February 2012 Archives

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Leafs Fan Dilemma Tonight
Published by Toronto Mike on February 29, 2012 @ 20:02 in Toronto Maple Leafs

not sure if i want leafs to win, or lose to get ron wilson fired

Fail
Published by Ryan G. on February 29, 2012 @ 13:58 in Guest Blog Entries

Well Toronto. The last 9 attempts at victory have been pretty much futile.

It’s been a miserable run, and I am beginning to get very very concerned.
Each time I’ve held my breath, hoping for success, only to be disappointed yet again.

How long can this go on? Perhaps a change in management is in order, because it just doesn’t seem fair.

I’m 0 for 9 in Tim Horton’s latest Roll Up The Rim campaign.

Davy Jones, Dead at 66
Published by Toronto Mike on February 29, 2012 @ 13:04 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumDavy Jones was 66. He was the singer-songwriter and actor best known as a member of the Monkees. Along with Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork they churned out a bunch of hits including, "Daydream Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville" and "I'm a Believer."

He's also the reason young David Jones became David Bowie.

Thain Wendell MacDowell: Awesome Canadian of the Day
Published by Toronto Mike on February 29, 2012 @ 10:46 in O Canada

canadaThain Wendell MacDowell was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross for his efforts in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Thain Wendell MacDowell was only 26 years old and a captain in the 38th (Ottawa) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Here's what he did:

On 9 April 1917 at Vimy Ridge, France, Captain MacDowell, with the assistance of two runners (company orderlies, Pvts. James T. Kobus and Arthur James Hay, both of whom were awarded the DCM for their part) reached the German position ahead of his company. After destroying one machine-gun nest he chased the crew from another. MacDowell then spotted one German going into a tunnel. At the base of the tunnel, MacDowell was able to bluff the Germans to think he was part of a much larger force, resulting in the surrendering of two German officers and 75 German soldiers. He sent the prisoners up out the tunnel in groups of 12 so that Kebus and Hay could take them back to the Canadian line. Seeing that he had been fooled, a German prisoner grabbed a rifle and tried to shoot one of the runners. The German was then shot and killed.

Although wounded in the hand, MacDowell continued for five days to hold the position gained, in spite of heavy shellfire, until eventually relieved by his battalion. He was promoted to the rank of Major following his actions at Vimy Ridge. He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the Frontenac Regiment from Napanee, Ontario.

That makes Thain Wendell MacDowell our Awesome Canadian of the Day.

Outdoor Rinks Closed for Winter in February
Published by Toronto Mike on February 28, 2012 @ 13:15 in Miscellaneous

high park rinkMy son plays hockey at George Bell Arena, but his practices take place outdoors at High Park Rink. There are weekly practices scheduled through March.

Yesterday, I received an email from my son's coach letting me know the outdoor practices are cancelled for the rest of the season because the city has shut down the rink. The reason? Warm weather.

heat

When was the last time outdoor rinks in Toronto were closed due to warm weather when the calendar still read February? I'll bet it's never happened.

Thank You, Mr. Eggleton
Published by Toronto Mike on February 28, 2012 @ 12:18 in Rob Ford Watch

city hallThis isn't a political blog. If it was, I'd have been writing all about the firing of Gary Webster and the new Rob and Doug Ford radio show, but there's more to life than Rob Ford. But I would like to bring attention to an article former Toronto Mayor Art Eggleton has written for the Globe and Mail.

It's aptly titled "This is no way to run a city" and here's an excerpt.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says a major decision by City Council on public transit policy is “irrelevant” because he doesn’t like the result. He then sends his hit squad to fire the Toronto Transit Commission’s general manager because he doesn’t like advice that doesn’t correspond to his own views.

This is no way to run a city. The mayor has to work with City Council. The law says City Council, not the mayor, is supreme. And don’t believe the bluster about his mandate from the people – most voted for him as a reaction to the ways of the former council, not because they supported every last detail in his platform that he follows only when convenient.

Every great leader understands the importance of building consensus. This is Rob Ford's greatest failure, his refusal to work with City Council. Art Eggleton says it best:

I had the privilege of serving 11 years as mayor of Toronto. I learned very quickly that the job is to bring people together, not drive them apart. The mayor’s office ought to be a place where, on difficult issues, you bring in all the stakeholders – many with opposing views – and hammer out practical solutions, solutions that move the city forward.

Eggleton concludes by stating Toronto can't afford to slip into mediocrity. With Rob Ford in office until 2014, mediocrity might be the best we can hope for.

Futurama Theme Inspired by 1967's Psyché Rock
Published by Toronto Mike on February 27, 2012 @ 17:23 in Music, Television

Futurama ThemeIf you like Futurama, you probably like Futurama's opening theme song. Here it is if you're not a fan and don't have it tattooed in your cranium.

