August 2011 Archives

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Wade Belak, Dead at 35

In MemoriumWade Belak was 35. He racked up 1,263 regular-season penalty minutes during a 15 season NHL career. Six of those 15 seasons were with the Toronto Maple Leafs where we enjoyed his sense of humour and friendly demeanor.

Here's Wade Belak vs Cam Janssen from a 2-1 victory over the Devils in 2007.

This sad news is just breaking, so I don't yet know the cause. I do know that we've heard about the premature passing of far too many NHL players this summer and this one in particular strikes close to home.

wade

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Noooooo! My Thoughts on the Star Wars Blu-ray Edits

star warsElvis is really upset about this, so it must be blog-worthy.

According to something called Badass News, George Lucas has made edits to the original Star Wars trilogy for its release on Blu-Ray.

Some review copies of the Star Wars Blu-rays have gone out to very select outlets (many of your favorite websites have been denied copies of the Blu by Lucasfilm), and a rumor has been tearing up the internet: among the tweaks George Lucas made to the Original Trilogy was adding Vader saying ‘Noooo!’ as the Emperor electrocutes Luke in Return of the Jedi.

It’s hard to believe this because Vader crying ‘Noooo!’ was one of the most widely derided aspects of Revenge of the Sith. It’s easy to believe because Lucas is so out of touch and loves the idea of on the nose symmetry between the two trilogies.

What is purported to be an audio recording of the scene has hit the web, and someone has timed it to the original scene in Jedi so that you can get a sense of how this supposedly works. I’ve embedded that below. It’s actually two ‘No’s, and it doesn’t sound exactly like the one from Sith, but similar.

That "Noooooo!" sounds so ridiculous, and made me cringe so uncomfortably, I'm calling fake. I refuse to believe George Lucas would make such edits.

Actually, upon further review, this edit is so ridiculous and so cringe inducing that is must be true.

Noooooo!

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Please Donate to My 2011 Terry Fox Run

Terry foxI'm running for Terry on Sunday, September 18 at High Park. I'm aiming to raise $1500 for The Terry Fox Foundation. I'm really going to need your help.

Donate to my run. They'll email you a tax receipt in PDF. It's easy, secure and for a good cause.

This one's for Betty.

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Life Imitates The Simpsons at Toronto City Hall

rob fordOur classless, short-sighted, pathetic excuse for a mayor Rob Ford has my blood boiling and gut busting again. Actually, it's not Rob Ford this time, it's his big brother Councillor Doug Ford, although I half suspect they're the same person.

Dougie has a vision for our eastern waterfront, and he shared it this morning. It includes a monorail, a big ferris wheel and a megamall, whatever that is. It sounds disastrous. It sounds like an episode of The Simpsons.

Every time I point out how ridiculous Rob Ford and his brother are, I'm hit with the Ford defenders telling me I hate Rob Ford for being fat. I don't hate Rob Ford for being fat, I hate Rob Ford for being ignorant, short-sighted, classless and embarrassing. He tricked a great deal of Torontonians into voting for him so he could find gravy, and now that there's no gravy, he seems hell bent on ruining everything great about this city, including our eastern waterfront.

mayor-quimby

I'd like to hear from one person who thinks Doug Ford's vision for this city's waterfront is a good idea. Go ahead.... I'm waiting.

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The Original Tablet Circa 1958

port-a-punchToday I learned about the Port-A-Punch from IBM.

IBM's Supplies Division introduced the Port-A-Punch in 1958 as a fast, accurate means of manually punching holes in specially scored IBM punched cards. Designed to fit in the pocket, Port-A-Punch made it possible to create punched card documents anywhere. The product was intended for "on-the-spot" recording operations -- such as physical inventories, job tickets and statistical surveys -- because it eliminated the need for preliminary writing or typing of source documents.

The Port-A-Punch reminds me of those Scantron multiple choice tests we took back in high school.

port-a-punch

1958... decades before the Tablet Talent Show!

By the way, here are the four tablets I'm playing with this week. The PlayBook is the smallest one, and the TouchPad and iPad 2 are tied as the biggest. The Xoom, as you can see in this pic, is somewhere in the middle.

Tablets

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Maestro Fresh-Wes

cdIn 1989, when I was in grade nine, Let Your Backbone Slide broke. It was everywhere, and I loved it. I picked up the 12" single because it contained the Power Mix, the Acapella Version, and the Club Mix .

Let Your Backbone Slide

The video was shot in Toronto, naturally, and MuchMusic played it constantly.

The follow-up single, Drop the Needle, was almost as good. Here's my 12" single, preserved 22 years later.

Drop The Needle

He no longer goes by the name Maestro Fresh-Wes, preferring the moniker Maestro, but he'll always be Maestro Fresh-Wes to me.

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You'll Never Look at a Carnie the Same Way Again

CNEThe Canadian National Exhibition has a week left. Of the 132 years of The Ex's existence, I worked a game booth across from The Polar Express every day it was open for three of 'em: 1989, 1990 and 1991.

If you want to revisit my many CNE memories, visit my CNE page where I've shared several stories from my very first job.

