Maeve Binchy was 72. He was the novelist best known for her novels Circle of Friends and Light a Penny Candle.
My Irish grandmother ate Maeve Binchy books for breakfast. Every time I'd visit we'd end up at the Bradford library where she'd pick up a Binchy book or two or three. It didn't matter if she had already read the book a dozen times, she loved the Irishness of Binchy's novels.
I've been watching the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, and it's once again being telecast here by CTV. That means we're hearing "I Believe" again, the Stephan Moccio and Alan Frew penned song that was played ad nauseam in Vancouver. Here's the Nikki Yanofsky version, as if you needed a reminder.
This time, in addition to the Yanofsky version, we're getting a version by The Tenors. I can't imagine either version is making Canadians feel particularly good at this point. If you weren't completely sick of this song after the winter Olympics, you must be sick of it by now.
Please CTV, ease up on the I Believe. It had run its course well before Crosby's golden goal.
Divers Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel have won bronze for Canada in the women's three-metre synchronized event.
Emilie Heymans has become the first female diver to reach the podium in four consecutive Olympic Games. She won silver in the 10-metre synchro in 2000, bronze in the same event in Athens in 2004, and a silver in the 10-metre individual event four years ago in Beijing.
I'm used to seeing bands like Chicago, Air Supply, Michael Bolton, Tony Bennett and Neil Sedaka play Casino Rama. Those acts are now Rama acts, appealing to an older crowd and well past their prime. There's nowhere else I'd expect Ringo Starr to play.
But lately I've been hearing ads for a Weezer concert at Casino Rama. Weezer is one of my bands, a band I've paid good money to see three times. It always sounds strange to me that Weezer is now a Rama band.
I wondered if Weezer was the first of my bands to play Casino Rama, but apparently the Stone Temple Pilots have played there, making Weezer the second of my bands to play Rama.
I guess this is further evidence I'm getting old. My bands are now playing Casino Rama.
Although a little long, I enjoyed watching the Parade of Nations during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. There are always a handful of nations I forget exist, and then there's the Independent Olympic Athletes.
This year, the Independent Olympic Athletes are comprised of athletes from the former Netherlands Antilles and from the newly formed state of South Sudan. Liemarvin Bonevacia, Reginald DE Windt and Philipine van Aanholt are from the former Netherlands Antilles and Guor Marial is from South Sudan.
After these Olympics, these three athletes from the former Netherlands Antilles can choose to represent either the Netherlands or Aruba. South Sudan has not formed a National Olympic Committee.
My nephew's birthday party is tomorrow and my daughter's is Sunday. They're both turning 8. By the age of 8, John Updike wrote his first story, which began: "The tribe of Bum-Bums looked very solemn as they sat around their cosy cave fire."
Oh... and the Olympics begin this afternoon. I'm hoping they put Wayne Gretzky back in that pick-up truck.
Surely you know the deal by now. Write about anything you want, and if you have a question, I'll drop by throughout the day to answer you.
A movie adaptation of The Fantastic Four was completed in 1994 but was never intended to be released. It was produced solely for legal purposes, to retain the film rights for Fantastic Four.
What I love about this story is that the director, actors, and other participants thought they were making a real movie. The producers never told them it was all a sham.
In 1992, Constantin Film was about to lose its option on the film rights for Fantastic Four, unless production began by December. Without the $40 million in necessary funding for a full-budget film, producer Bernd Eichinger turned to Roger Corman for help.
Constantin Film permitted the director, actors and others involved in the film to believe that the studio intended to release it in theaters, rather than the film being a cinematic equivalent of an ashcan copy. The cast and crew did the film for low salaries after being told that if it did not get released to theaters, it would be used as the pilot for a potential television series.
Filming lasted a month and finished in January 1993, after which post-production began. The cast gave press interviews and attended comic book conventions in good faith. The studio announced a premiere date of 1994, at the Mall of America in Minnesota. In late 1993, the studio announced that the film would not be released because of the budget.
Over a decade later, Constantin Film made a $100 million Fantastic Four film and its sequel, the $130 million Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
I've never seen the 2005 Fantastic Four movie or its sequel. Were they any good?
I was at the first Humble and Fred podcast back in 2006. I was also there in October when they started their daily podcast, and I sat in for the first two weeks of shows. But I haven't been there much lately, in fact, it's been months since I attended a recording. But today I biked over to the studio to visit the guys.
As you'll hear, the guys were taken aback by my appearance. There's 40lbs less of me, and at first they assumed I was dying. Well, we're all dying, but I'm hoping I have another 50 years in me. I've never felt better.