I just read on Reddit that the Futurama theme song was inspired by a 1967 Pierre Henry composition entitled "Psyché Rock". Here's that tune.

Now you know the rest of the story.

Bone Marrow Registry: Way Easier Than You Think
Published by Toronto Mike on February 27, 2012 @ 16:24 in Health and Safety

megaphoneI worked with Uwe for years. Uwe's a great guy, one of those guys you can rely on if you need help building something or want to hear a great story. Actually, he'd be great if you need help building something and want to hear a great story. Uwe's son, Andrew Brode, has a story to share.

I'll leave the rest of this story to Andrew...

My name is Andrew Brode, and I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia 2 months after my 30th Birthday, in June of 2011. What a roller coaster ride of emotions it's been, too. Within 2 weeks of finding out that I had a 60% chance of survival, I was getting some of the strongest chemotherapy treatments currently used. I was in hospital for a month (induction), followed by 2 separate rounds of chemo as an outpatient (consolidation). Thankfully, by November I was one of the lucky few who went into remission.

What I didn't know going in, is that common protocol for leukemia patients (along with many other types of cancer and other diseases) is a bone marrow transplant. This is where they take the bone marrow of a healthy person, and via a procedure similar to a blood transfusion, they inject those healthy cells into your body. This basically means the recipient (me) is getting a new immune system. The procedure has it's risks, but often it will completely CURE the recipient of his/her cancer.

Now, onto the not so good news. Currently, there are 18 million people worldwide (and counting) on the national bone marrow registry. I don't have 1 single perfect match, which I may require at some point in the future. If I receive a perfect match, my Doctor suggests that I go through with the procedure, but, because I don't, that isn't an option right now.

The Canadian Registry can be found at www.onematch.ca, and the registration/donation process is completely simplified compared to what the common perception is of this type of donation. Essentially, to get onto the registry you Register on the website, and they'll in return send you a swab kit. You take the kit they send you, swab your cheeks, and mail it back. That's it. Once you've been added to the system, if you ever get called, the donation process is as simple as donating blood. The days of getting drilled into your hip and put out for surgery are long over.

The Canadian Registry has just over 300,000 people on it, compared to a national population of 25+ million. There are more than 10 times the amount of Facebook users in Canada as there are on the National Registry.

Please visit www.onematch.ca today, and make a difference. You can be the one match that saves someone's life.

Oh, and Andrew... congrats!

Leafs Trade Keith Aulie to Lighting for Carter Ashton
Published by Toronto Mike on February 27, 2012 @ 13:48 in Toronto Maple Leafs

maple leafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Keith Aulie to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Carter Ashton, a young right wing prospect.

From Hockey's Future:

Ashton has developed into a consistent two-way performer and has quietly impressed scouts. Ashton possesses pro size and has demonstrated that he understands and accepts his role. A polished player with regards to the defensive nuances of the game he has added some offense to his game and drives to the net hard. Ashton's skating technique may need to improve as he advances to higher levels. Ashton is the son of former NHL winger Brent Ashton, who played 998 regular season games in the NHL.

Here's hoping Carter Ashton works out because I liked Keith Aulie. I liked him so much, he was #4 on my list of 5 reasons to be psyched about this Leafs season, published last March.

Jan Berenstain, Dead at 88
Published by Toronto Mike on February 27, 2012 @ 13:26 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumJan Berenstain was 88. She co-created the beloved Berenstain Bears book series with her husband Stan Berenstain. Stan passed away in 2005.

When my son was two, we spent many an evening watching The Berenstain Bears. James loved bears.

Brian Burke: On the Clock
Published by Toronto Mike on February 25, 2012 @ 20:47 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsDuring the summer of 2008, we all knew Brian Burke was on his way. Sure, he was still GM of the Ducks at the time, but by November it was official. Brian Burke had a 5-year deal to be the new President and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

We watched the Leafs miss the playoffs under Burke's watch in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and with the Leafs trailing Washington 4-0 as I type, our hopes here in 2012 are quickly fading. Burke's made significant changes, but the results are the same.

Some say it's the coaching. Others say it's the goaltending. I say it's everything.

Ron Wilson needs to go, we need reliable and dependable goaltending, and the talent of both the forwards and defensemen needs a serious upgrade. We're praying to somehow slip into 8th place in the conference so we can be first-round fodder, and not a soul in this city thinks there's a prayer we'll play for the cup. This is a mediocre team, like most Leafs teams this past decade.

With the trade deadline Monday, what players wouldn't you part with? Gardiner, maybe? In truth, there's no blue chip Leafs players that aren't expendable. There's a few decent parts, and at least one d-man with a massive upside, but it feels like we're as far away from the cup as ever. Any hope we had has dissolved.