Here are some of the highlights:

If you read nothing else in my 10867 entry archive, read those CNE entries. Trust me, you'll never look at a carnie the same way again.

This is likely the only picture of me working that game booth at The Ex. The lack of Bart Simpson dolls tell me this is the summer of 1989.

Pop-A-Ball

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I Cannot Unsee The Horror I Witnessed at Skydome

jaysThe kids and I had been talking about this afternoon's game for weeks. I bought three tickets for the Jays vs. Rays at the diamond formerly known as Skydome, decked the kids out in Jays gear, and got there early. We don't get to many games, so we cross our fingers and hope for a Jays victory.

The first pitch of the game by Brandon Morrow left the park, and I knew we might be in for a long afternoon. By the end of the second, we were down 5-0, and Rays pitcher David Price was mowing us down on his way to setting a franchise record with 14 strikeouts. It wasn't just ugly, it was the worst Jays loss I have ever witnessed live.

12-0. Twelve freakin' nothing. We ended up striking out 18 times, the most we've ever struck out in a nine inning game. I tried to distract the kids from the horror by hyping up the Pizza Pizza promotion that promises a free slice should Jays pitchers strike out seven Rays. We did, but even that didn't go according to plan...

We left the diamond after an awful 3.5 hour game, and visited a Pizza Pizza to get our free slices. We were then told that we could only redeem our tickets for slices on Monday. I don't remember the public address announcer mentioning that little wrinkle.

Jays Game

Sometimes you get a walk off grand slam, and sometimes you get a 12-0 loss. That's just the way the ball bounces.

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Motorola Xoom Arrives - Early Thoughts on the Xoom

xoomI'm trying to play with as many iPad challengers as possible in my little Tablet Talent Show. So far I've got a Touchpad from HP, a Playbook from RIM and now a Xoom from Motorola. The Xoom just arrived yesterday.

Xoom

The Xoom arrived running Android 3.2 Honeycomb, which makes it the first Android device I've ever had the opportunity to test drive. Right away, it wanted my Google account info so it could fully integrate with the Google services I already use.

Because I'm a Google bigot, who swears by Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, etc, I welcomed this. We were off and flying in seconds flat, and my Google Account even gave me access to the impressive Market of Apps available for an Android. I quickly installed apps for Google+, Twitter, Facebook, IMDB and other staples of my web life.

Both the Playbook and Xoom reigned supreme over the now unsupported Touchpad when it came to apps, and all three seem to handle multiple concurrent activities better than the iPad.

I'm happy to try other iPad competitors during this Tablet Talent Show, so drop me a line if you can hook me up with a Transformer, Galaxy or whatever else is out there. There's room for more.

xoom 004

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Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic, Dead at 81

In MemoriumAloysius Cardinal Ambrozic was 81. He was a Roman Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Toronto since 1990.

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Oh So Quiet: The Hybrid's Silent!

carAt some point this afternoon, I have to return the Lincoln MKZ + Hybrid I've been driving since last Wednesday. I love this car, and believe Ford should let me keep it!

One thing that takes some time getting used to is how completely quiet the Lincoln Hybrid is. When you turn the ignition, your only clue that the car is on is a small green icon on the dashboard. There is no sound. It's completely silent.

Driving the Lincoln Hybrid is equally quiet. You don't hear the engine, and if you turn off the air conditioner and sound system, there is absolutely no noise. It's a little unsettling at first, but then you get used to it.

montreal 005

I hope my ears can handle it when I return to my '99 Mazda in a couple of hours.

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Our Children Will Never Know the Link Between the Two

cassette-link

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New Toronto Mike Logo Unveiled

paintingWe're now live with our new Toronto Mike logo. That's right, I'm using words like "we" and "our" to make this look like it's more than one guy. The clever ones will see through the facade, and the others will just be impressed.

Here's a bigger view of the new Toronto Mike logo.

toronto-mike-logo

What do you think?

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The Greatest TV Show in the History of the World Is...

tvNo question, it's The Wire. Trust me. If you've seen The Wire, I'm 100% sure you'll agree.

And if you've seen The Wire, you'll love this blog I just discovered. It's called Wire Inspire, and the site's "about" description says it all.

Everything I need to know, I learned from five seasons of the greatest show on television.

I now have two questions to ask myself before making a decision: What Would Wendel Do and What Would Omar Do.

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Mike Flanagan, Dead at 59

In MemoriumMike Flanagan was 59. He was a pitcher who recorded a 167-143 lifetime record with the Baltimore Orioles and our Toronto Blue Jays from 1975 to 1992.

Here's something I wrote about Mike Flanagan a few years back:

Mike Flanagan was a decent pitcher for the Jays from 1987-1990, but I almost feel guilty calling him a Blue Jay. He was a Baltimore Oriole through and through. He came over in a trade after 12 years as an Oriole and then he re-signed with them after his stint here in Toronto.

Here's a little Mike Flanagan trivia for ya. When we traded for him in '87 he owned more wins (17) and innings pitched (208) against us than any other pitcher.

