were in a sanctioned area that the police took action beating innocent people with batons and spraying them with pepper spray.

Why was this allowed to happen? Police abandoned police cars at Bay and King when they didn't need to, why? Was this allowed to happen so the Harper government could justify an outrageous security bill when there was no credible terrorist threat (according to CSIS)? Who led this group of vandals? Were they infiltrated by government paid provocateurs as was the case in Montebello where police with masks and rocks attacked their own riot squad?

Compare and contrast how the police dealt with the black block with what went down at Queen and Spadina. It doesn't make sense to this Torontonian. Something's rotten...

If you read this blog, you know I rarely get political. Most of my entries are about our local sports teams, radio, television, movies or interesting and funny slices of the interwebs and every day life. I just can't shake this feeling in the pit of my stomach that the security cost was justified by letting the black block burn a few cars and break a few windows. Then, in a horrible juxtaposition, we watched peaceful protesters and innocent participants forcefully shut down and detained.

I can't be the only one who thinks something stinks here...

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K-Dot-O-Dot - Mr. Brownstone MP3

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 K-Dot-O-Dot - Mr. Brownstone
I wrote about K-Dot-O-Dot before. He's a friend of my brothers and he's got a great sound.

Here he is covering my all-time favourite Guns N' Roses song.

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I Am Free

thumbsupHow do you make a Wednesday feel like a Friday? Stick Canada Day on a Thursday. That'll do it.

It's a great day to celebrate our freedom. I am free!

iamfree

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Don't Forget the Other Victims of the G20 Fiasco

cityhallLet's not forget the other victims of the recent G20 protests and vandalism. This guy, for example, really wanted to go shopping at the Eaton Centre.

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Criminilization of Dissent and Sheer Police Brutality at the G20

torontoI've been following the very interesting discussion on my entry about the incident at Queen and Spadina Sunday night. Regular readers have promised never to read this site again. Some blame those at Queen and Spadina for being there, others feel the police mishandled things, everyone has an opinion.

Whether you agree or disagree with what went down, I think it's important we continue to ask questions and discuss things. Andrew pointed me to this note (name removed) wrote on her Facebook page.

On Saturday night, June 26th 2010, I was arrested without cause and forced to spend 18 hours at the G20 detention facility on Eastern Ave. A fairly large group of demonstrators were holding a peaceful gathering on the sidewalk outside the facility to stand in solidarity with other comrades and activists who had been targeted, followed, beaten, and arrested by police earlier in the weekend.* People were chanting, playing music, dancing, and exercising their rights to free speech and dissent within the law. It is worth emphasizing that there was absolutely no violence nor any threat of violence occurring. At about 1AM, our group was approached by hundreds of riot cops on all four sides, in full gear with masks, batons, guns, etc. After completely surrounding us, we were told through a loudspeaker that we were “breaching the peace” and that we had to disperse immediately. However, this order was impossible to fulfill as we were trapped and were not being given a way out. Five minutes later, we were given a second warning to leave the area, or “appropriate force” would be used against us. Once again, everyone in the group was asking the same question- HOW?? At this point, we wanted to leave and understood that we had to, but we couldn’t. Finally, after one of our group members pleaded with an officer, a small gap was created in the heavily fortified wall and we all began to file out, heading westward on Eastern Ave. We stuck closely together, for fear that any one person sticking out or walking alone would be individually targeted, as had happened earlier in the weekend. We quietly all left the surrounded zone and continued to walk down Eastern Ave, as riot cops continued to follow and surround us on either side of our line. Just before reaching Pape Ave, for some reason the cops suddenly cut off our line, trapping about half of the original group inside again. While the people at the front of the line were free to go home, the rest of us were told to put our hands on our heads. While we stood like that for fifteen minutes, I asked the guy standing beside me if we were actually getting arrested- he told me that getting arrested would be the best case scenario under these circumstances. 

After being notified of our arrest, we were swarmed by a bunch of cops and each of us was handcuffed. Our bags were thoroughly searched, we were asked to provide ID, and all of our belongings were taken. It was very obvious that I was the first person my arresting officer had ever arrested, as she clearly had no idea what was going on (“Do we actually need to fill out this part of the arrest form?” “How do these handcuffs work?” “I totally forgot to check your pockets, do you have anything in there?” etc.) The only thing she had any confidence in doing was telling me that it’s a good thing I’m self-employed because after this I’ll have no hope of ever getting a job again (which is obviously completely false). Our pictures were taken and they put us in the back of three police wagons, which were essentially stuffy hot cages with metal benches and locks. We were driven to the G20 detention facility, which was literally just down the street as we had just come from it, and held in the wagons for about an hour and a half. While waiting, I could hear both the cries of the other prisoners (who we had just been rallying for) as well as the uproar of the people that had just assembled outside (who were rallying for us). 

We were finally led inside the warehouse and locked up inside 3x6m metal cages. There were rows upon rows of these cages in there, bolted to the ground, crammed with people. Inside each cage was a small metal bench and a port-a-potty with no door and no toilet paper. It was freezing cold and they had taken both my sweater and my scarf. I spent the night on the dirty and cold cement floor with nine other women, shivering and huddled together to keep warm. The lights were on the entire time, and people in mine and neighbouring cages were continuously banging and shaking them, demanding to be let out. We begged the guard to bring us sweaters, but they had already run out of them a long time ago. Finally after it was obvious that people were going to get sick, we were given a total of three t-shirts and a couple of pairs of socks. We all took turns creating barriers in front of the bathroom so that we could each use the toilet with some level of privacy from all of the male cops walking around We were handcuffed the entire time, and some peoples’ handcuffs were on so tightly that their hands were going numb and fingers turning blue, but most of the guards refused to loosen them. We were given a styrofoam cup of water every couple of hours, and two sandwiches with cheese and butter inside them. I asked if I could have just a slice of bread because I’m lactose-intolerant (I’m actually vegan but wasn’t going to get into it) and they said no and told me to shut the fuck up. Most requests for anything, even just basic needs like menstrual pads, blankets, and medication, were either completely ignored or ridiculed. By the morning, after the Novotel mass arrests, 17 more women had been added to our cage, making it a total of 27. They included everyone from university professors to media reps to people who had just been walking down the street and got caught up in the mess.

On Sunday around mid-day, they finally started to process us. At this point, the entire prison was packed full of hundreds of tired, hungry, and understandably frustrated people, some of whom had been there for over twenty four hours. They had absolutely no grounds for holding us that long, and it was clear that we were being detained as political prisoners so that we couldn’t participate in any further actions on Sunday (and also so that they could fill their arrest quotas and justify spending absolutely absurd amounts of money (OUR money) on all of this and look like heroes etc etc.) Probably the most inspiring part of the entire bleak and incredibly dehumanizing process was the solidarity and support I received throughout, especially when walking past all of the other cages full of people while being led in handcuffs to the processing room. That is basically where I got the strength to keep going through this extremely nightmarish ordeal. While being processed, I was asked if I was aware why I had been arrested (NO), and told that I was going to be released without any charges, but also that if I was to protest again at the G20 I would be criminally charged. 

