April 2012 Archives

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Calling Bullshit on Meridith Valiando's 1000 Emails a Day

Meridith Valiando's 1000 Emails a DayI've been watching a lot of playoff hockey lately, and that means I've seen the Meridith Valiando DigiTour Blackberry Bold ad about one million times.

Of course, I haven't seen it a million times. I'm exaggerating. And that must be what Meridith Valiando is doing in the ad. She claims she's replying to 1000 emails a day on her Blackberry.

I'm calling bullshit on that claim. She's not writing 1000 emails a day on her phone. Do the math...

And here's a fun fact about social media ninja Meridith Valiando courtesy of Down Goes Brown. She only has about 400 followers on Twitter. Okay, I just checked... the one million times her Blackberry ad has aired has got her to 621 followers, but it's still incredibly underwhelming considering her claims.

Oh... and that voice saying "Be Bold" at the end? That's definitely Lt. Cedric Daniels from The Wire.

And finally, let me just say my move from Blackberry to the Samsung Galaxy S II running Android has been fantastic. It's as if a light's been turned on and I've been given the gift of true mobility. But then again, I'm not writing 1000 emails a day.

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"Subways Subways Subways Subways Subways" - Rob Ford

Subways Subways Subways Subways SubwaysRob Ford sure loves subways subways subways subways subways subways subways subways subways subways.


Discuss ""Subways Subways Subways Subways Subways" - Rob Ford" (21 comments so far)


What Cereals Do You Eat?

foodFor the past few months, I've been rotating between boring ol' regular Cheerios and Special K. That's it. Cheerios and Special K.

A bunch of cereals I used to enjoy got fired when I read the labels. A lot of tasty cereals are loaded with sugar, and there's more than enough sugar already in milk.

What cereals do you eat?

Discuss "What Cereals Do You Eat?" (25 comments so far)


More Unreleased Custom Music

CustomI got an email from Scott asking me to update Custom's MySpace page with new unreleased tunes. I no longer control Custom's MySpace page, so I offered to share a couple of tracks here.

This won't be the first time I've done this. I shared an unreleased Custom song a few years ago and he's still my bud. Let's see how he feels about me sharing two songs.

Let me know what you think in the comments, if you don't mind. The first track I'm sharing is called Bong Bubble.

And here's a very different sounding tune, Catch Me.

Update @ 8:44pm
What the heck... here's another one: Love Letter

1. Listen. 2. Comment 3. Share.

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Who Eats Nutella?

nutellaI was reminded of something I wrote back in 2003. I had just seen an ad for Nutella, and felt compelled to write this.

What's the deal with Nutella? When I was a kid, I was always envious of my classmates who would bring Nutella sandwiches for lunch. What could look better to an 8 year old than a chocolate sandwich? Nevertheless, Nutella was never part of my family's diet and to this day I've never had a taste.

When advertisements for Nutella come on the television, I watch with wonderment. The entire concept baffles me. Who's eating this illogical bread spread? What parent thinks this is a good lunch for their child? I don't get it at all.

Today I learned that Nutella must pay parents who thought the chocolate spread was a healthy choice.

A California class-action lawsuit that slammed the makers of Nutella for ads suggesting the spread was a healthy food was settled this week in favour of consumers. About $2.5-million (U.S.) will now be divided among folks who file a claim and join the suit, according The Consumerist.

I'm sorry, but these parents deserve nothing. It's chocolate, people. You're spreading chocolate on bread and that doesn't sound very healthy, does it?

Blogger Annie Urban even undertook a nutritional comparison of Nutella and cheap chocolate frosting, finding that the frosting had fewer calories, less fat and more iron, of all things.

It's healthier to spread cheap chocolate frosting on your sandwiches than Nutella. Now there's an idea!

Fess up... who eats Nutella?

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Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook and Me

Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook and MeToday was an interesting day. It began with the full release of Ubuntu 12.04 which I installed on my desktop. Then, the XPS 13 arrived from Dell.

I didn't pay for the XPS 13. Dell just gave it to me, so I'm going to review it and compare it to my work-issued MacBook. They sure look similar.