Mike Flanagan

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The Godfather

moviesAll 3 hours, legitimately available on YouTube.

To borrow one of the comments on YouTube, who are you and what have you done with Sony?

What an age we live in!

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Tablet Talent Show: RIM's Playbook Arrives!

tabletWhen HP sent me a Touchpad in July, I dove into the tablet market for the first time. The Touchpad didn't make it, but it got me wondering if there's a viable iPad alternative out there. No doubt Apple's iPad is a dominating #1, but what's #2?

In my quest to experience more than the iPad and Touchpad, I decided I'd like to spend some time with RIM's Playbook, Motorola's Xoom, Samsung's Galaxy and Asus's Transformer.

RIM's Playbook arrived earlier today and I'm right now installing Blackberry Bridge to connect it to my Blackberry.

tablet 001

tablet 002

tablet 003

tablet 004

Motorola is installing the Android 3.1 update and then shipping me a Xoom. I'm hoping to have that by the end of the week. I still need a connection at Samsung and Asus, so if anyone can help with that, I'd appreciate it.

This tablet talent show should be fun. I'll rank 'em all and list the pros and cons here.

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Edwin: Bartender

beerThis past weekend, I heard I Mother Earth on the radio. I think it was "Used to be Alright", but it might have been "Another Sunday". It was definitely an Edwin tune, because I immediately wondered what had become of him.

I know Edwin left I Mother Earth in 1997, and I remember Edge 102 playing the shit out of his solo album Another Spin Around the Sun. I even saw him at Edgefest that year at Molson Park in Barrie, but that was over a decade ago. Where's Edwin at?

This morning, while checking out Google+, I found this post by my buddy Marc. Edwin is working as a bartender at Tattoo Rock Parlour, a Queen Street rock bar.

Oh... and in addition to serving drinks, he occasionally sings there.

edwin

Bonus trivia: Edwin Ghazal turns 43 next month. Am I the only one who expected more from Edwin? Between IME and his first solo album, the man amassed no less than 9 Cancon radio hits, by my calculations. All in a 7-year span...

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When Dogcatchers Attack!

silverman helpsSince Silverman is no longer helpful, I'm here for you. I'm here for the working man, the downtrodden, the prisoners and the hurt.

This note comes from Amanda who is looking for answers. Read her story and offer her advice in the comments.

I work late nights at a busy restaurant in Little Portugal. I usually sleep in late to get a solid 8 hours and was doing exactly that at around 1pm on Monday, 22 August. I live above a store on Queen Street West and share a building with two upstairs neighbours and my own roommate, none of whom were home at the time.

We are diligent about locking the door to Queen Street because, well, just about anybody could climb the stairs to our homes from there! I was abruptly awoken by fists pounding my door. I jumped from my bed, terrified, in my pajamas, and grabbed my phone. I ran to the door and through the peephole could see three uniformed dogcatchers pounding away on my door.

I opened the door, concerned that a rabid lion had escaped some twilight zone zoo, and immediately the first catcher, a grey-haired man, tried to push his way into my apartment. I demanded to know who he was and what was going on, and he asked if I knew where the puppy was. Confused, I asked again who he was and he quickly flashed an ID badge in my face. I asked to see it again to confirm a name but he had pocketed it, and the three (two men and a woman) stared me down asking where the dogs were. They claimed they were from Toronto Public Health and needed to know how to get to the other apartments. I refused, told them there were no dogs, and asked who they were looking for. They then stormed upward towards the other apartment telling me to mind my own business.

I'm fairly certain that as soon as you wake a person and interrogate them in their doorway (standing in their underpants) they should be privy to a little more information. They shouted each question at me, they were patronizing and rude, and kept telling me to stay out of their way. I told them to leave, and threatened to call the police. I then asked how they got in my front door, and the woman laughed as she retorted "it was open!". Since when is any person, city employee or not, permitted to walk into a person's front door without announcement, notice, or request? Especially because I know that the door was almost certainly locked!

They proceeded to run around the sides of my building, pounding on doors and jeering "come out come out wherever you are!" what sort of witch hunt was this!? I stood on my deck, still asking who they were and what they were doing. they indicated that they were looking for another tenant who's name I'll choose not to release as I have not been able to reach them. They leered up at me and told me to get in my apartment and mind my own business. I finally shouted that an apology would have been nice, and they laughed and marched to the street. I ran down (clothed now, thank goodness) and entered the shop below my apartment. The dogcatchers had done the same to the storeowner, and he was as confused as me. By now the team had disappeared and I was shaky and bewildered, and so I tweeted. What the hell was this? Who can I complain to? And should my neighbours be concerned for their pets?

Additionally, when did any asshole with a badge earn the right to start playing cops n' robbers? Am I late to this realization?

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Remembering John McDonald and Aaron Hill

bluejaysJohn McDonald and Aaron Hill have been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for second baseman Kelly Johnson.

We all love McDonald, but he's a veteran utility infielder, and Aaron Hill was beloved until he stopped hitting. Let's remember Johnny Mac and Aaron Hill via these two entries from the archives.