I was then moved to the “catch and release” area of the prison and told that my right to use the telephone was being negated since I was going to be released soon (which didn’t happen, and despite making it very clear in the subsequent hours that I deserved to make a phone call, I was still ignored). The “catch and release” area is where I witnessed the most despicable treatment by fellow human beings that I have ever experienced in my life. The abuse of power on the part of the police and court officers was unlike anything I ever could have imagined. Instances of blatant racist, sexist, and homophobic abuse were severe and ongoing. I do not even wish to repeat some of the demeaning and frankly horrifying things that I heard some officers say to myself and to other people, especially to women. The constant mockery of detainees and systematic downplaying of the pitiful nature of our circumstances made me realize how morally bankrupt and disconnected from reality and from humanity these cops actually are. I kept getting moved around from cage to cage and kept getting lied to about getting released soon. I eventually ended up in a cage by myself across from a cage with about 35 men in it. These particular men had been denied food, water, and answers for many, many hours. When desperate pleas for water were made, the police replied by converging right in front of their cage and chatting while drinking their own bottled water. There was one “juvenile offender” in there, a 14 year-old boy, being treated in the exact same way as everyone else, including being denied a phone call to his parents or to a lawyer. There was also a man in there in critical condition, almost without a pulse, and it took me literally screaming at the top of my lungs to get someone to finally pay any attention to him. 

I was also completely appalled at the sheer incompetency and disorganization of the police force. I couldn’t even count the amount of times I heard one officer say to another “I have no idea what is going on.” Nobody had any answers to any questions, whether they were our questions or their own questions to each other. If I ever hear another police officer say “We are working on it” or “We are trying our very best” I think I am going to lose it. This was the standard response to absolutely EVERYTHING. Many police officers even had the nerve to say things to me like “Trust me, I’m equally as frustrated as you are” or “I’ve been on my feet all day too so I know how you feel” or “I got woken up and called in to work in the middle of the night- this situation is unfair for everyone” or “It’s not that cold in here, you just FEEL cold because you’re tired” or “You wouldn’t be here in the first place if you weren’t so fucking violent!” The majority of them were just wasting time walking around trying to figure out what the hell they were supposed to be doing. They had no record of where anyone was in there, so every time they were looking for a specific person, they had to go around to every single cage and ask for them by name. Anytime I said anything to them (eg. “Why is the catch and release process all catch and no release?” “How many times are you going to walk by and pretend like you’re doing something?” “Why do I know more about the law than you do?” “Does your billion dollar budget not include FREE tap water?”), I feel that my release process became slower and slower. I realize these things may have been mildly insulting to them but they are all true and pale in comparison to how incredibly insulted I was to be locked up in that place. 

Finally at almost 8pm on Saturday evening, my photo was taken again, my belongings returned, and I was released. At one point they had said that one of the reasons it was taking so long was because there had been a riot outside and the prison had been on lock-down. I think they forgot about the fact those of us inside actually know a lot of the people who were outside and have now been informed that there was no such riot and no such lock-down, so it was just another lie added to the long list. I am incredibly thankful that I had friends that managed to find out that I was in there and were waiting to take me home when I got out. 

It is utterly reprehensible that something of this magnitude and level of injustice could occur in our city. Many peoples’ fundamental rights have been brutally violated and many people experienced much worse things than myself. This is but a microcosm of what occurs on our streets and in our prisons every single day. I will continue to refuse to be criminalized for expressing dissent against criminal and illegitimate institutions. 

*A similarly peaceful demonstration had been held outside the holding facility the night before, in support of our friend Emomotimi Azorbo, a deaf black male who had been arrested on Friday for crossing the street at Yonge and College after police had verbally instructed him not to (he is DEAF). On Friday night we were simply trying to convince an ableist and shamefully ignorant police force to allow an ASL interpreter inside the facility so that Emomotimi would be able to communicate with his lawyer and with police investigators, as any hearing person would be able to. The police denied these pleas, effectively denying him of his basic rights under the Canadian Charter. Support is now pouring in from deaf communities and allies around the world.

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FAN 590 Suggestion: Turn to Gold

radioWell, that happened fast. Last Tuesday, I wrote that big changes at the FAN 590 were imminent. On Wednesday, we were tossing around ideas for the new FAN 590 morning show. By Thursday, just about everybody outside of Prime Time was gone.

According to sources, the departed include morning co-hosts Don Landry and Gord Stellick, mid-morning host Mike Hogan and news announcer Rick Ralph. In addition, Jack Armstrong’s mid-afternoon show has been killed, though Armstrong and co-host Eric Smith may remain on staff.

Rogers Sportsnet’s Daren Millard, host of the noon hockey show, has been replaced by Greg Brady. Millard will likely return to a full-time job at Sportsnet.

That's right, even Gord Stellick got the boot. Stellick seemed like such a staple at the FAN, I didn't think he'd ever be let go.

The FAN 590 will hang on to their all-sports format, I'm sure. But if they ever decided to think outside that format, they may want to step into the 590 time machine and turn to gold.


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Kids Can't Fail, Even If They Try

schoolMy kids brought home their final report cards today. I just sat down and reviewed them. They both passed.

Of course, everyone passes today. They don't fail kids any more. A kid can do his very best to fail and still get promoted to the next grade. At some point between the time I was in primary school and today, they did away with failing.

I have vivid memories of the handful of kids who had to repeat the third grade. One year they were in our class, the next year they were a grade below us. Sometimes, kids failed and had to repeat a grade.

But not any more.

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O Canada? Peaceful G20 Protest at Queen and Spadina

torontoThis video footage of a peaceful G20 protest at Queen and Spadina is jarring. It's clearly a peaceful protest, something we're allowed to do in this city, and the protesters are even united in their singing of O Canada.

Then, the police charge. Watch this.

That footage turns my stomach. This isn't my Toronto.

That same intersection is the subject of more controversy tonight. I understand hundreds are being held there by police without explanation. Thanks for coming out, G20.

[via Jonas Naimark's Flickr]

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Optical Illusions Now Include England's Phantom Goal

soccerUnless I'm sitting at BMO Field, I couldn't care less about soccer, unless it's World Cup soccer. Every four years these games suddenly become scheduled viewing for me. I was pumped tuning into England vs. Germany this morning, and couldn't believe how exciting a match it was.

With England down 2-1, you know what happened. It inspired this fantastic new optical illusion.

optical

[via The Daily What]

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G20 Protest Photos

linksIf you're looking for great photos from the G20 protests taking place in our city, I highly recommend the Toronto Star Photo Blog, particularly this entry.

burningcar

battleoftoronto

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G20: Just One Spark Starts a Fire

cityhallI'm watching live footage from the massive downtown G20 protest. Two police cars are burning at Bay and King and it appears they're simply going to let them burn out. I've been watching it burn for a while now and there's no sign of firefighters.

