February 2013 Archives

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Goethe Dominates Frankfurt

Goethe Dominates FrankfurtYou likely know Johann Wolfgang von Goethe better simply as Goethe, if you know him at all. Despite being widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of all-time, right up there with William Shakespeare, he doesn't get nearly as much recognition as Billy does. Goethe needs better PR.

His good name certainly hasn't been forgotten in Germany. He's all over Frankfurt, the city of his birth, immortalized in statues and monuments throughout the city. Here's one I visited in downtown Frankfurt earlier today.

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Faust is Goethe's most famous work, but he also wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther, The Alder King, Iphigenia in Tauris, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Elective Affinities. The man was prolific.

His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, and more than 10,000 letters written by him are extant, as are nearly 3,000 drawings.

Tip a glass for Goethe, the forgotten genius, who is deservedly celebrated throughout Frankfurt, Germany.

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O Canada Abandoned

O Canada AbandonedHello from Frankfurt! I may be overseas, but I'm still keeping touch with what's happening back home.

I hear our anthem was destroyed before the Jays - Astros game in Florida. I'm amused by how the anthem singer literally gave up on O Canada and moved on to the Star-Spangled Banner.

My buddy Freddie P was at this game and he tells me the US anthem was butchered almost as badly.

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Alte Oper

Alte Oper in FrankfurtI haven't really had a chance to explore Frankfurt yet, but this is what I see outside the office I'm working in this week.

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It's called Alte Oper, or Old Opera, and as you might guess, it's Frankfurt's former Opera house. Here's a shot from the Opernplatz in front.

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Prior to being bombed in WWII, Alte Oper hosted the premiere of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in 1937.


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Nicholas Winton: The Man Who Saved 669 Children

Nicholas WintonI love the story of Sir Nicholas George Winton.

Nicholas Winton organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War. He found homes for them and arranged for their safe passage to Britain.

Then there's this little nugget:

Winton kept his humanitarian exploits under wraps for many years until his wife Grete found a detailed scrapbook in the attic in 1988. The scrapbook contained lists of the children, including their parents' names, and the names and addresses of the families that took them in. After sending letters to these addresses, 80 of "Winton's children" were found in Britain. The world found out about Winton's work in 1988 during an episode of the BBC television programme That's Life! when Winton was invited to be an audience member. At one point during the programme Winton's scrapbook was shown, and his achievements explained. The host of the programme, Esther Rantzen, then asked if there was anyone in the audience who owed their lives to Winton, and, if so, to stand – at which point more than two dozen audience members surrounding Winton rose and applauded.

Here's that amazing footage. You're ordered to watch this minute and 39 seconds.

Nicholas Winton is still with us today and will turn 104 in May.

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Oscars Open Mike

Open MikeThe Oscars are Friday Sunday, and that can only mean one thing. It's time for an Oscars Open Mike.

You don't have to drop an Oscars prediction or two, but you can. Then you can gloat about your prognostication skills later. Let's make this the best Open Mike ever, shall we?

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gPodder: My Podcast Client

gPodder: My Podcast ClientMy current lifestyle includes very little driving, so I'm listening to most of my podcasts on my Ubuntu Linux desktop. My podcast client of choice for Linux is gPodder.

gPodder makes it very easy to discover and subscribe to new clients.

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If you know the subscription address, you can subscribe directly. The address for subscribing to Toronto Mike'd, for example, is http://www.torontomike.com/torontomiked.xml.

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It's super easy to peruse all the episodes of a particular podcast, download the MP3 or delete one you've already listened to.

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Once a day, after my swim and while I prepare my lunch, I check my feeds for new podcasts and download them for afternoon listening.

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Have You Been to Frankfurt, Germany?

Have You Been to Amsterdam?I have a question for the hivemind.

Have you ever been to Frankfurt, Germany?

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I'll be there all next week and I'm curious as to what you'd recommend I do when I'm there. What do I have to see and do in Frankfurt?

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 25: Rosebud

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 25In this 25th episode, Rosie and I talk about Hazel, Oscar Pistorius, our Oscar picks, Monopoly tokens and I tell my Alpha Getti Gobbler story. This episode is exactly 32:57.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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The Simpsons Short: The Longest Daycare

The Simpsons Short: The Longest DaycareThe Longest Daycare, which aired prior to Ice Age: Continental Drift, is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.