Here's hoping Burke doesn't give up a single draft pick on Monday. Here's hoping Burke fires his buddy Ron Wilson, something he should have done last summer. Here's hoping we hold on to Jake Gardiner, find a goalie who can stand on his head for a couple of months and don't sacrifice the future for a potential 8th place finish.

And Burke? At some point he has to live up to his rep... he's on the clock, and he knows it. I'm giving him one more season.

My 2012 Oscar Predictions
Published by Toronto Mike on February 25, 2012 @ 12:13 in Movies

oscarsBelow are my Oscar predictions for 2012. Tomorrow, I'll post how I did in the comments.

Of the movies nominated for best picture, I've actually only seen The Descendants, Midnight in Paris and Moneyball. Hugo, however, is on my hit list.

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Best Actress: Viola Davis for The Help
Best Supporting Actor: Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn
Best Supporting Actress: Bérénice Bejo for The Artist
Best Original Screenplay: The Artist: Michel Hazanavicius
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Best Animated Feature Film: A Cat in Paris
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran)
Cinematography: War Horse: Janusz Kaminski
Editing: The Artist: Anne-Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius
Art Direction: War Horse: Rick Carter, Lee Sandales
Costume Design: The Artist: Mark Bridges
Best Makeup: Albert Nobbs: Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson, Matthew W. Mungle
Original Score: The Artist: Ludovic Bource
Original Song: The Muppets: Bret McKenzie ("Man or Muppet")
Best Sound Mixing: War Horse: Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson
Best Sound Editing: War Horse: Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom
Best Visual Effects: Hugo: Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning
Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin, Rich Middlemas
Best Documentary Short: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom: Lucy Walker, Kira Carstensen
Best Animated Short: La Luna: Enrico Casarosa
Best Live Action Short: Raju: Max Zähle, Stefan Gieren

Leap Weekend Open Mike
Published by Toronto Mike on February 24, 2012 @ 09:01 in Open Mike

microphoneThere's no such thing as a Leap weekend. I just made that up. Next week will include a February 29 and that's kinda special, right?

Use the comments of this entry to discuss anything you want. Be creative and earn Toronto Mike karma credits. Ok, there's no such things as Toronto Mike karma credits, either. I need to stop making shit up.

Print

Goon Poster Offends and I'm Surprised
Published by Toronto Mike on February 23, 2012 @ 21:25 in My 2 Cents

goon posterToronto has removed 38 posters for the hockey comedy Goon, deeming them as inappropriate, according to Alliance Films.

Here's the controversial poster. It's a guy sticking his tongue out between his V fingers to make the international sign for cunnilingus.

goon

It wouldn't surprise me one bit to learn this poster was banned in the USA. They still go nuts when someone flips the bird on television, so there's no way they'd be cool with this down south, but this is Canada. In Canada, you can see nudity on CBC at 8pm. In Canada, we're okay with such harmless acts as a one-finger salute or the cunnilingus sign. At least that's what I thought.

I mean, really... if my kids saw this poster, they'd just see a guy sticking out his tongue. For those of us who know better, we just snicker... maybe giggle a bit. Or maybe it's so pedestrian and mainstream, we don't react at all.

It turns out we're a little more uptight about such things than I thought. In Canada, you say? Pity.

Foo-Foo
Published by Toronto Mike on February 23, 2012 @ 09:23 in Memories

rewindFoo-Foo was given to me on the day of my birth way back in 1974. It was a gift from Nanny, my great-grandmother.

His name is Foo-Foo and he's still with us.

Foo-Foo

Boys Without Girls
Published by Toronto Mike on February 22, 2012 @ 22:43 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Boys Without GirlsThis is a nice little parody of the Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls. The draw is great Toronto footage and better-than-you'd-expect lyrics.

I didn't even know there was a Bessarion Station!

Good job, Red Gecko Productions.

Memorial for Wheels at Queen and Degrassi
Published by Toronto Mike on February 22, 2012 @ 15:52 in Miscellaneous

In MemoriumThis photo of a makeshift memorial for Neil "Wheels" Hope at Queen and Degrassi was taken by rachelconduit using Instagram.

wheels

The Monster Becomes Gus: The End of an Era
Published by Toronto Mike on February 22, 2012 @ 12:59 in Toronto Maple Leafs

leafsAs is often the case in life, the pursuit of The Monster was the peak. The Best Goaltender Outside the NHL™ kept us waiting, teased us for while, before eventually choosing the Leafs.

He started strong, inspiring this slice of creativity from yours truly.

monsters

Last night, I watched the Leafs vs. Devils, and leapt for joy when Phil Kessel scored the tying goal in the last minute of play. Then, in overtime, I saw Jonas Gustavsson, formerly known as The Monster, allow the worst OT goal I can ever recall seeing. It was horrendous, and it couldn't come at a worst time. I counted three bad goals in all last night, but this was the worst of the bunch.