If you're still with me, you should probably read Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux, something I wrote last month. You'll see there that I spend the bulk of my day working on the Ubuntu desktop. When I need to be mobile, or when I need Photoshop, I'm on the MacBook. I have a bulky old Windows laptop for when I absolutely need Windows and when my kids want to play Windows-only games. Otherwise, I avoid that Acer like the plague.

But here I am with a shiny new XPS 13. It's super thin.

Here's the XPS 13 unboxed. It's really thin. #XPS13

Because it looks an awful lot like my MacBook, the first thing I did was compare the thickness, weight and size. The Mac is a little bigger, a little heavier and a little thicker. Oh, and more expensive.

2012-04-26 15.06.08.jpg

2012-04-26 15.41.29.jpg

So far I've simply pugged her in, set up my Windows profile and downloaded Chrome. It's fast, and super thin and light (did I mention how thin it is?), but I'll need some time with it to see how it compares to the other machines lying around.

This will be fun... Is anyone else using the XPS 13 yet?

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Moneyball 2 - Too Much Moneyball



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Leafs Fan Reality Crash Courtesy of 1995 NHL on FOX

NHL on FOXI was watching some old footage of the NHL on FOX on Youtube. This footage was from 1995 and it included this graphic regarding the longest Stanley Cup droughts at the time.

drought

The Red Wings were suffering from a "40 year itch". They'd win a couple of Cups before the decade was through, and a couple more after that. Next up was Chicago. We all watched them win the Stanley Cup a few years ago. Rounding out the list, after the Leafs, is Boston, who won the cup last year.

That 28 felt heavy back in '95. Now it's a 45 year drought, with no end in sight. Things aren't as bad as they seem, it's worse.

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Sarasoda: What We Rebels Would Drink

sarasodaIn the 80s, when we were trying to act adult and cool, we'd drink Sarasoda. Sarasoda was non-alcoholic, but everyone in school knew it contained 0.9% alcohol, so it was our booze.

It had this grapefruity flavour, as I recall. Here's an ad for Sarasoda I dug up.

Does anyone else remember Sarasoda?

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London Calling

London CallingIn late 1989, I was reading the Toronto Star and they were asking folks what they thought were the best albums of the 1980s. Somebody picked The Clash's London Calling, despite the fact it was actually released in 1979.

That very next Saturday, I headed downtown to Yonge and Dundas and bought London Calling on cassette at Sam the Record Man or A&A, whichever was selling it cheaper. I threw it in my Sony Walkman for subway trips to Michael Power High School and back and I don't think it left my Walkman for months.

It was that good.



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Hungry Hungry Hippos

hungryhippos

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SARS: 9 Years Ago

SARS: 9 Years AgoThere's not a lot of blogs left that go back 9+ years. Plenty of bloggers were writing 9 years ago, but most disappeared long ago.

My archives go back 9.5 years, so I can read what I wrote about SARS exactly 9 years ago today. Here's the entry:

SARSSARS Update: From the eye of the storm

The World Health Organization has just issued a warning against travelling to Toronto. Don't travel to Toronto unless it's essential, they say. Major League Baseball is issuing warnings to teams visiting Toronto. They're asking that contact with fans at SkyDome be kept to a minimum. Headlines all over the world are painting Toronto as a dangerous place to be right now. A global pariah!

I live in Toronto. I spend every day in Toronto. I've never put on a mask and my day-to-day living hasn't changed a bit. The only thing that's even slightly different, as far as I can tell, is that we're all sanitizing our hands throughout the day at work.

Last time I checked the stats, 16 people in Canada had died of SARS. All 16 people had a pre-existing diabetic condition or heart disease. If SARS kills, it gets plenty of help.

Life goes on in the big T.O. The Leafs are out of the playoffs, the Jays have slipped to last in the AL East and the Raptors haven't been seen in weeks. Sounds like a typical spring to me.

I just hope I don't accidentally cough. They'll have me locked up for 10 days without human contact. On the other hand, I am feeling a little warm...

The media was overreacting, the Leafs and Raptors were still watching from the sidelines and I was documenting it all for OJ Boy and Buffalo Boy Mike. The more things change...

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Taxi! (Great NFB Doc Featuring 1982 Toronto)

Taxi! (Great NFB Doc Featuring 1982 Toronto)This is a great National Film Board of Canada documentary from 1982 with fantastic footage from our city 30 years ago.