The police presence in downtown Toronto right now is intense. It's just massive. I'm hearing the protesters currently number 10,000. Subway service in downtown Toronto has been suspended by the TTC, with no service for the time being in the loop between Bloor and St. George stations. As well, there are no streetcars running in the downtown core. Also, the Eaton Centre is in lock-down.

I'm sticking with my G20 Survival Guide. Here's hoping nobody dies in downtown Toronto today. Things are starting to get ugly.

g8 g20 protests 20100626

[via Chris Young/Canadian Press]

Update: It seems the more aggressive protesters like to break windows. I almost get why they're breaking the windows of Starbucks, but why break the windows of Fran's Restaurant at Yonge and College?

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Damien Cox, Why Do You Hate Us So?

NewspaperAs a sports fanatic who is also a long time reader of the Toronto Star, I've been reading Damien Cox for what feels like forever. Sometimes I disagree with him, sometimes I agree with him, but I always read what he has to say.

Damien Cox, I just have one question for you. Why do you hate Leafs fans so much?

I've noticed this more and more lately. Damien Cox seems to have a serious hate-on for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just this morning I was reading his blog entry from yesterday entitled "A Face to Match a Trade". He opens this entry with the following.

So Leaf fans can finally stop obsessing about losing out on Taylor Hall.

It was Tyler Seguin.

That's fine, the Phil Kessel trade will be debated for many years and we'll be talking about Tyler Seguin as one of the players we gave up. But it's this idiotic statement later in the same entry that pops out as a moronic and naive viewpoint of Leafs fans.

Phil Kessel? To those worst afflicted, he's barely an afterthought, even if he wins the Rocket Richard Trophy the next five seasons.

Really, Damien? Is there a single Leafs fan who would complain about Burke's deal for Kessel if he wins the Rocket Richard Trophy the next five seasons? Are you trying to be an asshole or do you really believe this ridiculous nonsense you're spewing?

I follow Damien Cox on Twitter, and the night the Blackhawks won the cup, there were these precious tweets.

damo

damo2

In reality, most of us are proud to own this record. The drought fuels our passion. And the distinction regarding the Kings and Blues is just fair and full disclosure. They too haven't won during our drought.

It seems the Pension Plan Puppets guys struck a nerve with Damien that night, because he tweeted this sucker punch a few days later.

damo3

But then again, Damien Cox never really got Twitter.

damo4

I'm not sure why Damien Cox hates us so, but I sense he feels threatened. Suddenly you don't need to work for the Toronto Star to have a publishing platform to voice your opinions. Suddenly your detractors can do more than simply write a letter to the editor. We can harness the power of Twitter, Facebook and blogs to be heard.

Damien's comfortable world is dying. You can almost understand why he's lashing out.

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Revisiting 1883 - When Beaneaters Met Alleghenys

baseballI was just reading about the year 1883 in baseball. My 19 run inning forced me back in time, and I enjoyed reading about a baseball season exactly 100 years before I started checking the boxscores and standings on a daily basis.

Here are the final standings from 1883. The American Association champion Philadelphia Athletics declined to play the Boston Beaneaters for national championship status.

1883

Looking back at 1883, it's interesting to see how things have evolved. Providence, Buffalo, Louisville and Columbus no longer have teams. White Stockings have become White Sox, Red Stockings have become Reds, Metropolitans have become Mets... some nicknames have disappeared completely, like Browns, Alleghenys, Beaneaters, Blues, Gothams and Wolverines.

But the most interesting difference from 1883 to now is how they used their starting pitchers. There were no pitch counts or four days of rest for these warriors. Charles Radbourn led the league that year with 48 wins.

The very next season, Radbourn would have the greatest statistical season in the history of the game. He went 59-12 with a 1.38 ERA and 441 strike outs in 678.2 innings pitched. They don't make 'em like they used to.

And yes, you can follow Old Hoss Charles Radbourn on Twitter. He's @OldHossRadbourn.

twitter

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The 19 Run Inning

baseballLast night, in the first game a double header, we in Raging Storm put up 19 runs in one inning. We put our collective heads together and couldn't remember ever scoring 19 runs in a single inning.

This got me wondering... had 19 runs ever been scored in a single inning in major league history? I honestly wasn't sure. It seemed highly unlikely but plausible, so I looked it up.

Way back in 1883, on September 6, the Chicago White Stockings put 18 runs on the board in the 7th inning against the Detroit Wolverines. That 107 year old record remains today.

Of course, now there's a new record. Raging Storm scored 19 against the Hawks in the comp division of the RSPA.

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When Your Google Juice Haunts You

GoogleGo ahead and Google Tuukka Rask trade. Do it... I'll wait. One of the top results, if not the very top result, is Leafs Trade Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft | Toronto Mike's Blog.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that entry was written exactly four years ago today. Happy birthday, Rask for Raycroft trade entry! Secondly, due to my Google ranking, that entry continues to haunt me. Whenever Rask has a good game, I see visits to that page from Google spike. I hate the fact that four years later my ridiculous thoughts on that absolutely brutal trade are read over and over and over again.

Bloggers, be very careful what you publish. With a little Google juice, your words could come back to haunt you.

tuukka

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No Chanting Allowed at Blue Jays Games?

bluejaysI don't get out to as many Jays games as I used to, but they're still my team. If you've read this blog at all during the years, you know how fanatical I was about the Blue Jays from 1983 through 1993. Growing up, Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth provided the soundtrack for my summers.

I've been hearing a lot of complaints lately about the security at the ballpark formerly known as Skydome. The Rogers Centre faithful feel they're threatened for cheering too aggressively. A friend calls it "power tripping", and tells me it's not like this at other major league parks.

A regular reader named Michael wanted me to share his experience in this space. Here's what he has to say.

So I had a very unpleasant experience at the Jays game tonight. Born and raised in Ontario, experienced the World Series', stuck with the team through thick and thin. Tonight went to the game, they lost 1-0 to St. Louis but had lackluster offense going. We tried to start a "RICKY" or "LET'S GO BLUE JAYS" chant and I was actually told to stop (and security glared at me too) because "We're in Toronto, what do you expect".

This was so disheartening. Right after being denied chanting rights the Cardinals got on base and I cheered my head off for them just to get a rise out of people; yelled out "FUCK YOU TORONTO SPORTS, WAY TO SUPPORT YOUR TEAM" and got alot of stares right after (obviously). Shortly after I walked out and visited a friend in the concourse, didn't return to my seat.

Such a disheartening experience, especially after being in NYC, Philly, Boston, and Chicago to see how real baseball cities treat their teams. Embarassing Toronto, so incredibly disappointed. I had to get this down.

Have you had an unfortunate incident with security at the Rogers Centre?

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Pete Quaife, Dead at 66

In MemoriumPete Quaife was 66. He was the original bassist in the Kinks who played with the British Invasion band from their formation in 1961 through 1969.