Johnny Mac will be back...

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A Very Troubled TTC User

ttcI received this email yesterday, and thought I'd share it with you all. Maybe someone at the TTC can reply. I have no idea why this person thinks I'm "a type of transit consultant".

You seem to be a good person to inquire with as you are a type of transit consultant. 

Could you please tell me why here in TO we pay about 1.5 times more than other North American cities where their transit systems are better, cleaner and friendlier? The TTC breaks down daily, causes crazy long delays, there's a lack of communication to passengers and TTC employees while these delays occur, many TTC staff are rude, arrogant and will not pick passengers up, take too long breaks, the list goes on and on (as you would be well aware).

This past Sunday, August 21, 2011, I entered the subway about 9:10am (after it's opening at 9am) at St. Clair West station, to find a large amount of people waiting, and watched 2 subway trains enter the platform, not open it's doors, then move backwards where it came from (the number of the 1st subway train's last car was 5205, the 2nd subway train's last car was 5259). 

I went to the collector to inquire, was told that the TTC is not at fault (as usual) - that a member of the public is at fault, the issue started at 8am (not sure how that happened when subway only opens 9am and why would an hour's time not have been suffice to solve the issue?) - that while no clear announcements were made to explain to all the passengers waiting for a train that was not to come - so passengers were to take shuttle buses from St. Clair West station to Union station. 

As I saw no shuttle buses as the collector said, I took a St. Clair bus (not the usual streetcar) to St. Clair (and Yonge) subway, only to find another large crowd of passengers waiting for the train - that ended up taking 30 minutes to arrive, going southbound, with no shuttle buses offered on the Yonge line (while the subway there was affected as well as the University line).

A subway trip that normally should take 20 minutes (St. Clair West to Bloor/Yonge) ended up taking 1.25 hours! And that is not the worst TTC story I have, but the most recent.

With all the negative news about the TTC, it's over-powerful union, the politics surrounding the TTC, WHY is the service still so poor and the cost of it so high (compared to much better and larger systems in North America)?

I realize that  Canadians are passive but have a problem understanding why Torontonians put up with the TTC....why has there not been mass demonstrations/protests against the TTC or the city for allowing such a poor service to continue?

I hope to get a reply that answers these questions/concerns.

Thank you for your time.

"a very troubled TTC user"

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Nick Ashford, Dead at 70

In MemoriumNick Ashford was 70. He was one-half of the successful Motown singer-songwriter duo of Ashford and Simpson, who recorded such hits as "Don't Cost You Nothing," "It Seems to Hang On," "Found A Cure" and "Solid."


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Jack Layton's Farewell Letter to Canadians

jack layton's letterWe lost Jack Layton this morning. He wrote this letter to us when he knew the end was near.

Dear Friends, 

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination. 

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue. 

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected. 

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election. 

A few additional thoughts: 

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer. 

To the members of my party: we've done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let's continue to move forward. Let's demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government. 

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada's Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all. 

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future. 

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one - a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world's environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don't let them tell you it can't be done. 

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. 

All my very best, 
Jack Layton

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Jack Layton, Dead at 61

In MemoriumJack Layton was 61. He was the New Democratic Party leader who led his party to Official Opposition status in this year’s federal election.

layton

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Where Are My Flying Cars and Hover Boards?

questionmarkLast weekend, the kids watched Back to the Future for the first time. I saw that film when it was in theatres back in 1985 and about ten times since, and it was fun experiencing it through their eyes.

Although I loved Back to the Future, I had never seen either of the sequels until tonight. Tonight I sat down with the kids to watch Back to the Future II, a movie I've avoided for 22 years. It was a little unsettling.

There are scenes that take place in 2015, and there are flying cars everywhere and kids are riding hover boards. 2015 may have seemed like the distant future back in 1989, but from where I'm sitting, it's only a few years away. There's no way we'll have flying cars everywhere and hover boards in 2015.

Hoverboard 1

Where are my flying cars and hover boards?

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My Lincoln MKZ + Hybrid Weekend

CarThe folks at Ford are pretty awesome. My relationship with them started back in 2008 when they put me in a Ford Focus for a week, then in 2009 I got a Ford Fusion and last year a Ford Taurus and a Ford Fiesta.

This year, I'm stepping up with a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. I drove the crap out of it this weekend, and it's both a sweet ride and amazing on gas. It's got this 3.5L Duratec V6 engine that offers 263 horsepower and 7.4L/100 km on the highway. All I know is that it was awesome in today's rain and I'm having trouble draining the tank.

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Most of the Ford cars I borrow have Sync technology with Sirius radio, and I've started to look at my summer week or two with Sync as a vacation unto itself. It gets harder and harder to go back to my '99 Mazda Protege.

montreal 002

I've still got this car for a few more days, so I'll check back later. I'm actually unsure what the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid costs, and afraid to Google it and find out. If someone wants to let me know in the comments, I'll let you know how far out of my price range this vehicle is.

montreal 008

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Open Mike, Yo! Sugar Me!

microphoneThese be the dog days of summer, yo. Give me some of that sugar...