This feature documentary studies one of the city’s most visible yet most anonymous character: the taxi driver. Filmed by day and night, the film offers an entertaining and sometimes comical look at the drivers, fleet operators and dispatchers who are expected to deliver passengers, parcels… and even babies.


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Paris

cdMy kid is writing about the origin of hip-hop for school. We had a good chat about hip-hop being a culture as opposed to a type of music or dance. It's a collective encompassing rap, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti.

This discussion had me diving into old Public Enemy albums, and that reminded me of Paris.

Back in 1990, I was working at the CNE. I met a guy working at another game booth, and we hit it off. I can't remember his name, but I remember our first conversation as if it was yesterday.

I went into a spirited spiel about why I loved Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. He retorted with a near identical plea for Paris' The Devil Made Me Do It. We agreed to swap for a week.

One night with The Devil Made Me Do It and I had to buy my own copy. He had the same experience with It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. The Devil Made Me Do It became a mainstay on my Walkman, alongside It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet.

This morning, I decided to spin The Devil Made Me Do It. It's still great. I wish I could remember that guy's name and thank him.


Discuss "Paris" (4 comments so far)


Parity

puckPrior to drafting my playoff pool this year, I wrote down the teams I thought would advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs. I picked:

  • Pittsburgh
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Vancouver
  • San Jose
  • Nashville
  • Chicago

Except for calling Nashville over Detroit, I could get bulldozed. Pittsburgh and San Jose are already out and New Jersey, New York, Boston, Vancouver and Chicago are each a loss away from elimination.

If that isn't parity, I don't know what is. 8 seeds are handling 1 seeds, anything can happen and we could see a Phoenix / Florida final.

Parity is overrated. It makes it impossible to skillfully draft a competitive playoff team and it means my adopted team for the playoffs is already eliminated. Unless, of course, my Leafs do manage to slip into 8th one season. Then, this might just work out.

Discuss "Parity" (15 comments so far)


Blue Jays Turn First Triple Play Since 1979 (Well, Sorta...)

Blue Jays Turn First Triple Play Since 1979 (Well, Sorta...)Last night, while I watched the Penguins and Flyers, the Blue Jays turned their first triple play since 1979. At least it was the first triple play called properly by an umpire, but more on that later.

With the runners moving in the third inning, Eric Hosmer hit a sinking line drive that Adam Lind caught. Lind ran to touch first, then threw to shortstop Yunel Escobar covering second, where Alex Gordon had no chance to get back in time.

Watch the Blue Jays' first triple play since 1979 while you can, MLB will likely have this down by noon.

1979 was so long ago, I barely remember that year, but I do remember a Blue Jays triple play in 1992 that was missed by umps. Here's that memorable triple play that wasn't called, and I was definitely watching this game.

Shoulda thrown, Kelly!

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4/20 Open Mike

microphoneIt's 4/20, and whether you partake or not, this is a good place to blow your smoke.

What's on your mind?

Print

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Levon Helm, Dead at 71

In MemoriumLevon Helm was 71. He was a singer and drummer for the Band, singing such classics as "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Up on Cripple Creek," "Rag Mama Rag," and "The Weight".


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The Simpsons Turn 25

Homer Jay SimpsonThe Simpsons made their television debut 25 years ago today in a series of animated shorts on “The Tracy Ullman Show.”

simpsons

Seven years ago, I wrote about how I never missed an episode.

As previously declared, I won't miss a new episode of "The Simpsons". I've been watching for half my life and I'll continue watching until Matt Groening pulls the plug.

A couple of years ago, I stopped watching. Still, I look back at those first 10 years of The Simpsons with incredible fondness and thank them for thousands and thousands of laughs.

How big a fan was I? For years the first thing I'd do when I woke up on Sunday morning was update my Homer Simpson Quote Page. That page remains filled to the brim with gold, should you have a minute or two to spare.

"Life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead."

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Awareness as a Weight Loss Tool

foodWorking from home, I found I spent most of the day sitting in front of the PC. Sitting all day will kill ya. Combine that with the usual holiday gluttony and the fact I spent a week in Germany where I drank and ate like a pig, and by the end of January I was carrying an extra 15-20 lbs and I didn't like how it felt.

