December 2010 Archives

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Canada 5, Sweden 6

Canada HockeyIt wasn't the prettiest game, but it was another New Year's Eve thriller. Swedish goalie Robin Lehner came up big in the shootout helping his squad squeak by and into the semi-finals.

We'll now have to play a quarter-final game, likely against Switzerland. We knew going in it would be a three horse race, and it doesn't get any closer than this. We'll bounce back.

Happy New Year, all.

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The TTC is Free Again Tonight

ttcDon't forget Torontonians, the TTC is completely free tonight from midnight to 4 am. Go ahead, get drunk and stupid as you ring in the new year, then leave your car and TTC it home.

The free ride tonight is unsponsored (if that's even a word). In the past, they've managed to get these free service nights subsidized by the private sector, but no luck this time. Still, I'm glad it's free, so there are absolutely no excuses.

Have fun tonight, kids.

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Smurf-A-Getti

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.

I liked the Smurfs enough to include them on my list of favourite cartoons as a child. The Smurfs ranked #4 between The Super Friends Hour and Battle of the Planets.

You already know how I feel about Alpha-Getti. Naturally, this interest spread to Smurf-A-Getti, which was Alpha-Getti in the shape of Smurfs instead of letters of the alphabet. Here's a great old ad for Smurf-A-Getti from 1986.

And no entry about canned pasta noodles in tomato sauce is complete without referencing the pornographic Zoodles can.

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Bobby Farrell, Dead at 61

In MemoriumBobby Farrell was 61. He was the charismatic frontman of Boney M.

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Canada 10, Norway 1

Canada HockeyMy prediction for this game was 14-0. I was pretty close. You just knew this one was going to be a laugher, we've never lost to Norway and we've outscored them 60-7.

It was 7-1 after 21 minutes. Luke's little brother scored 4 goals, giving him a tournament leading 12 points. Are you kidding me? The top scoring non-Canadian is Finland's Teemu Pulkkinen who has 4.

The true test is tomorrow when we face the Swedes. My prediction: Canada 5, Sweden 2.

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True Grit Review

Movie ReviewTrue Grit: 7 out of 10.

Don't believe the hype. True Grit is a very good movie, that's well acted and easy viewing, but it's not the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world you've been hearing about.

I saw it yesterday and I was disappointed. Hopes were sky high for this one, as I've been hearing how amazing it is and I'm already a big Coen Brothers fan. But really, it's just good... it's not great. And if you're looking for something as good as Fargo or No Country For Old Men or even The Big Lebowski, you'll be disappointed.

There's a flurry of convenient wrap-up elements at the end of this flick that made me cringe, and then a lazy out. Of course, all this criticism is directed at a very good movie with tremendous acting from Hailee Steinfeld and another strong performance by Jeff Bridges, but that's just because I expected better.

Am I the only one who was a little disappointed? It seems that way...

true_grit_poster_01

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10 Celebrity Deaths of 2010

bereavementAs 2010 draws to a close, you'll likely be seeing a lot of celebrity death lists, remembering those who died throughout the year. For as long as I've had a personal home page on the interweb, I've marked celebrity passings. You can read them all at http://www.torontomike.com/rest_in_peace/.

Here are ten celebrity deaths of note in 2010.

Abe Vigoda, however, is still alive.

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United State of Pop 2010 (Don't Stop the Pop)

musicDJ Earworm did this in 2008 and again last year. He calls it "United State of Pop 2010 (Don't Stop the Pop)". It's a mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2010, according to Billboard.

Featuring:

Ke$ha - Tik Tok
Lady Antebellum - Need You Now
Train - Hey, Soul Sister
Katy Perry Featuring Snoop Dogg - California Gurls
Usher Featuring will.i.am - OMG
B.O.B. Featuring Hayley Williams - Airplanes
Eminem Featuring Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie
Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Taio Cruz - Dynamite
Taio Cruz Featuring Ludacris - Break Your Heart
B.O.B. Featuring Bruno Mars - Nothin' On You
Enrique Iglesias Featuring Pitbull - I Like It
Young Money Featuring Lloyd - Bedrock
Jason Derulo - In My Head
Rihanna - Rude Boy
Lady Gaga Featuring Beyonce - Telephone
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are
Mike Posner - Cooler Than Me
The Black Eyed Peas - Imma Be
Jay-Z + Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
Usher Featuring Pitbull - DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love
Travie McCoy Featuring Bruno Mars - Billionaire
Eminem - Not Afraid
Iyaz - Replay

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Canada 7, Czech Republic 2

Canada HockeyDown 1-0 early, I wondered how we'd ever beat the Swedes if we had our hands full with the Czechs. Then, everything came together as expected.

We outshot the Czechs 39-19 and Luke's little brother ended up with five points. Seven different players scored for this star-less team that's going to pummel Norway tomorrow night.

My prediction: Canada 14, Norway 0.

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10 Great One Shot Music Videos

videoI was just reading about one shot music videos. These are videos that are made with a single take. I like a lot of one shot music videos, and here are ten of my favourites.

Note: While on YouTube throwing this list together, I noticed a bunch of my favourites had embedding disabled. To punish those acts, they don't get to be on this list. Shame on you, White Stripes.

Lucas With the Lid Off - Lucas

Mad World - Gary Jules

Stay (I Missed You) - Lisa Loeb

Gimme Sympathy - Metric

Here It Goes Again - OK Go

Closing Time - Semisonic

Undone - The Sweater Song - Weezer

1234 - Feist

Kate - Ben Folds Five

Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush

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10 Entries From 2010 Worth Revisiting

notepadLooking back at 2010, I wrote a lot of forgettable crapola, but here are 10 entries of note worthy of a revisit.

I Hate My Favourite Team
Early in 2010, I realized something. I hate my favourite team.

Canada Kills Pepsi Cheer
In late 2009, I made it my personal mission to stop the Pepsi cheer. Do you rememember how Pepsi said we were cheering wrong and they tried to get us to cheer with their dumb Pepsi cheer? I hated that campaign with a passion, because it was insulting, and I spoke to several media outlets about it. In this entry, I claimed victory.

Canada Wins Gold
My favourite sports moment of 2010 was Sidney Crosby scoring the Golden Goal in overtime to beat the USA in the gold medal final of Olympic men's hockey. My heart exploded with pride.

Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Ways to Offend
You have to revisit this entry, just to read the comments. Wow. That's all I'll say. Wow.

If You Love the Leafs, You Hate the Habs
Some kids seemed to forget this fundamental truth this past spring. There's no debate, if you love the Leafs, you hate the Habs. It is written.

Did G20 Toronto Black Block Get Green Light to Rampage?
It smelled then and it smells now. I had to ask the obvious question.

It's 1980, I'm Crying, But I'm Wearing That Hat
Just an old photo I found... but a peculiar one. Why am I crying?

What This Foreman of the Jury Thinks About Our Court System
I'll remember 2010 as the year I was foreman of a jury on a high-visibility murder case. It was a fascinating experience, and despite the fact it completely drained me, I'm so glad I had this opportunity.

By George, Bautista's at 46 - It's Time to Grow Up, Mike
Everything ends.

2010 Santa Claus Parade: Snark Version
As an experiment, I wrote two reviews of the Santa Claus Parade this year. A typically sweet one and a snarkier version. Judging by the stats, you just wanted the snark.

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Why You Should Keep Your Domain Name: The True Story of Fadoo.ca

fadooBob McCown, host of Prime Time Sports on The FAN 590, once backed a sports site called Fadoo. At some point he decided to end his online experiment and in June he pulled the plug.