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Is The Mike Richards Show Coming to The FAN 590?

radioJust yesterday, I wrote about changes at The FAN 590 being imminent. Paul Romanuk, a guy who knows a thing or two about sports radio in this city, chimed in with a comment.

Mike Richards, from the FAN in Calgary.

Mike Richards hosts The Mike Richards Show on The Fan 960 in Calgary, and I understand it's the most listened to sports radio morning show in the country. I remember Mike Richards from his days at The FAN 590 and he was one funny mofo. It would make sense for him to get the call back to the big leagues to take over for Don Landry and Gord Stellick here in Toronto.

If you're unfamiliar with Mike Richards, here's his Fan 960 bio.

After 20 years in the business, I realize that I'm not going to change. There will be no personal growth; no new found maturity; no insights into life of any depth….nothing. I'm ok with this. Mike Richards in the Morning is a culmination of working at many radio stations, CKBB, 1050 CHUM, CKFM (MIX) 99.9, FAN 590, Y-95, KISS- FM Toronto, The TEAM Radio Network and figuring out…..I wasn't doing my kind of radio at any of these stations. The FAN 960 represents what I want to do and how I want to do it.

It sounds different than other radio show because it's host has a strange, if not varied background. Born in Stouffville, Ontario, I played hockey at a high enough level that one of my summer coaches was Mike Keenan and my goalie coach was Jacques Martin. Through an ignorance about junior hockey, I basically threw my hockey away. About this time I started performing at Yuk Yuks in downtown Toronto as a stand up/impressionist. I was 18.

In athletics, I've been to the Ontario Provincial Finals in 4 different sports and an MVP in 2 of them. I've played the drums since I was 13 and still believe I'm Neil Peart. Currently, my greatest and most rewarding time is spent on the football field as a coach at St. Mary's High School.

We'll see if Romy's right about this one.

Update: I'm reading that Greg Brady has resigned from AM 640 and rumours are rampant that he's the guy who will take over mornings at The FAN 590. I'm hoping Greg Brady gets another time slot on The FAN and Mike Richards is still brought over for mornings. Remember, only Bob McCown is safe.

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I Didn't Feel the Earthquake - But I Tried

OttawaA 5.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Ontario-Quebec border region this afternoon. I was working on the tenth floor of a building just West of Toronto when my colleague said "do you feel that, we're shaking".

I thought we might be feeling an earthquake, so I tried really, really hard to feel it. I've never felt an earthquake before. I could see the blinds moving, but I couldn't feel the ground moving.

Seconds after the shaking stopped, I tweeted the following via Twitter.

Was that an earthquake?

In real-time I was seeing tweets from folks all over Ontario, confirming we had just experienced an earthquake. When news like this breaks, there's nothing like the instant notifications Twitter can feed you.

I just wish I felt it.

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Funny People Review

Movie ReviewFunny People: 6 out of 10.

I was okay with Funny People for the first hour or so. I think I even made it through the giant MySpace infomercial, maybe 90 minutes deep. Then, Funny People just wouldn't shut up!

I literally yelled at the movie to shut the hell up by the two hour mark. It didn't listen. It kept going and going...

Funny People is way too long. You could kill most of the Leslie Mann stuff and all of the silly Eric Bana stuff. I don't know what movie Judd Apatow thought he was making.

funny_people

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FAN 590 Changes Imminent

radioThe other morning I was listening to Don Landry on the FAN 590 morning show and he sounded like a dead man walking. In a brief and unscripted aside, Landry all but admitted to guest Charlie Pallilo that Rogers didn't value the current morning team. Personnel changes on the radio often happens while the kids are out of school, and by all accounts significant changes at the FAN 590 are imminent.

If you follow the local Toronto radio scene, this isn't a bombshell. Earlier this month, in a throwaway line in an article about Mike Wilner's suspension, Bruce Dowbiggin opened with "The FAN 590's new brain trust has made no secret that it's going to make changes."

I've read further speculation at the Toronto Sports Media Blog.

So, I’ve heard from more people confirming what I wrote about yesterday morning. What I have been told, and in response to some of the questions and comments is that someone who is currently a radio personality- “not a sports guy” has been hired to fill a daytime slot. Apparently this person has been on the radio in Toronto before.

And our favourite bitter blogger, William Houston, says this:

Will George Stroumboulopoulos be the next host of the Fan590’s morning show?

That’s the speculation making the rounds in the Toronto radio business.

Stroumboulopoulos would replace Don Landry and presumably Gord Stellick, although it’s not clear what Stellick’s status at the station would be. Stellick is a survivor and, arguably, nobody in Toronto broadcasting has done as much with as little talent as Gord.

As for Landry, he appears to be on his way out. His strong words in support of Blue Jays reporter Mike Wilner (and his implicit criticism of program director Don Kollins) last week were seen as a clear sign that he is done and knows it. Wilner was suspended for three days for the sole offense, apparently, of rankling Jays manager Cito Gaston.

Seems like only Bob McCown is safe at the FAN 590 this summer.

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Johnny Mac's Father's Day Home Run (Or Why I Love Sports)

JaysWe all love Johnny Mac. In a previous era, John McDonald could be our everyday SS. I remember when your defensive gem of a shortstop didn't have to carry a big bat, but those days seem to be long gone.

John's father, Jack McDonald, died of liver cancer last Tuesday at the age of 60. Jack was buried on Friday, and Johnny Mac was back with the team Saturday. Yesterday, on Father's Day, John entered the game to play second base in the ninth inning. He'd get to bat with a man aboard in the bottom of the inning, his first at-bat since losing his dad.

We had talked about the type of player I am before I came back, the fact that I don’t hit a lot of home runs. He said, ‘Hit your next one for me.’

In the bottom of the ninth, on Father's Day, two days after burying his dad, Johnny Mac went deep. This is why I love sports. This is why I love Johnny Mac.


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I'm a Dad, This is my Playlist

LeafsMy son made me a bookmark, my daughter made me a note pad that looks like a tie, and I made myself this dad mix.

  • Daddy - Korn
  • Daddy - Custom
  • Daddy - Queen Ifrica
  • Daddy - Beyoncé
  • Daddy Can I Turn This - Elvis Costello
  • Daddy Cool - Boney M.
  • Daddy I'm Fine - Sinead O'Connor
  • Daddy Rich In The Land Of 1210 - 3rd Bass
  • Daddy's Getting Married - Bif Naked
  • Daddy's Gone - Sparklehorse
  • Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car - U2
  • Daddy's Home - Montell Jordan
  • Daddy's Home - The Jackson 5
  • Dear Ol' Dad - Blind Melon
  • Dear Old Daddy Bill - Motherlode
  • Don't Cry Daddy - Elvis Presley
  • Don't Wake Daddy - The Tragically Hip
  • Go Daddy-O - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • Gone Daddy Gone - Violent Femmes
  • Gone Daddy Gone - Gnarls Barkley
  • Hey Daddy - Korn
  • I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus - Stand Still
  • I'm Your Daddy - Weezer
  • Just Like Daddy - Makaveli
  • Mack Daddy - Sir Mix-A-Lot
  • Mad Daddy - The Cramps
  • My Dad's Gone Crazy - Eminem,
  • My Son Calls Another Man Daddy - Hank Williams
  • One For Daddy - Julian Cannonball Adderly
  • Sexy Daddy - Destiny's Child
  • Sugar Daddy - The Jackson 5
  • Treat Your Daddy Right - T-Bone Walker
  • Your Daddy Don't Know - Toronto

Happy Father's Day.

