October 2011 Archives

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Halloween Discrepancies

halloweenI hope it's not too late to share this Halloween discrepancy.

halloween

Discuss "Halloween Discrepancies" (2 comments so far)


Leafs 2nd in NHL Eastern Conference

leafsBefore I forget...

I wanted to point out that the Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in 2nd place in the NHL Eastern Conference. And those 1st place Penguins have played 3 more games than we have.

nhl

That is all. Carry on.

Discuss "Leafs 2nd in NHL Eastern Conference" (25 comments so far)


Michael

michaelBack in August 2007, I wrote a little about what it's like being a Mike. If you're a 30-something guy named Mike, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There are Mikes everywhere.

Sitting in on the Humble and Fred podcast last week, there were a few moments when it was Humble, Fred and three Mikes in the room. No, not mics, but Mikes. Everyone's a Mike, which means everyone's a Michael.

The shorter version of this PS3 ad has been getting a lot of play lately, at least during the sports I've been watching on television. Sports is now pretty much the only thing I watch on actual television, but that's another entry. This one is about Michael.

If you're a Michael, I'll bet you got the chills I get when that ad airs. I've only seen these Sony ads targeting the one male name, but that likely hits 31% of their target audience.

After all, there are a lot of Mikes out there.

Discuss "Michael" (4 comments so far)


What a Game!

baseballI don't care a lick about the Texas Rangers or the St. Louis Cardinals. Without a rooting interest, I've watched very little of the World Series this year. I only tuned in last night after the Leafs game because it was potentially the clinching game.

I'm very glad I did. It was one of the most entertaining games of baseball I've ever seen, and my heart is so grateful that I didn't care about either team.

If you stayed up late to watch, you know what I'm talking about. The Cards were down to their final out twice. In the bottom of the ninth, the Rangers led by 2 and had 2 out and 2 strikes on David Freese. All he did was hit a game-tying, two-run triple off the wall in right.

In the bottom of the tenth, the Rangers again led by 2 with 2 out and 2 strikes, this time on Lance Berkman. All Berkman did was hit a game-tying, two-run single.

Then, in the bottom of the eleventh, David Freese hit a walk-off homer to force a game 7. I love this call by Joe Buck, channelling his dad's call from game 6 in 1991. Perfect.

We'll see what happens tonight. I love baseball.

Discuss "What a Game!" (13 comments so far)


A Podcast Experience Like No Other

podcastWe've been recording the Humble and Fred podcast every weekday for a couple of weeks now, and it's been an experience like no other. The early results are encouraging, the content has been top notch and it's the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on. Yes, we keep our clothes on.

Today, while in iTunes, I was met with this "New & Noteworthy" section under "Comedy".

Humble and Fred Radio

That was thrilling in its own right, but then, a little further down the comedy podcast page, I saw this...

podcasts

As I type, iTunes is listing our Humble and Fred Radio podcast as the #4 bestselling podcast in the iTunes store. Number freakin' four... and climbing, I'm sure.

Humble and Fred, it's been a pleasure being a part of this. I thoroughly believe content is king, and you guys bring the content day in and day out. After that, I just have stitch a few bits and bytes to make sure you're heard.

Two weeks in, I'm more optimistic than ever that this will succeed. It's simply too good not to.

Discuss "A Podcast Experience Like No Other" (15 comments so far)


Shark Fin Soup Banned

city hallToronto city council has voted in favour of banning the possession and consumption of shark fins. The final vote was 38-4, with only these four voting against the ban:

  • Rob Ford
  • Giorgio Mammoliti
  • Doug Holyday
  • David Shiner

If you're unsure what the shark fin controversy is about, check out this video of Gordon Ramsay from his special "Shark Bait".

If I understand Rob Ford's argument correctly, we should allow the sale of shark fin soup because it's important to Chinese culture. Once more, Ford's premise is faulty. Many an inhumane and abusive practice has been associated with a particular culture and it's our role as a progressive and civilized society to cease tolerating and condoning these barbaric actions. A shark fin ban makes sense as something we can do to reduce the demand for shark finning.

According to wildlife conservation much of the sharks' fin trade uses fins cut from living sharks, called finning. Because shark meat is worth much less, the now finless and often still-living sharks are thrown back into the sea to make room for more of the valuable fins. In the ocean, the sharks either die from suffocation or are eaten because they are unable to move normally.

Violating the ban will result in a fine of between $500 and $100,000. Good move, Toronto.

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Tim Hortons Lasagna

foodYesterday at about this time, Humble took us all out to Tim Hortons for lunch. Imagine Humble, Fred, Scary Pete and me walking into your local Tims and that was the scene. There was a new item on the menu, so we decided to try it.

Test driving the new Tim Hortons lasagna

The plan was for us to review the Tim Hortons' lasagna on today's podcast but we forget to get to it. So... here's my review of the lasagna.

It's good. Not Palma Pasta good, but still good. It came with two slices of garlic bread and filled me up. Yummy.

Was this review worth the wait?