When Bob McCown gives up on a project, he completely washes his hands of it. He didn't even renew the fadoo.ca domain name. Even if you take down a site, if you've promoted it and had your good name attached to it in any way, I highly recommend you keep the domain name. We're talking $20 a year here, nothing for a guy like Bob McCown, and he'd probably write it off as a business expense anyway.

On December 1, fadoo.ca was up for grabs and it's been bought by someone and parked with an offer for a different type of sport.

fadoo

To make matters worse, the now xxx fadoo.ca is still being promoted by the Fadoo twitter account, which remains active, whether the owner knows it or not.

fadoo2

What the fadoo?

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Usher Steals OMG Hook From Homer Simpson - OMG!

homerI don't know how I missed this...

Usher's hit song OMG sounds exactly like the Christmas carol Homer tries to write at the beginning of the Simpsons episode "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", which first aired in 2003.

Judge for yourself.

Speaking of Homer, I meticulously updated my Homer Simpsons quotes page every weekend for years. It's waiting for you at http://www.torontomike.com/homer.html.

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Canada 6, Russia 3

Canada HockeyCanada hasn't lost a world junior opener since 1998. I was thinking about that streak when it was 3-3 in the third period, and wondering just how good a team we have this year.

As you've likely heard, there are no stars on this team. There is nobody like Lindros or Crosby or Stamkos or Tavares. I went back to the Canada ~ Russia final I live-blogged six years ago, and the following names jump out at me: Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Corey Perry, Dion Phaneuf, some guy named Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron... there are no players like that on this team. That team, the best junior team I've ever seen, outscored their opponents 41-7 and never trailed.

So... we're going to have to win this tournament in true Canadian fashion. We're going to outwork our opponents, grind them down and play with heart. It worked yesterday, with goals from Marcus Foligno, Ryan Ellis, Erik Gudbranson, Ryan Johansen, Brayden Schenn and Curtis Hamilton, but will it work against the superior Swedish and American teams?

Never bet against Canada in this tournament.

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Teena Marie, Dead at 54

In MemoriumTeena Marie was 54. She made history as Motown's first white act but developed a lasting legacy with her silky soul pipes and with hits like "Lovergirl," "Square Biz," and "Fire and Desire" with mentor Rick James. I know her song "Ooo La La La" best from it being sampled in the Fugees' "Fu-Gee-La".

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Crosby vs. Gretzky: The Great Xmas Debate

puckI don't see my brothers as often as I used to, but when we all end up in the same room, as we did yesterday for Christmas, great debates ensue. Yesterday, my brother Ryan declared confidently that if Gretzky were playing in today's NHL, Crosby would be the better player.

I almost choked on my turkey when I heard that. I asked him to clarify the statement, to ensure I wasn't misunderstanding the premise of his argument. Basically, if both Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby were 23 years old today, and you had to draft one of them to play for your team, my brother Ryan would draft Crosby. I think he's nuts.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big Crosby fan. Even when it became cool to hate on the kid, I rooted for him. I still root for him, and consider him the best player playing the game today.

But really, Ryan, picking Crosby over Gretzky? Even in today's lower scoring NHL, that's crazy. Until this season, which is still fairly young, the great debate was whether Crosby was the best player in the game today. In fact, Crosby hasn't even dominated the scoring lead on his own team over the past few years. Malkin's beat him a couple of times. Nobody came close to Gretzky.

And that's my point. It's not about Gretzky owning the record books, it's about how much better Gretzky was compared to #2. If you leave aside his first season in the NHL, Gretzky's next four seasons saw him annihilate the league's second best scorer. Check this out...

1980-81
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 164
2. Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles - 135

1981-82
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 212
2. Mike Bossy, NY Islanders - 147

1982-83
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 196
2. Peter Stastny, Quebec - 124

1983-84
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 205
2. Paul Coffey, Edmonton - 126

Hell, in that 1982-83 season, Gretzky had more assists than anyone else had points. Then again, when all was said and done, Gretzky retired with more assists than anyone else had points. And oh yeah, he's the most prolific goal scorer in NHL history.

But what about my brother's point that the game has changed? I'm not suggesting Gretzky would get 200 points a season in today's NHL, I'm just suggesting he'd dominate and easily win the scoring race. And as much as I love Crosby, he's not doing that today. Over the past 4 seasons, Crosby has only won the scoring race once, by 6 points over Joe Thornton.

But I'll leave this debate by stealing an argument I read on the HFBoards.

Gretzky was better than Jagr. Sure by the mid 90's when Gretzky was getting old and ready to retire, Jagr was the better player by then, but Jagr at his peak never equalled Gretzky at his. I don't think there's many who'd disagree to that. Jagr only played 2 seasons in the NHL overlapping with Ovechkin, yet in both seasons Jagr outscored him. The first by nearly 20 points (123 to 106), the second by only 4 (96 to 92). Still, he outscored him both years. You could argue that Ovechkin was younger - these were, afterall, his first 2 years in the league, but Jagr was getting old. These were his last 2 seasons in the NHL afterall, not the 5 years of him winning Art Ross trophies. I realize this is a small sample size, being only 2 seasons, but if AO couldn't outscore Jagr (and neither Crosby nor AO have managed to equal Jagr's 123 points from 2005 season, let alone his 149 career high), and if Jagr wasn't as good as Gretzky, then how can AO be better than Gretzky?

Got that? I'll simplify it... Crosby hasn't yet had a season like Jagr's 123 points in 2005-06, which was after the lock-out in today's NHL. So even if you manage to argue Crosby is better than Jagr, and that's a better argument IMHO, nobody will ever suggest Jagr was as good as Mario Lemieux. So if Crosby = Jagr, and Jagr < Lemieux... I'll entertain a "if they were both healthy" debate about Lemieux vs. Gretzky, but we know Lemieux didn't stay healthy and that Gretzky had the superior career. So, if Crosby = Jagr, and Jagr < Lemieux, and Lemieux < Gretzky, how can you argue Crosby > Gretzky?

You can't, and the entire debate is silly. But was it ever entertaining!

If you had to choose between Gretzky and Crosby, and both are 23 years old and the year is 2010, who do you pick?

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Boxing Day Means Canada vs. Russia

Hockey CanadaMy favourite Boxing Day tradition is settling in to watch the Canadian juniors open their World Junior Championship. The 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships take place in Buffalo and we play Russia at 3:30pm.