That's it. The Monster era is over. Give the keys to James Reimer and let's see where the chips fall. The Monster can never start another game in this city. He can pack his bags now for his inevitable return to Sweden.

The Monster is simply Gus now. And Gus is done.

10 Seconds from Every Top-100 Song Ever
Published by Toronto Mike on February 21, 2012 @ 20:52 in Music

musicCourtesy of WFMU's Beware of the Blog, here are mp3s with 10 seconds of every single top 100 song ever.

See you all in a few hours.

1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

The Problems With Working From Home
Published by Toronto Mike on February 21, 2012 @ 13:34 in My 2 Cents

Working from HomeI now work from home. There are so many positives to working from home, but it's not all bread and roses. It's fantastic having no commute and very few interruptions, but there are a few problems when working from home.

Here are five four:

You'll Forget to Shave

It turns out you only drag a razor over your face because you have to go into the office. When your office is Skype, and you don't connect a webcam, you just don't bother shaving.

beard

You'll Live in Your Robe

Seriously. I invested in a housecoat and it's my go-to working apparel. Nothing beats it, but you'll want to wear it everywhere.

robe

You'll Start Talking to Yourself

With no cubicle drop-ins or endless meetings, and no reason to visit the communal kitchen to refill your coffee mug, you very well may start talking to yourself.

wilson

The Lines Will Blur

Bubbles once said it's a thin line between heaven and here. The lines between work and personal time are even more blurred, and you may find yourself working too much. You'll have to make sure you make time for the four F's: family. food. fitness and fun.

simpsons-homer-working-from-home[4]

Back to work!

Brace Yourself, Canada
Published by Toronto Mike on February 20, 2012 @ 11:27 in O Canada

roll up the rimIt's roll up the rim time, Canada.

Brace yourself.

roll up rim

Another Game For Milos!!!
Published by Toronto Mike on February 20, 2012 @ 11:15 in Sports

milosDamn right I cheer for Milos Raonic. Local boy Raonic captured a second straight SAP Open championship yesterday behind a powerful serve nobody in San Jose could solve, rolling past Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the finals.

Every time Raonic wins, I think of this line from Seinfeld.

Another game for Milos!

ESPN's Offensive Chink Headline
Published by Toronto Mike on February 18, 2012 @ 13:11 in Sports

ESPN's Offensive Chink Headline As Linsanity cools down, and newspapers struggle to come up with more puns, something like this was bound to happen.

ESPN used the headline "Chink In The Armour" for 35 minutes early this morning. Now that's racist!

chink

Vic Toews' Knickers Knotted
Published by Toronto Mike on February 17, 2012 @ 16:19 in Politics

Vic ToewsPublic Safety Minister Vic Toews wants to give police agencies too much power to snoop and violate our privacy.

But when his privacy is violated, his knickers are immediately knotted.

vic

Bill C-30 seem very un-Canadian to me.

Tim and Sid Are Good Radio
Published by Toronto Mike on February 17, 2012 @ 14:11 in Radio

radioWe beat up on radio a lot these days, but it's not all terrible. I've caught a lot of the Tim and Sid show afternoons on Sportsnet 590 The FAN lately, and it's good.

Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro, formerly from The Score, have great chemistry and put on a nice little show. It's sports centric, but it's not only about sports. It's just good conversation.

timandsid

In fact, they remind me of another Toronto duo with good chemistry and interesting chatter...

Gary Carter, Dead at 57
Published by Toronto Mike on February 16, 2012 @ 18:09 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumGary Carter was 57. The Kid was an 11-time All-Star catcher for the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Neil Hope, Wheels From Degrassi, Dead at 35
Published by Toronto Mike on February 16, 2012 @ 16:31 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumNeil Hope was 35. He played Derek “Wheels” Wheeler on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Degrassi Junior High and The Kids of Degrassi Street.

Neil actually passed away on November 25, 2007, but this was only made public today January 12. I was a big Degrassi fan, and just last year I wrote about School's Out, when Wheels ended up in jail.

I'll prefer to remember him as a vital member of The Zit Remedy. Here's The Zit Remedy performing their smash hit, "Everybody Wants Something".


Jim Curran, CBC Radio Traffic Reporter, Retiring
Published by Toronto Mike on February 16, 2012 @ 10:34 in Radio

jim curranI listen to a lot of CBC Radio One these days, and Jim Curran is the soothing voice I hear delivering traffic reports. I no longer commute to work, but I still enjoy his calm delivery. There's 40 years of experience in that voice of his!

jim-curran

Jim Curran is retiring at the end of March. He's been at CBC Radio doing traffic since 1972, and I'll miss his voice.