Following one last pig-out at my nephew's birthday party, I knew I had to make a change. I avoided scales like the plague, never counted a calorie or read a food label and was completely unaware of how overeating and exercise affected my weight / BMI. I decided to try using awareness as a weight loss tool.

The first step would be a documented weigh-in every morning. I decided to take advantage of my MarioKart machine a.k.a. the Nintendo Wii and monitor my weight and BMI with Wii Fit. Every morning at about 8:45am I step on the Wii Fit Balance Board and monitor my progress. My goal was to lose 10kg in three months, a healthy amount in a reasonable amount of time and just enough to get me out of the overweight section on my chart.

After a few weeks, I could predict my weight loss or gain based on what I ate and how much I exercised. For me, this was everything. I was completely aware of cause and effect. If I lost control on a pizza, I saw the jump the next morning. If I controlled my portions and made sensible decisions, I saw the drop. It's been awesome.

It's worth noting I haven't drastically increased my work outs. I try to walk more, and I do a little more lifting than I used to (I used to do zero lifting), but the biggest change I've made is dietary. I don't snack, I've drastically reduced my sugar intake, my beverage of choice is now water and I try to eat 50%-75% of what I used to when I do succumb to my carb addiction.

It's the awareness that I credit for the 8.2kg I've lost since I made this change in late January. For me, being aware of what happens when I eat poorly or don't exercise prevents me from repeating those mistakes.

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Dick Clark, Dead at 82

In MemoriumDick Clark was 82. He was the music industry maverick, longtime TV host and powerhouse producer who changed the way we listened to pop music with American Bandstand, and whose trademark Rockin' Eve became a fixture of New Year's celebrations.

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As a Caucasian, I Have an Advantage

As a Caucasian, I Have an AdvantageThe quote of the day comes from Wildrose candidate Ron Leech, who's running for MPP in the Calgary Greenway riding.

wildrose

I think, as a Caucasian, I have an advantage. When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian, I believe that I can speak to all the community.

Alberta: Canada's Texas

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Who's Watching Sun News?

Who's Watching Sun News?I just read that Sun News is now one years old. When it arrived on the scene, I remember it being called "Fox News North", but I haven't heard much about it since. I certainly haven't tuned in.

So who's watching Sun News? Hardly anybody, it seems.

Data obtained by The Canadian Press from a source at another network and confirmed by independent ratings agency BBM Canada, shows Sun News trailing the pack when “all day” English audience figures — calculated between 2 a.m. and 2 a.m. — were compared for news networks between Aug. 31, 2011 and March 31, 2012.

CBC News Network drew 1.4 per cent of viewers, U.S. news network CNN took 0.9 per cent, CTV News Channel attracted 0.8 per cent and Sun News brought in 0.1 per cent.

Have you ever tuned in to Sun News? What did you think?

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Humble and Fred Smoking a Bowl of Hash: Good idea?

Humble and Fred Smoking a Bowl of HashTo celebrate 4/20, Humble and Fred are flirting with the idea of smoking a bowl of hash while they record their podcast on April 20.

Although I strongly believe it should be decriminalized, it's still illegal, and I worry about the guys promoting such blatant defiance of our silly little law. For that reason, I think it would be better for the guys to record a podcast while they get drunk, if they're looking to experiment. I remember the Howard Stern show doing something similar in the 90s and it was great fun to listen to.

I also fear it could be pretty underwhelming to hear the guys broadcast while enjoying hash because the personal transformation would be minimal.

But I want to hear your thoughts... do you think Humble and Fred should smoke a bowl of hash while they record on 4/20?

Discuss "Humble and Fred Smoking a Bowl of Hash: Good idea?" (26 comments so far)


Something Microsoft Hasn't Screwed Up Yet

skypeI always naturally gravitate away from Microsoft applications. I'm writing this entry on a desktop running Ubuntu, I edit .docx files in LibreOffice and I haven't used IE in about a decade. But there is one Microsoft software application I do use daily, and I think it's great.