Here's our team this year:

GOALTENDERS

Mark Visentin, 19, 6-foot-2, 198 lbs.
Hometown: Waterdown, Ont.
Teams: Niagara (OHL), Phoenix (NHL)

Olivier Roy, 19, 5-foot-11, 186 lbs.
Hometown: Causapscal, Que.
Teams: Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL), Edmonton (NHL)

DEFENCEMEN

Jared Cowen, 19, 6-foot-5, 227 lbs.
Hometown: Allan, Sask.
Teams: Spokane (WHL), Ottawa (NHL)

Simon Despres, 19, 6-foot-4, 222 lbs.
Hometown: Laval, Que.
Teams: Saint John (QMJHL), Pittsburgh (NHL)

Dylan Olsen, 19, 6-foot-2, 223 lbs.
Hometown: Calgary
Teams: Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA), Chicago (NHL)

Erik Gudbranson, 18, 6-foot-4, 211 lbs.
Hometown: Orleans, Ont.
Teams: Kingston (OHL), Florida (NHL)

Ryan Ellis, 19, 5-foot-10, 184 lbs.
Hometown: Freelton, Ont.
Teams: Windsor (OHL), Nashville (NHL)

Tyson Barrie, 5-foot-10, 190 lbs.
Hometown: Victoria, B.C.
Teams: Kelowna (WHL), Colorado (NHL)

Calvin de Hann, 19, 6-foot-1, 189 lbs.
Hometown: Carp, Ont.
Teams: Oshawa (OHL), N.Y. Islanders (NHL)

FORWARDS

Sean Couturier, 18, 6-foot-3, 192 lbs.
Hometown: Bathurst, N.B.
Teams: Drummondville (QMJHL), 2011 NHL draft eligible

Jaden Schwartz, 18, 5-foot-10, 184 lbs.
Hometown: Emerald Park, Sask.
Teams: Colorado College (NCAA), St. Louis (NHL)

Zack Kassian, 19, 6-foot-3, 226 lbs.
Hometown: LaSalle, Ont.
Teams: Windsor (OHL), Buffalo (NHL)

Brayden Schenn, 19, 6-foot, 199 lbs.
Hometown: Saskatoon
Teams: Brandon (WHL), L.A. Kings (NHL)

Casey Cizikas, 19, 5-foot-11, 191 lbs.
Hometown: Mississauga
Teams: Mississauga (OHL), N.Y. Islanders (NHL)

Quinton Howden, 18, 6-foot-3, 192 lbs.
Hometown: Oak Bank, Man.
Teams: Moose Jaw (WHL), Florida (NHL)

Curtis Hamilton, 19, 6-foot-3, 202 lbs.
Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.
Teams: Saskatoon (WHL), Edmonton (NHL)

Marcus Foligno, 19, 6-foot-2, 200 lbs.
Hometown: Sudbury, Ont.
Teams: Sudbury (OHL), Buffalo (NHL)

Ryan Johansen, 18, 6-foot-2, 193 lbs.
Hometown: Port Moody, B.C.
Teams: Portland (WHL), Columbus (NHL)

Louis Leblanc, 19, 5-foot-11, 181 lbs.
Hometown: Kirkland, Que.
Teams: Montreal (QMJHL), Montreal (NHL)

Cody Eakin, 19, 6-foot, 187 lbs.
Hometown: Winnipeg
Teams: Swift Current (WHL), Washington (NHL)

Carter Ashton, 19, 6-foot-3, 219 lbs.
Hometown: Saskatoon
Teams: Tri-City (WHL), Tampa Bay (NHL)

Brett Connolly, 18, 6-foot-2, 181 lbs.
Hometown: Port Hardy, B.C.
Teams: Prince George (WHL), Tampa Bay (NHL)

We've had some great tilts against Russia in recent years. In 2005, I live-blogged our gold medal game against Russia, a game with some pretty awesome Crosby vs. Ovechkin subtext. And just a couple of years ago, a thrilling semi-final victory over Russia which included a Jordan Eberle goal to tie things up with 5.4 seconds on the clock.

This will be fun. Go Canada Go!

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Humble and Fred's 2010 Gift of Christmas Podcast

podcastThis past Saturday, I joined Humble and Fred as they recorded their Gift of Christmas Podcast.

Just in time for Christmas, here's the podcast in four easy to digest chunks. Enjoy...

Part 1

Download the MP3

Part 2

Download the MP3

Part 3

Download the MP3

Part 4

Download the MP3

Thanks to Dan Duran, Bingo Bob and Ari Daniel for helping to make this magic happen, ACME Pictures for donating the web space and PROUD FM for donating the studio space.

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A Muppet Family Christmas Special

christmasGather around, kids. Daddy has another very special treat for you this Christmas.

Enjoy A Muppet Family Christmas Special from 1987.

A Muppet Family Christmas Special Part 1

A Muppet Family Christmas Special Part 2

A Muppet Family Christmas Special Part 3

A Muppet Family Christmas Special Part 4

A Muppet Family Christmas Special Part 5

Merry Christmas!

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NORAD Tracks Santa 2010

Mike's FavouritesNorad Tracks Santa - For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), has tracked Santa’s Christmas Eve flight.

This year, you can even follow Santa on Twitter. That's how I'm keeping tabs on the big guy.

Go Santa, Go! Daddy needs more sugar-free bubble gum!

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Lunar Eclipse Over the CN Tower

moonOn December 21, 2010, two celestial events coincided; a complete lunar eclipse and an annual Winter Solstice. Here's my favourite shot of the lunar eclipse over the CN Tower here in Toronto.

Lunar Eclipse Over the CN Tower

[via byronjyu's Flickr account]

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The China Wall Sings Honky The Christmas Goose

MP3Johnny Bower didn't just help lead the Leafs to Stanley Cup wins in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, he also recorded a local holiday classic. Sung with Little John and the Rinky Dinks, Johnny Bower's "Honky the Christmas Goose" was released in 1965 and enjoyed a significant amount of airplay, making it to number 29 on our Canadian music charts.

play Johnny Bower - Honky The Christmas Goose

The China Wall didn't need no auto-tune.

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Happy Festivus 2010!

Snow FlakeI want to wish each and every one of you a very happy Festivus. For those who don't know what Festivus is, there are three easy to follow steps:

  1. "Get the pole out of the crawl space". Or go out and buy one. Remember, it should be aluminium, due to the "very high strength-to-weight ratio". Remember, "it requires no decoration". Tinsel is "distracting".
  2. "The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances... At the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year."
  3. After dinner, it is time for the "Feats of Strength". Remember, Festivus is not over until someone is pinned.

The origin of Festivus was explained nicely by Frank Costanza in the Seinfeld episode "The Strike". Here's his exchange with Cosmo Kramer.

Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born . . . a Festivus for the rest of us!
Cosmo Kramer: That must've been some kind of doll.
Frank Costanza: She was.

Here's everything you need to know. Happy Festivus everyone!

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10 Cool Christmas Songs

giftEarlier in the month I shared the perfect Christmas playlist. Now it's time for the 10 coolest Christmas songs.

Who says Christmas music has to be awful? Here are ten cool Christmas tracks.

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits

Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir

I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas

Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam

Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - The Ramones

Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid

Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses

2000 Miles - The Pretenders

Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl

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Joseph Robb, We Thank You (Or Why We Need the Waffle)

WafflesIf you follow this blog, you know I'm pro-waffle. From the moment the first waffle hit the ACC ice, I saw it as the perfect symbol of our discontent. It's become the waffle that unites us all.

During our last game against the Thrashers, Joseph Robb hurled waffles during another mediocre effort by the home team. Here's what Joseph Robb did.

We know it was Joseph Robb because the Toronto Star caught him waffle-handed. Here he is, making a statement on our behalf.

0ccacdfb4e369480f2226e3729b0

We know our hero's name because he's been charged with mischief.

The Toronto police, meanwhile, charged 31-year-old Joseph Robb with mischief (interference with property). He has a court date on Jan. 27.

Robb has been banned from the Air Canada Centre for all events as well as other Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment events at BMO Field and the Ricoh Coliseum.

The Star spoke with Robb.

Robb, who intends to fight the charges from Monday night, said he was not the original waffle thrower but just a copycat expressing his frustration with the Leafs. He says "real fans" can't even afford game tickets - his ticket was a gift - and they are tired of empty promises from management.

"I didn't mean to cause no trouble."