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Installing Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on My HP TouchPad

Installing Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on My HP TouchPadIn July of 2011, the nice people at HP gave me a TouchPad Tablet PC. Here's something I wrote about it then. It was is a nice piece of hardware with great sound running webOS, but by August of 2011, HP had discontinued the TouchPad. Early sales results indicated it wasn't the iPad killer they hoped it would be.

That meant the only tablet I own runs an OS without many apps. If you think BB10 is missing some key apps (and it is), you should peruse the app selection for the TouchPad. As a fan of the Android OS, I wanted to run Android on my HP TouchPad so I could enjoy the same system and apps I enjoy on my Samsung Galaxy phone.

The answer was CyanogenMod 10, which has brilliantly enabled me to run Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on my TouchPad. Fantastic installation instructions are here should you own a TouchPad and want to give this a shot. It's pretty easy as my girlfriend and I had it up and running in one afternoon.

TouchPad running Android

I'm very pleased with my new Android tablet. Jelly Bean is great.

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The Battle of the Two Wendys

The Battle of the Two WendysWendy's seems torn. The fast food restaurant sometimes serves up advertisements featuring the real Wendy, Wendy Thomas. She's the daughter of Wendy's founder Dave Thomas.

Other times, we see the role of Wendy played by a thinner, younger actress. This Wendy reminds me of Alyson Hannigan.

You'd think Wendy's would pick one and go with it, but I'll still catch both Wendys airing on Canadian stations during the same week.

I'm rooting for the real Wendy to prevail.

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Jerry Buss, Dead at 79

In MemoriumJerry Buss was 79. He was the Los Angeles Lakers’ playboy owner who shepherded the NBA franchise to 10 championships from the ‘80s Showtime dynasty to the Kobe Bryant era.

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Mindy McCready, Dead at 37

In MemoriumMindy McCready was 37. She was the country music singer who reached #1 in 1996 with her single "Guys Do It All the Time".


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Terrence Ross Wins Slam Dunk Competition

Terrence Ross Wins Slam Dunk ContestFollowing the Leafs 3-0 over the Sens, I got sucked into watching the NBA all-star competitions. I had a rooting interest with Raptor rookie Terrence Ross in the slam dunk competition, so I got into it.

Ross won becoming the second Raptor to do so following Vince Carter's win in 2000. Ross actually paid tribute to Vince with his first dunk in the finals last night.

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Then, he sealed the deal using a young boy as a convenient prop.

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Full points to Ross for the win, but I miss the good old days when props weren't part of every second dunk and it was just an athletic dunker and his creativity. Birthday boy Michael Jordan, FTW!

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#LoveThisTeam

#LoveThisTeamThe journey begins.

Single game tickets are on sale now at BlueJays.com.


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Family Day Long Weekend Open Mike

Open MikeIt's Friday, and that can only mean one thing. It's time for a new Open Mike.

Let's make this the best Open Mike ever. Rant, rave and/or drool here.

Print

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Tim Dog, Dead at 46

In MemoriumTim Dog was 46. He was the the rapper who reached fame in 1991 with "Fuck Compton," a diss track toward Dr. Dre and N.W.A.


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Things are Looking Up in Toronto Sports

Things are Looking Up in Toronto SportsToronto Sports fans, I have good news. It seems we bounced off the bottom in August and things are looking up.

At that time, the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Argos were all in pretty dire straits. You'll have to click back for details. I called it a "brand new low", but as I type this today I'm pleased to report the Argos are Grey Cup champs, the Blue Jays are entering the pre-season as World Series favourites and both the Leafs and Raptors are on four game winning streaks. Heck, the Leafs might even make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

And let me tell you as someone who is watching both the Leafs and Raptors these days, they're both entertaining and full of hope, something that's been sorely lacking the past few years. The Toronto professional sports scene is suddenly respectable again.

Go Jays Go! And go Leafs, Raptors and Argos, too! I'm not sure about TFC, but the other teams are headed in the right direction.

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Oscar Pistorius Bullet in the Chamber Ad

Oscar Pistorius Bullet in the Chamber AdIn retrospect, this "Bullet in the Chamber" Nike ad featuring the "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius is rather unfortunate.

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Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder after allegedly shooting and killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in South Africa.

This tweet from Reeva Steenkamp yesterday is also retrospectively heartbreaking.


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I Choo-Choo-Choose You

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

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

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Things I Don't Understand: The 13th Floor is Missing

Things I Don't Understand: The 13th Floor is MissingFor the past two years, I've been living in an apartment building. This building has no 13th floor.