Discuss "Tim Hortons Lasagna" (24 comments so far)


Scary Scooby Funnies

spookyHalloween is only a week away, but I've got bigger concerns. I can't believe a Scooby Doo fan like myself just learned there were Scary Scooby Funnies in 1985.

Here's the intro:

Here's the outro:

[via Retrontario}

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My Own Deep Throated Cardinal at Toronto City Hall to Spill Beans on Rob Ford

city hall cardinalThis could be big...

I have my very own Toronto City Hall informant. I've met this source and can vouch for his / her authenticity. I call him / her Cardinal.

Cardinal will report to me periodically regarding his / her observations at City Hall, particularly with regards to Rob Ford. Here's the first instalment from Cardinal.

Hey... I just found out that the $700 whatever million that this city is apparently in debt with, is actually more like $400 million... The car registration tax actaully brings in $300 million a year. So guess what's most likely going to happen.... the registration tax is most likely going to come back, as well as some other bullshit ploy, just to make Mr. Ford's administration look like they saved the day. The registration tax coming back is just speculation, but the figures about the deficit are straight from the top finance guy! Basically, Ford can wipe away the deficit in a year, but he's making it look like this big ordeal just so he can carry out his agenda and look like a hero. Not to mention that they just happened to find another $140 million lying around this week!

We're starting slow, but this could speed up quick. Stay tuned...

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This is Norway

norwayThe Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island.

This is Norway:

Alt for Norge!

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Rob Ford Is... One Year Later

city hallIt's been exactly one year since Rob Ford rode the suburban vote to victory here in Toronto.

robfordis

One year into his term, I want to hear from both the Ford supporters of one year ago and the Ford detractors

To the supporters: is Rob Ford everything you hoped he'd be?

To the detractors: is Rob Ford everything you feared he'd be?

Discuss "Rob Ford Is... One Year Later" (23 comments so far)


October Open Mike

microphoneWhat a week!

This is your chance to share a thought, an opinion, a commentary, a response, an engagement... whatever you want. Pound the keys! Anything goes down below and I'll chime in throughout the weekend if you ask me a question.

What's on your mind?

internet

Discuss "October Open Mike" (32 comments so far)


Toronto Tempo Time-Lapse Video

cntowerPhotographer Ryan Emond calls this time-lapse video "Toronto Tempo". In his words:

I’ve pieced together thousands of photos that I think capture Toronto’s beautiful skyline, and the essence of the lively downtown core. All but one of the scenes in this time-lapse were shot between September and October of this year.

Gorgeous!

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New Gmail Design

gmailI got my Gmail account in June 2004 and started sharing invites with you all shortly thereafter. Today, I use Gmail more than ever, even paying for additional storage.

Gmail really has become the heart beat of my life management. It syncs with my Google Calendar, Google Chat, Google Maps and, believe it or not, it organizes my many emails with convenient labels, filters and the search... damn the search is great.

And it's getting better! Here's a look at the new Gmail design.

If you want to pitch a project to me, require emarketing consultation or work, or just want to exchange emails with me for sport, I'm mikeboon@gmail.com.

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The Seven Weirdest Things About Moammar Gadhafi

Moammar GadhafiYou don't need me to tell you that douch bag Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebels in his hometown of Sirte yesterday. We all know what a violent, oppressive ruler he was, but the mainstream press also wants us to know how completely weird a guy he was.

These "seven weirdest things about Moammar Gadhafi are brought to you by ABC News, home of David Brinkley and the like.

1. The "Bulletproof" Tent: When Gadhafi was at home in Tripoli, he lived in a well fortified compound with a complex system of escape tunnels. But when he travelled abroad, this "Bedouin" brought a bit of the desert with him, camping out in the world's capitals. The tent was so heavy it needed to be flown on a separate plane, wherever the dictator travelled. To complete the Arabian Nights theme, Gadhafi often would tether a camel or two outside.

2. All-Female Virgin Bodyguard Retinue: They apparently weren't around when Gadhafi needed them most on Thursday, but the eccentric dictator was historically protected by 40 well trained bodyguards – all of them women. The bodyguards, called "Amazons," were all reportedly virgins who took a vow of chastity upon joining the dictator's retinue. The women, trained at an all-female military academy, were handpicked by Gadhafi. They wore elaborate uniforms, as well as makeup and high-heeled combat boots.

3. His "Voluptuous" Ukrainian Nurse: For a decade, Galyna Kolotnytska, a Ukrainian nurse often described in the press as "voluptuous," was regularly seen at the dictator's side. Kolotnytska was described in a leaked diplomatic cable as one of Gadhafi's closest aides and was rumored to have a romantic relationship with him. Several other Ukrainian women served as nurses and they all referred to him as "Papa" or "Daddy."

4. Crush on Condoleezza Rice: In 2007, Gadhafi called former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice his "darling black African woman" and on a 2008 visit she made to Tripoli, the dictator gave her $200,000 worth of gifts, including a ring and a lute. But it wasn't until rebels stormed his Tripoli compound that the depths of the dictator's infatuation were exposed. There among Gadhafi's belongings was a carefully composed photo album made up of dozens of images of no one but Rice.