Robb tossed the waffles - which were thawed and soft - "just to say ‘wake up' or something. Stop treating your fans like Eggos."

As a fellow die-hard Leafs fan who's had enough, I have one thing to say... thank you. Thanks for having the courage to throw a waffle at this under-achieving, over-priced product. Thank you for taking one for the Barilkosphere, for getting the media's attention, and hopefully MLSE's.

Toronto FC fans got MLSE's attention with chants and protests during home games. After missing the playoffs four years in a row, they'd had enough. Our Leafs are about to miss the playoffs for the sixth time in a row. It's about time the waffles showed up.

We must continue to throw waffles at Maple Leafs home games, for Joseph Robb and the rest of us who are suffering. I do hope we do it after the whistle, and not during play, but I do hope we continue to do it.

Joseph Robb, we thank you.

The Waffle

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Christmas Rappin': From Kurtis Blow to the CanRap Collective

xmasKurtis Blow released "Christmas Rappin'" all the way back in 1979. You don't hear much about Kurtis Blow when chatting about old school rap. Grandmaster Flash, The Sugarhill Gang, and Run-DMC all get far more credit.

Here's Kurtis Blow performing "Christmas Rappin'" on Top of the Pops.

Here's a cool cover of Kurtis Blow's "Christmas Rappin'". It's from CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight Holiday Special and it features Canadian rappers Kardinal Offishall, Maestro, Moka Only, Michie Mee, Buck 65, Saukrates and D-sisive.

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Steve Landesberg, Dead at 74

In MemoriumSteve Landesberg was 74. He was best known for his role as a cerebral detective on the TV sitcom "Barney Miller."

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But I'm A Creep, I'm A Weirdo - All About Radiohead's Creep

creepI've always loved Radiohead's Creep. I love lots of songs, but I'm crazy about this one. I love the melody, I love the lyrics, I love the vocals... I love this tune, and have since I first heard it in '93.

Surfing the web yesterday, I caught a little video from Scala & Kolacny Brothers about one lonely doll's desperate attempt to be accepted. It's haunting, and it's set to this awesome boy's girl's choir cover of Radiohead's Creep. It's crazy good, check it out.

Speaking of haunting covers, I once wrote about a homeless guy who covered Creep on the Opie and Anthony show. His name is Mustard.

But my all-time favourite version of Creep might be the unplugged version by Radiohead combined with this awesome piece of Flash.

And can we discuss covers of Creep without talking about Sad Kermit's Creep? He even drops the F bomb.

The writing credit for Creep goes to Thom Yorke, Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood. Did you ever wonder who Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood are? They wrote "The Air That I Breathe", a major hit for The Hollies in 1974. Listen to the opening of "The Air That I Breathe" and think about Radiohead's Creep.

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If that fact is news to you, I just blew your mind.

You're welcome.

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The Green Men vs The Maple Leafs

leafsNot sure how I missed this, but the green men got us good on Saturday night.

Did somebody say waffles?

Thanks to Jensen for the clip.

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Fast Romantics - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

musicJust got an urgent telegram: "Our Toronto-based band, Fast Romantics, just released a rock-n-roll version of The Grinch".

If you want the MP3, download it here.

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15 Vintage Humble and Fred Christmas Bumpers

musicI've got dozens and dozens of vintage Humble and Fred bumpers that used to air during their morning radio show. In the spirit of the season, I decided to dig up 15 Christmas bumpers to share with you all.

Most of these are from the old 102.1 CFNY days, but some are from Mojo Radio 640 and their brief career at Mix 99.9. Merry Christmas!

Carol of the Bells

My personal favourite.


The Christmas Song

Dan Duran on lead vocals.


Deck the Halls

An annual classic.


Little Drummer Boy

Bums... bums... bums...


Joy to the World

Who wrote this one?


Bells

How did this make the top 15?


Little Town of Bethlehem

Avoid this town.


Remember the Turkey

Based on a true story.


Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Such harmony!


Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Bummer, indeed.


Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

I always liked this one.


Southpark

This one reeks of the Mix days... when the bumpers lost their soul.


Three Kings

And they were here until they were fired away.


Three Kings Redux

This one is right on the mark.


Winter Wonderland

Finish strong, boys!

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A New Annual Tradition: Cox and Berger of the Bells

christmasThe first time I heard of Bloge Salming was about a year ago when I watched Damien Cox and Howard Berger perform their version of Carol of the Bells for the first time.

It's now an annual tradition.

No final since '67.... no final since '67.

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Recording the Humble and Fred Christmas Podcast, 2010 Version

podcastI've just returned from a visit to the PROUD-FM studio at Church and Wellesley where we recorded the Humble and Fred Christmas podcast. This is our 8th podcast overall, and once again we were joined by Dan Duran and Bingo Bob. Humble also brought along the first Humble and Fred Podcast intern, a Ryerson student named Ari.

I've sat in on a bunch of these, so I've witnessed the evolution, but if you were a Humble and Fred fan from the 90s you'd likely be pretty surprised by the content. Instead of targeted a young male demographic, it's completely organic. The result is more heartfelt, with discussions about Humble's separation, Fred's daughter's wedding and the birth of Bingo Bob's first child. Don't get me wrong, it's still damn funny, but there's far more substance and thought-provoking discussion and slightly less dick and fart jokes. It's compelling stuff, and I hope you listen when I post the audio early next week.

As usual, I took some pictures. If you want to read more about Humble and Fred, this is the category for you. If you want to hear previous podcasts, hit up this page. If you want to hear about Dan Duran's herpes, Humble's new girlfriend or Fred's newfound appreciation for sitting down to go pee, wait for the MP3s next week.

Humble and Fred Podcast Humble and Fred Podcast Humble and Fred Podcast Humble and Fred Podcast Humble and Fred Podcast Humble and Fred Podcast

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In An Ideal World, Radio Would Be...

radioA reader named Karim wanted to share some thoughts about Toronto radio. I'm cool with that.

Hello Toronto Mike,

After reading many of your radio blogs which I enjoy to read and after reading the heartfelt letters from Cool Steve and Stephen from Kitchener, I thought, hey, I would like to put (publish) my radio feelings as well.

In an ideal world, radio would be a discovery tool, a place to enjoy your favourites (what you already know) in moderation, in addition to the discovery of "the next-big things," or "undiscovered" talent. An ideal classic rock station would play in moderation, the popular recognized works of art by classic stars (i.e. Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb, The Guess Who's American Woman, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama) in moderation, but also to play the classic rock "masterpieces," that never saw the light of day, as well as "legends," that never really came through. In other words, to me anyway, the ideal station would serve people who LOVE music. I may sound overly passionate here, but really I 'm just a guy with many ideas in many areas and forms, and a guy who wants to get them noticed. I felt this would be a great blog to voice my radio feelings.You know, I think radio stations don't really cater to people who LOVE music, to be honest I think they cater to people who real!

 ly don't care about music or who know little about it to begin with, these are the people who would find most stations most entertaining. Several years back, when I was a youngster living in Hamilton, Ontario, I thought I would check out the local rock station, Y108, since my parents and family, well they were into jazz. So, I tuned them in and well, I loved it. The first song I heard on Y108 was "Comfortably Numb," by Pink Floyd, and it sounded great. Everything was fresh and new, and I began to love music. Over time however, and rather quickly I might add, it lost appeal. Now, Y108 was kind of an interesting station, in the sense that they liked to change up their mix throughout the year, no really huge changes, just that they would add and subtract artists and songs enough to keep me interested till present.  They had periods where the 90's was the big focus, a period where classic rock became the focus even a period where hair metal was the main focus. So, it was interesting enough. However, even on a station like Y108, it gets to the point where you've heard every song too many times, and to avoid such overplay I find myself listening less and less, this can simply be described as perhaps a loss of passion, yes I still do crank the radio up when I hear a song that I dig or something I haven't heard in a while, but then it goes off again, when its "Comfortably Numb,"  or "Hells Bells," for the 1000000000000th time.  So, you may or may not see my point, but to put it simply, radio needs the Real "Spirit" back.