Sugar, for your rookies, is interesting comments. A thought, an opinion, a commentary, a response, an engagement... that's sweet, sweet sugar.

Pour some sugar on me!

sugar-ad

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I Couldn't Save the HP TouchPad

wirelessJust a few weeks ago, HP gave me a TouchPad. Alas, I was unable to save the tablet. Earlier today, less than two months after it was launched, HP announced that it is discontinuing the TouchPad.

It's a fun product, and I enjoy using it, despite the lack of apps, but being a fun product in this space isn't nearly enough. It has to give consumers a reason to choose it over the iPad. When I was given my TouchPad, it was $549 at Costco. Why spend $549 for a TouchPad when you can spend that money and get an iPad 2?

Since the prices were similar, the TouchPad had to be revolutionary. Instead, it was just an iPad wannabe. Expensive iPad wannabes are going to be in tough against... well... against the iPad.

I'm sorry I couldn't save the HP TouchPad. If Motorola is reading this, I'm quite interested in trying your Xoom. I promise to do better this time.

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Ongoing History of My Music Formats

cdI started collecting music when I was about 9 years old. In the very beginning, I collected both vinyl albums and cassette tapes. I'm not sure when I stopped buying vinyl, but it was after 1987 because I remember buying a 45 of Billy Idol's live cover of Mony Mony.

I stopped buying cassettes shortly after getting my first CD player in 1988. Then, it was all CDs until I digitized my CD collection in 2003. Here's something I wrote here about that process of ripping my CDs to MP3s.

For almost a decade now, I've been an MP3 guy instead of a CD guy, but throughout my life I've dabbled in four different formats. Here's 30 years of music change in 30 seconds.

30years

What about you guys? When did you switch formats?

[via Alan Cross]

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A Bread Factoid That Will Blow Your Mind

foodI'm a bit of a carb addict. I love breads of all kinds in various formats. In fact, I'd be very happy living off of cereal, pasta, pizza, sandwiches and toast.

I keep my bread in the freezer. When I need bread, I'll take it out of the freezer and either let it thaw at room temperature or defrost it in the microwave if I'm in a hurry. That's how I roll.

I would think keeping bread in the fridge would keep it fresh longer than keeping it on the counter. That makes sense to me. After all, the refrigerator would delay the staling process, right?

Wrong! Today I found out bread goes stale about six times faster in the refrigerator then when kept at room temperature. It's got something to do with the starch molecules... here's a nice write up about it if you're curious.

EGConsidermymindblown

Mind: blown.

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Movie Line Rhymes

moviesThis is Movie Line Rhymes by Jordan Laws.

You saw:

1. Hangover 2
2. Empire Strikes Back
3. Fight Club
4. Scarface
5. Dazed & Confused
6. American Beauty
7. Superbad
8. The Godfather
9. Are We There Yet?
10. There Will Be Blood
11. Road to Perdition
12. Coming To America
13. Airplane
14. Borat
15. Pee Wee's Big Adventure
16. American Pie
17. Ghost
18. The Graduate
19. The Karate Kid
20. Hangover
21. Death To Smoochy
22. Wedding Crashers
23. Half Baked
24. Fatal Attraction
25. Jerry Maguire
26. Little Shop of Horror
27. Tron
28. A Christmas Story
30. The Last Starfighter
31. The Dark Knight
32. Anchorman
33. E.T.
33. Along Came Polly
34. Wanye's World
35. Devils Advocate
36. 40 Year Old Virgin
37. Jaws
38. GoldFinger
39. Delirious
40. Full Metal Jacket
41. The Cooler
42. Ferris Bullers Day Off
43. Men In Tights
44. Men In Black
45. Blazing Saddles
46. Cable Guy
47. My Girl
48. Napolean Dynamite

Discuss "Movie Line Rhymes" (8 comments so far)


What If You Knew The Setlist in Advance?

musicI saw Heart and Def Leppard last night at the Molson Amphitheatre. The tickets were in the WagJag box, which is right behind the sound and light mixers.

They were great seats, but being behind the sound and light mixers meant there was to be no surprises. I had a perfect view of both setlists.

a018

a078

On the bright side, I could anticipate hearing my favourite tunes and I knew when the encore was truly over, but I found myself missing the element of surprise. It's fun when you hear that note that tells you what they're playing next, and it's fun trying to guess what they'll close with, etc. I think I'd prefer not knowing the setlist in advance.

What about you? If you had the option, would you want to know the setlist in advance?

The pictures above, by the way, were taken from Teena in Toronto's blog. She was there in the WagJag box last night as well, after winning a little contest. She took way better pics than I did.

Discuss "What If You Knew The Setlist in Advance?" (14 comments so far)


My Lunch With Humble and Fred

humble and fred radioI just returned from lunch with Humble and Fred. Normally that's not a blog-worthy event, but this was a business lunch at Humble and Fred headquarters in lovely industrial Etobicoke. We're on the verge of trying something very cool.