Here's what I've done that caught the guys by surprise.
I've been reading a lot about Chick-fil-A this week. Chick-fil-A, for fellow Canadians who aren't familiar with the name, is an American fast food franchise specializing in chicken entrées. Chick-fil-A's president apparently came out against gay marriage and there's been a bit of a backlash, as you can imagine.
There are no Chick-fil-A restaurants in Canada. The way I learned about Chick-fil-A was from Ben Folds Five's Army, a song I dug back in '99.
Here's the second verse:
Grew a moustache and a mullet
Got a job at Chick-fil-A
Citing artistic differences
The band broke up in May
And in June reformed without me
And they'd got a different name
I nuked another grandma's apple pie
And hung my head in shame
It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for another Weekly MP3.
I received an email yesterday that inspired this post:
Hey Mike! Big fan of your blog & appearances!
I've tried searching all over for this track before bugging you with this: Can you please repost the link to the Louie Louie mix track? I'm dying to hear it again! Your site isn't linking to it properly anymore.
Sorry for the hassle,
All the best,
You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it before playing.
Yesterday, I wrote about MapMyRide, an app I've been using for tracking my bike rides. While recently troubleshooting an issue I was having with Kies, I returned my phone to its factory default settings. That gave me a clean slate when it came to installed apps, and three weeks later, these are the ones I missed enough to re-install.
CBC News - I love CBC News, and not just for reading, but for playing on-demand the most recent newscasts
Shazam - This one comes in handy all the time. If you hear a song and you want to know what you're listening to, Shazam always knows.
TuneIn Radio - I absolutely love this app that lets me listen to radio stations from around the world. Humble and Fred's podcast is there, too.
Do it (Tomorrow) - I've tried a few, and this is my "to do list" app of choice. If I need to do something, I add it here.
Facebook for Android - I'm not a big Facebook guy, but it has its benefits...
Gmail - Essential.
Google+ - I suspect I'm one of the few who still checks his Google + stream.
Google Chrome to Phone - A commenter recently turned me on to this app that sends a link from my computer to phone instantly.
MapMyRIDE - I explained this one yesterday. I use it for tracking my rides.
Twitter - I'm still digging Twitter.
Skype - This one is amazing. Here's something I recently wrote about Skype.
ScoreMobile - You need a good app for sports scores, news and stats, and I've tried a bunch. This is my favourite.
Zedge - This is a fun little app for ringtones and notification sounds.
reddit is fun - If you enjoy Reddit, this is the best Android app I could find.
Google Play keeps a record of every app I've installed, so I can accurately tell you I only reinstalled about 25%. The others either weren't that good or weren't used enough. Sorry, The Weather Network and Fruit Ninja.
Tell me about your favourite apps (for Android, iPhone or Blackberry) in the comments.
I'm about a season behind with Breaking Bad. My plan is to catch up by the finale of season five.
During a rather intense scene at the end of season three, I really noticed the score. You know the score, the background music that sets the mood of a scene. While the score was ensuring I knew it was an intense scene, I started thinking about The Wire.
There was no score in The Wire. You didn't need auditory clues as to how you should feel about the scene before you. I enjoyed the lack of score, the way I enjoy the lack of laugh track in comedies like The Larry Sanders Show, Flight of the Conchords and The Office.
How persuasive can a film or television show's score be? Check out the opening of Diff'rent Strokes without the happy-go-lucky theme song.
Looks like a completely different show, doesn't it?
I recently started biking again. Last time I biked regularly, I used a little bike computer that recorded my speed, length of trip, etc.. This time, I'm using an app for my Android phone called MapMyRide.
I'm really digging this free app, and thought I'd share the love. It uses the GPS on my phone to auto-map my route, appreciates the elevation and lets me know how far I went, how long it took, my average speed, calories burned and other cool stats like that.
So if you're biking, you've got to try this app. If you know of any other good biking apps, leave a comment.
My kids love Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Who doesn't? It's friggin' awesome!
When I was a about 10 years old, I had a dual cassette deck stereo with a record player on top. It was from Citizen and was purchased at Consumer's Distributing on Dundas Street West, between Jane and Runnymede on the north side.
My teacher had recently played Queen's "We Are the Champions" for the class, and I soon discovered my old man had it on vinyl. It was the 9th track on Queen's Greatest Hits, and while I had the album in my bedroom, I discovered track #2.