If you don't recognize his name, you might know him if you listen to this:


Lin Puns Everywhere!
Published by Toronto Mike on February 15, 2012 @ 20:02 in Sports

basketballYes, the Jeremy Lin story is fascinating, I especially like this Sports Illustrated article about the point guard, but the puns are getting annoying.

This tweet of mine was meant to be a send up on the Linsanity we experienced in this city yesterday.

lin

Here's a nice montage of Jeremy Lin puns as newspaper headlines, if you're Linterested.

linfull

Disappointment With Our Teams Par for Course
Published by Toronto Mike on February 15, 2012 @ 18:41 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Disappointment With Our Teams Par for CourseI sat down this evening to write about my supreme disappointment with our professional sports franchises. Then I remembered I wrote this entry two years ago. Disappointment with Toronto's teams is par for the course.

Last night, I watched the Raptors because of all the Linsanity hype. I was pretty confident we'd blow that lead, and we did. We're now 9-21 and will miss the playoffs yet again.

I then flipped over to the Leafs game and watched us lose our fourth in a row. My daughter is turning 8-years old this summer, and the Leafs haven't played a playoff game in her lifetime. With us clinging to 8th in the conference and slipping fast, I wouldn't bet on playoff games this April.

And don't get me started on my beloved Blue Jays who haven't played a meaningful game in September since '93. That's almost 20 years ago.

It's more of the same here in the T dot, where an 8th place finish in the conference is the stuff dreams are made of.

I Love You
Published by Toronto Mike on February 14, 2012 @ 11:21 in Movies

I Choo-Choo-Choose You
Published by Toronto Mike on February 14, 2012 @ 08:55 in Miscellaneous

HeartHappy Valentine's Day. I choo-choo-choose you.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

Please Explain to Me All the Chris Brown Love
Published by Toronto Mike on February 13, 2012 @ 16:29 in Music

musicI watched most of the Grammys yesterday, and I was baffled by the Chris Brown love. He kept coming back, and the crowd kept loving it... It was a Chris Brown love-in and I don't get it.

Help me understand why everybody loves this guy. Sure, he can dance, but the song he performed was boring. And wasn't he arrested only a few years ago for beating a woman? As I recall, Rihanna told police that Chris Brown not only inflicted horrific injuries on her, but choked her while threatening to kill her. And there Chris Brown was being celebrated with Rihanna in the audience.

Here's a nice clip from Fox News (did I just write that?) worth watching. It's an apology to Chris Brown from Andy Levy.

And here's a bunch of women tweeting that they'd let Chris Brown beat them. Yep, people are wondering why Rihanna would complain about getting roughed up by Chris Brown.

Can anyone explain all the Chris Brown love to me?

Toronto Valentine's Day Cards
Published by Toronto Mike on February 13, 2012 @ 15:56 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

heartAbout four years ago, I had a pretty good idea. I wanted to create Toronto-centric Valentine's Day cards featuring local prominent figures, past and present.

Here are the few I threw together. Feel free to take this torch and run with it. We've still got time.

Gord Zanta maestro Vince

Deadmau5 Pranks Skrillex at Grammys
Published by Toronto Mike on February 12, 2012 @ 21:57 in Music

Deadmau5 Pranks Skrillex at GrammysDeadmau5 pranked Skrillex by wearing a t-shirt with Skrillex's personal cellphone number on it.

deadmau5

That's right, if you need to get ahold of Skrillex, just call 626-319-1039.

Update: Skrillex is now forwarding his calls to Deadmau5' phone. Deadmau5 is forwarding these calls to Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft. My son loves Minecraft.

Full disclosure: I'm not nearly cool enough to know what a Deadmau5 or Skrillex is, but thought this was a clever prank. Deadmau5, I understand, is Canadian, and that does earns him bonus points.

Whitney Houston, Dead at 48
Published by Toronto Mike on February 11, 2012 @ 20:17 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumWhitney Houston was 48. She reigned as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown.

She is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits with "Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", "Greatest Love of All", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional", and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go". She also starred in the films The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife and Cinderella."

Then, there was this tune, which was absolutely everywhere back in 1992.


Flash Freeze Open Mike
Published by Toronto Mike on February 10, 2012 @ 10:39 in Open Mike

microphoneI just heard about some flash freeze we'll get tonight. Be careful out there...

Use the comments of this entry to discuss anything you want. Seriously... I almost never delete a comment!

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Habs Fans Resort to Prayer
Published by Toronto Mike on February 9, 2012 @ 14:01 in Toronto Maple Leafs

habs fans prayThe Catholic Church of Montreal has Habs fans praying for a miracle. In an ad run in La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal newspapers, they've printed the hopeful final NHL standings with 8th place occupied by "Pray".

standings

With the Montreal Canadiens currently sitting in 14th place, it's going to take more than prayer for them to finish 8th, but it's fun seeing things are this desperate in Montreal. They certainly won't make the playoffs without divine intervention.