Don't tell anyone, but Cool Steve and Stephen from Kitchener were actually the same person.

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Blake Edwards, Dead at 88

In MemoriumBlake Edwards was 88. He was a writer and director who became a Hollywood master of screwball farces and rude comedies like “Victor/Victoria” and the “Pink Panther” movies.

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Why I Blog (And You Don't)

notepadI just glanced at Pew Internet's Generations 2010 report. It looks at online trends by different age groups, and it looks like blogging is on the decline.

Few of the activities covered in this report have decreased in popularity for any age group, with the notable exception of blogging. Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18-33 have also seen a modest decline - a development that may be related to the quickly-growing popularity of social network sites. At the same time, however, blogging’s popularity increased among most older generations, and as a result the rate of blogging for all online adults rose slightly overall from 11% in late 2008 to 14% in 2010. Yet while the act formally known as blogging seems to have peaked, internet users are doing blog-like things in other online spaces as they post updates about their lives, musings about the world, jokes, and links on social networking sites and micro-blogging sites such as Twitter.

Without a doubt, blogging has fallen out of favour as people turn to Facebook and Twitter to share their thoughts and observations. In other words, people are still "blogging", they're just doing it on social networking sites instead of on their own personal blogs.

You're not blogging, but I am. Although you will find me on Facebook and Twitter, my core focus when publishing content is my blog. You see, I own this blog. It's my domain name, my traffic, I own the content and I configured the CMS and implemented the analytics tools.

The desire to write is inherent within, so the only debate is which platform to host my scribbling. Why give that control to Facebook or Twitter? I choose to blog because it gives me greater control and enables me to set my own ground rules.

Does anyone else out there still actually maintain a good old fashioned blog?

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Bob Feller, Dead at 92

In MemoriumBob Feller was 92. He was a Hall of Fame pitcher who won 266 games in an 18-year career with the Cleveland Indians.

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Top 10 Most Retweeted Tweets

TwitterYeah, I like Twitter. I used it daily throughout 2010, and if you use Twitter, you know how retweeting works. If someone you follow tweets something you want to share with your followers, you retweet it.

I'm not sure what my most retweeted tweet was in 2010. It might have been when I blamed that damn Pepsi cheer for our junior team losing the gold medal game to the USA, I honestly don't know...

Today, Twitter unveiled the 10 most retweeted tweets of 2010. I didn't make the list.

  • Justin (@shitmydadsays): Don't focus on the one guy who hates you. You don't go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog shit.
  • Rihanna (@rihanna): Justin Bieber just flashed me his abs in the middle of a restaurant! Wow! He actually had a lil 6 pack! Sexy, lol! #Beliebersplzdontkillme
  • Kanye West (@kanyewest): I'm sorry Taylor.
  • Lady Gaga (@ladygaga): I'm beautiful in my way, 'cause God makes no mistakes. I'm on the right track, baby. I was Born This Way.
  • Joe Jonas (@joejonas): I cry because I love Justin Bieber!!!
  • Al-Qaeda (@alqaeda): Just noticed Twitter keeps prompting me to "Add a location to your tweets". Not falling for that one.
  • Justin Bieber (@justinbieber): Te quiero mucho mi amor.
  • Lil Wayne (@liltunechi): Aaaaaaahhhhhhmmmmm baaaaakkkkkkkkkk!
  • Drake (@drakkardnoir): We always ignore the ones who adore us, and adore the ones who ignore us.
  • Stephen Colbert (@StephenatHome): In honor of oil-soaked birds, 'tweets' are now 'gurgles.' http://bit.ly/cIhZNf

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Yogi Bear Alternate Ending

moviesI was going to take my kids to see the new Yogi Bear movie, but based on this alternate ending that's just been leaked, I'm thinking it might be too dark.

Good job, Mr. Earle.

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Breaking Bad: The Latest Best Show

tvI remember watching Six Feet Under and thinking it was the best series I'd ever followed. I loved The Sopranos, but Six Feet Under was better. It was my favourite show of all time until I discovered The Wire.

I haven't found a show I've liked as much since, but I have enjoyed a couple of series that are ridiculously good. First, I fell in love with Mad Men.

I'm caught up with Mad Men, and now I'm immersed in Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad is the best show I've seen since The Wire. It's unpredictable, well written, well acted and raw. It's also pretty addictive, so consider yourself warned.

What other series would you recommend for a guy who loves Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men and Breaking Bad?

breaking_bad_promo_poster

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An Official Red Ryder, Carbine Action, Two-Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle

teddybearOne of my favourite Christmas movies is "A Christmas Story".

Hey Ralphie, what would you like for Christmas?

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Metrodome Roof Collapse Video From Inside

snowI hear they've got a lot of snow in Minnesota. It's raining here, but Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa are getting buried.

They had to postpone the Giants-Vikings game because the Metrodome roof collapsed under the weight of all that snow. Check it out.


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Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

christmasGather around, kids. Daddy has a very special treat for you this Christmas.

Enjoy Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special.

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special Part 1

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special Part 2

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special Part 3

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special Part 4

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special Part 5

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special Part 6

Merry Christmas!

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Waffles (But Were Afraid to Ask)

infoThe Waffle That Unites Us All is sure to catch on. It is the symbol of our discontent. Puck Daddy just wrote about it and it just appeared on Deadspin. This thing has gone well beyond the Barilkosphere and I'll be thoroughly disappointed if I don't see a few waffles tonight against the Habs.

waffle_assn

If you're going to the game tonight, please... bring waffles. We need this. We need something... anything. Waffles are perfect.

making_waffles_old_school

But really, what do we know about our new tasty hope? From Wikipedia, here's everything you wanted to know about the waffle (but were afraid to ask).

A waffle is a batter- or dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape. There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used.

waffles_rule_tshirt-p2356239330961930103d4x_400

Other waffle-shaped foods exist, and are sometimes referred to as waffles because of their shape. Most are actually potato products.

Eggo Waffles

Waffles are eaten throughout the world, particularly in Belgium and the United States. Common toppings are strawberries, chocolate, sugar, honey, syrups, ice cream and more. Waffles can be desserts and breakfasts.

blue_waffle6

Waffles are also traditionally thrown at Toronto Maple Leafs home games by fans fed up with 43 years without a Stanley Cup. This tradition began following a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on December 9, 2010.

Ladies and gentlemen, pelt the ACC ice with waffles!!!

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My Columbia House Memories

cdI've always loved music. Throughout my life, I'd discover new genres, and do a deep dive.

I started as a kid with 50s music and rockabilly. I loved The Stray Cats, and made Built For Speed the first cassette I purchased on my own. I then discovered Duran Duran, bought Rio on vinyl, and fell in love with top 40 as heard on 680 CFTR.

As a pre-teen, I was introduced to Billy Idol, and managed to parlay that into Sex Pistols and The Clash. There was still room in the diet for Top 40, but suddenly I realized there was so much more.