Admittedly, I was late to the Skype party. I've only been using it for about six months, but it's a key part of my working day. Skype works great in Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, as well as my Android phone. I just got off a Skype call with a gentleman in Germany and it was as clear as a bell, and absolutely free of charge. I love Skype, and Skype is owned by Microsoft.

skyp

Skype was only acquired by Microsoft in 2011, so there's plenty of time for them to mess with a good thing, but so far they haven't. But when I can make a clear and reliable Skype call to my buddy Frank in California without paying a dime, and Rogers wants 40¢ a minute to make the call from my phone, the choice isn't really a choice at all.

Skype wins. Do you use it?

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Randy Starkman, Dead at 51

In MemoriumRandy Starkman was 51. He covered premier amateur athletics for the Toronto Star, exposing sprinter Ben Johnson’s second positive steroid test in 1993, and covering 12 Olympic Games.

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My Thoughts on the Tupac Hologram

Tupac HologramSnoop Dogg collaborated with an old friend at Coachella. That old friend also happens to be long dead. It's Tupac Shakur.

Initially, I thought it was pretty cool. It almost gave me chills. It's Tupac, although prolific, dead since '96. How many kids at Coachella were even going to concerts in '96?

But then, I thought where this could go. Nirvana with a hologram Kurt, Queen with a hologram Freddie, the Beatles could reunite. This isn't just lip syncing, this is persona syncing. Besides the fact it's more than a little creepy, it's not live music. The hologram doesn't get a say in the matter, and it makes an already too plastic world all the more artificial.

A big Alice in Chains fan, I never caught them live when Layne was alive. I did see them about five years ago with a Layne sound-alike, and I enjoyed the show, but would I have gone to see a Layne hologram? No way. Layne's dead, and with his death came an end to seeing him live in concert. That's how it works.

What do you think of the Tupac hologram? Would you like to see more dead artists resurrected via Pepper's Ghost or CGI or whatever brought Tupac to Coachella in 2012?

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Open Mike

microphoneIt's April, the NHL playoffs are underway, the cherry blossoms in High Park are blooming and North Korea is trying to launch a long-range missile.

What's on your mind?

Print

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Toronto as Part of the Pacific Rim

Toronto as Part of the Pacific RimThis is what it looked like behind City Hall yesterday. Guillermo del Toro is filming his big budget film Pacific Rim here, and I thought this photo was pretty cool.

setagawa

Fellow Wire fans will enjoying hearing that Pacific Rim stars Stringer Bell.

That's good. That's like a 40-degree day. Ain't nobody got nothing to say about a 40-degree day. Fifty. Bring a smile to your face. Sixty, shit, niggas is damn near barbecuing on that motherfucker. Go down to 20, niggas get their bitch on. Get their blood complaining. But forty? Nobody give a fuck about 40. Nobody remember 40, and y'all niggas is giving me way too many 40-degree days! What the fuck?

[via Reddit]

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FashionTelevision: 1987 - 2012

FashionTelevision: 1987 - 2012On weekends, flipping stations as a kid, I'd hear Animotion's Obsession on CityTV. Here's the tune, in case you've forgotten the 1984 / 1985 hit.

The opening of that song meant one thing and one thing only. Jeanne Beker's Fashion Television was on the air.

Now, I'm not going to lie... I'd often watch a bit of FT in the late 80s because it was the only weekend afternoon program that featured breasts. Where else would a 12 year old kid see boobies on basic cable at 1pm?

Jeanne Beker just tweeted that Fashion Television has closed up shop after 27 years on the air. That's a long time for any program, and I thought it was worth mentioning. Thanks, Jeanne, for the mammaries.

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CBC Toronto Wedding Newscast

cbcWhen Steven D'Souza and Nisha Patel got married, their CBC colleagues put together a special newscast to commemorate the event.

[via MetaFilter]

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In My Day, Streakers Ran Naked

In My Day, Streakers Ran NakedA streaker ran on the Ballpark-Formerly-Known-As-SkyDome field during yesterday's game. Here's a pic:

streaker

In my day, streakers stripped bare before running on the field. Just saying...

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How Educated Are You? Did It Matter?

educatedWhen I was young, everyone told me you had to go to university or you'd end up making minimum wage in a dead-end job. This mantra was repeated over and over again, by teachers and the like. I believed it to be true.

After high school, I did what I was expected to do. I went to U of T and eventually graduated with an Honours BA. I majored in English and History because I could write and effectively argue just about anything, and I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living.