I don't believe in prayer, but I'd hope those who do would pray for something a little more righteous, like a Leafs Stanley Cup parade this June.

Prions.

Other entries you may enjoy:

The Only Argument Required
Published by Toronto Mike on February 9, 2012 @ 12:15 in My 2 Cents

h2o

For my visually challenged friends, here's the quote from Sam Harris.

Water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What if someone says, "Well, that's not how I choose to think about water."? All we can do is appeal to scientific values. And if he doesn't share those values, the conversation is over. If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?

My Entertainment Centre in the Mid-90s
Published by Toronto Mike on February 8, 2012 @ 15:51 in Memories

rewindThis is my home entertainment centre in the mid-90s. Judging from the parquet flooring, I'd say this is 1996.

tv

Fifteen or so years later, five integral parts of this set-up are dated.

  • There's a VCR on top of the television - the VCR was buried long ago
  • The stereo has a dual cassette deck - cassettes are now a distant memory
  • It's a CRT television (although there are still plenty of them in use, your primary TV is likely LCD or Plasma)
  • CDs are stacked everywhere - today there are no CDs in sight
  • The Super Nintendo has NHL 94 in it - I'd kill to have this back

Does anyone have a Super Nintendo with NHL 94 they're willing to give me?

How Mountain Girls Can Love by a 9-Year Old
Published by Toronto Mike on February 8, 2012 @ 11:14 in Music

musicThis 9-year old kid plays Ralph Stanley's' How Mountain Girls Can Love on a banjo like a mofo.

His name is Jonny Mizzone and he and his brothers are the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.

My 9-year old played like this:

I might be biased, but I'd say my son did it better.

IN THE HEIGHTS Review
Published by Toronto Mike on February 7, 2012 @ 22:52 in Reviews

In The Heights ReviewI've just returned from opening night of In The Heights at the Toronto Centre For The Arts. Excuse me, DanCap Productions has just advised me it's to be written IN THE HEIGHTS. That's not me yelling, just me following orders.

I didn't think I liked these musical things, but this is the second one in a row that I've thoroughly enjoyed. American Idiot was great and IN THE HEIGHTS was pretty good too. It had a cool vibe with great tunes like this one:

No wonder the Broadway version won Tonys and stuff. I totally dug it. You can buy tickets here, but you'd better hurry. It's only here for a couple of weeks.

You'll Never Walk Alone
Published by Toronto Mike on February 7, 2012 @ 14:27 in Music

You'll Never Walk Alone"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. You might know it best from soccer football matches, particularly when they involve Liverpool, or maybe as the song Jerry Lewis used to sing at the end of his Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.

I've never seen Carousel, but I know these covers of You'll Never Walk Alone.

Johnny Cash

Louis Armstrong

Ray Charles

Frank Sinatra

Nina Simone

Gerry & the Pacemakers

Aretha Franklin

Mahalia Jackson

Pink Floyd

Elvis Presley

The Muppets

Liverpool Fans

That last one is my favourite.

The Last WWI Vet Has Passed Away
Published by Toronto Mike on February 7, 2012 @ 12:42 in News

wwI vet diesFlorence Green has died. She was the world's last surviving First World War veteran. Florence would have turned 111 in a couple of weeks.

She signed up to the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) 93 years ago in September 1918, when she was aged just 17. She was the last surviving person to have served in WWI following the death of British-born sailor Claude Choules in Australia last year.

lastvet

Canada's last WWI veteran, John Babcock, passed away last year at the age of 110.

With Florence Green's passing, they're all gone. Still, we will never forget.

Identify These Toronto Sites, Win a CBC Tee
Published by Toronto Mike on February 6, 2012 @ 21:51 in Miscellaneous

cn towerA long, long time ago, I helped Mississauga Blogger with his Mississauga Blog. I was sad to see the blog lapse over the years, and today it's nowhere to be found.

Mississauga Blogger may not be blogging anymore, but we're still in touch. In fact, he needs our help.

Here's a link to a wonderful time lapse HDR film '"Neo Solace" by Ben Lean hosted at Vimeo. A wonderful example of a successful execution of a simple concept that delivers such a powerful look at our city.

http://vimeo.com/30120231

I can identify all the locations except two.

A building with a water feature at 1:06 and other structure with water sculptures at 1:34.

Here's the video:

Here's the two sites he needs identified:

toronto1

toronto2

If you get it right, he's got a CBC 75th anniversary tee-shirt for ya. Seriously. Just leave the answer in the comments and include your email address in the non-published email field.