I won't divulge any details... at least not yet... but I will tell you this. Humble and Fred Radio is coming soon and it promises new Humble and Fred content every business day. If you remember Humble and Fred from their hey day in Toronto, you'll finally be able to enjoy their fresh report once more. I think it's revolutionary.

I hope you'll be there when things start to happen this fall. If you're planning on being there, don't be shy... leave a comment so we can get our hopes up!

Discuss "My Lunch With Humble and Fred" (38 comments so far)


25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films

25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in FilmsI had no idea "You talkin' to me?" was improvised. Apparently, DeNiro was only told to talk to the mirror.

Nice montage of unscripted scenes...

Discuss "25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films" (3 comments so far)


Listen to the Rainbow

radioIt's no secret I'm a big fan of just about anything Retrontario uploads to YouTube. He just uploaded an ad for CKEY Radio 590. It's from 1980, years before CJCL / FAN 590 took the spot on your dial.

Today, that ad would be seen as promoting 590 as LGBT-friendly. Something for 103.9 PROUD-FM, perhaps.

It turns out "Listen to the Rainbow" was CKEY's tagline for a while. Here's a poster from the days they promised "Good music, nice people and solid news".

CKEY-e1266605350491

I think 103.9 PROUD-FM should license this campaign!

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In the Fall

videosThis is In the Fall by Steve Cutts. I quite like it.


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Dock Ellis and The LSD No-Hitter

baseballI Google+'d this a month ago, but it's just too awesome for Google+. Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No by James Blagden belongs here.

In celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey, No Mas and artist James Blagden proudly present the animated tale of Dock Ellis' legendary LSD no-hitter. In the past few years we've heard all too much about performance enhancing drugs from greenies to tetrahydrogestrinone, and not enough about performance inhibiting drugs. If our evaluation of the records of athletes like Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Marion Jones, and Barry Bonds needs to be revised downwards with an asterisk, we submit that that Dock Ellis record deserves a giant exclamation point. Of the 263 no-hitters ever thrown in the Big Leagues, we can only guess how many were aided by steroids, but we can say without question that only one was ever thrown on acid.

You won't find anything better on the web today.

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Kanye West, Jay-Z - Otis

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The Openest Mike Ever! AMA

microphoneI could use a weekend. Lucky for me, one is only hours away.

Use the comments of this entry to discuss that, or anything you want. Or ask me anything... I'm really smart.

But don't forget, Def Leppard and Heart tickets are going to someone at 4pm. Go here to enter.

askmike

Discuss "The Openest Mike Ever! AMA" (34 comments so far)


Jani Lane, Dead at 47

In MemoriumJani Lane was 47. He was the lead singer for Warrant, best known for the hits "Heaven" and "Cherry Pie".

Here's Jani Lane talking about Cherry Pie, the song he wished he never wrote.


Discuss "Jani Lane, Dead at 47" (5 comments so far)


Lef Deppard VIP Box Seats: FREE Tickets 4 U

musicI'm on my way to Cirque du Soleil thanks to a recent contest in these parts, but before I go I have more tickets to give away.

Thanks to my friends at WagJag, I've got 2 tickets for a very popular hair band from Sheffield, England. That's right, I'm not supposed to mention their name! Their name rhymes with Lef Deppard and they had big hits like this one:

These tickets to see this band are for Tuesday, August 16 at the Molson Amphitheatre. They're VIP box seats... and I'll have them couriered to the winner on Monday.

If you want these free tix courtesy of Canada’s largest daily deal website, simply leave a comment with your favourite song from Lef Deppard. I'll randomly pick the winner tomorrow at 4pm.

Let's party like it's 1987!

Discuss "Lef Deppard VIP Box Seats: FREE Tickets 4 U" (49 comments so far)


UK Riots Google Doodle

googleThe UK riots have their own Google doodle.

googleyf

[via b3ta board]

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planking & owling move over..now there's horsemaning

not sure how many of toronto mike's readers were in on the recent phenomena known as planking, owling or even canoeing.

basically planking involved taking a picture of yourself lying rigid on an unusual surface - maybe on top of house, on a supermarket floor...wherever. i believe owling was a variation, where you sat hunched like a god damn owl would sit in a tree.

first off, i don't understand these people. what's the motivation? where do you get the time? aren't there way better things to do? don't you people have to go to work?

anyway, those social movements are now so last week, because now it's all about horsemaning. yup. horsemaning. with this, you take a photo (involving two people) which creates the illusion you've been decapitated. i guess the idea is to do so in the most creative ways in order to outdo the last guy..or something.

here's a link to see some shots:
http://www.ology.com/humor/so-horsemaning-successor-planking

i'm guessing that the type of people that do this sort of thing are maybe the same people who organize and participate in flashmobs. the same lot who believe they'll come up with the Next Huge Worldwide Viral Video.

i suppose they're just a subculture of society, like people who dress up in star trek outfits and go to science fiction conventions. or people who stand in jammed crowds for nineteen hours outside roy thomson hall during tiff to beg some celebrity for an autograph.

not my cup of tea. but, i guess they're better than serial killers, london/toronto G20 rioters and adolf hitler..i guess.