5. Fear of Flying and Elevators: Part of the reason Gadhafi loved travelling with that tent of his was because he was worried about lodging in a hotel where he'd have to ride an elevator. According to leaked diplomatic cables, the Libyan didn't like heights much either, and would only climb to a height of 35 steps. He therefore wasn't much of a fan of flying, refusing to travel by air for more than eight hours at a time. When he would travel to New York of the U.N.'s annual general assembly, he would spend a night in Portugal on the way to the U.S.

6. Bunga Bunga: In 2010, one of Gadhafi's most eccentric pastimes was exposed by Italian prosecutors investigating Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A 17-year-old prostitute named Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby Heartstealer, revealed that she had been invited to an orgy, called a "bunga bunga." "Silvio told me that he'd copied that formula from Muammar Gadhafi," she told prosecutors according to La Repubblica. "It's a ritual of [Gadhafi's] African harem."

7. An Eclectic Wardrobe: In those photos of world leaders standing shoulder to shoulder on the sidelines of this or that international forum, Gadhafi was always the easiest to pick out. His wardrobe was an eclectic mix of ornate military uniforms, Miami Vice style leisure suits, and Bedouin robes. Gadhafi, who pushed for a pan-African federation of nations, often decorated his outfits with images of the African continent. He'd sport safari shirts printed with an Africa pattern, or wear garish pins or necklaces of the continent.

That 40 amazon virgin women protection strategy doesn't sound weird, in fact, it gives me an idea...

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Maple Leaf Gardens' New Name

leafsIt seems appropriate that on a day when my path crossed with Wendel Clark's (more on that later), I'd be thinking about Maple Leaf Gardens.

MLSE sold Maple Leaf Gardens to Loblaw in 2004, and Loblaw struck a deal with Ryerson that allowed them to share the space. Ryerson will reopen Maple Leaf Gardens as an arena for their hockey team next year, only it will have a different name.

Faced with a lawsuit by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the school said it will find a different name for the site.

“We never had the intention to brand ourselves as ‘Maple Leaf,’ ” Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said. “We have a plan to use a different name.”

The building will keep its old title for the city’s records, along with a canopy emblazoned with the name over the front doors, but the rink and athletic centre Ryerson is building inside will be named for a sponsor. Mr. Levy said the word “Gardens” will be part of the new epithet.

This is a true shame. A hockey arena in old Maple Leaf Gardens shouldn't have to take on a different name. Nobody is going to confuse Ryerson University hockey with the NHL, or the AHL for that matter.

I'm disappointed. MLSE has enough money and doesn't need to be dicking with this city's history. This is ten times more offensive than what Ted Rogers did to us in 2005.

Maple Leaf Gardens

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Behind the Scenes at Humble and Fred Radio (dot com)

Humble and Fred RadioI was mic'd again for today's episode of Humble and Fred Radio. The guys have recorded four episodes thus far, and I've attended three of them. That gives me a pretty sweet perspective for this entry, a behind the scenes look at Humble and Fred Radio.

Firstly, it's pretty cool that the guys put me on mic and actually give me air time. I signed up to be the digital manager, the guy behind the site and audio access. If you've heard a podcast with me on it, you know I'm not professional radio talent. I'm still learning when to come in, when to stay quiet and how to not pop my p's.

Here's how today went. I'll tell this tale in great detail, so if great detail bores you to tears, you may want to skip down to this great picture of a dog loving the shit out of leaves.

I arrived at Redfish Entertainment Studios shortly before 10am. Humble and Fred were already in their studio, working on some technical issues. The line in to the board from Fred's laptop wasn't up to code, so re-cabling was in order.

There was a little pre-recording prep. We talked about newly signed up guests, how the chat with radio students at Corus went, and various aspects of our personal lives. The pre-recording chatter is probably more entertaining than the recorded chatter. Oh yeah, we also chatted about today's show, who's calling in and some general subject matter they wanted to cover.

At about 11am, we started recording. Everything is completely live to tape, so it all happens in real-time. The songs played, the bumpers, the bits... everything is recorded "live" so what we hear in the room is exactly what you hear on your iPod.

Sitting at Fred's old dining room table, in addition to Humble and Fred, was Mike Wixson and I. Mike was Mobile Mike, to those of you who remember the late 80s and early 90s at CFNY. All four us us are sitting in front of microphones and part of the opening segment.

What happens next is a conversation between two long-time pros and a couple of Mikes. It's effortless, it's funny and it's recorded. During a Moxy Früvous song, a call is made to another Mike from the Everything to do With Sex Show. Like everything else, the call is recorded live to tape.

An hour and change after we start recording, we wrap things up. At this point, Humble's job is to convert the recorded WAV file to MP3. While Humble's doing this on his Mac, Fred's updating an XML file I've configured for him and preparing the day's entry. I'm helping Humble, helping Fred, and starring in the day's promo video. You can see that below.