The first thing I noticed about "Bohemian Rhapsody" was how long it was. It was almost 6 minutes when most tunes I enjoyed were around 4 minutes. 6 minutes seemed like a long time, but with "Bohemian Rhapsody", it was never enough. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was epic.
I recently re-introduced my kids to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and my 10-year old son particularly digs it. He seems to like it the way I did at his age, and we have a blast singing along at the top of our lungs.
All of that rambling leads us to the purpose of this entry. This is the isolated vocal track for "Bohemian Rhapsody" and it's Freddie Mercury at the top of his game. It gives me chills.
By the way, I adored "Bohemian Rhapsody" until the release of Wayne's World. That's when MuchMusic began playing the new video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" like crazy and the song was everywhere. That's when I took a nice long break from the tune. And now you know the rest of the story.
Jessica Redfield was an aspiring sportscaster who tweeted as @JessicaRedfield and wrote for BustedCoverage. Sadly, she was one of the 12 people shot dead at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises last night in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.
I can't get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won't go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.
What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I'm on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting down and enjoying sushi, I changed my mind, which is very unlike me, and decided that a greasy burger and poutine would do the trick. I rushed through my dinner. I found out after seeing a map of the scene, that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people. Had I had sushi, I would've been in the same place where one of the victims was found.
My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm. After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn't the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn't have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at SportChek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would've been in the midst of gunfire.
This map of Toronto shootings thus far in 2012 comes courtesy of Toronto Police Service. Gunfire erupted at a block party on Danzig St., in the Morningside and Lawrence Ave. E. area of Scarborough, just before 11pm last night, killing 2 and injuring 21 others.
Here's the map.
What strikes me is how evenly spread out the shootings have been. It's remarkably balanced.
I recently wrote about my new Neil Young CD, the first "purchased" CD to cross my path in almost a decade. Then, I listened to Twilight of the Gods, a five-part radio documentary series that aired on CBC's Inside the Music. You can listen to it here.
In part five of Twilight of the Gods, there's a chat with a group of teens who are obsessed with pop music. They love what they hear on MuchMusic, but when the interviewer asks them if they buy music, they literally laugh out loud. The very notion of paying for music is so outlandish they find it funny. There are now adults who have never bought music, and never will so long as it's available somewhere for free.
Record companies have a major problem on their hands, and fixing it might be akin to closing Pandora's box. That was a lot of money they were making on CD sales, and they haven't been able to replace it, but they have managed to make a series of bad moves in the post-Napster era that have made them villainous. This isn't only opportunity lost, but it removed much of the guilt associated with illegal downloading.
It's a fascinating documentary and I highly recommend it. It almost makes it understandable why concert tickets are so expensive these days. It's one of the only ways an artist can make real money today.
I received an email from Toronto Police Service this morning. They're going to use their Facebook page to remind Torontonians to use caution along river banks and fast moving waters. They were searching Google Images for the ideal image to accompany this warning, and they came across a picture I took of my son at by the Humble River three years ago.
I just cracked open Neil Young's Americana CD. It's the first CD I've "bought" in years and years.
It was bundled with tickets to his concert at the ACC this November, so it was sort of a forced sale. I'm not even sure what to do with this CD other than to rip it to MP3. Throughout the 90s, I purchased hundreds and hundreds of discs, but this might be my first one in a decade.
I spent the evening in 1956. Tuesday December 4, 1956, to be precise. It was the day an impromptu jam session broke out among Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash at Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
That's the scene for Million Dollar Quartet, a new musical from Dancap Productions at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The guy playing Johnny Cash is incredible, and the dude playing Jerry Lee Lewis is pretty awesome, too. Yes, there's plenty of poetic license taken to create more of a story, but in the end it's mainly about the tunes.
I had fun... it's the closest I'll get to seeing Presley, Perkins and Cash. It really bugs me that I didn't see Cash while I had the chance.
Actually, 311 has worked quite well for me, but I was curious about the experiences of other Toronto Mike readers. I just thought it was clever of me to make a reference to Public Enemy's song. I'm modest that way.
Anyway, If you're not from Toronto and/or not familiar with 311, it's the City's telephone number you call to complain about stuff. You know, potholes, litter, naked hobos on your lawn. Junk like that.
I've used the service frequently, and 95% of the time the experience was quite positive. Friendly, responsive and easy to access. And when I say 95% I mean it - 95% exactly. I worked the equations and crunched the formulas. I don't fuck around with math, unless math looks a little like Amanda Seyfried.