I've spent the last 13 years immersed in a world that has very little to do with what I studied in University. At this point, I don't believe it matters that I have this Honours BA, although I'm sure some employers would eliminate me from contention if I didn't have it. I don't believe my current employer would care if I had dropped out of high school. The proof is in the pudding.

I suspect the "go to university or make minimum wage in a shitty job" myth is one of the great lies we were told. How educated you are? Did it / does it matter in your career?

Discuss "How Educated Are You? Did It Matter?" (28 comments so far)


My 2012 Playoff Hockey Pool Picks

hockey poolWe drafted our players last night in the greatest playoff hockey pool ever. Kic chose the Jays home opener, and Elvis was imprisoned by fatherhood, but 14 strong showed up to enjoy Palma Pasta and chase the $280 pot.

Here are my picks.

  1. M. Gaborik - NYR
  2. P. Elias - NJ
  3. Z. Parise - NJ
  4. L. Couture - SJ
  5. P. Marleau - SJ
  6. D. Boyle - SJ
  7. B. Dubinsky - NYR
  8. R. Clowe - SJ
  9. D. Cleary - DET
  10. B. Burns - SJ

Follow our pool online at http://www.torontomike.com/2012hockeypool.html. Now be honest, do I have a chance?

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Dove MEN+CARE Saves My Smell

flowersA couple of years ago, Dove MEN+CARE decided to remove my excuse for stinking like a man. I used that shampoo and soap, but Dove must have sensed a disturbance in the force when it ran out.

This arrived at my door the other day:

Thanks Dove Men+Care for the care package

Before you judge, it seems I'm in good company. Here's my partner in crime, Sir Wendel Clark.

DOVE - Hockey legend Wendel Clark gets into the flow

Just ask yourself. WWWD?

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Dukes of Hazzard: Every General Lee Jump

tvAs a kid, the Dukes of Hazzard was my favourite.

Was it the great writing that captured my attention? Was it the superb acting?

Nah... it was the General Lee jumps!

Oh... and Daisy Duke, my first crush.

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Final Thoughts on The Wire (For A While)

the wireI recently finished watching The Wire for a second time. I thought I'd throw down some final thoughts while it's all still fresh.

First and foremost, I was as riveted the second time as I was the first time, and the first time I thought it was the greatest television show I'd ever watched. I really like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, but they both feel watered down and boring next to The Wire. Watching The Wire demands my complete attention, because it's not dumbed down and some of the accents require great focus. No other show forces me to shut out the rest of the world the way The Wire does. When I'm watching, there's no checking email or Twitter or thinking about my 'to do' list. It's just me and Baltimore.

I love how it grabs a hold of me and refuses to release me until episode 60 ends. I love keeping track of the dozens and dozens of characters, rooting for my favourites and against my least favourites, even when I know exactly what's going to happen. There's no other series like The Wire... no other series goes as deep, is written with such texture and performed with such consistent excellence.

Ok, enough raving. You get it, I love The Wire. I plan to watch it a third time with my son in three years, and I can't wait. I already miss Omar, Bubbles, Slim Charles, Bunk, Avon, McNulty, Cutty, Freamon and yes, even Wee-Bey. I miss 'em all.

After round two, here's how I'd rank the seasons:

  1. Season 4
  2. Season 3
  3. Season 1
  4. Season 2
  5. Season 5

My favourite characters? That's crazy tough, but it might just be:

  1. Omar
  2. McNulty
  3. Bubbles
  4. Cutty
  5. Freamon
  6. Bunk
  7. Bodie
  8. Bunny
  9. Sobatka
  10. Slim Charles

How did I leave the kids off of that list? You can't do a top ten list of characters on The Wire, you need to do a top 50. Next time...

the wire

I love a good story. The Wire is hundreds of amazing stories interwoven with a common thread. There's no other show like it.

Two questions for you:

  1. Have you seen The Wire?
  2. If yes, name a series you enjoyed more so I can watch it immediately.

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Mike Wallace, Dead at 93

In MemoriumMike Wallace was 93. He was the grand inquisitor of CBS’s 60 Minutes who once declared there was “no such thing as an indiscreet question.”