Humble then FTPs the MP3 to our web server and uploads that video of me to YouTube. Fred embeds the video into his entry, and publishes everything as soon as the FTP is complete. By 1pm, everything is online, and it's time for Mr. Sub.

While we chow down on subs, the boys promote the day's show via Facebook and Twitter. At 1:30, Wixson and I are in a business meeting and Humble and Fred are receiving an interesting call from Prime Time Sports. They're invited to join Bob McCown from 4pm to 4:20pm, a fantastic opportunity to make people aware of our new venture.

With my meeting over, I caught PTS on 590 at 4pm and heard Bob McCown speak very highly of Humble and Fred Radio. He said Humble and Fred fans from the past will learn about the new show, tune in and return for more. This traffic and buzz will inevitably attract sponsors and other opportunities, while Humble and Fred produce their own show without clocks and censors. Hearing this made me quite proud to be a part of this project.

That was today. We'll do it all over again tomorrow, and you'll hear the result at http://www.humbleandfredradio.com/.

I can't wait.

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Every Kanye West Sample Ever

kanyeI love this. It's every Kanye sample. Ever.

Download part 1 in MP3 and part 2 in MP3.

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Support Spy on Section 23 Classrooms

guestblogI used to work with a guy who was Customer Support Manager by day and a Support Spy by night. He's asked me to post this guest blog entry about something he's very passionate about.

Remember, the blockquote below is from Support Spy, not Toronto Mike. The opinions expressed aren't mine blah blah blah.

Secret exposed by parents - Demand Section 23 classrooms removed from Elementary Schools

A group of very-high risk teenagers in a program called ‘Section 23’ were placed by the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board in my son’s elementary school, including 5 teenagers, one teacher and two Child and Youth Workers.

These classrooms are for very high-risk teenagers whose needs are so severe that regular classrooms are not adequate. This program is in 4 other schools in Dufferin Peel, and the parents at those schools have not been informed. We have recently discovered that this program is also in St. Pio of Pietrelcina and have confirmed the parents are not aware.

With no communication plan, safety plan, explanation of the program, and no one at the school board taking ownership, the parents have increased the pressure. It was discovered that the other school boards in the GTA do not put teenagers in elementary schools, but rather in age appropriate locations. This includes high schools and ‘offsite locations’. Everyone should have an opportunity for education.

Many parents still do not know about this program because there has not been any written notice to parents from the school or school board, explaining the program.

Our request is to move these high-risk teenagers to an age appropriate location in-line with the other school boards.

Please support our concerns by signing our online petition. You can also read more details at my blog.

Support Spy is a Customer Support Manager in the Toronto Area and has been a double-agent for about 15 years.  He is a consumer advocate who has learned the secrets of support and can lead you on an easier road to satisfaction.  You can read about customer experiences and navigating support systems at his blog.

If you have something to say, you can say it here, just like Support Spy did. Just drop me a line. Contact info is here.

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This Picture Makes Me Happy

maxHis name is Max and he's a retired police dog who was forced to retire with arthritis. His hip, back and leg problems made walking difficult, so now he's got his own chariot.

happydog

[via Reddit]

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My New Phone

phoneI mentioned I needed a new phone. You guys had some great suggestions, with some lobbying hard for iPhone and others making a great case for Android. One guy, my bud BlackBerry Ry, even tried to get me to remain in the BlackBerry game.

I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy Android phone. I absolutely love it. I use it so differently than I used my old BlackBerry. I use my Android phone like a tablet, with fantastic apps that make it so much more than a phone.

And no, I don't miss BBM or a tactile keyboard. I love this thing the way you're supposed to love your smart phone. It's a beautiful thing.

samsung

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So? How Do You Like Humble and Fred Radio So Far?

humble and fredEpisode two was just posted at http://www.humbleandfredradio.com/. I'm in this one, and as a result, I haven't listened yet. I hate how I sound on the radio.

Besides, I'm far more interested in what you all think. Have you heard it yet? What did you think? Is it easy enough to access?

Discuss "So? How Do You Like Humble and Fred Radio So Far?" (20 comments so far)


Earl McRae, Dead at 69

In MemoriumEarl McRae was 69. He was a broadcaster and writer known in Toronto for his work at the Toronto Star and as a CBC-TV sports anchor. Most recently he spent twenty years writing for the Ottawa Sun.

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Dan Wheldon, Dead at 33

In MemoriumDan Wheldon was 33. He won the Indianapolis 500 twice and was the IndyCar series champion in 2005.

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Romantic Traffic

Romantic TrafficI mentioned I saw the Spoons last night. They played Romantic Traffic, one of my favourite Spoons songs, and that reminded me of the video for that tune.

The Romantic Traffic video stars our very own TTC.

Now that's retro-Toronto gold.

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Michael Williams and Me at a Spoons Concert #notthe80s

the spoonsI caught the Spoons in concert last night. If you're too young to remember the Spoons, they were a pretty big deal around these parts in the 1980s. They were part of that synth pop scene you've heard in old John Hughes movies.