Discuss "I'm a Dad, This is my Playlist" (3 comments so far)


The Secret MLSE ~ Barilkosphere Summit

LeafsLast December, after watching a Maple Leafs game from the press box at the ACC, I wrote Barilkosphere Call to Arms: Our Time is Now.

The digital space belongs to us. It's our blogs, our forums, our podcasts and our content. MLSE would have no editorial privilege and no veto power. MLSE would give us access normally reserved for the traditional mainstream media, and would empower us with tools, funds and some degree of promotion, but we would be the stars of this show. This is where our biased but realistic voices would be heard.

Following the entry, I had further discussions with Jonathan from MLSE. Then, during halftime of a TFC match, we agreed on what the next move had to be. We needed to get MLSE and a few key members of the Barilkosphere in the same room. I spent the last few months putting that together.

Last night, at Wendel Clark's Classic Grill and Sports Lounge, I joined Jonathan and Down Goes Brown, Bloge Salming and one of the two founders of Pension Plan Puppets for some good eats and a hearty discussion about how MLSE currently manages their digital space and what, if anything, the Barilkosphere needs from them.

I won't divulge the juicy details, because what happens at Wendel Clark's, stays at Wendel Clark's. I've been enjoying Down Goes Brown, Bloge Salming and Pension Plan Puppets since I first discovered their respective sites, so it was a great pleasure meeting the people behind the personae.

The fact MLSE wanted a sit down with the Barilkosphere is a huge step for this organization. The wheels are in motion...

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Manute Bol, Dead at 47

In MemoriumManute Bol was 47. He was the 7-foot-6 NBA star who played 10 seasons with the Bullets, Warriors, Sixers and Heat before devoting his life to humanitarian efforts in his native Sudan.

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Big Fan Review

Movie ReviewBig Fan: 7 out of 10.

This one's a pretty dark comedy, but if you're a sports nut like me I'm betting you'll appreciate this film and Patton Oswalt's performance.

I find it funny that most people know Patton Oswalt best for his bit part on King of Queens. Every time I see this guy, either doing stand up or something like this, he's brilliant. He's one of our best kept secrets.

big_fan

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My G20 and G8 Survival Guide

cn towerHey Toronto, have you heard the G8 and G20 Summits are being held June 24-27 at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, respectively? Major highways such as the 427, 401, QEW, Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway will experience frequent closures.

I live west of downtown, where the majority of headaches will be found, so my survival plan for June 24-27 is pretty simple.

June 24 - I'm going to go to work and play my regularly scheduled softball game in Etobicoke

June 25 - I'm going to go to work and play my regularly scheduled slo-pitch games in Mississauga

June 26 - I'm going to enjoy my birthday lunch

June 27 - I'm going to High Park to watch the Jays vs. Royals in tee ball action

I'm think I'm going to survive this G20 and G8 Summit.

Discuss "My G20 and G8 Survival Guide" (6 comments so far)


Garry Shider, Dead at 56

In MemoriumGarry Shider was 56. He was the longtime musical director of Parliament-Funkadelic whose funky guitar work, songwriting skills and musical arrangements thrilled fans around the globe and earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Discuss "Garry Shider, Dead at 56" (0 comments so far)


Vuvuzela: I'm Okay With Them

soccerI'm okay with the vuvuzelas. I find they give this World Cup a signature sound and create a sense of anticipation. Everybody wants them muted, but I don't mind them one bit.

They also inspired this hilarious animated gif.

worldcup

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This is a Classic Confrontation

RewindYouTube user Retrontario frequently uploads fantastic retro-Toronto-centric gems. These clips never fail to bring back a ton of memories for me, so I feature them from time to time.

This ad for Pepsi aired in 1987. I remember it vividly, and still use the "this is a classic confrontation" line periodically.

I wasn't a Pepsi fan back in '87, but I was a huge baseball fan and I loved the call and feel of this one.


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Grapes Of Wrath - All The Things I Wasn't MP3

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 Grapes Of Wrath - All The Things I Wasn't
It's hard to believe Kelowna's Grapes of Wrath released the most excellent "All The Things I Wasn't" over 20 years ago.

It still holds up.

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Strange Outs During a Sweet Sweep

baseballMy slo-pitch team played a double header last night. We won both games in a sweet sweep, but this entry isn't about that. This is about the two times I was called out on the basepaths.

Jimmy the Ump calls a good game, and is a stickler for the rulebook. On one play, I got to third before I was held by our third base coach, Mofo. Before time was called, Mofo affectionately patted my back. I was called out for interference by our third base coach. In my illustrious career I've never seen that called.

Later, in game two, I was at second base. This league has a no lead-off rule, but you can run on "anticipation". Apparently, while at third, I lifted my foot off the the base for a second. It was a vertical move, I wasn't "leading off" by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, Jimmy the Ump called me out for leading off. I've never been called on that one either.

In the parking lot, after the game, Jimmy the Ump saw me as he was getting into his car. Once again, he glared at me and called me out. It was one of those nights.

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Fadoo.ca Has Been Closed

emailBob McCown from The FAN 590 started a web site called Fadoo.ca. I used to subscribe to the RSS feed, but unsubscribed because it wasn't being updated very often and the content quality noticeably dropped.

I got an email from Bill the other day about Fadoo.ca.

Mike, just curious:

What the fadoo happened to www.fadoo.ca? It was in sad shape, no updating etc. for some time. Did Bobcat just pack it in or pressure from FAN 590? (Rogers wouldn't pressure an employee though!)

I just visited Fadoo.ca and found one line of copy: "Fadoo.ca has been closed." It's completely gone, with just Google's cache left behind.

fadoo

I don't know why Fadoo.ca bit the dust, but my spidey senses are tingling. Did Rogers put pressure on Bob McCown to shut 'er down?

Discuss "Fadoo.ca Has Been Closed" (15 comments so far)


Jimmy Dean, Dead at 81

In MemoriumJimmy Dean was 81. He was the country music legend for his smash hit about a workingman hero, "Big Bad John," and an entrepreneur known for his sausage brand.

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Unplugging the VCR

tvThis past weekend, I did something that most of you likely did a long time ago. I unplugged our VCR.

This VCR has been hooked up for 14 years. Today, in an age of PVRs and DVDs, it simply collects dust. We haven't used the VCR in over a year, so it's been relegated to storage.