As a teenager, the genre discoveries were fast and furious, and that's where the Columbia House CD Club came into play. For example, I went through a classic rock phase, and I took advantage of the Columbia House's 7 cds for a penny to flesh out my collection. I needed Led Zeppelin 4, Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and so much more. I'd whip out my calculator, figure out the least amount of money it would cost me per CD via the club and quit.

I did the same thing when I discovered Heavy Metal. I'd whip out the old calculator again and sign up for another run. That's how I got my Ozzy, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Anthrax and Skid Row and Def Leppard.

And lest we forget my deep dive into the world of rap. Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, NWA, Ice-T, Tribe Called Quest, BDP, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, Eric B and Rakim and, of course, this Rap Traxx collections.

I was finished with the Columbia House Music Club by the time the 80s wrapped up, and strictly bought my CDs at the Sam the Record Man, HMV or A&A Records at Yonge and Dundas. I'd go to all three and see which one was charging the least for the disc on my hit list. In the case of a tie, Sam got my cash.

Columbia House Canada just went under. I was surprised it was still around. After 70 years, it's the end of an era.

In the days before CD burning because easy, long before the Internet and Napster, we actually bought our CDs. A big part of my early collection came from this club.

columbiahouse

Were you ever a member of the Columbia House CD club?

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The Waffle That Unites Us All

The Waffle

[context]

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Toronto Radio Ratings

radioOur local radio ratings are out. Here's the top-line radio statistics for Toronto, August 30, 2010 - November 28, 2010.

radioratings

The greatest share goes to CHFI, followed by CHUM-FM and then the good folks at BOOM. Of course, radio is all about demographics, so these numbers only tell part of the story.

Edge 102 (CFNY), for example, won't worry about a 5.5 share if they do well with young males. Greg Quill reports in the Star, that CFNY is doing just fine in that demo.

The Edge (102.1 FM) held the top spot with men 8-34, earning an 18.8 per cent share of hours tuned (up from 16.4).

Older guys prefer Q107 and woman dig CHUM-FM. Chat amongst yourselves.

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Waffles: The Symbol of our Discontent

leafsWaffles. Detroit can have their octopus, we have our waffles. A week after I wrote this, following a couple of big losses against the Pens and Flyers, I finally have a symbol of our discontent.

It's perfect. Perfectly tragic and sad, but perfect nonetheless.

pumpkin-waffles

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Musings on The Edge 102 by Cool Steve

emailI got a long email from Cool Steve this evening, so I thought I'd share it.

Cool Steve is a reader of this blog who had some things to get off his chest.

I know I’m slowpoking on this, but I was on vacation when it happened. I was pretty surprised Jason Barr was canned after almost ten years on that morning show. With many it was the final nail in the coffin (so many nails), and personally I always thought they had a good morning show and I can’t believe they messed with the formula. I know some don’t like their form of comedy, I do. The Edge is nothing like it was; they moved from the old long-time building they were at previous to a new location, which to me feels like another change to erase the past. I always feel since Alan Cross left, it’s been going to hell. Of course people older than me will tell me it was crap long before Alan came into power, but even at 25 I can see a slippery slope of how The Edge has been performing since I started tuning in around 2003. Nothing but overplayed music, too much of the same 90s shit, awkward indie type stuff, the same CanCon artists and songs to fill its daily intake, and a splash of hair metal and classic rock here and there (save it for Y108).

We lost and really lost Barry Taylor and Martin Streek but gained Fucked Up Fred, who I still can’t stand. I tried again recently, but nope – he still fumbles and mumbles his way through his bits on air. He even hosts the adult cartoon block on Teletoon now as well! I’m big on animation, and to not only have him invade my radio but my TV as well…it’s a friggin nightmare. I guess he fits in well hosting that block because the “adult” cartoons Teletoon plays these days are just as watered down as the music The Edge plays these days. I still feel Bookie will be next on the chopping block. Didn’t Darryl Spring leave as well? They fire all the best people. No more Punkorama, or live to air shows either (I think). But we get Loveline?! I only wish I had been born some years earlier to experience the real spirit of The Edge. Today, there is no true alternative in Toronto. Not even in the GTA. Local college stations don’t have enough power to play with the big boys. I strongly feel a new alternative station needs to be produced to give The Edge a run for its money. Play old and new stuff, and really dig deep into the music vaults and dust off stuff The Edge hasn’t played in 15-25 years. Figure out a way to get people to listen and stay tuned in. We have more than enough current pop/hip-hop, classic rock, classic/new rock, mixed old/new variety and easily listening stations than we know what to do with around here. The alternative format is left without a good home to represent it. Ross Winters should be punched in the face with his Top 40 “alternative” radio play, the same 30 songs over and over old and new. I want to kick in my radio every time I hear the spastic intro of that current Broken Bells song. I read the whole piece on what Taylor had to say about Winters. All about money, as usual.

I do like Adam however, always have, and if he were to come on board the show, I’d see no issue with it. But I see they picked the blind movie reviewer. I’ve read a lot of comments and I’m not too sure what happened with Jason and why he was let go, but I wish him well. The Edge’s way of dealing with someone leaving (i.e. wiping out their entire existence from the website) is downright cold. I can’t stand Josie Dye anymore. I could years ago, but everyday she seems more and more like a blithering idiot. And even over a year later, Streek’s death still bothers me. I didn’t know the guy, and I caught on too late to what he did at (and meant to) The Edge. And yet this past July for whatever reason he popped into my thoughts again, I started reading the articles and comments following his death and listening to his tribute shows. I’m sure other people have moved on by now but his passing still bugs my ass. Probably because as my music tastes have changed and matured, I really would have liked to known more about his music tastes and to hear his current opinions on new and old stuff. He had a great mind and enthusiasm for music, I respect that. I feel as if I missed a scene I could have easily fit into now and been a part of, and it has now long past. It’s frustrating knowing he could still be here now, as we are always left to wonder what he could have still offered to our hungry ears.

I tried to find this answer via The Wayback Machine and the old Edge site, but where/when were all the old live-to-air’s The Edge had? Was it Sound Academy on Saturday nights with new alt/industrial and The Velvet Underground on Sundays with retro and new wave? There was also The Phoenix…were those Fridays? Were these all hosted by Streek? Because I thought they didn’t do live-to-airs anymore, but the current Edge site says Lori-Ann was doing some (and club websites are never kept current it seems). I was in Toronto on vacation in September and went to the Velvet Underground on Sunday night and it was dead. I liked the music, but it was dead. Some people playing pool and some people sitting down on the couches. Maybe because it’s on a Sunday? Or just because “the spirit” had flown?

Also, I’m really sorry to hear about Mark Dailey. As soon as I remembered his CityTV line and his movie intros, I was like “Aw man, that’s the guy!”. Its funny the stuff you remember even when you were just a kid…some things stick in your memory, like that analog clock they’d display on the screen. Nostalgia! And those 80s action news openings are over the top, haha! Sometimes, a small piece of me wishes I grew up and lived in Toronto. I bet it would be awesome back years ago. But then I think it’s just nice to visit and then go back to Kitchener. I also had no idea Dailey he was on The Ripping Friends either until I read your blog, as I watched that show all the time.

- Cool Steve

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Zeitgeist 2010: A Year in Search

googleBased on the aggregation of billions of search queries people typed into Google this year, Zeitgeist captures the spirit of 2010.

Goodbye swine flu, hello chatroulette.