They sounded great. I grew up hearing "Romantic Traffic", "Nova Heart", "Old Emotions" and "Tell No Lies" on the radio, so this was quite the retro night for me.

Adding to that 80s flavour was this fellow co-hosting the event. This is Michael Williams, MuchMusic veejay from 1984 to 1993. I'm the white guy.

Michael Williams and me

This entry was brought to you by the '80s.

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Fonzie, Then and Now

fonzAs a kid, I loved Happy Days. And if you love Happy Days, you love Fonzie, or The Fonz as I prefer to call him.

Here's a great split-screen of Fonzie, then and now.

fonzie

Here's Fonzie jumping the shark then...

And here's Fonzie jumping the shark now...

Aaay.

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The Toronto Star on Humble and Fred Radio

humble and fred radioThere's a nice piece by Vinay Menon in the Toronto Star today.

Here's an excerpt:

In a makeshift studio, in a lowrise building on a desolate street in Etobicoke, Humble and Fred are planning to rebottle the madcap alchemy that first earned them a devoted following in 1989, when they stormed the air as the irreverent morning hosts at CFNY (now The Edge 102.1).

In short: They are planning to be reborn.

Not on the FM dial, but on the Internet, in a podcast that debuts Saturday and will then be uploaded daily, Monday to Friday, at HumbleandFredRadio.com.

I even got a mention:

With this in mind, the new Humble & Fred Radio Show will not stream live, save for the occasional show built around audience interaction or a musical guest. Instead, each episode will be recorded in the morning with the assistance of Mike Boon, their digital partner. Then shows will be uploaded around 1 p.m., so listeners can listen at their convenience.

Digital partner, eh? If you're looking for a digital partner, contact me. As for the boys, I'll be heading over to their new studio later today for the recording of their premier episode.

This will be fun.

Discuss "The Toronto Star on Humble and Fred Radio" (9 comments so far)


Toronto Mike Needs a Phone

phoneCompletely unrelated to recent Blackberry issues, I need a new phone.

I've been using a company-owned Blackberry the past 4 years, but now it's time to give that up and get my own. This will be my only phone and I'd like it to be both smart and reliable.

I'm thinking I'll end up with one of these options:

  • Another Blackberry
  • An iPhone
  • An Android device

Here's how you can help...

Please tell me which phone and provider / plan you recommend. I'm very interested in what you're paying, what you get and what you think of your mobile phone.

And, if you can give Toronto Mike a phone, I'd love to hear from you. I need one fairly quickly.

Toronto Mike needs a phone!

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FAN 590 20/20 Sports Updates Sans Intro Music

radioWe discussed the new Sportsnet branding last week. Part of that new branding involved renaming The FAN 590 "SPORTSNET 590 The FAN".

I've also noticed they've dropped the music from their 20/20 sports updates. It's not like before when they briefly changed the music, there's no music at all.

I get their desire to re-brand all Sportsnet properties, but I miss the 20/20 music.

Discuss "FAN 590 20/20 Sports Updates Sans Intro Music" (5 comments so far)


Jesus Camp

crossKeaton once said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him." Well, I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is an Evangelical Christian.

Heaven help us...

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Effin' Blackberry

blackberryRemember that bit from Louis CK about how everything's amazing and nobody's happy? Here's my contribution...

Right now, my Blackberry is just.... wait for it... just a phone. That's right, it's merely a mobile phone. It's not a smart phone, just a phone.

I haven't received a BBM since last night. I can't check Twitter or my TSN app or even my email. There's no internet connection, just a phone.

In related news, if you need me, you'll have to call me. My damn Blackberry is misbehaving. Is your Blackberry working?

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Dr. Robert Buckman, Dead at 63

In MemoriumDr. Robert Buckman was 63. He was a popular medical advice columnist, humourist and leading cancer specialist at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital.

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Mikey Welsh Predicted His Own Death on Twitter

mikey welsh twitterMikey Welsh, who played bass for Weezer between 1998 and 2001, died in a Chicago hotel room on Saturday. He was only 40 years old.

What's fascinating is that Mikey Welsh predicted his death on Twitter. Tweeting as @MikeyWelsh71 on September 26, he tweeted the following:

dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today.

And shortly after, he clarified...

correction - the weekend after next

Here's the screen grab I just captured.

mikeywelsh71

Welsh replaced Matt Sharp and played on the Green album.

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Meanwhile, In Canada....

canada thanksgivingHappy Thankgiving!.

happy-thanksgiving

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LSU Punter Brad Wing's TD Called Back Due to Celebration

LSU Punter Brad WingLSU punter Brad Wing ran a fake punt into the end zone for a touchdown, only it was called back because of his "excessive celebration".

His 52-yard run was erased by an unsportsmanlike conduct call after he held the ball out toward a Florida defender. You have to see this one to believe it.

Two things: That's one stupid rule and that's one awesome camera angle.