Is Nicki Minaj a Sped Up Jay-Z?
Published by Toronto Mike on February 6, 2012 @ 14:09 in Music

musicI watched the Super Bowl half-time show yesterday. I was underwhelmed by yet more lip syncing by an artist I actually liked when I was ten. Flanking her for part of the show was Nicki Minaj, who grimaces too much for the camera, and M.I.A. who flipped us all the bird. We deserved it.

miafinger

I was reading earlier today someone's theory that Nicki Minaj is actually a sped up Jay-Z. I'd link to the source, but I can't seem to find it now. I did find, however, this slowed down version of Nicki Minaj's Super Bass.

And, if you're still interested, there's this sped up version of Kanye West and Jay-Z's Niggas in Paris.

I think Nicki Minaj slowed down does sound a little like Jay-Z, but I don't think Jay-Z sped up sounds like Nicki Minaj. Either way, if you're going to throw a rapper in the mix, I'll take Kanye West or Eminem, please.

Ford Moved Transfer Station Fence Lines to Thwart Picketers
Published by Toronto Mike on February 5, 2012 @ 17:43 in Rob Ford Watch, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

city hall cardinalI've mentioned I have a Toronto City Hall informant. I call him / her Cardinal. Cardinal just sent me an email following the city's deal reached with CUPE local 416 to avert a strike.

Here's Cardinal's email, in its entirety.

just so you and your blog followers know.... ford claims that there is no money in the budget for anything, yet they spent $20,000 at each transfer station to move the fence lines to within 15m from the road so that in the event of a strike/ lockout, the people picketing couldn't park on the property and would be fined for parking on the street. Also, they had warehouses rented out so that they could dump the city's waste there. That sounds like gravy to me.

I'll just leave this here without comment. The Super Bowl is about to start.

Super Bowl XLVI Open Mike
Published by Toronto Mike on February 5, 2012 @ 14:53 in Sports

super bowlToday is Super Bowl XLVI. It's the Patriots and Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. This Open Mike is all about the big game.

2012SuperBowlXLVI

I want score predictions. Let's see if anyone nails it...

The Freebird of Pro Audio
Published by Toronto Mike on February 4, 2012 @ 10:35 in Music

IGYClive Young tells a great story about Donald Fagen's "I.G.Y." from his 1982 solo effort The Nightfly.

Everyone does play “I.G.Y.” It’s become the “Freebird” of pro audio—visit a linecheck at a major concert venue or a speaker demo at AES or InfoComm, and those familiar strains will turn up sooner or later. It’s a well-recorded song, to be sure, which is why it’s always used to illustrate a system’s “tight low end” or “crystal-clear mids” or, to be honest, any other detail they want to point out.

However, the sheer pervasiveness of “I.G.Y.” within the pro audio community as the track that you use to tune or show off your PA is remarkable. The distant second place song is, of all things, “Pulp Culture” from Thomas Dolby’s obscure (but admittedly awesome) 1989 funk album, Aliens Ate My Buick.

Here's Donald Fagen's I.G.Y. so you can test your audio system.


Ben Gazzara, Dead at 81
Published by Toronto Mike on February 3, 2012 @ 20:25 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumBen Gazzara was 81. He was an intense actor best known for starring in the John Cassavetes films "Husbands", "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" and "Opening Night". I remember him best as Jackie Treehorn, the pornography mogul and loan shark in the Coen brother's cult classic, The Big Lewbowski.

Check the O.R. (Or My Direct Connect to Organized Rhyme)
Published by Toronto Mike on February 3, 2012 @ 13:53 in Music

rewindFull disclosure: my nephew's mother's cousin directed Organized Rhyme's video for Check the O.R.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about Check the O.R., a CanCon hit from 1992...

Organized Rhyme is now most famous for including Tom Green, but back in '92 I knew them best as the band the Dream Warriors were supporting. The video for Check the O.R. was shot at Jane and Finch and features a Dream Warriors cameo. At the time it was released, I was actually working at a Food City, but not the one you'll see below.

Nobody outside of Tom Green's family can name a second Organized Rhyme song. Go ahead and try. It's impossible.

Check the O.R., however, was a fun rap song and I still know most of the lyrics by heart. Who doesn't drop a "I lay more chicks than Mother Goose" boast or a "I talk smooth like Lando Calrissian" claim now and then?

Check the O.R. even got remade recently, sort of... here's the Check the O.R. Redux.

Go off like a Canon, you're a copier... that's some gold right there.

Sunday Night Sex Show with Sue Johanson
Published by Toronto Mike on February 3, 2012 @ 10:43 in Memories

sexIf you're around my age, you learned a lot about sex by listening to Q107 on Sunday nights. That's when the Sunday Night Sex Show aired, featuring Sue Johanson.

Sue Johanson told it like it was, without fanfare. It was an open and frank talk about sex and it was both educational and interesting. I didn't just listen to her radio show on Q, I also caught her Cable 10 show, which we all called Sex With Sue. A little Googling tells me that wasn't the name, but that's definitely what we called it.