Actually, it does have a 13th floor, but it's listed as the 14th floor. Like many buildings in North America, the 13th floor is completely skipped. I've never understood this practice.

How powerful is this triskaidekaphobia that it continues to permeate our society in 2013? Haven't we progressed to a point where we can actually label the 13th floor the 13th floor?

There are several equally ridiculous phobias out there, but we don't let them influence our day-to-day lives. I'm told tetraphobia, the fear of the number 4, is so powerful in many Asian cultures that some new buildings don't have floors ending in 4, either.

It's all so silly, isn't it?

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 24: Pasta Party

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 24In this 24th episode, Rosie and I are joined by Anthony "Il Duce" Petrucci from Palma Pasta who has one hell of a story to tell about me. On second thought, please don't listen to this episode that is exactly 1:01:14. Thank you.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Podcast Directory: Recorded In My Studio

Podcast Directory: Recorded In My StudioAt 5pm today today I'm expecting my good friends Rosie and Il Duce to drop by my home studio to record episode 24 of Toronto Mike'd. Toronto Mike'd is my podcast I started last August and Rosie and I have enjoyed recording it just about every week since. You can hear what we've recorded thus far here.

Toronto Mike'd isn't the only podcast that's recorded in my home studio. My girlfriend has a new podcast, my brother has one and even my 8-year old daughter has one. All four have been super fun to produce, and I've made it easier for you to find them by adding a podcast directory to the top-right corner of every page of this site.

Here's what we have, waiting to be streamed, downloaded or subscribed to:


Toronto Mike'd
Rosie and I discuss current events and debate interesting topics, often with a Toronto-centric spin.

» Listen to Toronto Mike'd Here


She's So Young
My 8-year old daughter, Michelle, hosts her own show about what's bouncing around her brain.

» Listen to She's So Young Here


Fantasy Sports Hookup
My brother and his buddy talk fantasy sports each week and they really know their stuff.

» Listen to Fantasy Sports Hookup Here


In Her Shoes
My girlfriend and I talk about this and that in this light and breezy half-hour.

» Listen to In Her Shoes Here


Naming rights for the studio are still up for grabs, so contact me if you're interested! A big thanks to coreFusion for hosting the audio and Andrew for helping me choose and set-up my ridiculously good audio equipment.

Hear, here.

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German Calendar Predicts Pope's Resignation

German Calendar Predicts Pope's ResignationThis page from the German Karicartoon calendar, dated February 10, 2013, shows the pope winning the lottery and saying "Holy smokes! Tomorrow I'll quit!" in German.

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This is no fake, as you'll read here.

Holy coinkydink!

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Drake Started From the Bottom

Drake Started From the BottomI'm sharing Drake's new video because it includes a lot of Toronto.

Feel free to debate which bottom Drake is referring to. Yes, at some point during Aubrey Graham's childhood his mom moved him into a duplex in Forest Hill and he played Jimmy "the wheelchair guy" on Degrassi, but I don't think that's the bottom he started from.

Clearly, Shopper's Drug Mart is the bottom Drake started from.

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Bob Cole: The Voice That Divides Us All

Bob Cole: The Voice That Divides Us AllI've made no secret over the years what I think about Bob Cole as a hockey game commentator. A couple of years ago I pleaded with the CBC to let Bob Cole continue calling Saturday night Leafs games.

I loved every syllable he uttered. I love Bob Cole's voice and style, I always have. He provided the voiceover for all my favourite hockey memories. Every Leafs playoff goal of my life has been called by Mr. Bob Cole and I'll always love him for it.

Hearing his voice tonight, I realized how much better Leafs games are when he's behind the microphone. Not only do I hope Bob Cole doesn't retire, but I hope the CBC gives him back to us and has him call every Saturday night Leafs game next season. That's the way it used to be, and that's the way it should be.

Last night, Bob Cole called the awesome Leafs - Habs game on Hockey Night in Canada, and I loved it. He sounded great... there's no other voice like Bob Cole's and I sincerely hope he's up to calling every Hockey Night in Canada Leafs game until he sheds his mortal coil.