Discuss "planking & owling move over..now there's horsemaning" (2 comments so far)


How the Man in White Kept His Whites White

jaysESPN says there are signs of trouble here in Toronto. A mysterious man in white was apparently responsible for tipping off Jays hitters about which pitch was coming.

If you're wondering how the man in white kept his whites white, wonder know more. The Jays use Javex.

I'm starting the rumour Jim Clancy was the man in white. Spread the word.

Discuss "How the Man in White Kept His Whites White" (0 comments so far)


ac/dc..gn'r and now this...

unless someone slipped some crack into my morning heroin yesterday, this is what i saw on the edge's playlist..

12:47 AM "USE SOMEBODY" - KINGS OF LEON
12:42 AM "WALK" - FOO FIGHTERS
12:41 AM "WINNER" - JAMIE FOXX FEAT. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE & T.I.
12:32 AM "HEATMAKER" - J-DILLON
12:21 AM "HOLD IT AGAINST ME" - BRITNEY SPEARS

perhaps the jock was being ironic?

Discuss "ac/dc..gn'r and now this..." (10 comments so far)


The United States Debt Crisis Explained

United States Debt CrisisAmerica’s dismal debt crisis is awfully confusing. At least I find it confusing. Maybe you've got it all figured out.

This video simplifies things nicely.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Discuss "The United States Debt Crisis Explained" (4 comments so far)


Adam vs. Alexisonfire: Social Payola at Edge 102?

radioOn Saturday morning, I was listening to Edge 102 in the car. Despite what you may think having read the odd rant about 102.1 in this space, it's still my favourite music station. There's really no alternative in the GTA for a guy who wants to hear the latest Foo Fighters single alongside a Hey Rosetta! track or an Arcade Fire song.

So I'm listening, and Adam is about to play a double shot, two songs in a row from the same artist... and Alexisonfire's "Boiled Frogs" begins to play. Edge 102 plays the crap out of Alexisonfire, and with their recent announcement that they're breaking up after ten years, hearing "Boiled Frogs" was completely unexceptional. What caught my attention was what happened next.

Adam ordered the song stopped. They cut the tune after only a few seconds and Adam said something like this... this is a paraphrase from memory, but I believe I'm nailing the sentiment.

Let's not play that. We're not playing Alexisonfire anymore. Apparently, some of the guys had some things to say about us despite the fact we've been big supporters of theirs over the years. Let's play something by a band that actually likes us. This is Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, friends of the station.

I've searched Google and Twitter trying to find a quote from an Alexisonfire band member that would have prompted this act by Adam, but I've come up empty. I did find this Tweet from Adam, however, in which he proclaims "Done with Alexisonfire... #pricks".

adam

This got me thinking... if a station refuses to play a band that says negative things about the station, and instead plays a band that says nice things about the station, isn't that a form of social Payola? Instead of taking money to play an artist's songs, Edge 102 is taking endorsements and positive social currency.

The whole practice smells... What do you guys think about a station refusing to play a band's music because of something a band member said about the station?

Discuss "Adam vs. Alexisonfire: Social Payola at Edge 102?" (45 comments so far)


Mark Holton's 80s Trifecta

moviesLast weekend, I watched The Naked Gun with the kids. This weekend, it was Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Next weekend, we'll watch Teen Wolf.

These three films have something in common besides the decade they're from. All three feature little known character actor Mark Holton.

In Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Mark Holton played rich brat bike thief Francis Buxton. I hated Francis Buxton.

Francis_Buxton

In Teen Wolf, Mark Holton played likable high school basketball player Chubbs. Shoot it, fat boy!

chubbs

In The Naked Gun, Mark Holton played a baseball spectator who exclaimed "It's Enrico Pallazzo!".

heyitsenricopallazzo

Best trifecta since John Cazale.

Discuss "Mark Holton's 80s Trifecta" (8 comments so far)


Brett Lawrie Becomes the 15th Canadian Blue Jay

bluejaysWith Brett Lawrie set to make his MLB debut tonight at 3rd base, it's time to update the list of Canadians who have played for the Blue Jays.

  • Dave McKay
  • Paul Hodgson
  • Rob Ducey
  • Denis Boucher
  • Vince Horsman
  • Rob Butler
  • Paul Spoljaric
  • Paul Quantrill
  • Rich Butler
  • Steve Sinclair
  • Simon Pond
  • Corey Koskie
  • Matt Stairs
  • Scott Richmond
  • Brett Lawrie

Lawrie was hitting .353 at Triple-A Las Vegas, with 18 home runs, 61 RBIs, 13 steals and a 1.076 OPS. Gotta love those PCL stats!

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Humble and Fred's Perfect Storm - A Radio Revolution?

radioIf you've been here before, you might know I'm personal friends with both Humble Howard and Fred Patterson of the old Humble and Fred radio program. Before I ever met the guys, however, I was a fan of their morning show on CFNY / Edge 102. They made me laugh throughout the 90s. Damn, I miss the 90s...