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Retrontariomas Morning

retrontarioI subscribe to Retrontario's YouTube Channel's RSS feed, and days when he mass uploads new retro treats for us nostalgists feels an awful lot like Christmas morning. I call it Retrontariomas.

Yesterday was Retrontariomas, and the following gems were shared with us lucky SOBs.

There's this 1984 ad for Hubba Bubba I remember well:

There's this 1982 ad for ColecoVision (I went the Atari 2600 route):

There's this memorable campaign for Cadet's Cleaners that seemed to be everywhere in 1986:

And there's this amazing CityTV Channel 79 ID from the early 1970s that I just saw for the very first time. Wow...

Merry Retrontariomas!

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Al Davis, Dead at 82

In MemoriumAl Davis was 82. He was the Hall of Fame owner of the Oakland Raiders known for his rebellious spirit.

justwin

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Join Me and Donate Blood - Blood Alert! Blood Alert!

toronto blood driveI got an email from Beth yesterday. Beth works for the Canadian Blood Services and they're in a little trouble. Luckily, I think we can help.

Here's Beth's email...

Hi Mike

Is it possible to mention that we need Torontonians to get out and donate blood in the next week? Nationally, our inventory is quite down and we're heading into a long weekend. In Toronto, only about 2% of eligible people donate unfortunately, so we have to import 50,000 units from other regions each year to support our hospitals.

Beth
Canadian Blood Services

Here's what I'm thinking... Let's pledge to do this next week. There's a list of clinics right here and many of them don't require an appointment. Or, you can call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236 6283) with any questions or to book an appointment.

If you're willing to do this with me (yes, I'll do it too) please leave a comment letting us know. Over the next six weeks, they need more than 6,000 additional donors to book appointments to meet the needs of hospital patients all across Canada. Let's help chip away at that number.

Who's with me?

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New Sportsnet Logo

sportsnet logoSportsnet has a new logo. The Rogers-owned sports network, which includes six TV channels, two radio stations, a magazine, and a website, now uses this logo:

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In a press release, here's what Sportsnet has to say about their new logo:

A brand identity was built, beginning with a redesign of all Sportsnet logos into one cohesive system. The conceptual platform behind the creative, "Conduit," was anchored in the network's new position by visually fuelling the fan's excitement through professional passion and spirited storytelling. The concept takes viewers on a journey through intricate circuits and light to build excitement and illuminate stories that are most relevant to fans in each region.

On the great design blog Brand New, here's what they're saying about it:

The icon in the old logo was one of those aberrations that you wish your eyes could unsee, like the twin-girls-in-the-hall scene from The Shining and, unfortunately, the new logo does not quite wash the feeling off. The new logo looks surprisingly old as if it had been designed decades ago. The thick slab serifs make the wordmark feel heavy and awkward — the bigger problem with that is the italic sans serif is already heavy and awkward. The double-swoosh under the SN — other than highlighting the acronym "SN" — is gratuitous and doesn't seem to mean anything in particular. In general, the logo does not signal a move into the twenty-first century for Sportsnet.

What do you guys think of Sportsnet's new logo?

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Leafs Win! Habs Lose! I'm Full!

leafsI've just returned from the ACC. It was opening night, and that means the 48th Highlanders.

Leafs vs. Habs

I've missed Leafs hockey, and there's nothing like the Leafs and Habs to open the season.

Leafs vs. Habs

There was no anthem singer on this night. The 19,000+ joining me at the ACC did the honours.

Leafs vs. Habs

Every time I'm in these seats, I'm blown away by how close to the ice we are. Growing up, every game I watched at Maple Leaf Gardens was from the Greys. I still can't believe I get to see games from the 3rd row. Thanks, Ford Canada! Sorry about the hefty food bill...

Leafs vs. Habs

The game itself was a lot of fun, after a slow start to the first period. Our Leafs shutout the hateful Habs 2-0 thanks to goals by Lombardi and Phaneuf. You couldn't ask for much more.

Leafs vs. Habs

The first star was obvious. If Optimus Reim plays like this every night, playoff hockey will be back in this town.

One down, 81 more to go...

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2011-2012 Toronto Maple Leafs Roster + Predictions

leafsDo you smell that? It's that opening night smell. The smell of puck drop and hope.

Tonight, at the ACC, the Leafs and Habs face off in the 2011/12 season opener. I'll be there, watching from the 3rd row, dreaming of an 8th place finish and a return of playoff hockey. O Reimer, My Reimer.

Here's our roster heading into tonight's game.

Forwards

  • Mikhail Grabovski
  • Nikolai Kulemin
  • Clarke MacArthur
  • Phil Kessel
  • Tim Connolly
  • Joffrey Lupul
  • Colby Armstrong
  • Tyler Bozak
  • Matt Frattin
  • Philippe Dupuis
  • Matthew Lombardi
  • Mike Brown
  • Colton Orr
  • Jay Rosehill

Defence

  • Dion Phaneuf
  • Carl Gunnarson
  • John Michael Liles
  • Luke Schenn
  • Jake Gardiner
  • Mike Komisarek
  • Cody Franson

Goalies

  • James Reimer
  • Jonas Gustavsson

I'm predicting 8th place in the conference for this team, now it's your turn. Where will we finish in the Eastern Conference?