Sex With Sue is where we all learned that Sue Johanson looked like this:

sue

And of course, who could forget her appearance on Degrassi Junior High as Dr. Sally? Not I, that's for sure.

Can't. Find. Clip. :-(

At some point, Sue Johanson broke through in the USA, which meant we had to share her. That's when stuff like this started to happen.

Ok, confession time... who out there learned some sex stuff from Sex With Sue?

Squish Radio from Alan Cross: An Alt-Rock On-Line "Radio" Station
Published by Toronto Mike on February 2, 2012 @ 21:30 in Radio

radioAlan Cross has teamed with Astral Radio to program his own on-line radio station called Squish. As he wrote earlier today, the programming of Squish is is 100% his responsibility.

I'm very jealous. I've wanted to do something like this for quite some time, but I'm not Alan Cross. Luckily for us, Alan Cross is Alan Cross, and he's got a very cool thing brewing here.

I'm listening right now. So far, so good! I could see an on-line station like this getting a good chunk of my work day. At least when I'm not listening to Humble and Fred.

It's amazing how little of the radio I listen to each day is actually on the radio. I listen to CBC Radio One news in the shower, and this and that in the car, but at my work desk it's all web based now.

Give Squish a listen. It's a little tricky to find it. Go here and click on the graphic that reads "Listen to the V Streams". Then look for the Squish graphic down and to the right.

So far, I have two wishes for Squish:

  1. I wish the sound quality was better - it's not bad, but I share Neil Young's concerns
  2. I wish I could see the name and artist for the current song playing Scratch that - it's at the top of the page

squish

Good job, Alan. Thanks Doug, for pointing me in the right direction.

Piracy Is The New Radio
Published by Toronto Mike on February 2, 2012 @ 15:17 in Music, Neil Young, Radio

Piracy Is The New RadioI friggin' love Neil Young, so when he talks, I listen.

Neil Young had some very interesting things to say on the stage of D: Dive into Media the other day.

"Young is calling for a new digital ecosystem of high quality music files and he believes that Jobs would have gotten there had he lived long enough. On the distribution side, Young isn't particularly concerned with the effects of piracy on artists, he's more concerned that the files that are being shared are of such low quality:"

It doesn't affect me because I look at the internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone. [...] Piracy is the new radio. That's how music gets around. [...] That's the radio. If you really want to hear it, let's make it available, let them hear it, let them hear the 95 percent of it.

I think he's right on point. Piracy is the new radio. There's no point fighting it, you may as well embrace it.

What do you think?

Angelo Dundee, Dead at 90
Published by Toronto Mike on February 1, 2012 @ 22:49 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumAngelo Dundee was 90. He was the brilliant motivator who worked the corner for Muhammad Ali in his greatest fights and willed Sugar Ray Leonard to victory in his biggest bout.

How Google Stole My Daughter's Gmail Account
Published by Toronto Mike on February 1, 2012 @ 10:48 in Fatherhood, Technology

googleMy kids have had their own Gmail addresses since they were about five years old. I set them up with accounts, added family and close friends to their contact list, and showed them how to communicate with Grandma, their uncles, etc. There's nothing cooler than getting an email from your five year old chock full of heart and rainbow icons.

My son has had his account for five years now, and it's full of history. I'll share YouTube clips with them, pictures, messages. It's a great digital archive of his early years, and he can keep that address forever.

Things haven't gone as smoothly for my daughter. At some point, Google prompted her to enter her birth date. She was born in 2004, and disclosed that to Google. Immediately, Google locked her out of her account. Apparently, you can't have a Gmail account unless you're at least 13 years old.

What irks me is that the account was suspended immediately. There was no opportunity to back-up emails. It was an instant "you're too young - sorry" and all was lost.

Michelle has a new Gmail account, and I've instructed her and James to never disclose their age to Google. They love having their own email account and using Google Chat and it's easy for me to monitor everything to ensure they're using it appropriately.

Google themselves seem to promote the idea of Gmail as a means of capturing a child's history, but in reality, they'll terminate such an account without warning.

Mamas, don't let your babies disclose their birth year to Google.

Volleyball Week Two: Death From Above DOA
Published by Toronto Mike on February 1, 2012 @ 10:35 in Volleyball

volleyballDeath From Above's week two was brutal. We sucked.

Week Two's Results:

Death From Above - 19, Rock 70 - 25
Death From Above - 15, Rock 70 - 25
Death From Above - 7, Rock 70 - 25

vball

The less said about this one, the better.

Don Cornelius, Dead at 75
Published by Toronto Mike on February 1, 2012 @ 10:02 in Celebrity Deaths

In MemoriumDon Cornelius was 75. He created "Soul Train," a show instrumental in bringing acts like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson to a larger audience.


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