Let's see... Humble was on Boom doing a morning show with Colleen Rusholme until May when he was fired. Here's a few of his thoughts upon being fired again. He's okay...

Fred was the Program Director for the Corus stations in Peterborough. Then, last month, he was fired. He shared the whole story with me via phone yesterday. He too, will be okay...

That means both Humble and Fred are currently being paid to not work. They're both a little bitter, too... a little pissed off... and they both want to work as Humble and Fred.

perfect-storm

It's a perfect storm of sorts. There is a plan for Humble and Fred, a future for the duo. No, I'm not about to announce they're the new morning show for < insert station here >, but they are on the brink of what I believe is a radio revolution.

Are you ready for Humble and Fred Radio?

Discuss "Humble and Fred's Perfect Storm - A Radio Revolution?" (38 comments so far)


MuchMusic Borrows From Martha Stewart

tvThere's exciting news from 299 Queen Street West... MuchMusic has unveiled their new logo!

muchmusic_logo_detail

I get a serious Martha Stewart vibe off of it, and that's not a good thing.

MARTHA STEWART LOGO

This old man was ranting and raving a few years back about things he didn't get, and included MuchMusic on that list.

I don't get MuchMusic these days. I know I'm too old for MuchMusic, but it used to be a fairly cool station. There were music videos and interesting complementary programming, and now there's just reality crap, unfunny fromage-type shows and reruns of The OC. MuchMusic has gone from hero to zero.

Now get off of my lawn!

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Bubba Smith, Dead at 66

In MemoriumBubba Smith was 66. He was a defensive star in the NFL and played Moses Hightower, the soft-spoken officer in the "Police Academy" series.

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Farewell, Mr. Hooper

rewindWill Lee passed away in 1982. You likely don't know the name Will Lee. I didn't, either. I knew him as Mr. Hooper.

Mr. Hooper's is the first death I remember. Here he is, if you're too young or too old to know who I'm talking about.

This scene when Mr. Hooper's death is explained to Big Bird is still tough for me to watch. Damn, my eyes are sweating again....

Farewell, Mr. Hooper.

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Bev and James Go On A Date (Details Inside!)

heartIn June, I asked who wanted to date Bev. Bev is looking for a single guy in the GTA and I thought I might be able to set something up via this blog.

Since then, she's been on dates with two Toronto Mike readers. First, there was Christopher. You can read all about her date with Christopher.

Last Friday, she met James, a long-time commenter in these parts. Here's what James wrote about his date with Bev.

It started badly I'm afraid . I was late . Not the best way to impress. Aside from that I get nervous when I'm late. Also not so impressive. And as i had ridden my Motorcycle across town in 30 Degree heat. I was soaked when i got there. And that makes me nervous too. Also not so impressive I'm sure. 

However Bev was very Gracious and understanding. Which did calm me down somewhat . Thank you Bev. 

Bev, what do I say about her? First I think she is better looking in person than in the posted Pics. She is articulate and great to talk to . Kind of guarded though. She knows a LOT more about me than I know about her. We did not follow the script i had written in my head.I thought I'd find out a little more about her and what's she up to in her life.  I did not expect to blabbing on and on about bikes but that's where we ended up. Once you get me started it's very hard to get me to stop.  

While I  felt she was guarded ( Not a bad thing considering she was meeting a strange and potentially nutty  guy off the internet) I also felt she was genuine. Or maybe real is the word to use. I did not find out what makes her passionate ( Mind out of the gutter please I'm not talking about that!) I did sense she's very committed to what she does and has a good sense of who she is. I wish I had  been that self aware at 30.

So we spent a little more than a hour together chatting and I had a good time. She wants to ride so we have that in common at least.  Would I date her again? Yes absolutely. Would she date me? I don't know . I'm significantly older than she is so probably not on that note  alone. But you never know. 

As for the experience of meeting somebody in this way? Awesome I'm glad i met her. We may get together to talk about Homeopathy at least in the future. And it was just fun for me to get out there. 

Was there a love connection? Let's see what Bev had to say...

James was a good person to talk to, felt comfortable chatting with him. I respect he's quite aware of things going around him. Its always good to see men keep that intact. Love that he knows a lot about motorcycles. He'd be a great teacher on that. perhaps one day i'll be part of the bike club:) I do not see myself dating him but would appreciate a friendship.

bevjpg

This is tougher than I thought it would be. We're 0 for 2 and I'm not sure I feel like going 0 for 3. Sorry, Bev.

Discuss "Bev and James Go On A Date (Details Inside!)" (18 comments so far)


Understanding Terrorism

question markThe image below speaks for itself, but I'm very interested in your opinion. Does this image hit the mark?

Understanding Terrorism

For Cheryl and other visitors without adequate vision to see this image, it depicts a picture of Ander Behring Brevik on the left and Osama bin Laden on the right. Beneath Ander Behring Brevik is states "RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN TERRORIST (Represents SELF)" and beneath Osama bin Laden it states "FANATICAL MUSLIM TERRORIST (Represents All MUSLIMS)".

Sounds about right...

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