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Steve Jobs, Dead at 56

In MemoriumSteve Jobs was 56. He was the Apple Inc. chairman and co-founder who pioneered the personal computer industry and changed the way people think about technology.

From http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/:

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

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Humble and Fred Radio Site Now Live

Humble and Fred Radio SiteOk guys, I'm ready. Let me have it...

The new home of Humble and Fred Radio is now live at www.humbleandfredradio.com. The first podcast will be available there October 15.

Please do me a solid and click on over, then come back and share your feedback in the comments here. I've got 10 days to get this right, and I'm interested in what you like and/or dislike about it.

Also, since we're now live, I can share the pertinent links for fans of the shows and/or the curious.

Like I said, let me have it... no comment will be edited!

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Coleco Mr. Arcade

rewindWhen a classmate brought one of these Coleco Mr. Arcade games to school at St. Pius X, he was instantly anointed Radical Dude.

The only thing cooler was the digital watch with Pac-Man built into it. it even had a joystick! The early 80s were pretty awesome.

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Motorola XOOM Review

xoomI've been enjoying Motorola's Xoom tablet running Android 3.1 Honeycomb since August. I'm trying to play with as many iPad challengers as possible in my little Tablet Talent Show. So far I've reviewed a Touchpad from HP, a Playbook from RIM and now a XOOM from Motorola.

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First things first... where's the power button? Here it is, by the rear camera. Not the ideal place, but better than where RIM stuck it on the PlayBook.

xoom

Because size matters in the tablet world, it's important to note that the XOOM is 9.8 inches wide by 6.6 inches tall. It looked great in landscape, lousy in portrait and felt a little big after playing with the PlayBook for a while. That damn PlayBook got me digging the 7-inch tablets, but that damn PlayBook didn't run Android.

Android looked and felt great on this device. The browser snapped open in a flash (no pun intended) and felt awfully Chrome-ish. Aw heck, that pun was intended. It's great visiting Google Analytics and other sites that display Flash and actually seeing the content.

On this Android device, my Google login acted as a passport of sorts, automatically customizing everything for me. My calendar was populated by Google Calendar, my Gmail was there, looking great, and Talk and YouTube were ready to go. And yes, I quickly found and installed a Google+ app to complete the collection.

Comparing the XOOM to the PlayBook might be as simple as comparing your link to Google to your link to your Blackberry. If your Blackberry acts as the heartbeat of your virtual world, the PlayBook is your tablet. If you're a Google bigot, an Android device is the way to go, and I'm told there's no better Android tablet on the market than the XOOM.

Although it's sold separately, Motorola sent along a great docking station for video chats and great audio. My daughter loved blasting Adele on this Speaker HD Dock.

xoom

When I close an application on an iPad, it disappears from whence it came until I call it once more. On the XOOM, my active apps are lined up and ready for recall - as they are on the TouchPad and PlayBook. I don't understand why the iPad doesn't do something similar as I find it very convenient.

xoom

There were plenty of amazing apps for Android, both free and paid, and installing them was simple.

xoom

I don't really have any major criticisms of the XOOM. It felt a bit big when compared to the PlayBook, but it felt sleek when compared to the almighty iPad. Its Google integration is awesome, its ability to play Flash in the browser is convenient and the audio and video was great. I had this thing since August and not once did the battery run down to a point where I was warned to charge it. I wish I could say the same thing about the TouchPad.

Xoom

Right now at Best Buy Canada I see the Motorola 32GB XOOM with Wi-Fi Tablet is going for $499.99. A 32GB iPad 2 will cost you $619.99. When you factor in the fact the XOOM has a microSD Card Slot, runs Honeycomb and has a kick-ass battery, I'd go with the XOOM.

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Arrested Development Returns

tvBeing a couple of days late with this stuff isn't going to fly as Canada's celebrity blogger. As you probably already know, we Arrested Development fans aren't just getting a movie, but we're getting another 9 or 10 episodes, each focusing on one character, explaining what they've been up to these past 5 years.

Holy shit, that's sweet. I thank Obama.

obama arrested development

In that vein, here's what you've missed, if you're just joining us.