I just took a snapshot of the browsers used by the last 100 visitors to this site. Microsoft's Internet Explorer won easily, with most using an older version like 8, 7 or (gasp!) even 6. Here's a pretty chart for you.
For those of you using IE by choice, I'm curious why. I'm not trying to be a tech snob here, I'm sincerely curious. Is it because you've never tried an alternative browser like Chrome or is IE just your preference?
The Leafs just announced their roster for this game, although they will add a few more players later. Here's who they're confirming thus far:
We mentioned them all, except for Kevin Maguire. That choice is a bit of a shocker. Surely Ed Olczyk can get the game off from his analyst duties to play for the blue and white. And Mats is likely sitting on his decision, as an homage to the way he left the Leafs.
What's really important, and has already been mentioned by @DownGoesBrown on Twitter, is that Bob Cole call this game.
I'm not sure what happened to ProStars cereal, but it was around when I was a kid. General Mills made the cereal and slapped The Great One on the box. Heck, if ProStars was good enough for Wayne Gretzky, it's good enough for me.
Ernest Borgnine was 95. He was the film and television actor who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a lovelorn butcher in 1955's "Marty."
If you're like me, you loved Ernest Borgnine in The Simpsons episode "Boy-Scoutz N the Hood". I can't find a good clip of Borgnine as the celebrity dad when the Junior Campers go on a father-son rubber-rafting trip, but it's as good an excuse as any to embed this classic clip of how Bart became a Junior Camper in the first place.
I was invited to a Ferrari Racing Days VIP Cocktail Party last night. It was at the Gardiner Museum with food prepared by Jamie Kennedy and I watched Ferrari after Ferrari pull up to the valet parking before I handed Dylan the keys to my Mazda.
It was a surreal fish out of water evening with guests asking me which Ferrari I owned and trying to sell me on various models. One lady told me I should get the 599 GTB Fioriano. I'm seriously considering it...
And Dylan, thanks for looking after the Mazda. I'm sorry you drew the short straw.
I shared some heavy thoughts in real-time while listening to these three hours on 102.1 that conveniently failed to mention Streek was fired from Edge 102 two months before committing suicide, but it's still a fitting tribute to Martin Streek. Marsden's tribute is even better. Here's all 8 hours of tribute audio for your listening pleasure.
Martin Streek Tribute from Edge 102 Part 1
Martin Streek Tribute from Edge 102 Part 2
Martin Streek Tribute from Edge 102 Part 3
Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden Part 1
Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden Part 2
Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden Part 3
Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden Part 4
Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden Part 5
Martin Streek is gone, but he's certainly not forgotten.
I'm planning to start a podcast. 30 minutes a week or so... using the Humble and Fred studio in beautiful downtown Etobicoke. This is a great place to tell me what you think of the idea, if you'd listen, or warn me to walk away and never look back.
And you can say other stuff, too. But try not to complain about the heat if you can help it. That's a personal request. If you do it, I won't delete your comment, but I'll shake my fist at the screen.
And if you have a question, I'll drop by throughout the day to answer you.
I own a Samsung Galaxy S II running Android and up to now I've been as happy with it as a pig in shit. Following years of using a Blackberry, it's been a wonderful experience to use a smart phone that's indeed smart.
Wanting to get away from Blackberry, I always knew I'd pick Android over the iPhone. I don't like the closed Apple way, and I hate iTunes. I went with the Galaxy S II because friends I trust recommended it and until now I haven't had a single complaint.
But this complaint is a biggie. It's making me appreciate iTunes in a way I never thought possible, and it's got me thinking my next phone shouldn't be a Samsung. You see, as far as I can tell, the only way for me to update my phone's firmware, and do a proper backup, is via USB using a piece of software called Samsung Kies.
I don't like the idea Samsung forces me to use their software, software that doesn't run in my preferred O/S (Linux), but that's not what has me frustrated as all hell. I'm pissed off at Samsung and their bloody Kies because it simply won't recognize my Samsung Galaxy S II phone.
Yes, I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the software. Did it in Windows and on my Mac, too. Used different USB cables, turned off the USB debugging, removed my external SD and SIM card, and finally, when I was at my wit's end, returned the phone to factory settings. Nothing worked.
My kingdom for an alternative to Kies and the true freedom from proprietary applications the spirit of Android promises. And if anyone has any idea how I can update my firmware from 2.3.3 without using Kies, I'd appreciate it.
This isn't a list of all tunes with "America" in the title, just such songs that sit on my hard drive. I'm sure I'm missing several appropriate songs and I'd love for you to add those titles to the comments.