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Of BJ Birdy, Ace and Diamond

BJ Birdy, Ace and DiamondAs a young Blue Jays fan, I remember BJ Birdy entertaining the crowd at Exhibition Stadium. He was the official Blue Jays mascot until getting the boot after the 1999 season.

BJ Birdy

How much did I enjoy BJ Birdy's antics? They used to publish a BJ Birdy cartoon in the Toronto Star and I used to cut them out and save them. True story, and to prove it, here's a pic of my actual scrapbook.

My Scrap Book

BJ Birdy was replaced by Ace and Diamond for one reason and one reason only. The BJ Birdy trademark was owned by Shanahan Productions. Ace and Diamond would be owned by the Blue Jays, and the club could market them and keep all revenue generated by them. Dollar billz, yo.

Ace was a guy and Diamond was a gal. Over time, we got more Ace, he's even on Twitter, and less Diamond. Diamond hasn't been seen in years, and quite frankly, I'm worried about her. Where's Diamond?

If anyone's ever wondered what became of our beloved BJ Birdy, now you know he was destroyed by greed. And if anyone has a clue where Diamond is, please let me know.

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10,000 Tweets

twitterI first joined Twitter in 2008 as a social experiment. Would people use Twitter as an RSS alternative?

In early 2009, I started complementing the twitterfeed tweets with actual status update tweets. Now three years later, I see I've hit 10,000 tweets. That milestone is as good a reason as any to remind you to follow me on Twitter.

twitter1twitter2

If you're on Twitter, let me know your handle in the comments so I can make sure I'm following you.

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Pascal's Wager

diceI love long weekends. This seemed like a good long weekend to write about Pascal's Wager.

Blaise Pascal was a seventeenth century mathematician who came up with an argument for why one should live as if God exists, even though this cannot be proved or disproved through reason. You'll find Pascal's Wager in his work Pensées, and the argument runs as follows:

If you erroneously believe in God, you lose nothing (assuming that death is the absolute end), whereas if you correctly believe in God, you gain everything (eternal bliss). But if you correctly disbelieve in God, you gain nothing (death ends all), whereas if you erroneously disbelieve in God, you lose everything (eternal damnation).

In other words, logic be damned! Evidence, schmevidence. Failure to accept God's existence risks losing everything with no payoff on any count. The best bet, then, is to accept the existence of God.

This chart does a pretty good job of explaining why people often bet their chips on the existence of God:

4-block

I'm sure Homer Simpson has a nice paraphrase of Pascal's Wager.... let me just check my Homer Quotes... Ah yes, here it is:

Homer's Quote of the Week"And what if we picked the wrong religion? Every week, we're just making God madder and madder!"

I'll leave the last word to Marcus Aurelius and return to my glorious long weekend.

marcus

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Who's Your Favourite Blue Jay of All-Time? I'll Go First...

blue jaysWe're minutes away from first pitch and another Blue Jays season. I've loved this team for as long as I can remember, and we Jays fans were spoiled for a solid decade from 1983-1993.

Who's your favourite Blue Jay player of all time? We've had some good ones, from Dave Stieb to Roberto Alomar to Carlos Delgado and Roy Halladay. My favourite player, however, remains my childhood fave: #11 George Bell.

Other George Bell related entries:

George Bell

Just yesterday I was asked what number I want on my new Raging Storm slo-pitch jersey. I replied the way I always reply and asked for #11. That's for George.

Who's your all-time favourite Blue Jay?

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Jim Marshall, Dead at 88

In MemoriumJim Marshall was 88. He was dubbed "the Father of Loud" for creating kit used by some of the biggest names in rock.

11

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Toronto Wildlife: What Have You Seen?

cntowerI'm going to steal a topic I heard on Mike Stafford's show yesterday. I accidentally tuned in to a repeat of his show in my car last night and they were discussing the influx of possums in Toronto recently.

I saw my first possum about five years ago, but haven't seen one since. Here's the wildlife I've seen in the city of Toronto.

  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Fox
  • Possum

I've heard stories of coyotes, but have never seen one myself. Someone called into Stafford's show to report seeing a deer, but that's never happened to me, either.

What wildlife have you seen with our own eyes in the 416?