  • Arrested Development - "Arrested Development" is very well written, very well acted and entirely addictive. It's hilarious. Clearly, the three funniest shows on television are "The Simpsons", "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Arrested Development". Try it once and you'll be hooked. Quality like this doesn't rear it's pretty face very often and rarely sticks around. - July 19, 2004
  • The Friday Five - My favourite television shows still being produced. - August 20, 2004
  • The Emmys - As for Arrested Development, it is such a diamond in the rough. Just when I was about to give up on network television I discovered this show and it's hilarious. - September 20, 2004
  • Rescue Me - Below are the shows I actually make an effort to watch. - September 30, 2004
  • Laugh Tracks - "The Simpsons", "The Larry Sanders Show", "The Kids in the Hall", "The Family Guy", "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Arrested Development" are all shows I've found hilarious over the years and not one of them employs a laugh track. - October 7, 2004
  • Appointment Viewing - "Arrested Development" is hilariously written, well acted and extremely smart. It's the funniest new show since "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the first time I've been excited about a network show since "The Family Guy". It's such a pleasure to watch, I'm always totally bummed when the half hour ends and I know it's another week before I get to enjoy the Bluth family again. - December 11, 2004
  • Leno or Letterman? - Then again, "Arrested Development" is wrapping its second season a month early, sitting out the May sweeps (as it did last year) and, at the network's behest, produced fewer than the usual 22 episodes. The funniest show on television most likely won't see a third season. People aren't watching "Arrested Development" but stay up late for Leno's crapfest. - February 10, 2005
  • Is This It? - Tomorrow night is the second season finale of "Arrested Development". It's also likely the series finale. "Arrested Development" ranks 118th this season to date in the United States and had its order shortened from 22 to 18 episodes. - April 16, 2005
  • Arresting Developments - I'm continuously raving about "Arrested Development" because it's a jewel of a comedy in a steaming, heaping pile of crap. In April, when the season two finale aired, I asked "is this it?". All indications were that Fox would cancel the show due to poor ratings. It's great, but nobody watches. - May 14, 2005
  • The Friday Five - Five shows that made/make me laugh my ass off (excluding The Simpsons). - August 5, 2005
  • Arrested Development Cancelled - The funniest show on television has just been cancelled. - November 11, 2005

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Toronto Mike: Celebrity Blogger?

binocularsI just learned Zack Teperman, the man behind Canadian celebrity gossip blog ZackTaylor.ca, has called it quits. He's sold the domain name and everything. This gives me an idea...

Someone has to fill this Canadian celebrity blogger void. Someone has to step up and source out the next Jiri Tlusty and Justin Bieber story. Someone has to fill Zack Taylor...err... Zack Teperman's shoes.

Nuit Blanche 007

It might as well be me.

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CityNews channel

It appears to be a soft launch, meaning City hasn't promoted it very much so they can work out any kinks, but today is day 1, and it's on Rogers digital channel 1.

What does everyone think? It's a curious experiment. Since people are so used to flipping to cp24 for an immediate look at time/temp,etc, will City's version be unique and/or informative enough to pull people to their channel?

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Nuit Blanche 2011

nuit blancheIf you see more blurry eyed Torontonians than usual today, you can blame Nuit Blanche. That's where I was until the wee hours of the night.

Tweet of the night went to @Uranowski who wrote the following:

Nuit Blanche is everything Rob Ford hates: Public Art, walking and road closures #NuitBlanche #TOpoli

It was a happening, with great fun at every turn. Here's a shot I took of Yonge Street by Dundas.

Nuit Blanche 002

There were a lot of great exhibits, so I'll just share pics from a few of my favourites. This was called "Soon" and it took place in the Commerce Court courtyard. Picures didn't do it justice - you have to imagine absolute chaos with smoke and fog and spotlights and sirens. I tried to capture the essence with a little video, but you really had to be there.

After surviving the frozen moment between the before and after, I transported back to the legendary fourth set tie-break from the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles Finals between Björn Borg and John McEnroe. Tibi Tibi Neuspiel and Geoffrey Pugen deserve great credit for this amazing trip back in time.

Nuit Blanche 021

After checking out all three zones, my last stop before home was the City Sleepover at Lower Bay Station, one of our lost TTC stations. Lower Bay had a couple of trains sitting there with blankets and curtains (sort of) where anyone could come and catch a few Z's.

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Nuit Blanche 032

It was a great night in the city.

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Moneyball is Just a Movie, Right?

moviesI actually wrote this entry on Google+ first... then realized nobody will read it there. So here's a modified version for the 12 of you checking in on a Saturday morning.

I saw Moneyball last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's great fun for those of us who like inside baseball, but it also works for the non-baseball enthusiast. Brad Pitt as Billy Beane was a great idea.

Because this is the not-so-distant past, and based on real events in a sport I follow closely, I kept comparing the data in my memory bank with what I saw on the screen. It was close, but Moneyball seemed to suffer from selective memory syndrome and cherry picked the data to fit the mold.

I remember that 2002 Athletics team. Primarily, I remember their first three starters and an MVP shortstop. The movie barely mentions those four:

  • Barry Zito
  • Tim Hudson
  • Mark Mulder
  • Miguel Tejada

Those were the big 4, am I right? Instead the movie primarily focuses on:

  • Scott Hatteberg
  • David Justice
  • Chad Bradford

Still a great movie, but very misleading. No mention of Hatteberg playing DH in the beginning, there's a scene where they decide to get Jeremy Giambi after the 2001 season, Hollywood stuff like that.

Moneyball-Poster

But see it anyway. Great flick.

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