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My Memories of John Lennon

RewindThe murder of John Lennon 30 years ago today is my first memory of a news event. I was quite young at the time, but I vividly remember telling a grade one class mate at St. Cecilia's that a Beatle had died. I can even visualize the coat rack behind which I made this statement.

Somehow, I knew this was a big deal and I understood the severity of the situation. I had a sense that the Beatles were important and the death of one was a sad and significant event. Even to a six year old, Lennon's death transcended the world of music.

What would Lennon have created had he lived the past 30 years? One can only imagine...

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Don Cherry's Speech at Rob Ford's Ceremony

rob fordI should preface this entry by saying I've always been a big Don Cherry fan. Hey look! Almost seven years ago, I wrote a whole entry about how much I like the guy. Following the first period during Hockey Night in Canada I don't go anywhere until after Coach's Corner.

But really, Mississaugan Don Cherry is a hockey commentator. What's he doing introducing Rob Ford at the inaugural meeting of the new city council? It's ridiculous of Rob Ford to invite him and Cherry's remarks are downright embarrassing.

Here's what Don Cherry said, as transcribed by the Toronto Star.

“Well, actually, I’m wearing pinko for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything, I thought I’d get it in. (laughs, claps, oohs) What’d ya expect, Ron MacLean here, to come here?

“I am befuddled because I thought I was just doing a good thing coming down with Rob and I was gonna do this here and it was going to be nice and the whole deal. I’m being ripped to shreds by the left-wing pinko newspapers out there — it’s unbelievable. One guy called me a jerk in a pink suit so I thought I’d wear that for him too today. (applause)

“In those articles I was made fun of because I go to church, I’m easy to do it that way, and I was called maudlin for the troops, because I honour the troops. This is the kind of (inaudible) you’re going to be facing Rob with these left-wing pinkos. They scrape the bottom of the barrel.

“Again, why I was asked (to speak) and I asked (Councillor) Doug (Ford) why, and they said we need a famous good-looking guy and I said I’m your man right off the bat.

“I was asked why a landslide. I was in their corner right from the start. Doug phoned me that morning and I told him you’ll get a landslide and why? Because Rob is honest, he’s truthful, he’s like Julian Fantino — what you see is what you get. He’s no phony. And I could go on right now all the millions and millions and thousands of dollars he’s gonna save and everything.

“But I’d just like to tell a little story that was in the Sun, I think it was in the back pages, just a little thing and (City of Toronto ombudsman) Fiona Crean for 18 months has been trying to get something done with City Hall.

“I think some of you know the story. There was a little old lady and all of a sudden she gets banged on the door and two guys were there and said ‘We’re cutting your tree down’ — you know this is a little thing but this is to me a big thing — ‘We’re cutting your tree down.” And she says ‘Well, I don’t want it, that’s my favourite tree, a 100-year-old’ – ‘No, it’s down. Cut it down.’ And then they send her a bill for $5,000 for cutting it down and for 18 months her son and Fiona were ‘City Hall, City Hall, please help us’, 30, 40 calls, unbelievable, nothing, laughed at.

“Rob’s in the mayor (job) one day, an apology comes and a $5,000 cheque and that’s why I say he’s going to be the greatest mayor this city has ever seen, as far as I’m concerned, and put that in your pipe you left-wing kooks. Thank you very much.”

Us left-wing kooks sure got the message, Don. And way to label bike riders "pinkos" you Neanderthal. Please do us all a favour and stick to talking hockey and supporting the troops.

But really, we can't blame Don Cherry for being Don Cherry. He never should have been making such a speech at the inaugural meeting of the new city council. He never should have been invited by our new mayor, Rob Ford. That's the true embarrassment here.

And on that note, I invite you all to revisit my recent "The Leafs vs. Rob Ford: Which is The Greater Embarrassment For Toronto?" entry. Voting is still open.

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Mark Dailey: Remembering The Voice

mark daileyMark Dailey left us far too soon. I've been featuring retro nuggets of gold from Retrontario's collection for years, and yesterday he came through in grand fashion.

His playlist is simply titled "Mark Dailey - The Voice". Here it is, a tribute to the voice of Toronto, Mark Dailey.












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Mark Dailey, Dead at 57

In MemoriumMark Dailey was 57. He was a crime reporter for stations in Ohio and at CKLW a.k.a. The Big 8 in Windsor before moving to Toronto in 1974 where he worked at Citytv for the past 30 years.

A couple of days ago, as news of his poor health spread, I wrote about Mark and what he meant to the cultural fabric of this city. He truly was the voice of Toronto and he will be missed.

from BBS upload

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Don Meredith, Dead at 72

In MemoriumDon Meredith was 72. "Dandy" Don Meredith was a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Monday Night Football broadcast legend.

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The Perfect Christmas Playlist

christmas musicI was asked today to supply the music for a Christmas party in a couple of weeks. I get those types of requests all the time because I'm awesome at it. Tell me the event and who's attending and I'll create the playlist for you.

Here's a rock solid holiday party playlist that will get you through the night. This is as good as it gets people. Trust me.

  • Christmas Don't Be Late - Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
  • Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
  • Green Christmas - Barenaked Ladies
  • White Christmas - Bing Crosby
  • Mary Had A Baby - Bruce Cockburn
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
  • Merry Christmas Baby - Chuck Berry
  • Joy To The World - Clem Snide
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay
  • First Noel - Crash Test Dummies
  • Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie and Bing Crosby
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab For Cutie
  • Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
  • I Believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake
  • Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown
  • Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir
  • Honky The Christmas Goose - Johnny Bower
  • I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas
  • Christmas Night in Harlem - Louis Armstrong & His All Stars
  • Carol Of The Bells - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
  • Merry Christmas, Baby - Otis Redding
  • Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam
  • Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
  • 2000 Miles - The Pretenders
  • Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
  • The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles
  • Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
  • Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
  • What Christmas Means To Me - Stevie Wonder
  • Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits
  • You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
  • O Holy Night - Tipitina's Foundation
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2
  • Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Greensleeves - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
  • Welcome Christmas - The Who's of Whoville

Merry Christmas!

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Mark Dailey Health Update

mark daileyI get many emails asking how Mark Dailey is doing. Mark Dailey has been the voice of Citytv forever, so when people hear a different voice doing the bumpers over there, they ask me for the inside scoop.

I don't know Mark, but I feel like I do. As I once wrote about his role on The Ripping Friends, when I watched Porky's on Citytv in the late 80s, it was Mark Dailey who narrated the bumpers and reminded me I was watching late great movies on Citytv. His awesome voice has always been there, and he's as big a part of this city's cultural fabric as anyone. Last I heard, he had taken time off work to fight cancer, but I didn't know how he was doing. Until now.

The SOWNY board has a sad update from Gene Valaitis, who many of you will remember from the old Jesse and Gene show. Gene had this to say about Mark Dailey's health.

I was reluctant to post this out of respect for his privacy, but I was advised that it would be OK by my friend and mentor, Brian Thomas who we all know from CHUM-FM. Brian and Warren Cosford are sad to tell us that our very good friend and colleague Mark Daily is fighting against double lung cancer and is now in a coma. Mark is a great guy. I worked with him at CHUM-AM as a cub reporter in 1974. Mark is and I say” IS” one of the great voices of CKLW, The Big “8”, CHUM-AM, the first News Director of Q-107 and CITY-TV and so much more. We walked our dogs together every morning in The Beach in Toronto and spent our mornings for years talking about everything from radio to the colour of dog poo. It’s what you do on dog walks. Mark is “The Voice”. During our walks I can tell you he never had a bad word about any of us. In fact, he followed each of our gigs and was excited whenever any of us landed something new. Like you, I am very sad to hear about one of our great friends and a true giant in our business. This is not the end. Please join me in saying a prayer for my friend, his family and your friend and to everyone he touched….. "Everywhere".