Americareful - Atmosphere
American Jesus - Bad Religion
Look Inside America - Blur
American Skin (41 Shots) - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
American Heavy Metal Weekend - Circle Jerks
American Way - Circle Jerks
American Dream - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Young Americans - David Bowie
Real American - Derringer
American Pie - Don McLean
The New American Way - Dropkick Murphys
American Without Tears - Elvis Costello
An American Trilogy - Elvis Presley
White America - Eminem
American Boy - Estelle
Song From An American Movie Pt. 1 - Everclear
America the Beautiful - Frank Sinatra
American Honky-Tonk Bar Association - Garth Brooks
We're An American Band - Grand Funk
American Eulogy - Green Day
American Idiot - Green Day
Last Of The American Girls - Green Day
Lost My America - I Mother Earth
Wild America - Iggy Pop
Flightless Bird, American Mouth - Iron And Wine
Hey America - James Brown
Living In America - James Brown
Made In America - Jay-Z & Kanye West
Bleed American - Jimmy Eat World
Who Will Survive In America - Kanye West
American Bad Ass - Kid Rock
Kids in America - Kim Wilde
America - Knaan
American Honey - Lady Antebellum
Americano - Lady Gaga
American Woman - Lenny Kravitz
Radio America - Libertines
The Beautiful American - Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington
Hooked on America - Louis Clark Conducting The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Journey Through America - Louis Clark Conducting The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
North American for Life - Matthew Good
This America, Man - McNulty and Witness
Bluestime In America - Michael Hill's Blues Mob
American Way - Nas
America - Neil Diamond
America the Beautiful - Neil Young
Franco Unamerican - NOFX
America the Beautiful - Pat Boone
Daughter / American Pie - Pearl Jam
America the Beautiful - Ray Charles
RDA (Rock Death America) - Rheostatics
The Great American Nightmare - Rob Zombie
American Roulette - Robbie Robertson
An American Draft Dodger In Thunder Bay - Sam Roberts
America - Santana
America - Simon and Garfunkel
The American - Simple Minds
Breakfast In America - Supertramp
America, Fuck Yeah - Team America
America, Fuck Yeah (Bummer Remix) - Team America
The Team America March - Team America
L'America - The Doors
American Woman - The Guess Who
Americana - The Offspring
The Body of an American - The Pogues
Letter From America - The Proclaimers
American Rock And Roll - The Righteous Brothers
Last American Exit - The Tragically Hip
American Girl - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
American Psycho - Treble Charger
Elvis Presley and America - U2
The Hands That Built America - U2
American Man - Velvet Revolver
America Is - Violent Femmes
American Music - Violent Femmes
American Gigolo - Weezer
Surf Wax America - Weezer
America - West Side Story
"This America, Man" isn't actually a song, but an exchange between McNulty and a witness that begins the greatest television series of all-time. It's here because it's a cut on The Wire soundtrack.
Chuck Berry released Sweet Little Sixteen in 1958. The Beach Boys released Surfin' USA in 1963. They're essentially the same song.
Here's Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen:
Here's The Beach Boys' Surfin' USA:
The sole songwriter credited by The Beach Boys on Surfin' USA was Brian Wilson. Chuck Berry had to sue to get a co-writing credit. Even then, Murry Wilson turned the copyright over to Berry without ever informing Brian.
There are plenty of good examples of songs copying other songs without crediting the original songwriter, but I don't believe there's an example as obvious as this first top ten hit by The Beach Boys.
I wanted a proxy for the Oxfam Trailwalker 2012 100 km hike from Wasaga Beach to Midland and I've found four chicks ready to take the plunge for a good cause. Actually, I've found 4 chicks in the woods who need your donations.
4 chicks in the woods are Heather Tjeerdsma, Grace Hoftyzer, Danielle Cockram and Hannah Cheshire and they just did a nice 35k practice hike this past weekend. They tell me they got a little lost but the MMA exercise programs are really paying off. They'll be ready for July 13.
Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in 92 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. Please pledge their walk here.
Parking Ticket Guys just bought a textual link on the left side of the home page. The value isn't so much in the click-throughs as it's SEO. Search engines dig it.
The Parking Ticket Guys offer an interesting service. They'll file your Toronto parking ticket and attend court on your behalf at a later date for half the value of the ticket. So a $30 parking ticket will cost you only $15.
If you're looking for exposure for your company, and improved organic ranking in Google, you may want to join Parking Ticket Guys in buying a textual link on this site. It'll be the biggest bang for your marketing buck. Contact me for details.