Do you still have your VCR hooked up?

VCR

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My Favourite 15 Albums (Back in 1994)

cdBack in 1994, I purchased my music collection on CDs. When I needed to make a mix for portable listening, I dubbed my selections onto a cassette tape and listened to it on my Sony Walkman. In 1994, I didn't go anywhere without my Sony Walkman and a good mix tape.

Back in 1994, here were 15 albums I couldn't get enough of. There was likely a point in 1994 where, if asked, I would have slapped together a list of my 15 favourite albums that would have looked something like this...

Nirvana - Nevermind

The Fab 15 from '94

Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

The Fab 15 from '94

Pearl Jam - Ten

The Fab 15 from '94

Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine

The Fab 15 from '94

Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger

The Fab 15 from '94

Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet

The Fab 15 from '94

Beastie Boys - Check Your Head

The Fab 15 from '94

Nivana - In Utero

The Fab 15 from '94

Alice in Chains - Dirt

The Fab 15 from '94

Green Day - Dookie

The Fab 15 from '94

The Tragically Hip - Fully Completely

The Fab 15 from '94

Offspring - Smash

The Fab 15 from '94

Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream

The Fab 15 from '94

Stone Temple Pilots - Core

The Fab 15 from '94

Pearl Jam - Vs.

The Fab 15 from '94

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Dion Phaneuf Leafs Captain: Sounds Good to Me

LeafsIt's no surprise our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs are about to announce Dion Phaneuf will don the C next season in our newly designed sweaters. Heck, even I tweeted about this last week.

phaneuf

I sense Leafs fans are split on this one. It's a classic case of a player's reputation preceding him, and some fans are buying the crap spewing out of Calgary that Phaneuf was a problem in the dressing room and not a team leader. To borrow a phrase by Flava Flav, don't believe the hype.

I was pleased as punch to see Phaneuf come to town and upon further reflection, shocked at the deal Burke managed to pull off that day. I was in the third row for his Leafs debut and I've read just about everything I could find about Phaneuf's attitude with the Leafs, his leadership skills and his approach to the game. I'm convinced Dion Phaneuf should be the Leafs next captain, and I'm glad it's being announced Monday.

Phaneuf is our guy, Barilkosphere. There's no other player on this team right now capable of doing the C proud. We're going big or going home.

DionPhaneuf_wallpaper1680x1050

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Marilyn Monroe Reading James Joyce's Ulysses

picturesThis is a photo of Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses by James Joyce. It was taken by Eve Arnold in 1954.

Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses,1954, by Eve Arnold

I love this photo.

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My 2010 World Cup Choice and FootieFox #worldcup

world cupOnce again, I'm without a rooting interest in this World Cup. I faced the same dilemma four years ago.

At that time, with neither my #1 Canada nor my #2 Ireland represented, I decided to go three deep and root for the Netherlands. By June 15, 2006, I had changed my mind and adopted Trinidad and Tobago as my team.

At this time, the Netherlands is still an option, but I'm leaning toward New Zealand. Why the hell not? I love Flight of the Conchords, the other me is from there and they're major underdogs. That works for me!

And before I leave this World Cup entry by a guy who only watches soccer when he's at BMO Field or during the World Cup, I have to remind you all about FootieFox. FootieFox is a Firefox extension that I loved during the last World Cup. It put the current score in my status bar and played a "Scores!" soundbite whenever a goal was scored. If you can't watch the games, you'll love FootieFox.

Download FootieFox here, and go New Zealand go!.

new-zealand

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2010 NHL Season Ends, Pops is Rich, I Miss Hockey

Stanley CupEvery year I make sure I'm watching when the Stanley Cup is clinched and the cup is awarded. There's no better spectacle in all of sports. I love watching each player hoist Lord Stanley's mug, it's the toughest trophy to win, after all.

I thought I might miss that magic moment last night because I had a slo-pitch game until 11pm, but thanks to overtime I was there when Patrick Kane scored the winner. I'm not a Kane fan, but I was rooting for the Blackhawks. They waited 49 years for a cup, and now it's our turn to own the drought. The chants of "1967" are now our rallying cry. I can't wait.

In my annual playoff pool, Pops won the big money thanks to his Flyers trifecta. Outside of Pops, only one Flyer was actually drafted. Pops, you deserve the big win.

In my pool, the second place finisher gets to break even. This season there was a tie for second and for the first time ever we had to go to the tie-breaker. Rule #7 clearly states the following:

7. In the event of a tie, the poolie with the most players from the Stanley Cup winning team assumes the position. If it's still a tie, the winnings are shared.

Because he had two Blackhawks vs. Ryan's one, Steve gets his $20 back.

I tried to catch as much NHL playoff action as possible. It's truly a marathon and not a sprint, but I never tired of it. Nothing beats playoff hockey. Nothing.

If you fancy your chances, find & compare the Best NHL odds for this season at canada.betfair.com.

I miss hockey already. Go Leafs Go!

1967

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Charlie Hustle and his Corked Bat

baseballI was listening to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth call the Jays game on CJCL 1430 the afternoon Pete Rose set the all-time career hits record. I remember a recorded piece by Sparky Anderson came on to set the scene and tell us all history had been made. Pete Rose had more major league hits than anyone who had ever played the game of baseball and I thought that was pretty awesome.

I've long argued that Pete Rose should be in Cooperstown. I like the Hall of Fame to be about what happened on the field, between the white lines. When it came to playing baseball, Pete Rose is a shoe-on for Hall of Fame honours, and it always bothered me that Charlie Hustle wasn't eligible.

I read about Pete Rose's corked bat on Deadspin. "You're looking at an X-ray of a Mizuno PR4192 bat, commissioned by Pete Rose specifically for his 1985 chase of baseball's all-time hits record. Inside, clear as day, is a piece of foreign material, about 6 inches long, and the diameter of a nickel. "

bat

I don't care whether corking a bat actually helps or hinders a batter, rule 6.06(d) prohibits the use of corked bats. It's against the rules, and Pete Rose did it anyway, believing it gave him an edge while he chased history.

It's funny, but his gambling and lies about it never tainted my opinion of Charlie Hustle, but this does. Rose cheated.

Discuss "Charlie Hustle and his Corked Bat" (5 comments so far)


Twitter is Over Capacity! The Fail Whale Returns!

TwitterI didn't realize how Twitter had weaved its way into my daily routine until it went down. I haven't been able to tweet and read my timeline all day and I miss it terribly.

The Twitter Status page has the following message posted under the title "Site availability issues".

We are experiencing site availability issues — additional latency and errors — this morning. We’re working to address these issues.

Update: 9:07 PDT / 16:07 UTC: Users may notice that their timelines are updating slowly. All tweets will eventually be delivered.