Mark worked as a police officer, and became a crime reporter for stations in Ohio and at CKLW a.k.a. The Big 8 in Windsor before moving to Toronto in 1974. Dailey has worked at Citytv for 30 years.

Here's hoping The Voice pulls through.

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Italian Food Heaven at Palma Pasta

palma pastaBack in February, I wrote about how I met Il Duce. Il Duce has been breaking my balls in the comments of this site for years. If you revisit that entry, you'll see how this all started on Humble Howard's old blog and how he read aloud Il Duce's trashing of me during the 20th anniversary Humble and Fred podcast.

I love lasagna. That Friday in February, I was just looking to try Palma Pasta's lasagna, as it was recommended by a friend. Il Duce recognized me, introduced himself, and as it turns out we hit it off. Life is strange that way.

As a side business, I often work with people and smaller companies on managing their web presence. I take you from A to Z, build a search-friendly HTML website with a blog, integrate a social media component and teach you how to manage the site and blog while measuring everything with Google Analytics. I've even got an awesome $5000 package, contact me if you're interested.

Il Duce was interested. I worked with the awesome folks at Palma Pasta on replacing their Flash site with new HTML site run off a CMS built with SEO in mind. Click on over to the new Palma Pasta site to see what went live this morning.

And if you're ever interested in amazing Italian food in Mississauga, Palma Pasta truly is awesome, and they cater, sell retail and wholesale. And yes, I felt that way before I ever worked with Il Duce. You can't beat Palma Pasta's lasagna.

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You're Doing It Wrong: Infomercial Folks Are Dumb

tVIf you've ever watched an infomercial, you've seen several people simply do it wrong. As seen on TV, here's a tribute to doing it wrong.

Has anyone out there ever bought something after watching an infomercial?

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The Leafs vs. Rob Ford: Which is The Greater Embarrassment For Toronto? Vote Here

voteYesterday I ranted about the Leafs and Rob Ford. As a proud Torontonian, both embarrass me. I'm just not sure which embarrasses me more.

Please take a moment out of your busy Friday to cast a vote below. Simply leave a comment telling me which is the greater embarrassment for Toronto: the Maple Leafs or Rob Ford.

ford-v-leafs

For those of you who read but never comment, this is your chance. Don't worry, your email address isn't published on the site and I'm totally fine with you using an alias.

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Ron Santo, Dead at 70

In MemoriumRon Santo was 70. He was a legend in Chicago as a former Cubs third baseman-turned-wildly popular announcer. He finished his major league career with a .277 average over 15 major league seasons, with 342 home runs and 1,331 RBIs.

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Bad As It Seems: A Leaf Fan Laments

leafsI was certain we hit bottom last October. Hell, that was a good rant... here it is again in its entirety.

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

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

What exactly do you have against my Toronto Maple Leafs? Why to you use your omnipotent power to crush us at every opportunity? You tortured us with the Harold Ballard regime, forcing me to grow up in a decade almost completely void of playoff victories. Then, when everything lined up perfectly for a Habs-Leafs Stanley Cup Final in '93, you gave The Great One yet another break and used your mighty power to blind the refs as Gretzky clearly high-sticked Gilmour. We deserved to win that night. You made sure it didn't happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then, just last January, I did it again. That was another sweet rant, I'm pasting it down.

I thought I hit the bottom last October. I had just come to the realization that my five and a half year old daughter had not been alive for a single Leafs playoff game. We Leaf fans are enduring an unprecedented streak of failure for a team that hasn't won the Stanley Cup in 42 years.

standings

Four months later, it's gotten worse. For the first time since I discovered the team in the early 80s, I hate my Maple Leafs. We've been this bad before, we've even been worse, but as a wise man once tweeted, the 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs "have no redeeming qualities whatsoever".

radio-raheem-do-the-right-thing

It's okay hating your favourite team. I feel I've earned the right. After 30 years of investing blood, sweat and tears, I know I deserve better. And in lieu of better, I'm going to do what feels natural, and that means hating this hateful, brutal team.

I knew we found a new bottom when I got free tickets to next Tuesday nights game at the ACC and I didn't feel the excitement I've felt every time prior. I'm not even looking forward to watching my team live and that scares saddens me.

The Passion That Afflicts Us All

It's bad, folks. I hate my favourite team. I can't stop watching them, or reading about them, or writing about them, but I sure as hell can hate them. And I do.

I just finished watching the Leafs completely mail it in against the Edmonton Oilers. We were blown out 5-0, but more concerning than that, we didn't seem to care. I don't remember this team quitting like that before, and if Ron Wilson isn't gone tomorrow, he's never going anywhere.

Again, we're 28th in the NHL, without a first round pick in the draft next June, without a bona-fide blue chip prospect in the organization and with absolutely no hope.

I watched the entire game, but it wasn't fun. It was painful. It was depressing. It's as bad as it seems.

And it's only going to get worse. Sigh.

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Rob Ford Can't Kill Transit City

city hallRob Ford surprised nobody with grandiose statements made on day one as Mayor. He announced that he's canceling the Transit City LRT construction plan so the city can concentrate on building subways. Sure, we've already spent millions of dollars and new subway lines might not be finished until 2020, but Rob Ford's stopping wars.

Transit City is over, ladies and gentlemen... the war on the car stops today.

This was day one. It's going to be a very interesting time, and I'm just wondering how long it will be until this idiot implodes or our city explodes. I still can't believe we voted this guy in when everyone I know who likes him lives in the 905.

thuedcar02co1_1042601cl-8

But wait, can Rob Ford actually do what he says he's done? Can he kill Transit City on his own? Nope.

But Ford's proclamation on Wednesday does not seal the fate of the transit plan, which was seven years in the making.

Ford acknowledged that in order for him to fulfil his promise of putting an end to Transit City, he would need council's support.

"Everyone's going to have a discussion on that, but I'm the mayor of the city, I have to lead by example, and that's exactly what I'm doing," he said.

When asked how he would persuade council to support him, Ford said: "That's up to the councillors."

Rob Ford can say Transit City is dead, but it's going to council and he's only got one vote out of 45. One of 45... just keep repeating that to yourself - it helps.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering exactly how much gravy was on that train Rob Ford kept yakking about. Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne has said that $137 million has already been spent on the project, and an additional $1.3 billion committed in Transit City-related contracts. That's a lot of gravy!

How many of you with home addresses in the 416 sincerely believe Rob Ford is the best man to lead this city?

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Eighth Blogiversary

birthdayIt was eight years ago yesterday that I changed my personal home page into a blog. In the world of blogging, eight years is actually pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. The vast majority of your favourite blogs started well after November 30, 2002.

The Tale of the Tape

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Top Organic Search Keywords for November 2010

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

  1. jason barr
  2. toronto mike
  3. what happened to jason barr
  4. teri polo death
  5. jason barr fired
  6. girl talk all day sample list
  7. ann rohmer back on cp24
  8. derek welsman
  9. dean blundell show jason barr
  10. the champ

Holy Edge 102.1 related searches, Batman! 5 of 10 are related to the DBS morning show. But watch out, Ann Rohmer is making her move...

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