We don't get Bob Cole calling many Leafs games these days. We usually get the much less interesting Jim Hughson who has a decent voice but lacks Bob Cole's poetic flavour and irreplaceable timber timbre. It's that flavour Bob Cole adds that has me easily forgiving if he mispronounces James van Riemsdyk's name or misidentifies a player. He's human, and 79-years old, and a minor mistake like that never bothers me. Like I said, he's the best hockey commentator I've ever heard and until I hear someone as good I'd like to hear the best.

Without failure, every time Bob Cole calls a Leafs game on Hockey Night in Canada, I celebrate on Twitter. Every time I do that I'm hit with a series of replies that he's too old and should retire. Many, it seems, dislike Bob Cole calling hockey games, and it never fails to baffle me.

I want to know what you think of Bob Cole calling Leafs games in 2013. Would you rather Jim Hughson? Would you rather someone else? Does it really offend you when he's a step behind a play that you're watching in real-time?

Why don't you appreciate Bob Cole the way I do?

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Snow(y) Day Open Mike

Open MikeBe nice, clear your ice!

Let's make this the best Open Mike ever. Rant, rave and/or drool here.

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It's a Snowstorm. I'm Calling it a Snowstorm.

It's a Snowstorm. I'm Calling it a Snowstorm.Environment Canada has issued a winter storm watch for much of southern and parts of eastern Ontario, extending from London to Peterborough, and including Toronto.

Between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow along with strong easterly winds are expected. It'll be the most snow we've seen since in Toronto since February 2009.

It's not the Snowpocalypse or Snowmaggeden, it's not even a Snowicane or Snowpalooza. It's just a snowstorm.

You might want to work from home tomorrow.

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I'm Done Watching Shows That Are Still Airing

tvI'm fairly certain I'd enjoy Game of Thrones. Friends who agree with my love of The Wire have convinced me of that. I'm also pretty sure I'd enjoy Boardwalk Empire, Homeland and Sons of Anarchy. That's four quality shows I should try, but I'm not going to. At least, not yet...

I've made a decision to stop watching shows that are still airing. I'll wait for the series to conclude and then watch it from beginning to end without interruption. That's the way I enjoy following a drama.

Note, this rule doesn't apply to comedies, just dramas. And there are two unfinished series I'm currently following: Mad Men and Breaking Bad. They're exempt from my new rule. I'll finish both in real-time.

I watched The Wire on DVD after the series was complete. I didn't have to wait nine-months or longer for a new episode. I got to do it back-to-back-to-back and it was brilliant.

That's how I roll from now on. Let me know when Game of Thrones airs its finale. I'm looking forward to starting that one shortly thereafter.

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Our Gift of Tulips From Princess Juliana of the Netherlands

Our Gift of Tulips From Princess Juliana of the NetherlandsEvery year Ottawa receives 20,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands Royal Family and the Dutch Bulb Growers, a thank you for sheltering the Royal Family and for Canada's help with liberation of the Netherlands during WWII.

Here's a little more:

In 1943 Princess Margriet Francisca, the younger sister of the current Queen of the Netherlands, was born at Ottawa Civic Hospital - the only royal ever to be born in North America. The Dutch Royal Family had fled to Canada in 1940 after the WWII invasion of their country. Among their problems - the expected royal child needed to be delivered on Dutch territory to be a Dutch citizen. So, Canada ceded this one hospital maternity room temporarily to the Netherlands. In appreciation, in the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs.

Now you know how the world's largest tulip festival in Ottawa came to be.

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Reg Presley, Dead at 71

In MemoriumReg Presley was 71. He was the singer-songwriter best known as the lead singer with prominent 1960s rock and roll band The Troggs, whose best known hit was "Wild Thing".

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Good Riddance to the Penny

Good Riddance to the PennyI almost never use cash. Just about everything I buy, from a McDonald's coffee to my groceries, goes on my President's Choice MasterCard. I'm trying to remember the last time I bought something with cash and I'm drawing a blank.

For this reason, I won't even notice the penny has been retired. If my bill comes to $18.48, that's exactly what I'll pay. Electronic pennies will never die, just the annoying copper-plated zinc or copper-plated steel coins.

Even Google has got in on the act, posting a Google doodle featuring the penny on Google.ca today.

And even without the penny, I suspect common penny expressions will survive. A penny saved will still be a penny earned and I'm sure we'll still offer a penny for your thoughts. On that note...

Will you miss the penny?

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Super Bowl XLVII Open Mike

super bowlThis weekend is Super Bowl XLVII. It's the 49ers and Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. This Open Mike is all about the big game, or anything else that's on your mind.

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

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