And this is what I currently see at Twitter.com. I can't say I've missed this guy.

twitter

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No Error Occurred Error Message

Question MarkMy text editor of choice is Dreamweaver. I write all my CSS, HTML, JavaScript, PHP and XML in Dreamweaver, but only the "Code" tab. I refuse to use the "Design" tab.

Dreamweaver just served me up a rather interesting error message. This error message, it seems, is to alert me there is no error.

error

Thanks, Dreamweaver!

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Stephen Strasburg Will Pitch a Perfect Game Tonight

baseballBaseball is different than hockey. In hockey, certain draft picks are projected as can't-miss elite superstars before they're even drafted. After Wayne there was Mario and Eric and Sidney. We were anticipating excellence before their professional debuts. In baseball, it's a much longer road to the big leagues, and so many things can go wrong along the way, so there really isn't a "can't miss" blue chip prospect as there is in hockey or basketball.

Having said that, I don't think I've ever heard as much hype about a player's MLB debut than I'm hearing about Stephen Strasburg. Stephen Strasburg will pitch tonight for the Washington Nationals and more than 200 requests for media credentials have been submitted. All eyes are on Strasburg who is 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA with 65 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings spread across Double-A and Triple-A.

I'm predicting he pitches a perfect game tonight. Anything less will be disappointing.

Stephen Strasburg

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Star Wars Kid a Lawyer

starwarsI first wrote about the Star Wars Kid all the way back in July of 2003. It's hard to believe that was 7 years ago. Here's what I wrote back then.

By now, everyone knows the Star Wars Kid. Ghyslain Raza is the chubby 15 year old kid from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec who made a video of himself imitating the combat style of Jedi knights with a golf-ball retriever. This two minute video has quickly become a cyber-space staple. In certain corners of the globe, Ghyslain Raza is quite famous. You can view the video here.

The news is reporting that the four high school students who stole this video and made it available via Kazaa, and their parents, are being sued for $225,000. Something about the boy being so widely mocked at his private high school that he dropped out.

The Raza family is playing this all wrong. Sure, any typical 15 year old kid would be initially humiliated at becoming the butt of a global joke, but I'd trade places with him in a second. Those kids did Ghyslain a huge favour.

I would play it up and hit the talk show circuit. As a bona fide celebrity in the Star Wars geek kingdom, I'd be making appearances at trade shows and parlaying my 15 minutes of fame into some serious coin. The story alone is invaluable. If you're reading this Ghyslain, read this part out loud and with pride: I'm the Star Wars Kid and rich geeks throughout the world identify with me! The end result can be nothing but positive.

I wish I were the Star Wars Kid.

Ghyslain Raza is now a lawyer!

Raza, now in his early 20s (and slimmed down) didn't become a Sith Lord, but he did wind up as the next best thing: a lawyer. After his courtroom experience, he decided to head to Montreal's McGill University, where he obtained his law degree. He's also landed a new gig, serving as president of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières, a society dedicated to conserving the cultural history of Gaza's hometown of Trois-Rivières.

Last I heard he had been depressed, dropped out of school and wound up in a children's psychiatric hospital. I've very glad to hear things have worked out for my hero, Star Wars Kid.


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End of an Era: I'm Beaverless

tearI just got back from taking my daughter to her last Beavers meeting of the year. It's actually her last Beavers meeting ever. After being a trail blazer for a year, my daughter has decided there are just too many boys in Beavers and she'd rather join Sparks next year.

I don't know what a Spark is, exactly, but I understand it doesn't leave any room for daddy. Since my son left Scouts Canada after two years for indoor soccer, my daughter was my last connection to the annual camping trip I love so much. After three great years, I'm done.

It's the end of an era, I'm now officially Beaverless.

My Beavers Vest

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Farewell 1961, Hello 1967

stanley cupThis Maple Leafs fan is rooting for Chicago. The Blackhawks are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup since 1961. This Leafs fan couldn't be happier.

It's time to say farewell to 1961 and hello to 1967. 1967 is the last time my team won the Stanley Cup, and we'll soon be the proud owners of the longest drought in the NHL. The Barilkosphere is ready.

When we do win, and we will win, I want it to be all that much sweeter. This record and the 1967 cross we bear guarantees maximum satisfaction and optimal relief. Your chants of "1967" don't humiliate us, it fuels our passion.

1967-toronto-maple-leafs

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District 9 Review

Movie ReviewDistrict 9: 8.5 out of 10.

This one had me from the get go and didn't let up. I wasn't bored for one of the 112 minutes. I loved the style, enjoyed the ride and was blown away by this Sharlto Copley chap I had never heard of before.

I don't have anything bad to say about District 9. I'd love to watch a sequel to see what happens three years after. If you haven't seen this flick yet, you have your marching orders.

d9

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Mike Wilner Fan 590 Suspension Optically Unsound

radioI used to watch Mike Wilner on a cable 10 show called "Let's Talk Sports". I'm thinking it was around 1990 when my brothers and I would tune in to watch Mike Wilner and this other guy discuss current sporting events. I thought Mike knew his baseball then, and I think Mike knows his baseball now.

Mike Wilner was suspended from working this weekend's series against the Yankees for The Fan 590 following an exchange he had with Cito Gaston.

During Gaston's daily media scrum on Wednesday afternoon, Wilner raised questions about the way Gaston had used his bullpen in Tuesday night's 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay. A brief but tense exchange followed.

Later on his Fan 590 blog, Wilner wrote at length about the exchange, asserting that Gaston had "painted himself into a corner" by using relievers Shawn Camp and Scott Downs too early. Wilner also wrote that Gaston had "belittled" him in front of other reporters.

The optics here are terrible for The Fan 590. The Fan is owned by Rogers, the same company that owns the Blue Jays. From what I've read or heard, Wilner did his job as a reporter. For that he was suspended, essentially a shot across the bows for other Rogers employees (and remember, it's not just The Fan, but Sportsnet as well) regarding criticism of the Blue Jays and Jays management.

When your pay cheque is signed by the same person financing the team you're covering, should we expect unbiased, fair and balanced reporting? Clearly not.

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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Gowan Fan Scorned

DevilI wrote a little entry about Gowan's concert in celebration of the 25th anniversary of his album Strange Animal. It wasn't meant to trash Gowan, a talented local singer-songwriter, it was meant to point out the ridiculousness of basing an entire tour around the 25th anniversary of an okay album that spawned two Cancon hits.

That was way back in April. At some point last week, a link to that entry was posted on a Gowan Facebook fan page. That's when the Gowan diehards started dropping by to let me know I was completely wrong about their hero.

Ynnad J gave it to me good...

So typically Canadian it is to Sh*t on a Canadian artist. Funny how even 25 yrs later Canadian artists are only relevant every where else but Canada. Well at least "Toronto Mikes" Canada.

The fact that Gowan is still relevant 25 years later is enough reason to celebrate "Strange Animal".

If I'm not mistaken, there were 5 singles and 3 went to #1. But I guess that's still not good enough reason to celebrate anything these days!