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2012 High Park Cherry Blossom Update

calendarLast May I was literally yelling at the High Park cherry blossoms for being late. This year, it seems they're way ahead of schedule.

The two weeks of summer we enjoyed in March really sped things along, and now the High Park Nature Centre is reporting we're only 4-6 warm days away from full bloomage. So get your camera ready so you can take pics like these.

If you're wondering where the best place is to snap pictures of the High Park cherry blossoms, here's my favourite place.

Cherry-Blossoms-in-High-Park

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The Best Grunge Albums

11 Greatest Grunge AlbumsExactly 8 years ago today, I wrote about the 11 greatest grunge albums. That entry received zero comments. I'm hoping we can beat that record today.

Here's the list from 8 years ago:

  1. Nevermind - Nirvana
  2. In Utero - Nirvana
  3. Ten - Pearl Jam
  4. Dirt - Alice in Chains
  5. Vs. - Pearl Jam
  6. Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog
  7. Core - Stone Temple Pilots
  8. Sweet Oblivion - Screaming Trees
  9. Singles (Original Soundtrack) - various artists
  10. Bricks Are Heavy - L7
  11. Badmotorfinger - Soundgarden

What's your favourite grunge album? If you're feeling ambition, share your top 10.

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The Canada's Wonderland I Remember

RewindI just saw a tweet about someone considering getting a season's pass for Canada's Wonderland. I haven't been to Canada's Wonderland since the mid-80s. My kids have gone, but not with me. I hear it's changed a little.

This is the Canada's Wonderland I remember (click to embiggen):

wonderland

Smurf Forest, Hanna Barbera Land.... that's what I'm talking about.

Nothing beat the Mighty Canadian Mine Buster.

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Love Hurts: Morgan Freeman on Hockey Heartbreak

guestblogI used to post guest blog entries all the time. This category has hundreds of them. Alex, a reader of this blog, just submitted a guest blog entry that I've posted below.

Every once in a while a video comes along and makes us reminisce about seasons past. The wins, the losses, the heartbreak, the memories shared with our fellow fans... but nothing I have seen recently illustrates the suffering and anguish of defeat better than the video below.

The solemn burial of the foam finger is comedic genius and Morgan Freeman’s narration gives an extra added layer of emotion.

Most people think Love Hurts is a Nazareth song. Sure, the Nazareth cover is the most popular version, but it was originally recorded by The Everly Brothers in July 1960. Nice ad...

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Toronto Terrestrial Radio Options: An Open Discussion

radioLet's talk about the current state of Toronto radio. Yes, I realize many of you have abandoned terrestrial radio in favour of satellite and internet radio or podcasts, but let's pretend we only have the transistor radio from our youth at our disposal. Let's stick to FM and AM signals you can get from Toronto.

I'll start... The station I listen to most often these days is CBC RadioOne which is 99.1. I just find it interesting, enjoy their news reports and love the lack of ads. In the car, when I want to hear a tune, I still tune in Edge 102.1 or 97.7 HTZ-FM, but the narrow playlist now employed by 102.1 seriously frustrates me. Having said that, I still usually like what I hear there, even if they do overplay certain "top 40 for grunge" songs.

I still enjoy Prime Time Sports on The Fan 590, and tune that in periodically. I'll also listen to Jays Talk on that station following an interesting Jays game. That's about it... 99.1, 102.1, 97.7 and 590.

I find the vast majority of stations are pretty awful. It seems we're underserved in this market, and it's only getting worse. It's no wonder I spend most of my day listening to Howard Stern, Humble and Fred podcasts and MP3s.

Ok, your turn. What do you like / dislike about Toronto terrestrial radio these days? What stations do you listen to?

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8-bit Toronto According to Google Maps

8-bit Toronto According to Google MapsFor April Fools Day, Google Maps has introduced a new view they call "Quest". Quest mode lets you see everything in 8-bit.

"8-bit Quest Maps is our Beta Maps technology and has certain system requirements. Your system may not meet the minumum requirements for 8-bit computations.

Here's how Toronto looks in 8-bit, according to Google Maps today. Click to embiggen.

8bit

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The Annual April Fool Song Share

April FoolToday is the perfect day to share my favourite song from the first band I saw live in concert, Chalk Circle.

April Fool


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