Toronto Mike, your opinion fails miserably. So did your album comparisons. Good effort, but not really.

Then Stacey chimed in...

Oh Mike.. you are saddly mistaken... Gowan has many supporting fans.. long-term ones from 1985 (and earlier) along with new ones who discovered him through his gigs with Styx. The CD/DVD is actually quite impressive.. maybe you should check it out.

Then there was Joan...

Those of us who have been fans since those early days were overjoyed at the announcement of those Anniversary shows. As has been noted in other messages here, they sold out very quickly. So many of the people there were 'original' fans like me, but there were also Styx fans who went looking for his music on ebay, i tunes, anywhere they could find it, and enjoyed what they found enough to travel many hundreds of miles to see it performed live. Not one person I spoke to over those 2 days was anything but blown away by the experience.

For those of us lucky enough to have been there, both back then and in the Falls, it was more than a trip down memory lane. This music has been part of the fabric of our lives, and will continue to be. As for the man himself, he is as he has always been, amazingly talented, gracious to his fans..and seriously undervalued by Canadian music writers.

And Marjorie...

I have many thoughts about the negative things said about Gowan - What's wrong with using the 25th anniversary as an opportunity to draw attention to himself again? It probably was an opportunity to release the recording on cd. Whether it is worthy of a tour? Well, I guess ticket sales will determine that - not a critics opinion! My opinion is he's an underated artist and a great entertainer! He has enjoyed new fame through Styx and it's awesome he still focus' on his Canadian work!

There are many other comments, and I've read them all. I'm not suggesting Gowan sucks or isn't worthy of a tour, I'm just saying his Strange Animal album isn't worthy of a 25th anniversary tour. Gowan can tour all he wants, but let's not pretend Strange Animal was Pet Sounds or Dark Side of the Moon or Bitches Brew.

If Strange Animal gets an anniversary tour, so should Boy in the Box, Alien Shores, Shakin' Like a Human Being, Nice Place to Visit and The Trinity Sessions.

We have to draw the line somewhere.

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John Wooden, Dead at 99

In MemoriumJohn Wooden was 99. He was college basketball's gentlemanly Wizard of Westwood who built one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports at UCLA and became one of the most revered coaches ever.

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Recreation of Star Wars Cantina Scene for Adidas: Homage or Sacrilege

starwarsThere's a new ad for Adidas hitting the interwebs. It features David Beckham, Daft Punk, Snoop Dogg, Franz Beckenbauer, Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown, Ciara, Jay Baruchel and DJ Neil Armstrong in a recreation of the cantina scene from Star Wars.

Is this a fun homage to a beloved movie scene or sacrilege?

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Me and St. Joe's: A Week in Review

notepadIt's been quite the week. I've spent approximately 12 hours at St. Joe's emergency because of a hard slide into third that went horribly wrong, and I anticipate spending another six or so hours there this weekend. It's completely hogging my leisure time.

My Blackberry can't get a signal in the St. Joseph's emergency ward. I can, however, participate in my favourite hospital game: people watching.

As a regular, who spends a lot of time watching people come and go while I wait for my antibiotics IV, a doctor to check my wound and a nurse to apply fresh dressing, I'm at a point where I'm now calling out those clogging up emergency with minor ailments.

The lady with the hurt knee from a fall who was walking around and waiting for three hours? I told her that if I went to emergency with every bruise or sprain I'd never leave. I told her nothing was broken, to rest, ice, compress and elevate, and pop some Tylenol for the pain.

There are lots of folks in there with deep bruises or sprains. I can't tell if they're bored, enjoy the attention or really think they've broken something.

I also wish I could self serve with the IV. I've watched them hook me up four times now, and I know where everything is and how to do it. Same with the wound dressing, I know where everything is and what they do, I can do that! I envision a system where I waltz in, hook myself up to the IV, undress my wound, snap a picture for the doc to look at when he has a minute and dress it back up. I've got the process down pat.

As for the wound itself, it still looks awful, but I'm told it's much cleaner. I won't slide until it's scabbed up, and I'm probably going to invest in a sliding pad so I don't keep doing this. And when I do do this again, I'll clean the wound better and wrap it up. My sun dry technique was based on a faulty premise.

If you're at the St. Joe's emergency tonight, say hi. I'll be the guy in the Hackey Night tee shirt.

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Remembering the Dead Pool and Gary Coleman

crossbonesThis site has existed as a blog since 2002, but even before that it was a personal home page. Remember personal home pages?

In September of 2000, my brothers and I drafted a Dead Pool for this personal home page. You can see the results of that draft online right here. We each picked 15 living celebrities and we'll be awarded 100 points minus their age at the time of their death.

My brother Ryan scored big points when Old Dirty Bastard died at the age of 35, but I just made a comeback. I picked Gary Coleman in my Dead Pool.

At some point I decided the Dead Pool was a little too insensitive and deleted the links to the page, but I never deleted the page itself. Unlike those listed on the page, The Dead Pool will live forever.

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Rue McClanahan, Dead at 76

In MemoriumRue McClanahan was 76. She was the actress known for her roles as the blowzy best friend Vivian on "Maude" and as the prowling Southern belle Blanche on "The Golden Girls."

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Toronto Police Pursue Bad Guys on Twitter

torontoOfficer Tony Vella of the Toronto Police Service uses his Twitter account to catch Toronto's crooks.

Here he is tweeting for Patrick Barrett to turn himself in, after speaking with a lawyer.

twitter

I don't think Bunk and McNulty would approve of this kind of police work, but it might have merits. For example, if I knew Patrick Barrett, I'd sure be breaking his balls right now.

[via Mondoville]

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With Kane and Toews Will Steve Catch Ryan?

puckI meant to write about my little hockey pool after round three, but I went camping and now I spend all my free time in the hospital, so this update is a little late.

Pops has first place locked up with his three Flyers, so the real race is for second. Entering into the finals, we all assumed Steve would catch Ryan with his dynamic duo of Kane and Toews. But after two games, that's less of a slam dunk than we thought. Kane and Toews seem to have been halted, and Steve is still 6 points back.

With Kane and Toews and six points to make up, will Steve catch Ryan?

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Indonesian Baby Smokes 40 Cigarettes a Day

radiationAt some point, you'll likely hear about the Indonesian baby who smokes 40 cigarettes a day. His dad introduced him to smokes, and now he's addicted.

Here's video of the chain smoking baby in question.

That's just bad parenting, right? I limit my kids to just one smoke after each meal.

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May 2010 Organic Search Keywords

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

  1. toronto mike
  2. teri polo death
  3. sandra rinomato breasts
  4. big shiny tunes 2
  5. charlie francis dead
  6. tuukka rask trade
  7. darcy allan sheppard
  8. eric tunney
  9. cool wedding songs
  10. toronto blog

Yes, the Bruins' success throughout May got a lot of people searching for details as to how Boston pried him from our hands. And just as I managed to convince myself the entire trade was a nightmare.

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